Book Review: Dear Banjo by Sasha Wasley

I absolutely loved this novel, this was my second time reading it and it was just as enjoyable as the first time I read it just over 2 years ago. The first in the Daughters of the Outback series, this is a fabulous introduction to the Paterson family, Willow, Free, and Beth, along with their dad Barry. We are also introduced to Tom Forrest and his family along with the farming properties they live for in the heart of the Kimberley.

IMG_20191004_191752My second read of this novel was fraught with stress. You’d think the fact I’ve already read it and know how it all ends, that it would have been an easy read. But no! Because I knew how absolutely awful one character was, it caused me no end of anxiety. I wanted to yell at Banjo (Willow) and say ‘beware, don’t trust him one little teeny tiny bit!’ Alas, she just wouldn’t listen and I just had to keep reading.

Dear Banjo is so much more than a romance, it explores many aspects of friendship and family, grief and how it impacts those affected for way longer than we’d imagine.

It explores many aspects of farming, especially ethical and sustainable farming, delving into the changes needed to take a farm to organic certification and ways to help protect the environment. I found these things most interesting.

I loved the dynamics between all the characters; I loved all of the characters except for Hegney the assistant manager who had no likeable qualities whatsoever after his initial introduction. Hegney is the epitome of all that needs to change in men’s attitudes especially towards women and those they deem less than them. Working on the mines for 13 years I came across many men like Hegney, but luckily there are many more men who aren’t like him.

I really loved how Willow grew throughout the story, both as the boss at Paterson Downs and in her relationships with her family, friends and of course with Tom. I appreciated the intrigue that ran through the story and the many dynamics of relationships throughout the story. I thoroughly enjoyed the relationship between Willow and Tom and though I knew the ending from the first read, I had completely forgotten the details of how they got there, and it was definitely a journey for them both.

I highly recommend this great book and now I’m about to start book 2 True Blue which is Willow’s sister Free’s story.

Goodreads

Amazon AU

 

Book Bingo Round 19

It’s book bingo time again and this week I chose the square Book written by an Australian woman IMG_20190914_101547more than 10 years ago, the book I chose was one I found on my bookshelf when I was tidying up and has huge sentimental value. Inside it is written To my mum from Claire in 1984, it was Master of Ransome by Lucy Walker and was written well and truly over 10 years ago in 1968 with my copy being published in 1983.

I vaguely remember my mum reading Lucy Walker, but I had no idea she was Australian and from Kalgoorlie of all places.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from a romance novel written so long ago. But I really enjoyed it. It is the original rural romance and I was surprised to find that in 50 years, not much has changed in the genre, it also had a storyline that was completely familiar.

I’m so glad I found this book and chose to read it. I loved the characters and the dynamics between everyone, it was so familiar that I slipped into the story easily. I think this story has definitely stood the test of time.

Until next fortnight, happy reading

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

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.

AOD cover FB5

 

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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Monthly challenge update – April 2019

Oh wow and I thought I’d slowed down this month, how wrong was I!!

April reads 2019

With a total of 26 books read or listened to this month, I think I have outdone myself.

In my AWW Challange, I may have completely blown that goal out of the water with a total of 56 books read this year so far by Australian Women Writers.

My Goodreads Challenge is now 95/200 which means at only 4 months in, I’m 48% complete and currently 30 books ahead of my goal, which allows me plenty of leeway if I get into a slump (a real one, not an imagined one lol).

In The Aussie Author Challenge which I admit to not updating on their website yet, I have now read all of the books in the challenge. I will list them next time.

My latest Book Bingo post will show you how I am going with that.

I have read some great books this month so I advise you to check some of them out. If I had to choose a favourite I think it would be Victoria Purman’s The Land Girls. But I am also loving Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changlings series. I have plenty more great books to read and plenty of reviews coming up this month.

Happy reading until next time.

 

 

New Release Book Review: Merindah Park by Renee Dahlia

The first book in a new series, Merindah Park was an enjoyable romance and a great introduction to the siblings who will feature in the next books.

IMG_20190420_131450This story focuses on John and Toshiko and is set in Japan, where they meet while John is buying a horse from her brother, and in Australia on John’s horse property Merindah Park, where Toshiko, a vet, travels with John and the horses. I enjoyed the chemistry between the two characters, which was evident from the start of the novel. The cultural differences between the two and how they had to deal with them to move forward in a relationship at times made things between them difficult. It was especially difficult for Toshiko as she had been born into a culture where women defer to the men, especially the father in their wishes, family is more important than the individuals desires. Toshiko is running from a family expectation and the chemistry between John and Toshiko makes the dilemma she is running from clearer and more complicated. Will secrets stop and expectations stop these two being together?

The horseracing industry isn’t one I know too much about, or horses in general for that matter. Renee Dahlia’s love of horses and knowledge of the industry certainly comes through in this story.

Johns siblings were great characters and I enjoyed the rapport that they all had between each other as a family. I look forward to reading their stories.

Monthly Challenge Update – March

During the month of March, I didn’t feel I read all that much, turns out I was wrong. I actually read 18 books, which isn’t fabulous, but not too shabby either. I’m a bit late with this update, but I’ve been a bit busy with one thing or another.

March reads

Updating my reading challenges

My Goodreads challenge was at the end of March 69/200 books, which means I am a fair few books ahead of schedule.Click on the link to check out the books.

For the Australian Women Writers Challenge  I read 14 books, all of which were really good reads, I did have a couple of favourites, one of which I will be posting about next week.

In The Aussie Author Challenge I have crossed off 4/4 books by Australian women, 2/4 by Australian men and 4/4 books by Australian authors I wasn’t familiar with. So 10/12 books crossed off already. I have two more Aussie Male books to read this month, then this challenge is finished, I’ll just need to add the links.

See my ook Bingo post to see how I am going with that.

Well that’s it for this month, happy reading 🙂