It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

sundaypost

The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey. In Sheila’s  absence I’m linking this post via Twitter at #IMWAYR, and the Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Life…

I haven’t quite caught up yet after my unscheduled break but I’m making progress.

This past week has been a bit of a wild one with huge storms causing havoc across the state. Thankfully we were only on the fringes of the cell that caused widespread flash flooding and damage to homes and infrastructure, but many of my family members were in the thick of it so there were a few tense days and nights.

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Despite the drama of the week, on  Saturday Australian’s pulled together to commemorate ANZAC Day. The date, April 25th, specifically  references the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915, a doomed campaign that nevertheless birthed the legend of the ANZAC spirit.

My daughter was accorded the honour of leading the ANZAC march in my country town, on the 100th anniversary of the landings, bearing the Australian flag, while my oldest son wore his grandfather’s service medals as he and his brother marched with their cub troop. Lest we forget.

aleah_anzac2015

 

What I Read Last Week

Reykjavik Nights by Arnaldur Indriðason

Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum by Georgia Madden

The Falls by Cathryn Hein

Gallipoli Street by Mary-Anne O’Connor

Captive Prince by C.S Pacat (DNF)

Where They Found Her by Kimberley McCreight

Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

 

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

Review: Inside The O’Briens by Lisa Genova ★★★★

Review & Giveaway: The Chocolate Promise by Josephine Moon ★★

Blog Tour: An Excerpt from All That Sparkles by Claire Boston

Review & Giveaway: Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum by Georgia Madden ★★★1/2

Review: The Falls by Cathryn Hein ★★★1/2

Review: Gallipoli Street by Mary-Anne O’Connor ★★

Stuff on Sundays: Bookshelf Bounty

 

 What I Am Reading Today

On a searing August day, Melisandre Harris Dawes committed the unthinkable: she left her two-month-old daughter locked in a car while she sat nearby on the shores of the Patapsco River. Melisandre was found not guilty by reason of criminal insanity, although there was much skepticism about her mental state. Freed, she left the country, her husband and her two surviving children, determined to start over. But now Melisandre has returned Baltimore to meet with her estranged teenage daughters and wants to film the reunion for a documentary. The problem is, she relinquished custody and her ex, now remarried, isn’t sure he approves. Now that’s she’s a mother herself–short on time, patience–Tess Monaghan wants nothing to do with a woman crazy enough to have killed her own child. But her mentor and close friend Tyner Gray, Melisandre’s lawyer, has asked Tess and her new partner, retired Baltimore P.D. homicide detective Sandy Sanchez, to assess Melisandre’s security needs. As a former reporter and private investigator, Tess tries to understand why other people break the rules and the law. Yet the imperious Melisandre is something far different from anyone she’s encountered. A decade ago, a judge ruled that Melisandre was beyond rational thought. But was she? Tess tries to ignore the discomfort she feels around the confident, manipulative Melisandre. But that gets tricky after Melisandre becomes a prime suspect in a murder. Yet as her suspicions deepen, Tess realizes that just as she’s been scrutinizing Melisandre, a judgmental stalker has been watching her every move as well. . . .

 

 What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

Tess is in trouble. Stuck on a farm outside Byron Bay, cut off from family and friends, Tess knows she must find a way to escape her violent partner to save her life and the life of her child … A chance meeting offers a way out – but can she ever trust again? Tess embarks on a desperate road trip back to the heart of her past. But what will be waiting for her at home? Will her family forgive her – and can she forgive them?

Sometime this season… The secret keeper must tell. The betrayed must trust. The hurt must heal.  When it seems everything Paige trusts is beginning to betray her, she leaves her husband at home and sets off on a road trip with six year old Matilda, and Nana Alice in tow. But stranded amid rising floodwaters, on a detour to the tiny town of Coolabah Tree Gully, Paige discovers the greatest betrayal of all happened there twenty years earlier. Someone knows that truth can wash away the darkest shadows, but… Are some secrets best kept for the sake of others?

Who is Alice Salmon? Student. Journalist. Daughter. Lover of late nights, hater of deadlines. That girl who drowned last year. Gone doesn’t mean forgotten. Everyone’s life leaves a trace behind. But it’s never the whole story.

Following a long absence spent in New York, Elaine Nichols returns to her childhood home to live with her invalid father and his geriatric Alsatian dog. The house backing on to theirs is sold and as she watches the old furniture being removed, she is taken back to a summer in the 1970’s when she was almost sixteen and this small out-of-town estate was an enclave for women and children while the men are mysterious shadows who leave every day for the outside world. The women are isolated but keep their loneliness and frustrations hidden behind a veneer of suburban respectability. When an American divorcee and her daughter move into the estate this veneer begins to crack. The women learn how to socialise, how to drink martinis, how to care less about their wifely and maternal duties. While the women are distracted, Elaine and her friends find their own entry into the adult world. The result is a tragic event that will mark the rest of Elaine’s life and be the cause of her long and guilt-ridden exile. Insightful and full of suspense, this is an uncompromising portrayal of the suburbs and the cruelties brought about by the demands of respectability.

Angel Crawford is a loser. Living with her alcoholic deadbeat dad in the swamps of southern Louisiana, she’s a high school dropout with a pill habit and a criminal record who’s been fired from more crap jobs than she can count. Now on probation for a felony, it seems that Angel will never pull herself out of the downward spiral her life has taken. That is, until the day she wakes up in the ER after overdosing on painkillers. Angel remembers being in an horrible car crash, but she doesn’t have a mark on her. To add to the weirdness, she receives an anonymous letter telling her there’s a job waiting for her at the parish morgue—and that it’s an offer she doesn’t dare refuse. Before she knows it she’s dealing with a huge crush on a certain hunky deputy and a brand new addiction: an overpowering craving for brains. Plus, her morgue is filling up with the victims of a serial killer who decapitates his prey—just when she’s hungriest! Angel’s going to have to grow up fast if she wants to keep this job and stay in one piece. Because if she doesn’t, she’s dead meat. Literally.

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 Enter to WIN:  The Chocolate Promise by Josephine Moon and

Enter to WIN: Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum by Georgia Madden

(Entries Close May 3rd. Australian residents only)

Thanks for stopping by!

Stuff On Sundays: Bookshelf Bounty

It’s that time of the month or near enough,  so here is what I have added to my shelves recently.

Click on the cover images to view at Goodreads

For Review (print)

 

 

For Review (electronic)

 

 

 

Bought/Won/Downloaded or otherwise acquired

Review: Gallipoli Street by Mary-Anne O’Connor

Today is ANZAC Day in Australia, a time to remember and honour those who have served in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations in defense of Australia and New Zealand. The date, April 25th, specifically  references the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915, a doomed campaign that nevertheless birthed the legend of the ANZAC spirit.

My daughter has been accorded the honour of leading today’s ANZAC march in my country town, on the 100th anniversary of the landings, bearing the Australian flag. My oldest son will wear his grandfather’s service medals as he and his brother march with their cub troop. We will remember them. Lest we forget.

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Title: Gallipoli Street

Author: Mary-Anne O’Connor

Published: MIRA: Harlequin AU March 2015

Status: Read from April 23 to 24, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

A sweeping saga of romance, friendship, family and war, Gallipoli Street is Mary-Anne O’Connor’s debut novel.

Its 1913 and the declaration of war is about to shatter the rural idyll of Beecroft, home to the close knit O’Shay, Murphy and Dwyer families, who will discover their fates are intertwined by tragedy and love.

The romance of Gallipoli Street begins with the passionate love story between childhood friends, Veronica O’Shay and Jack Murphy. It is an epic tale that sees the couple overcome a scheming femme fatale, the perils of their service in the Great War, and Jack’s struggle to reconcile his experiences on his return home.
Twenty years later their son finds love in a New Guinea field hospital ward with orphaned nurse Theresa, but their relationship is shattered when shocking secrets from her past are exposed.

The story takes us from the trenches of Gallipoli, to the deserts of Egypt, from the muddy battlefield of The Somme, to the dense jungle of the Kokoda Trail. No matter the period or arena, war proves to be a universally horrifying and heartbreaking experience which the author relates with truth and compassion.

