Where It May Lead by Janice Kay Johnson

Where It May Lead by Janice Kay Johnson

A revelation that could ruin everything!

Instant attraction is the stuff of books and movies. Or so Alumni Relations Director Madison Laclaire believes…until she meets Detective John “Troy” Troyer. From closing down the restaurant on their first date to sharing steamy looks in meetings, Madison is completely into Troy. Even better, the feelings are mutual. Once this alumni weekend is over, they can pursue the plans they have for each other.

But those plans get sidelined when the college opens a decades-old time capsule. Inside, a student confesses knowledge about the campus’s only murder—an unsolved murder. Worse, Troy’s investigation points to Madison’s father as a suspect. Suddenly her loyalties are split. And making the wrong choice could cost her a future with Troy…

Where It May Lead by Janice Kay Johnson

I really hate how so many books describe the heroines as being so much shorter than the hero – only to have the cover designers use extremely tall models!

When I read the very excellent From This Day On last year, I didn’t realise there was a book that came before it that was connected. There’s actually no way you’d know – other than the fact the trigger for both books’ plots is the opening of a time capsule (and the fact the hero and heroine of the next book are in this one for a couple of sentences).

Both a really good books that have a strong mystery theme. Where It May Lead is as much about a cold case – a murder – as it is about the relationship. I liked it. I also like that the conflict in the relationship is a direct result of the time capsule revelation. Why is that? Because what hero, Troy’s father leaves in the time capsule is evidence implicating heroine, Madison’s father in the murder.

It’s really, really rare that an author can pull off a love at first sight sort of storyline. In this one it might not be actual love at first sight, but it’s something very close to it – and it’s believable.

I really just liked this book. However, that’s hardly a surprise, as I’ve never read a bad book by Janice Kay Johnson. She’s amazingly good, and recently has demonstrated a real talent for writing crime/mystery sort of stories. As ever, the packaging of Harlequin books wouldn’t immediately make you think that, but there’s a lot more to her stories than you’d expect.

One thing that made me wonder in this one is how many details so many people remembered from thirty-five years ago. Maybe people do remember that much when it is such a significant event as a murder on a university campus, but I’m not so sure. For example, about thirteen years ago I was questioned by police in relation to an attempted murder (which I was clearly a witness to, not the person doing it!), and just over a decade later I couldn’t give you the kinds of details these people were giving…

However, I liked this book so much. The romance genre has been a little stale recently, with lots of Navy SEALs and more sex than anybody could ever want to read. I’m loving that I still have favourite authors I can count on to deliver a strong plot, books that are smart to boot.

The Week: 6th – 12th January

Canberra Australia Sunset 9th January 2014 Sonya Heaney Oksna Heaney

Canberra’s gorgeous sunset on Friday night.

This week was all about Christmas – again! It was Ukrainian Christmas; we celebrate on the 6th, but the actual day is the 7th.

Ukrainian Christmas Canberra Australia 5th January 2014 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney

What I want out of 2014 – Historical Romance

Historical Romance Duke Book Covers

My review of Montana Bride by Joan Johnston

Montana Bride (A Bitter Creek Novel) by Joan Johnston

My review of The Earl’s Christmas Colt by Rebecca Thomas

The Earl's Christmas Colt by Rebecca Thomas

My review of Everywhere She Goes by Janice Kay Johnson

Everywhere She Goes by Janice Kay Johnson

My review of The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan

The Countess Conspiracy Book 3 in the Brothers Sinister Series by Courtney Milan

Everywhere She Goes by Janice Kay Johnson

Everywhere She Goes by Janice Kay Johnson

Standing between her…and danger  

Returning to her hometown is Cait McAllister’s chance to stand on her own. That means taking a break from men and relationships. Then she meets her new boss, the intriguing Noah Chandler. As the mayor, he’s got bold plans for Angel Butte. As a man, he’s so tempting that Cait’s vow of independence is in jeopardy. 

The most persuasive part of him, however, could be the way he looks out for her. Because when a threat from her past puts her in danger, Noah is there to protect her. And there’s no way she can resist a man who has so much invested in keeping her safe.

Everywhere She Goes by Janice Kay Johnson

This is the second book in Janice Kay Johnson’s Mysteries of Angel Butte series. Read them in order – not really because you have to, but because the first book is so good (and briefly introduces the hero and heroine of this one).

Janice Kay Johnson continues to hold top spot on my Harlequin authors list with this mystery/suspense/small town romance. She’s one of the few who writes small towns without the cheese factor. She also writes very contemporary-feeling characters (a rarity in books with this theme), and manages to produce believable suspense to boot.

Stalker themes are common, but not books with stalker themes that are written like this. The stalker is more than a plot device, and then theme helps the heroine to understand her past and grow into her future.

We have an endearingly hopeless hero who has no idea what is happening to him until he’s announcing he’s getting married – without even consulting his future bride.

Johnson writes flawed, realistic characters, people I would very much like to know. I wish she would write faster, as I’ve powered through her books recently and don’t know how patiently I can wait for the next one!

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Best of 2013

Just as I did last year, I’m going to make this a list of the books I *read* this year, rather than a list of books released in 2013. Many of these are 2013 releases, but not all of them! I’m sure I’ve also forgotten some of my favourites.

I’ve not included some great reads that wouldn’t fit into my ‘entertainment’ category; these are the best of the books I read for fun.

The strangest thing is how many historical books made it onto my list. For someone who used to swear I wasn’t interested in anything that combined history and romance I’ve certainly changed my tune!

I think my reading habits this year have changed a bit largely because of what has been happening in the contemporary genres. New Adult fiction (I have one book in this genre on my list, so I’m not saying they’re all bad!) has engulfed regular Adult fiction. There’s just so much misogyny on the market at the moment I don’t feel safe exploring too far with new authors… I’m also finding more complex storylines in historical books than many others (meaning there’s more to the plot than a drunk thug punching someone, followed by endless sex scenes with his doormat girlfriend!).

Seeing as suspense was my first true love (after I spent a while riding the paranormal bandwagon), I’m planning to add a bit more (contemporary) variety to my reading in 2014!

So, with that said, here were some of my favourite entertaining, emotional, funny or otherwise reads this year:

The Way Home by Cindy Gerard

The Way Home by Cindy Gerard

The Moorland Cottage by Elizabeth Gaskell

The Moorland Cottage by Elizabeth Gaskell

Kiss of Crimson by Lara Adrian

Kiss of Crimson by Lara Adrian

Killing Time by Cindy Gerard

Killing Time by Cindy Gerard

A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

Easy by Tammara Webber

Easy by Tammara Webber

Tactical Strike by Kaylea Cross

Tactical Strike by Kaylea Cross

Lethal Pursuit by Kaylea Cross

Lethal Pursuit by Kaylea Cross

What the Duke Desires by Sabrina Jeffries

What the Duke Desires by Sabrina Jeffries

Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas

Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas

The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie

The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie

The Perfect Waltz by Anne Gracie

The Perfect Waltz by Anne Gracie

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Man Drought by Rachael Johns

Man Drought by Rachael Johns

Ravishing in Red by Madeline Hunter

Ravishing in Red by Madeline Hunter

Provocative in Pearls by Madeline Hunter

Provocative in Pearls (The Rarest Blooms #2) by Madeline Hunter

Bringing Maddie Home by Janice Kay Johnson

Bringing Maddie Home by Janice Kay Johnson

From This Day On by Janice Kay Johnson

From This Day On by Janice Kay Johnson

Hattie Wilkinson Meets Her Match by Michelle Styles

Hattie Wilkinson Meets her Match by Michelle Styles

The Lady and the Laird by Nicola Cornick

The Lady and the Laird by Nicola Cornick

Caroline and the Duke by Sabrina Darby

 Caroline and the Duke A Regency Short Story by Sabrina Darby

And keep a lookout for these books, which I highly recommend and will be released for general sale early in 2014:

Miss Molly Robbins Designs a Seduction by Jayne Fresina

Miss Molly Robbins Designs a Seduction (Sydney Dovedale, #4) by Jayne Fresina

When the Rogue Returns by Sabrina Jeffries

When the Rogue Returns by Sabrina Jeffries

The Chance by Robyn Carr

The Chance by Robyn Carr

The Week: 2nd – 8th December

Christmas Garden Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney 2nd December 2013

It was a mixed bag of reading this week. I tried a bit of everything, starting more books than I finished!

