It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon

Linking to: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? at BookDate; Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Reviewer; and the Sunday Salon @ ReaderBuzz

——————————————-

Life…

It’s been a week already?

——————————————-

*

What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

*

My Best Friend’s Murder by Polly Phillips

The Lost Boys by Faye Kellerman

Stranger Times by CK McDonell

———————————————

*

New Posts…

*

Review: Elizabeth & Elizabeth by Sue Williams

Review: My Best Friend’s Murder by Polly Phillips

Review: The Lost Boys by Faye Kellerman

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Inspiration Part #2

———————————————

*

What I’m Reading This Week…

Laura Bloom has such a unique talent for modern historical fiction and this time it was a joy to be catapulted back to the 1970s. When I turned the last page I was so sad to say goodbye to her beautifully observed characters. A delight from start to finish!’ Liane Moriarty

Three friends. Three marriages left behind. Life begins in earnest.

It’s 1977, and warm, bohemian Libby – stay-at-home mother, genius entertainer and gifted cook – is lonely. When she meets Carol, who has recently emigrated from London with her controlling husband and is feeling adrift, and Anna, who loves her career but not her marriage, the women form an unexpected bond.

Their husbands aren’t happy about it, and neither are their daughters.

Set against a backdrop of inner-city grunge and 70s glamour, far-out parties and ABBA songs, The Women and The Girls is a funny, questioning and moving novel about love, friendship, work, family, and freedom.

++++++

‘The women in this family, we’re different . . .’

Blythe Connor doesn’t want history to repeat itself.

Violet is her first child and she will give her daughter all the love she deserves. All the love that her own mother withheld.

But firstborns are never easy. And Violet is demanding and fretful. She never smiles. Soon Blythe believes she can do no right – that something’s very wrong. Either with her daughter, or herself.

Her husband, Fox, says she’s imagining it. But Violet’s different with him. And he can’t understand what Blythe suffered as a child. No one can.

Blythe wants to be a good mother. But what if that’s not enough for Violet? Or her marriage? What if she can’t see the darkness coming?

Mother and daughter. Angel or monster?

We don’t get to choose our inheritance – or who we are . . .

The Push is an addictive, gripping and compulsive read that asks what happens when women are not believed – and what if motherhood isn’t everything you hoped for but everything you always feared?

++++++

Are you still a virgin?

Want to talk about it in a safe space?

Meetings every other Tuesday. You’re not alone.

Kate Mundy’s life is not going to plan. Nearing thirty, she’s been made redundant from her job, her oldest friends have quietly left her behind, and she can barely admit her biggest secret: she’s never even been on a date, let alone taken her underwear off with a member of the opposite sex.

Freddie Weir has spent most of his twenties struggling severe OCD and anxiety, and now his only social interactions consist of comic book signings and fending off intrusive questions from his weird flatmate Damian. There’s no way Freddie could ever ask a girl out and now he’s wondering if this is the way it might be forever.

When Freddie and Kate meet at a self-help group for adult virgins, they think they might just be able to help each other out so they can both get on with finding their real romantic destinies. But might these two have more in common than just their lack of experience?

———————————————

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon

Linking to: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? at BookDate; Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Reviewer; and the Sunday Salon @ ReaderBuzz

Life…

Well here we are a week into the new year and it’s certainly been an eventful one.

I’m delighted that the Senate is now Blue, and Biden’s presidency has been confirmed. Obviously however news of the disturbing assault on the Capitol Building is on everyone’s mind. I wish for peace and safety in the United States, and the removal of Trump from office when the The House meets on Monday.

Australia is working hard to squash an outbreak of Coronavirus on the East Coast that began just before Christmas. We currently have 199 active cases in NSW, and restrictions have been increased in the Greater Sydney area, with face masks required in all indoor locations. Thankfully our region remains Covid free -there has not been a case for 253 days – so restrictions continue to be minimal.

In other, admittedly less globally noteworthy, news my youngest daughter turned 18! We had dinner with family earlier in the week, and her godmother, older sister, and I, in what is a traditional rite of passage, took her to the pub for her first drink (18 is the legal drinking age here).

I’ve done far too much doomscrolling this week so I didn’t do as much blog hopping as I had planned, I follow over 1000 book bloggers via Feedly and while I aim to comment on at least ten blogs a day, and visit at least double that, I never feel like I’m making much progress. I have posted the first of what will be four posts providing titles that suit the twelve categories for the 2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge. You can read the post HERE and leave further suggestions in the comments.

——————————————-

What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

Lana’s War by Anita Abriel

Shelter by Catherine Jinks

Elizabeth & Elizabeth by Sue Williams

The Schoolgirl Strangler by Katherine Kovacic

———————————————

New Posts…

Review: This Has Been Absolutely Lovely by Jessica Dettmann

Review: When the Apricots Bloom by Gina Wilkinson

Review: Lana’s War by Anita Abriel

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Inspiration PART #1 -Biography, Travel, Self Help

Review: Shelter by Catherine Jinks

———————————————

What I’m Reading This Week…

There are so many ways to kill a friendship . . .

You’re lying, sprawled at the bottom of the stairs, legs bent, arms wide.

And while this could be a tragic accident, if anyone’s got a motive to hurt you, it’s me.

Bec and Izzy have been best friends their whole lives. They have been through a lot together – from the death of Bec’s mother to the birth of Izzy’s daughter. But there’s a darker side to their friendship, and once it has been exposed, there is no turning back.

So when Izzy’s body is found, Bec knows that if the police decide to look for a killer, she will be the prime suspect. Because those closest to you are the ones who can hurt you the most . . .

The Rumour meets The Holiday in this compulsive thriller with a toxic friendship at its heart that keeps you in the dark until the final breathless pages

xxxxxx

When Bertram Telemann, a developmentally disabled man, goes missing from a local diner near Greenbury, the entire community of the small upstate New York town volunteers to search the surrounding woods in hopes of finding him. High functioning and independent, Bertram had been on a field trip with the staff and fellow residents of the Loving Care Home when he vanished.

When no trace of the man is found, the disappearance quickly becomes an official missing persons case and is assigned to detectives Peter Decker and his partner Tyler McAdams. As their investigation deepens, the seasoned Decker becomes convinced that Bertram hadn’t lost his way, but had left with someone he knew. Soon Decker discovers that Elsie Schulung, a recently fired nurse who had worked at the home, seemed to be especially interested in Bertram. But answers proves elusive when Elsie disappears and human blood is found in her kitchen.

