Author

Mel

Hi my name is Mel. I'm from Sydney, Australia and I am a mother of one (so far). This blog is just a collaboration of my favourite things, reading, being a mummy, and just being. Hope you enjoy!

To The Sea – Christine Dibley

To The Sea – Christine Dibley

To The Sea

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I am constantly impressed with the new Aussie authors that are emerging! What a bunch of talent we have here!

This book was delightful! What captured me the instant I saw it, is the beautiful cover. It really captures the essence of the story. I quickly became engrossed in the beautiful saga of this family, and its interesting and perhaps magical history.

A teenager named Zoe has been reported missing, most likely drowned off the coast of Tasmania. Tony is the lead investigator in her disappearance and realises right from the start that there is something strange about the family that lives in the beautiful house by the sea. While investigating Zoe’s life, Tony is swept into the stories of the history of the family, from hundreds of years ago, up until now. And some of it is a bit beyond belief. Will he be able to find Zoe? Is she really dead, or is there something extraordinary happening?

The story is told from four perspectives. Tony, the investigator carries the weight of the plot in his search for the missing girl. Zoe’s aunt Sadie and her parents John and Eva have the remaining narratives, and fill in the story with important history, leading certain things to come together, and others that create even more mystery.

The writing of this novel is absolutely beautiful. It didn’t take me long at all to get engrossed in the story and just when I was getting into a nice groove, the tales within the story BLEW ME AWAY. I was utterly captivated by the stories of love, loss, betrayal and sacrifice. And the romance! There were a few romances weaved into the story and they were all sweet, one especially. However, with so many back stories I sometimes became confused with who was who and where I was in the story. I think this is my issue more than the writing though, I am a very fast reader, and I have baby brain! I’m not surprised I got a bit lost – I am surprised I can remember my name most days at the moment!

My only other criticism was the ending. It just didn’t do it for me. It was good, and I got it, I really did. But personally I didn’t find it ultimately satisfying. However, it didn’t diminish the rest of the story for me at all!

Would I recommend To The Sea?

Absolutely. If my ramblings have even remotely sparked your interest, then I have no doubt you will enjoy it. Definitely worth reading!

Many thanks to the author via Pan Macmillan for a copy of To The Sea to read in exchange for an honest review.

PURCHASE:

Pan Macmillan | Kindle AU | Kindle US


If you enjoy To The Sea, you may enjoy:

The First Lie

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The Selection – Kiera Cass

The Selection (The Selection #1) – Kiera Cass

The Selection

1.5 Stars (1.5 / 5)

Sometimes I consider myself to be quite a YA fan. I’m not even sure what I like about the genre. I guess it depends on the novel. I like the adventure when someone is just growing up and is thrust into a world that they have to learn how to deal with, even though they have limited life experience. It reminds me of growing up I suppose. As I become older, growing into an adult becomes more and more of a memory and part of me yearns for the innocence and naivety of youth. Wow, that was deep. Ok enough of that. Lets cut a long story short: I hate “The Bachelor” on television… I have no idea what possessed me to listen to this audio book and think that I would enjoy it.

America Singer (yes, that’s actually her name) is a teenage girl growing up in a dystopian world, where people are divided into numbers based on class. The upper classes are wealthy, and never have to want for anything. The lower classes are starving, and work hard to stay alive. The prince needs to find himself a wife, so they run the bachelor. Its actually called the “selection” but its the darn bachelor television show but getting around trademarking. A bunch of women must compete for the love of the prince, he must eliminate all but one… Blah blah blah… And of course he is drawn to the beautiful lower class America, because she is “witty” and “stands up to him” and “brave”. But she is already in love with someone who is  of a lower class than she is. Oh what? A love triangle in a YA? Nooooo.

I actually didn’t dislike this book too much at the start. I was listening intently, enjoying the story. However the problem was, that the WHOLE BOOK was just the start. I knew that it was a series, what I didn’t realise was that the actual selection GOES ON for the whole series!!! Who does he choose in the end? No idea, there are another TWO books to get through first!!! Stuff that! I’m done. I have no doubt he will pick her in the end and that she will dump the lower class boyfriend for the handsome rich prince (that is not a spoiler, I honestly have no idea!)

