Top Picks and Must Reads For 2017!

Another year passes and with it the release of some outstanding books! To the authors and publishers I thank you for the opportunity of reading and adding these fabulous stories to my book shelf of fave reads 🙂 Feel free to add your own notable mention in the comments 🙂

Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy by Catherine Hein

No girl forgets her first crush. The least he could do is remember it.

Chrissy James has only been home in small-town Levenham a few weeks when her teenage crush plays hero and saves her from an aggressive drunk. Seven years ago, Nick Burroughs was the school hottie while she was the overweight girl with braces, bad hair, and an unrequited obsession with the sports star every girl in school wanted. Her failed efforts to attract Nick’s attention still burn.

Chrissy sure has his attention now, but she’s older, smarter and focused on settling into her new dream job as wine marketer. No matter how sexy he’s grown, or how keen his interest, Nick will need to do a lot more than see off a drunk if he wants to win her over.

But Chrissy doesn’t count on the determination of a Burroughs boy in love. Nick will do anything to recapture Chrissy’s heart, even if it means acting the romantic fool and embarrassing himself in the process.

Will Nick’s efforts to make amends for the past backfire or will Chrissy’s career thwart everything?

Cathryn Hein.com

 

The Country Wedding by Barbara Hannay

Two country weddings, fifty years apart … and the miracle of second chances

In the tiny Tablelands township of Burralea, musician Flora Drummond is preparing to play at the wedding of a very close friend. If only she could forget the embarrassing teenage crush she once had on the handsome groom.

All is as it should be on the big day. The little church is filled with flowers, the expectant guests are arriving, and Mitch is nervously waiting – but his bride has failed to appear.

Decades earlier, another wedding in the same church led to a similar story of devastation. Hattie missed out on marrying her childhood sweetheart the first time around and now she has returned to the scene of her greatest heartache.

As Flora is drawn into both romantic dramas, she must also confront a relationship crisis of her own. But the past and the present offer promise for the future and there’s a chance for friends, old and new, to help each other to heal.

From the rolling green hills of Far North Queensland to the crowded streets of Shanghai on the eve of the Second World War, this is a beautiful romantic saga that tells of two loves lost and found and asks the questions – do we ever get over our first love, and is it ever too late to make amends?

Penguin Random House

 

Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.

Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter—a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was—Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.

But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.

Harlequin Books Australia

 

Six Ways To Sunday by Karly Lane

When city naturopath Rilee Summers meets gorgeous farmer Dan Kincaid, sparks fly. A whirlwind romance follows, and the next thing Rilee knows she’s married and living on her husband’s family property in a small rural community.

Never one to shy from a challenge, Rilee is determined to win over her in-laws and the townsfolk of nearby Pallaburra, but her city ways and outspoken views only seem to alienate her further.

Opening her own naturopathy practice has always been her dream. Although Pallaburra isn’t Sydney, and despite the fact she’s not exactly inundated with new clients, she’s not ready to give up. Things get even worse for Rilee when she champions the issue of teen pregnancies in the deeply conservative town.

Worn down by the ill-will towards her and what she sees as Dan’s lack of support, Rilee flees the station to think about the future. Can her marriage survive – or is she destined to leave Dan and move back to the city?

Six Ways to Sunday is a rip-roaring tale about a woman determined to stand up for her convictions even at the risk of jeopardising the future she envisaged with the man she loves.

Allen & Unwin Australia

 

The Baby Doctor by Fiona McArthur

‘The right people turn up in your life at the right time if you let them.’

Sienna Wilson is living her dream in the city – a rewarding obstetrics job in a leading hospital, an apartment with a view, and handsome Sergeant McCabe on call whenever she needs him. The last thing she wants is a posting to a remote outback town to investigate a medical mystery.

But on arrival in Spinifex, Sienna is brought to life in new and exciting ways. In a community riddled with secrets, she meets troubled young barmaid Maddy, and tough publican Alma, both with their troubles to hide.

As they draw strength from each other, new friendships, new loves and new babies are born, proving that when strong women join forces, they can overcome even the greatest odds.

