Feature: Down Under



I am pleased to announce a new regular feature “Down Under” to spotlight the best that Australia has to offer. If you are a regular reader, then you will know I have a deep love for anything Aussie and this is my chance to share with you all the undiscovered gems I have found.

Today I have some great books and a great new Podcast to introduce you to – Lets get  started. Here are three new releases by Random Romance:


alissa3Down Outback Roads by Alissa Callen

Release Date: May 1st, 2014

An enthralling rural love story. Sometimes you need to give yourself permission to fall in love.Kree Garrett’s younger brother Seth is all the family she has left, so when he goes missing in the Australian outback, she doesn’t think twice about leaving her American home to find him. When Seth is rescued Kree vows to find a way to thank the small town of Glenalla. It isn’t long before she falls in love with the tight-knit rural community. But is it really the town she’s falling for?Ewan Mackenzie has given up everything for his brother’s family, but he can never give enough to assuage his guilt at what happened one dark night, years ago . . . Ewan knows he doesn’t deserve a second chance at happiness, but when beautiful, open-hearted Kree stays to fight to save his home town, he finds it hard to keep his distance. Can Kree and Ewan leave their pasts behind for long enough to find a future together?”


There is no place like Glenalla….

Thrown right into the middle of the action, this book hooks you in from the first line. Kree travels to Australia to find her brother who went missing while backpacking. She soon finds her brother and the beauty that is the Outback of NSW. While stepping into her brother shoes while he recuperated to full fill his commitments to a local family; she experience Glenalla first hand. Kree going to Glenalla was no mistake- it was her destiny.

She hatches a plan to save the very town that came to her aid when her brother was in life threatening peril, and along the way discovers her own family’s secrets.

Ewan and Kree’s attraction brews slowly like an electrical storm, building in intensity; but he quickly puts on the breaks as he feels he is unworthy of her.

Ewan is a flawed character who blames himself for his family’s misfortune. He resigns himself to live the bachelor life as a penalty- that is until he meets Kree. They have issues getting off the ground but there was no denying they were in love.

Glenalla was first featured in “Beneath Outback Skies”. Although, I suggest you read that book first, it isn’t necessary- “Down Outback Roads” is a stand alone novel.

Glenalla is such a wonderful setting, full of down home charm and community spirit. Come and fall in love with Alissa Callen’s Glenalla for yourself.


alissa2Love on Location by Claire Baxter

Release date: May 1st, 2014

“A deliciously fun rom com about a girl who has big dreams and just can’t stop herself from falling in love.Shayna is this close to getting her dream job as a location manager for a new TV soap, she just needs to find the right house to film it in, and the job is hers.Luckily, she’s found the perfect place. Unluckily, the owner – who is tall, blond and more handsome than is fair – is stubbornly refusing to let her use it unless she goes to dinner with him. No harm in that, right?Lachlan swore he’d never go back into show business – not after his heart was broken – and the last thing he wants is a film crew traipsing through his house, but there’s something about Shayna that’s making it hard to say no . . .He won’t let anyone near his heart, and she’s not looking for love – what could possibly go wrong? “

Shayna meets Lachlan, former teenage heart-throb when she wants to use his house in a new TV show. Lachlan wants no part in television any more and dares Shayna to convince him. Lachlan doesn’t make her job easy and I think he is playing a little hard to get; That is where the fun starts.

Shayna and Lachlan are both looking for soul mates but is unsure if true love really exists; until they meet each other and feel the bond that transcends the physical.

Love on location is an adorable novella set in the glamorous world of Television productions. It is the perfect read for an evening spent curled up on the couch. I can’t think of a better way to spend the night than reading Love on Location by Claire Baxter.


alisa4Bet on it by Cheryl Adnams

Release date: May 1st, 2014

A sizzling rural romance set in the McLaren Vale, with a girl who’s ready for a change and the three brothers who are determined to win her over.Gabrielle didn’t believe men like this existed in real life – the three Muller brothers are ridiculously good-looking, and they’re officially her new bosses. She’s in need of a change of scenery, and the Muller’s winery might just be the right place.Seth Muller isn’t sure it’s a good idea to bet on who can seduce Gabby first, but the new girl working at the winery is too gorgeous to give up to his brothers without a fight. But what happens if he starts to fall for her? Will he lose everything if she finds out what he’s done? 

