Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Book Review: COLLIDE by L.B. Dunbar



L.B. Dunbar

Ivy Carrigan doesn't know what she wants.
Daughter of a famous female rock star, it's difficult to decide who to trust, who to believe in, so when Ivy finds herself in a predicament, it's hard to determine Gage Everly's motive. He couldn't possibly love her, including her secret.

Gage Everly knows exactly what he wants.
From the moment he met Ivy, his world spun out of control. He's never wanted anyone as much as he wants her, secret and all. Now, if he could only convince her to take a chance on him.

"When two stars collide, Ivy, they either collapse or merge to form something better. You and me. We collide, and we'll be so much more. Together."

*** **** ***


Looking for a committed hero from page one? I present to you Gage Everly from L.B. Dunbar’s COLLIDE. He may be young but his focus is unwavering in its determination that Ivy Carrigan knows exactly how he feels about her.

I thoroughly enjoyed Gage and Ivy’s story. I know them from Dunbar’s Sexy Silver Foxes series but here we go back in time to see how they met and fell in love.

Theirs is not a smooth romance: both are trying to move on after losing people in their lives, their future plans are seemingly at odds and they both have a public persona that often results in external pressure from people who have vested interests.

With all of this, what I enjoyed about the story is that Dunbar never took focus from our couple. She made them real. They argued, they loved, they were uncertain, they had good intentions that didn’t always go to plan but always, always, there was a lure, a pull that held them together.

I enjoyed getting to know Gage’s bandmates, Jared and Petty, better and of course Ivy’s Uncle Tommy is always a treat. It was great to see him in this story that takes place prior AFTER CARE.

I believe COLLIDE is meant to be a novella, but it’s longer than some novels I read. This is not a complaint. Consider it a forewarning to find a comfy chair and set aside enough time to read it; you’ll likely want to finish it in one go.


 I’ve been accused of having an over-active imagination. To my benefit, this imagination has created over twenty novels, including the creation of a small-town world (Sensations Collection), rock star mayhem (Legendary Rock Star series), MMA chaos (Paradise Stories), rom-com for the over forty (The Sex Education of M.E.), and a suspenseful island for redemption (The Island Duet). 

My alter ego, Elda Lore, creates magical romance through mythological retellings (Modern Descendants). 

My life revolves around a deep love of reading about fairy tales, medieval knights, regency debauchery, and strong alpha males. I love a deep belly laugh, a strong hug, and an occasional margarita. My other loves include being mother to four grown children and wife to the one and only.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Book Review: THE BOOK NINJA by Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus



Ali Berg & Michelle Kalus

Sometimes love means having to broaden your literary horizons.

Frankie Rose is desperate for love. Or a relationship. Or just a date with a semi-normal person will do.

It’s not that she hasn’t tried. She’s the queen of online dating. But enough is enough. Inspired by her job at The Little Brunswick Street Bookshop, Frankie decides to take fate into her own hands and embarks on the ultimate love experiment.

Her plan? Plant her favourite books on trains inscribed with her contact details in a bid to lure the sophisticated, charming and well-read man of her dreams.

Enter Sunny, and one spontaneous kiss later, Frankie begins to fall for him. But there’s just one problem – Frankie is strictly a classics kind of gal, and Sunny is really into Young Adult. Like really.

A quirky and uplifting love letter to books, friendship and soulmates. 

*** **** ***


Ah, those crafty librarians! This book caught my eye on one of my library’s ever-changing book displays. The book and the authors are new to me, so I doubt I’d have come across it otherwise.

Set in modern day Melbourne, Australia, the story centres on Frankie Rose's search for love. Her lure? To catch a man by randomly depositing her favourite books on Melbourne's public transport and inserting a note towards the end of the book inviting the reader to contact her. Placing the note at the end is important – no one wants a person who can’t make it to the end of your favourite book, now do they?

There is a hiccup though. Even though Frankie is dating her book readers, she is strongly attracted to Sunny, a customer at the book shop Frankie works in but whose reading tastes leave much to be desired.

I found THE BOOK NINJA to be an overall fun read. The Frankie/Sunny romance runs the gamut of emotions which kept me invested. I loved the friendship between Frankie and her BFF, Cat. There are plenty of quirky characters and dialogue to match. It’s a delightful romp around Melbourne and it has loads of book references - so many that there's a collated list at the end ... all 3 pages of it! A great book to while away a lazy afternoon. 


Hi there! We're Ali and Michelle. Co-authors, founders of Books on theRail, professional Book Ninjas and best friends since primary school (you should see our awkward teenage photos)!

In 2017, we signed a two-book deal with Simon & Schuster. The Book Ninja was released in June 2018 and has already been sold to over 10 countries. Our second book will be published in June 2019. 

We're both Melbourne-based. Ali is the Creative Director and co-founder of Hedgehog Agency and Michelle is a primary school teacher at Camberwell Girls Grammar School.  

Monday, 18 March 2019

Book Review: THE PORTRAIT OF MOLLY DEAN by Katherine Kovacic




Katherine Kovacic

An unsolved murder comes to light after almost seventy years...

In 1999, art dealer Alex Clayton stumbles across a lost portrait of Molly Dean, an artist's muse brutally slain in Melbourne in 1930. Alex buys the painting and sets out to uncover more details, but finds there are strange inconsistencies: Molly's mother seemed unconcerned by her daughter's violent death, the main suspect was never brought to trial despite compelling evidence, and vital records are missing. Alex enlists the help of her close friend, art conservator John Porter, and together they sift through the clues and deceptions that swirl around the last days of Molly Dean.

*** **** ***


Books like THE PORTRAIT OF MOLLY DEAN ticks many of the things I love to read in fiction. There’s a mystery to solve, it takes place in the art world, it’s based on a true story - a crime that remains unsolved - and there’s a sympathetic protagonist.

What I love about books like this is our lead character, Alex Clayton, is passionate about her subject and takes the effort to research and dig deeper into a story that many others in her field would have ignored.

As an art dealer, we get to see Alex juggling her professional and ethical responsibilities; from buying and selling artworks (be it a gallery or  a back alley) to researching using all manner of sources and playing mind games with other dealers in the hopes of getting her hands on artworks before other dealers and at a reasonable price. A girl’s got to make a living, you know!

The book moves between 1999 when Alex is investigating Molly’s murder and 1930 when we get to see life through Molly Dean’s eyes. I enjoyed taking the trip back in time, and being familiar with Melbourne, I felt I was on this journey with both Alex and Molly.

Overall a highly enjoyable featuring a great central character (Alex) along with her wonderful companion, Hogarth, a Great Dane dog and her art restorer friend, John.

As I write this, book two in Alex Clayton Art Mystery series has been released and I am on my library’s waiting list to pick it up. 

*** **** ***


Katherine Kovacic was a veterinarian but preferred training and having fun with dogs to taking their temperatures. She seized the chance to return to study and earned an MA, followed by a PhD in Art History. Katherine spends her spare time writing, dancing and teaching other people’s dogs to ride skateboards.

A research geek, Katherine is currently fired up by the history of human relationships with animals, particularly as they appear in art. In 2012 she was long-listed for the Voiceless Writing Prize and she continues to contribute to academic publications.

Katherine lives in suburban Melbourne with Leonardo the Borzoi, Oberon the Scottish Deerhound and a legion of dog-fur dust bunnies.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Book Review: SPACE by Penny Reid


SPACE, the second book in the all-new Laws of Physics Trilogy from Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestselling author Penny Reid, is available now!


One week.
Private cabin.
Famous physicist.
Still an unrepentant slacker.
What’s the worst that could happen?
Mona’s meticulously planned allotment of relaxation is thrown into chaos by the unscheduled appearance of her older brother’s band of friends, including the one person she'd hoped to never face again. Abram still makes her feel entirely too much, which is one of the reasons she disappeared after their one week together. But now, trapped on a mountain of snow and things unspoken, Mona will have to find a way to coexist with Abram, chaos and all.

Laws of Physics is the second trilogy in the Hypothesis series; Laws of Physics parts 1 (MOTION) & 2 (SPACE) end with a cliffhanger.


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***   ***


SPACE is book two in Penny Reid’s Law of Physics trilogy.

Sadly, I struggled to connect with this instalment for three core, interconnected reasons.

This book begins within the same timeframe of MOTION (book one) before quickly jumping two and a half years into the future. Mona, and in particular Abram go through some significant life events. The jump in time means we get told plenty but experience little. Yes, the ol’ telling instead of showing chestnut. It left me feeling removed from the characters and their story.

Next, I still don’t feel like I know either of the main characters very well. The huge time jump does not help. I was hoping we would get to know Abram a lot more in this book and we did to some extent, but it’s still very much Mona and her point of view that’s front and centre; the same as it was in MOTION. Further, changes to their character at times left me feeling these were not the same people we met in MOTION.

Thirdly, in my review of MOTION I said I felt the relationship was in its infancy. To read that Mona and Abram fell in love with each other in that book just doesn’t ring true to me. Yes, there was chemistry and attraction and a desire to learn more about one another. But love? Eh. I’m not convinced.

It wasn't all doom and gloom for me. There were several enlightening conversations between Abram and Mona that were fantastic but they were few and far between.

It was great to see Kaitlyn and Martin from the Elements of Chemistry series make an appearance; I loved catching up with them. Mona’s best friend Allyn is a hoot, and she provided some much needed humour throughout the book.

All the physics references once again went over my head but I did learn about snoga pants. Who knew such a thing existed? I want a pair even though I have no need for them. 

***   ***

Start the series today!
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Pre-order the highly anticipated conclusion today!
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Meet Penny Reid:

Penny Reid is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers, Knitting in the City, Rugby, and Hypothesis series. 

She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she just writes books. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.


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