BOOK REVIEW: Hot Point by M.L. Buchman (Reviewed by Kat Mayo)

Firehawk helicopter pilot Vern Taylor can’t help but be distracted by gorgeous mechanic Denise Conroy. Fighting forest fires with Mount Hood Aviation is a far cry from some of the violence Vern has seen…until they find out that MHA isn’t all that it seems.

I love heroines who have non-traditional careers, and helicopter mechanic fits that bill. I particularly love Denise’s camaraderie with the other women of MHA, and I love that she’s a bit of a contradiction – mostly shy around other people, but with a sharp mind and a weakness for fast cars. Vern is an absolute sweetheart and pure romantic fantasy. But hey, a hero who is as comfortable with just snuggling as he is at awesome helicopter sex ticks the box for me!

Grab a copy of Hot Point here


hot-pointHot Point

The Firehawks Series : Book 10

by M.L. Buchman

The elite heli-aviation firefighters at Mount Hood Aviation depend on sexy Denise Conroy, master mechanic, to keep them flying smoothly through the air.

Airplane expert that she is, Denise has never found an aircraft that she can’t fix. Her floundering love life, however, is a puzzle that she hasn’t been able to put together. Mount Hood Firehawk pilot Vern Taylor can’t repair a plane to save his life, but he was born to fly. Vern’s take-charge attitude toward every situation combined with his irresistible artistic side make him an accident waiting to happen.

But when Denise and Vern crash together in the Central American jungle with wildfire on one side and a full-fledged military coup on the other, they’ll have to work together to get out alive. It will take all their skills combined to keep passion from igniting a dangerous new flame.

Grab a copy of Hot Point here

BOOK REVIEW: Lady Emily’s Exotic Journey by Lillian Marek (Reviewed by Kat Mayo)

I love a good Regency as much as any romance reader, but I’m so glad that we’re continuing to see authors exploring different setting and time periods in historical romance.

Lady Emily’s Exotic Journey is set in Constantinople. Forget ballrooms and tea – Lady Emily Tremaine explores the ruins of Nineveh and experiences the wonders of travelling on an ‘odiferous donkey’. And of course, there’s French adventurer Lucien Chambertin to make this the most thrilling adventure – if he can just learn to let go of his past and embrace the call of true love.

For me, I really love odiferous donkeys! True love is a bonus. :)

Grab a copy of Lady Emily’s Exotic Journey here


lady-emily-s-exotic-journeyLady Emily’s Exotic Journey

The Victorian Adventures Series : Book 2

by Lillian Marek

From sensible, sheltered girl
Safe in the embrace of her loving family, Lady EmilyTremaine longs to feel more intensely alive. Surely the magic and mystery of Assyria and the fabled ruins of Nineveh will bring about the transformation she seeks.

To the woman his heart desires
Scarred by his past and estranged from his noble grandfather, French adventurer Lucien Chambertin desires neither a home nor the chains of emotional attachment. He seeks only to explore the far reaches of the world. But he did not know the world contained the likes of Lady Emily—whose curiosity and sense of wonder match his own.

Grab a copy of Lady Emily’s Exotic Journey here

BOOK REVIEW: When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare (Reviewed by Kat Mayo)

‘…he was…an impoverished, unloved orphan with a passion for books. Her every feminine impulse jumped into attention.’

An introvert, Maddie Gracechurch invented a fiancé – conveniently abroad, fighting in the war – to avoid ballrooms and the pressure of having to find a suitable match. But when said fiancé turns up at her doorstep years later, marries her without so much as kiss (okay, one kiss), Maddie knows she’s in Very Big Trouble.

Logan Mackenzie needs a place for his men, coming home from the war. Marriage to Maddie is the quickest and surest way to ensure that they have a home. But as it becomes increasingly clear that there’s more to their marriage than convenience, how can they be sure that what they have is love and not just a way to avoid their deepest fears?

I might be biased because I’m an unashamed Tessa Dare fan girl, but when I learned that Tessa is releasing a Scottish romance (they seem to be making a resurgence!), I knew I had to feature it in the Romance Buzz. Her writing is always rich with nuance. We don’t get many truly introverted heroines in romance, and Maddie is charming and so very worthy of a happy ending!

Grab a copy of When a Scot Ties the Knot here


when-a-scot-ties-the-knotWhen a Scot Ties the Knot

The Castles Ever After Series : Book 3

by Tessa Dare

On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter … and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when more…

About the Author

Tessa Dare is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of more than a dozen historical romances. A librarian by training and a book-lover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a pair of cosmic kitties.

Grab a copy of When a Scot Ties the Knot here

Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar is Caroline Baum’s Book of the Month

salt-creekBooktopia’s Editorial Director, Caroline Baum reviews Lucy Treloar’s Salt Creek which features in The Buzz as Caroline’s Book of the Month.

If, like me, you thought you did not need another story about hardship in colonial Australia, with the TV adaptation of The Secret River fresh in your mind, think again: Lucy Treloar’s intensely dramatic saga of the downfall of a family settled on the edge of the Coorong is a welcome and fresh take on the well-trodden territory of narratives of colonial hardship.

First of all, she captures the little known beauty of that remote watery place perfectly. Her ability to conjure up its landscape, once shared with the local Ngarrindjeri Aborigines, is a reminder that it is a hard place to farm now, just as it was then. Secondly, the story she tells is utterly compelling and almost mythic, such are the powerful forces unleashed on the family of misguided pastor Finch as told by his endlessly forbearing daughter Hester.

When light skinned Aboriginal boy Tull befriends the Finch family, he is welcomed into their home to share their meals and conversations. But while curious about white culture, Tull remains proud of his own. ‘Don’t you have any stories?’ he asks pointedly. (They direct him to the Bible) On another, he remarks that he considers all white people ugly. When the Pastor muddies his tribe’s waterholes, there is consternation. When he chops down a venerable tree, the question of who owns the land is a source of more discord, a rumbling thunder that must eventually break into a storm.

Treloar calibrates these little moments of tension with impeccable judgment, never overplaying them, though she signposts a grim outcome early on, warning the reader to brace themselves for disaster. We navigate the unconventional relationship between the Finches and Tull, balancing trust and mistrust, with mounting apprehension.

The Pastor is not as principled and high minded as he might wish and has no head for business: all his ventures end in debt, with increasingly terrible consequences. When Tull forms a close bond with Hester’s youngest sister Addie, Hester refuses to see what is under her nose. As the family fractures, torn apart by the pastor’s blind unbending values and his hypocrisy, Hester tries to hold everything together.

She is a fascinating creation: full of contradictions, overwhelmed by an eldest daughter’s sense of duty following her mother’s early death while longing to be free and independent. Seemingly uninterested in personal attachment, she fights her own nature and impulses when drawn to a visiting artist explorer. Their moment of romantic intimacy on a shell beach is again understated and restrained, sensual but unsentimental.

The novel builds to a climax that avoids melodrama, but is charged with high emotion and tension to the very last chapter.

Grab a copy of Salt Creek here
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Caroline Baum has worked as founding editor of Good Reading magazine, features editor for Vogue, presenter of ABC TV’s popular bookshow, Between the Lines, and Foxtel’s Talking Books, and as an executive producer with ABC Radio National. She is currently Booktopia’s Editorial Director. For more reviews by Caroline – click here.


Salt Creek

by Lucy Treloar

Some things collapse slow, and cannot always be rebuilt, and even if a thing can be remade it will never be as it was.

Salt Creek, 1855, lies at the far reaches of the remote, beautiful and inhospitable coastal region, the Coorong, in the new province of South Australia. The area, just opened to graziers willing to chance their luck, becomes home to Stanton Finch and his large family, including fifteen-year-old Hester Finch.

Once wealth political activists, the Finch family has fallen on hard times. Cut adrift from the polite society they were raised to be part of, Hester and her siblings make more…

About the Author

Lucy Treloar was born in Malaysia and educated in Melbourne, England and Sweden. A graduate of the University of Melbourne and RMIT, Lucy is a writer and editor and has plied her trades both in Australia and in Cambodia, where she lived for a number of years. She has an abiding love for Southeast Asia, a region she retains links with through her editing work, which focuses on English language translations of a diverse range of material including folk tales and modern narrative forms.

Lucy is the 2014 Regional Winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. In 2012 she won the Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award for her first novel, The Things We Tell Ourselves, and went on to be awarded a Varuna Publisher Fellowship for the same work in 2013. In 2011 Lucy was the recipient of a mentorship through the Australian Society of Authors as well as an Asialink Writer’s Residency to Cambodia.

Her short fiction has appeared in Sleepers, Overland, Seizure, and Best Australian Stories 2013.

Grab a copy of Salt Creek here

The Homestead Girls by Fiona McArthur (Reviewed by Hayley Shephard)

I decided to give Fiona McArthur’s new book, The Homestead Girls, a whirl to challenge myself as I’m currently addicted to non-stop, passionate romance and shirtless men. It’s a departure I’m glad I took. I’ve always loved strong female characters who don’t let their predicaments define them.

The Homestead Girls follows five women who come to live at Blue Hills Station on the outskirts of Mica Ridge, a small country town in the middle of a crippling drought with a trustworthy and life-saving Flying Doctor Service. Two of these women, Daphne and Billie, are part of the medical team, treating injured farmers and the town’s residents. When not working hard, Billie looks after her wayward teenage daughter Mia. We also have Soretta, whose grandfather owns Blue Hills Station, and Lorna, an 80 year-old housemate with the energy of a teenager.

These five women rely on each other to push away from issues in their lives. Some issues lie in the field of romance (the men who also serve with the Mica Ridge FDS have a certain presence), while others are more complicated. As a group, they grow stronger, and give each other support and strength.

Lorna’s companionship with Soretta’s grandfather is beautiful; a lovely side story. They make each other laugh and are observed by the others to be in better spirits. It was one of my favourite things about the book.

