WWW Wednesdays

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I came across WWW Wednesdays through a book bloggers link up, and was immediately interested in the premise. The blog was Taking on a World of Words .

The idea of WWW Wednesday is to publish a post answering three questions. Those questions are:

  •  What are you currently reading?
  •   What did you recently finish reading?
  •   What do you think you will read next?

It isn’t my intention for WWW Wednesdays to be a review post but just a short post about what I’m reading and what might be in my tbr pile. I’m also going to include audio books listened to, so there may be two books mentioned in the answer to each question.

Currently Reading

Good Dogs Don't Make It to the South Pole

Good Dogs Don’t Make it to the South Pole by Hans-Olav Thyvold: This story is told through the eyes of a dog as it makes it’s way through life, experiencing all the ups and downs, such as ageing, death, separation, friendship and much more. The author was born in Norway and this book has been translated into English.

Unsolved (Invisible, #2)

Unsolved by James Patterson & David Ellis – Audio book: The second book in the Invisible series featuring FBI agent Emma Dockery.

Recently Finished Reading

The Little Paris Bookshop

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George: A lovely story for booklovers about a bookshop on a restored bargeon the Seine. The bookshop owner calls himself a ‘literary apothecary’. He has a sense of which book is the right book for each of his customers.

The Memory

The Memory – audiobook. A psychological thriller about families and the secrets they keep from each other.

Reading Next

Charlotte Pass

Charlotte Pass by Lee Christine: I know very little about this book, as usually, I like to start reading a book without knowing what to expect. I do know that the story is a crime, set in the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales, Australia.

Making Peace

Making Peace by Fiona McCallum – audiobook: Does one single act of kindness have the power to turn someone’s life around. This sounds interesting.

Link to WWW Wednesday

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Book Review: The Good Cop by Justine Ford #aussieauthor20

Summary

In an incredible twenty-five year career as a homicide detective, Ron Iddles’ conviction rate was 99%. Yet that only partly explains why Iddles is known to cops and crims alike as ‘The Great Man’.

Tough, inventive and incorruptible, stoic in the face of senseless horror yet unafraid to shed tears for a victim, Ron has applied his country cunning and city savvy to over 320 homicide cases – some of them the most infamous, compelling and controversial crimes in the nation’s history. To the victims of crime, Ron is both a shoulder to cry on and an avenging angel.

Ron Iddles never gave up on a ‘lost’ cause. He became a regular on the nightly news – the dogged face of Australian justice. Working long hours, dodging bullets, chasing leads and outwitting killers, Ron would tell his teams: ‘The answer is just one call away’. And in 2015, that belief saw him crack Victoria’s oldest unsolved homicide, yet another remarkable feat in a life devoted to keeping the public safe.

This is the extraordinary inside story of a real crime crusader. Ron Iddles. The Good Cop.

My Thoughts

I had been looking forward to reading this book since I heard about it’s publication. After watching Ron Iddles on TV, for many years and recently listening to him on various podcasts, I felt as though I knew him. On reading this book, I found that there was so much more to him than I had seen from snippets on the TV news. Ron Iddles is much more than the top Homicide cop we know him as.

From the very first page this book had me hooked. The first crime discussed was a case that I was very familiar with. The second case involved people that I knew. And on it went. Exposing behind the scenes information and what it took for Ron Iddles to solve the many homicides that occured  in Victoria.

I have always been interested in true crime and have watched the progress of local cases in the press. I loved the back story to these cases that is presented in this book.

As well as Ron Iddles, Victoria’s top cop, we also get to meet Ron Iddles, the person. I would Recommend this book to anyone interested in true crime and how these crimes are solved. I would describe The Good Cop as part biography and part true crime.
– Goodreads

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the author: Justine Ford is a TV producer and journalist with a background in news and current affairs. She was a presenter on the top rating crime series, Australia’s Most Wanted. Her producing credits include the hot shows Missing Persons Unit, Border Security, RPA and Random Acts of Kindness. Justine has also worked as a radio producer/presenter and as a magazine features writer.

Published on 26 July 2016, by McMillan Australia. Paperback 368 pages

The tribute below to Ron Iddles was recently painted on the wall of a lane way in his home town, Rochester – artist, Tim Bowtell, Samaria, Victoria.

This review is linked to lovelyaudiobooks

#2020 Aussie Author Challenge

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Book Review: The White Earth by Andrew McGahan

Summary

After his father’s death, young William is cast upon the charity of an unknown great-uncle, John McIvor. The old man was brought up, expecting to marry the heiress to Kuran Station—a grand estate in the Australian Outback—only to be disappointed by his rejection and the selling off of the land. He has devoted his life to putting the estate back together, and has moved into the once-elegant mansion.

McIvor tries to imbue William with his obsession, but his hold on the land is threatened by laws entitling the Aborigines to reclaim sacred sites. William’s mother desperately wants her son to become John McIvor’s heir, but no one realizes that William is ill and his condition is worsening.

Issues covered are Native Title legislation, the Mabo decison and Australian politics.

My Thoughts

When I first began to read this book, I had no idea what it was about. I wasn’t far into it when I realised this was the perfect book for me to read, in the week of Australia Day.

The setting is the Darling Downs in Queensland, spanning a time frame of 150 years. I really enjoyed the sense of place and landscape that this novel evoked. I loved it’s Australian-ness.

The publicity material describes this book as ‘part family saga, part history and part gothic thriller’. I agree with that completely. I do love a family saga and a historical novel, but the mention of gothic really had me intrigued. I’m not really interested in gothic or ghost stories, but I found the story to be entirely believable.

There is so much to this novel, including multiple themes but I would prefer to say less rather than more for fear of spoiling the reading experience for someone who picks up this book.

William was a lovely, beautiful, innocent young boy, but he was surrounded by very unattractive and flawed characters. This gave a dark and sinister feeling to the story. The characterisations by the author, I felt were brilliant.

I listened to this as an audio book. It didn’t lose any of the tension of gothicness in that form at all. The narrator, Edwin Hodgeman, an actor of many decades, was able to portray the darkness of certain characters and events in the story.

Recommendations

Winner of the Miles Franklin Award in 2005.
Winner of The Age Book of the Year Award in 2004

“…..The White Earth has all the trappings of a classic supernatural tale, and McGahan seamlessly blends the factual elements with the preernatural dimensions – the ghosts of black and white that haunt the landscape”  – The Age

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the Author

Andrew McGahan, was an Australian novelist, born 1966, in Queensland, Australia. He passed away in 2019 at age 52. He is  best known for his first novel Praise, and for his Miles Franklin Award-winning novel The White Earth. His novel Praise is considered to be part of the Australian literary genre of grunge lit.

This review is linked to lovelyaudiobooks.info
#2020 AussieAuthorChallenge

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Books read in January

Goodreads tells me that I’ve read 9 books in January. To many, that probably doesn’t sound like many books read in a whole month. but it’s about average for me. Working, writing reviews, blogging on three blogs, along with everything else in my life doesn’t leave a huge amount of time for reading. I dream of the time in the future, when I’m retired, and have more time to devote to reading.

Audio Books

Four books on the January list are audio books. It’s my opinion that it’s appropriate to include audio books as ‘books read’.

  • The White Earth by Andrew McGahan
  • The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
  • Tapestry by Fiona McIntosh
  • Talking To My Country by Stan Grant

I would very much prefer to read a paper book over listening to an audio book. However, audio books are what save me from boredom on my long drive to work and home. My drive to work is 45 minutes both ways, so that gives me 90 joyful minutes of audio books listening every day.

2020 Aussie Author Challenge

I am participating in the #2020aussieauthor challenge and have committed to reading 12 Books written by Aussie authors in 2020. Four of those authors are to be female.

Of the books listed by Goodreads that I’ve read in January, five were written by Aussie authors.

  • The White Earth by Andrew McGahan
  • MacQuarie by Grantlee Kieza
  • The Good Cop by Justine Ford
  • Forgotten by Nicole Trope
  •  Tapestry by Fiona McIntosh

The number of books written by Australian authors that I’ve read in January, has me thinking that perhaps I should have aimed for a higher number. May have to rethink that.

How many books did you read in January? Have you read any of the books in my list? I love it when we have a conversation and promise to reply to all comments left.

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Bake Australia Great: Classic Australia Made Edible By One Kool Kat – Katherine Sabbath #aussieauthor20

I started to salivate immediately, on opening this beautifully presented book, which is packed with recipes for the most delectable sweets imaginable. The author has taken classic Australian icons such as the Pavlova and given them a modern and humorous twist, making them even more drool inducing. There are also international recipes featured, that have become much loved favourites in Australia.

There are recipes for:

  • Sydney Opera House Pavlova
  • Flamin’ Galah Cupcakes
  • Koala Cake
  • Milo Mud Cake
  • Great Barrier Reef Cake

and many more.

The recipes are easy to follow, with very clear and simple instructions. There are varying levels of dfficulty, ensuring this book is suitable for the beginner cook, along with  the more advanced or expert baker.

Some may be concerned about the calories of some of the foods featured. I agree they are calorie dense, but they are definitely special occasion foods. Surely it’s ok sometimes to allow special occasion foods into a diet plan.

I cannot wait to get into the kitchen and whip up some of these recipes. I would dream of having the time to start with the first recipe, and work my way through the book. But I could also spend hours just looking at this book. The photography is exceptional.

Australia is enjoying Australia Day celebrations right now so I feel that sharing this book of baking Australiana  on a book blog is the perfect Australia Day post. Kitchens all over the country this weekend, will be turning out amazing traditional Pavlovas.  Next year in Australia Day, I plan to give my pavlova a modern twist,  using the recipe for Sydney Opera House pavlova, included in this book.

Star Rating:  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the Author

Photo: katharinesabbath.com

Sydney cake queen, Katherine Sabbath, is one of the coolest creatives around, loved equally for her cutting edge cake designs and quirky personal style. Kat is a high school teacher turned cake creative, whose unique designs have featured in print internationally, online, as well as on TV. She shares it all with her half a million instagram followers, who hang on every sprinkle – katherinesabbath.com

Watch Katherine making her mouth watering Milo Fudge Cake below.

https://youtu.be/0Ms5NMfhXkQ

 

Published on 05 November 2019 by Murdoch Books.
Hardcover 256 pages

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Book Review: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah #audiobook

 

The Great Alone

Summary

This story about a family in crisis, is set in Alaska in 1974. A former Vietnam veteran and POW comes home from the war very damaged by his experiences. He is now very volatile, with a bad temper and a very short fuse. He makes a surprise announcement that with no preparation or planning at all, he is taking his family to live in the wilds of Alaska. They will live an off the grid lifestyle in America’s last untamed frontier.

Ern Allbright and his wife, Cora, have a thirteen year old daughter, Leni, who becames caught between her parents and their very stormy and very passionate relationship. When they first arrive in Alaska, there is hope that this is the change that the family and Ern need. This part of Alaska might be tough, rough and wild, but there is a strong community very eager to help these novices set up, and live an off the grid lifestyle without all the mod cons and modern facilities that they have previously taken for granted.

But it doesn’t take Cora and Leni long to realise that as much as they have come to love their new home and lifestyle, they really are on their own. They have nobody to turn to, and if they are to be saved, they will have to save themselves.

My Thoughts

The above summary is very brief. There is much more to this action packed story than I want to write in a summary. I’m very aware that too much information will spoil the readers experience of this wonderful novel.

Kristin Hannah has written 20 novels, but The Great Alone is the first that I have read. It definitely won’t be my last. She is a beautiful writer, and at times her words brought me to tears. The Great Alone has a huge heart, and succeeds in the reader having a sense of the love, joy, kindness and sadness between the family members, and also with the community. I found the tragedy of this story to be overwhelmingly sad. At the same time the happiness and love brought a great joy to my heart.

I cried real tears at times, during the sad moments, and also the happy moments. When the main characters felt fear, it was so well described, that I felt the fear also. I also felt their happiness. This book is a rare read for me in that it made feel extremely happy and also very very sad.

The author has invoked a wonderful sense of place in this novel. I live off the grid also, so understand all the pros and cons that come with it. But you throw the wilds of Alaska into the mix and it’s a different proposition altogether. I found myself wanting to pack my bags and head off to the homesteading lifestyle in Alaska.

It’s now a few days since I finished The Great Alone, and I cannot get it out of my mind. Could it be that just 18 days into the new year, I have just read my best book of 2020?

Recommendations

“A girl was like a kite; without her mother’s strong, steady hold on the string, she might just float away, be lost somewhere among the clouds.”
“Love and fear. The most destructive forces on earth. Fear had turned her inside out, love had made her stupid.”
“All this time, Dad had taught Leni how dangerous the outside world was. The truth was that the biggest danger of all was in her own home.”
I listened to the audio book of The Great Alone, but I loved it so much I will also be reading the paper book. Audio books are great,  but of course any reader would prefer to actually read a book. I love listening to audio books on my long drives to work. They make the drive bearable. There were many times that I had to stop the car to write down a quote. There were so many beautiful words in this book.
This book went very quickly to number one one the New York Times best seller list in print, ebook and audiobook.

Recommendations

“Reliably alluring…The Great Alone is packed with rapturous descriptions of Alaskan scenery… Hannah remembers and summons an undeveloped wilderness, describing a gloriously pristine region in the days before cruise ships discovered it.”
–The New York Times

“Set in the early 70s, this coming of age story has parallels in the current day and becomes a cautionary tale for our times.”
–The Toronto Star

“In this latest from Hannah, the landscape is hard and bleak but our young heroine learns to accept it and discover her true self…fans will appreciate the astuteness of the story and the unbreakable connection between mother and child.”
– Library Journal

“Featuring a rich cast of characters and elevated by the riveting portrayal of homesteading in Alaska in the 1970s, this is a compassionate story of a family.”
– People, “Book of the Week’

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

About The Author

Kristin Hannah

Kristin Hannah is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, which was named Goodreads Best Historical fiction novel for 2015 and won the coveted People’s Choice award for best fiction in the same year. Additionally, it was named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, iTunes, Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal, Paste, and The Week – Goodreads.com

 

 

Audiobook published by MacMillan Digital Audio,
15 hours 2 minutes, unabridged English and read by Julia Whelan.
Released 8 Feb 2018, MP3 (411MB)

Book published February 6th 2018 by St. Martin’s Press.

Have you read The Great Alone. If so, I’d love to hear if you enjoyed it as much as I did. I love it when we have a conversation and promise to reply to all comments.

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Book Review: Talking To My Country by Stan Grant #aussieauthor20

Summary

An extraordinarily powerful and personal meditation on race, culture and national identity.

In July 2015, as the debate over Adam Goodes being booed at AFL games raged and got ever more heated and ugly, Stan Grant wrote a short but powerful piece for The Guardian that went viral, not only in Australia but right around the world, shared over 100,000 times on social media. His was a personal, passionate and powerful response to racism in Australian and the sorrow, shame, anger and hardship of being an indigenous man. ‘We are the detritus of the brutality of the Australian frontier’, he wrote, ‘We remained a reminder of what was lost, what was taken, what was destroyed to scaffold the building of this nation’s prosperity.’

Stan Grant was lucky enough to find an escape route, making his way through education to become one of our leading journalists. He also spent many years outside Australia, working in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa, a time that liberated him and gave him a unique perspective on Australia. This is his very personal meditation on what it means to be Australian, what it means to be indigenous, and what racism really means in this country.

Talking To My Country is that rare and special book that talks to every Australian about their country – what it is, and what it could obe. It is not just about race, or about indigenous people but all of us, our shared identity. Direct, honest and forthright, Stan is talking to us all. He might not have all the answers but he wants us to keep on asking the question: how can we be better?
from: Goodreads.com

My Thoughts

As a lover of history, particularly Australian history, I was looking forward to reading this book, and expected to enjoy it. But this could be one of the most unforgettable non fiction books that I’ve ever read.

The stories and personal experiences that Grant wrote about, really made me stop and think. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this book since I finished reading it. As I read these stories, I really felt for him, as he obviously has a huge love for his family and his country.

For many years, I have watched Stan Grant on television current affairs programs and have always been a fan of his reporting. I’m now a huge fan of his writing. The way he wrote his stories made a huge impact on me and my understanding of his life and his people.

In my opinion this book should be required reading on school book lists to give a better understanding of Australian History

Recommendations

Grant will be an important voice in shaping this nation” – The Saturday Paper

“….the past defines us, and like other Australians, Grant is interested in his family Ancestry. It’s just that 230 years of his history coincided with some uncomfortable truths about this nation” – the Courier-Mail

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the Author

Stan Grant born 30 September 1963, is an Australian television news and political Journalist and television presenter for Al Jazeera and the Australian Broadcasting Commission. He is a member of the Wiradjuri tribe of indigenous Australians from the south west inland region of New South Wales.The Wiradjuri also have roots in inner Victoria, where he spent most of his childhood –
Wikipedia

 

First published in 2016. This edition published in 2017 by
Harper Collins Australia Pty. Ltd.

Softcover 223 pages plus source list

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Images and author information: Goodreads and Booktopia

Talking To My Country is my first book review for the 2020 Aussie Author Challenge

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Goodreads Top Five Fiction Books

Top Goodreads Fiction Reads

The Winners of the Goodreads 11th Annual Readers Choice Awards have been announced. These awards are as voted by Goodreads readers. Below, are the top five books nominated. Disappointingly, I’ve only read two of these books. The Testaments is one of my top reads in 2019, and I would rate The Normal People as the book I enjoyed the least in 2019. These awards have me questioning my judgement on that, so I may need to revisit it.  I do plan to read the books on the list that I haven’t read so far. Click on the list to see all nominated books. M

Best Books 2019

The Winner

The clear winner was The Testaments by Margaret Atwood with 98291 votes. This book received over 50,000 votes more than the second place winner. So it is a very clear and in my opinion well deserved winner.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Top Five Nominated Books

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

98291 votes

Normal People by Sally Rooney

40081 votes

Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah

29342 votes

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

26653 votes

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

21524 votes

My favourite Genre: Historical Fiction

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Winner of Historical Fiction Genre

The following two books placed highly in the Historical Fiction Genre. I have read them both and they were in my top reads of the year. Both are historical fiction based on fact.
I’d recommend both of these books as being well worthwhile reading.

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris

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Do you agree with the books that made the list? I’d love to hear your thoughts.  I promise to reply to all comments.

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2020 Aussie Author Challenge #aussieauthor

Aussie Author Challenge

This challenge, organised by Jo at Booklover Book Reviews is in it’s 11th year, but this is my first year of participation. I do enjoy reading Australian authors, particularly female authors, but in 2020 I plan to read more than I would usually read in one year.

According to the challenge website, ‘the objective of this reading challenge is to showcase the quality and diversity of the books being produced by Australian authors.

There are levels of involvement in this challenge and participants can choose the level that they think signifies the number of books written by Aussie authors that they intend to read in 2020.

WALLABY
Read and review 3 titles written by Australian authors, of which at least 1 of those authors are female, at least 1 of those authors are male, and at least 1 of those authors are new to you; Fiction or non-fiction, any genre.
WALLAROO
Read and review 6 titles written by Australian authors, of which at least 2 of those authors are female, at least 2 of those authors are male, and at least 2 of those authors are new to you; Fiction or non-fiction, at least 2 different genre.
KANGAROO
Read and review 12 titles written by Australian Authors of which at least 4 of those authors are female, at least 4 of those authors are male, and at least 4 of those authors are new to you; Fiction or non-fiction, at least 3 different genre.
EMU
Read and review 24 titles written by Australian Authors of which at least 10 of those authors are female, at least 10 of those authors are male, and at least 10 of those authors are new to you; Fiction or non-fiction, at least 4 different genre.

I have decided to commit to the Kangaroo Level. I’m fairly sure I can read one book per month by an Australian author in at least three genres.

The hashtag to be used for this challenge is #aussieauthor I will be using it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest

To keep up with the latest book reviews,and 2020 Aussie Authors Challenge progress, please pop your email address in the box on the sidebar. This will ensure you are notified of updates.

Find me here: Facebook and Instagram and Goodreads

https://bookloverbookreviews.com/

Are you participating in this challenge? Please let me know in the comments as I’d like to follow you on your Aussie reading adventure. I promise to reply to all comments.

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My Top 8 Books for 2019

I’ve read some great books this year, both fiction and non fiction, including a few genres that I don’t usually read. The main one that I tried was crime, which meant I read a few crime books that I did enjoy, but still crime isn’t a favourite genre of mine. Having said that, I quite enjoy listening to crime audio books.

Following is a list of the eight books that I enjoyed the most in 2019, in no particular order. If I had to choose one of these books as a favourite, it would be The Chocolate Maker’s Wife. This book contains all that I love about my favourite genre of historical fiction based on fact.

My Name is Why by Lemn Sissay

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

The Chocolate Maker’s Wife by Karen Brooks

The Binding by Bridget Collins

11.22.63 by Stephen King

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

Bridge of Clay by Marcus Zusak

This will be my last post for 2019. Merry Christmas and a happy and safe new year to all. Watch for the first review of 2020 early in January

Have you read any of my top eight books for 2019? Do you have a favourite for the year? I love it when we interact and I promise to reply to all comments.

To keep up with the latest book reviews, please pop your email address in the box on the sidebar. This will ensure you are notified of updates.

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Images and author information: Goodreads and Booktopia

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