Waiting On: Return To Stringybark Creek (The Callahans of Stringybark Creek Book 3) by Karly Lane

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine. The purpose is to spotlight upcoming releases that we are excited for.

Karly Lane is one of my all-time favourite authors and a Unicorn author at that. I’m still in shock that I meet her! Despite being a book behind in this series still, I am soooooooo looking forward to this release.

Published by: Allen & Unwin Australia

Expected Publication:3rd December 2019

The Callahans of Stringybark Creek – Book 3

When Hadley Callahan returns to Stringybark Creek without her husband, Mitch Samuals, she plans to tell her parents one major piece of news while determinedly hiding another even more explosive secret.

For Oliver Dawson, the Callahans’ neighbour, Hadley’s celebrity wedding two years ago had killed any hopes he’d nurtured that one day they might end up together.

With Mitch putting pressure on Hadley and the secret she’s keeping causing her great anguish, Hadley’s developing feelings for Ollie take her by surprise. But with her life thrown into so much chaos at the moment, what future could they possibly have together?

Return to Stringybark Creek concludes the Callahan family trilogy with a delightfully irresistible story of loyalty, hope and the importance of staying true to yourself.

Waiting On: Up On Horsehoe Hill by Penelope Janu

 

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine. The purpose is to spotlight upcoming releases that we are excited for.

Alongside Queen of Nothing by Holly Black, Up On The Horsehoe Hill by Penelope Janu is tied for my most anticipated release of the second half of 2019. I was fortunate enough to get an e-arc from NetGalley for this one already, but I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy the day it releases!

Published by: Harlequin Australia

Expected Publication: 18th November 2019

A kiss can change your life …

Jemima Kincaid loves her home, her horses and her job as a farrier. Life has not been kind to her, but Jemima is happy in the close-knit rural community of Horseshoe Hill, which rallied around in her hour of need. Even so, she is fiercely independent and will never rely on anyone again.

Particularly a man like Finn Blackwood.

An infuriatingly attractive geneticist and wild animal vet, Finn threatens not only the serenity of Jemima’s present, but that of the future she has so carefully mapped out. But as their paths continue to cross, she finds her attraction to Finn impossible to counter, even as the trauma of her past threatens to undo her. Finn is fascinated by Jemima’s solitary nature and unique vulnerabilities but Jemima knows all about loss and how to avoid it. Don’t let anyone get close in the first place …

As the past begins to cast long shadows, Jemima and Finn discover that a kiss can bring worlds together-or tear them apart. Will they finally face their fears and find love on Horseshoe Hill?

Slapshot Readathon Wrap Up 2019

Slapshot Readathon was a hockey-related readathon created by @puckspaperbacks @beccawithabook that ran from the 2nd October – 8th October.  October 2019 was the first #slapshotreadathon but hopefully not the last, as I thoroughly enjoyed this readathon and actually surprised myself with my results.

The readathon itself centred around three specific levels of participation achievements (based on the number of books you were aiming/achieved to read in the seven day period) and up to six additional reading challenges. All of the achievements and challenges were optional, as long as you read books based around Ice Hockey.

In my original TBR post, I challenged myself to complete THREE books throughout the course of this readathon and thus earning myself a HAT TRICK. At the time I thought that was being ambitious, but I was determined to make it. However, I managed to complete FIVE books in the space of SEVEN days and just missed out on finishing my SIXTH book. I was so close too!!!

Still, I’m pretty damn pleased with what I achieved with this readathon challenge, and completing FIVE books still earned me a FIVE HOLE, which is freaking cool!

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Long Lost Review: Rocking Horse Hill by Cathryn Hein

Long lost Reviews (LLR) is a  monthly featured hosted by Ally @ Ally’s Appraisals where bloggers are encouraged to tackle their review backlog with book reviews that have been sitting there for a long time. Reviews can range from in-depth analyses to one sentence statements with no pressure applied. To learn more and see participating blogs visit Ally’s blog here.

Published: 23rd April 2014

Publisher: Michael Joseph (an imprint of Penguin Books Australia)

Format: Ebook & paperback

RRP: $29.99

5/5 Stars

Ever since she was a little girl, Emily Wallace-Jones has loved Rocking Horse Hill. The beautiful family property is steeped in history. Everything important in Em’s life has happened there. And even though Em’s brother Digby has inherited the property, he has promised Em it will be her home for as long as she wishes.

When Digby falls in love with sweet Felicity Townsend, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Em worries about the future. But she is determined not to treat Felicity with the same teenage snobbery that tore apart her relationship with her first love, Josh Sinclair. A man who has now sauntered sexily back into Em’s life and given her a chance for redemption.

But as Felicity settles in, the once tightly knitted Wallace-Jones family begins to fray. Suspicions are raised, Josh voices his distrust, and even Em’s closest friends question where Felicity’s motives lie. Conflicted but determined to make up for the damage caused by her past prejudices, Em sides with her brother and his fiancée until a near tragedy sets in motion a chain of events that will change the family forever.

Rocking Horse Hill is a moving family drama and passionate love story from the author of Heartland.

I was ashamed to discover that despite reading this brilliant book before it released thanks to netgalley and Penguin Australia, I’d somehow not posted my review for this.

Cathryn Hein is an author I greedily re-read time and time again. Her books are full of personality, passion and enthusiasm for all things horses and life. For years now, she has been a must-buy author, whose books decorate my bookshelves proudly and whose words I can’t get enough of. Rocking Horse Hill is no different.

I adored this book back when I read it pre-release and the two subsequent times since. The characters feel like old friends and the setting like a holiday home that I get to hang out at every now and then. Despite knowing what’s coming, every single time this book makes me giddy and brings me crashing down into the most ungraceful of ugly tears. But it’s also uplifting and offers hope and … it’s magical.

I don’t want to spoil too much of the actual plot, because it’s a book that takes you on a rollercoaster of a ride that is best experienced first hand.  I do want to commend Hein for her expertly crafted a story of the land, heart and soul, with a hint of mystery, intrigue and suspense that will leave you wanting more long after the final page has been turned.

I highly recommend this book and feel a re-read coming on ASAP.

Note: I own the original purple cover of this book. The novel has seen been re-published by Cathryn Hein and has the cover below.

To purchase a copy of Rocking Horse Hill, visit the following online retailers:

Cathryn Hein’s Website | Amazon AUS | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Book Depository

To learn more about Cathryn Hein, visit the following social media sites:

Cathryn’s website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

Christmas Is Coming … (Christmas TBR)

I know.

I know.

It’s only October you say. THE BEGINNING OF OCTOBER.

Trust me, I get it. I don’t want to wish the remainder of 2019 away any more than you do. The sad fact of the matter of is that Christmas is fast approaching, and the majority of shops have started, if not completed, their Christmas setups already. I have a friend (hi Amber if you’re reading this), who is already counting down the days, weeks and paychecks to Christmas. She loves this time of year and I’m all for that. Continue reading

Love Between The Pages: The Power of Reading by Barbara Hannay

Today in Australia is the Reading Hour, where Australians of all ages are encouraged to aim to read for at least one hour. The following is from the Australian Reading Hour website:

We want Australians to either rediscover or introduce themselves to the benefits of reading. Take the time to learn, escape and relax.

In children, reading has been shown to help with identity formation, setting them up for success in the future. In adults, reading has been shown to reduce stress by 68% more than listening to music, going for a walk, or having a cup of tea.

To celebrate the love of reading and books, the beautiful gurus at Love Between The Pages (Penguin Random House Australia‘s romance book club) have worked with Australian author Barbara Hannay to curate a special guest post to mark the occasion.  I hope you enjoy the following as much as I did. Much like Hannay, I adored (and still do) Ethel Turner’s books and can highly relate to her experiences reading that particular book!

The Power of Reading

Barbara Hannay

I was fortunate to discover the power of reading at quite a young age. My mum took me to our local library at Red Hill in Brisbane, a red brick building on Enoggera Terrace. In those days we didn’t have a car and so we caught the bus, which added to the excitement.

My world until then was an ordinary house in a suburban street and the first book I can actually remember reading was about a family who lived in a flat above their grocery shop. I was fascinated. Then I discovered a series of books about twins who lived in other parts of the world – the Dutch twins, the Eskimo twins. I devoured these, thrilled to read about such wonderfully different ways of life. I remember loving the story of Heidi who lived high in the Swiss Alps with her grandfather. She slept in a little bed that was like a built-in cupboard and had a friend who was a goatherd. Wow! For me, books, literally, opened windows on the wider world beyond my doorstep

My favourite teacher in primary school was called Miss Isobel Mathams and I was lucky enough to have her for both Years 6 and 7. I have no idea how old she was, but my mum told me that her fiancé had been killed in World War 1, which was why she’d never married. Perhaps this was also why she threw herself so fervently into teaching and on Friday afternoons she read aloud to us. This was, of course, my favourite part of the week. I especially remember her reading the Just William books – hilarious stories about the adventures and misadventures of a school boy from a very middle class family in Edwardian England. And Daddy Long Legs that wonderful book by Jean Webster told entirely through letters. I was a very keen reader and had already read this book, but I loved hearing it again via Miss Mathams’s wonderfully expressive reading.

I found it interesting, when talking to a fellow schoolmate from that class in later years, to hear that she had no memory of being read to like that. Her memories of Miss Mathams were altogether different. Perhaps that’s why she’s now a doctor and I’m an author.

Around this time, I also read Ethel Turner’s Seven Little Australians and experienced my first encounter with powerful emotional punch. This book was written in the late nineteenth century and I know that death was often covered in books then, even in books for children. Beth in Little Women comes to mind. And Charles Dickens’s famous death of Little Nell from The Old Curiosity Shop. But these characters had been quite angelic and somehow death “became” them.

In Seven Little Australians, however, it is Judy, the liveliest, naughtiest and most vibrant member of the family who dies. More than sixty years later, I still remember reading her death scene early on a Sunday morning. When the gum tree fell on Judy, crushing her spine, I was absolutely devastated. I’d just lost a best friend – not to mention having my heart completely broken by a gut-wrenching deathbed scene with Judy’s brothers and sisters all around her.

As soon as I finished this chapter, I ran to my parents’ bedroom, bawling my eyes out. They were very concerned, of course, until they realised I was “only crying over a book”. But I had learned an important lesson about the emotional power of the written word on the page, and it’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten.

I’m truly grateful that I was introduced to wonderful stories at such a young age. The reading habit has never left me. On a daily basis, books continue to educate, inspire, entertain and move me and I can’t imagine my life without them.

Author bio: A former English teacher, Barbara Hannay is a city-bred girl with a yen for country life. Many of her forty-plus books are set in rural and outback Australia and have been enjoyed by readers around the world. She has won the RITA, awarded by Romance Writers of America, and has twice won the Romantic Book of the Year award in Australia. In her own version of life imitating art, Barbara and her husband currently live on a misty hillside in beautiful Far North Queensland where they keep heritage pigs and chickens and an untidy but productive garden. Her latest novel is Meet Me in Venice.

Long Lost Review: His Brand of Beautiful by Lily Malone

Long lost Reviews (LLR) is a  monthly feature hosted by Ally @ Ally’s Appraisals where bloggers are encouraged to tackle their review backlog with book reviews that have been sitting there for a long time. Reviews can range from in-depth analyses to one sentence statements with no pressure applied. To learn more and see participating blogs visit Ally’s blog here.

Published:  1st March 2013

Publisher: Escape Publishing, Harlequin Australia’s Digital first imprint

Format: ebook

RRP: $4.99

3/5 Stars

When marketing strategist Tate Newell first meets wine executive Christina Clay, he has one goal in mind: tell Christina he won’t design the new brand for Clay Wines. Tell her thanks, but no thanks. So long, good night. But Tate is a sucker for a damsel in distress and when a diary mix–up leaves Christina in his debt, Tate gets more than he bargained for. What does a resourceful girl do when the best marketing brain in the business won’t play ball? She bluffs. She cheats. And she ups the ante. But when the stakes get too high, does anybody win? Falling in love was never part of this branding brief.

His Brand of Beautiful is a beautiful and sweeping debut by Australian author Lily Malone.

This book is the perfect introduction to the amazing back catalogue that Malone has crafted since the release of His Brand of Beautiful in 2013. Although telling as her debut, compared to later books, this book has all the early trademarks of her writing style; her unique voice, brilliant characters and romantic, somewhat isolated outback settings.

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REVIEW: The Roadhouse by Kerry McGinnis

Published: 2nd July 2019

Publisher: Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin Random House Australia

Pages:329

Format: paperback (courtesy of the publisher for review)

RRP: $32.99

When aspiring actress Charlie Carver learns that her cousin Annabelle has died, she immediately leaves Melbourne to fly home to the remote family roadhouse east of Alice Springs. It has been years since her last visit and her relationship with her mother, Molly, is strained but Charlie is determined to patch up their differences.

The reunion, however, is interrupted when Molly suffers a heart attack. With her mother airlifted out for life-saving surgery, Charlie is left to take the reins of the struggling family business, alongside friends old and new, including the captivating local stockman Mike.

The authorities declare Annabelle to have taken her own life, but when a woman’s body turns up at an abandoned mine site, Charlie begins to wonder what else is being covered up, and why.

Beginning a search for the truth, a perilous bush chase unfolds that threatens her own life, causing Charlie to wonder whether she ever knew Annabelle at all …

From the bestselling author of The Heartwood Hotel comes the suspenseful new outback mystery from Australia’s authentic rural writer and beloved voice of the bush.

The Roadhouseby Kerry McGinnis was a book that surprised me. I’ve read a few of Kerry McGinnis’ backlist by now, and I naively thought I knew what I was getting myself into with this novel. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

There is a lot to unpack in McGinnis’ 2019 new release, The Roadhouse. I could seriously talk your ear off about: how expert the writing is; how full of life and delightfully flawed her characters are; how familiar and foreign the isolated setting is; and how bloody Australian the book is.  I couldn’t get enough of any of it as I raced through the books 329 pages, anxiously trying to guess outcomes and wishing for a Happily Ever After (HEA) for poor Charlie.

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GUEST POST: The Relationship Between Research and Country by Kerry McGinnis

Today I am ecstatic to share with you all a guest-post Kerry McGinnis wrote to celebrate the release of her new book The Roadhouse. The following post has been supplied by Kerry McGinnis and Penguin Random House Australia through their bookclub LOVE BETWEEN THE PAGES. Don’t forget to check out my review for The Roadhouse by Kerry McGinnis that will be posted at 4pm today.

Kerry McGinnis was born in Adelaide and at the age of twelve took up a life of droving with her father and four siblings. The family travelled extensively across the Northern Territory and Queensland before settling on a station in the Gulf Country. Kerry has worked as a shepherd, droving hand, gardener and stock-camp and station cook on the family property Bowthorn, north-west of Mt Isa. She is the author of two volumes of memoir, Pieces of Blue and Heart Country, and the bestselling novels The Waddi Tree, Wildhorse Creek, Mallee Sky, Tracking North, Out of Alice, Secrets of the Springs and The Heartwood Hotel. Kerry now lives in Bundaberg.

 

The Relationship Between Research and Country by Kerry McGinnis

My novels might be fiction (or as my then five-year old nephew put it (his moral sense was very strong) when I attempted to explain the difference between imaginative and factual writings, ‘But it’s all lies if you just make it up, Aunty.’ However the localities of my stories are as real as you can get.

Some of the settings of my novels — Central Australia and its deserts for instance, the locale for The Waddi Tree, Out of Alice, and The Roadhouse — I knew as a child, while the Gulf Country with its battering monsoons was my home for forty years. It was, therefore, an easy setting to write for Wild Horse Creek, Tracking North and The Heartwood Hotel. Such intimacy with country means that the very smell and taste and feel of the land leaches into one’s soul. A phrase can recreate it; the scent of rain, the taste of dust, or the coruscating light of a droughted landscape is forever waiting in the wings of the mind ready to be to given life again.

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Happy Australia Day 2019 + Giveaway

Happy Australia Day everybody.

While the rest of Australia is drinking a beer  or two and eating sausages off a BBQ this year I’ll be spending my Australia Day working. Just because I’m not out celebrating in the traditional sense though, I wanted to host a giveaway showcasing just some of the amazing talent that call Australia home.

One of my biggest passions in life is books, particularly those by some of our home grown super stars – both those well known, and some not-so-well-known. I love showcasing Aussie authors, and actively try to promote and read as many of them as I possibly can.  It’s not usual to find me shoving them in my friends and families faces, recommending them at work, or really singing them praise everywhere I go.  Continue reading