Review: Wake – Shelley Burr


Shelley Burr

Hachette Australia




Mina McCreery’s sister Evelyn disappeared nineteen years ago. Her life has been defined by the intense public interest in the case. Now an anxious and reclusive adult, she lives alone on her family’s destocked sheep farm.

When Lane, a private investigator, approaches her with an offer to reinvestigate the case, she rejects him. The attention has had nothing but negative consequences for her and her family, and never brought them closer to an answer.

Lane wins her trust when his unconventional methods show promise, but he has his own motivations for wanting to solve the case, and his obsession with the answer will ultimately risk both their lives.

Superbly written, taut and compassionate, Wake looks at what can happen when people’s private tragedies become public property, and the ripples of trauma that follow violent crimes. Wake won the CWA Debut Dagger in 2019

My View:

Without doubt THE BEST crime fiction read of the year, in fact I could say the best I’ve read in may years!!! I don’t think I need to say anymore, do your self a favour, reignite your thirst for books, read this.

5 STARS *****

Post Script: A Place to Remember – Jenn J McLeod

A Place to Remember


A Place to Remember

Jenn J McLeod

Head of Zeus

Harper Collins Australia

ISBN: 9781786699923



A man loses five years of his life. Two women are desperate for him to remember.


Running away for the second time in her life, twenty-seven-year old Ava believes the cook’s job at a country B&B is perfect, until she meets the owner’s son, John Tate. At twenty, the fifth generation grazier is a beguiling blend of both man, boy and a terrible flirt. With their connection immediate and intense, they begin a clandestine affair right under the noses of John’s formidable parents.


Thirty years later, Ava returns to Candlebark Creek with her daughter, Nina, who is determined to meet her mother’s lost love for herself. While struggling to find her own place in the world, Nina discovers an urban myth about a love-struck man, a forgotten engagement ring, and a dinner reservation back in the eighties. Now she must decide if revealing the truth will hurt more than it heals…



My View:

A remarkable read! Jenn J McLeod has out done herself with this epic Australian family saga. Fantastic settings, family dramas that will wrench your heart, a little mystery and a compelling narrative. All that is left to say now, is, what’s next Jenn?

Post Script: Out Of Alice – Kerry McGinnis

Out Of Alice

Out of Alice

Kerry McGinnis

Penguin Random House Books

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9780143799856



From the bestselling author of Pieces of Blue and Wildhorse Creek comes an evocative and heartfelt story about how in the remotest of places lives can be lost…and found.


When Sara Blake takes up a position as governess on Redhill Station in Central Australia, she isn’t expecting to encounter a family in crisis, or to uncover a tragedy of her own.


With the owners’ son critically ill, Sara is called upon to take care of their young daughter. As the family struggles to make a living from the drought-stricken land, everyone pitches in – and Sara finds herself letting people in to the empty spaces in her heart.


But the longer she spends out bush, the more she becomes plagued by elusive visions of her dark and troubled childhood. The fragments of memory lead her deep into the red centre of Australia, where at picturesque Kings Canyon she must confront the horrifying secrets of her past.




My View:

Kerry McGinnis has convinced me – The Alice is now on our travel destination list!


This is the second book by McGinnis that I have read, each so vastly different thematically but McGinnis’s trade mark passion for the outback and her ability to portray the locations with such an intensely visual palette is constant across both books; superb reading.


There is little more I can add to my previous accolades except – the main characters are warm and generous, the settings brilliantly drawn, the mystery beckons you to read and read on. Kerry McGinnis writes authentic rural narratives with complex plots and contemporary issues.  Read on today – you will be impressed.


In The Mail This Week 21st August 2015

Some great reads in the mail this week – a couple of fantastic cook books  – I have started a new shopping list in preparation for some mega cooking days coming soon, an interesting book or two on Gut Health –  (which I just had to start reading straight away) , some crime fiction and a brilliant creative memoir – I Forgot to Remember and one that is nominated for a Ned Kelly award (to be read ASAP).



In the mail 21st August 2015

Two of these books have the scariest book covers I have come across recently:

Please Dont Leave Me Here


Cover Skin Deep


Post Script: Whiskey and Charlie aka Whiskey Charlie Foxtrot – Annabel Smith

A story about family, memory and memories, forgiveness and hope.

Whiskey and Charlie

Whiskey & Charlie

Annabel Smith


ISBN: 9781492607861



A captivating debut novel of brothers who have drifted apart and the accident that will determine their future, by an unforgettable new voice in fiction.


Some twins communicate in a secret language all their own. For Whiskey and Charlie Ferns, the two-way alphabet (alpha, bravo, charlie, delta) whispered back and forth over their crackly walkie-talkies is the best they can do. But as the brothers grow up, they grow apart. Whiskey is everything Charlie is not-bold, daring, carefree-and Charlie blames his brother for always stealing the limelight, always striving ahead while seeming to push Charlie back. By the time the twins reach adulthood, they are barely even speaking to each other.


When Charlie hears that Whiskey has been in a terrible accident and has slipped into a coma, he is shocked…although perhaps not devastated. But as days and weeks slip by and the chances of Whiskey recovering grow ever more slim, Charlie is forced to look back on their lives and examine whether or not Whiskey’s actions were truly as unforgivable as Charlie believed them to be.


My View:

This is a very moving, emotional and up lifting book that will engage and challenge some of your perceptions and attitudes about the people that surround you and the memories and beliefs we carry around with us – some assisting us in life’s journey, some holding us back. This is a narrative that reflects on a family and their individual reactions to and about a sibling critically injured in a car accident. Their responses, their strengths and weaknesses, their inner turmoil and fears slowly revealed as family secrets and myths are washed clean and truths faced.


