Book Bingo Round 16 and Book Review: Summer at Urchin’s Bluff by Eliza Bennetts

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Last week I posted I was reading Summer at Urchin’s Bluff by Eliza Bennetts and asked people which square of Book Bingo they thought I might cross off with this book. Both Theresa and Melanie had a guess, both of which could have been right. It was a hard choice between Book with a place in the title or Book set on the Australian coast. I am currently reading the prefect book for the first guess, so I’m going with crossing off Book set on the Australian coast.IMG_20190803_082942 For having a guess both will be receiving a cool bookmark I bought back all the way from Morocco last year.

 

IMG_20190722_200913Summer at Urchin’s Bluff was a fabulous read. I loved this book! It was such an enjoyable read, a story about taking chances on life, living for what you need and taking a chance on love, of choosing to live life in a way that makes you happy. 

At the sight of the twinkling, crystal ocean her worries slid away, slipping from her shoulders like fine-spun silk.

This is just how the ocean makes me feel, so I was immediately drawn to the town of Urchin’s Bluff.

When Emma and her son Lincoln head to Urchin’s Bluff to stay with her friends, it’s just for a break from her marriage breaking down. Lincoln and Emma find peace and much more than they were expecting.

It was quiet but for the birds, and not for the first time Cole was struck by deep and resounding loneliness—an emptiness that was so pathetic it got on his nerves. Sometimes he worried the only thing that kept him from nose-diving into full-fledged depression was Bess, the border collie who danced at his feet.

I immediately felt drawn to Cole after this introduction to him, I know exactly how he feels at times. Cole is a firefighter who is drawn to Emma despite thinking its a bad idea. There are challenges ahead for both of them and Emma will have to make some big decisions about what sort of life she wants to live and what is best for her and Lincoln.

Emma’s friends are great secondary characters and for the most part they have Emma’s back. They do make one or two decisions or comments that influence Emma in the wrong way, but even best friends aren’t infallible.

I loved how Lincoln was drawn out of himself by the new men around him and by surfing, surfing seems to be a great way to overcome all sorts of issues.

Emma’s ex-husband is an a***ole who doesn’t deserve to have Lincoln as his son, or Emma as his ex-wife. When he enters the scene to cause some trouble, I wanted to smack him and smack Emma for even entertaining some of the thoughts she has.

Urchin’s Bluff is a small town I’d be more than happy to spend my days in, with great characters and a holiday feel, just like where I live used to be before progress happened. A great read, I can’t wait for Eliza Bennetts next book.

Thanks to Eliza Bennetts for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

 

 

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New Release Book Review: Home For June by Juliet Madison

I absolutely loved this lovely second chance romance. I have all of Juliet’s books and I’ve loved every one that I’ve read. I have all the Tarrin’s Bay books, but for some reason I haven’t gotten round to reading any before now. Home For June was absolutely enjoyable, so I’m going to have to go back to The January Wish and start from the beginning of the series. They are definitely able to be read as standalone novels though.

Screenshot_20190709_115504I’ m glad I have finally gotten to experience Tarrin’s Bay, I think I’d like to move there in fact.

In Home For June we meet Hannah who is making moves to leave Tarrin’s Bay to live in Sydney (big mistake, I hate cities). We also meet Luca who is returning to Tarrin’s Bay after leaving 20 years beforehand. These two were friends in high-school and had a connection but nothing ever happened. Is it too late now or can they find out where that connection might lead.

I loved these two characters, Hannah and her plans, her need to have everything laid out exactly as it’s going to play out. I enjoyed the times she let go and was spontaneous. But afterwards it was straight back to following the plan.

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This is my favourite line and I’m lucky Juliet made a meme just for me to use (lol). Hannah was so stubborn about veering off the plan, I so hoped she could see what might be had by doing just that.

Luca was a beautiful guy, having lost his mum just recently and having made the decision to start a new and set down roots in Tarrin’s Bay, I loved the way he threw some disorder into Hannah’s carefully laid out plans.

I really enjoyed the interactions between these two characters, I liked how the relationship grew and changed and made them both take stock. Working together to create Luca’s dream restaurant pushed them together and allowed for these changes.

I enjoyed the secondary characters, Hannah’s parents especially, they were great people and cause for some added humour. Luca’s brother Stefan had a great relationship with Luca, if only all siblings could have such a great relationship.

Juliet Madison always manages to infuse her novels with humour and this one is no exception. Her characters are relatable, as are their problems and circumstances. A lovely feelgood romance.

