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4 Stars

To The Sea – Christine Dibley

To The Sea – Christine Dibley

To The Sea

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I am constantly impressed with the new Aussie authors that are emerging! What a bunch of talent we have here!

This book was delightful! What captured me the instant I saw it, is the beautiful cover. It really captures the essence of the story. I quickly became engrossed in the beautiful saga of this family, and its interesting and perhaps magical history.

A teenager named Zoe has been reported missing, most likely drowned off the coast of Tasmania. Tony is the lead investigator in her disappearance and realises right from the start that there is something strange about the family that lives in the beautiful house by the sea. While investigating Zoe’s life, Tony is swept into the stories of the history of the family, from hundreds of years ago, up until now. And some of it is a bit beyond belief. Will he be able to find Zoe? Is she really dead, or is there something extraordinary happening?

The story is told from four perspectives. Tony, the investigator carries the weight of the plot in his search for the missing girl. Zoe’s aunt Sadie and her parents John and Eva have the remaining narratives, and fill in the story with important history, leading certain things to come together, and others that create even more mystery.

The writing of this novel is absolutely beautiful. It didn’t take me long at all to get engrossed in the story and just when I was getting into a nice groove, the tales within the story BLEW ME AWAY. I was utterly captivated by the stories of love, loss, betrayal and sacrifice. And the romance! There were a few romances weaved into the story and they were all sweet, one especially. However, with so many back stories I sometimes became confused with who was who and where I was in the story. I think this is my issue more than the writing though, I am a very fast reader, and I have baby brain! I’m not surprised I got a bit lost – I am surprised I can remember my name most days at the moment!

My only other criticism was the ending. It just didn’t do it for me. It was good, and I got it, I really did. But personally I didn’t find it ultimately satisfying. However, it didn’t diminish the rest of the story for me at all!

Would I recommend To The Sea?

Absolutely. If my ramblings have even remotely sparked your interest, then I have no doubt you will enjoy it. Definitely worth reading!

Many thanks to the author via Pan Macmillan for a copy of To The Sea to read in exchange for an honest review.

PURCHASE:

Pan Macmillan | Kindle AU | Kindle US


If you enjoy To The Sea, you may enjoy:

The First Lie

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Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

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4 Stars (4 / 5)

Ok, there is a lot of hype surrounding this one. I was a bit out of the loop as I hadn’t read any of Bardugo’s previous Grisha books, although the first one, “Shadow and Bone” has been on my to read list for a long time.

Set in a fantasy world where a certain race of people called the Grisha have magical powers, Six of Crows is pretty much the story of a heist. Six people come together through Kax Brekker, the leader of a criminal gang, to perform a somewhat impossible caper. A lot of action, adventure and romance follows. I have heard it time and again compared to “oceans 11 meets game of thrones”, which is almost right… Except it didn’t quite have the game of thrones vibe for me. It did have the entertaining one though.

I must admit that for the most part, the hype is warranted. The characters are fantastic. All their backstories are superb, and I found them all to be extremely likeable. The humour was fabulous, the story was exceptionally well done and I did thoroughly enjoy it.

However I did have one major problem with it though. I haven’t heard many other people complain about this, so it may just be me: But how the hell can these characters be so young??? I cannot for the life of me bring myself to believe that Kaz, Inej and the rest of the characters are TEENAGERS! Especially Kaz… It just ruined the whole atmosphere for me, the things that they said and did just didn’t meet with their ages, no matter how much they had been made to mature quickly in their extremely hard lives. If I pretended that they were adults, at LEAST in their 20’s, the story was much more enjoyable for me. Of course I have nothing against teenagers, or the young adult genre. I quite like young adult. But this didn’t feel young adult to me. Also, I listened to the audio version and the narrators reading the story were obviously older, which that added to my dissonance about this. When they were talking about how they were teenagers merely 16 years old, I just kept going “NOPE, NOPE, NOPE! There is just NO WAY!!”.

