Review: Only We Know by Victoria Purman

 

Title: Only We Know

Author: Victoria Purman

Published: Harlequin MIRA Aus May 2015

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from May 08 to 10, 2015   – I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Full review to come

A rugged island. Two people. Family secrets.
When Calla Maloney steps on the boat to Kangaroo Island, she’s filled with dread. Part of it is simple seasickness but the other part is pure trepidation. She’s not on a holiday but a mission: to track down her estranged brother, who she hasn’t seen since her family splintered two years before.
Firefighter Sam Hunter left the island twenty years ago and has made a habit out of staying as far away as he can get. But when his father’s illness forces him home, he finds himself playing bad cop to his dad and reluctant tour guide to a redhead with no sense of direction.
As Sam and Calla dig deeper into their long-buried family secrets, they discover that no one is an island and that opening up their hearts to love again might be the most dangerous thing they will ever do.

Only We Know is available to purchase from

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and all good bookstores.

Also by Victoria Purman on Book’d Out

 

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Review: Stay With Me by Maureen McCarthy

 

Title: Stay with Me

Author: Maureen McCarthy

Published: Allen and Unwin May 2015

Status: Read from April 30 to May 01, 2015  – I won a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Stay With Me is a powerful novel about family dysfunction, mental illness and domestic violence.

Full review to come

Tess is in trouble. Stuck on a farm outside Byron Bay, cut off from family and friends, Tess knows she must find a way to escape her violent partner to save her life and the life of her child …
A chance meeting offers a way out – but can she ever trust again? Tess embarks on a desperate road trip back to the heart of her past. But what will be waiting for her at home? Will her family forgive her – and can she forgive them?

Stay With Me is available to purchase from

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Review: Northern Heat by Helene Young

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Title: Northern Heat

Author: Helene Young

Published: Michael Joseph: Penguin May 2015

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from May 03 to 05, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher/Netgalley}

My Thoughts:

Helene Young delivers another exciting and engaging romantic suspense novel with Northern Heat, her sixth novel.

Northern Heat begins with a murder and the suspense and action continues as Connor is targeted by both police and the bad guys. Throw in a vicious assault, a frightened wife, rebellious teens and a cyclone bearing down on the town, and the story is fast paced and tension-filled. The last few chapters in particular had me frantically flipping the pages.

Readers familiar with Safe Harbour will recognise Connor as the stranger rescued from wild seas by Darcy Fletcher and Noah Moreton. A financial manager who turned over evidence against the Russian Mafia, Connor is living under an assumed named on a yacht moored at Cooktown, investigating a lead on the identity of the hitman who murdered his wife and child, while doing his best to atone for his past sins.

Connor first meets Dr Kristy Dark at the Cooktown PCYC as the coach of her daughter’s basketball team. After losing both her young son and husband in tragic circumstances, Kristy has made a home for herself and her teenage daughter, Abby, in the small community of Cooktown. She is attracted to Connor but wary of relationships given her history, and has her hands full with her concerns about her daughter’s eating habits, and with helping a friend, a victim of domestic violence.

The developing relationship between Connor and Kristy is complicated by Kristy’s unresolved feelings for her late husband, and the secret of Connor’s true identity. While Kristy is worried about maintaining her hard won equilibrium, Connor feels opening up to Kristy will put her, and Abby, at risk from the dangers that haunt him. Despite the conflict, they are inevitably drawn to each other and when faced with a cyclonic crisis are forced to trust in each other to survive.

With a dramatic storyline, strong characterisation, passion and fast paced action, Northern Heat is another stellar read from Australia’s Queen of romantic suspense.

Northern Heat is available to purchase from

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and all good bookstores.

Click the banner below to learn More about Northern Heat and how to WIN your own copy

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Blog Tour: Introducing Northern Heat by Helene Young

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I am honoured to be launching Helene Young‘s blog tour for her newest novel of romantic suspense, Northern Heat.