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

Amazon AU

Amazon US

HarperCollins

 

New Release Book Review: Love and Other Battles by Tess Woods

Tess Woods is not afraid to tackle difficult subjects. Her last book tackled refugees and how they often struggle to fit into our society and how we as a society treat them. This time she tackles several important topics, but I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll try to be vague.

davThere are three time lines threaded through this novel and three generations, all connected in the present 2017 timeline.

CJ, a Seventeen year old high-school student is dealing with and going through so many things, my heart was in my throat for the first half of this novel whenever I came to her chapters. This novel took me a lot longer to read than it normally would, not because it wasn’t good, it was fabulous, but because CJ’s plight triggered my anxiety and I had to put the book down everytime I read her part of the story. This says much about Tess’s ability to write characters that are completely relatable. The fact I could put myself in CJ’s story so completely despite having passed that point over 20 years ago is impressive. I was also able to completely relate to CJ’s mum Jamie and her struggle despite not having children of my own and Jamie’s mum, Jess’s dilemmas also, despite never having had a love like hers or never having had to deal with the turmoil and decisions she is being forced to deal with. Three generations and I could put myself in each of their shoes.

Today’s youth have an even tougher time than when I went through school. I dealt with much of what CJ deals with, but at least I didn’t have to deal with the added threat and fallout of social media and smart phones. They may have their benefits, but they most certainly have their downfalls, and the issues our children deal with need to be bought into the forefront of society’s minds and youth of both sexes need to be educated in how to behave, how to treat people and how to deal with these issues when they do arise.

Jess’s timeline starts in the time of the Vietnam War, I’ve recently read a couple of novels set during this time, which I think added an extra layer to this timeline for me. Reading about Jess and Frank and their dreams, beliefs and differences and the reality of the Vietnam war, was one of my favourite dynamics in this novel.

Jamie’s story, starting in 2000 wasn’t as involved as the other two time lines, but had a huge bearing on CJ’s story and on who Jamie is in 2017.

I loved this novel, once I passed the worst of what CJ was going through, I couldn’t put the book down until I’d finished. I thoroughly enjoyed all three timeline stories and loved the way they entwined together to form the bigger picture. This is a heartwarming and thought-provoking novel, that will take you on a journey of emotions, it’s a story of love, family, secrets and so much more, dealing with many issues that need to have people thinking and talking.

 

New Release Giveaway and review – The Art of Dust by Mel Rowe

Today I am giving you all an opportunity to win an e-copy of Mel Rowe’s new second chance rural romance The Art of Dust #1 in the Elsie Creek Series, releasing 22nd May 2019. To be in for a chance to win leave a comment below on the blog or on the post on my FB page.

I found this to be a really enjoyable second chance romance. Kat returns to Elsie Creek because her Uncle is Dying, this leads to secrets she has kept being found out, and past misunderstandings coming to light. There were times I wasn’t sure if the characters Kat and Kyle were going to be able to get it together. There was plenty of angst and second guessing, reminiscing and hope for something more. The cast of secondary characters are varied, the old blokes who hang out in the hardware store are quirky and loveable characters. This is a town that’s been through hard times, but still comes together as a community when the chips are down. One of my favourite characters is a water buffalo who delivers messages to the townspeople.

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the ART of DUST

Some summer loves you can never forget, found in a place where summer never ends…Where you’ll discover the essence of the rugged and romantic outback of Australia’s Northern Territory, in this small-town series of Elsie Creek. It’s a place filled with more cattle and crocodiles than people—who still manage to find love…

Are you ready to Escape to a HAPPILY EVER AFTER?

After seven-years, creative Mumpreneur, Kathryn (Kat) Jones, returns to the outback town of Elsie Creek at the request of her dying uncle. Kat can’t fix the man but she can care for his wife, fix his home, and fix his beloved vehicle to get him there.

Workaholic, Kyle Smythe, owns the only mechanical workshop in town, and he’s about to propose to another woman when his ex-muse rolls into his yard seeking help to restore her uncle’s ute.

For Kat, Kyle was her best friend, her creative collaborator, and first and only love. But his rejection tore her heart apart.

Kyle’s scars still sting over Kat’s desertion—especially when he’d needed her the most.

Yet these long-lost summer soulmates are compelled to team-up to make a man they both care for happy in his final days.

Can they work together without re-igniting that spark shared those many summers ago? Or will it remind them of their promises of forever that ended in never…

Are you a fan of small town Australian rural romance stories?

Then you’ll adore Australian bestselling author, Mel A ROWE’s unique outback spin, set in a place where cattle and crocodiles outnumber the people and where the summer never ends… Welcome, to Elsie Creek.

