Forbidden – Tracey Cooper-Posey and Julia Templeton

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Welcome back everyone, I’m breaking up my Rach Random Resources tours with this review since I know I won’t be able to bring you another review from my own library until mid-March.

I pulled this one out of my TBR thinking I was being so clever knocking off the last of my Aussie author challenge in 2019. Only to remember ¼ of the way into it that I needed to read a book from a male author, and this one is by two females. One of which is half Australia and half Canadian. Somehow, I don’t think I was ever going to have a chance of using this for an Aussie author challenge!

After realising that, I figured I’d read this as just a book to enjoy. And I did enjoy it. I figured I should share my thoughts with you to give you a break from tours!

Now I’m sitting here trying to think straight after a day of mindless writing (creating feedback and fixing closed captioning on a training session I ran and recorded) looking ahead to a VERY stressful weekend (I need to evaluate data and write it up and submit it within 48 hours 😐 save me now…) so I may need to come back and edit this review later to make it make sense.

Ok! Well. This story is essentially a stepson falling in love with his step-mum and them ending up together. Vaughn is set on revenge against his father while Elisa just wants her son back. Nothing could possibly go wrong right?

Well, as an erotica I found it quite light on until maybe the last third of the book? Before then it was more suggestive, basic quick foreplay kinda stuff to build the tension and need. That last third though took off and it did feel like they were a bit rabbit like. But more because it’s an erotica and so skips some of the storytelling that a you’d expect in a romance.

There is character development, which I think a lot of people miss with erotica’s. That development is tied up in more base emotions than true romances, so I feel like people mistake it for something else.

The struggle that Vaughn and Elisa fight have more to do with their responses to each other and their emotional ties than anything else. You see this in the times Elisa takes control and really shows Vaugh who she is, what she will and won’t accept and stands up to the horrible attitudes of the woman of that time.

I found myself really enjoying this story and wished for more at the end. Yes, a little bit more editing could happen to fix a couple of typos/grammar errors. But overall, I had a really fun time reading this book this week!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Friday I’ll be reviving my series review with Chants to Persephone by Jennifer Macaire.

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Perfect Match – Zoe May

Welcome back everyone, after the bit of a slump I got myself into with the previous read I can say I’m back into my normal reading habits.

I’ve taken advantage of a few hot days where I couldn’t really go out and do much (damn that heatstroke!) and stayed inside, where it’s cool to read. I’m not sure if this book should sit at 4.5 or 5 stars since I’m not sure if the previous one had me in enough of a slump that this felt amazing.

Regardless, the themes throughout the book are so positive and speak to experience and learning from mistakes that I loved it. The pacing throughout was consistent, well thought out and gave us a very clear heading when we had quite a jump in the timeline.

It felt like every character in this book had a reason for being there. With the focus of the book being online dating, this tended to revolve around how people meet, how you can get to know someone, how our past shapes our behaviours and so many little things in between.

For those suffering the dating scene of the 21st century I feel like this is something they should read. Love can happen in the most unlikely of places and with the people you least expect. For me, when my step-mum suggested I go on a date with a 30 yr old accountant she works with (I was 21 at the time) my reaction was along the lines of “ewww! I don’t want to date an old, boring accountant!” I ended up meeting him briefly at my dad and step-mum’s housewarming and eight years later we’re going strong!

The main message I felt came through with this story was to give people a chance and take care of yourself first before looking to add someone to that mix. Being happy with yourself is something that’s so important but overlooked so much in our technological age so I’m so happy Zoe was able to include that in such a great way.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Forbidden by Tracy Cooper-Posey and Julia Templeton. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Zoe May lives in southeast London and writes romantic comedies. Zoe has dreamt of being a novelist since she was a teenager. She worked in journalism and copywriting before writing her debut novel, Perfect Match. Having experienced the London dating scene first hand, Zoe could not resist writing a novel about dating, since it seems to supply endless amounts of weird and wonderful material!

Perfect Match was one of Apple's top-selling books of 2018. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association's Joan Hessayon Award, with judges describing it as 'a laugh out loud look at love and self-discovery - fresh and very funny'.

As well as writing, Zoe enjoys walking her dog, painting and, of course, reading! She adores animals and if she's not taking a photo of a vegan meal, she's probably tweeting about the dairy industry. She is half Greek and half Irish and can make a mean baklava. Zoe has a thing for horror films, India, swimming, hip hop and Radiohead. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of handbags having spent several years working in fashion copywriting and could probably win Mastermind if this was her specialist subject!

The Cake Fairies – Isabella May

Welcome back everyone, you’re in for a wild ride of Rach Random Resource tours over the next couple of months! Think 13 reviews over 2 months! How crazy am I?

I start off this crazy two months with a story about love, second chances, family and screen addictions. Together this sounded like it was going to be a great story with lots of positive messages and a chance for me to reflect.

Instead, I found the first half of the book to be very slow paced with every conversation and thought fully played out. While the second half you were lucky to get half the conversation explained let alone all the thoughts. I think if there had have been a happy pacing medium found throughout it would have felt more engaging.

With the slow pace that suddenly turned to a fast pace it felt like either the Isabella didn’t want to cut anything out, but also didn’t want to give us a mammoth sized book. Or, she was reminded to hurry up, or maybe she got bored writing so in depth. I mean, I can’t imagine how much time and effort that would have taken so I totally get it if she got bored or tired with writing in such detail!

Yet I think the main reason I found myself in a bit of a slump with this book is because the characters core personalities seemed to change at the drop of a hat. I get that under pressure and unknown circumstances people can react weirdly. But that’s usually out of fear or panic. Although these feelings were there when you read Polly and Annabelle’s thoughts, there seemed to be a larger shift that felt weird, unnatural and inconsistent.

Although I didn’t find the writing style suited me, I loved the messages Isabella spoke about throughout the book. Using cake to get people to connect, explore their emotions, realise their screen addictions and generally make changes for the better is genius. I don’t believe the effects would be so apparent with all the gluten free, dairy free, nut free, vegan friendly etc etc etc requirements in todays day and age. I mean, they didn’t even leave a little card out with the cakes letting people know what they contained.

But one can wish the effects would’ve been as popular as they were in the book!

I’m not one to comment on this normally, but I feel like a little LGBTQ+ (I honestly don’t know how many letters and in what order they are meant to go so I’m sorry if I’ve forgotten anything) rep would have worked in this story. Annabelle or Ivy were prime candidates for this rep to be woven in in a way that added value to the story, so I really wish that had have been explored. It would’ve made total sense and I kept expecting it.

Overall, the messages and story were great. It was just those little inconsistencies that I struggled to connect with. I’m the type of reader who really needs consistency, so I do struggle when it’s missing.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll be reviewing Perfect Match by Zoe May. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalusia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the mountains and the sea. Having grown up on Glastonbury’s ley lines however, she’s unable to completely shake off her spiritual inner child, and is a Law of Attraction fanatic.

Cake, cocktail, churros, ice cream and travel obsessed, she also loves nothing more than to (quietly) break life’s rules.

The Cake Fairies is her fifth novel.

Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley – Kelly Miller

Welcome back everyone, I’m continuing this week with another regency novel. This one is less of a romance than the Miss Amelia’s Mistletoe Marquis and more of a reflection on what’s important in life.

At the beginning of the book Kelly gives a brief introduction to the language she’s chosen to use for the book, great idea! By setting me up with the expectation that the language is going to be different to what I’m used to hearing every day I wasn’t shocked and the transition to comfortably reading it wasn’t too long.

Based on my limited knowledge of the original Pride and Prejudice, which this is meant to be a continuation of, I’m assuming the choice of language was deliberate to ensure it remained as true to the original story as possible.

Given the blurb I was expecting Darcy to have a kind of three ghosts of Christmas experience. Yet Kelly surprised me by having the angel of death be surprisingly human and compassionate. By bringing more characters than just Darcy and Elizabeth into the fold Kelly was able to weave a story that reminded me of so many life lessons. The type that most people can only learn through experience.

By incorporating a raft of characters into this story Kelly was able to include more life lessons and considerations than would’ve been possible with just Darcy and Elizabeth. It felt so well done without being over the top that it really worked.

