But when have I ever left things at one word. How can I ... such an epic journey deserves more.
So much I want to say buIn one word ... breathtaking!
But when have I ever left things at one word. How can I ... such an epic journey deserves more.
So much I want to say but so much I can't. Come Full Circle should be your own experience to best appreciate it in all its beauty, that anticipation of not knowing what's in store but knowing it will be good. Just know there will come a point when you won't be able to turn the pages fast enough. And then you won't want it to end.
Layers are peeled back, pieces of the puzzle slowly come together, it may not be the picture you thought it would be or the picture you want but then again it could be even better. (cryptic enough for you lol)
Come Full Circle is a complete sensory treat ... exquisite descriptions, Sherryl's love for the natural world pulls you in, wraps arms around you, surrounding, immersing. I loved that almost as much as revisiting the characters I've come to know and love.
I loved the falconry aspect, and the haunting beauty of Lindsay and Ryan's night encounter with the whale raised the hair on my arms and made me teary until whale penises and lice were mentioned and I dissolved in a fit of giggles. (and yes I googled)
Resilience, love and healing ... I think Rebecca's words sum up Come What May better than I can.
'And what else have I learned of life from the sage old age of one hundred. That it's still mysterious, mostly it is joyful and abundant, sadness fades, attitude is everything, as is forgiveness."
Tears, smiles, sighs ... thank you for the most glorious ride Sherryl Caulfield. My heart is happy :) ...more
Blogging friends began raving about The Martian many months ago and in excitement I purchased it on Audible, back in March. I trust these bloggers (heBlogging friends began raving about The Martian many months ago and in excitement I purchased it on Audible, back in March. I trust these bloggers (hey I bought the book) but skepticism kicked in and as the hype increased I put off listening to it until last week. *kicks self*
So that’s the situation. I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Hermes or Earth. Everyone thinks I’m dead. I’m in a Hab designed to last thirty-one days.
If the oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.
So yeah. I’m fucked.
The Martian was A-MAZING. Narrator R.C. Bray, deserves a high five,a medal, a raise ... absolutely brilliant narration. It's tense, emotional, snerk funny and a surprise favourite read this year.
I don't think I'm known in blogging circles for my speedy reviews lol and yet here I am posting, literally minutes after finishing the audio #booyah
Astronaut and botanist Mark Watney is tenacious, resilient, resourceful, brave and kick-ass smart, all qualities you'd expect of an astronaut. What I really loved was his humour and sarcasm, he's a wise-cracking smart ass and I laughed out loud, many a time. Given the gravity of his situation you might think his quips would get old but he was chosen for the mission not just for his qualifications but for his easy going personality, so it worked.
“My asshole is doing as much to keep me alive as my brain.”
“I'm even going to electrolyze my urine. That'll make for a pleasant smell in the trailer. If I survive this, I'll tell people I was pissing rocket fuel.”
The Martian is scientifically technical and high school science/math was not my strong point so it surprised me how much I enjoyed all of it, even the stuff that went over my head was fascinating. The Q&A on Andy Weir's website regarding research and accuracy was really interesting.
Mark's log entries, the narration from NASA; it felt believable and authentic, the characters likable. Mark's the King of Mars but I also loved Venkat, Mindy, Mitch and the Hermes crew.
Log Entry: SOL 118
My conversation with NASA about the Water Reclaimer was boring and riddled with technical details. So I'll paraphrase for you:
Me: "This is obviously a clog. How about I take it apart and check the internal tubing?"
NASA: (After about 5 hours of deliberation) "No. You'll fuck it up and die."
So I took it apart.
I told NASA what I did. Our (paraphrased) conversation was: Me: “I took it apart, found the problem, and fixed it.” NASA: “Dick.”
Log Entry: Sol 501 I started the day with some nothin’ tea. Nothin’ tea is easy to make. First, get some hot water, then add nothin’.
So how 'bout that conclusion. I may have stopped breathing and even teared up ... just a little bit.
... now for the movie.
How cool is it that astronauts on ISS watched The Martian movie in space. ...more
I love Rachel Vincent, met her at ARRC in 2013 and I did the #fangirl thing. I love her writing so of course I wanted to read her latest but I was worI love Rachel Vincent, met her at ARRC in 2013 and I did the #fangirl thing. I love her writing so of course I wanted to read her latest but I was worried about clowns. You know ... travelling carnival, macabre circus, will there be clowns?? Clowns scare the crap out of me, they are creepy and most probably evil. I'm also one of those people who find circuses morally repugnant. However, my love for Rachel Vincent's writing and my big-girl-pants beat out clown fear. So fear not fellow clown phobics ... no clowns in Menagerie!
And OMG it's freakin awesome.
I seem to have hit the audiobook jackpot this year. Gabra Zackman nails the narration, pacing, distinct voices and personalities for an array of characters. I hope Gabra narrates future installments.
After the Reaping, cryptids and human/cryptid hybrids (oracles, weres, ogres, minotaurs, mermaids, selkies, succubi, fae) are hunted, caged, enslaved, tortured, exploited, starved and stripped of every basic human right.
Delilah Marlow reluctantly visits Metzger's Menagerie on her 25th birthday. Her horror at the treatment of Cryptids and specifically the torture of a werewolf girl, unleashes something in her and hours later Delilah finds herself chained on the other side of the bars at the mercy of keepers hell-bent on stripping every shred of humanity from her.
Menagerie is dark and brutal and superbly imagined, the complex world building blew my mind. But it also ripped at my heart. It might be fantasy but the parallels of abuse and injustice, the exploited, ostracised and oppressed in our own world are obvious.
Menagerie is tight, and raw and tense and beautiful despite the horror. It's everything I've come to expect from Rachel Vincent's writing ... and more. I loved the multiple POV's. I loved Delilah and handler Gallagher. I loved many of the fierce, fragile and damaged cryptids, werewolf Claudio and daughter Genni, minotaur Eryx .
Be warned, the torture, abuse and violence is disturbing and difficult to read at times.
But when the violence turns and some less-than-human humans get what they deserve, there's me cheering ... YEAH bring it on!! #karmasabitch hmm guess I sound a little disturbing.
The ending is great. Rachel Vincent could have been totally evil here. I know this probably makes little sense but it's an ending that left me satisfied and yet frothing at the mouth for more. Write faster Rachel Vincent.
I could keep going with superlatives ... or you could just take my word for it and read it. Menagerie is a favourite read this year. It might even be THE book of the year!...more
My first time reading Fiona Palmer, surprising, since I'm actually familiar with a few of her titles. Anyway, not only was this a delightful rural romMy first time reading Fiona Palmer, surprising, since I'm actually familiar with a few of her titles. Anyway, not only was this a delightful rural romance with wonderfully endearing characters, The Saddler Boys has substance, highlighting topical issues of domestic violence, single parenting, rural school closures and small town viability.
Set in the actual town of Lake Biddy in Western Australia, 22 year old Nat leaves her family and boyfriend Greg in Perth to take up her first teacher's posting at the small country school. While unfamiliar with remote rural life, she's enthusiastic, genuine about embracing the experience and she's warmly welcomed by the locals ...
None more so than 8 year old student Billy who blossoms under Nat's instruction and compassionate nature. My heart melted at the first mention of little Billy and when we learn of his Nana's death from metastatic melanoma, I was undone. My boys had a beautiful bond with their Nana who died from Melanoma 7 years ago.
Palmer's passion for the rural landscape is vivid on the page, farming, shearing, seeding, P&C fundraisers, the genuine sense of community, neighbourly generosity and compassion. I loved that almost as much as I loved the bond developing between Nat and the Saddler boys, Billy and hardworking single dad, Drew. The Saddler boys, big and little won my heart!
Family, friendship, love and community with a thoroughly authentic Australian flavour. ...more
I love psychological thrillers but I did begin this one tentatively. Whilst it's fiction, any child-related crime adds a depth of reality that is hardI love psychological thrillers but I did begin this one tentatively. Whilst it's fiction, any child-related crime adds a depth of reality that is hard to cope with. Child abductions scare me to death and when 8 year old Ben Jenner goes missing, Rachel Jenner faces every parents' nightmare.
'In the quiet, my eyes followed the lines of the surrounding tree trucks upwards until I glimpsed the sky above, and I could feel darkness starting to push in as surely as fire creeps across a piece of paper, curling its edges, turning it to ash.
