Tag Archives: #aussiereads

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

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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

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All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien -a review

All Thats Left UnsaidAll That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien

There were a dozen witnesses to Denny Tran’s brutal murder in a busy Sydney restaurant. So how come no one saw anything?

‘Just let him go.’ Those are words Ky Tran will forever regret. The words she spoke when her parents called to ask if they should let her younger brother Denny out to celebrate his high school graduation. That night in 1996, Denny – optimistic, guileless, brilliant Denny – is brutally murdered inside a busy restaurant in Cabramatta, a Sydney suburb facing violent crime, an indifferent police force, and the worst heroin epidemic in Australian history.

Returning home for the funeral, Ky learns that the police are stumped by her brother’s case: several people were at Lucky 8 restaurant when Denny died, but each of the bystanders claim to have seen nothing.

As an antidote to grief and guilt, Ky is determined to track down the witnesses herself. With each encounter, she peels away another layer of the place that shaped her and Denny,exposing the trauma and seeds of violence that were planted well before that fateful celebration dinner: by colonialism, by the war in Vietnam,and by the choices they’ve all made to survive.

Tracey Lien’s extraordinary debut pulls apart the intricate bonds of friendship, family, culture and community that produced a devastating crime. All That’s Left Unsaid is both a study of the effects of inherited trauma and social discrimination, and a compulsively readable literary thriller that expertly holds the reader in its grip until the final page.

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

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

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

Ky didn’t allow her mother to have feelings, because to grant her these would mean acknowledging that she was a person who had desires and dreams beyond what Ky saw. It was easier to imagine her as a caricature, as an immigrant Cabramatta parent, whose only desire was for her children to become doctors and lawyers (or ideally both), whose only means of expressing love to them was through cooking their meals, washing their clothes, and criticizing them into being better people.

My background isn’t Vietnamese nor refugee however I’m married into one and hence, this book piqued my interest. In the 90s, I was in my teens and we didn’t live anywhere near Cabramatta though we heard stories, of course. Despite Cabramatta not being my own stomping ground and my childhood, as sheltered as it was, there were many moments in the book that were just so identifiable in many different ways.

Ky is the main protagonist whom readers follow as she tried to find out how and why her brother was murdered. However, at least half of the novel is told from and of other people involved in this mystery. So much so that, near the end of the book, I feel that the structure of this novel is like a jigsaw puzzle where each piece reflects a different facet of this community and together, they form a full picture, albeit with cracks.

All That’s Left Unsaid is a novel of loss, of grief, of burdens we were given and picked up throughout our lives. Author’s prose is concise and phrases are polished to a shine; it is sharp as papercut. Please do yourself a kindness and read this book.

My thanks to Harlequin Australia for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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The Opal Miner’s Daughter by Fiona McArthur -a review

the opal miners daughterThe Opal Miner’s Daughter by Fiona McArthur

Obstetrician Riley Brand leaves the city behind to go in search of her mother, who’s taken leave from her marriage to pursue a passion for opal mining in the dry backblocks of an old mining town. Accepting a short-term posting as a fertility expert in Lightning Ridge, Riley plans to assist women pursue their baby dreams in remote and regional areas, while at the same time helping to rekindle her parents’ love for each other.

The small dusty community is a far cry from her polite medical practice on the North Shore of Sydney, but the down-to-earth locals soon welcome her into the fold with their Friday night social gatherings. But no one is more welcoming than enigmatic doctor Konrad Grey, the GP who’s working alongside her.

When an employee of their medical practice confesses she’s hiding an unexpected pregnancy, Konrad and Riley are thrown together in challenging and wonderful ways.

A moving and heartwarming story about new life and new loves, about the treasures to be found above and beneath the surface of a small country town, and about the important choices women must make in life.

Published 30 August 2022  |  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

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

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

I really do enjoy rural romance but yet I don’t read that many and this is one of my reading goals this year, to read some more! The Opal Miner’s Daughter is definitely an excellent rural romance read and I’m thrilled to have been sent one for review. I must say that the title somehow led me to have had a different expectation. It just sounds more like one of those historical fiction with family tragedy etc etc but it is very much NOT. Also, I know 2 boys named Riley and having a female protagonist named Riley kind of messed with my head a bit; I kept having to check myself.

Dr Riley Brand is an intelligent and independent woman. She is a strong sensible character and I just love this to bits! She was fun, sensitive, and easy going except when it comes to a certain gorgeous doctor in town. And even then, she was open to learn. All the other women in this novel were just as amazing and the men were funny but overall this small community in Lightning Ridge was wonderfully tight-knitted.

The Opal Miner’s Daughter is a light-hearted romantic read; one that ended with my sigh of contentment. However, it also tackled tough issues such as stigma of illness, infertility, depression, and a few other things, and done in such beautifully sensitive way that didn’t make the reader sad but hopeful. An utterly delightful and pleasing read.

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

About the author

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The Happiest Little Town by Barbara Hannay -a review

The Happiest Little TownThe Happiest Little Town by Barbara Hannay

Happiness has a way of catching up with you, even when you’ve given up trying to find it.

Tilly doesn’t believe she can ever be happy again

Fourteen-year-old Tilly’s world is torn apart when her single mother dies suddenly and she is sent a million miles from everything she has ever known to a small country town and a guardian who’s a total stranger.

Kate is sure she will be happy just as soon as she achieves her dream

In the picturesque mountains of Far North Queensland, Kate is trying to move on from a failed marriage by renovating a van and making plans for an exciting travel escape. The fresh start she so desperately craves is within reach when an unexpected responsibility lands on her doorstep.

Olivia thinks she’s found ‘happy enough’ until an accident changes everything

Ageing former celebrity actress Olivia is used to winning all the best roles in her local theatre group, but when she’s injured while making a grand stage exit, she is relegated to the wings. Now she’s determined that she won’t bow out quietly and be left alone with the demons of her past.

When these lost souls come together under the roof of the Burralea Amateur Theatre group, the countdown to opening night has already begun. Engaging with a diverse cast of colourful characters, the three generations of women find unlikely friendship – and more than one welcome surprise.

From the bestselling author of The Garden of Hopes and Dreams comes a heartwarming and uplifting story about the joys of new beginnings.

Published 2 August 2022  |  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

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

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

Isn’t it just the cutest book cover!? And that title, I feel that I’m guaranteed an easy, light-hearted, and uplifting read which my mood tells me I need these days. It did not disappoint; The Happiest Little Town certainly made me happy.

I find it always touching when 3 generations of women are brought together. I love to see the effect they have on each other. In this novel, the mix of Olivia’s wisdom, Kate’s generosity, and Tilly’s grief made a lovely cocktail of lasting friendship. I am in Kate’s age group so while I was rather frustrated with some of Tilly’s decisions and actions, they are rather understandable considering her loss. I am in awe of Kate’s heart and her generosity… it’s not Tilly’s fault that she is who she is but golly, Kate was just so very kind.

While the story revolves our 3 main protagonists above. There were bits and pieces about other residents of this town that made it The Happiest Little Town. They may not be that relevant to the plot as such but they do make the town more 3-dimensional. And what’s a town without its people?

The Happiest Little Town‘s residents may not be happy aaallll the time as each of them have either had difficult pasts or are still struggling to come to terms with those pasts. However, they do know to pick themselves back up and let’s just say it’s a happy ending all around. Such a comfort read and truly, I just want to give this book a cuddle – that’s how much I enjoyed it.

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

About the author

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Those Who Perish by Emma Viskic -a review

those who perishThose Who Perish (Caleb Zelic #4) by Emma Viskic

A MYSTERIOUS MESSAGE
Deaf PI Caleb Zelic has always been an outsider, estranged from family and friends. But when he receives a text that his brother, Anton, is in danger, Caleb sees it as a chance at redemption.

A REMOTE ISLAND
He tracks Anton down to an isolated, wind-punished island, where secrets run deep and resentments deeper.

A KILLER IN THE SHADOWS
When a killer starts terrorising the isolated community, the brothers must rely on each other like never before. But trust comes at a deadly price…

Published 28 April 2022|  Publisher: Pushkin Press |  RRP: AUD$29.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  BooktopiaAbbey’sA&RQBD

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I have a love-hate relationship with this series. I love the setting, the prose, and the characters. I absolutely abhor the angst Caleb have about Kat and Ant. Especially Kat and the on-off vibe of their relationship. I guess this is an inherent part of Caleb’s personality that has been mentioned in the book and therefore, it’s like watching a car crash where you know it’s going to be bad and you don’t really want to see it but you can’t turn your head away. That’s exactly how I feel about this whole series.

As always, Caleb stepped into a mystery bigger and ever more dangerous but this time, as he’s about to become a father, he really needed to question his involvement. And yet, things got out of hand very quickly with his life and those he loves in danger. Of course, the ending is never what I thought it’d be with all the miscommunications and misunderstandings adding to the complexity of the twists and turns that ends with a big splash.

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

About the author

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