Sixty Seconds by Jesse Blackadder book review

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Sixty Seconds by Jesse Blackadder

Goodreads Synopsis

Inspired by the author’s own family experience. The Brennans – parents Finn and Bridget, and their sons, Jarrah and Toby – have made a sea change, shifting from chilly Hobart to a sprawling purple weatherboard in subtropical Murwillumbah. Feeling like foreigners in this land of sun and surf, they are only just starting to settle when, one morning, tragedy strikes – changing their lives forever.

Determined to protect his wife, Finn finds himself under the police and media spotlight. Guilty and enraged, Bridget spends her nights hunting answers in the last place imaginable. Jarrah – his innocence lost – is propelled suddenly from his teens into frightening adulthood. As all three are pushed to the limit, questions fly: Who is to blame? And what does it take to forgive?

A haunting and ultimately redemptive story about what it takes to forgive.

PRAISE FOR JESSE BLACKADDER’S RAVEN’S HEART AND CHASING THE LIGHT

‘… utterly intriguing and completely unputdownable … The writing is evocative and powerful’ Good Reading

‘Her writing immerses the reader in the beauty and danger of the Southern Ocean and the sights, sounds and smells of Antarctica. Verdict: DAZZLING’ Herald Sun

My Review

Sixty Seconds is a heartbreaking Australian novel about a family coping with the drowning death of two year old Toby in the family pool. The Brennan family have recently moved from cold and wet Hobart Tasmania to subtropical Murwillumbah NSW when the tragic death of their youngest son, the Brennan family are left wondering if they will ever be able to forgive each other or themselves for the tragic accident. 

The novel is told from the POV’s of the Brennan family. Finn is an emerging artist and stay at home Dad. Bridget has always been the main provider of the family, working at a university in Hobart and now researching koalas for the NSW Government Environmental Department. Jarrah is a 15 year old struggling with teenage angst and bullying with a secret of his own. When Finn’s art finally begins to take off Bridget needs to take care of the children so he can finish his big commissions on time. It is during the breakfast rush that Toby finds his way into the family’s pool and drowns in less than a minute. In the aftermath the family is left with nothing but questions. How did it happen? Who is to blame? And will they ever be able to forgive each other?

I loved this book! Jesse Blackadder lost her baby sister in a drowning death when she was a child. Although Sixty Seconds is a fictional story, it is evident that the author understands how the death of a child in such a tragic accident can tear a family apart. Hearing the story of Toby’s drowning and the aftermath from the perspectives of the entire Brennan family really highlighted how tragedy can destroy a family. and the importance of forgiveness in these situations.

Details

Title: Sixty Seconds

Author: Jesse Blackadder

Published:  October 1st 2017 by HarperCollinsPublishers AU

ISBN: 1460754247 (ISBN13: 9781460754245)

Pages: 384

Genre: Australian, Contemporary Fiction

Source: Publisher

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads

 

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Book #Review: Ache by Eliza Henry Jones @ehenryjones

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Ache by Eliza Henry Jones

Goodreads Synopsis

A year ago, a devastating bushfire ripped Annie’s world apart – killing her grandmother, traumatising her young daughter and leaving her mother’s home in the mountains half destroyed. Annie fled back to the city, but the mountain continues to haunt her. Now, drawn by a call for help from her uncle, she’s going back to the place she loves most in the world, to try to heal herself, her marriage, her daughter and her mother. 


A heart-wrenching, tender and lovely novel about loss, grief and regeneration, Ache is not only a story of how we can be broken, but how we can put ourselves back together.

My Review

Ache will make you feel every emotion under the sun. A must read for everyone!

Ache is set one year after a bushfire destroyed Annie’s family and Australian mountain home. Annie is still trying to pick up the pieces of her life after riding her horse through the fires to save her child only to lose her beloved Grandmother and unwillingly become the face of the fires after her photo became splashed all over the media. Annie is trying to make her marriage work with her husband, Tom, and heal her traumatised daughter, Pip, in their home in the city. She decides to head home to the mountain where her family and small town friends are still battling to recover from the devastation of the fires.

This fire in this story is fictional but I think most Australians will be able to relate to the trauma of a small town dealing with the aftermath of a devastating bushfire. I have been lucky to be relatively untouched by bushfires but I still understand the fear of fire (or flood!) and can imagine the trauma of being right in the middle of it all and how difficult it must be to pick up the pieces of your life after a fire sweeps through and destroys your entire life. Bless everybody experiencing something similar right now.

Eliza Henry Jones has studied English, psychology and grief, loss and trauma counselling and completed a thesis exploring bushfire trauma in fiction. She has crafted a beautifully written and emotional novel that deals with a wide range of themes with grace and ease.  Now I understand why everyone I know has raved about this book and am so happy to add my rave review to the list!

Details

Title: Ache

Author: Eliza Henry Jones

Published: Published June 1st 2017 by Harper Collins (first published May 22nd 2017)

ISBN: 1460750381 (ISBN13: 9781460750384)

Pages: 256

Genre: Contemporary Australian Fiction

Source: Publisher

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads

Amazon

Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods @TessWoodsAuthor book event at Dymocks @Dymocks234Melb

I had the most amazing time at the Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event hosted by Dymocks 234 Collins Street. Thank you very much to all of the wonderful people at Dymocks who hosted such a fun, beautifully organised, and well planned, event in one of the most beautiful book stores in Melbourne!

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event at Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne

Didn’t the team at HarperCollins Publishers Australia did an amazing job on the cover and display artwork of Beautiful Messy Love!

 

 

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event at Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne

Here is another lovely set-up by Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne, as well as a very full basket of donations for Share the Dignity!

 

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event at Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne

I have to admit I felt a little bit nervous being on the stage, but Tess is amazing in front of an audience and we chatted about all sorts of interesting things, including romance, love, feminism, writing, books, and Australian Rules Football. I will update how Tess went with her footy tips for this weekend on Monday! I particularly loved that there were lots of questions from the amazing audience. Thank you so much to everybody who attended, it was so lovely to meet all you.

 

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event at Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne. Jade St Clair and Tess Woods. 

 

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event at Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne. Jade St Clair and Wes. 

Tess and I were a bit tired by the end of the night but we had a ball!!! Thank you again to every single person who came and worked together to put on such a fantastic bookish evening. And a very special thank you to Tess for having me last night and for writing two of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a long time. I can’t wait to read your next one!

 

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event at Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne. Jade St Clair and Tess Woods. 

 

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Love at First Flight and Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The First Year by Genevieve Gannon

 

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Ziggy and Zeus survived their first year together fairly well! 

 

Goodreads Synopsis

The first year of marriage is hard no matter what. Throw in jealous exes, high-pressure careers and two wildly different families, and the degree of difficulty goes up a few more notches. Determined to beat the odds, one couple comes up with a plan to keep their romance alive – but life has other ideas.

Saskia is an up-and-coming jewellery designer, waiting tables at a trendy cafe to keep her fledgling company afloat. Andrew is a corporate lawyer who wants to be known for more than his family’s money. They’re passionate about their work and each other, but with Andy’s job in jeopardy and Saskia’s jewellery label taking off, the pressure is taking its toll.

As life pulls them in different directions, the two of them are forced to decide: Just how important is their marriage? And how hard are they willing to work to protect it?

My Review

This is the third book I’ve read by Genevieve Gannon, and I think this one is my favourite! The First Year is the story of the first year of the marriage of Melbourne couple,  jewellery designer Saskia and intellectual property rights lawyer  Andy. As you can imagine, they are a bit of an odd couple and face a range of issues during their first year.

I loved that Gannon set this novel in our mutual home town of Melbourne. Saskia and Andy represent two common Melbourne stereotypes and I felt they rang very true. Saskia was a perfect Brunswick hipster type with just the right amount of talent and down to earth attitude to make her likable. Andy was a very typical corporate type with a snobby family. I feel like I’ve met both of them before a couple of times around Melbs!

All of the best parts about Melbourne were included in The First Year. Great coffee, great food, live music, and the thriving arts community were all in there.  I think Melbourne is a fantastic setting for a novel and would love to see more Melbourne based books. I’m also taking this as a sign that Gen will be back one day…everyone comes home to Melbourne eventually!

The First Year also tackled copyright infringement from the perspective of a small designer taking on a big chain. This is such an important issue and I feel like we really do need to be talking and thinking about copyright law more than we do. Copyright law is a mess right now and corporations hold all the cards. On one hand, we have designers being ripped off and losing money due to copyright infringement. On the other hand, the public domain is shrinking rapidly because the length of copyright has been extended so much over the past century. The public domain is essential to continue creativity because all great ideas come from somewhere. If there are no new ideas in the public domain then we will very quickly run out of new ideas.

The Creative Commons was created as a response to the ever-shrinking public domain. There are images and sound files you can use in your own works with correct attribution and you can also find a copyright license to use for your own works. And the licenses are written in plain English, so it’s very easy to use and find exactly what you’re looking for. It’s an essential tool for everybody who creates on the Internet!

Details

Title: The First Year

Author: Genevieve Gannon

Published: April 24th 2017 by HarperCollins

Genre: Romance

Pages: 347

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods Melbourne Book Launch @TessWoodsAuthor

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Calling all Melbourne romance readers!

You are all invited to the upcoming Melbourne book launch of Tess Woods, Australian romance author. This is a free event where I’ll be in conversation with the lovely Tess Woods about her new book Beautiful Messy Love. There’ll also be a book signing and refreshments. Hope to see you there!

This event is being held at Dymocks Booksellers, 234 Collins St, Melbourne on Thursday, August 10th, 2017 at 6:30 pm.

For more information visit the Beautiful Messy Love Melbourne Launch Facebook Event

Register your attendance at trybooking.com

Looking forward to seeing lots of Melbourne readers and writers there!

The Scent of You by Maggie Alderson Book Review @MaggieA

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“A sweet romance and relationship focused novel set in the world of perfumery”

4/5 stars

Synopsis

Perfume blogger Polly is in crisis. Will her husband’s absence break her … or make her? A novel of perfumes, exploring life, love, loss and forgiveness – Maggie Alderson’s new bestseller.

Are you still married if you haven’t seen your husband for months?

Polly’s life is great. Her children are away at uni, her glamorous mother – still modelling at eighty-five – is happily settled in a retirement village, and her perfume blog is taking off. Then her husband announces he needs some space and promptly vanishes.

As Polly grapples with her bewildering situation, she clings to a few new friends to keep her going – Shirlee, the loudmouthed yoga student; Guy, the mysterious, infuriating and hugely talented perfumer; and Edward, an old flame from university.

And while she distracts herself with the heady world of luxury perfume, Polly knows she can’t keep reality at bay forever. Eventually she is forced to confront some difficult truths: about her husband, herself and who she really wants to be.

My Review

The Scent of You is a sweet romance and relationship focused novel set in the world of perfumery. Polly is a part-time yoga teacher and successful English perfume blogger. Her professor husband, David, abruptly left their home under mysterious circumstances leaving strict instructions not to look for him. Polly copes with the stress of David’s disappearance and her mother’s failing health with the help of her two children, Shirley, the blunt yoga student, Guy, the mysterious perfumer, and Edward (Chum), an old university boyfriend.

I enjoyed the detailed descriptions of all the lovely perfumes interspersed throughout the novel and loved Polly’s blog posts which linked perfumes with memories. The characters were all well-developed and likable, except for Polly’s husband and occasionally Polly herself. I couldn’t help but wonder how Polly had no idea of the issue David had been facing for so many years!

4/5 stars

Goodreads

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June and beyond reading list 

 

Scatterbooker June and beyond reading list

 

It’s been a bit quiet on the blog lately! That’s because I have been busily completing my studies and am almost a graduate of a Bachelor of Arts in Internet Communications. I have handed in my final assignment and am nervously waiting for my final results to be ready and get that piece of paper.

I have a stack of books ready to dive into and review, although I suspect I have far too many to get to by the end of this month. My cat (Ziggy) looks almost as excited as I am to get started on catching up on my TBR pile. I think she’s looking forward to me being able to sit still long enough for plenty of lap sits!

The Pretty Delicious Cafe by Danielle Hawkins

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Synopsis

Food, family and fresh beginnings. For fans of 800 Words, Offspring, Josephine Moon and Monica McInerney.

On the outskirts of a small New Zealand seaside town, Lia and her friend Anna work serious hours running their restored cafe. The busy season is just around the corner, and there are other things to occupy them. Anna is about to marry Lia’s twin brother, and Lia’s ex-boyfriend seems not to understand it’s over.
When a gorgeous stranger taps on Lia’s window near midnight and turns out not to be a serial killer, she feels it’s a promising sign. But the past won’t let them be, and Lia must decide whether events rule her life or she does.
The Pretty Delicious Cafe will remind you of those special, good things we love about living. And the food is great.
A warm, witty novel, brimming with the trademark romance, friendship and eccentricity that Danielle Hawkins’s fans adore.

 

The First Year  by Genevieve Gannon

thefirstyear

Synopsis

The first year of marriage is hard no matter what. Throw in jealous exes, high-pressure careers and two wildly different families, and the degree of difficulty goes up a few more notches. Determined to beat the odds, one couple comes up with a plan to keep their romance alive – but life has other ideas.

Saskia is an up-and-coming jewellery designer, waiting tables at a trendy cafe to keep her fledgling company afloat. Andrew is a corporate lawyer who wants to be known for more than his family’s money. They’re passionate about their work and each other, but with Andy’s job in jeopardy and Saskia’s jewellery label taking off, the pressure is taking its toll.

As life pulls them in different directions, the two of them are forced to decide: Just how important is their marriage? And how hard are they willing to work to protect it?

 

The Scent of You by Maggie Alderson

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Synopsis

Perfume blogger Polly is in crisis. Will her husband’s absence break her … or make her? A novel of perfumes, exploring life, love, loss and forgiveness – Maggie Alderson’s new bestseller.

Are you still married if you haven’t seen your husband for months?

Polly’s life is great. Her children are away at uni, her glamorous mother – still modelling at eighty-five – is happily settled in a retirement village, and her perfume blog is taking off. Then her husband announces he needs some space and promptly vanishes.

As Polly grapples with her bewildering situation, she clings to a few new friends to keep her going – Shirlee, the loudmouthed yoga student; Guy, the mysterious, infuriating and hugely talented perfumer; and Edward, an old flame from university.

And while she distracts herself with the heady world of luxury perfume, Polly knows she can’t keep reality at bay forever. Eventually she is forced to confront some difficult truths: about her husband, herself and who she really wants to be

 

The Story of Our Life by Shari Low

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Synopsis

Unwind, laugh, cry … but feel uplifted with this bittersweet love story. Perfect for the fans of Jo-Jo Moyes and Marian Keyes.

So what would you do if your ‘happy ever after’ was stolen from you?

Colm strolled into my life fifteen years ago. If there’s ever such a thing as love at first sight, that was it for us both. A few weeks later we married, celebrating with those who cared, ignoring the raised eyebrows of the cynics.

We knew better. This was going to be forever. The dream come true. The perfect ending. Until it wasn’t.

Because a couple of months ago everything changed. We discovered a devastating truth, one that blew away our future and forced us to revisit our past, to test the bonds that were perhaps more fragile than they seemed.

So now I ask you again, what would you do if your ‘happy ever after’ was taken from you?

Because this is what I did.

I’m Shauna.

And this is the Story of Our Life…

 

 Ache by Eliza Henry Jones

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Synopsis

A year ago, a devastating bushfire ripped Annie’s world apart – killing her grandmother, traumatising her young daughter and leaving her mother’s home in the mountains half destroyed. Annie fled back to the city, but the mountain continues to haunt her. Now, drawn by a call for help from her uncle, she’s going back to the place she loves most in the world, to try to heal herself, her marriage, her daughter and her mother.
A heart-wrenching, tender and lovely novel about loss, grief and regeneration, Ache is not only a story of how we can be broken, but how we can put ourselves back together.

 

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

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The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is from the David Bowie Reading Challenge #DBowieBooks

Synopsis

‘Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life…’

Passionate, free-thinking and unconventional, Miss Brodie is a teacher who exerts a powerful influence over her group of ‘special girls’ at Marcia Blaine School. They are the Brodie set, the crème de la crème, each famous for something – Monica for mathematics, Eunice for swimming, Rose for sex – who are initiated into a world of adult games and extracurricular activities they will never forget. But the price they pay is their undivided loyalty …

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is a brilliantly comic novel featuring one of the most unforgettable characters in all literature.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

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I’m not sure how many times I’ve read Sense and Sensibility before but I saw this beautiful edition and just had to have it, so it looks like I’m due for a re-read!

Synopsis

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.