New Release Book Review: His Christmas Pride by Renee Dahlia

Sam and Mick made the most adorable couple. After bonding over an online game and then connecting in real life, these two both had plenty to work through to get to their happy ever after.

Both had self-esteem issues left over from past relationships, and Mick was also dealing with being emotionally abused by his previous partner. Their internal dialogue was entirely believable, I do exactly the same as both of them, continually over-thinking and making everything my problem, even creating problems where there aren’t any.

I really enjoyed the journey these two took to get to their happy ending. With both humour and serious moments, Renee Dahlia has done a great job of depicting real characters and creating two people I really cared about.

Thanks to NetGalley and Escape Publishing for a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

Pre-release Book Review: The Truth & Addy Loest by Kim Kelly

Wow!

This was a story I didn’t want to end.

As I got pulled deeper and deeper into Addy’s story, drawing several parallels to some of my own struggles, I wanted to stay there with her as she dealt with those struggles, the stories her brain told her, the encounter with the woman who owned the curiosity shop, beautiful and tender-hearted Dan, her brother Nick and her ever grieving father.

Addy is so like many broken parts of me, so many broken parts of many others, but she shines brightly even as she doesn’t see it, even as she doubts everything about herself and thinks she is dying.

As always Kim Kelly brings to the fore important issues, not just of then, but of now. The fight women have to be treated with respect and not as an object for a man to drool over or take advantage of, the fight to not be afraid. She deals with past injustices of the war, both WWI and WWII, the effects felt generations on by those who come after and carry those memories in their cells. She touches on the need to hide who we are from those we love, to protect ourselves and them. How hard it was to be gay in the 80s, not that it is easier now for many, but as a society it is much more accepted.

I loved Addy’s love of beautiful dresses and her style, I wish I could own half the dresses she had in her closet. It makes me want to go hunting for beautiful dresses to wear, dresses with stories to tell.

This story is full of emotion, of damaged people, some trying to make sense of their lives, to discover who they are and some, like Addy’s father who get on with things because they must.

When quantum physics was wound into the story it made me laugh, because my mind works a bit like the way Dan described how quantum physics works, and though this is most certainly one concept I will never understand, I understand the feeling behind the concepts and I thought the author did a wonderful job of conveying this.

I loved this novel and I will read it again and possibly again after that. The writing and language is exquisite and perfect and such a pleasure to read.

Thanks to Kim Kelly for providing me with a digital copy in return for an honest review.

Add it to your Goodreads ready for February 2021

New Release Book Review: Unseen by Cassie Laelyn

This was book 3 in the Fallen Guardians series and while it was clear that I was missing out on a lot of background information during the first chapter, I was easily able to catch up with the story after that initial chapter and now I can’t wait for the next book to be released.

I loved tortured EJ, the guardian who gets visions of events he can’t change, things that torture him because of this. When he starts getting visions of Hailee, he’s in complete denial for a time about what it could mean.

Hailee was a good character, I thought she took everything in her stride, way better than I’d have taken things if I’d found out I was immortal and someone was trying to kill me.

The relationship between Hailee and EJ was sweet and sexy and I enjoyed getting to know them.

Good verse evil is a major theme in this story, as well as trust, in self and others.

I can’t wait to see how the war between the Fallen and the guardians plays out, and what Fate has in store for everyone.

Thanks to the author for a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

New Release Book Review: White Throat by Sarah Thornton

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This was a great second novel in the Clementine Jones series. Talk about full-on, especially the last quarter or so, I wasn’t sure how Clementine was going to get out of the situation she’d gotten herself into this time. But it seems Clem has nine lives, and no matter how many people she upsets or what she gets herself into, she comes through, albeit a little battered and bruised.

I was pleased that Torrens was in the book again, the friendship between them is good, even though I’m not entirely sure their friendship has survived this time, I’m keeping my fingers crossed if there’s a book #3, that they can work things out. They both have a lot to teach each other.

Clem once again goes all out, determined to uncover who murdered her friend, Helen, despite the police deciding it was a suicide. So much big corporate corruption, developer corruption, mining corruption, there were so many people who would have wanted Helen out of the way, but who actually did the deed.

