Monday 29 November 2021

Mailbox Monday - November 29th

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week (or month). I post my new books on the last Monday of the month. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday Blog

 Happy Monday
We are having a wet and cool Spring this year in Sydney but I am still managing to get out for my daily walks and also snuggling up inside reading lots of books. It's hard to believe the Australian Summer starts on Wednesday and we are still getting around in long pants and jumpers!
What is a month in The Burgeoning Bookshelf's household without a birthday or two. Over the last month we celebrated my Daughter-in-laws birthday and my third son's birthday.


The Jacarandas are blooming everywhere. This beautiful carpet of flowers is on my front lawn. A neighbour has a Jacaranda and an Illawarra Flame tree in their front yard and it looks so amazing we are contemplating planting an Illawarra Flame tree. 


My eldest daughter is getting married in a few weeks and hopefully I will have some photos in the next mailbox post.
 Books I've received and purchased over the last month 


Do any of the above peak your interest? What has arrived in your mailbox lately?

Thursday 25 November 2021

Book Review: Dr Bennett's Babies by Fiona McArthur

 Dr Bennett's Babies
Fiona McArthur
Publisher: Self Published

Publication date: 30th September 2021 
Series: Healing hands - Doctors by Specialty #2 
Genre: Romance
Pages: 195
Price: $5.99AUD (Amazon Kindle) 
Format read: eBook
Source: Courtesy of the author
About the book
Meet Marcus and Tilly in the battle of the birth suites. Can the past that haunts Marcus, the hospital's new obstetrician, be healed by everyone's favourite, midwife Tilly?
My review
Midwife Tilly has sworn off men after two failed romances, she needs a break. Even when her neighbour's good looking nephew comes to stay she tells herself she is definitely not interested. She's happy with a friendship status with Marcus.
When she learns Marcus is the new head obstetrician at the hospital and she doesn't agree with his new birthing policies their friendship status is sorely tested as they clash time and time again.
Dr Bennett's Babies is book #2 in Fiona McArthur's specialists series.  I've enjoyed all of Fiona's medical romance stories that I have read and this is no exception.
McArthur's females are always feisty and passionate about their work and her male characters are strong yet willing to listen and learn. They know what they want and are not afraid to wear their heart on their sleeve. Quite often they are just that tiny bit broken, as Marcus is in this story, and all they need is the support of a strong woman to help them move on from the past. 
There is lots of conflict between midwives and doctors and I can believe this would actually be true in any birthing hospital.
Fiona explores the theme of safe home births and water births with hospital support and backup.
As with all Fiona's midwife books there are a couple of birthing scenes and not all go smoothly. This may be a trigger for some readers. 
I loved the initial conflict between Tilly and Marcus with a light underlying sexual tension. Dr Bennett's Babies is an easy read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and read it in a few hours.
It seems I have read book #2 first but each book is a standalone story.
My rating 4 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐
About the author
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. 

Challenges Entered: Australian Women Writers Challenge AWW2021

                                   Aussie Author Challenge #Aussieauthor21

Tuesday 23 November 2021

Book Review: Home Truths in Tumble Creek by Louise Forster

 Home Truths in Tumble Creek
Louise Forster

Publisher: Self Published
Publication date: 21st may 2019
Series: Tumble Creek #1
Genre: Rural Romance 
Pages: 298
Format read: eBook
Source: courtesy of the author
About the book
London-based chef, Jennifer Dove, loves her exciting, fast-paced life and she has every intention of returning to it ASAP. This trip to the small country town of Tumble Creek is to visit her sister and niece and farewell her beloved uncle. But barely hours into her stay, she disturbs an intruder in her uncle's house and is questioned by police. Things are not all they seem in Tumble Creek, and as much as she tries not to, Jennifer is sucked into the mystery surrounding her uncle. What are the locals hiding?      

And why can she not get sexy local Calum McGregor out of her mind?
My review
Home Truths in Tumble Creek is light and fun, an easy read. 
Jennifer flies from London to the small town of Tumble Creek in country Australia. Jen may be a top London chef but she is no stranger to this country town. It was the home town of her Uncle Bob who Jen and her sister Sofie visited often when they were growing up. They are there to attend his funeral and organise his affairs. The last thing Jen expects to do is fall for a sexy farmer.
Louise Forster has delivered a romance read that is filled with mystery, humour and secrets. There are a couple of steamy scenes for fans of sexy romance reads but the majority of the story is sweet.
Tumble Creek is portrayed as a welcoming, small country town and I enjoyed getting to know the residents there.
City girl Jen got into plenty of scrapes where hot farmer Callum came to the rescue and in one instance the local fire brigade was summoned and a rescue through an upstairs window was quite comical.
A sexy farmer, Russian spies watching their every move and loan sharks determined to get their money by any means give for moments of light-hearted fun and moments of suspense. 
My only quibble with this novel is there was too much dialogue for my liking and it slowed the story.
My rating  3 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐


About the author

Louise Forster grew up in a Victorian country town. She ran barefoot along dirt roads and loved looking through the leaves of tall eucalypts at the azure summer skies. Eventually, she grew up, and the country town became a suburb of Melbourne. Running barefoot to catch her train to work would have caused more than a few raised eyebrows so she opted for stilettos, of course. At eighteen, Louise travelled through Europe, parts of Africa and the Pacific Islands. These days Louise lives on the far north coast of New South Wales on a small property that includes her extended family, three dogs, three cats and all manner of wildlife. 

Challenges Entered: Australian Women Writers Challenge AWW2021

                                   Aussie Author Challenge #Aussieauthor21

Tuesday 16 November 2021

Book Review: Birds of a Feather by Tricia Stringer

 Birds of a Feather
Tricia Stringer
As one door closes another one opens
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
Imprint: HQ Fiction
Publication date: 29th September 2021
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 352
RRP: $ 32.99AUD 

Format read: Paperback

Source: Courtesy of the publisher

About the book

Eve has been a partner in a Wallaby Bay fishing fleet as long as she can remember. Now they want her to sell - but what would her life be without work? She lives alone, her role on the town committee has been spiked by malicious gossip and she is incapacitated after surgery. For the first time in her life she feels weak, vulnerable - old.

When her troubled god-daughter Julia arrives at Wallaby Bay, she seems to offer Eve a reprieve from her own concerns. But there is no such thing as plain sailing. Eve has another house guest, the abrasive Lucy, who is helping her recuperate and does not look kindly on Julia's desire for Eve's attention.

But Lucy, too, has demons to battle and as each woman struggles to overcome their loss of place in the world, they start to realise that there may be more that holds them together, than keeps them apart.
My review
Tricia Stringer once again manages to deliver a heartfelt story with characters that readers will resonate with. Their problems and concerns are highly relatable and dealt with in a manner that is believable as the navigate the areas of friendship, family, ageing and companionship.

Julia who has retained a close friendship with her mother's best friend Eve, after her mother has passed away returns home to Wallaby Bay when her life falls into a rut and she feels she needs a bit of a break. She naturally turns to Eve as she is like a second mother.
Eve is recovering from shoulder surgery and has employed ex-nurse Lucy to oversee her recuperation. Here the three women are brought together and as they work through a rocky start an unlikely friendship evolves.

Stringer explores themes of women in male dominated industries, forced retirement and its mental effects, mother guilt, small town gossip, coping as a single parent with a FIFO partner and on a smaller scale how the evolving Covid pandemic affected different people.

The three women were all abrupt and disgruntled, at a crossroads in their life, at the start of the book and I liked the dynamics of the characters and how they were being frostily polite to each other.  I enjoyed their growth as they embraced a new optimism and purpose. Each supporting and encouraging the other.

Tricia Stringer reinvents the meaning of family as Eve, Julia and Lucy navigate the ups and downs of life.

