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Feature book: From Fling to Wedding Ring

13 February 2019

From Fling to Wedding Ring by Karin Baine

Subgenre: contemporary romance
Release date: 1 May 2018
Publisher: Mills & Boon Medical
Format: ebook and print
Length: 192 pages
RRP: $5.99 (ebook); $11.75 (print)

This book has an unusual heroine and hero, both with loads of entangling emotional and physical baggage.

Nurse Mollie Forrester is very caring with her patients, most of them post-surgical, often after surgery for breast cancer. She uses tattoos to cover the scars in imaginative ways. She follows the edict to treat the whole person, not just the affected anatomy, and works hard to establish a close rapport and trust with those under her care. And it usually works, which gives her tremendous job satisfaction.

There is a deep and personal reason why she works hard to diminish and minimise scars. She had a tremendously serious childhood accident which could have killed her. I won’t spoil what happened, but the effects and resultant scars gave and keep giving her deep distress for all she put her family through. Sadly, she blames herself. She’s also had some bad relationships where—you guessed it—men have shied away from her scarred body. Humph. We all instantly know that they weren’t heroes, and want to give them a smack for being so shallow; they’re so not worthy of Mollie!

Still. She’s now extremely reluctant to enter into a romantic relationship, in case she gets hurt yet again. Totally understandable. But in avoiding dates or any sort of social life, she gets a formidable ice queen reputation. No middle ground, poor Mollie.

She clashes with handsome surgeon Ben Sheridan about a patient, and mentally consigns him to her never to date or speak to if she can help it ‘list’. Yet he keeps on popping up all over the place, including popping up as her dance partner in a charity dance—which they have to practise for together. Who knew Ben Sheridan could dance? Who knew he was interested in charity work? Who knew that away from work he seems so nice and genuine?

Ben is actually a lovely, caring man, but totally exhausted and harried by his private life. His parents, no love lost there, have swanned off and deserted his sick grandfather, who is slowly sinking into the horrible jaws of Alzheimer’s Disease. Ben’s moved his grandfather into his own flat and employed a carer to help when he’s not there, but she only has to turn her back and something disastrous occurs. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is truly a 28-hour-a-day, never-turn-your-back job.

Ben has admittedly become snappy simply through sheer exhaustion, carrying his huge personal and professional load. His social life is also a disaster as he tries to juggle his demanding job and his role as carer. Who wants a difficult, sick old man, whose moods turn on a pin, to be part of a new relationship? It’s something I’m sure lots of readers can identify with.

Then, along comes Mollie.

This is a beautiful book, really, a study of tolerance and care and beautiful love as Karin Baine unpacks the difficult baggage both Ben and Mollie have … and make them right for each other. Wow, what a journey.

reviewed by Malvina

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

Release day: The House of Second Chances

12 February 2019

Today is the official release of The House of Second Chances by Esther Campion (trade paperback and ebook, Hachette Australia). Here’s the blurb:

Can a house heal heartache? From coastal Australia to the rugged beauty of Ireland, an enchanting novel of starting over, in the tradition of Maeve Binchy and Monica McInerney

Their grandmother’s stone cottage was always a welcome retreat in the childhood summers of Ellen and Aidan O’Shea. After a trip home from Australia, Ellen is keen to bring the neglected property back to its former glory and enlists the help of her dear friend and one of Ireland’s top interior designers, Colette Barry.

Aidan is already begrudging the work on the house he has avoided for nearly twenty years. The last thing the builder needs is an interior designer who seems to do nothing but complicate his life. With their own personal heartaches to overcome, will Aidan and Colette find the courage to give the house and themselves a second chance?

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

Thanks, ARRA, for having me back with my second novel. The story is set around the renovation of an old farmhouse in West Cork, a beautiful part of Ireland. Builder Aidan O’ Shea has been avoiding his grandmother’s house for almost twenty years, but when his sister in Australia decides to turn the house into a business, he is thrust on to the project along with Ellen’s interior designer friend, Colette Barry. Colette is keen to get on with the job but when her ideas come up against resistance from Aidan, she is in for some challenging times. Both Aidan and Colette are struggling with the hurts of past lives, but the house presents an opportunity for healing, if only they can get out of their own way.

You can find out more about this book, including buy links, at Hachette.

Release day: Untamed Destinies

12 February 2019

Today is the official release of Untamed Destinies by Catherine Evans, Kim Petersen and Beth Prentice (ebook, Whispering Ink). Here’s the blurb:

Sometimes, love is inescapable

Snuggle up, relax, and prepare to fall in love as you journey through three of the most romantic tales you might ever experience!

Untamed Destinies is the brand-new romance anthology from bestselling authors, Beth Prentice, Kim Petersen and Catherine Evans.


The Ivory Veil by BETH PRENTICE ~ Sweet
Wildflower by KIM PETERSEN ~ Sexy
Storm Struck by CATHERINE EVANS ~ Sweet

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

Untamed Destinies contains three uniquely different novellas, with differing heat levels, and different genres, but at the core of them all is finding your soul mate. Catherine Evans writes a gorgeous rural romance, Kim Petersen drifts into the mystical world of psychically connecting with your soul mate, and I write a sweet romance with a touch of mystery. Together we’ve created a book where the reader can escape into diverse worlds with contrasting styles, and hopefully find their next favourite author.

