Saturday 4 February 2023

Book Review and Bookstagram Tour: Crows Nest by Nikki Mottram 

Crows Nest is a fictional crime story set in the Queensland town of Toowoomba. It is a debut novel for Nikki Mottram, who has a  background in child protection services.  This is clearly evident as the main character in Crows Nest is also a child protection services officer named Dana Gibson.

The story begins when Dana is offered a position in Toowoomba and makes the journey from her home in Sydney to the small town, leaving behind her husband Hugh, along with their marriage issues.

Dana's first house call is to a property in the nearby town of Crows Nest, where she is required to assess the children of a woman named Sandra Kirby. But it doesn't quite go to plan, and it isn't long before Dana realises that the city rules certainly don't apply in this new environment. 

When Sandra and her best friend, Debbie Vickers are found dead, shot at close range, the deaths are initially treated as suspicious but it appears that there are no leads. Dana is drawn into the investigation and wants to uncover the truth about the deaths of the two women, as well as prioritising  the safekeeping of Sandra's children, but how far are the locals prepared to go in order to keep Dana from uncovering the secrets, corruptions and truths of what happened? 

I thought that this was a great read. Nikki is able to draw on her past experience in the child protection industry to make this story realistic and believable. I also liked her visual and sensory descriptions as this added depth to the novel. I look forward to reading Nikki's next novel featuring Dana titled Killarney, which is coming soon. 

Crows Nest is available now through UQP, RRP $32.99

With thanks to DMCPR Media and UPQ for the opportunity to be involved in this bookstagram tour! Stay tuned for a giveaway I'll be running soon where you could win a copy of Crows Nest!


Wednesday 5 October 2022

 Book Review: Runt by Craig Silvey

I'm sure that you have an author (or authors) that you consider to be a favourite; one that when they release a new novel, it becomes automatically added to your list of books to read. 

For me, Craig Silvey is one of those authors. The first book of Craig's that I read was Jasper Jones, and when he released Honeybee (which was Dymocks Book Of The Year in 2020), it became one of my favourite novels ever. So I was very excited to be given the opportunity to receive a copy of his newest story, Runt. 

And what can I say? This is such a sweet, feel-good  story and I adored it!

The main character is 11 year-old Annie Shearer, who  lives with her parents, Bryan and Susie, her 13 year-old brother Max, and her grandmother Dolly in the country town of Upson Downs. Annie doesn't have any friends except for her dog Runt. Nobody knows where Runt came from as he was a stray and would often be seen around town, until Annie took him in and adopted him. The two are inseparable and share a very special bond.

Runt's years of scavenging for food and roaming the town whilst trying to evade capture from the local copper and ranger, Constable Duncan Bayleaf, have made him exceptionally agile and fast; ideal for herding runaway sheep.

But when the owner of the neighbouring farm, Earl Robert-Barren puts the Shearer's family home at risk, Annie is determined to fix the situation. She decides to enter Runt into the Agility Course Grand Championship at the Krumpets Dog Show in London in the hopes of taking out first position and the grand prize. 

But Annie knows that Runt will only follow her commands if nobody else is around to spectate, so how can they beat the odds and the fastest dogs in order to save the family farm?

Runt is such a beautifully written story and although it is targeted as a children's book, it definitely can be enjoyed by older readers like myself. It has a great cast of characters, a really feel-good story, and an important message of being true to yourself and bringing out the best in others. I would highly recommend Runt to readers of all ages, and I would love to see Runt made into a movie down the track! 

Runt is available now through Allen & Unwin Australia.

Thursday 14 July 2022

 Whodunnit, Eddie Woo? Series Review & Giveaway!


Eddie Woo is known as Australia's favourite Maths teacher, with over 1 million subscribers on his 'Wootube' channel, and over 100 million views of his videos. He is also the presenter for the ABC tv show Teenage Boss (which I love to watch!), and was named Australia's Local Hero of the Year in 2018.

Eddie is also a bestselling author, and he is back with a new series for middle-grade readers. 

Whodunnit, Eddie Woo? Time Out! and Team Trouble! are the first two books in the series, and with thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia, I have one copy of each to give away! Read on for how to enter!

Time Out features Kid Super Sleuth Eddie Woo as he uncovers a potential clue to a century's old treasure hunt, along with his best friends Rusty and DT. They must crack the clues, scale a lighthouse, discover a cave behind a waterfall and navigate hidden tunnels to ensure that the treasure doesn't wind up in the wrong hands. But they aren't the only ones searching for the treasure...

In Team Trouble, Eddie is back and this time he receives a cryptic message from Mr Appleby, a family friend and resident of the Sunny Side Aged Care facility. Eddie is soon on a mission to thwart the evil plans of smugglers as he cracks the clues whilst improving his skateboarding skills so that he can enter the annual school Triple Threat Quest with Rusty and DT. 

The books feature large font, short chapters and lots of illustrations, making them ideal for reluctant readers, and/or young readers. 

To win a copy of Time Out & Team Trouble with thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia, you need to: 


1. Be following either my blog, facebook page or Instagram page, and 

2. Answer the following question:

What was your favourite subject at school and why?



 T & C's: Failure to complete the above two steps will result in an ineligible entry. Winner will be selected by random draw on 20th July 2022 from eligible entries. AUS residents only. Winner will receive one copy of Time Out! and one copy of Team Trouble, RRP $14.99 each. Prize will be sent directly from the publisher. 




Wednesday 6 July 2022

Book Review & Giveaway: Criminals by James O'Loghlin




I'll get right to it and say that this was an excellent book! I loved this story, and it is definitely one of my favourite reads of the year so far. And I am so glad that thanks to Echo Publishing, I am able to offer one lucky reader the opportunity to win a copy! Read on for entry details.

This is the first novel that comedian and award-winning author James O'Loghlin has written for an adult audience, drawing on his previous role as a criminal lawyer to bring this story to life.

In a nutshell, there are three main characters - Dean, Sarah, and Mary.

Dean Acton is 23 years-old and a small-time thief with a drug addiction looking for his next hit. He decides to stage an armed robbery at the local leagues club in Blacktown, but his plan isn't as smooth sailing as he hopes.

Sarah Hamilton, also 23, is a junior policewoman on extended leave for stress, and is working the bar when Dean and his accomplice storm in.

Mary Wallace, aged 45, is a former school teacher and an alcoholic with severe depression who is drinking at the bar when the robbery occurs, and she refuses to give in to the robbers' demands. 

What follows is a journey that will make the reader wonder just what makes someone a criminal, and are there good guys and bad guys, or are we all just a bit of both?

I don't want to say much more than that so I don't spoil this book for others, but Criminals is a highly entertaining and enjoyable read. It has a lot of emotion and is very cleverly written. I love a story that makes the reader think outside of the box, and James has achieved that with this book.
Each chapter is told in alternating perspectives from Dean, Sarah and Mary, and with each passing chapter, a little more of their character is exposed, and another layer of their personality and history is shown. The reader discovers the underlying reasons why each character make the choices they do, and by the end, Criminals asks just what it means to break the rules.

I would highly recommend Criminals, which is available now through Echo Publishing, RRP $29.99  

And now for the giveaway! To win a copy of Criminals, you need to 

1. Be following either my blog, facebook page or Instagram page

2. Answer the following question:

What has been your favourite read of the year so far?



 T & C's: Failure to complete the above two steps will result in an ineligible entry. Winner will be selected by random draw on 14th July 2022 from eligible entries. AUS residents only. Winner will receive one copy of Criminals, RRP $29.99. Prize will be sent directly from the publisher. 


Thursday 2 June 2022

 Book Review: A Dolphin Called Jock by Melody Horrill



A Dolphin Called Jock is a beautifully written memoir that is filled with emotion, heart, and hope. 

Melody Horrill was born in England and later migrated with her family to Australia. Her childhood was filled with emotional and physical trauma at the hands of her father. Her parents often argued and were physically violent towards each other, and Melody felt ashamed, embarrassed and different to others.

When Melody began studying at the University of South Australia, she was a very lost and tormented woman. She tried to keep her past hidden as she still felt shame and hurt.

One day Melody volunteered to help her university lecturer Dr Mike Bossley to monitor pods of river dolphins in the Port Adelaide waters. There, Melody first encountered Jock, a dolphin with a maimed fin, living apart from the other dolphins.

 She formed a very special bond with Jock, and by doing so, she slowly learned how to free herself from the demons of her past. This bond with Jock was the start of a long-term mission for Melody to help save the river dolphins.

The story reverts back and forth through time, as the reader gains an in-depth understanding of her troubled childhood and teenage years, and also the present day. This was a very touching story and I really felt for Melody. I was saddened to read about what she had to endure in her younger years, and I admired her courage and determination to live in hope and to find peace within. I highly recommend A Dolphin Called Jock, which is available now through Allen & Unwin. 

Tuesday 31 May 2022

Book Review: Paperbark Hill by Maya Linnell




I was fortunate to receive an early copy of Paperbark Hill with thanks to Allen & Unwin, and was excited to read it as I am a fan of Maya's stories, having read the other three books in the McIntyre family series (Wildflower Ridge, Bottlebrush Creek, and Magpie's Bend).

I thought that this was a beautiful story, and as warm and comforting as a cup of tea (and a scone or two!) Maya has a real talent for writing about families, and the idyllic rural setting compliments her tales. Throw in a sprinkling of romance and its the perfect combination for a good book!

This fourth installment in the series centers on Diana McIntyre, who is a widower and mum to four boys. The past 18 months have been tough on them all, but thankfully the love and support of their family has helped them through it. Diana dreams of starting a flower farm and seeks help from an elderly friend named Colin Gardiner who is an expert at growing dahlias.

But when Colin suddenly passes away, his son Ned returns to the farm with his two young children in tow to sort out Colin's affairs. 

Ned is soon introduced to Diana and they become friends. He offers to help her on the farm, and she welcomes him into the community by introducing him to the locals, including her sisters and her father, Angus.

Although Ned hasn't called Victoria home in years, he is drawn to the countryside, and wonders if it would be best to provide some stability for his children, even though he didn't have the best childhood on the farm.

Can Ned make peace with his past, as well as with his estranged mother? And can Diana juggle raising her boys whilst making her dream of opening the flower farm come true?

This was my favourite book in the McIntyre series. I felt a connection to Diana as we share similar interests including baking and a love for dahlias. The McIntyres are a close-knit family much like my own, and the characters are lovable and relatable. I would definitely recommend Paperbark Hill (and the other titles in the series).

Paperbark Hill is available now through Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99

Wednesday 4 May 2022

Book Review: The Cult Of Romance by Sarah Ayoub

I haven't read any other novels by Sarah Ayoub, but was recently given the opportunity to read her newest novel, The Cult Of Romance, with thanks to HarperCollins Australia. It is classified as a YA book, and although I am far from being a young adult, I really enjoyed it.

The main character is a young woman named Natalie, who lives in suburban Sydney with her father and her Tayta (Lebonese for grandmother). Natalie's mother left when she was a little girl, and all that Natalie knows about her is that she suffered post-natal depression and had to leave. The subject of Natalie's mother is one that her Lebonese family avoid talking about at all costs, so Natalie doesn't know all of the details surrounding her mother's ill health.

Natalie is a professional babysitter, and is in the process of starting up a business selling desserts with her best friend Janet. The two have been inseparable from a very young age and know everything about each other. 

But when Janet returns from a trip to Lebanon, Natalie finds out that Janet is engaged to be married. At only 19 years old, Natalie thinks that it's way too young for Janet to get married. Where will Janet live once she ties the knot? What will happen to their friendship and their dessert business? And who is the guy that swept Janet off her feet?

The opportunity to find out occurs when Janet asks Natalie to be her maid-of-honour, and although Natalie isn't thrilled with the responsibility, she accepts, and sets of for Lebanon where the upcoming wedding is to be held.

Upon her arrival, Natalie has to juggle the cultural traditions, the judgemental relatives, as well as the talk that her mother may be looking for her. Not to mention meeting the annoyingly good-looking best man, George, all whilst trying to be supportive to Janet and her fiance Michael. But will she be able to help pull off the wedding without any trouble, and can she avoid falling in love herself?

This book has a lot of heart, and I enjoyed learning about the Lebanese culture and traditions. It also has explores the themes of family, friendship, acceptance and of course, love.

The Cult Of Romance is available now, RRP $19.99