Sunday 28 December 2014

Mini Review - Outback Ghost

Outback Ghost - by Rachael Johns
(ISBN: 9781743568682)

It is no secret that I love Rachael Johns' Bunyip Bay series and this one is no exception. The dynamics between the characters and the rural setting are wonderfully delivered as always. An emotional and slightly eerie mystery that fans of the series have been curious about since the first book, Outback Dreams, is the icing on the cake. Loved this book, highly recommended for any rural romance fan.
Thanks to Harlequin Australia for the ARC.

Monday 24 November 2014

An Explanation

Firstly I would like to apologize for my absence and the lack of posts. I have had a busy and at times stressful couple of months, with a death in the family and family members in and out of hospital, not to mention all sorts of busyness at work. With all these goings on it has been impossible for me to find the time to write any reviews and update my blog, but things are starting to settle down a bit know and I am getting back on track. I look forward to posting some new reviews very soon.

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Author Sighting - Brooke Davis (Lost & Found)

Today I met Brooke Davis, the author of Lost & Found. She did a talk at the local library last Friday, and today she was visiting the local bookstores. I was very excited to meet her, I would have liked to have gone to her talk but unfortunately I couldn't make it, so having her pop into the shop was very unexpected and exciting surprise. Brooke was a very upbeat and friendly person to talk to and I hope our paths will cross again. I have added her book to my must read list, it sounds like a good one.

Lost & Found by Brooke Davis
Millie Bird (aka Captain Funeral), seven-years old and ever hopeful, always wears red gumboots to match her red, curly hair. Her struggling mother leaves Millie in a local department store and never returns.

Agatha Pantha, eighty-two, has not left her house – or spoken to another human being – since she was widowed seven years ago. She fills the silences by yelling at passers by, watching loud static on the TV and maintaining a strict daily schedule.

Karl the Touch Typist, eighty-seven, once used his fingers to type out love notes on his wife's skin. Now he types his words out into the air as he speaks. Karl is moved into a nursing home but in a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes.

A series of events binds the three together on a road trip that takes them from the south coast of WA to Kalgoorlie and along the Nullarbor to the edge of the continent. Millie wants to find her mum. Karl wants to find out how to be a man. And Agatha just wants everything to go back to how it was.

They will discover that old age is not the same as death, that the young can be wise, and that letting yourself experience sadness just might be the key to life.

Friday 15 August 2014

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

Title: The Good Girl
Author: Mary Kubica
ISBN: 9781743565506
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Published: August 2014


"I've been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don't know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she's scared. But I will."

Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life.

Colin's job was to abduct Mia as part of a wild extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. But the plan takes an unexpected turn when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, evading the police and his deadly superiors. Mia's mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them, but no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family's world to shatter.

My Thoughts:

I have recently found myself reading a lot more crime based books lately and I will admit I have not had a lot of experience in reading or reviewing this genre, so I am not really sure how to go about reviewing this book but I will give it a go anyway.
The first thing that really stood out for me while reading The Good Girl is how the story is told, not only from different characters points of view but it also bounces between before and after Mia is found. I found this quite disorientating to begin with but it didn't take long to get used to the style and I soon found it aided with building overall suspense.
I also enjoyed the overall plot of the book and even though I had worked out how it would end I still found it to be satisfying.
The only issue I had was the characters. I really didn't feel any connection at all with any of the characters. I found them to be predictable and hard to relate to.
Overall, I did enjoy The Good Girl. It's solid plot kept the pages turning and compelled me to finish despite the shortfalls. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more books from Mary Kubica.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia for the review copy.

Friday 8 August 2014

Le'ts Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Title: Let's Get Lost
Author: Adi Alsaid
ISBN: 9781743566466
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: August 2014


Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.

My Thoughts:

Let's Get Lost reads more like a collection of short stories, with each character getting their own section, rather than a novel, but there is one common factor ... Leila. Leila is a girl on a road trip, she has a goal, a destination and a story of her own, all of which is hinted upon and slowly revealed as she briefly encounters and befriends other teens in her travels.
Each character is complex with their own set of issues and their own stories to tell (hence the short story feel) and despite the limited time spent with each of them, I found connecting to them and their stories very easy to do.
I loved the unique format of this book, it magnified the individual stories without detracting from the over reaching story arc.
Let's Get Lost is a book of love, friendship and discovery. It is an emotional roller coaster that leaves you wanting more. It is inspiring and entertaining. Let's Get Lost is delightful adventure that will  encourage you to get out there and make adventures of your own. A wonderful debut.

Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia for the ARC.

Friday 1 August 2014

Drowned by Nichola Reilly

Title: Drowned
Author: Nichola Reilly
ISBN: 9781743566435
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: July 2014


Coe is one of the few remaining teenagers on the island of Tides. Deformed and weak, she is constantly reminded that in a world where dry land dwindles at every high tide, she is not welcome. The only bright spot in her harsh and difficult life is the strong, capable Tiam—but love has long ago been forgotten by her society. The only priority is survival.

Until the day their King falls ill, leaving no male heir to take his place. Unrest grows, and for reasons Coe cannot comprehend, she is invited into the privileged circle of royal aides. She soon learns that the dying royal is keeping a secret that will change their world forever.

Is there an escape from the horrific nightmare that their island home has become? Coe must race to find the answers and save the people she cares about, before their world and everything they know is lost to the waters.

My Thoughts

Drowned captured my imagination with it's unique post apocalyptic setting and it's mystery. The world of Tides slowly reveals itself throughout the course of the book as we follow the life of Coe Kettlefish, a teenage outcast in a society where survival depends on a persons 'usefulness.'
Although slow to start, Tides quickly sucked me in and I soon found it hard to put down.
Coe is a determined and smart character and despite all odds she always seems to find some sliver of hope and goodness in her bleak and miserable world. The secondary characters are also pleasing complex although perhaps a little predictable.
The main highlight is the mystery surrounding the castle and the royal family. This mystery flows nicely which keeps the pages turning and appropriately even after all the pages have been read I was still left with unanswered questions that have left me eager for the next book in the series.

Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia for the review copy.

Friday 25 July 2014

Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf

Title: Little Mercies
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
ISBN: 9781743565469
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Published: July 2014


Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity;the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children's advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system she works for.

Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jenny Briard has been living with her well-meaning but irresponsible father since her mother left them, sleeping on friends' couches and moving in and out of cheap motels. When Jenny suddenly finds herself on her own, she is forced to survive with nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen's and Jenny's lives collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another.

My Thoughts:

Little Mercies is a book that once it grabs you does not let go. It tells of how one small mistake can change lives forever. I sped through this book, snatching moments to read a page whenever I could, the intense and emotional story compelling me to find out what happened next.
Ellen is a character that we can all relate to in these days of rushing here and there, and her story paints a vivid and terrifying picture of just how important it is to slow down and focus on the here and now.
Jenny is a child whose bravery and determination is outstanding, she lives a life that no child should have to endure but happens all to often and makes you want to reach out and help her. It is an insight into the lives of those that are less fortunate.
Little Mercies explores family bonds in the face of terrible and tragic events, and how society judges the people that make these mistakes. It is emotionally raw and very real. A book that stays with you long after the pages are closed.
Thanks to Harlequin Australia for the ARC.

Friday 4 July 2014

Happiness Books

There comes a time in everyone's life when we ponder on what really makes us happy and if there is a way to expand or improve on this happiness. These thoughts have led to the writing and publication of many self-help and motivational books. I believe I already live a happy life, I am surrounded by family and friends, I have a job that I genuinely enjoy and I indulge in hobbies and past times that bring me immense pleasure, so these are not books which I normally read, but in an effort to broaden my reading horizons and perhaps make some improvements to my life (after all, you can never be too happy!) I have decided to venture on the happiness book journey. Here are the three books that are going to begin this journey:

These first two have been recommended to me and borrowed from a friend and work colleague.

This one I know is hidden in the cavernous bowels of the TBR boxes (yes, boxes not shelf or pile, boxes!)

Have you read any books on happiness? Were they helpful? Are there any that you would recommend? Please let me know in the comments.

Monday 9 June 2014

Under The Weather

Sorry for the lack of posts, I have been sick for the last few weeks so basically when I have not been at work I have been sleeping and I have not been able to concentrate enough to read or blog. Hopefully I will have some new reviews for you soon.

Friday 2 May 2014

Outback Blaze by Rachael Johns

Title: Outback Blaze
Author: Rachael Johns
ISBN: 9781743565353
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publish Date: May 2014


Ruby wasn't looking for love, Drew wasn't looking to stay...until they found each other. Can their fling survive the darkness of Ruby's past and Drew's desire to move on?

