Friday, December 30, 2011

My best read ~ 2011

A good way to round up my 2011 is with a little book round up...
After reading Rachael John's post about her best read of 2011, I was inspired to write a similar post, but I found it too hard to narrow it down to one. I also didn't want to leave it at my top two, so I've posted my top ten. But even then I found it hard because there's another ten at least that I could have added to this list.

After reading 82 books this year these are my picks for best read...

Coming in at equal first....
Judging Meghan

Judging Meghan by Trudy Adams

The Game

The Game by Amanda Deed    

And then floating together at second...
.. Heidi's October


Heidi's October by Penelope McCowen

Back to Resolution

Back to Resolution by Rose Dee

Star Jumps

Star Jumps by Lorraine Marwood

Overshadowed by AJ Butel

Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Dating Delilah: purity from a new perspective
Dating Delilah by Judah Smith

And then at a close third...
Graffiti Moon

Grafitti Moon by Cath Crowley

   The Blackberry Bush by  David Housholder

The Blackberry Bush

Thank-you to all of the authors who've made my year so much more wonderful because I could read these books.

I haven't added links to all of the books, but you can find them on my Goodreads page.

My TBR pile if forever growing. If only I had more time and could read faster!

What was your favourite read in 2011?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Gift to You ~ The Smell of Books

Wishing you a Merry Christmas.... 
And my gift to you...

So did you love the gift ?? 
Ok... perhaps not.

Recently at the Word Writers Fair in Brisbane, we passed around 2 books, one traditionally printed and the other digitally printed. The digital version had no smell. I discovered how much I really love that inky smell. The inky smell to me says ... BOOKS... ahhh. It makes me all warm and fuzzy. So how cool are the cans in the pic above? Now we can print books (or not print them and read eBooks) and still have the lovely book smell. This way we can move with technology but enjoy the simple pleasures of the past.

I'm winding down social media again. I have a goal to revise my YA WIP (for those who aren't writers ... Young Adult novel, Work in Progress) by the end of January. I'll be around, but I won't be allowing myself to spend endless hours reading all of the amazing blogs online. You may only see the odd book review posted here over the next month or so... or other stuff if I feel the urge. 

We love celebrating the birth of Jesus at this time of year in our house. 
What is this time of year like for you?
Hope you have a fantastic Christmas.

Disclaimer ~ perhaps the sprays haven't yet been manufactured ... there's still room for you to invent the specific scents

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Session - Christmas Cheer


This Sunday Session, splurge a little less, give a little more.

Sunday session comes from a great idea my sister had... go over and check out her blog Do I really wanna blog...

An oldy.. Band Aid

And a newer version.... Band Aid II

And another version... Band Aid 20

Just sending a reminder.... there are still people in our world starving. Spread the Christmas cheer... donate to your favourite charity.

And another - the tv allstars ...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Not-So-Crafty-Mum's Christmas Wreath

~ Reposting... ~

We did this last year... lets do it again!

Christmas craft from the not so crafty mum…

How simple and easy are these for the kids to do for themselves?

Go to your $2 shop and see what they’ve got...

I found these plates and thought we could cut the trees in the centre cut out and hang them as decorations.

I also found this thick tinsel.

How to make them...

Cut out the centre of the plate and wind the tinsel around.

Yes so easy the kids can do it themselves… hehehe just the way I like it.

You could mix it up and use two colours on the same plate.

Punch a hole and attach a ribbon to hang.


Monday, December 12, 2011

And the winner is...

Thank you to everyone who has popped over and entered my little competition this week.

And the winner is…..



Enjoy the book!

I hope you love it as much as I did. 

And for everyone else, please pop over and say hi to Rose Dee … and remember to buy her book, because that will make her day. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Back to Resolution by Rose Dee + Interview

~ An Aussie Review ~
An Inspirational Romance Review...

After living a life of wealth and privilege, young Bay Anders finds herself lost. Her step father sets her up with an allowance to allow her to flee from America and pursue her photography hobby in Australia while grieving the loss of her mother. She begins her search for her father but when her allowance is cut off, she soon runs out of funds and feels she has no other option but to return to LA.
A miracle meeting leads her to meet Flynn McKenna who is hiding from the world on her father's island. But her father's mysterious disappearance is of grave concern.
Developers lurk, pressing for the sale of the island. Bay must fight an uphill battle to keep the new place she wants to plant her roots and call home.

