Sixty Seconds by Jesse Blackadder book review

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Sixty Seconds by Jesse Blackadder

Goodreads Synopsis

Inspired by the author’s own family experience. The Brennans – parents Finn and Bridget, and their sons, Jarrah and Toby – have made a sea change, shifting from chilly Hobart to a sprawling purple weatherboard in subtropical Murwillumbah. Feeling like foreigners in this land of sun and surf, they are only just starting to settle when, one morning, tragedy strikes – changing their lives forever.

Determined to protect his wife, Finn finds himself under the police and media spotlight. Guilty and enraged, Bridget spends her nights hunting answers in the last place imaginable. Jarrah – his innocence lost – is propelled suddenly from his teens into frightening adulthood. As all three are pushed to the limit, questions fly: Who is to blame? And what does it take to forgive?

A haunting and ultimately redemptive story about what it takes to forgive.

PRAISE FOR JESSE BLACKADDER’S RAVEN’S HEART AND CHASING THE LIGHT

‘… utterly intriguing and completely unputdownable … The writing is evocative and powerful’ Good Reading

‘Her writing immerses the reader in the beauty and danger of the Southern Ocean and the sights, sounds and smells of Antarctica. Verdict: DAZZLING’ Herald Sun

My Review

Sixty Seconds is a heartbreaking Australian novel about a family coping with the drowning death of two year old Toby in the family pool. The Brennan family have recently moved from cold and wet Hobart Tasmania to subtropical Murwillumbah NSW when the tragic death of their youngest son, the Brennan family are left wondering if they will ever be able to forgive each other or themselves for the tragic accident. 

The novel is told from the POV’s of the Brennan family. Finn is an emerging artist and stay at home Dad. Bridget has always been the main provider of the family, working at a university in Hobart and now researching koalas for the NSW Government Environmental Department. Jarrah is a 15 year old struggling with teenage angst and bullying with a secret of his own. When Finn’s art finally begins to take off Bridget needs to take care of the children so he can finish his big commissions on time. It is during the breakfast rush that Toby finds his way into the family’s pool and drowns in less than a minute. In the aftermath the family is left with nothing but questions. How did it happen? Who is to blame? And will they ever be able to forgive each other?

I loved this book! Jesse Blackadder lost her baby sister in a drowning death when she was a child. Although Sixty Seconds is a fictional story, it is evident that the author understands how the death of a child in such a tragic accident can tear a family apart. Hearing the story of Toby’s drowning and the aftermath from the perspectives of the entire Brennan family really highlighted how tragedy can destroy a family. and the importance of forgiveness in these situations.

Details

Title: Sixty Seconds

Author: Jesse Blackadder

Published:  October 1st 2017 by HarperCollinsPublishers AU

ISBN: 1460754247 (ISBN13: 9781460754245)

Pages: 384

Genre: Australian, Contemporary Fiction

Source: Publisher

My Rating: 5/5 stars

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Tipping Point by Terry Tyler @TerryTyler4 book review

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Tipping Point by Terry Tyler and the things I would miss most in a post-apocalyptic world 

Goodreads Synopsis

‘I didn’t know danger was floating behind us on the breeze as we walked along the beach, seeping in through the windows of our picture postcard life.’

The year is 2024. A new social networking site bursts onto the scene. Private Life promises total privacy, with freebies and financial incentives for all. Across the world, a record number of users sign up.

A deadly virus is discovered in a little known African province, and it’s spreading—fast. The UK announces a countrywide vaccination programme. Members of underground group Unicorn believe the disease to be man-made, and that the people are being fed lies driven by a vast conspiracy.

Vicky Keating’s boyfriend, Dex, is working for Unicorn over two hundred miles away when the first UK outbreak is detected in her home town of Shipden, on the Norfolk coast. The town is placed under military controlled quarantine and, despite official assurances that there is no need for panic, within days the virus is unstoppable.

In London, Travis begins to question the nature of the top secret data analysis project he is working on, while in Newcastle there are scores to be settled…

This is the first book in the Project Renova series; the second, Lindisfarne, is due to be published in September 2017, with the final instalment in the middle of 2018. A collection of outtake short stories, Patient Zero, is in progress, and should be available around December 2017.

My Review

Tipping Point is a fascinating post-apocalyptic novel set in 2024. A new social media platform called Private Life has emerged as the digital place to be, until a deadly virus discovered in Africa swiftly spreads across the globe causing chaos until civilisation as we know it to come to a grinding halt.

The novel focuses on English Mum, Vicky, and her family who live in a small town on the Norfolk coast which is quickly placed under military control when the UK’s patient zero is infected with the deadly virus there. Vicky’s partner, Dex, has been a long time member of what she thought was a nutty conspiracy theory group, but she quickly discovers they had been right all along and joins up with the Unicorn group as a matter of survival. But Dex was working on Unicorn business at the time of the outbreak and nobody knows where he is or if he survived.

Tipping Point is Terry Tyler’s first post-apocalyptic novel, but she has slipped into this genre with style and ease. I was very quickly drawn into this novel and love the concept of a social media platform being behind the end of civilisation. I am thrilled to be able to read the next book in the Project Renova series, Lindisfarne straight away as Terry Tyler is not only a brilliant writer, she is also incredibly quick.

Lindisfarne is already available on Amazon and continues right where Tipping Point left off!

Details

Title: Tipping Point (Project Renova #1)

Author: Terry Tyler

Published: Self-Published August 5th 2017

ASIN: B074LSCX5M

Pages: 448

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic

Source: Author

My Rating: 5/5 stars

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Book #Review: Ache by Eliza Henry Jones @ehenryjones

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Ache by Eliza Henry Jones

Goodreads Synopsis

A year ago, a devastating bushfire ripped Annie’s world apart – killing her grandmother, traumatising her young daughter and leaving her mother’s home in the mountains half destroyed. Annie fled back to the city, but the mountain continues to haunt her. Now, drawn by a call for help from her uncle, she’s going back to the place she loves most in the world, to try to heal herself, her marriage, her daughter and her mother. 


A heart-wrenching, tender and lovely novel about loss, grief and regeneration, Ache is not only a story of how we can be broken, but how we can put ourselves back together.

My Review

Ache will make you feel every emotion under the sun. A must read for everyone!

Ache is set one year after a bushfire destroyed Annie’s family and Australian mountain home. Annie is still trying to pick up the pieces of her life after riding her horse through the fires to save her child only to lose her beloved Grandmother and unwillingly become the face of the fires after her photo became splashed all over the media. Annie is trying to make her marriage work with her husband, Tom, and heal her traumatised daughter, Pip, in their home in the city. She decides to head home to the mountain where her family and small town friends are still battling to recover from the devastation of the fires.

This fire in this story is fictional but I think most Australians will be able to relate to the trauma of a small town dealing with the aftermath of a devastating bushfire. I have been lucky to be relatively untouched by bushfires but I still understand the fear of fire (or flood!) and can imagine the trauma of being right in the middle of it all and how difficult it must be to pick up the pieces of your life after a fire sweeps through and destroys your entire life. Bless everybody experiencing something similar right now.

Eliza Henry Jones has studied English, psychology and grief, loss and trauma counselling and completed a thesis exploring bushfire trauma in fiction. She has crafted a beautifully written and emotional novel that deals with a wide range of themes with grace and ease.  Now I understand why everyone I know has raved about this book and am so happy to add my rave review to the list!

Details

Title: Ache

Author: Eliza Henry Jones

Published: Published June 1st 2017 by Harper Collins (first published May 22nd 2017)

ISBN: 1460750381 (ISBN13: 9781460750384)

Pages: 256

Genre: Contemporary Australian Fiction

Source: Publisher

My Rating: 5/5 stars

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods @TessWoodsAuthor

 

 

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods

Goodreads Synopsis

What happens when love and loyalty collide? Two couples must deal with the consequences of their messy love not just for themselves but for those who depend on them. For lovers of passionate romance in the vein of Nicolas Sparks.

When football star Nick Harding hobbles into the Black Salt Cafe the morning after the night before, he is served by Anna, a waitress with haunted-looking eyes and no interest in footballers famous or otherwise. Nick is instantly drawn to this exotic, intelligent girl. But a relationship between them risks shame for her conservative refugee family and backlash for Nick that could ruin his career.
Meanwhile, Nick’s sister, Lily, is struggling to finish her medical degree. When she meets Toby, it seems that for the first time she is following her heart, not the expectations of others. Yet what starts out as a passionate affair with a man who has just buried his wife slips quickly into dangerous dependency.
Through attraction, breakups, triumphs and tragedies, these two couples learn just how much their beautiful messy love might cost. A West Side Story for the modern day.

My Thoughts

Beautiful Messy Love is a sequel to Tess Woods’ debut novel, Love at First Flight. Mel’s children are now grown up and the novel focuses on Nick and Lily’s lives and romantic adventures.

Nick is now an Australian Rules Football star who liked to party hard until he meets the enigmatic Anna/Anwar with a conservative Egyptian family and a complicated life. Lily is struggling through medical school until her life is consumed by Toby who is dealing with the recent death of his wife.

I loved Beautiful Messy Love just as much as Love at First Flight, or maybe even a little bit more. Anna’s experiences as an Egyptian refugee with both Christian and Muslim ancestry were beautifully and passionately written. This makes a lot of sense because the author shares a similar ancestry.

Thank you very much, Tess, for including my favourite Australian Rules Football Club in your story just for me. Go Cats! I’m a bit nervous to read Tess’s next novel because I’ve heard a rumour that there will be a character named Jade in that one…

I will be interviewing Tess Woods at the Melbourne launch of Beautiful Messy Love at Dymocks on Collins Street next Thursday, August 10th at 6:30 pm. This is a free event and all Melbourne romance readers are more than welcome to join us for the event. For event details head to trybooking.com  or the Facebook Event Page.  

Looking forward to seeing lots of Melbourne readers and writers there!

Details

Title: Beautiful Messy Love

Author: Tess Woods

ISBN: 1460753836 (ISBN13: 9781460753835)

Published: August 1st 2017 by HarperCollins Publishers Australia

Pages: 432

Genre: Contemporary Romance

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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The First Year by Genevieve Gannon

 

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Ziggy and Zeus survived their first year together fairly well! 

 

Goodreads Synopsis

The first year of marriage is hard no matter what. Throw in jealous exes, high-pressure careers and two wildly different families, and the degree of difficulty goes up a few more notches. Determined to beat the odds, one couple comes up with a plan to keep their romance alive – but life has other ideas.

Saskia is an up-and-coming jewellery designer, waiting tables at a trendy cafe to keep her fledgling company afloat. Andrew is a corporate lawyer who wants to be known for more than his family’s money. They’re passionate about their work and each other, but with Andy’s job in jeopardy and Saskia’s jewellery label taking off, the pressure is taking its toll.

As life pulls them in different directions, the two of them are forced to decide: Just how important is their marriage? And how hard are they willing to work to protect it?

My Review

This is the third book I’ve read by Genevieve Gannon, and I think this one is my favourite! The First Year is the story of the first year of the marriage of Melbourne couple,  jewellery designer Saskia and intellectual property rights lawyer  Andy. As you can imagine, they are a bit of an odd couple and face a range of issues during their first year.

I loved that Gannon set this novel in our mutual home town of Melbourne. Saskia and Andy represent two common Melbourne stereotypes and I felt they rang very true. Saskia was a perfect Brunswick hipster type with just the right amount of talent and down to earth attitude to make her likable. Andy was a very typical corporate type with a snobby family. I feel like I’ve met both of them before a couple of times around Melbs!

All of the best parts about Melbourne were included in The First Year. Great coffee, great food, live music, and the thriving arts community were all in there.  I think Melbourne is a fantastic setting for a novel and would love to see more Melbourne based books. I’m also taking this as a sign that Gen will be back one day…everyone comes home to Melbourne eventually!

The First Year also tackled copyright infringement from the perspective of a small designer taking on a big chain. This is such an important issue and I feel like we really do need to be talking and thinking about copyright law more than we do. Copyright law is a mess right now and corporations hold all the cards. On one hand, we have designers being ripped off and losing money due to copyright infringement. On the other hand, the public domain is shrinking rapidly because the length of copyright has been extended so much over the past century. The public domain is essential to continue creativity because all great ideas come from somewhere. If there are no new ideas in the public domain then we will very quickly run out of new ideas.

The Creative Commons was created as a response to the ever-shrinking public domain. There are images and sound files you can use in your own works with correct attribution and you can also find a copyright license to use for your own works. And the licenses are written in plain English, so it’s very easy to use and find exactly what you’re looking for. It’s an essential tool for everybody who creates on the Internet!

Details

Title: The First Year

Author: Genevieve Gannon

Published: April 24th 2017 by HarperCollins

Genre: Romance

Pages: 347

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

The Scent of You by Maggie Alderson Book Review @MaggieA

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“A sweet romance and relationship focused novel set in the world of perfumery”

4/5 stars

Synopsis

Perfume blogger Polly is in crisis. Will her husband’s absence break her … or make her? A novel of perfumes, exploring life, love, loss and forgiveness – Maggie Alderson’s new bestseller.

Are you still married if you haven’t seen your husband for months?

Polly’s life is great. Her children are away at uni, her glamorous mother – still modelling at eighty-five – is happily settled in a retirement village, and her perfume blog is taking off. Then her husband announces he needs some space and promptly vanishes.

As Polly grapples with her bewildering situation, she clings to a few new friends to keep her going – Shirlee, the loudmouthed yoga student; Guy, the mysterious, infuriating and hugely talented perfumer; and Edward, an old flame from university.

And while she distracts herself with the heady world of luxury perfume, Polly knows she can’t keep reality at bay forever. Eventually she is forced to confront some difficult truths: about her husband, herself and who she really wants to be.

My Review

The Scent of You is a sweet romance and relationship focused novel set in the world of perfumery. Polly is a part-time yoga teacher and successful English perfume blogger. Her professor husband, David, abruptly left their home under mysterious circumstances leaving strict instructions not to look for him. Polly copes with the stress of David’s disappearance and her mother’s failing health with the help of her two children, Shirley, the blunt yoga student, Guy, the mysterious perfumer, and Edward (Chum), an old university boyfriend.

I enjoyed the detailed descriptions of all the lovely perfumes interspersed throughout the novel and loved Polly’s blog posts which linked perfumes with memories. The characters were all well-developed and likable, except for Polly’s husband and occasionally Polly herself. I couldn’t help but wonder how Polly had no idea of the issue David had been facing for so many years!

4/5 stars

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The Pretty Delicious Cafe by Danielle Hawkins

 

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The Pretty Delicious Cafe by Danielle Hawkins

Synopsis

On the outskirts of a small New Zealand seaside town, Lia and her friend Anna work serious hours running their restored cafe. The busy season is just around the corner, and there are other things to occupy them. Anna is about to marry Lia’s twin brother, and Lia’s ex-boyfriend seems not to understand it’s over.

When a gorgeous stranger taps on Lia’s window near midnight and turns out not to be a serial killer, she feels it’s a promising sign. But the past won’t let them be, and Lia must decide whether events rule her life or she does.

The Pretty Delicious Cafe will remind you of those special, good things we love about living. And the food is great.

A warm, witty novel, brimming with the trademark romance, friendship and eccentricity that Danielle Hawkins’s fans adore.

My Review: 4/5 Stars

Don’t read The Pretty Delicious Cafe without treats nearby! Food plays an integral role in this novel as the main character, Lia owns a cafe with her best friend and soon to be sister-in-law, Anna. The story is full of delicious food descriptions and there is even some Pretty Delicious Cafe recipes included at the end of the book.

While the love story was central to the story there was a lot more to this book than just romance. Lia’s zany family and relationship dynamics were fantastically written and characterised. I was pleasantly surprised when a series of dramatic events turned so dark. It almost seems like there was too much going on in this book, but it felt like just the right amount of drama while I was reading it.

The Pretty Delicious Cafe is full of surprises and great food! I loved the New Zealand setting and common sayings. The language rang true to me and the setting descriptions reminded me that I really do need to visit myself.

Details

Title: The Pretty Delicious Cafe

Author: Danielle Hawkins

Published:  November 21st 2016 by HarperCollins Publishers Australia

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance

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