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Release day: Wish List

26 May 2016

Today is the official release of Wish List by Belinda Williams (City Love, book 4) (ebook, Momentum Books). Here’s the blurb:

Wish ListCould the wrong man on paper be the perfect man in real life?

Cate Harmon likes lists. While this may serve her well as a financial planner, her girlfriends think that creating a checklist for her ideal man is going a step too far. But she has one, and she’s sticking to it.

Cate has always dreamed of starting a family and settling down and yet she’s the only one of her close knit friendship group still unattached. But that doesn’t mean she’s going to lower her standards.

Enter Dave, a reformed bad boy with gorgeous hair and eyes the wrong color. Dave doesn’t tick any of the boxes on Cate’s list. It’s unthinkable that she would develop feelings for him, and yet … Cate finds herself being drawn to Dave in a way she’s never felt before.

Will Cate confront the reasons behind her list? Or will she risk losing a man who could be better than any list she could ever dream up?

This romance where opposites attract is perfect for fans of Rachel Gibson, Susan Mallery, Victoria Dahl and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

Belinda dropped by today to tell us a little about this book:

Wish List is the fourth and final book in my contemporary romance City Love series, which can be read as standalones or as a series. Cate’s the most romantic of the four friends and it seemed appropriate to save her story until last. Will she be able to put aside her romantic, pre-conceived notions about finding the perfect man and let the practical, man of few words Dave in? Cate’s happily ever after is a humorous and emotional ride!

You can find out more about this book at Belinda’s website or buy it from Momentum.

Feature book: Escaping Mr Right

25 May 2016

Escaping Mr RightEscaping Mr Right by Avril Tremayne

Chloe Masters is a serious journalist. Chloe’s sense of being has developed from her younger years. So she tries to be perfect. Perfect hair. Perfect clothing. The perfect boyfriend. She has been dating Marcus, captain of the local rugby league team, for just over a year. She has become concerned about how the relationship appears to have become somewhat sexless. Marcus will kiss her on the forehead, and she senses that he avoids situations where they will spend the night together. Then there is Nick. She has a hate relationship with Nick. She hates how he always seem to be where she is. She hates that he tries to get her alone. She hates that he is with other women. She hates that she is able to easily taunt him about it.

Nick Savage is a footballer. His biggest regret in life is that he didn’t get to Chloe before Marcus. Nick tries to hide his real feelings, but he is also affected by his upbringing. Nick kisses Chloe and it throws her into a spin and she tells Marcus. Nick is overjoyed when he discovers Chloe and Marcus have split. He then tries to keep Chloe in his sphere and manipulates the situation so that she spends a week with him doing some charity work.

I have very mixed feelings about this book. I really liked that the characters, in their relationships, were above board. I don’t like cheating couples, even if it is just a kiss. I liked that there was some work done in a developing country. However, I had to keep remembering that the characters were in their mid-twenties. I wanted to shake them. It did become evident there was a mismatch between their professional ability and standing and the maturity level of the hero and heroine.

There were constant misunderstandings between the pair even over minor things. Chloe is very controlled, but her mood really swings from one point to another. As an example, Chloe and Nick decide to keep their liaison a secret but Chloe turns up in a very sexy outfit to lure him away from another woman in the group, and gets upset when he doesn’t pay her attention. Nick finds the ground keeps shifting beneath him with her swings in thinking. Nick’s impatience keeps the ground shifting under Chloe and the pair seem to constantly think that the relationship is over.

Reviewed by Heather

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Feature book: Dirty

25 May 2016

DirtyDirty by Kylie Scott

This is the first book in Kylie’s new spin-off Dive Bar series, featuring Vaughn. To be honest I don’t remember Vaughn very well from the Stage Dive series—I have a vague recollection of him being part of the supporting band that split up; and he was really nice to one of the heroines and maybe had a bit of a thing for her. That’s all I remember. The Vaughn I met in this book is unforgettable. He is laidback and sweet and sexy all at once. I had no trouble at all imagining his lazy smile when Lydia amused him.

The story opens on Lydia’s wedding day. It is going badly—really, really badly. So badly that Lydia finds herself scaling the back fence and breaking into neighbour Vaughn’s house to hide. After a memorable first meeting Lydia and Vaughn end up sharing the house while she works out what she wants to do with her life. (It turns out that mostly what she wants to do is Vaughn.) Lydia has to decide whether to stay in the small town where everyone knows about her humiliation, or move on and start anew. The best option seems obvious until she meets the owners and staff at Dive Bar and starts to form friendships with them.

Vaughn is also at a crossroads. He is only back in his hometown temporarily to sell his childhood home so that he can get his music career back on track. Anything that he and Lydia have going on will have to be temporary. When the chance of a lifetime comes along, is there really any question that he will seize the opportunity and head back to LA?

With Kylie Scott’s trademark humour and snarky dialogue, this book was an absolute delight. The chemistry between this couple is sizzling, but there were also some very sweet and heart-warming moments. There were also a lot of intriguing characters in this book, and some back stories that are going to be very interesting. I’m very much looking forward to re-reading Dirty when the second book comes out, and then finding our more about the Dive Bar characters.

Reviewed by Debbie

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Release day: Lucy and the Lieutenant

24 May 2016

Today is the official release of Lucy and the Lieutenant by Helen Lacey (The Cedar River Cowboys) (paperback and ebook, Harlequin). Here’s the blurb:

Lucy and the LieutenantThe virgin and the veteran

Dr. Lucy Monero feels like the oldest virgin on the planet. Still crushing on her longtime neighbor, she’s waited a lifetime for her first…and last. The man she’ll marry. And now he’s back—the star of her fantasies, ex-cowboy-turned-army-vet Brant Parker. The physician in her recognizes a wounded soul, but the woman in her burns for his touch. Lucy’s head is filled with visions of white lace and white picket fences.

The last thing Brant needs is the walking, talking temptation that is Lucy. He may be out of his army fatigues but he still carries his demons. He’s a loner, not the marrying kind that the hometown sweetheart deserves. So why can’t he stop wanting her?

Helen dropped by today to tell us a little about this book:

Welcome back to Cedar River and the second book in my new series for Harlequin Special Edition, Lucy and The Lieutenant. Lucy and Brant certainly took the long way around to finding one another, but their happy-ever-after was a joy to write. I do hope you enjoy their journey and would love for you to visit again soon for the next book in The Cedar River Cowboys—who are riding into town with romance on their minds!

You can find out more about this book at Helen’s website or buy it from Amazon.

Weekly poll: 23 May 2016

23 May 2016

We did guilt last week, so this week we are covering sin…

Guest blogger: Shirleen Davies

22 May 2016

Shirleen DaviesGhost towns and boom towns of the American West

Risk and reward, boom or bust: essential to our concept of the Western frontier. The possibilities were endless, but the risks were great and the rewards never guaranteed. For families like the MacLarens (from my newest series MacLarens of Boundary Mountain), settling in a boomtown like Conviction was the ultimate payoff for an arduous, risky journey. Of course, our hero Colin MacLaren wants more out of life than to live in a nice, stable, thriving town, but more on him later…

Boomtowns sprung up across the United States during the rapid growth of the 19th century. Adventurous travellers and those seeking a better life were drawn to a bourgeoning town for opportunity. Their presence helped the economy grow, more people were drawn to the town, and the growth cycle continued.

Gold rush fever was responsible for many 19th century boomtowns, some of which remain stable economies to this day. Even Denver, Colorado and San Francisco were once new, exciting western boomtowns. Conviction, the setting for the MacLarens of Boundary Mountain series, was inspired by two real towns first settled in the 1850s. Together they formed a bustling metropolis with a strong economy.

Marysville and neighbouring Yuba City, both in northern California on the Feather River, owe their early development to the promise of gold. Marysville became one of the largest cities in California within a decade of being incorporated in 1851. Its location was prime for a commercial center to serve thousands of gold miners. By 1857 it had a population nearly ten thousand strong, and a full, diverse economy of different industries and a rich community of people. Across the river, Yuba City benefited from the same travel routes and quietly thrived on a smaller scale, eventually becoming the county seat of Sutter County, California.

Marysville’s growth came to an essentially permanent halt when Feather River became impassable by riverboats. However, they never met the dreaded fate of so many other western boomtowns. They never went ‘bust’.

