Bound For Sin by Tess LeSue

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Bound for Sin
Frontiers of the Heart Series
Tess LeSue
Published 4th September 2018
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From the author of Bound for Eden comes a new historical Western romance that tests life and love on the Oregon Trail.

WANTED: A resourceful frontiersman, for the purpose of matrimony…


When Georgiana Bee Blunt advertises for a husband, she’s not looking for a handsome man, or a smart man, or a charming man. What she wants is a brute. A no-nonsense, capable backwoodsman who won’t trouble her with talk of love; she just wants someone to get her and her fatherless children safely to California. Matt Slater seems to fit the bill perfectly. The man looks like he could wrestle a bear and not even break a sweat. The only problem is he doesn’t want a wife. Well, not the only problem…


Truth be told, Georgiana has more problems than she knows what to do with. Left holding a gold claim by her not-so-dearly departed husband, Georgina finds her eldest son held ransom by the sinister Hec Boehm and his henchmen, and herself facing a journey of more than two thousand miles to rescue him. With four children in tow. And no nanny.


All Matt Slater wants is to be left alone. He’s spent most his life on his lonesome in the wilderness, and he’s comfortable that way. But then a widow with big blue eyes and the tenacity of a buffalo turns his entire life upside down, and before he knows it, he’s playing caretaker to a pack of kids…and trying not to succumb to their mother’s charms.


We begin this glorious tale in Independence, Missouri, much like in the first book Bound for Eden, however this time we have a different Slater brother and a very different heroine. Georgiana Bee Blunt is not only a strong and resilient woman but the mother of five spirited children, one of whom is being held for ransom by thugs in the gold hills of California. So, with the long and dangerous Oregon Trail before her, she not only needs a wagon train but a man to aid and protect her young family on their journey. Surely such a man would be easy to find on the edge of the wild west. Unfortunately for Georgiana, word has spread that her deceased husband has left her a piece of Californian gold land, and every would-be gold-digger answers her call. Enter Matt Slater, a gruff, grouchy bear of a man, and one of the best wagon train captains Independence has known – and he perfectly fits the necessary requirements for Georgiana’s advertisement. Except he doesn’t want to get married, and he hardly understands how to interact with people at the best of times, so how can he be expected to act the fiancé?

The premise was hilarious and set the characters up for an awkward meet cute, but most of the awkward scenes were eased by the easy nature and devilish actions of the Bee Blunt children. However, the premise also sets in motion a slow burn romance, which is my absolute favourite as you get to understand and watch the characters evolve and develop the relationship throughout the novel. Matt would have to be one of the most beautiful men I have ever read. His character gruff due to his solitary nature, but kind and considerate attention to the needs of others. Matt’s character has been crafted with care and precision by Tess, creating a modern hero to perfectly fit within his historical setting.

I had the pleasure of meeting Tess at the launch party for Bound for Sin, and she believed that Georgiana would be her least popular character. Personally, I had to disagree, as she experienced the most change and challenges throughout the novel, so her character and strength was always being tested, and every time she adapted and came out stronger. Even at one moment, where I cried for her and the horrible circumstances she experienced, she absorbed the pain and shock only to transform it into a new strength to carry her forward. Throughout all her changes, Matt was at her side, not shielding her from struggle but supporting her every step and aiding her when she was too weak to ask for it. That is why I love Matt Slater.

Of course, there is delicious sexual tension that Tess agonisingly teases throughout the novel, but it is absolutely worth every page. Tess’s writing is rich and delectable, tantalising every sense until you are blushing at each kiss, crying with every hurt and savouring every page. Her historical research is astounding. I completely appreciate her dedication to authenticity and grounding the characters in the mid-1800s, as it had additional layers to the complexity of characters and the romance. Definitely one of the best historical romances I have ever read.

Tess chose to set her romantic adventures in the wild west, as it was a place where fiction held power and often dictated the mode of life and crime. So be prepared for vast landscapes, epic adventures and fiery romances. Book three in the series, Bound for Temptation, is due to be released on 31st December 2018.


Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow | Book Review

9780734418074A breathtaking, enchanting new series by debut Australian author Jessica Townsend, about a cursed girl who escapes death and finds herself in a magical world – but is then tested beyond her wildest imagination.

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Born on an unlucky day, she is blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks – and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on Eventide.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It’s there that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organisation: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart. Except for Morrigan, who doesn’t seem to have any special talent at all.

To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests – or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

+++ Image and blurb from Hachette Australia website+++

4.25 Go Boldly Stars!

Did I read this book in less than 24 hours?

Yes. Yes, I did.

Was I pleasantly surprised?

Yes. While it didn’t touch Harry Potter’s place in my heart (as it has been compared to that glorious series), it did possess a charm of its own. The writing was engaging and lyrical, beautifully depicting the mad world of Nevermoor, without being stuck in the description and kept the action flowing effortlessly.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the characters, diverse and unique, they quickly enchanted me and I very much wanted to be their friend or at least a well-known guest of the Deucalion. Morrigan Crow’s character development was a little weak at times – as she is clearly a worrier – but fits well into the narrative as her future is unknown (and not just to her…).

However, a few hours after finishing the book I am craving more Nevermoor. Jessica Townsend has created a beautiful world where everyone can delight in the abstract and wonderful. Luckily for us, this is a sparkling debut and the author has promised us two more books, if not an entire series of nine, each I hope exploring further into this wundrous world.

Would I recommend this book?

Yes. It is well written and would appeal to a large age range of readers – from well-read eight-year-olds to anyone with an active sense of adventure (warning: the puns and jokes are aged for a younger audience and I did not derive as much pleasure from them than a younger read may).

Slated for worldwide release, you can find Nevermoor on the shelves in your local bookstore from 10th October in Australia, 12th October in the UK, and 31st October in USA/Canada. There are no publication dates yet for translated editions but I hope you can get your hands on a copy soon.


The Boat Runner | Book Review


y648In the tradition of All The Light We Cannot See and The Nightingale, comes an incandescent debut novel about a young Dutch man who comes of age during the perilousness of World War II.

Beginning in the summer of 1939, fourteen-year-old Jacob Koopman and his older brother, Edwin, enjoy lives of prosperity and quiet contentment. Many of the residents in their small Dutch town have some connection to the Koopman lightbulb factory, and the locals hold the family in high esteem.

On days when they aren’t playing with friends, Jacob and Edwin help their Uncle Martin on his fishing boat in the North Sea, where German ships have become a common sight. But conflict still seems unthinkable, even as the boys’ father naively sends his sons to a Hitler Youth Camp in an effort to secure German business for the factory.

When war breaks out, Jacob’s world is thrown into chaos. The Boat Runner follows Jacob over the course of four years, through the forests of France, the stormy beaches of England, and deep within the secret missions of the German Navy, where he is confronted with the moral dilemma that will change his life—and his life’s mission—forever.

Epic in scope and featuring a thrilling narrative with precise, elegant language, The Boat Runner tells the little-known story of the young Dutch boys who were thrown into the Nazi campaign, as well as the brave boatmen who risked everything to give Jewish refugees safe passage to land abroad. Through one boy’s harrowing tale of personal redemption, here is a novel about the power of people’s stories and voices to shine light through our darkest days, until only love prevails.

+++ Image and blurb from HarperCollins website+++

3.75 Stars

A cleverly crafted WWII narrative that focuses on survival rather than heroics. The reader is forced to understand the unending loss and struggle that people endure during war and crisis, and how individual human voice and experience should not be lost to the greater politics.

Jacob’s lack of agency throughout much of the novel detracted from my emotional attachment to his tale, yet his grief was palpable. From this disconnect, I felt the progression of the plot was building up to a crescendo, as it never allowed me to find comfort in the narrative for nothing was safe from the destruction of war. The downside to this excellent distance and disquiet in the reader is that I often felt frustrated, as one act would not conclude by lead to more and more confrontation.

I thoroughly enjoyed the imagery of light, shadows, music and water – how they were woven throughout the novel and at key moments of Jacob’s development. It plays with the concepts of illumination heavily, as Jacob’s father is the owner and creator of a lightbulb factory – supplying lightbulbs to most of Europe. As the war forces blackouts and the Germans take control of the lightbulb factory, light is a strong metaphor for knowledge as many atrocities were hidden and kept secret.

Ultimately, it was a fascinating read that highlighted the human experience in war and the desperation of refugees.

Devoted | Book Review

9781489245632Some choices are easy. Some choices are hard. And some choices will break our hearts…

When jaded movie director, Tyler Wentworth meets Mallory Hughes on the set of his latest movie, he immediately notices two things: she’s too sweet and she’s somehow familiar. But he has no time for mysteries – as long as she can do her job and continue to keep her notorious starlet out of trouble, she can keep her secrets.

Mallory knows exactly who Tyler is, the young man she had a huge crush on has grown to a Hollywood heavy-weight. But the last thing she wants is to be associated with the shy, awkward girl she was then. She’s here professionally, managing her troubled sister who has the talent to be the biggest star on screen, but a turbulent past. This is Bobbie’s last and best shot, and Mallory will do nothing to jeopardise it.

But as the filming begins, Mallory not only finds herself drawn more deeply to this grown-up Tyler, but that her attraction is more than reciprocated and she can’t help herself from indulging in all of her girlish fantasies. However, when their pasts catch up, she is going to have to choose between the sister she’s devoted her life to and the man who’s won her heart.

 +++ Image and blurb from JC Harroway website+++

Net Galley ARC received from Escape Publishing for an honest review

 4 Talk to Me Stars

I am sure you know the feeling where you start a book with very little expectations or assumptions and find a diamond in the rough.

It is a lovely feeling, isn’t it?

Well, I had that exact experience when reading Devoted, and what gave it those sparkly diamond qualities was the original characters, plot tension and steamy sex scenes.

Tyler Wentworth is a career-driven Hollywood director and is about the venture on his most personal project yet – depicting the demise of a young drug addicted women, based on his sister’s final days. Not happy with the unpredictable starlet, Bobbie Lawrence, the studio executives have thrust upon him to play the leading role, he is even more unimpressed that she fails to appear at the first location read through. Bobbie’s young and awkwardly shy manager is sent in her stead, Mallory Hughes, sparks not only his memory but his desire.

Mallory is Bobbie’s older sister, guardian, manager and assistant, after the death of their parents two years before. Working with Tyler is reigniting her old teenage crush, as his sister was her babysitter when she was thirteen. But never in a million years did shy, mousy, vintage-loving Mallory expect to arouse interest in the famous director. As one brief glimmer of courage had her kissing him, she discovered that he was kissing her back and wanting more than just a fling. But blurring the lines between the professional and personal is always fraught with danger, as they quickly discover.

I honestly loved Mallory, as she was a clever woman, whilst awkward at times did not shy away from her true emotions and desires when coaxed. I also loved that Tyler did the coaxing, as his director role made me expect an ‘alpha male’ dominant relationship but I was surprised as he recognised Mallory’s limitations and gently guided her out of her shell. This coaxing was also great in the sex scenes as he always wanted Mallory to voice her desires, wants and to take control of the sexual encounters. It was so refreshing to have the woman taking her pleasure, and the man encouraging her power – as the ‘alpha male’ trope wears thin after a few romances.

However, even with the empowering sex scenes, interesting characters and relationship tension, the novel felt lacking in some way. As I finished the book, I felt that the character development was not greatly present, as change comes late for both Tyler and Mallory. So, by the end of the novel, I was a little disappointed that the moments of change were glossed over, even if the shorter time frame held a lot more dramatic tension.

All in all, a wonderfully engaging romance to read at the beach, by the poolside, in front of an open fire – anywhere really.

Haven by Rebekah Weatherspoon

34745311A week-long getaway…

City girl Claudia Cade’s carefree life is plunged into chaos when a camping trip with her brother in the national forests of Northern California turns into a deadly dash for her survival.

A solitary world turned upside down…

Nature photographer Shepard Olsen has resigned himself to a quiet existence, with only his dog by his side, until a woman in need of his protection shows up on his doorstep and throws his universe into disarray.

Two lives linked by tragedy…

Claudia is desperate to heal from her traumatic loss, but can’t stop thinking about her run-in with evil….or the grizzled mountain man whose quick thinking and good aim saved her life. When she shows up on Shep’s doorstep again, she finds she isn’t the only one who can’t move on.

…saved by bliss.

The two begin an intense, passionate relationship of Dominance and submission, pleasure and pain, but with dark memories haunting them and decisions about the future rapidly approaching, Claudia can’t help but wonder…how long can they be each other’s haven?

*** WARNING: This book contains a sexual relationship between a fashionista and a cranky mountain man who are dealing with physical and emotional trauma. And a very big, cuddly dog.***

 +++ Image and blurb from Goodreads+++

Net Galley ARC received from the author herself for an honest review

 3 Beardy Man and Fluffy Dog Stars

Once again, I’ll need to open my post with honesty, I requested Haven from Net Galley without registering the series title ‘Beards and Bondage’. Whilst I do enjoy a well-appointed beard, I have never been interested in the bondage and Dom/Sub romance novels. Not even the Fifty Shades hype sparked my desire to explore this sub-genre. But as I requested the novel, and the blurb is fascinating, I decided to test the waters – and decided I enjoyed the foray but it hasn’t convinced me to explore further.

The novel has a hugely dramatic opening. Shepherd ‘Shep’ Olsen (bearded mountain man) finds Claudia Cade (witty city-bred fashionista) battered and bloody on his doorstep with her attacker close on her heels. Forced to kill the attacker, Shep rushes Claudia to the hospital, and they manage to form a bond through shared experience. Claudia is left to grieve for her brother who was killed as she escaped, and Shep must face the reoccurring nightmares of killing a man.

You would think that after Claudia returns to her Manhattan home she would never want to set foot in the mountains that had taken so much from her. But after struggling to restart her old life she is drawn back to Shep, the man she cannot stop thinking about and returns to not only say thank you but offer him a proposition. She wants to heal, and the only peace she had was in his arms in the hospital bed, and in her mind, the best way to work through the grief is numerous bouts of sex with the studly mountain man. Shep agrees so long as she agrees to his sexual preferences of Dom/Sub and bondage.

The characters were highly engaging and had wonderful character development which did not have a heavy dependence on each other – which is refreshing. Shep and Claudia had to exclusively conquer demons and acknowledge grief, as both experienced different traumas. The dual POV really helped their development, as they were either in different cities or different headspaces. Also, the dual POV allowed Shep and Claudia to have different levels of commitment and confusion to the relationship.

Shep’s caring introverted ways perfectly juxtaposed Claudia’s wise-cracking, chatty nature – which made them an intriguing couple. Even with the alluring plot and characters, the sex distanced me from the narrative. Strangely not at first, but as more of the bondage culture came into play I became more detached. I think this is all down to personal preference, whilst I didn’t find the leather straps and public exposure aspects of their relationship engaging, I still enjoyed watching their relationship bloom.

AND, how could I forget Titus, the adorable giant fluffy pooch – he was an excellent companion for Shep and comforter of Claudia.

Overall, I am happy I ventured out of my comfort zone and tried this romance sub-genre, but I will check out any other non-bondage novels by Rebekah Weatherspoon.

Fierce Obsessions | Book Review

fierce-obsessionsWhen raven shifter Riley Porter was given sanctuary by the Phoenix Pack, she let them believe she had left her flock. Reluctant to divulge the secrets of her past, she was still embraced as family. Only Tao Lukas, the protective and passionate Head Enforcer of the pack, was resistant to the enigmatic shifter. Until Riley started to arouse in him something other than suspicion. Tao doesn’t trust lone shifters, especially ones so guarded—and tempting. But the sexual tension between them is making them both come undone, and vulnerable to more than desire. All Tao wants is for Riley to stay with him and to trust him with the truth of her past. As Riley’s mysteries come to light, so does a danger that threatens not only her life but the safety of the entire pack. For Tao, keeping Riley safe means keeping her close—forever—as his mate.

Net Galley ARC received from Montlake Romance for an honest review

 +++ Image and blurb from Montlake Romance+++

4 ‘Borrowed not Stolen’ Stars

Let’s be honest here. I am a fan of the Phoenix and Mercury Pack, as I have read every title in the series and I am always in a state of anxious anticipation for the next release. Needless to say, I gracelessly leapt on the opportunity to read the advanced copy of Fierce Obsessions from Net Galley. And this book did not disappoint, filled with sassy characters, interesting shifter dynamics and – of course – hot sex.

