Saturday, 29 April 2017

Mother's Day Picture Books & A Giveaway!



Mother's Day is fast approaching, and I am giving away two picture books to celebrate!  



The first book that I am giving away is I Love My Mummy, which is written by award-winning Giles Andreae, and illustrated by Emma Dodd. 




With its rhyming verse and delightful pictures, this book tells the story of the beautiful relationship that a mother and her child share. 
It is targeted at an audience of 5 and under, making it ideal to read to your young child before bedtime, or story time. 


The second book that I am giving away is The Messy Mother's Day, which is illustrated by Sydney-based freelance illustrator Lucie Billingsley.





Sophie, Jake, and their dad want to make this Mother's Day the best one yet.  But when Baxter, the family dog, joins in to help, things don't go quite as smoothly as they had planned...

I love the illustrations in this book; they are vibrant and capture the character's expressions perfectly. This is a great book to read out loud with your children.


Now, for the giveaway! 

There will be two winners. One will receive a paperback copy of I Love My Mummy, (RRP $15.99) and the second winner will receive a paperback copy of The Messy Mother's Day (RRP $14.99). Please note that I will post out the books once I have the winner's details, but I can not guarantee that they'll arrive in time for Mother's Day, but will do my best to ensure they do!


If you'd like to enter, 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:


What do you love about Mother's Day? 

Or what would be your ideal Mother's Day, and why?



**Get creative, and please include your email with your answer so I can contact you if you're one of the lucky winners!**




Terms & Conditions:

1. This giveaway is open to residents of Australia only. Total prize pool is $31 plus postage. 
2. Giveaway closes on 7th May 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.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Recent YA Releases from Penguin Random House Australia


Beast Of Hushing Wood by Gabrielle Wang



Ziggy Truegood is a young girl who resides in a small community town in Hushing Wood. 
But strange things are occuring, and the woods that Ziggy loves so much feel different to her somehow - dark and uninviting.  The residents of Hushing Wood are getting into fights, upsetting the tranquility of their community. Ziggy also has a strange premonition that she is going to drown before she turns 12 years old.
Then Raffi and his grandfather arrive in Hushing Wood, and Ziggy finds that she is drawn to them both. But can they save Ziggy from the chaos that surrounds her, or are they the hunters?
This story has elements of mystery that keep the reader engrossed, and yet it is also very real. It touches on topics including bullying and isolation, and loss and grief. 
Released earlier this month, The Beast Of Hushing Wood has an RRP of $16.99 and is available from all good book stores.


The Upside Of Unrequited by Becky Abertalli



Award-winning author Becky Albertalli has recently released The Upside Of Unrequited and it is getting some rave reviews already.
The main character is 17 year-old Molly , who has a twin sister named Cassie. 
Molly wants to experience love for the first time, and have someone love her too. Cassie doesn't have the same problem, in fact, she gets a girlfriend, who, fortunately for Molly, comes with a cute sidekick named Will. He is the ideal first boyfriend for Molly. But just one thing stands in the way - her co-worker Reid, who she could never have feelings for...or could she?
This is a heart-warming story with diverse and delightful characters.
RRP $19.99

Boy And The Spy by Felice Arena 




This story takes place during World War Two in Sicily, Italy, where dangers lurk on every corner. Twelve year-old Antonio is caught up in the midst of it all. When he makes the decision to trust the words of a man who is a spy, will he live to regret it, or will his life change forever?
This fast-paced wartime adventure is suitable for readers aged 9 and up. 
RRP $16.99 

The Whole Thing Together - Ann Brashares



Author of The Sisterhood Of The Travelling Pants series, Ann Brashares is back with The Whole Thing Together.
In it, we discover that 17 year-old Sasha's father was once married to Ray's mother, and together they had three daughters. But when their marriage collapsed, they each created a new family with Sasha and Ray each being born into their respective families.
During the summertime, the two families take turns to share their joint holiday house in Long Island.
When Ray and Sasha finally meet, their summer turns to one filled with a lot of secrets, romance, and even tragedy. 


13 Reasons Why - Jay Asher 




Although this book was first released in 2007, this newer edition has been released to tie-in with the television series that is currently screening on Netflix, which is proving to be rather controversial.
Hannah Baker has recently committed suicide and has left behind a series of tapes that explain the reasons behind her actions. Clay Jensen receives the tapes, and as he listens to Hannah's voice, he uncovers that he, amongst others, are responsible for her death. These tapes will change Clay's life forever..
This book has an RRP of $17.99 and features photos and behind-the-scenes content.


Have you read any of these titles yet?  Which book/s appeal to you? 

Disclosure: I was given ARC's of the titles listed above  from Penguin Random House Australia in exchange for a feature on my blog. I have not been paid for this review. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Book Review: Her Mother's Secret by Natasha Lester


Having read Natasha's novel 'A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald' that was released last year, which I thoroughly enjoyed (you can read my review on it here), I couldn't wait to read Her Mother's Secret. I finished it over the weekend, and I loved it.

The story begins in England, 1918.
Leonora East is a young woman who works in her father Harold's pharmacy and spends her spare time secretly making cosmetics and perfumes. She dreams of selling them to a much wider audience than she currently sells to - the army nurses based close by, including her Australian-born friend Joan.
She wants women to not only look beautiful, but feel it too.

When war is declared over, it should be a time of celebration.
But there is an influenza outbreak, and sadly Leo's father doesn't make it. 
Leo knows that her father wanted her to expand her horizons and become a success, so with that in mind, she makes the decision to travel to New York where she plans to create and sell her cosmetics.
On the way there, a storm hampers her travels and she is put up at an establishment until the storm passes.
She meets Everett Forsyth, a businessman who owns the department store Forsyth's of London. He plans to open another store in New York and when he finds out about Leo's plan, he offers to sell her cosmetics in the store.
When she arrives in Manhattan, with dwindling finances, and the challenges of make-up being seen as scandalous, Leo realises that she may have bitten off more than she can chew, but is determined to become a success.

New York, 1939.

Everett Forsyth's daughter Alice is an up-and-coming ballerina who trains hard, and wants to be the best in her field.
One day, she receives an offer to star in a series of advertisements for a cosmetics company. 
Alice sees it as the perfect opportunity to gain recognition and give her confidence the boost it needs.
But when she informs her parents, they are quick to forbid Alice from being involved. But why?


I find stories like this one difficult to review, the reason being that there is so much more to this story that I want to say but can't disclose as I don't want to spoil it for others.
What I can say is that Natasha has hit the mark again with this book.
Her extensive research is evident throughout the story and I learnt many things about the cosmetics industry that were unfamiliar to me.
Natasha has a real talent at making the reader feel as though they are living right alongside the characters in the story. I felt it when reading A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald, and I felt it again in this book. 
Her descriptions of the fashions from that era, and the surrounds and sights are all told so well.
I also enjoy reading about strong, determined, ambitious women, which Leo certainly is. 
With elements of mystery and romance weaved through the story, this book kept me captivated right to the end!

Monday, 24 April 2017

Anzac Biscuits - from Australia's Favourite Recipes Cookbook 



One of my other passions apart from reading is cooking; in particular, I enjoy baking. And the added bonus is that the kids can get involved too (even if they do make a bit of a mess!)

With Anzac Day coming up this Tuesday, I thought it would be nice to make some Anzac Biscuits with my two younger daughters, so I checked out my cookbooks and decided to use a recipe from a cookbook titled Australia's Favourite Recipes, which is collated and edited by journalist Leila McKinnon. 

The book features over 70 recipes from different families across the nation. The great thing about this book (apart from the great recipes) is that part of the proceeds of the book go to Legacy Australia.
The book was first published through PanMacMillan Australia in 2012, and is a great one to add to your cookbook collection.

Leila explains how her father was always working hard and was rarely in the kitchen. But when he did have time, he would make Anzac biscuits. She shares the recipe in the book.


The recipe uses the following ingredients:
Rolled oats, desiccated coconut, plain flour, caster sugar, unsalted butter, golden syrup, bicarb soda and boiling water. 
(I used honey as I didn't have golden syrup, and they turned out as equally as delicious!)





Firstly, I preheated the oven, then I combined the oats, coconuts, flour and sugar into a bowl.



I melted the butter and honey together, then dissolved the bicarb in the boiling water, and put the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and combined well.


I rolled the mixture into balls, then flattened them and placed them on lined baking trays.


I baked them for about 12 minutes, until they were golden.



Yum!!


