It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey.

Life…

Yesterday we celebrated Father’s Day in Australia. My oldest daughter was performing in a fundraiser event one town over so we all went along and met my parents there for lunch. It has been raining for days here but the sun finally came out so we all enjoyed a lovely afternoon by the lake.

The first photo is of my husband with our children, the second is of my dad.

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Thank you again to all those who stopped by to celebrate Book’d Out’s 4th birthday and leave me messages of congratulations. I am truly grateful and humbled by your kind words and support.

I am thrilled to announce the winners of my 4th blog birthday celebrations

Kathryn T has won the $25 gift certificate to Gone Reading

Winners of the Amazon/Book Depository gift certificates are:

Helen B; Carol M and Tracey S

{Winners will be contacted via email}

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What I Read Last Week

 

Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan

Mothers and Daughters by Kylie Ladd

Craven by Melanie Casey

Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

The Moment of Everything by Shelly King

 

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

Review: Mothers and Daughters by Kylie Ladd ★★★★

Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas ★★★★1/2

Review: Craven by Melanie Casey ★★★

Review: Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan ★★★1/2

Review: The Children Act by Ian McEwan ★★★1/2

Weekend Cooking: Tacolicious by Sara Deseran et al

*At the AWWC Blog: General Fiction: August 2014*

What I Am Reading Today

 

Miranda shrank away from him, arm pressed to the driver’s door. ‘What’s your name?’ ‘I’m already dead. That’s my name now. That’s what they called me. I’m Already Dead.’
Journalist Miranda Jack is finally attempting to move on from the death of her husband by relocating up the coast with her young daughter, Zoe. Then a single event changes everything. On a Monday afternoon as she waits at traffic lights, a stranger jumps into her car and points a gun at her chest. Forced to drive at high speed up the motorway, Miranda listens to the frantic, paranoid rants of Brendan Walsh, a man who claims he’s being chased and that they’re both now running for their lives. Two hours later her ordeal is over in the most shocking fashion. Miranda is safe but she can’t simply walk away – not without knowing the truth about that terrifying drive. As a journalist Miranda has always asked questions. But this time the questions are dangerous – and the answers might get her killed . .

What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

An ancient riddle, a broken vow – a modern-day quest for a medieval treasure. Australian-born Dr. Olivia Walker is an Oxford academic with a reputation as one of the world’s leading Crusade historians and she’s risked everything on finding one of the most famous swords in history – Durendal. Shrouded in myth and mystery, the sword is fabled to have belonged to the warrior Roland, a champion of Charlemagne’s court, and Olivia is determined to prove to her detractors that the legend is real. Her dream is almost within reach when she discovers the long-lost key to its location in Provence, but her benefactor – Raimund Blancard – has other ideas. For more than a millennium, the Blancard family have protected the sword. When his brother is tortured and killed by a man who believes he is Roland’s rightful heir, Raimund vows to end the bloodshed forever. He will find Durendal and destroy it, but to do that he needs Olivia’s help. Now Olivia is torn between finding the treasure for which she has hunted all her life and helping the man she has fallen in love with destroy her dream. And all the while, Raimund’s murderous nemesis is on their trail, and he will stop at nothing to claim his birthright.

How well do you really know the one you love?  With her customary page-turning style and potent themes, this is Caroline Overington at her thought-provoking best.  ‘Why do some people decide to get married when everyone around them would seem to agree that marriage, at least for the two people in question, is a terrifically bad idea?’ The year is 1999, and Lachlan Colbert – Colby – has the world at his feet. He’s got a big job on Wall Street and a sleek bachelor pad in the heart of Manhattan. With money no object, he and his friends take a trip to Australia to see in the new millennium. And it’s there, on a hired yacht sailing the Whitsundays, that he meets Caitlin.  Caitlin Hourigan has got wild hair and torn shorts – and has barely ever left the small patch of Queensland where she grew up. But Colby is smitten and for Caitlin, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, a blissful future awaits – marriage, a big house, a beautiful little boy. But nothing is ever as perfect as it seems. And for Lachlan and Caitlin the nightmare is only just beginning.

