Category

Romance

To The Sea – Christine Dibley

To The Sea – Christine Dibley

To The Sea

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I am constantly impressed with the new Aussie authors that are emerging! What a bunch of talent we have here!

This book was delightful! What captured me the instant I saw it, is the beautiful cover. It really captures the essence of the story. I quickly became engrossed in the beautiful saga of this family, and its interesting and perhaps magical history.

A teenager named Zoe has been reported missing, most likely drowned off the coast of Tasmania. Tony is the lead investigator in her disappearance and realises right from the start that there is something strange about the family that lives in the beautiful house by the sea. While investigating Zoe’s life, Tony is swept into the stories of the history of the family, from hundreds of years ago, up until now. And some of it is a bit beyond belief. Will he be able to find Zoe? Is she really dead, or is there something extraordinary happening?

The story is told from four perspectives. Tony, the investigator carries the weight of the plot in his search for the missing girl. Zoe’s aunt Sadie and her parents John and Eva have the remaining narratives, and fill in the story with important history, leading certain things to come together, and others that create even more mystery.

The writing of this novel is absolutely beautiful. It didn’t take me long at all to get engrossed in the story and just when I was getting into a nice groove, the tales within the story BLEW ME AWAY. I was utterly captivated by the stories of love, loss, betrayal and sacrifice. And the romance! There were a few romances weaved into the story and they were all sweet, one especially. However, with so many back stories I sometimes became confused with who was who and where I was in the story. I think this is my issue more than the writing though, I am a very fast reader, and I have baby brain! I’m not surprised I got a bit lost – I am surprised I can remember my name most days at the moment!

My only other criticism was the ending. It just didn’t do it for me. It was good, and I got it, I really did. But personally I didn’t find it ultimately satisfying. However, it didn’t diminish the rest of the story for me at all!

Would I recommend To The Sea?

Absolutely. If my ramblings have even remotely sparked your interest, then I have no doubt you will enjoy it. Definitely worth reading!

Many thanks to the author via Pan Macmillan for a copy of To The Sea to read in exchange for an honest review.

PURCHASE:

Pan Macmillan | Kindle AU | Kindle US


If you enjoy To The Sea, you may enjoy:

The First Lie

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The Selection – Kiera Cass

The Selection (The Selection #1) – Kiera Cass

The Selection

1.5 Stars (1.5 / 5)

Sometimes I consider myself to be quite a YA fan. I’m not even sure what I like about the genre. I guess it depends on the novel. I like the adventure when someone is just growing up and is thrust into a world that they have to learn how to deal with, even though they have limited life experience. It reminds me of growing up I suppose. As I become older, growing into an adult becomes more and more of a memory and part of me yearns for the innocence and naivety of youth. Wow, that was deep. Ok enough of that. Lets cut a long story short: I hate “The Bachelor” on television… I have no idea what possessed me to listen to this audio book and think that I would enjoy it.

America Singer (yes, that’s actually her name) is a teenage girl growing up in a dystopian world, where people are divided into numbers based on class. The upper classes are wealthy, and never have to want for anything. The lower classes are starving, and work hard to stay alive. The prince needs to find himself a wife, so they run the bachelor. Its actually called the “selection” but its the darn bachelor television show but getting around trademarking. A bunch of women must compete for the love of the prince, he must eliminate all but one… Blah blah blah… And of course he is drawn to the beautiful lower class America, because she is “witty” and “stands up to him” and “brave”. But she is already in love with someone who is  of a lower class than she is. Oh what? A love triangle in a YA? Nooooo.

I actually didn’t dislike this book too much at the start. I was listening intently, enjoying the story. However the problem was, that the WHOLE BOOK was just the start. I knew that it was a series, what I didn’t realise was that the actual selection GOES ON for the whole series!!! Who does he choose in the end? No idea, there are another TWO books to get through first!!! Stuff that! I’m done. I have no doubt he will pick her in the end and that she will dump the lower class boyfriend for the handsome rich prince (that is not a spoiler, I honestly have no idea!)

