Review: Operation White Christmas by Nicki Edwards

Each Christmas brings a new Santa sack full of Christmas-themed romance novellas; it would be difficult to read them all, but some are definitely worth making time for. Operation White Christmas by Nicki Edwards is one of those.

Hollie Douglas leaves behind a cad and country New South Wales to head to the northern hemisphere to fulfil a long-held dream: her first white Christmas. But if she thought her year was already not going to plan, a wintry Canadian landscape has more surprises in store for her – specifically, handsome widower Jim Bell, who comes across Hollie when her car comes off the road. Hollie is convinced that her perfect Christmas is never going to happen – but Jim has other ideas …

Edwards strongly evokes place and emotion in this incredibly satisfying Christmas story. You can feel the cold of the Canadian winter and the warmth of the protagonists’ hearts. The story is plausible, touching and easy to read (the latter being a compliment of the highest order, as it’s not easy to achieve) and if you buy it right now there’s still plenty of time to read it before Christmas. You’ll be glad you did.

Operation White Christmas by Nicki Edwards is published by Momentum.

nickiedwards.net

 

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Review: Billabong Bend by Jennifer Scoullar

9780143572886Jennifer Scoullar writes great rural romance stories that always have an extra mission: an environmental theme. Her novels cover serious issues to do with farming, water preservation, mining, crops, endangered animals and weather in such a way that the reader is educated but the story never becomes heavy.

Billabong Bend (Penguin, 2015) is the second of Scoullar’s five novels I’ve read and I enjoyed it as much as the first, which was Currawong Creek. As with Currawong Creek, Scoullar follows the conventions of a romance story and gives the reader lots more to get stuck into, making for a novel with great, well-developed characters and a storyline that doesn’t flag.

Set in the vicinity of the northern New South Wales town of Moree, Billabong Bend is the story of Nina, who lives alone on her farm, Red Gums, and dreams of also owning Billabong Bend. Both properties abut the Bunyip River, but it is Billabong Bend that contains valuable wetlands and the endangered birds and wildlife that thrive in them. Nina’s elderly friend Eva owns Billabong Bend, but she is in a nursing home in Moree and Nina is reluctant to press her about buying Billabong – not that that will stop her.

Nina has a boyfriend, Lockie, who runs a property that is nowhere near Red Gums. She sees him every so often as work keeps them apart. In their case, distance doesn’t seem to make the heart grow fonder so much as serve to keep them together – until the night that Nina’s long-lost teenage love, Ric Bonelli, reappears in her life.

Ric grew up on Donnalee, the farm across the river, and his father, Max, clashed with Nina’s father, Jim. Max is a cotton grower, reviled by many in the area who think that cotton farmers are nothing but water thieves. Nina doesn’t feel much more warmly towards him, although she is glad that Ric has returned for a visit – bringing a surprise visitor.

The river that runs past Donnalee, Red Gums and Billabong Bend brought Nina and Ric together as children, then teenagers, but their lives are more complicated now. It could take more than a never-forgotten crush for them to overcome the differences between them – differences primarily caused by Nina and Max’s wildly opposed views on nature and farming. Nina is unsure if Ric’s loyalties are primarily with his father – and, if they are, she can’t trust him to care about the land and the river as much as she does. Nor is she sure that she can trust him to care about her.

Billabong Bend works as a rural romance, with lots of plot twists to keep the reader intrigued. It is also a love letter to the Australian landscape and ecosystems, with all their power of destruction and growth. Scoullar’s fans will be very pleased with this novel, and it should attract new readers looking for a novel that satisfies as well as challenges them.

Billabong Bend is published by Penguin.

jenniferscoullar.com

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Review: An Outback Christmas by Louise Reynolds

[Since I write romance and read romance, I thought it time to start writing about romance. So there will now be reviews on this site in amongst news about my own books. Hopefully these reviews will help you find more great things to read!]

Last Christmas Louise Reynolds, author of Red Dirt Duchess, released the story A Kirribilli Christmas, which was the perfect accompaniment to long summer days leading into the festive season and which left me wanting the story to continue. In An Outback Christmas Reynolds has created quite a different story yet it’s also left me wanting more – now, if only she’d write full-length versions of both …

An Outback Christmas is the story of Carrie, who lives alone on a large property near Bourke, NSW, and of Englishman Adam and his young son, Tyler, whom fate – and wild weather – brings to her door one stormy December day just before Christmas. The reasons for Carrie’s isolation are revealed to us slowly, just as they are revealed to Adam; in the process he will discover why she does not celebrate Christmas.

This is a poignant Christmas novella that achieves a lot in a small number of pages. It is a great companion to A Kirribilli Christmas – and why not read both? – and, like its predecessor, balances sadness with joy very well.

An Outback Christmas is published by Destiny/Penguin and is available from e-book retailers.

louisereynolds.net

 

 

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Cover reveal for The Princess

I’ve been working on the third book in the series The Young Royals – titled The Princess, it follows the sometimes-charmed life of Margaret, the younger sister of Queen Alexandra and Prince David.

Today the cover of The Princess was revealed by my wonderful publishers, Momentum, and I couldn’t love it more. The Princess will be released (unleashed? She can be a bit of a tearaway) on 21 January 2016.

9781760301842_princess_cover

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Coronation day for The Queen

It is publication day for The Queen: The Young Royals 2, published by MomentumThe Queen follows on from The Prince: TYR 1 and The WeddingTYR 1.5. Here’s a little bit about it:

There’s an empty seat beside her throne …

Queen Alexandra Elizabeth Diana is newly crowned and newly single. But, contrary to popular belief, being a monarch doesn’t make the dating game any easier. While foreign royals and millionaires may be of a similar social standing, they are woefully inadequate when it comes to winning her heart. Alix needs someone who understands her world and who also sees that behind the crown is a young woman who just wants to fall in love.

But the situation may not be as hopeless as it seems. Someone Alix has known her whole life is secretly in love with her. And, while he may not have the breeding or bank balance expected of the Queen’s consort, nothing will stop him from trying to win Alix’s heart.

The Queen is available from all major e-bookstores – the full list can be found on Momentum’s website

 

Posted in The Queen

The Wedding: The Young Royals 1.5

Ahead of the release of The Queen: The Young Royals 2 we’ve managed to slip in The Wedding, which is 1.5 in the series – it should be read after The Prince: TYR 1 and it is available for free. I’m very fond of the cover …

All e-bookstore links can be found on Momentum’s website.

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The Prince featured on iBooks Australia

THE PRINCE: THE YOUNG ROYALS 1 is a feature title on iBooks Australia and for a limited time it’s available for free. The iBooks link is here: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/the-prince-the-young-royals-1/id915264800?mt=11

As THE QUEEN: THE YOUNG ROYALS 2 is released on 25 May, this gives you plenty of time to read THE PRINCE and immerse yourself in the world of my young royals …

 

Posted in The Prince