Monday, 29 August 2016

Adult and Children's Colouring - Artline Stix Review

Hands up if you love colouring in!
As a young girl, I really enjoyed spending time colouring in, (particularly during the school holidays!), and all these years later, with the large range of adult colouring books on the market,  I have re-discovered my love for it.
Recently, my daughters and I have been lucky enough to try out some markers from the Artline Stix range.
The Artline Stix markers have been designed to not only allow children to draw, but to build as well! This means that they are entertained for longer, which is always a good thing, right?! 
They come in packs of 20, so there are plenty of hues to select from.

The markers have a connection system which allows them to be joined together, or to be connected to toys within the Artline Stix range. My girls loved this element; they thought the toys were super cute, and I agree!!

Some of my favourite features are that they're non-toxic and washable!! I also love that they are designed to be safe for young children to use. The markers have ventilation holes in them, so in the event of a young child putting a piece in their mouth, they will still be able to breathe. The marker colours are vibrant and don't bleed into one another.

There are three types of markers - Drawing, Colouring, and Brush.

The Drawing Markers feature a fine tip, making them ideal for fine line art work. 

The Colouring Markers have a bigger, rounded tip, and my daughters loved using these for colouring in and crafting. The triangular shape allows for the ultimate grip for small hands.

My personal favourite are the Brush Markers. As the name suggests, they have a soft brush nib, and it feels like you are painting with these. I had a great time colouring in my mandala's in my adult colouring book.


The markers are packaged in a cardboard casing, however, I found that it was not very durable, so I'd advise to put them into a pencil case upon opening.

These markers are aimed at children 3+ years.
Click here for stockists. 

Do you or your children enjoy colouring in? I'd love to hear!

Disclaimer: I was gifted a package of Artline Stix products in exchange for an honest review. I was not paid for this review. All opinions are my own, and not influenced in any way.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst

This is the first novel that I have read by Carolyn Parkhurst, and I thought it was a really interesting book.

The story centers around the Hammond family - mum Alexandra, dad Josh, and their daughters, 13 year-old Tilly and 11 year-old Iris.
Tilly has been labelled as being on the autism spectrum, and her family, in particular, Alexandra, find it extremely difficult. Tilly struggles at school and can be a handful at home. Alexandra wants to give her daughter the proper help she needs, and her desperation leads her to make a drastic lifestyle change for the Hammonds.
They move from their home in Washington DC to a 'family camp' in New Hampshire, which is run by a self-proclaimed child behaviour expert, Scott Bean. 
But all is not what it appears to be once they arrive at Camp Harmony...

I loved how this story was told in alternating chapters from Iris' and Alexandra's perspectives, with the odd chapter here and there told by Tilly. Iris shares with us the present situation, whilst Alexandra's perspective is from the past.

Iris is a great character who adds a lot of emotion and heart to the story. The bond she has with her sister Tilly is really sweet. 
Whilst the story is fairly predictable, it is an easy read, and was enjoyable. I particularly loved the epilogue - the way the author depicts a child with autism as someone 'with wings' is a lovely sentiment; it was my favourite part of the book.
Harmony was released at the beginning of August 2016. I was given an ARC of this book through netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Book Review:  Blame by Nicole Trope

Blame is told in alternating perspectives from former best friends, Anna and Caroline (or Caro as she is better known).
We are introduced to the women a fortnight after a terrible accident has occurred, when both are taken in to the police station for questioning in relation to the accident.
Both of them tell conflicting stories, and at times, they place the blame on the other. They are each hurting and feeling guilty, and wish that the outcome had been different.
As their stories are told, we are taken back to the very beginning of their friendship, when they first met at a maternal health centre. 
Anna's daughter Maya, and Caro's daughter Lex, were both one year-old at the time.
Anna was struggling with her severely autistic daughter Maya, and Caro offered her the support and friendship she so desperately craved.
We find out how important they were to each other's lives as they each battled with their own personal issues.
So now we are left with the mystery of who is to blame for the accident?
And will forgiveness ever be possible?

I found the story a little slow at the beginning, and it took me a while to get into the characters. 
Certain scenes felt a little repetitive, most probably due to the fact that it is told from each woman's view.
But as the story unfolded, I became more drawn in.
Now that I have finished the book, I can say that I really liked it, although I would've prefered a little less focus on the police interviews, and a more detailed and lengthier conclusion.
The story touches on a lot of important topics, including prejudice and lack of understanding and/or empathy to parents of children with autism, as well as other parental, moral, and social issues.
I wouldn't describe it as light-hearted, but it is still an entertaining story.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Book Review:  Promising Azra - Helen Thurloe

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Promising Azra is Helen Thurloe's debut novel; it is written with such sensitivity, and told so well. (And can I just mention how eye-catching the book cover is?! I love it!!)

The main character is 16-year-old Azra Ajmal. She is a Year 11 student of Muslim background, residing  with her family in Sydney. She loves to study and is very passionate about chemistry, and dreams of attending university after completing high school.
But her plans to further her education are thwarted when she learns that her family is arranging for Azra to be wed to a much older cousin in Pakistan.
When Azra discovers this, she is understandably terrified and tries to find a way to fulfill both her dreams, and that of her family's.
But will that be possible?

There were many times throughout the book that I felt so sorry for Azra, but I admired her determination and courage.
Many times, Azra gets treated unjustly by her family. 
It's totally different for her older brother Rashid though, who is still respected by his family after his many transgressions. Her younger sister Soraya is an adorable character, very innocent and a lovely addition to the story.
Azra is responsible for picking her up every day after school, and for most of the cleaning and cooking too.

To a certain extent, I felt for Azra's parents. They wanted a better life for their children, and with the help of Azra's Uncle Zarar, they were able to achieve that by coming to live in Australia. He arranged their visa's, job opportunities, and accommodation. However, Zarar is controlling, and has the final say about all family matters. I wish they would've stood up to him a bit more, but their hesitation was warranted.

Although it is a fictional book, there are many cases of arranged marriages still occurring in Australia presently.  
Helen Thurloe describes the Muslim culture well, and I enjoyed reading about their traditions in the story. I would've loved the ending to be a bit longer to answer a few more questions, but perhaps Helen can write a sequel?..

This book is targeted at young adults, but many adults will enjoy it too. I highly recommend it as this book bought the topic of arranged marriages to light, in a respectful and entertaining way. 

**There's still time to enter my Cheer Chick Charlie children's book giveaway! Head here to enter:

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Cheer Chick Charlie - Children's Book Review & Giveaway!!

I've recently discovered The Cheer Chick Charlie book series written by Leanne Shea Langdown, and my three young daughters were delighted to each read and review a book from the range.

We received the following titles: Book One - The Journey Begins, Book Seven - Above And Beyond, and the recently released Book Eight - Let's Do This!, along with a motivational wristband and postcard each.

Cheer Chick Charlie is about a 10-year old girl named Charlie Chance who has dreams of becoming a cheerleader.
However, in her community, there are currently no cheerleading squads, so Charlie sets out to make her dream a reality, with the help and support of her family and friends.
Charlie is such a positive, enthusiastic and determined girl, and it wasn't long before my daughters were all enthralled with her.
My youngest daughter and I read The Journey Begins together over a few days. 

This is what she had to say about it: 
"I like how Charlie goes on the plane on a trip to America with her family. She sees a cheerleading team and wants to be on a cheerleading team too!"

My middle daughter read Above And Beyond. 

She said, "I liked how Charlie goes camping without her family, and that Charlie made new friends. Her friends sound  really nice!"

And my eldest daughter read the latest book in the series, Let's Do This. 

She said, "Charlie is a very determined girl who has a strong care for the environment. Throughout this book, Charlie encounters many challenges relating to saving the globe, and she tackles them by using her positive attitude."

When we were at our local library last week, we noticed more books from the Cheer Chick Charlie range and borrowed them to read.

These books are ideal for young girls or boys who enjoy reading entertaining stories about inspirational characters. Each book has a really important message too. I also love how they explore a range of important issues including health and fitness, the environment, and the importance of being physical whilst having fun.

And now, with thanks to Leanne, I am pleased to announce that I have not one, but TWO copies of Book Eight - Let's Do This, personally signed to give away!
Each winner will also receive a matching wristband and postcard. 

To Enter:

You MUST be a follower of my blog (either by liking my Facebook page/twitter/Instagram, or following via email or bloglovin' - I don't mind which one you opt for but you must do at least one please), and

Give me your best cheerleading chant!

**Please include your email with your answer so I can contact you if you're the lucky winner!**

Terms & Conditions:
1. This giveaway is open to residents of Australia only. Total prize pool $26.
2. Giveaway closes on  25th August, 6 pm; winner will be contacted via email within 48 hours. Failure to receive a response from the winner will mean the prize is forfeited and a new winner  will be chosen.
3. Winner will be selected on a basis of skill, not chance - the most creative and/or interesting answer deemed by the judge/s wins
4. The prize is not redeemable for cash.
5. In  The Good Books blog will not be responsible for postage of the item, or for any prize that is not delivered by the third party.
6. This promotion is not associated or endorsed by Facebook.
7. Those who 'unlike' or 'unfollow' after the giveaway ends will be disqualified from entering future giveaways.

Disclosure: My daughters were gifted a signed book each with postcard and wristband in exchange for an honest review. I/they were not paid for this review. All opinions are our own and not influenced in any way

Friday, 12 August 2016

The Toy Maker - Liam Pieper

This book came as a recommendation, and I have to say that I didn't know much about it prior to starting it.
Released a couple of months ago by Melbournian-based journalist and author, Liam Pieper, The Toy Maker is his first book.
In the opening pages, we are introduced to Adam Kulakov, a married man with one young son, who owns a successful toy company and is quite well off.
I found the beginning of the story to be out of my comfort zone as we discover that Adam has a mistress - she is only a teenager (a Year 10 student!) and the sex scenes were a little confronting.
My distaste for Adam snowballed from there. He is egotistical, and one of those characters you love to hate.
Actually, almost all of the characters in this story aren't very likeable, however, the story is still quite compelling and worth reading.
So, the toy company is family owned, and has been passed down to Adam from his grandfather, Arkady. 
Adam's wife, Tess, helps run the company, and does her best to keep everything in order, both on a professional and personal level.
But Adam's indiscretion comes back to haunt him, and he has to do everything he can in order to try and hold on to everything he has worked so hard for. 
But Adam isn't alone in his struggle to hide the truth.
His grandfather, Arkady, was imprisoned in Auschwitz during the war, and had to make the most difficult decision of his life. Now, as he learns that his life is coming to an end, he fights to hold back the secret that has tormented him for so many years. 
I must admit that the secret that Arkady held onto was something that I wasn't expecting at all, and I was quite surprised.
It is a great twist to the story! 
Although this book does have some rather torturous scenes, and may not be for everyone, it is written well. 

I'd love to hear about when you've totally disliked a character in a book.

And if you haven't done so, you can enter my giveaway to win a 3 month book subscription here: Entries close tonight!!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Children's Book Review:

Is This An Emergency? Ambulance - The Adventures Of Toby The Teddy
By Catherine Buckley & Amelia Harrison

I was fortunate enough to win a copy of this fantastic book recently, and wanted to share it with those who may be looking for a way to educate your child about emergency situations, including calling 000.

The book features the adorable character Toby the Teddy, who is faced with situations throughout the story that leaves him asking "Is this an emergency?"
For example, when  Toby's ice-cream falls, he asks is dropping an ice-cream an emergency? 
Or, is seeing a friend have an allergic reaction an emergency?
It does a fantastic job of differentiating between scenarios in a way that young children will be able to grasp.
The book is hard-covered, and a nice large size, and it features lovely illustrations too.

I think a book like this is invaluable as children need to be taught what to do when faced with an emergency.
It is well worth the $19.95.

You can get your copy  from 

* I was not paid for this post; all opinions are my own.

Monday, 8 August 2016

It Ends With Us - Colleen Hoover 

I could give this book the shortest review in history by simply saying: don't walk, but run to get your hands on it and  READ IT, but the brilliant Colleen Hoover deserves a little more praise for this story than that, so I'll elaborate..

It Ends With Us is a book that I couldn't put down. I stayed up half the night just to finish it!
The characters grabbed me straight away. 
Not within a few pages, but within a few paragraphs.
There's Lily Bloom, a young woman who is working hard at making the best life she can for herself.
She moved from her home-town in Maine to Boston, and she dreams of one day owning a florist shop.
One night, she meets a young man named Ryle, when she is out on an apartment rooftop (both are there to get some fresh air and clear their heads after the rough day they've each had). 
They talk for a while, and get to know each other before Ryle is called away for work (he is a neurosurgeon at a local hospital). 
They each go their separate ways, but their encounter leaves a lasting impression on them both.
So when they are reunited by chance months later, after Ryle's sister Alyssa befriends Lily, they decide to get to know each other better. (I just want to mention that I loved the firm friendship Lily has with Alyssa; she's a fantastic character, and added a lot to the over-all story. I guarantee you will all want a real-life Alyssa in your world!)
So, Ryle and Lily begin a relationship which starts off slow, but soon becomes more serious..
I really don't want to say much more about the storyline because I would love for you to discover this book for yourself.
I wish I could write just what makes this book so amazing, but I would spoil it for others and that is not what I want to achieve.
What I do want is to give books like this one the commendation it deserves, and to hopefully sway you into reading it. Even if you don't have much time - for this, you really should make the time!
It is highly emotional, and very, very beautiful. It is so much more than just a love story..
I know that there are those of you who prefer to read light-hearted novels, but this is one you will enjoy, even if it leaves you emotional. 
For those wondering, yes, I cried, but I hope that doesn't deter you from reading it. 
Women (I'd suggest from about 17+), and even men, should read this book. It makes you think about things in a different perspective, and it is a story that you will think about again and again. 
The Note From The Author right at the end of the book added the cherry on the top (but read it after you have read the book because there are some spoilers in there).
This book deserves all of the stars. I would love to see it adapted to a movie too..
If you read it, I would really love to hear your thoughts on it.
I was given an uncorrected proof copy of the book courtesy of
It ends With Us was released last week, published by Simon & Schuster.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Book Review: Relativity - Antonia Hayes 

Relativity is a debut novel by Australian author Antonia Hayes.
The main character is a 12 year-old boy named Ethan, who is fascinated with physics, astronomy and science. He is highly gifted but is often the subject of bullying at school. 
Ethan lives with his mum Claire, who was once a professional ballet dancer, but had to give it away when she became Ethan's sole carer after splitting from his Dad, Mark.
The reason behind their relationship break-up is tied up to a horrible event that occurred when Ethan was a 4 month-old baby, and remains hidden from him until he becomes ill with a condition linked to his infancy. 
Throughout the course of the novel, we discover that Ethan wants to be reunited with is father, and longs to know everything about him.
However, Claire is reluctant to let Mark back into their lives. 
Mark has tried his best to move on from the tragic event that happened all those years ago, moving interstate and keeping his distance from them.
But when Mark is forced to return home suddenly, he is met with all of his problems he once ran away from.
What follows is a really emotional and very absorbing tale.
The only small criticism I have is that the scientific (and medical) terminology throughout the course of the novel does get a bit tedious, but that's just my personal opinion. 
I really adored Ethan; within the first few pages I was so taken by his intelligent and inquisitive manner. He really adds a special touch to the novel, and copes very well with all of the things life throws at him. 
This book is a really enjoyable read about love, science, ties that bind, and forgiveness.. 
If you have read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

And you're welcome to enter my current giveaway to win a 3 month book subscription thanks to
You can enter here:

Have an enjoyable weekend!

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The One We Fell In Love With - Paige Toon

In this book, the three main characters are identical triplets, Rose, Eliza, and Phoebe.

All three fall in love with Angus when he shifts in next door to them when they are 17 years old. But who, if any, does he adore?...

Each chapter is told from each of the triplets' perspectives. At times, it was a little confusing but I managed to keep on top of it and it became easier the more I read.

I adored all three of them, but Rose was my favourite. She is just a sweetheart.
This is a really difficult book to review because if I say too much then I will spoil it and I don't want to do that, so I will just advise you to read it as it is a really lovely story. 
There is a huge, unexpected point in the book that literally had me going back and forth through the pages to make sure I read it right. And this, for me, was the part that ramped the story up a notch and took it from a typical sibling rivalry situation to an extremely touching and memorable tale.
By the end of the book, we learn so much about these three sisters, who are alike in only their looks and nothing else!
There are some great supporting characters - the triplets' mum, as well as Remy, and Toby (the son of a baker that Rose works for) all deserve a mention.
I love how Paige describes the settings and scenery in this book, in particular, the French Alps. 
I wish I could say more about what makes this book so sweet without giving anything away..
You'll just have to read it for yourself and be pleasantly surprised!

I was gifted a copy of this book through in exchange for an honest review.

I am currently hosting a giveaway for a 3 month subscription to Bookabuy, so feel free to enter here:

Monday, 1 August 2016

Winner Announcement & Another Giveaway!!

Congratulations to Renee Wilson who is the lucky winner of a personalised book from Lost My Name
I hope you enjoy your prize Renee! 

A big thank you to everyone who supported my very first giveaway, and don't forget that I have another fantastic giveaway that's running at the moment so feel free to enter for your chance to win a 3 month book subscription for the genre of your choice with thanks to the lovely people at


I'm off to do some shopping, and hopefully pick up a copy of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child while I'm out.. 
Have a great day!