Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Book Review: No Place Like Home (Romance)

Title: No Place Like Home
Author: Bronwyn Jameson
Publisher:Mills and Boon
Publication date: 20th August 2018
Pages: 528
Format Read: paperback
Source: Courtesy of author

Zane: The Wild One

Everything Julia Goodwin had ever wanted was right here in the quiet little town of Plenty. At least, that was what she thought, until Zane O'Sullivan came home - and rocked her peaceful world to its foundations...

Yet he wasn't the same black-leather-and-denim bad boy who'd haunted her dreams in high school. This Zane was very much a man. But what would become of their growing love when he learned about the child their out-of-control passion had brought into being?

Quade: The Irresistible One

Chantal Goodwin had always had an unsuspected weakness for Cameron Quade. And now that he was back in town, she discovered a single glance still made her ache like the lovesick schoolgirl she'd once been.

But Chantal was a woman now, one could take what she wanted - and what she wanted was a single shattering night of passion with Cameron. She told herself she could still watch him walk away, but that was before she learned about the consequences of their passionate night...

A Tempting Engagement

The last time Mitch Goodwin had seen Emily Warner, she was crawling out of his bed, and then out of his life. Six months later he was begging her to resume her job as his son's nanny. But what, exactly, had happened that night...?

Seeing Mitch and his little boy again reminded Emily how it felt to want what she couldn't have. But resisting the sexy single dad was impossible. There was only one solution: see if the fantasy lived up to the reality.

No Place Like Home is a Mills and Boon by request release of three of Bronwyn Jameson’s much loved books brought together in one book.

Each story features one of the Goodwin siblings as the main character and is set in their home town of Plenty.

Zane: The Wild One
Proclaimed good-girl Julia Goodwin is back in Plenty after the breakdown of her marriage. Zane, the town’s bad-boy is also back visiting his sister, who also happens to be Julia’s best friend. There is no avoiding each other and they are inexplicably drawn to each other.
I love how Julia urged Zane to show people his good side and told him until he faces his feelings towards the town he will never feel worthy.

Quade: The Irresistible One
Quade has returned to his parents’ property in Plenty. Both his parents have passed and he craves solitude to lick his wounds after his broken engagement to his career focused fiancΓ©. The last thing he wants is his neighbour, lawyer Chantal Goodwin, poking her nose into his life. However Chantal has been in love with Quade since she was a teen.
This story moves straight on from the first story. Quade and Chantal are much more open about their feelings but Chantal still has a hard time getting Quade to open up about his parents and his failed engagement.

A Tempting Engagement
This story is about Mitch Goodwin. We already know a little about Mitch as he has dropped into the first two stories. His wife has left him with their young son, Joshua, so Mitch decides to move back to Plenty to give Joshua some stability. He desperately wants to re-employ Emily as Joshua’s nanny but there is history there and Mitch doesn’t quite know what has happened.
Mitch and Emily’s story is a much more sympathetic read. Each treading lightly around the other’s hurt. There was lots of cute flirting and Emily was a fun character.

I loved this compilation of three books in one as it followed the three Goodwin siblings with each story following straight on from the last. There was plenty of banter between the characters, some of it snarky and some filled with humour. All the characters were likeable and highly capable yet broken and scarred.
There is lots of heartbreak behind each character’s past and plenty of misunderstandings to keep the reader on tenterhooks.
And of course as with all perfect romance reads each story ends with a ‘happily ever after!’

My Rating 4/5           🌟🌟🌟🌟    

No Place Like Home is book #29 in the Australian Women Writers challenge

and part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie Author Challenge

Bestselling and award-winning author Bronwyn Jameson grew up on an Australian farm where she developed a lifelong love of animals and the written word. Happily she was able to marry the two working as a rural journalist before a magazine article introduced her to Romance Writers of Australia and the possibility of a new career writing the books she loved to read.

After five years, a handful of contest wins and an equal number of rejections from Harlequin Mills & Boon, Bronwyn received the phone call all aspiring novelists dream of: Leslie Wainger at Silhouette Books wanted to buy the manuscript she'd judged in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Clendon Award.

