Guest Review – Her Mother’s Secret – Natasha Lester

Her Mother’s Secret

Natasha Lester

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733634659

 

Description:

1918, England. Armistice Day should bring peace into Leonora’s life. Rather than secretly making cosmetics in her father’s chemist shop to sell to army nurses such as Joan, her adventurous Australian friend, Leo hopes to now display her wares openly. Instead, Spanish flu arrives in the village, claiming her father’s life. Determined to start over, she boards a ship to New York City. On the way she meets debonair department store heir Everett Forsyth . . . In Manhattan, Leo works hard to make her cosmetics dream come true, but she’s a woman alone with a small salary and a society that deems make-up scandalous.

1939, New York City. Everett’s daughter, Alice, a promising ballerina, receives a mysterious letter inviting her to star in a series of advertisements for a cosmetics line. If she accepts she will be immortalized like dancers such as Zelda Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker and Ginger Rogers. Why, then, are her parents so quick to forbid it?

HER MOTHER’S SECRET is the story of a brave young woman chasing a dream in the face of society’s disapproval.

 

Brenda’s Review:

The elation of everyone around in Leonora East’s small village of Sutton Veny was high – the war was over; it was Armistice Day 1918 in England and the celebrations continued long into the afternoon. But joy soon turned to despair as Spanish Flu struck viciously – Leo spent her time dispensing medicine from her father’s chemist shop, praying that it would help. Late in the night, as she wearily entered the home where her father was waiting, she was devastated to find him struggling to breathe.

After his death, a grieving Leo decided she could no longer remain in the country. Her desire to create cosmetics that women the world over would want to wear had her sailing to New York City with her best friend Joan. Leo had made herself a deep rich red lipstick in her father’s chemist shop – but the shock from the self-righteous at the scandal she was causing by wearing it only caused Leo’s determination to strengthen. Meeting up with Everett Forsyth on the journey was fortuitous; he was one of the department store Forsyths from London and he was going to build another in Manhattan. His interest in Leo’s cosmetics gave her some confidence…

1939, twenty years later, Leo had been through much – a widow and continuing to work hard, she always looked to the future. Meantime, Everett’s nineteen year old daughter Alice was a devoted and extremely promising ballerina. But the letter Alice received one day at the dance studio was to change her life in a most unexpected way. Why though were her parents so angry? Confusion filled her mind – what could she do?

Her Mother’s Secret by Aussie author Natasha Lester is brilliant! The strength of character of Leo is phenomenal – the way women were treated in the early part of the century; the heartache and loneliness as she was ostracised by the elite of society – and she still held her head high! The author has historical fiction down to a fine art; her meticulous research is obvious. I thoroughly enjoyed Her Mother’s Secret, reading it in a matter of hours. A highly recommended 5 star read.

 

Post Script: Agatha and the Dark – Anna Pignataro

Agatha and the Dark

Agatha and the Dark

Anna Pignataro

The Five Mile Press

ISBN: 9781760402075

 

Description:

Agatha is scared of the dark, and George is just making things worse.

When Agatha is accidently locked in a dark room at kindergarten, her body trembles like jelly.

How will she ever sleep in her own bed tonight?

A story about learning to face your fears.

 

My View:

This is an adorable book, beautifully illustrated with a message/lesson for all written between the covers.

Fear- of the dark – seems to be a universal challenge that most young children face at some point in their lives, in this narrative Agatha learns to face her fears by turning her fearful thoughts into a positive experience – Agatha is encouraged to draw something from her imagination… (No spoilers here) J  This is a very creative and positive way to tackle young children’s fears, a great example for parents and caregivers to have in their toolbox of parenting tricks.  And the illustrations are gorgeous!

Add this book to your birthday treat buying list.

The Queen of Quirky is Back! Crimson Lake – Candice Fox

Crimson Lake

Candice Fox

Penguin Books Australia

Bantam

ISBN: 9780143781905

 

Description:

From the award-winning author of Hades and Eden comes an ingenious and edgy suspense novel that will keep you guessing to the very last page . . .

 

12.46: Thirteen-year-old Claire Bingley stands alone at a bus stop

12.47: Ted Conkaffey parks his car beside her

12.52: The girl is missing . . .

 

Six minutes – that’s all it took to ruin Detective Ted Conkaffey’s life. Accused but not convicted of Claire’s abduction, he escapes north, to the steamy, croc-infested wetlands of Crimson Lake.

 

Amanda Pharrell knows what it’s like to be public enemy number one. Maybe it’s her murderous past that makes her so good as a private investigator, tracking lost souls in the wilderness. Her latest target, missing author Jake Scully, has a life more shrouded in secrets than her own – so she enlists help from the one person in town more hated than she is: Ted.

 

But the residents of Crimson Lake are watching the pair’s every move. And for Ted, a man already at breaking point, this town is offering no place to hide . . .

 

 

My View:

The queen of quirky is back!

Candice Fox Margaret River Event 2017

Candice Fox – Margaret River Meet the Author event 2017

Last week I had the privilege of meeting Candice Fox as part of her extended Western Australian book tour. What a great night it was – Candice was open, honest and often hilarious, talking about everything that mattered to her – her childhood, family, marriage, divorce, second marriage, her childhood ambition to become a writer, her writing inspirations, the inspiration she draws from reading true crime novels (which was very evident to me as I read Crimson Lake) and her very successful writing collaboration with James Patterson.  What a night! What a life!

 

If you ever have an opportunity to meet an author/hear them speak about their work, take advantage of the opportunity – as a reader you learn so much more about the characters and how they came to life on the page, how they formed in the mind of the author. At the time I attend this event I was about 75% into Candice’s latest book Crimson Lake, and I noticed so many references that reflected places or people Candice had known, events in her life etc. and I discovered this Crimson Lake has been optioned for Television and there will be a second book in this new series. The TV option did not really surprise me – just the speed in which it occurred (as I was reading the first thing I thought was – this would make a great movie.)

 

This would make a great movie, why? Quirky, colourful, empathetic characters to start. Small town, semi-rural Queensland locations – with small town minds, dramas and… crocodiles – always good elements to ratchet up the creepiness and fear levels.  And themes – child abuse, missing persons, and famous authors, the questionable good cop or bad cop, did he do it? Did she do it? And the big question, why? The list goes on.

 

This book has a lot to offer (though I did think the start was just a little slow for my taste) but persevere and you will find an amazing read. Read it now before you see the film.

 

 

Guest Review – Silkworm Secrets: Lea Davey

silkworm-secrets

Silkworm Secrets

Lea Davey

Valeena Press

ISBN: 9780994535627

 

Description:

A treehouse perched high in a giant mulberry tree provides a safe place for Bobby, and gives him solace from a disintegrating home life. His best friend Ruby considers it only as a place to play, to raise silkworms and to innocently view the events that take place in the yards nearby.

Ruby’s simple, family life however, is a far cry from what Bobby endures in the house next door and the secrets they share and events that they witness will not only impact their lives as children but also re-connect them as adults.

Silkworm Secrets exposes the secrets that children keep, the consequences of a troubled family life, but more importantly the endurance of beautiful family relationships and the power of friendship and love to overcome the past.

 

Brenda’s Review:

Ruby Rose had a wonderful childhood – she loved her Mum and Dad dearly and they loved her. They were a poor but happy little family. Ruby’s best friend was Bobby who lived next door to her. They would spend their time up in the treehouse at the back of Ruby’s yard which was housed in a gigantic mulberry tree. The silkworms they raised were a source of pleasure and fascination every season. Ruby was nine; Bobby was twelve – she couldn’t imagine ever not being friends with Bobby.

It was fun to watch the yards of the houses around them from the treehouse – Bobby would often catch sight of what was happening in his yard and hurry home to care for his little sister Sally. He shared her care with his big sister Theresa. On those occasions Bobby would grow quiet and Ruby didn’t know why…

Gradually the torment that was Bobby’s life in the house next door came to light – only to Ruby though. Bobby swore her to secrecy; their little club had silkworm secrets which no one must know. The day that Ruby arrived home to discover Bobby had disappeared shattered her young life. She had no idea why he’d left; why he hadn’t even said goodbye.

Would Ruby Rose ever see Bobby again? She missed her best friend – but life moved forward as it invariably does – until the day Ruby was contacted about the long ago past…

Silkworm Secrets by Aussie author Lea Davey absolutely blew me away! It was beautifully written – filled with deep emotion and heartache, love and an abiding friendship, it also covered a range of sensitive topics, from child abuse, mental health and domestic violence. The author had me in tears on a number of occasions. I thoroughly enjoyed her debut, The Shack by the Bay and Silkworm Secrets definitely didn’t disappoint. A well-deserved 5 stars! Highly recommended.

Post Script: Combatting Fear – Sandy Vaile

combatting fear cover

Combatting Fear

Sandy Vaile

Crimson Romance

ISBN: 9781507203453

 

Description:

How far would you go to save a child that wasn’t yours?

 

Mild-mannered kindergarten teacher Neve Botticelli leads a double life. Thanks to a childhood tragedy and her paranoid father, she’s a trained warrior with extreme survival skills who lives off the grid.

 

When self-made billionaire Micah Kincaid storms into town in search of his son, Rowan, he’s pushy, entitled, and stands for everything she despises. Micah can’t believe a kindergarten teacher is barring the way to him getting crucial information or even just a glimpse of the boy his cheating ex kidnapped. They share only one thing in common: either will do anything to protect the four-year-old, who they soon discover is being held for ransom by an outlaw motorcycle gang.

 

But as they work together to get Rowan back, they start to see beyond each other’s masks. Could falling in love be even more dangerous than hunting down deadly criminals?
My View:

An action packed read – experience the rush!

 

Author Sandy Vaile has created a pulse raising, action packed romantic suspense narrative that surprised me with its intensity, mystery and physical action, this was not what I was expecting from this genre.

 

Bold and fearless main characters that are larger than life, filled to the brim with qualities that we all admire; compassion, integrity, selflessness, courage, bravery, determination, reliability and confidence with a side serve of eccentricity and vulnerability that are endearing and engaging and you have the recipe for successfully creating characters the reader cares about.  And care we do!  As the action ricochets off the pages we are consumed by worry and fear.

 

Outlaw motorcycle gangs make the perfect antiheroes – there is so much material to work with here, to install fear into the bravest heart and Sandy Vaile incorporates our worst fears into this read with authority and emotional impact.

 

The authors love for speed, thrills and adventure is obvious in this narrative as is her passion for South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, with its scenic vineyards, rolling hills and rugged bush terrain all showcased at its alluring best.

 

What’s not to love about this read?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let Me Introduce Author Sandy Vaile To You

Welcome  to my blog Sandy Vaile.

Sandy Vaile, author of romantic suspense, is here to chat about her new book, “Combatting Fear”, and what drives her.

sandy vaile

Sandy Vaile is a motorbike-riding daredevil who isn’t content with a story unless there’s a courageous heroine and a dead body. When she’s not devising horrible things to do to fictional characters, she writes procedures for high-risk industrial activities, mentors new writers through the Novelist’s Circle critiquing group, judges romance writing competitions, presents literary craft workshops, and writes the odd article and blog.

Combatting Fear is Sandy’s new book.

combatting fear cover

How far would you go to save a child that wasn’t yours?

Mild-mannered kindergarten teacher, Neve Botticelli, leads a double life. At home with her paranoid father, she is a combat trained survivalist who lives off-the-grid.

When self-made billionaire, Micah Kincaid, storms into town in search of his four-year-old son, Rowan, he’s pushy, entitled, and stands for everything Neve despises.

But something far more sinister than a cheating estranged wife, is lurking in rural Turners Gully, and it has its sights set on little Rowan’s inheritance. It turns out there is one thing Micah and Neve can agree on, and that’s keeping Rowan safe.

As they work together to free Rowan, they glimpse beneath one another’s guises, and realise that falling in love could be even more dangerous than hunting deadly criminals.

Buy “Combatting Fear” here…

Buy “Inheriting Fear” here…

 

Listen to what Sandi has to share with us here:

 

Thanks so much Sandy – I really love the personal connections a video interview brings to a Q & A.

 

Stay in touch with Sandy via her website, Facebook or Twitter