Monday 26 April 2021

Mailbox Monday - April 26th

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.
Happy Monday!
Some happy snaps.  

 The weather has still been sunny enough to enjoy some water play

I've been doing a few secret bookfairy drops
Knitting a new afghan throw - only 29 squares to go 😀

Spotted this beautiful ANZAC day chalk drawing on a driveway 
 Books I've received and purchased over the last two weeks.

 The Other Side of Beautiful by Kim Lock
How To Mend a Broken Heart by Rachael Johns
The Secret Path by Karen Swan 
Left You Dead by Peter James 
The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs 
Debesa by Cindy Solonec 
Dinosaur Snap & Dinosaur Flap  

I would love to hear what books you've received in the mail recently! 


Sunday 25 April 2021

Book Review: Those Hamilton Sisters by Averil Kenny

 Those Hamilton Sisters
Averil Kenny

Will their mother's scandalous past decide their futures?

Publisher: Echo Publishing
Publication date: 30th March 2021
Genre: Contemporary Fiction 
Pages: 464
RRP: $32.99AUD
Format read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
About the book
Beautiful Esther Hamilton had a reputation in the town of Noah Vale. That was, until she ran away, twenty years ago, under a cloud of shame. 
It's now 1955 and following their mother's death, the Hamilton sisters have returned to Noah Vale to live near their aunt and uncle.

The eldest, Sonnet, has inherited both her mother's fiery hair and her independent streak. The middle child, Fable, at twelve-years-old, is a gifted artist and a dreamer. And three year old Plum, is anxious to please and notices everything.

As the years pass, the three sisters settle into small-town life, but suspicion and judgment seem to follow them wherever they go. And when Fable falls in love with Noah Vale's golden boy, is history destined to repeat itself.

My review

I think 2021 will go down as the year of the debut. The ones I have read lately have all been amazing and diverse in content and writing style. I love that there is so much talent yet to be discovered! Those Hamilton Sisters is no exception.

Averil Kenny's writing is lyrical and poetic. The setting of Far Northern Queensland is ethereal and haunting. Kenny has captured the wonder and seclusion of the area with perfection. She also highlights the danger of the wild storms, cyclones and floods and the relentless heat and humidity of a northern summer. I loved how the characters welcomed these dramatic changes in weather. It was a part of their life to celebrated not endured.

It's 1955, a time of conservative social values. Sonnet, Fable and Novella-Plum arrive in Noah Vale, recently orphaned, they will be living in a small cottage previously owned by their mother. Their Aunt Olive had inherited the family home after their mother was disowned and cast out of the town.
Sonnet, fiercely independent, capable and outspoken is the surrogate mother to Fable and Plum. Fable is wistful and dreamy, a budding artist, she is rejected by the other girls her age and spends her time in the rainforest sketching  and running wild with the boys. Aunt Olive wants nothing more than to smother the girls with love but first she must break through Sonnet's defenses. 
The story has its villains and heroes with each character richly drawn and integral to the overall story.

Averil Kenny has given her readers a coming of age story that incorporates small-town minds, a mother's legacy, misogyny, first love and above all, family.

The novel, spanning ten years, is written in three parts each headed by a quote from Jane Austen's Persuasion. It is then broken down into short chapters that reflect on important events in the girls' lives.

Those Hamilton Sisters is a sobering story of love, legacies and the strive for acceptance. This is one debut novel not to be missed!
5 / 5      ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Photo credit Goodreads
Averil Kenny grew up on a dairy farm and began work in the tourism industry at a young age. She studied Education at James Cook University, before completing a bachelor of Journalism at the University of Queensland. She currently lives in Far North Queensland with her husband and four children. When not dreaming up stories, she can be found nestled in her favourite yellow wingback chair reading and sipping tea, in her library overlooking the rainforest. Those Hamilton Sisters is her first novel.

Challenges entered:  Australian Women Writers Challenge #AWW2021

                                 Aussie Author Challenge #AussieAuthor21

Thursday 22 April 2021

Blog Tour Guest Post: Author Michael R French

 Today's guest on The Burgeoning Bookshelf is author 
Michael R. French.

Michael will be speaking on; Why Politics Excites Some People and Turns Off Others.
I  have friends who  think most politicians  are naive, unethical, lazy, liars, or egomaniacs, and they refuse to vote for anyone in any election. Some believe  there is too much government in their lives…others are  frustrated that government isn’t doing enough for them. Still others are too busy with their lives to worry about politics or volunteer to help at a nonprofit.

A  democracy is inherently fragile  because there are so many moving parts.  It is on life-support much of the time. Those who participate in change by voting are heroes, in my mind, always looking for new opportunities to make their voices heard.  This is not an option for them.  It’s mandatory.

The divide  between exercising one’s  legal right not to vote, and the moral obligation to nurture our democracy, is a visceral, historical split, going back to the birth of our country. To dislike politics connotes a  level of  distrust and suspicion, amplified by social media.  To  be excited by politics, with or without social media,  is to understand that lasting change is a generational or multi-generational effort. It’s not unlike rooting for your favorite sports team, even when you know they haven’t won in a long time and prospects for a future title are dim.  You have to hang in with patience.  You have to believe in hope.

Cliffhanger: jump before you get pushed looks at our country ten years from now.  Politics, from Washington D.C. to high schools throughout the country,  are experiencing radical changes as America tries to dig itself out of unforeseen seismic holes.  Who are the heroes and who are the villains in 2030?  The only constant is surprise.
 Thank you Michael for taking the time to write this post. 
*(Voting is compulsory in Australia)

Michael's  latest book Cliffhanger was published on 1st December 2020.
Publisher: Moot point Productions
Genre: political Thriller
Pages: 276

About the book
In 2030, viruses, spy drones, terrorism, joblessness have eroded American optimism. People want something to believe in. As demonstrated in a Midwest high school election, politics have taken on the inflexibility and dogma of a new religion. Only true believers will survive and prosper. Or so they think.
About the author

Michael R. French is a National best-selling author and graduate of Stanford University and Northwestern University. He is a businessman and author who divides his time between Santa Barbara, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is an avid high-altitude mountain trekker, world traveler to developing countries, and is a collector of first editions of twentieth-century fiction.

He has published twenty-two books, including fiction, young adult fiction, biographies, and art criticism. His novel, Abingdon's, was a bestseller and a Literary Guild Alternate Selection. His young adult novel, Pursuit, was awarded the California Young Reader Medal.

You can discover more about Michael’s work on his website:

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