New Release Book Review: Burn Zone by Annabeth Albert

Burn ZoneI’m a big fan of Annabeth Albert’s MM romance novels and was excited to see she had a new series coming out. Burn Zone is book #1 in the Hot Shots series and we are introduced to a team of smoke jumpers, a highly dangerous job that can save many lives, but also take lives too.

After his older brother dies, Jacob joins the smoke jumpers squad. His brothers best mate, Lincoln, also a smoke jumper, is not happy to see him there. But it’s not just the danger that makes him upset about Jacob being on his crew.

These two have a complicated history of attraction between them and Jacob is out to make it even more complicated. I really did enjoy the friendship that developed between Jacob and Lincoln and I liked how it turned into much more despite the reservations that Lincoln had.

I wasn’t a big fan of Jacob’s family, I have never understood the way people can treat others just because of their sexuality, and I certainly don’t understand how family or friends can behave in such an unsupportive manner. Learning how Jacob’s brother treated Lincoln who was supposed to be his best friend, really made me question whether you’d really want a friend like that.

I look forward to the next book in this series.

Thank you to NetGalley and Carina Press for a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

Audiobook Review: Black Diamonds by Kim Kelly

IMG_20200402_183440Nearly 3 years ago I read Kim Kelly’s Black Diamonds, an historical fiction novel that is in my top reads of all times. When I heard it was coming out as an audiobook, I was excited, having listened to The Red Earth and The Blue MIle already, I was keen to spend my drive to work and back listening to one of my favourite stories. It certainly didn’t disappoint. At first, I wasn’t sure about the voice actor who played Daniel, he started off reading a bit slowly for me, but he seemed to find his pace better quite quickly and then I was hooked. Both voice actors for Danial and Francine do a fabulous job. This is one thing I really enjoy about Kim Kelly’s audiobooks, that both the main characters get their own voice, this is I guess because the chapters alternate from one character to the other.

This was my original review.

This story was incredible, once I got used to the slightly old fashioned way of the characters speaking I was completely engaged and invested in their journey. From love, joy, heartache, terror and more, I was with them every step of the way. The history and the detail that Kim Kelly weaves into this fabulous story is incredible. I have learned so much and experienced the events in this story as if I was there. The events in Europe during the war were difficult to experience and I can’t even begin to or want to imagine what it was truly like for the millions who died in that war. A remarkable story I highly recommend.

Set in Lithgow a coal mining town just before the start of WWI, there were many hardships that the people had to endure, an unsafe work environment being one of them. Francine is one of the owner’s daughters and starts off thinking she is quite above the coal miners and the people in town. This all changes when Daniel is injured and her father steps in to help Daniel and his family. From here we are swept into a love story that defies the odds and a war that threatens to take everything these two have worked for.

I really did learn so much history from this novel, as I do from every novel Kim Kelly writes. The anti-German feel, the factions who were for and against the war and subscription, the government policies at the time, the union’s input on coal mining particularly, the lack of facilities and the lack of financial support measures in place for miners and their families. These are all issues that are dealt with and ones that both Francine and Daniel feel passionate about.

I absolutely love this novel and will read and listen to it many more times.

Author Facebook          Website        Goodreads

Amazon AU              Amazon US           Amazon UK

#AWW2020   28/50

New Release Book Review: Something to Talk About by Rachael Johns

Screenshot_20200413_194740It’s been a while since I read a Rachael Johns rural romance novel, so I was excited to hear she had a new one coming out. This is a sequel to Talk of the Town, a book I’ve had on my kindle for a while, when I looked it up I’ve actually had it waiting since July 2017 which is just ridiculous and after reading Something to Talk About, I plan on rectifying that ASAP.

While Something to Talk About is a sequel, it can easily be read as a standalone as enough background into the characters and the town was given for me to feel completely comfortable with the people and the setting. 

It took me a couple of chapters to make a proper connection with the characters, but after that, I didn’t want to put this novel down.

I really loved the two main characters, Tabitha and Fergus, they felt very real, like people I could meet myself at any point.

At first, Fergus is out of his comfort zone in the small town, he’s certainly not used to single women wanting to throw themselves at him or everyone knowing everything that is happening, but he is fabulous with the kids he is there to teach.

Tabitha is a great character, she’s a strong woman but has a vulnerable heart. She has been through a lot of loss in her life and has had a lot to contend with personally.

I really enjoyed the banter between these two, especially as they fought the chemistry between them. I loved it when they dived in, neither realising what they were getting themselves into. There was of course, the usual miscommunication and misreading of situations, but it was all very realistic, we human beings do like jumping to conclusions before we have all the facts.

The secondary townspeople characters were all enjoyable, excepting of course Adeline, the town b***h, a very unlikeable character. I loved the knitting circle where it is as much about gossip as it is about knitting.

There were some serious issues raised, breast cancer being an important one and how important family is through the good and the bad. The relationship between Fergus and his sister played an important role in the story as Fergus struggles with the loss of trust in that relationship and the need to forgive.

I learned a bit about dairy farming and how hard the work is day in, day out, morning and night. Tabitha’s brother, Lawson and her sister-in-law, Meg along with their son Ned were great characters to meet and I am really looking forward to reading their story in Talk of the Town.

If you enjoy a rural romance with all the feels, then this is the book for you.

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

Connect with Rachael:     Facebook           Website       Goodreads

The book:   Goodreads            Amazon AU        Amazon US        HarperCollins Australia

FB_IMG_1577105032228     #AWW2020    26/50

New Release Book Review: Aria’s Travelling Book Shop by Rebecca Raisin

Aria's Travelling Book ShopOh, I simply loved this book, last year Rebecca Raisin released Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop which I absolutely loved too and it made me want to up and travel in my own van. In Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop we met Aria who became Rosie’s best friend and who has a travelling book shop called the Little Bookshop of Happy Ever After, which I absolutely love, isn’t that a fabulous name! Aria’s bookshop van is one of my dreams. We also met Max who has a green food van and is in love with Rosie (the feeling is quite mutual).

This time Aria, Rosie and Max are off to France to travel to the many different fairs and events. I absolutely adored my time travelling with these three and even though I haven’t been to the places they visit, Rebecca Raisin does such a good job of describing them, I could see myself there.

Aria is a widow and has sworn off love, she promised her husband TJ that she would never fall in love again. Aria has a connection with a man she met briefly the summer before, Jonathan, who pops back into her life just as she is leaving the UK. This sets Aria off on an emotional journey of discovering what it is she wants and needs in her life and is a promise she made to her dying husband one she should keep or does she need to move on to be happy. I could really feel how torn Aria was about her feelings towards TJ and towards Jonathan, add to that unresolved issues with her mother-in-law and Aria’s confusion is palpable.

I loved the character of Jonathan who keeps popping up in Aria’s life on her travels through France and I was so hoping Aria could come to terms with her situation and allow herself to fall in love again. There are several scenes between Jonathan and Aria that provided me with a good giggle, Aria’s character can be hilarious at times.

I kept saying I was going to put this book down as the clock ticked closer to 11pm, but in the end, I had to keep reading and discover how it all turned out.

There was of course, the unlikeable character, Tori, who I don’t remember from the first book, but I’m pretty sure if I did I would have disliked her just as much as I did in this book. She’s one of those people out to cause trouble for anyone who might have something she doesn’t.  

It was wonderful to reconnect with Rosie and Max again, I simply love their characters and I love the friendship they both have with Aria, they are each other’s family as well as best friends. The support they give each other throughout the story is completely real and their friendship provided me with lots of laughs, they are all such different kinds of characters but they work so well together. 

I absolutely invite you to take a journey with Aria and her friends and I really hope there is more to come from this group of van-lifers.

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

Amazon AU                           Amazon US                       Amazon UK

Author Facebook

 

FB_IMG_1577105032228#AWW2020   24/50

 

 

New Release Book Review: You, Me, Us by Eliza Bennetts

You, Me , UsYou, Me, Us by Eliza Bennetts is the first book in a new series The Empty Nesters about a group of five 40 something friends, who get together to help each other through the good and the bad events of each others lives. They are each others support network and their first point of call when they need to reach out.

Book one focuses on Penelope who is 47 and a hard-working professional woman. Penelope has seemingly gotten her life together after separating from her husband 4 years beforehand. She’s now with a young man who’s 25 years old and she is loving having a toyboy, especially in the bedroom.

Penelope is forced into taking a good look at her relationships and what she wants after her husband Michael is forced into homelessness, mainly due to his own inability to take responsibility for his life and go out and earn money.

I actually liked Michael, he has always relied on Penelope throughout their marriage and Penelope let him, until one day she didn’t. I thought he was lost, he thought Penelope and his kids wanted someone who was successful and therefore was completely focused on being a successful writer to the detriment of everything else. His circumstances are now making him reevaluate everything he previously thought and everything he took for granted and I really liked how he rose to the challenge.

I thought Eliza Bennetts did a good job of showing us how easily someone can end up homeless and how it then becomes a vicious cycle, how do you get a job when you don’t have an address, when you can’t keep clean, when you have to sleep in your car, where do you eat, how do you get support?

My opinion of Penelope was constantly changing, at times I found her lack of compassion towards Michael justified and at others I thought she was being selfish. She didn’t really know what she was doing and why and her friends were her fallback when she needed to look at what was going on in her well-ordered life, which was now suddenly in chaos.

Her group of friends, 4 other women, who were very different from each other but they’ve all travelled a long way together and seemingly have a handle on each other, except, I didn’t feel they always did. They are all hiding things from each other, something I’m sure will be uncovered as the series progresses. At times I thought they gave Penelope good advice and at others I found some of them to be quite judgemental, about Penelope and about Michael. I haven’t really warmed to Penelope’s friends yet, I liked bits and pieces about them, but I am looking forward to uncovering who they are in future books.

I really enjoyed this book, I think it was a good starting point to introduce this group of women who are all obviously going through very different things. There were some serious issues, mixed with plenty of humour (a lot of this was from Michael), as well as sex and chemistry and many different relationships to explore. I look forward to the next book in The Empty Nesters series.

FB_IMG_1577105032228#AWW2020   23/50

New Release Book Review: Midwife in the Jungle by Fiona McArthur

Midwife in the JungleHappy release day to Fiona McArthur. I really enjoyed this romance novella, at just under 200 pages, it was the perfect escapist read I needed with all the things that are going on at the moment. For a shortish read, Fiona McArthur has managed to fit a lot into her newest story.

Our leading man is a sexy young doctor, Jonah, who works in Papua New Guinea for Missions Pacific, not an easy job or a very safe one. He’s lost family to this dangerous place but feels he is needed there, it has also made him decide never to love someone because it is no place for a family.

Our leading lady, Jacinta, is an overachieving doctor as Director of Emergency in a busy hospital in Sydney who has no time for anything other than work and volunteering at a teenage refuge.

When Jonah is brought into Jacinta’s emergency ward with malaria, sparks fly between the two of them, they alternate between annoyance and sexual chemistry and neither one is too impressed. There’s something about Jonah and his job that calls to Jacinta and she decides to follow this unexpected man and the call for adventure and heads to PNG to volunteer.

Both of these characters have troubled pasts, and they play a big part in who they are and the decisions they make. There is plenty of action, danger, intrigue, romance and chemistry that keeps this story moving along at a fast pace. I’m not sure that the jungles of PNG would be the kind of place I would choose to go, but with the differences they can make to these people’s lives I can certainly see what would lead these characters there.

Thank you to the author for providing me with a digital copy of this book in return for an honest review.

FB_IMG_1577105032228

#AWW2020  22/50

New Release Book Review: The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan

The Good TurnThis is the third crime novel in the Cormac Reilly series, I thoroughly enjoyed the first two novels The Ruin and The Scholar, but with book #3 The Good Turn, Dervla McTiernan has claimed a spot as one of my favourite crime writers. The Good Turn was a great read, I was hooked from the start. I think knowing Cormac and his coworkers’ backstory really helped make a difference in how much I enjoyed this book. I really do recommend you read them in order because the characters’ personal lives play a big part in this book.

When a call comes in about a child abduction, everything that could go wrong for Cormac and his team does go wrong. Cormac ends up suspended, something his boss has been angling for since day one. Garda Peter Fisher is sent to a small town and placed under his overbearing police officer father’s jurisdiction as well as having the threat of prosecution hanging over his head.

From the start of the series, Cormac was not a welcome member of the Galway station and he hasn’t won over too many people since he’s been there. He is also damn sure there is some major corruption within the system and with his suspension, he not only sets out to save Peter from the threat of prosecution but is determined this time to uncover the people behind the corruption. What he uncovers goes way deeper than he could have imagined and leaves him with very few people to trust.

We meet Anna and her daughter Tilly who are staying with Peter’s grandmother and who seem to be hiding from something. Peter starts to wonder whether his father is on the up and up and after several incidents, he sets out to find out exactly what is going on. This leads to more trouble for Peter, but he’s been taught by Cormac and is unwilling to let things be despite any trouble he may be facing.

As Cormac and Peter try and uncover secrets and save themselves from unemployment, they find out way more than they bargained for. There were so many twists in this novel and even when some of my guesses were right, there were plenty of things that I got wrong.

I highly recommend The Good Turn for lovers of crime fiction and thank NetGalley and HarperCollins AU for my digital copy in return for an honest review.

Amazon AU              Amazon US               HarperCollins AU

Goodreads                Facebook             Author Website

 

FB_IMG_1577105032228#AWW2020  21/50

 

 

 

New Realease Book Review: The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman

dav

Wow, this book was not what I was expecting, but it was a really great read, one that had me hooked from the start to the finish.

