Friday Feature . 11

Today’s featured book is Grace in Deep Waters by Christine Dillon. One of the best things about knowing authors in real life is getting to be part of the behind-the-scenes process of their books. And I am keen to review it and share what is one of my Top 10 books of the year so far.

Disclaimer: I’ve volunteered my time to beta and proof read this book, but have also bought my own digital copy (and will get round to buying my own physical copy later in the year once my book buying ban ends). But I have no reason to review this book other than the fact I love it so much.

IMG_20190802_232845_600.jpg

 

So what is this book about?

William Macdonald is well-respected and at the peak of his career as pastor and radio-presenter. But he can’t risk anyone finding out his wife has left him or it will all come crashing down.

Blanche Macdonald’s life has always seemed perfect, but the cracks have started to show and she must work out how she can put God first in her life.

It’s a book about relationships and grief and how we relate to those who have let us down.

 

What I liked . . .

  • The Characters  This is the third book in the series and was from the view point of two new characters, but it struck the balance between engaging me with the new characters and also letting me catch up with the old ones.
  • The Setting I hadn’t read Australian fiction for ages so it made a refreshing change. I loved reading about Lord Howe Island and now I want to go there.
  • The Writing There are a few authors whose writing I consistently love because they have an almost poetic way of writing, Christine is one of them.

 

What I didn’t like . . .

  • I could be nitpicky and come up with something minor, but honestly there wasn’t anything I didn’t like.

 

Conclusions

My Rating 💭purpose  💭originality  💭engagement  💭writing skill  💭enjoyment

Star Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.75/5

This book was a wonderful read every time I read it and I’m looking forward to reading it again come Australian summer. It’s contemporary Australian with minimal romance which I love. And also Christian fiction (and is pretty much the only series in the genre I’ll recommend). So if either of these interest you, go grab a copy of your own, either as an e-book or a physical book.

Friday Feature . 10

Today’s featured book is Our Last Goodbye by Shirley Dickson and I would like to thank both NetGalley and Bookouture (the publisher) for providing me with this free e-book in exchange for an honest review.  This was a lovely shortish book to read whilst soaking up some winter sun.

 

So what is this book about?

It’s May 1943 and following her mother’s tragic death, May decides to become a nurse and do her part to help others. Over the course of the book she falls in love and has to make a choice about what is most important to her.

What I liked . . .

  • A war story that wasn’t focused on fighting. Yes the war impacted May’s life and some of the decisions she made, but the focus was on her and the decisions that she had to make.
  • The friendships. May had some of the nicest friends and I wish when I’m at that stage of life I’ll have friends just like them.

 

What I didn’t like . . .

  • Not knowing it was book two until the end. This was my fault, I hadn’t done research. And really I think it was more of a companion novel than a sequel, but there was one scene that made a whole lot more sense knowing that it was a sequel.
  • Romance. I’m currently over romance in novels, so this is just a pet peeve at the moment rather than anything wrong with the book. It was a sweet relationship but I’m just sick of them. And technically I didn’t properly read the blurb, so this one’s on me.

 

Conclusions

My Rating 💭/2engagement  💭/2enjoyment

Star Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️.25/5

This book was a nice winter read. It was a book about friendship and choices and the way they impact our lives. If you’re interested in World War II novels about friendships and tough choices, the book is out now, so go track down a copy for yourself.

Friday Feature . 9

Today’s featured book is Romanov by Nadine Brandes and I would like to thank both NetGalley and Thomas-Nelson (the publisher) for providing me with this free e-book in exchange for an honest review. As someone who doesn’t read a lot of fantasy, I was unsure about this book but found myself delighted with it and enjoyed the couple of hours I spent curled up reading it.

Romanov Colour.png

 

So what is this book about?

The last Russian royal family has intrigued people for just over a century. Books and movies have been rewritten imaging that Anastasia has lived. And Brandes takes the history of the Romanovs and puts it into a fantasy world filled with spells and spell masters, skilfully weaving history and magic into a story about family and life’s purpose.

 

What I liked . . .

  • The Romanov Family. There aren’t enough books with positive family representations, they weren’t perfect, but they all got on together and had marvellous times.
  • The history. If historical fiction doesn’t teach you something, what’s the point of reading it? I learnt more about the Romanov’s captivity than I ever had before.
  • Its engagingness. I haven’t read a lot of ‘edge-of-your-seat’ books in a while and reading this kept me up at night and curled up on the couch waiting to see what would happen next.

 

What I didn’t like . . .

  • The positive view of the Romanovs. I’ve studied too much history, the Romanov’s weren’t great rulers and I think the book completely ignored that fact, although to be fair, it was from Nastya’s (Anastasia’s) perspective and she was only seventeen when she died, so it was probably realistic.

 

Conclusions

My Rating 💭purpose  💭/2originality  💭engagement  💭/2writing skill  💭enjoyment

Star Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

I really enjoyed reading this book and one day hope to own a copy for myself. I really enjoyed reading about the mischievous Nastya and learning more about the Romanovs in captivity. If historical fiction or fantasy is your thing, I’d definitely recommend picking up this book.

Friday Feature . 8

Today’s featured book is We Must be Brave by Frances Liardet and I would like to thank both NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers Australia (the publisher) for providing me with this free e-book in exchange for an honest review. Because my life has been crazy lately and I was reading it on a computer it took me about a month to finish it (however in that time, I really only spent three days reading it and found it quite relaxing).

We Must Be Brave.png

So what is this book about?

This book is a work of historical fiction. It follows Ellen Parr through her childhood, as an adult during World War II and as an active community member in the 1970s. It is a book about friendship and family and how much they mean when life is falling apart. (And is more interesting than my description makes it sound.)

What I liked . . .

  • Historical fiction – although I’ve been better this year, I still don’t read enough of it
  • The Letters in Part II – I love letters and I don’t read enough of them so I loved the letters that were in the middle of this book
  • The Emotional Impact – given the settings and theme if I hadn’t been emotionally impacted, that would have been a concern
  • The Cover – my photo doesn’t do justice

What I didn’t like . . .

  • I personally found it hard to get in to, but once I was immersed in the world I loved it. It’s worth pushing through the first few chapters if you are struggling.

Conclusions

My Rating   💭/2engagement   💭/2enjoyment

Star Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5

This book was a cosy autumn read. I loved reading about family and friendship set in a world I’d love to go visit. If you like historical fiction or British settings, track down a copy of this book (it’s been out for a few months, I’ve just taken forever to read it). Hope you find it as enjoyable as I did.

Friday Feature . 7

Today’s featured book is The Boy Who Steals Houses by C. G. Drews (a.k.a paperfury) and I would like to thank both NetGalley and Hachette Children’s Books, Australia and Orchard Books (the publishers) for providing me with this free e-book in exchange for an honest review. This was my most (and only) anticipated book of 2019 and I was not dissapointed. I couldn’t put it down. Cait broke my heart.  I want to adopt some children. And I’m currently trying to demolish my TBR so I can re-read it in the hope that maybe it won’t be so bad next time.

So what is this book about?

This is a book about brothers, houses and what it means to have a family. Sam and his brother Avery have been abandoned by their immediate and extended family and are looking for a place to call home. Sam finds one, but will it be enough to save him?

 

What I liked . . .

  • All the characters – I mean not the mean and nasty secondary ones. But Sam and Moxy and all the De Laineys? I want to go have Sunday lunch at their house.
  • The setting – apparantly there’s Australian contemporary YA out there, I just can’t seem to find it apart from this one. (On a tangent, please recommend any you’ve loved.)
  • #ownvoices rep – I don’t have the greatest awareness of mental health issues and I’ve heard that at times representations in novels can be unrealistic and/or problematic. But this helped me to understand more about what autism and anxiety can look like in people. (Although everyone does have their own experience.)

 

What I didn’t like . . .

  • Cait breaking my heart – although I kind of expected that so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

 

Conclusions

My Rating 💭purpose  💭originality  💭engagement  💭writing skill  💭enjoyment

Star Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5

This book was a book that I couldn’t put down. It tore my heart apart but managed to put it back together again by the end. I loved this story about family and the search for a home not just a house. This book was my best of April and so far is in my Top Five for the year and can’t wait to re-read it. If Australian fiction, contemporary YA or #ownvoices are your thing, go buy a copy. You won’t regret it.

Top Ten Tuesday . Audio Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish. But now lives over at That Artsy Reader Girl and you can check out her post here. It is a weekly bookish question that bloggers answer on their own blogs. Feel free to join in the fun as well.

TTT-Big2.png

Today’s post is courtesy of my organised self who existed two months ago. She no longer exists so I was going to skip this week until I discovered it this morning.

IMG_20171201_184444_882.jpg1. The Book Thief

Look the narrator had quite a monotonous voice, but the book is incredible and I fell back in love with it and cried a whole lot so I guess that’s a win for audiobooks.

 

 

 

 

2. Go Set a Watchman

It was narrated by Reese Witherspoon so I survived the American accent (which let’s be honest is how Scout would have sounded). I loved this because it reminded me of how powerful the story really was.

3. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

This book is in my top ten, and as an audio book, I just felt like all of the characters were speaking to me and we became even closer friends.

4. The Tale of Despereaux INSTA PHOTO

I hadn’t read the physical book in years but came across the audiobook at the library so I read it. It was nice to catch up with an old world. I once knew incredibly well.

5. The ABC Murders INSTA PHOTO

Murder mysteries are even more thrilling when there is dramatic music playing in the background.

6. The Adventures of the Christmas Pudding

This was very short (45 minutes from memory) and I had forgotten parts of it, so it was like a brand new mystery.

IMG_20180205_223229_675.jpg7. The Hound of the Baskervilles

This was abridged. Please don’t do that to books. I don’t care how long they are. And especially don’t cut out half of Sherlock’s discoveries and leave his deductions intact.

8. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Volume 2 INSTA PHOTO

It was dramatised so I was happy.

 

 

9. The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes INSTA PHOTO

Just saying Stephen Fry is the best narrator ever and would love to listen to the entirety of this series if I had the money to buy it all.

 

10. All the Light We Cannot See INSTA PHOTO

The narrator was not the best (although I could listen to the whole thing) but the book is the best and I enjoyed taking the time to stop and listen.

 

 

Friday Feature . 6

Today’s featured book is Eight Lives by Susan Hurley and I would like to thank both NetGalley and Affirm Press (the publisher) for providing me with this free e-book in exchange for an honest review. By the second half of the book I couldn’t wait to see what happened next and couldn’t put it down.

So what is this book about?

David Tran is the star of Australian medical research and for good reason. He has just developed a miracle drug that will make a fortune for his investors. But right before human trials of the drug commence David dies in suspicious circumstances. The book follows five of his friends trying to figure out how and why he died.

What I liked . . .

  • I liked having a glimpse into the world of pharmaceutical development and how much work goes into the medicine we take for granted.
  • That it had an unexpected ending reached by about three different twists and turns.

 

What I didn’t like . . .

  • It wasn’t until Part 2 that I became engaged in the book (but after that I couldn’t put it down).
  • I think it had too many different perspectives for me to follow easily. (And that was one reason why it took me so long to get into the book.)

 

Conclusions

My Rating 💭/2 purpose  💭originality  💭/2 engagement

Star Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️.25/5

This book was an interesting read that immersed me into the stresses of life in the medical world and also of those who invest in it. It is a medical ‘whydunnit’. So if murder mysteries or medical dramas are your thing, track down a copy either by pre-ordering today or tracking down a copy after its release on the 26th of March.

Top Ten Tuesday . Books On My Spring 2019 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish. But now lives over at That Artsy Reader Girl and you can check out her post here. It is a weekly bookish question that bloggers answer on their own blogs. Feel free to join in the fun as well.

TTT-Big2.png

 

So I’m in the southern hemisphere which means I have a few problems with this week’s prompt:

a) it’s autumn not spring

b) autumn started on the 1st of March so I’m already way into this season’s TBR

So I’ll have a mix of books I was looking forward to and books I am still looking forward to.

 

MARCH

1. Untitled Beta-Read

The book I was most excited for this month was a Beta Read written by a friend. I loved it and am super excited for its release date. Couldn’t put it down.

How Not to be Popular Final

 

2. How Not to Be Popular by Cecily Anne Paterson

This was an e-arc and I love anything Cecily Paterson writes. Check out my review here.

 

IMG_20180404_224243_259.jpg

 

 

3. Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott

This is for #TheUnreadShelfProject and the March challenge: ‘longest on shelf’. Hoping to finally get to it this year since I didn’t have the energy to read it last year.

 

 

APRIL

the-boy-who-steals-houses-3d-cover

Taken from paperfury.com

4. The Boy Who Steals Houses by C. G. Drews

This was going to be for #TheUnreadShelfProject’s April challenge: ‘newest’. I mean it technically isn’t on my unread shelf yet, but it will be when April comes around since I pre-ordered it last week. (Kind of sad that it gets released in Australia five days after the U.K. edition. But anyway . . .) However, I discovered today that my e-arc request was accepted so it might become a March read.

 

 

 

5. Gallipoli by John Masefield 20190319_173814.jpg

This book was referred to in Testament of Youth and since it’s been on my Unread Shelf
for about four years I’ll hopefully read it this April.

6. The Gallipoli Story by Patrick Carlyon

This one has been on my shelf for about three years, but reading this and Gallipoli back to back will be interesting as I’ll hopefully see the way in which perceptions of Gallipoli have changed over time.

 

May

FAWKES-Rollover-Plain-e1513549653551

Taken from author’s website

7. Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

I managed to get an e-arc of Romanov but decided I needed to read Fawkes first. Currently waiting on a library to order it in since I have a book budget of $0.

