New Release Book Review: Hard Ride by A.M. Arthur

Hard RideHard Ride: A Gay Cowboy Romance (Book 5 Clean Slate Ranch series) by A.M. Arthur had me up all night reading to see if our two main characters, Slate and Derrick could go from fake boyfriends to something real. I have enjoyed this whole series so far and this newest book was no exception.

This one takes us away from Clean Slate Ranch, though all the previous characters I’ve come to know and love, regularly make appearances. After Slate has an accident he makes a deal with Derrick, they will be fake boyfriends for the summer, so Derrick has a date for 5 family weddings he has to attend, and in return Slate can recuperate at his place in the city where he has access to medical facilities.

The fake boyfriend/girlfriend trope is not a new one, but I personally haven’t read many of them, and I really enjoyed this one, watching them fall for each other, they already knew they had the chemistry, but watching that chemistry turn to something more was really enjoyable even if they were both too stubborn to say anything to each other. Cue best friends who can help out.

I loved the new cast of supporting characters who live in Derrick’s house and who Slate also becomes good friends with. I especially liked Dez who’s sweet, quirky and an individual and made Slate’s time recovering more enjoyable and set him on a new and completely different path from his former interests.

Slate has kept a secret from everyone, a teenage daughter who he is desperate to form a proper relationship with. I liked the way this played out and I liked how open she was to Slate and Derrick’s relationship and how that made her look at her dad in a new and better way.

A really enjoyable romance and I’ll be cheering this couple on, as I have for all the couples so far. I hope there is another book in this series to look forward to.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin – Carina Press for a digital copy in return for an honest review.

 

New Release Book Review: Promise Me Forever by Juanita Kees

I really Promise Me Foreverenjoy each journey to Bindarra Creek and this latest novel set in the small country town, full of interesting characters and people who know what community means was a delight.

Promise Me Forever (Bindarra Creek A Town Reborn #8) has a touch of magic (maybe a little more than a touch) and was a fun read with two main characters who were very easy to fall in love with and to hope they could fall in love with each other.

Jack has one agenda when he comes to town to make a report on the small town of Bindarra Creek, and that is to get out of the headlines and back into real reporting, he’s not too sure about doing what he perceives to be a fluff piece on how the locals are trying to save their town.

Headstrong Meg is determined to make the dream of her granny’s museum become a reality and help put Bindarra Creek on the map. She truly hopes that Jack is the right person to help her do this, but has some serious doubts.

As the two get to know each other and discover what makes the other tick, they get more than they bargained for. And when they go off into the outback in search of a missing friend who is under the suspicion of murder, the chemistry between them heats up.

I really enjoyed the interactions between these two and I loved the way they had the magic spark and the magic of the cards between them. I enjoyed feisty Aunty Phyl’s character, she was a good laugh with her sharp tongue and her desire to protect Meg.

I always enjoy a good romantic suspense and Juanita Kees does this genre so well. With good characters and a wonderful town to set the story in, I can definitely recommend Promise Me Forever.

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

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#AWW2020 9/50

Mailbox Monday – lots of lovely bookmail

I got some lovely bookmail surprises last week and then more today.

Three great sounding books from Allen & Unwin Australia, I’m especially looking forward to reading and learning about Truganini, ‘the last Tasmania Aborigine’.

Then a book from Better Reading Bookclub, this sounds good, another new Australian Australian author for me.

The last three arrived today from Serenity Press, I’d completely forgotten I ordered the gorgeous children’s book last month. It is soooo gorgeous, I was originally going to give it to my nephew, but I’m going to keep it and use it in my art therapy business as well as read it to him when he visits. I’ll do a review on it this week.

Also from Serenity Press is the lovely gratitude journal I won, I look forward to using this daily as well as posting on Karen’s Facebook page. And one of Karen’s novels about uncertainty, I’m looking forward to reading it.

That’s my bookmail for this month I imagine, but it will keep me busy.

 

 

New Release Book Review: Bound by Silence by Suzanne Cass

Bound by SilenceBound by Silence by Suzanne Cass is book #2 in the Island Bound series and while it can be read as a standalone, the two main characters, Sierra and Reed, from book #1 Bound by Truth, play a pretty big role in this novel and they will continue into the next, so I’d advise you to read book #1 first, saying that, you won’t be lost if you don’t but the first book was really good and lays some of the backgrounds for our characters.

In Bound by Silence, we meet Keira, who is living in Hawaii and who witnesses a crime, watches her house be consumed by lava and is now on the run from some seriously bad guys. I kept changing my opinion of Keira, I liked her, then I thought she was a spoiled brat, followed by feeling terribly sorry for what she’d been through with her husband and being able to understand where some of her behaviours and thoughts come from, then liking her again. I wanted her to show some of the mettle she’d shown at the beginning of the story when she starts out on the run, but now and again she slipped into complete victim mode, which annoyed me. But at the same time, she’d lived through a lot and now her life was in danger, she was allowed to act like a victim for a while.

The things that Keira went through with her husband were quite hard to read about, she suffered terrible emotional abuse at his and others’ hands and that made her trust no one, while at the same time feeling that she was worth nothing. It is hard to fathom how people can blame themselves so completely for the way other people treat them when it is those people who are to blame.

I really liked Dalton, a bounty hunter, who inadvertently ends up rescuing Keira and becomes a target for the bad guys too. He struggled with what was right, morally and by the law, but chose to believe Keira and keep her safe while finding a way to prove she is innocent of a crime she’s been set up for in order to flush her out.

Keira’s sister Sierra and her now fiance Reed turn up in Hawaii as all this is going down, and using their skills as journalist and police officer, they go about tracking down evidence to help clear Keira’s name and prove who the bad guys really are.

There are some pretty hairy moments throughout this novel, where things could go either way for all four of our good guys, and there is a surprising twist, proving you don’t always know the people you think you do.

I did enjoy the chemistry between Dalton and Keira and I liked how much restraint and respect Dalton showed towards Keira. Some of the banter was fun too.

An enjoyable sequel in this series, I look forward to book three when Keira and Sierra go looking for their brother who seems to have disappeared.

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

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#AWW2020 9/50

A-Z Author Challenge – Update

A-Z

I’ve now crossed off 4 letters from the A-Z Authors Challenge, M, Q, W, X, I’m going slowly, but I am 1 book behind, I may have to make changes to the books I’ve put down, but for now I’ll leave it as it is.

A – Alissa Callen – The Boundary Fence

B – Anna Bradley – To Wed a Wild Scot

C – T.M Clark – Cry of the Firebird

D – Pip Drysdale – The Strangers We Know

E – Ella Carey – Beyond the Horizon

F – Fiona Lowe – Just an Ordinary Family

G – Kathryn Gauci – Conspiracy of Lies

H –  Susan Hoddy – Security

I – Sue Ingleton – Making Trouble

J- Rachael Johns – Just One Wish

K – kim Kelly – Walking

L – Julian Leatherdale – The Opal Dragonfly

M- Katie McGarry – Echoes Between Us

N- Joanna Nell – The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker

O – Sunni Overend –

P – P.J Tracy – Ice Cold Heart

Q – Kate Quinn – The Alice Network

R – Kelly Rimmer –  The Things We Cannot Say

S – Sasha Wasley – Love Song

T – Kendall Talbot – Out of Luck

U – Jacquie Underdown – Meet Me in the Middle

V – Vanessa Diffenbaugh – The Language of Flowers

W – Carol Wyer – The Blossom Twins

X – Alix E Harrow – The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Y

Z – Tiffany Reisz – The Rose

Book Bingo 2020 – Round 2: Friendship, Family, Love – Gang of Four by Liz Byrski

This is the second post for #BookBingo2020 hosted by Theresa Smith Writes & Mrs B’s Book Reviews & The Book Muse

IMG_20200208_101625Gang of Four

Gang of Four by Liz Byrski was chosen as our bookclub read at my face to face bookclub, I’ve read other books by Liz Byrski in the past and thoroughly enjoyed them, and this one was just as good as I remember them being. This fit perfectly into the Friendship, Family, Love square as this book had all three in huge amounts.

The four women in this novel are all dealing with different things, but it takes Isabel making the decision to take a year for herself away from her husband and grown-up children, to make the other three women take a good look at their own lives and decide to make changes too.

These three women, Isabel, Grace, Sally and Robin are all so different, and my feelings towards each of them went through many changes through the course of the novel as I got to know them, their backgrounds and their dreams. They all changed a lot during the year they took to find themselves and discover what they needed to to live life more fully.

There was trauma, the loss of a child, the loss of self, family expectations, affairs, secrets,  growth, death, illness and love in its many shades. It was a really enjoyable tale that made me look at some of the things in my life and wonder.

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Guest Blog Post: Jenn J McLeod + Giveaway

Today I have a Short and Sweet blog post from the fabulous Jenn J McLeod, who shares with us IMG_20200202_132219some interesting bits about herself. She’s also offering one of my lovely followers the chance to win a Kindle copy of her newest book House of Wishes, which is sitting on my shelf glaring at me as I write this. All you need to to win this wonderful novel is share this post and leave a comment below and/or on my FB page for Jenn.

I’m trying something new so please after reading Jenn’s interesting bits, scroll down to fill in the form to enter to win.

Guilty pleasure?

Corona with lime and date scones (only not at the same time).

Pet peeve?

Piracy sites that present so legitimate that readers unknowingly hand over their details (details often then sold to marketing companies) or people inadvertently allow these sites access to their computers when they download that ‘so-called’ free book. The only good FREE book—that rewards and recognises the author’s effort—is the one borrowed from a library.

If you could pack two non-essential items for a deserted tropical island, what would they be?

An endless supply of Corona and self-slicing lime, and a magic e-Reader that never runs out of power or books.

Worst thing about being a writer?

Never believing you or your work is good enough—even after six books. (That may be a Virgo thing!)

Favourite perfume/cologne:

My go-to is always Channel No. 5, but not even that can mask the dust, dirt and sunbaked cow dung smells of the bush.

The best non-writing related prize I won was (meat raffle/free holiday/bingo game)…

I never win anything.

What theme do you hope shines through in your latest novel – House of Wishes?

Thank you for this question . . . Due to the number of family and social issues I cover in this novel, I could go on ad nauseum. Instead, here’s me being brief:

  1. How far we’ve come as a country in terms of women’s right to choose, but how easily the work done by generations of women in the past can slip away if we don’t keep speaking up about a woman’s right to choose.
  2. Strength from the realisation that life can throw us curve balls, but to keep believing in the power of wishes.
  3. An understanding that family is about connection rather than blood.

How do you respond if someone smirks and gives you flack for writing ‘that sort of fiction’?

I say: “I’m so lucky! I love writing popular women’s fiction over any other genre because it’s, err, popular!! And popular means more readers and more money in the bank for doing something I enjoy doing.”

They say (smirk waning): “You actually make money from writing those sort of novels?”

Me: “Boom, drop the mic!” *winks* *grins* *walks away*

My favourite thing about women’s fiction is…

The winking, grinning and walking away bit!

Thank you so much for hosting me. I’d love to offer one of your readers a Kindle version of House of Wishes in return for sharing this post (or at least telling their Mum or sister or best friend!)

 

IMG_20200202_133610House of Wishes:

A story for mothers, daughters, fathers and sons:

about the choices we make, the connections that matter,

the secrets we keep, and the power of a wish.

(available in print, ebook and in audio)

 

About Jenn J. McLeod:

Five-times published with Simon & Schuster and the UK’s Head of Zeus, Jenn’s first book, House for all Seasons, was the #5 best-selling debut fiction novel in 2013. Two years later she downsized her life (packing everything she owned into a purple and white caravan she calls Myrtle the Turtle) and is now Australia’s nomadic novelist. She says she’s planning to do “several big laps of Oz very slowly”, ticking things off her bucket list along the way, and finding inspiration for more heart-warming tales of friendship and family—contemporary stories with a backdrop of country life.

Her 6th novel—House of Wishes—is now available: www.jennjmcleod.com

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