The key themes I felt expressed throughout were those of love, acceptance, forgiveness, thinking before acting and their impacts on others when either displayed, or not displayed. The little twist at the end was such a sweet touch that left me feeling really happy with how everything was left.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing The Cake Fairies by Isabella May. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Historical fiction author Kelly Miller discovered writing late in life, but it has quickly become a favorite pastime. When not pondering a plot point or a turn of phrase, she may be found playing the piano, singing, reading, or walking. Kelly Miller resides in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter, and their many pets.

Miss Amelia’s Mistletoe Marquess – Jenni Fletcher

Welcome back everyone, I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year break. I know I’ve released a few posts, but this is my first review in TWO WEEKS!

You might have seen that I read this as part of the Reindeer Readathon, that’s because I like to try and read books at least 4 weeks in advance of the review date so I don’t have to stress. Because we all have too much stress in our lives to begin with.

I read this entirely at home (except for the day I finished it, I will admit I took it to work with me that day) because it was a physical ARC (thank you Jenni Fletcher for shipping this to me!) and I hate bringing books to work with me because I inevitably damage them. Yet when I got to the last portion of the book (and I’d just finished another book on my Kindle) I knew I had to bring it in with me.

Whenever I was away from this book, I was thinking about what was happening between Amelia and Cassius. How were they reacting to each other, what were they going to do next, what could happen now since they’re married, and I’ve got a good portion of the book to go? Etc etc etc.

Given it was set at Christmas time I was obviously going to love that aspect of the book. Yet there were some very modern issues of depression and self-worth that were openly discussed and explored. Not only did the characters discuss these issues (maybe not in those terms, but they did) they also coloured all their actions and interactions.

It was fascinating to me seeing such a “modern” thing as mental health be addressed headfirst in a setting where I wasn’t expecting it. Because of this I got the sense that Jenni was trying to say that mental health has always been an issue. Just maybe not talked about in the same was that we talk about it now.

I read this as a standalone, and it can be read as a standalone, but I’ve just (as I’m writing this review) discovered that it’s part of a trilogy that’s been written by 3 different authors! I know I keep coming back to Jenni’s work, but I might consider getting the others to see how their stories play out!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Friday I’m reviewing Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley by Kelly Miller.

2020 – The Year to Come

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Happy New Year! By the time this goes live I’ll be in sunny Perth!

I’m a big believer in celebrating your successes (even if you’re your own cheer squad), looking forward and giving yourself the best opportunity possible to succeed. I did my reflection on Wednesday, so now it’s time to look towards the future.

What are my bookish goals for 2020?

This is my little reading nook with my snuggle that rotates 360 degrees.
  • Finish reviewing Tamora Pierce’s books
  • Complete series reviews for 3 other series I began in 2019
  • Kick start my book vs TV show comparisons
  • Not overwhelm myself because I apparently have no self control when it come’s to Rachel’s tours!
  • Finish my book database (this will help the next two goals)
  • Read more sci-fi
  • Read more books I already own and haven’t read yet Finish creating the new, simpler, cleaner look (all URLs for reviews will change)
  • Read a book a week (or more)

I’m a massive planner and with Rachel releasing quite a few good tours over January and February I inevitably found myself signed up for more than I intended.

Luckily a friend helped me figure out how I could create a whiteboard style yearly calendar that I can reuse every year. So I can now keep track of when I have reviews and posts planned so I don’t get overwhelmed.

My normal schedule is a review for a new read on Monday, I’ve now added in the book to film comparisons on Wednesday’s and I’m doing my series review on Friday’s still. That leaves a few days for Wrap Up posts, tags and other random little things.

Not sure if you can see how limited my review places are until April

What book challenges am I doing in 2020?

Goodreads Reading Challenge

I’ve decided to set myself a goal of 80 books for the Goodreads 2020 Reading Challenge. Since I read 102 in 2019 I thought this would be a good challenge.

I didn’t want to put it any higher since I’ll be working from home now with my business.

To try and support more Aussie author’s and to connect with more local Aussie readers and bloggers I joined the Aussie Readers group on Goodreads. They do several challenges throughout the yr so I’ve signed up for two of them. If anyone would like to join any of these, you don’t need to be an Aussie to join so feel free to follow the links and join!

Aussie Author Bingo

The Rules:
#1. Aussie Authors ONLY
#2
. Read a minimum of two (2) rows – either across or down but not diagonal
#3. Where the squares overlap (if they do) you must read that square twice.
#4. Choose your rows and your LEVEL; then list (and link) your books in this challenge thread.

Make sure you check out the challenge guidelines here

There are four (4) levels of achievement:

Shelf (10 books – 2 rows)
Bookcase (15 books – 3 rows)
Library (20 books – 4 rows)
To Infinity and beyond (25 books – 5 rows)

The books I’ve chosen for this are:

Down:
a) Published 2020: The Lawson Sisters (requested on NetGalley)
b) Bright vibrant cover: The Boundary Fence (requested on NetGalley)
c) Rated 4+ by a friend: The Alchemist’s Key by Traci Harding
d) One work title: Lovestruck (requested on NetGalley)
e) Young adult: Stray

Across:
a) Rated 4+ by a friend: Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan
b) New author to you: Ballarat Charter, Volume 1
c) On TBR 2 years+: Thirty-Eight Reasons
d) Crime/Mystery: The Daughter of Victory Lights (requested on NetGalley)
e) Male author: The Landing

A-Z Characters

This one sounded like fun and a great way to expand my reading. I haven’t found characters for all the letters yet, I’m hoping as the yr goes by I’ll find some for the last couple of letters so I can finish the challenge.

So far I’ve selected 7 Aussie authors for my characters.

Rules:

For something different, we will have an A-Z CHARACTER challenge for 2020. To complete this challenge, read a book in which a main character‘s first or last name begins with the corresponding letter. For the hard letters Q, X, Y and Z, you may use a name in which the letter appears somewhere in the main character’s first or last name – it does not have to be the first letter. One book per letter – 26 books in total

There’s to be a minimum of 6 Aussie Authors for this challenge 🙂
And don’t forget our challenge guidelines here

A – AJ in Fateful Coincidence by Lasairiona E. McMaster
B – Evelyn Bell in The Daughter of Victory Lights by Kerri Turner AA (requested on NetGalley)
C – Coco Lauren in Getting Dirty by Rachael Stewart
D – Cassandra Devlin in Stray by Andrea K. Höst AA
E – Eskil in The Landing by Colin Taber AA
F – Lillian Fairclough in Lilian and the Irresistible Duke by Virginia Heath
G – Gavin Thompson in Dance of the Heart by Lisa Kessler
H – Henry in The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
I – Isobel in A Crown of Time by Jennifer Macaire
J – Carter Jackson in Crazy for Your Love by Lexi Ryan
K – Winter Knowles in From Thailand with Love: A Fun, Adventurous Romantic Comedy by Camilla Isley
L – Amy Lowery in Lovestruck by Bronwyn Sell AA (requested from NetGalley)
M – Mikolas Leandros in Song of the Soul by Lisa Kessler
N – Nolan Parker in Thirty-Eight Reasons by Len Webster AA
O – Olly in When Polly Met Olly by Zoe May
P – Sir Pelleas in A Shape on the Air by Julia Ibbotson
Q – Ella Quinliven in The Boundary Fence by Alissa Callen AA (requested from NetGalley)
R – Rune Jenkins in Magic Unleashed by Devri Walls
S – Shayleigh Jackson in If It’s Only Love by Lexi Ryan
T – Terran in Rise of Gaia by Kristin Ward
U – TBC
V – Valentine Pierce in Of Night and Dark Obscurity by Nicola Italia
W – Beth Williams in New Beginnings At Glendale Hall: A gorgeously uplifting, romantic read – guaranteed to bring you sunshine! by Victoria Walters
X – TBC
Y – Gwyn Drake in The Bachelor by Sabrina Jeffries
Z – Zara Edginway in Ballarat Charter, Volume 1 by Lila Rose AA

Stats tracking

I’m wanting to get a bit nerdier when it comes to my reading now that I’m in the swing of blogging, the various challenges and things that I can do. Since I wanted to track a few different things, I’ve decided to merge Kal from Reader Voracious’ template with someone that I stupidly didn’t save the link for.

