The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Book 1 [Chris Colfer]       

11607446Alex and Conner Bailey’s world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales.
The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.
But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.

My thoughts on the book: I discovered the saga by sheer luck one day while browsing a bookshop. It was the French translation “Le Pays des Contes” and I was immediately attracted to the beautiful cover. Unfortunately, when I was home I realized that I had purchased Book number 4!! Imagine my disappointment! I was clearly not about to read that one just yet. But, once past this little hiccup, I was actually overjoyed at the idea that there were more! Not wanting to wait for the first three books to arrive by post, I ordered the ebook version in English, which was great because I really wanted to read the original version anyway. Now, I cannot wait to reach Book 4 to experience the whole adventure in my mother tongue!

So, let’s get to it. What did I think of The Land of Stories? Well, I didn’t like it… I LOVED it! It’s brilliantly written, very funny (especially Conner whose sense of humour and sarcasm made me laugh many times), and riveting (a real page turner). I was taken by the story from the start. It’s fast-paced, deeply entertaining and true to the spirit of fairytales, but with a modern twist on these famous stories we’ve heard of so many times from growing up. I thought the characters of Goldilocks and Little Red Riding Hood were especially well thought-out and unexpected. And the way the story of the Evil Queen is told was incredibly stunning. It conveys a sobering message about human nature.

Overall, it’s a gripping, moving, enchanting tale that I highly recommend. Honestly, I’m so happy I learned about this book because it offers a real moment of escapism for both adults and children.

My score: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (=A must-read)

Feeling Great [Peter Vegso]

Feeling great is not something that can be bottled and bought. It does not come from where we live, what we drive, or who we know. It’s not about having a good time for a few hours, or about having money to spend. It’s about putting your life in order and remembering who you really are—an authentic way of living from the inside that will sustain you through life’s challenges.

In this treasure of a book, built on the timeless spiritual teachings of visionary Dadi Janki, you will learn the precepts for feeling great and the three keys that unlock the ability to attain it. Parables and examples further illuminate this wisdom. Coauthors Peter Vegso and Kelly Johnson reveal practical applications to help you navigate and overcome the sticking points we all encounter in our hectic, overscheduled lives.

Now is the time to start feeling great—not as a temporary indulgence, but as a lasting state of being. This uplifting book shows you how easy it can be.

My thoughts on the book: After reading the summary, I thought it would be a useful read. In a world that values being loud and doing everything super quickly, it was refreshing to read a book advocating for quietness, introspection and mindfulness as keys to a happy, content life.

Our society always urges us to purchase for more material stuff, among other superficial things. I was quite relieved to find a book that put “contentment” back in the spotlight. On the down side, I was a bit put off by the introductory note that was permeated with religious comments and references to God. I was afraid that this aspect would be too present throughout the book. In a way, it was recurring. It is obvious that religion is a major part of the author’s life, but it somehow contributed to making those who aren’t religious a bit excluded from the overall philosophy. Not everyone believes in a divine entity. That being said, you can still apply some of the advice provided in the book.

Overall, it’s an interesting, easy read that can certainly help you focus on the positive side of life.

My score: ♥ ♥

Interview with author Rosemary Macindoe

My latest review was focused on the novella The Toorak Jackpot by Australian author Rosemary Macindoe. I really enjoyed this read and was very pleased to get to e-meet the author who kindly agreed to an interview.


Thank you for agreeing to this interview. First, tell us more about yourself and your background. What led you to become an author?

R.M: I am an artist and writer living in Melbourne Australia. I’ve always enjoyed writing and I studied German and Russian Literature at Melbourne University when I completed an Arts Degree in 1986.

Since leaving University I have studied Graphic Design, and Business Computing. I am a self trained artist who has worked in retail and banking part time. I have a website www.rosemarymacindoe.com.au which show cases my exhibition history.  For the last three years I  have concentrated on producing this novel in memory of my late father, Jock Macindoe who spent most of his life living in Toorak where I grew up there. However now I live with my husband, Ian and our two dogs in Parkville. Parkville a suburb near the centre of Melbourne and is the subject of my next novella.

The Toorak Jackpot is your first novel. You told me that it took you three years to complete it and you even did the illustrations yourself! How did you come up with the idea for this plot and what are you most proud of?

