Tag «Australian author»

Single Sundays: The Recipient by Dean Mayes

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for The Recipient (from the Publisher):
Casey Schillinge is a vivacious young woman on the verge of making her mark on the world. While backpacking, she is struck down by a tropical disease and suffers cardiac failure. But at the eleventh hour, Casey receives a life-saving heart transplant – and a rare second chance to begin again.

Three years later, Casey has become a withdrawn shell of her former self: she is estranged from her loved ones, afraid of open spaces and rides the line between legitimate and criminal work. The worst of her troubles come in the form of violent night terrors; so frightening that she resorts to extreme measures to keep herself from sleeping. When she can take no more, she embarks on a desperate search for the source of her dreams. In so doing, she makes a shocking discovery surrounding the tragic fate of the donor whose heart now beats inside her chest. As she delves deeper into the mystery of her donor, she realizes her dreams are not a figment of her imagination, but a real life nightmare.


Author: Dean Mayes
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Psychological, Mystery
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: May 1, 2016
Source & Format: Publisher–eARC | Thanks so much Central Avenue Publishing!



Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I don’t usually read a lot of adult thrillers but when asked if I would be interested in reading this one, I jumped on the chance. As you may or may not know, I’m studying to be a part of the health care field as a Medical Laboratory Technologist. What’s that? Basically, I’m the person who does all the lab tests when you are at the hospital (it actually is much more complex than that but I’m keeping it simple!). So I think it goes without saying that I’m really intrigued by stories that focus on health-care or science–and organ donation is one of those very interesting topics.

The media package for this release claims this book is perfect for fans of The Girl on The Train–a novel I enjoyed though found very predictable. I was hoping The Recipient would be a strong suspense story with a mystery I couldn’t solve only a couple chapters in and be able to keep my attention. I also didn’t want it to be super creepy (ie I could sleep at night).

The Concept:

Dean Mayes is actually a pediatric nurse and it definitely shows in his writing that he is knowledgeable about the topics at hand (he definitely did his research). Not only was everything super accurate but it was also explained in a way that anyone–regardless of their medical knowledge–would understand. There is a great balance between the medical, the suspense and the character development so don’t think you are going to be reading endless pages about Casey’s organ transplant.

As for the concept itself–what a really cool idea! While organ transplantation is one of science and medicine’s greatest achievements, there is still a lot that is unknown (to a certain extent). In society we equate the heart with so many things, like life and love–so the idea that a donor’s heart could possible transfer a part of that person into the new recipient? Who knows? And I love how this novel plays with that idea.

The Plot:

You might think the plot revolves around Casey coping with the random memories of her donor and that is the “thrilling” part–like a scary movie. But it actually reads more like a mystery once the concept is unraveled a bit. I found the first part (less than 25%) a little dry because it’s establishing Casey as her character and her situation–but once the plot starts going, it really keeps going at an accelerated pace.

The mystery was great! I truly wasn’t able to figure it out until the big reveal and that always gets bonus points in my eyes. It’s high level suspense and danger that really kept me on my toes and engaged as a reader. It’s a well crafted story that makes a seemingly unrealistic idea (the idea a person’s memories are transferred during an organ donation) but makes it entirely plausible.

The Characters:

Casey kinda reminded me of Lisbeth from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. They have similar personality traits and interests and so I got very comfortable with Casey’s character quickly. She was intriguing and even if I didn’t agree with all her actions, I definitely understood her motivation. She’s a smart girl who is a little misunderstood and isn’t afraid to take big risks.

I almost want a sequel with Casey just because I loved her amateur sleuth style and I want to read more books about female protagonists that give it their all when it comes to solving crimes.

My Rating: 4/5


Simply put: I really enjoyed reading this book. Once everything was established, it was a fast and dangerous read that had me on the edge of my seat. Dean Mayes has definitely picked up a fan after this book!

Read if You Like: thrillers, high-stakes/dangerous reads
Avoid if You: dislike thrillers, psychological reads


  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Millennium Series #1)
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Dean Mayes
Dean Mayes is a Pediatric Intensive Care nurse who is fascinated by
the paranormal, so his stories weave an element of magical realism
with deep humanism. He grew up near Melbourne, Australia, the
setting for his new novel The Recipient, but now lives in Adelaide with
his family and dog, whom he loves with great passion along with
cooking, Star Wars and a good joke.




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Series Review: Soulless by Jacinta Maree (The Immortal Gene #1)

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

The Immortal Gene Trilogy

Other books in the series:


Synopsis for Soulless (from Goodreads):
Welcome to Soulless.
We are the generation that laughs at death.

Reincarnation; what was once considered a gift of immortality has become an eternity of nightmares.

Nadia Richards lives in a world plagued by reincarnation, a system of recycling souls where all past memories, personalities and traumatic events are relived daily in disjointed sequences. Trapped within their own warped realities, not even the richest and most powerful are saved from their own minds unraveling. Madness is the new human nature, and civilizations are crumpling beneath themselves trying to outrun it.

Within a society that ignores death, Nadia appears to be the one exception to the reincarnation trap. Born without any reincarnated memories and with printless eyes, the hot tempered 19 year old quickly becomes the ultimate prize to all those wishing to end the vicious cycle, or for some, to ensure they could evade death forever.


SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fave Cover (Soulless)
Series: Immortal Gene Trilogy
Author: Jacinta Maree
# of Books: 3 (Soulless, Soul Finder, Soul Reaper)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Soul Reaper, is to be published
Genre: New Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Supernatural
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: October 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author & YA Bound Tours–eARC



**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I first saw this book on NetGalley and had to resist the urge to hit request simply because I adore this cover. I just love the blend of the colours and the image itself. I almost hit the request button again once I read the synopsis because it sounded really, really cool. But alas, I didn’t have the time to read it then.

Normally, I read Contemporary New Adult novels but I’ve recently started to expand my horizons. I loved my first forey into the non-contemporary genre with Queen of Blood and again with House of Royals, so I was really curious to pick this one up. Add to that, Poulami @ Daydreaming Books‘ great review of Soulless (we seem to have similar tastes in books) and I really wanted to give this book a chance and soon.

So when I was asked by Jacinta to review her book, I couldn’t wait! I immediately said yes and dove in as soon as I could!

What I Liked:

–The Concept–

This is a really intriguing world! The whole idea of reincarnation is fascinating, and it is presented in way that I have never heard or read about before. The idea that multiple lives are within one person and that they can remember them all? It adds an interesting element to the story; one that is a little unpredictable and adds another layer to the characters.

AND, I felt like things were really explained well. This could be a super confusing concept to keep track of but new terms were always explained or things were briefly recapped so I never felt lost.

–It’s Always Moving–

The plot moves fast in this story, so I was never bored. There’s a lot of action, revealing plot twists and changing of the scenery. I really enjoyed that. While it definitely is a bit of a slow build to the bigger plot points, the story always keeps progressing so you never feel like you are waiting for something to happen.

–Lack of Romance-Centered Plot–

While I love a good romance, I really enjoyed the fact that there wasn’t a huge focus on romance in this story. It allowed me to learn more about Nadia as a character and get more invested in the world and its story. I’m not saying I wouldn’t have liked to have seen some more romantic moments, but it was refreshing not to have a story dominated by a romance and instead focus on the story at hand.

What I Didn’t Like:

Honestly, there really wasn’t anything that I didn’t really enjoy when I read this book. It held my attention from start to finish, I liked the plot twists and I like where the rest of the series is heading.

I suppose, it did take me awhile to warm up to Nadia. She seemed more cliche at the start of the novel and very stereotypical. However, her character presentation became more polished as you read so I grew to really like her over time. The same can be said about the rest of the characters.

The only thing that I think it holding me back from giving it a 5/5 is that it didn’t completely blow me away. Because the plot is always moving and building, this book felt more like an introduction to the larger plot points the rest of the series is going to have. Meaning, this story is just getting starting. I’m hooked but not obsessed…yet.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Like I said above, I think this series has great potential. Soulless did a great job introducing the world and all its players and I am really excited to see what is going to happen in Soul Finder. I’m hoping in it we are going to get more elaborated story lines and perhaps some more stability for Nadia, allowing the reader to get a little more invested in her story.


–September 25, 2016– Book #2: Soul Finder

Not only does it hit the ground running in terms of action, but it also builds in terms of the plot. I really enjoyed the dramatic developments we get throughout this story. There were many things that happened that I wasn’t expecting and I found that to be very refreshing. I love when stories surprise me like that. Nothing about this is typical or cliche which is awesome and I think that is in thanks to the gritter and dark edge this sequel has to its predecessor.

However, I did have a bit of a rough start with this novel. I don’t think starting it when I was a little tired was a good idea because I struggled a little to keep straight was was happening exactly. It had also been a while since I read the first novel so it took me some time to get reacquainted with the world. (Not that that takes long, Jacinta Maree does a great job of explaining the way the world works in a way that is both organic and easy to follow). Everything moves at a fast pace in this story and so I found myself getting a little behind in the first few chapters. But it really gets a good flow and progression around the 25% mark and maintains that throughout.

We get a little more romance here and I really appreciated that. But at the same time, I’m glad it wasn’t the primary focus of the novel and that the plot stays focused on Nadia learning more about the Soulless and the world. It too surprised me in its execution and I had mixed feelings about it but in hindsight, I appreciate its progression.

Read my spot on the Soul Finder Blog Tour!

My Rating: 4/5

Soulless 4/5  |  Soul Finder 4/5  |  Soul Reaper TBP


For those itching to try a non-contemporary New Adult read or for those who want a story that doesn’t have a lot of romance, this is a great one for you to pick up. It reminded me of a true New Adult version of Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules–an adventure story set in a violent, supernatural dystopian world but with less focus on the romance. I’m looking forward to the sequel!

Read if You Like: adventure, science fiction, dystopian
Avoid if You: want more romance, dislike violence



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