Even a chocolate lover can have too much of a good thing. This was a highly sensual, sweet read, best taken in small tasty morsels not devoured in one...moreEven a chocolate lover can have too much of a good thing. This was a highly sensual, sweet read, best taken in small tasty morsels not devoured in one mouthful. Be warned, if gutsed you risk implosion!!
"Being trapped in a bedroom with a woman is a grand thing. Being trapped in hundreds of bedrooms over two thousand years isn’t. And being cursed into a book as a love-slave for eternity can ruin even a Spartan warrior’s day..." Julian of Macedon
In spite of earning status as Athena's greatest general, Julian has led a tragic life. Abandoned by his mother Aphrodite, & cursed by his half brother Priapus, Julian's essence is held captive in an ancient tome, cursed to spend all eternity pleasing women. When he is summoned by a woman chanting his name 3 times during a full moon he must spend the next month satisfying her every desire, only to disappear back into the book at the next full moon. Grace Alexander is a tender-hearted sex therapist, mourning the deaths of her parents. When her best friend Serena decides Grace needs a little help in the romance department, Julian is summoned & actually appears, much to their amazement. To Julian's amazement, this is unlike any other summoning but you'll have to read this one yourself to find out why.
I totally adored the main characters, Grace & Julian & the secondary characters were not overlooked, Aphrodite, Eros, Priapus & Psyche were well developed & an intrical part of the story. The scenes involving Eros tickled my funny bone & any cheesy, kitsch moments managed to amuse rather than annoy. Tears welled as both Grace & Julian share the story of the loss of their loved ones, their unselfish love made my little heart do flip flops.
A breathtaking blend of romance & mythology & I was completely enthralled with my visit to the Ancient Greek Pantheon.(less)
Twilight has become a phenomenon, a dream of Stephanie Meyer's transformed into a bestseller. After every man, woman and dog (okay, slight exaggeratio...moreTwilight has become a phenomenon, a dream of Stephanie Meyer's transformed into a bestseller. After every man, woman and dog (okay, slight exaggeration) had been sucked into the twilight vortex, I finally surrendered to peer pressure (from my over 40 Aunt) and devoured "a vampire story for people who don’t like vampire stories." I must admit, the plot of hot vampire Edward Cullen, falling for ordinary girl Bella Swan, was extremely appealing. The book is marketed at Young Adult readers but as a 'mature' adult myself, I think Twilight has the ability to transcend age barriers and satisfy teenagers and adults alike. A thoroughly enjoyable read which had me almost longing to be a vampire; obviously only of the 'good' vampire variety, strictly non-human consuming.(less)
After falling in love with Sherryl Caulfield's exquisite writing and Seldom Come By earlier this year, I've been a wee bit excited waiting f...more4.5 stars
After falling in love with Sherryl Caulfield's exquisite writing and Seldom Come By earlier this year, I've been a wee bit excited waiting for Come What May. Beginning Come What May, my friend Karen (who guest reviews on The Eclectic Reader) was angst-texting me as she read Seldom Come By ... all the emotion of that epic love story came rushing back.
Sherryl writes from the heart, her affinity with nature and the love and care she takes with her characters is evident. Come What May is such a sensory feast, lyrical writing, whether the simplest of phrases or vividly descriptive, it played like a movie in my mind.
I didn't have the same connection with Gene as I did with her mother Rebecca in Seldom Come By but what I loved was the emotion that Sherryl Caulfield pulled from me ... dislike, guilt, admiration, horror, sadness, so much sadness, but joy too. I love it when an author's writing encourages you to consider more and judge less, I like being encouraged to think about a person's character, their motivations. For me it means an author has done her job brilliantly, whether I ultimately like a character or not.
Having finished Come What May, I'm still torn about Gene; she's complex, there's a lot going on with her, some of it confronting, which had me constantly swinging between compassion and dislike but then there were times when the sun shone through and I saw 'her'.
Auld Lang Syne was one of those moments ... without fail Auld Lang Syne brings me to tears, so much emotion and so many memories in those simple words.
I loved the scenes describing the Canadian wilderness, Cree culture, the running of the huskies, I love Gene's brothers; for their good hearts, for all they have been through. And Sonny, my hero ... I love you.
