A delight to read, Wally will capture the hearts of children and adults alike. He's an adventurous young penguin who longs to be warm and sets off froA delight to read, Wally will capture the hearts of children and adults alike. He's an adventurous young penguin who longs to be warm and sets off from Antarctica to the Galapagos Islands.
Beautifully written, with a fun, catchy rhyme and the illustrations are gorgeous; colourful and eye-catching. Wally's sense of fun and adventure will appeal to children and the child in us 'big people.'
As Wally explores the Galapagos Islands, readers are introduced to some of the unusual creatures that make their home there. At the end of the story is a Fascinating Facts section about the animals which older children and adults reading to children will also appreciate.
I adored Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin, this was a fun book to read aloud and my granddaughter loved the bright colours. I'd love to join Wally for more adventures ... somewhere else warm of course....more
My first Sarah Alderson but it won't be my last. Heart-racing pace without sacrificing character or plot development ... what a wicked ride.4.5 stars
My first Sarah Alderson but it won't be my last. Heart-racing pace without sacrificing character or plot development ... what a wicked ride.
Nic Preston lands on Finn Carter's doorstep after her apartment's security system is breached and her home broken into. Are the killers who brutally murdered her mother and stepsister 2 years ago back to finish the job? Hacker extraordinaire Finn may be her only chance of survival.
I loved the dual narrative from Nic and Finn. Nic's opinion of Finn changes from understandable dislike and mistrust to something more as the storyline progresses and I really bought how their relationship developed. I adored Finn from the get-go, he's smart and hot and even with his questionable deals and decisions, you just know he's a good guy. I always fall for the dog in a book and Nic's French Mastiff bulldog Goz was no exception ... aww my hero.
I've read true stories stranger than Conspiracy Girl so I didn't find it in the least bit far fetched, the conspiracy almost did my head in, the bad guys were relentless, I had the 'twist' figured out well before the end but far from lessening my enjoyment, it kept me flipping the pages to see if I was right.
Not often I enjoy a YA suspense/thriller to this extent ... Conspiracy Girl is the complete package. ...more
The story opens as England declares itself at war with Germany. The WWII setting is what initially appealed to me, England, France, Poland but Scent oThe story opens as England declares itself at war with Germany. The WWII setting is what initially appealed to me, England, France, Poland but Scent of Triumph is actually more sweeping family drama and one woman's determination to provide and care for her remaining family after facing great tragedy.
Danielle is a fiercely determined, clever, hard-working, resilient woman and I admired that about her but I didn't always feel an emotional connection with her. I'm not sure how to explain it, it might be that I wasn't quite so enamored once Danielle was living in Los Angeles. Despite tragic losses she seemed so cool and removed and focused, I actually felt the distance but when Danielle was immersed in creating a perfume she came alive to me.
I thought parts of the story were a little predictable and I'll also be honest and say I found the ending disingenuous. Despite these points there was much to love.
I loved Danielle's mother-in-law Sophia and her small but significant, and lasting part, her courage really touched me. I liked Jon, and Jon and Danielle together, it was so frustratingly obvious they were meant for each other and I wanted to shake both of them for the misunderstandings.
I loved the artistry, history and tradition of perfumery, I felt Danielle's love for the creative process, the trial and error composition and design of a new perfume. I loved Moran's descriptions of the Bretancourt family perfumery gardens in Grasse, so beautiful I want to visit. I loved how Moran's writing appealed to my senses, I could smell what she was describing, my mouth actually watered at the "sweet, buttery scent of the boulangerie in Grasse where they bought croissants ..." and the perfume aspect gave the book a very sensual feel.
"She waved blotter strips of paper under her nose, then made notes in her journal. Too much bergamot in this one, too tart; no depth in this one; bring forward the orange blossom in another."
"She inhaled again, going farther, detecting the bouquet of jasmine and rose, rich and silky, entwined with a spicy note of carnation, adding verve and vitality, robust brilliance. It needs a splash of complexity here, a sprig of basil there, an accent of clove."
Overall, Scent of Triumph was a little different from what I was expecting but a lovely, entertaining read.
Cover: cover fairy worked on this one ... it's beautiful! ...more
I fell in love with Jennifer Scoullar's writing after inhaling Currawong Creek in 2013 and Billabong Bend in 2014, she has a beautiful way with wordsI fell in love with Jennifer Scoullar's writing after inhaling Currawong Creek in 2013 and Billabong Bend in 2014, she has a beautiful way with words and her love for the natural world sings.
The beauty and diversity of the region, rainforest to reef, the sugar cane fields and hand-in-hand, the challenges of protecting our reef and marine animals from ignorance, age-old traditions, outdated and often dangerous farming practices. I'm passionate about reef protection so you might have guessed I was cheering Zoe on for actively driving the wheels of change.
Turtle Reef has an interesting bunch of characters, an intriguing mystery, a splash of romance (but the circumstances surrounding it are just a tad weird) but for me, the stars of the show were the animals.
I liked Zoe and Quinn's younger brother Josh and his special affinity with animals was particularly endearing but I loved the dolphins, especially Kane, Echo and Mirrhi, the turtles, Einstein the hammer octopus and the Arabian mare Aisha. I loved learning about the female octopus, seagrass mapping and the principles of operant conditioning and and I got teary over the dugong and Einstein ... animals undo me.
Turtle Reef was a particularly special read for me, Kiawa and the Reef Centre bringing with it nostalgic memories of my visits to Bargara and Mon Repos Conservation Centre and more recently Lady Elliot Island (southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef) the highly protected "green zone" sanctuary for marine and other wildlife.
I wonder where Jennifer Scoullar is taking us next? ... can't wait!...more
4.5 stars I thought Still Alice was brilliant, it affected me deeply and when I saw Inside the O'Brien's was about Huntington's Disease I had to read i4.5 stars I thought Still Alice was brilliant, it affected me deeply and when I saw Inside the O'Brien's was about Huntington's Disease I had to read it.
Towards the end of my nursing training, a friend and housemate faced the nightmare of Huntington's Disease when her father was diagnosed. She was one of ten children. I lost touch with her when she moved away physically and emotionally but her family has often been in my thoughts and over the years as I've belatedly come across funeral notices for her father and 3 siblings my heart aches that I didn't try harder.
Once again Lisa Genova writes what she knows with great heart. I'd almost say head and heart is trademark Lisa Genova. And maybe I'd add in humour and hope because despite the evil bastard that is Huntington's Disease, Genova's message in this fatal hereditary neurodegenerative disease is ultimately one of hope.
The O'Brien's are an Irish Catholic family in Boston. 44 year old police officer Joe, his wife Rosie and their four adult children, Patrick, JJ, Meghan, and Katie. Inside the O'Briens is so much more than Huntington's Disease, it's an ordinary family making extraordinary decisions, facing something with extraordinary courage. It's about hopes and dreams, coming together in adversity and in celebration, life, love, faith, laughs, flaws, weaknesses, pain, loss, guilt, happiness, suffering, joy; all the ordinary things that make a family. It truly is about ... a million other things that have nothing to do with HD.
Thoughts running through my head ...
a 50/50 chance ... beyond terrifying. could I live "at risk" or would I want to know?
ignoring it, accepting it, denying it, worrying it to death wouldn't make the 50/50 any less or more ... it is what it is, regardless.
the dread and fear would eat me up, making me 100% miserable. That's not living.
I'd have to know
"We're going to learn how to live and die with HD from you, Dad" *sob* what a horrific disease. HD really is an evil monster
I admire Joe's approach to HD "Stay in the Fight ... Stay in the Pose"
I keep thinking about another book I've read about this disease, Eternal on the Water by Joseph Monninger ... I cried buckets, I understood the choice made. That story has stayed with me over the years.
Inside the O'Briens is education and awareness gently wrapped in humour and heart. ...more
My first Nancy Thayer read but it won't be my last and luckily I have a bunch of her books waiting for me. The Guest Cottage was just the incentive IMy first Nancy Thayer read but it won't be my last and luckily I have a bunch of her books waiting for me. The Guest Cottage was just the incentive I needed to make a dent in that backlist.
