The Lawson Sisters – Janet Gover

Welcome back everyone, I’m finally getting onto some Aussie author’s and I’ve been lucky enough to start it with a good one! YAY!

To give you an idea on why I was surprised in the location for this book, I’ve only ever known the Hunter Valley to be a place for wineries and breweries. Having it as the prime location for a horse breeding set story was a bit of a shock for me.

Although I know some of the locations by name, and I’ve visited some, I’m not familiar enough with the region to know how accurate the descriptions were. Since the author spent time in the region while writing it, I’d assume they are on point.

Some people have marked this story as a romance, yet I feel it fits under women’s fiction a bit better. Purely because it felt like the majority of the story focussed on the sister’s relationship, their grief and their family stud farm.

The focus on the emotional growth and development of all the characters (Liz, Kayla and Mitch) is amazing. By having little snippets of the past shown it allowed me to add a little bit of knowledge and context to how the characters are feeling today as I went. They were also timed perfectly and only showed the tiny bit that would add value.

My only problem was figuring out who’s point of view, and when, I was reading at any given point in time. It only took me a page or so to figure it out, but it still tripped me up and took me longer, and more brain power, than I would’ve liked.

If it had character names and say a year at the start of each chapter, I think that would’ve really helped keep me fully involved in the story rather than trying to figure out who, and when, I was following. This would’ve been especially important the first time since I wasn’t expecting to be thrown into the past, so it took me a few pages to figure out I was reading about the past, not a dream or something.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll be reviewing Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce.

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Light of the Spirit – Lisa Kessler

Welcome back everyone, we’ve reached the tipping point in the series. We’re over halfway!

If you’re familiar with the Greek Muses you’re probably wondering how I’m halfway through the series with four books down and three to go when there are 9 Muses. Well I’m not going to spoil it for you!

The previous three books were pretty action packed, yet this one felt like it had something else to it that I just loved. I’m not sure if it’s the introduction of more mythology and deities or not. Yet it’s becoming increasingly more like the Dark Hunter series.

There’s another character we’ve met previously becoming a central figure. There are unknown immortal beings wreaking havoc. Both sides of the battle are slowly having more and more information revealed to them.

There’s even that crucial input from the bad guys to keep it interesting. Unlike previous books, this one has more input from the bad guys including more people’s points of view rather than just Ted’s.  Between this and me reading the blurbs for future books I’m starting to map out my ideas of who’s who, who’s going to do what and why.

Let the conspiracies fly!

I have no idea how right or wrong I’ll be but I’m loving the drama, the additional input without lacking on the story of the two characters we’re meant to be focusing on. The balance still works even with more input from the bad guys.

Come back in another month to find out how the story develops in the fifth book!

Summer in Provence – Lucy Coleman

Welcome back everyone, after finishing off the second quartet from Emelan we’re back to Earth with a romance that doesn’t seem quite so perfect.

Like many books, this one spans quite some time. Unlike a lot of books, it spans from March 2018 through to December 2020 with a few pit stops along the way. As soon as I saw this structure in the contents, I knew a lot would have to happen and that I’d probably love it. Especially since I’m a fan of the authors previous works.

The journey Lucy follows in this book is one many couples go through. Having been together since they were in school, getting married and buying a house shortly after graduating uni, they never really had a chance to be young and free. They never dated around, never did the gap year traveling thing.

In Fern’s case, she hasn’t slept with anyone other than her husband.

In many ways they grew up and matured together without discovering and forming their own individual identities. I believe this is what “rushing into things” means. In this case it leads to a gap year in their marriage. A year away from each other, their jobs, their home and everything they’ve known so far.

It’s a year to discover who they are separate from each other before coming back together to continue life as they’d previously known it.

Of course, what’s the point of a story if there’s no drama, right? Well, with love interests, discoveries of new talents, family hiding secrets etc this book is filled with slow burn drama that boils over into an amazing ending. There’s one detail I don’t like about how Aiden behaves. But if I tell you what it is it’ll ruin the book for you.

I also loved the ending and the discussions had around marriage, what it means and why people get married. At the time I read this I was chatting to a friend about that very topic and in so many ways Lucy captured the very essence of what we were saying.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Light of the Spirit by Lisa Kessler. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels – including Summer on the Italian Lakes, Snowflakes over Holly Cove, The French Adventure and A Cottage in the Country. She is represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture, working in the garden, or practising Tai Chi.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she is an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the SoA and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Giveaway – Win a signed paperback of ‘A Springtime to Remember’ and a Baldwood Tote bag (open internationally)


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Shatterglass – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, there’s been a lot of contemporary romances lately so it’s good to get back to a fantasy briefly.

The last book in the quartet follows Tris as she makes her mark in a new city. In so many ways this city makes me feel ashamed that I’m human. In a world where slavery is almost gone, this city essentially lives with it as it’s entire eco-system.

Tris’s ability to see past this cities ambivalence and see the people, what they’re going through and how broken the structure is, is amazing. As a teenager reading this for the first time, I was inspired to do better, be better and fight for what’s right.

I can’t say I’m as good as Tris at this. But the inspiration is there, and I’m reminded of it every time I read this book.

Tris goes even further by taking in an orphan, giving a hurt man a new lease on life, fixing a man-made drought, showing people that different is ok and changing a whole cities way of life. How could I ever measure up to that given how much ill will there is in the world? How could I possibly find my way of making a difference like Tris does?

I honestly don’t know any other book that’s touched me in the same way that this book did and continues to touch me. I think this inspiration is something that every young person should read to get, remember and take with them through all their journeys throughout the rest of their lives.

It’s such an important message that everyone needs in their heart to remind them to be better.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Summer in Provence by Lucy Coleman.

Clover Cottage – Christie Barlow

Welcome back everyone, I feel like my schedule is starting to normalise a little and get under control which is awesome. Especially because today we’re returning to Love Heart Lane.

Although the blurb gives a sense that Rory and Allie will get a happily ever after with the phrase “the place that will always bring them back to each other”; for a lot of this book I didn’t think that was going to happen. I got so caught up in the emotions that they were both experiencing in the moment that I forgot this is a romance.

We know romances always end up with a happily ever after. Yet Christie’s writing had me so involved and felt so life like that I totally forgot about it! In real life happily ever after’s don’t always happen. So it made sense that maybe it wasn’t going to happen this time either.

It’s not that common that a writer can get me so involved in a romance story that I forget it’s a book and not someone’s real life. Or am I just comparing that to Married at First Sight? (Yes, I watch it coz my partner loves it and its currently mid-way through the series.)

Either way. The troubles that Rory and Allie go through are so normal. Career changes, the progression of a relationship, living situations, family issues etc. Every couple will have gone through one of more of the issues which makes it so relatable. In a way it made me feel better about the times my partner and I have disagreements (so, like every weekend?) because every couple has those moments.

I loved getting caught up in the moment and being with them as they worked out their next steps while learning more about themselves and growing as people. They each had a valuable lesson to learn and they both learnt it and moved forwards with it. It was so amazing to read.

The only thing I didn’t really like about it was that it felt like there was one thing too many that they had to work through as a couple. When I got to it, I was like “I could see the set up for this, but really? ANOTHER thing for them to figure out?” It just felt like it was a tad too much and made me drop out of the story for a moment.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll be reviewing Shatterglass by Tamora Pierce. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Christie Barlow is the international bestselling author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty’s Countryside Dream, Lizzie’s Christmas Escape, Evie’s Year of Taking Chances, The Cosy Canal Boat Dream, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm, Love Heart Lane and Foxglove Farm. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada & Australia.

Christie is an ambassador for @ZuriProject raising money/awareness and engaging with impoverished people in Uganda through organisations to improve their well-being.

Cold Temptation – Zoe Ashwood

Welcome back everyone, I have a bonus review for you, courtesy of Zoe Ashwood!

I’ve been looking forward to reading this since Zoe announced this world was turning into a series. And I want to lead with the fact that I’m already looking forward to the final instalment. Not that I’m sure when that’s coming out… Hopefully later this yr!

I loved the way the Mika and Kol were fighting their attraction yet fighting to be together as well. Like Cold Attraction, we come in after the initial romantic feelings begin, and get the story after that. In this case we begin at the funeral of the previous King of Rendu.

Unlike the previous book, the drama doesn’t come from external forces and the human need to know more. This time it comes purely from Mika and her desire to know more about the animals of Rendu while also proving to be incredibly unlucky.

I mean, who else falls down a glacier, goes walking in a blizzard and gets sick?

Those trails and tribulations put a lot of pressure on them and their relationship. Following both of them as they learn about the other customs, world, dangers, weaknesses, strengths and their place in each other’s lives was so enjoyable.

I know whenever I read one of Zoe’s book’s I’m in for a quick, fun, action packed romance that’s a little different to her previous books. It feels like with every book she writes she does something a little bit different.

The only thing I was really surprised about was the epilogue. The first book had the epilogue months after from Adriana’s point of view. Having this one be from Hanna’s point of view was quite a surprise. Yet it’s what’s driving my excitement about the final book. So I kinda get why Zoe decided to change her pace for the epilogue this time.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing Clover Cottage by Christie Barlow.

The Eternal Banquet – Jennifer Macaire

Welcome back everyone, we’re up to the last book in the series and I can’t believe I’m finally done with the series!

Those little things that frustrated me in the last book were all corrected in this book while Ashley, Alexander and Plexis found their way through the rest of their lives.

The focus of this book is on their travels home from the land of the Eaters of the Dead. There were several revelations that, for the first time in this series, made me think about something philosophical. Normally I’ve found this series to be a great relaxation read rather than a reflective and learning kind of book.

The moment that hit me was when they were leaving Carthage for Rome. If you read the book, you’ll know what I mean with that moment. I was left wondering if maybe she was always meant to travel back in time to ensure that history played out exactly as it was meant to. Maybe every time traveller that got stuck back in time had a vital role to play in the history of the world and the Institute of Time let them make changes while also keeping up the reputation of wiping them from the Earth to discourage too much control.

As much as I loved the story, the style of the writing felt a touch off at a few points. Even the last couple of chapters felt a little bit rushed. Yet I can’t see how the ending would have been satisfying any other way.

Given the difference in the whole story compared to history, I can see why we needed the wrap up of what happened to Ashley’s children and where she ended up. I’m not sure if the main reason I didn’t like this was because I didn’t want the story to end, or because there really was something missing.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week that last instalment of The Circle Opens quartet will be reviewed. After that, I’ll be starting a new set of series to replace this one.

The New Guy – Kathryn Freeman

Welcome back everyone, after a few reviews for books in a series we’re back to a standalone contemporary romance set in London.

One of they key differences between this book and many other romances I read is that the woman is the one in a position of power in the relationship. Not only is it Sam that instigates a conversation with Ryan initially. She’s the one that sets out how their relationship plays out after that.

Throughout the book we read how Ryan is feeling, and it’s strangely insecure. Being a girl, I don’t know if many guys feel like this in relationships, but it was great to have such a strong male lead who was also so in touch with his emotions and what he wants from a relationship. While also being honest with himself about how he truly feels rather than trying to hide behind walls.

In many ways I respect what Sam has achieved and sympathise with what she’s had to go through thanks to Damien. Yet I also think she was a little silly to get involved with someone she worked with. Something my dad always told me growing up was to never get involved with someone I worked with because society always makes the woman out to be worse off.

At the same time, if you’re falling for someone that hard why should you have to deny your heart?

And then my logical business brain switches on being like “aren’t there laws against this in England?” coz I know there are here in Australia. Even for small businesses like Sam’s.

The way Kathryn wrote about both Ryan and Sam’s emotional turmoil and their insecurities kept me enraptured the whole way through. I kept wondering when they’d finally talk openly and honestly, what would happen after they’d done that? Would Ryan keep working for Sam? If he did, how would their relationship end up?

Rather than trying to sort through that minefield I think Kathryn did the right thing for the story and left it on a high. But also open for the reader to decide how they want their love story to play out. Does it end up a fully open office romance? Does it go down in flames? Is it a fairy-tale ending?

Who knows? You get to pick what you want!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Friday I’ll be reviewing Jennifer Macaire’s final Alexander book, The Eternal Banquet. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero.

With a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

Game Changer – Lasairiona E. McMaster

Welcome back everyone, after finishing the Lisa Miller series earlier in the year I’m now starting the AJ Williams series. The same events, but from AJ’s perspective.

I was wondering how much this series could offer me as I’ve read a couple of books that were written after another book but from another character’s perspective. Normally I find these books quite repetitive and boring.

Somehow, Lasairionas writing makes it work. I think having most of the book focus on AJ’s thoughts or his interactions with people when Lisa wasn’t there made it work. Instead of rehashing what’s already been said from Lisa’s perspective, we get an insight into AJ’s mind, bipolar and all.

We also get an insight into AJ’s relationships with others. Especially Jeremey.

I’m honestly not sure how accurate AJ’s thoughts are of bipolar, never having suffered it myself, but I hope it’s as accurate as possible. Reading his thoughts go backwards and forwards, questioning, the self-doubt. It made him more relatable and it made me wonder about what I know is to come in future books.

Some of the major incidents in this book gave me a whole different view of what happened. Some of the things that happened, when explained from Lisa’s perspective left me confused. Meaning when I got to read what happened to AJ it made total sense. It also gave me a lot more empathy for him than I had when reading Lisa’s book.

I can’t wait until I get to read what happens next and how AJ handles it himself.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing The New Guy by Kathryn Freeman. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Lasairiona McMaster grew up dreaming of an exciting life abroad, and, after graduating from Queens University, Belfast, that is exactly what she did – with her then-boyfriend, now husband of almost ten years. Having recently repatriated to Northern Ireland after a decade abroad spanned over two countries (seven and a half years in America and eighteen months in India), she now finds herself ‘home’, with itchy feet and dreams of her next expatriation. With a penchant for both travelling, and writing, she started a blog during her first relocation to Houston, Texas and, since repatriating to Northern Ireland, has decided to do as everyone has been telling her to do for years, and finally pen a book (or two) and get published while she tries to adjust to the people and place she left ten years ago, where nothing looks the same as it did when she left.