My Favourite Reads of February 2018

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My Favourite Reads image

Welcome to another edition of My Favourite Reads. February was a difficult month for reading. I had a couple of contest entries for the Romance Writers of Australia’s prestigious Romantic Book of the Year (Ruby) award to get through, plus, as many of you are aware, we were moving house. That didn’t leave much time for sleep, let alone picking up a book.

I can’t tell you about the Ruby books but I can tell you about the others, of which my favourite was…

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

From Sand and Ash by Amy HarmonSet in Italy in World War II, From Sand and Ash is the impossible, sweeping tale of a Catholic boy and Jewish girl. It’s heartbreaking, hopeful, traumatic, passionate and beautiful.

Much of the country is under Nazi rule, putting Eva and her family in terrible danger. Eva is a survivor though, brave, resourceful, and incapable of remaining passive in the face of evil. Angelo is no less courageous, doing all he can to help Eva, her people and others facing unspeakable fates.

Though Angelo and Eva’s love is forbidden on so many levels, it’s so strong they’ll protect each other with every ounce of themselves. But how can love be enough at a time like this?

I was worried sick all through this book that it wasn’t going to give me a satisfying ending. The odds seemed too impossible, but this was an Amy Harmon story and having read a few of hers now, I had faith. Eva’s and Angelo’s treacherous journey remained believable and satisfying, even if it did make me bawl. A lot.

The Woman in the Window by AJ FinnThe Woman in the Window by AJ Finn

There’s been a lot of hype around The Woman in the Window and with good reason – it’s an excellent read. Fast paced, tricksy, and full of mystery and drama.

I enjoyed trying to guess who was telling the truth and who wasn’t, and I particularly liked the portrayal of Anna’s illness. As for the opening pages, they were rippers. Made this author very jealous.

Nightmare House by Douglas CleggNightmare House by Douglas Clegg

Regular readers of My Favourite Reads will know how much I adore a horror tale and this book has been sitting on my e-reader for a while. What better time to give yourself house issues than when moving into a new one?

Set in the 1920s, Nightmare House follows Estaban (or Ethan as he’s known) as he ventures into the countryside to claim his inheritance – a creepy old house that’s even creepier, more mysterious and labyrinthine inside than it looks from the outside. Weird gothic fun with bonus strange locals.

BackBack in the Italian’s Bed by Annie West in the Italian’s Bed by Annie WestBought by the Italian by Annie West

Annie’s Hot Italian Nights novella series has proved perfect for this busy time. They’re wonderfully pacy, skipping along with lots of action and attraction and, of course, passion. Think uber wealthy and uber hot Italian playboys being turned inside out emotionally by smart, sassy women who match them at every level, and lots of gorgeous countryside.Bought by the Italian by Annie West

I’ve been devouring these books like lollies – they’re bargain priced at major ebook retailers – so expect to see more featured in next month’s Favourite Reads.


What reads have you enjoyed lately?


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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share snippets from new and past releases, and works-in-progress, and sometimes invite author buddies to do the same.

Have I mentioned how much I loathe the process of moving house? No matter how many moves we do, it never loses its horribleness.

But we’re finally here in wonderful Newcastle!

The removalists unloaded our possessions last Thursday. As usual, it was an exhausting day, with the proceeding days not much better. Even now the house is still a mess of boxes and packing paper and piles of stuff we have yet to find a home for.

As for my new office… ay yi yi! It’s about half the size of my previous space and fitting everything in is like playing a super complicated game of Tetris – one I’m never going to win. I will though. I have to. This girl has books to write.

Which brings me neatly back to books and this week’s Teaser Tuesday.

It’s been a while since we had something from Heart of the Valley, and it seems an apt time to revisit this story as we settle back into our new Hunter Valley life.

One of the themes in this book is what constitutes home – a subject I often think about when tackling a move. Is it a place, or is it more than that? I learned the answer to this a long time ago but it’s a question the hero Lachie faces in Heart of the Valley.

Here’s a taste of his dilemma.


As Brooke brushed her teeth, he filled her glass of water and checked to see she still had enough night-time drugs and warm blankets. Satisfied, he stood at the door, hand on the light switch, waiting for her to snuggle down, desperate for escape and the solitude of his own room where he could brood over his big mouth in private.

Heart of the Valley by Cathryn Hein‘All settled?’

She nodded, her small frame dwarfed by the timber bed, and for a brief but intense moment their gazes locked.

‘Thank you,’ she said softly. ‘For everything.’

Later, as he lay on his own bed, hands behind his head, staring at the ceiling, he puzzled over how, once again, she’d made a simple statement resonate. How so much of what she did roused something inside him, and made him feel tender and almost possessive towards her. How this whole place seduced him with its sense of home, of all the things he’d once hoped to find at Delamere.

