It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon

The It’s Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at BookDate

I’m also linking to The Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Reviewer

And the Sunday Salon @ ReaderBuzz


Apart from a lingering blanket of smoke, and the odd flare up, our area is finally free from fire emergencies, unfortunately though there are still 66 fires burning across the state. My parents took a long planned trip up north last week, and on their way home yesterday spent several hours stuck in their car on the highway when a fire approached the road ahead of them. My mum took this photo when the traffic was finally allowed through.

It’s the last Monday of the month, so time to check in with my challenge progress.

Australian Women Writer’s Challenge: 59/50 COMPLETE

2019 Aussie Author Challenge: 12/12 COMPLETE

This week will see the end of Nonfiction November for another year. I’ll be posting a wrap up on November 30th. To see what I have shared so far you can CLICK HERE


What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

Nobody’s Victim by Carrie Goldberg

Cry of the Firebird by T.M. Clark

Life Moves Pretty Fast by Hadley Freeman

The Diamond Hunter by Fiona McIntosh



New Posts…

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost # Sunday Salon

#NonficNov Review: The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective by Susannah Stapleton

Review: Resurrection Bay (Caleb Zelic #1) by Emma Viskic

#NonficNov Review : Nobody’s Victim: Fighting Psychos, Stalkers, Pervs and Trolls by Carrie Goldberg

#Nonfic Nov – Nonfiction Favourites

Review: Cry of the Firebird by T.M. Clark

#NonficNov Revuew: Life Moves Pretty Fast: The lessons we learned from eighties movies (and why we don’t learn them from movies any more) by Hadley Freeman



What I’m Reading This Week…

Now You See Them (Magic Men #5) by Elly Griffiths

The fifth book in the Magic Men series, Now You See Them is a wild mystery with detective Edgar Stephens and the magician Max Mephisto, as they investigate a string of presumed kidnappings in the swinging 1960s.

The new decade is going well for Edgar Stephens and his good friend the magician Max Mephisto. Edgar is happily married, with children, and promoted to Superintendent. Max has found fame and stardom in America, though is now back in England for a funeral, and a prospective movie job. Edgar’s new wife, though—former detective Emma—is restless and frustrated at home, knowing she was the best detective on the team.

But when an investigation into a string of disappearing girls begins, Emma sees her chance to get back in the action. She begins her own hunt, determined to prove, once and for all that she’s better than the boys. Though she’s not the only one working toward that goal—there’s a new woman on the force, and she’s determined to make detective. When two more girls go missing, both with ties to the group, the stakes climb ever higher, and Max finds himself drawn into his own search.

Who will find the girls first? And will they get there in time?



Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee

EGGSHELL SKULL: A well-established legal doctrine that a defendant must ‘take their victim as they find them’. If a single punch kills someone because of their thin skull, that victim’s weakness cannot mitigate the seriousness of the crime.

But what if it also works the other way? What if a defendant on trial for sexual crimes has to accept his ‘victim’ as she comes: a strong, determined accuser who knows the legal system, who will not back down until justice is done?

Bri Lee began her first day of work at the Queensland District Court as a bright-eyed judge’s associate. Two years later she was back as the complainant in her own case.

This is the story of Bri’s journey through the Australian legal system; first as the daughter of a policeman, then as a law student, and finally as a judge’s associate in both metropolitan and regional Queensland-where justice can look very different, especially for women. The injustice Bri witnessed, mourned and raged over every day finally forced her to confront her own personal history, one she’d vowed never to tell. And this is how, after years of struggle, she found herself on the other side of the courtroom, telling her story.

Bri Lee has written a fierce and eloquent memoir that addresses both her own reckoning with the past as well as with the stories around her, to speak the truth with wit, empathy and unflinching courage. Eggshell Skull is a haunting appraisal of modern Australia from a new and essential voice.



The Strangers We Know By Pip Drysdale

Imagine seeing your loving husband on a dating app. Now imagine that’s the best thing to happen to you all week …

When Charlie sees a man who is the spitting image of her husband Oliver on a dating app, her heart stops. Her first desperate instinct is to tell herself she must be mistaken – after all, she only caught a glimpse from a distance as her friends were laughingly swiping through the men on offer. But no matter how much she tries to push her fears aside, she can’t because she took that photo. On their honeymoon. She just can’t let it go.

Suddenly other signs of betrayal begin to add up and so Charlie does the only thing she can think of to defend her position – she signs up to the app to catch Oliver in the act.

But Charlie soon discovers that infidelity is the least of her problems. Nothing is as it seems and nobody is who she thinks they are …



Inheritance by Dani Shapiro

The author of Hourglass now gives us a new memoir about identity, paternity, and family secrets—a real-time In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history—the life she had lived—crumbled beneath her.

Inheritance is a book about secrets—secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in—a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover


Thanks for stopping by!

#NonficNov Review: Life Moves Pretty Fast by Hadley Freeman

Title: Life Moves Pretty Fast: The lessons we learned from eighties movies (and why we don’t learn them from movies any more)

Author: Hadley Freeman

Published: May 7th 2015, 4th Estate

Status: Read November 2019


My Thoughts:

“When you grow up your heart dies.” – The Breakfast Club (John Hughes)

I am a 80’s tragic.. the music, the fashion, the movies… (just joking about the fashion). If asked, The Breakfast Club and Dirty Dancing are my two all time favourite movies, so when I saw Life Moves Pretty Fast by Hadley Freeman mentioned on booksaremyfavouriteandbest, I added it to my TBR list.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from Life Moves Pretty Fast, apart from an entertaining stroll through my adolescent memories, but I found it much more thought provoking than I was anticipating. Part personal reminisce, part analysis, Hadley enthusiastically examines many of the 1980’s movies (English speaking) Gen Xers will remember fondly from their youth.

While Freeman’s obsession with Ghostbusters and Bill Murray eludes me, as does the inevitable, and in my opinion inexplicable, (American) preoccupation with The Princess Bride, a variety of movies rate in depth discussion from Freeman like Ferris Bueller‘s Day Off, Pretty in Pink, Back to the Future, When Harry Met Sally, Beverly Hills Cop, and my aforementioned favourites, The Breakfast Cub and Dirty Dancing, others rate only a few lines, like Mannequin, Blue’s Brothers, and Cant Buy Me Love. It should be noted that the author’s attention is heavily skewed in favour of teen movies and ‘chick flicks’, so there is little mention of whole swathes of cinematic genres like action blockbusters.

There is a strong feminist slant to Freeman’s analysis, and I think she, and several of the people whom she interviewed, like Melissa Silverstein, made some excellent points about movies then, and movies now, that I’d never given much thought to, especially in relation to Dirty Dancing and Pretty in Pink. However, I also thought that at times her position was a little thin, and contradictory.

Surprisingly I actually enjoyed Freeman’s footnotes, which I’d usually dismiss, and I loved Freeman’s dozen or so ‘Top’ lists, including ‘The Top Five Movie Montages’ and ‘The Ten Best Rock Songs on an Eighties Movie Soundtrack’. Though I didn’t always agree with her opinion, I very much enjoyed the nostalgia they evoked.

I believe you need to have seen, and enjoyed, a good number of 80’s movies to enjoy Life Moves Pretty Fast, which shouldn’t be a problem if you are aged between say forty and fifty. I’ve tried to introduce (ie. force) my teen daughters to more than one but haven’t been terribly successful. Honestly, several of them don’t hold up well, but they will all nethertheless have a place in my heart.


Read an Extract

Available from your preferred retailer via Booko I Indiebound I Book Depository

Review: Cry of the Firebird by T.M. Clark


Title: Cry of the Firebird

Author: T.M. Clark

Published: November 18th 2019, Harlequin MIRA

Status: Read November 2019


My Thoughts:

When World Health Organisation consultant Dr Lily Winters is asked to evaluate a murdered colleague’s unfinished project in South Africa, she jumps at the chance to return to the country of her birth. Supported by her husband Quintin, a world renowned violinist, Lily is eager to investigate the inexplicable clusters of illnesses and deaths recorded by her colleague, but as she grows closer to the source, she finds herself caught up web of corruption, greed, and revenge, and the unwitting target of a ruthless cabal who will stop at nothing to protect their secrets.

Offering a multilayered plot that includes more than one thread of intrigue, Cry of the Firebird, is a fast paced and exciting thriller in which Clark explores several issues, among them drug tampering, profiteering, police corruption, AIDS, early onset Alzheimer’s, wildlife conservation (particularly with regards to flamingos), and displacement.

If I’m honest, the central intrigue of the book bothered me a little because it feeds the narrative of ‘big pharma’ conspiracists, and by extension anti-vaxxer’s. However after I finished the book I did a little research and I was horrified to discover that WHO estimates 1 in 10 medical products in developing countries are substandard or falsified.

I found the main characters of Lily, her husband Quintin, and San police officer Piet Kleinman, to be appealing and well developed. Lily is smart, dedicated and thoughtful, with a stubborn streak that ensures she won’t give up easily, even when threatened. I adored the relationship between Lily and Quintin, there is such a strong, supportive bond between them that I really delighted in. Piet is an interesting character, as a displaced Kalahari bushman (San) he has a fascinating background and unique skills that he uses as both a police officer and as a medicine man to help others, especially in the San settlement of Platfontein.

Somewhat curiously for a fiction novel, along with a glossary, Clark includes some notes she titles Fact vs Fiction in the books last pages. Here she comments on where her novel is based in fact, and where she has used creative licence for the purposes of her story.

A compelling story which offers adventure, suspense, and heart, Cry of the Firebird is a terrific read I’m happy to recommend.


Read an Extract

Available from HarperCollins Au

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#NonficNov – NonFiction Favourites


Week four’s host is Leann from Shelf Aware

[We’ve talked about how you pick nonfiction books in previous years, but this week I’m excited to talk about what makes a book you’ve read one of your favorites. Is the topic pretty much all that matters? Are there particular ways a story can be told or particular writing styles that you love? Do you look for a light, humorous approach or do you prefer a more serious tone? Let us know what qualities make you add a nonfiction book to your list of favourites.]

I’ve been giving this week’s topic a lot of thought, and I’ve found it surprisingly difficult to formulate a response. Unlike my fiction reading, which is heavily scheduled due to review commitments, generally I can choose non fiction on a whim. This usually involves simply browsing until a title and/or description catches my eye.

Looking at the titles I add to my TBR, it’s clear I have a strong preference for non fiction presented as a narrative. I also like non fiction that utilises plenty of anecdotes, or in the case of memoirs, are a series of anecdotes. So it seems a personal touch is important to me.

There are five qualities I enjoy in non-fiction, and it’s generally a combination of two or more that will ensure a rewarding reading experience, but here are some examples of each quality that I gave five stars:


Funny: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Laugh out loud funny, poignant and a little crazy, read this and make yourself #FuriouslyHappy


Thought provoking: Unbelievable by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong

As an examination and exposé of law enforcement’s enduring failures to investigate reports of rape properly, you will find yourself thinking of this story often.


Informative: The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg

Investigative journalist Nordberg, attempts to explain the complex role of a ‘bacha posh’ in Afghan society by sharing the moving stories of women’s experiences.


Relatable: The Land Before Avocado by Richard Glover

So much of what Glover writes in this collection of essays evokes memories of my childhood in Australia circa the late 1970’s /early 1980’s.


Unusual: The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

I sometimes like to deliberately chose a topic to read about that I would consider out of my comfort zone. The risk doesn’t always pay off, but it did with this book, I found it absolutely fascinating.


My Nonfiction November so far…

Nonfiction Books Read: 8/15


#NonficNov – Your Year In NonFiction

Review: Confessions of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

Review: Bush Doctors by Annabelle Brayley

#NonficNov – Book Pairings

Review: Unmentionable by Therese Oneill

Review: They Walk Among Us by Benjamin and Rosanna Fitton

#NonficNov – Become the Expert

Review: Killer Instinct: Having a Mind for Murder by Donald Grant

Review: The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective by Susannah Stapleton

Review: Nobody’s Victim: Fighting Psycho’s, Stalkers, Pervs and Trolls by Carrie Goldberg

#NonficNov Review: Nobody’s Victim: Fighting Psychos, Stalkers, Pervs, and Trolls by Carrie Goldberg

Title: Nobody’s Victim: Fighting Psychos, Stalkers, Pervs, and Trolls

Author: Carrie Goldberg

Published: August 13th 2019, Plume

Status: Read November 2019


My Thoughts:

“My name is Carrie Goldberg and I’m a victims’ rights lawyer. Some people call me a “passionate advocate” or a “social justice warrior.” I’d rather be called a ruthless motherf*cker.”

