Friday 28 April 2023

Winner of a copy of Into the Night announced!!


A huge thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway for a paperback copy of Into the Night by Fleur McDonald.  The giveaway closed on the 28th April 2023 and the winner was randomly selected (using Random org) from all correct entries. 

Congratulations to........  Linda L
The winner has been notified and has seven days to provide a mailing address.
Thank you to Allen & Unwin for sending me an extra copy to give away.
Please check under the Giveaway tab for more great giveaways! 

Wednesday 26 April 2023

Book Review: Blood & Ink by Brett Adams

 Blood & Ink


Brett Adams

Publisher: Fremantle Press

Publication date: 2nd October 2022
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 384
RRP: $32.99AU  (Paperback)
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

My review of Blood & Ink

Blood & Ink was a literary delight!
Protagonist Jack Griffen is so well portrayed as the academic; mild mannered  and a little muddleheaded, he is always relating everything back to literature.
Jack, feeling down on his luck since his wife and daughter left him to live in the US, throws everything into his job as Professor of Literature at UWA. He enjoys mentoring international student Hieronymus Beck, who is writing a crime novel. Jack sees Hieronymus as his protege.

When Hiero leaves behind his manuscript outline for Jack to read over he soon realises that Hiero is acting out the murders in real life. Knowing the police would never believe him he races across the globe to try and prevent the next murder. Each pending murder is coded as a puzzle that Jack must first decipher. What ensues is a fast paced, adrenaline fuelled cat-and-mouse game as Jack is always one step behind Hiero at every turn.
Once the police become involved Jack becomes the prime suspect and whilst trying to outwit the murderer he must also outmanoeuver the police.

Brett Adams has given his readers a sharply plotted and gripping crime thriller with many literary tie-ins throughout.
A writer who would know more than me about the makeup of a successful novel will recognise
the clever addition of these structural characteristics.

I loved the addition of exFBI, now Scotland Yard criminal profiler, DCI Marten Lacroix, tough and witty. This woman needs her own series!

Blood & Ink is an adrenaline fuelled read. It reads like a hard-boiled detective story, only with a literature professor as the lead character.

I can seriously see this on the big screen.
My rating 4 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
About the author
Brett Adams was raised in country Western Australia and lives in Perth. He has a PhD in Computer Science that taught him to love puzzles, and a family who taught him to love stories (or vice versa). He writes fiction across a range of genres, and has been known to plant an easter egg or two. 


Sunday 23 April 2023

Book Review: What is Left Over After by Natasha Lester

What is Left Over After


Natasha Lester

Publisher: Fremantle Press
Publication date: 15th November 2022 (re-release) 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 288
RRP: $32.99AUD (Paperback) 
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Beauty and Lace book club
This review first appeared on Beauty and Lace Book Club

My review of What is Left Over After

I was excited to hear of the re-release of Natasha Lester's debut novel What is Left Over After.

I’ve been a big fan of Natasha Lester’s books for years and her A Kiss for Mr Fitzgerald would have to be one of my favourite books ever. Her Historical Fiction novels have been published all over the world.

I have loved following Natasha’s strong female leads in her historical novels; trail blazers for women’s rights.
For me, What is Left Over After was a little different to Lester’s novels I am used to reading. This is contemporary fiction and the main character, Gaelle, is broken after suffering a life altering tragedy. Gaelle is filled with self-hate and quite unlikeable at the beginning of the novel.  She feels she can never be any different from her mother and she acts out on these feelings filling herself with more hate and self-doubt. She does the only thing she knows; she runs away from her life and husband.
As Gaelle hides in a small seaside town in Western Australia where no-one knows her past, she begins to open up to a vivacious thirteen-year-old girl. She tells the young girl the story of her life, growing up with a mostly absent mother and no father, continually moving from place to place. The pouring out of her life story comes as a strange fairytale her mother told her as a child.
What is Left Over After is a heart-breaking story of love and loss. Lester explores the concept of what makes us who we are and can you change your life after a dysfunctional childhood.

The story is emotional and the tragedy real. It has a strange story within a story with the inclusion of the fairytale.
Natasha Lester’s writing is engaging and even in this debut novel her potential shines through.  

My rating 4 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Natasha Lester worked as a marketing executive for L'Oreal before turning her hand to writing. She won the Hungerford Award for her first novel What is Left Over After. Since then She has become A New York Times - bestselling author of seven historical novels, including The French Photographer, The Paris Secret, The Riviera House, and The Three Lives of Alix St Pierre. Her books have been translated into many different languages and are published all around the world. When she's not writing, she loves collecting vintage fashion and practicing the art of fashion illustration. Natasha lives with her husband and three children in Perth, Western Australia.

