Category Archives: Netgalley

How to Love Your Neighbor by Sophie Sullivan -a review

how to love your neighborHow to Love Your Neighbor by Sophie Sullivan

Interior Design School? Check. Cute house to fix up? Check.

Sexy, grumpy neighbor who is going to get in the way of your plans? Check. Unfortunately.

Grace Travis has it all figured out. In between finishing school and working a million odd jobs, she’ll get her degree and her dream job. Most importantly, she’ll have a place to belong, something her harsh mother could never make. When an opportunity to fix up—and live in—a little house on the beach comes along, Grace is all in. Until her biggest roadblock moves in next door.

Noah Jansen knows how to make a deal. As a real estate developer, he knows when he’s found something special. Something he could even call home. Provided he can expand by taking over the house next door–the house with the combative and beautiful woman living in it.

With the rules for being neighborly going out the window, Grace and Noah are in an all-out feud. But sometimes, your nemesis can show you that home is always where the heart is.

Published 18 January 2022|  Publisher: St Martin’s Press  |  RRP: AUD$33.95

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

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I don’t read straight out romance novels that often and I’m not particularly keen on the enemy-to-lover sort of trope as this one appears to be. However, that cover was just brilliant that I really couldn’t resist. Yes, it’s a case of read it for its cover and it’s not a bad decision at all. I actually quite enjoyed it once I got into it.

Both protagonists have plans for their future and are driven to succeed. However, the one they didn’t anticipate was each other and how they’d affect each other’s plans. While this story began with a bit of head-butting between the two, they weren’t quite enemies. They were just sort of in the way of the other’s future’s plans. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, they also couldn’t deny the attraction they felt for each other and as they got to know each other better, they found there could be more than just the physical chemistry between them.

How to love Your Neighbor is a very light & cute read if you’re after something that doesn’t require much brain power. Some of the romantic gestures received some terrific eyerolls from me but it’s a sweet dreamy tale in a non-COVID world (yeah!).

My thanks to St Martin’s Press for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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A Little Bird by Wendy James -a review

a little birdA Little Bird by Wendy James

A homecoming snares a young woman in a dangerous tangle of lies, secrets, and bad blood in this gripping novel by the bestselling author of An Accusation.

Running from a bad relationship, journalist Jo Sharpe heads home to Arthurville, the drought-stricken town she turned her back on years earlier. While some things have changed—her relationship with her ailing, crotchety father, her new job at the community newspaper—Jo finds that her return has rekindled the grief and uncertainty she experienced during her childhood following the inexplicable disappearance of her mother and baby sister.

Returning to Arthurville has its unexpected pleasures, though, as Jo happily reconnects with old friends and makes a few new ones. But she can’t let go of her search for answers to that long-ago mystery. And as she keeps investigating, the splash she’s making begins to ripple outward—far beyond the disappearance of her mother and sister.

Jo is determined to dig as deep as it takes to get answers. But it’s not long before she realises that someone among the familiar faces doesn’t want her picking through the debris of the past. And they’ll go to any lengths to silence the little bird before she sings the truth.

Published 30 November 2021|  Publisher: Lake Union Publishing  |  RRP: AUD$24.99

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

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

This is the first time I have read this author even as her name sounds vaguely familiar, I just haven’t read any of her previous books. A Little Bird is a story set in a small Australian community where, on the surface, nothing terrible ever happened. Yet, as we follow our journalist protagonist, Jo Sharpe, as she returned to her hometown and searched for reasons her mother left town when she was a little girl.

I found A Little Bird to be very easy and riveting read; easily likeable protagonist, engaging mystery (with tidbits from the past too), and interesting setting. I did guess correctly the identity of the villain though I didn’t quite get the reason BUT the little twist at the end was brilliant.

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

About the author

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The Way It Is Now by Garry Disher -a review

the way it is nowThe Way It Is Now by Garry Disher

Twenty years ago Charlie Deravin’s mother went missing near the family beach shack—believed murdered; body never found. His father has lived under a cloud of suspicion ever since.

Now Charlie’s back living in the shack in Menlo Beach, on disciplinary leave from his job with the police sex-crimes unit, and permanent leave from his marriage. After two decades worrying away at the mystery of his mother’s disappearance, he’s run out of leads.

Then the skeletal remains of two people are found in the excavation of a new building site—and the past comes crashing in on Charlie.

The Way It Is Now is the enthralling new novel from Garry Disher, one of Australia’s most loved and celebrated crime writers.

Published 2 November 2021|  Publisher: Text Publishing  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

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

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

Truthfully, I’m drawing a blank. I’ve finished reading this days ago and have been scratching my head on what I really think about the novel. While I found the book to be a fairly easy read, I didn’t find this cold ‘personal’ case to be that compelling and I am kind of offended at the abrupt ending. Don’t laugh! I am absolutely stumped at where it was ended. I like my t’s crossed and my i’s dotted so this was really upsetting. So yeah, it’s personal.

I’ve read 2 other books by this author and I really only liked one of them so I guess it was 50:50 chance whether I’d like this book or not. I do truly love the Australian beach setting and I liked the main character too; he’s having issues but he’s not completely broken and in fact, he’s working to be better. However, he’s still haunted by the past and this story digs it all up for him with a definite resolution. I still want a proper ending! [sorry, I’m just going to leave it at that]

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

About the author

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Outback Secrets (Bunyip Bay #5) by Rachael Johns -a review

outback secretsOutback Secrets (Bunyip Bay #5) by Rachael Johns

Keeping secrets comes naturally to him … but will it ruin his chance at love?

Liam Castle knows the secrets of everyone in Bunyip Bay. As the owner of the pub, he’s heard it all – from marriage proposals and farming disasters to family rifts and everything in between. The locals love to confide in him, but no one knows he’s hiding a tragic past.

And he wants to keep it that way.

Agricultural pilot Henrietta Forward lives for her job, choosing work over romance. But when an incident in the air brings Henri home to Bunyip Bay earlier than planned, she finds herself questioning everything she believes about herself.

But Henri’s secret isn’t her only problem.

Her mother will stop at nothing to have her settled down back in the Bay, and while Henri had always known domesticity wasn’t the life for her, now she wonders what her future holds. So when Liam – always the first to lend a hand to those in need – agrees to play along with Henri’s scheme to ward off her mother, she has mixed feelings. What happens when a pretend romance starts to feel like the real thing?

Will Henri’s demons and Liam’s traumatic past prove too great a barrier to love?

Published 27 October 2021|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

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

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

While I don’t read many rural romances, I do have a penchant for them. Outback Ghost (book 3 of Bunyip Bay) was my one of my first reads of this genre and I enjoyed it very much that I bought Outback Dreams (book 1). This is one of the rare times that I have read out of order but you know, I didn’t know any better back then. The only one in the series I skipped is book 4 because it’s a trope I absolutely cannot stand but I can’t help myself with this most recent instalment; I had to get back to Bunyip Bay.

Fans of the series will be familiar with Liam Castle, the enigmatic pub owner, and his story has been a long time coming! Of course, earlier on, I’d have put him with another Bunyip Bay character but it’s not to be and while I’m a little bit put out, Henrietta Forward easily becomes a new favourite character.

A lot of the times, I nit-picked certain details that aren’t quite pertinent to the story but it frustrates me a lot of the time that author mentioned it in passing but didn’t follow through. In Outback Secrets though, as soon as I thought of the question, it was resolved. My OCD-self appreciates this so very very much.

My favourite romance trope is BFF to lover but fake-dating is my second and I just love how Rachael Johns weaved that through Outback Secrets; and pssst, that’s not the only secret in town! Oh, it is also set around Christmas time so if you’re after a Christmas feel good read, pick this one!

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

About the author

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Dance of a Burning Sea (Mousai #2) by E.J. Mellow -a review

dance of a burning seaDance of a Burning Sea (Mousai #2) by E.J. Mellow

From award-winning author E. J. Mellow comes the thrilling second installment in the Mousai series, featuring a powerful sorceress who finds her loyalties tested by a ruthless pirate lord.

Within the world of Aadilor, there is a hidden place called the Thief Kingdom, where both magic and pleasure abound. There, the Mousai, a trio of deadly sorceresses bound by oath and blood, use their powers to protect the kingdom’s treasures.