Penguin Random House

 

Suddenly One Summer by Fleur McDonald

When Brianna Donahue was three years old, her mother mysteriously disappeared while farming in Merriwell Bay, Western Australia. Her body has never been found. Brianna works the same land with her father Russell, while almost single-handedly raising her two children as her husband Caleb works as a fly-in fly-out criminal lawyer in Perth.

One scorching summer’s morning, her son Trent goes missing and, while frantically searching for him, Brianna must come to terms with the fact that her marriage has large cracks in it.

Over two thousand kilometres away in South Australia, Detective Dave Burrows receives a phone call reporting stolen sheep from an elderly farmer. When he and his partner Jack arrive at the farm, it’s clear that Guy has early signs of dementia. Following a conversation with his wife Kim, Dave becomes intrigued with Guy’s family history. Was there a sister, or was there not? No one seems to know.

So how will Dave’s investigation impact Brianna’s world? While battling the threat of bushfires back in Merriwell Bay, Brianna is faced with challenges that test her relationships with those she loves most. Suspenseful and incendiary, Suddenly One Summer is an intriguing and heartfelt story of the unlikely connections of life on the land.

Allen & Unwin Australia

 

The Highland Isles Series by Heather McCollum

The Highland Isles series by author Heather McCollum has been outstanding to read, and each of the four books within this series is a five star read! 😀

Entangled Publishing

 

The Love Experiment by Ainslie Paton

The closest rookie lifestyle writer Derelie Honeywell gets to megastar reporter Jackson Haley is an accidental shoulder brush in The Courier’s elevator. That is, until the love experiment: a study designed to accelerate intimacy using thirty-six questions and four minutes of sustained eye contact.

As far as Derelie is concerned, Jack Haley has always been a man best imagined in his underwear. He’s too intimidating otherwise. But participating in the love experiment is her make-or-break chance. With another round of layoffs looming, Derelie knows holding on to her job means getting the story no matter what. Even when the what is kissing Jack like a maniac.

Jack Haley has zero interest in participating in a clickbait story. He didn’t plan on finding Derelie smart and feisty and being mesmerized by her eyes. He certainly had no intention at all of actually falling in love with her.

The conclusion to this experiment? Thirty-six questions might lead to love, but finding the answer to happily-ever-after is a lot more complicated.

Amazon Australia

 

Commitment by K. M. Golland

Natasha Jones loves her life, her husband and their two young sons. She works hard both at home and as an Events Supervisor at City Towers. But when a relationship with her work colleague unexpectedly progresses, Tash begins to question whether or not her marriage has passed its ‘Use by’ date.

Dean Jones is a numbers man but has no idea that his number could be up where his marriage is concerned. Never one to really speak his mind, he has always opted to just go with the flow in order to keep his wife happy.

Passion, intimacy, and communication have taken a backseat to demanding careers, a mortgage and family life, and it’s not until Tash and Dean stand to lose everything they have built together that the spark between them begins to flicker again.

And boy does it flicker …
and ignite …
and nearly burn the entire neighbourhood down!

Can Tash and Dean keep this newly lit flame alive and save their marriage? Or will temptation make the commitment seem too much to bear?

Harlequin Books Australia

 

Hello, Goodbye by Emily Brewin

It’s 1968 and free-thinking country girl May Callaghan’s world is turned upside down when she finds out she’s pregnant to her boyfriend Sam, who is awaiting draft orders. A profoundly moving story of love during a time of great social change, with an ending that will leave you cheering.

May Callaghan is seventeen years old and on her own. At least that’s how it feels.

Her devoutly religious mother and her gentle but damaged father are fighting, and May’s boyfriend, Sam, has left their rural hometown for Melbourne without so much as a backward glance.

When May lies to her parents and takes the train to visit Sam at his shared house in Carlton, her world opens wide in glorious complexity. She is introduced to his housemates, Clancy, an indigenous university student, and Ruby, a wild bohemian. With their liberal thinking and opposition to the war in Vietnam, they are everything that May’s strict Catholic upbringing should warn her against.

May knows too well the toll that war has taken on her father, and the peace movement in the city has a profound effect on her. For a while, May’s future burns bright. But then it begins to unravel, and something happens to her that will change her life forever.

