What Cathryn Read – Bestselling author Cathryn Hein on her May reading

Australian novelist Cathryn Hein, author of The FallsThe French Prize, Heartland and much more gives her verdict on the books she’s been reading.


Lyrebird Hill

by Anna Romer

I thoroughly enjoyed Romer’s debut novel Thornwood House and her follow up, Lyrebird Hill, didn’t disappoint. The story unfolded beautifully, slipping between the present and colonial times, and held me captivated throughout. As with Thornwood house, the story had a wonderful gothic feel which made the suspense part of the novel even more intense, and Romer is a master at bringing the Australian bush to vivid life.

Lyrebird Hill unfolds with Ruby Cardel discovering that her sister Jamie’s death – an event she’s managed to blank from her memory – may have a sinister connection. When Ruby journeys back to her childhood home, the vault of her memory begins to open, bringing with it uncertainty and danger.

Highly recommended.

Grab a copy of Lyrebird Hill here


Already Dead 

by Jaye Ford

The suspense and action begin almost immediately in this gripping thriller from Jaye Ford and barely lets up until the final page. When an armed stranger jumps into her car, journalist Miranda Jack is forced on a terrifying ride. Her abductor, Brendan Walsh, seems a madman, but as her ordeal progresses and Miranda listens to his paranoid rants, Miranda is left with doubts. Doubts that force her to seek answers even when it appears doing so might place her in danger.

As with Jaye Ford’s previous novels, Already Dead was a page-turner so compelling all I wanted was to gobble it down in one sitting. I loved the thrill ride, loved the touch of romance and loved the landscape. She’s an auto-buy author. Next please!

 Grab a copy of Already Dead here


You’re Just Too Good To Be True

by Sofija Stefanovic

This short book looks at online romance scams, how they operate and the devastating impact they can have on those caught up in them. Triggered by her eighty-year-old friend Bill’s experiences, Stefanovic sympathetically reveals how Bill’s search for online love took him from hope to bankruptcy. It’s sad and frustrating and I feel desperately sorry for Bill and others caught up in these scams. To have the human need for love exploited so badly is horrible.

The story gets even more interesting when Stefanovic decides to lure a scammer into talking to her about their operations, and finds herself in turn being drawn into this morally murky world.

Fascinating. And an eye-opener on how easily people can be manipulated, regardless of background.

Grab a copy of You’re Just Too Good To Be True here


The Diabolical Miss Hyde

by Viola Carr

This book is brilliantly cross-genre, spanning romance, steampunk, horror and crime, and probably a few others, and, as the title indicates, takes more than a little bit of inspiration from classics such as The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Frankenstein and more. It’s dark, no question and certainly not a typical romance, but it worked thanks to an intriguing plot and great characters, and some seriously lush world building.

Crime scene investigator Eliza Jekyll is daughter of the famous Dr Henry Jekyll (from the classic novel) and suffers his same condition. Her “evil twin” is Lizzie, and she’s a blast compared to straight-laced Eliza, if a tad violent-minded. The two are in a constant battle for domination, a battle that becomes more fraught when the Royal Society’s enforcer, Captain Lafayette, comes to assist in the hunt for the bizarre new serial killer stalking London’s streets. For this is the man who could see Eliza’s career and life destroyed. Except Lafayette may not be all he seems either, and Lizzie is on the trail. So perhaps is someone even more dangerous.

Great fun!

Grab a copy of The Diabolical Miss Hyde here


Hein, CathrynThanks Cathryn Hein, we look forward to seeing what you have read next month!

Cathryn Hein was born in South Australia’s rural south-east. With three generations of jockeys in the family it was little wonder she grew up horse mad, finally obtaining her first horse at age 10. So began years of pony club, eventing, dressage and showjumping until university beckoned.

Armed with a shiny Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) from Roseworthy College she moved to Melbourne and later Newcastle, working in the agricultural and turf seeds industry. Her partner’s posting to France took Cathryn overseas for three years in Provence where she finally gave in to her life-long desire to write. Her short fiction has been recognised in numerous contests, and published in Woman’s Day.

