Monday 30 August 2021

Winners of a copy of Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid announced!


Once again I would like to thank everyone who entered my giveaway for a copy of Malibu Rising. The giveaway closed on the 28th August and the two winners were randomly selected (using Random org) from all correct entries. 

Congratulations to........   Kylie Lister & Anita

 The winners have been notified and have seven days to provide a mailing address.

Please look under the giveaway tab for more chances to win great books.

 I would like to thank The Reading Nook for sponsoring this giveaway. The Reading Nook is an independent Australian online bookstore. Click on the image below to browse their extensive book list and jigsaw puzzles.

 Stay tuned as I have a giveaways coming soon for copies of The Curlew's Eye by Karen Manton & The Unusual Abduction of Avery Conifer by Ilsa Evans.


Plus a children's book giveaway for Afloat in Venice by Tina Wilson

Saturday 28 August 2021

Book Review: Dinosaur Whack, Whizz, Roar & Munch!


Dinosaur Whack! The Stegosaurus
Jeanne Willis & Peter Curtis
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Pages: 24
RRP: $14.99AUD
Publication: 13th July 2021
Source: courtesy of the publisher
About the book
 Meet Dinosaur Whack, the clumsy Stegosaurus, in this brilliant rhyming story, part of The World of Dinosaur Roar! series.
After accidentally knocking over Dinosaur Chew and bumping Dinosaur Boo, poor Whack finds herself all alone. But can she find a use for her wayward tail and win back her friends?

Dinosaur Whizz! The Coelophysis
Jeanne Willis & Peter Curtis

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Pages: 24
RRP: $14.99AUD
Publication: 13th July 2021
Source: courtesy of the publisher 

About the book

Meet Dinosaur Whizz the Coelphysis, speediest of the dinosaurs.

Whizz is quick-moving & quick-thinking. She loves to run and just can't stand still, much to the annoyance of the dinosaurs. But when the mean Spinosaurus, Dinosaur Snap, tries to catch Whizz, she finds her quick running can be very useful indeed.

Dinosaur Roar! The Tyrannosaurus rex.
Jeanne Willis & Peter Curtis

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Pages: 24
RRP: $14.99AUD
Publication: 13th May 2021
Source: My purchase
About the book
Meet Dinosaur roar, he is the king of the dinosaurs, ferocious and strong but when he can't find his best friend Dinosaur Squeak we see that he is a big softy after all. 

Dinosaur Munch! The Diplodocus
Jeanne Willis & Peter Curtis

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Pages: 24
RRP: $14.99AUD
Publication: 13th May 2021
Source: My purchase 
About the book
Meet Dinosaur Munch, the hungry Diplodocus.
Munch always wanted to eat, as soon as he'd eaten he wanted some more. He ate everything and left nothing for the other dinosaurs. In his hungry search eating everything in sight he munch on his own long tail by mistake.

My review

Everyone here at The Burgeoning Bookshelf loves these fun hardcover picture books! They are currently Jay's go-to picture books and he carries them everywhere.
Kids are fascinated by dinosaurs and these fun, colourful bring the dinosaurs to life with their own unique personality. Each book has a subtle life lesson included.
Inspired by the classic picture book, Dinosaur Roar! by Paul Strickland & Henrietta Strickland, this series introduces a cast of fun characters to young children.
Each book contains a pronunciation guide as well as a few simple dinosaur facts at the end of each story.

About the authors

Peter Curtis is a welsh-born author, creator and producer of children's characters, books and television series, with over twenty five years experience in children's media.
Jeanne Willis is an internationally renowned, full time writer and has published over a hundred books - ranging from picture books including The Bog Baby and Who's in the Loo?, to YA, poetry and fiction. 
You can read my review of Dinosaur Flap & Dinosaur Snap HERE


Wednesday 25 August 2021

Book Review: The Eighth Wonder by Tania Farrelly

The Eighth Wonder 
Tania Farrelly
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Publication date: 2nd July 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction 
Pages: 416
Format read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Beauty & Lace Book Club 
About the book
New York, 1897. The richest city in the world.

Beautiful, young and privileged, Rose Kingsbury Smith is expected to play by the strict rules of social etiquette, to forfeit all career aspirations and to marry a man of good means. But she has a quietly rebellious streak and is determined to make her own mark on Manhattan’s growing skyline. When the theft of a precious heirloom plunges the Kingsbury Smiths into financial ruin, Rose becomes her family’s most tradeable asset. She finds herself fighting for her independence and championing the ideal of equality for women everywhere.

Enigmatic Ethan Salt’s inglorious circus days are behind him. He lives a quiet life on Coney Island with his beloved elephant Daisy and is devoted to saving animals who’ve been brutalised by show business. As he struggles to raise funds for his menagerie, he fears he will never build the sanctuary of his dreams … until a chance encounter with a promising young architect changes his life forever.

Just when Rose is on the verge of seeing her persistence pay off, the ghosts of her past threaten to destroy everything she holds dear. In the face of heartbreaking prejudice and betrayal, she must learn to harness her greatest wonder within.
My review
I really enjoyed this historical fiction set in the late 1880's. The Eighth Wonder is set during the emergence of the women's  suffragette movement with the main character, Rose, not prepared to settle as a rich man's wife, rather looking to a career in architecture as her future. We see great conflict here from her traditionalist mother who yearns for her spot in high society due to her daughter's marriage to the 'right man'. Her father is quietly supportive however I did wonder if he would have been as supportive of Rose if he had a son who could have taken over the architecture company.
A second story line is that of Ethan Salt, an orphan who runs away and joins a circus. Ethan becomes an advocate for abused animals, not only from the circus but those used in fighting rings for entertainment.
The Eighth Wonder is a captivating character driven novel. There are plenty of hurdles for the characters to navigate and one man's obsession with Rose will become highly dangerous.
There is an added mystery of stolen jewellery which gives rise to themes of classism. Rose joins the fight for better working conditions and rights for the workers in the manufacturing industry.
Tania Farrelly has brought 19th Century Manhattan, in all its glory and brutality, alive on the page. 
My rating   4/5   ⭐⭐⭐⭐
About the author
Photo credit: © Tania Farrelly

Tania is an award-winning advertising strategist who has spent over twenty-five years working in Australia’s leading advertising agencies, telling stories for the world’s biggest brands. She has more recently built her own successful, brand consultancy, and has now turned her hand from brand stories to human stories with the help of creative writing courses at RMIT and Fiona McIntosh’s Masterclass. 
Tania was raised in Adelaide and has lived the majority of her professional life in Melbourne. She now lives with her husband on Victoria's Bellarine Peninsula.
Challenges Entered: Australian Women Writers Challenge AWW2021
                                   Aussie Author Challenge #Aussieauthor21
                                   Historical Fiction Challenge 

Monday 23 August 2021

Mailbox Monday - August 23rd

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!
Lock down has been extended for us in NSW until end of September. Today I am focusing on some happy things. My husband and son are currently rocking their new 70's hair styles. I'm not game to cut their hair! We still get to walk everyday and the weather is gorgeous. Below are some snaps from my daily walks.

I've finished the blanket I've been knitting for Jay. The squares waiting to be sewn together and the finished blanket drying outside.

Books I've received and purchased over the last month.
The Heron's Cry by Ann Cleaves (release date 7th Sept 2021)
Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty (release date 14th Sept 2021)
Exit Through the Gift Shop by Maryam Master (Publication 27th July 2021)
The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa (release date 14th September 2021)
Do any of the above peak your interest? What have you received in your mail box recently? 

Sunday 22 August 2021

Book Review: The Riviera House by Natasha Lester

The Riviera House 
Natasha Lester
Inspired by a true story - From wartime Paris to the sun-soaked French Riviera.

Publisher: Hachette Australia 
Publication date: 1st September 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction
RRP: $32.99AUD 
Format read: Uncorrected paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Better Reading Preview
 About the book
Paris, 1939: The Nazis think √Čliane can't understand German. They’re wrong. They think she’s merely cataloging art in a Louvre museum and unaware they’re stealing national treasures for their private collections. They have no idea she’s carefully decoding their notes and smuggling information to the Resistance. But √Čliane is playing a dangerous game. Does she dare trust the man she once loved with her secrets, or will he only betray her once again? She has no way to know for certain . . . until a trip to a stunning home on the French Riviera brings a whole new level of peril.
Present Day: Wanting to forget the tragedy that has left her life in shambles, Remy Lang heads to a home she’s mysteriously inherited on the Riviera. While working on her vintage fashion business, she discovers a catalog of the artworks stolen during World War II and is shocked to see a painting that hung on her childhood bedroom wall. Who is her family, really? And does the Riviera house hold more secrets than Remy is ready to face?
My review
Narrated in dual time lines The Riviera House is an absorbing read that focuses on the enormous lengths Parisian citizens went to to protect the art works that were being stolen by the German army during WWII.
The tension is compelling and the conflict simmers on the page. The German army is unrelenting and many citizens had to comply seemingly collaborating with the enemy. Lester writes about ordinary people doing extraordinary things and quite often I was asking myself what I would do in their situation. I’m not nearly as brave!
I really enjoyed Eliane’s story as she put herself in grave danger time and time again to document the famous works of art ensuring that they would not be lost to the world forever. I was so engrossed in Lester’s imagined world that when it changes time lines I initially had a feeling of disappointment. However Remy’s story, set in 2015, is as equally engrossing as we delve into the mystery that surrounds Remy’s ancestors and the beautiful Riviera house she inherited.
Lester has written another riveting historical fiction filled with strong, resilient women and swoon worthy men.
The Riviera House is rich in sacrifice, loss, perseverance, tenacity and love all wrapped around the world of fine art.
I am again holding this book up against A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald which left big shoes to fill. 
My rating 4/5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐
 Challenges Entered: Australian Women Writers Challenge AWW2021
                                   Aussie Author Challenge #Aussieauthor21
                                   Historical Fiction Challenge 