What readers are saying about this sweet, second chance, small town, rural romance:

“The author paints an amazing picture of the outback with her words drawing you into the story…”

“If you’re fan of Aussie outback stories then you will enjoy this…”

“The descriptions of the outback are so real, you would think you were in Australia yourself.”

 “A wonderful outback tale”

Find your favourite online bookstore HERE:

AMAZON   |  KOBO  | APPLE  |  AMAZON AU  OTHER ONLINE BOOKSTORES HERE

Or add it to your Goodreads TBR shelf HERE

About the author

Australian Bestselling Author, Mel A ROWE, is a Writer & Weekend Wanderer, trying not to get too lost outback of Northern Australia.

Besides indulging in her regular random road trips, fumbling with her camera, and annoying her family with her bad singing—it’s her novels she enjoys creating the most. Suffering from an allergy to all things corporately serious, Mel’s novels are dished up with a dash of drama, witty humour, and quirky family units. Known for reinventing romantic versions of home, Mel takes her common characters on an uncommon journey that leads from boardrooms to billabongs as they try to find their own HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

Feel free to connect with Mel at… https://melarowe.com

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Pre-release Book Review: The Cinema at Starlight Creek by Alli Sinclair

‘Dreams really can come true’ 

What a wonderful story Alli Sinclair has created in The Cinema at Starlight Creek. At its heart this is a story about following your dreams and your heart. It’s also about love, friendship, heartache, community and change and about having and being a voice for others. This is a story I’ve been anticipating since I heard about it nearly 7 months ago. It’s a dual timeline narrative, which is one of my favourite genres, blending historical with modern day stories. It has the most delightful cover, one of my favourites, especially as it tells the story so well.

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I was transported to 1950s Hollywood so completely, I could see it all playing out in my head, just like a movie. Lena Lee, Hollywood starlet’s story was a very powerful one about a woman who followed her dreams and fought for what she believed in as well as giving others less fortunate a voice and paving the way for more equality between men and women in the movie world. If we think things are hard and less than equal now, you can imagine how hard things were then. Lena Lee gives us a voice, a real person to travel with and discover what it was like for women back then, especially a woman with integrity and a kind heart like Lena had. Though things have changed a great deal, things are still much the same around the world for women, we need people like Lena Lee to keep fighting for change and equality.

I had very little knowledge about the film industry in the 50s, yes, I’d heard of the hunt for communists, the Hollywood blacklist and the Hollywood 10. People who were jailed and or barred from the industry, most times for no good reason. I might have heard something about the censorship placed on the movie business, but had no idea how much influence, the Hays Code had on what film producers were able to put in their movies. I found this to be a very interesting part of the story. Now days these people would have a heart attack at what is played out on the screen.

Now cut to 1994 in small town Queensland, a town called Starlight Creek and a run down art deco movie theatre. We meet Claire who has been tasked with finding and acquiring the use of one of the last cinemas designed by a female architect Amelia Elliot so as they can continue filming a mini series. Claire has big dreams of making her own documentaries one day, and she is working her way up through the industry, this is a make or break time for her. Even now chauvinism is rife in many industries, (I should know, I’m in the mining industry), and Claire has to work harder to prove herself while up against many odds.

We meet Hattie, a strong and stubborn older woman who owns the cinema and her nephew Luke, neither of who want to help Claire with her plans.

I loved Hattie, she seemed like such a generous soul, one who had much to teach Claire and Luke. I loved Claire whose determination and belief that dreams could come true and you could have everything you wanted, were in direct opposition to Lukes ideas and beliefs. I loved getting to know Luke and when he opened up to Claire about his dreams, I was sure Alli Sinclair had been looking inside my head, I could totally relate to his dreams as they are in essence my own. If only he (and myself) could believe in them and trust they can be made real.

As well as the history, the icons, the dreams, the role models, there is of course the romance. Both Lena Lee and Claire encounter men who make them question their paths, though the outcome for these relationships is quite different for each woman. I loved both storylines, but part of me loved Lena Lee’s a fraction more. Everything Lena went through felt so intense and there’s a few scenes that made me teary (just a warning).

This is a wonderful story and I enjoyed every minute of it, it definitely was worth the 7 months of waiting to finally get to read a copy.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia, NetGalley and Alli Sinclair for providing me with a copy to read and review.

Available 20th May 2019 in Australia and 5th November 2019 elsewhere. Preorder now!

Harlequin Australia

Amazon AU

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Kensington books