Distance by Nene Davies

distance

E-book was gifted by author for review.

I am lost for words yet, there is so much I want to say about this début from author Nene Davies. I am in awe of such a wonderful talent. This book had me hooked from the first page and keep me glued to it till the very end.

Distance is a story of Isobel and her family and their struggle to regain their balance after her husband Leo loses his job, the only one he has ever known and her insistence and long held dream of moving to Australia. Once Leo finds his feet they unite and decide to make the move to the land down under. Isobel’s mother is asked to go with them but she digs in her heels and refuses to budge, all the while making Isobel’s life hell and guilt ridden. When they arrive in Queensland what is supposed to be a wonderful and new chapter for all of them is a struggle for Isobel. She feels unwanted by her family, tortured by her mother and living a nightmare in her new job at a childcare centre. Will she ever find the peace and happiness she thought she would find in Australia? Well I won’t give it all away, you will have to read it to find out for yourself.

The story itself is flawless and so beautifully written, you feel every emotion that each character is feeling. On more than one occasion I found myself crying, laughing and just as frustrated as the characters themselves. Being from Australia it is wonderful to see it from a different perspective. The description is wonderful throughout whether it is about a person, situation or location. The author seems to be able to get right into the heart of every one of her beloved characters and connect them to you in such a way that you can not help but feel for them, even if you think what they are doing or saying is just downright wrong. I have to commend the person/people responsible for the editing, it made the story even more enjoyable.

Nene Davies has me as a fan for life, I look forward to reading her next book with much anticipation. This is definitely a book that should be added to the TBR list.

Ensanguined (Sanguinary #3) by Emma L. Edwards

ensanguined

E-book was gifted by the author for review.

I am totally torn about this instalment in Emma Edwards vampire series. I loved reading it and read it rather quickly but, I now have to say that I have an undeniable hate for the character Ash Knight. I know that I will most likely be in the minority but yes it is true.I must however say congratulations to Emma for this as shows her ability to write a character so well that it stirred such a strong reaction in me.

Whilst not wanting to give too much away I must say that it really frustrated me that Angel is still putting up with Ash’s temper and his general brat like behaviour. I know that deep down they do love each other but, possessive and over bearing men really grate against me. The thing I found rather ironic about Ash is he is approached by someone who used to bully him at school who tries to apologise for his past behaviour towards Ash. Ash throws anther tantrum and beats the guy to justify the way he treated him as a young boy, but he thinks he is justified in smashing someone’s face in for just touching Angel. His motives and total character is one that just does not sit well with me at all.

Now having gotten that off my chest I want to say that I really did like the story, as usual there were some really high, highs and some earth shattering lows. Another “slayer” is on the rampage starting their attacks at Ash and Angel’s wedding. There is so much going on this instalment that you really do not get any time to take a breath, it is one thing after another. One thing that really did not surprise me was Angel and her transformation I thought that might have been the case from the second book in the series. I had a fairly good idea who was the “slayer” about half way through the book, there was a lot of speculation and I did change my mind several times, another sign that the author has the knack for giving you the hints then throwing you complete off track. I am pleased to say that with the other books Ash and Angel end up together and facing the world together once again, even when you think they will never get their stuff together they always seem to pull it off.

There was something that I noticed in this book that was missing in the other two, there were some errors throughout the book that I am sure can be set right with another edit. All in all another wonderful offering from a very talented writer.

Move over Lestat there is a new rock star vampire in town

Portrait by Christina Gordan

potrait

E-book was gifted by author for review.

What a little gem of a novel Portrait is. What looks like a romance novel in the making is, actually a roller coaster ride full of emotions. Portrait revolves around Sarah and Richard. Sarah a single mother trying to find a way to get her life back on track after an abusive marriage and Richard an artist with regrets about a marriage that was ultimately killed by his obsession with painting.In a chance meeting Richard meets Sarah when he is in Perth, Western Australia for his sisters engagement party. Upon that meeting their lives become entwined without them even knowing it. Richard asks Sarah to sit for him because he just has to capture her, he sees something in her that fascinates him.

Portrait is beautifully written, with characters that are so strong that you instantly get a connection with them whether you love or hate them. I personally can not stand Kathy she made me want to slap her for her blatant disregard for anyone else that does not see things her way, and her ability or lack there of, of having a singular thought of her own. I love it when an author can get you to hate a character, it is so easy to write one that everyone will love but to actually get the reader to hate a character to me is a triumph. On the other end of the scale I would have to say that Reggie was my favourite of the supporting characters. She is a straightforward and honest person who has a genuine caring nature, but if you crossed her or anyone she cared about I think she would be one person to avoid.

There are many aspects to this story that make you cringe, it deals with the issue of domestic violence which is a very uncomfortable subject, but the author handles it beautifully, these moments in Sarah’s life were done in flashbacks that worked wonderful well. The ending is one that you do not expect, it took me by surprise and left me feeling slightly lost emotionally.

If you love to read stories that make you feel a whole range of emotions then this is definitely a book to take a look at but, be warned it is not light reading in places.

Pedalling Backwards by Julia Russell

pedalling backwards

This book has reminded me why I love to read. This is the story of Elizabeth (Lizzie) and how her life has turned out by just going with what everyone else wants and never making ripples.

The reason I love this book so much is that the author does not shy away from the ugly side of human nature and how cruel it can really be. Lizzie’s mother is a very good example of this. She views her children, Lizzie especially as the reason her life became mundane and worthless. Instead of taking joy in her children she treated them with coldness and cruelty. No one in Lizzie’s family seems to know each other, as children Lizzie and her sister Helena are close but once they leave for separate schools (courtesy of a mother who is cold and heartless) grow apart when their lives take them in very different directions. If there is one character that I feel the most sympathy for is their father, he seemed like he wanted to be a father to the girls but when one parent wants to be involved in their children’s lives and the other sees them as the ruination of their lives it is a very difficult situation to be in. Throughout the story you see him trying in his own way to reach out but his wife is smothering to the point where he just gives up.

When Lizzie’s husband takes her and, her parents to an island in the Blackwater Estuary, a bewildering fact in itself to Lizzie, things that have been left unsaid and buried deep inside them all slowly come to the surface. After the loss of her sister in an accident and then the premature death of her baby Lizzie has become a shadow just floating through life. Stephen the husband she thought would be her strength, to be there in her time of grief, has his own issues of guilt and grief to deal with, which sees him fail her in more ways than she can ever imagine. If this story teaches us anything, it is that if we keep ourselves locked away and bury every issue that makes our lives seem worthless, then we will indeed suffer and hurt the ones around us that we are supposed to love and care for.

Throughout the story Lizzie recalls her childhood memories, the times she has with her sister before she was taken from her, and the pregnancy that ended so tragically. All these were beautifully and expertly written with no confusing elements. Some authors struggle with the flash back element to a story but in this story that was not the case. In the end Stephen and Lizzie finally start to work on the issue that has been slowly pulling them apart and the book ends sees them both go in different directions, I am not sure what will happen to the two of them, but I have a belief that they will work it out.

If you enjoy stories about life that are told in an way that will make you cringe, cry and laugh then this is a book that is definitely worth taking a look at.

Hoffman’s Creeper and Other Disturbing Tales by Cameron Trost

hoffman's creeper

E-book was gifted by author for review.

I have not read many short stories in my reading life, I can only recall every reading one collection of short stories before this was gifted to me for review. I have heard from a few people that short stories are a tease that leave you wanting more. I have to say that this is not the case with this collection of short stories. Each one is written with a clear purpose, to pull you in, tell you a story then leave you with your thoughts about it after it has finished. I can not find fault with any part of this book what so ever, the writing was wonderful, descriptive and just downright awesome. The stories that stood out to me the most were;

Not to be Read

Lightning

The Butcher’s Window

Kangaroo Point

Ambulance in Eden

The Mortenson Estate

Cathedral Man and the Rare Twelve Inch

Hoffman’s Creeper

Whilst these particular stories were my favourites I enjoyed every single one of these twisted, interesting tales. I thought the introduction to the stories was a fantastic idea, it brings the reader closer to the author and brings more meaning to each tale. Another thing that makes this book even more special is the fact that Cameron is an Australian author, being from Australia myself it makes me very proud to see names of cities and places that are familiar to me, plus he proves that there is some great talent out there in the Australian literary circles.

If you are a lover of short stories with a bit of a twist then this collection is definitely worth checking out.

Fitzwilliam Darcy such I was by Carol Cromlin

fitzwilliam

E-book was gifted by the author for review.

The story of Mr Darcy’s life from birth up to the night he saw Elizabeth for the first time is wonderfully written and would make Jane Austen proud if she was indeed alive today to read it for herself.

I absolutely loved every single thing about this book, the use of the “old” English in the telling of this tale is one thing that stood out for me and made reading it a much more pleasurable experience. After reading Pride and Prejudice and seeing the mini series and movie based on the book I often thought to myself about Darcy’s childhood and what made him into the man that he turned out to be. This offering from Carol Cromlin, answered those questions and, opened my eyes to many other aspects of Mr Darcy I had not thought about.

He is one of the most talked about figures in literature and it is lovely to see an author come up with a wonderful, heart warming tale about his childhood, family life, trials and tribulations and his every present awareness of the fact that he is something bigger than just himself. His relationship with his cousin Rennie was a delight to read about and proves that complete opposites can indeed relate to each other extremely well. The favourite parts of the book for me were when he took his “tour” after university to see what life is like outside of the world he knows and you see him awakening to just how different others live and interact. The other being the inclusion of correspondence between the characters, I truly believe it made the story that much better. If you are a lover of all things Pride and Prejudice then this is definitely a book that you have to read.

If I could I would have given this book a 10/5 star rating.

Imagine by Christiane Shoenhair

imagine

E-book was gifted by the author for review.

Imagine is a novel of two halves, it starts off for me at a great pace with the story going well but, then all of a sudden it stops being a story that you can read into a story that is being read to you. The main character addresses the reader and that is when it lost me a bit. It went from being a wonderful story that had me engrossed into a tale that was being told for me.

The story line itself is brilliant and a very well thought out one with a very interesting background. The characters are very well rounded and also well written but the story is just lacking something. It seems that when the story is going to go deeper into a situation or the characters are going to say something it is just skimmed over and never really gets to the heart of the matter. I do believe that the story has so much more potential than was offered, and with a bit more concentration to the development of the characters and the situations they are finding themselves in, I am sure that the second book in this series can bring so much more to life for people to enjoy. I also noticed that in the second half of the book that there were some words missing and some spelling mistakes a re-edit should solve this problem.

Having said all that I really did enjoy reading this book and want to read the next book to see what happens to everyone. The idea of the Creators is an interesting and fascinating concept. There are many paranormal novels out there that deal with the same creatures or immortals so it was nice to see new and fresh idea. Another aspect that I like was that a young character could see what is wrong with the world and not self absorbed, it makes a refreshing change to read of a young person that sees things beyond their own problems. I can relate to Trish in the way that she looks at the world, it is something that I think lot of people believe as well and that aspect I feel will resonate with a lot of readers.