Review & Giveaway: Colours of Gold by Kaye Dobbie

 

Title: Colours of Gold

Author: Kaye Dobbie

Published: Harlequin MIRA April 2014

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from July 06 to 08, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

Colours of Gold by Kaye Dobbie, also known as Sara Bennett and Lilly Sommers, is a captivating tale combining mystery, romance, history and a touch of ‘other’.

With the narrative alternating between the past and the present, Colours of Gold tells the story of a small girl found near death in a sealed barrel in the Murray River in 1867 and her connection to a present day art restorer’s discovery of a Trompe L’oeil in an old Melbourne hotel scheduled for demolition.

From the opening chapters of the historical timeline I was intrigued by the mysteries introduced by the author, namely the identity of the young girl rescued from the river, her extraordinary ability to see colours (aura) that warn her of a persons mood, misfortune or illness, and her fear of a tall man in a long dark coat that haunts her, day and night. Moving from the banks of the Murray, through the dusty streets of gold rush towns and finally to Melbourne, Dobbie deftly evokes the character and landscape of the historical period as Alice, and friend Rosey, struggle to escape their dark pasts, in hopes of creating a brighter future.

In the contemporary timeline, Annie Reuben is excited by the challenge presented by the conservation of the Trompe L’oeil found in the basement of the old Goldminer Hotel and intrigued by the people and the scenes it depicts, especially the figures of two young girls in the foreground. Despite the threat of interference by History Victoria, and a looming financial crisis, Annie is determined to solve the mystery of the painting, and find out what the sudden appearance of a man in a long dark coat means for her, and her daughter.

Well written, I thought the alternating chapters were particularly well structured, each advancing the story and merging neatly at the conclusion. Suspense is built carefully during the course of the novel, with the pace quickening as Alice and Annie get closer to solving the mysteries that concern them.

An entertaining and interesting novel, with appealing characters, I was surprised at how quickly I became invested in the story of Colours of Gold and how reluctant I was to put it down. This was a great read for me.

For your chance to WIN one of two copies of Colours of Gold CLICK HERE {open worldwide}

 

Colours of Gold is available to purchase from

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Amazon US

and all good bookstores.

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AWW Feature & Giveaway: Also Known As Kaye Dobbie

 

I am happy to introduce you to Kaye Dobbie today. Kaye  is a multi published Australian author who has written romance for Avon, as Sara Bennett, and Australian historical books as Lilly Sommers.

Her current novel, Colours of Gold, is published by Harlequin MIRA (Australia), and is two tales in one. Firstly, a story set in 1866 about Alice a mysterious young girl found half-drowned in the Murray River, and secondly, a story set in the present day about Annie Reuben, a painting restorer, who uncovers the secrets of Alice’s life.

” The child has no name, she’s a little girl…lost and forgotten.

1867: Named by the wife of the paddle steamer captain who finds her half drowned in the Murray River, Alice must survive in a world that reviles her. Because Alice has a gift…or a curse. She can see an aura of colours around the people she meets — and those colours tell her of impending doom. With her friend Rosey, Alice runs away to the gold fields and then joins a troupe of entertainers where people pay to hear her predictions. But she can never escape her past…along with the frightening man in the dark coat who follows her wherever she goes…

Present: Annie Reuben is an art restorer in her father’s business, but times are tough. After being given a long-lost painting found in the basement of a condemned hotel, Annie becomes intrigued by the two girls who stare out at her from the ruined canvas.

Who were Alice and Rosey? And why does Annie find their lives so important? As Annie becomes caught up with finding answers from the past, she finds herself being stalked by the same frightening man in the dark coat who follows her wherever she goes…

A beautiful novel of a young girl’s life and adventures in the Australian goldfields — and how a painting revealed her story to the next generation of her family.

*****

My review of Colours of Gold can be read HERE , but first please READ ON and learn how you could WIN 1 of 2 copies of this wonderful novel.

AKA Kaye Dobbie

I seem to have been writing forever—yes, it has been a very long apprenticeship. From childhood diaries to a Last Will and Testament I drew up at the age of six, leaving my extensive doll collection divided fairly among my three brothers (I was the only girl). They still think it was hilarious.

When I was about fifteen I wrote a grand novel full of murder and mayhem and angst. The culprit turned out to be an elderly man in a wheelchair. Boy, I was clever. I bet no one guessed.

