22 July 2016

Review: The Falls by Australian author B. Michael Radburn

Published August 2016
* Copy courtesy of Pantera Press *

The Falls by Australian author B. Michael Radburn is the second in his Taylor Bridges series although it can easily be read as a stand alone. (The first novel in the series was The Crossing and you can see my review here).

Taylor Bridges is a Park Ranger who is drawn into a local missing persons case in country Victoria. The novel is centred around a disused mine (pictured on the cover) and some of the scenes are almost cinematic in quality. 

Radburn really knows how to write about the Australian bush, and with a deadly bushfire scorching the earth, I could almost smell the ash at the crime scene and hear the tinkle of the glass apple trees in an orchard not too far away. I also experienced a jolt of recognition at the mention of Lakes Entrance and Bairnsdale and appreciated the familiar rural setting. 

Taylor makes for a refreshing protagonist and I don't know of any other author who has a Parks Ranger as their main character, but it works. My favourite character though by far was Gordo, the ex-Navy chopper pilot, and his unique expression made me smile every time I saw it on the page. (You'll have to read it to find out, no spoilers here).

Radburn mentions in the Acknowledgements section that his daughter designed the cover of The Falls and I must day she's done an amazing job. The cover has an eerie quality to complement the storyline and the shiny (spot UV) Bendigo Tool Co. logo on the back is a touch of artistic genius.

I recommend The Falls for fans of crime and mystery novels and those looking to discover more Australian authors. Readers in Victoria will enjoy it just a little more owing to the setting.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!

You'll have the chance to WIN your own copy of The Falls by B. Michael Radburn in a giveaway here on Friday 29 July 2016.

19 July 2016

Review: The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine

RRP AUD $29.99
Published 22 June 2016
* Copy courtesy of Allen & Unwin *

When a novel includes a crumbling estate, an inheritance, a mystery and a dark secret then I've got to read it and The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine has it all.

Set in Scotland, the landscape is truly the main character in this novel. It's wild and atmospheric and you can almost feel the wind in your hair, lick the salt spray from your lips and hear the squawk of the birds in the air. 

Unfolding in dual time frames, we learn the present story from Hetty Deveraux (2010) and the past from Beatrice in the early 1900s.

I preferred the chapters from Beatrice's point of view, as I found Hetty to be a real push over. I was often frustrated by her actions and was desperate for her to make a stand but it works for the novel.

The mystery unfolded at a steady pace, but it wasn't a big surprise at the end. I would have preferred a little less focus on Blake's artwork and less about his passion for bird collecting, but all in all, The House Between Tides is a solid debut for Sarah Maine. 

Readers who enjoy Kate Morton's novels will feel at home with Sarah Maine.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

Click here to read a free excerpt.

18 July 2016

Winner of Devour by L.A. Larkin is announced

Thanks to everyone who entered last week's giveaway to WIN a copy of Devour by L.A. LarkinEntries closed at midnight Friday 15 July and the lucky winner was drawn today. Congratulations go to:
Cloggie Downunder

Congratulations Cloggie, you'll receive an email shortly and will have 7 days to provide me with your postal address. The publisher Hachette Australia will send your book out to you and I'd like to thank them for this prize.

For those who missed out, click here to enter this week's giveaway.

Carpe Librum!

15 July 2016

Friday Freebie: WIN a copy of Bad Blood by Gary Kemble

RRP $29.99
* Copy courtesy of Echo Publishing *

Blurb
A journey into the world of corruption and dark magic on Brisbane’s streets.

Freelance journalist Harry Hendrick is beginning to realise that you’re only as good as your last exclusive, and buzz doesn’t pay the bills, when he’s blackmailed by the police into investigating a series of bizarre suicides.

Those investigations lead him into the web of Mistress Hel, who plies her dark arts from her luxurious suburban lair. With continuing challenges in his personal and professional life, can Harry resist her seductive power? Or the thrill of danger itself?

A novel about lust, power, control and revenge, featuring a strong, three-dimensional female antagonist who’s unlike anyone you’ve met in literature before.

Bad Blood is the latest genre-bending, supernatural thriller from an exciting Australian author on the rise.

Author Bio
Gary Kemble’s award-winning short fiction has been published in magazines and anthologies in Australia and abroad and several have been republished in ‘best of’ collections including Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror. Gary’s journalistic career has included stints with national magazines and online publications in Australia and the UK. He is currently the Social Media Lead for ABC News.

Born in England, Gary emigrated to Australia when he was six, and grew up in Brisbane. Gary tweets at @garykemble

Giveaway

12 July 2016

Review: Brick History - Amazing Historical Scenes to Build from LEGO by Warren Elsmore

RRP AUD $24.99
Published May 2016
* Copy courtesy of Allen & Unwin *

I review a variety of books here on Carpe Librum, but Brick History by Warren Elsmore (from Allen & Unwin) was certainly a unique reading experience for me.

Containing detailed historical scenes made entirely from LEGO, Brick History begins with the birth of civilisation itself (Big Bang), and takes us through to the year 2011 with the Royal Wedding.


When it comes to which historical events to feature in a book like this, you know at the outset that many significant historical events won't make the cut and that you can't please every reader. Having said that, I was surprised to see just how many American events were included, knowing the author Warren Elsmore is from the UK.

The LEGO scenes were elaborate and it was obvious great care had been taken in their design to make them as historically accurate as possible. However, I just wanted more. I wanted to know how many LEGO pieces had been used in each scene or how many man hours it took to design and build each one.

Without this information, and only stylised photographs to go by, it was difficult to appreciate the magnitude of the effort and creativity involved.

There are several model projects with detailed instructions for readers to build themselves, and my personal favourite was a working sextant from Page 74 and a book of specimens from Sir Joseph Banks on Page 122.

Brick History - Amazing Historical Scenes to Build from LEGO by Warren Elsmore will appeal to readers of all ages and of course Adult Fans of Lego (AFOL).

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

08 July 2016

Friday Freebie: WIN a copy of Devour by L.A. Larkin

RRP $29.99
* Copy courtesy of Hachette Australia *

Blurb
Devour is an action-packed conspiracy thriller with a spine-chilling psychological thriller sub-plot; an enthralling female central character; and a climax that will leave you breathless.

Their greatest fear was contaminating an ancient Antarctic lake, buried beneath the ice for millions of years. They little knew the catastrophe they were about to unleash. Welcome to the high octane world of Olivia Wolfe.

As an investigative journalist, Wolfe lives her life in constant peril. Hunted by numerous enemies who are seldom what the first seem, she must unravel a complex web of lies to uncover an even more terrifying truth.

From the poppy palaces of Afghanistan and Antarctica's forbidding wind-swept ice sheets, to a top-secret military base in the Nevada desert, Wolfe's journey will ultimately lead her to a man who would obliterate civilisation. She must make an impossible choice: save a life - or prevent the death of millions.

Author Bio
British-Australian thriller author, L.A. Larkin, has been likened to Michael Crichton and Matthew Reilly. An adventurer at heart, Larkin has spent time in the Antarctic with scientists at the British Antarctic Survey and the Australian Antarctic Division and Thirst was described as 'The best Antarctic thriller since Ice Station'.

L. A. Larkin lives in Sydney and London, and teaches mystery and thriller writing. Find out more by visiting her website www.lalarkin.com.

Giveaway

04 July 2016

Winner of signed copy of No Free Man by Graham Potts announced

Thanks to everyone who entered last week's giveaway to WIN a signed copy of No Free Man by Australian author Graham Potts. 

Entries closed at midnight Friday 1 July, and the lucky winner was drawn today, congrats to:
Sarah E.
Congratulations Sarah, you'll receive an email shortly and will have 7 days to provide me with your postal address. The publisher Pantera Press will send your prize out to you and I'd like to thank them for providing this prize.

For those who missed out, I have another three giveaways scheduled this month, so there will be plenty more chances to win.

Carpe Librum!