Guest Review- Thirst – L A Larkin



L.A. Larkin


ISBN: 9781472125897


Antarctica is the coldest, most isolated place on earth. Luke Searle, maverick glaciologist, has made it his home. But soon his survival skills will be tested to the limit by a ruthless mercenary who must win at any cost. The white continent is under attack. The Australian team is being hunted down. Can Luke stay alive long enough to raise the alarm? Can he avert a global catastrophe?

The countdown has begun. T minus 5 days, 2 hours and 53 minutes …


Brenda’s Review:

Mac and Dave were in the throes of packing up at the crevasse where they’d been working – they were looking forward to getting back to Hope Station, the Australian base. Winter was settling in and most of the engineers and scientists had left Antarctica for the season; there would only be eight of them left on base for the duration…

Luke Searle had lived on the base for around seven years, going home to Melbourne only occasionally. He loved the research; as a glaciologist he could appreciate the beauty of the ice and the colours of the glaciers. But he respected the countryside as well – fully aware of how dangerous it could be. Maddie was team leader and though she and Luke clashed at times – usually over his stubborn refusal to obey orders – he respected her ability to lead.

But the suddenness of the attack; the brutality of what happened had him filled with terror. What was happening? As the team tried desperately to escape the looming danger, Luke wondered if any of them would survive.

With full-on intense action from the very first page, Thirst by Aussie author L.A. Larkin is a thoroughly enjoyable thriller. Fast paced, riveting and filled with the evil of man, the setting of Antarctica was unique and interesting, while the two main characters, Luke and Maddie set the tone well. Highly recommended – 5 stars.


Guest Review: Amber and Alice – Janette Paul

Amber and Alice

Amber and Alice

Janette Paul

Penguin Random House Australia

ISBN: 9780143783084



Take a hilarious road trip into the Australian outback in this witty romantic comedy, with an enticing family mystery thrown in!

When Amber Jones wakes up in her sister Sage’s speeding car, with no idea how she got there (though the hangover is a clue), all she wants to do is go home. But Sage is convinced a road trip to Alice Springs will finally answer the burning question: who is Amber’s father? Because nine months before Amber’s birth, her late mother Goldie made the same trip . . .

Armed with just a name and Goldie’s diaries, Amber agrees to search for a man she’s never met in one of the world’s biggest deserts.

And that means spending two weeks in a convoy of four-wheel-driving tourists and camping in freezing desert nights. To make matters worse, her fellow travellers hate her and the handsome tour leader Tom thinks she’s an alcoholic.

But slowly the desert starts to reveal its secrets – and Amber must decide which horizon to follow . . .


Brenda’s View:

The speeding car, the disorientation, the torn stockings and the bird’s-cage in her mouth had Amber completely confused – where was she, why was she here, and most importantly; why was she with her sister?! Sage wasn’t someone Amber spent a lot of time with; she was the complete opposite to Amber’s meticulous, sensible and organised self – but as the memories gradually returned, she was struck with a horrid slide-show of the previous night…

Sage had “kidnapped” Amber, determining she needed a change in her life and the road trip with a tag-along tour group to Alice Springs was just the thing. But Amber was used to hot showers, her morning coffee from a nearby café and shopping. How would she do camping – in a tent; AND with her sister? But when Sage mentioned Amber’s father – the man she had never met – and the fact that their mother had made the same trip where she’d met him twenty eight years previously, Amber finally and grudgingly agreed…

Nothing seemed to go right for Amber right from when they met up with the tag-along group in the little town of Denman in NSW. Each and every member of the group thought Amber was either crazy, or an alcoholic. And the more Amber tried to get it together, the more it all fell apart. Would their long road trip make things better or worse? Would Amber find her father? And was it possible that she and Sage could be close again?

Amber and Alice is a laugh out loud journey through Central Australia from Sydney to Alice Springs, with towns like Dunedoo, Coober Pedy and Uluru along the way. Aussie author Janette Paul has written a wonderful novel about finding your inner self, and the trouble you can get into along the way. I loved it! I found myself having to smother my laughter quite a number of times – it was such fun! 5 stars! Highly recommended.

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

Brenda’s Top Ten Aussie Author Reads of 2016

It has been a great year for Aussie authors and readers alike. Here is guest reviewer  Brenda’s Top Ten picks of 2016. In no particularly order ( click on links to see Brenda’s reviews on Goodreads.)

fear-is-the-riderFear is the Rider

Kenneth Cook.


scared-to-deathScared to Death

Rachel Amphlett


red-dirt-odysseyRed Dirt Odyssey

Kath Engebretson


The Last Crocodile Hunter

Bob Irwin and Amanda French


Fiona Higgins



The Chocolate Tin

Fiona McIntosh



The Art of Keeping Secrets

Rachael Johns



The Wife’s Tale

Christine Wells



The Game You Played

Anni Taylor


Darkest Place

Darkest Place

Jaye Ford


Thanks Brenda, there have been some awesome books written by Australian authors this year, it must have been a real task to choose just ten. 




Post Script: Lie With Me – Sabine Durrant – Guest Reviewer

Bec of Audiobook and Book reviews at Audiothing shares her review of a book we both enjoyed.  Sabine Durrant never fails to deliver a mesmerizing twisty narrative.

Lie With Me

Author: Sabine Durrant
ISBN: 9781473608344
Publication date: 26 Jul 2016
Page count: 352
Imprint: Mulholland Books

Source: Hachette Australia

Publishers Summary
A rich widow. A Greek island paradise. A missing teenage girl…the past comes back to haunt a group of carefree holidaymakers in the new, brilliantly tense psychological thriller
by Sabine Durrant.
“The truth is, we all tell lies… take a deep breath and get ready for the most twisty, tense and unsettling book of the summer.
It starts with a lie. The kind we’ve all told – to a former acquaintance we can’t quite place but still, for some reason, feel the need to impress. The story of our life, embellished for the benefit of the happily married lawyer with the kids and the lovely home.
And the next thing you know, you’re having dinner at their house, and accepting an invitation to join them on holiday – swept up in their perfect life, the kind you always dreamed of…
Which turns out to be less than perfect. But by the time you’re trapped and sweating in the relentless Greek sun, burning to escape the tension all around you – by the time you start to realise that, however painful the truth might be, it’s the lies that cause the real damage…
… well, by then, it could just be too late.”
Bec’s View:
This is one of the most intriguing, surprising and unusual tales that I have read in a long, long time; there is no hero, no obvious crime and there are no clearly identified goodies or baddies. Yet the prologue makes it clear that something very, very bad has happened.
The narrator, Paul Morris lives his life with the arrogance and vulgarity of a Hoorah Henry who has never grown up. Despite his humble beginnings, winning a bursary to an elite school and then a Cambridge education allowed him to mix with the more privileged,  the icing on his social climbing cake was his best selling book published during his final year at Cambridge. He once lived the high life, but, not able to repeat his literary success, he maintains the illusion of being a prospering man about town with the help of smoke and mirrors – he tells lies.
He beguiles people with superficial charm, he lies outrageously to fulfil his huge sense of entitlement. He lives off the handouts of others as much as possible and, such is his conceit, he fails to see that his 42 year old self is no longer attractive to those young girls he continues to pursue. 
House sitting for a friend had given him a prestigious address but now even that is coming to an end, the owner was coming home. Paul is faced with the (to him) demeaning prospect of having to go and live with his mother in her very humble home.
He bumps into a fellow Cambridge student, Andrew, who invites him to dinner. Paul accepts, he attends the dinner party and meets Alice. Alice is a middle aged widow with teenaged children and, according to her friends, she is something of a saint. She is a lawyer working on behalf of the underprivileged, she seems to do good everywhere, she even heads the ten year campaign to find out what has happened to Jasmine, a girl who disappeared on the island of Pyros whilst Alice and her friends were staying there in her holiday home. 
Alice has reminded Paul that they had met before, on Pyros, the night that Jasmine went missing. Pauls’ memory of that night are hazy and vague because he was so drunk. He becomes interested in pursuing Alice when he discovers that Phoebe, her teenaged daughter, is soon to leave home. Paul decides to manipulate Alice in to allowing him to eventually move in to her house.
He manages to inveigle Alice in to a relationship and has no scruples about taking advantage of her home and her largesse, all the while concealing from her the truth of his impoverished life and failed career.
Paul manages to get himself included on the annual Pyros holiday along with Andrew and his family, but he can’t afford the same flight, a fact his pride won’t allow him to admit to Alice and so he pretends to have an important meeting with his publisher to cover for his delayed arrival. 
Yes, he is an awful man, selfish and horrible, and yet, now and then the author allows a glimpse of a redeeming factor.
This “pre holiday” part of the book does lag a little, but it is the slow burning fuse before the action. Once they are all together on Pyros the tension builds towards an explosive, shocking and totally unexpected ending, one that you will find yourself thinking about long after putting down the book.
This was a truly satisfying read.
Thanks to Hachette Australia for providing a copy of the book in return for an unbiased review.