The Family String

 The Family String

Denise Picton



Reviewed by Helen


This is such a great debut book, one that I would highly recommend, come along and meet twelve year old Dorcas, it is 1969 and she lives with her family in the suburbs of Adelaide, they are members of the Christadelphians religion, Dorcas is the second child after Daniel who is seventeen but not living at home at the moment then there is ten year old Ruthy and Caleb is eight.

Dorcas, Ruthy and Caleb have a tree house that they spend a lot of time in and Ruthy has notebooks that she likes to write in, they are her journals and each day they decide what sort of a day their mother is going to have, a Jesus day meant she was happy a head day was one where she spent it in bed and Dorcas was always trying her best to do the right thing and please her mother, this was hard for her, trouble seemed to be her middle name, these days. They have a string with different coloured beads on it representing each member of the family, mother at the top because you love your mother meant that Dorcas seemed to be further away from her mother’s bead because she wasn’t the favourite child and was always doing the wrong thing.

Their religion plays a big part in what they can and can’t do and their mother is very strict on the rules Dorcas seems to be getting further away from her mother with her request to have a pet which could make Caleb have an asthma attack, so Dorcas is very good at making up stories and very good ones where she is in armor and running a place called caramel run by girls and she can have her pets.

Life isn’t easy for Dorcas and Denise Picton has portrayed her life so well, this is a beautiful story of Dorcas coming of age and yes it is heart-breaking and heart-warming at the same time, there are many emotions throughout the book some that made me yell and scream some that made me very sad, and some that had me smiling there are some very witty parts. It is a compelling story that I thoroughly enjoyed and I look forward to many more books from this author, a must read.

My thanks to Ultimo Press for my copy to read and review.

5 stars
Published June 2nd 2022 by Ultimo Press (first published June 1st 2022)

A Town like Clarence

 A Town Like Clarence

Stella Quinn



Reviewed by Helen


This is such an awesome story, it is funny, heartwarming, emotional and has the best characters, real people that I loved getting to know and I loved the setting, come along for a fabulous journey to a HEA that is sure to leave you smiling.

Joey Miles has returned to his home town of Clarence, it is time for a change after what happened in the city, time to start afresh and farming is the thing that he is sure will help, he is close to his family now and it is a big family. He is working hard on his farm planting trees, mowing and setting up some old cottages as farm stays things should run smoothly provided he can financially get back on his feet.

Kirsty Fox is a pilot who has led a nomadic life growing up with her mother who taught her that the Fox curse would always be there, do not stay in one place too long and when needed run, after a crash and the arrival of her mother with a letter, Kirsty is off to uncover a family and secrets that she knew nothing about, but will she find that staying in Clarence might just be what she needs to end the curse.

Kirsty is in Clarence to uncover information about her great grandfather and is World War two history nothing more but when she meets Joey after discovering an old plane in Joey’s old cowshed that used to belong to her family the attraction between them rockets but staying in Clarence is not on the cards, that is maybe until the local committee organising the Annual Clarence River Bush Poetry Muster decide that another agenda needs to be added and that is finding Mrs. Farmer Joe.

I loved this book so much, I laughed out loud and smiled all the way through, Joe is the best guy and just who Kirsty needed to make her life complete and Kirsty what can I say she is strong and vulnerable at the same time, finding love was just what she needed, they make the best couple even if it took them a bit to work that out, Now the other characters in this story added so much to it, The Miles family I loved eight year old Amy the witty banter between Joey and his siblings and then the animals Gus the dog, I love him, you need to read this book it is a must read and bring on Daisy’s story I can’t wait to return to Clarence. I do highly recommend this one.

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

5 stars
Expected publication: July 6th 2022 by HQ Fiction AU

A Family's Trust

 A Family's Trust

Louise Guy



Reviewed by Helen


WOW, WOW and WOW this book is awesome what a fabulous story, truly do not miss this book it had me turning the pages so many thoughts going through my mind as I got to know the characters, come along and meet Reeve Elliot and Jess Williams as their lives are turned upside down, who can you trust is there someone manipulating the truth?

Jess Williams has had a life in foster care and suffered for it and has kept a secret for twenty five years, but she is strong and has done well for herself and now working to make sure that no one else in the systems goes through what she did. Out of the blue she gets a call from a solicitor saying Martin Elliot would like to meet her that he is her father, the father she always hated and her life is just about to be turned upside down again.

