Love in a Sunburnt Land Anthology – Rhonda Forrest, Louise Forster, Leanne Lovegrove, Susan Mackie, Emma Powell

Synopsis
Five authors – Susan Mackie, Rhonda Forrest, Louise Forster, Leanne Lovegrove and Emma Powell – five small town stories, five chances for love.

Love in a Sunburnt Land will take you on a journey from the tropical coast to the fertile plains and magnificent high country, where quick thinking and endurance is a way of life and where second chance love might happen, right when it’s least expected.

Love on the Sweeping Plains by Leanne Lovegrove

Desperation drove Tori Christensen back to her childhood town, but that’s not why she stayed. Fleeing the end of her marriage, she vows never to be hurt again. But old flame Zac Coleman is the star on a reality TV dating show, problem is, Tori isn’t a contestant.

Love in the Ragged Mountain Ranges by Susan Mackie

Nik swore she’d never trust again. But the removal truck getting stuck in the driveway on the first day threw her into neighbour Robbie’s path. But Nik made a vow that it would just be her and daughter Lucy, and she would keep her promise. Always.

Far Horizons by Emma Powell

When a second chance at life gives Molly a second chance at love, will she take it? Local police sergeant Jack, reminds her what it feels like to be truly loved. But can she trust him? And when her past and present collide, she fights to save herself and her future.

Love by the Jewel Sea by Rhonda Forrest

Frankie knew one thing. She’d return to the city when the job was done. But will an accidental meeting with local farmer Simon, change her perspective on what is important in life and remind her of her ethics. Or will it send her running in the opposite direction?

Core of my Heart by Louise Forster

After a recent breakup, an exciting offer had Madeline moving back into town, definitely sworn off men. Then her teenage crush walks into her life. Ash’s intuitive and gentle questioning, help her come to terms with her past. But is that enough, can she trust and love again?

Will they take the beautiful gift, a second chance at love? Will they succeed in leaving their past behind, or does it follow them home?

Here is your next must read romance!

Love in a Sunburnt Land Anthology is written by five Australian authors. Each story is set in a different Australian country town. I love a good romance novel and this one has five in the one book! Rhonda Forrest, Louise Forster, Leanne Lovegrove, Susan Mackie and Emma Powell each write stories that are unique, engaging and heartwarming.

Love on the Sweeping Plains follows the story of Tori who returns home and reconnects with the local vet, who is the star of a reality TV show to find a wife. It is a fun, feel good, small town romance.

Love in the Ragged Mountain Ranges is about fresh starts and learning to trust again. The Barrington Tops and surrounds are described beautifully. This story is tender and compassionate. It touched my heart.

Far Horizons Love Story had the teacher in me happy to read about Molly, a passionate school teacher. She meets Jack and teaches his son Lachlan. Powell writes about grief from an adult and child’s perspective with such care and sensitivity. Readers will experience romance, crime, drama and life altering decisions.

Love by the Jewel Sea is a meaningful, reflective and contemplative novella. Frankie is a self absorbed workaholic who must learn what is important in life. Dingo Beach and its people may just teach Frankie valuable life lessons. This was a blissful read and I felt like I had drifted away into the beautiful Dingo Beach location.

Core of My Heart is a passionate, whirlwind romance between Madeline and Ash. Madeline returns to her hometown to run the bakery she buys from her aunt and uncle.

Each and every story is enjoyable; filled with love, humour, passion, blissful locations, appreciation of the environment, romance, fun, life changing realisations, meaning and much more. I love each novella and I would highly recommend this anthology! What a blissful read.

For my full reviews on each novella please take a look at my prior posts and/or read my blog http://www.chapterichi.com

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Love on the Sweeping Plains by Leanne Lovegrove is the first novella in the Love in a Sunburnt Land anthology! I am excited to share my thoughts on each novella and review the anthology once I have read all of the small town love stories.

My review

Love on the Sweeping Plains is a fun story that centres around Tori, who moves back to her hometown, Cedar Creek Plains, with her daughter Mirabelle. Tori’s marriage is over and she must make a decision for her and her daughter about their future.

Considering this is a short story, I was pleasantly surprised by the character development and how Leanne Lovegrove made each character living in Cedar Creek Plains absolutely lovable. Tori’s grandma is a sweet lady with a heart of gold and the local vet Zac, took my breath away.

