Saturday 30 March 2019

Winner of The Lost Girls by Jennifer Spence announced

A big thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway for a copy of The Lost Girls by Jennifer Spence. The giveaway closed on 29th March and the winner was randomly selected from all correct entries. 
Congratulations to....




You will receive an email shortly and have 7 days to provide a mailing address. I hope you enjoy your prize.

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

Book Bingo - Round 7 #BookBingo2019

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 'Written by an Australian Male'.

Written by an Australian male:

The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham. Robotham's foray into the contemporary women's fiction market  didn't really hit the mark with me. It is a story of obsession. A woman starts to stalk a stranger because she seems to have the perfect life, the life she has always wanted. She soon befriends her and everything spirals out of control, in both their lives, from here.   
I have enjoyed Robotham's previous books and one of my favourites was Bombproof, a humorous satire about a young guy who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and how a situation can spiral out of control so quickly. 

You can read my review of The Secrets She Keeps  here


Friday 29 March 2019

Book Review & Giveaway: Under the Midnight Sky (Mystery)

Under the Midnight Sky
Anna Romer

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia
Publication Date: 1st may 2019
Pages: 407
RRP: $29.99 
Format Read:  Paperback - Advanced Reader Copy
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Better Reading Preview


When an injured teenager goes missing at a remote bushland campground, local journalist Abby Bardot is determined to expose the area’s dark history. The girl bears a striking resemblance to the victims of three brutal murders that occurred twenty years ago and Abby fears the killer is still on the loose.

But the newspaper Abby works for wants to suppress the story for fear it will scare off tourists to the struggling township. Haunted by her own turbulent memories, Abby is desperate to learn the truth and enlists the help of Tom Gabriel, a reclusive crime writer. At first resentful of Abby’s intrusion, Tom’s reluctance vanishes when they discover a hidden attic room in his house that shows evidence of imprisonment from half a century before.

As Abby and Tom sift through the attic room and discover its tragic history, they become convinced it holds the key to solving the bushland murders and finding the missing girl alive.
But their quest has drawn out a killer, someone with a shocking secret who will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.


Abby is still plagued by nightmares 20 years after her friend was murdered and found in a shallow grave in the gorge.
When a young girl from the area goes missing no-one is too concerned, runaways are all too common in Gundara. Abby is determined to search for this girl hoping she may also find answers to her friend’s murder.

Tom, internationally acclaimed author, has moved to Ravensong, a rambling and remote home in the bush surrounding Gundara. He wants to escape society after a very public and disastrous divorce. A fall from a ladder and a journalist after the interview of a life-time, bring Abby and Tom together.

I thoroughly enjoyed Under the Midnight Sky and was swept away in the remote countryside and the mysteries held in the gorge.
The apathy toward the low socioeconomic community in Gundara and the lack of action by the police in reference to the runaways was disturbing but understandable.

Little hooks of information are delivered to sink you into the story, making the mystery bigger and more compelling, with each new snippet.

The story is narrated in multiple perspectives often changing within a chapter. I usually find this type of narration confusing however Romer pulls it off by changing the scene as well as the narration.

The story holds mysteries within a mystery all layered on top of each other and centred around the murdered girls.

An underlying theme of love runs deep through the novel. The love of a sibling; shows Ennis not being able to let go of his sister, long after her death. With sisters Lilly and Frankie, Romer explores how far a person will go to protect someone they love. We can see Abby’s love for her alcoholic father, even though she denies it. Lil and Joe, an elderly couple nearing the end of their life, epitomise enduring love, not being able to imagine a time when they will not be together. And we also follow the burgeoning love between Abby and Tom.

Under the Midnight Sky is atmospheric and moving. Anna Romer is one of the great story tellers of our time.

My rating  4.5 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

*this review is part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie author challenge
and book #8 in the Australian Women Writers challenge
Letter 'U' in the 2019 A-Z challenge 

I have an advanced reader copy of Under the Midnight Sky to giveaway to one lucky reader.

Enter via the Giveaway form below.


Photo credit: Goodreads

Anna Romer was born in Australia to a family of book-lovers. She led a nomadic life for many years, travelling around Europe and Britain in an ancient Kombi van where she discovered a passion for history.

These days she lives in a little old cottage surrounded by bushland, writing stories about dark family secrets, rambling houses, characters haunted by the past, and settings that feature the uniquely beautiful Australian landscape. Anna's debut best-selling novel was Thornwood House followed by Lyrebird Hill and Beyond the Orchard.


This giveaway is now closed.

Monday 25 March 2019

Mailbox Monday - March 25th

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. 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. Head over and check out other books received during the last week. 

This week was looking very grim for me on the book mail front so on Friday morning (with no deliveries all week) I decided to treat myself to a book that I had been wanting to buy, from a favourite author of mine, for a long time. You can see the book in my purchases below. When I arrived home, happy with my purchase, the postman had been with a delivery of 6 more books. 

For review:

The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins
Publication date: 4th April 2019

FOR SALE: A lovely family home with good-sized garden and treehouse occupying a plot close to woodland. Perfect for kids, fitness enthusiasts, dog walkers . . .
And, it seems, the perfect hunting ground for a serial killer.
On a hot July day, Garrick and Olivia Lockwood and their two children move into 25 The Avenue looking for a fresh start. They arrive in the midst of a media frenzy: they’d heard about the local murders in the press, but Garrick was certain the killer would be caught and it would all be over in no time. Besides, they’d got the house at a steal and he was convinced he could flip it for a fortune.
The neighbours seemed to be the very picture of community spirit. But everyone has secrets, and the residents in The Avenue are no exception.
After six months on the case with no real leads, the most recent murder has turned DC Wildeve Stanton’s life upside down, and now she has her own motive for hunting down the killer – quickly.

Books I won:

The Better Sister by Alafair Burke
Publication date: 18th April 2019

For a while, it seemed like both Taylor sisters had found happiness. Hannah landed a coveted publishing job in New York City. Nicole got married to a promising young attorney named Graham McIntosh and became a mother to a baby boy named Ian.

Now, more than fifteen years later, it is Hannah who is married to Graham. When he is murdered at the couple's beach house, Hannah has no choice but to welcome her teenaged stepson's biological mother - her estranged sister, Nicole - back into her life. When the police begin to treat Ian as a suspect, the two sisters are forced to confront the truth behind family secrets they both tried to leave in the past.

Under the Midnight Sky by Anna Romer
Publication date: 1 May 2019

I had already received a copy of this book so watch out for a giveaway coming up soon for this copy. 

I won three books on Page by Page book club with Theresa Smith Writes on Facebook.

On the Same Page by Penelope Janu 

I have read this heart-warming and humorous romance and you can see my review here 

This copy will be going to a friend who  know will enjoy it immensely.

Leaving Ocean Road by Esther Campion
Publication date: 25th July 2017

Twenty years ago, Ellen left her beloved Ireland to make a new life in Australia. Now struggling to cope with the death of her much loved husband, Nick, Ellen finds her world turned upside down when an unexpected visitor lands on her doorstep.

The arrival of Gerry Clancy, her first love from Ireland, may just be the catalyst that pulls Ellen out of her pit of grief, but it will also trigger a whole new set of complications for her and those she holds dear.

The House of Second Chances by Esther Campion
Publication date: 12th February 2019

Their grandmother's stone cottage was always a welcome retreat in the childhood summers of Ellen and Aidan O'Shea. After a trip home from Australia, Ellen is keen to bring the neglected home back to its former glory and enlists the help of her dear friend and one of Ireland's top interior designers, Colette Barry.

Aidan is already begrudging the work on the house he has avoided for nearly twenty years. The last thing the builder needs is an interior designer who seems to do nothing but complicate his life. With their own personal heartaches to overcome, will Aidan and Colette find the courage to give the house and themselves a second chance?

My purchase:

The Cafe by the Bridge by Lily Malone
Publication date: 17th December 2018

Child psychologist Taylor Woods needs a man. Flashy restaurateur Abel Honeychurch to be specific. Abe can help her get justice for her brother, Will. Taylor knows Abe, too, was scammed by the same woman who broke her brother's heart and stole everything in his pockets.

But bringing a lying, cheating scammer to justice isn't easy when all Abe wants to do is forget the whole sorry saga. He's returned to his home town of Chalk Hill to lick his wounds and repay his debts, renovating his nanna's house and opening the Chalk 'n' Cheese cafe.

He's miserable. And it would be easier to stay miserable if everyone else around him wasn't so darn cheerful. It's wildflower season in Chalk Hill with a cafe full of upbeat bushwalkers, and it's all Abe can do to remember to put sugar, not salt, in his customers' cappuccinos. He definitely has no time for the mysterious red–headed guest who admires his cheesecake and adores his flat white.

Taylor's mission to help her brother seems doomed – how will she gain the trust of a man whose every instinct tells him never to trust a woman again?

What am I looking forward to reading? 

I love stories about siblings and sibling rivalry so this week my choice is The Better Sister. It looks like it might be a bit of a thriller too.

What Books did your postman deliver this week?

Post a link to your Mailbox Monday or simply list your books in the comments below.

Saturday 23 March 2019

Book Review: Home at Last (Outback Romance)

Home At Last
Meredith Appleyard

Publisher: Harlequin Australia 
Imprint: Mira
Publication Date: 18th March 2019
Pages: 416
RRP: $29.99
Format Read: Paperback
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher


Flying solo can be harder than it looks ... A warm-hearted rural romance about finding your way home. Flying solo for the first time had been the greatest high of Anna Kelly's life. So when the chance of a dream job as a pilot with the Royal Flying Doctor Service comes up she takes it, even though she has to leave her home in Adelaide and move to remote Broken Hill - a place she had hoped she would never see again.

The bad memories the town provokes remind Anna why she keeps men at arm's length but as her work proves fulfilling, her housemate becomes a friend and a warm community grows around her, Anna is surprised to discover that Broken Hill is starting to feel like home.

But there is no such thing as plain sailing and with errant mothers, vengeful ex-patients and determined exes on the prowl, life is becoming increasingly complicated. More than that, the distractingly attractive Flight Nurse Nick Harrison seems keen to get to know her better, and he has a way of finding a path through her defences. But will he still want her if the truth comes out?


Home At Last was my first medical based romance and also my first book about the Royal Flying Doctor Service. I really enjoyed all the details about the different cases they are called to and the difficulties with medical help in really remote areas. The RFDS is a valuable life saving service and Appleyard brings to the fore some areas we don’t often think about such as the difficulties of shift working, the long shifts and the lack of adequate staff. Appleyard doesn’t shy away from the RFDS cases that don’t have a happy ending; a still-born baby, a suicide. However she treats these cases with the sensitivity and empathy they deserve.

Anna is back in Broken Hill, a town where she spent her last high school years when her father was principal of the local high school. A town she couldn’t wait to leave and a town she tried hard to forget. She has returned to take up a position in her dream job, flying for the RFDS.
Nick is also back in Broken Hill, he has taken a temporary job as a flight nurse, leaving his troubles behind him in Sydney. He plans to work for a few month a and help get his mother back on track with her health and housing needs. Even though Anna doesn’t remember Nick he remembers her, his old high school crush, and his feelings haven’t abated with age, they have only become stronger.

I really enjoyed this budding romance between Anna and Nick. There were a few misunderstandings and hidden secrets to keep the relationship interesting and unpredictable. The anguish level was just right for me (I’m not one for angst ridden, hand wringing romances). Anna was a strong female role, she was a pilot, a male dominated occupation, and she rocked her job. She was fiercely independent, as she had to look after herself from a young age, and had trust issues. It was nice to see how Nick handled this with patience.
Nick also had a lot going on in his life, a recalcitrant mother, a wayward brother, a failed marriage and a house to sell in Sydney.

Home At Last delivered everything I look for in an outback romance; warmth, tragedy, heartbreak, acceptance and forgiveness.

Appleyard has been firmly placed on my ‘must read’ list.

 My Rating  5 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*this review is part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie author challenge
and book #7 in the Australian Women Writers challenge


Meredith Appleyard lives in the Clare Valley wine-growing region of South Australia, two hours north of Adelaide. As a registered nurse and midwife, she has worked in a wide range of country health practice settings, including the Royal Flying Doctor Service. She has done agency nursing in London and volunteer work in Vietnam. After her first manuscript was rejected, she joined a writers' group, attended workshops and successfully completed an Advanced Diploma of Arts in Professional Writing with the Adelaide College of the Arts. And she kept working. When she isn't writing, Meredith is reading, helping organise the annual Clare Writers' Festival, or at home with her husband and her border collie, Daisy. The Country Practice is her first novel


Thursday 21 March 2019

Book Review: The Secrets She Keeps ( Suspense/ Thriller)

The Secrets She Keeps
Michael Robotham

Publisher: Hachette Australia 
Publication Date: 11th July 2017
Pages: 464
Format read: eBook
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley


Everyone has an idea of what their perfect life is. For Agatha, it's Meghan Shaughnessy's.

These two women from vastly different backgrounds have one thing in common - a dangerous secret that could destroy everything they hold dear.

Both will risk everything to hide the truth, but their worlds are about to collide in a shocking act that cannot be undone.


Agatha works at a supermarket and her boyfriend is away in the Navy. She is estranged from her mother with seemingly no support.

Agatha has always dreamed of having a loving husband, a beautiful home and children to fill it. At her job in the local supermarket Agatha watches Meghan go about her daily life; picking the children up from school, going to the hairdressers and having coffee with friends. Her dream life is exactly what Meghan has. Does Meghan appreciate everything she has, everything that Agatha has dreamed of?

Agatha tries to emulate Meghan’s life, going to the same hairdresser, reading Meghan’s mummy blog and joining her yoga class. When she realises Meghan is pregnant she is happy that they now have something in common and a friendship soon strikes up during Meghan’s visits to the supermarket.

Written in the alternating voices of Meghan and Agatha giving the reader   a real look inside their lives and minds and it soon becomes apparent that both women have secrets lying just under the surface.

My only problem with the story was that the beginning was very slow and the plot predictable. However I still enjoyed the story and couldn’t put the book down. It was an easy read, more women's fiction than suspense thriller. The characters of Agatha and Meghan were well drawn and the storyline realistic.

In the last quarter of the book the plot heats up and the adrenaline starts to flow, turning The Secrets She Keeps into the psychological thriller I was expecting.

 My Rating   3.5 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐½

*this review is part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie author challenge


Photo credit: Goodreads
Before becoming a novelist, Michael Robotham was an investigative journalist working across America, Australia and Britain. As a journalist and writer he has investigated notorious cases such as the serial killer couple Fred and Rosemary West. He has worked with clinical and forensic psychologists as they helped police investigate complex, psychologically driven crimes.
Michael's 2004 debut thriller, The Suspect, sold more than 1 million copies around the world. It is the first of eight novels featuring clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin, who faces his own increasing battle with a potentially debilitating disease. Michael has also written four standalone thrillers. In 2015 he won the UK's prestigious Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award with his standalone thriller Life or Death.
He lives in Sydney.