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Feature book: A Life Worth Living

27 May 2015

A Life Worth LivingA Life Worth Living by Amanda Canham

Cameron Lewis returns to Brisbane Hospital to take up a new position as Senior Paediatric Physician in the Respiratory and Sleep department. He is trying to control his nerves when an interesting encounter with a woman in the elevator fills his mind with other musings. Soon after, he discovers this woman is a colleague, nurse Stacey Carter. As they work together, they begin to form a friendship. However, there is a spark of physical attraction underneath that is just waiting for ignition.

When Cameron asks Stacey to help him buy a birthday present for his young niece, they bond. Stacey confides that she is going through the process of IVF with an anonymous donor to be a single mother. Cameron doesn’t agree with this and then has a major anxiety attack when he finds himself in the baby clothing section. Cameron flees, leaving Stacey very angry, and it seems their relationship is over before it has begun.

Fortunately, they are able to talk through the events of the day and soon begin a relationship that is purely sexual. Both are happy with this arrangement but fate isn’t. When Stacey decides to ask Cameron to donate sperm so her child can at least identify the father, both their secrets are revealed. Cameron’s infant son died from cot death, his marriage broke down and he swore he wouldn’t try to replace his son in his heart. Stacey’s ex-husband kept putting off starting a family, then declared he didn’t want children, only to now be having a child with his new wife. Stacey is determined to now have the child she’s always wanted without the complications of a man.

Ms Canham has written a wonderful story that flows as the main characters develop a friendship, and then find that despite their best efforts, they have fallen in love. The happily ever after in this book is very rewarding as the characters find a way to grow and assist the other to achieve their dreams. You will be cheering for them at the end of the book, and I was very happy to learn this book is the first in a series. This is a sweet medical romance, detailing a medical area that usually doesn’t feature, which also adds to the richness of the story. I recommend trying this author, but I have to go and read her next one now on my kindle.

Reviewed by Tracey

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

Feature book: Rusty Nailed

27 May 2015

Rusty NailedRusty Nailed by Alice Clayton

Simon Parker (Wallbanger) and Caroline (aka Nightie Girl) are back, very much in love and busier than ever. For Caroline, it’s about to get even crazier. Her boss, Jillian, is getting married and taking an extended break. Adding to the extra workload, Caroline scores a huge account and is juggling that, learning just what it takes to run her own business. Having Simon away so much means she can concentrate on work. They talk every day (among other things!), and when he’s in town, catching up is very rewarding. After a trip down memory lane at a school reunion that Simon was reluctant to attend, until Caroline agreed to go with him, Simon is suddenly not travelling as much. Instead of feeling pleased to have her gorgeous man around more, Caroline is feeling the pressure.

So it’s back to the nostalgia of a Sex-in-the-City type setting. Not that I was a fan, but I’ve watched the ads and read the headlines. Devotees of this scenario are in for another treat.

So where are they headed? Does domestic bliss factor in to their future together? While Caroline revels in her exciting life, Simon is looking to the future. He is looking to settle down, giving up his harem and devoting his considerable skills to meeting Caroline’s needs. Sigh! Gorgeous dream man.

Caroline’s friends have mixed fortunes in their relationships. Three female friends pairing up with three male friends would have been perfect for all. Miami and Ryan are heading for ‘I do’, but not so Sophie and Neil. Alas, it’s not so easy to keep their distance when all their friends are together.

Between weddings, celebrations and weekend get-togethers, Sophie and Neil are out to prove they are over each other. Their antics and the machinations add an amusing and entertaining depth to this second in the series while Caroline and Simon learn to adjust to life as a couple.

It’s another enjoyable read for those who love the hectic lifestyles of the upwardly mobile and very rich. Well written and entertaining, but do read Wallbanger first. No hardship, really. :-)

Reviewed by Rosalie

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

Feature book: Storm Clouds

27 May 2015

Storm CloudsStorm Clouds by Bronwyn Parry

Erin Taylor loves her job as a park ranger at Goodabri National Park in country NSW, Australia. She has come a long way from her past, living with a father who ended up in jail. She is now content living in the small town of Strathnairn, fairly close to the park. She has made friends with the other rangers, but she is falling for one of her fellow rangers, Simon Kennedy, who is away from work at the moment. Erin has been working very hard covering for everyone but happily does so. Erin is a fun-loving, hard-working girl, who fits well into the community, and has coped well with the problems that fellow ranger, Jo, had not long ago with murders in the park.