Allen & Unwin Australia

 

Beyond Forever by Kit Rocha

Before they were the King and Queen…

Six years before the Beyond series started, an ambitious bootlegger named Dallas O’Kane caught a very pretty thief named Lex with her hand in his safe.

The rest is very sexy history.

In Beyond Forever, follow Dallas and Lex through the turning points in their relationship, from the night he caught her trying to rob him, through his rise to successful bootlegger, to legend, to Sector Leader–with Lex always there, willing to give him the push he needs.

Beyond Forever is a prequel novella that jumps through time to tell the story of the biggest moments in the formation of the O’Kanes and their King and Queen. It will be far more enjoyable if you’ve already read Beyond Control, and contains spoilers for the entire Beyond series.

Amazon Australia

 

Seducing Sawyer by Melanie Shawn

Stand-alone Wishing Well, Texas romance, complete with HEA—and plenty of heat and heart along the way!

I had to keep my distance…

Sawyer Briggs could admit that she was all he ever thought about, but the tall, sexy alpha knew that if he truly wanted what was best for her, he would stay away…

It’s now or never…

Delilah Turner was ready to go for who she really wanted! The curvaceous beauty had a plan and she was all in, whether he was ready or not…

After years of pent up attraction, lust, desire, and passion, he won’t know what hit him when Delilah puts it all on the line in… Seducing Sawyer…

Amazon Australia

 

Talk British To Me by Robin Bielman

As the Dating Guy on L.A.’s top morning show, I give the single guy’s perspective on dating, love, and sex—and I give great advice. Everyone’s hooking up…well, except for me. Sure, I can get any woman I want, but I’ve got a “no relationship” clause in my contract and the only woman I want has “relationship” written all over her. Probably stamped on her ass, too. And wouldn’t I like to confirm that.

Unfortunately, she wants nothing to do with me. At all. Something about the next Ice Age might have even come up in her rebuttal. Adorable. Because she’s determined to ignore what one simple kiss proved: she wants me as badly as I want her.

Everything in me is screaming to go after her, but I’ve got a secret that I’m fairly certain will end up with her roasting my nuts over an open fire. So, job on the line? Check. Nuts on the line? Check. Can’t get her out of my head? Nail…meet coffin. But what a way to go…

Entangled Publishing

 

Troy by Amy Andrews

Cocky, young Aussie bull rider Troy Jensen has been busted down to the pro-circuit. He needs wins and points to get him back into the big league and a shot at being crowned champ but an injury forces him off the circuit and into the arms of the woman fate keeps putting in his path.

The first time local Doc Joss Garrity meets Troy, she’s brandishing a lug wrench. The second time, he’s dragging her delinquent teen son home. The third time, he’s in her ER. How he ends up convalescing at her house she’s not quite sure. But it does make it hard to ignore him and their simmering attraction.

As Troy gets to know Joss, he starts to see a life after bull riding for the first time. But can Joss risk her heart on another man who may not come home one day?

Tule Publishing

 

Off Reservation by Bram Connolly

Australian Special Forces commander Matt Rix in another action packed adventure.

Ultra-tough and ultra-lethal, Australian Commando Captain Matt Rix is one of Special Forces’ most lethal operators. But when a training exercise goes horribly wrong, he is given an ultimatum that brings his world crashing down. There is only one choice left to him and that’s to go ‘off reservation’.

What follows is the frantic pursuit of escaped Taliban commander Faisal Khan. Chasing Khan across Turkey would be easy; stopping a nuclear weapon he has received from falling into the hands of the world’s most feared terrorist organisation, that’s going to be the hard part.

Rix might be disgraced and discarded, but he should never be underestimated. Nothing is ever as it seems…

Allen & Unwin Australia

 

Dating you / Hating You by Christina Lauren

Sabotage is a dish best served naked

The first standalone romance by Christina Lauren, the #1 bestselling author of Beautiful Bastard, is a smart, sexy and compulsively readable love story about what happens when the one you want is the one who’s in the way . . .

Despite a meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to smother the flames.

But when their two agencies merge – causing the pair to vie for the same position – all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war. Carter and Evie are both thirty-something professionals – so why can’t they act like it?

