New Release Book Review: Echoes Between Us by Katie McGarry

Echoes between usI’m a big fan of Katie McGarry, her books are always full of emotions and she is never afraid to take you on a rollercoaster of an emotional ride. Echoes Between Us is no exception.

This novel is about two teenagers from different social groups whose surprise friendship through a school project makes them reassess their lives and their beliefs.

When I started this I wasn’t sure what to expect, it had aspects of the supernatural, bullying, a brain tumor, grief, and an alcoholic mother. It took me a little while to get into this story, but once I did, I was invested in the lives of Veronica and Sawyer, our two main characters.

We meet Veronica who is talking to her mother, who it turns out is a ghost only she can see. Veronica is struggling with the loss of her mother to a brain tumor while living with the knowledge and side effects of her own brain tumor. Veronica is a quirky character who I immediately liked, she’s self-assured and different, with three loyal friends. She doesn’t fit in at school, her quirkiness and her often time strange behaviour cause many of the other teenagers to spread nasty rumours about her and treat her like being weird is a bad thing. Veronica thinks she’s ok with her tumor and that she is dealing with things in a positive way, but as the story progresses, she learns that maybe she isn’t living as much as she thought, but rather, just waiting to die.

Then we meet Sawyer, one of the in-crowd, whose mother has just rented the downstairs apartment from Veronica’s dad. These two are not friends by any means, both having a natural disdain for the other. Sawyer has a secret, he chases an adrenaline high to get him through his life, just like an alcoholic or drug addict would. The difference with Sawyer is, he knows it is dangerous and he wants to stop, which leads him to attend an AA meeting and gain a sponsor, Knox, who becomes an important part of Sawyer’s life.

When Veronica needs a partner for an English assignment, she chooses Sawyer to be her partner to the shock/horror of everyone, including Sawyer’s mother, who is a right piece of works. Sawyer’s mother is a drunk, she’s also manipulative and controlling, and I didn’t like her one little bit.

Sawyer and Veronica’s relationship starts off extremely rocky, with only the assignment in common, the assignment being Veronica’s choice, to show that ghosts are real. What starts off as a very rocky truce, soon changes as they both start to realise they actually like who the other person is, especially when they aren’t around their respective friends. I enjoyed these two getting to know each other, and I enjoyed the way they pushed each other outside of their comfort zones in really taking a look at their lives and the people around them.

There were some sad and confronting parts in the story, I admit to getting teary at times. There is also some very interesting knowledge I learned about alcoholics and those who support them. I feel sorry, especially for the teens out there who end up mothering their parents, essentially enabling them in their illness.

Another great read from Katie McGarry that broached many important subjects and poked at many emotions.

Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Tor Teen for providing me with a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

New Release Book Review: The Blossom Twins by Carol Wyer

Screenshot_20200201_012336The Blossom Twins is book #5 in the Detective Natalie Ward series, I have read this series since the beginning and it gets better and better. The ending of this book completely screwed with my head. I’m still in shock from what the author has done. I even had to go back a page to make sure I’d actually read what I had read.

Detective Natalie Ward has to investigate the death of a girl at a concert, followed by the death of two twins. Determining whether these deaths are related whilst following many red herrings proves to be a difficult task. Years before Natalie was involved in the murder investigation of two sets of twins, it is a case that has haunted her ever since. Natalie is a good cop, and she has good instincts, something which over the course of this series has helped her solve the difficult cases she’s been assigned. Now her instincts tell her, these murders are related to the old ones.

Natalie and her team are assigned DS John Briggs to help in the investigation, he previously worked on the case of the Blossom Twins with Natalie and there is no love lost between them and I can see why, what an arrogant asshole he is.

All the while these cases are going on, Natalie is still dealing with the breakdown of her marriage, her loser of a husband, and is trying to find the right time to tell her two teenaged kids she is moving out and leaving their dad. Police work has always been a hard thing to balance with her family life and this case is causing that balance to be completely overthrown.

This was a hell of a case to follow and I can understand how frustrating it can be for police when following up leads and dealing with witnesses who don’t want to cooperate. Natalie and her team do a great job but they are up against the clock and the mind of a serial killer. This book will leave you reeling.

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

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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

 

Nonfiction Readers Challenge: Bowraville by Dan Box

Nonfictionchallenge2020

Screenshot_20200130_091042Since signing up to the Nonfiction Readers Challenge I’m inspired to read a few more nonfiction books this year. I chose to do the Nonfiction Nipper, which was to read 3 books from any category. I’ve got quite a few nonfiction books lined up to read this year, so I’m positive I’ll be able to move up to the next level.

My first book is something very different for me. Bowraville by Dan Box is a true crime novel, that is also, in my opinion part memoir.

I listened to the audiobook of this which is read by Dan Box, something I prefer when listening to a memoir as I think they can really get across the emotions and messages they are trying to convey.

This is just one terrible story of injustice that has happened in Australia and to the Aboriginal people. Three children murdered in a space of 5 months and now 29 years later their families have never had justice.

We hear about the officers who were first approached when each child went missing and how the families were told, “They’ve probably gone walkabout”. One of these children was 4 years old! I was disgusted by the behaviour of the police at the beginning of these events and then completely disbelieving of the way the cases were handled once they were deemed something more sinister. The local police, who were in no way up to handling a missing person case let alone a murder case, or serial murders, were given very little help from the authorities in the city.

Dan tells an interesting story that made me angry at the way aboriginal people were and are treated in the event of a crime. The racism in the town was just as disappointing and I’m baffled how people think the way they do.

Sometimes the story felt a bit repetitive, but I think that was Dan Box’s way of reiterating the injustice of these cases and the injustices of the law.

A worthwhile read if you are interested in true crime and the way the law doesn’t always work.

New Release Book Review: The Sinful Scot by Maddison Michaels

The sinful scotFirstly HAPPY RELEASE DAY  to Maddison Michaels.

I am a big fan of Maddison Michaels’ Regency romances ever since reading her first book The Devilish Duke followed by The Elusive Earl,  so I was really looking forward to the newest book in the Saints and Scoundrels series, The Sinful Scot.

This was slightly different from the first two books in the series, dealing with a couple of serious subject matters, with domestic abuse being the main one. We meet our main character, Connie, not long after her abusive husband had beaten and threatened her just before she is due to go down to a party they are hosting. This sets the scene for what Connie has endured for the past 3 years and gives you an understanding of where she is coming from in her lack of trust in both herself and Alec, our hero.

Alec is a doctor and her childhood friend who she snubbed because he didn’t fit her mother’s idea of who she should associate with. Alec is a very lovely hero and just the kind of guy you would want to have your back when you are on the run from the law for supposedly killing your husband whilst also running for your life. As Alec and Connie attempt to uncover the dreadful secrets her husband has been hiding while trying to clear her name, the chemistry between them starts to heat up. Unfortunately, they have both had their hearts broken and are both trying to be in complete denial about their feelings for each other.

As they learn more about themselves and each other, their interactions are often amusing, but just as often serious. I liked how Connie is forced to grow throughout the story, I enjoy a heroine who doesn’t need to be rescued,  and Connie, while needing help to be rescued to start, comes into her own as the story progresses and Alec recognises that they need to work together.

For me, this story started off slightly slow, but when it picked up the pace, it was nonstop action and intrigue as they both try to outrun the police, some unknown assailants, and Fergus, her husband’s brother in order to prove her innocence and save her from two possible terrible outcomes. There was a definite twist in the ending of the novel, the bad guy was definitely not anyone I could have even guessed at, always a good thing in a mystery. I do enjoy a book with a happy ending.

Another great read by Maddison Michaels, I recommend picking up the other two books in the series also.

With thanks to Maddison Michaels, Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

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New Release Book Review: Two Hearts Healing by Renee Dahlia

Two Hearts HealingTwo Hearts Healing by Renee Dahlia is book 3 in the Merindah Park series and focuses on the third sibling Serena and her trainer boss Lee.

Serena is recovering from an accident whilst riding in a horse race, she’s dealing with the recovery of both physical injuries and traumatic brain injury. It is definitely not an easy time and Renee Dahlia does a great job of showing us some of the many impacts TBI can have on a person, while reminding us it is different for everyone and whilst someone can look physically ok, that doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling with hidden issues.

Serena is stubborn, whereas before the accident she would do as she was told, she is starting to find her voice and make decisions based on what she truly wants and feels is important to her, the top two things on her list are to ride again and to kiss Lee.

Lee has been blaming himself for Serena’s accident and has cut himself off from Shannon, Serena’s brother, and his friend, as well as from Serena. When she turns up unexpectedly asking for help to get back on a horse, Lee is left feeling emotions he has no idea how to deal with. His relationship with his parents has played a major role in how Lee sees himself and how he holds himself emotionally around others, and Serena is about to test every one of those walls and boundaries he has put around himself.

I really enjoyed these two characters, and while the banter between them was fun, there were also misunderstandings, arguments, and revelations. There is plenty of growth in store for both characters as they negotiate their feelings for each other and try and figure out what they want and what it means to have those things. 

We met Serena in book two Making Her Mark as she is Rachel’s twin and they were both struggling to build a real relationship between each other as they are both quite different people. While in Making Her Mark Serena had Rachel’s back, it is nice to see their relationship has continued to grow and this time Rachel is there for Serena.

I have learnt a great deal about the horseracing industry through this series, in book one Merindah Park there is the issue of gambling, then in Making her Mark I leanrt about the extra work female jockeys have to do to get the same respect as their male counterparts, and in Two Hearts Healing I learnt about the care of horses and the issue of finding the correct homes for them when they can no longer race. It is evident that Renee Dahlia has great knowledge and love of this industry and is determined to educate us about what really goes on.

I’ve really enjoyed this series so far and I really hope there is a fourth for the last brother Shannon.

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

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