Guest Review: Cradle to Grave – Rachel Amphlett

Cradle to Grave

Detective Kay Hunter #8

Rachel Amphlett

Saxon Publishing

ISBN: 9781916098817

 

Description:

When a faceless body is found floating in the river on a summer’s morning, Detective Kay Hunter and her team are tasked with finding out the man’s identity – and where he came from.

The investigation takes a sinister turn when an abandoned boat is found, covered in blood stains and containing a child’s belongings.

Under mounting pressure from a distraught family and an unforgiving media, the police are in a race against time – but they have no leads, and no motive for the events that have taken place.

Will Kay be able to find a ruthless killer and a missing child before it’s too late?

Brenda’s Review:

The discovery of a body floating in the river was only the beginning of the case. When the team located an abandoned, blood stained boat which had children’s toys in the cabin, the immediate concern that a child had been kidnapped was foremost in the minds of the investigators. Detective Kay Hunter along with her senior officer, Detective Ian Barnes kept the team moving with their different tasks, but their frustration was mounting. Working around the clock, Kay wondered if they would get a break in the case soon; and whether Alice was still alive…

Cradle to Grave is the 8th in the Kay Hunter series by Aussie author Rachel Amphlett and it was brilliant once again! This series is going from strength to strength, and it’s always great to catch up with Kay and her team. The author makes me feel fully involved in the story; the different emotions come across well and the descriptions are such that I can visualize it all. Cradle to Grave is one I highly recommend, but I strongly suggest reading the series from the beginning. 5 stars.

With thanks to the author for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Gruffalo’s Child 15th Anniversary Edition – Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

The Gruffalos’s Child 15th Anniversary Addition
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Pan Macmillan Australia
ISBN: 9781509894475
RRP $14.99

Description:
“A gruffalo? What’s a gruffalo?”

“A gruffalo! Why, didn’t you know? He has terrible tusks, and terrible claws, and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws.”
And so begins the story of a quick-witted mouse as he encounters a host of predators who seem to think he might make a tasty treat. As he ventures deeper into the deep dark wood, stumbling across a hungry fox, a not-so-wise owl, and a slimy snake, spinning ever-extraordinary yarns about the scary, scaly gruffalo, he quickly realises that the hungry beast he has been talking of isn’t imaginary after all.

A witty, sly little story that wrings giggles from the belly of the reader, The Gruffalo is both stylish and hilarious, simple in its execution, as it plays skilfully on a child’s fears and then shows that even the most threatening of monsters are not always as scary as they seem.

A combination of read-along-rhyme by Julia Donaldson and illustrations by Alex Sheffler which perfectly capture the atmosphere of the story, The Gruffalo is an excellent picture book for 3-5-year-olds to read along with their parents, and is certain to become something of a classic. –Susan Harrison.

 

My View:
I first heard of the Gruffalo when I chanced upon the animation based on the book, when searching for a video for my grandson to view, (yes it’s been more than 15 years since I have had a pre-schooler in my house). I loved the language, the rhyming and the story of the trickster mouse. Check out the promo here: 

When I started looking, this was just one of many versions of the story I discovered online, it has been so loved over the last 15 years there are many renditions..

 

The anniversary book continues on in the same style as the original book, The Gruffalo, with delightful rhyming and glorious illustrations.

This special edition includes some notes from the author and the illustrator about their thoughts whilst creating the new edition, a game or two (including  using torches for shadow making), kids love torches 🙂  Some press out animal characters from book and hints as to how you can help your child tell their own stories using the pieces.  What a great resource this is and a fun read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

Review: The World That We Knew

The World That We Knew

Alice Hoffman

Simon & Schuster Australia

Scribner

ISBN: 9781471185830

RRP $32.99

 

Description:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Marriage of Opposites comes Alice Hoffman’s darkly magical story of a heartbreaking time of war when men became monsters, children navigated a world without parents, and women were willing to sacrifice everything for those they loved.

 

In Berlin, at the time when the world changed forever, Hanni Kohn knows she has to send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. Turning to an old woman who is familiar with Jewish magic, she finds her way to the daughter of a rabbi who creates a Golem, a mystical Jewish creature sworn to protect Hanni’s precious daughter Lea.

 

Lea’s journey with the Golem to France is fraught with danger and raw emotion. They travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses, to a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved, to a farm where the bees never forgive.

 

What does it mean to lose your mother? What makes a family? How is it possible to survive cruelty and continue to love? In a life that is as unreal as a fairytale, Alice Hoffman’s The World That We Knew takes us on a journey of loss and resistance, good and evil, the fantastical and the mortal, to a place where all roads lead past the angel of death and love is never-ending.

 

My View:

This book opens with a brilliant few pages, the tension and the drama are agonizing. I am so pleased the style quickly changed to one of magic realism; I could not have kept reading at the pace of the introductory pages, such a great emotive hook is deployed by the author; heartbreakingly good.

 

This is a narrative that makes no apologies for the atrocities it highlights. Facts are simply stated, then we move on, there is no glorification of war and war crimes, vendettas and prejudice, the facts speak loudly and should wake even the near deaf.

 

Themes of family, identity, love, what it means to be human, kinship, resilience and sacrifice are explored in this heart stopping, and unforgettable read. This is not an easy read but it is a monumental, outstanding and I imagine, soon to be, award winning novel. Read it today. A captivating read.

 

 

Review: The Lying Room – Nicci French

The Lying Room

Nicci French

Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 9781471179242

RRP $29.99

 

Description:

Neve Connolly looks down at a murdered man.

She doesn’t call the police.

 

‘You know, it’s funny,’ Detective Inspector Hitching said. ‘Whoever I see, they keep saying, talk to Neve Connolly, she’ll know. She’s the one people talk to, she’s the one people confide in.’

 

A trusted colleague and friend. A mother. A wife. Neve Connolly is all these things.

 

She has also made mistakes; some small, some unconsciously done, some large, some deliberate. She is only human, after all. But now one mistake is spiralling out of control and Neve is bringing those around her into immense danger. She can’t tell the truth. So how far is she prepared to go to protect those she loves? And who does she really know? And who can she trust?

 

A liar. A cheat. A threat. Neve Connolly is all these things.

Could she be a murderer?

 

 

My View:

Extraordinarily twisty!

 

There was a point in this read (no spoilers here) when I was chilled to the bone, the unthinkable was looking like the answer… I had to stop and wait a day or two to pick the book back up … more twists but my fear was unfounded … a deliciously wicked red herring… this is such a twisty read.

 

Nicci French you have once again delivered a masterfully written read. How does this duo do it? It is flawless in its delivery and outstanding in its relevance to family, relationships and everyday life.

 

The relationship between parent and child is a standout for me. The murder – not so every day. J

Read, be thrilled and enjoy.

 

Review: Silver – Chris Hammer

Silver

(Martin Scarsden #2)

Chris Hammer

Allen & Unwin Australia

ISBN: 9781760632991

RRP $32.99

 

Description:

For half a lifetime, journalist Martin Scarsden has run from his past. But now there is no escaping. He’d vowed never to return to his hometown, Port Silver, and its traumatic memories. But now his new partner, Mandy Blonde, has inherited an old house in the seaside town and Martin knows their chance of a new life together won’t come again. Martin arrives to find his best friend from school days brutally murdered, and Mandy the chief suspect. With the police curiously reluctant to pursue other suspects, Martin goes searching for the killer. And finds the past waiting for him.

 

He’s making little progress when a terrible new crime starts to reveal the truth. The media descend on Port Silver, attracted by a story that has it all: sex, drugs, celebrity and religion. Once again, Martin finds himself in the front line of reporting. Yet the demands of deadlines and his desire to clear Mandy are not enough: the past is ever present.

 

An enthralling and propulsive thriller from the acclaimed and bestselling author of Scrublands.

 

My View:

This is a read that takes us deeper into the life of our protagonist and subsequently of the town, Silver, where he grew up. The town has a very dominant position in this read – sparking discussion re developments, the survival of small towns in difficult economic times, about the environment, about progress, about corruption, pollution, sustainability …it’s almost as if  Chris Hammer is talking about the Margaret River region, (Western Australia’s equivalent to Bryon Bay I believe) 🙂

 

And then there is the mystery, a murder or two or three… (No spoilers here) and the relationship issues. And a delightful infant that symbolises hope and growth in both the personal and community.

 

I can’t wait to see what the third book in this trilogy reveals.

 

Catch up with Chris Hammer here: WOW he is busy! 

ERINA
Meet Chris Hammer: Author Talk, Q&A and Book Signing
Wednesday 9th of October
6 pm for 6.30 pm start – 8 pm
Erina Library
Shop KM 006, Terrigal Drive NSW 2250
Presented in conjunction with Book Face Erina
RSVP here

ADELAIDE
In Conversation with Chris Hammer
Friday 11th of October
6.30 pm – 7.30 pm
Burnside Library
401 Greenhill Rd, Adelaide SA 5065
Presented in conjunction with Shakespeare’s Book & Coffee Shop
RSVP here

MELBOURNE
Meet & Greet Chris Hammer
Monday 14th of October
Infuse Camberwell
6.30 pm – 8 pm
2 Burke Avenue, Camberwell VIC 3123
Presented in conjunction with Dymocks Camberwell
RSVP here

MELBOURNE
Chris Hammer in conversation with Tim Byrne
Tuesday 15th of October
6.45 pm – 7 pm
Avenue Bookstore
127 Dundas Place, Albert Park VIC 3206
RSVP here

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Books at Bars with Chris Hammer
Wednesday 16th of October
6 pm for 6.20 pm
The Lookout
148 The Esplanade, Scarborough WA 6019
Presented in conjunction with Dymocks Joondalup
RSVP here

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Author Talk, Q&A and Book Signing with Chris Hammer
Thursday 17th of October
6 pm for 6.30 pm
Barefoot Books Busselton
Shop 21-23 Fig Tree Lane, Busselton WA 6280
RSVP by calling (08) 9751 3905

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Chris Hammer In Conversation
Friday 18th of October
6.15 pm for 6.30 pm
Beaufort St Books
567 Beaufort St, Mount Lawley WA 6050
RSVP here

QUEENSLAND
Author Talk, Q&A and Book Signing with Chris Hammer
Sunday 20th of October
9.30 am – 11.30 am
Avid Reader
193 Boundary St, West End QLD 4101
RSVP by calling (07) 3846 3422

QUEENSLAND
Mini Event Stock Signing
Sunday 20th of October
1 pm
Dymocks Brisbane
177 Albert St, Brisbane City QLD 4000
RSVP by calling (07) 3007 2800

QUEENSLAND
Chris Hammer in conversation with Ben Hobson
Monday 21st of October
6.30 pm
Riverbend Books
193 Oxford St, Bulimba QLD 4171
RSVP here

SYDNEY
Author Talk, Q&A and Book Signing
Monday 28th of October
6.30 pm – 7.30 pm
Manly Library
1 Market Place, Manly NSW 2095
Presented in conjunction with Harry Hartog Bondi Junction
RSVP here

SYDNEY
Author Event at Penrith City Library
Tuesday 29th of October
6.30 pm – 7.30 pm
Penrith City Library
601 High St, Penrith NSW 2750
Presented in conjunction with Dymocks Penrith
RSVP here

SYDNEY
Chris Hammer in conversation with Scott Whitmont
Wednesday 30th of October
12.30 pm
Chatswood Library
Lower Ground, The Concourse
409 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood NSW 2067
RSVP here

SYDNEY
An Evening with Chris Hammer
Thursday 31st of October
6.30 pm – 7.30 pm
Castle Hill Library
Pennant St & Castle St, Castle Hill NSW 2154
Presented in conjunction with Dymocks Rouse Hill
RSVP here

TATHRA
Chris Hammer in conversation with Gabbie Stroud
Saturday 2nd of November
4.30 pm
Tathra Hotel
8-12 Bega St, Tathra NSW 2550
Presented in conjunction with Candelo Books
RSVP by calling (02) 6494 1101

CANBERRA
Chris Hammer in conversation with Michael Connelly
Monday 4th of November
6 pm – 8 pm
National Library of Australia
Theatre, Lower Ground 1, Parkes Place Canberra ACT 2600
RSVP here

COFFS HARBOUR
In conversation with Chris Hammer
Wednesday 6th of November
5.30 pm for 6 pm
Harry Bailey Memorial Library
Cnr Coff and Duke St, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450
Presented in conjunction with The Book Warehouse
RSVP by calling (02) 6648 4900

BYRON BAY
Chris Hammer in conversation with Matthew Condon
Thursday 7th of November
6 pm
The Book Room at Byron
27 Fletcher St, Byron Bay NSW 2481
RSVP by calling (02) 6685 8183

ELTHAM
Chris Hammer in conversation with Kate Mildenhall
Monday 11th of November
6.30 pm – 8 pm
Earthbound Bolton
5/266 Bolton St, Eltham VIC 3095
Eltham Bookshop
Ticket price includes a copy of the book or a $30 gift voucher,
a glass of wine and refreshments
RSVP by calling (03) 9439 8700

ALBURY
Author Event with Chris Hammer
(wine and finger food provided)
Wednesday 13th of November
5.30 pm – 7 pm
Public House Albury
491 Dean St, Albury NSW 2640
RSVP by calling (02) 6041 1805

ORANGE
Library After Hours: In Conversation with Chris Hammer
Wednesday 20th of November 2019
7 pm – 9 pm
Orange City Library
Central West Libraries
147 Byng St, Orange NSW 2800
RSVP here

YOUNG
In Conversation with Chris Hammer
Thursday 21st of November
6.15 pm for 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm
Young Library, Hilltops
31 Lynch St, Young NSW 2594
RSVP here

BOOROWA
In Conversation with Chris Hammer
Friday 22nd of November
10.30 am – 12 pm noon
Boorowa Library, Hilltops
Corner of Market and Pudman Street, Boorowa NSW 2586
RSVP here

KIAMA
Dinner with Kiama Library
Saturday 23rd of November
6.30 pm
The Sebel Kiama Harbourside
31 Shoalhaven St, Kiama NSW 2533
RSVP by calling (02) 4230 7500

 

Guest Review: Cilka’s Journey – Heather Morris

Cilka’s Journey
(The Tattooist of Auschwitz #2)
Heather Morris
Bonnier
Echo
ISBN: 9781760686048

 

Description:

From the author of the multi-million copy bestseller, The Tattooist of Auschwitz, comes the new novel based on an incredible true story of love and resilience.

Her beauty saved her life – and condemned her.

Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, in 1942. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forces her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival.

After liberation, Cilka is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to Siberia. But what choice did she have? And where did the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was sent to Auschwitz when still a child?

In a Siberian prison camp, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she makes an impression on a woman doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing. Cilka begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.

Cilka finds endless resources within herself as she daily confronts death and faces terror. And when she nurses a man called Ivan, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.

 

Brenda’s View:

Sixteen-year-old Cilka’s arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau was followed by three years of heartbreak, torture and loss. It was also where she lost her innocence; where she met Gita, who was to be her best friend, and Lale the tattooist who marked her, and everyone else, with the number that identified her. At the time of liberation, in 1945, Cilka was interrogated and charged as a collaborator. Her punishment was to be 15 years in the notorious Vorkuta Gulag in the icy wastes of Siberia. Cilka’s life would change once more…

The hut that the women were housed in, where Cilka eventually formed friendships, was cold and miserable. Working in the mines was debilitating, exhausting work, but when Cilka met a compassionate woman doctor at the hospital and was asked to work there as her caring nature would be an asset, Cilka was grateful. Conditions were a little better but each night she returned to her hut after being confronted with death and shocking injuries. The fortitude and strength that Cilka held inside rarely faltered, but more was to come to test her. What was to be the outcome of this horror for Cilka? Would she ever know peace?

Cilka’s Journey by Aussie author Heather Morris is the sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz where we met Lale as he told his story. Once again, the author has based her new story on fact, with Cilka being a real person, set in history; the settings are horribly authentic; the bravery and courage of Cilka mentioned to the author by Lale when she interviewed him. The artistry of the author as she blended fact with fiction shows a great amount of research – her mention of that research and how much time was devoted to it, is at the end of the book. Cilka’s Journey takes us back to a shocking time in history, a time I hope is never repeated. It is also a historical novel I highly recommend.

With thanks to Bonnier/Echo and associated publishers for my ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

Review: The Confession – Jessie Burton

The Confession

Jessie Burton

Pan Macmillan Australia

Picador

ISBN: 9781509886159

RRP $29.99

Description:

The sensational new novel from the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist and The Muse.

 

One winter’s afternoon on Hampstead Heath in 1980, Elise Morceau meets Constance Holden and quickly falls under her spell. Connie is bold and alluring, a successful writer whose novel is being turned into a major Hollywood film. Elise follows Connie to LA, a city of strange dreams and swimming pools and late-night gatherings of glamorous people. But whilst Connie thrives on the heat and electricity of this new world where everyone is reaching for the stars and no one is telling the truth, Elise finds herself floundering. When she overhears a conversation at a party that turns everything on its head, Elise makes an impulsive decision that will change her life forever.

 

Three decades later, Rose Simmons is seeking answers about her mother, who disappeared when she was a baby. Having learned that the last person to see her was Constance Holden, a reclusive novelist who withdrew from public life at the peak of her fame, Rose is drawn to the door of Connie’s imposing house in search of a confession …

 

From the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist and The Muse, this is a luminous, powerful and deeply moving novel about secrets and storytelling, motherhood and friendship, and how we lose and find ourselves.

 

PRAISE FOR THE CONFESSION

‘Dazzlingly good. The Confession is that rare thing: an utterly engrossing novel which asks big questions without ever once losing sight of the storyteller’s need to entertain and move. I turned the final pages in tears and I know already I shall return to it again and again. Without doubt one of the best novels of recent years.’

Elizabeth Day, author of The Party and How To Fail

‘I haven’t enjoyed a book so much in a long time . . . I lost myself in the story, not wanting to come up for air. A bold, intelligent, wonderful novel’ Sarah Winman, author of Tin Man

‘Burton is asking important questions in The Confession – questions about motherhood, art and creativity, love, friendship – and in doing this, she has created three utterly fascinating characters. Connie, Elise, and Rose are complicated; complex in ways that women are so rarely allowed to be in literature, demanding that their stories be heard. This is a beautiful novel and one that will stay with me for a very long time’ Louise O’Neill, author of Only Ever Yours

‘an absorbing, intelligent piece of storytelling’ Guardian

 AUTHOR INFORMATION

Jessie Burton is the author of the Sunday Times number one and New York Times bestsellers The Miniaturist and The Muse, and the children’s book The Restless Girls. In its year of publication The Miniaturist sold over a million copies, and in 2017 it was adapted into a major TV series for BBC One. Her novels have been translated into thirty-eight languages, and she is a regular essay writer for newspapers and magazines. She lives in London.

 

My View:

I finished reading this last night – OMG!!!

 

This is such a sublime read full of emotional intelligence and elegant prose – I just wanted to highlight paragraphs and paragraphs – because of the skilled use of language AND because of the many astute revelations about life’s journey.

 

The narrative is engaging; a bit of mystery, a lot of coming of age, of learning to love oneself and live in the moment not the future, about acceptance, family, identity… this book has so much to offer.  READ IT! 10 stars!!!