New Release Book Review: The Survivors by Jane Harper

The last book of Jane Harper’s, The Lost Man was a 5⭐ read for me, as was her first book The Dry, I haven’t read Force of Nature, but I’m going to guess it’ll be up there in the ratings. Her newest novel certainly didn’t disappoint, in fact, I think this is my favourite yet. If I didn’t get so tired in the evening and work didn’t get in the way, I think I’d have ploughed through this novel in one sitting.

I don’t read a lot of the mystery/crime/thriller genre, but this is one author whose books will be on my go-to list.

Set in Tasmania, as so many books have been this year, the setting is a small town on the coast, this was a departure from the stark, dry outback.

This novel had me guessing until nearly the very end who had done it and why, and I didn’t guess either right. Jane Harper is very good at delivering red-herrings, with twists and turns coming at you from every angle.

It starts with a crime the night we meet our characters, but it weaves in an accident and an unsolved crime from 12 years before. There are plenty of guilty seeming characters, though a motive is never really established, you still believe they could possibly be guilty.

As with all small towns, there’s plenty of gossip and secrets that come out of the woodwork when something terrible happens and fingers are pointed in every direction, which says small towns haven’t always got each other’s backs.

This was a great read with an ending I wasn’t expecting.

Thanks to NetGalley and PanMacMillan for a digital copy in return for an honest review.

New Release Book Review: Wherever You Go by Monique Mulligan

This was a wonderful story by West Australian author Monique Mulligan, set in the fictional town of Blackwood, which is based on a real town in the southwest, she has done a great job of depicting the setting and made me want to take a visit down there soon.

This is a story of tragedy, grief, friendship, love and hope. It is a story about life and how it can be a struggle to go on after a loss and the toll such a loss can take on a marriage.

The characters in Wherever You Go are very real and flawed people who have both good and bad points, just like us. Amy and Matt decide to move to Blackwood after having tried to move on with life for the past three years, they hope the move will give them a fresh start and a chance to work on their marriage. I connected more with Matt throughout the story, I really felt his struggle and my heart cried for him and the strength he had in trying to keep Amy together while not being able to grieve or fall apart himself.

The friendships they make in their new town become very important, filling spaces they weren’t even aware were empty. I really liked the majority of the supporting characters, Bonnie, Irene and young Ashlee, as well as Frank, June and Nick and Devi. I can’t say I took to Sharon or Una at all, but to behave the way they did made me think they must be very unhappy with their own lives.

I loved the idea of the Around the World Supper Club and would love to join one myself, though I definitely wouldn’t be the one cooking. Food is a very important part of the story, it is the way Amy shows the people around her she cares, and the only way she knows to bring people together. I’d visit her Cafe for sure if it actually existed, her food sounded divine and that’s from a non-foodie.

I was fully invested in seeing how the relationship between Matt and Amy played out, and there were a few emotional moments while I was reading.

I look forward to hearing more about these characters in the next Around the World Supper Club novel.

Thanks to the author for a copy of the novel in return for an honest review.

New Release Book Review: The Women’s Pages by Victoria Purman

Reading a Victoria Purman novel is like having my own time machine to take me back to life in Australia in the 1940s. This, the third of her novels to cover this time period, once again covers many important issues that people, women especially, struggled with through the war years and after them.

The Women’s Pages is a story of loss and courage, of endurance and struggles and of hope for a better future for all.

I really enjoy learning about our history, about the lives of ordinary people faced with extraordinary circumstances. Through Tilly, a woman’s war reporter at the Sydney Morning Herald, we learn first hand of the issues facing women during and after the second world war. Woman who struggled to hold their families together, who worked long hours doing tough jobs to help the war effort, who did without for years for that same reason. Women who after the war were essentially thrown away to make room for the men returning from war. Who had tasted freedom and partial equality and who then had it taken back. I learned that despite the huge steps we’ve made in this direction, where women can do the same jobs as men, earn their own wage, make their own decisions, we really haven’t come that far at all.

I also learnt a great deal about the trade unions back when they actually had much more power than most of them do these days. The struggles that Tilly’s family and other dock workers were facing and the fight for fair pay and fair hours and how the government and the newspapers made them sound like they were the bad guys. Many barely had enough money to buy food let alone keep a family. The war made this fight all the harder especially when the soldiers returned from overseas and the fight to keep their jobs and fair pay and hours became even harder.

I had no idea about the bombing of the Japanese ship and the loss of all the prisoners of war and the story behind it. This left me in shock after reading about that one situation.