Niya Bassette brings the potent gift of dance to the Mousai, but behind her tempting twirls, she carries a heavy secret—that the infamous pirate lord, Alōs Ezra, has been threatening to exploit for years. Now banished from the Thief Kingdom for smuggling, Alōs resurfaces in Niya’s life with a plot to hold her hostage, leveraging what he knows to extort a pardon from the Thief King.

But Niya makes her own deal with Alōs to guard her secret and guarantee her freedom—yet in doing so binds herself aboard his pirate ship, where she must navigate deadly waters, a bloodthirsty crew, and her own traitorous heart. Soon, a simmering attraction between her and Alōs threatens their delicate truce and makes for a tumultuous ride on the open seas. Far from her kingdom, Niya is entangled in a dangerous dance indeed.

Welcome to the world of Aadilor, where dark deeds can mask noble hearts and the most alluring of sways often ends with a burn. Care for a spin?

Published 19 October 2021|  Publisher: Montlake  |  RRP: AUD$22.99

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

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

Pirates!! One of the most romanticised swashbuckling hero characterisation and yet, I also can’t help myself but swoon over a broody handsome pirate. I love a good piratical romance especially one imbued with a good dose of magic just like this novel is. Dance of a Burning Sea is a novel of secrets, betrayals, love, and forgiveness.

I enjoyed the first book of this trilogy, Song of the Forever Rains, which was Larkyra’s (youngest of the sisters) story and am curious about the rest of sisters. I am more curious about Arabessa but that’ll be the third & last book. While I am intrigued by Alōs Ezra, the pirate lord, I wasn’t particularly keen on Niya. Perhaps it’s because she will be one of those people I try to avoid IRL. She says it as she sees it plus she’s also a very angry character and I started to really enjoy the story.. I struggle quite a bit with angry protagonists so the first 30% of the book was a drag to me; a lot happen in this first third of the story so at least, Niya started to develop as a character. At the end of the book, she has matured so much to be unrecognisable… almost.

Dance of a Burning Sea is a hefty sequel (511 pages!!) and while I enjoyed this fantastical world, I found the romance to drag a bit (or maybe I’m just impatient) and I rather expect a big twist in the end which didn’t happen (like whatever twists throughout the book weren’t enough! lol) so I was a little disappointed. The romance ended up quite sweetly, however, so I am happy. Now, I absolutely cannot wait to get to Arabessa’s story!

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

About the author

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Crown of Cinders (Wings of Fury #2) by Emily R. King -a review

crown of cindersCrown of Cinders (Wings of Fury #2) by Emily R. King

Going to battle against a Titan in the war of all wars, one woman is making history in an epic novel of ancient Greece by Emily R. King, author of the Hundredth Queen series.

May Gaea be with you…

Althea Lambros is growing into her power, wrestling with a burdensome heritage, and unwilling to concede to Cronus, the redoubtable God of Gods. For that, Cronus is making good on his promise. Calling upon the elder Titans, he’s bringing down his wrath on the world. Suffering quakes, tempests, fire, and hail, mortals are paying in blood for the war of the gods.

With the help of her friend Theo, Althea takes cover with her sisters, Bronte and Cleora. But they can’t hide forever. To mastermind the downfall of the evil king, Althea must recruit allies of her own before the aggrieved mortals surrender the sisters to Cronus in exchange for peace.

Is Althea formidable enough to win? It’ll take the help of her sisters and those willing to fight for the cause of the just. As the gods pick sides, Althea must divide heaven and earth to defeat the enemy and write the true history of the war to end all wars.

Published 5 October 2021|  Publisher: 47North  |  RRP: AUD$24.99

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

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I’m not a huge fan of Greek mythology and usually avoids retellings of them but somehow, I managed to dive into Wings of Fury (book 1)… As usual, I wasn’t paying much attention to the description and just started reading. In the end, I decided that I really like Althea and I wanted to find out what happens next.

Crown of Cinders opens some time after the end of Wings of Fury, where 2 siblings are yet to be found but Cronus has begun to make his move to destroy these siblings yet again. A very fast read culminating in a climactic battle for world rule where a heartbreaking moment made me sobbed but yet, the ending made me unsure whether this is it or if there is another book coming. I feel that the story is mostly finished but I’m also annoyed at a certain character at this point so I’m not actually sure if I’d like another one or not.

