#FridayFreebie – Exit .45 Ben Sanders

Today is my first give away for 2022 nd I am very excited to be able to offer the opportunity ( Thanks to the author and Allen & Unwin Aust) a copy of the tension packed read Exit .45

**Open to Australian residents only. In the comments list another great read by this author, easy as that 🙂 Entries close Thursday 27th January. The winner will be notified by email.**

Review: The Bumper Treehouse of Fun Book – Andy Griffiths, Jill Griffiths, Terry Denton

The Bumper Treehouse of Fun

Andy Griffiths, Jill Griffiths & Terry Denton

Pan Australia

ISBN:9781760988890

RRP $19.99

Description:

The Bumper Treehouse Fun Book is packed with over 300 pages of treehouse-inspired fun!

With the FUNNEST activities from the Treehouse Fun Books and a whole heap of brand new ones, there are pictures to draw, stories to write, codes to crack, sudokus to solve, colour-ins, dot-to-dots, mazes, crosswords, word searches, spot-the-differences and some activities that we don’t even have a name for!

So, what are you waiting for?

Grab a pen, pencil, crayon or spooncil and come on in!

My View:

The perfect gift for a child you know – word searches, colouring in, spot the differences, decode the message, dot to dots – this makes a great gift to take on holidays or for school holiday entertainment – its bound to keep any child happily engaged for hours.

Review – The Banksia House Breakout- James Roxburgh

The Banksia House Breakout

James Roxburgh

Ventura Press

ISBN: 9781920727857

Description:

When Ruth Morris is moved into Banksia House by her workaholic son Michael, she is eighty-one years young, mourning her loss of independence, and missing her best friend Gladys terribly.

So when she learns Gladys is dying a state over in Brisbane, Ruth is determined to say goodbye. Enlisting the help of her fellow residents, Ruth makes a daring departure from Banksia House alongside renowned escape-artist Keith, and her formidable new friend Beryl.

The journey from Sydney is far from straightforward, featuring grimy hotels, hitchhiking, and a mild case of grand theft. This unlikely trio finds themselves on the trip of a lifetime, where new connections blossom amidst the chaos. But the clock is ticking and Gladys awaits – will they make it across the border in time?

In this joyous and captivating read, debut author James Roxburgh delivers a heart-warming tale that will have you cheering for Ruth from beginning to end.

My View:

This is a standout debut novel. Character based – there will b e some you will love and some you are glad to see them get their “just desserts” 🙂 Perhaps this book could be best described as a “coming of old age” novel; nursing homes, dementia, cancer, elder abuse, power shifts in relationships….adventure, trying new things, new relationships, helping others…its all here.

A poignant start that might resonate with the baby boomer generation (now looking at the health/housing situation of their aging parents) the book then offers adventures with hilarity, compassion and a tinge of sadness. The overarching theme I think is “live in the present, not the past, not the future” and that relationships matter.

A great read.

Guest Review: Canticle Creek – Adrian Hyland

Canticle Creek

Adrian Hyland

Ultimo Press

ISBN: 9781761150036

Description:

When Adam Lawson’s wrecked car is found a kilometre from Daisy Baker’s body, the whole town assumes it’s an open and shut case. But Jesse Redpath isn’t from Canticle Creek. Where she comes from, the truth often hides in plain sight, but only if you know where to look.

When Jesse starts to ask awkward questions, she uncovers a town full of contradictions and a cast of characters with dark pasts, secrets to hide and even more to lose.

As the temperature soars, and the ground bakes, the wilderness surrounding Canticle Creek becomes a powderkeg waiting to explode.

All it needs is one spark.

Brenda’s View:

Jesse Redpath was a police officer in the small town of Kulara in the Northern Territory where she saw more than most and controlled more than most. Since Jesse took over, crime had greatly lessened in the area. When young Adam Lawson went up before the magistrate once again, Jesse persuaded him to allow Adam to live with her father Ben, and work at the local pub, to work his hours out. If he absconded, he would be arrested and thrown in jail. Adam managed quite some time with Ben Redpath – both of them artists and Ben directed Adam, gave him some pointers. But Adam had itchy feet, apologizing to his mentor and taking off down south.

When Jesse heard through her boss that Adam had been found not far from Melbourne in Victoria, she wasn’t prepared to hear he was dead. She also wasn’t prepared to hear he’d murdered a woman and had crashed a stolen car into a tree while fleeing the town. Jesse was certain the Adam she knew wouldn’t have a bar of killing, so she and her dad headed for Melbourne, then a small town about an hour north-east of there, called Canticle Creek, to unofficially look into the deaths.

Canticle Creek was a hot bed of secrets amid the soaring heat of the summer sun. As Jesse made herself known to the local cops, she made some friends – and enemies – while investigating. Possum, a sixteen-year-old young woman who had more smarts than some adults Jesse had met, was intelligent and helpful. But what would they find in the small town of Canticle Creek?

Canticle Creek is the first book in 10 years from Aussie author Adrian Hyland and it was well worth waiting for! A tension filled, suspenseful crime novel set in the ravaging heat of the Northern Territory and Victoria, where bushfires kept the locals on edge, and the heat baked everything in its path. I’ve read each of Mr Hyland’s books and loved them all; Canticle Creek, with its captivating cover, is one I recommend highly.

With thanks to Ultimo Press AU for my ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

**Love the cover art work. This book has so much appeal**

Review: Game On – Tempting Twenty-Eight – Janet Evanovich

Game On

Janet Evanovich

Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 9781398510135

Description:

Stephanie Plum returns to hunt down a master cyber-criminal operating out of Trenton in the 28th book in the wildly popular series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich.

When Stephanie Plum is woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of footsteps in her apartment, she wishes she didn’t keep her gun in the cookie jar in her kitchen. And when she finds out the intruder is fellow apprehension agent Diesel, six feet of hard muscle and bad attitude whom she hasn’t seen in more than two years, she still thinks the gun might come in handy.

Turns out Diesel and Stephanie are on the trail of the same fugitive: Oswald Wednesday, an international computer hacker as brilliant as he is ruthless. Stephanie may not be the most technologically savvy sleuth, but she more than makes up for that with her dogged determination, her understanding of human nature, and her willingness to do just about anything to bring a fugitive to justice. Unsure if Diesel is her partner or her competition in this case, she’ll need to watch her back every step of the way as she sets the stage to draw Wednesday out from behind his computer and into the real world.

My View:

Very possibly the best book in this wacky and entertaining series! This is escapism at it very best – I love this series and look forward to the new Recovery Agent series that will be published early next year – this one looks like my type of read (at the end of Game on is a sneak peek of the first chapter in the new series).

Game on is a fabulous, light, entertaining, romantic ( this is how I like to read romance 🙂 🙂 🙂 ) slapstick read. Perfect to end this tumultuous year on.

Review: The Telling Time – P J McKay

The Telling Time

P J McKay

Paloko Press

ISBN: 9780473520113

Description:

A captivating debut novel of impossible love and soul-destroying secrets. Two young women, mother and daughter, fight to overcome adversity while transporting the reader from Yugoslavia in the late 1950s, to New Zealand’s “Dally” suburbia, and then back in the late 1980s to a now-splintering Yugoslavia.

WHEN SECRETS DEMAND TO BE TOLD . . .
Two young women, a generation apart, travel to opposite sides of the world on fraught journeys of self-discovery.
1958: Gabrijela yearns to escape the confines of bleak post-war Yugoslavia and her tiny fishing community, but never imagines she will be exiled to New Zealand — a new immigrant sent to housekeep for the mysterious and surly Roko, clutching a secret she dare not reveal.
1989: Luisa, Gabrijela’s daughter, departs on her own covert quest, determined to unpick the family’s past. But not all decisions are equal and amid Yugoslavia’s brewing civil unrest, Luisa’s journey confronts her with culture shocks and dark encounters of her own.

My View:

Pick up this book – you will not regret it -a captivating narrative of migration, culture, feminism and family. This book packs a unexpected punch.

Two stories are slowly unpicked- mother’s and daughter’s, this dual time line is fascinating and intriguing. As a migrant, as a woman, as a daughter, and as a traveler I can relate to so many of the ,elements discussed in this book. Australia in the 1960’s was very similar to New Zealand in this same time period, so much change; migration, the melding of cultures and the early signs of the beginning of the feminist movement.

But the story in Yugoslavia is just as capitating and meaningful.

Sit back and take this arm chair ride to unfamiliar places and discover a landscape so different to your own – physically, economically and politically. This is no cozy read, it delivers a gut wrenching punch.

A great read leaves you wanting more, I wanted to know about the lives of the 2 protagonists.

Chocolate, Pear and Oat Breakfast Tray Bake: Joe’s Family Food – Joe Wicks

CHOCOLATE, PEAR + OAT BREAKFAST TRAYBAKE

SERVES 3 – PREP 5MINS – COOK 20MINS

Ingredients

2 x 410g tins of pear halves (in natural juice), drained

2 small eggs

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp cocoa powder

150g Greek or natural yoghurt, plus extra to serve

2 tbsp maple syrup

130g porridge oats

4 tsp sugar-free hazelnut and chocolate spread

handful of chopped, toasted hazelnuts, to serve

Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan/gas mark 7).

Put half the tinned pear halves in a blender along with the eggs, cinnamon, cocoa powder, yoghurt and maple syrup and blend until smooth and combined.

Mix the blended pear mixture with the oats and pour into a small baking dish roughly 23 x 17cm (9 x 6½in). Arrange the remaining pear halves in the dish, pushing them down into the mixture. Dot with the chocolate and hazelnut spread and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until set.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts and serve with a dollop of extra yoghurt on the side.

Guest Review:Deception Creek – Fleur McDonald

Deception Creek

Fleur McDonald

Allen & Unwin

ISBN 9781760878825

Description:
A returned criminal, a cult-like family and cybercrime all clash against the backdrop of the Flinders Ranges in this thrilling new rural suspense novel from the best-selling Voice of the Outback.

