New Release Book Review: The Survivors by Jane Harper

The last book of Jane Harper’s, The Lost Man was a 5⭐ read for me, as was her first book The Dry, I haven’t read Force of Nature, but I’m going to guess it’ll be up there in the ratings. Her newest novel certainly didn’t disappoint, in fact, I think this is my favourite yet. If I didn’t get so tired in the evening and work didn’t get in the way, I think I’d have ploughed through this novel in one sitting.

I don’t read a lot of the mystery/crime/thriller genre, but this is one author whose books will be on my go-to list.

Set in Tasmania, as so many books have been this year, the setting is a small town on the coast, this was a departure from the stark, dry outback.

This novel had me guessing until nearly the very end who had done it and why, and I didn’t guess either right. Jane Harper is very good at delivering red-herrings, with twists and turns coming at you from every angle.

It starts with a crime the night we meet our characters, but it weaves in an accident and an unsolved crime from 12 years before. There are plenty of guilty seeming characters, though a motive is never really established, you still believe they could possibly be guilty.

As with all small towns, there’s plenty of gossip and secrets that come out of the woodwork when something terrible happens and fingers are pointed in every direction, which says small towns haven’t always got each other’s backs.

This was a great read with an ending I wasn’t expecting.

Thanks to NetGalley and PanMacMillan for a digital copy in return for an honest review.

New Release Book Review: Her Last Words by Kim Kelly.

her last wordsI have sat with this review for a week because I just didn’t know what to write about this wonderful new novel by Kim Kelly. Every novel she writes is so distinct from the previous ones, it is always a delight to open up her book and see the words she has written transform into something wonderful. Once again this novel is entirely different, both in the way the story is told and the story itself. It is many things, a crime novel, a love story, an insight into the publishing world, a search for redemption, a story of grief.

The inspiration for this novel came from a very sad and personal experience of the authors. Also, knowing some of the author’s background as a writer and book editor working in the publishing industry for over 20 years, Penny’s journey as a commissioning editor deciding if she wants to remain in an industry, such as the big publishing world has become, has a definite personal feel to it.

Throughout the story, there are many serendipitous moments that are seemingly unconnected to each other but show the ‘small world effect’ where things are interconnected in ways we may never fully be aware of. Though some of these moments seem most unlikely or too serendipitous, I loved them all the more for this reason and I loved how they were woven into the story.

There are 6 main characters in this novel, though one, Thisbe, who is murdered at the start of the novel, is the catalyst for the things that transpire for the other characters. I loved all the characters, except Jane, I hoped with everything I had that she would get what she deserved by the end of the story. I was easily able to understand or empathise with the rest of the characters and loved being part of their journey, I wanted to be there for them for the ups and the downs, the triumphs and the defeats.

There were many moments in this story that spoke to me and many lines I highlighted to read again.

He’d always thought the idea of sticks and stones breaking bones but names never hurting was stupid, especially after he’d banjaxed his ankle at eighteen playing football, and three months later his very first girlfriend was telling him,‘ I do like you, but I don’t want to go out with you anymore. You’re too weird.’ He could say then, definitively, that words hurt worse. Bones heal, don’t they, and a bit of physical incapacitation is always a good excuse for more reading; good for reassessing that career as a world-famous midfielder you were never going to have, too. But words hang in the air forever; they write themselves onto your soul so that when you least expect it, they return, their power undiminished.

I could empathise completely with John’s struggle with depression and the description the author uses to describe depression was so apt for me personally.

Depression is an eel that slips between the ribs unnoticed until it’s feeding on your heart. It darts between circumstantial sense – the relationship between bad things happening and bad feelings had – and the shark shadows of every nightmarish dream, every unnameable, aching need.

And lastly, Penny and I are on the same wavelength with this quote.

‘If I’ve enjoyed a book, the last thing I want to do is see the movie. Breach of copyright on the one I’ve already made on my own – always a poor ripoff.’

This was a wonderful novel that brought out many emotions and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Thanks to the author for providing me with a copy in return for an honest review.

New Release Book Review: Bound by Silence by Suzanne Cass

Bound by SilenceBound by Silence by Suzanne Cass is book #2 in the Island Bound series and while it can be read as a standalone, the two main characters, Sierra and Reed, from book #1 Bound by Truth, play a pretty big role in this novel and they will continue into the next, so I’d advise you to read book #1 first, saying that, you won’t be lost if you don’t but the first book was really good and lays some of the backgrounds for our characters.

In Bound by Silence, we meet Keira, who is living in Hawaii and who witnesses a crime, watches her house be consumed by lava and is now on the run from some seriously bad guys. I kept changing my opinion of Keira, I liked her, then I thought she was a spoiled brat, followed by feeling terribly sorry for what she’d been through with her husband and being able to understand where some of her behaviours and thoughts come from, then liking her again. I wanted her to show some of the mettle she’d shown at the beginning of the story when she starts out on the run, but now and again she slipped into complete victim mode, which annoyed me. But at the same time, she’d lived through a lot and now her life was in danger, she was allowed to act like a victim for a while.

The things that Keira went through with her husband were quite hard to read about, she suffered terrible emotional abuse at his and others’ hands and that made her trust no one, while at the same time feeling that she was worth nothing. It is hard to fathom how people can blame themselves so completely for the way other people treat them when it is those people who are to blame.

I really liked Dalton, a bounty hunter, who inadvertently ends up rescuing Keira and becomes a target for the bad guys too. He struggled with what was right, morally and by the law, but chose to believe Keira and keep her safe while finding a way to prove she is innocent of a crime she’s been set up for in order to flush her out.

Keira’s sister Sierra and her now fiance Reed turn up in Hawaii as all this is going down, and using their skills as journalist and police officer, they go about tracking down evidence to help clear Keira’s name and prove who the bad guys really are.

There are some pretty hairy moments throughout this novel, where things could go either way for all four of our good guys, and there is a surprising twist, proving you don’t always know the people you think you do.

I did enjoy the chemistry between Dalton and Keira and I liked how much restraint and respect Dalton showed towards Keira. Some of the banter was fun too.

An enjoyable sequel in this series, I look forward to book three when Keira and Sierra go looking for their brother who seems to have disappeared.

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

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#AWW2020 9/50

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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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.

Book Bingo 2020 Round 1: Themes of Crime and Justice

FB_IMG_1576969010534This is the first post for Book Bingo 2020 hosted by Theresa Smith Writes & Mrs B’s Book Reviews & The Book Muse

 

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This round I am crossing off the square Themes of Crime and Justice and I am using the book Dead Again by Sandi Wallace. 

This is a great crime novel and is book 2 in the Rural Crime Files, Franklin and Harvey series, it can be read as a standalone, but for best enjoyment, I would read book 1 first. Read my review for Dead Again here.

#BookBingo2020

 

Book Bingo Round 26 – double & final entry

Well, I made it! The final round of Book Bingo 2019. Today I’m crossing off the last 2 square left on the bingo card.

First is Author under the age of 35, this was hard once again, because no one wants to list their age, but I have it under good authority that Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend fits this square. I enjoyed this second book about Morrigan Crow, not quite as much as book one, I found the treatment of Morrigan by her teachers and fellow student to be a little too over the top in its nastiness and it made me extremely angry on her behalf. The second half of the novel I found more enjoyable than the first. I can’t wait for the next episode when hopefully Morrigan can come into her own as a Wundersmith.

And lastly a book with Themes of Justice, the one I wanted to use I realised I had already used for themes of inequality, (damn). I guess I could have used any of the crime books really, but I am going with an audiobook I’m nearly finished called Dark Heart by Tony Park. This revolves around the terrible war crimes committed in Rwanda (a place I’m visiting next year, hence my interest) and the search for 3 men in a photograph with the aim to prosecute them and bring them to justice. It has other themes, murder for hire, animal poaching, animal trafficking, all running adjacent to the horrific events in 1995. I don’t particularly like any of the characters in the story, but I am invested in finding out if these men are found and bought to justice.

And so ends this years Book Bingo Challenge thanks to Theresa Smith Writes, Mrs B’s Book Reviews and The Book Muse for running this challenge. I look forward to 2020s Book Bingo Challenge.

All of my past book bingo posts can be found by searching my home page.

New Release Book Review: Wicked Little Lies by Beth Prentice

Wicked Little LiesOnce again Beth Prentice has written a delightfully fun cosy mystery with plenty of suspense and laughs. Wicked little Lies is part of The Westport Mysteries series, but this one focuses on Molly who is Lizzie’s sister, the main character from the first 4 books.

I loved the first three books I read in the Westport Mystery series, I still have book 4 waiting to be read and this one starts off where that one ends (so it’s essentially book 5) so I need to get to reading it and fill in the gaps I know I am missing. It can be read as a standalone but all the characters from the original series are in this newest book too so it was a wonderful chance for me to reconnect with them all.

From the get-go there is chaos, action and intrigue aplenty to draw you in, this family, especially Grandma Mabel all seem to get up to some crazy things or caught in crazy situations. And it seems playing amateur sleuth runs in the family.

I really enjoyed getting to know Molly better and I really liked her boyfriend Matt, despite first impressions.  I can’t wait to see how these two go once the baby comes along and what else this family can get caught up in.

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

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New Release Book Review: Up On Horseshoe Hill by Penelope Janu

IMG_20191105_105502Oh, how I do love reading a novel by Penelope Janu, it’s always an absolute pleasure and I find them hard to put down. Up On Horseshoe Hill is no exception, I read until the early hours of the morning and picked it up again as soon as I was awake.

I fell in love with Finn our leading man straight away (I seem to fall in love with all the leading men in Penelope Janu’s novels), he was lovely.

Tasked with investigating the deaths of several horses a few years before, Finn is determined to do his job, in doing so, he brings up memories better forgotten by Jet/Jemima, as well as a few other people who would like the investigation dropped. It becomes obvious that a potential crime may have been committed and this leads to danger for Jet.

Finn and Jet had a connection straight up, but the relationship that develops took its time as Jet has to learn to trust as well as realise Finn isn’t going to let his investigation go.

I really enjoyed the aspect of Jet’s job that allowed her to take her horses for children with disabilities to ride, working with people with disabilities and also being an art therapist, I know how wonderfully beneficial these beautiful animals are to healing and confidence.

I learnt a lot about what being a farrier involves and loved the zoo aspect of this story, I never realised how much you would need to know about various animals behaviour to work in this field. I also love the fact that Penelope Janu shows that despite the fact Jet has a learning disability, she is successful in her career choice, that there are always ways to work around things that could hold us back.

There was plenty to enjoy in this novel, family relationships, or lack thereof, friendship, romance, danger and mystery, small-town community and so much more. I also liked the way Ms Janu brings a much-loved character of mine from her previous novels into this story, Nate is an absolute honey that I have been hoping will find his own love of his life, alas I’ve been informed it won’t be happening just yet, but he will make more appearances in future books.

Up On Horseshoe Hill is out on the 18th November 2019, preorder your copy now, or rush out and buy it in 4 days time, it would make a great Christmas present.

Thank you to Harlequin Australia for providing me with a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

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Release Day Book Review: Fatal Break by Beth Prentice

Screenshot_20190820_002850I absolutely loved this third murder mystery adventure featuring Samantha Reynolds in Beth Prentice’s new book in the Aloha Lagoon series. #3 in the Samantha Reynolds Mysteries and book #15 in the Aloha Lagoon series, Fatal Break is my favourite read so far. Samantha does a wonderful job of playing at amateur detective and getting herself into all sorts of trouble, this time she’s out to clear her BFF who has been accused of murdering her ex-boyfriend and she is very determined.

Samantha and Casey’s relationship has grown even stronger after the events that occurred in Lethal Tide and it was so lovely to experience this couple all loved up.

Once again poor Detective Ray has to deal with Samantha and her friends as they go about trying to clear Alani’s name. These are some of my giggle moments.

There are some seriously funny moments throughout this novel and I got a great giggle from Samantha’s exploits as well as her internal dialogue. She’s great fun.

There’s plenty of conclusion jumping and her usual ability to make 2+2=7, there are some red herrings and shifty behaviour (thankfully not Casey this time), but ultimately Samantha does a great job of being a magnet for trouble.

If you want a fun read, I recommend you pick up the Samantha Reynolds Mysteries, you’ll want to read them in order to get the whole feel for Samantha and her friends and family. As well as to enjoy life at Aloha Lagoon 😊. I’d still like to visit one day, despite the seemingly high murder rate.

Thanks to Beth Prentice for providing me with a digital copy of this book in return for an honest review.

My reviews for

#1 (#3) Deadly Wipeout

#2 (#10) Lethal Tide

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