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Feature book: Ten Days with a Highlander

17 January 2018

Ten Days with a Highlander by Hayson Manning

Can tourists make things change for the better? Georgia certainly thinks so.

Georgia Paxton is corporate through and through. She does the deal then moves on. It has been a lifestyle she learned through her parents. They were free spirits and constantly moving across America. Georgia found a job that would give her that freedom to travel the world, and make the deal. Then she arrives in Scotland.

Callum MacGregor got tired of the corporate life, bought a hotel in a Scottish village and is restoring it to its former glory, slowly but surely. He enjoys living in the village and feels it is his role to protect the village from change. Then he meets American Georgia.

Georgia likes the village, and likes Callum. He shows her around the village and environs to show off the area all the time saying no to her tourism contract. It is at the Grotto that they ‘marry’ all while thinking it is a bit of amusement. The whole village considers them married. There is no doubt that the attraction is bringing them closer and closer.

Georgia is trying, in a multitude of ways, to convince Callum that the tourist trade will be good for the village. Callum constantly tells her why it wouldn’t be good. Callum is then surprised when the people tell him of their previous tourist experience, and they want that again, although perhaps with some adaptions.

There are some very interesting secondary characters in this story and are not who, or what, you might typically expect. First there is Delilah, the goat, who loves to ride in the backseat of the car. Then there is Hello Kitty who can open doors. These animals will bring a smile to your face with their feats and also their uncanny ability to know when extra comfort is needed.

This was an enjoyable story of a couple who are very different but also very similar. Callum has done the corporate world and is looking for a slower pace and to show that people can be protected and cared for. Georgia wants to see change but then comes to see that when she has Callum, she has her place to belong.

Reviewed by Heather

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

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Feature book: The Black Tide

17 January 2018

The Black Tide by Keri Arthur

This is the final book in the Outcast trilogy. I only started this series because it was written by Keri Arthur, as I had little interest in dystopian stories. But I absolutely loved the characters and world-building in book 1, City of Light. (If you are interested in reading this trilogy, you really should start at the beginning.)

Tiger is a déchet soldier (a humanoid created in a lab from human, shifter and vampire DNA) and she is the last of her kind. She lives in a bunker filled with the ghosts of déchet soldiers and children, and has been keeping to herself until someone starts kidnapping and experimenting on children. Along with Jonas (an ex-Ranger shifter) she has managed to rescue some of the children, but there are still seven missing and time is running out.

Tiger had just escaped from Winter Halo in the previous book and this one starts not long after that, with her travelling through a rift in search of the still-missing children. She doesn’t find the children there, but does find something just as horrifying. After that there is another outpost to search (children! finally!), then undercover work in Central City, then another rift to explore, then back to her undercover work, and a plan to save the city. All of this is getting more and more dangerous and Tiger’s luck is starting to run out, just as she comes face to face with Dream, the last remaining mastermind.

The action in this book is full-on! Tiger spends the majority of her time fighting or recovering from injuries. As the story is told in first-person point of view, we only get Tiger’s side of the action, and then what is relayed to her by Jonas or the ghosts, so we do miss out on a lot of what Jonas is doing. While that is frustrating, it does make for a nail-biting climax scene where Tiger (and the reader) is uncertain just how she, and the city, are going to be saved.

There are some romantic moments in this book, and I’m happy to see a future for Tiger and Jonas. But there’s not the romantic payoff that I’m usually looking for in a book. (The book is not a romance, so I can’t fault the author for that.) Despite that it was a great ending for the series, even if it did leave me wanting more. I would reeeeaaally love a little novella about how Tiger, Jonas, Cat, Bear and Raela settle into their new home (hint hint).

Reviewed by Debbie

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

Release day: A Proposal to Secure His Vengeance

16 January 2018

Today is the official release of A Proposal to Secure His Vengeance by Kate Walker (ebook and paperback, Harlequin). Here’s the blurb:

Raoul Cardini will have his revenge!

His preferred method? Ruthless, irresistible seduction!

Imogen O’Sullivan is horrified when charismatic tycoon Raoul breaks up her engagement and makes her his own convenient bride! She once surrendered everything to Raoul—body, heart and soul. But as he stalks back into her life it’s clear he has punishment in mind—not just passion! Can Imogen resist Raoul’s potent brand of delicious vengeance?

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

My writing productivity has rather slowed down recently. Health and family problems have meant that I was struggling for an idea for one book, never mind the fact that my editor had said ‘What I’d really love from you is a duet—two linked books.’ Two! I had no inspiration for a single story, so how was I going to write two linked stories? But inspiration comes when you’re not looking for it. I’m addicted to a TV program called Long Lost Family. It’s about people who were adopted and are looking for their birth mother, or mothers who had to give up their child for adoption. I always love these reunion stories and then watching the program, I started to think. What if my two heroines were sisters but circumstances had split them up when they were children? Now they have come back together, but at a time of crisis for each of them. They are family, but they don’t really know each other—and when those crises strike they don’t really know each other well enough to help properly. The TV program was forgotten as I started to scribble notes to myself. Then there was a phrase that slipped into my mind—The Scandalous O’Sullivan Sisters. I have no idea where that came from. Call it inspiration, I know I hadn’t been thinking about it. But as soon as that phrase was there I knew that that ‘scandalous’ description had to be part of the plot of my story—now two stories! So I had two sisters, the O’Sullivans, some scandal in a backstory and two linked plots from the moment these two heroines get back together. The O’Sullivan surname gave me a setting—Ireland—and when I created the two sisters (Imogen and Ciara) I knew how their lives that had once been so separate had now become linked and intertwined. All I needed was a couple of heroes—but then that’s the fun bit! So I created a sexy demanding Corsican—Raoul Cardini—and (believe it or not) an Irish Sheikh—Adnan Al Makthabi—and the story grew from there. A Proposal to Secure His Vengeance is the older sister’s story, and I hope you love Imogen and Raoul’s romance as much as I loved writing it.

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

ARRA newsletter #102

15 January 2018

Purple news

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

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

  • nominating for Members’ Choice categories opens today—see lead article
  • nominating for the Executive Committee is also open now
  • we want your opinion on changes to the awards
  • introducing Weekly Musings
  • finds of 2017
  • a wrap-up from Alli Sinclair’s European book tour
  • an article from Kate about the genesis of the Women of WAR series
  • a peek at history from Sharon Sherry
  • Charlotte’s Web Watch column features the Love and Luck podcast
  • win a $10 gift card if you can Find the Heart!

Plus our regular columns—romance roundup, publisher news, self-publishing highlights, 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 us at arra.editor@gmail.com.

Happy reading everyone!

 

Guest blogger: Kat Martin

14 January 2018

Beyond Danger … where secrets and passions turn deadly

Coming the end of January, Beyond Danger is the second book in my Texas trilogy, following Beyond Reason. In the first novel, Lincoln Cain is a Texas multimillionaire with a shady past. After two years in prison, Linc is as tough as they come, six foot five, two hundred pounds of solid male muscle. While I was writing it, I fell a little in love with Linc’s business partner, Beau Reese.

Beyond Danger is Beau’s story. Mega-rich, black-haired and blue-eyed, Beau is gorgeous to look at, and flashy. He was an amateur race car driver before he left the racing circuit, sort of a Texas Paul Newman. Beau loves fast cars and fast women.

He is also wanted for murder.

That’s where private investigator, Cassidy Jones, comes in. She’s smart and she’s no pushover, exactly the woman for Beau. Best of all, she’s determined to prove his innocence.

Texas has always been one of my favourite places. The people who live there embody the best of America. The men are rugged and the woman who match them are strong. It seemed like the perfect setting for my latest trilogy.

The third book in the series is Beyond Control. Linc’s brother, Joshua Cain, is a former marine special operations sniper turned Texas rancher. Josh just wants his life back, wants time to figure things out after his years in the military. He’s enjoying the peace and quiet of the rural Texas landscape—until pretty, fiery-haired Victoria Bradford shows up with her four-year-old daughter. Then all hell breaks loose.

Tory is being followed by a stalker. Damien Bridger means to have her, and no one, not even tough-as-nails Josh Cain, is going to stand in his way.

I hope you’ll watch for Beyond Danger, followed by Beyond Control, out in June. If you haven’t read Beyond Reason, I hope you’ll watch for it, too.

Also, in the last month, two of my books, Season of Strangers and Scent of Roses, have been re-issued with new covers. Season of Strangers is one of my paranormal romantic suspense novels, a wild story, by far the most unusual book I’ve ever written. Scent of Roses is a ghost story with a sexy bad-boy hero.

Happy New Year! All best and happy reading, Kat

Kat is giving away an ecopy of Into the Whirlwind (Kindle or Nook). Leave a comment below to go in the draw. The giveaway closes on 28 January.

You can find Kat here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Beyond Danger

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin brings page-turning suspense to a tale of secrets and passions turned deadly …

Texas mogul Beau Reese is furious. All six feet three, obscenely wealthy, good-looking inches of him. His sixty-year-old father, Stewart, a former state senator no less, has impregnated a teenager. Barely able to contain his anger, Beau is in for another surprise. It appears that Stewart has moved an entirely different woman into the house …

Beau assumes that stunning Cassidy Jones is his father’s mistress. At least she’s of age. But those concerns take a sudden backseat when he finds Stewart in a pool of blood on the floor of his study—and Cassidy walks in to find Beau with his hand on the murder weapon.

The shocks just keep coming. Someone was following Stewart, and Cassidy is the detective hired to find out who and why. Now she’ll have to find his killer instead. Her gut tells her it wasn’t Beau. And Beau’s instincts tell him it wasn’t Cassidy. Determined to track down the truth, they form an uneasy alliance—one that will bring them closer to each other—closer to danger and beyond …

You can buy Beyond Danger here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Google Play | iTunes

Feature book: Catching Captain Nash

12 January 2018

Catching Captain Nash by Anna Campbell

He just wants to be home. To be with his wife. What he sees when arrives shocks him. She is about to announce her engagement to someone else.

It has been five years since he disappeared. Robert was captured by pirates somewhere near South America. He wants to be normal again. He wants to be in his wife’s arms. The fact that his wife was about to become betrothed to another man rocks him.

Despite all the requests and lines of enquiry, Silas, Lord Stone, and Morwenna were unable to find out what happened to their brother and husband respectively. But they are both relieved to find him in the ballroom doorway. The event quickly disperses as people leave to spread the word of Robert’s return.

On his first night he finds that his wife has indeed been faithful to him over the five years, and the connection begins to rebuild between the couple. The remainder of the story takes the reader through Robert’s rehabilitation and his reconnection with Morwenna.

Why this story resonates is that it is of a love that was budding, then taken away, then returned in another, deeper, form. Morwenna and Robert, in their own ways, were left to pine for each other. Morwenna had to keep going for the sake of their daughter. Hoping that Morwenna was waiting for him kept Robert going while he was imprisoned.

Morwenna is aware that Robert has issues around his captivity and is very supportive. As the story continues their hot and sexy marital relationship continues, as does Robert’s healing. When Robert finds that Morwenna isn’t with him just for the sex and because she has to be, he is able to settle and declare his feelings.

In some ways this story wasn’t what I was expecting, particularly given the opening scene. But I liked that Robert and Morwenna were able to rebuild their budding relationship from their early marriage, and take it to absolute true love and soulmate status.

In another thread, I really hope Garson finds his true love.

Reviewed by Heather

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

Weekly musing: contemporary romance

11 January 2018

The contemporary subgenre is wide-ranging, with many subgroups. Some, such as romantic comedy, have been around forever, but a lot of new subgroups have developed over the past few years—for example, new adult, rock romance, MC and rural romances. We will look at the range of subgroups over the next couple of weeks.

Depending on the category; the tropes and common elements vary. Out of the contemporaries that I gravitate towards; I’ve found that ‘Friends to lovers’, ‘Second chance at love’ and ‘Fake engagement’ are popular tropes. Heroines and heroes will be in their early 30s. However if I remember correctly Flirting With Disaster by Victoria Dahl is a refreshing book where the hero is 42 and the heroine is 36. Can you think of contemporary romances with more ‘mature’ characters?

The hero will usually be a CEO/billionaire or tradie, heroines are always independant and successful but their jobs are never restricted; futher promoting to women that we can be anything that we want to be. What elements and tropes do you love and/or hate in a contemporary romance?

I’ve found that the ‘heat’ level of contemporaries has changed over the past decade. A lot of books that used to be classified as ‘erotic romance’ have found their way into this category. What are your thoughts on the heat levels in contemporaries? What level do you prefer to read?

My favourite authors (in no particular order) are: Jennifer Bernard, Julie James, Sarah Mayberry and Victoria Dahl.

My top 10 must reads in contemporary (again in no particular order):

  • The Look of Love by Bella Andre (San Franscisco Sullivans #1)
  • Shelter Me by Catherine Mann (Second Chance Ranch #1)
  • Beach House No. 9 by Christine Ridgway (Beach House No. 9 #1)
  • Royally Screwed by Emma Chase (Royally #1)
  • Flat Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy (Fast Track #1)
  • The Fireman Who Loved Me by Jennifer Bernard (The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel #1)
  • Sworn to Protect by Jo Davis (Sugarland Blue #1)
  • Trial by Fire by Jo Davis (Firefighters of Station 5 #1)
  • Something About You by Julie James (FBI/US Attorney #1)
  • Close Enough to Touch by Victoria Dahl (Jackson #1)

Who are your favorite authors and must-read books in the contemporary romance genre?

My top 5 favourite contemporary romance covers:

    

Happy reading!

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