Book Reviews Adult

Forbidden Love by Karen Weaver 2017 Serenity Press Making Magic Happen Academy PB RRP $12.99

Jade’s best friend and Irish dancing partner is pregnant and getting married. Brax, a rugged, all male Aussie, arrives on the scene but appears to be already taken. Then Jade gets thrown out of her best friend’s wedding. Could her day get any worse?

Will Jade be ruled by her head or her heart? Will she allow common sense to prevail and lead the way or abandon all the rules and allow herself to be swept off her feet by a forbidden love?

The story takes places in the magical setting of the Irish Crom Castle and its surrounds. Karen gently unfolds a beautiful tale of love and lust and all that could be if only we would let it – of a love that doesn’t have to be forbidden at all.

A recommended read.



The Art of Keeping Secrets by Rachel Johns 2016 Harlequin Mira PB RRP $32,99

Three friends, three different lives, three secrets. Flick, Emma and Neve all share secrets. Big secrets they thought they would never share…or so they believed. But, one by one, their secrets begin to unravel. Flicks marriage appears perfect on the outside but one word from her husband could destroy everything. Emma is constantly exhausted and very much in denial over her boss while single mum Neve might damage the relationship she has with her son forever.

Will they all face the truth? How will the truth damage their families and each other? John has written a complex story of three different lives, yet, they are all stories we can relate to. We can relate to each one of them and why they have kept their secrets for so long.

Johns has written about the three friends with total honesty. Reading through each chapter I could identify with each one of them with my emotions fluctuating from being sympathetic, understanding where they were coming from to disbelief at some of their thoughts and doings. And yet, the disbelief was real. Throughout the novel, their friendship remained, even if at times, somewhat fragmented.

An extremely powerful, honest text. A definite recommended read.



Chocolate Truffle Kiss – a Novelette by Cassandra O’Leary 2016 Available from all major e-book retail sites.

Beth – late thirties, divorced. A writer who visits her favourite coffee shop daily to read a poem by an anonymous poet and place her eyes on her favourite fantasy.

Samuel – Barista by day, singer and poet by night. He greets Beth each day as if she is the only one fantasising about her over the counter.

Will a phone call from Samuels ex-girlfriend tear them apart before they even begin? Will a daily dose of coffee and truffles coupled with their unspoken desires for each other help them to grow stronger?

Fast paced, racy, sexy with humour along the way. A recommended read for 18+


Millionaire Under the Mistletoe by Stefanie London 2016 Entangled Publishing LLC

Stella was going to spend Christmas in the English countryside for one reason only, to honour her Grandfather’s wish. She had three things to do: spend a month on the estate, find the perfect buyer then get the hell back to Australia. Stella had been betrayed over and over again so trust doesn’t come easy for her. There was no room in her life for romance.

Then, she met up with Evan Foss. A boy she once knew. A boy who grew into a man – her potential first lover. They were both after the one thing and it wasn’t just the estate. Evan hopes a little bet will win her over.

London has written using witty, descriptive language that at times can be racy, sexy and blazing hot. With a final unexpected twist at the end it’s a recommended read for 18+.


love at first flight

Love at First Flight by Tess Woods 2016 Harper Collins 2016 PB RRP $29.99

 Mel, a married woman in her thirties, boards a plane to Melbourne for a once a year weekend away with her best friend. She has the perfect life.

Matt, nine years younger than Mel, boards the same plane to Melbourne. He is on his way home from a job he didn’t take to see his fiancé.

Then, the sparks fly. But not with their partners. Mel discovers love, real love, a love she has never had. Mel has lived as lie for years. So has Matt.

Flirtatious conversations occur throughout the flight and emotions are greatly heightened. Sexual emotions. Emotions neither have felt with their partners. What they both didn’t see were the disastrous consequences ahead of them. Obsession takes over both of them – their dreams become nightmares. The reader is lead down many paths and much empathy can be given to all characters including Mel’s children.

With a cleverly written plot and many unexpected twists and turns, Love at First Flight is an intense read that tackles one of societies issues in a raw and truthful way.



Beached by Karen Weaver 2016 Serenity Press PB RRP $5.99

“Cara off balance…tries to stay upright without anyone noticing…She lands on the floor, her body spread-eagled in a most unflattering pose. When she opens her eyes, Aussie Green Eyes is peering down at her…’Do you make a habit of this Irish?’ “

Cara, broken hearted, with a life turned upside down, leaves her Irish homeland flying across the world to Australia.

However, a three chance meeting with a green eyed Aussie gets her heart racing quicker than she would like.

With beautiful descriptions of Rockingham’s blue skies and sandy beaches, Western Australia, the reader couldn’t help but fall in love not only with Rocky but with Cara and Curtis as well.

A brilliant, racy, short story full of humour and fun bantering between Aussie and Irish. I look forward to more.



The Point Of Love by Monique Mulligan 2016 Serenity Press PB RRP $5.99

“In a fit of mischief, the wind shot the summary fabric skyward and gave Andrew a view of her red lace undies that were better suited to a bedroom than a beach.”

Lexie, new to town and a journalist finds herself targeted by developers to promote a Marina at Mangles Bay. Then there’s Thor look-a-like, Andrew. Sparks fly instantly between Thor and Lexie until her article about the Marina is published.

Stunning coastal settings and an obvious passion for his job enhance Andrew’s love of Mangles Bay and entice Lexie all the way. But, is her article a deal breaker?

A dazzling, sexy, short story brimming with humour and sparks all the way!



Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler 2016 Bloomsbury Press PB RRP $27.99

“My eyes full of kinetic energy, my skin sensitized to anticipating motion.

Specks of dust taking off from bottles, shadows darting onto the floor…The breath

Between consciousness and action collapsed. No hesitations, no projections, no order.

I became a verb.”

Sweetbitter is just that. Sweetness can be seen in the bitterness; bitterness can become sweet.

Tess, new and naive in New York is a sponge for all the city has to offer. She is there to find herself, gaining a job in a landmark, cultural restaurant. As her palate increases not only for food and wine, she finds herself being imperceptibly drawn into the darkness.

A fantastic, debut novel, Sweetbitter is a raw, detailed, lyrical representation of human nature and how we find ourselves navigating daily waters in the life we choose to lead. Written in an original voice, Danler attunes the reader’s senses to the life of urban youth in New York.


happy people read and drink coffee

Happy People Read and Drink Coffee by Agnes Martin-Lugand 2016 Allen and Unwin Arena  PB RRP $27.99

Diane is a year past losing everyone; her husband and young daughter in an accident. And, she herself, has made little grieving progress choosing to live as a recluse. She has stopped going to work at her Parisian book store – café, wears only her husband’s clothes and longs for her daughter’s strawberry scent.

When her best friend threatens a holiday, she knows it will be somewhere filled with bright sun and a cocktail lounge, so she decides to honour her husband’s wish of going to Ireland. There she could be alone and at peace.

Renting a cottage on the Irish Coast she meets her neighbour Edward. But Edward is not a friendly neighbour, making it very clear he wants her to leave, thus, the clashes begin almost immediately. He has an intuitive dog though, Postman Pat, who, on the other hand, wants her to stay.

Diane is easy to identify with; the non existent functionality, the disarray, the wanting to be alone as a part of the grieving process and once the reader finds out Edwards past, he can also be easily identifiable. The author, however, chose not to be cliché; she didn’t undermine or oversimplify the different grief felt by both Diane and Edward. Instead, she highlights their vulnerabilities skilfully.

The ending surprised me and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. A part of me is sad that Diane did not stay and work it out with Edward, another part of me is glad she didn’t stay but used the experience to help her truly move on; to truly find herself and live again. These thoughts are still with me.


castle of dreams

Castle of Dreams by Elise McCune Allen and Unwin 2016 SC RRP $29.99

On a visit home to her parents, Stella becomes fascinated by the shroud of secrecy surrounding her grandmother’s past. Intent on learning the truth, Stella goes back to the now-ruined castle her grandmother Rose and Vivien grew up in.

I struggled to get into this story at the beginning, but as the layers began to unravel more, my interest became piqued.

Castle of Dreams is a classic example of the after effects of secrets and the pain they can cause to loved ones. It is an historical romance that deals with love, lies and the perils of delving into the past.




The Beekeeper’s Secret by Josephine Moon 2016 Allen and Unwin PB RRP $29.99 Also available as an Ebook

bee keepers secret

Josephine Moon has brought together everyday people leading everyday lives. She masterfully brings them all together, piece by piece, beginning with Maria, an ex-n

un, and her niece Tansy. With family issues coming to the fore and one very controversial, yet, carefully kept secret involving the Catholic Church and sex

crimes, we are reminded that family is sacred and that the truth always, eventually, comes to the fore.


easy to relate to characters, including the bees, Moon has produced another story that will captivate the reader to the very end.



To Hull and Back Short Story Anthology 2015 Amazon PB RRP £8.99 Also available on Kindlehull anthology (1)

To Hull and Back is an entertaining read produced by Christopher Fielden. Composed from entries to a short story competition, Fielden has created an eclectic, inexplicably peculiar collection of humorous stories that range from the winning entry of Too – a tooth fairy, to a near death experience on a boat. Some stories I laughed out loud at, others I still ponder. Each of the twenty six stories are uniquely different, as are their writers. So settle down for the night, perhaps a drink in hand, and be prepared to be amused. The stories just may give you a quirky smile or two!


A Ghost’s Story by Lorna Gibb 2015 Allen and Unwin Granta RRP $29.99 HC

Lorna Gibb’s A Ghost’s Story is somewhat different to novels as we know them. Gibbs story is formulated within the framework of academia where she takes the reader from London to New York, to Russia and Naples, and back again. Spanning a century and a half, ending in 2013, Gibbs followed several séances, revealing the elaborate theatrical shenanigans that mediums once engaged in.

a ghosts story

Gibb’s novel is made up of computer printouts which appear on an Italian bookshop’s printer; bits and pieces of spirit writing; analyses of documents by Adam Marcus, an academic; and correspondence between the Magic Circle’s librarian and Gibb, who has taken over from Marcus.

Initially I found A Ghost’s Story a little difficult to read not having the usual flow of a novel, however, with so many extraordinary characters and many bizarre happenings, it is an intriguing study of the strange world of belief and longing that gives voice to ghosts the world over in a very ingenious work of fiction.


Death by Water by Kenzaburo Oe 2015 HC RRP$39.99 Allen and Unwin Atlantic

death by water

Nobel Prize winner Kenzaburo Oe has produced a linguistically dynamic story full of rhythmic prose that flows on every page.

Oe tells the story of a writer who examines his turbulent relationship with his father. His estranged sister provided support and many answers through a red trunk that is in her possession thanks to their mother.

Part myth, part history, part autobiography, Oe has written with honesty and truth and asks us to examine our own individual lives while pondering today’s society as a whole.