I came up with the plot after I went out with a lawyer who said “You’re T.P.” meaning, I’m a “Toorak Princess”. A Toorak Princess is really seen as a girl who is rich and spoilt. In Melbourne there are jokes about Toorak Princesses. Somehow this joke triggered by thinking about how my father who was a “Toorak Prince” and how he had a very difficult life despite coming from a wealthy family. He was a soldier in the Second World War and spent four years in a German Prisoner of War Camp in northern Germany. He nearly died in the war but survived to come back to Australia and set the world on fire in a career in Law and marry my late mother, Diana. Together they had five children. I have four older brothers who all have a sense of humour. The plot developed round a character who struggles to become a Toorak Prince and was based on men I met at a Melbourne Shoe Shop where I worked for two years in my early thirties.

The thing I’m most proud of is simply completing it! I found it enormously difficult to be funny every day when I turned up to my studio in Richmond to write it.  It took me a long time to bring it up to a publishing standard and had two round of editing and a number of friends give input.

Can you describe your writing process? What are your main challenges? What do you love the most about this journey?

I love creating a fantasy whether visual or literary.  I love uplifting people by writing something with a happy ending.  I find the main challenge is finishing something and knowing when to stop changing things.

Your book is set in Melbourne, Australia and offers a strong sense of the Aussie lifestyle (culture, politics, humour, etc.), which is not very common in the book industry. Most novels usually take place in the US or Europe. Was it something you had in mind while writing it? Do you think Australia should be more represented in fiction worldwide?

I wasn’t really thinking of a global context when I wrote the book but now that I have an ebook out there I am very excited about the potential audience for the work. I think it is fun to have a novel set in Australia.  This country ought to be more represented in the media because Australia is a special country with a lot to offer the world. Melbourne is a very beautiful city.

There are countless books being published each month and it can be difficult to make one’s book stand out in this wonderful sea of novels. What would you say to readers to convince them to pick The Toorak Jackpot?

Readers who want to be entertained and find an uplifting quick dose of escapism can’t go past “The Toorak Jackpot”

Are you working on a new novel? If so, can you tell us what it is about?

I have ideas for a new novella but it may need some research and I do want to do some painting for a little while. I may start on the next writing project after I’ve done some reading at the end of 2017.  It will be another comedy set in Parkville this time about an old crackpot and his two scheming children.  Stay tuned…


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Art has been important to me all my life. My mother Diana, encouraged me from the word go to explore my talents. Her sister Rosalind, was an accomplished Sydney artist who lived a bohemian life with a studio in Darlinghurst, Sydney in the 1980s. This world of painting and creativity seemed very exciting to me as a teenager. After leaving school in 1983, I was determined to study the History of Fine Art at Melbourne University and then pursue a more hands on artistic direction once leaving University. Design school followed and years of private training in life drawing and painting. I’m still learning although I am now largely self- taught.

I have had three solo exhibitions exploring different genres of Art from portraiture to landscape. I am about to start a new series of paintings about the joy of life in Richmond and South Yarra because painting is one of the most enjoyable things you can do and life just keeps getting better!

Currently, my studio is filled with paintings and drawings that I have brought out of storage along with my latest work. Most of these can be viewed on this website although this is just a sample of my work.

Anyone viewing this website is welcome to visit me in Richmond and see the full range of my work.  I would love to hear from you!

Salute,

Rosemary

VISIT HER WEBSITE HERE: http://www.rosemarymacindoe.com.au/

The 12 Dares of Christmas [Leigh W. Stuart]

Lauren Hall has one wish for Christmas this year — raise money to build a new, no-kill animal shelter for the town of Sycamore Cove. And she is prepared to do anything to make it happen. Even dare a man she just met to perform a strip tease for the local knitting society.

Gabe Nicholson has one wish too — obtain the job of a lifetime to launch his career. Only his wishes get snowballed when his best friend’s little sister hands him a pair of stripper pants and a bottle of eggnog-flavored body oil.

It’s all sugar plums and mistletoe until a scandal caused by Lauren’s fundraiser threatens to ruin it all. With Gabe’s work opportunities disappearing before his eyes and Lauren’s fundraising efforts tanking, their game of dares stands to burn them both. Unless it ignites a spark of Christmas magic.

My thoughts on the novel: I would like to thank NetGalley and City Owl Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book. From the lovely cover to the enticing summary, I knew it would be a great pick. And after reaching the ending, I concluded that it was indeed a good Christmas book to recommend. The 12 Dares of Christmas is a page turner that will make you feel warm inside this holiday season.

The plot is fun, yet credible. The characters are relatable and lovable. Throughout the many twists and turns, you find yourself asking for more chance meetings between the two main characters, Lauren and Gabe who are undeniably attracted to each other. This inevitably leads to pretty steamy scenes that will most definitely send the temperature rising through your roof, in case you’re having a cold, cold Christmas.

This novel has all the main ingredients required for a successful Christmas story.

A fun and romantic read not to be missed.

Score: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