“When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics.” So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can’t forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices.

No one steps up to life’s banquet, holds out her tray, and orders, “Grief, please!” But as a child, Candy Pekkala was served a heaping helping of it. Every buffet line has a dessert section, however, and when a cousin calls with a Hollywood apartment to sublet, it seems as though Candy is finally offered something sweet. It’s good-bye to Minnesota and hello to California, where a girl who has always lived by her wits has a real chance of making a living with them. With that, the irrepressible Lorna Landvik launches her latest irresistible character onto the world stage—or at least onto the dimly lit small stage where stand-up comedy gets its start. Herself a comic performer, Landvik taps her own adventurous past and Minnesota roots to conjure Candy’s life in this strange new Technicolor home. Her fellow tenants at Peyton Hall include a female bodybuilder, a ruined nightclub impresario, and a well-connected old Romanian fortune-teller. There are game show appearances and temp jobs at a record company and an establishment suspiciously like the Playboy Mansion, and of course the alluring but not always welcoming stage of stand-up comedy. As she hones her act, Candy is tested by humiliation, hecklers, and the inherent sexism that insists “chicks aren’t funny.” Written with the light touch and quiet wisdom that have made her works so popular, this is classic Lorna Landvik—sometimes so funny, you’ll cry; sometimes so sad, you might as well laugh; and always impossible to put down.

 

 While you are here…

 

Thanks for stopping by!

Weekend Cooking: Tacolicious by Sara Deseran, Joe Hargrave, Antelmo Faria and Mike Barrow

 

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I’ve decided to make the Weekend Cooking meme, hosted by Beth Fish Reads  a regular monthly post at Book’d Out. Cooking is something I enjoy and I have been making more of an effort again lately, so I am looking forward to sharing some of my culinary adventures.

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Title: Tacolicious: Festive Recipes for Tacos, Snacks, Cocktails, and More

A collection of recipes for fun, accessible taqueria fare–including colorful salsas, tasty snacks, irresistible cocktails, and of course tacos galore–from the wildly popular San Francisco restaurants and acclaimed Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market food stand, Tacolicious.
Tacos may be the most universally loved, happy-making food on earth. After all, who can say no to a juicy, spicy Chile verde taco; a decadently deep-fried Baja-style fish taco; or a gloriously porky Carnitas taco? At Tacolicious, the San Francisco Bay Area’s most popular Mexican restaurant, tacos are a way of life. And now, in this hotly anticipated cookbook, co-owner Sara Deseran shares all of the restaurant’s tortilla-wrapped secrets. Whether you’re seeking quick and easy weeknight meals or inspiration for a fabulous fiesta, Tacolicious has you covered. With recipes for showstopping salsas, crave-worthy snacks, cocktails and mocktails, and, of course, tacos galore, this festive collection is chock-full of real Mexican flavor—with a delicious California twist.

Author: Sara Deseran, Joe Hargrave, Antelmo Faria and Mike Barrow

Published: Ten Speed Press: Random House September 2014

Status: Read on August 25, 2014   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Growing up, simple beef tacos and nachos were exotic meals, Mexico is after all a long way from Australian shores. Now these dishes, along with steak and chicken fajita’s, burrito’s, enchilada’s and quesadilla’s appear regularly in my family’s menu. I was curious about Tacolicious because I have never used anything except sachets of Old El Paso packaged seasoning to prepare any Mexican dishes and I know that flavour is probably sacrificed as a result.

The recipes aren’t complicated but some ingredients wouldn’t be easy to source except online, especially in my small country town. I can get chilies at the supermarket but they only come in red, green or in a jar, Velveeta cheese isn’t sold in Australia, nor is Monterey Jack. However with a few tweaks here and there almost all of the the recipes which include a range of Salsas, Snacks, Sides, Tacos, and more, seem doable.  I was a little disappointed there was no recipe for making tortilla’s though they do discuss where they source them from and compare store bought options for the home cook.