When push comes to shove and love fights with hate, will these two ever get their fairy tale Hollywood ending?

Hachette Australia

 

Dear Banjo by Sasha Wasley

They were best friends who were never meant to fall in love – but for one of them, it was already way too late.

Willow ‘Banjo’ Paterson and Tom Forrest were raised on neighbouring cattle stations in the heart of the Kimberley. As young adults, sharing the same life dreams, something came between them that Willow cannot forget. Now ten years have passed since she’s even spoken to Tom.

When her father falls ill, Willow is called home to take over the running of the family property, Paterson Downs. Her vision for a sustainable, organic cattle station is proving hard to achieve. She needs Tom’s help, but is it too late, and all too complicated, to make amends?

Tom’s heartfelt, decade-old letters remain unopened and unmentioned between them, and Willow must find the courage to finally read them. Their tattered pages reveal a love story like no other – and one you’ll never forget.

Dear Banjo is a wildly romantic and utterly captivating story about first love and second chances from an exciting new Australian author.

Penguin Random House

 

Girl In Between by Anna Daniels

Lucy Crighton has just moved in with some gregarious housemates called Brian and Denise . . . who are her parents. She’s also the proud mother of Glenda, her beloved 10-year-old . . . kelpie. And she has absolutely no interest in the dashing son of her parents’ new next-door neighbour . . . well, maybe just a little . . .
As the girl in between relationships, careers and cities, Lucy is facing some awkward truths – like her mum’s obsession with Cher, her father’s unsolicited advice, and the probability there’s more cash on the floor of her parents’ car than in her own bank account.
Thank goodness for Lucy’s crazy-but-wonderful best friend, Rosie, who’s around to cushion reality with wild nights at the local Whipcrack Hotel, escapades in Japanese mud baths, and double dating under the Christmas lights in London.
But will Lucy work out what she really wants to do in life – and who she wants to share it with
Girl in Between is a warm, funny, charmingly Australian story about life at the crossroads. Featuring an endearing and irrepressible cast of characters, it will have you chuckling from start to finish.

Allen & Unwin Australia

 

Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis

They say life can change in an instant…

After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.’s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she’s looking for a missing piece she can’t find?

The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie.

On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles. Though she doesn’t quite fit in right away, she can’t help but be drawn to the town’s simple pleasures… and the handsome, dark-haired stranger who offers friendship with no questions asked.

As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there’s another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn’t a house or money, but rather something earthshattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have— and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she’s searched so long for.

Jill Shalvis.com

 

Marrying The Wrong Earl by Callie Hutton

She didn’t want to marry anyone, let alone the wrong one.

Lady Arabella Danvers is happy with her life just the way it is. She is free to be herself and take care of broken and abandoned animals. Her mother is desperate for her to marry, and has decided to take things into her own hands. There is just one little problem with her plan.

Nash, the Earl of Clarendon has determined it is time to take a wife. He has selected a woman to whom he intends to propose. However, the annoying Lady Arabella has stumbled into his life at the wrong time, and in the wrong place.

But he of all people should know if Lady Arabella is involved, plans will go awry.

Entangled Publishing

 

The Last McAdam by Holly Ford

This romantic, irresistibly entertaining novel tells the story of Tess Drummond, who’s been sent to turn around the fortunes of a remote sheep and cattle station her employer has taken over. What Tess hasn’t counted on is coming up against the station’s handsome and charismatic head stockman, Nate McAdam, whose family owned the property for generations…

Passed down through the same family for over a century, the remote sheep and cattle station of Broken Creek has recently been taken over by global agribusiness company Carnarvon Holdings. Now Carnarvon has sent its best troubleshooting manager, Tess Drummond, to turn the property’s failing fortunes around – fast.

When Tess arrives to take the reins of Broken Creek she’s faced with a couple of nasty surprises. For starters, her head stockman, Nate McAdam, happens to be the same gorgeous stranger she hooked up with – and ran out on – a few weeks before.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Nate was supposed to inherit Broken Creek until his stepfather ran it into the ground. Now the last McAdam on the station leads a team of men whose bonds have been forged through hell and high water and whose mission is to see off Carnarvon and Tess so he can take his rightful place.

