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Archive for the ‘Australian Author’ Category

Title: Kakadu Sunset

Author: Annie Seaton

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Opens:

The three over-sized trucks in front of Ellie Porter’s small red sedan were loaded with pipes and earthmoving equipment, and they’d slowed her trip home along the Arnhem Highway from Darwin Airport.

Blurb:

Helicopter pilot Ellie Porter loves her job. Soaring above the glorious Kakadu National Park, she feels free from all her family problems. But when returning from a search-and-rescue mission she spots some unusual excavation works hidden at the back of her old family property. She is immediately very concerned because Kakadu being a National Park mining is not allowed. She decides to ask a few questions about the earthworks which immediately bring her into the radar of people who will stop at nothing to get their own way.

My Thoughts: Being a Darwin girl of some 40 years – and knowing the Kakadu Park area very well, I have to say I approached the setting very critically. I need not have worried – Aussie author Annie Seaton nailed it!!! Other than one little quibble about the location of her MacDonald’s in Darwin City and Darwin’s Mitchell Street being called Mitchell Avenue everything else accurate – as is the magnificent scenery and the ever present danger of Crocodiles – don’t go swimming in the rivers here!!! But every beauty spot has its snake; and KAKADU SUNSET’s snake is human with ruthless henchmen, political corruption and the very topical subject of mining and fracking. Love, bribery, kidnapping, physical maiming and murder are all set in the background of this beautiful wilderness. But it is not all doom and gloom because enter stage left our handsome hero – Kane, former military helicopter pilot suffering PTSD. He’s drop dead gorgeous but suffers from vivid flashbacks and a deep fear of flying.

The pace moves quickly with the tension steadily building as the reader gets to know what’s going on and where the danger is coming from before Ellie and Kane. That doesn’t mean to say there aren’t a few twists and turns just to prove that maybe you didn’t know it all. Each of the characters are realistic – including the support cast – you can feel the worry, the fear, the sickness and the anger. The building up of the romance between Kane and Ellie is not the main focus, it is part and parcel with the suspense – one doesn’t overpower the other. Another of the layers to the story is the fact that Annie feels passionate about conservation and the environment. It comes through the story strongly – but she doesn’t pick you up and shake you about it. Indigenous land rights also add to the tapestry of the story.

KAKADU SUNSET is the first in a trilogy based on the three Porter sisters – and I have the next one – DAINTREE – in my hot little hand. In all honesty, if you like romantic suspense that grips you and won’t let you go, then do yourself a favour and get yourself a copy of this book.

For more about the author – Click Here

B – Great – I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.

 

I have also posted this review over on Book Charmers

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Title: Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms

Author: Anita Heiss

Genre: Historical

Opens: Hiroshi is wide awake and waiting as the bugle sounds across the camp at 2 am.

Blurb: On the 5 AUGUST, 1944 over 1000 Japanese soldiers broke out of the No.12 Prisoner of War compound on the fringes of Cowra and escaped into the surrounding countryside. In the carnage, hundreds are killed, many are recaptured, and some take their own lives rather than suffer the humiliation of ongoing defeat. But one soldier, Hiroshi, a gentle university student serving his country, manages to escape.

At nearby Erambie Station, an Aboriginal mission, Banjo Williams, father of five and proud Elder of his community, discovers Hiroshi, distraught and on the run. Unlike most of the townsfolk who dislike and distrust the Japanese, the people of Erambie choose compassion and offer Hiroshi refuge. For the community, life at Erambie is one of restriction and exclusion – living under Acts of Protection and Assimilation, and always under the ruthless eye of the mission Manager. On top of wartime hardships, families live without basic rights.

My Thoughts: The period that BARBED WIRE AND CHERRY BLOSSOMS covers is the year between the Cowra breakout in 1944 and the end of WWII in 1945. I am surprised how few Australians have even heard of the breakout, our family visited the Japanese Gardens on the site a few years ago and it is so peaceful and beautiful that it is hard to imagine the events in this book taking place. But they did. During the story author Anita Heiss highlights the attitude of the Australian Government and, sadly, many Australian citizens, towards the Aboriginal people; along with the conditions they lived under. When Banjo finds the escaped Japanese prisoner, Hiroshi, cowering on the mission he argues with the other Elders that the community should hide the man as they have something in common; Aboriginals are fighting the Australian Government and so are the Japanese. So that makes them allies rather than enemies. I loved this reasoning and can really understand where Banjo is coming from. Aware that not all of the community would agree, the Elders decide that only a few will be in on the secret and they will hide him in the Mission air raid shelter as it never gets used. Banjo’s oldest daughter Mary is chosen to take food to Hiroshi each day as she is well loved and no one would suspect her of harbouring an escapee. The unfolding story is riveting.

