REVIEW: Tempting Justice by Fiona Archer (Sons of Sydney Book 2)

Published: 18th April 2017

Publisher: Self Published

Pages: 340

Format: Ebook courtesy of the author for review

RRP: $ 5.42

5/5 Stars

His reckless behavior as a child caused the deaths of his entire family. On the lonely Sydney streets, the orphan found friends. Found “brothers.” Never again will Seattle Homicide Detective Heath Justice break the rules and risk his new family. Order and discipline govern his life…until he meets a curvaceous redhead. With two ugly murder cases to solve, the last thing he needs is this disconcertingly lovely, whirlwind of chaos, yet…charmed by her wit and intelligence, Heath can’t resist.

She believes rules are meant to be broken

Deep into writing a murder mystery, author London Shaw is shocked when she herself is implicated in a homicide. She can’t believe the ever-so-authoritarian Detective Heath Justice expects her to simply ignore the crime and go on about her business. Not happening. Although the man’s whiskey rough voice, cuffs, and masterful touch could melt any woman’s resistance—and does—she has a craving to do a little investigating herself.

When all or nothing is your only play

When Heath’s murder investigation threatens a far-reaching conspiracy, everyone he cares for becomes their target—including the woman he’s come to love.

The Justice brothers are back in the last instalment from Aussie author Fiona Archer, Tempting Justice, but this time it’s Heath’s time to get down and dirty with his leading lady London, a YA writer.

Following on from the explosive Craving Justice, Archer leaves nothing behind in this whirlwind of mystery, suspense, murder and the sweetest and truest love story I’ve read in a while.

Set about a month after the events of book one, Heath Justice meets his leading lady in one of the most quirky and adorably sexy cute meets there is. Right from the first time London creeps on to the page I was instantly drawn to her character and loved the contrast between the controlled rule-abiding Heath and the laid back sassy London. The pair will have you laughing one second and swooning the next as they learn to navigate each other and the situations they unwilling encounter as the book’s main events unfold.

I really am speechless when it comes to this book. Not only did I encounter just about every single emotion there is during the initial read of the book, but I’m in awe of the way Archer was able to pull the whole thing off. There is so much going on in this book, that I can not even begin to understand the mastery of the story telling that Archer has under her belt in order to pull the whole thing together so powerfully and effortlessly.

Every time I think I know what to expect from Archer’s writing, she ups the ante and has me dancing on the edge of my seat as I race the book to it’s epic conclusion. This book is everything I could have dreamed and then some. Archer’s writing style is flawless, her characters engaging and larger than life. The plot itself is complex and everything you could want from a romantic suspense book that is heavy both on the suspense and romance. This book seriously has it all and I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series.

To purchase a copy of Tempting Justice, visit the following online retailers:

Amazon AUS | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | ibooks AUS  | Kobo |

 

To learn more about Fiona Archer, visit the following social media sites:

Author Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest |

 

 

REVIEW: Zak’s Safari by Christy Tyner and Illustrated by Ciaee

Published: 4th December 2014

Publisher: Self published via Kickstarter

Pages: 38

Format: Hardcover Picture Book (Borrowed from a friend)

RRP: $34.99 (hardback in AUD)

4/5 Stars

Zak’s Safari is a book about donor-conceived kids of two-mom families. When the rain foils Zak’s plan for a safari adventure, he invites the reader on a very special tour of his family instead. Zak shows us how his parents met, fell in love, and wanted more than anything to have a baby—so they decided to make one.

In the first half of the book, Zak teaches us about his biological origins. Using simple but accurate language, we learn about sperm and egg cells, known-donors, donors from sperm banks, and instructions called genes that make up who we are. Zak’s enthusiasm, combined with his scientific curiosity and gratitude for his inherited “awesome genes” make him the perfect tour guide for this contemporary conception story. The second half of the book celebrates family. Gorgeous illustrations depict Zak and his two moms living the adventure of everyday life: eating meals together, playing at the beach, going for nature hikes and hanging out with friends and family.

Zak’s Safari aims to provide a starting place for many future conversations with your kids about their conception story and donor. Zak’s Safari is written in a style that is genuine, informative, casual, and easy to understand. It will be most meaningful to kids ages 4-8.

Zak’s Safari is a cute and educational picture book designed for young children to inform them on the donor process. For many parents, this is a scary topic of much confusion and heartache – after all, how and when you decide to let your child know is a big decision.

When the narrative starts the reader is introduced to Zak, a Safri tour guide who has to alter his plans to show a “rare baby albino alligator’ due to weather conditions and instead takes the reader through an ‘adventure tour’ of his family. The tour starts from when his parents first meet and goes through concepts of what conception is, through to the various pairings parents can make (same sex, two men, two women etc), to what genes are and the role they play in making us who we are and to a rough sketch of Zak’s life. Nothing is off limits, and everything is up for discussion and that in itself is one of the best things about this book.

Zak’s Safari isn’t a book that will appeal to everyone. For many it will be too confrontational, and others just too overwhelming. While I’m not a same sex parent (or a parent at all), I really admire this book for what it is doing; helping to give parents and children a safe outlet to discuss what is ultimately a very confusing and confronting concept for everyone involved.

One thing I loved about this book, was the fact that it opened with a detailed two page letter from Alice Ruby ( MPH, Excetive Director of the Sperm Bank of California and a mother through donor conception) to the reader. While this letter is aimed at the parents, it’s a helpful guide to how to handle the initial discussion of donor conception and same sex parents. The book further goes above and beyond by including a blank page for the reader’s family to record their own story journey, so that they too can understand exactly where they come from.

Zak’s Safri is an exceptional little book. With big ideas it seeks to break down the misunderstandings and prejudice against donor conceptions and help families with same sex parents, or donor conception babies, to break through the social barriers of families and their origins.

To learn more about Zak’s Safari and Christy Tyner, visit the following social networks:

Zak’s Safari Website | Facebook | Twitter

To purchase a copy of Zak’s Safri, visit the following online retailers:

Zak’s Safari website | Book Depository | Booktopia | Amazon US

 

REVIEW: The Beast Of Hushing Wood by Gabrielle Wang

Published: 3rd April 2017

Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia

Pages:180

Format: Paperback courtesy of the publisher

RRP: $16.99

4/5 Stars

By the award-winning author of The Wishbird. A powerful magic realism story about Ziggy Truegood, a young girl who has a premonition that she will drown on her 12th birthday.

Ziggy Truegood lives in a tiny town deep in Hushing Wood, where strange things are happening. The townspeople are fighting, Ziggy feels like something is hunting her, and her beloved woods have become dark and hostile. When exotic Raffi and his grandfather arrive in town, Ziggy finds herself strangely drawn to them. But are they there to save Ziggy, or are they the hunters?

Thought-provoking and engaging, Hushing Wood is a lovely blend of action, fable and magic realism.

With illustrations by the author
Recommended for children 10 -13 years old.

The Beast Of Hushing Wood is an adventure style novel perfect from children on the cusp of young adulthood, but not necessarily ready for the older themes of Young Adult books. It’s the kind of book that will appeal to adventure/risk takers and lovers of magic and the unknown. It’s a book that continued to surprise me and kept me guessing for the entire 180 pages of the novel.

With adventurous themes and settings, magical aspects and mythological beings, there is a lot to take in and love about The Beast Of Hushing Wood. When the book opened, I expected a self-discovery-slash-coming-of-age style narrative and while there are elements of both of those things in the story, the narrative has so much more to offer in a remarkable short amount of pages.

For one, it’s illustrated! I can’t remember the last novel I read that had illustrations scattered throughout the pages and so I really enjoyed the illustrations that spanned everything from a two page spread to small chapter style headings. Not being familiar with the author’s previous work, I wasn’t aware at the time of reading that Wang is both the books author and illustrator and looking back knowing this gives the book a larger than life feeling. You can literally see and read the tale unfold before your eyes as the author intended it to be and that’s kind of magical in itself..

