Chasing Chris Campbell is Genevieve Gannon's second novel, a contemporary story of love, travel and the adventure of finding one's self.
When Violet Ma Chasing Chris Campbell is Genevieve Gannon's second novel, a contemporary story of love, travel and the adventure of finding one's self.
When Violet Mason's partner of nearly six years buys her a motorcycle instead of an engagement ring, she decides she has been waiting for her life to start for long enough, and when an email arrives from Chris Campbell, 'the one that got away', inviting her to 'come to Asia' she impulsively books a one way ticket to Hong Kong, hoping to reconnect with her lost love. Armed with an out of date tourist guide and plenty of hand steriliser, Violet plans to surprise Chris with her arrival, only to learn he has already moved on. Determined not to give up, Violet chases Chris through India to Nepal, back to Hong Kong and then to Vietnam, it is an adventure of a lifetime, but is it true love she finds?
Told in the first person, Violet, a sensible scientist with a mild phobia of germs, is completely out of her element as she travels through Asia. I thought Violet generally was a well developed and believable character. Though there are moments when she feels lost and lonely, with encouragement from her twin sister Cassandra, Violet slowly opens herself up to adventure. She makes friends with fellow travelers like the rather delicious Harry Potter (no, not that Harry Potter)and eventually learns a thing or two about herself. While I would never chase a guy half way around the world based on a few vaguely worded emails, I admired the fact that Violet took the chance and I vicariously enjoyed her adventures.
The author's descriptions of the various places Violet visits are well written. I particularly enjoyed the journey through India, from Goa, to Delhi, to Varanasi.
Though there are flashes of humour, I have to admit I was expecting more given the novel is promoted as a romantic comedy. I found the writing tended to be a little stiff at times and the tone more often no-nonsense than lighthearted. The pace is good though and I appreciated the epilogue, which provided a satisfying ending.
The Unbroken Line is Alex Hammond’s second legal thriller featuring defence lawyer Will Harris, following on from his Ned Kelly Award nominated debut, The Unbroken Line is Alex Hammond’s second legal thriller featuring defence lawyer Will Harris, following on from his Ned Kelly Award nominated debut, Blood Witness.
Will is still dealing with both the personal and professional consequences of the events in Blood Witness, when he and girlfriend Eva are brutally attacked by two masked men. They have a message for Will from their anonymous employer - back off. Angry and confused, Will has no idea what the men are referring to, but now he is determined to find out, and unwittingly becomes the target of a deadly conspiracy, headed by Melbourne's elite.
With a well crafted and complex plot, The Unbroken Line is a fast paced story of corruption, violence, conspiracy and vengeance. As Will searches for answers to the attack on he and Eva, he must also defend his new law firm partner, barrister Chris Miller, when he is arrested for negligent homicide, prevent a judge's teenage son from being charged with manslaughter, and repay his debt to the Ivanics family, all whilst under investigation by the Legal Commissioner for ethics breaches related to his actions in Blood Witness. With some surprising twists, Hammond reveals the links between these seemingly unrelated threads developing an exciting multi-layered storyline.
Will is an appealing protagoinist, flawed but intelligent, with a strong sense of justice. Under siege professionally, Will is faring no better in his personal life. He is still struggling to recover from the debilitating physical effects of the vicious stabbing that left him near dead in Blood Witness, and Eva, traumatised and scarred by the masked men's attack, flee's to New York. Though The Unbroken Line could be read as a stand alone, I'd recommend readers begin with Blood Witness, which establishes his relationships with Eva, Chris and several of the other other characters that appear in both novels.
I enjoyed The Unbroken Line, it is a well crafted and gripping legal thriller. Perfect for fans of John Grisham and Michael Connelly.
Fiona McArthur’s, The Homestead Girls, is a heartwarming story of friendship, courage and compassion set in the outback of NSW.
In The Homestead Girls, Fiona McArthur’s, The Homestead Girls, is a heartwarming story of friendship, courage and compassion set in the outback of NSW.
In The Homestead Girls, Soretta Byrnes is struggling to keep her grandparent's farm solvent in the drought, especially after her grandfather is badly injured in an accident, so when it's suggested that she accept some boarders as a way to earn extra income, she agrees, determined to save Blue Hills Station. Soretta is quickly joined by Daphne Prince, a flight nurse with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, eager to help the battling farmer; Dr Billie Green, with her rebellious teenage daughter in tow, who has returned to her hometown of Mica Ridge to fulfill a childhood dream by taking up a position with the RFDS; and eighty year old widow Lorna Lamerton, looking for company. Despite their differences, the unlikely housemates soon become close friends, finding strength, support and happiness in their relationships with one another as they face a myriad of challenges.
I liked all the women in The Homestead Girls and delighted in their growing friendship. They all benefit from their living arrangements in both practical and emotional ways.
With such a large primary cast I did find some elements of the story a little underdeveloped. I'm not sure, for example, that the subplot involving Billie and her ex husband added anything to the story overall, the confrontation between the pair was anti-climatic and quickly overshadowed by following events. Though there is romance in The Homestead Girls, for both Billie and Daphne, it doesn't overwhelm the story. With both Billie and Daphne having been deeply hurt in past relationships they are wary of involvement and their romances with their respective partners, Morgan and Rex, develop slowly, though Daphne's has been a long time coming.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service is an invaluable resource in regional Australia and McArthur highlights their stellar work in The Homestead Girls. The RFDS provides numerous services to outback communities from running immunisation and antenatal clinics in remote areas, to dealing with emergencies such as snakebites, heart attacks and vehicular accidents. I really enjoyed learning more about what it's like to work for the service and reading about the team's varied medical experiences.
An uplifting story of friendship and romance, The Homestead Girls is a lovely read I'd be happy to recommend....more
Set in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales Palace of Tears is a generational saga of family, passion, secrets and vengeance from debut author Julian Set in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales Palace of Tears is a generational saga of family, passion, secrets and vengeance from debut author Julian Leatherdale.
The shifting third person narrative unfolds from the perspective of several characters, Angie and her mother Freya; Adam's wives, Adelina and Laura; Laura's daughter, Monika; and in the present day, Lisa, Monika's daughter. Only briefly do we hear from Adam Fox, the owner of the Palace and the man who connects these three generations of women.
Lisa's interest in the past is triggered when, during a visit with her ailing mother, Monika laments the mysterious fate of Angie, the 'girl who broke Adam Fox's heart'. The name is unfamiliar to Lisa and curious she decides to investigate, contacting Palace historian Luke Davis. Over the course of the novel, Leatherdale unravels a family history marred by untimely death, adultery, betrayal, heartbreak and revenge. What became of Angie remains a mystery til the very end with a surprising twist.
Leatherdale firmly grounds his fictional characters in time and place. Adam Fox's Palace is modeled on the Hydro Majestic Hotel, opened in 1904 in the tiny township of Medlow Bath in the upper Blue Mountains and he ably describes the opulence of the hotel and the magnificence of the setting. The author also references several relevant historical events of the first half of the twentieth century from the wartime internment camps, to the deadly influenza outbreak that swept New South Wales, to Arthur Conan Doyle's Antipodean tour, enriching the story with intriguing detail.
The tale is well structured, despite shifting between multiple perspectives and time periods. The story is well paced, with plenty of twists and turns in the plot to maintain interest. Descriptions, particularly of the setting are vivid, and
Melding history and fiction, Palace of Tears is an entertaining novel and an impressive debut from Julian Leatherdale.
"Nothing was achieved without risk and cost. The allure of the mountains had taught Adam that lesson.... The mountains offered up vistas of inspiration, horizons of wonder where the mind dared to leap and the imagination to soar. It enriched the spirit, breathed hope back in to the wounded heart. Yet there was always that reminder of the fall: vertigo's strange seduction that dragged you down the bright waterfall into the shadow of the valley below. Mortality, failure, despair - all these must be acknowledged. Adam realised, over time, that his beloved mountains expressed the inner drama of his own soul."...more
Leap by Myfanwy Jones is a sharply observed story of grief and guilt and the struggle to move on from loss.