ROMANOV-COVER-FINAL

Taken from author’s website

 

 

 

8. Romanov by Nadine Brandes

An e-arc so I’ll read it just before its release. Keen for some Russian history. And isn’t this cover gorgeous? If I had a bigger book budget, I would totally buy it just for the #aesthetic.

 

 

20190319_174133.jpg9. A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor

This is for May’s #TheUnreadShelfProject challenge ‘adaptation’. I was given this as a gift along with tickets to the exhibition, but at the time filed it under ‘too hard to read’. Perhaps not your classic adaptation, but it’s the closest that I have.

 

 

BONUS

10. The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson

I want to squeeze this in sometime in the next two-and-a-half months. It is short, so it might turn out to be a weekend read.

Friday Feature . 5

Today’s featured book is The Mozart Girl by Barbara Nickel and I would like to thank both NetGalley and Second Story Press (the publisher) for providing me with this free e-book in exchange for an honest review. The book took me only a couple of hours and made me fall in love with music.

IMG_20190315_223040_601.jpg

 

So what is this book about?

Maria Anna Mozart was the sister of the musical prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Herself an accomplished musician, she spent years of her childhood traveling alongside her brother performing among the elites of European society. It’s a short book about a girl who dreams of fame in a society where women have little opportunity to achieve it.

What I liked . . .

  • How music consumed Nannerl. I love seeing how a character’s love of something explodes on to the page, making me fall in love with it as well.
  • Seeing a whole lot of famous people in connection to each other. I never realised that Bach and Mozart were from different eras or that the Mozarts grew up prior to the French Revolution and performed inside Versailles in its glory days.

 

What I didn’t like . . .

  • Nannerl was written as a character much younger than twelve and I struggled to reconcile her age with the way she was acting (although perhaps I was a very mature twelve year old).
  • It didn’t quite seem to quite fit into the historical narrative I know. Whilst I acknowledge that all authors take creative license, the views of Nannerl seemed quite ahead of her time, and I suspect that she would not have questioned and criticised her society and the opportunities available to women as much as she did. But having said that, I have a very limited understanding of 18th century attitudes so I could be completely wrong and am open to correction.

 

Conclusions

My Rating 💭/2 engagement  💭/2 enjoyment

Star Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

This book was set at a much younger audience and 10-12 year old me would have loved it. But if you want a little insight into life long ago, especially mid 18th Century Europe, then this might be the book for you. The book comes out on the 17th of March and if anything I’ve said interests you, why don’t you give it a go?

Top Ten Tuesday . Standalone Books That Need a Sequel

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish. But now lives over at That Artsy Reader Girl and you can check out her post here.

TTT-Big2.png

I love all of the books below, and think that they all work as standalone books. I don’t have any questions that weren’t answered, I just wish their authors would write more so I could see into their world once more.

1. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

I haven’t read this in about eight years, but I always wanted to know ‘what happened next’ with Sara Crewe.

IMG_20180307_214749_295.jpg2. Rilla of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery

I just want to see Ken and Rilla get married and have babies and fall more and more in love with each other. Is that too much to ask? I mean probably since the author is dead, but that’s a minor detail.

3. Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain

I read this the other week, and loved the writing and the way she analysed the war and the way it shaped her generation. Would be keen to see what she thought of the Second World War since she seemed kind of cynical about the League of Nations.

20180808_095745.jpg

4. The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

Look it’s the ending. I want it changed, or failing that to see what she does next. Fun Fact: Only book I’ve discovered where I liked the movie better.

IMG_20171201_184444_882.jpg

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief is amongst my favourite books of all time, but I would love to see Liesel grow up and the decisions that she makes, and see how she teaches her children about the war.

IMG_20171221_180020_999.jpg

6. The Guernsey literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary-Ann Shaffer

A book on group friendship is few and far between. Honestly this book was the first time in forever where I had made friends with all the characters by the end of my first read, so I just want to go and hang out with them heaps more.

IMG_20180820_224645_987.jpg

7. A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay

Apparently a sequel is coming which is good, since I’ve been wanting one for ages, but I want it sooner rather than later. In the meantime I guess I’ll have to re-read it.

20161223_160348.jpg

8. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

I’d love to re-read this, but I lent my copy to someone and have too many other books to read anyway. I liked the companion novel, but sometimes you just need the same characters in a new book.

IMG_20180618_222916_585.jpg

9. Not if I Save You First by Ally Carter

I will read anything Ally Carter writes, but would be curious to see what else Maddie and Logan get up to far away from Alaska.

IMG_20180824_000753_783.jpg

10. A Thousand Perfect Notes by C. G. Drews

Would a sequel add anything? Maybe not, but still Australian contemporary with cake? I am there and buying it.