And it left him worrying that he was being tempted along a path down which even his dreams had never wandered.


Heart of the Valley can be purchased right now in ebook or print from your favourite online retailer, including: | |

iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Nook




For another excerpt and more, check out Heart of the Valley’s book page on this website.

Discover how I came to write Lachie and Brooke’s story in A Story from the Heart.


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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share snippets from new and past releases, and works-in-progress, and sometimes invite author buddies to do the same. Like today!

But first…

It’s moving week for the Hein house and chaos reigns. Boxes, boxes everywhere, but fewer than there could have been thanks to some determined decluttering.

Last week we did a major cull of electrical junk to take to the council’s electronic waste collection point. I am still shaking my head at some of the stuff we unearthed. Laptops with ancient operating systems and speeds like snails, and what is now laughable amounts of memory. A mobile phone that I used back in 2003 (why did I keep that? Why???). Cords that fit nothing we own now. Endless tangles of earbuds.

I guess they’re the throwaway tools of modern life, but I can’t help feeling frustrated at the waste. What do you do though? Technology changes fast. Things become obsolete. The only consolation is that these items served us well for the time they were in use and will now be recycled.

But enough of that. We’re here for a teaser, and this week it’s from a veeeeery special guest.

The Drifter by Anthea HodgsonI am thrilled to welcome rural romance author Anthea Hodgson to Teaser Tuesday. Some of you (it should be ALL) will have read Anthea’s debut novel The Drifter. I loved this book. LOVED IT. So much so it was my favourite read of September 2017 against stiff competition. It was a beautiful story, wonderfully told and I have been hanging out for Anthea’s next release since.

Now it’s here!

The Cowgirl hit stores last Monday and I bet it’s been flying off the shelves. It sounds just as wonderful as The Drifter, and if the juicy excerpt below is anything to go by, just as well written.

Here’s Anthea to tell you a little about it.


Bringing The Drifter home – setting The Cowgirl free…!

Author Anthea HodgsonThe Cowgirl is my second novel, and I love it, firstly because writing it allowed me to go home to the wheatbelt of WA again, and secondly because I loved Deirdre so much in Drifter, I was keen to visit her and to find out what had happened to her to make her so grumpy!

The Cowgirl is her story, and that of Teddy, her granddaughter. Teddy and Deirdre live together on their farm, completely safe from the chance that anything will ever happen. Except of course that it already has, and the story of The Cowgirl is the story of what happened to Deirdre many years ago to change her from the vivacious woman we see in 1956, into a difficult, loveable old lady, and also the story of why young Teddy seems unable to leave the farm.

I think of Cowgirl as a rural fairytale about not following your dreams, and it has stories from around the world woven into its pages, from places Teddy would like to visit, if only she could. I wanted to show the limitations in the lives of both women of different generations, the barriers and heartbreaks in Deirdre’s life, and the yearning in Teddy for the world beyond the farm gate she isn’t brave enough to leave behind.

I think a lot of The Cowgirl is about duty and freedom, and I feel so grateful to the generations of women who have held their children up high, loving them, teaching them and making them eat their vegetables. Quite often the life we lead isn’t the one we dreamt for ourselves, but I wanted to show the wonderful value in the women who help us all through our lives, even though their work is so often overlooked and invisible.

I love Cowgirl because it allowed me to say thanks girls, and to say to Teddy – the world’s out there – don’t let anyone take it away from you!

Finally, I love Cowgirl because I told my publisher I wanted to take a silly old chook and make her fly – and I hope I have!

I do hope you enjoy The Cowgirl. She’s just back from milking, and she’s putting the kettle on…


‘I’m too old to entertain, Teddy. My knee’s been playing up.’ Deirdre gave it an experimental half-hearted kick to prove her point and Teddy rolled her eyes. ‘He doesn’t want to come here for dinner,’ she complained. ‘I thought part of his charm was that he liked his own space.’

‘He also likes to not starve to death,’ Deirdre snapped. ‘If you don’t have him for dinner, then I will – though it’ll cost me. My knee is giving me a terrible time in this cold weather.’ 

‘Do you have some sort of doctor’s certificate for that?’

‘Did we raise you to let people starve to death?’

‘Fine! Fine. I’ll have him over for dinner.’

‘Good. I’ll come, too.’ 

‘Would you like me to call the ambulance to bring you over?’

The Cowgirl by Anthea Hodgson‘Don’t be sarcastic.’ Deirdre stood up and made her way to Teddy’s verandah. From where Teddy stood at her front door she could see Will washing something the size of a subterranean bread box. ‘Hey, you! Will!’ Deirdre shouted. He looked up from the dig. ‘Teddy wants to cook you dinner.’ 

