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Favourite reads: Jun 2017

5 July 2017

Books_purpleWelcome to our Favourite Reads for June. 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 June …

Playing the Player by Amy Andrews (book 3, Sydney Smoke Rugby) (contemporary romance)

I have had this one waiting for me since release day and I have been really looking forward to it, seeing as how much I loved the first two in the series and boy did I love it. Ms Andrews has such a way with words! She brings out the best in her characters and this one is a hot, sexy, awesome story, one that I could barely put down. I laughed and smiled throughout this journey to a very sexy HEA with rugby star Lincoln Quinn and school teacher Em Newman. My advice: get yourself a drink and sit back and enjoy, because things are going to hot up very nicely. [Helen, NSW]

Under Her Skin by Adriana Anders (book 1, Blank Canvas) (contemporary romance)

This is like a Beauty and the Beast story, although they are both ‘beasts’ by accident. Uma’s on the run, terrified. Ivan’s an ex-con loner, scarred by life, now a blacksmith. She has different sorts of scars—you’ll need to read it to find out what. These two damaged souls have a fairly tumultuous romance, it’s a bit outside the box, and I loved the difference of it all and the surprises it brings—and how moving it is. You know there’s going to be a tremendous showdown at the end; she can’t keep running forever. It does come, and the ending takes your breath away. Pretty steamy, a great romance. [Malvina, NSW]

The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick (historical romance)

I’m a long-time fan of Nicola Cornick’s historical romances, which are a beautiful combination of historical atmosphere and passionate love story. These days, Nicola is writing dual (and sometimes triple) time-line stories, which I’m also loving, especially her latest, The Phantom Tree, which combines a Tudor and a contemporary romance with time travel, ghosts and clairvoyance. As you can imagine, this makes for a really rich brew—I couldn’t put the darn thing down. It’s powerful and mysterious and very romantic. Cue dark circles under my eyes the day after I finished it at 2am. [Anna, Qld]

Silver Silence by Nalini Singh (book 1, Psy-Changeling Trinity) (paranormal romance)

Knowing that Silver Mercant was the heroine of this book, it was hard to imagine a perfect hero for her, but Nalini has created a splendid one. I had a few problems with repetitive descriptions and the larger plot wasn’t as compelling as some, but ignore these little niggles and read this book for the pleasure of getting to know Valentin Nikolaev. He is an absolute sweetheart, with his own brand of true alpha-ness. I hope we get more of Singh’s bears in future books. [Deb, NSW]

Death and Relaxation by Devon Monk (book 1, Ordinary Magic) (urban fantasy)

This is the first book in an awesome new series set in a sleepy sea-side town called Ordinary. The town is anything but ordinary, as it is the vacation spot of choice for gods. Delaney is the police chief and she is responsible for keeping the gods’ powers safe while they’re on vacation, as well as policing the mortals and paranormal residents of the town. And now her long-time crush Ryder is back in town and maybe, just maybe, the time is finally right for something between them. If someone doesn’t kill her first. There is so much to love about this town and its characters, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. [Debbie, ACT]

All That I Am by Rachel Brookes (book 1, Men of Monroe) (contemporary romance)

This book was a long time coming, but it was worth the wait. The Men from Monroe are to die for. Rachel has written two great characters that leap from the pages and immerse you in their story. Kudos to Rachel for finishing this story when she could have given up on it. [Diane, NSW]

Feature book: The Spanish Tycoon’s Takeover

5 July 2017

The Spanish Tycoon’s Takeover by Michelle Douglas

It will be a loving act for his late grandfather. The chance to have revenge on the woman who cheated at cards to win the hotel from his grandfather.

Wynne Stephens is looking forward to meeting the man who has bought Aggie’s Retreat. She needs the money to pay for her grandmother’s, Aggie, nursing care. Wynne is fine with any changes the owner will make as she will still be the manager. She is concerned about her staff as she has collected staff from various sectors of society including ex-prisoners and people with disabilities.

Xavier Ramos is a hotel tycoon. He has bought Aggie’s Retreat as part of his revenge against Aggie and the manner in which she treated his grandfather. The man he loved and respected the most. Xavier wants to turn it into a luxury resort. He has arrived on the Gold Coast intent on exacting his revenge for his grandfather. He very quickly learns that Wynne is not what he expected and he needs to work around her all while she is getting under his skin.

As the days go on and he learns more about the hotel he becomes more determined. But it is Wynne’s caring nature about her staff, and his son, that has Xavier thinking about other possibilities. It is when he finds out that he will not get any satisfaction from facing Aggie he wonders why he ever thought he should seek revenge. The refurbishment of the hotel is a show of his love for Wynne. And as much as I would love to describe the whole scene for you, I think it is better to read how he shows Wynne he loves her.

For Xavier buying the hotel teaches him many lessons in life. He also finds his son’s nanny is in cahoots with his ex-wife, making sure that Luis is afraid to come near his father. Wynne is able to show him that his son needs him. And for that he is grateful. But it is Wynne herself that makes him be the man he wants to be.

Upon reflection, there are interesting aspects to the story. Wynne as champion for those marginalised by society. There was no temper or insecurity shown by Wynne only focus and determination and I really liked that in this heroine. She didn’t have ‘to stomp her foot’ to get her way, she did it nicely and subtly. It was a great read.

Reviewed by Heather

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

Release day: Devoted

4 July 2017

Today is the official release of Devoted by JC Harroway (book 3, Recovery) (ebook, Escape Publishing). Here’s the blurb:

Some choices are easy. Some choices are hard. And some choices will break our hearts…

When jaded movie director, Tyler Wentworth meets Mallory Hughes on the set of his latest movie, he immediately notices two things: she’s too sweet and she’s somehow familiar. But he has no time for mysteries – as long as she can do her job and continue to keep her notorious starlet out of trouble, she can keep her secrets.

Mallory knows exactly who Tyler is, the young man she had a huge crush on has grown to a Hollywood heavy-weight. But the last thing she wants is to be associated with the shy, awkward girl she was then. She’s here professionally, managing her troubled sister who has the talent to be the biggest star on screen, but a turbulent past. This is Bobbie’s last and best shot, and Mallory will do nothing to jeopardise it.

But as the filming begins, Mallory not only finds herself drawn more deeply to this grown-up Tyler, but that her attraction is more than reciprocated and she can’t help herself from indulging in all of her girlish fantasies. However, when their pasts catch up, she is going to have to choose between the sister she’s devoted her life to and the man who’s won her heart.

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

Creating a story set in the world of movie making is always fun: the glamour of film premieres, the interesting locations (this one is set in stunning Canada) and the technical aspects present research challenges I embrace. And the love story between sexy Canadian movie director, Tyler Wentworth and vintage-loving talent manager, Mallory Hughes, added a fresh dimension to the typical Hollywood trope. But the story also deals with some darker themes of addiction and loss and the family bond. Devoted is a standalone story and the last book in the Recovery series: Recovery, Entwined, Devoted.

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

Publisher pitch: Tule Publishing, Jul 2017

3 July 2017

Tule PublishingTule Publishing brings you the best in commercial fiction, from romance to chick-lit to compelling women’s fiction. Whether you’re in the mood for sexy or sweet, Tule bring you fresh, modern and exciting plots and beloved classic romance.

Tule has over 80 authors who have unique styles, terrific voices and have helped us grow to house over 300 titles, and garner eight RITA® nominations and one win in three years.

We love our readers and acclaimed authors! Visit us at or subscribe to our newsletter here.

This July, enjoy our new releases with titles from our Montana Born and Holiday imprints.

Sweet Summer’s Kiss by Debra Salonen (contemporary, Western). Is their love a cosmic connection or a karmic joke? Sometimes, the answer reveals itself in a kiss—a sweet kiss shared beneath a warm Montana summer sky.

Her Favorite Cowboy by Ann B Harrison (contemporary, Western). Can two strong-willed people turn a weekend of passion into a lifelong love?

Marry Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt (chick lit). When circumstances become even more difficult, Alice and Henry must decide who they really are and what they’re willing to fight for. Could Alice possibly be the next Lady of Willoughby Manor?


Guest blogger: Elise McCune

2 July 2017

Thank you for inviting me to the ARRA blog.

I was born in New South Wales, Australia and moved to Perth, Western Australia, where I raised my two children. I worked for ten years in the Western Australian Museum and during this time I travelled to Egypt and stayed in Cairo and Alexandria for an extended visit. I loved Egypt, its people and culture, and its history. I have always been a reader, I wrote short stories, and articles for publication during the years I was raising my children. It was only when I retired, with my children grown and settled, that I found a second career: writing novels!

In 2016 I gained a Certificate of Completion, the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program on fiction writing, centred on female authorial voices and female literary characters. It was a truly inspirational program.

My debut novel, Castle of Dreams, was published by Allen & Unwin. It is a poignant, luminous novel about two sisters, about a mother and daughter, a loved granddaughter, the past that separates them and the healing that comes with forgiveness.

Norwegian publisher Cappelen Damm published Castle of Dreams in translation in April 2017. I was thrilled when they sent me hardback copies in translation with a beautiful new jacket.

I have a fascination for the beautiful landscapes of Australia which I weave through my stories. A sense of place is important to me and I like to explore how characters are shaped by unfamiliar places. I enjoy writing dual narrative stories set in two time periods: the past and the present and I also explore the theme of how the past impacts on the present.

I am currently writing my second novel. One narrative thread is set in south-western Australia and the other in the lovely Tumut Valley in New South Wales, Australia, with several chapters set in 1920s London.

If I have an ability with words it is in storytelling and not literary fiction. In my novels, I take you on a journey with me. I write about love, family secrets, hope and betrayal, although I believe out of these love is more important than anything else. I hope to enchant you with my words.

I receive wonderful letters and emails from my readers, I answer every one, and I am grateful that through my stories I have, in some small way, given people something special.

I will be a speaker at the HNSA Conference, Swinburne University, Hawthorn, Melbourne, on 8–10 September. Visit our website for more information.

Have a lovely day, reading, writing, and dreaming.


You can find Elise here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Castle of Dreams

A ruined castle deep in the rainforest holds a secret that unites three generations of women: two sisters who find themselves in love with the same man as the Second World War rages and, decades later, a young woman determined to uncover the secrets in her grandmother’s hidden past.

Growing up together in a mysterious castle in northern Queensland, Rose and Vivien Blake are both sisters and close friends. But during the Second World War their relationship becomes strained when they each fall in love with the same dashing but enigmatic American soldier.

Rose’s daughter, Linda, has long sensed a secret in her mother’s past, but Rose has always resisted Linda’s questions, preferring to focus on the present.

Years later Rose’s granddaughter, Stella, also becomes fascinated by the shroud of secrecy surrounding her grandmother’s life. Intent on unravelling the truth, she visits the now-ruined castle Rose and Vivien grew up in to see if it she can find out more.

Captivating and compelling, Castle of Dreams is about love, secrets, lies – and the perils of delving into the past …

Publisher pitch: Totally Bound, Jul 2017

1 July 2017

Totally Bound logo

Hello everyone!

It looks like summer’s finally arrived here in the UK, and we’ve got the perfect erotic romance reads to enjoy in the sunshine this month with the best stimulation for your imagination!

First up, there’s an explosive new release to mark the start of a brand new Beautiful Saviors series by Pamela L Todd. Secrets, Lies and Fireworks shows that sometimes, to move forward, you have to go back.

Then 11 July sees a welcome return to Conor Corderoy’s Heat series, with In Hot Blood, an exciting action crime romance sure to get the blood pumping on those long nights!

We then welcome back Liz Crowe with two fabulous new releases. Witness a chance meeting, improbable connection and exquisite attraction in Conditioned, then discover a brew that brings two lovers full circle in Adjunct Lovers.

We end the month in style with the much anticipated release of Sparkling Souls by Jess Wright on 25 July. In this third book in the popular celebrity series, we see that chasing dreams is all well and good, but when dreams become reality, will the bubble burst?

With so much coming up, make sure you keep track of what else we have being released by visiting our website:

You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter where we divulge all our special offers and updates …

Here is the full list of releases in July:

  • Paradise Passion by Marisa Chenery
  • A Siren’s Song by Billi Jean
  • Secrets, Lies and Fireworks by Pamela L Todd
  • Pack Community by Crissy Smith
  • In Hot Blood by Conor Corderoy
  • Conditioned by Liz Crowe
  • Adjunct Lovers by Liz Crowe
  • Forgotten Love by Julianna Zacleese
  • Echoes of Love by Tanith Davenport
  • Daddy’s Rules by Arabella Kingsley
  • Sparkling Souls by Jess Wright
  • Two for Trinity by Bella Settarra
  • Tempestuous Trio by Lola White

Release day: Beneath the Parisian Skies

1 July 2017

Today is the official release of Beneath the Parisian Skies by Alli Sinclair (ebook and print, Harlequin MIRA). Here’s the blurb:

A sweeping saga about love, truth, grief and passion — and what it takes to fulfil a dream.

Paris, 1917

Ballerina Viktoriya Budian narrowly escapes Russia with her life. She arrives in Paris determined to start afresh with the famed Ballets Russes but her newfound success is threatened when her past returns to haunt her. Forced to choose between love and fame, Viktoriya’s life spirals out of control and the decision she makes seriously affects the lives of many for years to come.

Paris, present day

Australian dancer Lily Johansson returns to Paris, the city that broke her heart and destroyed her ballet career, hoping to ease the guilt over her fiancé’s death and to make amends with her estranged sister, Natalie, a ballerina with the Bohème Ballet. Terrified of loving again, Lily nevertheless finds herself becoming entangled with talented composer Yves Rousseau.

Meanwhile, vying for the role honouring Viktoriya Budian, Lily’s sister Natalie develops an unhealthy obsession. As Natalie’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, Lily fears for her sister’s safety and sanity. When Natalie goes missing, Lily and Yves set out on a desperate quest across France to find her and, along the way, battle their own demons.

Could the search for her sister lead Lily to realise that ballet — like love and life — should not be abandoned so easily?

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

I am super excited to introduce you to my latest book, Beneath the Parisian Skies. Paris is a fascinating and alluring city, so when I began researching ideas, I was delighted to discover Australia’s strong connection to the Ballets Russes, a ground-breaking dance company that collaborated with artists Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, and designer Coco Chanel, as well as Australian artist Sidney Nolan. The Australian Ballet grew from a ballet company started by Ballets Russes dancers, and the National Gallery of Australia has one of the largest collections of Ballets Russes costumes, designs and sets in the world. I couldn’t resist sending Lily, my Australian character, to Paris to unravel a one-hundred-year-old mystery about the Ballets Russes and, along the way, discover who she really is and what she wants in life—especially love. With Bohemian Paris, classic French and Russian artistry woven into the story, Beneath the Parisian Skies takes readers on an emotional and cultural journey. I’m absolutely delighted to take you on a journey to one of the most beautiful cities in the world and you can enjoy the experience from the comfort of your armchair—no passport required! If you’d like a sneak peek, you can download the free prequel novella, Parisian Dreams here.

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