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Showing posts with the label romance

Writing Wipptee — a little mystery, a little romance

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 It's five years since I moved to the country, and I've wanted to write about it since the first day. I've always been a city girl, and I imagined the country as a quiet, somewhat behind the times, place. I was so wrong. There's a boiling cauldron of politics, and while retail is limited, there's no shortage of informaton or internet access. And the idea that people live and die in their native town isn't true either. People move all over the place. There's constant change. Another shock — the country is industrial. Trucks, machinery, warehouses, factories, and now wind and solar production, are everywhere. Some of the great issues of our time converge in the country. Animal rights, farm invasions, the right to protest, the destructive potential of agriculture, people's lifelong dedication to landcare and land repair, and mining rights, create a potent mix of conflicting views. In this book I try to capture some of this, against Maddison Debranz's qu

Wipptee — an Australian rural romance

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A cozy mystery with a feisty enemies-to-lovers romance on the side.   A young woman wants a quiet life in a small country town, but her past crimes as an animal rights activist return to haunt her.  BUY EBOOK  Maddison returns to Australia after five years away, desperate for a happily-ever-after future with her husband. But Daniel is missing and wanted by the police. Maddie follows a lead to Rakali Springs, the town where everything first went wrong for her and Daniel. She receives a hostile reception, but the Brackton family, Grace and her four sons, are willing to give her a place to stay.   It doesn’t take long for Maddie to discover that everyone has an agenda. Grace, the family matriarch, is determined to end destructive land clearing on neighbouring Wipptee farm at any cost. Matthew guards his secrets well, Liam is sleazy and unpredictable, and Travis wants only regular work for his earthmoving business. Worst of all, Constable Theo Brackton never misses a chance to accuse, crit

Reading journal: City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn

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Genre: Romance Published: 2014 Date read: November 2018 I picked this up at a public library sale, because I really liked the typography on the cover. I’m not so sure about the imagery. Those people are going to get lots of sand in uncomfortable places. This is a standard Harlequin romance set in Syria between the wars. There’s a plucky English aviatrix, a spy husband back from the dead, some miraculous archeological finds, a Bedouin sheik and assorted villains. Relaxing read, well written.

Reading journal: A Wager for the Widow by Elisabeth Hobbes

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Genre: Historical romance Published: 2015 Date read: November 2018 This Mills and Boon romance is set somewhere in England, sometime in the middle ages, and the wager is for a kiss. Competently written but I would have liked more plot. It seems like a lot of fuss over a kiss. I need to brush up my romance sensitivity!

Reading journal: Band Sinister by KJ Charles

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Genre: Romance (m/m) Published: 2018 Date read: November 2018 A romantic comedy in the style of Georgette Heyer. A girl falls from her horse and is forced to receive medical treatment in the house of a neighbour with whom there is a history of family enmity. Romantic assignations and misunderstandings follow, but all is resolved happily at the end. Quite fun. Lovely cover.

Reading journal: The Runaway Christmas Elf by Fiona Marsden

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Genre: Romance Published: 2015 Date read: November 2018 Light, fluffy, not very believable premise but definitely a happy ending. Subtitled ‘A Jewellery Store Romance’, earrings come into it. Set in Brisbane, Australia, and explores, lightly, romance across religious boundaries. Nicely written.

Reading journal: Embers and Echoes by Daniel De Lorne

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Genre: Rural gay romance Published: 2018 Date read: September 2018 Ben Fields, a policeman, and Toby Grimshaw, a firefighter, have a history. In a small town like Echo Springs, on the edge of the outback, they can’t avoid each other, especially when the town is threatened by escalating arson attacks. We want Ben and Toby to solve the mystery, survive the danger, and get back together, and since this is a romance, they do. An enjoyable light read.

Reading journal: A Place to Stay by Jennie Jones

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Genre: Romance Published: 2016 Date read: March 2018 Rachel has moved to an outback town under an assumed name to escape from her violent criminal husband, and from the police who want to talk to her. Local cop, Luke, falls for Rachel, but complications arise when she rejects his interest out of fear, and he becomes aware of her history and is required to protect her and find out what she knows. Some local criminals and the arrival of the evil husband and his cronies are sketched in, but the focus is on the protagonists coming to trust each other. I enjoyed the descriptions of the red dust town. In fact, I enjoy all rural/outback romances simply because of the scenery. Sometimes I would like the plots to be a little more convincing.

Reading journal: Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon

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Genre: Crime/Romance Published: 2018 Date read: April 2018 Carter Matheson, a librarian from California, joins a bus tour of Scotland for fans of crime author Dame Vanessa Rayburn. The tour visits locations used in Vanessa’s books. Carter isn’t enjoying the tour, mainly because his ex is also there with his new partner. There are compensations though; Carter is attracted to another passenger John Knight, and there is something mysterious going on behind the scenes which he is determined to expose. I enjoyed this book very much. Lots of suspense, poor Carter suffering miseries on the romantic side, and a not particularly surprising exposé at the end. Shades of Agatha Christie. Josh Lanyon is a prolific author who produces work of varying quality, but this one is most enjoyable.

Reading journal: Spectred Isle by KJ Charles

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Genre: Historical Romance/Mystery Published: 2017 Series: Green Men Read: January 2018 Set in Britain after the first World War, which had been fought in the occult world as well as the muddy and lethal real one. Saul Lazenby, a disgraced archeologist, takes a job working for an obsessive amateur researcher, the kind of man “liable to end up with ancient masonry falling on his head”. The investigations put Saul in danger’s way too often to be coincidental. Saul meets Randolph Glyde, a man responsible for keeping the mystical world on an even keel. The action shifts to the fens, where Saul and Randolph are trapped out of time and attacked by horrible fen-grendels rising up from the marshes. They survive through courage and “kissing for dear life in a dead land”. A great story, excellent pace, scary scenes, suspense, interesting ideas, sarcastic humour and a happy ending, everything I’ve come to expect from KJ Charles. Highly recommended.

Reading journal: Beauty Like the Night by Joanna Bourne

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Genre: Historical romance Published: 2017 Series: Spymaster Read: February 2018 After the French Revolution came the Napoleonic Wars, and after the wars came the wash-up of displaced people, resentment and revenge. But “spies never retire” . Séverine de Cabrillac, a French-born British spy, is working in London. When not busy helping the British service prevent an assassination attempt on Lord Wellington, she takes on a case helping jewel thief Raoul Deverney to find his missing daughter. I enjoyed this book, although not quite as much as earlier books in the series. Some favourite characters make a reappearance, including the deadly Adrian Hawkhurst — “Hawk lounged at his side of the table with all the noncommittal menace of one of the better breeds of cat.” I suggest starting with the first book in the series, The Forbidden Rose , which takes place in France during the French Revolution. It has a cracking beginning — the starving protagonist talks to the rabbit she

Reading journal: Persuasion by Jane Austen

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Genre: Romance Published: 1817 Read: February 2018 The novel follows a period in the life of Anne Elliot, a woman cursed with a vain, social climbing family. In her youth she refused an offer of marriage from Frederick Wentworth, a young sailor of no family or means. Now, years later, he has returned, wealthy from his exploits fighting in the British Navy in the Napoleonic Wars, to find her unmarried still. The novel explores the difficulties of navigating family and social pressures. Anne’s original rejection, seen by Frederick as due to weakness of character in letting family and friends persuade her against him, also had elements of immaturity and realistic prudence. He himself suffers from the expectations of family and friends, and forms a more mature judgement, leading to an unsurprising happily ever after, with a marriage based on love rather than family alliances. This novel is literary in style. Not much actually happens. Instead we see page after page of Anne’s pe

Reading journal: The Boy Next Door by Josh Lanyon

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Genre: Crime/Romance Published: 2017 Read: February 2018 A readable novella about Merle Madison, former boy detective and now aspiring real private eye, and his childhood friend, now estranged lover, Police Chief Isaac Ramsey. The style is conversational and humorous, the mystery just juicy enough to matter, and the conflict (leading to reconciliation, if there was any doubt) between the two men is wonderfully done. Recommended.

Reading journal: Two Man Station by Lisa Henry

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Genre: Romance (m/m) Published: 2018 Series: Emergency Services Read: February 2018 The latest offering from prolific Australian author Lisa Henry is set in the remote outback town of Richmond in Queensland. Gio Valeri, dragging baggage from his previous Gold Coast posting behind him, joins Jason Quinn in policing the small town. He has to deal with snakes, neglected children, family violence, and the strange fallout from bingo night, as well as a growing attraction to Jason. A great book. I particularly liked the snake silhouettes that divide the chapters, and the realistic portrayal of the difficulties of single parenting and limited resources in policing in a remote area. Recommended. If you want to see what Richmond looks like in real life, there are plenty of photos on Google Maps and you can see the police station on street view. Town of Richmond, Queensland, Australia. Copyright Google Maps