I am loving being able to get Australian romance novels and novellas via e-book, this makes the stupid Kindle worthwhile in a way I hadn’t expected. As you can see from this list, I’ve been shopping very happily at Destiny Romance and Escape Publishing! Though I did have a little hiccup with Destiny Romance – if you have a Kindle, you have to purchase the books through Amazon, not their website, because the files on the website aren’t compatible with Kindles. I had bought a bunch, downloaded them, and tried to upload them to my Kindle, but they never appeared. The staff at Penguin are excellent though and they helped me work through it, even while on their Christmas holiday, and reimbursed me fully. I bought them through Amazon, which was a wee bit more expensive (I had used my Australian bank account, before), but I’m not too bothered.
Aside from the books listed here (and again, genres are tentative until I’ve read them, and summary quotes are taken from Goodreads or directly from the books), I also bought a copy of Garden of Stones by Sophie Littlefield, which I had got from Netgalley last year but hadn’t read yet. I haven’t been having much luck with Netgalley titles lately, really – well, I’ve had to abandon several, which is a statistically vast difference from physical copies of books, which I find so much easier to read and, when struggling, finish. Since I really wanted to read this story, I decided to get the paperback and read that version instead.
Into That Forest by Louis Nowra – YA Historical Fiction.
I’m very excited about this book – it’s set in TASMANIA!!!! Also, it has a really cool premise: two girls get lost in the bush (the wilderness) and are saved, and looked after, by two thylacines (Tasmanian tiger). The story is told by one of the girls, years later when she’s seventy-six years old and dying. This story hits two national preoccupations: disappearing in the bush, and the now-extinct (but we all dearly wish it wasn’t) thylacine.
Henry & the Incredibly Incorrigible, Inconveniently Intelligent Smart Human by LA Messina – YA/Children’s Science Fiction.
Review copy. I’ve already read this and will be reviewing it soon, but the short synopsis is that it’s about a world of robots that have invented humans to do the work that robots don’t want (or can’t) do, and the human that Henry’s family get that is smart and, could it be? actually able to think? There’s a conspiracy here too.
Catherine by April Lindner – YA Romance.
I enjoyed Lindner’s modern adaptation of Jane Eyre, Jane, so I’ve had her adaptation of Wuthering Heights on pre-order ever since it was available for pre-order, and it finally arrived yesterday. From what I’ve glimpsed of the blurb, it sounds like quite a re-imagining. I’ve read WH twice so I think I remember it well enough for the background structure, but I’m very curious about where Lindner is taking this.
Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed – YA Historical Fiction.
E-book from Netgalley. Or rather, it’s just an excerpt, but I liked the sound of the story so if I can actually get it onto my Kindle…! (It’s very frustrating – I can’t download and transfer via USB most titles from Netgalley, if they’re “acsm” files, like I can from Amazon. I HAVE to have a wi-fi connection, which I don’t have at home. A little wee flaw there me thinks!) Rose Cliffe is a ladies’ maid to beautiful, clever and rich Ada Averley at Somerton – and Ada treats Rose as an equal and a friend. But Ada is troubled by the scandal that’s followed her father from India, especially when restoring the family’s honour means giving up her true love.
Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo – YA Fiction.
I love it when YA fiction from Australia becomes available over here, though my fingers crossed that they haven’t edited the crap out of it. Amelia is fifteen when she first sets eyes on Chris and falls in love with him – but he’s a twenty-one year old uni student. Still, the two become friends, “and as time goes on, Amelia’s crush doesn’t seem so one-sided anymore. But if Chris likes her back, what then? Can two people in such different places in life really be together?”
The Keeper’s Curse by Diana Harrington – YA Fantasy.
E-book from Amazon. The debut self-published book from Harrington is about fifteen year old Emmy Rathers who discovers she can “perform magic by conjuring souls of the dead.” Her mother rips her away from everything she knows and takes her to another world, Methelwood, where everyone at her school is obsessed by war and she has a voice in her head – a voice that “belongs to a boy at school named Breckin, who just also happens to be the most powerful crafter in the world, and the future ruler of Methelwood. But that’s not the worst part – suddenly Breckin’s most hostile adversary is coming out of the shadows and trying to kill her. With no other choice, Emmy must travel deeper into this bizarre, dark world she is so unfamiliar with to find out why this is happening to her, and more importantly, how to stay alive.”
