Category Archives: Netgalley

The Empress of Time by Kylie Lee Baker -a review

the empress of timeThe Empress of Time by Kylie Lee Baker

They had come here expecting to find a runaway orphan, but I would show them a goddess.

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami Ren Scarborough is no longer the girl who was chased out of England – she is the Goddess of Death ruling Japan’s underworld. But her problems have never been greater. Her Shinigami see her as a foreigner on the throne. Her brother, Neven, is gone, lost in the deep darkness. And her fiancé, Hiro, has been killed by her own hand.

Then Ren receives the most troubling news yet – Reapers have been spotted in Japan, and it’s only a matter of time before Ivy, now Britain’s Death Goddess, comes to claim her revenge.

Ren’s last hope is to appeal to the god of storms and seas, who can turn the tides to send Ivy’s ship away from Japan’s shores. But he’ll help Ren only if she finds a sword lost thousands of years ago – an impossible demand.

Together with the moon god Tsukuyomi, who shares an uncanny resemblance to his brother Hiro, Ren ventures across the country in a race against time. As her journey thrusts her into the middle of scheming gods and dangerous Yokai demons, Ren will have to learn who she can truly trust – and the fate of Japan hangs in the balance.

Published 19 October 2022|  Publisher: Harlequin AU  |  RRP: AUD$19.99

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

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

The ending of The Keeper of Night practically killed me so I needed a good & proper closure. I was terribly upset and needless to say, so was Ren. Well, Ren was absolutely LIVID. She would do anything… ANYTHING to get her beloved brother back and that’s what she’s trying to do in this sequel to The Keeper of Night. On top of that, she’s had to put up with insubordination of her underlings AND the British Reapers coming for revenge against her.

There was a lot going on in this book. I must admit that my memory of The Keeper of Night was kind of sketchy but it didn’t really matter in the end. The Empress of Time is another tale of quest and adventure involving Japanese mythology (gods & creatures) wherein Ren finally truly found herself and home. A truly satisfying but grueling ending for our self-made goddess of death.

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

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  websitetwitterinstagram

Built to Last by Erin Hahn -a review

built to lastBuilt to Last by Erin Hahn

Erin Hahn’s Built to Last is a sparkling second chance romance about owning what you’re worth and fighting for the one who got away.

Shelby Springfield has spent the last ten years trying to overcome her past, sanding it away like the rough spots on the vintage furniture she makes over. But as a former child star, it’s hard to forget a widely documented meltdown and huge public break up with her former co-star Lyle Jessup. It’s also hard to forget her other co-star and childhood sweetheart, Cameron Riggs—the one who got away.

Anytime Shelby has called, Cameron has come running… And then he runs right off again to chase stories around the world by making documentaries, too scared to admit what he really wants. But when Lyle stirs the pot, getting the two back in the spotlight with a home renovation show, Cameron can’t help but get on board.

There’s something in it for everyone—almost. Cameron wants to set down some roots. Shelby wants to prove she’s not the messy party girl anymore. And a jealous Lyle can’t help but try to get in the way. But for his two childhood friends who had more chemistry than he could ever dream of, nothing is getting in the way of their second chance at love.

Published 18 October 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)

A beautiful mature second chance romance; it was such comfortable read that leaves you with a warm cuddly feeling and absolutely content sigh.

Shelby Springfield was a mess. But no longer! Her life is in set order and she know what she wants. Or rather Who she wants. Cameron Riggs had been running for some time and he’s getting a bit tired of it. Maybe it’s time to make things right… with everyone.

It was so easy to fall in love with both characters. Despite some misunderstandings, they are both quite mature to be able to turn around and set things straight (most times anyways) so I was very happy with this. They were both quite gaga over each other and with the addition of some hot sauce plus a HEA, this novel truly has the hallmarks of a charming romance novels.

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 Restless Truth by Freya Marske -a review

a restless truthA Restless Truth (The Last Binding #2) by Freya Marske

Knives Out meets The Binding in this historical romp full of magic, romance and adventure.

Maud Blyth has always longed for adventure. She’d hoped for plenty of it when she agreed to help her beloved older brother unravel a magical conspiracy. She even volunteered to serve as an old lady’s companion on an ocean liner. But Maud didn’t expect the old lady to turn up dead on the very first day of the voyage.

Now she has to deal with a dead body, a disrespectful parrot, and the lovely, dangerously outrageous Violet Debenham. Violet is everything Maud has been trained to distrust, yet can’t help but desire: a magician, an actress and a magnet for scandal.

Surrounded by open sea and a ship full of suspects, Maud and Violet must learn to drop the masks they’ve learned to wear. Only then might they work together to locate a magical object worth killing for – and unmask a murderer. All without becoming dead in the water themselves.

Published 10 November 2022 |  Publisher: Pan Macmillan  |  RRP: AUD$34.99

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

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

I just adored A Marvellous Light so I was excited to continue the series even if I’m not quite keen on series where each instalment has different protagonist. I wanted to see the overarching mystery through. Plus, I really do like the magical system which in this book  was even more developed.

This novel opens as Maud is returning to England from America; undercover as a companion to an elderly lady. Immediately we are confronted with murder and Maud’s insistence on solving this mystery. Of course, she has help from expected corners (thanks to certain visions) and more, she encounters her first romantic experience.

A Restless Truth makes a rather enjoyable and light read but unfortunately, it lacks certain sparks that makes A Marvellous Light absolutely adorable. The complex layering mystery was intriguing but I just couldn’t get into this pairing. Yes, there were a number of spicy scenes along with romantic ones but strangely, I was more touched by the ending with Maud’s homecoming scene. I think this is probably me… I get too attached to the original protagonist from the first book that it’s really hard for me to like anyone else! Although, I am hoping the third book will be a certain bad boy lord! I can totally get into that one. His appearance in this novel has intrigued me. I’d like to know his past.

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

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  websiteinstagramtwitter

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