Anyway, perhaps the 14 year old me would have enjoyed this a lot more. But it was just way too “oh woe is me, oh I love him, but I also love HIM”. Yes, this will end in heartbreak, which is exactly what my wasted hours listening to this audiobook has turned into.

Would I recommend The Selection?

Um no, I don’t think I would even recommend it for teenagers. I prefer books that describe love in a healthy way.

Mike drop.

The end

I purchased this audiobook from audible.com at my own expense.


If you enjoyed The Selection, you may enjoy:

Artificial

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Daintree – Annie Seaton

Daintree – Annie Seaton (The Porter Sisters #2)

Daintree

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 Another quality rural romance by Australian author Annie Seaton! Around this time last year the first of the Porter sisters novels was released “Kakadu Sunset” and I fell in love with the writing, the romance, and the setting. It wasn’t until after my review was up, and I had a chat with the author that I discovered she actually lived in the same town as me when I was growing up, and actually taught at my high school! Small world!

In this instalment, Emma Porter is living up in the Daintree rain forest. She is an emergency doctor who is happily living her life working and taking care of the community, when new doctor Jeremy enters the scene. He is an old flame and their relationship had ended abruptly and confusingly. As well as the old romance, Emma is trying to deal with some strange events that are occurring in the rain forest, ones which have put her life in danger.

Firstly, can we just take a moment to appreciate the cover of this book. Absolutely beautiful! Great choice! I think it was a perfect cover for the atmosphere of this book. The setting was fabulous! I thought Emma was a great character and I really enjoyed the mystery and adventure. And of course, the romance was lovely.

There are not may negatives! The only things were I felt that a few things in Daintree were a tiny bit rushed, and I was a bit disappointed about the way it went with Jeremy’s family. It felt a bit unresolved to me. I also figured out the final twist and the identity of the bad guys very early on, but that didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying the thoroughly wonderful story! So much more positive than negative! I thought it was just wonderful!

Would I recommend Daintree?

Absolutely! For any romance fan, and who doesn’t love an Aussie rural romance to get away from life for a few hours! I can’t wait to read the next one!

Many thanks to author Annie Seaton and Pan Macmillan Australia for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

REVIEW of Kakadu Sunset | Q&A with Author

PURCHASE:

PAN MACMILLAN AUS | KINDLE US | KINDLE AU


If you enjoy Daintree, you may enjoy:

Kakadu Sunset - Annie Seaton   The Peppercorn Project

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Starflight – Melissa Landers

Starflight – Melissa Landers

Starflight

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Oh this book was SO MUCH FUN! I know in a lot of reviews for this book they compare it to Firefly, and I hate to jump on the bandwagon, but it is definitely like the YA version of Firefly. It does have a lot of similarities, however I found it original enough to not care at all! Just so much fun!

Solara is looking for a new life on the outer realm. She has a piece of land with her name on it. She just has to get there. She must indenture herself to a wealthy traveller in order to pay for the 5 month passage. When her old school nemesis Dorin is the only one to offer her passage in exchange for her servitude – she RELUCTANTLY accepts. And when they find themselves stranded, the only opportunity they have to get there is to jump aboard the Banshee, a run down, ugly ship with an interesting and hilarious crew who have a lot of secrets.

I loved all the characters, they were all so funny and entertaining. And I ADORED the banter between Solaris and Dorin. A slow burning romance that was worth EVERY TORTUROUS SECOND!

I loved the bad guys, I loved the action and the story. I loved it all!

I listened to the audio book which was narrated by Amanda Dolan and I thought she was FANTASTIC! My main problem with a lot of female narrators I have listened to (sorry to be sexist), is their portrayal of male characters. So many times I have commented that they sound all the same and totally robotic and annoying. Not in this one my friends, Dolan does a great job making all the characters unique, and of course the writing helps with that too. I didn’t get annoyed once at the portrayal ANY character, and that is saying something. Superb!