Something I realised is that I’m not enjoying this new trend to market paranormal books as regular suspense books. If your alpha military guy is going to save the day by sensing emotions and blasting people with mind power – rather than using his agility and training – then I want to be clearly warned about it in the blurb!

I wish more people would attempt straight romantic/military suspense these days. It’s much more impressive to outdo the bad guys with real stuff than enhanced mind powers!

I started my Christmas blogging this week. Some of the books I’ll be featuring this month are books I read a number of weeks ago.

My review of Snowflakes and Silver Linings by Cara Colter

Snowflakes and Silver Linings by Cara Colter

My review of Kentucky Christmas by Sarah Title

Kentucky Christmas by Sarah Title

My review of Bringing Maddie Home by Janice Kay Johnson

Bringing Maddie Home by Janice Kay Johnson

Bringing Maddie Home by Janice Kay Johnson

Bringing Maddie Home by Janice Kay Johnson

There’s always one case

The moment police Captain Colin McAllister sees her on TV he knows. She may call herself Nell Smith, but she is Maddie Dubeau – the girl who went missing from Angel Butte, Oregon, years ago. She’s haunted Colin, and now the adult version of her is so captivating, he can’t stay away. He wants to help her recover her memories – even solve her case – without crossing a professional line.
But distance becomes impossible when the threats against her escalate. It’s clear someone is determined that Nell never remembers what happened to Maddie. Colin must keep her safe so that he can finally bring her home to his home.

Bringing Maddie Home by Janice Kay Johnson

I am totally perplexed by the cover on this book. Obviously Harlequin wanted to put it out at Christmastime, but – cover aside – this book has nothing to do with Christmas. It’s a really, really, (really!) good book, but it is a murder mystery, not a fuzzy, cuddly Christmas book.

Janice Kay Johnson is one of my favourite Harlequin writers (in fact, she might be sitting at the top of my list at the moment), and this was one of my favourite reads by her. I don’t know what it is about her writing, but she stands head and shoulders above most contemporary romance writers – not just category romance writers.

This book starts off in the most interesting way. A teenage Maddie is badly injured and trapped in the boot of a car. She has no idea who she is.

Fast forward more than a decade, and Colin, the man who was first on the scene when she disappears, recognises her on the television. However, when he confronts her, she’s terrified. She still doesn’t know what happened to her back then, but Maddie (now called Nell) just knows it’s too dangerous to go home.

The story that unfolds is part mystery, part suspense and part romance. I like how the author captures small town life without making it at all twee. I also like how modern her characters are.

This is an absolute favourite book from a favourite author. Highly recommended. It’s the start of a new series, and I really enjoyed the second book (due out in early 2014), too.

The Week: 25th November – 1st December

Christmas Tree Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 30th November 2013

I had to break my rule this year and start decorating for Christmas before the first of December. We went to New South Wales to take care of my grandmother’s house on Friday, and then started at home on Saturday.

With more than one tree to take care of there’s just no way everything could be done on Sunday!

Sunset Canberra Australia 26th November 2013 Sonya Heaney

We continue to have fantastic weather in Canberra, which can’t be said for a lot of other cities on the eastern side of Australia at the moment!

I seem to have broken through my historical romance reading obsession this week, and have been reading a bunch of books by the wonderful, wonderful Janice Kay Johnson. She writes some of the most amazing contemporary stories, and yet seems to go very underappreciated…

My review of Highland Master by Hannah Howell

Highland Master by Hannah Howell

My review of Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas

Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas

The Beginner’s Guide to Writing New Adult

Easy by Tammara Webber

Sisters In Love by Melissa Foster is STILL FREE

Sisters In Love (Love in Bloom Snow Sisters & The Bradens #1) by Melissa Foster

The Week: 18th – 24th November

Canberra Australia Sunset 22nd November 2013 Sonya Heaney

Friday’s spectacular sunset!

We’ve been having hot weather and bright sunshine here in Canberra! It’s starting to feel a lot like summer, and it’s almost time to decorate for Christmas.

I’m feeling a little lost with my reading, but I’m about halfway through a really good book at the moment, which I’ll review soon. Other than that, I’ve been jumping around, unable to really focus on anything in particular. Not even any of my current review books are inspiring me. I think maybe I read too much over the past few weeks, and suddenly nothing is seeming original enough. I’m sure I’ll be cured soon!

My review of The Reunion Lie by Lucy King

The Reunion Lie by Lucy King

My review of From This Day On by Janice Kay Johnson

From This Day On by Janice Kay Johnson

My review of Gold Coast Angels: Bundle Of Trouble by Fiona Lowe

Gold Coast Angels Bundle Of Trouble by Fiona Lowe

 You can still enter to win one of ten copies of Renegades (The Renegades Series #1) by S.A. Mason.

Renegades (The Renegades Series #1) by S.A. Mason

From This Day On by Janice Kay Johnson

From This Day On by Janice Kay Johnson

A new beginning…from this day on Jakob Nilsson has tried to keep his distance from Amy. Like a forbidden temptation, he’s always known his weakness where she’s concerned. Then an unexpected weekend brings them together. Despite the torture of being so close to her, Jakob is glad he’s there…especially when the opening of a time capsule reveals a confession that upends Amy’s world. Nothing is the way it was. 

But that revelation also means the barriers between Jakob and Amy are gone. Finally he’s free to pursue the woman who has always fascinated him. The challenge now is to convince her to look beyond their past. And to consider a future that includes him.

From This Day On by Janice Kay Johnson

I had no idea how the author was going to handle this theme, but Janice Kay Johnson is one of Harlequin’s best writers, and if anyone could do it, I figured it was her.

How do you handle the theme of former stepbrother and stepsister falling in love? How do you handle it especially when they originally thought they were biological brother and sister? How do you manage all of this in a book line rather popular with conservative readers?

I thought I’d give it a go and see, and I’m glad I did, because I enjoyed this book. The heroine, Amy Nilsson, didn’t have a very happy childhood, with a mother who hadn’t wanted to be pregnant to a father who wasn’t really her father (a fact she didn’t know until well into adulthood) to an older ‘brother’ who treated her dreadfully. For Jakob Nilsson’s part, making Amy hate him was a coping mechanism for the inappropriate feelings he had started to develop for his ‘sister’.

I think a number of factors made this book work for me, the major one being that Amy and Jakob hardly saw each other after they were children. The family relationship didn’t feel too close for comfort.

The Superromance books vary a bit in how many characters they focus on, and this one didn’t shift the attention that far from the two main characters. I think that worked for me, because they had a lot to work through.

I’ve read quite a few of Janice Kay Johnson’s books, and I haven’t been disappointed yet.

This week and last week

Sunset Canberra 24th September 2013 Sonya Heaney

There was no summary last weekend, because my father decided to have a stroke, and we were all a bit preoccupied with hospitals and things. What a mess of a month September has been!

My review of Fatal Strike by Shannon McKenna

Fatal Strike by Shannon McKenna

My review of Mine to Keep by Cynthia Eden

Mine to Keep by Cynthia Eden

My review of Butterfly Cove by Christina Skye

Butterfly Cove by Christina Skye

An argument for authors doing their research…

Virgin River by Robyn Carr

Deadly Descent by Kaylea Cross is still only 99 cents

Deadly Descent by Kaylea Cross

My review of Anything for Her by Janice Kay Johnson

Anything for Her by Janice Kay Johnson