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Blog Tour: Becoming Brooklyn by Amanda Deich – an excerpt

Becoming Brooklyn
Amanda Deich
Publication date: January 5th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Eighteen-year-old Brooklyn never knew her father. Rex Blackburn died in the 9/11 attacks four months before she was born.

And even though she never met him, she always dreamed about what he must have been like before he died. In her mind, he was a hero.

Little did she know.

After an attack at a 9/11 memorial gala, Brooklyn learns her father had been a member of an elite, anti-terrorism, military task force, made up of a very select group of people who had superhuman abilities. On the day the towers fell, he died using his power to save people.

The Army believes she inherited his gift, and Brooklyn is invited to train at West Point in order to hone her skills. Knowing deep down she is different than anyone else her age and wanting to learn more about a father she never knew, she readily agrees to become a cadet at the prestigious military academy.

She and five other 9/11 babies strengthen their superhuman abilities and spend weeks preparing themselves for their future in the army, fighting terrorists at home and abroad. And in the process of training, they identify with their deceased parents in a way they never knew they could.

Brooklyn knows she’ll go to war someday, but when terrorists find out about the group’s gifts, they don’t bother to wait.

They bring the war to West Point.

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Excerpt

“Why do you need to talk to…just us?” Bree asked, her stare critical and questioning. “Why not all the 9/11 Babies?”

The general nodded, acknowledging the fairness of her question. “You would probably instinctively group yourself with the rest of the kids who had parents die in the attacks of 9/11. And while the entire group of 9/11 Babies have been branded heroes – appropriately, I might add – the six of you are different than the others who attended the dinner the other night.”

He brought his hands in front of him, clasped them together casually in front of his broad torso. “In fact, I’ve been assigned to talk with you all this evening regarding this difference. But before I begin, please know I am about to tell you something that is quite possibly the most sensitive, most valuable, most protected secret in our military today.”

My heart picked up speed. Suddenly I felt like I was sitting in the principal’s office, in trouble but not quite sure why.

“Sensitive, how?” Adrianna asked.

The general pursed his lips. “It may take a while to explain. If I may, I’m going to ask for your patience as I attempt to do so.” He walked slowly toward us, clicking a button to lower a white screen behind him. It hovered above the fireplace as if it were a painting.

“I was thinking about the best way to inform you on the topic, and I decided I should start with what you already know: what you see in the papers and what you’ve learned in History Class.”

Ugh. History Class.

The six of us took turns shooting uneasy glances to one another, and the general, like so many teachers, pressed on, despite our obvious lack of enthusiasm.

“Even before the terrorist attacks on 9/11,” he explained, “the United States of America was the world’s leader in stopping terrorism. We continue to fulfill this role today.”

As if to prove his point, the screen behind him exploded into pictures of ongoing warfare. Bombs, tanks, and horrific blasts filled the screen.

“Terrorists know no geographical boundaries,” he continued as the pictures ceased, “but neither do we, when it comes to humanitarian issues. When the U.S. was young, we were spoiled by our location. Oceans separated us from the rest of the world’s conflicts, so we were primarily concerned with our own. But after the atrocities of the Second World War were exposed, we knew we needed to make a global effort to combat the evil that existed outside our borders.”

“The way we did this was to develop our best, most gifted citizens. We identified them at a young age and used our training facilities to nurture their gifts, pushing them as hard as they could be pushed, and making sure those gifts weren’t wasted. Soon, we had enough of these gifted warriors to form an elite military group. Its earliest members named it The Crest.”

“And what does this have to do with us?” I asked. I mean, it was nice of him to give us a history lesson and all, but the anticipation of why we were meeting with a general was killing me.

“Patience, Brooklyn,” General Richards replied, his tone implying he was losing his own. “I promised I’d explain, and I’m about to.” He turned to address the whole group again.

“You are six of the so-called ‘9/11 Babies’,” he began. “But you are a special six. The hundreds of other 9/11 Babies lost their parents heroically on that horrible day, and you did, too. But your parents were more than heroes.”

He paused, making sure he had our undivided attention. We weren’t breathing; we couldn’t.

