Category Archives: Giveaway

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

Blog Tour: Waterproof by Amber Garr

Waterproof Tour Button SMALL

I first fell in love with Amber Garr’s work through another blog tour of her YA trilogy, The Syrenka Series, so that when I saw she’s got an NA book coming out (we are all about NA these days, it seems), I had to jump onto the bandwagon!  So here we are… Enjoy this post & don’t forget to visit the other stops & enter the giveaway 🙂

The Book

A new adult dystopian by Amber Garr.
“Fantastic storyline and characters”
“Hooked from the beginning”
“Intense and intriguing”
“Another stay up all night read by Amber Garr”
Buy Now at Amazon or Smashwords
Dying of thirst is the new reality.
Five years after the last drop of clean water disappeared, global societies collapsed and nuclear war shattered all hope of recovery. In a place now only a skeleton of its former self, survivors fight to avoid capture by the government. Forced to work in factories that produce the only drinking water available, those who go in, never come out.Zach and Vivienne have lived as deserters since they were teenagers. Fighting amongst their own and scrounging for the necessities of life, they’ve learned to rely on each other in every way. Yet when tragedy strikes and the true objectives of the government facility are revealed, their world is ripped apart.A fate once thought to hold their demise may be the sole answer to their survival. Who can they trust? Who can they believe?
In this life, it pays to be waterproof.
 The Author
Amber Garr spends her days as a scientist and nights writing about other worlds. Born in Pennsylvania, she lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry kids. Her childhood imaginary friend was a witch, Halloween is sacred, and she is certain that she has a supernatural sense of smell. Amber is a multiple Royal Palm Literary Award winner, author of Waterproof,  The Syrenka Series, The Leila Marx Novels, and the upcoming Death Warden Series. When not obsessing over the unknown, she can be found dancing, reading, or enjoying a good movie.
Stalk Amber Online:
Review (4 stars)

The concept of Waterproof really piqued my interest.  What would we do without water?  Living in Australia with water restrictions and especially now that we are coming up to the hot summer months, we really do have to be strict with our water usages: limit our shower time, only water the garden at certain appointed times during the week (limitation guided by councils), etc.  Hence, this is an issue that is always on the forefront of Australian concerns.

The opening of the book was explosive and I immediately found the 2 MC, Zach & Viviene, to be endearing.  Viviene is magnificently bad-ass –a sword wielding one, and is absolutely protective of Zach.  (can’t get any hotter than that!)  Zach isn’t completely helpless but the way he admired Viviene’s ‘bad-ness’ and the way he interacted with her warms my heart.  The relationship between them was like a beacon of light, pure & innocent, in a darkly sinister world and it was a great foil / contrast in such a hopeless situation.

The science part of the book, I thought, could be a bit over the top (and at times, it just went over my head) that I was really sceptical about it.  Although, Amber is the scientist here whilst if I see / hear science, I’d run the opposite direction, so I suppose, it’s got its potential for possibility.

I find that things are never what it seems when it comes to Amber Garr’s books.  With Waterproof, every time I thought we’re heading in the right direction, we were off track and again and again until it ended with a cliffhanger!  I can’t wait for the next instalment for this dark tale.

Guest Post
As you probably already know, I work as a scientist in my other life. Over the years, my research has often focused on the conservation and restoration of aquatic species. And a lot of that time, their issues have stemmed from contaminated water or excess pollution in the environment.
For several years, I’ve wanted to write a book about what would happen to the world when humans began fighting over drinking water. And I say began, but really, it has already begun. Do you know you have to purchase water rights in some states out west when you buy property?
Have you ever experienced water restrictions in your neighborhood? Or did you know that several countries are already considered water-stressed?
It’s happening, and just to show you how scary it is, here are some facts to
1)     1 billion people currently don’t have access to clean drinking water.
2)     3.4 million people die from water related diseases each year.
3)     By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in a water-stressed county.
4)     An American taking a 5 minute shower uses more water than the average person living in a developing country uses in an entire day.
5)     Over 260 river basins are shared by two or more countries without adequate legal or
institutional arrangements regarding water utilization.
6)     By 2020, California will face a water shortage as great as the amount they consume today.

Worried yet? I know I am. So anyway…back to Waterproof.  What will happen when the water disappears?  How will society react?  What unique science may evolve out of this type of tragedy?  All questions I’ve asked myself for years and then had a chance to answer (or hint at) in this book.