A publisher impressed by my dramatic flair suggested I try Mills and Boon, but it took me a while to come to grips with the happy ending. Once I did though, I embraced it whole-heartedly. At this time I was an at-home Mum, and those five romance books I wrote fitted into my chaotic lifestyle, as well as being the perfect learning experience for an aspiring writer. There isn’t a formula, in case you’re wondering. The happy ending is obligatory, but other than that you just need to focus on the main couple, and you can write them into whatever settings, situations or conflicts that appeal to you.

Later I wrote five books for various Australian publishers under the name Lilly Sommers. The publishers kept changing because 1) my editor moved to another publishing house and I followed her (reminder not to do that ever again) and 2) the industry was in flux and publishing houses were downsizing. The novels were mostly historical, but one of them had some ghostly elements and there was a novella about time travel in convict era Tasmania. I learned a lot during these years and I always felt privileged to be an Australian writing about Australia. It was one of the reasons I longed to publish another Australian-set novel.

For the last ten or so years I’ve been Sara Bennett, writing romance for Avon in the USA. Firstly Medieval books, with hunky knights and feisty ladies, and then moving on to the Victorian era, in particular a series about the daughters of an infamous courtesan. It has been a lot of fun but it came to a natural end. However I am planning to self-publish under my Sara Bennett name, when I have a moment. Romance is very life affirming and I love the happy endings.

Right now I’m writing under my own name, Kaye Dobbie. Colours of Gold is my first book with Harlequin MIRA (Australia). If I’ve been completing an apprenticeship, then I feel as if this book is the culmination of all those years of learning to be a writer. I haven’t finished, of course I haven’t. The growing and learning goes on.

And, finally, you ask, does Colours of Gold have a happy ending? Well, yes, it does, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few tears along the way.

Colours of Gold is available to purchase from

Harlequin AuBooktopia I Bookworld I via Booko I Amazon AU

Amazon US

and all good bookstores.

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GIVEAWAY

Courtesy of Kaye Dobbie

I have 2 editions of

Colours of Gold

to giveaway

1 x print edition for Australian residents only

1 x electronic edition for international (outside of Australia) residents  only

Please leave a comment on this post and then

ENTER HERE

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AWW Feature & Giveaway: Phillipa Fioretti, For One Night Only

phillipa

I am happy to welcome Australian author Phillipa Fioretti to Book’d Out today. Phillipa lives at the bottom of the world – in the hills outside Adelaide, South Australia – with her husband and children and an assortment of animals domestic, wild and feral. She likes reading in bed and travelling.

Phillipa studied art, archaeology and museum studies and worked as an artist and lecturer for twenty years before starting to write fiction in 2006. Her interest in Italy and Italian culture, vintage cinema and fashion, Classical Rome and the ancient world and the history of food and eating, all appear as underlying themes in her books.

In 2008 she was selected for participation in the Hachette Australia/Queensland Writers Centre Manuscript Development Program.Her first book, The Book of Love was published by Hachette Australia in 2010, hand the sequel, The Fragment of Dreams was published in May 2011.

Today Phillipa is  introducing her third book, For One Night Only, published by Pan MacMillan’s digital press, Momentum.

“In Italy, passion and danger share the same bed. When Ornella vacations in Sicily, she meets Hugh, an archaeologist working on a dig in the beautiful town of Taormina. Hugh convinces Ornella to join him on a trip to the island of Stromboli, where they hike up a live volcano at dusk.  After a passionate night together Ornella, an actress usually focused on her career, suspects she’s in love. But after breakfast the next morning, Hugh vanishes.  Ornella is left with Hugh’s phone, sunglasses and a sudden end to the love affair she thought she didn’t want. Desperate to know if Hugh ran out on her or if he’s met with disaster, she wants to search for him. But with an important screen test in Rome and her agent impatiently waiting for her, Ornella faces a dilemma. Little does she know the danger Hugh is in – and that she is the key to his survival.”

 

An engaging romantic suspense, read about Phillipa’s love for Italy before entering for your chance to WIN one of two copies…

Why Italy?