The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna – YA Fantasy.
I pre-ordered the paperback edition of this book so long ago now that I can’t remember who recommended it or why I wanted to read it so much, but I have faith in my bibliophilic self and I’m sure there’s a good reason. “Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination – an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her ‘other’, if she ever died. Eva studies what Amarra does, what she eats, what it’s like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready. But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this. Now she must abandon everything she’s ever known – the guardians who raised her, the boy she’s forbidden to love – to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive…”
Altered by Jennifer Rush – YA Science Fiction.
Again, a book I pre-ordered ages ago and can’t remember why anymore! Not that I regret it, and I love getting surprises in the mail, even if they are due only to my faulty memory. And it does sound pretty awesome. “Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev … and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them. Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities. Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.”
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E Lockhart – YA Fiction.
I’ve had my eye on this ever since it came out a few years ago, but have been dithering because of how mixed everyone’s reactions to it have been. It’s been a while since I heard anything negative though, and recently blogging friends have mentioned how much they loved it, so I decided to stop dithering and read it for myself.
Lady of the English by Elizabeth Chadwick – Historical Fiction.
I know I haven’t read the previous two Chadwick novels I’ve purchased in recent months, but the premises just appeal to me so much that I can’t resist them. This one is about Empress Matilda, daughter of Henry I, who “is determined to win back her crown from Stephen, the usurper king … Adeliza, Henry’s widowed queen and Matilda’s stepmother, has always been on Matilda’s side but now she is married to William D’Albini, a warrior of the opposition. In a world where a man’s word is law, how can Adeliza obey her husband while supporting Matilda, the rightful queen?”
The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones – Historical Fiction.
Review Copy via TLC Book Tours. I mostly enjoyed Jones’ first novel, The Outcast – I was a bit mixed about it but it was a compelling, and tragic, story, so I was very interested in reading this, her third, which is set in 1912. At Sterne, an elegant supper party is being organised to celebrate Emerald Torrington’s twentieth birthday, but when a dreadful accident happens only miles away, “a crowd of mysterious and not altogether savory survivors … seek shelter at the ramshackle manor – and the household is thrown into confusion and mischief.”
The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan – Historical Fiction.
I’ve been wanting to get this for a while and since I got a couple of Chapters gift cards for Christmas, the time seemed ripe for a wee splurge (it’s only available in hardcover through TBD). “Paris. 1878. Following their father’s sudden death, the van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction from their lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opéra, where for a scant seventy francs a month, she will be trained to enter the famous ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work — and the love of a dangerous
young man — as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir. Marie throws herself into dance and is soon modelling in the studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will forever be immortalized as Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. Antoinette, meanwhile, descends lower and lower in society, and must make the choice between a life of honest labor and the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the Parisian demimonde — that is, unless her love affair derails her completely.”
The Age of Hope by David Bergen – Historical Fiction.
One of the books in this year’s Canada Reads, and I have never yet managed to read a book in time for the debates, but I would REALLY LIKE TO!! And this is my last change, because I won’t be here next year for Canada Reads . “Born in 1930 in a small town outside of Winnipeg, beautiful Hope Plett appears destined to have a conventional life. Church, marriage to a steady young man, children – her fortunes are already laid out for her, as are the shiny modern appliances in her new home. All she has to do is make a good marriage with Roy Koop. And Roy does love her deeply. But as the decades unfold, what seems to be a safe, predictable existence overwhelms Hope. Where – among the demands of her children, the expectations of her husband, and the challenges of her best friend, Emily, who has just read The Feminist Mystique – is there room for her? And just who is she anyway? A wife, a mother, a woman whose life is still somehow unrealized?”
Plainsong by Kent Haruf – Fiction.
I saw this reviewed on someone’s blog and they really (obviously) sold it to me. “In the small town of Holt, Colorado, a high school teacher is confronted with raising his two boys alone after their mother retreats first to the bedroom, then altogether. A teenage girl – her father long since disappeared, her mother unwilling to have her in the house – is pregnant, alone herself, with nowhere to go. And out in the country, two brothers, elderly bachelors, work the family homestead, the only world they’ve ever known. From these unsettled lives emerges a vision of life, and of the town and landscape that bind them together – their fates somehow overcoming the powerful circumstances of place and station, their confusion, curiosity, dignity and humor intact and resonant. As the milieu widens to embrace fully four generations, Kent Haruf displays an emotional and aesthetic authority to rival the past masters of a classic American tradition.”
The Vintner’s Luck by Elizabeth Knox – Historical Fiction.
Another book I read about on someone’s blog, and now I can’t remember who – or what they so enthusiastically said that made me so keen to get it. Going by the premise, it’s outside my comfort zone, mostly because it sounds surprisingly religious. “The year is 1808, the place Burgundy, France. Among the lush vines of his family’s vineyard, Jodeau, 18 years old and frustrated in love, is about to come face to face with a celestial being. But this is no sentimental “Touched by an Angel” seraph; as imagined by Elizabeth Knox in her wildly evocative and original novel, Xas is equipped with a glorious pair of wings (“pure sinew and bone under a cushion of feathers”) and an appetite for earthly pleasures – wine, books, gardening, conversation, and, eventually, carnal love. The fateful meeting between man and angel occurs on June 27. After an evening during which Sobran spills all his troubles and Xas gently advises him, the angel promises to return on the same night next year to toast Sobran’s marriage. Thus begins a friendship that will last for 55 years, spanning marriages, wars, births, deaths, and even the vast distances between heaven, earth, and hell.”
Yesterday’s Sun by Amanda Brooke – Fiction.
Review Copy (North America ARC) via TLC Book Tours. This book was released last May (and if you click the link here you can currently buy it for $4.67 Canadian) but it’s only now getting its North American debut, due out 12th February. This is going to be a real tear-jerker of a novel, a can tell from the summary. Newlyweds Holly and Tom move into an old manor house in the English countryside. As they renovate the house, Tom brings up the subject of having a baby, but Holly is reluctant due to her own troubled childhood. When one of the contractors discovers a crystal orb in a box, Holly realises it’s a part of the old moondial in the overgrown garden, and fixes it. “At each full moon, through the power of the moondial, Holly can see into the future – one that holds Tom cradling their baby daughter, Libby, and mourning Holly’s death in childbirth. The moondial is offering her a desperate choice: give Tom the baby he has always wanted and sacrifice her own life, or save herself and erase the life of the daughter she has grown to love over the course of these visions.” See? This is going to make me cry big-time.
The Memory Thief by Emily Colin – Fiction.
A random pick off the shelves at Chapters. “When Madeleine Kimble’s husband Aiden dies in a mountain climbing accident, Maddie can only think of his earnest promise to return to her and their young son. Aiden’s best friend J.C. feels great remorse over his inability to save him, but J.C.’s grief is also seasoned with the guilt of loving Maddie through the years. Meanwhile, across the country another young man wakes up in a hospital and finds that his memories have been wiped clean, and replaced with haunting dreams of a beautiful woman and a five year old boy whom he feels driven to find. What Nicholas Sullivan discovers upon his journey is utterly unexpected—and it will change all of their lives, especially Maddie’s.”
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese – Historical Fiction
Another one of the book’s in Canada Reads. “Saul Indian Horse has hit bottom. His last binge almost killed him, and now he’s a reluctant resident in a treatment centre for alcoholics, surrounded by people he’s sure will never understand him. But Saul wants peace, and he grudgingly comes to see that he’ll find it only through telling his story. With him, readers embark on a journey back through the life he’s led as a northern Ojibway, with all its joys and sorrows.”
What is the What by Dave Eggers – Fiction.
I’ve been wanting to get this book for several years, but the fact that it’s set in Sudan, which is the country we’re visiting in February for the Around the World in 12 Books Challenge, gave me the perfect excuse to finally get it. I know, I know, it’s not like I’ve ever really needed one, but still. This is the fictionalised memoir of Valentino Achak Deng, “a refugee from the Sudanese civil war-the bloodbath before the current Darfur bloodbath-of the 1980s and 90s. … Separated from his family when Arab militia destroy his village, Valentino joins thousands of other “Lost Boys,” beset by starvation, thirst and man-eating lions on their march to squalid refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, where Valentino pieces together a new life. He eventually reaches America, but finds his quest for safety, community and fulfillment in many ways even more difficult there than in the camps: he recalls, for instance, being robbed, beaten and held captive in his Atlanta apartment.”
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park – YA? Fiction.
I wasn’t sure exactly how much of What is the What is really set in Sudan, so I looked for another and found this one. I’m not sure if it’s written with children and teens in mind, not that it matters for the challenge. Also based on a true story, Park’s novel is about two children. “Nya goes to the pond to fetch water for her family. She walks eight hours every day. Salva walks away from his war-torn village. He is a “lost boy” refugee, destined to cover Africa on foot, searching for his family and safety. Two young people, two stories. One country: Sudan. This mesmerizing dual narrative follows two threads—one unfolding in 2008 and one in 1985—with one hopeful message: that even in a troubled country, determined survivors may find the future they are hoping for.”
The Western Light by Susan Swan – Fiction.
This was on my list of hardbacks I wanted to get but only in paperback – only, this publisher doesn’t usually re-release books in paperback, at least not in the past, and since I knew I’d never be able to get it outside of Canada I got myself a copy. “Mouse’s world is constrained by a number of factors: her mother is dead, her father – the admired country doctor – is emotionally distant, her housekeeper Sal is prejudiced and narrow, and her grandmother and aunt, Big Louie and Little Louie, the only life-affirming presences in her life, live in another city. Enter Gentleman John Pilkie, the former NHL star who’s transferred to the mental hospital in Madoc’s Landing, where he is to serve out his life-sentence for the murder of his wife and daughter. John becomes a point of fascination for young Mary, who looks to him for the attention she does not receive from her father. He, in turn, is kind to her – but the kindness is misunderstood. When Mary figures out that the attention she receives from the Hockey Killer is different in kind and intent from the attention her Aunt Little Louie receives, her world collapses.”
Heft by Liz Moore – Fiction.
Recommended by Judith (Leeswammes’ Blog). “Former academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn’t left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away, in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career if he can untangle himself from his family drama. The link between this unlikely pair is Kel’s mother, Charlene, a former student of Arthur’s. After nearly two decades of silence, it is Charlene’s unexpected phone call to Arthur a plea for help that jostles them into action. Through Arthur and Kel’s own quirky and lovable voices, Heft tells the winning story of two improbable heroes whose sudden connection transforms both their lives.”
Miracle on Regent Street by Ali Harris – Fiction.
Recommended by Judith (Leeswammes’ Blog). “Evie Taylor, a girl with a big heart, gets lost in the big city. For the past two years, Evie has lived an invisible life in London. Her neighbours think she’s just moved in, her sister mistakes her for a live-in nanny, and even Evie’s manager at work can’t remember her name. But all that is about to change …this Christmas has brought a flurry of snow and unimaginable possibilities into town. Evie works in the stockroom of an old-fashioned, family-run, London fashion department store. Hardy’s is a beautiful, wood-panelled jewellery box of a building, but it’s in dire need of a makeover. One day Evie overhears that if the entire store’s takings don’t turn round by Dec 26th – 3 weeks’ time – the family who own it will be forced to sell to one of the big chains. Hardy’s is in need of a Christmas miracle. Determined to save her beloved store, Evie hatches a plan to secretly transform it into a magical place to shop again. But has the time come for her to be noticed too? When an accidental romantic encounter with handsome, enigmatic Joel gives her the chance of a whole new identity, she takes it.”
The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets by Diana Wagman – Fiction.
I love the premise of this: “Winnie Parker, mother to an angst-ridden teenage daughter and ex-wife to a successful game show host who left her for a twenty-something contestant, begins a normal day in her hum-drum existence by dropping her car off at the repair shop. After accepting what she believes is a ride to pick up her rental car, Winnie realizes too late that she’s been kidnapped. What follows is a riveting psychological game of cat and mouse set in the kidnapper’s tropically heated house—kept that way for Cookie, a menacing seven-foot long Iguana headquartered in the kitchen. While desperately seeking to escape—which leads to several violent clashes with her increasingly unstable kidnapper—Winnie also tries to understand why she was taken captive. Is her kidnapper merely seeking a ransom or does he have something more sinister in mind? Does he know that Winnie’s mother is an Oscar-winning actress? Or did he connect her with Jonathan, her famous ex-husband? When the truth reveals itself, Winnie is not only forced to fight for her life, but must also protect the lives of those she loves from the kidnapper’s deranged master plan.”
Santa Claus: A Biography by Gerry Bowler – Non-fiction: History, Anthropology.
After reading Inventing the Christmas Tree I made the effort to seek out more books that trace the history and origins and myths behind Christmas traditions, and Santa is a big one for me. I’ve never really “got” him. Where did he come from? Brunner’s book touched on it a little bit, which just made me want to understand it once and for all!
A Game For Swallows: To Die, To Leave, To Return by Zeina Abirached – Memoir; Graphic Novel.
It seems like the memoir – especially in graphic novel format – is the main format for learning about life in the middle east, for the regular person. I really enjoyed Persepolis, and I have Nylon Road to read as well, also set in Iran. This one is set in Lebanon. “When Zeina was born, the civil war in Lebanon had been going on for six years, so it’s just a normal part of life for her and her parents and her little brother. The city of Beirut is cut in two, separated by bricks and sandbags and threatened by snipers and shelling. East Beirut is for Christians, and West Beirut is for Muslims. When Zeina’s parents don’t return one afternoon from a visit to the other half of the city, and the bombing grows ever closer, the neighbors in her apartment house create a world indoors for Zeina and her brother where it’s comfy and safe, where they can share cooking lessons and games and gossip. Together they try to make it through a dramatic day in the one place they hoped they would always be safehome. Zeina Abirached, born into a Lebanese Christian family in 1981, has collected her childhood recollections of Beirut in a warm story about the strength of family and community.”
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain – Non-fiction: Psychology.
At last, the paperback came out! As an introvert myself, naturally I wanted to read all about how wonderful we really are. Cos the trouble with being an introvert, is that we’re generally quiet and shy as well, and easily overlooked, and not so popular, and this leads to a lower sense of self-worth and the tendency to compare ourselves with more sociable people, which is completely unfair to ourselves, rather like comparing apples and oranges. Just different.
Escape From Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey From North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden – Biography; Memoir.
I got this mostly because I’m curious about North Korea, and there’s very few books set there or about the place (ones I want to read, anyway). I’m a bit leery of the whole “the west is best” thing but still hoping to learn something from this, and I do like reading about people’s personal journeys, from time to time.
The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green – Classics; Children’s Adventure Fiction.
There’s no original Robin Hood text, only bits and pieces of things, like ballads, but this novelisation from 1956 is the closest we have to one, and faithful to the various sources. I got this primarily with Hugh in mind, for when he’s older, but I won’t deny that I’ve always wanted to read a novel about Robin Hood, so I guess I got this for me too.
The Last Condo Board of the Apocalypse by Nina Post – Urban Fantasy.
E-book from Netgalley, released February 2012. Not everything on Netgalley is brand spanking new, and I like how publishers use it before the release of a new book in the series, or a re-release etc. “Kelly Driscoll tracks down monsters for a living, but the job isn’t what it used to be. Vampire hunters are the new big thing, but Kelly doesn’t swing that way. When a reclusive client hires her to locate a rival angel, Kelly’s search takes her to a downtown highrise that has become home to hundreds of fallen angels and dimension-hopping monsters. As the fallen angels take over the condo board, argue over who’s handling pizza delivery, and begin planning for a little shindig otherwise known as the apocalypse, Kelly must team up with an unlikely group of allies to find her target and keep the fallen angels at bay. In the process, she befriends a reluctant Angel of Destruction, gets tips from a persistent ferret, uncovers the mysteries behind Pothole City’s hottest snack food empire, and tries to prevent the end of the world.”
Roadwork by Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman – genre?
I have no idea what genre this book falls under – maybe one of you has some ideas? I never really know for sure until I’ve read a book. I’m no King fan – the only books of his I’ve read are still The Shining, for a course on popular fiction at uni, and The Gunslinger, which was really surreal as far as I remember it, but I have somehow collected several others. I just never feel any urgency to read them. The premise of this one reminded me of that Michael Douglas film where he goes a bit nuts, and maybe it was based on this book, I’ve no idea. A new highway extension is being built right over the laundry plant where Bart Dawes works – and his home, the house where he’s lived for twenty years. “But before the city paves over that part of Dawes’ life, he’s got one more party to throw – and it’ll be a blast…”
Bend Sinister by Vladimir Nabokov – Classics; Dystopian Fiction.
I loved Lolita, but I’ve never looked into the other books Nabokov wrote until I came across this one recently, the first book he wrote after arriving in America and his “most overtly political” one. It’s “a haunting and compelling narrative about a civilized man caught in the tyranny of a police state. … Professor Adam Krug, the country’s foremost philosopher, offers the only hope of resistance to Paduk, dictator and leader of the Party of the Average Man. In a folly of bureaucratic bungling and ineptitude, the government attempts to co-opt Krug’s support in order to validate the new regime.”
The Prince by Tiffany Reisz – Fiction; Erotica.
The third book in the Original Sinners trilogy. I didn’t want to read the blurb because I haven’t read the second book yet.
A Very Vampy Christmas: From Sugarplums and Scandal by Kerrelyn Sparks – Paranormal Romance; Novella.
E-book from Amazon. This novella is #2.5 in the Love at Stake series – which you don’t need to read in order, really. “Maggie O’Brien is thrilled when she lands a starring role on the Digital Vampire Network’s hottest soap opera, As the Vampire Turns. Doesn’t hurt that her leading man is Don Orlando de Corazon, the greatest lover in the vampire world But who is Don Orlando really? Nobody knows, not even Don Orlando. As the couple sets out in search of his mysterious past, “home for the holidays” takes on a new meaning when the recently-turned vamp discovers his own Christmas miracle.”
Alluring Tales: Hot Holiday Nights by Cathryn Fox, Lisa Renee Jones, Sylvia Day, Vivi Anna, Sasha White & Myla Jackon – Anthology; Romance; Short Stories.
E-book from Amazon. Seven sexy stories across a wide range of set-ups and even genres.
The Danger Game by Caitlyn Nicholas – Romantic Suspense.
E-book from Escape Publishing. “Flick likes computers. She’s good with them, and they do what she tells them, mostly. People, however, are more of a challenge. But when a terrifyingly dangerous program is stolen, and her mentor killed, Flick finds herself on the run. The police are convinced she’s committed murder, and a sinister weapons developer will stop at nothing to force her to work for him. In Ben’s line of work being suspicious keeps you alive. So when Flick turns to him, he quickly realises that she’s up to her neck in trouble and hasn’t fully realised the danger she is in. First he has to keep her safe, and then, together, they have to figure out how to save the world from an epic meltdown.”
Last Call by Jennifer Schmidt – Romance.
I got this after enjoying Schmidt’s more recent book, Risking it All. This one doesn’t have an original storyline – the whole waking-up-in-Vegas-married-to-a-stranger premise, but I find that fun and I like where it goes: “While on vacation, a night out turns into a drunken haze, and Novalee Jensen wakes up hung over, confused, and… married? Fleeing Nevada, Novalee returns home to Montana to hide out, dreading the moment when her husband will show up to take her hard-earned business. But two years later just when Novalee thinks her secret is safe, guess who walks through her door? Now, face-to-face with the man she left in a hotel room two years ago, Novalee discovers the difficult part isn’t having to explain her actions that night, or the questions that arise about the sexy stranger’s arrival, it’s keeping her hands off her husband. And what’s Novalee to do when the hardest part turns out not to be confronting her past, but facing a possible future without her soon-to-be ex-husband?”
No Strings Attached by Bridget Gray – Romance; Novella.
E-book from Escape Publishing. “She saved his life, but she wants more from him than gratitude. Mei Jing is feeling conflicted about not telling Rod that she is his rescuer. And as their relationship grows, her conflict is heightened after each date. She knows Rod is seeking the woman who saved his life, but Mei Jing struggles to find the right time to tell him the truth. Will she be able to trust that what she feels is his love for her or Rod’s gratitude for his rescuer?”
Short Soup by Coleen Kwan – Romance; Novella.
E-book from Escape Publishing. “Toni Lau and Dion Chan were connected from birth — first via their parents’ jointly-owned restaurant, then via their bone-deep friendship. But children grow up, and Toni leaves their sleepy hometown looking for more than it can offer. Now Toni is back, raw with the knowledge that not all childhood dreams come true. Dion is on the brink of realising that both his own ambitions and his childhood friend have the power to derail all of his hard work. But loving Toni — and winning her love in return — has always been on his wish list. Can Dion really put her on the back burner while frying up his chef dreams? Or is it possible that together they can come up with a recipe for happiness?”
The Convenient Bride by Jennifer St George – Romance.
E-book from Destiny Romance. “Sienna De Luca will do anything to save her family’s hotel, and ruthless Italian businessman Antonio Moretti knows it. With problems of his own, he proposes a marriage of convenience and plans to use Sienna to secure his next business deal. But things don’t go quite according to plan. In keeping with her part of the bargain, Sienna travels to Venice to be with Antonio, who introduces her to a life of great luxury and opulence. As befits the fiancée of the famous Antonio Moretti, Sienna is given a new wardrobe of designer gowns and outfits and instructed exactly how to behave when out in public. But after thinking he can manipulate her at his will, Antonio begins to realise he has seriously underestimated Sienna, her intelligence, her skills, her courage – and her beauty. Unexpectedly, Sienna gets too close and when she discovers his dark secret, Antonio’s perfectly planned life begins to unravel.”
Double Exposure by Charmaine Ross – Romance.
E-book from Destiny Romance. “Eden has fled to the beautiful high country in the Victorian Alps to escape her domineering family and to enjoy her greatest passion – photography. When she happens on a very attractive man swimming in a river, she can’t resist snapping a few shots of him for her portfolio. Adam Blackstone is an undercover cop living locally to infiltrate a gang of bikies suspected of drug trafficking. He soon realises the beautiful stranger in town has been photographing him and has to find out why. Adam is a man who cannot trust anyone. He’s intense, damaged, jaded. Eden is a woman has spent her life wrapped in cotton-wool, protected by controlling parents. She’s meek, naïve and sweet. They must open their hearts and learn to trust one another if they are ever to be together. But first, they must survive the danger that threatens to tear them apart.”
The Man Plan by Elise K Ackers – Romance.
E-book from Netgalley. “Cora is ‘over’ being alone. She has no family, and all her friends are couples. Fed up with feeling sorry for herself, Cora hatches a plan to find a good, loving man she can call her own. Her deadline is Christmas – she doesn’t want to spend another holiday by herself. Just as she decides her strategy, she meets Matt, her downstairs neighbor. They become unlikely friends, with Matt an amused bystander as Cora tries various methods in search of a man. Then something strange happens. Matt, who spends his life avoiding commitment, begins to feel jealous of the men Cora is dating and his resolve to never fall in love begins to crumble. Cora finds herself increasingly attracted to Matt. But is he Good Husband material? She thinks not.”
Rules Are For Breaking by Imelda Evans – Romance.
E-book from Destiny Romance. “Jo is a smart and determined young woman with a clear-eyed view of men and what she expects of them. Put simply, she is ‘over’ finding the right one. She already has a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy. When challenged by a friend who thinks she can’t do it, Jo goes one step further and vows not to date, sleep with or even kiss a man for six weeks. Enter Declan, Jo’s gorgeous yet unwelcome houseguest. Convinced he can win her over, Declan views Jo and her vow as an irresistible challenge. An infuriated Jo declares that Declan is like all the others – attracted to her for all the wrong reasons. She insists that he devote time to getting to know the real her and to doing the things she loves. Will Declan survive the test? Or will a major misunderstanding spoil everything?”
The Trouble With Lucy by LJ Young – Romance.
E-book from Destiny Romance. “Lucy Lockhart had it all. A glamorous job, a successful boyfriend and a fabulous apartment. But when she’s sent to recuperate at her parents’ country house following a sudden illness, she meets dreamy, blue-eyed, Tom McGregor, and suddenly starts to realise what she’s been missing. Tom takes one look at city girl Lucy, and decides to avoid her at all costs. He’s been hurt by girls like her before. But there’s something about Lucy and as their paths continue to cross, he realises there’s more to her than meets the eye. Despite their deepening feelings, neither can imagine a future together. Lucy could never live in the country and Tom could never go back to the city. The very idea horrifies them both. Their hearts however, have other plans.”
Wish by Kelly Hunter – Romance.
E-book from Destiny Romance. “All single mother Billie Temple wants is to trade her hectic Sydney lifestyle for simple country living and a place to call home. When she finds a small country pub in need of some TLC she thinks she’s found the perfect solution. Until she meets her new landlord. All cattleman Adam Kincaid wants is for Billie and her son to leave town. Adam and Billie are on an inevitable collision course, but will love prove the perfect solution? The obstacles seem insurmountable. Adam doubts his ability to protect and love, after failing to prevent a family tragedy a few years earlier. Billie can’t trust anyone but herself – and she’s done a damn good job at looking after her son without help. Who needs a man?”