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  • Brilliant - witty and intelligent

    “Samuel Payton was an idiot. Kimberly Foster jammed her phone into her pocket and rushed down the sunny Charlottesville street in a Mr. Potato Head costume, peep-toe heels, and murderous rage. It was 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday in June, and she was late for a child’s birthday party. But first she needed to strangle a youth pastor.” - Opening lines of A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate From the opening line, our leading lady, Kimberly, has the reader hooked with her wit and sass! She’s balanced by our leading man, Samual, who is full of practicality and Australian humour. Whilst the story begins in America, it swiftly moves to the Australian outback, the perfect setting for this romantic comedy with a beautiful heart! Kimberley is a successful business thinker who has helped Samuel grow the outreach church program. When Samuel hears from his sister, Jules, that the family farm is struggling, he sets off to help. Jules realises their need for business advice and Kimberly follows Samuel to join them in the great Australian outback with very little idea of what she’s getting herself into! The outback is a brutal place to live and farm but Jessica Kate manages to capture that alongside beautiful and funny moments in A Girl’s Guide to the Outback. This book has so many great elements: the business challenges are interesting, the friendships deep, the romance entertaining and, to all this, an engaging perspective on living out our Christian faith. Neither of our leads truly understand each other or have the confidence the project in their skills. In wrestling with these issues, they learn to engage more with life. This was my first opportunity to enjoy a novel by Jessica Kate but I will certainly be reading her future offerings! It’s so well-written, each character so distinct and interesting, it’s witty and intelligent! I loved it from start to finish and highly recommended! It’s a five out of five on the enJOYment scale.

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  • DELIGHTFUL!

    Jessica Kate is quickly becoming one of my favorite new young authors! Her latest release, A GIRL’S GUIDE TO THE OUTBACK, is my kind of book! The two main characters Kimberly Foster & Samuel Payton are easy to grow to love and you’ll quickly want to know more of their story. **Part of their introduction is told in Kate’s first book LOVE AND OTHER MISTAKES.** Although Sam is Australian, he’s been working with WILDFIRE, an organization that provides opportunities for students to hear the Gospel and then get involved in some type of small group to help them continue to grow. Kim is the behind-the-scenes girl who makes sure everything runs smoothly so all Sam has to do is speak to the people the Message of Life! You’d think it would make for a beautiful relationship, right? Not so much! Why? Well, there’s her secret crush on him, his total insecurities about every single thing about himself, the struggling ministry, the guilt of him feeling needed at home and him always seeming as though Kim is on his last nerve. Sam heads back to Australia to work on his family’s farm, causing the ministry to nose dive. The governing board decides the best idea is to send Kim over to come up with a Master Money Plan to save the Family Farm in exchange for Sam coming back to the ministry to find and/or train his replacement. What ensues is one of the most entertaining and endearing books I’ve read in a long time! Kim is used to an office, not out mucking a cattle stall or hooking a cow up to a milking machine! Readers will find many moments of pure hilarity but the two characters also come to understand and appreciate each other in all manner of new ways. There are also moments of great inspiration as well. While going about their chores, Sam and Kim had been asking each other the question, “What would you do if you could do anything?” Sam’s response, “Mine’s what you’d expect. Preaching or talking to the kids one on one. Getting to articulate the ultimate truths of the universe and put them into people’s brains. Nothing better.” Kim was quick to reinforce his gift set. “I don’t think you realize how good you are at it...Talking to people the way you do. When you listen to someone, it’s like you forget the rest of world and they’re the most fascinating thing in the universe to you. That’s why the kids love you so much.” She continued, “You don’t know how much it means for someone who doesn’t have anyone in their corner to really be listened to. It changes everything.” That really spoke to me as I have been involved in some type of youth ministry for 44 years. I could relate to so much of the lives of these characters and the entire storyline.

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  • A Girl's Guide to the Outback

    Does all it take is a mini vacation and a good crying jag along with help from God to realize that you're meant for each other? And the fear of change to keep you from doing God's will? I believe so yes. A good cry often clears up our minds and tends or supposed to make us feel better but all it does is make me have a headache with a stopped up nose and swollen eyeballs lol. But for me, it tends to relieve the tension a little. Sometimes we just need a little break away from everyone and everything to help us out with our jobs and maybe even God's will for us. This book has all of that and much more. I feel like it's a feel good book with lots of good advice from Sam's mum. I started calling her the Wise woman. She's my favorite person in the story. I loved the story and even got a few laughs out of it as well. I just wanted to choke Kimberly and Sam and yes even Jules and Mick. It sure took them a long time to see what's right in front of them! I love Kim and her determination to get things done and I especially love her stubbornness. But, I think what I liked best was that the author showed just how flawed she was. I loved how the author put her through the adventures of just life in general. I especially loved the setting of Australia. It gave me a glimpse of what it's really like over there. Sam is just stupid stubborn. All because of fear like his mom said. I hate fear. It tends to hold us back from what God really wants us to do for Him. Forgiveness and Trust plays a part of this story too. The trusting part is the most hardest thing to do. I know. I tend to fail at that part. But it's a good thing that our Lord is patient with us. I'm so very grateful for that aren't you? I finished this book all in one day. It was so good that I couldn't put it down. Plus, it made my cold afternoon go by faster. I love a good story like that. I highly recommend. I also didn't see any mistakes in this copy that Netgalley let me have. My thanks to Netgalley and Thomas Nelson. I was NOT required to write a review. NO compensations were received and all opinions are my own.

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  • A Girl's Guide to the Outback

    A Girl's Guide to the Outback is a wonderful and fun read. I absolutely loved this cute story. It had my laughing throughout. It is by far my favorite I have read by Jessica Kate to date. Samuel and Kimberly were pure delightful getting to know. I am giving A Girl’s Guide to the Outback a very well deserved five plus stars. I have already highly recommended it to my friends. Readers who enjoy a sweet romance will not want to pass on this one. I loved it! I received this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.

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  • Romance, snappy banter, characters with depth

    Jessica Kate’s second novel delivers the love/hate romance, snappy banter, and deeply-crafted characters readers expect from her, plus a bonus. This one’s largely set in Australia. Since it’s new territory for the American heroine, Kimberley, readers enjoy a virtual tour with her. The setting is key to the story. Kimberley’s time on the remote ranch belonging to her nemesis, Samuel Payton, and other settings like the Gold Coast, aren’t just backdrops. A Girl’s Guide to the Outback follows after Love and Other Mistakes, so readers who remember the first book will recognize some familiar people. Readers starting with this book will have no trouble, because the love interests in this book were secondary characters in the first one. As well as romance, this is a story of misunderstood motives and the way past pain can keep even Christians back from their full potential. [I received a complimentary copy of this book from #Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.]

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