Happy Australia Day + Giveaway!

Australia DayThe celebration of Australia Day is upon us; a time for relaxation, enjoying the sunshine and to hopefully scoff as many lammies as possible without getting judgement from those around us. To be honest, I am a little over the sunshine. We’ve had scorching heat here the past few weeks, the plants are dying, the grass is dying, and while I know I will upset a few people who had beach plans today, I’m enjoying the overcast morning right now. I had all these ideas in my head about what to post about this year but none of them felt right. In the end, I’ve decided to go all out and offer up this post in three parts: a poem, a shout out, and a giveaway.

The Poem

I want to share with you one of my favourite poems about Australia. It’s one that makes me feel all warm inside and one that I think will bring out the Aussie pride in all of us (in the good, non-violent, non-racist way). I first heard of this poem in 2006 when I caught a segment on Sunrise celebrating the 10th anniversary. I hunted down the poem immediately and printed a copy to put up on my desk. It’s been 11 years and it remains in its place, there for all to see alongside my favourite Jack Prelutsky poem.

The poem is by Rupert McCall as is called Green and Gold Malaria. Those more read in poetry or are a bit older than me may remember it. It was published in 1996 and is a quirky poem that celebrates Aussie pride and the great things about our nation and culture. As much as I like to think it is just a poem, some part of me gets emotional reading it and while it is a bit out of date it still makes me warm and fuzzy inside.

Green and Gold Malaria
by Rupert McCall

The day would soon arrive when I could not ignore the rash.
I was obviously ill and so I called on Doctor Nash.
This standard consultation would adjudicate my fate.
I walked into his surgery and gave it to him straight:
`Doc, I wonder if you might explain this allergy of mine,
I get these pins and needles running up and down my spine.
From there, across my body, I will suddenly extend –
My neck will feel a shiver and the hairs will stand on end.
And then there is the symptom that only a man can fear –
A choking in the throat, and the crying of a tear.’
Well, the Doctor scratched his melon with a rather worried look.
His furrowed brow suggested that the news to come was crook.
`What is it Doc?’ I motioned. `Have I got a rare disease?
I’m man enough to cop it sweet, so give it to me, please.’
`I’m not too sure,’ he answered, in a puzzled kind of way.
`You’ve got some kind of fever, but it’s hard for me to say.
When is it that you feel this most peculiar condition?’
I thought for just a moment, then I gave him my position:
`I get it when I’m standing in an Anzac Day parade,
And I get it when the anthem of our native land is played,
And I get it when Meninga makes a Kiwi-crunching run,
And when Border grits his teeth to score a really gutsy ton.
I got it back in ’91 when Farr-Jones held the Cup,
And I got it when Japan was stormed by Better Loosen Up.
I get it when Banjo takes me down the Snowy River,
And Matilda sends me waltzing with a billy-boiling shiver.
It hit me hard when Sydney was awarded the Games,
And I get it when I see our farmers fighting for their names.
It flattened me when Bertrand raised the boxing kangaroo,
And when Perkins smashed the record, well, the rashes were true blue.
So tell me, Doc,’ I questioned. `Am I really gonna die?’
He broke into a smile before he looked me in the eye.
As he fumbled with his stethoscope and pushed it out of reach,
He wiped away a tear and then he gave me this stirring speech:
`From the beaches here in Queensland to the sweeping shores of Broome,
On the Harbour banks of Sydney where the waratah’s in bloom.
From Uluru at sunset to the Mighty Tasman Sea,
In the Adelaide cathedrals, at the roaring MCG.
From the Great Australian Blight up to the Gulf of Carpentaria,
The medical profession call it “green and gold malaria”.
But forget about the text books, son, the truth I shouldn’t hide.
The rash that you’ve contracted here is “good old Aussie pride”.
I’m afraid that you were born with it and one thing is for sure –
You’ll die with it, young man, because there isn’t and cure.’

The Shoutout

I know this post is already long with the poem, but as a little extra bonus this year I’m also sharing some of my favourite Aussie book bloggers. In past years there has been an Aussie Blog Hop to unite the Aussie blogging world and to celebrate each other, and while this isn’t the case this year, I still wanted to share with you some of my favourite Aussie bloggers right now to spread the love. If you have a favourite Aussie blogger let me know in the comments, I follow so many blogs but I can always follow more!

The Loony Literate

I found Emily when I sent out a call a few years ago for new blogs to follow and Emily shot up her hand. Since then I have been an avid follower on all the platforms and I love getting her posts in my inbox and following her on Twitter and Instagram.

Reasons to follow Emily:

  • Her blog posts are fun and informative; she posts reviews, discussions, and has variety in what she writes about
  • Her bookstagram is mind blowingly amazing and she includes pictures in her reviews so there’s that to enjoy as well
  • Her blog design is gorgeous
  • Her cats are adorable
  • She is writing a retelling of Alice in Wonderland and judging by the snippets she shares on Twitter, it is amazing and I want to read it right now
  • Is the @AusYABlog mod which is also awesome

Twitter | Instagram | Website

The Never Ending Book Shelf

I’ll admit, I may be 101% biased about this because Jess is my best friend, however, I also am objective enough to realise that she is also an amazing blogger. Jess started her blog around the same time I did and in that time she has done some amazing things because of it.

Reasons to follow Jess:

  • She reads widely and covers a lot of genres in her reviews
  • Her reviews are thorough, thoughtful, a balance of emotion and reasoning about what worked and what didn’t
  • She has great blog features and keeps coming up with new and wonderful ideas to celebrate books and share things book related
  • Her passion about books is incredible and her support of Aussie authors knows no bounds.
  • Her bookstagram pictures are also beautiful and very stylish and creative

Twitter | Instagram | Website

Paper Fury

I can’t recall exactly how I found Cait, but I’d say it was probably through a YA Twitter chat of some kind, or in the replies to another person I follow on Twitter. Either way, very good decision.

Reasons to follow Cait:

  • Her reviews and posts are so creative, she writes mini reviews, themed reviews, and has posts about writing and reading and all kinds of cool things
  • I like the layout of her reviews as well, it’s different than what I’m used to but it totally works
  • Her Bookstagram is incredible
  • She has a writing meme called Beautiful People which is so cool where writers can interview their own characters

Twitter | Instagram | Website

I could go on but I won’t, check out my sidebar which has more great blogs. I may need to do a whole post about this because there are some great blogs out there and if I keep going I’ll never stop.

The Giveaway

At last, the end is near. I will make this short and sweet. I am giving ONE lucky person the chance to win a book of their choice by some of my favourite Aussie authors.

aus-giveaway

To enter: Leave a comment on this blog about something Australian you love – your favourite author, favourite blogger, favourite past time, food, tv show, anything!

This is open to Australian residents only.

Entries close 11:59pm 2nd February, 2017

 

 

 

 

4th Blogiversary Celebrations + Giveaway! (INT)

2yr AnniversaryAs I celebrate my fourth year of blogging I cannot believe how fast the time has gone. When I look back at previous posts I am amazed at the books I have read, astounded by all the support I’ve received, and, to be honest, a little embarrassed when I read older posts. But we were young, inexperienced, we thought we sounded cool and grown up at the time but now a few of those earlier posts could do with some more editing and sophistication and less…stream of conscious and randomness.

But of course the other side of that is I have loved seeing how I’ve grown over the years. My reviewing has become refined and more structured, I’ve worked out my style and my voice, and while I am still really settling into a good rhythm, I am getting closer every day. I saw a wonderful tweet from Jean at Happy Indulgence Books that expressed this beautifully.

I think that as I enter my fifth year of blogging I am getting to the stage where I am doing it my way. Last year was my stressfully year, probably the year before in part, but I’m finally at a point where I can see what I am doing and be content. Having said that, I know full well there will be times this year when I am stressed, the beginning of the year always brings such hope and promise. But one of my goals for the year was not to worry so much about blogging. I started this to enjoy it, to love sharing my thoughts on books and I am determined to keep doing that.

Part of enjoying the experience is getting to share great books with you guys! It is customary to celebrate this milestone with a giveaway to all my fantastic followers and readers who have stuck by me for the years of random posts and weeks and months of absence for some reason or another. This year I have selected a handful of my favourite books from the previous year. A few have missed out because The Book Depository doesn’t have them so a few proper favourites missed out which is a shame. Either way, the eight I have chosen were some of my favourites and cover a range of genres so there should be something for everyone.

I am giving ONE lucky person the chance to win and I am opening it up internationally. If you want to check out the books in more detail I’ve included some links below. I wish I had been able to review more because I want to tell you how amazing these books are, but it hasn’t happened yet unfortunately.

Thank you again for supporting me for all these years and I look forward to doing this for many more years. Good luck to all entrants and happy reading!

4th-blogiversary

 

The Selection

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertelli

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Yellow by Megan Johnson – Review

The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis – Review

Time and Time Again by Ben Elton

To enter: For a chance to win one of the pictured books simply enter here and complete the Rafflecopter form.

 Please note: This giveaway is international on the basis the Book Depository ships to your country. To see if you are eligible you can check their website.

 

Giveaway runs until midnight AEDT on 23rd February 2017

The Ceruleans Print Party + Giveaway

The Ceruleans: mere mortals infused with power over life and death.

Five books; one question: If the might of the heavens were in your hands, would you be sinner or saint?

The Ceruleans is a fantastic YA series from Megan Tayte with a fantasy and paranormal element that captures your attention early on. There are now five books in the series, the last one released in February this year. The series follows Scarlett Blake, a teenager seemingly haunted by death, and is filled with serious questions about life and death, but is also filled with humour and fun and wonderful friendships.

In honour of the series being released in print, and with amazing revamped covers, Megan is offering a chance to win the entire series! It’s very hard to insist you must read The Ceruleans when I have only published one review for the series, but I’ve read more and they are addictive and amazing, and all kinds of wonderful. Plus, with a chance to win all five books, this is the best time to dive into the series (total pun intended).

The giveaway has been running since the start of June, but work, illness, and life has stopped me making this post sooner, but there are still ten days to get in your entries and make sure you’re in with a chance to win these incredible books. I have plans to post reviews of them all to complete my list, but for now, I can only ask you trust me when I say you should read these books.

To find out about the series check out Goodreads and discover these amazing books!

My review of book one, Death Wish

Ceruleans poster

Giveaway

To go in the draw head to the Rafflecopter page and complete the form.

 

Buy links

Amazon UK

Amazon Aust

Amazon

Megan Tayte bio

Megan TayteOnce upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess fireman. ‘Write, Megan,’ her grandmother advised. So that’s what she did. Thirty-odd years later, Megan is a professional writer and published author by day, and an indie novelist by night. Her fiction – young adult romance with soul – recently earned her the SPR’s Independent Woman Author of the Year award. Megan grew up in the Royal County, a hop, skip and a (very long) jump from Windsor Castle, but these days she makes her home in the village of Standish, Greater Manchester. She lives with her husband, a proud Scot who occasionally kicks back in a kilt; her son, a budding artist with the soul of a palaeontologist; and her baby daughter, a keen pan-and-spoon drummer who sings in her sleep. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her walking someplace green, reading by the fire, or creating carnage in the kitchen as she pursues her impossible dream: of baking something edible.

 

You can find Megan online at:

Website | Goodreads

Facebook | Twitter

Instagram

 

Love Under Construction (#2) by Danyelle Ferguson + Giveaway

Today I get to share with you my review for Love Under Construction as part of Danyelle Ferguson’s blog tour. There is also a giveaway that is open internationally if you’re interested, details are below.

Published: 19th April 2016Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Wonderstruck Books
Pages: 260
Format: ebook
Genre: Romance
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Charlee was angry . . . 

What do you do when your boss makes someone else the lead on a big renovation project that should rightfully be yours? You quit. On second thought, that might not be the best idea, but Charlee Jackson has never been one for second thoughts. Instead, she lands a big contract of her own. She’s jumping into her new life—work boots, tool belt and all. Now she just needs to form a company and hire contractors and buy supplies and get an office . . . and not fall in love with her former boss’s son. Yeah. Definitely not that last one.

Peter was torn . . . 

You can’t date someone who works for you, but now that his dad let Charlee walk out the door, Peter Elliot is considering his options. Charlee was their top renovation expert, his best friend’s sister, and the only thing that made the drudgery of running a large construction business bearable. But how do you date a competitor, especially one your father is trying to drive out of business? It would be stupid to make your dad angry right before he retires and hands the company over to you. Right?

When Charlee and Peter are scheduled to work on the same Indulgence Row house, their feelings and priorities are put to the test. They need to make a choice, and they better be quick about it, because the whole mixture is curing fast and threatening to crumble to pieces. 

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the author for review.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed the story, I thought it was clever and creative; Charlee is a wonderful and intelligent woman who is confident in her skills and capabilities. The plot was interesting it was a nice romance with complications and conflict that balanced the love side with other things.

What kept catching my attention and annoying me a little was the very slight yet ongoing sexist remarks in the beginning. That is a strong word but I dunno there were just comments that got under my skin, not only that Charlee makes it clear she’s not “one of those women”, but  her reference to wearing “girly things”, even things like clothes. And Peter was no better, making claim basically of Charlee, saying she’s “his woman” and acting jealous after one kiss and basically fighting other men because she dances with them.

I know it’s nitpicking, and it shows Peter’s affection for her in a weird way but it was a common thing I noticed. Whether Ferguson was going for a portrayal of the “man’s world” of construction and “that’s just how men are”, as well as making us notice Charlee was different I’m not sure. And it is the smallest thing, but it did bug me.

Aside from that, I did enjoy this novel. Charlee is a great character, she stands up for herself in the male dominated workplace and knows her worth but she also has her doubts and insecurities. Seeing her take charge and follow her dreams is wonderful and it really makes you root for her and will her to succeed. Charlee herself doesn’t go on too much about being a woman in a male dominated profession; she just gets the job done and shows off her talent. She knows she is great at what she does and she is willing to do what she has to to get what she wants. What Ferguson also did well is not make too much of a big deal about why Charlee is in construction, she enjoys it, she’s great at it, that is reason enough.

I liked that that there is a myriad of conflicts working all at once, it keeps you interested and gives you something different to think about. The ‘will they, won’t they’ side of the romance is solved early on, but the intrigue is whether or not they will remain that way the entire time. This is balanced well with drama from other avenues like the Charlee’s workplace and her family problems. Having numerous conflicts makes the story feel real and adds to the overall drama without going overboard. These little conflicts provide the story with multiple storylines that connect together and overlap nicely. There are also lots of mini-conclusions where you think the story may end but it doesn’t. There are no quick solutions or resolutions and Ferguson wraps up loose ends skilfully while not making it feel rushed or unrealistic.

I quite liked the construction side of the story actually. Ferguson describes the day to day processes knowledgeably and realistically, but we aren’t bogged down by jargon and step by step processes or exact details. Ferguson includes enough to explain it within the story and make it feel real but doesn’t go over the top to try and include everything. It flows naturally into the story which helps us understand how construction works and the steps involved while progressing the story and not feeling out of place.

I recently learnt the term sweet romance and I think that’s a great description of Peter and Charlee’s relationship, it’s new and committed but also with the troubles of self-doubt and circumstance. Ferguson makes it clear these guys really like each other which makes the sweet parts sweeter and the conflicts more interesting.

This is the second in the Indulgence Row series but you really can’t tell. Ferguson explains enough to make you work out what book one may have been about but it really doesn’t affect the story. Knowing it is in a series though you can see references to a previous book, and there are hints about what will follow in book three which Ferguson leads into seamlessly but intentionally.

Overall I think I enjoyed the construction storyline more than the romance, it was just so interesting and Charlee was a great character to get to know, but the way Ferguson has woven it all together made the romance sweet and filled the story with the right amount of drama. There are no perfect endings but there is hard work and determination surrounded by likeable characters that are all unique and complicated in their own right, and with a nice teaser to pique your interest not only in book one but also book three there is an incentive to keep reading.

You can purchase Love Under Construction via the following

AmazonKobo

iTunes | Barnes & Noble

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Danyelle Ferguson discovered her love for the written word in elementary school. Her first article was published when she was in 6th grade. Since then, she’s won several awards and her work has been published world-wide in newspapers, magazines and books.

She grew up surrounded by Pennsylvania’s beautiful Allegheny Mountains, then lived for ten years among the majestic Wasatch Mountains. She is currently experiencing mountain-withdrawal while living in Kansas with her husband and family. She enjoys reading, writing, dancing and singing in the kitchen, and the occasional long bubble bath to relax from the everyday stress of being “Mommy.”

Website  *  Facebook  *  Twitter

 

KINDLE AND SWEET ROMANCE EBOOK BUNDLE GIVEAWAY

Enter to win a Kindle Fire and this fabulous bundle of sweet romances! The giveaway is open internationally. If the winner lives outside the Amazon Prime free shipping area, the winner will receive the sweet romance ebook bundle and the choice of either a $40 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Library Lovers’ Day 2016 + Giveaway

LLD2016-Web Heading

LLD2016-AvatarLibrary Lovers’ Day. A day for book lovers to share their love of books and reading, whether this is with a book blind date, book recommendations, or some fun activities at your local library. There are many ways to share the library love, and today I’m adding to the celebrations by offering a giveaway.

Because I’m a huge lover of libraries (as a librarian it kind of goes with the territory), as well as second hand books, my giveaway is coming from my own collection, a ‘Loved Loot’ giveaway if you will. I have scoured my bookshelves and found a few books to share the reading spirit as well as the idea that any book can be a wonderful book, loved, library or otherwise. I have four books on offer for four lucky winners, details on how to enter are below.

 

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Thyme Out by Kate Fforde

Guilty Pleasures (#1) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Storm Glass (#1) Maria V. Snyder

Note: These books are all second-hand, including library discards and those bought at book fairs. All books are in good condition though visibly used. This is a Loved Loot giveaway.

Valentine's Giveaway

To enter: Leave a comment telling me what has been one of your favourite second-hand book finds, or for the library users out there, what has been a favourite library book you’ve discovered by chance and fallen in love with. Let me know along with which book you would like to win and you’ll be in the draw.

Please note: Unfortunately this Loved Loot giveaway is open to Aussie residents only because shipping costs a bag of gold and your first born.

Entries close midnight AEDT 28 Feb 2016. Good luck!

booklove

For more information about the Library Lovers’ Day experience there are details on the Australian Library and Information Association website on how you can celebrate, or have a look at the fun links included below where you can see last year’s event, or get some great resources like social media images, stickers, bookmarks, and more! Or perhaps pop into your local library if they are open and see what activities they have running. They may have more than just a one day event happening so check them out. Even if your library isn’t running anything special, perhaps pop in for a visit anyway and take a chance on a new book, or a new author or genre. Have a blind date with a book randomly chosen from a shelf; you never know what you will find! I discovered many of my favourite books that way so anything is possible.

Have a wonderful Library Lovers’ Day and fall in love with a book today!

All Your Fun Bits and Pieces Needs

Australian Library and Information Association Facebook

Highlights from Library Lovers’ Day 2015

Browse the #librarylove tag on Twitter

Learn How to Get Involved

 

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