Riley Porter is a raven shifter and protector of the adorable shifter children, Savannah and Dexter. She was first introduced in Savages Urges as Makenna’s fellow worker at the lone shifter shelter, and circumstances lead her to seek refuge for the children at Phoenix pack territory. The only problem she faced from being fully accepted by the pack was Tao Lukas, head enforcer and incredibly suspicious of outsiders. He wanted her gone. So not the best start but interesting enough to find her waking up after a tequila-drenched party to have Tao naked in her bed. The two move quickly from fling to ‘something more’ as Tao is not one to avoid a problem and Riley appreciates upfront behaviour.

The romance was refreshing after so many of the other couples had a long, slow road to romance – often hindered by their own omissions and hesitancy to bonding. This couple pulled no punches, their blunt natures fuelled their passion which sped into a devoted relationship. Riley and Tao natures perfectly suited, as Tao would bluster and Riley would just roll her eyes and ignore the ranting. Another refreshing development was their pasts were not something hidden or not spoken of, as they maintained an open channel of communication and respect. So, I was not surprised when the mating bond snapped into place fully formed, it was great to have a couple already so in tune with each other that they didn’t have to prove anything more.

I thoroughly enjoyed exploring deeper into the shifter world, as the raven shifter mentality and customs differ to the wolves. Riley’s past, which shaped her approach to relationships, was curious as she was affected by two tragic events but was still surrounded by loving friends and family. I like that true mates can be found across species as it opens the field for so many other shifter species to be introduced into both packs.

Another excellent addition to the Phoenix pack series to be released June 13th and the perfect romance to spice up your summer/winter reading. (Or indulge your sultry senses upon the entire series)


An Heir of Uncertainty | Book Review

19304924Yorkshire, 1820

Lina, Lady Radbourne, thought being a countess would rescue her from poverty. Unfortunately, her young groom failed to plan for the future, and his drunken accident left her widowed and pregnant. Now Colonel Winstead Vaughan—Win—will inherit her late husband’s fortune…unless she gives birth to a boy. Win is her natural enemy, so why can’t she stop thinking about him?

Win is stunned to learn he stands to inherit a vast fortune. He’s even more surprised to find himself falling for the beautiful, spirited Lady Radbourne, who is the one woman who stands in the way of a life he’d only imagined.

When someone tries to poison Lady Radbourne, suspicion falls on Win. There’s a clever killer in their midst, and if Win doesn’t solve the mystery fast, Lina may perish. He needs to win her trust, but how can he prove it’s she he wants, and not the fortune?

+++ Image and blurb from Harlequin Publishing+++

Net Galley ARC received from Carina Press for an honest review

3.75 Suspicious yet Sexy Stars

I was uncertain when picking up this romance, as the cold Yorkshire countryside did not fit in well with the summer weather I have been experiencing. Thankfully the weather cooperated and it has become wet and grey, giving the read a relatable backdrop. Weather aside, I was pleasantly surprised by the mystery and twists of the plot, as I was not expecting a quality murder mystery alongside an excellent romance.

Lina only had a few months with her new husband Edward and as Lady Radbourne before he dies in a foolish dare – and the executor of the estate quickly contacts a long distance relative and heir presumptive. However, when the heir to the estate, Colonel Winstead ‘Win’ Vaughan arrives with his young daughter and eccentric younger brother, it is to discover that the widow Lady Radbourne is expecting and her child could result in his disinheritance. Tensions run high from the awkward situation, but also from the unexpected attraction Win and Lina feel toward each other. Attraction wars with suspicion as several attempts are made on Lina’s life close after Win and his family arrive, but there are so many distrustful local figures that the culprit could be anyone.