A genius with farm work – and women – but a disaster in the office, Nate is everything Tess believes a farmer shouldn’t be. Determined not to give in to her growing attraction to him, Tess sets out to do her job, but she soon finds herself caught up in the battle of her career.

This irresistibly entertaining novel combines romance, suspense and an unforgettable cast of characters.

Allen & Unwin Australia

 

On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins

Ainsley O’Leary is so ready to get married—she’s even found the engagement ring her boyfriend has stashed away. What she doesn’t anticipate is for Eric to blindside her with a tactless break-up he chronicles in a blog…which (of course) goes viral. Devastated and humiliated, Ainsley turns to her half-sister, Kate, who’s already struggling after the sudden loss of her new husband.

Kate has always been so poised, so self-assured, but Nathan’s death shatters everything she thought she knew—including her husband—and that sometimes the people who step up aren’t the ones you expect. With seven years and a murky blended family dynamic between them, Ainsley and Kate have never been overly close, but their shared sorrow dovetails their faltering worlds into one.

Despite the lifetime of history between them, the sisters must learn to put their differences aside, open their hearts to the inevitable imperfection of family—and the possibility of one day finding love again.

Harlequin Australia

 

The Black Lily by Juliette Cross

Cinderella like you’ve never seen before…

With the threat of the vampire monarchy becoming stronger every day, the Black Lily must take drastic measures. As the leader of the underground resistance, Arabelle concocts the perfect idea to gain the attention of the Glass Tower. Her plan? Attend the vampire prince’s blood ball and kill him. Fortunately for Prince Marius, her assassination goes awry, and Arabelle flees, leaving behind only her dagger.

Marius is desperate to find the woman whose kiss turned into attempted murder, hunting for the mysterious assassin he can’t push out of his mind. But what he uncovers could change the course of his life forever…

Entangled Publishing

 

Dear Jane by Marissa Clarke

Jane Dixon is a dating disaster. Flammable tablecloths and broken arms are just a typical evening for her unlucky companions. No wonder Jane never gets past a first date. But luckily her co-worker and new bff says he’s got loads of friends who’d date her more than once. If only she could stop thinking about how much fun he was to hang out with. And she’d never dropped a bucket of ice on his junk. Win.

All attorney Eric Blackwell has to do to make junior partner is not screw anything up for six weeks, which seems like a slam dunk until he finds himself matchmaker to the office “One Date Wonder” aka the boss’s daughter. It’s hard to stay focused when setting up the hottest girl he’s ever met with everyone but himself. Maybe he could just set her up with all the wrong men, and keep his hands off his new friend… Yeah. His promotion is toast.

Entangled Publishing

 

Accidentally On Purpose by Jill Shalvis

There’s no such thing as a little in love…

Elle Wheaten’s priorities: friends, career, and kick-ass shoes. Then there’s the muscular wall of stubbornness that’s security expert Archer Hunt—who comes before everything else. No point in telling Mr. “Feels-Free Zone” that, though. Elle will just see other men until she gets over Archer … which should only take a lifetime…

There’s no such thing as a little in lust…

Archer’s wanted the best for Elle ever since he sacrificed his law-enforcement career to save her. But now that she’s earned happiness and success, Archer just wants Elle 24/7. Their chemistry could start the next San Francisco Earthquake, and Archer doesn’t want to be responsible for the damage. The alternative? Watch her go out with guys who aren’t him . . .

There is such a thing as…

As far as Archer’s concerned, nobody is good enough for Elle. But when he sets out to prove it by sabotaging her dates, she gets mad—and things get hot as hell. Now Archer has a new mission: prove to Elle that her perfect man has been here all along…

Jill Shalvis.com

 

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Virtual Blog Tour! We That Are Left by Lisa Bigelow

Today’s feature Guest Post is by author Lisa Bigelow as part of the virtual blog tour for the novel We That Are Left.  We That Are Left is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99 and is available now.

 

Writing, Working and Learning
By Lisa Bigelow

Over the last ten years I’ve juggled writing between work and post-graduate study. In order to switch between the different writing modes needed to do each task I’ve found it helpful to create different physical environments. I wrote much of my novel on my laptop, often in a café without wifi so there were no distractions, I did my paid work in an office whenever possible, and study was done on a desktop computer in my spare room at home. I often took my novel scenes for a walk or a swim or to a gym session and let a conversion or incident play out in my head before rushing home to write it all down.

Every now and then I picture myself living in a little cottage beside a beach, writing in a sunny room and taking new characters out for a walk along the shore. For now that dream is only possible on holidays, but one day…

 

About We That Are Left by Lisa Bigelow

A moving debut novel about love and war, and the terrifyingly thin line between happiness and tragedy, hope and despair.

Melbourne, 1941. Headstrong young Mae meets and falls head over heels in love with Harry Parker, a dashing naval engineer. After a whirlwind courtship they marry and Mae is heavily pregnant when she hears that Harry has just received his dream posting to HMAS Sydney. Just after Mae becomes a mother, she learns Harry’s ship is missing.

Meanwhile, Grace Fowler is battling prejudice to become a reporter on the afternoon daily newspaper, The Tribune, while waiting for word on whether her journalist boyfriend Phil Taylor, captured during the fall of Singapore, is still alive.

Surrounded by their friends and families, Mae and Grace struggle to keep hope alive in the face of hardship and despair. Then Mae’s neighbour and Grace’s boss Sam Barton tells Mae about a rumour that the Japanese have towed the damaged ship to Singapore and taken the crew prisoner. Mae’s life is changed forever as she focuses her efforts on willing her husband home.

Set in inner Melbourne and rural Victoria, We That Are Left is a moving and haunting novel about love and war, the terrifyingly thin line between happiness and tragedy, and how servicemen and women are not the only lives lost when tragedy strikes during war.

Purchase Links

Allen & Unwin  *  Booktopia  *  Amazon Australia  *  Google Play  *  iBooks

 

 

Add to your reading list on

Goodreads

 

Author Social Media Links

Website  *  Facebook

 

 

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Q&A With Author Barbara Hannay!

Today’s Q&A post features author Barbara Hannay! Ms Hannay’s latest novel The Country Wedding is available now and is published by Penguin Random House, RRP $32.99.

 

What was your hardest scene to write in The Country Wedding?

This would probably be the scene near the end of the novel where Flora makes an important decision that will impact the rest of her life. Until I reached that point, I still wasn’t sure what she was going to do. (grin)

Who was the most challenging character and why?

Writing about a classical musician brought challenges, because I don’t play a musical instrument. Luckily I have a daughter, Emma, who’s a violinist, so I was able to call on her for help.

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

I would teach writing and run writing retreats, no doubt here in our lovely hillside home, just has my husband and friends have often urged me to do.

What is the first book that made you cry?

I have the clearest memory of this. It was early on a Sunday morning and I was seven or eight years old, reading in bed before the rest of my family woke up, and I got to the scene in Seven Little Australians when Judy dies.
I was devastated. I ran to my parents’ room sobbing and they wondered what on earth had happened.
‘J-Judy’s d-dead,’ I sobbed.
They were quite worried until Mum, who had also read the book, twigged. They were so relieved to know I was just being soppy about a book.

What’s your favourite under-appreciated novel?

This is a very difficult question to answer as I know of many, many wonderful romance novels that aren’t recognised in the literary world in the way they deserve to be. I recently read Anne Gracie’s Marry in Haste, a fabulous regency-set romance that has done very well in America, but would not be widely known in Australia.

What research do you do when you are trying to brainstorm for a book?

For The Country Wedding, I travelled to Shanghai. Even though the Shanghai sections aren’t huge, I found it really helpful to be able to walk the streets of the French Concession where my characters lived. We had a wonderful helpful guide who was happy to answer my hundreds of questions and she took us to a coffee shop (an unusual find in China where they mostly drink tea). The shop also sold secondhand books and I found a book in English that I’d been searching for all over the internet, so that was a double bonus.
I do spend a lot of time searching for the right reference books, especially for my historical research.

What can reader’s expect next from your writing?

I’ve given my work in progress an interim title of New Girl in Town. It’s set around a small country newspaper and returning readers will recognise Finn Latimer, the editor of The Burralea Bugle. Finn has a dark past, and the young city journalist who comes to work with him is trying to escape her own troubles. And there’s another secondary character readers will recognise from The Country Wedding who has gone missing.

 

About The Country Wedding by Barbara Hannay

Two country weddings, fifty years apart … and the miracle of second chances In the tiny Tablelands township of Burralea, Flora Drummond is preparing to play in a string quartet for the wedding of a very close friend. The trouble is, she can’t quite forget the embarrassing teenage crush she once had on the handsome groom.

All is as it should be on the big day. The little church is filled with flowers, the expectant guests are arriving, and Mitch is nervously waiting – but his bride has had a sudden change of heart.

Decades earlier, another wedding in the same church led to a similar story of betrayal and devastation. Hattie missed out on marrying her childhood sweetheart the first time around, but now she has returned to the scene of her greatest heartache.

As Flora is drawn into both romantic dramas, she must also confront a relationship crisis of her own. But the past and the present offer promise for the future and there’s a chance for friends, old and new, to help each other to heal.

From the rolling green hills of Far North Queensland to the crowded streets of Shanghai on the eve of the Second World War, this is a beautiful romantic saga that tells of two loves lost and found and asks the questions – do we ever get over our first love, and is it ever too late to make amends?

Purchase Links

Penguin Random House  *  Amazon Australia  *  Google Play  *  Angus & Robertson

 

Add to your reading list on

Goodreads

 

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Q&A With Author Bram Connolly!

Today’s Q&A post features Bram Connolly, author of the newly released novel Off Reservation, published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.

Firstly, congratulations on the release of Off Reservation. Is Matt Rix’s character going to be part of a continuing book series?

Yes, The Fighting Season was designed to introduce the character, his background and some of his back story. I wanted Off Reservation to show the reader that he could operate outside of the military context. My plan into the future is to slowly unravel his life and have him operating further outside of a legal framework. He might not always realise that he is breaking the law, as the premise is that he is fallible and therefore manipulated by different government agendas and people with money and power.

You mentioned previously that Steph’s character was a challenge when writing The Fighting Season. In your latest novel, Off Reservation, which character was the most challenging to write?

This time the hardest character to write was Glyn, the Welsh SBS Officer. The SBS have a different culture to that of Australian Special Forces, so the danger was that Glyn and Matt would seem like the same person to the reader if I didn’t capture and convey their culture correctly. I have worked with Royal Marines and the SBS before, and I wanted to make sure that they were still seen as the highly credible force that they are. Glyn’s personality is also a little foreign to me. My default is to be self effacing, where an Alpha male like Glyn is always on the attack, so that took a lot of observation of people like that.

How did you brainstorm for writing Off Reservation?

To start with, there were a few scenes I just wanted to write. The ship under way scene at the start, Matt being released from 2nd Commando Regiment and the fight scene in Istanbul. I already had an idea that I wanted to write these. However, I think what you are asking is how do I structure the plot? Well, I sit in a cafe and just start day dreaming about a movie I’d like to see. I come up with a plot, then some twists, a setting and then I write a start and finish point and then the chapter descriptions in between. In this way I can start to imagine different scenes and interactions. For Off Reservation I actually went and walked the ground too. London, Istanbul, Sydney – all the locations except Iran, where I had to rely on lonely planet – I’m not sure the Iranians would love to have me poking around there cities looking for inspiration. Not yet anyway.

What book has grabbed your attention lately and why?

I have just finished Tribes, by Seth Godin. I’m in the middle of designing an online mentor business for people looking to join the Australian Defence Force. It’s called WarriorU and I wanted to make sure that I understood the most contemporary way to reach the people that matter, my tribe, so to speak. I highly recommend it. I have also just finished Chris Allen’s Defender. I don’t read other authors fiction while I am writing, so that I can be sure there is no crossover of thought or ideas. I’ve been waiting to read this for so long and I wasn’t disappointed. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Chris writes a James Bond in the future, he’s that good.

What can readers expect next in your writing endeavours?

