Tag Archives: #australianauthor

The Good Captain by Sean Rabin -a review

the good captainThe Good Captain by Sean Rabin

Set in the near future – during a time of plummeting fish stocks, toxic algae blooms and jellyfish swarms – The Good Captain follows a group of radical environmentalists committed to a mission of extreme civil disobedience against the powers threatening to destroy the last of the world’s marine life.

Led by the wild Rena – born and raised by the ocean – the characterful crew engages in a high seas drama that contains all the thrill of a cat-and-mouse seafaring classic, while at the same time offering a timely warning for the political classes that their negligence will not go unpunished.

Evoking a disturbing vision of what the world might soon become – random, dangerous, surprising and sometimes even miraculous – The Good Captain is a gripping, confronting and truly unique novel.

Published 1 April 2022|  Publisher: Transit Lounge Publishing  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

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

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

The world presented in The Good Captain is such a miserable one. While most scenes are in open seas, it is implied that the rest of the world isn’t in such a good condition either and yet, still… there aren’t enough people caring for the world.

The novel opens with a secret mission on land gone wrong; a lot of blood, a fast getaway, and a mysterious cargo. Then we meet all the crew of the ship. Each with their own love for the ocean and willingness to sacrifice all to protect her. There were natural threats and some of human variety but this crew’s belief in their purpose helped them overcome all obstacles. The mysterious cargo was an interesting one though I had my doubts as to the purpose it was revealed for still the twist at the end was a bit of a eye-roll for me; there just didn’t seem to be much of a muchness.

While I can appreciate the importance of the book’s message, I didn’t particularly love it. With so many characters and unknown factors, I just found it a little bit of a mess. I didn’t find it too hard to follow except for a certain character but I found the story didn’t quite flow as smooth as I’d like. Well, maybe it’s a reflective of the ocean they are travelling on? There are others who truly enjoyed this read and while it’s not quite for me, you might enjoy it more than I did.

My thanks to Transit Lounge Publishing for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads

The Mallee Girl by Jennifer Scoullar -a review

the mallee girlThe Mallee Girl by Jennifer Scoullar

A heart-warming new rural romance set in the Victorian High Country by the bestselling author of Brumby’s Run.

Armed with nothing but some loose change and her beloved dog Duke, Mallee girl Pippa Black has finally found the courage she needs to escape a dangerous relationship. Two cryptic words written on a paper napkin send her in search of the one person who might help her – a long-lost brother she has always dreamed of finding.

Pippa’s quest leads her to the remote town of Currajong, high in the beautiful Victorian alps. As a runaway seeking refuge among strangers, Pippa learns that she’s been mistakenly implicated in a shocking crime. She finds her way to Brumby’s Run, a wild-horse sanctuary, where she begins work assisting the enigmatic farm manager Levi, and becomes entranced by Thowra, a magnificent golden stallion who leads a herd of brumbies in the region. Both man and horse will teach Pippa more about herself than she ever thought possible – including when to run, when to hide, and when to stand up and fight.

Set among the majesty of the High Country snowgums, The Mallee Girl is a moving and heartfelt story about the power of love and the land to heal old wounds, and the freedom that comes in confronting your greatest fears.

Published 12 April 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 enjoyed Jennifer Scoullar’s novels as each one has some Australian environmental aspect which I can appreciate anew. This time, we are immersed in the world of wild horses. Not just any wild horses though, there were many references which reminded me of Elyne Mitchell’s Brumby series which I guess is the point as author is also a big fan. I wouldn’t call myself a horse person but the reverent and beautiful description of these horses make me feel that I could be.

The protagonist, Pippa Black, is easily likeable especially as she grew in leaps and bounds throughout the novel. Her romantic interest, Levi Goldstein, though is totally a keeper! While I found parts of the plot a little hard to believe and/or rather convenient for the overall plot, I thoroughly enjoyed the read. Such a feel good read that I’d highly recommend as we hide under our blankets these rainy days!

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

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  | twitter  |  facebook  | website

Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson -a review

everyone in my family has killed someoneEveryone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle meet Knives Out and The Thursday Murder Club in this fiendishly clever blend of classic and modern murder mystery.

I was dreading the Cunningham family reunion even before the first murder.

Before the storm stranded us at the mountain resort, snow and bodies piling up.

The thing is, us Cunninghams don’t really get along. We’ve only got one thing in common: we’ve all killed someone.

My brother
My step-sister
My wife
My father
My mother

My sister-in-law
My uncle
My stepfather

My aunt
Me

Published 29 March 2022|  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

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

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

Honestly, I didn’t expect to adore this book so much! It sounded somewhat interesting even if I thought description was a bit sparse in details but now that I’ve read it, you really don’t need to know much more. We’re told the type of book it is, who’s perspective it’s told from, the isolated setting, and a cast of characters.

The novel is told solely from the perspective of Ernest and in stream-of-consciousness style even as he’s telling his version of events as it transpired and his thoughts then with some references to what’s coming. It is acknowledged throughout that this is a book he is writing with references to his editor and his narration being ‘chatter’. I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of stream-of-consciousness as I usually find them hard to follow but Ernest’s chatter is highly entertaining. None quite full-blown Laugh-Out-Loud but truly amusing. Chapter 9 is still my favourite! Oh, and that reference to Jane Eyre … he’s got me! Total undying adoration 🤣

The unveiling at the end, of course, was so many lightbulb moments and after all he’s been through & the soul searching he’s done, I am very glad that Ernest found what he’s looking for. This novel is more than just a whodunit or a funny modern retake of it; at its centre is, of course, family. Do you know your family and what would you do to keep them?

Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone is a brilliant spoof of Golden Age whodunit mystery in the present day. If I can show you a list of tick boxes without spoiling it for you, I would have. As it is you just have to take me at my word. I feel, however, that I must reread from the beginning just to pick up all the clues I’ve missed in my first read. Maybe even grab a piece of paper and a pen to make notes… because, seriously, all Ernest’s entertaining chatter was an excellent sleight of hand. Bravo!

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

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  | facebook  |  instagram

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

Orphan Rock by Dominique Wilson -a review

Orphan-Rock_cover-600x913Orphan Rock by Dominique Wilson

Orphan Rock is a complex and richly detailed story of secrets and heartbreak that will take you from the back streets of Sydney’s slums to the wide avenues of the City of Lights.

The late 1800s was a time when women were meant to know their place. But when Bessie starts to work for Louisa Lawson at The Dawn, she comes to realise there’s more to a woman’s place than servitude to a husband.

Years later her daughter Kathleen flees to Paris to escape a secret she cannot accept. But World War One intervenes, exposing her to both the best and the worst of humanity.

Masterful and epic, this book is both a splendid evocation of early Sydney, and a truly powerful story about how women and minorities fought against being silenced.

‘Her writing is finely crafted, her prose poetic and subtle, and a joy to read.’ Monique Mulligan, author of Wildflower and Wherever You Go

‘Dominique Wilson is a wonderful storyteller. The research is impeccable, the realism unforgiving.’ Brian Castro, author of Blindness and Rage and Shanghai Dancing.

Published 1 March 2022|  Publisher: Transit Lounge Publishing  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

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

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

Orphan Rock is an epic story of women over 2 generations. While readers follow their journeys through life, we also follow on a tumultuous time of history (of Australia & the world). These women lived through women suffrage, wars, the Great Depression,  influenza pandemic (this sort of hit rather close to home!), the Razor gang and many other significant historical events. They are ordinary women from the outlook and yet, at the end, you will see that even so, they are extraordinary for they came out the other end of sufferings, stronger and brighter.

