New 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

Pre-release Book Review: First Fate by Kendall Talbot

What a ride this read took me on, talk about disasters of epic proportions! I am really glad I’m not a fan of cruise ships because I’m not sure I’d ever want to take another cruise after this.

When the first EMP struck, I had no idea just how much terror was going to occur for the 1100 passengers and crew who were on board.

We live through the nightmare and chaos their world has turned into through four main characters. Each has their own demons to deal with if they want to survive. The characters were easy to get to know, easy to like, or feel empathy for, or in one case, not like so much.

Things go from worrying to downright terrifying as events on the ship go from bad to worse. Plenty will die, others will show their true colours and others will step up when needed, one or two may even find love. One thing’s for Sue, there’s never a dull moment, barely even time to draw a breath.

This novel has a cliffhanger ending, but book 2 is due out very soon, I can’t wait.

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

Publication date 21st January 2021 preorder now Amazon AU

Pre-Release Book Review: The Alice Equation by Davina Stone

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This was such a fun, sexy read, Alice and Aaron were really enjoyable characters to get to know. Both very different in many ways, they have been best friends for years, unfortunately, Alice has been in love with Aaron for years, but he has never even thought to look at her in that way, he’s always taken it for granted that Alice, his safe, reliable friend will always be there bailing him out of whatever situation he finds himself in.

This is a friends to lovers, fake girlfriend romance, with plenty of humour. When Aaron first asked Alice to be his fake girlfriend, I really felt for her and the dilemma she found herself in. Egged on by her friend Polly who gives her some pretty good tips on how to make Aaron see her as more than just a friend, she decides to help him out, whilst hoping that just maybe, he might actually decide he wants her as his girlfriend.  

Both characters do a lot of learning about themselves as the fake relationship becomes something more and they both start to question their choices in life and take a look at themselves. Aaron has to confront some painful past and present family issues, while Alice is dropped a bombshell by her mother, another person who has taken her for granted.

I thoroughly enjoyed this sexy, fun romance set in my hometown of Perth and look forward to more by Davina Stone.

Publish date Jan 8th 2021 Preorder Amazon AU

Pre-Release Book Review: Right Moves by A. M Arthur

Right Move is book #6 in the Clean Slate Ranch series of which I’ve enjoyed them all. This one brings together two of the minor characters that were in the previous books as well as letting us see how all the other couples on Clean Slate are going.

I really liked George who suffers from serious social anxiety issues, having a bit of a struggle with this myself, I could fully appreciate how hard it was for him to take each step out of his comfort zone. As we uncover George’s reasons behind his anxiety, it’s a really traumatic experience for him. I also really liked Levi, who hasn’t quite found his place yet and is still searching. When these two meet, sparks are there, and both men are surprised at the choices they make regarding forming some sort of relationship with the other. I loved how supportive and patient Levi was with George, how he let him move forward at his own pace while at the same time offering him safe reasons to do just that.

George’s brother annoyed me a bit with his overprotectiveness, at times he seemed quite aggressive about keeping George away from any possible chance of being hurt. I got that he had been protecting George because of things that had happened in his past, but I wanted to tell him to back off and let his brother start to live again. Communication would have helped between these two, and when they finally did communicate and when George was brave enough to stand up for what he’d realised he wanted, things were much smoother between them all.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable and sweet romance between two men who deserve to find the one. It’s always enjoyable to return to Clean Slate Ranch.

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

New 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: Transit of Angels by Desney King

IMG_20201004_174817.jpgThis novel was exquisite in every way, the language and imagery drew me in and led me along on a beautiful journey, where the landscape and settings were as clear as if I were there myself. Desney King’s writing is like poetry and conveys so much depth.

This is far more than just a story of grief, I went into this novel knowing very little about it and I had no idea the journey I was about to be taken on or how deep this novel would prove to be.  

My journey with Angel was a powerfully moving one, I didn’t want to break the connection, even wandering along the beach at a determinedly slow pace so that I could continue to read as I walked.

From the very start, this novel had me in tears and by the end, I’d been through every emotion I can think of. The tears came on and off completely unexpectedly at times and near the end, I felt I was about to have my heart ripped out again.

I loved Angel, as she dealt with her grief, and as she explored what happens to us after death, as she looked for signs and asked is there still a connection to our loved ones? I loved how she used art to help her heal, being an Art Therapist I know how powerful a tool this can be. And how she allowed the quaint mudbrick cottage on the river to help heal her. 

So much of the spiritual nature of this novel spoke to me, many of the ideas that Angel learns about are the very things I’ve been searching for and dabbling in for nearly 20 years. Maybe this book is a message for me to take up the search again.

The cast of characters that help Angel through her loss were wonderful, all with their own painful pasts and secrets, all who have learnt or are still learning to move on with life. I especially loved Clyde, an older gentleman who becomes a friend and a great source for Angel to learn about the spiritual realm. There were also characters who weren’t so nice, who were judgemental and unsupportive, but even these people have lessons for Angel to learn.

This is a novel that will stay with me, and one that I will revisit again in the not distant future.

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

Release date for this novel is 19th October 2020.

Preorder now Booktopia AU   Bookdepository    Amazon AU    Amazon US    Amazon UK

New Release Book Review: When Grace Went Away by Meredith Appleyard

IMG_20200420_125856When Grace Went Away by Meredith Appleyard is the second novel I have read by this author, I do have a few more of her novels waiting on my shelf and I do aim to get to those as soon as is possible. This was a very enjoyable read, there was so much in it to explore and uncover. A dysfunctional family and grief being two important themes running through the story. There is also romance and forgiveness, relationships, friendship, and discovering who one truly is and what they want out of life regardless of age.

I found this a hard book to put down and even took it to work with me just in case I got the opportunity to read some, which amazingly I did.

The family members in this novel are all so different and so complicated. Grace, the eldest of the four siblings was sent away to boarding school at a young age and she’s never fit into the family in quite the way she wished because of this. She has a high power job with a financial institution and is off to London to start a new position. This is the catalyst to a load of changes that are about to happen to the Fairley family members.

Grace goes to London, following a dream she thought she wanted, before she left, she met Aaron while she was back in Miners Ridge saying a last goodbye to her family, and Aaron causes her to question some of the things she believed she wanted and didn’t want out of life. I could really feel the struggles that Grace was going through, things she’d always controlled changed once she left Australia, her family seemed to be changing and making decisions without her and she meanwhile was feeling very much out of control and conflicted in the choices she’d made.

Grace’s mother, Sarah, was a complex character, she’d left her husband and children a few years after the death of her youngest son and this caused a lot of strain and severing of ties with her children and the town she had lived in for over 30 years. She has struggled to come to terms with what she has been through and when Grace leaves and her elderly mother passes away, she has to take a look at her life and at nearly 70 years of age, she is determined to make some changes. I really loved the journey that Sarah went through, the growth she found, and the relationships she formed, through taking a chance on changing her circumstances.

Sarah’s decisions also cause a domino of changes to her other two children and her ex-husband who live back in Miners Ridge, the town she left 8 years before. There is plenty of emotion, recriminations, and learning that happens for all the family members who all have some pretty big issues of their own to deal with.

There are so many dynamics in this novel and I was completely absorbed in the lives of this family. I loved all the characters, though the jury is out on Grace’s father Doug.

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

Publication date 18/5/2020

Buy from HarperCollins Australia

#AWW2020    27/50

New Release Book Review: Paw Prints of Love: An Anthology

Paw Prints of LoveI’m not a big reader of anthologies, but I’d been hearing about Paw Prints of Love wen it was still accepting contributions so I was excited to be able to get an early copy, I’m also a big dog lover and all of these stories revolve around dogs and the dog beauty parlour The Funny Bone in one way or another and are set in the south coast of Western Australia in the town of Stonecrest Bay.

The first story was All the Good Stuff by Lisa Knight and was a perfect introduction to the town of Stonecrest Bay. I thoroughly enjoyed this short story, from the opening lines where Emma is letting loose a flour bomb, I just knew I was going to love the humour Lisa Knight has imbued into this story. I’m already in love with the small town of Stonecrest Bay. This was a really fun, feelgood romance, and in such a short story, (30 minutes reading time), so much happened. I loved Chipper the dog who pulled it all together. I’ll be looking out for more writing by Lisa Knight.

Rescued Hearts by Fiona Greene I really enjoyed this one, this was definitely one of those ‘meant to be’ encounters between two lost souls.

A Barking Chaperone by Helen Walton A was short and sweet, love at first sight all down to a beagle determined to find trouble at every turn.

A Toast to Paddy by Teena Raffa An unlikely romance between two older people, I didn’t like either of the characters to start with, but as they warmed towards each other, and to Paddy, they warmed for me too.

Homecoming by Leah Kinninmont A friends to lovers story about two long time friends who finally get their acts together and see what is in front of them. I really enjoyed this one, especially seeing Harley, an employee at The Funny Bone, get the love he is looking for.

Jakes Dilemma by Susan Dunn This was another enjoyable story. I wasn’t sure where this one was going or how it was going to end up, but I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome and could easily see another story to follow on from this one.

Catching Curls by Jenny Lynch This is Abbey’s story, she works at The Funny Bone and volunteers for the weekend at a CanTeen surfing camp for teens. She meets pro surfer Travis Scott who is volunteering his time in between competitions. It’s love or lust at first sight for these two in this short and sweet romance.

For the Love of Dogs by Lisa Wolstenholme don’t judge a dog by its behaviour, at least when it’s a puppy or is a newcomer to the home. Sarah broke up her relationship months before because her boyfriend, Rick chose his dog Tobey over her, or so it seemed, now she hates dogs, but after being put in charge of her mum’s dog Daisy for a couple of weeks and running into Rick and Tobey, things are about to change.

Puddles Valentine by Carolyn Wren super short, but super sweet.

Chasing Love by P.L Harris The last story in the anthology and where the owner of The Funny Bone, Dee Chambers gets her chance at finding love. When Travis’s cousin Luke comes to town to catch up with his cousin, the last thing he expects is to meet Dee who immediately catches his interest and him hers. He’s supposed to be passing through, but maybe he should think about staying around. This was a great story to end our visit to Stonecrest Bay with, a story full of a potential future of true love.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable anthology that allowed me to dip in and out of Stonecrest Bay at leisure, I only wish I could move there myself and find my true love.

Thanks to Gumnut Press for a digital copy of this anthology in return for an honest review.

Releases 29th April 2020     Join the release party on Facebook  

Buy Links:         Gumnut Press            Amazon AU ebook            Amazon AU paperback

  Amazon US ebook    Amazon UK ebook

 

#AWW2020   29/50

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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Pre-Release Book Review: Claire Malone Changes the World by Nadia L King

Claire MaloneClaire Malone Changes the World is a really wonderful picture book for young children about one little girl who takes it upon herself to try and right the wrongs of the world. This is a heavy burden for one little girl to carry and she learns by the end of the story to focus on issues closer to home rather than worrying about all the issues of the world, she even learns to have fun.

I read this book myself and then with my 5-year-old nephew. He loved the illustrations which help to tell this story just perfectly. We had a discussion about the issues Claire Malone faced with constantly worrying about everything she read on the internet and on the news. He thought Claire learning to have fun and work on changing local things was a good plan, one that we decided would work better than worrying about the whole world.

While it is important children have an understanding of greater issues affecting this messed up world of ours, it’s also decidedly important that we don’t let our children become consumed with worrying about things at the risk of missing out on being children. I thought that way Nadia L King dealt with this was done really well.

I definitely hope that Claire Malone keeps her desire to change the world as she grows and when she’s older that she can make bigger differences. This is a great lesson to teach our kids. I know my nephew and I will revisit this book as he gets older and we will continue to have some interesting conversations around it. I think slightly older children will get more out of this book than my 5-year-old nephew, but I think it’s great to start these conversations while they are young.

This ties in extremely well with 16-year-old Greta Thunberg who has been doing her own thing to change the world recently.

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

Publish date 28th November 2019

Preorder links and teacher notes

Goodreads