I'd love to hear how you commemorate Anzac Day. Do you make Anzac biscuits, or attend a dawn service? Or do you have a favourite Anzac Biscuit recipe you use? 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Children's Book Review: The Stinky Street Stories by Alex Ratt 



When Brian is awakened one weekend morning by a horribly putrid smell, he thinks that it is up to him and his trusty friend Nerf to try and uncover what is causing it. They set off on a journey and find some truly awful stenches along the way.
But that is just for starters, as life on Stinky Street is nothing short of reeky and rotten!
There are 3 different stories in this novel, (one of them is divided into two parts), all set along Stinky Street, and each one is hilarious. 
My 9 year-old daughter thought it was a fabulous book, and I agree with her. We read it together, and I was laughing along at all of the antics that Brian (or Brain, as he prefers to be called!) and Nerf get up to.
The illustrations also contribute to the hilarity of the novel (the book is illustrated by award-winning children's illustrator, Jules Faber). 
I would recommend this book for readers aged 7-10 years old. The stories are told in a format that is easy to read and to comprehend.
The Stinky Street Stories book retails for $14.99 (paperback) and is available through PanMacmillan Australia and wherever good books are sold. For further info, check out http://www.panmacmillan.com.au/9781743539026/

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Book Review: The Curency Lass by Tea Cooper





We're in the second week of the Term 1 holidays here, and we are all looking forward to celebrating Easter this weekend. 
This week's prompt from fellow blogger Denyse is 'What does Easter mean to you?'
For my family, it means celebrating two Easters (traditional and Greek). It means doing a lot of baking, and dyeing eggs in the lead up to Sunday. It means spending time together as a family, and enjoying delicious food and good company.
So, whilst I've been busy making sweets, with more planned for today and Thursday, I have managed to squeeze in a bit of reading time too!
One of the most recent books I've read is The Currency Lass. The story begins with a short prologue about an innocent man being sent to hang in 1846 in Van Diemen's Land.
It then moves on to 1851, in the NSW location, where we are introduced to the main character of the story, Catherine Cottingham.
Catherine is 20 years old, and her only other living family member is her ailing father. His dying wish is to see that she is happy and taken care of, so he arranges for Catherine to marry a wealthy businessman by the name of Henry Bartholomew. However, Catherine has no interest in Bartholomew whatsoever, but goes on one date with him to the circus to please her father.
She is mesmerised by the circus, and a horseman catches her eye. 
On returning from the date, she sadly discovers that her father has passed away. Bartholomew arranges for him to be buried in Sydney, but Catherine refuses. Instead, she plans to return to their property, Cottington Hill.
On the return home, she encounters some trouble and a gentleman comes to her aid. 
It turns out it is the horseman from the circus, Sergey. He explains that the circus is travelling through, and Catherine offers them to camp on her property free of charge as a  sign of gratitude for his help.
Once back at Cottington HIll, she meets with the family solicitor, Mr DeSilva, who informs Catherine that financially, things don't look great.
She is even more shocked to discover that if she marries, then her husband would be entitled to her property, as the law states.
Catherine doesn't trust Bartholomew and doesn't want to marry him, and when DeSilva tells her that she will inherit the property on her 21st birthday, she decides to go into hiding until the day arrives when she can call Cottington Hill hers and hers alone.
She voices her concerns to Sergey, who offers her a job at the circus for 6 months, until her 21st birthday. She accepts, and they travel to the goldfields, continuing to perform daring and dazzling circus acts. Catherine is determined to see it out until her 21st birthday, but will it all go to plan?
We also find out how the opening scene of the story ties in with this part of the novel; it is a revelation that I thought was written very well. 
I don't want to spoil it so won't elaborate further, but I really enjoyed The Currency Lass. The author combined many facts within the fiction, which I thought was great. I also learnt the definition of 'Currency Lass/Lad', which was really interesting. 

I'd just  like to take this opportunity to wish a very Happy Easter to my readers who celebrate the day! If you do celebrate, feel free to let me know in the comments below how you're planning to spend the day, and what Easter means to you!