The murder mystery was well crafted and acted as a catalyst for Win and Lina’s romance, forcing their hand in desperate times. As a fond reader of crime novels, I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the mystery and did not guess the murderer until the author intention let slip a few details to raise suspicion. The romance was also wonderfully crafted, as it did not easily develop from suspicion or from the stubborn natures of both characters but more from mutual respect and the slow burning passion that simmered beneath their concern for each other. Win’s nineteen-year-old pigeon-obsessed brother, Freddie, added wonderful comedic relief and had me hoping for him to find someone that shared his love of birds.

If you are looking for a murder mystery with slow-burn romance set in a Yorkshire winter, then you should definitely pick up An Heir of Uncertainty.

She’s The One | Book Review


In the game of love — and TV — you play to win or you lose your heart.

Millionaire Banjo Grahams originally signed up for She’s The One drunk as a skunk and willing to do anything to bed Australia’s most beautiful women, but when he sobers up he realises he could lose much more than his reputation if he goes through with it. Unable to back out of an ironclad contract, he makes a deal with the network boss to rig the show, picking the lucky bachelorette ahead of time and guiding the season to meet his own ends and keep the board happy.

When her father tells Eliza Peterson she isn’t going to produce She’s The One, but appear as a one of the contestants, she is livid. Competing for some guy on reality TV is no way to earn his — and the network’s — respect and show them she is capable of producing shows of her own.

But for all the planning and staging, somehow the show takes on a reality of its own, and the goals of Eliza and Banjo fall away from something neither of them expected — love.

+++ Image and blurb from Escape Publishing +++

Net Galley ARC received from Escape Publishing Australia for an honest review

4 Reality Rose Stars

February being the month of love and romance, I could not resist diving into a short romantic fling (aka. novella) to honour the week.  She’s The One is a reality show based on the ever popular Bachelor and Bachelorette, and the reader is introduced to – bad boy, man-whore, millionaire, winter gold medallist – Banjo Grahams as the lucky Bachelor. Before filming begins, Banjo develops cold feet and show producer, Eliza Peterson, is forced to step into the contest and Banjo’s life by her father- to save the company. As the show plays out they begin to discover the person behind the fake persona and their own dreams for a future with someone they love.

Perfect for fans of the reality TV shows, She’s The One is well paced, developing a believable connection between Banjo and Eliza. Both characters have familial and relationship complications that play into their romance, but they are not acknowledged only to be brushed off but are considered and cause emotional obstacles to hurdle. The sterile and controlled reality TV environment is another hurdle that they are forced to tackle, but time alone and stolen moments allow their relationship to flourish away from the cameras. The writing is strong and wonderfully visual, allowing me to bask in the humidity of a Port Douglas summer.

If you want a fun, quick romance with plenty of heart to win over your weekend, then definitely pick up She’s The One.


The Wife Drought by Annabel Crabb | Book Review


‘I need a wife’

It’s a common joke among women juggling work and family. But it’s not actually a joke. Having a spouse who takes care of things at home is a Godsend on the domestic front. It’s a potent economic asset on the work front. And it’s an advantage enjoyed – even in our modern society – by vastly more men than women.

Working women are in an advanced, sustained, and chronically under-reported state of wife drought, and there is no sign of rain.

But why is the work-and-family debate always about women? Why don’t men get the same flexibility that women do? In our fixation on the barriers that face women on the way into the workplace, do we forget about the barriers that – for men – still block the exits?

The Wife Drought is about women, men, family and work. Written in Annabel Crabb’s inimitable style, it’s full of candid and funny stories from the author’s work in and around politics and the media, historical nuggets about the role of ‘The Wife’ in Australia, and intriguing research about the attitudes that pulse beneath the surface of egalitarian Australia.

Crabb’s call is for a ceasefire in the gender wars. Rather than a shout of rage, The Wife Drought is the thoughtful, engaging catalyst for a conversation that’s long overdue.

+++ Image and blurb from Penguin Books Australia +++


5 Bring-on-the-Rain Stars

I picked up this book with the assistance of the Adelaide Writers’ Week – to whom I am always grateful for boosting the diversity of my reading – but I had seen Annabel before on TV and when she interviewed Stephen Fry at the Dunstan Playhouse. Needless to say, the title alone sparked my interest, as many organisations and Government offices in Adelaide have restructured their management opportunities for women advancing up the professional ladder. Obviously, these changes have been accompanied by backlash, confusion and a whole lot of head scratching silence – as these ‘women only’ roles are considered to circumvent meritocracy and only give the workplace a healthy gender statistic. So naturally, with these changes taking place around me and the book questioning the assumed social roles of women and men, I had to read it.

