Category Archives: Mystery

Serve ‘N’ Protect by Tee O’Fallon -a review

serve n protectServe ‘N’ Protect (Federal K-9 #5) by Tee O’Fallon

Ambushed and left for dead, U.S. Secret Service K-9 Officer Markus York is on the mend and laying low in a safe house while his team tracks down his attacker. But Markus isn’t good at sitting still. Even with his K-9, Ghost, for company, he gets restless and decides now is the perfect time to do some repairs around the house…and inadvertently tears open his wounds.

Fresh out of a bad relationship that ended after a car accident left her with limited mobility, freelance accountant Cassidy Morgan has sworn off men. At least, that’s the plan. Until a frantically barking dog leads her to a neighbor’s house where she finds a mysterious man out cold and bleeding on the floor…and mumbling things like “no, they’ll find me” when she tries to call an ambulance.

Yeah, that’s not at all concerning.

Despite Markus’s surly attitude, Cassidy senses there’s something else at work beneath his rugged, keep-your-distance exterior. Whatever it is, it’s sexy as hell.

With someone still trying to kill him, Markus doesn’t want an innocent to get hurt, let alone take care of him.

If only his dog wasn’t crazy in love with her.

If only the chemistry between Markus and Cassidy didn’t explode whenever they were in the same room.

If only Cassidy wasn’t a target now, too.

Published 20 September 2021|  Publisher: Entangled Publishing

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

I was introduced to this particular kind of reads, romantic suspense featuring dogs, by a GR friend. After a few months, I guess I just couldn’t resist anymore and had to dip my toe in. I am a dog person though and I had my white fluffball sitting by me while I read so it was lovely.

Both characters were very easily likable. Marcus York, our tall, dark, handsome, & broody hero with his beautiful white German Shepherd, Ghost. Cassidy Morgan, strong, independent, and ever bubbly survivor of a horrific car accident. Ghost, of course, is the one who brought them together. The course of true love never did run smooth with a few murderous incidents and a wrong turn but no fear, this is a read you can expect a HEA from 😉

While this is a book 5 in a series, it can really stand on its own as each book is about different team member of the K-9 team and their own experience in finding love. I haven’t read any of the first 4 books and decided that I’m going to defy my own rules of reading in order by just reading this one and see whether I like it or not. It was definitely a fun read and while I’m not particularly interested in reading previous books, there were some teasers about the next book, I think, and I am curious about him! Bring on book 6!

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

About the author

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2 Sisters Detective Agency by James Patterson & Candice Fox -a review

2 sisters detective agency2 Sisters Detective Agency by James Patterson & Candice Fox

The exciting new collaboration from James Patterson and Australia’s own Candice Fox, following the recent bestselling success, both here and internationally, of The Inn.

From the creator of the #1 bestselling WOMEN’S MURDER CLUB

Two sisters go into the family business they didn’t know they had – catching killers.

Attorney Rhonda Bird returns home to LA to bury her estranged father, and discovers that he left her two final surprises.

The first is a private detective agency.

The second is a teenage half-sister named Baby.

When Rhonda goes into her father’s old office to close down the business, she gets drawn into a case involving a young man who claims he was abducted.

The investigation takes Rhonda and Baby to dark and dangerous places. Soon they are caught in the crosshairs of an angry criminal cartel and an ex-assassin seeking revenge.

A thrilling new novel starring a captivating sister-detective duo.

Published 28 September 2021|  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

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

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

Truth to tell, I haven’t been reading much of James Patterson’s books as I just haven’t been interested in any of them BUT when it comes to Candice Fox, well, I’ve just GOT to. Her name is like a siren call to me, “Read Me!”. 2 Sisters Detective Agency has got the Patterson’s hallmark of short chapter bursts and Fox’s offbeat cast of characters which made the book to be a very entertaining page turner.

The book description is rather succinct and yet, the book is so much more. There were so many interesting characters and there were just so much packed into this 352 pager that I’m finding myself at a lost on how to describe it. The story wasn’t just told from Rhonda’s or Baby’s views but a number of others as well. With that consideration, I’m so surprised that I wasn’t troubled or confused with keeping up with who’s who.

I think I see Candice Fox’s fingers in Rhonda Bird’s characters where she can just mouth off straight-faced and gets away with it; reminds me a bit of Amanda Pharrell. Her mouthing off isn’t to the point of rudeness but just a very creative way to circumvent whatever situation she happens to be in. The fact that she’s super strong, confident, and generous was just icing on top. Baby, despite her young age, complements Rhonda and together, they are a delight to read.