Even though it is not all romance, it does have a happy ending – one that feels well deserved for all the characters. But if you want to know exactly how it ends, you’ll have to read it yourself!

This certainly won’t be the last Fiona McArthur I read.

Click here to grab a copy of The Homestead Girls


The Homestead Girls

by Fiona McArthur

After her teenage daughter Mia falls in with the wrong crowd, Dr Billie Green decides it’s time to leave the city and return home to far western NSW. When an opportunity to pursue her childhood dream of joining the Flying Doctor Service comes along, she jumps at the chance. Flight nurse Daphne Prince – who is thrilled to have another woman join the otherwise male crew – and their handsome new boss, Morgan Blake, instantly make her feel welcome.

Just out of town, drought-stricken grazier Soretta Byrnes has been more…

About the Author

Fiona McArthur has worked as a rural midwife for many years. She is a clinical midwifery educator, mentors midwifery students, and is involved with obstetric emergency education for midwives and doctors from all over Australia. Fiona’s love of writing has seen her sell over two million books in twelve languages. She’s been a midwifery expert for Mother&Baby magazine and is the author of the nonfiction works The Don’t Panic Guide to Birth and Breech Baby: A Guide for Parents. She lives on an often swampy farm in northern New South Wales with her husband, some livestock, and a blue heeler named Reg. She’s constantly taking photographs of sunrise and sunset and loves that researching her books allows her to travel to remote places.

Click here to grab a copy of The Homestead Girls

BOOK REVIEW: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson (Reviewed by Andrew Cattanach)

Andrew Cattanach dives into the deep end of Jon Ronson’s latest book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.

so-you-ve-been-publicly-shamedI’ve always been a fan of Jon Ronson’s work, his penchant for exposing the strange, often unsettling, pockets of society. With So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Ronson plays to his strengths, reporting dutifully with thick shards of humour, injecting himself into the narrative where needed. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed begins as many of Ronson’s books do, with a eureka moment, the inspiration that would lead him down the yellow brick road.

Ronson, an avid tweeter, began to notice a parody twitter handle – @jon_ronson – popping up in his feed. The account posted some tweets about food and his love of a good time, particularly of a…homoerotic nature.

Ronson contacted the creators of the account asking for its removal. They refused, calling it a social experiment, although eventually agreeing to meet Ronson in person to discuss why they were so compelled to tweet about goat’s cheese and male genitalia under his name.

Ronson recorded the interaction and posted it on YouTube with their permission, the video went viral and was met which extreme condemnation from Ronson’s fans. The creators of the twitter account, in the wake of the public shame elicited by Ronson’s video, agreed to delete the twitter account.

Jon Ronson

Jon Ronson

This jolts Ronson into the world of Public Shaming, now an everyday occurrence in the world of social media. Reflecting on his own experiences, he tracks down others who have felt the wrath of the mob.

We have Jonah Lehrer, the infamous bestselling pop psychology author, who was caught out inventing a Bob Dylan quote. PR executive Justine Sacco, who wrote a tweet while boarding a plane to South Africa about not catching AIDS because she’s white and was denounced by millions before she hit the ground. Max Mosley, the Formula One supremo outed by the News of the World for a ‘Nazi orgy’, ultimately exposing his parent’s fascist past.

These are moments in time that you will remember, even if your memory, like mine, needs a quick jolt on Google. Ronson’s investigations into these tales, those who shamed and were shamed alike, are utterly absorbing. He examines just how viable the world of extreme honesty is, itself a constant barrage of public shaming if perhaps not on quite as grand a scale.

This is Ronson at his finest. Funny, intriguing and, in some places, downright shocking. A book not to be missed.

Grab your copy of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed here

Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.

You can follow his ramblings on twitter at @andrew__cat

Critics Praise Far from the Madding Crowd Film Adaptation

Whenever a new film adaptation of a classic novel is released, you can hear readers’ whispers on the wind.

Please, please please please, let it be good…

But according to critics, Far from the Madding Crowd isn’t good. It’s great.

Starring the incredible Carey Mulligan and directed by Thomas Vinterberg from a screenplay by David Nicholls (yes, that David Nicholls) the latest film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s seminal novel is perhaps the most impressive.

Great news for readers and filmlovers alike!

Grab your copy of Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd here

far-from-the-madding-crowdFar from the Madding Crowd

by Thomas Hardy

A special edition of Hardy’s brilliant novel to tie in with the major new film starring Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge and Matthias Schoenaerts, based on David Nicholls’ screenplay.

Hardy’s powerful novel of swift sexual passion and slow-burning loyalty centres on Bathsheba Everdene, a proud working woman whose life is complicated by three different men – respectable farmer Boldwood, seductive Sergeant Troy and devoted Gabriel – making her the object of scandal and betrayal.

Vividly portraying the superstitions and traditions of a small rural community, Far from the Madding Crowd shows the precarious position of a woman in a man’s world.

Grab your copy of Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd here

Grab your copy of Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd heree

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