Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Children's Picture Book Review: The All New Must Have Orange 430 by Michael Speechley

Harvey is a young boy who owns a lot of stuff, and when he hears about the brand new Orange 430, he simply must have it! He manages to save up the bargain price of $5.35 and even though he doesn't quite know just what the Orange 430 does, he rushes out and buys it.
But it isn't long before he realises that the Orange 430 is pretty useless and so he tries to take it back to Mr Ripoff, the President of UOI (Useless Object International)...

This book has a brilliant message about the effect that wanting to have so many things has on the environment. It explores the topic in a very clever, original way. 
The illustrations are highly detailed and Michael Speechley is clearly talented as both an author and illustrator.

The All New Must Have Oange 430 is out now through Penguin Random House Australia and has an RRP of $24.99

Monday, 28 May 2018

Beautiful Board Books from Penguin Random House Australia

Peppa Throws A Boomerang

Peppa Pig has been on a trip to Australia and her friend, Kylie Kangaroo, gives her a goodbye gift - a boomerang!
Peppa has a lot of fun practising how to throw it, but can she make the boomerang come back to her?

RRP $9.99

Peppa Goes Surfing

Peppa is holidaying at Kylie Kangaroo's house with Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig and George. One day, they visit the beach and Kylie teaches Peppa how to surf.
Mummy and Daddy Pig join in on the fun in the sun, but poor George is too little to have a turn.
But George just may get to learn to surf after all!

RRP $9.99

Spot Goes To The Swimming Pool - Eric Hill

One day, Spot goes to the local pools for a swim with his mum. He is a bit hesitant to jump into the water, but with his mum's gentle coaxing, he is soon splashing about and having a great time with his friends.
This is a good book to read to those children that are learning to swim.

RRP $12.99

Peter Rabbit - Hello Peter by Beatrix Potter

This is a lovely little book to introduce very young children to the world of Peter Rabbit. 
Ideal as a bedtime story with its rhyming verse and stunning line artwork, Hello Peter is one that will delight!

RRP $9.99

Sleep Tight Very Hungry Caterpillar - Eric Carle

This is an adorable lift-the-flap book that makes a perfect bedtime story. 
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is hugely popular, with millions of copies sold in over 60 different languages!
He is back in this book which is set at night time as everyone gets ready to go to sleep. 

The young reader gets to lift the flap to see which animals are preparing for bed. Is the very hungry caterpillar settling down for the night too? You will have to read it to find out!

RRP $16.99

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Book Review: Unmasked by Turia Pitt & Bryce Corbett (YA Edition) 

In this YA edition of Turia's bestseller, Unmasked, Turia shares her story about the fire that left her with 65% burns to her body after she was caught in a grass fire whilst competing in a marathon. She also shares her journey of her remarkable recovery.

Turia offers some very helpful advice to her readers regarding self-esteem, confidence, and explores the benefits of having a positive mindset.
The story is interspersed with sections of viewpoints from family and friends, including Turia's husband, Michael.
I was interested to read about Turia's work with Interplast, a not-for-profit organisation, and all of her fundraising efforts. 

I remember watching Turia Pitt's story on 60 Minutes some years back and was so moved by her story.
I have been a follower of hers ever since. 

(Her Instagram posts are great; I love her sense of humour, honesty, and confidence. She is a real motivator!)

Unmasked is a truly inspirational read, and one I would highly recommend to both young and older readers alike.

Unmasked (YA Edition) is out now through Penguin Random House Australia, and has an RRP of $17.99
For further information on this title, head here
You can also follow Turia on Instagram here 

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Live And Laugh With Dementia by  Lee-Fay Low

The Essential Guide To Maximizing Quality Of Life

There are over 45 million people worldwide living with dementia. And for every one of those people, their carers and family are there to try and figure out the best way to care for them.
This guide is all about making living with dementia as positive as possible, and tailors activities suitable to the individual needs and abilities of dementia patients.
These activities help them to maintain relationships with others including friends, family, and carers, helps to maintain their self-identity, slows the decline of mental functions by providing methods that help to stimulate them mentally and physically, helps them to experience happiness, and stave off boredom. 
The guide also discusses the attitudes towards dementia and offers a wide range of tips and hints that are easy to carry out. 

Live And Laugh With Dementia is available now through Exisle Publishing, and has an RRP of $19.99
For further information on this title, head here

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Children's Chapter Book: The Most Marvellous Spelling Bee Mystery by Deborah Abela 

India Wimple is back after competing in The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee (released in 2016), and this time, she is invited to participated in an international spelling bee showdown in London.
But India doesn't want to travel without her family!
Thankfully, the community of Yungabilla have a solution.

When India arrives in London, she catches up with her friends Summer and Rajish, as well as some spellers from other destinations.
They are all so excited to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
However, there are some mysterious incidents that take place, and India and her friends come together to try and uncover just who the culprit behind it all is!

The Most Marvellous Spelling Bee Mystery is available now and has an RRP of $14.99
For further information on this title, head here

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Recent Releases From New Frontier Publishing - Children's Picture Books

Is It The Way You Giggle? by Nicola Connelly

This lovely picture book asks what make you special? Is it the way you can do handstands? Is it the way you run or skip? Or is it the way you giggle?
This book encourages young readers to reflect on their differences and recognise their individuality.

It is suitable for children agd 3-6 years old and has an RRP of $24.99

Marvellous Mummy by Katie Poli

This is a delightful book that my youngest daughter and I enjoyed reading together.
It celebrates every aspect of being a mummy - from being brave to grumpy, to happy and caring, mummy makes every day moments and memories special!
The whimsical illustrations compliment the story beautifully.
It is aimed for children aged 3-6 years old, and has an RRP of $24.99 

Scaredy Cat by Heather Gallagher 

In Scaredy Cat, a brave young girl sticks up for her four legged friend.
The story is told in rhyming verse, making it an ideal book to read out loud, and I adored the little twist at the end!
A book that explores the themes of companionship, bravery and love.
Scaredy Cat has an RRP of $24.99

For further information about these titles, check out

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Children's Chapter Book Review: Orphan Annie Lily.D, V.A.P by Madeleine West

Actress turned author, Madeleine West, is a busy mum of six children, and has recently launched a new junior series. The first 3 books in the series are released this month, one of them being Orphan Annie Lily. D, V.A.P
The main character is a young girl named Lily who dreams of becoming a Performer Extraordinaire when she grows up.
She attends drama school, and her drama teacher, Miss Oscar, tells her that in order to perform, she needs to firstly 'method act', that is, walk in the character's shoes.

So when Lily finds out that they will be acting out scenes from Annie in her next drama class, she decides to step into Annie's shoes and live like an orphan.
She sets about doing chores, going without food, making a dress out of a pillowcase to wear to school, and sleeping outside in a tent.

But will Lily's efforts help her to fully understand what it is like to be an orphan, alone and without a family?

This book is aimed at junior readers aged 6-8 years old, although my 10 year-old daughter read it and really enjoyed it.
Lily.D, V.A.P sends an important message to children - to pursue their dreams and believe in themselves.
The story is easy to follow, highly entertaining, and I adored the illustrations (by Joanie Stone).

Orphan Annie Lily. D, V.A.P is available now.  Other titles in the series include Lost Dorothy and Little Princess Snow Bean.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Beauty & Lace Book Club Book Review: Every Note Played by Lisa Genova

I have been a big fan of Lisa Genova's work for quite a few years. I have read all of her novels, and I love her style of writing.
For those unaware, Lisa is a neuroscientist as well as an author, and her books centre around characters with neurological disorders. (She wrote the best-selling novel, Still Alice, amongst others.)
Now, just a heads up before I share my review: this book is very sad. So incredibly sad.
But - it is beautiful and definitely a story you will remember long after you've turned the last page. 
I was touched by it deeply, and would highly recommend it. 
It is one of my favourites of 2018.

The story begins with Richard Evans, a world-renowned concert pianist who has been diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) in recent months, and has lost the use of his right arm entirely.
Karina is a Polish immigrant and was once married to Richard. Together, they have one adult daughter, Grace. Like Richard, Karina is a talented pianist, but she gave up her career to support his, and to raise Grace.
The two separated after Richard was unfaithful on numerous occasions, and their relationship has been strained ever since.
Karina is now a piano teacher, too afraid to return to the journey she began as a young woman, holding herself back, and living with regret.
As the story unravels, Richard's condition goes from bad to worse, and as he begins to lose the use of his muscles and voice, he realises that he is unable to manage on his own.
Richard moves in with Karina, and although she is reluctant at first to help, she soon becomes a great support to him.
We are taken on an emotional rollercoaster as the pair try to reconcile their past before time runs out.

One of my favourite characters in Every Note Played is Richard's carer, Bill. His personality is as bright and colourful as a firework, and he treats Richard with dignity and humanity as his health deteriorates. He brings so much to the story; his tenderness and compassion bought me to tears more than once.
Lisa has again described the medical facts in great detail without it being disproportionate to the overall story line, and I learnt a lot about what a person with ALS would go through.
 I read Every Note Played within a few days, and even after I finished it, I kept thinking of the book. The characters became real to me, and I felt sad to part with them. As I mentioned, it is a story that will stay with you.
After reading Every Note Played, I made a donation to MND Australia as I felt compelled to help in some small way, knowing that there are people living with conditions just like Richard. 

I highly recommend it to others; whilst it isn't an easy read given the subject, it is quite simply a beautiful novel that I won't forget in a hurry. 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster and Beauty & Lace Book Club for the opportunity to read Every Note Played. You can see my original review on Beauty & Lace here 

Friday, 4 May 2018

Children's Picture Book Review: Scaredy Book by Devon Sillett & Cara King 

Scaredy Book is a sweet story with the important message that taking risks and being brave can certainly pay off!

Book lives in the library and is too scared to be borrowed. He is happy to sit on the shelf and watch the other books around him get taken out on adventures.
Meanwhile, a young girl named Emma loves to visit the library and borrow all types of books.
The books provide her with many hours of fun and enjoyment.
One day when she is at the library, Emma spots Book and decides to take him home with her. 
Together, they both get out of their comfort zone and enjoy adventures together until it is time for Book to return home.

Scaredy Book is available this May through EK Books, and has an RRP of $24.99
For further information on this title, head here

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Book Review: Stone Girl by Eleni Hale 

I'm fortunate that I am given the opportunity through various publishers to read books from many different genres.

I try to include a few books when making my selections that I usually wouldn't opt for at say, a bookstore or library.
As a result, I get to read gems like Stone Girl.
This book was so moving, and I highly recommend it.

The main character is 12 year-old Sophie, who becomes ward of the state after her mother passes away in tragic circumstances. She is estranged from her father, who resides in Greece, and has no other family to take her in.

Sophie is put into foster care and moved around from home to home. 
She witnesses the unstable behaviours of other foster children, and is forced to grow up fast as she gets pulled into their world.
As the years pass, Sophie struggles with many issues. She misses her mother terribly, and longs for stability and love.
She makes a best friend, Gwen, and meets a guy named Spiral.
He is the most beautiful boy that Sophie has ever met, and the two become inseparable. 
Sophie finally begins to face her demons and hopes to put her past behind her.
But will it be possible for her to do so?

I don't want to give too much more away as I don't want to spoil the reading experience for others.I will add that I suggest this book is suitable for readers aged 15+, given the mature content.
I was really drawn into the narrative and felt as though I was reading a true story.
I learnt a lot about homes kids and the world in which they live; the struggles they face and the lengths they go to in order to survive.
The world that Eleni describes is done so with impeccable detail and so I wasn't surprised to discover that author Eleni Hale was once herself a foster child during the 1990's.
I look forward to reading more from Eleni, as Stone Girl was great.

Stone Girl is available now through Penguin Books Australia, and has an RRP of $19.99

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Mother's Day Book Giveaway!!

On Sunday 13th May, it is Mother's Day, and to celebrate this special day, I am pleased to announce that I am giving away 4 beautiful books!
There will be 4 separate winners; each one will receive one book from the titles listed below.

Firstly, I would like to thank the very generous authors and publishers who have kindly agreed to be a part of this giveaway; I really appreciate it and am so happy to give my followers the opportunity to win fabulous books!!

The books on offer are:

The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester (Hachette Australia)

'1940. Parisian seamstress Estella Bissette is forced to flee France as the Germans advance. She is bound for Manhattan with a few francs, one suitcase, her sewing machine and a dream: to have her own atelier.
2015. Australian curator Fabienne Bissette journeys to the annual Met Gala for an exhibition of her beloved grandmother's work - one of the world's leading designers of ready-to-wear clothing. But as Fabienne learns more about her grandmother's past, she uncovers a story of tragedy, heartbreak and secrets - and the sacrifices made for love.
Crossing generations, society's boundaries and international turmoil, The Paris Seamstress is the beguiling, transporting story of the special relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter as they attempt to heal the heartache of the past.'

Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods (Harper Collins Australia)

'When football star Nick Harding hobbles into the Black Salt Cafe the morning after the night before, he is served by Anna, a waitress with haunted-looking eyes and no interest in footballers, famous or otherwise. Nick is instantly drawn to this exotic, intelligent girl. But a relationship between them risks shame for her conservative refugee family and backlash for Nick that could ruin his career.

Meanwhile, Nick's sister, Lily, is struggling to finish her medical degree. When she meets Toby, it seems that for the first time she is following her heart, not the expectations of others. Yet what starts out as a passionate affair with a man still grieving after his wife's death slips quickly into dangerous dependency.

Scarred by tragedy each in their own way, these warm, hopeful couples must overcome prejudice and heartbreak to prove just how much they will give for beautiful messy love.

A gorgeous, hard-hitting novel that touches on celebrity, asylum, cultural integration and family tragedy, this is a book with heart and soul.'

The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth (Pan Macmillan Australia)

'Small, perfect towns often hold the deepest secrets.

From the outside, Essie's life looks idyllic: a loving husband, a beautiful house in a good neighborhood, and a nearby mother who dotes on her grandchildren. But few of Essie's friends know her secret shame: that in a moment of maternal despair, she once walked away from her newborn, asleep in her carriage in a park. Disaster was avoided and Essie got better, but she still fears what lurks inside her, even as her daughter gets older and she has a second baby. 
When a new woman named Isabelle moves in next door to Essie, she is an immediate object of curiosity in the neighborhood. 
Why single, when everyone else is married with children? Why renting, when everyone else owns? What mysterious job does she have? And why is she so fascinated with Essie? As the two women grow closer and Essie's friends voice their disapproval, it starts to become clear that Isabelle's choice of neighborhood was no accident. And that her presence threatens to bring shocking secrets to light. 

The Family Next Door is Sally Hepworth at her very best: at once a deeply moving portrait of family drama and a compelling suburban mystery that will keep you hooked until the very last page.'

The Rules Of Backyard Croquet by Sunni Overend (Harper Collins Australia)

'Disgraced fashion prodigy Apple March has gone into hiding, concealing herself within the cashmere and silk folds of a formerly grand fashion boutique - the hanging of blouses and handling of difficult patrons now her only concern.

But when her sister Poppy needs a wedding dress, old passions are reignited ... along with threats from her past.

As Apple finds herself falling for someone she shouldn't, her quest to re-emerge becomes entangled in a time she wants forgotten, and life unravels as quickly as it began to mend.

From the cool heart of Melbourne, to Paris and New York, in an effervescent world of croquet, Campari and cocoon coats, can Apple prevail over demons past to become the woman she was born to be?'

So, if you'd like to enter for your chance to win one of the titles mentioned above, you need to: 

Be a follower of my blog (either by liking my Facebook page/twitter/Instagram, or following via email or bloglovin') 

Answer in the comments section below (or on the Facebook/Instagram giveaway post):

Who is your favourite fictional mother and why?

4 separate winners will be selected - the most creative/original answers will win, so get entering, and please include your email with your answer so I can contact you if you're one of the lucky winners!**

Terms & Conditions:

1. This giveaway is open to residents of Australia only. 
2. Giveaway closes on 6th May 2018. Winner/s will be contacted via email within 24 hours. Failure to receive a response from the winner/s will mean the prize is forfeited and a new winner/s  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 items that go missing through Australia Post postal services.
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
8. The prizes may not be sent in time for Mother's Day, depending on winner locations, so please bear this in mind when entering.