New Release Book Review: Undara by Annie Seaton

Screenshot_20190815_194529Undara by Annie Seaton was something different from this author and a really great read. A dual timeline read based around a phenomenon called the Undara Lava Tubes which are in Queensland and which I had never heard of before this novel. They are fascinating and I have added these to my list of places I want to see.

This novel is full of mystery, friendship, grief, healing, misunderstandings, crime, family drama and the land. The tubes are as much a character as the people. One of the main mysteries which will be solved dates back 100 years and involves the disappearance of 2 children. This is a rather heartbreaking mystery.

Emlyn arrives at Hidden Valley to set up for her team to research and explore the Undara Lava Tubes, she is struggling with grief and guilt and the breakdown of her marriage. Travis who owns the land, is a struggling farmer with family dramas of his own and has only allowed the research team on his land because of the money they are willing to pay, he is not happy about them being there.

These two characters go through a lot of emotional changes through working with each other, they form a friendship that will help them both to heal. They will also set in motion events that are totally unexpected and that will lead to danger for Emlyn and big repercussions for everyone.

The exploration of the lava tubes in search of insect life was fascinating, Annie Seaton has done some incredible research into this phenomenon and it shows in the details that she includes in the story.

The land of Hidden Valley is in itself a character, the descriptions of this often barren landscape due to lack of rain were so well written, I could easily see the place as if I were there. Annie delves into the struggles farmers are facing in these uncertain times as well as the greed of mining companies just out to make a dollar.

There is a lot going on in this novel and it all ties together extremely well, leading to a book that was hard to put down.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia HQ Fiction for providing me with a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

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HarperCollins

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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.

 

 

New Release Book Review: Fast Lane by Juanita Kees

I really enjoyed Overdrive: book 1 in Calhoun Customs Garage series when I read it last year, but I loved Fast Lane: book 2 even more.

Fast Lane (Calhoun Customs Garage, #2)There’s plenty of adrenaline-packed action and chemistry to be had in this book as well as some more serious issues.

Trinity Calhoun is a world-class race car driver and she’s just about to retire and return to Bigfork to be with her dad who is struggling with Parkinson’s. A freak accident in her last race has her meeting gorgeous paramedic Reece, better known as Angel.

Racing is a dangerous sport and a tragedy has touched Reece and he is now guardian for 9-year-old Tyler. This tragedy has also brought him to Bigfork.

I really enjoyed returning to the town and to the Calhoun family.

Trinity’s love of speed and Reece’s dislike of the dangers of speed and cars mean that these two getting together have them needing to overcome some obstacles. I really enjoyed the growing relationship between these two, something that started out as a fun kiss turns into so much more. I liked the way they discussed things and tried to work out what they both wanted.

One character I hope we get to hear more from was Tyler, he has survived a tragic accident, but has definitely not come out of it unscathed and it will take a lot to make him feel whole again. Having Reece and Trinity in his corner will definitely help his healing and I really want to know how he goes after this book.

I also look forward to seeing how the other Calhoun siblings go with finding their HEAs, it was great to see how Chase and Charlie were going from book 1.

I hope I don’t have to wait 12 months for the next instalment of the Calhoun Customs Garage.

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

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New Release Book Review: Allegra in Three Parts by Suzanne Daniel

Thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Pan Macmillan Australia for supplying me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

IMG_20190715_094103This was an absolute delight to read. It was an emotional journey at times, that seemed to meander along, not saying a lot, but saying so much at the same time.

I adored 11-year-old Allegra, I loved the way she thought, she was a delight to get to know. I struggled along with her in the situation her grandmother’s had put her in, along with her father Rick. I could completely feel her having to split herself 3 ways to keep everyone happy.

I really liked Rick, I felt sad for him, that somehow he’d been pushed out of Allegra’s upbringing, like he was only there on the periphery, now and again being allowed to be her father. I was pleased when things started to turn around for him and he took some control. I love how Rick uses surfing to connect with his daughter and at times he had some very philosophical things to say.

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Allegra’s grandmother’s, Joy and Matilde, well they were two completely different people, their characters having a great impact on Allegra and how she was forming as a person. I never really took to Matilde, though I did gain understanding and respect for her along the way.

Joy is a woman’s libber as Allegra discovers and owns a penny turtle called Simone De Beauvoir, I’m interested in finding out more about Simone’s writing after reading this novel. Her fight to help women in trouble is inspiring.

There were some big secrets being kept from Allegra and some huge hurts that needed to be mended if life was going to allow Allegra to grow into her own person.

Allegra’s friend Patricia, her only true friend was inspirational and made such a difference to Allegra and the way she thought, she bought so much knowledge and insight, that Allegra may not have discovered without her. I loved that Allegra didn’t notice or care about any differences she may have had with her friend. Patricia is clever and insightful and is such a wonderful friend to Allegra.

Over the course of the story, there are many changes that happen to Allegra and her family, all of them for the better. I enjoyed the use of music throughout this novel, helping to enhance the message or set the mood. I have looked up many of the songs since reading the book.

I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a heartfelt read.

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.

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Amazon US

HarperCollins

 

Book Review: The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley

Thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Pan Macmillan Australia for a copy of this book to read and review.

IMG_20190706_210246Wow this was a massive book, over 600 pages! I wondered if I’d manage to get through it.

This was my first Lucinda Riley book and I’d heard so many great things about her novels and about this one, that it had a lot to live up to.

This was a great read, it did take until halfway through for me to feel I was really getting into the story, but once I got there, I didn’t want to put it down. It is another dual timeline novel, which seem to work so well these days. I found I enjoyed the now timeline more than the past timeline, I was able to really get into it and there were many many threads all weaving their way to become a whole.

To begin with I only really liked Posy, both past and present Posy, she was a great kid and a just as great older lady. But as the story moved on, most of the characters grew on me and I found myself hoping that things would work out for all of them. The only exception was Posy’s son, Sam, he was one character that I had absolutely no time for and seriously hoped he’d get what he deserved, and to a point he did, but I felt he deserved more lol.

There were plenty of secrets to uncover, a few really big ones. I have to say, I do get annoyed when characters won’t communicate with each other and Posy’s son Nick does just that with his girlfriend Tammy, so many misunderstandings could be avoided if he’d just manned up and told her what was going on, I felt he didn’t deserve the girl at one point, I thought it was ridiculous not to tell her what was going on. Authors seem to enjoy adding in this biplay between characters, I wish they didn’t though as I find it so frustrating.

Overall this was a highly enjoyable read and I’d give it 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

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.

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Amazon AU

Escape Publishing