Guest Review: Something in the Wine – Tricia Stringer

Something in the Wine

Tricia Stringer

Harlequin Enterprises (Australia) Pty Ltd

ISBN: 9781489261502

Description:

A warm-hearted rural romance set among the scenic vineyards of the Margaret River from bestselling author Tricia Stringer, the authentic voice of Australian storytelling. Reserved high school teacher Keely Mitchell is more than ready for her holiday on the west coast of Australia, so when a medical emergency turns over all her plans and an intervention by a kind stranger finds her recovering in a Margaret River vineyard, she is at first downcast.

Keely had wanted to put recent traumatic events out of her mind, and recuperating alone in a stranger’s house won’t help that. But slowly the lovely food, spectacular wine and beautiful landscape of the area begin to work their spell. As Keely makes friends with the locals and adapts to the rhythms of the vintner’s year, she starts to feel part of the scenery too, particularly when her artwork and jewellery-making somehow find a home at Levallier Dell Wines.

But clouds are on the horizon in the shape of a warring father and son, interfering family friends and a rival in love. Keely didn’t mean to fall for anyone, but she can’t help her feelings for clever, passionate wine-maker Flynn Levallier. Sadly, it seems he only has eyes for the beautiful Kat, daughter of a rival wine-maker. Can what Keely feels be real? Or is it just something in the wine?

Brenda’s Review:

Keely Mitchell was looking forward to her holiday in WA; to following her dreams and going where she wanted. But the day of her arrival in Perth, she had an unexpected medical emergency and it was only luck that had her remembering the note with the phone number in her jeans pocket. Heading to Margaret River was the last thing she thought she’d be doing, but recuperation was paramount and her respite at Levallier Dell Wines seemed fortuitous.

As Keely slowly regained her strength, her discomfort at the situation in the face of the father and son who quite obviously didn’t see eye to eye was enough to make her want to leave. But gradually, the beauty of the vineyard; the wine and food; the friendliness of the locals – all made Keely realise she loved the area. But of course she couldn’t stay. Her sketches and jewellery making kept her occupied, but she wasn’t sure it was enough.

Would Keely leave Levallier Dell with just her memories to add to her holiday experiences? Or was there more, much more that she could experience?

Another fabulous read from the pen of Aussie author Tricia Stringer! I thoroughly enjoyed Something in the Wine, as I have all this author’s work. Her descriptions are so well painted, even though I’ve never been to the area, I could visualize it all. I could see the volatile and passionate neighbour Theo; the gossiping café owner; the frustrations of both father and son – all written in an easy-to-read way. An excellent novel which I have no trouble recommending. 5 stars

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Boxed – Richard Anderson

Boxed

Richard Anderson

Scribe Publications

ISBN: 9781925713657

 

Description:

When life delivers you gifts you don’t want.

 

Dave Martin is down on his luck: his wife has left him; his farm is a failure; his house is a mess; he has withdrawn from his community and friends; and tragedy has stolen his capacity to care. He passes the time drinking too much and buying cheap tools online, treating the delivered parcels as gifts from people who care about him.

 

And then boxes begin to arrive in the mail: boxes that he didn’t order, but ones that everyone around him seems to want desperately. As he tries to find out the secret of the boxes, Dave is drawn into a crazy world of red herrings and wrong turns, good guys and bad, false friends and true, violence, lust, fear, revenge, and a lot, lot more. It’s not a world he understands, but is it the only one Dave can live in?

 

 

My View:

Last year I read Richard Anderson’s debut Retribution – it was a stunning read – tension filled, evocative…with some thought provoking social commentary set in rural Australia, I loved it. When I was offered an opportunity to read Richard’s latest book “Boxed” I leapt at the chance and I was not disappointed.

 

Boxed is set in another rural small town – mysteries abound and personal tragedies /grief inform the mood of the narrative. (No spoilers here).  I love that contemporary issues are woven into this mystery, that there is hope and a wonderful sense of community, that the characters are richly drawn and empathetic and that the mystery element shines brightly. I thoroughly enjoyed this read.

 

Richard Anderson has a talent for storytelling that is mesmerising. I cannot wait to read what he writes next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.