Saturday, July 14, 2018

Bookish - The Emerald Sea

Heya Readers,

It's winter holiday time here and I've just returned from four beautiful days in the central South Island (Te Waipounamu) with the people I love best.

While away I read 3 and 3/4 books which feels like the measure of a good holiday!

One of these was The Emerald Sea by Richelle Mead.



Mead is a very successful author with several series under her pen. This one is part of the 'Glittering Court' novels. It's the first title I've read by Mead and I'd been keen to read other things she has written.

The book covers Tamsin's quest to make it to the New World and secure the best husband meaning she, her family and her secret will be secure. At the Glittering Court school no one has worked harder than Tamsin to make sure she is at the top of her game. On the way to the New World disaster strikes though, and the plans that she and the other young women had are faced with the bleak realities of what might be.

No matter what difficulties lie ahead and what new cultural paradigms are thrown at her Tamsin's determination never wavers. Nothing, not even her own desires are allowed to get in her way. Will determination, destiny or desire win out in the end?

I really enjoyed this book. It's long enough to let the characters really develop and for there to be several interesting shifts in the narrative. The main character is strong and gets things done and there are a couple of other female characters that are the same. I appreciate that even in romantic moments the female characters don't abandon their personality in favour of simpering and eye-lash fluttering.

A perfect holiday read.

Details - Penguin Random House, July 2018 RRP $30.00

love you more than a makeshift shelter in a blizzard xxx


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Bookish - The Visitor

Hey friends,

One of the things I love about Gecko Press is how selective they are in the titles that they publish. All of their books have some kind of unexpected or quirky way of seeing the world or telling a story.

The Visitor by Antje Damm is no different.



The story is about Elise who is frightened of everything so her life exists only in the four walls of her home. Until, one day, quite unexpectedly there is a knock on the door and her little visitor will change everything for her.

This is a beautiful story, gently told, about the power of small people to just be themselves and bring love and colour into the world.

The pictures are 3 dimensional sets that the author has created and have a doll's house like quality to them.

A book to treasure.

Details - Gecko Press, July 2018 RRP $29.99 HB (follow the link for a peak inside at the illustrations)

love you more than a paper aeroplane at just the right moment xxx

Monday, June 25, 2018

Bookish - The Hunters

Heya friends,

I am always keen to see books that highlight more of what makes Aotearoa unique as a nation - culturally, geographically and in terms of our flora and fauna.

The Hunters by Debbie Stewart is a hugely comprehensive book that will satisfy any bird lover, especially those who are interested in birds of prey.



The book is an excellent mix of photography, 'at a glance' style pages of facts, profiles, and much longer chunks of text around various topics.

There is an introduction to all our birds of prey as well as chapters covering Māori and birds of prey and extinct birds of prey. However the book does not stay in history, it covers all the kind of information anyone might like to know from falconry practises to how urban dwellers can encourage birds of prey and support their population growth.

I especially like that all birds are given their Māori, English and Latin names and that there is a relaxed approach to the use of these names throughout the book.

There's even a great page on the turns of phrase and language that have become part of popular vernacular that relate to falconry - including terms like 'under the thumb' and 'hoodwink'.

A beautiful, comprehensive book written with an expert mind and a bird lover's heart. This would make an excellent gift.

Details - Penguin Random House, June 2018 RRP $50.00

love you more than new knowledge of local and long ago things xxx

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Bookish - for fabulous little people

Heya,

One of the things I most enjoyed in the early years of parenting was the hours spent consuming books together. Even now I continue to buy children's books and read them for pleasure.

In June there are some new releases from Penguin Random House that I am rather fond of already.

Roald Dahl's 1 2 3 and Roald Dahl's Opposites - both illustrated by Quentin Blake (of course!) are board books. When my two were small I really resisted board books initially because they looked like they were for 'babies' and so I worried we wouldn't keep enjoying them when the boys grew out of that stage. What experience taught me was that board books would allow me to enjoy reading with my boys much earlier without having all the pages scrunched and torn in excitement.

So, now I often give board books as baby gifts, because you can never start a book obsession too young right?!

The 1 2 3 book is a sweet book of counting 'chiddlers' (I do love imaginary words in children's books) and spotting the naughty crocodile on each page. The book is clearly based on the Enormous Crocodile book. (We have a great rendition of Stephen Fry reading this as an audio book, so good!). I would say in my experience some little people, the monster loving and chasing loving kind will love spotting the crocodile. There may be others who find the crocodile and sense of suspense more difficult to cope with.



