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Showing posts from December, 2013

Review: Chocolate Cake For Breakfast by Danielle Hawkins

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For those of you who have ever wondered if I am inspired to read books after reading a review, the answer is yes, sometimes. I'd heard of Chocolate Cake For Breakfast around the time when it was released and after reading this review on Book'd Out I was fairly certain that it was one that I would enjoy. Then again, I guess that is the purpose of a review, to share our thoughts on a book so that we can recommend it (or not,) to other readers and help them make up their minds whether or not it is something that they might enjoy. (Hmm. Did I just state the obvious then?) Anyway, Chocolate Cake For Breakfast is a bit of unique read. It tells the story of Helen McNeil, a somewhat clumsy, insecure and ultimately likeable vet who lives in a small town in New Zealand. Into town comes Mark Tipene, who plays rugby for the All Blacks. Mark and Helen meet at a party, Helen does not recognise Mark and he thinks this is absolutely wonderful. Under the watchful eyes of some very quir

Feature and Follow Friday

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Wow. It feels like an age since I last participated in a Feature and Follow Friday (yeah, okay, it's only been a few months). My life has sort of got a bit busier in recent months and I have to often schedule posts ahead, meaning that I miss out on the spontaneous conversation and visiting that goes hand in hand with the meme. Anyway, I don't think it's very fair to schedule these ones ahead (because I like the whole social aspect of clicking on the list, seeing who is featured and meeting new bloggers,) so I usually opt out. Anyway, on this particular evening I'm home and blogging, so I hope it's a great chance to catch up with some old friends and to make some new ones. Anyway ... for those of you who don't know, Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme designed to help book bloggers connect and meet one another. It two awesome hosts, Parajunkee and Alison Can Read and also showcases two very cool blogs. And there is always a question to answer. T

Newsflash: Behind the Scenes Free From Amazon Kindle Store Today!

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As many of you know, 2013 has been a big year for me writing wise. I had my first, second and third book signings, and got my own magazine column with Spiritual Wisdom Magazine. In April, I launched my fourth novel Behind the Scenes. And, meanwhile, this blog keeps going from strength to strength. I've had authors and publishers offer me some awesome books to read and review. Anyway, to celebrate a great year and to thank everyone that has supported me, I'm offering Behind the Scenes as a free download from the Amazon Kindle Store until midnight PST in the United States. (That's about 7.30pm Saturday, Adelaide time.)  For those of you who don't know, Behind the Scenes tells the story of eighteen year old Catlin Ryan, an aspiring actress who scores a role on her favourite television series. She soon discovers that fame isn't all that it is cracked up to be and along the way she uncovers some dark family secrets about her past. And so too, does the media ..

Merry Christmas

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I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or all the best for whatever you may be celebrating at this time of year (or not). Stay well, stay healthy, hug your loved ones and keep on reading ...

Review: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

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Well. It looks like this one got released just in time. As many of you will know, over the past couple of months I have been reading my way through Richelle Mead's brilliant Vampire Academy series and its follow-on series Bloodlines . As chance would have it, I finished the third book in the Bloodlines series just shortly before the fourth book, The Fiery Heart was released, so unlike other fans who have been waiting for a good chunk of 2013 to find out what happens next, I had the luxury of moving straight from one book in the series to the next.  The Indigo Spell ended on quite a surprising note and had a couple of unnecessary plot twists, so it was nice to see a lot of those problems being ironed out in The Fiery Heart . Unlike the first three books in the series, this one is jointly narrated by Adrian, who is now Sydney's very secret and very, very passionate lover. (Though, secretly, I do think the author could have pushed some of the love scenes a little bit f

Friday Funnies: The Goodies Make a Daft Noise for Christmas

Review: In Conversations With Strangers by Brenda Cheers

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First and foremost, a big shout out to author Brenda Cheers and Goodreads for my free reading copy, which I won in a recent competition. Thanks! Let me start this review with a little anecdote. A few evenings ago, I had a craving for some cheese and Vegemite toasties. With my senses tingling and mouth watering in that very special way that one only reserves for cheese and Vegemite toasties, I set about in the kitchen, collecting the right ingredients, lightly toasting the bread and then smearing on the Vegemite so that it was at that special consistency where you can still taste it under the layer of cheese but isn't yet strong enough to overpower the whole thing. Then I added a layer of cheese and laid my special and much wanted snack under the grill for the final toasting that would melt the cheese to that very special bubbling and slightly brown consistency. All good right? Well, it was until I got impatient. I was so hungry and so eager for my little snack that I took i

Writers on Wednesday: Cameron Trost

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Welcome back to Writers on Wednesday. This week we're catching up with the very talented and very, very individual Cameron Trost ... Tell us a bit about yourself … I was born and grew up in Brisbane but live in France with my wife and son. I teach English as a foreign language to scrape in a living and love travelling, history, chess, forests, and rainy weather. My writing is often inspired by my observations of society and human behaviour, which is probably why greed and obsession are two recurrent themes. Tell us about your most recently published, or about to be published, book? “Hoffman’s Creeper and Other Disturbing Tales” is my d├ębut short story collection. It features a cast of characters that includes an obsessed botanist, a budding film director, a sleazy hypnotist, a man about to jump off a cliff, and a little boy who gets struck by lightning. The fiction in this collection is thought-provoking, mysterious, creepy, quirky… and always disturbing.   

Famous Speeches: Martin Luther King Jr "I Have a Dream"

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. Five score years ago,  a great American , in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condit

Friday Funnies: Garfield Minus Garfield Christmas Special

The Garfield Christmas Special from 1989 gets the Garfield Minus Garfield treatment.

Review: The Girl in the Basement by Dianne Bates

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The Girl in the Basement is a frightening glimpse into the mind of a psychopath and his teenage victim. Libby is a young woman celebrating her sixteenth birthday, when she is snatched away by a predator who is determined to make her a part of his 'family' along with a younger boy. Far from home and locked away in a basement, Libby must find a way to defeat her sadistic and often deluded captor who wants to rename her Serena and use her as a replacement for the sister he murdered many years before. Meanwhile, a smaller boy is being used as a replacement for their captors brother. Together, this trio are supposed to be a family, but Papa has all the power and rarely shows mercy on his captives. Australian author Dianne Bates does a commendable job of showcasing the mind of a man who has many wants, thrives on cruelty and has no natural empathy for others. Meanwhile, Libby is shown to be a strong and resourceful young woman who, in places, has a lovely wisdom that is well

Writers on Wednesday: TW Lawless

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Welcome back to Writers on Wednesday. This week, we are talking to TW Lawless an emerging Australian writer ... Tell us a bit about yourself … I was raised on a cattle station then a country town in North Queensland but I now live in Melbourne with my wife. She is also a published author. I was a registered nurse for many years but I always wanted to fulfil my ambition of becoming an author. It finally came two years ago when I became very ill. My way of coping was to write a book.   That book is called Homecountry. The book introduces a character called Peter Clancy, a hard-living tabloid journalist from Melbourne. Tell us about your most recently published, or about to be published, book? My latest book is called Thornydevils, the second book of the Peter Clancy series. It will be released in early 2014. Set in Melbourne in the late 1980s it features a cast of quirky characters, a great plot and plenty of grit. Tell us about the first time you were publish

Garfield Plus Garfield

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I have to admit, I was secretly delighted when I found this little remembered Garfield comic strip from 2003. Written to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the comic, and therefore, Garfield's 25th birthday on June 19, this strip has the early version of Garfield visiting the modern one. As all fans know, Garfield evolved quite a lot during the first fifteen of the comic until Jim Davis finally settled on the slightly smaller incarnate who could walk and had large and very expressive eyes. (On a side note, his stripes are now far less visible, making him less time consuming to draw.) And, in my opinion, by 2003 the comic had pretty much reached its lowest point. The jokes were no longer funny, none of the characters seemed to do very much and Jon's stupidity was beyond repetitive. The comic seemed little more than a vehicle to distribute the endless, tacky Garfield merchandise that was being churned out by Paws Inc. And then this series of comic came along. The

Review: One More Slip by Marion Von Adlerstein

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Big shout out to Anna from the Reading Room for my review copy. Thanks! Marion Von Alderstein's 2011 novel The Freudian Slip detailing the lives of three fashionable and successful women (or, at least two of those women are successful,) in Sydney in the early 1960s was such a hit that she just had to write a sequel and bring a wonderful minor character, Isabel to the front.  One More Slip moves on to the mid-1960s where Bea and Desi are still working for advertising agency BARK and juggling successful professional lives in a time when women rarely had lasting careers beyond teaching or nursing. Of course, the times are slowly changing and, or the blurb puts it, hemlines are getting shorter. Bea and Desi both have complicated personal lives and relationships, while the complications of Isabel's personal life and desires do not become entirely clear until midway through the novel. And we do get to learn more of what happens to the disgusting Stella after she is shafted to

Why Charlie Brown, Why?

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Not all cartoons are made equal. Not all cartoon TV specials are made equal either. Why Charlie Brown, Why? is one of those special ones that stands alone. Made in 1990, Why Charlie Brown, Why? tells the story of Janice, a little girl who is in the same class as Linus and Charlie Brown at school who becomes ill with leukaemia. It was the first time that an animated TV special discussed childhood cancer. It is also one of the most accurate depictions I personally have ever seen of what it is like for a kid to watch helplessly as one of their friends becomes seriously ill. Some of the things Linus experiences while he watches his friend become are so accurate I felt at times that the writers and producers were discussing my own childhood experiences, when, sadly one of my close friends developed cancer. (While my friend, Melanie, or Mel as we used to call her, passed away, Janice's future is much brighter.) We see Linus as he goes through fear for his friend, a visit to t

Pre-release Promo Tour: The Souls of Rain By Diana Nixon

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The Souls of Rain (Heavens Trilogy, # 1) By Diana Nixon COMING Out December 18 th  2013 Synopsis T he secrets of the heavens had always been carefully guarded. Until one day when the angels realized that what they used to believe in was nothing but a cruel game between heaven and hell. And Claire’s life is a part of that game too. She is a guardian angel. She always thought that her existence was perfect. But perfection is a very relative term, and no one is protected from making mistakes. Everything changes the moment Claire gets a new assignment. Guarding humans has never been easy, and this time won’t be an exception. Alan Rosenford is a spoilt party-boy, whose life is a hurricane of risk and adrenaline rush. His soul is damaged, his heart is bleeding, and there are so many things he prefers to keep private…. The words they have never said before … The sins they have never committed…. How much does forgiveness of the heavens cost?