Thursday, 2 June 2022

 Book Review: A Dolphin Called Jock by Melody Horrill

 

 


A Dolphin Called Jock is a beautifully written memoir that is filled with emotion, heart, and hope. 

Melody Horrill was born in England and later migrated with her family to Australia. Her childhood was filled with emotional and physical trauma at the hands of her father. Her parents often argued and were physically violent towards each other, and Melody felt ashamed, embarrassed and different to others.

When Melody began studying at the University of South Australia, she was a very lost and tormented woman. She tried to keep her past hidden as she still felt shame and hurt.

One day Melody volunteered to help her university lecturer Dr Mike Bossley to monitor pods of river dolphins in the Port Adelaide waters. There, Melody first encountered Jock, a dolphin with a maimed fin, living apart from the other dolphins.

 She formed a very special bond with Jock, and by doing so, she slowly learned how to free herself from the demons of her past. This bond with Jock was the start of a long-term mission for Melody to help save the river dolphins.

The story reverts back and forth through time, as the reader gains an in-depth understanding of her troubled childhood and teenage years, and also the present day. This was a very touching story and I really felt for Melody. I was saddened to read about what she had to endure in her younger years, and I admired her courage and determination to live in hope and to find peace within. I highly recommend A Dolphin Called Jock, which is available now through Allen & Unwin. 

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Book Review: Paperbark Hill by Maya Linnell

 

 


 

I was fortunate to receive an early copy of Paperbark Hill with thanks to Allen & Unwin, and was excited to read it as I am a fan of Maya's stories, having read the other three books in the McIntyre family series (Wildflower Ridge, Bottlebrush Creek, and Magpie's Bend).

I thought that this was a beautiful story, and as warm and comforting as a cup of tea (and a scone or two!) Maya has a real talent for writing about families, and the idyllic rural setting compliments her tales. Throw in a sprinkling of romance and its the perfect combination for a good book!

This fourth installment in the series centers on Diana McIntyre, who is a widower and mum to four boys. The past 18 months have been tough on them all, but thankfully the love and support of their family has helped them through it. Diana dreams of starting a flower farm and seeks help from an elderly friend named Colin Gardiner who is an expert at growing dahlias.

But when Colin suddenly passes away, his son Ned returns to the farm with his two young children in tow to sort out Colin's affairs. 

Ned is soon introduced to Diana and they become friends. He offers to help her on the farm, and she welcomes him into the community by introducing him to the locals, including her sisters and her father, Angus.

Although Ned hasn't called Victoria home in years, he is drawn to the countryside, and wonders if it would be best to provide some stability for his children, even though he didn't have the best childhood on the farm.

Can Ned make peace with his past, as well as with his estranged mother? And can Diana juggle raising her boys whilst making her dream of opening the flower farm come true?

This was my favourite book in the McIntyre series. I felt a connection to Diana as we share similar interests including baking and a love for dahlias. The McIntyres are a close-knit family much like my own, and the characters are lovable and relatable. I would definitely recommend Paperbark Hill (and the other titles in the series).

Paperbark Hill is available now through Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Book Review: The Cult Of Romance by Sarah Ayoub




I haven't read any other novels by Sarah Ayoub, but was recently given the opportunity to read her newest novel, The Cult Of Romance, with thanks to HarperCollins Australia. It is classified as a YA book, and although I am far from being a young adult, I really enjoyed it.

The main character is a young woman named Natalie, who lives in suburban Sydney with her father and her Tayta (Lebonese for grandmother). Natalie's mother left when she was a little girl, and all that Natalie knows about her is that she suffered post-natal depression and had to leave. The subject of Natalie's mother is one that her Lebonese family avoid talking about at all costs, so Natalie doesn't know all of the details surrounding her mother's ill health.

Natalie is a professional babysitter, and is in the process of starting up a business selling desserts with her best friend Janet. The two have been inseparable from a very young age and know everything about each other. 

But when Janet returns from a trip to Lebanon, Natalie finds out that Janet is engaged to be married. At only 19 years old, Natalie thinks that it's way too young for Janet to get married. Where will Janet live once she ties the knot? What will happen to their friendship and their dessert business? And who is the guy that swept Janet off her feet?

The opportunity to find out occurs when Janet asks Natalie to be her maid-of-honour, and although Natalie isn't thrilled with the responsibility, she accepts, and sets of for Lebanon where the upcoming wedding is to be held.

Upon her arrival, Natalie has to juggle the cultural traditions, the judgemental relatives, as well as the talk that her mother may be looking for her. Not to mention meeting the annoyingly good-looking best man, George, all whilst trying to be supportive to Janet and her fiance Michael. But will she be able to help pull off the wedding without any trouble, and can she avoid falling in love herself?

This book has a lot of heart, and I enjoyed learning about the Lebanese culture and traditions. It also has explores the themes of family, friendship, acceptance and of course, love.

The Cult Of Romance is available now, RRP $19.99

 

 

 

 

Monday, 28 March 2022

 Book Review: In A New York Minute by Kate Spencer








Do you find that your mood or current life situation effects what books you read? I've definitely become more aware of this over the last few years. When I have a lot going on, I tend to go for books that are more light-hearted, easy, and entertaining. 

Thankfully, I got the opportunity to read a book that ticks all those boxes; the debut novel In A New York Minute by Kate Spencer, which is released this week through Pan Macmillan Australia.

This is a romantic comedy that is set, as the title suggests, in New York. It begins with a woman named Franny who is fired from her job, and whilst she is heading back home on the subway, complete with cardboard box filled with her personal belongings, her dress gets caught in the subway doors and rips all the way up. Franny is mortified that her dress now resembles a hospital gown and scrambles for something or someone to come to her rescue.

Enter businessman Hayes, who kindly gives her the suit jacket he is wearing. Franny is extremely grateful, and wants nothing more than to put the entire embarrassing episode behind her. However, unbeknownst to Franny and Hayes, a fellow commuter has captured the entire incident and shared the video across her social media platforms, dubbing the couple as the '#Subway QT's'.

The couple are given the opportunity to meet again, this time on live television after the clip starts going viral. Franny just wants the opportunity to thank Hayes again and put it all behind her, but it doesn't quite work out that way...

I thought that this book was a great read with a decent cast of characters, including Franny's two best friends, Cleo and Lola. The romance wasn't overdone, which is a win for me. I also enjoyed reading about all of the New York landmarks, foods, etc as it really helped set the scene and gave the story and extra layer of depth.

The story is told in alternating chapters from Franny and Hayes' perspectives, and I particularly liked Franny. I would recommend this novel for those looking for a fun and easy read, and for those who enjoy romantic comedies.

In A New York Minute is available through Pan Macmillan Australia, RRP $26.99

Friday, 4 March 2022

Book Review: This Is My Dad by Dimity Powell & Nicky Johnston




Families come in all different shapes and sizes. Some have two parents, and some don't. This Is My Dad came about after the author drew inspiration from teacher-librarians who noticed that there were a lack of stories reflecting children who have never known a father figure in their life. 

The story is about a young boy named Leo who loves Show and Tell at school, but when he finds out the latest topic - Tell Us About Your Dad Day, he is filled with concern. Leo has never met his father, so how can he celebrate along with his classmates? Leo doesn't have a courageous, smart or cool dad, or any dad at all. Or does he?

Leo lives with his mother, who is an author of children's books and spends her days (and some of her nights) using her imagination to come up with stories.  Is she the solution to Leo's dilemma?

This book acknowledges single parents and the important roles they play to their children. It celebrates families of every shape and size, and highlights the fact that whilst the presence of a male role model is helpful to a child's upbringing and well-being, it is not always possible or realistic, and there are many other carers that are equally as worthy of celebrating.

This Is My Dad is available now through EK Books, RRP $24.99, for readers 4-8 years old.


Wednesday, 2 March 2022

 Book Review & Giveaway: The Tricky Art Of Forgiveness by Meredith Jaffe

 






I have read a couple of Meredith's other novels, including The Fence (released in 2016) and The Dressmakers Of Yarrandarrah Prison (released last year) and I thought that they were both excellent books, so I was looking forward to reading her new novel, The Tricky Art Of Forgiveness. I recently got the opportunity to do so, with thanks to Harper Collins Australia, and they have generously given me an extra copy of the book to give away! Read on for how to enter!


Diana and Will Forsyth are approaching their 30th wedding anniversary, and also Will's 60th birthday. Diana is throwing a big party, and their two adult children, Aiden and Persephone, are flying in to celebrate the milestones, along with friends and family.

Diana and Will have recently downsized from their family home, and it is whilst Diana is unpacking their things that she discovers a torn piece of paper with the message 'I forgive you' written in Will's handwriting. Unsure what to make of it, Diana is left with a lot of questions about her husband, and she isn't entirely sure she wants to know all of the answers. But as the story continues, it becomes evident that Diana has her own secrets to hide.

The story reverts back and forth through time from the early days of their relationship to present day, and it deeply explores their marriage. The reader finds out that there have been a lot of highs and lows that have shaped their relaionship. 

The story explores what it means to forgive, how to let go of resentments, and how the choices we make impact the course of our lives. 

The Tricky Art Of Forgiveness is available now through Harper Collins Australia, RRP $32.99

*** GIVEAWAY ***

To win a copy of The Tricky Art Of Forgiveness, you must be a follower of either my blog, Instagram page or Facebook page (@Inthegoodbooksblog) and answer the following question:

 

Who is your favourite celebrity couple and why?

 

Winner will be chosen randomly from eligible entries on 10th March 2022, Australian residents only.







Wednesday, 9 February 2022

 Book Review: The Maid by Nita Prose
 
 
 

I received a copy of this book months before its release date and I hadn't heard much about it, so I wasn't quite sure what expect. Well, I must say that from the first page, I was hooked! To say I loved this book would be an understatement! 

The main character is 25 year-old Molly, who works as a maid at The Regency Grand Hotel, which is a 5 star establishment.
Molly is socially awkward and interprets things differently to those around her. She was raised by her beloved grandmother who always made sense of things for Molly, but since her grandmother's recent passing, Molly now resides alone in a rundown apartment block. She has no friends and enjoys jigsaw puzzles and ice-cream. She also loves having everything spotless and in order.

Molly takes pride in her job as a maid, and thoroughly loves what she does, and whilst many of her co-workers think she is weird, there are thankfully some that like her, including the doorman, Mr Preston.

One day when Molly is on her rounds cleaning various hotel suites, she enters the room of an infamous guest named Mr Black, and makes the gruesome discovery of finding him dead in bed. Before she can make sense of things, Molly is targeted as the prime suspect of the crime!

Molly needs to find a way out of this mess, but isn't sure who can she turn to. Who can she trust to help her? You will have to read it and see.

The Maid is a spectacular debut novel; highly engrossing and entertaining, and I adored Molly so much. Her 'voice' makes the story what it is, and I was cheering for her all the way and wanted to give her a cuddle so many times throughout the story. I highly recommend The Maid (and I was also thrilled to discover that this will be adapted to a movie as I look forward to seeing how the two compare).  

The Maid is available from Harper Collins Australia, RRP $29.99