Six Degrees of Separation – from The Slap to Me and You

It’s time for #6Degrees and truly, it’s easy to play (no rules, just bookish fun) – join in!

This month we begin with The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. What can I say about this book except that if you want to start a heated debate at a dinner party, mention it! Continue reading


Reading in the danger zone


Do you start singing a certain Kenny Loggins hit when you hear the words ‘comfort zone’? I do. Even though comfort and danger are pretty much opposites… Anyhoo, my comfort zone is contemporary literature. I don’t stray often but there have been some notable (and excellent) exceptions in the last year or so –

Speculative Fiction Continue reading

2014 Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop


I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.

I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

These words never date as far as I’m concerned (for non-Aussies, it’s an extract from Dorothea Mackellar’s poem, My Country). I particularly love the bits about jewel-seas and far horizons (to prove it, see my last post). And of course, my professional life has been dominated by ‘droughts and flooding rains’ (I worked in catchment management and hydrology for more than a decade).

So when it came to putting together this post for the 2014 Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop, hosted by Shelleyrae at Book’d Out, my immediate thoughts turned to books that really told a story about the Australian landscape. Here are my five favourites: Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – Favorite New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2012


Well, finally a list that can’t possibly contain any John Irving (but see what I did there, slipped the name in… Are you thinking about Owen Meany now?!).

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new ‘top ten’ challenge is posted – anyone can join in. This week’s topic is Top Ten Favorite New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2012.

1. Chad Harbach – The Art of Fielding took Harbach ten years to write. I sincerely hope we don’t have to wait a decade for his next book.

2. Emily Perkins – New Zealand born Perkins thrilled me with her exquisite saga, The Forrests.

3. Laura Dave – for sharp chick-lit. Continue reading

‘The Engagement’ by Chloe Hooper

The thing that irks me about books like Fifty Shades of Grey is the all the knock-offs they spawn. After the success of Fifty Shades, the new release section of book shops will be crowded with ‘mummy porn’ for months and months. It happens time and time again – for years it seemed the only middle readers that were dished up were books about wizards and the YA market apparently only wants stories about vampires. On that basis, you may wonder why I even picked up The Engagement by Chloe Hooper. Well, it was this article that grabbed my attention – the author herself is quoted saying “Don’t tell me I’ve just done a literary ‘Fifty Shades of Grey”’.

The Engagement is described by the publisher as “…a taut psychological thriller in which the deft blurring of reality and dark fantasy rivals that of Luis Bunuel’s classic Belle de Jour.”

It’s about  a young  English architect, Liese Campbell, in flight from the financial crisis and working at her uncle’s real-estate business in Melbourne. Alexander Colquhoun, the well-mannered heir of a pastoral dynasty, is looking for a city apartment. Very quickly, Liese redefines the term ‘client’ when it comes to Alexander. The luxury apartments Liese shows him become sets for a relationship that satisfies their fantasies – and helps pay her debts. It’s a game. Both players understand the rules. Or so she thinks. Alexander takes Liese to his property in western Victoria for the weekend. Here Liese senses a change in Alexander, and realises a different game has begun. Continue reading

A Quick Bookish Survey

In July, I was book blogger extraordinaire, managing a post every two days or so. August…not so much. I have been reading (and have a few reviews to come) but work and family commitments have sucked my time. Added to that, I’ve had a mediocre run on the book front. I haven’t read bad books but apart from Tigers in Red Weather, there hasn’t been many of those books that have me reading while I make the kid’s breakfast/lunch/dinner (yes, I can clear the table with a book in hand) or plotting an ‘early night’ so that I can get into bed and read for an hour.

The Broke and the Bookish posted a nice little ‘bookish survey’ today – perfect fodder for a quick post! Continue reading