When Sophie Anderson rents a Nantucket cottage with her two children for 2 months of summer and finds Trevor and his young son Leo have rented the same guest cottage they decide to make the best of the odd situation and share the house and their holiday.
It's a chance for both adults to take an honest look at their lives and for everyone to enjoy a summer of discovery, growth and healing.
The Guest Cottage is a lovely summer beach read and if you live in the southern hemisphere like moi`it's the perfect read to bring the promise of summer to a chilly winter's day. I guess this was somewhat predictable but that also made it an easy, relaxing read which added to the holiday vibe.
Nantucket seems to be the idyllic setting for many a novel ... I'm definitely adding this place to my travel bucket list. ...more
I was already in love with Cynthia Hand's beautiful, lyrical writing ... her Unearthly trilogy4.5 stars
4 reasons I loved The Last Time We Say Goodbye:
I was already in love with Cynthia Hand's beautiful, lyrical writing ... her Unearthly trilogy blew me away a few years ago. It wasn't a difficult choice to pick up The Last Time We Say Goodbye and it more than lived up to my high expectations.
The exploration of grief is beautifully and sensitively done. Before you shout me down and say not another one of those books. I swear it's different. The strength of The Last Time We Say Goodbye is in its down-to-earth simplicity, it's the raw, simple, messy truth that is grief. It focuses on Alexis's grief following her brother's suicide ... the gaping hole in her chest, the shock, sadness, guilt, anger. It's about family relationships and the devastation suicide wreaks on a family. Ultimately it's a story of hope and forgiveness and living with loss.
Julia Whelan is one of my favourite narrators. She has this uncanny ability of becoming a character, and pulling you in to share the story as a participant not just an observer.
I confess to a little case of Colleen Hoover insta-love after I succumbed to my friend Karen's nagging and read Maybe Someday. I meant to jump straighI confess to a little case of Colleen Hoover insta-love after I succumbed to my friend Karen's nagging and read Maybe Someday. I meant to jump straight into Ugly Love but you know best laid plans and all that. So ... Confess
"The confessions you read within this novel are true confessions, submitted anonymously by readers. This book is dedicated to all of you who found the courage to share them."
What a dedication. Doesn't that just grab you and suck you right in?? I loved this unique aspect. And it's not just the confessions. In Maybe Someday it was music, in Confess it's the art.
Owen Mason Gentry (OMG ... HA) is a local artist whose paintings are inspired by anonymous confessions. Auburn answers a 'help wanted' ad in his studio window. I liked them both, I felt the chemistry sparking between them and their growing connection. That doesn't mean I liked everything about them, at times I wanted to slap Auburn for her lack of backbone but I also felt for her and the awful position she'd been manipulated into.
Who else ... Auburn's flatmate Emory was weirdly awesome, a real bad-ass, she needs her own book. Trey, what an asshat, I'd have cheered if he'd been hit by a bus. And Trey's mother ... two-for-one. Confession: I have zero tolerance for abusive manipulators (can you tell??)
Confess includes original artwork by Danny O’Connor and it is beautiful! Check it out here. It defines Owen and provides intimacy between Owen and Auburn, it's a beautiful vehicle for emotion and communication and gives the story added depth.
The only thing that annoyed me was the whore/slut self-talk. I really wish Colleen Hoover wouldn't do that. Is that just my age showing? Whatever, it's so unnecessary. And Trey ... where's that bus?
Once again CoHo's writing is highly addictive ... real, sensitive and intensely emotional. Confess is hard to describe, it's not just a love story, it's multi-faceted ... love, loss, strength and courage, sacrifice, self awareness and second chances.
Lucky for me Ugly Love awaits ... time to feed the addiction. ...more
Readers were first introduced to Lauren Simpson in Jilted, not in a particularly favourable light I must say, I don't have time for spoilt bitches butReaders were first introduced to Lauren Simpson in Jilted, not in a particularly favourable light I must say, I don't have time for spoilt bitches but figured that somewhere underneath all the makeup was a decent person. She's a nurse, not that that's a given for decency but she's a deeply caring and highly skilled nurse so that's got to say something. Rachael Johns does a fabulous job of showing some of Lauren's more endearing qualities.
