R: The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan #a-zchallenge

The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan – Cormac Reilly #1

The Ruin (Cormac Reilly, #1)

 

Summary

It’s been twenty years since Cormac Reilly discovered the body of Hilaria Blake in her crumbling Georgian home. But he’s never forgotten the two children she left behind…

When Aisling Conroy’s boyfriend Jack is found in the freezing black waters of the river Corrib, the police tell her it was suicide. A surgical resident, she throws herself into study and work, trying to forget – until Jack’s sister Maude shows up. Maude suspects foul play, and she is determined to prove it.

DI Cormac Reilly is the detective assigned with the re-investigation of an ‘accidental’ overdose twenty years ago – of Jack and Maude’s drug- and alcohol-addled mother. Cormac is under increasing pressure to charge Maude for murder when his colleague Danny uncovers a piece of evidence that will change everything…

This unsettling crime debut draws us deep into the dark heart of Ireland and asks who will protect you when the authorities can’t – or won’t. Perfect for fans of Tana French and Jane Casey. – blurb

My thoughts

Set in Ireland, this is an excellent and fast paced crime novel. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot, the characters and the twists and turns along the way. I read this book very quickly, over just a couple of days, as I couldn’t put it down. Lovers of mystery and crime, I’m sure would enjoy this book.

This is a debut novel, which looks to become an excellent series.

Recommendations

“The Ruin is the kind of book you will inevitably find yourself recommending to every person you know, and probably also that lovely person who makes your coffee. It’s blisteringly good.” – Readings

“Dervla McTiernan gives us a gripping mystery set in Galway. It’s a complicated, page turning story, that touches on corruption, clandestine cover ups and criminal conspiracy. As moving as it is fast paced.” – Val McDermid

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the Author

Dervla McTiernan

Internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed writer, Dervla McTiernan is the author of The Ruin, The Scholar and The Good Turn. The Ruin was published in 2018 and is the first in the detective Cormac Reilly series. The Ruin was a top ten bestseller and an Amazon Best Book of July 2018. Dervla was a New Blood Panellist at Harrogate Festival. The Scholar was published in 2019 and was a top five bestseller. The Good Turn will be published in 2020. The Ruin has been optioned for TV by Hopscotch Features.

 

Published 2018 by Penguin Books. Paperback, 380 pages

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Q: Quick by Steve Worland #atozchallenge

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted

Quick by Steve Worland
Audiobook read by Sean Mangan

Quick

Summary

Melbourne, Australia: Round One of the Formula One World Championship. Billy Hotchkiss no longer races a v* Supercar, but that doesn’t mean he’s lost the need for speed. When the young cop uncovers a diamond heist in progress, he leaps into action and almost captures the thieves.

Lyon, France: Interpol are convinced the thieves are connected to Formula One. And they think this Australia ex race driver is just the guy to stop them.

Sent undercover with an unwilling French partner, Billy is thrust into the glamorous world of international motor racing as the diamond heists continue. But as Billy closes in on the thieves, a far more sinister threat is revealed.

With the fate of a city, and the lives of half a million people in the balance, Billy will need to drive like never before to stop the worst act of terror since 9/11 – blurb

My Thoughts

Definitely, fast paced and action packed, this novel took me on a roller coaster ride. I was exhausting reading about the exploits of the main character, Billy. I found myself immersed and wanting to know more about the fast paced world of big money, fast cars and Formula 1. A great action ‘boys own’ type adventure, which is an easy, fast read, with lots of comedy.  I enjoyed the characters and their banter also.

The lower star rating is due to action, adventure not being my genre of choice. Fans of these type of books may give a higher rating.

Recommendation

“Hands down, one of the best action adventure novels, I’ve ever read” – Steve Waugh

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

About the Author

Steve Worland

Steve Worland has worked extensively in film and television in Australia and the USA. He has written scripts for Working Title and Icon Productions, worked in script development for James Cameron’s Lightstorm and wrote Fox Searchlight’s Bootmen, which won five Australian Film Institute awards.

Steve also wrote the action-comedy telemovie Hard Knox, the bible and episodes of the television series Big Sky and the Saturn award-winning Farscape. The family film Paper Planes, which he co-wrote, will be released worldwide in 2015. His novelisation of the screenplay will be released at the same time.

He is the author of the action-adventure novels Velocity, Combustion and Quick and is currently writing his fourth book.

Published 2014 by Michael Joseph: Penguin Australia
Audiobook 11 hours 47minutes

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The Lost Boys by Paul Byrnes #atozchallenge

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.

The Lost Boys by Paul Byrnes: The Untold Stories of the under-age soldiers who fought in the First World War

Summary

In the First World War of 1914-1918, thousands of boys across Australia and New Zealand lied about their age, forged a parent’s signature and left to fight on the other side of the world. Though some were as young as thirteen, they soon found they could die as well as any man. Like Peter Pan’s lost boys, they have remained forever young. These are their stories. – blurb

This extraordinary book captures the incredible and previously untold stories of forty Anzac boys who fought in the First World War, from Gallipoli to the Armistice. Featuring haunting images of the boys taken at training camps and behind the lines, these tales are both heartbreaking and rousing, full of daring, ingenuity, recklessness, random horror and capricious luck.A unique perspective on the First World War, is military history made eeply personal, a powerful homage to youthful bravery and a poignant reminder of the sacrifice of war. – inside cover

The Lost Boys: The untold stories of the under-age soldiers who fought in the First World War

My Thoughts

A heartbreaking record of the underage boys who enlisted for WW1. The information was taken from service records and family interview. There was quite a bit of speculation about the way things may have been but that is understandable, and gives colour and a personal touch  to to the stories of these boys.
Photos of the boys in uniform are included. When looking at these photos, it’s very difficult to understand how recruiters could possibly have thought them to be over age. Most of the boys looked like baby faced young boys playing dress ups in soldiers uniforms. The sadness of that brought tears to my eyes.

A beautifully presented hardcover book with dustjacket. Black and white images of war are imprinted on the hardcover.

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

 About the Author

Paul Byrnes joined the Sydney Morning Herald in 1976, reporting from various corners of the world, for a decade, before specialising as a feature writer and film critic. He was director of the Sydney Film Festival for ten years,  until 1998. In 2007, he won the Pascall prize, Australia’s highest award for critical writing in the arts. This book is the result of a lifelong interest in the First World War. He lives in Australia and France

Published in 2019 by Affirm Press. 364 pages including index

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K:Kin by Nick Brodie #AtoZChallenge #aussieauthor20

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.

Kin: A Real People’s History of our Nation by Nick Brodie

Summary

From convicts, goldminers and sailors, to high country horsemen, nurses and soldiers – and almost everyone in between – KIN is about generations of real people living real lives. Join historian and archaeologist, Nick Brodie, as he traces his family back to their first arrivals in Australia. As their lives intersect, KIN provides a unique historical insight into Australia’s past: colonies grow and wars are fought as Nick follows his people and their children across land and sea, in their everyday occupations and through their hardships and most memorable events. Follow Nick’s journey to discover how his kinfolk lived, the bigger story of the history of Australia, as their stories become both his and ours. – blurb

My Thoughts

The author uses stories about his own ancestors to create a full and thorough explanation of Australian history. I really enjoyed this book, but as family history and Australian history is my passion, be aware that I could be biased. I loved the ancestry charts included and really enjoyed following the lives of the author’s ancestors. Even though Kin is a very thorough history of Australia and of his own ancestors, it is very easy to follow.

Kin is based on very thorough research, both ancestral and historical. My only criticism would be that I’d have liked to have seen a list of sources at the back of the book. But this is addressed by the author at the end, where he gives his reasons for not including them.

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the Author

Nick Brodie is a historian, archaeologist, writer and university lecturer. Born in country New South Wales, his fascination with the past dates back to when he was old enough to dig in his parent’s backyard. The rusty objects and broken bottles he uncovered have since been lost, but his tenacious curiosity and a passion for exploring history remain – back cover

Published in 2015 by Hardie Grant Books
Softcover, 370 pages including index, acknowledgements and authors notes.

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2020 Aussie Author Challenge

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Journey from Venice by Ruth Cracknell #AtoZChallenge #aussieauthor20

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.

Journey From Venice by Ruth Cracknell

Summary

Grand Dame of Australian theatrical community, Ruth Cracknell, much loved by the people of Australia,  tells of her journey from Venice when her husband takes ill.

Venice beckons, promising Paradise regained fro Ruth Cracknell and her husband Eric, as they set forth on a carefully planned holiday.

What they are seeking is time. Time to think, time to gaze, time for each other. But from the moment the holiday becomes an uncharted journey, their time is measured.
– from the blurb

Journey from Venice

My Thoughts

As a fan of Ruth Cracknell, in the  much loved TV series, Mother and Son,  I was pleased when I came across this book. I found Journey From Venice to be a raw and deeply personal account of the illness her husband suffered in Venice. At times it read like a travel log or a diary, but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book or the sadness of her experiences.

The parts of the book that were about Venice were more enjoyable to me than when the story focuses on their life in Australia. I found this memoir to be deeply sad, as I read about the roller coaster ride experiences of the end of life of Ruth’s much loved husband.

 Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

About the Author

Ruth Cracknell lived in Maitland, NSW, in early childhood, before her family moved to Sydney. She was educated at North Sydney Girls’ High School and began a professional career in radio at the age of twenty. she travelled to England, where she worked for the BBC in radio, returning to Sydney in 1954.

In theatre, she was known for her interpretations of both classical and contemporary drama as well as for her particular flair for comedy. She also worked extensively in film, television, radio and animation, and won numberous industry awards. She is perhaps, best know for her role as Maggie Bears in the ABC series Mother and Son.

A member of the Order of Australia, Ruth was awarded honorary doctorates from Sydney University and the Queensland University of Technology. She died in 2002, aged 76.

Published on 22 February 2001 by Viking Australia. 288 pages

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The Inn by James Patterson & Candice Fox #AtoZChallenge

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.

The Inn by James Patterson and Candice Fox

Summary

The Inn at Gloucester stands alone on the rocky New England shoreline. Its seclusion suits former Boston police detective Bill Robinson, novice owner and innkeeper. As long as the dozen residents pay their rent, Robinson doesn’t ask any questions.

Yet all too soon Robinson discovers that leaving the city is no escape from dangers he left behind. A new crew of deadly criminals move into the small town, bringing drugs and violence to the front door of the inn.

Robinson feels the weight of responsibility on his shoulders. His sense of duty compels him to fight off the threat to his town. But he can’t do it alone. Before time runs out, the residents of the inn will face a choice. – from the blurb

My Thoughts

Candice Fox really gives a fresh feel to James Patterson’s style of writing. As usual with Patterson/Fox collaborations there is a great storyline and cast of unique characters. You could even say quirky characters in some cases.

Even though parts of this story were predictable, I found this novel to be a page turner, with many twists and turns which kept me guessing until the end. I really enjoyed the short chapters, which I think work well in a crime novel. building the tension.

 

Star Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the Authors

James Patterson is the world’s bestselling author and most trusted storyteller. He has created more enduring fictional characters than any other novelist writing today, with his Alex Cross, Michael Bennett, Women’s Murder Club, Private, NYPD Red, Daniel X, Maximum Ride, and Middle School series. He has sold over 380 million books worldwide and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers. – Goodreads

Candice Fox is the middle child of a large, eccentric family from Sydney’s western suburbs composed of half-, adopted and pseudo siblings. The daughter of a parole officer and an enthusiastic foster-carer, Candice spent her childhood listening around corners to tales of violence, madness and evil as her father relayed his work stories to her mother and older brothers.
As a cynical and trouble-making teenager, her crime and gothic fiction writing was an escape from the calamity of her home life. She was constantly in trouble for reading Anne Rice in church and scaring her friends with tales from Australia’s wealth of true crime writers. Bankstown born and bred, she failed to conform to military life in a brief stint as an officer in the Royal Australian Navy at age eighteen. At twenty, she turned her hand to academia, and taught high school through two undergraduate and two postgraduate degrees. Candice lectures in writing at the University of Notre Dame, Sydney, while undertaking a PhD in literary censorship and terrorism. – Goodreads

Published 08 august 2019, by Century. 384 pages.

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Half the World in Winter by Maggie Joel #AtoZChallenge

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.

Half The World in Winter by Maggie Joel

Summary

It is London, 1880, and Lucas Jarmyn struggles to make sense of the death of his beloved youngest daughter; his wife, Aurora, seeks solace in rigid social routines; and eighteen-year-old Dinah looks for fulfilment in unusual places. Only the housekeeper, the estimable Mrs Logan, seems able to carry on.

A train accident in a provincial town on the railway Lucas owns claims the life of nine-year-old Alice Brinklow and, amid the public outcry, Alice’s father, Thomas, journeys to London demanding justice. As he arrives in the Capital on a frozen January morning his fate, and that of the entire Jarmyn family, will hinge on such strange things as an ill-fated visit to a spiritualist, an errant chicken bone and a single vote cast at a board room meeting. – blurb

Half the World in Winter

My Thoughts

I enjoyed the story line, and the historical setting of this book, but the plot was a little slow moving for me. The theme running through this novel is grief. Heartbreaking and all consuming grief. At times, it is very sad, and very dark, but it didn’t stop my enjoyment. I can’t really see how the nature of the plot could be anything other than dark. The book to me, has a sense of the coldness of winter running through it.

There were commas missing right through the book, which some might think a small thing, but that really did annoy me.

Quotes

“Inside 19 Cadogan Mews time had ceased. It no longer existed, it had no meaning. A silence had fallen that no one felt willing to break. Footsteps were muffled, and commands, if they were given at all, were given in muted whispers in the hallways and corridors. doors were kept closed and before entering hands hesitated on doorknobs and deep breaths were taken. An excuse not to enter at all was often found:”

‘It seemed that, though you could have the same parents, live almost the same number of years in the same house with the same people, it was no guarantee you would grow into the same type of person.’

Star Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

About the Author

Maggie Joel

Maggie Joel is a British-born writer who lives in Sydney, Australia. She has been writing fiction since the mid-1990s and her short stories have been widely published in Australia in Southerly, Westerly, Island, Overland and Canberra Arts Review, and broadcast on ABC radio. She has had five novels published: ‘The Past and Other Lies’ (Pier 9,2009), ‘The Second Last Woman in England’ (Pier 9, 2010) winner of the FAW Christina Stead Award for Fiction, ‘Half the World in Winter’ (Allen & Unwin, 2014), ‘The Safest Place in London’ (Allen & Unwin 2016) and ‘The Unforgiving City’ (Allen & Unwin 2019).

Published in October 2014 by Allen & Unwin
Paperback 432 pages

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The Dry by Jane Harper #Atozchallenge #2020aussieauthors

The Dry by Jane Harper

Summary

Who really killed the Hadler family?
It hasn’t rained in Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the farming commmunity become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are discovered shot to death on their property. Everyone assumes Luke Hadler committed suicideafter slaughtering his wife and six year old son.

Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to his hometown for the funerals and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and his childhood friend Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth….. – blurb

My Thoughts

I’ve said before that crime is not one of my favourite genres, but I really did enjoy this book. I took the advice of the comment on the back cover from the Daily Telegraph and read it in one sitting. It’s a very, quick and easy read but such a good plot with a few twists and turns, well rounded characters, and a really great sense of place.  I enjoyed reading about the secrets that were being held in this small town and the events that occurred because of them.

This book has been sitting on my bookshelf since I bought it when it was a new release.I was drawn to it because the author is a journalist from Melbourne, that I knew of from her previous work.  The Dry is her debut novel. There was a lot of media coverage at the time, and I’m usually not keen to read those books that are well hyped up. Eventually, I decided to give it a go, and I’m really pleased that I did.

Recommendations

“This is a story about heroism, the sins of the past, and the struggle to atone. But let’s not forget the redbacks, the huntsmen, the rabbit scourge and all that makes this a quintessential Australian story beautifully told.” – The Age

“Try to set aside one sitting to indulge in journalist Jane Harper’s page turning debut novel. The pace never falters.” – Daily Telegraph

Star Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the Author

Jane Harper

Jane Harper is the international bestselling author of The Dry, Force of Nature and The Lost Man.
Jane is a New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller, and has won numerous top awards including the Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year, the Australian Indie Awards Book of the Year, the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel, and the British Book Awards Crime and Thriller Book of the Year.
Her books are published in more than 36 territories worldwide, with The Dry in production as a major motion picture starring Eric Bana.
Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK, and now lives in Melbourne.

Published in 2016, by Pan McMillan
Paperback, 342 pages

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#2020 Aussie Author Challenge

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Book Review: The Good Cop by Justine Ford #aussieauthor20

Summary

In an incredible twenty-five year career as a homicide detective, Ron Iddles’ conviction rate was 99%. Yet that only partly explains why Iddles is known to cops and crims alike as ‘The Great Man’.

Tough, inventive and incorruptible, stoic in the face of senseless horror yet unafraid to shed tears for a victim, Ron has applied his country cunning and city savvy to over 320 homicide cases – some of them the most infamous, compelling and controversial crimes in the nation’s history. To the victims of crime, Ron is both a shoulder to cry on and an avenging angel.

Ron Iddles never gave up on a ‘lost’ cause. He became a regular on the nightly news – the dogged face of Australian justice. Working long hours, dodging bullets, chasing leads and outwitting killers, Ron would tell his teams: ‘The answer is just one call away’. And in 2015, that belief saw him crack Victoria’s oldest unsolved homicide, yet another remarkable feat in a life devoted to keeping the public safe.

This is the extraordinary inside story of a real crime crusader. Ron Iddles. The Good Cop.

My Thoughts

I had been looking forward to reading this book since I heard about it’s publication. After watching Ron Iddles on TV, for many years and recently listening to him on various podcasts, I felt as though I knew him. On reading this book, I found that there was so much more to him than I had seen from snippets on the TV news. Ron Iddles is much more than the top Homicide cop we know him as.

From the very first page this book had me hooked. The first crime discussed was a case that I was very familiar with. The second case involved people that I knew. And on it went. Exposing behind the scenes information and what it took for Ron Iddles to solve the many homicides that occured  in Victoria.

I have always been interested in true crime and have watched the progress of local cases in the press. I loved the back story to these cases that is presented in this book.

As well as Ron Iddles, Victoria’s top cop, we also get to meet Ron Iddles, the person. I would Recommend this book to anyone interested in true crime and how these crimes are solved. I would describe The Good Cop as part biography and part true crime.
– Goodreads

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the author: Justine Ford is a TV producer and journalist with a background in news and current affairs. She was a presenter on the top rating crime series, Australia’s Most Wanted. Her producing credits include the hot shows Missing Persons Unit, Border Security, RPA and Random Acts of Kindness. Justine has also worked as a radio producer/presenter and as a magazine features writer.

Published on 26 July 2016, by McMillan Australia. Paperback 368 pages

The tribute below to Ron Iddles was recently painted on the wall of a lane way in his home town, Rochester – artist, Tim Bowtell, Samaria, Victoria.

This review is linked to lovelyaudiobooks

#2020 Aussie Author Challenge

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2020 Aussie Author Challenge #aussieauthor

Aussie Author Challenge

This challenge, organised by Jo at Booklover Book Reviews is in it’s 11th year, but this is my first year of participation. I do enjoy reading Australian authors, particularly female authors, but in 2020 I plan to read more than I would usually read in one year.

According to the challenge website, ‘the objective of this reading challenge is to showcase the quality and diversity of the books being produced by Australian authors.

There are levels of involvement in this challenge and participants can choose the level that they think signifies the number of books written by Aussie authors that they intend to read in 2020.

WALLABY
Read and review 3 titles written by Australian authors, of which at least 1 of those authors are female, at least 1 of those authors are male, and at least 1 of those authors are new to you; Fiction or non-fiction, any genre.
WALLAROO
Read and review 6 titles written by Australian authors, of which at least 2 of those authors are female, at least 2 of those authors are male, and at least 2 of those authors are new to you; Fiction or non-fiction, at least 2 different genre.
KANGAROO
Read and review 12 titles written by Australian Authors of which at least 4 of those authors are female, at least 4 of those authors are male, and at least 4 of those authors are new to you; Fiction or non-fiction, at least 3 different genre.
EMU
Read and review 24 titles written by Australian Authors of which at least 10 of those authors are female, at least 10 of those authors are male, and at least 10 of those authors are new to you; Fiction or non-fiction, at least 4 different genre.

I have decided to commit to the Kangaroo Level. I’m fairly sure I can read one book per month by an Australian author in at least three genres.

The hashtag to be used for this challenge is #aussieauthor I will be using it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest

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Are you participating in this challenge? Please let me know in the comments as I’d like to follow you on your Aussie reading adventure. I promise to reply to all comments.

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