I fell in love with Italy as a kid when I found an old book about the myths of Greece and Rome. I read that book over and over again. Then, as a teenager I saw some Italian films and was entranced by what I saw on the screen. It was so European and exotic, so civilized and pagan, sophisticated and vital. Unlike suburban Sydney where I grew up. This was pre-Internet, so images had more power and we weren’t as sophisticated or exposed to so much as we are today. Young love is a deep love and I still love Italy passionately. I married an Italian (and his family), my children are Italian citizens and I continue my endless struggle to master the language. So setting my books in Italy is very much about my own enjoyment of Italy and Italians.
Italians, like many Europeans, are not shy about showing their appreciation of a member of the opposite sex. It’s as natural to them as breathing. They accept love and romance as part of la dolce vita, the sweet life, which fundamentally means an appreciation of the details of living. The shape of a girl’s eyes, the excellence of a morning espresso, the flourish of a hand gesture, the crispness of the pastry on a sfogliatelle, all of these are subject to conversations that can go on for hours. For the more practical and dispassionate Anglo Saxon, this may appear as a frivolous way to spend time that should be spent fixing the economy or stamping out corruption. But you can’t erase hundreds of years of attitude just because bankers in another country got too greedy.

Bookout.Barista

Italians, particularly in Sicily, have always lived with harshness and poverty, but not so much austerity, or austerity as defined as coldness or grimness. This is because when you have very little, it becomes important to get what little you have exactly right – in order to bring some pleasure into your day. The coffee must be extracted for one minute to achieve the perfect crema, the tiny cup must be heated, and it must be served with a glass of water to take away your thirst. As you sip your exquisite coffee, made for you with such nonchalant brio by the handsome barista with the bold, dark eyes, you know that while everything else may be bleak and beyond your control, you have this one moment of transcendence to carry you through. Who could not love a country where the art of the perfection of the ephemeral is practised on this daily basis?

Read my review of For One Night Only HERE

Available to Purchase From

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GIVEAWAY

Courtesy of Momentum

I have 2 e-editions of

For One Night Only by Phillipa Fioretti

to giveaway

**Open worldwide**

Please leave a comment on this post and then

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Congratulations Emily & J’Aimee

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Review & Giveaway: Lick by Kylie Scott

 

Title: Lick  {Stage Dive #1}

Author: Kylie Scott

Published: Pan Macmillan Au April 2014

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from June 05 to 06, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy Bookworld}

My Thoughts:

A sexy contemporary romance, Lick, the first book in the Stage Dive series, was first self published by its Australian author Kylie Scott but has since been picked up by traditional publishers in several countries and earned her a place on the USA Today Bestseller List. I have to be honest, I wasn’t expecting a lot from this title, even though it seems to have captured the imagination of thousands of readers, so I was pleasantly surprised to find it to be an entertaining, sweet and quick read.

“Let me get this straight, you don’t remember anything?”
“No,” I said, swallowing hard. “What did we do last night?”
“We got f**g married.” he growled.”

Lick begins with twenty one year old Evelyn waking in her hotel room after a wild night in Vegas to discover a 5 carat ring on her finger, a tattoo on her ass and the presence of tall, dark and gorgeous rock god David Ferris. Unable to remember much of anything, but convinced both she and David have made a terrible drunken mistake, Evelyn offers David a simple annulment and returns to Portland to pick up her quiet life where she left off. It is a sensible plan, but word of their Elvis impersonator officiated marriage has been leaked and Ev is ambushed by paparazzi. Forced to take up David’s offer of sanctuary while his lawyers take care of the details, Ev is surprised to learn there is more to her new husband than she suspected and that perhaps a divorce would be a bigger mistake than their marriage.

While the plot of Lick is all about the Cinderella fantasy of an ordinary girl being chosen by a handsome prince, the tone and the characters of this novel are what saves it from becoming a bland romance.

Evelyn is an appealing heroine, smart, witty and a little awkward she is an ordinary sensible girl for whom things go wildly awry the one time she sets aside her inhibitions. I can’t blame Ev for being unable to resist David, Scott’s description of him is just delicious, and at twenty one she is still in possession of the idealism that believes in destiny, true love and happy ever after.

‘Stage Dive’ lead guitarist David is the hot bad boy with a vulnerable heart. It’s a combination that is difficult to resist even when he is being a jerk because you just know his arrogance is a self defense mechanism. Unsurprisingly it turns out Dave has been badly hurt in the past and he has to deal with his trust issues before he can expect his relationship with Ev will work out.

“Love isn’t always smooth or straightforward. It can be messy and painful. Doesn’t mean it isn’t the most incredible thing that can ever happen to you.”

Though labeled a New Adult title due to the ages of the protagonists, Lick doesn’t seem to have any trouble attracting a more mature audience. If funny, sexy and sweet romance is your thing then take a stage dive into Lick.

Purchase Lick from Bookworld

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GIVEAWAY

Courtesy of Bookworld

I have 1 print edition of

Lick by Kylie Scott

to giveaway

**Sorry, open to Australian residents only**

Please leave a comment on this post and then

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Prize Pack Giveaway: Burning Dawn by Gena Showalter

 

The third book in Gena Showalter’s Angels of the Dark series,

Burning Dawn

is now available!

Burning Dawn_cover

New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with a sizzling Angels of the Dark tale about a winged warrior renowned for his ruthlessness, and the woman who becomes his obsession…

A tormented past has left Thane with an insatiable need for violence, making him the most dangerous assassin in the skies. He lives by a single code: no mercy. And as he unleashes his fury on his most recent captor, he learns no battle could have prepared him for the slave he rescues from his enemy’s clutches—a beauty who stokes the fires of his darkest desires.

Elin Vale has her own deep-rooted scars, and her attraction to the exquisite warrior who freed her challenges her every boundary. But Thane’s unwavering determination to protect her means she must face her greatest fears—and enter a world in which passion is power, and victory means breathtaking surrender.

Read an Excerpt

Available to purchase at Harlequin I Follow Harlequin on Twitter and Facebook

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ENTER TO WIN

Courtesy of Harlequin I have an Angel of the Dark prize pack to giveaway

One (1) winner receives an Angel Wing bracelet & a 3 book set of the Angels of the Dark series

Bracelet

Prize pack retail value $45

Prizing & samples courtesy of Harlequin

Giveaway open to US addresses only

Entries close May 25th, 2014

Winner : Amber T

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Showalter_Gena_colorABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gena Showalter is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author whose books have appeared in Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazines, as well as Entertainment Weekly. Her novel Red Handed has been optioned by Sony Television. Critics have called her books “sizzling page-turners” and “utterly spellbinding stories,” while Showalter herself has been called “a star on the rise.” Her mix of humor, danger and wickedly hot sex provides wildly sensual page-turners sure to enthrall.

Visit Gena Showalter’s Official Website I Follow Gena Showalter on Twitter and Facebook

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Review & Giveaway: Four-Leaf Clover by Charmaine Ross

 

Title: Four-Leaf Clover

Author: Charmaine Ross

Published: Escape Publishing May 2014

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from May 12 to 13, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

With a sickly mother to support, a house badly in needs of repairs, and spiraling debts to pay, Clover Loveday desperately needs her fledgling bakery/cafe, the Four-Leaf Clover, to succeed. So, when she learns that the Upper Crust Bakery chain is opening a new store opposite, she is concerned about the effect it may have on her business and is prepared to tell the boss’s son, exactly whats she thinks of him and his business practices.
Liam Sinclair has never questioned the decisions his father has made for their company, The Upper Crust Bakery chain is successful and he is proud of the role he has had in growing it, but he’s never given much thought to the competition, until the moment the owner of Four-Leaf Clover literally falls into his arms. Still, no matter how attractive he finds Clover, business is business, with no room for the personal touch until Clover shows him that the bakery, and his life, is missing a vital ingredient – heart.

Four-Leaf Clover by Charmaine Ross is set in the leafy suburbs of Victoria’s Dandenongs Ranges. Told from the perspectives of Clover and Liam, it is a sweet romance that proves the old adage that opposites attract. Liam is wealthy, carefree and a representative of ‘big business’ while Clover is plagued with debt and responsibility and believes in a philosophy of people before profit. They should be enemies but from the first moment they meet, when Clover topples from a ladder into Liam’s arms, the attraction between them is undeniable.

Ross does a good job of building on the physical attraction that sparks between her characters. The obstacles to their relationship are believable, from Liam’s past heartbreak and his father’s interference to Clover’s pride and her legitimate concerns regarding Liam’s motives. Their intimacy doesn’t feel forced as they get to know one another, despite the compressed time frame.

I would have liked a few more scenes set in the cafe perhaps (maybe even the inclusion of a recipe) and for the confrontation between Liam and his father to have been fleshed out a little more but in general, I think the storyline is well thought out and believable.

The dialogue is authentic, though the prose is sometimes a bit awkward. There are some small issues with continuity and copy editing, which I assume will be corrected in the final copy.

I enjoyed Four-Leaf Clover as a short and lovely romance novel with a satisfying plot and likeable characters. A tempting sweet treat for an idle afternoon.

 

GIVEAWAY

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Four-Leaf Clover is available to purchase from

Escape Publishing

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AWW Feature & Giveaway: Four-Leaf Clover by Charmaine Ross

 

A sexy, sugar-laden David vs Goliath story about a local bakery, a national chain, and what really matters.

Clover Loveday has worked hard to get her café Four-Leaf Clover up and running — her ticket out of an increasingly alarming financial situation and her dream come true. When she literally falls off her ladder into the arms of sexy-as-sin Liam Sinclair. The same Liam Sinclair who owns the new bakery being built just across the road…the new store by bakery chain Upper Crust owner! Clover decides then that no matter how nauseated she is about the idea, it is best keep your enemies close, rather than leave things to fate.

Liam has never put too much thought into the competition when he opens a new outlet, other than taking their customers and strengthening the Upper Crust brand. But here in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges, Clover Loveday’s cafe is a little too close for comfort, and Clover herself a little too good-looking. So Liam asks his PA to put together a ’fact sheet’ about his new competition. He has a business to run, a father to please, and hundreds of people to keep in jobs. Surely information can keep an unwanted strong sexual pull at bay…

A sweet, caffeinated, satisfying story about unexpected temptations, forgiveness, and putting love before money.

Read my review of Four-Leaf Clover by Charmaine Ross by clicking HERE

Excerpt from Four-Leaf Clover

Clover was tired. More tired than usual. Lack of sleep often did that to her, compounding the effects of a physical day. She’d been unable to go to sleep because of a kiss she hadn’t wanted or asked for and still couldn’t seem to push from her mind. Clover checked the bread in the covered bowl she’d set aside that morning. She always liked the smell of raising bread in the morning. Made it more earthy.

It had been a nice kiss, well, a great kiss. She rolled the risen dough onto the floured surface and started kneading. Hell, it had knocked her socks off. Left fist. Exactly what she hadn’t wanted. Right fist. Clover blew a strand of hair from her face. Making dough usually let off steam, but this morning it didn’t have the desired effect.

She rolled the soft dough into a long sausage. The dough would make great lunch rolls. She’d add them to today’s menu. Take the rest to the shelter at finish time. She knew exactly what she wanted to do and where she wanted to be. No diversions.

She’d never got so caught up before. Now the sausage was too thick, so she had to start again. This time less force. She just didn’t need a man in her life, no matter how good he was at kissing. She certainly didn’t need to feel so damn good because of it. She picked up a broad-bladed knife and chopped the sausage into sections. Chop. Chop. Chop. The blade made a satisfactory thump on the cutting board. What was it about Liam that had her all confused about her simple life’s rules?

‘Man trouble?’

‘Huh? Clover looked up to see Holly lounging on the doorframe. Holly looked from the knife in Clover’s hand to the small blobs of dough scattered over the bench. ‘Are you planning to make rolls for dwarves?’

Clover kept in the sound of frustration as she gathered the bits of dough and started kneading. Again.

‘I’m okay. Just couldn’t sleep last night,’ Clover said.

Holly locked her arms over her chest and rested a hip on the bench. ‘Ah-huh. Any reason you want to particularly share?’

‘No reason.’ The kiss wasn’t the problem. It was the fact she’d let him do it. Just stood there, waiting for him to plant his mouth on hers. She hadn’t the will power or the inclination to stop him. And it had been so nice to let him do it to her. So nice to feel desired, wanted. Nice to give in to what she craved. Just for a moment. A nano-second of bliss.

Then reality had stepped in. Knew where a kiss could lead and that she couldn’t let it pull her into its sweet embrace. The nagging weight of responsibility pushed on her shoulders and she had listened, like she always did. Responded by letting him walk back out her door, angry that she had let it happen in the first instance. Besides, she’d be getting into bed with the enemy. She just couldn’t do that.

