Mailbox Monday – lots of lovely bookmail

I got some lovely bookmail surprises last week and then more today.

Three great sounding books from Allen & Unwin Australia, I’m especially looking forward to reading and learning about Truganini, ‘the last Tasmania Aborigine’.

Then a book from Better Reading Bookclub, this sounds good, another new Australian Australian author for me.

The last three arrived today from Serenity Press, I’d completely forgotten I ordered the gorgeous children’s book last month. It is soooo gorgeous, I was originally going to give it to my nephew, but I’m going to keep it and use it in my art therapy business as well as read it to him when he visits. I’ll do a review on it this week.

Also from Serenity Press is the lovely gratitude journal I won, I look forward to using this daily as well as posting on Karen’s Facebook page. And one of Karen’s novels about uncertainty, I’m looking forward to reading it.

That’s my bookmail for this month I imagine, but it will keep me busy.

 

 

New Release Book Review: Love Letters From Montmartre by Nicolas Barreau

IMG_20200123_174557Thank you to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Hachette Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

This book was a nice read, but for me at least, it wasn’t a great read. It wasn’t until well over halfway that I wanted to keep reading to see how it turned out.

This was a nice story about a man who is drowning in grief after the loss of his wife, he has just about checked out from his life and if it wasn’t for his young son, he wouldn’t feel any need to carry on.

Through a promise he made his wife before she dies, he makes himself start writing letters to her about his life now that she has gone, and he leaves them in a draw he had made in her headstone at the cemetery. Through these letters, he learns to live with his grief and to eventually find reasons to keep on living and to love again.

There is a mystery that starts part-way through when his letters disappear and there are little tokens left in their place. It sends him into a bit of a tether while he tries to determine who is leaving them and whether they are messages from his wife from beyond the grave.

A sweet novel with a lovely message and a happy outcome.

Merry Christmas and the winners of the blog birthday competition.

Merry Christmas everyone, I got two books to read for Christmas and hours worth of Downton Abbey to watch.

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The Winners of the cometition were Kate Forsyth and Mel Bowers, Congratulations! And thank you to everyone who entered and everyone who follows my blog. I’ve messaged the winners, but if you haven’t seen the message contact me and let me know which book you would like.

To see the draw check out the link below.

Thanks again and I hope everyone had a great Christmas or whatever you celebrate and that you got plenty of books.

 

 

 

My Top Reads of the Decade – or part there of

So, Theresa from Theresa Smith Writes decided since this was the end of a decade, (something that didn’t really compute until that conversation) that on top of doing the regular top 10 or 15 books read this year that she would do a post on the top reads of the decade. I decided to have a go at this too, my records only go back about 7 years, so it’s not really the whole decade, but most of the decade lol. This was incredibly hard and just like my top 10 or 15 reads of the year, I’ve picked them for a couple of reasons. Also I may have cheated slightly, (you’ll see why).

  1. Because they are stories that I loved
  2. Because they are stories that stayed with me due to the subject matter
  3. They pulled at my heartstrings

So in no particular order my choices are…

The first two straight up are by New Zealand author Carole Brungar, these had me completely absorbed in the lives of these characters and taught me a lot about the Vietnam war.

Screenshot_20190817_231641 Screenshot_20190817_231621

My reviews:   The Nam Legacy     The Nam Shadow

Next is a book I read about 8 years ago that I think should be read by everyone, people need to educate themselves that not everything is as the media says it is. I recommended this for the bookclub I belonged to back then and it gave everyone some insight and something to think about.   My review

The People Smuggler: The True Story Of Ali Al Jenabi, The 'Oskar Schindler Of Asia'

(Now this one may be cheating, just a little) The Matilda Saga by Jackie French, this is a fabulous series that I got both my mum and my sister reading, I have learnt so much about history and particularly Australia’s part in historical events through this series.

the matilda saga

The next book is a book that has stayed with me since I read it two years ago.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, #1)

Next is a story that needed to be told, about a place and event that has been covered up to a large degree. My Review

Dustfall by Michelle   Johnston

Next is a novel about a subject matter that I’m pretty passionate about, refugees. My review

Sanctuary by Judy Nunn

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time by Kylie Scott was one that, no pun intended, it seemed like a good idea at the time to pick it up before bed (big mistake if you actually want to get some sleep that night). This was chosen just because it was one I loved My review

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

Next is The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie My review

The Dalai Lama's Cat by David Michie

Next are two books by an author whose books are an automatic MUST READ for me. I tried to pick just one, but I couldn’t make up my mind out of these two, so thought what the hell, they both need to go on the list.

My review: Black Diamonds        This Red Earth

Black Diamonds by Kim  Kelly                                This Red Earth by Kim  Kelly

Last up are two books that are also on my top 10 or 15 (I haven’t quite decided) books for 2019.

Invisible Boys by Holden Sheppard My review  and A Lifetime of Impossible Days by Tabitha Bird  My review

Invisible Boys by Holden Sheppard

 

A Lifetime of Impossible Days

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed some of these books (or not) or are inspired to pick up some of them. Stay tuned next week for my top reads of 2019 and a giveaway to celebrate my blogs 1st birthday.

Book Bingo Round 25 & New Release Book Review: The Last Paradise by Di Morrisey

Only one round to go! Next fortnight will be a double for my last post.

This round I’m marking off the square Written by an author over age of 65. So Di Morrisey’s The Last Paradise fills this square perfectly. 

This one was an up and down read for me, there were parts I loved and parts I didn’t love so much. For the first 100 pages or so I was not very impressed, there was too much dialogue and I found that it was just not working for me. Once we moved on to Bali the story improved, the dialogue lessened and there seemed to be a lot more story.

I really liked the thread that ran through about a woman who was a hero to the Indonesian back in the time of the Japanese invasion, I loved learning about her and her journey and I enjoyed how Grace learned and grew along with the unfolding of this storyline.

I absolutely hated Grace’s husband, Lawrence, from the very first page, he was such an unlikeable character and had nothing going for him at all. I’m glad that the event that literally exploded Grace’s life brought to light what a horrible person he was and allowed Grace the opportunity to escape and grow back into her own.

This turned out to be a really enjoyable story which I found hard to put down for the final 1/3.

Thanks to Beauty and Lace Bookclub and Pan MacMIllan for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Blog Tour: Faded by Diana Nixon

faded
FADED – the 4th and the FINAL story from Shattered Series by Diana Nixon.
***All the books from the series can be read as standalones.***
Synopsis:
Our love was hopeless. Our future – nonexistent. Still, we let the attraction win.
Two young hearts, too naive to believe that love was just a game. We let it consume us, we let it destroy us…
And then, there was nothing but the pain, endless, burning.
For years, I’ve been trying to forget about Jeffrey Coleman’s existence. The son of my worst enemy… Falling for him was a mistake from the very beginning. I did my best to cross him out of my life. And now, I’m standing at his door, ready to beg him to help me…
“There are only two times that I want to share with you: now and forever…”
faded book

 

About the Author:

Diana Nixon is an International bestselling author of contemporary and fantasy romances. A Master of Law, she never thought she would betray the world of law and dive into fiction. But once her first book – Love Lines – was published, she realized that writing was her true passion. Since then, she has written more than 20 books. She can’t imagine her life without her fictional characters and she never stops thinking about the new storylines that haunt her dreams. She’s married and has two daughters – her biggest source of inspiration. She loves music, traveling, coffee and chocolate. She believes that writing is the best cure for everything that can be healed with words. 

Diana Nixon’s books are being translated into Spanish, German, Russian, French, Portuguese and Italian. 

Diana Nixon is the founder of Inks and Scratches, a literary magazine  intended to help authors of all genres find readers and spread the news about their writing all over the world. 

 

Book Review: Arctic Sun by Annabeth Albert

I always enjoy Annabeth Albert’s books and her new book Arctic Sun is no exception, the first in the Frozen Hearts series, this was a journey of discovery for our two main characters.

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Griffen, a pilot in his family business, has been dealing with grief and is a recovering alcoholic who struggles to be around people and has the belief that he doesn’t deserve to be happy and isn’t worthy of being loved. River is an ex-supermodel, who has dealt with an eating disorder for most of his life, leading to hospitalisation. He has used travel as a way to heal, and also a way to run away from anything real. When these two damaged men are thrown together on a photography trip in Alaska, sparks will fly.

The descriptions of Alaska on this trip alone made me want to save up and go there ASAP, also, if there are more mountain men like Griffen, I’d be there even quicker. I loved the journey these two had to traverse, both the physical and the emotional journey. Though it was the emotional journey which took its toll on these two guys who are both dealing with so many issues. I was invested in their romance from the start and as I got to know the characters and what they had been through, and what they were dealing with still, my heart ached with hope that they would make the journey and end up together.

This story explored the physical and emotional relationship between the guys and it was a really great exploration. There was humour in their initial hookups and I loved the way River was able to make Griffen lower his walls and have a bit of fun, River was certainly not willing to give up on this happening while they were on the trip. The sexual tension was hard to ignore for both parties.

Hearing River’s story about his eating disorder was sad, I have a friend with an eating disorder and know how badly it can affect someone. Watching him struggle through each day, worried about what he was eating, feeling sick at the thought of eating, was really sad, hearing him explain to Griffen how he couldn’t see himself the ways others, especially Griffen saw him was also really sad. This is such a sad disease that definitely needs more attention, as does the way the fashion industry and magazines etc, portray the idea of perfection. It’s also great to have a male portrayed with this issue, as it is mainly women we think about when we hear ‘eating disorder’.

Griffen’s issues were subtler but no less damaging to his life and his future. Dealing with his avoidance of group situations, especially ones where people may be drinking was hard for him to navigate. As was his belief he wasn’t worthy of good things happening to him. In this River and Griffen had so much in common and were able to connect through this.

A great read, with two guys who deserved more than they had and needed each other to open up and start healing.

 

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin – Carina Press for a digital copy in return for an honest review.