Would I recommend Starflight?

Yes, if you are a sci-fi fan with an addiction to the TV show Firefly like myself, you will absolutely enjoy this. If you haven’t seen Firefly, if you area a fan of sarcastic humour, light-hearted comedy and space-action, with a splash of romance, give it a go!

I purchased the audio version of Starflight from audible.com at my own expense.

PURCHASE:

AUDIBLE | Booktopia AU | Book Depository


If you enjoy Starflight, you may enjoy:

Zero World   Fortune's Pawn

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False Security – Angie Martin

False Security – Angie Martin

False Security

3 Stars (3 / 5)

I enjoyed this one. It was a good romantic suspense with a solid story line and good characters.

Rachel Thomas is running from her past. When she meets the handsome Mark, she wonders if she will be able to take a chance on a relationship with him. However her past is quickly catching up with her, and it is deadly.

This book is set out into three parts. Part one is the present, part two goes back in time to when Rachel was a child and growing into a woman, and part three is the present again. I found part one a bit slow. I felt that suddenly all these characters were introduced and it was almost as though we were expected to know them already. The romance started off sweetly but seemed to fizzle. However, it totally picked up when it entered part two. Things started to make a lot more sense and almost magically came together, and I really started to get into it and enjoyed it.

I liked that the book addressed the issue of domestic violence, and there was a lot of action and suspense. The romance aspect was cute and I enjoyed listening to how her life developed and how she got into her situation. I really  loved the characters, especially the nasty ones.

The audio book was good. I enjoyed the narrator, however I didn’t like her portrayal of the male characters. They all sounded robotic and it was hard to tell them apart at times.

Would I recommend False Security?

If you are a fan of romantic suspense you will enjoy this book. It had some slower parts, but overall it was a solid, enjoyable story.

Many thanks to Cherry Hill Publishing for an audio version of False Security in exchange for an honest review.


If you enjoy False Security, you may enjoy:

White Hot   The Obsession   Love Is Murder

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The Muse – Jessie Burton

The Muse – Jessie Burton

image

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I must have been living under a rock for the last few years. I had never heard of Jessie Burton or her first, immensely popular novel “The Miniaturist”, before The Muse came into my radar.  I don’t tend to read much historical fiction, so perhaps that is why it was lost on me. There has been a lot of hype surrounding this book because of the former, and I got to ignore all of that and come at my review with fresh eyes and a fresh perspective.

The Muse is set in two time frames; In the 1960’s, Odelle moves from Trinidad to London to pursue her dream of being a writer. She gets a job typing at an art gallery, working for an eccentric woman known as Quick. When she meets a man who possesses an unusual and haunting painting, she delves into the mystery of where the painting came from, who the painter was, and what happened to him. Back in time to 1936, Olive and her parents move to Spain where she becomes enamoured with a local young man Issac, who is a revolutionary and an artist. He agrees to paint a portrait of Olive and her mother as a surprise for her father, and this gesture leads to a whole lot of catastrophic events, and melds both time frames together.

As soon as I started reading The Muse I was captured by the writing. Usually historical fiction and I don’t get on very well, but I breezed through this book as if I had read it before. I enjoyed the jumps back and forth in time, each jump giving away bit by bit of the storyline until the final climactic chapters.

I must admit, the key twists were not lost on me, I picked them up quite quickly. However there was always still some doubt if my suspicions were correct throughout.

I loved all the twists and turns, drama and intrigue. There were a few times, especially in the 1930’s Spain setting, that it got slightly slow for me, but I think again that is my usual indifference to historical fiction coming through, rather than any fault of the writer.

Overall I really enjoyed the atmosphere, both the settings and I found the characters to be well written and engaging.

Would I recommend The Muse?

Yes, historical fiction fans – I think you will really enjoy it!  Now I’m off to add The Miniaturist to my to-read pile!