Emma Cameron, a recently divorced farmer and a local in Barker, runs Deception Creek, the farm that three generations of her family have owned before her. Every day Emma pushes herself hard on the land, hoping to make ten-year-old memories of a terrible car accident disappear. And now there are more recent nightmares of an ex-husband who refuses to understand how much the farm means to Emma.

When criminal Joel Hammond is released from jail and heads home to Barker, Detective Dave Burrows and his officer Senior Sergeant Jack Higgins are on high alert. Joel has a long and sorry history with many of the townsfolk and they are not keen to see him home to stay.

Not all of the Barker locals want to see Joel run out of town though. Some even harbour doubts about Joel’s conviction. The town finds itself split down the middle, families pitted against each other with devastating outcomes.

Brenda’s View:
When Joel Hammond returned to Barker, to his hometown and the home his parents had left him when they died, he’d known it wouldn’t be easy. But he hadn’t expected the anger and hate directed at him by a prominent family in town. Joel had been convicted of fraud at his job in Adelaide and went to jail for five years, before adding another four years for assault while inside. He was a changed man, but he just wanted the past behind him.

Emma Cameron owned and ran Deception Creek, the property which had been in her family for generations, and she loved her work. She had farm hand Matt working for her and he’d been reliable and a great support with all his farming knowledge over the six years he’d been working on Deception Creek. Emma had been first on scene to a fatal accident nine years prior and still had nightmares from the memories; now with her recent divorce, she wanted to bury herself in her work on the farm and try to forget her worries.

Detective Dave Burrows and Senior Sergeant Jack Higgins both felt there was something dangerous hovering over their town. With Joel back, unhappy residents, strangers in town, Jack and Dave were both on high alert. What would be the outcome of the uneasy atmosphere in Barker? Would Dave and Jack be able to keep the peace?

Deception Creek is another outstanding, tense suspense novel from Aussie author Fleur McDonald which I absolutely loved. The author is up there on my favourites list – I always look forward to her next book! Well crafted characters, and of course my favourites – Dave Burrows and Jack Higgins – lead the way in this phenomenal read which I highly recommend.

With thanks to Allen & Unwin AU for my ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

Guest Review: The Way It is Now – Garry Disher

The Way It Is Now

Garry Disher

Text Publishing

ISBN:9781922458162

Description:

Set in a beach-shack town an hour from Melbourne, The Way It Is Now tells the story of a burnt-out cop named Charlie Deravin.

Charlie is living in his family’s holiday house, on forced leave since he made a mess of things at work.

Things have never been easy for Charlie. Twenty years earlier his mother went missing in the area, believed murdered. His father has always been the main suspect, though her body was never found.

Until now: the foundations are being dug for a new house on a vacant block. The skeletal remains of a child and an adult are found—and Charlie’s past comes crashing in on him.

The Way It Is Now is the enthralling new novel by Garry Disher, one of Australia’s most loved and celebrated crime writers.

Brenda’s View:

Twenty years prior, Charlie Deravin’s mother, Rose, went missing. She and his father were in the middle of a divorce and Charlie and his brother Liam had just evicted a tenant from their mother’s home. But when Rose disappeared, the police blamed Rhys, Charlie’s father. Rhys was an ex-cop and Charlie was a cop on suspension – Charlie had moved back to the little seaside town and was living in the shack his parents had called home before it all went pear-shaped. Charlie had spent a lot of the last twenty years interviewing people and trying to find his mother, ruining his own marriage in the process…

When the news hit the town of the skeletal remains of a child being found on a vacant block, and then underneath the child, the remains of an adult, Charlie was sure it would be his mother. He was positive he knew the identity of the child as well. The police homicide department was soon on the scene, opening the case once again and interviewing all those who were interviewed twenty years prior. Rhys and his second wife, Fay, were overseas cruising and wouldn’t be home any time soon. But still Rhys was a suspect. What would be the outcome for Charlie and his family as this cold case once again came to life?

The Way it is Now is a standalone novel by Australia’s master crime writer Garry Disher, and it was outstanding. A relaxed but twisty, tension filled story of a family and their ongoing grief, the divisions throughout the family and the grievances which were the result of what happened, made for an excellent crime novel which I highly recommend.

With thanks to Text Publishing for my ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Wattle Island Book Club

The Wattle Island Book Club
Sandie Docker
Penguin Random House

My View:

Outstanding!!!

Add this author to your must read list. Do it.

Written with finesse, with gentle words, with kindness, gratitude and positivity, this book brought a few tears to my eye – and that was a good thing.

From the outset I knew this was going to be a read that would take me to uncomfortable places, I was expecting some of the scenarios presented here – but not all of them. Although tinged with sadness, a bitter sweet ending, I am so pleased the author wasn’t tempted to make this a (unrealistic) happy ever after.

It was indeed sad. It was indeed thought provoking. I did shed a (few) tears. But it was a stronger read for the realistic, poignant, ending. Bravo!!

Synopsis: