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: Pearls and Green Beer by Susanne Bellamy

Screenshot_20200205_190811I’m not a big reader of novellas, but I do enjoy Susanne Bellamy’s writing, so I was more than happy to read an ARC of her latest Bindarra Creek novella Pearls and Green Beer.

At only 65 pages, this short and sweet story is a lovely way to spend an hour. I enjoyed the two main characters, Annie and Ty. I liked that they both had issues they needed to work through and that being willing to take a chance on love and each other allowed them to realise those changes they needed to make in order to be happy. The dynamic between them was really sweet and lovely.

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

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Book Review: True Blue by Sasha Wasley

IMG_20191219_111731I absolutely loved this novel and I can’t believe I let it sit on my shelf unread for so long. After reading Dear Banjo for the second time the other month, I knew I had to get to books 2 & 3 ASAP. True Blue was another fabulous story in the Daughter’s of the Outback series and this time we get to know Free (Freya), the more flighty of the sisters, except she’s not as flighty as her sisters have her believing.

I really loved getting to know Free, she’s an artist and I love the way she looks at life, always trying to see the best in people and experiences. I loved how she gets totally absorbed in her art; I am the same way, (maybe we are kindred spirits). There was a lot of humour in this story, and a lot of heart.

Free takes up an artists residency teaching position at the local high school and as nervous as she is, I loved the way she taught, maybe if I’d had a teacher like her I’d have pursued art earlier in life. She makes enemies early on, without meaning to, with a truly unlikeable character who is a  colleague at the school. What a nasty piece of work he turned out to be, even worse than my first impressions.

We also have the romance (of course), and what a lovely man Constable Finn Kelly is. It is a bit of a bumpy journey for these two to get together, plenty of misunderstandings and worrying about the future. I really enjoyed the chemistry and the interactions between Free and Finn, (I wish I could meet him myself, too bad he’s a fictional character).

We get to catch up with Banjo and Tom and see how they are going, we also get to know Beth a little more as it’s Beth who Free turns to a lot when she needs someone to talk to or a shoulder to cry on. Beth could be pretty hard and pessimistic towards Free, but I think this stems from her own issues, (which I’m pretty sure we’ll find out more about in the next book Love Song, which is Beth’s story), but she’s still a supportive and protective big sister.

Running through the story is the issue of mining and the environment and the importance of fighting for our environments protection.

I think Free did a lot of growing in this story and came out much stronger and had way more belief in herself by the end of the story.

I highly recommend this novel and this series.

Book Review: In the Heat of the Night by Susanne Bellamy

In the heat of the nightThis is the second book I’ve read in the new Bindarra Creek series, I’ve read them out of order and though they do work well as standalones, I would recommend you read them in order. In the Heat of the Night is book #2 in the Bindarra Creek Reborn series and I loved it. Fire wasn’t the only thing burning in this novel, there were plenty of sparks between our two main characters Kel and Thalia.

I loved the strength and determination that Thalia had, she was also stubborn, caring and loved her family to bits. Kel is known as the town’s ladies man, a love them and leave them kind of guy, but Thalia may be about to change all that, completely blindsighting Kel. underneath Kel is much more than a ladies man, he’s captain of the fire station and a loving son to dad Keegan, who is going through some bad times.

Mixed in with this budding relationship are fires, a potential arsonist, an accident, grief, and food.

Food plays a big role in bringing these two together and helping to start the healing for Kel’s dad Keegan. I want to go out and try some Greek food myself after reading this, and I am by no means a foodie. Thalia’s Greek parents add an extra layer to this story with some added humour, especially her dad.

An important issue Susanne Bellamy brings up in this novel is one of thinking about our older generation of people and what happens to them when they reach retirement age, especially in the rural communities, what is there for these people (who have given so much) to do so that they continue to feel useful and have interests to make them want to keep going, especially for those who retirement isn’t an option they have chosen themselves.

I really liked how this relationship grew changing both characters as they learnt more about themselves and each other. A highly enjoyable read.

Thanks to the author and Booksprout for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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Book Review: Diamond in the Dust by Mel A Rowe

Diamond in the dustDiamond in the Dust is book 2 in the Elsie Creek series set in outback NT and was a highly enjoyable romance about two unlikely people. Mel A Rowe does a good job of describing the remote outback and its eclectic cast of characters.

I enjoyed meeting Verily, a world champion softballer, who has never before had to decide where her future is heading and what she wants, until an accident changes all that and takes away all she knew and all she lived for. I’ve changed my direction in life several times (maybe more), but mostly those redirections have been my choices, I can’t imagine having those choices taken from me, leaving me floundering to figure out where I was heading to now.

Verily has come to Elsie Creek to stay with her Aunt on her farm and is very lost, she a bit aloof and standoffish at first, especially when it comes to local boy Alex who is also living and working on her Aunt’s property, (their initial meeting doesn’t help matters).

Alex is a really great guy and is doing his best to start following his dreams, compared to Verily, he knows exactly what he wants, but his relationship with his dad is holding him back from going completely forward. 

I loved the friendship that slowly developed between Verily and Alex, slowly they pushed each other out of their comfort zone and helped each other figure out where they were heading. They both required a fair bit of pushing, especially Verily when it came to helping out the local softball team (there may have been some slightly underhanded dealings going on with getting her to face this issue).

Once again we are introduced to some interesting characters that make up the local softball team, some more likeable than others (ie. the coach, not really likeable). There’s a very unlikeable female character who plays slightly dirty in an attempt to get her way. Cecil the water buffalo is still roaming the streets of Elsie Creek, brightening everyone’s day just a little and causing trouble a little too.

I was definitely barracking for Verily and Alex to get their acts together and figure out their futures.

Thanks to Mel A Rowe for providing me with a copy of this novel.

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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.

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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