You can find out more about this book at Beth’s website or buy it from books2read.

Release day: Finding Marnie

12 February 2019

Today is the official release of Finding Marnie by MV Ellis (ebook and paperback, Hot Tree Press). Here’s the blurb:

Their love is a legacy of broken hearts and shattered dreams. Can they find each other without losing themselves?

He is everything I want but know I can never have.
Every fiber of my being has ached for Luke from the very first moment we met. However, with my parents’ legacy of toxic obsession woven into my DNA, I know love is pain and should be avoided at all costs. I’m unloved and unlovable. Still, in moments of weakness, I allow myself to imagine what it would be like if I was the kind of woman who deserved the love of a man like him.

She is hiding in plain sight, waiting for me to find her.
Marnie has had my heart from day one, and always will. It’s just a shame I couldn’t muster the words to tell her so when we first locked eyes. It’s a failing I will live to regret for years to come. However, I’m determined to make things right, even if it takes me a lifetime. I need her to know she is enough. In fact, she is more than that. She is everything.

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

Finding Marnie is the fourth instalment of the Heartless Few series, but can also be read as a standalone novel. The previous three books focus around the tumultuous relationship between Arlo and London, while Finding Marnie focuses on Arlo’s twin brother Luke and their long-time friend Marnie. Though physically identical to bad boy Arlo, when it comes to personality, he and Luke are as different as night and day. This story follows the serious and broody ‘quiet twin’, and the tragically troubled Marnie, as they struggle to balance their love for each other with the ghosts that haunt them from the past. Expect angst, tragedy and heartbreak aplenty, as the two battle their way to their happy ever after.

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

Author spotlight: Michelle Montebello

11 February 2019

We’re featuring a wide range of Australian authors participating in ARR2019 next year in venues across Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. 

Today we’re having Elevenses with Michelle Montebello, author of three romances in the genres of women’s fiction and mystery. She will be attending ARR2019 in Sydney.

When did you first realise you wanted to be an author?

I think from the moment I could write it’s all I ever wanted to do. I always had my head stuck in a book or with a pencil and paper in my hand. And when I realised there was no limit to the imagination and the worlds and characters I could create, I wrote pages and pages and pages.

Why romance and not a different genre?

There’s something about romance that tugs at the heartstrings. There are so many layers to work with in this genre: love, adversity, tragedy, intimacy, secrets. And all of these aspects resonate with both readers and writers alike.

What was the first romance you read and why did you love it?

Kaleidoscope by Danielle Steel was the first romance I read when I was a teenager and it kicked off a Danielle obsession. I loved the stories of the three orphaned children and how they came together all those years later having led completely different lives, some not even knowing they had been adopted out. I devoured it in one sitting and went straight back to the school library to borrow every other Danielle Steele book on the shelf.

What is the single most important characteristic for an aspiring author wanting to be a published writer?

Perseverance. There will be plenty of people who will knock you back, critics who won’t enjoy your stories and new releases that won’t go as well as you’d hoped. But if you write because it makes you truly happy then keep going. Do what you love! Soak up the learning!

What is your favourite part of creating a story?

World building and setting. I’ve been known to choose a location first and build the story and characters around it.

What is your best tip for fighting writer’s block/writer’s fear?

I like to move away from the laptop and do something mundane like hang the clothes on the line, empty the dishwasher or take the kids to the park. Once I’ve taken the pressure off myself, the words and ideas seem to come naturally. Panic is your worst enemy when fighting the “block”.

Pick a favourite (bold your preference)

  • series or stand-alone?
  • ebook, paperback or hardcover?
  • first person or third?

Who has been an inspiration to you, in life or your writing career?

There are too many to name, but my parents mostly. They are so supportive (and just a teeny bit proud) of everything I do.

Tell us about your latest release in 100 words or less

The Quarantine Station is set to be released in February 2019. It’s an historical fiction about a woman, Emma Wilcott, whose grandmother Gwendoline, a dementia-sufferer, has a habit of wandering from her bed at night. Gwendoline’s childhood memories often lead her to the water and Emma knows she must find out before an accident occurs. Her questions draw her to the Quarantine Station on Sydney’s North Head where Gwendoline grew up, and there Emma begins to unravel a compelling mystery of secrets and forbidden love that span a century. The Great War, Spanish Influenza pandemic and the Quarantine Station form the backdrop of this dual-timeline story.

What else will you be working on in 2019?

I have a few ideas bubbling away for my next piece. At this stage it will be a romance mystery standalone. I’m thinking amnesia and marital secrets!

Please recommend an Aussie romance you read recently

Burning Fields by Alli Sinclair. I’m fascinated with WWII and, even better, the backdrop was Australia. It was a fantastic book that I had trouble putting down.

If you haven’t booked your ticket for ARR2019 yet, you can buy one here.


Guest blogger: Alissa Callen

10 February 2019

Your next read could be just around the corner

A few years ago, in a small rural village, I saw a white bookshelf attached to a post. Curious, I stopped. Behind the dusty glass doors were neat piles of pre-loved books. It was such a simple concept to share the joy of reading, and yet such a powerful one. So whenever I drove on that back road again I’d take a book to leave.

It wasn’t until a local Dubbo church put up a hand-painted street library that I realised the bookshelf I’d seen wasn’t an isolated occurrence. Little free libraries, or street libraries as they are known here, can be found worldwide. In 2009 Todd Bol crafted a model of a school house, set it up outside his house and filled it with books as a tribute to his mother who had been a school teacher. Today there are more than 75,000 little free libraries in 85 countries.

On a recent research trip I planned my itinerary with a new focus: to see as many street libraries as I could and to leave some books. On a country road outside of Cowra I found a rural library made out of an old fridge. In Canberra, which is a mecca for street libraries, I discovered one designed as a Tardis and another that had its own couch. In Victoria I then came across a sweet little library in a leafy green street.


In my recent release, The Round Yard, Neve Fitzpatrick treasures the copy of a childhood Silver Brumby book she found on a community bookshelf at a small corrugated-iron hall. When she needs to find a new sense of purpose she establishes a street library at the adventure playground of small town Woodlea. The action is symbolic as it represents her re-engagement with life and her openness to new possibilities—especially when it comes to the drover Tanner Callahan.

So, wherever you live—city, coast, suburbia or the outback—to discover if there is a tiny street library just around the corner please visit

You can find Alissa here: Website | Facebook

The Round Yard

For only child Neve Fitzpatrick, family is everything. When she loses her mother, she heads to the bush to rent a farmhouse near her grandmother’s family home. To keep herself busy and her grief at bay, she offers to look after two little redheaded cowgirls and adopts a sassy pony and sweet donkey in need of a refuge.

Drover and horse trainer Tanner Callahan may have just found his mother, but he’s resolved never to let anyone too close. Abandonment has cursed him all his life, and he won’t let it happen again. Only two things unnerve him: children and small-town matchmaking. Then he meets occupational therapist Neve. Warm-hearted and unforgettable, she represents all that Tanner feels will forever remain out of reach.

But when an old iron key unlocks family secrets from the Second World War, Neve needs help only Tanner can give. As the threads of the past unravel, and locusts threaten to suffocate the land, Neve and Tanner must make a choice. Will fear keep them running or is the home each yearns for already within grasp?


Author spotlight: Nicole Hurley-Moore

8 February 2019

We’re featuring a wide range of Australian authors participating in ARR2019 next year in venues across Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. 

Today we’re having Elevenses with Nicole Hurley-Moore, author of 9 romances in the genres of rural romance and fantasy. She will be attending ARR2019 in Melbourne.

When did you first realise you wanted to be an author?

I was always interested in literature as a kid, but it probably wasn’t until I started working in libraries that I started thinking about writing.

Why romance and not a different genre?

I think most of the stories that resonate with you have a love element within them. Perhaps it’s not always romantic but it’s there none the less. Love is a universal truth that the majority of us can identify with. We all know what it’s like to fall in love and how powerful that can be. That aside, I’m a great fan of happily-ever-afters and romances are always full of hope.

What was the first romance you read and why did you love it?

Besides all the fairytales as a kid, the first romance I read was Katherine by Anya Seaton. I was thirteen and I still have a crush on John of Gaunt because of it.

What is the single most important characteristic for an aspiring author wanting to be a published writer?

Believe in yourself and don’t give up.

What is your favourite part of creating a story?

Wow! That’s not fair, how can I only pick one? Um… maybe plotting.

What is your best tip for fighting writer’s block/writer’s fear?

Fresh air and walking … I walk a lot. LOL.

Pick a favourite (bold your preference):

  • series or stand-alone?
  • ebook, paperback or hardcover?
  • first person or third?

Who has been an inspiration to you, in life or your writing career?

I’ve been inspired by many authors. In romance it’s the amazing Nora Roberts for both her wonderful stories and her work ethic. Jane Austen for her wit and showing us all just how sexy a well-tied cravat can be, and Baroness Orczy for giving us that damned elusive’ Scarlet Pimpernel.

Tell us about your latest release in 100 words or less

Henny Bolton’s life changed when her best friend drowned at Killop Reservoir ten years ago. She fled the town and tried to put the tragedy behind her. But the death of her mother forces Henny to return to Lawson’s Bend. While she’s there, questions about the past start to resurface and Henny begins to wonder if what happened at the reservoir was actually an accident after all.

What else will you be working on in 2019?

I have to finish my next rural, Heron’s Reef (working title). Added to that, I’m playing with an Australian historical and a dystopian story.

Please recommend an Aussie romance you read recently

I’m in the middle of writing my latest rural, which means I don’t read romances, particularly contemporary ones, while I do it. But I did really love Marry in Haste by Anne Gracie and at the moment I’m working my way through Fire and Blood by George RR Martin and Arcadia by Di Morrissey (which are both brilliant by the way).

If you haven’t booked your ticket for ARR2019 yet, you can buy one here.