Category Archives: Romance

Review: Of Wicked Blood by Olivia Wildenstein & Katie Hayoz

Of Wicked Blood (The Quatrefoil Chronicles #1) by Olivia Wildenstein & Katie Hayoz

NO REST FOR THE WICKED . . . OR THE CURSED.

SLATE
I didn’t mean to steal the Bloodstone from the De Morel’s crypt.
Scratch that, I did mean to steal it.
Until I realized it was a curse-magnet that only comes off if I, along with a jolly trio, successfully defeat four curses. If any of us fail, I’m dead. I’ve never been a glass half-empty sort of person, but my glass looks in dire need of a refill right about now.
The only highlight of this wicked treasure hunt: feisty, entitled Cadence de Morel.

CADENCE
I was raised on tales of magic, in a small town reputed to be the birthplace of French witchcraft.
Did I believe all the stories I heard? Absolutely not. I mean, if magic existed, Maman wouldn’t have died, and Papa wouldn’t be stuck in a wheelchair, right?
Wrong.
The night Slate Ardoin waltzes into my life, wearing a ring he stole from my mother’s grave, I call him a monster. But then I meet real ones, and Slate, well . . . he becomes something else to me.
Something frustrating to live with but impossible to live without.
Something I will fight for, no matter the cost.

*Warning: profuse cursing (and not just the magical kind).

Published 2 February 2021|  Publisher: Twig Publishing

My Blurb (2.5 / 5 stars)

I must admit I do like that cover but not sure if I like the description enough to pick this up for a read. The main reason was that I was curious about netgalley app for audiobook and this one was the only ‘Listen Now’ that I found remotely interesting. So I decided to give this audiobook a listen.

There are 2 POVs as noted in the book description, Slate & Cadence. I think it’s also obvious from the description that these 2 are going to butt heads in more than 1 way. Whilst I do like their characters (they are easily likeable), the back and forth in the romance was a little too much for me and then, there is that whiff/hint of a triangle. If you know me, you’d know this little bit would’ve been enough to turn me off. Sorry… this is not a book for me and this is all me. I did however liked the whole mystery & quest for the quatrefoil and there are hints of darker acts at the end of this audiobook. However, I’m not sure if I’m curious enough to follow up with the sequel.

With 2 POVs, there are 2 narrators. Whilst I liked both voices, I found their disparate pacing to be off putting. If you listen to a lot of audiobooks like I do, I think you’d know that you really do need that consistent pacing through one a book or you’d have to readjust your listening each time and that’s what I had to do for each alternate chapters. 

Oh, and that ‘profuse cursing’ warning is to be taken seriously. I would usually listen to my audiobooks in the car while driving my kids places and I really couldn’t with this audiobook; not even for the 5 minutes’ drive to school.

Thank you Twig Publishing via Netgalley for the audio copy of this book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  instagram

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

 

Review: The Codebreakers by Alli Sinclair

The Codebreakers by Alli Sinclair

They will dedicate their lives to their country, but no one will ever know…

A compelling story about tenacity and friendship, inspired by the real codebreaking women of Australia’s top-secret Central Bureau in WWII. For readers who love Judy Nunn and Kate Quinn.

1943, Brisbane: The war continues to devastate and the battle for the Pacific threatens Australian shores. For Ellie O’Sullivan, helping the war effort means utilising her engineering skills for Qantas as they evacuate civilians and deliver supplies to armed forces overseas. Her exceptional logic and integrity attract the attention of Central Bureau – an intelligence organisation working with England’s Bletchley Park codebreakers. But joining Central Bureau means signing a lifetime secrecy contract. Breaking it is treason.

With her country’s freedom at risk, Ellie works with a group of elite women who enter a world of volatile secrets; deciphering enemy communications to change the course of the war. Working under immense pressure, they form a close bond – yet there could be a traitor in their midst. Can the women uncover the culprit before it’s too late?

As Ellie struggles with the magnitude of the promise she’s made to her country, a wedge grows between her and those she holds dear. When the man she loves asks questions she’s forbidden to answer, how will she prevent the double life she’s leading from unravelling?

Published 3 March 2021 |  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

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

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

464 pages and I read it in a single sitting. Well, practically a single sitting. I had to break to prep for dinner and be “present” at family dinner but other than that, I was basically not “present”. I met Alli for coffee when her last book, The Cinema at Starlight Creek (you should read this one too!), she was doing lots of researching for this book and I was so excited to hear about female Australian codebreakers! I’ve read a bit on Bletchley Park & some women codebreakers (also watched & loved that Netflix series, The Bletchley Circle) so this was a most anticipated release for me and I LOVED it!

‘So we cling to hope and stars?’

‘With all our might.’

There were just many things I loved about this novel. From a most inspiring protagonist to a swoony romance to the realisation of just how many women in the past have fought (and most, in silence) for us to be where we are today (and we are not done!).

The men suffer in silence, never ones to talk about the tragedies they’ve suffered. We women try to hold everyone up with our strength, until our knees shake and our arms threaten to drop the heavy load. But we do it. We carry everyone who needs support. We help the world right itself and nurture those who need it most. Women are incredible creatures; don’t you ever forget it. So, if you have the chance to do something you want, take it and don’t be apologetic. Women spend too much time bowing to society’s expectations instead of allowing ourselves to be who we truly are.

Set in 1940s Queensland, in the height of World War II and its immediate aftermath, we follow Elanora O’Sullivan as she served to end a war she did not believe in, found & lost friends and love, struggled to find her place in the world as a woman who knows she’s as good as the men around her.

The Codebreakers is a fictional tale inspired by just such intelligent, strong, and courageous women and such an empowering story! It’s ticked so many boxes and filled up my heart meter to the max. I cannot wait to see what Alli’s next book will be.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Alli Sinclair, an adventurer at heart, has won multiple awards for her writing. She is Australian and has lived in Argentina, Peru and Canada, and has climbed some of the world’s highest mountains, worked as a tour guide in South and Central America and has travelled the globe. She enjoys immersing herself in exotic destinations, cultures and languages but Australia has always been close to Alli’s heart. Alli hosts retreats for writers and presents writing workshops around Australia, as well as working in film on international projects. She’s a volunteer role model with Books in Homes and is an ambassador for the Fiji Book Drive. Alli’s books explore history, culture, love and grief, and relationships between family, friends and lovers. She captures the romance and thrill of discovering old and new worlds, and loves taking readers on a journey of discovery.

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

Blog Tour: Between Wild and Ruin by Jennifer G. Edelson + Giveaway (INT)

Between Wild and Ruin
Jennifer G. Edelson
Publication date: September 28th 2019
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

Truth, like love, isn’t always obvious.

Seventeen-year-old Ruby Brooks has never had a boyfriend. After moving to small-town La Luna, New Mexico following her mother’s untimely death, boys aren’t even on her radar. Ruby just wants to forget the last horrible year and blend in. But when she discovers an ancient pueblo ruin hidden in the forest behind her house, and meets Ezra, a bitter recluse whose once-perfect face was destroyed in an accident he won’t talk about; Angel, the town’s handsome sheriff’s deputy, and Leo, a stranger who only appears in the forest, Ruby finds herself caught between love, mystery, and other worlds. What happened to Ezra’s face? And why is she so attracted to the one boy in town everyone despises? As Ruby unravels her own powerful connections to both Ezra and the pueblo ruin, she’ll learn surfaces are deceiving. Especially in the heart of New Mexico, where ghosts and legends aren’t always just campfire stories.

Goodreads / Amazon

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

The novel opens with Ruby Brooks arriving in her new home in a little town in New Mexico. After losing her mother, she and her aunt, Libby, are wanting a change and/or a new start. Ruby doesn’t believe she’s beautiful and she’s built walls around her heart because of something in her past. There’s something in this place though and especially, with Ezra that she begins to hope things could be different here.

I don’t like love triangle or quadrangle or whatever and for some parts of the novel, it just felt like that’s what’s happening. This made it slightly harder for me to read this story. What was interesting though is the history of this place/setting; I don’t know how much of it is real or what inspired the author but it was certainly impressively detailed. In the end, I felt Between Wild & Ruin to be somewhat of a mix of Beauty & the Beast and certain conspiracy theory (I’m being vague because spoilers…). This is the first book of a series and it did feel like such; a lot of setting up which made it felt quite long to read.

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

GIVEAWAY

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter for a $20 Amazon gift card (ends Sep-17)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author

Jennifer G. Edelson is a writer, trained artist, former attorney, pizza lover, and hard-core Bollywood fan. She has a BFA in Sculpture and a J.D. in law, and has taught both creative writing and legal research and writing at several fine institutions, including the University of Minnesota. Originally a California native, she currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her husband, kids, and dog, Hubble after surviving twenty-plus years in the Minnesota tundra (but still considers Los Angeles, the Twin Cities, and Santa Fe all home). Other than writing, Jennifer loves hiking, traveling, Albert Camus, Dr. Seuss, dark chocolate, drinking copious amounts of coffee, exploring mysterious places, and meeting new people–if you’re human (or otherwise), odds are she’ll probably love you.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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Blog Tour: GENES by Mary Ting -a Review + Giveaway

Genes (International Sensory Assassin Network #3) by Mary Ting
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: June 30th 2020
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Allegiances will be tested.
Identities will be revealed.
No one is safe.

While searching for the HelixB88 anti-serum on the black market, Ava uncovers valuable intel that may help the rebels in their fight to bring down ISAN—the location of a hidden facility. But first, the insurgents must find the female citizens unexpectedly displaying powers without use of the Helix serum before ISAN captures them.

As the rebels join forces with other sectors, ISAN plans their destruction by using someone they don’t suspect at the rebel home base. A traitor within.

Now, Ava must make a dangerous decision, one that could risk their capture—or worse.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

This review is in relation to book 3 in the series so while I will steer away from spoilers for this book, there may be spoilers of books 1 & 2

GENES picked up right from the end of Helix and if you’re a follower of the series, you’d know that Ava had been impatiently waiting for a certain test result and we find out right at the beginning of this book with an immediate twist to the story. And this sets the tone of the book, many more twists, some kick-ass action, and lots of lovey doveys.

Ava & the rebels continued to find ways to thwart ISAN & Mr Novak but first they needed Brooke to wake up and Gene to cooperate. Gene has completely thrown them off by his very different attitude & personality. Even as he’s kept tightly in isolation and continuous watch, he does not appear to be worried and continue to threaten the safety of the rebels. Ava was a little worried but she’s also got other things to do. The mystery remains, however, just what can Gene do?

A fast paced read with loads of actions and plenty more romance. I love to see Rhett and Ava together though sometimes, I get frustrated because… hello, you’re in the middle of a situation here?! But, as their friends said it, it’s just how they are. The group of friends are just fabulous as ever and growing!! That last sentence-twist at the end of the book was mind boggling BUT *gosh* I’m getting frustrated with Ava too. I do want to find out what’s really going on though so… onto book 4 (hopefully)!

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

GIVEAWAY

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter for a $25 Amazon gift card (ends Jul-09)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author

International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author Mary Ting writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres: science fiction, fantasy, and swoon worthy stories. Her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise.

Mary was born in Seoul Korea and resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two dogs—Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Becoming an author was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, she retired from teaching after twenty years.

Find Mary on:  Website / Goodreads / Facebook Page / Facebook Group / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub / News update

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Blog Tour: Helix by Mary Ting -a Review + Giveaway

Helix (International Sensory Assassin Network #2) by Mary Ting
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: September 10th 2019
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Alliances are forming. The resistance is growing. Everything is about to change.

With her memory still fragmented, Ava returns to the International Sensory Assassin Network (ISAN) to find the twin sister she never knew she had.

But as Ava hunts for information, she finds herself tangled in a web of yet more lies and conspiracy. The Helix serum may not be required to access her superpowers, and the number of male assassins—previously considered too volatile to tolerate Helix—is growing in every territory.

The more Ava uncovers, the more of a threat she becomes to ISAN. Her only salvation may be to join the rebels—if she isn’t killed first.

Add to Goodreads / Purchase

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

This review is in relation to book 2 in the series so while I will steer away from spoilers for this book, there would be spoiler of book 1 (unavoidable if I want to be coherent in this review, sorry!)

I have been aware of this author, Mary Ting, for a while but haven’t really been compelled to pick up her books until now. I guess I was just in the right mood for a dystopian novel with a kick ass heroine or two or maybe hundreds. I expected lots of subterfuge, action, and a bit of romance to spice it up.

Helix, being book 2, picks up right after book 1 or even roughly around the same time. The big difference is that in this book, we have dual perspectives: Rhett’s in addition to Ava’s. It is very logical & useful telling of the story seeing the way the plot developed in this book but it was also so very good to hear Rhett’s voice (mostly anyway – I’ll explain the ‘mostly’ later). We have a much wider worldview in this book and therefore, a number of more complex twists.

What I enjoyed most in this books are the girls and their friendships. Okay, there are some who are just very cold but then I wonder if there’ll be other factors unveiled in subsequent series. Anyway, Ava & her friends are intelligent, independent, and courageous ladies. I really liked the way they care for each other and also, in resolving conflicts (it’s not all violent!).

Even if I was excited to have Rhett’s pov (the books begins with his), I later found that he’s just too needy! Or maybe the better phrasing is that he’s too hung up on Ava. I got rather frustrated with him so I didn’t find his character as well developed as Ava’s. In addition, this does make the novel to be quite heavy handed with the romance. I think because I wasn’t expecting it to be so heavy in the romance department (there wasn’t that much romance in book 1), I was finding it really corny. I was actually laughing at a ‘very romantic’ speech and errr… that wasn’t good lol. So, okay, I may be a tad cynical but you yourself may Love it 😉

Helix was a very quick read mostly due to just how action-packed it was. If you love lots of romance with sparks flying off the page, you’d love this sequel to ISAN.

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

GIVEAWAY

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter for a $25 Amazon gift card (ends Sept-22)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the author

International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author Mary Ting writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres and her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise.

Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching after twenty years. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book: No Bullies Allowed.

Mary resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two little dogs, Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry.

Find Mary on:  Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub

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Review: Sun Warrior by P.C. Cast

Sun Warrior (Tales of a New World #2) by P.C. Cast

The second novel in the epic ‘Tales of a New World’ trilogy by New York Times bestselling author P.C. Cast.

The battle lines have been drawn.

Once from rival clans, Mari, an Earth Walker, and Nik, a Companion, now find themselves fighting to save each other and their people from destruction.

Thaddeus has betrayed his own people, killing Nik’s father and destroying their entire clan. But he wants more. He wants the power he believes Mari has stolen from him and his people, and he will do anything to get it back, even if it means destroying everything in his path. There is only one way to stop Thaddeus, and it means a harrowing journey for Mari and Nik into the heart of darkness.

“P.C. Cast builds an engaging world and cleverly smudges the line between fantasy and speculative fiction . . . the world and the slowly rising tension of the story are spooky, compelling and fun.” Good Reading

Published 30 October 2017 |  Publisher: Pan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$18.99

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

Please note this is a review of book 2 of Tales of a New World trilogy, click here for Moon Chosen’s (book 1) review, 

This book made me totally heartsick. I was heartsick for my pug who died a few years ago. We’ve yet to adopt a new dog though we have been talking it over a lot this year. But it would have been perfect to have a four-legged companion or two to cuddle while reading this book.

Sun Warrior picked up immediately after the end of Moon Chosen (book 1) and we found Nik & Mari escaping from the fire & chaos. Without giving too much away, a lot of bad things have happened near the end of book 1 which made it impossible for Nik & Mari to live peacefully in this area. This big book expanded on the consequences of the previous bad things and add to that the even more big bad awful things that are about to unfold in book 3, Sun Warrior. Unfortunately, it does feel like a filler book where a lot has happened but nothing really happen…

There were certain choices made in this book which I questioned and hoped they’d be explained in the next book. I found it also a little strange and maybe even irksome that all the power seem to be in Mari. I keep hoping something to happen to Nik but errr, he just seems hopeless?! I get the matriarchal society and equality etc etc etc but all the power appears to be Mari’s… I am glad that I waited to read this book because it raises a lot of questions I’m hoping to be answered very soon.

Whilst this trilogy is mostly told from Nik’s & Mari’s POVs, there are a few other minor POVs just so we know what’s happening in other locations. I actually found these characters to be a lot more interesting! Maybe cuz they sounded a little crazy from my point of view; they are what this story dark.

I have mostly enjoyed Sun Warrior though it’s a rather long read and I wished I had a dog I could cuddle up with (especially when any of the four-legged companions were hurt!). It wasn’t a hard read but did feel a little like a filler, an in between book. Hopefully, book 3, Wind Rider, will fulfil all promises made in Sun Warrior.

Thanks to Pan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review. 

About the author

PC was born in the Midwest, and, after her tour in the USAF, she taught high school for 15 years before retiring to write full time. PC is a member of the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. Her novels have been awarded the prestigious: Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, Booksellers’ Best, and many, many more. Ms. Cast is an experienced teacher and talented speaker who lives in Oregon near her fabulous daughter, her adorable pack of dogs, her crazy Maine Coon, and a bunch of horses.

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

Review: All Fall Down by Ellie Marney

All Fall Down (Circus Hearts #2) by Ellie Marney

A ringmaster’s daughter and a bearded lady’s son join forces to stop a saboteur…

Nineteen-year-old Fleur Klatsch is loyal to her trapeze team and her ringmaster father, dedicated to the circus, and tough on everyone around her. After a series of accidents at Klatsch’s Karnival, Fleur is left holding the ball: she’s running the carnival, trying to stop a saboteur, and taking care of her dad. She doesn’t need anyone’s help, least of all Eugenia Deloren’s son, Marco, who’s been trying to break out of show life since the moment he was born into it. All Marco needs to do is get Klatsch’s back on its feet so he can leave. But after one fateful kiss with Fleur, will he really want to? And will Fleur and Marco figure out who’s trying to kill the show before someone kills them…

Dark YA romance, with a criminal twist – Circus Hearts: Step. Right. Up.

Published 1 October 2018 |  Publisher: Bearded Lady Press  |  RRP: AUD$4.99 (ebook only)

Buy Links: Amazon AU | A&R  | B&N Nook | iBooks  |  kobo  | Mondadori | !ndigo 

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

Personally, I don’t like it with series which has different MCs for each serial book. I think mostly because sometimes, it portrays the earlier character that you love in an unlikable light. Or sometimes, like the case here, because the protagonist in this book was so very much UNlikable in the first book. I truly wondered if I was going to be pulling my hair out reading this book.

I’m glad to say that there was no hair-pulling head-banging moments at all. I loved how Fleur recognised her mistake (and we’ve all made stupid mistakes at one point or another) and didn’t run away. And when push comes to shove, she pulled out all the stops to make sure things happen.

Once upon a time, Marco and Fleur were inseparable until the day Marco left to find a steady home-life. He returned to help when Fleur’s dad was injured in a sabotage incident. While Fleur is still angry at him for leaving, she recognise that he’s making her feel everything she’s never felt for any boys before. But will she risk all for someone who’ll be leaving her again soon?

