Tag Archives: Holding Out For A Hero by Amy Andrews

THIS WRITING LIFE: Highlight Reads of 2014

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I read so many memorable books this year that it’s hard to choose which were my highlights but I’m going to give it a go, ending with a

Book Hangover Of The Year Award

for the book or series that left me totally bereft and rudderless on completion.

For more information or to buy any of the books, click on the headline or covers.

So… in no particular order, here they are!

Dinner at Rose’s by Danielle HawkinsCover of Dinner at Rose's

I adored this book. It was quirky, romantic and made me laugh and cry. And it featured a hot dairy farmer. Not to be missed Kiwi rural romance. (Hawkins’ second novel, Chocolate Cake For Breakfast, was also a beauty).

the-winter-brideThe Winter Bride by Anne Gracie

The Chance Sisters series has been wonderful so far but The Winter Bride is my favourite. Damaris and Freddy are such great characters. Following their journey to happily ever after was hugely satisfying. Please read this series. It will make your heart sing.

Marina by  Carlos Ruiz ZafónCover of Marina

I can’t rave about this book enough. I’m a huge Zafón fan. His gothic stories captivate from the opening page but for me this is his best. It was mesmerising.  The moment I finished I wanted to go back and read it all over again. Even typing this makes me want to reach for it. Runner-up for Book Hangover of the Year. Yeah, it was that good.

being-jadeBeing Jade by Kate Belle

A riveting, complex and beautifully written tale of love, betrayal, tragedy, and the difference between love and sex. What a talent Belle is.

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontzodd-thomas

Oh, this was fun. Spooky, quirky and perfectly paced. A rollicking ride through our hero Odd Thomas’s most interesting life. With bonus Elvis sightings.

holding-out-for-a-heroHolding Out For A Hero by Amy Andrews

What a hoot! A sexy sportsman hero, a determined heroine and loads of memorable secondary characters. Wish Andrews would hurry up with the sequel.

daughter-of-smoke-and-boneDays of Blood and Starlight and Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

This trilogy (starting with Daughter of Smoke and Bone which I read in 2013) was amazing. The writing is lush, and the world-building and characterisations are first class. Absolute page-turners.

thornwood-houseThornwood House by Anna Romer

I’m a terrible sucker for a gothic story and this Australian-set tale didn’t disappoint. Romer has a distinctive and appealing writing voice, and the romance in this was subtle but very fulfilling. Her next, Lyrebird Hill, is near the top of my to-be-read pile.

Mr Impossible by Loretta Chasemr-impossible

No wonder this romance is considered a classic. It has everything. Great setting, amazing characters, adventurous plot, witty dialogue and a completely gorgeous romance. Not to be missed.

rivers-of-londonRivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Like Harry Potter for grown-ups! Huge fun. I’ve already read the 2nd in this series, Moon Over Soho, and plan to keep going. It’s just too much fun to stop now.

Her Christmas Earl by Anna CampbellHer Christmas Earl

Maybe it was my mood, maybe it’s a result of reading a Christmas themed book on Christmas Eve but this has just shot to the top of my Anna Campbell favourites list. Who’d have thought being locked in a wardrobe could be so much fun?

 

And now for the big one…

My Book Hangover of the Year Award goes to

The Grisha Trilogy:

Shadow and Bone, Siege and Stormand Ruin and Rising

by Leigh Bardugo

Grisha 1.0

I gobbled these books one after the other and was so bereft after finishing this romantic fantasy series it took me nearly two weeks to settle into another book. I missed the characters dreadfully and if it weren’t for my gigantic to-be-read pile I would have gone back to the start and read it all over again. Stunning.

*

What were your highlight reads of 2014? I’d especially love to hear which one gave you the biggest book hangover so I can check it out myself. Unlike other hangovers, book ones are good for us!

 

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Amy Andrews

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Greetings, Feasters! Don’t you just love Fridays? Especially when they feature super authors, scrumptious food and book giveaways.

But first, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. A two week break seemed to have done wonders… for 8 holes. Then it all fell apart. Like, REALLY apart. By the 18th I was having a severe attack of the sookybum-I-just-want-it-to-be-overs. I’m starting to think I should change my home course. Mine is costing a small fortune in water-dunked balls. Hmph.Author Amy Andrews

At least my darling Sydney Swans won and are now perched back where we belong at the top of the AFL ladder, although we ended our game against St Kilda with injury worries. Not the time of the year to be losing players, especially super stars like Josh Kennedy whom I luuuuurve.

