It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The It’s Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey. I’m delighted that Sheila has found the strength to to revive the meme this week.


Ughh a week of reviewers block. Is that a thing? I just couldn’t seem to string together a coherent sentence. It didn’t help that I was so busy last week, and now I’m going to have to try and catch up at the worst possible time, given it’s school holidays and all the kids are underfoot.

Wish me luck!

What I Read Last Week

Starcrossed by Carla Caruso

Breakaway by Kat Spears

The Patterson Girls by Rachael Johns

Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

Yes, My Accent is Real by Kunar Nayyar

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

AWW Feature: Carla Caruso, Starcrossed and Shadow Signs

Review: Starcrossed by Carla Caruso ★★1/2

Review: Breakaway by Kat Spears ★★★★

Review: The Patterson Girls by Rachael Johns ★★★★

Review: Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner ★★★1/2

Review: Yes, My Accent is Real by Kunar Nayyar

Stuff on Sundays: Bookshelf Bounty

What I Am Reading Today

For Vân Uoc Phan, fantasies fall into two categories: nourishing, or pointless. Daydreaming about Billy Gardiner, for example? Pointless. It always left her feeling sick, as though she’d eaten too much sugar. Vân Uoc doesn’t believe in fairies, zombies, vampires, Father Christmas – or magic wishes. She believes in keeping a low profile: real life will start when school finishes. But when she attracts the attention of Billy Gardiner, she finds herself in an unwelcome spotlight. Not even Jane Eyre can help her now.
Wishes were not a thing. They were not. Correction. Wishes were a thing. Wishes that came true were sometimes a thing. Wishes that came true because of magic were not a thing! Were they?

 What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger’s Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus black-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah in her black swan burlesque costume is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she’s forced to “perform” in town after town.  But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other “attractions”—mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies—are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she’ll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed.  Renowned author Rachel Vincent weaves an intoxicating blend of carnival magic and startling humanity in this intricately woven and powerful tale.

Schoolteacher Natalie has always been a city girl. She has a handsome boyfriend and a family who give her only the best. But she craves her own space, and her own classroom, before settling down into the life she is expected to lead. When Nat takes up a posting at a tiny school in remote Western Australia, it proves quite the culture shock, but she is soon welcomed by the swarm of inquisitive locals, particularly young student Billy and his intriguing single father, Drew.  As Nat’s school comes under threat of closure, and Billy’s estranged mother turns up out of the blue, Nat finds herself fighting for the township and battling with her heart. Torn between her life in Perth and the new community that needs her, Nat must risk losing it all to find out what she’s really made of – and where she truly belongs.

On the eve of the First World War, Fleurette, the only daughter of the wealthy Delacroix perfume dynasty, is being forced to marry a man she loathes, Aimery De Lasset, head of the pre-eminent perfume manufacturer in France. It is only the cathedral bells tolling the rally to the frontlines on her wedding night that save her from sharing his bed. When she receives a letter from Aimery’s estranged brother warning against their union, Fleurette is left with the burden of a terrible secret. It is one that has the power to shatter the two families and their perfume empires once and for all.

Despite dire predictions in the late twentieth century that public libraries would not survive the turn of the millennium, those libraries continue to thrive. Two of three Americans frequent a public library at least once a year, and nearly that many are registered borrowers. Although library authorities have argued that the public library functions primarily as a civic institution necessary for maintaining democracy, generations of library patrons tell a different story. In Part of Our Lives, Wayne A. Wiegand delves into the heart of why Americans love their libraries. The book traces the history of the public library, featuring records and testimonies from as early as 1850. Rather than analyzing the words of library founders and managers, Wiegand listens to the voices of everyday patrons who cherished libraries. Drawing on newspaper articles, memoirs, and biographies, Part of Our Lives paints a clear and engaging picture of Americans who value libraries not only as civic institutions, but also as social spaces for promoting and maintaining community. Whether as a public space, a place for accessing information, or a home for reading material that helps patrons make sense of the world around them, the public library has a rich history of meaning for millions of Americans. From colonial times through the recent technological revolution, libraries have continuously adapted to better serve the needs of their communities. Wiegand goes on to demonstrate that, although cultural authorities (including some librarians) have often disparaged reading books considered not “serious” the commonplace reading materials users obtained from public libraries have had a transformative effect for many, including people like Ronald Reagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Oprah Winfrey. A bold challenge to conventional thinking about the American public library, Part of Our Lives is an insightful look into one of America’s most beloved cultural institutions

Kitchen Confidential meets He Died With a Felafel in His Hand in this laugh-out-loud hilarious expose of the restaurant industry. A hilarious and horrific dissection of the restaurant industry from the waiter’s point of view, Prick with a Fork is a statement rather than an instruction! This gorgeously written treat combines the gritty take-no-prisoners attack of Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential with the gross confessions and forensic grunge of John Birmingham’s He Died With a Felafel in His Hand. Dining out will never be the same again! Therapy for former waiters, revelation to diners, pure reading pleasure for anyone interested in what really happens out the back of the restaurant.



Thanks for stopping by!

Stuff On Sundays: Bookshelf Bounty

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

Click on the cover images to view at Goodreads

For Review (print)



For Review (electronic)

Otherwise acquired


Review: Yes, My Accent is Real by Kunal Nayyar


Title: Yes, My Accent is Real : and Some Other Things I Haven’t Told You

Author: Kunal Nayyar

Published: Simon & Schuster Au September 2015

Status: Read on September 20, 2015 — I own a copy

My Thoughts:

As a fan of The Big Bang Theory I couldn’t pass up the chance to learn more about the endearing actor who plays Raj Koothrappali, actor Kunal Nayyar.

Yes, My Accent is Real: and Some Other Things I Haven’t Told You is a collection of stories and anecdotes from his life.

It begins with stories from his childhood in India spent dreaming of kissing Winnie from ‘The Wonder Years’ and playing badminton like a champ, before moving on to his time at college in the US, his interest in acting and landing the role of Raj on the The Big Bang Theory.

Kunar also writes about his family, especially his admiration for his father, his joy at marrying his wife, and his enjoyment and respect for the cultural traditions of his country. I was a little disappointed there wasn’t more about his daily life as part of The Big Bang Theory cast though.

Kunal proves to be a sweet, genuine and self deprecating storyteller. Yes, My Accent is Real is a charming, funny and easy read.

* Please note I choose not to rate memoirs

Available to purchase from

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Amazon US I Book Depository

and all good bookstores.


Review: The Patterson Girls by Rachael Johns


Title: The Patterson Girls

Author: Rachael Johns

Published: Harlequin MIRA September 2015

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from September 16 to 17, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

The Patterson Girls is Rachael Johns first foray into general contemporary fiction, though she doesn’t stray far from her literary roots in rural romance.

The titular Patterson girls, obstetrician Madeleine, wife and teacher Lucy, professional violinist Abigail, and Charlotte, the self described under achiever, have come home to spend Christmas with their recently widowed father. Keenly feeling their mothers absence, none of them are surprised when he announces his plan to sell the family motel and willingly agree to help clear out their mothers things. As the sisters rummage through their mother’s keepsakes, reminiscing over old photos, fashion and jewelry, their curiosity is piqued when they discover a reference to a Patterson curse. Wheedling the details from the reluctant Aunt Mags, the particulars of the curse stuns all four sisters, and becomes a catalyst that turns the Patterson’s sisters lives upside down.

Told from the shifting third person perspectives of Madeleine, Lucy, Abigail and Charlotte, The Patterson Girls is a story of sisters, secrets, loss and love.

Vivid characterisation brings the personalities of the sisters to life. Each has distinct strengths and flaws, and are beset by their own personal challenges, from unrequited love to infertility. While I identified most closely with Charlotte, I also found Madeleine, Lucy and Abigail to be interesting and well rounded characters and I really enjoyed Johns skillful portrayal of their sisterly dynamic.

