Friday 27 July 2018

Book Review: Who Killed the Movie Star? by Lily Malone

Title: Who Killed the Movie Star?
Author: Lily Malone
Series: Book #2
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 7th July 2018
Pages: 170
Format Read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the author

It’s Sunday morning on a long weekend in the quirky little town of Cowaramup and Cally Minter and her best friend Sienna are about to host a new murder mystery game, Who Killed The Movie Star?

But before an arrow can be shot from its bow, the girls are in a pickle. The Sheriff of Nottingham has gone rogue; they’ve lost a Maid Marian, and someone keeps reporting them to the local police for shooting their guests.

In all the confusion, Lovely First Class Constable Daniel Reardon becomes a regular visitor to Butterfly House, and if Cally plays her cards right… whoever murdered the movie star might not be the only one in handcuffs by sunset.

Who Killed The Movie Star, the sequel to Who Killed The Bride, combines cozy mystery and comedy with a romantic twist.

Who Killed the Movie Star is the Second Butterfly House story by Lily Malone.

I absolutely loved Who Killed the Bride. It was a fun read with just enough action to keep the reader turning the pages.

Book two is just as much fun with plenty of laugh out loud moments. Cally is gorgeous and unquestionably a romantic at heart. You can’t help but like Cally, she says exactly what she’s thinking and quite often it’s something awkward, embarrassing and a bit odd.

Cally’s dad Paul Minter, a well known author, is staying at Butterfly House whilst he attends a local writers’ festival and an overzealous fan gives for some hilarious moments and disastrous misunderstandings which have the lovely First Class Senior Constable Daniel Reardon visiting Butterfly House on more than one occasion.

There is a bit of tension in this story as a long held secret is revealed but all ends on a good note making you see that the world really is filled with lovely people.

I love this book it gives you a nice warm feeling about life and love.

Thank you Lily for writing book 2, they are both books I will read over and over.

My rating 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This is book #19 in the Australian Women Writers challenge
and part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie Author Challenge.

Following is my review of Book #1 which I read before I started this blog.

Who Killed the Bride? Is a cozy mystery with laugh out loud moments and characters I’m sure Malone has grabbed straight from the streets of her own home town.

Cally has her heart set on starting her own business, a Cluedo style show and dinner combination. Her father thinks she is writing the next prize winning literary fiction.
Cally and best friend, Sienna, have been planning their first play, Who Killed the Bride, for months. Finally it’s the opening day, what could possibly go wrong.

I fell in love with the gorgeous Cally. What a wonderful, genuine character she is. She blurts out whatever is on her mind before she has time to think about it which is cause for some funny situations. The town of Cowaramup sounds like the most fun place ever, even though I have no idea how to pronounce it. Malone has included some real town events to colour this fictional world which gives it an added level believability.

Who Killed the Bride is filled with mystery, twists, suspense, some one sided romance and lots of humour. I think this would make a fantastic stage show.

I’m looking forward to the next Butterfly House mystery, Who Killed the Movie Star, and maybe a little more insight into the characters of Sienna and Tyson.

I would recommend this easy read to anyone that likes a bit of fun. 

Lily Malone might have been a painter, except her year-old son put a golf club through her canvas, so she wrote her first contemporary romance novel instead.

Lily loves wine,walking, gardening, (and walking in gardens, sometimes with wine) and many of her romances are set in the vineyards and wine regions of Australia, particularly in Margaret River and the Great Southern in Western Australia, and Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia where she spent most of the 2000s.

Lily lives in Cowaramup with her very handsome husband, and two sons who take after their dad.

On a last note I would like to say how beautiful the covers are and how fantastic they look together.
Cover art by Kerry Sibly. You can see more of her work at Mukau Gallery

Saturday 21 July 2018

Book Review: Hive by A. J. Betts

Title: Hive
Author: A.J.Betts
Series: Book #1
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication Date: 26th June 2018
RRP: $16.99
Format read: Paperback
Source: Publisher

All I can tell you is what I remember, in the words that I have.

Hayley tends to her bees and follows the rules in the only world she has ever known.
Until she witnesses the impossible: a drip from the ceiling.

A drip? It doesn't make sense.