When Helene’s not writing novels she enjoys a busy career as the Queensland Regional Flying Manager with Australia’s largest regional airline. She’s worked in aviation for over 25 years and has 260 pilots reporting into her. She recently appeared in ‘Judith Lucy is All Woman’ in an episode showcasing women in aviation.
She has twice won the highly coveted RWA’s Romantic Book of the Year in 2011 and 2012 and was shortlisted for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Mainstream Crime and Suspense. She has also been nominated in the Ned Kelly and Sisters in Crime Awards. Helene’s last novel, Safe Harbour, was voted Australia’s 2014 Favourite Romantic Suspense Novel. This is the fourth time Helene’s stories have won the award.
A motivational speaker and writing mentor, Helene lives aboard a catamaran on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef and she plans one day to sail around the world in it.

Northern Heat is Helene’s sixth novel, my review can be seen HERE but first, please read on to learn more about this great novel and find out how you can enter the draw the WIN a copy.

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In steamy northern Queensland, Conor is rebuilding his shattered life. Working at Cooktown’s youth centre has given him the chance to make a difference again, and the opportunity to flirt with Dr Kristy Dark. The local GP is hiding her own secrets and struggling to raise her feisty teenage daughter alone.
When a severe cyclone menaces the coast, threatening to destroy everything in its path, tensions come to a head – and the weather is not the only danger. Cut off from the world and with her life on the line, Kristy will have to summon her courage and place her trust in Conor, or they’ll both lose someone they love.

Introducing Northern Heat

I’ll be visiting some of my favourite blogs over the next four weeks to share the experiences that have gone into writing Northern Heat, along with writing advice and some ‘behind the scenes aboard Roobinesque’ posts. At the bottom of this post is a schedule for the blog hop and details of the giveaways and how to enter. I hope you and your readers will join me for the month.

James CookNorthern Heat is a very special book for me. It started in 2012 when I ran a writing workshop in Cooktown and met some extraordinarily talented writers. The workshop was held in the Police Citizen Youth Club and the policeman in charge of the centre very generously gave me a tour of the facilities and talked about the challenges of policing in rural and regional areas. Capt G and I spent the weekend in Cooktown chatting to locals, wandering around the markets and having a yarn in a couple of the pubs. We’d been to Cooktown several times before, but always to visit friends so we hadn’t really explored the district before.

In its heyday Cooktown was the centre of one of Australia’s largest gold rushes. That rich and diverse history has left its mark side-by-side with the relics from Capt Cook’s Endeavour, which was careened there on 16th June 1770 after hitting a reef to the south. Aboriginal culture is strong in the district with the settlement of Hopetown to the north. The whole area is full of memorable characters.

On the six-hour drive back to Cairns the story started to take shape, but it would be another two years before I finally sat down to write it. The main character, Conor, was a man in need of redemption. He’d made some mistakes, paid a terrible price and now deserved to move on with his life, wiser, more circumspect but still grieving.

Dr Kristy and her daughter, Abby, came as a family. I’ve watched girls in our circle of family and friends struggle with the surge of hormones as they enter their teens. Abby was sweet but feisty from the very start. Dealing with her family tragedy whilst trying to match-make on her mother’s behalf made her beguiling. I loved telling her story. I’ve have friends who are single mums struggle to be all things to their children, and still having to pursue careers to pay the bills. It was important to me to show the very human side of Kristy as she anguishes about her weight, her parenting ability, her single mum status, all the while she’s recovering from her own tragic loss and the fallout of domestic violence.

Cooktown WharfFreya, a character Kristy is trying to help, is trapped in a violent marriage. The research into domestic violence was heartbreaking. So many women shared their experiences and the thing that struck me most was that, even if they’d rebuilt their lives, in many cases guilt still held them back. I hope I’ve done their stories justice.

I hope you enjoy Northern Heat and maybe find time to visit North Queensland on your next holiday (I can’t resist a little bit of tourism marketing!)

Do you have a favourite place you loved to revisit in stories? We’d love to hear about it! Comment to go into the draw for the giveaways and thanks for dropping by.

Blog Tour Giveaway

To celebrate the release of my sixth book I have six prize packs to give away. Four of them are duos of SAFE HARBOUR and NORTHERN HEAT and one major prize is a complete set of my six books. For international readers there is a duo of e-books to be won.
To enter leave a comment here or share the post and/or the trailer on social media sites and I’ll double your chances!

Hope to see you through May at the following blogs.

5th May: https://bookdout.wordpress.com
7th May: http://auslit.net
10th May: http://deannasworld1.blogspot.com.au
12th May: http://www.jennjmcleod.com
14th May: http://ausromtoday.com
17th May: https://1girl2manybooks.wordpress.com
19th May: http://writenotereviews.com
21st May: https://australianbookshelf.wordpress.com
24th May: https://nevendbookshelf.wordpress.com/category/reviews/
26th May: http://teddyree-theeclecticreader.blogspot.com.au
28th May: http://australianruralromance.com
31st May: http://talkingbooksblog.net
2nd June: Wrap up and announce the winner on my blog-
http://www.heleneyoung.com

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Northern Heat is available to purchase from

Penguin Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I via Booko

Amazon AU  I Amazon US

and all good bookstores.

Review: Death in the Rainy Season by Anna Jacquiery

 

Title: Death in the Rainy Season {Serge Morel #2}

Author: Anna Jacquiery

Published: Macmillan April 2015

Status: Read from April 11 to 15, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Full review to come

“Phnom Penh, Cambodia; the rainy season. When a French man, Hugo Quercy, is found brutally murdered, Commandant Serge Morel finds his holiday drawn to an abrupt halt. Quercy – dynamic, well-connected – was the magnetic head of a humanitarian organisation which looked after the area’s neglected youth.
Opening his investigation, the Parisian detective soon finds himself buried in one of his most challenging cases yet. Morel must navigate this complex and politically sensitive crime in a country with few forensic resources, and armed with little more than a series of perplexing questions: what was Quercy doing in a hotel room under a false name? What is the significance of his recent investigations into land grabs in the area? And who could have broken into his home the night of the murder?
Becoming increasingly drawn into Quercy’s circle of family and friends – his adoring widow, his devoted friends and bereft colleagues – Commandant Morel will soon discover that in this lush land of great beauty and immense darkness, nothing is quite as it seems . . .
A deeply atmospheric crime novel that bristles with truth and deception, secrets and lies: Death in the Rainy Season is a compelling mystery that unravels an exquisitely wrought human tragedy.”

 

Death in the Rainy Season is available to purchase from

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and all good bookstores.

Seasoned Traveller 2015

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Review: Season of Shadow and Light by Jenn J McLeod

 

Title: Season of Shadow and Light

Author: Jenn J McLeod

Published: Simon & Schuster May 2015

Status: Read from April 28 to 30, 2015 — I own a copy

My Thoughts:

“Light can illuminate truth, let us see things we might otherwise unknowingly pass by in the dark. It can also illuminate the signs that will allow each of us to find the road to forgiveness, to trust, to hope, to belief and to the future.”

An engaging story of secrets and lies, of trust and betrayal, of family, friendship and forgiveness, Season of Shadow and Light is Jenn J McLeod’s third novel of contemporary fiction set in rural New South Wales.

Unhappy and frustrated after a difficult few years, Paige Turner decides to take her six year old daughter, Matilda, and mother, Alice, and spend two weeks in country New South Wales. Their destination, Saddleton, is determined by signage visible in an old photograph of Paige’s mother in her youth, but rising floodwater results in the trio becoming stranded in the tiny town of Coolabah Tree Gully. Though Paige is content to enjoy the hospitality of the generous locals who offer the family a place to stay, Alice is increasingly anxious. Coolabah Tree Gully is home to a secret Alice has kept for decades and, should it come to light, has the potential to destroy everything she holds dear.

The story of Season of Shadow and Light unfolds primarily from the perspectives of Paige and Alice, two richly drawn, complex characters confronted with a legacy of secrets.

Paige has had an extraordinarily difficult time recently. A late term miscarriage was followed by a postpartum stroke, leaving her with physical deficits and destroying her career as a food critic. Learning of her husband’s infidelity pushes Paige to the breaking point, motivating her to escape to the country with her daughter and Alice. Paige choose Saddleton as a destination with the vague notion of tracing the origins of a photo of her mother, Nancy, unwittingly ending up in the town her mother fled in the dead of night almost forty years earlier. Paige of course has no idea about her mother’s past, but nevertheless feels incomplete.

“I lost the things that made me who I am, the things that made me feel complete as a person. You know that jigsaw puzzle Mati has – the one with the missing pieces we searched high and low for that day? That puzzle is me. There are pieces missing, and I don’t mean my sense of smell and taste. The fact I can’t explain what I feel frustrates the hell out of me.'”

Alice has been Paige’s sole parent since the death of Nancy, her partner and lover, when Paige was ten. Aware of Nancy’s hidden past, Alice had promised never to reveal the truth of it to Paige, but stranded in Coolabah Tree Gully it becomes harder for her to determine exactly who she is protecting, especially when she is confronted with the consequences of keeping it to herself. Alice really struggles with the thought of not only betraying Nancy, but being held accountable by Paige.

“An improbable set of circumstances.
An impossible situation.
How long could she hold on to the truth? Should she hold on?….Was she obligated to protect the deceptions of the dead when the truth might somehow help the living?”

A low key element of romance is introduced by Aiden, a local man recently returned from Sydney, ‘cheffing’ in the local pub, his own future in tatters after being betrayed by his ex-girlfriend. He is attracted to Paige, who appreciates the attention given the state of her shaky marriage, and eventually proves to be a link between Paige and her mother’s secret but to be honest I thought Aiden’s point of view, shared in brief chapters throughout the novel, wasn’t really necessary.

Through her characters McLeod explores issues such as miscarriage, stroke recovery, infidelity, identity, same sex partnerships, and organ transplantation. The larger themes of the novel examine the nature of loyalty, trust, deception and betrayal. Suspense stems from the nature of the secret that Alice is keeping and the anticipation of Paige learning it. McLeod skillfully teases out the details of Nancy’s hidden past but I did feel there were times when the narrative stalled briefly, repeating Alice’s angst and Aiden’s upset a little too often.

“Love is about connection.” says Alice, and Season of Shadow and Light is a story about connections – between partners and lovers, between parents and their children, and between siblings – tested, sometimes frayed and weakened, but strengthened by forgiveness, trust and love.

Learn more about Season of Shadow Light by reading Jenn J McLeod’s guest post, Fiction with an Order of Food

Season of Shadow and Light is available to purchase from

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and all good bookstores.

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Blog Tour: Season of Shadow and Light by Jenn J McLeod

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I’m delighted to host Jenn J McLeod on Book’d Out today to celebrate the publication of her third novel, Season of Shadow and Light.

When Jenn J. McLeod quit Sydney’s corporate communications chaos, she bought a little café in a small town and ran a unique, dog-friendly B&B in country NSW. Home now is a caravan, her days spent writing heart-warming tales of Australian country life while traveling the land she loves. Readers and reviewers alike enthusiastically received Jenn’s debut, House for all Seasons, and her second novel, Simmering Season.
Please read on to learn more about Season of Shadow and Light

Fiction with a side order of food!

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with food all my life. I love it. Sadly, my hips do not.

Kicking off my sea change in 2004, I gave up my city job to buy a café in a small town and ran it for four years. The work almost killed me (I now have the greatest respect for hospitality workers) but the experience changed my life and irrevocably changed the way I viewed food. (You may get a ‘taste’ of this in certain parts of the story! “A plate of hardened arteries, anyone?”) After the café I ran a B&B where I provided restaurant-quality evening meals. To me, every meal—morning, lunch or dinner—is an event one plans and looks forward to.

But let’s talk about my version of fiction with a side order of food.

Whenever you walk into a café there’s generally a main menu featuring all the usual dishes diners love. Often there’s also a specials board, meant to tempt you away from the everyday, to try something new. How the plot and the characters in Season of Shadow and Light evolved was a little like that—founded on convention with a little side order of fun. I had my traditional characters and conflict planned out—or so I thought: a mother (Paige) who is on a personal mission and needing time away from her cheating husband, a her daughter (Matilda) who keeps her grounded and responsible. Stranded by floodwaters in the tiny town of Coolabah Tree Gully, Paige and her entourage find a publican with an uncanny resemblance to Mr Magoo, a cranky cook battling a broken heart, and someone who knows that truth can wash away the darkest shadows, but the question is…
Are some secrets best kept for the sake of others?

However, something happened as I started stirring a little conflict into the plot—a dash of Aiden, a splash of Alice and a sprinkling of Rory. Soon Aiden was really spicing things up. The once sought after executive chef was now executive chip fryer at his uncle’s small town pub and a little side order of Aiden (gotta love a damaged man) was just what the plot needed—and what Paige needed, tempting her away from her everyday life to try something new.

And, boy, didn’t I have fun bringing Aiden to life. I guess you could call him Paige’s love interest in the story, and although far from Mr Perfect, the thing I enjoyed most about Aiden was creating the perfect chef. (Can’t say I met many of those in my time as a café owner!) As Paige says at one point . . . (a little excerpt about a tiny tiff . . . )

Most chefs she’d known were highly- strung, with short fuses.
‘You know what?’ she fired back, fully prepared to tell this guy where to shove his platters, only to see a smile creep across Aiden’s face.
So totally unexpected—so absolutely gorgeous—her brain felt suddenly sous-vide, with every expletive instantly and silently sucked out, the bag then sealed tight. Although why she worried about offending this guy, she didn’t know. So far she’d witnessed him cursing into his mobile, throwing phones, happy to leave cows stranded, issuing orders and generally being a prattish, mulish, moronic chef. Typical, in other words, and Paige had met very few in the business who weren’t precious. Yes, he’d had cause to hit the roof about traipsing manure through a clean kitchen—any kitchen—minutes before service, but now here he was smiling.

Foodies will definitely enjoy what I call ‘the fun bits’: the cooking analogies, the kitchen antics and my favourite peanut jokes (which I still can’t believe my editor let me keep). I even get to include the best morning toast combo ever—vegemite and peanut butter. So, yes, there is quite a bit of me and my passion for food in this novel.

The truth is, not until I was asked to write a piece for you with a food theme, did I realise how many references there are. That got me thinking. I usually provide a ‘Tissue Rating’ for my novels (yes, sorry, you may need one of two for this one) but maybe Season of Shadow and Light should have come with a kilojoules count. I think I may have added two kilos to these hips of mine just thinking about all the food references in this book. Speaking of food . . .

Now for a side order of book blurb . . .

SEASON OF SHADOW AND LIGHT
Sometime this season…
The secret keeper must tell.
The betrayed must trust.
The hurt must heal.

When it seems everything Paige trusts is beginning to betray her, she leaves her husband at home and sets off on a road trip with six year old Matilda, and Nana Alice in tow.
But stranded amid rising floodwaters, on a detour to the tiny town of Coolabah Tree Gully, Paige discovers the greatest betrayal of all happened there twenty years earlier.
Someone knows that truth can wash away the darkest shadows, but…
Are some secrets best kept for the sake of others?

With early reader reviews already in, I am so excited about this story of secrets and love, of family loyalty, and of trust—the kind that takes years to build but only seconds to wash away—that I could hug a carrot.

carrotYou can read my review of Season of Shadow and Light by clicking HERE

Season of Shadow and Light is available to purchase from

Simon & Schuster Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I via Booko

Amazon AU  I Amazon US

and all good bookstores.

Also by Jenn J McLeod

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Review: Gallipoli Street by Mary-Anne O’Connor

Today is ANZAC Day in Australia, a time to remember and honour those who have served in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations in defense of Australia and New Zealand. The date, April 25th, specifically  references the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915, a doomed campaign that nevertheless birthed the legend of the ANZAC spirit.

My daughter has been accorded the honour of leading today’s ANZAC march in my country town, on the 100th anniversary of the landings, bearing the Australian flag. My oldest son will wear his grandfather’s service medals as he and his brother march with their cub troop. We will remember them. Lest we forget.

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Title: Gallipoli Street

Author: Mary-Anne O’Connor

Published: MIRA: Harlequin AU March 2015

Status: Read from April 23 to 24, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

A sweeping saga of romance, friendship, family and war, Gallipoli Street is Mary-Anne O’Connor’s debut novel.

Its 1913 and the declaration of war is about to shatter the rural idyll of Beecroft, home to the close knit O’Shay, Murphy and Dwyer families, who will discover their fates are intertwined by tragedy and love.

The romance of Gallipoli Street begins with the passionate love story between childhood friends, Veronica O’Shay and Jack Murphy. It is an epic tale that sees the couple overcome a scheming femme fatale, the perils of their service in the Great War, and Jack’s struggle to reconcile his experiences on his return home.
Twenty years later their son finds love in a New Guinea field hospital ward with orphaned nurse Theresa, but their relationship is shattered when shocking secrets from her past are exposed.

The story takes us from the trenches of Gallipoli, to the deserts of Egypt, from the muddy battlefield of The Somme, to the dense jungle of the Kokoda Trail. No matter the period or arena, war proves to be a universally horrifying and heartbreaking experience which the author relates with truth and compassion.

An appealing and poignant tale, O’Connor has drawn inspiration for both the story of Gallipoli Street and its characters from the lives of her maternal grandparents lending it authenticity and heart.

Gallipoli Street is available to purchase from

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and all good bookstores.

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Review: The Falls by Cathryn Hein

 

Title: The Falls

Author: Cathryn Hein

Published: Michael Joseph: Penguin April 2015

Read an Extract

Status: Read from April 22 to 23, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

The Falls is Cathryn Hein’s sixth novel, loosely linked to Rocking Horse Hill.

Teagan Bliss is devastated when her father gambles away the family property, Pinehaven, and with it her future hopes and dreams. Betrayed and heartbroken, she seeks sanctuary at the home of her Aunt Vanessa in the Falls Valley, at the foot of the Blue Mountains. It takes time but slowly the idyllic surrounds of Falls Farm, the loving concern of her aunt, a new job, and the attentions of local farrier, Lucas Knight, encourage Teagan to see beyond what she has lost, but how can she trust in the vision of a new future, when she can’t trust in herself?

Teagan is not an easy character, though she engenders sympathy for the losses she has endured, her spiraling depression means she is closed off, prickly, and with her self esteem at rock bottom, always expecting the worst. Hein ably explores Teagan’s experience as she tries to fight off the ‘blackness’ that threatens to overtake her.

The romance between Teagan and Lucas is fairly low key given Teagan’s fragile emotional state. Though their attraction is mutual, Teagan is unable to believe Lucas could be interested in her and it takes Lucas a while to convince her otherwise. I liked Lucas, he proves to be kind and responsible, though perhaps a little naive in dealing with Teagan’s depression.

The chemistry between Vanessa and Domenic add interest to the plot along with Vanessa’s reservations about Domenic’s motives, and Domenic’s relationship with Lucas. So to does the complicated relationship between local vet, Bunny, and Duncan.

As always, Hein supports her protagonists with a community of colourful people and animals, from local busybody Colin, to Merlin the ram, and Falls Valley is vividly depicted from the rolling rural landscape to the main street of town. While cricket unites the Valley, plans for the expansion of a nearby exclusive ‘wellness’ center threatens to tear it apart and the tension affects Teagan who gets caught in the middle.

A little more ambitious in scope than her previous novels, The Falls is an engaging contemporary story about family, love, romance, belonging and healing, blending heartfelt romance with impassioned drama in rural Australia.

 

Available to purchase from

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Also by Cathryn Hein

Review & Giveaway: Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum by Georgia Madden

Title: Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum

Author: Georgia Madden

Published: Nero April 2015

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from April 21 to 22, 2015 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum by Georgia Madden is an entertaining, lighthearted tale about modern motherhood, marriage and fashion.

“I would be the type of yummy mummy real mothers could relate to, and had even coined the perfect hashtag for my instagram feed – #FashMum.”

Being a SAHM is not quite working out the way Ally Bloom hoped. She adores her baby daughter but she has no interest in sitting cross-legged in a dirty school hall singing The Wiggles greatest hits with the ‘Happy Mummies’ and their snotty-nosed offspring. Now that her mother-in-law has come to stay it seems the perfect time to cut her maternity leave short and return to work as a PR executive for the prestigious fashion label Moda, but when Ally learns she has been replaced by a 22-year-old bimbo, she resigns and develops a master plan to become the perfect mother.

“3. Embrace inner earth mama: Weave, bake, plant fragrant herb path or veggie patch, and insta everything as I go along. Use tag #soblessed at least once per day.”

Armed with Nigella Lawson’s How To be a Domestic Goddess, a new wardrobe of cardigans and flats, and her master plan, Ally makes a sincere attempt to get it together and impress her husband, Matt, mother-in-law Judy and the mummy mafia. Her failures are amusing as Madden underscores the competitive edge of motherhood and the pressure of aiming for social media perfection.

“Safe to say, it was, quite possibly, the worst coffee morning in the history of coffee mornings. To top it all off, not one single moment of it had been worthy of my Instagram feed.”

While Ally struggles to adjust to life as a permanent SAHM, she is also struggling with the changes parenthood has wrought in her marriage to Matt and Madden identifies the distance that can sometimes creep between couples with the shift in lifestyle and priorities. Cameron (aka #HotDaddy) provides a distraction for Ally who is flattered by his flirtation.

Madden pokes gentle fun at the members of ‘Happy Mummies’ who are reluctant to admit their lives before children had any value and whose toddlers have Mandarin tutors, wear only natural fibers and eat only organic, gluten free homemade foods. These women are alien to Ally who is quick to dismiss them as ‘saddo losers’ but slowly she discovers she has more in common with them than she thought, and when the group is threatened with closure, Ally is determine to save the day.

“Look, you might think Happy Mummies is just a bunch of mums singing stupid songs and making a mess of your school hall floor every Tuesday morning, but it’s so much more than that…These women, the friendships you make, they have the power to save you, to keep you afloat, at a time in your life when you’re not even sure how you are going to make it through the next day. I know because they saved me.”

There is plenty of humour in this sharply amusing, well paced novel. Wry observation is teamed with snappy dialogue and sarcasm, the characters and scenes may be exaggerated for effect but include a kernel of truth and familiarity for any modern day mother.

#FashMum#Witty#Sharp#AGoodRead#NiceworkGeorgiaMadden

Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum is available to purchase from

Black Inc Books Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I via Booko

Amazon AU  I Amazon US I Book Depository

and all good bookstores.

GIVEAWAY

Courtesy of Black Inc Books, I have

5 print editions of

 Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum by Georgia Madden

to giveaway to five lucky Australian residents.

Leave a comment on this post and then

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