20Backlistin2020: Book Review: Devil’s Lair by Sarah Barrie

Devils LairThis book has been sitting on both my shelf and my kindle for over a year and after reading Sarah Barrie’s newest book Deadman’s Track, I was keen to finally get this one read.

This was an absolutely brilliant romantic suspense novel. Once again set in Tasmania, we get to meet the characters from Bloodtree River and Deadman’s Track again and this time it is Connor’s turn to find happiness. After what he went through in Bloodtree River, he is understandably in two minds about starting anything new. When he meets Callie, who is trying to fly under the radar after her own traumatic experiences, he finds it hard to stay away from her.

This novel had me reading well into the middle of the night, there was plenty of tension, secrets, and ritualistic murders, alongside romance, new friendships, and new beginnings.

There were so many twists and turns in this story that I just did not see coming, every time I thought I had things figured out, I would have that theory pulled out from under me.

Callie was a very strong character, for someone who had been through what she’d been through, losing her husband in a violent incident and a lengthy court case, the fact she came through it as sane as she did amplified that strength.

The cottage and house that Callie stays in thanks to her friend Paisley’s help, is both beautiful and very creepy, I don’t think I could have stayed there.

The character that creeped me out the most was Paisley’s brother Ned, talk about stalkerish and crazy, I’d have had a restraining order out on him from the start no matter how harmless people were telling me he was. There was something seriously wrong with Ned from the beginning and he was just one of the spine-chilling aspects of the story.

I loved the romance that blossomed between Connor and Callie and their relationship made me smile plenty even when they were having their disagreements.

This novel also deals with the important issue of mental health issues and how support or lack of support can affect people who suffer with these illnesses.

I highly recommend this novel and though it can easily be read as a standalone, I recommend reading them in order: Bloodtree River, Devil’s Lair, Deadman’s Track.

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

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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: The Cake Maker’s Wish by Josephine Moon

IMG_20200531_120111I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump recently, flitting from one book to another without really being pulled into any of them. The Cake Maker’s Wish however ended that slump, hopefully for good. I had two extremely late nights reading this novel, I did not want to put it down, but sleep was calling at 2am.

Though I have a few Josephine Moon books on my bookshelves, I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet, but after this one, I’ll be making time to catch up on them.

I was pulled into Olivia and her son Darcy’s life as they arrive in the small village of Stoneden in the Cotswolds after leaving Tasmania for a new start as part of a Renaissance Project to bring life back to the dying village. What a massive step for her to have taken, to move to the other side of the world with her young son, knowing no one and not knowing if the project will work out, I thought Olivia was very brave to do this. But after her grandmother’s death, she needs a fresh start and an extra incentive is her son’s father, who lives in Norway. These two have never met and their whole relationship is based around skype videos, this is the chance for them to hopefully forge some kind of real relationship.

There are quite a few wonderful characters who have also moved to Stoneden for this project, all for different reasons and most having a past link to the village. For Olivia it is her grandmother who grew up there and then moved to Australia. Olivia would love to find out more about her life, but there are plenty of secrets in Stoneden and they won’t be shared easily.

Not everyone is happy about the newcomers to the village, for various reasons, and some make this felt more than others. There are some very underhanded events that occur to the newcomers’ businesses, making them feel unwelcome and even scared. I really felt for these people who are only trying to make a new start and help the village become alive again.

Olivia and Darcy make some wonderful friends, as well as there being a potential love interest in a dairy farmer. There’s also complications that arise with Darcy’s dad.

There’s so much to love about this novel, from misunderstandings about cake ownership, to stolen apples, friendship and secrets, hope for the future, and holding on to the past, this novel has it all.

Thanks to Better Reading Preview and Penguin Michael Joseph for my cpy of this book in return for an honest review.

#AWW2020

 

 

New Release Book Review: Bound by the Stars by Suzanne Cass

Bound by starsThis is the third book in the Island Bound series, and we finally get to meet Logan who has been off the grid for a couple of years, his sisters and their partners make it their mission to go and find him, and find him they do, and he’s in a whole world of trouble.

Logan is hiding from some pretty bad guys, he’s been flying under the radar for a while, he’s currently living on his boat in the Caribbean and working with a turtle rescue group. But his peaceful life has just gotten complicated.

Mia is a dancer and is paying off a debt to a particularly nasty businessman.

The chemistry between these two is immediate, but both are hiding so much and trouble has found them in a big way. This novel is action-packed from the start and as Logan and Mia try to find a way to escape the people who are after them, the hits just keep coming and they find themselves getting pulled deeper and deeper into trouble.

It’s a good thing Logan’s sisters and their partners turn up because after what they have been through themselves, they definitely aren’t going to let their brother fight this fight on his own.

I thoroughly enjoyed the third book in this series, this family sure does seem to be a magnet for trouble, but by the end, they are all closer than ever and there’s happy ever afters for them all.

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

Amazon AU

FB_IMG_1577105032228#AWW2020   35/50

New Release Book Review: Montana Son by Juanita Kees

Montana SonMontana Son is book #3 in the Calhouns of Montana series, #1 Montana Baby (Overdrive), and #2 Montana Daughter (Fast Lane) were really great reads about the first two of four siblings. In book #3 we get Mason’s story and his chance for redemption.

Mason has always been the bad boy who has struggled with his part in the death of his brother. He has never been able to forgive himself and his girlfriend, Paige, for the accident which took his life.

Paige left their hometown of Bigfork after the accident, running away, unable to cope with the guilt. Now she is back and Mason and Paige must work through their respective guilt and forgive themselves and each other in order to move on.

Paige has to deal with more than just Mason though, her mother and father are more than a little unsupportive and essentially have disowned her for her part in the accident as well as for her relationship with Mason. The Calhoun’s have always had problems with Paige’s dad, the Sheriff of Bigfork, and he continues to make their lives difficult.

Paige and Mason have great chemistry between them, even after their time apart and the guilt they both feel, and I enjoyed the struggle they both undertook to move on. I also enjoyed the way they stuck together to uncover what was going on with the sheriff’s grudge against the Calhoun’s and his determination to close the drag strip they had opened in the previous book.

In Montana Daughter we met 9-year-old Tyler who through a tragic car accident had lost his legs, we catch up with him again as Mason struggles to build a relationship with him due to his feelings about the accident he was involved in. It was wonderful to see Tyler begin to recover from his accident and the changes he and Mason work upon each other.

I read just yesterday that we might get the 4th sibling Grace’s story sometime in the near future, as well as Carter’s story. I could definitely read more about the Calhoun’s of Montana.

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

Published 2/6/2020

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New Release Book Review: Home From the Hill by Susanne Bellamy

Screenshot_20200513_213801Home From the Hill is book 4 I the Home to Lark Creek series. This was however, my first visit to Lark Creek, but I’ll be going back and revisiting with the first three books.

I liked this romantic suspense novel, about an older couple who have plenty of baggage behind them, but who are now tentatively taking steps to start again.

I thought Susanne Bellamy did a good job of portraying the PTSD and the claustrophobia that Graham was suffering. I felt quite sad that he’d spent so much of his life alone on the hill. Janice was a good character, and I enjoyed how she found her backbone against her ex-husband as the story progressed, though I wish she’d found it a bit earlier.

I enjoyed Jack, the lawyer, Rick, and the other secondary characters that played important roles in this story. There was plenty of tension created surrounding Janice’s ex and also the markers on the hill and I wondered how it was all going to come together. A really enjoyable read.

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New Release Book Review: Rapt: The Price of Love by Tania Joyce

Screenshot_20200130_100748Rapt: The Price of Love by Tania Joyce is book #3 in the Everhide Rockstar Romance series where we catch up with Gemma and Kyle who had their story in book #1 Ripped: The Price of Loyalty. In this book they are planning their wedding, though both have different ideas of what the wedding should be like.

The band Everhide consists of Gemma, Kyle and Hunter, who had his romance in book #2 Ruined: The Price of Play. It was great to see Hunter and Kara were still together.

Gemma and Kyle have been through so much to get together, their wedding should be a time of joy. But on top of their differences in opinion on the wedding, they find out they have a stalker who is threatening Gemma if she dares to marry Kyle. Their team has been hiding the messages from them but Gemma has found a note in her bag and theirs no hiding the threat any more.

Gemma, Kyle, Hunter and the team take these threats very seriously, as they should, but it also causes some rifts between Gemma and Kyle, who can be in gemma’s mind, over protective. Who can they trust, is it someone in their inner circle or a fan? I was kept guessing and changed my mind a few times, though I did have an inkling of who it turned out to be.

I really loved the special close friendship between Gemma, Kyle and Hunter, having friends who are as supportive and loving as these is a great thing.

There was a lot of repetitive internal dialogue for Gemma and Kyle, and it got slightly annoying, but then I realised that I’m known for that all the time, I’m forever going over and over the same thoughts in my head, so it’s pretty true to life, I even annoy myself.

I really enjoyed this romantic suspense novel and look forward to reading more by Tania Joyce.

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

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#AWW2020 5/50

 

Book Review: Shadows of Red Earth by Suzanne Cass

This was my first read by Suzanne Cass and I look forward to reading more of her books. This is book 3 in the Colours of the Earth series and though I haven’t read the first two books (something I plan on changing soon), this worked perfectly well as a standalone.

WShadows of Red Earth (Colours of the Earth Series Book 3)e meet Koen and Rose in the middle of nowhere, both on the run from their lives for completely different reasons. They are both really likeable and relatable characters, who in meeting each other change the course of each others lives.

Koen is from Balgo, an aboriginal community in the north of WA that I have heard a little about, Suzanne touches on some integral issues that affect the people living in these communities, youth suicide being a big one.

Rose is running away from a home that has started to feel like a prison due to some serious events that happened to her family in the past, a past that is going to once again impact of Rose and her family.

