Welcome! Kick off your shoes, get comfy and join in as we chat about books, romance and the ups and downs of everyday life.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Conders for Christmas!

by Anna Campbell

Hey, happy Christmas to those of you who celebrate the season.

Thank you to everyone who has swung by to read or comment on one of my Second Helping reviews this year and a big special thank you and huge hug to the Dishes who let me share some of my favorite reads with you every month. I'm really looking forward to talking about more great books and finding out about books you've loved (my TBR pile is groaning under all your recommendations) in 2013! 

I seem to have had a Harlequin kinda year. Perhaps because I've been so busy and I love how a category romance can give me my romance fix within a couple of hours' reading time. Whatever the reason, I've read some great Harlequins this year and discovered a couple of fabulous new authors including Fiona Harper and Ellen Hartman.

I'm currently head down on a new book, but just to freshen up my brain before I began the latest Sons of Sin story, I took a few veg days when I read and pottered around the house and watched TV and just basically relaxed. These days gave me a chance to catch up on some of the books lurking in the TBR pile (some of those are so old, they've got whiskers on them!). Hiding shyly behind a bush consisting mainly of historical romance I WILL read soon, I discovered these two treasures by Aussie author Michelle Conder.

The Australian Romance Readers Association held a signing back in August in conjunction with the Romance Writers of Australia conference at the Gold Coast in Queensland. I was lucky to sit next to Michelle and she was kind enough to give me signed copies of her first two books.

And when I say lucky, I mean LUCKY! I devoured both these books in a single morning (I wake up early!) and then groaned when I realized I had to wait until January 2013 for her next book LIVING THE CHARADE which sounds fantastic! Because she's a new author, there's no backlist so I've got one message for Ms. Conder - WRITE FASTER!!!! ;-)

Michelle's highly polished and compelling debut is GIRL BEHIND THE SCANDALOUS REPUTATION. Rising film star Lily Wild is the child of scandal and the paparazzi have given her a totally unjustified reputation as a party girl. She's long had a love-hate relationship with her best friend's brother, Tristan, the future Duke of Greythorn. Tristan has saved her from numerous scrapes, not usually of her creation. Not that Tristan will ever believe that. When Lily's caught with drugs hidden in her bag at Heathrow, Tristan comes to her rescue again but the only way he can save her from jail is to become her custodian himself.

A classic Presents scenario. Two people who dislike and mistrust each other but are likely to combust with the heat of the chemistry between them are trapped under one glamorous roof. As you can imagine, sparks fly sky high. This is a really fun read! The dialogue in particular is great.

Michelle's second book, HIS LAST CHANCE AT REDEMPTION, inhabits a similarly glitzy world. After all, one of the pleasures of the Presents line is that it gives us all a chance to live vicariously in the milieu of bumptious billionaires.

Leo Aleksandrov, the hero, is the richest man in Russia. After a horrific childhood, he's built himself up from nothing. Words like 'love', 'family' and 'commitment' just aren't in his vocabulary. But he does possess his own steely honor and when the ditzy mother of his son disappears, leaving the boy alone, Leo steps in to take over. Taking over includes blackmailing his son's childcare worker, Lexi Summers, into becoming nanny for a long weekend on a yacht in Greece (see what I mean about glitzy?).

I love books where the hero and heroine find themselves attracted to the last person they thought they'd ever want. Leo lives in a world of super-rich and supermodels, but he can't get ordinary girl Lexi out of his mind. And when she's ready to go toe to toe with him over his son's welfare, basically he's a goner. Leo's a damaged man and Lexi has baggage too. It's wonderful watching these two battle it out to a very satisfying happy ending. Again, highly recommended.

I'm hoping to do some more TBR demolishing over Christmas. What are your reading plans for the Holidays? Season's greetings to everyone!

22 comments:

  1. It's always wonderful hearing about new to me authors - thanks! Actually, I get less reading in during the holidays since there is so much to do. I look forward to catching up lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Catslady, I've promised myself a reading binge this Christmas. So far I've read a couple of Dick Francis books (he's a new craze), Miranda Neville's wonderful THE SECOND SEDUCTION OF A LADY and I'm about halfway through SILK IS FOR SEDUCTION by Loretta Chase which I've been saving up. Hope you have a marvelous Christmas! x

      Delete
    2. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Anna!

      Delete
  2. Good morning--or afternoon, Anna! Merry Christmas Eve to you! Thanks for these recs. They sound delightful!

    My "plans" included some good reading, but as you know, the best laid plans... So far, I've not had time to read. I've just been too busy getting things ready for Christmas and spending time with my kids. My husband works retail, so he's been at work A LOT. Thankfully, the company he works for is closed on Christmas Day! After Christmas, I hope to have plenty of time to read as the kids will surely be busy with their gifts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Andrea! So glad the family is together on Christmas Day. I used to work hospitality so I know how hard it can be in some of those service industries. Hope you have plenty of time for reading once the madness is over. Thanks for letting me be part of the Romance Dish family this year - it's been a blast! Happy Christmas!

      Delete
  3. Hi, Anna!

    "Seven Night in a Rogue's Bed" is at the top of my reading list! I have been so busy with Christmas that I am LONGING to sit in my comfy chair and read. After tomorrow, that's exactly what I plan to do.

    I am unfamiliar with Michelle Condor's novels but am so glad to welcome a new author into my reading world and look forward to reading her novels.

    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Anna, and look forward to chatting with you more in 2013.

    Connie Fischer
    conniecape@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Connie! How lovely to hear that you're looking forward to reading Rogue! Hope you have fun with it once all the hullabaloo has settled down. I loved Michelle's first two books - really classic Presents romance. Lots of glamour and drama and passion. Thanks for the Christmas wishes. Wishing you all the best too! x

      Delete
  4. I really need to get that TBR pile way down. I am waaaay behind on my reading. So, that is my goal for Christmas break. Many blessings to you, Anna, and to lovely PJ and Andrea, and all of the Dishers. Merry Christmas!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deb, thanks for swinging by so many of the blogs this year. Always a delight to see you. Hope you manage to attack the TBR pile this Christmas - that's my idea too. I always stockpile books I know I'll love for this time of year so I've got lots of reading treats to look forward to. Got a couple of Liz Carlyles waiting for me too - love her historicals. Happy Christmas to you and all the best for 2013! x

      Delete
  5. I've been reading a lot less than usual the past few days, thanks to all the Christmas cooking and Christmas celebrating. What I have read over the past several days has been mostly Christmas short stories and novellas, including "The Winter Bride" by someone we all know. Great story! I highly recommend it. :)

    After Christmas, I look forward to using some of the Kindle gift cards I have received and spending a few days enjoying a reading marathon. Several weeks ago I read egalleys of most of the Superromances that will be available on January 2. I enjoyed them all, but two are especially good: The Other Side of Us by Sarah Mayberry, a never-fail author, and A Hometown Boy by Janice Kay Johnson, a book that shatters the conventions of what a category romance can be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Janga, so glad you managed to squeeze in The Winter Wife. I've got to say it's been a blast having a Christmas story out - definitely going to do one for next year. Somehow it really gets you into the swing of the whole Holiday thing. Thank you so much for saying you enjoyed TWW - it's definitely bite-sized but at this time of year, that can be an advantage! Thanks for the heads up about Supers. As you know, I'm a huge Sarah Mayberry fan - seriously, people, if you haven't read her, rush to the nearest bookshop! And thanks for letting me know about the JKJ. I'll put that on the wish list. I'm so excited that my Bandita sister Anna Sugden has just sold her debut to SuperRomance - told her that's currently my fave Harlequin line so extra pleased for her. Have a lovely Christmas. And thank you so much for all the stimulating discussion and excellent recommendations this year. You've steered me to some great books!

      Delete
  6. Merry Christmas, Anna! (It is Christmas there, right?)

    I love Harlequins, especially this time of year when I'm so busy. Thanks for telling us about Michelle Conder. Sounds like an author I'll enjoy. I've been downloading novellas and books to catch up on my reading once the holiday work frenzy subsides. Plus, I'll have two ten hour car rides over the next week. Always good (don't worry, I'm not the driver) for catching up on some reading!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PJ, I agree with you about Harlequins (and novellas - a friend of mine just lent me a wonderful old Silhouette anthology with a great Nora Roberts novella in it). Give Michelle a go. I think you'll like her - she definitely delivered everything I want when I pick up a Presents. Hope the driving goes well and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. As I said to Andrea, thank you for including me in the RD family! Love hanging out with you guys here. xxx

      Delete
  7. Also, wanted to say "The Winter Wife" was wonderful! I so enjoyed it. Thanks for bringing us a delicious holiday story!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, thanks, PJ! So glad you enjoyed it! xxx

      Delete
  8. Merry Christmas, Anna! And wishing the same to my favorite Dishes, PJ and Andrea!

    Anna, I am happy to tell you that I hassled a manager at our Barnes & Noble into selling me a copy of “The Lady Most Willing” even though it is not officially out until December 26th. He said he had a display of the books ready to go out the day after Christmas, but that there was no publisher restriction on it he was allowed to sell it to me!
    I told the manager at B&N that he should put the display out now if he could and that he'd probably sell out! So now you know what I will be reading over the holidays!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Flora, the Lady Most Willing looks great, doesn't it? I just finished Silk is For Seduction by Loretta Chase. I can see why it was up for a RITA award last year. Great story. Hope you have a lovely Christmas!

      Delete
  9. Happy Holidays!
    Tackling my TBR sounds like a plan. My wishlist will keep growing and I'm hoping to read more than I buy. To everyone, I wish you a wonderful holiday full of happy moments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy Holidays, Na! I'm making good headway into my TBR pile - and so far everything's been good which is even better.

      Delete
  10. Thanks, guys, for swinging by on what is such a busy day for everyone! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas (I ate too much!). Thanks again for all your support this year - check in in January when I'm reviewing an old Loretta Chase classic.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have been digging in my TBR pile forever. Like you, it has been a busy year and I haven't the time to dig into a long book. The Harlequin and other Category romances fit the bill perfectly as do anthologies. I just finished COUNTERFEIT COWBOY by Lacy Williams and am working on the 1994 anthology A HOLIDAY OF LOVE by Judith McNaught, Jude Deveraux, Arnette Lamb, and Jill Batnett.
    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pat! Hope your Christmas was lovely. Mine was. Isn't it fun to find really old stuff on the TBR pile. I'm currently on Liz Carlyle's first book MY FALSE HEART from back in 1999. I've read that Holiday of Love anthology - it's lovely. I'm also dipping into an old Silhouette Anthology called Jingle Bells Love which features a lovely Nora Roberts novella.

      Delete