Book Review: THE TIGER CATCHER (END OF FOREVER #1) by Paullina Simons @paullinasimons

THE TIGER CATCHER  is the long awaited first novel of THE END OF FOREVER TRILOGY by romance writer extraordinaire Paullina Simons, author of THE BRONZE HORSEMAN and TULLY.

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THE TIGER CATCHER by Paullina Simons 

“A timeless love story…and the adventure of several lifetimes”

Paperback Edition: 464 pages

Published: May 28th 2019 by HarperCollins – AU

ISBN: 0732294924 (ISBN13: 9780732294922)
Series: END OF FOREVER #1

Source: HarperCollins Publishers Australia

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“The first novel in a beautiful, heartbreaking new trilogy from Paullina Simons, the international bestselling author of Tully and The Bronze Horseman.

Can true love ever die?

Julian lives a charmed life in Los Angeles. Surrounded by friends, he is young, handsome, and runs a successful business. Everything changes after he has a fateful encounter with a mysterious young woman named Josephine. Julian’s world is turned upside down by a love affair that takes him—and everyone else in his life—by storm. For the two new lovers, the City of Angels is transformed into a magical playground.

But Josephine is not what she seems and carries secrets that threaten to tear them apart—seemingly forever.

A broken man, his faith in tatters, Julian meets a mysterious stranger who tells him how to find Josephine again if he is willing to give up everything and take a death-defying trip from which no one has ever returned.

So begins Julian and Josephine’s extraordinary adventure of love, loss, and the mystical forces that bind people across time and space. It is a journey that propels Julian toward an impossible choice which will lead him to love fulfilled…or to oblivion.

The Tiger Catcher takes readers from the depths of despair to the dizzying heights of joy in the first novel of an unforgettable trilogy of love lost and found. For all fans of Outlander, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Jojo Moyes. “

My Review 

Julian is a slightly bored and cynical young man living an apparently charmed life in contemporary Los Angeles.  His perfect life is turned upside down after a series of chance encounters with a beautiful actress. Within a matter of days Julian has dumped his girlfriend and is head over heals for the mysterious Josephine.

Their relationship hits some not entirely unexpected speed bumps and when tragedy strikes Julian does whatever it takes to be with the love of his life.

The only issue I had with this book is that I found Josephine to be really difficult to relate to and found it difficult to believe that Julian was so in love with her based on her actions throughout the novel. Hopefully her character will be explored more fully in the rest of the series.

THE TIGER CATCHER is a bit of a departure from Paullina Simons’ other books. It’s still an epic romance story and the same brilliant writing is evident throughout the novel, but there is definitely a new mystical element to this book. I don’t wan’t to provide too many spoilers, but I really enjoyed these mystical elements and love this new direction that Simons is taking.

4 stars!

 

 

 

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Book Review: HOPE by Terry Tyler @TerryTyler4

Terry Tyler’s latest dystopian novel, HOPE, is a chilling psychological thriller set in the not too distant future.

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HOPE by Terry Tyler

‘We haven’t elected a Prime Minister, we’ve elected a lifestyle’.

Kindle Edition

Published: May 24th 2019 by Terry Tyler

AISN: B07S89DK54

Source: Own Copy

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“As the fourth decade of the 21st century looms, new PM Guy Morrissey and his fitness guru wife Mona (hashtag MoMo) are hailed as the motivational couple to get the UK #FitForWork, with Mona promising to ‘change the BMI of the nation’. 

Lita Stone is an influential blogger and social media addict, who watches as Guy and Mona’s policies become increasingly ruthless. Unemployment and homelessness are out of control. The solution? Vast new compounds all over the country, to house those who can no longer afford to keep a roof over their heads.

These are the Hope Villages, financed by US corporation Nutricorp.

Lita and her flatmates Nick and Kendall feel safe in their cosy cyberspace world. Unaware of how swiftly bad luck can snowball, they suspect little of the danger that awaits the unfortunate, behind the carefully constructed mirage of Hope.”

Terry Tyler’s nineteenth published work is a psychological thriller that weaves through the darker side of online life, as the gap between the haves and the have-nots grows ever wider. Whether or not it will mirror a dystopian future that awaits us, we will have to wait and see.”

My Thoughts

Lita Stone is a successful lifestyle blogger and social media addict who feels like she has finally found a real home and family with her flatmates. Nick is a freelance journalist who takes out his political frustrations via his secret online persona and Kendall is a sweet, but often superficial and dim, retail assistant.

The three flatmates become concerned about what is going on the UK with their recently elected new prime minister Guy Morrissey and his fitness guru wife Mona’s austere approach to tackle unemployment and homelessness.

Along with Mona’s #FitForLife and #FitForWork that are aimed at reducing the BMI of the UK, US based mega-corporation, Nutricorp, has come up with a solution to tackle homelessness by building compounds where homeless people are supposed to be able to live and be given the help they need to get back on their feet. These compounds are called Hope Villages and their socials certainly do paint an idealistic picture.

Several Hope Village success stories plastered across social media by the Nutricorp social media team capturing the attention of the nation, but Lita and Nick begin to suspect that they are not all they’re cracked up to be and seriously lacking in actual hope. Can they expose what’s really going on at Hope Villages and get away with it or is the UK already set on the path to round up the homeless and keep them out of sight?

The thing that makes HOPE so chilling is that the premise doesn’t seem so far-fetched given the current global political climate. We live in world where the unemployed and homeless are treated second class citizens and it is becoming increasingly more difficult for people to turn their lives around once they find themselves in this situation.

I found myself willing the main characters to get through the grim situations they found themselves in. I loved Lita for her braveness and determination and Nick for his cynical rebellion against the establishment, although his rash decisions did stress me out. Terry Tyler really has found her niche in the dystopian genre and I can’t wait to be read what scary possible futures she comes up with next.

5 stars!

Book Review: THE SCHOLAR by Dervla McTiernan @DervlaMcTiernan

I have been in a bit of a blogging slump lately. Luckily, I have had the brilliantly atmospheric second novel of the Cormac Reilly crime thriller series THE SCHOLAR by Derva McTiernan to drag me out of my reading and blogging slump!

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THE SCHOLAR by Dervla McTiernan

“Being brilliant has never been so dangerous”

Paperback: 377 pages

Published: February 18th 2019 by HarperCollins – AU

ISBN: 1460754220 (ISBN13: 9781460754221)

Series: Cormac Reilly #2

Source: HarperCollins Publishers Australia

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“When DS Cormac Reilly’s girlfriend Emma stumbles across the victim of a hit and run early one morning, he is first on the scene of a murder that would otherwise never have been assigned to him. The dead girl is carrying an ID, that of Carline Darcy, heir apparent to Darcy Therapeutics, Ireland’s most successful pharmaceutical company. Darcy Therapeutics has a finger in every pie, from sponsoring university research facilities to funding political parties to philanthropy – it has funded Emma’s own
ground-breaking research. The investigation into Carline’s death promises to be high profile and high pressure.

As Cormac investigates, evidence mounts that the death is linked to a Darcy laboratory and, increasingly, to Emma herself. Cormac is sure she couldn’t be involved, but how well does he really know her? After all, this isn’t the first time Emma’s been accused of murder…”

THE SCHOLAR picks up the life of Irish detective Cormac Reilly not long after the ending of the runaway best selling THE RÚIN. Since then, he has moved to Galway with his girlfriend Emma so that she can take up a prestigious job at the Irish pharmaceutical giant Darcey Therapeutics.

Cormac has taken a step backwards in his policing duties which suits him quite well. Despite the boredom and petty office politics he is dealing with, he is quite enjoying living a peaceful life with Emma…until she is accused of committing an unthinkable crime that he is working on. Cormac is forced to question his loyalty to the woman he loves and his own ethics when his work on the case comes under scrutiny.

The setting of Galway University as the scene of the crime was perfectly done and really added to the tense and atmospheric feel of the novel. I love the book cover design, which includes a dark and menacing image of Galway University.

THE SCHOLAR is a page-turning crime thriller that will have you wondering what the truth really is until the very end. We’ve come to know Cormac and Emma so well that it feels like such a huge betrayal when the evidence against Emma begins to mount up and it seems as though Cormac has used his position to protect her. This is a testament to Dervla McTiernan’s excellent character development skills.

I can’t wait to read more about Cormac Reilly. 5 stars!

 

 

 

NOT BAD PEOPLE, a contemporary Australian drama by debut author Brandy Scott @HeyBrandyScott

My first completed book of February is the slow-burning contemporary drama NOT BAD PEOPLE by debut author, Brandy Scott. The novel is set in the fictional country Victorian town of Hensley. My own hometown, the Mornington Peninsula, gets a brief mention, so I thought it was fitting to take my copy on a trip to my local beach. It was a lovely beach read!

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NOT BAD PEOPLE by Brandy Scott

“Three Friends. Too many secrets. Honesty is the best policy. Usually.”

Paperback, 464 pages

Published: January 29th 2019 by HarperCollins – AU

ISBN: 1460756177 (ISBN13: 9781460756171)

Source: HarperCollins – AU

 

“A clever, compelling debut novel with a unique premise of what happens when three best friends engage in what seems to be a harmless act, but instead results in tragedy, leading the women to confront buried resentments, shattering secrets, dark lies, and the moral consequences that could alter their lives forever.

Three friends, thirty years of shared secrets, one impulsive gesture…and a terrible accident.  

It’s New Year’s Eve, in a small town in the rich wine country outside Sydney. Thirty-something Aimee, Melinda, and Lou are best friends reveling in the end-of-year celebrations. And what better way to look ahead to the coming year than to let off Chinese lanterns filled with resolutions: for meaning, for freedom, for money? The fact that it’s illegal to use these lanterns is far in the back of their minds. After the glowing paper bags float away and are lost to sight in the night sky, there’s a bright flare in the distance. It could be a sign of luck—or the start of a complete nightmare that will upend the women’s friendships, families, and careers.

Aimee is convinced their little ceremony caused a major accident. The next day, the newspapers report a small plane crashed, and two victims—one a young boy—were pulled from the wreckage. Were they responsible? Aimee thinks they are, Melinda won’t accept it, and Lou has problems of her own. It’s a toxic recipe for guilt trips, shame, obsession, blackmail and power games.
They’re not bad people. But desperate times call for desperate measures.”

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There are three main characters in NOT BAD PEOPLE. Lou is a feisty single mum whose teenage daughter is causing almost as much trouble as she did when she was a teenager. Aimee has a seemingly perfect husband, children, winery, and life. Melinda is successful single businesswoman who has recently moved back to small-town Hensley from the big city.

The three thirty-something woman have been best friends since childhood, mostly because they are related to each other and their parents were friends with each other, just like most small town friendships are formed. Their lives begin to fall apart when an innocent incident on New Years Eve appears to cause an accident and now they are forced to deal with the consequences.

This is made far more complicated by living in small country town where no secret is ever truly safe and resentments have been left to fester for years, generations in some cases.

I really enjoyed NOT BAD PEOPLE and I felt that Brandy Scott set the scene of a small country town – quite similar to the one I grew up in –  perfectly. The characters were extremely well-developed and I found myself able to relate to all of the three main characters at different times.

I did find some of the longer chapters would have flowed better for me if they had just focused on one characters at a time rather than going back and forth between all three main characters, but that’s probably just a personal preference of mine.

NOT BAD PEOPLE is a delightful novel, perfectly encapsulating the way small towns react to drama, and hold onto their secrets and resents. I especially loved the dynamics between the three friends and the slow-burning pace of the action.

Perfect for fans of the Moriarty sisters and for relaxing with a nice glass of wine. 4 stars!

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NOT BAD PEOPLE by Brandy Scott and a lovely bottle of wine 

 

Book Review: SENSE AND SENSIBILITY by Jane Austen

I’ve been hoarding my beautiful Vintage Classic edition of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY for some time, so I was excited to make the time to revisit an old favourite during my month of selfish reading.

I was giving the gentlest of nudges to hurry up and get reading by the brilliant author of THE GIRL ON THE PAGE, John Purcell, who reminded me of the universality of Jane Austen’s novels in his bestselling debut. We have since bonded on Twitter over our mutual agreement that there is no problem in the world that can’t be made better by curling up my favourite classic author.

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SENSE AND SENSIBILITY by Jane Austen

“I do not attempt to deny,” said she, “that I think very highly of him – that I greatly esteem, that I like him.”

Paperback, 444 pages

Published: June 26th 2014 by Vintage Classics (first published October 30th 1811)

Original Title: Sense and Sensibility

ISBN: 0099589346 (ISBN13: 9780099589341)

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“Elinor is as prudent as her sister Marianne is impetuous. Each must learn from the other after they are they are forced by their father’s death to leave their home and enter into the contests of polite society. The charms of unsuitable men and the schemes of rival ladies mean that their paths to success are thwart with disappointment but together they attempt to find a way to happiness.”

 

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It’s been years since I read SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, or any of Jane Austen’s novels, and it felt just like catching up with a good friend. Austen’s debut novel tells the story of two sisters, Marianne and Elinor Dashwood, who are about as  different as two sisters can be.

Marianne is the youngest and has the very strong opinions commonly found in teenagers. She is convinced that her future husband will love all the same things as she does, will sweep her off her feet in a whirlwind romance, and that it is only possible to truly love one person.

Elinor is far more sensible and spends a great deal of her time making excuses for Marianne’s rudeness to potential beaux and well-meaning neighbours alike.

The novel begins when Mr Dashwood’s death means that the girls and their mother are forced to leave their home to allow their elder half brother and his greedy wife to move in. This reflects Austen’s own life, as she was also forced to move due to unfavourable inheritances.

Marianne finds romance with the charming Willoughby, while scorning the elder and far more steady Colonel Brandon. Elinor is left wondering if her romance with her sister in law’s brother, Edward Ferrars, was all she thought it was when she encounters a rival she never knew existed.

As always, I thoroughly enjoyed reading SENSE AND SENSIBILITY. Even though this was Austen’s very first novel, it is a delightful read. I couldn’t help but think on this reading that a lot of the problems he characters went through were very British and could have been solved with a little bit of straight talking, but their polite inability to say what they really think is one of the reasons the rest of the world loves the British so much.

