The Long Weekend

 The Long Weekend

Fiona Palmer



Reviewed by Helen


What happens when four strangers come together for a weekend writer workshop? A lot, this is a story that brings out a few truths between these strangers and was a thoroughly enjoyable read, I loved getting to know Jamie, Beth, Alice and Simone and Jan who ran the workshop, come along for the journey it is well worth it.

Beth is a single mum, her reason for being at the retreat is her sister Poppy , she needs to get some answers for her sister and is not going to be stopped.

Jamie, gym owner, single and he has a secret that he wants kept that way.

Alice, mother of two happily married has decided that writing about her past will be the way to help her move forward and to help other woman.

Simone, another who has a secret does she really want to write a book and open up about it, maybe not.

Jan Goldstein best- selling author who runs these workshops to help aspiring writers or is that the real reason she runs them?

All of the characters in this story are fabulous and I loved getting to know them and their reasons for being there, bring them together and there is a kaleidoscope of personalities and emotions and together they open up and find themselves it was so wonderful to see them let their emotions flow and to find the healing that they needed and move on to bigger and better lives, I was cheering them on, lots of emotions from me. Life -long friendships are made all form one long weekend.

Fiona Palmer knows how to give her characters life and pull a reader in and this is one that I would highly recommend, it really is a great read.

My thanks to Hachette AU for my copy to read and review

4 stars
Published December 1st 2021 by Hachette Australia

Once Burnt, Twice Shy


Once Burnt, Twice Shy
Karly Lane



Reviewed by Helen

This is another amazing book form such a wonderful story teller, Karly Lane digs deep into her characters emotions and brings them to life on the pages, and with this one she has added the emotions of the horrendous bushfires that affected a big part of Australia last year and done it so well. It is a beautiful romance, a must read, I do hope you come along for the emotional journey and meet Sam and Jack, you will not want to put it down once you have picked it up.

Samantha Murphy is a divorced a mother of two adult daughters Living on the Gold Coast, she moved away from the family farm years ago, but her parents are going on a trip and Sam has jumped at the chance to house-sit while they are away, this few weeks changes Sam’s life in many ways, first it brings her back together with her first boyfriend, neighbour Jack Cameron, a lot has happened to them both over the years but there is a spark that still remains and Sam is re-thinking her life.

Jack is now a divorced father of two daughters who live with their mother, he has run the family farm for many years and loves what he does, but when his girlfriend Sam left him all those years ago he was heart-broken and never got over her and here she is back in town and next door again. With his offer to help her this brings them together and keeping apart is hard to do there are so many feelings still there.

The weather has been so hot, there has been no rain for such a long time and the fires start in the National Park when the wind picks up nothing will stand in its way and many houses are evacuated and Sam is one of them, Jack is fighting the fire with the Rural Fire Service and doing all they can, the emotions run high with danger all around, when Jack is reported missing Sam is devastated for the man that she loves and has never really forgotten.

This is a beautifully written story as Karly Lane knows how to do so well, it is heart-warming and heart-breaking at the same time as Jack and Sam find love the second time around but not without some ups and downs, I do highly recommend this one, as we get to know some heroes that are the Rural Fire Service, I could feel the heat and wind as I turned the pages of this one and feel the stress and hope that flowed and there are some witty moments with the guinea fowls, that had me smiling. I loved the ending, there were happy tears from this reader.

My thanks to Allen & Unwin for my copy to read and review

5 stars
Expected publication: November 30th 2021 by Allen & Unwin

The Family Inheritance

 The Family Inheritance

Tricia Stringer



Reviewed by Helen


Another very well told story from Tricia Stringer, this author really knows how to dig deep into family and bring a story to her readers that is compelling and filled with all of the emotions, this one starts with a death and a will that will cause an explosion of feelings and hurts, can the woman that are part of this family work through this and find happiness again? Come along for the journey and meet Hazel, Alice, Felicity and Greta but don’t plan on doing anything else till the book is finished.

It is Felicity’s fiftieth birthday and she has worked hard to make sure the party is perfect in her fabulously renovated home, she has her husband Ian and daughter Greta by her side but things turn around when her father Franklyn dies changing everything, life as Felicity knows it is gone her world falls apart very quickly.

Hazel is Franklyn’s wife and Felicity and June’s mother and Franklyn’s death is leaving her very relieved instead of distraught like everyone would think. He has been a very hard man to live with for all of these years. When his will is read it is toxic to say the least and not only makes her realize what a bully he was but he destroys other lives as well.

Alice sees Franklyn’s death notice in the paper and finally she can try to make peace with her long lost sister Hazel, turning up at his funeral was maybe not the best thing to do but it was her only way to make contact and there are many truths and secrets that need to be uncovered for them to even think about a future.

Greta, Hazel’s beautiful granddaughter is engaged to Joe, she is caring and loving and when the family explodes as it does she is there to play peacemaker and do her best to keep the family together through some very hard times, can hearts be mended after the way they have been broken, can they once again become a loving happy family?

I loved this story from start to finish four strong woman whose lives are turned upside down and I loved getting to know them as I turned the pages, the emotions flowed happy, sad, anger all of them, there were happy tears as well, MS Stringer has a beautiful voice for story- telling and this is one that I would highly recommend, a beautiful story, another one for the keeper shelf.

My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

5 stars
Published October 7th 2020 by Harlequin Enterprises (Australia) Pty Ltd



Deception Creek

 Deception Creek

Fleur McDonald



Reviewed by Helen


I love Fleur McDonald’s stories, I love Dave Burrows and I love visiting the small town of Barker where Dave is a detective, and this visit there is a lot happening all at the same time, Detective Dave Burrows and Senior Constable Jack Higgins are going to be kept on their toes this time around with the support of their partners Kim and Zara, clear the decks when you pick this one up because you are not going to want to put it down.

Joel Hammond has returned home to Barker after being released from Jail a very different man than he was when he left, his parents have passed on but he returns to the home he grew up in, but not everyone in town is happy that he has returned and it has nothing to do with what he went to jail for but something that happened when he was sixteen and trouble is brewing.

Emma Cameron lives on her farm Deception Creek she runs it with the help of her farm hand Matt, she is recently divorced mainly because her ex says she was married to the farm, she went through a tough time ten years before when she was the first to arrive on the scene of a terrible car accident, she has kept in touch with the driver of that car, Kyle through the years and he has arrived in town to catch up with Emma, could this mean changes for Emma?

Dave and Jack are feeling that something is not quite right in their town at the moment and feel the need to look into the death of young Maggie Douglas years before and need to talk to Joel Hammond, as well as that Zara, Jack’s girlfriend and journalist is looking into the reasons for Joel going to jail and they uncover a lot more than any of them expected, family secrets, lies and cover-ups.

This one had me turning the pages it was basically a one sitting read with a bit of sleep over night, I could barely put it down, Fleur McDonald has again put together a brilliant story with twists and turns that kept me enthralled and turning the pages, and explosive end had everything uncovered, so many different crimes linked in a way that had me shaking my head all set in a small farming community, this is a book that I would highly recommend, a brilliant read, one not to be missed and as ever I am looking forward to the next Fleur McDonald book.

My thanks to Allen & Unwin for my copy to read and review.

5 stars
Published November 1st 2021 by Allen & Unwin AU

Osprey Reef

 Osprey Reef

Annie Seaton



Reviewed by Helen


I fell into this fabulous story in the most beautiful of settings The Great Barrier Reef, it is a story of two strong woman one from 1934 Stella and one from 2019 Bethany, this is a must read story as we unravel a past mystery and see love bloom on the high seas and fortunes change, I do hope you come along for the journey it is well worth the trip.

1934 and Stella Booth is determined to get away from her small town and make a life for herself in Mackay but fate has other ideas when an accident in the harbour at Rockhampton puts her in the path of handsome sea captain Jens Kristensen and he is smitten instantly with this beautiful young woman. It is not long before together they are making a future and running a successful shipping company with their boat The Lady Stella, they do have many ups and downs but their love is so strong and beautiful.

2019 and Bethany Kristensen is now running the family chartering company and skippering The Lady Stella 2, there are problems with a rival company and they are not doing as well as Bethany thinks they should be but nothing is going to stop her from going forward. When she wins the tender for a group of scientists to take them out to the reefs to research the coral Bethany has no idea that this will change her life forever.

Bethany is devastated when her Gramps passes away, they were so close he taught her so much about the sea and boats but with the tender for Dr Peter Brooks and his team coming she knows Gramps would want her to keep moving and the trip is successful even if there were a few problems that had Bethany very worried, but her and Peter seem to have an attraction to each other and things are moving very nicely.

On their second trip with Peter and his team things take a couple of turns it looks like they may have found the answer to the Kristensen family mystery but sabotage turns to danger, can they get out of this and will the Kristensen family finally get closure on the past concerning Stella and Jens?
This really is an awesome read it takes in some issues that are really important to the environment at the moment, the location is totally awesome and the characters are just the best so true to life they were fabulous to get to know. It is a fast paced story that has everything a reader needs to keep then enthralled another keeper from a fabulous author, Annie Seaton, this is one that I would highly recommend.

My thanks to Harlequin AUS for my copy to read and review.

5 stars
Published October 27th 2021 by Mira Books

Outback Secrets

 Outback Secrets

Rachael Johns



Reviewed by Helen


Woohoo I did love my trip back to Bunyip Bay, it is like being back with family and close friends and Rachael Johns has written another beautiful story this time publican Liam Castle gets to find the love of his life and forever happiness with Agricultural pilot Henrietta Forward born and breed in Bunyip Bay and now home for Christmas this is one that will leave you feeling so very good, lots of happy smiles and tears from me.

We have gotten to know Liam in the previous stories and know that he is a quiet gentleman but as publican Liam knows a lot of secrets about a lot of locals and keeps them to himself, but no one really knows Liam and the tragic secret he keeps about his life and that is the way he wants it to stay. Life will change for Liam when tough and beautiful Ag pilot Henri walks into the pub, back in town to spend Christmas with her family and she sets his heart aflutter like no one has done before.

Henri travels around Australia and the world doing the job she loves but her mother wants nothing more than for her to be settled and happily married and living back home in Bunyip Bay and this is not on Henri’s life plan, so when she says something maybe she shouldn’t have and Liam as always is happy to help and steps up to be her pretend boyfriend for her visit home, her heart is changing the way she looks to the future.

This is a moving and beautiful story filled with emotion and so much love as Henri and Liam get to know each other opening up to each other like they have to no one else but Henri has worries and Liam has such tragedies from his past that their future together and the love and happiness they so deserve could fall apart. I was cheering them on so much and there were lots of tears from me in this one as Rachel Johns has dug deep into their emotions and has given her readers another story that is not to be missed, I loved this one, another for the keeper shelf and a great Christmas story, fingers crossed we can re-visit Bunyip Bay again one day. I do highly recommend this one, it is a beautiful romance.

My thanks to Harlequin AU for my copy to read and review and Netgalley as well.

5 stars
Expected publication: October 27th 2021 by Harper Collins

Birds of a Feather

 Birds of a Feather

Tricia Stringer



Reviewed by Helen


Oh there were lots of happy tears from me when I got to the end of this fabulous story, this one had me turning the pages as I got to know three women, who are similar in many ways, they are strong, independent and very capable of making their own decisions and not impressed when others try to help, but they are bought together by unusual circumstances and Eve, Julia and Lucy find that spending time together opens up a new bond that brings happiness to them all. I do hope you come along to the small coastal fishing town of Wallaby Bay in South Australia and meet these true lovely ladies.

Eve is seventy now and has lived in Wallaby Bay seems forever she is widowed and her grown-up sons don’t live close, she has been a huge part of the prawning fleet and the town always but times are changing and gossip has kept her away from the committees and spending time alone at her beautiful home. When she is injured and needs surgery she also needs help at home, not easy to accept for Eve.

Lucy is a nurse and a young married mother of two children her husband Alec works as a FIFO and so she spends a lot of time as a single mother and her past makes her very protective of her children and relying on other people is not easy for Lucy even her in-laws who live in the Bay, but when she is asked to help Eve with her recovery she steps up to help not realizing how her life will change.

Julia forty five is a research scientist, Eve’s goddaughter and lives in Melbourne things have suddenly changed for Julia and decisions need to be made for her, in her work life and personal life and a trip back to Wallaby Bay might be just what she needs to make these decisions and she is looking forward to surprising Eve, only when she gets there she finds Lucy helping Eve and this for some reason doesn’t sit well with her.

Tricia Stringer has bought these woman together in such a beautiful way, all three had secrets and pasts that really needed to be talked about and bought out in the open before any of them could honestly look to the future and see the happiness that could be there and like birds of a feather they came together, opened up and found the bond of love and friendship, together through ups and downs they battled the past demons and became even stronger and so much happier.

I loved this one from start to finish and cannot highly recommend it enough, this is one for the keeper shelf and Eve, Lucy, Julia and the many other wonderful characters of Wallaby Bay will stay with me for a long time to come.

My thanks to Harlequin AU for my copy to read and review.

5 stars
Published October 1st 2021 by HQ Fiction