Monday, 27 June 2022

Mailbox Monday - June 27th

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week (or month). I post my new books on the last Monday of the month. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday Blog

Happy Monday!
I'm late again with my mailbox post again but at least it's still Monday (for a few more hours).
My husband is currently at the half way point with his radiation. He is coping well and still managing to eat okay. His skin is starting to show the effects and at the moment looks like a slight sunburn. The hospital staff are amazing and everything has run smoothly. Three more weeks to go!
We have had two birthdays in the last month. Our youngest child turned 24 and our second born turned 35.
I've been out and about in the city dropping copies of The Bravest Word for book fairies.
Also attended a lovely high tea with my eldest daughter.

Books I received for review and purchased over the last month

The Cast Aways of Harewood Hall by Karen Herbert (pub Sept 2022)
Blood & Ink by Brett Adams (pub Sept 2022) 
A Town Like Clarence by Stella Quinn (pub July 2022)
The 6:20 Man by David Baldacci (pub June 2022) 
Black River by Matthew Spencer (pub May 2022) 
After the Flood by Dave Warner (pub Aug 2022)
One of Us by Kylie Kaden 

Books I have purchased and won:
The Girls of Lake Evelyn by Averil Kenny
Here for the Right Reasons by Jodi McAlister

Children's Books

My children's book reviews are now at Little Squirrel's Bookshelf
You can see them via the tab at the top of this page or the drop down menu if you are on a mobile device. 

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Winner of a copy of The Reunion announced!!


A huge thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway for a paperback copy of The Reunion.   The giveaway closed on the 17th June and the winner was randomly selected (using Random org) from all correct entries. 

Congratulations to........   Daniela P

 The winner has been notified and has seven days to provide a mailing address.

 Thank you to Simon & Schuster and DMCPRMedia for sponsoring this giveaway. 

Please look under the giveaway tab for more chances to win great books.



Monday, 13 June 2022

Book Review: The Sawdust House by David Whish-Wilson

 The Sawdust House
David Whish-Wilson
Publisher: Fremantle Press
Publication date: 29th March 2022
Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 304
RRP: $32.99AUD
Format read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Beauty & Lace Book Club
My review
The Sawdust House is a fictionalised story based on the life of bare-knuckle boxer James Sullivan also known as Yankee Sullivan.
David Whish-Wilson uses artistic license to add details and change names. His writing is old worldly and poetic.
The story is written in a conversational manner as Thomas Crane, the newspaperman, talks with Sullivan about his life as Sullivan awaits sentence in a San Francisco prison, caught up in the great San Franciscan purge of criminals and corrupt officials, 1856. 

Crane asks Sullivan questions and Sullivan's replies form the story of his life. At times Sullivan turns the tables on Crane and asks him about his life. Crane tells of growing up as a Mormon, the harsh times in Missouri and move to Salt Lake Valley.
I loved how Whish-Wilson portrays Sullivan, talking as if he was always the innocent, because this is exactly how I would imagine he would narrate his own story. 
Through Sullivan's life story we get a sense of what life was like for the poorer people during the 1800's. Firstly in Cork then in London, as a street urchin. t then moves to the unrest that was sweeping America at the time.
I would have liked more on Sullivan's time as a convict in Australia and the work they did and more on his daily life living in New York.
At only 300 pages, and many of those pages with only a sentence or two, it's quite a short read.
I was fascinated by this story of courage and resilience and I would have liked it to be more fleshed out.
David Whish-Wilson talks about his extensive research, in the end notes, which is definitely reflected in the story.
The Sawdust House is a poignant tale of the cruelty of man against man, the overwhelming will to live, the rise to fame and the crushing blow of that final defeat. Not just for boxing fans! 
My rating  4 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author
photo credit:Goodreads
David Whish-Wilson was born in Newcastle, NSW, but grew up in Singapore, Victoria and WA. He left Australia aged eighteen to live for a decade in Europe, Africa and Asia. He is the author of The Summons, The Coves, True West and four crime novels in the Frank Swann series: Line of Sight, Zero at the Bone, Old Scores and Shore Leave. His non-fiction book, Perth, part of the NewSouth Books city series, was shortlisted for a WA Premier's Book Award. David lives in Fremantle and coordinates the creative writing program at Curtin University.

Friday, 10 June 2022

Book Giveaway - Friday Freebie: The Reunion by Polly Phillips

Thanks to the generosity of Simon & Schuster I have one paperback copy of The Reunion to giveaway.
The Reunion
Polly Phillips

 About the book
 Emily Toller has tried to forget her time at university and the events that led to her suddenly leaving under a cloud. She has done everything she can to forget the shame and the trauma – and the people involved. She has tried to focus on the life she has built with her children and husband, Nick.

But events like that can’t just be forgotten. Not without someone answering for what they’ve done.

When an invitation arrives to a University reunion, everything clicks into place. Emily has a plan.

Because if you can’t forget – why not get revenge?
Not sure if the book is for you? read my review HERE


I have one paperback copy of The Reunion to give away.

 Enter via the form below. (Open to Australian addresses only). Entries close at 6pm (AEST) on Friday 17th June 2022.

No form? Enter HERE

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Winner of a copy of Esther's Children announced!!


A huge thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway for a paperback copy of Esther's Children.   The giveaway closed on the 5th June and the winner was randomly selected (using Random org) from all correct entries. 

