Bay of Sighs by Nora Roberts
This second book in the Guardians trilogy continues the fight to secure the three stars and defeat the goddess Nerezza. This time Nerezza has someone else fighting on her team, someone that Riley and Sawyer had known in the past, but he is much more than just human now. The six must train and plan in order to meet the threat head-on—and they come up with some sneaky plans—and even with all that there is danger to each of them.
Annika and Sawyer are the couple featured in this book. I loved Annika in the previous story and she was just as captivating in this one. Sawyer is great in a swashbuckling kind of way, but Annika really steals the show with her handsprings and tablescapes and generous heart. Her joy of life and her endearing innocence make for an unforgettable character. Despite some dark moments that dim that joy, Annika and Sawyer, along with the others, win out in this round.
Once the quest wraps up in the third book (because, come on, we know it will), there will still be the question of what happens to Annika and Sawyer once she is required to return to her people. I’m dying to read the final edition in this trilogy, not only for the resolution of the quest, but so that Annika and Sawyer can truly have a happy ending.
Reviewed by Debbie
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. All ARRA members who leave a comment by 09 November 2016 will go in the draw to win this book.
Today is the official release of In the Spotlight by Shona Husk (ebook, Escape Publishing). Here’s the blurb:
A diva who lives for the spotlight, a sailor deeply in the closet, a love that will change them both
Ripley Malone is returning to Perth in triumph. A principal ballet dancer in a production that has critics raving, he is an unqualified success, and all the small-minded people that made his life hell can kiss his lycra-covered ass. But behind the makeup and the glitter and the costumes, Ripley is beginning to tire, tire of the competition, the drive, the endless parade of meaningless lovers.
For Pierce Lovell, joining the Navy was a way out of rural Victoria, but becoming a submariner comes with its own set of challenges. The close living quarters and long months away are awkward enough without adding any extra tension around his sexuality. The fear is probably in his head, but he isn’t taking any chances with his career. He gets by on anonymous one-night-stands every time they come to shore and keeps his heart well-shielded. But one night with Ripley opens the tantalising possibility of more.
Through a mistake Ripley is injured. He can’t dance. His wings are clipped and he crashes down and hits the earth hard. Pierce knows their affair can’t possibly end in anything but heartache, but he can’t stay away. As Ripley heals and reassesses his life, he is determined not to make the same mistakes again. That means letting someone see the vulnerable side of him. But vulnerability for Pierce could cost him everything.
Shona dropped by today to tell us a little about this book:
In the Spotlight is a spin off from the Face the Music series, which is set in Western Australia (where I live). Ripley is Dan’s best friend (and Dan makes an appearance in this book). I had fun revisiting their stories, but also expanding their world. This story is really the combination of two desires I’d had for a while, one was to write a ballet-dancing hero and the other was to write about a submariner. Submariners have such a tough job it’s about time they got to step into the spotlight as a romance hero.
Today is the official release of His Christmas Cowgirl by Alissa Callen (ebook, Tule Publishing). Here’s the blurb:
Headstrong cowgirl Peta Dixon has put her life on hold this Christmas to prove she can run her ranch as well as any man. There isn’t anything she can’t ride, fix, or stare down, and the only things to scare her are long hemlines and sky-high heels.
Self-made rancher Garrett Ross normally doesn’t take orders – he gives them. But when asked to step in to act as a temporary foreman on a Montana ranch over the holidays, he can’t refuse.
Yet when Garrett meets the beautiful and stubborn ranch owner, he realizes he’s signed on for a whole lot of trouble. Cynical and jaded, he has no time for feelings. And when Peta meets the man she’s to share her life with until Christmas, she discovers she no longer wants to be the person others expect her to be…
Will the rancher finally listen to his heart and admit he can’t live without a certain straight-talking cowgirl?
Alissa dropped by today to tell us a little about this book:
His Christmas Cowgirl is the sixth and final book in my contemporary Wildflower Ranch series. I had so much fun writing Peta’s story and creating a man who would be a match for her tenacity and strength and who shared her passion for the land. I also loved being back in Marietta, Montana, at Christmas time. The next time I visit Marietta will be when I write my Wildflower Ranch historical series about how all the ranches received their names. Enjoy Peta’s story and wishing everyone all the best for the upcoming months—Christmas will soon be here.
You can find out more about this book and access the buy links at Alissa’s website.
If every writer applied the ‘write what you know’ advice, there’d be no time travels and science fiction and I wouldn’t be writing Regency romance.
Of course, writers renowned for creating settings that are so evocative one can almost taste the salt in the air probably are writing about the here and now: a place they know well.
But for other writers, the ‘write what you know’ might be an emotion with which they are very familiar, or a universal theme.
It took me many books to realise that I write to a repeated theme: redemption.
Regardless of whether I’ve written a Regency, Victorian or Georgian-era romance, an intrigue-filled romantic series, or an historical romantic suspense, redemption is always the key theme.
I never set out to write redemptive stories. I’m not a plotter with a clear end in sight. For me, the joy of writing is being taken on a ride by my characters. My starting point is an intriguing set-up and I go from there. Then, in the final edit—which is when I explore major themes to strengthen the story—I inevitably groan: ‘Not another redemption story!’
So why am I constantly searching for redemption for my flawed characters?
