Reading Rewards - reviews

The Next Always

The Next Always – Book 1 of the Inn Boonsboro trilogy by Nora Roberts

The historic hotel in Boonsboro has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumoured hauntings. Now it's getting a major facelift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. 

Beckett is the architect of the family, and his social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there's another project he's got his eye on: the girl he's been waiting to kiss since he was fifteen.

After losing her husband and returning to her hometown, Clare Brewster soon settles into her life as the mother of three young sons while running the town's bookstore. Busy, with little time for romance, Clare is drawn across the street by Beckett's transformation of the old inn, wanting to take a closer look . . . at the building and the man behind it.

With the grand opening inching closer, Beckett's happy to give Clare a private tour - one room at a time. It's no first date, but these stolen moments are the beginning of something new - and open the door to the extraordinary adventure of what comes next ...

Nora Roberts is no stranger to trilogies, there’s a fist full of them and they follow a tried and true pattern.  I’ve read and enjoyed most of them, particularly the Three Sisters Island trilogy, and this series is shaping up to be very much like that; warm, womanly and whimsical.  Basically just change the setting and the character names and you can revisit any Roberts trilogy all over again.  Yes, even the ghost, now an expected ‘character’, undergoes the same renaissance.

I’m not big on the romance genre and usually only pick up a Nora Roberts when I feel bogged down by heavier reads. This light and not too demanding tale fitted the bill perfectly. Books 2 and 3 - The Last Boyfriend and The Perfect Hope (respectively) will be on my list to read ... eventually.

We have this series in all formats; I listened to the audiobook which was narrated well by McLeod Andrews.

~ Deb

Half the World Away

Half the World Away by Cath Staincliffe

Newly graduated photography student Lori Maddox spends the year after university travelling and visits China where she finds work as a private English tutor. Back in Manchester, her parents Jo and Tom, who separated when Lori was a toddler, follow her adventures on her blog, 'Lori In The Orient'. Suddenly communication stops and when the silence persists a frantic Jo and Tom report her missing. 

It is impossible to find out anything from 5,000 miles away so they travel out to Chengdu, a city in the south-western province of Sichuan, to search for their daughter. Landing in a totally unfamiliar country, with no knowledge of the customs or language, and receiving scant help from the local authorities, Jo and Tom are forced to turn detective, following in their daughter's footsteps, tracing the people she mentioned in her posts, interviewing her friends, colleagues and students.

Imagine your daughter takes off for a year of travelling in China and you stay in contact with the wonders of technology - Skype, emails and blogging. But then suddenly nothing! All communication ceases. It’s every parents nightmare. How long before you do anything? Where do you start? When do you stop looking?

This is an absorbing read that rolls along building tension as the characters become increasingly desperate and frustrated as they search for their daughter, half the world away. This was a good holiday read for me. Available in print and audio.

~ Sandra

Our Song

Our Song by Dani Atkins

Four people, two marriages, one night to decide their past, present and future.
This book tells the story of Ally and Joe and Charlotte and David, both happily married, until tragedy strikes both of the husbands. Joe falls through ice rescuing a young boy and his dog, and David suffers a heart attack in a store whilst buying a gift for Charlotte. Both men are transported to the same intensive care unit of the local hospital to await their fate.
The thing is - Ally and David were a couple and very much in love years before, until Charlotte moved into the house that David was sharing, and through misunderstood circumstances, Ally and David broke up.

The book is beautifully written from the perspectives of the four main characters David, Joe, Charlotte and Ally. The author slides seamlessly between not only the characters but the past and present as they become intertwined. Even as it becomes obvious which way the story is heading, it remains engrossing and continues to tug at your heartstrings. I loved reading the history of the two women and how they arrived at the point they are at in the current time in the book, and how things unfolded in their past.

Our Song is a great book from start to finish. Truly a beautiful love story with some twists and turns. Highly recommend reading this book but be warned, tissues beside you may be needed throughout the book! This will appeal to readers of Women's Fiction or Life-Lit.

~ Janine

Saint Odd

Saint Odd by Dean Koontz

Odd Thomas is back where it all started... because the time has come to finish it. Since he left his simple life in the small town of Pico Mundo, California, his journey has taken him to places strange and wonderful, mysterious and terrifying. Across the land, in the company of mortals and spirits alike, he has known kindness and cruelty, felt love and loss, saved lives and taken them - as he's borne witness to humanity's greatest good and darkest evil. Again and again, he has gone where he must and done what he had to do - for better or worse - with his courage and devotion sorely tested, and his soul forever changed. Every triumph has been hard won. Each sacrifice has taken its toll. Now, whatever destiny drives him has finally steered his steps home, where those he cares for most surround him, the memory of his tragically lost true love haunts him, and one last challenge, vast and dreadful, awaits him. For Odd Thomas, born to serve a purpose far greater than himself, the wandering is done. Only the reckoning remains.

This series is totally left-field, an American hash of occult/horror/sci-fi/crime/romance/thriller/humour and in amongst all that is Odd Thomas, a wonderful, memorable character, so quirky and loveable you just wish he was real and one of your own friends. Some couples have been born in the pages of literature and stay with you forever - Scarlett and Rhett, Heathcliffe and Kathy, Henry and Claire - and they are now joined by Odd and Stormy.  The enduring and heartbreaking love between Odd and Stormy Llewellyn is what keeps you going throughout the madness and mayhem.  But it's all over now. Thanks for the ride Mr Koontz. 



Euphoria by Lily King

English anthropologist Andrew Bankson has been alone in the field for several years, studying the Kiona river tribe in the Territory of New Guinea. Haunted by the memory of his brothers' deaths and increasingly frustrated and isolated by his research, Bankson is on the verge of suicide when a chance encounter with colleagues, the controversial Nell Stone and her wry and mercurial Australian husband Fen, pulls him back from the brink. Nell and Fen have just fled the bloodthirsty Mumbanyo and, in spite of Nell's poor health, are hungry for a new discovery. When Bankson finds them a new tribe to divert them from leaving Papua New Guinea, he ignites an intellectual and romantic firestorm between the three of them that burns out of anyone's control. Set between two World Wars and inspired by events in the life of revolutionary anthropologist Margaret Mead, Euphoria is an enthralling story of passion, possession, exploration, and sacrifice. 

My interest in this book was piqued after having spent some time in Papua New Guinea. It is a passionate love story loosely based on the life and loves of anthropologist Margaret Mead, her husband Reo Fortune and colleague George Bateson. 

Set in the thirties, it tells the story of competitive observations and knowledge in regard to the emerging discipline of anthropology, creating distrust and uncertainty between the three. The discovery and immersion of the culture of a new tribe ignites an intellectual and romantic ménage a trois that leads to deception and mistrust.

Recommended. It’s Hot! Its Sultry!  Available in print and audio.

~ Sandra

Intensive Care

Intensive Care (Escape to the Country #1) by Nicki Edwards

Escaping to the country was meant to be easy ... 
On the surface it looks like busy intensive care nurse Kate Kennedy has it all: a long-term relationship, a great career and a sleek inner city apartment. But appearances are deceiving, and in one fell swoop everything comes crashing down around her. 

In a moment of spontaneity, Kate leaves her city life and takes a new role as Nurse Unit Manager at Birrangulla Base Hospital, but her dream move proves harder than expected. Local cafe owner Joel O'Connor finds himself increasingly drawn to the gorgeous new nurse, but like Kate, he's been scarred by love and isn't looking to jump into anything. Yet their chemistry is hard to deny and after a near fatal incident, Joel and Kate find themselves opening up to one another. Just when Kate thinks she's found love again, their fragile relationship is thwarted by their pasts. Can they both let go of their guilt and grief to move on to a bright new future?

I am constantly astounded at the depth of authors we have here in Australia. Nicki Edwards is a local (living in Geelong) who is a critical care nurse as well as an author and this is her debut novel - a great start to a promising series! The fact that the author is a nurse herself definitely shows through in the descriptions of situations that occur in the hospital, but that does not detract from the quality of the writing and the storyline.

If you like a novel with a bit of romance set in the country with a medical background, then this is the book for you! Its the first in a series, so I am looking forward to eventually reading the others.  This is a digital e-book and can be borrowed through Bolinda Digital which you can access online from our website or simply click here to place your hold now.
~ Janine

Stella Prize longlist

The Stella Prize is an Australian annual literary award established in 2013 for writing by Australian women in all genres, worth $50,000. The award derives its name from the Australian author Miles Franklin, whose full name was "Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin".

It was established by a group of 11 Australian women writers, editors, publishers and booksellers who became concerned about the poor representation of books by women. Now in its fourth year, the Stella Prize celebrates Australian women’s literature at its most powerful and inventive.

And the longlist is:

The Women’s Pages by Debra Adelaide
The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop
Panthers and the Museum of Fire by Jen Craig
Six Bedrooms by Tegan Bennett Daylight 
Hope Farm by Peggy Frew 
A Few Days in the Country: And Other Stories by Elizabeth Harrower
A Guide to Berlin by Gail Jones 
The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau 
A Short History of Richard Kline by Amanda Lohrey 
Anchor Point by Alice Robinson
The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood 
Small Acts of Disappearance: Essays on Hunger by Fiona Wright

We'll bring you the titles that make the shortlist, announced at 12 noon AEDT on Thursday 10 March, and the 2016 Stella Prize winners on Wednesday 20 April. 

~ Deb

Jonathan Unleashed

Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff

Twenty-something Jonathan has moved to New York City for a soul-destroying job writing mind-numbing ad copy for a pen company – not that he needs to bother as the annoying marketing manager ignores most of his great ideas anyway. But on the bright side he’s working alongside his best childhood friend Max and has found a rare affordable apartment. 

His brother has gone to Dubai leaving his two dogs with Jonathan – a lovable spaniel called Sissy and a proud collie, Dante.  Jonathan loves the dogs but is worried for their emotional welfare. Increasingly neurotic, he continually takes them to the vet, wondering if they might hate their life. The young English vet Dr Clare tells him to stop worrying so much.

When his stupendously boring but prettily perfect girlfriend Julie (who doesn’t care for dogs) arrives to share the tiny Manhattan apartment, after scoring a fabulous promotion at a bridal magazine, life couldn’t get much worse. But Jonathan hopes it all might resolve itself if he catapults himself into adulthood by marrying Julie – live-streamed on the internet, all expenses paid by Bridal 360 magazine.

Why we love it: The first adult novel from bestselling young adult author Meg Rosoff is a quirky and unconventional coming-of-age story that is delightfully funny and thought-provoking.

~ from The Team at Better Reading

Notes from the Internet Apocalypse

Notes from the Internet Apocalypse by Wayne Gladstone

The internet is dead. Gone. It has just stopped working. While Gladstone and his new friends come to terms with this crisis, they also revel in its freedoms. Anonymity is reborn - no longer can a new acquaintance check out your Facebook page or Twitter feed to get your life story. They must wait for you to tell them. You can be who ever you want to be, leave past transgressions behind and start afresh.

The story is told in the form of a journal which Gladstone keeps as he and his friends try to find out what happened to the internet. They must negotiate New York's new found perils, such as internet junkies (known as "zombies") who aimlessly walk the streets searching for the life they have lost; Reddit groups who congregate on street corners to wax lyrical on their favourite subject, and a real life "Jeeves" who claims to have all the answers. Cats fail to live up to their internet image of performing hours of mindless tricks for no food or other maintenance. And of course there is porn. Without the internet the porn industry experiences an unprecedented renaissance.

Notes from the Internet Apocalypse poses some interesting questions about how we have come to rely so heavily on the internet, and what it has replaced. The author acknowledges how much we have gained, but points out that there is much we have lost. 

~ Kim

Mercy Street

Mercy Street by Tess Evans

Often humorous and sometimes heart-wrenching, it’s the story of George, a widowed pensioner living a ‘worn-out, washed out’ life in a Melbourne suburb – until his world is turned upside down by meeting little Aurora-Jane (Rory) and her teenage mother, Angie.

A charming tale about an older man transformed by love, Mercy Street is reminiscent of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. And it centres around many of the same themes as Tess Evans’ first, bestselling, novel Book of Lost Threads - hopes, dreams, compassion and the relationships between people.

When Angie takes off ‘for a while’, George finds himself caring for Rory, feeling his way into a kind of parenthood. He valiantly tackles Rory’s enthusiasms and anxieties, plans her birthday parties, and even becomes a ‘reading mum’, helping out at her school. It takes his ‘best love’ and courage, and the help of friends – old and new – to help Rory thrive.  But then Angie announces she is coming back to collect Rory, and George unexpectedly finds himself on the wrong side of the law…

Why we love it: 
Mercy Street is one of those books with characters who capture your heart, and who you want to spend every minute with.

~ from The Team at Better Reading

The Fish Ladder

The Fish Ladder: a journey upstream by Katherine Norbury

Katharine Norbury was abandoned as a baby in a Liverpool convent. Raised by a loving adoptive family, she grew into a wanderer, drawn by the landscape of the British countryside.
One summer, following the miscarriage of a much-longed-for child, Katharine sets out, accompanied by her nine-year-old daughter, Evie, with the idea of following a river from the sea to its source. The luminously observed landscape grounds the walkers, providing both a constant and a context to their expeditions. But what begins as a diversion from grief evolves into a journey to the source of life itself: a life threatening illness forces Katharine to seek a genetic medical history, and this new and unexpected path delivers her to the door of the woman who abandoned her all those years ago.

Combining travelogue, memoir, exquisite nature writing, and fragments of poems with tales from Celtic mythology, The Fish Ladder has a rare emotional resonance. It is a portrait of motherhood, of a literary marriage, a hymn to the adoptive family, but perhaps most of all it is an exploration of the extraordinary majesty of the natural world. Imbued with a keen and joyful intelligence, this original and life-affirming book is set to become a classic of its genre. 

Although the beginning to this story took a while to draw me in, I’m so glad that I stayed with it. The writing meanders and flows just like the crystal streams that Katherine follows. Gently and beautifully, landscape and people intersect. Katherine Norbury is able to focus on the minutiae of her surroundings and to describe all of her journeys perfectly. If you enjoy biographies, nature or the Northern English/Scottish environment then I can highly recommend this book. I listened to the e-audio book which is read quietly and evocatively by the author. 

~ Ali

This is Gail

This is Gail by Juliette O'Brien

In 2008, Chris O'Brien published his memoir of his battle with brain cancer, Never Say Die. But he wasn't the only person in the O'Brien household with a powerful story to tell. His wife - and now widow - Gail has gone from being a surgeon's wife and mother of a picture-perfect family to a single woman in her mid-50s, grieving not only her husband but also her son Adam, who died as a result of epilepsy a short time after Chris's death. 

In addition to coping with a public and private loss, Gail has taken on Chris's legacy as steward of his Lighthouse cancer centre. She's navigated the politics of boards and committees where people behave very badly. She's gone back to work as a physio after being out of the workforce for 25 years. She has reinvented herself and found that she can survive and even thrive in a world without her soul mate. 

When Chris was alive, Gail was the great woman behind the great man - now she's stepped out and is standing on her own two feet.

Many will remember the heartbreaking story of Sydney surgeon Chris O’Brien, diagnosed with a fatal brain tumour at the age of just 54. Undergoing treatment to defy his odds of living for less than a year, Chris sought various healings, some conventional, some not. Encouraged by his beloved wife Gail and three children, Chris was inspired to find ways cancer patients could benefit from more holistic treatment methods and wrote a memoir, Never Say Die.

