Half year round up

Wow, 6 months has gone by in a bit of a flash, I’ve fallen down a bit in my reviewing, but I’m hoping I can get back on track from now on. I have read some great books this year so far and thought I’d share 6 of my favourite, one for each month, a hard thing to do.

I’ve read 147 books out of 150 for my Goodreads challenge, these consist of physical books, ebooks and audiobooks, I think I’ll make it don’t you.

And according to my kindle I have read far more than that in ebooks alone. I’ve also read for 153 weeks in a row and 297 days in a row, so that’s pretty cool.

Future Girl

So my first book I’m picking is Future Girl by Asphyxia I didn’t get around to writing my thoughts on this yet, but it was a great #ownvoices YA read by an Australian author who is deaf. Her character is deaf and I learnt a lot about the deaf community and Auslan. She also is a big advocate of being self sufficient and the book is full of ideas on growing your own veggies and composting etc. Set in the near future in Australia, it seems very real possible furture in some ways. I read this back in January, so the fact it has stayed with me all that time says a lot. I actually got the library to buy this in for me, it is written in the form of an art journal and I felt a physical copy was necessary to get the full experience.

The Boy from the Mish

Next is another I haven’t written my thoughts on, another library book, aren’t librarys wonderful, was The Boy From the Mish by Garry Lonesborough another #ownvoices YA novel, a coming of age book about an indigenous boy struggling with his sexuality in an outback community. A powerful read full of emotions.

Raft of Stars

Next is Raft of Stars by Andrew J. Graff I did actually write a small review for this one: What an emotional story on so many levels. I was taken for a ride right along with these boys who are running from their actions and the adults who are running to save them. The descriptive writing was wonderful and I was completely swept up in this story, swept along that river with its many faces, not quite sure until right at the end what the outcome was going to be. A story of friendship, consequences, actions, and reactions, love and grief; the outcome of the boys’ actions will have consequences for everyone involved.

A Home Like Ours

A Home Like Ours by Fiona Lowe was a fabulous read, see my review here. A novel which covers a lot of important topics such as racism, homelessness, refugees, single mothers and domestic abuse.

The Things We See in the Light

Next is The Things We See in the Light by Amal Awad an #ownvoices novel that had me gripped from the start. This novel grabbed hold of me, pulled me in and refused to let me go until I’d finished. I was immediately drawn to Sahar and the story of her past journey in Jordan, married to a man she barely knew, as it is slowly revealed to us, as well as her present journey discovering who she is now she has taken control of her life.

I loved that Sahar was in her 40s and still discovering who she was, there’s hope for me still.

The cast of characters surrounding Sahar were so wonderfully varied, all with quirks and their own issues. My favourite was Luke, I enjoyed watching him open up and in turn cause Sahar to open up to new possibilities also.

I loved this story, it spoke to me in many ways, a story of friendship, love, of journeys with plenty of lessons to learn along the way, I enjoyed every minute of it.

Father of the Lost Boys

And lastly, ahhh this was hard to pick one last book, but I’ve gone with a non-fiction read, a memoir by a South Sudanese man who now calls Perth his home. Father of the Lost Boys by Yuot Alaak this was a powerful read and showed just what people are capable of, both the good and the bad. See my review here.


I’m currently reading The Other Side of Beautiful by Kim Lock, I’m nearly half way through and I think this will be going on one of my top reads for 2021.

If you’re interested in checking out any of the 147 books I’ve read so far, the link to my reader challenge is here.

I’d love to know your thoughts on any of these books if you’ve read them or are wanting to read them. And I’d love to know what your favourite books of 2021 are so far.

#21booksin2021 #2021ReadNonfic Book Review: Father of the Lost Boys by Yuot A. Alaak

I was first told about this book when chatting to a couple at Holden Sheppard’s talk at Koorliny Art Centre. It sounded like a book I needed to read. Learning that Yout A. Alaak was part of our Perth community made me even more interested in reading it. When I saw he was speaking at my local library as part of the Perth Literature Festival, I immediately booked in and borrowed the book from the library.

Yuot A Alaak.jpgAs part of the Perth Literature Festival, I was just lucky enough to go and listen to Yuot A. Alaak the author of the memoir Father of the Lost Boys. Even luckier, his father, Mecak Ajang Alaak, the man the book is about, and his mother were there too. This is one book that should be read widely, one that can open up people’s minds and understandings about the trials refugees face.

Yuot’s father led 20,000 lost boys between the ages of 8-12 1000’s of km through the most dangerous of places to safety and stopped them also becoming child soldiers. More than 20 years on and unfortunately the refugee camp on the border of South Sudan and Kenya is the largest in the world with 180,000 refugees living there because it is still unsafe for them to return home.

His father was asked how he managed to logistically move that many boys. He made it sound so simple, but given the circumstances, it would have been anything but.


As I sit with my feelings about the journey I have just taken, with all that Yout and his family and the 20,000 Lost Boys and thousands more refugees and South Sudanese people went through and continue to go through, I find it so hard to comprehend. To have survived what they survived is remarkable, to keep fighting (not with weapons) for the people of their country is a powerful insight into the strength and courage of these people.

