Olympus, Texas – Stacey Swann

This was so much fun!! One of those books that is almost a guilty pleasure, a jam-packed read just for the thrill of it.

Unlikeable characters, families behaving badly, affairs, marriage breakdowns, a suspicious death…..it’s too good to put down.

March decides to return home to Olympus Texas, 2 years after being caught having an affair with his brother’s wife.  In a family that is larger than life, in a town that’s full of small-town gossip it’s anything but a warm welcome for March.

Not that he expected to be welcomed back with open arms, but what he didn’t expect was to set off a chain of events that for some would ultimately have devastating consequences.

With his father Peter as a role model, who seems to leave a brood of children around the town with women he can’t help himself from falling into bed with, and his long suffering mother June who does her best to pick up the pieces around them, it’s really no wonder March’s life and that of his siblings is a disaster waiting to happen.

They are truly a dysfunctional family and what makes it even more interesting is that Stacey Swann has done a fabulous job of weaving Greek mythology into the story, with each character mirrored on one of the Greek Gods, and I love all things mythology.

Even if you don’t, it’s like watching an old episode of Dallas and watching the train-wreck of their lives unfold in all its bold and brassy glory!!!

Circus of Wonders – Elizabeth Macneal

Such a beautiful book.  It was both magical and lyrical and I was totally mesmerised the entire way through.

For me, a wonderful read, a read that I will recommend to anyone and everyone is one that holds my attention.  A read that pulls me in and has me reading every single word on the page, never feeling the need to skip ahead for fear of missing something or reaching the end too soon.  It’s being invested in the characters and feeling a part of their life.

Circus of Wonders captured all those feelings. 

Set in 1866 amidst the backdrop of circus life, when those that were different were paraded around as “freaks”, spectacles to be gawked at, laughed at, and profited off, all for their differences to what the world deemed as “normal”.

Born with birthmarks that give her skin a mottled, speckled appearance, Nell lives a quiet life in a coastal village in southern England.  Although often dreaming of something better, she is content to lead a relatively isolated life, tending her flowers and spending time with her brother.

When Jasper Jupiter’s Circus of Wonders arrives in her village Nell’s father sees a way to make some quick money, as well as way to rid himself of the girl he sees as a blight on his family, a bad omen for the village.

Now finding herself sold to the circus, ripped away from everything she has known, to be treated as an object on display each and every night, Nell’s life will never be the same.  Yet what starts as heartbreak for Nell, soon turns into a life full of wonder and joy, and as she starts to fall for Toby, the Circus ringmaster’s brother, can she for the first time experience what true love is?

A truly magical book that shows the worth of someone is not how they look on the outside but how they feel about themselves on the inside.

Tell Me Lies – J.P. Pomare

This one was psychological suspense at its best,  You know the way the story is heading isn’t going to be where it ends.  You know the likely suspect you are being steered towards didn’t do it, but I loved the fact that even though I knew all that, I still didn’t know where it was heading.


Margot is a psychologist with a successful practice in Melbourne.  A loving husband, teenage children and a beautiful home.  She seemingly has it all.


So why would she suddenly push one of her patients into the path of a train on a busy platform in front of hundreds of witnesses?

  
The suspense in this one is palpable, You can almost reach out and touch it.  I’m going to be deliberately vague regarding the storyline and not going to divulge anymore , trust me, the less you know, the wilder the ride.


The pages keep turning, hours are lost and before you know it you have finished the book thinking wow, what just happened?  And that ending!!!!


A huge thank you to Hachette Australia for the opportunity to read this one.  A 5 star read for me, I loved it and will definitely be adding the authors previous books to my tbrlist.

The Year of the Witching – Alexis Henderson

I cannot believe this is a debut novel.  Alexis Henderson has built an atmospheric tale that is impossible not to lose yourself in.

With the perfect amount of eeriness, creepy vibes, and a chilling haunting feel to it I was completely mesmerised by the entire story.

Set in the town of Bethel that borders the Darkwood where it is rumoured the spirits of four evil witches lie in wait for their latest prey, where entering the woods marks certain death or madness, where the town folk follow only the words of their Prophet and any who would dare speak against him or the Church must surely lean towards witchcraft and therefore must burn on the pyre. 

Argh, how good does that sound!!  I’m in!!!

In a world where a girl’s sole purpose is to bleed and therefore be ready for the cutting ritual.  Where the prophet can take as many wives as he likes to serve his needs, and women have no purpose other than to obey, Immanuelle stands apart.

Raised by her grandparents after her mother was killed for consorting with witches and her father burned on the pyre as a traitor to the Church, she constantly feels the pull to the Darkwood.  When one day this pull becomes to strong Immanuelle’s future will be changed forever.  After a dark and chilling encounter with the witches, as terrifying plagues start to befall the township of Bethel, is Immanuelle to blame?  Can she stop them or should she watch them all suffer for all they have put her family through?

This is so descriptive and beautifully detailed.  I was absolutely captivated and although not a huge fan of horror, and trust me, it’s interwoven into this one, I honestly could not put it down.

I was soooo excited to read that the author is currently locked away writing the sequel.  I can’t wait.

5 fabulous witchy stars for this one.

Review – Playing Nice

Playing Nice – JP Delaney

Another twisting and turning tale from the masterful JP Delaney.  This one had me flying through the pages.  What was going on?  How were the babies switched?  Are the birth parents up to something?  Are the other parents up to something?  Stop!!! My brain is hurting!!!

I’m fast becoming a huge fan of this author and Playing Nice confirmed why.  Pete and Maddie are parents to 2 year old Theo who was born prematurely and spent a number of weeks in the NICU unit in one of London’s busy hospitals.  Maddie has since returned to work in advertising and Pete, a freelance journalist, is relishing playing the role of stay at home dad to his young son. 

Life is meandering along pretty nicely for them both bar the slightly too often behavioural issues that Theo displays when at day-care.  That is until one morning there is a knock on the door and a complete stranger drops what can only be described as every parent’s worst nightmare onto Pete.  Sorry, but I believe you have my child.  Yep, apparently there was a bit of a mix up at the hospital and we each have the wrong kid.  .  What the?

Enter Miles and Lucy, the parents of little David, who as it turns out is actually Pete and Maddie’s son.  Wow, confused yet?  Don’t be.  The storyline alternates brilliantly between Pete and Maddie and their take on the situation and all that unfolds…..and boy, is there a lot of unfolding. 

Both families try to work through not only how this could have happened, but what it means for the future of their children, while trying to find the most amicable solution possible. 

Agreeing that both boys should stay with the parents they have spent the first two years of their life with, while still being a part of the other family’s life, it really seems like all could work out.  Wrong!! Instead life for Pete and Maddie soon turns into a terrifying world of betrayal and fear.

I found myself screaming at this book so many times, almost like you do in a horror movie when you know something really bad is about to happen!!  The suspense was first rate.  A carefully constructed domestic/psychological suspense thriller is how I would sum this one up and a really really good one at that. 

And of course I always love to see my hometown of Adelaide referenced in a novel.

Another review where I’m not going to say too much about the plot, the less you know the better the ride. 

A huge thank you to Hachette Australia for the opportunity to read this awesome book.  This one is out now and you really need to grab yourself a copy.

*****

Welcome!

Welcome to Reading Time at the Zoo and thanks for stopping by.

Hello!! I hope you will have fun hanging out here.

I am a mum of 3 boys who loves to read in my spare time. I enjoy all types of books but my favourite genres would have to be historical fiction and thrillers/mysteries.

Set a thriller in the 1800’s and I’m hooked – lol.

Looking forward to sharing some of my reviews with you, all of which will be my own ramblings and my personal opinion of a book. We all like different things and we all have different opinions and that’s exactly how it should be.

Amanda
xxx