Yet she hears it, catches it. Tastes it.
Curiosity is a hook.

What starts as a drip leads to a lie, a death, a boy, a beast, and too many awful questions.

Hive is the first in a gripping two-book series by award-winning and international bestselling author A. J. Betts.

I’ve read quite a few reviews and heard a lot about A.J. Betts novel Zack & Mia so I was delighted to have the opportunity to read and review Betts’ latest novel Hive.

Hayley’s world consisted of 6 hexagonal houses each connected to a common room by corridors. Above these was a nursery and above that the Upper house for The Council. The Council was the ruling group which was headed by the Judge, a role that was inherited.
Much like a bee hive everyone has their designated role. There were those that nurture and teach, those that prepare meals, those that tend the gardens and those that work in the machine rooms with everyone working together for a common good.

Hayley is a gardener, she tends the hives, her voice is young and naive which is appropriate for someone brought up in a cult-like world where every part of your life is set out and controlled from birth to death. Chimes sound and are adhered to. They signal work times, meal times and sleep time where the people are locked in dorms. Made me think it was very similar to a prison.

No one questions their world, that is just the way it is, God’s way. If anyone questions why something happens the elders simply answer “God works in mysterious ways.”

Hayley is inquisitive and she can’t help breaking rules and asking questions and not accepting vague answers. But they have ways of dealing with people who ask too many questions.

Hayley was instantly likeable, so young and naive. She was inquisitive and strong. She quite often spoke her mind with dire consequences.
The story was like nothing I’ve read before. Note quite cult, not quite dystopian and not quite science fiction, but a mixture of the three.
 I had a lot of questions reeling around in my head while I was reading the story. Some were answered, others weren’t. But I must say I was totally sucked into the story shocked at how the community lived and accepted this way of living; but then I suppose they knew no better.

The ending left me holding my breath and eagerly awaiting the next book, Rogue, due to be released in 2019. Just to whet your appetite there is a one page teaser for the next book at the end of Hive.

An exquisite tale of a girl who asked too much.

Content: one graphic scene where a dead body is dismembered
Recommended 15+

4/5 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟

This review is part of the Beauty & Lace book club

This is book #18 in the Australian Women Writers challenge
And part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie author challenge

A. J. Betts is an Australian author, speaker, teacher and cyclist and has a PhD on the topic of wonder, in life and in reading.
She has written three novels for young adults. Her third novel, Zac & Mia, won the 2012 Text Prize, the 2014 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, and the 2014 Ethel Turner prize for young adults at the New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards and was shortlisted for the 2014 Queensland Literary Award. Inspired by her work in a children's hospital, Zac & Mia is available in 14 countries.
A. J. is originally from Queensland but has lived in Perth since 2004.

Friday 13 July 2018

Book Review: The Everlasting Sunday by Robert Lukins

Title: The Everlasting Sunday
Author: Robert Lukins
Publisher: University of Queensland Press
Publication date: 26th February 2018
Pages: 224
Format Read: Paperback
Source: Own copy

During the freezing English winter of 1962, seventeen-year-old Radford is sent to Goodwin Manor, a home for boys who have been ‘found by trouble’. Drawn immediately to the charismatic West, Radford soon discovers that each one of them has something to hide.

Life at the Manor offers only a volatile refuge, and unexpected arrivals threaten the world the boys have built. Will their friendship be enough when trouble finds them again?

At once both beautiful and brutal, The Everlasting Sunday is a haunting debut novel about growing up, growing wild and what it takes to survive.

 Goodwin Manor is a place of last resorts, a place for the outcasts of society, young males that have erred that once too many. Situated far from anything, the boys are mostly left to their own devices. Tutors come and go. Edward Wilson (Teddy to the boys) is the overseer; he is tired and withdrawn most of the time only intervening when the situation gets out of hand. Teddy has underlying problems of his own. Lilly, the cook, is a motherly figure demanding respect but also full of kindness.

The story is set in the winter of 1962. England’s bleakest winter for 82 years.