I am currently writing a non-fiction book. We haven’t gone firm on a title yet; however, the premise of the book is a lifestyle engineering manual based on the principles of Special Forces. Each chapter starts with a military story from my career and is then broken down to its component parts, so that the reader can gain some insight and perhaps adopt the techniques, skills or attitudes that are conveyed. The chapters range from time management, mental resilience, nutrition, physical training and life planning. I’m writing the parenting chapter at the moment, and while I‘m not a parenting expert it has been interesting researching the principles behind what I do naturally, based on special forces training.

 

About Off Reservation by Bram Connolly

Australian Special Forces commander Matt Rix in another action packed adventure.

Ultra-tough and ultra-lethal, Australian Commando Captain Matt Rix is one of Special Forces’ most lethal operators. But when a training exercise goes horribly wrong, he is given an ultimatum that brings his world crashing down. There is only one choice left to him and that’s to go ‘off reservation’.

What follows is the frantic pursuit of escaped Taliban commander Faisal Khan. Chasing Khan across Turkey would be easy; stopping a nuclear weapon he has received from falling into the hands of the world’s most feared terrorist organisation, that’s going to be the hard part.

Rix might be disgraced and discarded, but he should never be underestimated. Nothing is ever as it seems…

Purchase Links

Allen & Unwin  *  Google Play  *  Amazon Australia  *  Booktopia

 

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Q&A With Author Kerry McGinnis!

Today’s feature Q&A post is with author Kerry McGinnis! Secrets Of The Springs by Ms McGinnis releases in paperback format on July 17, and is also available on Ebook. Secrets Of The Springs is published by Penguin Random House, RRP $32.99.

What was the hardest scene to write?

I think the accident where Mark is trapped in the vehicle. I had trouble visualizing the inside of the cab and in the end got a box to represent the vehicle and tipped it on its side, then lay on the floor looking at it figuring out where everything was and what Orla would be able to see and reach. Sounds crazy but I’m not good with spatial stuff.

Can you tell us a scene that didn’t make the finished story for Secrets Of The Springs?

I can’t think of a particular scene that was cut. There were lots of adjustments and rewrites and unnecessary bits deleted but they weren’t scenes. It is hard to remember after so many rereads and rewrites, but basically the story is pretty much as it came to me when I sat down to work it out.

What is the first book you read that made you cry?

A novel called There Is No Armour. Howard Springs wrote it, the title comes from a line of poetry: There is no armour against Fate. It’s about the futility and cost of war, not to nations or economies but to ordinary people, the ones who are never asked before their lives are given over to it. It was poignant and beautiful and unbearably sad (and I was about sixteen!) He wrote a lot of books, old Howard but that was the one I liked most and read least because of its powerful effect on me.

How many hours a day do you write?

It varies. I go by output rather than time. If the writing is difficult I stay at my desk until I’ve produced two pages. Otherwise I just write until the rest of life – household or garden matters, or social stuff, overtakes me. I greatly enjoy the creative process and feel no pressure to finish anything quickly. The enjoyment is in the creation of my fictional world, and I feel quite lost when I finish a work.

What can readers expect next from you writing?

My next book which, like Wildhorse Creek and Tracking North is set in the Gulf Country and revolves around the lives of the family that own the pub in a tiny railhead ghost town, where twenty odd years before the drovers brought their mobs to truck to the coastal meat-works. I have just finished it and am now casting around for another story to keep me writing.

About Secrets Of The Springs by Kerry McGinnis

When Orla Macrae receives a letter asking her to return to the family cattle property where she grew up, she does so grudgingly. Her estranged uncle Palmer may be dying, but he is the last person she wants to see, not when she’s made a new life far away from where she lost so much. But on his deathbed he utters a few enigmatic words about a secret locked away and a clue as to its whereabouts.

Intrigued, Orla decides to stay, reconnecting with old friends and taking a chance on a long-time dream of opening the homestead to tourists. Continuing the search for her uncle’s elusive secret, she discovers far more than she bargained for – a shocking truth about her parents’ marriage, and the confession of a chilling murder.

Set in the stunning countryside north of the Barrier Ranges near Broken Hill, this is an authentic tale of life on the land and a gripping mystery about old family secrets and finding love in the harsh Australian bush.

Purchase Links

Penguin Random House  *  Amazon Australia  *  iBooks Australia  *  Booktopia

 

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