Three years after the tragic death of his g Leap by Myfanwy Jones is a sharply observed story of grief and guilt and the struggle to move on from loss.
Three years after the tragic death of his girlfriend, Joe is still wallowing in guilt. Unable to re-imagine his future without her, he simply aims to stay busy, working two dead end jobs, and running through the darkened streets of Melbourne, leaping any obstacles in his way. Elsewhere, Elise's marriage is falling apart and her work is uninspiring, mournful and lonely, she is drawn to the beauty and violence of the tigers housed at the Melbourne Zoo.
In Leap, Jones has created two very different characters deeply affected by their respective losses, angry, heart broken and plagued by inertia they are unable to move forward with their own lives.
So Joe is challenged by the slow return of his desire for life. Moving on feels like a betrayal, but his punishing routine of parkour and work is no longer as satisfying as it once was given his attraction to his newest housemate, an enigmatic nurse. He is further challenged by the charm of his blue-eyed workmate, the ailing health of his Uncle and the needs of the young troubled teen he mentors.
Meanwhile the listlessness pressing on Elise is finally pierced when her husband announces he is leaving her. She escapes, not unhappily, to the home of her best friend for a few weeks and on her return home immerses herself in her obsession with the tigers at the zoo, enjoying being unaccountable to anyone but herself. Alone, she is finally able to confront her resentment and grief, to mourn her lost daughter on her own terms.
While I struggled a little with the narrative initially, which is shared between the two characters and moves between the past and present, I soon settled into the rhythm of the story. The emotion is powerful, yet the story is not without humour. The prose is thoughtful and genuine.
Well written, Leap is a moving novel.
"And maybe no trick he pulls off is ever going to bring her back but this one-it's for her. He is going to make a perfect landing. Breathes: One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Leaps"...more
Even though I am one of the very few book bloggers with no real ambition to write, I can appreciate the wisdom Fiona McIntosh imparts in 'How To Write Even though I am one of the very few book bloggers with no real ambition to write, I can appreciate the wisdom Fiona McIntosh imparts in 'How To Write Your Blockbuster', offering practical, no nonsense advice for aspiring writers.
McIntosh insists discipline is an essential skill for a writer. She encourages dabblers to set themselves up to succeed by developing good working habits and understanding what it is they want to write.
Whether you are a 'plotter' or a 'pantser' she has practical advice for getting started. I really like her 'word count equation', it seems to me that the idea would make the process of writing a first draft much less intimidating.
McIntosh then goes on to discuss technique in developing character, plot, dialogue, pacing and exposition with reference to what she has learned in her own work. Each chapter is also accompanied by exercises to complete.
For those with a completed manuscript, McIntosh advises writers on the next step, including presentation and submission to Australian commercial fiction publishers, and shares knowledge about what might come next for those lucky enough to see their book in print.
'How To Write Your Blockbuster' is a solid resource for a fledgling writer from a talented and accomplished commercial fiction author who writes across several genres. Make sure your browse Fiona McIntosh's extensive oeuvre - my favourites include The Scrivener's Tale and The Lavender Keeper....more
Amy Andrews is an award-winning, best-selling Australian author who has written more than forty contemporary and medical romances. Limbo, with its ble Amy Andrews is an award-winning, best-selling Australian author who has written more than forty contemporary and medical romances. Limbo, with its blend of romance, suspense, humour and touch of the paranormal is quite a departure from her usual fare.
When the ghost of a murdered mother begs for her help to save her kidnapped daughter, Joy Valentine, country singer and funeral home makeup artist, knows the police won't take her seriously so she reluctantly turns to the one person who might believe her, disgraced ex-cop turned private investigator Dash Dent. The police think baby Isabelle is probably dead but Joy and Dash are convinced Joy's ghostly vision was genuine and set out to find the missing infant.
Though still a romance novel at its core, Andrews establishes an intriguing mystery surrounding the disappearance of the murdered woman, and her missing daughter. Dash and Joy slowly piece together the scant evidence available to determine exactly what happened on the day Hailey and Isabelle went missing, and where the pair have been for the six months prior to the discovery of Hailey's body.
The characterisation is wonderful, I really liked both Dash and Joy, who are well rounded protagonists with interesting back stories. I loved their chemistry, the sexual tension between the mismatched pair is palpable and there are a couple of intimate scenes that really sizzle. The cast of quirky supporting characters including an unconventional clergyman, a brothel madam and two horny goldfish, are equally delightful.
There is lots of humour, often found in unexpected places and while there is a little in the way of action, there is plenty of tension and suspense. The inner city setting gives the story a modern urban feel.
I finished the book in one sitting and I'm hoping Amy Andrews will follow up Limbo with another soon....more
Teagan Bliss is devastated when her father gambles away the family prope The Falls is Cathryn Hein's sixth novel, loosely linked to Rocking Horse Hill.
Teagan Bliss is devastated when her father gambles away the family property, Pinehaven, and with it her future hopes and dreams. Betrayed and heartbroken, she seeks sanctuary at the home of her Aunt Vanessa in the Falls Valley, at the foot of the Blue Mountains. It takes time but slowly the idyllic surrounds of Falls Farm, the loving concern of her aunt, a new job, and the attentions of local farrier, Lucas Knight, encourage Teagan to see beyond what she has lost, but how can she trust in the vision of a new future, when she can't trust in herself?
Teagan is not an easy character, though she engenders sympathy for the losses she has endured, her spiraling depression means she is closed off, prickly, and with her self esteem at rock bottom, always expecting the worst. Hein ably explores Teagan's experience as she tries to fight off the 'blackness' that threatens to overtake her.
The romance between Teagan and Lucas is fairly low key given Teagan's fragile emotional state. Though their attraction is mutual, Teagan is unable to believe Lucas could be interested in her and it takes Lucas a while to convince her otherwise. I liked Lucas, he proves to be kind and responsible, though perhaps a little naive in dealing with Teagan's depression.
The chemistry between Vanessa and Domenic add interest to the plot along with Vanessa's reservations about Domenic's motives, and Domenic's relationship with Lucas. So to does the complicated relationship between local vet, Bunny, and Duncan.
As always, Hein supports her protagonists with a community of colourful people and animals, from local busybody Colin, to Merlin the ram, and Falls Valley is vividly depicted from the rolling rural landscape to the main street of town. While cricket unites the Valley, plans for the expansion of a nearby exclusive 'wellness' center threatens to tear it apart and the tension affects Teagan who gets caught in the middle.
A little more ambitious in scope than her previous novels, The Falls is an engaging contemporary story about family, love, romance, belonging and healing, blending heartfelt romance with impassioned drama in rural Australia....more
The final novel to feature rig engineer turned superhero monster slayer Dave Cooper, Ascendance picks up right where Resistance left off.
Super Dave, n The final novel to feature rig engineer turned superhero monster slayer Dave Cooper, Ascendance picks up right where Resistance left off.
Super Dave, newly teamed with the katana wielding Russian spy Karen Warat (aka Colonel Ekatarina Varatchevsky), is in New York. Dismissing Trinder, they race to defend areas of the city under siege but are nearly overwhelmed as the Hunn continue boiling up from the underworld realm. The powers that be soon realise that the Horde is using Professor Compton's theoretical model for collapsing western civilisation, and the world is in real peril. However Dave's primary concern becomes his sons when he learns New Harbour is under attack and if he can't save the world, he is determined to at least save his children.
Dave suffers badly in comparison to Karen whose training and discipline allows her to exploit her gifts, which includes an empathic ability. Not only does she wield her deadly katana like a master, she thinks strategically and seems to have her powers sussed out. Dave is pretty much left trailing in her wake like a meat-head while the choices he made in Resistance come back to haunt him.
The action in Ascendance is non-stop, violent and bloody. This is not a story for the squeamish what with splattering ichor and demon flesh and babies being tossed from buildings like confetti. To be honest I got a little bored with all the fighting, though the final confrontation was tense and exciting.
There is plenty of the bold and crass humour I've come to expect in this series. Dave is still a dick, Threshy's thinkings are riotously confused and Karen adds her own brand of dry humour.
While this is supposed to be last book of a trilogy, the story definitely feels unfinished. It has been fun though....more