Review: Once Lost by Ber Carroll

Once Lost Book Cover Once Lost
Ber Carroll

Are some things better left unfound?

Best friends Louise and Emma grew up next door to each other in a grim inner-city suburb of Dublin. Now Louise, an art conservator, is thousands of miles away in Sydney, restoring a beautiful old painting. She meets Dan, whose family welcome her as one of their own, but she will always feel lost until she finds her mother who walked out when she was just eight years old.

Back in Dublin, Emma is stuck in a job where she is under-appreciated and underpaid, but her biggest worry is her ex-partner, Jamie. Emma has lost so much because of Jamie: her innocence, her reputation, almost her life. Now she is at risk of losing Isla, her young daughter.

So where is Louise's mother? Will Emma ever be free of her ex? Both women frantically search for answers, but when the truth finally emerges it is more shattering than they had ever expected.

Just over a year ago, I read Worlds Apart by Ber Carroll. That book told the story of Erin and Laura, in Ireland and Australia – I loved it. It was so honest, and I was hooked from the beginning, completely wrapped up in how their stories were unfolding.

So, when I got an email about reviewing Carroll’s latest book, Once Lost, I was excited. On it’s face, it seemed like it would be just as good as Worlds Apart – two women, half a world away from one another, dealing with life, and everything it throws at them. I wasn’t disappointed!

Emma and Louise are both very well written, and the reader immediately sympathises with their situations, even though they may not have experienced anything similar themselves. It’s not easy to write characters that are so realistic, so Carroll should be commended for that. The characters were quite reminiscent of Erin and Laura in Worlds Apart though; even insofar as they had the same initial!

Also beautifully written are the descriptions of life in Ireland and Australia. Being an Aussie girl myself, I always love it when Australia features in a story, and I’ve visited Ireland too, so I was happy to be reminded of my adventures there.

This is definitely a book I’d recommend. A little more serious than ‘chick lit’, this is fiction that is worth reading in a cozy chair with a warm cuppa. Now, please excuse me, I’m off to hunt down some of Carroll’s other books!


I received a copy of Once Lost by Ber Carroll from CLP in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

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REVIEW: The Curvy Girls Baby Club by Michele Gorman

The Curvy Girls Baby Club Book Cover The Curvy Girls Baby Club
Michele Gorman
Chick Lit

Ellie is fresh back from her honeymoon and can’t wait to share her news with her best friends Katie and Jane. To everyone’s surprise, mother-of-two Jane has news of her own… The women are due a day apart, on December 25th and 26th, and Katie can’t wait to be an honorary aunt to the babies.

But it’s hard to keep your sense of humor, not to mention your self-esteem, in the face of hemorrhoids and elasticated waistbands. Add a clingy mother-in-law, a career in cardiac arrest and a sex life that makes Mother Theresa look lusty, and soon their lives are as out of control as their bodies.

As the co-founders of The Curvy Girls Club, where loving yourself is the only rule, will the friends be able to practice what they preach?

The Curvy Girls Baby Club follows on from the aptly named Curvy Girls Club, which I read, reviewed and loved last year. I was excited to read the novella sequel, and was happy to see Ellie, Jane and Katie return. I whizzed through the book, and enjoyed it, although not as much as the first.

To be honest, there was a little too much cliché in this book. The ladies all get pregnant, and all end up giving birth on the very same day… Sure, it made for a fun read, but was lacking some of the realism and depth of the first instalment.

That said, I loved that the girls brought their body positivity with them into this story. Being pregnant is actually a fear of mine – I desperately want kids one day, but have no real desire to be pregnant. I’ve already spent my entire adult life worrying about my figure, and pregnancy is guaranteed to bring those fears out in full force. So, I completely understood the struggle that these ladies faced.

Because the story was so short, I felt that their struggles weren’t really explored. Yes, there were body issues raised, particularly with Jane, but there wasn’t a realistic explanation as to how they were dealt with; one pep talk from hubby and some cheery compliment cards probably wouldn’t cut it with a woman who’d been hospitalised a year earlier with an eating disorder.

I did like Ellie’s struggles with her mother-in-law, and found Jane’s struggle with her producers interesting – weight based discrimination is a real, and terrible thing. Katie didn’t really make much of an appearance though, perhaps because she was the star of the last book? But her unexpected pregnancy would likely have caused the biggest issue, and could have been explored further.

Overall, I liked that this book maintained a focus on body positivity, but it definitely wasn’t as uplifting or meaty as the first book. If Gorman writes a third instalment, I hope it’s full-length and regains the spirit of the first!


I received a copy of The Curvy Girls Baby Club by Michele Gorman in exchange for a review and an honest opinion. 

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Review: When Girlfriends Find Love by Savannah Page

When Girlfriends Find Love Book Cover When Girlfriends Find Love
Savannah Page
Chick Lit

Sophie Wharton is in control. Whether life is going according to plan or throwing her for a loop, Sophie is determined to remain calm and in charge. It's no wonder she's the successful owner of one of Seattle's most charming cafés, The Cup and the Cake. Her lemon meringue cupcakes, petite French treats, and cappuccinos always leave customers coming back for more. Naturally, her camaraderie of college girlfriends are still thick as thieves a decade later. And it should come as no surprise that she has her own cozy apartment in the hip part of town and grand goals for her future.

Of course Sophie has had her share of rough times, and recently some unexpected surprises have emerged. Her best friend Claire has moved across the state, the demands of her café are mounting, and some major changes among her circle of friends are shaking things up. But it's nothing Sophie can't handle.

When it comes to her love life, however, Single Sophie's at a loss. She approaches it the way she does nearly everything in life--by trying to call all the shots. But love doesn't work that way, and as Sophie examines her past relationships--thinking back on romantic trysts in Paris; college mistakes; the relationship responsible for the Year of Heartbreak--she must come to accept that love is an unpredictable, untamable, and often unexpected force.

This is the witty and heartwarming conclusion of the When Girlfriends collection, a novel about examining the past, moving forward, and following your heart. It's a story about friendship, relationships, acceptance, and learning to love again. About what happens when girlfriends find love.

When Girlfriends Find Love by Savannah Page is the final (seventh) book in the ‘When Girlfriends’ series. It focused on Sophie, who was also the focus of the first book, so things had come full circle.

I have read several other books in this series, and found my interest in them depended on how much I related to the character. For example, ‘When Girlfriends Let Go’ focused on Jackie, and I really found her vapid and shallow… which didn’t let me love it. In contrast, I much preferred ‘When Girlfriends Take Chances’, because I liked the characterisation of Emily better. I found Sophie quite relatable, and had forseen the romance that unfolded in previous books, so was happy to see it come to a conclusion.

I did find it a little unusual that the final book only focused on Sophie; yes, the series returned to where it started, but Sophie was really no more important than any of the other girls… so why not use the final book to wrap up everyone’s stories, from all perspectives, rather than just Sophie’s? That said, I was looking forward to seeing how Sophie’s story played out, so it wasn’t really a bother to me.

I love it when I get to read a series through to it’s conclusion – it drives me mad when a series is never finished (*ahem* The Obernewtyn Chronicles, or Galaxarena series…). So, I was always going to like this book! Honestly, it’s not super deep, but the entire series would be perfect for a light chick-lit read on a sunny beach.

If you’d like to read it for yourself, author Savannah Page is giving away a signed copy, and vouchers to Amazon and Anthropology! Just click here to enter the rafflecopter giveaway.


I received a copy of When Girlfriends Find Love by Savannah Page through Chick Lit Plus, in exchange for a review and my honest opinion.

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Review: Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill

Center of Gravity Book Cover Center of Gravity
Laura McNeill

Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true. In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is grand.

Or is it?

When her picture-perfect marriage begins unraveling at the seams, Ava convinces herself she can fix it. It's temporary. It’s the stress. It’s Mitchell’s tragic history of loss.

If only Ava could believe her own excuses.

Mitchell is no longer the charming, thoughtful man she married. He grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.

Fueled by fierce love for her children and aided by Graham Thomas, a new attorney in town —Ava takes matters into her own hands, digging deep into the past. But will finding the truth be enough to beat Mitchell at his own game? Center of Gravity weaves a chilling tale, revealing the unfailing and dangerous truth that things—and people—are not always what they seem.

Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill is not for the faint of heart. Although the blurb is pretty clear that this isn’t a happy, sunshine-and-birds story, I wasn’t prepared for how emotional this book made me. I can read/watch pretty much anything – gore, thrillers, blood everywhere – but this story of domestic abuse was hard to stomach.

McNeill’s writing style was fast-paced, and almost jerky at times. Statacco thoughts. Short sentences. Frenetic. This suited the story, which was high in tension from the get go. The narrative switched between several characters – Ava, the loving mother; Jack, her wary young stepson; Mitchell, her husband, and Graham, Ava’s lawyer/friend. I particularly liked the inclusion of Jack’s perspective; even though he was only eight, he knew something wasn’t right with his dad, but was still desperate to please him.

Some reviews I’ve read have painted Ava as weak, for not being ‘strong’ enough in the early part of the book. I disagreed. Strength is subjective; it takes strength to stay in a difficult situation and it takes strength to leave. I never saw her as a weak character. Desperate to please, maybe. Scared to disappoint anyone, probably. Willing to do anything to protect her kids, definitely. I don’t see how that makes her weak.

I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone who has encountered domestic abuse – it’s pretty heavy reading. I had to put it down several times and walk away because I was so angry and upset for Ava. I suppose that made for good reading, but it was also very draining. Although I liked the characters, and the story was definitely engaging, it was hard to get through in some parts.

That said, it’s a well-written, poignant story about a topic that too often goes unspoken. Perhaps people should read Center of Gravity for the warnings it gives, or the message it’s sending. Really, I think it will be up to each individual to determine whether this book would be a good idea for them – if you think you can make it through, it’s definitely worth a read.


I received a copy of Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill in exchange for a review and my honest opinion.

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REVIEW: ‘Dying Brand’ by Wendy Tyson

Dying Brand Book Cover Dying Brand
An Allison Campbell Mystery
Wendy Tyson

When image consultant Allison Campbell attends an award ceremony to honour a designer friend, she’s thrust into a murder investigation. Only this time, it’s personal.

A former boyfriend is dead, slain on the streets of Philadelphia. His widow claims he was meeting with Allison, yet Allison hadn’t spoken to him in years. Nothing about his death—or life—makes sense. When compromising photos from their past arrive at Allison’s office, they raise more questions than they answer.

Driven to find justice, Allison deconstructs the image her ex had created for himself, looking for clues about the man he’d become. As her hunt for the truth unveils secrets, Allison’s past and present collide—with deadly results.

Wendy Tyson writes excellent mysteries. That much I know, from reading two of her previous books – Deadly Assets and The Seduction of Miriam Cross. When I picked up Dying Brand, I was not disappointed by the mystery that unravelled within the pages.

From the get go, it’s clear that something isn’t quite adding up in the death of Scott Fairweather. Allison Campbell, Image Consultant (and sometimes sleuth), is pulled into the fray when someone starts sending her photos of her in the midst of a heated affair with Scott, from years ago. Who is sending them, and why, is left a mystery for more than half of the book, as the mystery slowly revealed itself.

Tyson does a great job of teasing the clues out of a story. Nothing is revealed too quickly, but the story doesn’t drag. Refreshingly, the outcome remained unknown until I reached it – there was no guessing in the first few chapters who the bad guy really was.

There was quite a bit of Allison’s personal life included in this book; her family drama, her boyfriend/ex-husband, her best friend and his older lover… I liked how this was handled in this book better than in it’s predecessor; the introduction of Allison’s little sister was interesting, and she was better developed than the somewhat distant older sister, or the abusive father who has mellowed in old age. That said, I still thought there was a little too much sex (really, I think Allison and Jason didn’t share a scene without taking each other’s clothes off).

Overall, I loved the mystery in this book. It was complicated and elusive, which I must prefer over a simpler whodunnit plot where I can guess what’s happened before I’ve even settled into the read! I am still interested in where Tyson takes her headstrong character next; I feel that there’s still a little way to go in terms of character development, I just can’t quite connect with Allison at all. However, if Tyson keeps her mysteries as fresh and intriguing as she has so far, I’m excited to see what comes next!

If you’re feeling lucky, click here to enter a giveaway for Dying Brand!


I received a copy of Dying Brand by Wendy Tyson, the third book in the Allison Campbell mystery series, in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

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‘What Would Mary Berry Do?’ by Claire Sandy

What Would Mary Berry Do? Book Cover What Would Mary Berry Do?
Claire Sandy
Chick Lit

For fans of The Great British Bake Off, this is a story about family life, unfriendly rivalry and flat Victoria sponges.

Marie Dunwoody doesn't want for much in life. She has a lovely husband, three wonderful children, and a business of her own. Except, her cupcakes are crap. Her meringues are runny and her biscuits rock-hard. She cannot bake for toffee. Or, for that matter, make toffee.

Marie can't ignore the disappointed looks any more, or continue to be shamed by neighbour and nemesis, Lucy Gray. Lucy whips up perfect profiteroles with one hand, while ironing her bed sheets with the other. Marie's had enough: this is the year it all changes. She vows to follow - to the letter - recipes from the Queen of Baking and at all times ask 'What would Mary Berry do?'

Husband Robert has noticed that his boss takes crumb structure as seriously as budget sheets and so puts on the pinny: serious redundancies are on the horizon. Twins Rose and Iris are happy to eat all the half-baked mistakes that come their way, but big brother Angus is more distant than usual, as if something is troubling him. And there is no one as nosey as a matching pair of nine-year-old girls . . .

Marie starts to realise that the wise words of Mary Berry can help her with more than just a Victoria Sponge. But can Robert save the wobbling soufflé that is his career? And is Lucy's sweet demeanour hiding something secretly sour?

This is a delicious feast of a funny novel, perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan and Allison Pearson.

If you’re a die-hard Great British (or Australian!) Bake Off fan, and love a bit of chick lit, then this is the book for you. Leading lady Marie is tired of being the Mum who brings the store-bought treats to school fetes, so embarks on a year long journey to learn from the Fairy Grandmother of baking – Mary Berry.

As a great admirer of the spunky Mary myself, I was drawn to this book and wasn’t disappointed. Marie was a great character. She wasn’t perfect, but she was REAL. A mother, a wife, a dentist, a homemaker; Marie was trying to keep the family running smoothly while dealing with job security worries, a perfect next-door neighbour who seems to one-up her on everything, a moody teenager and mischievous twin girls, a worried husband and the promise of a croquembouche to be delivered on New Years Day!

As the story developed, all the characters were well developed and I grew to love them all. The overarching theme of the book questioned whether the grass really is greener on the other side, and I liked how the author dealt with exploring  that. I know I think about the green grass in other people’s yards often, so this was something I related to.

I really loved this book. I couldn’t put it down, was invested in all of the story lines, and was glad it was a longer read so that I could really get my teeth stuck into it. DEFINITELY worth a read on a cozy night, with a cuppa tea and a scone!

Amazon | Book Depository

I received a copy of What Would Mary Berry Do? from Netgalley in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

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The Pitch by Belinda Williams

The Pitch Book Cover The Pitch
Belinda Williams
Chick Lit

She's in a long-term, committed relationship. With her business.

In three years Madeline Spencer has single-handedly grown her marketing agency, Grounded Marketing, into one of the country's fastest growing companies. But her success has been at the expense of her social life, and her girlfriends have had enough. They'll do whatever it takes, from speed dating to blind dates, to show her there's more to life than work.

Only Maddy is having a hard time forgetting about her business. She's about to pitch for her biggest client ever and the mysterious media mogul, Paul Neilsen, has volunteered to mentor her. Maddy might just be in with a shot of landing the account – if she can keep her mind on the job. Working with Paul is not at all what she'd imagined, and Maddy finds herself torn between her ever increasing workload and her feelings for Paul. She's discovering playing in the big league means making sacrifices ... and Maddy must decide what she can't live without.

I love a good chick lit read (no surprise there!), and The Pitch was no disappointment. I immediately warmed to Maddy, with her business savvy and take-no-prisoners attitude. Her self-starter, a rapidly growing environmentally focused marketing business, was the kind of business I’m interested in, which probably attracted me to the book even more.

As the book progressed, Maddy did too. Her single minded work-attitude softened as she discovered the benefits of a work-life balance, and her friends helped to keep her sane as an unexpected romance turned everything she knew on its head.

The one thing that rankled as I read was Maddy’s physical description; Williams describes an Amazonian goddess, completely flawless… Her beauty was a recurring element in the book, and at times I just wished she was more ‘regular’.

But, that aside, I loved gentlemanly Paul, his sweet children, and Maddy’s gaggle of girlfriends – I was excited to discover that Williams has already written one book from the perspective of Maddy’s best friend, which I am on my way to download as soon as I post this review!

On the whole, this book left me feeling cheery and all plot twists were wrapped up nicely (leaving room for another book in the series, of course!). Really, what more do you want than to put down a book and feel happy!?


I received a copy of The Pitch by Belinda Williams in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

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REVIEW: French Fry by Glynis Astie

French Fry Book Cover French Fry
French Twist
Glynis Astie
Chick Lit

Sydney Durand had finally achieved the perfect life she had always wanted. After a whirlwind romance with a charming Frenchman, she endured the three weddings it required to satisfy the members of the newly formed Bennett-Durand clan. All she had left to do was stroll into the sunset with Louis to enjoy their long-awaited happily ever after.

But everything changed when the stick turned blue. Suddenly, Sydney finds herself facing the daunting task of becoming a mother before she has even returned home from her honeymoon. Keeping a tenacious hold on her hard-won happiness, Sydney is determined not to give up without a fight – no matter what or who is thrown in her path…and that includes an overbearing mother-in-law, a know-it-all father and her own anxiety about having a baby.

Will she finally be able to tame her neuroses for the sake of her unborn child? Or will her hormone-induced panic cause a meltdown of epic proportions? One thing is clear: Sydney and Louis’ nerves are going to fry…

As promised, here is my review of the lovely Glynis Astie’s latest book, French Fry! 

For the last book in the French Twist series, we return to Sydney Durand’s whirlwind life to find her pregnant – naturally, a little ahead of schedule, and definitely unexpectedly. What follows is nine months of trying to keep crazy pregnancy hormones under control, juggling a best-friend bridezilla, dealing with the unexpected arrival of an eccentric French mother-in-law, and everything else a pregnancy throws at you!

I loved diving back into Sydney’s world. Having already read French Twist and French Toast (you can read my review of the first two books in this series here!), I already knew all of the wonderful characters and was excited to read what happened next in this semi-biographical whirlwind romance. So, I was able to completely enjoy every page from the get go.

Astie writes in a friendly, honest way, including the reader by giving them a peek into Sydney’s head and sometimes addressing them directly. It was lovely to pick up this book and feel like I was being welcomed back into her family.

This trilogy is a great example of great chick lit. It’s different from the same-same mould so many books follow, with plenty of twists and hilarity. Frankly, I’m a little sad to be saying goodbye to Sydney and her life! These books are definitely worth reading.


I received a copy of French Fry from author Glynis Astie, in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

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Book Release! French Fry by Glynis Astie

Almost a year ago, I read the first two books in a trilogy, and I was hooked. French Toast and French Twist were the first two books in a series by Glynis Astie, based on her quirky meet-cute and shotgun marriage with a handsome Frenchman and the chaos that ensued. I really enjoyed the two books (you can read my review here), so I was excited when Astie reached out about the launch of the final book in the series, French Fry!

Here’s an overview of what happens when three weddings end in a looming patter of tiny feet…

Sydney Durand had finally achieved the perfect life she had always wanted. After a whirlwind romance with a charming Frenchman, she endured the three weddings it required to satisfy the members of the newly formed Bennett-Durand clan. French Fry by Glynis AstieAll she had left to do was stroll into the sunset with Louis to enjoy their long-awaited happily ever after.

But everything changed when the stick turned blue. Suddenly, Sydney finds herself facing the daunting task of becoming a mother before she has even returned home from her honeymoon. Keeping a tenacious hold on her hard-won happiness, Sydney is determined not to give up without a fight – no matter what or who is thrown in her path…and that includes an overbearing mother-in-law, a know-it-all father and her own anxiety about having a baby.

Will she finally be able to tame her neuroses for the sake of her unborn child? Or will her hormone-induced panic cause a meltdown of epic proportions? One thing is clear: Sydney and Louis’ nerves are going to fry…

I’m keen to know what happens, and you should be too! If I haven’t convinced you yet, come back on Thursday when I post my official review. For now, I’m lucky enough to be able to give you some words from Glynis Astie herself, about how her travel and marrying a Frenchman impact her writing and inspire her!

Travel Inspiration

One of the biggest difficulties I have as an author is finding inspiration. I wish I could be one of those people who has ideas spilling out of her head; someone who has characters fighting in her mind to get their stories told. Well, not in a creepy way. I’m not looking to pad my husband’s file for my commitment hearing or anything, but I wouldn’t mind a little stroke of brilliance–courtesy of a fictional character–now and then. Alas, this has yet to happen.

The truth is, I never planned to be a writer. I toiled away in corporate America for years, until my second son was born and I somehow fell into writing. My new career began when I decided to write a series of books based on the whirlwind romance my husband and I experienced, regaling the world with our swoon-worthy story. A big part of this epic tale is our cultural differences which result from our being raised in two very different countries. He is a charismatic Frenchman and I, well, I am a neurotic American. We make for quite the interesting pair!

Clearly, I added a dose of France to my life in the form of my husband, so inevitably, I would travel to this majestic country on a regular basis to visit his family. Meeting my new French relatives for the first time opened my eyes to a whole other way of living. The laid-back attitude, flexible nature and raucous sense of humor exhibited by my husband’s father and uncles took my breath away. Nothing seemed to faze them! His mother and aunts took me into the fold immediately and did everything possible to make me feel welcome–including sharing the family’s top secret cream puff recipe. The outpouring of love I was lucky enough to experience on that first trip made me want to be a better person. I knew there was a more relaxed, trusting and perhaps adventurous version of myself in there somewhere.

After a few days in my husband’s childhood home, I found myself affected not only by the interaction I had with his family, but also with the country itself. I discovered breathtaking scenery, exquisite architecture and riveting history. But what threw me the most was the extremely fluid sense of time. Things will get done when they get done. If an opportunity to do something great shows itself, a deadline may have to be pushed. Beauty, wonder and fun are rather unpredictable. For someone who lives and dies by her datebook, this concept was decidedly foreign.

And then there’s the food! I’m a girl who LOVES to eat. You can’t turn a corner in France without running smack into something delectable–be it cheese, bread, confection, wine… Oh, the list goes on and on! Given the astounding quality of the boulangeries and restaurants (don’t get me started on the patisseries), I know I could never live in France. There aren’t enough exercises in the world to combat the pounds I would pack on in the presence of such delicious offerings, but it’s comforting to know I have a place to visit which will inspire me to do great things!

We’ll be taking a trip to visit our French relatives this summer and the timing couldn’t be better! I’m ready to start writing my fourth novel and I’m convinced there is great insight waiting for me in those rolling hills, gorgeous beaches, historic villages and, of course, my mother-in-law’s kitchen. It may take longer than expected to find said inspiration, so I’ll have no problem extending the trip if necessary. That’s how dedicated I am to my craft.

Thanks for coming to share Glynis! I’m super excited for French Fry, and have my fingers crossed that this weeks book launch goes well. If you’d like to win your very own copy of this trilogy, you can enter a Rafflecopter Giveaway here (US only) – or, you could by a copy for yourself on Amazon.

I’ll see you back here on Thursday to give you some more reasons why you shouldn’t miss out on this great chick lit read!

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REVIEW: Noise by Brett Garcia Rose

Noise Book Cover Noise
Brett Garcia Rose

The world is an ugly place, and I can tell you now, I fit in just fine.

Lily is the only person Leon ever loved. When she left a suicide note and disappeared into a murky lake ten years ago, she left him alone, drifting through a silent landscape. 

Or did she?

A postcard in her handwriting pulls Leon to the winter-cold concrete heart of New York City.

What he discovers unleashes a deadly rage that has no sound.

A grisly trail of clues leads to The Bear, the sadistic Russian crime lord who traffics in human flesh. The police — some corrupt, some merely compromised — are of little help. They don’t like Leon’s methods, or the mess he leaves in his wake.

Leon is deaf, but no sane person would ever call him disabled. He survived as a child on the merciless streets of Nigeria. He misses nothing. He feels no remorse. The only direction he’s ever known is forward.

He will not stop until he knows.

Where is Lily?

As the cover suggests, Noise is a novel full of darkness and anguish. The true sadness of the story was contrasted with the beautiful writing, with Garcia Rose using words to create images and emotions in this fast-paced thriller.

Leon is a fearsome character. Born and raised in Nigeria, deaf and gun in hand, he was saved by an American family. It was then that he met Lily, his new sister, and instant champion. While Garcia Rose goes into frustratingly few details about his adoption, life in America, and how he forms such a strong bond with Lily, it’s clear that Leon would do anything for her.

However, Lily disappeared ten years ago and Leon hasn’t heard from her since he read her farewell letter and learned that she had run away to make a life for herself in New York. One day, he receives a postcard from her and knows she’s in trouble.

When we meet Leon, he’s turning New York City upside down in his search for his sister. His ‘disability’ does not disable him at all – in fact, the fact that Leon is deaf does not really change the way the story unfolds at all, except to add to his mysterious, fearsome demeanour. Not afraid to shed blood in his quest to find his sister, Leon breaks all of the rules.

The novel is quite short – somewhere between short story and novel. So, the action happens rapidly. One lead turns into another, and then suddenly the story is at it’s end, and everything comes to a head.

Never really about a happy ending, or coming out unscathed himself, Noise reads somewhat like a mission of self-destructive, and is definitely not a light read. Emotionally, it is intense. I’d have loved a little more background, and a bit more character development, but overall the story was very unique and riveting. I was also particularly interested by Leon’s childhood in Nigeria, as I work closely with South Sudanese refugees who faced a similarly troubled upbringing. For a darker read, Noise is definitely worth a look.


I received a copy of Noise from Kelsey at Book Publicity Services, in exchange for a review and my honest opinion.

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