If you enjoy a drink or two there are a few dozen easy concoctions to choose from. Unsurprisingly tequila features heavily but non alcoholic options are offered also.

The overall tone of the cookbook is friendly and encouraging. There are some good hints and tips for preparation, cooking methods and presentation and the recipe steps are clearly described. Bright full page photo’s are a nice feature. The glossary and index are both useful inclusions as well.

You can view a few sample pages from the book and get recipes for Melon, mango and cucumber with chile, salt and lime and Old School Taco at the Tacolicious website. Random House shares a recipe for Roasted tomato–mint salsa along with the introductory pages in its Look Inside feature.

Tacolicious is available to purchase from

Random House I AmazonUS I BookDepository I IndieBound

via Booko

Review: The Children Act by Ian McEwan

 

Title: The Children Act

Author: Ian McEwan

Published: Nan A. Talese: Random House September 2014

Status: Read from September 03 to 04, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher/Edelweiss}

My Thoughts:

Ian McEwan has been on my ‘must read someday’ author list for a while so I couldn’t pass up the chance to read The Children Act.

Fiona Maye is a well respected High Court judge presiding over family-related matters. Few of her cases are simple in that she must consider the matter of law with reference to the complexities of humanity, especially in circumstances where children are involved, but Fiona prides herself on presenting impartial and sensitive rulings. The case of a teenage boy, Adam, just months shy of his eighteenth birthday, in desperate need of a blood transfusion that has been refused by his parents on the grounds of religious belief, should be no more or less challenging than any Fiona has faced, yet it arises on the same day that her husband of thirty years demands the right to have an affair. Fiona, while struggling with her private betrayal and shaken confidence, hears Adam’s case but decides to visit his bedside before making a ruling and unwittingly forms a bond with the vulnerable young man.

In the Children Act, McEwan poses interesting questions about the separation, and relationship, between law and religious belief and how they apply to the welfare of a child. Fiona’s court is faced with devout Catholic parents refusing surgery to separate their co-joined twins, a woman seeking an order to prevent her Muslim husband from taking their daughter to a country from where he won’t be compelled to return, a Jewish couple in a custody dispute and the defining case, that of seventeen year old leukemia sufferer Adam whose parents are refusing a life saving blood transfusion due to their Jehovah’s Witnesses faith.

Also at issue are questions about personal freedom and responsibility which arise in both Fiona’s professional and personal lives. Who is responsible for the decisions Adam makes? Does he truly have the freedom to make a decision for himself? How responsible is Fiona for rulings she makes, and for what comes after? What responsibility does Fiona bear for the problems in her marriage? Does she have the right to deny her husband the freedom he requests?

McEwan’s style of prose is succinct yet surprisingly lyrical. There is impressive nuance within the narrative that communicates emotion without explicit description, like the offer of a cup of coffee as a truce. In terms of pacing however I felt as if the story would perhaps have better suited to the length of a novella, as the second half of the novel loses some momentum.

The Children Act is an interesting and provocative novel though not as compelling as I had perhaps hoped, however I can see how McEwan has earned his stellar reputation in the literary community.

The Children Act is available to purchase from

Random House I AmazonUS I BookDepository I IndieBound

In Australia via Booko

Review: Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan

 

Title: Apple and Rain

Author: Sarah Crossan

Published: Bloomsbury September 2014

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read on August 31, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

A poignant and touching story, Apple and Rain is a story about family, poetry, wishes and growing up.

Apple is thirteen and has lived with her grandmother since her mother left one Christmas Eve when she was two. Her Nan is loving but strict and Apple can’t help but imagine that her mother will one day return and that her life with her will be all she has ever wished for. When Annie does suddenly reappear on a grey afternoon, she offers Apple her hearts desire, a home of their own, and with barely a backward glance Apple packs her bags, excited that her imagined perfect life is about to begin. Apple finally has the mother she loves, and the freedom she craves, but neither are quite what she imagined, and then there is Rain.

