Book Review: Listen to the Farm & Listen to the Music by Marion Billet

My love of reading is something I want to share with my daughter and at now three months old she’s starting to show some interest in books. These board books were sent out by Allen and Unwin for review.

9780857635624.jpgListen to the Farm by Marion Billet

Board book

Review copy provided by publisher

Allen & Unwin, November 2015

Review- Living across the street from a paddock of cows, this book was perfect for our family! There’s a different farm animal on each page with an accompanying sound which is brought to life at the press of a button. Neroli has already started to show interest in the pictures and sounds of this book and she’s not quite three months old yet. I can’t wait until she can actually reach out and press the buttons herself! We look through this book regularly and I’m sure it’s something she can use into toddlerhood.

Available for purchase online @ Fishpond
9780857635631.jpgListen to the Music by Marion Billet

Board book

Review copy provided by publisher

Allen & Unwin, November 2015

Review- Another great picture book with accompanying sounds, this time a musical theme. With Neroli starting to recognise tunes and bounce to music, this is a book that will become more and more relateable as she grows.

Available for purchase online @ Fishpond

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Aussie Book Review: The Saddler Boys by Fiona Palmer

The Saddler BoysThe Saddler Boys by Fiona Palmer

Paperback

Review copy provided by publisher

Penguin Random House, September 2015

Synopsis- Schoolteacher Natalie has always been a city girl. She has a handsome boyfriend and a family who give her only the best. But she craves her own space, and her own classroom, before settling down into the life she is expected to lead.

When Nat takes up a posting at a tiny school in remote Western Australia, it proves quite the culture shock, but she is soon welcomed by the swarm of inquisitive locals, particularly young student Billy and his intriguing single father, Drew.

As Nat’s school comes under threat of closure, and Billy’s estranged mother turns up out of the blue, Nat finds herself fighting for the township and battling with her heart. Torn between her life in Perth and the new community that needs her, Nat must risk losing it all to find out what she’s really made of – and where she truly belongs.

Review- This will be another short and sweet review as I read it in the week leading up to my daughter’s birth and life has been busy, busy, busy since then! I love Palmer’s rural romance novels as they are easy to read, have well-developed characters and a great Aussie setting. The Saddler Boys is no exception, set in an outback town in South Australia with an interesting hero and heroine love story.

Nat is a schoolteacher from the city who takes up a posting at the small town school as her last attempt at independence before she marries her fiance and starts a family. The locals aren’t put off by her smart attire or feminine presence and welcome her into the town; even trying to convince her to stay on at the end of the year. Nat falls in love with the town, her students and it’s not long before her engagement is tested when she develops feelings for little Billy’s father Drew Saddler. Their strong friendship is tested on many levels and Nat struggles to come to terms with the direction of her life- what was expected of her and what she truly wanted. The story is set against a backdrop of small town politics, poor resources and a fight to keep the local school running. Nat is a strong female character and I really enjoyed reading this book. Bring on more Palmer novels!

Overall Rating

 

4/5

“I loved this book!”

 

The Saddler Boys can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers

This book was read as part of the AWW2015 challenge:

Book #18 reviewed

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Book Review: The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz

The Girl in the Spider's Web (Millennium, #4)The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz

Paperback

Review copy provided by publisher

Hachette, August 2015

Synopsis- She is the girl with the dragon tattoo. Lisbeth Salander. An uncompromising misfit whose burning sense of injustice and talent for investigation will never respect boundaries of state or status.

He is a campaigning journalist. Mikael Blomkvist. A lone wolf whose integrity and championing of the truth bring him time and again to the brink of unemployment – and prosecution.

The call comes in late at night: a superhacker has gained access to critical, top secret U.S. intelligence.

Blomkvist knows only one person who could crack the best security systems in the world. This case has all the hallmarks of Salander. She is accused of acting without reason, taking risks just because she can, but though they have lost touch, Blomkvist knows Lisbeth better than that.

There must be something deeper at the heart of this – maybe even the scoop that Millennium magazine so desperately needs for its survival.

A tangled web of truth that someone is prepared to kill to protect . . .

Review- This review is well overdue as I read this book back in early September just before the birth of my daughter. I’ll be claiming ‘baby brain’ for the reason this review will be so short and sweet!

First I’ll start by saying, like many Larsson fans I was a little wary of the Millenium series continuation with a new author. Thankfully, I really liked Lagercrantz’s writing style and I feel he did do the characters justice without trying to copy the original’s author’s style. There was also a lot less information dumping and tedious descriptions than the Millenium trilogy which was a big relief! I seriously don’t care how long Lisbeth takes in the shower or what she buys at the supermarket!

The Girl in the Spider’s Web is very technology and computer focused which to be honest went over my head at times, despite the great detail included to explain to the lay reader. Regardless, it allowed Lisbeth’s true talents to shine; hacking! I won’t go into the plot, because I don’t remember it all but there are a lot of characters who somehow all manage to be linked to the murder of the Swedish Professor. Blomkvist gets on the case and we see far more of him in this novel than Lisbeth, which didn’t bother me too much.

Admittedly, it did take a good 100 pages for me to really get into the story, but once I got going I was propelled forward to find out what would happen next. If more books are released in this series by Lagercrantz then I’d definitely pick up a copy!

Overall Rating

4/5

“I loved this book!”

 

The Girl in the Spider’s Web can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers

 

 

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Getting back into the reading zone with a newborn baby

So, my little Neroli is almost three months old and the time has just flown by. I can’t stop looking at my little cutie!

IMG_7146

My prolonged blog hiatus was becoming a little daunting… when on earth was I going to read a book, let alone write a review?! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been doing plenty of reading… they just happen to be children’s board books and nursery rhymes.

My review books have been sitting idly on my shelves just waiting for me delve into some adult stories. This week I took the plunge and sat down with a cup of tea and Karly Lane’s Tallowood Bound. I’m a third of the way in, so I’m really putting up this post to ensure I follow through with writing a review!

I’ll also be putting up brief reviews for a couple of books read just before my daughter’s arrival that I didn’t get around to writing; The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz and The Saddler Boys by Fiona Palmer.

I’ll check back in soon, but I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and Happy New Year xo

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It’s a girl!

How time flies! 25 days ago, we welcomed into the world our baby girl, Neroli.

What a whirlwind it has been since her arrival; lots of sleepless nights (as expected!) but also plenty of milk drunk cuddles and cheeky smiles.

IMG_6211I haven’t picked up a book or written any reviews in the past few weeks, but I did get around to drawing the winner for my Etsy bookmark giveaway. Random.org was used to randomly choose the winner from the blog comments.

The winner, Alina from Romania has been contacted via email.

If you’re interested in hand typed bookish gifts, then please pop by my Etsy store and check out my listings. I’m also supporting the #makeforgood campaign, a project powered by Australian Etsy sellers and in support of Plan International’s Because I Am A Girl campaign. 20% of the sale price of my hand typed Anne of Green Gables bookmark will be donated to Plan’s Because I Am A Girl Campaign. All funds raised will go towards supporting projects that help promote the equal rights of all children, helping lift girls around the world – and their entire communities – out of poverty. To learn more about this project go to etsy.me/makeforgood.

#makeforgood

I’ll be on a brief hiatus, but I do hope to tackle a couple of those overdue reviews in the coming weeks and post them here.

xx

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Pregnancy Update and Hand Typed Bookmark Giveaway (ends Sep 21st)

So it’s been some time since I chatted about anything but books on my blog, and even that has been rather sparse! Though I have been reading a steady stream of books, I have only reviewed a small portion of them.

With my pregnancy progressing well and an inevitable ‘blog hiatus’ on the horizon I thought it was about time I checked in. I have just under 2 weeks until my due date and I’m excitedly anticipating the arrival of our little bundle of joy… and keen to find out what everyone else seems to want to know…

is it a girl or a boy?!

Enjoying a Boost Juice at 38 weeks

I’ve enjoyed the banter that goes on when people inspect my belly and give me a very certain prediction of our baby’s sex.  So, I thought why not incorporate the guessing game into a long overdue blog giveaway!

It’s also a good opportunity to “show off” my expanding Etsy store, Bookish Gifts which features a beautiful range of literary quotes and poems hand typed with my c1960’s Remington vintage typewriter. I’ll be giving away ONE hand typed bookmark with a bookish quote (of winner’s choice) from my store.

collage

Bookmark quotes to choose from:

To enter:

1/ Like my Facebook page: Bookish Gifts and share it with your friends.

2/ Leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post with your name, country and preferred bookmark quotes.

Also ensure you list your email when you register your comment so you don’t have to list it publicly in the actual comments field- this is how I will contact you!

3/ And just for fun… have a guess! Boy or Girl?

Oh and if you haven’t already I’d also love you to stop by and like my blog FB page for The Australian Bookshelf.

T&C’s

This is an international giveaway.

The winner will be contacted via email (listed in the comment you leave) and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is selected. If my baby arrives early… there may be a slight delay in making initial contact with the winner!

Giveaway ends on Monday September 21st at 5pm. (Sydney time).

Good luck!

Bookish Gifts @ Etsy

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Aussie Book Review: The Secret Years by Barbara Hannay

The Secret Years The Secret Years by Barbara Hannay

Paperback

Review copy provided by publisher

Penguin Random House, August 2015

 Synopsis- When Lucy Hunter stumbles upon her grandfather Harry’s World War II memorabilia, she finds a faded photograph of a stunning young woman known simply as ‘George’ and a series of heartfelt letters. They are clues about the secret years, a period of Lucy’s family history that has been kept a mystery . . . until now.

How did a cattleman from north Queensland find forbidden love with the Honourable Georgina Lenton of London and persuade her to move to his isolated outback property? And why are the effects of this encounter still reverberating in the lives of Lucy and her mother, Rose, now?

As the passions of the past trickle down the years, three generations of one family pull together. Each must learn in their own way how true love can conquer the greatest challenges of all.

From the wild beauty of the Australian bush to England’s rugged south coast, this is a deeply moving story of heartbreak, heroism and homecoming by a beloved, multi-award-winning author.

Review- This is the first Hannay novel I’ve read that doesn’t fit neatly into the ‘romance’ genre and I really enjoyed it. The Secret Years is set across two eras; World War II and then modern-day Australia, and spans three generations of secrets, romance and heartbreak.

In 1939, George Lenton  (aka the Honourable Georgina Lenton of London) joins the Army Service Corps in England and falls in love with an Australian soldier who lives on a north Queensland cattle farm. From England to New Guinea to Australia, their romance is complicated, dangerous and thrilling.

In modern-day Australia Lucy Hunter has just arrived home from a deployment to Afghanistan and intends to set a wedding date with her fiance Sam. Her first day back on home soil doesn’t quite go to plan and she finds herself no longer engaged and setting off to England to trace her family history. With only a few letters and her grandfather Harry’s medals to go off, she hopes to unearth the tension between her mother Rose and Harry and the secrets that undermine the family’s connectedness.

I felt some trepidation when I began this book as I felt that Lucy’s voice felt a little ‘old world’ and not quite congruent with a young woman in modern-day Australia who worked for the Army (though I was trying not to be influenced by stereotypes!). But I did really warm to her and it wasn’t until she heads off to England (and in parallel George goes to New Guinea) did I become completely engrossed in the story. The suspense picked up, the gaps began to be filled and the romance stepped up. I struggled to put this book down and when I did, the characters remained on my mind. It’s one of the few books I’ve read that sweeps across to eras where I’ve felt emotionally invested in all the characters rather than just aligning myself with one.

I’d highly recommend this one!

Overall Rating

5/5

“Highly Recommended!”

The Secret Years can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers

This book was read as part of the AWW2015 challenge:

Book #17 reviewed

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