Friday, 17 August 2018

Book Review: The Honourable Thief (Historical / Contemporary Fiction)


Title: The Honourable Thief
Author: Meaghan Wilson Anastasios
Publisher: Pan Macmillan 
Publication Date: 31st July 2018
RRP: $29.99
Pages: 448
Format read: Paperback
Source: courtesy of publisher

'Achilles? Because...?'
'Obsession of mine. Half man, half god - and his own worst enemy.
My kind of man.' He laughed.

Istanbul, Turkey 1955

Benedict Hitchens, once a world-renowned archaeologist, is now a discredited - but still rather charming - shell of his former self.

Once full of optimism and adventure, his determination to prove that Achilles was a real historical figure led him to his greatest love, Karina, on the island of Crete and to his greatest downfall, following the disappearance of an enigmatic stranger, Eris.

He has one last chance to restore his reputation, solve the mystery of Eris and prove his Achilles theory. But it is full of risk, and possibly fatal consequences...

In her breakout novel, Meaghan Wilson Anastasios weaves an action-packed tale of honour, passion, heroes and thieves across an epic backdrop of history.

Move over Indiana Jones.

Dr Benedict Hitchens renowned archaeologist’s life ambition is to find the final resting place of Achilles and prove his theory that Achilles was a real person.
Ben is tall, blond with rakish good looks. Hearts will be broken on his journey.

I dare you not to fall for this broken ant-hero! I know I did.

Wherever Ben goes trouble soon follows and at times even his credibility starts to be questioned leaving his career in tatters. Ben is forever searching for the next big discovery. He makes some bad decisions and runs with his heart rather than his head.

The story moves around from 1955 back to 1938, pre war Greece with the threat of war looming over the quiet Greek island, with flashback of the years between. This style of narration may be off putting to some although as the story progresses the date changes become easier to adapt to.

This moderately paced adventure drama lends itself to both the Historical Fiction genre with the inclusion of the effects of war and the German invasion on the small Greek island, with Ben joining the Resistance Movement, and the tumultuous history between Turkey and Greece and Contemporary Fiction genre as Anastasios describes the people, their way of life and the vivid village street celebrations and feasts. Don’t pass this up just because you don’t read historical fiction.

I would love to see this on the big screen it has all the elements of a Hollywood hit.

The Honourable Thief is an epic adventure of love and loss, greed and cunning, obsession and danger.

The story although fictional was inspired by real events.

An interesting author interview with Meaghan Wilson Anastasios, where she explains the inspiration behind the book, can be found on Theresasmithwrites. Well worth a read!

My rating 4.5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟☆

Content: occasional coarse language
                 minimal sex scenes
                 allusion to paedophilia
                 minimal violence

 Meaghan Wilson Anastasios spent her formative years in Melbourne before travelling and working as an archaeologist in the Mediterranean and Middle East. She holds a PhD in art history and cultural economics, has been a lecturer at the University of Melbourne and was a fine art auctioneer. Meaghan now uses her expertise to write and research for film and TV. She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband and their two children. The Water Diviner was her first novel, which she co-wrote with her husband Andrew. The Honourable Thief is her first solo novel. 

Connect with the author at the following sites:


Monday, 6 August 2018

Sea Life - Alphaprints (Children's Picture Book)

I'm very happy to post my first review with my mini reviewers Dot & Ditto.
They loved listening to the books and telling me what they thought of them. 

Title: Sea Life - Alphaprints
Author: Roger Priddy
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Publication date: 31st July 2018
Pages: 20
RRP: $9.99
Format Read: Board book
Source: courtesy of the publisher 

Alphaprints goes under the ocean to meet 20 fabulous seas creatures, from the tiny seahorse to the big, blue whale. This casebound board book has a creature on each page, with a light-hearted rhyming couplet that tells you something about each character. Each fingerprint is embossed, making this book both a visual and tactile experience that babies and toddlers will want to repeat.


Alphaprint board books are made with durable heavy grade board with a high gloss finish. The book features a vast array of sea creatures amusingly formed with fingerprints and household items. The shark has leaves for fins, the hammerhead literally has a hammer for a head, the crab has pegs for claws, all cleverly photographed to look real and intriguing, thus drawing the child in for a closer look at each picture.
The pictures are bright and feature a tactile element in the raised fingerprint.
Dot enjoyed this book and its catchy rhymes which have a good cadence making the words flow off the tongue. She liked searching the photos for the everyday items that made up the creatures. The dolphin is made from a banana.
When asked what her favourite picture was she reeled off about ten names so let’s just suffice to say she liked them all.
For her, the most exciting part was this can be used as a craft book and below is the craft we made from the book. She has already picked out the jellyfish and octopus to try next.


Ditto liked the tactile feel of the pages and how easy it is for him to turn the board pages. The bright and simple photos keep his attention long enough for me to read the rhymes before he turns to the next one.

My favourite thing about the book is the high gloss pages make it easy to wipe clean from sticky hands and baby dribble. Also the paper used is from sustainable forests.
*I received a review copy from the publisher.

Our rating 5/5           📘📘📘📘📘

As both Dot and Ditto loved the Sea Life book I purchased Alphaprints First Words.

With unique Alphaprints artwork and over 30 words to learn, this is a fun first book to encourage and improve speaking skills.