My rating 5 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author
Tricia Stringer is a bestselling and award-winning author. Among others, her books include commercial fiction titles Table For Eight, The Model Wife and The Family Inheritance, the rural romances A Chance of Stormy Weather and Come Rain or Shine and historical sagas Heart of the Country, Dust on the Horizon and Jewel in the North. Tricia grew up on a farm in country South Australia and has spent most of her life in rural communities. She now lives in the beautiful Copper Coast region, often exploring Australia's diverse communities and landscapes, and shares this passion for the country and its people through her stories.

Challenges Entered: Australian Women Writers Challenge AWW2021

                                   Aussie Author Challenge #Aussieauthor21

Monday 15 November 2021

Winners in my latest paperback Giveaways announced!!


 Once again I would like to thank everyone who entered my giveaways for a copies of Deception Creek and The Curlew's Eye. The giveaways closed on the 12th November and 14th November respectively and the winners were randomly selected (using Random org) from all correct entries. 

Congratulations to ...........  Richard Harrison who won a copy of Deception Creek.

Congratulations to ...........  Leanne   who won a copy of The Curlew's Eye.

 The winners have been notified and have seven days to provide a mailing address.

 Please look under the giveaway tab for more chances to win great books.

I have more giveaways coming.

Sunday 14 November 2021

Tasmania's International Crime and Mystery Literary Festival - Sat 27 & Sun 28 Nov 2021, Online

Tasmania's International Crime and Mystery Literary Festival

Terror Australis Readers and Writers Festival is excited to announce Tasmania's first  international crime and mystery literary festival.

The awe-inspiring line-up of more than 35 writers of crime and mystery includes:

·      David Heska Wanbli Weiden, TAF2021 International Guest of Honour,

·      Ann Cleeves, TAF2021 Mistress of Mystery,

·      Val McDermid, TAF2021 Queen of Crime,

·      Liz Nugent, TAF2021 Prime Suspect,

·      Garry Disher, TAF2021 Australian Guest of Honour,

·      Naomi Hirahara,

·      Abir Mukherjee,

·      Vanda Symon,

                      ·      J.P. Pomare, 
                ·      Anita Heiss.
                             Candice Fox

"We’re still pinching ourselves in disbelief at the incredible line-up of local, Australian and international best-selling authors who’ve joined us this year," the Festival’s Director, Dr L.J.M. Owen said

With lively panel discussions, author interviews, intimate book clubs and writing masterclasses, TAF2021's 'CSI: TASMANIA' offers something for everyone.

"It's not just for readers of crime and mystery," Dr Owen said. "Anyone with an interest in books, reading, writing or the publishing industry will find something to suit them."

The two day program, which runs across the last weekend of November, offers in-depth interviews with authors like Ann Cleeves, Garry Disher and Val McDermid, and panel discussions with authors such as Anita Heiss, R.W.R. McDonald, and Sulari Gentill.

"During our online digital weekend we'll share the love of Tasmanian, Australian and international crime and mystery fiction with an audience tuning in from around the world," Dr Owen said.

The panel sessions will explore questions including why the Tasmanian landscape inspires so much brilliant crime and mystery fiction.

"We're also offering 20 Book Clubs and Writing Masterclasses with some of Australia's most loved writers, for instance Candice Fox, Debra Oswald and Meg Keneally," Dr Owen said.

Originally, a second weekend of live panel discussions in Huonville was also planned for November.

"Unfortunately, the recent snap lockdown meant we had to suspend having a live audience in early November. It's an unfortunate loss, as we were on course to make a solid contribution to local economic recovery from two devastating bushfire seasons followed by the pandemic. While sad for everyone involved, the good news is that we've shifted a number of the panels across to feature at the digital weekend at no extra cost to ticket buyers," Dr Owen said.

Pivoting to hold the panel sessions online instead of live was made possible by the festival's existing work to digitally transform.

"Earlier this year, the festival won a 3 year, $120,000 grant, from the Regional Arts Fund to undertake digital transformation of its events," Dr Owen said.

In a state where just 50% of the adult population is functionally literate, the project aims to support the ongoing development of the local literary sector, facilitate external professional development opportunities, and support continuing community engagement in literature.