I loved the book’s sense of otherness. The world of Hushing wood and the town Ziggy and her friends call home is crowded in by the woods and not kind to foreigners. But then there is Ziggy, a spirited eleven year old who knows her own mind. She’s not easily mislead by the closed mind towns folk and uses logic and her limited knowledge of the world to problem solve. If anything I think the world needs more books about young girls like her. What’s more the use of Eastern mythology and the re-telling of those tales brings a sense of wholeness and completion to the story. By including these tales that many westernised kids are not used to, Wang is both teaching and widening the readers knowledge and social construction, while adding another level of mystical and compulsion to the book.

But perhaps my favourite aspect of the book was the insistence on the power of one’s imagination. There are countless examples within the novel that express to the readers that your imagination is fantastic. With children from 12 plus heading to a highly indoctrinated and exact educational system, our imagination and it’s place in our day to day lives is often forgotten and left behind. We are not taught to be creative and imagine life outside the walls presented to us, but it happens every day as a child, and again as a reader of any age through books.

“But the imagination isn’t real,” I say.

“People only say that because their power of imagination is weak. When it becomes strong, your imagination can take you to incredible places. These are real places, although you cannon touch them with your hands.’ He taps his chest. “True imagination is your door to a real world. Sometimes people glimpse this world when they’re not looking straight at it.”

The Beast Of Hushing Wood is a highly imaginative and creative story that will appeal to readers of all ages. The best way I can sum up the book is to suggest that it has the power and intensity of adventure of J.R.R Tolkein (with perhaps no where near half as many characters), the magical and paranormal immersion and focus of Holly Black’s Darkest Place Of The Forrest, the mythological presence of Rick Rordan’s Percy Jackson’s Series but the light heartedness and tenderness of a book suitable for readers from 10 plus, while remaining a safe stepping stone into Young Adult themes and narratives.

 

 

To learn more about Gabrielle Wang, visit the following social media pages:

Gabrielle Wang Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram |

To Purchase a copy of The Beast Of Hushing Wood, visit the following online retailers:

Paperback:  Booktopia | Dymocks | QBD | The NIle 

Ebook:  Amazon AUS | Amazon US |

 

Have You Ever Thought Of Taking A Readers Retreat?

Do you love books? Particularly romance books? Do you love to chat for hours on end about books with like minded people? Do you like to gush over your favourite authors and book boyfriends? Are you longing for a girls weekend away? Have you ever wanted to go on a holiday just to read? Chat casually with authors and readers alike?

If you answered yes to any of the above then you need to come along in June to the third Kell’s Bookmark Clique Readers Retreat. I’ve personally been on all of the retreats held so far and have loved every minute of them.

Through the retreats I’ve found new-to-me authors, some life long reader friends from all around Australia who I chat almost daily with, and have meet some incredible authors who have become dear friends. My TBR has also doubled, possibly even tripled, and the goodies galore I’ve come home with really require me to stop thinking about getting that new bookcase and actually buy the damn thing!

The next retreat is being held from Friday 2nd  to Monday 4th June at a beautiful old style pub turned house on a  property in the Hunter Valley. This year the theme for the retreat is Suspense with special guest  Romantic-Suspense Author TJ Hamilton joining in for the weekend long adventure – and from what I’ve heard she’s got some wicked things planned with Kell! There is a guided ghost tour of Maitland Goal, a blind date book swap, informal group book discussions, a wine tour at the local Mistletoe Winery  and so many games to be played and prizes to be won that it really is going to be an amazing weekend.

Each attendee is required to read two books prior to attending (these are usually gifted to the recipients prior to the retreat) so that we can all take part in group book discussion, and there’s activities galore planned. At previous retreats there has been high teas, gigantic interactive book quizzes with every attendee guaranteed to win a prize ranging from books to book couches and candles! Keep in mind the retreat is laid back and if there is no pressure to participate in anything you don’t want too.

The cost for the weekend is $600 and that includes accommodation, all meals (excluding the possibility of one dinner out), a ghost tour of Maitland Goal, and a trip to Mistletoe Wines (a local family owned winery – though any wine purchased at the venue is at your own cost).

So if you are looking for a safe and friendly environment to gush about your love of all things romance and books, then I can’t recommend this retreat more highly. The friendships alone made on these weekend are once in a lifetime. Plus it doesn’t hurt to have people to run to for book recommendations and to gush about your latest book boyfriend as well.

If you are looking for more information, or just want to chat with like minded romance lovers, then join Kell’s Bookmark Clique on facebook (click here )and Kell will be happy to chat with you about the reatreat and books in general. Hope to see you there 🙂

 

 

 

Shelve It: Newcastle Writers Festival 2017 Edition!

Brought to you (and me) by Magan & Estelle @  Rather Be Reading

The Newcastle Writer’s Festival was held this past weekend and naturally there was so many authors to listen to and books that I simply had to buy. Although this list doesn’t exactly look restrained (let’s face it, there are a LOT of Jackie French books on here), they weren’t all brought at the festival but leading up to the festival and in preparation for the festival.

 

FOR REVIEW (Ebook)

 

FOR REVIEW (PRINT)

 

Purchased (Print)

      

Purchased (Ebook)

 

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Previously hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey; Now Hosted by Book Date

Reality has well and truly set back in over the last week with work and housework (boo!), but I was able to escape on the weekend to the Newcastle Writers Festival and had a really great time.

 

Currently Reading:

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love-she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness-except for the part where she is.
Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny, flirtatious, and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

Lawson Cooper-Jones has two priorities in life – his son, Ned, and the survival of the dairy farm that has been in his family for generations. Despite the best efforts of the town matchmakers and the determined pursuit of local girl Adeline Walsh, Lawson’s heart belongs still, and only, to his late wife.

But when a flat tyre strands Lawson and Ned in nearby Rose Hill, he’s surprised to find a woman living alone in the old general store of the deserted town. Ned immediately forms a bond with the beautiful stranger called Meg, and Lawson is surprised to find himself captivated by her too.

Although shy at first, Meg starts to open up to him about the haunting secrets of her new home and, with Lawson unable to get her out of his head, they agree to investigate the history of the old building together. Soon they find their friendship has bloomed into something more.

But when meddling Adeline makes it her mission to uncover the truth about the newcomer and her real identity is revealed, Lawson and Meg’s budding romance comes crashing down. Can they both learn to forgive in order to claim a future for their damaged hearts?

A moving story of secrets, love and new beginnings from bestselling author Rachael Johns.

LISTENING TO:

 

hoping TO read:

She’ll do whatever it takes to track this killer …

Harmony Talbot’s world is destroyed when she arrives home and discovers her cousin’s dead body, left with a single white rose as the killer’s calling card. Lightning shouldn’t strike twice, but this is the second unsolved murder in Harmony’s family. Harmony is determined that this time there will be justice, even if she has to track down the culprit herself.

Homicide detective Bern Knight is good at catching criminals. Though meaningful, his work leaves little time for relationships, and the last thing he needs is a beautiful, bumbling amateur sleuth getting herself into trouble. Whoever committed this crime is no ordinary murderer; he’s a ghost, leaving behind no evidence until more bodies with the same sadistic markers start turning up.

As a digital forensic investigator, Harmony has a special set of skills that she’s fully prepared to use, no matter how much the stern detective is against her interference. Tracking the killer is no easy feat, but Harmony lures him out of hiding. Except now she’s the one in the killer’s crosshairs…

 

 

Just Finished:

 


Last week on the blog:

Let’s Talk Books With Jill Mackenzie, Avid Romance Reader and Lover of Dark Reads

REVIEW: I Don’t Want Curly Hair by Laura Ellen Anderson 5/5 Stars

Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017 (#AWW2017) Update 3: March

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?