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.

 

 

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

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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.

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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.

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Wreck Me Forever#1 Wreck Me Forever

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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.

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New Release Book Review: Her Last Words by Kim Kelly.

her last wordsI have sat with this review for a week because I just didn’t know what to write about this wonderful new novel by Kim Kelly. Every novel she writes is so distinct from the previous ones, it is always a delight to open up her book and see the words she has written transform into something wonderful. Once again this novel is entirely different, both in the way the story is told and the story itself. It is many things, a crime novel, a love story, an insight into the publishing world, a search for redemption, a story of grief.

The inspiration for this novel came from a very sad and personal experience of the authors. Also, knowing some of the author’s background as a writer and book editor working in the publishing industry for over 20 years, Penny’s journey as a commissioning editor deciding if she wants to remain in an industry, such as the big publishing world has become, has a definite personal feel to it.

Throughout the story, there are many serendipitous moments that are seemingly unconnected to each other but show the ‘small world effect’ where things are interconnected in ways we may never fully be aware of. Though some of these moments seem most unlikely or too serendipitous, I loved them all the more for this reason and I loved how they were woven into the story.

There are 6 main characters in this novel, though one, Thisbe, who is murdered at the start of the novel, is the catalyst for the things that transpire for the other characters. I loved all the characters, except Jane, I hoped with everything I had that she would get what she deserved by the end of the story. I was easily able to understand or empathise with the rest of the characters and loved being part of their journey, I wanted to be there for them for the ups and the downs, the triumphs and the defeats.

There were many moments in this story that spoke to me and many lines I highlighted to read again.

He’d always thought the idea of sticks and stones breaking bones but names never hurting was stupid, especially after he’d banjaxed his ankle at eighteen playing football, and three months later his very first girlfriend was telling him,‘ I do like you, but I don’t want to go out with you anymore. You’re too weird.’ He could say then, definitively, that words hurt worse. Bones heal, don’t they, and a bit of physical incapacitation is always a good excuse for more reading; good for reassessing that career as a world-famous midfielder you were never going to have, too. But words hang in the air forever; they write themselves onto your soul so that when you least expect it, they return, their power undiminished.

I could empathise completely with John’s struggle with depression and the description the author uses to describe depression was so apt for me personally.

Depression is an eel that slips between the ribs unnoticed until it’s feeding on your heart. It darts between circumstantial sense – the relationship between bad things happening and bad feelings had – and the shark shadows of every nightmarish dream, every unnameable, aching need.

And lastly, Penny and I are on the same wavelength with this quote.

‘If I’ve enjoyed a book, the last thing I want to do is see the movie. Breach of copyright on the one I’ve already made on my own – always a poor ripoff.’

This was a wonderful novel that brought out many emotions and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Thanks to the author for providing me with a copy in return for an honest review.

New Release Book Review : Deadman’s Track by Sarah Barrie

cover191048-mediumOMG what a roller-coaster of a terrifying ride this novel took me on.

With at least two bad guys on the loose, there was plenty for the characters in this book to be worried about.

Tess was a great character, full of spirit, brave and sure of herself for the most part.

Aaron was a truly horrible character right from the start and any scene that he was in had me wanting to put the book down, sure things were going to turn out badly. His behaviour was classic of an abusive partner and I hated the way he treated Tess.

I loved Jared, the local police officer, he had a big job to do trying to keep up with escalating burglaries.

When Tess lets herself get roped into taking a group of teens out on a trek for a week, I was perplexed at her change in behaviour, because she had been so adamant it wasn’t a good idea, and I knew it wasn’t going to end well, but even I had no idea just how badly things were going to go.

There are several different threads going on during this novel, all becoming tangled up together by the end and not in a good way.

This was a great read and despite the terrible things that happen throughout this novel, I’d love to go trekking in Tasmania at some point, I just hope the bad guys are busy elsewhere when I do.

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

Published date 8th July 2020

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New Release Book Review: Blazing Fear by Leisl Leighton

Blazing FearThe second book in the CoalCliff Stud series, book #1 Climbing Fear was a great introduction to the CoalCliff Stud and the extended family that live there, I enjoyed returning to CoalCliff Stud and it’s cast of characters along with some new ones including the new doctor in town Prita and her adopted son Carter.

Prita is a tough and capable doctor who is starting a new life in town whilst hiding from some personal issues she doesn’t want to deal with. She is being threatened and she thinks she knows who the culprits are, but when things escalate she has to start taking the threats more seriously.

Flynn from out at CoalCliff Stud lost his wife a few years before in a fire and is determined not to get emotionally entangled again. Unfortunately, his connection with Prita is stronger than his determination to stay away from her. I really liked the connection that was between Prita and Flynn and I liked the fact that when push came to shove they weren’t able to fight it.

As the secrets Prita has been running from catch up with her, they really highlighted the difference in the way people perceive things and how with communication, so many misunderstandings could be avoided. They also showed what a giving person Prita was and the sacrifices she had made for others. I liked that she was realising that it was time to focus on what she needed and wanted.

I really enjoy the friendships and family connections that this series contains and the way everyone is there to help when needed. There is definitely something to be said for small-town communities. There is plenty of suspense in this novel and while I thought I knew who one of the bad guys was, I wasn’t completely sure until the end.

Another great read in this series and I really hope there is more to come in this series.

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

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