I also wanted to highlight the idea of friendship and romance rising up out of the chaos. At a time when the survivors have to fight for every second of their life, I thought it would be nice for them to find some type of comfort in their closest friends. No time for love triangles or petty games when you’re being hunted!  So as you read this book and start thinking more about the water shortages (as I did!), check out these sites to see what little things you can do so that some day we aren’t deserters running for our lives!


My Moving Month, Today’s Hunt +Giveaway (AU)

Sooo… I’ve pretty much have been offline for the last month due to lack of internet connection at our New Home.  Yay, we have moved!  Unfortunately, it’s a new-ish sort of area that we almost couldn’t get broadband! We were told that none of our neighbours could get any -wondered how they put up with that since they’ve been living here for over a year?!#firstworldproblem

In any case, we’re back online yesterday evening (Woot!) and here I am with plenty of update which I’ll keep short and stacks of overdue reviews!

Job move: I’m settling in well. Made some silly mistakes (as you would) but am otherwise enjoying the different environment and a more relaxed pace.

House move: All we’ve left is the dishwasher (delivered but not yet installed), a big stack of boxes to unpack in the garage (I’d bet that if I don’t unpack them, I probably won’t miss those stuff!), a bigger stack of boxes ready for disposal, oh, and the BLINDS… where are MY blinds?  Hoping to see them in the next fortnight.  Ah, I’m also needing an extra bookshelf.  I’ve been wondering why I haven’t seen any bookshelf giveaway?  C’mon, peeps, millions of Books giveaway but we also need bookshelf. lol

Today’s Hunt: Bloomsbury Australia organised a Book Hunt for The Signature of All Things and I just had to go.  I was mainly curious as to how they’d put this together and really to take some nice photos since there’ll be such lovely views at the Sydney Royal Botanic Garden.  When I registered and was given a set of clues (see below), I thought, “um, right, I’ll never find one!  I’m hopeless at treasure hunt clues / trivia / nature”.  Have not had Coffee at that stage either, ugh!  So, the strategy was to walk around and just read each board which described the things around the park and lucky me, I found one (yippee!!)…  Thanks, Bloomsbury Australia, for such a fun bookish event!  Please note, the token wasn’t as visible as shown below though it was on the same spot, it was hidden underneath the board.

The Find  The Prize

The Clues

lizard Path flowers DSCN1144

It was a terrifically beautiful Sydney day 😀

Giveaway: Thanks to Harlequin Australia, I have an uncorrected proof of Nobody But Him by Victoria Purman to giveaway to one of you!  Aussies only, sorry, really can’t afford shipping to any other location.

DSCN1153At the age of eighteen, Julia Jones left her hometown — the small beachside town of Middle Point — with a head full of grand plans. Plans for an exciting life in a town that didn’t involve a main street with one pub or a particular boy named Ryan Blackburn.

But after fifteen years and a lifetime later, Julia’s forced to put her career and big-city life on hold when she returns home to finalise her mother’s estate. Which is exactly where she runs smack-bang into the town’s hero, Ry. As in Ryan Blackburn.

The sensible thing to do? Stay the hell away from him and head back to Melbourne as fast as her stilettos can carry her! But instead, Julia finds his offer of a helping hand and a hot body too delicious to refuse.

Soon, Julia’s ignoring her better judgement and diving into an ‘I’ll think about it tomorrow’ fling with Ry. But what she doesn’t realise is that tomorrow has a way of sneaking up on you…and that saying goodbye to her home town — and to Ry — is so much harder the second time around.

Just leave a comment below to enter above giveaway.  Please do not include your email address in body of your comment, just in the form, as requested.  Open until 9pm Sydney time (Tuesday, 24th September 2013) and if you respond to my email quickly enough, you may just receive the book the day before it’s released to the public 😉

Q&A with Steve Worland +Giveaway


I met Steve at Supanova Sydney earlier this year and when I became his ‘fan’ on GR, he actually remembered me.  I was never better pleased 🙂  This is a very exciting opportunity for a Q&A and he has also offered to giveaway a signed copy of his new release (lucky you!!).  Without further ado, I present…. Steve Worland!!

What does the ultimate ‘bad guy’ look like to you?  What defines this person as the ultimate ‘bad-guy’?  [can be in fiction or reality]

vaderFor me the ultimate fictional bad guy must have a believable, personal motivation. You must feel some empathy with him or her, no matter how bad what they are doing may be — and it needs to be pretty bad. If the villain’s motivation is not believable, or doesn’t ring true to the character, the story won’t engage the reader. Also, the bad guy and the good guy are usually the characters who are closest to each other in personality type. When I write them I should believe that if things had been different for either of them they could be in the other’s shoes. The perfect example of this is Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.

In both Velocity and Combustion, weapons of mass destruction are being employed by highly motivated terrorists. If you were in a position where you are the one person to stop the world from being destroyed, what would you do?  What would your first reaction be?  Sometimes I think reading books like this should equip you for this type of impossible mission – after all, the author has done all the research, right?  All you need to do is recall, apply, and execute.  Would you feel equipped from the research & writing you’ve done so far?

The characters in my books tend to be making it up as they go along, trying their best but not always succeeding, and I think that’s how it would be for me. I would try to rise to the occasion, utilise what I remember, and whatever specific skill set I might have, and give it a go — without knowing if I will be successful or not. That’s why I write my characters the way I do. To me it’s much more interesting to write an ‘everyman’ who is unsure of what course of action to take but will give it a go rather than a ‘superhero’ who has all the answers and knows exactly what to do.

Have you ever experienced writers’ block? If so, what have you done to break through this frustrating period?

I do get it occasionally. The best way to overcome writers block is to: a) keep writing, even if it’s terrible. I often find if I am blocked on something I just write until something resonates and starts to flow. Then I keep going for as long as I can, then go back and rewrite the part that was terrible. Prose never comes out perfectly formed so, to me, good writing is rewriting. Also, b) it can help to read or watch something that you love, and think is good, to inspire you. After you’ve done that something interesting usually occurs which will pull you out of the slump.

I think your book covers are great – the explosion on Combustion definitely attracts the male species (my husband for example though he’s not a reader, I’m trying to get him there yet!) but I’m finding it hard to sell to my girlfriends.  What would you say to appeal to the female readers who would normally walk pass the exploding cover at the shops?

I’m so glad you like the covers but I can not take any credit for them! Covers are absolutely the domain of the publisher and they have very specific ideas about what does and does not work for the readers they are targeting. I can throw in the occasional idea but that’s about it. All I can say to people is don’t judge a book by it’s cover, or back cover blurb for that matter. Open it up, read the prose and see if you are excited by the writing and engaged with the characters, then make a decision on whether the story is worth your time. Good writing can make any subject interesting.

Please share with us the man behind the Author Steve Worland (eg. What defines you as a person, what are you like at home / at your most comfortable zones, what do you do when you’re angry, etc)

Like so many White Anglo Saxon Protestants I’m defined by my work! My wife has been able to beat a bit of that out of me over the years, as has my daughter, but I’m definitely a guy who loves work. I have to really psych myself up for vacations and holidays, though I’m getting better at it. To relax my wife and daughter enjoy action adventure movies as much as I do so we try to see one a week if possible. I love to read but when you’re writing all the time you want to get away from it if you have a little time off. Having said that, I am reading, and enjoying, ‘Telegraph Road’ at the moment. The TV shows my wife and I watch tend to have great writing — ‘Mad Men’, ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Dexter’, ‘Modern Family’, ‘Downton Abbey’, ‘True Blood’, ‘The Killing’ and a pair of fantastic new ones called ‘Ray Donovan’ and ‘Banshee’. I don’t actually get upset very often, more often with myself if I don’t do something as well as I think I can.

What are your 3 greatest fears?

Making sure my family is healthy and happy is the most important single thing in my life. After that, making sure I live up to my potential is something I do think about now and then. And finally, I do despair for the fate of the planet on occasion, so I try to do my bit to make it better whenever possible.

A quick fun one – can we get a picture of the view from your office where you write? Or a view of your office?

I do write in my office occasionally, but now, with the advent of mobile devices and the ‘cloud’, I can write anywhere and everywhere, and that often means while waiting to pick children up after activities. Having said that here’s a pic from my office window. You can just see the Harbour Bridge in the distance!

worland office***Soooo totally jealous of this view!!!***

Thank you so much for your time, Steve!  For sharing a bit about yourself and your writing with us. You can find Steve at: website, goodreads, twitter, and facebook.

combustionAs mentioned at the beginning of the post, Steve is kindly providing a signed copy of his new release, Combustion, to giveaway here.  Check out the blurb on Goodreads and also my review.

If you’d like to enter, please leave a comment confirming your AU residence and who your ultimate bad guy is and why.

Please note: Giveaway is limited to AU only (apologies INT peeps but postage is prohibitive). Please leave your email address in the form where it is required but not in the body of your comment.  I will draw the winner next week (midday of Sat, 17 August 2013 – Sydney time).

The Hidden -GIVEAWAY (AU only)

The Hidden (Avena #1) by Marianne Curley
Publication Date: 1 March 2013 (in Australia)

For as long as Ebony can remember, she’s been sheltered. Confined to her home in a secluded valley, home-schooled by her protective parents, and limited to a small circle of close friends. It’s as if she’s being hidden.

But something is changing in Ebony. Something that can’t be concealed. She’s growing more beautiful by the day, she’s freakishly strong, and then there’s the fact that she’s glowing.

On one fateful night, Ebony meets Jordan and she’s intensely drawn to him. It’s as if something explodes inside of her—something that can be seen from the heavens. Ebony still doesn’t know that she’s a stolen angel, but now that the heavens have found her, they want her back.


Totally by coincidence, I have got 2 copies of this gorgeous looking book so I’m sharing the love by giving away one of the copies.  I’ve not read it yet but this just looks really good, I had to share the love around 😉  Please note the right hand bottom corner is slightly creased (for a folding or something) but that is how I got it in the mail.

Giveaway is limited to Australian mailing address only (am about to sign a new mortgage docs so am feeling terribly poor :() and condition of entry is that you are either over 16 or have your parent’s / guardian’s permission to enter.  The only other condition is to like my Facebook page, as the Rafflecopter is being hosted over there, but that’s all there is to it.

The giveaway is open NOW and will end on Midnight Thursday 21 February 2013.  I will draw on Friday and you will have the weekend to respond with your mailing address.  I’ll be away for the weekend but I will post the book on Monday so that it will hopefully arrive by 1 March 2013, at the latest!

Winners!! (Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop)

Thanks again to Shelleyrae @Book’d Out and Confessions from Romaholics for hosting this hop!

Giveaway #1 (INTL) They’re a Weird Mob by Nino Culotta

Winner: Margaret Lynne Sharp

Giveaway #2 (AU): Lola’s Secret by Monica McInerney

Winner: Mary Preston

Giveaway #3 (AU): The Idea of Home: Autobiographical Essays by John Hughes

Winner: Michelle V

Congratulations, all! I’ll be stopping by the post office at lunchtime tomorrow to post books 2 & 3 along with my trademark (made by yours truly) bookmarks.  Enjoy!

Aust Day giveaway

Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop (25-28 Jan)

Welcome to my stop for this Most Excellent Book Giveaway Blog Hop!  What better way to celebrate Australia Day than to show our appreciation to some Aussie lits!  Thanks to Shelleyrae @Book’d Out and Confessions from Romaholics for hosting this hop.

It’s really hard to choose which book I’d want to giveaway – I’ve been catching up on my Aussie reads for the past couple of years and still got a long way to go (well, really, I’ll never get there – there are just way too many for one lifetime).  However, in celebration of our Australian-ess, our multicultural society, our own brand of ‘English’, I have decided that below is the perfect book to give away:

Giveaway #1 (INTL) They’re a Weird Mob by Nino Culotta

Just off the boat from Italy—the north—Nino Culotta arrives in Sydney. He thought he spoke English but he’s never heard anything like the language these Australians are speaking.

They’re a Weird Mob is an hilarious snapshot of the immigrant experience in Menzies-era Australia, by a writer with a brilliant ear for the Australian way with words.

Check out my review here

This giveaway is open internationally however please note that if you are overseas, I will be gifting an ebook to you via Kobo.  If you are in AU, you have the choice for either the print edition (NEW) or Kobo ebook.

Giveaway #2 (AU): Lola’s Secret by Monica McInerney

Magic can happen in every family…

At the Valley View Motel in South Australia’s picturesque Clare Valley, eighty-four-year-old Lola Quinlan is up to her usual mischief. She’s sent her family away for Christmas and invited a number of mystery guests to come and stay. But who are all these people, and why aren’t they spending the festive season with their own loved ones?

As the big day draws closer and Lola’s personal family dramas threaten to unravel her plans, she discovers that at a special time of year, magic can happen in every family – especially your own.

From the bestselling author of At Home with the Templetons here comes a funny, sad and moving novel about memories and moments and the very meaning of life.

Giveaway #3 (AU): The Idea of Home: Autobiographical Essays by John Hughes

A collection of autobiographical essays in which John Huges reflects on growing up in Cessnock, in a household rules by memories of the Ukraine, which his mother and grandparents had to flee during the Second World War.

NOTE: Giveaways 2 & 3 are gently used copies of which I read once on my commute to work.

To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment stating your current residence (AU or Intl) and if you’re in AU, please state which giveaway you’d like to enter (you may enter all 3).  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!!  Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! *hand behind ear to hear your response*


Top Cuddles of 2012 Giveaway Hop

Welcome to my stop of the giveaway hop!  I’m excited to participate in this hop (thanks, Kat & Steph for hosting!).

I’m giving away a book of your choice from The Book Depository (int’l as long as they ship free to your country) up to the value of AUD $15.  The Rafflecopter is being hosted on my FB page (as WP does not allow it) and that’s the only mandatory entry for this giveaway.  The other entry is for you to leave a comment as to what was your best 2012 read and what you most excitedly look forward to 2013 release.  So do, leave me a comment before you go to my FB page.

Some of my top reads in 2012 are:

And some of what I’m looking forward to in 2013 are:

Please do share with me yours!  Then go to my FB page to enter 🙂  Good luck!

Don’t forget to visit all the other stops to enter:

Please note: The only terms & conditions I’ll impose is that you are of age to enter and / or will order age appropriate book and / or have the permission of your parent / guardian to enter this giveaway.  This is your responsibility.

Winners: The Secret Keeper

Thank you, everyone, who have stopped by and entered to win an uncorrected proof of The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton.

Thanks also to my little one who helped me picked out 3 random names from the bag and here are the winners:

Michael @ Literary Exploration




I’m sending you all an email right after this is posted.  Please do respond with your mailing address within 48 hours.  This is what’s coming in the mail for you 🙂

Yes – I’ll be including these homemade bookmarks for you!  Enjoy 🙂

Review: The Secret Keeper (+ GIVEAWAY -AU only)

The Secret Keeper
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: Uncorrected Proof courtesy of The Reading Room and Allen & Unwin -get your own copy from The Book Depository (psst… check out the giveaway at the bottom of the page too!)

My reaction at the end of chapter 1:


*No, she did not just do that!!?!?*

*flicked the page*

*Yes, she did… Golly!*

And with that, I’ve bitten the bait, was totally hooked and reeled through the story.

Due to some personal issue, I am not a fan of The Forgotten Garden. I am very sensitive about it and would usually avoid a story that’s blatantly obvious that’s where it was going. With The Forgotten Garden though, I wasn’t really sure until maybe midway where it’s going but (my compliments to the author), I really had to know the ending so I just couldn’t put the book down. Unfortunately, the book not only breached my comfort zone, it nearly killed me! Hence, am not really a fan. I can’t tell you what this personal issue is as it will give away the story a bit much… The Secret Keeper, on the other hand, was borderline but the ending was on a very acceptable level to me so it was a story I enjoyed reading, overall.

A dark secret is overshadowing the Nicolson family though not all knew or even felt the shadow but Laurel does. She was a part of the shadow whilst not fully aware of the secret. As her mother lay close to the end of her life, Laurel was compelled to explore this mystery and in effect, came to know her mother for who she really was –as a person, a woman, and not just ‘Ma’. This story spans over a century and over the ocean, through war, filled with friendship, love, and betrayals.

A totally heartbreaking story that stays with you long after you read it. I finished reading this quite late at night and I just couldn’t get to sleep as the book continues to haunt me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it even now! Thank you, Kate Morton, I believe your tales will haunt me for the rest of my life.

Thank you Allen & Unwin and The Reading Room for providing me with the Uncorrected Proof in exchange for an honest review


A kind and generous offer by Allen & Unwin – I have 3 uncorrected proofs to giveaway to anyone with an Australian mailing address.  Sorry, peeps – Aussie publisher plus am paying for the post 😉

Edited: I’ve tried setting up a Rafflecopter but there’s been some glitch that Rafflecopter just isn’t loading for us in Australia *humph!* so… just leave a comment (don’t include your email address within the comment body just include it in the comment form) and I’ll draw 3 random winners this coming Sunday (28th October 2012).  Please do respond to my email within 48 hours with your mailing address.

View all my reviews