While we move from chapter to chapter with different characters, it was very easy to follow the story. Even as it felt a little bit all over the place when I was in the middle of it, at the end, when everything falls into its proper place, I really felt that it was all one big circle and I think it was neatly done. The ending itself was rather hairy and… somewhat unfinished so I hope to see more of these sisters.

The pace and tone of the book was set by the very first sentence, “She was a killer”, and I was hooked. Tension gripped me and it just kept on going til the very last chapter. The short chapters probably didn’t help because I keep thinking, “just one more [very short] chapter…”, and suddenly, one hour had past and I really had to run for the ladies’… So yes, this is a fantastic read! Do yourself a favour, read this before lockdown ends because you don’t really want “life” to interrupt your reading.

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

The Raffles Affair by Vicki Virtue -a review

the raffles affairThe Raffles Affair by Vicki Virtue

A fun, modern twist on the classic whodunnit, set in the glamorous surrounds of Raffles Hotel.

The Raffles Affair is a light-hearted murder mystery featuring the elegant former MI6 agent Victoria West. A retro, tongue-in-cheek homage to the Golden Age mystery novel epitomised by Agatha Christie.

Beautiful former MI6 agent, Victoria West, arrives at Raffles Hotel in Singapore for the wedding of her good friend, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peyton Latchmore. Fresh from a gruelling three-month assignment in East Africa, Victoria’s plans for a relaxing break come to an abrupt end with the kidnapping of Peyton’s fiancé, the charmingly handsome English financier, James Winstanley.

Warned not to contact the police, Peyton begs Victoria to help. Reluctantly, Victoria agrees. Immediately it is clear the kidnapper knows too much to be a stranger, and Victoria suspects one of the wedding guests is involved. Tensions simmer, as one by one their motives are revealed.

With only 24 hours to make the ransom payment, Victoria must act quickly.

Published 14 September 2021|  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

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

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I’m always up for a good whodunnit mystery and being set in The Raffles (Singapore) seems like an absolutely divinely glamourous way to travel from my comfy sofa. Even if I’m not a fan of humidity, it did not disappoint with all the gorgeous description of the décor and the delicious food spread. With an easily likeable protagonist and an engaging mystery, my evening flew by without me noticing the time.

To begin with, however, I struggled mightily with the number of characters. Trying to remember who’s who and how they are connected to the bride/bridgeroom to be was a nightmare. Even at the end, at the unveiling of the villain, I still had to stop for a few seconds to recall how this person fits in this set of characters. At this stage (third month of lockdown), I really don’t know whether it’s just too many characters or it’s my mindset / lack of focus these past few weeks.

About a third of the way, as I sort of got the hang of who’s who and as they mystery begins to develop, I was really drawn into trying to puzzle it out. I failed; soooo did not pick that character at all. Our protagonist, Victoria West, is in every essence a modern intelligent woman who can take care of herself. She also likes to dress well and in all this, she reminds me very much of Miss Phryne Fisher. Unlike Miss Fisher, however, Miss West did not have any kind of dalliance in this novel.

There was one thing that I had a good laugh at is how she ate rambutan by using a sharp knife to cut through the skin. This Asian gal would just use her nail and pierce that thick skin to get to the juicy bit. Granted, it’s a lot messier but that is the delight of rambutan.

The Raffles Affair definitely has all the markings of a golden age whodunnit reminiscent of those of Agatha Christie’s with moneyed cast of characters, a focus on human nature and their unending greed, a Poirot-esque denouement and ending with an air of tragic triumph.

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

Blog Tour: Eyes of the Forest by April Henry

Eyes of the Forest
April Henry
Published by: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date: August 24th 2021
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult

After a bestselling fantasy writer disappears, only his biggest fan believes he’s in danger. Instead of re-reading his books, she must venture into the real world to uncover the truth in this fast-paced mystery by New York Times-bestselling author April Henry. For readers of Courtney Summers and Karen McManus.

Bridget is RM Haldon’s biggest fan. She and her mom sought refuge in Haldron’s epic fantasy series Swords and Shadows while her mom was losing her battle with cancer. When Bridget met Haldon at one of his rare book signings, she impressed the author with her encyclopedic knowledge of the fantasy world he’d created. Bridget has been working for him ever since as he attempts to write the final book in his blockbuster sword and sorcery series. But Haldon has gone missing, and Bridget is the only person who seems concerned. Can Bridget piece together Haldon’s cryptic clues and save him before it’s too late?

