Monday, 17 May 2021

Mailbox Monday - May 17th

 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.

 Happy Monday!

It's been a rocky couple of weeks. My husband had an accident on his bicycle and spent a 5 days in hospital. He is very fortunate that he never goes out without a helmet but he still managed to get quite battered, six fractured ribs and muscle damage to his leg. I've been playing nurse all week as he can't walk more than a few steps. So there's been no reading for the last two weeks. However, new books arriving in the mailbox have kept me smiling.

A few pics from what I was up to before the accident.

Startled a possum on my walk one night

Loved playing book fairy leaving books at parks and shops
Books I've received and purchased over the last three weeks.  
 I would love to hear what books you've received in the mail recently! 

Friday, 14 May 2021

Blog tour Book Review: The Inn at Tansy Falls by Cate Woods

The Inn at Tansy Falls
Cate Woods
If you love feel-good love stories by ReaAnne Thayne, Debbie Macomber and Robyn Carr, you’ll adore this gorgeous, heart-warming novel about starting over.


Publisher: Bookouture  
Publication date: 12th May 2021
Genre: Romance
Pages: 268
Format read: eBook
Source: Netgalley
About the book
 Dearest Nell, if you’re reading this letter, I’m already gone…

You’re my best friend in the world, and as my last request I’m asking you to lay me to rest hundreds of miles away, in my crazy gorgeous, totally one-of-a-kind hometown of Tansy Falls. I know you’re a born-and-bred city girl, but hear me out. After first losing Adrian, and then me… I know your heart is hurting, Nell. I think you’ll find that you need Tansy Falls as much as I do.

So, I’ve got it all planned out. For two weeks, you’ll be staying at the sweet, local inn and every day you’ll be trying something new. And if you follow my instructions to the letter, you may discover there’s more to my story than you think. A surprise something… or someone at the end of it? Only you can find out!

Some last advice before you set off, Nell. Don’t forget your sturdy boots and make sure to give Boomer, the inn’s resident dog, a belly rub from me. Stay well away from former quarterback Brody Knott (boy, do I have some stories about him!). And finally, let the future bring what it brings. While Tansy Falls may look small, I know better than anyone that new beginnings can be found in all kinds of places. That little Vermont town you’d never heard of? Well, it might suddenly begin to feel just like coming home…
My review
The Inn at Tansy Falls is the type of story I turn to when life becomes overwhelming. A feel good romance, and an easy read is, at times, just what I need to escape the everyday.
Nell's dear friend Megan had recently died and Nell was on a mission to scatter her ashes in Megan's beloved town of Tansy Falls. Megan had devised a quest for Nell something to get her friend out of her comfort zone and hopefully enjoying life again. Only first Nell had to fly from England to Vermont, USA to fulfill Megan's two week holiday quest. To nervous Nell that was a quest on its own!
Cate Woods has based this story on a best friend's dying wishes. With so many people touched by cancer be it a friend, sibling or parent, many will relate to Nell's feelings and loss.
Each mission for Nell is stated through a letter written by Megan before she died. Megan hoopes through this lovely little town, where she spent much of her childhood and teenage years, Nell will come to find peace and courage. Nell was always the quiet, cautious one whilst Megan was the livewire.
I loved following the mission with Nell as she came out of her shell and got to know some of the people of Tansy Falls. People who had known and loved Megan. The story is filled with vivid descriptions of the area, small town gossip, long held feuds and two very handsome men. While at times Nell is insecure and unsure of herself I enjoyed her character growth. It was slow to evolve which made it all the more believable. 
Cate Woods highlights how small tourist towns are being taken over by large conglomerate hotels.
Each mission Nell embarks on took the reader on another beautifully described adventure into this winter wonderland.
The Inn at Tansy Falls is a feel good, clean romance with a host of truly likeable characters.
A story of new beginnings, taking chances and finding courage. 
4.5 / 5    ⭐⭐⭐⭐½
About the author
Cate Woods made the most of her degree in Anglo-Saxon Literature by embarking on a career making tea on programmes including The Big Breakfast, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and French & Saunders. After narrowly missing out on the chance to become a Channel 5 weather girl she moved into the world of magazine journalism then ghostwriting and now writes novels under her own name. She has written two best selling romantic comedies - Just Haven't Met You Yet and More Than a Feeling - and a festive novel The Christmas Guest under the name of Daisy Bell. Cate lives in London with her husband and two children.


Thursday, 13 May 2021

Book Review: Rattlesnake Road by Amanda McKinney

 Rattlesnake Road
Amanda McKinney
A Small Town Mystery Romance
Everyone hits rock bottom, only the brave escape.

Publisher:  HH Tisevich
Publication date: 4th May 2021
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 419
Kindle price : $7.69AUD 
Format read: eBook
Source: Netgalley
About the book
Welcome to 1314 Rattlesnake Road.

A quaint two-bedroom log cabin nestled deep in the woods of the small, southern town of Berry Springs—the perfect hideaway to escape your past.

Tucked inside thick, mahogany walls lay mysterious letters, forgotten and untouched for decades. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame breathtaking views of jagged cliffs, deep valleys, and endless lies. Mature oak trees, tall enough to touch the clouds, carry the whispers of the haunted, of stories untold

Inside sits Grey Dalton, emotionally battered and bruised, her only wish to pick up the broken pieces of her life. But outside, await two men, one a tattooed cowboy, the other a dashing businessman.

One will steal her heart, the other, her soul.  
My review
A story of having to hit rock bottom before you can climb your way back.
Grey's life has spiraled out of control. After suffering a miscarriage and getting fired after a drunken outburst at work Grey starts to re-evaluate her life and her first step is to leave her cheating husband and her luxury life behind. She buys a rundown log cabin nestled deep in the woods in the small southern town of Berry Springs.
Rattlesnake Road is my first read by Amanda McKinney and I love her biting prose. Grey Dalton's character is fantastic; sarcastic and funny, I was drawn into her life and wanted her to succeed, anxious over her set backs
With two love interests introduced, one promising her the life she had left behind but the one she was used to and attracted to whilst the other offered her a new beginning where she would have to come to terms with her inner turmoil.  
Amanda McKinney has not only written a great angsty romance the story is filled with topical issues such as; domestic abuse, self harm, alcoholism and mental illness. It did at times become quite dark and disturbing.
Through a ghost with unfinished business Grey becomes inadvertently involved in a 30 year old murder mystery.
Rattlesnake Road had me glued to the pages, there was plenty of fun banter between the characters, a bit of harmless snark that kept me laughing, a great twist that had my heart racing and one swoon worthy male that melted my heart.
If you love new beginnings Rattlesnake Road is worth a read. 
4 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐
About the author
Photo credit Goodreads
Amanda McKinney is the #1 bestselling and multi-award-winning author of more than fifteen small-town romantic suspense and mystery novels. She wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY in 2017, after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. Her books include the bestselling series, STEELE SHADOWS SECURITY, the multi-award-winning BERRY SPRINGS series, BLACK ROSE MYSTERIES, and many more to come.

Set in small, Southern towns, Amanda’s books are page-turning murder mysteries peppered with steamy romance. She lives in Arkansas with her handsome husband, two beautiful boys, and three obnoxious dogs.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Book Review: Gift of Diamonds by Roberta Seret

Gift of Diamonds
Roberta Seret Ph.D.


Publisher:  Wayzgoose Press 
Publication date: 23rd February 2021
Series: Transylvanian Trilogy #1
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 324
Format read: paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Smith Publicity 
About the book
Seventeen-year-old Mica is an aspiring actress living with her parents in Romania as Nicolae Ceausescu begins his reign of terror. Her parents are covertly political and influential, which makes them a perfect target for the Secret Police. When they're arrested, Mica flees the country with her father’s rare—and possibly cursed—diamonds. With her parents imprisoned, it’s up to Mica to investigate Ceausescu, his business partners, and their plot for nuclear terrorism.

Will revealing the truth to the world finally bring her the peace she seeks?
My review
Gift of Diamonds is set in Romania under the dictatorship of Ceausescu. Roberta Seret has fused fact and fiction to pen a story that is both devastating and hopeful.
The Transylvanian Trilogy has four main characters. Four teenaged girls, inseparable, dubbed the four musketeers. Book1, Gift of Diamonds, gives us Mica's story. Seventeen-year-old Mica is intelligent, a gifted actress. She has grown up listening to her father's stories of freedom and a better life. Her father and friends were plotting an anti-communist rebellion. These were dangerous times.
One night her parents disappear and Mica must put all she has learnt into action.

Gift of Diamonds is a wonderful read, both informative and entertaining. The main character, Mica, is well developed and likeable. I enjoyed her story and wanted her to succeed. She was strong willed and intelligent but also had a vulnerability about her.
I know nothing about Romanian history and I found the political infused chapters were not overly described or complicated which made my reading more enjoyable. (I'm sadly not a history buff)

Mica's motivation to move forward was the drive to free her parents from Romania and she never gave up. There were many pitfalls and the path to freedom wasn't easy. 
The bad times were moved over quickly and the concentration on happier events made the story easier to read. These were desperate times and the story could have been a lot more depressing. However, Roberta Seret used hope rather than despair to move the story along.
The information on the diamonds was fascinating, mixing history and tragedy through the story of the diamonds travels causing them to be labelled as cursed. 

Gift of Diamonds is a highly engaging Historical Fiction infused with political intrigue.

4 / 5   ⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Photo credit: Wayzgoose Press
Roberta Seret, Ph.D. is the founder and executive director of the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) at United Nations, International Cinema Education Organization and the Director of ESL and Film for the Hospitality Committee of the United Nations. She is an adjunct instructor at New York University in English and has published various articles in film review for the Journal of International Criminal Justice and Oxford University Press. Her work in the United Nations Global Classroom has been praised by various influential Americans, including Michelle Obama, Mike Bloomberg, and Caroline Kennedy. The Transylvanian Trilogy is her first fiction series. She resides in New York City with her husband, and has two sons.

Challenges entered: Historical Fiction Challenge #HistFicReadingChallenge


Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Book Review: Something to Hide by Fleur McDonald

 Something to Hide
Fleur McDonald

A riveting new novel of rural suspense from the bestselling Voice of the Outback.


Publisher: Allen & Unwin 
Publication date: 30th March 2021
Series: Det Dave Burrows
Genre: Rural Crime / Suspense
Pages: 336
RRP: $29.99AUD
Format read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
About the book
With the sickening realisation that his cover has been blown, Detective Dave Burrows knows his family is in serious danger from the vicious stock thieves and murderers, Bulldust and his brother Scotty.

Devastating news brings Dave back to Barrabine, where circumstances force him to question his determination to stay in the police force. How could he live with himself if anything happened to Mel and the kids?

Mel, understandably frightened, must decide who she'll listen to. Can she trust Dave to handle this threat hanging over their family, or is her father right to argue that she should leave her marriage immediately?
My review
I've been hanging out for this book since I finished Red Dirt Country and I wasn't disappointed.
Anyone that reads Fleur McDonald's books will know that Dave and Mel's marriage doesn't last so I don't think it's a spoiler to say this is the book that sees it all come undone. And, wow, Fleur McDonald does this in a spectacular way!
Mel is still struggling with looking after two small children whilst Dave is away on long assignments and delivers an ultimatum before he leaves on his latest job. It's his job or his family. I've been firmly on team Dave during the last few books thinking Mel was being unreasonable, but this story completely flipped me on Mel's side. We see the struggle of the wives of police officers bringing up family and living with the constant stress that they may leave for work and never return.
Bulldust and Scotty return in this novel and they are as ruthless and underhanded as ever, giving for some tense and heart-stopping moments.
Dave does investigate another case during this novel but I think his hunt for Bulldust trumps the case he is on and this plot-line had me turning pages in unfettered horror.
Something to Hide can be read as a standalone as there is enough backstory to know why Bulldust is a threat to Dave but I would recommend, at least, reading Without a Doubt first. 
 If you are looking for gripping rural crime reads Fleur McDonald never disappoints.
 5 / 5    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
About the author
Fleur McDonald has lived and worked on farms for much of her life. After growing up in small town of Orroroo in South Australia, she went jillarooing, eventually co-owning an 8000 acre property in regional Western Australia.
Fleur likes to write about strong women overcoming adversity, drawing inspiration from her own experiences in rural Australia. She has two children, an energetic kelpie and a Jack Russell terrier.

Challenges entered:  Australian Women Writers Challenge #AWW2021

                                 Aussie Author Challenge #AussieAuthor21
                                 Cloak and Dagger Challenge