Lost in Shadows (Lost #2) by Anita DeVito


Private security entrepreneur Jeb McCormick is in over his head with his latest client. Not only is the painfully shy woman he’s meant to be protecting a total knock-out, she’s also his former Army buddy’s sister. Helping her find the reason why anyone would ransack her house is demanding enough, but keeping his hands off her is proving to be the real challenge.

Carolina Walker wants a quiet life, thank you very much. She left intrigue and deception behind in Washington D.C., never expecting it to follow her home to Bowling Green, Kentucky. When events happen that can’t be explained away, help arrives in the form of the very attractive and muscular Jebediah McCormick. But as the tension escalates between Jeb and Carolina, so does the danger facing them…

Lost in Shadows (Lost #2) by Anita DeVito

This is a solid story with likeable characters – and a hefty side-dose of paternalistic behaviour by the men.

I think there’s plenty to like, and I’m sure others will, too. However, I have big problems with men talking to women like they’re too timid to cope with reality.

The characterisation of the men in this book relies heavily on the creepy-as-hell promise ring, daddy owns my virginity and will come after you with a shotgun culture you hear coming out of more conservative regions of the US.

The heroine of this book is nearly thirty, but when her uncle (not even her father) finds her hanging out with a decent, high-achieving, reliable man he reacts like this:

“Take a hike, boyfriend. I’ve dealt with men like you my entire life. You may be good in a fight, but there’s no place for you in Carolina’s life. My brother is gone; that makes me the man who says you’re not good enough. Get your shit and get out.”

(This is the same uncle who just told the hero off for swearing in front of “ladies”!)

Weirded out, I kept reading.

Only to reach a point where the hero literally tells the heroine a bedtime fairy tale to help her sleep.

“A bedtime story.” He offered his elbow and escorted her back to her bedroom.

“Make it a happy one. One to chase the boogeyman (sic) away.”

And then she begs him to begin it ‘once upon a time’ – which he does. He even throws in princesses…

The men in this book treat women like infants.

This is the sort of patronising behaviour millions of women are taking to the streets to protest, and so I couldn’t stomach it in my romantic fiction. If that sort of thing doesn’t bother you as much, the writing is solid, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one more than I did.


Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Recommended Read

Burning Lies

With yesterday being the anniversary of the Canberra firestorm, I was thinking about natural disaster books, and remembered there’s one that actually begins with that particular series of bushfires.

Hélène Young‘s Burning Lies features Canberra on that insane, terrible day in 2003.

It’s so hard to find any suspense books with romantic elements set in Australia, but Young is one of the few -and is a reliable bet for a good read.

Burning Lies

Kaitlyn Scott is searching for the truth about her husband’s death, even if that means revisiting the most painful day of her life. But what she uncovers is a criminal willing to stop at nothing to keep his secret.

Ryan O’Donnell, an enigmatic undercover cop, is investigating arson attacks when he is drawn into Kaitlyn’s world. He tries to fight his attraction for her, hoping the case might put his own demons to rest, but it only threatens to push him over the edge.

With Kaitlyn and Ryan on a collision course, the arsonist seizes the chance to settle some old scores. As the Atherton Tableland burns, the three of them are caught in a fiery dance of danger and desire, and not everyone will come out alive.

Best of 2016

I get the impression I’m missing out on a lot of good books in my attempts to keep up with my review books! However, I did get to read some fantastic books by some of my favourite authors this year.

Yet again, I read more historical fiction than I intended to. I wonder if this is something that will ever change!

In no particular order, here are my favourite reads of 2016:

Marrying Winterborne (Ravenels #2) by Lisa Kleypas

Marrying Winterborne (2016) by Lisa Kleypas

Taking Fire (One-Eyed Jacks #4) by Cindy Gerard

Taking Fire (One-Eyed Jacks #4) by Cindy Gerard

Baron (The Knickerbocker Club #2) by Joanna Shupe

Baron (The Knickerbocker Club #2) by Joanna Shupe

The Summer Bride (Chance Sisters #4) by Anne Gracie

The Summer Bride (Chance Sisters book 4) by Anne Gracie

How to Rescue a Rake (Book Club Belles Society #3) by Jayne Fresina

How to Rescue a Rake (Book Club Belles Society #3) by Jayne Fresina

Sister of Mine: A Novel by Sabra Waldfogel

Sister of Mine A Novel by Sabra Waldfogel

Kiss, Kiss, Bark! by Kim Williams Justesen

(Yes, I enjoyed this Middle Grade book enough to buy a copy after finishing my ARC!)


