New Release Book Review: The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan

The Good TurnThis is the third crime novel in the Cormac Reilly series, I thoroughly enjoyed the first two novels The Ruin and The Scholar, but with book #3 The Good Turn, Dervla McTiernan has claimed a spot as one of my favourite crime writers. The Good Turn was a great read, I was hooked from the start. I think knowing Cormac and his coworkers’ backstory really helped make a difference in how much I enjoyed this book. I really do recommend you read them in order because the characters’ personal lives play a big part in this book.

When a call comes in about a child abduction, everything that could go wrong for Cormac and his team does go wrong. Cormac ends up suspended, something his boss has been angling for since day one. Garda Peter Fisher is sent to a small town and placed under his overbearing police officer father’s jurisdiction as well as having the threat of prosecution hanging over his head.

From the start of the series, Cormac was not a welcome member of the Galway station and he hasn’t won over too many people since he’s been there. He is also damn sure there is some major corruption within the system and with his suspension, he not only sets out to save Peter from the threat of prosecution but is determined this time to uncover the people behind the corruption. What he uncovers goes way deeper than he could have imagined and leaves him with very few people to trust.

We meet Anna and her daughter Tilly who are staying with Peter’s grandmother and who seem to be hiding from something. Peter starts to wonder whether his father is on the up and up and after several incidents, he sets out to find out exactly what is going on. This leads to more trouble for Peter, but he’s been taught by Cormac and is unwilling to let things be despite any trouble he may be facing.

As Cormac and Peter try and uncover secrets and save themselves from unemployment, they find out way more than they bargained for. There were so many twists in this novel and even when some of my guesses were right, there were plenty of things that I got wrong.

I highly recommend The Good Turn for lovers of crime fiction and thank NetGalley and HarperCollins AU for my digital copy in return for an honest review.

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New Release Book Review: Choosing Lillian by Rania Battany

Choosing LillianI Loved Call Me Lucy by Rania Battany and Choosing Lillian is the second in the Stolen Hearts series which follows on a little while after and this time social worker Lillian, who helped Lucy in the first novel, gets her own HEA.

For those who have read Call me Lucy, you will know that the chemistry between Lillian and the police officer Blake, was palpable, so it was no surprise that these two characters find ways to reconnect after Lucy’s case is finished.

Blake was definitely the instigator in this relationship, making excuses to catch up with her, and though shy, knew what he wanted when it came to Lillian. I really liked Blake and I was barracking for him through the whole novel, such a lovely guy, and very protective when it came to Lillian and it turns out, he has every reason to worry about her. Lillian isn’t too sure of what she wants due to the breakdown of her marriage a year before, and because of this, she sends lots of mixed signals to poor Blake, and to herself. I thought her friends and family weren’t very supportive of Lillian starting a new relationship, except of course Lucy, who was right behind her. Lillian is also still suffering the loss of a young client and still coming to terms with her inability to help when it was needed. Lillian has lots to deal with including her ex-husband who causes a few extra issues she definitely doesn’t need.

I really enjoyed the relationship that built between Lillian and Blake, I loved how the chemistry they had led to so much more, they both just had to trust and make the jump.

We meet many of the same characters in Choosing Lillian, but I changed my mind about a few of them in this story. I found Lillian’s mother to be very unsupportive of Lillian in this novel, and I didn’t like her much at all, she was constantly trying to get Lillian back with her ex, who was an asshole, and I couldn’t understand her thinking or lack of empathy. I found Gabby to be quite judgy and very naive, but I’m looking forward to reading her story and seeing where she ends up. I still am not a big fan of Leila, but she is starting to soften a bit more, I guess her relationship with Jacob from the prequel novella Letters to Leila, is softening those sharp edges of hers.

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

 

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New Release Book Review: Spring at Lake Grange by Eliza Bennetts

Spring at Lake Grange

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series, I love the fact that the women are over 40, are strong women and are still able to find their happily ever after.

This one especially ticked all my boxes due to its abundance of inclusion from so many aspects of our society.

I really loved our main female character Maria, we were introduced to her in book 3, Winter in Mason Valley and it was lovely to see her get her own story. She’s such a positive, sassy, sexy lady and I loved that she really seemed to know who she was.

Ethan was a different kind of character altogether, described as socially inept and he certainly was that, part of it came from his upbringing, and lack of positive role models and lack of relationships formed when he was young, but part of me continued to feel that he seemed to be on the autism spectrum, whether this is because I work in this industry or not, I don’t know, but I liked that this man, who had so many social issues, was still able to find ‘the one’ and form a meaningful relationship. I did find myself rolling my eyes many many times at Ethan’s complete inability to understand feelings and felt sad that he thought feelings were to be avoided at all costs.

I liked Maria’s whole family, her brothers were both good characters and I especially loved her brother Steven and I thought it was very brave and right of him to decide it was time for him to be happy and to be truthful to his family no matter the fallout, in order to be true to himself. I loved how wonderful Maria’s relationship was with Steven and how she had his back completely.

There was so much to like about this novel, it was a story of family, of inclusiveness, of figuring out who you really were and what you really wanted, a story of coming to terms with what life has dealt you and loving those around you for who they are no matter what. I definitely ended this novel feeling good for all the characters involved and knowing that they would all be travelling happily ever after.

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#AWW2020 19/50

Book Review: Into the Fog by Sandi Wallace

IMG_20200302_182746I loved Dead Again, book 2 in the Georgie Harvey and John Franklin series so I was straight down the library to order book 3, Into the Fog. I think this series just gets better and better and I found myself not wanting to put this novel down despite having to work the following day.

I was totally absorbed in the disappearance of three children whilst on a camp in Mount Dandenong which has been organised by Franklin and his colleagues from the Dalesford Police Department. Looking after the group of children are his colleagues, Sam and Lunny are Georgie, his daughter Kat and Josh a teenager who Franklin has worked with at the boxing centre. They are all in total panic when the kids go missing, the terrible icy weather makes things harder for the people searching and more dangerous for the kids.

Franklin heads straight up to his group after hearing the news, despite it possibly affecting his chance at making detective, these kids are his local kids and Franklin is all about his community. There is a fight for Franklin’s team to stay involved in the hunt for the kids and the possible perpetrators after the local police are called in, a conflict of interest is cited, but there are plenty of allowances made to start with and between them, they do some good working into finding out who is behind the disappearance.

In today’s society, we are constantly reminded to be aware when on social media, especially in regards to our children who are easily influenced and where criminals can pretend to be whoever they want to be in order to lure them in. Sandi Wallace has done a thorough job of showing us how easily this can be done and the terrible outcomes that could occur because of this medium of communication.

The story is told from multiple viewpoints, including one of the missing children and the story progresses both fast and slow, but at the same time, it felt like nonstop action in the desperate hunt to find these children.

The chapters are mostly quite short, and this is an easy way to trick me into reading far more than I planned before going to bed, just one more chapter, was I’ll just read one more because they are short, which lead to me turning page after page in the need to know what was going to happen.

I really hope there are more Georgie Harvey and John Franklin novels to come. This series is being rereleased, so preorder this book now ready for June 2020.

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New Release Book Review & Release Blitz: The Rich Boy by Kylie Scott

TheRichBoy EBOOK (1)I’m a fan of Kylie Scott’s romance novels, they are all very different and you never know what you are going to get with each new book. This time she gives us a leading man, Beck who is a very likable busboy when we meet him, only he isn’t quite who he is pretending to be. He expresses an interest in Alice, a waitress at the bar where he is working. She’s a very down to earth girl who is exactly who she seems to be, and I think that is a big part of Beck’s attraction to her.

I’m not a big fan of the billionaire trope, but this is different from some of the other books I’ve read.

Alice, after going against her initial doubt about trusting Beck, falls hard and is drawn into the world he has been running from, knowing nothing about what she is about to encounter. It turns out Beck is rich, very rich, and now Alice is under the microscope of Beck’s family members.

