Thursday, 3 September 2015

Review: The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

The Silver Linings Playbook is a bittersweet look at mental illness, the end of a relationship, grieving and acceptance. (It also has remarkably little to do with the movie that was based on the book, but that is fodder for another post.)

Thirty-something Pat Peoples is returning to his parents home after a stint in a psychiatric hospital. He knows not how long he has been there, but he knows that for now he is not allowed to see or speak to his beloved ex-wife Nikki and that she will only take him back once he one, recovers from his illness and two, becomes all of the things that she wanted him to be. Much to the chagrin of his family and friends Pat does not heed their advice about letting go and moving on. Readers are drip fed information about what went wrong between Pat and Nikki (a woman who, for all intents and purposes sounds like a stuck up cow, but then again, the reader is supposed to be on Pat's side,) whilst seeing Pat move on with his life--even if he doesn't realise it. Central to the story is Tiffany, a young eccentric and slightly damaged widow who may just be the perfect person for Pat ...

I absolutely loved reading this one, even if it was a bit of emotional roller coaster. None of the characters are perfect, which seems to fit in with the novels message about acceptance. Pat's relationship with Nikki was quite troubling to read about and it would be quite interesting to read a novel written from her perspective to show her side of the story--was she really a selfish bitch who incited her mentally ill husband so that she could gain all of their assets, or was it a tragic and violent end to a relationship that had passed its expiry date? Why was she wearing Pat's scarf at the end of the book? (That one haunted me for a while.) But, as the title suggests, not everyone nor everything has a silver lining.

It also offers a great insight into how mental illness can be stigmatised and the experiences of people as they try to return to their everyday lives.

Although the novel is quite sad in places, I highly recommend this one.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Review: Blurline by TW Lawless

Larrikin Aussie journalist Peter Clancy is back and this time around he's in London ... where he has found himself working for a gutter tabloid publication. It does not take long though before Clancy finds himself embroiled in a glitzy, scandalous journey where he's bedding the daughter of a famous rock star, whilst ghost writing the memoirs of a disgraced famous actress. And, of course, in the lives on London celebrities nothing is quite what it seems and there may be something more sinister afoot ...

Fans of TW Lawless earlier Peter Clancy novels can expect to be pleasantly surprised by the third novel in the series which, in my opinion, is easily the best of the lot. (It can also be read as a stand alone, so don't despair if you haven't read the previous novels.) It's difficult to write a review without spoilers, so I'll just say that I enjoyed this one--particularly the setting. TW Lawless writes well and the prose is quite addictive and kept me turning pages.

For extra fun, I also highly recommend checking out the official facebook page for Peter Clancy.


Monday, 31 August 2015

Around Adelaide (Street Art)

A few months ago, this mysterious clothesline and outdoor chairs appears in the Food Underground (otherwise known as the basement of the Myer Centre). I'm not sure what they were trying to promote, but anything with lots of colour and a Hills Hoist has to be good, in my opinion.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

A Surprise Find ...

How many readers and followers here are familiar with a site called Book Crossing? I had never heard of the site, until recently when, I arrived at my day job at the post office one Monday lunchtime and found a paperback sitting at my counter. Being a bit of a book person, I was keen to reunite the book with its owner and opened the front cover hoping that I might be able to find a name and a telephone number, or any other detail that would help me track down the owner. Instead, I found this:

A travelling book. Cool!

It turns out that Book Crossing is a massive site that promotes reading by asking its members to distribute books in unusual places. For people who find the books, the idea is to them read the book the book, log their journey at the site and share it along. This sounds like a lot of fun, and so after I've read this book (and reviewed it on here, of course,) I'll share it along ...

Review: The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward

I was a little surprised to receive this quirky novel in the mail, one which seemed to be more middle grade than YA, but it proved to be a great deal of fun and I am glad that I read it, as it proved to be a an excellent and light hearted distraction while I recovered from a serious injury that I sustained earlier this year. The first in a series, The Potion Diaries is set in a world that is almost like ours, but with a few key differences, most notably that the world has been heavily reliant on potions and the art of potion making, though that is slowly dying out due to the manufacture of synthetic potions. The synthetic potions is something of a problem for our protagonist Samantha Kemi, who is an apprentice potion maker and set to take over the running of her small, family owned business one day. Then there is the smaller matter of her feelings for Zain, a young man who just also happens to be the son of the biggest synthetic potion maker in the kingdom. Anyway, things all come to a head when the princess swallows a love potion ... and falls for none other than her own reflection! The king calls on all the potion makers in the land to compete to find the antidote and Samantha soon finds herself on an unpredictable and exciting journey.