There was no better book to celebrate my 5 year blogiversary than a book by Natasha Lester. My first post on 22nd August 2016 was for A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald. It has remained one of my top reads.
Click on the cover to read my review


Friday 20 August 2021

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Luna Finds Love Everywhere by Dr. Shainna Ali

 Luna Finds Love Everywhere
Dr. Shainna Ali
illustrated by Catarina Oliveira

A self-love book for kids

Publisher: Ulysses Press
Publication date: 17th August 2021
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Pages: 32
RRP: $16.95US (hardcover)
Format read: Ebook 
Source: Courtesy of Pacific & Court PR 

About the book

Meet Luna, a little girl who loves playing outside, helping her family, and learning new things. As Luna goes through her regular daily routine, she realizes how much love there is to appreciate around her and within herself too. She learns kindness, sharing, and even what to do when things don’t go her way. With simple prompts and activities scattered throughout the story, children will be able to explore the principles of self-love into their own lives. Kids will have a blast learning along with Luna as they discover the importance of loving each other and oneself!
My review
Luna Finds Love Everywhere is such a gorgeous, happy book. From it’s glorious cover to the heartwarming prose Dr Shainna Ali has written a book that exudes love, family and kindness.
The story is narrated by five year old Luna as she goes through her day from waking in the morning, to the sun shining and birds singing, having breakfast with her family then getting ready to play in the park with her friends. Luna is excited to share her new ball with her friends but they are busy playing with Ryder’s scooter. Luna is upset by this but practises her breathing and calms herself down. She has lots of fun in the park and when it starts to rain Luna doesn’t want to go home. This causes a major melt down when she gets home but with help from her mother Luna works through her feelings and calms down with deep breathing. Luna then looks back on all the love that surrounded her during her day and they think of more things that make them happy.

As the story is narrated Luna asks the reader questions such as “Have you every felt this way’? And “Who helps you to do things you can’t do by yourself”? This brings the children into the story for a more immersive experience prompting them to connect the themes to their own lives.

The concept behind the story is to empower children to embrace self-love and see the love that surrounds them everyday. The leading questions are a good opportunity to talk about emotions, kindness, sharing and exploring the love in their everyday life.

The brightly coloured illustrations are sweet and heartwarming. I love that they feature Luna’s family, with her older brother and baby sister, and how they help each other. Luna’s older brother helps her to clean her teeth and Luna teaches her baby sister to crawl.

Luna Finds Love Everywhere is sure to be a favourite with it’s brilliantly illustrated pages and an endearing narrator. It is sure to bring love and joy to many families.  
Rated by Dot & Ditto  5/5   ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
About the author
Dr. Shainna Ali is a mental health clinician, educator, and advocate who is dedicated to highlighting the important role of mental health in fostering happiness, fulfillment, and overall wellness. She lives with her partner and her son in central Florida, where she owns Integrated Counseling Solutions, a counseling and consulting practice. In her practice, she uses a strengths-based approach that empowers clients on their journey of self-love. Within the field of mental health, her areas of expertise include exploring identity and culture, fostering
emotional intelligence, healing from trauma, and utilizing creative counseling methods. When she isn’t working, she invests in her self-love by practicing yoga, spending time with her loved ones, teaching dance, or exploring the world.
About the illustrator 

Catarina Oliveira is an illustrator from Portugal, based in Toronto, Canada. She graduated as a graphic de-signer in 2005 and embraced illustration as a full-time freelancer in 2014, specializing in children’s books since then. You can see her work at and on Instagram (@catarinaoliveirastudio

Giveaway - US & Canada only
This giveaway is now closed and the winner was announced HERE

Wednesday 18 August 2021

Storybook Corner Book Review: The Woolly Bear Caterpillar by Julia Donaldson

 The Woolly Bear Caterpillar
Julia Donaldson
Illustrated by Yuval Zommer

A little caterpillar with big hopes.....

 Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
 Imprint: Macmillan Children's Books
 Publication date: 29th June 2021
 Genre: Children's Picture Book
 Pages: 32
 RRP: & 26.99AUD
 Format read: Hardcover
 Source: Courtesy of the publisher

My review

We love everything Julia Donaldson here at The Burgeoning Bookshelf and The Woolly Bear Caterpillar is no exception. It has been read and enjoyed over and over.
The Woolly Bear Caterpillar has an ugly duckling vibe as the very plain, and humble, caterpillar searches for her favourite food, dandelion leaves, she happens across other caterpillars much more colourful than her. Each one has a boastful song to sing about how beautiful they are now and  are sure to be even more beautiful when they turn into a moth. The Woolly Bear caterpillar was now feeling sad and wished she could be beautiful and exciting.
Each of the caterpillars find the perfect spot to spin their cocoon. They are all in for a few surprises when they emerge as moths!
TWBC is a brilliantly written picture book with stunningly illustrated garden scenes, in double spread, with a myriad of insect life on each page. The story is immersive and has an element of suspense as we wait to see each caterpillar emerge from it's cocoon.
Julia Donaldson uses repetition and alliteration to engage a young audience.
The themes of boasting and pride before a fall give rise to further discussion on the topic and the use of real-life caterpillars, that can be found in the family garden, gives the picture book an educational twist.
At the back of the book is an additional soft cover non-fiction mini book filled with photos and facts about caterpillars and moths.
Jay's favourite part of the book was when Woolly Bear hatched. He was absolutely amazed by the colours and patterns on the Tiger moth.
Dot's favourite part was the mini non-fiction book at the end.
Both children loved discussing which of the caterpillars we have seen in our garden. We are very much on the look-out for a Tiger moth now!
TWBC is the perfect book to add some fun science based learning into your child's day.
Ages: 4 - 10 years
Rated by Dot and Jay  5 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 
About the author
 Julia Donaldson is the writer of many of the world's best-loved children's books, including The Gruffalo and What the Ladybird Heard adventures. She was the UK Children's Laureate 2011-13 and was awarded a CBE for Services to Literature. Julia and her husband, Malcolm, divide their time between West Sussex and Edinburgh. They love the great outdoors and can often be found walking on the South Downs, identifying plants and minibeasts galore... including caterpillars.

About the illustrator

Yuval Zommer graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Illustration. He worked for many years as a creative director in advertising agencies before turning his hand to writing and illustrating award-winning children's books, focusing on animals and the natural world. Yuval lives and works in an old house in London overlooking a small garden that is visited by foxes, birds, squirrels and many insects, some of which later find their way into his books.

Sunday 15 August 2021

Book Giveaway: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Thanks to the generosity of The Reading Nook online bookstore I have a great #giveaway today for 1 of 2 paperback copies of:
Malibu Rising
Taylor Jenkins Reid 
Malibu: August 1983. It's the day of Nina Riva's annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over--especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud--because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he's been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can't stop thinking about promised she'll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own--including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family's generations will all come bubbling to the surface.
Enter via the form below. (Open to Australian addresses only). Entries close at midnight on 28th August 2021.
This giveaway is now closed and the winners were announced HERE

Saturday 14 August 2021

Book Review: Left You Dead by Peter James

Left You Dead
Peter James
No Body, No Trace, No Crime?

Publisher: Pan Macmillan 
Publication date: 27th April 2021
Series: Roy Grace #17
Genre: Crime / Mystery
Pages: 496
RRP: $32.99AUD
Format read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

About the book
Is this Roy Grace’s most challenging case yet? A mystery that is leaving him totally confounded for the first time in his career.

Most Sundays, Niall and Eden Paternoster like to go for a drive and visit country houses. She likes to look at them, he likes to dream that one day . . .

However, most weeks they also end up bickering about something or other. This particular Sunday he wants to get back to catch the start of the French Grand Prix but she insists they stop somewhere to buy cat litter. Reluctantly, he pulls into the car park of a large supermarket and waits while she dashes in.

He waits. And waits. But Eden doesn't come back out, she’s gone. When he gets home she’s not there either, and none of their friends or family have heard from her.

