Monday, May 25, 2015

It's Monday: Check-In Time



Linking up with The Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and It's Monday! What are You Reading? hosted by Sheila from Book JourneyIn Sheila's absence, share your Monday post on twitter #IMWAYR. 

Busy, busy week and I'm exhausted but happy. Lots of Mia time as Anthony & Christine spent days here putting in a 'rustic' bar area in our old garage. We are converting it to a kind of functional space since we already have a double garage. Will share some photos later. My son's girlfriend turned 21 and we went to her party on Friday night and then the Paniyiri Greek Festival on Sunday.

Here's the layouts I got done last week at scrapbook retreat, thanks to kits by Sue Tonga, gorgeous friend and talented scrapbooker. 

family holiday Gold Coast - January 2015

first photos I've scrapped of our fabulous trip to Lady Elliot Island
snorkeling with turtles Jan 2015

this was a class by Sue and one of the more difficult layouts I've done
 but the time and effort was definitely worth it :)
Mia @ 8 weeks
  
#FitReaders Weekly Check-In


 
#FitReaders co-hosted by Felicia @ Geeky Bloggers Book Blog and Jen @ That’s What I’m Talking AboutFitReaders is a great way to stay motivated, accountable and it's more fun having bloggy friends to check in with. If you also have a fitbit and want to add me, let me know :) 

First week in quite a few that I've managed to reach my target ... yay me! Sunday we visited the Paniyiri Greek festival. Luckily walking was involved as I rolled out of that place after discovering the joys of Greek honey puffs (Loukoumades) 
Bella is hating on me as she didn't get a walk this week ... 



Fitbit Steps: 
Mon: 6075 steps 
Tue:  8011 steps
Wed: 6679 steps 
Thurs: 8859 steps
Fri: 9628 steps 
Sat: 7950 steps 
Sun: 11,615 steps ~ Paniyiri Greek Festival

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Giveaway: 

WALLY THE WARM WEATHER PENGUIN by Stephanie M. Ward. 

Winner of gift pack ~ Congrats: Erin @ Quixotic Magpie 







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Reviews & Posts: (click on title)


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Finished last week:

NORTHERN HEAT by Helene Young ~ loved it! 
*Guest post by Helene Young tomorrow and there's a fantastic giveaway* 

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This Week's Reading List: 


THE CONFECTIONER'S TALE by Laura Madeleine ~ isn't the cover gorgeous!! 

THE LITTLE PARIS BOOKSHOP by Nina George (audiobook) I picked this one up because Kathryn from Book Date loved it. 

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Reviews Coming:

ONLY WE KNOW by Victoria Purman ~ another wonderful read from this Australian author. Review Friday

A DESPERATE FORTUNE by Susanna Kearsley ~ good but not my favourite Kearsely. 

ROSE UNDER FIRE by Elizabeth Wein (Code Name Verity #2) ~ audiobook. Very emotional.

TELL THE TRUTH by Katherine Howell (Ella Marconi #8) ~ great installment, sad it's the last in the Ella Marconi series ... for now. I'm not ready for goodbye! 


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Audiobook Review: 4 reasons I loved The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

Title: The Last Time We Say Goodbye
Author: Cynthia Hand
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: 10th February 2015
Time: 9hrs 20mins
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Book Source: Library Borrow Box

Synopsis: There's death all around us.
We just don't pay attention.
Until we do.
The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment.

Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be.

As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

Lex's brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn't have to be real to keep you from moving on.


4 reasons I loved The Last Time We Say Goodbye:

I was already in love with Cynthia Hand's beautiful, lyrical writing ... her Unearthly trilogy blew me away a few years ago. It wasn't a difficult choice to pick up The Last Time We Say Goodbye and it more than lived up to my high expectations.

The exploration of grief is beautifully and sensitively done. Before you shout me down and say not another one of those books. I swear it's different. The strength of The Last Time We Say Goodbye is in its down-to-earth simplicity, it's the raw, simple, messy truth that is grief. It focuses on Alexis's grief following her brother's suicide ... the gaping hole in her chest, the shock, sadness, guilt, anger. It's about family relationships and the devastation suicide wreaks on a family. Ultimately it's a story of hope and forgiveness and living with loss.

Julia Whelan is one of my favourite narrators. She has this uncanny ability of becoming a character, and pulling you in to share the story as a participant not just an observer.

