Twelve year old Caitlin spent her afternoons at the aquarium; her mother picked her up after she’d finished work, but from the end of school time untiTwelve year old Caitlin spent her afternoons at the aquarium; her mother picked her up after she’d finished work, but from the end of school time until then, Caitlin lost herself in the world of the fish and different creatures in the tanks at the aquarium.
Caitlin and her mother, Sheri lived alone in a small apartment in Seattle. Sheri wouldn’t talk about her past with Caitlin; but they were happy just the two of them. They would watch TV after dinner, relaxing and enjoying each others company.
One day Caitlin began talking to an old man at the aquarium who also seemed fascinated by the creatures in the depths of the warm water – gradually as the days moved forward, they became friends. Caitlin enjoyed her talks with him; almost as much as she enjoyed her friendship with Shalini from school. But the thing was; Caitlin never mentioned the old man to her mother. She wasn’t sure why, but it was just her secret – hers and the old man’s.
But suddenly everything changed; her mother was not the person Caitlin thought she was. With terrifying speed, Caitlin’s life was altered – her deep desire for love and family was threatened; what would happen? Why was this happening?
I’m afraid I didn’t like this book! I disliked Caitlin’s mother intensely and felt a horror and disgust for her that kept eating at me right through the book. I also felt the need to get into the story and haul Caitlin away from the mother. There were other parts of the story too that just felt wrong! But I liked the character of the old man; he seemed sweet and harmless. This is my first by this author and I don’t have any desire to read more…
With thanks to Text Publishing for my copy to read and review. ...more
Paige and Robert’s marriage was a little rocky – two years prior Paige had lost a longed for baby son and suffered a postpartum stroke which still affPaige and Robert’s marriage was a little rocky – two years prior Paige had lost a longed for baby son and suffered a postpartum stroke which still affected her. Nana Alice and six year old daughter Matilda kept her sane but Paige couldn’t say the same about Robert – their lives had drifted apart and Paige was unhappy. When the opportunity arose, she informed Robert that she, along with Nana Alice and Mati would have a two week holiday in a quaint little boatshed in a bush town called Saddleton – leaving Robert to his privileged and boring life in Sydney.
But along the way the long, hot and dreary drive had turned into a challenge – they became lost due to floodwaters closing various roads and ended up in an even smaller bush community called Coolabah Tree Gully – and that was where Paige found they were stuck. Flooded roads forced them to seek accommodation in the local pub – they couldn’t return to Sydney; they couldn’t move on to Saddleton – but was it fate they had ended up in Coolabah Tree Gully?
Nana Alice was tense and stressed. She loved her daughter Paige and granddaughter Mati deeply; but the secrets she was hiding, and had been hiding for decades were wearing her down. And now, here in this unexpected place she felt trapped. She had to get her little family away from there; away before the trust between Paige and Nana Alice turned to dust…
As Mati and Paige fell in love with the local area; the horses, the friendly neighbours, the animals and birds – and seven year old Liam bonded immediately with Mati – Alice could feel the pressure mounting. Paige could see Alice was troubled but couldn’t prize it from her – she was moody; first bubbly and happy, then angry and depressed. Paige was confused – her beloved Nana Alice was never like this. What would be the outcome? Would Alice keep her secrets?
Season of Shadow and Light is another enjoyable contemporary novel by Aussie author Jenn J McLeod. It is a story of family; of betrayal and trust; of secrets and lies. But ultimately it is a story of forgiveness and love. I have no hesitation in recommending this novel to all lovers of contemporary fiction, along with the author’s previous two “Season” novels.
With thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for my copy to read and review. ...more
Ichabod Crane’s life had been one of calm occurrence – day in and day out; his life was the same. But the meeting of a lovely young woman by the nameIchabod Crane’s life had been one of calm occurrence – day in and day out; his life was the same. But the meeting of a lovely young woman by the name of Katrina Van Tassel meant he was sure she would one day become his wife. But she had another vying for her attentions – Brom Bones.
The night of great revelry at her father’s home - with dancing, eating and drinking – Ichabod was sure he would be betrothed by night’s end. But on returning home his mind wouldn’t stop dwelling on the stories of the Headless Horseman and the Galloping Hessian. Tales of horror that he had previously discounted as just talk. But was it all just talk?