Reeve Elliot has led a very privileged life with the best of everything, a loving mother and father and wealth but her mother’s health causes problems in the end with early on set dementia and then her father is ill as well and then the most terrible of accidents see her lose her father. Reeve has a fifteen year old daughter Bella and is happily married too her second husband Luke who is a surgeon, stress is a big thing in her life at the moment and some strange things are happening in her life could she be becoming unwell as her mother?

With her father’s will Reeve discovers that she has a sister, her and Jess hit it off really well but with so much money involved and pressure from other people and with Reeve’s health, and Jess discovering things that changed the course of her life, life is changing very quickly for them all, what is happening who can be trusted, someone has to be lying, maybe, but who?

This book is so well written, it has a cast of fabulous characters, with twists and turns truly it had me turning the pages I had to get to the end, I was one the edge of my seat, the way MS Guy made these characters come to life on the pages, it is a brilliant story and I loved it, I do highly recommend this book, truly it is a must read.

My thanks to the author for my digital copy to read and review

5 stars
Expected publication: June 14th 2022 by Amazon Digital Services

Paperbark Hill

 Paperbark Hill

Maya Linnell



Reviewed by Helen


I love the McIntyre family and I have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them and being back with them, this time we see how Diana is coping with the huge change in her and her four boy’s lives, times change for Diana but her dream of a flower farm are moving ahead, but when she loses her mentor, Colin what will happen now? will someone else step up to help.

Diana and her boys have coped well in the last eighteen months her family have been a big help and her flower farm is moving ahead her dahlias are growing but how will she cope now without Colin to help her, in steps Colin’s son Ned returning with his two young children to sort out his father’s farm and estate. Diana is taken with this handsome man and is thrilled with the knowledge he has with plants and asks him to help her for a few months.

Ned leads a nomadic life with his two young kids and when tragedy brings him home, he is not sure what he will find it is a long time since he has been home and there are a few changes that shock him, but when he meets Diana there is a spark and maybe a pull to stop roaming and picking up locum work as a pharmacist and maybe look to the future.

I loved this story so much it is beautifully written with emotion, it is heartwarming and heartfelt at the same time as Diana and Ned cope with grief, and their growing feelings for each other, add in six children between them, one teenager who is finding it hard at the moment and a mother who is also struggling and this book becomes a must read. I cried tears both happy and sad as Diana and Ned go through a few ups and downs to find the happiness, love and joy that they so deserved. I also have to mention the gorgeous flowers described in this story, I could almost smell those beautiful bouquets and posies that bought Ned and Diana together. Thank you Maya Linnell for another keeper.

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

5 stars
Published May 31st 2022 by Allen & Unwin

The Truth about Faking it

 The Truth about Faking it

Cassie Hamer



Reviewed by Helen


This is a great story, I do enjoy a story that makes me laugh and smile and a story about strong women and this one has it all, I loved getting to know the three Trainor woman, grandmother Ellen, daughter Natasha and granddaughter Georgie, the emotions flow on the pages as they come to terms with what is happening in their lives.

Ellen has been married to journalist David for fifty years she is used to him leaving for stories but once retired he goes on a sailing trip to help a long lost brother and when he is killed in Thailand in a boating accident, Ellen is left to sort out her life and that for her is getting on with it Zumba, bridge and a new man, Kenneth who may be a bit boring but he is there not like David.

Natasha is smart and a presenter on a popular current affairs show the public love her but they have a new producer and things are not going as normally as they would and when she is asked to do an interview with a young girl this interview opens up memories that Tashie has had stored deep in a corner of her mind for many years, then with the death of her father and things turning bad at work Tashie’s life is being turned upside down nothing seems to as it should.

Georgie works on reality TV, The Single Guy/Gal and loves her job getting to know the contestants and keeping to herself, is this the right job for Georgie seeing as how she doesn’t believe in love after what has happened to her Mum and Grandmother but something is happening when Georgie gets close to one of the contestants can she deny her feelings or will she go with them.

Learning of David’s death sets these three woman into different thoughts and a determination form Tashie to find out what happened they all have different feelings on how to go forward, one thing that does happen is all three woman find that they have feelings that they have kept from each other and themselves and now is the time to be honest and open.

This is a fabulous story that I would highly recommend, it had me turning the pages, laughing especially with Ellen she is a fabulous woman, I loved her and Tashie, strong but vulnerable in so many ways and Georgie has she found the love she deserves, you must read this one, I do highly recommend it.

My thanks to Harlequin for my copy to read and review


5 stars
Published May 4th 2022 by HQ Fiction

Dinner with the Schnabels

 Dinner with the Schnabels

Toni Jordon



Reviewed by Helen


This was a good story, told from Simon Larsen’s point of view he is an architect, husband and father and he and his family live in Melbourne Australia, they have just lived through the covid pandemic and it was not good to Simon, his life has change dramatically but he loves his wife Tansy and their two children Mia and Lachie and life seems to be moving very slowly for him at the moment.

With his failed business and the loss of the family home, Tansy is working full time and Simon is staying at home, his in-laws, mother-in-law Gloria, brother-in-law Nick and sister-in-law Kylie keeping constant tabs on him as he sees it, they are always pushing him, so to keep everyone happy he takes on a job to landscape Tansy’s best friend’s garden so as it is ready for the memorial service for one of the Schnabel’s family member.

He is given a week to do this in and there seems to be something happening all the time to slow him down not even counting the arrival of the half-sister Monica which upsets the household in Simon’s opinion he is not sure how he feels about her at all. Simon’s mind is constantly going back in time with his thoughts and thinking about the future and his dialogue is quite amusing at times and there are many laugh out loud moments with him and the family.

This is a well written story that is heart-warming and poignant as well as very funny, Simon has been through a lot in the last two years and has found it hard to cope, I really enjoyed the ending with his lightbulb moment when everything seemed to fall into place for him. There are wonderful characters in this story that are bought to life and I must be honest and say that at times some of them really frustrated me but I had to know how everything ended up for Simon and his family, an enjoyable story that I am sure will be well read.

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

4 stars
Published March 30th 2022 by Hachette Australia

The Vet's Country Holiday

 The Vet's Country Holiday

Chalk Hill #4

Lily Malone



Reviewed by Helen


I always look forward to a Lily Malone story, her characters are so easy to make friends with they have fabulous personalities and this author is sure to make you smile with her witty banter and this one was a beauty of a story, we are back in Chalk Hill a fabulous part of Western Australia even if it is make believe to meet Vet, Isabella (Izzy) Passmore and forensic accountant Elliot Fields and don’t believe all you hear about accounts, come along and meet them.

Izzy loves her job as a vet in Perth but she hasn’t had a holiday for a long time and when her best friend asks her to come to Chalk Hill and babysit her dog Bruno and her house Izzy jumps at the chance but after a few days things are not going to plan there have been no hunky farmers come along and Izzy is getting a tad bored. When a visit to the second hand shop in town changes things for Izzy in lots of ways, she is asked to help out and her first task goes terribly wrong lucky for Izzy Elliot walks into the shop and saves the day will he save Izzy?

Elliot Fields has been asked by his parents to return home and help them with their finances in running the Ski-Park they run on their old farm just outside of town, it has been a long time since Elliot has come home from Brisbane, Chalk Hill and home holds way too many memories. One thing that he knows is that he will need a new mug to use one that holds no memories, hence this brings him into the second hand shop and a rather messy meeting with the beautiful Izzy.

Izzy and Elliot connect instantly there are sparks and it is not long before these two are having coffee and lunch and counting the non- dates, add to that a chicken an injured duck and a lost man and his dog and the problems at the ski park that Elliot is doing his best to work out and Izzy constantly asking questions and helping Elliot even if he doesn’t realise it this book had me turning the pages.

This is a fabulous fun, witty and heartwarming story, beautifully written it brings out many emotions as well as some very funny laugh out loud moments, Izzy is realizing that she wants more in the future and she is not getting any younger and she is falling hard and fast for Elliot, but he maybe not the man for her, Elliot because of his past is good with numbers but loving he is not so sure of, but Izzy gets to him in so many ways, is it time to re-think his future? I loved Izzy and Elliot, I laughed and cheered them on through this story and I would highly recommend this one to all readers who love a great story.

My thanks to Harlequin for my copy to read and review

5 stars
Published March 30th 2022 by Mira Books