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Feature book: Snowbound Surprise for the Billionaire

7 October 2015

Snowbound Surprise for the Billionaire by Michelle Douglas

Snowbound Surprise for the BillionaireAdelaide (Addie) Ramsey is hoping to sell her family farm and then go travelling in Europe to fulfil the dream she and her best friend, Robbie, have talked about for years. Her plans don’t go smoothly when Flynn Mather buys the farm with the condition that Addie stays at the farm for two years to help develop it. To sweeten the deal, he offers her a free airline ticket and four weeks leave for every year she works with him, plus a six-week trip to Munich, leaving immediately, to work as his PA. With Christmas fast approaching and Addie reluctant to spend her first Christmas at the farm alone (her father died four months before), she agrees.

Flynn had hoped to make the farm into a home base, and he sees Addie as being a much-needed employee to ensure success. He hopes that by taking her to Munich, he can fulfil her dreams of travel and she will then be happy to stay put on the farm. He hadn’t counted on Addie’s spontaneity and her desire to not waste a moment. As he seeks revenge on a business associate of his deceased father, he finds himself charmed by Addie’s reactions to Munich and the brief interludes when he does actually need a PA.

Sexual tension begins to grow as they learn more about each other, but their progress towards their goals are putting them on two separate paths, which will ultimately pull them apart. Ms Douglas has written a Christmas romance with two leading characters you will be cheering for immediately. There are very interesting secondary characters, and as an added benefit, you can also enjoy some of the sights of Munich. I know Christmas is still a couple of months away; however, as you start to prepare for 2015 Christmas reading, this sweet book would be a great way to tap into your Christmas spirit. I highly recommend this story. Ms Douglas certainly knows how to write a lovely Christmas romance.

Reviewed by Tracey T

A review copy of this book was provided by the author. ARRA members who leave a comment by 21 October 2015 will go into the draw to win a copy.

Feature book: Three Proposals and a Scandal

7 October 2015

ThreeProposalsAndAScandal_CampbellThree Proposals and a Scandal by Anna Campbell

Marianne Seaton has been brought up to be good at being a lady of the Ton, and as such had an offer from none other than the Duke of Sedgemoor. Although it was not a love match, it was a good match. Marianne was content with her life, and of course her father was overjoyed. Marianne is an only child and lost her mother when she was young, and her father can be a tad overbearing at times. But things change quickly when the Duke rejects Marianne for the love of his life, Penelope Thorne. Being caring, Marianne is happy for them as she knows how much they love each other. Of course, this causes a scandal, and that is something that Marianne does not like. A lot of things are bandied around the Ton about her, and her father is pushing her to find someone to marry.

Elias Thorne has just become a Baron, Baron Wilmott, after the death of his brother, and the family coffers are bare due to his brother’s gambling problem. It is up to Elias to set things straight as he has a good head on his shoulders. He is confident that, in time, things will improve. He has been in love with Marianne Seaton for a while, and now that she is back on the marriage market, Elias is determined to win her over. He has some work to do to convince her, and how he goes about it will have you smiling.

When Marianne and her father are invited to a house party by Viscount Hillbrook, Jonas Merrick, at his estate, Ferney, to do business, her father sees this as a good opportunity to get his daughter betrothed to the suitor he prefers. Her father insists that Lord Desborough is invited to the party as well, leaving the other two suitors, Elias Thorne and Lord Tranter, who would love to marry Marianne, off the invitation list. Marianne is not happy, but her father has convinced her that Elias is after her dowry, and Marianne feels that Tranter is not for her. As for Lord Desborough, although he is a lovely man, he is much older than her and she is having a hard time deciding who she should choose. Her friends, Sidonie and Genevieve, are there helping Marianne with her choices, so when all three suitors end up at the party, this starts a rocky journey for Marianne.

This is such a great story—one that had me from the first page. I have read all of the books in this series, and it was lovely catching up with friends and seeing how much Elias loves Marianne. The way he shows her is just so sensual, and for all the talk about what an ice maiden Marianne is, this shows her strength, courage and her very sensual side. This is a story not to be missed. It is one that will be read over a few times. It had me smiling so much, and the epilogue is fabulous. Thank you Ms Campbell for another magical story.

