Tuesday 31 March 2020

Book Review & Giveaway: Red Dirt Country by Fleur McDonald

Red Dirt Country
Fleur McDonald

Publisher: Allen & Unwin 
Publication date: 31st March 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Rural Crime
Pages: 392
RRP: $29.99 AUD
Format read: Paperback
Source: courtesy of the publisher via dmcprMedia 

Returning to Perth after a near-fatal undercover case in outback Queensland, Dave Burrows, now a Detective Senior Constable in the stock squad, receives an ultimatum from his deeply unhappy wife, Melinda.

Before Dave and Mel's problems can be resolved, Dave is sent to the far north of Australia on a stock theft investigation. He finds two cattle stations deep in a complex underbelly of racial divide, family secrets, long-repeated lies, kidnapping and murder.

Facing one of the biggest challenges of his policing life and the heartbreaking prospect of losing his family, Dave can't imagine things getting worse. But there's a hidden danger, intent on revenge, coming right for him.  

In Red Dirt Country Fleur McDonald takes her readers to the heat, dust and isolation of far north Western Australia.

Home for the last six months recovering from a gunshot wound Dave Burrows is eager to commence his new job on the stock squad. His pregnant wife Melinda is not so keen for him to leave.

Through Melinda and Dave, marriage to a policeman is explored as Fleur McDonald gives a well rounded account of both party’s feelings. I could see that Dave and Melinda were very much in love but neither wanted to give in. Melinda’s fear of him dying was overwhelming her and Dave couldn’t let go of his dream job.

His first job is in far north WA on a cattle stealing investigation. Under the guidance of Bob Holden we follow a thorough investigation and rookie Dave has a lot to learn from his superior. Fleur McDonald’s extensive knowledge of the cattle farms, how they are run and how cattle could be stolen amazed me.
Red Dirt Country has an intricate plot however it flows so easily and naturally proving McDonald is a master at outback story telling.

Dave isn’t as front line of the danger in this story as he was in Without a Doubt and his boss and mentor, Bob, and aboriginal lease holder, Kevin, shine in this story as much as Dave.

With themes of racial divide, bad blood handed down through generations, breaking down long held perceptions of crooked cops and a generation trying to make a better future for all Red Dirt Country is an engrossing and credible read.

The third book featuring Det Dave Burrows reads well as a stand alone with a new investigation introduced and wrapped up.
A cheeky little teaser at the end has me eager for the next book. And I think it will be a breath-holder!


My rating   5/5

photo credit: Goodreads
After growing up on a farm near Orroroo in South Australia, Fleur McDonalds first job was jillarooing in the outback. She has been involved in agriculture all her life, including helping manage a 8000-acre station foe twenty years. Today she and her two children, along with a Jack Russell and her energetic kelpie, Jack, live in Esperance, Western Australia,

Fleur is the author of 14 bestselling novels and two children's books.

This review is part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie Author Challenge 
and the Australian Women Writers challenge

Allen & Unwin have generously offered a paperback copy of Red Dirt Country to two of my readers.
Please enter via the form below.
This giveaway is now closed and the winners were ........ Michelle P & Gloria A

Sunday 29 March 2020

Book Review: Midwife in the Jungle by Fiona McArthur

Midwife in the Jungle
Fiona McArthur

Publisher: Self published
Publication date: 31st March 2020
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 189
RRP: $5.99AUD (Kindle)
Format read: eBook
Source: Courtesy of the author

Jacinta McLeod met Dr Jonah Armstrong delirious with malaria and, even then, she needed to fight off the urge to know more about this fascinating patient. When the chance came to follow him to the wilds of Papua New Guinea, and into a dangerous medical mission up the Sepik River, she took it, despite Jonah’s absolute ‘no’!

Jonah had already lost his baby sister in the unsafe world of PNG. Now headstrong Jacinta had arrived and he had to keep her safe.

Midwife in the Jungle is no anguished filled romance. Fiona McArthur’s female lead, Jacinta, is headstrong and feisty. She knows what she wants!

Jacinta first meets Jonah as a patient. He has been admitted to hospital with a bad case of malaria. There is an instant connection between the two but also a degree of irritation. They seem to fire each other up.

Both characters had tragic pasts and have devoted themselves to medicine. These tragedies caused them to shy away from commitment but also drew them together in their shared heartache. Jonah, also a doctor, works in New Guinea and was quick to tell Jacinta that it was no place for a woman. However Jacinta had her curiosity piqued and now New Guinea was exactly the place she needed to be.

Midwife in the Jungle has plenty of bumps in the road for Jacinta and Jonah and they have some major hurdles placed in their way with more than one life or death situation on their hands.

Fiona McArthur deftly includes details of a difficult childbirth and the skill of the attending doctor, lack of medical facilities in the jungle and the superstitions of the natives.

The story moves along quickly and there is never a dull moment. Even though this is a novella it doesn’t skimp on character development or a full storyline.


My rating  5/5

Photo credit: Goodreads
Fiona McArthur has worked as a midwife for thirty years. She is the clinical midwifery educator inner rural maternity unit and teaches emergency obstetric strategies while working with midwives and doctors from remote and isolated areas.

Fiona has written more than thirty romances, which have sold over two million copies in twelve languages. She has been a midwifery expert for Mother and Baby magazine and is the author of Aussie Midwives. She has also written the novels Red Sand Sunrise, The Homestead Girls and Heart of the Sky. She lives on a farm in northern New South Wales.

This review is part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie Author Challenge 
and the Australian Women Writers challenge

Thursday 26 March 2020

Book Review: Riptides by Kirsten Alexander

Kirsten Alexander

Publisher:  Penguin Random House
Imprint: Bantam
Publication date: 4th February 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Crime
Pages: 352
RRP: $32.99 AUD
Format read: Uncorrected ARC
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

One bad decision can tear your world apart . . .
December 1974. Abby Campbell and her brother Charlie are driving to their father’s farm on a dark country road when they swerve into the path of another car, forcing it into a tree. The pregnant driver is killed instantly.
In the heat of the moment, Abby and Charlie make a fateful decision. They flee, hoping heavy rain will erase the fact they were there. They both have too much to lose.
But they have no idea who they’ve just killed or how many lives will be affected by her death. Soon the truth is like a riptide they can’t escape, as their terrible secret pulls them down deeper by the day.


Alexander explores how a moment in time, a decision taken, can alter the lives of many, having a rolling effect.

Abby and Charlie’s decision to leave a woman dead on the side of the road after an accident they caused has far reaching effects. The two siblings grapple with the conscience, come to terms with and try to justify what they have done.

Told by dual narrators we get both Abigail and Charlie’s point of view. Neither character is totally likeable, which is understandable considering what they have just done, but Charlie had my anger rising as he displayed a total lack of remorse.

Set in the mid 70’s Alexander uses real events to place the story solidly in it’s time frame.

The story gripped me from the very first page and as the dead woman weaved her way into their lives again and again I was eager to learn how this was going to end. Likeable or not the engaging cast of characters were easy to connect with and give for some compelling reading.

Love, trauma, family, responsibility, a hippy commune and police corruption all combine to make this book un-put-downable.
My  rating  5/5

photo credit: Lee Sandwith

Kirsten was born in San Francisco, raised in Brisbane, and lives in Melbourne with her partner, two boys and two dogs. Her first novel was Half Moon Lake; this is her second.


This review is part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie Author Challenge 
and the Australian Women Writers challenge

Monday 23 March 2020

Mailbox Monday - March 23rd

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. 

Happy Monday!

As the country goes into lockdown I find I'm relying more and more on my online friends for support and socialising.  I did manage to get a dinner in with a few friends before the virus hit and we were asked to practice social distancing.

The great toilet paper famine continues however we did mange to obtain a few rolls thanks to our local supermarket initiating a  seniors hour from 7am to 8am. Other than that we are sticking to our normal weekly shop.

Looks like my birthday for this year has been cancelled but I have had enough birthdays to last me a lifetime and there will always be next year's birthday to celebrate.

Books received over the last two weeks.

 Received from the publishers.

Red Dirt Country by Fleur McDonald
Recovering from an undercover case in outback Queensland, Dave Burrows finally returns to Perth, to join his pregnant wife, Melinda, and their small daughter, Bec. Things have been off-kilter between Mel and Dave for some time and nothing he says or does seems to make it right. Once Dave starts waking violently in the dark nights, reliving the horrors of the Queensland job, Mel issues an ultimatum.

But Dave's work, despite its dangers, means everything to him. He's finally achieved his long-held dream and is now a Detective Senior Constable in the stock squad. And as soon as his shoulder wound is declared fully healed, Dave jumps into an investigation of stock theft in the north of Australia. There's a standoff between two stations and a history of disappearances and grief to uncover.

 Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan
Liz Trenchard is an experienced pediatrician with a duty to protect all children admitted to her busy emergency room When Jess Curtis, an affluent, stay-at-home mother, turns up at the ER one night with her baby girl, she immediately prompts suspicion. The ten-month-old has a blow to the head her mother doesn’t seem to have noticed, and Jess has a story that doesn’t stack up.

Meanwhile, Liz is riddled with doubt as she confronts secrets held by her mother, whose neglect not only led to a childhood tragedy involving her brother but raises questions about another baby Liz half-remembers from thirty-five years ago.

 The Long Road Home by Fiona McCallum
Alice Hamilton is enjoying her new life in Ballarat with the freedom to explore her future now she's stepped away from the constraints of her upbringing. She's learnt the hard way that knowledge is power, and is looking forward to her legal studies, then making a difference as a lawyer with heart.

But whilst Alice's life is looking up, back in Hope Springs the world of her former husband Rick Peterson is unravelling. After a chance meeting a few months earlier, Rick and Alice have reconnected. And it's fortunate they have, because Rick is about to need Alice's friendship like he's never needed it before.

  Mum & Dad by Joanna Trollope
 It’s been 25 years since Gus and Monica left England to start a new life in Spain, building a vineyard and wine business from the ground up. However, when Gus suffers a stroke and their idyllic Mediterranean life is thrown into upheaval, it’s left to their three grown-up children in London to step in . . .
But as long-simmering resentments rise to the surface and tensions reach breaking point, can the family ties prove strong enough to keep them together?  

Crack Up by Jules Faber
Max Crack and his best friend Frankie are back with even more quest-ordinary adventures!

Armed with a shiny new quest list, they are on a mission to find a meteorite, make a movie, solve a sisterly feud, eat truckloads of chocolate, set a World Record ...

Go Away Glob by Sarah Elliott Smyth 

Go Away Glob encourages children to process and overcome feelings of anxiety, worry and self-doubt, to get back to enjoying the activities that they love.

Searching for Seashells by Kerry Rosser

Searching for Seashells is a comforting and gentle story that empowers families to talk about love, loss and remembering. Sharing in a simple way the many big feelings of grief, it reassures young readers that love and memories continue even after someone is gone.

Ebook from the author

Midwife in the Jungle by Fiona McArthur
Jacinta McLeod met Dr Jonah Armstrong delirious with malaria and, even then, she needed to fight off the urge to know more about this fascinating patient. When the chance came to follow him to the wilds of Papua New Guinea, and into a dangerous medical mission up the Sepik River, she took it, despite Jonah’s absolute ‘no’!

 I would love to hear what you received in the mail lately!