Saturday, 14 September 2019

Book Bingo - Round 19 #BookBingo

Book Bingo is a reading challenge hosted by Theresa Smith Writes , Mrs B’s Book Reviews and The Book Muse. Every second Saturday, book bingo participants reveal which bingo category they have read and what book they chose. 

This week I have chosen the category 'Themes of Culture'

Themes of Culture:

For this category I have chosen 'Tidelands'
by Philippa Gregory.

Tidelands is set in 1648 and the culture of that era runs throughout the novel.
Harvest festivals, religion, marriage and food are some of the cultural elements in the story.

You can read my review of Tidelands here 

#BookBingo 2019

Friday, 13 September 2019

Free Book Giveaways - Around the Blogosphere @13/9/19

I love giveaways, so I thought I would try a  weekly giveaway listing.

It is always exciting to win free books and I want to help my subscribers find more giveaways to enter and at the same time help other bloggers promote their giveaways

Giveaways open @ 13/9/19 
Click on the links to go straight to each giveaway page. 

Copy of The Best of Crimes: 

Copy of The Long Call:

Copy of Meet me at Lennons: 

eCopy of Hollow Earth:  

eCopy of Neon Empire:  

Copy of Bake Australia Great: 

Copy of Maternal Instinct: 

Copy of Hidden Cove & The Vanishing: (US only)  

Copy of Going Under: (subscription required)  

Copy of A First Time For Everything: (subscription required)  

Copy of Going Under:  

Copy of The Art of Self-Kindness:  

Copy of The One & Undara:  

Copy of The Astrid Notes:  

Enter away and let me know if you are lucky enough to win something. 🤞

Bloggers: If you have a giveaway that you would like to add to the list please send me a message via the contact form.



Saturday, 7 September 2019

Book Review: The One by Kaneana May

The One
Kaneana May

Publisher: Harper Collins Australia 
Imprint: Mira
Publication date: 17th June 2019
Genre: Romance
Pages: 405
Format read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

On the wrong side of thirty, Bonnie Yates wants a happily ever after. Problem is, she keeps choosing the wrong guys. When an ex returns to town with a fiance in tow, history and temptation collide. Unable to shake her inappropriate feelings Bonnie flees, becoming an unlikely contestant on popular dating show The One. Will she find what she's looking for?

Working behind the scenes, Darcy Reed is a driven young producer, dealing with a tyrant of a boss. Despite being surrounded by love at work, her own love-life with long-term boyfriend Drew is floundering. Producing a flawless season is her best chance at a promotion. But with the unrelenting demands of the show, how will she save their relationship while making that shot?

Penelope Baker has relocated to a small seaside town to hide away with her secrets and nurse a broken heart. But with The One beaming across the nation's televisions, she can't seem to quite escape the life she left behind...

I will start by saying I’m a bit of a Bachelor tragic. I like getting right into the drama of the show and trying to guess who will be going home each night, checking Twitter every few minutes to see what other viewers are thinking, which contestants everyone likes or dislikes. We viewers have very distinct opinions about everything that is said and done on the show.

I originally rated the book 4.5 stars because, for me, there wasn’t enough viewer participation in the story. However over the next few weeks I kept talking about The One to anyone within earshot and especially while I was watching episodes of The Bachelor. Which made me think this is definitely 5 star worthy.

The One follows three women during the screening of a reality TV series where an eligible bachelor dates a number of carefully chosen women, eliminating one each episode until he is left with ‘the one’ he chooses to spend his life with.
Darcy is a producer on the show, Bonnie a contestant and Penelope a viewer.

I loved all the behind the scenes producing of the show and all the drama between the contestants. It was exactly as I imagined it would be.

This is a cute and funny RomCom that highlights the ups and downs of love and the strain of long distance relationships and shows all we really want is our own happily ever after.

Kaneana May touches on topics of miscarriage, IVF and cancer with deep sensitivity.
The three main characters were very relatable. Darcy hides behind her work rather than taking the time to re-evaluate her relationship with boyfriend Drew. Bonnie’s anxiety and self loathing cause her to run rather than stand up for herself. Penelope shuts herself off from people as she has already suffered too much pain and loss.

The One is a romantic novel that reminds us that love may be where you least expect it. A story that had me laughing out loud and surreptitiously trying to hide my tears as I read the last few pages in a busy coffee shop.

I am eagerly looking forward to seeing what Kaneana May comes up with next.


My rating  5/5


Photo credit: Harper Collins
Kaneana May studied television production at university, graduating with first-class honours in screenwriting. She went on to work in television, including roles as a script assistant on All Saints, a storyliner on Headland and a scriptwriter on Home and Away. Since becoming a mother, Kaneana has turned her attention to fiction writing. Kaneana loves to read—mostly YA, romance and women's fiction—and also loves watching TV and films. Writing, boot camp, coffee, chocolate and champagne are just some of her favourite things. Kaneana lives on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales with her husband and three children.

You can connect with the author at the following sites:
Website  ||  Facebook  ||  Instagram    


Cover Reveal: Cradle to Grave (Crime/Mystery)

Cradle to Grave
Rachel Amphlett


Publisher: Saxon Publishing
Publication date: 6th October 2019
Series: Detective Kay Hunter #8 
Pages: 370 

When a faceless body is found floating in the river on a summer’s morning, Detective Kay Hunter and her team are tasked with finding out the man’s identity – and where he came from.

The investigation takes a sinister turn when an abandoned boat is found, covered in blood stains and containing a child’s belongings.

Under mounting pressure from a distraught family and an unforgiving media, the police are in a race against time – but they have no leads, and no motive for the events that have taken place.

Will Kay be able to find a ruthless killer and a missing child before it’s too late?

Cradle to Grave is the eighth book in the Detective Kay Hunter series by USA Today bestselling author Rachel Amphlett, and perfect for fans of Ann Cleeves, Peter James and Stuart MacBride.

Other books in The Detective Kay Hunter series:

1. Scared to Death
2. Will to Live
3. One to Watch
4. Hell to Pay
5. Call to Arms
6. Gone to Ground
7. Bridge to Burn
8. Cradle to Grave

Friday, 6 September 2019

Spotlight - Author Q & A + Giveaway: The Best of Crimes (Contemporary Fiction)

The Best of Crimes
K. C. Maher

For every rule there is an exception…

Publisher: Red Door Publishing
Publication date: 1st September 2019
Pages: 320

About the book: 

In a world that too often fails to protect its most vulnerable, K.C. Maher’s debut novel offers a new narrative. The Best of Crimes is an enchanting, unconventional love story that will challenge your preconceptions and restore your faith in humanity.

The story opens with the narrator, Walter, turning himself in for kidnapping at the police station of his New York City suburb. The chief tells him to go home – no one wants to prosecute. But Walter insists, until he is arrested and charged. Why would Walter, a pillar of the community, voluntarily confess to a felony that carries a minimum sentence of five years? 

This riddle takes readers back to 1999, to Walter’s first day as an investment banker on Wall Street. He’s an 18-year-old math prodigy, eager to embrace life after an adolescence consumed by earning advanced degrees. He wastes no time getting married and soon has a daughter. But after living through the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in which he loses his best friend, Walter becomes disillusioned by Wall Street’s bottomless greed. He finds solace in his daughter Olivia and her best friend Amanda, who lives across the street and has essentially been abandoned by her absentee mother. 
As years pass and Walter’s marriage slowly crumbles, his wife leaves him and takes his beloved daughter with her. Walter is left confused and heartbroken. His only neighbor in the secluded suburban enclave is Amanda, who has grown into a stunning teenager brimming with humor and curiosity. Amanda is as lonely and love-starved as was Walter at her age, and to some extent, still is. 
Walter and Amanda grow closer, even as, to his horror, he finds he must suppress a fascination with her budding beauty. Over the course of a school year, the push and pull of their relationship transforms them: as Walter discovers his best self, and Amanda blossoms into adolescence.
“Walter and Amanda’s relationship definitely challenges the limit of what is appropriate, but thanks to Walter’s moral decency, it never becomes physical,” says Maher. “Fundamentally, The Best of Crimes is an uplifting story of a pure, loving relationship between two lonely people briefly thrown together by fate.”
Lively, fast-paced and thought-provoking, The Best of Crimes is a beautifully written novel that shows  how selfless love can be.
Question & Answer with author K. C. Maher: 
Tell us what The Best of Crimes is all about.
The Best of Crimes is the story of an extraordinary relationship that develops between a man and a teenage girl in a contemporary New York suburb. Walter, the narrator, is a math prodigy who works on Wall Street, and Amanda is his daughter’s best friend, the only child of an absentee single mother. The crux of the story revolves around the all-important difference between a man’s thoughts and actions: Walter intermittently suffers impure thoughts, but his actions are absolutely pure and unfailingly generous.
What inspired you to write this novel? 
Characters come to me first, and every character has a story. The Best of Crimes began with Walter, a Wall Street risk manager who risks his heart and soul for love. I started this story as serial fiction in 2006, which gave me a plot outline. As I rewrote it many times, Walter’s character acquired more and more nuance, as a man beset by desires he invariably overcomes. Although he struggles, he trusts himself and loves the girl far too much to abandon her simply because of what others might think.
What are your feelings about Walter, the narrator? Do you think most men in his situation would act as he did? 
To me, Walter is an unsung hero. He struggles valiantly to keep proper boundaries – and does – between himself and Amanda. I think that most men are as good as Walter. Difficult as it might be, they control themselves. But you rarely hear about their temptations, struggles, and triumphs. 
The story mentions “the apex of girlhood” several times. Why is that significant? 
Some girls reach a tipping point where they have finally figured out childhood, and how people relate to them and how to interact with adults – whereupon the hormonal fury of adolescence besets them. It’s significant in the story because Amanda hovers at this point and comes to trust Walter as a safe adult companion. She trusts him so much that she can safely begin to experiment with her new-found powers of attraction. 
About one-third of the way into the book, Walter’s narrative changes from past tense to present tense. Why?
Ideally, the present tense here conveys unchanging time. Although Walter’s rational self dismisses Amanda’s description of their relationship as “eternal,” his feelings shift more than he can comprehend. The change in tense matches the change in his perspective. By the end of the story, he finds himself agreeing with Amanda. 
Walter worries he might be harming Amanda in ways he can’t foresee. Is giving her the affection she craves right or wrong?  
It’s absolutely right. He does not abandon her because that would definitely harm her. Naturally, he worries, because their emotional intimacy risks breaking the most basic taboos. As the story develops, both Walter and Amanda realize their relationship is viable only within a limited time span. It cannot, and does not, continue (even though their love feels eternal).  
A relationship between a grown man and a teenage girl is bound to spur controversy. Why did you decide to tackle this delicate matter? 
I never intended to write a controversial novel – the story developed over time, and once I understood it was the opposite of what it seemed, I could not let it go. In no way do I advocate relationships between grown men and teenage girls. But Walter and Amanda’s affinity feels real and right to me. The Bestof Crimes is an unconventional love story about a smart, caring man who does the right thing for a girl who has nobody else in the universe and is neglected by her own mother. That said, I fully understand how, on the surface, people may expect the worst from Walter – especially in today’s “me-too” climate where everyone is hyper-vigilant, as they absolutely need to be! 
Why did you call the book “The Best of Crimes”? 
It comes from a scene at the end of the book. When Walter takes Amanda to Disney World, she worries he will get in trouble, and he admits that he has broken the law by taking her across state lines. But, he has decided “it’s the best of crimes,” (an allusion to the opening lines of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities). He tells her that the penalty for the crime is worth it to him – he wants them to have a magical good-bye. 
What do you hope readers take away from this story?
Most of all, I hope that readers will feel involved in the joyful experiences that Walter and Amanda share. The story, after all, is not only about Walter struggling to control his desires. Walter and Amanda’s time together is idyllic. Despite their difference in age, they have a lot of fun together! 
 My thoughts:
I haven't read the book however it sounds like a thought provoking and controversial story that a lot of readers will have distinct thoughts on. I think it would make a good book club read and insight some lively conversation.
I have one paperback copy of The Best of Crimes to giveaway courtesy of Smith Publicity (open to US  & AUS addresses only).

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Winner of a copy of The Silk Road Wars announced

A big thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway for a copy of The Silk Road Wars . The giveaway closed on 3rd September and the winner was randomly selected (using Random org) from all correct entries. 

Congratulations to..


Your book will be sent directly to you by WMC Public Relations

Please see my Giveaway tab for more chances to win great books.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Book Review: Zebra and other stories (short story compilation)

and other stories
Debra Adelaide

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Imprint: Picador Australia
Publication Date: 29th January 2019
Pages: 336
RRP: $29.99 AUD
Format read: paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

A body buried in a suburban backyard.

A suicide pack worthy of Chekhov.

A love affair born in a bookshop.

The last days of Bennelong.

And a very strange gift for a most unusual Prime Minister...

Tantalising, poignant, wry, and just a little fantastical, this subversive collection of short fiction - and one singular novella - from bestselling author Debra Adelaide reminds us what twists of fate may be lurking just beneath the surface of the everyday.

Zebra and other stories is a compilation of thirteen short stories and a novella.

Adelaide’s writing is lyrical and perceptive, exploring human foibles in all its forms. She proves she can master any writing style; first person, second person and third person perspectives are all executed with perfection.

I’ve read a few anthologies and they have all had a linking element running through the stories. I couldn’t find that connection with Zebra. Some of the stories seemed like a chapter pulled from a bigger story.

In her short stories Adelaide explores love, loss and life. Some stories are humorous, some perceptive and others heart-breaking.

The title story, Zebra, is a novella featuring an unnamed female prime Minister. It is a fanciful tale of conflict solving and lost opportunities, with an ending that left me amused.

Zebra and other stories is an eclectic holiday read filled with beautiful writing however most of the stories left me wanting.


My rating  3/5

This review is part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie author challenge

Debra Adelaide is the bestselling author of fifteen books, including the novels The Hotel Albatross, Serpent Dust, The Household Guide to Dying and The Women's Pages and the edited collections Motherlove, Cutting the Cord, Acts of Dog, A Bright and Fiery Troop and The Simple Act of Reading. She has been sold into several territories worldwide. In 2013,she published her first collection of short stories, Letter to George Clooney (longlisted for the Stella prize). Picador will also publish a collection of her criticism ans bibliomemior in late 2019. Currently a associate professor at the University of Technology Sydney where she teaches creative writing. Adelaide has also  held roles as a researcher, book reviewer and literary award judge and she is the founder and managing editor of the Empathy Poems, an online collection of poems of compassion for refugees and people seeking asylum around the world. (