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

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

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.

FB_IMG_1577105032228 #AWW2020 8/50

New Release Book Review: Echoes Between Us by Katie McGarry

Echoes between usI’m a big fan of Katie McGarry, her books are always full of emotions and she is never afraid to take you on a rollercoaster of an emotional ride. Echoes Between Us is no exception.

This novel is about two teenagers from different social groups whose surprise friendship through a school project makes them reassess their lives and their beliefs.

When I started this I wasn’t sure what to expect, it had aspects of the supernatural, bullying, a brain tumor, grief, and an alcoholic mother. It took me a little while to get into this story, but once I did, I was invested in the lives of Veronica and Sawyer, our two main characters.

We meet Veronica who is talking to her mother, who it turns out is a ghost only she can see. Veronica is struggling with the loss of her mother to a brain tumor while living with the knowledge and side effects of her own brain tumor. Veronica is a quirky character who I immediately liked, she’s self-assured and different, with three loyal friends. She doesn’t fit in at school, her quirkiness and her often time strange behaviour cause many of the other teenagers to spread nasty rumours about her and treat her like being weird is a bad thing. Veronica thinks she’s ok with her tumor and that she is dealing with things in a positive way, but as the story progresses, she learns that maybe she isn’t living as much as she thought, but rather, just waiting to die.

Then we meet Sawyer, one of the in-crowd, whose mother has just rented the downstairs apartment from Veronica’s dad. These two are not friends by any means, both having a natural disdain for the other. Sawyer has a secret, he chases an adrenaline high to get him through his life, just like an alcoholic or drug addict would. The difference with Sawyer is, he knows it is dangerous and he wants to stop, which leads him to attend an AA meeting and gain a sponsor, Knox, who becomes an important part of Sawyer’s life.

When Veronica needs a partner for an English assignment, she chooses Sawyer to be her partner to the shock/horror of everyone, including Sawyer’s mother, who is a right piece of works. Sawyer’s mother is a drunk, she’s also manipulative and controlling, and I didn’t like her one little bit.

Sawyer and Veronica’s relationship starts off extremely rocky, with only the assignment in common, the assignment being Veronica’s choice, to show that ghosts are real. What starts off as a very rocky truce, soon changes as they both start to realise they actually like who the other person is, especially when they aren’t around their respective friends. I enjoyed these two getting to know each other, and I enjoyed the way they pushed each other outside of their comfort zones in really taking a look at their lives and the people around them.

There were some sad and confronting parts in the story, I admit to getting teary at times. There is also some very interesting knowledge I learned about alcoholics and those who support them. I feel sorry, especially for the teens out there who end up mothering their parents, essentially enabling them in their illness.

Another great read from Katie McGarry that broached many important subjects and poked at many emotions.

Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Tor Teen for providing me with a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

Nonfiction Readers Challenge: Bowraville by Dan Box

Nonfictionchallenge2020

Screenshot_20200130_091042Since signing up to the Nonfiction Readers Challenge I’m inspired to read a few more nonfiction books this year. I chose to do the Nonfiction Nipper, which was to read 3 books from any category. I’ve got quite a few nonfiction books lined up to read this year, so I’m positive I’ll be able to move up to the next level.

My first book is something very different for me. Bowraville by Dan Box is a true crime novel, that is also, in my opinion part memoir.

I listened to the audiobook of this which is read by Dan Box, something I prefer when listening to a memoir as I think they can really get across the emotions and messages they are trying to convey.

This is just one terrible story of injustice that has happened in Australia and to the Aboriginal people. Three children murdered in a space of 5 months and now 29 years later their families have never had justice.

We hear about the officers who were first approached when each child went missing and how the families were told, “They’ve probably gone walkabout”. One of these children was 4 years old! I was disgusted by the behaviour of the police at the beginning of these events and then completely disbelieving of the way the cases were handled once they were deemed something more sinister. The local police, who were in no way up to handling a missing person case let alone a murder case, or serial murders, were given very little help from the authorities in the city.

Dan tells an interesting story that made me angry at the way aboriginal people were and are treated in the event of a crime. The racism in the town was just as disappointing and I’m baffled how people think the way they do.

Sometimes the story felt a bit repetitive, but I think that was Dan Box’s way of reiterating the injustice of these cases and the injustices of the law.

A worthwhile read if you are interested in true crime and the way the law doesn’t always work.

A-Z Author Challenge – X

 

A-Z Author Challenge post #2

X is a hard letter to find an author for, luckily they are a bit lenient and you can use a name with X in. So I picked Alix E. Harrow’s The Ten Thousand Doors of January.

It was the cover and the title that drew me to this book without even knowing what it was about. Then I saw that author Tabitha Bird was reading it and she said it was good, so I thought I’d give it a go, it sounded different in a magical kind of way, and that interested me. Magic is something we need more of in this crazy world.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is indeed about magic and believing in the unbelievable, it’s about adventure, hope, love, loss and good and evil.

I will say that it took me a while to be completely captured by this novel, it wasn’t that I wasn’t enjoying it per se, but I just couldn’t really grasp where it was leading me. It wasn’t until about page 130ish that it all started to come together and I began to be hooked on finding out what magic was in these pages.

At first, we are introduced to January, a young girl of odd colouring, a coppery-red colour, who doesn’t fit into society’s norms, nor have the right colour skin for society as it was in the early 1900s. She is talking about Doors with a capital D, trying to explain them to us, her readers. We meet her benefactor, a Mr Locke who doesn’t really seem as good as she seems to think he is at the beginning of the story. We also hear of her father, Julian or Yule Ian, who is always off on quests for Mr Locke and barely sees his daughter.

Interspersed with January’s tale is another tale written in the form of a book, this I think is where I became a bit lost and wondered how it was all going to come together. But when it did become clear, I was compelled to keep reading.

January does a great deal of growing up in this story, as things happen to her and she starts to uncover the truth about who she is and who her parents were and especially who Mr Locke and he society are, things begin to go wildly out of control for her and so begins an adventure of great proportions as she goes on the run for her life and simultaneously hunts for the truth.

The Doors are a wonderful concept, that there are fissures, thin places that sometimes people find and discover a doorway leading to all manner of worlds, though not all of them are good places to visit. I really love this and so want to believe that they do exist, maybe from growing up reading first Enid Blyton’s books, especially The Enchanted Woods and The Faraway tree and then onto Narnia and E.S. Nesbitt’s books as well as of course The Wizard of OZ and Alice in Wonderland, I’ve retained that childhood belief in magic and other worlds.

This is a unique novel that I highly enjoyed once it all came together.