Apple(her full name is Apollinia Apostolopoulou – named for her Greek father) is a sincere character with believable thoughts, motivations and actions appropriate for her age. I found her to be very sympathetic as she struggled to cope with a teens familiar disappointments – being excluded by a best friend, targeted by a mean girl and having an unrequited crush, as well as dealing with her mother’s homecoming, and the surprise of a little sister. As her new life begins to unravel, Apple takes comfort in poetry, inspired by a substitute teacher, and a new neighbour, Del, but must also confront some uncomfortable truths about her mother, her sister’s obsession and her own needs.

Apple’s first person narrative is genuine and appealing. Crossan’s plain writing style and natural dialogue is appropriate for her audience. The pacing of the novel is good and the story is well structured.

Apple and Rain is a bittersweet tale, exploring contemporary themes in a realistic and thoughtful manner. I’d recommend it for readers aged 12 and up.

Apple and Rain is available to purchase from

Bloomsbury Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Bookworld I via Booko

Amazon AU  I Amazon US I Book Depository

and all good bookstores.

Apple and Rain arrived wrapped in brown paper with a warning label and a packet of tissues!

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Review: Craven by Melanie Casey

 

Title: Craven {Cass Lehman and Detective Ed Dyson #2}

Author: Melanie Casey

Published: Pantera Press May 2014

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from August 29 to 31, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Craven, by Melanie Casey, is the sequel to Hindsight, featuring Cass Lehman, a woman with the psychic gift of retrocognition, and South Australian police detective, Ed Dyson.

As the book opens we learn that Cass has taken the leap and left home, securing a teacher’s position at a college in Adelaide. Cass is hoping for a fresh start but during her very first lesson she is recognised by her students and almost immediately becomes a target of gossip and derision.
Ed is conspicuously absent, it seems their romance stalled in the intervening months, though we soon learn that Ed is also in Adelaide, working with a local command on a year long secondment, and when Cass’s car is painted in blood with ‘Freak’ scrawled across the windshield he is the first person she calls. Thrown together as Cass’s stalker grows more violent, Cass is inevitably drawn into Ed’s latest case – a search for a serial killer.

Though I still really like concept of this series I was disappointed by the execution of this novel. I had issues with the uneven pacing and with what I felt were several underdeveloped elements in the plot. There was too much focus on the mundane details of Ed’s often circular investigation, and the obnoxiousness of his new partner. The identification of the stalker taunting Cass seemed come from nowhere since he barely rated a mention in the story.

The killer did have an interesting story and his motivations were suitably dark and twisted. There were moments of high tension, though much of the real action is crammed into the last few chapters when Cass is once again at the mercy of an insane murderer.

Despite the flaws in Craven I am still intrigued by the potential of this series and I hope Casey regains her footing in the third installment.

 

Craven is available to purchase from

Pantera Press Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Bookworld I via Booko

Amazon AU  I Amazon US

and all good bookstores.

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Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

 

Title: Heir of Fire {Throne of Glass #3}

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Published: Bloomsbury September 2014

Status: Read from September 01 to 03, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Pushed into a corner by the tragic events that concluded Crown of Midnight Celaena Sardothien is forced to face her past and embrace her future as Queen Aelin Galathynius in Heir of Fire, the third exciting installment of the Throne of Glass series from Sarah J Maas.

At just over 550 pages, Heir of Fire is quite an epic with a stronger focus on character development and insight than story, though it still offers plenty of intrigue, danger, fast paced action and a touch of romance.