Other books I've read by Natasha:



Saturday 22 April 2023

Book Giveaway: Into the Night by Fleur McDonald

A big thank you to Allen & Unwin for sending me an extra copy of Into the Night to give away to one lucky reader.

 Into the Night


Fleur McDonald

 About the book
Detective Dave Burrows is devastated. After an acrimonious divorce, Dave has no choice but to let his ex-wife and her father Mark call the shots: supervised, one-hour visits are all he's allowed if he wants to see his two young daughters. And he knows he'll jump through any hoops to see Bec and Alice.

On Leo Perry's farm, sixty kilometres out of Yorkenup, the only positive in Leo's day is the unswerving loyalty of his dog, Coffee. Thanks to yet another power outage, Leo is out in the morning heat, refuelling the water pump. But seconds later he watches in horror as the tank explodes. Flames engulf wooden beams and sparks ignite grass just as Leo realises he's at the end of a one-way petrol trail, the fire roaring straight for him.

When Dave and his partner Detective Bob Holden are called to Leo's ravaged farm, they're unclear if they're dealing with arson, suicide or something else. There's been no sign of Leo anywhere, and his wife Jill is distraught. Leo and his dog appear to have vanished. But, when Dave and Bob begin their investigation, what they find makes no sense at all.

I haven't had time to read it yet but I know it's going to be fabulous. You don't have to have read the other books in the series, as they all have a standalone story.


Enter here to win a paperback copy of Into the Night. The giveaway is open to Australian addresses only and entries close at 6pm AEST on  28th April 2023.
This giveaway is now closed and the winner was Linda L.

Monday 10 April 2023

Book Review: The Next Girl by Pip Drysdale

 The Next Girl


Pip Drysdale

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 30th November 2022
Genre: Crime / Mystery Thriller
Pages: 368
RRP: $32.99AU (Paperback)
Source: Courtesy Beauty & Lace Book Club
This review first appeared on the Beauty & Lace Book Club

My review of The Next Girl

With her release of The Next Girl, Pip Drysdale has delivered an adrenaline fueled story with themes of toxic masculinity, online bullying and revenge versus justice.
Billie had always wanted to work in the justice system working her way to become a lawyer. She relished her job as a paralegal, helping attain justice for victims of crime. When her latest case goes terribly wrong, her client's abuser is acquitted and Billie loses her job.
Billie decides to avenge the victim by exposing the man for what he really is and to do this she must become, his next girl. The main character was so stressy and hyper I found it hard to settle into the story as she was racing from one thing to the next.

The Next Girl is a vigilante style story with lots of mysteries running through it and I found the not knowing, rather than drawing me in, was confusing at times.

The Next Girl is timely and compelling. I did enjoy the story, it just isn't my favourite by Pip Drysdale.

My rating 3 /5 ⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Pip Drysdale is the bestselling author of The Sunday Girl, The Strangers We Know and The Paris Affair. She grew up between Africa and Australia, became an adult between New York and London. Before becoming a novelist she spent time as a musician and an actress. Pip presently lives in Sydney.
My reviews of Pip's other books:

Sunday 9 April 2023

Book Review: How to be Remembered by Michael Thompson

How to be Remembered


Michael Thompson

Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication date: 28th February 2023
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 352
RRP: $32.99AU (Paperback)
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

My review of How to be Remembered

As soon as I heard about How to be Remembered I couldn't wait to read it, and Michael Thompson didn't disappoint.
Every year, on his birthday, Tommy's life is reset. Everything about him disappears and everyone forgets him. On his first birthday his parents awake to a strange baby in their house, the presents wrapped the night before gone, no baby toys or clothes. The police take Tommy to Milkwood House, a foster care home. 
Can you just imagine every year you are the new child at the foster care home, obviously dropped overnight by child services, there is no paperwork, nothing. Every year you have to start over as the new child at school, introducing yourself to your friends.
How to be Remembered is a beautiful and heart-wrenching story of belonging, leaving your mark, falling in love and the fear of being forgotten.
I love magical realism, you just have let go and believe in the unbelievable. Michael Thompson has cleverly plotted this imaginative debut and I just loved going along for the ride. 
You will fall in love with Tommy and ride his ups and downs wanting him to succeed and build a life. There may be tears, okay there will be tears. 😭
I'm excited to see what Michael Thompson comes up with next!
My rating 5 / 5 💖💖💖💖💖 

About the author

Michael Thompson has been a successful journalist, producer and media executive for the last fifteen years. He lives in Sydney with his wife and two young children. How to be Remembered is his first novel.

Saturday 8 April 2023

Book Review: The Death of John Lacey by Ben Hobson

 The Death of John Lacey


Ben Hobson

Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication date: 31st January 2023
Genre: Crime / Mystery
Pages: 352
RRP: $32.99 (Paperback)
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via DMCPR Media 

My review of The Death of John Lacey

The Death of John Lacey is not only a story about John Lacey, it's a story about the harsh Australian countryside.
Hobson delivers an authentic Australian historical drama set during the mid to late 1800's. Told through the dual narrative of Ernst Montague, the son of a convict sentenced to life in Australia, and that of John Lacey, a smooth talking entrepreneur.  Ernst and John's lives cross at different times as the reader is taken to the gold fields and surrounding areas where men and women work hard to survive.
Hobson builds an ominous feel around John Lacey as he lurks around the gold fields doing favours and building alliances. He is a man that lusts for power and rules the town with an iron fist. Hobson also cleverly builds empathy for Ernst even though he is on the wrong side of the law and when Ernst and John confront each other the town will become divided.

I loved the conversations between the male characters, they were slow and sparse, coming across as very authentic. I also enjoyed reading about Australia and it's early years. It was a harsh country with some cruel men but there were also those that were willing to help others at their own expense.

If you are after a story that shows the struggle of early Australians coupled with the good and bad in men themselves, this will be a book you will thoroughly enjoy.

My rating 5 / 5   ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Ben Hobson is a teacher, and an author, based in Brisbane. To Become a Whale, his debut novel was released in 2017. His second novel, Snake Island, a literary thriller, was released in 2019.

Sunday 2 April 2023

Book Review: Billings Better Bookstore & Brasserie by Fin J Ross

 Billings Better Bookstore & Brasserie


Fin J Ross

Publisher: Clandestine Press
Publication date: 22nd June 2020
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 278
RRP: $24.99AU (Paperback)
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

My review of Billings Better Bookstore & Brasserie

Fin J Ross is a remarkable wordsmith and Billings Better Bookstore & Brasserie is filled to the brim with eloquent writing and fun alliterative verse.
You don't need to be a true logophile to enjoy Ross's writing as it's written in a light-hearted, fun way. However, if you are a lover of words this is the book for you.

It's very easy to love nine-year-old Fidelia Knight, a small girl with a big vocabulary, she is bright and full of life. Fidelia's father is a lexicographer and the family journeyed from England to Australia where he was to take up a position at Melbourne University. Suddenly orphaned on the long trip to Melbourne, Fidelia is taken to an orphanage. She refuses to believe her father is dead and dreams they will be reunited one day. Fidelia satiates her love of words by hiding in a bookstore and reading all the books she can.

Fidelia changes the lives of everyone she meets with her positive attitude and insight well beyond her years. At the ripe old age of 10 she acquires her dream of becoming a teacher when she is asked to tutor two illiterate women, one being Billings' wife, and two orphaned boys.

Billings Better Bookshop & Brasserie is a delightful read with themes of bettering yourself and believing everyone has a talent, you  just need to tap into it.
Set in 1870's Melbourne the area is brought to life through Ross's beguiling descriptions of the streets and buildings visited by her characters.

Each chapter, one for each letter of the alphabet, is headed by an alliterative poem. There is also an appendix of rhymes found in the story and a glossary of all those remarkable words you will be curious to know the meaning of. 

Follow Fidelia Knight, a most extraordinary young girl, from the tender age of nine, as she sets out to forge the way for women of the future.

Billings Better Bookstore & Brasserie is a delightfully uplifting story that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.

My rating 5 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Fin is a journalist and creative writing teacher who runs a boarding cattery in East Gippsland and breeds British Shorthair cats.
She is co-author, with her sister, of the true crime anthologies, Killer in the family and Murder in the Family (not their family). Her first novel AKA Fudgepuddle is the journal/memoir of the oh-so-true adventures of a demanding cat called Megsy.
Fin has won eight category prizes in the annual Scarlet Stiletto Awards for crime and mystery short stories. The competition has been run by Sisters in Crime Australia since 1994.
In her spare time Fin compiles cryptic crosswords.