Month

June 2016

Out of the Ice – Ann Turner

Out of the Ice – Ann Turner

Out of the Ice

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

What a great read! I saw this at Big W the other day in the top 10 section and it reminded me that I had it on my kindle ready to go! I have been so swamped with books to review lately, and this was one of the ones I was most looking forward to reading, but with other deadlines and tours I haven’t had a chance to read it before now. Good things come to those who wait!

Laura is an environmental scientist. She is sent to an old whaling station on a remote island in Antarctica to study the wildlife in the area, and decide if the station should be made open for tourists. When she arrives at the base she is treated extremely strangely by the staff, and then some odd and eerie things begin to happen. What is going on at the old whaling station? Who is trespassing and trying to scare her? And who can she trust?

This was an absolutely gripping, atmospheric piece of writing by Ann Turner. She has captured the isolation of the ice and the horror of the old whaling station perfectly.

Laura is an excellent character. I love how she was damaged but had a great inner strength and passion for the animals at the whaling station. I loved how at times you didn’t know if what she was experiencing was real or not.

I must admit I was unprepared for where this book ended up! I wasn’t expecting it and it was almost an abrupt change from where I assumed it was going. This wasn’t a bad thing at all, it was just surprising! The ending was good, and there were plenty of twists and turns.

I just LOVED the downright creepiness that dominated a lot of the book! I thought it was fantastic!

Would I recommend Out of the Ice?

Yes! Anyone who likes a little suspense, intrigue and ice will enjoy this one!

Many thanks to Simon and Schauster and author Ann Turner via NetGalley for a copy of Out of the Ice in exchange for my honest review.

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AMAZON AU | AMAZON | Booktopia


If you enjoy Out of the Ice, you may enjoy:

Little Black Lies

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The Darwin Elevator – Jason M. Hough

The Darwin Elevator (Dire Earth Cycle #1) – Jason M. Hough

The Darwin Elevator

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I immediately purchased this audio book after I finished Zero World. I loved Zero World so much and wanted to read (or listen to) something else by Jason M. Hough straight away! I heard great things about this series and wanted to delve straight in. While I did not quite enjoy it as much as Zero World, it certainly did not disappoint!

Over 200 years from now, an alien plague has taken over the earth and it is in ruin. All except Darwin, Australia of all places. Darwin was saved because a few years before the plague hit, an alien space ship arrived and put an elevator up into space. On the ground it emits a “aura” keeping all who reside in this area free from the symptoms of the disease. While outside the aura, the disease leaves humans in an angry “kill everyone they come across” state. But the elevator has started malfunctioning. Its up to Skylar, the leader of a scavenger group who are all mysteriously immune to the alien disease, to save the remainder of humanity.

I just thought this was such an interesting and original concept. And set in Darwin! Awesome! I really enjoyed the setting and the atmosphere of humanity striving to survive. I loved the politics and power plays, and thought the elevator and the aliens were just awesome. I was hooked!

Thought the characters were all fantastic, I loved the bad guys in this! They were horrible, in a good way! Skylar and Tania were awesome and there were so many awesome secondary characters!

There were a few slow parts and a lot of detail at times, but overall I really enjoyed the writing. The narrator was great, and the audio version was fabulous. I did get a bit annoyed with the narrators attempt at Australian accents, however I was able to let this slide as I got used to it!

There were twists and turns, deceit and deception, and a touch of romance. Unfortunately just a touch mind you. I am super excited to read (or listen to, I haven’t decided which yet) the next one! I really want to know what happens with the characters and those darn aliens!

Would I recommend The Darwin Elevator?

Yes for any sci-fi fan or any fan of dystopian/apocalyptic/futuristic books. Well worth the read!

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If you enjoy The Darwin Elevator, you may enjoy:

Zero World   Artificial

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Summer’s Child – Diane Chamberlain

Summer’s Child – Diane Chamberlain

Summer's Child

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I purchased this audiobook on Audible.com as it was a special of the day and looked interesting. I had heard of Diane Chamberlain, but have never read one of her books before. After purchasing it I looked at some of my friends reviews on GoodReads, and was disappointed to see that all but one of my friends who read it gave it 2 stars or less! By that stage though, I had already started listening to it and was enjoying it, so I thought I would see how long I could hold out. Well, so glad I didn’t listen to my friends reviews! I thought it was a great book!

On her 11th birthday, Daria goes out to the beach next to her home and discovers a newborn baby near some rocks by the water. When the authorities cannot find who the mother is, Daria’s family adopt the little girl and name her Shelly. Twenty years Shelly is now an adult, and has contacted a friend from Daria’s childhood, Rory Taylor. He is a TV presenter who works solving mysteries and Shelly wants him to help find her biological mother. Thus begins Rory’s investigation into what happened all those years ago, who is Shelly’s mother? And what other secrets is he going to unveil along the way?

I was immediately swept in by this book. I found it to be captivating and interesting. Sure, it had some slow parts and dragged on at times, but I was quite happy going along for the ride.

I found the characters to be great, they all had their secrets and it was extremely entertaining listening to it all come gradually together.

The narrator wasn’t the best I had ever heard, she was slightly dull in her portrayal of the characters and overall narration, however it was still enjoyable and easy to listen to. It didn’t take much away from the story for me.

The romance was sweet, and there was heaps of romantic tension! Fabulous!

There were so many twists and turns and revelations, I love it when I can’t see where something is going, and when the final reveal occurred, I was a bit floored! I actually thought of one part of the correct twist towards the beginning, but dismissed my idea because there were so many other things happening to distract me. Well played Ms Chamberlain, well played.

Would I recommend Summer’s Child?

Yes, absolutely for any fan of sweet romances, and family secrets! I thought it was a great read and am looking forward to reading others from Diane Chamberlain. I have heard this is not one of her best so I would LOVE to see what her best is like!


If you enjoy Summer’s Child, you may enjoy:

Like I Can Love    Running Against The Tide    Romance 50's Style

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The Peppercorn Project – Nicki Edwards – BLOG TOUR

The Peppercorn Project – Nicki Edwards

 

SUMMARY:

One heartbroken woman. One bitter cop. One community to save them.

After the tragic death of her husband, single mum Isabelle Cassidy is bereft and broke. When she hears about The Peppercorn Project – a scheme that offers affordable rent in the tiny but vibrant town of Stony Creek – Issie sees it as her family’s best chance at a fresh start.

Newly singleThe Peppercorn Project police officer Matt Robertson moved to Stony Creek to lick his wounds after a bitter divorce. Wanting only peace and quiet, Matt is against the Project, seeing it as a threat to the peace he’s found in the country town – until he meets Issie. Despite himself, Matt is drawn to the widow and feels inexplicably protective of her fragile family.

Just when Issie begins to imagine a future with Matt, an accident proves how far she has to go before she can move beyond her grief. But the citizens of Stony Creek won’t rest until they see these two broken souls find a new beginning, together.

Can Issie move beyond the pain of her past and entrust Matt with her family, and her heart?

A gorgeous rural romance for fans of Fiona McArthur, Rachael Johns and Fiona McCallum.

 

MY REVIEW OF THE PEPPERCORN PROJECT

This book was JUST WHAT I NEEDED today! I had a few child-free hours to kill (an extremely rare occurrence), so I curled up on the couch with a blanket and The Peppercorn Project and I DEVOURED it in one sitting! It left me in a fabulous mood!

Isabelle and her two kids travel to Stony Creek in an attempt to win one of four houses in the peppercorn project, an initiative to offer struggling families cheap rent for a year in an effort to bring some new people to the town. Following a rocky start, Isabelle and her children begin to settle into life in Stony Creek, albeit with some teething problems. But grief is a difficult process, and when she starts to develop feelings for the local police officer Matt, it brings some difficult things to the surface.

I just thought this book was fabulous. I love a good romance, and this one hit the spot for me. It was written extremely well and had enough drama and enough going on to keep it interesting throughout. It didn’t slow down.

Sure, it was a little corny in parts, but I haven’t read a romance that isn’t! It’s the point! I loved the characters and the people in Stony Creek. The premise was great and it actually had me shedding a few tears at times.

Author Nicki Edwards is a critical care nurse like myself so I can’t believe I haven’t read any of her books before this one! It helped me connect with the main character, and was able to avoid my number one pet peeve – Medical inaccuracies! Woohoo! I must read her other books, especially in the “escape to the country” series.

Would I recommend The Peppercorn Project?

Absolutely! For any Aussie rural romance/drama fan. It was a fabulous read!

Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for a copy of The Peppercorn Project in exchange for my honest review, and for having me on this blog tour!

5 Stars (5 / 5)

The Peppercorn Project is published by Pan Macmillan Australia and is available HERE

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicki Edwards is a city girl with a country heart. Growing up on a small family acreage on the outskirts of Geelong, she spent her formative years riding horses and pretending the neighbour’s farm was her own.
Nicki Edwards
After spending three years in a regional city in New South Wales, her love of small country towns was further developed. One day she plans to escape to the country with her husband Tim and live on land, surrounded by horses, dogs, cows and sheep. Until then she lives vicariously through the lives of the characters in the rural romance novels she loves to read.

In 2006, when Nicki’s youngest child started school, she returned to university, juggling full time study, part time work and raising four small children, to achieve her dream of becoming a nurse. Always a voracious reader, Nicki’s other dream was to be an author.
Nicki writes medical rural romances, and when she isn’t reading, writing or dreaming about rural life and medical emergencies, she can be found working as a Critical Care Nurse in a busy Intensive Care Unit, where many of her stories and characters are imagined.

Nicki and Tim reside in Geelong, Victoria with their four teenage/young adult children. Life is busy, fun and at times exhausting, but Nicki wouldn’t change it for anything.

Her debut novel, “Intensive Care” was released in January 2015 with Momentum, the digital imprint of Pan Macmillan Australia. Her second novel, “Emergency Response” came out in October 2015. The third and fourth books in the ‘Escape to the Country’ series, “Life Support” and “Critical Condition” are available now.

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If you enjoyed The Peppercorn Project, you may enjoy:

Kakadu Sunset - Annie Seaton    image   The Secret Years    the saddler boys

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Zero World – Jason M. Hough

Zero World – Jason M. Hough

Zero World

5 Stars (5 / 5)

WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW!!!! Oh what fun!!!!! This book is the reason I love Sci-Fi! I can’t believe it is not more popular! It was AMAZEBALLS! I only found out about Zero World through GoodReads Sci-Fi recommendations, and I am so glad I bought it! I listened to the audio version on Audible and it was FABULOUS! – One of the best I have ever listened to!

Peter Caswell is a secret agent. A super-spy! He is altered and advanced so that he can do a lot of cool stuff thanks to an implant in his brain. However this implant also activates after a set time, to wipe the memory of his mission. So when he is sent to find a scientist who escaped a space ship after killing the rest of the crew, he only has a short time before his brain is wiped and he forgets doing it. However the scientist seems to have disappeared through a wormhole near the sun, and once Caswell is on the other side, he soon learns that everything is not what it seems.

Oh man this book was an awesome ride!! Full of action, adventure and mystery! The audio version with Gideon Emery was FANTASTIC! I LOVED his voice and his portrayal of all the characters! They all had a different distinctive voice and man, I could listen to that voice all day long! I am going to find other audio books he has done!

The characters were FABULOUS! I loved Caswell and the premise of him not being able to remember his previous missions. And with a HUGE twist at the end I had NO IDEA was coming! Loved it! And Melnie, with her spiky hair and purple eyes!

I loved the twists and turns through the book, the thing I love about Sci-Fi is that it can be as unimaginable and unrealistic as the author wants because anything is possible! Without giving too much away, it was a great story, had loads of science elements and was SO IMAGINATIVE! Hough created an awesome universe and I really hope that he does more with the premise and this isn’t just a one off! I WANT MORE!

My ONLY criticism is that there wasn’t enough romance! There was SUCH opportunity for a bit more romance, and that would have made it even better for me, cause I love that crap!

Would I recommend Zero World?

ABSOLUTELY! For any Sci-Fi fan, or any Sci-Fi novice who wants a great place to start! Thoroughly enjoyed it! One of the best books I have read (or listened to) this year!

*I purchased Zero World myself on Audible.com

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PURCHASE

Zero World does not appear to be available on Audible AU! Bummer! But check out the kindle version.