The plot blends domestic drama, romance and a hint of mystery. While it’s clear from the outset that all of the sisters are struggling in one way or another, the revelation about the Patterson curse piles on the pressure, and provokes much of the drama that follows, particularly for Madeleine, Lucy and Abigail. Charlie is finally finding her feet when a twist in the tale threatens to shatter the happiness she has forged for herself. Meanwhile, romance proves to be troublesome for all of them. While Charlie’s feelings grow for an old friend and Abigail meets the man of her dreams, Lucy’s marriage is floundering, and Madeleine’s love life grows increasingly complicated.

A well crafted, entertaining, contemporary novel with strong characters and an engaging story, The Patterson Girls should appeal to fans of Monica McIerney and Marian Keys.

Available to purchase from

Harlequin Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AUvia Booko

and all good bookstores.


Review: Breakaway by Kat Spears


Title: Breakaway

Author: Kat Spears

Published: Pan Macmillan October 2015

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

My Thoughts:

Breakaway by Kat Spears is contemporary young adult fiction for an empathetic and perceptive reader.

In the wake of his younger sister’s death, Jason Marshall is sad, angry and lost. As his single mother sinks into depression, Jaz should be able to rely on his best mates, but Mario is too busy getting high, Jordan is distracted by his new girlfriend, and Chick has his own problems.

Written in the first person, Jason doesn’t really have insight into much of what motivates him, nor Spears other characters, so the underlying pathos that unravels his story has to be pieced together from the context and subtle leads in the narrative.

Struggling with his past and present, Jason is a sympathetic protagonist. Desperate to protect himself from further pain related to his father’s desertion, his mother’s emotional absence, and his sisters death, he retreats into himself, often taking refuge in an abrupt, defensive and sarcastic attitude.

While previously the linchpin for his group of best friends, Jason simply doesn’t have the emotional strength to confront either Mario or Jordan, or cope with Chick’s distress at the relationship drift. It’s easier for him to just let it go and pretend it doesn’t matter, or to blame circumstances outside his control, especially as his experience has taught him that everybody leaves.

Raine proves to be an excellent distraction for Jason. Convinced she couldn’t be interested in him, he feels in control of their interactions, and most importantly to him, there is no risk of the rejection he fears. Raine in turn is good for Jason, calling him out on his worst behaviours and attitudes, and eventually offering him hope that things can be different.

An edgy, poignant coming of age novel exploring the themes of friendship, loss and love, Breakaway reflects the ordinary, often messy, complicated and dark, reality of adolescence.


Available to purchase via

Pan Macmillan Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AUvia Booko

Amazon US I Book Depository I Indiebound

and all good bookstores.


Review: Starcrossed by Carla Caruso




Title: Starcrossed

Author: Carla Caruso

Published: HarperCollins August 2015

Status: Read from September 14 to 15, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

Starcrossed, by Carlo Caruso, is a contemporary romance novel mixed with suspense and magical realism.

Newly divorced and struggling with writer’s block, romance author Simona Gemella agrees to accompany her best friend, Nessie, to an astrological health and wellness retreat on Kangaroo Island. Simona is hoping to relax and find inspiration for her next book, but she is unsettled by the presence of handsome marine biologist Denham Cobalt, and a series of odd, and increasingly sinister, events that begin to plague the guests at the Sea Star Manor.

Written in the third person, most of the story is related through Simona, however the narrative is also shared by fellow guests at the Manor; Nessie, Raquel and Jordana, and a fifth perspective identified only as ‘Him’.

Caruso gradually introduces the idea something is not quite right at the Manor, building the suspense slowly, advancing towards the showdown on the night of the ‘Blood Moon’. But while the author neatly links the fantastical elements to the retreat’s focus on astrology, I thought each of the women had a little too much going on externally, which is a distraction to the main thrust of the plot.

Nessie is hiding a secret while flirting with the Yoga instructor, heavily pregnant Raquel is worried about her partner’s fidelity, and Jordana, accompanied by her husband, with his own drama, is struggling with infertility. Simona, on top of being newly divorced, suffering from writers block, and stressing over the release of her debut novel, also has to contend with the anticipation of meeting her writing ‘idol’, Astrid’s revelations, and of course, her attraction to Denham.

Overall I thought Starcrossed was a quick and engaging read, but needed a little more focus.

Click HERE to learn more about Carla Caruso and Starcrossed

Star-Crossed is available to purchase from

HarperCollins I Amazon I GooglePlay I Kobo I iBooks


AWW Feature: Carla Caruso, Starcrossed and Shadow Signs

Carla Caruso, author pic, HarperCollins


I’m delighted to welcome Carla Caruso to Book’d Out today to talk about her novel Starcrossed.

Carla Caruso was born in Adelaide, Australia, and only ‘escaped’ for three years to work as a magazine journalist and stylist in Sydney. Previously, she was a gossip columnist and fashion editor at Adelaide’s daily newspaper, The Advertiser. She has since freelanced for titles including Woman’s Day and Shop Til You Drop. These days, she plays mum to her twin boys and writes fun frothy reads.

Starcrossed is her tenth book.


“Is love really written in the stars?

Fledgling romance author Simona Gemella is hoping the rugged wilderness of South Australia’s Kangaroo Island will help reignite her creative spark after her husband walked out on her (calling her a workaholic and filing for divorce).
She’s joined her best friend, Nessie, on a health and wellness retreat at a mysterious old manor on the island, run by an astrology guru.
Though Simona’s sworn off men, she can’t help being distracted by a darkly dangerous man with a scorpion tattoo – Denham Cobalt – who’s also staying at the manor. Then strange things start to happen, including uncanny accidents and even a possible murder.
It all culminates at a masquerade party on the night of a total lunar eclipse. Will Simona survive – with her heart intact?”

My review of Starcrossed will appear today, in the meantime please read on to learn more about this novel fun contemporary romance…

Shadow Signs

by Carla Caruso

I’ve always wanted to write a novel with an astrology theme. My mum (though Catholic) loves her New Agey stuff and has passed on the fascination to me – I always read my daily and monthly horoscopes via and consider myself the quintessential Capricorn.

Hence, my novel, Starcrossed, was born. It surrounds four women who go on a cosmic retreat on rugged Kangaroo Island in South Australia…and strange things start to happen. The main character, Simona Gemella, is a newbie romance author – don’t know where I got that idea from ;) – and on the island, she meets a darkly handsome guy, Denham, who has a scorpion tattoo on his neck. Hello, Scorpio! The story blends romance and suspense.

In researching the novel, I came across the idea of ‘shadow signs’, which became an integral part of the story. Your ‘shadow’ being the dark side of your Sun sign, or the negative traits that could overtake your astrologically-determined positive qualities…if you let them.

Queensland astrologer A.K. Leigh (who also happens to be an author with a debut novel out, See Her Run) says: “The sun sign represents your core self, who you really are deep down. So knowing this from the get-go will tell you who a person really is.”
So how do we stop our murkier traits from overshadowing our good points? Leigh reckons: “Balancing your positive and negative traits is the greatest challenge of life, isn’t it? However, being aware of the placement of planets, houses, aspects etc. in your birth chart can give some insight into this. For instance, the north node (a mathematically-derived location on your chart, not a physical object) shows the lessons you are supposed to learn, Pluto’s placement represents areas that need to be transformed, and the asteroid, Chiron, indicates where you need to be healed.”

