Saturday, 4 August 2018

Book Review: Those Three Words (Memoir)

Title: Those Three Words
Author: Christine Bauer
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Publication date: 15th May 2018
Pages: 256
Format Read: Kindle Edition
Source: Courtesy of Book Publicity Services

There are three words that, when uttered together, make dreams come true for millions of women. For millions more, those same words can shatter their dreams.  "You are pregnant."

Almost half of all pregnancies in the United States — some 3.1 million each year —are unintended. Among unmarried women in their 20s, seven out of 10 pregnancies are unplanned.

Author Christine Bauer’s memoir Those Three Words: A birthmother’s story of choice, chance and motherhood takes a deep dive into the emotions of facing an unplanned pregnancy at the tender age of 18.

Those Three Words takes readers along on the journey of weighing options, agonizing over a decision, and ultimately deciding to let another family adopt and raise her baby.  This story also looks at how placing a child for adoption affected the rest of her life, especially when she became the mother of two boys.  Those Three Words touches on the controversial topics of abortion and adoption, birth control, and women’s rights.

This story will resonate with millions of readers because women know and understand the joy and pain of pregnancy and motherhood, love and loss, and the power of family and parental love.

Christine Bauer’s story starts at the age of nineteen. She has her life together after a tumultuous few years of rebellion and has left home to attend college. Life is good; until she finds out she is pregnant.
Christine spirals into depression and suicide looks like the only way out for her. Thoughts of her close-knit family pull her out of this dark cloud and thankfully her suicidal thoughts are pushed to the background.

I felt sad that Christine had no-one to sit down with, a professional, to discuss options calmly without all the scaremongering. The whole process from the pregnancy confirmation was so badly handled.

I can imagine it would be difficult to write a memoir, to bare your soul to all. Christine’s writing is candid and emotional without being dramatic.

The story is not only about Christine’s decision concerning her unplanned pregnancy but also her life going forward and how that decision impacted on everything she did.

I was aghast at her drinking and smoking but Christine writes with honesty about many of her thoughts and actions which highlight her immaturity at the time.

Family is the underlying strength behind Christine’s memoir and she shows the reader that family comes in all shapes and sizes.

Content: talk of suicide, abortion, minimal coarse language.

If you are experiencing bouts of depression or suicidal thoughts there are many organisations that are there to listen and help.

 My Rating 4/5           📘📘📘📘

Christine (Chris) Bauer was born and raised in the big small town of Mitchell, South Dakota. She feels blessed to have grown up in a place and time when childhood was carefree, when kids left the house in morning and returned in the evening, and in between rode bikes, built forts, and played baseball and Barbies. While she loved her hometown, Chris was eager to move on to new adventures after graduating high school.

Chris attended Mankato State University in Minnesota, majoring in Mass Communications. Her dream was to one day be part of a Woodward and Bernstein-type team who saved the world through ground-breaking journalism.  Soul searching and need for employment led her to a gratifying career in corporate communications, public relations and marketing. Chris has loved reading and writing for as long as she can remember.

Her greatest achievement and most profound joy is being the mother of three kind-hearted children and one beautiful and spirited grandchild. In addition to being a mom and grandma of humans, Chris is also the proud mom to one very spoiled dog and two equally spoiled granddogs. She admits there were moments in the motherhood journey where she preferred the canines.

She resides in the Minneapolis area. While her nest is nearly empty now, she loves that the flock returns regularly for food and shelter. Those Three Words is her first book. It is currently available for sale. To learn more, go to

You can connect with the author at the following sites:


Thursday, 2 August 2018

What's arrived in The Burgeoning Bookshelf's Mailbox in July

Books that have arrived in my mailbox during July and what I'm excited about reading next.

 Back cover Blurb

The retreat at health-and-wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation.

Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage, and absorb the meditative ambience while enjoying their hot stone massages.

Watching over them is the resort director, a woman on a mission to reinvigorate their tired bodies and minds.

These nine perfect strangers have no idea what is about to hit them....

  Back cover blurb

It's Sunday morning on a long weekend in the quirky little town of Cowaramup and Cally Minter and her best friend Sienna are about to host a new murder mystery game. Who Killed the Movie Star?
But before an arrow can be shot from its bow, the girls are in a pickle. The Sheriff of Nottingham has gone rogue; they've lost a Maid Marian, and someone keeps reporting them to the local police for shooting their guests.

In all  the confusion, lovely First Class Senior Constable Daniel Reardon becomes a regular visitor to Butterfly House, and if Cally plays her cards right..... whoever murdered the movie star might not be the only one in handcuffs by sunset.

You can read my review of Who Killed the Movie Star here

Back cover blurb

On her remote North Queensland cattle station, Ivy Dunmore is facing the end of her days. Increasingly frail, all she holds dear is threatened not just by crippling drought, but also by jealousy and greed - and that's from within her own family.

Can Felicity, who's battling her own crisis as her fiftieth birthday approaches, protect her mother and reunite her family under the homestead's faded iron roof? Or will sibling rivalries erupt and long-held secrets from the past break a family in crisis?

You can read my review of Return to Roseglen here 

 Back cover blurb

Shetland.  Welcoming. Wild. Remote.

Drawn in by the reputation of the islands, an English family move to the area, eager to give their autistic son a better life.

But when a young nanny's body is found hanging in the barn of their home, rumours of her affair with the husband begin to spread like wild fire.

With suspicion raining down on the family, DI Jimmy Perez is called in to investigate, knowing that it will mean the return to the islands of his on-off lover and boss Willow Reeves, who will run the case.

Perez is facing the most disturbing investigation of his career. Is he ready for what is to come?

  Back cover blurb


Istanbul, Turkey 1955

Benedict Hitchens, once a world-renowned archaeologist, is now a discredited - but still rather charming - shell of his former self.

Once full of optimism and adventure, his determination to prove that Achilles was a real historical figure led him to his greatest love, Karina, on the island of Crete and to his greatest downfall, following the disappearance of an enigmatic stranger, Eris.

He has one last chance to restore his reputation, solve the mystery of Eris and prove his Achilles theory. But it is full of risk, and possibly fatal consequences...

 Back cover blurb

This unique animals book will delight children
with textured pages, rhymes to read and wonderful
fingerprint sea creatures. 

 Back cover blurb

The fate of three strangers collide in a deadly game of cat and mouse

Journalist Jonno Bligh is flying high with a bestselling book and an Oscar for Best Screenplay. But along with the accolades he picks up a cocaine habit and a case of writers’ block.

Under pressure to deliver his next blockbuster, Jonno sails to the Indian Ocean in his beloved yacht The Scoop Jon B. When a violent storm cripples the boat he takes refuge on a beautiful remote island, where he vows to get clean. Little does he know that the murderous gangster BangBang Budiman uses the island to hide the spoils of his heists in the notorious Malaccan Strait.

Jonno watches in horror as BangBang and his crewmen brutalise two women on the beach before leaving them to die. He manages to rescue one, Annie Greenwood, whose husband has already been murdered. Together they flee the island with the stolen loot, relentlessly pursued by the vengeful BangBang.

As the killer hunts them down in the treacherous waters of South East Asia, Jonno and Annie are forced to come to terms with their own destructive demons – and a discovery that will change their lives forever.  

The devil waits for  you … even in paradise

Back cover blurb

She’ll do whatever it takes to track this killer ...
Harmony Talbot’s world is destroyed when she arrives home and discovers her cousin’s dead body, left with a single white rose as the killer’s calling card. Lightning shouldn’t strike twice, but this is the second unsolved murder in Harmony’s family. Harmony is determined that this time there will be justice, even if she has to track down the culprit herself.

Homicide detective Bern Knight is good at catching criminals. Though meaningful, his work leaves little time for relationships, and the last thing he needs is a beautiful, bumbling amateur sleuth getting herself into trouble. Whoever committed this crime is no ordinary murderer; he's a ghost, leaving behind no evidence until more bodies with the same sadistic markers start turning up.

As a digital forensic investigator, Harmony has a special set of skills that she’s fully prepared to use, no matter how much the stern detective is against her interference. Tracking the killer is no easy feat, but Harmony lures him out of hiding. Except now she’s the one in the killer’s crosshairs…

Back cover blurb

A fugitive in the present. A runaway in the past.

Eliza Carmody returns home to the country to work on the biggest law case of her career. The only problem is this time she’s on the ‘wrong side’ – defending a large corporation against a bushfire class action by her hometown of Kinsale.

On her first day back Eliza witnesses an old friend, Luke Tyrell, commit an act of lethal violence. As the police investigate that crime and hunt for Luke they uncover bones at The Castle, a historic homestead in the district. Eliza is convinced that they belong to someone from her past.

As Eliza becomes more and more entangled in the investigation, she is pulled back into her memories of youthful friendships and begins to question everyone she knows … and everything she once thought was true.

Well that's the lot for July. 

What am I really looking forward to reading?
Anyone who has read Big Little Lies and is a fan of Liane Moriarty will be hanging out for her next novel Nine Perfect Strangers released on 18th September and I must say I'm more than eager to get into this arc (advanced reader copy)

The Honourable Thief is another on my radar. Meaghan is an Australian author I haven't come across before. She studied archaeology and worked in the Mediterranean and Middle East so I'm interested to see where she goes with this book mixing archaeology with myth and legend.

I read Aoife Clifford's debut 'All These Perfect Strangers' and quite enjoyed it although it needed some work on the pacing. I'm looking forward to reading her next novel 'Second Sight' which has had praise from both Jane Harper and Garry Disher.

Anything on my list that takes your fancy? What are you looking forward to reading in August?


Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Spotlight on other books I've read this month - July

Title: Ace of Shades (The Shadow game #1)
Author: Amanda Foody
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Harlequin HQ Young Adult
Publication date: 23 April 2018
Pages: 464

My thoughts

 Once I got past all the politics at the start of the book I really enjoyed it. At first I was thinking New Reynes was some dystopian town with casinos, gang lords, corrupt officials and an overzealous policing system then I realised it was much like any major city today only with a slight magical element, an urban fantasy.
”Some say the City of Sin is a game, so before you arrive – ask yourself, dear reader, how much are you prepared to lose?” – The City of Sin, a Guidebook.

Enne, naive and protected, arrives in New Reynes (The City of Sin) with nothing but her mother’s rules for life and a guide book to The City of Sin. She is there to find her mother who has been missing for some months.

Levi, lord of the Iron gang, is a gang leader with a charismatic air and a liking for both males and females. He is the best dealer in town and an expert conman. He is in way over his head with his latest scam and must pay back a dangerous casino boss or be drawn into The Shadow Game and his certain death. Levi’s charisma shines through on the page.
The world building was expertly executed overpowering the two plot lines slightly in that I was much more invested in the town politics and the gang hierarchy than whether Enne actually found her mother or not. However I think the author’s aim was to have the reader invested in her characters and invested I was. Enne and Levi were strong and determined. They both had high morals that were expressed throughout the story.
Foody’s choice of made-up curse words has been scorned and ridiculed by some reviewers but I thought it was a good move to keep the age appropriate level down. I know other Fantasy authors, in the past, have used their own forms of cussing for characters.
Foody has touched on some delicate societal issues, skimming the surface of drug use, drink spiking, paedophilia and gambling, leaving plenty of room for discussion.
There is some sexual tension as Enne and Levi fight their attraction. But Levi, ever the gentleman, takes Enne’s lead and gives her space and time.
”Her guidebook had been wrong about one thing: the most dangerous part of the City of Sin wasn’t the beckoning of the card tables or the threat of gangs. It was the allure of Levi Glaisyer’s roguish smile.”
There are characters to root for and characters to hate and it looks like Vianca, Donna of the Augustines and casino owner, may be in for some trouble in the next book, if the epilogue is anything to go by.

I’m eager to get my hands on book 2.
Recommended for ages 12+
This review is part of the Beauty & Lace bookclub
See the original bookclub review here

Title: Burning Fields
Author: Alli Sinclair
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
Publication date: 21st May 2018

My thoughts

 I love Alli Sinclair’s books and was excited to read a book where one of my favourite authors joined one of my favourite genres, Australian Historical Fiction. However this book just didn’t do it for me. It was well written and the story-line was good but somewhere along the line the delivery fell flat.
The story revolves around Rosie, a third generation cane grower, and Tomas, newly immigrated from Italy.
The story touches on issues of racism, women’s worth, the effects of the war on family and PTSD.
Rosie was just too overbearing for my liking. I liked she was strong and stubborn but the way she told everyone off about opening up but held her own demons in irked me.
The story had too many weak characters that made it a little depressing.
I would still recommend it as a good read, just not fabulous, because it’s interesting to see how far we have and haven’t come in men’s attitude towards women.

This review is part of the Beauty & Lace bookclub
See the original bookclub review here

Title: Return to Roseglen
Author: Helene Young
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia
Publication date: 2nd July 2018
Pages: 368

My thoughts

Return to Roseglen is a poignant story of family and ageing, sibling rivalry and entitlement, long held secrets and second chances.
I fell in love with Ivy Dunmore by page 2 and that feeling didn’t waiver throughout the book. Helene Young has written a heartfelt story filled with strong women and the most wonderful supportive men I’ve read about in a long time.
No one is perfect and Young shows through her characters that we all make mistakes but we should not let our mistakes define us.
Return to Roseglen will have you contemplating your own life, especially if you have ageing parents.
Young is the master of emotion as the story had my tears welling, my anger rising and at other times I was happily celebrating the triumphs along with the characters.
I would recommend Return to Roseglen to anyone who enjoys a compelling family drama.
This review is part of the Beauty & Lace bookclub
See the original bookclub review here

Book Review: Deathly Wind (Inspector Torquil McKinnon #2) - (Crime/Mystery)

Title: Deathly Wind
Author: Keith Moray
Series: Inspector Torquil McKinnon book#2
Publisher: Sapere Books
Publication date: 5th April 2018
Pages: 239
Format Read: Kindle edition
Source: courtesy of publisher

Inspector Torquil McKinnon had been devastated when he returned to the island to discover that Constable Ewan McPhee, his best friend, was missing, presumed drowned. Then, when a crofter died in a climbing accident, a dog was poisoned and a body was discovered face down in a rock pool, he began to suspect a killer was on the loose. Could all this somehow be connected with the controversial building of wind towers which enraged the local crofting community and worried the conservation group? It would take all Torquil's skills to unravel the mystery and put everyone's mind at rest.

The residents of Kyleshiffin are like family, most have grown up there, some moved away and then returned. They all look out for each other and there is the occasional good natured ribbing.
Inspector Torquil McKinnon is away on leave after the death of his girlfriend Fiona. While he is away constable Ewan McPhee goes missing and Sergeant Morag Driscoll is trying to hold the office and is eager for Torquil to return.

The setting of Kyleshiffin West Uist in the Scottish Hebrides is an Island with a tight knit community cut off from the mainland where the residents are used to dealing with problems on their own.

Moray layers one mystery on top of another. An assassin kills a family, the new Laird of Dunshiffin Castle arrives and starts making enemies immediately, threats start to fly and the body count rises. Always in the back of their minds is the missing constable and friend, Ewan.

I really enjoyed the first in the series The Gathering Murders with the introduction to Torquil McKinnon and his uncle the Padre. There are plenty of regulars that will appear in book 2 and also a few new comers to West Uist. It’s not paramount, But I would recommend, you read book 1 which gives much character insight on McKinnon and his team. It’s also a darn good read.

Moray uses the contentious issue of wind farms to create conflict in the community. There are also those for and against the culling of hedgehogs and animal protection. Some people may not be who they appear to be!
Not everyone survives the battle and the locals of West Uist may be mourning more than one of their own by the end of the book.
Everything is wrapped up nicely, with a few surprising revelations, making this a perfect stand alone read.

Deathly Wind is an evenly paced story that I read in one sitting. The mysteries are compelling and the characters are well drawn.

Highly recommended


My rating 5/5

Keith Moray was born in St Andrews and studied medicine at the University of Dundee in Scotland. He lives in England now, within arrow-shot of the ruins of a medieval castle, the scene of two of his historical novels, The Pardoner’s Crime and The Fool’s Folly. He is a part-time doctor, medical journalist and novelist, writing in several genres. He writes historical fiction and crime as Keith Moray, non-fiction as Keith Souter and westerns as Clay More. Curiously, his medical background finds its way into most of his writing.
He is a member of various writers’ organisations, including the Crime Writers’ Association, Medical Journalists Association, International Thriller Writers, Western Writers of America and a past vice-president of Western Fictioneers, a professional organisation of Western writers.
In his spare time, Keith enjoy the movies, theatre and making bread. He plays golf, tennis and runs at carthorse speed. As a frustrated actor, he has found occasional solace as a supporting artist, but enough said about that!
Keith lives in West Yorkshire in England with his wife Rachel and whichever of his children and grandchildren happen to pop home.

Connect with the author at the following sites.