But the complications are only beginning. While combing the woods, searchers discover the remains of one of three young men who had vanished during a camping trip. And for Decker, personal problems are adding pressure as well. After a ten-year absence, the biological mother of Decker’s and Rina’s foster son, Gabriel, has suddenly appeared in New York, children in tow, wreaking emotional havoc on the young man.

Juggling the personal and professional, a hot case and a cold case, Decker and McAdams race to find answers, sifting through cabinets of old files, a plethora of clues and evidence, and discouraging dead ends. As on-going searches for Bertram and the campers’ missing remains continue, the frustrated detectives begin to wonder if the woods will ever give up its dark secrets . . . and if these intertwining cases will be solved.

xxxxxx

A masterly and agenda-setting inquest into how the deaths of two teenage girls shone a light into the darkest corners of a nation

Katra Sadatgani. An eye-blink of a village in western Uttar Pradesh, crammed into less than one square mile of land. A community bounded by the certainty of the changing of the seasons, by tradition and custom; a community in which young women are watched closely, and know what is expected of them.

It was an ordinary night, in the middle of mango season, when the two girls first went missing. When the next day dawned, and their bodies were found – hanging in the orchard, their clothes muddied – only one thing seemed clear: that life in Uttar Pradesh would never be the same again.

Sixteen-year-old Padma had sparked and burned. Fourteen-year-old Lalli had been an incorrigible romantic. But who they were and what had happened to them were already less important than what their disappearance meant to the people left behind. In the ensuing months, the investigation into their deaths would implode everything that their small community held to be true, and instigated a national conversation about sex, honour and violence.

A masterly and agenda-setting inquest into how the deaths of two teenage girls shone a light into the darkest corners of a nation, The Good Girls returns to the scene of Padma and Lalli’s short lives and shocking deaths, and dares to ask: what is the human cost of shame?

xxxxxxx

There are dark forces at work in our world (and in Manchester in particular), so thank God The Stranger Times is on hand to report them . . .

A weekly newspaper dedicated to the weird and the wonderful (but mostly the weird), it is the go-to publication for the unexplained and inexplicable.

At least that’s their pitch. The reality is rather less auspicious. Their editor is a drunken, foul-tempered and foul-mouthed husk of a man who thinks little of the publication he edits. His staff are a ragtag group of misfits. And as for the assistant editor . . . well, that job is a revolving door – and it has just revolved to reveal Hannah Willis, who’s got problems of her own.

When tragedy strikes in her first week on the job The Stranger Times is forced to do some serious investigating. What they discover leads to a shocking realisation: some of the stories they’d previously dismissed as nonsense are in fact terrifyingly real. Soon they come face-to-face with darker forces than they could ever have imagined.

The Stranger Times is the first novel from C.K. McDonnell, the pen name of Caimh McDonnell. It combines his distinctive dark wit with his love of the weird and wonderful to deliver a joyous celebration of how truth really can be stranger than fiction

———————————————

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon

 


Linking to: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? at BookDate; Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Reviewer; and the Sunday Salon @ ReaderBuzz

Life…

Happy New Year!

Our celebration was subdued as befitting the times, we watched a few movies (The Croods 2 and Wonder Woman 1984) and then enjoyed watching the livestream of the Sydney Fireworks. (I posted it HERE for your viewing pleasure).

This week is my youngest daughter’s 18th birthday, we are having a family dinner at the restaurant where my youngest son works early in the week so she can then go out with her friends on Friday, when her birthday actually falls.

She is now officially enrolled at University, and campus accomodation has been confirmed, but she doesn’t actually start until March 1st, so I still have her with me for a little while longer. My husband still has another two weeks of holiday, so my routines are a bit all over the place, and probably will be for the rest of the month until the boys return to school.

I have some plans though, one which unfortunately includes a redesign of the blog. For some unfathomable reason the text colour, you may have noticed, has changed to grey from brown and there is no way to fix it, and my background no longer fits properly either. Since my original template is no longer supported, I have to choose a new one from those on offer, none of which I like. I’m particularly concerned about formatting screw-ups, especially with over 2,800 posts, and whatever else might go wrong.

 

——————————————-

 

What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

 

We Thought We Knew You by M. William Phelps

When the Apricots Bloom by Gina Wilkinson

This Has Been Absolutely Lovely by Jessica Dettmann

 

———————————————

New Posts…

 

Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Review: Charlotte by Helen Moffett

Review: We Thought We Knew You by M. William Phelps

The End of the Year 2020 Wrap Up Post

Wishing You A Happy New Year!

Challenging Myself in 2021…

2020 Nonfiction Reader: End of Year Spotlight

———————————————

 

What I’m Reading This Week…


Paris, 1943: Lana Antanova is rushing to tell her husband she is pregnant when she witnesses him being executed by a Gestapo officer for hiding a Jewish girl in a piano. Overcome with grief, Lana loses the baby.
A few months later, a heartbroken Lana is approached to join the Resistance on the French Riviera. As the daughter of a Russian countess, Lana has the perfect background to infiltrate the émigré community of Russian aristocrats who socialise with Nazi officers, including the man who killed her husband.

Lana’s cover story makes her the mistress of a wealthy Swiss playboy, the darkly handsome and charismatic Guy Pascal, and her base his villa in Cap Ferrat. Together they make a ruthlessly effective team. Consumed by her mission, Lana doesn’t count on becoming attached to a young Jewish girl or falling helplessly in love with Guy.

As the Nazis close in, Lana’s desire to protect the ones she loves threatens to put them all at risk.

xxxxxx

 


Meg lives alone: a little place in the bush outside town. A perfect place to hide. That’s one of the reasons she offers to shelter Nerine, who’s escaping a violent ex. The other is that Meg knows what it’s like to live with an abusive partner.

Nerine is jumpy and her two little girls are frightened. It tells Meg all she needs to know where they’ve come from, and she’s not all that surprised when Nerine asks her to get hold of a gun. But she knows it’s unnecessary. They’re safe now.

Then she starts to wonder about some little things. A disturbed flyscreen. A tune playing on her windchimes. Has Nerine’s ex tracked them down? Has Meg’s husband turned up to torment her some more?

By the time she finds out, it’ll be too late to do anything but run for her life.

xxxxxx

 


The story of how two women, who should have been bitter foes, combined their courage and wisdom to wield extraordinary power and influence behind the scenes of the fledgling colony.