Ruby Jones was always an optimist, but the trauma of her past had made her wary. So when she flees to the small rural community of Bunyip Bay to start afresh, she has her sights firmly set on establishing her horse-riding business and rebuilding her life. The last thing Ruby wants is a romance. In fact, after all she has been through, she can't imagine she will ever believe in love again.

Police officer Drew Noble has no intention of staying in Bunyip Bay — he is just an outsider seeking temporary refuge. But as the charm of the town sways him, Drew finds himself increasingly drawn to the community and its inhabitants, as well as another newcomer, the lovely Ruby Jones.

When Drew investigates a suspicious fire at Ruby's parents' business, he finds himself feeling strangely protective of the girl with the flowers in her hair. As the details of Ruby's past emerge and she comes once more under threat, Drew realises he will do all in his power to save her.

Soon these outsiders discover they have both lost their hearts — not only to the town but to each other.

My Thoughts:

The fact that I loved this book will come as no surprise. Rachael Johns has fast become one of my favourite Australian authors and her books have introduced me to rural romance, a genre that I didn't normally read, now I can't get enough of them!

In Outback Blaze we return to the lovely community of Bunyip Bay to find out Ruby's story. Ruby has returned home to pick up the pieces after a failed relationship and get her life back on track, but a whole new set of problem occurs when her parent's business is destroyed in a suspicious fire. Tensions and gossip flare up in the wake of the tragic fire and police officer, Drew Noble is determined to find out the truth behind the fire, what he isn't prepared for are his feelings for Ruby.

Outback Blaze is more than your typical rural romance, the mystery/suspense element makes this book a genuine page turner. I loved the relationship between Ruby and Drew, it was not rushed and was realistic.
Outback Blaze was a great read, definitely my favourite Rachael Johns book so far, her books just seem to be getting better and better. I am now eagerly awaiting the release of her next book, Outback Ghost!

Just a final word of warning, if you are a bit of a softie like me, you may need some tissues while reading this book!

Thanks to Harlequin Australia for the ARC.

Friday 28 March 2014

Time Will Tell by Fiona McCallum

Title: Time Will Tell
Author: Fiona McCallum
ISBN: 9781743565308
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publish Date: April 2014


Emily Oliphant has made some major changes in her life. After leaving an abusive husband, moving house and starting her own jam-making business, things are looking up. But the last thing on Emily’s mind is a new matter who’s vying for her attention.

After receiving an offer from the elderly owners of the property she’s renting to purchase the land and house, a hopeful yet nervous Emily feels herself taking another step in the right direction. She’s unsure where the money will come from, but the offer is too good to refuse, and the property too perfectly suited for the B&B she dreams of opening. Unbeknown to her, the button jar Emily holds dear — a gift from her recently deceased Granny Mayfair — could contain the solution to all her problems...

Just when things are finally beginning to go Emily’s way, everything takes a turn. Soon she’s involved in a romance she’s not sure she’s ready for, dealing with the shock of three unexpected deaths, and being forced to make some difficult decisions. With her finances, property, friendships and budding relationship now in limbo, Emily is once again drawing on her inner-strength to overcome this new set of challenges.

My Thoughts:

Time Will Tell is the perfect continuation of Fiona McCallum's 'The Button Jar' series. Emily is a strong willed character and despite being unsure of some of her choices she has the strength and courage to stand up for herself and fight to overcome the challenges that life throws her way.
Time Will Tell captured my heart with it's lovely country setting and heart warming relationships between the characters. It was hard to put down and I can't wait for the next book!

Thanks to Harlequin Australia for the ARC.

Friday 21 March 2014

Books Recommended To Me #1

Working at a bookshop involves recommending books to many different people but occasionally the customers come in and recommend books to me. I love it when this happens. I love that someone has enjoyed a book so much that they come back into the bookstore just to let us know.
Sometimes they recommend books I have read or are on my TBR list and sometimes they are books that I have never even considered picking up and are completely out of my comfort zone. It has really helped me broaden my 'reading horizons' as well helping me become a better bookseller as I can recommend on a broader range of genres when the opportunity presents itself.
So I would like to say a big thank you to all the readers out there who go into bookstores and libraries and share their reading experiences with the people who work there.  I would also like to share a few of the recommendations that I received this week.

by Veronica Roth
I admitted to someone that I had not yet read this series and was promptly informed that I must read it as soon as possible. I will admit that I have been meaning to read it for a long time, I just haven't gotten around to getting a copy.

by Rainbow Rowell
Recommended by someone who hasn't actually read it yet but we both think it sounds pretty amazing.

by Rainbow Rowell
I am beginning to see a bit of a trend here, this one also sounds amazing.

