Tag Archives: contemporary novel

Our Five Favourite Winter Reads

Can you believe it’s July already? This year is running towards the finish at a crazy pace. However, I always make time to read. It’s my safe place, my fun place, and the way I refill my creative well. Here are five five-star romance reads I recommend. At the bottom of my post you’ll find links to the other, very different, recommendations from The Writers Dozen.

July books composite

First up is The Lingerie Wars by Janet Elizabeth Henderson. I fell across this delightful The Lingerie Warsromantic comedy in the best way – as a recommendation from an author newsletter. It’s the first in a new-to-me seven book series set in the small Scottish town of Invertary. Englishman Lake Benson, ex-special forces, is forced to take control of the lingerie shop he helped his sister buy – or watch his life savings go down the drain. The problem is the competition directly across the street run by former model Kirsty Campbell. Lake campaigns for victory with military precision. Kirsty takes a more creative approach. Aided and abetted by a cast of quirky characters, they are each determined to win the right to be the town’s sole lingerie shop. When the sparks fly, all bets are off. The Lingerie Warsis great escapism; funny and silly but with depth in all the right places. I’m slowly reading my way through the entire series.

Stand and DeliverStand and Deliver is the latest book in Rhenna Morgan’s Men of Haven series. I adore this family of self-proclaimed brothers, their two mums and the women they fall in love with. Stand and Deliveris Beckett and Gia’s story. Gia’s a kickass Southern belle who has built a reputation in Beckett’s male-dominated security industry. Beckett knows his brothers have his back. He wants Gia to know that he has hers; that she can let down her guard once in a while. Gia’s afraid of being overwhelmed by Beckett, but when it becomes clear someone is trying to sabotage her professional reputation, she needs to take a chance on letting Beckett guard her back – and her heart. As usual, there is an element of suspense to keep your heart racing. I love all the books in this series. They are dark and dirty but with heart and humour in all the right places. And the covers are drool-worthy.

OMG. I have to confess that before May this year, I had never read a Sarina Bowen novel. SpeakeasyThat’s the bad news. The good news is that there is a Sarina Bowen shaped hole on my bookshelf which I am rapidly filling up. Don’t you love it when you find an author you haven’t read with a great backlist?! Speakeasy is new, book five in her True North series. It’s filled with the fabulous vistas and great organic food of the series’ rural Vermont setting, the backdrop for May and Alec’s story. May Shipley is an alcoholic. Alec Rossi owns and runs a bar. Their families are intertwined on one level, competitors on another. On the surface it’s not a great combination, especially given that May is on the rebound, but Alec makes her feel good and she’s not ready to give him up just yet. Sarina Bowen explores tough contemporary issues such as sexuality and addiction, but she wraps it all up in the warmth and love that is the Shipley family, giving us a vision of what modern life should look like. And the covers are great too.

The Right TrackOn The Right Track is Penelope Janu’s follow up to In at the Deep End. The books can be read as stand-alone novels but are linked by Per and Tor Amundsen, twin Norwegian brothers destined to fall in love with complicated Australian girls. Tor is the hero of On The Right Track. He’s a diplomat (read spy) investigating murky dealings in the world of horse racing, which brings him into Golden Saunders orbit. Tor is casting aspersions on the reputation of her grandfather, and Golden doesn’t want anything to do with him – or the chaos his appearance creates in her small but manageable circle. However, Tor falls fast for the combination of fragility and fierceness that is Golden. Can Tor persuade her to extend her boundaries? Can Golden take another risk on the world? Penelope Janu’s books are funny, heartfelt, tender and beautifully descriptive. I love them.

I didn’t however, love the cover for On the Right Track. It’s pretty enough but it’s deceptive. A large property two hours from the heart of Sydney does not a rural/country romance make, especially when fifty percent of the action takes place in the city suburbs. It is also so different to the cover for In at The Deep Endthat readers would be forgiven for thinking that there is no connection between the two books and that, indeed, they are in different genres. Nothing could be further from the truth. The publisher has done their author a disservice. Hopefully readers will not be distracted. I recommend both books.

Shadow Keeper is book three in my favourite Christine Feehan paranormal series, The Shadow KeeperShadow Riders. The Ferraro family of Chicago dispenses justice when the law cannot. However, business and family cannot be separated, making it hard for the Ferraros to find love, especially when their life partner must also be a shadow rider, someone with the potential to both read and ride shadows. Giovanni is on the Ferraro equivalent of desk duty, forbidden to ride the shadows until his leg is healed. He’s sick of his role as a playboy, but then he meets Sasha, a warm-hearted, smart and sassy country girl with a shadow that reaches out and touches his. She thinks she’s tough. She thinks she can look after her brother and herself. But the predators in Chicago are not as easy to fight off as the ones on the family farm. Giovanni must overcome the initial bad impression he made and persuade Sasha to trust him – and love him. Gritty, edgy and magical romance.

For more recommendations:

 

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New Book Review: Cyber Genius (Book 3 Family Genius) by Patricia Rice

Soundbite for Cyber Genius

Evil Genius, a mystery novel by Patricia RiceAnastasia (Ana) Devlin has trust issues. This happens if your mother is a beautiful spy who is always hustling you and your half siblings in and out of danger. She would hesitate to call herself a genius, keeping that label for siblings like Tudor. However, her particular combination of tech-savviness and people smarts combined with courage and loyalty make her a formidable force –  particularly in defence of her family.

At the beginning of Cyber Genius, Ana reluctantly acknowledges that her family loyalty now appears to extend to Amadeus Graham, the big, handsome, intriguing and extremely secretive security consultant who runs his operation from the third floor of their family home and has a hold over their inheritance. When Graham gets into trouble and becomes a person of interest in the murder of the senior management team of MacroWare, the global computer software monopoly, Ana reluctantly decides she must help him (although not without trading her help for information regarding the family millions). To make matters worse, Tudor thinks he may have sparked the MacroWare crisis with a worm he designed to protect his identity that appears to have gone rogue when it fell down a spyhole that the software giant is denying exists. Ana has to enlist the help of more family members to identify the villains and keep Tudor on track for a ‘normal’ university scholarship at MIT whilst keeping a firm hold over the hormones that spark every time Graham is in sight.

With Anastasia Devlin Patricia Rice has created a heroine who would enjoy having dinner with Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum and Lisa Scottoline’s Mary DiNunzio. If you like your heroines with attitude and your heroes with muscle, you’ll love Cyber Genius. It’s a fast-paced mystery peppered with family and villains, state secrets and petty jealousies, and a hint of lust with the promise of more.

Patricia Rice is a particularly talented author. Having previously only read her historical novels, I was blown away by the radical change in tone, style and voice she demonstrates in the Family Genius series. She demonstrates extraordinary skill as both a story teller and a linguist par excellence in recreating different time periods and characters to match.

Cyber Genius releases on 29 September and is available in paperback and ebook from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and the Book View Cafe.

 

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Evil Genius, book one in the series, is free right now. It received a 4-star review from RT Book Review: “This thought-provoking story includes a convoluted mystery and some fascinating characters. The interactions between Ana and the mysterious Amadeus are delightful. The ending will leave readers longing for more stories about this captivating heroine and her gifted half-siblings.” 

More about the author

Author Patricia RicePatricia Rice is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with several million books in print. Her emotionally-charged contemporary and historical romances have won numerous awards, including the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice and Career Achievement Awards. Her books have been honored as Romance Writers of America RITA® finalists in the historical, Regency and contemporary categories.