Other than this major hurdle which I had to keep pretending was not written into the story, I thought it was great. It certainly did have that “Oceans 11” vibe, and I really loved the way all the twists and turns were written. very clever indeed! The only other thing that lowered the rating for me, was it had a bit of a slow start. It took me a good 5 hours to start to get into this book. And 5 hours of an audiobook is longer than I usually get if I’m not getting into it. But thankfully I persevered and it got SO MUCH BETTER! It was just a bit hard to follow all the characters and get into the world at the start. I’m not sure if I should have read the first series before attempting this one to get a better feel for it, but I got there in the end.

I love audio books with different narrators, but holy moly! 6 NARRATORS!??? It took me a while to get used to the voices and figure out what was going on, but it surprisingly worked.

Would I recommend Six of Crows?

Yes for sure! See if imagining the characters as a bit older makes it better for you?? I have the next one on audible ready to go! Might just jump straight in!

I purchased Six of Crows from audible.com at my own expense.


If you enjoy Six of Crows, you may enjoy:

Artificial   Vanquished   Dawn of Wonder

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Starflight – Melissa Landers

Starflight – Melissa Landers

Starflight

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Oh this book was SO MUCH FUN! I know in a lot of reviews for this book they compare it to Firefly, and I hate to jump on the bandwagon, but it is definitely like the YA version of Firefly. It does have a lot of similarities, however I found it original enough to not care at all! Just so much fun!

Solara is looking for a new life on the outer realm. She has a piece of land with her name on it. She just has to get there. She must indenture herself to a wealthy traveller in order to pay for the 5 month passage. When her old school nemesis Dorin is the only one to offer her passage in exchange for her servitude – she RELUCTANTLY accepts. And when they find themselves stranded, the only opportunity they have to get there is to jump aboard the Banshee, a run down, ugly ship with an interesting and hilarious crew who have a lot of secrets.

I loved all the characters, they were all so funny and entertaining. And I ADORED the banter between Solaris and Dorin. A slow burning romance that was worth EVERY TORTUROUS SECOND!

I loved the bad guys, I loved the action and the story. I loved it all!

I listened to the audio book which was narrated by Amanda Dolan and I thought she was FANTASTIC! My main problem with a lot of female narrators I have listened to (sorry to be sexist), is their portrayal of male characters. So many times I have commented that they sound all the same and totally robotic and annoying. Not in this one my friends, Dolan does a great job making all the characters unique, and of course the writing helps with that too. I didn’t get annoyed once at the portrayal ANY character, and that is saying something. Superb!

Would I recommend Starflight?

Yes, if you are a sci-fi fan with an addiction to the TV show Firefly like myself, you will absolutely enjoy this. If you haven’t seen Firefly, if you area a fan of sarcastic humour, light-hearted comedy and space-action, with a splash of romance, give it a go!

I purchased the audio version of Starflight from audible.com at my own expense.

PURCHASE:

AUDIBLE | Booktopia AU | Book Depository


If you enjoy Starflight, you may enjoy:

Zero World   Fortune's Pawn

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The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Yes, this is a book for book-lovers! If I see that phrase in one more review of this one I think I’m going to scream! So just to be fun, I decided to LISTEN to this book on audio (because I’m a rebel like that… and I had severe morning sickness which rendered me unable to read 3 lines in a book without puking for over three months). It wasn’t the 5 screaming stars that I was almost expecting from reading some of my friends reviews, but I did like it a lot.

Our story begins when Margaret Lea, a biographer, is sent a letter from one of the most famous authors in Britain, Vida Winter. She is dying and wants Margaret to write her life story. Confused, as Margaret usually only writes biographies of long dead people, and also because Ms Winter is well known for her secrecy, Margaret decides to travel to Ms Winters estate and talk with her. Of course she agrees to write the book, and thus the tale of Vida Winter beings.

And it is quite a tale. Twists and turns and more twists and some more turns, and then a MASSIVE twist which I never saw coming. But when it did come, it was a little bit too unbelievable for me. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t stop the story from being fabulous, but it was just a little bit much.

I found the story of the girls at Angelfield so fascinating. What a life! I really enjoyed the gothic atmosphere and all the drama.

I thought Margaret’s obsession with her dead sister was extremely well written and quite unnerving. It keep the tone of the novel quite brooding and dark.

I didn’t mind the shifts back and forth in time, and enjoyed the somewhat slow unravel of the truth.

The audio version was really well done. I love when audiobooks have more than one narrator. It really helps keep the characters separate, which I believe is really important. Often when listening to audiobooks, I can get a bit lost if the narrator is a monotone and is reading all the characters in a similar voice. Different actors really enhances my listening experience! And the two women in this one were fantastic. They really differentiated the characters completely and made it extremely easy to follow.

Would I recommend The Thirteenth Tale?

Yes, it was well worth reading. A touch slow in parts but overall it was a gripping novel with lots of twists and turns and sometimes had unnerving subject matter.

I read The Thirteenth Tale with a local book club, purchased on audible at my own expense.

PURCHASE:

AMAZON | AMAZON AU |Book depository | AUDIO


If you enjoy The Thirteenth Tale, you may enjoy:

The Muse

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Ready or Not… Out I Come! – Raechel Bull

Ready or Not… Out I Come! – Raechel Bull

Ready or not... Out I come

4 Stars (4 / 5)

So I’m finally back after an excruciatingly long absence from reading. Not by choice mind you… some extremely horrific pregnancy complications have meant that for over three months now, I have been unable to read a book, newspaper or even scroll down the screen of my phone without becoming violently ill. Only now, almost halfway through the pregnancy, am I able to read without needing my head in a bucket.

So I thought it was an extremely fitting way to get back into the swing of reviewing, by giving my thoughts on the last book I read before the vomiting started, which coincidently happened to be a book on pregnancy, birth and motherhood called ‘Ready or Not, out I come.’

I really liked this book. It is a mothers account of the struggles of getting pregnant, miscarriage, pregnancy, birth, and becoming a mum.

The author incorporates not only the her own story, but also stories from numerous other people who have gone through similar things. These different perspectives were extremely interesting and I found myself adding my own in my head.

I enjoyed the different subjects and chapters on things like conception, miscarriage, and premature birth.

My only criticism would be that even though it had a lot of different perspectives and information, I still felt like it could have gone deeper. Although, having said that I did enjoy the lightness of it. There are just so many horror stories out there and to hit the points on the more depressing subjects – without making a depressing book – is an achievement.

Would I recommend Ready or Not… Out I Come!?

Yes, any woman or couple struggling to conceive, anyone who has suffered the pain of a miscarriage, or any new mum or mum-to-be would appreciate this book and find it very helpful, and at times inspirational. It was an extremely quick and easy read which is a big plus – especially if you are time poor.

A massive thanks to author Raechel Bull for a copy of this book for me to review. I am SO SORRY it has taken me so long! I TOTALLY owe you a coffee!

PURCHASE:

AMAZON | AMAZON AU


If you enjoy Ready or Not… Out I Come! You may enjoy:

Mindfulness for Mothers   Maternity Leave

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Truly Madly Guilty – Liane Moriarty

Truly Madly Guilty – Liane Moriarty

Truly Madly Guilty

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Alright, before I begin my review of this book I need to admit something. A secret shame. This is my very first Liane Moriarty book! Yes I know, I know! I can hear you SHARPLY GASP! Her books seem right up my alley, how could I have not read Big Little Lies, or The Husband’s Secret? “SHAME ON YOU MELISSA!” I hear you yell! “She is one of Australia’s most loved authors!!” I have heard such good things, but guiltily have never had the chance or inclination to read them before. However, this means that I came into reading Truly Madly Guilty with an unbiased perspective, and will hopefully give you a run down about what I liked and didn’t like about it as a Moriarty novice!

Something happened at the BBQ that day. Clementine didn’t even want to go, and a major life-changing event occurred. Something that will change all of their lives. This is the story of three marriages, friendship, and the fateful events of one seemingly ordinary afternoon that will become extraordinary in their memories.

Now, if you are after a light, feel good read then look elsewhere. This story is gritty, raw and deep.

Moriarty creates an amazingly charged atmosphere in the first half of the book without actually revealing what happened at the BBQ! I found this SO FRUSTRATING! But not in a bad way! I was DESPERATE to know what happened. So desperate that when it did happen I felt slightly let down, as it went in a different direction than I was expecting. But I assume that’s the point.

I enjoyed the way it switched back and forth in time and from each different characters perspective. It was an extremely character driven novel which I can only assume is a Moriarty trademark by reading reviews of her other work. It was done masterfully. Each character was so inherently unique and imperfect. I was quickly sucked into their lives and relationships.

It touched on SO MANY themes! Friendship, love, lust, family, parenting, childlessness, IVF, marriage, and mental illness just to name a few. However, with so much going on I found it dragged on a little bit for me. I was willing it at times to just get to the BBQ. However once it did get to the BBQ, I found the pace improved, even if it went in a direction I was not entirely anticipating. And there were a few excellent twists that I never saw coming, and that’s always a big plus for me!

Would I recommend Truly Madly Guilty?

Absolutely worth the read! I will be definitely checking out her other books! I can’t believe I have waited so long!

Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for a pre release copy of Truly Madly Guilty in exchange for my honest review.

Truly Madly Guilty will be released on the 20th July.

Add to goodreads

PURCHASE:

Pan Macmillan | AMAZON AU | AMAZON

It will also be available at all good bookstores.


If you enjoy Truly Madly Guilty, you may enjoy:

Running Against The Tide   Like I Can Love   Beside Myself

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The Muse – Jessie Burton

The Muse – Jessie Burton

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4 Stars (4 / 5)

I must have been living under a rock for the last few years. I had never heard of Jessie Burton or her first, immensely popular novel “The Miniaturist”, before The Muse came into my radar.  I don’t tend to read much historical fiction, so perhaps that is why it was lost on me. There has been a lot of hype surrounding this book because of the former, and I got to ignore all of that and come at my review with fresh eyes and a fresh perspective.

The Muse is set in two time frames; In the 1960’s, Odelle moves from Trinidad to London to pursue her dream of being a writer. She gets a job typing at an art gallery, working for an eccentric woman known as Quick. When she meets a man who possesses an unusual and haunting painting, she delves into the mystery of where the painting came from, who the painter was, and what happened to him. Back in time to 1936, Olive and her parents move to Spain where she becomes enamoured with a local young man Issac, who is a revolutionary and an artist. He agrees to paint a portrait of Olive and her mother as a surprise for her father, and this gesture leads to a whole lot of catastrophic events, and melds both time frames together.

As soon as I started reading The Muse I was captured by the writing. Usually historical fiction and I don’t get on very well, but I breezed through this book as if I had read it before. I enjoyed the jumps back and forth in time, each jump giving away bit by bit of the storyline until the final climactic chapters.

I must admit, the key twists were not lost on me, I picked them up quite quickly. However there was always still some doubt if my suspicions were correct throughout.

I loved all the twists and turns, drama and intrigue. There were a few times, especially in the 1930’s Spain setting, that it got slightly slow for me, but I think again that is my usual indifference to historical fiction coming through, rather than any fault of the writer.

Overall I really enjoyed the atmosphere, both the settings and I found the characters to be well written and engaging.

Would I recommend The Muse?

Yes, historical fiction fans – I think you will really enjoy it!  Now I’m off to add The Miniaturist to my to-read pile!

Many thanks to author Jessie Burton via publisher Pan Macmillan for a copy of The Muse in exchange for my honest review.

Add to goodreads

PURCHASE

PAN MACMILLAN | AMAZON US | AMAZON AU


If you enjoy The Muse, you may enjoy:

Burial Rites   The Secret Years

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The Family Man – Kelly Eadon – GIVEAWAY

The Family Man – Kelly Eadon

 The Family Man

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I really enjoyed this feel-good romance by the author of “The Wedding Date” Kelly Eadon. It is the second story of the lovely group of friends from the beach town of Belmont USA.

Beth is moving forward from some bad business mistakes and has found happiness selling a small amount of baked goods, teaching kids theatre, and fixing up the odd dress for a bit of money. She has been secretly crushing over Griffin, the owner of a coffee shop that she sells some of her muffins to twice a week. When it becomes clear that the crush isn’t exactly one sided, she soon discovers that Griffin has some baggage of his own. He has a 4 year old daughter and has had custody battles with the grandparents. He is trying to be a good dad to his daughter. Will he be able to let Beth into his heart too? Or will it all be too much for them both?

I thought this book was very sweet. It had some delightful moments and I really enjoyed their saga.

I thought the characters were well written, I enjoyed the continuation of the story of the group of friends from The Wedding Date. Although it focuses on the same group of friends, it doesn’t matter in which order you read them in. They are all individual stand-alone stories.

Loved the romance and there were some very cute and some very HOT moments! (Not for readers under 18!).

The characters frustrated me at times, with all the drama and indecision’s, and at times I just wanted to shake them both and say “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?”. But the journey was fun and the conclusion was ultimately satisfying. And I really want muffins now after reading it!

Would I recommend The Family Man?

Yes for any fans of cute romances, with a bit of tension and a lot of heat! A good way to spend a lazy reading afternoon!

Many thanks to author Kelly Eadon and NetGalley for an advanced copy of The Family Man in exchange for my honest review.

Add to goodreads

PURCHASE:

AMAZON AU | AMAZON US | Book Depository

GIVEAWAY

Click HERE to enter The Family Man giveaway.


If you enjoy The Family Man, you may enjoy:

The Wedding Date   Going all the way   Welcome to Temptation   image

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Promise – Sarah Armstrong – Review and Q&A

Promise – Sarah Armstrong

Summary:

How farPromise would you go to protect a child in danger?

When a new family moves in next door, it takes Anna just two days to realise something is very wrong. She can hear their five-year-old daughter Charlie crying, then sees injuries on the little girl which cannot be ignored. Anna reports the family to the police and social services but when no one comes to Charlie’s aid, Anna understands that she is alone with her fears for the child’s life.

So when Charlie comes to her door asking for help, the only thing Anna can think to do is take the girl and run.

Raising delicate but deeply felt questions about our individual responsibility for the children around us, Promise is a novel that obliges the reader to ask: if Charlie were my neighbour, what would I do?


Promise is a new novel by journalist Sarah Armstrong. I must admit I was excited to read this book, but also apprehensive. Almost every day we hear terrible stories of children being treated badly, neglected, abused and even murdered. Every story upsets me, brings tears to my eyes for a short time, brings up anger, sadness and frustration. But then the news story changes. These children are soon forgotten, replaced with other stories.

I knew some of the emotions this book was going to bring up in me. I am a mother and a nurse. My first instinct is to care. I was apprehensive to get out of my comfort zone and voluntarily read about this subject matter, knowing that it will upset me.

But we NEED to be upset if anything is ever going to be done about this problem. Sarah has written an insightful, and at times disturbing portrayal of a child in danger and one woman’s frustration with the system as she takes matters into her own hands. While obviously kidnapping a child in danger is probably not the best idea to help the problem, Armstrong has brought us a good reminder that these things happen EVERY DAY! Perhaps even next door to YOU!

SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE!

 Q&A with Sarah Armstrong

Hi Sarah, thanks for joining me at Books Babies Being!

Were you reporting on family violence stories in your career as a journalist? Was this what inspired you to write Promise?

I didn’t report on family voilence when I was a journalist. That may partly be because it was less often in the news then. Societey wide – not just in the media – I think that family violence often – somehow – wasn’t regarded as real violence, or a real crime.

I was inspired to write Promise many years after leaving journalism and the ABC, after i’d moved to the north coast of NSW. It was one specific story that inspired me – one story in a long line of stories about children killed in their homes by a parent or step parent. A two-year-old boy died, and his mother was charged with his murder. In one of the television stories, neighbours said they’d been concerned about him and had reported him to community services. I put myself in the shoes of those neighbours; they’d done their best to get him to the attention of authorities, they’d called several times, and yet, the boy died. I wondered – if I were them – if I might have wished that I’d just picked him up one day and put him in my car and driven away. That thought became the premise of the novel.

I think one reason the story captured my attention is that since my daughter was born in 2010, I’ve been so much more aware of the vulnerability of children. Coming up with a character who takes decisive action was perhaps a way for me to have a conversation with myself (and then, once published, with others) about how far our individual responsibility for other children extends, and about whether there are ever occasions when it is right to break the law.

And I must say that even though this is a story with a difficult premise, it’s really a love story between a woman and a child. And an exploration of many aspects of motherhood: mothering a child not your own, being motherless, childlessness, and what makes a good mother.

The extremely heart-wrenching story of Rosie Batty in 2014 brought significant public attention in Australia to family violence. Did Rosie’s work change the way that the media reports on domestic violence? Did this event influence your book?

 Luke Batty’s murder and Rosie Batty’s response to his death and her subsequent campaigning seem – as far as i can tell – to have created a shift in the public conversation about family violence and in the media coverage of family violence. Rosie Batty spoke so calmly, with such clarity and dignity (but not without anger and outrage), that she seemed to tap into something in the community. I have the sense that change has been brewing for a while but she seemed to nudge the conversation forward. Luke’s sad death did not influence my writing of Promise, as I’d already started work on it. It’s more that as I was writing it, the public conversation about family violence happened to be gaining momentum.

How did writing Promise impact you as a mother?

I suspect that Promise affected me as a mother less than being a mother had an impact on how I wrote Promise. My partner Alan and I had our daughter Amelia in 2010, after trying for quite a while, and resorting to IVF. Having a newborn baby to look after, and realising all babies’ complete reliance on the adults around them, really brought home to me how vulnerable babies are. And I also felt incredibly vulnerable in the face of my love for my baby girl. It just made me think deeply about the profound responsibility of being a parent, about what makes a good parent, and what we can do as a society to support both parents who are struggling, and children who are at risk.

 What would you recommend people do if they are in a situation like Anna’s?

First I should say that I am no expert on child protection. But I do know that community services in each state have helplines you can call (anonymously if you wish) to report a child at risk. And I think it’s really important to call if you know a child is being abused; the child may have no other advocate. You might be it. Community services are so understaffed that just one report of a child being at risk is most unlikely to prompt a caseworker to visit a family, anyway. It usually takes several, if not many, notifications.

If the sitiation is immediately dangerous, then call the police. I remember watching a panel discussion on family violence on the ABC and a senior NSW police officer said that if we hear any family violence, then we should call the police. Just call the police. Violence is violence.

But in situations that are less acute – and unlikely to warrant intervention by community services – I think that offering support to the parents and support to the child(ren) is appropriate. Being a parent is hard, and harder still if you add exhaustion, financial pressures, ill health and stress to the picture. There are many instances where support for the parent and child may be what’s most helpful.

If I see a parent smacking and screaming at a child in a supermarket, I would hope that I’d offer the parent support and say something like, ‘Can I help? You look like you’re having a hard time’. Support for that struggling parent is support for the child.

I’m not actually advocating people abduct an abused child, like my character, Anna, does (although I understand why she did it, and have been grappling with the question of whether it’s sometimes appropriate to break the law).

What can we do to help, even if we are not exposed to family violence?

I’d like to see members of the community put pressure on State Governments to increase funding to combat and deal with family violence, including violence against children.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions Sarah.

My pleasure, Mel.

If you need assistance with family violence, NEVER ALONE has a comprehensive list of resources.

MY REVIEW OF PROMISE

I must admit I was expecting Promise to be a heavy read from the start. I was bracing myself for the emotion, and there indeed were a few disturbing gut-wrenching moments. However instead of being heavy and depressing like I was somewhat expecting, I found the book to be extremely readable. The emotive scenes were powerful, but also done with a respectful tactfulness that I found quite refreshing.

I found the characters to be quite well developed and well written. Anna had quite a lot of baggage that she didn’t realise was there, and it was satisfying to watch her move through some of her issues as everything was unfolding. I did have a bit of a problem relating to Anna though, as I found some of her decisions were just so far from my reality. I think I felt this way because thankfully I have never been in that sort of situation myself. I have no idea how I would react if I was witnessing what she did and the system wasn’t doing anything. Perhaps its not so far from reality after all.

There were a few parts of the book that moved a bit slower than others, but I enjoyed the overall pace. I liked the atmosphere of the novel and the city to rural backdrop. There was lots of tension with the threat of being discovered vs the pressure to turn herself in.

I enjoyed the ending, I don’t know why, but I was expecting something different.

Would I recommend Promise?

Absolutely! It was a great read that will no doubt bring some much needed attention to the problem of family violence in Australia.