I really wasn’t expecting the book to be quite so big (almost 500 pages) and it took me quite a long time to read because I can only read a little bit of suffering at time before I need something lighter to lift my mood. I totally agree with Brian Castro (see his blurb in above book description) especially in the phrase, ‘the realism unforgiving’. Gosh, yes, things just kept happening to these women and felt like they almost never caught a break! I think they did have a break but those chapters in their lives just didn’t make it into this book because it’ll be somewhat boring reading someone else cruising through life.

I’d recommend this book if you enjoy your Australian history; being immersed in last century’s Sydney and it really felt like a historical tour via the eyes of ordinary people who lived it then.

My thanks to Transit Lounge Publishing for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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

Wild Dogs by Michael Trant -a review

wild dogsWild Dogs by Michael Trant

Wild Dogs is a page-turning action thriller set in the WA outback, introducing Australia’s answer to Jack Reacher.

In the drought-ridden rangelands of Western Australia, Gabe Ahern makes his living trapping wild dogs for local station owners.

Still coming to terms with his wife’s death – and the part he played in it – the old bushman leads a solitary life. Until one morning, when he rescues a young Afghan man, Amin, from certain execution.

Now, with a gang of people smugglers on his tail and the lives of Amin’s family on the line, Gabe is drawn into a ruthless game of cat and mouse. His main opponent is Chase Fowler, a kangaroo hunter with bush skills as wily and sharp as his own.

As the old dogger and roo-shooter go head to head, Gabe will need all his cunning to come out of this alive…

Published 1 February 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 finished reading this over the weekend and began watching Reacher on Prime with hubby. And you know what… I’d love to see this one adapted to screen; it would be so amazing!! I can just imagine the vast dry outback scenes contrasting with all the greens and wildlife ones. I can totally see too that Jack Reacher and Gabe Ahern will see eye to eye in how they approach this problem Gabe had to face.

As the main protagonist, Gabe Ahern, isn’t the sort of character you’d see as a hero but he knows what’s right and that’s what he’d do. Mostly. When it matters. When he instinctively rescued an Afghan man, Amin, he did not expect to be drawn into a trouble deeper than his whiskey bottle. But he stepped right up and got done what needed to be done.

As this novel involves Afghan ethnicity and people smuggling, I found that author has handled this in a very respectful way. Even as others formed / spoken certain stereotypical opnions to Amin, they were rebuked and they accepted with grace. Characters opined on people smuggling and expressed (& provided for readers) thoughts when fully confronted (face to face) with the problems. It seems a distance away but it is not… I have enjoyed this part of the novel very much.

I have to admit at having rolled my eyes as the “Australia’s answer to Jack Reacher” bit on the book description but it really ramped up my expectation of this book. I won’t tell you exactly what I thought after I read it because it’s mostly spoilerish but be assured that Wild Dogs was a definitely a high-charged thrilling read.

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

About the author

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

Murder Most Fancy by Kellie McCourt -a review

murder most fancy

Murder Most Fancy (Indigo #2) by Kellie McCourt

She’s not responsible for the corpse this time. Okay, maybe just a little bit. Our favourite socialite and felon are back in a madcap new sleuthing adventure … for readers of Janet Evanovich and Kerry Greenwood.

She really didn’t mean to become a detective …

Home for just 48 hours, billion-heiress Indigo-Daisy-Violet-Amber Hasluck-Royce-Jones-Bombberg has already committed two (completely understandable) felonies, reignited a childhood feud, been (possibly) humiliated (again) by her first love, and fallen over a nameless homeless dead man. All while strolling in her grandmother’s garden …

Grandmother’s kindly neighbour, Dame Elizabeth Holly, wants to spring the anonymous corpse from the coroner’s freezer. She’s convinced Indigo and her parolee personal assistant Esmerelda can unearth the man’s identity, thus allowing his burial. Meanwhile Grandmother wants the unlikely duo to locate Dame Holly’s possibly missing gentleman friend. Dame Holly’s miserly granddaughter and not-so-bright son don’t want her involved with any man – dead or alive.

Are the cases related? Why are they receiving clues from an unknown helper? Should they cooperate with Detectives Searing and Burns, who tried to arrest Indigo for blowing up her plastic surgeon husband last summer? What is Esmerelda’s secret? It’s not so bad to undress a detective. Twice. Is it? How illegal can it be, really, to break into a top-secret government facility?

They’re not annoying a ruthless organised criminal on purpose, they’re just trying to help …

Published 5 January 2022|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

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

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

This book isn’t one I’d have picked up on my own initiative and I had my doubts when it arrives at my doorstep. Of course, being a tad OCD with reading book series, I had to start with book 1, Heiress on Fire, and found that I enjoyed it immensely. I do highly recommend that you start reading this series with book 1, Heiress on Fire, because there are just so much you’d miss out on if you didn’t and there’s a flyaway line of mystery from book 1 in book 2.

There were a couple of things that I’d normally avoided in my reads especially the way the mystery ended (eurgh!) but it was done rather quickly so I didn’t mind it so much plus I totally DIDN’T pick it. I love all the characters in this book; they were all so unique and added to the book’s overall humorous air. The main protagonist, Indigo-Daisy-Violet-Amber Hasluck-Royce-Jones-Bombberg (I had to copy+paste that because I just cannot remember!), can be both easily likeable and annoying. Annoyingly endearing! She really grows on one. Along with her sidekick, Esmerelda, who is absolutely delightful on her own right, they prove to be an unbeatable team.

Murder Most Fancy is a lough-out-loud rollicking read. If you need something to switch off with, I’d highly recommend this series. I can’t recommend any higher than by telling you that I’m already considering of re-reading them again because they were so amusing and we all need a bit of that these day.

My thanks to The Book Stack for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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Unforgiven by Sarah Barrie -a review

unforgivenUnforgiven by Sarah Barrie

Once a victim, she’s now a vigilante. An addictive and suspenseful thriller for readers of Candice Fox and Sarah Bailey.

Lexi Winter is tough, street-smart and has stood on her own two feet since childhood, when she was a victim of notorious paedophile the Spider. All she cares about now is a roof over her head and her long-term relationship with Johnny Walker. She isn’t particular about who she sleeps with … as long as they pay before leaving.

Lexi is also an ace hacker, tracking and entrapping local paedophiles and reporting them to the cops. When she finds a particularly dangerous paedophile who the police can’t touch, she decides to gather enough evidence to put him away. Instead, she’s a witness to his death …

Detective Inspector Rachael Langley is the cop who cracked the Spider case, 18 years earlier – but failed to protect Lexi. Now a man claiming to be the real Spider is emulating his murderous acts, and Rachael is under pressure from government, media and her police colleagues. Did she get it wrong all those years ago, or is this killer is a copycat?

Lexi and Rachael cross paths at last, the Spider in their sights … but they may be too late …

Published 1 December 2021|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

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

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I feel that I should have enjoyed this book a lot more than I actually did. I just feel that this past couple of months, I just wasn’t loving anything I read so it could be a mini slump or just a terrible mood. From my reading of Unforgiven, I would normally have loved it and could barely put it down but I was just reading a slow chapter by chapter. I loved this idea of 2 protagonists from what seems to be opposite sides of life yet their past connected them deeply and their lives are once more to collide. I couldn’t wait to get to that part of the story where the 2 separate threads start to cross each other.

All characters were easily likeable and I especially loved Lexi’s enterprising neighbour! I did find the crime itself a little hard to read but I appreciate the twist upon twist of who the real villain is at the end. There is one flyaway thread though so I am wondering if there’s supposed to be a sequel. I can’t handle a flyaway thread so here’s hoping for a closure!

My thanks to The Book Stack for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  | facebook  

The Spy’s Wife by Fiona McIntosh -a review

the spys wifeThe Spy’s Wife by Fiona McIntosh

The highly anticipated new historical adventure from the bestselling author of The Champagne War.

Evie, a widow and stationmaster’s daughter, can’t help but look out for the weekly visit of the handsome man she and her sister call the Southerner on their train platform in the wilds of northern England. When polite salutations shift to friendly conversations, they become captivated by each other. After so much sorrow, the childless Evie can’t believe love and the chance for her own family have come into her life again.

