27 November 2015

Friday Freebie: WIN a copy of Olmec Obituary by L.J.M. Owen

RRP $29.99
Published November 2015
* Copy courtesy of Echo Publishing

Click here for my review of Olmec Obituary by L.J.M. Owen.

Blurb
Yearning for her former life as an archaeologist, Australian librarian Dr. Elizabeth Pimms is struggling with a job she doesn’t want, a family she both loves and resents, and enforced separation from her boyfriend.

A royal Olmec cemetery is discovered deep in the Mexican jungle, containing the earliest writing in all the Americas. Dr. Pimms is elated to join the team investigating these Aztec ancestors. Triumph is short-lived, however, as Elizabeth’s position on the team is threatened by a volatile excavation director, contradictory evidence, and hostile colleagues. With everything working against her, will Dr Pimms find the cause of death for a 3,000-year-old athlete and those buried with her?

With the archaeological intrigue of Elizabeth Peters, forensic insight of Kathy Reichs, and comfort of a cosy mystery, Olmec Obituary is the first novel in a fascinating new series: Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth. Really cold cases.

About the Author
L.J. currently lives in Canberra, Australia and is trained in archaeology and librarianship, with a PhD in palaeogenetics. L.J.'s interests include writing, ancient cultures and existentialism and her first novel Olmec Obituary, opens the archaeological mystery series 'Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth'. 

Giveaway

24 November 2015

Review: The Sting - The Undercover Operation That Caught Daniel Morcombe's Killer by Kate Kyriacou

* Copy courtesy of Echo Publishing *

Everyone in Australia knows the name of Queensland schoolboy Daniel Morcombe and most are familiar with his 2003 abduction and the search to find and bring him home.

I remember hearing Daniel's killer had finally confessed in an undercover operation which eventually led to the grisly discovery of Daniel's remains and wanted to know more about how the police were able to 'catch him out'.

The Sting - The Undercover Operation That Caught Daniel Morcombe's Killer is true to its title and much more. Reading about the investigation into Daniel's disappearance I was surprised - and impressed - by the sheer volume of leads and enquiries made by QLD Police in the hunt for Daniel. I really had no idea just how big the investigation was.

I was also horrified to learn about the killer's history (I won't name him here because I don't want his name on my blog) and the fact that he'd been molesting children since the age of 10. This pedophile is a repulsive man and I really don't know how the undercover officers were able to befriend him and put up with his shit. I guess they did it for Daniel and his family. And to make sure he didn't harm anyone else. What else is there really?

I wasn't expecting to get much of an insight into the killer, but there is much dialogue included from recordings during the operation and you definitely get a sense of the man. This 'access' to the mind and behaviours of such a predator was sickening and actually gave me nightmares. 

I can't imagine the pain of Daniel's parents, Denise and Bruce Morcombe, but their victim statements at the end of the book gave this reader some idea. After putting down The Sting, I felt compelled to make a donation to the Daniel Morcome Foundation to help Bruce and Denise continue their work, and if you'd like to do the same, please click here

I was also moved by the amazing work done by Police, despite the politics between the states. Author Kate Kyriacou has done an amazing job covering this case and there's much to be learned.

My rating = *****

Carpe Librum!

19 November 2015

Review: Olmec Obituary by L.J.M. Owen

* Copy courtesy of Echo Publishing *

Dr Elizabeth Pimms is the main character in Olmec Obituary, and it's no coincidence that she has much in common with the author, L.J.M. Owen.

Australian author L.J.M. Owen is trained in archaeology and librarianship as is her character Dr Pimms, who comes to life quickly and easily on the page.

Forced to move back to Canberra and leave her archaeology work behind was a hard decision for Pimms, however I loved learning about her life as a librarian. (In fact, I wish the entire book had been set with her in the library, working her way through the rotations).

Olmec Obituary is essentially a crime novel come cozy mystery (with stunning cover) where Dr Pimms will need all of her skills if she has any hope of unravelling a 3,000 year old mystery.

I enjoyed this debut, but two things kept me from rating it higher. The first being the few chapters set 3,000 years ago. The dialogue between the characters seemed very 21st Century, and even though I have no knowledge of the Olmec people, I struggled to believe that they would behave as we do, with children begging: "can we? pleeease" to get what they want.


My second issue was the number of times the character's cats were mentioned. If you love cats, then you'll love these additions to the novel, but I just found them repetitive.

Olmec Obituary is the first in the Dr Pimms Intermillennial Sleuth series of nine planned books, and I'll be giving away a copy very soon, so stay tuned to win a copy for yourself (valued at RRP $29.99).

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

17 November 2015

Winner of An Empty Coast by Tony Park Announced

Thanks to all those who entered last week's Friday Freebie to win a copy of An Empty Coast by Tony Park. This one has been a popular giveaway with lots of entries, so thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for the copy.

The giveaway closed at midnight Friday 13th November, and the winner was drawn today, congratulations to (drum roll):

Mythicalmoofie

Congratulations Mythicalmoofie, you'll receive an email shortly advising you of your win, and as soon as you've provided your postal address, your prize will be mailed out to you direct from the publisher, Pan Macmillan Australia.

Thanks and stay tuned for more giveaways coming soon.

12 November 2015

Review: Grief Is The Thing With Feathers by Max Porter

* Copy courtesy of Allen & Unwin *

Grief Is The Thing With Feathers by Max Porter is many things. It's part fable, part poem and part short story about grief, sorrow, family and brothers.

The novella is a mythical tale about a crow who joins a family in mourning after the mother of two boys passes away, leaving the brothers and their father deep in grief.

The structure is unusual and refreshing and personally reminded me of the feeling I had when I discovered The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

Beautifully written, often musical and definitely lyrical, I'll be the first to admit Grief Is The Thing With Feathers won't be for everyone. I'll admit not understanding all of the entries (some from the father, some from the brothers and some from the crow) however I was still moved and laughed out loud at the crow's sense of humour.

Delightfully presented in an A5 size hardback with a stunning dust jacket, Grief Is The Thing With Feathers by Max Porter will make a thoughtful gift for writers, poets and literary lovers who are still moving through the stages of loss and grief.

My rating = ***1/2

Carpe Librum!

10 November 2015

Review: Humans of New York (HONY) by Brandon Stanton

Brandon Stanton is a photographer, and his book Humans Of New York is a collection of portraits taken in the great city of New York.

The Humans Of New York series of photos is also referred to by the acronym HONY and has inspired offshoots in other cities. Stanton began his HONY project in 2010 and published his work on his blog. Stanton's work became popular and he now has more than 15 million Facebook followers and this book is a #1 New York Times bestseller.

This collection of photographs - some of which include captions and short anecdotes - is an inspiring and thought provoking body of work.

Humans Of New York makes a great coffee table book, and is easy to browse through, but if you take your time, your curiosity will be rewarded.

The only reason I didn't give this book 5 stars was entirely due to the layout. Some of the photographs suffered due to placement, which I found a shame, and I'm confident this could have been enhanced by someone with better skills and vision for the project.


I highly recommend Humans Of New York for professional and amateur photographers and readers who enjoy the art of people watching; here you can do it without the risk of being caught!

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!

09 November 2015

Winner of Here We Lie by Sophie McKenzie Announced

Thanks to all those who entered last week's Friday Freebie to win a copy of Here We Lie by Sophie McKenzie, courtesy of Simon & Schuster.

The giveaway closed at midnight Friday 6th November, and the winner was drawn today, congratulations to (drum roll):

Liana!!!

Congratulations Liana, you'll receive an email shortly advising you of your win, and as soon as you've provided your postal address, your prize will be mailed out to you.

If you missed out this time, enter this week's giveaway here.


06 November 2015

Friday Freebie: WIN a copy of An Empty Coast by Tony Park

RRP $29.99 AUD
* Copy thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia *

Blurb
A body. A cover-up. A buried secret.

Sonja Kurtz - former soldier, supposedly retired mercenary - is in Vietnam carrying out a personal revenge mission when her daughter sends a call for help.

Emma, a student archaeologist on a dig at the edge of Namibia's Etosha National Park, has discovered a body dating back to the country's liberation war of the 1980s.

The remains of the airman, identified as Hudson Brand, are a key piece of a puzzle that will reveal the location of a modern-day buried treasure - a find people will kill for.

Sonja returns to the country of her birth to find Emma, who since her call has gone missing. Former CIA agent Hudson Brand is very much alive and is also drawn back to Namibia to finally solve a decades-old mystery whose clues are entombed in an empty corner of the desert.


Author Bio
Tony Park grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney and has worked as a journalist in Australia and the UK, a government press secretary, a PR consultant and a freelance writer. He is also a Major in the Australian Army Reserve and served six months in Afghanistan in 2002 as the public affairs officer for the Australian ground forces. 

Tony and his wife, Nicola, divide their time between Sydney and southern Africa. Tony is an impeccable researcher, and writes character-driven thrilling page-turners set in exotic locations and exploring fascinating political, social and natural histories.

Click here to visit Tony's website.

Giveaway

04 November 2015

Snail Mail: Rediscovering the Art and Craft of Handmade Correspondence | Michelle Mackintosh

I love sending and receiving things through the mail - cards, letters etc. and receiving something unexpected is such a joy. Perhaps it comes from growing up in a Post Office, and helping to sort the mail as I got older.

I still remember writing to Dolly magazine asking for a penpal and promising to write back to every single letter. The mail came pouring in, and there was no way I could reply to the hundreds of letters, so instead I made a commitment to write back to every person who'd sent me a photo with their letter. 


Times have changed, but I still love to send birthday cards, notes and Christmas cards in the mail, even though people are doing this less and less. Nowadays people wish each other Happy Birthday via text message or a Facebook post, and when I sent my family and friends a change of address card earlier this year, a friend called me 'retro' and another laughingly called me 'old school.'

Well, I'm proud to be old school, and am hanging on to the art of snail mail with everything I've got. I also keep every card and note I've ever received, and can enjoy them long after text messages and Facebook posts are lost to the cloud/ether/black hole of technology.


Review
Michelle Mackintosh is a woman after my own heart. A fellow stationery lover and devotee of the printed word, her book Snail Mail: Rediscovering the Art and Craft of Handmade Correspondence was an absolute joy to read.

I certainly didn't need any convincing when it comes to the benefits of sending a sentiment in the post, but she gave me plenty of inspiration and ideas that I could be making more of what I do send. If you're looking for inspiration and want to send more snail mail in your life, then I heartily recommend Snail Mail. This beautiful book is full of ideas, examples and inspiration and is the perfect place to start.

If you want me to send you something in the mail, drop me a line here with your address (if I don't already have it) and I'll see what I can do :-)

My rating = *****

Carpe Librum!


02 November 2015

Winner of The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine by Alex Brunkhorst Announced

Thanks to everyone who entered last week's Friday Freebie to win a copy of The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine by Alex Brunkhorst thanks to JAM PR.

The giveaway closed at midnight Friday 30th October, and the winner was drawn today, and:
the winner is Carly!

Congratulations Carly, you'll receive an email shortly letting you know about your win, and as soon as you've provided your postal address, your prize will be mailed out to you.

If you missed out this time, please stay tuned for more great giveaways.