Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Tuesday Reviews Day - Books

I'm still reading daily which is something I'm really happy about. The Kindle just makes it so easy and I have already racked up over 70 books in my Kindle Library for 2019 — all waiting to be read. Love my Kindle so much!

So, a couple of months back, I signed up to Amazon First Reads. It's where members get to choose a book each month from the Editor's picks. The books are available to members before the publication date and I only pay $1.99 AUD. The reviews today are my first two First Reads.

First up is True Places by Sonja Yoerg
Suzanne's life pretty much runs like clockwork. She is the glue that holds her family together but she is feeling overwhelmed and taken for granted. Her teenage daughter is rebelling, her son is becoming more and more shut off from the family, and her OCD husband just doesn't see the underlying turmoil beneath the surface. He is work-focused and he knows Suzanne will be the perfect wife and keep everything running smoothly. And she does...until, one day, she takes a spur of the moment drive outside of town and her life changes.

On the outskirts of a forest, Suzanne finds a young teenager, barely conscious, very ill, and in desperate need of medical attention. Suzanne rushes her to the ER and feels committed to following up on the young girl's progress. It becomes clear that Iris has been living in the forest — off-grid — with her family and is terrified by the craziness of the city. Her mother is dead and, as authorities try to track down other relatives, Suzanne brings Iris into the family fold. That underlying turmoil starts to break through the surface as jealousies, expectations, and anger rear up in various ways.

Will Suzanne continue with her 'normal' life? Or will she claim back her own identity? Will Iris learn to live like a 'normal' teenager or is the wild woods calling her name? One thing is for sure, this family is falling apart...can their love for each other keep them together?

My thoughts - I loved the idea of a girl from the wild woods coming to live with a suburban family while the search is on for her relatives. Iris has an impact on them all to one degree or another, especially Suzanne. I liked the author's writing style and obvious love of nature. I enjoyed the book enough that I would most likely read another book by Sonja Yoerg. I rated this one 4 stars.

Next up - Blood for Blood by Victoria Selman
You've probably guessed already but yes, it's a British crime novel. Ziba Mackenzie is an ex-Special Forces profiler and she is on a train that crashes. She rushes about trying to help injured passengers including a dying woman who leaves Ziba with a puzzling message - "He did it. You have to tell someone". Shortly thereafter, a body is found with grotesque similarities to a murder committed 25 years ago. Ziba is pulled into the investigation and finds herself being stalked by the killer putting her own life in danger. Time is running out...

This was Victoria's first novel and also the first book in a series. I loved it and gave it five stars.

See you next Tuesday for more reviews.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Tuesday Reviews Day - Books

Okay, fellow bookworms,

It's more a series review this week....

I started reading a Crime series (featuring DI Rowan Jackman and DS Marie Evans) by Joy Ellis and was instantly hooked. I even ordered a different crime series (featuring DI Nikki Galena and DS Joseph Easter) written by Joy Ellis too. I just love the way she writes! Good character development and, of course, being set in Britain is always a win for me. I LOVE watching British Crime series on TV so it makes sense I'd feel the same with books too.


Twenty years ago, a farmer and his wife are brutally murdered by a serial killer.

Twenty years on, a woman is brutally murdered in her upmarket home and Daniel Kinder fronts up at the police station and confesses to the crime. However, DI Jackman and DS Evans soon realise that it's not that cut and dry. Daniel Kinder can't seem to remember the first five years of his life and suspects his mother is the serial killer who committed the murder twenty years ago. Lacking any evidence that he committed the recent murder, they have no option but to let him go. Shortly thereafter, more murders occur.  The plot thickens and it's a race against the clock before any more lives are taken.

This was the first book in the series and I have since completed #2 - Their Lost Daughters; #3 - The Fourth Friend; #4 - The Guilty Ones; and I'm currently in the midst of #5 - The Stolen Boys. If you're into British crime, I'm sure you would enjoy her books too.  Check out the title links provided to learn a little more on each book. I gave practically all of them a 5 star rating.





And that's it for this week. Next Tuesday, I'll cover a couple of Amazon First Reads editions that I completed so stay tuned...

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Scribble Picnic - Holiday Party

Hello fellow Scribblers!

Sorry I've been MIA...if you read earlier posts, you will know why.  The past couple of months have been an emotional roller-coaster ride for me so I haven't been online much at all. I didn't find any time to sketch and I didn't feel the desire to sketch either...until today.  I had planned to have January off to rejuvenate a little but I couldn't let another Scribble Picnic go by.

So the prompt for this week is HOLIDAY PARTY.

With Christmas and New Year behind us, I immediately thought of our Australia Day holiday coming up on January 28th. A day when many Aussie households celebrate with Australiana-themed parties. I've been to a few Australia Day parties organised by various family members over the years and they are a lot of fun.

So, little Charlie the Koala, is all excited and decked out for the party he is off to.  He is wearing an Aussie park ranger uniform, Aussie hat with corks dangling to keep the flies away, a boomerang for the boomerang-throwing competition being held at the party and, of course, his eucalyptus gum leaf snack. OH, almost forgot — his Aussie thongs — which Americans refer to as 'flip-flops', I think.

It's only the initial pencil sketch for now but I will finish him later. As usual, I will most likely make some changes as I go along...could be minor or major changes.

Check out what my fellow scribblers have done for this week HERE.
Feel free to come along to our fortnightly picnic — find out how to join us HERE.

See you all at the party!

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Tuesday Reviews Day - Books

Hello fellow bookworms!

I hope that 2019 has started off well for you all. Mine has been busy so my usually fast reading pace slowed down a little but I am back on track now.

This week, let's start with....

Out of my Mind by Sharon M. Draper

A fictional story about, Melody, an eleven year old girl with cerebral palsy. Melody cannot speak or walk. She has a photographic memory and is very clever although, due to her disability, she is unable to communicate with others so her brilliance goes unnoticed.  She wants desperately to communicate and feels like she is going out of her mind trying to get the attention she wants. UNTIL Melody's neighbour comes up with a simple but nifty way to give Melody a voice! Melody is beyond excited and her story escalates from there especially when she attends school and they integrate the special needs kids in with a few of the regular classes.

I believe this book is mainly aimed at young adults but I enjoyed it a lot. There are parts that made me cry for Melody but mostly I was happy for her.  I gave this one 5 stars.

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Next up, Postcards from a Stranger by Imogen Clark

Cara is a wedding dress designer and lives with her father who has Alzheimer's Disease. Her mother died when she was young. She has a brother with a young family who lives some distance from her. Unfortunately he isn't much help as far as the father is concerned. Cara hires a nurse to help out as she is very busy with her at-home business. One day, Cara discovers a box of old postcards in the attic which causes her to suspect that her father has lied to her since childhood. Who sent the postcards and why would her father have kept them? Cara sets out to solve the mystery. Will the answers make or break her?

I loved this book so much that I ordered another by the same author. The book is told in dual timelines but I found it easy enough to follow. I gave this one 4 stars although I was torn between 4 and 5.

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Beneath an Indian Sky by Renita D'Silva

This story revolves around three women - Sita, a native of India who has ambitious goals; Mary, who lives in India (then under British rule) with her English parents; and Priya whose father suggests a trip back to India after she is mortified when she finds out that her husband has been cheating on her. 

This book spans more than 70 years starting in 1928.  The first part of the book mainly focuses on Sita and Mary who become steadfast childhood friends, along with Amin, a local Indian boy who is simply content to become a boatman.  In later years, one of the women will betray the other in a heart-wrenching way.  Priya is mentioned throughout the book but in a different timeline and she is connected to Sita and Mary. Will the truth ever prevail? 

I LOVED the author's description of India — the scenery, the smells, the sounds, etc. You can almost feel like you are there. I ran a gamut of emotions with this one. A wonderful book! I liked it so much I bought the previous six books written by the same author. Each is a standalone novel and not part of a series. I gave it 4 stars, although again, I was torn between 4 and 5 stars.

That wraps up the reviews for this week.

See you next Tuesday with more reviews.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Happy New Year!


I know I've been slack as it's been almost a month since I last posted but I just had to hop on the computer and post for the start of the New Year.

I wish you all a very happy, creative, and blessed 2019! 

I have felt exhausted for most of the day after Brad and I followed through with our New Year's tradition of staying up all night to greet the dawn of the new year. We played Yahtzee and watched movies. I couldn't really dance this year due to my back and hip but we had a good time nonetheless. I tried to catch a nap earlier this morning but I've always had trouble sleeping through the day-time so it didn't work. An early night tonight is definitely on the cards.

What did you do for New Year's Eve?

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Thank you for the concern and well wishes for my 83 year old Mum after a fall in her back yard landed her in hospital in November. She is now back home with a Transitional Care Team visiting every second day to assist and help her with daily needs and physiotherapy etc. Mum is improving albeit very slowly. Osteoporosis and spinal fractures are no fun at all.

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I start 2019 with a certain amount of trepidation after learning that my elderly fur-kid, Cody, has a terminal illness (Cushing's Disease). I don't know how much longer he will be with us but I'm making every day count. Our other elderly boy is almost totally blind now and he has health issues of his own. Our vet said I would need to make some tough decisions in the near future. I trust that Cody and Jack will let me know when it's time to say goodbye. I am dreading it as they are my precious babies. I've already shed lots of tears.

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I'm looking forward to getting back into a more regular routine come February. I have big plans although a possible major surgery may be on the cards for me to repair the torn tendon in my right hip. If it goes ahead, my big plans may take a hit as my orthopaedic surgeon said it is a ten month recovery — the first three months being the hardest — but we'll see what happens. I am trying to stay positive and will discuss more on my plans in a later post.

I'm now off to have a Chamomile tea and then it's off to bed for me.

I will leave you with a pic I took this morning of the first sunrise for 2019.  I love that the crescent moon is featured too.

Nighty-night...
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