‘I’ve waited for this moment so long, dreamed of it, prepared for it, I can barely believe it’s finally here. But it is. And it is nothing like I expected.’

There was a short time in Australia’s European history when two women wielded extraordinary power and influence behind the scenes of the fledgling colony.

One was Elizabeth Macquarie, the wife of the new governor Lachlan Macquarie, nudging him towards social reform and magnificent buildings and town planning. The other was Elizabeth Macarthur, credited with creating Australia’s wool industry and married to John Macarthur, a dangerous enemy of the establishment.

These women came from strikingly different backgrounds with husbands who held sharply conflicting views. They should have been bitter foes. Elizabeth & Elizabeth is about two courageous women thrown together in impossible times.

Borne out of an overriding admiration for the women of early colonial Australian history, Sue Williams has written a novel of enduring fascination.

xxxxxx

 

The shocking true story of a serial killer in 1930s Melbourne.

November, 1930. One sunny Saturday afternoon, 12-year-old Mena Griffiths was playing in the park w hen she w as lured away by an unknown man. Hours later, her strangled body w as found, mouth gagged and hands crossed over her chest, in an abandoned house. Only months later, another girl was murdered; the similarities between the cases undeniable. Crime in Melbourne had taken a shocking new turn: this was the work of a serial killer, a homicidal maniac.

Despite their best efforts, police had no experience dealing with this kind of criminal. W hat followed was years of bungled investigations, falsely accused men – and the tragic deaths of two more girls – before the murderer was finally caught and brought to justice.

With all the pace of a thriller, Katherine Kovacic recounts this extraordinary, chilling true story – of failed police enquiries, a killer with a Jekyll and Hyde personality, and the families shattered when four innocent lives were cruelly taken

———————————————

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon

Linking to: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? at BookDate; Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Reviewer; and the Sunday Salon @ ReaderBuzz

Life…

I hope you have had a wonderful week! Even if the holiday was not all you wished for, I hope you found some way to celebrate, and treated yourself to something special (like a good book!).

My family and I had a lovely lunch with my parents at their place, and then my husband’s and my besties came to ours for dinner.

In keeping with tradition I got no books, but I did get a phone upgrade (from an iPhone 5 to an 8), a food storage set, a new dish drainer, and an iPad stand.

This week we have few plans, though my youngest son turns 15 on Wednesday! I don’t think we will be going anywhere for New Years as our local fireworks display has been cancelled due to Covid. The fireworks in Sydney are going ahead though, so we’ll watch them on TV.

With wishes for a safe, healthy and happy New Year!

——————————————-

What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

Something Like This by Karly Lane

The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Charlotte by Helen Moffett

———————————————

New Posts…

Review: Something Like This by Karly Lane

Review: The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper

Wishing You A Merry Christmas!

In 2020…My Life in Books Tag

Bookshelf Bounty

———————————————

What I’m Reading This Week…

Family is forever, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

The charming, hilarious and all-too-relatable new novel from the author of How to be Second Best Molly’s a millennial home organiser about to have her first baby. Obviously her mum, Annie, will help with the childcare. Everyone else’s parents are doing it.

But Annie’s dreams of music stardom have been on hold for thirty-five years, paused by childbirth then buried under her responsibilities as a mother, wage earner, wife, and only child of ailing parents. Finally, she can taste freedom.

As Molly and her siblings gather in the close quarters of the family home over one fraught summer, shocking revelations come to light. Everyone is forced to confront the question of what it means to be a family.

This Has Been Absolutely Lovely is a story about growing up and giving in, of parents and children, of hope and failure, of bravery and defied expectation, and the question of whether it is ever too late to try again.

######

Inspired by her own experiences in Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s rule, Gina Wilkinson’s evocative, suspenseful debut is told through the eyes of three very different women confronting the limits of friendship and forgiveness, and the strength of a mother’s love.

At night, in Huda’s fragrant garden, a breeze sweeps in from the desert encircling Baghdad, rustling the leaves of her apricot trees and carrying warning of visitors at her gate. Huda, a secretary at the Australian embassy, lives in fear of the mukhabarat—the secret police who watch and listen for any scrap of information that can be used against America and its allies. They have ordered her to befriend Ally Wilson, the deputy ambassador’s wife. Huda has no wish to be an informant, but fears for her teenaged son, who may be forced to join a deadly militia. Nor does she know that Ally has dangerous secrets of her own.

Huda’s former friend, Rania, enjoyed a privileged upbringing as the daughter of a sheikh. Now her family’s wealth is gone, and Rania too is battling to keep her child safe and a roof over their heads. As the women’s lives intersect, their hidden pasts spill into the present. Facing possible betrayal at every turn, all three must trust in a fragile, newfound loyalty, even as they discover how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect their families.

######

In July 2015, Mary Yoder returned home from the chiropractic center that she operated with her husband, Bill, complaining that she felt unwell. Mary, health-conscious and vibrant, was suddenly vomiting, sweating, and weak. Doctors in the ER and ICU were baffled as to the cause of her rapidly progressing illness. Her loved ones–including Bill and their children, Adam, Tamryn, and Liana–gathered in shock to say goodbye.

In the weeks that followed Mary’s death, the grief-stricken family received startling news from the medical examiner: Mary had been deliberately poisoned. The lethal substance was colchicine, a chemical used to treat gout but extremely toxic if not taken as prescribed. Mary did not have gout. Another bombshell followed when the local sheriff’s office received a claim that Adam Yoder had poisoned his mother. But Adam was not the only person of interest in the case.

Pretty and popular Kaitlyn Conley, Adam’s ex-girlfriend, worked at the Yoders’ clinic. She’d even been at Mary’s bedside during those last terrible hours. Still, some spoke of her talent for manipulation and a history of bizarre, rage-fueled behavior against anyone who dared to reject her.

Had Kaitlyn and Adam conspired to kill Mary Yoder, or was the killer someone else entirely?

In another twist, accusations were hurled at Bill Yoder himself, ricocheting blame in still another direction…

Renowned investigative journalist M. William Phelps details this incredible story piece by piece, revealing a heartless plan of revenge–a scheme that would tear a family apart, divide a community, and result in two gripping, high-profile trials.

######

From the best-selling author of CARDINAL comes a searing examination of the power imbalance in our legal system – where exposing the truth is never guaranteed and, for victims, justice is often elusive.

A masterful and deeply troubling expose, Witness is the culmination of almost five years’ work for award-winning investigative journalist Louise Milligan. Charting the experiences of those who have the courage to come forward and face their abusers in high-profile child abuse and sexual assault cases, Milligan was profoundly shocked by what she found.

During this time, the #MeToo movement changed the zeitgeist, but time and again during her investigations Milligan watched how witnesses were treated in the courtroom and listened to them afterwards as they relived the associated trauma. Then she was a witness herself in the trial of the decade, R v George Pell.

She interviews high-profile members of the legal profession, including judges and prosecutors. And she speaks to the defence lawyers who have worked in these cases, discovering what they really think about victims and the process, and the impact that this has on their own lives. Milligan also reveals never-before-published court transcripts, laying bare the flaws that are ignored, and a court system that can be sexist, unfeeling and weighted towards the rich and powerful.

Witness is a call for change. Milligan exposes the devastating reality of the Australian legal system where truth is never guaranteed and, for victims, justice is often elusive. And even when they get justice

———————————————

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon


Linking to: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? at BookDate; Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Reviewer; and the Sunday Salon @ ReaderBuzz

Life…

Christmas Shopping Update: 12/15

It’s been quite a week! School is done for the year, hubby is now on holidays, and Aleah got excellent results for her HSC/ATAR and is now officially enrolled in university for 2021. The Christmas tree is up, I’ve done all the food shopping for the holidays, but I still have a few presents to pick up, including something for my husband’s birthday this Wednesday.

And *Sigh* It seems I spoke to soon last week. After weeks without a case of COVID in our state, we now have an outbreak in Sydney. It appears while our government has been strict with international arrivals and quarantine, they’ve given some leeway to international airline staff. In the last four days, contact tracing and testing has found 68 cases all linked to one breach. At the moment the cluster seems to be confined to a particular region of Sydney, which has now gone into lockdown, but it’s likely to grow given that school holidays started last week and lots of people had already travelled near and far. While we are about 350km (220miles) north of Sydney, people are worried it could already be here as a couple that tested positive visited the next town over (where my husband works), dining at two local establishments, and visiting local stores.

We won’t risk visiting family for Christmas in Sydney while there are active cases, but my parents live close enough that we should still be able to meet for Christmas lunch, as long as no spread is detected in our area.

I only have two books on my reading list this week, I just have too much to do, hopefully both will help me finish off some challenges before the end of the year.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas/Holiday Celebration x

——————————————-

What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

Sunshine by Samantha C. Ross

Hideout by Jack Heath

The Grand Tour by Olivia Wearne

The Last Truehart by Darry Fraser

Something Like This by Karly Lane

———————————————

New Posts…

#R3COMM3ND3D2020 with #damppebbles

Review: The Valley of Lost Stories by Vanessa McCausland

Review: Sunshine by Samantha C. Ross

Review: Hideout by Jack Heath

Review: The Grand Tour by Olivia Wearne

Review: The Last Truehart by Darry Fraser

———————————————

What I’m Reading This Week…

On the scorching February day in 2009 that became known as Black Saturday, a man lit two fires in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, then sat on the roof of his house to watch the inferno. In the Valley, where the rates of crime were the highest in the state, more than thirty people were known to police as firebugs. But the detectives soon found themselves on the trail of a man they didn’t know.

The Arsonist takes readers on the hunt for this man, and inside the strange puzzle of his mind. It is also the story of fire in this country, and of a community that owed its existence to that very element. The command of fire has defined and sustained us as a species – understanding its abuse will define our future.

A powerful real-life thriller written with Hooper’s trademark lyric detail and nuance, The Arsonist is a reminder that in an age of fire, all of us are gatekeepers.

++++++

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

———————————————

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon

Linking to: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? at BookDate; Sunday Post at Caffeinated Reviewer; and the Sunday Salon at ReaderBuzz

 

Life…

Christmas shopping progress: 5/15

My boys made me very proud during their end-of-year award presentation this past week. Makyah placed first in Information and Software Technology, and was presented with the Year 10 Scholarship Award, while Jasiah placed first in his year (9) for Mathematics. The school year finishes on Wednesday, and Makyah has his Year 10 formal (prom) that night.

On Friday we made the eight hour round trip to attend a campus tour for the University my daughter will be attending next year. We are nervously awaiting the release of her ATAR/HSC results (the equivalent of America’s SAT or the UK’s GCE) this Friday.

My husband is on holidays from this Friday until the 18th January. We don’t really have any plans as such. I expect a lot of people will be traveling since it has been almost impossible to do so all year, given both last summer’s fires and of course the pandemic.

It’s been weeks since we’ve had a locally acquired case of COVID-19 nationally and as such the majority of restrictions have been minimised now. There are still a lot of Australian’s stranded overseas though, as Australia’s quarantine policy for arrivals restricts the numbers permitted entry at any one time. All overseas’s arrivals are transferred directly from the airport to an approved facility (a hotel) where they must spend a minimum of 14 days (up to 24 days) in quarantine, and undergo three rounds of mandatory testing. We don’t have an approved vaccine here yet, and won’t til March 2021 at the earliest, so quarantine will be in place for quite some time. I hope wherever you are cases are beginning to drop.

 

——————————————-

What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

 

Dark Tides by Philippa Gregory

Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops by Shaun Bythell

White Throat by Sarah Thornton

The Valley of Lost Stories by Vanessa McCausland

 

———————————————

New Posts…

 

Review: Stuff You Should Know by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant

Review: Dark Tides by Philippa Gregory

Review: White Throat by Sarah Thornton

Review: Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops by Shaun Bythell

 

———————————————

What I’m Reading This Week…

 


This vivid story of campervans, stowaways and mischief at any age is essentially about families: the ones you have and the ones you make.

When Ruby and Angela embark on a Grey Nomads road trip, the last thing they expect is a tiny stowaway; one who will turn them from unsuspecting tourists into wanted kidnappers and land them in a world of trouble. As their leisurely retirement plans unravel, Angela’s relationship with her brother Bernard goes from bad to worse.

Bernard has his own problems to contend with. Adrift in life, his career as a news presenter has been reduced to opening fetes and reading Voss as an audio book (a seemingly impossible task). His troubles are compounded when his wife starts dating a younger man and a drink-driving incident turns him into a celebrity offender.