Speaking of superstars – ha! – today on the blog we have awesome Aussie author and Australian Romance Reader Award winner Amy Andrews. Amy has written over forty romances, including the brilliant Holding Out For A Hero, which, if you haven’t read it, you should go fetch and devour now. It’s a blast.

Amy’s latest release is an urban-family romantic comedy and sounds a hoot. Take a look…

RISKY BUSINESS

Risky Business by Amy AndrewsSamantha Evans’s life is going to hell. Not only has she rage-quit her beloved, high-powered job, but she is suddenly afflicted by hormones, free time, and an unavoidable, unignorable, undeniably gorgeous irritant in the form of Nick Hawke, her extreme sports star neighbour, who has come home to take over the reins of his grandmother’s second-hand bookshop. Sam needs something to keep her from begging for her old job back until she’s good and sure her boss understands how wrong he was, and taking a low-risk, low-stress job helping Nick at the bookstore might be just the thing.

After all, it’s not like Nick is the right guy to help her with her hormones. He’ll just be fun to look at while she searches for the one.

Nick has six months to get over an injury before Everest and a big, fat contract beckon. That means no sports, no danger and, above all else, no risks. It means playing it safe. And Nick Hawke doesn’t do safe. So he’s going to need something to stave off the boredom while selling books he doesn’t read to people who wouldn’t know a carabineer from a crochet hook. What could be safer than hiring a cranky, unemployed accountant to help run the bookstore? Sam is efficient and methodical and messing up her neat, post-it note world could be a fun way to pass the time….

Risky Business mixes the classic romance of Philadelphia Story, the humour and wit of When Harry Met Sally, and a strong, contemporary Australian setting to create a delightful, irresistible, utterly satisfying treat of a novel.

Doesn’t that sound cool? And there’s a special offer on right now. Buy from the Mills & Boon website using code RWA14 at the checkout and you can have Risky Business for only 99 cents. How’s that for a bargain! Otherwise, you can insta-buy via Amazon, Google Play, Kobo, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite ebook retailer.

Now buckle up for another fun foodie ride with Amy.

Fantastic Food Faking

So, surprisingly, Cathryn has asked me back. Considering I’m one of those who finds cooking a chore I feel very blessed. Anyone who’s read my previous two blogs here knows that I subscribe to the food construction method of “cooking” and whilst that may be an okay thing to do in the privacy of your own home it is entirely another thing to put your slack-arse, slap-dash cooking ability up for critical viewing on a world-wide blog.

But hey, this is Cathryn’s little corner of the internet and we are all in the cone of silence. Right?

So…forthwith, the third instalment of my Clayton’s cooking efforts – the cooking you get when you’re not really cooking at all.

Clayton’s Cooking Part Three  Or Cathryn plying me with too much alcohol at RWA and asking me to do it with absolutely no recollection on my behalf…

Raspberry, Chocolate Mousse and Brandy Snap Tartlets

(yes, I just literally made up that name)

Sounds posh right? But don’t get too carried away – its easy peasy, consists of 4 ingredients and requires no actual oven being turned on! But it also looks spectacular and goes down a treat at parties!

Ingredients –

•             A box of Brandy Snap baskets.

Now…..long story. I went to buy these at the supermarket yesterday and was told they’re only a Christmas item (WTF – I’m sure I’ve bought them at other times???!) but never fear, we food constructors are nothing but versatile in our attempts to actually avoid cooking anything.

Anzac Biscuits

Any packet of round biscuits will work. I found these gourmet (special note – important part of food faking is buying the most expensive ingredients so they appear to be homemade) Anzac biscuits. Although I also used some plain chocolate ones as an experiment and Gingernuts work quite well also. The thinner the better!

Anzac biscuits

•             A tub of Chocolate Mousse.

Chocolate mousse

You can of course make your own but splash out on an expensive brand and put your feet up for the hour it would have taken you to make one! I used a posh Belgian chocolate brand from my supermarket fridge section.

•             Punnet of fresh Raspberries.

Raspberries

•             Icing Sugar to garnish.

