Book Review: The Game of Love by Libby M Iriks

the game of loveThis was a really lovely second-chance romance novella by local West Australian author Libby M Iriks. Set in Rockingham a coastal suburb just south of Perth, Libby uses the local activities and environment to help her characters come together.

Alyssa has put her career on hold and returned home from living over East for the past 10 years. She is struggling with a not so hopeful medical issue that is going to require treatment and has returned so her family can support her. The very last thing she is thinking of is romance, especially with an old friend from her teenage years.

Dean is a happy-go-lucky guy who plays the field and has absolutely no intention of finding ‘the one’ of falling in love and settling down. When he literally bumps into Alyssa both of these characters will have their plans for the future knocked on their heads.

I loved these two characters and really enjoyed the friendship that formed between them, I loved all the experiences they did together, especially the skydiving, which is one of my favourite experiences ever, though I did mine in Jurien Bay, not Rockingham, I can still picture what it was like to be free-falling over the ocean like they did.

Both of these characters second-guess themselves and what they are doing more than once, and both need to learn to open up and talk to each other and share what they are thinking and feeling and what they have been through if they are ever to make a go of having a future together.

An enjoyable read for a lazy afternoon. You can get your copy for free by subscribing to Libby M Iriks newsletter here.

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New Release Book Review: Asking For Trouble by Amy Andrews

Nothing but troubleThis is the third book in the Credence, Colorado series, I read Nothing But Trouble (#1) this time last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, so it came as no surprise that this was just as enjoyable.

Asking For Trouble deals with the repercussions of domestic abuse, by a parent and by a husband.

Della has lived in Credence for the past 3 years, ever since her brother Wade, the local cop rescued her. She’s spent her time getting her life together and sitting at Tucker’s bar learning to feel safe and learning about friends.

Tucker is Wade’s best mate and as such feels obligated to protect Della and help her in any way he can. Being her wingman as she learns to date probably wasn’t what he had in mind.

I really loved these two, their friendship which starts with Tucker giving Della and then getting roped into being her wingman as she goes on Tinder dates, slowly grows into something more.

Della tasks Tucker with teaching her about her sexuality, and she couldn’t have asked for a better teacher. Tucker is the kind of guy every girl dreams of. He’s gorgeous, attentive, and protective, but he has hangups about how he feels about Della, his age, his friendship with her brother and her past. Watching these two explore each other and their feelings was all kinds of fun. And hoping they can both get their acts together and decide how they truly feel about each other was fun too.

Della certainly comes into her own as the story progresses and that’s no small thanks to Tucker. But also to her friends and Rosemary, one of the residents the old people’s home she works at. Rosemary is just an absolute hoot and she certainly teaches Della a thing or two, probably more than Della wished to know.

A great read with a happy ending.

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

 

#AWW2020    30/50

 

 

New Release Book Review: Aria’s Travelling Book Shop by Rebecca Raisin

Aria's Travelling Book ShopOh, I simply loved this book, last year Rebecca Raisin released Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop which I absolutely loved too and it made me want to up and travel in my own van. In Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop we met Aria who became Rosie’s best friend and who has a travelling book shop called the Little Bookshop of Happy Ever After, which I absolutely love, isn’t that a fabulous name! Aria’s bookshop van is one of my dreams. We also met Max who has a green food van and is in love with Rosie (the feeling is quite mutual).

This time Aria, Rosie and Max are off to France to travel to the many different fairs and events. I absolutely adored my time travelling with these three and even though I haven’t been to the places they visit, Rebecca Raisin does such a good job of describing them, I could see myself there.

Aria is a widow and has sworn off love, she promised her husband TJ that she would never fall in love again. Aria has a connection with a man she met briefly the summer before, Jonathan, who pops back into her life just as she is leaving the UK. This sets Aria off on an emotional journey of discovering what it is she wants and needs in her life and is a promise she made to her dying husband one she should keep or does she need to move on to be happy. I could really feel how torn Aria was about her feelings towards TJ and towards Jonathan, add to that unresolved issues with her mother-in-law and Aria’s confusion is palpable.

I loved the character of Jonathan who keeps popping up in Aria’s life on her travels through France and I was so hoping Aria could come to terms with her situation and allow herself to fall in love again. There are several scenes between Jonathan and Aria that provided me with a good giggle, Aria’s character can be hilarious at times.

I kept saying I was going to put this book down as the clock ticked closer to 11pm, but in the end, I had to keep reading and discover how it all turned out.

There was of course, the unlikeable character, Tori, who I don’t remember from the first book, but I’m pretty sure if I did I would have disliked her just as much as I did in this book. She’s one of those people out to cause trouble for anyone who might have something she doesn’t.  

It was wonderful to reconnect with Rosie and Max again, I simply love their characters and I love the friendship they both have with Aria, they are each other’s family as well as best friends. The support they give each other throughout the story is completely real and their friendship provided me with lots of laughs, they are all such different kinds of characters but they work so well together. 

I absolutely invite you to take a journey with Aria and her friends and I really hope there is more to come from this group of van-lifers.

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

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FB_IMG_1577105032228#AWW2020   24/50

 

 

New Release Book Review: Midwife in the Jungle by Fiona McArthur

Midwife in the JungleHappy release day to Fiona McArthur. I really enjoyed this romance novella, at just under 200 pages, it was the perfect escapist read I needed with all the things that are going on at the moment. For a shortish read, Fiona McArthur has managed to fit a lot into her newest story.

Our leading man is a sexy young doctor, Jonah, who works in Papua New Guinea for Missions Pacific, not an easy job or a very safe one. He’s lost family to this dangerous place but feels he is needed there, it has also made him decide never to love someone because it is no place for a family.

Our leading lady, Jacinta, is an overachieving doctor as Director of Emergency in a busy hospital in Sydney who has no time for anything other than work and volunteering at a teenage refuge.

When Jonah is brought into Jacinta’s emergency ward with malaria, sparks fly between the two of them, they alternate between annoyance and sexual chemistry and neither one is too impressed. There’s something about Jonah and his job that calls to Jacinta and she decides to follow this unexpected man and the call for adventure and heads to PNG to volunteer.

Both of these characters have troubled pasts, and they play a big part in who they are and the decisions they make. There is plenty of action, danger, intrigue, romance and chemistry that keeps this story moving along at a fast pace. I’m not sure that the jungles of PNG would be the kind of place I would choose to go, but with the differences they can make to these people’s lives I can certainly see what would lead these characters there.

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

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#AWW2020  22/50

New Release Book Review: Spring at Lake Grange by Eliza Bennetts

Spring at Lake Grange

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series, I love the fact that the women are over 40, are strong women and are still able to find their happily ever after.

This one especially ticked all my boxes due to its abundance of inclusion from so many aspects of our society.

I really loved our main female character Maria, we were introduced to her in book 3, Winter in Mason Valley and it was lovely to see her get her own story. She’s such a positive, sassy, sexy lady and I loved that she really seemed to know who she was.

Ethan was a different kind of character altogether, described as socially inept and he certainly was that, part of it came from his upbringing, and lack of positive role models and lack of relationships formed when he was young, but part of me continued to feel that he seemed to be on the autism spectrum, whether this is because I work in this industry or not, I don’t know, but I liked that this man, who had so many social issues, was still able to find ‘the one’ and form a meaningful relationship. I did find myself rolling my eyes many many times at Ethan’s complete inability to understand feelings and felt sad that he thought feelings were to be avoided at all costs.

I liked Maria’s whole family, her brothers were both good characters and I especially loved her brother Steven and I thought it was very brave and right of him to decide it was time for him to be happy and to be truthful to his family no matter the fallout, in order to be true to himself. I loved how wonderful Maria’s relationship was with Steven and how she had his back completely.

There was so much to like about this novel, it was a story of family, of inclusiveness, of figuring out who you really were and what you really wanted, a story of coming to terms with what life has dealt you and loving those around you for who they are no matter what. I definitely ended this novel feeling good for all the characters involved and knowing that they would all be travelling happily ever after.

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#AWW2020 19/50

New Release Book Review & Release Blitz: The Rich Boy by Kylie Scott

TheRichBoy EBOOK (1)I’m a fan of Kylie Scott’s romance novels, they are all very different and you never know what you are going to get with each new book. This time she gives us a leading man, Beck who is a very likable busboy when we meet him, only he isn’t quite who he is pretending to be. He expresses an interest in Alice, a waitress at the bar where he is working. She’s a very down to earth girl who is exactly who she seems to be, and I think that is a big part of Beck’s attraction to her.

I’m not a big fan of the billionaire trope, but this is different from some of the other books I’ve read.

Alice, after going against her initial doubt about trusting Beck, falls hard and is drawn into the world he has been running from, knowing nothing about what she is about to encounter. It turns out Beck is rich, very rich, and now Alice is under the microscope of Beck’s family members.

I thought that Alice, despite initially thinking she wasn’t the right kind of girl for Beck, shows how strong she really is and how she believes in who she is and is unwilling to change too much because of this rich family’s expectations. I really liked the way she stood up to Beck when different things came to light throughout the story, I liked that she stood her ground and made him reassess what it was he wanted and who he wanted to be.

Beck was lovely, but growing up in his messed up family has left him emotionally stunted and he has no real idea what will make someone like Alice happy. If you’ve always seen money as a way of buying the people around you, you would find it hard to understand what drives a normal everyday person.

I enjoyed watching all the family relationships change, mainly due to Alice’s influence on those around her. I especially liked how she got the better of Beck’s evil old grandmother. While Alice and Beck’s relationship wasn’t an easy ride, it was an enjoyable one, there were moments I thought, she should let him loose, but was glad that she didn’t in the end.

Thanks to Social Butterfly Pr for a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

About the book:

“Rich Boy takes you on a literal ride! Funny. Angsty. It’s a definite recommendation from me!  –   Tijan, New York Times bestselling author

The Rich Boy, an all-new slow-burn standalone with white-hot chemistry and witty banter from New York Times bestselling author Kylie Scott, is out now!

I’m the type of girl who’s given up on fairy tales. So when Beck – the hot new busboy at work – starts flirting with me, I know better than to get my hopes up. Happily ever afters aren’t for the average. I learned that the hard way.

But how can I be expected to resist a man who can quote Austen, loves making me laugh, and seems to be everything hot and good in this world?

Only there’s so much more to him than that.

Billionaire playboy? Check.

Troubled soul? Check.

The owner of my heart, the man I’ve moved halfway across the country to be with, who’s laying the world at my feet in order to convince me to never leave? Check. Check. Check.

But nobody does complicated like the one percent.

This is not your everyday rags-to-riches, knight-in-shining armor whisking the poor girl off her feet kind of story. No, this is much messier.

Download your copy today!

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Kylie Scott author picAbout Kylie

Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013, 2014 & 2018, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

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#AWW2020   14/50

New Release Book Review: Going Home by Carole Brungar

New Zealand author Carole Brungar is able to write of an incredibly terrible time, the Vietnam War, in a very emotive and realistic way. I can always see myself there during those terrible times, whether in the jungle with the soldiers, in the helicopter flying into dangerous situations or at the hospital tending the children with horrific injuries. I can smell the smell and hear the sounds of everything that is going on during these chaotic and dangerous times.

Screenshot_20200305_102306This book, the third in the Return to Nam series, stories about the Vietnam War and the NZ soldiers, nurses, photographers and entertainers, who went there without knowing what the were flying into, takes us out of the jungle and into the town, where Ronnie has signed up to do a stint (12 months) as a nurse.

When New Zealander Ronnie arrives she has a naivety about her, but she is a strong and determined young woman, whose strength and determination get her through everything that happens during her time there. She works tirelessly for these children and instigates many changes to the ward to help with the healing of these children who have been caught up in the middle of this war.

Ronnie meets American pilot Joseph who is on his second tour of duty, they hit it off straight away despite Ronnie believing that nothing can come from having a relationship during a war. Joseph is a strong and happy character who lives for the thrill of going into dangerous situations.

I really enjoyed the relationship these two built between them and I loved Joe’s perseverance when chasing Ronnie and trying to get her to want more.  I could see things from both characters POV, it isn’t really a great time or place to fall in love, but at the same time, what if this is their only time and place in which it can happen, the future certainly was not guaranteed for anyone.

There were several very tense times throughout this novel when danger showed it’s head and not always from where you were expecting it. There were a few tears and some moments of joy and many many times where I thought, there is no way I would have survived what these guys have been through.

The cast of supporting characters was great to meet and I really enjoyed the small appearances from characters from the previous two novels The Nam Legacy and The Nam Shadow. I really look forward to whatever Carole Brungar brings us next. If you are interested in a novel about relationships and the Vietnam War, then I highly recommend this novel and the previous two novels in the series.

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Book Review: Call Me Lucy by Rania Battany

Call me LucyI really loved this novel, an Enemies to Lovers romance set around a cast of characters who are part of a linked series Stolen Hearts, with the next book Choosing Lillian coming out early March.

This novel, as the title suggests is about Lucy who has been in an accident and suffered some traumatic brain injury and has no idea who she is or where she comes from, but the saddest part is that no one has come forward to say she is theirs.

Lucy is lucky in one respect, she is assigned Lillian as her social worker and Lillian is completely about protecting Lucy after she herself has suffered a loss that we slowly uncover details about. Lillian sets Lucy up at her flat where her brother Billy is living and Billy is given the job as unwilling ‘babysitter’.

This was a really moving story, Lucy’s struggle to remember her identity, while at the same time being terrified of learning who she really is, was one that pulled at my heartstrings many times throughout the novel. The fact no one has come forward for her makes her feel that she must have no worth to anyone. Billy’s behaviour towards her when she first comes to stay reiterates this feeling of having no self-worth.

I actually really liked Billy despite his behaviour to begin with, you could see he was struggling with his own demons and that deep down he cared a lot. He especially cared about his sister Lillian and I really enjoyed the dynamics of their relationship.

Lucy meets a very unlikeable character in Tyler when she is revisiting the scene of her accident. From the get-go, I knew there was something off about Tyler and as the story progresses I could see why I disliked him. Tyler is all about emotional and psychological abuse. He plays Lucy from the start and whenever these two characters met, I got a horrible sense of foreboding. Rania Battany has done a great job of portraying both the mindset of the abuser and the effects this can have on the person being abused.

Lillian is working with a police officer Blake, the chemistry between these two is palpable and there is hope something might be stirring ready for the next book in the series.

There are a few other characters we meet who will be part of the series, Lillian and Billy’s mum Helen who comes across as a loving mother, loud and sure that food is the answer to any problem, characteristics that are often part of a Lebanese family. We also meet Gabby, their cousin who also is loud, outgoing and thinks food, especially pastries can cure anything. And we briefly catch up with Leila and Jacob who have their own novella Letters to Leila, which is set slightly before Call Me Lucy. I didn’t like Leila in the novella and her brief catch up in this novel didn’t change my mind about her, though I am glad Leila and Jacob are still together.

I really enjoyed Lucy and Billy’s growing friendship and relationship. I loved the way they both took tiny steps towards trusting each other, sometimes leading to more steps backward, but ultimately leading towards something real and strong that is worth pursuing. Billy really was just what Lucy needed in order to heal from her past and from her accident. Lucy is a tough person, at the same time as being completely vulnerable and I really loved her character.

This was a great read full of emotions and the mystery of finding out who Lucy really was.

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

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FB_IMG_1577105032228       #AWW2020   12/50

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: Rapt: The Price of Love by Tania Joyce

Screenshot_20200130_100748Rapt: The Price of Love by Tania Joyce is book #3 in the Everhide Rockstar Romance series where we catch up with Gemma and Kyle who had their story in book #1 Ripped: The Price of Loyalty. In this book they are planning their wedding, though both have different ideas of what the wedding should be like.

The band Everhide consists of Gemma, Kyle and Hunter, who had his romance in book #2 Ruined: The Price of Play. It was great to see Hunter and Kara were still together.

Gemma and Kyle have been through so much to get together, their wedding should be a time of joy. But on top of their differences in opinion on the wedding, they find out they have a stalker who is threatening Gemma if she dares to marry Kyle. Their team has been hiding the messages from them but Gemma has found a note in her bag and theirs no hiding the threat any more.

Gemma, Kyle, Hunter and the team take these threats very seriously, as they should, but it also causes some rifts between Gemma and Kyle, who can be in gemma’s mind, over protective. Who can they trust, is it someone in their inner circle or a fan? I was kept guessing and changed my mind a few times, though I did have an inkling of who it turned out to be.

I really loved the special close friendship between Gemma, Kyle and Hunter, having friends who are as supportive and loving as these is a great thing.

There was a lot of repetitive internal dialogue for Gemma and Kyle, and it got slightly annoying, but then I realised that I’m known for that all the time, I’m forever going over and over the same thoughts in my head, so it’s pretty true to life, I even annoy myself.

I really enjoyed this romantic suspense novel and look forward to reading more by Tania Joyce.

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

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#AWW2020 5/50