New Release Book Review: Lies by Kylie Scott

I enjoy Kylie Scott’s novels, one of my favourite reads last year was her book It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time which kept me up all night. When given the opportunity to read her new novel Lies, I jumped at the chance and am so glad I did, it was an awesome read!

LiesKylie has given us something new with Lies and I enjoyed it so much. Betty is leaving her fiance Thom because he is boring and their relationship just isn’t what she wants or needs. But as she is leaving things take an out of control turn for the worst and she finds herself in constant danger whilst at the same time finding out Thom isn’t who he says he is, not by a long shot.

He’s an operative and people are out to kill him, and now Betty is in their line of fire too.

I just loved Betty’s character, she was pissed at finding out all the Lies Thom had fed her, pissed at being taken hostage, at being in danger and on the run. But she takes it in her stride, her attitude is great and she doesn’t let Thom feed her any more lies. She has a great sense of humour as well as a sense of self-preservation, she turns into a bit of a badass over the course of her experience.

Thom is also many things, and as Betty starts to see the real Thom she realises that maybe she doesn’t want to leave after all. Thom is sexy and a definite badass, he’s also socially awkward at times with Betty, but I absolutely loved the dynamics between him and Betty. The chemistry between them is there too and I loved seeing them try and work out what their relationship actually was.

Thom’s crew, or the Zoo as Betty calls them are a mixed bunch and some aren’t on his side after all. The bad guys are full-on and dangerous and you wonder if these two and the Zoo crew can survive.

This book is action-packed, exciting, fast, with some laughs along the way as well as some serious stuff.

Thanks to Social Butterfly PR for a digital copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Amazon AU

Amazon US



Pre-release Book Review: In a Great Southern Land by Mary-Anne O’Connor

I have just finished reading this wonderful novel, but I’m not sure my heart or my nerves could have taken much more. Mary-Anne O’Connor certainly put all my emotions through the wringer and my stress levels through the roof. Everytime I put the book down saying “Oh my god, I can’t read any more”, my offsider would tell me, “It’s only a story”, “No mate, it’s really not, it is so much more, I’m completely enmeshed in these peoples lives and this author is killing me!”

IMG_20190309_154143When we meet Eve she’s a maid in a rich house, knowing from the blurb that she ends up penniless and sent to Botany Bay, I continued reading with trepidation, not wanting to get to the bad parts about why this happens. This trepidation occured on and off throughout the story, at 70 something % I actually had to do something I rarely do and skim forward to a few pages near the end just so I could see if it was going to turn out OK, even after doing this, my level of angst was high for the rest of the story, until the end, which was a wonderful ending.

Kieran and his family have many trials to work through to achieve their dreams of a new life in Australia. I loved Kieran’s character, he really was a lovely guy who I felt was a little lost until he finds his ‘gold’. Kieran suffers the most out of his family members, he’s the main reason I wanted to put the book down so often.

Eve’s story is one of terrible circumstances, circumstances that back in the 1850s occurred far too often to the lower classes, but hers is also a story of bravery in the face of all that she has to deal with.

It’s hard to reconcile the Sydney I know with the one Mary-Anne O’Connor describes. “Rows of buildings painstakingly constructed from the local limestone relieved their heated skin as they passed through The Rocks but it did little to relieve the stench of humanity living in squalor. Refuse lined the steep, narrow streets and the faces that passed by were streaked with dirt, mostly workmen such as themselves… this was the convict side of town.” I can’t even begin to imagine having to face the kind of hardships and treatment convicts had to deal with back then, many just for stealing an apple. As with everything in this story, the depiction of the crossing in the convict ship had me completely there, on that ship with Eve and her fellow passengers, the experience was not a pleasant one, the ones who survived and were able to make a life in Australia were extremely lucky.

I’ve read a few books set in the gold fields and around The Eureka Stockade now, and each time I learn a little more about the history of this country, the atrocities that were carried out by order of the government and the people killed trying to defend their rights, and how the people of that time helped form the democracy we have today. “And all because men had united under the Southern Cross, that sky-flung symbol of freedom, and the Australian public and her juries had refused to allow them to be punished for doing so. For ultimately all they wanted was fairness and equality, two things they would now hopefully build this land on, giving future generations a parliament where all classes could be represented  from all nations of this earth.” I think it’s important we are reminded of the sacrifices our forebearers made to give us these rights and freedoms that we now take for granted.

Mary-Anne O’Connor has done an incredibly good job of bringing to life the time and the places in which this novel is set. The characters are a miriad of different people from all walks of life, some are nicer than others, but all are needed to tell this story. There are heartbreaking moments in this story, but also moments full of joy. Life in the 1850s was certainly not the easiest of times and I’m not sure I’d have survived. Though I guess just like the characters in this story, none of us know how strong we are and what we are capable of until we are put in situations that require us to be, “This great southern land was wild and unpredictable, sometimes savage, sometimes beautiful  but like anywhere there was opportunity, if you sought to find it.” 

This is the second book by Mary-Anne O’Connor I’ve read, War Flower was also a heartbreaking but fabulous read, I have Gallipoli Street sitting on my shelf and once I get over the emotional experience of In a Great Southern Land, I will be making time to read it.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia for providing me a digital copy to review. 

Available 18th March 2019

Amazon AU

Amazon US

Harlequin Australia