I really felt for Tilly and and her friend Mary, as well as all the other women who had no idea if their men would return from the war, and if they did, would they return as whole people or would they be changed completely from what they had been through. Tilly’s situation left me feeling heartbroken for her, especially as she watched others husbands returning. I really loved Tilly’s colleague Cooper and enjoyed the friendship they had and the support and encouragement he gave Tilly throughout was very special.

This was an emotive read and Victoria Purman has done a great job of showing us the challenges of the time. If you enjoy Australian history, you will hopefully find this to be a great book to add to your reading list.

Thanks to NetGalley, Harlequin Australia for providing me with a copy in return for an honest review.

New Release Book Review: A Letter for Rosie by Kelly Cameron

A Letter for RosieThis three-generational tale crossing three timelines and coming together beautifully is a story of family and survival on the land.

Starting in 1902 and ending in 2016, we meet Edward & Irene, Nancy & Frank, Samuel & Laine, and finally Chad & Rose. Four couples and three generations working hard to make a living on Buttai, the family farm.

I have to say I found it a little confusing to start with, keeping all the characters and the years clear in my head, but as I kept reading, I needed to flick back less and less to remember where everyone fit in.

There are a few tragedies a relative you’d rather forget, the struggles of motherhood, the struggle to make ends meet, and the joys of family. I really loved Edward as the spirit only a few could see.  

Kelly Cameron does a good job of weaving together the different threads of this story, she brings in the need for family and community and the necessity of the rural firefighters in this often harsh country of ours. The characters were relatable, though I got a bit annoyed with Rose and her decision to keep the financial struggles to herself and not share the burden with Chad. And then when a threat is made, she keeps that to herself too, I wanted to shake her.

Being able to keep a farm going that has been in the family for generations like Buttai, would be a wonderful thing as well as a burden I imagine, especially in the present day. I take my hat off to all the farmers out there doing it tough for the love of the land.

Thanks to the author and Booksprout for a digital copy in return for an honest review.

 

 

Childhood Reads: Book Review: Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

IMG_20200811_203527I was given this book when I was 8 years old, it is a book whose story I have never forgotten, one of my first introductions into historical fiction, though I had no idea of this as a genre back then. I was sorting through my shed a couple of weeks ago and found it stored safely in a suitcase full of my favourite childhood reads and I knew I had to read it again to see if it was as good as I remembered it; it was.

I just love this story, a young boy who has been sent to the country from London along with a lot of other children, to keep them safe during the war. William has no experience with being treated with any kind of affection or goodness and when he is left with a crotchety older man who is a bit of a recluse, life as they both know it is about to change.

Will makes friends for the first time ever, he is given affection, he is cared for and he learns how to read and write as well as a miltitude of other experiences he has never had before.

I loved Will and Mister Tom, and I loved the friends Will made, especially Zach who is the most outrageous person Will has ever enountered and who shows him how to be himself.

Will’s mother is a truely selfish woman, using religion as a reason to mistreat Will, she is someone who didn’t deserve to have children. A mentally unstable woman, she has a lot to answer for, especially when she calls for Will to return to London because she is sick.

I loved the lessons that Mister Tom and the people of the town all learnt through the taking in of these evacuated children. And I really loved the relationship that grew between Mister Tom and Will and how both learned what love was.

This story is full of joy and heartbreak and had me crying me eyes out at one point and nearly in tears at another, it is one story that I will reread again and again.

Book Review: Elsa Goody Bushranger by Darry Fraser

Elsa GoodyI’m a big fan of Darry Fraser’s historical fiction novels, she has a way of transporting you back in time so that you just about feel that you are there with the characters. In Elsa Goody Bushranger, I was definitely travelling the roads from Robe, South Australia to Casterton, Victoria in 1896. This was not an easy time or an easy journey for Elsa and her sister Rosie, and there were many times I didn’t want to go any further with them because I was so worried about the outcomes.

It is a time where women don’ t have a great deal of rights, but in South Australia women are just about to be able to vote for the first time and make history in Australia. For Elsa this is of mighty importance, but her sister cannot understand this at all. We take our right to vote to be a given these days, I wonder if we would have fought for that right back then.

When Elsa and her sister Rosie are thrown together after their brother and father die, the two must get to know each other properly for the first time and travel a dangerous road to find out what happened to their brother. Things don’t go as planned, what was supposed to be an uneventful journey becomes fraught with danger from more than one direction and Elsa becomes wanted for helping to hold up a coach.

Hearts are also on the line for both sisters and for the three Jones’ brothers. I enjoyed getting to know the two sisters and the brothers, all so different from the other and all with lessons to learn about what they want in life and what is important. I really liked Ezekiel Jones and his children, who were just gorgeous, and I loved the way they took to Elsa.

This was a journey and a half and though it had me stressed out at times, I found this to be another great read from Darry Fraser. I certainly would not have survived back them, that is a definite.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia for a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

 

New Release Book Review: High Heat by Annabeth Albert

High HeatHigh Heat by Annabeth Albert is book #2 in the Hotshots series, I really enjoyed book #1 Burn Zone so I was keen to read this newest book. This one was less about the Hotshots team than the first because Garrick, one of our leading men injured himself severely at the end of book one, and this is his story.

I really loved this novel, it was sweet and had all the feels, while at the same time dealing with the issue of being able to move on with life when your dream isn’t possible anymore due to a permanent injury.

After Garrick’s accident, he is learning to deal with his permanent injuries as well as the loss of his job as a Hotshot jumper, the only thing he sees himself doing. A stray dog coming into his life forces a meeting with his neighbour’s grandson, Rain, a wonderfully flamboyant young man, who is just what Garrick needs to pull him through this chapter of his life. But Rain wants more than just one chapter, while Garrick doesn’t think he is worthy.

I enjoyed the relationship which grew between these two. I absolutely loved Rain, he was a breath of fresh air, not willing to be anything other than who he is, but at the same time has doubts of his own. Rain bought plenty of humour to the interactions between the two of them. Garrick had some life lessons to learn as well as learning to believe that he was worthy of being happy and that there was more to life than being a jumper.

I look forward to book 3.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin – Carina Press for a digital copy in return for an honest review.

New Release Book Review: The Last Migration by Charlotte McConaghy

mdeThis was a beautifully written and powerfully emotive novel for me. This was another of the rare type of book which really makes me slow down and absorb every word of. This gave me the same kind of feeling as recently read The Octopus and I by Erin Hortle. There is something in the way these stories are written that draws me in and speaks to a deep part of me.

There were some really beautiful passages that spoke of the plight of our environment and the part we as humans have played in its destruction.

I asked Niall once what he thought happened to us after we die, and he said nothing, only decomposition, only evaporation. I asked him what he thought it meant for our lives, for how we spend them, for what they mean. He said our lives mean nothing except of the cycle of regeneration, that we are incomprehensibly brief sparks, just as the animals are, that we are no more important than they are, no more worthy of life than any living creature. That in our self-importance, in our search for meaning, we have forgotten how to share the planet that gave us life.

and

We are a plague on the world, my husband often says.                                                                            Today there is a huge landmass to our left, and it surprises me because there is no land on the chart I’ve been studying. As we draw close enough to see, I realise that it’s an enormous island of plastic, and there are fish and seabirds and seals dead upon its shore.

It is set in a time that might not be far off if the world continues the way it has.

It is a story of deep love, hope, grief, despair, of unspeakable loss, and of searching for that elusive thing. The story is about Franny Stone, she is lost and broken and separated from the love of her life Niall. She is on a mission, to follow the last of the Arctic Terns on what may be their last migration. The birds are just incredible in the journey they make from one end of the earth to the other, an innate knowing that they follow to get there.

The story jumps from the here and now to moments in the past, 12 years ago, 4 years ago, and a few other important snippets in between. We uncover the love story between Niall and Franny, a deep, deep love, but one with flaws and heartbreak, we uncover the story of Franny’s past and we learn of the extinction of just about every animal, bird and fish species on the planet.

There is an event that happened 4 years before, an event that was devastating in some way and ended in tragedy and jail time for Franny, this is slowly uncovered as we read, but it is not until the final chapter that the complete story is finally revealed and we truly find out exactly what happened, it was not something I had been able to guess at the whole way through. To say the ending threw me into all kinds of emotions is an understatement.

Franny manages to get a ride on one of the last fishing vessels operating in the world. The crew are an interesting bunch of people, all have chosen that life for different reasons, all are afraid of what is going to happen now that there are literally no (very few) fish left in our oceans. Denial though is still a part of these people’s lives, just like the many people in denial about climate change and the loss of our environment and animals.

I loved this novel, and it touched me deeply and had some important messages contained within.

Thanks to Better Reading Previews for a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

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Release Blitz and Book Review: Never a Saint by Lila Rose

release day NAS

 

Never a Saint Ebook Cover-1I was excited to receive book #2 in the polished P&P series as I really enjoyed book #1 Wreck Me Forever (review to come). This was another MM romance with one of the main characters never having thought about being involved with another guy. There are a few novels of this trope around at the moment and I am really enjoying them. I like the idea that it’s not always clear cut about who we fall in love with.

This novel focuses on Kylo and Saint (Zion) who we met in book #1, but this can easily be read as a standalone if you like. Saint is one of the high up members of the Diamond MC and part-owner of Polished Pussies and Penises, a brothel and escort service. When Kylo goes for a job there and a challenge is made, things take quite the turn for these two. I really enjoyed the dynamics between these guys, it was both sweet and amusing and I loved the way Saint persued Kylo much to Kylo’s disbelief.

Kylo’s background is not a good one and this comes to a head in the last third of the book, the way it plays out is pretty violent, but this is a Motorcycle Club after all.

I loved catching up with the characters from book #1 and look forward to book #3.

BLURB

Kylo Lee, prospect to the Diamond MC, makes a career shift to help better his future. He doesn’t know it will change him in more ways than one, and it’s all to do with a certain man who confuses and annoys him, while sending his emotions wild.

Just when everything is falling into place, life takes a turn down a road where Kylo doesn’t want to go. His past comes back to bite him in the ass. Pain surrounds him and all that can make him happy is vengeance, and the man who surprisingly still stands at his side.

Add to GOODREADS

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Never a Saint CR TeaserEXCERPT

“Kylo,” he called. I looked to him as he walked back to where he’d left his phone. Then he had my eyes again. He put a knee to the bed, leaned over, and pressed his lips to my shoulder.

“Night,” he said, and looked up at me.

I cleared my thick throat.

He’d kissed my shoulder.

My skin.

“Yeah, night.” I nodded. He grinned, straightened, and walked from the room.

What the hell was that all about?

Why did he do that?

This was fucking weird. He made no sense. I scrubbed a hand over my face.

ALSO AVAILABLE

Wreck Me Forever#1 Wreck Me Forever

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        B&N         Kobo          Apple Books            Google Play

 

 

AUTHOR BIO

Lila was born in Brisbane Australia, her step-dad was in the Army which caused them to move around a lot. They finally settled in country Victoria, Australia. Being the youngest of four children she admits she was spoilt a bit. Even drove her mum crazy when she refused to eat meat at a young age.

Now, Lila lives with her husband and two children.

She started writing in 2013 and self-published the first of the Hawks MC: Ballarat Charter series- Holding Out. Since then, she has published eleven other titles, which range from erotica, humorous romance, YA and paranormal.

AUTHOR LINKS

Email             Website              Facebook              Twitter              Instagram

 

Cover Reveal & Teaser Except: Never a Saint by Lila Rose

 

cover reveal Never a saint

 

Never a Saint Ebook Cover-1BLURB

Kylo Lee, prospect to the Diamond MC, makes a career shift to help better his future. He doesn’t know it will change him in more ways than one, and it’s all to do with a certain man who confuses and annoys him, while sending his emotions wild.

Just when everything is falling into place, life takes a turn down a road where Kylo doesn’t want to go. His past comes back to bite him in the ass. Pain surrounds him and all that can make him happy is vengeance, and the man who surprisingly still stands at his side.  

 

Release Date: August 4, 2020                Add to GOODREADS

Series: Polished P & P #2             Genre: MM Romance

PRE-ORDER LINKS

Amazon US        Amazon UK       Amazon CA     Amazon AU      B&N     Kobo     Apple Books 

 

Never a Saint CR TeaserEXCERPT

“Kylo,” he called. I looked to him as he walked back to where he’d left his phone. Then he had my eyes again. He put a knee to the bed, leaned over, and pressed his lips to my shoulder. 

“Night,” he said, and looked up at me.

I cleared my thick throat. 

He’d kissed my shoulder. 

My skin. 

“Yeah, night.” I nodded. He grinned, straightened, and walked from the room. 

What the hell was that all about? 

Why did he do that? 

This was fucking weird. He made no sense. I scrubbed a hand over my face. 

 

ALSO AVAILABLE

#1 Wreck Me Forever

Amazon US           Amazon UK           Amazon CA           Amazon AU          B&N         Kobo

Apple Books            Google Play 

 

AUTHOR BIO

Lila was born in Brisbane Australia, her step-dad was in the Army which caused them to move around a lot. They finally settled in country Victoria, Australia. Being the youngest of four children she admits she was spoilt a bit. Even drove her mum crazy when she refused to eat meat at a young age.

Now, Lila lives with her husband and two children.

She started writing in 2013 and self-published the first of the Hawks MC: Ballarat Charter series- Holding Out. Since then, she has published eleven other titles, which range from erotica, humorous romance, YA and paranormal. 

AUTHOR LINKS

Email             Website              Facebook              Twitter              Instagram