“You would probably think of them as superheroes, members of the very same group I described.”

His gaze intensified. “They were part of our most secret, gifted branch of the military: The Crest: Chosen, Rare, Elite… Superhuman and Triumphant.”

My thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for having me on this tour

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About the authors

Amanda Deich is an author out of Littleton, CO. In her non-writer life, she is a teacher and coach to hundreds of kids, and she is a mama to two. If you meet her, she’ll talk Jesus and identity like no one’s business.

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Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout -a review

storm and furyStorm and Fury (The Harbinger #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

From the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of the fantastical Dark Elements series comes a new novel set in a world of gargoyle protectors, rising demons and one girl with an explosive secret.

Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens – gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.

When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again – but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…

Published 17 June 2019|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$19.99

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

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

Before I started reading this novel, I didn’t realise that this trilogy is actually a spin-off of author’s earlier trilogy, The Dark Elements, of which I’ve only read book 1. I’m not particularly fond of paranormal novels featuring angels and/or demons but what I found interesting in these trilogies are the twist on gargoyles being shape-shifter protectors of humankind. Oh, and of course, usually they’re pretty hot in human form 😜

In Storm and Fury, we meet Trinity. She’s rather special and have lived in a very protected & protective remote community of Wardens (what those gargoyle protectors are called). Her time of hiding is running out though as for somehow, someone found out and she is wanted for some nefarious reason or another. Her bonded guardian was kidnapped and she has to place her trust in another Warden from another clan, Zayne (him from The Dark Elements trilogy). Sparks flew, complications arose, twists abound, and a broken ending promising more doom in sequel.

I wasn’t really that keen on Trinity as a character to begin with but I do like Zayne very much 😬 Understandably, Trinity’s sheltered life made sure that she’s rather innocent and yet, this naivety sometimes makes me want to shake her. Zayne has his own set of baggage, if you’ve read The Dark Elements. Though if you’re like me, it’s not necessary to have read that earlier trilogy as whatever you need to know is told to you in this novel. This also means that I’ll probably never read the rest of The Dark Elements.

Storm and Fury is straight out YA paranormal romance. It’s fluff for a grey day with sparky snarky dialogs between romantic protags and a fast paced twisty plot that makes the day go quickly by.

About the author

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

The Other Side of Beautiful by Kim Lock -a review

the other side of beautifulThe Other Side of Beautiful by Kim Lock

Lost & Found meets The Rosie Project in a stunning break-out novel where a vulnerable misfit is forced to re-engage with the world, despite her best efforts.

Meet Mercy Blain, whose house has just burnt down. Unfortunately for Mercy, this goes bey ond the disaster it would be for most people: she hasn’t been outside that house for two years now.

Flung out into the world she’s been studiously ignoring, Mercy goes to the only place she can. Her not-quite-ex-husband Eugene’s house. But it turns out she can’t stay there, either.

And so begins Mercy’s unwilling journey. After the chance purchase of a cult classic campervan (read tiny, old and smelly), with the company of her sausage dog, Wasabi, and a mysterious box of cremated remains, Mercy heads north from Adelaide to Darwin.

On the road, through badly timed breakdowns, gregarious troupes of grey nomads, and run-ins with a rogue adversary, Mercy’s carefully constructed walls start crumbling. But what was Mercy hiding from in her house? And why is Eugene desperate to have her back in the city? They say you can’t run forever…

Exquisite, tender and wry, this is a break-out novel about facing anxiety and embracing life from an extraordinary new talent.

Published 7 July 2021|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

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

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

An adorably beautiful cover for an adorably beautiful novel. I always look forward to each new novel by Kim Lock because I know that I would love it. I always find myself smiling unconsciously when reading her books; I don’t know how she does it. That is not to say that her novels are happy or funny but that there are happy & funny moment in amongst the detritus that is life. Trust Kim to always get into the heart of things.

The novel opens as Mercy’s house is on fire and we meet Mercy as she stood in the middle of the street in her jammies. She was understandably confused and trying very hard to hang on to the last shred of her sanity. Her house, the only place she felt safe in, is burning down and she is forced to take her first step onto the street after 2 years of hiding. Then the only person she could turn to is her not-quite-ex-husband, Eugene, but he couldn’t shield her either. If she can’t hide, maybe she can run… and as fate has it, her mode of transport is right outside.

Bending over, she howled into her hands. She couldn’t take this anymore. She couldn’t take the feeling of her body in a constant state of anxiety, everything tensed like a rabbit awaiting a fox. Unrelenting guilt ate at her, acid sloshing her insides. The waiting, the endless waiting. For what?

I have no idea what panic attacks are like. I just know that they are supposed to be absolutely terrifyingly bad. From reading this novel, it does feel that author has done her work in research but this is a novel and should be read as such. Mercy’s journey as she faced down her troubles is heartachingly beautiful but again it is fiction and should not be used as basis of advice.

The world wasn’t safe. Nothing was safe; nowhere was safe. I couldn’t even human.

Mercy may have begun her journey with only the van and her faithful dachshund, Wasabi, but there was a community of travellers out there. I loved this community and especially Andy, being the one she opened up to & tell-all person. Their acceptance, non-judgemental, and generous attitude towards others and life is delightful; something for us all to emulate.

Be here now, and know that whatever now is, is transient.

I may have started reading The Other Side of Beautiful with a tiny bit of trepidation because her last novel, The Three of Us, was rather hard-hitting (I rated that one 5-stars too) and I’m really not in the mood for that sort of read. However, The Other Side of Beautiful proves to be such a balm in the midst of a lockdown. Being in Mercy’s shoes while she traversed the great Australian landscape, it was truly an escape that I vicariously loved.

My thanks to Harlequin Australia via The Book Stack for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  facebook 

Catch Us The Foxes by Nicola West -a review

catch us the foxesCatch Us The Foxes by Nicola West

Some secrets you try to hide. Others you don’t dare let out …

Twin Peaks meets The Dry in a deliciously dark and twisted tale that unravels a small Australian country town

Ambitious young journalist Marlowe ‘Lo’ Robertson would do anything to escape the suffocating confines of her small home town. While begrudgingly covering the annual show for the local newspaper, Lo is horrified to discover the mutilated corpse of her best friend – the town’s reigning showgirl, Lily Williams.

Seven strange symbols have been ruthlessly carved into Lily’s back. But when Lo reports her grisly find to the town’s police chief, he makes her promise not to tell anyone about the symbols. Lo obliges, though it’s not like she has much of a choice – after all, he is also her father.

When Lily’s murder makes headlines around the country and the town is invaded by the media, Lo seizes the opportunity to track down the killer and make a name for herself by breaking the biggest story of her life.

What Lo uncovers is that her sleepy home town has been harbouring a deadly secret, one so shocking that it will captivate the entire nation.

Lo’s story will change the course of her life forever, but in a way she could never have dreamed of.

Published 7 July 2021|  Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

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

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

I don’t often get NetGalley’s pre-approval emails and when I do, I don’t usually find those books that interesting and so was my first thought about this novel. I’m very much a cover girl so I have to say that cover really didn’t interest me and I can’t really remember why I decided to take up this offer anyway. In any case, good job, past me, because I would’ve really missed out! I thoroughly enjoyed Catch Us The Foxes.

The novel opens with a prologue where protagonist, Marlowe ‘Lo’ Robertson, is about to speak about a book she wrote. A book about what happened in the past. A book that we all gets to read because this is the main meat of Catch Us The Foxes. It is a book within a book. The Showgirl’s Secret is the title of Lo’s book where she told the story of her friend’s suspicious death and the ordeal she went through as she determinedly tried her best to discover the truth.

But what is the truth? Does she even truly know her friend? or her town? What secrets are such small sunny beach tourist town like Kiama could keep in their hearts? A town where she has lived her whole life. Lo must uncover layers of lies and decide who she can trust.

Within the first few minutes, I knew that this was a novel I would really liked. I found Lo easily likeable even if her character sounds a little unstable at times but then again, that is the way Lo portrayed herself in her book so, without too much spoiler, you do have to wonder what her character truly is like.

The setting, Kiama, being only a couple of hours’ drive away, really made me want to just nip down there for a day but… lockdown 😦 However, if you visit author’s insta, you can see some of the views there. I have been previously so it was a tad difficult to imagine such a dark foreboding secret at such a beautiful spot.

Catch Us The Foxes is a thrilling suspense where tension is taut from the very beginning right to the very last word. It was creepy. It was tense. It was one hell of a ride. I was caught by twist upon twist right up to the end of the epilogue where only the readers, us, know what is ‘true’. I’d highly recommend this to all thriller fans.

My thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitterinstagram

Digging Up Dirt by Pamela Hart -a review

digging up dirtDigging Up Dirt (Poppy McGowan #1) by Pamela Hart

Renovations are hell. And that’s before you find the body beneath the floorboards. An intriguing mystery from a stylish new voice in crime fiction, for readers of Kerry Greenwood and Holly Throsby.

When your builder finds bones under the floor of your heritage home, what do you do? For TV researcher Poppy McGowan, the first step is to find out if the bones are human (which means calling in the cops and delaying her renovations) or animal (which doesn’t).

Unfortunately, ‘help’ comes in the form of Dr Julieanne Weaver, archaeologist, political hopeful, and Poppy’s old enemy. She declares the bones evidence of a rare breed of fat-tailed sheep, and slaps a heritage order on the site. The resultant archaeological dig introduces Poppy to Tol Lang, the best-looking archaeologist she’s ever met – and also Julieanne’s boyfriend.

When Julieanne is found murdered in Poppy’s house, both she and the increasingly attractive Tol are considered suspects – and so Poppy uses her media contacts and news savvy to investigate other suspects. Did Julieanne have enemies in the right-wing Australian Family Party, for which she was seeking preselection, or in the affiliated Radiant Joy Church? Or at the Museum of New South Wales, among her rivals and ex-boyfriends? And who was her secret lover?

Can Poppy save herself, and Tol … and finally get her house back?

Published 2 June 2021|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

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

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

I don’t read very many cozy mysteries but when I do, I enjoyed them immensely. There aren’t many set in Australia though (please do correct me if I’m wrong but I just haven’t encountered that many whilst they seem prevalent overseas) so this was, to me, such a fresh breath of air. A romp through my beloved hometown filled with its diverse residents and quirky [read: Aussie] humour.

Within a few minutes of reading, I know I’d have so much fun reading this. And I did. In fact, I read this in a single-sitting [ignoring the fact that I had to cook dinner & feed my kids]. The first moment that I loved in this book is when we met Mirha, a minor character who doesn’t even have anything to do with the plot, but author’s description of her described a friend to a tee that made me so happy lol (you know you are!! x)

As always, her hijab, loose top and trousers in various shades of turquoise…

My next encounter with a minor poc character felt a little funny to me. A description of his office noting wedding photo of mixed race parents just felt a little bit unnecessary and therefore, forced into the book. Maybe I’m being a little sensitive noting my background and the usual whitewashed cozy mysteries I’d read. After the read, however, and I’ve stepped back a little, I noticed that overall, author’s just describing the usual cast of diverse people you’d meet in Sydney but for me, this multicultural mosaic stood out a mile away. And I very much appreciated author’s inclusivity intent.

On that note, however, I found myself a little bit bashed as well with the religious & LGBTQ+ factors of the novel. While these are somewhat relevant to the plot, I do feel that the way Poppy repeated her perspective several times to be unnecessary and superfluous to the story.

As Poppy is living at home with her parents while renovating her new house, we get to see her parents quite a bit and I do love this family picture especially her mother (guilty…😅)

Mum wasn’t satisfied, but of course she would believe a total stranger before she would believe me. That’s what being a mother does to you.

Poppy McGowan is truly an easy protagonist to love and one you can easily imagine of coming across in real life. She’s a down to earth, intelligent, modern & sensible woman. I loved that she’s not trying to justify [too much] why she’s investigating looking into things and that her interaction with the real investigating detectives aren’t fraught with too much secrets. In fact, she tried her best to keep those detectives up to date with her findings without betraying too much confidences. I must say that I did guess the murderer because I think those red herrings are too much in your face so I dismissed them rather easily.