•             Zap the biscuits individually in the microwave (special note – the microwave is a food constructors best friend) for approx 30 secs but you may have to experiment to get it just soft and pliable enough to push into a cupcake pan. Don’t worry if it breaks up – just push it in and mush it together as you go while its nice and warm. Repeat until you have as many as you need or run out of biscuits.

Brandy Snap Baskets

•             Leave to cool for ten minutes. The biscuits will have re-moulded into a basket shape and will slip easily out of the pan.

•             Fill with mousse.

•             Top with raspberries.

•             Dust with icing sugar.

Tartlets

And hey presto – they’re done!  Look fab, taste amazing and it’s taken less than half an hour!

You’re welcome 🙂

 

Don’t they sound delicious? And how easy! Even my inner food snob (who I like to keep well-slapped down these days) is drooling. I bet these go down a treat at parties, as Amy says. What’s not to like? They even have fruit to make them healthy.

I’ll tell you what is else good and healthy, a…

GIVEAWAY!

Now, my Feasty lovelies, what’s your favourite way to cheat with party food? Do you buy in mini sausage rolls and pies? Perhaps you’ve been known to take bought dips and add a few secret touches so they appear home-made? I have to admit I’ve done that before…

Reveal your secrets and you’ll go into the draw to win an e-book copy of Amy’s new release Risky Business. Guaranteed great fun!

Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 26th August 2014. E-book only. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Amy and her fabulous books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using @AmyAndrewsbooks. Amy has also just started a newsletter. Sign up for up-to-date details on new releases and giveaways.

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Shelley who will soon be laughing her socks of with her ebook copy of Amy’s Risky Business. Thanks to everyone who joined in the fun. As always, you were a joy. See you again soon!

FRIDAY FEAST with Amy Andrews

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Are you feeling the luuuurve? Or are you suffering a touch of the bah humbugs over the day?

I’m on holidays so I’m most definitely feeling loved up. Er…*cough*… I’m not sure that came out quite right. I meant I’m feeling relaxed and happy with the world. Not the… um… you know, which is not something I want to talk about or you want to hear!

Okay, let’s start again.

Welcome to this Valentine’s Day version of Friday Feast featuring a lady who knows all about heart flutters, in more ways than one!Photo of Amy Andrews, author

But first, because I just know you are fascinated, this week’s edition of Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. Despite one day of brilliance, I’m losing the Great Murray River Challenge miserably. I swear my other half is cheating on his scorecard. Either that or he has snuck death-seeking balls into my bag. On the other hand, I’m having fun so not all is lost.

Now back to my guest. Amy Andrews has published forty books. Yes, FORTY. And if that isn’t enough, she’s been nominated for FIVE Australian Romance Readers Awards this year. Fortunately Amy is also a most excellent lady and we love her, despite her clear penchant for overachievement and making the rest of us look bad.

Amy’s latest release (and ARR Award nominee in both the Favourite Contemporary Romance and Sexiest Hero categories) is Holding Out For A Hero. Take a lookie…

 

HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO

 

Cover of Holding Out For A Hero by Amy AndrewsWhen sensible schoolteacher Ella Lucas rides into her home town on a Harley and seduces the resident football hero, Jake Prince, she figures she can be forgiven and move on. After all, she’s just buried her mother.

Two years later, back in the city, their paths cross again but this time Jake is in the process of destroying her favourite dive bar. With her home facing a wrecker’s ball, her school being closed down and her 15-year-old brother hell bent on self-destruction, it’s the last straw. Throw in a dominatrix best friend who is dating a blue ribbon guy so straight he still lives at home with his mother, it’s no wonder the sanest person in Ella’s life is a dog.

With all this to contend with, the last thing Ella needs is Jake back in her life. But, as fate would have it, Jake is the only chance she has to save her school.

As the school football season heats up, old secrets threaten to surface and Ella takes on greedy developers, school boards and national tabloids. But can she save not just her home, her school and her brother, but also the reputation of the man she’s never been able to forget? And, more importantly, does she want to?

Holding Out for a Hero is a quirky, heartwarming tale of unlikely romance, friendship and family.

 

Now that sounds seriously sexy! And Jake and Ella can be all yours with just a clickety-click from Amazon (for your Kindle or Kindle reading app), iTunes, Google Play and Kobo. It’s on my e-reader. Go and put it on yours!