Annabel Crabb manages to deliver a humorous and insightful perspective of the pressures faced by women and men in the professional spheres. Yes, this book delivers the hard truths that women who wish to pursue professions are often deterred, judged and criticised when wanting a family and a career – as the societal assumption that women are defined by their family and men by their job is still a giant spectre hovering over us. Therefore, women who wish to continue with their career need the support offered by a wife. Crabb by no means expects the partner to leave work to and perform the lion’s share of housework and childcare, but the work and childcare are shared and there is open communication between the couple to support each other in their career pursuits.

Another great point Crabb touches upon is the derision and confusion men face when they want to take parental leave or reduce their hours to spend more time with their families. To the extent that one man was asked not to involve himself in his young daughter’s Year 1 classroom activities, as is was a space for mothers and children. These social assumptions not only affect relationships and career growth but hinder the potential economic growth that can be achieved when women and men are happier in their work-family-life balance.



Annabel Crabb – ABC political journo and presenter of the excellent TV show, Kitchen Cabinet.

Crabb offers facts, personal experiences, interviews and statistics with a flair and passion that makes the information understandable and motivational. She concludes her book perfectly, that this drought is not only affecting women’s careers but men’s family life and therefore rain is good for all parties. So I recommend this book to everyone who is curious how out-dated assumptions of the roles of women and men in the home and workplace still affect careers and family life. Whilst some knowledge of the Australian political figures would be handy, it is not necessary as Annabel guides you effortlessly through the maelstrom that is Australian political history.


Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman | Book Review

London, April 1812. Lady Helen Wrexhall is set to make her debut at the court of Queen Charlotte and officially step into polite Regency society and the marriage mart. Little does Helen know that step will take her from the opulent drawing rooms of Mayfair and the bright lights of Vauxhall Gardens into a shadowy world of missing housemaids and demonic conspiracies.

Standing between those two worlds is Lord Carlston, a man of ruined reputation and brusque manners. He believes Helen has a destiny beyond the ballroom; a sacred and secret duty. Helen is not so sure, especially when she discovers that nothing around her is quite as it seems, including the enigmatic Lord Carlston.

Against a backdrop of whispered secrets in St James’s Palace, soirees with Lord Byron and morning calls from Beau Brummell, Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club is a delightfully dangerous adventure of self-discovery and dark choices that must be made… whatever the consequences.

+++ Image and blurb from HarperCollins Publishers Australia +++

4.5 Regent Reclaimer Stars

Absolutely loved this read for the care and consideration to the historical setting – Alison Goodman clearly knows her way around Regency London. I am not just talking about making sure nothing seems out of place, she has managed to weave her world into the historical regency details – smells, sounds, taste, societal expectations, class issues, real historical figures and events, true murders, common crimes and rising conflict over the impending industrialisation.

Beyond my love of the historical accuracies, the story was solid and compelling (even if it took a while to get going it allowed for extensive world building). The plot gained momentum once the dark days club and truths were revealed to Helen. The author did not shy away from death or sex (weird soul-sucking tentacle sex… yeah, you know you want to read it now). The ending was the perfect completion of the first arc of discovery and the perfect segue into the second book.

Another draw was the characters, Lady Helen comes into superhuman powers yet she is not trained and often cannot accept the world the Dark Days Club introduces her to. Her courage waivers, her fears are discussed, she is not a sudden warrior but a rational and observant woman who is afraid of her new dangerous self. Additionally, Lord Carlston was a fascinating character, not warm and inviting, he is a man haunted by his past and future decisions, and therefore a serious person. Yet his demeanour cracks with wit, wry amusement and (occasionally) happy relief – not the brooding Byronic hero but a man of many facets.

I cannot wait to get my hands on the second book out on 19th December 2016!


Australian edition by HarperCollins AU

Alison Goodman also has a wonderful website where she has listed reference books, materials, photos of her Regency balls and how Lady Helen’s world was meticulously created.