Category Archives: Aussie Book Reviewer

A little bit quirky…

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BOOK REVIEW: This sharp, quirky little story is kind of like the lead character in it. You don’t really have a choice – you just have to go along with everything you’re being told. It’s hypnotic. It’s fun and really interesting. I’d defy anyone to read a few pages of this and stop reading. You absolutely have to know what’s going to become of the emerald eyed thief girl… What does become of her – where this story goes – is a total surprise. The writer tackles a subject here that is always kind of strange and confusing, but she keeps it simple and does it very well. I always loved the Twilight Zone series. This little story would fit right in there and be one of the best of them.

Preview Terrible Me on Amazon

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BOOK REVIEW: Terrific imagination and very easy reading style. This is a strange, foreign, alternate reality where you feel right at home and quickly pick up what’s going on. Cool, quirky characters and an interesting story that may have only just begun… A very enjoyable read.

Preview Engines of Empathy on Amazon

 

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BOOK REVIEW: I liked this. What a weird story. It’s very cleverly constructed and intriguing from start to finish. There’s something so simple and true about The Pusher. I’m wondering why I can so easily relate to him, lol… It’s a short read – definitely worth your time.

Preview The Pusher on Amazon

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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.

Preview The Secrets of Julia Hawke on Amazon

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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.

Preview The Beach House on Amazon

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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.

Preview In Conversation With Strangers on Amazon

Authentic historical settings…

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BOOK REVIEW: I made it as far as about the second page before I was cheering for Rosa. Or falling for her, to be more precise. But her vulnerability makes for difficult reading. It’s so hard to see how she will ever find happiness under the influence of her sister and the weight of societal tradition. I was really worried for her as I read. I wanted to be her hero and save her from the horrible choices she had. I was so into this story – completely captivated…. In a broader sense, I’d say this is an interesting study of how a calculated marital arrangement might take time to get going, but may well develop into something rich and powerful…. The resolution for sweet Rosa worked very well for me. This is a poignant little regency romance with plenty beneath the surface.

Preview In Want of a Wife on Amazon

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BOOK REVIEW: I like the villain…. No, I don’t mean I’m on his side or anything – just that I like the way this kind of character contributes to the angst of the period and makes for interesting reading. He makes it so difficult for the heroine and hero to get together – for romance to flourish (and I agree with other reviewers that this is a good romance). The villainous uncle is portrayed, I think, quite realistically. He has so much power and brings this to bear against what we are hoping for as we read, and just when it looks like he’s being defeated, he goes and does something to rip the heart out of our triumph. What he does is an excellent bet-you-weren’t-expecting-that moment, which sets off an exciting and wonderfully written journey and pursuit that we have to live through before we can have any kind of happily-ever-after…. Yes, this is a terrific love and adventure story. It’s heart wrenching, touching, enlightening and steamy. And it also has a classic Victorian era villain, whose portrayal is particularly powerful and interesting in my opinion.

Preview Devin’s Dilemma on Amazon

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BOOK REVIEW: The heroine is a handful. Way too intelligent and strong willed for the conventions of her time. The way she fights, deceives and manipulates to get what she wants out of life makes for a bit of a romp, but the fact that this tale is based on a true story is quite sobering. It’s also very romantic and interesting because of that. For word of this lady to be around 300 years later, she must have made quite an impression at the time… I felt well enough immersed in the early 18th century setting, with minimal detail allowing the plot to move along quickly, making for a fast and exciting read. There’s a cute supernatural twist that offers another dimension to the tale. This quite cleverly heightened the intensity of the climax and ending with a parallel timeline. It also brought our protagonists to the intersection of storytelling and true-to-life… Well done!

Preview The Berkshire Lady on Amazon

Little bit creepy, seriously freaky…

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BOOK REVIEW: This is the kind of story that sort of lulls you into a bit of a comfort zone with a normal enough opening few chapters, then suddenly things get freaky. I thoroughly enjoyed the setting of this scene – getting to know Tony Logan so well as a regular guy going through some midlife s*** that isn’t hard to relate to. And the off-handed way the ‘photograph’ was thought of and mentioned several times before we got a look at it. Well, I liked that too. It was a good build up to the normality of the story suddenly being blown apart…. What then follows is a gripping supernatural thriller with a kick-arse twist at the end. The upshot being that Tony Logan might have been far better off to have never seen that photograph.

Preview The Photograph on Amazon

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BOOK REVIEW: These are gritty tales with a touch of irreverence – a dash of humour. Awesome detail in constructing both the setting and characters. This is what gives it the classic feel for me. It’s like one of those old late night scary movies that has you so involved that you’re clawing the armrest of your lounge. I think the pacing adds to that too. There’s some real suspense here – the creepy kind. And a great cast of characters! Everything works from the seriously gruesome to the mildly quirky…. Did I read something in the intro about screenplays as the original idea? Definite late night movie fodder – good follow-on viewing after The Twilight Zone has set the mood.

Preview The Clayton Chronicles on Amazon

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BOOK REVIEW: The slow reveal of what the heroine, Laura, actually is was fascinating. The story provided an interesting take on age and maturity – the history of the centuries old characters. The play on Laura’s vulnerability amongst the vampires and the relationships between feeding couples was good reading. Things escalate into a steamy romance and big action climax. This book has a smart ending. I liked it.

Preview Blood Gifted on Amazon

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.

Preview Suicide Seeds on Amazon

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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.

Preview Her Master Protector on Amazon

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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.

Preview The Brodsky Affair on Amazon

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.

Preview on Amazon

“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!

Available on Amazon

Lives up to the promise…

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BOOK REVIEW: She is going to die and she knows it. Genre aside, that right there is a powerful and intriguing story idea. No one has threatened her or anything. She has simply seen her own funeral. Brilliant. The big question to be answered here is laid out plainly in the title, and within a page or two of reading, we’re in. We’re going to need to know how and why she dies at the end…. So now we have a clear and simple yet powerfully intriguing question, but do we have a story journey to back it up? Definitely! The setting is a tangible paranormal world with interesting relationships between the different species and plenty of historic complexity. Certainly 3 dimensional. And the tale of who our heroine is and how and why she dies is rich and captivating storytelling…. For mine, this book is every bit as good as the title.

Available on Amazon

Meanwhile, in another corner of the universe…

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BOOK REVIEW: This sci-fi setting is like real. It’s actually quite brilliantly understated. When imagining the universe being depicted here, it’s as if there’s nothing to prove – as if it’s just a matter of fact that this place exists and we all know it. This is a powerful human drama and romance set elsewhere, not on Earth…. The depth in the story itself is also impressive. We can easily imagine the prequel, which would be potentially even more intense and dramatic. I quite enjoyed joining in at the tail end of a story, with lives already blown apart, and seeing everything come together…. An intelligent and nicely constructed read.

Available on Amazon

I was shocked by how far this went…

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BOOK REVIEW: This is an intense, shadowy thriller, paced for a quick read. There’s plenty of angst in the awkward, fledgling, arranged romance between our main characters before the real challenge even begins…. The 1980s setting is authentic and well suited to stories about this kind of crime – it’s kind of what makes it so shadowy. It works well. The descent into the murky depths of perversion as the thriller aspect of the story builds is another highlight. The climax is grim and hard-hitting. The romance finds a way…. This stands alone as a terrific read, but there’s definite potential for a follow-up and study of some of the secondary characters.

Available on Amazon