Guest Review: The House of Second Chances – Esther Campion

The House of Second Chances

Esther Campion

Hachette AU

ISBN: 9780733636172

 

Description:

Can a house heal heartache? From coastal Australia to the rugged beauty of Ireland, an enchanting novel of starting over, in the tradition of Maeve Binchy and Monica McInerney.

Their grandmother’s stone cottage was always a welcome retreat in the childhood summers of Ellen and Aidan O’Shea. After a trip home from Australia, Ellen is keen to bring the neglected home back to its former glory and enlists the help of her dear friend and one of Ireland’s top interior designers, Colette Barry.

Aidan is already begrudging the work on the house he has avoided for nearly twenty years. The last thing the builder needs is an interior designer who seems to do nothing but complicate his life. With their own personal heartaches to overcome, will Aidan and Colette find the courage to give the house and themselves a second chance?

 

Brenda’s Review:

Even though Ellen O’Shea had returned to South Australia after her visit to her home in Ireland, she knew her brother Aidan who was a builder, would continue the renovation of their grandmother’s stone cottage in West Cork. Ellen had taken her good friend, interior designer Colette Barry on board, and knew she would do an excellent job with the cottage. But Aidan didn’t want the added cost that came with Colette’s grandiose ideas.

While good friend Gerry Clancy was trying to obtain the visa he needed to join Ellen in Australia, Colette was busy at her interior designer company, Fabulous Four Walls, along with good friend and partner John. When Colette and Gerry joined Aidan at the West Cork cottage, she could see the potential and knew the house would have a second chance with all they could do. But she also wondered how she could work with the perpetually grumpy owner of the cottage. How could he be the brother of her best friend?

With troubled pasts and dark secrets, plus events with family and friends of an upsetting nature, was there a possibility of second chances and starting over? Would Aidan find happiness? Would Colette?

The House of Second Chances by Aussie author Esther Campion is the sequel to Leaving Ocean Road, and it was wonderful to catch up with Ellen, Aidan and Gerry once again. The story continues on from the ending of Leaving Ocean Road and was exceptionally well done, with the blending of known characters with new ones. The parts of Australia in the novel – Port Lincoln, Millicent, Mount Gambier, the Coorong – are places I know (I lived in Mount Gambier as a child); while Ireland is a place I haven’t been, but the descriptions of the countryside were delightful. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and whipped through it in a matter of hours (who needs sleep?!) Highly recommended. 5 stars!

With thanks to Hachette AU for my ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

New Release Book Review: The Orchardist’s Daughter by Karen Viggers — Theresa Smith Writes

Theresa, at Theresa Smith Writes, has intrigued me with her review of The Orchardist’s Daughter. This one is on my TBR and I can wait to start reading it.

The Orchardist’s Daughter… About the Book: A story of freedom, forgiveness and finding the strength to break free. International bestselling writer Karen Viggers returns to remote Tasmania, the setting of her most popular novel The Lightkeeper’s Wife. Sixteen-year-old Mikaela has grown up isolated and home-schooled on an apple orchard in south-eastern Tasmania, until an unexpected […]

via New Release Book Review: The Orchardist’s Daughter by Karen Viggers — Theresa Smith Writes

Guest Review- The Orchardist’s Daughter – Karen Viggers

the orchardist's daughterThe Orchardist’s Daughter

Karen Viggers

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760630584

 

Description:

A story of freedom, forgiveness and finding the strength to break free. International bestselling writer Karen Viggers returns to remote Tasmania, the setting of her most popular novel The Lightkeeper’s Wife.

Sixteen-year-old Mikaela has grown up isolated and home-schooled on an apple orchard in southeastern Tasmania, until an unexpected event shatters her family. Eighteen months later, she and her older brother Kurt are running a small business in a timber town. Miki longs to make connections and spend more time in her beloved forest, but she is kept a virtual prisoner by Kurt, who leads a secret life of his own.

