Category Archives: Giveaway

Blog Tour: A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

About the book

a-quiet-kind-of-thunder

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn’t a lightning strike, it’s the rumbling roll of thunder.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.

From the bestselling author of Beautiful Broken Things comes a love story about the times when a whisper is as good as a shout.

My Blurb

A Quiet Kind of Thunder is a beautiful read. Mind you, there were stacks of romance in here though I think you can kind of tell by the number of hearts on the cover 😉 There were times that I found the romance crossed the corny cheesy line but I made the allowance for “First Love”. They really weren’t that bad; just a teeny weeny bit more than I liked so you may love it.

At the beginning, however, Steffi was facing first day back at school without her best friend. She’s 16 so she’s in sixth form; which term I actually had to look up as I’m not familiar with the British education system (thanks, Google!) and it’s like years 12 & 13. She may know all the students there but it’s a big day for her. She is determined that she will speak this year. She needs to prove to herself and her parents that she’s capable of ‘normality’ so they will let her go to university. Minutes later, she met a boy who cannot hear, Rhys, and he’s rather cute…

There is only one perspective, Steffi’s, and we get to hear everything she’s saying in her head. She’s getting help and she’s working very hard to overcome that which limit her. I love that we get to hear these things; she may not be able to speak but it doesn’t mean that her head is empty! I can’t tell how accurate the things she’s thought of in relation to other people who are in the same boat as Steffi but it felt just as how they could’ve thought (feel free to correct me) and in some ways were really enlightening. Meeting Rhys with a different type of limitation helps her in a way as they found support in each other; tackling the world which place those limitations on them and along the way, found her confidence and identity.

I have truly enjoyed this book. It was a fun, educational, heart-warming, and totally encouraging book to read. It really inspires you to reach for your dreams despite what the world tells you; only you can decide your limits.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

Quick Q&A

  1. What kind of research was involved in writing A Quiet Kind of Thunder?

A lot! I learned some (very basic) sign language and read as much as I could on deaf culture and community. I also watched videos on YouTube, including those from/about people in deaf/hearing relationships. For selective mutism, I did a lot of general research into things like diagnosis and treatment, and read the materials that were aimed at teachers and parents to get an idea of how they would deal with a child in that situation.

  1. Is there an interesting story/incident that you came across during your research that you could share with us?

Everything I learned about deaf culture and BSL was fascinating, and I really loved watching BSL music videos online – they absolutely blew my mind.

  1. What is it that drives you to write contemporary YA and of such confronting truths?

For me, those are the kinds of books I most love and that I take the most from. I love books that are honest about people, relationships and the world, and so I suppose it makes sense that I would also try to do this in my own writing. Writing is also a great cathartic way to explore issues and problems that goes beyond just talking or thinking about them, so there’s probably an element of that, too.

About the author

sara-barnardSara lives in Brighton and does all her best writing on trains. She loves books, book people and book things. She has been writing ever since she was too small to reach the “on” switch on the family Amstrad computer. She gets her love of words from her dad, who made sure she always had books to read and introduced her to the wonders of secondhand book shops at a young age.

Sara is trying to visit every country in Europe, and has managed to reach 13 with her best friend. She has also lived in Canada and worked in India.

Sara is inspired by what-ifs and people. She thinks sad books are good for the soul and happy books lift the heart. She hopes to write lots of books that do both. BEAUTIFUL BROKEN THINGS is her first book and a dream come true.

Find Sara on: goodreads  |  tumblr  |  twitter  | instagram

 

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Blog Tour (Review & Giveaway): Moon Chosen by P. C. Cast

About the book

moon-chosen

Moon Chosen

Chosen to embrace her true identity. Chosen to follow her destiny. Chosen to change her world.

Mari is an Earth Walker, heir to the unique healing powers of her Clan, but she has been forced to turn from her duties, until she is chosen by a special animal ally, altering her destiny forever. When a deadly attack tears her world apart, Mari reveals the strength of her powers and the forbidden secret of her dual nature as she embarks on a mission to save herself and her people. It is not until Nik, the son of the leader from a rival, dominating Tribe, strays across her path that Mari experiences something she has never felt before…

Now evil is coming, and with it, a force more terrible and destructive than the world has ever seen, leaving Mari to cast the shadows from the earth. By breaking Clan Law and forming an alliance with Nik, she must make herself ready. Ready to save her people. Ready to save herself and Nik. Ready to embrace her true destiny…and battle the forces that threaten to destroy them all.

