Review: The House of Second Chances – Esther Campion

The House of Second Chances (1)

The House of Second Chances

Esther Campion

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733636172

RRP $29.99

 

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?

 

 

My View:

This was the perfect Valentine’s Day read – and if you haven’t had an opportunity to read it yet, sit yourself down in a comfy chair, cup of tea (or glass of wine) in hand and take some time to be in the moment, to be in Ireland, to be in the countryside – wild, romantic and picturesque. Imagine yourself with you sketch pad or easel capturing the vista, relaxed.

 

Armchair travelling at its best.

 

Everyone deserves a second chance.

 

 

For those who haven’t read the Leaving Ocean Road – the book that introduces to the main characters and background stories, check out Brenda’s review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2274627293

 

 

PS Love the cover art.

 

A Special Announcement

I am so pleased to hear some great news from the talented Western Australian author – Sasha Wasley (S D Wasley).

Dear Banjo and True Blue are about to be joined by Love Song in the Daughters of the Outback series.

 

Love Song

About Love Song

Out June 4, 2019

When she agreed to tutor Charlie Campbell, falling in love was the last thing on her mind.

At 17, Beth Paterson had just lost her mother and was working hard to get in to university. She didn’t expect to lose her head over a boy – and she certainly didn’t expect him to vanish without even saying goodbye.

These days, Charlie is a big star on the alternative rock scene, while Beth is a respected doctor in her hometown. But her ordered life is thrown into turmoil when Charlie comes back to fight for the tiny community where he was raised. They can’t stop crossing paths any more than Beth can ignore the resurgence of that wild attraction they once shared.

However, Beth Paterson swore no man would ever screw her over again – least of all this man. She’s been protecting her heart since he left and she’s not about to let her guard down now.

Author’s comment on the cover: I love that the cover has gone back to the amazing red and blue spectrum of the Kimberley region. Beth is perfect – strong, solitary and sexy. And the best bit is the handwritten musical notes peeping through, reminding us that Charlie Campbell’s voice is always whispering in the back of Beth’s memory.

 

 

And there is more exciting news. 

The series, which has been a hit in Australia, is currently in bookstores in Germany and will soon be available as an audio book. 🙂

Even more exciting, Sasha has just sold the film rights to all three novels and we are hoping to soon see Willow, Free and Beth on the screen!

 

Fantastic news Sasha!!!

 

 

Now available for pre-order from your favourite store as paperback or ebook.

Paperback

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Guest Review: The Heartwood Hotel – Kerry McGinniss

The Heartwood Hotel

The Heartwood Hotel

Kerry McGinnis

Penguin Random House

ISBN: 9780143789048

Description:

‘The Heartwood is the core of this district. It always has been so, but it’s still just a building. It’s your family – you and Adam and old Tiger – who animate it, keep the heart beating, so to speak.’

In the abandoned railhead town of Tewinga, now almost a ghost town, Lyn and Adam Portman struggle to keep the Heartwood Hotel afloat. Lyn loves her husband and longs to be a mother. But she’s kept busy caring for her elderly father, her community, and Max, the young worker who reminds her of the brother she’s lost and dearly misses.

When he fails to return from a day trip, Lyn’s concern deepens as the length of his absence grows, the more so with rumours of criminal activity at a nearby station. Meanwhile, a chance meeting uncovers a family bombshell that leaves Lyn reeling. The community must pull together as never before, proving that sometimes the smallest towns have the biggest hearts – and hide the darkest secrets.

From the bestselling author of Secrets of the Springs, this is the new outback mystery from Australia’s authentic rural writer and beloved voice of the bush.

 

Brenda’s Review:

Lyn Portman and her husband Adam had returned to the small Queensland outback town of Tewinga, where Heartwood Hotel reigned supreme over the area, and where Lyn’s dad, Tiger was still living. He needed care though after his beloved wife, and Lyn’s mother had passed away. Lyn knew she and Adam were needed in the district. The arrival of Max, a backpacker from Adelaide on his gap year before starting uni and his serious law degree was a boon for them, as he was a hard worker and friendly – they would be sorry when he moved on.

The day after the rodeo, Max headed off on his bike for a little R & R – he told Lyn and Tiger he would be back the next day. But Max didn’t return. Lyn’s mild concerns became serious worry although the police weren’t taking her seriously. But with the rumour of drugs and criminals in the area, Lyn called Max’s parents – but would it be too late? Max was nowhere to be found and with the days that had passed, the chance of finding him alive became more remote.

What would happen to Lyn and Adam – to old Tiger, and to Max? And when Lyn discovered something set in her family’s past that could change the future, she was astounded at the family secrets she’d known nothing about…

The Heartwood Hotel is another exceptional contemporary, outback rural mystery novel by Aussie author Kerry McGinnis which I devoured. A mix of intrigue, secrets, heartache, hope and family sweep through the Australian outback country, with the bulldust and flies, the changing seasons and the heart of the community – always there for the neighbours. A fabulous novel, The Heartwood Hotel is one I highly recommend. 5 stars

With thanks to Penguin Random House for my ARC to read and review.

