Hello Lovelies! Please excuse our dust while we do a bit of construction on the blog. We will still be posting exciting reviews, brilliant guest posts, and exciting giveaways but we are in the process of transforming the blog and adding new content and features for you to enjoy.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Our House by Louise Candlish

Title:  Our House
Author: Louise Candlish
Publisher: 1st June 2018 by Simon & Schuster (Australia)
Pages: 400 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: fiction, mystery, thriller
My Rating: 4 crowns


On a bright morning in the London suburbs, a family moves into the house they’ve just bought on Trinity Avenue. Nothing strange about that. Except it's your house. And you didn’t sell it.
When Fi Lawson arrives home to find strangers moving into her house, she is plunged into terror and confusion. She and her husband Bram have owned their home on Trinity Avenue for years and have no intention of selling. How can this other family possibly think the house is theirs? And why has Bram disappeared when she needs him most?
Bram has made a catastrophic mistake and now he is paying. Unable to see his wife, his children or his home, he has nothing left but to settle scores. As the nightmare takes grip, both Bram and Fi try to make sense of the events that led to a devastating crime. What has he hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him? And will either survive the chilling truth – that there are far worse things you can lose than your house?

My Thoughts

‘The lights are out in all rooms except the kitchen; if you walked by the house now, you wouldn’t know it has changed hands. You wouldn’t know one family had been replaced by another.’

What an interesting book! Louise Candlish creates a story that will draw you in from beginning to end. You will find it hard not to pass judgement on the lives of Fi and Bram as you watch their lives slowly unravel. Separated after Bram’s infidelity, they work around the custody of their two young boys by adopting a ‘bird’s nest’ strategy - each parent takes turns alternating on a roster of either living in a shared apartment whilst the other maintains the family home. All in the name of stability!

‘The house sheltered us and protected us, but it also defined us. It kept us current long after our expiry date.’

Then you come home one day to find not only all your possession gone, but another family moving in and an estranged husband that cannot be located! The story then proceeds to go back and forth between past and present events to backfill leading up to this disastrous day. Clever - as puzzle pieces are slowly produced and the full picture becomes abundantly clear. For me, there are also two ‘WHOA’ plot twists that will most certainly take your breath away.

The story is told in a most unique way with both Fi and Bram presenting events from their alternating viewpoint. Fi’s is via a victim of crime podcast in the aftermath, where listeners can tweet their #theories and #opinions! Bram tells his via a typed Word Document, also after the event. I did enjoy this tale but, at times, was frustrated by both the lack of pace and frustrating events and characters. Still it was fascinating, even if the end left me speechless and perplexed.

So a big thumbs up for such an original concept, complex plot, crazy secrets, really unlikable characters and some incredible twists. This mystery is sure to please as an easy but engrossing page turner.  I mean, imagine coming home one day to find new people moving into your home and no one can tell you how it happened? This is a mystery involving relatable people who suffer from terrible lies and manipulation, where the loved ones you are trying to protect are the very people you may ultimately destroy.

‘..it is also quite fitting that it’s ended the way it has, because it has always been about the house. Our marriage, our family, our life: they only seemed to make proper sense at home.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

Friday, June 15, 2018

Burning Fields by Alli Sinclair

Title: Burning Fields
Author: Alli Sinclair
Publisher: 21 May 2018 by Harlequin (Australia), TEEN / MIRA
Pages: 352 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: historical fiction, romance, womens fiction
My Rating: 3.5 crowns

1948. The world is struggling to regain a sense of balance after the devastation of World War II, and the sugar cane-growing community of Piri River in northern Queensland is no exception.
As returned servicemen endeavour to adjust to their pre-war lives, women who had worked for the war effort are expected to embrace traditional roles once more.
Rosie Stanton finds it difficult to return to the family farm after years working for the Australian Women’s Army Service. Reminders are everywhere of the brothers she lost in the war and she is unable to understand her father’s contempt for Italians, especially the Conti family next door. When her father takes ill, Rosie challenges tradition by managing the farm, but outside influences are determined to see her fail.
Desperate to leave his turbulent history behind, Tomas Conti has left Italy to join his family in Piri River. Tomas struggles to adapt in Australia—until he meets Rosie. Her easy-going nature and positive outlook help him forget the life he’s escaped. But as their relationship grows, so do tensions between the two families until the situation becomes explosive.
When a long-hidden family secret is discovered and Tomas’s mysterious past is revealed, everything Rosie believes is shattered. Will she risk all to rebuild her family or will she lose the only man she’s ever loved?
My Thoughts

‘Sometimes the biggest battles are the ones we have inside us.’

Burning Fields is a historical fiction novel by Aussie author Alli Sinclair. Having previously enjoyed Alli’s other books (HERE) it was a fresh change to find her delve into the sugar cane fields of far north Queensland just after the conclusion of WWII. Although there is a love story here, I would suggest that the stronger plot is that of Australia’s multicultural history and the background to social and cultural changes that were occurring at the time.

There are also flashbacks to fill in details regarding Tomas’s thoughts and actions in Italy during the war. I thought this was well done and a clever way to backfill information. Using this information, combined with events in Queensland straight after the war, helped to demonstrate how complicated war is - none more so than for Italian citizens who found themselves switching alliances part way and the terrible angst and pressure it placed on those who remained to either conform or resist. As in the case of Tomas, nothing is as it seems - and for good reason.

There is much to appreciate about this read. Everything from:  wartime Italy, Italian family bonds (love Nonna), to life as an immigrant in ‘White Australia’ especially in the far rural reaches of the Queensland cane fields - racism was rife. I loved the descriptions of town life and the distances and strong community that was conveyed. Alli also touched on the struggle for women post war and the expectation of returning to their prewar roles after having contributed so much for the war effort. The  attitude towards women, not only sexism in a professional capacity, but also during social circumstances.

I congratulate Alli for tackling some topical issues - not only of the past but seen through present eyes, as it will surely would stimulate conversation. These issues set against a enticing location, combined with engaging relationships - Tomas and Rosie, Nonna and Rosie’s mother and father - will provide a most entertaining story for readers.

Tomas guided her hand upwards and rested it over her heart ...
‘This is where home is. I have spent too long trying to figure out what home means to me and I have finally come to the realisation that your home is wherever you feel love.’
‘Not Italy?’
‘Not Italy. Not Australia. Not the moon. Here,’ he squeezed her hand that still lay over her heart.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.