My Illustrated Review – The Aussie Next Door by Stefanie London

Stefanie London – The Aussie Next Door

Entangled: Amara

Angie Donovan has left America and a past she doesn’t want to think about to come to Australia. Specifically, Patterson’s bluff – where she’s found a home and never wants to leave. Except she has to, her visa is a ticking clock and unless she can find someone to marry her, she’s out. Marriage of convenience isn’t an option, but marriage for love certainly would be. 

Jace Walters grew up knowing he was a little different from the rest of his large and unwieldly family. Settled with a great job creating a successful comic strip and living by himself, the last thing he needs is a distraction in the form of his sexy neighbour, Angie. 

Throw in dog sitting of two delightful dogs, a small town community that welcomes everyone and an obnoxious tight-knit family – well it’s one hell of a book. I literally laughed out loud, multiple times, whilst reading this on a flight to Melbourne. There was a part of me that wanted to hire a car and go searching for Patterson’s bluff the moment I arrived – it felt that real and welcoming. 

This book was the perfect combination of heat and heart and I simply couldn’t put it down. I can’t wait for the next book in the Patterson’s Bluff series. 

Below is my sketch of Jace, Angie, Tilly & Truffle


My Illustrated Review – The One by Kaneana May

The One by Kaneana May

HarperCollins

The tagline for this book ‘Fall in love like nobody’s watching’ is just absolutely perfect. 

An insightful look at reality TV, this novel follows three different women, all on different quests for love. 

Darcy is a driven film producer, excellent at her job, with a gorgeous boyfriend. Except producing this season’s, The One, might just bring all of her hard work undone. 

Bonnie has never really gotten over her ex-boyfriend. An ex who is now engaged. To someone else. Will going on The One give her the change she needs to find her true love?

Penelope has moved to a quite seaside town, hoping to leave her old life behind. For personal reasons, she’d really prefer notto know anything about The One, the show everyone is talking about. 

This book is exceptionally written. I loved how all the story lines wove together with the story occurring inside and outside the world of reality TV. All the characters were easy to fall in love with, and I found myself experiencing the highs and lows of each of their emotional journeys. 

A very enjoyable read – I’d highly suggest finding a big block of time to read it. Bite sized reading just doesn’t do it justice 😉 

The below sketches are of Darcy, Bonnie and Penelope. This is Kaneana May’s debut novel and I cannot wait for her next book!


My Illustrated Review – The Three Date Rule by Jillian Jones

Screen Shot 2019-05-03 at 11.13.44 amJillian Jones

The Three Date Rule

A contemporary romance with a twist. Wealthy property entrepreneur, Ryan Jensen, has a chance meeting with single mum, Kate Morgan, only to experience a premonition of their future together as a married couple. It was certainly a unique twist on the meet-cute and was thoroughly enjoyable.

Ryan has a past that has led to trust issues, as well as anxiety/panic attacks around certain situations. He takes his privacy very seriously and has never found anyone he wants to spend his life with, until Kate. His premonitions have never led him wrong in business, so why would they for something as important as this?

Kate’s ex is a wealthy guy used to getting what he wants. The father of her children, he’s done a number on her, and she’s determined that she’ll never let that type of guy into her life again. Her attraction to Ryan is instant, but he’s just another wealthy guy looking for a good time, isn’t he?

This story is lovely, taking the reader on a romantic trip from the Melbourne Cup, to skiing in Switzerland and Christmas markets in Austria. Both Ryan and Kate had many issues to overcome, and it became a real rollercoaster ride of emotions. I liked how to author spun a lot of things around, for e.g. the no sex before the third date – was Ryan’s rule, not Kate’s. It’s a very emotional read, with a lot of depth behind both characters.

This is the first story I’ve read of this author, and I look forward to the release of her next!

Below I’ve sketched a scene from the book which stood out for me, you’ll just have to read the book to work out why 😉


My Illustrated Review – Falling for Miss Write by Joanne Dannon

Screen Shot 2019-03-07 at 8.56.57 amJoanne Dannon

Falling for Miss Write

This is the second book in the Bachelor Down Under Series which follows the story of Felix, the brother of the hero in Book 1. Not having read the first book, I still found this easy to follow.

Project Manager Felix Randall has a questionable past and has made a lot of mistakes leading him to this point in his life. He has a loving family, and deeply in love parents. He’s reached a point in his life where he wants to re-build his image and find someone to love, and who will love him in return. A relationship like his parents share. Problem is—everyone knows him as a serial playboy who has slept with half of Melbourne.

Charlotte Glass has known Felix since high school. He’s attractive to be sure, but he’s not the guy for her. Not just because he’s a playboy, but because he is controlling. Having grown up with three brothers ruling her every move, Charlotte doesn’t want to date someone like that. Or does she?

Charlotte works as a barrister/baker at a café and is an aspiring writer. Felix is searching for a new job but feels his only option would be to move to New Zealand where his reputation won’t follow him. Seeing Charlotte again at his brother’s wedding, a mutual attraction begins to simmer between the two. What starts out as a fun couple of dates, becomes a deeper connection as both share their sordid pasts and connect on an emotional and sexual level.

The conflict between these two is clear. They might have similar mistakes in their pasts they aren’t proud of, but both have solid reasons to steer clear of a relationship with the other. I enjoyed Charlottes character; she was strong yet fun and knew her own mind. Being an aspiring writer myself I could feel her struggle with sharing that information with others. Felix’s past was hard to swallow, but the author did a good job on ensuring this topic was explored at length between the characters and they were both very honest with each other creating a stronger relationship at the end.

This story is grittier than the authors previous offerings. What started as a one book story has become a series, and after this book we can look forward to reading Charlotte’s brothers stories!

Below is my sketch of Charlotte:

 


My Illustrated Review – Forbidden to Want by JC Harroway

Adobe Photoshop PDFJC Harroway

Forbidden to Want

Harlequin Dare

Mia Abbot is a strong, sexy New Zealander, newly arrived in London to complete a promotional film for the Faulkner group. Emotionally scarred when it comes to love, she’s never entertained the idea of a lasting relationship, or any relationship for that matter. Her life is all about freedom, and on her terms.

Billionaire Kit Faulkner is barely living, recovering from the loss of his wife. He does the bare minimum to cope at work, with his two brothers covering for him. Damaged, he finds himself having to work with Mia, a woman who strangely attracts him, yet he knows he shouldn’t even consider.

Forced proximity, and an animal attraction that neither can deny (nor have any issues putting out in the open) lead to a lusty enthralling encounter. It was only meant to be the one time to get it out of their systems, yet neither have.

Kit knows he can’t offer anything more than sex to Mia, even if she’s getting under his skin and into his mind in a way he can’t ignore. Mia’s strength starts to falter as she realises, she’s falling for a man who is still in love with someone else.

I really enjoyed this book. It ticked all the Dare boxes for me, with plenty of glamorous scenes that had me dreaming of London. Plus, that cover!!! I really felt the connection between Mia and Kit, the depth that the author built into their characters was truly beautiful. I loved watching Kit come back from the dark side through his interactions with Mia, and how much be fought to not fall in love. Especially the ending, it was one of those books that left me smiling brightly and sighing with love.

The little glimpses of the brothers in this story have me excited to read the rest of the series!

The two sketches below are of Mia, when she first meets Kit, and then when she’s all dressed up at a 1920’s themed event, looking sinfully sexy.


My Illustrated Review – The Shape of Us by Lisa Ireland

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The Shape of Us by Lisa Ireland

Macmillan Australia

This is a beautiful story about four diverse and very different women who meet and become friends through an online weight loss forum.

Mezz is a Dr., who set aside youthful dreams of travelling and healing the world when she met her husband. Three kids later, she feels like she’s failing at being a mother, wife and is a second-rate doctor. She’s overweight, and tired of how she looks, and worried her husband will stray.

Kat is a childcare educator who will do anything to keep her daughter Ami happy and safe. Her relationship with Ami’s dad is rocky, but she’s sure if she loses her baby weight it will all be fine.

Jewels is happily married, runs a business she loves and is all around fabulous. But to fall pregnant with the baby she desperately wants, she knows she needs to lose weight. A lot of weight.

Ellie’s put her career on the back-burner for love, even moving to another country. But her partner is always busy with work and she’s lonely. The kg’s just keep creeping on and she’s not sure where she’s going in life. What happened to the former version of herself from London?

This book was one of my all-time favourite reads from 2018. The premise really appealed for many reasons, and I was intrigued to read a book about friendship through weight loss.

Except this was SO much more than that. Their journey isn’t about weight loss though it may have started there. It’s about their friendship, their lives, their relationships and their happiness. The author created characters that were so lifelike, and I felt every emotion they did throughout the novel. It was a very relatable and moving novel. (Yes – buy tissues! I cried buckets 🙂 )

The underlying message that happiness can’t be found through loosing weight and one’s appearance was strong, and important. I am a mum to two daughters and ensuring they have a healthy appreciation for living a happy and healthy life is one of my main aims. I want them to be happy within themselves, not based on their weight. I think this is an important topic for females and this book explored it in a thought provoking and sensitive way.

This story showcased how important female friendship is. If you haven’t read it yet, it needs to go on your TBR list. Like now!

Below are my sketches of Mezz, Jewels, Kat and Ellie. These women are beautiful, inside and out.


My Illustrated Review – Tumble by Clare Griffin

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Tumble by Clare Griffin

This book took me back in time! Back to my high school days, a different mindset and a seriously fun ride. I’ll admit it’s been a while since I’ve read YA (ok, a long while, but let’s not get bogged down on details relating to my age) and I’d forgotten how good they are. I had moments of thinking like a parent and wondering at some of the heroine’s antics but once I threw that hat off and just enjoyed the ride; I have to say this was a brilliant read.

Emma Reynolds wants to ace year 12. Her life is all mapped out, her career plans on track, and she’s not interested in letting anything get in the way. Except maybe her long-time crush. I really enjoyed Emma’s enthusiasm for life. Her character was very believable for her age and I loved that she had an inner strength and direction she was willing to work at.

The love triangle that came clear a few chapters into the book was well executed, and all the characters (including secondary ones) were well rounded and had their own qualities. I felt immersed in the world the author built and really enjoyed the trip down memory lane, into the minefield of teenage drama and love.

The novel touches on some deeper issues but does so in a thoughtful and realistic way. I admit I didn’t see the major turn of events for the main character coming; I had thought it would be something else, but I really enjoyed being surprised.

This is definitely a book I’d recommend to anyone who loves YA or who wants to turn back time and re-live the twists and turns of high-school anguish over first love and life. I eagerly await a follow up to Tumble (Hint, hint ;))

The images I’ve sketched (ok there are four, I couldn’t choose) are all of Emma, and key outfits on her year 12 adventure.