Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Bookish - When You Read This

Kia ora

When You Read This by Mary Adkins is book that is conceived in a really original style.

The book is entirely composed of correspondence. In the wake of Iris Massey's death her blog is discovered along with her thoughts that maybe Smith (her former boss) might think it was worth publishing. This leads Smith and his intern Carl (enthusiastic, socially clueless) on a quest to discover a relative for permission.

Enter Jade the (somewhat neurotic) sister of Iris.

Mishaps, mis-understandings and some hilarious crossed wires and quirky characters round out the narrative. Who will we hear from next and what turn will their email take us on?

Don't be fooled that the style will flatten the characters each person jumps larger than life off the pages.

Entertaining, original and modern.

Details - Hachette NZ, February 2019 RRP $34.99

love you more than an email self-help guru xxxx

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Bookish - When All Is Said

Happy New Year Lovelies,

Last year I read 42 books which feels good. So far this year I've read 4 although I might slow down once I'm back reading large academic texts.

When All Is Said is the debut novel from Anne Griffin.

It's a really unusual novel. The whole novel is basically a stream of consciousness. Maurice Hannigan sits in a hotel and orders five distinct drinks and toasts five important people from his life.

As he toasts his stream of consciousness follows his life story, his losses and joys.

This novel is really absorbing. I read it in a day following each toast and growing more connected to Maurice as the book unfolded. By the end of the novel there were tears.

This book is written so differently than any other I have read but it is brilliantly realised. Even though there is essentially only one character there are multiple characters and each is brought to life through the eyes of a single individual.

There are some very moving moments and some real insights into the nuances of relationships and love.

I look forward to Griffin's next offering.

Details - Hachette NZ, January 2019, RRP $34.99

love you more than a penny picked up xxx

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Bookish - Two Can Keep A Secret

Dear Friends,

It has become apparent that I am using this space to document my reading more than anything else but that's okay... it's what it is at the moment and I love looking back and seeing how my reading life moves about.

Two Can Keep A Secret is the latest YA Crime/Murder novel on offer by Karen M McManus.

Ezra and Ellery have arrived in the 'blink and you miss it' town of Echo Ridge to live with their grandmother for a period of time while their mother fights her own battles.

Echo Ridge might be small but it's not without its demons. Two homecoming queens have disappeared - one murdered and now threats are appearing that it will happen again. Ellery, who's obsessed with playing detective can't help but get drawn into the drama. However, real life is not as simple as a TV drama and she's soon finding out there are secrets hidden everywhere in Echo Ridge.

Will her determination see her solve the mystery or will it land her in the sights of a potential murderer?

Like McManus' last offering I enjoyed this read. It has enough pace to draw you in and is told from the perspective of two characters. While there is some romance this is definitely a murder/crime novel and I really like that about it. The characters are fleshed out but the story isn't weighed down by teenage drama. There are some definite surprises in the story and some breadcrumb trails that might be worth following.

A great summer read for anyone who enjoys crime or YA fiction. I enjoyed it even more than her last offering which did very well being translated into 38 languages.

Details - Penguin Random House, January 2019 RRP $21.00

love you more than a satisfying escape xxx

Monday, December 10, 2018

Bookish - Hedgehog Howdedo

Heya Lovelies,

If you have a little person to buy a gift for this year please do consider a book. As any parent of small people can attest they will get read at least a million times! (Plus so much better than a present that makes loud noises when you trip over it at 3am.)

Lynley Dodd has weaved her magic again with Hedgehog Howdedo.

This delightful board book is so cute and the rhyme scheme so perfect and the language so pared back I was halfway through before I even realised it was a counting book. Some counting books are about counting and not much more but this one has so much charm. I could feel myself smiling as I read it and it feels like an absolute treasure of a book.

I have a little person in my life (niece) fairly newly arrived and I'm sure her big brother would read her this book - question is can I part with my copy? I might have to go and buy another.

Dodd at her wonderful best.
(The link has an author photo - Dodd is very different than I imagined, in my head she was a 'soft/ squishy' grandmotherly look with a million animals and a patchwork coat!)

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

love you more than some 'bold as brass' hedgehogs owning the woodpile xxx

Monday, December 3, 2018

Bookish - Bright Young Dead

Kia ora Koutou,

I must confess I rather like a good murder mystery. I have been a watcher of Miss Marple and Midsomer Murders for some time. (I feel like such a grandma typing that sentence!) However, I haven't read murder mysteries before. I have picked up a couple of Agatha Christies at op-shops so there is hope.

This meant I came to Jessica Fellowes Bright Young Dead with a very open mind.

The book is set in the 1920s and focusses around the 'bright young things' as they emerge into and claim ownership of the glamorous new ways of their time. The upstairs/ downstairs roles are highlighted and Louisa Cannon the maid and often-chaperone finds these worlds are both colliding and pulling her to make a choice between dutiful maid and a woman who cannot accept the murderer is really guilty.

