Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Children's Book Review: Wild Animals Of The South by Dieter Braun 

Dieter Braun hails from Hamburg, Germany and is a freelance illustrator and children's book author. His previous works include Wild Animals Of The North.

In his latest work, Wild Animals Of The South, he depicts a range of beautiful animals that are from the southern hemisphere.
Divided into five regions, (Africa, South America, Asia, Australia, and Antarctica), the reader is taken on an exquisite visual journey with Dieter's stunning illustrations of animals such as the hummingbird, frilled-neck lizard, saltwater crocodile, hippopotamus, and spotted hyena. 
My two younger daughters adore this book, and have spent  a good deal of their time reading the descriptions of the various animals, and admiring the pictures.
The book is hard-covered, and features over 130 pages of illustrations and information that will enthrall both children and adults alike.

Wild Animals Of The South is available now through Walker Books, RRP $39.99

Monday, 26 June 2017

Book Review: The Hidden Hours by Sara Foster

It's the last week of Term 2 here, and I'm looking forward to the school holidays, especially as the weather is getting much colder now!
I've been busy reading some great books, including The Hidden Hours by Sara Foster. 
Have you heard of it, and/or read it yet? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. For those who haven't, you can read my review below to see if it's a book that you think that you'd enjoy..

Eleanor Brennan is 21 years-old, and living in London with her uncle and aunt after wanting a new start from her haunting childhood in outback Australia.
She lands a job at a children's publishing company, Parker & Lane, where her aunt is the CEO.
She has only been there for 3 weeks when she finds out that the director of the company, Arabella Lane, has been found dead in the Thames river, just hours after the company's annual Christmas party.
It isn't known whether Arabella jumped, or if she was pushed.
Eleanor remembers chatting with Arabella at the party, but after having her drink spiked, she can't recall much else. She begins to panic as she knows that she was one of the last people to see Arabella alive. She doesn't know whether she had anything to do with Arabella's death, and she struggles to convince herself of her innocence. It doesn't help when the Art Director, Will Clayton, claims that he saw the two women together at the party, or when Arabella's ring is found in Eleanor's handbag. She is unsure how it got there.. did she put it there herself, or has she been set up?
Eleanor is questioned as a witness but she finds it difficult to fill in the missing hours of that night.
Throughout the story, the pieces of the puzzle are slowly put together. There are many suspects, many secrets, and a lot of mystery involved which kept me highly intrigued.
The other storyline that runs throughout the book is the journey of Eleanor's childhood, and the reason why she wanted to make the change to a new country. I really enjoyed this element of the story, perhaps even more so than the mystery surrounding Arabella's death.
I must say that the ending fell a little flat for me. I was hoping for a bit more but it just felt a little bit disjointed. 
But don't be put off - if you are after a good mystery, then The Hidden Hours certainly fits the bill!

Disclosure: I was given an ARC of The Hidden Hours through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way. I was not paid for this review.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Book Review: Horace Winter Says Goodbye by Conor Bowman 

Horace Winter has been working in the same bank branch for 48 years.
Never married, with no children, he lived with his mother up until her death three years ago, and now continues to reside alone in the same home. 
His life has been rather unexceptional. 
He doesn't have any friends, but his passion is lepidopterology - the study of butterflies and moths. 

But just before his forced retirement from the bank, he is diagnosed with a very serious medical condition that makes him question the life that he has led (or rather, hasn't), up until that point. 
One day he discovers a letter that his father had written many years earlier to an ex-Corporal named Migsie Spring, and makes it his mission to get the letter to him come what may.
Even with his health rapidly deteriorating, he is given a new lease of life when he makes a friend from his neighbourhood, Amanda. He also befriends a young boy named Max.
His life suddenly becomes much more adventurous than it has ever been!
His determination also allows for Horace to finally gain some happiness and his change in attitude means he can forgive himself for his past.

Horace is a character I warmed to instantly. He did remind me of Ove (from the book A Man Called Ove), but I actually found him to be more endearing.
When we discover towards the end of the story that Horace was faced with a terrible tragedy that he suppressed for all these years, I felt sad for him, and it made me gain a better understanding of why he had lived the way that he had up until the point of his diagnosis.
I also enjoyed the way that Horace categorises humans as being either a butterfly or moth, according to their personality traits. It's quirky and clever.
This was an easy read, and highly enjoyable. 

Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of Horace Winter Says Goodbye through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not paid for this review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way. 

Friday, 16 June 2017

Book Review: Where's Wally? The Totally Essential Travel Collection by Martin Handford

Can you believe that it has been 30 years since Where's Wally? was first released? 
And to coincide with this great milestone, the Where's Wally? The Totally Essential Travel Collection is being released this June.

It features all seven of the classic Where's Wally? books in a handy travel-sized version, plus 6 postcards that you can colour in!
I have enjoyed the Where's Wally? series since my childhood, and now my children enjoy them too. 
It is fantastic to have something that we are all entertained by and can enjoy together.
I like that this book is a decent size, considering that it is a travel sized book. The illustrations aren't too small (but the items you need to look for do get trickier to spot as the book progresses). It also features fold-out checklists after each of the adventures. 
This will certainly keep you busy for hours on end! 
Released through Walker Books Australia, with an RRP of $19.99, it is available where all good books are sold. 

Do you enjoy Where's Wally? Which book from the series is your favourite? 

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

New Children's Book Releases from EK Books

A Kiwi Year by Tania McCartney and Tina Snerling

Mason, Charlotte (Charlie), Oliver, Ruby and Kaia are five Kiwi children ranging in age from 6-10 years old, and in A Kiwi Year, they take us on a journey through the 12 months of the year, exploring what life is like as a child in New Zealand.
The book covers celebrations, holidays, landmarks, and even native trees and animals too.
There is also information regarding New Zealand's regions in both the North and South Islands, as well as a detailed map.
The illustrations show all five children participating in various activities at school (including excursions), home, and out and about through cities and towns of New Zealand.
Due for release this month, with an RRP of $19.99
For further info, head here

A Canadian Year by Tania McCartney and Tina Snerling

In a similar fashion to A Kiwi Year, A Canadian Year features five young children who reside in Canada, and who take us on a journey through a year of life as a Canadian child.
Cloe, Oki, Ava, Liam, and Noah share with us their Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas celebrations, and visit places including the Toronto Zoo, Montreal Insectarium, and Vancouver Aquarium. 
What I really like about this hard-covered book, (as well as A Kiwi Year), is the layout.
The sentences are short, yet informative, making it ideal for even children of young age to understand. 
The illustrations are bright, and give readers a fantastic glimpse into all of the wonderful things there are to do and celebrate in Canada.
A Canadian Year is also due for release in June and has an RRP of $19.99 
For further info, head here

Ollie's Treasure by Lynn Jenkins & Kirrili Lonergan 

When Ollie is given a letter containing a map for a treasure hunt from his beloved grandmother, he is glad to read that the treasure will be something that will 'make him happy always'. 
Initially, Ollie thinks that the treasure will be something fun like a game or toy that he has been hoping for, so he sets off on his quest with excitement.
The clues take him on a journey of his senses - he is told to look at the sky, smell flowers, feel the grass under his feet, and more.
Once he has completed the clues, he is quite astounded to discover that the treasure is not a toy or game, but is his very own self!
Through noticing all of the little things in his every day life, Ollie is able to realise that happiness comes not only from materialistic objects, but from deep within. 

This picture book sends a very important message to children in an uncomplicated way about encouraging mindfulness and living 'in the now.'
It is a lovely story that I am sure young readers would enjoy!
It is available through EK Books, and has a retail price of $24.99.
For further information on this title, head here 

Monday, 12 June 2017

Book Review - Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

Having read Paula Hawkins' previous novel, The Girl On The Train, I wasn't quite sure how Into The Water would stack up next to it, but was super keen to find out as I really enjoyed Girl On The Train. 
Since reading it, I have to say that I was somewhat underwhelmed. 
Maybe because I thought that The Girl On The Train was just so clever, and I loved the fast-paced thrill I experienced when I read it.
But whilst Into The Water has an interesting storyline, I felt that it wasn't as suspenseful as it could've been.

The story unfolds when single mum Nel Abbott is found in a river of her hometown. Mystery surrounds her death and her last moments leading up to it. Her 15 year-old daughter Lena is left alone, until Nel's sister Jules comes to care for Lena, and try to uncover the truth. Lena and Jules have never met each other as the two sisters had a falling out many years ago that left their relationship strained, and with minimal contact.
Earlier that year, Lena's friend Katie was also found dead in the same lake. This stretch of water has claimed other victims in the past, and many secrets lurk below its depths. 
So, could the deaths of Katie and Nel be linked somehow?
And if so, what circumstances led to these tragedies?

There are so many points of view in this story that I have to admit for the first half of the book I was rather lost.
I had to keep going back to pages to try and piece together the characters and their stories. 
I personally believe that the book would've benefited from less characters (or less perspectives) as there was just so much to keep track of.  
It left me confused and I had to focus so much on keeping track of it all that it hampered my reading experience. 
If I had to give it a star rating I would give it a 3 out of 5. Once I began to piece all of the characters and their movements together, it made a lot more sense, and so I found that the second half of the book was a lot better than the first half. And there were some moments that I wasn't expecting, which I really enjoyed. 

Have you read Girl On The Train or Into The Water? Share your thoughts below!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Children's Book Releases from Affirm Press 

A Walk In The Bush by Gwyn Perkins 

A Walk In The Bush is the first picture book to be released through Affirm Press.
Written and illustrated by Gwyn Perkins, Walk In The Bush is a delightful tale that is set in the bushland of New South Wales. 
Iggy and his grandad decide to spend some time together by going for a bushwalk. On their journey, they come across many forms of wonderful wildlife, including squawking and singing birds, caterpillars that create mysterious messages on trees, and jumping wallabies.
They also spot tall, shady eucalyptus trees, and take a rest underneath a wattle tree beside blooming grevilleas.
Together, the explore the wonders of nature until it is time to return back home again.

This book has an RRP of $24.99.
For further information on this title, head here

Mammoth Mistake Starring Olive Black by Alex Miles & Maude Guesne

Olive Black is a new children's book series which is aimed at girls aged between 8-11 years old.
Olive is a 10 year-old movie star, and in each book, she faces challenges and issues that frequent the day to day lives of children, including bullying, low self-esteem, and disagreements between friends.

In Mammoth Mistake, Olive's movie role sees her bringing a woolly mammoth back from the Ice Age into present day. But her real-life issue is almost as big! She gets caught up with Sofia, a fellow showbiz star and big bully, and Olive finds that everything starts to rapidly go wrong. 
Her best friend Rani stops speaking to her, and Olive doesn't know why it all seems to go from bad to worse. 
Will Olive be able to turn things back around and make it right? 

The Robbery Riddle Starring Olive Black by Alex Miles & Maude Guesne 

The Robbery Riddle is the second book in the series.
In it, Olive plays the role of sidekick to famous film detective, Maestro, in the movie called The Robbery Riddle. 
There's a lot of action and drama onset, but when the cameras stop rolling, there is even more when Olive is accused of stealing. 
Olive needs to prove that she is innocent, and with the help of best-friend Rani, they use their sleuthing skills to try and uncover who the culprit is. 
Can the girls clear Olive's name, or will their detective skills fail them? You'll need to read it to find out! 

Some of my favourite things to note about the Olive Black series:
- Interesting story lines with important messages and/or topics that young children will be able to relate to

- Short chapters, with a diverse range of vocabulary and characters

- Black and white illustrations interspersed throughout the stories

For further information on the Olive Black series head here

Monday, 5 June 2017

Book Review: The Scent Of You by Maggie Alderson

The Scent Of You centers around Polly, a middle-aged woman who is married and has two grown children who are both away studying at university. 
Her life seems as though it is all smooth sailing. She is a yoga instructor, as well as a perfume blogger, which is gaining her more success by the day.

But just before Christmas, she is devastated when David, her husband of 24 years, explains that he needs a break and that she is not to contact him at all. He disappears without a trace, leaving Polly heartbroken and confused.
Her children, Lucas and Clemmie, both can't believe the news when they find out, and offer their mum as much support as they can. Needless to say, they are hurt by their father's actions, and are concerned for their mother's welfare.

Meanwhile, Polly makes some new and interesting friends as she decides what to do with regards to her missing husband.
There's Shirley, one of her 'yogi bears'- a regular that attends her yoga classes. She is loud and a little over the top, but has her friends' best interest at heart, and proves to be a real saviour for Polly.
Polly also meets Guy Webber, a perfumer who is flamboyant and fun, but likes to keep his personal life just so.
And she is reunited with Edward, also known as Chum, who is an old friend and flame of hers from her university days. 

This book, at 500 pages, is quite long. In fact, I think it would've benefited from losing a few scenes as they didn't play a big part (if any) in the story. I have to admit that I skimmed over a few paragraphs here and there, even though the story itself kept me intrigued, the detail, particularly regarding fragrances/scents was a little bit too in-depth at times.
I also found it rather unbelievable that Polly would be so casual about her husband's departure, and it just seemed rather odd that she would agree to wait months before receiving answers to the many questions she would no doubt have. 
And also, once she finally found out what caused David's need to leave their home, I felt that she could've definitely been more supportive, given the situation he was facing. Even though she offered her help, there wasn't that much fight in her and it just seemed unlike what a person being married to someone for 24 years would do. 

I did thoroughly enjoy the diverse characters in the story, and reading about Fragrance Cloud (Polly's blog). 
Overall, this book has a great storyline, and I adore the beautiful cover. It is a relatively easy read, apart from the length. 

Friday, 2 June 2017

Book Review: Talk Of The Town by Rachael Johns 

I have read a few of Rachael's novels in the past, including The Art Of Keeping Secrets (you can read my review for that here) and I really enjoy her work. 
Talk Of The Town is no exception. I read it recently, and here's what I thought of it..

Megan McCormick has recently made the move from Melbourne to a deserted country town called Rose Hill in WA, in an attempt to leave her regrettable past behind her. 
She has changed her name to Megan McDonald, and is determined to keep to herself. Her days are spent crocheting and baking in her home that was once the town's general store. 
One day, she answers a knock at the door and is greeted by Lawson Cooper-Jones, and his adorable 8 year-old son, Ned. Lawson is a dairy farmer at his property in a nearby town, and is stranded due to a flat tyre.
Although Megan is hesitant to divulge any information about her past, she surprisingly finds herself chatting easily to Lawson, and both he and Ned form an instant liking to Meg. 
By the time the tyre is changed, they realise that they have made a friend in each other, even though Meg is so reluctant to open up to anyone. Lawson has his own concerns too, as he hasn't had a relationship since the passing of his wife, Leah, although the townsfolk have tried to set him up in the past without success.
Local woman, Adeline Walsh, has her sights set on him, and is determined to make Lawson hers, but he isn't romantically interested in Adeline. 

Meg introduces herself to the only other person living in Rose Hill,  a man who is known locally as Crazy Archie. He is welcoming and friendly towards Meg. This interaction makes her realise that she misses being around people. She craves the company of others, but is still worried about revealing too much of the person she once was. 
Meg also discovers that her home holds a haunting mystery, and she sets about uncovering its hidden secrets.
Lawson offers to help her investigate the building's history, which sees them spending more time together.
In time, their relationship blossoms from friendship to love.

However, when Adeline finally uncovers the truth about Meg's past and confronts Lawson with the information, he is shocked with the revelation, and their relationship is thrown into turmoil.
Will Lawson and Meg be able to forgive each other and enjoy the future that they both deserve? 

The Talk Of The Town is a moving novel with some brilliant characters. Ned is such a clever and cool young lad; Lawson's sister Tabitha is a woman with a big heart, and Archie is everything you could ask for in a neighbour. 
I also enjoyed reading about what is involved in dairy farming, as it is a topic that I knew little about.
The element of mystery surrounding Meg's home added an extra layer of intrigue to the story. 
Rachael has managed to create another highly entertaining read with her tenth full-length novel, The Talk Of The Town. 

And you can win your very own copy of Talk Of The Town, but be quick as entries close tomorrow! Head here to enter!

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Book Review: Angel's Share by Kayte Nunn

I was recently given the opportunity to read Angel's Share, and I thought that this was a delightful story with a cast of great characters.
It begins with Matilda 'Mattie' Cameron, who is in her early thirties, and is enjoying a successful life in London.
She headed there from Australia in her late teens to pursue a career, and hasn't seen her parents or her brother Mark in years.
She now has a handsome beau, a great group of girlfriends, and a job at an advertising agency that is impressive yet highly demanding. 
So when her boyfriend Johnny organises a skiing trip to Switzerland for ten days with Mattie and a couple of friends, she can't wait. 
But a horrific skiing accident leaves Mattie with terrible injuries, and she loses not only her job, but Johnny as a result.
At a loss for what to do, she comes to the decision to head back to Australia to allow herself time to heal.
Mark offers her a place to stay at his winery, located in the quaint town of Shingle Valley.
Mattie is welcomed into the home by Mark, and his partner Rose, along with his two young children from a previous relationship.
Mark is a kind and caring brother to Mattie, but he is concerned with issues relating to the future of Shingle Valley, and is away for extended periods of time.
Rose steps in to care for Mattie, and the two quickly become firm friends. Rose is a generous and compassionate woman, and makes Mattie feel right at home.
But as Mattie begins to recuperate from her injuries, she is faced with the decision of where her future lies, particularly when she meets winemaker Charlie Drummond, and develops feelings for him. 
Should she head back to London and give things another shot, or should she make a life for herself in Shingle Valley? 

Angel's Share is a really pleasant book that I breezed through in a couple of days. As mentioned earlier, I enjoyed the vast range of characters, however, Rose was definitely my favourite. She made Mattie feel right at home, and put the needs of others before her own in many situations. All whilst trying to run her restaurant, Trevelyn's Pantry, and taking on the role of step-mum to Mark's children. Her generosity towards others was something to be admired.
I was pleased to discover that the characters have been featured in Kayte Nunn's earlier novel, Rose's Vintage, which I plan to read in the near future. 
If you're after a easy-to-read, highly-enjoyable book, then be sure to check out Angel's Share. 

You can even win a copy in my latest giveaway! Just head here to enter! 

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of Angel's Share thanks to Beauty & Lace and Nero Books. I was not paid for this review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way. 

Monday, 29 May 2017

Book Review - Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig 

Once every so often, I read a book that is so special and so amazing that I am left in awe of the author's work, wondering how such a story was created.
That book becomes a memory that I will look back on and think of with a smile on my face, in the coming days, months, and even years. 
Ginny Moon is the latest book to have that effect on me.
I adored this book from the first page.
Ginny Moon is a girl who has been in the care of her foster parents, Brian and Maura Moon (or as she calls them, her Forever Parents), for about 2 years.
We meet her just as she approaches her 14th birthday.
Ginny has autism and learning difficulties, and she was taken from her birth mother Gloria when she was 9 years old.
Gloria was deemed to be an unfit mother as she was a drug user and very often, abusive and neglectful. 
This is the third home that Ginny has been welcomed into since being taken away from Gloria, and here, in what is known as the Blue House, she is safe and protected by her foster parents who adore her.
Ginny is going to be a big sister soon, but she misses her 'baby doll' that she used to care for when she lived with Gloria. 
Nobody takes her claims seriously enough, as no doll was found when she was picked up by Social Services, but Ginny is adamant that a baby doll was with her in Gloria's home. 
It has been over 4 years of Ginny not knowing what happened to it, and given Gloria's sordid past, Ginny is forbidden to contact her.
However, she keeps thinking of her 'baby doll', and needs to find out if it is safe.
With the help of a school friend, Ginny manages to track down Gloria and contact her to ask for it back.
But once she does, the repercussions are damaging and dangerous..
And once Ginny's baby sister Wendy is born, there is even more friction bought into the family. Her foster parents struggle with juggling a newborn, whilst being as accommodating to Ginny as they can, even though her recent actions are making them reconsider all of theirs. 
Ginny can't seem to find anyone that is willing to help her uncover the truth, and in contacting her birth mother again, she simply doesn't realise the harm that it's bound to cause...

This book had me hooked from the start. I couldn't put it down, and my mind kept reverting to it when I wasn't reading it. I finished it within 2 days as I needed to know how things turned out for Ginny. The story is told from her point of view in her very unique voice which wholly captivated me. She is at times as fragile as an eggshell, but is also very determined and will go to great lengths to get what she wants. I was on her side for the entire duration of the story. 
Reading the author's notes and discovering that he himself is a foster parent just added to my over all love for the novel.
This is one of my favourite books that I have read this year, and I will definitely delve back into Ginny's world again soon. It is a book that you will long remember after the final page is read. 

