ABS-olutely Great Romance!

There’s no doubt about it, when I pass by a book and glimpse some skin I stop. Who can resist a shirtless guy? I can’t. It’s one of the main reasons I read romance novels, and because I love finding out about the man behind the cover.

It’s even more pleasing when I find out the guy, whilst stubborn, is actually really sensitive due to his past or present experiences. But let’s be honest, those blurbs are too damn short.

So in celebration of ABS-olutely great romance, here are four reads from some of our favourites: Jeaniene Frost, Jennifer Ashley, Shelly Laurenston and Manda Collins…


9780062076083Bound by Flames

by Jeaniene Frost

Now that Vlad knows his nemesis, Mihaly Szilagyi, is still alive, the hunt is on. But after the close call Leila suffered at Szilagy’s hands he refuses to accept her help finding him, let alone allowing her anywhere near the madman. Vlad’s seen enough death to last all his lifetimes – he doesn’t plan on putting his beloved in the path of destruction too. Leila understands Vlad’s resistance, but with her psychometric abilities, she’s the perfect person to check for loyalty among his ranks and search for Szilagyi – if only Vlad will accept her help.

Stuck between staying true to Vlad and helping him defeat his nemesis, Leila’s forced to more… 

Grab a copy of Bound by Flames here


shifter-matesShifter Mates

by Jennifer Ashley

A sexy Shifters Unbound Anthology, including the novellas Lone Wolf and Feral Heat

Together in one volume for the first time, two sexy paranormal tales of untamed passion, uncontrollable attraction, and unquenchable desire…

In Lone Wolf, Ellison Rowe is a wolf Shifter and a self-proclaimed cowboy, but he’s still searching for someone to ease his loneliness. Maria is a human taking refuge among the Shifters, trying to move on from her haunted past. When Ellison and Maria team up, the more…

Grab a copy of Shifter Mates here


the-unleashingThe Unleashing

by Shelly Laurenston

Kera Watson never expected to face death behind a Los Angeles coffee shop. Not after surviving two tours lugging an M16 around the Middle East. If it wasn’t for her hot Viking customer showing up too late to help, nobody would even see her die.

In uncountable years of service to the Allfather Odin, Ludvig “Vig” Rundstrom has never seen anyone kick ass with quite as much style as Kera. He knows one way to save her life–but she might not like it. Signing up with the Crows will get Kera a more…

Grab a copy of The Unleashing here


a-good-rake-is-hard-to-findA Good Rake Is Hard to Find

by Manda Collins

A DANGEROUS GAME

Heartbroken by the loss of her brother, Miss Leonora Craven vows to uncover the truth about his “accident,” which seems to have been anything but. Jonathan Craven was involved with the Lords of Anarchy, a notorious driving club, and Leonora can’t help but suspect foul play. But the only way she can infiltrate their reckless inner circle is to enlist the help of Jonny’s closest ally, Lord Frederick Lisle. If only he didn’t also happen to be the man who broke Leonora’s heart…

AN UNDENIABLE DESIRE

Frederick isn’t surprised to find more…

Grab a copy of A Good Rake Is Hard to Find here


Click here to check out more ABS-olutely great romance!

Caroline Baum wins the 2015 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship

Booktopia’s Editorial Director Caroline Baum has just been announced as the winner of the 2015 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship at the Adelaide Writers Festival tonight, the announcement followed the Hazel Rowley Memorial Lecture, given by David Marr.

Caro“Caroline Baum’s proposed biography of Lucie Dreyfus is ambitious in scope, international in reach and blazingly original,” said Janine Burke, one of the judges of the Fellowship. “This is an untold tale. And what a tale!”

Baum will use the $10,000 Fellowship to write a biography of Lucie Dreyfus (1870-1945).

Lucie Dreyfus was married to Alfred Drefyus, the French artillery officer who was at the centre of one of the most divisive political scandals of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

In Baum’s words, her project “seeks to restore Lucie Dreyfus to her rightful place in history”. As part of her research, Baum will translate into English the letters between Lucie and Alfred when he was imprisoned on Devil’s Island. These letters, written in French, have not previously been translated. Baum’s biography will focus on aspects of anti-semitism as well as Lucie Dreyfus’s experiences as a Jewish woman living in occupied Paris during the Second World War.

Now in its fourth year, the Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship was established to encourage Australian authors to attain a high standard of biography writing and to commemorate the life, ideas and writing of Hazel Rowley. Having published four major books, Rowley established herself as one of the world’s leading literary biographers before dying suddenly in 2011.

Last year’s winner of the Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship was Maxine Beneba Clarke for The Hate Race, her forthcoming memoir about growing up black in white, middle-class Australia. Stephany Steggall was the 2013 winner for her biography of Thomas Keneally and the inaugural 2012 winner was Mary Hoban for her biography of Julia Sorell.