Many thanks to author Sarah Armstrong via Pan Macmillan for a copy of Promise in exchange for my honest review, and for joining me for the Q&A!

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Add to goodreads

Promise is published by Macmillan Australia and is now available at all good bookstores and online

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I grew up in a family with no television, which meant I was a voracious (if fairly indiscriminate) reader, and I was determined, from an early age, to be a writer. This led me to study journalism, and I joined ABC Radio Current Affairs where, in 1993, I won a Walkley Award for a story on diggers returning to Gallipoli. Later I became a researcher and field producer on ABC TV’s ‘Foreign Correspondent’ program.image

What most satisfied me as a journalist was meeting people and telling stories which explored the emotional and moral complexities of life, but what I really wanted to do was to use fiction to explore this messy and beautiful business of being human. In 1997 I resigned from the ABC and moved to the hills outside Byron Bay to devote myself to writing fiction.

The week I moved into a rustic cabin in the forested valley, it started raining and rained for three months. That rain found its way into my writing. My first novel Salt Rain was published (Allen & Unwin) in 2004. It was shortlisted for the 2005 Miles Franklin Award, the Queensland Premier’s Literary Prize and the Dobbie Literary Award. Salt Rain was published in the United States by MacAdam/Cage.

My second novel His Other House was published in March 2015 by Pan Macmillan and will be published in Germany in August 2015.

Promise was released on the 28th June, 2016 and is available now.

I live in sub-tropical northern New South Wales with the writer, Alan Close, and our young daughter.

Authors Website   Authors Goodreads   Authors Facebook


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Maternity Leave – Julie Halpern

Maternity Leave – Julie Halpern

Maternity Leave

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I think any new mother would appreciate this entertaining, relatively accurate (in my experience anyway) portrayal of early motherhood.

This story commences when Annie is in labour. She has a little baby boy they call Sam, and thus begins her journey, day by day through the first few months of motherhood. The highs and lows, the grossness and the laughter..

I really enjoyed the format of this book. It is journal entries along with Facebook statuses and email correspondences between Anna and her family and friends. This made it extremely entertaining and easy to read. The chapters are set out in days, and they are quite short so its easy to put it down and pick it up again later (great for when you are busy with the kids!)

It had some extremely funny moments and I could really relate to most of it (except for the part where she gets her husband to squirt her bottom with water while she poops on the loo whilst breastfeeding her baby at the same time – I can’t say I could relate to that!). But it really had a lot of other moments where I would go “YES!!! THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT IT WAS LIKE!”.

I related to Annie SO MUCH! I felt we would have been good friends! We had such similar experiences! I too have an older cat who has shared a big chunk of my life with me. I also love Buffy and Battlestar Galactica is my FAVOURITE SERIES! I am a complete nerd too!

I have read some reviews of this book describing how it doesn’t describe motherhood accurately, and portrays Annie as borderline depressed. I don’t necessarily agree with this. Annie’s experience was so similar to my own, and I would not have classed myself as depressed. It’s hard work suddenly having a tiny person to be totally and utterly responsible for. A total culture shock, and I was not one of these magical mothers who took to it straight away. It took me MONTHS before I had a bond with my son. It is not unusual to not have an instant connection the child you suddenly have in your arms and sucking on your boobs!

The first few months are HARD. They are filled with amazing highs but incredible lows, and sleep deprivation… I enjoyed that this book didn’t skirt around this issue like others do. And the humerous approach was really refreshing. I only wish I had read this 2.5 years ago, when I was up at 3am trying to get my screaming son to latch onto my boob whilst crying my eyes out, wondering if things ever get better.

Would I recommend Maternity Leave?

Yes, I would recommend it to any new mother, and any mother-to-be, who wants a pretty accurate portrayal of some of the difficulties of having a newborn. I would actually say its good for the new dads and dads-to-be to have a read through also, to gain some understanding of just how difficult it is to be a new mother when they go back to work. Overall an enjoyable and entertaining read!

Many thanks to Pan Macmillian and author Julie Halpern for a copy of Maternity Leave to read in exchange for my honest review.

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Pan Macmillan | AMAZON | AMAZON AU


If you enjoy Maternity Leave, you may enjoy:

 Mindfulness for Mothers

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