I loved this book!

Some thoughts while reading...
Where is home and what does home feel like? My home is South East Queensland, I've never ventured more than an hour from where I was born. I don't need to because I love it here, where temperatures rarely drop below 20 degrees and there's always an air-conditioned room, pool or ocean nearby in summer. I live in paradise. But home is more than your surroundings. What else makes where you live home to you?
Does money change a person? This scenario came to mind while reading.
Invitation A - a night with movie stars. ' You are invited to LA. You flights have been paid for in first class and all your transfers from the moment you leave your house will be in a limousine.  Your accommodation is in a 5star resort and all meals will be paid for.
Invitation B - a cousins wedding.  'You are invited to Mackay and may have to get several connecting flights, call your travel agent. You'll be picked up by a friend of a friend in a little rusty Datsun. There is a fold out bed, it will be in the lounge room with the family who are happy for you to stay with them. You'll meet them after you get there. If you could pitch in for food during your stay that would be great.'
Would you say yes to both straight away? Would more money or less money change you?

The lovely most amazing Rose Dee is playing the generosity game and has a book to give away to one of my readers. All you have to do is leave a comment at the end of the post to be in the running. Give-a-way closes and will be drawn using on Monday night 8pm Queensland time. 

Interview ..

Rose you have written some charming characters in Back to Resolution, who is your favourite and who was the most fun to create?

That’s a really hard question to answer, it’s kind of like asking a Mother which child she loves the best. I have to be boring and say I love them all, but as to who was the most fun? It has to be Amos and Neville. They are seriously fun characters, and mainstays throughout the entire three book ‘Resolution’ series. I often giggle when writing dialogue for them. They never fail to amuse and surprise me at their antics.

Have you always written? Were you inspired by a book or an author to jump in and have a go?

I only started writing a few years ago. ‘Back to Resolution’ is the product of my very first attempt. I think it was the right time in my life. A lot of things came together, personally, spiritually, and mentally. If I had started prior to this I think it would have taken me longer to get there. It was when I realised that there were Australian Christian Romance Authors that I thought – ‘I should have a go at this and see what happens’. It is also true that the Lord placed this on my heart to do. Without His direction I never would have gone there.

Who is your favourite author and why?

This is in no way meant to sound egotistical, but I am my favourite author. I write what I love to read, and as yet I haven’t tired of re-reading my work. I still laugh at all the funny bits, and cry at the sad scenes. I still also love the tummy dropping romantic moments too. The thought that others will enjoy this as much as I have is just the icing on the cake for me.
But there is one author and one book that I also never tire of – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. It’s my all time favourite. I read it ever few years, and yes – I have all the TV and movie versions. (none are as good as the book – of cause).

Shameless plug... where can we buy your book and when is the next one due to be released?

You can purchase ‘Back to Resolution’ from Koorong or Amazon it is also available from my publisher Even Before Publishing and please, please visit me at

The second in the ‘Resolution’ series – ‘Beyond Resolution’ is due for release April/May 2012.

Disclaimer ~ This book was given to me at a Light The Dark party for reviewing purposes. After I read and loved book Rose offered a give-a-way. 

The Donkey's First Christmas

~ a review ~ 

The Donkey’s First Christmas is and enjoyable picture book. It tells the Christmas story from a humorous angle – the donkey’s point of view. The donkey is a little reluctant, possibly even a little too lazy to help out a very persistent man who travelled with a lady who had a big bump.
The story is told in a way that is obvious to only seasoned Christmas attendees, that the people who need the donkey are in fact, Joseph and Mary. Because this is about the donkey, and the obvious isn’t stated, it leaves plenty of room for questions and conversation with little ones.  
I received a draft version in ebook format from the BookCrash to review. My older children read the story and found the font a little hard to read and my four year old lost interest with the amount of white picture-less pages.(Unfortunately some of the pictures didn't load onto my iPad) I have to admit, the font wasn’t attractive for me or my husband to read either. Yes, all six of us read it.
Even with our slight criticism, Mr 11, Miss 9 and Miss 8 all enjoyed the story. I would recommend taking a look at the print version as many picture books lose their lustre in ebook form. 

