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  • The Cook and the Firefighter

    Lucy had low self esteem at the beginning of this book. It didn’t help that she kept catching things on fire and her nasty manipulative boss Nancy put her down. Jax was just in Elsie Creek to restore a farmhouse to fulfill his deceased brother’s dream. He walked away from his firefighter job, but he can’t help pointing out how the kitchen of the Tea House where Lucy works is a fire hazard. Lucy dreams of having her own restaurant and has cute a YouTube cooking show using locally sourced ingredients. I love the cooking contest she participating in where she drove around looking for the ingredients and then cooked them. It was funny that Jax’s new house came with a red chicken that thought she was a pet. There’s a lot of Australian lingo and quirky characters in this book.

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  • Another Wonderful Trip to Elsie Creek

    I think I read every book in the series, and I have to say that I enjoy every trip to Elsie Creek. Even the first line of the book made me smile because I remembered that water buffalo! What I like about this author and the series is that she makes it feel so real. I've never been to Australia, never been to the Outback, but I feel like she puts me there. I can see the sparseness of nature; I can sense its impact on the people of the story. She’s made secondary characters real as well, giving them personality and their own unique motivations. This book struck me as almost having a lackadaisical, easy quality, as if the author herself is very comfortable with this complex word she has created: the setting, the quirky townsfolk (and other town oddities, like the water buffalo and his little friend), and the new characters she's going to spotlight. It makes for a perfect quarantine escape; just sit back and enjoy watching a delightful story unfold. Our hero and heroine do not get off on the best foot, but they ultimately decide to help each other with some very specific goals. But that time spent together, of course, has more of an effect than either would have imagined that first day. They have ups and downs, of course, but nothing harsh or out of character. Like the other books in the series, I found this to be a delightful read. I received a free copy of this book, but that did not affect my review.

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  • Caked in Dust

    Lucy works in the pub, and also the tea house. She has a reputation for burning food. Jax comes to Elsie Creek to escape the city, and his demons there. They're enemies, after Jax points out all that's unsafe about the Tea House kitchen and she loses her job there. But she can't stay mad forever. Before long, they're frenemies. She's the daughter of a station manager, and she's going to help him learn what he needs to know about his property, and about running a farm. In return, he'll film her YouTube cooking videos, promote her on social media, make sure she's ready for the Billabong Barbie Bake-off, and teach her to drive so she can get her full license. She thinks he might be a good match for her best friend, Monet. Until he kisses her in the rain. Now they're frenemies with benefits. This is the fourth book I've read from this author, and the third in this series, and I do believe that I'm addicted to her writing. There are so many good things about this story, so many people to love, so many heart-warming events, so many beautiful back-stories. Of course, it just wouldn't be Elsie Creek without Cecil and his hen, although the chook has taken quite a liking to both Jax and his washing machine. I fell in love with Jax. He's quiet and brooding, tatted and sexy. He doesn't give much personal information about his past, and there are hilarious stories in the rumor mill, most notably that he's in the witness protection system, previously a hired killer for a drug dealer. The townspeople aren't sure about his fancy truck, which they call a space ute, but Lucy nicknames Tonka Truck. I love the "question for question" game that Jax and Lucy play, learning about each other a little at a time. Lucy is so much more than she believes she is. She's the eternal optimist, seeing the good in people, helping out when someone needs it, putting herself last. Her story about her attachment to all of her snow globes is endearing, as is his purchase of one of them. Samantha - omg - that was some schooling that she gave to the men about the history of Elsie Creek and the Tea House. I'm hoping that this is not the end of the series. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

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