Banjo’s family and fellow community members do not live a life of freedom – they are bound by law to live on the Mission. The Mission Manager, called King Billy by the community Elders, is a white man assigned by the Government, to dole out food and water rations, and give permission for travel and for marriages. It is just dreadful that this happened –the Aboriginals lived under the ever present fear that rations and permissions could be severely curtailed as punishment or to ensure good behaviour. Permission was needed to travel outside the mission to access work, shops, medical facilities and even the local cinema – with many places having separate sections for the Aboriginals so they didn’t mix with other Australians. In fact at one stage it the Mission community realise that the POWs at the local Cowra POW camp had better conditions than the mission. Horrible! Yet for all of that, the people of Erambie Station are resilient, upbeat and protective of their own. And young Mary is very protected by her family; except when she goes into the shelter to take what little food they can spare to Hiroshi. Here she is away from watchful eyes and is free to talk to him and they share with each other all manner of things from their separate cultures – and a love of literature and poetry. Gradually this talk develops into friendship and then into a love that must be kept as hidden as the main in the shelter.

BARBED WIRE AND CHERRY BLOSSOMS looks at the appalling lack human rights and also explores two different cultures and how the government policies of the time affected them both in different ways – the story also demonstrates how a community of people showed more compassion than their own government showed to them.

For more about the author – Click Here

A – Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it.

 

This review has also been posted at Book Charmers

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Title: The Bellamy Bird

Author: Clare Havens

Genre: Adventure/Children’s/Mystery

Opening line: Nina Bellamy carried the heavily laden laundry basket down the narrow stairs.

Blurb: Almbury Manor is the ancestral home of the Bellamy family who own a priceless heirloom, a golden statue known as the Bellamy Bird, a gift from an Indian Prince – solid gold and encrusted with precious stones, the Bird is quite priceless. On Midsummer’s Eve in 1931 the statue is stolen, causing the downfall of the Bellamy family and the loss of Almbury Manor. Modern day siblings, Freddie and Jamie, descendants of the Bellamy family, go back in time to try to prevent the robbery and secure their family’s future with the help of some mischievous schoolboys, a group of sailing-mad children and boat called Lapwing.

My Thoughts: I first heard about THE BELLAMY BIRD when a group of online buddies were discussing it avidly – words being used to describe it such as Famous Five, Hercule Poirot and the Swallows and the Amazons were being bandied about in very positive ways. When author Clare Havens offered the book for a review I jumped at the chance. The story opens in contemporary times where Nina and Tom Bellamy along with their two children Freddie and Jamie all live in London in a tall thin house with many staircases. The family are struggling financially and when Tom comes home to say he is going to be laid off the conversation turns to cost cutting. Great-grandma Violet also lives with them and this night she tells them how the family fortune had been lost in 1931 when the Bellamy Bird was stolen. The same night some family jewels belonging to a guest was also stolen. The next morning they all wake up and find themselves in 1931 – not together but all in and around Almbury Manor. They each know who they are and they recognise each other. They also all recognise Great-grandma Violet, only she is now 8 years old. The family realises they have a chance to stop the theft and change the family fortunes. What follows is a fun adventure with children exploring, sailing and camping while playing make-believe (pretending to be pirates) instead of video’s, then the grown-ups join in and traps are laid, sleuthing happens and secrets searched for, culminating in an edge of the seat sail in a storm.

Such a fast paced and fun read that certainly brought back memories of my own childhood play in the 60s and some of my favourite books. When my friends and I went for walks they were NEVER just walks – they were adventures. We’d agree on some imaginary foe be they Pirates, Gypsies, Indians, Kidnappers or bank robbers and off we’d go. I’m not sure kids do this anymore. Shame really. But at least they have access to books like THE BELLAMY BIRD to show them the way of they want to. The mystery of who stole what, why and how lasted until the very last page – and the big reveal with all the suspects gathered in one spot. There were twists and turns, scuffles and accusations but all in all I really recommend this book. While aimed at the middle school level – I think anyone would enjoy the story.

For more about the author – Click Here

B – Great – I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.

With thanks to the author for my copy to read and review

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Title: Curve My Song

Author: Sarah Gai

Genre: Romance

Opening line: “Okay, okay,” I grumble, reaching my arm out, blindly trying to locate my phone, my head still nestled beneath the covers, with no intention of surfacing any time soon..

Blurb: Sassy full figured Bree Carson loves her life, her casual singing gigs and her two best friends, the cute chubby Skyla and the always feisty Elise. But still she feels like something is missing – then her old High school love Taylor Cole returns to home town. When Bree and Taylor are thrust together, old sparks from the past reignite. Can Taylor break through the walls securely built around Bree’s heart? Will Bree let him in?

My Thoughts: I fell in love with the curvy group of best friends that Bree belongs to. They are strong female characters, all independent, curvy and proud. No self-esteem issues here. Bree, Elise and Skyla have been friends all their lives as their mothers were friends and they were all neighbours. These three ladies don’t hold back – they laugh together, fight together, cry together and have each other’s backs. So when Taylor returns to town to run his parent’s bar, Bree’s besties just know they’re in for a wild ride. Bree is a singer and she is less than impressed when Skyla organises with Taylor for Bree to sing in the bar a few nights a week. Only takes a few minutes though for Bree to realise that the great love of her teens is not behind her at all. Still it is not just a matter of falling in love again and starting a new life together – that would be too easy! First there are some hurdles to get over and some secrets to be misunderstood before we can get to the happy ever after. The romance is lovely – no dirty talk or groan by groan descriptions – just enough for you to know what’s going on and your heart to melt a little and go aaaaaah! Curve My Song is a novella and if you play your music quietly in the back ground and have a glass of wine at hand it is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. There are two more books in the series – I have the next one loaded in my erader.

For more about the author – Click Here

C – Above average. Was very readable and I really liked it but was easily able to put it down and walk away for a while.

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Title: The Cowboy

Author: Margareta Osborn

Genre: Romance

Opening line: “What do you mean there’s no record of my reservation?” Carina Chapman tapped her shiny red-coated fingernail on the reservations register. “It should be written right there. My assistant, Suzie, booked it two weeks ago.

Blurb: Carina Chapman wants a vacation. Somewhere hot. Somewhere decadent. Somewhere far, far away from her complicated life in New York. Somewhere in Australia appears to be the answer, until Carina discovers her PA has booked her into the wrong resort. Cowboy Jake Richardson can cook a mean camp-oven roast, track wild horses, breed cattle and knows Australia’s rugged High Country like no other, but he needs to diversify if he wants to keep his land. Tourism seems like the answer, but his housekeeper just quit, the rooms aren’t ready and he doesn’t know a short black from a cappuccino. Then his first guest arrives. City slick Carina is smart, classy and disgruntled that her dreamy five-star retreat has been replaced by a rustic homestead beside the Barcoo Creek. Jake has seven days to convince Carina he can deliver all the items on her vacation checklist.

My Thoughts: THE COWBOY is another book in the Hot Aussie Heroes series recently released by Tule Publishing. I really enjoyed looking at Australia’s outback through the eyes of an American city slicker. And boy oh boy did Carina have a steep learning curve to adjust to what to her was an almost alien environment. Mice, snakes, spiders and possums are all horrifying when you stare eyeball to eyeball with them. But alternatively Jake is plunged into his own piece of unknown territory when he finds out that cooking up a juicy steak on a BBQ and serving it to a vegetarian guest can be horrifying too.

I have to confess it took me a while to warm to Carina, I actually found her quite irritating to start with and it crossed my mind that if she was a successful business woman in a cut throat environment such as New York she could have handled a few critters a bit better. Having said that, there is tremendous growth in Carina as a person – in fact in truth it is she who makes the most adjustments in this relationship. Jake was a typical bushy, I loved him to bits – kind hearted and bending over backwards to try and keep her happy. He just keeps getting things wrong despite his good intentions. As Carina gets to know more about Jake’s background she gradually recognised all the good things that were happening and realised she doesn’t want to toy with his affections. She starts to help Jake with suggestions on how to make a better go with the deluxe ranch stay. The sexual attraction is at a super high level as they are both drawn strongly to each other – but both trying not to succumb for different reasons. There are some very funny scenes – and some magical scenes as Carina gets to see the positive side of the Australian Outback. The ending was happy, as you would expect, if a little bit quick. But when love calls all you can do is respond

For more about the author – Click Here

B – Great. I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.

With thanks to Tule Publishing Group and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

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Title: The Millionaire

Author: Victoria Purman

Genre: Romance

Opening line: “It can’t be him.” Elle Flannery stopped in her tracks and squinted into the brilliant Australian Summer sunshine

Blurb: Renowned photographer Chris Malone is fed up working in disaster zones. He has returned to Australia for a chance to recharge. Suburban journalist Ellie Flannery recognises Chris and asks him if he would donate a picture to raise funds for her favourite cause. Chris declines but circumstances ends up with him helping out after all and all too soon the chemistry set in – can the jetsetter and the homebody make a go of a relationship?

My Thoughts: THE MILLIONAIRE is one of a four book series called Hot Aussie Heroes recently released by Tule Publishing. As the series title suggests each of the male romantic leads is played by an Aussie. THE MILLIONAIRE opens as Ellie sees Chris surfing on a deserted beach. He is her hero as she loves his photography work and knows because of his fame she’d get a large amount of money for one of his pictures. She decides to ask him to donate. The initial meeting does not go well, she is let down by his meanness and he is tired of people lobbying him for donations – but get her legs out of his mind. A snapshot is taken of the meeting and posted on Facebook which promptly goes viral – he is stunned by how mean he looks and decides to help Ellie out. Turns out they both have a past they would rather forget and neither wants to get involved with anyone. Trouble is that old love chemistry has a mind of its own.

I really got involved with the story, it flowed along beautifully without being rushed. I found both characters to be very likable and believable, and I just LOVED Ellie’s grandparents. The romance was not forced along despite this being a novella the loved-up twosome took time to get to know each other, despite their instant mutual attraction, before they fell into bed. I also liked the ending –the resolution of the obstacles to any chance of a future life together forever was not far-fetched and had me sighing in pleasure.

For more about the author – Click Here

A – Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it

With thanks to Tule Publishing Group and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

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Title: The House at the Bottom of the Hill

Author: Jennie Jones

Genre: Romance

Opening line: Daniel Bradford leaned his shoulder against the doorframe of Kookaburra’s Bar & Grill and settled in to watch the ruckus at the northern end of Main Street.

Blurb: The murder of her mother has left Charlotte Simmons jumping at shadows for too long. The only way to move forward is to get answers, and those answers can only be found in one place. So Charlotte buys a Bed & Breakfast establishment in Swallow’s Fall, a small town in Australia’s Snowy Mountains, as a ploy to get close to the man who might have the answers. She’ll renovate the old place, sell it, get her answers, and be gone in two-months. What she doesn’t count on is opposition from the dogmatic and slightly eccentric members of the town council, and the hotshot owner of Kookaburra’s Bar & Grill and his two-hundred-squats-a-day physique who offers to act as mediator. Easy-going Daniel Bradford knows that progress can be slow in Swallow’s Fall. He’s finally about to put his plans into place to upgrade the hotel when a prim-and-proper, citified redhead blows into town, putting everyone on edge. The only way to contain the trouble she’s about to cause is to contain her – but it soon becomes very clear that there’s absolutely nothing containable about Charlotte.

My Thoughts: Charlotte has lots of issues which she has carried with her from childhood. Born in Australia she was taken to England after the her mother’s murder and has now returned to face her demons head on. She is not in Swallow’s Fall to make friends or make a new start and she’s certainly not here to fall in love. She is here to talk to the son of the man who murdered her mother, then flee. The first chink in the armour is when she adopts Lucy an abandoned pooch, the second is when she realises that she has no idea what she wants to do once her objective is reached. Then as she does battle with the local town council over changing the exterior paint from pink to yellow to make the B&B more sellable, Charlotte gradually realises she is coming to see the community’s point of view and actually have friends. Not part of her plan and she now has to decide whether she should just leave town now before she gets swallowed up. She has problems of her own she doesn’t want to deal with other people’s problems; does she? And then there’s Dan, lots of nice single ladies in town – but it is the one problematic female he wants. She seems to be resisting him every step of the way – as prickly as an echidna he needs to approach her with caution. Still Lucy the dog adores him – that should help, shouldn’t it? As with all the books in the Swallow’s Fall series THE HOUSE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE HILL has a believable story, real to life characters, love, drama, laughter and tears. I am convinced if I go driving out past Canberra into the Snowy Mountains I will find this settlement and have drinks with them at the pub. Jennie Jones has captured the Australian rural town ambiance to the tee. I was so glad to discover that there are two more Swallow’s Fall based books to follow this year – The Turnaround Treasure Shop and Magic on Main Street. I will certainly be keeping an eagle eye out for them.

For more about the author – Click Here

(A) 5 Stars – Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it

.

With thanks to Harlequin MIRA Australia and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

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