Many thanks to author Jessie Burton via publisher Pan Macmillan for a copy of The Muse in exchange for my honest review.

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PURCHASE

PAN MACMILLAN | AMAZON US | AMAZON AU


If you enjoy The Muse, you may enjoy:

Burial Rites   The Secret Years

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The Family Man – Kelly Eadon – GIVEAWAY

The Family Man – Kelly Eadon

 The Family Man

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I really enjoyed this feel-good romance by the author of “The Wedding Date” Kelly Eadon. It is the second story of the lovely group of friends from the beach town of Belmont USA.

Beth is moving forward from some bad business mistakes and has found happiness selling a small amount of baked goods, teaching kids theatre, and fixing up the odd dress for a bit of money. She has been secretly crushing over Griffin, the owner of a coffee shop that she sells some of her muffins to twice a week. When it becomes clear that the crush isn’t exactly one sided, she soon discovers that Griffin has some baggage of his own. He has a 4 year old daughter and has had custody battles with the grandparents. He is trying to be a good dad to his daughter. Will he be able to let Beth into his heart too? Or will it all be too much for them both?

I thought this book was very sweet. It had some delightful moments and I really enjoyed their saga.

I thought the characters were well written, I enjoyed the continuation of the story of the group of friends from The Wedding Date. Although it focuses on the same group of friends, it doesn’t matter in which order you read them in. They are all individual stand-alone stories.

Loved the romance and there were some very cute and some very HOT moments! (Not for readers under 18!).

The characters frustrated me at times, with all the drama and indecision’s, and at times I just wanted to shake them both and say “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?”. But the journey was fun and the conclusion was ultimately satisfying. And I really want muffins now after reading it!

Would I recommend The Family Man?

Yes for any fans of cute romances, with a bit of tension and a lot of heat! A good way to spend a lazy reading afternoon!

Many thanks to author Kelly Eadon and NetGalley for an advanced copy of The Family Man in exchange for my honest review.

Add to goodreads

PURCHASE:

AMAZON AU | AMAZON US | Book Depository

GIVEAWAY

Click HERE to enter The Family Man giveaway.


If you enjoy The Family Man, you may enjoy:

The Wedding Date   Going all the way   Welcome to Temptation   image

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Summer’s Child – Diane Chamberlain

Summer’s Child – Diane Chamberlain

Summer's Child

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I purchased this audiobook on Audible.com as it was a special of the day and looked interesting. I had heard of Diane Chamberlain, but have never read one of her books before. After purchasing it I looked at some of my friends reviews on GoodReads, and was disappointed to see that all but one of my friends who read it gave it 2 stars or less! By that stage though, I had already started listening to it and was enjoying it, so I thought I would see how long I could hold out. Well, so glad I didn’t listen to my friends reviews! I thought it was a great book!

On her 11th birthday, Daria goes out to the beach next to her home and discovers a newborn baby near some rocks by the water. When the authorities cannot find who the mother is, Daria’s family adopt the little girl and name her Shelly. Twenty years Shelly is now an adult, and has contacted a friend from Daria’s childhood, Rory Taylor. He is a TV presenter who works solving mysteries and Shelly wants him to help find her biological mother. Thus begins Rory’s investigation into what happened all those years ago, who is Shelly’s mother? And what other secrets is he going to unveil along the way?

I was immediately swept in by this book. I found it to be captivating and interesting. Sure, it had some slow parts and dragged on at times, but I was quite happy going along for the ride.

I found the characters to be great, they all had their secrets and it was extremely entertaining listening to it all come gradually together.

The narrator wasn’t the best I had ever heard, she was slightly dull in her portrayal of the characters and overall narration, however it was still enjoyable and easy to listen to. It didn’t take much away from the story for me.

The romance was sweet, and there was heaps of romantic tension! Fabulous!

There were so many twists and turns and revelations, I love it when I can’t see where something is going, and when the final reveal occurred, I was a bit floored! I actually thought of one part of the correct twist towards the beginning, but dismissed my idea because there were so many other things happening to distract me. Well played Ms Chamberlain, well played.

Would I recommend Summer’s Child?

Yes, absolutely for any fan of sweet romances, and family secrets! I thought it was a great read and am looking forward to reading others from Diane Chamberlain. I have heard this is not one of her best so I would LOVE to see what her best is like!


If you enjoy Summer’s Child, you may enjoy:

Like I Can Love    Running Against The Tide    Romance 50's Style

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The Peppercorn Project – Nicki Edwards – BLOG TOUR

The Peppercorn Project – Nicki Edwards

 

SUMMARY:

One heartbroken woman. One bitter cop. One community to save them.

After the tragic death of her husband, single mum Isabelle Cassidy is bereft and broke. When she hears about The Peppercorn Project – a scheme that offers affordable rent in the tiny but vibrant town of Stony Creek – Issie sees it as her family’s best chance at a fresh start.

Newly singleThe Peppercorn Project police officer Matt Robertson moved to Stony Creek to lick his wounds after a bitter divorce. Wanting only peace and quiet, Matt is against the Project, seeing it as a threat to the peace he’s found in the country town – until he meets Issie. Despite himself, Matt is drawn to the widow and feels inexplicably protective of her fragile family.

Just when Issie begins to imagine a future with Matt, an accident proves how far she has to go before she can move beyond her grief. But the citizens of Stony Creek won’t rest until they see these two broken souls find a new beginning, together.

Can Issie move beyond the pain of her past and entrust Matt with her family, and her heart?

A gorgeous rural romance for fans of Fiona McArthur, Rachael Johns and Fiona McCallum.

 

MY REVIEW OF THE PEPPERCORN PROJECT

This book was JUST WHAT I NEEDED today! I had a few child-free hours to kill (an extremely rare occurrence), so I curled up on the couch with a blanket and The Peppercorn Project and I DEVOURED it in one sitting! It left me in a fabulous mood!

Isabelle and her two kids travel to Stony Creek in an attempt to win one of four houses in the peppercorn project, an initiative to offer struggling families cheap rent for a year in an effort to bring some new people to the town. Following a rocky start, Isabelle and her children begin to settle into life in Stony Creek, albeit with some teething problems. But grief is a difficult process, and when she starts to develop feelings for the local police officer Matt, it brings some difficult things to the surface.

I just thought this book was fabulous. I love a good romance, and this one hit the spot for me. It was written extremely well and had enough drama and enough going on to keep it interesting throughout. It didn’t slow down.

Sure, it was a little corny in parts, but I haven’t read a romance that isn’t! It’s the point! I loved the characters and the people in Stony Creek. The premise was great and it actually had me shedding a few tears at times.

Author Nicki Edwards is a critical care nurse like myself so I can’t believe I haven’t read any of her books before this one! It helped me connect with the main character, and was able to avoid my number one pet peeve – Medical inaccuracies! Woohoo! I must read her other books, especially in the “escape to the country” series.

Would I recommend The Peppercorn Project?

Absolutely! For any Aussie rural romance/drama fan. It was a fabulous read!

Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for a copy of The Peppercorn Project in exchange for my honest review, and for having me on this blog tour!

5 Stars (5 / 5)

The Peppercorn Project is published by Pan Macmillan Australia and is available HERE

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicki Edwards is a city girl with a country heart. Growing up on a small family acreage on the outskirts of Geelong, she spent her formative years riding horses and pretending the neighbour’s farm was her own.
Nicki Edwards
After spending three years in a regional city in New South Wales, her love of small country towns was further developed. One day she plans to escape to the country with her husband Tim and live on land, surrounded by horses, dogs, cows and sheep. Until then she lives vicariously through the lives of the characters in the rural romance novels she loves to read.

In 2006, when Nicki’s youngest child started school, she returned to university, juggling full time study, part time work and raising four small children, to achieve her dream of becoming a nurse. Always a voracious reader, Nicki’s other dream was to be an author.
Nicki writes medical rural romances, and when she isn’t reading, writing or dreaming about rural life and medical emergencies, she can be found working as a Critical Care Nurse in a busy Intensive Care Unit, where many of her stories and characters are imagined.

Nicki and Tim reside in Geelong, Victoria with their four teenage/young adult children. Life is busy, fun and at times exhausting, but Nicki wouldn’t change it for anything.

Her debut novel, “Intensive Care” was released in January 2015 with Momentum, the digital imprint of Pan Macmillan Australia. Her second novel, “Emergency Response” came out in October 2015. The third and fourth books in the ‘Escape to the Country’ series, “Life Support” and “Critical Condition” are available now.

Authors Website   Authors Twitter   Authors Goodreads   Authors Facebook


If you enjoyed The Peppercorn Project, you may enjoy:

Kakadu Sunset - Annie Seaton    image   The Secret Years    the saddler boys

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Guardian of Paradise – W.E. Lawrence

Guardian of Paradise – W.E. Lawrence

Guardian of Paradise

2.75 Stars (2.75 / 5)

I enjoyed this historical fiction island story. I am not the biggest Historical fiction fan, but the story appealed to me, probably because of the romance. I’m a bit of a sucker for a good romance. Unfortunately there are a few things that fell short for me, but overall it was an enjoyable read.

Kira lives on a pacific island, isolated from the rest of the word. She has been there since she was a young girl. Her parents were taken by a tidal wave years earlier and she has been living alone with the natives ever since. A merchant Australian ship arrives and Kira is apprehensive. What do they want from the small island and the trusting natives? And can she trust the handsome doctor working on the ship?

The story starts out well. The scene of this beautiful island is set and Kira is introduced, along with her friendships with some of the locals. After the ship arrives and she is attracted to the handsome doctor Trevor, the romance progresses along quite well. There are some lovely moments and a few hot scenes… However there is a lot going on with  Kira attempting to discover what the nasty captain and his crew are really doing on the island. And then eventually the story starts to dwindle and become quite long winded. Even the romance and romantic scenes were getting too much by the end of it. They started to become unbelievable and a bit corny. I feel the entire book could have been a bit shorter.

Although I wasn’t the biggest fan of Kira’s character, I enjoyed the strong female lead and the unique predicament she was in being the only non native living on the island. She knew what the merchants and other settlers were like, even if she had only experienced them in Australia as a child. I didn’t mind Trevor, I did enjoy some of the banter between them. I didn’t enjoy reading the slang that a lot of the locals used, and the written Australian accent attempt. I found them both inconsistent at times.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the ending. Religion or belief in a higher power had not really been explored much throughout the book and so when they started talking about what God wanted for them, I was thinking “Where is this coming from?”. It felt out of place, kind of like the author just wanted to throw it in there at the end.

Would I recommend Guardian of Paradise?

Despite my criticisms, I still enjoyed it. There were a few good funny moments and the author did create a beautiful island atmosphere. The romance had some touching moments and the central storyline was entertaining. I would recommend it to historical romance fans. And only for readers aged 18+ as it was very raunchy at times.

Many thanks to Book Publicity Services for a copy of Guardian of Paradise in exchange for my honest review.

Add to goodreads

PURCHASE:

AMAZON | AMAZON AU | Book Depository

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

W. E. Lawrence Headshot

W. E. Lawrence graduated in 1978 from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill with a BS in business administration. He has run a successful home health care supplies distributorship for the past twenty-three years.

Passionate about God, writing, reading, family, sports, politics, and America, Lawrence currently lives in Davidson, North Carolina, with his lovely wife and their two wonderful children.

W. E. Lawrence enjoys writing historical romance novels filled with action and adventure. He published his debut novel Guardian of Paradise in October 2014.

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If you enjoy Guardian of Paradise, you may enjoy:

The Secret Years

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