July 23, 2011

Tidbits -- news, links and interesting things

Kelly Hunter giveaway winner

Congratulations to obsidiantears83, who won our giveaway of Red-Hot Renegade by Kelly Hunter. She chose Captain Thunderbolt as the renegade who would make a fantastic romance hero:

Captain Thunderbolt. Every time I drive through Uralla, in the New England ranges, I wonder what his life story was actually like, because it is so romanticsed. There is also Thunderbolt’s Boulder just outside town where he used to hide out. He was a horse theif and was arrested, did hard labour, and then his wife’s helped him escape. They became bushrangers and lived hard, mostly between the hunter valley and the new england.

Top 10 things romance oversells

Julie of Gypsy in my soul lists of some of the most unrealistic things we might encounter in romance. And she does it with love for the genre. Hilarious. (Source: @VaVeros)

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July 22, 2011
Burn Bright by Marianne de Pierres (Night Creatures, Book 1)

Burn Bright by Marianne de Pierres (Night Creatures, Book 1)

A lyrical, sensual and fascinating story let down by a disjointed plot and vague world building. Your mileage may vary.

There’s something seductive about the way Marianne de Pierres writes, and although I hesitated to pick this book up—not another young adult dark fantasy novel!—once I did I couldn’t put it down…until I got to the middle.

Retra escapes her closed community to search for her brother, who ran away to Ixion two years ago. It’s a mysterious place, where everyone lives for pleasure and newcomers are urged to ‘burn bright’. It’s a place where Retra, conditioned to be silent, calm and obedient, finds herself caught up in the politics and jealousies between the Ripers who promise to guard the young revellers, the various gangs in the city, the dreaded Night Creatures, and rebel factions who know that Ixion is not, after all, just about pleasure.

De Pierres sets the story up beautifully, taking the reader on the same journey as the bewildered Retra, for whom Ixion requires a complete reassessment of everything she knows (or has been taught) thus far. But as the story progresses, De Pierres falls into the common trap of keeping details thin in order to maintain various mysteries of the world she’s creating.

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July 20, 2011
Heartless by Gail Carriger (Parasol Protectorate, Book 4)

Heartless by Gail Carriger (Parasol Protectorate, Book 4)

The latest instalment of the Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series proves that some things can get even better with time.

Alexia Maccon (nee Tarrabotti) has got herself into trouble again. Aside from the ‘infant inconvenience’ that has led to everyone trying to kill her—featuring, this time around, zombie, semi-mechanised porcupines—she has to solve a plot to assassinate the Queen. All while waddling about, moving, investigating her husband’s past, fussing over members of the pack and having tea.

This latest instalment of the Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series proves that some things can get even better with time. This book was just as witty and compelling as the others—I read it at every possible moment—and even more creative. (The porcupines were totally original.) Alexia, despite being preggers and totally dependent on her parasol, hunky werewolves and her unflappable butler to prop her up, still manages to save the day and pop out a baby besides. (Yes, the progeny makes its appearance in this one, which is not a spoiler since you can tell that from the size of her in chapter one.)

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July 19, 2011

If you were at the ARRA convention this year, you may remember Helene Young from her fantastic book reading and launch of Shattered Sky. Her books, set in North Queensland, combine romantic suspense with the increasingly popular rural lit category. Her debut novel, Border Watch (rereleased as Wings of Fear), won the 2010 Australian Romance Readers Award for Favourite Romantic Suspense and is nominated for this year’s R*BY Award in the Romantic Elements category.

BOOK GIVEAWAY: Helene is giving away a copy of her R*BY Award nominated novel, WINGS OF FEAR. For a chance to win, tell us why you love—or would love to try—Australian romantic suspense.

Some rules: Post your answer as a comment to this post. Multiple entries are fine. By entering, you give us permission to quote your entry in future blog posts and articles. You also give us permission to send your email address to the author, who will be organising delivery of the book. Open to international readers. The giveaway ends midnight on Monday, July 25 AEST. Wandergurl, Decadence and I will pick our favourite answer. The winner must provide a delivery address within one week after we announce the result on the blog.

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July 18, 2011

I have a stack of Orion and Little, Brown books still in my TBR shelf. Some of these were released last year, but a few of them are coming out in other formats this year.

July 16, 2011

Tidbits -- news, links and interesting things2012 ARR Awards

The 2012 Australian Romance Readers Awards will be held on Saturday, February 11, 2012 at Cello’s Resturant in Sydney (same venue as last year). Book it in and start saving!

Am I the only one who wants to rename this to the Pirate Awards? I wonder if we can have a pirate-themed bling off?

Shannon Curtis at Burwood Library

Shannon Curtis will be at Burwood Library on July 30 to launch her debut release from Carina Press, The Viper’s Kiss. Readers are invited to bring their ebook readers, laptops and USB gizmos to the ‘digital download event’. I love this idea! You can buy a copy of the book using the library’s free WiFi and have a chat about the library’s ebook community and digital lending program. (Source: ARRA newsletter — Worth the price of membership, just for the events notices, but it has excellent articles, too!)

Going digital with Angela James

Carina Press executive editor, Angela James, will be speaking at the Australia Council for the Arts on Tuesday, August 16 as part of an if:book Australia initiative. The cost is $49.50 and you need to RSVP by Friday, August 12.

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July 14, 2011
Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison (Elder Races, Book 1)

Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison (Elder Races, Book 1)

The perfect antidote for a paranormal romance slump. I have been sucked into another series!

Pia Giovanni has been blackmailed into stealing something from a dragon’s horde. After becoming the only being in the world to get away with it, she finds herself targeted by Dragos Culebre, a powerful member of the Elder Races. (Yes, he is a dragon. Yes, he lives in a big tower in New York.)

Dragos can’t believe someone has managed to steal from him, but instead of dismembering the thief he finds himself, well, feeling. At the same time, he knows that there’s more to this theft than meets the eye, and before long he and Pia are on the run, trying to unravel the plot against him.

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July 12, 2011
Death's Sweet Embrace by Tracey O'Hara (Dark Brethren, Book 2)

Death's Sweet Embrace by Tracey O'Hara (Dark Brethren, Book 2)

Ends with an excellent twist—one that I didn’t guess until the very end—but let down by the execution.

I’ll be honest. I thought I’d like this book much more than I did. Although the first book in the series, Night’s Cold Kiss, had its flaws, I generally enjoyed the story and was looking forward to more.

Snow leopard shifter Kitt Jordan’s dream is to be reunited with her estranged daughters and to make peace with her pack. It seems to be within her reach, until she’s called to be part of a task force hunting down a brutal serial killer. Kitt has to work alongside Raven, with whom she has a rather tragic history, and it seems that there’s still something between them. Despite the attraction, Kitt knows that getting involved with Raven again will pretty much scuttle her chances of a reunion with her pack and her daughters.

Meanwhile, the serial killer’s MO is to find young Bestiabeo (shapeshifters), paralyse them and rip out their hearts. There’s a lot of gore in this book.

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July 10, 2011

Pearson-REDgroup deal to be investigated by the ACCC

The Bookseller reports that the Australian Booksellers Association (ABA) is putting together a submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), asking for an investigation into Pearson’s acquisition of REDgroup online. ABA is concerned that the deal will reduce competition and give an advantage to books published by Pearson, which also owns Penguin. BOOKSELLER+PUBLISHER quotes several Australian bookshop managers, and their reactions are mixed.

Amazon-Book Depository deal

Amazon’s planned acquisition of The Book Depository has hit the mainstream media. So far, the word from TBD is that it’s business as usual. That would make sense because the deal isn’t in the bag yet. (It’s still subject to regulatory approval.)

Here are some things I’ve gleaned that may be of interest to readers (and if I got anything wrong please feel free to correct me!):

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