Wednesday, 24 August 2022

Book Review: After the Flood by Dave Warner

After the Flood
by
Dave Warner 
 
Publisher: Fremantle Press
 
Publication date: 2nd August 2022
 
Series: Dan Clement #3

Genre: Crime Fiction
 
Pages: 264 
 
RRP: $32.99AUD
 
Format read: Paperback 
 
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
 
My review of After the Flood
 
In After the Flood Dave Warner explores the concept of past trauma shaping a person's outlook which could lead to psychopathic thoughts and deadly actions.
After the Flood delves into the urge for vengeance or revenge and the misguided belief that someone must pay for the losses suffered.
 
DI Dan Clement, troubled by his own past mistakes, is after a juicy case to get his mind off his ex-wife. The protesters at the abattoirs and the Health Clinic break-in by an anti-vaxxer aren't keeping him that busy but these cases are put on the backburner when a seemingly ritualistic murder is discovered on a remote cattle station. Is this a drug deal gone wrong or is a psychopath on the loose?
 
I really enjoyed this intriguing police procedural set in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The writing is laid back, a superb example of Aussie noir.
It was fascinating to read along as Clement and his team piece together what seem like inconsequential pieces of information to solve the puzzle and how one piece of information connects with another as the team kept digging away with the little clues that they had.
 
The story starts at a steady pace as information is gathered and the case seem to be going nowhere. Then the pace accelerates as we are taken on an adrenaline fuelled ride to the end.
 
After the Flood is superbly plotted crime fiction with an authentic Aussie flavour. It reads well as a stand alone.
 
My rating 5 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

 
 
About the author
 
Photo credit: Goodreads
Dave Warner is an author, musician and screenwriter. After the Flood is his eleventh novel, with previous novels winning the Western Australian Premier's Book Award for Fiction, and the Ned Kelly Award for best Australian crime fiction. After the Flood is the third in the Dan Clement series set in Broome in Australia's North-West. Dave first came to national prominence in 1978 with his gold album Mug's Game and his band Dave Warner's from the Suburbs. In 2017 he released his tenth album, When. He has been named a Western Australian State Living Treasure and has been inducted into the WAMi Rock'n'Roll of Renown.

 

Book Review: Earning It by E. F. Dodd

 Earning It
by
E. F. Dodd
 
Publisher: Sugar Beaver Books

Publication date: 23rd August 2022
 
Genre: Romance
 
Pages: 322
 
Format read: eBook
 
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley
 
 My review of Earning It
 
Earning It by E F Dodd is a light, fun read. A second chance romance told through the dual narrative of Rae and Van.
 
A chance encounter at her best friend's wedding has Rae reeling when she comes face to face with the man who broke her heart and ruined her life five years ago.
 
There is bucket loads of angst in this story as Rae gets all that hurt off her chest. Van is ever the gentleman as he works toward redemption and boy does Rae make him work for it. I give him ten points for tenacity!
 
This was an easy read. I enjoyed the banter between Rae and Van's friends and how they gave each other sound advice without interfering too much in each others' lives.
 
Even though I am not a fan of overly angst ridden romances I did enjoy this second chance romance. However, we never see how broken Rae was, only read about it in backstory, which made it hard to connect with her.
 
Earning It, I am sure, will be enjoyed by readers after a light romance read.
 
My rating 4 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 
 
 
 Follow the blog and Instagram tour for Earning It below
 

 

Saturday, 20 August 2022

Winner of a copy of The Tap Cats of the Sunshine Coast announced!!

 

A huge thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway for a paperback copy of The Tap Cats of the Sunshine Coast.   The giveaway closed on the 19th August and the winner was randomly selected (using Random org) from all correct entries. 


Congratulations to........  Karen Neville

 

 The winner has been notified and has seven days to provide a mailing address.

Thank you to Ventura Press and DMCPRMedia for sponsoring this giveaway. 
 
Please check under the Giveaway tab for more great giveaways!

Sunday, 14 August 2022

Book Review: Snowy Mountains Cattleman by Alissa Callen

 Snowy Mountains Cattleman
by
Alissa Callen
 
Is love the greatest risk of all?
 
 
Imprint: Mira
 
Publication date: 2nd February 2022
 
Series: A Bundilla Novel #2
 
Genre: Contemporary / Rural Romance
 
Pages: 334
 
RRP: $29.99AUD
 
Format read: Paperback
 
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
 
My review of Snowy Mountains Cattleman
 
It was so good to be back in Bundilla catching up on the lives of some familiar characters!
 
Rowan has returned from the UK and is scheduled to work on the restoration of the old Russell mansion, Crookwell Park.
 
Grace has a busy interior design business in Sydney and arrives in Bundilla to oversee the restoration of Crookwell Park. Her mother had always loved the old building and this was something she could do to remember both parents now they had passed away.
 
I just love a tentative romance story! Both Grace and Rowan have trauma they need to work through. Rowan, a broken relationship and Grace, the death of her parents. And they both know Grace is only there for the summer.

Alissa Callen has delivered again in Snowy Mountains Cattleman! We get to see Bundilla's beautiful sense of community and kinship and the gorgeous snowy mountains region in all its glory through a summer season. There are characters we have grown to love popping in and out of the story and a new character to love in Grace, who slowly opens up to the residents of Bundilla and calls them friends. Who could resist befriending Clancy, the flower farmer from Snowy Mountains Daughter.

Bundy, the town's resident kelpie is back in another starring role as companion, matchmaker and social media sensation and he adopts Grace as soon as she arrives in town.

Alissa Callen gives her readers an old mansion with long held secrets, country life, mysteries, suspense and romance all packed together in a heart-warming story of recovery.

Snowy Mountains Cattleman gets all the stars!!!! Alissa Callen's writing is consistently entertaining.

My rating 5 / 5   ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐




About the author
 
When USA Today bestselling author Alissa Callen isn't writing, she plays traffic controller to four children, three dogs, two horses and one renegade cow who believes the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. After a childhood spent chasing sheep on the family farm, Alissa has always been drawn to remote areas and small towns, even when residing overseas. She is partial to autumn colours, snowy peaks and historic homesteads and will drive hours to see an open garden. Once a teacher and a counsellor, she remains interested in the life journeys that people take. She draws inspiration from the countryside around her, whether it be the brown snake at her back door or the resilience of bush communities in times of drought or flood. Her books are characteristically heartwarming, authentic and character driven. Alissa lives on a small slice of rural Australia in central western NSW.
 
 

 
 

Saturday, 13 August 2022

Winner of a copy of A Recipe for Family announced!!


 

A huge thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway for a paperback copy of A Recipe for Family.   The giveaway closed on the 12th August and the winner was randomly selected (using Random org) from all correct entries. 


Congratulations to........   Rachael

 

 The winner has been notified and has seven days to provide a mailing address.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster and DMCPRMedia for sponsoring this giveaway.

I have another giveaway currently running and you can find it HERE 

 

 

Friday, 12 August 2022

Book Review & Giveaway: The Tap Cats of the Sunshine Coast by Christine Sykes

The Tap Cats of the Sunshine Coast
by
Christine Sykes
 
A moving, heartwarming story of secrets, love and friendship
 
Publisher: Ventura Press

Publication date: 3rd August 2022
 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
 
Pages: 300
 
RRP: $32.99AUD
 
Format read: Paperback
 
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via DMCPRMedia 
 
My review of The Tap Cats of the Sunshine Coast
 
Inspired by her own experience of taking up tap dancing on retirement, Christine Sykes has written a heartwarming story of friendship and ageing.
 
The story follows two women, friends since primary school, who join the seniors tap dancing group, but when the group decides to enter the Senior Superstars State Competition and the other member from their schoolyard trio arrives back in Australia after 35 years in New York, secrets are revealed and cracks begin to appear in the friendship.
 
I loved this story set on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. Christine Sykes explores life-long friendships and throws in a few hurdles to see how the women will cope. There is a mind-blowing secret revealed, infidelity and a metoo moment.
There is also another very emotive theme running through the novel but that's a spoiler, so no mentions here!
 
Sofia is quiet, the peacemaker who loves to cook and cares for everyone - by far my favourite character.
Carol is driven, very bossy and wants to win. She has trouble seeing other people's point of view.
Bonnie is outspoken and a bit rude. She has had a lot of heartbreak in life.
Even though these women were so close growing up, they each have trauma they are keeping from the others.
 
I've made this sound a bit overwhelming but it's  actually a fun story and I loved the tap dancing! I challenge you not to get up and give it a try whilst reading this book. I did!! 😂 
 
My rating 4 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 
 
About the author 
 
Christine Sykes is a community worker and senior public servant, now retired, who lives on the NSW South Coast. She published her acclaimed memoir Gough and Me: My journey from Cabramatta to China and beyond in 2021 and her award-winning novel The Changing Room in 2019.

As well as writing and tap dancing, Christine loves to walk and have coffee with friends, when she’s not visiting family on the Sunshine Coast, Central Coast, Sydney and Melbourne. The Tap Cats of the Sunshine Coast is her third book, inspired by her and her aunt’s experiences taking up tap dancing later in life.

With thanks to Ventura Press and DMCPRMedia I have one paperback copy of Tap Cats of the Sunshine Coast to give away.

 Enter via the form below. (Open to Australian addresses only). Entries close at 6pm (AEST) on Friday 19th August 2022.
 
This giveaway is now closed and the winner was announced HERE

Friday, 5 August 2022

Book Review & Giveaway: A Recipe for Family by Tori Haschka

 A Recipe for Family
by
Tori Haschka
 
Things are about to get messy..... 
 
 
Publication date:  3rd August 2022

 Genre: Contemporary Fiction
 
Pages: 400
 
RRP: $29.99AUD
 
Format read: Uncorrected paperback
 
Source: Courtesy of DMCPRMedia
 
My review of A Recipe for Family
 
Tori Haschka asks, in A Recipe for Family, what makes a family? Can you bring in a total stranger and make them a family member? 

This is a story about working mother's and the pressure of working two jobs, that of mother and employee, and trying to do it all under the burden of guilt and judgement.

Tori Haschka includes situations and circumstances we may have found ourselves in at times and gives them a humorous twist.
Life is messy and brimming with disasters and Stella and her friends are full of advice for each other. Everyone keeps telling Stella an au pair will solve all her problems. 
A Recipe for Family is a modern story, for our time, where both parents need to work to survive financially. The story follows a group of mums living on Sydney's Northern Beaches but I think mothers everywhere will relate to the theme, and the characters, in some way or another.

I liked the addition of the social media posts in a local Facebook group asking for advice under an anonymous guise, although others new exactly who the posters were. This was funny in its truth. 
I loved all the mentions of food as it brought people together and was used to remember a loved one. I was delightfully surprised, after reading about all those wonderful dishes, that the recipes are all there in the back of the book.

I enjoyed Stella's final reflection that she needed to open up more and I felt her and her peers finally became friends rather than competitors by the end of the novel.

The story is told through the eyes of Stella, Elise, her mother-in-law and Ava, The 18yo au pair. I feel each of these characters will be viewed differently depending on the readers age and circumstances.

A Recipe for Family is an observant novel. A satirical look at family and mothering.

My rating 4 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐



 
Your favourite bookstore link can be found on the publishers website https://www.simonandschuster.com.au/books/A-Recipe-for-Family/Tori-Haschka/9781760857349
 
About the author

(c) Snippets Photography
Tori Haschka is a Sydney based author, food writer and mum of two. Her articles have featured in Grazia, The Times, the Guardian, Mammamia and the Sydney Morning Herald and her blog eatori.com was ranked by Saveur as one of the five best food and travel blogs in the world. Grace Under Pressure is her first novel.

 
 
  
 
 
 

 Giveaway

With thanks to Simon & Schuster and DMCPRMedia I have one paperback copy of A Recipe for Family to give away.

 Enter via the form below. (Open to Australian addresses only). Entries close at 6pm (AEST) on Friday 12th August 2022.
 
This giveaway is now closed and the winner was announced HERE

Thursday, 4 August 2022

Book Review: Lily Harford's Last Request by Joanna Buckley

Lily Harford's Last Request
by
Joanna Buckley 
 
She's always made her own decisions.... why stop now? 
 

Imprint: HQ Fiction 
 
Publication date: 2nd February 2022
 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
 
Pages: 352
 
RRP: $29.99AUD
 
Format read: Paperback
 
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
 
My review of Lily Harford's Last Request
 
Lily Harford's Last Request is a poignant story on ageing, dementia and euthanasia.

Told through the eyes of Lily, in her mid 80's, Pauline, her daughter, and Donna, an aged care worker, the reader receives a well rounded view of how ageing affects all concerned with the person's care.

Joanna Buckley raises the dilemma of an ageing parent and explores this through Lily's slow fall into dementia. Lily is at a stage where she knows her memory is failing and she is terrified of the inevitable outcome. She would rather be dead!
Pauline is trying to help her mother, keep up with her job and see her grandchildren. Multi-tasking as daughter/wife/mother/grandmother. Something has to give!
Donna an aged care worker has a troubled past. She loves her job however is belittled by family members who think her work is demeaning.

Lily Harford's Last Request is an emotional read. The highly emotive topic of euthanasia will open up some heated discussions.

I feel Joanna Buckley approached the subject in a sensitive way although I think some situations may have been over dramatised. 
The flashbacks on Lily's life gave the reader a perfect insight into the woman that she was. It was hard to think that this frail old lady was once strong, determined, capable and confident.

A few wonderful and unexpected twists made this exceptional debut a story to remember.

My rating 4 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐




About the author

Joanna Buckley is an author based in Melbourne. She has a background in creating short stories, poetry, social media content and educational materials, she has also worked as a copywriter and editor. Joanna is a mother of three and part-time careers counsellor, and Lily Harford's Last Request is her first novel.

 
 

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Book Review: The Way it is Now by Garry Disher

 The Way it is Now
by
Garry Disher
 
Publisher: Text Publishing
 
Publication date: 2nd November 2021
 
Genre: Crime Fiction
 
Pages: 384
 
Format read: eBook
 
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley
 
My review of The Way it is Now
 
The Way it is Now is a stand alone mystery / thriller. The story opens in January 2000 with Charlie Deravin and 20 other probationary officers looking for a young boy who has gone missing from his school camp. Charlie's mother also mysteriously goes missing the same day. Neither is found and no-one is charged.
 
Twenty years later and on the cusp of the covid pandemic Charlie is back in his childhood home on the Victorian Mornington Peninsula. He has been suspended after attacking his superior officer. Now with his marriage in tatters and time on his hands Charlie becomes obsessed with  finding out what happened to his mother and spends his time interviewing people who lived in the area at the time.

Garry Disher effortlessly evokes the feel of a small town community where everyone knows each other and old secrets are buried deep. The timeline of the pre-covid pandemic is well portrayed when we were all so naive and it was just something happening somewhere else.
 
The mystery was well played out with plenty of twists. I had no clue as to what had happened to the victims.
Disher includes themes of jury tampering and victim blaming around a sex crime case.
 
Overall I enjoyed The Way it is Now although the ending wrapped up abruptly and I had the feeling it needed a few more pages. 
 
About the author
 
Photo: Goodreads

Garry Disher
was born in 1949 and grew up on his parents' farm in South Australia.

He gained post graduate degrees from Adelaide and Melbourne Universities. In 1978 he was awarded a creative writing fellowship to Stanford University, where he wrote his first short story collection. He travelled widely overseas, before returning to Australia, where he taught creative writing, finally becoming a full time writer in 1988. He has written more than 40 titles, including general and crime fiction, children's books, textbooks, and books about the craft of writing.
 
 
 

Monday, 1 August 2022

Book Review: Super Easy Knittting for Beginners by Carri Hammett

 Super Easy Knitting for Beginners
by
Carri Hammett
 
 
Imprint: New Shoe Press

Publication date: 2nd August 2022
 
Genre: Craft / Hobbies
 
Pages: 144
 
RRP: $14.99USD (paperback)
 
Format read: eBook
 
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley
 
My review of Super Easy Knitting for Beginners
 
I have been knitting for a few decades now but I approached this book as if I was a complete beginner.


The book takes you from simple basic stitches to more advances techniques. It starts with the basics of knitting with crystal clear step by step instructions and lots of tips and helpful photos. It includes everything you need to know before you start including yarns, tolls and handy extras. There is so much in this book that I would have loved to know when I started knitting! 
All projects state what you will learn and what you will need at the start of each pattern.
 
Each new chapter builds on previous skills learned and adds additional skills so you are advancing your knitting prowess. There are chapters on stripes, colour blending, stranded knitting and adding beads. You won’t just be knitting scarves and beanies.
 
Hand knitting is making a comeback with online groups to give a helping hand, charity groups and face to face groups popping up everywhere.
 
I liked that needle size is given in US sizing and mm, as sizing is different in Australia. Google did come in handy with some of the wool weights.
 
Super Easy Knitting for Beginners is a comprehensive and well explained guide to knitting that I would recommend to anyone wanting to learn the craft.  

My rating 5 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



 
I am knitting this gorgeous little baby blanket from a pattern in the book. Perfect for beginners with a simple knit and purl stitch. The wonderful thing about a blanket is you don't have to worry about size, just match your needles to the wool you are using and knit away. I used an 8ply pure cotton.




About the author

Carri Hammett is the original owner of Coldwater Collaborative, a gem of a yarn shop in Excelsior, Minnesota. Carri loves to collaborate with both her customers and her readers as together they express their love of knitting and expand their knitting knowledge and skill. She is the author of Mittens and Hats for Yarn Lovers; Scarves and Shawls for Yarn Lovers; Ready, Set, Knit Cables; and Knitting 101.