All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Blog Tour Post: ***DOUBLE GIVEAWAY***: The Nancys & Nancy Business by R.W.R McDonald

This post is part of the blog tour – please see the bottom of the post for more details and other stops on the tour.

Thanks to the wonderful people at Allen & Unwin Australia, to celebrate the release of Nancy Business, the second novel featuring intrepid young investigator Tippy and her uncles, I have one copy of each of the two books to give away to an Australian resident.

About the books!

Blurb: Tippy Chan is eleven and lives in a small town in a very quiet part of the world – the place her Uncle Pike escaped from the first chance he got as a teenager. Now Pike is back with his new boyfriend Devon to look after Tippy while her mum’s on a cruise.

Tippy is in love with her uncle’s old Nancy Drew books, especially the early ones where Nancy was sixteen and did whatever she wanted. She wants to be Nancy and is desperate to solve a real mystery. When her teacher’s body is found beside Riverstone’s only traffic light, Tippy’s moment has arrived. She and her minders form The Nancys, a secret amateur detective club. 

But what starts as a bonding and sightseeing adventure quickly morphs into something far more dangerous. A wrongful arrest, a close call with the murderer, and an intervention from Tippy’s mum all conspire against The Nancys. But regardless of their own safety, and despite the constant distraction of questionable fashion choices in the town that style forgot, The Nancys know only they can stop the killer from striking again.

The Nancys is gripping and glorious, a heart-warming novel for anyone who’s ever felt they were on the outside looking in. At its heart it is about the family we make and how we must summon the courage to face the truth, no matter what the cost may be. 

Blurb: Tippy, Uncle Pike and Devon are back for another camp cozy crime mystery from the award-winning author of The Nancys.

It’s been four months since Tippy, Uncle Pike and Devon were together for Christmas. Now back for the first anniversary of Tippy’s father’s death, the Nancys are reformed when Riverstone is rocked by an early morning explosion that kills three people and destroys the town hall.

A new case is born and the Nancys re-form. Is the accused bomber really guilty? Is there a second bomber? And if so, does that mean a threat to destroy Riverstone Bridge is real? And is asparagus a colour? Once again, it is up to the Nancys to go against the flow and ignore police advice to get to the truth.

It’s great to be back in Nancy business again, but this time it’s all different. Uncle Pike and Devon can’t agree on anything and Tippy is learning hard truths about the world and the people she loves the most. Can the Nancys stay together to do their best work and save the town? Or will the killer strike again? When everyone is right, does that make you wrong? And can Tippy ever trust anyone again?

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Simply CLICK HERE to enter

Thank you to Allen & Unwin! Good luck! Entries will close July 10, 2021 – winners will be emailed within the next 48 hours and you’ll have 48 hours to respond before I draw another winner! Thank you to everyone who enters and good luck!

Make sure you check out some of the other blogs and profiles featured on the tour!

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Review: The Scandalous Life Of Sasha Torte by Lesley Truffle

scandalous-life-of-sasha-torteThe Scandalous Life Of Sasha Torte
Lesley Truffle
Harper Collins AUS
2017, 413p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

In the winter of 1912 on the wild West Coast of Tasmania, Wolfftown’s most notorious heiress and murderess, Sasha Torte, tells the tale of her own spectacular downfall.

Forsaken by her parents and raised by criminals and reprobates, Sasha becomes a world-famous pastry chef at the tender age of seventeen. Entanglement with the disreputable Dasher brothers leads to love, but also to a dangerous addiction.

Behind bars in Wolfftown’s gaol, Sasha sips premium champagne as she recalls a life of seduction, betrayal, ghosts, opium and an indiscreet quantity of confectionary – and plots her escape.

The Scandalous Life of Sasha Torte: revenge, redemption and pastry, is a novel of dastardly deeds, intrepid protagonists, dark villains, wild gangs, luxurious hotels … and murder.

Honestly, I’m not even sure where to start here because this book was so many things I’m not sure which to talk about first. It begins in 1912 with the protagonist, Sasha now 22 years of age, in gaol on Tasmania’s west coast. She’s writing her memoirs and in these will take the reader back through the events that shaped her life and how it came to be that she is where she is.

What follows is a fantastical, unconventional story revolving around the character of Sasha and her eclectic band of family and friends. From a young age she was raised differently. Her parents had a volatile relationship that led to the disappearance of her mother and the death of her father when she was still a young child. Her paternal grandfather brought her aunt back from Europe to raise her but neither of those were particularly conventional either and Sasha’s education and upbringing was interesting. She becomes a celebrated pastry chef whilst still a teenager and opens her own shop selling beautiful sweet treats.

Sasha is a frank and unflinching narrator, taking no pains to hide anything at all, even some of her darkest moments. She offers up a stark look at life but manages to retain a sense of humour and positive outlook despite the numerous things that happen to her, culminating with her imprisonment for murder. I greatly enjoyed her life story and the way in which she examined people and moments that had shaped her. Her love for her aunt and her grandfather shines through every time they are on the page, as does her later affection for her employees.

Sasha’s life is also shaped by two brothers….one that wants her at any cost and isn’t afraid to stoop to terrible lows. The two brothers offer Sasha two sides of a coin…..one with her highest highs and a deep love and the other with terrible lows and an addiction. You’re clearly supposed to regard one of them as a villain (rightly so, he’s a deplorable character) but if I’m honest I didn’t really like the other brother either. He makes an awful impression and I never really felt as though he did much to redeem himself. He was interesting but not particularly appealing to me.

This book is quite a rollercoaster, with a lot of uplifting and fun moments tempered by some tragic ones. Sasha is a person of remarkable resilience….no matter what happens to her or the people around her, she rolls on. She seems to be the sort of person that inspires loyalty and affection and is in turn, generous to those within her circle.

This book contains so many different elements that it’s possible it has a little something for everyone…..it’s historical fiction with elements of mystery, crime, the supernatural, romance and a lot of quirk. I found it an absolutely fascinating read, one of those books that you pick up to just read a few chapters to get the lay of the land and when you look up it’s three hours later and you’ve finished it. I can’t say that I loved every component of it but put together they certainly made an intriguing story with a uniqueness that’s very appealing. Fans of Truffle’s previous work will probably enjoy the cameo the Hotel du Barry makes here. I haven’t read that one but I have added it to my wishlist after reading this because I definitely want to explore more of Truffle’s work.

8/10

Book #8 of 2017

Thanks to the fabulous people at Harper Collins Australia, I have one copy of The Scandalous Life of Sasha Torte to give away. This is open to Australian residents only and entries will close on the 1st February 2017. Simply fill in the form below to enter. Winners will be contacted on the 2nd February and given 48 hours to respond. If no response is received, I reserve the right to draw another winner.

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The Scandalous Life Of Sasha Torte is the 3rd novel read for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017

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Review & **GIVEAWAY**: Between The Vines by Tricia Stringer

Between The VinesBetween The Vines
Tricia Stringer
Harlequin MIRA AUS
2015,
Copy courtesy of the publisher/Morey Media

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

She’s given up everything for love: it could be the biggest mistake of her life…

Taylor Rourke wants to change her impulsive ways when it comes to romance and not fall for any man on a whim, but then on a hen party trip to a Coonawarra vineyard, she meets Edward Starr. Gorgeous and charismatic, Edward is enough to make any girl give up her flat and job in Adelaide and move to the country.

So it’s something of a shock that when she gets there, Edward is nowhere to be seen. Not wanting to admit she may have made a mistake and return home in disgrace, Taylor accepts the job that Edward’s younger brother Pete offers her and throws herself into her work, keen to learn as much as she can about the wine trade.

Taylor is thrilled when Ed returns, but she quickly discovers he may not be the man she thought he was. Her growing friendship with Pete causes tension between the brothers who have fallen out over a woman in the past. That’s not the only source of conflict: Pete has a dream to save the family vines, Edward’s dreams lie elsewhere.

As the lies and deceit grow, matters come to a head in the vibrant and demanding vintage season. Will Taylor’s dream of a new life and love between the vines come true? Or is there only heartbreak ahead?

It’s weird, because I don’t really like or drink wine, even though I’ve tried several times to get into it but I love reading books set in vineyards. I find the process really interesting and this book takes place mostly around a family vineyard and it makes for a really incredible setting.

Taylor is kind of stuck in a rut when on a hens trip with her friends, she meets the handsome and charming Edward Starr. To be a bit honest, I found it a bit of a stretch she would head back down to stay (?) with Edward after really just a couple of dates, although she did have limited options at the time. It felt a tiny bit flimsy but everything that came after that felt much stronger as Taylor found her niche in the vineyard and began to navigate the tricky dynamics between Edward and his brother Pete as well as the other workers.

Edward and Pete have different visions for the vineyard – Pete wants to focus on developing a certain wine, making it into their signature vintage. This will take time though, whereas Edward wants to expand and not put all of their eggs in one basket. The brothers have been at odds since the loss of their parents and they really struggle to see each other’s point of view, rarely even finding the time to sit down and have a proper conversation. They project their views at each other, not to each other and it’s up to Taylor, with her degree in marketing, to make them sit down and work out how they might be able to achieve the things that they both want.

The situation becomes awkward when it becomes clear that Taylor and Edward’s initial attraction isn’t going anywhere and that her attention now seems focused on Pete, the quieter brother. It adds another element to the already simmering sibling rivalry. Add in some potential sabotage and this book is a melting pot of tension. Both Edward and Pete are suspicious of each other and they are both doing things behind the other’s back. Edward is also torn between not really wanting Taylor in the way that he thought he did, but also not wanting her to be with Pete either. Taylor sees what she can do and she does it, despite the fact that there isn’t always as much support for her working there as there could be.

As I mentioned, I really loved the setting! Learning about the winemaking aspect was really interesting. When I went to my first university, it was located on the western outskirts of a capital city and offered a degree in viticulture and winemaking, which two of the people from my floor in the residential hall were doing. It was a small degree and the university grew its own grapes and made its own wine and when they needed to pick grapes, they got the students to rope in a few friends, so one year I got to spend the day grape picking. I wasn’t around for the actual process that came after that, which was a bit of a pity because it did sound really fascinating and I loved a lot of the explanations in this book – they weren’t too involved but they gave you enough of an idea.

I really enjoyed this book, getting to know the characters and the intricate workings of the winery. I kind of hope that Tricia Stringer revisits in the future, maybe gives one of the other characters their own book at some stage. It makes for a great lazy summer read, preferably whilst sipping a nice wine if you’re into that sort of thing! I will keep trying to find the one for me – so far I only really like one wine, a chilled red made by a local family vineyard up near where my parents live. I’m heading that way next week, so I think a visit to there is in order and after reading this, I think I’ll look at it with very different eyes.

8/10

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Between The Vines is book #72 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015

***GIVEAWAY***

And now for the exciting bit! Thanks to the publisher/Morey Media I have three print copies of Between The Vines to give away! This is open to Australian residents only please. Simply fill in the form below to enter. Entries close Christmas Eve at 9pm AEDST.

**Please note: I will be interstate on holiday between December 16 and January 10. Books will be shipped out on my return**

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***GIVEAWAY*** – Signed Copy of Quick by Steve Worland

Quick

Thanks to the fabulous people at Penguin Books Australia, I have one signed copy of Quick, Steve Worland’s new exciting action/adventure novel based around the world of F1 racing, to give away to a lucky reader. If you’re curious for more about Quick, you can read my review here.

All you need to do is simply fill out the form below. Entries will be closed Tuesday 9th September and the winner will be notified by email. Open to Australian residents only.

Good luck!

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Review & Giveaway: Rocking Horse Hill – Cathryn Hein

Rocking Horse HillRocking Horse Hill
Cathryn Hein
Penguin Books AUS
2014, 312p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Ever since she was a child, Emily Wallace-Jones has loved the family property Rocking Horse Hill. Even though her brother Digby inherited the property and technically owns it, he has promised Em that it will always be her home and that she need never fear losing it. Emily lives there with her assortment of animals including horses, donkeys, chooks, a duck and her beloved Miss Muffet, a Smithfield collie.

When Emily hears that her brother is engaged, she is happy for him. Digby deserves happiness and even though none of them know Felicity, the family makes a big attempt to welcome her with open arms. Only Emily’s eccentric grandmother doesn’t quite see the news as a happy occasion, making her suspicions about Felicity’s past known to Emily, who doesn’t want to hear it. It seems Felicity is slipping right into the family, almost too easily. She leaves Emily feeling a bit left out when she begins learning to cook with Emily’s mother, starts wearing the family jewellery and when Digby brings her out to Rocking Horse Hill, Felicty is delighted with it. Perhaps a little too delighted. And when Digby agrees to let Felicity buy and keep a horse there without consulting Emily, she begins to wonder just how much she can see Rocking Horse Hill as her permanent home.