With rumours coming out of Germany that Hitler may be stirring up war, local English authorities have warned against spies. Even Evie becomes suspicious of her new suitor, Roger. But all is not what it seems.

When Roger is arrested, Evie comes up with an audacious plan to prove his innocence that means moving to Germany and working as a British counter-spy. Wearing the disguise of dutiful, naïve wife, Evie must charm the Nazi Party’s dangerous officials to bring home hard evidence of war mongering on the Führer’s part.

But in this game of cat and mouse, it seems everyone has an ulterior motive, and Evie finds it impossible to know who to trust. With lives on the line, ultimate sacrifices will be made as she wrestles between her patriotism and saving the man she loves.

From the windswept moors of the Yorkshire dales to the noisy beer halls of Munich and grand country estates in the picture-book Bavarian mountains, this is a lively and high-stakes thriller that will keep you second-guessing until the very end.

Published 2November 2021|  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

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

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

I adore these war novels featuring strong female protagonists. And that gorgeous cover!! I have enjoyed a number of books by this author too so I wasn’t going to miss out of reading this new release. The Spy’s Wife is a love story that sweeps you off your feet and carries you through the gorgeous European backdrop with a glamorous tease of the 1930s.

Evie was an absolute joy to get to know. She was easy to like, from the very beginning, and then when she showed her claws (pretty early on), I was completely wow-ed. She’s got guts! From her generous open heart to her strength to power on despite heartbreak, she’s a heroine through and through.

While I found myself completely immersed in the story and loving it, as I stepped back I can’t help but let out a bit of a cynical laughter because this is basically a love at first sight and all the rest that happened to Evie was a little unbelievable. But then again, the atrocities committed during Holocaust were beyond believe too. So I choose to believe in a beautiful love story that was the highlight of my week.

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

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  facebook

The Fossil Hunter by Tea Cooper -a review

the fossil hunterThe Fossil Hunter by Tea Cooper

A fossil discovered at London’s Natural History Museum leads one woman back in time to nineteenth century Australia and a world of scientific discovery and dark secrets in this compelling historical mystery.

The Hunter Valley 1847

The last thing Mellie Vale remembers before the fever takes her is running through the bush as a monster chases her – but no one believes her story. In a bid to curb Mellie’s overactive imagination, her benefactors send her to visit a family friend, Anthea Winstanley. Anthea is an amateur palaeontologist with a dream. She is convinced she will one day find proof the great sea dragons – the ichthyosaur and the plesiosaur – swam in the vast inland sea that millions of years ago covered her property at Bow Wow Gorge. Soon, Mellie shares that dream for she loves fossil hunting too…

1919
When Penelope Jane Martindale arrives home from the battlefields of World War I with the intention of making her peace with her father and commemorating the death of her two younger brothers in the trenches, her reception is not as she had hoped. Looking for distraction, she finds a connection between a fossil at London’s Natural History museum and her brothers which leads her to Bow Wow Gorge. But the gorge has a sinister reputation – 70 years ago people disappeared. So when PJ uncovers some unexpected remains, it seems as if the past is reaching into the present and she becomes determined to discover what really happened all that time ago…

Published 27 October 2021|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

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

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

The Fossil Hunter is November’s BOTM from The Book Stack. I have been meaning to read this author’s works for some time now as I’ve really enjoyed the one short historical romance she wrote. Yet, I haven’t until now! The premise of alternate periods imbued with mystery and set in a familiar regional Australian setting were very interesting to me.

There are 2 main characters, one per time setting, and each are facing their own challenges. Yet, in the end, as past and present collided, they found in each other a kindred spirit. I have found this book to be a very easy read and definitely have enjoyed this spin of fossil hunting. However, I’m left slightly unsatisfied as I found I have questions which weren’t quite answered in the book.

My thanks to The Book Stack for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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