Wednesday, 3 March 2021

 Book Review: Driving Stevie Fracasso by Barry Divola 


I finished this book recently and I loved it!!! It is one of my favourites of the year so far.

The story begins with 40 year-old music journalist Rick McLennan, who loses his job and breaks up with his long-term partner Jane on the same day. As a result of the break up, he also loses his apartment.
But luck turns his way when he is given the opportunity to write a book about Stevie Fracasso, former rock star and lead singer of the band Driven To Distraction, who is doing one last performance in New York, where Rick lives.
The only catch is that Stevie doesn't like to fly, so would need to be picked up and driven from his home in Austin, Texas, to New York, with Rick interviewing him for the book along the way.
But there's a problem. Rick and Stevie are brothers. And they haven't seen each other in over thirty years!
Rick doesn't want to take the job but he's fresh out of choices, so he 'borrows' Jane's 1985 Nissan Stanza and heads towards Stevie's home.
What ensues is a fun and fabulous journey as the reader begins to find out why the brothers have been estranged for so long. This story had a mix of everything - I laughed out loud in many parts, and was really moved in others. The story has a great cast of characters too, and the musical soundtrack added a great touch! 

I would highly recommend getting your hands on a copy. 

It is available from today through HarperCollins Publishers Australia, RRP $32.99 

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

 Book Review: A Crooked Tree by Una Mannion

I recently finished reading A Crooked Tree and thought that this is a great coming-of-age story.

The main character 14 year-old  Libby Gallagher, lives with her mother Faye and four siblings, 17 year-old Marie, 16 year-old Thomas, Ellen, aged 12, and Beatrice who is 7 years old.

Their Irish father passed away not long ago and they are all still greatly affected by his loss. Even though he was divorced from Faye, the kids loved their dad and miss him a lot.

One night when they are returning to their suburban Pennsylvania home, a snide remark made by Ellen causes Faye to make the snap decision to leave her by the side of the road and get her to walk the remaining 5 miles home on her own. 

When Ellen doesn't return in a couple of hours, the siblings are all concerned. What happened to Ellen? Where could she be?
We slowly discover the events of the night through Libby's voice. It is clear that what happened that night sets the marker for a summer in the '80's with a lot of change. 

I read this book in a couple of days. I was drawn to the characters and story. It isn't a thriller, but it does have elements of mystery, secrets and lies involved. It's one to add to your reading pile for sure! 

A Crooked Tree is available now, RRP $27.99

Saturday, 16 January 2021

 Book Review: The Promise by Lucy Diamond

I have read a few novels by Lucy Diamond, and recently finished her latest one titled The Promise. I quite liked this one, and although it wasn't my favourite book of Lucy's, I would still recommend it, especially for those that enjoy family dramas.

Zoe Sheppard is a recent widower after her husband Patrick, aged just 42 years old passes away one night. She is now the sole carer for  their three children, Ethan, Gabe and Beatrice.

Patrick was well loved and had a business that was thriving, but Zoe is still coming to terms with his death. One day, her brother-in-law Dan offers his support. Dan feels guilty for not stepping in sooner, and before long, he  comes up with a plan to help pick up the pieces and bring some happiness and normality back to Zoe and the kids.

He offers to drive the children to school and activities, and even tries to help with Patrick's family real estate business, fixing damaged properties and helping tenants. However, when he does, he uncovers some secrets that Patrick had, and Dan is shocked that his brother wasn't the man he thought he was. Dan is then faced with the tough decision of whether to tell Zoe what he has found out, or whether he should keep it to himself. 

This was a nice family drama that unfolded at a good pace. I enjoyed the characters, especially the children and Dan too. 

The Promise is available now through Pan Macmillan Australia, RRP $32.99

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Book Review: Something Like This by Karly Lane 



Tilly Hollis resides in the township of Ben Tirran, which is nestled in the New England mountains in New South Wales. She works hard in order to fulfill her dream career - opening an equine therapy program. Her husband David shared her dream but sadly he passed away a few years earlier, leaving Tilly to make a crack at it on her own.

Jason Weaver was in the army in the Middle East, but after an explosion that left him with the loss of part of his leg, he makes the choice to head to Ben Tirran as a builder in an attempt to adjust back to the civilian world.

One day Jason enters the cafe where Tilly works, and the two feel an instant connection. And when they discover that they are neighbours, it brings them even closer. Jason offers to help set up the area for the Guy Fawkes brumbies, the horses that Tilly is using in the therapy program.

As their relationship progresses, they both address certain issues that they are faced with, and try to accept that the past cannot be changed. Topics of grief and loneliness are touched upon in a sensitive way in this rural romance novel, and the characters show strength, courage and endurance. 

It was interesting to read about the Guy Fawkes brumbies; this breed of wild horse are descendants of the horses used in World War One, and have a very interesting history. Karly's passion for these beautiful animals is clearly evident in Something Like This.