In that moment, I knew that Ben wasn’t there.'
Yes this was a special kind of hell to read but it was also riveting and bloody brilliant. I'm astounded it's Gilly Macmillan's debut novel.
The main narrative focuses on Rachel Jenner's recollection of her son's disappearance and investigating Detective Jim Clemo's, reports and sessions with his treating psychologist. But the narrative is supplemented with transcripts from social media posts, online newspapers, journal articles and missing children websites. It's an unusual mix and it really works.
Burnt Paper Sky is a highly emotive read, and not just for the obvious impact of a missing child but the 'trial by media'. The vilification heaped on Rachel by the media and public was appalling. Every facial expression, phrase, action, scrutinised and judged with ignorance and maliciousness.
Burnt Paper Sky is wonderfully layered. Tight, pacy and smart and OMG the tension, it kept me guessing. I read this in one sitting desperate to know what happened. Make sure you lock the door and start this one with a chunk of free time because you won't want to put it down and you'll want to hurt anyone that interrupts.
A heart-in-mouth read ... start to finish.
Gilly Macmillan is an author to watch out for and I'll be standing in line for whatever she dishes up next.
Note: this will be released in the US as What She Knew. ...more
I loved Outback Midwife. As a former nurse I'm drawn to nursing and midwifery stories, and not only is Beth's memoir an entertaining read wit4.5 stars
I loved Outback Midwife. As a former nurse I'm drawn to nursing and midwifery stories, and not only is Beth's memoir an entertaining read with humorous and heartbreaking anecdotes but with 40 years experience as a midwife, it's like getting the history of midwifery in Australia without the dry history lesson.
Beth's nursing training, the slow changes to prenatal care, birth and neonatal practices over the years made me both giggle and cringe in acknowledgement. I also identified with the tragic loss of her baby daughter at 26 weeks, it echoed how little had changed when my own baby died.
I loved reading about her time in remote aboriginal communities, especially Beth's last posting to Maningrida in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. We lived in Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory for 5 years and briefly visited Maningrida so Beth's time there brought back memories ...
The cultural differences, respect for ancestors and aboriginal family structures, friendships formed out of acceptance and respect. Beth was accepted by the community, included in "women's business" and learnt as much as she taught.
Remote area nurses provide life-altering and often life-saving care in isolated and challenging conditions, their experience is invaluable but you can feel reading this that Beth feels the privilege is all hers, she is passionate, candid and humble.
Beth completed her contract in Maningrida in June 2015, returned home to Wodonga planning to spend time with family and enjoy her grandchildren and she is now looking for her next adventure.
Caroline Lee is a one of my favourite narrators ... brilliant in The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty and The Lake House by Kate Morton. And her narration in Outback Midwife is just as compelling.
I jumped on the Colleen Hoover bandwagon just last year and 3 books in I'll happily say I'm a CoHo fan. November 9 has that unmistakable Colleen HooveI jumped on the Colleen Hoover bandwagon just last year and 3 books in I'll happily say I'm a CoHo fan. November 9 has that unmistakable Colleen Hoover stamp ...
Maybe Someday had music, Confess had artwork and in November 9 the point of difference is the uniqueness of the story ... Fallon and Ben meet in unusual circumstances and continue to meet up each year on the same date; with absolutely no contact outside of that date.
What a wonderful mix of sweet, angsty, funny, heart-achy messiness. And that twist; did not see that coming. I don't have a problem with tragic pasts in fiction, I'm someone whose real-life past reads like a soap opera ... so November 9 #gotmerightinthefeels
I loved the bookie references, tongue-in-cheek, clever, funny but there were still things that bothered me (that note from Ben's mother was a biggie) and a couple of throw-up-in-my-mouth lines.
"Baby," he says, his lips forming a smile. "You already made this the best sex I've had and I'm not even inside you yet."
November 9 was not issue-free (for me) and yet here I am loving on it ...
Colleen Hoover's writing is just so darn addictive!!
This was my first Barbara Hannay read. What rock have I been living under?? ... I have no idea why Hannay hasn't come to my attention before 4.5 stars
This was my first Barbara Hannay read. What rock have I been living under?? ... I have no idea why Hannay hasn't come to my attention before now but I've been missing out.
The Secret Years is a multi-generational story blending contemporary and historical narratives into an utterly captivating read.
It's a story where the past bleeds into the present, the effect of long held secrets rippling through generations.
Lucy returns home to Australia from a 6 month deployment in Afghanistan. Her mother and beloved grandfather Harry's reticence in talking about the past, then her discovery of a tin of her grandfather's wartime memorabilia, impetus for heading to Cornwall, England to unravel the secrets of her family's history.
Harry and George's (Georgina) story (the historical narrative) was my favourite, it's tender and brave and the war added tension and urgency to their romance. But, I was surprised to enjoy Lucy and 'cousin' Nick's story almost as much. Lucy's search for answers is integral in pulling all the pieces of the story together.
The Secret Years has a wonderful sense of place, whether it was the harsh beauty and isolation of the Australian bush, London during the Blitz, the dramatic beauty of the Cornish coastline or the lush beauty, humidity and danger of Rabaul, New Guinea during the Japanese invasion, I was transported effortlessly and completely immersed.
The Secret Years is an evocative story of great love, loss and secrets. Family history gives us a strong sense of identity so the story is also a journey of self discovery. Hannay breathes life and love into the pages.
One of the benefits of discovering an author late is an extensive backlist to devour :)...more
Ooh I loved this ... falling in love with a cover paid off this time.
Why I loved it? ... just because. Does that cut it? It's a story that spoke to meOoh I loved this ... falling in love with a cover paid off this time.
Why I loved it? ... just because. Does that cut it? It's a story that spoke to me for no one reason I can put my finger on ... it just did.
... "there is something delightful about helping a key find its way back to a lock, so it can do the work it was meant for. "
"Are you going to let yourself be defeated by a little lock? Remember Genevieve: Love laughs at locksmiths! Trust your old uncle."
The story moves seamlessly from Genevieve in the present day to her time in Paris as a teenager staying with uncle Dave and tante Pasquale, to her mother Angela's bittersweet time in Paris. I was captivated by it all.
I loved the symbolism ... secrets, locks ... opening your heart to new experiences, life and love.
All the talk about boulangerie's, baguette's, pain au chocolat had me longing once more for Paris.
The story felt like Paris ... that beguiling mix of old fashioned values and sophistication, lingering over conversations, good food and wine, enjoying simple pleasures.
Walking in Paris with Genevieve felt intimate, discovering along with her, places I've visited and some I'm adding to the bucket list ... Village Saint-Paul, Montparnasse cemetry, Le Pont Traversé (the old butcher's bookshop.) I loved her interactions in Paris, her struggles with French bureaucracy and efforts to learn the language.
I adored Genevieve's Parisian friend Sylviane. I could read a book about her ... how 'bout it Juliet?
The Paris Key is a story about secrets, family, friends and discovering one's true self ... in Paris.
It must be a daunting task to follow on from the success of a first novel like The Language of Flowers (which I adored beyond words.) Blood,4.5 stars
It must be a daunting task to follow on from the success of a first novel like The Language of Flowers (which I adored beyond words.) Blood, sweat and tears were obviously poured into this story, you can feel it. Wings may not have quite the same charm as flowers but it's quirky with Diffenbaugh's trademark beautiful prose and take, on timely social issues. I couldn't put it down.
When Letty's undocumented parents abruptly return to Mexico, 33 year old Letty Espinosa finally steps up to 'mother' her 15 year old son Alex, and 6 year old Luna, a precocious child who would have even the Mother-Theresa-of-mothers, tearing her hair out.
The story alternates between Letty's perspective and Alex's. I cared about all the characters. The burden of responsibility on Alex's young shoulders made my heart ache. Letty isn't an easy character to like, she's hardened with a long history of poor choices and when those poor choices involved her children, I really didn't think I'd connect with her. But Diffenbaugh writes flawed characters with truth and compassion ... I was drawn in, I began to understand and empathise rather than judge. And then I cheered as she chose a new path and made changes.
"Migrating birds reorient themselves at sunset. The exact reason is unknown, but at twilight, just when the sun drops beyond the horizon line, birds flying in the wrong direction correct their paths all at once."
I liked the parallel between migrating birds and people correcting mistakes and their paths. And I loved the science and memory in feathers (who'd have thought) ... being a little cryptic here as you just have to read this yourself.