When Miki meets Leon, another outsider, things slowly begin to change. But the power to stand up for yourself must come from within. And Miki has to fight to uncover the truth of her past and discover her strength and spirit.

Set in the old-growth eucalypt forests and vast rugged mountains of southern Tasmania, The Orchardist’s Daughter is an uplifting story about friendship, resilience and finding the courage to break free.

 

Brenda’s Review:

Sixteen-year-old Mikaela moved to the small timber town with her older brother Kurt after their parents were lost in a house fire. Miki grieved for her parents, but Kurt made a home for them behind the fish’n’chip shop which they ran. Being the only takeaway shop in town they were reasonably busy – but Miki didn’t get out except with Kurt when they went to the forest on a Monday. He kept her closeted inside – for her safety he said. Miki didn’t argue; she didn’t want to make him angry.

When Leon arrived to start his position as a Parks Ranger, he knew he wanted to make this place his home. His Grandpa was in a nursing home nearby, but he knew no one else. He’d left his parents at their property on Bruny Island where he’d lived most of his life – he knew it was time to get away as he and his father didn’t see eye to eye. Leon’s run-down old home was next door to young ten-year-old Max and his family. He soon found himself kicking the footy around with Max, who needed to work on his confidence. And Leon joined the local football team to meet some of the locals. He wasn’t sure how long it would take to be accepted though…

Miki was lonely, especially when Kurt was away in Hobart. She had her beloved books which had belonged to her mother, but she wanted more. Could she find a way to leave the shop, even just for a walk? Her feelings about her brother were changing; his anger and aggression were mounting – she didn’t know what to do. But trouble was coming, and Miki needed to find strength and resilience. Could she?

The Orchardist’s Daughter by Aussie author Karen Viggers is a beautifully written story of dominance, a need for freedom other than in the pages of a book, determination and a deep love of nature. Set among the eucalypts of southern Tasmania, Miki’s affinity to the forest, the Tasmanian devils, the majestic soaring eagles who nested in the forest – plus Leon’s love of those same forests which were in his blood – then the tense, gritty and breathtaking finish – all made for an excellent novel which I highly recommend. 5 stars.

With thanks to Allen & Unwin for my uncorrected proof ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

Guest Review – Saving You – Charlotte Nash

saving you

Saving You

Charlotte Nash

Hachette AU

ISBN: 9780733636479

 

Description:

One single mother. Three escaped pensioners. A road trip across the United States.

The new emotionally compelling page-turner by Australia’s Charlotte Nash.

In their tiny pale green cottage under the trees, Mallory Cook and her five-year-old son, Harry, are a little family unit who weather the storms of life together. Money is tight after Harry’s father, Duncan, abandoned them to expand his business in New York. So when Duncan fails to return Harry after a visit, Mallory boards a plane to bring her son home any way she can.

During the journey, a chance encounter with three retirees on the run from their care home leads Mallory on an unlikely group road trip across the United States. Zadie, Ernie, and Jock each have their own reasons for making the journey and along the way the four of them will learn the lengths they will travel to save each other – and themselves.

Saving You is the beautiful, emotionally compelling page-turner by Charlotte Nash, bestselling Australian author of The Horseman and The Paris Wedding.

Brenda’s Review:

Absolutely brilliant! This will be one of my top reads for 2019!

Mallory Cook’s work at Silky Oaks with the elderly residents was rewarding, and she loved her job. Her greatest achievement though was her five-year-old son Harry. She was excited for his return from New York where he’d been for two weeks with his father for the Easter break. But the non-appearance of both Duncan, Mallory’s husband, and Harry at the Brisbane Airport was the beginning of a journey that would test everything Mallory had ever known about herself.

Mallory’s arrival at the Los Angeles airport was joined by a nearby volcano pouring its ash over the airways. Flights were cancelled, hire cars were fully booked, trains were booked out – Mallory was stranded with little money. But her meeting with three elderly people, Ernie, Zadie and Jock seemed like the answer to her prayers. They needed to get to Nashville and had a hire car, their driver had vanished, and Mallory needed to get to New York. As long as she could drive them, all would be fine.

