Book Review: Lethal Tide by Beth Prentice

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I’ve just finished book #2 in the Samantha Reynolds Mysteries which is book #10 in the Aloha Lagoon series. Samantha decides once again to do some amateur sleuthing to clear her boyfriend’s name this time and ends up putting herself and her friends in danger.

I was determined to read this before book #3 (#15) comes out on the 20/8/19.

Samantha is good fun, she has a tendency to jump to conclusions and 2+2 often equals 7, but her heart is definitely in the right place and she’s extremely passionate. In this case though, I thought some of Samantha’s conclusions were fair enough and I was right there with her jumping to conclusions of my own.

So, after reading Deadly Wipeout, I thought Samantha’s boyfriend Casey was pretty wonderful. I started to have my doubts during this latest adventure; I thought maybe I’d been mistaken. He did some pretty questionable things, and his behaviour with the Lori was disheartening, I felt he should have put her in her place straight away, even though I knew nothing was happening. I have to say, I completely detested Lori from the start and that only got more intense as the story progressed. I have issues with women who make moves on another person’s partner.

This cosy murder mystery sees one of Casey friends from the past turn up at Aloha Lagoon and then subsequently is found murdered by Samantha, her brother Luke and BFF Alani. Soon after, a couple of Casey’s other past friends show up at Aloha Lagoon, this is when the questionable behaviour, secrets and conclusions (2+2=7) start to happen.

This was a great read though and a mystery that had some red herrings. I’ve often wondered if I’d chose to play amateur detective if the opportunity arose, but I think, probably not. I love how Samantha doesn’t have much of a filter and I like how she describes the people she sees; I feel for poor Detective Ray when he is questioning Samantha in his investigations.

I do worry about the number of murders that seem to happen in this small place. I’m not sure I’d want to holiday or live there after all.

Another fun read, I’m looking forward to picking up Beth’s new book Fatal Break tomorrow night since I’m lucky enough to have gotten my hands on an early copy.

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Aloha Lagoon Boxset #6-10

Beth Prentice Website

 

Book Bingo round 17 and New Release Book Review: Singapore Sapphire by A.M. Stuart

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This fortnight I am crossing off the square Book with a place in the title, author Alison Stuart pointed out that this would be the perfect book for that square.The choices are getting smaller. If you have any suggestions for the remaining squares, I’d love to hear them.

Early twentieth-century Singapore is a place where a person can disappear, and Harriet Gordon hopes to make a new life for herself there, leaving her tragic memories behind her–but murder gets in the way.

Singapore Sapphire (Harriet Gordon Mystery #1)Singapore Sapphire is book #1 in the Harriet Gordon Mystery series and was a great introduction to this new character and setting of 1910 Singapore. I enjoyed this novel a great deal and thought Harriet was a great character, she was a contradiction of the times and definitely not one to be kept in a box. Harriet takes things into her own hands doing some investigating of her own to try and figure out who the murderer is.

My favourite character after Harriet was Inspector Robert Curran who is in charge of the murder investigation. He was another character who was ahead of the times and didn’t always toe the line. I really enjoyed his interactions with Harriet and how he realised it would be helpful to have her on his side rather than trying to make her stand on the sidelines.

This isn’t a simple murder though and there are many twists and turns, people who aren’t who they seem to be and mysteries that arise from the past.

The imagery that Ms Stuart manages to portray through her words was wonderful and I could absolutely see Singapore as it was in 1910. The characters of the ‘good guys’ and the ‘bad guys’ were well written, I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to be on the bad guys hit list.

I look forward to the next Harriet Gordon Mystery.

Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for providing me with a digital copy in return for an honest review.

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Book Review: Deadly Wipeout by Beth Prentice

Screenshot_20190815_194425Deadly wipeout is part of the Aloha Lagoon series, a series of books written by different authors but set on the same island. Beth currently has two books in this series, book 3 Deadly Wipeout and book 10 Lethal Tide and book 15 Fatal Break, which will be out next week.

Beth’s Aloha Lagoon stories are focused around the quirky character of Samantha Reynolds who has a tendency for getting herself into trouble. This was a fun read, with some good laughs and a dose of intrigue.

I had to laugh straight up when Samantha goes to a job interview as a surf instructor and has absolutely no idea what she is doing, lol, it’s something like I might do myself, in at the deep end and all that jazz.

On Samantha’s first day, a body washes up in the surf and she is drawn into a murder mystery that sees her putting herself in danger while uncovering secrets and trying to clear the names of those closest to her.

I loved the cast of characters who are part of Aloha Lagoon and who welcome Samantha to the island. There’s hunky British bartender Casey, who I’m totally in love with, what a hunny he is. Then there’s fabulous new best friend Alani who owns the surf shop. Samantha’s brother Luke is a great brother even if he can be moody at times. Alani’s grandmother is good fun and I enjoy the scenes she is in while the girls are gathering information (or is that gossip).

The bad guys are not very nice at all, and really, they aren’t overly smart either. But they can be dangerous. There is plenty of intrigue as the murder is uncovered.

I really enjoyed my first visit to Aloha Lagoon Resort and am going back to visit Samantha and co tonight with Lethal Tide. If I could I’d consider moving there for the perfect weather alone. I am concerned about the murder rate however.

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Aloha Lagoon Boxset books 1-3 Amazon US

Beth Prentice Website

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New Release Book Review: Home For June by Juliet Madison

I absolutely loved this lovely second chance romance. I have all of Juliet’s books and I’ve loved every one that I’ve read. I have all the Tarrin’s Bay books, but for some reason I haven’t gotten round to reading any before now. Home For June was absolutely enjoyable, so I’m going to have to go back to The January Wish and start from the beginning of the series. They are definitely able to be read as standalone novels though.

Screenshot_20190709_115504I’ m glad I have finally gotten to experience Tarrin’s Bay, I think I’d like to move there in fact.

In Home For June we meet Hannah who is making moves to leave Tarrin’s Bay to live in Sydney (big mistake, I hate cities). We also meet Luca who is returning to Tarrin’s Bay after leaving 20 years beforehand. These two were friends in high-school and had a connection but nothing ever happened. Is it too late now or can they find out where that connection might lead.

I loved these two characters, Hannah and her plans, her need to have everything laid out exactly as it’s going to play out. I enjoyed the times she let go and was spontaneous. But afterwards it was straight back to following the plan.

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This is my favourite line and I’m lucky Juliet made a meme just for me to use (lol). Hannah was so stubborn about veering off the plan, I so hoped she could see what might be had by doing just that.

Luca was a beautiful guy, having lost his mum just recently and having made the decision to start a new and set down roots in Tarrin’s Bay, I loved the way he threw some disorder into Hannah’s carefully laid out plans.

I really enjoyed the interactions between these two characters, I liked how the relationship grew and changed and made them both take stock. Working together to create Luca’s dream restaurant pushed them together and allowed for these changes.

I enjoyed the secondary characters, Hannah’s parents especially, they were great people and cause for some added humour. Luca’s brother Stefan had a great relationship with Luca, if only all siblings could have such a great relationship.

Juliet Madison always manages to infuse her novels with humour and this one is no exception. Her characters are relatable, as are their problems and circumstances. A lovely feelgood romance.

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

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New Release Book Review: Love and Other Battles by Tess Woods

Tess Woods is not afraid to tackle difficult subjects. Her last book tackled refugees and how they often struggle to fit into our society and how we as a society treat them. This time she tackles several important topics, but I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll try to be vague.

davThere are three time lines threaded through this novel and three generations, all connected in the present 2017 timeline.

CJ, a Seventeen year old high-school student is dealing with and going through so many things, my heart was in my throat for the first half of this novel whenever I came to her chapters. This novel took me a lot longer to read than it normally would, not because it wasn’t good, it was fabulous, but because CJ’s plight triggered my anxiety and I had to put the book down everytime I read her part of the story. This says much about Tess’s ability to write characters that are completely relatable. The fact I could put myself in CJ’s story so completely despite having passed that point over 20 years ago is impressive. I was also able to completely relate to CJ’s mum Jamie and her struggle despite not having children of my own and Jamie’s mum, Jess’s dilemmas also, despite never having had a love like hers or never having had to deal with the turmoil and decisions she is being forced to deal with. Three generations and I could put myself in each of their shoes.

Today’s youth have an even tougher time than when I went through school. I dealt with much of what CJ deals with, but at least I didn’t have to deal with the added threat and fallout of social media and smart phones. They may have their benefits, but they most certainly have their downfalls, and the issues our children deal with need to be bought into the forefront of society’s minds and youth of both sexes need to be educated in how to behave, how to treat people and how to deal with these issues when they do arise.

Jess’s timeline starts in the time of the Vietnam War, I’ve recently read a couple of novels set during this time, which I think added an extra layer to this timeline for me. Reading about Jess and Frank and their dreams, beliefs and differences and the reality of the Vietnam war, was one of my favourite dynamics in this novel.

Jamie’s story, starting in 2000 wasn’t as involved as the other two time lines, but had a huge bearing on CJ’s story and on who Jamie is in 2017.

I loved this novel, once I passed the worst of what CJ was going through, I couldn’t put the book down until I’d finished. I thoroughly enjoyed all three timeline stories and loved the way they entwined together to form the bigger picture. This is a heartwarming and thought-provoking novel, that will take you on a journey of emotions, it’s a story of love, family, secrets and so much more, dealing with many issues that need to have people thinking and talking.

 

Book Review: A Lifetime of Impossible Days by Tabitha Bird

I have just finished a story that has touched my heart and soul so deeply. I cried bucket loads for nearly half the book, and I can’t stop crying. It’s not all sad crying, there’s healing in these tears, healing, happiness and hope. I moved from one emotion to the next, on to the next, and found I couldn’t and didn’t want to put the book down.

“Grammy doesn’t wipe my face, but she moves her chair closer. She says you shouldn’t wipe people’s tears away because they have the right to cry them. Instead you should sit beside them so they don’t have to cry alone.” 

davI’m not sure I’ve ever read a book that touched me so much, and that’s saying something because I’ve read a lot of books. This was an incredibly powerful story, incredibly written and inspired and brave. This book has some amazing lines and words to live by. Grammy and Silver Willa have some of the best things to pass on to us.

“Believing impossible stuff is the start of how we make it possible.”

Three Willa’s, aged 8, 33 & 93. Three Willa’s who have lived through trauma, and are all still dealing with that trauma at different stages of their lives. It’s a story of magic, magic from a jar with an ocean inside and magic from within, magic we aren’t always aware we have inside us.

I fell in love with 93-year-old Silver Willa from the first page, with her fabulous gumboots and her fading memories. She’s such a character and has some wonderful lines, all the while trying to remember some very important things that she writes in her notebook. Willa is on a mission, when she can remember that is.

Ninety-three is the kind of age that has infinite potential to shock and annoy people. I’m fabulously old enough to wear red with purple, spots with stripes. To say whatever flitters into my head and pretend I haven’t the faintest clue why people are huffing and puffing. To need sensible shoes and then turn around and buy yellow gumboots.”

Middle Willa was the hardest character for me to like to begin with, but she definitely left her mark on my heart by the end of it. Middle Willa is still trying to deal with her childhood trauma and it is a struggle to do this. Middle Willa’s two children are great, especially Eli who can see the magic that happens with the house and the ocean in the garden that comes from a jar.

8-year-old Super Gumboots Willa is a child full of potential and imagination, who uses her stories to survive those things that are too hard to remember. This small girl has a huge heart and is so full of a mix of emotions.

We travel through this story, uncovering the past and the present from the three Willa’s viewpoints. At times heartbreaking and at others life-affirming, the journey is one that will stay with me.

“I’m going to tell you something. It took me too long to deal with the hurt my father caused me. Your mother was grown and married to your father before I could see how little I knew about letting Shane go and loving myself. Instead, I gave all these wounded lessons to your mother as a child and she in turn gave them to you. Oh, what a marvellous job we all do of passing brokenness down through the generations. Maybe you don’t want to keep that particular tradition? “

I do want to say there are some definite triggers in this novel, so just be aware when you are picking it up.

A wonderfully brave and powerful story that I can’t recommend enough. Thank you to Tabitha Bird and Penguin Books Australia for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

 

 

New Release Book Review: The Lost Letters of Esther Durrant by Kayte Nunn

The Lost Letters of Esther Durrant is a dual timeline novel set in both 1951 & 2017. The book starts in 1951 with Esther’s husband taking her on a supposed holiday to the Scilly Islands, I was horrified at the turn of events when it turns out he is committing her to an asylum. I had to put the book down I was that disturbed that a husband could have the power to do something so underhanded. I felt Esther’s shock and disbelief in what was happening to her.

The lost lettersIn 2017 we have two separate stories, the first being Rachel, a marine scientist who gets a job on one of the Scilly islands and when an accident occurs she comes across some letters from 1952 addressed, but never sent to Esther. Rachel is very curious and touched by the letters and decides to try track down Esther and find out who wrote the letters.

We also meet Esther and her granddaughter Eve, Esther is telling Eve her life story for an autobiography of her life that they are writing.

The novel switches between the three storylines as we slowly uncover what happened to Esther on the island and learn the secrets she has been keeping for over 60 years.

Rachel was a tough character, afraid of getting close to people she flits from place to place, I found her interference with one of the characters in the story’s life to be wrong, even though she was coming from a place she thought was right. I really liked Jonah, one of the men living on the island that Rachel moves to, I found him such a warm and thoughtful guy and loved the way he pushed Rachel to think about her life and what she was doing with it.

There are many secrets uncovered in this novel and a few twists that I wasn’t expecting. I loved how Esther became a mountaineer, which back in the 50’s would have been nearly unheard of for a wife and mother. After all Esther had been through, she led an interesting life. The ability of a husband to commit his wife still leaves me cold, no matter what the reasons for him doing it, I can’t get over this fact, no discussion, nothing, Esther’s power and choices were completely taken away from her at this time. Thank goodness this is one thing that has changed since then.

This was a highly enjoyable story.

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