Saturday, 26 October 2019

Book Bingo - Round 22 #BookBingo

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 beloved classic"
and as we have had to do a few double up weeks to fit all the categories in I am also doing "A book written by an Australian woman more than 10 years ago".

A beloved classic:

For this category I have chosen 'Brer Rabbit Again by Enid Blyton'

I'm so glad I pulled this down from my shelves after many, many years. I remember as a child thinking how funny and tricky Brer Rabbit was. You would think a fox would be wily and cunning but Brer Rabbit outwits him every time and he can't quite figure out how.

"There is a trick somewhere!" thought Brer Wolf to himself.
"Brer Bear knew there was a trick somewhere. But what it was he could NOT think." 

The animals fight, steal and plot against each other and Brer Rabbit always comes out laughing in these wits against brawn tales.
Anthropomorphism has always been and will continue to be a part of children's literature. Using animals to act out real life situations can be less confrontational for children.

My much loved copy. At some stage the dust jacket has become torn so I have cut it out and sticky taped it to the cover. 😃

A book written by an Australian woman more than 10 years ago:

For this category I have chosen 'Odd One Out by Monica McInerney'
Published in 2006.

I would like to thank another bingo participant Jenny for this book idea. I wasn't sure what I would read for this category preferring to find books on my shelf rather than buy more. When I saw Jenny use this book I knew I had it on my shelf and it was the perfect choice.

Sylvie Devereaux comes from a Sydney based family of successful, artistic people. She was the dogsbody always running around doing jobs for her mother and two sisters. She organised their lives and she was good at it but they didn't appreciate her. Her older brother lived in Melbourne. She didn't see him often but he was always on her side. He encourages her to come to Melbourne for a holiday. Away from all the hectic organising Sylvie gets a chance to reevaluate her life.

I loved Sylvie immediately. She had a heart of gold and even though she was being manipulated by her family I don't think the family could see how they were treating her. She really needed to stand up for herself.
The story is full of natural banter and humour which makes for an easy and fun read. It's not all plain sailing for Sylvie as she has some highs and lows before she finally decides to do what she wants to do in life.
The character of Great Aunt Mill is wonderful. She is in her 70's. Her health is declining a bit and some of the family may think she is a bit loopy but she is always there for Sylvie with some sound advice and a few handy hints.


Friday, 25 October 2019

Book Club Book Review: Akin by Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue

A new novel from the “literary prowess” (Quill & Quire) of Emma Donoghue, the bestselling and critically acclaimed author of The Wonder and Room.

Imprint: Picador
Publication date: 29th September 2019
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
RRP: $29.99 AUD
Format read: Trade paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Beauty & Lace

Noah is a retired New Yorker, who takes his 11-year-old great-nephew, Michael, on a trip to the stunning seaside and cosmopolitan city of Nice, France. The two have almost nothing in common, apart from Noah being widowed and Michael effectively an orphan. The clashes between old age and youth, antiquity and modernity are striking, even over what they do and what they eat. Michael speaks with the street-smart language of his age while Noah talks like a professor of chemistry, and they often can’t understand each other.

I really enjoyed this story of an inter-generational friendship, of sorts.

Retired Professor Noah Selvaggio’s wife passed away nine years ago. They had never had children preferring to dedicate themselves to their careers. He found himself now just going through the paces until it was his time. Noah decides to take a last trip, an eightieth birthday treat, back to his birthplace of Nice, France.

A call out of the blue lands him as temporary custodian of his great-nephew Michael. Left with no other choice Noah takes Michael on his trip. In his luggage he has an envelope of mysterious photographs Noah has found in his late mother’s belongings.

The story unfolds with 80 year old Noah trying to connect with 11 year old Michael who is in turn withdrawn and reticent, more interested in his online games than the site. Noah being a retired teacher used every opportunity to impart his vast knowledge of just about everything on to Michael. Some things were fascinating although sometimes I found myself, like Michael, just wanting him to stop talking. Michael was also able to teach Noah a thing or two about technology and searching for clues through the internet.  Solving the mystery of the photos helped to bring the two together for a common cause.

I really enjoyed the mystery surrounding Noah’s mother during WWII and how the clues slowly unfolded. I felt Noah and Michael’s interactions were well written and believable with both characters getting on my nerves at times.

Overall Akin is an endearing story of family with a compelling mystery as a side story.

This review is from the Beauty & Lace Book Club 
@beautyandlacemag #beautyandlacebookclub


  My rating   4/5

Photo: Biblio Images
Born in Dublin in 1969 and now living in Canada, Emma Donoghue is a writer of fiction, history, and drama for radio, stage and screen. She is best known for her international bestseller Room, shortlisted for the Man Booker and Orange Prizes and winner of the Commonwealth (Canada/Caribbean), Rogers Writers' Trust and Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year Awards. Her fiction ranges from contemporary (Stir-fry, Hood, Landing, Touchy Subjects) to historical (Slammerkin, The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits, Life Mask, The Sealed Letter, Astray) to fairy-tale (Kissing the Witch).


Saturday, 19 October 2019

Book Review: The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes #BRPreview

The Giver of Stars
Jojo Moyes

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia 
Imprint: Michael Joseph
Publication date: 1st October 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 480
RRP: $32.99AUD
Format Read: Trade Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Better Reading 

Inspired by a remarkable true story, the unforgettable journey of five extraordinary women living in extraordinary and perilous times.

Alice Wright has travelled halfway across the world to escape her stifling life in England. Handsome American businessman Bennett Van Cleve represents a fresh start. But she soon realises that swapping the twitching curtains of suburbia for newlywed life in the wild mountains of Kentucky isn't the answer to her prayers. But maybe meeting Margery O'Hara is. The heart and backbone of the small community of Salt Lick, a woman who isn't afraid of anything or anyone, Margery is on a mission.

Enlisting Alice, along with three other women, all from very different backgrounds, to join her, the band of unlikely sisters battle the elements and unforgiving terrain - as well as brave all manner of dangers and social disapproval - to ride hundreds of miles a week to deliver books to isolated families. Transforming the lives of so many is all the impetus they need to take such risks.

And for Alice, her new job and blossoming friendships become an unexpected lifeline, providing her with the courage she needs to make some tough decisions about her marriage. Then a body is found in the mountains, rocking the close-knit community and tearing the women apart as one of them becomes the prime suspect. Can they pull together to overcome their greatest challenge yet?

In a remote mountain town in Kentucky blood feuds are long held and money is power. Six women attempt to bring knowledge through books to the secluded mountain homes and thus the Baileyville Packhorse librarians are formed.

This unlikely group of women soon become firm friends supporting each other through hard times. But they soon realise a woman has to play by a man’s rules or be squashed.

This is my first JoJo Moyes book and I found the story a little slow at the start and it took a while to feel any connection with the characters.

I did enjoy this book; it just didn’t blow me away. It could have been a lot more immersive. It needed to have a lot more showing and less telling. I didn’t feel the mountains, the bitter cold or even the true remoteness of the setting.

Moyes has included themes of violence to women, lack of literacy skills in remote areas, the long and dangerous hours miners have to endure and how the powerful mine owners championed profit over safety.

I loved how the women supported each other and how the whole town, even though divided at times, banded together during the flood to help each other out.

Moyes has written a compelling tale of a town living under the burden of a money hungry employer and how a group of women were not scared to go against societal expectations to make the town a better place for everyone.


My rating  3.5/5

Photo credit: Goodreads

Jojo Moyes is a British novelist.

Moyes studied at Royal Holloway, University of London. She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to study journalism at City University and subsequently worked for The Independent for 10 years. In 2001 she became a full time novelist.

Moyes' novel Foreign Fruit won the Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004.

She is married to journalist Charles Arthur and has three children.

Author Website  ||  Twitter  ||  Facebook  ||  Instagram  


Friday, 18 October 2019

Guest Post: Author Antoinette Truglio Martin

How To Help People Help You
(or How My Everyone Got Me What I Needed)

Today on The Burgeoning Bookshelf I would like to introduce Antoinette Truglio Martin the author of "Hug Everyone You Know" a memoir of her journey through breast cancer treatment. 
Antoinette gives some sage advice on how anyone going through similar treatment can step aside and let friends and family help during this trying time. The points are also helpful if you have a friend or family member undergoing cancer treatment and are lost as to how you can help. I know I would have welcomed this advice when my sister-in-law was undergoing treatment. There is always that feeling of disconnection and not knowing how you can help make their life a little less stressful.

Guest post:

I am the do-er of my family and friend circle. I plan, arrange, and execute most events and activities. Not much happens if I do not have my two hands and a schedule on it (at least that is what I believe). It is not quite micromanaging since delegating is not my strong suit. I quickly volunteer to take on the details and jobs no one wants. The whole shebang will come to a screeching halt if I don’t navigate it all while taking care of home, hearth, kids, husband, and teaching.

But that mindset was reevaluated when I went through chemotherapy and radiation treatments for breast cancer. I had never been sick before, so the debilitation was new to me. It was the first time I was unable to juggle it all.

Luckily I am blessed with a vast tribe of friends and family, My Everyone, ready to help. Each correspondent asked me what I wanted, needed. Asking for help was another way of delegating. Did I mention that delegating was not my strong suit? The truth was that I wanted the floors vacuumed, groceries shopped, and laundry folded. But those annoying tasks were just that—annoying.

