In collaboration with Hachette Australia for On the Bookcase!
GIFTS AND GIVEAWAYS…
Celebrating the end of the year with a series of gifts and giveaways for our readers. A virtual party of sorts and our little way of saying thank you for your love and support over the past 7ish years, as well as a further opportunity to showcase some of our favourite people, products and places in the process.
ON THE BOOKCASE
I’ve had an absolute ball casing the extensive publication line-up from Hachette Australia this year for On the Bookcase here on AMC. It may have taken fractured ribs and forced bed rest last year to get me back into reading for pleasure (and reviews) but now that I’ve started again there’s no going back.
Books always make great gifts, no matter what time of year or the occasion. Reading is such an easy and affordable means of escapism and who doesn’t need to escape the day-to-day chaos at this time of year?!
As I spend a lot of my time online, I prefer to be offline when it comes to reading. You’ll find me in a quiet corner in a comfy chair, turning actual pages, I’ll generally have a pot of tea on the go and a do-not-disturb, aka there had better be a fire for this interruption, sign on my door.
Having a hectic but happy lifestyle, it takes a certain book to grab my interest and hold it, so I tend to lean towards hard to put down fiction and tackle a book in one or two sittings. My summer reading list, although extensive isn’t full of too many surprises this year. Having said that, there’s lots of mystery and the surprises that most certainly come with that genre.
SUMMER READING & GIFTING WITH HACHETTE AUSTRALIA
When I first looked at the upcoming publications from Hachette Australia for summer, my wish list was extensive, to say the least. There wasn’t much that I didn’t want to sink my teeth into and there’s no doubt, I could certainly complete all my Christmas shopping in the one place given we all love reading in our family. Time wise though, I have my reading limitations and even with scheduling lots of white space and free time for reading during my break, I’m also wanting time to reconnect with hubby and my little super busy family, so one or two books a week is probably my limit.
All my selections would make great gifts and thanks to Hachette Australia we have not one but SEVEN books up for grabs as part of our latest On the Bookcase giveaway.
1940. Parisian seamstress Estella Bissette is forced to flee France as the Germans advance. She is bound for Manhattan with a few francs, one suitcase, her sewing machine and a dream: to have her own atelier.
2015. Australian curator Fabienne Bissette journeys to the annual Met Gala for an exhibition of her beloved grandmother’s work – one of the world’s leading designers of ready-to-wear clothing. But as Fabienne learns more about her grandmother’s past, she uncovers a story of tradegy, heartbreak and secrets – and the sacrifices made for love.
Crossing generations, society’s boundaries and international turmoil, THE PARIS SEAMSTRESS is the bequiling, transporting story of the special relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter as they attempt to heal the heartache of the past.
Truth be told, I’m a bit late to the game with this book, with Natasha’s next book just around the corner. Like most people at this time of year, I haven’t had a huge chunk of time to commit to reading lately and I prefer to tackle my historical fiction and anything from Natasha Lester in one or two sittings. Ideally, one uninterrupted escapism session.
AND YES… THE PARIS SEAMSTRESS is one of the books up for grabs in our giveaway and includes a bookmark from Perth designer Tamara Harrison!
The rest of my summer reading fiction lineup looks a lot like this…
EVERY BREATH… The New York Times and international number one bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with a powerful new love story. When two strangers’ paths cross, their chance encounter sets in motion a heart-breaking story – one that will transcend decades, continents and the workings of fate. There are times when destiny and love collide. This story is one of them.
Hope Anderson is at a crossroads. After six years with her boyfriend, she is no longer sure what she wants, and when her father becomes ill she heads to her family’s cottage at Sunsety Beach in North Carolina to make some difficult decisions.
Tru Walls has been summoned across an ocean from where he was born and raised in Zimbabwe by a letter from a man claiming to be his father. In journeying to Sunset Beach, Tru hopes to unravel the mystery surrounding his mother’s life, but the letter will lead him in an unexpected direction.
THE SINGLE LADIES OF JACARANDA RETIREMENT VILLAGE... Joanna Nell’s life-affirming debut is a moving, funny, heartwarming tale of love and community in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Grace and Frankie.
The life of 79-year-old pensioner Peggy Smart is as beige as the decor in her retirement village. Her week revolves around aqua aerobics and appointments with her doctor. Following a very minor traffic accident, things have turned frosty with her grown-up children and she is afraid they are trying to take away her independence. Noticing her memory isn’t what it used to be, Peggy is taking even more inventive steps to cover up her dwindling faculties.
The highlight of Peggy’s day is watching her neighbour Brian head out for his morning swim. She dreams of inviting the handsome widower – treasurer of the Residents’ Committee and one of the few eligible men in the village – to an intimate dinner. But whey would and educated man like Brian, a chartered accountant no less, look twice at Peggy? As a woman of a certain age, she fears she has become invisible, even to men in their eighties.
A chance encounter with an old school friend she hasn’t seen in five decades – the glamorous fashionista Angie Valentine – sets Peggy on an unexpected journey of self-discovery.
It’s the aging invisibility factor and unexpected journey of self-discovery that had me popping this one on my reading list for summer.
A KEEPER, Graham Norton… From the bestselling author of Holding comes another sweeping, evocative tale set on the coast of Ireland. Shortlisted for the National Book Awards, I already know I’m going to love this book.
The mystery of Elizabeth Keane’s father is one of that has never been solved by the people of Buncarragh – not for lack of speculation. Her mother Patricia had been assumed a spinster until she began dating a mysterious man from out of town, and within months had left Buncarragh and had married. Less than two years later, Patricia was back with a new baby in her arms, but no new husband by her side and unbendingly silent about her recent past. A secret she would take to her grave.
Now, as Elizabeth returns to the village after her mother’s funeral, bringing with her own regrets and wounds, she finds a thin pile of ribbon-bound letters at the back of a wardrobe that may at last hold the key to her past: Dear Lonely Leinster Lady, I’m not really sure how to begin…
THE AU PAIR by Emma Rous… A tautly plotted mystery of dark family secrets, perfect for fans of Kate Morton. I’ve already pegged this one as a page turner just from reading the back of the book and I’m more than a bit partial to a good mystery. Hopefully, this won’t disappoint.
Seraphine Mayes and her brother Danny are known as the summer-born Summerbournes: the first set of summer twins to be born at Summerbourne House. But on the day they were born their mother threw herself to her death, their au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark-cloaked figures and a stolen baby.
Now twenty-five, and mourning the recent death of her father, Seraphine uncovers a family photograph taken on the day the twins were born featuring both parents posing with just one baby. Seraphine soon becomes fixated with the notion that she and Danny might not be twins after all, that she wasn’t the baby born that day and that there was more to her mother’s death than se has ever been told…
THE PEACOCK SUMMER Hannah Richell… An utterly compelling story of secrets, betrayals and the consequences of a long-ago summer from the internationally bestselling author of Secrets of the Tides and The Shadow Year. Two summers, decades apart. Two women whose lives are forever entwined. And a house that holds the secrets that could free them both. I’M INTRIGUED!
At twenty-six, Lillian feels ancient and exhausted. Her marriage to Charles Oberon has not turned out the way she thought it would. To her it seems she is just another beautiful object captured within the walls of Cloudesley, her husband’s Chilterns manor house. But, with a young step-son and a sister to care for, Lillian accepts there is no way out for her. Then Charles makes and arrangement with an enigmatic artist visting their home and her world is turned on its head.
Maggie Oberon ran from the hurt and resentment she caused. Half a world away, in Australia, it was easier to forget, to pretend she didn’t care. But when ther grandmother, Lillian, falls ill she must head back to Clousesley. Forced to face her past, she will learn that all she thought was real, all that she held so close, was never as it seemed.
You know that saying ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’? Well, I actually hope in this case, THE PEACOCK SUMMER is as beautiful as its cover.
THE SECRETS AT OCEANS EDGE… The secrets that bind a family can also destroy a family. The absorbing story of a guesthouse keeper and his wife who attempt to start over, from devastatingly talented debut author Kali Napier.
1932. Ernie and Lily Hass, and their daughter, Girlie, have lost almost everything in the Depression. Abandoning their failing wheat farm, they make a new start on the west coast of Australia, where they begin to build a summer guesthouse. But forming new alliances isn’t easy – and when Lily’s shell-shocked brother Tommy wanders into their new life, his presence will raise questions that cut to the heart of who Ernie, Lily and Girlie really are.
Moving away from fiction, I have two books on my summer reading list…
WHY FRENCH WOMEN FEEL YOUNG AT 50 by Mylene Desclaux
This book is all about learning how to take pleasure from the simple things in life and how to make the most of your fifties, the Parisian way. Given I’m fast approaching 50 and my hair has recently turned 50 shades of grey, I’m looking at this a bit like how I should have looked at botox in my 30s, as a preventative measure and getting in a little early rather than waiting until it’s too late.
RESET YOUR GUT by Robyn Youkilis
Robyn Youkilis is a certified wellness expert, TV personality and author. Robyn regularly advises The Today Show, People, Redbook, and thousands of women who can’t face another diet. Known for her supportive style, she helps her clients through her health coaching practice, Your Healthiest You.
As most of you would be aware, I have Hashimotos’ disease and another auto-immune condition that makes life more than a little interesting at times. For the last few months, I’ve been partaking in an elimination-style diet called AIP (Auto-Immune Protocol) while awaiting my next round of treatment options. AIP is not for the faint-hearted (neither are the treatment options available to me), especially if you are surrounded by a family of foodies and on the invite list for foodie events but somehow I’ve survived without killing anyone, although I may have alienated myself and annoyed a waiter or three in that time.
A big part of the healing process is through my gut and I’m now looking to expand my foodie horizons as I continue to heal from the inside out and I’m hoping this book will help. While I prefer to keep the health side of things under lock and key, I’m making a small exception for this book. It’s choc full of great recipes and while it aims to address digestive issues and there’s a focus on weight loss, weight loss with a dodgy thyroid is near impossible for me and not my goal here.
Because I don’t think diet or health books make great gifts, unless they’re requested specifically by the recipient, I haven’t included this book in the giveaway lineup but if there is enough interest, I may run a giveaway and review post at some point next year.
Lastly and most importantly, there is one and only book at the top of my gift-giving list this year. It’s not up for grabs as part of our giveaway but there is a very good reason why. It’s the perfect Christmas gift, it’s also a gift that keeps on giving!
The book is DEAR SANTA from Love Your Sister founder, Samuel Johnson OAM. Samuel has gathered together a collection of letters to Santa from some of Australia’s most notorious and best-loved grown-ups.
Surprising, entertaining, wicket and witty, this little book of letters is the perfect gift for your favourite person this Christmas. Proceeds from each book will fund cancer research via the Love Your Sister foundation. Given my family history of breast cancer and my absolute adoration of Samual Johnson and the incredible work he does raising awareness and funds to find a cure for breast cancer, I’ve purchased a number of these books for family and friends. You should too!
Thanks to Hachette Australia, we have SEVEN ‘mystery’ books up for grabs for our end of year giveaway. Although if you’ve taken the time to read above, you’ll have more than an inkling as to what books. If you’d like to be in the running for a particular book that’s been mentioned, just drop the name of the book in the COMPANY section of the giveaway form below, otherwise just put ‘MYSTERY’. If your name is selected as one of our seven winners and your book selection is still available, it’s all yours. Otherwise, you’ll be getting a mystery pick.
MORE, MORE, MORE…
I’ll be rolling out the reviews for On the Bookcase in 2019. Any excuse to read more books is a good thing in my books. If you’d like to join our online book club, registrations will be opening up again soon.
Our end of year Gifts & Giveaways will run throughout December and into the new year. The best way to keep up, as our member registrations are currently closed, is to follow our December Aussie Giveaway Club page and/or Facebook group. Not only does the page list all our current giveaways in the one spot but it also includes giveaways from reputable Australian based bloggers and businesses. If you are in the business of winning, it’s a great place to grab a tea or coffee and spend a little time, casing all the competitions, on a daily or weekly basis. With new giveaways being added all the time.