Silhouette Desire published In Bed With The Boss's Daughter in July 2001. Since then Bronwyn has continued to write take-to-bed romance for Desire, winning contests such as The Aspen Gold, The Write Touch Readers' Award and the Anne Bonney Readers' Choice. In 2006 she was a triple RITA finalist with her Princes of the Outback trilogy and a nominee for the Romantic Times Series Storyteller of the Year.

As well as strong Australian heroes and spirited heroines, her stories feature all kinds of animals including an energetic Border Collie named Mac, a jet black racehorse named Stella, an attack cat named Gizmo, a talking pony nicknamed Mini Ed, a bitzer named Digger, a Russian Blue named Tolstoy…well, you get the picture.

She still loves animals and the written word. Her home is still a farm in the Australian heartland, which she shares with her husband and three sons, a thousand sheep, half a dozen horses, three dogs, an echidna and a wallaby.

You can connect with the author at the following sites: 
Website  ||  Twitter  ||  Facebook  



Friday, 12 October 2018

Book Club Book Review: Dressing the Dearloves (Historical Fiction/Popular Fiction)

Title: Dressing the Dearloves
Author: Kelly Doust
Publisher: Harper Collins 
Publication Date: 20th August 2018
RRP: $32.99
Pages: 416
Format Read: paperback
Source: Publisher via Beauty & Lace book club

One crumbling grand manor house, a family in decline, five generations of women, and an attic full of beautiful clothes with secrets and lies hidden in their folds. Kelly Doust, author of Precious Things, spins another warm, glamorous and romantic mystery of secrets, love, fashion, families - and how we have to trust in ourselves, even in our darkest of days. One for lovers of Kate Morton, Belinda Alexandra, Fiona McIntosh and Lucy Foley.

Failed fashion designer Sylvie Dearlove is coming home to England - broke, ashamed and in disgrace - only to be told her parents are finally selling their once-grand, now crumbling country house, Bledesford, the ancestral home of the Dearlove family for countless generations.

Sylvie has spent her whole life trying to escape being a Dearlove, and the pressure of belonging to a family of such headstrong, charismatic and successful women. Beset by self-doubt, she starts helping her parents prepare Bledesford for sale, when she finds in a forgotten attic a thrilling cache of old steamer trunks and tea chests full of elaborate dresses and accessories acquired from across the globe by five generations of fashionable Dearlove women. Sifting through the past, she also stumbles across a secret which has been hidden - in plain sight - for decades, a secret that will change the way she thinks about herself, her family, and her future.

Romantic, warm, and glamorous, moving from Edwardian England to the London Blitz to present day London, Dressing the Dearloves is a story of corrosiveness of family secrets, the insecurities that can sabotage our best efforts, and the seductive power of dressing up.

Kelly Doust has had much involvement in fashion and publishing so to write a fictional novel with fashion at its core seems like a natural progression.

Dressing the Dearloves is a rich multi-generational story that moves effortlessly from present-day to the late 1920’s through to the early 1940’s spanning five generations of Dearloves.

Sylvie Dearlove returns home to England, her life in New York in ruins. Her fashion label has crashed and she has been declared bankrupt. Haunted by failure and wracked by guilt she runs to the only place she feels safe, the family’s estate Bledesford, only to find it in rack and ruin her parents barely able to afford the upkeep. Doust highlights the dire straits some families found themselves in trying to keep up with mounting expenses on these rambling estates and the work of the National Trust in helping owners open their homes to the public for viewing, tea rooms and weddings.

The Dearlove women are all strong, outspoken women. They are all very arty and clothing and fashion is a passion passed down through the generations. All the beautiful gowns and day wear have been stored in the attic from the 1920’s through to the 1960’s. I loved how the items of clothing were tied to memorable moments in the Dearlove women’s lives and Doust seamlessly moved from an unearthed fashion piece to the relevant time and story concerning that piece.

Dressing the Dearloves is an engaging story of love and war and doing what’s expected in times where skeletons were pushed firmly to the back of the closet only to be released with a lot of poking and questions asked.

The story evolved with the unique addition of internet search items, newspaper excerpts and diary entries. I particularly liked the for sale advertisement for Bledesford which described the estate beautifully.

I was captivated by this story from beginning to end and my mind was reeling as the secrets just kept coming and coming.

My rating 5/5                🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

*This review is part of the Beauty & Lace Book Club. You can read the original review here

Dressing the Dearloves is book #28 in the Australian Women Writers challenge
and part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie Author Challenge

Photo courtesy of Goodreads
Since 2009, Kelly Doust has published five non-fiction books about craft and fashion: THE CRAFTY MINX, THE CRAFTY KID, A LIFE IN FROCKS: A MEMOIR, MINXY VINTAGE (all Murdoch Books) THE CRAFTY MINX AT HOME (HarperCollins). She has a background in book publishing and publicity, and has worked in the UK, Hong Kong and Australia and freelanced for magazines such as Vogue, Australian Women’s Weekly and Sunday Life Magazine. She currently lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband and daughter.

You can connect with the author at the following sites:
Website  ||   Twitter  ||  Goodreads  


Thursday, 11 October 2018

Book Review: Treasure Hunt at Pirate's Paradise (Children's / Chapter Book)

Title: Treasure Hunt at Pirate's Paradise
Author: Mahima Kalla
Illustrator: Maria Titova
Series: The Audacious Adventure Series #1
Publisher: Self published
Publication Date: August 2018
Pages: 105
Format Read: Ebook
Source: Courtesy of author

Leia is a history teacher with a fascination for pirate history and culture. She is one of select few people who know about the existence of Pirate's Paradise - a tiny deceivingly beautiful island, tucked away in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The island’s picturesque beauty could easily mislead the untrained eye, for amid the stunning forests and colourful birds, lay many grave dangers. Legend has it, that hidden in the hinterland of Pirate’s Paradise, is ancient pirate treasure.

When Leia is given the opportunity to go treasure hunting at Pirate’s Paradise, she couldn’t think of a better travel companion than Krish. Krish is her 12-year old nephew with a passion for wildlife and adventure.

Together they make a great team. But, Pirate’s Paradise is not for the faint-hearted. Will Leia and Krish successfully navigate the many dangers of Pirate's Paradise and find the ancient pirate treasure?

Treasure Hunt at Pirate’s Paradise is the first in the Audacious Adventure series and an excellent first chapter book. The print is large and well spaced and the illustrations are bright and captivating.

Pirate’s Paradise is an island tucked away in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Very few people know it exists. The island is picturesque but hidden amongst its beauty were a myriad of dangers.

Leia, who loves adventure and has a fascination for all things pirate, is given a map of Pirate Paradise. She had heard the island had hidden treasures and ancient magical items. Not wanting to go alone Leia asks Krish, her 12 year old nephew, to accompany her. She knew that Krish was smart as well as adventurous.

The story has themes of patience, working together and problem solving as they decipher the map and work out the riddle to follow the clues. As they navigate the mysteries and dangers of the island they deal with feelings of frustration and learn not to give up.

The magical elements are easy to visualise and the story is both atmospheric and suspense filled. It is filled with adventure and sparks a child’s imagination.

Dot really enjoyed this story because, just like Leia, she loves everything pirate. The story was a great length to read in one sitting and the beautiful colour illustrations dispersed throughout brought the story to life.
Dot’s favourite part was when the fire fairy appeared to light Leia and Krish’s way through the dark cave. She is happy for the story to be read over and over again.

This is a splendid first introduction to urban fantasy and magical elements.
Suitable for ages 3+ (read to me) or 5+ (read alone).

My Rating 5/5                          🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


Booktastic Link it up Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Jo Linsdell where book bloggers can link up their latest book related post.

photo courtesy of Goodreads

Mahima was born in India, and moved to Australia after high school, to study at university. One day, while babysitting her nephew who was going through a ‘pirate-phase’ at the time, she made up an impromptu story starring him and herself. That night, she went home and wrote the story down. Few months later, the story had developed into the first book of the Audacious Adventurers Series, 'Treasure Hunt at Pirate's Paradise'.

She has always been passionate about storytelling, and believes that stories can have a big impact on people's lives. She has enjoyed writing ever since she was a child. Her first piece of writing was a poem she wrote when she was 7 years old. When she is not working or writing for children, she enjoys meditating, getting out in nature, and spending time with her family and friends.

You can connect with the author at the following sites:
 Website  ||  Goodreads  

If you would like to learn more about the illustrator, Maria Titova visit her Facebook page here