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GIVEAWAY

Courtesy Charmaine Ross

I have 1 electronic edition of

Four-Leaf Clover

to giveaway

**Open worldwide*

Please leave a comment on this post and then

Winner: Lynette M

Entries Close May 25th, 2014

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Four-Leaf Clover is available to purchase from

Escape Publishing

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Review: The Scent of Murder by Felicity Young

 

Title: The Scent of Murder { Dr Dody McCleland #3}

Author: Felicity Young

Published: Harper Collins Australia March 2014

Status: Read from May 08 to 09, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy Harper Collins}

My Thoughts:

The Scent of Murder is the third remarkable installment in Felicity Young’s historical mystery series featuring Dr Dody McCleland, autopsy surgeon. It follows The Dissection of Murder and Antidote to Murder, both five star reads, which impressed me with their rich historical setting, superb characterisation and intriguing plots.

When, in The Scent of Murder, a human skeleton is discovered buried in a stream bed in the grounds of Fitzgibbon Hall the guests, present for a four day house party, speculate the bones could be thousands of years old. Dody, reluctantly chaperoning her younger sister Florence and her new beau, Tristam, volunteers to examine the remains, glad of the excuse to forgo participation in the fox hunt and avoid their lecherous host, Tristam’s uncle, Sir Desmond. With careful analysis, Dody concludes the bones have lain hidden for no more than ten years and the skeleton is that of a young female murdered by gunshot. Evidence found with the body suggests the girl was a resident of the local poorhouse but no one seems interested in identifying her, or hunting for her killer, so Dody calls on the help of her paramour, Chief Detective Inspector Matthew Pike of Scotland Yard. Together their investigation uncovers a conspiracy of greed, ghostly visions, and a predator who will stop at nothing to protect his deviant secrets.

The pace of this mystery is perhaps a little more sedate that previous installments but lacks none of the clever and well crafted plotting I have come to expect from Felicity Young. The ‘cold case’ is the catalyst for unveiling a cache of secrets in the small hamlet of Piltdown, including murder, corruption, profiteering and perversion. Both Dody and Pike face challenges in their investigation, the local constabulary and magistrate, whose pockets are lined by Sir Desmond Fitzgibbon, resent Pike’s presence and are largely uncooperative and Dody is distracted by a frightening attack on her person, Tristam’s injury and an outbreak of Scarlet Fever at the neighbouring workhouse.

The novels in this series always reflect the female experience of the social and political milieu at the turn of the century and The Scent of Murder is no exception. In this instance, Young explores the sexual exploitation and abuse of women and children, vulnerable to the desires of those who wield power of them, unable to complain knowing they are likely to disbelieved and probably found at fault. This is particularly true for the girls of the Piltdown Workhouse who are at the mercy of the sadistic Matron and Master in the Scent of Murder, but no woman is immune. When Dody is brutally attacked by Sir Desmond he taunts her with the knowledge that reporting the incident would undoubtedly ruin her reputation and career, while his would remain unscathed.

A fascinating forensic element of Dody and Pike’s investigation is Pike’s attempt to use the fledgling science of ballistics to identify the gun that fired the fatal shot, and subsequently its owner. It is an interesting process requiring the co-operation of a dentist and blacksmith, and not that different in technique to the method used today.

The Scent of Murder, like its predecessors, offers vivid historical detail, compelling characters and an absorbing story. The Dr Dody McCleland Mysteries are an excellent historical crime series, certainly one of my favourites, and I’m eagerly looking forward to its continuation with The Insanity of Murder in 2015.

To learn more about Felicity Young and for your chance to win a copy of The Scent of Murder, click here to read my Q&A with the author.

The Scent of Murder is available to purchase from

Harper Collins I boomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AU I via Booko

Amazon US

The series is also published in the US by Berkley Crime

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AWW Feature & Giveaway: The Scent of Murder with Felicity Young

I am thrilled to introduce you to Felicity Young today. Born in Germany, Felicity  attended boarding school in the UK while her parents travelled the world with the British army, until her family settled in Western Australia in 1976. Felicity became a nurse, married young and raised three children while completing  an Arts degree (English lit) at UWA, over a period of ten years. In 1990, Felicity and her family moved to a small farm 40 kilometers NE of Perth where she established a Suffolk sheep stud, reared orphan kangaroos and embarked upon a life of crime writing.