A few days later Niall is arrested on suspicion of her murder despite vigorously protesting his innocence. But as Roy Grace is called in to investigate the disappearance of Eden Paternoster, it soon transpires that nothing is as it seems . . .
My review
Left You Dead is my second read in the DS Roy Grace series. I came into this series very late with Find You Dead (book 16). As with my previous read Left You Dead reads well as a stand-alone. A new case is opened and wrapped up by the end of the book. Snippets of backstory keep you updated , or reminded, of previous events.
Eden Paternoster goes missing without a trace. When her husband reports her disappearance to the police, Roy Grace is called in to head the investigation. What follows is an, as expected, police procedural as the team question Niall Paternoster and gather information from various sources. However, Peter James has introduced dramatic irony and the reader is savvy to information that the police don't have. This gives quite an interesting twist to the story and makes the mystery even more compelling.
As the main plot is the police procedural Grace's colleagues feature heavily and I enjoyed the natural banter and friendly ribbing between the workmates and getting to know more of their personal life.
There is a second plot that explores the deep and emotional theme of organ donation and how vital it is.
Left You Dead is another edge of your seat crime mystery with James' signature short, sharp chapters it's an easy, quick read. Many of the chapters ending on a cliff-hanger make the book hard to put down.
If you are after a compelling police procedural with a likeable main character you can't go past Left You Dead.  
My rating 5 / 5    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Photo credit: Goodreads
Known for his fast-paced and gripping stories that thrust regular people into extraordinary situations, Peter James has proven himself to be one of the world’s most successful writers, delivering number one bestsellers time and time again. His Superintendent Roy Grace books have been translated into 37 languages with worldwide sales of over 21 million copies and 17 number one Sunday Times Bestsellers. His latest Roy Grace novel, Find Them Dead spent 7 weeks at number one in 2020. The first two novels in the Roy Grace series, Dead Simple and Looking Good Dead, have been adapted for television by Endeavour’s Russell Lewis and the first episode aired on 14th March 2021 in the UK.

Challenges entered: Cloak and Dagger Challenge 

Tuesday 10 August 2021

Book Review: Catch Us the Foxes by Nicola West

Catch Us the Foxes
Nicola West 
 Some secrets you try to hide. Others you don’t dare let out …

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 7th July 2021
Genre: Crime / Mystery
Pages: 384
RRP: $ 32.99AUD
Format read: Uncorrected Proof Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher 
 About the book
 Ambitious young journalist Marlowe ‘Lo’ Robertson would do anything to escape the suffocating confines of her small home town. While begrudgingly covering the annual show for the local paper, Lo is horrified to discover the mutilated corpse of Lily Williams, the reigning showgirl and Lo’s best friend. 
Seven strange symbols have been ruthlessly carved into Lily’s back. But when Lo reports her grisly find to the town’s police chief, he makes her promise not to tell anyone about the symbols. Lo obliges, though it’s not like she has much of a choice – after all, he is also her father.

When Lily’s murder makes headlines around the country and the town is invaded by the media, Lo seizes the opportunity to track down the killer and make a name for herself by breaking the biggest story of her life.

What Lo uncovers is that her sleepy home town has been harbouring a deadly secret, one so shocking that it will captivate the entire nation. Lo’s story will change the course of her life forever, but in a way she could never have dreamed of.
My review
It's very hard to say anything about the plot of Catch Us the Foxes without giving spoilers. There are twists, upon twists, upon twists.
The book starts with Marlowe attending an on stage interview at The Sydney Opera House. She is famous for solving the murder of her best friend, and Kiama showgirl, Lily seven years ago.
The story then moves to Marlowe's book that she has written about the case. A book within a book!
There  is plenty of action in this story that mentions cults, mental illness and small town secrets. The moments of suspense had me holding my breath as they ramped up during Marlowe's investigation. Even though the twists when they were revealed didn't give me that 'oh my gosh' moment, I was totally immersed in Marlowe's story and read the book in two days. West's short sharp chapters make it easy to say 'just on more chapter' over and over.
Catch Us the Foxes is a cleverly plotted murder mystery and fantastic debut from up and coming crime novelist Nicola West. I am genuinely looking forward to her next offering 
My rating 4 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐
About the author
Nicola West grew up in Kiama, flipping through crime scene photos left out by her policeman father.  After moving to Sydney to pursue a career in journalism, she vowed to be as far removed from both her hometown and her father’s profession as possible—that is until she found herself writing a novel about both topics. In addition to being one of eight young writers chosen to take part in Express Media’s 2018 Toolkits: Fiction program, Nicola was also selected for the Australian Society of Authors’ 2019 Award Mentorship Program. She was a mentee of bestselling author Monica McInerney. Catch Us the Foxes is Nicola's first novel. She lives in Sydney.
Challenges Entered: Australian Women Writers Challenge AWW2021
                                   Aussie Author Challenge #Aussieauthor21

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