The path that their adventure takes them on once they decide to travel together is one fraught with danger and plenty of trouble. I really enjoyed the way these two interacted and the way their relationship blossomed as they ran from danger. I loved Roen’s character especially and was hoping he would come to realise how special a person he was. With plenty of suspense and a budding romance, this was a really enjoyable read.

 

 

Book Review: The Land Girls by Victoria Purman

Every time Victoria Purman releases a new novel, I know I’m going to find great characters; with her historical novels, I know I’m going to learn about a part of Australian history that I had very little knowledge of before picking up her book. In The Land Girls, she draws on the experiences of women from The Women’s Land Army as well as those left behind to do the jobs the men have left when they joined the armed forces during WWII, to weave an emotional tale of love, loss and courage.

The Land GirlsI thoroughly enjoyed this novel and learning about this important part of our history. There are three main female characters whose lives we follow, Flora, Lily and Betty, I loved each one of them, working with them on the farms, sharing their losses and heartbreak all the while discovering so much about themselves.

My favourite of these characters though was Flora. I really engaged with her, whether it was because she was older and still searching for her place, her loyalty to her family and those she called friends, or just her wonderful character, I loved the journey that the Land Army took her on. Flora meets Charles during her first posting as a Land Girl and I loved watching the relationship between the two of them grow and change them. I held so much hope for the two of them and the future.

There were many emotional moments throughout this story, as I’m sure you can imagine, happy as well as sad ones. And it has a wonderful ending 💕.

The work these women did during the war was inspiring and shows just what people can achieve. Without these women filling the places of men, most farms and factories would have gone out of business. I definitely recommend this wonderful novel.

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

RELEASE DAY Book Review & Giveaway : The Scream Behind Her Smile by Athena Daniels

What can I possibly say about this book to convey how much I loved it. I was lucky enough to read the first two drafts of this novel and they both blew me away, but this final copy, wow, Athena has written a psychological thriller that had my heart in my throat from the opening scene. At times the intensity was such that I had to put the book down and take a deep breath. At others I wanted to reach in and slap Derek, her husband so badly I was clenching my jaw and gasping in disbelief.

IMG_20190309_073822I became completely involved in the main character, Claire’s life from the get-go. Claire is a great character, well written and relatable, she starts off lost and unsure of herself and her life after suffering the loss of her child. As the story progresses and secrets are uncovered, Claire’s strength emerges as she fights to gain an understanding of what her husband has been hiding and develop her newfound confidence. Her life begins to unravel at the same time she wakes up from the half-life she has been living, but instead of collapsing, she uses her circumstances to grow, I was backing her completely, cheering her on every time she confronted her husband and hoping she would survive the fallout.

Claire’s husband Derek is unlikable from the first chapters and just becomes more despicable as the story unfolds. From beginning to end he unveils himself as a detestable character who I continued to hope would get exactly what he deserved. I remember messaging Athena and saying “Her husband is f**king nuts!” He wasn’t the only character who I felt this way about, the ‘she’ in the opening scene is as, if not more unlikable than Derek.

Zach is another great character, with many layers and a few surprising secrets. I loved the relationship that grew between Claire and Zach, I think I fell in love with him myself. One of my favourite secondary characters was Claire’s assistant Kira, I loved her loyalty and her no bullshit approach, what a great friend Claire had in her.

This novel kept me hooked from start to finish with heart-stopping moments, a few laugh-out-loud moments, plenty of twists and turns, betrayal and murder, in a romantic psychological thriller that will definitely be in my top 10 reads of the year. I didn’t see half of what happened coming and was still shaking my head in disbelief at the end.

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The scream behind promoI have one paperback copy (Australia only due to postage) and two ebook copies (Australia & International) to giveaway to readers of my blog. Leave a comment and show Athena some love by adding her book on goodreads or liking her Facebook page and you’ll be in the draw for a copy of this fabulous book. Please indicate if you are a international reader.

For another chance to win read my Q&A with Athena and leave a comment on that post as there’s a copy to win there also.

Website

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About the book: An emotionally gripping romantic thriller, this is a novel of love, marriage, deception and murder.

It’s one thing to discover the man you married is not who you think he is. It’s another thing entirely to prove it. After all, who is going to take the word of an unstable woman who’s never fully recovered from the heartbreak of losing her child?

The only question now, is how far he will go to protect his secrets.

~~~

As I lie here in my front hallway, in the place where it all began, I wonder what would have happened if I’d never opened the door that afternoon?

Would she have gone somewhere else? Would she have swept off in another direction, an alternative reality where our lives would never have crossed paths?
And now I’m lying here, blood pooling beneath my body, deep crimson smears on cold white tiles, remembering every sordid moment in vivid detail.

There’s a shadow standing over me.

“I want you to die here, slowly and alone.” Her voice is cold, emotionless. “And I want you to use the time to think about what you did. And when you take your last breath, I want you to realize it’s all your fault. All of it!”

I drift in and out of consciousness and wonder if I had my chance to do it over again, if I had the choice, would I choose not to open the door that day?

Even after everything, I know that I would.

I’d go through it all again, and then some, if it meant the chance to be with Zach just one more time…