Posted in Book Reviews

Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah

I would like to thank Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an advance copy of Did You See Melody, a stand-alone novel set in a luxury resort in Arizona.

did you see melody

Cara Burrows takes  a solo holiday without telling her family to mull over some problems. Tired and miserable, she discovers her room is already occupied by a man and a teenager. The next day, after overhearing another conversation, she realises the teenager might have been Melody Chapa whose parents are in jail for her murder.

After an initial slow start to the story, it really picked up.  I found it compulsive reading until the end, with a couple of really good twists.

Cara arrived in America never having heard of Melody Chappa so when her interest is aroused, she searches the Internet.  She comes across the show Justice with Bonnie, where ex prosecutor Bonnie Juno almost singlehandedly got Melody’s parents convicted. Much of this is reprinted verbatim in the novel. As I said it is fascinating how Bonnie twists the facts to suit her agenda and bullies her interviewees into agreeing with her. It is a recognisable technique taken to extremes and is incredibly well done.

I liked the characterisation as well. Cara is authentically written.  Her problems might be a bit first world but are real to her and something most of us can identify with. Tarin and Zellie Fry, the American mother and daughter she meets are a hoot. Tarin is an overconfident florist from Kansas with an opinion on everything, often what most of us would like to say but don’t;  whereas  Zellie is her sarcastic apologist. They steal the show, although Cara has her moments.  I didn’t expect the novel to be funny but it is and it’s done naturally and well.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed Did You See Melody and have no hesitation in recommending it as an excellent read.

This book warrants

Posted in Book Reviews

The Silence Between Breaths by Cathy Staincliffe

Book Reviews by DACA LRC Staff Book Club

The Silence Between Breaths Book Review 1

Omg! I don’t know where to start!

This book was brilliant! I read the 1st page when I got the book and couldn’t wait to start it when I got home from work on Monday tea time & had finished it by Tuesday afternoon – I just couldn’t put it down!

I got so into the characters that I was thinking about them all day and wondering how they were doing! It was like a film was being played out in my head the whole time I was reading it. I could feel the pressure in my chest leading up to the bomb going off & I was willing them to get off the train or move away from Saheel. I wept for the characters that died and the ones that didn’t. I had a heavy heart after reading the book and I don’t think it was because of the recent atrocities in Manchester & London. I suspect that it was because the author had created normal, ordinary people that had become ‘real’.  Absolutely fantastic – will be looking to read more of Cath Staincliffe’s books.

Denise

The Silence Between Breaths Book Review 2

This is a well thought out plot with twists and turns throughout.  Staincliffe writes from each passengers’ perspective, which leaves the reader full of suspense and gripped.  A brilliant read and would definitely recommend.

Joanne

More reviews to follow soon…

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Besieged (The Iron Druid Chronicles 0.3, 4.7, 8.6) by Kevin Hearne

Thank you to Netgalley, Kevin Hearne and Random House Publishing for allowing me to read Besieged in exchange for an honest review.

besiegedI am a huge fan of the Iron Druid series.

It has a satisfying blend of adventure, quirky characters, humour, mythology, wit and drama.

For those of you who haven’t read this series, the Iron Druid Chronicles is a hilarious, action-packed urban fantasy set in a modern world in which all the gods of every pantheon are alive and well. The central character to this series is a 2,000-year-old Irishman/Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan.

Besieged is a collection of short stories involving the main characters of the aforementioned series. Atticus gets the most coverage but Granuaile, Owen, Perun (God of Thunder) and others also get a chance to play a central role in their own stories. The stories cover around 1,300 years of history and provide more in-depth background information about the main characters. As you progress through the stories, they become more current and set the stage for the upcoming conclusion of the series, Scourged.

Here’s a brief summary of the stories:

The Eye of Horus – Atticus is visited by the Morrigan and sent on a mission to the Library of Alexandria, where he experiences a life altering event.

Goddess at the Crossroads – Atticus describes how he met a drunken Shakespeare and saved his life, thereby altering Western literature due to events experienced on that night.

The Demon Barker of Wheat Street – Atticus and Granuaile visit her old home town and run into a host of demons, parading as carnival people, luring in unsuspecting humans to feed off.

Gold Dust Druid – Gold rush era San Francisco suffers biblical consequences. Summoning demons rarely goes to plan.

The Bogeyman of Boora Bog – Druids don’t always make good neighbours. Owen meets a young Atticus in olden day Ireland.

Cuddle Dungeon – Warning – adult content. Gods get up to mischief. (That’s all I’m saying).

Blood Pudding – It’s Granuaile’s time to shine in this story. Vampires can’t be trusted and it’s up to her and some thick-necked mercenaries to teach some Polish vampires a lesson that they won’t soon forget.

Hunted to Devils – Owen’s new apprentices team up with Owen and Atticus to try and prevent the extinction of Tasmanian devils. Mayhem follows.

The End of Idylls – The Morrigan visits Atticus to let him know that the end is approaching. Loki is making his move and Lucifer’s his new best friend. Fun time is over and he has “The Talk” with Oberon.

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Conclusion

The stories are imaginatively written and vary in location and time periods, featuring a variety of supernatural beings.  Examples of these are werewolves and other shape changers, vampires, ghouls, demons, witches, gods and more with lots of magic, adventure, danger, and mayhem (blood and guts, etc.).

I’m sad that the Iron Druid Chronicles will be coming to an end soon. I’ve gotten quite attached to some of the characters. Do yourself a favour and read the series first, then the short stories in Besieged will make more sense. I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and I hope that you will too.

This book earns an outrageously witty

Posted in Book Reviews

Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar

Thank you to Lucy Treloar and Emma Draude of ED PR for my copy of Salt Creek in exchange for an honest review.

salt creek

In 1855, Stanton Finch decides to leave his failed businesses behind in Adelaide and relocates his family to an isolated farm in Coorong to start over.  Stanton is sure that cattle farming is all he needs to get his finances back on track.

His family, having been used to a genteel way of life, are appalled when they arrive at the ramshackle property, built using washed up timber.  Despite this setback, they endeavour to try and get on with building a new life here.

Unfortunately, Stanton is an inexperienced, inept farmer and an even worse business man. He soon borrows beyond his means and has no idea about managing the land, which soon becomes run down. The local Aboriginals, the Ngarrindjeri, complain to him about the damage the cattle are doing to the land and particularly to the soaks they need for fresh water. Initially to help, Stanton fences off soaks for the Aboriginals use.  Then drought strikes causing him to remove the fences and he tells them to relocate elsewhere as there isn’t enough water for everyone. It is interesting to note that Stanton, a god fearing man, believes that the Aboriginals can be ‘civilised’.  He takes on the project of educating and training a young half-caste Aboriginal boy called Tully, who quickly integrates into the family and serves as an interpreter for his own people.  (You will definitely want to find out what intrigue this creates!)

Hester (Life in Salt Creek)

Salt Creek follows the family through a downward spiral in their fortunes as their existence becomes more and more difficult. Hester, the oldest daughter is the narrator, recounting the events of those years from her current home. She is lumbered with handling most of the chores and cooking as her mother battles to cope with her new life.  Hester also takes on teaching Tully and the younger children.   Despite the hardships, this family do experience some happy times as the family makes its own fun.  Hester comes to appreciate the beauty of Coorong especially after she meets Charles, a young surveyor travelling through the area with his father.  (Could there be a romance brewing?)

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Conclusion

The author doesn’t hold back and gives an authentic narration of what life was like for both the settlers and the local people.  Salt Creek is a gripping tale and you will find yourself fully immersed in the background of this story as if you were living it yourself.  You will feel a range of emotions from one extreme to the other as you read further into this book.

I really loved this book. As well as telling Hester’s journey, it documents the difficulties naive Europeans experienced with farming in Australia and their complete disregard of the knowledge of the local Aboriginals, who could have taught them much about agriculture and land conservation/preservation.

Lucy Treloar has done an excellent job of described the traditions of the Ngarrindjeri and in describing their fate as a result of the incursion of uninvited Europeans into their lands.  She has really captured the essence of historical life in the Coorong.

This is beautifully written historical fiction and I would highly recommend Salt Creek to all who enjoy this genre, especially if you have an interest in early Australian history.

This beautifully written book deserves

Posted in Book Reviews

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Thank you to Linsey Miller, Sourcebooks, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this free copy in exchange for an unbiased review.

mask of shadowsThis is an original and intriguing story about Sal, a street fighter and highway thief, who auditions for a place on the Queen’s Left Hand, her trusted band of assassins.

She/He is given a mask with the number Twenty-three as identification for the audition.  Sal has to learn to become a killer/assassin, but unexpectedly also falls in love. It’s a battle to the death as there are very few rules.  Unless stated otherwise, you may attempt to kill your rivals outside of the challenges.

The androgynous concept in this book is interesting and will appeal to YA readers.  Although the plot was violent, it was full of clever intrigue. I really enjoyed reading this gripping story line.

I’m looking forward to the sequel!

This book deserves

 

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