Monday, 1 March 2021

Mailbox Monday & Life This Week - March 1st


Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Life This Week is a meme created by Denyse Whelan Blogs where bloggers share snaps of what is currently happening in their lives.

Happy Monday!
Below are some snaps from our daily walk


We also had a win with our garden. Cucumbers! Lots of cucumbers!

Books I have received in the mail over the last three weeks:

 Traffic by Robin Gregory
A PI Sandi Kent mystery. Sandi is hired to rescue a young woman from an illegal brothel. Sandi is soon embroiled in the city's seamy underworld of human trafficking, drugs and murder.

As Swallows Fly by L P McMahon
Malika, a young orphan in rural Pakistan is left disfigured after a savage attack. She spends her life hidden from the world.
Her life is changed when she is taken to Australia and teamed with plastic surgeon Kate. But is the price of beauty higher than either of them ever expected.
A poignant portrayal of survival, identity and empowerment in a culture dominated by the pursuit of perfection.

The Codebreakers by Alli Sinclair
Set in Brisbane during WWII. Ellie O'Sullivan exceptional skills attract the attention of the Central Bureau and she joins a group of elite women deciphering enemy communications. They soon form a close bond - yet could there be a traitor in their midst. 
A compelling story about tenacity and friendship inspired by the real codebreaking women of Australia.

The Jam Queens by Josephine Moon
Aggie, her mother,Valeria, and her distant daughter, Holly, as well as her meddling great aunt, Myrtle come together on a trip across Australia on the Ghan for her mother's seventieth birthday. The four generations of family will be reunited at last.

This is a sweet and soulful story about women being there for each other through the stickiest situations. It celebrates the joys and sorrows of life, and reveals the essential ingredients of the true recipe for happiness.
The Mistake by Katie McMahon
Bec and Kate are sisters, but they couldn't be less alike.
Bec lives the domestic dream with husband Stuart and three children. So why is she attracted to free-spirited Ryan?
Kate's life is hardly a dream. But when she meets Adam things start looking up. Until she finds out he's been keeping secrets from her.
Then there's the incident both sisters are desperate to ignore...
Will they discover some mistakes can't be put right?

Those Hamilton Sisters by Averil Kenny
Following their mother's death, the Hamilton sisters have returned to Noah Vale to live near their aunt and uncle.
Sonnett, fiery and independent, Fable, a gifted artist and a dreamer and Plum, who is anxious to please and notices everything.

The sisters settle into small-town life but suspicion and judgement follow them wherever they go. When Fable falls in love with Noah Vale's golden boy, is history destined to repeat itself?

The Paris Collaborator by A W Hammond
Set in German occupied Paris during WWII

Former schoolteacher Auguste Duchene has stumbled upon an unusual way to survive: he finds missing people. When he's approached by the French Resistance to locate a missing priest - and a cache of stolen weapons - Duchene initially refuses. But the Resistance offer him no choice. Within hours, he's also blackmailed by a powerful Nazi into searching for a German soldier who's suspected of deserting.

I would love to hear what books you've received in the mail recently! 

Sunday, 28 February 2021

Close to Home by Janet Gover

Close to Home
Janet Gover
A story of community and family. Of the love that brings them together...and the fears that would tear them apart.


Imprint: Mira - AU
Publication date: 3rd February 2021
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 368
RRP: $29.99AUD
Format read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
About the book
Aunt Alice Dwyer loves her small Australian town. She's rarely left its comforting embrace. She knows everyone in it; in fact, she's related to most of them. All she wants is to keep her family safe and the town running exactly the way it always has. Her way. But when an exotic French artist comes to town, her hold begins to weaken...

Lucienne Chevalier, once the toast of Europe, has come to Nyringa after a tragic loss to hang up her sequins and create a place for her circus family to rest between tours. With her is Simon, her grandson, recovering from an injury so damaging he can no longer perform. Lucienne fears he'll never embrace a new future. That is, until she notices the chemistry between him and the new schoolteacher... All they need is a push.

