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leave short and return to work as a PR executive for the prestigious fashion label Moda, but when Ally learns she has been replaced by a 22-year-old bimbo, she resigns and develops a master plan to become the perfect mother.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.


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.


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


Entries close May 3rd,  2015


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.


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


Entries close May 3rd,  2015


AWW Feature: Lizzy Chandler and the Snowy River Man


I am thrilled to welcome Lizzy Chandler to Book’d Out today to introduce her debut short novel, Snowy River Man.

Lizzy Chandler is the pen-name of Elizabeth Lhuede, a writer, book blogger and creative writing tutor who founded the Australian Women Writers Challenge. She reviews books under her own name at Devoted Eclectic.

Lizzy has written a number of novels in a variety of genres, including romance, romantic suspense, fantasy and psychological suspense. Her unpublished manuscripts have earned recognition in a number of competitions, including New Zealand’s Clendon Award and Australia’s Emma Darcy Award (now “Emerald”). Lizzy is a founding member of the RWA Turramurra group in Sydney. She is a trained counsellor and also teaches creative writing by distance through TAFE (NSW) Oten. She spends most of her time in the Blue Mountains.

coverSnowy River Man, published by Escape Publishing, Harlequin’s digital imprint, is an engaging contemporary romance with a hint of suspense.

The last time Katrina Delaney saw Jack Fairley was the morning after a one-night stand, when she discovered he was engaged to be married. Seven years later, she dreams of a missing boy – Jack’s son. Katrina has worked with police to find missing children before, and she knows she must help. But seeing Jack again comes with its own set of dangers, and Katrina fears the risks she is taking with her heart.

Jack Fairley’s standing in the community can’t keep his son from wandering off during a country rodeo. Frantic with worry, Jack is willing to do anything to find him, even put aside his scepticism and accept the help of a woman who sees his son in a dream. But when that woman turns out to be Katrina Delaney, he’s immediately suspicious. Neither Katrina nor Jack have any reason to trust each other, or the attraction that flares between them again. But trust they will have to, if they want any chance at love.”

My review of Snowy River Man can be read HERE, but first, please read on to learn more about Snowy River Man in this guest post from Lizzy Chandler.

‘The Lost Child’

Snowy River Man opens at a country rodeo, with mountains grazier Jack Fairley riding a brumby stallion. When he finishes his ride, he looks around and discovers his six-year-old son Nick has disappeared. Jack lost his wife when Nick was still a baby and he’s terrified the boy has wandered off into the Snowy Mountains wilderness.

The story of the “lost child” is an enduring motif in Australian culture, but it also has a special meaning for me. When I was three and my mother was in hospital with her tenth child (yes, we’re a big family!), my aunt took me and my older brothers and sisters down to a harbourside netted pool to swim. While my aunt was minding the 18-month-old, I paddled on the shore. As the late afternoon shadows crept, I looked back at the beach and I couldn’t see my family. I thought they’d gone home without me. So I walked. I walked up the hill for a couple of kilometres till I arrived back out our old Federation bungalow and found no one there. After that, I had a terror of getting lost. I remember the horror of looking around and not finding the person you want to see. I’ve used those emotions in this story.

The motif also has a deeper resonance. While I was writing Snowy River Man, there was a lot in the press about the stolen generations, and the anguish of mothers losing their children. It’s a national shame and the injustice of it still impacts on current generations of Aboriginal people. When I chose to hint that my heroine, Katrina, was part-indigenous, I wanted to gesture in some way towards the stolen generations, but also to make it personal. I’ve never lost a child, but I did lose the opportunity to have one, and have endured that grief. I know what it’s like to yearn for a baby in my arms, to look at the children of my ex-boyfriend and current partner and wonder what might have been.

In Snowy River Man, I take “what might have been” and give it a happy ending.

Win a copy of Snowy River Man by visiting Entries close March 1st, 2015.


Snow River Man is available to purchase from

Escape Publishing

AllRomanceEbooks Apple Amazon Booktopia Amazon UK Google Kobo Barnes & Noble JB HI FI BIG W AMAZON AU


It’s the 2015 Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop!


Welcome to the  Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop!

To celebrate Australia Day on the 26th Jan and the accompanying long weekend I am giving you the chance to win a book by an Australian author!

After you have entered my giveaway, make sure you follow the linky at the bottom of this post for more chances to win!

I will be drawing TWO winners via

One winner will be drawn from those who indicate they live in Australia and one winner will be drawn from those who indicate they live outside of Australia

Entries close at midnight on Tuesday 27th 2015. The winners will be announced (and contacted via email) Monday February 2nd.

You can choose from these titles:

***NB: You MUST qualify for the BookDepository free shipping to win one of the print books listed – see if your country is listed here, If you do not qualify for free shipping with Bookdepository you can opt for an alternative prize

You can select from any of the following titles

{click the cover image for more details}

*If you happen to have read all the above titles you may choose another not listed to the value of AU$15.00


Then hop around the blogs of the other Australian’s celebrating with me!


Sign Up for the 2015 Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop!


Aussie book bloggers ( & authors, booksellers & publishers)  are invited to sign up to participate in the  2015 Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop from Jan 24th to Jan 27th!

Blog hops are a great way to promote your blog and connect with new and old bloggers and readers.
This is the third year I have hosted this hop and it has proved very popular, promoting Australian bloggers, authors and books to readers all over the world.

How it works:

1. Posting
* Your post should be published as close to midday AEDT on Saturday January 24th, 2015 as possible. It MUST be live before midnight on Saturday January 24th, 2015 or your name will be removed from the hosts list.
* You can schedule your post ahead of time with most blog hosts. This link shows how in, This links shows how in Blogger
* Your post should clearly link back to my post at Book’d Out so your readers can visit the other participants in the hop list. Here is the link you need:
* Your post should also include the blog hop image – download or copy the image from my blog and paste it into your post. You can also add it to your sidebar

2. Entries
* You can collect entries via comments, google forms or Rafflecopter etc and choose a winner by any method you like eg
* Please keep extra entry options (eg following your blog/twitter/facebook accounts) to a minimum.
* Entries should close at Midnight on Tuesday January 27th and winners should be announced within 7 days.

3. Prizes
* You can offer your blog visitors the chance to win a book, (ebook or print), book gift certificate (for online or bricks & mortar store) or even a (very gently used) book from your own collection or similar.
* Any book (whether in print or electronic format) offered, must be written by an Australian author
* You may offer as many prizes as you like
* You may offer your prize to Australian residents only, or worldwide or both. Please make it clear in your post who is eligible to enter.

To celebrate Australia Day, this blog hop accepts sign ups from  Australian residents (& ex-pats) only. You will receive a reminder to post via email on January 22nd/23rd.

Add your blog details to the sign up form


Names will be added to the list below after sign up (please allow for a 48 hour delay). Last day to sign up is January 21st, 2015.

Please pass the word amongst your friends and let’s make this a great Australian bookish event!

Questions? Contact

Giveaway: Breaking the Rules by Katie McGarry


Title: Breaking the Rules {Pushing the Limits #1.5}

Author: Katie McGarry

Published: Harlequin Teen AU January 2014


“For new high school graduate Echo Emerson, a summer road trip out west with her boyfriend means getting away and forgetting what makes her so . . . different. It means seeing cool sights while selling her art at galleries along the way. And most of all, it means almost three months alone with Noah Hutchins, the hot, smart, soul-battered guy who’s never judged her. Echo and Noah share everything—except the one thing Echo’s just not ready for.

But when the reason behind Echo’s constant nightmares comes back into her life, she has to make some tough decisions about what she really wants—even as foster kid Noah’s search for his last remaining relatives forces them both to confront some serious truths about life, love, and themselves.