That ending. Tissues ... enough said.


Connect with Cynthia Hand


Monday, May 18, 2015

It's Monday: Check-In Time



Linking up with The Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and It's Monday! What are You Reading? hosted by Sheila from Book JourneyIn Sheila's absence, share your Monday post on twitter #IMWAYR. 

Busy week with Dad staying a few days and a scrapbook weekend away at Daisychain Scrapbooks. I was excited to get a few layouts done even though I wasn't expecting to (photos next week.) These days the time away is more about catching up with dear friends and recharging my battery in a nurturing environment. It was a wonderful weekend even though my hands are paying the price for the fine motor work. 

#FitReaders Weekly Check-In


 
#FitReaders co-hosted by Felicia @ Geeky Bloggers Book Blog and Jen @ That’s What I’m Talking AboutFitReaders is a great way to stay motivated, accountable and it's more fun having bloggy friends to check in with. If you also have a fitbit and want to add me, let me know :) 

Fitbit Steps: 
Mon: 7087 steps 
Tue:  8342 steps ~ short walk with Bella
Wed: 10,200 steps 
Thurs: 11,197 steps ~ short walk
Fri: 6034 steps
Sat: 1786 steps (oops)
Sun: 5394 steps

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Giveaway: 

WALLY THE WARM WEATHER PENGUIN by Stephanie M. Ward ~ win a print copy of Wally the Warm Weather Penguin, "Say Yes To New Adventures" canvas tote and cute Wally postcards. It's International!!
Enter here.






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Reviews & Posts: (click on title)

WALLY THE WARM WEATHER PENGUIN by Stephanie M. Ward ~ 4.5 stars, very cute!

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Finished last week:

ONLY WE KNOW by Victoria Purman ~ another wonderful read from this Australian author.

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This Week's Reading List: 


NORTHERN HEAT by Helene Young

THE LITTLE PARIS BOOKSHOP by Nina George (audiobook) I picked this one up because Kathryn from Book Date loved it. 

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Reviews Coming:

THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE by Cynthia Hand (audiobook) ~ a departure from Cynthia Hand's usual, very moving. Review Wed

A DESPERATE FORTUNE by Susanna Kearsley ~ good but not my favourite Kearsely. Review Fri

ROSE UNDER FIRE by Elizabeth Wein (Code Name Verity #2) ~ audiobook. Very emotional.

TELL THE TRUTH by Katherine Howell (Ella Marconi #8) ~ great installment, sad it's the last in the Ella Marconi series ... for now. I'm not ready for goodbye! 



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin by Stephanie M. Ward ~ Review & Giveaway

Title: Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin
Author: Stephanie M. Ward
Illustrator: Vanessa Landin
Genre: Children's
Publication Date: 9th November 2014 (1st published April 2014)
Pages: 21 
Book Source: From Author

Synopsis: Wally is an Emperor Penguin from Antarctica who isn't exactly like the other penguins. Wally is always cold. So, he takes a journey to the Galapagos Islands in search of warm weather and discovers an amazing world of tap-dancing crabs, racing hundred-year-old tortoises and diving birds with bright blue feet. 

Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin is a delightful rhyming book for children aged 1 - 4. Children will love the bright and colorful illustrations of the unique wildlife in the Galapagos Islands while the simple, rhyming text brings these curious animals to life. Come along with Wally and visit this very special place!

My Thoughts:
A delight to read, Wally will capture the hearts of children and adults alike. He's an adventurous young penguin who longs to be warm and sets off from Antarctica to the Galapagos Islands. 

Beautifully written, with a fun, catchy rhyme and the illustrations are gorgeous; colourful and eye-catching. Wally's sense of fun and adventure will appeal to children and the child in us 'big people.' 

As Wally explores the Galapagos Islands, readers are introduced to some of the unusual creatures that make their home there. At the end of the story is a Fascinating Facts section about the animals which older children and adults reading to children will also appreciate. 

I adored Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin, this was a fun book to read aloud and my granddaughter loved the bright colours. I'd love to join Wally for more adventures ... somewhere else warm of course.




Connect with Stephanie M. Ward

Purchase










GIVEAWAY: 
I'm excited to offer readers the chance to win this great gift pack - print copy of Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin, "Say Yes to Adventure" canvas tote & cute postcards. It's international too ... woohoo thanks Stephanie! 




