Into the Night by Sarah Bailey

intothenightFractured relationships abound in this novel, the second book in the Gemma Woodstock series.

We have a murdered homeless man, elderly and kind, knifed in the early hours of the morning.  Gemma is not assigned lead detective on this case so straight away we can see her mopey side.  Next murder is a high profile case.  A good looking young actor, Sterling Wade, is killed on the set of a movie being filmed locally in Melbourne.  This will take priority as it’s a media nightmare.  Gemma is lead on this one but descriptions of her personality don’t exactly have her leaping off the page.

In the first book, The Dark Lake, she was a lead detective in a rural town in Australia.  Gemma transferred to another detective position in busy Melbourne after her relationship with her partner Scott fails.  She leaves her young son Ben with Scott and has issues with the separation yet doesn’t seem to want custody, only visits. It’s a good transition from book one to this story.

In my opinion, Gemma Woodstock’s personal issues detracted from this story. You do want a little bit of the personal side of your main character, that’s one of the things I like about the DCI Banks series, but Gemma’s internal turmoil could have been toned down.  I was actually warming more to her partner Nick Fleet, incorrigible as he is. Hoping he shows up in the next book and we get more information about his back story.

If you like multiple story lines with more than one murder investigation then you will enjoy that aspect of the book.  Hoping Gemma conquers her many demons and becomes confident and energetic.  We need some flaws in our main characters but Gemma’s issues are legend.

Much thanks to NetGalley for this advanced copy. Opinions are mine and I was not compensated for the review. This book was published in December 2018.

Sharing with the Aussie Reading Challenge and Girlxoxo for January’s Monthly Motif.

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Scrublands by Chris Hammer for the Australian Reading Challenge

scrublands I’ll say straight away that I liked this book and would read more by this author. There were a few things that I didn’t care for but overall, what a great plot. Anyone can read from the book cover/descriptor the story of a priest who guns down 5 men in front of his church. The journalist, Martin Scarsden, arrives in town to report on how the residents are coping a year after the tragedy. Martin is suffering from PTSD after an incident in the Gaza strip, his editor sending him out on this story to give him a chance to get back in the journo game. Why would an admired priest turn killer?

Best I can describe the way the story unfolds is to think of a nesting doll. There are layers and layers of stories that intertwine, the residents’ dark secrets, the greed, guilt and love and motivations of the characters. There are multiple crimes that are revealed in this investigative journalist’s report.
Some of the character names are a hoot – you have Harley Snouch and Mandalay “Mandy” Blonde who are supporting characters.

I’m learned about bush fires in the Scrubland, how they work, quite different from a house fire. Smoke inhalation gets you in a house fire but a bushfire flat out cooks you. This was addressed in another Australian book I enjoyed, Jane Harper’s debut book The Dry. The scenery described is almost apocalyptic, the land has a harshness and character of its own.

What I didn’t care for was how the character Codger Harris was introduced. He’s waaaay out in the Scrubland where it’s dry and extremely hot. When Martin arrives at Codger’s dilapidated house he finds the old man inside, naked and masturbating. Sorry but that part just didn’t fit into the story, it didn’t blend and it was an unnecessary detail to introduce us to Codger. It was established how unbearably hot it is, so much so that Codger didn’t wear clothes in this isolated part of the scrubland. By the way, he is an integral part of this story and has his own interesting past which dovetails with the ending.

Let us meet the author, Chris Hammer!

This book is the first one for the Aussie Author Challenge. It could cover the male author or new author category. Also linking with Girlxoxo for the January Monthly Motif – “category new to me author.”

Much thanks to NetGalley for this advanced copy. Opinions are mine and I was not compensated for the review. Publication date is January 8, 2019.

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The Flight Attendant By Chris Bohjalian

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I have been a fan of this author for quite a while. While this ended up being a pretty good book, I will say, in my opinion, it wasn’t my favorite of his books.

The flight attendant in question, Cassandra Bowden, just wasn’t a very likable person. I understand about addiction and it shapes the way a person behaves, but you really couldn’t have very much sympathy for this woman.

Cassie Bowden wakes up in a Dubai hotel room next to a dead man.  He’s the man she met on the flight, a passenger whom she flirted with, had dinner and sex and too much to drink. What is your first instinct here?  Mine would be to call the police but Cassie decides to flee the hotel room, after wiping the room of her fingerprints.  Did she kill him?  She doesn’t know.

It kept my interest yet seemed to drag a bit.  I was hoping it would pick up and refrain from the detail about how Cassie liked to drink and have sex with strangers and her blackouts and self-loathing.    Around the 50% mark it really started picking up so I was invested by then. Russian operatives, secrets, police investigations and more lying.

I thought the end wrapped it up but not as strongly, or believably as I had hoped.  Would I read more by Bohjalian?  Absolutely.  This just wasn’t my favorite book by the author.

This one was finished up last year but I am just getting around to posting about it so it doesn’t count towards my 2019 reading goals and challenges.

 

 

 

 

 

First book of the year hosted at Book Journey

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I’m joining Sheila at Book Journey  for the First Book of 2019.

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The Flight of Gemma Hardy By Margot Livesey is set in Iceland and Scotland, a literary inspiration from Jane Eyre. This has been on my to-read list for many years so why not tackle something from my old Goodreads list.

This modern retelling of a classic takes us from the moors and visits Iceland and the Scottish Orkney islands. I’m looking forward to this one and will report back after I’m done.

Thank you, Sheila, for inviting me again this year!

Aussie Author Challenge 2019

It’s the last week of December – how did this year fly by so fast?!
One of the things I like to do near the end of the year is evaluate which books are must-reads for the upcoming year. This leads me to reading challenges and for 2019 I am sticking with two that I love.

There is the Monthly Motif Challenge hosted at Girlxoxo and the Aussie Author Challenge.  The Aussie challenge is in it’s 10th year but this is only my second time participating.  (here is my roundup for 2018)

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I completed the Wallaby level this year and now I’m thinking of taking on the Wallaroo level.  Wish me luck!  A few of the books I am planning are:

Scrublands by Chris Hammer

Sarah Bailey’s The Dark Lake and Into the Night

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

I’ll need at least one book but I hope to find more as I read and see what others have read.  If you’d like to sign up check it out HERE.

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C.B. Strike series vs Books

My husband and I both look forward to the newest books in the Cormoran Strike series so we were delighted to learn a TV series was in the works.  As usual, we had to wait for the library to get the DVDs in since we don’t have an internet feed at home.

Hands down, we enjoyed the books more.  Season 1 in the TV series, The Cuckoo’s Calling, was very good.  It pretty much followed the book and I was happy with the actors portraying Strike and Robin.

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Last night we started watching season 2, The Silkworm, and it was rather confusing.  Honestly, I don’t know how anyone who hasn’t read the books could keep up with what was going on in The Silkworm.  The Cuckoo’s Calling had three episodes so perhaps that made a difference.  The next two stories have only 2 episodes.  There is so much information and character development in the books that I don’t think a 2 hour television session could do them justice.

We won’t be watching Career of Evil as that was a large and detailed book, two episodes can’t possibly cover it all without a sense of confusion, in my opinion.

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Recently we finished the book Lethal White which I found to be outstanding.  That was a big fat book.  If that one airs as a separate show we may give it a watch, hoping it’s more than 2 episodes.  So much to cover there.

If anyone else has read the books and watched the series I would be interested to know what you think.

Sharing with Joy’s Book Blog for her British Isles Friday event.

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ROUNDUP of the 2018 Monthly Motif reading challenge

This year went by fast, don’t you think? It was fun participating in the motif challenge, I met new book bloggers and learned about new authors. Always a pleasure. Here is the roundup of the books I read. Please note that I forgot to actually linkup at Girlxoxo for all the months I participated! Duh!  I’ll do better next year.

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Here are the links to books I read for the 2018 Monthly Motif.

JANUARY – Diversify Your Reading – White Teeth by Zadie Smith
Kick the reading year off right and shake things up. Read a book with a character (or written by an author) of a race, religion, or sexual orientation other than your own.

FEBRUARY – One Word – Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Read a book with a one word title.

MARCH – Travel the World – The Dry by Jane Harper
Read a book set in a different country than your own, written by an author from another country than your own, or a book in which the characters travel.

APRIL – Read Locally
Read a book set in your country, state, town, village (or has a main character from your home town, country, etc)  I planned to read House on the Forgotten Coast by Ruth Coe Chambers.  Didn’t happen.

MAY- Book to Screen
Read a book that’s been made into a movie or a TV show.

JUNE- Crack the Case – The French Girl by Lexie Elliott
Mysteries, True Crime, Who Dunnit’s.

JULY – Vacation Reads – Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
Read a book you think is a perfect vacation read and tell us why.

AUGUST- Award Winners – Wine Reads by Jay McInerney
Read a book that has won a literary award or a book written by an author who has been recognized in the bookish community.

SEPTEMBER- Don’t Turn Out The Light 
Cozy mystery ghost stories, paranormal creeptastic, horror novels.

OCTOBER- New or Old – Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
Choose a new release from 2018 or a book known as a classic.

NOVEMBER- Family – The Au Pair by Emma Rous
Books where family dynamics play a big role in the story

DECEMBER- Wrapping It Up – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Winter or holiday themed books or books with snow, ice, etc in the title or books set in winter OR read a book with a theme from any of the months in this challenge (could be a theme you didn’t do, or one you want to do again).

I managed nine books/months out of the twelve so, not too shabby 🙂

This upcoming year I plan to participate but I will be sure to link up in the proper time frame. 🙂