Was I a great burden to my mother who died before I could say, ‘Now that I’ve had my own kids, I “get it” and you deserve a medal, Mum?’
Was it the boyfriend I dumped to whom I gave no warning beforehand that anything was wrong? (Twenty years later I still feel guilty.)
What bad thing did I once do that has fuelled this perpetual need to find redemption? Or is it more broad than that?
A few days ago my latest suspense-filled Regency Romance ‘The Glittering Prize’ was released as one of six novellas/novels in A Very Wicked Christmas anthology.
‘Aha!’ I’d thought in the final analysis when delving into its overriding theme before sending it to the editor. ‘I’ve broken free. This is the first book where my flawed heroine doesn’t need to be redeemed. Jemima is pure of heart; a good girl; the professor’s devoted daughter, helping him decipher a code that will lead them to a valuable and ancient artefact.’
Then I realised that while this book was a great departure from my favourite ‘flawed heroine in need of redemption’ theme, redemption was, again, the main theme.
This time, it was my loose-living rakish hero, Digby, who desperately needed redemption. (Some readers might condemn Jemima for becoming a courtesan, however as she’s ended up as a rich man’s mistress to save her life I don’t consider that a deliberate act requiring redemption.)
Digby, who’s never had any responsibility as a younger brother, is my flawed character in need of redemption. When he makes his appearance in ‘The Glittering Prize’ he’s eaten up with guilt for the fact he failed to discharge his older brother’s dying wish.
Little does he know that the virtuous young woman his brother died trying to save is in fact the very woman he is lusting after—his rival’s latest mistress, Jemima.
‘The Glittering Prize’ is not a conventional romance. The heroine has more than one lover and there’s a suspenseful game of ‘cat and mouse’ between Jemima and the men in her life—including her would-be murderer.
While it wasn’t obvious to me in writing the book, the theme of redemption is quite obvious.
Perhaps, one day, someone will point out what I’m too close to see: my very own obvious-to-everyone-else flaw that is the source and which drives me to write novel after novel about redemption.
I’d really love to know what it is.
Beverley Eikli writes slow-boil historical romances laced with intrigue, often with a thriller ending. Sorting out the trials and tribulations of her bold, flawed, heroines keeps her up late most nights, however a husband who is her real-life hero, and two gorgeous daughters, help keep her grounded.
A valuable treasure, a lost maiden pursued by a murderer, and a remorse-filled rake who’s failed to discharge his brother’s final wish…
These are the ingredients which underpin the first meeting between the hero and heroine of ‘The Glittering Prize’ about a resourceful blue-stocking who finds love where she least expect it.
Reveal by KM Golland
Emily Davis leads a double life that nobody, even her best friend, knows about. She is the girl behind the computer when you join a sexting site. She makes other guys’ fantasies up. She does this in her extra time but nobody knows. She does take one of her customers offline and begins a ‘relationship’ with him but doesn’t realise where it is going until it is too late. Emily joins her best friend Corrine on tour with the boys of Revue and gets to know Brad a hell of a lot more. She realises that Brad could be there for her if she wants it but that would mean she needs to admit to what her secret job is. She is not ashamed of her secret job but knows that other people won’t understand.
Surfer Brad is a male stripper in Revue. Once he meets Emily he knows he can push her boundaries and make her feel something. He knows he has to keep pushing Emily to feel and admit her feelings before she goes home and on tour for a musical. Brad knows Emily is hiding something but is not sure what. When something happens to Emily, they both have to face the reality of what she was doing but she knows that Brad will be there for her when the times get tough.
Sparks fly from the first time Brad and Emily see each other. They know that in bed it will be electricity firing in every direction. They need to fight to make sure they know what the other is feeling. Of course it doesn’t happen like this, and after something tragic happens, they will see what they mean to each other. Ms Golland has written another great Australian book, one that makes you want to be on the sidelines cheering for them.
Reviewed by Di
A review copy of this book was provided by the author.
Revue by KM Golland
Corrine Lee loves photography. She usually does nature photos but she is now going to photograph another of nature’s beauties—the male form. Since her brother got hurt, she has to photograph the male strippers of Revue. Corrine knows the shots she wants to take but wants nothing to do with any of the strippers but just to do her job. When she gets up close and personal with Josh after a misunderstanding, sparks fly but not necessarily the sexy ones, the ones that want to kill or maim. Corrine gets to know Josh during the tour and the sex is off the charts but will it survive?
Josh Adams loves the spotlight and knows how to work a crowd. He is the headline act for the male stripper group, Revue. He has girls throwing themselves at him during and after every show. When he sees someone photographing the show, he snaps and breaks her camera without asking questions. He soon discovers the photographer is going on tour with them and she is not what he was expecting. As usual he stuffs up and his attitude sucks because he doesn’t know how to handle Corrine or what he is feeling.
This story has the typical Australian humour that KM Golland is known to write. The love and angst between Corrine and Josh is palpable and you can feel it in the writing. This story could happen at any show like this, and that’s what makes it real and honest. The visions Ms Golland gives make you see all the moves that are made on stage and makes you want to be in the audience and participate. Great book to start a new series with great characters.
Reviewed by Di
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. ARRA members who leave a comment on the blog by 2 November 2016 will go into the draw to win a copy of the book.