Category Archives: Netgalley

The Carnival is Over by Greg Woodland -a review

The Carnival is OverThe Carnival is Over (Mick Goodenough #2) by Greg Woodland

1971—Hal is seventeen, with dreams of escaping from Moorabool to a life in the city. But right now he’s on a good behaviour bond and stuck in a job he hates, paying off the car he ‘borrowed’ and crashed. Hal’s packing-room job makes him a target for workplace bullies and the friendship of the older, more worldly Christine is all that makes each day bearable. So when she doesn’t turn up for work, he’s on the alert.

So is Sergeant Mick Goodenough. But he already knows what’s happened to Christine: the same thing that happened to the newly elected deputy mayor. When another gruesome ‘accident’ occurs in Moorabool, Goodenough suspects there’s something sinister going on behind the scenes at the abattoir.

Mick and Hal are both determined to dig up the truth. Before long each of them is going to find himself in mortal danger and running for his life.

Greg Woodland, author of the acclaimed The Night Whistler, returns with another nailbiting rural thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Published 2 August 2022 |  Publisher: Text Publishing  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

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

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

A follow up on The Night Whistler, The Carnival is Over is set approximately 5 years after the events in The Night Whistler. Hal and Allie are on the verge of adulthood and Mick Goodenough promoted to Sergeant and quite settled in Moorabool. And yet, he still likes to rock the boat especially when he’s got his teeth into a puzzling mystery.

The Carnival is Over is a thoroughly enjoyable complex mystery that kept you guessing all the time with just enough suspense to get your heart racing. The switch of views from character to character were done smoothly and flawlessly that I had no problem following. If you like The Night Whistler, then you’d love The Carnival is Over.

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

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  websiteinstagram

Booked on a Feeling by Jayci Lee -a review

booked on a feelingBooked on a Feeling (A Sweet Mess #3) by Jayci Lee

Jayci Lee’s romcom Booked on a Feeling features an overachieving lawyer. A failing bookstore. A childhood friend. And the chance of a lifetime…

Lizzy “Overachiever” Chung, Esq. has her life mapped out neatly:
* Become a lawyer. Check.
* Join a prestigious law firm. Check.
* Make partner. In progress.

If all goes to plan, she will check off that last box in a couple years, make her parents proud, and live a successful, fulfilled life in L.A. What was not in her plans was passing out from a panic attack during a pivotal moment in her career. A few deep breaths and a four hour drive later, Lizzy is in Weldon for three weeks to shed the burnout and figure out what went wrong. And what better place to recharge than the small California town where she spent her childhood summers with her best friend, Jack Park.

Jack Park didn’t expect to see Lizzy back in Weldon, but now he’s got three weeks to spend with the girl of his dreams. Except she doesn’t know of his decades-long crush on her–and he intends to keep it that way. She’s a high-powered attorney who lives in L.A. and he’s a bookkeeper at his family’s brewery who never left his hometown. He can’t risk their friendship on a long shot. Can he? When Lizzy decides that the local bookstore needs a little revamp, of course, Jack is going to help her bring it back to life. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to ignore there might be more than just friendship among the dusty shelves and books…

Sometimes the path to the rest of your life has been in front of you all along.

Published 26 July 2022|  Publisher: St Martin’s Press  |  RRP: AUD$22.99

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

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

Absolutely Adorable!

I was hesitant jumping into a third book in a series without having read earlier books however… the past few years have really made me see that life’s short so I’ve been DNF-ing books I’m not enjoying AND jumping in mid series (although of course, I still try to make sure that they’re ones that can stand alone like this one). This particular book in the series appeal to me because it’s one of my favourite tropes AND set in around books!! You guessed it, I read it in a single sitting.

The shaky beginning was followed by so much sweet cuteness and sparks overload reaching to a crisis that ended so very precious, I really felt like I was so warmly hugged by this whole book. To have characters who actually talked to each other! Ohmygosh, they communicate (!!) mostly and even if they were still hiding or uncertain of some things which I found a tiny bit frustrating at times but overall, I found these two to be quite mature and refreshingly somewhat functional adults. Now, I’ve really gotta dive into author’s backlists!

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

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  websitefacebooktwitterinstagram

The Falcon by Isabella Maldonado -a review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

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

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

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

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitterfacebookinstagram

The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill -a review

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

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

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

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

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

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

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

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

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

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

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

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  websitefacebook  |  instagram  |  twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

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

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

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

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

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  websitefacebook  |  pinterest  |  twitter

The Nurses’ War by Victoria Purman -a review

the nurses warThe Nurses’ War by Victoria Purman

There is more than one way to fight a war…An extraordinary story of grit, love and loss, based on the true history and real experiences of Australian nurses in World War 1.

In 1915, as World War 1 rages in Europe and the numbers of dead and injured continue to grow, Australian nurse, Sister Cora Barker, leaves her home in Australia for England, determined to use her skills for King and country. When she arrives at Harefield House – donated to the Australian Army by its expatriate Australian owners – she helps transform it into a hospital that is also a little piece of home for recuperating Australian soldiers.

As the months pass, her mission to save diggers lives becomes more urgent as the darkest months of the war see injured soldiers from the battlefields of France and Belgium flood into Harefield in the thousands. When the hospital sends out a desperate call for help, a quiet young seamstress from the village, Jessie Chester, steps up as a volunteer. At the hospital she meets Private Bert Mott, a recovering Australian soldier, but the looming threat of his return to the Front hangs over them. Could her first love be her first heartbreak?

Cora’s and Jessie’s futures, their hearts and their lives hang in the balance as the never-ending wave of injured and dying soldiers threatens to overwhelm the hospital and the hopes of a nation rest on a knife edge. The nurses war is a war against despair and death, fought with science and love rather than mustard gas and fear – but can they possibly win it? And what will be the cost?

Published 30 March 2022|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

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

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

I enjoy a bit of war fiction now and then especially when featuring courageous women who defies conventions to serve during the war. I’ve also read most of Purman’s novels and have enjoyed most of them. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this one as much. In fact, I found it a bit boring though I’m not sure whether it’s just my terrible mood…

I love the characters in his novel. Both protagonists, Cora and Jessie, are remarkable women who grew and matured throughout all terribly heartbreaking events they went through and witnessed as they dedicated their time to this Australian hospital. I love all the secondary characters too from the happy-go-lucky Private Bert Mott to faithful Fiona. BUT they seem to just fade away… I mean what happened to Leonora and Fiona (nurse colleagues of Cora)? Surely letters were exchanged?!

Reading The Nurses’ War felt like I was reading some cross-sections of a nurse’s life during WWI with a bit of variety with a local girl’s life who got involved in caring for these soldiers. While I appreciate to “seeing” what it was like for them, I just felt the structure of the book to be somewhat untidy. The story didn’t flow for me which dulled my interest in reading. The ending was also a bit flat and rushed. As I enjoyed her previous books, this was a bit disappointing.

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  | facebook  | instagram  | twitter

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

Find author on:  goodreads  |  websitefacebooktwitterinstagram

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

Find author on:  goodreads  |  websitefacebook

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

Find author on:  goodreads  |  websitefacebook  |  twitter

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

Find author on:  goodreads  |  websitefacebook  |  instagram  |  twitter