There's so much more I want to say about Come What May, it's a difficult one to review without spoilers, so let me finish with ... I'm emotionally wrung out, but oh my heart, I loved it.
Anna Romer earned herself a fan with her debut Thornwood House and with Lyrebird Hill she cements her position as a voice to be reckoned with in Austr...moreAnna Romer earned herself a fan with her debut Thornwood House and with Lyrebird Hill she cements her position as a voice to be reckoned with in Australian fiction ... an exceptionally talented writer.
I adored every minute of Lyrebird Hill. For me Anna Romer is synonymous with lyrical, atmospheric writing; of such haunting and addictive quality you savour every word. Once again it's a seamless blending of contemporary and historical narrative, Ruby 2013 and Brenna 1898 ... past and present intertwine with dark secrets and pain.
Ruby Cardel returns to her childhood home Lyrebird Hill to unlock memories and the mystery of her sister's death. With the discovery of Brenna's diary and letters, Romer weaves the mesmerising story of two women seeking truth, generations and 115 years apart.
Lyrebird Hill never feels like a story being told. Some of our shameful history and treatment of aborigines made me cry with sorrow and outrage. The Australian landscape is so lushly described, I was immersed, my senses evoked ... eucalypts, camp fires, the scent of bush flowers, birdsong, Brenna's connection with the land and the aboriginal people tangible.
I rarely read books again. For its exquisite beauty Lyrebird Hill is one I will.(less)
When I found my 1974 edition of The House at Pooh Corner I just had to re-read this much adored childhood favourite. It was a nostalgic visit to the 1...moreWhen I found my 1974 edition of The House at Pooh Corner I just had to re-read this much adored childhood favourite. It was a nostalgic visit to the 100 Acre Wood to play with Pooh, "a bear of very little brain", Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl, Tigger & of course Christopher Robin.
The stories within are simple & funny & endearing & silly & I giggled & sighed my way through them. As an adult you realise how 'little brain' Pooh actually has :-) & how neurotic Piglet is & Eeyore's sarcasm becomes apparent. As an adult I enjoyed the rhymes and poems, the funny adventures but I also enjoyed the quirky insight into human nature & the subtle reminder of what's important in life. I'd forgotten that The House At Pooh Corner marks the 'end of a chapter', Christopher Robin is leaving his childhood & his friends behind.
"Pooh, when I'm - you know - when I'm not doing Nothing, will you come up here sometimes?" "Just Me?" "Yes, Pooh." "Will you be here too?" "Yes, Pooh, I jwill be really. I pronise I will be, Pooh." "That's good," said Pooh "Pooh, promise you won't forget about me, ever. Not even when I'm a hundred." "How old shall I be then?" "Ninety-Nine." Pooh nodded. "I promise," he said.
These aren't just characters in a book, they're friends, friends you're never too old to visit.(less)
Totally Addicted...what can I say. I was prepared to be disappointed, prepared to point out that I couldn't see what all the hoo haa was about but I a...moreTotally Addicted...what can I say. I was prepared to be disappointed, prepared to point out that I couldn't see what all the hoo haa was about but I am hopelessly addicted to Bella & Edward's story. I must admit I was just a tad devastated that Edward featured so little in this book but I also understand that New Moon was a building block for what was to come. A bridge if you like, to Eclipse. As someone who has felt broken from loss, I felt a kindred spirit in Bella and found her climb out of depression very relatable. While disappointed over the absence of one hot vampire there was plenty in New Moon to keep the heart rate up and the pages turning. Bella finds strength in her friendship with Jacob Black and pulls together a semblance of her life while Jacob phases into a werewolf bringing the Quileute legends to the fore. New Moon has a very different edge to the suspense & passion, one that leaves you wanting more, wishing for things to happen while hoping that the story drags on, to draw out and savour every moment.(less)
WOW! Graceling is a completely original and entrancing fantasy, I've never read anything like it. It moved along at a slow simmer, bubbling and buildi...moreWOW! Graceling is a completely original and entrancing fantasy, I've never read anything like it. It moved along at a slow simmer, bubbling and building until halfway through it reached boiling point and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Rich imagery, unforgettable characters and a fascinating world makes this one a must-read for all fantasy lovers.
