The 6:20 Man by David Baldacci -a review

The 620 ManThe 6:20 Man by David Baldacci

Having survived combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq and been decorated with medals, Travis Devine mysteriously leaves the Army under a cloud of suspicion. And at thirty-two years old, he’s swapping fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda for a different kind of danger in the cut-throat world of high finance.

His daily commute on the 6.20 a.m. train into New York’s financial district, to his new job as an analyst at the minted powerhouse investment bank Cowl and Comely, takes him into a world where greed, power, jealousy and ambition result in the financial abuse of the masses and the enrichment of an elite few. But it is on this daily journey that he passes a house where he sees something that sounds alarm signals he cannot ignore.

A close friend of Devine’s, Sarah Ewes, is the first victim and the mysterious circumstances surrounding her death at Cowl and Comely compel him to investigate further. As he digs deeper, he discovers strange coincidences and unnerving truths. As the deaths pile up, and the major players show their hands, he must question who he can trust and who he must fight.

Published 28 June 2022  |  Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$34.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

I have to admit that while I’m a huge fan of a couple of Baldacci’s series (Atlee Pine &  John Puller), I just couldn’t get into the others. My interest in this one is really geared by the idea of this protagonist’s  9 to 5 grind, which basically is also my life (thanks, Financial lines!), until life threw a huge spanner in his way. This made a great thrilling read (but I don’t want that kind of spanner in my life, lol).

Travis Devine is an easily likeable character. He’s highly intelligent and also physically capable man. And he wants truth and justice to prevail but sometimes, that just doesn’t happen in real life. Due to a misstep, he is now punishing himself and redemption seems far away especially when the past came back to haunt him. There is no choice for Devine now but to dive in and find the killers as well as deal with the underhanded world of Wall Street. 

He is definitely a hit with me. Baldacci definitely knows his craft and kept the pace tight yet the human interest of Devine and other characters were truly touching. I don’t think the whole mystery is quite wrapped up yet though I could be wrong but I think, I hope, that this is just a set up (a first book) for a series. I’d love to see Travis Devine again and hopefully, see him more settled in his role.

My thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for this copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  facebook  |  twitter  |  instagram

The Falcon by Isabella Maldonado -a review

The FalconThe Falcon (Nina Guerrera #3) by Isabella Maldonado

A serial killer wants to play. FBI Agent Nina Guerrera has no time for games.

Six female undergrads at an elite university vanish. The media descends. The families demand action. And as Special Agent Nina Guerrera follows clue by chilling clue, she realizes she’s tracking the most cunning predator of her career.

The case takes a turn for the worse, and the bizarre, when several victims are found perfectly preserved. No signs of violence, no hint of how they died. Just more evidence that the killer is cruel, calculating, and a master of mind control.

With her mission compromised, Nina must face her greatest failure—and greatest fear—to stop a deadly hunter before he claims another prize.

Published 28 June 2022 |  Publisher: Thomas & Mercer  |  RRP: AUD$25.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

Special Agent Nina Guerrera is definitely one of my favourite fictional crime buster. She’s oh-so-broken but yet oh-so-kick-ass!! And her loyal teammates are just the perfect foil to her solitary warrior outlook. As the mystery to her background was pretty much resolved in the last book, I was curious where the author was going to take Nina next and whether it will be comparably thrilling… no worries there, she’s definitely got me engaged and I really can’t wait to see Nina develop as a character in future.

I don’t want to give too much away but The Falcon was an intriguing mix of Egyptology, psychology, falconry, technology, and so many other interesting bits which made the read really fascinating. There were some images which may be a lot paper in print but I had to skip reading because it was just too small on my basic kindle. Plus, one particular incident which didn’t quite make sense to me but as I read an uncorrected proof, this might’ve been fixed for the final print. Otherwise, this series is becoming one of my favourites and I can’t wait for book 4.

My thanks to Thomas & Mercer for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitterfacebookinstagram

Blog tour: Paranormal Bonds by Julie Catherine – a review + GIVEAWAY (int

Paranormal Bonds
Julie Catherine
(The High Council Witch Chronicles)
Publication date: April 12th 2022
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

When Mae Kingsley is forced to move into her family’s rundown lake house, she discovers small town living is not as simple as it seems. Bursts of violence, silent treatments, archaic rituals and two very cute guys with seriously mysterious motives all appear with the rising of the new moon.

But that’s nothing compared to the family secrets soon to be revealed. A box sealed in a vault, hidden rooms, naked swimming. There’s a trove of family revelations just beneath the floorboards, waiting to be exposed.

As the paranormal bonding season for the High Council Witches begins, Mae must quickly decide who to trust and who to fear before a deadly family tradition repeats itself and her chance to live a normal life completely disappears.

Goodreads / Amazon


Author Bio:

Julie Catherine is an author, screenwriter and playwright.

Website / Goodreads / Instagram / Newsletter




My Blurb (3/5 stars)

Paranormal bonding is one of my favourite tropes so it was an easy decision to pick this one up. It’s a very easy & fast read with easily likeable protagonist. The mystery behind her mother and the people in this town was intriguing. I really liked the cast of characters although I do have to wonder at the protagonist’s pick of the person who could be her best friend…

Paranormal Bonds is the first book of The High Council Witch Chronicles however I felt that as a first book, it was overlong in the introductory part so I felt like I was reading more of a prequel… I expected for the ‘High Council Witch’ to be more prominent / involved but they were very non-existent in this novel. I also wish that the magic was better explored. Otherwise, a rather enjoyable read.


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The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill -a review

the woman in the libraryThe Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

In every person’s story, there is something to hide…

The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet, until the tranquillity is shattered by a woman’s terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who’d happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning—it just happens that one is a murderer.

Published 7 June 2022|  Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

Woah, I thought I was ready for whatever Sulari Gentill can throw at me after that mind-bending twists of Crossing the Lines but she’s got a mean throwing arm! The Woman in the Library is a clever, imaginative thriller and so much fun to read.

The structure of the book is that of a letter from “Leo” and a chapter of story (which is found above in book description). At first, I did wonder which is “real” and which is fictional [remember, Crossing the Lines?!]. However, the author has something quite different in mind in this novel so it wasn’t quite that long before all is revealed and pretty soon, instead of one mystery, we have 2… Bonus!

As much as I enjoyed reading about the four strangers drawn together as friends, I was also very much drawn to the other mystery for which we pretty much only get Leo’s letters to read by. And yet, because of that limited scope, it’s that much more creepy and therefore, thrilling.

Another brilliant offering by a much loved author, Sulari Gentill, and one I’d highly recommend as it was very much an irresistible page-turner.

My thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  websitefacebook  |  instagram  |  twitter

An A-List for Death – Pamela Hart -a review

An A-List for DeathAn A-List for Death (Poppy McGowan Mysteries #2) by Pamela Hart

TV researcher Poppy McGowan has never sought the spotlight and is none too happy to be photographed with rock god Nathan Castle. When the photo pops up on celebrity gossip sites, it sparks a media feeding frenzy, forcing Poppy to go to ground, don a wig, and pull some nifty moves to escape a tailing car. On top of that, she cops abuse from Nathan’s outraged fans.

None of this would have happened if Poppy hadn’t found Nathan’s mother Daisy, one-time glamour girl and elderly best friend of her Aunty Mary, bleeding and unconscious in her bathroom. The police dismiss the case as an accident, but Poppy is sure there are questions to be answered. Who attacked Daisy, and why? Will she come out of her coma? What secrets are her gathering family hiding? What happens to Daisy’s money if she dies?

When a murder occurs outside Daisy’s flat, the police step in at last. Unfortunately, they finger Poppy’s boyfriend, Tol, for the crime – after all, he had bad blood with the victim. As Daisy’s money-hungry family circle amid hints of poisoning, bribery and blackmail, Poppy must find a way to clear Tol’s name and ensure Daisy’s safety.

