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Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category

Title: Kakadu Sunset

Author: Annie Seaton

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Opens:

The three over-sized trucks in front of Ellie Porter’s small red sedan were loaded with pipes and earthmoving equipment, and they’d slowed her trip home along the Arnhem Highway from Darwin Airport.

Blurb:

Helicopter pilot Ellie Porter loves her job. Soaring above the glorious Kakadu National Park, she feels free from all her family problems. But when returning from a search-and-rescue mission she spots some unusual excavation works hidden at the back of her old family property. She is immediately very concerned because Kakadu being a National Park mining is not allowed. She decides to ask a few questions about the earthworks which immediately bring her into the radar of people who will stop at nothing to get their own way.

My Thoughts: Being a Darwin girl of some 40 years – and knowing the Kakadu Park area very well, I have to say I approached the setting very critically. I need not have worried – Aussie author Annie Seaton nailed it!!! Other than one little quibble about the location of her MacDonald’s in Darwin City and Darwin’s Mitchell Street being called Mitchell Avenue everything else accurate – as is the magnificent scenery and the ever present danger of Crocodiles – don’t go swimming in the rivers here!!! But every beauty spot has its snake; and KAKADU SUNSET’s snake is human with ruthless henchmen, political corruption and the very topical subject of mining and fracking. Love, bribery, kidnapping, physical maiming and murder are all set in the background of this beautiful wilderness. But it is not all doom and gloom because enter stage left our handsome hero – Kane, former military helicopter pilot suffering PTSD. He’s drop dead gorgeous but suffers from vivid flashbacks and a deep fear of flying.

The pace moves quickly with the tension steadily building as the reader gets to know what’s going on and where the danger is coming from before Ellie and Kane. That doesn’t mean to say there aren’t a few twists and turns just to prove that maybe you didn’t know it all. Each of the characters are realistic – including the support cast – you can feel the worry, the fear, the sickness and the anger. The building up of the romance between Kane and Ellie is not the main focus, it is part and parcel with the suspense – one doesn’t overpower the other. Another of the layers to the story is the fact that Annie feels passionate about conservation and the environment. It comes through the story strongly – but she doesn’t pick you up and shake you about it. Indigenous land rights also add to the tapestry of the story.

KAKADU SUNSET is the first in a trilogy based on the three Porter sisters – and I have the next one – DAINTREE – in my hot little hand. In all honesty, if you like romantic suspense that grips you and won’t let you go, then do yourself a favour and get yourself a copy of this book.

For more about the author – Click Here

B – Great – I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.

 

I have also posted this review over on Book Charmers

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Title: April’s Glow

Author: Juliet Madison

Genre: Romance

Opens: If there was anything worse for April Vedora than being stood up, it was being stood up on April Fools’ Day

Blurb: Distracting herself from a string of bad luck and a disastrous love life, bubbly April Vedora throws herself into her new business – April’s Glow, a candle store in seaside Tarrin’s Bay. The enchanting scents and colourful atmosphere provide a safe haven, but outside business hours she’s clueless about her personal life.

When a mysterious loner moves in next door, she can’t help but become intrigued, and ex-soldier Zac Masterson is equally fascinated by April. But both have sworn off relationships, and while April avoids her emotions by keeping busy and sociable, Zac hides away from the world – and his past.

My Thoughts: APRIL’S GLOW is the 4th book in the Tarrin’s Bay series and as you would expect for a book set in April – Anzac day and a returned service man are woven into the story.

Both April and Zac are wounded spiritually – they need time to heal their hurts, but they also need to learn that they can move on with their lives – that it is alright to move on. When Zac moved next door, they both started to bounce off each other as they each recognised hurt in the other. The story is told from both perspectives – so the reader learns what issues each of the two neighbours are struggling with before they do. They firstly connect by talking – at all hours of the day and night:

You’re up, I’m up. Might as well talk.

April wrote: Why not just talk over the fence?

Zac replied: Because I’m naked."

Gradually, even though their initial impressions of each other are less than favourable, comes the realisation that maybe they do have things in common after all, followed by attraction so strong that the two of them are both terrified of allowing themselves to become vulnerable. Can a candle maker and an ex-service man make it as a couple? What do they need to do to make it happen?

I loved April, in one sense she is very like me in that she sometimes says what’s on her mind not realising she’s said it aloud. Her relationships with her parents, however, are not like mine – especially the one with her father. Sometimes your personal experience can affect your outlook on life, and her relationship with Zac was certainly influenced by her relationship with her father. I loved how this thread played out, and the message that it gave – was very well done. I couldn’t imagine myself dealing with some of the issues that these two faced – but deal they did – and being a romance the reader knows that (well hopes they know that) a happy ending will eventually arrive. What kept me riveted to the pages was to find out if they would make it, and how on earth they surmounted their challenges to get there.