The graphs that have stuff filled in isn’t actually accurate since I’ve yet to fill anything in but you can get an idea of the types of stats I’m going to be tracking. Over the yr I may add more graphs and stuff if I feel like I want to know more about my reading habits. The main thing is I’ve entered as much info into the data collection tabs as I think is relevant so I can then draw that data to see more info.

That’s me done for my bookish stuff. If you’re interested in knowing about some of my personal goals keep reading!

What are my personal goals for 2020?

Maybe not quite as exciting for you, but I might as well tell someone so I have a chance of doing them. There are studies that show by telling someone, or writing them down you’re much more (can’t remember the specific number) likely to achieve those goals. I’ve also decided weight isn’t a good measurement of fitness so I’ve made a change to that one.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
  • Fit comfortably into a size 6 (US size 2) which is my body’s natural size
  • Bench press 30kg for minimum 10 times in one minute
  • Run 5km in 30 mins
  • Get my first client for my business
  • Go to the Maldives for a week for my 30th (been keeping my eye out for a good deal!)
  • Give a rescue dog a new home with me (this has been 20 years in the making!)
  • Make Vlogs using Premier Pro

In anticipation of people being all like “a size 6 is too small!” I’d like to point out that I’m not even 5 foot 2. So a size 8 on me, although not huge, does mean I’m carrying around some extra fat all over my body. If I can get rid of the excess fat then I’ll easily fit into a size 6, on a skinny day I’d even fit into a size 4.

So please, no mean comments about eating disorders. I love my food and alcohol so need to work to not blow out to a size 12!

I hope you’re looking forward to what’s coming up this year! I’m super excited to keep myself organised with my new calendar. Since I’ll be working from home this yr I won’t have an excuse to know what’s going on!

In my January wrap up I’ll hopefully be able to show picks of my Perth trip and *fingers crossed I find the right dog* a new addition to my family!

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2019 – A Year in Review

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Wow! We’re finally at the end of 2019! It’s been a mammoth yr for me to tell you the least! Over the year I’ve:

  • Migrated my blog to self-hosted (gives me way more control)
  • Learnt how to use Elementor (that’s a website building tool) and made some changes along the way
  • Put maybe half my books into my book database
  • Upgraded my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (the government raised the minimum requirements)
  • Started and completed the Diploma of Training Design and Development (more specialist area of training with higher standards)
  • Set up a minimum viable site for my business (and partially set up a better version, still need to finish that!)
  • Been to a few conferences since I’ve never been to any before
  • Got through 12 months of owning a rental property (this is still super exciting for me)
  • Ended my contract in preparation for launching my business in the new yr! (so excited yet so terrified!)

Now into some more bookish related things! I’ll start off with a run down of what’s happened on my blog before going into what Goodreads has to say about my reading this yr.

I just want to quickly wrap up the Reindeer Readathon before moving on!

I managed to get 3 books read in the final week and a half of December, one of which I read in the hours leading up to having to go out to ring in the new yr.

This is the one that held me up in Week 3. I really struggled to read this one but I managed to get there in the end!

I’ll have a full review coming out in January.

I really enjoyed this one. It was good fun and had such great themes in it.

I’ll have a full review coming out in January.

I smashed this one out on December 31st and kept telling my partners family (we were all staying down at Phillip Island at the time) that I needed to finish this so at least I’d only miss out on one prompt for the Readathon.

Luckily they left me to it so you’ll see a review in the coming months.

Total points I achieved for Team Nutcracker: 140

in 2019 I published:

  • 90 reviews of which only 6 were from books I’ve owned since 2018 or earlier…
  • 33 discussions including wrap ups, tags, promos and author interviews

I honestly can’t believe how many books I’ve been able to read and review this yr! So many people that I talk to when they ask how many books I read a week, or how many reviews I release a week are shocked when I say read almost 2 books a week.

How many books did I actually read this yr?

So I started my first book of the yr early on the morning of New Years Day (I luckily finished the previous book in the afternoon of New Years Eve) so it’s actually gonna be an accurate number!

To remind you, I wanted to read 65 books. Now I’d smashed that by the time I went to Vietnam in August so I figured I should increase it. But for the purposes of this review I’m leaving that goal at 65.

DRUM ROLL!!!

I have now read 102! I’ve almost doubled my original goal!

Ok… maybe not quite doubled. But it sounds cool to say doubled.

Onto the cute stats Goodreads gave me!

I told you you need to go and read this book now!

Time for some other bookish things I want to share with you!

I wanted to share some of my favourite books with you from the year based on a few key themes. I’ve also linked in my reviews so you can check those out while you’re here.

A novel I couldn’t stop thinking about

At the end of Summer was a novel brought to me by Rach Random Resources and I have regularly thought of this story since reading it. So much so that I’m probably going to give it a re-read this yr.

I gave it 4 stars at the time yet the story has really stuck with me.

I’ve thought about An Impossible thing called Love a few times since I read it. The miscommunication, the way a third party can ruin things. It’s amazing to read about how that all happens and how the lovebirds find their way through that mess.

I gave it 4 stars yet it just feels so sweet and gives you a glimmer of hope that this kind of love can survive.

Debut author’s I’ve discovered I really like

I’ve read quite a few books by Zoe Ashwood (also writes under Zoe Ann Wood) since I heard she was looking for bloggers to review her novels. And by quite a few I mean like…9 books, one was a short story while one was a novella.

When she writes under Zoe Ashwood it’s paranormal and sci-fi romance. However, she’s also writing sweet romances under Zoe Ann Wood. So depending on what genre’s you like that should give you some idea’s!

Kristin Ward totally surprised me with After the Green Withered and then Burden of Truth. I’m not really a fan of YA anymore but Dave from Write Reads sold it so well I had to read it. Which meant I was pleasantly surprised!

I even got the opportunity to do an interview with Kristin to find out how she came up with the story and researched it.

I enjoyed her writing so much that I’m signed up to do a review of her newest book Rise of Gaia in February.

I read Michael K Hill’s novel A Different Time in one sitting. That’s how enraptured I was with it. I suffered from lack of sleep the next day at work but OMG it was amazing!

This is the one book where I’ve been tempted to do some fan fiction for it. He left it perfectly open to speculate, interpret and envision that it feels perfect for some fan fiction if he chooses not to do a sequel.

Last I checked there’s not going to be a sequel so I’m totally open to some fan fiction on this one!

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Harper McDavid totally surprised me. The blurb for Zapata had me on the fence as to whether I’d like it but I figured I’d give it a go when she reached out to me.

Let’s just say I’m glad I took that chance!

I felt like I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading it. It’s right up my partner’s alley (he’s not much of a reader but does love action stories) so I got it for him for Christmas.

I’m now struggling not to ruin anything for him! Fingers crossed I don’t spoil anything for him.

A novel that made me feel more connected to my partner

This is probably a bit of a weird topic for most people. But one of the books Rach Random Resources brought on tour this yr was based on something my partner loves (beer) and informative enough that I’ve been able to have more informed conversations with him about beer.

Although Probably the Best Kiss in the World sounds like a big ol romance (I mean it is…), it also has a big focus on beer brewing. Something my partner has wanted to get into for a while. So this gave me a little bit of an insight to help him get started.

Series that I’ve discovered

If you’ve been following my blog this yr you’ll have noticed that I’ve reviewed half of the Time for Alexander series thanks to Rach Random Resources bringing them on tour. Since I couldn’t wait for the rest to slowly come out I went ahead and bought the rest.

So you’ll see reviews for the remaining books going live across the first 3 months of 2020.

I’m a big fan of all mythology, but I’m most familiar with Greek mythology. So when Rach Random Resources brought the first book, Lure of Obsession, of a completed series focusing on Greek mythology I jumped on it.

Let’s just say I became slightly obsessed and have since bought the rest of the series and only have already read half the series. I’ll be reviewing one book from the series each month in 2020 until the whole series is reviewed.

A book that surprised me

Yeap. That’s right. I’m mentioning Against All Odds again! I’m sorry but it was just so unexpectedly good!

I mean. I’ve never read a biographical style book before so this really blew me away with how amazing the writing is. Especially given it was written by 2 guys who are doctors, not authors!

I hope you’ve enjoyed coming along for the ride with me this year. Next yr will hopefully be a bit a more structured so come back on Friday to see what I have planned so far for the new year!

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Wrap Up – December

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December involved a lot of wrapping things up, getting ready for 2019 and generally trying not to lose focus. I finished my contract and packed up my desk etc and ended my 15 months with them with a Christmas party!

I can honestly say I haven’t done much reading this month with everything that’s going on. But let’s see what I released this month!

I don’t think 7 reviews, 2 discussions and weekly wrap up posts for the Reindeer Readathon is too bad!

My Fav

I can’t believe I’m saying this but I need to make this one my fav. It captured me in a way I wasn’t expecting, was funny, serious, really showed me how dangerous this was. And just generally opened my eyes to cave diving.

Seriously, if you haven’t grabbed a copy of this you really need to! If you’re not sure why you should read a biographical style book, go and read my review and you’ll see why you just have to read this.

My Least Fav

I don’t think it’s Elaine’s fault, or the books fault, that this one is here. If the blurb had had sold this to me as a friendship book with lots of characters to follow I would’ve been prepared for the style it’s written in.

Single all the Way felt like it had too many characters points of view, it wasn’t a rom com like the blurb suggested and I think coming into this series part way through didn’t help matters for me.

I’d suggest starting at the start of the series if you’re interested in giving this one a go.

I’m going to leave this wrap up here since I’m going to be doing a full yr in review on Wednesday, and then the plan for 2020 and what you can expect on Friday.

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Against All Odds – Craig Challen and Richard Harris

Welcome back everyone, this is my last review for the year! OMG! And I’m leaving you with a review that (I hope) will having you running for the bookstore!

Like most people in the world I was following the rescue of 13 Thais from a flooded gave in June/July of 2018. Unfortunately, I’m not very good at following the news and got side-tracked by a whole lot of stuff happening in the Banking Royal Commission in Australia at the time. Other than knowing they got them out I didn’t know what ended up happening.

When I heard Dr Harry (Aussie’s, not to be confused with Dr Harry from Harry’s Practice) talking about his book on The Project it sounded fascinating. Hearing him talk about a couple of his experiences had me going “I have to read that!” The next day when I realised that’d be a great book to use as my final review for the year, the slot I had reserved for a male Aussie author, I just went ahead and bought it.

I’m gonna say it. Best decision ever!

From the moment I started reading the book I could feel both Harry’s and Craig’s personalities in every word I was reading. I could imagine the looks and the tones of voices being used. All of these came together to make me feel like I was right there in the cave with them.

A few times (ok, maybe more than a few times) I forgot that they all made it out alive, so when Harry was describing the issues they were facing (especially when diving them out) I honestly started worrying that they wouldn’t make it. Then I had that realisation that I’d had a blonde moment since this happened in real life and they actually did all make it out alive.

I take that as a testament to the writing and editing skills of all involved that in moments, I was so completely lost in what was happening I forgot the final outcome.

I also found myself pissing myself laughing at some of their antics and Harry’s thoughts. His sense of humour totally aligns with mine and I loved it. Then I’d have this moment where I go “I’m laughing while reading a book about an event that could have ended tragically, have some respect for what they all went through.” Then I’d remember what I’d just read and laugh again.

Some other points that I think really made this book was the way Harry and Craig gave us the truth compared to the media stories. How Elon Musk was brought up and scoffed at. And the inclusions of little facts about every boy, and Ekk, as they were getting them out made them real to me as I was reading about them getting out.

I’m not a crier, yet I found myself tearing up in happiness, sadness and in empathy of what they all went through so much. Whenever this happened, I had to take a moment and remind myself that it was a happy ending and it was ok.

Before finishing this book, I’d recommended it to two people and had been telling my partner what was happening as I went. One of the people I told bought it straight away and the other one said they’d buy it coz them and their husband would probably love it.

SO GO AND BUY IT, AND READ IT NOW!!!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be doing my December Wrap Up, but I might do a Christmas post as well… Undecided at the moment. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, whatever greeting is appropriate for you I’m sending that your way!