You probably don't have to read Jilted first but I really liked seeing the growth in Lauren's character, growth that was handled realistically, in a way that elicited empathy rather than eye-rolls ... not that I'd expect anything less from Rachael Johns. Besides I loved Jilted (Ellie and Flynn's story) so why miss out on a good thing.
The chemistry between Lauren and locum Dr Tom Lewis is evident from the start but like any new relationship they have their challenges ... emotion-charged issues and the highs and lows of living in a small community where everyone knows your business or thinks they do.
The sweetest part of this story and my favourite was Lauren and Tom's interactions with the elderly in the residential wing of the hospital ... now that was heart-melting good. And funny, Barbara and May cracked me up with their irreverent humour.
With trademark humour, passion and emotion I've come to expect from Rachael Johns, The Road to Hope is a lovely way to spend a few hours....more
I've had a love affair with Honey Brown or should I say her writing, since Dark Horse blew my mind and Through the Cracks had me tasting despair. TheyI've had a love affair with Honey Brown or should I say her writing, since Dark Horse blew my mind and Through the Cracks had me tasting despair. They're darkly disturbing psychological thrillers. Six Degrees is a complete departure from her previous works but with the same expressive yet restrained style that grabs and keeps the pages turning.
Knowing from the synopsis that the six stories are somehow connected, I was curious reading each whether the connection would come across as forced or convenient. No and No. It's clever and smooth and brings a cohesiveness to what would otherwise be random short stories about desire.
My favourites were the first story and the third. The first was HOT and just a bit naughty and that's all I'm saying about it and the third, well it's the fly fishing story. Yep you read that right.
Fishing in my book (when you don't catch anything) is up there with watching grass grow or paint dry. Fly fishing and sexy are two words I would never use in the same sentence. But Tasha and Daryl's story is beautiful and sexy and very, very sensual. So, hang on a minute while I eat my words.
This is probably completely left field but the sexual attraction in Six Degrees reminded me of the weather in Dark Horse ... a character in itself.
Six Degrees is a fun and very satisfying read about the power of sexual attraction and our intrinsic need to feel emotionally and physically connected. ...more
3.5 stars I loved Gayle Forman's If I Stay, the emotion of it completely overwhelmed me. I Was Here was a good read, an important one but I found the e3.5 stars I loved Gayle Forman's If I Stay, the emotion of it completely overwhelmed me. I Was Here was a good read, an important one but I found the emotional connection lacking. Depression and suicide is sensitive subject matter, whilst we are making headway, depression is still very much a misunderstood illness, the stigma is still there, so anything that brings the subject out of that taboo-no-go-zone should be appreciated.
I Was Here follows Cody as she tries to come to terms with her best friend's suicide. It tells the effect of Meg's death on those close to her .... the guilt, anger and disbelief felt real. And that's about as far as the 'feel' went.
Cody's sarcasm and abrasiveness didn't bother me, I understood the loss of trust in what she thought she knew of her friend and their friendship, I got why she was so desperate for answers. I didn't mind Ben as a character but I felt next to nothing about Cody and Ben's 'romance'.
I understand that everyone does grief differently and the last thing a grieving person needs is judgement but I thought Meg's parents' behaviour was odd, they didn't come across as genuine, quite frankly, I didn't feel much for them at all.
It was nauseating to read of suicide 'support' groups, not support groups for the those left behind or those suffering from depression but for those considering suicide ... encouragement, applause, choices, suggestions; people preying on those most vulnerable, it makes me sick that groups like this exist. A bit like the dreadful pro-mia and pro-ana online support groups for bulimia and anorexia.
Don't let me put you off, this is a worthwhile read but it confounded me to feel so little ... me who cries at a Kleenex ad. I'm keen to hear what others thought.
Gayle Forman's author notes and support links were a very worthwhile inclusion. ...more
The Girl on the Train has garnered a lot of attention, opinions are divided but go into this one with as little foreshadowing as possible and just letThe Girl on the Train has garnered a lot of attention, opinions are divided but go into this one with as little foreshadowing as possible and just let the disturbing twisty-ness suck you in ... you'll appreciate the normality of your own life.
These characters are messed up, all of them, seriously messed up. It's an interesting character study that had me impressed with the authors skill, it's not an easy feat to keep a reader reading with a cast of unlikable characters. That said, as the story progressed I felt a begrudging sympathy for one of the most manipulated characters.
The writing is strong and the narrators are great, they add that bit extra to the reading experience, I'm glad I picked this one up on audio. And the ending ... I actually laughed, not sure that was the desired effect. HA. What can I say ... I like to see someone get their 'just desserts' :) ...more
I fell in love with Posie Graeme-Evans' writing almost 10 years ago after reading her War of the Roses trilogy. The cover of Wild Wood called4.5 stars
I fell in love with Posie Graeme-Evans' writing almost 10 years ago after reading her War of the Roses trilogy. The cover of Wild Wood called my name, blessed by the cover fairies with what looks to me like Eilean Donan Castle. Then of course I noticed the author's name and when I finally read the synopsis, I was sold. And not disappointed ... this Australian author's writing has evolved over the years and Wild Wood is a beautifully refined story, compelling and evocative.
"The past bleeds into the present."
A dual narrative, separated by centuries, distinct but slowly merging as the threads of past and present unlock long-held secrets ...
1321 in the borderlands, the story unfolds at the Norman stronghold Hundredfield, held by Godefroi, eldest of the three Dieudonné brothers. The story is narrated by the youngest, Bayard. I loved his character; battle-hardened knight, his strength, compassion and sensitivity endearing traits.
1981 Jesse Mayard's world is rocked when she learns she is adopted and leaves her home in Sydney, Australia determined to discover the truth, and herself. Heading for Jedburgh in Scotland, fate intervenes bringing Jesse and Alicia and her neurologist friend Rory Brandon together, setting Jesse on the path to Hundredfield.
In a dual time line story I normally find one story appeals more than the other but with Wild Wood I was equally intrigued by both. I was immediately hooked on Bayard's narration, page-turning, breath-holding reading, the setting and times, violent, harsh and unforgiving. Jesse's narration was a quieter pulling, until Hundredfield exerted its influence.
Wild Wood has its faults but maybe visiting Scotland gave the story and Hundredfield a whole lot more 'feel' ... history literally seeps from the walls of these ancient castles and ruins, it can be quite emotionally overwhelming. It was lovely to revisit that feeling with Wild Wood.
History, dark secrets, legend and superstition create a haunting tale. And now I look forward to the author's new writing venture ... The Outer Sea. Write faster Posie :)
This was just what I needed, perfect escapism complete with tea and comfort food. A light, easy feel-good read, and completely satisfying.
After a chaThis was just what I needed, perfect escapism complete with tea and comfort food. A light, easy feel-good read, and completely satisfying.
After a chance meeting in Letty's Seafront Tea Rooms, a special haven in Scarborough, Charlie, Kat and Seraphine become firm friends, sharing tea room research, baking, family crises, relationship dramas and work challenges ... all the normal, every-day nuances of friendship. I'd love to be friends with these women. I also have serious job-envy, well just for this tea room assignment of Charlie's :)
Whilst set in Scarborough, the friends also travel to York, London and a couple of other places I visited on my holiday last year making this extra special, bringing back memories of tea and treats on my travels. Already being a scones, jam and cream girl, England turned me into a monster. I fell in lust with cream teas ... scones with jam and lashings of clotted cream and the tea of your choice ... English Breakfast of course. The Somerset Cream Tea from the Abbey Tea Rooms in Glastonbury was one of the best I had in England :)
I love tea rooms, there's just something so comforting about them, they bring people together, you leave your troubles at the door, they're the perfect place to escape for a few indulgent hours.
What could be more perfect ... tea, cake, friendship and just a little romance. I'm looking forward to checking out more of Vanessa Greene's titles.