A review ROAR by Cecelia Ahern (@Cecelia_Ahern), a book of feminist short stories

I was intrigued by the idea behind Cecelia Ahern’s book of thirty feminist short stories about thirty women. The book swag that came with it was also a lovely surprise!

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ROAR by Cecelia Ahern, plus some amazing book swag

“I’m here, I’m here, I’m here”. 

Hardcover, 352 pages

Published November 1st 2018 by HarperCollins

ISBN 0008283494 (ISBN13: 9780008283490)

Goodreads

“Have you ever imagined a different life?

Have you ever stood at a crossroads, undecided?
Have you ever had a moment when you wanted to roar?

The women in these startlingly original stories are all of us: the women who befriend us, the women who encourage us, the women who make us brave. From The Woman Who Slowly Disappeared to The Woman Who Was Kept on the Shelf and The Woman Who Returned and Exchanged her Husband, discover thirty touching, often hilarious, stories and meet thirty very different women. Each discovers her strength; each realizes she holds the power to make a change.

Witty, tender, surprising, these keenly observed tales speak to us all, and capture the moment when we all want to roar.”

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Each story involves a different woman who is undergoing an issue that makes them feel uncomfortable, undecided, or angry told from a feminist perspective. In short, all the women in these stories want to roar!

The main idea behind these stories is wonderfully original, as they are told through allegories. Some of the situations are really quite outlandish, but they mostly managed to ring quite true.

I found myself able to relate to many of the characters and the universal everyday issues they experienced as women struggling to have it all, as we do often do in this day and age. None of the main characters were given names, and I felt this was a nice touch that really made the women feel like ‘every woman.’

ROAR is a refreshing and creative take on feminism. I did feel that it became somewhat repetitive, but the ideas behind it are fascinating. 4 stars!

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Book Review: SENSE AND SENSIBILITY by Jane Austen

I’ve been hoarding my beautiful Vintage Classic edition of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY for some time, so I was excited to make the time to revisit an old favourite during my month of selfish reading.

I was giving the gentlest of nudges to hurry up and get reading by the brilliant author of THE GIRL ON THE PAGE, John Purcell, who reminded me of the universality of Jane Austen’s novels in his bestselling debut. We have since bonded on Twitter over our mutual agreement that there is no problem in the world that can’t be made better by curling up my favourite classic author.

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SENSE AND SENSIBILITY by Jane Austen

“I do not attempt to deny,” said she, “that I think very highly of him – that I greatly esteem, that I like him.”

Paperback, 444 pages

Published: June 26th 2014 by Vintage Classics (first published October 30th 1811)

Original Title: Sense and Sensibility

ISBN: 0099589346 (ISBN13: 9780099589341)

Goodreads

“Elinor is as prudent as her sister Marianne is impetuous. Each must learn from the other after they are they are forced by their father’s death to leave their home and enter into the contests of polite society. The charms of unsuitable men and the schemes of rival ladies mean that their paths to success are thwart with disappointment but together they attempt to find a way to happiness.”

 

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It’s been years since I read SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, or any of Jane Austen’s novels, and it felt just like catching up with a good friend. Austen’s debut novel tells the story of two sisters, Marianne and Elinor Dashwood, who are about as  different as two sisters can be.

Marianne is the youngest and has the very strong opinions commonly found in teenagers. She is convinced that her future husband will love all the same things as she does, will sweep her off her feet in a whirlwind romance, and that it is only possible to truly love one person.

Elinor is far more sensible and spends a great deal of her time making excuses for Marianne’s rudeness to potential beaux and well-meaning neighbours alike.

The novel begins when Mr Dashwood’s death means that the girls and their mother are forced to leave their home to allow their elder half brother and his greedy wife to move in. This reflects Austen’s own life, as she was also forced to move due to unfavourable inheritances.

Marianne finds romance with the charming Willoughby, while scorning the elder and far more steady Colonel Brandon. Elinor is left wondering if her romance with her sister in law’s brother, Edward Ferrars, was all she thought it was when she encounters a rival she never knew existed.

As always, I thoroughly enjoyed reading SENSE AND SENSIBILITY. Even though this was Austen’s very first novel, it is a delightful read. I couldn’t help but think on this reading that a lot of the problems he characters went through were very British and could have been solved with a little bit of straight talking, but their polite inability to say what they really think is one of the reasons the rest of the world loves the British so much.

5 stars!

 

Australian Aged Care Royal Commission Submission Guide

A lot of people planning to make a submission to the Aged Care Royal Commission in Australia are finding it hard to decide where to start, so I’ve put together this brief guide that will help you plan your submission and make things easier for you.

I recommend starting off by drawing up a rough plan. Only you will see this plan, so don’t worry about making it perfect. Put your records away for now and just start writing everything that you can think of that you want to include in your submission.

If you are finding it difficult to get started, check out the guide provided here: https://agedcare.royalcommission.gov.au/submissions/Pages/Guidance-on-making-a-submission.aspx Not all of these areas will be relevant to you, but there is plenty there to start you off.

