A MelanieM Review: Red Dirt Heart 4 (Red Dirt Heart series finale) by N.R. Walker

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Red Dirt Heart 4 coverThe minute Travis Craig saw the name Sutton Station on a list of places to apply to Travis just knew that was the place to go for his internship.  And once there, he realized he had found home.  It wasn’t just the harshly beautiful land and environment that called to Travis, but the owner, Charlie Sutton, himself.  Loving Charlie was easy even though the man was stubborn, and riddled with crippling self-doubt. No, for Travis, loving Charlie Sutton felt as natural as breathing.  But living with Charley? Teaching him how to love in return and, more importantly, how to love himself, was not.

But Travis knew all along it’d be worth it. He knew the man with the red dirt heart was destined to be his. Just like he knew the red dirt that surrounded him was where he was supposed to be.  With Charlie and Sutton Station, Travis knew he was home.   But there’s one more trip to take….that’s taking Charlie home to Texas to meet his folks and let them know the man who has come to mean everything to their son.

Red Dirt Heart 4 by N. R. Walker is the final story in this heartwarming, remarkable saga.  It only took the first book for Charlie Sutton, Travis Craig, Ma, George and all the rest that goes for family on Sutton Station to grab hold of my heart.  And with each book my love affair with this series deepened along with Charlie and Travis’ relationship and journey towards their HEA. We were there as Charlie’ dealt with all the doubts and fears that came with the damage his father inflicted upon his son.  We were silent observers as Charlie came to grips with his past and learned to love himself as well as Travis.  Along the way their story came to feel less a piece of fiction and more like desired visits with old friends.  Now its at a end and I’m feeling kind of bereft.  But what a send off N. R. Walker gave them.

For starters, Walker switched out the point of view.  The first three books are told from Charlie Sutton’s perspective.  By living in Charlie’s head and heart, we learned how hard it was for Charlie to accept himself and step out of his father’s shadow. We listened to his internal monologue, jumbled thoughts, stubborn feelings even as we learned that Travis loved to just to watch his Charlie, that Travis couldn’t sit still and was always busy, busy loving and moving Charlie along whether Charlie wanted to or not.  I got comfortable with the fact that it’s Charlie we would always have an intimate knowledge of and that Travis would always be seen and filtered through Charlie Sutton.  But that wasn’t the plan for the last story, Red Dirt Heart 4.

Red Dirt Heart 4 is Travis Craig’s story and the change up in pov was sort of disorienting at first.  I was used to Charlie’s “voice” and now had to see Charlie and everyone else through Travis’ eyes.  That was a little startling but after a while I realized that listening to Travis, visualizing everyone and everything through his thoughts and feelings, was necessary. It completes the picture.  As Charlie and Travis are two sides of the same coin (an important and touching element in this story), we needed Travis’ perspective to make their love and relationship whole.

Sutton Station and Charlie have been through so many changes and those continue to mount up.  Even as the farm is adjusting to having a baby around (not Charlie and Travis’) but other things are happening to shake up the status quo.  Charlie decides to help out some disadvantaged kids and Travis and Charlie travel to Texas for Thanksgiving and Charlie’s first meet up with Travis’ folks.  Each event acts like a seismic event, shaking the foundation of Charlie and Travis’ relationship in unexpected and quite wonderful ways.  I’m not going into details here that’s one of the joys of this book and series…all the little paths and journeys that Charlie and Travis must take to solidify their love affair for each other, their determination to stay together and make each other home.

N. R. Walker has such a way of creating characters that feel believably, poignantly human in every way.  Each character is realistically defined, densely layered complete person from dialog to actions, to their thoughts,feelings, frailties, and all.  Then N. R. Walker gives us Sutton Station and the hot, red dirt environment of the Northern Territory and makes us fall deeply love all over again.   I got Charlie’s almost cellular connection to the land and his farm, I came to understand how Travis could come to love a land both harsh and beautiful in the extreme.  N. R. Walker’s almost lyrical descriptions of the desert, complete with its dangers and extraordinarily stunning features made me see it as though it was right in front of me.  And it made this water loving, green hugging woman want to head out immediately to experience it for myself.  I got all that and so much more and I did so because of Charlie and Travis and Ma and George and even Matilda and Nugget.

The Red Dirt Heart series is as much a love letter to Walker’s home as it is a love story about Charlie and Travis.  I fell in love with all of this red dirt heart series, the land and the people.  It has become my comfort read and a wishful travelogue all at the same time.  N. R. Walker was one of my best discoveries in 2014.  Make her and her Red Dirt Heart series one of yours in 2015!  It’s absolutely one our most highly recommended books and series.  Pick them all up today, read them in the order they were written,  and see why!  Happy Reading.

Cover artist Sara York completes the branding of the series with this lovely cover and still incorporates necessary elements in this story.

Sales Links:   All Romance (ARe)     Amazon          Buy it here

Book Details:

Release Date: January 9th 2015 by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
seriesRed Dirt #4

Books in the Series (yep just 1 through 4)

A MelanieM Review: Red Dirt Heart Series by N. R. Walker

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5 for the Series 

Red dirt Heart Cover

 

Welcome to Sutton Station: One of the world’s largest working farms in the middle of Australia – where if the animals and heat don’t kill you first, your heart just might.

And with those words, N. R. Walker introduces us to one of the most heartwarming, delightful, and throughly addicting series that is Red Dirt Heart!  Red Dirt Heart revolves around the complex and totally embraceable characters of Charlie Sutton of Sutton Station and Texan Travis Craig.   Per N. R. Walker:

Charlie Sutton runs Sutton Station the only way he knows how; the way his father did before him. Determined to keep his head down and his heart in check, Charlie swears the red dirt that surrounds him – isolates him – runs through his veins.

American agronomy student Travis Craig arrives at Sutton Station to see how farmers make a living from one of the harshest environments on earth. But it’s not the barren, brutal and totally beautiful landscapes that capture him so completely, it’s the man with the red dirt heart.

But that brief synopsis doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of these stories. Through 4 books we trace Charlie and Travis’ journey towards love, relationship and a permanent home with each other.  Along the way we fall in love with not only Charlie and Travis but the red dirt desert of the Northern Territory that Charlie loves so much.  It doesn’t happen immediately but gradually in scene after scene as the stark, red hot environment claims the heart of Travis just as surely as Charley does.  And this is not a romanticized version of the red dirt country.  No, its comes complete with venomous snakes and spiders,  extreme temperatures that are lethal if caught unprepared or lost, and an almost alienness, a sense of solitude that can comfort or kill depending upon the circumstances.   And we learn to respect and love it for exactly what it is.

The same truth can be said about Charley…complex, abandoned, self-doubting Charley.  So easy to connect with and understand, Charley is a character as layered as the desert, full of extreme swings in his decision making, as durable and elemental as the red dirt he loves so deeply.  The Sutton Station is a part of Charlie, although he has yet to learn exactly how much and what large boundaries that station family includes.  For the Sutton Station comes with Ma and George, farm employees who are more mom and dad to Charley than his own. There’s Billy (an Aboriginal), and  several other workers that over the course of the stories form a close knit family to Charley and Travis.  But it’s not Charley that is the impetus for this shaping of people and events, no, its the arrival of Travis Craig that throws Charley and the status quo into shambles.  Delightfully so.

When Travis arrives, he meets a closeted, closed off Charley just waiting for a love he’s sure he doesn’t deserve.  And one of the things that makes this beginning of their journey so compelling is that the readers live inside Charley’s  head, an element that brings us so close to this bruised man that we love him immediately.  Books 1 through 3 are all told from Charley’s point of view.  In a neat feat of writing, N. R. Walker gives us the ability to see through the haze of Charley’s confusion, self doubt, and desire to realize that Travis is falling deeply in love with Charley even if Charley can’t see it.  Even as Charley is internally arguing with himself, busy throwing obstacles in their path to happiness because of his fear and uncertainty, we see Travis always in Charlie’s orbit, watching and urging Charlie forward.  What an addicting, captivating and yes, throughly charming pair and instantly we are invested in their happiness and future together.

What a troublesome road it is for Charley and Travis.  Outside of Charlie’s two step relationship dance, there’s immigration laws and visas, and the reality that Travis is an American citizen whose family (who loves him dearly) lives in Texas.  There complications that abound with Ma and George, orphaned animals that quickly grab onto your heart as much as the rest of the Sutton Station crazy, warmhearted group of individuals.  We get lessons in the mineral layers of dirt, learn what a bore is (no it has nothing to do with a person), and in general, see what it takes to run a station as large as Charley’s.  Those of us readers not from Down Under learn bits of Australian english and phrases, enough to instill the urge to travel and see it for ourselves.    As I say in my review for Red Dirt Heart 4, this series is as much a love letter from N. R. Walker to her country as it is about a deeply abiding love between Charley and Travis.

Along with way, there are some heartstopping moments so painful that tissues will be needed, white knuckle events that will make you feel suspended, frozen, until you (and the characters) are able to move forward and past them once more.  Those will be balanced with scenes of joy, laughter, and romance, such as Charlie understands it!  I laughed, cried, and laughed again through all the highs and lows, and even quiet moments of reflection and contentment that flow from these stories and the series as a whole.

Just a memory of a dialog or scene can send me running back to grab up that book, and before I realize it I’m lost once more in Red Dirt Heart romance and setting of Sutton Station and Charley Sutton.

Now the series is ending with Red Dirt Heart 4.  I’ve read the story, wept a little (ok ,more than a little. a lot) and said my happy goodbyes.  Told this time from Travis’ point of view, it’s a wholly satisfying, totally engaging series finale and gives us and Travis and Charley a glorious happily ever after.  It ends just where it should, no more, no less.   The Red Dirt Heart saga quickly became and still is one of my all time favorite series. It will be among the top on my rec lists as well as Best of.  N. R. Walker’s writing was vivid, at times lyrical in her love for her country and the Northern Territory, and full of the human spirit and endurance it takes to not only live life on the desert but to embrace it with all that you are.

But don’t take my word for it,  pick it up and start your journey into red dirt territory and the hearts and minds of Charley Sutton and Travis Craig.  It’s easy to read them in order as they are titled Red Dirt Heart 1 thru 4!  Elegant and simple.  Just don’t expect the same simplicity inside.  Be prepared to fall madly and completely in love with Charlie, Travis, Sutton Station and yes, the red dirt of  Australia’s Northern Territory.  What an amazing trip it is!  A real journey of their lifetimes! Begin it today.

All covers are the creation of Sara York.  I loved them.  They brand the series as a whole while each cover has elements important to that story.  Great job.

Sales links can be found on each individual review page listed below:

Red dirt Heart CoverRed Dirt Heart 2Red Dirt Heart3Red Dirt Heart 4 cover

Down Under Author: N. R. Walker

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DownUnder_January Is Banner

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Meet N. R. Walker!

N. R. Walker is the author of the Thomas Elkin series, the Red Dirt Heart series (both Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Must Have, Must Reads) and other books listed below.

To get to know N. R. Walker a little better, the author agreed to an interview. Look for the interview below and the Down Under Scavenger Hunt word found somewhere within.

✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍Author Bio 1

Who am I?

Good question…

I am many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer.

I have pretty, pretty boys who live in my head, who don’t let me sleep at night unless I give them life with words.

I like it when they do dirty, dirty things…but I like it even more when they fall in love.

I used to think having people in my head talking to me was weird, until one day I happened across other writers who told me it was normal.

I’ve been writing ever since…

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Contacts/Follow at :

  Please note – NOT safe for work or kids


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Author Books Stories Down Under1 copy

 

Reddirtheart3300Red dirt Heart CoverRed Dirt Heart 2Red Dirt Heart3

 

 

 

 

Books:

Taxes and TARDIS
Ten in the Bin

 

Blind Faith coverThrough These Eyes cover (BF2) Young man in the cityThe 12th of Never (BF3.5)

 

 

 

 

Blind Faith (Blind Faith Series #1)
Through These Eyes (Blind Faith Series #2)
Blindside (Blind Faith Series #3)
Twelfth of Never (Blind Faith Series #3.5)

 

Elements of Retrofit coverClarity of Lines coverSense of Place coverSixty Five Hours cover

 

 

 

 

Point of No Return (Turning Point #1)
Breaking Point (Turning Point #2)
Starting Point (Turning Point #3)

 

Point of No Return coverBreaking Point coverStarting Point coverLearning to Feel cover

 

 

 

 

Elements of Retrofit (Thomas Elkin Series #1)
Clarity of Lines (Thomas Elkin Series #2)
Sense of Place (Thomas Elkin Series #3)
Red Dirt Heart 1 (Red Dirt Series #1)
Red Dirt Heart 2 (Red Dirt Series #2)Best Books of 2014
Red Dirt Heart 2 (Red Dirt Series #3)
Red Dirt Heart 4 (Red Dirt Series #4) just being released!

And my free reads:
Sixty Five Hours
Learning to Feel
His Grandfather’s Watch

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Contests and Giveaways:

1. Today’s Giveaway (thank you,N. R. Walker) is an eBook copy of Red Dirt Heart 4. Enter using this Rafflecopter link here. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

2. Down Under Scavenger Hunt – find the Hunt “word or phrase” in bold green . Collect all the words from each author and submit the list in writing no later than midnight on February 1st. Make sure you include an email address where you can be reached. Prizes will be given to 5 people selected, from 1st place to 5th! Happy Hunting.

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Author Qand A

Q: When did you start writing?

A: I started writing fiction about 4 years ago, after reading fan fiction online. I wrote fan fiction first, but then original characters started telling me stories. 😉

Q. Were you a reader as a child?

Yes. Loved reading. I loved adventure books mostly.

Q: Title or characters or plot? Which comes first?

A: Usually the characters, though sometimes the title is crystal clear from the very beginning. I normally have the characters talking to me for a little while before they tell me the plot.

Q: Do you have a favorite character that you have written?