Will seemed surprised. 

Teddy groaned quietly. 

‘I don’t need feeding,’ he called back.

‘You do eat, don’t you?’


‘Well, then, she’s a good cook. You won’t die.’ 

‘Ah, okay.’ 

At that Deirdre nodded and marched down the verandah steps home to her house, past the bobbing green grevillea she’d planted between the two houses to attract honeyeaters in the spring.

Teddy sighed. She made a point of sighing because Deirdre wasn’t there, so she was fairly sure she could get away with it. Deirdre didn’t approve of sighing as a rule; it demonstrated a penchant for the dramatic that she found particularly irritating. 

She leaned in the doorway and watched Will hit something with a really large hammer that he’d commandeered from the workshop. She couldn’t see what it was. Maybe it was fragile. Well, if it hadn’t been fragile before he started smashing it with a hammer, it certainly was now.

She let herself notice the power in Will’s back as he bent to the task, and the dark hair along his arms. She made herself look at the wheelbarrow for a couple of seconds, and then she let herself look at his hands. Strong, she thought. Artistic. But worker’s hands, nonetheless. She wondered what he’d like for dinner. Then she decided she didn’t care, because he was getting lamb roast. She tied her messy auburn hair back, went to the kitchen and started where every good meal should begin – with dessert.

She cracked dark chocolate into a bowl, listening to the happy clicking noises it made as it hit the ceramic base. Once the cream was heating on the hob and beginning to flow gently around the saucepan, she took it off the flame and gazed at its milky paleness. When Teddy was young she had told Deirdre it was the colour of princesses’ skin. 

What? Don’t talk nonsense. What would you know about princesses? Deirdre had snapped. 

I know they have skin the colour of cream, she’d answered. How do you reckon Snow White got her nickname? She smiled into the bowl. Her grandmother didn’t approve of flights of fancy, and she wasn’t interested in dreams. Deirdre concerned herself with the cold hard light of day.

It wasn’t long before a large leg of lamb was sizzling in the oven. Teddy collected her milking bucket and headed out to milk the cow. As she was walking to the milking shed she saw him again. The damn Carnaby cockatoo was back. She shook her head at him and he shrieked at her. 

‘Go away!’ she called. ‘Go find a girlfriend!’ 

The cocky shrieked again and raised his crest in alarm. The milk bucket in Teddy’s hand was metal but light and she swung it as she strolled to the old cattle yards where she could see Cow approaching, waiting for dinner. She swung it up and over her head in case she could scare the cockatoo, but the gesture seemed to entertain him and he circled overhead, landing in the enormous York gum by the side of the shed. 

‘Dumb bloody bird,’ she muttered.

Barnaby the Carnaby had been a chick when she had found him in a hollow in an old stump behind the hay shed. There were feathers nearby and she’d assumed his mother had been taken by a cat. 

Best just to kill the poor little chap, Deirdre had said. He’ll only suffer. 

She knew it was true. If he was an orphaned lamb she’d have disposed of him swiftly. No, she’d said. I want to give him a chance. Just a day. I’ll see if he’ll eat in a day. He’s nearly grown. 

And now he wouldn’t leave. But Windstorm wasn’t the place for Carnaby cockatoos – they were more likely to be found at Kellerberrin or Esperance. He was too far north, too far west and he was never going to find a partner. Occasionally he vanished for a while and she’d hope he’d worked it out and moved away, but then she’d hear him shrieking down in the bush, telling some pink and grey a joke he was never going to get.

Cow arrived in her own time with her udder swinging beneath her. 

‘Afternoon, Cow,’ Teddy said and pulled up the stool. She didn’t mind milking; it was relaxing. Well, it was relaxing when she didn’t have to rush home from town or from drenching sheep, or cut a weekend in Perth short. Then it was a pain in the bum, pure and simple. 

She had time to think while she squeezed the fresh milk into the bucket. Today she thought about Will and wondered why he owed Audrey, then she thought about the buried house and wondered why it had never been mentioned before. Life was often pretty quiet on the farm; it wasn’t like they weren’t hard-up for conversation sometimes. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze.

The sky was blue; it was always blue in the wheatbelt. Sometimes blue and hot, sometimes blue and windy, and sometimes cold icy blue. But blue. When Teddy was out here, gazing upwards, she often thought the sky was deeper than the earth, and richer – with the dreams and wishes of millions of souls sewn into its fabric through time and space, and across maps that had long since disappeared. When she was younger, she had photographed the sky for days at a time, trying to capture its exact blue shades, trying to map them all. How she loved feeling the wind on her face from a thousand years ago, from a cave on a hillside in Turkey or from a field by a loch in Inverness. Blue. Unchanging air on her skin, slipping freely past the dark cold earth that chained her there. Spurt, spurt, spurt.