Boomtowns are defined as much by their growing pains and potential for failure as they are by initial growth and success. Because these towns grew so rapidly, growth was often unsustainable. Many towns never caught up to their long-term needs and went ‘bust’ after a period of tenuous prosperity. This was an all-too-common tale that has resulted in the American West being dotted with abandoned ‘ghost towns’.

Bodie, California is an eerily well-preserved ghost town in northern California. It enjoyed its clandestine boom in the 1870s and 1880s thanks to the discovery of gold. At its peak, Bodie boasted 65 saloons along its main street, a population of around 7,000 people, newspapers that published several times a week, a red light district, volunteer fire fighters, and even a local brass band.

Bodie Historic Park Bodie Ghost Town

Bodie’s sudden decline occurred when more promising mining towns like Butte, Montana and Tombstone, Arizona lured off most of the miners. The people who remained in Bodie were families. The town’s economy and population never recovered. By 1920, scarcely over one hundred people called Bodie home. In 1942, the last gold mine closed. In1961, the town was designated a National Historic Landmark and has been maintained as such ever since, in a state of ‘arrested decay’.

These narratives were essential to the tone of life in the American West. Towns boomed and busted. Families settled and created stable lives, all the while aware the economy could turn with little notice. It took special people with an adventurous nature and never quit attitude to take the extreme changes in the western frontier.

If you were in a position to change your life, uproot your family for a dream, would you do it? Would you believe in your heart, as the MacLarens did, that there was more to life and greater opportunity hundreds or thousands of miles away? If so, what would you give up to secure it?

Colins QuestColin’s Quest (book 1, MacLarens of Boundary Mountain historical western romance)

For An Undying Love…

When Colin MacLaren headed west on a wagon train, he hoped to find adventure and perhaps a little danger in untamed California. He never expected to meet the girl he would love forever. He also never expected her to be the daughter of his family’s age-old enemy, but Sarah was a MacGregor and the anger he anticipated soon became a reality. Her father would not be swayed, vehemently refusing to allow marriage to a MacLaren.

Time Has No Effect…

Forced apart for five years, Sarah never forgot Colin—nor did she give up on his promise to come for her. Carrying the brooch he gave her as proof of their secret betrothal, she scans the trail from California, waiting for Colin to claim her. Unfortunately, her father has other plans.

And Enemies Hold No Power.

Nothing can stop Colin from locating Sarah. Not outlaws, runaways, or miles of difficult trails. However, reuniting is only the beginning. Together they must find the courage to fight the men who would keep them apart—and conquer the challenge of uniting two independent hearts.

Available from: Amazon | Amazon AU | Kobo | iBooks | iBooks AU | GooglePlay | B&N

Shirleen Davies writes romance—historical, contemporary, and romantic suspense. She grew up in Southern California, attended Oregon State University, and has degrees from San Diego State University and the University of Maryland. During the day she provides consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses. But her real passion is writing emotionally charged stories of flawed people who find redemption through love and acceptance. She now lives with her husband in a beautiful town in northern Arizona.

You can find Shirleen here: Website | Blog | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest | Tsu

Book-signing event: treasure hunt

21 May 2016

BSE6 banner_TH

ARRA-buttonToday we are launching our special online Treasure Hunt with the opportunity for readers to win free tickets to our book-signing event, to be held in Adelaide on 20 August. (More details on the signing are available here.) All you need to do is find our button (shown right) on the websites or blogs of the authors marked with an asterisk below, click the symbol and then send the email to us. Each participating author has a unique code number, so you can enter once for every code you find. (That’s 38 chances to win a ticket—with more to come!) But don’t expect it to be easy to find them all—it is a treasure hunt after all.

The button is linked to an email command—when you click on it an email should open in your email program with an author code pre-filled in the subject line. If you don’t have your email program linked, you can hover over the button to see the code and then email us at arra.contests@gmail.com, including the words “Treasure Hunt” AND the code number in the subject line.

The Treasure Hunt will close at 5.00 pm on Saturday 4 June.

Terms and conditions are available here.

Here’s the list of authors taking part in the Treasure Hunt competition:

There will be more authors coming soon, so check back! (New authors marked with an asterisk.)

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