Reviewed by Helen S

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

Release day: Jade Lioness

7 October 2015

Today is the official release of The Jade Lioness by Christina Courtenay (paperback and ebook, Choc Lit). Here’s the blurb:

The Jade LionessCan an impossible love become possible?

Nagasaki, 1648

Temperance Marston longs to escape war-torn England and explore the exotic empire of Japan. When offered the chance to accompany her cousin and Captain Noordholt on a trading expedition to Nagasaki, she jumps at the opportunity. However, she soon finds the country’s strict laws for foreigners curtail her freedom.

On a dangerous and foolhardy venture she meets Kazuo, a ronin. Kazuo is fascinated by her blonde hair and blue eyes, but he has a mission to complete and he cannot be distracted. Long ago, his father was accused of a crime he didn’t commit – stealing a valuable ornament from the Shogun – and Kazuo must restore his family’s honour.

But when Temperance is kidnapped and sold as a concubine, he has to make a decision – can he save her and keep the promise he made to his father?

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

If you have travelled halfway across the world in search of adventure in the exotic empire of Japan, being confined to a tiny man-made island in the port of Nagasaki is a sad let-down.  At least, it is to the 17th century heroine of The Jade Lioness, Temperance Marston. Being a resourceful young lady, however, she takes matters into her own hands and escapes for a while. She “borrows” a row boat and heads up the coast under cover of darkness, intending only to go for a swim in a secluded bay. What she doesn’t count on is meeting anyone, especially not a handsome ronin (outlaw). Kazuo in his turn never expected to find a white-haired sea sprite by the coast. He’s on a mission to clear his family’s name, but how can he resist spending time with Temperance first? Fate has decreed that they should meet–can it also help them stay together? Most people who visit Nagasaki today do so to see the Atomic Bomb Museum, honouring those who lost their lives when the second atomic bomb destroyed most of the city at the end of World War II. But the town’s history and importance goes back a lot further. When I was lucky enough to go there, I saw the museum of course, but I also went to the site of the former Dutch “factory”, or trading post, on the island of Dejima. During centuries past, this site was separated from the mainland by a small canal and reached via a bridge, but these days it is landlocked and within the city itself (although I believe there are plans to surround it with water once again soon). It was the only place where foreigners were allowed to stay when they came to trade with the Japanese and I wanted to use it as the setting for my story. It’s absolutely fascinating, with houses reconstructed to look as they would have done back then, and I was able to imagine just how constrained Temperance would have felt. If I’d been her, I would have tried to escape too!

For more information about this book, and some photos of Dejima, visit Christina’s website. You can buy the book from Booktopia.

Release day: Some Girls Don’t

7 October 2015

Today is the official release of Some Girls Don’t by Amy Andrews (ebook, Tule Publishing). Here’s the blurb:

Some Girls Don'tLocal television reporter Selena Durrum is in Jumbuck Springs for three days. Get in, see her grandmother, give her speech, and get out. Her career is about to hit big and she can’t afford any distractions. Especially not her childhood sweetheart…

Jarrod Weston, rural firefighter, isn’t worried about seeing the woman who’d done a midnight runner on him fifteen years earlier. It was a long time ago and he’s moved on with his life… right?

But neither of them were ready for their still potent attraction and the heavy pull of unfinished business. But then Selena gets offered the opportunity of a lifetime and once again has to choose between love and career… Will she go with her heart, or her head?

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

Some Girls Don’t is the second book in my new Outback Heat series. It’s set in the fictitious town of Jumbuck Springs, which is out west of Brisbane and, funnily enough, right smack in the middle of sheep country. It features the Weston family. Lacey, Jarrod, Marcus and Ethan. This is Jarrod and Selena’s story. Suffice to say these two have a lot of unfinished business between them when Selena flits back into town fifteen years after her abrupt departure. They both think they’re mature enough to have moved on, so the tug they feel is unexpected and not something either of them are willing to acknowledge. Until a massive bushfire bears down on the community and forces them to confront their real feelings. If you love a  good reunion romance with a charge of adrenaline then this one’s for you! Stay tuned for the next two Outback Heat stories, coming out over the next month!

You can find out more about this book at Amy’s website and find buy links at Tule Publishing.

Favourite reads: Sep 2015

5 October 2015

Books_purpleWelcome to our Favourite Reads for September. Each month some of ARRA’s members will tell you a little bit about one of the books they’ve recently read and loved.

These are not full reviews of the books, just honest opinions on why they enjoyed the book so much. Hopefully one of these will strike a chord with you.

So, we asked our members to tell us about some of their favourite reads for September …

Addict by Lexi Blake (book 2, Hunter: a Thieves series)

AddictI love books that sit on the paranormal romance/urban fantasy divide and I enjoy books that explore the idea of relationships beyond a single love interest. I love good guys that plan for all contingencies and I love to hate evil bad guys. Addict has vampires, werewolves, fae, witches, demons, angels and a very rare prophet, something for everyone :) Book 1 of this series is Ripper, although the canon has five previous books that focus on another character, Zoey and starts with Steal the Light. All good adventure. [Gina, NSW]

Paris for One by Jojo Moyes

Paris for OneThis is the story of hopeful Nell who impulsively plans a weekend to Paris, only to be stood up by her less than keen (please get rid of him) boyfriend. Then she meets Fabien, who needs to move on from his former girlfriend. The weekend goes from dire to delightful, and ends on a lovely optimistic romantic note. This story was quick to read and ooh la la charming. This was definitely one of the best novellas I’ve read lately, from a chick-litty (but romantic) author. [Malvina, NSW]

Craving Flight by Tamsen Parker

Craving FlightThis is an erotic novella featuring Orthodox Jewish characters and a marriage of convenience and it’s FREE! I loved the cultural aspects, which were treated with respect, as well as being accessible to those unfamiliar with Judaism. The writing is clean and spare and there was something super erotic about how private and conforming Elan and Tzipporah were on the outside and how kinky they were in the privacy of their bedroom. [Kaetrin, SA]

The Deal by Elle Kennedy (book 1, Off-Campus series)

The DealThis is a NA story, set on a college campus. The hero is a hot shot on the college hockey team, but he’s failing one of his classes. The heroine is excelling in that same class and he decides she is going to tutor him. He has to turn on all of his charm to convince her. He is cocky and self-possessed, but he is also a deeper character. She is dealing with a dark history, but is still confident and stands up to all his crap. The story is full of humour, angst and some great snarky dialogue. Book 2, The Mistake, is already out and it is just as good. [Debbie, ACT]

Seducing His Enemy’s Daughter by Annie West

Seducing His Enemy's DaughterThis is a story that starts with revenge and turns to such a beautiful sensual seduction. It features two people who have been through so much in their lives—one trying to help her brother and sister, the other needs to get his revenge. When they meet the sparks ignite. This one will pull you in till you get to the end. I loved the setting—my home town of Sydney—and visits to the Blue Mountains. One not to miss. [Helen, NSW]

Crucible Zero by Devon Monk (book 3, House Immortal series)

Crucible ZeroMatilda and Abraham are one of my favourite new couples. Even after all that Matilda has been through she still fights for the world and her chance at love. I love love love this series. The setting is unique and surprising and nothing is quite as it seems. The action and tension keeps building and building and I was right there with the characters willing them on, hoping they would succeed against overwhelming odds. This novel kept me up reading way past my bedtime. [Cora, ACT]

Weekly poll: 5 Oct 2015

5 October 2015

It was a fairly even race last week with bed, favourite chair/lounge/hammock and anywhere-as-long-as-no-one-bothers-me being the popular places to read. We’re in the world of urban fantasy this week and  asking who or what you are hunting. You look good in those leathers (ignore the fact they’re difficult to get on and hot, as in temperature hot) what weapons are you taking with you?

Guest blogger: Nina Pierce

4 October 2015

Nine PierceCan you define your hero?