I thought that Alice, despite initially thinking she wasn’t the right kind of girl for Beck, shows how strong she really is and how she believes in who she is and is unwilling to change too much because of this rich family’s expectations. I really liked the way she stood up to Beck when different things came to light throughout the story, I liked that she stood her ground and made him reassess what it was he wanted and who he wanted to be.

Beck was lovely, but growing up in his messed up family has left him emotionally stunted and he has no real idea what will make someone like Alice happy. If you’ve always seen money as a way of buying the people around you, you would find it hard to understand what drives a normal everyday person.

I enjoyed watching all the family relationships change, mainly due to Alice’s influence on those around her. I especially liked how she got the better of Beck’s evil old grandmother. While Alice and Beck’s relationship wasn’t an easy ride, it was an enjoyable one, there were moments I thought, she should let him loose, but was glad that she didn’t in the end.

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

About the book:

“Rich Boy takes you on a literal ride! Funny. Angsty. It’s a definite recommendation from me!  –   Tijan, New York Times bestselling author

The Rich Boy, an all-new slow-burn standalone with white-hot chemistry and witty banter from New York Times bestselling author Kylie Scott, is out now!

I’m the type of girl who’s given up on fairy tales. So when Beck – the hot new busboy at work – starts flirting with me, I know better than to get my hopes up. Happily ever afters aren’t for the average. I learned that the hard way.

But how can I be expected to resist a man who can quote Austen, loves making me laugh, and seems to be everything hot and good in this world?

Only there’s so much more to him than that.

Billionaire playboy? Check.

Troubled soul? Check.

The owner of my heart, the man I’ve moved halfway across the country to be with, who’s laying the world at my feet in order to convince me to never leave? Check. Check. Check.

But nobody does complicated like the one percent.

This is not your everyday rags-to-riches, knight-in-shining armor whisking the poor girl off her feet kind of story. No, this is much messier.

Download your copy today!

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Kylie Scott author picAbout Kylie

Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013, 2014 & 2018, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

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New Release Book Review: Truths I Never Told You by Kelly Rimmer

Thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Hachette Australia for providing me with a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

I have a few Kelly Rimmer books residing on my shelf, waiting patiently to be read, and if it hadn’t been for Beauty and Lace, Truths I Never Told YouTruths I Never Told You may have been sitting there for just as long.

This was a very moving story about family, relationships, secrets, death, grief, but most importantly about postpartum depression and how it can affect both the sufferer and those who care for the person suffering.

Despite not having suffered postpartum depression, I very much related to both Beth and Grace’s experiences, because I have suffered from depression and they look pretty similar, minus the children. Because of this I always worried if I had children, I would not cope and could completely see where these two women, especially Grace, were coming from.

From the beginning, when I read Grace’s first letter, I knew I was in for an emotional time, and there were definitely moments that make me cry or brought tears to my eyes. All the characters, excepting Grace and Maryanne’s parents we so relatable and I enjoyed passing my time with them, even in the sad parts.

I liked the ways the stories ran in parallel, the 1996 timeline telling Beth’s story and the 1958 timeline telling Grace’s story through her letters to herself and then Maryanne’s story, all complimented each other and I enjoyed uncovering things slowly with Beth, though for much of the time we know much more than Beth and her siblings, we get to uncover the final secret at the moment Beth does.

Patrick’s illness, his heart disease, and his dementia were extremely sad, it is always a sad thing when someone ceases to be the person they were, but even sadder for Patrick as he couldn’t verbalise what he was wanting to say. This was a new type of dementia I was unaware of, where language is interpreted in painting or some other creative pursuits. I could visualise Patricks series of paintings so well in my mind, imagining what he would have painted to go with each of the letters. Art is a wonderful way to get our feelings out and at least Patrick had this outlet for his emotions.

There were other topics that were important throughout this story, especially the expectations put upon women to marry, look after the house and have children, the lack of say in what they can do with their own bodies, the lack of access to birth control and the way it was frowned upon to use it if you could access it. All of these things that we as westerners now take for granted. This is what Maryanne and her desire for change was hoping to get for women everywhere.

Beth – “It’s hard to believe how different things were for her. I mean, I’ve been sexually active for…” I pause and do the math, then grimace, “God. Over twenty years. I was on the pill for more than half of that time, until Hunter and I started trying to conceive. It was actually quite easy for me to avoid pregnancy until I was ready.”

  “Society moved on so fast. That’s what we wanted, of course,” Maryanne says and sighs as she pats my son to sleep. “But there’s a cost in rapid progress like that, because women your age don’t always understand how lucky you are. 

It’s true, we forget how lucky we are in many respects compared to only 60 or so years ago. One thing that still hasn’t changed enough though is the stigma around mental illness, yes it is more understood and less stigmatised than it was, but we still haven’t reached the point where people are comfortable asking for help and worrying about what others will think. Stories about mental illness are vitally important if we are going to change this. Beth, unlike Grace, had lots of support even when she didn’t want it, how different Grace’s life and in turn Patrick and the children’s life might have been had she had the support of her parents.

This was a very moving story with some very important themes and I was hooked from the beginning. I’ll definitely be getting the rest of Kelly Rimmer’s novels as soon as possible.

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Book Review: Call Me Lucy by Rania Battany

Call me LucyI really loved this novel, an Enemies to Lovers romance set around a cast of characters who are part of a linked series Stolen Hearts, with the next book Choosing Lillian coming out early March.

This novel, as the title suggests is about Lucy who has been in an accident and suffered some traumatic brain injury and has no idea who she is or where she comes from, but the saddest part is that no one has come forward to say she is theirs.

Lucy is lucky in one respect, she is assigned Lillian as her social worker and Lillian is completely about protecting Lucy after she herself has suffered a loss that we slowly uncover details about. Lillian sets Lucy up at her flat where her brother Billy is living and Billy is given the job as unwilling ‘babysitter’.

This was a really moving story, Lucy’s struggle to remember her identity, while at the same time being terrified of learning who she really is, was one that pulled at my heartstrings many times throughout the novel. The fact no one has come forward for her makes her feel that she must have no worth to anyone. Billy’s behaviour towards her when she first comes to stay reiterates this feeling of having no self-worth.

I actually really liked Billy despite his behaviour to begin with, you could see he was struggling with his own demons and that deep down he cared a lot. He especially cared about his sister Lillian and I really enjoyed the dynamics of their relationship.

Lucy meets a very unlikeable character in Tyler when she is revisiting the scene of her accident. From the get-go, I knew there was something off about Tyler and as the story progresses I could see why I disliked him. Tyler is all about emotional and psychological abuse. He plays Lucy from the start and whenever these two characters met, I got a horrible sense of foreboding. Rania Battany has done a great job of portraying both the mindset of the abuser and the effects this can have on the person being abused.

Lillian is working with a police officer Blake, the chemistry between these two is palpable and there is hope something might be stirring ready for the next book in the series.

There are a few other characters we meet who will be part of the series, Lillian and Billy’s mum Helen who comes across as a loving mother, loud and sure that food is the answer to any problem, characteristics that are often part of a Lebanese family. We also meet Gabby, their cousin who also is loud, outgoing and thinks food, especially pastries can cure anything. And we briefly catch up with Leila and Jacob who have their own novella Letters to Leila, which is set slightly before Call Me Lucy. I didn’t like Leila in the novella and her brief catch up in this novel didn’t change my mind about her, though I am glad Leila and Jacob are still together.

I really enjoyed Lucy and Billy’s growing friendship and relationship. I loved the way they both took tiny steps towards trusting each other, sometimes leading to more steps backward, but ultimately leading towards something real and strong that is worth pursuing. Billy really was just what Lucy needed in order to heal from her past and from her accident. Lucy is a tough person, at the same time as being completely vulnerable and I really loved her character.

This was a great read full of emotions and the mystery of finding out who Lucy really was.

Thank you to the author for a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

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