A: I do love Charlie Sutton from my Red Dirt Heart Series. He’s a true Aussie farmer; hardworking, loves his family and friends and puts himself last, every time. He’s flawed, he’s frustrating, and he’s wonderful.

Q: Favorite book/story you have read as an adult?

A: Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. Just wow.

Q: Do you have a certain regimen that you follow as a writer?

A: I know it’s cliché, but write every day. Set hours if you can, or the same time slot every day, if real life allows it.

Q: Do you have a specific writing style?

A: My writing style consists of listening to what the characters tell me, and hoping for the best. LOL

Q: How do you think books written from authors in Australia or New Zealand differ in style, language, and culture?

A: There’s an Australian/Kiwi-ness in our everyday dialect that we can recognise straight away in a book, which I just love. Our genre is so Americanised, so to read Aussie books with Aussie characters (by Aussie authors) is like putting on a favourite pair of jeans. I have written books set in both America and Australia, using American and Australian characters respectively, and for me the language/setting/culture to do Australian is SO much easier. I think (some) authors – I know this is true for myself – become Americanised in their writing. I know even now when I write in real life (not for books) I find myself using American spelling. I think this is why I have LOVED writing my Red Dirt Heart Series so much. Having Aussie farmers in the Australian outback… doesn’t much more Aussie than that.

Q: If you were a tour guide, what would you like a visitor to see and what impression would you want them to take away with them when they leave?

A: The people! Aussies are so laid back and welcoming and the saying “no worries, mate” is a fabulous mantra.

Q: What are your current projects?

A: I’m working on my first paranormal romance. It’s a modern day vampire story that delves into Ancient Egypt (sort of). It’s very different from what I usually do, and it’s been a lot of fun to write so far.

Q: What’s next up for you?

A: Red Dirt Heart 4 was released January 9th, so my next release will be my paranormal romance, hopefully early March.

Thanks so much for having me!

Down Under Author Showcase Continues and this Week’s Schedule

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DownUnder_January Is Banner

Down Under Author Showcase continues this week.  It’s been wonderful to have all these talented authors talking about their books, and their countries.

 

So far,  Christian Baines,  Nicki J. Markus (2), and Anne Barwell (3) have been featured.  Our Down Under Author Scavenger Hunt has begun, along with the individual giveaways, and Bottom Drawer Publications contest on the Down Under Page.  We are still looking for people who have vacationed in New Zealand and Australia who want to share their favorite places and moments with us this month.

kiwi and NZ country

Our Schedule This Week:AUS flag over country

 

Monday, January 5:

  • Down Under Featured Author: N.J. Nielsen
  • Down Under AUS/NZ Facts, Updates, and Contests
  • A Sammy Review: Rival Within by S.J. D. Peterson
  • A Mika Review: In Too Deep by Kate Sherwood
  • L.M. Somerton’s Investigating Love Book Tour and Contest

Tuesday, January 6:

  • Down Under AUS/NZ Facts, Updates, and Contests
  • Down Under Featured Author:  L.J. LaBarthe
  • A MelanieM Review: The Body on the Beach by L.J. LaBarthe
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Candy Man by Amy Lane
  • A MelanieM Review: Mythica by L. J. LaBarthe

Wednesday, January 7:

  • Down Under AUS/NZ Facts, Updates, and Contests
  • Down Under Featured Author: Michelle Rae
  • Cover Reveal: Jess Buffett “Always Been You”
  • Moment of Impact by Karen Stivali Book Blast
  • A Sammy Review: A Spartan Love by Kayla Jameth

Thursday, January 8:

  •  Down Under AUS/NZ Facts, Updates, and Contests
  • Down Under Featured Author:  Renae Kaye
  • A MelanieM Review:  Safe In His Arms by Renae Kaye
  • A MelanieM Review:  The Shearing Gun by Renae Kaye
  • A MelanieM Review:  The Blinding Light by Renae Kaye
  •  E. S. Skipper (false identification)book blast and contest—cancelled

Friday, January 9:

  • Down Under AUS/NZ Facts, Updates, and Contests
  • Down Under Featured Author: John Wiltshire
  • Review: Love is a Stranger by John Wiltshire
  • Mika Review: A Captive to His Wonder by Remmy Duchene
  • A Sammy Review: A Royal Affair by John Wiltshire

Saturday, January 10:

  • Down Under AUS/NZ Facts, Updates, and Contests
  • Down Under Featured Author: N. R. Walker
  • A MelanieM Review: Red Dirt Heart Series by N. R. Walker
  • A MelanieM Review:  Red Dirt Heart 4 by N. R. Walker
  • Sammy’s Review of Thomas Elkins series by NR Walker

 

New Reviewers!  Welcome to Stella and BJ, our new Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words reviewers!