This is how Carrie Goldberg introduces herself in the bold and utterly compelling Nobody’s Victim: Fighting Psychos, Stalkers, Pervs, and Trolls. Goldberg is a lawyer whose firm, C.A. Goldberg, PLLC, specialises in representing those who are targeted by offenders that use the internet to stalk, harass, intimidate, extort, or otherwise cause them harm.

Carrie has an intimate understanding of the issues her clients face, the inspiration for establishing her law firm came when she was victimised by an ex who tormented her for over a year with, among other things, a flood of hateful texts and emails, threats to post intimate pictures online, false allegations made on social media to friends and family, and a vexatious criminal charge. She was frustrated, frightened and near suicidal to discover the law could not protect her from his unreasonable rage.

While (US based) tech companies shield themselves from responsibility by exploiting a piece of legislation known as Section 230 of the CDA, the legal system moves too slowly to put adequate protections in place, and too many (white men) in power support the status quo, Carrie fights hard for the recognition of her clients rights to safety, privacy and dignity.

In sharing the stories of some of her clients, who include a thirteen year old girl who was excluded from attending school after reporting that she was raped by a fellow student, a young man whose ex used the Grindr app to send more than a thousand strangers to his door, a woman forced to go into hiding when she was doxed in a troll attack, and the five women who accused Weinstein of sex crimes, triggering the #metoo movement, Goldberg illustrates the grim failures of society to protect girls and boys, women and men, from the psycho’s, stalkers, pervs and trolls who target them, and leads the fight to protect them.

“There’s help if you need it and an army of warriors ready to stand by your side. You matter and you don’t have to fight this battle alone. You are nobody’s victim”

I would not hesitate to recommend Nobody’s Victim to everyone, this is a thought provoking, honest, and important expose of an injustice that demands attention and support to resolve.


Available from PenguinRandomHouse

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Indiebound

Review: Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic


Title: Resurrection Bay {Caleb Zelic #1}

Author: Emma Viskic

Published: September 1st 2015, Echo Publishing

Status: Read November 2019


My Thoughts:

Resurrection Bay is the first book in a thrilling Australian crime fiction series by Emma Viskic featuring Caleb Zelic.

After Caleb Zelic receives a panicked text from his best mate, Senior Constable Gary Marsden, he is horrified to discover his friend has been savagely murdered. The police first seem eager to place the blame at Caleb’s feet, suggesting that the side work Gary has been doing for the security and investigation company Caleb operates with his partner, ex-cop Frankie Reynolds, is dodgy, and when that fails to pan out, instead insinuate that Gary was a bent cop who got in over his head. Caleb is determined to prove the police wrong and find whomever is responsible for the brutal crime, but in the attempt he, and the woman he loves, becomes the target of a dangerous criminal conspiracy.

Moving between urban and regional Victoria, Resurrection Bay is fast paced with plenty of action. Caleb suspects a link between Gary’s death and a recent warehouse theft, but before he can make much headway in his investigation his business partner goes missing, and Caleb is attacked, barely escaping with his life. A game of cat and mouse ensues, with the mysterious cabal seemingly always one step ahead, and willing to do whatever it takes to ensure Caleb doesn’t uncover their secrets. I enjoyed the twists and turns of the story, which is tightly plotted, and includes a touch of dry humour, and even subtle romance.

Caleb Zelic is a compelling protagonist, in large part because he is deaf, having lost his hearing after a bout of meningitis as a young child. While Caleb is fiercely independent, skilled at lip-reading, interpreting body language, and seems to have an impressive memory, his impairment has both its benefits and challenges which I think Viskic portrays sensitively and realistically. Like any well developed character though, Caleb is a mass of contradictions, with strengths and flaws that makes him believable and relatable.

The book has quite a diverse cast of characters who vary in age, social status and race. Unsure who he can trust as he pursues the truth about his friend’s death, Caleb relies on his business partner, Frankie, and his ex-wife Kat. Though he trusts Frankie, a recovering alcoholic in her fifties, to have his back, it’s clear he harbours some concerns about her continued sobriety from the outset. Caleb is still in love with Kat, a Koori artist, and their marriage breakdown seems fairly recent, he is devastated when Kat is targeted to get to him.