My Blurb

That is not a wolf on the cover… it’s a German Shepherd! It is so obvious that I wasn’t paying that much attention to the cover before I read the book! This is not a paranormal novel as I expected but a book of Tales of a New World– stories set in a post apocalyptic world with a supernatural angle. Even though this divergence from my expectation threw me off a little, I have actually enjoyed this fascinating new world.

The world has changed in so many ways and so has its people. Some have attached themselves to the Earth, others to the trees and dogs, and I believe, there are yet others to come in later books. Each of these groups has found a way to survive and even flourish. However, each group also have their own unique threats to their lives. And still yet, they are isolated from each other with distrust growing from the unknown. Things are about to change, however, as Mari and Nik, both seen as being different from their own Clan and Tribe respectively, are about to come across many things that will change their perspectives.

Both Mari and Nik struggled with their being different from their own Clan and Tribe respectively. In that way, they are prepared to think outside the square. At first, I wasn’t too keen on Nik for a particular obsession of his at the beginning. As I got to know him though, he’s proven to be loyal to a fault, loving, and actually quite humble. Mari, on the other hand, was very easy to like despite her insecurities at the start but that is all very understandable and she grew quite quickly into her power and confidence. It took sometime before these 2 actually crossed paths but when they have, the story move quite quickly.

Moon Chosen reads rather like a historical fantasy because of the way these characters are living. However, it is also a captivating blend of post apocalyptic and the supernatural. I, for one, can’t wait for the next book as I really want to meet the other survivors and their chosen ways of lives.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

Quick Q&A

1.       Dogs play a large role in Moon Chosen. Are you a dog lover?

PC: I’m an enormous dog lover!  The entire series was inspired by my working dog – an Eastern European German Shepherd named Badger, and a plethora of Scottie dogs! 

2.       What’s the one thing your fans would be surprised to learn about you?

PC: That I’ve been vegan for about 3 ½ years.

3.       Out of all your books, which would you say is your favourite cover?

PC: This one!  I love love love the MOON CHOSEN cover!  

About the author

P.C. Cast was born in the Midwest, and grew up being shuttled back-and-forth between Illinois and Oklahoma, which is where she fell in love with Quarter Horses and mythology (at about the same time). After high school, she joined the United States Air Force and began public speaking and writing. After her tour in the USAF, she taught high school for 15 years before retiring to write full time. PC is a #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today Best-Selling author and a member of the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. Her novels have been awarded the prestigious: Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Prism, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, Booksellers’ Best, and the Laurel Wreath. PC is an experienced teacher and talented speaker. Ms. Cast lives in Oregon near her fabulous daughter, her adorable pack of dogs, her crazy Maine Coon, and a bunch of horses.

Find PC on: goodreads  |  website  |  twitter

Giveaway (AU only)

I have 1 brand new copy of this book to giveaway but Australian address only (sorry, peeps, can’t afford overseas shipping :/). To enter, simply leave me a comment.

I will contact the winner on Monday, 5th December for his/her postal details.

moon-chosen-tour-final-art-v2

Blog Tour (Review & Giveaway): Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

About the book

Words in Deep Blue

Second-hand bookshops are full of mysteries

This is a love story.

It’s the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets.

It’s the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea. 

Now, she’s back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal and looking for the future in the books people love, and the words they leave behind.

Sometimes you need the poets

My Blurb

Life is the big scheme; death is the little one at the end

I loved visiting second-hand bookshops though these days I don’t actually know whether there is one in my neighbourhood. Nowadays, I buy second-hand books from Vinnies so they don’t usually have that “old” feels to them. And to be honest, I hate seeing things underlined or highlighted in books though I do like the little penciled (not penned) notes. I haven’t, however, found anything that meaningful in my books or maybe I just haven’t the imagination to find meaning in old bus/train tickets. The idea, however, is utterly charming.

The thing about the Letter Library at Howling Books is that you leave actual letters / notes to people who mean something to you. Rachel Sweetie has never been able to grasp the point of this exercise for what use is words? They’re just words. They’re there but they don’t DO anything in the scheme of life. She’s a scientist and she believes in the moon and the tides. Henry Jones, on the other hand, is a poet. He loves words. He believes in the power of words. And yet, they are the best of friends until… they weren’t. Years later, Rachel returned; stricken by grief, angry, and numb. 10 years of friendship, however, cannot be ignored.

I loved Rachel. Her strength impressed me from the very beginning; she’s been struck down by a grief so profound and yet, life still flickered inside of her. It was amazing to see that fire being stoke back to life and seeing her grasp life once again. Henry, on the other hand, didn’t quite impress me. I am fascinated by his family and, most especially, his family home! I wasn’t sure though I could like a real life Henry. His one redeeming fact is that he’s a reader and that he’s really a terrific friend. All the secondary characters though were brilliantly alive. I love the diverse cast of characters: Lola & Hiroko with their music, George (Henry’s sister) & Martin and his mums, etc.

Words in Deep Blue is a book about books (& words), of love and grief, of friendship and finding one’s feet. It is poignant and funny at the same time. It is wonderful collection of words strung into a beautiful story; one I’d highly recommend as it will delight many hearts.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Cath Crowley is a young adult author published in Australia and internationally. She is the author of The Gracie Faltrain trilogy, Chasing Charlie Duskin, and Graffiti Moon. In 2011, Graffiti Moon won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction, the Ethel Turner Award for Young People’s Literature, and was named an honour book in the Children’s Book Council, Book of the Year. Cath writes and teaches in Melbourne.

Find Cath on: goodreads  |  website  |  tumblr  |  twitter

Giveaway (AU only)

I have 1 brand new copy of this book to giveaway but Australian address only (sorry, peeps, can’t afford overseas shipping :/). To enter, simply leave me a comment on what book would you leave your letter in and why OR who would you leave a letter to at the Letter Library.

I will contact the winner on Saturday, 1 October for his/her postal details.

Blog Tour: Cloudwish ~a Review + Giveaway

cloudwishCloudwish by Fiona Wood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Source: Uncorrected Proof courtesy of publisher

For Vân Uoc Phan, fantasies fall into two categories: nourishing, or pointless. Daydreaming about Billy Gardiner, for example? Pointless. It always left her feeling sick, as though she’d eaten too much sugar.  And there was zero chance of a pay-off, because it was a truth universally acknowledged that he only ever went out with girls like Pippa or Tiff or Ava.

At sixteen, Vân Uoc Phan, a scholarship student, has always believed in keeping a low profile: real life will start when school finishes.  But when she attracts the attention of popular Billy Gardiner, she finds herself in an unwelcome spotlight.  As she struggles to reconcile fantasy Billy with real Billy, she is also grappling with the growing suspicion that she may have accidentally wished his affection into existence.  But that can’t possibly happened, can it?

Vân Uoc has always tried to live according to the Jane Eyre standard: What would Jane do?

If only things were that simple!

Real life in no longer on hold, and Vân Uoc is quickly discovering who she really is.

Review (5 stars)

Cloudwish was, in the first instance, a cover crush for me. It was beautifully design and very catchy! The thousandth of second after I read the name of the main character (note: 2nd word in blurb), I MUST READ THIS Potentially Awesome Book. And let me just assure you now, it did NOT disappoint. The promises of ‘magic’, of ‘Jane Eyre’, and romance were met but in addition to all this an in-depth look of what it means to be an Asian teen in the Australian landscape.

Vân Uoc was first introduced as the typical ABC (or rather ABV, that’s Australian Born wpid-20150914_220331.jpgVietnamese): parents who barely speak English, parent who’s pushing her towards the high-prestige high-earning profession, very intelligent (on scholarship at a private school), plays musical instrument (though in this case, an atypical instrument: the oboe),… in summary, an overachiever. Just like any average teen though, she also has dreams… dreams that she can be just like the others, to blend in, rather than being invisible. So, when she was given the chance, she made a wish…

I felt an immediate connection to Vân Uoc, not only because of my background (as an immigrant), but because I love instant coffee with condensed milk! Forget GJ’s Caramel Lattes, this is da-bomb! As Vân Uoc puts it…

It made you fly on a little cloud of sugar and caffeine.

And then this… this is EXACTLY what happened to me when I was learning to read English books;

And something miraculous happened when they were about a quarter of the way through reading it. After weeks of ploughing and hesitating, something clicked; she stopped stumbling over the unknown words and long sentences. Words magically started to reveal meaning, most of the time anyway, through context. And the sentences themselves stopped being obstacles and started telling a story. Her eyes were racing ahead; she was comprehending the shape and rhythm of the language.

Do you know just how exciting it is when an author has put into words the same exact feelings / experiences you have had?! I love you, Fiona! Apple's Face Throwing a Kiss

Cloudwish may, on the outset, sound like a girly romance fluff but Don’t Be Fooled! Fiona Wood has outdone herself in creating this masterpiece! The authenticity of feel/thought of an Asian Australian teen girl (I can testify to this!) and the inclusion of a number of contemporary issues including but not limited to boat refugees, the ‘white-ness’ of beauty adverts, etc, made a very solid content of a YA fiction.

I have always wished to have the Asian equivalent of Melina Marchetta’s Looking for Alibrandi and / or Saving Francesca (Italian) and in Cloudwish, my wish has come true! Thank you, Fiona, for writing such a beautiful, compelling, and relevant tale. It has spoken true to my heart and a definite top read of the year for me. I will never stop recommending this to everybody -along with Alibrandi 😉

Note to the parents: if you’re concerned about sexual content, I’d suggest that you read the book first so you are prepared or, feel free to PM me for better details.

Thanks Pan MacMillan Australia for copy of Uncorrected Proof in exchange of honest review

About Author

fiona wood

Fiona Wood’s first young adult novel, Six Impossible Things, was shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year, Older Readers. Her second, Wildlife, won the CBCA Book of the Year, Older Readers and was shortlisted for a number of other awards. Her third book, Cloudwish, will be published in 2015. Her books are published internationally.  Before writing YA fiction, Fiona wrote television scripts. She lives in Melbourne with her family.

Find Fiona: website  |  twitter

Giveaway (AU only)

My very many thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia for inviting me on this blog tour.  They are also giving away a copy of Cloudwish to one of you lucky blog reader!   To enter, leave me a meaningful comment (below) or… if you can’t think of anything meaningful, tell me a joke!  Something my soon-to-be-six year old can understand 😉

I will draw the winner on Monday morning (21st September 2015).

Tour Stops

Do visit some of these stops too… some will host a giveaway as well 😉

The Tales Compendium

Words Read and Written

YA Midnight Reads

Reading Lark

Confessions From Romaholics

Loony Literate

Q&A with Steve Worland + Giveaway

worland'I’d like to welcome Steve Worland once more to my humble blog.  It’s been real fun reading all his books to date and a privilege noting that I’m supporting a local Sydney author (woot!)

Steve has also kindly offered 1 signed copy of his most recent release, Quick, to a lucky reader. Thanks, Steve!

5 things we need to know about Formula 1.

1.) It’s the most watched sport in the world, after the Olympics and World Cup soccer.

2.) A mid field team can spend the better part of 100 million US dollars per year and still not win a race. Or even finish in the top three.

3.) Toyota spent US$445 in 2008 and didn’t win a race.

4.) Once a Formula 1 car is traveling over 160 km/h it can generate enough downforce to equal its own weight, which means it can hold itself to the ceiling of a tunnel and drive upside down.

5.) In the dry an F1 tyre reaches peak operating performance when the rubber tread temperature is between 900C and 1200C. That is very hot.

Do you feel the ‘need for speed’?  What car do you drive or what is your dream car?

1967-Ford-Mustang-Eleanor-393-Stroker-V8-6-SpeedI do. I love to drive. I find it very relaxing. I drive a Hyundai Veloster turbo. My dream car would be a 1967 Mustang Eleanor or a 1969 Corvette Convertible. I love old American muscle cars though they are agricultural gas guzzlers and not particularly practical for the school run with your daughter’s cello in the back!

How much research you did you do about the races or racing?  Did you go on a ‘racing experience’ to get the real feel behind it?

F1 and V8 Supercars are ‘my sport’, so to speak, so I follow them very closely and have done my whole life. That was my research. I have been to the Bathurst 1000 and The Formula 1 in Melbourne and watched them live, though I prefer to watch them on TV as I like to know exactly what’s going on at every moment. The Autosport website is my home page.

 

How did the inspiration for ‘Quick’ came about?

I just wondered about what would it be like if Craig Lowndes became James Bond. I was taken by the idea that many top draw professional race drivers like Lowndes (who drives in the Australian V8 Supecar series) have astonishing athletic and analytical skills on the track so it would be interesting to send them uncover to use those abilities to solve a crime in the world of motorsport. And of course the most interesting motorsport series in the world is Formula One, which I thought would be a perfect place to set a crime story that had an international scope.

Your Main Casting for ‘Quick’.

Well for the Aussie Billy Hotchkiss anyone from Eric Bana, a well know rev head, to Sam Worthington to Hugh Jackman to one of the Hemsworths. There’s a such a great selection of Aussie leading men at the moment that any one of them would be great.

For Claude the Frenchman I’m thinking Jean Reno, Vincent Cassell or a slimmed down Gerard Depardieu would work nicely!

As for Swiss driver and Billy’s love interest Franka I’m thinking anyone from Eva Green from ‘Casino Royale’ to Franka Potente from ‘Run Lola Run’.

What’s your next project?

Next up is the release of a family movie I co-wrote called ‘Paper Planes’, which stars Sam Worthington, and will be out on January 15 Australia wide. Also on the same day the novel I wrote based on the movie will be published. Then next September ‘War Birds’, my forth action adventure novel, will be out in time for Father’s Day.

Giveaway (international)

quickFor a signed copy of Quick, enter by Rafflecopter. Before you go, though, one of the optional entry is for you to leave a comment on either naming one of Steve’s previous books or your dream car.  If you’re interested in my thoughts on Quick, check out my review.

Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop (2014)

australiadaybloghop2014

Thanks to Shelleyrae @Book’d Out for hosting this hop.

This year I’ve decided to list the Aussie books I’ve read in 2013 for the winners to choose from:

Wow, somehow, I didn’t imagine my list to be so long!  However, the types of books are diverse enough that I believe there is something for everybody here. Onto the nuts & bolts for this giveaway!

  1. This giveaway is for 2 books (1 book per winner): one book by female author and one book by male author.
  2. Giveaway is open internationally.
  3. Your choice of print book or ebook however this will depend on availability and whether TBD will ship freely to your location.
  4. If your chosen book is not available either from TBD or as ebook, you agee to choose another book.
  5. The edition of the book will be up to my discretion whilst you are most welcome to request which one you’d like.  I do have a budget to work under 🙂
  6. If you are under the age of 18, you have the consent of your parents / guardians to enter this giveaway.

To enter this giveaway, go to Rafflecopter Giveaway, but before you do… please leave a comment on what your choice would be (you can change your mind later) and which Aussie author I should check out (this is worth 2 points).  Please do not leave your email address in the comment (only on the comment form as requested). I will contact winners only.

Don’t forget to visit the other stops – check out the list here.  Other than that, have a fantastic & safe Australia Day long weekend!!

My reading (or rather bookish) week

I am amazed that I still managed to fit in my bookish events with how crazy life has been with moving, arranging rental, and just overall “life”!!  But then again, how could you not FIT in bookish events!  I don’t know about you but it’s how I keep my sanity 😉

The week before, I happily went shopping for my “Divergent” outfit for the Allegiant launch in Sydney this past week.  I had to be able to wear it to work (at a corporate office environment) then onto the launch.  Embarrassingly, my (male) manager noticed the matching bag & skirt! I don’t know whether that means I don’t usually match or the outfit was a total stand-out.  I still didn’t win best-dressed but I had a fun time hanging out with Divergent fans 😀

allegiant  dressup

Do you know your Divergent?  Which faction did I dress as?

We also had our bookclub meet this weekend and as we toured around Asia this year, we visited Indonesia via The Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata.  It was a busy weekend of cooking and eating Indonesia cuisine whilst somewhat discussing abovementioned book.  For the last 2 months, as each members took turn reading, I received feedback of how good it was but then it surprised me that the general consensus with the rating was only about 3/5 stars (disallowing the half-star).  Everyone found the book to be “inspiring” (it appears to be the Word of the Day) though there was a discussion as to whether the book was about the teachers or the children.  Everyone wonders though whether the rest of the books (a quartet) will be translated into English so I think an interest to progress in the series is a good indication of the book’s rating.

DSCN1222  DSCN1230

Menu of the day:

Gado-gado (salad served with peanut sauce)

Sate (pork satays served with a salsa type of sauce)

Semur sapi (some sort of beef stew)

Tempe Kecap (tempeh is fermented soy beans, cooked with beans and lots of sweet soy sauce)

Biji Salak (a dessert made from sweet potatos –kumara with tapioca flour served with palm sugar and coconut cream)

Putu Ayu (pandan flavoured with lots of coconut topping)

This week, I’d be attempting to finish reading the following books:

antigoddess  clockwork heart  waterfell

I’m still trying to ‘recover’ from my Netgalley splurge a couple of months ago! 2 of these are due to expire this week, eep!

I really would not have a clue when my blog’s anniversary is however thanks to WordPress who informed me 6 days ago that it’s been 3 years since I first started blogging (wow, who would’ve thunk!?).  So, in celebration… *drum rolls*

GIVEAWAY – 3 random book parcels (AU mailing addresses only)

random parcel

Note: totally random books so neither you nor I will know exactly which one you’d be getting –I know which books they are but since they’re wrapped, I wouldn’t have a clue which I’m sending to whom!

Go to my Facebook page for the Rafflecopter entries (unfortunately, WP does not host this widget)

T & C:

  1. You are over 13 yo
  2. You have Australian mailing address
  3. If you are drawn as winner, you have 48 hours to respond to my notification email
  4. Giveaway ends midnight of 11th November 2013