Digging Up Dirt is an absolute joy to read; a setting that says home to me (diverse residents, coffee culture, & some sceneries!) and a fast paced mystery that kept me turning the pages. I just couldn’t put it down.

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

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitterfacebook  |  pinterest

Witchshadow by Susan Dennard -a review

witchshadowWitchshadow (The Witchlands #4) by Susan Dennard

Susan Dennard’s New York Times bestselling fantasy series continues – with the story of the Threadwitch Iseult.

War has come to the Witchlands . . . and nothing will be the same again.

Iseult has found her heartsister Safi at last, but their reunion is brief. For Iseult to stay alive, she must flee Cartorra while Safi remains. And though Iseult has plans to save her friend, they will require her to summon magic more dangerous than anything she has ever faced before.

Meanwhile, the Bloodwitch Aeduan is beset by forces he cannot understand. And Vivia – rightful queen of Nubrevna – finds herself without a crown or home.

As villains from legend reawaken across the Witchlands, only the mythical Cahr Awen can stop the gathering war. Iseult could embrace this power and heal the land, but first she must choose on which side of the shadows her destiny will lie.

Witchshadow is the fourth book in the Witchlands series by bestselling author Susan Dennard.

Published 29 June 2021|  Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$12.99

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

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

Wow, definitely worth the wait though I feel it to be a shame that I read it so quickly (2 days) to read when it took 2 years between 3rd and 4th book to get to me. Witchshadow (all 464 pages of it) is such an immersive read that pages flew past and before I knew it, I reached the end of the book.

If you’ve been following the series, you’d know that it’s an utterly complex world with multiple threads that just keep unspooling. I did wonder if I’d manage to enjoy this read without rereading earlier books but while I struggled with minor characters and certain threads, I managed to follow the story just fine and without too much confusion. There were soo many threads floating around and some timelines going back and forth that I’m totally amazed that I wasn’t confused. Such tight structuring speaks well of both author [and editor]. By the way, if you need it, author has recap summaries on her website.

It feels like fans have waited forever for Iseult’s story. The Witchlands begins with Safi’s story in Truthwitch and that was in 2016; 5 years ago. I can promise you though that it is worth the wait because Iseult’s story is absolutely epic and fairly earth-shattering! Safi is her usual whirlwind self but Iseult and her stasis is facing some tough challenges with encountering strong enemies and discovering things about herself. But as they say, what doesn’t break you makes you stronger. I can’t wait to see what these Threadsisters get up to next.

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

About the author
Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  instagramfacebookpinterest

Secrets My Father Kept by Rachel Givney -a review

secrets my father keptSecrets My Father Kept by Rachel Givney

Set in Poland on the eve of the Second World War, Secrets My Father Kept is the gripping story of a young woman determined to uncover the truth behind her mother’s disappearance and the dark secret from her father’s past.

Secrets My Father Kept is a captivating novel about love, sacrifice, secrets and resilience, as the clock inexorably ticks down to a devastating world war.

It’s February 1939. As the Führer edges towards an invasion of Poland, total war looms in Europe.

However in Krakow, seventeen-year-old Marie Karska’s primary concern is the unexplained disappearance of her mother fifteen years ago, and her father Dominik’s unbreakable silence on the matter. Even his wife’s name is a secret he guards closely.

Dominik, a well-respected and innovative doctor at the local hospital, has devoted his life to caring for his only daughter. Yet a black fear haunts him – over the questionable act he committed to keep Marie safe. And with German troops now marching to the border, he needs to find her a husband. One who will protect her when he no longer can…

But Marie has already met the man she wants to marry: her childhood friend Ben. She’s determined that his Jewish faith won’t stand in the way of their future together. And nor will her father’s refusal to explain the past stop her from unpicking his darkest secret. . .

Published 1 June 2021|  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

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

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

The older I get, the more picky I find myself to be with my reads. Although the past year and a half may have something to do with my taste in reading. I just won’t put up with anything that really upsets me and lacks patience with slow paced book or ones where I’m pretty sure I know how it will end. I would usually checked the ending of the book before I DNF’d. I pretty much figured out the ‘secrets’ in Secrets My Father Kept before I’m halfway through and that’s the reason it took me so long to read it. I just didn’t have much patience for it after that. I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep reading but I did make myself and found that it was totally worth persevering for.

I enjoyed WWII novels as even as we witnessed the horrific things people can do to each other, we also witness the bravery, resilience, and greatness of heart others have. This particular novel is a pre-war setting; 1939 in Krakow. Main characters are Polish with their own set of challenges which mostly are not WWII-related but the upcoming holocaust affected them too. Both characters are intelligent, strong, and easily likeable. Their story is a wonderfully heart-warming reminder of how vast & deep a mother’s love can be.

A-mothers-love-for-her-child-is-like-nothing-else-in-the-world.-It-knows-no-law-no-pity.-It-dares-all-things-and-crushes-down-remorselessly-all-that-stands-in-its-path.-Agatha-Christie

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  |  website  |  twitter  |  instagram  |  facebook

The City of Zirdai by Maria V. Snyder -a review

the city of zirdaiThe City of Zirdai (Archives of the Invisible Sword #2) by Maria V. Snyder

It’s suicide, Shyla. You’re the prize they want.’

Through her courage and tenacity, Shyla Sun-Kissed has awoken the power of The Eyes of Tamburah. But this feat only marks the beginning of the challenges that the magical order, the Invisible Sword, faces to free the underground city of Zirdai.

Though they have allies among the monks and splinter cells inside the city, Shyla knows the Invisible Sword doesn’t have the strength to win. With the group fracturing due to the strain of losses from their latest ordeal, thinly veiled suspicions and endless disagreements, it’s up to Shyla to forge a new united order.

When both the draconian Water Prince and brutal Heliacal Priestess learn of Shyla’s new powers, life becomes even more complicated as they will stop at nothing to capture Shyla and take the magic of The Eyes for themselves. Hunted at every turn and unable to hide, Shyla and the Invisible Sword must use every resource at their command – and unearth new ones – in their race to save the city from destruction. But their enemies always seem to be one step ahead. And the cost to win the battle may be more than Shyla would ever be willing to pay…

Published 2 June 2021|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$19.99

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

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

The very long awaited sequel to The Eyes of Tamburah is finally here! In this instalment, Shyla is safely ensconced with some people who believed in her and wanted to make changes in the city, as she does. People are suffering and it is time to shake up those in power; problem is they are hidden away and very poor in resources. And it seems, there is also a mole…

I loved the strong female protagonists written by this author. They are all always such empowering and inspiring characters; definitely kick-ass ones! Shyla grew to be such a one in this novel. The romance is always so lovely with male protagonists who are protective but totally supportive of her having to fight her own battles.

What really got me in this novel is the big twist in the middle of it. I mean, I don’t know who feel betrayed most, Shyla or ME! Indeed, Maria V. Snyder lives up to her villainous author reputation. My heart hasn’t recovered yet even as the ending offers such beautiful healing. There’s something else in the air though… book 3 is coming and as this particular issue appears settled in this book, I’m not quite sure what will be in book 3 but I’m excited for it.

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

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  instagramfacebook

Love, In Theory by Elodie Cheesman -a review

love in theoryLove, In Theory by Elodie Cheesman

Elodie Cheesman’s joyous debut is a modern take on the age-old decision between following your head or your heart in the search for love.

There’s an algorithm for everything else, so why not love?

When 24-year-old lawyer Romy learns that she is at her ‘optimal stopping point’ (the mathematically designated point at which one should select the next ‘best person’ who comes along in order to have the best chance at happily ever after), she knows it’s time to get serious about her love life.

Ruthlessly rational, with a belief in data over destiny, Romy knows that reliability and consistency are dependable options, while passion and lust are transitory and only bring pain and disillusionment.

That’s why sensible Hans the engineer is the right choice, as opposed to graphic designer James who exhibits the kind of behaviour that has got her into trouble before. Isn’t he?

Published 25 May 2021|  Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

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

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

This book is an unsolicited review copy and honestly, it isn’t a book that I’d pick up on my own steam. The cover is pretty cute but not particularly eye-grabbing so I reckon I’d walk by without noticing much. However, the premise of an algorithm for finding love rather tickled. It’s not particularly unique as I’m sure I’ve seen other books with similar premise but I was happy enough to give this book a chance.

It seems to me that pretending to be the person everyone wants you to be is easier than grappling with the messiness underneath.

Romy is an easy protagonist to sympathise with… She’s young, single but a tad lonely, has pretty good friends and loving parents. She seems like she’s pretty much got it all but when you dig deeper, she’s got issues as we all do. Her workplace (despite the prestige etc) isn’t all it claims to be. Her love life is practically non-existent and with 2 awful relationships behind her, she’s very unsure on how to find Mr Right. And she especially is very unsure on how to find whether Mr Right is right inside as well as outside.

“…,there’s a big gap between our private thoughts and intentions and public words and actions. I think that’s what intimacy is — learning the landscape of that divide. It’s not insuperable, and sometimes it’s worth putting in the effort to understand another person.”

As Romy looks to her friends and family for advices, she had to make her own decision on what exactly is the right thing for her. And as she stumbles through a relationship, a break-up, work conflicts, she continues to have blinders on when readers are shouting from the very first chapter who Mr Right is. It was really quite a frustrating read but…

“…As we get older and have more experiences, we learn which label to use for which experience, even though the physical response is the same. But humans aren’t always great at distinguishing between feelings.”

I can totally relate to this last bit. Romy was slow but she got there, ladies & gentlemen. Overall, Love, In Theory was a very relaxing read even if it nearly crossed the line of my pet peeve (love triangle). Luckily, it didn’t quite get there so I managed to finish without too much angst. The algorithm theory went way over my head but that doesn’t really worry me because you & I know, love doesn’t work that way anyway ;p

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

About the author

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Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto -a review

dial a for auntiesDial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

‘ARE YOU…DEAD?’
OH MY GOD. I THINK HE IS.
When Meddy Chan accidentally kills her blind date, she turns to her aunties for help. Their meddling set her up on the date so they kind of owe her.

WELL, THAT DIDN’T QUITE GO TO PLAN.
Although hiding this goddamn dead body is going to be harder than they thought especially when her family’s wedding business has THE biggest wedding of the year happening right now.

IT’S PRETTY BAD TIMING REALLY.
It turns out the wedding venue just happens to be managed by Meddy’s ex, aka the one who got away. It’s the worst time to see him again, or…is it? Can Meddy finally find love and make her overbearing family happy?

Published 5 May 2021|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

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

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

One of my most anticipated release of this year and I was so excited to receive it in the mail. My reasoning being is that author is Indonesian and so am I. With protagonist being Indonesian growing up & educated in America, I reckon I could empathise with her a lot and perhaps see quite a bit of myself in her. Only trouble is chick lit isn’t my preferred type of reads… but hey! There’s a mystery spin with a dead body involved; this could totally be fine…

Aaaanddd… it wasn’t. Unfortunately, this book really isn’t one for me which makes me soo soo sad. Even as I can see the appeal for other readers, I basically cringed my way through the whole book. I did manage to finish by reading really really fast through all the embarrassment [I think this shows just how so very Asian I am!] Meddy experienced. I guess the book is a lot funny but of a slapstick-esque nature and I’m just not a big fan of that. If this is your thing though, I’d highly recommend this book.

I loved Meddy as a character and her family especially the mother-daughter relationship. I enjoyed all the familiar things like Indonesian naming conventions, the language barriers between Meddy & her mum & aunts, and Meddy’s struggle of who she is with her family & others (especially with non-Indonesians).

While I like Nathan as the romantic interest, I wasn’t that convinced about this relationship at all. I feel that the funny things with her aunt completely overrode this side of thing and I just didn’t feel any joy for this pairing.

This was just another clash between my expectations and what the book actually delivers. I can see some of my girlfriends loving it but my taste in book is quite different from them so this is also a matter of personal preference. I am, however, looking forward to author’s upcoming MG fantasy novel which suits me to a tee.

My thanks to Harlequin Australia for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  instagramfacebook