Review of ‘Three Mile Cache’ by Jen Silver

I’ve read most of Jen Silver’s full length novels and enjoyed them immensely, so was looking forward to this new novella. She does not disappoint. ‘Three Mile Cache’ may be shorter than her usual work, but she manages to capture so much regardless of the length of the work. Carolyn Wells is an archaeologist and travels the world most of the time. Her relationship with Sydney Detective Inspector Alex Graham suffers as a result. When Alex is wounded in the line of duty and goes to the Australian outback to recover, Carolyn realises just how important their relationship is, and flies there to be with her. But Alex’s wandering eye hasn’t stopped just because she is injured. Is there still enough worth between them? And will they realise how they feel about each other before it is too late? Meanwhile Alex has been poking her nose into some mysterious goings on in the area and she might have bitten off more than she can chew.

I was impressed by how much character development Jen Silver got into this novella. I felt as if I knew these characters so well and wanted to know more. The story started off as a romance, but there was an exciting mystery involved too. It was a good story with interesting characters, in a setting we don’t usually get to read about. I loved the finding out about the Outback and the Flying Doctors Service and, like Jen, I too was a fan of the 80s TV series. A very enjoyable novella. 

I was given this ARC to review,

Review of ‘Dead Lez Walking’ by G Benson

‘Dead Lez Walking’ is exciting, tense, funny and touching. When an outbreak of a mysterious virus hits Perth, the hospital Taren works in takes the brunt. As a lockdown is enforced, she and her colleagues must find a way to survive – or become victims themselves. This is no ordinary virus. As zombies wander the corridors looking for their next meal, surgeon Joy wakes to find her world turned upside down. One by one, the survivors find each other and with the help of some medical knowledge, sheer determination and more than a hint of gallows humour, they battle against the odds.

G Benson’s books are normally funny, romantic and exciting. And ‘Dead Lez Walking’ is all of those things – but with gore and light horror too. It was so well written that she had me believing this could really happen. She made it seem so real. That was down to great characters, snappy, witty dialogue and a story with pace. All throughout I could not help but think it would make a terrific film. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Sliced Ice’ by Lee Winter

I loved this collection of short stories by Lee Winter. I’m a huge fan of short stories and enjoyed how Ms Winter used these to fill in some details about her characters and their lives. They were engaging and extremely hot. My particular favourites were from her Brutal Truth collection. I loved being back with Elena and Maddie. I also enjoyed Number Five, which is based on her Hotel Queens novel. It was scorching and empowering. A wonderful collection.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Ignis’ by KJ

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love KJ’s writing. But this one surprised even me. It’s absolutely wonderful. Completely different from anything I’ve read from her before. It’s a gripping, chilling, and at times scary, mystery. 

Felicity is the headmistress of Rawson Girls Grammar school, and lives a controlled life, where she calls the shots. But she’s no Ice Queen. She’s kind and charitable, but just doesn’t shout about it. When disturbing events begin to happen in her vicinity, Inspector Tal Diamandis is assigned to the case. As they work together to find out why, secrets from the past threaten to surface. And an attraction between them flares, forcing  Felcity to rethink her self-imposed rules. 

I love mysteries, so was thrilled that KJ has decided to dip her pen in this genre. Is there anything this woman does not excel at? She blended a brilliant story with romance and passion perfectly.

‘Ignis’ is compelling reading and I couldn’t put it down. It’s an excellent story, full of heart. It has pain, hope, love and power. The best KJ book so far. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Change of Plans’ by KJ

Are you supposed to fall in love with the characters in the book you’re reading? If not, I must have missed that directive. Because it is impossible not to fall for Emily and Skye in KJ’s latest novel, ‘Change of Plans’. Emily is a stickler for planning every last detail of her life. Skye is not. Emily is unsure and worries a lot, and finding a way to be happy is not easy for her. Can she find a way to change? Will Skye be the one to help her do that? Her life as a bike courier suits her. She goes with the flow and hopes for the best. Can two such different women ever make it work?

I loved Emily. Kind, adorable and thoughtful, with her own outlook on life. She is who she is, and that’s fine by me. It takes different strokes and it’d be boring if we were all the same. Skye could see how wonderful she was and felt quite protective of her. This is the kind of book that makes the reader feel all warm and fuzzy. It’s about finding your person. The one who gets you. Because not everyone will, and that’s fine too. It made me feel hopeful, because there are good people out there. We’re so used to hearing the bad stuff on the news – and we forget that there are good people out there with hearts of gold, ready and willing to help others.

It made me smile with joy and happiness. KJ looks into the hearts of her characters and sees the best in them. She has a wonderful  outlook, and it comes through in her writing.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Tracing Invisible Threads’ by C Fonseca

‘Tracing Invisible Threads’ by C Fonseca is the story of Eleanor, a well-known photographer who has returned home to Melbourne after many years abroad. As well as spending time with her family, she has a burning desire to solve a mystery left after the death of her beloved aunt, Helen. Helen died in a natural disaster in China and her returned belongings included a trunk, with very old papers and photographs. Alexa Bellamy, a researcher and librarian at the state library is given the task of finding out what the papers and photos are and why Helen had them. When the two women begin to work together to solve the puzzle, an attraction grows, but are either of them ready for a serious relationship? Is Eleanor ready to stay in Australia – and is Alexa going to let herself believe she can be happy?

I loved the mystery within this story. I adore it when a romance has another element – and a fascinating one at that. This story really kept my attention. I was as keen to find out about the people in the old photographs. And I was intrigued as to why Helen had them with her. The Melbourne setting was a big plus for me. I got to know more about its history, the people who lived there in the early days, and the outlying areas around the city. It’s a joy to read a book from places we don’t always get to read about. I loved the two main characters. They sparked off of each other and became something more when they were together. Alexa’s Grandmother, Grace was a brilliant character. So full of life. A great story. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘The Thing About Tilly’ by G Benson

Do you know how difficult it is to write a review with happy tears streaming down your face? Well, I found out today. ‘The Thing About Tilly’ by G Benson is hands-down my favourite book of the year. Tilly runs away – a lot. Throughout their friendship, Ellie has had to accept that she would. But she’s never known why. Finding herself unexpectedly pregnant, Ellie needs to be able to rely on her friends. She can rely on the third member of the triumvirate, Sean, but Tilly’s another matter. There are so many secrets between them, secrets that stop them living their lives to the full. Will they find a way to be honest, to say what needs to be said? 

I loved the relationship dynamics, the longing and the angst. There were so many layers and stories to be told and I couldn’t put it down. It was wonderful. G Benson certainly knows how to make her readers feel. It was heartbreaking at times, and joyful at others.  And being a G Benson novel, it was also very funny. The intensity of the emotions was breathtaking and so beautifully written. I adored ever last word. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘All At Sea’ by Cheyenne Blue

Cheyenne Blue has once again captured my heart with characters I can root for, an engaging storyline, and a beautiful love story. ‘All At Sea’ is the story of Stevie Sterling, newly qualified nurse, and member of an important local family. When, yet again, her parents refuse to acknowledge her achievements, she wanders off their luxury yacht and seeks refuge in a deserted and unassuming boat further along the marina. Waking up the next morning miles from port and with an irate but gorgeous captain looming over her, it seems life is going to get very interesting. Kaz Malone, eco warrior, has a mission to complete and has no time to pander to the wishes of the rich socialite. Can she gets past first impressions and see the real Stevie – and can Stevie survive life on the high seas? Will they find that life sometimes has a way of putting the right person in your path, just when you need it?

I loved both Stevie and Kaz. Stevie was her own woman, in a family where appearances and conformity were everything. Her principles were important to her but her parents could never accept her for who she was. Maybe Kaz could be the woman who could love her for herself. Kaz was just as principled and was willing to risk everything for her cause. Could she convince Stevie to be a part of that? This story was about each woman finding out who she really was, and what it would take to find true happiness. It was about finding a passion and finding someone to share it with. It was an enthralling story. I also enjoyed the descriptions of the Australian wildlife and scenery. They made the story richer and gave an insight into Kaz’s life. An excellent story. 

I was given this Arc to review.

Review of ‘Kick Back’ by KJ

KJ has done it again! When I reviewed her last book, ‘Coming Home’ I declared it was my favourite  novel of 2019. ‘Kick Back’ is just as inspiring. I loved it. 

Sophia Lindstrom is one of the more experienced players in the South Melbourne Women’s AFL team. She’s strong and determined and a fighter. She’s willing to get involved and help anyone – but when it comes to her own happiness she won’t take that final step. Cam Weathers is a reporter tasked with writing fluff pieces on the league. Her boss expects her to toe the line and ignore the fact that the women are exceptional athletes, with an important part to play in the sport. Let’s just say Cam has other ideas. She’s also drawn to the fiercely protective Sophie, a woman who is determined to make her see that the  women’s league has merit and importance. But both women have barriers and lines they won’t cross. Can either of them get past that, as they are pulled into something increasingly complex and confusing. Something that requires them to join forces if they are going to find out the truth. 

‘Kick Back’ had me feeling so many emotions. KJ made me really care about her characters. Within her fantastic story she made me angry and sad and she made me want to scream at the misogyny the women had to fight against. But I knew Sophie and Cam had this. They were warriors. She also had me ecstatic and joyful in this beautifully observed piece of writing. KJ knows how to write emotionally intense prose. I adore her style. Highly recommended. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Coming Home’ by K.J.

‘Coming Home’ is my favourite book of the entire year. It’s the story of teacher Sam Markson and famous American actress, Abigail Taylor. When Sam is asked to teach Abigail’s daughter Grace for three months while she is filming a movie in Melbourne little does she know she will meet the woman of her dreams. I really liked the Melbourne setting. It was refreshing to read a sapphic fiction book set in a different place. 

The characters were very engaging. Sam is so funny and adorable. She fancies Abigail even before she meets her and  it’s sweet to see her get all goofy when she finally does. She is one of those people who knows exactly how to make every single person she meets feel at ease. Abby is lovely and a great mum. She’s so sexy too. The relationship between the two women gave me all the feels. It was sweet and I was willing them on the whole way. I also loved the dynamic between Sam and Abby’s daughter, Grace. It was very loving and heart-warming. As I have come to expect from K.J., the humour was beautifully done. It was so natural and infectious and I loved the Australianisms. I really enjoyed the writing style. I was able to enter that world and feel a part of it . I found myself having such an emotional reaction to this story. How could I feel so invested in two fictional characters? Exceptional writing, that’s why. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC for review.