By Robert Drewe
This one was a little unusual. It was recommended by my boss, she actually found she had two copies so she gave one to me and told me to read it because it was very interesting, so it has joined my TBR pile. 

Which books have been recommended to you lately?

Monday 3 March 2014

The Queens Choice by Cayla Kluver

Title: The Queen's Choice
Author: Cayla Kluver
ISBN: 9781743566169
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: January 2014


Magic was seeping out of me, black and agonizing. I could see it drifting away. The magic that would let me pass the Road to reach home again.

When sixteen-year-old Anya learns that her aunt, Queen of the Faerie Kingdom of Chrior, will soon die, her grief is equalled only by her despair for the future of the kingdom. Her young cousin, Illumina, is unfit to rule, and Anya is determined not to take up the queen's mantle herself.

Convinced that the only solution is to find Prince Zabriel, who long ago disappeared into the human realm of Warckum, and persuade him to take up his rightful crown, Anya journeys into the Warckum Territory to bring him home. But her journey is doomed to be more harrowing than she ever could have imagined.

My Thoughts:

The Queen's Choice is like a long stroll, a fantasy adventure novel that is more about the journey than the destination. It is not jammed packed full of action but instead meanders at a somewhat slow but steady pace introducing the reader to a beautiful world of fairies and magic.
The Queen's Choice is a beautifully written novel with stunning world building and strong, well written characters. It is a lengthy and descriptive read which will not suit all readers as the pacing is slow, sometimes too slow. But I found it to be well worth the extra time it took to read. It really was an enchanting read with an unexpected ending that has left me eagerly awaiting the next in the series.
Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia for the ARC

Friday 14 February 2014

Mini Review: Anything To Have You

Anything To Have You by Paige Harbison
(ISBN:  9781488720727)


Nothing should come between best friends, not even boys. ESPECIALLY not boys.
Natalie and Brooke have had each other's backs forever. Natalie is the quiet one, college bound and happy to stay home and watch old movies. Brooke is the movie—the life of every party, the girl everyone wants to be.
Then it happens—one crazy night that Natalie can't remember and Brooke's boyfriend, Aiden, can't forget. Suddenly there's a question mark in Natalie and Brooke's friendship that tests everything they thought they knew about each other and has both girls discovering what true friendship really means.

My Thoughts:

Anything To Have you was not a book that I particularly enjoyed. Filled with teenage drama and partying it does cover a lot of issues that teens deal with although I don't think it handled them very well. It was not very realistic. It seemed as if none of the parents in this book had any idea what was going on and did not care enough to find out what their children did. It certainly was not what I expected but I know there are a lot of readers who will enjoy it.  

Friday 7 February 2014

Someone Like You by Victoria Purman

Title: Someone Like You
Author: Victoria Purman
ISBN: 9781743567739
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Published: February 2014


When Lizzie Blake knocks on the door of Dan McSwaine’s beach house at Middle Point, she barely recognises the man who answers. Whatever happened to the guy who swaggered into her home town with a grin and left with her heart in his back pocket? Lizzie wonders if he’ll ever be that man again — and if she should risk everything she’s built her life on to help him.

Dan can’t normally bear to be more than ten minutes from a hip bar, an imported beer and a group of hot women. So what is he doing holed up in a falling down beach shack at Middle Point? All he knows is that he’s made some crazy decisions since the night a truck slammed into his car and almost killed him. The first one was to think that buying a crumbling piece of coastal real estate was a good idea. The second crazy decision was to try to hide away from the world when a woman like Lizzie Blake is determined to drag him right back into it…

My Thoughts:

I am going to start off this review by saying I have not read the first book in this series, 'Nobody But Him' but I found that this book reads fine as a stand alone, and while it may have helped to have some more back story I do not feel as though I was missing any major plot points.
Someone Like You is romance set on the South Australian coast, and Purman captures coastal Australia wonderfully. The beautiful beaches and the laid back lifestyle of Middle Point set the perfect scene for Lizzie and Dan's romance.
Dan and Lizzie are attracted to each other from the very beginning but they are both damaged and not sure if they are ready for a relationship, this creates a high amount of tension and the result is a wonderfully realistic and sometimes strained relationship between them.
I really enjoyed this book, it was a great relaxing summer read.

Review copy thanks to Harlequin Australia.