Congratulations to........   Josephine R

 The winner has been notified and has seven days to provide a mailing address.

 Thank you to Allen & Unwin for sponsoring this giveaway. 

Please look under the giveaway tab for more chances to win great books.

Giveaway coming soon.....


Monday, 6 June 2022

Book Review: The Reunion by Polly Phillips

 The Reunion
Polly Phillips

A chance to connect.... A chance to get revenge

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication date: 1st June 2022
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Pages: 352
RRP: $29.99AUD
Format read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via DMCPRMedia
My review

I love a great revenge story and The Reunion didn’t disappoint! This was a book I wanted to pick up every spare minute. I was pulled into the story right from the prologue.

Emily and husband Nick are gearing up for their university’s 15 year reunion. Now Emily has a perfect life; a doting husband and two gorgeous children but her past still haunts her. She has avoided her year’s cohort for 15 years and now she wants answers but mostly she wants revenge.

Polly Phillips slowly builds a mystery about Emily’s Uni days, alluding to something big happening, expertly teasing the story out keeping me glued to the pages.

The story is narrated by Emily in two timelines, with chapters headed in a countdown of hours leading up to the big reveal, interspersed with chapters set during Emily’s uni days with best friends Henry, Lyla and Will.
Phillips includes the toxic male culture in universities and how the privileged use family money to cover indiscretions.

You never really know the people closest to you is a major theme running through the novel.

I loved how Phillips included an older sister for Emily. Her sister, Helen, was her biggest supporter, always encouraging and concerned about Emily but never judging her. Emily’s sister, Helen, is my new hero.
The Reunion is a book you will want to pick up every spare minute. Tantalising, addictive and twisty; The Reunion should be on your must read list. 
My rating 5 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author
Photo credit: Polly Phillips
Originally from London, Polly and her family currently live in Perth, Western Australia. After graduating from Cambridge University, Polly worked as a journalist, first writing about  soap operas and then as a news and features writer at the Daily Express. Expat assignments followed after Polly got married, in Copenhagen and Dubai, as well as a previous stint in Perth.
Polly's first novel My Best Friend's Murder (based on a toxic Teenage friendship) won the Montegrappa Novel prize at the Emirates Literature Festival in 2019, and was published in Australia at the beginning of 2021. The Reunion is her second novel. In her spare time, Polly is a fanatical runner, eater and drinker with one long-suffering husband, one highly-challenging 8-year-old daughter and a basset hound that she's totally obsessed by.

Stay tuned for your chance to win a paperback copy of The Reunion. Details will be posted Friday 10th June.

Sunday, 5 June 2022

Book Review: The Wattle Seed Inn by Léonie Kelsall

The Wattle Seed Inn
Léonie Kelsall 
Bestselling author of The Farm at Peppertree Crossing
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication date: 5th July 2021
Genre: Rural Romance
Pages: 416
RRP: $29.99AUD
Format read: paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
My review
I absolutely loved this story and can't believe I let it sit on my shelf for this long!! 
Rich city girl meets and falls in love with country boy.

Told through the eyes of Gabrielle, a city girl with something to prove, Hayden, the country boy that has underlying demons and Ilse, family matriarch and original owner of The Wattle Seed Inn (formerly Wurruldi Hotel).
Gabrielle, having bought out her ex-fiance, is now the owner of the dilapidated Wurruldi Hotel. She has grand plans to turn it into a B & B and prove to her ex that she can do this on her own.
Hayden just wants to be left alone, he feels he can't be relied upon as he let the one person that means the most to him down. But the new girl in town as caught his eye.
Ilse loves the Wurruldi Hotel, it has been in her family for generations. She is hoping the new owner will take her advice with renovations. 
I thoroughly loved being back in the small country town of Wurruldi on the Murray River and I loved the casual banter between the friends and how they eagerly included Gabrielle into their lives.
Both Gabrielle and Hayden had hidden demons that they held close preventing them from opening up and starting a relationship. Strong themes of forgiving yourself and accepting yourself are explored through these two characters.
The mysteries that surround each character weave themselves throughout the story urging the reader on, looking for answers.
Léonie Kelsall explains, through Hayden, that PTSD is not only about nightmares and panic attacks. There is also the self loathing, paranoia and catastrophising. The inclusion of the aptly named companion dog, Trigger highlighted the work of companion dogs in situations I would not have normally thought of.
I found the encounters between Ilse and Gabrielle both endearing and heart-wrenching. Kelsall writes with real emotion.
I enjoyed revisiting characters from The Farm at Peppertree Crossing as they popped in and out of the story as Kelsall included many themes around country living.
Léonie Kelsall has written another winner; heart-wrenching, endearing and full of country charm. A story of forgiveness and moving on...
My rating 5 / 5   ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author
Raised initially in a tiny, no-horse town on South Australia's Fleurieu coast, then in the slightly more populated wheat and sheep farming land in the Murraylands,
Léonie Kelsall is a country girl through and through. Growing up without a television, she developed a love of reading before she reached primary school, swiftly followed by a desire to write. Pity the poor teachers who received chapters of creative writing instead of a single page!
Léonie entertained a brief fantasy of moving to the big city (well, Adelaide), but within months the lure of the open spaces and big sky country summoned her home. Now she splits her time between the stark, arid beauty of the family farm at Pallamana and her home and counselling practice in the lush Adelaide Hills.