Zac is the star of a reality TV show to find him a wife. I loved this part of the storyline. Being introduced to the contestants and the antics that occur had me in stitches.

If you love a good country romance and/or Farmer wants a Wife, then this is a must read. This story has everything needed for a feel good, small town romance!

I look forward to reading more of Leanne Lovegrove’s writing.

Love in the Ragged Mountain Ranges by Susan Mackie @susanmackieauthor is the second story in the Love in a Sunburnt Land Anthology.

Nik and her daughter Lucy move to the country for a fresh start. They move in to the historic Copeland Courthouse with a view of the Barrington Tops. I could almost smell the country air. Susan Mackie’s descriptions of The Barrington Tops and surrounds are atmospheric and allowed me to feel that I was back in this beautiful part of the world, where I have personally visited.

The property Nik buys is a fixer upper. It has history and provides the opportunity to become a B & B. The neighbours are welcoming and very soon Nik and Lucy become friends with Robbie and his son Harry. Robbie helps Nik with the property, completing jobs and organising tradespeople. Nik and Lucy have a lot of fun together as they discuss the renovations and design ideas. I enjoyed reading about the renovations and the items that they find to restore. I love watching renovation shows and this aspect certainly was fun to read about.

One of the stand out elements of the story for me, was the emotional support that animals provide to help people to heal and recover from trauma. Nik and Lucy have experienced trauma in their lives. Susan Mackie deals with this topic with great sensitivity. Robbie introduces Nik and Lucy to his dog and horses. It is remarkable to read of the transformative affects and to feel the pure joy felt by Lucy.

This short story is a tender, compassionate and heartfelt country romance. I loved it and highly recommend this beautiful story. It touched my heart

The third story in the anthology is Far Horizons Love Story by Emma Powell. @emmapowell68

Far Horizons Love Story is a story of new beginnings. Molly leaves her life in Melbourne to return to her ‘mother’s childhood home and her birthplace’. She becomes the teacher of the local primary school and soon has a great impact on the students. I loved reading the scenes of the classroom, as Molly builds rapport with her students. They come to care about her and become part of the reason she considers staying in the town of Nhill. Molly is a loveable character.

Another reason why Nhill appeals to Molly is Seargant Jack. She meets him on her way into town and there is instant attraction. Their flirting and emotions when around each other are steamy to say the least! Jack is dealing with grief and loss, whilst Molly is running from a horrific past that she is concerned about catching up with her. Both characters must learn about trust and what it means to love again.

Emma Powell’s subtle references to signs from loved ones who have passed were beautiful. Jack’s son, Lachlan is grieving his mother and believes she visits him. Powell writes about grief from an adult and child’s perspective with such care and sensitivity.

In this short story, the reader will experience romance, crime, drama and life altering decisions. Far Horizons is an entertaining read that I would recommend to all romance lovers. If you enjoy Nicholas Sparks’ novels, you will love his short story!

‘And when you’re here, it’s like you could almost forget everything else in your life and just live for the moment.’

Love by the Jewel Sea is a reflective and contemplative story. Workaholic Frankie starts a new job with a company who decides to send her to Dingo Beach. Her journey there is just a bit *shit* (pardon the French), hilarious for the reader and unimpressive when she takes a wrong turn, ending up in a ditch where she meets local man Simon and his son, Eli.

Frankie is selfish and cares about fashion, labels and work. She hasn’t made much time for anything else in her life. Frankie is a character who immediately has me hoping she changes sooner or later. Fortunately, this story offers life changing advice and reflection on what we can all focus more on in life. Frankie learns some very important lessons in her time in Dingo Beach.

The romance and friendships made are heartfelt and I could have continued to read about Frankie and her life. I fell in love with the locals and wished to sit down and have a drink with them all at the pub. In such a short space of time, the characters were developed brilliantly.

The quote above is an example of why Rhonda Forrest is one of my favourite authors. Her stories have meaning. They provide life lessons and there is a focus on the environment around us. If we take the time to notice the little things, we certainly will appreciate our surroundings. Dingo Beach is painted beautifully and I felt that the author has a strong connection with the place. I felt the peace and solitude of the area, wishing I could take a flight to QLD then and there.

I loved this story and would highly recommend Love by the Jewel Sea. I suggest that you pick it up and drift away to Dingo Beach very soon. What a blissful read.


Core of my Heart, Louise Forster is the last romance story in the Love in a Sunburnt Land Anthology.

As I took a moment to sit at a cafe on a cold winter morning I enjoyed a hot chocolate, whilst reading this story.

Core of my Heart follows the story of Madeline who returns home. Madeline purchases her aunt and uncle’s bakery from them. I enjoyed reading about the bakery and the people who work there. The customers and the banter are very entertaining.

Madeline connects with Ash, who she has always had a crush on. Their romance begins soon into the story and is a whirlwind romance. They share great passion and attraction toward one another.

Core of my Heart includes many different themes and manages to fit a lot into the novella. Some sensitive issues were dealt with in a different manner than I expected, yet because of the size of the short story, would have made it difficult to delve deeper into certain issues that popped up.

Another great romance in such a fantastic book!! I look forward to sharing my thoughts on the anthology as a whole.

My Sister’s Husband – Nicola Marsh

Synopsis

The sunroom at the back of the house is just as I remember. I can’t taste homemade lemonade or smell oatmeal cookies without thinking of home, of the beautiful cliffs of Martino Bay, and I feel welcomed. But all thoughts of a happy family reunion are destroyed the moment I see him…

He’s as handsome as I remember: broad shoulders, piercing blue eyes, hair the colour of burnt toffee.

The man who once meant the world to me. The reason I fled eleven years ago. I’ve never told anyone the terrible mistake I made that night. The secret we share. I’m still haunted by the crashing waves at the bottom of the cliffs, the blood…

But what is he doing at my sister’s house?

And then I see her. My baby sister. She smiles, she tips her hand so I can see the ring. And his arm slides around her waist, pulling her close…

My review

My Sister’s Husband is a thriller that had me on the edge of my reading chair the entire time! Nicola Marsh drew me in from the beginning. 

The story is set in Martino Bay, a small town, two hours from LA, positioned on cliff tops winding around the California coastline. The setting is perfect for a thriller! Those cliff tops, along with the family members themselves, hold many secrets. I certainly would not want to join any of them on the cliff edge. The book is filled with secrets and cover ups!

Brooke, who fled her hometown eleven years ago, decides to return after receiving an email asking her to come to her sister, Freya’s wedding. Arriving home is very emotional for Brooke. Her Aunt Alice has early onset dementia, Freya is marrying a man Brooke slept with at a party and Brooke finds out she has a niece. Freya is still unpredictable in her manner, yet fortunately, the one constant is Lizzie, Brooke’s cousin. Growing up they were always close and the relationship between the women is lovely.

The layering of characters is intriguing to say the least. The story follows two sets of sisters as they struggle to co-exist, one pair in the past, one in the present.  There are generational similarities between sisters, Alice and Di and Freya and Brooke. The jealousy and anger between the sisters had me terrified for them. The tension is heightened as the novel develops.

My Sister’s Husband has twists and turns that kept me reading and wanting to know more. I was kept guessing throughout the entire novel.

Nicola Marsh is a master of more than one genre! Not only are her rural romance novels captivating, her thrillers are too. What a talent, to be able to write excellent novels in different genres! I am impressed. My Sister’s Husband is a gripping and fast paced novel that had me in suspense throughout. I would highly recommend My Sister’s Husband.

#mysistershusband #bookrecommendations #bookreviews #bookreview #chapterichi #jealousy #thriller #bookstgram #bookblogger #bookaholic #thrillernovel #nicolamarsh

The Tea Gardens – Fiona McIntosh

Synopsis

Dr Isla Fenwick has a life that most modern women of 1933 might envy – her career gives her status, her pedigree adds freedom, and her oldest crush, Jovian Mandeville, has reappeared in her life with a marriage proposal.

Her life is beginning to feel complete. However, she insists on keeping a private promise she made to her late mother to work at the coalface of medicine in India before committing to life as a dutiful wife. With Jove’s blessing, Isla sails to Calcutta to set up a new midwifery clinic. What she can’t anticipate is how India will test everything she relies upon within, challenging her professionalism and her loyalties.

But it is the fateful meeting of enigmatic Professor Saxon Vickery that will call into question what she trusts most about herself. When the pair travel into the foothills of the Himalaya for a stay on a tea plantation outside Darjeeling, Isla must make the most important choice of her life. And at the roof of the world – where heaven and earth collide – a price will be exacted for glimpsing heaven.

From England’s squally seaside town of Brighton to India’s slums of Calcutta and breathtaking Himalayan mountains, this is a heartbreaking story about the pursuit of passion by the bestselling author of The Chocolate Tin.

My review

Book Review!!
The Tea Gardens

Fiona McIntosh’s novel, The Tea Gardens, drew me in from the beginning. Not only is the cover beautiful, the entire story is too.

Dr Isla Fenwick is a determined young woman who wishes to travel to India to assist other medical professionals and patients. Before leaving for Calcutta, Isla’s father organises a meeting with a prospective husband for his daughter, who he wishes to see settled and happy. This man was her childhood crush, Jove. Upon meeting, they are at ease in each other’s company and feel love for one another.

The story takes the reader from the beautiful town of Brighton, England to Calcutta, India where there is great need for a doctor, like Dr Fenwick; her midwifery skills and her understanding of TB. Dr Fenwick is a passionate doctor who soon changes the lives of many she meets. She also learns some hard truths about cultural understanding and the caste system in India. McIntosh portrays the beauty of the Indian culture along with the horrific societal norms of this time. I was greatly moved by Isla’s experiences in India.

The poverty stricken India we see where Isla works is juxtaposed with the beauty, peace and atmospheric Brackenridge, with expansive tea gardens and views of the Himalaya. What a treat it is to read about this place. It took me back to my time in India at a yoga retreat. The beauty of the place and peace I felt whilst there is indescribable. Isla’s first impressions of the place took me there with her. McIntosh’s descriptions are poetic.

McIntosh drew me into the characters’ worlds and I loved every moment of it. I can’t wait to read more of her writing. The Tea Gardens is a moving, passionate and breathtakingly beautiful novel.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#bookreview #bookreviewer #fivestarread #fionamcintosh #theteagardens #bookstagram #bookblogger #bookblog #chapterichi #tea #calcutta #himalayas #brighton #bibliophile #bookworm

Come Rain or Shine – Tricia Stringer

Synopsis

A wedding and a will, a bushfire and a baby: who said the country was quiet?

Paula knew when she moved to the country that the life would be tough. Nearly a year into her marriage with farmer Dan, and now pregnant, she is proud of her ability to feed shearers, bake a pasty and fix a fence while still running her accountancy business from home. With a wedding to plan, the farm to run and neighbours to help out, life is busy but good.

But there are clouds on the horizon. Dan is increasingly tired and distant. He promised he would always tell her the truth, so why is he being so mysterious about his late father’s will?  And why is his abrasive Aunt Rowena suddenly so interested in the sex and due date of Paula’s baby? As bushfires rage, Paula makes a discovery that shocks her and threatens all she holds dear.

I love the idea of owning a rural property. The quiet, being close to nature and spending time reading outdoors…

Myreview
Comes Rain or Shine is another great novel written by Tricia Stringer. The story follows newlyweds Paula and Dan as they live their lives on their farm. Paula does the work indoors whilst Dan does the farming. I loved the descriptions of farming and reading about the life of a farmer. I knew they lead busy lives… but I did not imagine this.

Dan struggles to tell Paula about his Dad’s will that could take away their hopes and dreams of staying in the property.

I loved reading about Paula’s pregnancy. It took me back to my own pregnancy, which was lovely. The small town doctors and friends in the town add to the charm of the place.

Dan can be quite a frustrating character as he hides a secret from Paula, yet together they are very much in love. This is another book that I would recommend from the talented Tricia Stringer.

#triciastringer #aussieauthor #rurallife #countrylifestyle #bookstagram #bookblogger #bookreview #chapterichi #booksbooksbooks

The Tea Chest – Josephine Moon

Synopsis

Kate Fullerton, talented tea designer and now co-owner of The Tea Chest, could never have imagined that she’d be flying from Brisbane to London, risking her young family’s future, to save the business she loves from the woman who wants to shut it down.

Meanwhile, Leila Morton has just lost her job; and if Elizabeth Clancy had known today was the day she would appear on the nightly news, she might at least have put on some clothes. Both need to start again.

When the three women’s paths unexpectedly cross, they throw themselves into realising Kate’s magical vision for London’s branch of The Tea Chest. But every time success is within their grasp, increasing tensions damage their trust in each other.

