#AWW2016 Review – A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald by Natasha Lester #kissfitz

#kissfitz

I’ve been a follower of Natasha Lester’s blog for some time now – she always has fantastic information for writers – even before I’d read any of her novels! I think I fell in love with ‘A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald’ from the moment I first read about it, and I certainly was not disappointed.

‘A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald’ is a break from Natasha’s previous publications which were both more literary: ‘What is Left Over, After’ and ‘If I Should Lose You’. (I haven’t read ‘What is Left Over, After’, but I loved ‘If I Should Lose You’ – it reminded me very much of Jodi Picoult’s novels).

#kissfitz (as the twitter hashtag goes), is a historical romance set in 1920’s New York [think Great Gatsby], but it’s not your average romance either. Evie is coming of age in a time where it’s still the accepted thing for young women to marry and stay home with their needle-work. But Evie wants something more – in fact, at a time when Universities were only just opening their doors to female students, she wants to study medicine.  Unfortunately her family and intended fiance, Charles Whitman will not abide by it. Luckily she has a supporter in Charles’ mother, and she soon finds support from another, rather unexpected source.

This is a beautiful book, and such a well-written story! Highly recommended, I was hooked right from the start!

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Better Late than Never…

Last week was the first week in a very long time I did not have a post scheduled and ready to go on Sunday morning. When I’m really organised, I write several posts at once, and schedule them for the coming weeks. When I’m not so organised – as has been the case over the last couple of weeks – I write them Thursday night.

cooking by candlelight
‘Cooking by Candlelight’ taken by my 10 year old.

 

That was my plan for last week, too. Unfortunately other things got in the way. Thursday morning we woke up with no power. This lasted all day, until around 3 we got a courtesy call from Tas Networks letting us know the power wouldn’t be on that night – they were letting us know so we could find somewhere else to stay if need be. (Which, I must say, is absolutely brilliant service). Thankfully having no power is not really a problem for us – we have a combustion stove – which means hot water as well as cooking and heating, and in our spare time we make and sell beeswax candles, so there was no shortage of lighting either. I was concerned about the chest freezer, but it seems to have been full enough to have survived (I didn’t open it at all while the power was out.)

The ice-cream didn’t make it. That was in the fridge-freezer, and by Friday afternoon had turned into thick shake. Concerned with unnecessary waste (it was almost a full tub) the kids kindly offered to finish it off with the help of some friends who dropped in.

The power was back on late Friday night, and Saturday morning gave me just enough time to do the three loads of washing that had somehow accrued over the two days, and make myself a cuppa at lunch time, before going out again for the rest of the day, coming back on around 6:30. I was feeling very unmotivated, and decided I could whip up a quick blog post Sunday morning, but waking up Sunday morning the power was off, again!

It was probably a good thing, really. Saturday and Sunday were sunny and warm, and I got several hours of weeding done in the garden, helped by my two year old who spent a good deal of time replanting the weeds I’d just pulled, and insisting I examine the worms we found as we turned over the soil… and then there was splashing in the stream that forms whenever we have a lot of rain…

Splashing in puddles

And I had intended to post this during the week, but it’s been one of those weeks, and I still don’t have a new blog post for Sunday (despite having two half-written book reviews, and three-quarters of a post about my nomination for the Leibster Award – thank you Alisdair Daws – 🙂 I’m getting to it!), so this is my blog post for Sunday! Happy Sunday!! 🙂 Hope everyone has a relaxing day! 😀

#AWW2016 Review – A Single Stone by MegMcKinlay

A Single Stone

 

I first read of this book just before its release last year. I was immediately intrigued, but somehow misplaced the title and author, and with a pile of books to work my way through searching for it fell to the bottom of the priority list,  until earlier this year when I was listening to the Podcast ‘So You Want To Be A Writer’ (ep. 103).

(If you are a regular listener to the show, you’ll know that at the end of each interview Alison asks for 3 tips for writers. Meg gave what has to be one of the best writing tips I’ve ever heard:  let yourself be your absolute strangest self. (And if you’re not a regular listener I highly recommend you subscribe!))

A Single Stone is the story of Jena. She is leader of the line, a group of seven girls trained since birth to travel the mountain tunnels and crevices to find the mica that fuels their fires over winter. This is the most important work of all, for the winter snows bury their houses, and where wood fires create smoke that makes it hard to breath, the mica burns without smoke. It is the only way they can survive the winter.

The village is led by a group called the Mothers, and Jena trusts in their judgement, as do all the villagers. But something happens – on offhand comment that does not match with what she’s been told, and as Jena attempts to make sense of this one thing, more and more questions arise.

Soon Jena finds life does not have to be the way it is, and there is something better not so far away.

This was a beautiful story, with a fascinating premise. Well worth the read! 🙂

 

 

 

Top 10 Aussie Books to Read Before you Die

This post is a follow-up to a post from 2012 with the same title.

Top 10 Aussie Books

 

At that time (Dec 2012 – four years ago!!), I’d watched the final episode of ‘The First Tuesday Book Club’ for that year, during which they announced the top 10 Great Aussie books, as voted by viewers throughout the year.

At the time, I was ashamed to note that out of the top 10 I’d only heard of 6, and I hadn’t read any, so I set myself a challenge to read them all over the course of coming the year. 1

Unfortunately, I failed. And I can still only say I’ve read 4 of the top 10. Appalling! To be completely honest, I completely forgot about the post at all until I was scrolling back through my ‘insights’ checking out my most popular posts, of which this was one.

As a reminder (and a glance at what I actually did read) the ten were:

1 – Cloud Street by Tim Winton (read – From memory this book annoyed me a little to start with – but by the end I was won over.)

2 – The Book Theif by Markus Zusak (read and loved!)

3 – A Fortunate Life by A B Facey

4 – The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

5 – The Power of One by Bryce Courtney

6 – Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey (read. loved. What a wake-up to those odd little assumptions we make about people!)

7 – The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsey (This is now on my bookshelf… but still a to-read)

8 – The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

9 – The Secret River – Kate Grenville (read. As a student of history, I already knew what happened to the Aboriginal people during colonisation, but fiction always manages to open yours eyes that little bit further.)

10 – Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsey (I had seen the movie years before and now I can say I’ve read the book – I’ve always been absolutely fascinated by this story – the girls who go missing in mysterious and spooky circumstances and the book did not disappoint.)

But it’s been four years since this top 10 list was announced – what Australian books published since 2012 would you add to this list?