I enjoyed learning about the white-throated snapping turtles, very interesting creatures, an animal that is listed as endangered, like so many these days, hopefully, the author can bring some attention to this turtle.

There was plenty of action and intrigue throughout while Clem does her thing and Torrens has her back once again. I enjoyed this even more than book one.

Thanks to NetGalley and Text Publishing for a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

New Release Book Review: Playing With Trouble by Amy Andrews

I loved returning to the small town of Credence and catching up briefly with the characters I’ve met in previous novels, and I loved meeting three new characters. Cole, an ex-rugby player recovering from an accident that’s changed his life path, Jane, a house restoration guru and her son Finn who’s a darling.

I really enjoyed the dynamics between Cole and Jane, it was fun, sweet, sexy and serious, add in Finn, and Cole especially didn’t stand a chance at staying aloof in any way.

What do both their futures hold when they live on different sides of the world, what is Cole going to do with his life now his rugby career is over and how can Jane trust another man, especially with her son. These were the big hurdles they both faced, so can a holiday romance become more? I was hoping it could as they made such a great couple.

Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for a digital copy in return for an honest review.

New Release Book Review: Firelight by Suzanne Cass

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Book #3 in the Stargazer Ranch series, this is the conclusion to the arsonist threat that has been targeting the Ranch since book #1 Combustion followed by book #2 Wildfire.

I really enjoyed Firelight, it had two good lead romantic characters, Tom and Emily, both with pasts they are running from, but there’s a chemistry between them they are finding hard to ignore.

The arsonist is still on the loose, but he’s diversifying in his threats towards Dean and the Ranch. Things get pretty hectic at times, especially for Emily and Tom.

I had my concerns about the person who it turned out to be, so I wasn’t surprised when it was revealed, I was surprised at just how insane that person was.

A really good conclusion to an enjoyable series.

Thanks to the author for a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

20backlistin2020 Book Review: Lapse by Sarah Thornton

Another #20backlistin2020 read, I’m not going to make the 20 unfortunately, but here’s one more that I’ve caught up on and it was a really good read.

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In the small town of Katinga Clementine Jones is hiding out from something that happened in her recent past. We are fed little bits about this event through the novel, but it isn’t until the end we find out the whole story. But we know that it’s something pretty bad and that is why Clementine wants to stay under the radar.

Clem has taken on the job of coaching the local footy team, a team that has lost for years. Everyone has high hopes she can get them to the finals. While Clem is a hard taskmaster, the guys respect her and she seems to be able to get the best out of them, even affecting them in their personal lives. While I enjoyed this part, the decisions that Clem makes throughout while she’s hunting for answers to why her lead player, Clancy has quit, seem to me to show that it’s all surface-level involvement.

I really did get annoyed with her, many times, for the decisions she makes throughout. Ones that bring danger, not just to herself, but to others around her who haven’t asked to be pulled into her one-woman, one mindset hunt for the truth.

Saying that, she was was persistent once she set her mind to things, no matter who she might upset or what danger might follow.

The corruption she uncovers goes deep and the things people will do to get what they want, make the mind boggle.

While Clem spends her time trying to uncover the truth, she tries to hold onto her own secrets.

Racism is rife in the town, I was saddened by this fact, and the way the indigenous people were treated, knowing this happens often in real-life makes it worse, when will it stop.

This was a fast-paced read where I questioned Clem’s decisions but respected her tenacity to ultimately try to make things right for Clancy. There are some frantic moments where you will wonder, has she gone too far.

I’m currently reading book #2 White Throat, Clem is on the hunt once again to uncover a crime.

Thanks to NetGalley and Text Publishing for a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

New Release Book Review: Mountain Arrow by Rachel Hennessy

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Mountain Arrow, book #2 of The Burning Days trilogy was hard to put down. Picking up from just after the end of River Stone, I was immediately taken straight back to the dystopian world of a time after The Burning, knowing now that creatures, feral or chimera exist, but not knowing how they came to be, only that they possibly pose a great danger to the people of the Mountain and River tribes.

