In sympathy and with a wish for peace #Solidarité


Let’s Talk Books With Shelleyrae from Book’d Out!

shelleyrae @ Book'd Out:

Delighted to be featured by Jess at The Never Ending Bookshelf today

Originally posted on The Never Ending Bookshelf:

Let's Talk Books

Today it is my utmost pleasure to be hosting arguably one of Australia’s most well known and loved book bloggers Shelleyrae from Book’d Out. I’ve been reading Shelleyrae’s blog for years now and actually happened to meet her once at last years Random House Book Bloggers Forum where she handed me a book and I was too scared to introduce myself (mainly because she was so important and I was not). I’ve since gotten over that fear and was ecstatic to hear that she was interested in appearing in this feature when I finally got up the courage to ask.


Shelleyrae is one of Australia’s most well known and loved book bloggers. It’s not uncommon for her to read five books a week! With a focus on Adult fiction mainly, she is a powerhouse when it comes to getting the word out about books (I for one have brought…

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Review: The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly


Title: The Great Zoo of China

Author: Matthew Reilly

Published: Gallery Books January 2015

Status: Read from January 24 to 25, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher/Netgalley}

My Thoughts:

“Ladies and gentlemen…Thank you for joining us on this most auspicious day. Today you will see a project that will be like nothing you have witnessed before, a $244 billion project that has been forty years in the making. It is a zoo that was built in a absolute secrecy because when it is revealed to the world it will cause a sensation.”

Cassandra Jane (‘CJ’) Cameron, a writer for the National Geographic (who is also a veterinarian and renowned herpetologist) is one of a small group of American VIP’s invited by the Chinese Government to tour The Great Zoo of China before it is unveiled to the world.
The Zoo is a spectacular sight, built in the Guangdong Province it looks like a primordial valley with forests and rock formations, lakes and waterfalls, ten miles wide and twenty miles long. And basking in the sun, perched on crumbling ruins and gliding through the air are dragons.

Of course CJ and the other visitors are assured the Zoo is safe. The Zoo itself is caged by two electromagnetic fields, the buildings, equipment and people protected by a similar sonic technology. Every dragon is fitted with a chip used to train and modify behaviour. Nothing can go wrong they are told… but of course it does.

From the moment the dragon’s attack their cable car during the tour, CJ and her cohorts are running for their lives. The action is nonstop as they stumble from one incredible scenario into another, desperate to escape, facing down deadly dragons, cranky crocodiles and trigger happy soldiers.

The characters are larger than life, but without any real substance. CJ, the heroine, is beautiful (though scarred) with an eidetic memory and MacGyver-like skills. Her main allies include her brother, a photographer, the American Ambassador to China (who is largely useless), the ambassador’s aide, Johnson, who is more than he seems, and later a Chinese electrician, Li. Naturally the villains are the Zoo’s morally bankrupt administrative and political guardians, and CJ’s nasty ex boyfriend, Ben, who eventually all meet appropriately grisly ends. In fact a significant number of people die in horribly unpleasant and gory ways.

I do have to give credit to Reilly for offering some interesting and somewhat plausible theories for the resurrection of the dragons, and for the creation of the Zoo. The interview with Reilly included in my copy of The Great Zoo of China shows he gave some thought to grounding his ideas. The parallels between The Great Zoo of China and Michael Chrichton’s Jurassic Park are impossible to ignore though. Reilly admits it is his favourite novel of all time and though he endeavoured to put his own spin on it, I’m not sure he really succeeded.

The Great Zoo of China is a fast-paced, entertaining read, which requires the reader to suspend belief and just hang on for the ride. Those expecting anything more will likely be disappointed.

Available to Purchase From

Simon & Schuster I Amazon US I BookDepository I Indiebound

boomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AUvia Booko

and all good bookstores.


Merry Christmas!





It’s National Bookshop Day!

Today Australia celebrates National Bookshop Day. Support your local store!


Review: Paris Letters by Janice Macleod


Title: Paris Letters

Author: Janice Macleod

Published: Pan Macmillan Au March 2014

Status: Read from March 20 to 21, 2014 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

With a single suitcase in hand, former Californian copywriter Janice Macleod abandons her stultifying career and heads off to Europe sharing her journey in this memoir, Paris Letters.

Thirty four and single Macleod realised that despite her successful career as middle management in an advertising agency affording her a (more than) comfortable lifestyle, she was dissatisfied with her life. In 2010 inspired by The Artist’s Way written by Julie Cameron and a comment from a colleague, Janice began making plans to reinvent her life. She began by journaling (and blogging) every day and devising ways to save $100 a day to fund a years travel. A year later she quit her job and took off to explore Europe.

il_570xN.576787539_nfzvParis Letters is a record of Janice Macleod’s journey which includes brief treks through Scotland and Italy before she decides to settle in France, having met a French-speaking Polish butcher on the streets of Paris and fallen in love. Having found happiness but needing a way to fund her prolonged stay in Paris, she takes inspiration from artist Percy Kelly and his illustrated letters to his penpal. Utilising an Etsy store front begins creating and selling letters adorned with her watercolour paintings of Paris scenery quickly amassing over 1,000 subscribers. By the end of 2012, Janice is engaged to Christophe, has a book deal and is living her dream.

In many ways this is an inspirational memoir of a woman who has changed her life for the better, in others I feel that Paris Letters is somewhat disingenuous. It could be that I’m jealous. Macleod manages to save in a year (nearly US$65,000), more than my husband earns to support our family of six, while still paying for rent, utilities, car payments, a housekeeper(!) and general living expenses, despite her pared down lifestyle. While I do admire Macleod’s commitment to her goal, which was achieved with some sacrifice and hard work, few would have the opportunity to emulate her success and the author fails to acknowledge her privileged position. It’s also clear that Macleod always intended to write a book about her experience (she has previously co-authored two books) but it would be mean spirited to begrudge the author her success, and happiness.

Paris Letters is a charming memoir, an inspiration for office drones everywhere and ideal for Francophiles who dream of escaping the daily grind to live in City of Light.

Skeletons is available to purchase from

Pan Macmillan I boomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AU I via Booko

AmazonUS I BookDepository



Review: The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC by Jesse Fink

Title: The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC

Author:  Jesse Fink

Published: Random House AU November 2013

Status: Read from November 26 to 28, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

From TNT to It’s a Long Way To The Top (if you want to rock-n-roll) to Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap and Highway To Hell, the music of AC/DC has spoken to generations of Australian ‘bogan’ youths wearing torn denim jeans, flannel shirts and ugh boots. This year, AC/DC celebrates 40 years since its formation in 1973 having spawned 26 albums, From High Voltage released in 1975 to Live at RiverPlate in 2012, and more than 200 million in album sales.

At the core of the Australian band’s international success are guitarists, and brothers, Malcolm and Angus Young. Emigrating from Scotland to Perth, Australia with their family in the early 1960’s, the boys were encouraged by the success of their older brother George in the industry, who earned fame as a songwriter/producer for bands such as The Seekers and The Easybeats.

The Youngs are notoriously insular, granting few access to their inner circle and zealously guarding the control of their music and its vast business interests, consistently refused to contribute to any biographical work, though there have been several published over the years. Similarly Fink was unable to gain the cooperation of the Youngs or those close to them, so the biographical details of this book have been pieced together from known facts and the recollections of ‘a whole host of forgotten and unheralded people’ who have been a part of AC/DC’s journey, though in the end, Fink discovered, “There was no truth, no definitive AC/DC story, there were many different versions.”

But that wasn’t really an issue for Fink as for him The Youngs is, ‘Less a biography, more a critical appreciation’, “ultimately, about the power of their music and how they built the colossus of AC/DC.” This is a band that has endured despite the replacement of their lead singer (Bon Scott with Brian Johnson), and still command sell out performances despite the fact the band members are now in their 60’s.

Exploring the reasons why AC/DC shot to fame, why their music remains popular what makes AC/DC unique is at the heart of this book. Seeking the opinions of industry experts and insiders, Fink reveals some of the behind the scenes secrets and little known facts about the band’s development and management, exposing the crises, the arguments, the betrayals and the controversies. Fink also spends some time tracing AC/DC’s relationship with Atlantic records and their entry into the US music scene.

The music of AccaDacca (as they are affectionately known) is part of the soundtrack of my own life, though regrettably I never saw them live in their prime, being just that bit too young at the time. An accessible read, offering plenty of well researched details, The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC is a book for ardent fans and music aficionados, and the head-banging ‘bogan’ that still lurks beneath the present day middle class veneer. The best way to read this is to drag out those old vinyl records or load up your playlist, turn it up loud and let AC/DC so what it does best…rock!

Available to Purchase From

Random House Au I Boomerang Books I Booktopia I Amazon AU

via Booko

AmazonUS I BookDepository

Stuff on Sundays: From the Eclectic Readers {Update #2}


For the second year I am hosting the Eclectic Reader’s Challenge designed to encourage readers to move out of their comfort zones by reading up to 12 books during the year from 12 different genres. Over 100 readers have signed up and to date over 200 review links have been submitted.

There are 12 categories and  today I am sharing some more of the diverse titles chosen by participants to satisfy the challenge requirements. Click on the cover images to read their reviews.

  1. Translated fiction

2. Historical Mystery

3. Romantic suspense

4.  Made into a Movie

5. New Adult

6. Urban Fantasy

7. Dystopian

8. Memoir

9.  LGBT

10. Action Adventure

11. Humour

12. Published in 2013

Interested in joining the challenge? You can sign up to the  Eclectic Reader Challenge until November 30th 2013, for more details click HERE

Happy International Women’s Day!


Today, March 8th,  marks International Women’s Day, a day designed to inspire women and celebrate their achievements around the world.

The UN has declared this year’s theme to be  “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women”, an issue we can all wholeheartedly support.

In support, Penguin Australia is offering a free ebook by author Kaz Cooke,  Escaping Control & Abuse: How to get out of a bad relationship and recover from assault.


Download the free eBook from:

Support IWD

Join the conversation and follow @UN_Women and the hashtag #1woman on Twitter. You can also donate a tweet through Thunderclap, which will be released on 8 March.

Valentines Day at Destiny Romance!



Have fun with this app at Destiny Romance, put yourself and/or your partner in the picture this Valentines’s day.

Me? I am enjoying the Ride of My Life!


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