Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Beauty & Lace Book Club Book Review: The Woman In The Window by A.J Finn

Dr Anna Fox suffers from severe agoraphobia, as well as anxiety and depression, and she hasn't left her home for ten months.
Haunted by the memories that overtake her mind, she is simply too afraid to venture outside her front door.
She spends her days chatting online in an agoraphobia support group, playing online chess, and looking out of the windows of her New York City home.
She also spends her days drinking, and taking more medication than has been prescribed to her, in order to try and drown out the circumstances that lead to the onset of her fears and extreme anxiety.
One day, she notices that new neighbours shift in.
Jane and Alistair Russell, with their teenage son Ethan, catch Anna's attention immediately, and she is drawn to the similarities of their life to that which once resembled hers.
One night whilst Anna is looking out of her window, she witnesses a tragic event that takes place at the Russell's, and is desperate to uncover just what went on there that night.
But can she trust that what she saw with her own eyes to be true, or is her imagination taking over, and leaving doubts in her mind?
More importantly, can Anna be believed given her mental and emotional state?

This book had me so drawn into it, I read it for hours on end (even when I got sore eyes!) I simply had to know what was going to happen!
At over 420 pages, it is a fairly long story but one filled with intrigue and highly suspenseful.
Anna's past is revealed in staggered stages, which added depth to the story, and reading about what caused Anna's condition was definitely emotional.
I think that A.J Finn has done a remarkable job in describing what an agoraphobic person goes through, and the effect that the condition has on one's life.
I would definitely recommend this book, particularly for those that have read and enjoyed Gone Girl. 

Thank you to Beauty & Lace and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read and review this book. You can see my review on the Beauty & Lace Book Club site here: http://bookgirl.beautyandlace.net/book-club-the-woman-in-the-window

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Shout Out To The Girls - A Celebration Of Awesome Australian Women 

This is a lovely book that celebrates 50 Australian women that have achieved many wonderful things in life.
All royalties of the book go to The Smith Family, which is a reason in itself to get your hands on a copy of this book.
The women featured include athlete and gold-medallist Cathy Freeman, Jessica Watson, who at age 16 circumnavigated the southern hemisphere solo, Indigenous activist Oodgeroo Noonuccal, singer Olivia Newton John, breast cancer advocate Connie Johnson, and saint Mary Mackillop.

Shout Out To The Girls features brightly-hued illustrations by local female artists, and offers a lot of praise and encouragement for these amazing Australian women.
It is available through Penguin Random House Australia now and has an RRP of $29.99 
For further information on this title, head here

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Book Review: The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth 

Firstly, a big thank you to Lucy from Pan Macmillan Australia for the opportunity to read and feature The Family Next Door here on the blog.
I have read one of Sally Hepworth's other books, The Mother's Promise, previously and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I was really keen to read her latest novel.

At the beginning of The Family Next Door, we are introduced to Essie, who is over-tired, over-stressed and clearly struggling to adapt to life as a mum with 8 week-old Mia. A snap decision that she makes almost ends in disaster, but thankfully, no harm comes of it.

The story then skips to three years later; Essie is now mum to 3 year-old Mia and 6 month-old Polly, living with her husband Ben, and coping a little better with the pressures of parenting.
Her mother, Barbara, lives next door to them in their beachside suburb of Sandringham.
Other neighbours include real-estate agent Ange, who is married and has two sons, and Fran and Nigel who also have two children. 
The latest resident to call Pleasant Court home is Isabelle Heatherington, who has made the move from Sydney to the close-knit community in Melbourne supposedly for work purposes.
But the other residents are skeptical as to her reasons for making the move to a rather large 4 bedroom home on her own, particularly when Isabelle starts asking questions and behaving curiously...

Essie feels a strong connection to Isabelle when they are introduced, and it isn't long before the two women become friends.
However, as we soon discover, each of the women in the neighbourhood have their own motives for their behaviours, and their own secrets that they want to keep hidden.
But what lengths will each of them go to in order to keep them unacknowledged? 

The story is told in alternating chapters which I thought was great.
As we learn about Essie, Fran, Barbara, Ange and Isabelle, we realise that there are numerous different issues and struggles that each of the women face in their personal lives. 
Although the story centres around the females, it would have been interesting to have one of the male characters share their point of view.

The characters are all realistic and that makes the story even more engaging. There were a couple of little things that I predicted were going to happen, but quite a few surprise twists thrown in that I certainly didn't see coming at all!
I raced through the book in a matter of days as the element of intrigue and suspense kept me turning the pages. 

The Family Next Door is available now through Pan Macmillan Australia. For further information on this title, head here

Monday, 5 March 2018

Mr Bambuckles Remarkables Fight Back by Tim Harris (Illustrated by James Hart).

The students of 12B are back in this highly entertaining sequel! 
When their nasty new teacher, Miss Frost, arrives, she makes it her mission to ensure that all of the students of 12B are taught discipline, order, and respect.
But the students have other ideas!
They set out to get rid of Miss Frost, and replace her with their much-loved previous teacher, the mysterious and magical Mr Bambuckle!
But can the class pull it off without a hitch, or will they be stuck with Miss Frost forever?

Mr Bambuckle's Remarkables Fight Back is available now through Penguin Random House Australia, and has an RRP of $14.99 
For further information on this title, head here

Be sure to check out the first book in the series, Mr Bambuckles Remarkables too! 

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Children's Chapter Book Review: The List by Patricia Forde 

This newly released fantasy novel is suitable for readers aged 12+ and explores the idea of standing up for yourself and for what you believe in.
It also focuses on the importance of language.
The main character is a young girl named Letta, who is an apprentice to the Wordsmith.
She is able to read all of the words that have been spoken, written or thought.
All of the other residents in Ark (the last safe place on planet Earth), are only able to speak 'List'. List is a language comprising of only 500 words. 
But when the Wordsmith disappears one day, Letta becomes the new Wordsmith and it is up to her to shorten the language of List even further.
However, when she meets a mysterious young boy who knows all of the words from the forbidden language, she has to choose whether to allow the language of List to be lost forever or follow the boy on to a path of freedom.. or banishment.
This is an ideal book for those who enjoy dystopian novels.

The List is available through Affirm Press and has an RRP of $16.99
For further information on this title, head here

Thursday, 1 March 2018

February wrap Up - What I Read

With February being a short yet busy month, I managed to read 6 books this month (and start on a 7th one).

This is what I read in February:

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Woman In The Window by A.J Finn
The Cactus by Sarah Haywood
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Still Me by Jojo Moyes
On A Beautiful Day by Lucy Diamond
and The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth (half-way through this one and really enjoying it so far!)

My stand outs for February would be Still Me (Me Before You is one of my favourite ever books), and The Woman In The Window (keep an eye out for a review of this one to be featured on the blog soon.)
So that's my wrap up. 
What did you read in February?

Monday, 26 February 2018

Children's Picture Book Review: 
Go Go And The Silver Shoes by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker

Go Go is a young girl who has three older brothers, Max, Walter, and Finn.
All of her clothes are hand-me-downs from her brothers. The only things that Go Go gets from the store are underwear and shoes.
So one day, when Go Go is able to choose any pair of shoes she wants, she opts for the most shiny, sparkly silver shoes.
They become her favourite thing that she owns.
One weekend, Go Go sets out for a picnic with her family, and she wears her silver shoes, despite her mother telling her not to.
It is there that something terrible happens that makes Go Go realise that perhaps she shouldn't have decided to wear her favourite shoes everywhere...

This is such a delightful book; I adore the illustrations and the story itself is unexpected and sweet!
I highly recommend this beautiful children's picture book.

It is available through Penguin Random House Australia and has an RRP of $24.99