Gracelings (those in the minority who possess a Grace) are identified by thier different coloured eyes and their special gift or ability. In many of the seven kingdoms Gracelings are feared rather than revered, so it's a lonely life. Graces are a random occurrence, some are of value to their King and kingdom, some are worthless.
Katsa's 'grace' is the ability to kill, making her one of the most feared people in the kingdom. She's a hardened young woman, with very few friends and little happiness. Whilst she has been an instrument of punishment for her uncle, King Randa, committing many acts she's ashamed of, she has also been righting other wrongs through her work in the secret Council. Watching Katsa slowly open her heart, trust and grow over the course of the novel was an absolute joy.
Kristen Cashore does a superb job developing secondary characters, I was caught up in the lives of Bitterblue, Raffin, Giddon and yes even the 'baddies', all completely fascinating characters. Po is just gorgeous, he's the Graced son of the Lienid King and I just loved him, even with his dorky name. After an auspicious meeting Katsa & Po develop a fragile friendship which blossoms over time into so much more. With Po's compassion, sensitivity & understanding Katsa determines her own personal boundaries, and develops her 'grace' and her control to a level where you can't help but love and admire her.
In every great fantasy novel there is a quest and this one is elegantly wrapped with romance, action, suspense, intrigue in a unique & imaginative world.
Captivating, enthralling, mesmerising, what more can I say ... Read it! (less)
I was lucky enough to discover Jennifer Scoullar's gorgeous writing in 2013 with Currawong Creek. This year it's Billabong Bend and I am crus...more4.5 stars
I was lucky enough to discover Jennifer Scoullar's gorgeous writing in 2013 with Currawong Creek. This year it's Billabong Bend and I am crushing on the loveliness. Jennifer Scoullar's love of nature literally oozes from the pages, the beautiful descriptiveness puts you right there, soaking it all in.
The dawn chorus of birdsong and the smell of dew-damp leaves. The steam curling from the reedy river. The hushed expectancy and mysterious early landscape of shadow and light.
Cotton farming, water stealing and drought necessitate a different approach to farming and Nina is doing that and more with her property Red Gums in the Murray-Darling Basin region of NSW. She's a floodplains grazier, passionate about rehabilitation of the Bunyip River and her land and preserving the wetlands of neighbouring Billabong Bend as a wildlife sanctuary.
Ric returns to his father's cotton farm bringing with him the daughter he's only just met. Sophie is a precocious, endearing 9 year old. It was easy to understand the bond quickly forged with Nina over a mutual love of animals and a thirst for learning about nature whilst the connection between father and daughter was a little more challenging to establish.
Billabong Bend is a delicate balance of family dynamics, river stories, environmental issues and romance. The re-kindled relationship between Nina and Ric felt authentic, both the chemistry and the stumbling blocks to their happiness.
I love Jennifer Scoullar's passionate and respectful approach to the environment; rehabilitation, conservation and sustainability and it was impossible not to be caught up in Nina's love of all the species dependent on the wetlands.
There were so many tender, sigh-worthy moments that had me tearing up ... the rare magpie geese being taught to fly and Guddu's story being just two.
I'm not ready to say goodbye ... any chance of a sequel??
PS. with yet another beautiful story Jennifer Scoullar goes on my auto-buy list. (less)
Torn Apart is written by Hal Friedman in collaboration with his friend James Patterson, telling the story of Hal's son Cory. This is the emotional tru...moreTorn Apart is written by Hal Friedman in collaboration with his friend James Patterson, telling the story of Hal's son Cory. This is the emotional true story told through Cory's eyes of his battle with one of the most complex cases of Tourette's syndrome, anxiety disorder & OCD that doctors have seen. Cory was an ordinary boy until shortly before his fifth birthday, when motor tics, vocal tics, compulsions and obsessions turned his body into a "puppet on a string."
Sophia and Hal take a gut-wrenching journey with their son to find answers and treatment for their son's debilitating condition. Anyone who has experienced a medical condition that has medical practitioners baffled knows how heartbreaking and soul destroying this journey can be, but his parents heartache pales in comparison to Cory's living hell.
"My body is always betraying me, always, always, always." "No one can imagine how horrible this is. Every single day, something bad happens to me." These are not the words of a child ranting in a tantrum; Cory's mental and physical suffering is shocking, he is hospitalised with torn muscles in his back from the sheer force of his physical tics, he requires dental work for broken teeth from unrelenting jaw spasms.
After 13 Doctors, 60 potent medications & varying combinations of medications failed to bring Cory any relief is it any wonder that in early high school Cory turned to alcohol to gain some much needed peace. The horrendous side effects suffered give credence to the old adage 'the cure is worse than the disease' and Cory gives us an insight into this in Torn Apart - "I never know if it’s the medicine itself, the combination of medicines, the doses, or the usual ups and downs that happen with Tourettes."
This family's courage in sharing their story in the hope of inspiring others like Cory, raising awareness of neurological conditions and engaging support for Tourette's rather than ridicule, is nothing short of extraordinary. As a parent of a son with ADHD and anxiety disorder, diagnosed with Tourette's in Year 7 as a result of medication overload I shed tears over Cory's poignant story and more tears of heartfelt gratitude that my son's 'bird noises' and throat clearing was short-lived in comparison.
This is more than a story of a boy with Tourette's, it's a story of triumph over adversity, of a family's unconditional love, a story of strength, determination and the most unbelievable courage. This story touched me profoundly, it moved me to tears, tears of sadness and joy.
Please note the novels Torn Apart and Against Medical Advice are one and the same. (less)
I am in AWE! The Gargoyle was in turn, horrifying, fascinating, disturbing, enchanting, unpredictable & touching.
The story begins with the horrif...moreI am in AWE! The Gargoyle was in turn, horrifying, fascinating, disturbing, enchanting, unpredictable & touching.
The story begins with the horrific car accident of the nameless narrator; a cynical, amoral, drug-addicted porn star & producer. In an alcohol & drug-induced haze the narrator drives his car off a cliff & is burned beyond recognition. The resulting horrors are so visceral my own stomache rolled & churned but believe me if you persevere with the graphic imagery you will be richly rewarded.
While recovering in the burn unit the narrator plans his suicide in detail. His self-depreciating & sardonic view of life adds an element of dark humour to the story. During his long hospital stay we meet Marianne Engel, a sculptor of stone Gargoyles & presumably the narrator's lover 700 years ago. We learn of Marianne’s early life as a monastery-raised orphan in 14th century Germany, her meeting with our narrator as a wounded and badly burned mercenary then of their life together.
As this seemingly impossible tale unwinds Marianne weaves further tales of deep love and loss... Sei the Japanese glassblower, Siguoor the Swedish Viking, Francesco the Italian welder, & Vicki the sea-widow. Haunting, magical stories that touched my heart and left me wanting more. The story & the characters stayed with me each time I put the book down, calling me back, mesmerising me. I loved the writing, the literary symbolism, the breath-taking imagery.
The Gargoyle is a story of redemption, the story of a man drawn back to life & love. It is a story of recovery & personal growth through the process of 'stripping away'. It is a love story that transcends time.
"I believe that every remaining beat of my heart belongs to you, and I believe that when I finally leave this world, my last breath will carry your name"
I wanted my review to reflect this mesmerising tale, to do the story justice but I know longer think that's possible. This is one you really must read yourself. (less)
4.5 stars Stolen is gruesome & twisted & I loved it! In this sequel to Bitten, Kelley Armstrong maintains the intensity, pace & suspense th...more4.5 stars Stolen is gruesome & twisted & I loved it! In this sequel to Bitten, Kelley Armstrong maintains the intensity, pace & suspense that I thoroughly enjoyed in Women of the Otherworld Book 1. The reader is introduced to an assortment of supernatural beings in Stolen, the new characters & the new location allows for further expansion of the storyline & the exciting 'otherworld' already created.
As part of her job in the pack, Elena investigates reports of werewolf activity & illicit mutt action & while following a lead meets with witches Paige and Ruth. Events spiral out of control and Elena is abducted & held by an organisation collecting supernatural beings for research; witches, shamans, half-demons, vampires & werewolves. Elena spends much of the book as a captive in an underground facility but this is by no means all the story; drama, mystery, loss, sadistic baddies, introspective moments & great characterisation makes for a page turning tale.
What I did miss in Stolen, was the warmth and further development of the Stonehaven pack story & Elena & Clay's relationship. But as a sucker for 'hot & steamy' the reunion between Elena & Clay after Elena's escape from the bunker more than satisfied my 'romance' requirements. Pensive & vulnerable, passionate & playful; a wonderful combination.