Her first novel, a stand alone novel, A Certain Malice, was published in 2005. In 2007 An Easeful Death launched a contemporary crime series featuring Detective Sergeant Stevie Hooper. Books two and three of the series, Harum Scarum and Takeout, were published in 2008 and 2010 respectively, by Fremantle Press.

In 2012, The Dissection of Murder (retitled in the US as The Anatomy of Death) launched a new crime series in which, against the backdrop of the suffragette movement in turn of the century Britain, Felicity Young introduces Dr Dody McCleland, the first female autopsy surgeon.

 Antidote To Murder followed, published in 2013, with Dody framed for the death of a scullery maid, who was the victim of a botched criminal abortion, by unscrupulous colleagues and ambitious misogynists. With Dr Benard Spillsbury away and Chief Inspector Pike missing, Dody is forced to face her accusers alone while trying to unmask the real culprit butchering desperate young women.

The Scent of Murder, is the third intriguing mystery, released just last month.

“‘If a black dog appears along the old corpse way, the route a funeral procession takes to the churchyard, it is thought to be escorting the dead soul to the afterlife. A black dog sighting without a funeral procession, however, is supposed to foreshadow death.’

For Doctor Dody McCleland, the unearthing of an ancient skeleton in a dry riverbed is a welcome break from the monotony of chaperoning her younger sister at a country house near the isolated hamlet of Piltdown. But when she begins her analysis of the bones, Britain’s first female autopsy surgeon discovers they are much more recent – and they are the result of murder. With Chief Inspector Matthew Pike’s help Dody begins to investigate. Soon she finds herself pitted against ugly traditionalism, exploitation, spectral dogs, a ghostly hunt and a series of events that not only threaten her belief in scientific rationalism, but threaten her life itself.”

My review of The Scent of Murder can be viewed HERE, but first please avail yourself of the opportunity to learn more about Felicity Young, her work, and enter to win a print copy of The Scent of Murder!

Q&A with Felicity Young

Q: What crime is forensic pathologist, Dody McCleland faced with in The Scent of Murder?

Felicity: The story revolves around an old skeleton found in a stream bed, so I guess you could say that Dody and Pike are investigating a ‘cold case.’

Q: Did you ever have the opportunity to meet your grandmother, on whom the character of Dody McCleland is based?

Felicity: Alas no, she died when I was a baby. But since starting the Dody books, I did gain access to her numerous notes and scribbles. You can see a sample of them on my webpage, http://www.felicityyoung.com. I think you will see what a terrific help these were to me when I was dreaming up ‘my’ Dody’s back story.

Q: Why did you choose to set the series in Edwardian times?

Felicity: I’ve always been a bit of a history buff and the Edwardian period is definitely my favourite. Here are just a few reasons why:

It’s close enough to my own time to have been in the living memory of elderly people I knew when I was a child. This factor has always made the period seem particularly alive to me.

It’s also a fascinating period of transition between our own time and the distant past, which makes it a great setting for a crime author to play around in. For example, if I want someone to get away, they can escape by automobile, but if I want them to get caught they can be travelling by handsome cab. Very few houses had telephones, so often my heroes have to get themselves out of trouble rather than relying on ‘back up’. And of course no DNA or computers — just old fashioned, character based detective work – bliss!

I also enjoy the diverse range of the research, from early medicine, to the suffragettes to the history of the English police.

I love writing the more formalized style of speech of the upper classes and the ‘slang’ of the lower, as well as the quaint expressions and sayings of the time. For example, did you know that the word ‘hello’ as a greeting was not used in Edwardian England? The closest word to this at the time was ‘hullo’ as in ‘hullo, what have we here?’

And of course, the enormous social, political and international tension of the Edwardian period provides me with a never-ending supply of plots.

Last, but by no means least, I adore the fashions.

Q: What is the most surprising or interesting piece of information you discovered when researching The Scent of Murder?

Felicity: This book probably hasn’t required as much research as the other two, but I was interested to learn how they used to estimate the age of bones pre carbon dating. It was also fun reading the folk tales of the area in which the story is based.

Q: You write both contemporary and historical crime fiction, is one easier, or faster to write than the other?

