May 2017 New Releases Giveaway Hop!

Posted May 14, 2017 by Hannah in Giveaways / 36 Comments

Hello fellow book lovers! It’s that time of month again, the best time of the month – the New Releases Giveaway Hop!

It’s May, which means we’ve been in 2017 for five months now, and it’s going to be a super month of books. Of course. Every month is a super month in book land, but May is particularly awesome. It’s going to be a hard choice, that’s for sure. In series wrapping up, Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han will give you all the feels, and then there’s that book, A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas, but we won’t go there. There are some amazing diverse contemporaries releasing this month, and I’m super excited to read When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon and I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo. On the fantasy side of things, Sara B Larson gives us her new book, Dark Breaks the Dawn and Renee Adhieh’s new series, Flame in the Mist is also released.

Who needs reality when you have books, right?

Anyway! Let’s get down to business!

So let’s without further ado head on to the best part of this post – the giveaway! Normal rules apply, but for those who are new (or don’t remember), here is the gist of it:

ONE (1) winner will win ONE (1) May 2017 New Release to the value of AUD$30. And as long as The Book Depository  ships to you, anyone can enter! Not sure if that’s you? The winners will have 48 hours from me contacting them to say hello, or another winner/s will be chosen. Side note: I am more than happy if the winner wants to choose two books up to the value of AUD$30, but both books MUST be released in May, or else it does not count.

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And as always…

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Life, Amongst Other Things: Girl in Between by Anna Daniels

Posted May 13, 2017 by Hannah in Adult, Reviews / 2 Comments

Life, Amongst Other Things: Girl in Between by Anna DanielsGirl in Between by Anna Daniels
Published by Allen & Unwin on 1st May 2017
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher, Finished Review Copy
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Lucy Crighton has just moved in with some gregarious housemates called Brian and Denise . . . who are her parents. She's also the proud mother of Glenda, her beloved 10-year-old . . . kelpie. And she has absolutely no interest in the dashing son of her parents' new next-door neighbour . . . well, maybe just a little.

When you're the girl in between relationships, careers and cities, you sometimes have to face some uncomfortable truths . . . like your Mum's obsession with Cher, your father's unsolicited advice, and the fact there's probably more cash on the floor of your parents' car than in your own bank account.

Thank goodness Lucy's crazy but wonderful best friend, Rosie, is around to cushion reality, with wild nights at the local Whipcrack hotel, escapades in Japanese mud baths, and double dating under the Christmas lights in London.

But will Lucy work out what she really wants to do in life and who she wants to share it with?

Girl in Between is a warm, upbeat and often hilarious story about life at the crossroads. Featuring an endearing and irrepressible cast of characters, it will have you chuckling from start to finish.

There’s something wonderful about connecting with a character and her story, and for me, that’s what Girl in Between was –  a novel of my own heart.

Lucy has just moved back home to her parent’s house in Rockhampton, one failed relationship and a career in journalism behind her. She’s at a crossroads in her life, and figuring out the next step is proving a lot harder than it looks. Throw in romance, friendships and family, Lucy is caught, almost quite literally, as new chapters of her life begin and end – she is the ‘girl in between.’

The Girl in Between was filled with great Aussie humour and witty charm. Lucy’s a country girl at heart, though having spent years in the big city developing her career in TV journalism. A failed attempted at following her ex boyfriend back to Queensland lands her at home with her Mum & Dad, two hilarious characters in their own right. Lucy’s unsure about her next move, or where her path is leading – something that resonates with any twenty or thirty something yet to find their place in the world. With that uncertainty brings a lot of different choices and highlight’s Lucy’s indecisive nature, as well as that worry about whether or not she’s choosing the right path. connected really well with Lucy; she’s the type of person I’d be friends with in real life. We also share the same fears and worries and a lot of her story resonated with me on a personal level.

The supporting cast as well are fantastic – as mentioned, Lucy’s parents are a barrel of laughs as they navigate retirement. I love how supportive of Lucy they are as well, but still encouraging her to find her feet. Lucy’s best friend, Rosie, was a character and bounded off Lucy beautifully. Then there’s the romance – it wasn’t over done, but rather subtle, and I loved that it didn’t eclipse Lucy’s self discovery. Oscar of course, was a dish, and I also enjoyed that the romance wasn’t straight forward, but they were still able to find their way back to each other.

From country Queensland to the bustle of London, Girl in Between was a charmingly funny novel about finding your place in the world – no matter how long it takes you to get there.

Girl in Between is published by Allen & Unwin and is now available from all good bookstores (support your local!) for RRP$29.99

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Girl in Between Blog Tour: An Ode To My Publisher:

Posted May 12, 2017 by Hannah in Blog Tours / 0 Comments

I’m so excited to have Anna Daniels, author of the funny and charming debut Girl in Between, as part of her blog tour! Keep scrolling as Anna talks about her relationship with her publisher, Louise Thurtell, and what it means to have someone just as passionate as you are in your dreams. And keep an eye out tomorrow for my review of Girl in Between, which is in bookstores now!

Hello! I’m typing this to you on Friday 5th May, having just heard the news that my publisher of Girl in Between, Louise Thurtell, is leaving Allen & Unwin after ten years.

Before I start sobbing into the keyboard, there’s a funny story behind Louise and I meeting, so I think I’ll begin with that.

In 2015, my manuscript was shortlisted for the Vogel Award, but at 38,000 words, it was very short, so whilst I knew deep down that Girl in Between would not win the prize, my dearest hope was that a publisher would recognise the potential in my writing, and wish to develop it with me. That person turned out to be Louise Thurtell!

I arrived at the Vogel’s party, held atop the Allen & Unwin terrace in Sydney in April 2016, knowing in the back of my mind that I’d like to meet Louise. I’d done a bit of stalking on the Allen & Unwin website and saw that Louise had started the Friday Pitch submission for A&U because she wanted to encourage more unpublished writers to send her their material. I also read in an interview where Louise particularly loved championing authors from rural and regional Australia, who might feel daunted by the publishing process.

I asked to be introduced to Louise at the party, and when we met, I immediately felt at ease. Louise grew up in Orange and I grew up in Rockhampton, so we got each other as ‘country girls’ from the very first. I told Louise that I’d brought my Mum and Dad along to the awards night, and she said she’d love to meet them. Well, that sparked off a very funny chain of events!

My parents are characters! They’re not as ridiculous as Brian and Denise in Girl in Between, but they’re very funny and lovable and have an uncanny ability to charm and disarm! I introduced Louise to them and walked away to retrieve drinks, and when I turned back I saw that Mum and Dad had Louise wedged between them on a couch! She could not escape!

They all got along like a house on fire, with Louise talking cattle and sheep with my Dad until apparently he at one point said to her, ‘So, are you going to be able to help this daughter of mine out or not?’ Louise then replied, ‘Well, you know her manuscript’s too short…she’d have to write another 40,000 words,’ to which Dad immediately said, ‘Oh Louise! She’d do that in her sleep!’  Too funny. To this day Dad still takes credit for sweet-talking Louise into giving me a publishing deal! He’s dreaming!

From that initial meeting at the Vogel’s party, Louise then requested my manuscript, and wrote back within the week saying she really enjoyed it and hoped we could turn it into an amazing novel. She said she thought I had the talent to do so. I almost fell off my chair when I read her email, and after I jumped up and down and patted myself on the back, I got down to business, workshopping ideas with Louise for how I could develop Girl in Between.

When you’re in the creative industries, you use your talents and pursue your passions, but sometimes you need just one person to believe in and champion you to help you achieve your dreams.

Louise instilled such blazing confidence in me and my writing that I never had a chance to doubt my ability to transform Girl in Between from a novella of 38,000 words to a novel of over 80,000 words…something I never thought I could do.

Girl in Between will be one of the final books which Louise publishes at Allen & Unwin, and I consider myself so lucky and fortunate to have worked with her.

Thanks very much for everything you’ve done for me and all the other debut authors in Australia, Louise. Best wishes for your next chapter!

Anna x

When you’re the girl in between relationships, careers and cities, you sometimes have to face some uncomfortable truths . . . like your Mum’s obsession with Cher, your father’s unsolicited advice, and the fact there’s probably more cash on the floor of your parents’ car than in your own bank account.

Thank goodness Lucy’s crazy but wonderful best friend, Rosie, is around to cushion reality, with wild nights at the local Whipcrack hotel, escapades in Japanese mud baths, and double dating under the Christmas lights in London.

But will Lucy work out what she really wants to do in life and who she wants to share it with?

Girl in Between is a warm, upbeat and often hilarious story about life at the crossroads. Featuring an endearing and irrepressible cast of characters, it will have you chuckling from start to finish.

Goodreads | Dymocks | Amazon AU | iBooks | Booktopia

Girl in Between by Anna Daniels is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99, available now.

 

Anna Daniels has enjoyed great success as a comedic storyteller since kicking off her career by winning the ABC’s ‘Comedy Segment of the Year Award’ for an interview with Russell Crowe. She then went on to co-create the ABC’s first online sketch comedy series ‘Tough at the Top’ with Melbourne comedian, Anne Edmonds.

For several years Anna wrote and presented funny upbeat stories for The Project, winning over viewers with her warm, silly, endearing style. Having grown up in Rockhampton, she particularly championed the stories and characters of rural and regional Australia with affection and humour. As well as The Project, Anna has written, presented and/or produced radio, TV and online content for Queensland Weekender, Red Symons’ Breakfast Show, and the BBC One series,  ‘John Bishop’s Australia.’ Anna continues to report for The Project and often presents on ABC Radio Brisbane.

Website | Twitter | Instagram

 

Follow the Blog Tour! Click on the interactive banner below for more great content about Girl in Between!

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Full of Hidden Potential – But Not Quite: The Hidden Hours by Sara Foster

Posted April 2, 2017 by Hannah in Adult, Reviews / 0 Comments

Full of Hidden Potential – But Not Quite: The Hidden Hours by Sara FosterThe Hidden Hours by Sara Foster
Published by Simon & Schuster Australia on 1st April 2017
Format: E-ARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
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Keeping her secret may save her family.

But telling it may save her life.

Arabella Lane, senior executive at a children’s publisher, is found dead in the Thames on a frosty winter’s morning after the office Christmas party. No one is sure whether she jumped or was pushed. The one person who may know the truth is the newest employee at Parker & Lane – the office temp, Eleanor.

Eleanor has travelled to London to escape the repercussions of her traumatic childhood in outback Australia, but now tragedy seems to follow her wherever she goes. To her horror, she has no memory of the crucial hours leading up to Arabella’s death – memory that will either incriminate or absolve her.

As Eleanor desperately tries to remember her missing hours and uncover the events of that fateful night, her own extended family is dragged further into the dark, terrifying terrain of blame, suspicion and guilt.

Caught in a crossfire of accusations, Eleanor fears she can’t even trust herself, let alone the people around her. And soon, she’ll find herself in a race against time to find out just what happened that night – and discover just how deadly some secrets can be.

When I first saw the blurb for The Hidden Hours, I was extremely intrigued. Murder in a publishing house? I didn’t know I needed that! However instead of a thrilling cutthroat read that would put me off wanting to enter the industry, what I got instead was a bland, frustrating story that left me feeling unfulfilled.

In theory, The Hidden Hours was a great novel – however its execution was the biggest let down. The story follows Eleanor, who has moved to London to escape her traumatic childhood. There, she lives with her freelance architect uncle and his publishing industry bigwig wife, who is able to get Eleanor a PA position to one of the directors. Only a couple of weeks after Eleanor starts at Park & Lane, the marketing director, Arabella, is found dead in the Thames. And with the night of Arabella’s death a blank in Eleanor’s mind, it puts her directly in the crossfire as the mystery unravels, and accusations fly.

It’s hard to enjoy a book with a narrator like Eleanor. From the beginning, she’s a character that doesn’t do an awful lot but mope and whine. Which became old, fast. With this big chunk of her memory missing, rather than buckle up and take an active stance in trying to figure out her movements, she essentially just sat on her bum and complained about it. She blindly follows other peoples questions and manipulations. Basically, she doesn’t think for herself and that was what got me. The rest of the character set were about as uninteresting as each other. I never felt connected to any of them, and in the end I couldn’t really care who had done the crime. Even the little splash of romance felt mundane.

The Hidden Hours is essentially two stories. There’s what’s happening in the present, with Arabella’s death, and the past, which explains the traumatic childhood that has Eleanor fleeing Australia for the comforts of a new city. This seems to be a trend, I’ve noticed, in psychological thrillers. Dual narratives, one of which gives an insight into the main character’s past – and sadly, this doesn’t work for me. The chapters of Eleanor’s childhood were long and drawn out, too much information overload that was unnecessary at times, where you’re just screaming to yourself, Get to the point already! It made me less sympathetic by the end as well.

One thing I did love, however, was at the start of each chapter, you got to read a a snippet of all the different people connected to Arabella’s death – from hotel receptionists, strangers on a bridge, the police…it provided a unique insight into just how many different people were somehow a part of Arabella’s death.

Sadly though, I don’t think I’d be back for more. I’m craving edge of your seat, don’t trust anything, don’t read in the middle of the night psychological thrillers and this one missed the mark more than once.

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Life Updates + A Mini Break

Posted April 2, 2017 by Hannah in uncategorized / 1 Comment

It’s April!

How is it April? Once again, another year, shooting right by us. Time is marching on so quickly, I swear it’s giving me whiplash.

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Which brings me to this post. I don’t tend to do monthly updates – my life is boring enough without needing to share it with all of you! Pretty much the same on repeat month in month out. And as you can imagine…that gets pretty repetitive. In case you didn’t know, I’m currently midway in my Bachelor of Arts degree in Sydney…but I also work full time as well. So you can imagine – full time study + full time work makes for an awfully dull, stressful Hannah.

March was an incredibly stressful and busy month. Early March, I went home to WA for a few days for a friend’s birthday and surprised my parents while I was at it. That was fun. Being able to breathe and not think (well, more like ignoring) about university for a few days and just be around people I love filled my tank back up from empty. However that little sojourn quickly caught up with me, and I’ve been battling to catch up ever since. If I’m not at work, I’m at uni, and if I’m not at uni, I’m at work, or trying to catch up on sleep. But it never feels enough, and I can slowly feel the claws of anxiety sinking in, threatening to put me back in a place I don’t want to be in again.

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So on that note, in order to, well, get a little bit of order back in my life, I’m taking a mini break from the blog. It’s been just over a year now since I started blogging again, and none of the grand things I envisaged myself doing for the blog have really taken off. I’ve started questioning my place a little in the community, and where I fit in, and while I know that I love blogging, in order to maintain some calm in my life, I need to take a step back and re-prioritise. Everything will be left up, but there may be some days where the blog is down for maintenance as I fix some things up and retweak my theme and look. A break will also allow to catch up on my reading (outside of uni!) and reviews, as well as brainstorm new ideas without that looming panic of deadlines.

It’ll also give me time to work on my own personal health, both mentally and physically. As I said, I can feel those tendrils of anxiety weaving their way in, and for me right now, self doubt is a really big thing that I need to kick to the curb. I feel it in so many aspects of my life, and I know that it’s going to be a little while until I can next take a small break away from everything.

I’ll always be around on Twitter, albeit a little quietly, and my postings on #bookstagram will probably be sporadic to say the least. Until then, you probably won’t see any updates on the blog until the end of April/early May…and hopefully by then, uni stress impending, I’ll have some balance restored to my life! Because always remember, you need to take care of yourself first and foremost. And do know as well – if you are ever looking for someone to talk to – whether it’s about mental health, books, uni life, or life just in general – I’m always here!

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Five Films to Watch After Reading Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Posted April 2, 2017 by Hannah in Reviews, Young Adult / 1 Comment

Five Films to Watch After Reading Alex, Approximately by Jenn BennettAlex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Published by Simon & Schuster Australia on 1st April 2017
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
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Bailey “Mink” Rydell has met the boy of her dreams. They share a love of films and talk all day – Alex is perfect. Well, apart from the fact that they’ve never actually met . . . and neither of them knows the other’s real name.

When Bailey moves to sunny California to live with her dad, who happens to live in the same town as Alex, she decides to track him down. But finding someone based on online conversations alone proves harder than Bailey thought, and with her irritating but charismatic (and potentially attractive?) colleague Porter Roth distracting her at every turn, will she ever get to meet the mysterious Alex?

From the author of Night Owls comes a story of summer, first love and hidden identities . . .

If you haven’t added the adorableness that is Alex, Approximately to your immediate TBR list, I say: WHAT ARE YOU DOING???? ADD IT NOW!

Alex, Approximately is, in my book, the perfect type of contemporary, one that blends humour, romance and real life issues seamlessly together that will have you laughing, crying and smiling the entire way through. And if you don’t, then I think you’re a monster and will force you to re-read it until you do.

Bailey “Mink” Rydell (I totally see what you did there, Ms. Bennett!) is our heroine, one film loving buff who has decided to move cross country to sunny California, leaving behind her mother who is going through what seems to be an icky second divorce. Bailey has ulterior motives for moving to Cali though – one ‘Alex’, the guy she talks to on a movie lover’s app, who just happens to live in the same town as her Dad. From the start of the book, ‘Alex’ tries to convince Bailey to come out and join him for the film festival happening at the end of the summer, but Bailey, who has self-nicknamed herself ‘The Artful Dodger’ (my kind of girl) is reluctant to let ‘Alex’ know that she’s actually moved across. As Bailey tries to suss out (very unsuccessfully, might I add), who the mysterious ‘Alex’ is, she navigates a world of new and old relationships and thus our story is born, and we get the cutest contemporary ever to grace your hands.

I haven’t read any of Jenn’s other books (Night Owls is sitting on my shelf, so I’m going to have to crack into that ASAP, I think!), but if they are the same quality that Alex is, then I cannot wait. Bailey’s voice is sharp and witty, and she’s also a highly relatable character – even at my ripe old age. Her insecurities and fears touch at your heart, and seeing her relationships grow with her father, Grace, and Porter were so beautiful. Especially her Dad – I adored their easy repertoire. You could see that Bailey was so much more comfortable around her Dad (even though I would have loved a little more resolution with her mother), and he pushed her to be the best person she could possibly be without being overbearing or pushy. It was so great to see a beautiful female friendship that was Bailey and Grace, Grailey and Braice. There wasn’t any cattiness or shaming between either of them, and not to other people as well. Then there’s Porter Roth, man who stole my heart. Banterous, brave, brilliant. I loved how much he challenged Bailey and how much Bailey challenged him. Like any romantic comedy, they were naturally drawn together, and, well…you’ll just have to read the book!

Of course, one of my other favourite aspects of Alex, Approximately was the nod to all the rom-coms and movies out there. Each chapter had a wonderfully accurate quote from movies I adore to pieces, and I was overjoyed that Bailey was a Cary Grant fan (who isn’t?!). In that spirit, I thought I’d choose five films you should watch after reading this amazing gem!

You’ve Got Mail

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Obviously, this insta-classic is one you must watch. In fact, I’m dying for a re-watch myself! This beautiful, quoteable film is one of my all time favourites and is also a comp title for the book. Which I find highly accurate! Definitely the best Meg/Tom rom-com out there, You’ve Got Mail tells the story of Kathleen Kelly as she navigates her way through an online friendship, while at the same time coming to blows with the big bad chain bookstore threatening her sales. It’s adorably nineties to watch now (AOL? What’s that?), but also a timeless classic.

While You Were Sleeping

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Another one of my favourite films of all time, set in Chicago over Christmas has Sandra Bullock mooning over Peter Gallagher (who doesn’t see her) – until one day, she saves him from almost death by train. At the hospital, Sandra tells a little white lie – that she’s Peter’s fiancee – so she can stay and make sure he’s okay. Of course, the family soon finds out, and even though they welcome Sandra with welcome arms, not everyone is convinced – especially the brother. It’s quirky, it’s cute and full of charm.

Roman Holiday

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Another film mentioned in Alex, Approximately, it’s definitely my favourite Audrey Hepburn film, and full of cute moments that any romantic will love. Basically, Audrey plays a European princess who bunks off duty for the day with Gregory Peck, not knowing he’s actually a journo wanting a scoop. It’s hilarious, it’s fun, it’s Rome, and it’s a feel good film. Plus Audrey Hepburn is a goddess and Gregory Peck isn’t bad on the eyes either!

My Best Friend’s Wedding

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I challenge any one to not love this film! Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Rupert Everett, Cameron Diaz. It’s the perfect cast. Full of hilarious moments, a musical number that will leave you clapping along and an ending so sweet. Basically Julia Roberts plays a woman who discovers that her best friend is marrying someone else…only problem is, she’s in love with him. So of course she’s going to go and break them up. Hijinks ensue, and you’ll finish thinking how glorious it was that perms went out of fashion because Julia, honey, that hair.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

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NOT the badly done 80s version, but we are talking musical here guys. The best thing you’ll ever see. I adored this MGM classic as a kid – and still do! Small town girl Milly accepts a marriage proposal from a farm boy, only to realise that he wants a housekeeper for him and his six brothers more than he does a wife. The musical numbers are glorious, the boys are cute af, and you can’t help but be impressed with the way Milly whips the boys into shape.

Have you seen any of these movies? Or do you have any other recommendations? Feel free to let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

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