Friday, May 10, 2019

Bookish - Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid

Hi Hi,

My boys absolutely love the Wimpy Kid diaries by Jeff Kinney so when I saw there was a new one coming out I knew they would love to get their hands on a copy. The day it arrived in the post they had a friend over who was very excited to see there was another one about to be published.

Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid Rowley Jefferson's Journal may have a long title but it's jampacked with the illustration and writing combo that seems to be particularly engaging for readers.

This time instead of focussing on Greg it's Rowley Jefferson's chance to take centre stage. (Even the illustrations are slightly different). Kinney has maintained all the humour and joy that have made the Wimpy Kid books so popular.

My big boy read through the whole book cover to cover twice while son number two kept asking when it would be his turn. It's been on constant reading rotation since then which is the best endorsement a book can have.

If you've fans of the Wimpy Kid books in your life be sure to add this to their collection.

Details - Penguin Random House, April 2019 RRP $17.99

love you more than a fliporama in the corners xxx

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Bookish - Granny McFlitter

Kia ora koutou,

I'm imagining that many of you may have heard of Granny McFlitter Champion Knitter which charmed the NZ picture book scene last year.

This year author Heather Haylock and illustrator Lael Chisholm have created another delightful yarn together. Granny McFlitter A Country Yarn.

The local country show is the location for Granny's current knitty adventure. Forget the home-gorwn and home-baked delights Granny has knitted up an array of delights. But will a runaway bull ruin the fair? Not if Granny McFlitter has anything to do with it.

The rhyme scheme is solid, the illustrations charming and the story enchanting.

Perfect for knitters large and small, farmers large and small and animal lovers large and small.

Details - Penguin Random House, March 2019 RP $19.99 PB

love you more than a knitted lasso xxx

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Bookish - The Baker's Companion

Hey Foodies,

I love getting recipe books - I quite like browsing them like you would a magazine.

Allyson Gofton's latest offering The Baker's Companion does not disappoint.

It's a beautiful hard covered book and the images make you feel either like baking immediately and certainly like brewing the kettle and sitting down to some serious eating.

Just after I received it my hubby was scheduled for a work shout so I made a couple of the recipes. Both went down a a treat so I consider that a good advert for the book.

The book has a great general know-how section at the start which is perfect if you have someone wanting to become a proficient baker.

The chapters are Pastry, Tray Bakes/Slices/Brownies, Tea Time Quick Bakes, Biscuits and Baked Puddings (hooray for wintery nights and warm puds), Pavlovas/Meringues, Breads and Yeast Baking.

It's a fabulous hard covered book and would make a great gift, or a gift for yourself if you're a baking type.

Details - Penguin Random House, April 2019 RRP $55.00 HB

love you more than a lemon brownie xxx

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Bookish - Saving You

Heya friends,

My book reading this year feels like it has been much curtailed - I guess studying and working will have that effect.

A while ago I finished reading Charlotte Nash's book Saving You.

The premise of the book sounded entertaining 'three escaped pensioners and a single mother trying to rescue her son.'

The book follows Mallory and her estranged from Australia and across the USA. I expected the book to be good holiday reading and I wasn't disappointed. The world Nash creates is colourful and engaging.

What I didn't expect was to get emotionally invested in the story, which I did.

This book is a great read if you have a bit of wanderlust or a soft spot for retirement home dwellers or you've ever wanted to put some history to right (or you like men on motorbikes).

I would happily pick up other novels by the same author.

Details - Hachette NZ, Jan 2019 RRP $29.99

love you more than a stetson hat xxx

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Bookish - We Are Displaced

Kia ora

Living in Christchurch, New Zealand has been incredibly sad over the last few weeks. On 15th of March a terrorist entered two mosques in our city and opened fire on people while they worshipped.

The grief and sorrow of this is hard to put into words.

Many of those who lost their lives had come to NZ to make a life at a distance from their original homes, making home on this whenua (land) in our city.

While this was happening I was reading We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafazi with contributions from other refugees from around the world.

The stories in this book are beautiful and painful and hopeful. Now in our history more than ever we must see the humanity and the human stories that are unique and universal to people who have been displaced from their homes by politics, persecution and war.

These are the stories our children must read and that we must position ourselves to hear not just in books and online but in person from those in our communities who have these heartbreaking stories too.

The stories in the book are written as records of different young women and girls who have had to leave their homes and build new lives in different places.

We must see one another not as an 'other' but as a person - with stories and hopes and talents and joys.

This book is an excellent and accessible read and I'll be encouraging many people to read it and enter in to deeper understanding and hopefully to be people who build a more welcoming space in their communities for the richness new people bring.

Details - Hachette NZ, Jan 2019, RRP $34.99

love you more than Dave Dobbyn's song Welcome Home xxx

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Bookish - Threads of Life

Hi readers,

It's not often that I read one chapter of a book (especially the first chapter!) and feel like crying afterwards. Such was the effect of Threads of Life by Clare Hunter.

I actually did cry quite a few times reading this book.

Just the back cover is enough to make me want to find a quite space and spend the next 6 months with thread in hand. Indeed, after I read that first chapter I opened up the list on my phone of potential topics I want to do for my Masters in Theology and added another one. (The list currently sits at 29... I think I may need some direction!)

This book is an absolute triumph. It's a historical exegesis of thread but woven together under different headings. Each chapter has a theme of its own for example captivity, work, voice but each explores a range of historical and modern contexts about how stitching has worked in that way.

The work explored is culturally diverse and not only about women.

I learnt so much during reading this book and I kept making tiny folds on pages I wanted to revisit. Maybe it's just me and the people I hang out with but I've recommended it to a number of people already.

For anyone who appreciates history, art, craftivism or stitch this will be a joyful and informative read.

I am so glad to have it in my collection and I will be reading it and referring to it again.  It's also inspired a very large project I want to undertake that may take a very long time.

I loved it!

Details - Hachette NZ, February 2019 RRP $32.99

love you more than a stitch imbued with purpose xxxx

Friday, February 22, 2019

Bookish - Remembered

Heya Readers,

Over the summer I read Yvonne Battle-Felton's incredible book Remembered.

The book opens in 1910 in Philadelphia. Spring goes to visit her son Edward in the hospital in the coloured section of the hospital.

He is dying and her dead sister Tempe is on her case to let Edward know his story, his history.

Meanwhile outside the crowds rage did Edward have an agenda driving the streetcar through the crowd? What is really going on?

This was one of those books I didn't want to read. Revisiting the awful ways in which Black people in America were enslaved and treated is horrific. I am coming to realise though that hiding from past hurts and crimes perpetrated against people does not deal with the pain or redeem the past. It's part of the work of all people to see what happened, not the cleaned up or white-washed versions that we may have been presented or may not know at all. Being present to the realities of the world may challenge us to do our part to recognise, repent and to determine to play a part in changing narratives for people today.

Battle-Felton is an excellent writer. Her characters are nuanced and full. They are weak and strong and loveable and difficult.

This book arose from a series of questions that led her into her thesis in creative writing.

The action of the book moves from 1910 and backwards tracing the whakapapa (genealogy) of Edward and Spring and the harrowing and beautiful moments that led to them being in 1910 and the happenings of that fateful night.

Although it is devastating in places it is also beautiful. The relationships between the characters stand out as hopeful and wonderful against the terrible. Highly recommended.

Details - Hachette NZ, Feb 2019, RRP $37.99

may we all have courage and grace in the hardest of things xxx

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Bookish - Queenie Malone's Paradise Hotel

Ngā mihi nui,

Last year I read Ruth Hogan's novel The Particular Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes and really enjoyed it so I was really keen to read her next offering Queenie Malone's Paradise Hotel.

This one didn't disappoint either. The book is completely different. It still features characters who are real, complex and nuanced. The book jumps between the life of Tilly a small girl with large ideas, a penchant for finding delight in varied unusual things and Tilda the woman she becomes.

The difference between Tilly and Tilda cannot be bridged unless Tilda is able to face her mother's death and unravel why it was she was sent away from the place of happiness and home they finally found with Queenie.

Will she be brave enough to face the truth and will this new truth shatter the truth that has made her who she is?

A book about perception, the people we become and the inherent imperfection and beauty in all people.

I really like Ruth Hogan - I think her writing is delicate and strong and human.

Details - Hachette NZ, February 2019 RRP $34.99

love you more than a fresh box of matches xxx

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