Anyway, perhaps the 14 year old me would have enjoyed this a lot more. But it was just way too “oh woe is me, oh I love him, but I also love HIM”. Yes, this will end in heartbreak, which is exactly what my wasted hours listening to this audiobook has turned into.

Would I recommend The Selection?

Um no, I don’t think I would even recommend it for teenagers. I prefer books that describe love in a healthy way.

Mike drop.

The end

I purchased this audiobook from audible.com at my own expense.


If you enjoyed The Selection, you may enjoy:

Artificial

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Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) – Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom

5 Stars (5 / 5)

I originally rated this book 4.5, but then I was thinking about exactly what it was that deducted half a star and I honestly couldn’t come up with a single thing I didn’t like about it. It was even better than the first one, I just loved it!

So our friends have just finished with the Ice Court and have been betrayed. Inej has been taken, and they need to get her back. So begins an exciting tale of mystery, intrigue, romance, laughter and the classic twists and turns that have made this series so entertaining and unique.

So sad that this is the last one, and it is EXTREMELY RARE for me to say that about a series because I much prefer stand alone books usually! However, two is a very readable number, and I highly suggest you check this series out!

Again I listened to the audio version, and this time it got straight into it. I didn’t need to be introduced to the characters one by one like the first book, and it was WHAM BAM! The audio version was great, yet again. But this time it didn’t feel slow at all. The story was already set up, the characters already known and loved. So it was just my job to sit back and enjoy the ride.

It had more action, more intrigue, more betrayal, and more excitement than the first one. I actually couldn’t stop listening to this book. Ended up stayed up extremely late for a few nights even though I had things on in the morning! I was UPSET THAT AN 18HOUR AUDIOBOOK ENDED!!! UNHEARD OF!

Although I did pretend the characters were older like I did in the first book. It just made it much more enjoyable to me than imaging a bunch of 15 and 16 year olds doing all of that. Seriously!

Anyway, absolutely one of the best reads of the year!

Would I recommend Crooked Kingdom?

YES YES YES YES!!! If you enjoy fantasy and don’t mind YA (or can just be like me and pretend its not YA because it DOESN’T WORK) then you will LOVE this series. Its so unique, has a surprising depth to it and I will be absolutely checking out her other work set in this universe!

I purchased the audio version of Crooked Kingdom on audible.com at my own expense.

PURCHASE:

AUDIBLE | Kindle US | Kindle AU


If you enjoy Crooked Kingdom, you may enjoy:

Six of Crows

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Daintree – Annie Seaton

Daintree – Annie Seaton (The Porter Sisters #2)

Daintree

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 Another quality rural romance by Australian author Annie Seaton! Around this time last year the first of the Porter sisters novels was released “Kakadu Sunset” and I fell in love with the writing, the romance, and the setting. It wasn’t until after my review was up, and I had a chat with the author that I discovered she actually lived in the same town as me when I was growing up, and actually taught at my high school! Small world!

In this instalment, Emma Porter is living up in the Daintree rain forest. She is an emergency doctor who is happily living her life working and taking care of the community, when new doctor Jeremy enters the scene. He is an old flame and their relationship had ended abruptly and confusingly. As well as the old romance, Emma is trying to deal with some strange events that are occurring in the rain forest, ones which have put her life in danger.

Firstly, can we just take a moment to appreciate the cover of this book. Absolutely beautiful! Great choice! I think it was a perfect cover for the atmosphere of this book. The setting was fabulous! I thought Emma was a great character and I really enjoyed the mystery and adventure. And of course, the romance was lovely.

There are not may negatives! The only things were I felt that a few things in Daintree were a tiny bit rushed, and I was a bit disappointed about the way it went with Jeremy’s family. It felt a bit unresolved to me. I also figured out the final twist and the identity of the bad guys very early on, but that didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying the thoroughly wonderful story! So much more positive than negative! I thought it was just wonderful!

Would I recommend Daintree?

Absolutely! For any romance fan, and who doesn’t love an Aussie rural romance to get away from life for a few hours! I can’t wait to read the next one!