With the very real possibility that The Tea Chest will fail, Kate, Leila and Elizabeth must decide what’s important to each of them. Are they willing to walk away or can they learn to believe in themselves?

My Review

The Tea Chest written by Josephine Moon, was just what I needed. It is a lovely, feel good read!

Kate, tea designer, inherits The Tea Chest, a tea store that she works at. Kate must make some big decisions as to whether or not she will keep the store and expand it, as her late boss had hoped. With two young children Kate has a lot to consider.

Kate’s marriage is beautiful. I loved reading about a couple who are supportive of one another and their family. Kate leaves to go to London to expand The Tea Chest. Leila and Elizabeth, her new employees each have their own personal stories. Each woman finds themselves and helps one another through the tough times.

I loved that this book is about tea! I love tea and could almost smell the aroma. Each time I would sit down to read this book, I enjoyed a tea and each time I read about one of the teas Kate created I could smell them. ♥

Thank you Josephine Moon for this beautiful book that appreciates tea and is a positive story of love, heartache, family and marriage. I am excited to read more of Josephine’s writing. It is not often that an author writes a feel good story of a talented woman being supported by her husband, in a happy marriage that is infused with support, love and kindness.

5 stars!

Thank you @josephine_moon for writing such a wonderful story.

#bookreviews #bookblogger #bookreview #bookreviewer #bookstagram #bookish #bookworm #bookaddict #chapterichi #theteachest #tea #josephinemoon

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World Laura Imai Messina

Synopsis

We all have something to tell those we have lost . . .

When Yui loses her mother and daughter in the tsunami, she wonders how she will ever carry on. Yet, in the face of this unthinkable loss, life must somehow continue.

Then one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone box in his garden. There, those who have lost loved ones find the strength to speak to them and begin to come to terms with their grief. As news of the phone box spreads, people will travel there from miles around.

Soon Yui will make her own pilgrimage to the phone box, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Then she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of their loss.

What happens next will warm your heart, even when it feels as though it is breaking.

My review

The Phonebox at the Edge of the World is a beautiful story. It is a story of Yui who lost her mother and daughter in the tsunami of 11 March 2011. Yui hears of a man who has set up a phonebox where the tsunami hit, right at the foot of Kujira-Yama. This phonebox is a place where people come to speak with their loved ones who have passed away, some like Yui who lost loved ones in the tsunami and others who come to connect with their loved ones who have passed away from different circumstances. Yui meets Takeshi when she goes to the phonebox and they become friends. Takeshi is heartbroken, having lost his wife and his daughter stopped speaking after losing her mum. Yui and Takeshi’s friendship is beautiful. They are both grieving, yet find connection in one another’s company.

The grief and loss experienced by the characters is heartbreaking to read. I cried a lot in this book. I cried for the characters, who although fictional, are real in so many ways. The tsunami took away mothers, children and spouses… people lost their loved ones and thinking of the pain they must have felt and still feel breaks my heart. I remember ringing friends in Japan at the time, worrying for their safety. I will never forget the footage of the tsunami and personal stories I watched and shared with my students.

This story also hit me very hard as Yui talks of losing her mum. Like her mum, my mum’s loss was sudden and unexpected. There was no chance to say what I wanted to say… This phonebox is of comfort for so many! What a life changing place. A place where people can connect with their loved ones. Fortunately, I feel that I can in ways reach my mum through prayer. My heart is broken, although I have hope, happiness and love in my life. Yui and Takeshi’s story is heartwarming. This book is a must read.

#lauraimaimessina
#thephoneboxattheedgeoftheworld #tsunami #bookstagram #chapterichi #grief #bookreview #bookreviewer #bookworm #japan

The 5 Love Languages of Children – Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell

Synopsis

Does your child speak a different language? Sometimes they wager for your attention, and other times they ignore you completely. Sometimes they are filled with gratitude and affection, and other times they seem totally indifferent. Attitude. Behavior. Development. Everything depends on the love relationship between you and your child. When children feel loved, they do their best. But how can you make sure your child feels loved?
Since 1992, Dr. Gary Chapman’s best-selling book “The 5Love Languages” has helpedmillions of couples develop stronger, more fulfilling relationships by teaching them to speak each others’ love language. Each child, too, expresses and receives love through one of five different communication styles. And your love language may be totally different from that of your child. While you are doing all you can to show your child love, he may be hearing it as something completely opposite. Discover your child’s primary language and learn what you can do to effectively convey unconditional feelings of respect, affection, and commitment that will resonate in your child’s emotions and behavior.

My Review

What a fantastic book!! The 5 Love Languages of Children discusses the many ways in which we can effectively and truly allow our children to feel loved. We may tell our children we love them, yet we do not speak to them in ways that truly allow them to feel that love.

This book was mentioned to me as I as discussing motherhood with my family’s adoption assessor. I have heard about the book and seen it but didn’t see a reason until this point to read it. I read baby books whilst I was pregnant with my first son, but since having him have come to realise that we parent in ways that are best for our children and our family. This book speaks exactly to that and much more!

The authors of this book concentrate on love and how love is the foundation for parenting. We know this, but do we know how to speak each other’s love language? Knowing how to make our children feel loved is important. Each and every one of the 5 love languages should be spoken to our children, however once we figure out which language our child speaks we can focus on that love language so that they truly feel loved.

Personally, as a mum of two, I felt that my eldest son at times struggled when his brother came into the family and still does. Being an only child for 3.5 years and now adjusting to having a brother has been a big change for him. Reading this book, it is obvious that his love language is quality time. I loved reading each of the love languages and realising that I use each one with my sons, however the ideas presented here are an extension on showing love in everyday situations, building on the ways that we can truly show how much we love our kids.

Although we have quality time as a family and each day my eldest does with me, he had been missing this quality time with his dad. Upon increasing this time we have seen huge differences, including him wanting his dad to read stories at bedtime instead of just me. It is beautiful to see his smile even more and less tears about the little things. This book has made a big difference in such a short space of time. As for my youngest son, I feel that his love language may be words of affirmation; his whole face lights up when we say ‘well done’ in Korean. As he grows up we will learn more which his love language is.

The 5 Love Languages for Children is a book that will not stay on the shelf. I will be leaving it out to read over and remind myself of how I can increase certain love languages, making our sons feel truly loved. This is the best parenting book I have read, because it is valuable for the longterm. With love in their hearts and feeling our love towards them, I hope that my sons will grow up happy, content and connected to us and to God.

One Thousand Gifts – Ann Voskamp

Just like you, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists that have us escaping our everyday lives for exotic experiences. How, Ann wondered, do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long and sometimes even dark? How is God even here?

In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God’s gifts. It s only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we’ve always wanted, a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved by God.

Let Ann’s beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living that is finally fully alive. Come live the best dare of all!

My review

Ann Voskamp’s personal story made me feel for her and I was in tears reading about her grief and loss. She is a beautiful lady who has suffered and turned to the Lord to guide her. Ann is a deeply faithful Christian woman who has a great understanding of the scriptures.

Throughout her book Voskamp aims to teach the reader how we can ‘live fully right where we are’. Voskamp aims to write down everything that she notices as gifts from God and aims to write down one thousand of those gifts as she experiences/feels them. Reading her poetic perspective on her gifts from God was inspiring and humbling. I loved reading them. This part of the book kept me intrigued as to what else Ann was grateful for. I am also hoping to start my own journal of what I am grateful for.

There were many references to the Bible and thoughtful comments on how we can feel closer to God. Ann finds a slower pace and peace through her journey. Throughiut this book Ann goes on a journey of doscovery – how to live in the moment, be connected to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. At times I felt thatI was moreso gaining an insight into her mind’s working, which was wonderful, yet also I felt quite beyond my knowledge of the scriptures. As a new Christian I found some of the book to be quite challenging, yet also appreciated the concepts discussed.

Reading Christian novels is inspiring and motivating. It is also much more than this. As I read through the readings from the Bible I am on a journey of self discovery and how to connect with the Lord.

Time Will Tell – Rhonda Forrest

Synopsis

Time Will Tell – The eagerly awaited sequel to Two Heartbeats.

When Jess discovered love with Daniel in the tiny outback town of Gowrie, her previous troubled life was cast aside. However, differences in their backgrounds, her doubts about real love and the urge to return and support her twin brother Johnno, forced her to make a decision to leave.

A new home in the small community of Tamborine Mountain provides an opportunity to contemplate how she really feels and what is important. Johnno lives nearby and new friends and a romantic encounter give her a fresh start — but is this what she really wants? And if it isn’t, will Daniel welcome her back with open arms?

