“Bittersweet” alright!

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BOOK REVIEW: What a thrill ride! This picks up at the height of tension we were left with in the first part of the story. It picks up there and never backs off. Right to the final confrontation we are on the edge of the seat – heart in mouth. The style of storytelling here is sharp, gripping, take-no-prisoners. The action, including the love making, is graphic and powerful, but in that it is just keeping up with the mood of the story. The characters portrayed here are gritty and real. The bad guys are total scum and not easily defeated – more tension! The hero and heroine earn every bit of the ending…. Awesome, powerhouse read!

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High octane suspense…

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BOOK REVIEW: This book has deep down grunt that gives the storyline a rich and meaningful foundation. Corporate greed. The making of a psychopathic killer. Corruption. Murder. Cruelty. Love and loyalty. An epic idea in the suicide seed technology…. Everything builds inch by inch. Slowly and relentlessly. Like multiple angles to the same force that explodes in the final chapters…. An intriguing setting in 3rd world Africa. Great characters, both the good guys and the bad. And a wonderful dog hero that is worth the read on his own…. But above all, there’s a latent power here that I also noticed in a previous read of this author. Fry writes real, gritty stuff.

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BOOK REVIEW: It’s the contrast between the unrelenting, high octane suspense and the excruciatingly slow burn of romance. That’s what it is about this author’s writing. Of course you get that a lot in these kinds of books, but Sandra S. Kerns does it so well. The crime here is complicated and deeply woven through the cast of characters. This is a damned fine police story. The action starts with the witness to a murder unconscious in an ER, our hero by his side, our heroine nursing them both. Unravelling what happened is a great read… The romance is between a strong, positive, yet damaged, woman and a tough, gritty man who is all heart and impatience. Expertly drawn, these two have you feeling that slow burn and living it with them. I was particularly pleased with how things came together at the end – the way the hero took charge… Excellent romantic mystery/thriller.

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BOOK REVIEW: The feel of this book takes me back to the musty halls of the Hermitage Museum and the iron curtain mentality of the real Russia that still smoulders today. We are expertly pulled into this mood chapter one and never really get to crawl up out of it. The characters and plot – the mystery of Brodsky – kind of tumble in on top of us, abstract and disjointed at first, building and tightening as we crawl through the maze (walk the endless corridors of The Hermitage, the towering portraits of lives past eyeballing us)…. Yes, I found the setting here to be tremendously powerful. The mystery itself is classy and intelligent, and develops into a killer of a finale…. Try this one if you like your art-heist thrillers to be gritty, real, and steeped in history.

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Slow burn with plenty of heat

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BOOK REVIEW: This is one of the better romances of this kind I have read. It’s a letdown when the hero is a shallow playboy type and the heroine allows her attraction to him to overpower her better judgement. The mix here has the heroine not being overpowered at all. Maggie is a terrific character – her strength not wavering until the final scene, and even then we have to wonder who it was that lost control and succumbed to the attraction – or indeed whether they both did. There is a depth of honesty and realism in these characters that handles the tryst between the powerful bad boy and intrepid good girl way better than some bestselling books of late…. This is a fast read but not a quick fix story. It’s sexy and highly entertaining.

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Flawed characters – great drama…

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BOOK REVIEW: Julia’s life is not extraordinary, but it is fascinating. She steps off a plane, returning from an unplanned trip away, and is faced with a whole bunch of problems that have sprung up in her absence. It’s a scene easily related to – everything falling apart at the same time. Everyone who has lived a bit of a life has experienced this… What are the decisions and incidents that shaped your life and brought you to that point? Well, in this story, Julia is a flawed character. Reading through the chapters of her life, there were times I didn’t particularly like her. But she is human – brilliantly depicted as such. And I found myself cheering for her in the end. The real heroine in this story, to me, is her best friend. Raz is mysterious… strong. We don’t spend much time inside her head, but that adds to the story, lending a depth of dimension that exist in all of our lives… This is a captivating read. Authentic.

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BOOK REVIEW: Actually, I’ve been to the beach house, metaphorically. Any place with important personal history is the beach house. It’s horrible when you drive past somewhere you remember fondly from some life event years ago and find it’s been re-developed. It’s gone… This is a wonderfully uplifting read. The many stories, brilliantly intertwined, are so real and inspiring… If you’re an Aussie you will probably like this book. If you’re not an Aussie you will probably like this book.

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BOOK REVIEW: True to life characters and an outback Aussie road trip… this is a touching and shocking human drama, the telling of which begins in turmoil and takes us on two journeys. One is the road trip – onward into discovery and hurt. The other is a series of flashbacks that lead us to our starting point and an expertly crafted reveal. Wonderfully written – mesmerizing… this is a terrific novel.

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Cool Sci Fi

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I like the Braxians. From the opening scenes of this story it’s easy to imagine them. An alien race enslaved by humans. It’s easy to get on board with their plight and cheer for them. The conflict here is the kind that immediately pulls you into the fictional universe depicted. What transpires from there is a pretty good thriller and an excellent romance. We are given plenty to satisfy the appetite in this fast paced, action packed episode, and where we end up feels like it’s just the beginning. Classic sci-fi romance with a good serve of intrigue.

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I want to go to the beach house

The Beach House

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Nothing much happens in the small Australian town of Sunset Point, which is just the way the locals like it. So when an outsider with grand plans threatens to demolish an iconic local landmark to build a huge resort the battle lines are drawn. Young journalist Jessica hopes to make it big with her coverage of the court case, but first she must appease her editor and put a human interest spin on the situation.

At first glance the five people she chooses to background have little in common – but it soon becomes clear that staying at The Beach House has changed all of them in some way.

In telling the stories of Kate, Simone, Tom, Clare and Jack, Jessica too learns some important life lessons.

   Actually, I’ve been to the beach house, metaphorically. Any place with important personal history is the beach house. It’s horrible when you drive past somewhere you remember fondly from some life event years ago and find it’s been re-developed. It’s gone… This is a wonderfully uplifting read. The many stories, brilliantly intertwined, are so real and inspiring… If you’re an Aussie you will probably like this book. If you’re not an Aussie you will probably like this book.

Authentic feel to this one

Children

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Historical Fiction: In the 17th Century Lord Cromwell arrived in Ireland with one mission, to address the Irish Problem. This story follows children stolen from their families and sold into slavery into the Caribbean and their journey back to their homes.

   The setting for this powerful adventure is 17th century on the high seas. Pirates and warring nations. Life and death. The idea of children being stolen and sold into slavery halfway around the world is shocking, and it is aptly portrayed here. The story is confronting in its brutality, in the pain of families torn apart, of innocent people murdered. Beneath an expertly detailed depiction of these atrocities is a sweeping tale of guts, courage and the triumph of human spirit. Set aside a full weekend to be transported to another time by this book.

Expertly revealed

In Conversation With Strangers

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Janine Waldron arrives home unexpectedly to find a scene so shocking that it causes her to lose all reason. She embarks on a road trip across Australia, from Brisbane to Broome, indulging in uncharacteristic behaviour that becomes more degrading and dangerous the further she travels.

As a strange contradiction, people she has never met begin to tell her about defining events in their lives. Realizing the important messages these stories contain, Janine records each one in writing, intending to publish them in a single volume.

This project is her only hope of staying grounded in reality. Is this enough to save this sensitive and creative woman?

   True to life characters and an outback Aussie road trip… this is a touching and shocking human drama, the telling of which begins in turmoil and takes us on two journeys. One is the road trip – onward into discovery and hurt. The other is a series of flashbacks that lead us to our starting point and an expertly crafted reveal. Wonderfully written – mesmerizing… this is a terrific novel.

Clueless in love

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Available on Amazon:

Jen is the clumsy, bug phobic, music loving owner of
Sweet Dreams Café in the small town of Maple Grove. She spends most of her time
working, occasionally dating, and is generally content and happy.

When Jen unexpectedly finds herself in an elevator with
Jacob Walker, A-list actor and sexiest man alive, she catches her breath, smiles
politely, wishes him a good day, and amazingly keeps the encounter with the
megastar to herself.

Showing up a month later at Sweet Dreams, Jake orders a
coffee and blueberry muffin to-go from Jen herself, leaving her dumbfounded and
feeling like an infatuated fangirl.

The two form an unlikely friendship over coffee and
conversation while he films on location.

Knowing Jake won’t be in town forever, Jen keeps her
attraction and her feelings for Jake to herself. She knows once he finishes
filming he will leave, and life will go on as usual.

Or will it?

Under different circumstances could the friendship
between Jen and Jake blossom into something more or is it all just Sweet Dreams?

BOOK REVIEW: This is a brilliant slow burn to a heart, mind and body shattering climax. Meeting a famous actor – a super hot one of the opposite sex – would be a dream come true, right? But how would you really respond? I think this little story nails reality. Our heroine knows from the outset exactly where her place is – where an ordinary person fits in the world of a movie star. The way her feelings overwhelm her logic is crafted to perfection. What a ride! This is obviously a story for the ladies but it wouldn’t be hard to reverse the roles and imagine being an ordinary guy with a real chance of snagging a screen beauty. The brilliance in this story is in the hunt and the chase. And it isn’t either of our protagonists doing the hunting or chasing. No, they’re both hopeless cases… This is about how love doesn’t let up until Jen, Jake and us readers are at its mercy. Then it really gets going! Awesome read.

Full-on wit and intrigue

Presidents

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Just as retired G-man John Hixon recovers from wounds incurred from a security detail in which he saved the life of billionaire investor Julian F. Thibaut, Thibaut calls him again. This time, his talents, intuition, and experience are put to the test as he attempts to protect seven of Thibaut’s friends while investigating a murder. In this, his second novel, FCEtier brings eight new characters into play along with several from his previous novel, The Tourist Killer.

Hixon and company, along with his loyal K-9 corps, must defend their home turf as they seek the truth behind international conspiracies and encounter the seat of ultimate power — the puppeteers who control the world’s finances. Hixon and company discover that those same powerful forces who control the world’s money also control the destinies of those who oppose them. FCEtier takes readers on a breathless and perilous trek through the jungles of politics and the palaces of power.

   Standouts in this novel are the realistic characters and their dialogue, and an intelligent plot. The club of old men at the centre of things seem ordinary and innocuous. You are fascinated by their interactions and their minds, but you wonder where it’s all leading. You are actually pulled quite unsuspectingly into the intrigue – or perhaps it’s a case of the characters being so interesting and well written that you are distracted from the plot and freshly surprised by the way it steadily builds and escalates into a powerful political thriller. Yes, the strength of both the plot and the characters are quite impressive. I’d highly recommend this novel to readers who like an intellectual challenge to go with their serving of wit, humour and suspense.