REVIEW: The Alexandria Connection by Adrian d’Hage

The Alexandria Connection Book Cover The Alexandria Connection
Adrian d'Hage

A New World Order is upon us . . .

In the shifting desert sands of Egypt, rumours abound of a lost papyrus that will reveal the true purpose of the Pyramids of Giza. Could these ancient monoliths be the source of a new kind of energy, one that comes at no cost to the planet? CIA agent Curtis O'Connor and archaeologist Aleta Weizman are determined to find out.

Close by, a shadowy and powerful group known as Pharos meets in Alexandria, its membership a closely guarded secret. Its first order of business: to orchestrate chaos on international financial markets with a series of spectacular terrorist attacks on the world's fossil-fuel supplies.

And in Cairo, amid the anarchy of Tahrir Square, thieves have broken into the famed Museum of Antiquities and stolen one of the world's priceless artifacts: the mask of Tutankhamun. Is the audacious theft linked to the Pharos Group?

Nimbly weaving politics, history and science through a rip-roaring plot, from Afghanistan to Washington, Sydney to London, The Alexandria Connection is a spectacular and stylish ride.

I received a copy of The Alexandria Connection by Adrian d’Hage from Penguin Books Australia, in exchange for a review and my honest opinion.

As a huge lover of any story involving ancient cultures, I’d actually had my eye on d’Hage’s books for quite awhile, but was never able to find hard copies (even online!). However, after agreeing to review The Alexandria Connection, the latest in d’Hage’s series featuring CIA agent Curtis O’Conner and beautiful Archeologist Aleta Weizman, all of the previous books came on sale on iTunes! Despite my book buying ban, thanks to being broke, I considered this coincidence serendipity and had to get them while they were so affordable! So, although the Alexandria Connection could be read as a stand alone book, I also read the Maya Codex and the Inca Prophecy, and enjoyed the additional insight that the previous books provided.

D’Hage’s books all follow a similar formula; whispers arise about messages left for the modern world by destroyed ancient civilisations, and the good guys must race the bad guys to protect that knowledge – and help save the world from predicted disasters. Interestingly, many of the books in this genre were published before the famous date in 2012, when the Mayans predicted the end of the world. Since the world didn’t end, and people continued to write, I feel that it has created more of a challenge for authors to come up with new ways to explore the mysteries of our past – without relying on an armageddon that never actually came to pass.

To my boyfriend’s frustration, I believe that there is a kernel of truth in stories like these. Modern society knows an awful lot, but I’m not arrogant enough to believe that we have all of the answers. Many archeologists and scientists have found evidence of past global disasters and cultures, but everything hasn’t quite come together yet and we can’t see the bigger picture about how everything fits together!

Fast paced action defines these books and, 80% of the time, d’Hage has that down to an art. The characters flit across the globe, between archeological sites and capital cities, evading bad guys and dodging death again and again. However, occasionally d’Hage gets bogged down in over complicated explanations of missile functions, or car history, or political backstory. Given the complex interweaving of politics, religion, terror and history throughout the book, I do understand and enjoy the breadth of information covered, but think that it could perhaps be incorporated more smoothly and simply.

Overall, this book held up well against other books in the same category, and I’d definitely pick up another instalment of O’Connor and Weizman’s adventures! I look forward to seeing what conspiracies and mysteries d’Hage tackles next.


Blog Sign-off

REVIEW: The Blood of the Rose by Kevin Murray

The Blood of the Rose Book Cover The Blood of the Rose
Kevin Murray

"It started low and soft, but grew slowly, increasing in pitch and volume into an unceasing scream so loud and so desperate it pierced his primeval soul. The detective was stunned, his mind blank. On the ragged edges of his consciousness a prophecy took hold. He could see, with shattering clarity, that there would never again be a time in his life when that scream did not exist" London, 1986.

A newspaper editor is horrifically murdered, his death quickly followed by a series of more brutal, and often bizarre, slayings. The police are baffled, the only clear link between the murders being a single blood red rose left at the scene of every killing. Why? What does the rose mean? What connects the killer to each bloody corpse? Scotland Yard detective Alan Winters leads a hunt for the elusive prey. As the body count rises, Jennifer Chapman, renowned investigative journalist and daughter of the murdered newspaper editor, sets out on a personal quest for revenge. Drawn together in their pursuit of a deadly quarry, Winters and Jennifer unwittingly face a fatal surprise, for the killer is closer than they think. As they close in on the truth of the blood red rose, their unseen foe plots a shattering end to his reign of terror, and death awaits them all.

I received a copy of The Blood of the Rose by Kevin Murray from AuthorAmp, in exchange for a review and my honest opinion.

No two people ever read the same book; a persons experience informs their interpretation of whatever they are reading. That was definitely the case with The Blood of the Rose; aside from the shadowy assassin, Hugh Chapman is the first character we are introduced to, and I immediately connected with him. An old fashioned, business-minded, powerful man, Chapman loves his family but doesn’t always know how to show it. His strong willed daughter, Jennifer, struggles to connect with him. Their relationship triggered thoughts of my relationship with my own father; like Chapman in many ways, my strong-willed attitude often is at loggerheads with his old-fashioned ways. I understood Jennifer’s desire to be closer to her father. So, when Chapman was brutally slain, I felt her pain in never having that opportunity, and connected with her need to help find his killer.

As the book progressed, I was surprised by the way Murray unravelled the mystery. Unlike many other thrillers, there was no abundance of cleverly hidden clues that the detectives stumbled upon one after another until they discovered the killer. Instead, much of the first half of the story centered around the distinct lack of clues. To me, that made the story feel more realistic; I’m sure that in real life, the clues don’t just fall in the paths of the investigators.

At times, the italicised insights into the killers thoughts and background were a little incongruously inserted. However, the information that they contained was crucial to understanding his motives and his background, so I can understand their purpose.

It was quite a long read, but just as the lack of progress in the investigation starts to get frustrating, it is revealed to the reader that the emotionless killer is indeed much closer than anybody suspects. Suddenly, with half a book to go, I was suddenly revitalised, wondering what twists and turns awaited in the upcoming pages and the inevitable race to catch the killer. I wasn’t disappointed!

Overall, I really enjoyed this read and would definitely pick up another Kevin Murray thriller in future.

Blog Sign-off

REVIEW: ‘The Imaginary Life’ by Mara Torres

The Imaginary Life Book Cover The Imaginary Life
Mara Torres

What goes through your head when the person you love leaves you? What do you do with your life when you have to start it all over again? Do you make it up? Nata’s world fills with unanswered questions when Beto leaves her. But time doesn’t stop, and the stories that Nata begins to tell herself about her own life lead her to a place where everything becomes possible again. 

I received a copy of The Imaginary Life by Mara Torres in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

It took about three pages to fall into the world of this book. For a moment, I was confused – who was talking to who, where were we, what was going on? But then everything clicked into place, and my heart broke for Nata.

When her boyfriend decides that they need to go ‘on a break’ after drifting apart, Nata’s friends consider her single – after all, she hasn’t heard from her Alberto in months, and they’re pretty sure ‘on a break’ has become ‘broken up’. So, having exhausted her shoulders to cry on and people to vent to, Nata retreats to her journal and her imagination. Imagining what Alberto might be doing, writing him letters, trying to fall for another man, trying to rejoin the single social life…

Written in a deliciously quirky way, The Imaginary Life felt like an indie movie in words. Nothing is lost in translation for Spanish author Torres – in fact, I think a hint of Spanish flair added to the overall zest of the novel. Perhaps one reason I liked this book so much is because I could so easily put myself in Nata’s shoes… I, too, struggle to let things go, and can hold on to people too long. I know all too well what it’s like to exhaust your list of people that you can talk to about someone, and be left inside your head, imagining what could have been if only this or that had been different.

This book is definitely all about Nata, so if first person, introspective, somewhat self-obsessed books aren’t your thing, then give this one a miss – but for lovers of quirky romance stories, this is definitely worth a read!


Blog Sign-off

REVIEW: Worlds Apart by Ber Carroll

Worlds Apart Book Cover Worlds Apart
Ber Carroll

Two women worlds apart ... 
one secret that changes everything. 

Erin and Laura are cousins and best friends who share a love of languages and travel. 

Erin, a French teacher in Dublin, reaches crisis point and drops everything to move to Australia. In Sydney, not only does she land the perfect job, but she meets the perfect man. Finally, her life is falling into place. Except Sydney isn't home, and never can be. 

Back in Ireland, Laura is struggling. Her husband appears distant, her work life is spinning out of control and her daughter's strange new nanny is undermining her at every turn. She longs to travel in Erin's footsteps, to drop everything and run far away. But these are dangerous thoughts for a mother and wife. 

As Erin and Laura desperately try to find their place in the world, a shocking family secret comes to light, and nothing will ever be the same again. 

I received a copy of this Worlds Apart by Ber Carroll in exchange for a review and my honest opinion.

Worlds Apart captivated me from the first page. Written from the perspectives of cousins Erin and Laura, the girls are struggling to find their place in life.

When Erin begins to crumble under the pressure of what ‘could have been’. What if her mother and father hadn’t fallen ill, and she hadn’t spent the last decade putting her life on hold? She takes a leap of faith, moving to Australia in the hope of finding where she is supposed to be in life. Laura, who loves her company and her little family, is surprised and ashamed to feel desperate to escape too. Overwhelmed by the hectic demands of busy life, her relationships start to suffer and she struggles to find balance and happiness.

Their stories are told in parallel, Erin in Australia and Laura in Ireland. Both women share a love of languages that influences their actions throughout the book; in many ways, their lives echo that of their mothers, who once escaped Ireland to live in the glamour of Paris, but are now both back in Ireland and have an intense impact on the girls. Herself a transplant from Ireland to Australia, Carroll captures the essence my home perfectly. I love it when Australia makes an appearance in a novel!

Beautifully written, Worlds Apart is a captivating novel; the characters are brought to life and immediately the reader feels a connection with them. As their stories unfold, and more of their past is brought to life, we see the girls make decisions that will shape the rest of their lives – I felt a kinship with both of them, myself being unsure of exactly what it is that I should be doing with my life! It was reassuring to read about these two women, after some heartache, working it out.

I would definitely recommend this book to those looking for a more mature version of chick lit; a bit deeper, a little longer, and a tad more thoughtful.

Book Depository | Amazon

Blog Sign-off

PS. In case anybody was wondering (as I was), Ber is short for Bernadette – but only her mother calls her that.

REVIEW: The Legacy by Melissa Delport

The Legacy Book Cover The Legacy
Melissa Delport
Dystopian Fiction

One man obsessed with power. One woman prepared to sacrifice everything to stop him. One war that changed the world.

"World War Three lasted twelve days. Twelve days was all it took for mankind to devastate the planet and almost eradicate the human race. No victor emerged from the ashes and billions lost their lives. We survivors lived through the bleakest of winters. A primal existence became the new order, and the little that remained of our humanity hung in the balance. Then one man stood up and changed the world.

I believed, as did everyone else, that he was the hero of our time, the man who had saved us from our own demise. His name is Eric Dane and he is the President of the New United States of America. He is also my husband, and my greatest enemy.

I grew up oblivious to the truth, until my father found me when I was nineteen years old. He told me about the many horrifying facts that our new leader kept hidden from us. And he told me that beyond the borders the Resistance grew and fought for freedom from the oppression that Eric Dane had imposed on us. My name is Rebecca Davis. I am twenty-six years old, and in me the Resistance has found the ultimate weapon.

I received a copy of The Legacy by Melissa Delport in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

Although the book world has been flooded with Dystopian books of late, thanks in part to the overwhelming success of the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins (and subsequently, Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy), many book lovers are getting a little sick of the genre. However, from the moment I dove into The Legacy, my faith in the genre was restored.

Delport quickly sets the scene; World War 3 saw the United States decimated by nuclear attack. Cleverly, she writes with enough detail to paint a picture that could be hard to imagine – a world power reduced to helplessness overnight. Once the worst of the fallout has passed, humanity begins to rebuild society. However, one man has a vision and a thirst for control. Eric Dane, soon-to-be President of the New United States of America, fences off several prosperous states, and convinces the inhabitants that only deformity and starvation lie outside of the boundary. Longing for stability, nobody questions him. That is, until Rebecca’s father, believed dead for the last twenty years, arrives to tell her the truth.

The story grabbed my attention immediately. Within the first few chapters (granted, I’m feeling particularly emotional today), I was stressed about the rebels getting the upper hand, Rebecca’s cover being blown, and her relationships panning out. Delport did a great job at walking the fine line between using too much description and boring me, and using enough detail to flesh out the characters and setting.

I whipped through the book (I won’t give away any of the plot twists!), and was stoked to find both The Legacy, and the sequel already available on Amazon. After devouring the first, I’m on tenterhooks to find out what happens in the second – I’m just holding my breath for a happy ending, because I can’t stand a love triangle gone wrong!!

I don’t know about you, but often the music that I listen to while reading a gripping series often becomes its soundtrack, and forever reminds me of the story whenever it comes on the radio. It seems like the lovely Melissa Delport knows what I mean, and has been kind enough to send me her Legacy writing playlist to share with you! Here’s what she had to say about the soundtrack to this book.

I am a big lover of music – I always have been, and remember the very first tapes my mom bought me when I turned 11 – The Best of Dolly Parton & Kenny G! Personally, I think she underestimated my desire to own my own music and thought it was simply a childish whim, so she bought music she could listen to when I moved on to my next obsession. That didn’t happen – in fact, in the absence of anything better, I stretched those tapes from playing them so much that they were no use to anyone within a few short months.

Everybody knows that music inspires emotion, and a movie’s soundtrack is almost as important as its casting. I have my own ideas as to what music would go well with certain scenes in The Legacy, but as I do not want to disclose any “spoilers” I will simply list my Movie Soundtrack, in no particular order. 

See if you can guess what song matches which scene:

Imagine Dragons                  Radioactive

Florence & The Machine      Never Let Me Go

Depeche Mode                       Precious

Madonna:                               Die Another Day

Jason Walker                         Down

Plumb                                     Cut

Taylor Swift                            The Last Time

Linkin Park                            Burn it Down

Damien Rice                          9 Crimes

Creed                                      My Sacrifice

Ben Howard                          Oats in the Water

Sam Smith                            Stay With Me

A few of these songs definitely match up with the scenes that were playing out in my head during the book. Are you a reader (or writer!) that always has a soundtrack?

Blog Sign-off

REVIEW: French Toast by Glynis Astie

French Toast Book Cover French Toast
Glynis Astie
Chick Lit

Sydney Bennett is back! And her pursuit of perfection is alive and well. Naïve to the core, Sydney believed that when she finally married the man of her dreams, the hard part was over.

Following a civil ceremony as a means to keep Louis from being deported, Sydney continues to plan the fairytale wedding that she had dreamed of since the age of five. Much to her chagrin, she discovers that her mother-in-law is planning what seems to be a rival wedding in France that SHE has been dreaming about for her only child since before he was born.

How will poor Sydney be able to ensure two perfect weddings in the midst of Louis’ fruitless job search? Especially when her mother-in-law’s idea of perfection appears to be having Sydney embarrass herself in front of hundreds of French people that she has never met?

As if she didn’t have enough on her mind already, Sydney finds herself faced with the trials and tribulations of being a wife. Sydney had always heard that marriage was hard, but she thought that this was just a ruse that married couples portrayed in a bid to make single girls feel less desperate. But as the bills pile up and emotions run high, she realizes that there may just be some truth to this statement. And as she watches Louis’ perfection fade away before her very eyes, she begins to wonder if she made a rash decision in marrying a man that she had known for a mere six months.

With all of the obstacles that Sydney and Louis will encounter, will they be raising their glasses in celebration or watching their impulsive marriage crash and burn? One thing is for certain, Sydney and Louis Durand are headed for one hell of a toast…

I received a copy of French Twist and French Toast by Glynis Astie in exchange for a review and my honest opinion.

French Toast, and it’s prequel French Twist, by Glynis Astie tell the story of how she met and married her French husband in six short month… and then proceeded to have three weddings, in three different time zones!

The plot was almost too cheesy to bear – until you remembered that it was based on a true story. Astie actually WAS swept off her feet by a charming Frenchman, and married him six months later! The fact that the story was true meant that instead of feeling annoyed at the fairytale love story, you felt hopeful and happy for the unlikely pair.

In French Twist, we meet protagonist Sydney (based on Astie herself), a stress-head who constantly doubted that the cliché love story she was living, and thought it must be too good to be true. I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what I’d be thinking, so her over-analysing rang true with me throughout the book. Luckily, her amazing family was there to diffuse any explosions of Sydney’s crazy, and saw her through to her wedding day without too many disasters.

French Toast picked up where the first book left off, with chaotic preparations for weddings number two and three (I’ll let you find out for yourself why three weddings were absolutely necessary), and stress-head Sydney is in full swing. It turns out that a speedy marriage isn’t all romance, and everyday life starts to take it’s toll on the lovebirds.

French Twist by Glynis AstieI read both books in sequence, but I think you would still enjoy French Toast on it’s own. That said, when you find a good book, more is always better, so why not start at the beginning! Both books are written in a fairly casual style, with some little asides to the reader that make you feel as though Sydney is telling her story just for you.

I particularly liked the supporting characters in the novels, and think the books wouldn’t have been the same without them. Sydney’s cheeky father and perfect sister in particular were great, and I’d love it if my family were  more like hers!

I’m looking forward to reading the third instalment of the series, French Fry, upon it’s release. You’ve still got time to read the first two books before the third comes out, so I recommend you grab then ASAP! You can find them on Book Depository here and here, or the ebooks on Amazon here and here.

Blog Sign-off

REVIEW: “The Curvy Girls Club” by Michele Gorman

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

A funny, heart-warming story about overcoming the prejudices we hold, no matter where we tip the scales.

When the pounds start falling off Katie, founder and president of London's most popular social club for the calorie-challenged, it seems like a dream come true. But as the overweight stigma recedes and her life starts to change, she faces losing more than the inches around her waist. Everything that's important to her - her closest friends, boyfriend, and acceptance into the club itself - are at stake in a world where thin is the new fat.

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

The premise of this book was truly fantastic. From the start, you could tell that Gorman was passionate about the subject, and that it was more than just another topic for another book.

When Katie and her friends realise that their weekly weight-loss meetings are making them feel guilty and miserable, they start hitting the town instead. Realising that curvy girls need curve-friendly environments, they do their research and choose activities that have comfy seating or wider doorways. Soon, there are so many people wanting to join in on these activities that the girls start their own club – the Curvy Girls (and Boys) Club.

The women realise that when they’re enjoying the activities, surrounded by fellow curvies, they no longer feel as ‘fat’. In fact, for the first time in a long time, they aren’t self-conscious at all!

As their curvy-girl revolution gains momentum, they start becoming more well known – and then the TV stations get involved.

Throughout this book, the plot developments are unexpected, and intriguing. The fact that these woman are of a size that is now the ‘norm’, whether we like it or not, makes them so much more relatable. As a curvy girl myself, who has always struggled with body image, I heard the ring of truth in the harsh critiques these women were giving themselves daily. Then, as their activities gave them a confidence and happiness that they’d been missing for a long time, I felt both happiness and jealousy.

Refreshingly, this book was about real women, and real emotions. There was no storybook romance, or miracle weight loss. The happy ending wasn’t seeing four skinny women who’d achieved their weight loss goals – the book was about women finding happiness in themselves the way they are, and not beating themselves up for not meeting someone else’s standards of beauty.

The Curvy Girls Club told a story that needed telling, and that I appreciated hearing. I admire Gorman’s dedication to the topic – she has even created a Facebook group for women that shares daily inspiration for curvy ladies.

Women who are brave enough to write about why they are beautiful as they are, and encourage us to ignore the haters are inspiring. Women like Brittany Gibbons, from Brittany, Herself, who are making a living by boosting women up, instead of putting them down, should be celebrated!

I definitely recommend this book, for women of all shapes and sizes. These women are real women, who I see everyday, and who everybody should know and empathise with. You can find yourself a copy here or here. Go! Read it now!!

Don’t forget that I am giving away three digital copies of “The Job Proposal” by Wendy Chen – you can enter the giveaway here

Blog Sign-off

REVIEW: Chasing Athens – Marissa Tejada

Chasing Athens Book Cover Chasing Athens
Marissa Tejada
Chick Lit

Suddenly dumped, a heartbroken American ex-pat stays on in Greece, confronting culture shock, crisis, and the charm of Mediterranean men as she redefines the true meaning of home. 

When Ava Martin’s new husband unexpectedly ditches her months after they’ve relocated across the world to Greece, the heartbroken American ex-pat isn’t sure where home is anymore. On the verge of flying back to the States with her tail between her legs, she makes an abrupt decision to follow her gut instead and stay on in Greece. She soon discovers that the tumultuous, culture-rich Mediterranean country is coloring her life in a way no place else can, changing her forever. But is it where she belongs? 

Ava’s newfound independence throws her into the thick of Athenian reality, where she has brushes with violent police riots and gets a taste of both the alluring islands and the city nightlife. Despite pressure from her mother, uncertainty over her impending divorce, and unresolved issues with her long-estranged father weighing on her, she’s determined to make it on her own. With the help of two very colourful Greek friends, she laughs and learns while facing culture shock, language barriers and the charm of Mediterranean men, until a life-threatening medical emergency back home in sleepy Ithaca, N.Y., forces her to decide where she truly belongs – and what truly matters.

I received a copy of Chasing Athens – Marissa Tejada in exchange for an honest review.

Ava is a woman that I think most readers would recognise; she’s at an age where she’s supposed to have everything figured out – but she really doesn’t. Freshly heartbroken, unemployed, and in a foreign country, Ava has two choices. She can return to her small hometown, full of the easy and familiar, or she can take a risk and stay in Athens, learning the language and enjoying her newfound friendships.

Tejada wrote characters that were instantly loveable. Ava’s new Greek friends were so caring, and their individual quirks were instantly recognisable as ‘Greek’. Ava herself is easy to feel sympathetic towards, but she’s not pitiable, so she never gets annoying. The experiences she has in Athens are recognisable too; the handsome rebound stranger who disappears after one night, the adorably sweet but too young boy who won’t stop calling… and then the romantic older man who sweeps you off your feet (after rescuing you in a skinny dipping incident… oh wait, thankfully that’s not so recognisable!).

I was in Athens two years ago, and I thought that Tejada captured it perfectly – the wild nightlife, the protests on the streets at night, the delicious food and good company… It’s an amazing place, so I could easily understand why Ava was torn about whether to stay or go. I liked that Tejada didn’t shy away from discussing the political situation in Greece, and how it effects the people. I feel like many readers probably aren’t aware of the reality of the situation. While I was there, there were protests every Friday night, and I’ll admit that my first experience of them was pretty nerve-wracking; Uniformed men with riot shields blocked off all of the local streets, and I couldn’t get back to my hostel. Men with firecrackers crowded the streets. I quickly learned to either stay inside, or stay close to home. When in doubt, McDonald’s always proved a safe hiding spot! I spent a long friday night in one, overlooking Syntagma Square and the protesters, eating donuts until it was safe to leave. I have also found myself in an Athenian Police Station on one occasion, and can tell you that Ava’s experience sounds just about right! Including these details in the story, that could easily have been left out, really added a depth to the novel that chick lit can often overlook.

I thought that this book felt very real. The writing and plot weren’t forced or unbelievable. Tejada’s own experience living in Athens clearly helped bring the city to life in her novel. I’d definitely recommend it to those who are feeling a little wanderlust, or want to travel vicariously around Athens. You can find it on Amazon for $5, which is another pretty good reason to check it out!!
Blog Sign-off

REVIEW: “The Seduction of Miriam Cross” WA Tyson

The Seduction of Miriam Cross Book Cover The Seduction of Miriam Cross
WA Tyson

Can Delilah Percy Powers figure out who killed Miriam Cross before she becomes the killer's next target? 

Miriam Cross, author, feminist and philanthropist, disappears from her Philadelphia home. A year later, a lonely recluse named Emily Cray is brutally murdered in her bed in a small Pennsylvania town. Miriam and Emily are one and the same. As Delilah and her staff of female detectives - a militant homemaker, an ex-headmistress and a former stripper - delve into Miriam’s life, they become submerged in an underworld of unfathomable cruelty and greed with implications that go far beyond the gruesome death of one woman or the boundaries of one country. Eventually Miriam’s fight for justice becomes Delilah’s own...until Delilah’s obsession with finding the truth may prove just as deadly.

I received a copy of The Seduction of Miriam Cross by WA Tyson in exchange for my honest opinion.

I really enjoyed sinking my teeth into this mystery; Delilah Percy-Powers and her band of misfit lady detectives were more than just your average chick lit crime solving team. As the mystery unravelled, the seriousness of the underlying issues gave the book more depth than many other chick lit mysteries. Furthermore, the complex mystery kept me guessing until the very end, when all of the interwoven strands finally became clear.

While the book had some strange formatting, a few typos and no page numbers, they were easily overlooked (no easy feat with a grammar nazi like me doing the reading) in the face of the gripping mystery. The cover hadn’t revealed much about the style of the story, so I was pleasantly surprised to read a book that focused on the mystery, with the  personal lives of the characters adding layers to the story but playing a clear second fiddle to the main plot.

I really appreciated that Tyson wove such serious current issues into the story in such a way that the reader was quietly educated as the mystery unfolded. Somewhat longer than an average chick lit novel, I was pleased to really sink my teeth into a detailed plot. Tyson kept the story moving forward at a good pace, and at no point did I feel like it was dragging – the extra pages were more than worth it.

I don’t want to give away anything about the plot, as you should analyse the clues for yourself as you progress through the book. However, I will say that for anyone looking for a slightly darker, more complex female-driven mystery, the first novel in the Delilah Percy-Powers mystery series could be perfect. If you want to check it out, you can find it here or here. I’ll be keeping my eye out for the next instalment!

Blog Sign-off

REVIEW: “The Golden Apple” Faerl Marie

The Golden Apple Book Cover The Golden Apple
Faerl Marie
Chick Lit

Meet Poppy Parker, a recent widow who knows she must move forward but has no idea which direction to take. To start fresh, Poppy moves from her idyllic home in Georgia to the grimy glamour of New York City to open up her own boutique and find a way to live and love without her husband. 

Austin Bandy has been in love with Poppy since the moment he laid eyes on her years ago, right before her wedding. Now she is back, grieving and broken hearted by her nearly-perfect husband’s death—not Austin’s ideal romantic situation. He needs to wait for her to recover but not so long that someone else has the chance to move in and sweep his dream girl off her feet and keep him as a “good friend” forever. 

Poignant, hopeful and fresh, Faerl Marie’s enchanting debut novel will have you hooked and ready to pursue your own hopes and dreams the moment you turn the final page. The Golden Apple is a charming and fashionable novel about loss, love and moving on without betraying your self, your past or those you love. 

I received a copy of The Golden Apple by Faerl Marie in exchange for my honest opinion.

Somehow, Faerl Marie managed to write a cast of characters that I instantly loved. I’m not entirely sure how, but within the first few pages, I was already rooting for Poppy – sharing in her emotional move to New York city, and feeling for her unbearable loss. As the story unfolded, I continued to love Poppy, despite her naturally being the kind of upbeat, bouncing blonde that can sometimes rub me the wrong way.

Rather than the usual ex-boyfriend, new boyfriend drama, The Golden Apple differs in that the main character is dealing with the unexpected death of her husband. This meant that Poppy was struggling to answer a question that has no real answer; how soon is too soon to move on?

I really enjoyed this book. It was a little more serious than many chick lit novels, with death as the central theme rather than a cheating boyfriend, but I found that refreshing. The secondary characters were upbeat, balancing the sombre Poppy, and hearing part of the story from Austin’s point of view added another layer of depth. This is the second book I’ve read this year that had some of the book written from the perspective of the male protagonist, and in both cases I’ve found that it’s lead to my enjoying the book more than others in the same genre.

I’ll admit, I was thrown by the somewhat obscure cover art, that does little to give away much about the book. I’m a chronic ‘judge a book by her cover’ girl – but I’m happy to re-evaluate my opinions quickly!

The Golden Apple wasn’t especially long, so it’s a good one to read in a sitting. If it sounds like your cup of tea, you can find a copy on Amazon here. If it doesn’t, no fear! I may have slightly over-committed to book reviews this week, and you can look forward to two more reviews before the week is out! Plenty to choose from.

Blog Sign-off