Guest Review:The Kookaburra Creek Cafe – Sandie Docker

The Kookaburra Creek Cafe

The Kookaburra Creek Cafe
Sandie Docker
Penguin Random House AU
ISBN: 9780143789192

Description:
Welcome to the Kookaburra Creek Cafe.

THE PAST
For Hattie, the cafe has been her refuge for the last fifty years – her second chance at a happy ending after her dreams of being a star were shattered. But will the ghosts of her past succeed in destroying everything she’s worked so hard to build?
THE PRESENT
For Alice, the cafe is her livelihood. After Hattie took her in as a teenager, Alice has slowly forged a quiet life as the cafe’s manager (and chief cupcake baker). But with so many tragedies behind her, is it too late for Alice’s story to have a happy ending?
THE FUTURE
For Becca, a teenager in trouble, the cafe could be the new start she yearns for. That is, if she can be persuaded to stop running from her secrets. Can Becca find a way to believe in the kindness of strangers, and accept that this small town could be the place where she finally belongs?
One small town. Three lost women. And a lifetime of secrets.

Brenda’s Review:
Alice and Louise had been best friends from the age of eleven. Alice was happy when she was with Louise, and she went to school to get away from her home. When tragedy struck, Alice drove away in the old beat up car that was her Dad’s – just drove until she could go no further. She was tired, hungry and grieving when Hattie found her and took her under her wing; Alice was sure she wouldn’t stay. But gradually Hattie, the Kookaburra Creek Café, and the community became home to her. And Alice discovered she could bake cupcakes – the best cupcakes in town.
Hattie had had a similar experience fifty years prior and Kookaburra Creek had been her saviour. Now Hattie knew Alice needed a second chance, just as she had. Gently and with care, Alice blossomed. But could Alice retain her peace and happiness?

And when a frightened young teenager turned up on the Café’s doorstep, Alice felt the past come back. Was Becca’s arrival a coincidence? Alice could see Becca was fragile and held many secrets close to her chest. Would Kookaburra Creek and the café give Becca the chance she needed?

The Kookaburra Creek Café is the debut novel by Aussie author Sandie Docker, and wow! What an excellent first novel! Initially, I was drawn to the cover – absolutely love it. Then the story drew me in and captivated me. Hattie, Alice and Becca’s stories are told gradually, with an easy to follow back-and-forth narration which set the tone of the book. Three wonderful characters in Hattie, Alice and Becca, and many excellent side characters make The Kookaburra Creek Café everything I wanted and more. Well done on an excellent debut Ms Docker! Highly recommended – 5 stars.

With thanks to Penguin Random House for my ARC to read and review.

 

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Guest Review: Bay Of Shadows – Samantha Wood

Brenda is very impressed with this debut novel.

the-bay-of-shadows

The Bay of Shadows

Samantha Wood

Smashwords/Amazon

ISBN: 9780995442108/ASIN: B01NCI60OZ

 

Description:

How far would you go for love?

In a rambling house in a small Australian beach town, Elena Jameson is recovering from her recent divorce. To her delight, she is given the opportunity to foster a little boy, Daniel, whose mother is dead and whose violent father is in rehab. As Elena and Daniel explore the beautiful bay and wild bushland, they form a profound bond that will change their lives forever.

Then Daniel’s father discovers his whereabouts and begins a campaign of terror – not to get his son back, but to prevent Elena giving Daniel a new life.

As the violence escalates, Elena finds that she’s willing to do whatever it takes to protect Daniel from the brutality of his past and an uncertain future. Sometimes the only way to get what you want is to pay the price in blood.

A gothic tale of love and loss, bravery and hope.

 

Brenda’s Review:

When Elena Jameson was granted the opportunity to foster six year old Tyson, she was thrilled. Her recent divorce had left her fragile – caring for this little boy would be therapy for them both. Learning that the name Tyson made the boy shudder with apprehension, Elena started calling him Daniel – his second name – which suited them both. Daniel had lost his mother to death and his father was a cruel, vindictive and abusive man, currently locked away. Elena chose not to think about the future and what would happen when he was released…

Living a quiet and secluded life in the small bay not far from Melbourne in Victoria, just Daniel, Rafi (their little dog) and Elena, she knew this was the life she wanted. Daniel was a different child, and Elena loved him in the devoted manner of any mother anywhere. Daniel was doing well at school – they explored the beautiful surrounding bush in their leisure time; and soccer brought Daniel joy. But with a terrifying suddenness, everything changed. Violence erupted around Elena and Daniel – the danger was crippling. What would Elena do? She knew she needed to do everything in her power to keep her son safe; but what…?

The Bay of Shadows is the debut novel by Aussie author Samantha Wood and in my opinion it’s exceptional! A gripping and intense plot with a fast pace and riveting emotions – The Bay of Shadows has everything I love in a psychological thriller (even a touch of the Dreamtime). I have no hesitation in recommending this novel highly, and will be eagerly watching for this author’s next book 🙂  I also love the cover! 5 stars!

 

 

Samantha Wood:

Samantha Wood is a fiction author drawn to mysteries, stories of the Dreamtime, and magic realism. Her first book, Culua: My Other Life in Mexico, was a love letter to Mexico, her mother’s country. The Bay of Shadows is her first novel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post Script: What She Never Told Me – Kate McQuaile

What My Mother Never Told Me

What She Never Told Me

Kate McQuaile

Hachette Australia

Quercus

ISBN: 9781784296711

 

Description:

What do you do when you find out that your whole life could be a lie?

 

‘I talked to my mother the night she died, losing myself in memories of when we were happiest together. But I held one memory back, and it surfaces now, unbidden. I see a green post box and a small hand stretching up to its oblong mouth. I am never sure whether that small hand is mine. But if not mine, whose?’

 

Louise Redmond left Ireland for London before she was twenty. Now, more than two decades later, her heart already breaking from a failing marriage, she is summoned home. Her mother is on her deathbed, and it is Louise’s last chance to learn the whereabouts of a father she never knew.

 

Stubborn to the end, Marjorie refuses to fill in the pieces of her daughter’s fragmented past. Then Louise unexpectedly finds a lead. A man called David Prescott . . . but is he really the father she’s been trying to find? And who is the mysterious little girl who appears so often in her dreams? As each new piece of the puzzle leads to another question, Louise begins to suspect that the memories she most treasures could be a delicate web of lies.

 

 

My View:

This was a very intense mystery that speaks to the themes of motherhood, family, memory, loss and grief.

So many secrets and lies… so much sadness. The author slowly reveals clues or bits of information or red herrings that have you plotting and planning and trying to solve the mystery, I doubt that you will or at least not till the very end.

 

The author has excelled in drawing the reader into the world of her characters. The opening pages are full of mystery and the images in these pages repeat themselves throughout the novel building the anticipation and expectation of a resolution of the mystery.

 

As you read you will find yourself sighing with sadness at the many disappointments, revelations and lies that fill these lives and pages. Life has thrown many challenges in the path of the main characters, good choices have not always been made, and lives can be changed in an instant.

 

 

You are transported back into the time and places (Ireland 1960’s) when religion and fear dictated women’s choices regarding their sexuality and fertility. The settings, the social structure of society are clear and visual, the characters and their relationships are realistic but always there is a hint of the unreliable narrator that throws questions and misdirection’s in your path.

 

A heartbreaking but enjoyable family drama and mystery. A great debut novel.

 

Post Script: Sinister Intent – Karen M Davis

Sinister Intent, Karen M. Davis

Sinister Intent

Karen M Davis

Simon & Schuster Australia

A CBS Company

ISBN: 9781922052520

Description:
For eight years Lexie Rogers has been a uniform cop in Sydney’s red light district, Kings Cross. Having survived a violent knife attack, she’s witnessed far more than most cops her age. Now she’s back at work as the newest member of the Bondi Junction detectives’ office and ready to start again.

One of her first jobs is to execute a search warrant at a bikie clubhouse, one of the two local gangs in the eastern suburbs. What she uncovers begins a chilling investigation into a vicious world where loyalty is deadly and unwavering and can’t be bought . . . Or can it?

Lexie forms an unlikely alliance with one of the bikies, who’s realised his family’s in danger. But what neither of them knows is that Lexie is the one who’s in too deep. She knows too much. – See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com.au/Sinister-Intent/Davis-Karen-M/9781922052520#sthash.hG4rpdsI.dpuf

 

My View:

For the lovers of the police procedural.

An outstanding debut novel and a wonderful police procedural with enduring and empathetic characters, what more could you ask for? Karen M Davis has managed to capture the essence of a great crime read; a great narrative, a surprising ending, plenty of drama and suspense, an authentic voice and settings that are realistic. I really enjoyed this read and liked the main characters; the camaraderie and rapport  between the police officers at the station felt natural, the good guys had their flaws but this just added to their credibility and the bad guys were where you least hoped to find them, hidden in plain sight.

A most enjoyable read that I hope if the first of many from this author. I look forward to Ms Davis’s next offering with anticipation.