Now, with one week left before college orientation, jobs and real life, Echo must decide if Noah’s more than the bad-boy fling everyone warned her he’d be. And the last leg of an amazing road trip will turn . . . seriously epic.”


Courtesy of Harlequin Books, I have

3 print editions of

Breaking the Rules by Katie McGarry

to giveaway

to three lucky Australian residents.


Entries close Dec 28th, 2015

Giveaway: The King’s Sister by Anne O’Brien



Title: The King’s Sister

Author: Anne O’Brien

Published: Harlequin MIRA Australia Jan 2015



Elizabeth of Lancaster
Sister. Wife. Traitor.

One betrayal is all it takes to change history…

June, 1380: Elizabeth Plantagenet – seventeen years old, spoilt, headstrong, fun-loving and intelligent — is about to be married. The Earl of Pembroke is an advantageous choice for all concerned, except Elizabeth, as the Earl is only eight years old.

June, 1386: Scandalously pregnant by Sir John Holland, Duke of Exeter, whilst still married to the Earl, Elizabeth is hastily married again. As half-brother to King Richard II, Sir John is a man known to all for both his charm and self-interested scheming.

Soon Elizabeth is drawn into the heart of a dangerous rebellion with her brother, King Henry IV, on one side, and her husband on the other. As tensions become a matter of life or death, Elizabeth is presented with an impossible choice of where to give her loyalty…”


Courtesy of Harlequin Books, I have

3 print editions of

The King’s Sister by Anne O’Brien

to giveaway

to three lucky Australian residents.


Entries close December 21st, 2014

Review & Giveaway: Breaking Beauty by Lynette Washington (Ed.)

Title: Breaking Beauty

Author: Lynette Washington (Editor)

Published: MidnightSun Publishing November 2014

Status: Read from November 12 to 14, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Breaking Beauty is a collection of twenty seven short stories authored by Creative Writing postgraduates from the University of Adelaide, which claims to be one of the pre-eminent creative writing programs in Australia.

Edited by Lynette Washington, this diverse literary anthology explores the theme of beauty, not to define it but to challenge our recognition of it. In most cases the stories delve beyond its familiar construct to find beauty in unexpected forms and unusual places, and often hidden deep beneath ugly truths.

Though the short story format is not a favourite of mine, I found the majority of the stories to be interesting and thought provoking. Those that resonated most strongly with me included Beautiful Girl by Gillian Britton, The Beholders by Sean Williams and A Paper Woman by Melanie Kinsman.

Ranging from the provocative to the poignant, from sexy to startling, Breaking Beauty is a fine anthology from a group of talented Australian writers.

With stories by Katherine Arguile, Lesley Beasley, Gillian Britton, Rebekah Clarkson, Jessica Clements, Katherine Doube, Annabel Evitts, Ruby Ewens, Matthew Gabriel, Corrie Hosking, Rosemary Jackson, Melanie Kinsman, Stefan Laszczuk, Jo Lennan, Gay Lynch, Mary Lynn Mather, Amy T. Matthews, Rachael Mead, Lilliana Rose, Bernadette Smith, Anna Solding, Reg Taylor, Heather Taylor Johnson, Lynette Washington, Bryan Whalen, Sean Williams and Kimberley Zeneth.


Available to purchase from

MidnightSun Publishing I Wakefield Press I Booktopia

Amazon AU I Amazon US



Courtesy of MidnightSun Publishing

I have 1 print edition of

Breaking Beauty

to giveaway.

*Sorry,  only Australian residents may enter

Please leave a comment on this post and then

Winner: Kimberley Z

Entries close November 30th, 2014

Drawn via

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Review & Giveaway: Wife on the Run by Fiona Higgins

Title: Wife on the Run

Author: Fiona Higgins

Published: Allen & Unwin November 2014

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from November 10 to 12, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

In Fiona Higgins’ Wife on the Run, Paula McInnes has been married to her husband Hamish for 17 years and is the mother of two teenage children, fourteen year old Caitlin and thirteen year old, Lachie. The family lives an ordinary, comfortable life in the Australian suburbs which is irrevocably changed when first Caitlin is the victim of a Facebook ‘sex’ scandal, and then, when Hamish is injured in an accident, Paula discovers what her husband has really been doing during his late nights ‘working’ from home.
Shocked and angry, Paula makes a snap decision to pull her children out of school and, along with her father Sid, embark on a three month caravanning tour around Australia, leaving Hamish behind. Freed from their structured routine, and with a ban on technology enforced, the family quickly embrace the pleasures of the journey – beautiful scenery, friendly locals, ‘drinkypoo’s’ at sunset and for the teens, a growing sense of independence thanks to Grandpa Sid’s ‘life lessons’.
With her guard down, Paula is surprised to find herself susceptible to the charms of a charismatic Brazilian they meet on the road. Meanwhile, after a ten day bender, Hamish decides his life is empty without his wife and children in it, and sets out to catch up with them, but ends up making a detour or two along the way. Both Paula and Hamish are on the run, but neither of them are exactly sure if it is from or to one another.

Told from the dual perspectives of Paula and Hamish, Wife on the Run unfolds at a quick, entertaining pace. Part social commentary, part ‘road trip’ farce, Higgins tempers the serious themes of the novel – the perils of social media, marital breakdown, aging and self discovery – with some slightly absurd plot twists including an ever obliging tour bus operator, an illicit rendezvous, a Brazilian (of both types), and a lucky bet on the Melbourne Cup.

Strong but flawed characters, and the complicated dynamics between them, should resonate in one way or another with most readers. There is no denying that Paula is a bit of a control freak but she is largely a sympathetic character despite the mistakes she makes. Hamish is often a boorish sleaze but not entirely irredeemable, Sid is a treasure, and the children are fairly typical teens. The supporting cast is rich and varied, including ‘Doggo’, Marcelo, ‘Farken’ Frank, and Lisel17, all whom offer surprises you probably won’t see coming.

Natural, if often earthy, language and dialogue is spiked with ‘Australian-isms’ and more than one surprisingly explicit sexual scene. There is plenty of humour, both overt and sly, but also astute and serious observations. The landscape, as the characters travel through South Australia, Western Australia and up to the Northern Territory, is familiar with a hint of the exotic.

Provocative, sharply insightful and wildly entertaining, Wife On the Run is not what you may expect from the synopsis but it is an engaging journey through love, heartbreak and self discovery.


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.



Courtesy of Allen & Unwin

I have 2 print editions of

Wife on the Run by Fiona Higgins

to giveaway

*Sorry,  only Australian residents may enter


Please leave a comment on this post and then


Entries close November 30th, 2014

Drawn via

Also by Fiona Higgins


Book’d Out celebrates 4 years!


Today marks four years since I launched Book’d Out.

In that time I have:

* Published a total of 1, 680 posts

* Of which 1, 254 are book reviews

* Had 324,645 visitors

* From whom I have received 14, 915 comments

* And gained  3, 653 awesome followers

Thank you!

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate each and every person who stops by, reads a post, leaves a comment or decides to subscribe to my blog.

Your support has been integral to my daily happiness.

I wish I could reward each and every one of you, alas I can only offer you the chance to win one of four prizes.

The first lucky winner drawn will win

A $25US gift voucher from Gone Reading *


Gone Reading offers a unique collection of merchandise and gifts for readers, pledging 100% of after-tax profits to reading-related charities. They ship to a number of international destinations and you can choose from a range of delightful products like these:

Mark-Twain-Glass-Candle-300x300 My-Bibliofile-300x300 Book-Shaped-Saucer-Stackable-Cup-300x300

Three more lucky winners can each choose either

A gift voucher to the value of $10 from Amazon (US or AU) *



A book to the value of $10AUD from*


*where shipping/delivery is available


To Enter

Please leave a comment on this post and then


Entries close September 7th, 2014

Winners will be randomly selected via


Feel free to download this badge!

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