On the other hand, I feel that this book is about a particular goddess for which I am not at all familiar with her ‘background’ as such so this was a lovely fill for me. She is a strong heroine who have had to fight for her freedom, her independence, her situation in life. I believe this is what author wanted to get across and she definitely had done that very well.

Your value is not in how others treat you but in how you treat yourself. We must believe in ourselves first or there is nothing anyone can say, Titan or moral, that we will believe.

My thanks to 47North for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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Echoes of War by Tania Blanchard -a review

echoes of warEchoes of War by Tania Blanchard

Set in Mussolini’s Italy amid great upheaval, this is the story of one woman’s determination to find her place in a world that men are threatening to tear apart. Another heart-rending novel inspired by a true story from Australia’s bestselling author of The Girl from Munich.

Calabria, Italy, 1936

In a remote farming village nestled in the mountains that descend into the sparkling Ionian Sea, young and spirited Giulia Tallariti longs for something more. While she loves her home and her lively family, she would much rather follow in her nonna’s footsteps and pursue her dream of becoming a healer.

But as Mussolini’s focus shifts to the war in Europe, civil unrest looms. Whispers of war are at every corner and her beloved village, once safe from the fascist agenda of the North, is now in very real danger.

Caught between her desire to forge her own path and her duty to her family, Giulia must draw on the passion in her heart and the strength of her conviction.

Can she find a way to fulfill her dreams or will the echoes of war drown out her voice?

Published 29 September 2021|  Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

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

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

I am partial to war stories but this novel, Echoes of War, isn’t really a war story but a story of womanhood but set within a time of war. This is not to say that the protagonist wasn’t affected by war but just that she was not directly involved in it. All in all, it did not detract from the story of passion, resilience, and strength of this girl’s journey into womanhood.

Giulia Tallariti, our protagonist, is a passionate young woman who has a very clear vision of her future. A vision which was not shared by her father who has his own preconception and therefore resulted in a number of clashes between daughter and father. While fighting for her future, the country itself is turmoil. From wars, natural disasters, and poverty, Giulia and her family stuck together through thick & thin as she sought and found her place in her family & society.

I’m not afraid to confess that I cried a number of times; as you’d expect from such stories. Echoes of War is a novel full of anxiety, heartbreaks, family, sisterhood, and love. What fascinated me most was author’s notes as she described her own family history and how it influenced her writing especially with some of her own family stories woven into this telling; utterly captivating.

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

About the author

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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

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Cursed Beauty by Stacey O’Neale -a review

Cursed BeautyCursed Beauty by Stacey O’Neale

From USA Today bestselling author Stacey O’Neale comes a standalone YA fantasy retelling of Sleeping Beauty.

The day has come for sixteen-year-old Aurora to receive her witch mark. She should be thrilled. But unlike the rest of her coven, a centuries-old family curse has already decided her fate; the cost of her new power is her life.

After the ceremony, her grandmother offers her hope: Aurora can save herself and prevent her coven from dying by awakening a sleeping prince with the power to break her curse. Unfortunately, she must travel through the forbidden Shadowlands to reach him.

The enchanted forest is filled with magical creatures—friends and foes—including the mysterious son of a powerful wolf pack leader. Can she find the prince in time, and if she succeeds, will he choose to help despite having been placed under the sleeping spell?

Published 30 August 2021|  Publisher: Phoenix Reign Publishing

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

It’s all about the cover this time! I just adore that cover and seeing that its a twist on Sleeping Beauty where the girl does the ‘rescuing’ definitely got me to read this novella. There were a few other twists as well which I liked but won’t delve too much into to avoid spoilers.

I really liked the premise of “Princess Aurora” being the one to come to the rescue of a sleeping Prince. I didn’t quite like this witchy Aurora as she can be quite annoying in here tendency to act without too much thought. She’d really land herself in hot water, if her bff, Hazel, did not come to the rescue. I loved Hazel – always ready, always smiling, and overall just the stronger character of the two. In saying that, Aurora has her own strength which allows her to grab her fate into her own hands and twist it. The romance is also kinda cute though it’s totally not what I’d expect!

Cursed Beauty is a brilliant twist to the very well-known fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty. It features gender swap and other spins which really make me wish this was a full novel. I just feel that it is a little bit undeveloped as a novella but definitely with a potential for a novel.

My thanks to Phoenix Reign Publising & Xpresso Tours for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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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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