Book Review: The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan (Cormac Reilly #3)

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The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan

“Sometimes to fix the law you have to break it”

Blurb

The unputdownable new novel from the bestselling author of The Ruin and The Scholar.

Police corruption, an investigation that ends in tragedy and the mystery of a little girl’s silence – three unconnected things that will prove to be linked by one small town.

While Detective Cormac Reilly faces enemies at work and trouble in his personal life, Garda Peter Fisher is relocated out of Galway with the threat of prosecution hanging over his head. But even that is not as terrible as having to work for his overbearing father, the local copper for the pretty seaside town of Roundstone.

For some, like Anna and her young daughter Tilly, Roundstone is a refuge from trauma. But even this village on the edge of the sea isn’t far enough to escape from the shadows of evil men.

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The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan

My Review

The Good Turn is the ripping third novel of the Irish Detective Cormac Rielly series by Dervla McTiernan.

My favourite  brooding Irish detective with a heart of gold, Cormac Reilly, is still facing serious issues caused by bitter office politics and corruption in the police force. While Cormac is fighting for his own job, young Garda Peter Fisher is forced to leave Galway  amid controversy and work in the sleepy town of Roundstone with his  father.

What I love about the entire Cormac Reilly series is the focus on the office politics, the relationships between the police officers, and the people they deal with. Of course they do use modern technology to help them solve crimes, but most of the focus is on the people and their interactions; most of the crimes are solved by asking the right questions and good old fashioned detective work.

Like the rest of the series, The Good Turn is a character driven novel. I found myself falling in love with the people of Roundstone and, as always, hoping that Cormac would manage to solve the crime and live to fight another day, but not being sure how he was going to pull that off this time until the very end. I also like the way that Cormac is always a major player in the novels, but he can also play a bit of background role at times, so that the reader can become immersed in the other character’s lives.

5 stars!

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The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan

 

Details

Author: Dervla McTiernan

Published: February 24th 2020 by HarperCollins – AU

Source: Publisher

Read: Paperback, 400 pages, February 2020

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Book Review: Blackthorn by Terry Tyler

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Blackthorn by Terry Tyler

Blurb

The UK, year 2139

One hundred and fifteen years ago, a mysterious virus wiped out ninety-five per cent of humanity.

Blackthorn, the largest settlement in England, rose from the ashes of the devastated old world. It is a troubled city, where the workers live in crude shacks, and make do with the worst of everything.

It is a city of violent divisions, crime, and an over-populated jail block―until a charismatic traveller has a miraculous vision and promises to bring hope back to the people’s lives.

Blackthorn falls under Ryder Swift’s spell, and the most devoted of all is the governor’s loyal servant, Lieutenant August Hemsley.

Twenty-one-year-old Evie has lived her whole life in the shacks. She and disillusioned guard Byron Lewis are two of a minority who have doubts about Ryder’s message. Can they stand against the beliefs of an entire city?

My Review

Blackthorn by Terry Tyler is a fascinating addition to the brilliant post-apocalyptic Project Renova universe. It examines what happens when religion is re-introduced to civilisation by a handsome and charismatic traveller generations after life as we know it has been wiped out by the ‘bat fever’ virus.

Blackthorn is a very character driven novel and is told from the first person perspectives of three main characters who come from all walks of life in the new world. Evie is one of the working class “Shackers”, Byron is a guard, and Lieutenant Hemsley is very close to Governor Wolf North.

I loved how each character had their own distinct voice and the multiple POV really allows the reader the get to know all of the characters better, as it allows you to see them through the eyes of the characters too.

Although Blackthorn is part of the Project Renova universe, with many of the characters descending from people we have met in earlier novels, it can easily be read as a stand alone novel. I did enjoy finding out how the characters in Blackthorn were connected to characters from earlier novels, and it was deeply satisfying to be able see how some things played out so many years later.

5 stars!

Details

Author: Terry Tyler

Published: November 25th 2019

Source: Own Copy

Read: Kindle, 509 pages, February 2020

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Competition Winner: “So Lucky” by Dawn O’Porter

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and the winner is…

Thank you to everybody who entered my Valentines Day competition to win a copy of So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter. I loved reading about everybody’s favourite love stories!

The lucky winner is Melanie Jane who entered on Facebook.

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So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter 

Book Review: Postscript by Cecelia Ahern

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Postscript by Cecelia Ahern

“There’s always one more thing to say…”

My Review

Uplifting tearjerker about grief and love. Postscript is Cecelia Ahern’s eagerly anticipated  sequel to P.S. I Love You, and it is just as beautiful.

Postscript picks up seven years after Holly Kennedy’s husband dies too young and left her a series of letters to read after his death. She feels as though she has moved on very nicely, and is even in the process of selling the home she shared with Gerry, until she reluctantly agrees to discuss Gerry’s letters on her sister’s podcast.

Not only does the podcast reopen old wounds and make things difficult with her new boyfriend, now she is being hassled by a group of terminally ill people who want her to help them write their own letters.

Postscript is obviously a sad read given the subject matter, but it is also heartwarming and uplifting novel with plenty of humour to balance out the sad bits. Sequels often struggle to live up to expectations, but I thought Postscript was a wonderful followup and a joy to read.

5 stars!

Synopsis

Sixteen years after Cecelia Ahern’s bestselling phenomenon PS, I Love You captured the hearts of millions, the long-awaited sequel follows Holly as she helps strangers leave their own messages behind for loved ones.

Seven years after her husband’s death — six since she read his final letter — Holly Kennedy has moved on with her life. When Holly’s sister asks her to tell the story of the “PS, I Love You” letters on her podcast — to revisit the messages Gerry wrote before his death to read after his passing — she does so reluctantly, not wanting to reopen old wounds.

But after the episode airs, people start reaching out to Holly, and they all have one thing in common: they’re terminally ill and want to leave their own missives behind for loved ones. Suddenly, Holly finds herself drawn back into a world she’s worked tirelessly to leave behind — but one that leads her on another incredible, life-affirming journey.

With her trademark blend of romance, humor, and bittersweet life lessons, Postscript is the perfect follow-up to Ahern’s beloved first novel.

Details

Author: Cecelia Ahern

Published: September 19th 2019 by HarperCollins

Source: Publisher

Read: Paperback, 368 pages, 2019

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Book Giveaway and Review: So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter

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So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter

COMPETITION CLOSED

Thank you to everybody who entered my Valentines Day competition to win a copy of So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter. I loved reading about everybody’s favourite love stories!

The lucky winner is Melanie Jane who entered on Facebook.

Valentines Day is almost here and I have a brand new copy of  the bold and hilarious novel “So Lucky” by Dawn O’Porter for one lucky Aussie reader, thanks to HarperCollins Publishers Australia.

All you need to do to enter is let me know your favourite love story of all time in the comments here, on Facebook,Instagram, or Twitter. It could be a story about romantic love, or perhaps the love between friends, or maybe a story about the importance of learning to love yourself just as you are, like “So Lucky”.

If you zoom in on the books on my bookshelf you might be able to spy some of my own favourite love stories.

My Review

Bold and hilarious contemporary women’s fiction. So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter will have you laughing out loud and help you realise that you are actually pretty lucky after all.

Three women are doing their best to project a perfect life to the outside world, but are actually feeling miserable on the inside. Beth has the perfect career, but her marriage is falling apart; Ruby has a shameful (in her eyes) secret and feels like she is failing at everything; and Lauren’s dream life is definitely not as perfect as it seems. A big event brings them all together and out comes the truth; nobody’s life is perfect, but that’s ok.

I really loved the character in this novel, and some of the more minor characters had a big impact. There were a more than a few laugh out loud moments, but I should also warn you that some a the humour is not for the faint of heart!

“So Lucky” highlights a very common struggle that most women face: the pressure to have the perfect life is enormous and impossible to ever truly achieve. We all have our struggles and it is often made easier to cope with when we share our struggles with each other.

5 stars!

Synopsis

IS ANYONE’S LIFE . . .

Beth shows that women really can have it all.
Ruby lives life by her own rules.
And then there’s Lauren, living the dream.

AS PERFECT AS IT LOOKS?

Beth hasn’t had sex in a year.
Ruby feels like she’s failing.
Lauren’s happiness is fake news.

And it just takes one shocking event to make the truth come tumbling out…

Fearless, frank and for everyone who’s ever doubted themselves, So Lucky is the straight-talking new novel from the Sunday Times bestseller.

Actually, you’re pretty f****** lucky to be you.

‘A total joy’ Matt Haig

‘Compulsively gripping and taps into the shame and self-hatred we *all* battle with. It is also very, very funny’ Sara Pascoe

Details

Author: Dawn O’Porter

Published: October 31st 2019 by HarperCollins

Source: Publisher

Read: Paperback, 400 pages, 2019

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Amazon AU

Amazon UK

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Giveaway Details

Giveaway is open to residents of Australia and will posted to the confirmed address after the competition closes at 5pm AEDT Sunday February 16th 2020.

Winner must be over the age of 18 and confirm their Australian postal address via email or private message within 48 hours of the competition closing.

This giveaway is not affiliated with WordPress, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or HarperCollins Publishers Australia.

The winning entry will be chosen randomly by a computer generated program and will be notified by email or private message.

All you need to do to enter is let me know your favourite love story of all time in the comments here, on Facebook,Instagram, or Twitter. It could be a story about romantic love, or perhaps the love between friends, or maybe a story about the importance of learning to love yourself just as you are, like “So Lucky”.

Book Review: The Accusation by Wendy James

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The Accusation by Wendy James

My Review

“Somebody is lying”

Thrilling Aussie noir. The Accusation by Wendy James will keep you guessing until the very end!

When Ellie Canning is found on the side of the road in a small country town her story explodes on the news and social media. Ellie is a young attractive blonde, and her story about being kidnapped and held hostage by two crazy women is fascinating.

At first it seems ridiculous when the local teacher, newcomer Suzannah Wells, is accused of kidnapping Ellie, but as the evidence begins to pile and things quickly begin to unravel, it suddenly doesn’t seem so unlikely.

I flip-flopped the entire way through this novel. Sometimes it seemed as though Ellie had to be telling the truth, sometimes it seemed impossible that it could have been kind Suzannah who had abruptly put life on hold to care for her elderly mother with dementia. I genuinely had no idea what the truth was until the very end.

I also really enjoyed the media/social media aspect of this novel. Wendy James has done a fantastic job at highlighting how things can be distorted by the media and will make you question everything you see online.

5 stars!

Synopsis

Eighteen-year-old Ellie Canning is found shivering and barely conscious on a country road, clad only in ill-fitting pyjamas. Her story of kidnap and escape quickly enthrals the nation: a middle-aged woman with a crazy old mother has held Ellie in a basement, chained her to a bed and given her drinks from an old baby’s sippy cup. But who was this woman and what did she want with Ellie? And what other secrets might she hide?

When the accusation is levelled at local teacher Suzannah Wells, no one seems more bewildered than Suzannah herself … to start with. The preposterous charge becomes manifestly more real as she loses her job and her friends. And the evidence is strong: a dementia-affected mother, a house with a basement, a sippy cup that belonged to her long-dead daughter. And Ellie Canning’s DNA everywhere. As stories about Susannah’s past emerge, even those closest to her begin to doubt she’s innocent.

And Ellie? The media can’t get enough of her. She’s a girl-power icon, a social-media star. But is she telling the truth?

A powerful exploration of the fragility of trust, and the power of suggestion, from the author of The Golden Child and The Mistake.

PRAISE FOR THE GOLDEN CHILD

‘The novel is cleverly constructed, the characters are extremely well-drawn, the use of social media as a plot device is very sophisticated, and the resolution is a genuine surprise’ Judges’ report, Ned Kelly Crime Awards, 2017

‘This is domestic noir at its most intelligent and sharp’ Sydney Morning Herald

‘It takes 48 hours to pulse through Wendy James’ rollercoaster 21st century story about parenting’ Australian Women’s Weekly

‘an engaging and intimate read that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty and Jodi Picoult, with nods to Lionel Shriver and Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap . . . 4 Stars’ Books & Publishing

‘This book is utterly brilliant’ Nicola Moriarty’

Details

Author: Wendy James

Published: May 20th 2019 by HarperCollins – AU

Source: Publisher

Read: Paperback, 352 pages, 2019

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Book Review: Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe

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Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe

My Review

“A truer history”

A truer history of Australian agriculture. Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe should be essential reading for all Australians!

Pascoe argues that what we learned in school about what Aboriginal Australians were like before the First Fleet arrived in Australia is wrong. He presents robust evidence from early settler accounts and archaeological evidence which strongly suggest that many Aboriginal people all over Australia were engaging in farming, building, storing, irrigating, governing, and making activities that mean that they were not hunter-gatherers at all.

Pascoe also argues that evidence of pre-colonial Aboriginal societies and structure was deliberately erased by early settlers. I suspect this may be the case as history is always written by the victor!

I found the evidence in Dark Emu to be very well and modestly presented. Pascoe meticulously cites many diaries and original sources from early settler first hand accounts, including some accounts from very familiar names such as Charles Sturt and Thomas Mitchell.    These citations are all listed within the book and have been independently checked by Rick Morton for the Saturday Paper.

The evidence Pascoe has unearthed about the ways Aboriginal Australians managed the land through controlled fire burns and the way the soil was then compared to how it is now after more than 200 years of Western farming practices are more important than ever now. I am also very curious about the native plants that were used to make flour because they sound delicious and I suspect they might be beneficial for people with wheat or gluten intolerances.

I strongly urge all Australians to read Dark Emu. It will certainly make you think differently about things. It has made me think differently about what I was taught about colonial times and even more determined to be a better ally. I have also heard great things about Young Dark Emu, the adaptation of Dark Emu designed for children.

Synopsis

Dark Emu puts forward an argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer tag for precolonial Aboriginal Australians. The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating and storing – behaviours inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag. Gerritsen and Gammage in their latest books support this premise but Pascoe takes this further and challenges the hunter-gatherer tag as a convenient lie. Almost all the evidence comes from the records and diaries of the Australian explorers, impeccable sources

Details 

Author: Bruce Pascoe

Published: 2014 by Magabala Books

Source: Own Copy

Read: Paperback, 176 pages, January-February 2020

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Book Review: The Van Apfel Girls are Gone by Felicity McLean

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The Van Apfel Girls are Gone by Felicity McLean

My Review

A dark and atmospheric Aussie mystery set in the 90s. 

Tikka Molloy returns to her hometown in the suburbs of Sydney and she can’t help but remember the summer of 1992 when the Van Apfel girls mysteriously disappeared. Tikka was only 11 years old when her neighbours – Cordelia, Ruth, and Hannah – went missing, but the events of that fateful summer still haunt her. Her memories are sharp and vivid, although they are obviously tinged with the naivety of the very young.

Australian readers will appreciate the nostalgic early 1990s setting of the novel and the very Aussie language and colloquialisms. I found the inclusion of the Lindy Chamberlain trial an interesting way to place the novel squarely in that era, although I’m not sure how well I was able to connect it with the events in the novel.

I was caught up in the mystery surrounding the missing Van Apfel Girls and loved the dark and atmospheric writing. The mystery doesn’t get resolved in the end, but I think that suits this story and its dream-like feel.

4 stars!

 

Synopsis

‘We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like the words of some half-remembered song and when one came back, she wasn’t the one we were trying to recall to begin with.’

So begins Tikka Molloy’s recounting of the summer of 1992 – the summer the Van Apfel sisters, Hannah, the beautiful Cordelia and Ruth – disappear.

Eleven and one-sixth years old, Tikka is the precocious narrator of this fabulously endearing coming-of-age story, set in an eerie Australian river valley suburb with an unexplained stench. The Van Apfel girls vanish from the valley during the school’s ‘Showstopper’ concert, held at the outdoor amphitheatre by the river. While the search for the sisters unites the small community on Sydney’s urban fringe, the mystery of their disappearance remains unsolved forever.

Brilliantly observed, sharp, lively, funny and entirely endearing, this novel is part mystery, part coming-of-age story – and quintessentially Australian. Think The Virgin Suicides meets Jasper Jones meets Picnic at Hanging Rock.

Details

Author: Felicity McLean

Published: April 1st 2019 by HarperCollins Publishers Australia

Source: Publisher

Read: Paperback, 304 pages, 2019

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Book Review: Love and Other Battles by Tess Woods

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Love and Other Battles by Tess Woods

“Three generations of women.

Three heartbreaking choices.

One unforgettable story.”

CW: Love and Other Battles deals with issues of self-harm and suicide. Please contact your local support lines if required.

My Review

Love and Other Battles by Tess Woods spans across three generations of women, each one faced with her own heartbreaking decisions. This story will take you from the horrors faced by Jess during the Vietnam war in 1969, her daughter Jamie’s brush with a wild musician in 1989, and her teenage daughter CJ’s infatuation with the cool new boy in school in 2017.

I actually read this book last year, so you may remember me shouting about it a while ago. I absolutely loved this story just as much as I have a loved every single one of Tess Woods’ beautiful novels. She really excels at exploring difficult and messy subjects sensitively. I was spell bound by this book and fell in love with all of the characters, although I think I have a bit of a soft spot for Jess, the free-spirited hippie who was an unwilling victim of the Vietnam War.

5 stars!

Synopsis

1969: Free-spirited hippie Jess James has no intention of falling for a soldier … but perhaps some things are not in our power to stop.

1989: Jess’s daughter, Jamie, dreams of a simple life – marriage, children, stability – then she meets a struggling musician and suddenly the future becomes wilder and complex.

2017: When Jamie’s daughter, CJ, brings home trouble in the form of the coolest boy at school, the worlds of these three women turn upside down … and the past returns to haunt them.

Spanning the trauma of the Vietnam War to the bright lights of Nashville, the epidemic of teenage self-harm to the tragedy of incurable illness, Love and Other Battles is the heart-wrenching story of three generations of Australian women, who learn that true love is not always where you seek it.

If you loved The Notebook, this is a novel for you.

Details

Author: Tess Woods

Published:  June 17th 2019 by HarperCollins – AU

Source: Publisher

Read: Paperback, 336 pages, 2019

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