Details - Penguin Random House, June 2018 RRP $15.99 BB

The Opposites book is one of those great books that has lift the flap features (a favourite with small fingers) and is mainly animals all of which feature in different favourite Roald Dahl books. The book has simple illustrations and great use of colour. I can see this one being a firm favourite and quickly becoming one a little person can 'read' all by themselves.



Details - Penguin Random House, June 2018 RRP $15.99 BB

Finally, another classic by Lynley Dodd. A Dragon in a Wagon features Dodd's classic ability to rhyme with style and fun. Susie's dog is a perfect little friend for walking but wouldn't it be nice if he could be something a bit strange or different just for once? Have fun as Susie's imagination runs away with her until she falls, and then who does she really want at her side? For anyone who enjoys Lynley Dodd and crazy animals.



Details - Penguin Random House, June 2018 RRP $17.99 PB

love you more than shelves that are fit to burst with great books xxx

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Bookish - Listen for the Weather

Kia ora koutou,

Listen for the Weather by Justine Delaney Wilson is the latest novel to transfer itself off my to-be-read pile. (It is a large pile and not helped by my propensity to buy books!).



The book follows Beth and Steven and the idyllic life they have built since immigrating from Ireland to NZ. A life whose smooth surface is about to be well and truly changed by a gigantic rock, in the form of a dalliance whose consequences can no longer be forgotten.

The book is hard to read but I imagine very realistic for any person who has watched their marriage slowly imploding even as they try to weave the straws of it back together. It's a story of consequences and heartaches and insecurities and lives that are so entwined there may be nothing left if they come untwined.

There are some lovely moments in the book and many ones where you want to reach through a slap a character (or two!).

I think it's the kind of story that will stay with me for some time and give me insight into just how difficult the journey of love sometimes is for people.

Details - Hachette NZ, May 2018 RRP $34.99

love you more than a 19 year old boy who defends his mama xxx

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Bookish - The Key

Kia ora koutou,

The winter is really setting in here in Christchurch, NZ and I'm between semesters in study so I making the most of adding more reading time to my life.

I recently finished reading The Key by Kathryn Hughes.



The novel flicks between two time periods - 1956 in the Ambergate County Lunatic Asylum and 2006 where Sarah is exploring the past of what is now an abandoned old building - the same Ambergate from the previous period.

The book is clearly well researched and told from a storyteller who has the ability to grasp the small details that make a setting come to life. In 1956 Ellen is a student nurse with minimal training and a desire to do good. Her placement at the asylum is supremely challenging. She has compassion for the patients and especially those for whom the asylum has become a way of dealing with troubled family members.

As the time there unfolds it is clear that there are lines that are being crossed by patients and caregivers...

Meanwhile in 2006 Sarah makes a discovery that will lead to more information and more questions than she could dream of. Will she follow them all the way to their conclusion and what impact will that have on her life and the illusions that surround it?

At one point I was a bit worried that the nature of treatments doled out to patients would become too intense for me to read but in the end I'm glad I persevered and they didn't go too far in a direction I was worried about. It is a harrowing read in places because these are real things that happened to real people.

It reminds me of the richness our world has in its diversity and how powerful the desire to make everyone behave in certain ways can be - and the damage it does to humanity when those impulses are given free reign.

Details - Hachette NZ, April 2018, RRP $29.99

love you more than a sandwich shared by strangers xxx

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Bookish - The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes

Heya Friends,

Now that I am studying part time sitting down to read for pleasure feels like such an indulgence. I think I stopped reading for pleasure about midway through high school, I neglected it while studying and teaching and I didn't really get back into it until I was home with my children. It's a shame really - all those books I could have got through.



Recently I read Ruth Hogan's book The Particular Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes. The book is Marsha's story, a life that was stunted by a terrible event 12 years earlier. For the following years she has been stuck and unable to go on. Her spare time is shared between the cemetery and the local outdoor pool where she is unable to drown herself, even though she would like to.

Two highly unexpected women make their way into Marsha's life and piece by piece the rare, and unseen beauty of their lives invites her to embark on a journey back to a life that is filled with life.

I so enjoyed this book. I love that the best and brightest characters were older women who had refused to live the life society would have dictated to them. The joy they offered others in just being unapologetically themselves is a great invitation to us all.

Details - Hachette NZ, May 2018 RRP $34.99

love you more than a perfect chorus delivered to hungry crows xxx