Available now through Allen & Unwin Australia, RRP $29.99 

Thursday, 5 November 2020

 Book Review: I Follow You by Peter James

Bestselling author Peter James is known for his crime and thriller books, which are one of my favourite genres, so I was looking forward to reading his latest novel, I Follow You, which was released back in September.

I finally got around to reading it this week, and I thought that this was a great thriller. 

Marcus Valentine is in his mid-forties, married, and the father of three children. He is one of the most respected and trusted gynae-oncologists at the General Hospital in Jersey. 

On his way to work one morning, Marcus has a lapse of concentration which results in him almost running down a female jogger at a pedestrian crossing. As the startled jogger brushes herself  off and continues on her way, Marcus is transfixed by her.

The jogger bears an uncanny resemblance to a girl named Lynette that Marcus was infatuated with in his teens. His first unrequited love, and someone he has never been able to forget. He becomes obsessed with following the jogger her and tracking her down.

Georgie is a personal trainer and is enjoying life with her fiance, with lots of exciting opportunities going on. Thanks to a running app that allows followers to track running times and locations, Marcus tracks Georgie down and it isn't long before things spiral out of control! He becomes obsessed with her and his obsession threatens to destroy both of their worlds.

I would definitely recommend I Follow You if you are a fan of thrillers. It is available through Pan Macmillan Australia, RRP $32.99

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Book Review: Flying The Nest by Rachael Johns 

Back when I first started this blog, I remember that one of my first ever giveaways was a Rac
hael Johns novel. I have continued to enjoy her stories since, and her latest, Flying The Nest, is released today!

The story centres around a woman named Ashling Wood, who is married to Adrian and has two children, 15 year-old Saxon, and 10 year-old Payton. 
She has been with Adrian for years, and has experienced the highs and lows of life with him by her side.
So when he confronts Ashling one day with the shocking news that he wants to separate, Ashling is devastated.
He suggests that they try 'nest parenting' - keeping Saxon and Payton in the family home, while he and Ashling rotate living with them week on/week off. 
Ashling turns to her best friend Hayley for advice, who also happens to be Andrew's twin sister.
Hayley offers her to move in on the weeks that she isn't with the kids, and while Ashling appreciates her friend's generosity, she just wants to try and get her family back to how they used to be.
When Hayley's boyfriend Wei suggests Ashling spend some time in the seaside town of Ragged Point to renovate an old cottage that once belonged to his grandfather, she thinks that it will be the ideal distraction while Adrian comes to his senses.
She gets stuck into fixing up the place, and meets some of the lovely locals, including Jedda, who runs the cafe, and fisherman Dan Emerson.
Ashling finds that she is really starting to enjoy the peaceful surrounds of Rugged Point, and with each visit, she feels as though she is becoming more at home.
But the home-stay weeks with the kids are dysfunctional, and the hope of salvaging her marriage to Adrian is becoming even more slim.
Ashling is torn between what she wants for her future, and what she wants for her family. 
She has to figure out what is right, but will it come at a cost?

Flying The Nest is an easy and entertaining book. The story flows really well, and has a great cast of characters (including an adorable canine named Charlie!) 

Themes of parenting, divorce, addictions and grief are featured throughout the story and explored well.
As I was given the opportunity to read this before its release date, it was ideal read to enjoy while being in lock down; it allowed my mind to escape to the coast, if only for a while!

Flying The Nest is available through HQ, Harper Collins Australia from today.

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Book Review: Breathless by Jennifer Niven 


I have read All The Bright Places by the same author a couple of years ago, and was interested to read her latest YA novel titled Breathless. I finished it recently and thought that it was a pretty decent novel, and knowing that the author based it off some of her own life experiences made it even more enjoyable.

 The story is told from the perspective of 18 year-old Claudine Henry.

She has plans to spend the summer holidays enjoying a road trip with her best friend Saz before they leave for college. Her plans also involve getting to know her crush Wyatt Jones a bit better.

But a week before graduation, her dad makes a devastating and life-changing announcement that he is leaving Claudine and her mother, and the world as she knows it will never be the same. She feels betrayed and heartbroken.

Her mother decides to spend the summer with Claudine on a remote Georgia island, and Claudine is disappointed that she won't get to go on the road trip after all.
When they arrive on the island, Claudine feels even more alone when she realises that there is no phone service, so no way to stay in touch with Saz or Wyatt.

But lucky for her, she meets Jeremiah, who is a free-spirited, charming and handsome young guy, and it isn't long before they feel a real connection. As the days go by, the two get to know each other and they start dating, even though they know that they are both leaving the island after the summer ends.

What follows is an exploration of love, sex, and discovery, as well as forgiveness and acceptance.
By the end of the novel, the reader sees a real change in Claudine as she discovers herself and as she works towards making her dreams come true.

Breathless is available now through Penguin Books Australia.