Below is a list of ‘negative’ personality traits for each sun sign, according to Leigh. See if you recognise any of your own mannerisms in there – or your lover’s ;)
Aries: Selfish, quick-tempered, impatient, impulsive, takes foolish risks.
Taurus: Stubborn, possessive, resentful, inflexible, self-indulgent.
Gemini: Superficial, inconsistent, cunning, anxious, low tolerance for boredom.
Cancer: Moody, overly sensitive, emotional, clingy, prone to deep depressions.
Leo: Pompous, bossy, patronising, interfering, intolerant.
Virgo: Perfectionist, fussy, critical, self-denigrating, worrier.
Libra: Indecisive, gullible, too flirtatious, beliefs easily swayed by others, lazy.
Scorpio: Jealous, compulsive, obsessive, secretive, obstinate.
Sagittarius: Preachy, overly optimistic, careless, irresponsible, tactless.
Capricorn: Too pessimistic, miserly, manipulative, rigid, workaholic tendencies.
Aquarius: Unpredictable, unemotional, detached, eccentric, rebellious.
Pisces: Escapist, too idealistic, vague, weak-willed, deceitful.

Despite this list, though, Leigh says: “It’s important to remember that every person is more than their sun sign. In the ancient days, people exchanged information on their rising (and/or moon signs) rather than their sun signs. This was because the rising sign tells you characteristics that are observable in a person straightaway. The rising sign shows who somebody is on the surface.”
She continues: “The other benefit of knowing someone’s rising sign is: once you have it, you can work out what their 8th and 12th house signs are. The 8th house will give you a glimpse at their attitude towards life, other people, sex and death. The 12th house is where you are going to find their secrets, inner darkness and ‘skeletons in the closet’. Both of these houses explain a person’s shadow side better than the sun or rising sign.”
As an aside, Leigh adds: “The rising sign (surface personality) is the reason when you meet a shy person and they tell you they are Leo, you think ‘but aren’t Leo’s extroverted?’ Watch that person once you get to know them, then you will see their Leo sun (core personality) firing!”


Star-Crossed is available to purchase from

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The It’s Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey. I’m delighted that Sheila has found the strength to to revive the meme this week.


This past weekend was the first in months that I had no plans, convenient because I spent ten hours binge watching the new season of Longmire produced by Netflix. I’m a fan of the show and I was worried about what might change, but I loved it! Have you watched it yet? What a killer season cliffhanger!


Next week my children start two weeks school vacation so this week is cluttered with end of term activities: parent/teacher conferences, assembly’s, school parties and sports presentations.

What I Read Last Week

The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs by Matthew Dicks

Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County by Amy Hill Hearth

The Replacement Wife by Rowena Wiseman

The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo

Is This My Beautiful Life? by Jessica Rowe

Is Fat Bob Dead Yet? by Stephen Dobyns (DNF)

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

Review: The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs by Matthew Dicks★★★★

Review: Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County by Amy Hill Hearth★★★

Review:  The Replacement Wife by Rowena Wiseman ★★1/2

Review: The Insanity of Murder by Felicity Young ★★★★

Review: The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo ★★★★1/2

Review: Is This My Beautiful Life? by Jessica Rowe

What I Am Reading Today

Is love really written in the stars? Fledgling romance author Simona Gemella is hoping the rugged wilderness of South Australia’s Kangaroo Island will help reignite her creative spark after her husband walked out.  She’s joined her best friend, Nessie, on a health and wellness retreat at a mysterious old manor on the island, run by an astrology guru.  Though Simona’s sworn off men, she can’t help being distracted by a dangerously handsome man with a scorpion tattoo – Denham Cobalt – who’s also staying at the manor. Then strange things start to happen, including uncanny accidents and even a possible murder. It all culminates at a masquerade party on the night of a total lunar eclipse. Will Simona survive – with her heart intact?