An appealing and poignant tale, O’Connor has drawn inspiration for both the story of Gallipoli Street and its characters from the lives of her maternal grandparents lending it authenticity and heart.

Gallipoli Street is available to purchase from

Harlequin Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I via Booko

Amazon AU  I Amazon US

and all good bookstores.

aww-badge-2015

Review & Giveaway: Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum by Georgia Madden

Title: Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum

Author: Georgia Madden

Published: Nero April 2015

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from April 21 to 22, 2015 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum by Georgia Madden is an entertaining, lighthearted tale about modern motherhood, marriage and fashion.

“I would be the type of yummy mummy real mothers could relate to, and had even coined the perfect hashtag for my instagram feed – #FashMum.”

Being a SAHM is not quite working out the way Ally Bloom hoped. She adores her baby daughter but she has no interest in sitting cross-legged in a dirty school hall singing The Wiggles greatest hits with the ‘Happy Mummies’ and their snotty-nosed offspring. Now that her mother-in-law has come to stay it seems the perfect time to cut her maternity leave short and return to work as a PR executive for the prestigious fashion label Moda, but when Ally learns she has been replaced by a 22-year-old bimbo, she resigns and develops a master plan to become the perfect mother.

“3. Embrace inner earth mama: Weave, bake, plant fragrant herb path or veggie patch, and insta everything as I go along. Use tag #soblessed at least once per day.”

Armed with Nigella Lawson’s How To be a Domestic Goddess, a new wardrobe of cardigans and flats, and her master plan, Ally makes a sincere attempt to get it together and impress her husband, Matt, mother-in-law Judy and the mummy mafia. Her failures are amusing as Madden underscores the competitive edge of motherhood and the pressure of aiming for social media perfection.

“Safe to say, it was, quite possibly, the worst coffee morning in the history of coffee mornings. To top it all off, not one single moment of it had been worthy of my Instagram feed.”

While Ally struggles to adjust to life as a permanent SAHM, she is also struggling with the changes parenthood has wrought in her marriage to Matt and Madden identifies the distance that can sometimes creep between couples with the shift in lifestyle and priorities. Cameron (aka #HotDaddy) provides a distraction for Ally who is flattered by his flirtation.

Madden pokes gentle fun at the members of ‘Happy Mummies’ who are reluctant to admit their lives before children had any value and whose toddlers have Mandarin tutors, wear only natural fibers and eat only organic, gluten free homemade foods. These women are alien to Ally who is quick to dismiss them as ‘saddo losers’ but slowly she discovers she has more in common with them than she thought, and when the group is threatened with closure, Ally is determine to save the day.

“Look, you might think Happy Mummies is just a bunch of mums singing stupid songs and making a mess of your school hall floor every Tuesday morning, but it’s so much more than that…These women, the friendships you make, they have the power to save you, to keep you afloat, at a time in your life when you’re not even sure how you are going to make it through the next day. I know because they saved me.”

There is plenty of humour in this sharply amusing, well paced novel. Wry observation is teamed with snappy dialogue and sarcasm, the characters and scenes may be exaggerated for effect but include a kernel of truth and familiarity for any modern day mother.

#FashMum#Witty#Sharp#AGoodRead#NiceworkGeorgiaMadden

Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum is available to purchase from

Black Inc Books Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I via Booko

Amazon AU  I Amazon US I Book Depository

and all good bookstores.

GIVEAWAY

Courtesy of Black Inc Books, I have

5 print editions of

 Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum by Georgia Madden

to giveaway to five lucky Australian residents.

Leave a comment on this post and then

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Entries close May 3rd,  2015

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Blog Tour: An Excerpt from All That Sparkles by Claire Boston

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An excerpt from All That Sparkles {Book 2 of the Texan Quartet} by Claire Boston

Imogen has led a sheltered upbringing. When Christian asks her what she wants to do on their date, she chooses a local theme park as she’s never been to one. This scene starts as they arrive.

******

Imogen was ridiculously excited by the time they arrived at the boardwalk. She had to laugh. Her father would be absolutely horrified. The boardwalk represented everything he hated: crowds, cheesy souvenirs and mass-produced food.
Christian took hold of her hand. “Where do you want to begin?”
“The rollercoaster.” She’d seen it from a distance as they drove in and was worried she’d chicken out if she didn’t do it right away.
Christian laughed. “All right. Let’s get some tickets.”
They wandered along a path. There was a mixture of families with small children, teenagers on their own and young adults. Imogen glanced up at a ride proclaiming itself the Iron Eagle Zipline as the chair at the top of the line came rushing back to earth. Her heart thumped at the screams issuing from the chair. “We need to do that as well,” she said.
“Whatever you want,” Christian said. “Come on, the ticket booth is over there.”
While Christian bought the tickets she scanned the park, deciding what else she wanted to do.
“Here.” He handed her a ticket. “It’s a day pass.”
Imogen hadn’t offered to pay. “How much do I owe you?”
He gave her a look. “You’re my date; I’m paying today.”
She opened her mouth to protest, but he interrupted, “Unless you want me to pay for my ticket from Friday night.”
She closed her mouth again. He was right. If he wanted to pay for her she should let him. It was weird because she usually paid when she went on dates. “All right,” she said. “But I should warn you that I’m expecting both donuts and cotton candy.”
He grinned. “I can manage that.”
They lined up for the rollercoaster, the Boardwalk Bullet. It was huge, and as Imogen watched a carriage plummet down the first drop, she squeezed Christian’s hand. She was going to do this. She was going to ride this wooden rollercoaster. She was going to take this risk.
It wasn’t long before it was their turn. The front seat was free and Christian pulled her in.
“It’s the best spot.”
Imogen wasn’t so sure she wanted to be right at the front, but she went with him and waited for the safety bar to lock in to place. She glanced at it dubiously. It wasn’t a whole lot to keep her from falling out.
The carriage moved and Imogen clutched Christian’s hand. This was it! Nerves and excitement clattered queasily around in her stomach. The carriage was dragged up an incline and Imogen could see across the parking lot and marina to one side and the Texas Gulf on the other. Then, before she could catch her breath, the ride was going around a bend and dropping straight down.
“Hands up,” Christian shouted, putting his hands up in the air, and hers went with him. Her stomach dropped along with the ride and she shrieked as they twisted and turned. It was insane. Her body was thrown violently around and she had no control over what she was doing, where she was going.
It was terrifying and it was thrilling.
She didn’t breathe properly until they came to a slow stop.
“Oh my gosh,” she said, her skin tingling.
“What did you think?” Christian asked as they exited the ride.
She couldn’t think straight. Adrenalin was racing around her body and she couldn’t stand still. What a buzz. “That was so much fun.” She tapped her hands on her thighs. “Can we go again?”
“Sure thing.”
She flung her arms around his neck and kissed him. “Thanks.” She grabbed his hand before he could kiss her again. “Come on.” She dragged him back to the line.

Published by Momentum, April 2015

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Review & Giveaway: The Chocolate Promise by Josephine Moon

 

Title: The Chocolate Promise

Author: Josephine Moon

Published: Allen & Unwin April 2015

Read an Extract

Status: Read on April 09, 2015 — I own a copy  {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

A sweet tale about love, friendship, family and chocolate, The Chocolate Promise is Josephine Moon’s second novel.

Christmas Livingstone is doing what she loves, making and selling gourmet chocolate treats in her very own store, The Chocolate Apothecary, and spreading joy, helping those in need in her community. She has ten simple rules for happiness, all of which have helped her rebuild her life after fleeing heartbreak three years previously and she is determined to stick with them, even when Lincoln van Luc, a botanist, wanders into her shop and threatens the most important rule of all… ‘Absolutely no romantic relationships’.

“The rules, she reminded herself. The rules were there for her protection. The rules had served her well and kept her steady for the past three years. Now was not the time to abandon the rules.”

Christmas is happy with the life she has made for herself and the plans she has for the future but the rules that have allowed her to rebuild her life begin to chafe when first wins a place on a week-long course with a world-renowned French chocolatier, and then she meets Lincoln. Christmas (a ridiculous name btw) is creative, intelligent and kind but she is also emotionally closed off due to a dysfunctional childhood and a recent trauma. Moon gently guides her character into dealing with her past and opening up her heart as the story unfolds.

The romantic relationship between Christmas and Lincoln is complicated by Christmas’s ‘rules’ and Lincoln’s wunderlust. Lincoln, a botanist, has spent most of his life traveling the world and doesn’t plan to stay in Tasmania long. He has returned to help his Nan, a wonderful character, and work on his book, but falling in love with Christmas forces him to reassess his future.

I delighted in the settings, a small town in Tasmania with ‘period’ tourist appeal, the Chocolate Apothecary sounds like a pretty store and I could easily imagine the tempting treats gracing the shelves and the rich smell of molten chocolate. Francophiles will enjoy Christmas’s sojourn in France touring the countryside exploring lavender farms in Provence, and whipping up treats like a champagne and vodka chocolate ganache to coat fresh rasberries in Aix.

This novel, with its appealing characters and feel good storyline, is a lovely way to treat yourself on a lazy afternoon, but be warned, you will be craving chocolate before you are through, so make sure you have your favourite on hand.

The Chocolate Promise is available to purchase from

Allen and Unwin Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I via Booko

Amazon AU  I Amazon US

and all good bookstores.

GIVEAWAY

Courtesy of Allen & Unwin, I have

5 print editions of

The Chocolate Promise by Josephine Moon

to giveaway

to five lucky Australian residents.

Leave a comment on this post and then

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Entries close May 3rd,  2015

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey. In Sheila’s  absence I’m linking this post via Twitter at #IMWAYR, please join me!

Life…

So it’s been a week or two (if you noticed). I have few excuses for my unscheduled break other than the chaos of the school holidays, an unhealthy obsession with Netflix (specifically The Vampire Diaries) and general apathy brought on by aging (I turned 42 last Tuesday).

I read, but posted only a couple of reviews, I’m going to do my best to get caught up ASAP.

What I Read Last Week
(and the week before)

Missing You by Kylie Kaden

The Nutters by Kate Starmer

The Chocolate Promise by Josephine Moon

Food 52: Genius Recipes by Kristen Miglore

Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

Death in the Rainy Season by Anna Jacquiery

Love at First Flight by Tess Woods

The Liar by Nora Roberts

Season of Salt and Honey by Hannah Tunnicliffe

 

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

AWW Feature: Kylie Kaden and Book Nerds Anonymous

Review: Missing You by Kyle Kaden ★★★★

Review: The Nutters by Kate Starmer ★★

Weekend Cooking: Food 52: Genius Recipes by Kristen Miglore

AWW Feature: Tess Woods, Love at First Flight and the road to publication

Review: Love at First Flight by Tess Woods ★★★

Weekend Cooking: Season of Salt and Honey by Hannah Tunnicliffe ★★★★

 What I Am Reading Today

The loner Erlendur has recently joined the police force as a young officer. The beat on the streets in Reykjavik is busy: traffic accidents, theft, domestic violence, contraband… And an unexplained death. When a tramp he met regularly on the night shift is found drowned in a ditch no one seems to care. But his fate haunts Erlendur and drags him inexorably into the strange and dark underworld of the city. – Features the young Erlendur: “Reykjavik Nights “is a prequel to the long-running, acclaimed series that recently concluded with “Strange Shores.”

 What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

An idyllic suburban town. A devastating discovery. Shocking revelations that will change three lives forever. At the end of a long winter in well-to-do Ridgedale, New Jersey, the body of a newborn is found in the woods fringing the campus of the town’s prestigious university. No one knows the identity of the baby, what ended her very short life, or how she wound up among the fallen leaves. But among the residents of Ridgedale, there is no shortage of opinions. When freelance journalist, and recent Ridgedale transplant, Molly Anderson is unexpectedly called upon to cover the disturbing news for the Ridgedale Reader—the town’s local paper—she has good reason to hesitate. A severe depression followed the loss of her own baby, and this assignment could unearth memories she has tried so hard to bury. But the history Molly uncovers is not her own. Her investigation unravels a decades-old trail of dark secrets hiding behind Ridgedale’s white picket fences.