A lot of people prefer to use a pen and paper at this stage, but a word document is fine too. Spend as long as you need on this stage of the planning process. Don’t worry about going into too much detail here, just include enough information so you will know what you mean later on.

Once you feel that you have included all the information you want to include in your submission it’s time to plan your first draft. Firstly, have a look at your plan and decide how you are going to order your submission. You may want to go in chronological order, or perhaps you would prefer to group information in the same order of the guidelines provided above.

Next, go through your rough plan and add headings for all of your information following the order that you decided on earlier. Make notes beneath your headings regarding any supporting documentation you wish to include.

Now you are ready to begin your final draft. Underneath each of your headings write down exactly what happened, where it happened, who was involved, and why you think it is relevant to the Royal Commission.  You may want to go back over these guidelines and your records to make sure you’ve included all relevant information.

Include a note to indicate whether you will also be including supporting documentation in regards to each incident if applicable.

Make sure you stick to the facts and incidents that happened to you or your family member/friend. These incidents can be emotionally charged, but your submission will be clearer and hold more power if you do your best to simply write about what happened.

For your first paragraph, I recommend including information regarding who you are, why you are making a submission to the Royal Commission, whether it is on behalf of another person, and the service this submission is about. If you are making an anonymous submission, make sure this information doesn’t reveal your identity.

Remember to make a separate submission for each service you have experience of.

Once you have finished your final draft, read over it again and check your plan to make sure you have included all of your information. Run your document through spell check and also read through carefully to make sure it is clear, concise, and free from obvious spelling and grammar errors.

Please don’t feel pressured to have a perfect document, as long as it is clear and readable. If you are still unsure, I am happy to confidentially proofread your submission. Email ACRCSH1@gmail.com

You can make an anonymous submission to the Royal Commission. Your submission will still be considered, although you won’t be notified of any outcomes.

The Royal Commission emphasised that it is unlawful for an employer to take punitive action against an employee or ex-employee who provides evidence or a submission to the Royal Commission. If you have any concerns about this or a related issue, please contact your ANMF branch for support immediately http://anmf.org.au/documents/ANMF_Royal_Commission_Update2.pdf

Submissions can be made online at https://agedcare.royalcommission.gov.au/submissions/Pages/default.aspx (this is the preferred method). Prepare your submission on a word document first and you can then copy and paste it into the submission form.

Alternatively, if you would prefer to prepare your submission offline first, the submission form can be downloaded from Aged Care Royal Commission – online submissions form (PDF 467KB) and completed offline, either digitally or by printing and then scanning the document.

This form can then be submitted by beginning the online submission form and uploading your completed form when prompted, or emailing it to ACRCenquiries@royalcommission.gov.au

If you are unable to communicate via email please phone the Royal Commission on 1800 960 711 to make alternative arrangements.

If you have concerns that information that you are considering providing to the Commission may be defamatory, you should consider seeking independent legal advice.

Please note that preparing a submission for the Royal Commission can be an emotional experience and trigger distressing memories. If you or somebody you know is struggling, please seek help. Every submission is important, but please make sure you take care of yourself first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover Reveal: The Cinema at Starlight Creek by Alli Sinclair @allisinclair @HarlequinAUS #StarlightCreek

I’m thrilled to be sharing with you an exclusive early look at the cover of the latest book by the brilliant Alli Sinclair, THE CINEMA AT STARLIGHT CREEK.

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THE CINEMA AT STARLIGHT CREEK by Alli Sinclair

A heart-stirring novel of loss, love and new hope set against the glamorous backdrop of 1950s Hollywood and a small Australian country town.

How far would you go to follow your dream?

Queensland, 1994: When location manager Claire Montgomery arrives in rural Queensland to work on a TV mini-series, she’s captivated by the beauty of Starlight Creek and the surrounding sugarcane fields. Working in a male-dominated industry is challenging, but Claire has never let that stop her pursuing her dreams-until now. She must gain permission to film at Australia’s most historically significant art deco cinema, located at Starlight Creek. But there is trouble ahead. The community is fractured and the cinema’s reclusive owner, Hattie Fitzpatrick, and her enigmatic great nephew, Luke Jackson, stand in her way, putting Claire’s career-launching project-and her heart-at risk.

Hollywood, 1950: Lena Lee has struggled to find the break that will catapult her into a star with influence. She longs for roles about strong, independent women but with Hollywood engulfed in politics and a censorship battle, Lena’s timing is wrong. Forced to keep her love affair with actor Reeves Garrity a secret, Lena puts her career on the line to fight for equality for women in an industry ruled by men. Her generous and caring nature steers her onto a treacherous path, leaving Lena questioning what she is willing to endure to get what she desires.

Can two women-decades apart-uncover lies and secrets to live the life they’ve dared to dream?

Harper Collins:  https://bit.ly/2Cp1ywN

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2DenZ9o

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2FEcIAR

Booktopia: https://bit.ly/2TSL6fp

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2Mhf61G

Google Play: https://bit.ly/2Mlz8IN

Alli’s Bio:

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Alli Sinclair

Alli Sinclair, an adventurer at heart, has won multiple awards for her writing. She has lived in Argentina, Peru and Canada, and has climbed some of the world’s highest mountains, worked as a tour guide in South and Central America and has travelled the globe. She enjoys immersing herself in exotic destinations, cultures and languages but Australia has always been close to Alli’s heart.

Alli hosts retreats for Writers at Sea and presents writing workshops around Australia, as well as working on international film projects. She’s a volunteer role model with Books in Homes and is an ambassador for the Fiji Book Drive. Alli’s books explore history, culture, love and grief, and relationships between family, friends and lovers. She captures the romance and thrill of discovering old and new worlds, and loves taking readers on a journey of discovery.

Alli’s website is: www.allisinclair.com

Alli’s newsletter is: https://bit.ly/2RDavNl

#BookReview: The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory – @PhilippaGBooks

I’ve made a commitment to myself to read selfishly in January. I know that I will be snowed under a pile of journal articles soon enough, so I’m doing my best to get around to all of the books that were shoved to the bottom of my TBR pile last year.

The first cab off the rank is THE LAST TUDOR by the bestselling historical fiction great, Philippa Gregory. I’ve been a big fan of Gregory’s Tudor novels ever since THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL took the world by storm far too many years ago for my liking, and I’ve been looking forward to reading Gregory’s take on the Grey sisters for ages!

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THE LAST TUDOR by Philippa Gregory

Paperback, 544 pages

Published: July 1st 2018 by Simon & Schuster UK (first published August 8th 2017)

Original Title: The Last Tudor
ISBN: 1471133079 (ISBN13: 9781471133077)

Literary Awards: Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Historical Fiction (2017)

Source: Own Copy

Goodreads

“The latest novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory features

one of the most famous girls in history, Lady Jane Grey, and her two sisters, each of whom dared to defy her queen.

Jane Grey was queen of England for nine days. Her father and his allies crowned her instead of the dead king’s half sister Mary Tudor, who quickly mustered an army, claimed her throne, and locked Jane in the Tower of London. When Jane refused to betray her Protestant faith, Mary sent her to the executioner’s block, where Jane transformed her father’s greedy power grab into tragic martyrdom.

“Learn you to die,” was the advice Jane wrote to her younger sister Katherine, who has no intention of dying. She intends to enjoy her beauty and her youth and fall in love. But she is heir to the insecure and infertile Queen Mary and then to her half sister, Queen Elizabeth, who will never allow Katherine to marry and produce a Tudor son. When Katherine’s pregnancy betrays her secret marriage, she faces imprisonment in the Tower, only yards from her sister’s scaffold.

“Farewell, my sister,” writes Katherine to the youngest Grey sister, Mary. A beautiful dwarf, disregarded by the court, Mary keeps family secrets, especially her own, while avoiding Elizabeth’s suspicious glare. After seeing her sisters defy their queens, Mary is acutely aware of her own danger but determined to command her own life. What will happen when the last Tudor defies her ruthless and unforgiving Queen Elizabeth?”

 

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Philippa Gregory is well-known for her historical novels focusing on the Tudor and Plantagenet families and Jane Grey is such a fascinating character of this period, so I was excited to see how she portrayed the Grey sisters.

The book is split into three sections that tell the story from the perspective of each of the Grey sisters: Jane, Katherine, and Mary. Jane is a well-known historical figure, but I have to admit that I knew very little about Kathryn and Mary going in.

The eldest sister, Jane, was proclaimed queen for nine days by her scheming family and Dudley in-laws after the death of Edward VI. She was a devout Protestant, having studied with Kathryn Parr and the great grand-daughter of Henry VII through his daughter, Mary Tudor, Queen of France.

Her reign was swiftly terminated when Mary, the eldest daughter of Henry VIII, was able to form an army and win the favour of the Privy Council. Jane was found guilty of high treason and beheaded on February 12 1554, along with her husband, father, and other key members of the plot to put Jane on the throne.

The middle Grey sister – Katherine – was forced to remain in first Queen Mary’s court, then Elizabeth’s. She has almost no family remaining, her marriage was annulled, and she is treated as a threat by both queens. If she married and had a baby boy she would have as much as a claim to the throne as Jane had  before her.

While Elizabeth is busy staving of threats to her crown by her other cousins – Mary, Queen of Scots and Mary Douglas – Kathryn marries Edward Seymour in secret, and is imprisoned under house arrest once Elizabeth discovers their betrothal.

The third Grey sister – Mary – was a Little Person and the only Grey sister to survive Queen Elizabeth’s fear of a Tudor heir and have children of her own.

A lot of people complain that Gregory too often uses a writing trope ‘as you know, Bob’ where she includes too much information about story details by having characters that already know this information talk about it together.

I did notice it throughout the novel, but I don’t have an issue about it in this case. The families of this time period are complicated and confusing, and I would much prefer to have the slight irk over unrealistic dialogue than to get bogged down in figuring out who everyone is all the time.

I loved diving back into the Tudor world with Gregory, although I was sad to read that this might be her last novel that focuses on the Tudors as she is heading in a new direction now.

5 stars!