Alongside the drama that unfolds with the murder of a dinner party guest is the infamous Alice Diamond and her forty thieves - all women and the police's attempts to trap the queen of the ring. Dancing, jazz music, secrets, lies and threats all lie in the way of unravelling the mystery.

A real whodunnit and not an obvious answer - surprises right to the end. I also enjoyed the insights into the lives of women in this era. Longing for independence and emancipation but very much reliant on others giving them the benefit of the doubt and opportunity to prove themselves.

Nice to curl up and read with chocolate and a cup of tea and some jazz playing somewhere in the background.

Details - Hachette NZ, October 2018 RRP $34.99

love you more than a bolt of cloth hidden under a bustle xxx

Monday, November 26, 2018

Bookish - the next person you meet in heaven

Heya Readers,

It's getting to the Christmas Season and I'm trying to make the most of times where I'm sitting waiting for dance rehearsals to finish or just snatching moments here and there. Last year and this year I've kept a record of all the books I've read cover to cover. (Or finished reading if I started last year!). In this list I count longer non-fiction, novels, YA novels and children's novels but not picture books.

My list currently sits at about 40. So I feel like that's pretty good for a year where I've been studying part time, working part time and being a parent and partner.

Mitch Albom's book the next person you meet in heaven (the lowercase is how the title is written on the book) is a sequel to his best selling The Five People You Meet in Heaven. 

Now I must confess I haven't read the first book and it didn't matter at all. The narrative stands alone. Although, now that I have read it I'm very keen to read the other.

Albom has a really unique style of writing. It feels almost like spoken poetry. There is an immediacy to it and it lacks long descriptive passages. It is very different in its writing style to anything else I can think of.

I so enjoyed this book. It is brutal and beautiful and heartfelt without being wish-washy emotional. The story follows Annie (who was rescued by Eddie in the first book) on her wedding day and what will be a difficult 24 hours ahead. It is so readable as well. I started it and finished it in a short amount of time because the writing style is so pacey.

I don't want to say anymore about the plot because I do hate spoilers before I have read something. I would just say read it, buy it for someone you know who enjoys reading. Curl up in a cheeky corner somewhere and eat it up.

Details - Hachette NZ, October 2018 RRP $34.99 HB

love you more than a dog and girl who both need rescuing xxx

Friday, October 26, 2018

Bookish - Perfect for Presents

Bonjour :-)

How is it that we're already in October?? Today I'm excited to talk about more books by excellent New Zealand writers. These would all make great presents for people in your world. If you buy them from your local bookshop you'll be supporting local and supporting local authors and publishers - triple win! :-)

Oh Boy: A Storybook of Epic NZ Men by Stuart Lipshaw is a wonderful contribution to the the profiles of inspiring people that are popping up at the moment.

Raising 2 boys means these kind of books are very welcome at our place. (We do have girl books too because we can be inspired by anyone.) This book has a great line up of men who have had a real influence in their chosen fields from artists to inventors, from sportsmen to surgeons there are so many great men to be introduced to. A great book for quick stories with a wide variety of illustrators there is also a real assortment of artistic styles. These kind of stories are great jumping off points for talking about ambition, hard work and resilience. This one stays on the coffee table or nearby at our place for easy grabbing - a perfect book for dipping in and out.

I love that these kind of books push us to realise their are so many great people who are kiwis and are doing/have done great things for Aotearoa and the world.

Super gift for any family in NZ!

Details - Penguin Random House, October 2018 RRP $45.00 HB

Wake Up Bear by Lynley Dodd

As an illustrator and writer Dodd is synonymous with excellent books created for small people. Her feeling for language and stories that last the test of time is so well established. Wake up Bear is a book full of delightful interactions as all the animals try to wake up bear for Spring.

Will anyone succeed in waking up bear or will someone very small offer a little incentive that will get past everyone else's efforts?? Fun, sweet and joyful - as can be expected of Dodd.

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

Hero of the Sea: Sir Peter Blake's Mighty Ocean Quests by David Hill and Phoebe Morris

The next in this great series of influential New Zealanders. I hadn't appreciated that my littles wouldn't have heard of Sir Peter Blake. This story has all the wonder and joy of a life lived for ocean adventure.

I love that this book includes Blake's death by pirates - not in a gratuitous or violent way - but that it sits with the sorrow of a life cut short. Death by old age seems an acceptable thing in children's books but that can be limiting of the reality that we experience as people. It's good that this book gives a framework to discussions of loss and living onwards. (It includes the lives of Pippa and the children to the present).

My nine year old LOVED the red socks - especially on the elephant in the zoo. Like the others in the series it has a great timeline as well. I can imagine this series will be very enjoyed by small people with particular passions and also by people doing special projects on famous kiwis.

I hope as the series continues (I am assuming it will) that it will include Māori, Pasifika and other cultures. Super pleased to see a woman included and looking forward to more of them too.

Details - Penguin Random House, October 2018 RRP $25.00 HB

Love you more than being inspired on home turf xxx