Gabrielle arrives to take a managerial role at one of the McLaren’s vales most spectacular vineyard. What she finds is not only a gorgeous location but three gorgeous brothers. The first brother she meets is Andrew- who can only be described as a lady-killer. The next brother is the older Brian who exudes stoic and mysterious charm; but it is the rugged Seth and his rugged ways that first sets Gabby’s heart on fire.

Unbeknownst to her, the brother make a bet of a hundred dollars each to compete to woo her- the winner taking the pot and Gabby.

Bet on it was an exceptional good book. There are some great moments where the brothers chase after Gabby but she isn’t as naïve as they think she is- she really gives them a run for their money. I can not say more because I don’t want to ruin one delicious moment for you; but what I can say this is this a great sexy holiday read. There is romance, comedy, beautiful settings and did I mention three hunky Australian brothers?

I highly recommend this book and it is released just in time to be at the top of the list for your summer reads.


bookish tartsBookish tart is a new podsnuggle by Georgina Penney, author of “Irrepressible you“. Click on the cupcake image to link to the page to listen. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Naughty Ninja’s is a great site for more Australian resources and a lot of fun. This is what they are all about:

“Eight Naughty Ninjas. A bazillion varieties of author naughtiness.
365 days a year. Who are the Naughty Ninjas? We’re mean, lean, silent and deadly… who am I kidding? We’re all cupcakes. Romantic, fluffy cupcakes who write stuff designed to give you all the feels.

We write about lurv and naughty goings on, and people should go find our books and read them because our mums all say they are AWESOME.

We decided to see what would happen if all eight author brains pulled together in a tandem effort, like a team of eager but easily distracted huskies tied to a giant, mutant sled. This site is our sled. Our ninja sled. Who knew ninjas liked to sled and own huskies, right? Well, we do. There’s lots people don’t know about ninjas, but you can study our complex and little-understood ninja ways and draw your own conclusions.

To find out more about the dark secret pasts of each Naughty Ninja author, click on their icon below. Just don’t make them angry”


Another great resouce is the Heats n Wined Facebook page. Check them out and give a like fb.

lineLast Friday was ANZAC day. Anzac Day  is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.” (Reprinted from Wikipedia).

makes them chewier.

lineThis next video is definitely a hidden gem for all of us outside of Australia and has become one of my all time favourite television shows:

Claudia Karvan stars as dentist Suzy Darling, who walks away from her husband Steve Darling (Rodger Corser) of 15 years and their loveless marriage and into an old apartment block that is inhabited by the ghost of Henry Mallet (Matt King), a 1980s English rock star.



Blog hit – Crazy Undercover Love

Rhoda Baxter

A few weeks ago, my friend Nikki Moore asked if I’d like to participate in a blog hit to celebrate the publication of

Nikki Moore’s Blog Hit

New Release – Crazy, Undercover, Love

Crazy Undercover Love Cover

The day has finally arrived!! Nikki Moore’s debut novel with HarperImpulse – Crazy, Undercover, Love – is released as an ebook today, 24th April 2014.

If you like pacy, sexy romance and fancy a long weekend in Barcelona with a smoking hot guy this one’s for you!  Want to know more…?

When uber-feisty career girl Charley Caswell-Wright takes on the assignment as PA to the gorgeous Alex Demetrio, CEO of Demetrio International, she’s there under entirely false pretenses; to get her life back on track. Having lost the job she worked so hard to earn, she’s determined not to give it up so easily, especially when she didn’t deserve to lose it in the first place.

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Reviews: Something Witchy this way comes

hubbleHubble Bubble by Jane Lovering

Be careful what you wish for…
Holly Grey only joined the women’s group to keep her friend out of trouble – and now she’s knee-deep in hassle, in the form of apocalyptic weather, armed men, midwifery…and a sarcastic Welsh journalist.

Kai has been drawn to darkest Yorkshire by his desire to find out who he really is. What he hadn’t bargained on was getting caught up in amateur magic and dealing with a bunch of women who are trying really hard to make their dreams come true.

Together they realise that getting what you wish for is sometimes just a matter of knowing what it is you want… “



If you could cast a magic spell to get whatever you wanted. What would you wish for? I’d wish for a sequel to this book. What I really liked, is that the magic is based in reality. Was it magic? Or everything working out for the best. That is what I think real magic is, not having 100% proof but still believing. Not one over the top nose twitch here.

Kai is a wonderful three dimensional character full of angst and smouldering Welsh-ness. Holly is a strong modern heroine who doesn’t need saving; She lives by her own rules.

It was a lovely story full of redemption, friendship and love. I highly recommend this book, it is a fast paced, action filled, feel good story.

