The epilogue to this book made me cry

Red Dirt Heart 4 (Red Dirt Series)Red Dirt Heart 4 by N.R. Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m going to miss Travis and Charlie so much. It’s been like reading about a bunch of friends who you’ve taken into your heart and you get a yearly bulletin of all that’s gone on since you saw them last.

This book is Travis speaking for the first time and I loved we got to see Charlie and Sutton Station, and the family, through his eyes. The time jumps worked well too, even as I wished we weren’t watching them all get older.

I like to think that Suttton Station is out there in the heart of the Australian Outback, where a young woman with hair the colour of the dirt on which it stands is leading a young man a merry dance while two farmers, with twinkles in their eyes, watch from a covered porch, a wombat curled up at their feet.

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Five perfect red dirt heart stars

Red Dirt Heart 3 (Red Dirt Heart Series)Red Dirt Heart 3 by N.R. Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is utter perfection, rounding out Charlie and Travis’ relationship after a year of trials, tribulations and tears.

Lots of things happen in this book but, at the heart of it is a story about love, about people, about finding a family no matter where you are and making a home.

Scene stealing from one wombat and a dozen imaginatively named calves just helps to bring the smiles and the feel good factor.

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Not bad for a debut novel

Don't Walk Away (Walking Strong Book #1)Don’t Walk Away by Ollie Sparks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This one probably needed on more beta read or another run through editing as there were some odd uses of punctuation and a few grammar and tense mix ups, as well as the wrong character name being used during a conversation.

Setting those points aside, this had the makings of a great story and, for the most part, it lived up to them. The second chance trope is a flexible one which also allows an author to throw in other plot twists and in this we also have an element of former friends turned enemies reconnecting.

Dialogue was at times clumsy, but overall it was a good couple of hours of time reading a sweet romance.

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Not quite as much mayhem for this pair

No Matter What: Coffin Nails MC (Sex & Mayhem, #4)No Matter What: Coffin Nails MC by K.A. Merikan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This one’s an odd one out in the series so far as it has an almost sweet note to it. I say almost because hey, this is a book about bikers and their violent ways, but Ghost and Luca are much more gentle characters.

There’s an interesting cameo from Guns ‘n Boys big nasty Frederico Villani in this one too which adds a bit of background to what’s been going on with Dom and Seth in that series.

You could still read this book if you haven’t read G&B though as the story is self contained. Tooth and Luci, now going by Lucky, are in this one a bit too but, again, not enough that you’d need to have read their story.

I didn’t like this one as much as the previous but it’s still a seriously good headrush through the world of the Coffin Nails.
Now, when do we get Grim’s story?!

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Gut wrenching but also full of hope

Falling DownFalling Down by Eli Easton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second of the books I’ve had on my Kindle for ages which I knew was going to be a tough read because of the subject matter.

However, it’s not quite as bleak as Weight of the World and for a lot of the book, it’s a fairly traditional romance setting. Easton handles the themes of suicide and depression with a gentle touch and the voice of Josh’s mum was a clever way to allow the reader into his thoughts without loads of exposition.

I loved Mrs. Fisher, the elderly lady whose house Mark and Josh were painting, she brought a gentleness to the story and was a well fleshed out secondary character who perhaps, through her own loneliness because of her children living so far away, gained a sort of substitute family with the two men and provided Josh with a grandmotherly unconditional affection he’d not had before.

When the big dramatic moment came, it wasn’t unexpected but it was handled well and I liked that Mark’s family came to help out, dealing with him coming out at the same time, in what I thought was a fairly reasonable way, not quite perfect with enough of an edge to feel realistic.

Josh’s hurt was real, his behaviour true to character, if heartbreakingly sad, and the build up to the ending was well paced with more than one moment which make me catch my breath. I didn’t get as teary with this one as I did with Weight of the World because throughout this book just seemed to have a bit more hope.

Ultimately there is happiness and a sure sense of new beginnings for both Josh and Mark amid the peaceful landscapes of New England.

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Festive thoughts on loss and hope

Today is my mum’s birthday, she would have been 69, just one year younger than her mum is celebrating in this photo.

My mum didn’t make it, she died in April 2014 just three weeks after being diagnosed with liver cancer at the age of 66. Too young.

Her brother Steven, at the centre back of this photo, died earlier this year. Where once there were six, only four remain.

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My mum (second from the left) and her brothers and sisters with their mum on her 70th

“Everyone can master a grief but he that has it.”

–William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing