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Romance, 50’s Style – Margaret Lynette Sharp

Romance 50's Style

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Ah the 50’s… What an era! Even though it was set 30 years before I was born, I still appreciated this story of Romance, 50’s Style!

The novel is comprised of two stories, Whatever it Takes and Sisters and Rivals. Whatever it Takes is a story of Lisa, who goes back to Australia from London for the wedding of her father to his secretary. She has left behind her boyfriend Liam who she was starting to get serious with. There she runs into an old flame, and has to ultimately decide her future. Sisters and Rivals is the story of Linda. Linda has started dating Harry, whom she adores. However her sister Tessa has a history of stealing her boyfriends. Even though she is engaged to one of Linda’s exes, can Linda trust Harry not to fall for Tessa’s charms?

Loved all the characters! I found Linda to be a bit of a bore though. I guess at that time it was less common to stand up for yourself, and it just wasn’t her personality. However I felt utterly sorry for her situation. It made me appreciate that I am an only child and don’t have a horrid sister!

The thing that I kept thinking about when I read this book was just how different things are now. I guess its up to interpretation to decide if this is a good thing or bad thing, but personally I am glad I am from this generation. I appreciate the different style of “courting” that we have now. It was much simpler back then, or superficially so anyway. Life is different now. Multiple marriages in a life is beginning to be a norm, social values are so totally different, and of course we all have huge flat screen televisions now 😉

I enjoyed the writing style of this book, it was light but interesting and I enjoyed the characters and the dialogue between the different characters. Sharp did a great job recreating the era and the mood of the 50’s with her writing.

I enjoyed the setting of the 50’s in Australia, specifically my home town Sydney. It was interesting reading about places I have been and love, from such a different time perspective.

Would I recommend it?

Yes, for all fans of a little bit of romance and a bit of fun.

Many thanks to author Margaret Lynette Sharp for a copy of this book to review.

If you enjoyed this book you may enjoy:

taking leaps and finding ghosts     piece by piece - Cathie Whitmore    The Secret Years    the mine

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Cherry Season – Trish Morey

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4 Stars (4 / 5)

I have been constantly reading thriller after thriller lately, this book was just the break I needed from the blood and gore!

American backpacker Lucy loves living in the moment, and never stays in the same place for very long. She randomly finds her way from Melbourne to the hills in Adelaide where she tries to find some work. Cherry orchard owner Dan is looking for cherry pickers and hires the carefree (and beautiful) Lucy. Dan has run the orchard since his father passed away and doesn’t really have time to date, let alone find a wife and settle down with a family. So when sparks fly with his new cherry picker, he tries to extinguish them. After all, she is only staying for the cherry season, and will then be on her way to the next place. But can they resist each other?

Loved the setting of this book! I haven’t read enough books set in Australia! I also knew nothing about cherry picking or the process that goes into sorting and selling the cherries, so it was interesting to learn a bit about that.

The characters were sweet and charming. From the main characters, to the grumpy next door neighbour, I enjoyed reading them all! Dan was the typical romance hero, rugged and handsome… And Lucy was beautiful and fun. It was completely predictable and sweet and corny, but that’s exactly what I loved about it!

I really enjoyed the relationship between Dan and his sisters and family. I felt that even when the things they were talking about were not that interesting, that I was still engaged with them because they were such wonderful characters. I really enjoyed reading about Lucy. I liked how her back story was finally revealed and I felt I could relate to her in some ways.

The romance was lovely. It had a lot of tension and a few hot and steamy scenes, and some very sweet moments.

There were quite a few funny scenes in this book that had me giggling out loud. Especially with the birds! That’s all I will say about that scene, because I don’t want to spoil it!

The only negative thing I can say about this book is that I feel it lacked a little bit of excitement, I think I prefer a bit more drama with my romances. However this didn’t matter at all, as it was still a wonderful read!

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely! I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book to fans of a good sweet and sexy romance story!

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia and the author, Trish Morey for a pre-release copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

Available in store from the 24th November, 2015

Buy This Book online:

Pan Macmillan | Pre Order from Amazon AU

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If you enjoy this book, you may also enjoy:

The Secret Years   Practice makes Perfect - Julie James   Search for the Truth   the saddler boys

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The Secret Years – Barbara Hannay

The Secret Years

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

I have never been a fan of Australian rural settings in novels. I’m not sure why really, when I was younger they never seemed to interest me. I must be mellowing a bit as I grow older, or perhaps I would have always liked them and was just stubborn.. Either way I am glad I read this book, it was wonderful.

Lucy comes back to Townsville from an army posting in Afghanistan and is excited to be reunited with her fiancée. Unfortunately things do not go quite so well with their reunion, and Lucy finds herself at her mothers house. There, she stumbles across an old biscuit tin full of old papers, letters and photographs. She stumbles across a photograph of her grandmother, who she knows little to nothing about, and begins to investigate her grandmother and her family. Her search leads her to England where she goes to find answers, and stumbles across a bit of romance herself. Simultaneously the story jumps back in time and tells the story of “George”, Lucy’s grandmother, and how she met the love of her life, Harry (An Aussie farmer and soldier) during the second world war, and how she came to transform from an upper class member of English society, to a cattle farmer in the Aussie outback.

Absolutely delightful! I must admit that I had my reservations if I would like this book or not. I saw so many friends rate it highly and have such praise for it, that I had to give it a go. So glad I did because its one of my favourite romances of the year!

All of the characters are fantastic, in both time frames. I especially love Harry, Lucy’s grandfather, and I adored the love story with him and Lucy’s grandmother. Lucy’s mother Rose obviously has some issues in relation to her relationship with her father, and it was interesting to discover why she had these issues and I was anxious to see if she could mend ties. Lucy is a great character too. Independent and strong, and although I didn’t particularly agree with some of her choices, she was a great character. I loved Nick, her love interest.

The only thing I didn’t really like about the book was it got a bit corny towards the end. But it was sweet, and it didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the novel.

I’m not generally a fan of historical fiction, but the way this book went back and forth in time was seamless, and fascinating. I was absolutely enthralled by the scenes from the 40’s and the war, especially the scenes set when the Japanese invaded Papua New Guinea . It was all written extremely well and I loved the brief mix of action, suspense and romance. This book is not entirely classed as historical fiction, because the majority of the book was set in the present.

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely! A must read for any romance and Australian history fan! And anyone who loves the Aussie outback, The Secret Years is for you!

Thanks to the author via NetGalley for a review copy.

If you enjoy this book, you might enjoy:

the saddler boys   

The Red Door – Rosa Fedele

the red door

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Glad to have found another Aussie book by an Aussie author to add to the list! I have been extremely unpatriotic through my life and have avoided Australian books. Only recently am I beginning to hugely regret this, as I have found some incredible books. I have wasted a lot of my life not reading Aussie books!!  I am really enjoying the Australian settings, especially in my home city Sydney – So I was glad to review this book as it is set in Glebe.

The main character (who we don’t know by name until the very end), bought the mansion “Rosalind” after a troubling event from her past. She is in the process of renovating and refurbishing the whole place. Its going smoothly with exception of some strange events on the upper level, and the fact that the tenant in number three wont let her in, and she begins to suspect he may be watching her. She does a little digging only to find her tenant may be connected in some way to the vicious murders of two teenage girls that occurred twenty years prior. Her quest to find out what happened leads her to some stunning realisations that will shake up the comfortable life she has created for herself, and her new friends. Has she found a killer? What happened in her past to make her run away to Rosalind? And why is it so cold upstairs?

I must be honest. When I first started reading this I didn’t think it was going anywhere. It felt quite disjointed, went around everywhere and I was a bit confused about who was who. I failed to see the significance of all the characters and parallel storylines. And the writing, with the small sections that ended without an explanation, began to frustrate me.  However I stuck with it and was extremely pleasantly surprised as the story began to unfold and I couldn’t put it down! Having finished it now I can appreciate how cleverly refreshing the writing was.

I loved the characters, especially Monique and Claudia. The main character and Anne annoyed me at times, but overall all the characters had their appealing qualities. I liked the main character a lot more after we learn of her back story. I enjoyed the romances and especially the complex – sometimes destructive friendships in the novel. And there were quite a few character twists to keep me satisfied! Especially towards the end of the book.

 I would call this novel more of a mystery than a thriller, although it did have a few thrilling moments. However it was completely engrossing, especially in the last two thirds of the novel. The author also did the illustrations throughout the book which are beautiful, and definitely give the novel more character and texture. I only wish there was more of them, as they seemed to randomly appear at the beginning of some chapters but not others.

It was set in 1983, the year I was born, so perhaps I’m a bit too young to appreciate a lot of the early 80’s references, however this didn’t matter in the slightest. I have seen Duran Duran live (admittedly only because they were opening for Robbie Williams), so at least I wasn’t completely clueless!

Would I recommend it?

Yes for any mystery and thriller lovers and fans of 1980’s Sydney.

Many thanks to author Rosa Fedele for a copy of The Red Door, in exchange for my review.

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Lethal In Love 2 – Michelle Somers

Lethal in love 2

2.75 Stars (2.75 / 5)

I read the first installment of Lethal in Love a couple of months ago and gave it an average rating. I was so hoping the second installment would be an improvement, but unfortunately it didn’t blow me away either.

Jayda and Seth are working together now, trying to put pieces of the puzzle together so that they can work out who the killer is. That’s if they can manage to keep their pants on around each other that is. Jayda and Seth realise that the killer might know Jayda and that they are all in danger. Cue suspenseful scenes, end on climax for number 3…

Ok the biggest problem I have with this installment is the total unbelievably of one aspect of their predicament… HER SISTER WAS JUST MURDERED!!! Now I don’t have a sister, but I imagine that if I did, and they were murdered, the absolute last thing I would be thinking about the next morning is how unbelievably hot the guy in my kitchen making me bacon and eggs looks in his shirt with the top buttons undone… It just didn’t capture her grief at all, and it left a bad taste in my mouth. I was rolling my eyes and I didn’t know if I could go on…

However, if I ignored this extremely bothersome detail, I began to enjoy the story. The characters pasts were delved into more, Seth’s relationship with his parents, Jayda’s relationship with her father and her father’s past in the previous investigation. And it definitely left you wondering who the killer was, could it be someone in Jayda’s life already? Her next door neighbour? Something to do with her father or her birth parents?

This attraction between the characters is still not particularly believable. Their silly conversations and supposedly sexy remarks towards each other that leaves them hot around the collar made me extremely cold. I just don’t believe the chemistry.

Thankfully it was slightly more suspenseful than the first. Slightly…

Again, I’m not sold on this installment thing. I think I would have probably read the whole thing if it was in a novel, now I’m not sure if I am interested enough to go for the third, even though I am now curious to see who the killer is… I think I will hang my hat here.

Would I recommend it?

Probably not.

Thanks to Random House via Netgalley for a copy of this installment in exchange for an honest review.

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Deadly Messengers – Susan May

Deadly Messengers - Susan May

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Ive been having such good luck with thrillers lately! Deadly Messengers is another great one to add to the shelf!

Kendell Jennings is a freelance writer, mostly for magazines doing fluff pieces so she can pay her rent! When she takes a job interviewing a survivor of a mass murder, she thinks its just going to be a quick, easy buck. Two more mass murders occur and Kendell suspects they may be connected. Fate intervenes to put her right in the middle of the investigation, and into the path of the serial killer.

I really enjoyed this book. It pretty much had everything I enjoy in a novel, action, blood and gore, a little splash of romantic tension and some awesome likable characters with an intense crazy bad guy!

I found the premise extremely original and refreshing. Without giving anything away, the story is not all it seems, and there are some awesome twists and turns throughout. The ending was slightly predictable, however there was still enough action and twists to keep me hooked right to the very end. I barely put this book down, even to sleep!

The characters were great! Kendell had a very troubled past and I enjoyed how she had conflicted feelings about the story she was writing and her own experiences. I loved investigators O’Grady and Trip and their partnership. And I loved that they both had a thing for Kendell even though O’Grady wouldn’t recognise it. I only wish that O’Grady and Kendells relationship had a bit more “oomph”. I felt that more could have been done with their feelings towards each other earlier in the book. But that’s just the romantic in me!

The murder scenes were exceptionally detailed, perhaps more so than your average thriller. Lots of details about the death, blood and gore. I don’t mind blood and gore. However I understand that not everyone does. I personally thought the detail worked really well and added an extra intensity to the story. I really enjoyed that aspect.

This was a lot more than a simple “who done it” thriller. It delved a lot into trauma and mental health, and had some extremely interesting pharmacology aspects. Do certain drugs make you more susceptible to kill? Or is it the mental illness itself? Are there drugs that can make you a puppet? Fascinating stuff!

Overall, thoroughly enjoyed it!

Would I recommend it?

Yes, absolutely! A great thriller from a very talented AUSSIE author 🙂 I am looking forward to reading and reviewing her other work!

Many thanks to author Susan May for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Piece by Piece – Cathie Whitmore

piece by piece - Cathie Whitmore

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I really enjoyed this book. It was a refreshing change from the usual doom and gloom books I have been reading lately!

The story follows an affluent family in Sydney – predominantly mother and daughter and their escapades, beginning from the late 1960s to the present. It spans 3 generations of drama and intrigue and mainly focuses on the relationship between mothers and their daughters.

I was pretty much hooked on the book and finished the first half in one sitting, then it slowed down a little bit and picked back up again towards the end.

The novel is set out quite differently. It is told from multiple perspectives. Each chapter reads like a diary entry. At times I felt that the different perspectives were still written quite similarly and if I came in mid-chapter it took me a minute to remember who I was reading about. It wasn’t hard to get mother and daughter mixed up as they were purposefully so similar, however at times even the friends perspectives sounded like they were the same person with the same way of thinking. And I felt that perhaps there were too many perspectives to read about.

However, it was well written overall. I enjoyed the diary-like style, and I LOVED the relationships and conversations between the characters! I also enjoyed the glimpse of Australia in the 1960’s. I don’t read novels set in Australia usually and I don’t read many Australian authors.This blog and GoodReads has certainly allowed me to be exposed to some wonderful Australian talent and for that I am truly thankful.

The novel did jump ahead in time a lot. One minute it was the 60’s, and the next minute the 80’s and 2000’s. Although the change was abrupt it was easily forgotten as you quickly became immersed in the new aspect of the story.

I enjoyed the romantic relationships with all the women and their partners in the book. A few scandals and other events kept it interesting and made for a very easy read.

Eleanor and Celeste! What can I say? I have never encountered such egotistical self-centred manipulative women in a book before. Not two of them at once anyway! They were extremely enjoyable to read, especially the horrible things that they would do to each other. I loved to dislike them both, yet like them both at the same time!

This book did make me think and reflect on my own relationships, especially with my mother. I know that although I don’t exactly see it or admit it easily, I realise that I am very similar to my mother in many ways –  we not only look similar, but we have very similar attributes. It was such a shame that Celeste did not realise and reflect on the similarities and make amends with her mother until later on in life. So much wasted time. It made me appreciate that my mother and I have a good relationship, I don’t mind at all that we are similar. She is a wonderful woman.

As our parents get older we realise that life doesn’t last forever. Soon we are mere memories of a future generation. Its our job as mothers to do our part and try to shape that generation, while embracing the similarities of the old one. It is good to have a reminder of that in this book.

Would I recommend Piece by Piece?

Yes, absolutely recommend it for fans of womens fiction and family saga’s. It was a lovely entertaining book and I am thankful for the opportunity to read it.

Many thanks to the author Cathie Whitmore for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.