Though sent to Wendlyn by King Ardalan to assassinate the Ashryver royal family, Celaena, mourning the loss of Nehemia and the end of her relationship with Chaol, has her own agenda. She needs to confront Queen Maeve and convince her to help Celaena to destroy the King, or at the very least answer some of the many questions she has about the Wyrdkeys and her family. Maeve however will not entertain her niece until she has an idea of her worth and insists she proves her mettle by training at Mistwood, under the supervision of Maeve’s blood servant, fae warrior and prince, Rowan Whitethorn. And as Celaena works to control her magic at the remote demi-fae haven, King Ardalan makes his first move…

In confronting Queen Maeve, Caelaena earns herself a new ally in Rowan. It is not an easy relationship to begin with and later its boundaries are a little hard to define but I loved it. Rowan is exactly what Celaena needs to help her move past the self pity and stand up for all that has been lost.

While Celaena is absent from the Ardalan court, Dorian and Chaol struggle with what they have learned about the King. Chaol is faced with some difficult issues about trust, loyalty and friendship in his quest to protect Celaena. Meanwhile Dorian finally loses his heart, but in doing so risks losing everything.

The introduction of Manon Blackbeak, a fearsome witch readying herself and her kind for battle on the side of the King, was initially an unwelcome distraction, but I eventually found myself intrigued by her story. It is obvious Manon will play a crucial role in the battle to come and I look forward to witnessing it.

I have really been loving this series, I’ve become totally invested in the characters and lost in Maas’s world of magic and intrigue. I am assuming that the next book will be last in this series (though there is potential to drag it out) – I am both eagerly looking forward to its release and simultaneously dreading the approach of the series end.

Heir of Fire is available to purchase from

Bloomsbury Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Bookworld I via Booko

Amazon AU  I Amazon US

and all good bookstores.

Read my reviews for the first two books in the series


Review: Mothers and Daughters by Kylie Ladd

 

Title: Mothers and Daughters

Author: Kylie Ladd

Published: Allen & Unwin September 2014

Status: Read from September 01 to 02, 2014 — I own a copy {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

A thought provoking and provocative story, Mothers and Daughters is Kylie Ladd’s fourth novel.

Caro, Fiona and Morag, joined by daughters Janey, Bronte and Macy, are looking forward to a weeks holiday near Broome to catch up with close friend Amira, and her daughter Tess. It should be a week of relaxation and recreation, but as the days pass, tension between mothers and daughters, and between the girls, rises, testing the bonds of family and friendships.

A novel driven by theme and character rather than plot, Kylie Ladd explores the complicated dynamics between mothers and their teenage daughters and the many issues that divide and unite them.

The relationship between Fiona and Bronte is one of the most interesting, I think. Fiona, hyper critical of her daughter, often laments that Bronte is nothing like her but in fact it is the similarities between them that provokes her. Bronte’s meekness reflects the powerlessness Fiona feels in her life and her marriage in particular and she directs her anger and resentment about the situation at her daughter. Despite Fiona’s blunt and often crass demeanor, exacerbated by her fondness for a drink, I developed some sympathy for her, and was happy to see the seeds of change.

Janey is the least likeable of the group, typifying the worst traits of teen ‘mean’ girls- vain, thoughtless, and self involved. Whereas Fiona is hyper critical of Bronte, Janey’s mother, Caro, eventually admits to willfully overlooking her daughters faults.

“I’ve been too soft on her. I’ve always told her how beautiful and clever she is, and now she believes it….I wanted her to be perfect, because it made me look good, so I acted as if she was.”

Ladd also explores the way that we often reflect our own experience of being mothered in our relationships with our daughters. Caro is anxious about being a perfect mother because hers never had the chance, Fiona essentially estranged from her own mother, has no idea how to close the gap between herself and Bronte.

Mothers and Daughters also comments on the way in which modern city/suburban life has encroached on our relationships with our children, underscored by the contrast between the relationship between Amira and Tess and the relationships between the mothers and daughters that remained in Melbourne.

Through the differing perspectives of Ladd’s characters, other issues raised in the novel include friendship, step-parenting, sex, marriage, home, and social issues such as cyber-bullying. Inspired by the setting, Ladd also explores racism and indigenous culture and community.

I glimpse elements of my own relationship with my mother, and my teenage daughter, in this story of these women and girls, and pieces of mothers and daughters I have known in the characters.

