Guest Review: The Lucky Galah – Tracy Sorensen

The Lucky Galah

The Lucky Galah

Tracy Sorensen

Pan Macmillan AU

ISBN: 9781760552657

Description:

It’s 1969 and a remote coastal town in Western Australia is poised to play a pivotal part in the moon landing. Perched on the red dunes of its outskirts looms the great Dish: a relay for messages between Apollo 11 and Houston, Texas. Crouched around a single grainy set, radar technician Evan Johnson and his colleagues stare at the screen, transfixed, as Armstrong takes that first small step.

I was in my cage of course, unheard, underestimated, biscuit crumbs on my beak. But fate is a curious thing. For just as Evan Johnson’s story is about to end (and perhaps with a giant leap), my story prepares to take flight…

The Lucky Galah is a novel about fate. About Australia. About what it means to be human. It just happens to be narrated by a galah called Lucky.

 

Brenda’s Review:

Evan and Linda Johnson and their young daughter Jo drove from Melbourne to the small town of Port Badminton in Western Australia for Evan to take up the position of radar technician, communicating between Apollo 11 and Houston, Texas. It was the 1960s and the Moon landing was imminent – the installation of the gigantic Dish caused great discussion among the residents…

The Johnson’s moved into a home two down from the Kelly family. The children would become great friends – Marjorie and Linda became unlikely friends. Enter “Cocky” when Kevin Kelly acquired the galah as a pet for his children. Caged and untended, Lucky began her narration of the life and perks of her humans and own flock high above. And Lucky discovered her communication with the Dish – something all galahs were able to do apparently.

As life moved inexorably toward events already written, Lucky continued to keep the readers up to date with the sometime hilarious, always insightful comments whilst drinking tea and eating biscuits with Lizzie 😊

What a quirky, original and fascinating novel by debut writer Tracy Sorensen! The Lucky Galah captivated me from the start to the finish with its complete difference. I loved Lucky as we discovered her (yes she’s a female!) life story from tiny chick to how she became part of Lizzie’s life. Highly recommended – 4 stars.

With thanks to Pan Macmillan AU for my ARC to read and review.

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Guest Review: Call to Arms – Rachel Amphlett

Call to Arms

Call to Arms

Rachel Amphlett

Saxon Publishing

ISBN: 9780648235521

Description:

Loyalty has a price.

Kay Hunter has survived a vicious attack at the hands of one of the country’s most evil serial killers.

Returning to work after an enforced absence to recover, she discovers she wasn’t the only victim of that investigation.

DI Devon Sharp remains suspended from duties, and the team is in turmoil.

Determined to prove herself once more and clear his name, Kay undertakes to solve a cold case that links Sharp to his accuser.

But, as she gets closer to the truth, she realises her enquiries could do more harm than good.

Torn between protecting her mentor and finding out the truth, the consequences of Kay’s enquiries will reach far beyond her new role…

 

Brenda’s Review:

Detective Kay Hunter was going mad with the enforced recuperation time after the attack which had almost killed her and when she finally convinced the powers that be that she was fine to return to work – a month earlier than recommended – Kay then had to sit at a desk with paperwork as her companion. More boredom. But her Detective Inspector, Devon Sharp had been suspended from duties and was being investigated. Kay was determined to clear her boss’ name and get him back to the job he did best, and it was a ten-year-old cold case which had connections to both Sharp and the accuser which she tackled.

With Kay’s small team by her side, they re-interviewed old witnesses, found new evidence and gradually moved closer to secrets which had been buried for many years. Secrets which could hurt many. But Kay was driven in her desire to clear Sharp and find the answers; to find justice for the man who’d died all those years before…

What would be the outcome for Kay and her team in this case? Would they find the answers needed? Was Kay’s new position in jeopardy already?

Call to Arms by Aussie author Rachel Amphlett is the 5th in the Detective Kay Hunter series, and another riveting tale. I loved how Kay worked without having to answer to a boss; how her stubbornness and authority came through, but when she arrived home to Adam, another side of her emerged. Kay Hunter is a well-crafted, extremely likeable character, and her cases are electric! Set in country England – Maidstone in Kent – the author has given us a small connection to Australia as well. I thoroughly enjoy this series and can’t wait for the next! Highly recommended 5 star read.

With thanks to the author for my digital ARC to read and review.

Guest Review: Coming Home to Island House – Erica James

Coming Home to Island House

 

Coming Home to Island House

Erica James

Orion

ISBN: 9781409159605

Description:

The captivating new novel from Sunday Times bestselling author Erica James.

It’s the summer of 1939, and after touring an unsettled Europe to promote her latest book, Romily Temple returns home to Island House and the love of her life, the charismatic Jack Devereux.

But when Jack falls ill, his estranged family are called home and given seven days to find a way to bury their resentments and come together.

With war now declared, each member of the family is reluctantly forced to accept their new stepmother and confront their own shortcomings. But can the habits of a lifetime be changed in one week? And can Romily, a woman who thrives on adventure, cope with the life that has been so unexpectedly thrust upon her?

 

Brenda’s Review:

Romily Temple returned home to Island House after her tour of Europe, where she was promoting her latest crime novel, to discover her new husband and greatest love, Jack Devereux, gravely ill. Jack’s best friend, lawyer Roddy Fitzwilliam was tasked with sending messages to Jack’s estranged family, calling them home, where Jack hoped to make amends for his mistakes of the past.

The necessity was that siblings Hope, Kit and Arthur, plus their cousin Allegra, were to spend a week together at Island House, getting to know one another once again, and to forgive the issues that had driven them all apart those many years ago. Could they do it? There would be a lot of adjusting to be done, and with war imminent, change was happening…

Romily was an adventurous spirit; probably one of the reasons Jack had fallen in love with her – but was she up to the sudden change in her life?

Beautifully written historical drama, Coming Home to Island House is my first by author Erica James, and won’t be my last! Set between August 1939 and December 1940, WWII impacted heavily on the characters, as well as past grievances, forgiveness and love. I was completely enthralled by this novel, which was both heartbreaking and heartwarming and I have no hesitation in recommending this 5 star read highly. I’d like to thank Maggie for the recommendation as well 🙂

With thanks to Hachette AU for my ARC to read and review.

Guest Review: Fool’s Gold – Fleur McDonald

Fools Gold

Fool’s Gold

Fleur McDonald

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760293963

Description:

‘To Dave, the posting to Barrabine was exactly what he’d wanted – it was a town on the edge, the wild west. There would be excitement, mystery and intrigue here. Everything a detective looked for.’

Detective Dave Burrows’ first posting to the far West goldfields town of Barrabine holds everything he’s looking for but Melinda, his wife of two weeks, is devastated at leaving behind her family, friends and career. More comfortable in heels than RM Williams, Melinda walked away from her much-loved job in the city as a paediatric nurse to follow Dave into the bush.

Dave settles in easily to the plain-speaking toughness of his new town, determined to do well, knowing that Barrabine could be his stepping stone into the elite Stock Squad. But will his marriage last the distance?

As Dave investigates reports of mysterious late-night trespassing, a missing person, and guns being drawn on strangers, a local prospector phones in with horrific news that could hold the key to everything…

Fleur McDonald’s bestselling rural storytelling makes Fool’s Gold, the first book in the Detective Dave Burrows series, a compelling and exciting beginning.

 

Brenda’s Review:

Only two weeks since their wedding and Detective Dave Burrows arrived with his wife Melinda in the small outback goldfields town of Barrabine in Western Australia. The dust and sparse landscape looked inviting to him, but Melinda was a city girl. She’d resigned her position as a paediatric nurse at a Perth hospital and Dave hoped she could get another at the local hospital. He hoped she would settle in and make friends before too long.

Dave enjoyed the camaraderie with his partner, Spencer and the other members of the force at the small station – he was to find the friendliness of the locals was normal; apart from those who wanted to avoid the cops. But the local prospectors were a crusty lot, and gradually Dave met them all. It was the day one of those miners called the station to report something suspicious that found Dave investigating a far more sinister occurrence than the normal small crimes of Barrabine.