Radford arrives unceremoniously dropped off by his uncle and is quickly taken under the wing of the charismatic West. There is much introspection and confidences shared between the two in their late-night smoking sessions. All the characters seem to be at a place in time they would rather not be.
Much like a boarding school the boys sneak out at night to smoke and drink alcohol. There were no rules and the boys had their own methods of punishment when warranted and found things to keep them occupied. Radford at first tries to make sense of the hierarchy and happenings in the Manor.
”Each day had brought not a sense of understanding but an understanding not to search for sense.”

Winter has its own role in this novel, becoming a character as it watches and waits placing scorn on humans trying to live in its mightiest moments.
”These boys imagining themselves conquering miles, they pushed only deeper into the trap. Winter wondered who would miss them.......Yes, it could bury them now........ Winter would watch on for now. There was no risk of missing its chance, for Winter always returned.”

Lukin’s prose are lyrical and haunting with an underlying empathy, they give a mystical quality to the story.

Occasionally you come across a book that your words cannot describe the way it is written and how it makes you feel. The Everlasting Sunday is such a book.

The Everlasting Sunday is an atmospheric tale of rejection, friendship, bonding and survival. 

 Content: some  violence, non graphic homosexual sex scene.
4.5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟✩ 

Robert Lukins lives in Melbourne and has worked as an art researcher and journalist.

His writing has been published widely, including in The Big Issue, Rolling Stone, Crikey, Broadsheet and Overland.

The Everlasting Sunday is his first novel.

Saturday 7 July 2018

Book Review: 365 Days of Happiness by Jacqueline Pirtle

Title: 365 Days of Happiness
Author: Jacqueline Pirtle
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 28th February 2018
Pages: 385
Format Read: eBook
Source: Copy courtesy of Book Publicity Services


Do you have fun with your own life?

How often do you really pay attention and choose things to improve your day?

In 365 Days of Happiness, author, energy healer, and mindfulness teacher Jacqueline Pirtle has created daily inspirations that help you mindfully work towards living a more vivid experience of daily happiness. Showing that you can put in work to change your life while having fun, the practices are full of whimsy and delight.

Jacqueline decided to spend every day of 2017 devoted to her own happiness. She wrote every single day about the things she does to honor her joy, and used these writings to create this 365 day step-by-step guide, so she could teach you how to shift to BE and live in a “high for life” frequency of happiness too—no matter where you are at in your life right now. She started writing these for herself, but has a little sneaky intent to touch your heart every day and initiate new learning, understanding, knowledge, and wisdom for you to get closer to your true, authentic happy self.

Through light, bubbly, cheerful passages, each day teaches you to find happiness, use those sour lemons, and shift yourself into a “high for life” frequency where you can reach happiness anywhere at any time.

          My thoughts

We find throughout our life there are times when we are always putting others’ happiness before our own. Tired, stressed and overworked? Happiness can be yours 365 days a year with this step by step guide to being truly happy. Every day!

Jacqueline Pirtle spent every day of 2017 devoted to her own happiness, writing down every single day things that honoured her joy.

365 Days of happiness is not a book to be read in one sitting (although I did just that so I could write my review) but to be used each and every day just like your morning coffee to get you going and perk you up to start each day on a positive note.

I’m such a cynic when it comes to self help books but hey, who doesn’t want to be happy each and every day. I actually really enjoyed this book and I hardly even did an eye roll. It espouses things we take for granted. Yes, I love my friends and family but expand that to love the food you eat, the sounds you hear and the ground under your feet.

The author uses the power of imagination to get her message across, each day imagining some wondrous new thing.
Each page is short, only about 2 minutes to read, an every day reminder about being happy, a new exercise and affirmation.

Can I never be angry again? You ask. Pirtle tells us to feel our anger, it is ok. Then let it go. Never stay long on a negative feeling.

I read this book a few weeks ago but it stuck in my mind. Situations arose that were difficult, disappointing and I immediately thought back to the book. How can I change my present state of mind and be happy? Having your mind set to being happy also has a roll-on effect to those around you.

365 Days of Happiness is a perfect bedside companion. Why not make this year your year of happiness.

*I received a review copy through Book Publicity Services

4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

       About the author

Jacqueline Pirtle is an energy healer, mindfulness teacher, and author of ‘365 Days of Happiness: Because happiness is a piece of cake!’