The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey.
I apologise for my absence from the blog last week. Unfortunately the flu triggered a flare up of a chronic medical condition, which creates its own complications, and I spent the latter half of the week marooned on my lounge taking a heavy dose of antibiotics and painkillers hoping the situation would resolve itself sooner rather than later and without the need for hospitalisation. I actually do feel a lot better today, at least the severe joint pain has abated and I feel a little more clear headed.
I’m surprised how much reading I got done to be honest, but I really wasn’t up to writing reviews, so I am going to have to catch up as and when I can.
What I Read Last Week
Mating For Life by Marissa Stapley
The Bookshop That Floated Away by Sarah Henshaw
Swimming in the Dark by Paddy Richardson
Expecting by Ann Lewis Hamilton
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Letters To My Daughter’s Killer by Cath Staincliffe
(click the titles to read my reviews)
Review: 21st Century Dodos by Steve Stack ★★1/2
Review: All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner ★★★★
Exclusive Excerpt: Expecting by Ann Lewis Hamilton
Review: Expecting by Ann Lewis Hamilton ★★★
Stuff of Sunday: 6 Degrees of Separation
What I Am Reading Today
A beautiful novel of a young girl’s life and adventures in the Australian goldfields — and how a painting revealed her story to the next generation of her family. Annie Reuben is an art restorer in her father’s business, but times are tough. After being given a long-lost painting found in the basement of a condemned hotel, Annie becomes intrigued by the two girls who stare out at her from the ruined canvas. All she has are two names: Alice and Rosey…and a landscape from a century before. 1867: Named by the wife of the paddle steamer captain who finds her half drowned in the Murray River, Alice has a gift — she can see an aura of colours around the people she meets, but sometimes the colours tell her of impending doom. Learning to survive in a world which misunderstands her, Alice eventually runs away to the goldfields with her friend Rosey and joins a troupe of entertainers. While her fame and fortunes increase as people pay to hear her predictions, Alice can never escape her past…along with the frightening man in the dark coat who follows her wherever she goes. Who were Alice and Rosey? And why does Annie find their lives so important? As Annie becomes caught up with seeking answers from the past, she finds herself seeing the same man in the dark coat who follows her wherever she goes. What is his connection to the painting?
What I Plan To Read This Week
(click the covers to view at Goodreads)
Best Australian Blog 2013 judge Kerry Sackville echoed the feelings of the many fans of award-winning blogger Reservoir Dad aka Clint Greagen, a stay-at-home dad who tells it like it is and makes us laugh out loud – and sometimes cry, but in a good way. A sharply funny, fresh and irreverent chronicler of real life in today’s parenting trenches, whether he’s making us choke with laughter, ‘scrisper’ (a scream, tempered by a whisper, vital to surviving being in charge of four little boys on a plane, train, automobile or supermarket) or cringe with horror or snicker in recognition, you can see why his star is rising. Women love him, and men, fellow stay-at-home dads and otherwise, admire him for keeping it real and doing his best to man up, even (and perhaps especially) when he fails, spectacularly. He is not only funny and wise but out and proud about loving his kids and wife – his relationship with the ever-patient Reservoir Mum. In Reservoir Dad, he finally shares the whole enchilada. The result is a laugh out loud and often heartbreakingly moving modern day love story that reminds us of what really matters amongst all the chaos and craziness.
Driving home after being kicked out of college, Tucker meets and picks up the mysterious Corinne Chang at a rest stop. Infatuated, and with nothing better to do, he ends up with her in St. Louis, where he gets a job as a chef in a Chinese restaurant. Even though he’s a gwai lo—a foreign devil—his cooking skills impress the Chinese patrons of the restaurant, and his wooing skills impress Corinne when she joins him there as a waitress. But when Chinese gangsters show up demanding diamonds they believe Tucker’s kind-of, sort-of, don’t-call-her-a-girlfriend stole, he and his friends—which luckily include a couple of FBI agents—have to figure out just who is gunning for Corinne and how to stop them. Good thing Tucker is a Mandarin-speaking martial arts master who isn’t afraid to throw the first punch.With its one-of-a-kind hero, Chinese Cooking for Diamond Thieves is perfect for anyone who loves cooking, Chinese culture, bad jokes, and young love. Diamonds are forever . . . unless Chinese mobsters decide they want them back.
The luck of the Irish was chronic bad luck, as their sad history attests. That’s how it looked for 250 Irish convicts when their ship, the Hive, sank ignominiously off the NSW coast in 1835. Miraculously all survived, guided to safety by local Aboriginal people. They landed at a time when the so-called slave colony was at its height, ruled by the lash and the chain gang. Yet as Babette Smith tracked the lives of the people aboard the Hive, she discovered a very different story. Most were assigned to work on farms or in businesses, building a better life than they possibly could have experienced in Ireland. Surprisingly, in the workforce they found power, which gave rise to the characteristic Australian culture later described by DH Lawrence: ‘Nobody felt better than anybody else, or higher.’ The Luck of the Irish is 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.
When patriarch Gerald Hawkins passes away in his Tasmanian home, after ten years of serious illness, his family experience a wave of grief and, admittedly, a surge of relief. Gerald’s dominating personality has loomed large over his wife, Connie, their children, Andrew and Kerry, and his sister Flora, for decades. Connie, whose own dreams were dispensed with upon marriage, is now determined to renew her long friendship with Gerald’s estranged sister, Flora. She travels to France where she finds Flora struggling to make peace with the past and searching for a place to call home. Meanwhile Andrew’s marriage is crumbling, and Kerry is trapped in stasis by unfinished business with her father. As the family adjusts to life after Gerald, they could not be more splintered. But there are surprises in store and secrets to unravel. And once the loss has been absorbed, is it possible that they could all find a way to start afresh with forgiveness, understanding and possibility?
While you are here…