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While You Were Reading by Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus

July 1, 2019

While You Were Reading is a quirky, lighthearted novel just perfect for a weekend read. A delightful contemporary romance about finding your true self, and real friends that warmed my heart, and had me staying up late till the last page.

Full of bookish references, and plenty of Melbourne haunts, there’s lots to love including very relatable bookworm Bea, who is trying to rebuild her life after moving to Melbourne for a fresh start. Picking up a second hand book at a local bookstore, she falls in love with the handwritten annotations in the margins, and begins a quest to hunt down the author. Finding herself in a job she hates, lacking in friends, she turns to the local Barista Dino for motivation and moral support, who supplies her apt handwritten bookish quotes on her daily coffee cups.

I absolutely enjoyed The Book Ninja, and I wasn’t sure that While You Were Reading would be able to live up to the first book by Ali Berg and Michelle Baus, but I’m very pleased to be wrong. I’ve added them both to my must-read author list, and will be keeping a keen eye out for their next novel.

* This eBook ARC was provided by Simon & Schuster (Australia) through NetGalley for an honest review.


To Be Perfectly Honest by Jess Vallance

June 26, 2019

After uncovering a family secret, Grace Dart has had enough with lying and has dedicated the next fifty days of her college life to telling nothing but the truth, no matter how hard, or insulting, or at times, hilarious it might be.

I hadn’t read the first in the series, but I didn’t actually feel it impacted negatively on my reading experience, I didn’t feel like I’d missed out on anything by not having done so. I did find it hard to like Grace at first, she was selfish, rude, self absorbed, and at times the things she said to people could have caused a lot of harm, and she seemed almost entirely oblivious to it for the first half of the book.

But as the story was told, we start to see Grace realising, if a little belatedly, the impact her ‘truths’ were having on the people around her, and seeing her trying to fix and make things right with the people she’s hurt along the way was heart warming.

All and all, a fun and delightful read.


The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen

June 14, 2019

The Other Half of Augusta Hope is written about two twins, Julia and Augusta, who couldn’t be any more different. While Julia is pretty, calm and happy with her life, while Augusta is strange, inquisitive and eager to escape their world. Augusta feels at odds with her family, and struggles with acceptance, all the while forming a close bond with Burundi. Despite their differences, the bond forged between them is strong, they do everything together and share everything. That is, until a family holiday in Spain, where a mysterious event sees Julia becoming withdrawn, and leaving Augusta guessing about what unfolded that day on the beach.

The story is told from two narratives, Augusta, and Parfait who is trying to escape the violence and blood shed in Burundi with his family, each chapter bringing the pair closer together, till their paths cross. Briefly at first, but when they do finally collide, and Augusta finally learns the consequences of that fated day in Spain.

I really enjoyed The Other Half of Augusta Hope, it had me in tears, and took me on an emotional roller coaster that I was all too happy to go on. I found myself relating all too well with Augusta and her nomadic quirks, and the story wrapped up beautifully in the end.

* This eBook ARC was provided by HarperCollins Publishers Australia through NetGalley for an honest review.


The Bakery at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke

June 30, 2018

This heart warming story tells the tale of bride-to-be Meg Larson who is starting to have doubts about her upcoming marriage to Sam, who seems more interested in cycling and one of the women on his tour than Meg herself. Add to that, a less than welcoming group of potential in-laws and it is not surprising that Meg is starting to get cold feet.

But things are starting to turn around for her: a potential buyer has come forward for the Bakery she wishes to run, and her dream job is now fully in her sights, along with Nathan, her estate agent, who she just can’t stop thinking about.

When I picked up this book, I had no idea it was the second in a series, but to be honest, it did not matter, and worked well as a standalone. The story had me giggling right from the first page, and pulled me in with it’s relatable characters that left me craving cake and other baked goods the whole way through! It was a light and easy read, with a romance that left me rooting for both Meg and Nathan right to the last page.

4 out of 5 stars.

* This eBook ARC was provided by Bookouture through NetGalley for an honest review.


The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

May 14, 2018

The Perfect Mother is a page-turning psychological thriller about a mothers group called the May Mothers that get together regularly to talk about their experiences raising a newborn baby. But when one of their own has her young baby kidnapped while the group is having a rare night out together, they are quick to rally around her and try do everything they can to help Winnie get her baby Midas back.

This book was well-paced and difficult to put down, and while with most of this genre I usually guess exactly what is what, with the Perfect Mother Molloy had more than a few surprises in store for me as I read. I found the characters engaging, flawed and very relatable as a young mother myself, I could see little bits of myself in all of them. I found the reflection on the pressures society places on mothers to be perfect, and do everything ‘just so’ particularly relevant. And how often mothers feel the need to present ourselves with this perfect image even to other mothers, who are likely struggling just as much as we are.

And through it all, that bond of friendship that has been created in that May Mothers group shines as they learn more about each others darkest secrets, and work together to solve this mystery.

4 out of 5 stars.

* This eBook ARC was provided by Hachette Australia through NetGalley for an honest review.


Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

May 6, 2018

Estranged best friends, Zorie and Lennon, fell out a year ago after she was stood up by him at the homecoming dance and Zorie’s father is only too happy that the pair are now best enemies instead. Struggling socially, reluctant Zorie (who had a perfect plan for summer) is given a bit of a nudge by her step mother to step outside of her comfort zone and attend a glamping trip away with the popular kids. Little does Zorie know, but Lennon too will be there. And after said kids desert them in the middle of the national park, leaving her alone with Lennon, she finally learns the truth about why Lennon stood her up all those months ago and they both starts to gradually heal old wounds.

I picked up Starry Eyes because I desperately needed a light and fun read, and a break from the heavier books I have been reading lately, and it delivered this in spades. A few pages in, and I was delighted to read, “Astronomy is my holy grail. Stars, planets, moons, and all things space. Future NASA astrophysicist, right here.” I’m something of a science geek myself, and loved to not only feel a kindred kind of connection with Zorie, but just simply seeing the field represented in print meant everything.

So many science fields are male dominated and it’s so important that movies, novels, comics, media, represents and reflects girls in these roles, so that we get more young women dreaming and believing that they too can build a career in science.

But even once we step past my initial appreciation of Zorie’s astrophysics interests, I found the story a delightful and heart warming read. I found myself easily connecting with her, and having spent a few weeks out camping myself, enjoyed that aspect of the novel too. The growing reconciliation between Zorie and Lennon was sweet, and had me hooked and I appreciated the nod to safe sex practices tucked in there too.

And if that wasn’t enough, we also had the loving relationship between Zorie and her step-mom showing that love extends far beyond genes and biological ties. And throughout it all, Zorie learns some important lessons about how planning can’t save you from everything. That change is inevitable and uncertainty is a given.

* This eBook ARC was provided by Simon & Schuster (Australia) through NetGalley for an honest review.


The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland

May 4, 2018

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is a delightful tale that follows the aftermath of the tragic deaths of Alice’s parents in a horrifying fire that consumed their seaside home. Alice is taken in by her estranged grandmother, June, and it is under her care, and the care of the other Flowers that work for her that Alice gradually starts to find her voice and slowly starts on the path to heal. All the while learning about her family heritage and the language of flowers. The journey takes a sharp turn, however, when Alice comes face to face with a betrayal that leaves her reeling, and fleeing for the desert.

A beautiful and heart wrenching debut from Holly Ringland, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart had me hooked from the attention grabbing first line: “In the weatherboard house at the end of the lane, nine-year-old Alice Hart sat at her desk by the window and dreamed of ways to set her father on fire.” Captivating and enchanting, this is a tale of redemption, healing, and unraveling the stories of the past, while carving out a future for yourself.

The story told predominantly in Alice’s voice, starting as her nine year old self, and following her as she grows up into a young woman in her late twenties. Other minor characters also occasionally lend their thoughts too, but it is usually brief and it is never long before we’re once more in Alice’s shoes. And although I often find multiple points of view jarring, Holly Ringland skillfully weaved them together, and I appreciated the insights the eclectic mix of minor characters throughout offered.

I found the novel so well written, that it is difficult to believe that this is Ringland’s debut, and I can’t wait to read more of her works.

* This ebook ARC was provided by HarperCollins Publishers Australia through NetGalley for an honest review.


Our House by Louise Candlish

April 9, 2018

Her short break away with her new boyfriend ends with something Fiona Lawson was never prepared for, returning to Trinity Avenue to find someone else moving into her beloved house that she shared with her separated partner, and two boys. Her estranged husband, Bram, has conveniently disappeared, and it’s left to Fiona to unravel just what happened and to try pull her life together from the pieces he left.

Fi retells her part of the story through a popular victim podcast, while we hear from Bram’s side in a tell-all word document.  Small snippets of present day goings on with the strangers that have moved into Fiona’s home are gradually built upon between the twists and turns that Louise Candlish weaves.

Unfortunately for me, I found the pacing in the middle two thirds of the book slow and difficult to get through and it was a bit of a struggle to keep reading. Ultimately I’m glad I did though, because I did enjoy the detailed plot and how it all unfolded in the last few chapters. Still, there is still much to love about this story: the premise of the book is different from anything else I have read and I enjoyed trying to guess where things were going, and was pleased that while I was right on quite a few of the twists, there were still a couple that I didn’t guess!

Overall this would be 3 out of 5 star read for me.

* This ebook ARC was provided by Simon & Schuster (Australia) through NetGalley for an honest review.




Three Gold Coins by Josephine Moon

April 4, 2018

This is the second book of Josephine that I have read, and I adored it even more than The Beekeeper’s Secret. It was a touching tale following Lara, an Australian girl, who has escaped to Rome, eager to distance herself from her past. In Rome, she soon finds Samuel, an elderly and somewhat cranky man in distress and she’s just what he needs, even if he doesn’t yet realise it. It is not long before she unravels Samuel’s own tragedy, and they both work towards overcoming and healing.

There is heartache, and romance, and plenty of foodie goodness. It was hard not to salivate on reading all the delicious Italian food that Lara was preparing and eating. The only thing that would make this book better, would be the inclusion of a few of the recipes in the back so we can try them out.

The Three Gold Coins touches on heavier topics too, among them domestic violence, stalking, and suicide, and handles them delicately and with respect. Yet, Josephine Moon still doesn’t gloss over the sometimes harsh consequences of our failed systems, and that’s reflected with how the story unfolds. Having had my own personal experience with a ‘Dave’, it was somewhat cathartic read that had me shedding a few tears towards the last couple of chapters.

Thank you Allen and Unwin for giving me the opportunity to read Three Gold Coins, it was a perfect read that I devoured in just a couple of days.

*Three Gold Coins was won in a give-away ran by Allen and Unwin.


Hannah Green and Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence by Michael Marshall Smith

April 1, 2018

Inspired by Hannah Green and Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence, here are my selection of the stories I’ve starred in my younger years: The Tale of a Ten-Year-Old Witch, The Story of Having Untameable,  Frizzy White Hair, The Weirdo Chronicles of an Avid Reader, and The Saga of Eleven Schools in Thirteen Years.


This coming of age story stars an eleven year old girl, Hannah Green, and begins just as her family is starting to fall apart. With her mother having run away to London, and her father left struggling to cope, Hannah is sent off to live with her grandfather. And there, she meets her father’s employer, the Devil himself, and suddenly her mundane and routine existence starts to change, and she’s taken on a journey with them to attempt to fix the machine her Grandfather, the Engineer, built some several centuries earlier.

I am not entirely sure what I was expecting with Hannah Green and Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence; the blurb about it on Goodreads was brief. But sometimes, the best sort of books start out that way, with no idea as to the direction the story will take, and this was very much the case with this story. I found it to be incredibly well written, and I particularly enjoyed the Devil’s dialogue. The plot was relatively fast paced for most of the story, though I did find it slowed down towards the final quarter of the book. It was often amusing, and dabbled in themes of good and evil, balance, family, morality, and fate.

* This ebook ARC was provided by HarperVoyager through Edelweiss+ for an honest review.