Cow kicked at the bucket. Her feed had run out and she was bored. ‘Sorry, old girl,’ Teddy muttered and quickly finished. Then she stood slowly and, glancing at the blue sky above, took the afternoon’s milk to her grandmother, who she knew would be waiting.


Doesn’t that sound wonderful? You can almost taste the air and feel the heat of the vibrant blue sky.

The Cowgirl is out now. Order your copy today in paperback or ebook from these stores, or simply trot on down to your favourite independent book shop or chain for some in-person bookish joy.

Bookdepository | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

If you’d like to learn more about Anthea and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using @AntheaHodgson.


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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from new and past releases, and works-in-progress, and occasionally nag writer buddies into doing the same.

It’s always a delight to host historical romance author and lovely friend Anna Campbell on the blog. She’s been visiting a long time and is always welcome, and popular – but no surprise there!

Out of curiosity, I checked to see exactly how long Anna has been guesting here and was amazed to discover that Anna’s first post was way back in November 2011.

Remember Friday Feast? Regular readers of the blog might. This was a long-running series where author buddies shared recipes and foodie adventures, and chatted about their new releases. It was a blast, and Anna was one of the earliest authors to feature. It was also an enormous amount of work that took me away from book writing and, sadly, I had to end the series at the end of 2015.

In that 2011 Friday Feast post, Anna entertained and educated us with the delights of Regency cuisine – it was amazingly sophisticated – shared a recipe link for baklava (yum) and offered a giveaway of Midnight’s Wild Passion (terrific book).

Now she’s back in 2018 to entertain us again and offer another giveaway. What a wonderful person!

Please welcome Anna, and enjoy.


Anna Campbell author - thumbnailHi Cathryn!

Thank you so much for having me back as your guest for another year of Teaser Tuesdays! I always love visiting your blog to talk about my latest release.

My new book is special for a couple of reasons. It’s the first full-length book I’ve written in a couple of years. It also ends the current cycle of Dashing Catching Captain Nash by Anna CampbellWidows stories in fine style (hopefully!). Those of you who have read Catching Captain Nash, the sixth Dashing Widow novella, will remember Lord Garson, Morwenna’s fiancé, who definitely got the short end of the stick when her husband came back from the dead. Lord Garson’s Bride (out 28th February) picks up Garson three years later, still heartbroken, but obliged to marry to produce an heir for the title. What a good excuse for a marriage of convenience story! That’s always been one of my favourite tropes. I hope it’s one of yours.

The teaser comes after Garson has married his childhood friend, Jane Norris, and a wedding night that didn’t go to plan. During their honeymoon in Salisbury, Garson sets out to seduce his bride into abandoning her fears and inviting him into her bed.

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

It’s always fun to incorporate places I’ve been in my stories. Last year, I visited Salisbury for the first time. It’s a beautiful town with a gorgeous cathedral – on the outside. Sadly in 1790, an architect named James Wyatt decided to modernise the interior by taking out most of the medieval detail so the interior is quite disappointing. Jane shares my reaction!


Salisbury, Wiltshire, February 1833

“It’s very bare.” Jane surveyed the cathedral’s cavernous interior. “I’d imagined something a little more…”

Garson drew her into a dimly lit side chapel. “Ornate? Spectacular? Mysterious?”

With a slight roughness—and he was never rough with a lady—he pushed her up against the cold marble tomb that housed the earthly remains of some long-dead archbishop. A reminder, should he need it, not to waste his chances on this earthly plane.

Lord Garson's Bride by Anna CampbellJane gasped as her back hit the cold stone. She observed him from under the brim of the dark blue bonnet that matched her fashionable pelisse. “What are you doing, Hugh?”

As he swept off his hat, he glanced around. This late in the winter day, little light penetrated the high, clear windows, but enough to reveal that the cathedral was almost empty. There was nobody in this side aisle, although evensong was due to begin soon.

He placed one hand beside Jane’s head, hemming her in with his body. “I’m going to touch you.”

“For shame.” Her reproof contradicted the flaring excitement in her eyes. “This is a church.”

Despite her disapproval, she didn’t try to escape. He shifted close enough to catch a drift of floral scent. Last night, that fragrance had fuelled his arousal. After he left her, it had haunted his restless dreams.

He set his hat on the tomb behind her head. “And nicely private.”

“That’s blasphemous.”

“We got married in a church.”

When Jane’s lips twitched, he cursed himself for limiting himself to only one kiss a day. “That reasoning is self-serving, and you know it.”

“I need to put my hands on you.”

Her alarmed squeak evoked a reaction more profane than sacred. He leaned in, until his lips touched her delicate earlobe. “Is that a yes?”

After a shuddering exhalation, her answer was a whisper. “Don’t do anything too brazen.”

A soft huff of laughter escaped him. “I’ll try my best.”


You can read a longer excerpt on my website.

Grab your copy today from:

Amazon.comKoboiBooksBarnes & NobleSmashwords

Lord Garson's Bride by Anna Campbell - meme


So have you ever visited somewhere that was a bit of a disappointment and didn’t live up to the hype? I remember seeing the Mona Lisa for the first time and being rather underwhelmed, for example. Or have you visited somewhere that turned out to be a major surprise and far surpassed your expectations? Let’s talk travel stories today!

I’ve got a Kindle download of Lord Garson’s Bride to give away today. No geographical restrictions.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday AEST, 2nd March 2018. Open internationally.

What a great question, Anna! I’m with you on the Mona Lisa. Here’s a photo of the Mona Lisa’s room in the Louvre, taken back in 2005 (I think). Aware how busy it could get, we arrived at opening time and made a beeline for it, which allowed us to enjoy the Mona Lisa without the crowds. I snapped this much later in the day, when we were leaving. This was in the heart of winter. Imagine what it’s like in peak tourist season.

Crowds in front of the Mona Lisa, Louvre, 2005

Crowds in front of the Mona Lisa, Louvre, 2005

Come along, travellers. Reveal the places you found under- (or over-) whelming, at home or abroad, and we’ll pop you into the draw to win a Kindle download of Lord Garson’s Bride. You could end up travelling the marvellous world of Anna’s new story!

If you’d like to learn more about Anna and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @AnnaCampbelloz.


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Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress and occasionally pester writing buddies into doing the same.

Things are bumbling along in the Hein house in the lead up to our move. I really need to cull my paperback library but it’s so hard. I don’t want to part with any of them. Even if I never read them again I like having bookcases bulging with books. They’re comforting. Maybe it’s a bit weird, but I have moments when I pull books out just to look at them or remember the stories and characters, and the pleasure they gave me.

Do you do that too? Please tell me I’m not alone!

Right, onto this week’s Teaser Tuesday snippet. I’m having a BALL writing Eddie and the Show Queen, although progress is not as fast as I’d like thanks to the many distractions life is throwing up right now. If you missed last week’s sneak peek at this work-in-progress, you can check it out here.

What I didn’t reveal last week was that Eddie and Alice’s story happens concurrently to Chrissy and Nick’s in Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy, which has required a lot of rereading of that book. Not much of a chore because I adore that story. Nick is so lovely. Sigh.

So I thought I’d share a little bit from Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy, featuring all four characters and a cameo from Danny from Santa and the Saddler. Enjoy!


Chrissy looked up, then up some more. ‘Eddie.’ She gave Alice’s giant-sized ex-boyfriend a brief hug. She’d always liked him, even beyond his and Alice’s breakup, the cause of which was cloaked in mystery. Other than saying he’d let her down badly, Alice had never really explained it. ‘You’ve grown even taller since I last saw you.’

He hugged her back. ‘Grown bigger muscles, too. Want to see them?’

She laughed. Eddie’s flirty nature hadn’t changed, then. ‘Thanks, but I’ll give it a miss.’

‘I hear you’re working at Ryan’s now.’

‘Uh-huh. Marketing and customer service manager, and loving every minute so far.’

‘Sounds impressive. Glad to be home?’

‘Yeah.’ She smiled. ‘I didn’t realise how much I missed the place until now. And it’s great to be close to my family again.’

‘Jesus, Chrissy, don’t talk to him,’ interrupted Danny. ‘He’s a sleaze.’

‘Am not,’ said Eddie, puffing out his chest.

‘Are so,’ chorused two voices behind them.

When Chrissy jerked round, she discovered that one belonged to an unusually fiery-eyed Alice.

The other was Nick’s.


Poor Eddie… he hates being called a sleaze but laughs it off to save face. Ooh, I can’t wait for you to read his story. Must write faster!

In the meantime, there’s Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy, available in print and ebook from these retailers. | |

Kobo | iBooks | Google Play | Nook

Booktopia | Angus and Robertson Bookworld |Bookdepository

You can also order personally signed copies direct from me. Just shoot me an email using the contact page.

Want to know how I came to write Chrissy and Nick’s romance? Find out in Crushing It, the story behind Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy.


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My Favourite Reads of January 2018

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My Favourite Reads image

Welcome to the first edition of My Favourite Reads for 2018!

I thought I’d get lots of reading done in January but nup. Too many other things going on. I also seem to have had a bit of a crime/thriller/horror binge. No idea why. Usually there’s at least one romance on my reading list but not last month. Guess I must’ve been in a thrillery mood.

VERY hard to choose a favourite though, because all four reads were excellent, but I nominate…

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

The Chalk Man by CJ TudorThis was a fantastic read. The Chalk Man hooked me from the opening pages and didn’t let go.

It’s a bit cross genre. A thriller mixed with crime, mystery and horror, and just the kind of thing I adore, especially when the storytelling is of this quality. The writing was brilliant too. If the author had been listed as Stephen King I wouldn’t have been at all surprised. Yup, it was that good.

Set in a small village in England, The Chalk Man swaps between the present and the mid-eighties, when Eddie, the narrator, was a young boy, riding his bike around town with his mates, doing all the things that young boys do. When they discover a dismembered body, life is never the same for any of them.

Cool plot twists, well-written characters, great writing and a satisfying ending. Loved it.

The Mayfly by James HazelThe Mayfly by James Hazel

Another cracking read, also featuring the discovery of a mutilated body in the woods. The Mayfly also switches between time periods, in this case between the present and World War II, and has the same cross genre elements as The Chalk Man along with lots of plot twists. That’s where the similarities end though. This is a very different book.

The Mayfly introduces us to Charlie Priest, a far from average lawyer and who I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of in future books. Charlie suffers from dissociate disorder which adds extra challenge to his already highly challenging predicament, i.e. he’s a suspect in a gruesome murder.

Great stuff.

The Deep by Michaelbrent CollingsThe Deep by Michaelbrent Collings

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a couple of years now, after I heard horror writer Michaelbrent Collings speak about writing on a webcast. I was so impressed with what he had to say it left me determined to read one of his books, and The Deep seemed popular and something I’d enjoy. It just took me longer to get around to than I thought!

And enjoy I did. I adore horror novels anyway, but what made The Deep such fun was the storytelling. The pace made it very hard to put down, and every character was intriguing. I LOVED Haeberle. He was brilliantly bonkers.

I’m going to have to read more of Collings’ books. Like J.A Konrath’s, they are smack in my zone.

he Marsh King's Daughter by Karen DionneThe Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

The Marsh King’s Daughter has a fab premise. The heroine Helena’s mother is an abductee, lured off the street as a teenager and taken into the Michigan wilderness where she’s forced into sexual and domestic servitude. Brought up in a home where violence and brutality are normal and survival skills learned early, Helena eventually gets away. Her father is caught. Helena buries her past as deep as it will go and tries to make a normal life.

Then her father escapes.

High stakes, great setting, a fantastic strong heroine and a page-turning plot. A blast.


What reads have you enjoyed lately?


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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress, and occasionally twist the arms of writer buddies to do the same.

Are you all ready for Valentine’s Day tomorrow? We’re not! Not that the Hein house doesn’t have its romantic moments but with a house move coming up we have other things on our minds. Cleaning out accumulated junk being the biggest. I swear stuff breeds at night.

As for books… ay yi yi! They definitely breed.

Speaking of books, on this week’s Teaser Tuesday I thought I’d tease you with a couple of lines from a work-in-progress. Those of you familiar with the Levenham Love Story books might remember a minor character called Eddie Argyle. Eddie is Harry from Summer and the Groomsman’s younger brother, and has popped up in a couple of books, namely Santa and the Saddler and Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy.

Now he’s getting his own story – Eddie and the Show Queen.

And who’s the Show Queen? That’d be Alice Lindner, Chrissy’s perky blonde friend from Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy.

No release date for this one yet, but it’s likely to be around October/November.

A word of warning. This is an unedited snippet, which means it might change a lot between now and release day. In fact, it might not even make the final cut. I think it will though. I’m rather fond of this scene.


For a long moment Alice said nothing. Eddie held his breath as her gaze flicked over his face. A chance was all he wanted, to prove that he wasn’t who she thought, and to make amends for the hurt he’d somehow caused her and still didn’t understand.

That he was still the bloke she’d once loved.

‘Go on then,’ she said. ‘Surprise me.’

He tapped the raffle book. ‘This Show Queen thing is open to anyone. I could have a go.’

Alice laughed. Eddie didn’t. He’d thought it was quite a clever idea.

‘What’s so funny about me entering? No reason I couldn’t win this thing.’

‘You? As Show Queen?’

‘King, not queen.’ There was nothing queenly about Eddie. ‘Why not? It’s not like it takes any special skill. It’s just running a few raffles.’