230914carolinebaumbuzzheader616+x123Check out Caroline’s Books of the Month in The Booktopia Buzz

Stephen King Publishes New Short Story For The New Yorker

As further evidence of Stephen King of being not just one of the world’s greatest storytellers but also one of the hardest working, the acclaimed author has just published a new short story for The New Yorker.

Here’s the first part, click the link below to read it in it’s entirety…

150309_r26192-880A Death

by Stephen King

Jim Trusdale had a shack on the west side of his father’s gone-to-seed ranch, and that was where he was when Sheriff Barclay and half a dozen deputized townsmen found him, sitting in the one chair by the cold stove, wearing a dirty barn coat and reading an old issue of the Black Hills Pioneer by lantern light.

Looking at it, anyway.

Sheriff Barclay stood in the doorway, almost filling it up. He was holding his own lantern. “Come out of there, Jim, and do it with your hands up. I ain’t drawn my pistol and don’t want to.”

Trusdale came out. He still had the newspaper in one of his raised hands. He stood there looking at the sheriff with his flat gray eyes. The sheriff looked back. So did the others, four on horseback and two on the seat of an old buckboard with “Hines Mortuary” printed on the side in faded yellow letters.

“I notice you ain’t asked why we’re here,” Sheriff Barclay said.

“Why are you here, Sheriff?”

“Where is your hat, Jim?”

Trusdale put the hand not holding the newspaper to his head as if to feel for his hat, which was a brown plainsman and not there.

“In your place, is it?” the sheriff asked. A cold breeze kicked up, blowing the horses’ manes and flattening the grass in a wave that ran south.

“No,” Trusdale said. “I don’t believe it is.”

“Then where?”

“I might have lost it.”

“You need to get in the back of the wagon,” the sheriff said.

“I don’t want to ride in no funeral hack,” Trusdale said. “That’s bad luck.”

“You got bad luck all over,” one of the men said. “You’re painted in it. Get in.”

Trusdale went to the back of the buckboard and climbed up. The breeze kicked again, harder, and he turned up the collar of his barn coat.

The two men on the seat of the buckboard got down and stood either side of it. One drew his gun; the other did not. Trusdale knew their faces but not their names. They were town men. The sheriff and the other four went into his shack. One of them was Hines, the undertaker. They were in there for some time. They even opened the stove and dug through the ashes. At last they came out…

Read the complete short story, A Death by Stephen King, here

Divergent author Veronica Roth to pen new series

veronica-roth-478771Just when you thought Veronica Roth fans couldn’t get more excited with the release of the film adaptation of Insurgent, the second novel of the bestselling Divergent trilogy, around the corner, an announcement from the author has given them even more reason to celebrate.

Roth has inked a deal for a new two book series, the first of which is due to arrive in 2017.

According to HarperCollins, the saga will feature ‘a boy who forms an unlikely alliance with an enemy, helping each other attain what they most desire. For one, redemption, and the other, revenge.’

The series is being billed as ‘in the vein of Star Wars‘.

Incredibly, Roth was still a college student when the Divergent series was released. Now 26 years old, we can’t wait to see what she was in store for us!

divergent-series-box-set-books-1-4-plus-world-of-divergent-Divergent Series Box Set

by Veronica Roth

Divergent: Sixteen-year-old Tris has been forced to make a terrible choice. In a divided society where everyone must conform, Tris does not fit. So she ventures out, alone, determined to find out where she truly belongs. Tris can trust no one in this brutal new world, but she is drawn to a boy who seems to both threaten and protect her.

Insurgent: Tris has survived a brutal attack on her home, but she has paid a terrible price. Wracked by grief and guilt, she becomes reckless as she struggles to accept her new future. If Tris wants to uncover the truth, she must be stronger than ever as more shocking choices and sacrifices lie ahead.

Allegiant: The faction-based society that Tris once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she will find a simple new life, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties and painful memories. But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.

Four – A Divergent Collection: Readers first encountered Tobias Eaton as “Four” in Divergent. His voice is an integral part of Allegiant. Readers will find more of this charismatic character’s backstory told from his own perspective in Four: A Divergent Collection. When read together, these long narrative pieces illuminate the defining moments in Tobias Eaton’s life.

Grab a copy of the Divergent Series Box Set here

Grab a copy of the Divergent Series Box Set here

2014 Aurealis Awards Shortlists announced!

AA-logoSome familiar names were joined by some exciting new talents in the announcement of the shortlists for the 2014 Aurealis Awards, recognising the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers.

Winners of the 2014 Aurealis Awards and the Convenors’ Award for Excellence will be announced at the Aurealis Awards ceremony, on Saturday 11 April at the University House, Canberra.

How many have you read?


BEST FANTASY NOVELfireborn

Fireborn by Keri Arthur

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

The Lascar’s Dagger by Glenda Larke

Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfelds

Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins


BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVELthis-shattered-world

Aurora: Meridian by Amanda Bridgeman

Nil by Mouth by LynC

The White List by Nina D’Aleo

Peacemaker by Marianne de Pierres

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Foresight by Graham Storrs


BEST HORROR NOVELrazorhurst

Book of the Dead by Greig Beck

Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier

Obsidian by Alan Baxter


BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVELafterworld

The Astrologer’s Daughter by Rebecca Lim

Afterworld by Lynnette Lounsbury

The Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty

Clariel by Garth Nix

The Haunting of Lily Frost by Nova Weetman

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfelds


BEST CHILDREN’S FICTIONslaves-of-socorro

Slaves of Socorro: Brotherband #4 by John Flanagan

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy by Karen Foxlee

The Last Viking Returns by Norman Jorgensen and James Foley

Withering-by-Sea by Judith Rossell

Sunker’s Deep: The Hidden #2 by Lian Tanner

Shadow Sister: Dragon Keeper #5 by Carole Wilkinson


BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL/ILLUSTRATED WORKawkwood

Left Hand Path #1 by Jason Franks & Paul Abstruse

Awkwood by Jase Harper

“A Small Wild Magic” by Kathleen Jennings

Mr Unpronounceable and the Sect of the Bleeding Eye by Tim Molloy

The Game by Shane W Smith

Kidnapping Mr Heineken – The Exhilarating Story of Ransom Gone Wrong

In 1983 Freddy Heineken, CEO of the brewing company Heineken International and one of the richest people in the Netherlands, was kidnapped by a ragtag group of friends, demanding 16 million Euros for his release. The rest is history.

In 1987, journalist Peter R. de Vries release the acclaimed book De ontvoering van Alfred Heineken which was an instant bestseller.

The book was never translated into English until now, to tie-in with the release of the film adaptation starring Anthony Hopkins and Sam Worthington.

With unique access to the kidnappers, Peter R De Vries’ story is not to be missed.


kidnapping-mr-heinekenKidnapping Mr Heineken

by Peter R. de Vries

It was the perfect crime…until they got away with it. Now available for the first time in English, the prize-winning bestseller that inspired the film starring Anthony Hopkins and Sam Worthington.

The year was 1983. While Reagan is President, Michael Jackson is doing The Moon Walk and The Police’s Every Breath You Take is topping the charts a group of childhood friends decide they want money. Real money. The best way to do it is simple, they agree, all they have to do is commit the perfect crime. So they draw up a list. So begins an astonishing story of an audacious kidnapping carried out in broad daylight by a group of twentysomething lads with no priors…

Told from the compelling perspective of Cor van Hout, the brains behind the crime, Kidnapping Mr Heineken reconstructs the meticulous planning behind the kidnap, the delivery of the ransom – and reveals what finally led everything to unravel…

Order a copy of Kidnapping Mr Heineken here

Order a copy of Kidnapping Mr Heineken here

Michael Pye, author of The Edge of the World, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Michael Pye

author of The Edge of the World

Ten Terrifying Questions
____________

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

Born Manchester in England which my parents always said was an oversight, but they never explained if they meant the place or the birth. Grew up on the edge of the North Sea – in Essex in Eastern England – along those shingle beaches and salt marshes, always wondering what lay beyond and what kind of history the sea could have. After that, got myself to Italy to study and then to Oxford so I could learn how to find and write the history …

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

Always wanted to write, but for a while that meant journalism and not much more. Started a tiny local paper when I was twelve, but it didn’t sell in more than two houses (mine, and my co-editor’s parents. We took the price in butterscotch.) At eighteen wanted to get out and get away like anyone of eighteen. At thirty, I’d been very lucky – worked on the Sunday Times in London when it was a great paper in its prime, had a TV show in Scotland – but I felt somehow bored. I wanted to shake things up. Whether disappearing to the Caribbean was such a brilliant idea, I don’t know; it’s not so much fun in a tax haven if you don’t have an income…

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

Author: Michael Pye

I could be stupidly arrogant, idiotically sure about things, and I didn’t know enough and I hadn’t done enough for that faith to be justified for a moment. Actually, at times, I was a prig. I think I’ve got a bit better. Living in a small Portuguese village, as we do now, teaches you enormous respect for the people you didn’t want to notice at eighteen.

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

I guess I’d choose circumstances more than events – the way the family spread out over the globe so the letters and the Christmas cards were all clues to the big world out there and how it connects.

It was the world my father always wanted to know, and did for a while – but during the war. My first job on a newspaper, for The Scotsman in Edinburgh and realising quite how close and how different even the various parts of the United Kingdom could be; it seemed natural to be an English Scottish Nationalist because otherwise you risked losing so much. And finding the novels of Marguerite Yourcenar, Madame, who gives history blood and bone and still dignifies it: a past that matters, but still breathes. It made me think about ways to write history that weren’t academic but weren’t trivial, either: ways to persuade people into a subject that might never have crossed their minds.

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?

Books are glorious – when they’re not pointless. You try sustaining an argument about a thousand years of history on a blog, at two hundred words a day. Online newspapers are terrific but not when you want to immerse yourself in a subject; too busy, too many videos and weird ads. It’s really hard to make jokes on TV when you’re scheduled to be serious; you have to keep looking into camera with a straight face.  You have to simplify a subject for radio, or else a show would last a week, but sometimes you really need the detail. Books give you what you need, and more. But books are doors that can open into another world, can give you facts and wit: a bit magic….

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

It started with ignorance. I didn’t know the history of the North Sea, my sea, but I knew about the Mediterranean which was far away. I didn’t know what happened between the fall of the Roman empire and the start of the great empires that crossed oceans in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. So I set out to find out, and I kept being surprised.

All those bloody Icelandic sagas, and there was the start of fashion – thugs on the dockside comparing latest clothes before having a proper blood feud. The league of towns round the Baltic that set itself up as a kind of business community – just like we talk about politics and a business community – and tried to starve a nation. The way women made choices and kept the lives they chose. It’s wonderful moment when a subject becomes three, even four dimensional. I set out to write about the peoples around the North Sea and all their surprising connections – from Viking Dublin to Frisia, from Antwerp to Bergen in Norway – and I found I was writing about the changes that made possible our modern world.

Grab a copy of Michael’s new book The Edge of the World here

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

We stuff history with wars and kings and clashes. We forget the connections, and the energy that comes from connections – friction, sometimes. I’d love people to value the differences round the edges, the history of contacts, people going about the sea to buy and sell and go on pilgrimages because that’s what truly changes the world —  just as much as the history of the flags and armies that tend to separate us.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

Nelson Mandela, for knowing how to change his mind without changing his morals. A movie-maker called Michael Powell for allowing himself to be inspired even when nobody quite understood what he was doing; and then cutting the result into movies everyone wanted to see. And one man from my book – a bad-tempered, rough-edged medieval bishop called Robert Grosseteste (which means big head) who thought for himself and kept thinking until he’d invented a kind of experimental science because he wanted to know how a rainbow has colours. I revere people who manage to be themselves, whatever happens.

9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

The next book: just that. 

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write. It’s a craft you learn by doing. Do it often, do it on blogs, in notebooks, in letters, in newspapers: but do it. And when people say you should write what you know, and you do need to know enough to have your own vision, remember that doesn’t have to be just your own life and times.  You can also open up the world you know by the right kind of research, and then you can write so much more…

Michael, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of The Edge of the World here


The Edge of the World

by Michael Pye

This is a story of saints and spies, of fishermen and pirates, traders and marauders – and of how their wild and daring journeys across the North Sea built the world we know.

When the Roman Empire retreated, northern Europe was a barbarian outpost at the very edge of everything. A thousand years later, it was the heart of global empires and the home of science, art, enlightenment and money. We owe this transformation to the tides and storms of the North Sea.

The water was dangerous, but it was far easier than struggling over land; so it was the sea that brought people together. Boats carried food and raw materials, but also new ideas and information. The seafarers raided, ruined and killed, but they also settled and coupled. With them they brought new tastes and technologies – books, clothes, manners, paintings and machines.

In this dazzling historical adventure, we return to a time that is largely forgotten and watch as the modern world is born. We see the spread of money and how it paved the way for science. We see how plague terrorised even the rich and transformed daily life for the poor. We watch as the climate changed and coastlines shifted, people adapted and towns flourished. We see the arrival of the first politicians, artists, lawyers: citizens.

From Viking raiders to Mongol hordes, Frisian fishermen to Hanseatic hustlers, travelling as far west as America and as far east as Byzantium, we see how the life and traffic of the seas changed everything.

Drawing on an astonishing breadth of learning and packed with human stories and revelations, this is the epic drama of how we came to be who we are.

About the Author

Michael Pye writes for a living — as novelist, journalist, historian and sometimes broadcaster. He is English by birth, but civilized by study in Italy and a newspaper apprenticeship in Scotland. For twenty years he commuted between New York and Europe as a political and cultural columnist for British newspapers. He now lives with his partner John Holm in a tiny village in the forests of rural Portugal.

 Grab a copy of The Edge of the World here

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