 Click here to see Cathryn’s author page

The Falls

by Cathryn Hein

For as long as she can remember, Teagan Bliss has wanted to manage her family’s property. She’s invested everything in the farm, knowing that when her parents retire she’ll be ready to take the reins. But when a family betrayal leaves her reeling, Teagan is forced to rethink her entire future.

Heartbroken, Teagan flees to her aunt’s property in the idyllic Falls Valley. Vanessa is warm and welcoming and a favourite of the locals who drop in regularly for cocktail hour. Teagan soon catches the attention of sexy local farrier Lucas Knight, and with a new job, new friends and the prospect of a new relationship, she slowly begins to open up again.

But the village is a hotbed of gossip and division and when Teagan gets caught up in town politics, Lucas and Vanessa become concerned. As the tension in town escalates, Teagan must decide who to trust. But when she realises those close to her have been keeping secrets, the fallout may split Teagan apart forever.

Grab a copy of The Falls here

RWA Romantic Book of the Year (The Ruby) 2015 Finalists announced

The finalists for this year’s Romantic Books of the Year Award, affectionately known as The Ruby, have been announced!

Voted on by Australian readers, the contest is open each year to any Australian or New Zealand romance author who has published a long or short romance novel with the winners to be announced at the Romance Writer’s of Australia conference in August.


Long Romance:moonlight-plains

Risky Business by Amy Andrews

Deadly Secrets by Sarah Barrie

Moonlight Plains by Barbara Hannay

Attraction by KM Golland


Romantic Elements:outback-ghost

Flight to Coorah Creek by Janet Gover

The Trader’s Reward by Anna Jacobs

Outback Ghost by Rachael Johns

The Lace Balcony by Johanna Nicholls

Riverboat Point by Tricia Stringer


Short Sweet:dr-perfect-on-her-doorstep

Dr. Perfect On Her Doorstep by Lucy Clark

Waves of Temptation by Marion Lennox

A Little Christmas Magic by Alison Roberts

The Maverick Millionaire by Alison Roberts

The Tycoon and the Wedding Planner by Kandy Shepherd


Short Sexy:damaso-claims-his-heir

Wanting What She Can’t Have by Yvonne Lindsay

Romance For Cynics by Nicola Marsh

Tycoon’s Temptation by Trish Morey

Damaso Claims His Heir by Annie West


Never judge Fan Fiction by its inspiration…

A Pound of Flesh by Sophie Jackson, is the latest in a long line of Twilight fan fiction to be published. Jackson’s reason for creating Twilight fanfic alone makes you want to read this book because, let’s be honest, we are all guilty of creating new scenarios in our head and imagining an entirely different story. I’ve done it with so many of my favourite romance books, albeit with a starring role from yours truly.

Sophie has this to say about dipping her toe into the heady world of Fan Fiction.

“When I finished reading them (the Twilight series) the second time, I knew I needed more. I wanted to learn more about the characters, to see them in different situations and following different storylines. That’s when I happened upon FanFiction.net.

The talent in the fanfiction world is truly incredible, and I spent weeks falling down the ‘Twifiction’ rabbit hole, while falling more in love with the idea of writing my own. I was inspired.

I’m a hopeless romantic and a sucker for a love story, which is what I decided to write.”

A Pound of Flesh is part of a series and I can’t wait to read them!


a-pound-of-fleshA Pound of Flesh

A Pound of Flesh Series : Book 1

by Sophie Jackson

The first in a compelling, emotional and sexy series about the ultimate forbidden romance…

Lose your heart to your new bad boy book boyfriend. Wes Carter – sexy, edgy, behind bars, with emotional scars as permanent as the ink on his skin, just waiting to be healed by love…

Fans of Samantha Young, Jodi Ellen Malpas, Jamie McGuire, Katy Evans and Prison Break will find this powerful love story utterly addictive and unforgettable.

Can true love heal the deepest scars?

Wes Carter: Dangerous, brooding and behind bars, Carter’s more…

Grab a copy of A Pound of Flesh here

About the Author

Sophie Jackson is an English teacher from Chorley. Although she read and wrote furiously as a child, she first started writing as an adult, to scratch the creative itch, for the website FanFiction.net, after reading the Twilight series in 2008. She wrote and posted a number of Twilight fanfics, chapter by chapter, and built up an impressive readership.

Drum roll…. the winner of our Avengers pack is…

Because of the awesomeness that is The Avengers: Age of Ultron, we decided to give away an Avengers pack. All you had to do to enter was buy one of our select Avengers titles by May 31st.


avengersAvengers: Rage of Ultron

by Rick Remender, Jerome Opena (Illustrator)

It was another glorious victory for the Mighty Avengers. Good triumphed over evil and Ultron was shot into space, never to be seen again. Or so they thought. Now, years later, the homicidal artificial intelligence – so long devoted to ending life on Earth – has a new world to conquer…one with its own horrific legacy.

When Titan, birthplace of Thanos, falls, Planet Ultron rises in its place! Thanos’ brother Starfox must seek the aid of his former allies – but the Avengers he finds are image1radically different from the ones he once knew.

Among them is Ultron’s creator Giant-Man – and when Hank Pym confronts his now planet-sized “son,” the responsibilities of fatherhood have never loomed so large. Rick Remender (Uncanny Avengers) and Jerome Opena (Avengers) unleash the full robotic rage of Ultron on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!

 

…and the winner is:

C.Bull, Lesmurdie, WA

Check out our Marvel Avengers: The Age of Ultron series here


Congratulations to the winner!

Missed out on the prize? Hey, turn that frown upside up, we’ve got so much more up for grabs, not to mention limited editions signed copies and 2 for 1 offers!

Head to our Promotions and Competitions page!

promotions

 

Nine Naughty Questions with… Rachael Johns, author of The Road to Hope

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Rachael Johns

author of The Road to Hope and many more…

Nine Naughty Questions

———————————-

1. I wonder, is a Romance writer born or made? Please tell us a little about your life before publication.

I was made from heartache mixed with a liberal dose of teenage dramatics. I’d never been a huge reader in school (aside from the entire Babysitters series) but I was a mad romantic, crushing on the same guy for almost five years. We ended up “together” for five months and when we broke up at the end of year twelve I was devastated. I thought my life was over and for some reason turned to writing as a form of therapy. I wrote 80000 terrible words about me and that guy but by the end of it, I’d caught the bug. It took me fifteen years after this before I finally got published. During those fifteen years I also did a writing degree, became a teacher, got married, had three kids and moved to the bush.

Author: Rachael Johns

2. For all the glitz and the glam associated with the idea of romance novels, writing about and from the heart is personal and very revealing. Do you think this is why Romance readers are such devoted fans? And do you ever feel exposed?

I think romance readers rock and I love that they are as invested in the characters as me as a writer. I think the reason they’re invested and devoted is because romance characters usually experience universal emotions – love, grief, anger, loss, etc – that make them easy to relate to and barrack for. Romance, although it can take readers on a rollercoaster of highs and lows, guarantees a happy ending and in today’s often sad world, I think this feel-good escape is wonderful. Obviously all my books have a little part of me in, but I don’t feel exposed.

3. Please tell us about your latest novel…

The Road to Hope is linked to my first book Jilted and is about nurse Lauren Simpson and Doctor Tom Lewis. Lauren featured in Jilted and I myself had nicknamed her The Nasty Nurse, never intending to use her as the heroine in a future book. However I had such great feedback from readers wanting to go back to Hope Junction that I decided to write another book set in that town. The Road to Hope is a story about overcoming life’s hurtles and making the best of what is thrown at you. It’s about giving yourself and others a second chance. It’s mostly set in a rural hospital and nursing home and so there are a whole host of elderly eccentric characters which were hugely fun to write about. And for those readers who loved Jilted, you’ll be pleased to hear The Road to Hope opens at Flynn and Ellie’s wedding.