I liked the mystery better in this one as there is actually one. I think my problem with this series is that the books are just too short! I’d love a couple extra more twists in these stories. I am very much looking forward to book 3!! I was disappointed that Ren was mostly missing in this instalment but can’t wait to read about her next.

All Fall Down is a story of redemption; of trust and loyalty. The characters in this book is a little bit older (19+) so again I’d say this borders on New Adult though there is limited sexual content (lots of smooching, peeps, relax!). Sometimes, I find New Adult books to be too much so if you’re looking for a clean-ish sort of New Adult book, I’d highly recommend this one.

Thanks to the author, Ellie Marney, for copy of book in exchange of honest review. 

About the author

Ellie Marney is a teacher and YA author of the Every series (Every BreathEvery WordEvery Move), a highly-awarded crime trilogy for Young Adults – in 2015, Every Breath was named by the Australian Library Information Association as one of the top ten most-borrowed YA books in Australian libraries. Ellie has helped spearhead a collaborative group of literary sector professionals under the banner ‘#LoveOzYA’ to advocate for and promote Australian YA literature. She is one of the contributors to Begin End Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology, and she hosts a book club – ‘#LoveOzYAbookclub’ – online. She is an Ambassador for the Stella Prize Schools Program, and is a regular speaker at schools, events and festivals. In 2017, Ellie released No Limits, a companion novel to the series – her latest novel is White Night.

Ellie was born in Brisbane, and has lived in Indonesia, Singapore and India. Now she writes, teaches, talks about YA literature, and gardens when she can, while living in a country idyll (actually a very messy wooden house on ten acres with a dog and lots of chickens) near Castlemaine, in north-central Victoria. Her partner and four sons still love her, even though she often forgets things and lets the housework go.

Find Ellie on:  goodreads  |  website  | twitter  |  facebook  | instagram | pinterest

Review: All the Little Bones by Ellie Marney

All the Little Bones (Circus Hearts #1) by Ellie Marney

A teenage trapeze artist and an apprentice strongman on the run from a terrible crime…

Seventeen-year-old Sorsha Neary’s life is changed in one night when she defends herself behind the vans of her family circus troupe. Now Sorsha and apprentice strongman Colm Mackay are travelling south, to evade the fallout and escape the long arm of the law. All they have in their favour is talent, an old promise, and slim acquaintance with the crew members and performers of their new home, Klatsch’s Karnival. But the question for Sorsha and Colm isn’t if the police will catch up with them, but when…

Dark YA romance, with a criminal twist – Circus Hearts: Step. Right. Up.

Published 1 September 2018 |  Publisher: Bearded Lady Press  |  RRP: AUD$4.99 (ebook only)

Buy Links: Amazon AU | A&R  | B&N Nook | iBooks  |  kobo  | Mondadori | !ndigo 

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

*laughs* I don’t know why I think this was a fantasy novel! Well, the cover is sooo pretty and it’s shelved as fantasy on Goodreads. I didn’t bother looking into it further because I’ve been wanting to read Ellie Marney’s books but yet… too many books too little time, as always. Suffice to say when the chance came up, I grabbed it.

I may have a tiny tad bit disappointed that there wasn’t that particular [fantasy] magic but circus has always held a special magical place in my heart so this turned out to be a special sort of read especially when I came across words in my native tongue (Bahasa Indonesia)! *oh how my heart sings* (and pssst, I found out today, this particular character’s story is coming in book 3, squee!!)

All the Little Bones opened with Sorsha and Colm on the run. Something awful has happened and Sorsha is struggling to come to terms with it all. Strongman Colm has been a rock but Sorsha knows this is something she must face herself. At the beginning, Sorsha is at her most vulnerable but as time passes, her strength returned and was such an amazing character. And Colm… *dreamy sighs* I’ve never really had a crush on the strongman in any circus fiction but boy, this one ticks all the boxes 😉

There wasn’t a great big mystery on what’s happened to Sorsha and I guess the only twist in the book is what bring the matter to head. After that, things seem to snowball and I found the ending to be rather rushed. I didn’t expect Sorsha’s story to end in this book, tbh, I expected it to go for 3 books long. I loved Sorsha and didn’t really want to say goodbye this early.

I also kept expecting some sort of name of the place and/or town they were in. Descriptions of the areas etc but it was a bit sparse and I found a bit sketchy that it all felt rather unreal. I felt the romance, all right, but I could not get a feel of the setting very well. I do love the showtime though. I feel that the excitement and magic of the show came through very clearly. And I had a lot of fun imagining the costumes etc 😉

All the Little Bones is a very pretty book with a lot of feels. If you love YA romance (or even New Adult, as I feel this book borders on NA), you’d love this magical romance!

Thanks to the author, Ellie Marney, for copy of book in exchange of honest review. 

About the author

Ellie Marney is a teacher and YA author of the Every series (Every BreathEvery WordEvery Move), a highly-awarded crime trilogy for Young Adults – in 2015, Every Breath was named by the Australian Library Information Association as one of the top ten most-borrowed YA books in Australian libraries. Ellie has helped spearhead a collaborative group of literary sector professionals under the banner ‘#LoveOzYA’ to advocate for and promote Australian YA literature. She is one of the contributors to Begin End Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology, and she hosts a book club – ‘#LoveOzYAbookclub’ – online. She is an Ambassador for the Stella Prize Schools Program, and is a regular speaker at schools, events and festivals. In 2017, Ellie released No Limits, a companion novel to the series – her latest novel is White Night.

Ellie was born in Brisbane, and has lived in Indonesia, Singapore and India. Now she writes, teaches, talks about YA literature, and gardens when she can, while living in a country idyll (actually a very messy wooden house on ten acres with a dog and lots of chickens) near Castlemaine, in north-central Victoria. Her partner and four sons still love her, even though she often forgets things and lets the housework go.

Find Ellie on:  goodreads  |  website  | twitter  |  facebook  | instagram | pinterest

Review: Burning Fields by Alli Sinclair

Burning Fields by Alli Sinclair

1948. The world is struggling to regain a sense of balance after the devastation of World War II, and the sugar cane-growing community of Piri River in northern Queensland is no exception.

As returned servicemen endeavour to adjust to their pre-war lives, women who had worked for the war effort are expected to embrace traditional roles once more.

Rosie Stanton finds it difficult to return to the family farm after years working for the Australian Women’s Army Service. Reminders are everywhere of the brothers she lost in the war and she is unable to understand her father’s contempt for Italians, especially the Conti family next door. When her father takes ill, Rosie challenges tradition by managing the farm, but outside influences are determined to see her fail.

Desperate to leave his turbulent history behind, Tomas Conti has left Italy to join his family in Piri River. Tomas struggles to adapt in Australia—until he meets Rosie. Her easy-going nature and positive outlook help him forget the life he’s escaped. But as their relationship grows, so do tensions between the two families until the situation becomes explosive.

When a long-hidden family secret is discovered and Tomas’s mysterious past is revealed, everything Rosie believes is shattered. Will she risk all to rebuild her family or will she lose the only man she’s ever loved?

Published 21 May 2018 |  Publisher: Harlequin MIRA  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

Burning Fields is a novel set in post-war Australia where men struggled with the things they saw in war & women struggled at being expected to step back to their relegated role in the home. This novel tries to reconcile these 2 issues in a typically Australian outback setting. The lush and promising land beguiled all to believe that anything is possible.

This novel opens with Rosie Stanton returning to her family farm after she lost her bid for independence. Both her brothers went to war and neither returned. She is reluctant to face her parents and their grief. Despite her love for the farm and her capabilities, her father will not have her working at the farm. Her mother appears to be struggling with her own demons. Rosie is determined for her father to recognise her abilities and help her mother. There is also the attractive newcomer at the next farm…

Tomas Conti & his family are the new neighbours. Despite their attraction, Tomas is a troubled man. His recognition of Rosie’s independence is a big plus but will he be able to put the past behind to live in the present?

The story is mainly told from Rosie’s perspective in the present. Every few of Rosie’s chapter is broken by a chapter of Tomas’ perspective from the past (the war in Italy). I must say that each of Tomas’ chapters filled me with dread as I expected whatever horrid thing to happen then. Both characters are easily likeable and I enjoyed Rosie’s persistent effort to be recognise as being capable as any man.

Burning Fields is an easy and enjoyable read. It was rather easy to put down & pick back up again. It is a sweet romance and I love how the town people (or rather most of them anyway) get together as a community to support each other.

Thanks to Harlequin MIRA & Netgalley for copy of book in exchange of honest review. 

About the author

Alli Sinclair is an Australian multi-award winning author published who has lived in Argentina, Peru, and Canada. She’s climbed some of the world’s highest mountains and worked as a tour guide in South and Central America. Australia has always been close to Alli’s heart as she loves the diverse landscapes and the rich multicultural heritage of this wonderful land.

Alli’s books explore history, culture, love and grief, and relationships between family, friends and lovers. She captures the romance and thrill of discovering old and new worlds and loves taking readers on a journey of discovery.

Find Alli on:  goodreads  |  website  | twitter  |  facebook

Review: The Juliet Code by Christine Wells

The Juliet Code by Christine Wells

It’s 1947 and the war is over, but Juliet Barnard is still tormented by secrets. She was a British agent and wireless operator in occupied Paris until her mission went critically wrong. Juliet was caught by the Germans, imprisoned and tortured in a mansion in Paris’s Avenue Foch.

Now that she’s home, Juliet can’t – or won’t – relive the horrors that occurred in that place. Nor will she speak about Sturmbannführer Strasser, the manipulative Nazi who held her captive. . .

Haunted by the guilt of betrayal, the last thing Juliet wants is to return to Paris. But when Mac, an SAS officer turned Nazi-hunter, demands her help searching for his sister, Denise, she can’t refuse. Denise and Juliet trained together before being dropped behind enemy lines. Unlike Juliet, Denise never made it home. Certain Strasser is the key to discovering what happened to his sister, Mac is determined to find answers – but will the truth destroy Juliet?

Published 30 April 2018 |  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

I read Code Name Verity a few weeks ago so found the premise of this book even more compelling. Unlike Code Name Verity, however, The Juliet Code follows the aftermath of captivity. There is a dual timeline, albeit only a few years apart, of course, to provide the background of her capture and ultimately, on her survival.

Juliet Barnard is not one of those ‘kick-ass-heroine’ or at least, she’s not described as such to begin with. In the opening chapter, she’s a broken woman, fearful of what’s happened during her incarceration in France. In the earlier timeline, she’s compared unfavourably against other women who are better physically & mentally. She is intelligent and determined but not particularly capable as an agent in training but the country is desperate and cannot spare anyone. I love this characterisation of Juliet because it made her completely relate-able.

I loved the glamorously romantic cover and my chronically romantic self fell head over heels over this love story. If you are not a fan of insta-love, however, this book is not for you. Whilst I’m fascinated by war stories, for me, The Juliet Code is a beautiful romance story than anything else. In fact, this romantic story haunts me over the past week since I’ve finished reading and I’ll probably continue to daydream about Juliet & Felix for the next few months at least.

Thanks to Penguin Random House for copy of book in exchange of honest review. 

About the author

Christine Wells worked as a corporate lawyer in a city firm before exchanging contracts and prospectuses for a different kind of fiction. In her novels, she draws on a lifelong love of British history and an abiding fascination for the way laws shape and reflect society. Christine is devoted to big dogs, good coffee, beachside holidays and Antiques Roadshow, but above all to her two sons who live with her in Brisbane.

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