Guest Review: True Blue – Sasha Wasley

When this wonderful Australian author (from Perth Western Australia) called in for a cuppa the other day – we talked books, art and family.  (More on that later today – watch out for my next post.)

Sasha Wasley’s trilogy is based on the lives of three sisters (book 3 to be published in the near future), this series has garnered many great reviews and

I thought I would share another with you – thanks for the contribution Brenda.


True Blue

Brenda’s Review:
When Freya (Free) Paterson was stopped on the way to the hen’s night by the local police, she wasn’t sure what she’d done wrong – as it turned out, it was nothing; but she met Constable Finn Kelly for the first time and she liked what she saw.
Free was an artist and landing a job at the local high school in Mount Clair teaching the year eleven students art was a dream come true. The only unwelcome intrusion at her new workplace was a colleague who gave Free the creeps. Ignoring him was easy. Her students were a wonderful group of dedicated, upcoming artists.
Free and her family had lived on the Paterson property for decades – farming was in her blood. Her two sisters, Beth and Willow, along with her father loved the land and the Herne River which bordered their property. The recent decision to dam the river was something no one wanted – it would cause heartache and havoc for the farms along the river’s edge.

Meanwhile Free couldn’t get the new constable out of her mind. Finn was a kind and gentle Irishman, but the negative vibes he sent toward Free were confusing. Why did he only want to be friends?

Second in the Paterson Sisters trilogy, True Blue by Aussie author Sasha Wasley tells the second sister’s story. The first in the trilogy, Dear Banjo, featured Willow, and the third (when published) will feature Beth. Set in the beautiful Kimberley region of Western Australia, the vast and rugged landscape comes to life under Wasley’s pen. Towards the end of the novel there was a section which made me laugh; made me cry and felt wonderful! I’m not a romance/romance reader – I like some suspense and intrigue mixed in, and True Blue fits the bill, while being an excellent novel; I’m very much looking forward to Beth’s story. Highly recommended – 5 stars.

With thanks to Penguin Random House for my ARC to read and review.

Post Script: True Blue – Sasha Wasley

True Blue

True Blue

Sasha Wasley

Penguin

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9780143784548

 

Description:

Love is random. Accidental. You just live your life and then one day it’ll hit you with the right person.

 

Wandering soul Freya ‘Free’ Paterson has finally come back home. Idealistic and trusting, she’s landed the job of her dreams working on an art project with the local school, but she hadn’t planned on meeting the man of her dreams as well.

 

With his irresistible Irish accent, Constable Finn Kelly is everything Free wants – genuine, kind . . . and handsome as hell. He’s also everything Free isn’t – stable and dependable. Yet despite the passion simmering between them, he just wants to be friends. What is he trying to hide?

 

As Free throws herself into the challenges of her new job, fending off the unwelcome advances of a colleague and helping to save her beloved Herne River, Finn won’t stay out of her way, or out of her heart.

 

But just when she needs him the most, will Finn reveal his true colours?

 

 

My View:

I received my copy of True Blue at a time when life was a little traumatic and emotional. For those who know me or follow my blog you will be aware that in February/March we dealt a number of deaths in our family; concentrating on reading my normal diet of crime fiction was not possible. But True Blue came along and gave me a little glimpse of happiness, fun and optimism.

 

And the anecdote regarding art – the quantity versus quality story – really resonated. You will be pleased to know I have opted for the quantity experience/experiment and I am really enjoying (and learning a lot) my foray into acrylic abstract painting.

 

Thanks you so much for providing a narrative that sheds light into the sometimes gloomy world; this read is cheerful, inspiring and full of optimism.

 

 

 

 

Post Script: A Place to Remember – Jenn J McLeod

A Place to Remember

 

A Place to Remember

Jenn J McLeod

Head of Zeus

Harper Collins Australia

ISBN: 9781786699923

 

Description:

A man loses five years of his life. Two women are desperate for him to remember.

 

Running away for the second time in her life, twenty-seven-year old Ava believes the cook’s job at a country B&B is perfect, until she meets the owner’s son, John Tate. At twenty, the fifth generation grazier is a beguiling blend of both man, boy and a terrible flirt. With their connection immediate and intense, they begin a clandestine affair right under the noses of John’s formidable parents.

 

Thirty years later, Ava returns to Candlebark Creek with her daughter, Nina, who is determined to meet her mother’s lost love for herself. While struggling to find her own place in the world, Nina discovers an urban myth about a love-struck man, a forgotten engagement ring, and a dinner reservation back in the eighties. Now she must decide if revealing the truth will hurt more than it heals…

 

 

My View:

A remarkable read! Jenn J McLeod has out done herself with this epic Australian family saga. Fantastic settings, family dramas that will wrench your heart, a little mystery and a compelling narrative. All that is left to say now, is, what’s next Jenn?