Successful hubbie? Tick. Facebook-worthy baby? Tick. Bikini-body six weeks after giving birth? Um … not so much. Fashion PR exec Ally Bloom got her happy ending. Okay, her marriage might be showing the odd crack, her battleaxe mother-in-law might have come to stay, and she might not be the yummy mummy she’d imagined, but it’s nothing a decent night’s sleep and a firm commitment to a no-carb diet won’t fix. But when Ally returns to work and finds she’ll be reporting to a 22-year-old airhead, she decides to turn her back on life as a professional fashionista and embrace her inner earth mama instead. So it’s out with the Louboutins and champagne and in with the sensible flats and coffee mornings with the Mummy Mafia. From attending her first grown-up dinner party only to discover that placenta is top of the menu to controlling her monster crush on local playgroup hottie Cameron, Ally must find her feet in the brave new world of the stay-at-home mum.

For as long as she can remember, Teagan Bliss has wanted to manage her family’s property. She’s invested everything in the farm, knowing that when her parents retire she’ll be ready to take the reins. But when a family betrayal leaves her reeling, Teagan is forced to rethink her entire future. Heartbroken, Teagan flees to her aunt’s property in the idyllic Falls Valley. Vanessa is warm and welcoming and a favourite of the locals who drop in regularly for cocktail hour. Teagan soon catches the attention of sexy local farrier Lucas Knight, and with a new job, new friends and the prospect of a new relationship, she slowly begins to open up again. But the village is a hotbed of gossip and division and when Teagan gets caught up in town politics, Lucas and Vanessa become concerned. As the tension in town escalates, Teagan must decide who to trust. But when she realises those close to her have been keeping secrets, the fallout may split Teagan apart forever.

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos, but when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave. Beautiful, manipulative and deadly, his new master Prince Laurent epitomises the worst of the decadent court at Vere. But in the lethal web of Veretian politics, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen is caught up in a dangerous play for the throne, he must form an alliance with Laurent to survive and save his country. For Damen, there is just one rule: he must never reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else . . .

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Thanks for stopping by!

Weekend Cooking: Season of Salt and Honey by Hannah Tunnicliffe

wkendcooking

I’ve decided to make the Weekend Cooking meme, hosted by Beth Fish Reads a semi-regular post at Book’d Out.

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Title: Season of Salt and Honey

Author: Hannah Tunnicliffe

Published: Pan Macmillan April 2015

Status: Read from April 19 to 20, 2015 — I own a copy  {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Season of Salt and Honey is a bittersweet story of grief, love, family and food from forkandfiction.com blogger and author, Hannah Tunnicliffe.

Overwhelmed by grief after the death of her fiance, Francesca Caputo flees the sympathies of her well meaning family, seeking refuge in an abandoned cabin owned by Alex’s parents in a forested area of Washington. All Frankie wants is time alone to mourn the loss of forever, but her solitude is repeatedly interrupted, forcing her to reassess everything she thought she knew about her relationship, her family and herself.

“We were high-school sweethearts, just like everyone dreams about but no one actually has, because that kind of thing only happens in the movies. I knew right in my bones just how lucky I was. I knew everything was perfect, and did all the right things to keep it that way. Until now.”

Frankie’s grief at the loss of Alex is raw and biting, I felt for her and could understand her wish to be alone. She is craving peace and quiet, and the time to wallow in her happiest memories, but eventually Frankie is forced to confront some painful truths about her relationship with Alex when an offhand comment shakes her to the core.

“A loss that had started long before the ocean took him for good.”

Despite her desire for solitude, Frankie is befriended by caretaker, Jack, and his impish daughter, Huia, as well as the generous spirited Merriem, who all provide unexpected comfort as Frankie struggles to comes to terms with the changes Alex’s death has wrought. I liked these charming, enigmatic characters who offer kindness without expectation.

Frankie’s family is delightful, stereotypically Italian there is no escaping their loving, if somewhat suffocating, concern. While her Papa is a solid, comforting presence, Frankie’s aunts, Zia Rosa and Zia Connie, fuss and worry, cousin Vinnie makes mischief, and her estranged sister, Isabella, camps on her doorstep, reminding her of things she would rather forget.

Frankie’s family equates food with love, and Season of Salt and Honey includes the recipes for a handful of Italian dishes served and shared within its pages, including Pitta Mpigliata (Sweetbread rosettes with fruit and nuts); Lingua de Suocera (Marmalade filled pastries); Spring Risotto; and Pasta alla Norma (Pasta with eggplant, tomato and salted ricotta).

“The smells of the forest — the damp dark of the soil, the bleeding sap of the trees, the lemony cedar smell — all vanish in the company of the Sicilian food: the pungent garlic in Zio Mario’s salami, the vinegar pickling the vegetables, olives bobbing in brine, roasted peppers, the ubiquitous, sunshine-coloured olive oil.”

With lovely writing and a measured, almost lyrical, tempo, Season of Salt and Honey is a poignant novel embracing both the sourness and sweetness of love.

Available to purchase from

Pan Macmillan Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I via Booko

Amazon AU  I Amazon US

and all good bookstores.

seasonsalt_swag

eclecticreader15

Review: Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

 

Title: Inside the O’Briens

Author: Lisa Genova

Published: Simon & Schuster April 2015

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read on April 11, 2015   {I own a copy – Courtesy Simon & Schuster}

My Thoughts:

A moving story exposing a family’s struggle when patriarch Joe O’Brien, a police officer in his mid forties, is diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease, an incurable and untreatable condition , and his four children must decide if they will be tested and face their fate.

Inside the O’Briens is available to purchase from

Simon  & Schuster Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AU I via Booko

 Gallery Books  I Amazon US I Book Depository

and all good bookstores.

Also by Lisa Genova on Book’d Out

 

Review: Love at First Flight by Tess Woods

LoveAtFirstFlighteCover

 

Title: Love at First Flight

Author: Tess Woods

Published: HarperCollins Au April 2015

Status: Read from April 15 to 16, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

Told from the first person perspectives of Mel and Matt, Love at First Flight is an unconventional love story which explores the motives for an illicit affair, and the damage left in its wake.

When Mel meets Matt during an interstate flight they recognise each other as soul mates. The problem is Mel is a married mother of two who lives in Perth, and Matt, who lives in Melbourne, is engaged to be married. Despite saying goodbye at the airport, they are both unable to forget their brief time together, and embark on a passionate affair that threatens to destroy them both.

Relationships are complicated things and Woods intelligently and compassionately explores the evolution of Matt and Mel’s affair from their first meeting, through their consuming affair, and to the messy, bitter end. It’s an emotional journey that draws the reader in with complex characterisation and a compelling narrative.

I was surprised to find I could relate to Mel in some ways, I found it difficult to blame her for reveling in the attention Matt gave her during the flight, but she definitely crossed the line for me when she chose to meet with him later. Her spiral into obsession was unsettling but I believed in it, as I did in her growing self awareness.

I particularly admired the way Mel eventually took responsibility for her failings with her husband. Mel’s shame and guilt, and Adam’s hurt and anger, in the aftermath is visceral. I’ve witnessed a similar situation among friends and feel that Woods portrayal of their struggle towards forgiveness and redemption is very well drawn.

Woods convinced me of the overwhelming chemistry between Mel and Matt, no mean feat considering I’m not sure I really believe in the idea of love at first sight. I wasn’t a fan of Matt, despite his sympathetic background he struck me as a weak man, but I thought he was a well rounded character.

Love at First Flight is a surprisingly thought provoking story about love, marriage, intimacy and honesty. An impressive debut from a new Australian author.

 

Learn more about Love at First Flight, Tess Woods and her road to publication in her guest post published earlier today

Love at First Flight is available to purchase from

HarperCollins I Amazon I Amazon Au I Google Play I Kobo I iTunes

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