Both grande dames think they know what's best, but with equal amounts of stubbornness on both sides, peace looks unlikely. Then a relationship between Alice's rebellious great-niece and a teenage acrobat sets the two communities on a collision course. But when the bakery starts making patisseries over lamingtons, the battle lines are truly drawn...
My review
Ever since reading The Wild One I have been a big fan of Janet Gover's novels. She has proven over the years to have quite diverse writing skills, touching on themes that concern small town communities and are also relatable in a broader sense. 
Close to Home starts with a short prologue featuring a teenaged Alice and it was good to get an insight into this young, fun Alice before she grew to be the proud and proper 80 year old we see in the following story.
Close to Home centres on two strong women, both matriarchs of their large families. Heartbreak features strongly in both their lives. Whilst Alice's is an old wound that she can't seem to let go of and it still shapes her decisions and attitudes, Lucienne's is fresh and soul destroying however she knows to move forward she must heal. I did feel one was more superficial than the other but to these two women the hurt was equal.
When the circus comes to stay in Nyringa the wariness of newcomers is raised and judging people before getting to know them which can often happen in small towns where change is feared. I loved all the circus details, how circuses had changed over the years and the love and commitment the performers have for what they do. I think this will have many readers on a nostalgic trip back to their childhood.

Gover redefines family with Alice and her large hoard of nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews and Lucienne declaring that every performer in her circus is part of her family. Family is more than your own immediate flesh and blood.

Two sweet and subtle romances weave through this story of acceptance and moving forward. Young love is instant and all consuming, as it often is, and has a Romeo and Juliet-ish feel. The other couples feeling are slower to develop and more wary to open up to each other. I thought both romances were realistic and well executed.

I could go on and on but no one wants a long wordy review so I will suffice to say that Close to Home is a story about family, relationships, community, new friendships, new beginnings, love lost and love found. And a great read!!

5/5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Janet Gover grew up in outback Australia, surrounded by wide open spaces, horses...and many, many books.
She is a self-confessed 'bit of a geek girl'. When not writing novels she works in IT - in really dull places like Pinewood Movie Studios, Puerto Rico and Iraq

When her cat actually lets her sit in her chair, she writes stories of strong women, rural communities and falling in love. Her novel Little Girl Lost won the Epic Romantic Novel of the Year Award presented by the Romantic Novelist's Association in the UK, and she has won or been shortlisted for awards in Australia and the USA.

As Juliet Bell, in collaboration with Alison May, she rewrites misunderstood classic fiction, with an emphasis on heroes who are not so heroic.
Her favourite food is tomato. She spends too much time playing silly computer games, and is an enthusiastic, if not always successful, cook.

                                 Aussie Author Challenge  


Saturday, 27 February 2021

False Hope by Lynne Lee

False Hope 
Lynne Lee
She made a big promise. Did she also make a big mistake?


Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication date: 21st January 2021
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Mystery
Pages: 300
Format read: Kindle edition
Source: Netgalley
About the book
Ten years ago, Grace made her dying sister a promise—that she would look after Hope’s baby son as her own. Now, the man whose son she is raising has turned up on Grace’s operating table, fighting for his life.

When an accusation of negligence follows, Grace is forced to confront not just the man who abandoned her sister, but also his mother, Norma—who blames Grace for taking everything she loves.

Based on what her sister told her, Grace is sure she did the right thing to keep that promise. But what if Hope didn’t tell her everything? Norma’s vicious attacks push Grace to investigate further and what she finds makes her question everything she thinks she knows, pointing to a very different past—and a devastating betrayal.

As Grace uncovers the truth, can she protect her family from the consequences of what her sister did?
My review
False Hope could have been a gripping read however for me there were too many themes that  could have been better explored.
Grace has the juggling act of a young family, a demanding career as a trauma surgeon and the responsibility of being the only living child of a parent with dementia. She has adopted her late sister Hope's son and completely cut off his father and paternal grandmother. An action she believes is the only way forward for them all.  
When Hope's ex-husband turns up on the operating table after a serious accident leaves his life in the balance Grace has to act fast and preforms the operation that she knows will save his life. There is much bad blood between the families and a malpractice claim ensues. This on its own could have created a great story but it never fully evolved.
There were lots of little plot lines running through the story and just when I thought I knew where the story was heading it would change direction.
Grace was selfish, self centred and over possessive and as the story was narrated in first person it seemed that it was all about Grace; how hard she worked, how her mother was a burden, how she never understood her sister. Grace's thoughts and actions certainly didn't endear me to her. I continually questioned her actions and even after the big reveal I still felt her actions were self motivated.

False Hope was an okay read. None of the characters really gelled with me but it certainly held my interest and I was eager to get to the end to see how it would all wrap up.

3/5  ⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Lynne Lee was born in London and began her writing career as a teenager. She has been a full-time author since the mid-1990's, writing romance novels, short stories and ghostwriting bestselling books. False Hope is her second psychological thriller and is written under a pseudonym.