So who doesn’t love a hunky, take charge guy in a romance novel? Well, it turns out … I don’t. Well, I mean I thought I did, but then writers and readers started talking about the alpha heroes they love and it occurred to me, that’s not really who I write.

I thought all my guys were alpha heroes. Not that they steamroll over the heroine or completely wall off their emotions, but they do step up to the plate when the time comes. The problem was they didn’t seem to have that pushy, never-give-an-inch attitude many people associate with alphas. But they definitely didn’t fit into the more gentle, less obtrusive sidekick beta hero either.

Okay, I know technically (especially in stories with shifters) there is only one alpha leader. Therefore if you write a story about the other guys, like I do, they would be considered beta. But I just can’t go there. In my opinion, the beta hero is a pushover. He wouldn’t come to the heroine’s rescue. He’d send in his best friend, the alpha, who would save her. He’d be the one to comfort her when the hero’s been a jerk, but then turn her over to him when the guy showed up at the front door. But no one writes characters like that. I’m always looking to write the next story so even my ‘best friend’ characters offer more than a supporting role.

So maybe I have the definition all wrong.

In my confusion I checked out a bunch of posts about alphas. Frankly, the description didn’t make me think of the men in romance stories that make my knees go weak—they seemed kind of pushy and insensitive. I kept bumping up against the beta who didn’t quite have that ‘protect my family’ kind of persona. Then I found someone who described not alpha, not beta, but a gamma hero? Wai … whaaaat?

Yeah, the gamma hero pulls the best from both the alpha and the beta heroes. He’s a man with all the chutzpah of an alpha but the emotions of a beta. In other words … the strong male who doesn’t run roughshod over the heroine in his quest to bring down the bad guy, but works with her to find the key and discover the lost treasure or slay the dragon or free her world or … well, you get my drift. This is the guy of romance stories in my opinion. The hero who could don the pages of any GQ magazine, but knows how to BBQ a mean steak for his lady and draw her a bubble bath. *sigh* Yeah, that’s the ticket.

So I guess I’m aiming to write gamma heroes. Who knew?

The reality is. It doesn’t matter what we call them. It’s their heart and soul that brings the reader back to our stories over and over again. Readers need to connect to the hero. Believe he’s real. Believe he’s the only one for the heroine. Believe in their love story.

What about you? Do you like your guys all alpha in stories and keep your betas for real life or are you a combo kind of gal like me … enjoying a gamma between the pages?

My recent romantic suspense novel, Uncontrolled Burn has a gamma hero vampire who has a way of taking care of the woman he loves even as he works with her to bring down a rogue vampire. This novella is found exclusively in a firefighter-themed boxed set.

Uncontrolled BurnUncontrolled Burn

A woman forced to live a life she didn’t choose. A vampire bound by honor to protect humans. A deadly game of revenge that threatens both their lives …

Thirty years ago, a horrendous attack thrust Chemistry professor, Alexandra Flanagan into the secret world of vampires. Saved by the blood of an ancient vampire, she unhappily walks among immortals. Now, deadly fires in her quaint town have brought her to the attention of Reese Colton and his elite RISEN team. Undercover as a firefighter, Reese has been called in to flush out and eliminate the rogue vampire burying a string of murders in the ashes of deadly fires.

With the body count climbing and the number of fires escalating, the evidence pointing to Alex is piling high. Discovering the identity of the vicious vampire hell-bent on revenge may be the easy part of Reese’s job. But bringing a murderer to justice could mean the difference between honoring his duty—and losing his heart.

You can find Uncontrolled Burn in the Into the Flames boxed set, available from:
AmazonAmazon UKB&NiTunesKobo | ARe

Even though it’s been 10 years since USA Today bestselling author, Nina Pierce, first put fingers to keyboard, it still amazes her that she hasn’t written all the stories swirling around in her head. But then again—the woman is never at a loss for words! A former science teacher, she now spends her days making stuff up, killing off imaginary people (who may or may not look a lot like her nasty neighbours) and finding her characters their perfect soul mate. Married to her high-school sweetheart of thirty years, Nina believes everyone deserves a little sexy romance in their life!

You can find Nina here: Website | Facebook | Twitter


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