My Favourite Reads of December 2018

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The Palace of Lost Memories and The Echo of Broken Dreams by CJ Archer

The Palace of Lost Memories by CJ Archer

I’ve been looking forward to CJ Archer’s new After the Rift series ever since she announced it and to my delight it exceeded expectations. I expected The Palace of Lost Memories to be good but this was in another class again. I think because it’s a bit darker. This is a world where even those you trust may not be who they seem.

There are so many questions about the King’s new palace and even more questions about those who staff it. Where did they come from? And where are their memories? These are puzzles that I’m sure will be slowly solved as the series progresses. In the meantime, we’re treated to smaller mysteries that are just as enjoyable. In The Palace of Lost Memories, it’s who poisoned the king’s favourite, while in The Echo of Broken Dreams it’s who is attacking palace maids, among other questions.

Love the heroine Josie, love the hero Hammer, and the minor characters are interesting and well crafted. As with all CJ Archer books the pacing was spot on.

I gobbled these down and now cannot wait for book 3.

A Baby In His In-Tray by Michelle Douglas

A Baby In His In-Tray by Michelle Douglas

This was hilarious, and I defy anyone not to at least smile at the early scenes with the baby. The poor heroine. The poor hero!

The premise of A Baby In His In-Tray is a beauty too. To help her twin sister Eliza, Liv agrees to impersonate her at work while Eliza sorts out a personal issue (I hope Michelle writes her story). With the boss Lord Sebastian Tyrell away, no one should be the wiser. Then Liv returns to her desk post-lunch and finds a baby on it with a note requesting that Sebastian sort it out. Liv has no choice but to call him and act as nanny while he returns. This does not make for a happy Liv!

The relationship between these two is wonderful, but as you’d expect from an excellent romance it’s not without its complications. For her sister’s sake, Liv must keep her true identity hidden, while Sebastian has his own issues thanks to an awful upbringing. Then there’s the question of who the baby’s mother is…

Huge fun.

The Million Pound Marriage Deal by Michelle Douglas

The Million Pound Marriage Deal by Michelle Douglas

The Million Pound Marriage Deal made me cry more than once, then smile at the end and feel a bit soppy, which is exactly what I want from a romance.

I really liked Sophie, she was a great heroine. That perfect combination of sass, smarts and vulnerability that she keeps well hidden. She’s the sort of capable, organised person you’d want on your side in a crisis, and I loved the way she handled the hero Will’s crotchety grandfather.

If you’re partial to a marriage of convenience story, you’ll love this one. I certainly did.

The Laird’s Christmas Kiss by Anna Campbell

The Laird’s Christmas Kiss by Anna Campbell

Ah, I do love me an Anna Campbell Christmas story. They are so much fun.

Elspeth is a smart as a whip wallflower who’s harboured a secret crush on rakish Brody for years. Deciding she’s had enough of this nonsense, Elspeth forces herself out of this hopeless and silly love, only for Brody to suddenly notice her in a major way. What follows is a gorgeous struggle between a young woman determined to keep her promise to herself and a man who, for once in his life, has only honourable intentions and can’t understand why the object of his affections won’t swoon at his feet. Then the family get involved…

An absolute delight and perfect for any season. And highlanders!

Read an excerpt from The Laird’s Christmas Kiss and more on Anna’s recent Teaser Tuesday.

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

My second favourite read of December (or should that be third given CJ Archer took the top spot with two books?).

I’ve wanted to read Apple Tree Yard since its release back in 2013. In fact, I still have clippings of its newspaper reviews on my “want to read” pile so I wouldn’t forget about it. Which reminds me, I can chuck those now.

I adore books that make you feel anxious for the heroine (or hero) and Apple Tree Yard kept me in a state of constant worry. This is a combination of courtroom drama and the secret retelling of an affair. For some reason it reminded me a lot of Killing Me Softly by Nicci French even though they’re quite different stories. It’s that opening blast of attraction between strangers followed by out-of-character behaviour I suspect. That and the unsettling storylines.

Highly recommended and I hear the recently released TV series is excellent too.

Tikka Chance on Me by Suleikha Snyder

Tikka Chance on Me by Suleikha Snyder

This came highly recommended by writing buddy Amy Andrews, who praised Snyder’s great voice and fresh story. I was a tad sceptical – bad boy bikers really aren’t my thing – but having read Tikka Chance on Me I can only agree. This was a whole lot of sexy fun, with a fantastic heroine and great banter. It’s also short and whizzes along. Perfect for an afternoon of fun. And you can pick it up for around a dollar on most ebook platforms.

What were your favourite reads of December?

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Bargain Alert!

THE COUNTRY GIRL is part of Kindle’s 12 Days of Christmas promotion which means you can score this heart-warming tale of friendship, food and falling in love for only $1-99. What a bargain!



This deal is for a limited time only, so get in quick before it goes back to full price.

PS. While you’re there, why not grab SANTA AND THE SADDLER for only 99 cents and double your bargain? Go on, you know you deserve books.

My Favourite Reads of November 2018

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My Favourite Reads image

Welcome to my favourite reads of November 2018.

Another mixed bag of fantasy, crime and, of course, romance. A girl needs her feels!

No question this month which was my favourite. Actually, let’s make that favourites because the honour goes to …

Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows by Leigh BardugoBardugo’s Grisha trilogy of Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising was my favourite read of 2014 and when Six of Crows first released I meant to jump on it. For some reason I didn’t and I’m not sure why. I have a feeling I read a preview of Six of Crows and was expecting one thing and got another. I had no problem this time round. I couldn’t put either Six of Crows or Crooked Kingdom down. They were amazing.

The plotting of these stories is extraordinary. Twist follows twist follows twist, and almost every one of them left me in a state of anxiety over the characters. So many challenges, most of them impossible, and yet the Six of Crows gang manage to fight and overcome them.

Then there are the characters, all so wonderfully done, with compelling backstories and motivations, and individual voices. If I weren’t so caught up in the story I would have taken notes on how Bardugo made them unique, sympathetic and admirable, even the ones that shouldn’t have been.

Loved these books. Just loved them. Can’t wait for more.


Elevation by Stephen KingElevation by Stephen King

Hmm. The first thought that springs to mind when I think about this book? It was short. Really short. By my guess, Elevation would be lucky to be 25,000 words (maybe even closer to 20,000 but as I said I’m guessing here) and most novels are around 90,000 or so, depending on genre, which means we’re talking short story/novella length.

Now I love a shorty, but I had no idea that Elevation was one when I went to grab it from my local discount store and was even more brain-fuddled when I couldn’t spot it on the shelves. We’re talking the new Stephen King here. It was in the catalogue. How could Elevation not be smack in my face? I can only guess it was something to do with its size versus its unappealing full-length price.

I still bought it because… Stephen King.

Anyway, it was a sweet book, reminding me a little bit of Insomnia, which is a favourite King of mine. A pleasant way to spend a weekend afternoon.


The Ash Doll by James HazelThe Ash Doll by James Hazel

I really enjoyed Hazel’s debut release The Mayfly (I talked about it here). It was a cracking read and left me eager for his next. The Ash Doll didn’t disappoint, with the same great pace and tension and a juicy dark plot. The Ash Doll’s lawyer hero Charlie Priest seems to find himself in messy cases, that’s for sure.

Great to see Priest’s work colleague Georgie Someday play such a starring role too. And the fish. Mustn’t forget the fish.


Circus Hearts - All the little Bones by Ellie MarneyCircus Hearts: All the little Bones by Ellie Marney

Now this was cool. Kinda like a running away to join the circus book but in this case the runaways are already performers – Sorsha is a trapeze artist while Colm is a strongman, and both are very good at their art.

Circus Hearts is a friends-to-lovers story as well as a coming of age tale and one I enjoyed a lot. The romance was lovely and I especially liked Marney’s portrayal of circus life.

I have plans to read book two in this three-book series over the Christmas break. I’m keen to see what happens to Fleur in Circus Hearts: All Fall Down.


Manhunting by Jennifer CrusieManhunting by Jennifer Crusie

This was a hoot of a book, with super-snappy dialogue and some very funny moments. I was glad I picked it up because it was perfect for my mood. I was after something easy and fun and feel-good, and Manhunting was all that and more.

This is only my second Jennifer Crusie – the first was Faking It – and I really should read more. I’ve lost count of the number of fellow authors who’ve recommended Welcome to Temptation, Bet Me and other much-adored titles in the Crusie backlist. Makes me feel left out.


What reads did you enjoy in November?


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Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress, and occasion con author buddies into doing the same.

Woah, hasn’t the year flown! Here we are in December with Christmas sparkling around the corner and a shiny new year poking its head over the horizon. I hope it’s been a brilliant year for you and your families.

This will be the final Teaser Tuesday of the year. I’m off to visit family in north Queensland and to enjoy some outback heat and dust, and to relax with a bunch of books I’ve saved for the break. A couple I’m really looking forward to are Anna Campbell’s The Laird’s Christmas Kiss and Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, but there are plenty more on my pile.

I’ll also be sending out a newsletter very soon with an exclusive present inside. If you’re not already a subscriber, join the cool people now so you don’t miss out.

It probably comes as no surprise that my final teaser for the year is from my 2017 Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year finalist Santa and the Saddler. It’s a Christmas book after all, but it’s also a gorgeous read for any time.

What you may not have seen is that it’s temporarily discounted to only 99 cents on Kindle, in the iBooks store, and on Kobo the US and Canada. Bargain!

Here are those links: | |

iBooks | Kobo

Now for a lovely snippet. Dressed in an unflattering Santa suit for his shift at a local pub, Danny makes a quick call into the local saddlery to order a present for his little sister and encounters Beth.


Four others waited, and from their pissed-off expressions and the way they were glancing at their watches, they’d been doing so for a while. An extremely pretty brown-haired girl was at the register, ringing up a purchase. Her lightly freckled cheeks were flushed and tendrils of hair had escaped her bun to fall around her face. She was wearing a bright red top with a cartoon reindeer on the front, the singlet’s cut revealing tanned, muscled arms and very straight shoulders.

Santa and the Saddler by Cathryn HeinShe was his age, mid-twenties maybe. A quick glance at her hands revealed no rings. Pretty, possibly single, and here was Danny looking like a dick in a Santa suit. He could kill his boss, he really could. There was such a thing as taking the Christmas spirit too far, and Jase had done it.

‘Oh,’ said the woman Saddlery Girl was serving, holding up a finger. ‘Just one more thing.’ She dashed off, leaving the girl to smile a brittle apology at the other customers.

‘I won’t be long.’

Danny’s eyebrows lifted at the English accent, so incongruous to her freckled, summery Australianness.

‘You said that five minutes ago,’ muttered the bloke in front of Danny, throwing another look at his watch. He clocked Danny’s stupid costume. ‘Nice suit.’

Like he hadn’t been hearing that all week. But Danny never saw the point in being cranky, and it was Christmas. Season to be jolly and all that.

‘Thanks. Just spreading the cheer.’

He glanced back at Saddlery Girl and found her looking him up and down. Realising she’d been caught, she raised a single eyebrow. Danny smiled and winked, delighted when she grinned broadly in return, showing off perfect white teeth and laughter-filled golden hazel eyes.

The entire room somersaulted.

Oh man, she was pretty.


These two are so gorgeous together. Just the read to make you feel warm and gooey this Christmas.

Those bargain-buy links again: | |

iBooks | Kobo

See you Friday for My Favourite Reads!


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Teaser Tuesday!

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

Did you pick up any Black Friday or Cyber Monday bargains? I didn’t, but I can’t say I looked that hard. We have too much stuff for our little house as it is. I did get presents, though! Friend and fellow author D. B. Tait (Cold Deception, Desperate Deception, Festive Deception) came to visit and bought me some beautifully scented thyme, which I’ve now planted out. The orange thyme in particular smells divine. I’m thinking I could try that with fish, chicken or duck, or maybe add a few leaves to an orange and polenta syrup cake for a bit of extra zing.

What better lead-in for The Country Girl than recipe talk? Its heroine Tash is not only a fabulous cook and famous food blogger, she’s also a gorgeous person. She’s big-hearted, brave, enormous fun to be with and as irresistible as her cooking. No wonder The Country Girl’s hero Patrick falls for her. I would!

Here’s a snippet where Patrick is feeling a bit low and decides to call on Tash.


He drove up Castlereagh Road with his fists tight around the wheel and his mood spoiled. The sight of Tash’s flat with its cheerily smoking chimney was like a siren call to his longing. If anyone could restore his humour, it’d be Tash.

She didn’t fail him. Patrick found her in her kitchen, dressed in a baggy pink-and-white rabbit onesie complete with floppy ears and paws. For an unsexy outfit, it was The Country Girl by Cathryn Heinstrangely arousing. Not that that was unusual. His hormones were so out of control these days Tash could have worn a hessian sack and he’d probably be turned on.

‘Interesting,’ he said.

She presented her bum and wiggled, showing off a large fluffy tail. ‘Like it?’

‘Very cute.’

‘I bought it for a party ages ago. I didn’t feel like writing so I thought I’d make Italian Easter bread and film it instead.’

‘In a rabbit onesie?’

‘Why not a rabbit onesie? It’s Easter Bunny time!’


To celebrate this scene, I created a video of me wearing a pink rabbit onesie and cooking one of Tash’s recipes. Not the Easter bread – far too hard! – but delicious Mini Ricotta Cheesecakes with Currants Soaked in Sherry. You’ll find the video and the full recipe on Cooking The Country Girl.

Cooking The Country Girl!

The Country Girl is available for purchase in paperback and ebook from your favourite stores. Or try these retailers: | |

iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Nook

Booktopia | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson Bookworld

If you’d like to learn more about The Country Girl, please visit its Book page on this website. Hankering for news on my next release? Newsletter subscribers get all the news and other goodies first. Join the cool readers here.

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Teaser Tuesday!

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

Newcastle is in rev-head mode. The V8 Supercars Championship hits town this week and with an anticipated 150,000 visitors arriving the place will be rocking. Not my thing but even I have to admit the track makes for some spectacular images of Newcastle. The circuit runs through historic Newcastle East, and includes slides past Newcastle and Nobbys Beaches and a pit straight that runs parallel to the harbour.

Spectacular indeed but also where we walk each morning and, come Wednesday, won’t be so easy to access. That’s okay. We’ll simply swap our trundle to further down the coast. As they say, a change is as good as a holiday and I’ll get to swap hellos with new morning walkers and joggers. Fingers crossed for dolphins, seals and whales too. Spotting any one of those makes my day.

Which leads me to… um… nothing book-related at all!

So lets have a snippet from my romantic adventure The French Prize in which its hero, the very staid and stoic Raimund, surprises the heroine Olivia with a moment of levity.

In a car.

Well, lookie at that. I managed to relate it back to the Supercars after all. *claps self on back*



Aix-en-Provence was bustling with produce-laden locals. Thursday was one of the main market days and Olivia knew finding a park would be nigh on impossible.

The French Prize by Cathryn HeinRaimund crawled around the périphérique, his eyes sweeping the side streets for a parking place. After two unproductive laps, one appeared near the end of Rue d’Italie, a short walk from the museum. Olivia watched in envy as he manoeuvred the car into a park into which she would have had to have been lifted by crane.

The day before, with the assistance of a retired Legionnaire who owed him several favours, he had returned the Clio to the gîte and retrieved another car from a property near Narbonne. The car, he had explained on the drive into Aix, was registered under the name of yet another indebted ex-soldier, which he hoped would prove difficult to link to him.

She had pointed out that the make was disguise enough. No sane person would expect a man of his height to drive a tiny Peugeot coupé-convertible. With the roof up, Raimund had to hunch over to drive.

But it is sexy, non?’ he had said, his French accent deliberately emphasised.


Grab your copy of The French Prize today, available in print and ebook from your favourite retailers, including:

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson |

KoboiBooks | Google Play

If you’d like to learn more about The French Prize or read how I came to write the novel, please visit its book page on this website.

Remember to join my newsletter to keep up to date with new releases and have access to other goodies.


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Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress and occasionally con unsuspecting author friends into doing the same. Like today.

Read on

It’s been hot!

I’ve actually had to break out shorts from my wardrobe. Nice for me, not so nice for the unsuspecting populace of Newcastle who’ve been blinded by my lily-whites. We Heins don’t really do tans. We’re too fair and freckly and prone to painful sunburn, and I usually don’t venture outside without first slathering on sunscreen and donning a hat. Which gives me the excuse to buy hats. Lots of hats.

But enough about hats. We’re here to talk dresses!

Well, one dress in particular. And it’s a very special dress with a story. A story by none other than Rachael Johns so you know it’s going to be a cracker.

Four women, one dress, and the secret that binds them all

That’s the tag for Rachael’s brand-new release Lost Without You, and she’s here today to share a little about the book and treat you to a peek inside.

Please give Rachael a warm Teaser Tuesday welcome!


Author Rachael JohnsARGH – it’s always so hard to choose an extract for Cathryn’s fab Teaser Tuesday because all the juicy ones contain spoilers… but I did my best. LOST WITHOUT YOU is at its core a story about family and how keeping secrets from those close to you can have an impact on your relationships and so I’ve decided to give you an insight into Rebecca’s secret.

Rebecca is one of four main characters and in many ways, she is the link between them all…

Happy reading! X Rach


As Molly twirled three times like she always did before a snooze and then settled herself down in her favourite spot in front of the bed , Rebecca glanced at the closed door, praying Hugh would respect her request for privacy. Then, taking a deep breath, her hands shaking ridiculously, she went into their walk-in robe, stretched up high on her tippy-toes and pulled down a box she’d labeled ‘Old Music Notebooks.’ Neither Hugh nor Paige shared her love of music and so they would never think to pry into this box. Besides, it wasn’t a lie – the box did contain her old journals, but, right at the bottom, it also housed a whole load of mix-tapes leftover from her teenage years, letters, and something even more precious to her than them.

She took the box over to the bed and her breath caught in her throat as she lifted the lid. What if the photo was gone? There was no reason why it should be but suddenly the fear felt real. Without care, she lifted the notebooks that were at the top and flung them on the bed beside her, then rifled through the rest of the box, resisting the urge to look at the tapes from her high Lost Without You by Rachael Johnsschool boyfriend – she should have thrown them away years ago. Finally, she found what she was looking for, the old journal filled with the angst-ridden songs she’d written as a teenager. They were all dismal – singing was her skill, not song-writing – but she’d put her heart and soul into them anyway. Ignoring the R&R Forever scratched into the front cover in her flowery adolescent handwriting, she flicked straight to the end.

And there it was.

There he was – tiny and perfect, a bald-headed angel looking up at her with big blue innocent eyes. Well, not at her, she’d never got that close to him; he’d been looking up at whoever took the photograph and she didn’t know who that was. Maybe a nurse. She certainly couldn’t imagine her mother would have done so.

Tears prickled Rebecca’s eyes as she touched a finger to the photo. She let out a long slow breath., one she felt like she’d been holding since she’d thought of this photo in the hospital two weeks ago. This little boy had never been far from her mind these last thirty-five years, but she’d kept him in a box and kept that box buried deep in her heart. Yet now, having come face-to-face with her own mortality, everything felt like it had changed. Now it was like her long-lost son was actually in that box and that he was knocking on the lid, trying to push it open and get her attention.

Pain throbbed in her forehead and she forced deep breaths in and out, unsure whether her sudden breathlessness was because she was having a panic attack or if it was a symptom of her blasted kidney disease. Either way, this photo couldn’t stay here, in the house, where it could so easily be found by someone looking for something else.

But what could she do with it? She didn’t trust her parents not to ‘lose’ it and besides, her dad hadn’t been in the best of health lately either; she didn’t want to put anything else on them.

Did banks still rent out safe boxes? Rebecca wasn’t sure if they were actually a thing or if it was just something used in the movies. She could ask Hugh – he always knew stuff like that – but of course then he’d want to know why she needed one. Google! The answer landed in her head and she went to grab her mobile only to realise her handbag was still out in the hallway where she’d dumped it when she’d dropped down to hug Molly.

Bugger. Why did everything have to be so hard?


Lost Without You is gathering brilliant reviews everywhere and making a lot of readers very happy. Which means you deserve a copy of your own, oh yes you do, and thanks to the internet instant gratification can be yours.

Purchase Lost Without You in paperback and ebook from these stores now.

Booktopia | Dymocks |

iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

By the way, those good folk at Booktopia have signed copies of Lost Without You available for purchase but they won’t last long. If you’d prefer one of those, grab it today!

If you’d like to learn more about Rachael and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect on Facebook, Twitter using @RachaelJohns, Goodreads and Instagram.

Read a longer excerpt of Lost Without You here.

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My Favourite Reads of October 2018

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My Favourite Reads image

Welcome to my favourite reads for October.

An eclectic list of reads this month, ranging from horror to murder-mystery, time-travel and historical fiction.

Once again I found myself stumped over my favourite book for the month. Usually I do my best to choose but today I’m going to sit on the fence. They were all enjoyable reads. Whether they’ll be as enjoyable for you remains to be seen!

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi TaylorJust One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

What a blast of a book! Number 1 in The Chronicles of St. Mary’s series and totally bonkers but oh so much fun.

While not quite the same, Just One Damned Thing After Another reminded me a lot of The Extracted Trilogy by RR Haywood, which I also adored (and wrote about here). It has that same wonderfully madcap feel.

Expect adventure, history, infighting, outfighting, a touch of romance, eccentric characters, double-crossing, nutty situations and huge doses of humour.

Book 1 in The Chronicles of St. Mary’s series and if you love this one, there are plenty more to keep you going.

Darkbound by Michaelbrent CollingsDarkbound by Michaelbrent Collings

Darkbound is horror with a capital H. Six people get on a New York subway train but it soon becomes clear this isn’t any normal train and these sure aren’t normal people.

I really enjoyed Collings book The Deep (which I talked about here). It was fast-paced and fun, a fab combination of horror and humour, and excellent characterisation. Darkbound had its darkly humorous moments and great characters but focused more on the violence and gore. Not scary as such but definitely not for the faint-hearted.

The Word is Murder by Anthony HorowitzThe Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

Gah! I’m still on the fence with this one, which surprises me because I’ve loved Horowitz’s previous novels, especially his Sherlock Holmes books House of Silk and Moriarty.

Horowitz writes intriguing murders, as you’d expect from someone who created Foyle’s War and has written for Midsummer Murders, and he’s created another beauty here with the She planned her own funeral, but did she arrange her murder? premise. But The Word is Murder was strange in that Horowitz inserts himself as the main character and narrator. I found that aspect both fascinating and frustrating. Fascinating because I was intrigued by the idea and process from an author-y point of view, and frustrating because I didn’t like either the Horowitz character or Hawthorne, the detective he was following. Not liking the detective was fine but to not like Horowitz felt completely wrong!

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate MortonThe Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

Morton has been an auto-buy author for me since her debut title The Shifting Fog (aka The House at Riverton). Naturally I snapped up The Clockmaker’s Daughter on release.

It’s another lovely fat book full of history, romance, intrigue and gorgeous writing. Morton is a master at creating atmosphere, especially the slightly creepy gothic feel I adore. There’s a lot going on in The Clockmaker’s Daughter, with multiple points of view told across multiple time settings, and several times I was left wondering how she would pull all the threads together. I knew she would, though. She’s Kate Morton!

Fab read but The Shifting Fog and The Distant Hours remain my favourites.

Greenlight by Benjamin StevensonGreenlight by Benjamin Stevenson

Regular My Favourite Reads readers know I’m partial to an Aussie crime novel or two. Even better, Greenlight is set in Hunter Valley wine country. How could a girl possibly resist? News has it that Greenlight has also sold into the US and UK, and is attracting a lot of attention from film and producers. I can understand why. This has hookiness written into its DNA and would make a cracking film or TV series.

Think thriller/crime with lots of plot twists and featuring a flawed hero who has an interesting personal story of his own. With its true-crime podcast/tv show hook, Greenlight’s premise is smack in the moment.

Playing By Her Rules by Amy AndrewsPlaying By Her Rules by Amy Andrews

Like every other Amy Andrews book I’ve read, this was a blast. Playing By Her Rules is a lovers reunited story featuring two very sexy, sassy and smart lead characters who spark off each other from the get-go. And the hero is a professional rugby player with a body that the heroine wants to lick harder than the world’s best icecream. We’re talking swoonland, my darlings. Swoonland.

The dialogue is fabulous, the sizzling slow-burn of Tanner and Matilda’s relationship delicious. Romance, fun and with plenty of awesomely written action and it’s not all on field. Oh, and the opening scene with the panties is brilliant.

The first in the six-book Sydney Smoke Rugby series. You’ll want them all.

What reads did you enjoy in October?


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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser Tuesday MemeWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress, and occasionally twist the arms of author buddies into doing the same.

Have Christmas decorations popped up where you are? They’re certainly starting to colonise Newcastle. There are lights galore and the shops are a-glitter with tinsel, reindeer, snow and bearded Santas in heavy costumes. Poor things. Even in the air-con they must be sweating.

You know what else Christmas means?

Another gorgeous story from historical romance author Anna Campbell!

I so look forward to Anna’s Christmas tales. They’re heart-warming and lovely and her latest – The Laird’s Christmas Kiss which landed on my Kindle last week thanks to a nifty pre-order – sounds absolutely gorgeous. Just the thing to get into the Christmas spirit.

Here’s Anna to tell you more about The Laird’s Christmas Kiss. Make sure you read to the end because there could be a GIVEAWAY!


Anna Campbell author - thumbnailHi Cathryn and all the Teaser Tuesday aficionados!

Thank you for having me back again as a guest. Today I’m going to talk about The Laird’s Christmas Kiss, which is book 2 in my The Lairds Most Likely series.

Did you have a teenage crush? Shy, bookish Elspeth Douglas, my heroine in The Laird’s Christmas Kiss, has been mad about dashing Brody Girvan, Laird of Invermackie, since she was 15. Now she’s 20 and smart enough to know that Brody is never going to notice her, so she makes a solemn vow that she’s not going to love him anymore.

The irony is that her decision makes her much more outspoken and inclined to step out of the shadows, and Brody, who is tired of being the life of the party, realizes that his friend Hamish’s sister is pretty and funny and sweet. Everything gets even more complicated when the rake develops honorable intentions and the innocent miss decides that a brief no-strings flirtation at a house party will be fun. There’s a makeover, plenty of Christmas cheer, interfering relatives, a scandal, and a crate of imported mistletoe to launch the high jinks in fine style. I hope you enjoy this Christmas comedy of crossed wires and sigh with satisfaction when Brody and Elspeth finally discover that they’re talking the same language – and it’s the language of love!

So here’s my teaser. The Douglas and Mackinnon families and their various connections have gathered at Fergus’s castle in the Western Highlands to celebrate Christmas. This scene takes place early in the story when Elspeth and Brody waltz together for the first time.


Achnasheen, Scottish Highlands, December 1818

Elspeth sent him a repressive glance. “Brody, don’t waste your time flirting with me. I’m frightfully dull.”

He laughed, and she saw Diarmid shoot them a disapproving look. Then she caught Marina’s eye. Marina didn’t look disapproving at all.

The Laird's Christmas Kiss by Anna CampbellBrody’s sensual lips lifted in a sardonic curl. “I’m not wasting my time, you strange and enchanting lassie.”

For a moment, the room vanished, and all she saw was that dark, striking face with its brilliant green eyes and commanding blade of a nose. Then she remembered that she’d vowed to be sensible when it came to this man. “You’re trying to turn my head.”

He arched one black eyebrow. “Am I succeeding?”

“No,” she said, although even now, she wasn’t sure about that. “There must be better targets for all this charm.”

He was still smiling down at her as if he really was enchanted. “You think I’m charming?”

This onslaught of masculine interest was all too heady for her. And unfair. Not to mention a little cruel. Because while Elspeth might have banished her ludicrous adolescent tendre for him, she wasn’t immune to his appeal. And every minute proved that she’d aimed way above her touch when she’d set her sights on him.

Resentment sneaked out to color her response. “Does it matter what I think, when you’re so convinced yourself?”

He looked startled and for a moment, she caught a hint of what might be injured feelings. Then his eyes sharpened in a way that sent a chill of disquiet rushing down her spine. “There’s more to you than meets the eye, isn’t there, Elspeth?”

“I hope so,” she retorted.


You can read a longer excerpt and the blurb on my website.

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David Bowie Heroes album coverSo did you have a teenage crush? I had a million – mainly movie and TV stars and singers – although there was also a bit of a crush on my godmother’s grandson Geoff and the boy next door (neither of whom knew I was alive – so I know just how Elspeth feels in my new story!). There was Fonzie and David Bowie and Neil Diamond and Freddie Mercury and Anthony Andrews and Timothy Dalton and… Happy Days television show third season DVD coverBut I won’t go on. I want YOU to go on. Tell me about your teenage crush!

I’ve got a Kindle download of The Laird’s Christmas Kiss: The Likely Lairds Book 2 for someone who comments. No geographical restrictions.

Good luck in the draw!

Thanks, Anna. You are so generous with your giveaways.

As for crushes

Like us all, I had lots but the one that sticks in my mind is the one I had on Pakistani cricket captain Imran Khan. I thought him ridiculously handsome, and he was captain and don’t get me started on that accent. Swoon. I was sure he would hear my mental plea and gallop into Mount Gambier on a white Arab horse, sweep me out of my primary school and whisk me, his new princess, off to his desert kingdom for a happily-ever-after of dreamy eyes and LOTS of horses. Yes, yes, I know. I may have had my countries a tad confused and erroneously equated cricket captaincy with kingship, but it was the fantasy that counted. And daydreaming that one in class was a bucketload more fun than maths.

What about your first crush? Anna and I would love to hear. Share and you could win!

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday 9th November 2018, Australian Eastern Daylight Time. Open internationally. Prize is a Kindle copy of The Laird’s Christmas Kiss.

If you’d like to learn more about Anna and her books – and she has plenty available for your reading pleasure – please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @AnnaCampbelloz.


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