Monday 16 October 2023

Spring has SPRUNG!

I don't know about you but spring is my favourite time of the year (maybe because it opens with my birthday!) but how can you NOT love the mild, sunny days, the blooming flowers, the beginning of daylight saving, and the sense of emerging from the winter hibernation.

Spring is also a great season in which to set a romance or read a romance and so, this month, I thought I'd share a couple of my favourites with you (to help fill those TBR piles!)

Firstly, this one's been out a little while now but, if you haven't read it, what are you waiting for? The Vintner's Muse by Jennifer Westgarth is set in the spring in South Australia (mostly in the beautiful Clare Valley) and opens with one of the best scenes I've read in a while (no, I won't tell you what it is because that would be a spoiler!).

This is Jennifer's debut, and it's a great one... I have quite the soft spot for professional women (like our FMC Shannon) who are trying to make sense of their lives when their plans go off the rails. And our MMC, Ethan is her perfect foil, with similar dilemmas, and our two dummies clearly have to work out that they're made for each other. 

Secondly, an oldie but a goodie, Nora's A Bed of Roses, the second book in the Bride Quartet series. I've not linked this as I'm expecting that most of you will have already read this but, it's always great for a re-read and, if you haven't  read it, you really should - the series is a little older now, but still generally holds up. 

A Bed of Roses is a friends-to-lovers story involving the Quartet's florist, Emma and their architect, Jack. It's also a romance set amongst an abundance of weddings (and the occasional Bridezilla to balance the mood!). This book (and its series siblings) are also great because of the sense of family (especially found family), and the focus on women successfully navigating a successful business together. 

Thirdly, we have one that's not 'strictly' a romance but rather a women's fiction book, Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center. This one also isn't, strictly speaking, set in spring (in fact I can't quite work out the season where we begin) but I got it for my birthday, which is in spring, so I say it counts. I asked for this book because I'd seen one of my fave actresses (Missy Peregrym from FBI and Rookie Blue) had apparently optioned it for a movie, so I wanted to see what it was about.

It's an interesting book... and I'm still thinking about it so that means it must have resonated somehow. Cassie Hanwell, Texas firefighter, is our protagonist, who has to uproot her life and move to Boston, partly to deal with her own actions and partly to deal with an unwell parent. The story follows her finding her way through vulnerability and forgiveness, and it can be a little blunt instrument in parts but, overall, is worth a read. Note though, it doesn't seem to be available in ebook in Australia.

Finally, RUBY AWARD WINNING The Library at Wagtail Ridge by Janet Gover is my current read (a spring read, even though it's set in summer) and I'm loving it.

I love Janet - she was a 'newbie' at the Romance Writers of Australia conference in 2015, the same year as me and some of my closest friends, and we've remained friends since... Janet writes amazing rural romances, and this one seems no different.

The Library at Wagtail Ridget tells the story of Lou Taylor uncovering the story of her birth mother via her inheritance of a cottage, a mobile library, a scattering of letters, the town of Wagtail Ridge, and her new neighbour, Jake Barnes. And, who doesn't love a MMC named Jake?! They're always a little trouble and a lot worth it! 

I'm still in the middle of this one, so if you've read it, reach out and let me know your favourite parts.

So, what else has sprung in Spring? A little shameless promotion to end this month.

November 14 this year sees the launch of Love for Maui a jam-packed anthology of all kinds of romance shorts and novellas with all proceeds going to the University of Hawai'i Foundation, to assist those impacted by the Maui wildfires last August. I've submitted my award-winning, sexy contemporary short story, Cuffed. You can preorder Love for Maui here.

LOVE TO LAUGH: When is it impossible to plant spring flowers? When you haven't botany!

LOVE TO LOVE: The first blooms of my Mum's roses.

LOVE TO LEARN: I attended the Toronto Romance Writers Conference this month and while I confess to not attending most of the sessions in real time (as time zones are a pain) I really enjoyed hearing from their guests... Zoe York and Farah Heron in particular. And everything you hear is true, Canadians are the NICEST people!

Kristine Charles writes sexy tales where coffee (and red wine) is abundant, designer shoes and handbags are cheap, chocolate has no calories, and men always put the toilet seat down. Find her at her website, or on various social media platforms here