Friday 31 January 2014

What I Read - December 2013 & January 2014

Well t is the end of January already and let me just say I am totally over summer! I spend the entire time feeling super tired and grouchy, hopefully we will be getting some cooler weather soon. Now on to what I read.

by Tricia Stringer
(ARC thanks to Harlequin Australia)

by Aimee Carter
(ARC thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia)

by Vanessa Garden
(ARC thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia)

by Jennie Jones
(ARC thanks to Harlequin Australia)


 The Walking Dead: Rise of The Governor
by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga

The Wisdom of the Shire
by Noble Smith

by Juliet Madison
(ARC thanks to Harlequin Escape Australia and Netgalley)

Friday 17 January 2014

The January Wish by Juliet Madison

Title: The January Wish
Author: Juliet Madison
ISBN: 9780857991119
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Publish Date:  January 2014


When Dr Sylvia Greene makes an impromptu wish at the Tarrin’s Bay Wishing Festival, it's the most out of character action she can think of. Hers is not a life of wishes. Hers is a controlled life of order, plans and preparation…of science and research and diagnosis and treatment. But her past has been weighing on her mind, and decisions made long ago have far-reaching consequences.

A week later, the daughter she secretly gave up for adoption at sixteen arrives in Sylvia's small coastal town with secrets that can't be shared. Between feelings of guilt, gossip, and a growing attraction to an emotionally unavailable colleague, Sylvia's well-ordered life is soon thrown into chaos. She is no longer alone, and for the first time she feels as if her world is open to possibilities.

They say be careful what you wish for, but, for Sylvia, the unexpected consequences may be just what the doctor ordered.

My Thoughts:

The January Wish is the story of Sylvia Greene and how, with the help of one little wish, her life is changed forever. Dr Sylvia Greene prides herself on her well organised life, full of science and routine, but all that changes when she makes a wish at the Tarrin's Bay Wishing Festival. Before long she is faced with the daughter she gave up for adoption and a new, very attractive work colleague.
The January Wish starts off slowly but really picks up the pace towards the end of the book where it hits an emotional high point that leaves a lasting impression. The characters are easy to relate to and each has their own issues to deal with creating a web of subplots.
I really enjoyed The January Wish despite it's slow start, it was definitely worth reading. Perfect for a nice light read.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia, Escape Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC.

Friday 10 January 2014

The House On Burra Burra Lane by Jennie Jones

Title: The House On Burra Burra Lane
Author: Jennie Jones
ISBN: 9781743567746
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Publish Date: January 2014


Just ten days after her fresh start in the isolated Snowy Mountains, Samantha Walker trips over a three hundred pound pig and lands in the arms of Dr. Ethan Granger — and the firing line for gossip. It was hardly a ‘date’ but sparks of the sensual kind are difficult to smother in a community of only 87 people. Now there’s a bet running on how long she’ll stay and what she’ll get up to while she’s in town.

Ethan has his own issues — Sammy’s presence in his childhood home brings with it painful recollections of family scandals and a bad‐boy youth. When the gossip around them heightens, his life is suddenly a deck of cards spread on the table for all to see. Then Sammy's past catches up with her... and it looks like all bets are off.

My Thoughts:

Samantha Walker has packed up her life in the city and moved to the small and closely knit community of Swallow's Fall, where she meets the local vet, Ethan Granger. From this first encounter there is a mutual attraction between Sammie and Ethan and when Ethan offers to help Sammie fix up her house, the seeds of romance have been sown. Soon Sammie and Ethan are the talk of the town, but secrets from their pasts threaten to end their friendship.
As with most romance stories the attraction between the main characters, Sammie and Ethan is immediate, however they both carry a lot of emotional baggage and are very wary of ruining what could be a wonderful friendship.
I love the complexity of the characters. Sammy is bold and caring but determined to make a good impression and forge a good reputation for herself in the small community. Ethan is stubborn and determined but struggles with the memories of his past.
Jennie Jones has created not only believable main characters but the secondary characters are delightful as well and each of them has their own stories to tell, from Grandy, the town patriarch to Josh, the teenager who is just trying to find his place in life. Each and everyone of the characters helps bring the fictional rural setting of Swallow's Fall to life, and discovering the way their lives all intertwine is a pleasure.
The House On Burra Burra Lane is a delightful debut novel of hard won relationships full of comprise and acceptance. A must read for fans of rural romance.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia for the ARC.