AWW2020 Review: Crossing the Lines


Crossing the Lines by Sulari Gentill

Read from 4 – 30 August 2020.

Synopsis: When Madeleine d’Leon conjures Ned McGinnity as the hero in her latest crime novel, she makes him a serious writer simply because the irony of a protagonist who’d never lower himself to read the story in which he stars amuses her.

When Ned McGinnity creates Madeleine d’Leon, she is his literary device, a writer of detective fiction who is herself a mystery to be unravelled.
As Ned and Madeleine play out their own lives while writing the other’s story, they find themselves crossing the lines that divide the real and the imagined.

This is a story about two people trying to hold onto each other beyond reality.

Continue reading

Review: The Book of Whispers


The Book of Whispers by Kimberley Starr

3 stars

Read from 13 – 23 October, 2017

Synopsis: Tuscany, 1096 AD. Luca, young heir to the title of Conte de Falconi, sees demons. Since no one else can see them, Luca must keep quiet about what he sees, or risk another exorcism by the nefarious priest Ramberti.

Luca also has dreams—dreams that sometimes predict the future. Night after night Luca sees his father murdered, and vows to stop it coming true. Even if he has to go against his father’s wishes and follow him on the great pilgrimage to capture the Holy Lands.

Far away in Cappadocia, Suzan has dreams too. Consigned with her mute mother to a life in an underground convent, she has a vision of a brown-haired boy riding through the desert. A boy with an ancient book that holds some inscrutable power. A boy who will take her on an adventure that will lead to places beyond both their understanding.

Together, Luca and Suzan will realise their true quest: to defeat the forces of man and demon that wish to destroy the world.

Kimberley Starr is a teacher and author based in Melbourne. Her debut novel, The Kingdom Where Nobody Dies, won the 2003 Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for Best Emerging Author. She has a degree in mediaeval literature, and travelled through Turkey and Israel to research The Book of Whispers. Continue reading

Review: The Mistake I Made


The Mistake I Made by Paula Daly

3 stars

Read from 13 – 20 August, 2017

Synopsis: The Mistake I Made is the latest page-turner from one of the England’s most captivating new thriller writers. In her provocative and riveting third novel, Paula Daly focuses her masterful eye for psychological suspense and family drama on an indecent proposal that has fatal repercussions.

Single mother Roz has reached breaking-point. After the dissolution of her marriage, Roz’s business has gone under, debts are racking up, the rent is late (again), and she’s struggling to provide for her nine-year-old son, who is starting to misbehave in school. Roz is in trouble. Real trouble.

When Roz returns home from work one day and finds an eviction notice, she knows that it’s time for action—she has two weeks to find a solution otherwise they will be kicked out of their home. Increasingly desperate, Roz doesn’t know where to turn. Then the perfect opportunity presents itself. At her sister’s fortieth birthday party, Roz meets Scott Elias—wealthy, powerful, and very married. But the impression Roz leaves on him is indelible. He tracks her down and makes Roz an offer to spend the night with him—for money. He wants no-strings-attached intimacy and can guarantee total discretion. Could it be as simple as it sounds? With that kind of cash, Roz could clear her debts and get her life back on track. But as the situation spirals out of her control, Roz is forced to do things she never thought herself capable of. Can she ever set things right again? Continue reading

Review: Darkroom


Darkroom by Mary Maddox

3 stars

Read from 6 – 11 July, 2017

Synopsis: Talented but unstable photographer Day Randall has been living rent-free in Kelly Durrell’s Colorado condo for eight months. Day needs someone to keep an eye on her. Kelly needs someone to draw her out of her stable but not spectacular life . The arrangement works for both of them.

Then Kelly comes home one day to find Day gone. There’s no note, no phone call. Day’s car is still parked out front, but her room is starkly, suspiciously spotless.

No one seems to care. The police certainly aren’t interested in a missing bipolar artist, but Kelly knows something is wrong. Day wouldn’t just leave.

Alone, Kelly traces Day’s last steps through shadowy back rooms of Boulder nightclubs and to a remote mountain estate, where the wealthy protect themselves behind electric fences and armed guards. Along the way, she uncovers a sinister underworld lying just below the mountain snow, and a group of powerful people who will do anything to protect the secrets hidden in Day’s enigmatic photographs.

If she trusts the wrong person, Kelly herself will be the next to disappear. Continue reading

Review: Hex-Rated: A Brimstone Files Novel


Hex-Rated: A Brimstone Files Novel

2 stars

Read from 1-8 June, 2017

Synopsis: A salacious throwback to the detective pulps of the 70s, Hex-Rated kicks off the new urban fantasy series the Brimstone Files.

Fall, 1970. Los Angeles has always been a den of danger and bliss, but even darker tidings brew in the City of Angels. Cults, magic, and the supernatural are leaking into the worlds of glamour and dives of the gutter. To the spectators walking down Hollywood Blvd, it’s just more proof that La La Land is over the cuckoo’s nest. But to former child magician and Korean veteran turned newly-licensed private investigator James Brimstone, it means business is picking up.

After attending his mentor’s funeral, Brimstone signs his first client: Nico, a beautiful actress with a face full of scars and an unbelievable story of sex, demons, and violence on the set of a pornographic film in the San Fernando Valley. The cops chalk it up to a bad trip from a lost soul, but Brimstone knows better.

He takes the case, but the investigation goes haywire as he encounters Hell’s Angels, a lost book of Japanese erotica, and a new enemy whose powers may fill the streets of L.A. with blood. He’ll have to us his Carney wits, magic tricks, and a whole lotta charm to make it out of a world that is becoming . . . Hex-Rated. Continue reading

Review: Unconventional


Unconventional by Avery Aster

2 stars

Read from 10-11 May, 2017

Synopsis: From the NYT Bestselling author of The Manhattanites series and for fans of such films as Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Wild Things comes a ménage romance posing the question; can two men share the same woman forever?

They are the best of friends and the greatest of lovers. Two men and one woman, searching for fortune and fame, bound together by an eroticism their money and power can’t buy them. Luigi, the romantic alpha hunk. Rocco, the exotic bisexual. Jemma, the insatiable beauty who possesses them both.

From their first rendezvous in Milan, the three set out on a wicked course, jet-setting from the kinky underground sex clubs of Berlin, to the lavish palaces of Moscow, to New York’s high society in pursuit of pleasure. They have only each other to care for. That is…until a baby comes along and changes their destiny. But which of them is the father? And will they continue their poly relationship or give in to convention? Continue reading