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Feature book: Unwrapping His Convenient Fiancee

22 March 2017

unwrapping-his-convenient-fianceeUnwrapping His Convenient Fiancée by Melanie Milburne

Will the sham love relationship make or break their long term ties?

Violet Drummond wants to take a date to the office party. She doesn’t want to go alone again. Then she finds she should be careful what she wishes for as she suddenly finds that she has a date for her office party, and will be the date for Cam’s father’s wedding, his fifth. This situation arose as Cam (Cameron McKinnon) had his client’s wife constantly on the phone and flirting with him and he needed to find a way to have her back off. Cam and Violet decide that being in a fake relationship may be the way until the disgruntled woman puts a picture on social media about how Violet and Cam are engaged. It is then that the situation gets out of control for both of them. Violet finds her flat has been broken into and she stays with Cam, which means more contact between the pair.

Violet and Cam struggle with their attraction to each other as Cam is a family friend and best friends with her brother. The tension and struggle is palpable throughout the story, and when they have the disagreement, Violet goes to her family for comfort and admits the whole relationship was a sham. Her family becomes her comfort until Cam shows up and gives her what she has dreamt of all her life.

Both Cam and Violet are approaching the relationship from different perspectives. Violet’s parents are still together and in love after all of these years. Cam’s father is on his fifth wedding, only because he likes to be the centre of attention. Cam’s father and his new bride are flirting with others at their own wedding and Cam is disgusted and becomes more resolute in his opinion about marriage. As we know well, it takes the special woman to peel back the layers to find the depth and for Cam to understand that not all men are like his father.

This book is a story of friends to lovers. It is particularly poignant at Christmas time due to all the Christmas flurry and activity in the story. Violet is the only woman who can change Cam’s mind about marriage, and this pair are very suited for each other. Another great read from Ms Milburne.

Reviewed by Heather

A review copy of this book was provided by the author’s publicist. ARRA members who leave a comment by 5 April 2017 will go into the draw to win a copy.

Release day: Married to the Mum-to-Be

21 March 2017

Today is the official release of Married to the Mum-to-Be by Helen Lacey (The Cedar River Cowboys) (ebook and paperback, Harlequin). Here’s the blurb:

She’s late. That kind of late…

Kayla Rickard always planned to marry and start a family—with the right man. Then she met Liam O’Sullivan. Once she sampled passion in his arms, she forgot the feud that separated their families for decades. Now Kayla’s in two times the trouble. She’s secretly married to—and pregnant by—public enemy number one.

After eloping to Vegas, the scion of the O’Sullivan empire wants to come clean. Liam wants his wife—at his side, in his bed. He’ll do whatever it takes, even get to the bottom of the feud. But are he and Kayla prepared for the bombshells they’ll uncover? They have no choice—because in nine months their little secret will be born!

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

Dear reader, welcome back to Cedar River and the latest book in my new series, Married to the Mum-to-Be. In this book, Kayla and Liam are deeply in love with one another, but a feud between their families is making it impossible for them to be together. This is my own take on the Romeo and Juliet theme and 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.

Guest blogger: Gwendolyn Beynon

19 March 2017

Synchron-history: ‘Le Chevalier au Lion’

The best parts of writing historical fantasy are those brilliant moments of historical synchronicity (I call them ‘synchron-history’) and the freedom to get fantastically creative with them.

When I released Sacrifice—the first book in my dark-ages, Welsh, dragony book series Y Ddraig (The Dragons of Brython)—there was one character who kept demanding more air-time almost from the moment he stepped onto the page, blades glinting.

Eifion ap Gwilim was second-in-command to the hero of Sacrifice … he was supposed to be window dressing at best … but every time he made an appearance, his quiet strength and fierce loyalty got my attention and by the half-way point of that book I knew I was going to have to do more with him. Just like that, Eifion went from the spear-bearer of classic theatre to literary hero in my research-cluttered mind.

But I had a problem … the heroes of this series were supposed to be Arthurian ‘B-listers’ and the characters of the next book Ascension were more or less set. I had already cast brothers Gwalchmai and Gwalchafad (who are the ancient Welsh equivalents of Arthurian Gawain and Gaheris) but Gawain is largely synonymous with the Lancelot character created (later) by French writer Chretien de Troyes. You know Lancelot, right? Handsome, flashy, popular in court, tight with Arthur, even tighter with his wife … That wasn’t going to work for silent, shadowy, good Eifion who had reluctantly betrayed Arthur in Sacrifice and had been living in a kind of dark age witness protection program in the Welsh mountains ever since. And besides, he was already called Eifion … he couldn’t magically become Gawain in the fortenyear between Book 1 and Book 2.

That sort of thing gets noticed.

So, I turned my attention to little brother Gaheris. But no … I had very specific plans for this fascinatingly complex and conflicted Arthurian character and none of them were hero-appropriate.

What to do?!

If there was one character in Arthurian lore who was most Eifion-esque it was young, white-hearted Galahad. But of all the many fictions in the Arthurian pantheon, Galahad is the most fictitious—invented in the 13th century (when the stories of Arthur were Christianised heavily) purely to highlight the holiness of the Grail. All of the existing characters of Arthurian lore were too flawed and too grungy to put their paws on the Holiest of Holies and so a beautiful, unachievable, unattainable (and some would argue unrelateable) young man was purpose built to carry the Grail back to Heaven in a blaze of short-lived glory.

Exit Galahad.

Hmmm … I was in some trouble now. In this series, I lean toward the historical-based characters alive some six centuries before the rendering of the chivalric, medieval versions in their polished armour. Surely, Galahad could not be the only decent bloke in all of Arthurian lore.

Indeed he was not.

The flowing locks (and flowing mane) of Yvain, The Knight with the Lion (illustration John Howe). No wonder the women were smitten.

In a spectacular piece of synchronicity while digging back through the Welsh triads I stumbled on the Welsh Owain, known as Yvain to the Bretons, heir to the King of Rheged. He was 6th century [tick—right period], Cymry-born [tick—right bit of the country], a machine with a blade [tick—right skillset], was tight with Gwalchmai the historical Welsh figure that inspired Gawain [tick—right circle of friends], and was later banished by Arthur [tick—straight into the Welsh mountains he went]. Classically, Yvain is portrayed alongside a lion, a bit of medieval semiotics pointing to his traits of fierceness and loyalty, and he is captured in literature as a protector of female virtue often as not. If Yvain had a fault, it was that he was a bit prone to galloping off on dangerous missions at the expense of his personal relationships.

Hellooooo, Eifion!! There you are, my lovely!

This is exactly the kind of synchronicity that makes an author catch their breath. Like it was meant to be all along. Right down to the similarity in names. My character, Eifion (eye-vee-on), good-naturedly endured the crude twisting of his name into ‘Yvain’ (ee-vain) by his boyhood friends Gwalchmai and Gwalchafad because it meant something totally unprintable in old Welsh.

Bingo! Arthurian b-lister hero achieved.

And, so, my spear-bearer turned hero, Eifion, marched confidently into his own story as the protector of the woman he cannot love (no spoilers!) and the young girl that he dare not leave. But then again, he is also Yvain, and off he gallops toward Arthur on a dangerous mission to save them both, leaving one to pine miserably and the other to …

Well … that’s a whole other story.

Gwendolyn Beynon’s Sacrifice (Book 1) and Ascension (Book 2) are available now through Amazon. Australian readers can get a signed print copy (with local postage) direct from the author:

You can find Gwendolyn here: Website | Facebook | Goodreads


ARRA newsletter #92

15 March 2017

Purple news

The March issue of the ARRA newsletter is out today. Members should have received the download code via email.

Here’s a quick run down on some of the information you can find in the newsletter this month:

  • in the lead story we unveil our traditional author photo from ARRC2017, plus thank all the many people who made the convention so successful
  • details on the winners of the 2016 awards, plus some photos from the evening
  • plus feedback from ARRC2017 delegates, and links for wrap-up articles
  • a wrap-up from a library talk in Werribee
  • a wrap-up from afternoon tea with Anne Gracie
  • a special Q&A with Patricia Briggs
  • the next #AuthorHour is on 22 March
  • don’t forget to try your hand at the Find the Heart giveaway
  • Rhyll and Charlotte’s web watch column this month is on the Australian Women Writers Challenge

Plus our regular columns – romance roundup, publisher news, events, reviews, freebies, author interviews and upcoming releases.

If anyone has any publishing news or deals to report, please send information through. And we are always looking for authors to do a Q&A for the newsletter. If you haven’t done one yet, please contact me at

Happy reading everyone!



Feature book: Greek Tycoon’s Mistletoe Proposal

15 March 2017

greek-tycoons-mistletoe-proposalGreek Tycoon’s Mistletoe Proposal by Kandy Shepherd

It was not the best of starts but a story to tell their adult children: how they met.

Ashleigh Murphy works for Maids in Chelsea and has moved into the house she is cleaning. Okay, so the move is temporary, but she needs a place to stay. It is then the owner returns home as Ashleigh is singing out of tune while in the bathtub. She is mortified that she has been caught in such a state. For his part, Lukas Christophedes is annoyed that his peace has been shattered.

Lukas then ‘hires’ Ashleigh to be his pretend girlfriend as he is concerned about a female business person who seems to want to do business and to also have a personal relationship with him. He wants to use Ashleigh to be the barrier so the deal can succeed.

As they go shopping for an appropriate outfit for the dinner, Lukas learns that Ashleigh is a runaway bride. Of course Lukas gets bored shopping but is enjoying the way in which Ashleigh is expressing her joy, and at times, embarrassment about the shopping expedition. It is during this time, and the ensuing days, that Lukas gets to know Ashleigh better and to see some of the simple things that she finds joy in. Lukas believes he has many reasons to be wary of relationships, and about the time their agreement comes to an end, Lukas does explain his reasons why they cannot be together.

Lukas finds another reason to invoke the fake boyfriend/girlfriend clause when his parents come for Christmas. It is also about this time that he makes his most important discovery about himself and Ashleigh, and he wants to use that event to give Ashleigh her greatest surprise.

This is a love at first sight romance. Both are attracted in the first instant but have to work through their personal issues and baggage to get the HEA. Ashleigh and Lukas are also very opposite. She is from a country town, he is from Athens. She has a close knit family, his parents had affairs. She is in debt and he has billions. Through all that, and some mistrust from Lukas, the pair find their common ground, their love for each other.

This is another story by Ms Shepherd that I enjoyed reading as it is about love and the magic of Christmas.

Reviewed by Heather

A review copy of this book was provided by the author. ARRA members who leave a comment by 29 March 2017 will go into the draw to win a copy of the book.

Feature book: Whispers at Wongan Creek

15 March 2017

whispers-at-wongan-creekWhispers at Wongan Creek by Juanita Kees

There is much activity, and many things whispered about in the town of Wongan Creek but those whispers are about to become shouts.

Travis Bailey is a farmer and sometime bull rider. He is in the coveted group of males who live in the town, and those with a daughter want him in their family. Travis is juggling a lot of balls in the air and is terrified one will fall and he will not be able to adopt his niece. Casey became his when his twin sister died. He also needs to deal with Harry, his neighbour, who seems to be starting the journey in Alzheimer’s. He still mourns his sister’s death and despairs at the rift with his parents.

Heather Penney is new to the area, as the social worker who is assessing Travis’s application for adoption. Her mother died of motor neurone disease and she is afraid that she may have the gene. She is afraid to do the tests to find out. From the start, Heather finds Travis attractive but does not want to get into relationship if she is going to die.

As the events circle around them, death, gold, murder, Travis and Heather try and deal with them the best they can but when Zac Bannister, the town bully, starts causing trouble, they find they need the united front and help from others.

This is a nice story of two people trying to overcome obstacles in their life. These obstacles may be big or small but they overshadow the positives about what they might have. Sometimes the solutions are simple, sometimes a little more work, and in this case the HEA happened for this pair.

I really enjoyed this story.

Reviewed by Heather

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

Release day: A Letter from Italy

14 March 2017

Today is the official release of A Letter from Italy by Pamela Hart (ebook and paperback, Hachette Australia). Here’s the blurb:

A Letter from Italy is a historical romance inspired by the life of the world’s first woman war correspondent, Australia’s Louise Mack

1917, Italy. Australian journalist Rebecca Quinn is an unconventional woman. At the height of World War I, she has given up the safety of her Sydney home for the bloody battlefields of Europe, following her journalist husband to the frontline as a war correspondent in Italy. Reporting the horrors of the Italian campaign, Rebecca finds herself thrown together with American-born Italian photographer Alessandro Panucci, and soon discovers another battleground every bit as dangerous and unpredictable: the human heart.

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

A Letter from Italy wasn’t the easiest book to write—it changed a lot in the writing as I got closer to my characters and understood them better. Maybe because of that, Rebecca and Sandro’s story is one I feel very tender towards. I really want people to like them and wish them well. And I’ve had more fun writing Nonna Rosa, Sandro’s grandmother, than any other character I’ve ever created! She’s a mix of both of my grandmothers (they were both great cooks and strong-minded women!). There’s just a bit of wish-fulfillment, too—I love Italy, and it was wonderful to be there again, even if only in imagination.

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

All ARRA members who leave a comment on this post will go in the draw to win one of three copies of the book. The giveaway will close on 28 March.