‘Just a few raffles, huh?’

He shrugged. ‘Maybe a sausage sizzle.’

Alice’s blue eyes took on a dangerous glitter. ‘Go on then. Enter. I dare you.’


As you can probably guess, Eddie takes up the challenge, leading to all sorts of shenanigans in his race to impress Alice.

But will it work? Sorry, can’t tell you. You’ll have to wait until release to find out!

By the way, those fab folk at Booktopia are celebrating their 14th birthday with a sale and free shipping offer. If you’re in Australia or New Zealand, you could grab the paperbacks of Santa and the Saddler, Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy, Summer and the Groomsman or any of my novels freight-free. Cool, huh?


Note: For free shipping use promotion code BIRTHDAY at the checkout. Code can be used as many times as you want. Ends midnight Australian Eastern Daylight Time, Wednesday 14th Feb, so you’d better be quick. Minimum spend $17.

Go get ’em!

Newsletter subscribers are always first to hear details of any new release. If you’re not already part of the cool gang, join here. You’ll even receive a couple of short stories to enjoy over a cuppa.


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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday 2018!

After our usual January blogging hiatus we’re now back for another year of bookish goodness, and I can’t wait to share more snippets from new, past and upcoming releases from me and good author buddies.

First, a gigantic thank you to everyone who has read The Country Girl. The response has been phenomenal. I can’t tell you how amazing it has been to read your emails and comments on social media. It seems Tash and Patrick’s story has touched a lot of people. I even had a reader email me about one of Pa’s gardening tips. Pa would be THRILLED by that!

Second, a heads-up about the next few months. I’m moving house soon (and city – hello, beautiful Newcastle!) and though we’ve done it many, many times before there’s always a degree of chaos. That means I might not be able to respond to comments here and on social media as quickly as I’d like, but I’ll do my best.

Third, watch this space for news about my coming releases. I can’t reveal anything right now but there are some exciting things happening. As soon as I’m able to share details I will.

Right, on to our Teaser Tuesday. I’m torn between teasing you with a snippet from a work-in-progress because it’s on my mind and I’m excited about it, or another taste of The Country Girl. I think it’ll have to be the latter. Mostly because my current work-in-progress is so messy I fear it’s in no fit state for sharing. Better to save that for later.

So here’s a few paragraphs about Patrick from Tash’s point of view. The man might be sexy, but that doesn’t mean she trusts him.


Patrick grinned. Tash wished he hadn’t. She preferred him bad-The Country Girl by Cathryn Heintempered. Grinning showed off his dark-haired handsomeness, sparkling blue eyes and straight teeth. And the sod hadn’t shaved today, leaving his jaw sexily stubble-flecked. Worse, he was wearing a pair of jeans that clung to his thighs and showed off his long legs. As for the rolled-up sleeves of his shirt, on Pa it looked agricultural and competent. Patrick made it both those things, and hot.

She didn’t trust any of it. Smiling and looking sexy was one of those things that beautiful people did when they were determined to get their own way and were being thwarted.


Purchase your copy of The Country Girl in print or ebook today from these retailers or your favourite bookstore. | |
iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Barnes & Noble
Booktopia | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson Bookworld

Discover how I came to write The Country Girl in The Magic Bullet, The Story Behind The Country Girl. Want another snippet to read? Check out its book page.

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The Country Girl ebook sale

Right now, for a limited time, you can pick up the ebook of my new release THE COUNTRY GIRL at a heavily reduced price.

And I mean heavily reduced.

This promotion is for a short period only, so secure your bargain-priced copy today before the offer runs out.

Buy now from:



Google Play


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My Favourite Reads of December 2017

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My Favourite Reads image

Welcome to the final edition of My Favourite Reads for 2017. What a great reading year! I read 70 books this year (not including those I judged for the Romance Writers of Australia and Romance Writers of America Ruby and Rita awards). That’s down on last year’s 88 but still good going. I think the difference comes from reading fewer novellas and shorter novels in 2017 compared to 2016, however I could be wrong with that.

I had a blast with my December reads, catching up on favourite series and trying some new-to-me authors. With four standouts it was very hard to choose a favourite, but I had an absolute ball with…

Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner

Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Megan SpoonerI adored the Starbound trilogy by these two talented authors, it was one of my favourite reads of last year (my thoughts on those books here), so buying Unearthed when it came out was a no-brainer. Unearthed didn’t disappoint. It had the same action and intrigue and romance as the Starbound books.

Mia is scavenging the planet Gaia for valuable alien tech to sell so she can free her beloved sister. Jules is a (totally sighworthy) British scholar determined to solve the riddle of The Undying, an extinct alien race who may not be as benign as everyone on Earth wants them to be. Something he can’t do if scummy scavengers keep stealing the clues.