I always wanted to write historical fiction, but worried I would find the research too overwhelming. This is why I decided to cut my teeth on contemporary crime fiction first. Funnily enough, now I have done both, I think I find historical the easier (but not faster, I’m a slow writer and both take ages) of the two. With the historical, I don’t have to worry about cutting edge technological developments or the worming out of procedural information from the modern police. Provided I know where to look, most of the facts are at my fingertips. And of course, my historical mysteries will never date!

Q: What are you working on now, or what can we expect next?

Felicity: I’m working on the 4th Dody McCleland book, The Insanity of Murder. You can probably guess what that’s about.

Q: Can you please share three of your favourite novels by Australian women writers?

Felicity: The first that come to mind are three talented WA authors who’s novels have not had the publicity they deserve.

Elemental by Amanda Curtin (my favourite book of last year), The Hapshepsut Trilogy by Patricia L. O’Neill (Ancient Egyptian saga at its best), and The Bookshop of Jacaranda Street by Marlish Glorie (fabulous, quirky and set in Perth).

Q: What is your preference?

Felicity: (Is this some kind of Myers-Briggs test?!)

Coffee/Tea or other? Coffee in AM, tea in PM (de caff where possible) — who’s buying?
Beach/Pool or River? Beach, but only for a short time, thank you. I’m too much of a restless soul to enjoy lolling around for long. A quick play in the waves and a body surf or two will do just fine.
Slacks/Jeans or Leggings? Tracky pants and PJ bottoms at home, but when I’m out of the house I might lever myself into a pair of jeans.
Butterfly/Tiger or Giraffe? I love them all, but my heart aches for tigers.
Swings/Slide or Roundabout? Swinging, then flying off and landing on a soft pile of sand. Ah, those were the days…

 

***

GIVEAWAY

Courtesy of Harper Collins Australia

I have 1 print edition of

The Scent of Murder by Felicity Young

to giveaway

**Entry open to Australian residents only*

Please leave a comment on this post and then

Winner: Marisa W

Entries Close May 25th, 2014

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***

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Review & Giveaway: Beached by Ros Baxter

Title: Beached {Aegira Chronicles #2}

Author: Ros Baxter

Published: Escape Publishing April 2014

Read an Extract

Status: Read from April 06 to 07, 2014 — I own a copy  {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

Beached is the second book in Ros Baxter’s Aegira Chronicles, a fantasy trilogy with a creative twist on Norse legend. The first, Fish Out of Water, introduced Rania Aqualina, deputy sheriff of small town Dirtwater, and half mermaid. Her investigation into the discovery of a dead blonde with a fish tattoo on Main Street leads Rania to uncover a plot which could mean the end of her underwater home, Aegira, and her own life, at the hands of a crazed sorcerer, Manos.

In Beached, the focus of the story shifts to Rania’s sister, Princess Lecanora whom the Queen has sent to Land to find support for the battle against the Sorcerer from none other than the Presidential candidate. Lecanora, while struggling to adjust to the ways of the Land, joins her sister, mother and their allies to gain the candidates favour while dodging over zealous bodyguards, Manos’s army and saving two worlds.

The action is fast paced, as Manos launches his attack, determined to take Lecanora as his bride so he can rule over Aegira, and destroy any chance of the prophecy of ‘the Three’ thwarting him by killing Rania. The fight moves between land and sea, finally culminating in an epic battle in Aegira.

As in Fish Out of Water, there is a strong romantic element within the story and it’s Rania’s ex, Doug, who leaves Lecanora breathless. Peace loving Lecanora is baffled by her attraction to the gun toting, ex special forces, bad ass and the strange feelings he evokes. It’s insta-love of a sort, but not too badly done.

I enjoyed the humour which came from Rania’s snark, and Lecanora’s naïveté. Baxter writes well, with snappy dialogue and descriptive prose. I’d recommend reading Fish Out of Water before Beached though it’s not strictly necessary, Baxter provides enough back story to orient a reader new to the trilogy.

Beached, like Fish Out of Water, is a fun book, combining action, fantasy, humour and romance, which I really enjoyed. I’m looking forward to reading the final adventure in the Aegira Chronicles.

***

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to Ros Baxter

I have 1 e-edition of

Beached

to giveaway

**Open worldwide**

Please leave a comment on this post and then

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Entries Close April 20th, 2014

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***

Beached is available to purchase from

Escape Publishing

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