While You Were Reading Review and Blog Tour

While You Were Reading book review
While You Were Reading by Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus, ISBN 9781925750560, 374pp

While You Were Reading is the second book by Melbourne-based co-authors, Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus. If you don’t know, Ali and Michelle are the book loving brains behind the Books on the Rail initiative where book ninjas like myself are sent books by publishers to hand out on public transport around Australia. I was sent a copy of this book for review and so I could participate in the #whileyouwerereadingblogtour.

While You Were Reading is a love story dedicated to book lovers, reading and Melbourne. After reading this delightful book, I feel like booking an impromptu weekend in Melbourne to explore all the trendy cafes and book stores mentioned in the novel. Continue reading

The Trick to Time by Kit De Waal Review

The Trick to Time Kit De Waal Review
The Trick to Time Kit De Waal, ISBN 9780241973417, 262pp

The Trick to Time by Kit De Waal was an emotional and beautifully written book. It tells the story of Mona, slipping backwards from the present day to the past. In the present day, Mona is about to celebrate her sixtieth birthday and this milestone has her thinking a lot about the past. She runs a business specialising in making dolls. She has friends and a good life, but there is sadness too from some tragedy in her past.

As a young girl, Mona grows up in Ireland, raised by her father after the untimely death of her mother. Like many young Irish people, she leaves Ireland for work, settling in Birmingham and meeting and falling in love with a young man named William. As the book goes back and forth between the past and present, you discover what happened between Mona and William and why Mona carries so much sadness around. Continue reading

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren Review

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren review
Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren, ISBN 9780349421865, 306pp

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren is a funny, romance read about two friends who go on a series of double-blind dates together. They are friends, just friends. Hazel is a elementary school teacher who’s a bit kooky. She has a lot of pets and very much marches to the beat of her own drum. She reminded me of Jessica Day from New Girl. Josh is Korean, smart, sensitive and hot. He met Hazel in college through a series of spectacular encounters. Ten years later they meet again when they discover that Hazel is friends with his teacher sister, Emily. Now that they are back in each other’s lives, Hazel decides they are going to be best friends. When Josh’s long-distance relationship breaks up, they decide to set each other up on dates – all with disastrous consequences. Continue reading

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren Review

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren review
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren, ISBN 9780349417615, 400pp

The Unhoneymooners is the latest release from Christina Lauren. I discovered this writing duo back in March when I read Roomies, so I was eager to read another book by them. And I was not disappointed. Set in the beautiful and romantic destination of Hawaii, The Unhoneymooners has all the elements of a fun rom com read.

Olive and Ethan don’t like each other but they are forced to get along at the wedding of Olive’s twin sister Amy to Ethan’s brother, Dane. Olive has always felt unlucky compared to Amy who always wins competitions. But when the whole wedding party is struck down with food poisoning, Olive’s luck is about to change. With her sister not able to take the honeymoon that she won, she asks Olive to go in her place to a gorgeous resort in Hawaii. The only catch is that Ethan also escaped food poisoning and Dane insists that he go too. Continue reading

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang Review

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang Review
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang, ISBN 9780451490827, 296pp

I absolutely loved Helen Hoang’s first novel The Kiss Quotient , so I was so excited to pick up her second book The Bride Test. If you’re not familiar with this series, they are romance reads with a difference. Not only are there Asian American characters, there’s also characters with autism and Asperger’s. These books are sexy, fun and offer plenty of representation.

The Bride Test tells the story of Esme (My) Tran and Khai Diep. Esme works as a cleaner in a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She is mixed race as her dad was an American – a man she has never met. She has a small daughter and supports her mum and grandma. Her family are poor and sleep on the floor in a one room house. Esme wants bigger things for her life and for her child. Continue reading

The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier Review

The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier
The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier, ISBN 9781844080427, 329pp

Last October I asked my husband for a whole stack of Daphne du Maurier books for my birthday. I’ve been reading my way through them slowly, discovering old favourites I haven’t read for years, as well as Daphne du Maurier books I previously knew nothing about. The House on the Strand is one of those books I knew little about before reading. I went in without expectations and was pleasantly surprised by this novel. It’s a time travel book, but written in such an original way. I found it fascinating. It has firmly cemented Daphne du Maurier in my eyes as an author who was the master of any genre. Continue reading

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See Review

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See book review
The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See, ISBN 9781471183850, 365pp

I wanted to read The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See as soon as I heard about it. Set on the island of Jeju, off the coast of South Korea, it’s a historical fiction novel about two women Young-sook and Mi-ja. It follows their friendship through a time of turmoil encompassing Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 40s, World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath to 2008.

Young-sook and Mi-ja are both haenyeo, free divers who are part of a collective of female divers who harvest the seas off Jeju. While the men stay at home and take care of the children, the women go to sea and dive, catching octopus, abalone and sea urchins to sell. They dive without oxygen. In the old days, they wore light clothing and dove all year round in freezing waters – even when pregnant. Continue reading

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones Review

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones review
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, ISBN 9780143789604, 307pp

I read An American Marriage by Tayari Jones a few weeks before it won the Women’s Prize for Fiction – one of the UK’s most prestigious literary prizes. How’s that for perfect timing! I received this book via a book swap with a bookstagram friend. It’s also an Oprah Book Club pick. I was intrigued to read this book but still didn’t know much about it before reading it.

An American Marriage tells the story of two newlyweds: Celestial and Roy. Roy is a young business executive going places and Celestial is an artist on the brink of success. But as they get used to married life, something happens that changes the course of their marriage and lives forever. Continue reading