Publisher: Escape Publishing

Book Review #16: By The Currawong’s Call by Welton B. Marsland

Posted 22nd November 2017 by Wattle in Books, Reviews / 6 Comments

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review #16: By The Currawong’s Call by Welton B. MarslandBy The Currawong's Call by Welton B. Marsland
Published by Escape Publishing on November 20th 2017
Genres: Australian, Historical, M/M Romance
Pages: 352
Format: E-Book
Source: NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: four-stars
Heat Level: 2.5 Flames

A small town, a new arrival, and a love that is as undeniable as it is unlawful...

Victoria, Australia, 1891

Anglican priest Matthew Ottenshaw receives his first posting in tiny Dinbratten, two days’ ride from his Melbourne home. Determined to honour his calling as best he can, he throws himself into the footy mad, two-pub town, navigating the dusty streets, learning the gossip, and striking up a friendship with Jonah Parks, the resident police sergeant and local bona fide hero.

A police officer and a priest often find themselves needed at the same place, and Jonah and Matthew’s friendship deepens quickly, as they set about their business of protecting the bodies and souls of Dinbratten’s residents. When a bushfire threatens the town, and Matthew’s inexperience with fire endangers the church buildings, Jonah comes to the rescue, and a reckless kiss in the midst of the chaos takes their friendship to forbidden.

Neither Matthew nor Jonah can go back to the way things were before, but continuing their relationship puts everything at risk: their jobs, their friends, even their lives. In the outback town of Dinbratten where everyone knows everything about everyone else, how can they ever expect to keep a secret this explosive?

In 1891 homosexuality was illegal, and for much of this story it was a cloud hanging over Matthew and Jonah. Something that could destroy both of their careers and send them to jail. Victoria, where this is set, didn’t legalise it until December 1980 – they were the second state to do so; the last did in 1997…the treatment of men convicted of sodomy is still being dealt with today. Legislation was introduced to parliament just a few weeks ago in my state to expunge historical convictions.

I would just like to remind everyone it’s 2017, and politicians in my country are currently arguing about how discriminatory people are allowed to be to gay people if they choose to get married when it is (finally) legalised, hopefully before Christmas (not holding my breath).

Oops. Tangent. Let me get back on topic.

By The Currawong’s Call is…not something I would have picked to read myself, but I was in such a mood for m/m romance and nothing else jumped out at me. I picked it up on NetGalley a while back thinking ‘I’ll totally read this within the next few months!’ and to my surprise, I actually did!

My favourite thing is probably the setting. I spent the first part of my life in bush suburbia in Victoria, I’ve driven through many a country town in various states. Victoria will always feel like home, I could see it all in my mind. Simple buildings, unsealed roads, dust, trees, kangaroos. Perfect.

For the first half of the book though, I was a wee bit bored. Matthew was fine, Jonah was fine. But I didn’t get their chemistry at ALL. I would have liked to have seen more of what Matthew did as the new local priest, instead we were just told ‘he did X, Y and Z’. The background characters were just that, background and barely rated a mention. I didn’t really feel much life in it.

But as soon as they went to Melbourne? It became so much more interesting! I’m not sure if it was the change of scenery, or the fact they were doing more than hanging out together (though they were still sneaking around), but it’s like everything just jumped off the page and came to life. And I ended up adoring them together ♥

Because of how mixed I felt about it, I had a difficult time rating everything. The pacing was a bit shit at first, but then it just fell into place. Everyone was 2 dimensional, until they weren’t. Hmmm. I gave it 4 stars simply because it left me grinning like an idiot when I finished; and I reckon if I read it again it’d feel like a different book.

And as much as I enjoyed the second half, the epilogue was my favourite bit. I don’t think it’s a spoiler, but I’ll put it behind a spoiler cut anyway: View Spoiler » I do wish we had a bit more of them afterwards though, I would have liked to know what happened.

All in all this was a satisfying read once it got going. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for more by Welton B. Marsland.

Fact of the day: the currawong is an Australian bird that looks like a raven/crow (but a bit smaller, and doesn’t sound like them) and has yellow eyes. I’ve never seen one to my knowledge, but I live out west and they are on the east coast. When I’m over there next I shall keep my eyes peeled!

They sound like this (yes, I got that curious lol)

Rating Report
Plot
four-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
four-stars
Pacing
three-stars
Overall: 3.8

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Book Review #3: Entwined by J.C. Harroway

Posted 28th January 2017 by Wattle in Books, Reviews / 8 Comments

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review #3: Entwined by J.C. HarrowayEntwined by J.C. Harroway
Series: Recovery Series #2
Published by Escape Publishing on January 15th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 200
Format: E-Book
Source: NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars
Heat Level: 3 Flames

Your true family is the one you choose...

When nurse Jess Bellamy returns to her hometown for a cousin’s wedding, she hopes to completely avoid her ex and first love, Morgan Price. But Morgan is the best man, and the groom’s best friend, so try as she might, Jess can’t avoid him. Teenage Morgan, she got over. Grown up Morgan is infinitely hotter, infinitely more successful, and infinitely harder to ignore.

When they re-kindle the explosive physical connection between them, Jess hopes they've burned it out of their systems. She left everything behind five years ago after her father’s funeral, including Morgan, and she's leaving again in two days. She had good reasons for going, and good reasons for staying away.

But as Morgan and Jess explore their searing passion during that lost weekend, Jess is tempted by what might have been and haunted by the ghosts of what was. She has two days to decide whether to keep her secrets or keep the only man she's ever loved.

I read this on the afternoon that I downloaded it from NetGalley (it’s beside the point I have hundreds of other books to read, right?) it was very well written, and given it’s fairly short was a quick read. Perfect for a rainy day (or a hot afternoon, when moving is difficult).

Entwined by J.C. Harroway is a second chance romance, which, it turns out, I enjoy a whole lot more than instalove/lust. Phew! I liked the connection between Jess and Morgan, their past history was a bit messy and it was mostly believable to me (because humans are weird). They are both stubborn and unwilling to share their secrets after being apart for 5 years, which makes for some tension.

There’s some weird family dynamics going on which made the plot fall over a little bit. I just couldn’t wrap my head around Jess trusting someone during a stressful time (which is to do with why she was gone from her hometown for so long), a person she does not have a healthy relationship with. Nor did I get the blame that was shoved in her direction for past events that were not her fault. It gave an easy ‘villain’ though I suppose.

This book does use my least favourite trope EVER, and I saw it coming from a mile away. It was a bit of a downer and affected the ending for me, which was a pity; but I enjoyed it up until then. Although I must admit, Jess’s ‘wailing’ with pleasure made me giggle each time, because I associate wailing with grief/despair/crying, so the use of that word was a bit strange to me lol

All in all, this was a well written quick read, though the plot had a few faults. I’ll definitely be checking out more of J.C. Harroway’s work in the future – I have the first book of the series on my kindle to read since I opted to read them out of order; but as far as I can tell they work just fine as standalone novels 🙂

Rating Report
Plot
three-stars
Characters
three-stars
Writing
four-half-stars
Pacing
four-stars
Overall: 3.6

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