A-Z Author Challenge – Update

A-Z

I’ve now crossed off 4 letters from the A-Z Authors Challenge, M, Q, W, X, I’m going slowly, but I am 1 book behind, I may have to make changes to the books I’ve put down, but for now I’ll leave it as it is.

A – Alissa Callen – The Boundary Fence

B – Anna Bradley – To Wed a Wild Scot

C – T.M Clark – Cry of the Firebird

D – Pip Drysdale – The Strangers We Know

E – Ella Carey – Beyond the Horizon

F – Fiona Lowe – Just an Ordinary Family

G – Kathryn Gauci – Conspiracy of Lies

H –  Susan Hoddy – Security

I – Sue Ingleton – Making Trouble

J- Rachael Johns – Just One Wish

K – kim Kelly – Walking

L – Julian Leatherdale – The Opal Dragonfly

M- Katie McGarry – Echoes Between Us

N- Joanna Nell – The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker

O – Sunni Overend –

P – P.J Tracy – Ice Cold Heart

Q – Kate Quinn – The Alice Network

R – Kelly Rimmer –  The Things We Cannot Say

S – Sasha Wasley – Love Song

T – Kendall Talbot – Out of Luck

U – Jacquie Underdown – Meet Me in the Middle

V – Vanessa Diffenbaugh – The Language of Flowers

W – Carol Wyer – The Blossom Twins

X – Alix E Harrow – The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Y

Z – Tiffany Reisz – The Rose

Book Bingo 2020 – Round 2: Friendship, Family, Love – Gang of Four by Liz Byrski

This is the second post for #BookBingo2020 hosted by Theresa Smith Writes & Mrs B’s Book Reviews & The Book Muse

IMG_20200208_101625Gang of Four

Gang of Four by Liz Byrski was chosen as our bookclub read at my face to face bookclub, I’ve read other books by Liz Byrski in the past and thoroughly enjoyed them, and this one was just as good as I remember them being. This fit perfectly into the Friendship, Family, Love square as this book had all three in huge amounts.

The four women in this novel are all dealing with different things, but it takes Isabel making the decision to take a year for herself away from her husband and grown-up children, to make the other three women take a good look at their own lives and decide to make changes too.

These three women, Isabel, Grace, Sally and Robin are all so different, and my feelings towards each of them went through many changes through the course of the novel as I got to know them, their backgrounds and their dreams. They all changed a lot during the year they took to find themselves and discover what they needed to to live life more fully.

There was trauma, the loss of a child, the loss of self, family expectations, affairs, secrets,  growth, death, illness and love in its many shades. It was a really enjoyable tale that made me look at some of the things in my life and wonder.

FB_IMG_1577105032228 #AWW2020 8/50

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.

A-Z Author Challenge – X

 

A-Z Author Challenge post #2

X is a hard letter to find an author for, luckily they are a bit lenient and you can use a name with X in. So I picked Alix E. Harrow’s The Ten Thousand Doors of January.

It was the cover and the title that drew me to this book without even knowing what it was about. Then I saw that author Tabitha Bird was reading it and she said it was good, so I thought I’d give it a go, it sounded different in a magical kind of way, and that interested me. Magic is something we need more of in this crazy world.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is indeed about magic and believing in the unbelievable, it’s about adventure, hope, love, loss and good and evil.

I will say that it took me a while to be completely captured by this novel, it wasn’t that I wasn’t enjoying it per se, but I just couldn’t really grasp where it was leading me. It wasn’t until about page 130ish that it all started to come together and I began to be hooked on finding out what magic was in these pages.

At first, we are introduced to January, a young girl of odd colouring, a coppery-red colour, who doesn’t fit into society’s norms, nor have the right colour skin for society as it was in the early 1900s. She is talking about Doors with a capital D, trying to explain them to us, her readers. We meet her benefactor, a Mr Locke who doesn’t really seem as good as she seems to think he is at the beginning of the story. We also hear of her father, Julian or Yule Ian, who is always off on quests for Mr Locke and barely sees his daughter.

Interspersed with January’s tale is another tale written in the form of a book, this I think is where I became a bit lost and wondered how it was all going to come together. But when it did become clear, I was compelled to keep reading.

January does a great deal of growing up in this story, as things happen to her and she starts to uncover the truth about who she is and who her parents were and especially who Mr Locke and he society are, things begin to go wildly out of control for her and so begins an adventure of great proportions as she goes on the run for her life and simultaneously hunts for the truth.

The Doors are a wonderful concept, that there are fissures, thin places that sometimes people find and discover a doorway leading to all manner of worlds, though not all of them are good places to visit. I really love this and so want to believe that they do exist, maybe from growing up reading first Enid Blyton’s books, especially The Enchanted Woods and The Faraway tree and then onto Narnia and E.S. Nesbitt’s books as well as of course The Wizard of OZ and Alice in Wonderland, I’ve retained that childhood belief in magic and other worlds.

This is a unique novel that I highly enjoyed once it all came together.

GR Aussie Book Bingo Challenge #1

One of my challenges for 2020 was the GR Aussie Book Bingo. Every fortnight on a wednesday I will aim to post which square I’m crossing off of the GR Aussie Book Bingo card.

There are 4 levels to the challenge:

  • Shelf: (10 books – 2 rows)
  • Bookcase (15 books – 3 rows)
  • Library (20 books – 4 rows)
  • To Infinity and Beyond ( 25 books – 5 rows)

Obviously I’m aiming towards infinity.

Screenshot_20200107_220846This week it is the square Rated 4+ by a friend

I’m going with Rania Battany’s novel Fleeting Moments which was rated 5 stars by HappyValley BooksRead as well as Helen Sibbrit and Nas Dean  as well as 4 stars by Mrs B’s Book Reviews

My review was published last week and can be read here

Until next time, happy reading.

A-Z Author Challenge – Q

 

A-Z Author Challenge post #1 is Q, so, obviously I’m not going to be going in alphabethical order like I originally had in mind.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

 

I listened to the audiobook verion of this book and it is one that worked well for me, I’ll be looking for more by this narrator.

The Alice Network had me enthralled, this dual timeline narrative is set during the first World War and two years after the end of WW2.

The two main female characters were both very strong women, who did a lot of growing during the story.

Eve was a spy during the first World War and she was assigned to the Alice Network which was a real network, the most successful of it’s time. Eve’s story was full of intrigue and heart stopping moments, corruption and fear. She grapples with many issues during this time, one being her relationship formed with a betrayer of the people whilst she is undercover. This man is a truly horrible person and we meet with him in both timelines as what he does and who he is has far reaching consequences.

Charlie is from a rich American family who is being taken to get rid of an ‘unwanted’ problem. On the spur of the moment, with not much of a plan, she absconds from her mothers clutches and goes off to search for her cousin who went missing two years before in France. Her only lead is Eve, who begrudginly agrees to help (very begrudginly). After meeting Eve and hearing her story as she searches for her cousin, Charlie learns to really understand what she wants and who she is as well as learning to heal from the loss of her brother and her cousin.

Finn, Eve’s chauffeur and all job man, was a great character, I loved how he cared for Eve, and I loved how he fought his attraction to Charlie, you could feel his shift in loyalties as he got to know Charlie.

In searching for Charlie’s cousin old wounds are opened and old enemies come to the fore. We learn Eve’s story in alternating chapters, until we reach a time where she begins to tell her story to Finn and Charlie.

There were some important characters that play a big part in Eve’s story, all based on real characters. I can’t imagine the bravery and conviction these women especially, must of had to be spies during the time of war.

Eve and Charlie are both so different, but both broken and searching for something to heal that brokenness. Their relationship grows and changes throughout the story, having big impacts on them both and leading to an ending with unexpected results.

This was my first book by Kate Quinn and I’ll be looking for me to read by her in the future.

 

New Release Book Review – Last Bridge Before Home by Lily Malone

Last BridgeI loved the first two books in the Chalk Hill series, Water Under the Bridge and The Cafe by the Bridge and have been looking forward to Last Bridge Before Home. It certainly didn’t disappoint. Where The Cafe by the Bridge highlighted male depression and the need to ask for help, Last Bridge Before Home deals with another topical issue, domestic abuse.

Jaydah for all she comes across as a strong young woman is also an insecure young woman who has been physically and mentally abused for most of her life by her father who is an absolute bastard. It’s not just Jaydah who has been a victim to this vile excuse of a man, but also her mother and her sister Jasmine. Much of Jaydah’s life has been spent protecting them from her father and taking on responsibility for keeping them all safe. I can’t imagine living like Jaydah, being so afraid to tell anyone what is going on, keeping so many secrets all to herself, huge secrets that no one in the town of Chalk Hill has any idea about.

But is that really true? Well, one secret yes, but most people in Chalk Hill had an inkling that things weren’t exactly right with Jaydah’s father, but no one wanted to step up and ask questions, then afterwards they say ‘why didn’t you say something, why didn’t you tell us?’ way to pass the blame to the victim. This happens in real life all too often, no one wants to take responsibility for what might be going on behind closed doors, maybe we should start looking out for each other and asking the hard questions ‘Do you need help? Can I do anything? Is everything all right?’. Be there and let the people/person in question know that when they are ready, you are there, no judgement, just support.

Brix, what a lovely, loyal guy he was, and no pun intended, but what a ‘brick’ of a character he was. Jaydah has always been the love of his life and he has never given up hope that one day she will be his. Jaydah has kept her secrets even from Brix who thought he knew everything about her. I’m not sure how I would have coped if I found out all of my partners secrets and had to deal with all the issues that Brix does, but the way he took it all in his stride despite his worries about how he would deal with everything was fabulous and truly showed his love for Jaydah.

Another issue that Lily Malone deals with in this novel is the aspect of caring for someone with an intellectual disability and all it entails. She also delves into the dreams of people with a disability and what they can realistically expect when it comes to freedom of choice and their future. This is a hard topic as anyone who cares for or works with a person with disabilities can attest to. I work with people with disabilities and I can’t imagine what it would be like to have the responsibility for a person day in, day out, to make the hard choices, to explain why they can’t have everything they see others around them having. Dealing with the behaviours of people with intellectual disabilities is challenging and Lily Malone has done a great job with both her character portrayal and showing the good and the bad of living with such a challenge.

There were many tense moments in this novel, there were heartbreaking moments, moments of joy, moments I wanted to take one of Jaydah’s kali sticks and whack her father across the head for her, there were ups and downs and many wonderful moments threaded through this novel making it an absolute joy to read despite its darkness.

I hope we get to visit Chalk Hill again and see how the three brothers and their partners are going, along with their extended families.

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

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My Top Reads of the Decade – or part there of

So, Theresa from Theresa Smith Writes decided since this was the end of a decade, (something that didn’t really compute until that conversation) that on top of doing the regular top 10 or 15 books read this year that she would do a post on the top reads of the decade. I decided to have a go at this too, my records only go back about 7 years, so it’s not really the whole decade, but most of the decade lol. This was incredibly hard and just like my top 10 or 15 reads of the year, I’ve picked them for a couple of reasons. Also I may have cheated slightly, (you’ll see why).

  1. Because they are stories that I loved
  2. Because they are stories that stayed with me due to the subject matter
  3. They pulled at my heartstrings

So in no particular order my choices are…

The first two straight up are by New Zealand author Carole Brungar, these had me completely absorbed in the lives of these characters and taught me a lot about the Vietnam war.

Screenshot_20190817_231641 Screenshot_20190817_231621

My reviews:   The Nam Legacy     The Nam Shadow

Next is a book I read about 8 years ago that I think should be read by everyone, people need to educate themselves that not everything is as the media says it is. I recommended this for the bookclub I belonged to back then and it gave everyone some insight and something to think about.   My review

The People Smuggler: The True Story Of Ali Al Jenabi, The 'Oskar Schindler Of Asia'

(Now this one may be cheating, just a little) The Matilda Saga by Jackie French, this is a fabulous series that I got both my mum and my sister reading, I have learnt so much about history and particularly Australia’s part in historical events through this series.

the matilda saga

The next book is a book that has stayed with me since I read it two years ago.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, #1)

Next is a story that needed to be told, about a place and event that has been covered up to a large degree. My Review

Dustfall by Michelle   Johnston

Next is a novel about a subject matter that I’m pretty passionate about, refugees. My review

Sanctuary by Judy Nunn

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time by Kylie Scott was one that, no pun intended, it seemed like a good idea at the time to pick it up before bed (big mistake if you actually want to get some sleep that night). This was chosen just because it was one I loved My review

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

Next is The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie My review

The Dalai Lama's Cat by David Michie

Next are two books by an author whose books are an automatic MUST READ for me. I tried to pick just one, but I couldn’t make up my mind out of these two, so thought what the hell, they both need to go on the list.

My review: Black Diamonds        This Red Earth

Black Diamonds by Kim  Kelly                                This Red Earth by Kim  Kelly

Last up are two books that are also on my top 10 or 15 (I haven’t quite decided) books for 2019.

Invisible Boys by Holden Sheppard My review  and A Lifetime of Impossible Days by Tabitha Bird  My review

Invisible Boys by Holden Sheppard

 

A Lifetime of Impossible Days

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed some of these books (or not) or are inspired to pick up some of them. Stay tuned next week for my top reads of 2019 and a giveaway to celebrate my blogs 1st birthday.