We Never Asked For Wings highlights not only the struggles for undocumented immigrants but the differences between the haves and the have-nots, poverty, education and housing opportunities, bullying. But, it also illustrates the innate goodness of people, the kind of goodness that restores your faith and ignites that little spark of hope.
It's a story about family and choices and finding your true place. Mistakes don't have to define you. Choosing a new path takes courage but brings hope for a different future.
“'I love it,' Letty said, kissing Luna's cherry lips and wondering how a half-eaten lollipop could somehow taste like a reason to stay.”
I think the ending would have benefited from a few more pages but I'm seriously crushing on Vanessa Diffenbaugh's writing. ...more
HOLY guacamole this was BRILLIANT, a 2015 favourite read. It's intelligent, edgy and tight ... the very best kind of psychological thriller. Even theHOLY guacamole this was BRILLIANT, a 2015 favourite read. It's intelligent, edgy and tight ... the very best kind of psychological thriller. Even the title and cover art is creepy good.
Tessa is the only surviving victim of the Black-Eyed Susans serial killer. The story moves seamlessly between past and present, teenage Tessie and adult Tessa almost 2 decades on, with a teenage daughter of her own.
Tessa's fragmented memories and growing desperation added wings to my own anxiety and as the murderer's execution loomed the sense of urgency grew. Was he wrongfully convicted?
Black-Eyed Susans had my skin crawling with dread, there's no graphic violence but the suspense almost killed me. My thoughts were jumping as erratically as my heart. So true about the sense of smell and memories. Such visceral reactions to Heaberlin's writing ... LOVE that.
I had my suspicions and I was correct (to a point) but the author's skill with misdirection. Wow, talk about amping the suspense. I was all over the place.
What more could you ask for? ... superb characterisation, gorgeous writing, the forensic science/DNA, psychological and legal aspect all fascinating, obviously well researched and executed brilliantly.
I'd laughed, something close to the way I used to, and imagined it drifting out under the bedroom door, smoothing out a tight wrinkle in my father's face.
Not just right book, right time but the perfect feel-good read for one of those not-feeling-so-good days. Which is kind of weird b4.5 stars loved it!!
Not just right book, right time but the perfect feel-good read for one of those not-feeling-so-good days. Which is kind of weird because this isn't a fluffy romance or even just a hot romantic romp, although it is hot. This romance has issues and I love issues.
And I read it in one sitting, which if you've been reading my blog lately you'll know how not-like-me that is ... Racing the Sun kicked my snail's pace to the curb. It was heat and heart and I loved it.
I suddenly remember where I am. Sad lemon house. Capri. New job. Traumatized twins. Hot mysterious Italian boss.
Sums it up well.
The breeze wafts in from the sea and carries the scent of fresh herbs and bracing salt and lemons, the way I imagine sunshine should smell.
When July slides into August like a hot greasy egg sliding off a frying pan, Capri becomes its most unbearable.
The descriptions of the Amalfi coast, Positano, Naples, Capri and the Villa dei Limoni Tristi had me dying for my own slice of Italy ... I settled for pizza. At least it was real Italian pizza :)
I loved Amber, she's adventurous and brave and she tells it like it is.
Somehow, and I don't know how, because that banana hammock is just begging for people to stare, I manage to tear my eyes away from him just as he looks up.
I turn around, about to ask Derio and his penis whether this is the place to go in the water, but he strides to the edge of the water and does a perfect swan dive off.
HA banana hammock :) Guys in Australia mostly wear boardies. Speedos (budgie smugglers) are so not cool. Unless you're a surf life saver or Derio.
The only thing I didn't love ... Amber's disparaging comments about her body. I hang there like a fat orangatan... sheesh really? luckily when things heat up with Derio, she gets over herself quick enough.
"Did you feel anything?" "No," he murmurs. "I felt everything."
Racing the Sun will have you fang-ing for Italian food. Hey, if you're not single, putting it out there that you want your very own hot Italian guy is just not on. So. Food it is.
Ciao. My bags are packed, I'm ready for Italy.
... Ok I'm off to plan my pinterest holiday.
Alrighty ... I'm heading to the Italian restaurant at the end of our street. ...more