There’s action, romance, creepy goings on, puzzles, bad guys, really bad guys, ticking clocks, and all set an uninhabitable planet.

This is being spruiked as Indiana Jones in space, probably because that’s exactly what it is, which makes Unearthed waaaay cool. Bring on the sequel!

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa TahirA Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

This is the sequel to the brilliant An Ember in the Ashes. Even though I bought A Torch Against the Night ages ago I’ve been holding off from reading so there wouldn’t be such a big gap between reading it and book 3, which comes out in April.

As with the first book, A Torch Against the Night contains lots of unexpected twists, along with plenty of action and a good dollop of romance. And it’s wonderfully visual. I feel like I’m there with Elias and Laia and Helene in their dystopian world as they cope with their dangerous journeys and conflicts. I also love how evil the Warden and Commandant are. Their nastiness makes them even more fun to follow.

Cold Blood by Robert BryndzaCold Blood by Robert Bryndza

Another series I’m enjoying hugely, but I’m a sucker for a good crime novel and Bryndza’s are very satisfying.

Cold Blood is the 5th featuring Detective Erika Foster, and she’s in excellent form. Well, excellent for her sometimes screwed-up life, but that’s what we love about these popular fictional detectives – they’re brilliant and flawed in equal measure. Cold Blood has dismembered bodies in suitcases, a serial killer, terrible betrayals, and danger for Erika, and all that before the stakes get really high.

These books are great page-turners and so easy to read. Love them.

The Undateable by Sarah TitleThe Undateable by Sarah Title

Oh, I wish I’d thought of this premise! A librarian unwittingly has her scowly face turned into a viral internet meme called the Disapproving Librarian, but our heroine is not your stereotypical mousy (or pucker-faced) booklady. Bernie is clever, with a good job, lovely friends and is perfectly happy with herself and her life. If people want to get their jollies from her disapproving expression, that’s their issue. Bernie will just carry on, thank you very much.

But when an internet magazine urges her into a makeover and 30 dates in 30 days type challenge, with a dishy staff writer assisting and writing about each date, a whole lot of fun and excellent banter ensues.

The Undateable is a cute, fab romance.

The Quality of Silence by Rosamund LuptonThe Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton

Lupton’s Sister and Afterwards were fantastic reads – deeply emotional and thrilling, and total page-turners. The Quality of Silence has that same latter attribute, with the suspense built early and not letting up. Alaska in winter is perilous enough but with someone on Yasmin and her deaf daughter Ruby’s trail as they race to find Yasmin’s husband, the danger is even more profound.

My favourite – and the most thought-provoking – parts were those in Ruby’s point of view. Her arguments about her voice and how she needs it to be heard her own way, as opposed to how her mother wants, were very moving.

The Damned by Andrew PyperThe Damned by Andrew Pyper

My second favourite read of December. I love a good horror story, and The Damned was an absolute ripper. I raced through it in a day or so.

This is a tale about twins – our hero, Danny, and his ‘ugly-beautiful’ sister Ash. Both should have died on their 16th birthday, but Danny somehow survives and goes on to write a famous book about his near-death experience. Fame and wealth mean nothing when Ash has the power to haunt him wherever he is. If Danny want’s a ‘normal’ life, he needs to get rid of her.

The characterisations in The Damned were fantastic. I’ll be returning for a second look so I can study how he did them so effortlessly.

Wimmera by Mark BrandiWimmera by Mark Brandi

Another close contender for my favourite read of the month. Brandi’s story brought back many memories from my own childhood, especially long summer holidays at our beach shack, when it was perfectly normal for us kids to disappear off adventuring for a day, returning home only when hunger or thirst struck, tired, thrilled and usually sunburnt. Fortunately, my childhood was free of darkness, unlike Fab and Ben’s in Wimmera.

Wonderfully written, this is a short but punchy crime/mystery novel, filled with finely observed detail, anxiety inducing scenes, and bucketloads of atmosphere. Quite a few times I wanted to yell aloud in the hope the characters would hear my warnings but, sadly, no.

Caraval by Stephanie GarberCaraval by Stephanie Garber

Ooh, this was fun and yet another contender for my favourite read. I gobbled this one down, hooked by the mystery and illusion of the game our heroine Scarlett must play and, more importantly, win. I liked the fantasy of the Caraval world, the multiple twists and the high stakes, which got even higher as the game progressed. There’s magic and romance and intrigue and puzzles, and a lot of red herrings. And the ending gives a nice hint of what we can expect in the sequel.

Loved it.

What were your favourite reads of December?


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