Disclosure of Material: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mentorship and more

Ok.. so I’ve had a run of book reviews here on my blog and I thought it was about time to write a personal post.
I didn’t quit writing, as I suggest I might in The Day IQuit Writing.
I did make it to the end of November with 50000 words and 30 Picture Book ideas.
I also went away for 2 weeks in November, but before we went away, I had the opportunity to spend a day with an author and work on the first 50 pages of my YA contemporary novel. There were four of us busily working on our laptops while the lovely Mary Hawkins moved between us, reading, helping and guiding. The day was filled with wonderful conversation and loads of laughs.
I was advised by a couple of published authors to focus on one genre until I get published, and develop a readership. At the moment I write picture books, chapter books and YA. So they gave me something to think about with that.
We also spoke quite a bit about formatting and editing. Smaller publishers who take on unsolicited manuscripts don’t have the time or resources to edit like the larger companies, so to have a chance a publication, the correct formatting and a professional edit is very important.
A great tip Mary had was to enlarge the font to super large to pick up any spacing errors.
I also spent an afternoon in Paula Vince’s Page Turning Fiction Masterclass. Most of what she shared I had heard or read before, but to hang out with ten other writers was just fantastic. Paula had us honing in on our skill with writing exercises which mostly ended in laughter.
These two days were part of the Word Writers Fair in Brisbane. A great conference both for those with a Christian background or without.

Today I am a guest! I’ve written a poem. Please pop on over to Princess Warrior Lessons.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Game by Amanda Deed

~ An Aussie Review ~

Meg Wingrove worked happily in her roll as governess to the four Sainsbury children. She held herself in complete control when the dashingly handsome brother to Mrs Sainsbury, Jack Fordham came to visit. Jack is used to women falling at his feet and is somewhat taken aback when Meg isn't swayed by his flattery or charms. When the two seem in agreement to drop the flirtatious banter, they become close friends. Neither are willing to admit they have fallen in love. To Jack, winning Meg's affection is a game he wants to win. To Meg, her faith is more important and she vows to never enter a relationship with a man who does not share her faith.  

The Game is a delicious read set in the Sydney surrounds of 1844. If I hadn't met Amanda Deed in person, I would be left thinking she is from another era. The Game is mesmerising and nostalgic. After reading about battling pioneering convicts in Mary's Guardian and Charlotte'sAngel, to read about the affluent Jack Forham, heir to a noble English title, is another wonderful piece of Australian history brought to us through fiction.

The Game won the Omega Writers' Caleb Prize in 2010. A worthy winner and a worthy read. 
Now I can’t wait to get my hands on Amanda’s latest release Ellenvale Gold 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Charlotte’s Angel by Carol Preston

~ An Aussie Review ~ 

I read Charlotte's Angel just before holidays ... while I was dreaming of my holiday view that would look like this ... 

Ocean is just to the left... mountains are just to the right... ahh - it was bliss

You may have recently read my review of Mary’s Guardian by Carol Preston,Charlotte’s Angel is next in the series.

Charlotte Plum is born to an ex-convict who is anything but maternal. Her mother drags her from home to home to run from those chasing after stolen goods. For many hours each day, young Charlotte is left unattended and is expected to clean and cook, while her mother sleeps off a hangover or just catches up on sleep from an overactive night.

Thomas Douglass catches Charlotte in his sister’s garden but instead of chastising her, he invites her in. Charlotte welcomes the friendship his family shows her. Their friendship is all too soon severed when Charlotte’s mother decides it’s time to move on again and drags Charlotte away with her.

I imagine with the ex-convict banner hung over your head, there would have been a lot of people who struggled with their worthiness. This novel takes a slightly different look at the convict generation where Carol Preston has again researched the era and weaved a fictional story into our amazing Australian history. 

Mary's Guardian and Charlotte's Angel are both great stories and ever so interesting. 

Historical Fiction with Christian elements.

Disclaimer ~ After hosting a Light the Dark this book was given to me for reviewing purposes.