Following Chris’s death, as Gail O’Brien and his children tried to navigate their way through grief, Chris and Gail’s son Adam died suddenly, less than two years later.  In This is Gail, Chris and Gail’s daughter, Juliette, tells her mother’s story. With compassion and insight, Juliette details her mother’s struggle to overcome the double blow of losing her husband and first-born son in quick succession and how she bravely steered Chris’s vision for an integrated cancer centre to fruition.

Chris had become something of a celebrity surgeon after the reality television show RPA, filmed at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred hospital. As a surgeon treating cancer patients who then became a cancer patient himself, Chris was in a position to understand what could help cancer sufferers when he passionately sought to establish a comprehensive, patient-focused cancer centre (that later became known as The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA) and he had the connections and drive to get it built.

Why we love it: 

This is Gail is deeply moving and brutally honest. It’s a beautiful story about life, death, grief and survival through the worst that life sometimes throws at us.

~ from The Team at Better Reading

The Gates of Evangeline

The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

From the back cover:
Thirty years ago, Gabriel Deveau’s Nanny put him to bed and locked his door from the outside. When she went to wake him the following morning, the door was still locked. When she entered, Gabriel was missing from his bed. The room had only one other entrance, but that door was latched on both sides. The windows, too, were locked. He hasn’t been seen since.

This is a haunting mystery and debut novel for Hester Young. It is intended to be the first of a trilogy known as the Charlie Cates Trilogy.

The novel begins in Stamford, Connecticut but is mainly set in Chicory, Louisiana.  Charlotte “Charlie” Cates is commissioned to write a book on the thirty-year-old mystery surrounding an influential family’s missing child, Gabriel Deveau. She is invited to stay on the family estate, known as Evangeline, an historic plantation home. Friendships are formed and relationships questioned among the family and staff that reside at Evangeline.

Through the gates of Evangeline, Charlie is haunted by her own loss, as well as the loss of others as she attempts to uncover the mystery surrounding the young boy’s disappearance. Charlie is also haunted by vivid dreams that are visions and premonitions, discovering a special gift she wished she had discovered prior to her own son’s death. 

It is indeed a breathtaking and haunting tale that moves at a fast pace but at times has predictable outcomes. Overall it was an enjoyable and intriguing read.
~ Narelle

Vic Premier's Awards

The $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature has been won by playwright Mary Anne Butler for her stageplay Broken. She also receives another $25,000 for winning the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for drama.

Other winners of the Premier's awards were Mireille Juchau (fiction, The World Without Us), Gerald Murnane (non-fiction, Something for the Pain), Alan Loney (poetry, Crankhandle), and Marlee Jane Ward (young-adult fiction, Welcome to Orphancorp). Miles Allinson won the People's Choice award for Fever of Animals [pictured left]

The prizes were presented by the Premier's wife, Catherine Andrews, and Creative Industries Minister Martin Foley in the garden of Parliament House on 28 January, 2016.

~ Deb

The Last of the President's Men

The Last of the President’s Men by Bob Woodward

An intimate but disturbing portrayal of Nixon in the Oval Office. In forty-six hours of interviews with Butterfield, supported by thousands of documents, many of them original and not in the presidential archives and libraries, Woodward has uncovered new dimensions of Nixon's secrets, obsessions and deceptions

Bob Woodward is of course most famous for co-authoring (along with Carl Bernstein) the seminal work “All the President’s Men” way back on 1974, and has written many more on US politics. In this book he revisits Watergate, unearthing the little known character of Alexander Butterfield, a man who perhaps can be accredited with the eventual fall of Richard Nixon. Butterfield was the Nixon aide who was responsible for the installation of the infamous Whitehouse taping system which ultimately brought him down, as the existence of the taping system provided proof of Nixon’s criminal acts. 

Butterfield’s somewhat ambiguous relationship with Nixon is fascinating to read about: he acknowledges Nixon as devious, cruel and secretive, yet also recognizes his political brilliance and foreign policy triumphs. Perhaps the central point which shone through for me was the recognition that this was another era, one in which the President was never questioned, his every wish obeyed despite his staff’s awareness that his commands were illegal. I like to think that that is no longer the situation today ... Surely?

~ Teresa

Summers with Juliette

Summers with Juliette by Emily Madden

From the cover: Almost twenty years ago, on a beautiful coastal cliff, Juliette Cole, Anne Kendall and Sera Di Maggio made a vow to be there for each other no matter what might happen in their lives.

Now Juliette is calling in the promise -- terminally ill, she wants her two friends to come back to Ellesmere to help her through her last summer. The trouble is Anna and Sera haven't spoken in years, and Anna hasn't returned home since she and her mother were run out of town in disgrace.
But Anna and Sera do have one thing in common: they want Juliette to fight her cancer by any means possible. When they realise the only way may be to find a man called Noah, they reluctantly agree to put aside their differences and search for him.

But, as Anna and Sera discover, sometimes facing the past is the best way to face the future, and perhaps the only way they will find the strength for their last summer with Juliette.

Wow, what an amazing book. This tells the story of three friends who made a pact when they were just girls that if any of them needed each other, they only had to make the call and they would be there.

The author weaves a brilliant story about the three friends and what transpires when they are all together again. The other characters in the book are well developed and fit into the story so well. Of course there is romance and scandal and happiness and sadness. This book will appeal to readers who enjoy romance or women's fiction. I don't want to give too much away without spoilers, all I can say is ... Read this book!


Public Library and other stories

You sometimes do judge a book by its cover, or at least in this case, it's cover title.  As I love public libraries, aside from the fact that I work in one, I was intrigued by what Ali Smith would bring in  a book entitled "Public Library and other stories".

From the blurb:  This is a richly inventive new collection of stories from Ali Smith, author of 'How to be both', winner of the Baileys Women's Prize and the Costa Novel Award and short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. Why are books so very powerful? What do the books we've read over our lives - our own personal libraries - make of us? What does the unravelling of our tradition of public libraries, so hard-won but now in jeopardy, say about us? The stories in Ali Smith's new collection are about what we do with books and what they do with us: how they travel with us; how they shock us, change us, challenge us, banish time while making us older, wiser and ageless all at once; how they remind us to pay attention to the world we make. Public libraries are places of joy, freedom, community and discovery - and right now they are under threat from funding cuts and widespread closures across the UK and further afield. With this brilliantly inventive collection, Ali Smith joins the campaign to save our public libraries and celebrate their true place in our culture and history.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the book - probably because I expected more about public libraries when that was part of the title.  Of the twelve stories, only one has any focus on books, but none on libraries.  The public library angle comes together in short personal reflections, from both the author and from correspondence she has received from others, regarding public libraries.

The stories themselves are very eclectic and wandering and were a bit of a challenge to read, but the reward was that they were a challenge in themselves.

If you enjoy short stories, fiction that is quirky and unusual or good descriptive language that gives a good mental picture of what is going on, then "Public Library and other stories" is worth a try.

~ Michelle

Who Do You Love

Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

Rachel Blum and Andy Landis are just eight years old when they meet late one night in an ER waiting room. Born with a congenital heart defect, Rachel is a veteran of hospitals, and she's intrigued by the boy who shows up all alone with a broken arm. He tells her his name. She tells him a story. After Andy's taken back to a doctor and Rachel's sent back to her bed, they think they'll never see each other again. 

Rachel grows up wanting for nothing in a fancy Florida suburb, the popular and protected daughter of two doting parents. Andy grows up poor in Philadelphia with a single mom and a rare talent that will let him become one of the best runners of his generation. Over the next three decades, their paths cross in magical and ordinary ways. They make grand plans and dream big dreams as they grow together and apart in starts and stops. Through it all, Andy and Rachel never stop thinking about that night in the hospital waiting room all of those years ago, a chance encounter that changed the course of both of their lives. 

In this captivating, often witty tale about the bonds between women and men, love and fate, and the truth about happy endings, Jennifer Weiner delivers two of her most memorable characters and a love story you'll never forget.

This was a very easy read and I really enjoyed it. The story of Rachel and Andy spans 30 years, and all through the book you are hit with 'will they?' or 'won't they?' get together. The individual story lines of both characters were engaging. This is the first Jennifer Weiner book I have read, and I think this would make a great movie or telemovie!

~ Janine

Never Enough

Never Enough: Donald Trump and the pursuit of success by Michael D’Antonio

In one way or another, Donald Trump has been a topic of conversation in America for almost forty years. No one in the world of business - not Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Warren Buffett - has been as famous as Trump for as long. 

First associated with high-profile real estate development in 1970s Manhattan, his name has since become synonymous with success defined by wealth and luxury. What does one make of a grown man who, when he argues with women, stoops to insulting their appearance and habitually courts controversy?  What if the same man were among the most prominent people in the world, and a privately generous person who once handed a dying child a $50,000 check so that he could enjoy the last months of his life? 

Add to the picture a kind of resilience that has allowed him to stage countless comebacks and truly a boundless level of optimism, and you get a figure so compelling that he cannot be dismissed simply because of his personality. 

Drawing upon exclusive interviews and detailed research, Michael D'Antonio presents the full story of Donald Trump, a man who, for all of his excesses, is perfectly adapted to our world.

Donald Trump is much in the news these days (perhaps for all the wrong reasons) so I was interested to learn more about his history and possibly get a glimpse of his motivations and true personality. 

I did learn a few surprising facts – for instance, in 2000 Donald Trump was actually associated with the left wing independent Reform Party and even formed an exploratory committee to see their nomination for president. The book is filled with the history of his shady business deals (he filed for bankruptcy three times, all the while continuing to draw his $2,000,000 a year salary), heavy involvement with the Birther movement (a bunch of loonies who insist, despite production of his full birth certificate, that Barack Obama was not born in the USA and is therefore ineligible to be US President), and continuous marriages and affairs with woman after woman.

At the end of it all, all I can do is hope he doesn’t get the Republican Party’s Presidential nomination after all. The thought of him at the helm of a world power is truly terrifying.


The Fixer

The Fixer by Joseph Finder

When former investigative reporter Rick Hoffman loses his job, fiancee, and apartment, his only option is to move back into and renovate the home of his miserable youth, now empty and in decay since the stroke that put his father in a nursing home. As Rick starts to pull apart the old house, he makes an electrifying discovery millions of dollars hidden in the walls. It's enough money to completely transform Rick's life and everything he thought he knew about his father. Yet the more of his father's hidden past that Rick brings to light, the more dangerous his present becomes. Soon, he finds himself on the run from deadly enemies desperate to keep the past buried, and only solving the mystery of his father a man who has been unable to communicate, comprehend, or care for himself for almost 20 years will save Rick ... if he can survive long enough to do it.

This is an intriguing tale about a young man who discovers a wealth of money hidden inside his father’s desolate and decrepit home. Questions are endless – how did it get there, how long has it been there, and who does it truly belong too? Better yet, Rick Hoffman decides in his time of desperation, to keep the money for himself. 

With his experience as an investigative reporter, Rick embarks on the dangerous journey to discover some of these answers and as well as protect the money. Only there is one catch! His father is unable to guide him to the answers, offer any information, or warn him of the dangers, due to his inability to speak after suffering a stroke many years earlier.

Rick Hoffman finds himself in many dangerous situations that, incredibly, he survives each time. He is like a cat with nine lives. A little too incredulous to believe; but a great tale nonetheless.

Joseph Finder is a New York Times bestselling author of eleven previous novels, including Paranoia and High Crimes, both of which became major motion pictures.

~ Narelle