*Linking up this week for #LifeThisWeek by 

Also, there's still time to enter my 1 year blogiversary giveaway here

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Children's Book Review - Through The Gate by Sally Fawcett

I know firsthand that children can often find changes in their difficult, and books like Through The Gate can really help them become more resilient and accepting of those changes.
This beautiful hard-covered picture book tells the story of a young girl who has shifted into a new house in a new neighbourhood, and who is finding it difficult to adjust.
In the first few pages of the story, we see the girl viewing her surroundings in an unhappy way, but each time the girl goes 'through the gate' of her new home, she slowly begins to discover that change can definitely be a good thing, and she becomes more accepting of her new way of life.
One of my favourite things about this story is the illustrations. I love how Sally Fawcett has used colour to reflect the feelings and perceptions of the young girl. For example, in the first few pages of the story, when the girl is still trying to adjust to the new home, the illustrations are mainly black and white, the home is run down, and the reader can see by her facial expressions that the girl is rather sad. 
But as we progress through the story and observe the girl getting used to her new experiences, the drawings are bought to life with bright hues, the house is transformed into a loving family home, and the girl finds beauty all around her and begins to find happiness.
There is also a spot the difference element within the illustrations, which is great for encouraging interaction between the reader and the child. 
This book is targeted to younger readers in the 4-8 years age group. If you have a child that is going through changes, whether it be preparing to begin school, gaining a sibling, or moving home, then this book would be ideal for them. 
Through The Gate retails for $24.99, and has been released earlier this month through Exisle Publishing. 
It is available to purchase here, or wherever good books are sold. 

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Children's Book Review: To The Lighthouse by Cristy Burne

After finally convincing his mum to take a week-long trip to Rottnest Island, Isaac can't wait to begin his a magical holiday.
Isaac's mum is a bit of a worry wort and prefers to keep Isaac safe and within her sights at all times, but when Isaac meets a young girl named Emmy, his life gets more exciting by the minute!
Emmy is quite the daredevil with a carefree attitude, and it isn't long before she encourages Isaac to step out of his comfort zone, leading him to make some risky decisions.

When they head out on a late-night adventure, things don't go as planned, and Isaac realises that his new-found freedom may not be as exhilarating as he first thought! 

To The Lighthouse a fantastic junior fiction novel, suitable for young readers aged 6-10 years old.

To The Lighthouse is published by Fremantle Press, RRP $14.99. For further information, head here 

Saturday, 20 May 2017

My One Year Blogiversary & A Fabulous Giveaway!!!

I can't believe that it has been a whole year since I first started my blog! 
I created my blog as a means of being able to discuss books with my followers, as well as have them share their opinions with me. I have always been passionate about reading, and could literally talk about books all day. 
I also wanted to help readers discover books and/or authors that they may have never heard of before, as well featuring those that are more well known.
It's been wonderful that I've been able to feature a vast range of books for both young and older readers. 
The support that I have received from authors, publishers, and my followers has been so lovely, and I really do appreciate all of those who take the time to comment, like, read or follow my posts and reviews. 

As a way to show my appreciation to you all, I have put together a giveaway where you have the opportunity to win one of three books. And not just any books. I've been fortunate enough to read all three of them recently, and I think that they are three of the greatest books I've read so far this year. 

The books are:

Angel's Share by Kayte Nunn

Talk Of The Town by Rachael Johns 

and a signed copy of Her Mother's Secret by Natasha Lester

You can read my full review for Her Mother's Secret here
I will also be sharing reviews for Talk Of The Town and Angel's Share in the near future, so be sure to keep an eye out for those!

Now, for the giveaway!

If you'd like to enter for your chance to win one of the three titles mentioned above, you need to: 

Be a follower of my blog (either by liking my Facebook page/twitter/Instagram, or following via email or bloglovin' - I don't mind which one you opt for but you must do at least one please), and

Answer in the comments section below:

Where is your favourite place to read, and why? 

Three separate winners will be selected - the most creative/original answers will win, so get entering, and please include your email with your answer so I can contact you if you're one of the lucky winners!**

A big thank you to the authors for agreeing to be involved with this giveaway.
You can find out more about each of them, including where to buy their books, here:

Terms & Conditions:

1. This giveaway is open to residents of Australia only. 
2. Giveaway closes on 3rd June 2017, 9 pm. Winner/s will be contacted via email within 24 hours. Failure to receive a response from the winner/s will mean the prize is forfeited and a new winner/s  will be chosen.
3. Winner will be selected on a basis of skill, not chance - the most creative and/or interesting answer deemed by the judge/s wins. 
4. The prize is not redeemable for cash.
5. In  The Good Books blog will not be responsible for items that go missing through Australia Post postal services.
6. This promotion is not associated or endorsed by Facebook.
7. Those who 'unlike' or 'unfollow' after the giveaway ends will be disqualified from entering future giveaways.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Book Review: The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

Set during the harrowing times of World War II, The Orphan's Tale tells the story of two women bought together in the direst of circumstances.
There's Noa, a young woman who is disowned by her family after falling pregnant to a German soldier at just 16 years old. Once she gives birth, her baby is taken away from her, so Noa works at a train station in exchange for food and a place to sleep.
And then we have Ingrid, a Jewish woman who comes from a circus family. Now divorced to a German SS soldier,  she is left alone after their separation and returns home to find her family, but they are nowhere to be found. At a loss as to what to do, she visits Herr Nuehoff, owner of another circus, who offers her work as an aerialist with his company. She has no money, so accepts his proposition.
She changes her name to Astrid Sorello to protect her Jewish heritage, and to avoid being discovered by the Nazi's.

One day, Noa discovers a boxcar filled with abandoned infants and young children at the train station where she works. 
Reminded of the loss of her own baby not long ago, she makes the decision to take one of the babies into her care, and runs away with him into the forest. 
But without food and shelter, she doesn't make it far. 
She is rescued by a man named Pete, who works at the circus where Astrid works.  In fact, he is Astrid's new lover.
Astrid and Noa meet for the first time, and once Noa recovers, she and the baby are provided a place to stay. Noa is offered a job as an aerialist, and Astrid is to be her teacher. 
Together over time,  the two women form a relationship that offers hope when there is so little happiness, and a strong sisterly bond that each of them come to depend on during their darkest times.

I enjoyed reading The Orphan's Tale. The author has researched the history well, and it is evident in the story. I felt that she portrayed the circus life effectively. 
I'm not sure why, but I did feel as though I didn't get to know the characters well enough, and thus didn't feel overly drawn to either of the female characters as much as I wanted to. 
Having said that, it is still a beautiful novel that tugs at the heartstrings so it definitely gets points for that. 

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Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of The Orphan's Tale in exchange for an honest review through Netgalley. I have not been paid for this review. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Book Review: He Said/She Said - Erin Kelly 

He Said/She Said is a gripping psychological thriller that I enjoyed immensely. In fact, I'd go so far to say that it is one of the best thrillers I've read this year!
The story reverts back and forth between timelines from 1999 to 2015.
In 1995, Kit is a lifelong lover of eclipses, and wants to witness as many as possible. He's been an eclipse chaser since his childhood. He is currently dating a woman named Laura. Along with his twin brother Mac and his partner Ling (who happens to be Laura's best friend), they attend a music festival in Cornwall to see an eclipse. 
It is at this festival that Laura witnesses what she believes to be a woman being raped. Kit is close by but doesn't see the incident taking place, however, he attempts to go after the attacker once he finds out what has occured. 
The victim is a young woman named is Elizabeth (Beth) Taylor. Her attacker is Jamie Balcombe. 
Both Kit and Laura make statements to the police and are later called to trial. 
Jamie claims that it was all consensual and that Laura has got it all wrong, but Beth claims that she was, in fact, raped. 
So who is telling the truth?

In 2015, Laura and Kit are married, she is pregnant with twins and Kit is going on a cruise to witness another eclipse.  
We discover that the impact of the court case still effects all four characters in different ways. I don't want to spoil it for others, but there are a lot of secrets, lies, and betrayals that I didn't see coming.

To say I was hooked on this story would be an understatement. I initially found it a little hard to get into, mainly due to the differing points of view and timeline changes, but it didn't take me long to get my head around it all and become completely engrossed. I really enjoyed how the story unraveled itself slowly; the benefit of the story going back in time is the insight we are given into Kit and Laura's relationship, and the in-depth idiosyncrasies each character has.
If you enjoy suspenseful novels, then this is sure to satisfy!

Have you read He Said/She Said yet? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!

Friday, 5 May 2017

Children's Book Review 
I Can Only Draw Worms by Will Mabbitt

This funny picture book is ideal for young children; I would say that 4-7 year olds would be a good guide, although older readers would enjoy it too - I certainly was entertained by it.
It involves counting up to ten, so it has that element of being educational, which is always a bonus with children's books.
I was most surprised that although there isn't much text within its 32 pages, the story itself is quite funny and silly, particularly for those that can't draw well (myself included!) 
The illustrations are of worms (brightly-hued pink ones), and the pages are also lovely and bright. 
It has an RRP of $14.99 and was released on the 18th April through Penguin Random House Australia.

Don't forget that there's still time to enter my Mother's Day Giveaway here