This classic short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was originally published in 1820 and it’s immediately obvious that it is a classic piece of literature. The words are beautifully descriptive:
She was a blooming lass of fresh eighteen; plump as a partridge; ripe and melting and rosy-cheeked as one of her father’s peaches… and many more such words throughout.
Kip Simons, director of Broward County parks and Jamie Quinn’s boyfriend was feeling the pressure of his new job. Kip and Jamie had recently recon4.5★s
Kip Simons, director of Broward County parks and Jamie Quinn’s boyfriend was feeling the pressure of his new job. Kip and Jamie had recently reconnected after knowing each other when they were much younger – they rekindled their relationship and so Kip’s problems meant Jamie wanted to help him sort them out. There was a ‘park vandal’ who was determined to make Kip’s life difficult – the latest attempt was a rather large message which had been mown into the grass of one of the parks. But the threatening emails and stalking of both Kip and Jamie were the biggest concern. What was the reasoning behind it all?
With Kip flat out at work trying to find solutions to the various problems they were facing, Jamie contacted her friend, PI Duke Broussard for help. Duke had helped Jamie in the past and was keen to become involved in this case. While Jamie continued on with her own work – she was a lawyer – Duke did the investigating. And as the mystery deepened, the danger to Kip suddenly intensified. Jamie was desperate for Duke to find the answers; she didn’t want to lose Kip again…
Peril in the Park is the third in the Jamie Quinn series and was just as much fun as the first two. Jamie is a sassy down to earth character, while Duke has all the ‘smarts’ needed for a PI. A thoroughly enjoyable cosy mystery series, I’m looking forward to book four which is (hopefully) coming soon. Highly recommended. ...more
The divorce proceedings between Rebecca Solomon and her husband Joe had reached crisis point for family lawyer Jamie Quinn. Becca was desperate to retThe divorce proceedings between Rebecca Solomon and her husband Joe had reached crisis point for family lawyer Jamie Quinn. Becca was desperate to retain custody of their two girls and wanted Joe nowhere near them. But the judge said otherwise; Jamie had to convince Becca it was for the best and would work out fine for her and the girls, plus their dad. When suddenly there was an unexpected death, followed by an accusation from the public prosecutor, Jamie was shocked to find her client as a murder suspect.
Immediately enlisting the help of Private Investigator Duke Broussard, a friend and former client, to search for and find the truth of innocence or guilt, Jaimie also reminded Duke about the search for her father. Jaimie had never known her dad and after reading a letter from her mother, who had passed away eighteen months previously, she was more than ever determined to locate him. Beyond that, she hadn’t thought…
When Jaimie bumped into a person she hadn’t seen for a number of years; a person she had been extremely close to way back then, she was delighted. And it seemed Kip was happy to see her as well. Jaimie’s life was turning full circle at last – after her mother’s death when she couldn’t lift herself out of her grief – she had her friendship with best friend Grace; her practice was doing well; the search for her father was (hopefully) progressing; and now she’d found Kip...
But what would happen with Jaimie’s client? And what would happen in her personal life?
The Case of the Killer Divorce is the second in the Jaimie Quinn mysteries, and I loved it as much as the first. A quick, easy read; nevertheless it had some unique twists and turns which were (to me) unexpected. I enjoyed the character of Jaimie, and once again I found Duke’s quirky character irresistible. I’m looking forward to reading the third book in the series with great anticipation. Highly recommended.
With thanks to the author for my copy to read and review. ...more
Jamie Quinn was still struggling from the death of her mother only six months before – she’d left her job and unable to sleep found each day melded inJamie Quinn was still struggling from the death of her mother only six months before – she’d left her job and unable to sleep found each day melded into the next. So the morning her Aunt Peg called, frantically leaving a message on her machine, Jamie was shocked and horrified to learn her cousin Adam had been arrested for the murder of his music teacher, Spike. Adam suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome and Jamie knew he wasn’t capable of hurting anyone, especially someone he cared for.
Jamie enlisted her best friend Grace to help her – Jamie was a divorce lawyer, not a criminal lawyer – and Grace immediately put her mind at ease. As they started checking out as many people as they could, Jamie called on Duke, a PI friend to do the deeper digging. Suddenly the cracks began to show – would Jamie and her team of helpers discover the real killer? Or would it be too late for Adam?
I thoroughly enjoyed Death by Didgeridoo, a cosy mystery novella. The characters were likeable, especially Duke, a loveable and mischievous cynic; his dry and humerous comments made me chuckle quite a few times. Jamie was a great protagonist and I’m really looking forward to reading more in this series. I have no hesitation in recommending Death by Didgeridoo highly.
With thanks to the author for my copy to read and review. ...more
The final straw for young seventeen year old teenager Jack MacKay was his expulsion from school after a particular incident at a school dance. He wasThe final straw for young seventeen year old teenager Jack MacKay was his expulsion from school after a particular incident at a school dance. He was a member of the group Shuffle with friends Maurie, Luke, Dave and Jeff; their great love of the music of the 60s stirred a longing of their own – at fifteen Jack had formed Shuffle and they hadn’t looked back. But being expelled from school proved to be the catalyst in his life – running away from his home in Glasgow to London was his idea; his friends decided the group needed to stay together, so the five of them ran away in 1965 – never realizing the change it would bring to their lives, and not in a good way.
The adventure and misadventure; the fun and panic-filled adrenalin that those five young friends discovered on their tenuous journey to London – none of it was quite as they had envisioned their start in the music industry. The awe they felt on their arrival in London though was inspiring; seeing both John Lennon and Bob Dylan – but would Jack and his friends get a break into the music industry?
Fifty years later the report of a brutal murder which Maurie saw in the local newspaper brought the past rushing back to them. Maurie was a sick man by this stage, but he was determined to return to London to face the past; to face the truth of what had happened all those years before. Jack and Dave, along with Jack’s grandson Ricky joined Maurie in their quest for answers. But was it a mirror image of their bolt to London fifty years prior? What would the three friends and a bemused young grandson find in a London that was changed; but not changed?
I thoroughly enjoyed Runaway by Scottish author Peter May; my first by this author but most definitely not my last! A gripping crime novel, filled with fast paced, heart thumping tension; plus intrigue, emotional nostalgia and flashes of humour throughout. Told in the two timelines of 1965 and 2015 it worked incredibly well in showing the differences fifty years makes. I have no hesitation in recommending Runaway very highly.
With thanks to TRR and Hachette Australia for my copy to read and review. ...more
Edda and Grace were the elder twins by twenty months; their half-sisters Heather (Tufts) and Kitty formed their tightly-knit group of four – differentEdda and Grace were the elder twins by twenty months; their half-sisters Heather (Tufts) and Kitty formed their tightly-knit group of four – different mothers, the same father; they were all destined for different life paths back in the days of 1920s Australia. The fact that their father’s wife; Tufts and Kitty’s mother, Maude was a huge influence on their lives was known, but it was not in a good way. Maude was oppressive and she made no bones about letting everyone know her favourite child was Kitty, who suffered greatly from that smothering and devoted woman.
When their father, the Reverend Thomas Latimer used his influence on the board of the Corunda Base Hospital to gain all four girls traineeships as nurses, their lives took on different meanings – they lived on-site at the hospital, therefore they were out of Maude’s clutches at last. Three of the sisters found they loved the ways of nursing; the fourth was unhappy but continued so she could remain with her sisters. The four girls bloomed as they learned – Edda knew her wishes of becoming a doctor would be unfulfilled but her sights were set high; Kitty loved working with children, with the Children’s Ward becoming her domain; Tufts found working with Dr Liam Finucan in pathology intriguing and Grace just wanted to marry and have children.
In 1929, Dr Charles Burdum from London, but with a grandfather in Corunda, arrived to become the new superintendent of the hospital. With deeply entrenched Britishness, Charles struggled to fit in with the locals – but he was set to change many lives, including those of the Latimer sisters. As the Depression moved across the country people from all walks of life were affected. Times became terrible – the struggle just to eat was a torment…
I thoroughly enjoyed this Australian saga set in the 1920s by renowned Aussie author Colleen McCullough - the lives of four sisters; two sets of twins who were close in age and bond. The love they shared was deep and unable to be broken – the paths their lives took, though different, continued to keep them together, even when apart.
There were many laugh out loud moments, including this one: He asked me to dinner at the Parthenon the other day - caught me doing a message... So I stood there and stared at him, slowly sucked my lips together like a fish, and crossed my eyes. He ran away. P57 - and I loved learning how Tufts earned her nickname! A wonderful story, one I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending highly. ...more
Berylda Jones was a medical student at the University of Sydney; on completion of her exams she was due to head back home to Bathurst for the ChristmaBerylda Jones was a medical student at the University of Sydney; on completion of her exams she was due to head back home to Bathurst for the Christmas break and the celebrations at the end of 1900. But instead of feeling joy at going home, she was feeling a mixture of sickness and horror. She had no choice but to go home though, as her sister Greta was there; the beloved sister who hadn’t been able to escape the clutches of their cruel and barbaric Uncle Alec. She dreaded to think what poor Greta had been going through…
But her determination and anger at the situation had reached new heights and she was going to remove both Greta and herself from Uncle Alec forever, if it was the last thing she did. Having lost both their parents at a tender age, they found themselves in the care of Uncle Alec and his wife Aunt Libby (their mother’s sister) – moved from the only home they had known in Katoomba to Bathurst. But then Aunt Libby had been struck down by disease and died – never did they anticipate the depraved ways of their Uncle.
Ben Wilberry was a botanist who was grieving deeply over the loss of a loved one – after a falling out with his father he took leave from his position in Melbourne and travelled west from Sydney, out through the mountains in search of a paper daisy while accompanied by his best friend and artist Cosmo Thompson. The day that Ben wandered up to the fence line of a property in Bathurst, having spotted a particularly delightful flower, was a day that would change his life forever. For Berylda the arrival of Ben literally on her doorstep would have a profound impact as well.
When Berylda organised for Greta and herself to be accompanied by both Ben and Cosmo on a buggy ride where they would picnic then arrive in Hill End fully chaperoned, she knew Uncle Alec would do his best to stop them. But she won as she knew she would. Her reason to visit Hill End she told no-one – her plan was in motion…
I thoroughly enjoyed Paper Daisies by Aussie author Kim Kelly. Deeply entrenched in Australian Federation with the lead up to women being given a vote, this heart wrenching but wonderful novel is told with compassion and depth. Narrated by both Berylda and Ben the gradual blending of their stories is beautifully done. The Author Note at the end of the book explains how the author came to write Paper Daisies, and is very interesting. Kim Kelly’s story telling abilities are astounding – this historical fiction novel set in the early 1900s is her best yet in my opinion, and I’ve loved them all. I have no hesitation in recommending Paper Daisies highly.
With thanks to the author and Pan MacMillan for my copy to read and review. ...more
Sullivan Moss’ decision to commit suicide, then his planning of it – the note in his wallet; his name in full view – didn’t go accordingly. When h3.5★s
Sullivan Moss’ decision to commit suicide, then his planning of it – the note in his wallet; his name in full view – didn’t go accordingly. When he woke in hospital after he’d tripped and hit his head up on the roof, falling away from the edge instead of over it, he knew the uselessness of his life had continued. He wasn’t surprised he couldn’t even get this right – he was resigned to his own stupidity.
But while recovering in hospital he decided he would try to do something useful in his life – his organs were (mostly) in good condition so he followed up by a visit to the renal department. Donation of an organ to a total stranger wasn’t unusual, but it was a procedure that involved a lot of tests, specialists and so on, and that was before Sully was even approved to donate one of his kidneys.
Over the following months, Sully struggled to stay sober; he also searched for a job and in the process gradually made some new friends. Natalie and her eight year old son Louis became a part of his life in a special way. Suddenly he was involved in the lives of others – it was a good feeling. But still Sully was convinced he didn’t deserve their friendship. Mack, the old dog was his dearest friend…
Would Sully be approved for the donation? Could he even stay focused long enough to go through with the donation if he was approved? Or would he fall apart as he had so many times in the past – letting people down once again?