Published 1 June 2022|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

A terribly fun read! I enjoyed this second instalment better than the first book. It was easy and light to read with just enough hints on the mystery to keep you going all the way to the end. Of course, the romantic tingles between Poppy & Tol, and their solid trust in each other, kept me fully warm and happy.

The only problem I had was keeping up with the numerous characters. Even as the story is told purely from Poppy’s perspective, there were moments where I had to stop and try to think who this particular character is again in relation to Poppy & others in the book.

I love that it’s set in today’s Sydney and enjoyed zipping about with Poppy whose innate goodness touched all those around her. I truly appreciate the safe-ness and yet, still exciting, relationship between Poppy & Tol (so many books on brokenness that this was so comforting). Overall, An A-List for Death was a very relaxing and very entertaining read.

My thanks to Harlequin Australia for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  websitefacebook  |  pinterest  |  twitter

The Omen of Crows Nest by Catherine Constantine – a review

CROWS NEST omen_nest_final_apple (1)The Omen of Crows Nest
Catherine Constantine
Publication date: May 4th 2022
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

No blood. No body. No murder.

That’s what the police found after Penelope spun her bizarre tale. In a hysterical state, she said her father was butchered and eaten by a mob of birds ~ in her bedroom.

They claim she’s crazy.
That she suffers from delusions.
Penelope is dead set on proving them wrong.

After being institutionalized for eight months, Penelope is out and more determined than ever to find answers to her so-called hallucinations. With her father’s untimely disappearance, she’s convinced her family is hiding something sinister.

THE OMEN OF CROWS NEST is the latest masterpiece by the award-winning author Cathrina Constantine, and is sure to leave fans of fantasy gasping!

Goodreads / Amazon

My Blurb (3/5):

I just love it when covers draw my eyes and when the description is just as interesting; we got a winner! I just adore that red swirls and purple silhouettes and seriously, that mystery behind Penelope’s breakdown really needed to be explored.

The novel opens as Penelope is at the end of her time at the institution. She is determined to return home as she has missed her brother and sister terribly. But even more so, she is determined to find out just what it is her family is hiding from her. Because of her fears of being institutionalised again, she could trust no one. Not even the best-friend-boy-next-door she’s fallen for. In the meantime, she’s got to face society (school!) where everyone knew where she’s been the last few months.

It’s an easy novel to read, language-wise, and fairly easy to dive into. Characters were mostly likeable though the mystery behind their motivations made some questionable. However, I did feel like it was a really long read because there was just nothing happening in the middle and the end was rather swift. I did like the action & reveal at the end but I do wish there was a bit more action in the middle and more romance(!) as I happen to like this trope.

My thanks to Xpresso Tours for ecopy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

Cathrina (1)Author Bio:

I am blessed with a loving family and forever friends. My world revolves around them.

I grew up in the small village of Lancaster, NY, where I married my sweetheart. I’m devoted to raising 5 cherished children, and now my grandchildren.

I love to immerse myself in great books of every kind of genre, which helps me to write purely for entertainment, and hopefully to inspire readers. When not stationed at my computer you can find me in the woods taking long walks with my dog.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor -a review

dirt townDirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor

My best friend wore her name, Esther, like a queen wearing her crown at a jaunty angle. We were twelve years old when she went missing.

On a sweltering Friday afternoon in Durton, best friends Ronnie and Esther leave school together. Esther never makes it home.

Ronnie’s going to find her, she has a plan. Lewis will help. Their friend can’t be gone, Ronnie won’t believe it.

Detective Sergeant Sarah Michaels can believe it. She has seen what people are capable of. She knows more than anyone how, in a moment of weakness, a person can be driven to do something they never thought possible.

Lewis can believe it too. But he can’t reveal what he saw that afternoon at the creek without exposing his own secret.

Five days later, Esther’s buried body is discovered.

What do we owe the girl who isn’t there?

Character-rich and propulsive, with a breathtakingly original use of voice and revolving points of view, Dirt Town delves under the surface, where no one can hide. With emotional depth and sensitivity, this stunning debut shows us how much each person matters in a community that is at once falling apart and coming together.

Esther will always be a Dirt Town child, as we are its children, still.

Published 31 May 2022|  Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s 

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

What a STUNNING debut! Undoubtedly one of my best reads of 2022 and I’m going to start this review, right off the bat, by Highly Recommending this book. You’ll not regret it. Actually, you will regret it if you don’t.

I thought Dirt Town was a novel I was going to enjoy as I do enjoy my crime reads. However, after a few pages, I knew I was not just going to enjoy this read. This read was more. I still can’t quite point the finger at exactly what it is but it was just such a rich read; compelling prose, concrete characters, engaging mystery and I am just in awe.

The description notes ‘revolving points of view’ and this phrase both interests me and made me a bit anxious but for once, I don’t have any complaint on the multiple perspectives. Each one was clear and definite, each voice unique. Sometimes, I found it a bit strange as moving on to another perspective, we are going over the same time period or scene as the previous chapter/perspective BUT it’s not actually going over old grounds as it were but different perspectives, in this novel, truly gave another viewpoint, another dimension to a certain scene. It really flesh out the whole story and made it ever more solid.

I could literally feel the snowball effect as I read; it started off slow but sure and after halfway, I could feel it gaining speed and the end was heartbreaking. The ending wasn’t as dark as some other crime/rural noir novels and in that way, I appreciated it a whole lot more. An immensely satisfying read, do yourself a favour and read this book. Then do me a favour by letting me know your thoughts x

My thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for this copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  facebook  | instagram

The Signal Line by Brendan Colley -a review

The-Signal-Line-cover-for-publicity-600x913The Signal Line by Brendan Colley

Brothers Geo and Wes are testing their relationship now that their parents have passed away. Geo and Wes rarely agree on anything, especially not the sale of the Hobart family home. Geo needs the money to finance his musical career in Italy.  For Wes the house represents the memory of their father, and what it means to live an honest, working life.

But then a ghost train appears in Hobart, often on the tram tracks that once existed, along with the Swedish man who has been pursuing it for 40 years.

Everyone it seems is chasing their dreams.  Or are they running from the truth?

The Signal Line is a warm-hearted, unforgettable novel about what we are all searching for, even when our personal dreams and aspirations have collapsed: love and acceptance.

Published 1 May 2022|  Publisher: Transit Lounge Publishing  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (2.5 / 5 stars)

The idea of a ghost train and a ghost-train-hunter is really what tickled my curiosity but this novel is a lot more than that. It’s about dreams and chasing that dream but it’s also about living. I have to admit that I just didn’t quite get the theory / philosophy presented in this novel so I just kept on reading to get to the end.

That is probably the one of the reason that I didn’t quite love it but also because it introduced a lot of angst especially in the conflict between these two brothers. Unfortunately, I also didn’t like these two as characters… even at the end. I did however appreciate the little twist about the ghost-train-hunter.

Overall, I am sad to note that this isn’t quite the novel for me even as I can see the appeal for some other readers.  Please check out other reviews as I see I’m in the minority here.

My thanks to Transit Lounge Publishing for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  | instagram

Slipping the Noose by Meg Caddy -a review

Slipping the NooseSlipping the Noose by Meg Caddy

The way out is through.

Anne Bonny is chained up in the hold of a prison ship, nursing nine-month-old Molly. The baby is all she has left of Calico Jack, the swaggering pirate captain who loved her and stole her away to sea—and who now hangs from a gibbet. When armed men rip the child from her grasp, Bonny can do nothing and Molly seems lost. But Anne Bonny was not cut out for despair. She will plan for escape and rescue, and the plan will become action. And the streets of London will belong to her and her daughter—and the ragtag remnants of Calico Jack’s crew.

Anne Bonny looms large in the history of piracy on the high seas. But history, having left the notorious female buccaneer languishing in a Jamaican jail, then carelessly mislaid her. Fortunately we have Meg Caddy to imagine her subsequent exploits and whereabouts, and to bring them so vividly and rakishly to life.

Published 3 May 2022|  Publisher: Text Publishing |  RRP: AUD$24.00

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  |  QBD

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

As I began to read this novel, I felt that I have jumped into the middle of a story. This prompted me to check Goodreads which notes (at the bottom of the book description; I had to click on ‘more’ to see) that this book is a sequel to Devil’s Ballast which, errr, I have yet to read, oops! This kind of ruins the read a little for me… I stopped reading to read Devil’s Ballast first which didn’t turn out to be what I quite expected before jumping back into Slipping the Noose.

The good thing is that after I read Devil’s Ballast, I have readjusted my expectations and actually enjoyed Slipping the Noose. I have become acquainted with some of the characters, especially Anne, and understood her feelings a lot more which I then can sympathise with. It’s a suspenseful read with 2 perspectives (Bonny’s & Read’s) which really got me on the edge of my seat waiting for when or where these will culminate. The final pages were utterly wonderful and I got to wondering if we will see these characters again.

While the plot in this novel will stand on its own, I do highly recommend that you read Devil’s Ballast first as it will make clear of who some characters are and how they relate to each other. Do not expect a swashbuckling adventures as these novels aren’t quite those but they are action-packed with its own twist. Highly readable and thoroughly enjoyable!

My thanks to Text Publishing for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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No Less The Devil by Stuart MacBride -a review

no less the devilNo Less The Devil by Stuart MacBride

Introducing an original and intriguing new lead character, Stuart MacBride’s new novel showcases a crime-writing master at the top of his game.

‘We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.’

It’s been seventeen months since the Bloodsmith butchered his first victim and Operation Maypole is still no nearer catching him. The media is whipping up a storm, the top brass are demanding results, but the investigation is sinking fast.

Now isn’t the time to get distracted with other cases, but Detective Sergeant Lucy McVeigh doesn’t have much choice. When Benedict Strachan was just eleven, he hunted down and killed a homeless man. No one’s ever figured out why Benedict did it, but now, after sixteen years, he’s back on the streets again – battered, frightened, convinced a shadowy ‘They’ are out to get him, and begging Lucy for help.

It sounds like paranoia, but what if he’s right? What if he really is caught up in something bigger and darker than Lucy’s ever dealt with before? What if the Bloodsmith isn’t the only monster out there? And what’s going to happen when Lucy goes after them?

Published 3 May 2022|  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

I was excited to receive this book in the mail since I was totally in the mood for a crime read. While I’ve heard of this author, I’ve yet to read any of his books so while I can’t tell his fans if this new book is as good as his other books, I can tell you that I’m keen to explore his backlist now.

Detective Sergeant Lucy McVeigh appears to be the standard protagonist of a police procedural novel in that she’s like a dog with a bone when presented with a case and she is broken. There’s something in her past which we learnt of later on in the novel. She mostly gets along with her team and has a loyal partner though he seems a lot younger and immature in comparison to her. Herein lies the humour which breaks the bleakness of the novel and I really enjoyed the dynamics between these two.

I was caught by surprise by some of the language and maybe that’s because I’ve never read his books before or maybe I don’t read enough Scottish books but I don’t think I’ve ever heard some of these words before: hurple (I love the sound of this word! Say it out loud to yourself and see what I mean), clarted (only cuz it rhymes with farted – I’ve been hanging out too much with my boys), dunt, sook (as in ‘sucking a cigarette’ and not ‘being a sook’), etc. This may be a reason in itself to read more of MacBride’s!

What started as a pretty solid police procedural changed in a somewhat unpredictable way approximately 3/4 through the novel. At first, I wasn’t sure if I like this change because it turned into a psychological thriller which I’m not a fan of… I didn’t mind the ending but I’m still not sure whether I like it or not; maybe that’s TBD after I read the sequel 🤣

My thanks to Penguin Random House for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  | facebook  |  website  |  twitter