Now come blow kisses at Amy. She has chooocooolate!

 

Claytons Cooking Part 2 – The Valentine’s Day chapter

Or

My Cheating Heart

 

So, we’ve already established I’m not a cook. That I cheat in the kitchen – often. That I construct dishes from pre-made ingredients and kind of smash it all up to make something new and exciting.

Yep, that’s the way we rock in my house. And everyone’s still alive and adequately nourished.

Yes, I’m a fraud who does not belong on such a magnificent blog with people who make their own spaghetti sauce. From scratch…

But Cathryn likes to indulge me so I thought I’d treat you to another easy-peasy food construction tip for Valentine’s Day!

Now…Valentine’s Day means chocolate right? Well, you know, it means love and romance and all that good stuff too but let’s face it, we’re women, right?

So….back to chocolate.

How about this Valentine’s Day you surprise your lover with some home-made chocolates? Well, you know, home-made in the loosest sense of the word….

The first thing you need is some chocolate moulds. Now, I used to have a stack of plastic moulds that I bought from Robin’s Kitchen years ago when I did this kind of stuff with the kids. I’m sure I had hundreds of them. No, I do have hundreds of them. I just couldn’t find any today when I came to do this recipe…. We food constructors are also bad at keeping track of our kitchen stuff… So I popped out and bought a proper you-beaut sturdy petit four tin. Impressive right?

Amy Andrews's petit fours tin

Next you need chocolate. What? You didn’t think I was actually going to make the chocolate did you? Perish the thought! But I do advise you to buy the most expensive cooking chocolate you can find – might as well dazzle your significant other with the taste of it, right? I used Cadbury. It’s more expensive than most but worth it.

Photo of the chocolate Amy used

Lastly you need stuff to mix in to the chocolate. I’ve used pistachios, coconut, peppermint essence, sprinkles and cranberries. Also Cointreau and rum. Because alcohol. But you can use whatever you want – chilli anyone?

Ingredients for flavouring the chocolates

Now all you do is melt the chocolate. You can get really authentic and do it in a double bowl over a boiling saucepan of water but why? Throw it in the microwave and it’s melted in like 1 minute! Plus, no saucepan to wash up!  Pour the melted chocolate into the individual moulds about half way up. Add whatever bits and pieces you’d like to each one, give it a gentle stir then fill the rest of the way with more chocolate.

Petit fours tin filled with chocolates

Refrigerate!

The end.

And here’s what they look like after they’ve been chilled a while.

The finished chocolates on a plate

Now, if you want to make it really special you can find a cute box or some cellophane and present them nicely. Knowing my hubby he’d prefer me to line them up on his naked body and lick them off after they’ve oozed a little but, you know, whatever works for you! 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day!

For a chance to win a digital copy of my Aussie romcom Holding Out For A Hero tell me – do you like chocolate? Got a favourite brand? Or do you prefer something non-edible for the big-day-of-lurve?

 

And a big chocolate-flavoured Valentine’s Day right back at you, Amy! I now have a fair idea of what you’re doing today. Don’t wear out your tongue!

*cough*

Oh, dear. We really are having one of those days on the Feast, aren’t we? Never mind. Valentine’s Day is but once a year. Next week we shall return to normal innuendo free programming.

But only after we’ve given away a Kindle copy of Holding Out For A Hero!

You heard Amy. Share your favourite chocolate or whatever turns you on for Valentine’s Day and you’ll go into the draw. Me, I have a deep, deep affection for Jeff de Bruge chocolates, a brand I fell for when we lived in France. Luscious little babies. My mouth waters just thinking of those truffles. Otherwise, feed me red wine.

What about you? Maybe you like to suck on a Lindt ball? Perhaps pink champagne is more your go? Or maybe the best Valentine’s Day gift you could receive is a promise to babysit and 12 hours uninterrupted sleep. Share and you could win!

Giveaway closes midnight AEST 18th February 2014. Open internationally. Rah!

Don’t have a Kindle e-reader? That’s okay. You can download the reading app to your phone, tablet, laptop or computer and read where you like. It’s easy!

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

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Ingrid who has won herself a copy of Amy’s Holding Out For A Hero. What fun she’ll have! Thanks to Amy and to all who joined in the Friday Feast fun. Hope to see you again soon.