Master mystery-writer April Henry weaves another heart-stopping young adult thriller in this story that seamlessly blends suspense with an exploration of fan culture.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I loved April Henry’s Girl, Stolen duology. With such strong female protagonist and thrilling psychological page turner, I was keen to explore her other books so I jumped at the chance to join in this blog tour.

Eyes of the Forest is told in multiple point of views which, as always, confuses me in the beginning but when you got your characters straight, it flew very quickly as each chapters were quite short and snappy. The story itself, I found, however, was rather show. There was a lot of setting up / background stories to all characters and that took a big part of the book while the actual ‘mystery’ was actually quite short. It was still quite satisfying.

Because the premise of this novel is of a famous author with a popular series who is supposedly writing the last of the book in the series that is overdue for a very long time (uh, hm, I’m waiting for a few myself irl); we were given snippets of this popular series book and it really does sound so very intriguing, I really would love to read these books!

While Eyes of the Forest didn’t quite meet my expectations as a page turner, I was drawn into the story. The characters were well-developed and I was riveted by the connections these characters have with each other. It is an easy novel to read & relax with.

My thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for having me on this tour and  copy of ebook in exchange of honest review

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Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter for a print copy of this book (ends Sep-02)

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About the author

April Henry is the New York Times bestselling author of many acclaimed mysteries for adults and young adults, including the YA novels Girl, Stolen; The Girl I Used to Be, which was nominated for an Edgar Award; The Night She Disappeared; and Body in the Woods and Blood Will Tell, Books One and Two in the Point Last Seen series. She lives in Oregon.

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Cutters End by Margaret Hickey -a review

cutters endCutters End by Margaret Hickey

A scintillating crime thriller, set in the South Australian outback town of Cutters End. A mysterious death on New Year’s Eve 1989 leads to a shocking murder investigation 32 years later…

A desert highway. A remote town. A murder that won’t stay hidden.

New Year’s Eve, 1989. Eighteen-year-old Ingrid Mathers is hitchhiking her way to Alice Springs. Bored, hungover and separated from her friend Joanne, she accepts a lift to the remote town of Cutters End.

July 2021. Detective Sergeant Mark Ariti is seconded to a recently reopened case, one in which he has a personal connection. Three decades ago, a burnt and broken body was discovered in scrub off the Stuart Highway, 300km south of Cutters End. Though ultimately ruled an accidental death, many people – including a high-profile celebrity – are convinced it was murder.

When Mark’s interviews with the witnesses in the old case files go nowhere, he has no choice but to make the long journey up the highway to Cutters End.

And with the help of local Senior Constable Jagdeep Kaur, he soon learns that this death isn’t the only unsolved case that hangs over the town…

Published 17 August 2021|  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

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

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

Two nights ago, while I (in Sydney) was reading this book, I felt like some orange juice. So, I got myself a glass of orange juice with some ice. Just as finished my glass, the line I read was a thought by a South Australian protagonist;

Orange juice clinking with ice! he thought. Is it a Sydney thing?

A bit of a funny coincidence but one I can’t really answer that question because to me, it was a habit I picked up from hubby as he has ice with whatever drink he’s having. But I just made it seems like the answer is yes though, didn’t I?! Do you have ice with your orange juice? Are you a Sydneysider?

As I drafted this review, I noticed that the description (which I copied from publisher’s website) read, July 2021, but in the book (chapter 2), it is actually October 2021. There was a reference in the book about it being post-covid where our protagonist can travel freely. And here I am, mid August 2021, in 8th week of Sydney’s lockdown and cannot foresee being able to travel anywhere by October either. Such a difficult period in writing & publishing, surely, when you can’t really pretend covid didn’t happen and yet, when do you set the period of your story?! Reckon they should have just set in October 2019 before the world went completely mad.

Our protagonist, Mark Ariti, is a detective with the South Australian police but he is in the middle of his long service leave when he was requested to take on a secondment due to a connection he had with a witness. This assignment took him on a lonely trip along Sturt Highway to interview witnesses and review old case files. Even as he slowly discovered the truth of this mysterious death, the question is what is justice?

While I appreciate Mark as a character as he contemplates aging, purpose in work, and just general philosophising of human nature as he investigates, I find that I’m rather sick of detective protagonists with marriage problems. The author did highlight this issue in the police force so while this is realism, I’m just over it.

Cutters End is a striking outback noir debut as it explores human nature; of secrecy, violence, and justice. It is easily a page turner even as I thought I knew the bad guy, I was completely off-based! So there is that twist on twist to look forward to. And to end with, a question you’d perpetually be asking yourself… what is justice? what would you do in his or her shoes?

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

The Long Game by Simon Rowell -a review

the long gameThe Long Game by Simon Rowell

A summer of relentless heat. A local surfer named Ray Carlson is found dead in a house not far from Portsea back beach. There’s a kitchen knife deep in his chest, and blood everywhere.

Detective Sergeant Zoe Mayer is scarcely back from extended leave, and still wrestling with her demons, but she is assigned the case—alongside her new service dog, Harry, whose instincts help her in unexpected ways.

There’s an obvious suspect for the murder, and Zoe makes an arrest. But it’s all too neat, and none of Zoe’s colleagues believes her theory that the whole thing is a stitch-up.

Except now someone is trying to hunt Zoe down.

Superbly plotted, and vividly set in the beachside suburbs and hilly retreats around Melbourne, The Long Game is a mystery about a tough and clever investigator who won’t give up.

Published 3 August 2021|  Publisher: Text Publishing  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

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

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

The Long Game is a solid police procedural featuring a much likeable detective protagonist and her clever service dog, Harry. On Detective Zoe Mayer’s first day back to work, she caught a homicide case which appear to be an open and shut case but a tip and her instinct led her to believe that there is much more to this case than what’s obvious. This, in turn, made her unpopular with her colleagues and a target.

Many crime novels these days feature protagonists who are broken and most have either broken or in fracturing domestic situations. While Zoe has her own issues to work through, I liked that her own personal life isn’t. It isn’t perfect but then no one’s is. She’s got Harry to assist her in her daily struggles but she appears to be doing all the right things and is recovering well. She’s a terrifically strong character, intelligent and determined, and confident. And lovable Harry – everyone loves him and being a dog lover myself, I loved having him actively participate in this novel.

The mystery behind Zoe’s PTSD was just as intriguing as the murder mystery she was investigating. As Zoe goes investigating the murder, readers also get glimpses of the incident that led to her PTSD. I must say that twists & conclusions to both mysteries are very satisfying.

I am not at all sure whether this is meant to be a stand alone or a series. At the end of the book, I did think this feels like a first book in a series but yet, it’s possible that it’s a stand alone but with author/publisher leaving enough of a vague notion for a possibility for a series, if sales are good. I do hope that there will be more books as I have really enjoyed this time spent in company with Zoe & Harry.

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

About the author

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A Different Dawn by Isabella Maldonado -a review

a different dawnA Different Dawn (Nina Guerrera #2) by Isabella Maldonado

For nearly thirty years a serial killer has been hiding in plain sight. So has the key to an FBI agent’s dark past.

A family is murdered as they sleep. FBI Special Agent Nina Guerrera and her new team are tasked with determining whether there is any link between this attack and another triple homicide from four years earlier and more than two thousand miles away. In the process, they’ll discover a serial killer so cunning that his grisly trail of death spanning nearly three decades has gone undetected. Each crime scene reminds Nina of the ghostly Latin folktale of La Llorona, which terrified her when she was an abandoned and vulnerable child. Now it’s back to haunt her.

Nina has known evil, but these macabre reenactments are as disturbing as they are baffling. Now she must uncover the meaning behind the rituals as the evidence leads her in an unexpected direction—far closer to home than anyone could have imagined. As the team narrows in on a suspect, the present collides with Nina’s past in a twist of fate that forces her to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Published 10 August 2021|  Publisher: Thomas & Mercer  |  RRP: AUD$27.99

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

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

The Cipher (Nina Guerrera #1) was an Amazon Prime First Reads offer and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I love Free books (who doesn’t!) but when it comes to free ebook offer, I have my doubts… Nina was such a strong protagonist and the story a thrilling page turner that when I saw this second book available on NetGalley, I jumped on the chance.

A Different Dawn is just as thrilling and page turning as the first book. As Nina and her team needs to learn to work together as a team, they travelled to Phoenix where a possible serial killer began and has just recently, committed an atrocious act against a young family. As the team raced against time and danger to catch this unsub, he himself worked behind the scene to throw them off their game.

Nina faced her terribly violent past in The Cipher and you’d think the poor girl may have had enough but this Girl Warrior is uncovering more of her mysterious past in this latest instalment of the series. Even as much as I loved the ending to this book, I was scoffing at how both mysteries conveniently centred on Nina’s past… What’s left for the next book? Maybe now we can move on…? We’ll see.

Last night, I started reading thinking that I’ll just read for an hour and have an early night but I just couldn’t put this down. While I struggled against my unbelief that yet again, Nina stumbled into something from her past, I also wanted to find out what it is! So I chalked up another late night reading but a very satisfactory one.

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

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

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

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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

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