Many thanks to author Annie Seaton and Pan Macmillan Australia for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

REVIEW of Kakadu Sunset | Q&A with Author

PURCHASE:

PAN MACMILLAN AUS | KINDLE US | KINDLE AU


If you enjoy Daintree, you may enjoy:

Kakadu Sunset - Annie Seaton   The Peppercorn Project

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Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

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4 Stars (4 / 5)

Ok, there is a lot of hype surrounding this one. I was a bit out of the loop as I hadn’t read any of Bardugo’s previous Grisha books, although the first one, “Shadow and Bone” has been on my to read list for a long time.

Set in a fantasy world where a certain race of people called the Grisha have magical powers, Six of Crows is pretty much the story of a heist. Six people come together through Kax Brekker, the leader of a criminal gang, to perform a somewhat impossible caper. A lot of action, adventure and romance follows. I have heard it time and again compared to “oceans 11 meets game of thrones”, which is almost right… Except it didn’t quite have the game of thrones vibe for me. It did have the entertaining one though.

I must admit that for the most part, the hype is warranted. The characters are fantastic. All their backstories are superb, and I found them all to be extremely likeable. The humour was fabulous, the story was exceptionally well done and I did thoroughly enjoy it.

However I did have one major problem with it though. I haven’t heard many other people complain about this, so it may just be me: But how the hell can these characters be so young??? I cannot for the life of me bring myself to believe that Kaz, Inej and the rest of the characters are TEENAGERS! Especially Kaz… It just ruined the whole atmosphere for me, the things that they said and did just didn’t meet with their ages, no matter how much they had been made to mature quickly in their extremely hard lives. If I pretended that they were adults, at LEAST in their 20’s, the story was much more enjoyable for me. Of course I have nothing against teenagers, or the young adult genre. I quite like young adult. But this didn’t feel young adult to me. Also, I listened to the audio version and the narrators reading the story were obviously older, which that added to my dissonance about this. When they were talking about how they were teenagers merely 16 years old, I just kept going “NOPE, NOPE, NOPE! There is just NO WAY!!”.

Other than this major hurdle which I had to keep pretending was not written into the story, I thought it was great. It certainly did have that “Oceans 11” vibe, and I really loved the way all the twists and turns were written. very clever indeed! The only other thing that lowered the rating for me, was it had a bit of a slow start. It took me a good 5 hours to start to get into this book. And 5 hours of an audiobook is longer than I usually get if I’m not getting into it. But thankfully I persevered and it got SO MUCH BETTER! It was just a bit hard to follow all the characters and get into the world at the start. I’m not sure if I should have read the first series before attempting this one to get a better feel for it, but I got there in the end.

I love audio books with different narrators, but holy moly! 6 NARRATORS!??? It took me a while to get used to the voices and figure out what was going on, but it surprisingly worked.

Would I recommend Six of Crows?

Yes for sure! See if imagining the characters as a bit older makes it better for you?? I have the next one on audible ready to go! Might just jump straight in!

I purchased Six of Crows from audible.com at my own expense.


If you enjoy Six of Crows, you may enjoy:

Artificial   Vanquished   Dawn of Wonder

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Starflight – Melissa Landers

Starflight – Melissa Landers

Starflight

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Oh this book was SO MUCH FUN! I know in a lot of reviews for this book they compare it to Firefly, and I hate to jump on the bandwagon, but it is definitely like the YA version of Firefly. It does have a lot of similarities, however I found it original enough to not care at all! Just so much fun!

Solara is looking for a new life on the outer realm. She has a piece of land with her name on it. She just has to get there. She must indenture herself to a wealthy traveller in order to pay for the 5 month passage. When her old school nemesis Dorin is the only one to offer her passage in exchange for her servitude – she RELUCTANTLY accepts. And when they find themselves stranded, the only opportunity they have to get there is to jump aboard the Banshee, a run down, ugly ship with an interesting and hilarious crew who have a lot of secrets.

I loved all the characters, they were all so funny and entertaining. And I ADORED the banter between Solaris and Dorin. A slow burning romance that was worth EVERY TORTUROUS SECOND!

I loved the bad guys, I loved the action and the story. I loved it all!

I listened to the audio book which was narrated by Amanda Dolan and I thought she was FANTASTIC! My main problem with a lot of female narrators I have listened to (sorry to be sexist), is their portrayal of male characters. So many times I have commented that they sound all the same and totally robotic and annoying. Not in this one my friends, Dolan does a great job making all the characters unique, and of course the writing helps with that too. I didn’t get annoyed once at the portrayal ANY character, and that is saying something. Superb!

Would I recommend Starflight?

Yes, if you are a sci-fi fan with an addiction to the TV show Firefly like myself, you will absolutely enjoy this. If you haven’t seen Firefly, if you area a fan of sarcastic humour, light-hearted comedy and space-action, with a splash of romance, give it a go!

I purchased the audio version of Starflight from audible.com at my own expense.

PURCHASE:

AUDIBLE | Booktopia AU | Book Depository


If you enjoy Starflight, you may enjoy:

Zero World   Fortune's Pawn

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False Security – Angie Martin

False Security – Angie Martin

False Security

3 Stars (3 / 5)

I enjoyed this one. It was a good romantic suspense with a solid story line and good characters.

Rachel Thomas is running from her past. When she meets the handsome Mark, she wonders if she will be able to take a chance on a relationship with him. However her past is quickly catching up with her, and it is deadly.

This book is set out into three parts. Part one is the present, part two goes back in time to when Rachel was a child and growing into a woman, and part three is the present again. I found part one a bit slow. I felt that suddenly all these characters were introduced and it was almost as though we were expected to know them already. The romance started off sweetly but seemed to fizzle. However, it totally picked up when it entered part two. Things started to make a lot more sense and almost magically came together, and I really started to get into it and enjoyed it.

I liked that the book addressed the issue of domestic violence, and there was a lot of action and suspense. The romance aspect was cute and I enjoyed listening to how her life developed and how she got into her situation. I really  loved the characters, especially the nasty ones.

The audio book was good. I enjoyed the narrator, however I didn’t like her portrayal of the male characters. They all sounded robotic and it was hard to tell them apart at times.

Would I recommend False Security?

If you are a fan of romantic suspense you will enjoy this book. It had some slower parts, but overall it was a solid, enjoyable story.

Many thanks to Cherry Hill Publishing for an audio version of False Security in exchange for an honest review.


If you enjoy False Security, you may enjoy:

White Hot   The Obsession   Love Is Murder

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Dark Matter – Blake Crouch

Dark Matter – Blake Crouch

Dark Matter

5 Stars (5 / 5)

Well, this one is a MAJOR contender for my favourite book of the year! This book was right up my alley, I love nerdy science stuff, and the concept of this book really appealed to me. I was trying not to expect too much as it is very hyped. But in the end, I was totally swept away by this fabulous sci-fi adventure.

Think Schrodinger’s cat as a novel if you can… Jason Dessen is a brilliant scientist, leading a very happy, yet average life as a science professor, wondering what would have happened if his life led him on a different path. He is abducted by a masked man at gunpoint, drugged, and awakens in a world that is not his own. His house isn’t his own, his wife isn’t married to him, and his son doesn’t exist. What the hell is going on?

This is all the plot I am going to give you. It gets strange, then weird, then weirdER, then FREAKING CRAZY!

I listened to the audio version of dark matter and i LOVED IT! Jon Lindstrom was the absolute PERFECT narrator for this book, he made every minute of listening to it extremely enjoyable.

This book made me think, it made me laugh, it made me go WHOA!!!!! Absolutely bloody brilliant!

Its not often i’m finished talking about a book in only 200 words, but I’m done. I don’t want to ruin anything else for you, read it or listen to it. ASAP! Its absolutely fantastic!

Would I recommend Dark Matter?

YES! Even my friends who HATE sci-fi absolutely LOVE this book, and that’s saying something! Highly recommend the audio version, but I am sure it would be just as good with words!

 I listened to Dark Matter through audible.com, at my own expense.

PURCHASE:

AMAZON | AMAZON AU | AUDIBLE | AUDIBLE AUPanMacmillan AU


If you enjoy Dark Matter, you may enjoy:

The Fold   14   Ready Player One

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Orphan X – Gregg Hurwitz

Orphan X – Gregg Hurwitz

Orphan X

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Oh this book was a lot of fun! I listened to the audio version of this as I was unable to read actual words due to debilitating morning sickness, and the narrator was absolutely fantastic!

Evan Smoak is the Nowhere Man. Brought up as a child in the “Orphan Program”, Evan has some killer James Bond/Jason Bourne skills. Since the orphan program was disbanded, he uses these skills to help people in need. People in extremely desperate situations. Unfortunately someone is tracking him… Someone as dangerous as he is.

Well, this one certainly sucked me in. Perhaps it was the fact I was so sick and needed another world to escape to, but it was exactly what I needed to listen to at the time. I was completely hooked. I loved the story, I loved the narrator, the romance, the action, the violence… Loved it all.

But… The reason I give this 4.5 and not a full perfect score, is the predictability aspect. Of course I’m fairly sure that 99.9 % of people figured out who the boss was, and at least 50% could also guess the big twist right at the end. There was only one or two people it could have POSSIBLY been right!? It was so extremely predictable I was BEGGING for there to be some other spin or twist which would make it less obvious, but alas – I was disappointed. For me to deduct only 0.5 Stars however is saying something, because I usually deduct a lot more for something as major as that. But I just liked it so darn much, so it didn’t really take much away from the story for me. There were also a few minor twists that also held me.

The narrator Scott Brick was a FANTASTIC choice. And there is a sequel coming out! I may have to listen to the audio of that one too and hope that Scott is doing the sequel!

Would I recommend Orphan X?

YES YES YES Lots of fun! I can easily see it being made into some sort of blockbuster action flick which I would happily pay to see at the movies. Thoroughly enjoyed!

I listened to the audio version of Orphan X on audible.com, purchased at my own expense. Well worth the credit!

PURCHASE:

AMAZON | AMAZON AU | AUDIBLE |


If you enjoy Orphan X, you may also enjoy:

Yeagers Law  The Comfort of Black - Carter Wilson   Zero World

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The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Yes, this is a book for book-lovers! If I see that phrase in one more review of this one I think I’m going to scream! So just to be fun, I decided to LISTEN to this book on audio (because I’m a rebel like that… and I had severe morning sickness which rendered me unable to read 3 lines in a book without puking for over three months). It wasn’t the 5 screaming stars that I was almost expecting from reading some of my friends reviews, but I did like it a lot.

Our story begins when Margaret Lea, a biographer, is sent a letter from one of the most famous authors in Britain, Vida Winter. She is dying and wants Margaret to write her life story. Confused, as Margaret usually only writes biographies of long dead people, and also because Ms Winter is well known for her secrecy, Margaret decides to travel to Ms Winters estate and talk with her. Of course she agrees to write the book, and thus the tale of Vida Winter beings.

And it is quite a tale. Twists and turns and more twists and some more turns, and then a MASSIVE twist which I never saw coming. But when it did come, it was a little bit too unbelievable for me. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t stop the story from being fabulous, but it was just a little bit much.

I found the story of the girls at Angelfield so fascinating. What a life! I really enjoyed the gothic atmosphere and all the drama.

I thought Margaret’s obsession with her dead sister was extremely well written and quite unnerving. It keep the tone of the novel quite brooding and dark.

I didn’t mind the shifts back and forth in time, and enjoyed the somewhat slow unravel of the truth.

The audio version was really well done. I love when audiobooks have more than one narrator. It really helps keep the characters separate, which I believe is really important. Often when listening to audiobooks, I can get a bit lost if the narrator is a monotone and is reading all the characters in a similar voice. Different actors really enhances my listening experience! And the two women in this one were fantastic. They really differentiated the characters completely and made it extremely easy to follow.

Would I recommend The Thirteenth Tale?

Yes, it was well worth reading. A touch slow in parts but overall it was a gripping novel with lots of twists and turns and sometimes had unnerving subject matter.

I read The Thirteenth Tale with a local book club, purchased on audible at my own expense.

PURCHASE:

AMAZON | AMAZON AU |Book depository | AUDIO


If you enjoy The Thirteenth Tale, you may enjoy:

The Muse

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