 What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

From Kat Spears, author of Sway, comes a new novel that asks the question: when a group of four best friends begin to drift apart, what will it take to bring them back together? When Jason Marshall’s younger sister dies, he knows he can count on his three best friends and soccer teammates — Mario, Jordie, and Chick — to be there for him. With a grief-crippled mother and a father who’s not in the picture, he needs them more than ever. But when Mario starts hanging out with a rough group of friends and Jordie finally lands the girl of his dreams, Jason is left to fend for himself while maintaining a strained relationship with troubled and quiet Chick. Then Jason meets Raine, a girl he thinks is out of his league but who sees him for everything he wants to be, and he finds himself pulled between building a healthy and stable relationship with a girl he might be falling in love with, grieving for his sister, and trying to hold onto the friendships he has always relied on.  A witty and emotionally moving tale of friendship, first love, and loss, Breakaway is Kat Spears at her finest

How can four sisters build the futures they so desperately want, when the past is reaching out to claim them? When the Patterson daughters return home to Meadow Brook to be with their father after their mother’s death, they bring with them a world of complication and trouble. The eldest sister, obstetrician Madeleine, would rather be anywhere but her hometown, violinist Abigail has fled from her stellar career, while teacher Lucinda is struggling to have the children she and her husband so desperately want. The black sheep of the family, Charlie, feels her life as a barista and exercise instructor doesn’t measure up to that of her gifted and successful sisters. Dealing with their bereft father who is determined to sell the family motel, their loves old and new and a series of troublesome decisions doesn’t make life any easier, but when they go through their mother’s possessions and uncover the shocking secret of an old family curse, they begin to question everything they thought they knew.

Rachel Blum and Andy Landis are eight years old when they meet late one night in an ER waiting room. Born with a congenital heart defect, Rachel is a veteran of hospitals, and she’s intrigued by the boy who shows up all alone with a broken arm. He tells her his name. She tells him a story. After Andy’s taken back to the emergency room and Rachel’s sent back to her bed, they think they’ll never see each other again. Rachel, the beloved, popular, and protected daughter of two doting parents, grows up wanting for nothing in a fancy Florida suburb. Andy grows up poor in Philadelphia with a single mom and a rare talent that will let him become one of the best runners of his generation. Over the course of three decades, through high school and college, marriages and divorces, from the pinnacles of victory and the heartbreak of defeat, Andy and Rachel will find each other again and again, until they are finally given a chance to decide whether love can surmount difference and distance and if they’ve been running toward each other all along. With honesty, wit, and clear-eyed observations about men and women, love and fate, and the truth about happy endings, Jennifer Weiner delivers two of her most memorable characters, and a love story you’ll never forget.

Vega Jane was always told no one could leave the town of Wormwood. She was told there was nothing outside but the Quag, a wilderness filled with danger and death. And she believed it – until the night she stumbled across a secret that proved that everything she knew was a lie. Now just one thing stands between Vega Jane and freedom – the Quag. In order to leave Wormwood and discover the truth about her world, Vega and her best friend Delph must find a way to make it across a terrifying land of bloodthirsty creatures and sinister magic. But the Quag is worse than Vega Jane’s darkest imagining. It’s a living, breathing prison designed to keep enemies out and the villagers of Wormwood in. The Quag will throw everything at Vega Jane. It will try to break her. It will try to kill her. And survival might come at a price not even Vega Jane is willing to pay. Master storyteller David Baldacci unleashes a hurricane of action and adrenaline that takes readers to the breaking point.

Of all the charming misfits on television, there’s no doubt Raj from The Big Bang Theory — the sincere yet incurably geeky Indian-American astrophysicist — ranks among the misfittingest. Now, we meet the actor who is every bit as loveable as the character he plays on TV. In this revealing collection of essays written in his irreverent, hilarious, and self-deprecating voice, Kunal Nayyar traces his journey from a little boy in New Delhi who mistakes an awkward first kiss for a sacred commitment, gets nosebleeds chugging Coca-Cola to impress other students, and excels in the sport of badminton, to the confident, successful actor on the set of TV’s most-watched sitcom since Friends.


Thanks for stopping by!

Review: Is This My Beautiful Life? by Jessica Rowe


Title: Is This My Beautiful Life?

Author: Jessica Rowe

Published: Allen & Unwin September 2015

Status: Read on September 13, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Is This My Beautiful Life? is the memoir of Jessica Rowe, best known as an Australian television news presenter, and ambassador for the organisation beyondblue.

Jessica Rowe writes candidly about her unsettled childhood as a result of her mother’s bipolar disorder, her legal battle with network Ten, the hurtful criticism leveled at her by the public and media, the loss of her job at Channel Nine, and her struggle to conceive via IVF. But it is her battle with post natal depression after the birth of her first child with 60 minutes journalist Peter Overton, that is the focus of this memoir.

Challenged by breastfeeding, uncertain about her instincts as a mother, and exhausted by the demands of a newborn, Jessica found herself overwhelmed. She is honest and open about being unable to admit to her increasing distress. She writes of her fears of developing a mental illness like her mother, of her feelings of failure, and her reluctance to reach out for help, despite the support of her husband and family.

Offering encouragement, sympathy and comfort to women who may find themselves struggling with ‘having it all’, Is This My Beautiful Life? is an open and touching read, addressing an important subject that affects around 1 in 7 Australian women.

*Please note I choose not to rate memoirs.

Available to purchase from

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and all good bookstores.


Review: The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo


Title: The Art of Crash Landing

Author: Melissa DeCarlo

Published: HarperCollins September 2015

Read Excerpt

Status: Read from September 10 to 12, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

“When you’re ass deep in lemons, you start looking for a shovel, not a pitcher and a cup of sugar.”

Thirty year old Mattie Wallace is homeless, jobless and pregnant, so an inheritance from the grandmother she never met is an unexpected life line. With her worldly belongings crammed into six plastic trash bags, Mattie drives from the Florida panhandle where she grew up with her alcoholic single mother, to small town Gandy, Oklahoma. Stranded in town when her 1978 Chevy Malibu gives out, Mattie settles into her grandmothers house while waiting for probate to clear, and curious, begins to ask questions about her mother the locals are reluctant to answer. Determined to learn why her mother fled her comfortable life, Mattie sets out to solve the mystery of her mother’s past, and perhaps forge a new path for herself.

The Art of Crash Landing by debut author Melissa DeCarlo is a hilarious, audacious and surprisingly poignant story about loss, regret, secrets and forgiveness.

“I have ninja skills when it comes to screwing things up. It’s like a superpower only lamer.”

Mattie is a bold character; snarky, foul mouthed and irresponsible, her former stepfather, whom she affectionately calls Queeg (as in Captain Queeg from The Caine Mutiny), compares her to a natural disaster. She has a history of dating deadbeats, drinking too much, and doing the wrong thing. Damaged by her difficult childhood, Mattie knows she is a mess, but feels destined to repeat her mother’s mistakes. I loved her irreverent attitude, and snarky wit, she is smarter than she gives herself credit for, and I really enjoyed the growth of character over the course of the novel. Solving the mystery of her mothers childhood is what lets Mattie reconcile with her past and begin to change the course of her future.

“I don’t know what she’s thinking, but I’m thinking about how fluid the border is between crazy and interesting, and hard it is to decide who belongs where.”

Mattie is both helped, and hindered, by a cast of several quirky characters. Queeg, Mattie’s stepfather who remains in Florida, is the most endearing. Then there is Luke, the paraplegic lawyer; Tawny, the teenage wannabe bad ass; Mattie’s mothers former best friend Karleen, librarian ‘Aunt’ Fritter, JJ and the doggie Winstons.

“We are all more than the worst thing we have done”

I laughed often, entertained by the witty banter, eccentric characters and occasionally absurd situations in The Art of Crash Landing, but I was also intrigued by the mystery surrounding Mattie’s mother’s past, and touched by Mattie’s struggle to escape her mother’s shadow.

“Sometimes well begun never has a chance to finish, and every once in a while, a bad beginning turns out okay.”

DeCarlo’s style is similar to that of Cathy Lamb, an author I adore, and I’m looking forward to more from her. The Art of Crash Landing is a great read I’m happy to recommend.

Available to purchase via

HarperCollins I Amazon US I Book Depository I Indie Bound

Via Booko

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