Gritty, edgy and original, Resurrection Bay is an exciting read and I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series, And Fire Came Down and Darkness for Light


Read an Extract

Available from Echo Publishing

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Indiebound

#NonFicNov Review: The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective by Susannah Stapleton


Title: The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective: Secrets & Lies in the Golden Age of Crime

Author: Susannah Stapleton

Published: June 13th 2019, Picador

Status: Read November 2019


My Thoughts:

I have Cleopatra Loves Books to thank for putting this fascinating title on my radar.

While reading a novel set in the ‘Golden Age of Crime Fiction’ featuring a female sleuth, Susannah Stapleton, a former bookseller, archeologist, and historical researcher, began to wonder if there really were lady detectives working during the early 20th century. An online search eventually revealed the name of one, Maud West.

Maud West, Stapleton was to learn, was a lady detective in London who established her agency in about 1905. She claimed in advertisements published in 1909 to be the principal of a high-class firm with both male and female staff, offering services to those in need of private enquiries into delicate matters. A little more research yielded several articles not only in the British press but also in international newspapers from countries as far afield as America, Australia and India, which provided further details about Maud, and her sensational career. Intrigued by the stories, Stapleton continued to dig deeper, however she soon found that Maud West was an astonishingly complex woman, and the truth about her perhaps more elusive than the most slippery private detective’s quarry.

Between chapters that illustrate Stapleton’s painstaking research process and her incredible findings, the author includes reprints of articles written by Maud West for a tabloid broadsheet detailing her supposed exploits as a lady detective. It is a rather unconventional narrative, but it results in an entertaining and easy read. The book is further enhanced by the inclusion of photographs and newspaper excerpts, and Stapleton also provides some social history for context.

I really enjoyed The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective. The woman herself is a fascinating figure, and Stapleton’s pursuit of her life story makes for compelling reading.


Read an Excerpt

Available from Pan Macmillan Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon

The It’s Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at BookDate

I’m also linking to The Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Reviewer

And the Sunday Salon @ ReaderBuzz


After some very tense days earlier this week due to advancing bushfires, I was hugely relieved when the immediate threat to my town finally passed. The fires that surrounded us are actually still burning/smouldering but are now considered controlled after a superhuman effort from our firefighters. There are a further 56 fires still active in the state.

The remaining landscape looks apocalyptic. Over fifty homes have been lost in my immediate area, still more have seen their pastures, crops, stock and sheds razed. Tragically, three people were killed. The numbers state wide are even higher.

Schools remained closed for the entire week, so too did the roads, so my husband couldn’t get to work, and I couldn’t visit with my parents to celebrate my mother’s birthday, or my wedding anniversary. My husband was upset to learn that his Archery Club, including all the buildings and equipment, was completely destroyed, but we personally were very lucky, and grateful for it.

Below is a short 2min video which shows a small part of the devastation in my area. I live in Taree, the places also shown here are within 20km (12miles), several much closer.

When the risk of escalation was at its worst between Sunday and Wednesday I couldn’t concentrate on anything else. We were glued to the emergency services broadcast tracking the path of the fires so I didn’t get much reading done. I’m expecting that things will essentially get back to normal this week for us, much of the choking smoke has dissipated, the main roads have reopened, and school resumes on Monday.

That’s not true for everybody though, and if you would like to help, your donation to this GoFundMe appeal will be appreciated by those in need.


What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

House of Wishes by Jenn J. McLeod

The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective by Susannah Stapleton

Resurrection Bay (Caleb Zelic #1) by Emma Viskic


New Posts

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon

Blog Tour Review: The Island On the Edge of the World by Deborah Rodriguez

Review: Up On Horseshoe Hill by Penelope Janu

Guest Post: Jenn J. McLeod and House of Wishes

Review: House of Wishes by Jenn J. McLeod

#NonficNov Become the Expert: Australian True Crime featuring female perpetrators

#NonFicNov: Killer Instinct: Having a Mind for Murder by Donald Grant

Bookshop Bounty


What I’m Reading This Week

Nobody’s Victim: Fighting Psychos, Stalkers, Pervs, and Trolls by Carrie Goldberg

Nobody’s Victim is an unflinching look at a hidden world most people don’t know exists—one of stalking, blackmail, and sexual violence, online and off—and the incredible story of how one lawyer, determined to fight back, turned her own hell into a revolution.

“We are all a moment away from having our life overtaken by somebody hell-bent on our destruction.” That grim reality—gleaned from personal experience and twenty years of trauma work —is a fundamental principle of Carrie Goldberg’s cutting-edge victims’ rights law firm.

Riveting and an essential timely conversation-starter, Nobody’s Victim invites readers to join Carrie on the front lines of the war against sexual violence and privacy violations as she fights for revenge porn and sextortion laws, uncovers major Title IX violations, and sues the hell out of tech companies, schools, and powerful sexual predators. Her battleground is the courtroom; her crusade is to transform clients from victims into warriors.

In gripping detail, Carrie shares the diabolical ways her clients are attacked and how she, through her unique combination of advocacy, badass relentlessness, risk-taking, and client-empowerment, pursues justice for them all.

Deeply personal yet achingly universal, Nobody’s Victim is a bold and much-needed analysis of victim protection in the era of the Internet. This book is an urgent warning of a coming crisis, a predictor of imminent danger, and a weapon to take back control and protect ourselves—both online and off.


Cry of the Firebird by T.M. Clark

In the badlands of Africa, a resourceful doctor fights to save her patients’ lives. Australian thriller writer T.M. Clark returns with a vivid, action-packed adventure in the tradition of Wilbur Smith.

South African-born Doctor Lily Winters, a consultant with the World Health Organization, has been in the thick of some of the worst humanitarian disasters across the globe. But when she’s posted back to South Africa following the suspicious death of an ex-colleague, she faces the biggest medical mystery she’s ever seen.

The resettled Platfontein San People population is exhibiting a higher than average HIV epidemic, and their people are dying. The cases Lily takes over are baffling and despite her best efforts the medicine doesn’t seem to be helping.

To save this unique community, Lily and a policeman from the Kalahari, Piet Kleinman, join forces to trace the origins of the epidemic and uncover the truth. Their search drags them into the dangerous world of a corrupt industry driven by profit while the authorities meant to protect their community turn a blind eye. In a race against time Lily and Piet will put not only their careers but their lives on the line…


And Fire Came Down (Caleb Zelic #2) by Emma Viskic

Deaf since early childhood, Caleb Zelic is used to meeting life head-on. Now, he’s struggling just to get through the day. His best mate is dead, his ex-wife, Kat, is avoiding him, and nightmares haunt his waking hours.

But when a young woman is killed, after pleading for his help in sign language, Caleb is determined to find out who she was. The trail leads Caleb back to his hometown, Resurrection Bay. The town is on bushfire alert, and simmering with racial tensions. As Caleb delves deeper, he uncovers secrets that could ruin any chance of reuniting with Kat, and even threaten his life. Driven by his own demons, he pushes on. But who is he willing to sacrifice along the way?

The second Caleb Zelic thriller from the author of Resurrection Bay – Winner of the Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction, and Davitt Awards for Best Novel, Best Debut and Reader’s Choice.


Life Moves Pretty Fast by Hadley Freeman

Hadley Freeman brings us her personalised guide to American movies from the 1980s – why they are brilliant, what they meant to her, and how they influenced movie-making forever.

For Hadley Freeman, American moves of the 1980s have simply got it all. Comedy in Three Men and a Baby, Hannah and Her Sisters, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future and Trading Places; all a teenager needs to know – in Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Say Anything, The Breakfast Club and Mystic Pizza; the ultimate in action – Top Gun, Die Hard, Young Sherlock Holmes, Beverly Hills Cop and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; love and sex – in 9 ½ Weeks, Splash, About Last Night, The Big Chill, Bull Durham; and family fun – in The Little Mermaid, ET, Big, Parenthood and Lean On Me.

Born in the late 1970s, Hadley grew up on a well-rounded diet of these movies, her entire view of the world, adult relations and expectations of what her life might hold was forged by these cult classics.

In this personalised guide, she puts her obsessive movie geekery to good use, detailing the decades key players, genres and tropes, and how exactly the friendship between Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi influenced the evolution of comedy. She looks back to a cinematic world in which bankers are invariably evil, despite this being the decade of Wall Street, where children are always wiser than adults, and science is embraced with an intense enthusiasm, and the future viewed with excitement. She considers how the changes between movies then and movies today say so much about pop culture’s and society’s changing expectations of women, young people and art, and explains why Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles should be put on school syllabuses immediately


The Diamond Hunter by Fiona McIntosh

‘It won’t matter how many diamonds you find if you lose the love of your child.’

When six-year-old Clementine Knight loses her mother to malaria during the 1870s diamond rush in southern Africa, she is left to be raised by her destitute, alcoholic father, James. Much of Clementine’s care falls to their trusty Zulu companion, Joseph One-Shoe, and the unlikely pair form an unbreakable bond.

When the two men uncover a large, flawless diamond, James believes he has finally secured their future, but the discovery of the priceless gem comes at a huge cost. A dark bargain is struck to do whatever it takes to return Clementine to a respectable life at the Grant family’s sprawling estate in northern England – while the diamond disappears.

Years on, long-buried memories of Clementine’s childhood in Africa and her beloved Joseph One-Shoe are triggered, as she questions who she can trust. To solve the mystery of what happened to her loved ones all those years ago, she must confront a painful history and finally bring justice to bear.

From the harsh desert of Africa’s Kimberley diamond mine to the misty, green plains of northern England, The Diamond Hunter is a breathtaking adventure story about trust and betrayal, the ultimate quest for truth, and a love that is truly priceless


Thanks for stopping by!

Bookshelf Bounty


Every third Sunday of the month I share my Bookshelf Bounty – what’s been added to my TBR tile recently for review from publishers, purchases or gifts.

This month I’m linking up with Mailbox Monday

Click on the cover images to view at Goodreads

For Review (print)
(My thanks to the respective publishers)






For Review (Electronic)
(My thanks to the respective publishers)

#NonFicNov Review: Killer Instinct: Having a Mind for Murder by Donald Grant


Title: Killer Instinct: Having a Mind for Murder

Author: Donald Grant

Published: May 28th 2018, University of Melbourne Press

Status: Read November 2019


My Thoughts:

“The killer instinct is therefore alive and well—dormant and out of conscious awareness for the most part, but nevertheless exerting some influence over our attitudes and behaviour. At some deep level we are aware of our potential for violence.”

As a forensic psychiatrist, Donald Grant’s role is to assess the motives of an alleged offender and provide a report to the court on any relevant clinical issues that may affect trial, sentencing or parole. In Killer Instinct: Having A Mind for Murder, he presents ten murder cases in which he was involved, providing details of the crime/s, and his assessment of the alleged perpetrators state of mind based on case evidence and interviews.

All ten of the cases chosen for this book occurred during the last thirty years, and were tried in Queensland where Grant’s medico-legal practice is based. Given that in Australia the incidence of murder—the number of new cases per year—is relatively low (around one murder per 100 000 people) all of these cases have attracted media attention, so the reader may be familiar with the generalities, if not the details, though several were unknown to me.

Grant begins with arguably the most sensationalised case involving Tracey Wigginton, whom the media dubbed “The Lesbian Vampire Killer”. In 1989, Tracey stabbed Edward Baldock to death on the bank of Brisbane River, and claimed to have ‘fed’ on his blood. Identified and charged within days, questions quickly arose regarding Tracey’s mental health. Some months after her arrest, Grant was asked to provide his independent medico-legal opinion to the court, and shares his process as he determines if Tracey is entitled to a psychiatric defence relevant to the murder charge.

The other nine cases are presented in a similar fashion. Though the perpetrators in this book are all determined in a court of law to be responsible for the death of another, they are not all found guilty of murder. Some are ultimately convicted of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility, or are placed on a forensic order (ie. detained in a Secure Inpatient Psychiatric Service under the purview of The Mental Health Review Tribunal) due to a finding of unsoundness of mind. Grant has selected complex cases that illustrate murder committed for varying motives including Grant Meredith, who murdered at least one young woman to satisfy his sadistic sexual urges; Colin Wilson who ‘snapped’ and murdered his ailing mother before attempting suicide; and Melissa Englart who was suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness when she killed her husband.

Written in a straightforward and dispassionate manner, the author uses little in the way of jargon, though includes a glossary in case the need arises. Grant also includes some general chapters on the reasons why the public finds the details of crime entertaining (due to our suppressed killer instinct) and some information about the medico-legal distinctions of diminished responsibility and unsoundness of mind. I found these a little awkward, in both tone and placement.

However I found the cases, and Grant’s assessments, sufficiently detailed and interesting, providing intriguing insight into the actions of these killers. This book should satisfy those of us with a killer instinct, fans of the true crime genre, or those curious about the psychological motives of murder


Available from University of Melbourne Press

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