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

Goodreads

Amazon

 

 

 

 

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

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Synopsis

Controversial and compelling, In Cold Blood reconstructs the murder in 1959 of a Kansas farmer, his wife and both their children. Truman Capote’s comprehensive study of the killings and subsequent investigation explores the circumstances surrounding this terrible crime and the effect it had on those involved. At the centre of his study are the amoral young killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, who, vividly drawn by Capote, are shown to be reprehensible yet entirely and frighteningly human. The book that made Capote’s name, In Cold Blood is a seminal work of modern prose, a remarkable synthesis of journalistic skill and powerfully evocative narrative.

My Thoughts

In Cold Blood is widely regarded as Truman Capote’s best and most influential novels. It tells the true story of the murder of the Clutter family in 1959. The Clutters were a well-respected family of four in the tiny farming town of Holcomb, Kansas – Herb, Bonnie, Nancy, and Kenyon. They were brutally murdered by two petty criminals who were on the hunt for a non-existent safe full of cash but actually made off with about $50 and a radio.

Capote was a journalist at the time and, with his childhood friend Harper Lee, traveled to Holcomb to cover the story of one of the most gruesome of senseless murders of the time. Capote spent five years in Holcomb, mixing a blend of fact gleaned from interviewing the protagonists and fiction to write In Cold Blood.

I’m glad I gave myself the opportunity to read In Cold Blood properly. I have studied parts of this novel in several of my writing units at uni and I regret reading it in bits and pieces first. I wish I’d done it the other way round because I did find it difficult when I came to sections I had read previously. And it was impossible not to think of all the academic kind of stuff I had covered previously.

I am glad I studied this novel, though, because there are so many interesting things about it and the way it was written. In Cold Blood was a completely new style of writing at the time. Crime and mystery fiction have always been popular genres, but In Cold Blood isn’t fiction. And many parts aren’t quite factual either. Capote called this sensational new style of writing New Journalism and this development has been incredibly influential in the crime and mystery genres (and many would argue in journalism!) ever since.

Now I feel better by covering some of the academic reasons for why  In Cold Blood is a modern classic I will finish by recommending this novel to all the true crime fans out there. Capote’s blend of fact and fiction is a masterpiece and the only thing I regret is not reading it earlier.

And finally, here is a rather cute pic of my crazy Zeus checking out my copy!

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Details

Title: In Cold Blood

Author: Truman Capote

ISBN: 0141182571 (ISBN13: 9780141182575)

Published: February 3rd 2000 by Penguin (first published 1965)

Genre: Classics, Modern Classics, True Crime

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Goodreads

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

This book is part of the David Bowie Reading Challenge #DBowieBooks

1. 1984

2. The Great Gatsby

3. The Gnostic Gospels

4. A Clockwork Orange

5. Lady Chatterley’s Lover

6. The Art of War

7. In Cold Blood

The Devil You Know by Terry Tyler: Book Review @TerryTyler4

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Description

Every serial killer is someone’s friend, spouse, lover or child….

Young women are being murdered in the Lincolnshire town of Lyndford, where five people fear someone close to them might be the monster the police are searching for.

One of them is right.

Juliet sees an expert’s profile of the average serial killer and realises that her abusive husband, Paul, ticks ALL the boxes.

Everyone likes Pru’s new boyfriend—except her teenage daughter, Maisie.  Is she the only one who can see through Gary’s friendly façade?

Jake fancies Tamsin.  Tamsin loves Jake.  But then her love turns to suspicion…

Steve is worried.  Is his childhood friend, Dan, just being his usual, misogynistic self, or has a new friend’s influence taken him down a more sinister path?
Dorothy’s beloved son, Orlando, is keeping a secret from her, and a chilling discovery forces her to confront her worst fears.

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is a twist-rich, character-driven psychological drama/thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end!

Details 

Title: The Devil You Know

Author: Terry Tyler

Published: October 3rd, 2016 by the author

AISN: B01LXQISIY

Genre: Mystery, Psychological Drama

Format:  Kindle

Pages: 340

Source: Review copy from author

My Rating: 5/5 Stars!

Amazon UK

Goodreads

My Thoughts

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Terry Tyler fan, and The Devil You Know is one of my favourites so far! It’s a psychological drama, which is a completely different genre from her other novels, and I very much admire how effortless she made it look to master a new style. I also loved the multiple points of view, which is a technique this author has perfected. I always love piecing the story together from different characters. I feel like you get the full story that way, not just one or maybe two character’s perspective.

The Devil You Know is told from the viewpoint of five different characters who each suspect that somebody they know could be the Lyndford Strangler serial killer. As the story progresses each character becomes more and more convinced that their suspicions are correct as the murders become more frequent and people continue to behave suspiciously.

I was definitely surprised when the true Lyndford Strangler was revealed and, in true Terry Tyler style, I never saw the big surprise coming in a million years. I love that even though I know this author is an expert at sneaky plot twists that I’ve never been able to figure it out until the very end yet!

Review: Rebecca’s Tale by Sally Beauman

 Last night I dreamt I went to Manderlay again… rebecca

Rebecca’s Tale is an unauthorised sequel of Daphne du Maurier’s classic Gothic mystery. The year is 1951 and Colonel Arthur Julyan, long-time friend of the De Winter family, is still haunted by the circumstances of her death. With the help of his daughter, Ellie, and mysterious newcomer, Terance Grey, he determines to uncover the mysteries surrounding Rebecca’s death and her life before Manderlay.

The novel is told from multiple points of view, Colonel Julyan, Ellie, Terrance Grey, and Rebecca. During the course of their investigations Rebecca’s journal is discovered! Her journal details her childhood and why/how she came to marry Maxim De Winter and come to Manderlay. I loved reading from Rebecca’s point of view, even if she is proven to be an unreliable narrator, along with everybody in this story.

A lot of people have posted negative reviews of this novel. I think the biggest issue is that this version of Rebecca doesn’t match the way they see her. The author does use quite a lot of poetic license to create her version of Rebecca and the other characters. I really love this novel, though. It’s not quite as atmospheric or mysterious as the original, but it was still a very enjoyable read.

Description

April 1951. It has been twenty years since the death of Rebecca, the hauntingly beautiful first wife of Maxim de Winter, and twenty years since Manderley, the de Winter family’s estate, was destroyed by fire. But Rebecca’s tale is just beginning.

Colonel Julyan, an old family friend, receives an anonymous package concerning Rebecca. An inquisitive young scholar named Terence Gray appears and stirs up the quiet seaside hamlet with questions about the past and the close ties he soon forges with the Colonel and his eligible daughter, Ellie. Amid bitter gossip and murky intrigue, the trio begins a search for the real Rebecca and the truth behind her mysterious death.

Details

Title Rebecca’s Tale

Author Sally Beauman

ISBN 006117467X (ISBN13: 9780061174674)

Published 2000

Pages 464

Genre Mystery, Suspense, Historical Fiction, Gothic

Source Own Copy

My Rating 5/5 stars

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