BOOK REVIEW: When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare (Reviewed by Kat Mayo)

‘…he was…an impoverished, unloved orphan with a passion for books. Her every feminine impulse jumped into attention.’

An introvert, Maddie Gracechurch invented a fiancé – conveniently abroad, fighting in the war – to avoid ballrooms and the pressure of having to find a suitable match. But when said fiancé turns up at her doorstep years later, marries her without so much as kiss (okay, one kiss), Maddie knows she’s in Very Big Trouble.

Logan Mackenzie needs a place for his men, coming home from the war. Marriage to Maddie is the quickest and surest way to ensure that they have a home. But as it becomes increasingly clear that there’s more to their marriage than convenience, how can they be sure that what they have is love and not just a way to avoid their deepest fears?

I might be biased because I’m an unashamed Tessa Dare fan girl, but when I learned that Tessa is releasing a Scottish romance (they seem to be making a resurgence!), I knew I had to feature it in the Romance Buzz. Her writing is always rich with nuance. We don’t get many truly introverted heroines in romance, and Maddie is charming and so very worthy of a happy ending!

Grab a copy of When a Scot Ties the Knot here


when-a-scot-ties-the-knotWhen a Scot Ties the Knot

The Castles Ever After Series : Book 3

by Tessa Dare

On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter … and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when more…

About the Author

Tessa Dare is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of more than a dozen historical romances. A librarian by training and a book-lover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a pair of cosmic kitties.

Grab a copy of When a Scot Ties the Knot here

Nine Naughty Questions with… Elizabeth Lowell, author of Perfect Touch

perfect-touchThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Elizabeth Lowell

author of Perfect Touch and many more…

Nine Naughty Questions
______________

1. Headless washboard abs, a torrid embrace, the sprawling homestead, an elegantly dressed décolletage, or the vaguely kinky object against a dark background – what’s your favourite type of romance cover and why?

Depends on what I’m reading. If I’m looking for paranormal romance, a well-built man gets me every time. Sprawling homesteads would tell me “historical, western.” Low necklines usually mean Regency. Kinky…well, there’s a whole universe of possibilities there!

2. What is the secret life of a romance writer? What goes on between you and your keyboard (or quill) behind closed doors?

I’d love to tell you something salacious. I’d be lying. It’s write, write, write.

Author: Elizabeth Lowell

Author: Elizabeth Lowell

3. At the heart of a romantic story is the way in which the main characters reveal their true natures to each other. How much of yourself do you put into your characters, and have their stories been affected by your personal experiences?

It’s impossible to divorce myself completely from my heroine. Or the hero, for that matter. Neither will do something I find revolting. Bad guys, now, that’s different! It’s safe to say I haven’t done nearly all the things I’ve written.

4. I’m interested in how you differentiate between romance fiction, erotica and porn. Are romance readers getting naughtier?

Romance can be sweet or racy. Erotica must be racy to OMG, can people really do/enjoy that? I haven’t read porn, so I can’t comment. Yes, many romance readers today want lots of sex. And many want less sex and more plot. It’s up to the author to write what she herself enjoys and let the book find its natural audience.

perfect-touch5. Please tell us about your latest novel! Did you have a secret alternative title while you were writing it?

No secret titles of the printable kind. When I’m in a slow patch, I tend to call my book all kinds of things. Perfect Touch is about a man and a woman who meet and fall in really inconvenient lust. It’s inconvenient, because they’re wrong for each other and people are trying to kill them.

Grab a copy of Perfect Touch here

6. What’s the most memorable reaction you’ve received after a friend or family member read one of your books?

MORE!

7. Romance writers are sometimes denigrated and asked when they’ll write ‘real’ books – what do you tell the haters?

Romances of all kinds have their roots in myth, not modernism. Romances show readers possibilities and strength, rather than limitations and despair. I write for people who lead demanding lives and want a place of peace and pleasure in their books. I don’t write to teach people about despair; my readers already have a very good idea of what reality is like.

8. Romance readers love discovering new authors. Please tell us about five books you recently read and loved to bits.

I tend to go with authors than with titles. I’ll read anything by Jayne Ann Krentz (aka Jayne Castle, Amanda Quick) Nalini Singh, Jill Shalvis, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and J.D. Robb. You’re not going to get a stinker written by any of these authors! Then there’s always Lora Leigh, Lara Adrian, Kresley Cole… It’d be easier to type up the contents of my Kindle. :)

9. Please tell us your favourite scene from your latest book, and why it’s particularly delicious!

The first time Sara and Jay make love is my favorite. All the little—and big ;)—things they learn about each other, their laughter, their teasing, the discovery of a lover who is truly satisfying. And then the realization that whatever they have can’t last, because they both want such different things from life. At least, they think they do.

Elizabeth, thank you for playing.


Perfect Touchperfect-touch

by Elizabeth Lowell

The New York Times bestselling queen of romantic suspense returns with a heart-racing tale in which a former soldier turned rancher and a beautiful designer race to stop a vicious killer—a battle for survival that threatens to explode in an intense and irresistible passion.

An art dealer and owner of her own design studio, Perfect Touch, Sara Medina travels the world to find the ideal artwork for her clients. Her sophisticated, comfortable life in San Francisco is light years away from the poverty of her family’s dairy farm, and Sara will do whatever it takes to keep her business strong. A dedicated urban career woman focused on her work, she doesn’t have time or energy for a family or distracting romantic entanglements.

Jay Vermillion recently inherited Vermillion Sky, a working ranch near Wyoming’s breathtaking Grand Teton Mountains—and the estates of the rich and more…

Grab a copy of Perfect Touch here

Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar is Caroline Baum’s Book of the Month

salt-creekBooktopia’s Editorial Director, Caroline Baum reviews Lucy Treloar’s Salt Creek which features in The Buzz as Caroline’s Book of the Month.

If, like me, you thought you did not need another story about hardship in colonial Australia, with the TV adaptation of The Secret River fresh in your mind, think again: Lucy Treloar’s intensely dramatic saga of the downfall of a family settled on the edge of the Coorong is a welcome and fresh take on the well-trodden territory of narratives of colonial hardship.

First of all, she captures the little known beauty of that remote watery place perfectly. Her ability to conjure up its landscape, once shared with the local Ngarrindjeri Aborigines, is a reminder that it is a hard place to farm now, just as it was then. Secondly, the story she tells is utterly compelling and almost mythic, such are the powerful forces unleashed on the family of misguided pastor Finch as told by his endlessly forbearing daughter Hester.

When light skinned Aboriginal boy Tull befriends the Finch family, he is welcomed into their home to share their meals and conversations. But while curious about white culture, Tull remains proud of his own. ‘Don’t you have any stories?’ he asks pointedly. (They direct him to the Bible) On another, he remarks that he considers all white people ugly. When the Pastor muddies his tribe’s waterholes, there is consternation. When he chops down a venerable tree, the question of who owns the land is a source of more discord, a rumbling thunder that must eventually break into a storm.

Treloar calibrates these little moments of tension with impeccable judgment, never overplaying them, though she signposts a grim outcome early on, warning the reader to brace themselves for disaster. We navigate the unconventional relationship between the Finches and Tull, balancing trust and mistrust, with mounting apprehension.

The Pastor is not as principled and high minded as he might wish and has no head for business: all his ventures end in debt, with increasingly terrible consequences. When Tull forms a close bond with Hester’s youngest sister Addie, Hester refuses to see what is under her nose. As the family fractures, torn apart by the pastor’s blind unbending values and his hypocrisy, Hester tries to hold everything together.

She is a fascinating creation: full of contradictions, overwhelmed by an eldest daughter’s sense of duty following her mother’s early death while longing to be free and independent. Seemingly uninterested in personal attachment, she fights her own nature and impulses when drawn to a visiting artist explorer. Their moment of romantic intimacy on a shell beach is again understated and restrained, sensual but unsentimental.

The novel builds to a climax that avoids melodrama, but is charged with high emotion and tension to the very last chapter.

Grab a copy of Salt Creek here
__________________

Caroline Baum has worked as founding editor of Good Reading magazine, features editor for Vogue, presenter of ABC TV’s popular bookshow, Between the Lines, and Foxtel’s Talking Books, and as an executive producer with ABC Radio National. She is currently Booktopia’s Editorial Director. For more reviews by Caroline – click here.


Salt Creek

by Lucy Treloar

Some things collapse slow, and cannot always be rebuilt, and even if a thing can be remade it will never be as it was.

Salt Creek, 1855, lies at the far reaches of the remote, beautiful and inhospitable coastal region, the Coorong, in the new province of South Australia. The area, just opened to graziers willing to chance their luck, becomes home to Stanton Finch and his large family, including fifteen-year-old Hester Finch.

Once wealth political activists, the Finch family has fallen on hard times. Cut adrift from the polite society they were raised to be part of, Hester and her siblings make more…

About the Author

Lucy Treloar was born in Malaysia and educated in Melbourne, England and Sweden. A graduate of the University of Melbourne and RMIT, Lucy is a writer and editor and has plied her trades both in Australia and in Cambodia, where she lived for a number of years. She has an abiding love for Southeast Asia, a region she retains links with through her editing work, which focuses on English language translations of a diverse range of material including folk tales and modern narrative forms.

Lucy is the 2014 Regional Winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. In 2012 she won the Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award for her first novel, The Things We Tell Ourselves, and went on to be awarded a Varuna Publisher Fellowship for the same work in 2013. In 2011 Lucy was the recipient of a mentorship through the Australian Society of Authors as well as an Asialink Writer’s Residency to Cambodia.

Her short fiction has appeared in Sleepers, Overland, Seizure, and Best Australian Stories 2013.

Grab a copy of Salt Creek here

Lucy Treloar, author of Salt Creek, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

salt-creekThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Lucy Treloar

author of Salt Creek

Ten Terrifying Questions
____________

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

I was born in Malaysia, where my family lived for several years. My schooling was in Melbourne, England and Sweden, and I went to Melbourne University (Fine Arts) and RMIT (Prof Writing and Editing).

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

I realize now that I always wanted to be a writer (I can still recite a horrible poem in rhyming couplets that I wrote at seven or so, which I’ll spare you) but it took me years to find that out. In any job I held I always gravitated towards writing. I love words. How can you not?

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

At eighteen, I believed without even knowing it that the world would continue in much the same way as it always had, with a few technological developments. Life has become more precarious andLucy Treloar the world’s fragility better understood in the intervening years. I’m more fearful, I think, partly because I worry about the future for my children.

4.  What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc. – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

The hardest question. Only three? The Emigrants – a gripping historical series by a Swedish writer, Vilhelm Moberg, the first really adult books I read; Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse (the first time I saw that books could be about ideas, not only character and plot) and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (I felt as if I’d become a different person after I read it). These books were so much part of my growing up (read between the ages of 11 and 17) and my thinking that I can’t separate them from me. They and the universes of human existence that they contained were like explosions in my life. I longed to be able to do that.

5.    Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

I’m just not very good at other things. I would love to be an artist, but all I can do is appreciate art longingly, enviously from a distance.

6.    Please tell us about your latest novel

salt-creekSalt Creek is the story of Hester Finch, an educated, highly intelligent fifteen-year-old of the 1850s whose family moves from early Adelaide to a remote and spectacular part of South Australia where over several years her father tries (and fails) to improve the family’s fortunes, destroying the indigenous culture as he does it. It’s about love in its many forms, power, and civilization and its failings.

Grab your copy of Salt Creek here

7.    What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

For people to care and wonder about the world and the people of Salt Creek, even the ones who behaved badly.

8.    Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

It’s very hard for me to go past Marilynne Robinson. The scope of her fiction is apparently small, yet the range of human emotion and experience that she is able to explore, and the generosity of her understanding, is vast. Cormac McCarthy (especially his Border Trilogy and Blood Meridian) is another writer I read and reread. Herman Melville’s Moby Dick is extraordinary. Among writers of historical fiction, Hilary Mantel, Kate Grenville and Geraldine Brooks are the benchmarks for me.

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

All I really want is an excuse to keep writing, for my skills to develop, and to continue to be published. That feels wildly ambitious to me.

10.    What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Getting negative feedback goes with the territory of being a writer. But don’t let that feedback stop you; don’t let anyone else decide for you that you’re not a writer. Let that be your decision. The other piece of advice is from Marilynne Robinson: ‘Forget definition, forget assumption, watch’.

Lucy, thank you for playing.

Our Pamper Hamper now has an owner!

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Killing Monica is the awesome new book from Candace Bushnell, author of Sex and the City, and we thought there was no way better to celebrate its release than to offer fans of her work the chance to win a Pamper Hamper. This indulgent package contains new Lovisa-Sunglasses, David Jones-Lindt Chocolate, a Myer-Daisy Chain Robe, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, a Dermalogica Face Maskn, a Pantene Hair Masque and a Myer-Mecca Makeup $100 Gift Card! If we could, we would give everyone a well deserved pamper hamper but unfortunately, only one Booktopian can be a winner.

…and the winner is:

C.Earl, Mudjimba, QLD

isbn9781408703175Killing Monica

by Candace Bushnell

In Killing Monica Bushnell spoofs and skewers her way through pop culture, celebrity worship, fame and even the meaning of life itself, when a famous writer must resort to faking her own death in order to get her life back from her most infamous creation – Monica. With her trademark humour and style, Killing Monica is Bushnell’s sharpest, funniest book to date.

Grab a copy of Killing Monica here


Congratulations to the winner!
Missed out on the prize? Hey, turn that frown upside up, we’ve got so much more up for grabs, not to mention limited editions, signed copies and 2 for 1 offers!

Head to our Promotions and Competitions page!

promotions

Order Madame Bovary and receive a double pass to see it at the movies!

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In celebration of the release of Madame Bovary, described by Empire as “a beautiful adaptation of Gustave Flaubert’s novel” and as “measured and absorbing” by Variety,  we’re giving you a free double pass to see the film when you order a copy of the book.

Synopsis: Adapted from Flaubert’s classic novel, Madame Bovary tells the tragic story of Emma, a young beauty who impulsively marries a small-town doctor to leave her father’s pig farm behind. But after being introduced to the glamorous world of high society, she soon becomes bored with her stodgy mate and seeks excitement and status outside the bonds of marriage. This sumptuous period drama features a superb cast including Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland), Paul Giamatti (Sideways) and Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower). Flaubert’s classic novel comes to life.

Order Madame Bovary and receive a free double pass to see this breathtaking film on the big screen.


madame-bovary-buy-and-receive-a-free-double-pass-Madame Bovary

by Gustave Flaubert

Emma Bovary is beautiful and bored, trapped in her marriage to a mediocre doctor and stifled by the banality of provincial life. An ardent reader of sentimental novels, she longs for passion and seeks escape in fantasies of high romance, in voracious spending and, eventually, in adultery. But even her affairs bring her disappointment and the consequences are devastating. Flaubert’s erotically charged novel caused a moral outcry on its publication in 1857.

Grab a copy of Madame Bovary here


About the Author

Gustave Flaubert was born in Rouen in 1821, the son of a prominent physician. A solitary child, he was attracted to literature at an early age, and after his recovery from a nervous breakdown suffered while a law student, he turned his total energies to writing. Aside from journeys to the Near East, Greece, Italy, and North Africa, and a stormy liaison with the poetess Louise Colet, his life was dedicated to more…

Major Prize Announcements!

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Critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling memoir Wild by Cheryl Strayed had such a significant literary impact that it made its way onto the big screen. Jean-Marc Vallée, famous for Dallas Buyers Club, directed the movie starring Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern, who both went on to be nominated for an Academy Award. To promote the release of this powerfully moving film on DVD we gave 20 Booktopian’s the chance to win a copy. All you had to do to enter was order the film tie-in edition by June 30th.

…and the winners are:

K.Rankin, Seville, VIC,  B.O’Leary, Lake Illawarra, NSW, M.Edgar, Wollongong, NSW, B.Boehner, Marsden Park, NSW, L.Furney, Coniston, NSW, Z.Morrell, Petersham, NSW, E.Lockwood, Sellicks Beach, SA, J.Deane, Asquith, NSW, S.Kania, Newtown, VIC, T.Cemo,    Thornlands, QLD, C.Zhang, Melbourne, VIC, J.Dizdarevic, Ascot Vale, VIC, S.Laird, Tenambit, NSW
R.Torrisi, Stanthorpe, QLDU, D. Bates, Cordeaux Heights, NSW, K.Flanagan, Blackmans Bay, TAS, C.Okeefe, Corio, VIC, J.Craghill, Craigieburn, VIC, L.Guan, Sydney, NSW, R.Snape, Bunbury, WA

wildWild

A Journey from Lost to Found

by Cheryl Strayed

At twenty-six, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s rapid death from cancer, her family disbanded and her marriage crumbled. With nothing to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to walk eleven-hundred miles of the west coast of America – from the Mojave Desert, through California and Oregon, and into Washington state – and to do it alone. She had no experience of long-distance hiking and the journey was nothing more than a line on a map. But it held a promise – a promise of piecing together a life that lay in ruins at her feet.

Grab a copy of Wild here


Peppa_Pig_Competition_Promo_Large

Peppa-Pig-Prize-Pack-15052015

Because our little pink piggy friend is still number 1# rated kids show on ABC 2 I-View we thought we might give fans out there the chance to win a pack dedicated to the awesome Pig herself. All you had to do to enter was order any title from our Penguin Peppa Pig series by June 30th.

…and the winner is:

J.Annetts, Wahroonga, NSW

Check out the entire Penguin Peppa Pig series here


9781460750568_Paper_Towns_Large_Promo_Banner_17062015

After the runaway success of the film adaptation of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars another of his novels, Paper Towns, is about the hit the big screen. To celebrate this, we gave 2 Booktopian’s the chance to attend the Australian Premiere! All you had to do to enter was order our Paper Towns: Film Tie-in Edition by June 28th.

Are you feeling lucky, punk? Drumroll please…

I.Abbott, Woodford, NSW
M.Abrahams, Oakville, NSW

paper-towns-order-now-for-your-chance-to-win-Paper Towns

Film Tie-in Edition

John Green

The stunning film tie-in edition of Paper Towns, from the award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars.

Quentin Jacobsen – Q to his friends – is eighteen and has always loved the edgy Margo Roth Spiegelman. As children, they’d discovered a dead body together. Now at high school, Q’s nerdy while Margo is uber-cool. One night, Q is basking in the predictable boringness of his life when Margo, dressed as a ninja, persuades him to partake in several hours of mayhem. then she vanishes.

While her family more…


Congratulations to the winners!
Missed out on the prize? Hey, turn that frown upside up, we’ve got so much more up for grabs, not to mention limited editions, signed copies and 2 for 1 offers!

Head to our Promotions and Competitions page!

promotions

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