The Premise, 5 strangers trapped in a cafe with a crazy gunman, this sounded a lot like a real-life siege in Sydney a few years ago.

These strangers have nothing apparent in common, but as we slowly get to meet each of the hostages, as well as the gunman, we learn their stories and they learn about each other. They all have secrets and demons that are uncovered as the story and the siege progresses and they will all make decisions that may change their lives. I was completely invested in the lives of all the characters and their plight to get out of a desperate situation with their lives. This was an emotional read for me and the situation changed from minute to minute.

I really don’t want to give anything away about this book other than to say it was a fabulous read and I highly recommend it. As other reviewers have said, to say too much would be giving things away and would spoil it for you all.

Thanks to Allen & Unwin Australia for a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

Amazon AU                  Amazon US               Preorder for UK  Amazon UK

Author Facebook                  Goodreads                   Allen & Unwin Aus

New Release Book Review: Spring at Lake Grange by Eliza Bennetts

Spring at Lake Grange

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series, I love the fact that the women are over 40, are strong women and are still able to find their happily ever after.

This one especially ticked all my boxes due to its abundance of inclusion from so many aspects of our society.

I really loved our main female character Maria, we were introduced to her in book 3, Winter in Mason Valley and it was lovely to see her get her own story. She’s such a positive, sassy, sexy lady and I loved that she really seemed to know who she was.

Ethan was a different kind of character altogether, described as socially inept and he certainly was that, part of it came from his upbringing, and lack of positive role models and lack of relationships formed when he was young, but part of me continued to feel that he seemed to be on the autism spectrum, whether this is because I work in this industry or not, I don’t know, but I liked that this man, who had so many social issues, was still able to find ‘the one’ and form a meaningful relationship. I did find myself rolling my eyes many many times at Ethan’s complete inability to understand feelings and felt sad that he thought feelings were to be avoided at all costs.

I liked Maria’s whole family, her brothers were both good characters and I especially loved her brother Steven and I thought it was very brave and right of him to decide it was time for him to be happy and to be truthful to his family no matter the fallout, in order to be true to himself. I loved how wonderful Maria’s relationship was with Steven and how she had his back completely.

There was so much to like about this novel, it was a story of family, of inclusiveness, of figuring out who you really were and what you really wanted, a story of coming to terms with what life has dealt you and loving those around you for who they are no matter what. I definitely ended this novel feeling good for all the characters involved and knowing that they would all be travelling happily ever after.

Facebook Author Website

Amazon AU Amazon US Amazon UK

FB_IMG_1577105032228

#AWW2020 19/50

Book Review: Into the Fog by Sandi Wallace

IMG_20200302_182746I loved Dead Again, book 2 in the Georgie Harvey and John Franklin series so I was straight down the library to order book 3, Into the Fog. I think this series just gets better and better and I found myself not wanting to put this novel down despite having to work the following day.

I was totally absorbed in the disappearance of three children whilst on a camp in Mount Dandenong which has been organised by Franklin and his colleagues from the Dalesford Police Department. Looking after the group of children are his colleagues, Sam and Lunny are Georgie, his daughter Kat and Josh a teenager who Franklin has worked with at the boxing centre. They are all in total panic when the kids go missing, the terrible icy weather makes things harder for the people searching and more dangerous for the kids.

Franklin heads straight up to his group after hearing the news, despite it possibly affecting his chance at making detective, these kids are his local kids and Franklin is all about his community. There is a fight for Franklin’s team to stay involved in the hunt for the kids and the possible perpetrators after the local police are called in, a conflict of interest is cited, but there are plenty of allowances made to start with and between them, they do some good working into finding out who is behind the disappearance.

In today’s society, we are constantly reminded to be aware when on social media, especially in regards to our children who are easily influenced and where criminals can pretend to be whoever they want to be in order to lure them in. Sandi Wallace has done a thorough job of showing us how easily this can be done and the terrible outcomes that could occur because of this medium of communication.

The story is told from multiple viewpoints, including one of the missing children and the story progresses both fast and slow, but at the same time, it felt like nonstop action in the desperate hunt to find these children.

The chapters are mostly quite short, and this is an easy way to trick me into reading far more than I planned before going to bed, just one more chapter, was I’ll just read one more because they are short, which lead to me turning page after page in the need to know what was going to happen.

I really hope there are more Georgie Harvey and John Franklin novels to come. This series is being rereleased, so preorder this book now ready for June 2020.

Goodreads       Author Facebook page

Amazon AU              Amazon US             Amazon UK

FB_IMG_1577105032228          #AWW2020      15/50