Here’s your periodic reminder that Harlequin’s website is full of free online reads!
Happy 22nd birthday to the only Regency romance you’ll ever find that has ostriches on the cover! You can read more about it on Goodreads:
Bushfire sunset in Canberra
Merry Christmas! I know it’s too early, but we’re celebrating today because we’re going away next week.
The bushfire haze in Canberra has been horrendous. It’s hot, and for days there was smoke in your eyes and your throat even if you stayed inside. I live surrounded by mountains, and the smoke was so thick I couldn’t see them anymore. Now the west of the country is on fire, too.
The volcano disaster in New Zealand dominated the news here this week because the majority of the people killed and injured were Australian. It’s horrific.
What a pretty Christmas cover for Holiday Homecoming Secrets by Lynette Eason!
A man from her past is back—
to help her solve a holiday murder case.
A friend is missing and presumed dead, and detective Jade Hollis is determined to track down the killer. To do that she must team up with private investigator Bryce Kingsley—who doesn’t know he is the father of her child. But she’ll have to put personal secrets aside because the killer will strike again to keep the truth from being exposed.
Back to normal here – crazy cat is still crazy…
So, here I am, back home from Europe. Even though my unpacking still hasn’t been completely successful, I already feel like I’ve been here for a year!
Now the “fun” begins. I’m doing some huge edits on my next book, which at the moment my editor and I are calling “The Landowner’s Secret 2” (because I don’t want to come up with a title, and she hasn’t yet, either!). I plan to add several thousand words into the manuscript to expand on a few things, which is going to be a big task to have done over the next two weeks.
I also have the third book to finish, and I want that done before Christmas (which is frighteningly close now!).
A trip to the cemetery in Queanbeyan, just before the border with Canberra, on Friday afternoon (my grandparents are buried there). If you ever wonder what landscape inspires my writing, take a look at it.
I visited the library again on Monday. After figuring out the scary returns scanner, I sent two (of six) books back, and came home with eight more!
Yes, I’ve already read Marrying Winterborne, but I wanted a look at the hardcover version. I’m going to return it for someone else to borrow at the start of next week.
The USSR book is actually a 1980s encyclopaedia of Eastern European costumes, and the section about Ukraine was so fantastic (and strangely accurate, considering Russian propaganda – the only information crossing the Iron Curtain to get to the west – was [and still is] so anti-Ukrainian) I just had to borrow it. I actually want to buy it!
Lunchtime at my aunt’s house in Queanbeyan the same day I visited the cemetery.
My amazing writing view in sunny Canberra this week.
A scorching encounter in the Cuban heat…
Now she’s carrying her boss’ baby!
The wild vibrancy of Kitty’s new home in Havana must be infectious. Why else would the naturally cautious rum distiller have succumbed to the sudden desire to seize one night with a stranger? But if it’s shocking to learn that César is actually her powerful, elusive boss, it’s nothing compared to Kitty’s latest bombshell—she’s pregnant!
Lose yourself in this sparkling pregnancy romance!
This was a good little book, and has the most sensible, mature (in behaviour, not age) characters I’ve ever come across in an instalment in Harlequin’s Presents line. There was no manufactured melodrama. However, it gets a bit hard to believe in a “sexy billionaire” story set in a communist country.
Perhaps some readers will find the lack of major conflict in Consequences of a Hot Havana Night a little too tame, but it was nice to come across a Presents hero who didn’t go around treating the heroine like garbage and accusing her of random things she didn’t do. Even though he had a “bad ex” in his past, he also didn’t take those issues out on the current woman in his life.
Also, this was a heroine with an interesting career, which was a nice change!
I love Cuban culture – who doesn’t? And Havana is a colourful, exciting choice to set a Presents instalment.
However, Cuba is also one of only five communist countries left in the world (alongside North Korea, China, Vietnam and Laos). And the realities of communism are ugly – very ugly. This story could never happen, because Cuban citizens are unable to live the lives depicted in the book. It doesn’t matter how pretty Havana looks in the tourist brochures.
There is a review on Goodreads by someone who is actually Cuban that succinctly illustrates why the setting is problematic.
On the other hand, I doubt the communism issues will enter the minds of most readers (my family escaped the Soviet Union; it’s a touchy subject for me). Don’t let that dissuade you from reading this book.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.
I did something spectacularly stupid on Wednesday: I tripped and fell onto the glass corner of a piece of furniture – WITH MY FACE! I’ve spent the rest of the week with the right side of my jaw badly bruised, and also sliced in two places. It’s made going out in public pretty embarrassing! I’m very lucky I didn’t do something much worse – or kill myself – so a funny-looking face is definitely the best option.
Lots of work this week – and the realisation I want to change something in my first book, but it’s far too late now! I’m having a bit of trouble balancing historical accuracy with not causing offence to twenty-first century readers:
I’m also wading through the seventy-gazillion websites authors are apparently supposed to be on, such as BookBub.
Some of my travel plans have changed, and it now turns out I’d have been able to attend the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Melbourne next month, but it’s too late. (However, I definitely had an “Oh my God, I’m a published author!” moment when Harlequin emailed to ask what parties I’m attending. Apparently you get special – free – perks when you write for them!)
I’d like the opportunity to speak to certain people face-to-face about things, but it’s not going to happen this year. Instead, I’m busy stressing about pitching future books…
From penniless delivery girl…
To billionaire’s bride?
The perfect summer Ally Jones spent with gorgeous French billionaire Dominic LeGrand was unforgettable, despite her unrequited feelings. Now Ally’s a struggling courier and is stunned when her latest delivery brings her to Dominic’s door. Yet what’s even more shocking is his proposal! Dominic needs a temporary wife, but with the enticing promise of his expert seduction teasing Ally to her limits, can she really just play the role?
Lose yourself in this tantalising marriage of convenience…
When I picked this one up, Harlequin’s Presents line had been on my mind (due to discussions in a writers’ group). It had been ages since I’d read one of these, and I thought something by Heidi Rice was a good way to return.
The Presents line is, as some authors call it, “fairy tales for adults”. It delivers a steamy, larger than life story, with tropes galore.
Contracted as His Cinderella Bride worked for me. I actually enjoyed it a lot more than many Presents books because both hero and heroine approached their fake relationship like adults, and there was no melodrama. Rice delivered all the wealth and opulence – as well as the alpha male – without making the book seem “old school”. And this was a heroine who was a little down on her luck, but who had ambition, and a career in her future.
I loved the London and New York locations, and I especially loved that the author seemed to know her settings personally. They weren’t just window dressing. The reference to the overcrowded Trevi Fountain on the trip to Rome was also welcome, because, honestly, these days there’s nothing romantic about the place:
From my last trip to Rome in 2016. You can’t even see the water!
There were a handful of things in the steamier scenes I could take issue with (we really need some new terms that aren’t “velvet over steel” and “bundle of nerves”!), but I did like how the author subtly changed her terminology when the characters went from England to the United States. In fact, I loved that.
This book delivered exactly the quick-read fairy tale (for adults!) I wanted.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.