Simon Kennedy also loves his job as a park ranger, but he is also in the army reserves after resigning from the army full time. He is sometimes called away for training exercises or sent overseas on dangerous assignments. He is getting close to Erin, but there are some things in his past that need to be sorted out (he has secrets, and of course he cannot talk about his work in the army) before he can take anything further. He is an honest and caring guy who did not have a great childhood but has overcome many of his issues.

Simon has been away with the army reserves for a couple of months and has finally returned home, keen to catch up with Erin. When they arrive at his home, they are met with a grisly sight. There is a dead woman in his study, and the study has been trashed. What is even more shocking is that the dead woman is Simon’s wife, Hayley. Erin is totally shocked; she did not know that Simon was married; neither did anyone in the town. The police are called, and homicide detectives are brought in from Sydney as well. When Simon is arrested on suspicion of murder, Erin is torn even though she knows that he is innocent. Because he had never spoken about his wife, trust needs to be rebuilt. And when another body is found a couple of days later and Simon also knows this woman, things start to heat up.

This is a fantastic story that has everything a romantic suspense should have, including danger when Erin discovers a cult in the district. Suspense heats up even more when they discover that Hayley and the second murder victim were close friends from the cult. By digging through computers and discovering a link between one of the detective’s sisters, Hayley and the leader of the cult, Simon learns something about Hayley that has left him determined to right any wrongs. Then, of course, Erin decides to go into the cult to try to learn more and meets the leader. Things get very scary as a storm hits, and the river is flooding, but the police can’t get through. Simon and his army buddy, Gabe, are able to get through. With some of the cult people realising that their leader is no longer who he used to be, people are saved from certain death.

This one will have you grabbing for tissues and cheering on the good guys. This is beautifully written and unputdownable. Don’t miss this one. I highly recommend it.

Reviewed by Helen S

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

Release day: Against the Tide

26 May 2015

Today is the official release of Against the Tide by Kat Martin (paperback and ebook, Zebra). Here’s the blurb:

Against the TideSecrets—and safety—melt under a midnight sun…

Liv Chandler is running for her life, and the cops haven’t been able to do a thing to help. But there’s one man who makes her feel safe, no matter what … rugged charter boat captain Rafe Brodie.

To Rafe, Liv is a beautiful mystery, one he can’t ignore. He means to unearth her secrets, and in the process, if luck is on his side, maybe the spark between them will ignite.

But Liv’s past is more dangerous than Rafe could guess, and when his first mate turns up dead, she fears that she’s next. That there’s something else coming she can’t see. That even Rafe and the remote village of Valdez, Alaska can’t protect her forever.

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

I’ve always loved Alaska. I finally got to make my first driving trip up there a few years back—a month on the road in the back of a pickup camper! I wrote a book called Midnight Sun when I got back. A few years later, I got the opportunity to make the same trip. By the time I got back, I had decided to write novels about three brothers. Those became Against the Wild, Against the Sky and Against the Tide. In Against the Tide, Rafe Brodie is the captain of a charter fishing boat fleet in tiny Valdez, Alaska. It’s a majestic but harsh and remote place to live. Fascinated by the new owner of the Pelican Café, Olivia Chandler, Rafe begins to wonder why such a beautiful young woman would want to hide herself away in such a place. Rafe is determined to solve the mystery but, when his first mate, young Scotty Ferris, is murdered, Rafe has a far more important mystery to solve. Since Scott was Liv’s friend, too, she is equally determined to find his killer. As the clues unfold, Rafe and Liv are drawn into a web of secrets and lies that lead both of them into danger. It’s a high action adventure. I particularly liked the characters and the love that develops between them.  I think this is one of my best.