APRIL’S GLOW is a 5 star read – I loved the story, I loved the characters and I loved the two furry minor characters, Romeo and Juliet :)"

For more about the author – Click Here

A – Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it.

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Title: The Fairy Tale Bride

Author: Scarlet Wilson

Genre: Romance

Opens: Lisa Renee pushed the last dress into place …

My Thoughts: THE FAIRY TALE BRIDE is a novella and the first in the Montana born Bride series of connecting stories by different authors that are set around the upcoming wedding of a local girl turned celebrity.

Being a novella the author Scarlet Wilson doesn’t have a lot of time to expand on the characters and develop a lot of background, But Scarlet managed to deal with the constraints very well. Being set in a small town in Montana where everyone knows everyone else’s business adds to the story because background information is given to the reader by gossiping locals. Lisa Renee owns the Marietta bridal salon. Her aim is to find the perfect dresses and accessories for brides and their attendants. Now a local girl made big in Hollywood is coming home to have her wedding away from the big smoke. With her comes two spoiled petulant Hollywood starlets who have rejected every bridesmaids dress in every store in the big city. Can Lisa Renee find the perfect frocks for these two before she kills them, or the bride does!!!

When she is not making brides happy Lisa Renee is up in the local hospital’s paediatric ward volunteering with the sick children. Her sister Grace died of Leukaemia and she realised the importance of having someone not medical around to read, listen or just hold a hand and care. Lisa Renee is giving back to the hospital what she received. She is reading a fairy story to a child with cancer when Dr Adam Brady first spies her. Adam is new to Marietta, he recently had a huge lottery win but after paying his out his huge education debt and loans he is not rolling in money. That doesn’t stop people from being friends with him just to get their hands on the loot. He hopes no one will recognise him and so learn to like him for who he is rather than what they can get out of him. Lisa has a kind heart despite tragedies in her near past, Adam is devoted to saving lives and helping people despite the money. Of course they’re going to fall in love. Trouble is if they don’t start to confide in each other things could go pear-shaped.

Its very size means that THE FAIRY TALE BRIDE is a fast read – that it is charming and funny with a little bit of drama as well is the icing on the wedding cake.

For more about the author – Click Here

B – Great – I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.

With thanks to Tule Publishing and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

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Title: The Patterson Girls

Author: Rachael Johns

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Opens: ‘Dad.’ The word slipped from Lucinda Mannolini’s lips on a whisper as she emerged from gate 21 at Adelaide Airport and spotted her father…

Blurb: How can four sisters build the futures they so desperately want, when the past is reaching out to claim them? When the Patterson daughters return home to Meadow Brook to be with their father after their mother’s death, they bring with them a world of complication and trouble. The eldest sister, obstetrician Madeleine, would rather be anywhere but her hometown, violinist Abigail has fled from her stellar career, while teacher Lucinda is struggling to have the children she and her husband so desperately want. The black sheep of the family, Charlie, feels her life as a barista and exercise instructor doesn’t measure up to that of her gifted and successful sisters. Dealing with their bereft father who is determined to sell the family motel, their loves old and new and a series of troublesome decisions doesn’t make life any easier, but when they go through their mother’s possessions and uncover the shocking secret of an old family curse, they begin to question everything they thought they knew.

My Thoughts: It is the first Christmas since their mother died so Lucinda, Madeline, Abigail and Charlie all come home from various parts of the world and Australia to support their dad through the season and help out in the family motel at its busiest time. The reader soon learns that although the sisters all keep in touch with each, they have also each kept secrets from their siblings. These secrets are gradually revealed to each other as the story progresses; however the reader is privy to them from the start. I love it when I know a secret and hug it to myself gleefully which added to my enjoyment of the story; if more enjoyment was possible.

One aspect is not revealed to the readers though – the Patterson’s curse. Oh we are told what the curse is but is it real? And if it is, can it be removed? If the curse is real, then it has serious impact on the lives of all four women. As each sister takes it in turn to tell their personal story as well as the story of what is happening back at the family motel they start to look at their lives, their loves, and their struggles and start to question whether their current life, and loves, are what they really want.