Yout’s father, Mecak Ajang Alaak is an amazing role model, not just for the South Sudanese, but for everyone. The love he has for his fellow countryman regardless of which tribe or area they come from is wonderful. How he kept things together and organised keeping 20,000 boys safe on their perilous journey from one refugee camp to the next is incredible.

I feel honoured to have read Yout and his father’s story, and that of the thousands of people who shared that journey.

The brief history notes at the end of the book were an eye-opener. I truly had no idea of the way the British and the Arabs played their political games with the lives of these people. I had no idea how long they had been fighting to be independent. Another war wages now, it is hard to imagine there will ever be a time of peace, but I truly hope for the people of South Sudan, that they do get there.


This is part of the #2021ReadNonfic hosted by Book’d Out to encourage people to read more nonfiction.

nonfiction readers challenge 2021

Nonfiction Readers Challenge: Bowraville by Dan Box


Screenshot_20200130_091042Since signing up to the Nonfiction Readers Challenge I’m inspired to read a few more nonfiction books this year. I chose to do the Nonfiction Nipper, which was to read 3 books from any category. I’ve got quite a few nonfiction books lined up to read this year, so I’m positive I’ll be able to move up to the next level.

My first book is something very different for me. Bowraville by Dan Box is a true crime novel, that is also, in my opinion part memoir.

I listened to the audiobook of this which is read by Dan Box, something I prefer when listening to a memoir as I think they can really get across the emotions and messages they are trying to convey.

This is just one terrible story of injustice that has happened in Australia and to the Aboriginal people. Three children murdered in a space of 5 months and now 29 years later their families have never had justice.

We hear about the officers who were first approached when each child went missing and how the families were told, “They’ve probably gone walkabout”. One of these children was 4 years old! I was disgusted by the behaviour of the police at the beginning of these events and then completely disbelieving of the way the cases were handled once they were deemed something more sinister. The local police, who were in no way up to handling a missing person case let alone a murder case, or serial murders, were given very little help from the authorities in the city.

Dan tells an interesting story that made me angry at the way aboriginal people were and are treated in the event of a crime. The racism in the town was just as disappointing and I’m baffled how people think the way they do.

Sometimes the story felt a bit repetitive, but I think that was Dan Box’s way of reiterating the injustice of these cases and the injustices of the law.

A worthwhile read if you are interested in true crime and the way the law doesn’t always work.

My top reads of 2019 plus my blog birthday giveaway

This week marks the 1st birthday of my blog and I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported and followed me throughout the last 12 months, I hope to bring you plenty more reviews next year. To say thanks I am doing a giveaway which I’ll write more about after I let you know what my top reads were for this year, It was a tough choice and I changed my mind about the books and the amount of books I was going to list quite a few times. But here are my final choices in no order whatsoever. As with my books of the decade, they had to be books that have stayed with me all year and that required no prompting for remembering.

TThe True Story of Maddie Brighthe True Story of Maddie Bright by Mary-Rose MacColl was a book that evoked many emotions at the time of reading.

My review




IMG_20190514_200721The Lost Boy by Rachael Wright was another book that packed an emotional punch.

My review



img_20190121_065430Sunshine by Kim Kelly, this is a novel I have read twice this year as well as listening to the audio book.

My Review




img_20190127_200000Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry was yet another emotional read (I’m beginning to sense a theme here as I start putting these onto the page)

My Review



IMG_20191024_203440Invisible Boys by Holden Sheppard was a very emotional read that everyone should read.

My Review





A Lifetime of Impossible Days by Tabitha Bird is probably the most emotional book I have read this year, this one had me crying for a third of the book, but it was an incredible story.

My review



Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop by Rebecca Raisin was a book that had me looking at my dreams for my life.

My review





Daughter of the Sky by Michelle Diener was the first book I read in 2019 and a great historical romance in an unusual setting.

My review



Ridgeview Station by Michael Trant was one of a handful of books I read by male authors this year and was a fabulous read.

My review




IMG_20190309_154143In a Great Southern Land by Mary-Anne O’Connor was another emotional read.

My review




IMG_20190508_003954Under the Midnight Sky by Anna Romer was a book I enjoyed so much I bought it for my mum for her birthday.

My review




IMG_20190309_073822The Scream Behind Her Smile by Athena Daniels was brilliant.

My review






Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee was a confronting look at sexual assalt and our legal system.

My review




Lastly, I’ve listened to a lot of audiobooks this year due to a lot of driving and some of these have been great, some just good and some not so good. The narrator makes all the difference to how well a book comes across. I’ve listened to several novels that friends have loved, but as an audiobook, they just haven’t had that impact for me. Here are a couple that stood out for me this year, if you enjoy your audiobooks you may want to check them out.

This Red Earth by Kim Kelly – My Review

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult – My review

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein – My review

The Locksmith’s Daughter by Karen Brooks


I hope you’ve enjoyed some of these (or not) or are inspired to pick one of them up.

For my blog’s birthday I’m giving two people the opportuntiy to win a kindle copy of their choice from my top reads this year (open internationally). Or a paperback copy of Sunshine by Kim Kelly (open internationally) or a paperback copy of Ridgeview Station by Michale Trant (Australia only). To be in for a chance to win please leave a comment on this blog or my Facebook page. You need to be following my blog of to have liked my FB page to enter (or both).

Happy reading.


Book Bingo: Round 4

Another fortnight down, time to cross off another square from the bingo card, this week I’m marking off two squares again.


First is a book Written by an Australian Male, for this, I have chosen Michael Trant’s Ridgeview Station which was a fabulous read.


Ridgeview Station is an unreservedly genuine tale of life on the land, full of family, friendships, hard work, trials, loss, hope, and community. The characters in this story are real people, just like us, full of hopes, dreams, and faults. They are hard-working people who are passionate about the land and about their business. “He’d made the comment that since the house wasn’t at risk and it was just bushland burning, he would allow it. The family, however, were more worried about the bush and the stock than their home, a perspective most outsiders had trouble grasping. ‘House is insured,’ Pete had said simply, when Alexi had asked him at dinner if he was worried about the beautiful old homestead. He waved out to the glow on the horizon. ‘The more bush we lose, the less the sheep have to eat. Can’t insure that, or the sheep.'”

Life on the land, with its harsh conditions and uncontrollable weather means that people who choose to run a station or a farm, are continually battling and hoping for the best weather and the best conditions in order to make money and keep their properties. They are passionate people and have to be strong in order to survive the ups and downs that come with living off the land as well as demands from banks who don’t care one iota for weather conditions, only money.

The family, Pete, Kelsie, Jack and Lisa were everything you would want in a family, especially one who live and work together on a property like Ridgeview. There was so much respect and love between them, and their love for their land and animals was so strong, that I was immediately drawn into their lives, experiencing everything they were going through and hoping against hope that things would work out. I was holding my breath at times, completely absorbed in their fight to save their land against one of nature’s cruelest beasts, fire.

I enjoyed getting to know all of the characters, especially the quirky ones like old Kev who’d lived on Ridgeview Station for so many years that it was in his blood. Bull, one of the men who come to help the family out in their time of need, using his heavy machinery to try to save the land from burning, was also another genuine and down-to-earth character who I enjoyed. Alexi, a backpacker, and farmhand bought a fresh perspective to the story and allowed explanations of the procedures of life on the land as she learnt to understand how everything worked and ran.

I’m so glad I got to spend time with this family on Ridgeview, and I highly recommend you go and grab yourself a copy of this wonderful Australian tale.

The second square is a Memoir about a non-famous person. For this one, I chose Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee

Eggshell Skull is a memoir by a really strong and brave young woman who didn’t realise her strength until she found herself in a situation out of her control. A situation she started the ball rolling on, without realising how long she would be made to wait for justice.dav

Bri starts off her story at the beginning of her law career, in her year as a judges associate. Through doing the judges circuit around Qld she hears many terrible cases of sexual abuse on children and women in particular, but also on men. As she herself is triggered by these people’s stories, we find out that she has been sexually assaulted as a child, and the long term effect this has had on her. From watching and listening to these stories and cases, Bri also gains the strength and realisation that she needs to face her abuse and her abuser in order to get on with her own life in a healthy way.

The statistics on these kinds of cases are staggering, and as Bri carries on, she finds out how many people she knows who have been victims of abuse It’s hard to acknowledge how prevalent this is in our society. We also learn how few people come forward and report the abuse, and when they do, how few of those cases actually get charged and then how few of those go through the legal system to receive any kind of justice.

She starts the legal ball rolling on a journey that will take almost 2 years to come to and end. Through that time we see her struggle, the abuse she inflicts upon herself throughout the story and the many feelings of low self-worth she suffers, just like many people who have been abused. Bri is extremely lucky, she has the support of her family and her partner behind her, as well as Judge, the man she worked for on the circuit who has become a friend.

Bri falls apart often, but she picks herself up again every time and carries on, fighting for justice against her abuser and against the legal system. I can’t say I was shocked by how badly our legal system lets down the victims of crime, but it was extremely eye-opening and heartbreaking to read about those people’s stories as Bri travels on the circuit and as she wonders if she herself will receive justice.

I take my hat off to all the people that do take the step to bring their abuser to justice in such a terribly flawed legal system. The law has changed over the years, but we still aren’t where we need to be. Women are still too often not believed, are called liars or told they are overreacting and that it was their fault it happened. Things need to change, fast. Attitudes need to change.

A highly confronting story by a brave and strong young woman, who by fighting for justice for herself and telling her story, maybe a catalyst for others to tell theirs, for them also to be willing to fight and for the stigma of sexual assault to be challenged.

Well, that’s it for another bingo round, I hope everyone who’s joining in has managed to cross off another square this week. See you in a fortnight for the next square.