Monday 29 April 2019

Mailbox Monday - April 29th

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog. Head over and check out other books received during the last week. 

This week I didn't receive any books for review. I didn't win any books and I didn't buy any books. (I've been very restrained with my ARC requests). 
But the lack of new additions to my 'to be read' pile gives me a good chance to catch up on some of my outstanding Netgalley reads. I've recently seen some excellent books on Netgalley that I would love to request but I feel I need to get my outstanding books read first.

During the last week I've read 
A Life of Her Own by Fiona McCallum
A story about a 30 year old woman who has low self esteem, due to her harsh upbringing, working out what she wants from life.

The Border by Steve Schafer
Follows four teenagers who escape from Mexico with a band of Narcos after them and a bounty on their heads.

I enjoyed a lovely lunch out with my daughters on Saturday and had the grandchildren over for Sunday night dinner.
Our pre-lunch coffees. 

What Books did your postman deliver this week?

Post a link to your Mailbox Monday or simply list your books in the comments below.


Sunday 28 April 2019

Storybook Corner Book Review: I Love My Mum Because (Children's Picture Activity Book)

I Love My Mum Because
Petra James
Illustrated by Alissa Dinallo 

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication date: 26th March 2019
Pages: 32
RRP: $14.99
Format Read: Hardback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

This book is for you and your mum.

Draw, decorate, colour in, count, spot the mum, make a butterfly (or two) and then present the book to your mum for any special occasion: birthday, Xmas, Mother's Day ... or just because.

An interactive picture book to personalise for your mum.

Out in bookstores in time for Mother’s Day giving, what could be more cherished than a book completed by your own child. There are activities to share; colour the flowers, write a wish inside the bubbles, play hide & seek, go on an ice-cream hunt, help the tooth fairy find the tooth. Thirty two pages of fun colouring and activities for you to share and keep as a lasting reminder of your little ones thoughts and dreams.

Dot loved this book! The only thing she loves more than craft and colouring-in is drawing pictures of her mum and the first pages of the book have gorgeous frames to draw pictures of Me and my mum. Jay didn’t get a look in with this book so I was delighted to see that I Love My Dad Because will be out in August 2019, just in time for Father’s Day.

Dot's drawing of her mum.


The book, designed and illustrated by Alissa Dinallo, features bright engaging colours and the illustrations have a childlike whimsy about them that is sure to appeal to young children.

I Love My Mum Because is an interactive picture book perfect for ages 3 – 7

Dot & Jay's rating 5/5  🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

About the author 

Petra James is the author of ten books for middle-grade readers. She has worked in publishing for more than twenty years, and has been a children's publisher for thirteen years.

About the  illustrator

Alissa Dinallo has been a book designer for eight years. In  2015, she started her own company and won the Australian Book Design Association Award for Young Designer of the Year. She has designed more than 200 titles and was featured on the Forbes 30 under 30 Arts list 2018.


Book Club Book Review: The Chocolate Maker's Wife (Historical Fiction)

The Chocolate Maker's Wife
Karen Brooks

Publisher: Harper Collins 
Imprint: HQ Fiction
Publication Date: 18th February 2019
Pages: 608
Format Read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Beauty & Lace book club 

Growing up in an impoverished household with a brutal family, Rosamund Tomkins is both relieved and terrified when her parents all but sell her in a marriage of convenience to a wealthy nobleman, Sir Everard Blithman. Though Rosamund will finally be free of the torment she’d become accustomed to in her childhood home, she doesn’t know if she’s traded one evil for another. But much to her surprise, Rosamund soon discovers that her arranged marriage is more of a blessing than curse. For her new husband recognizes not only Rosamund’s unusual beauty, but also her charm and vibrancy, which seem to enchant almost everyone who crosses her path.

Sir Everard presides over a luxurious London chocolate house where wealthy and well-connected men go to be seen, exchange news, and indulge in the sweet and heady drink to which they have become addicted. It is a life of luxury and power that Rosamund had never imagined for herself, and she thrives in it, quickly becoming the most talked-about woman in society, desired and respected in equal measure. But when disaster strikes, Rosamund stands on the brink of losing all she possesses. Determined not to return to poverty, Rosamund makes a deal with the devil that could preserve her place in society—or bring her the greatest downfall.

The story follows 17 year old Rosamund Ballister in a Cinderella style tale when she is married to Sir Everard Blithman and taken away from her home where she is treated like a servant and abused by her step-father and step-brothers. However Sir Everard has plans for Rosamund and those plans are mainly as a source of revenge. 

Sir Everard is kind and courteous. He encourages Rosamund to take an interest in his new chocolate house. Drinking chocolate was new to England and was professed to cure ailments. Rosamond had a flair for chocolate making and her beauty and easy manner drew many customers.

As time went on cracks began to show and doubts set in as to Sir Everard’s benevolence.
Set in 1660’s London The Chocolate Maker’s Wife is a fascinating portrayal of that era. Brooks’ descriptions of the chocolate making and the different additives used to enhance it were enthralling. With this period in time going through some shocking upheavals such as political and religious unrest, suppression of the press, the great plague and the fires of London it makes for a compelling tale.

The Chocolate Maker’s Wife is a story filled with treason, deceit and lies all centred around a delicious chocolaty heart.

This review is part of the Beauty & Lace book club.

My rating  8/10

*this review is part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie author challenge
and book #13 in the Australian Women Writers challenge

Photo credit: Goodreads
Karen Brooks is the author of twelve books, an academic of more than twenty years experience a newspaper columnist and a social commentator, and has appeared regularly on national TV and radio. Before turning to academia, she was an army officer for five yaers, and prior to that dabbled in acting.                                                         

She lives in Hobart, Tasmania, in a beautiful stone house with its own marvellous history. When she's not writing, she's helping her husband Stephen in his brewery. Captain Bligh's Ale and Cider, or cooking for family and friends, travelling, cuddling and walking her dogs, stroking her cats, or curled up with a great book and dreaming of stories.

Saturday 27 April 2019

Book Bingo - Round 9 #BookBingo2019

Book Bingo is a reading challenge hosted by Theresa Smith Writes , Mrs B’s Book Reviews and The Book Muse. Every second Saturday, book bingo participants reveal which bingo category they have read and what book they chose. 

This week I have chosen the category 'A Novel that has 500 pages or more."


A novel with 500 pages or more

I tend to be a little scared off by big books. Anything over 400 pages always manages to be placed at the bottom of the pile and at 624 pages The Butterfly Room looked like it might be a challenge however the pages flew by and it took me no time at all to finish it. The story was all engrossing and the secrets and mysteries kept my enthralled.

You can read my full review of The Butterfly Room here



Thursday 25 April 2019

Book Review: Wish You Were Here (Memior)

Wish You Were Here
Sheridan Jobbins

Publisher: Affirm Press
Publication date: 1st September 2017
Pages: 345
Format Read: eBook
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley

Reeling from the devastating collapse of her marriage to the man she thought was the love of her life, after a late night enjoying smashing all her china a little too much, Sheridan Jobbins decides she needs to do something drastic to save her sanity.

Her solution is to buy a hot red car and drive across America. Hopelessly unprepared and heartbroken, she sets out on the road trip of a lifetime determined to find herself – and ironically finds love instead. But not before she has a whole bunch of crazy adventures and wrong turns along the way.

Every woman with a heart and a sense of humour will want jump on board this unforgettable ride – and it’s the best antidote for anyone who’s ever had her heart broken and thought she might not survive.'

‘In this moment I am perfect. I am free to be whoever I want, and all I want to be is a woman in a red spotty dress, speeding into her future in a shiny red car.’

Wish You Were Here is a heart-felt memoir filled with pathos and wry humour.

Feeling utter despair when her husband announces he doesn’t want to be married anymore Jobbins concocts a crazy plan to drive across America Thelma & Louise style.

I’ve never been much of a memoir reader. I tend to find them slow going and I find the first person past tense narration hard to get into.

What I did love about the story is Jobbins’ candour. She opens up to her readers and pours out all her dashed hopes and her fears. The story tells like a travelogue across America with humorous and sometimes life affirming situations occurring across the country as Jobbins travels from LA to Colorado, Nebraska and Pennsylvania via numerous wrong turns dropping in on an eclectic group friends and relatives along the way.

If you’ve ever felt like life has let you down and you just need to break free and find yourself again Wish You Were Here is the read for you.

My Rating  6/10

*this review is part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie author challenge
and book #12 in the Australian Women Writers challenge

Photo credit: Affirm Press
Born in Melbourne, Sheridan Jobbins is a third generation Australian film maker. She kickstarted her career as one of the original celebrity chefs on Cooking with Sheri, earning a Guinness World Record as the youngest host of her own show at the age of nine.

She was presenter on numerous TV programs, including Simon Townsend’s Wonder World! and Good Morning Australia. She was a director of the film company Latent Image Productions which produced the award-winning film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Since 2000 she has co-written screenplays with director Stephan Elliott for Disney, Warner Bros, Working Title, Hopscotch and Ealing Studios.
She has published numerous short stories and articles, and mentors other screenwriters on her website