The tranquil setting of Tamborine Mountain joins forces with the outback of Queensland to continue the story of Two Heartbeats. Will the decision be taken out of Jess’s hands, pushing her further away, or will her heart lead her to where she will find true happiness?

Time Will Tell – a rural love story, where friendship, romance and hearts entwine.

My review

And just like that… I was swept away. Sitting down and opening the first page of each of Rhonda’s novels is a treat for the mind and soul. I am always drawn in immediately and don’t want to put the books down.

I loved Two Heartbeats and was very excited to read the sequel ‘Time will Tell’. At the end of Two Heartbeats Jess had left Daniel to spend time with her twin brother, Johnno and attempts to find herself. ‘Time Will Tell’ follows the story of Jess as she moves to Tamborine Mountain. For years Jess has been looking after Johnno and getting him out of trouble. She finds it hard to let go of this role she has placed herself in over the years. Jess moves to the mountain and in no time considers whether or not she has left her heart back in Gowrie. She tries to settle into life on the mountain… although is faced with some challenges with her new friend, Antonio and her biological father who comes back into her life. Jess makes friends with Jade and soon encourages her to make the best decision of her life.

Have you ever been left wondering, at the end of a novel, where the characters ended up and almost created your own story for them in your mind? Thanks to ‘Time Will Tell’, the reader’s questions are answered.  Jess is a beautiful character whose past has made her the strong and courageous woman she is. I fell in love all over again with the characters of Gowrie. From dependable and romantic Daniel and kind and thoughtful Hoppy. Rhonda  pieces together the lives of Jess’ family and friends.

Rhonda’s writing provides a sense of peace to the reader. I always feel a sense of calm when reading a Rhonda Forrest novel and Time Will Tell is no exception. Time Will Tell is a feel good story of romance, love, family and what it means to belong.

Second Chance Lane – Nicola Marsh

Synopsis

When the past crashes into the future, there’s more than hearts on the line.

Natasha Trigg leads a simple life in small-town Brockenridge. She works at the roadhouse, has good friends, and at the centre of her world is her daughter, Isla. She knows dumping musician Kody Lansdowne thirteen years ago by misleading him about her pregnancy was best in the long run. She drove him away so he could achieve his dreams but has always felt guilty. When a matchmaking Isla invites a surprise new neighbour to dinner, Tash and Kody come face to face once again…

Now a bona fide rockstar, Kody’s in hiding to sort through the mess his life has become after a concert resulted in devastation. The last thing he needs is discovering he has a child. Especially as it means the one woman he’s never been able to forget is now permanently part of his life. Pity he’s so furious with her…

For Jane Jefferson, who has deliberately fooled townsfolk into believing her reputation is worse than it is for years, a second chance is something she thought she’d never get. Reconnecting with friendships she thought lost forces her to face the question: do past mistakes define you forever?

While navigating the troubled waters of forgiveness, friendship and love, will these three Brockenridge residents discover everyone deserves a second chance?

My review

Second Chance Lane – Nicola Marsh

I am in awe! Nicola Marsh has a way of drawing me in straight away. I did not want to put this one down from the very beginning. From the first page, I was hooked.

The story follows Tash and Jane, alternating between their lives. Tash is a kind-hearted single mum who deceived Kody, her boyfriend 13 years ago about her pregnancy. As a result, Kody followed his dreams and became the rock star he hoped to be. When he arrives in Tash’s town of Brokenridge, Tash realises she must tell him about his daughter, Isla. The mother-daughter dynamic changes and the father-daughter relationship develops beautifully. Kody and Tash’s relationship has challenges that they must face to move forward. I loved reading about them and their connection. They banter and have fun amongst dealing with the biggest changes of their lives.

Jane’s story is a heartfelt one. She has struggled due to her upbringing and the loss of her father. Her relationship with her mother is distant and she is lonely. When Mason enters her life again she makes some personal discoveries and learns to be the best person she can be.

I love the characters of Brokenridge. Their town is closeknit and I loved reading about the characters who I had been introduced to in Long Way Home.

Nicola’s style is fun, humorous, heartfelt and leaves the reader wanting more! I can’t wait for her next book. This is a 5 star read for me and I highly recommend Second Chance Lane.

Thank you @harlequinaus
For sending me a copy of Second Chance Lane.