AUDIBLE US | AMAZON | AMAZON AU | PAPER


If you enjoy Zero World, you may enjoy:

14    Fortune's Pawn

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Artificial – Jadah McCoy

Artificial (The Kepler Chronicles #1) – Jadah McCoy

Artificial

3.25 Stars (3.25 / 5)

I enjoyed this Young/New adult dystopian tale. I thought the cover was well designed and the synopsis grabbed me. It has amazing ratings on GoodReads so I was excited to be approved for a review copy.

Syl and her friends are survivors on Kepler, a colony of future Earth. By day they scavenge for food in the dilapidated city. By night they hide underground, away from the genetically engineered “Cull”, bug-like humanoid creatures intent on devouring everything in their path. Syl is kidnapped by Androids and is genetically altered, beginning to transform into one of the cull. She is rescued by an android with emotions named Bastion, who attempts to help her and the other humans who have been captured.

I really enjoyed the start of this novel. It began with a bang, and non stop action. I was enthralled! However after Syl gets kidnapped it lost a lot of its momentum for me. The storyline was still interesting, but it just lost the spark from the first part of the novel.

I liked the format of the chapters, alternating between Syl and Bastion’s point of view.

I didn’t really gel with the characters. Syl, and some things she did annoyed me and the romantic tension thing that was between her and Bastion was totally weird and I wasn’t feeling it at all.

There were some good twists and turns and the ending was not what I was expecting. There was a heap of action and a fair bit of blood and gore which was good. I liked the cull creatures. They weren’t in it as much as I was expecting in this one, I can only imagine that there will be more of them in subsequent books.

I will be interested to see how the series develops following that ending. It left a lot of questions that I would like to know the answer to!

Would I recommend Artificial?

Yes, for YA/NA fans! They will definitely enjoy the story! I will be interested to read the next one to see how it progresses.

Many thanks to the author and publisher via NetGalley for a copy of Artificial in exchange for my honest review.

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AMAZON | AMAZON AUBook Depository


If you enjoy Artificial, you may enjoy:

Vanquished    6x9 front ebook    Poison

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Flight of Dreams – Ariel Lawhon

Flight of Dreams – Ariel Lawhon

Flight of Dreams

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Well, I don’t think I have been so thoroughly educated by a book in a long time! I knew absolutely nothing about the Hindenburg disaster before reading this, and now I feel absolutely enlightened, and a little terrified that this could have happened.

Based on the actual events of May, 1937 – Although worked into a piece of fiction, the Hindenburg makes its final voyage from Germany to the United states. We all know the outcome, have seen the pictures of the air ship engulfed in flames, crashing to the ground. But Lawhon takes us on an enthralling mystery. Out of the colourful characters on the airship those fateful three days, who was the one to bring it down? Numerous passengers stories intertwine to create a story of intrigue, romance and revenge.

I must admit I spent a lot of time on Google and Wikipedia while reading this novel, just to get a better feel for the Hindenburg. The disaster was such a huge event at the time, which has largely been forgotten about,  and it was wonderful that this little gem brought the Hindenburg briefly back to life!

I loved the research that the author did with this novel. All the characters were real people, even if their stories were fiction for the most part. She states that everyone who died on the ship, died in the novel, which she weaved well into her storyline. Even details such as the movement of the airship and the mechanics were meticulously detailed and fascinating!

The only criticisms I have is that it was slightly slow moving in places, and I felt the crash was all over the place, too much going on at once… But of course it was in real life too. It took only 30 seconds for it to hit the ground after it caught alight.

The characters were charming and it was even better knowing that they were based on real people. Both the passengers and the crew were fascinating to read about, right up to the final climactic crash and aftermath.

Would I recommend Flight of Dreams?

Absolutely! Anyone who is a fan of historical fiction, or anyone who has any interest in the Hindenburg will appreciate the information in this book, as well as the exciting storyline.

Many thanks to the author and publisher via NetGalley for a copy of Flight of Dreams to read and review.

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If you enjoy Flight of Dreams, you may enjoy:

The Secret Years    Burial Rites    verity-uk

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Vanquished – S.E. Green

Vanquished – S.E. Green

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I don’t do many blog tours, but when I saw the cover of this one I had to check it out. It has an amazing rating on goodreads and the synopsis grabbed me, so I decided to go for it. SO GLAD I DID!!!

 

Vanquished

Goodreads Summary

Where society’s elite go to explore their darkest desires. And where promises of freedom are just manipulative lies.

For a price, the world’s most powerful people can have their darkest desires. On a private island hidden in the ocean, they may hunt humans for game, attend gladiator-style fights, participate in elaborate orgies, and freely indulge in all the deadly sins within the cosplay of ancient times.

Abducted from their life in Miami, Valoria and her younger sister wake up in this secret society, wherein Valoria is condemned to the fights and her sister is taken away to become a sex slave.

Now “property” of a sadistic tyrant, Valoria joins other men and women captives who are forced to fight and maim for others’ enjoyment, to run in their hunts, and participate in deviant fantasies. And she’s under the cold, watchful eye of Alexior, a hired trainer with his own agenda for being involved in the twisted decadence.

After surviving several near-death ordeals, a defiant Valoria focuses on her training and against all odds soon becomes a favorite. But she fights for one thing and one thing only—to be reunited with her sister and to be freed.

But promises of freedom are sometimes just manipulative lies . . .

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My Review of Vanquished

Well, that totally took me for surprise in a fabulous way! I absolutely LOVED this book! WOW!

Think Hunger Games meets Sparticus! Valoria wakes up in a strange place and is auctioned off to the highest bidder. There she must become a warrior, and fight for her freedom and the freedom of her sister, who has been sent off to be a sex slave. Valoria must meet multiple foes and fight to the death. She must also figure out a way to escape this horrible place with her sister.

I don’t want to give too much away, but AWESOME!!! Note though, this is NOT YOUNG ADULT! Don’t go letting your 14 year old read this! There are explicit raunchy scenes and a HUGE amount of gruesome violence! Also, if you are sensitive to the topics of violence, slavery and other atrocities, you may want to think twice about this book. However I actually think the author did a really good job writing those horrible scenes quite tactfully.

I want to mention that I was REALLY glad this book was not the first of a series. I was expecting it to continue on and end in a cliff-hanger like most of these types of books do, so I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that it ENDED. Sure, there is always the possibility of a sequel, but it had an extremely satisfying ending! And the fact it was a stand alone was so great! Sometimes you just want the story to end, you don’t want it dragging on for 3 books and 4 movies!

The characters were awesome! I really got engrossed in the relationships that Veloria had. I absolutely LOVED the romance! GOOSEBUMPS!!! I think the author pulled it off really well! There is something about forbidden/hopeless love… And the twist near the end? Genius! Didn’t see that one coming!

There were a few good themes in there that were explored too, slavery, ownership, the class system, violence as entertainment, humanity etc etc.

Would I recommend Vanquished?

Yes! For any fans of adventure/violence/thriller/gory novels that keep you up ALL night to finish them in one sitting! Loved it!

Many thanks to author S.E. Green via XPRESSO blog tours for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

5 Stars (5 / 5)

PURCHASE:

AMAZON | AMAZON AU | Barnes and Noble |

Click below to enter to win an E-Copy of Vanquished, or an AMAZON gift card!

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Click below to see the Vanquished blog tour schedule, thanks to XPRESSO tours!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SE

S. E. Green (aka Shannon Greenland) is the award winning author of several novels including the teen thriller, KILLER INSTINCT, and the spy series, THE SPECIALISTS. She lives off the coast of Florida with her very grouchy dog.

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If you enjoy Vanquished, you may enjoy:

Kraken Rising

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Daisy in Chains – Sharon Bolton

Daisy In Chains – Sharon Bolton

Daisy in Chains

5 Stars (5 / 5)

I am such a massive Sharon Bolton fan! Ever since I finished the last page of Now You See Me, I was hooked! Not only on the Lacey Flint series, but also all of her stand alone novels. I quickly devoured them and was left feeling sad that there weren’t any more. So I was SO EXCITED when I saw Daisy in Chains was being released!

Maggie Rose is a crime writer and lawyer, and is approached by the mother of a convicted serial killer Hamish Wolfe, to get her help to set her innocent son free. At first reluctant to take the case as she believes him guilty, Maggie soon becomes interested in the case and the charismatic killer, who has a legion of female fans. Soon she becomes swept up in the investigation. Did he really kill those women? What other secrets is he hiding?

Another 5 Stars to my favourite author of all time Sharon Bolton! I absolutely loved this book! I love the way that Bolton weaves the story together, using letters, emails, media reports and the actual events of the story. I thought it was fantastically clever and made it an extremely enjoyable and unique read.

As always, her characters are damaged, raw, and yet incredibly likeable. I loved having absolutely NO IDEA what the twist was or what the ending was going to be like! I think Bolton is the only author that keeps me guessing EVERY TIME! I have not figured out the twist in ANY of her books and that is so refreshing for me as I usually figure it out.

So yes, there are a few massive unexpected twists and turns, even when you think you have figured out what is going on, she slides in there with another one that BLOWS YOU AWAY!

I must admit Daisy in Chains didn’t quite grab me as much as Little Black Lies, which remains my favourite book of all time. But I still don’t have anything bad to say about it at all. I loved the games, the characters, the lies, the plot! Everything!

Would I recommend Daisy in Chains?

YES!! Thriller/mystery fans should read Daisy in Chains, and ALL of Sharon Bolton’s books! You won’t regret it!

HUGE thanks to author Sharon Bolton and the publisher via NetGalley for an advanced copy of Daisy in Chains in exchange for my honest review.

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AMAZON | AMAZON AU | Book Depository


If you enjoy Daisy in Chains, you may enjoy:

Little Black Lies    Now You See Me   Dead Scared    Like This, For Ever    A Dark and Twisted Tide

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The Dry – Jane Harper

The Dry – Jane Harper

The Dry

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I really enjoyed this crime mystery by talented UK born, now Aussie author Jane Harper! I expect that this book will do very well and that The Dry wont be the last hit we see from her!

Police officer Aaron Falk comes back to Kiewarra, the town where he grew up as a teenager in Victoria for a funeral. His childhood best friend Luke has murdered his wife and son and then killed himself. As the drought suffering town mourns for the loss of the family and the devastation of the circumstances, Falk begins to think there is more to the story. Did Luke really kill his family? And was it linked to a secret from their youth?

I loved the way this story weaved together. Sometimes flashbacks in a novel will annoy me, but the ones in this story were easy to follow and slowly but cleverly put the whole story and past into perspective.

Harper did a great job of describing the atmosphere of the town, the depressing drought impacting everyone in its wake. It was almost palpable. Every character was affected.

The characters were interesting and engaging. Aaron was a great main character and it was great to see him slowly put all the pieces of the puzzle together. I prefer a little more romantic tension in a book, but romance was not the name of the game in this one, and there were brief moments to keep me satisfied.

I found it a tiny bit slow moving at times, however I loved how it would take you in one direction and you would suspect someone, and then there would be a twist and you were left at square one again. However I did figure out the twist quite early in the novel, it was still a really fun ride to get there!

Oh and the ending took me totally by surprise, I was not expecting that!

Would I recommend The Dry?

Absolutely! A great Aussie mystery, well written and engaging! Any fan of the genre will surely enjoy this one!

Many thanks to author Jane Harper via Pan Macmillan for an advanced copy of The Dry in exchange for my honest review.

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PURCHASE:

Pan Macmillan | AMAZON AU | AMAZON

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jane Harper was born in Manchester in the UK, and moved to Australia with her family at age eight.

She spent six years in Boronia, Victoria, and during that time gained Australian citizenship.jane harper

Returning to the UK with her family as a teenager, she lived in Hampshire before studying English and History at the University of Kent in Canterbury.

On graduating, she completed a journalism entry qualification and got her first reporting job as a trainee on the Darlington & Stockton Timesin County Durham.

Jane worked for several years as a senior news journalist for the Hull Daily Mail, before moving back to Australia in 2008.

She worked first on the Geelong Advertiser, and in 2011 took up a role with the Herald Sun in Melbourne.

In 2014, Jane submitted a short story which was one of 12 chosen for the Big Issue‘s annual Fiction Edition.

That inspired her to pursue creative writing more seriously, and that year she applied for the Curtis Brown Creative online 12-week novel writing course.

She was accepted with a submission for the book that would become The Dry and wrote the first full draft during the three-month course.

Jane lives in St Kilda with her husband.

(From authors website)

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If you enjoy The Dry, you may enjoy:

   Kakadu Sunset - Annie Seaton   White Hot

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