Saturday, February 15, 2020

Review: "A Girl's Guide to the Outback" by Jessica Kate

You know how they talk about the sophomore slump? That is certainly not the case with Jessica Kate's second novel—I adored A Girl's Guide to the Outback!

How far will a girl go to win back a guy she can’t stand? This funny, sweet, and romantic story proves that opposites do attract—and that God has a sense of humor.

Samuel Payton is a passionate youth pastor in Virginia, but below the surface, he’s still recovering from the blow of a failed business and insecurities he can’t shake. His coworker, start-up expert Kimberly Foster, is brilliant, fearless, and capable, but years of personal rejection have left her defensive and longing for a family. Two people have never been more at odds—or more attracted to one another. And every day at work, the sparks sure do fly.

When Kimberly’s ambitious plans for Sam’s ministry butt up against his risk-averse nature, Sam decides that obligations to family trump his work for the church. He quits the ministry and heads home to Australia to help his sister, Jules, save her struggling farm. As Kimberly’s grand plans flounder, she is forced to face the truth: that no one can replace Sam. Together they strike up a deal: If Kimberly comes to work on Jules’s dairy farm and lends her business brains to their endeavor, then maybe—just maybe—Sam will reconsider his future with the church.

As Kimberly tries her hand at Australian farm life, she learns more about herself than she could’ve ever expected. Meanwhile Sam is forced to re-evaluate this spunky woman he thought he already knew. As foes slowly morph into friends, they wonder if they might be something even more. But when disaster strikes the farm, will Sam find it within himself to take a risk that could lead to love? And will Kimberly trust God with her future?

Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 28, 2020

Last summer, I read Jessica Kate's debut novel, Love and Other Mistakes. While I enjoyed it, I also had mixed feelings about it and didn't think it lived up to the hype. (Some of the fault definitely lies with the publisher, who marketed the book as a romantic comedy when it was definitely much more of a drama.) But I appreciated the author's writing style, so I knew I would give her next book a chance.

I am so, so glad I did!!!

A Girl's Guide to the Outback is everything I wanted Love and Other Mistakes to be. It's so funny (and it takes a lot for a book to get me to laugh out loud), it's romantic, and it's just a joy to read!

Kimberly and Sam (two minor characters from Love and Other Mistakes) work together at a ministry in the United States but can't stand each other ... at least so it seems. But as they actually get to know each other while trying to save Sam's sister's Australian farm, sparks fly. I loved the whole back-and-forth of their romance, especially following their first kiss, which came about in a really fun sequence!

This is a two-for-the-price-of-one romance, as Sam's sister Jules gets her own second chance romance, and it's just as swoonworthy as Kimberly and Sam's romance. Plus, there are some really fun Australian references (I had to Google "chicken salt," and now I'm thinking of splurging on some from Amazon), as well as some not so fun ones that had me thanking the Lord I live nowhere near those ridiculous snakes and spiders!

The novel does deal with some serious topics like money issues, absentee parents, and learning when to let go, but it doesn't go nearly as dark and heavy as its predecessor did. This is a fabulous rom-com, and I can't recommend it highly enough! 5 stars.

Read an excerpt.
Buy the book. (affiliate link)
Read my reviews of Love and Other Mistakes (3-1/2 stars) and The Kiss Dare (short story, 3 stars).
Follow the blog tour:
Among the Reads, February 3
Just the Write Escape, February 3
Through the Fire Blogs, February 3
Robin’s Nest, February 4
Hebrews 12 Endurance, February 4
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 5
The Meanderings of a Bookworm, February 5
Genesis 5020, February 6
Wishful Endings, February 6
Texas Book-aholic, February 7
Mypreciousbitsandmusings, February 7
Batya’s Bits, February 8
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 8
For Him and My Family, February 9
deb’s Book Review, February 9
Inklings and notions, February 10
Inside the Wong Mind, February 10
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 11
Kat’s Corner Books, February 11
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 12
Hallie Reads, February 12
Reflections From My Bookshelves, February 13
Mary Hake, February 13
Moments, February 14
Stories By Gina, February 14
Christian Chick’s Thoughts, February 15
Britt Reads Fiction, February 15
Pause for Tales, February 16
With a Joyful Noise, February 16

Australian author Jessica Kate writes inspirational romances with wit, sass, and grit. Jessica is a screenwriting groupie, cohost of the StoryNerds vlog and podcasts, and her favorite place to be—apart from Mum and Dad’s back deck—is a theme park. She has traveled North America and Australia, and samples her favorite pasta wherever she goes—but the best (so far) is still the place around the corner from her corporate day job as a training developer. She loves watching sitcoms with her housemates and being a leader in a new church plant. Visit her online at; Instagram: jessicakatewriting; Facebook: jessicakatewriting; Twitter: @JessicaKate05.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. I liked 'Guide' more than Jessica's debut, and do see your point in re: to how the publisher marketed Love & Other Mistakes. Either way, this one is just so much fun! Makes me curious as to what she'll write NEXT!! :)

    1. This one was just wonderful--I'm still thinking about it two months later! I also still need to get my hands on some chicken salt :-)


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