Friday, 9 December 2016

Blog Tour | Book Review | Third Time Lucky | Karly Lane

December Doyle returned home to Christmas Creek two years ago to try and pick up the pieces of a life that turned out to be a lie. Unable to move on, she hasn’t really been living but merely surviving, after giving up her little Melbourne cafĂ© to work two jobs and live in the granny flat on her parents’ property while she pays off the huge debt that her husband left hanging over her head.

The only daughter to be born within three generations of the Doyle family, Em has always loved Christmas Creek and living there again has started her thinking of ways to revive the little regional town that is barely just surviving.

When Seth Hunter left Christmas Creek more than a decade before, he swore he’d never return to the town that refused to accept him because of his misfortune at being born into the wrong family but, after a newspaper article piqued his interest, the pull suddenly became too strong for him to ignore.

Now a successful businessman, he’s come a long way from the boy who lived on the wrong side of the tracks and, whilst small towns have long memories, he’s also never forgotten the only girl who ever made him feel like he could be someone more than a no-hoper.

“When everyone thinks you’re nothing, you start to believe it” – Seth

It's when Seth finds out that the town committee have vetoed December’s ideas to boost tourism that he approaches her with an offer too good to refuse.

For December, accepting the offer is the easy part. It’s realising that the man he has become is very different to the teenage boy she once knew and that, even while the magnetism that played havoc with her heart all those years before is still present, there is far more to Seth’s return than he is letting on.

“Once I put my mind to something I very rarely let anything stop me” – Seth

Well, you’re going to need to push aside the laundry and the housekeeping for a few hours this weekend!

Because that’s exactly what I did last weekend when Queensland found itself in the midst of a disgusting heatwave that had us all rushing for either the pool or the air-conditioning. Of course, I chose the air-con and, with great gusto, settled in to read this latest by Karly Lane. I’m a sucker for a “bad-boy”, “second-chance” romance and I immediately knew that I’d made the right choice when Karly’s characters’ emotions started making my stomach do fluttery flip-flops.

Karly is extremely adept at bringing the heartache and conflict of a realistic situation to the fore, allowing the reader to empathise with her characters and I found myself warming to Seth (don’t you just love that name?) and December very quickly. They are strong, independent and thoroughly likable and I couldn’t help but fall for Seth with his battered heart and tortured soul.

Whilst December loves the town, Seth is the opposite because it brings back so many painful memories and it is the contempt from the townsfolk along with his feelings of inadequacy that drive the hate, bitterness and anger he feels towards those that shattered the dreams of a boy who only ever wanted to belong.

On the opposite end of the scale, the chemistry between these two sizzles right from the start and, as memories of their youth intrude seamlessly into the narrative, pulling us into their world of teenage emotion and angst, there is a warmth and intensity that offers the reader a glimpse at the torch they once carried for each other.

Karly not only gives us rural romance but her stories always tackle real issues that plague small Australian towns and this one is no exception as she highlights the fact that big business is slowly choking off their sources of revenue, thus making us completely aware of how, without important injections of capital, their landscape and livelihoods is rapidly changing.

Did I mention that Granny Doyle is an absolute hoot!!

With her vivid characterisation, magical sense of place, heartfelt emotion and a dash of hope where hope has been lost, Rural Fiction's Favourite Daughter gives us a moving story about family, betrayal, love and the power that the past can hold over our lives. You will laugh, you will cry but most of all, you won’t want to put this heart-warming Aussie Christmas tale down until you are satisfied that things are going to work out.

I wish to thank Allen and Unwin for inviting me to take part in this Blog Tour and for providing me with a hard copy ARC for review.

About the Author

Karly Lane happily lives with her husband and four children on the mid-north coast of New South Wales in the same small town where her parents, grandparents and great grandparents all lived. She has a strong love of rural towns and is passionate about writing stories that embrace rural Australia and the vast communities within it

She is the best-selling author of nine novels including Second Chance Town, Gemma’s Bluff, and Bridie’s Choice and her novels range from romantic suspense to family saga.

Karly is a huge supporter of social media and loves to meet her readers.  If you'd like to connect with her, you can do so at the following links:

About the Book

When her marriage ends, December Doyle returns home to Christmas Creek. Will she conquer her fear of heartbreak? A heart-warming novel about betrayal, ambition and the power of love.

After a disastrous marriage, December Doyle has returned to her home town to try to pick up the pieces of her life and start again. She’s also intent on helping breathe new life into the Christmas Creek township, so the last thing she needs is trouble.

Bad boy Seth Hunter has also returned to Christmas Creek, and trouble is his middle name. Wrongly convicted of a serious crime in his youth, Seth is now a successful businessman, but he’s intent on settling some old scores.

As teenagers, December and Seth were madly in love, and seeing each other again reawakens past feelings. But will Seth be able to overcome his destructive anger about the past, and can December conquer her fear of heartbreak to make their relationship third time lucky?

By the bestselling author of Second Chance Town, this compelling novel is about betrayal, ambition and the power of forgiveness - and love.

ISBN:  9781760291822
Publisher:  Allen & Unwin
Pub Date:  December 2016
Page Extent: 352
RRP: $29.99

Third Time Lucky is available now from the following eStores:

It would be lovely if you could show some blog love by clicking on the links on the gorgeous interactive tour poster below so that you can visit all the wonderful blogs that have taken part in this tour.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Book Review | Small Great Things | Jodi Picoult

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way” – Martin Luther King Jr

In this bold new novel by Jodi Picoult, racial discrimination and white supremacy form part of a gripping story of social injustice issues that brim with truth even within our educated global village of today.

Widowed, single mother Ruth Jefferson is thirty-nine and has worked as a labour ward nurse for the last twenty years at the same hospital. She is passionate about her job and has a perfect work record – until the day the father of a newborn, Turk Bauer, requests that a note be put on his son’s file, forbidding any African-American nurse to tend to him.

What ensues is a chain of events that sees Ruth being dismissed from her job, charged with negligent homicide and a lawyer by the name of Kennedy McQuarrie stepping up to the challenge of defending her.

Telling the story from Ruth’s, Turk’s and Kennedy’s perspectives, Jodi gives us an in-depth and fully rounded look at all sides of the story and the feelings involved. As she dares to ask bigger questions than possibly any author ever has, it is with sensitivity and respect that she successfully navigates the different POVs in this heart-rending story that brings some harsh realities to life.

Ever since Jodi Picoult first burst onto the literary scene during the early 1990’s, I’ve been an avid fan of hers because I identified her as a writer who recognises the impact her stories have on people, thus giving her writing a powerful purpose – by putting her readers at the heart of her stories, she raises awareness of relevant issues while also giving them emotional and thought-provoking themes to ponder, hopefully inspiring us to create change where we can.

I’ve also noticed that there seems to have been a bit of a trend in my reading fodder of late, in that most of these novels have been along the themes of human interest – addressing injustice, racism, religious extremism, attitudes to same-sex relationships, etc. – and, in view of the recent US election result, same may say that this is a timely novel.

Jodi’s subject matter is almost always contemporary, complex and challenging with everyday people like you and I at its heart, and Small Great Things is no different. In a world where rifts appear more frequently between people who classify themselves as “normal” and those that are “different”, Jodi brings us a story where she presents the diverse backgrounds of her characters in fairly black and white terms!

As usual, the intensity of Jodi’s storytelling is convincing and she never pulls any punches in the aspects it traverses, and I had real trouble putting this one down, even though there were times in Turk’s narrative where I found the story to be somewhat confronting, especially in relation to his and his wife’s prejudice against people who were “different” to them.

With well-drawn characters, real life situations and themes of white privilege, prejudice and acceptance, amongst others, the American justice system also comes into sharp focus as Jodi showcases the best and worst of humanity. Presenting all sides of the story with honesty, insight and compassion, Jodi gives us yet another story that will appeal to the reader’s sub-conscience and stay with you long after the last page has been turned.

Everyone has a story to tell and Jodi Picoult isn’t afraid to tell it for them!

I wish to thank Allen and Unwin for my hard copy ARC.

About the Author

Jodi Picoult is the bestselling author of twenty-three novels.

Her last eight novels have debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list and her highly anticipated novel, Small Great Things was released in October 2016 in Australia.

Jodi studied creative writing with Mary Morris at Princeton, and had two short stories published in Seventeen magazine while still a student. Realism - and a profound desire to be able to pay the rent - led Picoult to a series of different jobs following her graduation: as a technical writer for a Wall Street brokerage firm, as a copywriter at an ad agency, as an editor at a textbook publisher, and as an 8th grade English teacher - before entering Harvard to pursue a master’s in education.

She married Tim Van Leer, whom she had known at Princeton, and it was while she was pregnant with her first child that she wrote her first novel, Songs of the Humpback Whale.

Her books are translated into thirty four languages in thirty five countries and four of them (The Pact, Plain Truth, The Tenth Circle and Salem Falls) have been made into television movies with My Sister's Keeper being released by New Line Cinema on the big screen.

She lives with her husband and their three children in Hanover, New Hampshire with two Springer spaniels, two rescue puppies, two donkeys, two geese, ten chickens, a smattering of ducks, and the occasional Holstein.

Jodi also now has an Australian website which you can visit at:

About the Book

'I don't want that nurse touching my baby.' Those are the instructions from the newborn child's parents. However, when the baby goes into cardiac arrest, Ruth, a nurse of twenty years' experience, sees no option but to assist. But the baby dies. And Ruth is charged with negligent homicide.

Ruth is shattered and bewildered as she tries to come to terms with her situation. She finds different kinds of support from her sister, a fiery radical, and her teenage son, but it is to Kennedy McQuarrie, a white middle-class lawyer, to whom she entrusts her case, and her future.

As the two come to develop a truer understanding of each other's lives, they begin to doubt the beliefs they each hold most dear. In order for the privileged to prosper, they come to realise, others have to suffer. Racism takes many forms, and is reinforced and underpinned by the structures of our society.

In gripping dramas like Nineteen Minutes, My Sister's Keeper and The Pact, Jodi Picoult has explored the big issues of our time through characters whose lives resonate with us. Here we see once again her unrivalled ability to immerse us in a story whose issues will linger with us long after the final page has been finished.

ISBN:  9781760110499
Publisher:  Allen & Unwin
Pub Date:  October 2016
Page Extent: 480
RRP: $32.99