Book Review: Bound by Truth by Suzanne Cass

Bound by TruthI have read end enjoyed books by Suzanne Cass in the past, so when I was given the opportunity to read her new novel, I jumped at the chance. What an enjoyable read this was, full of tension, romance, suspense, danger, likeable and unlikeable characters. It is the first in a new series called Island Bound and I am looking forward to future books.

I really liked the two main characters in this novel Sierra and Reid who are both living on the Island for different reasons, but both for a chance to get away from the things life has thrown at them.

The setting of Kangaroo Island is very interesting to me, this is the third book I’ve read set on this island this year, I’m thinking I’ll have to go and visit one day soon.

Sierra has had heartbreak and tragedy in her life and has been living on Kangaroo Island for quite a few years, she is a bit of a loner and because of past losses, is loathe to let anyone get close to her. She also has a stalker who has targeted her due to an article she wrote about abducted children and the polices seemed incompetence. Now there is a child missing on the peaceful island, and she’s been looking at further abduction cases in South Australia, could they all be related or is that too much of a coincidence.

Reid is the new police officer in town and when he meets Sierra there is a connection there that Sierra tries to deny, but Reid is nothing if not persistent. There is also a deeper connection that will cause heartache and danger, I’m not sure how I would have dealt with finding out what these two find out, possibly much the same way as Sierra does.

The search for the missing child is all hands on deck and more than one terrible secret will be uncovered during the search.

This novel had me reading past my bedtime (I feel lucky that I’ve had so many great books like this this year).

 

Thanks to Suzanne Cass for a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

 

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New Release book Review: The Good Woman of Renmark by Darry Fraser

IMG_20191113_183424Within the first couple of pages, Darry Fraser managed to transport me, once again, to another time and place, and there I stayed for the whole novel. It is 1895 in Renmark, South Australia, and a tough young woman has just defended herself and her friend from a rapist. Fearing repercussion she is now on the run for her life and her freedom.

What a time to live in, where women have a lot fewer rights than men and a man’s word will always mean more than that of a woman’s. Maggie doesn’t think this is fair at all and refuses to live her life being a slave to a man and popping out babies (I so agree with her!).

I really liked Maggie, she was stubborn, tough, opinionated and determined, all things women in that time, and this need to get by (though at times she was too stubborn). I loved Sam, talk about loyal, what a fabulous friend to have in times like this. Sam was so in love with Maggie, throughout I just kept hoping Maggie would see that Sam wasn’t the kind of guy to make her give up her independence and give in to her feelings for him.

This was a great journey down the Murray River, seeing how others in that time lived and struggled to make ends meet. The horrible characters from Renmark, it turns out there is one more than we originally think, are not nice people at all, not in behaviour or morally and there were moments I wished that Maggie had truly finished the job she started when she defended herself and her friend.

This was another great read by Darry Fraser and I truly love being transported to the late 1800s in her writing, I also am truly glad I don’t live in those times.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia for a copy in return for an honest review.

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Book Review: The Art of Friendship by Lisa Ireland

IMG_20191103_171448I bought this book when it first came out which is over a year ago now, I got just over a quarter of the way through but was getting annoyed with one of the main characters and obviously wasn’t in the mood for being annoyed because I put it down with the intention of picking it back up down the track, but it never happened. Luckily my friend has just started a bookclub and she chose The Art of Friendship as the first book our group needed to read, which gave me the opportunity to pick it back up. I started from the beginning as it had been so long between reads. And what a great novel it was, I still didn’t like Libby, the main character who annoyed me the first go-round, but this time I was in the right headspace to be able to deal with that.

This novel really does explore the many aspects of friendship, old friendships, new friendships, long-distance friendships, colleague friendships, friendships you make because you belong to the same group or because your kids go to school together, and the way they survive or don’t survive. It really made me think about the friendships I’ve had over the years and the ones I have now, those that are just a few likes on Facebook and those that interact, those I catch up with or chat to regularly and those that I might only have contact with now and again, but I know they are there for me if I ever need them. Not many of my friendships from childhood or even highschool have survived the test of time, (not past Fb anyway), which is kind of sad in a way but also made me wonder about those past friendships and why they died.

As I said, I didn’t like Libby, one of the two main characters, I found her need to please everyone, to make people think she was something she wasn’t, (to make herself be something she wasn’t), to be very annoying, I’ve never been one to pretend or to ‘keep up with the  Jones’, so I always find people like this very false. As the story progressed and you get an idea of why she is how she is, I still didn’t take to her, but despite that, I enjoyed the novel this time around.

Kit, on the other hand I liked a lot, yes she did make some questionable decisions and they both had a hand in making their friendship one that wasn’t wholly based on truth and honesty, but she was still more real and likeable than Libby.

I liked the way Lisa Ireland drew out the secondary characters backstories and how we think we know one thing about them but it turns out to be something completely different, I especially liked that in reference to Libby’s husband.

With Libby’s son, we get to explore, bullying, mental health, and healthy parenting and some of the outcomes are unexpected. Lisa Ireland has done a great job of bringing these important aspects to life and giving you something to think about.

Spousal abuse is yet another theme that comes up in this novel, why and how people let it happen and how they are able to hide it, also, how friends and colleagues miss or justify signs that it is happening. It isn’t a straightforward topic and there isn’t always a way out or a right way of dealing with it.

Lisa explores so many themes in this novel and she does it so well. A really great story that I’m glad I finally got around to finishing.

Book Review: In the Heat of the Night by Susanne Bellamy

In the heat of the nightThis is the second book I’ve read in the new Bindarra Creek series, I’ve read them out of order and though they do work well as standalones, I would recommend you read them in order. In the Heat of the Night is book #2 in the Bindarra Creek Reborn series and I loved it. Fire wasn’t the only thing burning in this novel, there were plenty of sparks between our two main characters Kel and Thalia.

I loved the strength and determination that Thalia had, she was also stubborn, caring and loved her family to bits. Kel is known as the town’s ladies man, a love them and leave them kind of guy, but Thalia may be about to change all that, completely blindsighting Kel. underneath Kel is much more than a ladies man, he’s captain of the fire station and a loving son to dad Keegan, who is going through some bad times.

Mixed in with this budding relationship are fires, a potential arsonist, an accident, grief, and food.

Food plays a big role in bringing these two together and helping to start the healing for Kel’s dad Keegan. I want to go out and try some Greek food myself after reading this, and I am by no means a foodie. Thalia’s Greek parents add an extra layer to this story with some added humour, especially her dad.

An important issue Susanne Bellamy brings up in this novel is one of thinking about our older generation of people and what happens to them when they reach retirement age, especially in the rural communities, what is there for these people (who have given so much) to do so that they continue to feel useful and have interests to make them want to keep going, especially for those who retirement isn’t an option they have chosen themselves.

I really liked how this relationship grew changing both characters as they learnt more about themselves and each other. A highly enjoyable read.

Thanks to the author and Booksprout for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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Book Review: Diamond in the Dust by Mel A Rowe

Diamond in the dustDiamond in the Dust is book 2 in the Elsie Creek series set in outback NT and was a highly enjoyable romance about two unlikely people. Mel A Rowe does a good job of describing the remote outback and its eclectic cast of characters.

I enjoyed meeting Verily, a world champion softballer, who has never before had to decide where her future is heading and what she wants, until an accident changes all that and takes away all she knew and all she lived for. I’ve changed my direction in life several times (maybe more), but mostly those redirections have been my choices, I can’t imagine having those choices taken from me, leaving me floundering to figure out where I was heading to now.

Verily has come to Elsie Creek to stay with her Aunt on her farm and is very lost, she a bit aloof and standoffish at first, especially when it comes to local boy Alex who is also living and working on her Aunt’s property, (their initial meeting doesn’t help matters).

Alex is a really great guy and is doing his best to start following his dreams, compared to Verily, he knows exactly what he wants, but his relationship with his dad is holding him back from going completely forward. 

I loved the friendship that slowly developed between Verily and Alex, slowly they pushed each other out of their comfort zone and helped each other figure out where they were heading. They both required a fair bit of pushing, especially Verily when it came to helping out the local softball team (there may have been some slightly underhanded dealings going on with getting her to face this issue).

Once again we are introduced to some interesting characters that make up the local softball team, some more likeable than others (ie. the coach, not really likeable). There’s a very unlikeable female character who plays slightly dirty in an attempt to get her way. Cecil the water buffalo is still roaming the streets of Elsie Creek, brightening everyone’s day just a little and causing trouble a little too.

I was definitely barracking for Verily and Alex to get their acts together and figure out their futures.

Thanks to Mel A Rowe for providing me with a copy of this novel.

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Book Review: Loving Lucas by Jayne Kingsley

loving lucasI thoroughly enjoyed this romance novel, it had a sassy leading lady, Miranda, who has been quietly in love with one of her dad’s colleagues, Lucas, for a couple of years, but she’s decided it’s time to make him notice her. I loved the way Miranda chose to go about this, especially the help her best friend gives her.

Lucas has issues and in true stubborn male fashion, he keeps all his feelings and doubts to himself, while silently beating himself up about a past he had no control over. For such a confident business guy, he was sorely lacking in self-belief when it came to what he deserved.

Homelessness is something I’m pretty passionate about, I’ve always said if I win the lotto I will find a way to build some sort of homeless shelter, and I loved that this was something Miranda was so passionate about and used her knowledge as an architect and her dad’s company to make this happen.

At times Miranda showed her naivety, but I still enjoyed the interactions between her and Lucas and was hoping that things would work out for them, when or if Lucas finally pulled his head out of his ass.

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

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New Release Book Review: Up On Horseshoe Hill by Penelope Janu

IMG_20191105_105502Oh, how I do love reading a novel by Penelope Janu, it’s always an absolute pleasure and I find them hard to put down. Up On Horseshoe Hill is no exception, I read until the early hours of the morning and picked it up again as soon as I was awake.

I fell in love with Finn our leading man straight away (I seem to fall in love with all the leading men in Penelope Janu’s novels), he was lovely.

Tasked with investigating the deaths of several horses a few years before, Finn is determined to do his job, in doing so, he brings up memories better forgotten by Jet/Jemima, as well as a few other people who would like the investigation dropped. It becomes obvious that a potential crime may have been committed and this leads to danger for Jet.

Finn and Jet had a connection straight up, but the relationship that develops took its time as Jet has to learn to trust as well as realise Finn isn’t going to let his investigation go.

I really enjoyed the aspect of Jet’s job that allowed her to take her horses for children with disabilities to ride, working with people with disabilities and also being an art therapist, I know how wonderfully beneficial these beautiful animals are to healing and confidence.

I learnt a lot about what being a farrier involves and loved the zoo aspect of this story, I never realised how much you would need to know about various animals behaviour to work in this field. I also love the fact that Penelope Janu shows that despite the fact Jet has a learning disability, she is successful in her career choice, that there are always ways to work around things that could hold us back.

There was plenty to enjoy in this novel, family relationships, or lack thereof, friendship, romance, danger and mystery, small-town community and so much more. I also liked the way Ms Janu brings a much-loved character of mine from her previous novels into this story, Nate is an absolute honey that I have been hoping will find his own love of his life, alas I’ve been informed it won’t be happening just yet, but he will make more appearances in future books.

Up On Horseshoe Hill is out on the 18th November 2019, preorder your copy now, or rush out and buy it in 4 days time, it would make a great Christmas present.

Thank you to Harlequin Australia for providing me with a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

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