Would Dave discover the answers to the strange events happening in the area? There were secrets, he knew that, but uncovering them might be more difficult than he realised.

Fool’s Gold by Aussie author Fleur McDonald is another excellent romantic suspense novel which I loved. And with this being the 1st in the Detective Dave Burrows series, it is set in 1997 as it tells his story, taking the popular detective back to his beginnings. I first met him in Sapphire Falls and then again in Suddenly One Summer. I’m loving going back to when he started in the force as he gets involved in the intense and gritty crimes of a small community, and very much looking forward to the second in the series. Highly recommended.

A 5 star recommendation.

With thanks to Allen & Unwin AU for my ARC to read and review.

Guest Review – Wolfsangel – Liza Perrat

 

Wolfsangel

Wolfsangel

Liza Perrat

Perrat Publishing

ISBN: 9782954168128

Description:

Seven decades after German troops march into her village, Céleste Roussel is still unable to assuage her guilt.

  1. German soldiers occupy provincial Lucie-sur-Vionne, and as the villagers pursue treacherous schemes to deceive and swindle the enemy, Céleste embarks on her own perilous mission as her passion for a Reich officer flourishes.

When her loved ones are deported to concentration camps, Céleste is drawn into the vortex of this monumental conflict, and the adventure and danger of French Resistance collaboration.

As she confronts the harrowing truths of the Second World War’s darkest years, Céleste is forced to choose: pursue her love for the German officer, or answer General de Gaulle’s call to fight for France.

Her fate suspended on the fraying thread of her will, Celeste gains strength from the angel talisman bequeathed to her through her lineage of healer kinswomen. But the decision she makes will shadow the remainder of her days.

A woman’s unforgettable journey to help liberate Occupied France, Wolfsangel is a stirring portrayal of the courage and resilience of the human mind, body and spirit.

 

Brenda’s Review:

The happiness that Céleste Roussel had taken for granted with her family on their farm had disappeared with the occupation of their small village of Lucie-sur-Vionne by German soldiers. Her father had been taken to a labour camp early in the occupation, so running the farm was left to Céleste, her mother and brother Patrick. He and his best friend Olivier quickly became part of the French Resistance, doing all they could to drive the Boche from their lives.

Céleste soon took the eye of a certain German officer, and found her feelings reciprocated. She knew it was wrong – the hatred felt toward the Boche was in them all. Her determination to assist the Resistance saw her embark on dangerous missions; all the while keeping her secret life hidden from all but a few. But the arrest and deportation of family members was the beginning of the end. Would the angel talisman which had been with generations of her family’s women, and now belonged to Céleste keep her safe? Would she ever see her family again?

Wolfsangel by Aussie author Liza Perrat is absolutely outstanding! The second in the Bone Angel series, nevertheless it can be read as a standalone. The Author’s Note at the end of the book was extremely interesting and shows, though it is complete fiction, Wolfsangel is based on a factual event which occurred on 10th June 1944. I didn’t think I could hear of more shocking atrocities committed by the Germans in WWII, but it seems I now have! Brilliantly written, and highly recommended. A 5 star read which will be in my top reads for 2018.

Guest Review: The Last Train – Sue Lawrence

The Last Train

The Last Train

Sue Lawrence

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760630867

 

Description:

At 7 p.m. on 28 December 1879, a violent storm batters the newly built iron rail bridge across the River Tay, close to the city of Dundee. Ann Craig is waiting for her husband, the owner of the largest local mill, to return home. From her window Ann sees a strange and terrible sight as the bridge collapses, and the lights of the train in which he is travelling plough down into the freezing river waters.

As Ann manages the grief and expectations of family and friends, amid a town mourning its loved ones, doubt is cast on whether Robert was on the train, after all. If not, where is he, and who is the mysterious woman who is first to be washed ashore?

In 2015, Fiona Craig wakes to find that her partner Pete, an Australian restaurateur, has cleared the couple’s bank account before abandoning his car at the local airport and disappearing. When the police discover his car is stolen, Fiona conducts her own investigation into Pete’s background, slowly uncovering dark secrets and strange parallels with the events of 1879.

 

Brenda’s Review:

What an outstanding opening! Ann Craig and her two children, Lizzie and James, were watching the storm through the window of their home in Dundee. They were also watching for husband and father, Robert Craig’s train to arrive – due at 7pm it would travel over the River Tay on the newly built rail bridge. The storm was a vicious, violent one – the lights of the train showed its imminent arrival, when suddenly those lights dipped and vanished as the bridge collapsed…

28th December 1879 was the night of the disaster on the River Tay, when many lives were lost. Ann and her children were steeped in grief, along with the whole town – trying to come to terms with the enormity of the catastrophe encompassed them all.

2015 and Fiona Craig was shocked to discover her partner of three years had disappeared; clearing out her savings account and abandoning his car at the airport. Pete was an Australian restaurateur and it seemed the upcoming review of his restaurant had spooked him. But why? Fiona had no idea – and her son Jamie was devastated by Pete’s disappearance.

As Fiona searched for answers about Pete, she also began an investigation into the accident over the River Tay all those years before. Her interest was initially for her job but gradually she was immersed in the past. What was the connection to her family? It seemed there were secrets everywhere…

The Last Train by Sue Lawrence is an excellent read! I thoroughly enjoyed it – set in two-time frames and told by Ann in 1879 and Fiona in 2015, I was totally engrossed. Subterfuge, intrigue, mystery and deceit – all rippled through The Last Train. Ann wasn’t a nice person! But she loved her children 😊 Highly recommended – a 5 star read.

With thanks to Allen & Unwin for my hardcopy to read and review.

Guest Review: One More Song – Nicki Edwards

One More Song

One More Song

Nicki Edwards

Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 9781760551407

 

Description:

Harrison Baxter and Edwina Campbell lead completely different lives.

Much has changed for Harry since he escaped his home town of Yallambah ten years ago, headed for the bright lights of the big city. Now he’s the star of Melbourne’s hottest musical, chasing only the next standing ovation. Why bother going back to Yallambah to visit his parents when his father couldn’t care less about his success?

Meanwhile, nothing much has changed for Edwina in the last decade, which is exactly how she likes it. Eddie adores her career as a nurse and loves the Yallambah community – she can’t imagine living anywhere else. And even if she wanted to, she could never leave her beloved grandparents, who raised her and love her like their own daughter. She’s not going to abandon them in their old age. Not for anything.

So when Harry and Eddie bump into each other on one of Harry’s flying visits home, their instant mutual attraction seems as pointless as it is intense. There’s no way they could ever make it work.

Or is there?

 

Brenda’s Review:

Harrison Baxter revelled in his life – musical theatre meant everything to him and his lead role in Les Mis was a dream come true. The Sydney season was coming to an end and he and the crew would begin in Melbourne in the New Year. In the meantime, Harry was heading home to Yallamba for Christmas. His mother, father, sister Claire and husband Simon, plus their two children had always lived in his old home town, but the bitterness between Harry and his dad was what had kept him away for so long. He wasn’t looking forward to the week-long stay…

Edwina Campbell – nurse; volunteer with the SES – had offered to take over the organising of the children’s Christmas party which her Nan had always done, as she was in hospital following a hip replacement. Her grandad was with her Nan, so Eddie was alone at the farm. As things started to go wrong – one after another – Eddie didn’t know how she would manage. But the arrival on the scene of Harry, with his offer of help, was a lifesaver for Eddie. Maybe their Christmas party would be a success after all?

But would the flush of attraction between Eddie and Harry ever come to anything? When tragedy and heartache loomed, it seemed to be over before it began. As the town of Yallamba rallied, uncertainty was high. What would be the future for these caring, special people in the small town of Yallamba?

One More Song by Aussie author Nicki Edwards was absolutely superb! Filled with heartache, hope, happiness and sadness; of loss, the loyalty of family and most of all, of life, One More Song ticks all the boxes. Wonderfully rounded characters, I especially enjoyed Eddie – written with compassion, caring and sensitivity, the author has written her best yet in my opinion. A highly recommended 5 stars.

With thanks to Pan Macmillan for my uncorrected proof to read and review.