The Patterson sisters are real, they just leap out of the pages at you, and each character has her own strengths, weaknesses and quirks. They are a real family unit of siblings, they fight each other, the laugh with each other and they cry together, then they fight some more. I could relate to all of them at one level or another, which really helped draw me into the story. The emotions are described incredibly – the laughter, the joy and even the despair. These sisters are not characters on the pages of a book – they live and breathe. THE PATTERSON GIRLS is one of Rachel John’s best books ever, and I know I keep writing that, but she is just going from strength to strength and always seems to press the right emotional buttons for me. And by emotional I mean yes I laughed, and yes I cried. There are some clever twists and turns, and each sister has a barrier to break down before they can find the happiness that has eluded them. The men in their lives are all very gorgeous as well – as are the support characters, Dad Sal and their crazy Aunt. Every facet of the story is well thought out and connects beautifully, not one unnecessary thread anywhere in the story.

I have been following Rachel Johns on Facebook as she wrote this book so the anticipation has been great – and she managed to feed out little hints of what might be in the book, idea’s and ‘what about this’ scenarios. She also keeps her fans in touch with the creative processes of character building of not just this book but all her current works by posting pictures of yummy men to see if her followers like them. Sometimes asking us all if we like our men with tattoos, with a shirt or without a shirt. Of course we are always willing to help her out with this!

You must read THE PATTERSON GIRLS, and then go and read all her other books.

For more about the author – Click Here

A – Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it.

With thanks to Harlequin MIRA and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

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Curve my Heart by Sarah Gai

Title: Curve my Heart

Author: Sarah Gai

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Opens: My eyes darted open…

Blurb: Skyla has spent the last few years giving a helping hand and meddling in the lives of her two best friends Elise and Bree. But is Skyla ready for her own chance at love? Alex Barnes has been head over heels for the cute curvy since the moment they met. After years of sitting on the side lines, it’s finally time to pursue the woman who drives him crazy. Will Alex get the girl? Or will Skyla run when the fun stops and secrets are revealed?

My Thoughts: CURVE MY HEART is the third and final book in the ‘Curvies’ series. For me it was the best of the three – but all of them I really, really recommend if you’re looking for a light, romantic and entertaining read without being cloyingly fluffy– not one dud in the set!

Bree, Elise and Skyla have been best friends all their lives, they met as each of their mothers were friends and they were all neighbours. None of the girls are stick thin fashion model types either – they are REAL women; women who have curves, very generous curves, and are proud of them. The three women are very, very close – they laugh together, cry together and are not afraid to tell each other exactly what they think – no holding back. Elise and Bree have found the loves of their lives so now it is Skyla’s turn. Well, in actual fact she has already found Alex – and rejected him – it’s complicated.

Complicated because Alex has no idea why she is rejecting him; what the big prom night secret is that turned her away from him and made her believe she wasn’t worth loving. Complicated because they both want each other but neither makes a move to break down the barrier.

Until Vegas when just before a Curvy wedding takes place Skyla and Alex wake up in bed together. No barrier under the sheets; and this is only the first chapter! Still this wouldn’t be a curvy book unless there are hurdles to surmount, secrets to reveal, misunderstandings to occur, a rival to rear his head and good friends to meddle before you dare to hope that there may just possibly be a happy ending for our last Curvy. The romance is totally believable and the sex scenes and lust is very circumspect – no in your face sex scenes with detailed biological descriptions.

The story just flowed and the emotions were real and the plot totally plausible. CURVE MY HEART was a book that I really needed in the frenetic social events surrounding our daughter’s wedding as such was the perfect book for the time and place. The other two books in the series are Curve my Song and Curve my Attitude.

For more about the author – Click Here

A – Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it.

With thanks the author for my copy to read and review.

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Title: Only We Know

Author: Victoria Purman

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Opens: Calla Maloney just wanted it to stop…

My Thoughts: Victoria Purman is one of a handful of authors who is on my ‘must grab every book she writes’ list, and she did not let me down with ONLY WE KNOW.

The story is set on Kangaroo Island which is off the South Australian Coast and a destination that is still on my wish list. There are two ways onto the island – small plane or ferry. ONLY WE KNOW opens on the ferry with Calla Maloney searching frantically for somewhere to hurl!!! Sam Hunter comes to her assistance and directs her outside where she can do so safely. There is instant awareness between the two, but each has come to the island for a purpose rather than a holiday. Sam comes from Kangaroo Island but is now working as a fireman back in Adelaide; his father lives alone on the family sheep farm and is in the early stages of dementia. Sam’s role is to persuade his father to give up the farm and go into care. Calla is an art teacher who has just come out of a heartbreaking relationship and has arrived to find her missing brother who disappeared the day their father was buried two years earlier; she received a tip indicates that he might be living here now.