"The work we'd already undertaken as part of the project meant we could make the shift from in-person to online in a matter of days," Dr Owen said.


Earlybird Digital Weekend Passes to CSI: TASMANIA are now on sale. Priced at $90, each pass includes 15 author interviews and discussion panels, as well as two free Book Clubs or Writing Mini Masterclasses (subject to availability).

"It's fantastic value and highly accessible. With the expanded program, this means the 15 sessions are costing just $6 each, and will be available on demand until 2022. So if you love crime or mystery fiction, we hope to share this amazing weekend with you.”

T:  @TerrorAustFest  Please use the hashtag #TerrorAustFest

FB: @TerrorAustralisFestival   Please do not use hashtags on Facebook

I: @terroraustralisfestival  Please use the hashtag #TerrorAustFest


Friday 12 November 2021

Book Review Blog Tour: The Safe Place by L. A. Larkin

 The Safe Place
L. A.  Larkin

Publisher: Bookouture
Publication date: 9th November 2021
Genre: Crime Thriller
Pages: 394
Price: $1.99AUD (Kindle price @12/11/21) 
Format read: eBook
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
About the book
Her heart pounds at the sound of footsteps outside her cabin in the woods. The snap of a twig tells her someone is close by. As she treads lightly towards the back door, she says a silent prayer—don’t let him find me…
Ever since Jessie Lewis reported her boyfriend, fire chief and local hero, for beating her, she’s been an outcast from the small town of Eagle Falls. And when someone sets fire to a house in the woods, killing the entire Troyer family, the locals turn on her again, taking her very public argument with Paul Troyer as proof that she lit the match.
Devastated that anyone could think her capable of murder, Jessie turns to Ruth. New in town, and an ex-FBI agent, Ruth could be the exact person Jessie needs to smoke out the murderer. But can she trust her with her life?
Days later, another house linked to Jessie is set ablaze. Combing the ashes for answers, she catches sight of an inscription she hasn’t seen since her childhood—since she lost someone very close to her. Is the killer is coming for her next?
As local wildfires take hold of the town and everyone is evacuated, Jessie knows she must put herself in unthinkable danger to catch the killer. And when she does, will she have the strength to take them down first?
My review
L.A. Larkin has delivered an adrenaline pumping small-town crime thriller fuelled by lies and secrets.
After being ostracised by the local community Jessie Lewis moves to a small cabin in the woods outside her home town of Eagle Falls. When a family of four is killed in a fire lit by an arsonist the town turns on Jessie once again.

Ex-FBI agent Ruth Sullivan has moved with her young family to her husband's home town of Eagle Falls. She is struggling with the damaging effects of a bomb blast plus PTSD induced nightmares. Ruth is finding it hard to fit into this tight knit community.
Ruth and Jessie, almost a generation apart in age, were alike in many ways. Both were strong determined women trying to escape their past. The two women immediately clicked and when Jessie found herself in trouble she turned to Ruth for help. Jessie is determined to clear her name and uncover a corrupt sheriff, long held secrets, a murderer and an arsonist.
Larkin has created a small-town community filled with domineering, manipulative and misogynistic men. The story includes themes of domestic abuse, victim blaming and gaslighting.  
The scenes of the house fires were horrifyingly real and as the story progresses the number of likely suspects mounts.
The suspense was rife, I was on the edge of my seat, it took all of my reserve not to read ahead to see what happened next.
The Safe Place is fast paced, action packed and suspense filled making it a novel not to be missed. 
I really enjoyed Larkin's previous novels Devour and Prey but she has outdone herself with The Safe Place
My rating 5 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

L.A. Larkin’s crime-thrillers have won her fans all over the world. Described as a superb ‘chiller thriller’ writer by Marie Claire magazine and praised by Lee Child, Louisa likes to write stories with lots of plot twists and characters that surprise. She feels very privileged to be able to brainstorm her story ideas with friends in the police and the FBI.







Tuesday 9 November 2021

Book Review: Snotlings by Tarryn Mallick

Tarryn Mallick
Illustrated by Nahum Ziersch
 Can you survive the snotpocalpyse?
Publisher: Self published

Publication date: 25th October 2021
Genre: Middle Grade / Fiction
Pages: 298
RRP: $21.50AUD (Amazon)
Format read: Paperback 
Source: Courtesy of the author
About the book
Jackson Hart loves picking his nose. But when he finds a tiny warrior in his booger, everything turns WEIRD and DANGEROUS! Not only does he have a civilisation of snotlings up his nose . . . one wants revenge.

Mucuszar and his awful germ army have conquered both nostrils and Jackson’s world is next!

Can Jackson and his friends stop the snotpocalypse? Or will Mucuszar’s deadly creation destroy the planet?

My review
Snotlings is an adventure filled story about a tiny civilisation that lived in Jackson's nostril. They ate dust and battled germs. When one of the snotlings, Mucuszar, goes rogue and enlists the germs to take over Jackson's Immune system he spends a  lot of time home sick.
Mucuszar is not happy only making Jackson sick, he wants to take over the world starting with Sydney.

Snotlings is the highly imaginative and extremely descriptive debut novel by Tarryn Mallick. This science fiction tale brings the snotlings and their world into the world of Jackson and his friends.

Snot and boogers feature highly in Snotlings with names like Crust, Goober, Igunk, Vomitor, Razorthroat and Fluefector eliciting many giggles from my young reading  buddy. It may not be for those with a sensitive stomach. I was personally grossed out but Dot thought it was hilarious.

Tarryn Mallick has included themes of bullying and empathy and mentions of the healing power of Chinese herbal medicines.

Written in alternating chapters between Jackson and the snotlings. There is plenty of action and danger in both narratives to keep the reader entertained.
A fun addition to the story is finding the tiny illustrated snotling hidden in each chapter.

Will Jackson and his friends save themselves and the planet before they are all covered in snot?

My review copy came with germ collector cards with pictures and stats of the germs, a giant magnifying glass and a jar of slime. You can order this magnificent gift box from Tarryn's website.

Recommended age 7 - 12 years

Dot's rating 4 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐
 About the author
Tarryn became a writer because she had a story to tell. A story about snot! It may seem strange to write a book about boogers, but growing up, her little brother tormented her with his snot every… single… day!

She obtained a degree in Creative and Professional Writing and studied numerous courses and books, applying everything she had learnt to her first book. It took a short six years and now Snotlings is ready to be shared with everyone.


Challenges Entered: Australian Women Writers Challenge AWW2021

                                   Aussie Author Challenge #Aussieauthor21

Thursday 4 November 2021

Book Review & Giveaway: The Curlew's Eye by Karen Manton

The Curlew's Eye
Karen Manton 

Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication date: 14th September 2021
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Mystery
Pages: 352
RRP: $32.99AUD
Format read: Uncorrected Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
About the book
Greta's partner Joel grew up with five brothers and a sister in a feisty household on an isolated NT property. But he doesn't talk about those days-not the deaths of his sister and mother, nor the origin of the scars that snake around his body.

Now, many years later, he returns with Greta and their three young boys to prepare the place for sale. The boys are quick to settle in, and Joel seems preoccupied with work, but Greta has a growing sense of unease, struggling in the build-up's oppressive heat and living in the shadow of the old, burned-out family home. She knows she's a stranger in this uncanny place, with its eerie and alluring landscape, hostile neighbour, and a toxic dam whose clear waters belie its poison. And then there's the mysterious girl living rough whom Greta tries to befriend.

Determined to make sense of it all, Greta is drawn into Joel's unspoken past and confronted by her own. Before long the curlew's haunting cry will call her to face the secrets she and Joel can no longer outrun.

My review

Greta, Joel and their three sons lead a nomadic life moving from town to town wherever Joel finds work. When he gets a job repairing the shack on his childhood property Greta is looking forward to learning more about Joel and his family.
As they settle into the area and meet other residents Greta can feel the pull of the place. It calls to her and the history of the area seeps into her being.
Karen Manton's prose are eerie and haunting. She uses short, sharp sentences that hold within themselves a hint of impending menace.
Single page chapters from the past are dotted throughout revealing a malevolent presence that once lurked.
I liked how Karen Manton set the novel in the modern day however there was only brief mentions of mobile phones and email. The three young boys ran around the bush collecting things, fishing and amusing themselves. They were happy, outgoing, friendly boys despite living a nomadic life.
Greta and Joel are slowly being destroyed by secrets held within them and secrets held from them.

Everything is brought to life in this gothic style tale of secrets kept hidden. The vegetation, trees, bird-life are all watching, judging.
Water and its alluring beauty and danger is a large presence running through the novel. The poison lake at the property holds secrets within its depths and the ocean of Greta's childhood holds memories of despair and loss.

Karen Manton has expressed this foreboding style of narration with an expertise that makes it look effortless. The gloom, despair and horror as it built to the climax did however overwhelm me. The Curlew's Eye is a highly emotional read.

My rating 4 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Karen Manton lives in Darwin and Batchelor in the Northern Territory, with her husband, two sons, and their two dogs and a turtle. She has short stories published in various anthologies. The Curlew's Eye is her first novel.
I  have one copy of The Curlew's Eye to give away to one lucky reader. Entries close at Midnight on 14th November 2021. (Australian addresses only)
This giveaway is closed - The winner was announced here

Book Review & Giveaway: Deception Creek by Fleur McDonald

 Deception Creek
Fleur McDonald
When secrets from the past threaten, loyalties are questioned

 Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication date: 2nd November 2021
Series: Detective Dave Burrows 
Genre: Rural crime
Pages: 376
RRP: $ 29.99AU
Format read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
About the book
Emma Cameron, a recently divorced farmer and a local in Barker, runs Deception Creek, the farm that three generations of her family have owned before her. Every day Emma pushes herself hard on the land, hoping to make ten-year-old memories of a terrible car accident disappear. And now there are more recent nightmares of an ex-husband who refuses to understand how much the farm means to Emma.

When criminal Joel Hammond is released from jail and heads home to Barker, Detective Dave Burrows and his officer Senior Sergeant Jack Higgins are on high alert. Joel has a long and sorry history with many of the townsfolk and they are not keen to see him home to stay.

Not all of the Barker locals want to see Joel run out of town though. Some even harbour doubts about Joel's conviction. The town finds itself split down the middle, families pitted against each other with devastating outcomes.
My review
I simply can't get enough of Detective Dave Burrows! This series is one I will definitely keep on my shelf to read again.
Joel Hammond is back in town after nine years in prison. His parents have passed away and Barker is the only home he knows. Joel wants a quiet  life but the residents of barker have long memories and a penchant for bearing grudges.
Emma having recently celebrated her divorce thinks it may be time to start dating again when an old friend, she shared a tragedy with in the past, comes to visit and clearly shows his interest in her and the farm.
Deception Creek is another suspense filled rural crime novel. Characters I have come to know and love reappear in this story and I gained a little more insight into their personalities.
Zara the investigative journalist and girlfriend of police officer Jack Higgins again has a major roll in this novel as she works along side Dave and Jack.

Fleur McDonald again features PTSD and the importance of counseling. Through Joel, who is still professing his innocence, we see the difficulty to adjust to everyday lofe after being in prison.

Dave Burrows is always cool and calm, keeping his feelers out for any trouble but never taking sides or judging anyone.
The mysteries start to build as an accidental death 29 years ago is questioned.

McDonald includes themes of white collar crime, online blackmail and long held secrets, mixing these with everyday farming techniques to give her books a true Australian flavour.

Fleur McDonald knows how to add mystery into every element of the story leaving her readers eagerly turning the pages.
My rating  5 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

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

Thanks to Allen & Unwin I have one paperback copy of Deception Creek to giveaway to one lucky entrant. Australian addresses only.
This giveaway is closed - the winner was announced here