But Emily once made a big mistake with snobbery, ending a relationship with her first love in a way that devastated him and made him feel as if he wasn’t good enough for one of the esteemed Wallace-Jones family. Now Josh has returned to the local area and he seems willing to give Emily a second chance. When even he seems to have suspicions about Felicity, Emily feels compelled to stand up for her, to back her brother and his fiancee all the way, determined that no one should judge her for being poor or from a bad area. In her choices, Emily could not only be making a huge mistake for her and Josh but she could also be putting her own life at risk.

Rocking Horse Hill is Cathryn Hein’s fourth novel and this book blends a delicious rural romance story with a healthy sprinkling of suspense and family drama as well. Emily is a member of a very esteemed and also quite wealthy family (although she herself is not wealthy really, given the way the family structure and inheritance works). She does have a home to live in courtesy of her brother and she’s passionate about the property and she also has a very deep love for her family. Emily is somewhat shocked when she gets hit by two pieces of news at once – her first love is back in town to support his mother through an illness and also, her brother has become engaged to a woman no one in the family has ever met before.

Cathryn Hein creates some stellar heroes in her books (I still have a girly sigh and a soft spot for Aaron in Promises, her first novel) and the lovely Josh is no exception here. Although he’s still a bit bitter towards Emily and the savage way she ended their relationship when they were younger (with good reason), the two of them find that the old attraction is still simmering away and they fall into what is totally a relationship again, even if they’re both trying not to label it. The two of them are very easy together, even when a bit uncertain about what’s going on, there’s a comfortableness in their interactions. They know each other and they are quite perfectly suited but they do need to deal with their past together and make sure they can both move forward cleanly.

I really felt the suspense was built very well throughout this book – I kept dithering back and forth about whether or not Felicity could be trusted, if she just seemed a bit sinister because they were looking at her through suspicious eyes or if she was really causing the family to begin rotting from the inside out. It kept me guessing right up until the moment that revealed all but I also loved how it wasn’t quite so black and white in that was she evil or was she not. Despite the fact that she’s only really a peripheral character and there are very few interactions with her in the novel one on one, she’s fleshed out very well and evokes everything from frustration to sympathy.

Rocking Horse Hill is full of such beautiful descriptions, especially of the property and the landscape that surrounds it as well as the homestead in ‘town’ that Emily’s mother and grandmother reside in. Emily is a bit of a foodie (much like the author) and the meals she prepares for herself and her two friends or herself and Josh are mouth-wateringly to die for! There’s also lovely imagery of Emily’s passion of recreating old manuscripts and Josh’s cabinetry and wood-working skills. And if Cathryn Hein ever decides to try her hand at stepping back in time for a bit, maybe to the 40s or 50s then I think there’s definitely a story in the character of Granny B! I know that several ‘spin off’ novels are planned after this one, perhaps for Emily’s two friends and maybe another character or two. I think that Granny B has potential for her own story too one day, should it ever decide to make itself known!

I think with each novel, Hein takes a step forward. Hers have always contained exploration of family dramas and emotions but she’s refining her skills and creating more depth and trying new things. The romance is strong in every book but it’s never just the focus – there’s always so much more going on and the talent is that everything blends together seamlessly without feeling crowded and the focus never feels uneven. I think that without a doubt, this is her best book yet.

9/10

Book #79 of 2014

AWWW2014

Rocking Horse Hill is the 33rd book read that qualifies for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2014

Thank you to the fabulous people at Penguin Australia, I am giving away a copy of Rocking Horse Hill to two lucky readers! All you need to do is fill out the form below. Australian residents only please. Entries will close May 5th and winners will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond. If I do not receive a response, I will draw another winner, same rules apply. Thank you to everyone who enters!

 

 

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**GIVEAWAY** The Australia Day Blog Hop 2014

australiadaybloghop2014The Australia Day Blog Hop is hosted by Shelleyrae at Book’d Out and celebrates the fabulousness of Australian authors that we have! It’s the chance for readers to visit new and old blogs and have the chance to win lovely prizes. So what am I offering?

First Prize: A print book of the winner’s choice so long as the author is Australian* to the value of $30AU

2x runner up prizes: A copy of Steve Worland’s novel Combustion, thanks to Penguin Australia

All you need to do is simply fill in the form below to enter. Entries close midnight January 28th and winners will be announced on Monday the 3rd of February. Please note this giveaway is available to Australian residents only. Don’t forget to visit this post at Book’d Out in order to hop to all of the participating blogs! There are many prizes to be won.

*Australian = born here or has lived here for a significant amount of time and is recognised as Australian.

Are you stuck for ideas? Here’s some of the amazing Aussie books I enjoyed recently!

2014-01-23

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Happy Birthday To Escape Publishing!

HappyBirthday_v2

 

Harlequin Australia’s digital-first imprint Escape Publishing are celebrating their first birthday and they’re choosing to give away the presents! Thanks to the lovely powers that be, I have the following bundle of eBooks to offer up to a lucky winner:

Bree_Giveaways2Here’s a little about the five titles (summaries from the publisher/Goodreads):

A World Apart, by Peter McAra: 

A sweeping Australian historical saga that crosses oceans to prove love conquers all… 

April, 1820. As children, they shared a schoolroom, but no education can remove the stain of being peasant-born. So when Eliza Downing begins to blossom into womanhood and the future Viscount de Havilland notices, his family steps in to intervene.

Once full of possibilities, Eliza’s life spirals into shame and degradation, culminating finally in a false conviction and transport to Botany Bay. Through shipwreck, exile, secrets, and scandals, Eliza holds fast to the belief that Harry will come for her — but he doesn’t come soon enough, and Eliza must learn to recognise her own value and become the heroine of her own story.

The Virginity Mission, by Cate Ellink: 

It’s lust at first sight when Mac sees Jason shirtless and sweating on the back of a truck.Jason is the army sergeant assigned to support the six‐week scientific expedition that Mac is participating in, and might just be the perfect candidate for another journey of discovery that Mac is desperate to undertake — sex.

Fraternisation between students and staff might be strictly prohibited, but everybody knows fruit always tastes better when it’s forbidden…

Bonjour Cherie, by Robin Thomas:

It’s Paris or bust in this New Adult comedy of errors about seeing beyond the surface…

Beth Jenkins is into all things French — especially her French teacher, André LeBlanc. She’s on the fast track to Paris and nothing will stop her, not even the very Australian Zach Mills, whose abs and attitude are a powerful combination. As she endeavours to catch André’s interest, she also stubbornly ignores the growing chemistry with Zach.

But as mishap after mishap delays her dreams, Beth begins to learn that neither Zach nor André are quite what they seem. Will it be too late to win the one man who shows her that Paris is not the only destination worth planning for?

Black Diamonds, by Eliza Redgold:

Truffles are one of the most powerful aphrodisiacs on the planet. Australian truffle farmer Jacaranda Riley tastes more than desire when Xavier Antoine, owner of a French truffle empire, moves in next door.

As they explore their mutual passion, Jacaranda discovers cravings she’s never known. But does the man who has taken her heart secretly plan to take her home and business too?

Hidden Fire, by Alexis Fleming:

Gili Adams is willing to do anything to protect her parents, even travel to Australia in search of the mythical opal, the Dreamtime Fire. But her resolve is tested when she has to enlist the help of anthropologist Morgan Hunt, the Guardian of the opal and the man who once accused her of using her feminine wiles to steal a priceless artefact.She’s faced with an impossible choice: lie to the man she never wanted to lose or risk her parents’ lives.
Nothing can be allowed to stand in her way… not even her own heart.

Entries are open worldwide and the winner will be drawn November 21st via Random.org

Simply fill in the form to enter!

 

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Read-a-long Discussion Post #2 – The Storyteller & His Three Daughters by Lian Hearn

StorytellerHello everyone and welcome to the second and final part of the discussion. Thank you to everyone who left a comment last week. For those who aren’t reading along and haven’t entered the giveaway yet, do pop down to the bottom of the post and fill in the form if you’d like the chance to win a copy of this one. The first discussion post is here.

I have to admit, it was a long time between me reading the first section of this book and the second. Usually I read the book in its entirety first and then in each section for the relevant discussion post but a lot has happened recently and I wasn’t able to do that this time. I wasn’t sure how I’d go picking it up again, whether or not I’d get a bit confused with the Japanese names and forget who was who but I transitioned back into the story very well.

In general terms, everyone seemed to be enjoying the book in the first part and I hope that carried over to the second half of the book. I feel that even though the real tone of Sei’s storytelling didn’t change, the book certainly contained a lot more happening in the latter half. Sei is shut down by the police after telling his story about the Nose and he is also beaten, presumably by Takayuki’s thugs. Each of the characters move forward in their own way, usually experiencing some form of dramatic event or moment followed by an ephiphany and then a resolution to each of their stories. Several characters, such as Michi have more than one resolution – firstly her life with Takayuki and then late in the book when she is presumably reunited with Satoshi. Sei finishes his ‘long story’ about the complicated affair between Takayuki, Michi, Kyu and Satoshi and it is a rousing success and is even transcribed into a written novel and sold successfully. He manages to also rectify the situations with his daughters although he is more likely a bystander in these events than someone who is proactive, or the cause of the resolutions.

Now that you’ve finished the book, how do you feel about Sei and his actions? Did you find him an honourable man and an enjoyable narrator? For me personally, I liked him a lot, especially the way in which he came to conclusions about things like his wife, whom earlier in the book he suspected of having an affair with or wanting to, with his manager. He comes to realise that everything she does concerning the manager, she does for him.  Everything he does for Satoshi and Michi speaks of honour and kindness to me – he especially goes above and beyond for Satoshi, trying to visit him in prison and later, begging Takayuki to spare his life. It must’ve been quite difficult to do that, knowing that he could possibly attract even more negative attention by attempting to play his hand with the sword. He is mildly tolerant of his daughters’ antics, although in a sort of distant way but I feel as though he does become a little more invested in their happiness later on. He is for example, not too bothered by Teru’s resolution even though it is somewhat unconventional.

The book is actually quite political although this is hidden at times in conversations and stories. It’s about a time when Japan was still quite heavily moderated, particularly in the press. I can imagine that an Englishman like Jack, who mentioned English democracy in one of his stories, must’ve caused quite a stir. I can’t know for sure, but I wouldn’t have thought there’d be a large number of Europeans in Japan at this time, do you think his marriage to Shigure might’ve caused any repercussions or opinions not mentioned in the story? Or is it quite possible that the tolerant attitudes towards things like man love and even Teru’s situation with her husband and their lover, might extend to an interracial marriage?

Most participants mentioned the modern language last week and the fact that it didn’t always read like it was the diary of a Japanese man in his 50s in 1884ish Japan. However I think that the way in which it is written is a good way to tell the story – it’s extremely readable with the author never bogging the reader down in too much Japan/Korea, breaking that up with Sei’s daughters and his other, more lighthearted stories that he’s working on. The conversations also helped – the simple way in which they were laid out with no bogging down of “he said” and “she said” etc. It reads like someone trying to transcribe their conversations authentically.

Overall, I very much enjoyed this one. It was something very different to the books I am usually drawn to and I’m glad I read it. It did teach me a little about a country and time I don’t know much about and I wouldn’t mind further investigating this author and her other works as well as books set in Japan before/around the turn of the 20th century.

I hope you all enjoyed it as well and thanks once again for taking the time to participate and share your views. Thanks also must go out to the wonderful people at Hachette AU who provide our books and those which I am lucky enough to give away here on the blog.

For me, this one is an 8/10.

Enter here for the giveaway! AU residents only. Winners drawn next Wednesday 30th October and notified by email.

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The Storyteller And His Three Daughters by Lian Hearn Read-A-Long Schedule

StorytellerHello everyone taking part in our read-a-long of The Storyteller & his Three Daughters by Lian Hearn. Sorry for the delay in communication, there was a small delay with some people receiving copies! We’re all set now so the schedule for the read-a-long will be as follows:

Week 1 Discussion Post: Wednesday 16th October. Yep, that’s this time next week. That gives everyone a week to get through the first part of the book and think about things they’d like to say. The book isn’t too long so this first discussion post will be about pages 1-130.

Week 2 Discussion Post: Wednesday 23rd October. This post will continue the discussion talking about pages 131-163 (end). For anyone who falls a bit behind, don’t worry! The posts will always be there so you can come and join the discussion anytime. Just please be aware that the posts and the discussion comments will contain spoilers so if you don’t want anything like that, don’t pop by until you’re up to date with where we are up to.

Thanks in advance to everyone that is participating and I look forward to seeing you all here next week to begin discussing the book. For those blog readers who aren’t taking part, I’ll have some giveaways of this book thanks to the fabulous people at Hachette Australia, so keep an eye out for those!

 

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Get To Know….Australian Rural Romance Author Rachael Johns ++ GIVEAWAY

IMG_2698 - CopyTo celebrate the release of Australian rural romance author Rachael Johns’ third full length novel Outback Dreams I had the chance to ask her a few questions, plus she elaborated on what it’s like to switch from writing stand alone novels to writing a series.

Q1. Hey Rach and welcome to my blog. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. To start – what was the road to publication like for you? How did you come to be published?

It was LONG. I’m a slow learner. At 17 (after breaking up with my first love and writing as a form of therapy) I decided I wanted to be an author. At 32 my first book finally hit the shelves. During this time I did a writing degree at uni, although I’m not sure this did much good at all, aside from the fact I read an article about Mills & Boon while there. Years later I remembered that article and decided to try my hand at writing romance. It was still another six years before I got published, but in that time I found Romance Writers of Australia and finally started really learning about what makes a good book and honing my craft. It was eventually a rejected Mills & Boon attempt that was picked up by Carina Press. As a newly published author I got to go to a dinner with Harlequin Australia authors and here I met my now publisher. My friend actually pitched my book to her!

Q2. Share a little about your writing routine: are you an extensive plotter or do you wing it? Do you have a favourite place to write (ie office or café) and is there anything you consider necessary to the writing process (besides Diet Coke!)?

I sometimes WISH I plotted more. When I get stuck I dream that if I had a detailed outline it wouldn’t happen, but the truth is, I write fairly organically. I start with a premise or a character and I spent a lot of time staring into space imagining what might happen next. I have a tiny corner in our house for an office but my fave place to write is in bed with my electric blanket on in the winter. I like to move around the house and write in different spots the rest of the time. And yes, Diet Coke is a must!

Q3. What draws you to the romance genre?

The aw-moments!! I’m such a romantic at heart and love seeing people who are so obviously in love and destined to be together. The Happy Ever Afters of romance books are another bonus. I like to feel fulfilled and uplifted at the end of a book.

Man Drought

Q4. Your books are mostly set in small, rural towns with a focus on community. Where do you get your ideas and inspirations for your settings?

This is always such a hard question, but thinking about it, I realise a lot does come from my own surroundings. In JILTED, the town I lived in were reviving the theatrical society, so I wrote about it. In our little town in Goomalling, there’s a gorgeous old pub that’s pretty much falling apart and nobody ever goes there. This makes me sad, so in MAN DROUGHT I wrote about a similar place that the heroine renovates back to its former glory.

Q5. Outback Dreams is your first book that will be linked to others in a trilogy. How, at all, did your writing process differ to writing a novel that stands alone?

As you said, it’s my first attempt at a series, so in many ways it’s been a learning experience. If I embark on a series again, I’ll take better notes and have more of an idea from the start, which characters I’m going to write about in future books. In terms of the process differing, it wasn’t that much of a change from previous books, except that I was thinking about the next book or two when I was writing. I had to make sure characters remained consistent throughout and that didn’t always work because I didn’t plan it all from the start. For example, Ryan (Faith’s brother in OUTBACK DREAMS) was going to be the hero in OUTBACK BLAZE but half way through writing OUTBACK DREAMS, I changed my mind, so then I had to work out what the hell to do with him. You’ll have to wait till May next year to find out what I decided

Q6. What do you like to do to relax when you’re away from the keyboard?

Relax? What’s that? Seriously at the moment I don’t get much relaxing time. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve gone from being a hobbyist writer to writing pretty much full time, but I still have three young kids, a hubby, a house and a business to look after, so free time is rare. My fave thing to do in theory is read or bake sweet things!

Jilted

Q7. Share five of your favourite authors and/or books.

Five of my fave authors in no particular reason are: Marian Keyes, Helen Fielding, Lisa Jewell, Dorothy Koomson and Kristan Higgins.

Q8. And lastly… I know you’re pretty hard at work on the third book in your trilogy, Outback Ghost. What’s next for you beyond that?

I’m very excited to have a novella (THE KISSING SEASON) out in December and I’ve also just signed on to write another book related to JILTED (my first rural romance). Lauren’s (the nurse) story titled THE ROAD TO HOPE will be out in 2015.

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In the Q&A I asked Rachael what changed between writing a stand-alone book and one that counts as part of a series. Here’s a guest post Rachael did on that very topic to elaborate a little on her answer.

Outback Dreams

Hi Bree and Bree’s readers – thanks so much for inviting me back on your lovely blog. I was last here when my first rural romance JILTED released. It’s hard to believe that was only just over a year ago. Being a writer is a continual learning process. I really appreciate reviewers like Bree who take the time to read and report on my books and also readers who contact me after reading my book. I’m lucky that most of my feedback has been positive and of the glowing variety, but I do try to consider this feedback when writing and planning future books.

Many readers emailed me or commented on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/RachaelJohnsRomance?fref=ts) after reading JILTED and MAN DROUGHT asking with hope if I was planning to write a sequel to either of these books as they wanted to know more about Flynn & Ellie (JILTED) and Imogen & Gibson (MAN DROUGHT). At that stage I had to say that I felt these stories were complete (although I’ve since signed on to write a JILTED sequel – watch this space) but it got me thinking about the fact readers love returning to the world of a book time and time again. Many US romance novelists are doing well with their series books, in which the hero and heroine change but the characters and the setting remain the same.

It is for this reason I decided to give my readers what I thought they wanted and write a linked series of books. I’m pleased to announce the result of this decision is OUTBACK DREAMS, OUTBACK BLAZE and OUTBACK GHOST, which centre around the small town of Bunyip Bay (Western Australia) and its people.

OUTBACK DREAMS has just released and is the story of Faith and Monty – they’ve been best friends for years but have only just realized their attraction to each other. Monty thinks he’s in love with someone else (Ruby) and Faith just wants to find someone to fall in love with and settle down, but they are both looking in the wrong direction. When fate puts them together alone in a tent one night after a few too many drinks, the chemistry they never recognized before explodes. And they are forced to face the feelings they never knew they had for each other. All seems good until Monty drops a bombshell on Faith and she realizes the person she thought she knew best in the world, she doesn’t really know at all.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading it, but today I thought I’d give you a glimpse into the future and the next two books – exclusive to Bree’s blog.

The initial idea for OUTBACK BLAZE has been with me for a few years, ever since the supermarket my husband was managing burnt to the ground one night. This is Ruby (who we meet in OUTBACK DREAMS) and Drew’s story. Ruby’s parents business burns down and suspicion is rife around town about who is responsible. Ruby is recovering from a horrific break-up and can’t believe her bad luck. Drew is a cop all the way from the UK with a big secret to hide and the desire to get out of town as soon as possible, but he’s keen to solve the crime before he goes. This is my first story with an element of suspense and I hope you’ll enjoy it, but it’s also chock full of hot romance too!

OUTBACK GHOST is the third book and I’m currently in the first draft stage of writing it. The seeds of this book start in OUTBACK DREAMS when Monty is renovating an old cottage on his friend Adam’s farm. Adam’s sister went missing twenty years ago when she was seven and he was ten and his family, particularly his mother, has never truly got over this event. The lovely Stella, a single mum of Heidi who has Down syndrome and comes to stay at the cottage. Heidi has always had imaginary friends but when she starts talking to someone with the same name as Adam’s sister, Stella starts to freak out. This story is a sweet romance, in which two gorgeous people get together and a twenty-year mystery I can’t wait to share Bunyip Bay with my readers and I hope you’ll all shoot me a line or stop by on Facebook or Twitter to let me know what you think!

Website – http://www.rachaeljohns.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RachaelJohnsRomance?fref=ts

Twitter – https://twitter.com/RachaelJohns

Intrigued by the Bunyip Bay series? I have just the thing to get you started! Thanks to Harlequin AU and Morey Media, I am offering one reader the chance to win a copy of Outback Dreams. Simply fill in the form to enter – Australian residents only please.

 

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