I loved this book for it's quirkiness and slightly ridiculous (but ultimately fun,) plot that should be a real winner with its intended audience and has enough their to keep YA and adult readers entertained as well. 

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for my reading copy.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Friday Funnies: A Word to the Wise

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Writers on Wednesday: Eugenia Pantahos

Welcome to another great edition of Writers on Wednesday. This week I am chatting with Eugenia Pantahos, author of the brilliant cultural cookbook Greek Life ...

Tell me a bit about yourself …

My name is Eugenia Pantahos, however friends call me Jeanie. Together with my husband George, we are proud parents to three amazing daughters, Anna, Mary and Helena. I am passionate about my family and home life, and dedicated to continued learning and personal excellence. Since 2003 I’ve been employed as Manager Finance & People for a consulting practice that is based in Melbourne that provides services nationally and internationally. I am a valued member of the executive team and I very much enjoy the contribution I make to the business.  In 2014 I completed a Masters of Business Administration (MBA), and launched my self-published cultural cookbook titled Greek Life (family, culture, food).

Tell us about your most recently published book?

Greek Life is a cultural cookbook that truly celebrates the time-honoured Greek customs, culture and recipes. It is unique and inspiring and provides readers with a feast for the senses.  Greek Life commences with the Story of Family, and continues with the traditions, celebrations and classic recipes that enliven each calendar year, January to December, as well as other life events. Each section is introduced with thought-provoking philosophy and the culture and traditions are supported by beautiful full-colour photography.

Tell us about the first time you were published?

Greek Life was released as an eBook in October 2014 and a hardback in March 2015. This is my first publication, and I have been thrilled with how Greek Life has been received by my readers both here in SA and nationally. More recently I have received orders from outside Australia, and that has been simply amazing.

As writer, what has been your proudest achievement so far?

Having a vision for a high quality, timeless cookbook that celebrates Greek culture, and then to actually bring that book to fruition, as a self-published author has been an exciting journey. I have been moved by the messages received from my readers who have expressed quite profoundly what Greek Life means to them. I have been thanked with deep gratitude for bringing this book forth. I knew there was a market for my book, but I really did not expect the outpouring and sharing of love and support. I must say seeing and holding the first copy of Greek Life is a moment I will never forget. Walking into bookstores and seeing copies on the shelf facing out has been inspiring and unforgettable. The support I have received from my stockists has been wonderful, and I shall remain eternally grateful to them for embracing my book.  Importantly, being able to share the launch of Greek Life with my family and friends and to be blessed by their love and support has been a truly humbling experience.

What books or writing projects are you currently working on, if anything?

Without giving too much away, I’m in the process of mind-mapping what my next book might look like.

Which do you prefer? eBooks or Paper Books? Why?

Most definitely paper books. I always have a book in my handbag, and although I love to keep my books in excellent condition, I am known to underline inspiring or meaningful sentences.  I love spending time in bookshops and shop at my favourite bookstores in the cities that I visit, and more often than not I buy books at the airport when I have time for browsing!

Indie Publishing, or Traditional Publishing?

Having self-published Greek Life I am now intimately aware of the Indie Publishing world, and would welcome the opportunity to explore the world of Traditional Publishing. I know there is a broader market for Greek Life, as I know people resonate with the story, the culture, the recipes, the philosophy, and photography.

Aside from your own books, of course, what is one book that you feel everybody should read?’s the business side of me coming forth…but I would have to say The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey.

Finally … is there anything you would like to say to your readers in Adelaide, Australia?

A huge T H A N K   Y O U for the your love and support and for joining the celebration that is Greek Life!

For more information [order online, see stockists, read Press & Reviews]
To purchase eBook (for iPad, PC, Mac, smartphone and tablets)