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Fantastic Resource Books from DK Penguin Random House Australia



What's Where On Earth Atlas:



I must admit that it has been years since I've last looked at an atlas, in fact, I think the last time would've been during my Year 10 Humanities studies. I do recall that I did enjoy looking up various countries in it, however, I have to say it was nothing like the What's Where On Earth Atlas that I recently got to check out. 
This is a truly fascinating book that brings our world to life in 3-D maps. The images are detailed, and there are so many interesting facts on every page. 
I learnt many things whilst looking through this Atlas. For example, did you know that the world is split into 39 different time zones? Or that the Pacific Ocean contains just over half of all the world's seawater?  
Everything from extinction, climate, population, wildlife, and famous landmarks are all covered in this extensive resource guide. 
It also includes the following information for 195 countries - their capital, population, size, currency, language and a flag. 

This would make a great gift for someone, or to add to your home resource library. 


The Periodic Table Book




The Periodic Table Book presents every one of the 118 elements in one impressive volume that is packed with amazing facts and over 1,000 colour photos of incredible images.
From Cobalt to Nickel, to Argon and Platinum, this book explains each of the element's uses, their forms, history, and other relevant information. 
It contains over 200 pages of facts in an easy-to-read format, including a detailed glossary and a poster of the Periodic Table for you to display.
I liked that the book shows the reader what each of the elements look like, and I liked learning about each of the element's uses, as I've never really thought about how each element can be used for so many different purposes, and in so many different forms. For example, with the element Magnesium, car wheels, cameras, fireworks and even indigestion medicines contain Magnesium compounds! 
So as you can see, this book has so many things that you can discover!


Both What's Where On Earth Atlas (RRP $29.99) and The Periodic Table Book (RRP $35) are available now through Penguin Random House Australia.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

How To Find The Energy You Need

Book Review: The Energy Guide by Dr Libby Weaver



Internationally acclaimed nutritional biochemist, Dr Libby Weaver, has come up with this guide that will transform the way you think about your health, increase your energy levels, and help you make improvements to your lifestyle.
Dr Libby believes that a person's energy levels, not their weight, is the most important way to gauge their overall wellbeing.
This book features over 100 delicious recipes specially formulated to provide energetic goodness, including breakfasts such as Creamy Buckwheat & Almond Porridge, and dinner options including Healing Chicken Soup, Pepper Beef Stir-Fry, and mouth-watering Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder with Pear & Balsamic.
It also includes lunch, snacks and drinks recipes. All of the recipes look and sound amazing; I plan to make the Carrot Cake Bliss Balls in the near future!

The book also features a lot of information about ways to reduce stress levels, improve your sleeping habits, reboot your diet, and understand your hormones and the role they play in your over-all wellbeing.
It discusses the importance of exercise, and how it can effect your health.
So if you have concerns about your get-up-and-go, this book may be really beneficial to you. 

The Energy Guide is out this April through Pan Macmillan Australia, RRP $39.99. For further information head here


Monday, 3 April 2017

Books For Better Health:
Understanding Type 2 Diabetes by Professor Merlin Thomas, and The Digestive Health Solution by Benjamin I Brown



The Digestive Health Solution






The Digestive Health Solution offers effective and natural solutions for optimal digestive health. If you suffer with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), this book looks at mind-body connection, intolerances to foods, sensitivity to gluten, dietary changes and practical ways that may help alleviate pain and transform the health of your digestive system.
The symptoms of IBS (stomach cramping, bloating, gas, constipation and/or diarrhoea) affect 1 in 4 people and can also lead to muscular pain, fatigue and lethargy, depression, and anxiety.
With his background in naturopathy, Benjamin I Brown has come up with an easy to follow five-step plan to help improve and even eliminate symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
The book is written in a clear and simple format and offers a lot of information and advice regarding to IBS. It is an essential guide for anyone wanting to improve the health of their digestive system.

Understanding Type 2 Diabetes



I'm sure that you all know at least one person, be it a friend or family member, that has been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I personally know of a few myself.
Understanding Type 2 Diabetes is an invaluable resource as it offers the latest advice in a clear, easy-to-follow format. 
The book explores a range of topics including what diabetes is, how it is diagnosed, and how to make necessary changes to relieve symptoms including dietary changes and exercise.
It also looks at how diabetes effects different parts of the body including the heart, mind, kidneys, bladder and feet, and ways to prevent and treat these problems.
It explains terms like hypo, blood glucose, insulin and blood pressure in a clear and detailed manner.
This book is great for carers, health professionals, and diabetics, whether long-term or recently diagnosed. 


Both books are available from the 1st April through http://www.exislepublishing.com.au/