You can find out more about this book at Kat’s website and buy it at Amazon.

Guest blogger: Nicki Edwards

24 May 2015

Nicki EdwardsI’ve known for months this guest blog post was coming up, so I was diligent and organised and had marked the date in my diary knowing that I was going to be busy with structural edits of my latest book as well as working full time when the post was due. I wrote it weeks ago and congratulated myself on my superb organisational skills. It was all systems go until something came up yesterday which totally changed the focus of my blog post. I knew I had to write about that instead.

One of the things I love most about the writing journey is research. I love researching names and places and events. For example, it might be researching what the weather would be at a certain time of year in a certain place, or what the top ten boys’ names were in Ireland in 1980. In Intensive Care I had to research the best types of chickens to keep, what time of the year agapanthus flowered and what indigenous language was spoken in the part of Australia my book was set.

I’ve spoken to other author friends and we laugh about the types of things people would find on our computers if they checked our Google search bar. Last week I had to reassure my husband that I’m not pregnant when he saw I’d typed ‘what is my due date if I conceived on 2nd January’! At lunch recently, a bunch of authors (would that be a ‘gaggle’ of authors?!) were overheard talking about how they could go about researching different ways of killing people without alerting authorities or Big Brother!

Because my books are medical romances, there’s also a lot of research and fact finding that goes into making them medically accurate. There’s nothing like another nurse to let you know you’ve made a mistake in a medical scene.

Yesterday I was doing some research for an additional scene in Emergency Response, which is due out in November with Momentum. What happened next is why I changed the focus of the blog post.

I work full time as a nurse and don’t have the luxury of flying to the places I write about, so I spend a lot of time on the internet researching places and talking to people who live in these country towns.

And that’s where readers are invaluable.

Emergency Response is set partly in the fictional town of ‘Birrangulla’ where Intensive Care was set, and partly in another fictional town in New South Wales I’ve called ‘Willandara’. Both of these towns are real places in which I have lived and visited so I felt relatively comfortable setting scenes in those places. But Emergency Response is also partially set in the Pilbara, in a mining town, in the middle of the desert—a place I’ve not yet had the chance to visit.

When I first started writing about this fictional town I’ve called ‘Iron Ridge’, I joined a Facebook community of people in a small mining town in the Pilbara. I reached out to them yesterday to ask some more questions about their town and to clarify some things for my book. Their response has overwhelmed me and totally blown me away.

I received emails of their first impressions of the town, I received photos of places they’d visited in and around the town and I even received stories about people in the community who they thought would make fabulous cameo roles in my next book.

I have changed the name of their town for privacy reasons, but this real place in the Pilbara with real people exists. And without these people and their support, I couldn’t write. I can dream up stories and imagine what it’s like to walk the streets of their town and smell the air and see what’s up ahead, but it’s not the same as having first-hand knowledge of a place. And for that, I want to say thank you.

Thank you to readers who engage in conversations with authors about characters or places or scenes in our books. Thank you to readers who ask what’s going to happen next? Thank you to readers who send photos and stories and little tidbits or points of interest. You never know, even tiny things can spark an author’s interest and help steer the direction of the book. That’s certainly been my experience so far.

I’m deeply indebted to the people of ‘Iron Ridge’ and hope to one day meet them in person and visit their wonderful town. As for the people of ‘Birrangulla’ and ‘Willandara’, I look forward to seeing you again sometime soon.

Thanks for your support of my debut medical rural romance, Intensive Care and thanks for reading this blog post today. I look forward to hearing from many more readers … maybe with a story or two for my next book!

You can find Nicki here: WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram

Intensive CareIntensive Care

Escaping to the country was meant to be easy…

On the surface it looks like busy Intensive Care nurse Kate Kennedy has it all: a long-term relationship, a great career and a sleek inner city apartment. But appearances are deceiving, and in one fell swoop everything comes crashing down around her. In a moment of spontaneity, Kate leaves her city life and takes a new role as Nurse Unit Manager at Birrangulla Base Hospital, but her dream move proves harder than expected.

Local café owner Joel O’Connor finds himself increasingly drawn to the gorgeous new nurse, but like Kate, he’s been scarred by love and isn’t looking to jump into anything. Yet their chemistry is hard to deny and after a near fatal incident, Joel and Kate find themselves opening up to one another.

Just when Kate thinks she’s found love again, their fragile relationship is thwarted by their pasts. Can they both let go of their guilt and grief to move on to a bright new future?

Release day: Limbo

22 May 2015

Today is the official release of Limbo by Amy Andrews (ebook, Escape Publishing). Here’s the blurb:

LimboSix Feet Under meets Stephanie Plum in Amy Andrews’ fresh, funny, sexy urban-family noir about a country singer who almost made it, a private investigator who’s seen too much and a mother who will cross all barriers to save her child.

When ex hillbilly-punk rocker turned cadaver make-up artist Joy Valentine is visited by the ghost of a high-profile murder victim begging for Joy’s help to find her kidnapped baby girl, Joy knows from experience the cops are going to think she’s crazy. So she takes it to the one guy she knows who won’t.

The last thing disgraced ex-cop turned private investigator Dash Dent expected is a woman from his past turning up to complicate his present with a nutty, woo-woo story. The problem is he knows Joy is telling the truth and he can’t ignore the compelling plight of baby Isabella whose disappearance six months prior transfixed the nation.

Discounted and discredited by the police, Dash and Joy work together to uncover the mystery and find Isabella, with a whacky supporting cast including Eve, a brothel madam; Stan, an excommunicated priest; Katie, Dash’s ten-year-old daughter; and two horny goldfish. It’s a race against time and against all odds – but the real battle for Dash and Joy might just be keeping their hands off each other.

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

I’m excited and nervous about the release of Limbo today. It’s a bit of a different book from my two other single titles, as I delve into several different romantic sub-genres—paranormal, noir and suspense/mystery. But there’s also some sexy times and a quirky, urban-family support cast that are my usual hallmarks. It really is still just me, I promise. With a ghost. And a PI. And fornicating goldfish … I hope you take a chance and pick it up. Dash Dent is waiting to be discovered!

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

Release day: Burning Blood

22 May 2015

Today is the official release of Burning Blood by Daniel de Lorne (Bonds of Blood, book 2) (ebook, Escape Publishing). Here’s the blurb:

Burning BloodFrom the author of the romantic horror debut Beckoning Blood comes the gripping sequel that mixes blood, sex and magic.

No one gets to choose who they spend eternity with.

Aurelia d’Arjou has vampires for brothers, but it is as a witch that she comes into her own power, keeping balance and control, using her strength to mitigate the death and pain that her brothers bring. When she is forced to take on the centuries long task of keeping the world safe from the brutal demon that wore her father’s skin, duty dominates her life. But rare happiness comes in the form of a beguiling, flame-haired oracle who makes the perfect companion…but for one thing.

Hame doesn’t want to be an oracle, but when a demon destroys the closest thing to a father he has, he has little choice but to aid Aurelia with his visions. Unable to love her as she would wish, their centuries-old friendship comes under attack when a handsome Welsh witch enters his life – and his heart.

As treachery and betrayal push Hame to choose between his closest friend and his lover, it becomes clear that when it comes to war, love doesn’t always conquer all, and happy endings are never guaranteed.

Daniel dropped by today to tell us a little about this book

After finishing Beckoning Blood, I realised that there was a whole other side to the story that needed to be told, which didn’t get much of a look-in, what with my vampiric twin brothers, Olivier and Thierry hogging all the spotlight (especially Olivier). This time around, I go into the history of their sister, Aurelia, and readers find out what’s really going on behind the scenes. It’s less gruesome than the first book—there’s definitely a softer approach—but that doesn’t mean it’s all roses (unless they’re covered in lots of thorns). Throw in a bit of unrequited love for a red-headed oracle, and envy over the appearance of handsome blonde witch, and you find that the d’Arjou family are never going to have it easy.

You can find out more about this book at Daniel’s website and buy it at Amazon or other online bookstores.

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