You won’t ever go wrong with a Jane Lovering book, each one is as good as the last one. Happy reading.



A2Dark Moon by Leisl Leighton

“Lately, Skye Collins has been unable to shake the feeling that she’s being watched. After a lifetime spent hiding her true nature, she knows that any unusual attention is something to be wary of. And the only attention she’s been receiving lately is from the intense and attractive Jason McVale.

Jason claims to know things about Skye that can’t be true, and it’s obvious he’s hiding secrets of his own. Yet despite herself, Skye can’t resist the attraction between them, and her surrender will set in motion a chain of events that will have consequences for everyone she holds dear.

Gradually, Jason convinces Skye that she has to trust him if she is to solve the riddle of her past and learn the truth about her power. But believing Jason means that her entire life has been based on a lie.

As her enemies gather strength and the danger increases, Skye is forced to accept who she really is. Will she risk everything and fight for those she loves? Or save herself and let them be destroyed by the forces of darkness? “



I always love a good paranormal yarn and this was no exception In Dark Moon- the Alpha Werewolf is looking for his pack Witch to break his packs curse. He finds Skye, who doesn’t even know if she is up for the job, as she has suppressed her magic.

I love how Werewolves and Witches are blended together to make this action packed story.

Jason and Skye have a lot of chemistry and there are moments of delicious sexual tension. Not to mention some very steamy romance.

Dark moon has a lot going on and it has a lot of personality.

If you love paranormal romance with plenty of action and attitude- then this is the book for you.


discoveryA Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

“Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew in the stunning first volume of the No.1 internationally bestsellling ALL SOULS trilogy.

A world of witches, daemons and vampires. A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. Diana and Matthew – the forbidden love at the heart of it.

When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it’s an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she’s kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires. Sensing the significance of Diana’s discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire genticist. Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels… “

I loved the premise of an American, descended from Salem Witches, in Oxford. Matthew the ancient vampire is just delicious..

This was such a fin read and I wish I lived in a house like Diane’s; one that anticipated your every need. In the first book in the series, the story focuses on acquiring a alchemical manuscript and warding off all the other supernatural baddies who want it as well.

Finally a paranormal tale for adults. A discovery of witches is a fast paced read that is hard to put down. This is a series you can really sink your teeth into.


Kensington Gore’s Twisted Tales: #6 Seasoning of the Witch by Kensignton Gore and K.A. Hambly

“There is only room for one witch in this town, and a Halloween cookery competition might just be the perfect arena for these two lifelong adversaries to have their showdown.

Cauldron Cove is a small town in America. Where Selena, and Morrigan, bitter rivals since their college days at C.O.W, ‘College of Witches,’ enter a television Halloween baking competition, each determined to get one up on the other.

They discover they both have a crush on the show’s swarve narcissistic presenter, Daniel Glover. Trying to impress him with their culinary ability, they set about sabotaging each other’s recipes and chances of winning the baking competition. But, things don’t go as they had planned. Selena discovers that Morrigan has been harbouring a secret involving an old flame, and things in this bewitching twisted tale, from horror legend Kensington Gore and great young writer K.A. Hambly, turns spellbinding live on air. “

May the best witch win…

Seasoning of the Witch is a delightful surreal story about a Witch, Selina. Selina is a culinary witch that bakes up trouble and wacky situations. Morrigan is her nemesis and tries to thwart Selina’s every move.

As over the top as “Bewitched” was, Seasoning of the witch is just as hilarious. Cauldron Cove is the setting for a competitive bake off and duelling witches. This novella has so much personality of its own that I wished it was a full length novel.

Not since the late great Roald Dahl has there been such a variety of truly bizarre and glorious tales. This is book number six in the series, but each tale is a stand alone. You can either read in order or pick and choice which tale inspires you. I am starting from the beginning with what is soon to be my favourite series.

Reviews: Project Nemesis Preview

Elder Park Book Reviews is pleased to annouce the launch of our new sister site. Project Nemesis will focus on the best that Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror have to offer. As well as book reviews, there will be Film, Game, Televison reviews and a Short story page. Please visit Project Nemesis, but for now here is just a sample of what you can expect from Project Nemesis:



A3The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst

To be released: June 1st, 2014

“Award-winning author Sarah Beth Durst has been praised for her captivating novels that merge the darkly imagined with very real themes of self-discovery and destiny. In The Lost, we’ll discover just what it means to lose one’s way….

It was only meant to be a brief detour. But then Lauren finds herself trapped in a town called Lost on the edge of a desert, filled with things abandoned, broken and thrown away. And when she tries to escape, impassible dust storms and something unexplainable lead her back to Lost again and again. The residents she meets there tell her she’s going to have to figure out just what she’s missing—and what she’s running from—before she can leave. So now Lauren’s on a new search for a purpose and a destiny. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll be found….

Against the backdrop of this desolate and mystical town, Sarah Beth Durst writes an arresting, fantastical novel of one woman’s impossible journey…and her quest to find her fate.”


“Welcome to Lost” is what the sign says at the start of Lauren’s adventure and from the off you sense that she is in some sort of purgatory. The dust storm keeps everyone hostage in the town of Lost and no matter what she does, she ends up back at the welcome sign.

Lauren’s metaphysical Lost is as bizarre as Wonderland and it’s inhabitants are equally as mad.

The Lost has a very early Stephen King feel to it; creepy with a touch of menace. There is also the repeated imagery of a solitary balloon just wafting around; daring us to figure out what it symbolizes.

Lauren runs into the Finder, Peter- as she tries to get away from the townspeople who turned on her. From there she scavenges and barters to stay alive long enough to figure out what she has lost. It begs the question- “What have you lost?”

This was a great thought provoking read and I can not wait for the next book in the series.



The Oversight by Charlie Fletcher

To be Released May 6th, 2014

Only five still guard the borders between the worlds.
Only five hold back what waits on the other side.

Once the Oversight, the secret society that policed the lines between the mundane and the magic, counted hundreds of brave souls among its members. Now their numbers can be counted on a single hand.

When a vagabond brings a screaming girl to the Oversight’s London headquarters, it seems their hopes for a new recruit will be fulfilled – but the girl is a trap.

As the borders between this world and the next begin to break down, murders erupt across the city, the Oversight are torn viciously apart, and their enemies close in for the final blow.

This gothic fantasy from Charlie Fletcher (the Stoneheart trilogy) spins a tale of witch-hunters, supra-naturalists, mirror-walkers and magicians. Meet the Oversight, and remember: when they fall, so do we all.”

The oversight takes place in a late Victorian, slightly Steampunk version of London. The oversight is a band of free men (and women) who police the supranatural world. A Sluagh- a northern kind of a fae/picts/bogeyman finds his way to town and that is where the adventures start.

Charles Fletcher transports you to a gas lamp lit, shadowy cobblestone London of times-gone-by, that is so vivid, you can almost smell the filthy Thames.

There is so much mystery and intrigue, that halfway through the book we still don’t know who Lucy truly is. All we know she was sold to Sara and can only speak French. Sara says she is a trap; maybe not, but still an enigma certainly.

The oversight is a bizarre tale that I have never read the likes of before. I was reminded of Mike Shevdon’s Sixty-one nails and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke in feel; but The oversight is a truly unique and quixotic book. This was an exceptional Gothic Low Fantasy book and a must read.


ahidden The Hidden Girl by Louise Millar

Release date: May 22nd, 2014

When a country life dream turns into a nightmare . . .

Hannah Riley and her musician husband, Will, hope that a move to the Suffolk countryside will promise a fresh start.

Hannah, a human rights worker, is desperate for a child and she hopes that this new life will realise her dream.

Yet when the snow comes, Will is working in London and Hannah is cut off in their remote village. Life in Tornley turns out to be far from idyllic, who are the threatening figures who lurk near their property at night? And why is her neighbour so keen to see them leave? Plus Will’s behaviour is severely testing the bonds of trust.

Hannah has spent her professional life doing the right thing for other people. But as she starts to unbury a terrible crime, she realises she can no longer do that without putting everything she’s ever wanted at risk.

But if she does nothing, the next victim could be her . . . “

Even though it is not said- you sense something is off with Hannah and Will; as if there is some sort of sadness they are alluding to. Their damaged relationship trickles down into everything they touch; tainting it with a kind of residual misery.

Hannah creates and atmosphere of tension as she tries to complete the house on a unobtainable time frame.

A snow storm isolates Hannah and she becomes increasingly hyper- sensitive. Is it her imagination, or are the weird sounds and open cupboards a sinister trick of her imagination or the work of hidden vagrant?

As the snow thaws they meet the other inhabitants of the hamlet; as expected there are all a bit odd.

Elvie, their neighbour and who is suspected to have learning difficulties- attached herself to Hannah.

There are some incredible developments in this taunt psychological drama. I did not see the end coming. I highly recommend The hidden girl.

Review: Courage Times Three by Brenda Brown Elliott

brendaCourage Times Three by Brenda Brown Elliott

COURAGE TIMES THREE. A NOVEL is a heartwarming while eye opening epic saga of life in Europe during the world wars.

WWII left millions more jobless, homeless and even worse, without families than WWI. Their biggest challenge was to remain alive and keep their sanity. Meet Lilly, Madeleine and Lorraine, three courageous women accomplishing unfathomable feats by merely staying alive. Every obstacle was eased by strong Christian convictions. Faith and hope traveled alongside them from tragedy to triumph, Europe to America.

A compelling family saga, their appreciation for life, with undeniable perseverance, gave way to rising above all losses.

Continued travels to fabulous vacation destinations provided these pillars of strength with endearing joy and peace, with continuous reminders that this is only a temporary stop in our spiritual lives, experienced within the human realm. “


Courage times three is a unique read. There is so much history and tragedy- it is written almost as a memoir. You hear stories and you see shows on television about Nazi’s but nothing prepares you for the full horror of what it was like. Brenda Brown Elliott does it beautifully with heart and soul- and not relying on gimmicky clichés.

The authors voice is so true you could believe that she experienced this events first hand.

Lilly, Madeline and Lorraine are paragons of faith. No matter what life threw at them, they handled it with faith. Battling two world wars and emigrating to America- these women never lost hope.

There is so much more in this book, like Lilly and Valentin’s tender love story that defies all the odds. You just have to read it to believe it. Some label this book as Christian fiction, but I don’t agree. This is a book about love hope and faith and it is for everyone; it shouldn’t be pigeon holed into one genre.

Overcoming is a big theme in the novel and how families cope with adversity and triumph.

For me, on a personal note: This book is an allegory. An allegory on how to succeed at life by having faith. Brenda Brown Elliott and her strong role model characters showed me what every woman should aspire to- true grace.


Reviews: Great Summer Culinarian Treats

A5The Travelling Tea Shop by Belinda Jones

To be Released: May 22nd, 2014

A delectable tale of love, friendship and cake…

Laurie loves a challenge. Especially if it involves tea-time and travel. So when British baking treasure Pamela Lambert-Leigh needs a guide on a research trip for her new cookbook, she jumps at the chance.
The brief:
Laurie and Pamela Ð along with Pamela’s sassy mother and stroppy daughter Ð will board a vintage London bus for a deliciously unusual tour of the USA’s East Coast, cruising from New York to Vermont.

Their mission:

To trade recipes for home-grown classics like Victoria Sponge and Battenburg for American favourites like Red Velvet Cake and Whoopie Pie.
All the women have their secrets and heartaches to heal. As well cupcakes galore, there’s also the chance for romance…
But will making Whoopie lead to love?”
Laurie moved from England to Manhattan and her lifestyle is a yummy gastronomic tour of what the big apple has to to offer. Her next project is the book “The Travelling Tea Shop” which she is researching along the New England Coast in a fitted out double decker bus. Every edible treat is richly described. I feel like I put on weight just reading it. It is such a wonderful journey of delight.

There are so many iconic things on this research trip, that it just seems like a foodies idea of a holiday. I know it would be mine.

This was such a light-hearted feel good book that was funny, clever and non-fattening. I highly recommend this book as the perfect summer read.



 An Appetite for Violets by Martine Bailey
To be Released on May 22nd, 2014

“That’s how it is for us servants. No one pays you much heed; mostly you’re invisible as furniture. Yet you overhear a conversation here, and add a little gossip there. A writing desk lies open and you cannot help but read a paper. Then you find something, something you should not have found.

Irrepressible Biddy Leigh, undercook at the forbidding Mawton Hall,can’t wait to settle down with her sweetheart and set up her own tavern. But when her elderly master marries the young, enigmatic Lady Carinna, Biddy is unwittingly swept up in a world of scheming, secrets and lies.

Forced to accompany her new mistress to Italy, Biddy takes with her an old household book of recipes, The Cook’s Jewel, in which she records her observations. When she finds herself embroiled in a murderous conspiracy, Biddy realises that the secrets she holds could be the key to her survival – or her downfall . . . ”

This is a historical adventure told through the eyes of Biddy Leigh- an under cook at Mawton Hall in the 1700. The book starts off in Cheshire and ends up in Tuscany.

Biddy is entrusted with the “Cook’s Jewel” a journal/cookery book, that formed a collective over the years from different women.

In many ways this is an upstairs downstairs story with insights into slavery and those in service.

There is so much in this sumptuous dramatic mystery; even some time-piece recipes are included.

Martine Bailey really immerses you into the 18th century with her beautiful prowse and delightfully researched history.

An Appetite for Violets is a foodie’s book, that everyone can enjoy. It is full of intrigue and mystery as well as being an epicurious journey through Europe. Reading this book was a sheer delight and if you are looking for a great holiday read- look no further.


a9Unmasking Juliet by Teri Wilson

To be Released: May 27th, 2014

“Ever since she was a little girl learning to make decadent truffles in her family’s chocolate shop, Juliet Arabella has been aware of the bitter feud between the Arabellas and the Mezzanottes. With their rival chocolate boutiques on the same street in Napa Valley, these families never mix. Until one night, when Juliet anonymously attends the annual masquerade ball. In a moonlit vineyard, she finds herself falling for a gorgeous stranger, a man who reminds her what passion is like outside of the kitchen. But her bliss is short-lived when she discovers her masked prince is actually Leo Mezzanotte, newly returned from Paris and the heir to her archenemy’s confection dynasty.

With her mind in a whirl, Juliet leaves for Italy to represent the Arabellas in a prestigious chocolate competition. The prize money will help her family’s struggling business, and Juliet figures it’s a perfect opportunity to forget Leo…only to find him already there and gunning for victory. As they compete head-to-head, Leo and Juliet’s fervent attraction boils over. But Juliet’s not sure whether to trust her adversary, or give up on the sweetest love she’s ever tasted….”

Unmasking Juliet is a modern retelling of the classic. This version it set in the gorgeous Napa Valley of California and the family business is chocolate. The Arabella’s and the Mezzanottes’ are Chocolatiers and bitter rivals.

When Juliet meets Leo at a masked ball, it is the beginning of the chocolate wars.

There is some great sexual tension as Leo and Juliet, try to resist the forbidden fruit that their attraction has become.

They can’t fight their feelings for each other and give into temptation. They want to be together but they know their families will object. Juliet and Leo try to heal the family rift through Chocolate. I loved the Roma Festa del Cioccolato details. It reminded me of those those wonderful cook-off shows on television.

This book was like written sunshine. The gorgeous vineyards and country locations leap from the page with images of grape leaves and hot air balloons.

The chocolate chaud is descried in taste-bud tingling details- you can almost feel the chocolate melt on your tongue.

Even though this is a loose adaptation of the classic Romeo and Juliet- all the doom and gloom has been replaced with a feel good vibe that will leave you smiling.

Unmasking Juliet is a wonderful cocoa scented read, perfect for the top of your to read on holiday list.

Review: Impossible things by Kate Johnson

impossibleImpossible things by Kate Johnson

Kael Vapensigsson is one of the elite Chosen—a Warlord whose strength comes from the gods themselves. But despite all his power and prestige, he is plagued by a prophecy that threatens to destroy everything he loves.

When Kael summons Ishtaer to his room and discovers the marks of the Chosen on her body, including the revered mark of the Warrior, both Warlord and slave seem to have met their match.

But as their lives become increasingly entangled and endangered, Ishtaer is forced to test whether the Chosen ever have the ability to choose their own fate.”




Kate Johnson has a way of creating a world totally different from our own but yet, still familiar. Her writing is so beautifully described – that her vivid images leap from the page. She did it with UnTied Kingdom and now she excels herself with Impossible things.

In Impossible things, we are introduced to Kael and a fantasy world full of Pirates and Warlords.

The mysterious Ishtaer appears and Kael is quickly intrigued. It is a very slow burn between them both; as they take their time bonding and ultimately healing each other emotionally.

Ishtaer is a wonderfully strong character. She is blinded, abused and psychically broken- but she is a fighter and doesn’t give up easily.

This story has it all: Romance, Mystery, Action, Magic and prophecy. Even if you are not a fan of High Fantasy- reading Kate Johnson’s Impossible things will make you one.

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it. This unique fantasy book is fast paced and full of action. Once you pick it up it is hard to put down.


Also by Kate Johnson:

untiedThe UnTied Kingdom by Kate Johnson

The portal to an alternate world was the start of all her troubles – or was it?

When Eve Carpenter lands with a splash in the Thames, it’s not the London or England she’s used to. No one has a telephone or knows what a computer is. England s a third world country and Princess Di is still alive. But worst of all, everyone thinks Eve’s a spy. Including Major Harker who has his own problems. His sworn enemy is looking for a promotion. The general wants him to undertake some ridiculous mission to find a computer, which Harker vaguely envisions running wild somewhere in Yorkshire. Turns out the best person to help him is Eve. She claims to be a pop star. Harker doesn’t know what a popstar is, although he suspects it’s a fancy foreign word for spy . Eve knows all about computers, and electricity. Eve is dangerous. There’s every possibility she’s mad. And Harker is falling in love with her.

shegoneI am a huge fan of time travel and dystopian fiction. This one of a kind novel combined both genres into a very exciting story. Kate Johnson has rivaled Harry Turtledove -Alternative history legend.

When Eve first arrives in an alternative London, she thinks she is on an episode of MTV’s “Punked”. The local army militia thinks she is a spy and quickly put her under arrest. That is when she meet Harker, the officer in command.

Harker does spend most of the early part of the book saying “The what?” regardless of that, Harker is sexy enough to make you swoon.

The UnTied Kingdom is an adventure you won’t forget in a hurry. It is teaming with wit and sass but does not shy away from the horrors of a homeland invasion. I can recommend this to anyone who is looking for something a bit different, you won’t be disappointed. I am definitely putting this on my list of books to read again.

Cover Reveal: The Breakup Artist by Nicole Severn

Cover Reveal: The Breakup Artist – Nichole Severn

CandleLit Cover Reveal Banner1

Hello and welcome to the cover reveal of The Breakup Artist by Nichole Severn! 

The novella, from Beyond The Page Publishing, is set to release on 23rd April 2014 but Nichole’s giving readers a sneak peak of the fab cover and the book’s blurb. Full details below . . .


The Breakup Artist_Cover


About The Breakup Artist: 

‘Demi Shepherd is going to jail.

As a professional heartbreaker, she’s been charged with the murder of one of her clients. She can’t explain how fifty thousand dollars ended up in her bank account, how her fingerprints were found on the murder weapon and who called in an anonymous tip labeling her as the murderer. Determined to clear her name and find out who uprooted her life, Demi goes on the run and turns to the least likely of allies: the man she believes set her up for murder.

Jack Austin is Demi’s only chance of clearing her name, but as an undercover organized crime agent, whose only goal is to bring down the organization laundering money through one of Vegas’ casinos, he’s not willing to risk his life or career for her. That is until Demi shows her innocence.

With former clients and victims on her trail and unknown shooters finding her every step of the way, Demi fights for her life and her damaged heart, but will Jack protect either?’

nattyAbout Nichole Severn

Originally from Las Vegas, Nevada where she spent most days at her grandmother’s house watching X-Men, Married with Children and The Simpsons, Nichole Severn migrated to the Salt Lake City valley to live life as scandalous romance author.

She graduated with a degree in psychology from Utah Valley University, which stemmed from her obsession with serial killers, and received her bachelors in English Literature from Nevada State. Over the years, she’s experimented with selling jewelry, insurance, and clothing, but now she just sells books. The serial killer obsession has toned down…a little.

She resides with her very supportive and patient, husband in Utah, where she constantly injures herself running, rock climbing, and snowboarding.

Nichole can be contacted through her website at http://www.nicholesevern.com, email at nichole@nicholesevern.com, Twitter at @nicholesevern or Facebook.

Feature: Irrepressible You by Georgina Penney

ireIrrepressible You by Georgina Penney

“You don’t become a notorious British celebrity without rubbing a few people the wrong way, which is why writer and comedian Ben Martindale has decamped to Australia until the latest media frenzy dies down.

When he meets Amy Blaine, a perky blonde who dresses like a 1950s pin-up girl, he knows he’s hit the satirical jackpot. He begins to fill his weekly London column with snarky observations about her life, clothes, and even their most intimate moments. It doesn’t occur to him that Amy, who is letting her guard down for the first time in her adult life, might be upset – after all, it’s hilarious, and his readers love her!

It isn’t until Amy discovers the extent of his betrayal that Ben begins to realise just how badly he’s cocked up the best thing that ever happened to him. But is it too late?”


pinupSet in the sunny port city of Perth, Australia, this stunning debut has style. I loved Amy. I thought she was funny cute, sassy and clever. I am a big fan of the 1950’s style of dress and wished I had her wardrobe.

Everything has such personality in this book, from the outdoor plumbing to Gerald, the dog and his testicle implants.

There are plenty of false starts for Ben and Amy and at times it feels as if someone poured a bucket of water over you. When they do get together it is very saucy. In all honesty, it is racy but it is done tastefully. I blushed myself a few times, and needed a cold shower by the time it was over.

This book is a breath of fresh air and I highly recommend to anyone who is looking for an out of the ordinary story with loads of style.



Now an exclusive interview with Georgina Penney:

EPBR: Amy is such a stylish character, do you prefer the pin up look yourself?

GP: She is a stylish little wench, isn’t she?

I do love the pin up look. Forties and fifties fashion is so flattering that no matter how much of a bad hair/my-arse-is-huge day I’m having, I feel awesome once I frock up and whack on a bit of make-up. That said, there is a huge tom boy part of me that thinks jeans and a T-shirt is a much easier option. It makes for an interesting wardrobe. Glam to grunge and nothing in between!

EPBR: What inspired you to write Irrepressible You?

GP: Amy originally started off as a secondary character in Unforgettable You, my next release. She just popped onto the page one day and I loved her so much that she had to get a story of her own. Her bubbly personality, eccentric house and narcoleptic dog, Gerald are all based on real-life people, places and things that I’d been saving up for years. (Especially Gerald.)

EPBR:What is your next project?

GP: Unforgettable You, my next book is coming out on May the 14th this year. It’s the prequel to Irrepressible You and is all about Amy’s sister Jo, an engineer who works on oil rigs and Stephen Hardy, heir to Evangeline’s Rest winery. Jo’s story was so much fun to write, I can’t wait to hear what people think.

I can not wait for that book to come out. I loved Irrespressible You. Here is an exclusive sneak peek at the next book:



Unforgettable You by Georgina Penney

Release date: May 14th, 2014

“AAfter months working on an oil rig in the Atlantic Ocean, engineer Jo Blaine can’t wait to get home. Her job is tough, and she is desperate for some long overdue girl time. The last thing Jo needs when she walks through her front door is to find a strange man staying in her house. When she learns that her uninvited guest is none other than Stephen Hardy, she’s tempted to head straight back out to sea.

Stephen has always felt guilty for the part he played in ruining Jo’s life years earlier and immediately jumps at the chance to make things up to her by looking after her apartment and her giant cranky cat. It takes some fast talking, but Jo is finally convinced to let him stay. And by the time she leaves for her next shift at work, they’re both eagerly anticipating her return.

But as they grow closer, it soon becomes clear Jo is hiding something about her past that is coming back to haunt her. After a lifetime of taking care of herself and her sister Amy, Jo isn’t used to sharing her problems, especially when they involve her messy family history. But when threats start to escalate, Jo must decide whether to trust Stephen before her stubborn independence places them all at risk.”

Don’t forget to visit Georgina Penney’s website for more information and news.



Review: Four-Leaf Clover by Charmaine Ross

leafFour-Leaf Clover by Charmaine Ross

To be Relased: May 1st, 2014

A sexy, sugar-laden David vs Goliath story about a local bakery, a national chain, and what really matters.

Clover Loveday has worked hard to get her café Four-Leaf Clover up and running — her ticket out of an increasingly alarming financial situation and her dream come true. When she literally falls off her ladder into the arms of sexy-as-sin Liam Sinclair. The same Liam Sinclair who owns the new bakery being built just across the road…the new store by bakery chain Upper Crust owner! Clover decides then that no matter how nauseated she is about the idea, it is best keep your enemies close, rather than leave things to fate.

Liam has never put too much thought into the competition when he opens a new outlet, other than taking their customers and strengthening the Upper Crust brand. But here in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges, Clover Loveday’s cafe is a little too close for comfort, and Clover herself a little too good-looking. So Liam asks his PA to put together a ’fact sheet’ about his new competition. He has a business to run, a father to please, and hundreds of people to keep in jobs. Surely information can keep an unwanted strong sexual pull at bay…

A sweet, caffeinated, satisfying story about unexpected temptations, forgiveness, and putting love before money.”



Clover has her own bakery business – Four Leaf Clover in a small Australian town; Liam wants to open his chain store across the street. It’s baguettes at dawn! Even though they are rivals, they are still attracted to each other.

Liam and Clover develop a deep love as the book progresses. Although the romance is sweet and tender, there is also a very hot and steamy side to “Four leaf clover”.

There are many obstacles for them both to overcome considering they are in competition, but they do; and it is an adorable journey of finding love.

I really enjoyed this adorable book. It is filled with the sweet smell of fresh-baked bread and ground coffee. If you are looking for a tender romantic read for an afternoon- escape to small town Australia with this book. You will be left with a smile on your face.