As Angela and Ruby set about repairing burnt bridges and helping their unexpected guest, and Bernard attempts to patch together his broken life, they discover that even after a lifetime of experience, you’re never too old to know better.

A warm, funny, sharply observed story about aging disgracefully and loving the one you’re with.

xxxxxxx

 

A woman alone and a charismatic private detective are caught up in a dangerous quest to discover her true identity in this thrilling historical adventure romance set in 19th century Victoria, from a bestselling Australian author.

1898, Geelong, Victoria. Stella Truehart is all alone in the world. Her good-for-nothing husband has died violently at the hands of an unknown assailant. Her mother is dead, her father deserted them before she was born, and now her kindly Truehart grandparents are also in their graves.

Private detective Bendigo Barrett has been tasked with finding Stella. He believes his client’s intentions are good, but it is evident that someone with darker motives is also seeking her. For her own part Stella is fiercely independent, but as danger mounts she agrees to work with Bendigo and before long they travel together to Sydney to meet his mysterious client where they discover more questions than answers.

What role do a stolen precious jewel and a long-ago US Civil War ship play in Stella’s story? Will sudden bloodshed prevent the resolution of the mystery and stand in the way of her feelings for Bendigo? It is time, at last, for the truth to be revealed.

xxxxxxx

 

A spellbinding new rural romance from the bestselling author of the Callahans of Stringybark Creek trilogy and Fool Me Once.

Jason Weaver just wants to be left alone. It was a tough transition from his army days to civilian life, and he’s looking forward to settling into a solitary life.

Tilly Hollis is working two jobs to save for her dream career: running an equine therapy program. Tilly loves her horses more than anything, and after losing her husband and business partner just a few years earlier, she’s determined to make it work on her own.

When Jason walks into the cafe where Tilly works, they’re immediately drawn to one another. But can they overcome their pasts to find a future together?

xxxxxxx

 

Everybody thinks that Charlotte Lucas has no prospects. She is twenty-seven years old, unmarried, plain, and seemingly without ambition. When she stuns the neighbourhood by accepting the proposal of buffoonish clergyman Mr Collins, her best friend Lizzy Bennet is angry at her for undervaluing herself. Yet the decision is the only way Charlotte knows to provide for her future, and marriage will propel her into a new world, of duty, marriage, children, grief and ultimately illicit love, and a kind of freedom.

Jane Austen cared deeply about the constraints of women in Regency England. This powerful reimagining takes up where Austen left off, showing us a woman determined to carve a place for herself in the world. Charlotte offers a fresh, feminist addition to the post-Austen canon, beautifully imagined, and brimming with passion and intelligence.

———————————————

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon

Linking to: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? at BookDate; Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Reviewer; and the Sunday Salon @ ReaderBuzz

——————————————-

Life…

Christmas shopping progress: 3/15

It’s that time of year when I start to think about which reading challenges I will take part in the following year. I have what I consider to be three ‘standard’ challenges, these are ones which fit in with my usual reading habits, and include:

Australian Women Writers Challenge

Aussie Author Challenge

Historical Fiction Challenge

Naturally I participate in my own challenge

Nonfiction Reader Challenge (SIGN UP NOW)

And then I usually add two to three challenges that I select in order to push me out of my comfort zone a little. Conveniently there are several book bloggers who compile lists of challenges each year. I’m still considering my options at this point, there are just so many to choose from, but if you too are curious about your options, I suggest you browse the following sites:

The 2021 Master List of Challenges

2021 Challenges (to help feed your challenge habit)

Ready For A Reading Challenge

What challenges are you considering joining in 2021?

——————————————-

What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

Love in Lockdown by Chloe James

Electric Blue by Paul F. Verhoeven

The Lies You Told by Harriet Tyce

Things You Should Know by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant

Dark Tides by Philippa Gregory

———————————————

New Posts…

Review: The Champagne War by Fiona McIntosh

Review: The Lost and the Damned by Olivier Norek

Review: Love in Lockdown by Chloe James

Review: Electric Blue by Paul F. Verhoeven

2020 Nonfiction Reader Challenge: Monthly Spotlight #10

Review: The Lies You Told by Harriet Tyce

———————————————

What I’m Reading This Week…

Looking out over an ebb tide from the back verandah was like watching God paint stripes…

Disgraced former lawyer Clementine Jones is on the shores of paradise—Queensland’s Great Sandy Straits—trying to outrun her past.

Bored with her house-sitting gig, she becomes a reluctant recruit to the local environmental group, campaigning to save an endangered turtle as developers close in. Then a body is found at the base of a quarry, and Clem’s world is turned upside down.

The police say suicide. Clem’s convinced it was murder. She also knows she’s the only one interested in tracking down the killer.

Well, the only one apart from her friend Torrens, ex-con and reformed standover man. And he’s got his own fight on his hands

xxxxxx

Beautiful, beguiling and treacherous … Big Little Lies meets Picnic at Hanging Rock in a secluded valley over the Blue Mountains.

Four women and their children are invited to the beautiful but remote Capertee Valley for a much-needed holiday.

Once home to a burgeoning mining industry, now all that remains are ruins slowly being swallowed by the bush and the jewel of the valley, a stunning, renovated Art Deco hotel. This is a place haunted by secrets. In 1948 Clara Black walked into the night, never to be seen again.

As the valley beguiles these four friends, and haunts them in equal measure, each has to confront secrets of her own: Nathalie with a damaged marriage; Emmie yearning for another child; Pen struggling as a single parent; and Alexandra hiding in the shadow of her famous husband.

But as the mystery of what happened seventy years earlier unravels, one of the women also vanishes into this bewitching but wild place, forcing devastating truths to the surface.

xxxxxx

A tense, unputdownable thriller from the author of Hangman.

Timothy Blake has nothing to lose. He’s headed to an isolated house in rural Texas with a hammer in his pocket and murder on his mind. His target is Fred, the ringleader of a criminal empire on the dark web. Once Fred is gone, Blake can disappear for good.

But it turns out that Fred isn’t alone. Five other psychopaths live in the house. They work together and call themselves the Guards. Torture, extortion and death are their business. Blake manages to convince them that he’s one of their online associates. Soon they think he’s a monster, like them. They’re not wrong.

Blake decides to pick them off one by one. But when a Guard is found with a bullet in his skull, Blake realises that someone else in the house may have the same idea – and he might be their next target.

Meanwhile, who are the desperate people chained up in the building behind the house? One of them will change everything . . .

A bloody, twisted roller-coaster of dark action and suspense from the acclaimed bestselling author of Hangman

xxxxxx

Confronting, confessional and wildly entertaining, Sunshine lays bare the business of stripping and what goes on in the backrooms of ‘gentlemen’s clubs’. Coming to TV in 2021!

There are a lot of Ambers in the stripping world. And Aprils and Summers, and Skys and Rains. There are quite a few gems: Sapphires, Diamonds, Rubies and even an Amethyst. And exotic creatures: Tigers, Cheetahs, Phoenixes and Kitties. Plenty of weather conditions, like Misty, Stormy and Cloudy. There are, of course, a selection of fruits: Cherry, Berry, Peaches and Apple. And confectionery to go with it, like Candy, Lolly and Caramel. And then there are the generic hot-girl/sexy names: Lolita, Tiffany, Chanel, Lulu, Sasha and Brigitte.

Meet Sunshine. That’s her stage name. Follow her downstairs into the shadowy underworld of the so-called Gentlemen’s Clubs, where men hide in dark corners and pay gorgeous women like Sunshine to take their clothes off. Follow her to the private rooms where the lap dances happen, the hustle plays out and the real money flows. Sit with her in the back room with the other dancers, her friends and colleagues, who laugh and cry and rake in the dollars and party as though a zombie apocalypse is on the horizon.

Sunshine tells us in her own brutally honest and audacious words what it’s like to work as a stripper, both in Australia and overseas.

———————————————

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundaySalon #SundayPost


Linking to: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? at BookDate; The Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Reviewer
; and the Sunday Salon @ ReaderBuzz

——————————————-

Life…

It’s technically still spring here but today it reached 42’c …. that’s 107.6’F … in spring! I live about 320km north of Sydney, about the same distance west of me, it hit a high of 47’c (116.6F)

It’s the last Monday of the month, which means I have just 32 days to finish off my 2020 challenges. I think it’s clear at this point that some goals will remain unmet. I always knew I wouldn’t finish the Nerd Reading Challenge because there are a few categories that don’t work for me. I will finish my own Nonfiction Reader Challenge, and I’m still hoping I’ll finish the SwordNStars Challenge. Though I could probably quite easily read a book a day between now and the end of the year to meet my Goodreads Challenge, I doubt I will, mostly because keeping up with the reviews would be a killer. I still do have 16 review books left to finish out the year though, and it’s not entirely impossible a few more books may show up on my doorstep between now and then, so you never know.

Nonfiction Reader Challenge: 11/12

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 71/50 DONE

Aussie Author Challenge: 24/24 DONE

Nerd Reading Challenge: 43/52

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: 28/ 25 DONE

Social Justice Challenge: 5/5 DONE

SwordsnStars Challenge: 7/10

——————————————-

What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

The Girl Who Never Came Home by Nicole Trope

The Champagne War by Fiona McIntosh

2020 Dictionary by Dominic Knight

The Lost and the Damned by Olivier Norek

———————————————

New Posts…

Review: The Searcher by Tana French

Review: Searching For Charlotte by Kate Forsyth and Belinda Murrell

Review: The Girl Who Never Came Home by Nicole Trope

Review: 2020 Dictionary by Dominic Knight

2020 AusReading Month : Bingo

2020 Nonfiction November Week #4 : WrapUp

2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Sign Ups

———————————————

What I’m Reading This Week…

Paul Verhoeven’s ex-cop dad, John, spent years embroiled in some of the seediest, scariest intrigue and escapades imaginable. One day John offered Paul the chance of a lifetime: he’d spill his guts on tape. What unfolded in Loose Units was a goldmine of true-crime stories, showcasing John’s dramatic experience of policing in Sydney in the 1980s and brilliantly twisted sense of humour. But what happened next in John’s career was twice as weird.

Electric Blue spans the final years of John’s stint in the New South Wales police force, when he took up an offer to move into the grimy, analytical world of forensics. Paul unpicks his father’s most terrible cases. There was the case of a rapist hiding in the walls of shower block, a body that was quite literally cooked, and the bizarre copycat suicides.

But what’s it actually like to have a heroic ex-cop as a Dad? Paul and John delve into their unique father–son relationship and how they ended up so different to each other. They figure out how to deal with the choices they’ve made … or wish they’d made. And Paul’s mum, Christine, reveals what it was like to be a pioneering female cop in the eighties when misogyny was rife in the force.

Thrilling, fascinating and unexpectedly laugh-out-loud funny, Electric Blue is another high-octane adventure in policing, integrity and learning what family is really all about.

+++++++

Midsummer Eve 1670. Two unexpected visitors arrive at a shabby warehouse on the south side of the River Thames. The first is a wealthy man hoping to find the lover he deserted twenty-one years before. James Avery has everything to offer, including the favour of the newly restored King Charles II, and he believes that the warehouse’s poor owner Alinor has the one thing his money cannot buy—his son and heir.

The second visitor is a beautiful widow from Venice in deepest mourning. She claims Alinor as her mother-in-law and has come to tell Alinor that her son Rob has drowned in the dark tides of the Venice lagoon.

Alinor writes to her brother Ned, newly arrived in faraway New England and trying to make a life between the worlds of the English newcomers and the American Indians as they move toward inevitable war. Alinor tells him that she knows—without doubt—that her son is alive and the widow is an imposter.

Set in the poverty and glamour of Restoration London, in the golden streets of Venice, and on the tensely contested frontier of early America, this is a novel of greed and desire: for love, for wealth, for a child, and for home.

++++++++

From the duo behind the massively successful and award-winning podcast Stuff You Should Know comes an unexpected look at things you thought you knew.

Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant started the podcast Stuff You Should Know back in 2008 because they were curious—curious about the world around them, curious about what they might have missed in their formal educations, and curious to dig deeper on stuff they thought they understood.

As it turns out, they aren’t the only curious ones. They’ve since amassed a rabid fan base, making Stuff You Should Know one of the most popular podcasts in the world. Armed with their inquisitive natures and a passion for sharing, they research and discuss a wide variety of topics—always working to uncover the weird, fascinating, delightful, or unexpected pieces of any given subject, and then talking about it together in an accessible and humorous way.

The pair have now taken their near-boundless “whys” and “hows” from your earbuds to the pages of a book for the first time—and with it comes loads of new content, covering subjects about which they’ve long wondered or wanted to explore in greater detail. Follow along as they dig into the underlying stories and interesting ways things fit into the world, touching on everything from the origin of Murphy beds, to the history of facial hair, to the psychology of being lost.

An additional layer of visual material allows the duo to further embellish their engaging storytelling and bring these topics to life in a snappy new way—including charts and graphs, illustrations, and sidebars for rabbit-hole tangents and wandering digressions.

Have you ever wondered about the world around you, and wished to see the magic in everyday things? Come get curious with Stuff You Should Know. With Josh and Chuck as your guide, there’s something interesting about everything (…except maybe jackhammers).

++++++++

In the playground it’s the law of the jungle But at the school gate, there are no rules at all… When Sadie Roper moves back to London, she’s determined to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. First, she needs to get her daughter settled into a new school-one of the most exclusive in the city. Next, she’s going to get back the high-flying criminal barrister career she sacrificed for marriage ten years earlier. But nothing goes quite as planned. The school is not very welcoming newcomers, her daughter hasn’t made any friends yet and the other mothers are as fiercely competitive as their children. Sadie immediately finds herself on the outside as she navigates the fraught politics of the school gate. But the tide starts to turn as Sadie begins to work on a scandalous, high-profile case that’s the perfect opportunity to prove herself again, even though a dangerous flirtation threatens to cloud her professional judgment. And when Liza, queen of the school moms, befriends Sadie, she draws her into the heart of the world from which she was previously excluded. Soon Sadie and her family start to thrive, but does this close new friendship prevent her from seeing the truth? Sadie may be keeping her friends close, but what she doesn’t know is that her enemies are closer still… Dark, addictive and compelling, The Lies You Told is a compulsive psychological thriller from a master storyteller.

———————————————

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon

The It’s Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at BookDate

I’m also linking to The Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Reviewer

And the Sunday Salon @ ReaderBuzz

——————————————-

Life…

Another week has disappeared into the void. I was on track until Wednesday, and then I got distracted by other, boring but necessary things, some of which took a ridiculous amount of time to deal with given the paltry gains.

I however am to blame for my behaviour on the weekend, while finishing up a task I thought I’d watch an episode or two of Sanditon before getting on with my reading, only to find myself entirely sucked in, and I watched the entire season into the early hours of the morning.

Im sure everyone else would object, but I really need an extra week tacked onto November.

Don’t forget I need your help- please vote in my poll for your preferred nonfiction topics

——————————————-

What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

The Shearer’s wife by Fleur McDonald

The Lady Brewer of London by Karen Brooks

The Searcher by Tana French

———————————————

New Posts…

Review: Anti-Social: The Secret Diary if an Anti-Social Behaviour Officer by Nick Pettigrew

Review: The Shearer’s Wife by Fleur McDonald

Review: The Lady Brewer of London by Karen Brooks

AusReading Month 2020 – Promotion

Bookshelf Bounty

———————————————

What I’m Reading This Week…

They find her just as the sun is beginning to rise in the early morning mist. They had begun at dawn, the group of searchers keen to get going. A missing child spurred everyone on. In the end, it was a flash of colour, a bright neon pink that caught her eye. They had been looking for pink.

Nothing tests your faith like being a mother. The first time your children walk to school alone, their first sleepover, when they finally fly the nest. As a parent, you have to believe that everything will be OK.

It’s why, when Lydia’s sixteen-year-old daughter Zoe goes on a school camping trip, she has no idea of the horrors that will unfold. It’s why, when Lydia gets a call saying that her daughter has disappeared, she refuses to give up.

As she searches the mountains, her voice hoarse from calling Zoe’s name, she imagines finding her. She envisions being flooded with relief as she throws her arms around her child, saying, ‘you gave us such a scare’. She pictures her precious girl safely tucked in bed that evening.

It’s why, when they find Zoe’s body, Lydia can barely believe it. It is unthinkable. Her little girl has gone.

Something terrible happened, she is sure of it. Something made Zoe get out of her sleeping bag in the middle of the night, walk out of the warmth and safety of the cabin, into the darkness of the mountains. Driven by the memory of her youngest child, Lydia needs to find out the truth. What kind of mother would she be if she didn’t?

A heartbreaking, redemptive and beautifully crafted novel which brings to life a mother’s worst nightmare, questioning how well we ever really know the people we love the most. Fans of Jodi Picoult, Kerry Fisher and Liane Moriarty will be blown away by this stirring, unforgettable tale.

xxxxxx

In the summer of 1914, vigneron Jerome Mea heads off to war, certain he’ll be home by Christmas. His new bride Sophie Delancré, a fifth generation champenoise, is determined to ensure the forthcoming vintages will be testament to their love and the power of the people of Épernay, especially its strong women who have elevated champagne to favourite beverage of the rich and royal worldwide. But as the years drag on, authorities advise that Jerome is missing, considered dead.

When poison gas is first used in Belgium by the Germans, British chemist Charles Nash jumps to enlist, refusing to be part of the scientific team that retaliates. A brilliant marksman, Charlie is seen by his men as a hero, but soon comes to feel that he’d rather die himself than take another life. When he is injured, he is brought to the champagne cellars in Reims, where Sophie has set up an underground hospital, and later to her mansion house in Épernay, now a retreat for the wounded.

As Sophie struggles with strong feelings for her patient, she also battles to procure the sugar she needs for her 1918 vintage and attracts sinister advances from her brother-in-law. However, nothing can prepare her for the ultimate battle of the heart, when Jerome’s bloodstained jacket and identification papers are found in Belgium, and her hopes of ever seeing her husband alive again are reignited.

From the killing fields of Ypres to the sun-kissed vineyards of southern France, The Champagne War is a heart-stopping adventure about the true power of love and hope to light the way during war.

xxxxxx

A suspenseful new police procedural from a former French police officer and one of the original writers on the hit series Spiral

A corpse that wakes up on the mortuary slab.

A case of spontaneous human combustion.

There is little by the way of violent crime and petty theft that Capitaine Victor Coste has not encountered in his fifteen years on the St Denis patch – but nothing like this.

Though each crime has a logical explanation, something unusual is afoot all the same, and Coste is about to be dragged out of his comfort zone. Anonymous letters addressed to him personally have begun to arrive, highlighting the fates of two women, invisible victims whose deaths were never explained. Just two more blurred faces among the ranks of the lost and the damned.

Olivier Norek’s first novel draws on all his experience as a police officer in one of France’s toughest suburbs – the same experience he drew on as a writer for the hit TV series Spiral.

Translated from the French by Nick Caistor

xxxxxxx

Sophia is afraid lockdown will put her life on pause – just as she was she was going to put herself out there and meet someone. When the first clap for the keyworkers rings out around her courtyard, she’s moved to tears for all kinds of reasons.

Jack is used to living life to the fullest, and is going stir-crazy after just days isolating. Until that night he hears a woman crying from the balcony beneath his. He strikes up a conversation with the stranger and puts a smile back on her face.

Soon their balcony meetings are the highlight of Jack and Sophia’s days. But even as they grow closer together, they’re always kept apart.

———————————————

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon


The It’s Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at BookDate

I’m also linking to The Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Reviewer

And the Sunday Salon @ ReaderBuzz

#########

Life…

Aleah’s exams are done! Results come in mid December. She received another early entry offer to the other university she was interested in, but she has decided on attending University of Western Sydney. We finally found shoes at the very last store we went to, navy instead of the silver we wanted though. Her formal (prom) is on Tuesday night.

My parents organised a wonderful lunch party for our 25th Wedding Anniversary, even recreating my bouquet. It was also lovely to spend time with family and friends.

With one thing and another, the week got away from me a bit, this month is going so fast!

——————————————-

What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

Death in Daylesford by Kerry Greenwood

The Naked Farmer by Ben Brooksby

Anti-Social by Nick Pettigrew

The Shearer’s Wife by Fleur McDonald

———————————————

New Posts…

Review: Flying the Nest by Rachael Johns

Review: Truths From an an Unreliable Witness by Fiona O’Loughlin

It’s Time For Australian Reading Hour!

Review: Death in Daylesford by Kerry Greenwood

Review: The Naked Farmer by Ben Brooksby

AusReading Month 2020: Anticipation

Nonfiction November 2020 Week #3- Ask the Expert *Please vote in my poll*

———————————————

What I’m Reading This Week…

An unforgettable historical tale set in fifteenth-century England of a brilliant woman’s defiance, courage, and ingenuity—from the author of The Locksmith’s Daughter and The Chocolate Maker’s Wife.

1405: The daughter of a wealthy merchant, Anneke Sheldrake suddenly finds her family bankrupted when her father’s ship is swept away at sea. Forced to find a way to provide for herself and her siblings, Anneke rejects an offer of marriage from a despised cousin and instead turns to her late mother’s family business: brewing ale.

Armed with her mother’s recipes, she then makes a bold deal with her father’s aristocratic employer, putting her home and family at risk. Thanks to her fierce determination, Anneke’s brew wins a following and begins to turn a profit. But her rise threatens some in her community and those closest to her are left to pay the price.

As Anneke slowly pieces her life together again, she finds an unlikely ally in a London brothel owner. Determined not only to reclaim her livelihood and her family, Anneke vows not to let anyone stand in the way of her forging her own destiny.

xxxxxxx


For almost 140 years, the author of Australia’s first book for children was a mystery. Known only by the description ‘a Lady Long Resident in New South Wales’, she was the subject of much speculation. It was not until 1980, after a decade of sleuthing, that legendary bibliographer Marcie Muir gave her a name: Charlotte Waring Atkinson. And not only a name, but an extensive creative family history, connecting her to two of the nation’s celebrated contemporary children’s writers, Kate Forsyth and Belinda Murrell.

To Forsyth and Murrell, Atkinson (also known as Barton) is great-great-great-great grandmother and the subject of the stories they grew up on—part of a thread of creative women that runs through the history of their family. Hers is one of the great lost stories of Australian history: a tale of love, grief, violence and triumph in the face of overwhelming odds.

In Searching for Charlotte, Forsyth and Murrell tell Charlotte’s story along with that of their own journey to discover her. In an intriguing account, the sisters join the reader in reacting to Charlotte’s actions: wondering what could have motivated certain choices; admiring the strength of spirit that pushed Charlotte through turmoil in the Australian colonies; and reviling attitudes that were common to the mid-1800s but are abhorrent in the twentieth century.

The extraordinary, long-buried life story of Australia’s earliest published children’s author, Searching for Charlotte combines elements of biography, recreation of history and rediscovery of family history. It is a sometimes confronting but ultimately heartwarming journey into the story of a family with writing in its blood.

xxxxxxx

Retired detective Cal Hooper moves to a remote village in rural Ireland. His plans are to fix up the dilapidated cottage he’s bought, to walk the mountains, to put his old police instincts to bed forever.

Then a local boy appeals to him for help. His brother is missing, and no one in the village, least of all the police, seems to care. And once again, Cal feels that restless itch.

Something is wrong in this community, and he must find out what, even if it brings trouble to his door.

Our greatest living mystery writer weaves a masterful tale of breath-taking beauty and suspense, asking what we sacrifice in our search for truth and justice, and what we risk if we don’t.

xxxxxx

They find her just as the sun is beginning to rise in the early morning mist. They had begun at dawn, the group of searchers keen to get going. A missing child spurred everyone on. In the end, it was a flash of colour, a bright neon pink that caught her eye. They had been looking for pink.

Nothing tests your faith like being a mother. The first time your children walk to school alone, their first sleepover, when they finally fly the nest. As a parent, you have to believe that everything will be OK.

It’s why, when Lydia’s sixteen-year-old daughter Zoe goes on a school camping trip, she has no idea of the horrors that will unfold. It’s why, when Lydia gets a call saying that her daughter has disappeared, she refuses to give up.

As she searches the mountains, her voice hoarse from calling Zoe’s name, she imagines finding her. She envisions being flooded with relief as she throws her arms around her child, saying, ‘you gave us such a scare’. She pictures her precious girl safely tucked in bed that evening.

It’s why, when they find Zoe’s body, Lydia can barely believe it. It is unthinkable. Her little girl has gone.

Something terrible happened, she is sure of it. Something made Zoe get out of her sleeping bag in the middle of the night, walk out of the warmth and safety of the cabin, into the darkness of the mountains. Driven by the memory of her youngest child, Lydia needs to find out the truth. What kind of mother would she be if she didn’t?

A heartbreaking, redemptive and beautifully crafted novel which brings to life a mother’s worst nightmare, questioning how well we ever really know the people we love the most. Fans of Jodi Picoult, Kerry Fisher and Liane Moriarty will be blown away by this stirring, unforgettable tale.

———————————————

Thanks for stopping by!

Previous Older Entries