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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July 8, 2011
Kelly Hunter (source: Kelly Hunter)Source: Kelly Hunter

Mills and Boon author Kelly Hunter was a finalist in the 2011 RITA Awards for her Sexy release, Red-Hot Renegade, which features something not often seen in mainstream romance novels—an Asian heroine. I haven’t read this book yet (it’s on my list of books to read!) but based on Kate’s review I think I need to get to it soon.

Kelly’s latest Australian release was The Man She Loves to Hate (Sexy, 2-in-1). Her latest North American release was With This Fling (Presents), and her latest UK release was Taken By The Bad Boy (Paradise Nights anthology).

BOOK GIVEAWAY: Kelly is giving away a copy of her RITA-nominated book, RED-HOT RENEGADE. For a chance to win, tell us which renegade (living or historical) would make a fantastic romance hero and why.

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July 7, 2011
The Girl In The Steel Corset by Kady Cross (The Steampunk Chronicles, Book 1)

The Girl In The Steel Corset by Kady Cross (The Steampunk Chronicles, Book 1)

Delivers a good mystery at the expense of world building and character development.

This book has everything going for it. Look at that gorgeous cover. Check out the gushing reviews online. It’s teen steampunk—two of the subgenres du jour in popular fiction. I squealed in delight when the folks at Mills and Boon were kind enough to send me a review copy.

In hindsight, I should’ve known better than to raise my expectations to a level that few books could possibly attain. The Girl In The Steel Corset might have worked for me ten years ago, but now I’m just left wanting more.

Sixteen-year old Finley Jane knows something lurks inside her—something strong and dark and unpredictable. She tries to hide it, but she can’t always control it. After Finley escapes an assault, she’s taken in by Griffin and his friends. She doesn’t want to cause them any trouble…and yet they, too, seem to have their secrets. And their abilities.

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July 5, 2011
Photo Opportunity by Jess Dee (Tanner Siblings, Book 1)

Photo Opportunity by Jess Dee (Tanner Siblings, Book 1)

A friends to lovers story that doesn’t quite reach the emotional heights—or depths—that I prefer in my romances.

I love me a good friends-to-lovers story—it’s one of my favourite pairings. In theory, Jess Dee’s story in which the hero, Daniel, decides he’s had enough of being platonic friends with childhood friend, Amy, and executes a plan to change their relationship status…well, in theory it ticks the right boxes for me. Bonus for being an erotic romance, even though, as I may have mentioned a few times before, I’m so very picky with erotica.

Well…it kind of work and it didn’t. The fact that I’m a sucker for friends to lovers probably kept my interest longer than the book should have. Unfortunately, it just didn’t have enough emotional depth for me to care much about the characters.

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July 4, 2011

I was going to post on the Pearson acquisition as part of our regular Tidbits post, but I know that many Aussie romance readers will find the Amazon acquisition of great interest, so I’m posting these two bits of news out of schedule.

Amazon and The Book Depository

I just saw this on Twitter (via @kate_elham), but it looks like Amazon will be acquiring The Book Depository, subject to all the legal stuff that has to happen for the acquisition to go ahead. I couldn’t find a direct link to the Amazon media release, but I’m assuming it won’t be long now.

UPDATE #1: Eoin Purcell speculates on his blog that one of the reasons for the acquisition could be to build a better market position in Australia. Wow. We matter! *happy sob*

UPDATE #2: On Twitter, TBD has stated that ‘The Book Depository will continue to operate independently.’ Then again, it’s early days yet. (Or no days, given that the sale hasn’t happened yet.)

UPDATE #3: Philip Jones at Futurebooks makes this comment: ‘[TBD] is big in those areas where Amazon isn’t, and in Australia competes head-on, with some success. Most importantly, it has established networks and routes into those countries, which Amazon simply does not. And I suspect it is these, rather than the turnover, that Amazon is most interested in.’

This is something that came up in one of the panels I attended at the 2011 Australian Romance Reading Convention. I believe Christina Lee from Mills & Boon brought it up. Here’s an excerpt from the tweet feed (I’ve removed off-topic tweets):

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July 4, 2011

Here are some books for review sent by Random House, which are sitting in my to-be-read pile.

July 2, 2011

The Oscars of the romance industry, the RITA Awards, were awarded yesterday at the Romance Writers of America conference in New York.

Wendy, whom you might know from her blog, The Misadventures of Super Librarian, was awarded the Librarian of the Year award.

The RWA website has a full list of finalists and winners, including winners of the Golden Heart Awards and other special awards.

His at Night by Sherry Thomas

Historical Romance

The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmas by Lauren Willig

Regency Historical Romance

Welcome Home, Cowboy by Karen Templeton

Contemporary Series Romance

The Moon That Night by Helen Brenna

Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure







Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis (Lucky Harbor, Book 1)

Contemporary Single Title Romance

Unchained: The Dark Forgotten by Sharon Ashwood

Paranormal Romance

Silent Scream by Karen Rose

Romantic Suspense

In Harm's Way by Irene Hannon

Inspirational Romance







The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (Iron Fey, Book 1)

Young Adult Romance

Burning Up (Anthology)

Romance Novella – “Shifting Sea” by Virginia Kantra

Welcome to Harmony by Jodi Thomas

Novel with Strong Romantic Elements

Pieces of Sky by Kaki Warner

Best First Book