Annabel Smith delivers well developed characters, big emotions and plenty of material for reflection. Cleverly Smith uses the scenario of identical twins to explore relationships, memories, values, envy and guilt by dipping back and forward into the lives of the two brothers. I was surprised that as I became more involved in the book, the less I liked Charlie – his stubbornness, his jealousy, his lack of confidence in himself and his inability to share his emotions. Under the surface this “sensible” twin was slowly revealed as emotionally stunted, thankfully he was not beyond redemption.


A very moving and challenging read that will leave you examining your own relationships and beliefs.



Post Script: Crash and Burn – Lisa Gardner

The truth is sometimes ugly and confusing and complicated.

Crash and Burn

Crash and Burn

Lisa Gardner



ISBN: 9781472220226


Description: My name is Nicky Frank.


I’m in hospital after crashing my car. I am afraid. The only thing that I can think about is Vero. I know I have to save her but why couldn’t I find her? She’s just a little girl.


The man standing in my hospital room tells me we are married but there is no Vero. That six months ago I suffered a traumatic brain injury which caused changes to my personality. I have dramatic mood swings, an inability to concentrate and large gaps in my memory. I’m much easier to anger these days. And I drink. All of which he says explains the car accident and my confusion.


Now a Sergeant Wyatt Foster is investigating. He has questions about the car accident. He has concerns about my husband. And he’s worried about a missing girl.


He would like to know what happened to me. So would I.


My name is Nicky Frank. This is my life.



My View:

Lisa Gardner – how do you keep doing this? You keep coming up with plots that are twisted, addictive and compelling. You keep me enthralled, you keep me turning the pages and you keep me up at night reading until I finish and then finally I can sleep when all has been revealed and I have digested and re-examined all you have shared with me. This is a heartbreaking yet realistic scenario, it presents many a quandary, many moral dilemmas and yet managed to be quietly optimistic. I loved the characters, all the characters (well maybe not so much Thomas but even he had his good points). Nicky Frank is so credible – in her post concussive behaviours and her desire to seek the truth – whilst all the time hiding a huge secret and eventually revealing a shocking plot twist or two. Brilliant! More!!!


Post Script: Leaving Time – Jodi Picoult

“Death is a natural occurrence, murder is not.” (p.362)

Leaving Time

Leaving Time

Jodi Picoult

Allen and Unwin



Description Alice Metcalf was a devoted mother, loving wife and accomplished scientist who studied grief among elephants. Yet it’s been a decade since she disappeared under mysterious circumstances, leaving behind her small daughter, husband, and the animals to which she devoted her life. All signs point to abandonment – or worse.


Still Jenna – now thirteen years old and truly orphaned by a father maddened by grief – steadfastly refuses to believe in her mother’s desertion. So she decides to approach the two people who might still be able to help her find Alice: a disgraced psychic named Serenity Jones, and Virgil Stanhope, the cynical detective who first investigated her mother’s disappearance and the strange, possibly linked death of one of her mother’s co-workers.


Together these three lonely souls will discover truths destined to forever change their lives. Deeply moving and suspenseful, Jodi Picoult’s 21st novel is a radiant exploration of the enduring love between mothers and daughters



My View:

Leaving Time is one of the most amazing books I have read in a long time. This is a book that defies you to limit it to one specific genre – it is a murder/mystery, it is a romance, it has a psychic, it is a contemporary work of fiction, it is a social commentary, it is a study on elephants and of loss and grief… This book has many themes; about relationships, particularly relationships between mother and child whether they be human or elephant, about loss, grieving, death and memory and forgiving but not forgetting. This can be a casual comfortable read as you sit by the pool, or the in the airport lounge or on the train, it can also be something more serious; words that prick your conscience, words that make your heart quake and words that will make you smile.


The setting in the books come alive in front of you – elephant sanctuaries –both in Africa and in Tennessee USA, police stations, seedy neighbourhoods, a haunted derelict house…words paint realistic pictures. And the dialogue – contemporary, natural and flows so well, the humour will make you ‘eye roll’.   Here is just one hilariously example where we get Jenna’s perspective (thirteen years old) of Virgil/Victor trying to talk a lab technician/colleague in to assisting them (p127), Jenna- “I’ve been sitting on an examination table observing the mating behaviour of the Fundamentally Alcoholic, Washed Up Male and the Oversexed, Overblown Cougar.

Here are my scientific field notes:

The Male is uneasy, caged. He sits and taps his foot incessantly, then gets up and paces. He has put a little effort into grooming today, in anticipation of seeing the Cougar, who enters the room.

She wears a white laboratory coat and too much makeup. She smells like the perfume inserts in magazines that are so overwhelming you are tempted to lob the whole issue across the room, even If it means you will never finds out the Ten Things Guys Want in Bed or What Makes Jennifer Lawrence Mad! She is a blond with dark roots, and someone needs to tell her that pencil skirts are not doing her ass any favours.

The Male makes the first move. He uses dimples as a weapon. He says Wow Lulu long time no see.

The Cougar rebuffs his advances…” It just gets funnier.


Panoramic settings, realistic dialogue, engaging characters, humour, elephants, love, death, murder and mystery, all these elements make this a momentous read – and did I mention the twist in the tail? Guaranteed to surprise.


That’s my view, what’s yours?










Read extract here: