March Wrap-Up: What a crazy month!

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March Wrap-Up. The stack on the left is the books I read in March, the stack on the right are some of the books I plan to read soon

My March Wrap-Up is running a little bit late, but I’ve been finding it difficult to figure out what I wanted to say this month given the circumstances. Like almost everybody around the world I’m still reeling from the shock of it all and I am just doing my best to muddle my way through.

In many ways I am one of the lucky ones. I’m safe at home with my partner, my cats, and plenty of food. I also have my own issues to deal with which might not be so obvious online, just the same as everyone else, and sometimes I haven’t been so great at coping. I’ve definitely been unkind, judgmental, whinged about relatively trivial things, struggled to get anything done, taken up pointless baking (and eating far too much of the results), developed a taste for gin, and let my email inbox get out of control.

However, I have also tried to do my best under difficult circumstances. I’ve tried really hard to continue to share as much book love, cat photos, and positivity as possible, I’ve worked together with my partner to come up with some ground rules so we can work together in our overcrowded house with an overloaded internet network, and I have rolled my eyes and scrolled past more ridiculous and deliberately nasty posts on social media in the past month than I normally would during an entire regular year.

I also managed to read some fantastic books and hosted the lovely Australian author Cassie Hamer for a guest post in which she wrote a lovely blog post about her favourite comfort read that is perfect for reading during difficult times like these. I’m hoping to make this a regular feature for authors and other bookish people to share their thoughts on their own favourite comfort reads, so please do get in touch if this something you would like to take part in too.

I truly do hope this post finds you all safe and well, wherever you may be, and that you are able to make some time for yourself to put your feet up and lose yourself in a good book every now and then. I know it’s difficult to manage at the moment, but it really does help, even if you just start off with a paragraph at time.

Books I Read in March

I only managed to read three novels, as well as bits of pieces of Rumi’s poetry in The Big Red Book. I haven’t written a review for The Big Red Book, but I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t read it before. Rumi was born in 1207 on the eastern edge of the Persian Empire in what is now Afghanistan, and there is something so hopeful and magical about his poems that they still resonate today. I often come across short Rumi quotes on social media and they can often come across as a bit trite, but they really don’t do justice to the real thing. I can’t think of a better time to give Rumi’s poem a proper read!

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Rumi: The Big Red Book

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa 

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The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

The Mothers by Genevieve Gannon 

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The Mothers by Genevieve Gannon

The Daughter of Victory Lights by Kerri Turner

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The Daughter of Victory Lights by Kerri Turner

My April TBR Pile

The End of Cuthbert Close by Cassie Hamer 

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The End of Cuthbert Close by Cassie Hamer

How to Grow a Family Tree by Eliza Henry-Jones

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How to Grow a Family Tree by Eliza Henry-Jones

Inheritance of Secrets by Sonya Bates  

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Inheritance of Secrets by Sonya Bates

Awakening by E.J. Dawson (Queen of Spades Book 1) 

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Queen of Spades Trilogy by E.J. Dawson 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: The Mothers by Genevieve Gannon

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The Mothers by Genevieve Gannon

Blurb

What if you gave birth to someone else’s child? A gripping family drama inspired by a real-life case of an IVF laboratory mix-up.

‘Engagingly and unflinchingly told, Gannon’s new novel, The Mothers, is the story of every parent’s worst nightmare. It is that novel that makes you muse on the most difficult of questions … What makes a mother? And can you ever un-become one? Like all my favourite books, The Mothers is both heartbreaking and heartwarming, and it leaves you with a lot to think about after you turn the final page. I sobbed my way through this wonderful book.’ – Sally Hepworth, bestselling author of The Mother-in-Law

Two couples. One baby. An unimaginable choice.

Grace and Dan Arden are in their forties and have been on the IVF treadmill since the day they got married. Six attempts have yielded no results and with each failure a little piece of their hope dies.

Indian-Australian Priya Laghari and her husband Nick Archer are being treated at the same fertility clinic and while the younger couple doesn’t face the same time pressure as the Ardens, the Archers have their own problems. Priya suspects Nick is cheating and when she discovers a dating app on his phone her worst fears are confirmed.?

Priya leaves Nick and goes through an IVF cycle with donor sperm. On the day of her appointment, Grace and Dan also go in for their final, last-chance embryo transfer. Two weeks later the women both get their results: Grace is pregnant. Priya is not.?

A year later, angry and heart-broken, Priya learns her embryo was implanted in another woman’s uterus and must make a choice: live a childless life knowing her son is being raised by strangers or seek custody of a baby that has been nurtured and loved by another couple.

My Review 

“Two Couples, One Baby, An Unimaginable Choice”

The Mothers by Genevieve Gannon is a powerful family drama inspired by a real-life case where two couples are forced to battle it out in court to determine who a baby’s rightful mother is after a mix-up at a fertility clinic. Is it the woman who is genetically linked to the baby or the woman who gave birth?

The first half of the novel focuses on two couple’s IVF journeys which enables us to intimately get to know them and the difficulties they faced trying to get pregnant. Grace and Dan went through 6 stages of IVF and are in their 40s, while Nick and Priya were younger, but facing a serious relationship breakdown due to the stress caused by IVF. I thought this section was really well-done and I imagine it is an accurate portrayal of how IVF treatment must negatively affect people. By the end of this section I was fully invested in both couples having a happy ending.

The second half of the novel examines how the mix-up was discovered, the reaction of the couples and the IVF facility, and the gut-wrenching court case. I had to put this novel down for a short while after the verdict because it was so emotional. I was heartbroken for the mother who lost, although I ultimately do agree with the decision that was made.

Genevieve Gannon has outdone herself with this novel. The characters are so well developed, and their fertility battles and the court case, are described in such an empathetic way that I found myself rooting for all of them. The Mothers is an emotional read, but it does end on a positive note. I loved this book and I can’t wait to find out what is coming next from Genevieve Gannon.

Five stars!

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The Mothers by Genevieve Gannon

Details

Author: Genevieve Gannon

Published:  January 7th 2020 by Allen and Unwin

Source: Author

Read: Paperback, 384 pages, Feb-March 2020

Goodreads 

Amazon AU

Amazon US

Amazon UK

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

 

Book Launch: ‘The First Year’ by Genevieve Gannon @Gen_Gannon

About the Book

‘Genevieve Gannon writes with a fresh and funny narrative voice … chick lit at its very, very best’ Tess Woods, author of Love at First Flight

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?

‘A clever and entertaining read-into-the-wee-hours-of-morning story about love, creativity and the things that make us tick. Genevieve Gannon writes with passion and wit in a story you’ll relate to whether you’ve struggled through love, art or the wrath of public transport ticket inspectors.’ Claire Varley, author of The Bit in Between

Details

Title: The First Year 

Author: Genevieve Gannon

ISBN: 9781460708460

Published: April 24th 2017 by HarperCollins Publishers Australia

Genre: Chick Lit, Romance, Romantic Comedy

I’m looking forward to reading this one with a nice coffee or two!!

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Book Review: ‘Chasing Chris Campbell’ by Genevieve Gannon

Title: Chasing Chris Campbell                                         gen

Author: Genevieve Gannon

ISBN: 9781460704714

Published: June 1st 2015 by HarperCollins Publishers Australia

Genre:  Romance, Chick Lit

Source: I received my copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Description:

The hilarious and charming second novel from the author of Husband Hunters. For fans of The Rosie Project, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and all good rom-coms.

Violet is saving money: living on rice and beans and denying herself chocolate eclairs all in the name of saving for a home deposit. Once they save enough, she and Michael can buy a house, settle down and live happily ever after. But when Michael does the unthinkable, Violet is forced to rethink her life choices.

A chance encounter with Chris Campbell (first love, boy-next-door, The One That Got Away) spurs her into travelling to exotic locations she never dreamed she’d explore – Hong Kong, Vietnam, Varanasi – on a quest to catch up with Chris and lead a life of adventure. Armed with hand sanitiser and the encouraging texts of her twin sister Cassandra, will Violet find true love before it’s too late? Or will the nerve-wracking experience of travelling send her back to Melbourne in search of safety and stability? Can she work out what she really wants before she is left with nothing?

My Thoughts:

Chasing Chris Campbell is Genevieve Gannon’s second novel which is just as fun to read as her debut novel, Husband Hunters. When Violet breaks up with her penny-pinching fiance`, Michael, her life seems to be at a bit of a cross-roads. She hates her job and doesn’t really seem to know what to do next. Until her high school sweetheart, Chris Campbell, enters the scene again.

Violet decides to follow Chris on his never-ending overseas adventures, but she needs to catch in the right country first. He always seems to be one step ahead of her and incredibly vague about making arrangements. Nevertheless, Violet decides to put aside her fussy germophobe tendencies to follow Chris from Hong Kong to Vietnam, and then to Varnassi, all in the name of love.

Chasing Chris Campbell is a fun, lighthearted read and I particularly enjoyed reading about all of the different places that Violet and Chris visited. This is the perfect novel to take along and read at the beach. Yay for Summer and sunny days ahead!

Amazon

Goodreads

Genevieve Gannon wrote a particularly interesting article Executive Style titled Chick lit: men might just love it which challenges male readers to give the chick lit genre a try sometime. I know that there are lot of male readers and writers here on WordPress so I’m wondering, how many male readers are out there who enjoy a good chick lit novel?

http://www.executivestyle.com.au/chick-lit-men-might-just-love-it-gjx6uo

 

 

 

Book Review: Husband Hunters by Genevieve Gannon

Husband HuntersTitle: Husband Hunters

Author: Genvieve Gannon

ISBN: 9781460704707

Published: December 1st 2014 by HarperCollins Publishers Australia

Genre: Romance, ChickLit, Romantic Comedy

Pages: 278

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Description:

Clementine, a psychologist specialising in couples counselling, is reeling from the discovery that her boyfriend is married. Annabel, an ex-model, only seems to attract men who want her as a trophy. Daniela, a civil engineer, is stuck in the friendzone.
Abandoning the romantic notions of true love that haven’t worked out for them, the three decide to use their considerable professional skills to find a partner. This isn’t about hearts and flowers; it’s about being practical.

Warm and witty, Husband Hunters is about what happens when you try to engineer love.

My Thoughts:

I received my copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Husband Hunters by Genevieve Gannon is a refreshingly funny and honest romantic comedy about three school friends, Clementine, Annabel and Daniela, who reunite at a friend’s wedding. They decide that they are sick of being single and it’s time for them to get serious about finding husbands so they from the Husband Hunters, a club dedicated to finding each one a suitable husband.

The story is told from the POV of each of the three members of Husband Hunters, which I thought worked really well. Being able to read about each one from the others’ perspective means that you really get to know each them much better than if you were only getting one side of the story.

I really enjoyed reading Husband Hunters. There is plenty of romance, lots of laughs and well-developed and likable characters.

View at Amazon

View at Goodreads