Again the photos are simple and brightly coloured to attract a baby or toddler’s attention.
Priddy once again uses the art of fingerprints with added everyday items to photograph unique pictures of animals, toys and food.

The tactile feel to the pages gives an added dimension to the pictures. The book is divided into groups with each spread showing a different group of items, pets, in the park, things that go, on the farm etc. Each item is clearly labelled underneath with five items per two page spread.
This book is to encourage and improve speaking skills however can be extended for older children by asking and discussing what else could go in each group displayed. Dot enjoyed this game which involved thinking and categorising.

Once again Ditto loved the tactile feel of the pages and the bright pictures and was happy to point to the pictures I named. We will continue to work on his vocalising skills.
Our rating 5/5             📘📘📘📘📘 

 Roger Priddy left school at 16 with just one qualification—in art. He went to Berkshire College of Art and Design and trained as an illustrator. His first job in children’s books was working with the publisher Peter Usborne, at Usborne Publishing, and then he worked with Peter Kindersley at Dorling Kindersley, where he spent 16 years. Priddy became Creative Director of DK’s Children’s Division and was Managing Director of the children’s mass market publisher Funfax when it was acquired by DK.

In 2000, he created Priddy Books with John Sargent at St Martin’s Press to create innovative and imaginative titles for children, from first books for babies through early reference titles for older children. Since then, over 30 million copies of Roger's 200 plus books have sold worldwide, with five of his books—My Big Animal, My Big Truck, Happy Baby Words, Happy Baby Colors and Puppy and Friends—each selling over one million copies. He is also the author of Big Board First 100 Words; Big Board Books Colors, ABC, Numbers, and Bright Baby Noisy Monsters. His creativity has been recognized with numerous industry awards. Priddy lives in London with his wife Zena and their four children.

You can connect with the author at the following sites:


Saturday, 4 August 2018

Book Review: Those Three Words (Memoir)

Title: Those Three Words
Author: Christine Bauer
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Publication date: 15th May 2018
Pages: 256
Format Read: Kindle Edition
Source: Courtesy of Book Publicity Services

There are three words that, when uttered together, make dreams come true for millions of women. For millions more, those same words can shatter their dreams.  "You are pregnant."

Almost half of all pregnancies in the United States — some 3.1 million each year —are unintended. Among unmarried women in their 20s, seven out of 10 pregnancies are unplanned.

Author Christine Bauer’s memoir Those Three Words: A birthmother’s story of choice, chance and motherhood takes a deep dive into the emotions of facing an unplanned pregnancy at the tender age of 18.

Those Three Words takes readers along on the journey of weighing options, agonizing over a decision, and ultimately deciding to let another family adopt and raise her baby.  This story also looks at how placing a child for adoption affected the rest of her life, especially when she became the mother of two boys.  Those Three Words touches on the controversial topics of abortion and adoption, birth control, and women’s rights.

This story will resonate with millions of readers because women know and understand the joy and pain of pregnancy and motherhood, love and loss, and the power of family and parental love.

Christine Bauer’s story starts at the age of nineteen. She has her life together after a tumultuous few years of rebellion and has left home to attend college. Life is good; until she finds out she is pregnant.
Christine spirals into depression and suicide looks like the only way out for her. Thoughts of her close-knit family pull her out of this dark cloud and thankfully her suicidal thoughts are pushed to the background.

I felt sad that Christine had no-one to sit down with, a professional, to discuss options calmly without all the scaremongering. The whole process from the pregnancy confirmation was so badly handled.

I can imagine it would be difficult to write a memoir, to bare your soul to all. Christine’s writing is candid and emotional without being dramatic.

The story is not only about Christine’s decision concerning her unplanned pregnancy but also her life going forward and how that decision impacted on everything she did.

I was aghast at her drinking and smoking but Christine writes with honesty about many of her thoughts and actions which highlight her immaturity at the time.

Family is the underlying strength behind Christine’s memoir and she shows the reader that family comes in all shapes and sizes.

Content: talk of suicide, abortion, minimal coarse language.

If you are experiencing bouts of depression or suicidal thoughts there are many organisations that are there to listen and help.

 My Rating 4/5           📘📘📘📘

Christine (Chris) Bauer was born and raised in the big small town of Mitchell, South Dakota. She feels blessed to have grown up in a place and time when childhood was carefree, when kids left the house in morning and returned in the evening, and in between rode bikes, built forts, and played baseball and Barbies. While she loved her hometown, Chris was eager to move on to new adventures after graduating high school.

Chris attended Mankato State University in Minnesota, majoring in Mass Communications. Her dream was to one day be part of a Woodward and Bernstein-type team who saved the world through ground-breaking journalism.  Soul searching and need for employment led her to a gratifying career in corporate communications, public relations and marketing. Chris has loved reading and writing for as long as she can remember.

Her greatest achievement and most profound joy is being the mother of three kind-hearted children and one beautiful and spirited grandchild. In addition to being a mom and grandma of humans, Chris is also the proud mom to one very spoiled dog and two equally spoiled granddogs. She admits there were moments in the motherhood journey where she preferred the canines.

She resides in the Minneapolis area. While her nest is nearly empty now, she loves that the flock returns regularly for food and shelter. Those Three Words is her first book. It is currently available for sale. To learn more, go to

You can connect with the author at the following sites: