Wednesday 1 September 2021

Book Review: Love, in Theory by Elodie Cheesman

 Love, in Theory
by
Elodie Cheesman

There's an algorithm for everything else, so why not love?
 

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
 
Publication date: 25th May 2021
 
Genre: Contemporary fiction
 
Pages: 352
 
RRP: $32.99AUD
 
Format read: Paperback
 
Source: courtesy of the publisher
 
 About the book

When 24-year-old lawyer Romy learns that she is at her 'optimal stopping point' (the mathematically designated point at which one should select the next 'best person' who comes along in order to have the best chance at happily ever after), she knows it's time to get serious about her love life.

Ruthlessly rational, with a belief in data over destiny, Romy knows that reliability and consistency are dependable options, while passion and lust are transitory and only bring pain and disillusionment.

That's why sensible Hans the engineer is the right choice, as opposed to graphic designer James who exhibits the kind of behaviour that has got her into trouble before. Isn't he?
 
My review
 
Love, in Theory follows 24 year old law student Romy as she struggles to find 'the one'.
 
I enjoyed the snippets of  the employment law cases that Romy worked on and how Cheesman put a humorous spin on them.
Romy's mother tells her about a dating theory she had read about based on algorithms, called the optimal stopping theory. Romy goes on Tinder date after Tinder date until she meets Hans who is somewhat staid and very unlike the fun, spontaneous James, but Romy isn't after fireworks, she's after stability. It's clearly a matter of head over heart.

I loved all the mentions of sights and bars around Sydney and being my hometown it was easy to imagine Romy and her friends there. Love, in Theory is a light read, a fun rom-com and I read it at a time when I needed something light, cheery and with a happy ending. In this way it certainly delivered. I will have to say though I think the story would be better appreciated by the under thirties.

Elodie Cheesman has written a delightful debut about the conundrum of dating in the modern era and the old adage of whether to follow your heart or your head.

My rating 3 / 5     ⭐⭐⭐

About the author


Elodie Cheesman grew up in Canberra. She studied law at the University of Sydney and the University of Oxford, and was an Associate to the Honourable Chief Justice Susan Kiefel AC at the High Court of Australia. She works as a lawyer in Sydney. Love, in Theory is her first novel.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Challenges Entered: Australian Women Writers Challenge AWW2021
 
                                   Aussie Author Challenge #Aussieauthor21

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
by
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
by
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.
by
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
by
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 
by
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 
by
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
 
Pages:467
 
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
by
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 CatarinaOliveirasSudio.com and on Instagram (@catarinaoliveirastudio
 

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