The Wicked Duke (Wicked Trilogy #3) by Madeline Hunter

The Wicked Duke (Wicked Trilogy #3) by Madeline Hunter

Tycoon (The Knickerbocker Club 0.5) by Joanna Shupe

Tycoon (The Knickerbocker Club 0.5) by Joanna Shupe

The Dare and the Doctor (Winner Takes All #3) by Kate Noble


The Unexpected Marriage of Gabriel Stone (Lords of Disgrace #4) by Louise Allen

The Unexpected Marriage of Gabriel Stone (Lords of Disgrace #4) by Louise Allen mills and Boon Cover

Miss Goodhue Lives for a Night (Winner Takes All #2.5) by Kate Noble

Miss Goodhue Lives for a Night (Winner Takes All #2.5) by Kate Noble

Plus, one that isn’t out until next month, but I have already read and enjoyed:


Turquoise Guardian (Apache Protectors: Tribal Thunder #1) by Jenna Kernan


Her Warrior Protector

Carter Bear Den is a proud Apache of the Turquoise Canyon Reservation. The former US Marine is a member of the Turquoise Guardians working to protect his people and their land. When he discovers a grisly mass shooting at the Lilac Copper Mine, Carter’s one thought is to find Amber Kitcheyan.

After breaking her engagement to Carter and relinquishing her membership with the reservation, Amber found work at the mine. Now she is the sole survivor of the shooting at best a witness, at worst a suspect. But Carter swears to protect the only woman he has ever loved, even if it means losing everything else.

Turquoise Guardian (Apache Protectors: Tribal Thunder #1) by Jenna Kernan

How lovely to read a Harlequin book with a title that doesn’t involve words like Shame or Virgin or Daddy!

The concept for this series is interesting, as it involves Native Americans and brings their culture to the forefront of the story. I’m going to have to guess that the author has done her research, because she gets down to detail, and it seems she really knows what she’s talking about.

It was a strange thing to be drawn to a book because the blurb mentions a mass shooting, but at the same time I’m happy to see more real-world issues appearing in romantic suspense.

These Intrigue line books are short, and so the suspense keeps going from start to finish; the characters are constantly on the run. It was a good idea to make this a reunion romance, because people meeting from scratch would not have been believable. Of course, it’s tricky to fit romance into a story like this, but there weren’t too many spots it seemed odd to me.

Obviously it’s the terminology that is used in this society, but I found it really weird the way all white people were constantly referred to as “Anglos”. Not all white people are Anglo-Saxon. It’s like calling everyone in Asia “Indian”! I’ve never heard that term used that way before.

As with most of these super-short category books, I think this one could easily have been fleshed out into a longer story, but then it’s a tough job in itself to fit such a complete story into such a short timeframe, and I think the author did it.


Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 5th – 11th December


Here are three pictures of our AMAZING Canberra sunsets this week. I haven’t touched the pictures up; this is just what it looks like here in summer!



It’s nearly Christmas, and I’m not getting anything done! It seems there’re a thousand people one has to have lunch with in December, which means I’ve spent more time hanging out in the city, or at pubs in various parts of town, than I have actually achieving stuff!


Can we STOP talking about TIME Magazine like Hitler and Trump were the only monsters they picked, like Stalin and Putin weren’t also some of their “winners” who they named “Man” or “Person” of the Year?! Four maniacs, and TIME thinks it’s cute and cool to feature them like that. (The year after Putin was given the “honour”, he started invading countries – Georgia first.)

By the way: TIME only changed it from “Man” of the year to “Person” in 1999. That’s pretty disgusting. Only a few years ago…


I got my hands on a review copy of one of my most anticipated reads of 2017 this week, and no way was I waiting until next year to start it! I’m only 25% in now, and I love it, but I cannot understand why they have that female model in the terribly-fitted gown on the cover, when the heroine is supposed to be a stunning blonde…

However, READ THIS SERIES. It’s one of my favourites – ever. Even if the author thinks Stalin is a turn-on.

My review of Wrong Brother, Right Match (Anyone But You #3) by Jennifer Shirk


My review of Charles Dickens by Karen Kenyon


My review of The Hero (Sons of Texas #1) by Donna Grant


There are book covers…

The Bite Before Christmas by Heidi Betts

Christmas Book Sculpture


Book Christmas Trees


The Hero (Sons of Texas #1) by Donna Grant



Owen Loughman is a highly-decorated Navy SEAL who has a thirst for action. But there’s one thing he hasn’t been able to forget – his high school sweetheart, Natalie. After over a decade away, Owen is returned home to the ranch in Texas for a dangerous new mission that puts him face-to-face with Natalie and an outside menace that threatens everything he holds dear. He’ll risk it all to keep Natalie safe – and win her heart. . . .

Natalie Dixon has had a lifetime of heartache since Owen was deployed. Fourteen years and one bad marriage later, she finds herself mixed up with the Loughman’s again. With her life on the line against an enemy she can’t fight alone, it’s Owen’s strong shoulders, smouldering eyes, and sensuous smile that she turns to. When danger closes in, she holds close to the only man she’s ever loved…

The Hero (Sons of Texas #1) by Donna Grant

I WANTED to like this book. However, it fell victim both to some glaring research errors and the bane of the romantic suspense genre: mental lusting and sex at the most inappropriate times.

When I saw The Hero was about Russia and espionage, I got excited and wary in equal parts, because that’s a subject I know far too much about, and far too often Kremlin politics and aggression are glossed over and romanticised. I became a bit more hopeful when I realised that wasn’t the way the story was going (a nice surprise seeing how a Putin apologist just won the election!), but the mistakes drove me to distraction.

In the world, a country’s government is in the national capital city. Also located in national capitals are the embassies.

So why in the world was this book’s heroine working at “the Russian embassy in Dallas”? This was as wrong as putting the White House in Dallas. Yes, some bigger countries also have consulates (not embassies) in other cities, but even the Russian consulate in Texas is located in Houston.

The problem is that – and no matter how obsessed authors and publishers are with setting books in Texas – international espionage just doesn’t work when it’s taking place on a Texan ranch. I’m tired of the Texan cowboy trope anyway, but when political intrigue starts happening in such a location, it’s time for the romance genre to get a shake-up.

This was not my only problem, however. The thing that turns people off the romantic suspense subgenre the most is when characters start lusting after each other and having sex in terrible situations. And that is the case here from start to finish.

The book begins with hero and heroine walking into the house of family members/surrogate family members. The family has been murdered, and there’s blood everywhere.

Their reaction? An erection on his part and hard nipples on hers upon seeing each other again, followed by lots of thoughts about sex and relationships.

This sort of inappropriate behaviour continues throughout the whole book. I can’t like people whose reaction to death and violence is to fall straight into bed and worry about whether or not they might get back together.

In the end, I was disappointed with a book I really wanted to like. There was potential to deal with some real-world issues here, and going in I didn’t realise the entire story was going to be set on a farm. Political intrigue does not belong there.


Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 24th – 30th October


Gorgeous weather – finally! And the lilac has arrived.



It was an amazingly beautiful week here. Hot enough I accidentally got sunburnt when I was reading outside. As blue-skied and sunny as it looks in the pictures. The strong scent of spring flowers everywhere. And the bloody magpies (and their new babies) and currawongs (and their new babies) hanging around all day, and the magpies singing for snacks. In the warmer months I work outside as often as I can, but now whenever I duck inside for a moment I come back out to find birds sitting on my chair – and perched on top of my computer! I remember one time last summer a magpie decided it HAD to sit on my Kindle, and it managed to change my book, change the text size, and turn a bunch of pages!

We had a few Halloween things here this weekend. Halloween is a brand new holiday for most Australians, but it’s catching on fairly fast.

I know the tragedy at the theme park on the Gold Coast made the news overseas. Most of the people killed were from one family here in Canberra. What a disaster the whole thing has been.

As for the blog this week:

Release Day for Joanna Shupe


My review of Baron (The Knickerbocker Club #2) by Joanna Shupe

Baron (The Knickerbocker Club #2) by Joanna Shupe

You Had Me at Christmas


Romantic Suspense

Killing Time by Cindy Gerard

Nearly Halloween