Grab a copy of Rachael’s novel The Road to Hope here

4. Is the life of a published Romance writer… well… Romantic?

Hmm… I’d like to tell you that it is but the truth is that aside from a few times a year when I hang out with writer friends at conferences and wine and dine, my life is pretty much the same as any other working mum. I get up, organise everyone for school, drop them off, come home do laundry, emails, etc and then sit at my laptop and pray for words. I’m interrupted by school carnivals, sick kids, dogs that need walking… I think you get the picture. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have a job I can do from home and, in winter, from my bed with my electric blanket on. What’s better than that?

5. Of all of the Romantic moments in your life is there one moment, more dear than all the rest, against which you judge all the Romantic elements in your writing? If so can you tell us about that special moment?

It’s very sad but I can’t think of many truly romantic moments – maybe I’m hard to please or maybe the lack of them is why I turned to writing romance. One pretty special day for me was when my husband proposed. He’d asked me (hypothetically) what I would like in an ideal proposal and I told him chocolate, champagne, fairy lights, rain and all my pets (at the time I had two guinea pigs, two budgies and a cat). Three months later it was raining and he whisked me out onto his patio. He had fairy lights strung across the awnings, chocolate, wine and all pets out there as well. He got down on bended knee and asked me to be his wife. After he went to all the trouble of getting the animals organised, of course I said yes. It may not have been everyone’s idea of romance, but I think that’s what makes a good romance novel – the romantic moments are tailored very specifically to the hero and heroine of that book. What works for one couple, would seem wrong for another.

6. Sex in Romance writing today ranges from ‘I can’t believe they’re allowed to publish this stuff’ explicit to ‘turn the light back on I can see something’ mild. How important do you think sex is in a romance novel?

In my books I don’t close the door but neither do I explicitly describe the sex scenes. The heat levels also vary from book to book depending on the characters. To me the emotion is the key to writing a truly fulfilling sex scene – I want to be inside the characters’ heads as much as their bodies when they are making love, to see/know how their feelings and opinions are changing and growing about their lover and also about themselves. Sex in a book shouldn’t be gratuitous, it should change things and be absolutely essential to the plot, otherwise I don’t want to read (or write) about it.

7. Romance writers are often Romance readers – please tell us your five favourite (read and re-read) romance novels or five novels that influenced your work most?

1. Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding – This was the book that brought me back to reading in my early twenties and one of the few novels I’ve re-read.
2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – classic romance. I simply love Austen’s heroes, especially in this book.
3. Faking It by Jennifer Crusie – a book that had me laughing pretty much on every page. The sex scene stood out as being fresh and funny, not clichéd at all.
4. Northern Lights by Nora Roberts – my first ever Nora Roberts book and one of the books that got me hooked on romance.
5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – the only book I read in high school and a story that stayed with me.

8. Erotic Romance writing is ‘so hot right now’, do you have any thoughts on why?

I think it’s always been hot, just before a certain book came out a few years ago and took the world by storm no one that read erotic romance admitted to it.

9. Lastly, what advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read and write – it’s really as simple as that. I don’t understand when I hear writers say they are not readers. To me, these passions go  hand in hand and you can learn a lot from reading other people’s work. Oh and when you are ready, submit your work to publishers. It took me a long while to realise that one of the reasons I wasn’t getting published was because I wasn’t putting my work out there.

Thanks for joining us Rachael!


The Road to Hope

by Rachael Johns

Nurse Lauren Simpson is known in Hope Junction for the wrong reasons – and she’s over it. Watching the man she’s always loved marry someone else is the last straw – she decides to get out of Hope. But her resolve is tested when the hot new locum doctor arrives in town.

Doctor Tom Lewis also has skeletons in his closet – including a painful breakup and devastating family news. He’s hit the road with his vintage ute and surfboard, to travel the outback and live in the moment.