The trip across the country was fraught with problems – but the determination of all four was that they would do what they set out to do. Mallory ached to see Harry – what would be the outcome of this seemingly crazy dash from Australia to the US?

Saving You by Aussie author Charlotte Nash is an emotional, heart warming and heart breaking novel which I absolutely loved. I devoured it, laughing out loud in places, needing the tissues in others. A wonderful novel that I have no hesitation in recommending highly – in my opinion this is the author’s best yet! A credit to you Ms Nash! 5 stars!

With thanks to Hachette AU for my ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

Brenda’s Top Ten Books of the Year 2018

This has been a bumper year for 5 star reads, trying to narrow the list to just ten is very difficult but Brenda has managed to whittle her list to these  ten exciting reads (in no particular order) :

Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

The Queen's Colonial

The Queen’s Colonial by Peter Watt

The Nature of the Lion

Nature of the Lion by T.M. Clark

Wundersmith

Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend

Disguising Demons

Disguising Demons by Brigid George

The Dream Daughter

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

The Great Alone

The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah

The Lost Pearl

The Lost Pearl by Emily Madden

The Lost Valley

The Lost Valley by Jennifer Scoullar

Whitsunday Dawn

Whitsunday Dawn by Annie Seaton

Guest Review: The Wrong Callahan – Karly Lane

The Wrong Callahan

The Wrong Callahan
Karly Lane
Allen & Unwin AU
ISBN: 9781760632656

Description:
It had been two long years since Lincoln Callahan had found himself in front of the gates to Stringybark Creek. He was in the army then – a lifetime ago. Linc had always been the unsettled Callahan, looking for danger, the one who couldn’t wait to leave the family farm.
This time he was back for his little sister, Hadley’s, wedding. From far and wide, the Callahan relatives were streaming toward Stringybark Creek.
Linc’s little brother, Griffin, was the steady son, the one who stayed at home, the one who did the right things. And now, the one who had feelings for city-girl, Cash Sullivan.
For Cash, the offer to manage her best friend’s luxury beauty spa tucked away in the country had come at the right time. She knew she needed to make smarter choices in her life, starting with the men she dated, and an enforced break in the country seemed the right way to consider her options.
When Linc sets eyes on Cash at a family dinner, their swift attraction floors him. But Cash is his brother’s girlfriend…what was he thinking?
As Linc, Griff and Cash form an uneasy triangle, each of them have personal demons to face before they can open their hearts.

Brenda’s Review:
It was the first time in two years since Linc Callahan had returned home to Stringybark Creek – he’d since left the army after his final tour of Afghanistan and the business he and two mates had started was doing well. But the peace he knew he would find at home with his mother Lavinia and father Bob, plus his siblings was something he was looking forward to. Christmas was only a few weeks away, then it would be his sister, Hadley’s wedding. Much would be happening, hence his earlier arrival.
Cash Sullivan had arrived to take over the operation of her best friend, Savannah’s health and wellness centre, while she and her husband were travelling. It included such treatments as massages and spas, and she would be helping prepare bridesmaids and bride for the upcoming wedding. Linc’s younger brother, Griff was on Cash’s radar – he was a gentle man and seemed shy. But she liked him. That was until she caught sight of Linc across the room at a Callahan family dinner. Sparks flew – but Cash was determined to stay right away from him. Apart from anything else, she couldn’t cause trouble between the brothers…

The Wrong Callahan is the first in a new series by Aussie author Karly Lane and is set in the rural countryside not far from Griffith in NSW. A familiar setting for me, and I could easily visualize the farm and the surrounding bushland. The Callahan family, especially Lavinia and Bob, were delightful; while there is mystery surrounding a couple of the others. An enjoyable rural romance which I have no trouble recommending. 4 stars.

With thanks to Allen & Unwin for my ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.