I'm looking forward to reading Paige's story in Dime Store Magic, but I have to admit, I have my doubts whether Paige will measure up to Elena. Kudos to Kelley Armstrong for a to-die-for supernatural series.(less)
I love Franklin, my boys loved Franklin (back in the day) and this was actually one of the many Franklin books we owned. Hence the reason I c...more4.5 stars
I love Franklin, my boys loved Franklin (back in the day) and this was actually one of the many Franklin books we owned. Hence the reason I couldn't resist re-reading and reviewing this one. These books remain timeless, the moral message is just as relevant today as it was when my children were little.
Every year Mrs Owl's class donate toys to the school's toy drive for needy families. Franklin has struggled to choose a gift because all his toys are "too special to give away." Mrs Owl reminds her class that the gift given may be the only gift some children receive so Franklin goes home to think about giving with thought and from the heart.
Franklin and his friends are very relatable and the bright colourful illustrations are a winner for children. Most importantly this cute little book conveys a beautiful message about the value and selflessness in giving.
This was my 1st Graham Masterton book and what a terrifying introduction. Supernatural horror at its best. The Devil in Grey is one to read at night w...moreThis was my 1st Graham Masterton book and what a terrifying introduction. Supernatural horror at its best. The Devil in Grey is one to read at night with the lights on, creepy enough to make your skin crawl and have you checking for the boogie man! "The Devil in Gray" combines a series of gruesome murders, the ancient African magical religion, Santeria and a smattering of the civil war. Just enough history to send you checking facts on the 'Devils Brigade'. Detective Martin Decker is the main character in this story, on the trail of his nemesis The Devil in Gray, an invisible foe who is murdering people in particularly horrific ways. Not one for the faint hearted, if you like your horror gruesome, graphic enough to nauseate and guaranteed to give nightmares then this is for you.(less)
The Forgotten Garden is a complex tale of secrets and discovery that kept me enthralled, a 500 plus page book that I didn't want to end. Morton captur...moreThe Forgotten Garden is a complex tale of secrets and discovery that kept me enthralled, a 500 plus page book that I didn't want to end. Morton captures the locations and scenery beautifully and develops the characters so effectively I felt like I was actually there, not just an enthusiastic reader. The novel is packed with mystery and intrigue, lies going back through generations of the Mountrachet family. The story narrates from 3 different time periods; Victorian through to 2005 and from a number of locations. Brisbane, Maryborough, Cornwall and London; but rather than causing confusion these transitions heighten interest and add to the suspense. I loved the characters, the setting and the plot and thoroughly recommend "The Forgotten Garden" to anyone and everyone, Kate Morton is a new favourite for me(less)
This is without doubt, the saddest, darkest, most horrifying story I have ever read. And unfortunately the synopsis doesn't lie ... I don't think I wi...moreThis is without doubt, the saddest, darkest, most horrifying story I have ever read. And unfortunately the synopsis doesn't lie ... I don't think I will ever forget it, as much as I wish I could.
The content is so disturbing I actually felt dirty, it revolted me, saddened me and made me very angry. I wanted to jump into a steaming shower and scrub my skin clean. I wanted Ray to be punished, I wanted him to die a slow, painful death. I even imagined myself inflicting that slow, painful death. The overwhelming emotions this story evoked in me are a testament to Elizabeth Scott's writing.
I don't agree that this story should be read carte blanche by young adults but I do think it should be read. Elizabeth Scott intended this book to be read by teens and I agree that most teens are aware of the evil existing in our society, but in saying that, I was shocked by the writing and I'm an avid reader of graphic horror. The 'realness' of this story was way scarier than any horror novel. Sadly in our world sexual predators like Ray exist and children are abused, abducted, threatened and murdered every day.
Many of you are aware of my review backlog, the fact that I'm reviewing Living Dead Girl minutes after finishing it should give you some indication of how deeply it affected me. Living Dead Girl is physically and emotionally painful to read but my discomfort pales into insignificance in the face of the unspeakable acts faced by 'Alice', leaving her a damaged shell, a living dead girl.
Caution: this book contains graphic verbal, physical, and sexual abuse towards a child. (less)