Mothers and Daughters is available to purchase from

Allen & Unwin Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Bookworld I via Booko

Amazon AU  I Amazon US

and all good bookstores.

Also by Kylie Ladd {click the cover for my review}

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey.

Life…

It has been a busy week, though for no special reason, just the usual chaotic schedule of school and after school activities to contend with.

It’s the first Monday of the month so here is a quick update on my challenge progress so far…

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The Eclectic Reader Challenge 10/12

Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 65/50 – Completed!

Aussie Author Challenge 12/12 – Completed

Around the World in 12 Books Challenge 11/12

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I want to thank all of you who have stopped by to celebrate Book’d Out’s 4th birthday and leave me messages of congratulations. I am truly grateful and humbled by your kind words and support.

You still have a week to enter to win one of the four great prizes I am giving away – make sure you enter!

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What I Read Last Week

 Moonlight Plains by Barbara Hannay

When the Night Comes by Favel Parrett

Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett

Craven by Melanie Casey

Murder 101 by Faye Kellerman

Tacolicious by Sara Desern

 

 

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

Review: Moonlight Plains by Barbara Hannay ★★★★

Book’d Out celebrates 4 years!

Review: When The Night Comes by Favel Parrett ★★★1/2

Review: Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett ★★★1/2

Review: Murder 101 by Faye Kellerman ★★★

Stuff On Sundays: 18 Books for Aussie Dads this Fathers Day

What I Am Reading Today

When Apple’s mother returns after eleven years of absence, Apple feels whole again. She will have an answer to her burning question – why did you go? And she will have someone who understands what it means to be a teenager – unlike Nana. But just like the stormy Christmas Eve when she left, her mother’s homecoming is bitter sweet, and Apple wonders who is really looking after whom. It’s only when Apple meets someone more lost than she is, that she begins to see things as they really are.

 

What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

 Four mothers. Four teenage daughters. An isolated tropical paradise with no internet or mobile phone reception. What could possibly go wrong? There’s tension, bitchiness, bullying, sex, drunken confessions, bad behaviour and breakdowns – and wait till you see what the teenagers get up to… How can we let our daughters go to forge lives of their own when what we most want to do is hold them close and never let them go? How do we let them grow and keep them protected from the dark things in the world at the same time? And how can mothers and daughters navigate the troubled, stormy waters of adolescence without hurting themselves and each other? A clear-eyed, insightful and wildly entertaining look into the complicated, emotional world of mothers and daughters by the acclaimed author of Into My Arms, Last Summer and After the Fall.

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.  While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

Fiona Maye is a High Court judge in London presiding over cases in family court. She is fiercely intelligent, well respected, and deeply immersed in the nuances of her particular field of law. Often the outcome of a case seems simple from the outside, the course of action to ensure a child’s welfare obvious. But the law requires more rigor than mere pragmatism, and Fiona is expert in considering the sensitivities of culture and religion when handing down her verdicts.
But Fiona’s professional success belies domestic strife. Her husband, Jack, asks her to consider an open marriage and, after an argument, moves out of their house. His departure leaves her adrift, wondering whether it was not love she had lost so much as a modern form of respectability; whether it was not contempt and ostracism she really fears. She decides to throw herself into her work, especially a complex case involving a seventeen-year-old boy whose parents will not permit a lifesaving blood transfusion because it conflicts with their beliefs as Jehovah’s Witnesses. But Jack doesn’t leave her thoughts, and the pressure to resolve the case—as well as her crumbling marriage—tests Fiona in ways that will keep readers thoroughly enthralled until the last stunning page.

“When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics.” So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can’t forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices

In the tradition of The Cookbook Collector comes a funny, romantic novel about a young woman finding her calling while saving a used bookstore. Maggie Duprès, recently “involuntarily separated from payroll” at a Silicon Valley start-up, is whiling away her days in The Dragonfly’s Used Books, a Mountain View institution, waiting for the Next Big Thing to come along. When the opportunity arises for her to network at a Bay Area book club, she jumps at the chance — even if it means having to read Lady Chatterley’s Lover, a book she hasn’t encountered since college, in an evening. But the edition she finds at the bookstore is no Penguin Classics Chatterley — it’s an ancient hardcover with notes in the margins between two besotted lovers of long ago. What Maggie finds in her search for the lovers and their fate, and what she learns about herself in the process, will surprise and move readers. Witty and sharp-eyed in its treatment of tech world excesses, but with real warmth at its core, The Moment of Everything is a wonderful read.

 While you are here…

WINNER of Quick by Steve Worland. : Aaron C

Enter to WIN in the Book’d Out Birthday celebrations

Thanks for stopping by!

Stuff on Sunday: 18 Books for Aussie Dads this Fathers Day

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September 7th is Father’s Day in Australia, here are my recommendations from my reading so far this year., just follow the links to learn more…

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For the adrenaline junkie…

 

Quick by Steve Worland: Steve Worland’s newest novel, Quick, is a fast paced, octane fueled thrill ride set in the exciting world of international motor sport.

Skinjob by Bruce McCabe: Skinjob is an entertaining techno-action thriller written by Australian author Bruce McCabe.

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For the armchair detective…

Hades by Candice Fox: Broadly crime fiction, but also combining elements of a police procedural and psychological thriller, it delves into the seething mind of a serial killer and the lives of the detectives, Frank and Eden, who are pursuing him.

The Train Rider by Tony Cavanaugh: Darian Richards was once Melbourne’s top homicide cop but he walked away at the pinnacle of his career, retiring to the Queensland coast. It wasn’t the bullet to the head that broke him, but his inability to capture the man dubbed The Train Rider.

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For the history buff…


A Fatal Tide by Steve Sailah: Exploring the themes of duty, honour, mateship and humanity, Sailah weaves together a compelling story of war, friendship and murder in A Fatal Tide. It offers both an interesting mystery, and fascinating insight into the experiences of our Australian diggers in Gallipoli’s trenches.

The Luck of the Irish by Babette Smith: A fascinating portrait of colonial life in the mid-19th century, which reveals how the Irish helped lay the foundations of the Australia we know today

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For the sensitive dad…


A Man Callled Ove by Fredrik Backman: Simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting, this is a story about love, grief, life, death and Saab’s. Told with heartfelt emotion, wry insight and a sense of humour, Backman has created an endearing character, few will be able to dismiss.

Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler: Set in rural Wisconsin, Shotgun Lovesongs tells the story of four men, and one woman, renegotiating the meaning of friendship, love and home.

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For the workaholic…

Martin Harbottle’s Appreciation of Time by Dominic Utton: Martin Harbottle’s Appreciation of Time is a funny and engaging novel, written in epistolary format, consisting of emails between Dan, a frustrated commuter, and Martin Harbottle, Managing Director of Premier Westward Trains.

Terms & Conditions by Robert Glancy: Terms & Conditions is a quirky*, black humoured story of a man** who lost his mind***, then regained his soul.****

****

For the stay at home dad…

Reservoir Dad by Clint Greagan: In 2008, Clint Greagen resigned from his job as a youth worker to care for his first born child. Nine years later Clint is a stay at home dad of four young boys, Archie, Lewis, Tyson and Maki, and the author of Reservoir Dad, about his adventures in full-time parenting, first chronicled on his popular blog of the same name.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: Part noir suburban mystery, part domestic drama, Big Little Lies is compulsive reading. Thought provoking, clever, witty and wonderful, this is another wickedly brilliant novel from best selling Australian author Liane Moriarty.

****

For the thinker…


Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is the story of a man who has never really recovered from being inexplicably exiled by a group of close friends he met in high school. Drifting through his life, engineer Tsukuru is now in his mid thirties, single and largely friendless, until he meets a woman who encourages him to confront his painful past.

The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon: Set in New York in 2016, just weeks before the publication of the third and final printed North American Dictionary of the English Language(NADEL), its curator, Doug disappears leaving behind a cryptic message for his daughter, Anana. Concerned and confused, Anana, with the support of a colleague, Bart, begins to search for her father, and stumbles upon a shocking conspiracy that threatens to destroy the very foundation of civilisation – language.

****

For the game player…

Chasing the Ace by Nicholas J Johnston: Told from dual first person narratives, Chasing The Ace introduces Richard, an ageing, world-weary con ‘artiste’ and Joel, a young, wannabe grifter who meet on the streets of Melbourne. Richard, contemplating retirement, decides to take Joel under his wing and the pair form a profitable alliance. Joel is eager to learn all he can, and is thrilled when the money starts rolling in, but when they accidentally scam an off duty cop, neither man is sure if they will be able to con their way out of trouble.

Games Creatures Play by Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner et al: In Games Creatures Play you will find witches, monster stompers, faeries, Gods, ghosts and more, all playing to win and even though I have very little interest in sport in general, I really enjoyed this anthology. Get ready, get set and go… pick up a copy today.

****

For the dad with a social conscience…

Through the Cracks by Honey Brown: After enduring years of confinement and abuse at the hands of his father, Joe, Adam finally pushes back, but having secured his freedom he has no idea what to do with it…until Billy finds him. Placing his trust in the streetwise teen, Adam tentatively ventures beyond his suburban prison for the first time in years, but no matter the direction the pair take to escape, their past refuses to let them go.

Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink: Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, an investigative piece written by Sheri Fink, is a vivid portrait of tragedy that occurred in New Orleans when it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

****

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Review: Murder 101 by Faye Kellerman

 

Title: Murder 101 {Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus #22}

Author: Faye Kellerman

Published: William Morrow: HarperCollins September 2014

Read an Extract

Status: Read from August 28 to 29, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher/Edelweiss}

My Thoughts:

I have missed the last two books in the Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus series, largely because they have been released since I started blogging and my reading time has rarely since been my own, so I jumped at the chance to rejoin the series with Murder 101.

It’s been six months since Peter retired from the LAPD and he and Rina are now living in upstate New York, closer to their adult children. Peter is working for the local police force which is rarely troubled by anything more than drunken college students, while Rina has made herself at home within the community. When the body of a young coed is discovered brutally stabbed to death, Decker is the only member of the Greenbury Police with the experience to investigate. He quickly connects the dead woman to a recent theft from a crypt and, teamed with an obnoxious rookie, Tyler McAdams, Decker suddenly finds himself in the midst of a case involving stolen art, Russian assassins and international politics.

I so enjoyed reconnecting with the characters of this series, I love that Kellerman has aged them in ‘real time’…it has been 27 years since The Ritual Bath was first published. The children Decker and Rina share, including foster son Gabe, are now grown up and on their own, Decker’s old partner Marg has left the LAPD for quieter pastures and Decker and Rina are adjusting to the changes their move has wrought.

In this book Decker is partnered with Tyler McAdams, a Harvard graduate with a silver spoon in his mouth and a chip on his shoulder, who initially drives Peter crazy but eventually, with Decker’s gruff guidance, proves useful.

I wouldn’t expect anything less from Kellerman than a well crafted mystery which requires shoe leather, rather than luck, to solve. Decker’s investigation is all about following leads, face to face interviews and a bit of hard earned cop instinct. The murdered girl is the first homicide to occur in Greenbury in twenty years so it makes sense that Decker is placed in charge, and in his usual bulldog manner, Decker is determined to solve the case even when his life, and Rina’s and Tyler’s, are threatened.

Murder 101 is another well paced, solid installment in the Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus series, which is likely nearing its conclusion, but proves that Decker isn’t quite ready to give up his badge just yet.

Murder 101 is available to purchase from

HaperCollinsUS I AmazonUS I BookDepository I IndieBound

HarperCollinsAU I via Booko

AUS Cover

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