My Everyone, however, had a better idea as to what I needed. The best kind of help came in the form of a spontaneous lunch date, an invite to join a yoga class, and a Reiki experience. I was encouraged to get out of the house, which was burdened with an endless list of have-to-dos. I learned to say, "Dust bunnies be damn!”, and to keep a collection of takeout menus handy. Although very little got done, I did have terrific days with my great people.

Events and activities stayed on the calendar. I was given full disclosure as to what was happening and allowed to bow out of the little details. Delegating was not hard, after all. I still had my lists and felt oddly satisfied to cross items off when someone reported a task completed.

The bottom line was that the way to help me was to include me in life's events and make those special memories. The ventures allowed me to escape my plight for a little while. Distracting me with fun and chuckles was the best way My Everyone was able to help me get what I needed during that year of chemotherapy. 

Hug Everyone You Know is published through She Writes Press. You can read my review HERE

Please stop by the other posts on the Hug Everyone You Know Blog Tour 
October 7th @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Join us as we celebrate the launch the blog tour for author Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know. Read an interview with the author and win a copy of the book. 

October 8th @ 12 Books
Visit Louise's blog today to read her thoughts about Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know. 

October 9th @ The Frugalista Mom
Stop by Rozelyn's blog where you can read her review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know and enter to win a copy for yourself!

October 10th @ Choices
Visit Madeline's blog where you can read Antoinette Truglio Martin's guest post on how writing can calm your nerves.

October 13th @ Dunning Knicks Interviews
Make sure you visit Mzz Dunning's blog today where you can read a guest post written by Antoinette Truglio Martin about 5 reasons it's okay to not be okay. You can also enter to win an ebook copy of the book!

October 14th @ Bookshine and Readbows
Make sure you visit Stephanie's blog and read her interview with author Antoinette Truglio Martin. You don't want to miss it! 

October 15th @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf
You'll want to stuff your bookshelf today when you visit Veronica Joy's blog and read her review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know.

October 17th @ Reading Whale
Visit Caitlin's blog today where you can read Antoinette Truglio Martin's guest post that will give you 5 tips for starting your memoir.

October 18th @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf
Stop by Veronica's blog again where you can read Antoinette Truglio Martin's guest post about how to help people help you. Don't miss this important guest post!

October 19th @ Bookworm Blog
Stop by Anjanette's bookworm blog and read Antoinette Truglio Martin's guest post featuring 5 tips for writing your memoir. Don't miss it!

October 20th @ Rachael's Thoughts
Visit Rachel's thoughts today where you can read her review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know.

October 21st @ Writing Through Life
Visit Amber's blog and read Antoinette Truglio Martin's guest post featuring 5 journaling tips when going through difficult trials. You can also read Amber's review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know.

October 22nd @ Karen Brown Tyson's Blog
Get inspired today at Karen's blog where you can read Antoinette Truglio Martin's guest post about 5 lessons she learned writing about her cancer journey.

October 23rd @ Thoughts in Progress
Be sure to stop by Mason Canyon's blog where you can read an interview with the author Antoinette Truglio Martin.

October 24th @ Bookworm Blog
Visit Anjanette's bookworm blog again where you can view her video vlog review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know.

October 25th @ World of My Imagination
Visit Nicole's blog today where you can read her review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know.

October 26th @ Keeping it Real
Be sure to visit Lisa's blog today and read author Antoinette Truglio Martin's guest post that is talking about her ways to not let a difficult diagnosis run (or ruin) your life. Plus read Lisa's review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know.

October 28th @ Strength 4 Spouses
Stop by Wendi's blog today and read her review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know.

October 29th @ Bring On Lemons
Turn lemons into lemonade today by visiting Crystal's blog and read her review of the touching memoir Hug Everyone You Know. 

November 1st @ Bookworm Blog
Stop by Anjanette's blog again and read her interview with author Antoinette Truglio Martin.

November 3rd @ Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde
Visit Lindsey's blog today and you can read her review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know.

November 4th @ Strength 4 Spouses
Visit Wendi's blog again where you can read Antoinette Truglio Martin's guest post about keeping a positive mindset during a health crisis.

November 5th @ Life Like a Galaxy Girl
Be sure to visit Alanna's blog where you can read her review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's book Hug Everyone You Know.

November 6th @ 12 Books
Stop by Louise's blog again where you can Antoinette Truglio Martin's guest post featuring 5 books to keep you motivated during difficult times.

November 8th @ Author Anthony Avina Blog
Stop by Anthony's blog where you can read his review of Antoinette Truglio Martin's touching book Hug Everyone You Know.