When Tom and Lauren meet the attraction is instant, but for Lauren Tom threatens to be just another fling and Tom has his own reasons for hesitating. Everyone else – their friends and patients – can see how perfect they are together, but just what will it take for them to admit this to themselves?

A brand new Hope Junction story of fresh starts and second chances.

Grab a copy of The Road to Hope here

Nine Naughty Questions with… Helene Young, author of Northern Heat

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Helene Young

author of Northern Heat and more…

Nine Naughty Questions

———————————-

1. I wonder, is a Romance writer born or made? Please tell us a little about your life before publication.

I think a romance writer is probably born. According to my mum I was always an optimistic little soul who resolutely refused to find anything but a silver lining in every cloud. (That may well annoy those around me!) I started writing angsty poetry when I was a teenager, moved to short stories with unhappy endings, and then graduated to articles for community newsletters. When I sat down to write a book, however, the story was a romance. Since I’ve always been a lover of crime fictions as well as happy endings it’s not surprising I write romantic suspense. Two stories for the price of one!

Author: Helene Young

2. For all the glitz and the glam associated with the idea of Romance novels, writing about and from the heart is personal and very revealing. Do you think this is why romance readers are such devoted fans? And do you ever feel exposed?

I think as a writer I definitely need to pour my heart and soul into my characters. Romance readers know authentic love when they see it and that means we as writers need to live and breathe it.  I do draw on some of my own experiences, but I don’t feel exposed by telling those stories. However recounting the experiences of people who’ve provided inspiration for my characters can be emotional…

3. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Set in remote Cooktown, Northern Heat is a story of redemption, but also about finding the courage to walk away from violence. As my heroine, Kristy, says, ‘Tomorrow is a new day.’

While the research into domestic violence was harrowing, I met many women who’ve lived through hardship and emerged stronger, more resilient and determined to make better choices for themselves and for their children. It takes courage to trust enough to love again and I hope I’ve done their stories justice.

Grab a copy of Helene’s novel Northern Heat here

4. Is the life of a published Romance writer… well… Romantic?

Lol, nothing romantic about a full time job requiring upwards of 50 hours a week plus writing a book a year! But come July we’ll be casting off the mooring lines and heading Roobinesque, our 40ft catamaran, north into the Coral Sea – that’s going to be a whole lot more romantic than managing 260 pilots!

5. Of all of the Romantic moments in your life is there one moment, more dear than all the rest, against which you judge all the Romantic elements in your writing? If so can you tell us about that special moment?

My romantic moment was when Capt G, a mere work colleague at the time, scooped me up in his arms and carried me off a sports field after I’d badly damaged my knee in a touch footy game. He stole my heart as he whisked me away to the local hospital. That was 30 years ago :)

6. Sex in Romance writing today ranges from ‘I can’t believe they’re allowed to publish this stuff’ explicit to ‘turn the light back on I can see something’ mild. How important do you think sex is in a Romance novel?

I think love scenes are very important to a romance, whether the bedroom door is closed or open! But it needs to show the emotional connection between the characters, even if they’re enjoying smokin’ hot sex. And it needs to be true to the characters. I think readers expect a sensuous element in romances and the rise of erotic romance would suggest that it’s increasingly important.

7. Romance writers are often Romance readers – please tell us your five favourite (read and re-read) Romance novels or five novels that influenced your work most?

1. Hungry as the Sea by Wilbur Smith, because it was the first romantic suspense I’d read. Althought I doubt Wilbur Smith thinks he writes romance!
2. Northern Lights by Nora Roberts, becaues the heroine flies a float plane!
3. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, because Elizabeth was so quick witted and Mr Darcy so honourable but constrained.
4. Tai-Pan by James Clavell – just because.
5. Dune by Frank Herbert – I find something new every time I read it.

8. Paranormal Romance writing is ‘so hot right now’, do you have any thoughts on why?pride-and-prejudice

Paranormal romance offers pure escapism which lets our imaginations take off. I’m not a huge reader of Paranormal but I do love the Psy Changeling series by Nalini Singh and Kerri Arthur’s Dark Angels series.

9. Lastly, what advice do you give aspiring writers?

You can’t edit a blank page so get writing! So many people start a book and never finish it so the first big hurdle is to get your story down on the page. Also remember that all those ‘writing rules’ are for guidance. Sure you need to be concious of grammar, punctuation and spelling, but every writer has a unique process. Developing your voice and your writing process is all part of learning your craft.

Thanks for joining us Helene!


Northern Heat

by Helene Young

In steamy northern Queensland, Conor is living under an assumed name and rebuilding his shattered life. Working at Cooktown’s youth centre has given him the chance to make a difference again, and a chance to flirt with Dr Kristy Dark.

After tragedy tore her family apart, Kristy fled to Cooktown with her feisty teenage daughter, Abby. She hoped being part of the small community would help them both heal, but Abby’s sports coach is turning out to be a compelling distraction.

When a severe cyclone menaces the coast, threatening to destroy everything in its path, tensions come to a head – and the weather is not the only danger in Cooktown. Cut off from the world and with her life on the line, Kristy will have to summon her courage and place her trust in Conor, or they’ll both lose someone they love.

Grab a copy of Northern Heat here

BOOK REVIEW: The Spring Bride by Anne Gracie (Review by Hayley Shephard)

9781921901423I absolutely loved The Perfect Rake, so when I was given the chance to read and review Anne Gracie’s new book The Spring Bride, I just knew I had to put other books on my list aside. It didn’t disappoint!

The life of its female lead, Jane Chance, has not been smooth sailing. Following the old cliché it stands to reason she would meet her happily ever after right off the bat, but instead she accepts a proposal from a man she feels no attraction to but could provide her with security. I tripped over myself while reading this play out, but in the end came to regard her as a strong selfless female, trying to ensure her safety and survival in a society that can be horribly cruel. Anne Gracie is such a wonderful writer that I questioned whether I even wanted to know what happened in the end.

Enter Zachary Black. Admittedly, I tend to steer clear from male leads that are undercover. To my surprise it was actually refreshing to have the pair not on equal footing, with the male considered beneath the female. Consequently, the feelings that simmer between the two reads stronger for me, even when some truths are revealed. He begins to help Jane realise that perhaps love has a greater part to play in creating a happy future rather than just safety and security.

In return, she makes him see things differently and think about what he really wants. With a past full of espionage and now suddenly faced with criminal charges, who wouldn’t? On a side note you can’t help but laugh and snort when, through the words of Anne Gracie, you picture Zach trying to mingle with polite society.

After reading this book I am dying to find out how it all came to be for the other characters. This is book 3 of the series, which can be read as a standalone, but I can’t wait to read books 1 and 2 in the series.

Grab a copy of The Spring Bride here


The Spring Bride

The Chance Sisters Series : Book 3

by Anne Gracie

On the eve of the London Season, Jane Chance is about to make her entrance into high society. And after a childhood riddled with poverty and hardship, Jane intends to make a good, safe, sensible marriage. All goes according to plan until a dark, dangerous vagabond helps her rescue a dog.

Zachary Black is all kinds of unsuitable – a former spy, now in disguise, he’s wanted for murder. His instructions: to lie low until his name is cleared. But Zach has never followed the rules, and he wants Jane Chance for his own. If that means blazing his way into London society, in whatever guise suits him, that’s what he’ll do. Jane knows she shouldn’t fall in love with this unreliable, if devastatingly attractive, rogue. But Zach is determined – and he’s a man accustomed to getting what he wants.

About the Author

Anne Gracie spent her childhood and youth on the move, thanks to her father’s job, which took them around the world. The gypsy life taught her that humour and love are universal languages and that favourite books can take you home, wherever you are.

Anne started her first novel while backpacking solo around the world. Originally published by Harlequin Books, she now writes Regency-era historical romances for Berkley (Penguin USA) and Penguin Australia, but instead more…

Grab a copy of The Spring Bride here

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