Domestic Noir/thriller/drama isn’t a genre I read a lot of, years ago I did, but these days I limit my reading to just a few select authors. Louise Guy’s newest novel had me completely hooked whilst also being scared to read on because I was so anxious about what was going on for the characters and what would happen next.
Louise Guy has written characters who seemed so real to me that I was drawn into their dramas, their relationships and their emotions as if I actually knew these people, especially Jess and Reeve. It took me a bit longer to relate to Reeve than Jess, but once caught I was horrified at what she was going through with her possible early onset dementia and the repercussions of things she had no knowledge of doing or saying. Jess’s past trauma within the foster system was terrible and it doesn’t help to know that these sorts of things still occur, I liked that Jess as an adult was working in the foster system in order to try to make things better for those going through now. As things in Jess’s past come to light both good and bad secrets are uncovered.
Not only are Jess and Reeve going through their personal dramas but added to that is the passing of Martin and what this means to both women and the consequences of his life and his death.
As the story progressed I began to have a few theories about what was going on and my anxiety ramped up, I wondered if things were going to turn out well or not. While one of my theories was correct, there were many twists in the story that had me thinking ‘oh my god’ quite a few times.
This was a well-written novel with its secrets woven carefully together to create an engaging read that I recommend to anyone who enjoys this genre.
About the book
Family are the ones you can trust…aren’t they?
Reeve Elliot and Jessica Williams are polar opposites. In contrast to Reeve’s privileged upbringing, Jess suffered intense emotional trauma in the foster care system—trauma she’s tried to bury yet has recently come back to haunt her.
As Jess does her best to deal with her past, tragedy shakes the foundations of Reeve’s present. But heartbreak and grief come with a silver lining—the unexpected knowledge she has a half-sister, Jess.
Discovering their biological link, Reeve pushes to form a bond with her sister, a bond tested by Reeve’s unpredictable behaviour and fears she is following in her mother’s footsteps of early-onset-dementia.
But family is everything, and the sisters are committed to supporting each other. However, that’s easier said than done when a large inheritance is at stake, and the lines between greed and family and right and wrong begin to blur.
Someone is lying. Someone is manipulating the truth. But is it one of the sisters? And are they even sisters at all?
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this series, though, with the amount of crime and danger the people of Stormcloud Station deal with, I’m kind of glad I don’t work there. In this 6th and final novel in the series, more danger is afoot for one of Stormcloud’s own, Indy and undercover police officer Finn.
Finn and Indy have a connection from their first meeting, though where Finn is completely taken with Indy, Indy herself is a bit on and off about her feelings for Finn to start with. She also makes some decisions due to her being pretty headstrong that place her in unnecessary danger.
Once again Suzanne Cass has created some complex characters with issues they need to deal with and pasts that could come back to bite them. It’s a fast-paced read with plenty of suspense, action and romance. We meet some newcomers on the muster as well as the found family members of Stormcloud who get drawn into the drama of murder and drug running. Who among them can be trusted is the big question that puts some level of fear into them all. The answers show just how far some people will go for money, power or revenge.
I’m sad to say goodbye to the people of Stormcloud, but I enjoyed the epilogue which set the scene for a positive future for all.
This book was so good and so original, I was lucky enough to get an early copy and then I reread it on kindle unlimited and enjoyed it just as much the second time around. For a novel that is just over 100,000 words, I flew through it in two sittings without once realising it was such a long novel. It flowed really well and I was fully engaged from the start to its HFN cliffhanger-like ending.
This book had so much humour I was constantly grinning at something our main characters were doing or saying, especially River, well mostly River in fact. He was absolutely adorable, a self-proclaimed sci-fi geek who strongly believes aliens are real and gets far more than he bargains for when he and his uncle Benji follow their neighbour who they believe is an alien.
I loved Kai, the very straight-laced alien in charge of keeping aliens on earth safe, and when River shows up at their top secret base his life is thrown into turmoil, but the best kind.
I adored River and his rambling, his humour and his pop culture references. I loved the way he set his sights on Kai and didn’t let Kai’s taciturn behaviour put him off one little bit. Kai has had a bad past experience with dating a human, so initially fights his attraction to River, somethings just can’t be fought though. These two were made for each other. Their relationship though fast timewise is also slow burn and I enjoyed every bit of it.
I thought the cast of side characters was also really great, Uncle Benji and River’s BFF Evan and Kai’s parents Maddox and Ellie and his brother Mal all just made for a wonderful treat. Along with all the crew from the ANAL team.
I also enjoyed the snippets of River’s tentacle porn story he writes and would love at some stage to read the whole thing.
I can’t wait for book 2, I just wish it were December already.
More about #TentacularTales Book 1
A sexy alien living incognito on Earth meets a sci-fi-loving nerd who wants to rock his universe. What could possibly go wrong? Besides the unexpected tentacles and the accidental Mating Courtship Ritual, that is…
It’s Not Unusual to be Loved by an Alien (Tentacular Tales #1) is a (102,000 words) M/M sci-fi rom-com featuring an adorkable twink with unexpected secrets and a slight obsession with extraterrestrials, the reluctant alien he wants to make his boo, tentacles with a mind of their own, zany extraterrestrial shenanigans in Sin City, and enough humour to fill an entire spaceship. This is the first book in the series. There is no cheating, and this book ends with an HFN. Never fear, the series guarantees readers a HEA by the end!
I was excited to hear there was going to be a new series set in the Vino and Veritas world and I loved being back there in the first book Wildfire (In Vino Veritas #1).
Oh boy, Kai and Joss, what can I say, they are both damaged and slightly broken, or that is how they see themselves, both for different reasons. Kai is struggling with PTSD after being involved with a terrible accident he could do nothing to stop, and Joss has ADHD and non-verbal Tourettes, which he has learned to live with, but wishes he liked these parts of himself better.
Joss can’t settle anywhere, he’s searching for something but has no idea what, when he turns up at Vino and Veritas to start up the kitchen for his friend, he plans on being there a few months, long enough to set things up then he can take off again for new places.
Kai is working at Vino and Veritas, hiding from life after his experience, afraid to be around people and afraid to move on from where his life has taken a detour.
These two men, wow, Garrett Leigh has done a great job of portraying their issues and really making me care about both of them. I loved Joss’s quirkiness and could understand a lot of his issues with ADD having it myself. I thought the connection they had was beautiful, the way they just got each other and accepted each other’s quirks and tried to make things easier for each other without even thinking about it; when you find someone like this it’s a once-in-a-lifetime connection. They both have a lot to work through, as individuals and as a couple, but it is so worth it.
I didn’t want to put this book down, reading through until I couldn’t keep my eyes open because I was so invested in these two men.
I loved catching up with the characters I came to know in the original series, it was like catching up with old friends and seeing how they were getting on.
I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series as they become available.
About the Book
A gorgeous new sexual awakening romance with sizzling first times, snarky British banter, and off-the-charts chemistry.
Life doesn’t always pan out as you expect. When it explodes in my face, literally, an old friend offers me a place to heal and a job renovating the kitchen of Burlington’s coolest wine bar.
V&V is a chill fest. Living above it should be a blast. But I’m not built to be a social butterfly. Not anymore. I’m a damaged man.
And I’m not its target clientele.
At least, I think I’m not until I come face to face with the most beautiful human I’ve ever seen. Joss is the new chef and my roommate. He has hair like spun gold and it’s as pretty as the rest of him. Crystal blue eyes. Megawatt smile.
I can’t stop staring. Or thinking about him. He chases my nightmares away. And when he spots my crush a mile off, his solution to our chemical attraction blows my mind.
An experiment of sorts. Science. Is this sexual exploration or sex education?
Either way, Joss is only here for the summer. He’s leaving.
I can’t fall in love with him.
Shame my foolish heart never got the memo.
WILDFIRE is a heartfelt MM friends-to-lovers, hurt/comfort romance in the True North world, with a brooding lumbersexual, a wild-hearted chef, sweet angst and all the Vermont food. Content warning: contains mentions of depression, ADHD, suicidal ideation, and PTSD recovery.
The Return to Nam series has been one of the best series I’ve read. I couldn’t believe it when I looked it up that it had been 4 years since I read The Nam Legacy, I can still feel the impact of that first novel, still, remember the characters who became so real to me I felt like I actually knew them. I can still remember how realistic the scenes in Vietnam were, the trials Jack & Terry and their mates went through to fight for a cause they didn’t really understand.
And now 4 years later we get Jackie’s story, Jack’s daughter from his time in Vietnam, and the final book in this highly recommended series, a fitting and emotional end to all that has come to pass.
Carole Brungar has managed to do it again, to create another highly emotional journey that takes Jackie (and us the reader) on a journey of self-discovery as she fulfils a promise to Terry (one of my favourite characters from this series), the only father she’s ever known. Set nearly 33 years after she was rescued from a Vietnamese orphanage and taken to New Zealand, Jackie reluctantly makes plans to return to Vietnam for the first time and to try to track down the family and the history that she left behind.
Jackie’s relationship with her adoptive father Terry and her stepmother Frankie, whose love story we got to experience in The Nam Shadow was so wonderfully powerful, the love between them was so strong. Jackie was so lucky to have had Terry in her life, and she knew how lucky she was both to have had him as her father and to have been rescued from what her life could have been as an orphan during wartime, and Terry felt the same, their father/daughter relationship was something to be jealous of, from the moment of her rescue, both of their lives were changed for the better.
Jackie was a highly-strung, but very likeable character, her past trauma has formed who she has become and she holds herself to high expectations and doesn’t really do social engagements or relationships. When she bumps into Jeff, an old friend from her student days, things Jackie thought she was happy with in her life are about to be questioned. I loved Jeff, oh to meet a guy who feels about me the way Jeff feels about Jackie (swoon). They are both married to their jobs, but I held out hope throughout that they would work things out, especially knowing how long Jeff had been in love with Jackie.
Jackie’s return to Vietnam was extremely hard for her, she was lucky she had Frankie to go with her and support her through her journey. I enjoyed rediscovering the places I first experienced with Frankie in The Nam Shadow when she was a war photographer, it was a little like I was taking a walk down memory lane with her as she showed Jackie the places that meant something to her and Terry and remembered the people and experiences she’d lived through. Jackie was averse to meeting her mother’s relatives, finding out she had half-sisters and aunts and cousins didn’t mean anything to her when she set out on her journey. It’s amazing what actually meeting people and discovering another culture can do to change our entire perspective on our life, as Jackie discovers on her journey.
Jackie’s trip to Vietnam heralds many changes and she makes some major decisions that will affect both her future and her future with Jeff. For someone who assesses every tiny thing in her life before she makes a decision, meeting up with Jeff again and returning to Vietnam, changes Jackie in big ways.
This was a wonderful ending to this series, I wish it could keep going, I have loved the way Carole Brungar has managed to weave the many characters from the different novels so as they are so intertwined and turn up unexpectedly in each book. I highly recommend this novel and the preceding novels in this series and though you can read it as a standalone, you will get the full feeling for this series if you read it from the beginning.
Oh, and you will need tissues just like you will in each novel.
This was a sweet, low angst read that I really enjoyed. I haven’t read the first in this series but will be going back to remedy that to see how Nick and Jacob get together.
In Fire in the Ice we get Kevin and Tyler’s story, they knew each other in school and stayed in touch for years, Kev always had a huge crush on Tyler, but Tyler thought he was too you, and he was in love with NIck anyway. (Tyler and Nick’s story is in a novella which I haven’t read either).
When this story starts Tyler has been traded to the Bethesda Barracudas, Kevin and Nick’s team and while Nick is happy to be able to play with Tyler again, Kev is not. Their friendship was seen by both very differently and Tyler’s decision to not keep up the communication between them has led to Kev feeling pretty hurt.
After the initial passive/aggressive behaviour from Kevin, the two eventually sit down and communicate and from then on love is on the cards. I loved that they communicated how they felt, that they weren’t afraid to show each other how they felt and that because of their past history they were comfortable with each other and pet names came easily (I can’t say I really liked the whole giving their dicks a name, but each to their own).
The sad part about their blossoming relationship was that they had to keep it a secret from their friends and teammates. The NHL and its fans have become more tolerant of LGBT+ players, but it seems two players on the same team being in a relationship might be too much. There was plenty of secrecy, drama and worry about being found out and then when they are found out, everything comes to a head.
I liked that the majority of their team and the hierarchy were supportive of their relationship, some of the behaviours, well, one in particular shocked me, but mostly everyone was great. I’m not sure how true to life this is in the hockey (or sports) world, but I like that in fiction it can play out the way I wish it would in the real world.
I enjoyed the guys’ parents hitting it off the way they did, there were some amusing scenes with Tyler’s dad and Kev’s mum. I also loved how supportive they all were of each other, just how a family should be.
I’m looking forward to reading Ice Angles because one of my favourite characters was Cleevs and he gets his story in this one.
This is also available as an audiobook read by Nick J Russo
Will saving Sapphire Cove help forge the union they crave, or will it drive them apart once more?
Sapphire Sunset, an all new emotional and captivating MM romance from New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice writing as C. Travis Rice, is available now!
For the first time, New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice writes as C. Travis Rice. Under his new pen name, Rice offers tales of passion, intrigue, and steamy romance between men. The first novel, SAPPHIRE SUNSET, transports you to a beautiful luxury resort on the sparkling Southern California coast where strong-willed heroes release the shame that blocks their heart’s desires.
Logan Murdoch is a fighter, a survivor, and a provider. When he leaves a distinguished career in the Marine Corps to work security at a luxury beachfront resort, he’s got one objective: pay his father’s mounting medical bills. That means Connor Harcourt, the irresistibly handsome scion of the wealthy family that owns Sapphire Cove, is strictly off limits, despite his sassy swagger and beautiful blue eyes. Logan’s life is all about sacrifices; Connor is privilege personified. But temptation is a beast that demands to be fed, and a furtive kiss ignites instant passion, forcing Logan to slam the brakes. Hard.
Haunted by their frustrated attraction, the two men find themselves hurled back together when a headline-making scandal threatens to ruin the resort they both love. This time, there’s no easy escape from the magnetic pull of their white hot desire. Will saving Sapphire Cove help forge the union they crave, or will it drive them apart once more?
What a great introduction to both this author and this series. I adored both of the MCs, Connor and Logan.
When these two meet the attraction is instant, when Logan shuts down anything happening with Connor I was holding back tears for them both, but I could really feel Connor’s hurt and my heart hurt for him, he’d put himself out there and got kicked to the kerb.
When it comes time for them to meet again 5 years down the track, I was reading with my fingers crossed the whole time. Two people from such different backgrounds, but who after 5 years had not let go of the connection they shared for that one night, and who were still instantly aware of each other, I could only hope that as things spiralled back and forward and as the dramas around Sapphire Cove unfolded and played out, that Connor and Logan could manage to create something wonderful between them. While both Logan and Connor came from different backgrounds, both carried their own baggage given to them by their families, in learning to love each other, they both needed to look at their pasts and put down the baggage and see it for what it is.
While the romance and chemistry between Connor and Logan were wonderful, the villains in the story were anything but. Connor’s uncle, Rodney, who from the get-go was an awful person and a wronged widow looking for someone to blame, these characters showed how easy it is to destroy people’s lives and businesses through blackmail and the power of social media.
There was plenty going on throughout this novel and there wasn’t a moment where I felt I was bored at all, I couldn’t stop reading, needing to know what was going to happen next and whether they were going to be able to pull both the hotel and their relationship out of the fire.
I am really looking forward to the next book in the Sapphire Cove series.
“Wow.” Logan’s voice echoed through the rocky chamber. Here, the sounds of the ocean surf softened into something that was more like a gurgling brook. What whitecaps the cave’s mouth captured were filtered down into something frothy and inviting amidst the labyrinth of low rocks within. The basic security lights at foot level threw a soft golden light across the metal struts that secured the rock ceiling overhead. “I used to come here all the time as a kid with my friends,” Connor said nervously. “There’re all kinds of caverns back here we used to play and hide in before my mom found out and busted us. She still has no idea they don’t go that deep. She still thinks you could get lost in here. But I’ve got an excellent sense of direction.” “Do you?” “Yeah, I usually know where things are headed.” “Makes sense, I guess. Your life’s kinda laid out for you, right? You’ll probably run this place someday, right? Heir apparent and all that.” “Oh, God. Do they still call me the prince?” Connor turned, resting his butt against the guardrail so he could focus on Logan. “Kinda.” “Is that a good thing? Should I be annoyed by that?” “Better to be the prince than a peasant, I guess,” Logan said. “Are those really the only two choices?” Logan laughed, but there was relief in it. As if Connor’s snarky response had shined a light on possibilities he hadn’t seen before now. “I guess not.” “Whatever. I’ll let it go.” Silence then, save for the gurgling of the sea pushing its way past them and deeper into the cave. Connor rested his elbows on the rail on either side of him, an attempt to look casual even though the sight of Logan leaning against the cave wall, hands in his pockets, studying Connor with a half smile made Connor feel welded in place. “All right, your turn.” “My turn for what?” Logan asked. “I told you mine, and my grandpa’s. What’s your magic moment?” “Okay.” Logan straightened. “So if I remember correctly, it’s like a moment when you’re doing something you love and you feel the most satisfied by it. Is that right?” “Exactly.” Connor was thrilled that Logan had listened so closely. “Well, my life is kind of starting over, so I’m kind of figuring out what it is I love to do. Kickboxing’s up there, but that’s more of a fast and furious kind of thing, and the high is mostly when I’m done. Not sure there’s really a magic hour there. There was some stuff about the Marines that I loved, especially once I was a staff sergeant and I was in the zone for gunnery sergeant. But a lot of it was tough, and a lot to hold.” “I’m sure.” When Logan started toward him through the shadows, Connor’s breath caught. His feet felt planted to the boards, and the sides of his face got tingly and hot. “So if I had to pick,” Logan said, “I’d pick this one.” “Walking rounds?” “No. I’d pick the moment when I’m finally all alone with a guy who drives me wild, and I know we’re about to kiss, but I’m not sure when. So there’s this tension in the air, and I can feel it. Everywhere.” They were inches apart now, so close Connor had to look up at him to maintain eye contact. “And we’re both circling, waiting for the right moment. And I’m trying to take it kinda slow because I know one little touch”—Logan gently grazed Connor’s cheek with the side of one finger—“and it might turn into a lot more than a kiss. But first, there’s a promise to be kept.” “What promise is that?” Connor asked in a squeaky whisper. “I believe you promised me a dance.” “Or you promised me one.” “Either way, seems like time.”
About C. Travis Rice C. Travis Rice is the pseudonym New York Times bestselling novelist Christopher Rice devotes to steamy tales of romance between men. Christopher has published multiple bestselling books in multiple genres and been the recipient of a Lambda Literary Award. With his mother, Anne Rice, he is an executive producer on the AMC Studios adaptations of her novels The Vampire Chronicles and The Lives of the Mayfair Witches. Together with his best friend and producing partner, New York Times bestselling novelist, Eric Shaw Quinn, he runs the production company Dinner Partners. Among other projects, they produce the podcast and video network, TDPS, which you can find at http://www.TheDinnerPartyShow.com.
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.
After reading Summer at Urchin’s Bluff and absolutely loving it, I jumped at the chance to read Autumn at Blaxland Falls. And how glad I am that I did, it was another wonderful read. Eliza Bennetts focuses on slightly older characters, women and men in their 40’s, single mums who are making a life for themselves and their child, who are learning who they are, what they want and how strong they can be when they need to be.
I loved meeting Jo and her daughter Sasha who have travelled from Urchin’s Bluff to Jo’s home town Blaxland Falls, a town she never wanted to return to, because of a job offer too good to pass up. Jo is a strong character, she’s completely relatable in that she’s strong because she’s had to be, she’s struggling with some huge traumatic secrets that have driven her for the last 16 years.
We meet Christian, who I initially couldn’t take to, a millionaire property tycoon who owns the lodge Jo is working at. But it wasn’t long before I could see he was just a man struggling with his own issues and dramas and I fell for him as hard as Jo.
Sasha was a great kid, well-grounded with all the normal teenage issues that go with moving to a new place and she is also going to have a lot to deal with throughout this story.
Jo’s mum is quite a character and not at all likeable to me to start with, but she was a character that grew on me and by the end, I thought she was great.
I loved Jo’s best friend Dee who helped Jo get the job and has been Jo’s rock throughout the years. I really related to Dee, 40 and single, with no kids, her job is her big focus, maybe not because she chose it to be that way, but because that’s the way the dice rolled.
Now we have Blake, a highly unlikeable character, Jo’s ex and the reason she left Blaxland Falls years before. Man, this guy should have been thrown off the falls. You can only hope as you read that he gets what he deserves.
This was a great read, I didn’t want to put it down because I became so caught up in the lives of these characters. A story of family, friendship, love and being true to yourself. The next book will be Dee’s story, and I can’t wait.
Thanks to the author for providing me with a digital copy of this book in return for an honest review.
A true Aussie rural retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I have to admit to having never read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I vaguely recall watching an adaptation years ago, but can’t honestly recall the story, though I have a vague gist of how it goes, along with the many Mr Darcy memes that are floating around.
I absolutely loved this novel, it was witty and fun, full of family and friendship and rural life. It’s been a long while since I picked up a book in the afternoon and refused to do anything other than read until I finished it, this book broke that drought.
The majority of characters in this book were so likeable and easy to relate to, it felt like I’d known them all for ages. I loved the Bennett family, especially Lizzie, our main character. She was headstrong and determined, she loved her family and her family farm and didn’t like being underestimated. Lizzie’s dad John was another favourite from the Bennett family, a wonderfully supportive dad, who had total faith in Lizzie and her ability as a farmer. I enjoyed the way he was portrayed and his reactions to his often overbearing wife brought a smile to my face.
Lizzie’s sisters and her friend Lottie were great support characters, especially Jane whose relationship with Charlie brings Will Darcy into Lizzie’s radar. These two clash completely, but maybe if they both keep an open mind, they might not have to be enemies. I really liked Will, a lot, I could just tell that underneath his snobbish exterior, there had to be more than met the eye.
There are of course the unlikeable characters, there were two of these, one very nasty female who thought she was all that when she really wasn’t and one slimy cowboy, who thought the same about himself. These two characters separately cause plenty of anxiety and issues between our characters.
This was a really heartwarming tale about being true to who you are and taking a risk on love.
Thanks to Hachette Australia and the author for providing me with a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.