ENTRY DETAILS:
Easy Peasy ... just leave a comment and tell me your favourite childhood picture book. If you aren't easily contactable via blog, website etc please leave an email address.

EXTRA ENTRIES: 
+2 tweet giveaway and leave a link
+2 follow Stephanie on Twitter

Entries close 24th May and winner will be emailed & announced on my blog. Good luck everyone. 



Monday, May 11, 2015

It's Monday: Check-in Time



Linking up with The Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and It's Monday! What are You Reading? hosted by Sheila from Book JourneyIn Sheila's absence, share your Monday post on twitter #IMWAYR. 

Making headway with the clean-up from last week's flooding. We still have no home phone and no internet as a result of some line work during the week because of that weather event. 

Happy Mother's Day to all the mums. The mums of kids with two and four legs, mums-to-be, the mums who provide care and nurturing to children in their lives, the dads who are also mums and a special wish for the mum's who can't hold their angels and those who have said goodbye to their own mothers. 

My Mother's Day was special, I was blessed to spend it with my family. I wish my mum was here to share the blessings and it doesn't matter how much time passes I miss my baby girl terribly. 






#FitReaders Weekly Check-In


 
#FitReaders co-hosted by Felicia @ Geeky Bloggers Book Blog and Jen @ That’s What I’m Talking AboutFitReaders is a great way to stay motivated, accountable and it's more fun having bloggy friends to check in with. If you also have a fitbit and want to add me, let me know :) 

I felt pretty awful last week and wasn't up to much in the way of exercise. Fingers crossed, back on track this week.  

Fitbit Steps: 
Mon: 4565 steps 
Tue: 5873 steps ~ short walk with Bella
Wed: 5060 steps 
Thurs: 6094 steps ~ short walk with Bella
Fri: 8899 steps
Sat: 8059 steps
Sun: 4050 steps

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Reviews & Posts: (click on title)

GREAT-GRANDMA'S GIFTS by Marianne Jones ~ sweet children's story and a lovely book to pass down through generations. Perfect Mother's Day gift

CONSPIRACY GIRL by Sarah Alderson ~ my first Sarah Alderson and it won't be my last!

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Finished last week:

A DESPERATE FORTUNE by Susanna Kearsley

ROSE UNDER FIRE by Elizabeth Wein (Code Name Verity #2) ~ audiobook. Very emotional.

WALLY THE WARM WEATHER PENGUIN by Stephanie M. Ward ~ so cute! 

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This Week's Reading List: 



ONLY WE KNOW by Victoria Purman

NORTHERN HEAT by Helene Young

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Reviews Coming:

THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE by Cynthia Hand (audiobook) ~ a departure from Cynthia Hand's usual, very moving. 

TELL THE TRUTH by Katherine Howell (Ella Marconi #8) ~ great installment, sad it's the last in the Ella Marconi series ... for now. I'm not ready for goodbye! 


Friday, May 08, 2015

Review: Great-Grandma's Gifts by Marianne Jones

Title: Great-Grandma's Gifts
Author: Marianne Jones
Illustrator: Karen Reinikka
Genre: Children's 
Publication Date: 23rd November 2013
Pages: 34
Book Source: From Author for Review

Synopsis: Arlene is a little girl who loves to make things. She begins by making presents for her doll, Maggie. As she grows up, she moves on to creating gifts for her own children and grandchildren. This is a lovely story that is designed to help children see a different side of the elders in their lives and understand that they were once children, too.

My Thoughts:
Great-Grandma's Gifts is such a precious read, it's one of those children's books that will hopefully be passed down through generations. I adored my Gran and loved spending time with her and my adult sons had a very special relationship with their Nana (my mum) and now with a sweet little granddaughter of my own, this story felt extra special. 

The illustrations are simple, almost child-like and I like how the descriptive words look like what is being described. It not only celebrates the bond between a child and great grandma but shows them that grandma and great grandma were once little girls too.  

It's a lovely story to share with children and one I think young readers will relate to. It invites a child in, I can imagine this encouraging a wonderful conversation between a child and parent; sharing memories, fun times, favourite things about grandma or great grandma. 

With Mother's Day approaching I think this would be a beautiful gift for a mother, grandma, great grandma or that special someone in a child's life.

Recommend: one to treasure


Purchase @Amazon