5 stars!

 

HOW TO BE SECOND BEST by Jessica Dettmann. A lighthearted romantic comedy highlighting the ups and downs of modern parenthood. #BookReview

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HOW TO BE SECOND BEST by Jessica Dettmann

Goodreads Description

A hilarious and heart-warming debut that captures the dramas, delights and delirium of modern parenting. This is Marian Keyes meets Allison Pearson, with a dash of Caitlin Moran.

Going from one child to two is never all that easy for a family, but when Emma’s husband simultaneously fathers a third child three doors up the street, things get very tricky, very fast.

No longer is it enough for Emma to be the best wife and mother – now she’s trying to be the best ex-wife, and the best part-time parent to her ex’s love child, and that’s before she even thinks about adding a new bloke to the mix.

Set in an upwardly mobile, ultra-competitive suburb, this is a funny, biting, heartwarming modern comedy that looks at the roles we play, how we compete, and what happens when we dare to strive for second-best.

‘Jessica Dettmann is a fine comic writer. She has an eye for the small details, irritations and inspirations of life which coupled with a truly original turn of phrase and great way with a gag makes for sparkling and heart-warming reading.’ Ben Elton

‘Sharp and crisp and funny. I was dazzled.’ Mia Freedman

Paperback, 368 pages
Published December 17th 2018 by HarperCollins – AU
ISBN 1460755960 (ISBN13: 9781460755969

My Review

A  lighthearted romantic comedy  highlighting the ups and downs of modern parenthood.

HOW TO BE SECOND BEST by Jessica Dettmann examines what happens when  Emma decides to be second best for a change.

She has been so busy trying to be the best at everything ever since her husband left her to start a family with another woman that she hasn’t realised just how much of a pushover she has become. By taking a step back from the competitiveness of modern parenting Emma’s life begins to fall into place, including in the romance department!

HOW TO BE SECOND BEST is a great beach read. Dettmann has hilariously captured the craziness and competitiveness of modern suburban parenthood, which is often made more difficult with mixed families.  I particularly enjoyed the swimming pool scene!

The characters were incredibly well-written and I love the concept of teaching yourself how to be second best in a world where everything seems to be a competition.

5 stars!

About the Author

 

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Jessica Dettmann

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HOW TO STOP TIME by Matt Haig @matthaig1 #BookReview

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HOW TO STOP TIME by Matt Haig

Goodreads Description

“The first rule is that you don’t fall in love, ‘ he said… ‘There are other rules too, but that is the main one. No falling in love. No staying in love. No daydreaming of love. If you stick to this you will just about be okay.'” 

A love story across the ages – and for the ages – about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history–performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.

So Tom moves back to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher–the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city’s history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.

How to Stop Time is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.

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My Review 

Tom Hazard looks like a normal man in his 40’s but due to a rare and largely unknown medical condition, he is actually more than 400 years old. After surviving his early years in in medieval France and England  – where he worked for a brilliant young playwright called William Shakespeare and tragically fell in love – Tom became part of the Albatross Society.

The first condition of the secretive Albatross Society, made up of people like Tom, is that you can’t fall in love. Members are also forbidden from seeing a doctor, required to move location every eight years and must recruit new members for the Albatross Society in between each move.

After living this nomadic life for 400 or so years – which included sailing the seas with Captain Cook and encounters in jazz bars in Paris with F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald – Tom just wants to go back to his old home in London and live an ordinary life as a high school history teacher. Being back home and a forbidden romance bring up painful memories of Tom’s past and he has no choice but to decide between the restrictive, and increasingly dangerous Albatross Society or begin his life again in the present.

I loved HOW TO STOP TIME and I’m already looking forward to re-reading it soon! Matt Haig has an insightful way with words and beautifully conveyed the range of emotions that Tom experienced living for centuries. Long enough to watch everybody he loved and care for die, and then to watch humanity make the same mistakes over and over again throughout history.

I loved the way that real-life historical figures featured throughout the novel through Tom’s memories, particularly the way that Shakespeare was portrayed as an eccentric but kind hearted genius with a keen sense of observation.

5 stars!

About the Author 

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Matt Haig

 

Matt Haig is a British author for children and adults. His memoir Reasons to Stay Alive was a number one bestseller, staying in the British top ten for 46 weeks. His children’s book A Boy Called Christmas was a runaway hit and is translated in over 25 languages. It is being made into a film by Studio Canal and The Guardian called it an ‘instant classic’. His novels for adults include the award-winning The Radleys and The Humans.

He won the TV Book Club ‘book of the series’, and has been shortlisted for a Specsavers National Book Award. The Humans was chosen as a World Book Night title. His children’s novels have won the Smarties Gold Medal, the Blue Peter Book of the Year, been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and nominated for the Carnegie Medal three times

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