This was an unusual story; one I enjoyed by Aussie author Debra Oswald. Sully was definitely a loser – his character portrayal was done very well. I didn’t particularly enjoy any of the characters, apart from Louis – his eight year old self was sweet and innocent; perfectly played. I felt the story seemed to drag around the middle of the book but picked up toward the end. Recommended.
With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy to read and review. ...more
Whimsical, sweet and timeless, Unforgotten is a quick but magical read about the angels who live amongst us. With views from the Empire State BuildingWhimsical, sweet and timeless, Unforgotten is a quick but magical read about the angels who live amongst us. With views from the Empire State Building; sunrise over Wollongong plus space by NASA’s Hubble Heritage team, the inclusion of images from the author’s father’s crossing of the Sahara Desert in 1955 make the graphic images vivid and ephemeral; beautiful and thought-provoking. A delightful book by Aussie author Tohby Riddle. Recommended for those who enjoy graphic novels – and even those who haven’t ventured there yet!...more
This book includes some of the most horrific cases worldwide; cases of people in positions of trust who have betrayed that trust by murdering the peopThis book includes some of the most horrific cases worldwide; cases of people in positions of trust who have betrayed that trust by murdering the people in their care. Included by Australian author Emily Webb (a journalist) is the recent case (2011) of the Sydney nurse who set fire to the nursing home where he worked, just to cover his stealing of drugs. Eleven elderly residents died in this horrific event; the disgust at his actions is intense.
But two of the worst atrocities in my mind were of one Genene Jones who is one of the most prolific child killers in the history of the United States. She is suspected of being responsible for the deaths of almost fifty children; murders she committed while working as a nurse in several different healthcare institutions.
The other was the notorious Harold Shipman who has the dubious honour of being Britain’s worst serial killer, suspected of murdering over two hundred of his patients. Over a period of many years, this trusted and much-loved physician betrayed the trust of his patients time and time again using lethal doses of morphine to murder his victims. His complacency was his downfall though…
The main thread I picked up through most of these terrible stories is the ease of how the nurses and doctors committed the murders; and the failure of hospital and healthcare management to investigate when suspicions were aroused. Even to the point of sacking other nurses who voiced their concerns.
I found I couldn’t read the book all at once because of the subject matter – but in spite of that the author has produced an extremely well-researched look at the true crime serial killers of the medical world. I have no hesitation in recommending Angels of Death to people who enjoy reading true crime.
With thanks to the author and The Five Mile Press for my copy to read and review. ...more
When Pia was seventeen she was the oldest survivor out of all the communes; called to be included in the “volunteers” embarking on a sea voyage to anoWhen Pia was seventeen she was the oldest survivor out of all the communes; called to be included in the “volunteers” embarking on a sea voyage to another place called The Refuge, Pia was determined to take her little brother Max with her – or not go at all. The Age Sickness was killing everyone above the ages of sixteen to seventeen – Pia had been looking after Max since she was nine and he was three; there was no way she would leave him behind.
The long and arduous journey into the unknown was fraught with danger. Only ten young people manned the ship, with The Dome needing to be protected at all times. No-one knew why, they just obeyed the orders they were given before they left. Days spent fishing to supplement their meagre supplies, plus the tedium of the sentry duty meant there wasn’t a lot to keep them busy. Until the day of the attack when one of the sentries was brutally murdered; Pia, her fellow “volunteer” Tomas and Max knew there was something dreadfully wrong. And when Pia discovered another “volunteer” had been hiding secrets; lying to them all, she was conflicted. What would she do? What would happen to the remainder of the team who were searching for The Refuge? Would they ever find land and be safe?
Cargo is Aussie author Katie Mineeff debut; a dystopian young adult novel with an intriguing plot. I enjoyed the characters of both Tomas and Max, but found Pia to be a bit of a brat! I felt that the duration of the sea voyage dragged now and then, but overall the story had mystery wrapped with an element of danger plus of course the mix of fantasy blended throughout. A great debut which I recommend to lovers of the genre.
With thanks to the author for my copy to read and review. ...more