Post Script: All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

Amor Vincit Omnia

All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places

Jennifer Niven


ISBN: 9780141357034




Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.


Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.


When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the ‘natural wonders’ of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself – a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.


My View:

The most moving book you will read this year. You will laugh and you most definitely will cry and you will fall in love.


Let me start with a confession – I love Theodore Finch – Finch in amazing – he is all the qualities you want to discover in a new relationship –caring, kind, puts you before him, understanding, considerate, romantic, a little outrageous, smart, intuitive, good looking….and there is so much more. Who cannot but help fall in love with someone who writes you notes like this: “You are all the colours in one, at full brightness.” The parts you don’t want to see or don’t discover until too late are tough but not unrepairable…you think…. amor vincit omnia. You have hope.


So whilst this is a story of young love, a beautiful, lyrical all-consuming romantic love, this is so much much more than a love story. The prose is beautifully written; poetic, lyrical, magical and at times hilarious, laugh out loud funny or make your eyes swell with tears sad and your throat constrict. The perspectives presented here about life and about coming to terms with grief, domestic violence, depression and loss – will resonate with most of us at some point in our life. The messages are poignant and pack a punch without sounding like a lesson is being delivered. But lessons you will learn whether you realise it or not.


I started reading this a month or so ago, I got caught up in story, in the lives of the two protagonists, Finch and Violet, I could picture them both in my head (Finch in particular – just speaks of Heath Ledger to me) I could see their homes, school, friends, classroom, parents … all clearly and I could feel a train wreck approaching. I put the book down (so unlike me) I didn’t want to know what was over that hill they were fast approaching…I had several ideas none of which played out but had the same end result, devastation. No spoilers here – this is a discussion for a book club…


Whilst this is distributed as a tens or YA read there is plenty of substance here to make this a novel for all – for there is something in this that will touch and warm everyone’s’ heart, there is something here we can all learn about and take with us on life’s journey. What more can I say – I still tear up thinking about this. Read it. Discover some beauty in this crazy world.




Post Script: Daughter – Jane Shemilt

This is a novel of intrigue and suspense that will tug at the hearts of any parent – a child goes missing.



Jane Shemilt

Michael Joseph

Penguin Books

ISBN: 9781405916516



Jenny is a successful family doctor, the mother of three great teenagers, married to a celebrated neurosurgeon.


But when her youngest child, fifteen-year-old Naomi, doesn’t come home after her school play, Jenny’s seemingly ideal life begins to crumble. The authorities launch a nationwide search with no success. Naomi has vanished, and her family is broken.


As the months pass, the worst-case scenarios—kidnapping, murder—seem less plausible. The trail has gone cold. Yet for a desperate Jenny, the search has barely begun. More than a year after her daughter’s disappearance, she’s still digging for answers—and what she finds disturbs her. Everyone she’s trusted, everyone she thought she knew, has been keeping secrets, especially Naomi. Piecing together the traces her daughter left behind, Jenny discovers a very different Naomi from the girl she thought she’d raised.



My View:

This narrative will resonate with many contemporary parents and in particular puts a spotlight on the pressures women deal with on a day to day basis – of running a household, raising children, working whilst trying to maintain a relationship with a spouse and the ever looming responsibility of caring for the elderly – be they family or members of the community. Add to these pressures the disappearance of a child and you have a pressure cooker whistling away about to explode – and explode it does.


The plot focusses on a before she went missing and after she went missing theme. The love that the mother has for her children is declared loud and strong but the kids don’t seem to realise it…teenagers…a difficult stage. The signs that the mother did not see are poignant and so real – as parents we try to balance between allowing our children responsibility and to develop independence yet are tasked with keeping them safe whilst wearing a blind fold called trust.


Guilt is a major theme in this complex narrative.


The early pacing is a little slow for my taste and I was rather irritated that the mother, the protagonist in this narrative was constantly, and I mean constantly, berating herself or being berated by her family for her decision to work or for spending any time on her own interests. The father does not get dealt with in the same manner yet his is often away from the home, working long hours, on call, at conferences etc. he cannot change his routine for anything…even when his daughter disappears, he is too important. Very irritating – especially when you consider the author herself is a GP, a writer, a mother of 5 and a spouse and yet she I feel she weighs her protagonist with a bucket full of guilt she doesn’t deserve – a guilt for having a life and helping to provide for her family. Rant over.


A great debut with a wicked twist in the end you will not see coming.







Blog Hop 2015 Winners Have Been Drawn



Winners have been notified by email to the addresses they provided – please check your in boxes; Pam, Jade, Louise, Margot, Vicky, Catherine.

Books will be in the mail this week. I really hope that you enjoy these titles as much as I did.

Thanks you to all those who made this years Blog Hop so successful.

And a huge thankyou to Shelleyrae at Book’d Out for arranging Blog Hop and for providing a tutorial on how to use Goodge Forms 🙂










Post Script: Springtime A Ghost Story – Michelle de Kretser

Evocative, bemusing and beguiling.



A Ghost Story

Michelle de Kretser

Allen and Unwin

ISBN: 9781760111212



A rare, beguiling and brilliant ghost story from the Miles Franklin Award winning author.


Picking up her pace, Frances saw a woman in the leaf-hung depths of the garden. She wore a long pink dress and a wide hat, and her skin was a creamy white. There came upon Frances a sensation that sometimes overtook her when she was looking at a painting: space was foreshortened, time stood still.


When Frances met Charlie at a party in Melbourne he was married with a young son.


Now she and Charlie live in Sydney with her rescue dog Rod and an unshakeable sense that they have tipped the world on its axis. They are still getting their bearings – of each other and of their adopted city. Everything is alien, unfamiliar, exotic: haunting, even.


Worlds of meaning spin out of perfectly chosen words in this rare, beguiling and brilliant ghost story by Miles Franklin Literary Award-winning writer Michelle de Kretser.



My View:

Evocative, bemusing and beguiling.


When you pick up this delicate and graceful short story – published in a hard back, with a jacket, with internal colour plates, printed on paper that has a decidedly decadent feel, you will get more than a few surprises.


Firstly the quality of this publication is exquisite and the prose compliments this; the writing (and colour plates) are beautiful and evokes memories of trips I have made to Sydney and the walks I took past many resplendent and dignified older style homes with magnificent established gardens. Next I get a sense of the author’s playfulness; in the title – which really creates confusion – if you are expecting a tale of horror and things that go bump in the night – you will have chosen the wrong book – for this is a ghost story with a difference – a gentleness and a little twist to amuse, the author has manipulated both the reader and the genre.


There is a playfulness in the competitive descriptions and comparisons of the two cities, Sydney and Melbourne that locals will appreciate and if you do not have local knowledge you will appreciate the internal chaos created by the unfamiliar compared to the stability of the familiar; feelings experienced when moving homes, cities, states or changing relationships or jobs.


This book of eighty five pages has substance and finesse. I can see the author smiling as she writes her words. I found this experience entertaining, somewhat amusing and certainly not what I was expecting – Michelle de Kretser has given me an experience created by words.





2015 Australia Day Blog Hop Giveaway


To celebrate Australia Day on the 26th January  I am giving you six chances to win a book by an Australian author by participating (registering) in the Australia Day Blog Hop Giveaway! Please click on the link here to enter. Entries  close at Midnight on Tuesday January 27th and winners will be announced shortly thereafter. Entries are open to Australian residents only.


Shelleyrae at Book’d Out is kindly hosting this giveaway. During the hop,  40+ different book blogs will be offering one or more giveaways of books by Australian Authors – please visit their sites and enter there too, you have to be in it to win it.


Theses are the books I will be offering , you chose which you would like to receive:

The Train Rider – Tony Cavanaugh or

Deadly Obsession  – Karen M Davis ( I have five copies to give away!) This is one of my favourite authors.

Golden Boys – Sonya Hartnett or

Eugenia – Mark Tedeschi QC


Good luck.

Post Script: Butterly Kills – Brenda Chapman

A great sequel to Cold Mourning – written with a passion you can feel.

Butterfly Kills: A Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery

Butterfly Kills: A Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery (Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery #2)

Brenda Chapman

Dundurn Group

ISBN: 9781459723153




Jacques Rouleau has moved to Kingston to look after his father and take up the position as the head of the Major Crimes department. He’s been trying to track down Kala Stonechild, who quit the Ottawa force and has been in the bush. One hot week in August, university student Leah Sampson is murdered in her apartment; in another corner of the city, Della Munroe is raped by her husband. At first, the crimes appear unrelated, but as Sergeant Jacques Rouleau and his new team of officers dig into the women’s pasts, they discover unsettling coincidences. When Stonechild suddenly appears in Kingston, Rouleau enlists her to help. As the detectives delve deeper into the cases, it seems more questions pop up than answers. Both women were hiding secrets that have unleashed a string of violence. Can Stonechild and Rouleau discover the truth before the violence rips two families apart?



My View:

I am a great fan of this series. I loved Cold Mourning and I really enjoyed the quiet, calm and respectful protagonists Stonechild and Rouleau and the peaceful ambience of the locations; refreshing elements in this genre.


The narrative is complex and at its core is an issue that is eventually revealed and that ties all the threads together; it will pierce the heart of even the most world toughened reader (sorry no spoilers here, you will have to read and discover this issue yourself). Brenda Chapman writes with a passion that is obvious and when you do anything with passion it shows!


But don’t be mistaken by the general ambience, there is plenty of action, great plot twists and turns as crime goes on the rampage in this small town setting. I cannot wait to read the next instalment in this series – thank you Brenda Chapman, your writing is amazing.


Post Script: Dead Souls – Elsebeth Egholm

“Most people get what they deserve.”

Dead Souls

Dead Souls

Elsebeth Egholm



ISBN: 97807553984140




On All Hallows’ Eve, ex-convict Peter Boutrup is visiting his best friend’s grave when her estranged mother appears. Her son, Magnus, has disappeared, and she begs Peter to look for him.


The next day a young nun is pulled out of the moat at the convent in Djursland. She has been garrotted and Peter, who works there as a carpenter, was the last person to see her alive. Meanwhile, diver Kir Røjel finds an old box resting on the seabed. Inside are human bones. They are sixty years old, but the victim had also been garrotted.


While Peter is looking for Magnus, Detective Mark Bille Hansen is assigned to the case. He is determined to link the bones in the box with the girl in the moat – but the hunt for the truth leads both he and Peter down a path so dark, they fear they may never return.



My View: Dark and intriguing.

I really enjoyed this murder/mystery with its large cast of well-developed characters; some quirky, some endearing, some vile and loathsome and some you want to know more about. Character based crime fiction provides me with one of my favourite reading experiences, I like to feel invested in the characters, to know them, to watch them grow and develop over the series and I definitely want to learn more about Peter Boutrup, Kir Røjel (a great female protagonist) and Detective Mark Bille Hansen.


This narrative is shrouded in history and authenticity, as the author states in her introductory notes “In Dead Souls I have – as in all my novels – used reality as the stage set while the plot and the cast are fictious.” The settings /stage are wonderfully written – you get a great sense of place, atmosphere and landscape – including The Horn of Africa, a convent in Djursland, Denmark, deep deep waters and both isolated and city landscapes, such a varied palette.


Despite this being the second in the Peter Boutrup series it can easily be read as a standalone but I will be seeking out the first book, Three Dog Night as I enjoyed the characters and the complex plot.




My favourite reads to date have been crime fiction, when it is done well I cannot put the book down and am often found reading until the wee small hours. However these past few months I have read a couple of “YA” novels and trey have been brilliant (just finished All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven so good I stopped reading and left so I didn’t have to read the sad ending that I knew was coming (it was great – not quite what I had been thinking but made me weep all the same)   My question is what makes a novel YA? And have I just been lucky in the few that I have read that have resonated with me or is this a genre I should be actively seeking in future? Have you read much YA?

All the Bright Places