New Release Book Review: Matters of the Heart by Fiona Palmer

IMG_20190824_150130A true Aussie rural retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I have to admit to having never read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I vaguely recall watching an adaptation years ago, but can’t honestly recall the story, though I have a vague gist of how it goes, along with the many Mr Darcy memes that are floating around.

I absolutely loved this novel, it was witty and fun, full of family and friendship and rural life. It’s been a long while since I picked up a book in the afternoon and refused to do anything other than read until I finished it, this book broke that drought.

The majority of characters in this book were so likeable and easy to relate to, it felt like I’d known them all for ages. I loved the Bennett family, especially Lizzie, our main character. She was headstrong and determined, she loved her family and her family farm and didn’t like being underestimated. Lizzie’s dad John was another favourite from the Bennett family, a wonderfully supportive dad, who had total faith in Lizzie and her ability as a farmer. I enjoyed the way he was portrayed and his reactions to his often overbearing wife brought a smile to my face.

Lizzie’s sisters and her friend Lottie were great support characters, especially Jane whose relationship with Charlie brings Will Darcy into Lizzie’s radar. These two clash completely, but maybe if they both keep an open mind, they might not have to be enemies. I really liked Will, a lot, I could just tell that underneath his snobbish exterior, there had to be more than met the eye.

There are of course the unlikeable characters, there were two of these, one very nasty female who thought she was all that when she really wasn’t and one slimy cowboy, who thought the same about himself. These two characters separately cause plenty of anxiety and issues between our characters.

This was a really heartwarming tale about being true to who you are and taking a risk on love.

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

Released 27/8/19

Buy Links

Hachette Australia

Amazon AU

Amazon US

Goodreads

Book Bingo Round 14 and New Release Book Review: Climbing Fear by Leisl Leighton

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So, another fortnight down and I finally get to post my review of this highly enjoyable book by Leisl Leighton that I’m using to mark off the square Book set in the Australian mountains. This novel is set at the southern end of the Victorian Alpine region, and sounds beautiful.

Screenshot_20190702_171110The setting of the area and the property CoalCliff Stud were very much part of the story. The atmospheric cover itself told me straight away I was in for a book with plenty of suspense.

There were two storylines that met at CoalCliff Stud, one was our main man Reid’s story and the other our main female character Nat’s story. Both are running from things that have happened to them and CoalCliff Stud is the place from their childhood where they both feel safe to do their healing.

I loved Nat’s daughter Tilly, who is trying hard to be brave for her mum. And I loved interfering Barb, who has drawn Nat back to CoalCliff Stud. Barb is a great secondary character and I really enjoyed the role she had to play in pushing Nat and Reid to face some truths of the past and the present. She was also such a warm character, just the person you would want to help you through tough times.

The layers of suspense throughout the novel were just right and kept me guessing till the end to see what would happen and who was responsible. There was one character I definitely had some suspicions about right from when he enters the scene but had no idea why he would be doing what I thought he was doing.

I really enjoyed the growing relationship between Reid and Nat and the way they helped each other heal, despite misunderstandings, and how they had to face their own truths along the way. I hope, seeing as this is the first in a new series, that we get to see how they are doing down the track in the next books.

Thanks to NetGalley and Escape Publishing for providing me with a digital copy in return for an honest review.

Amazon US

Amazon AU

Escape Publishing

 

 

Book Review: Shadows of Red Earth by Suzanne Cass

This was my first read by Suzanne Cass and I look forward to reading more of her books. This is book 3 in the Colours of the Earth series and though I haven’t read the first two books (something I plan on changing soon), this worked perfectly well as a standalone.

WShadows of Red Earth (Colours of the Earth Series Book 3)e meet Koen and Rose in the middle of nowhere, both on the run from their lives for completely different reasons. They are both really likeable and relatable characters, who in meeting each other change the course of each others lives.

Koen is from Balgo, an aboriginal community in the north of WA that I have heard a little about, Suzanne touches on some integral issues that affect the people living in these communities, youth suicide being a big one.

Rose is running away from a home that has started to feel like a prison due to some serious events that happened to her family in the past, a past that is going to once again impact of Rose and her family.

The path that their adventure takes them on once they decide to travel together is one fraught with danger and plenty of trouble. I really enjoyed the way these two interacted and the way their relationship blossomed as they ran from danger. I loved Roen’s character especially and was hoping he would come to realise how special a person he was. With plenty of suspense and a budding romance, this was a really enjoyable read.

 

 

Book Bingo Round 7 & Book Review: Wayward Heart by Cathryn Hein

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This fortnight I chose to pick the square first and then find a book that matched. I chose the square Book by an Author with the same initials as yours. Which lead me to pick up Cathryn Hein’s Wayward Heart.

davI’ve had this on my shelf for ages and at only 40 or so pages in, I knew I was going to love it. This is definitely my favourite Cathryn Hein novel to date. The subject matter combined with the writing just had something extra that drew me deeply into the story straight away.

There are many reasons we connect to certain stories. I connected with our female lead Jasmine straight away, she was real and flawed, having been involved with the wrong man, she was now trying to get over the relationship. I connected with Digby too, the hurt he felt, so deep inside for the loss of his fiance was heartbreaking.

This story had so many dynamics for me and took my heart for a ride throughout. Cathryn Hein has done a wonderful job making her characters and their circumstances complete. The guilt and blame the characters carried or lay at anothers feet, the healing that needed to be done in order to move on, the jealousy you can feel seeing a loved one succeed in something you feel should have been yours and the loss of direction in life, these are some of the concepts that spoke to me through this story.

This was an absolutely enjoyable story and I’m glad thanks to book Bingo, I got to it sooner rather than later.

Pre-release Book Review: Home at Last by Meredith Appleyard

This is my first book by Meredith Appleyard despite having one or two on my bookshelf. I was struggling to stick with a book when I picked this up, and thankfully it was a great decision because I couldn’t put it down.

IMG_20190307_141602Set in Broken Hill, an outback town I’ve only seen or heard of in books and movies, it’s nevertheless a place I can easily imagine especially after living in the WA Pilbara for a while.

Home at last is a story of new beginnings, new opportunities, new friends and relationships, about not letting the past dictate our future, taking responsibility for it but not letting it define us. It is also a story about secrets and who really benefits from keeping them.

I really enjoyed this book, Meredith did a great job of giving me a glimpse into the life of the people who work in the RFDS and the good and bad that they can experience everytime they are called out to a new patient. Anna is a pilot and her love for her new job and its challenges is clear, though it’s not always an easy job. Nick is the flight nurse, who does an incredible job and has given me a new appreciation for the job these nurses and doctors do with very little support.

I really loved Nick’s character, and I thought the way he knew what he wanted when it came to Anna and the way he wouldn’t give up was lovely. I enjoyed Anna’s character, I thought the choices she’d had to make as a single mum were hard ones, but she made them for the right reasons. I didn’t get however why she was so secretive about being a single mum, I started to get a little annoyed at her for this, especially when it came to Nick. Anna’s daughter Izzy was an interesting teenager and the relationship between them and Anna’s sister Teresa was definitely a supportive one, both were very lucky that Teresa was so willing to help with the responsibilities of caring for Izzy, something many other single mum’s wouldn’t have as part of their support system.

This story also highlighted some important matters, such as mental health, especially of those living in remote places, and the lack of close by support.

Another aspect was that of homelessness, especially in women over 50, which is becoming one of the biggest groups of people currently finding themselves homeless. Nick’s mother Marlene was quite a character and her homeless status was part of her own making and the lifestyle choices she’d made. It was interesting though to hear why she now said she chose to live in her car rather than go into a home and lose her independence. I loved how Anna formed a relationship with Marlene and the benefits each got from that relationship as the story developed.

I began to wonder as I neared the end if the story was going to have the happy ending I wanted it to have, there were so many secrets, misunderstandings and issues still to work through, part of me was afraid to keep reading, I do love a happy ending.

A really enjoyable read with some great characters, I will definitely look at getting my other Meredith Appleyard books read after enjoying this one so much.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia for providing me a digital copy to review.

Available 18th March 2019

Amazon AU

Amazon US

Harlequin Australia

 

Book Review:Secrets at Wongan Creek by Juanita Kees

Wow, this book certainly packed an emotional punch, at times I read with disbelief at the damage a person can do to another, emotionally and physically. Book two in the Wongan Creek series certainly lived up to my expectations following my enjoyment of Whispers at Wongan Creek.

IMG_20190227_001625We meet Tameka aka Tikki who is struggling to keep her farm running while dealing with a father she seems afraid of. We quickly get the idea there is some sort of abuse going on in that household, just what and how far that abuse stretches is the tale that Juanita Kees weaves as we delve into the past of Tikki and her neighbour and old love Harley.

There are many secrets that begin to be uncovered after a fire that nearly clains Tameka’s life. Memories come to the surface, old friends are thrown together, a town fights to keep its livelihood and shocks come left, right and centre.

Tameka’s father is a cruel hard man, one I could never begin to understand. Tameka’s belief she is to blame and responsible for all her father has done, is hard to understand. Thankfully I’ve never been in an abusive relationship the way she has, and hopefully I never will be. The guilt she carries for everything around her is huge and overwhelming. Domestic abuse is one of the ideas dealt with in this story, one none of us could understand unless we’ve been there.

The town of Wongan Creek fluctuates between holding Tameka responsible for their farming problems and realising she is not her father. The town however, I feel, has a lot to answer for in the fact they turned a blind eye to what might have been going on in Tameka’s home. For a small community, I felt angry that that community spirit and involvement wasn’t used to ensure that all was well, despite how much her father was disliked.

Harley and his family are just lovely  and I loved that Harley had never given up on Tameka who he completely loved back when they were teenagers. Harley’s parents are just the kind of parents you’d wish for, loving, supportive and understanding, it was beautiful to see how they took Tameka under their wing without even blinking.

Farming and its issues is once again highlighted in this tale. The need for changes to be made in today’s society to find different ways of doing things that will work better both for the environment and because of the environment, as well as because of the way we now import so much that our farmers can’t compete. Diversification is the key to surviving and Wongan Creek is starting to find ways for this to happen.

A tale full of twist, turns and shocks, that will keep you reading until you uncover the truth.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series Shadows over Wongan Creek which is released on the 4th March. I’ll have a prerelease review up this week.

Amazon AU

Amazon US