Once they set foot on dry land they keep bumping into each other and they instantly both feel strongly attracted to each other, even though they both are recovering from disastrous relationships and are not looking for love. Being a love story you know that something has to bring them together so that they focus on each other – and the trigger in this case is a bad vehicle accident where Sam’s training as a fireman has him using the accident as an excuse to sleep over at Calla’s rental to make sure she is ok. Minds out of the gutter people – this scene is innocent. After this event the story takes off and the ‘love skirmish’ begins as they advance and retreat, attract and repel, and leave you on the edge of the seat wondering how on earth they are ever going to get together.

I was swept up into the story almost immediately and really bonded with the chocolate loving, wine appreciative Calla; she’s my type of girl. She has lost all confidence in herself and is running around keeping everyone else happy and not daring to be happy herself. Sam has his own problems, he has rejected the island but now he is seeing everything anew through Calla as she hones in on perspectives that he has never noticed. What was ‘same old same old’ is now new and fresh.

ONLY WE KNOW is about families and relationships, and how both can either break your heart or be the making of you; pull you down or support you. Both Sam and Calla have broken families and been badly hurt in relationships but they come to learn that you can make your own family to replace a broken one and create new, strong relationships to replace soul destroying ones. They just have to let go of the past and grab the future.

Kangaroo Island is a perfect setting for the deep emotions that unfold during the story – the wildness of hurt and the peacefulness of acceptance matches the wildness of the Island and the peacefulness of the scenery. All of the characters in the book come alive on the pages and are totally believable and I came to care for Sam’s dad quite deeply as he reminded me of my dad in so many ways – even the minor ones – the pub conversations are spot on. The descriptions of the scenery are vivid and the emotions just swirl around your own heart as you read. There is a Happy Ending – romances do – that’s why we love them. But it is a bumpy ride to get there – and tears will be shed, well I shed them anyway.

For more about the author – Click Here

A – Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it.

With thanks to Harlequin MIRA Australia and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

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Title: Treasured Secrets

Author: Kendall Talbot

Genre: Adventure

Opens: Moments like these were said to happen in slow motion

Blurb: The last place Rosalina expected the clue to a 700-year-old mystery to lead is back into the arms of Archer, the one man who broke her heart. But neither can solve the puzzle without the other, so together they set off on a new adventure, weaving from Tuscany’s underbelly to Archer’s luxurious yacht in the Greek Islands, trying to ignore the sparks that still fly unhindered between them. Archer desperately wants to salvage the relationship he shattered years before, but fighting for Rosalina’s love soon takes a back seat to fighting for their lives. They aren’t the only one on the trail for the treasure, and their competition isn’t bothered by ethics and morals to achieve their goals. With evil close on their trail, and Archer wrestling with the remnants of a childhood tragedy, Rosalina begins to wonder if perhaps there are some secrets that were never meant to be revealed

My Thoughts: A couple of years ago I read Kendall’s award winning debut novel Lost in Kakadu and really enjoyed it. So I was overjoyed when she contacted me and asked if I would like to read her latest release. TREASURED SECRETS is promoted as romantic suspense, and while it certainly does have romance in it –the focus is on the edge of the seat adventure that drives the story from beginning to end. The story opens with Rosalina and Archer splitting up after a 3 year relationship – night after night Archer suffers from a horrific nightmare about the day his father died, the dream has him screaming and waking Rosalina up. But he won’t tell Rosalina what happened, or even what the dream is about. When she pushes for more information he tells her that they are parting as she deserves a better life without him in it. Archer doesn’t believe he is worthy of love. She returns broken hearted to Italy – he immerses himself in his yacht charter business. Months later when visiting an ancient church with her historian expert friend, Rosalina sees something in a painting that reminds her of something Archer owns – and she is attacked by a monk when she tries to look closer at the painting. She sends a message to Archer telling him what she has seen not expecting any response. Imagine her shock when he turns up on her doorstep in Italy a few days later. It is not long after this that the two of them, and their friends, are plunged into treasure hunt that will eventually lead to a fight for their lives. Secrets are revealed, history is uncovered and friendships – and love – are finally forged.

Both Rosalina and Archer are such real characters and come alive on the pages – totally believable yet by no means perfect. The background takes us from Australia to the Greek islands via Italy and the descriptions of the places they visit left me wanting more. The villain of the piece was a truly horrible, evil, creepy and truly unlikable person.

TREASURED SECRETS has it all – romance, action, adventure, danger and the occasional glass of wine.

For more about the author – Click Here

B – Great – I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.

With thanks to Escape Publishing and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

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