29 July 2016

Friday Freebie to WIN a copy of Aussie thriller The Falls by B. Michael Radburn

Excerpt of my review
* Copy courtesy of Pantera Press *

Last week I reviewed The Falls by B. Michael Radburn and those who saw the review will know I really enjoyed it, giving it four out of five stars.

You can read my review here or check out a free sample chapter here

The Falls was published this month, and as promised, you now have the opportunity to win a copy for yourself and find out first hand why I enjoyed this Aussie thriller so much.

A week of despair... a century of evil.

Damaged but not yet broken, park ranger Taylor Bridges believes his ghosts are in the past - until a raging forest fire in an isolated canyon of The Falls lays bare the remains of a young woman… and a decade-old killing ground.

After the police enlist Taylor in their investigation, the evidence bizarrely points to a deranged preacher who reigned over The Falls a century ago.

But when a crucial witness and a policewoman disappear, it’s clear that a disciple of The Falls’ dark history is on the loose.

Author Bio
Writing from his farm in the hauntingly beautiful Southern Highlands of NSW, B. Michael Radburn's work reflects both natural and supernatural environs. Described as “Ian Rankin meets Stephen King”, Radburn is the author of three full-length novels: The Crossing, Blackwater Moon and The Falls.

Radburn loves his family, jamming out the blues and his motorcycle! He also loves giving back and inspiring others from all walk of life – his Harley Davidson chapter (Sydney HOG) works with Father Chris Riley’s Youth off the Streets program. Radburn uses these opportunities to talk to youth living rough in Sydney – offering reading and writing as “therapy” and sharing his own teenage experiences.


25 July 2016

Winner of Bad Blood by Gary Kemble announced

Thanks to those who entered last week's giveaway to win a copy of Bad Blood by Gary Kemble. Entries closed at midnight on Friday 22 July and the winner was drawn today. Congratulations go to:

Congratulations Anne, you'll receive an email shortly and will have 7 days to provide me with your postal address. Echo Publishing will mail your book out to you and I'd like to thank them for this prize.

This Friday I'll be giving away a copy of The Falls by B. Michael Radburn, and you can read my review of it here.

Carpe Librum!

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 *

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


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!