Despite having read book #1 in May last year, I was easily able to remember the trials and the journey that Pan, Bayat and their friends had been on, and the outcomes of that journey.

Separated again, Pan back with the River people and Bayat back with the Mountain people, Pan is trying to make peace with what she knows and with having to once again live for the greater good.

Pan is faced with decisions, does she follow her own path, or live the one her people have laid out for her, (she was only slightly annoying once or twice in this book compared to my annoyance with her in book #1, her indecision between Bayat and Matthew, being my only bugbear).

When Bayat and his people show up asking for help, and then another group of survivors stumbles into their village, along with the issue of Emmaline, who was bitten in book one, turning into a creature, and secrets being unearthed, Pan and Bayat must once again go on a journey, this time to find answers and hopefully their friend Fatima who went missing in River Stone.

There are plenty of secrets unearthed in book #2 and plenty of danger coming from several directions. Mountain Arrow kept me interested the whole time.

I have no idea how the end is going to conclude, but I can’t wait to see if Pan and Bayat manage to achieve the goal they decide upon at the end of Mountain Arrow, I’m looking forward to the final book City Knife, next year.

Thanks to Midnight Sun Publishing for a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

New Release Book Review: Flying the Nest by Rachael Johns

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I wasn’t sure going into this newest novel by Rachael Johns whether I would be able to connect with the story never having been married or had kids, I wondered if I would really ‘get’ the whole nest parenting idea. But, I’m really happy to say that I loved this novel and connected with Ashling and her circumstances easily.

Inthe beginning, I found Ashling a little hard to like, but she definitely grew as a person as the story went on. She found out who she was and discovered what she wanted out of life.

I disliked her husband Adrian from the first page and I kept worrying that they would end up getting back together, she really was much better of without him. Ashling is completely thrown when Adrian tells her he wants to try nest parenting, it wouldn’t be my idea of how to share custody and it was interesting to see how they navigated the situation and the issues they had to deal with.

I loved that this is set just up the road from me, albeit a fictional town of Ragged Point, and completely understood how healing it was for Ashling to stay in the coastal village, as I moved to what was a coastal village 22 years ago in order to heal myself and have never wanted to leave either. I really appreciated how she decided to tackle the renovation of the cottage she was staying in and didn’t give in to her need to continually worry about how her children were getting on when it was her husband’s week to have them. In this way, she was able to make new friends and rediscover who she was away from being a mother and a wife.

Jedda, the owner of the Café in Ragged Point, was a delightful character and their meeting provided just the kind of friendship that both Ashling and Jedda were missing.

I loved Dan, Ashling’s neighbour, what a great guy, and such a contrast to her soon to be ex-husband, I wish I could meet a real-life Dan. Dan’s friendship and then relationship with Ashling, was another piece that helped in Ashling’s journey.

This was a really wonderful read and I was totally absorbed from start to finish.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia for a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

New Release Book Review: Montana – Lyrebird Lake #1 by Fiona McArthur

The first in the Lyrebird Lake series by Fiona McArthur, we meet Montana who has recently lost her husband and is about to give birth on a mountain. A trained midwife, she takes this in her stride and when her friends brother Andy comes looking for her he is instantly charmed by her.

I liked Montana, who is still struggling with grief and coming to terms with being a single mum. When Andy offers her a chance to get away to Lyrebird Lake with the hope she will want to work at his hospital, she jumps at the chance.

I really liked Andy, he was single-minded and passionate about his hospital, and he was adorable with Dawn, Montana’s newborn baby girl. I loved how he gave Montana space to come to terms with her loss and her feelings at the same time as gently pushing her to move on and start a new life. I also loved how open he was about his feelings towards Montana, not being afraid to say what he felt even if she rejected him.

The people of Lyrebird Lake all thought a lot of Andy and were so welcoming to Montana, it would be lovely to live in such a great community.

This was a sweet, feel good romance.

I’m looking forward to book 2.

Thanks to the author for providing me with a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.