Waiting On Wednesday: ‘Something to Talk About’ by Rachael Johns

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine. The purpose is to spotlight upcoming releases that we are excited for.

 

Published by: Harlequin Australia

Expected Publication: 20th April 2020

It’s the opposite of love at first sight…or is it?

Dairy farmer Tabitha Cooper-Jones has a heart of gold, yet she’s the eternal bridesmaid. Everyone’s best mate. Despite facing some serious challenges over the years, she’s built a successful ice-cream business and cafe, she’s adored by her family and is an integral part of her hometown – there’s just one thing missing from her life. But the last thing Tab wants is a man – or worse, love – to stop her achieving her dream.

In town for a temporary teaching contract, Fergus McWilliams thinks the small community of Walsh will be the perfect place to stay under the radar but he couldn’t be more wrong. Suddenly, the kids’ cricket team coached by Ferg is inundated with female supporters – single female supporters – and that’s only the beginning.

The only woman who doesn’t seem to have her sights set on Ferg is Tabitha. Despite a disastrous first meeting and a visit from a past love, circumstances keep throwing them together. Neither can deny the sparks between them, but can friendship even be possible for these two strong-willed people?

A moving story of overcoming obstacles and learning to love, from ABIA award-winning author Rachael Johns.

REVIEW: Bluey Book Series (Part One)

Bluey keeps going from strength to strength with their recent released board book collection. Released in print for the first time in November 2019, the creators of the Bluey books have proven that they are not messing around with this much-loved series. After a long wait for merchandise to release, Penguin Random House Australia have released three very different, and out of the box books for readers of all ages. While their books are innovative in design and production (glow-in-the-dark etc) they have not compromised the narrative or characters either.

Random House Australia took a massive risk with the creation of the Bluey book series. Although, its well documented how well this iconic series is loved, the care and thought the creators have placed into this book series, at the cost of a longer production period (demand was high MONTHS before release), is simple astounding. Rather than releasing two standard narratives and one sticker book, the team behind BLUEY the books has crafted a unique series of books that is vastly different from everything else on the market. Not one of the books released is designed quite like the other:

Bluey: The Beach is a lift-the-flap narrative, actively asking the reader to partake in the telling of the story.

While Bluey: Fruit Bat has inventively incorporated glow-in-the-dark elements creating a narrative that is tactile in touch (the glow elements are raised), but  awe-inspiring to its readers with the surprise element of light and glowing elements. I for one, can not think of another book quite like Fruit Bat on the market at present.

Then Bluey: Time To Play! (A sticker activity book) is so much more than a standard sticker book as its allows its readers to actively tell their own stories with Bluey, Bingo, Mum and Dad.

With the creation of these unique elements and carefully crafted Bluey Series, I can’t wait to see where Penguin Random House plans to go next. They have set the bar exceptionally high with this series, not only for the longevity of the series itself, but for a whole new standard of children’s board books and the possibilities they can unlock. It’s kind of a game changer. As someone with no previous experience with the Bluey series as a whole (the original Television series), I’m kind of astounded by what has been achieved (and to such high standards) and what it could mean for the future.

Published: 5th November 2019

Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia

Pages: 16

Format: Soft cover sticker book (ARC supplied by the publisher for review. All opinions are my own).

RRP: $9.99

4/5 Stars

Have fun with BLUEY and Bingo as they play their favourite games. 

There are stickers to place, puzzles to solve and much more!

As someone with no previous experience with the Bluey universe (ie. The hit television series), I highly recommend you start with the sticker book. Why? Because the very first page includes a “Meet the Hellers” sticker introduction page, where they explain the characters – Bluey, Bingo, Mum (Chilli) and Dad (Bandit) – and the Brisbane setting. Until reading this information, I was so sure Bluey was a boy, and was quite surprised to learn that Bluey and Bingo are both girls. I loved that, because so many of the books that instantly come to mind that feature dogs as the main characters, are male. It’s just refreshing.

The team have tried their hardest to make  Bluey: A Time to Play! a unique experience  compared to other sticker activity books on the market. While most sticker activity books are short, featuring a few stickers and colouring pages, with the odd activity,  Bluey: A Time to Play! is packed full of endless activities. The book itself is user-friendly, with the stickers being grouped by page and labelled as such (“use these stickers on page 8”) making the book accessible to all ages. In fact, unlike many sticker activities books,  Bluey: A Time to Play!  appears to have been designed with younger kids in mind, keeping the intended audience age in line with the books characters (Bluey is 6, Bingo is 4).

All in all, Bluey: A Time to Play! Is a great addition to the already hit line of books released in the first wave of Bluey merchandise. Its ideal for new fans seeking an introduction, or much-loved fans who are looking for more involvement than simply reading the books for the hundredth time.

To purchase a copy of Bluey: A Time To Play! visit the following online retailers:

Penguin Random House Australia | Angus & Robertson | Big W | Booktopia | QBD

 

Published: 5th November 2019

Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia

Pages: 24

Format: Board Book (ARC supplied by publisher for review. All opinions are my own).

RRP: $14.99

4/5 Stars

In full disclosure, I’ve never watched an episode of the hit-television series BLUEY. I first heard about the series from customers at work who begun to hound me for information on the books months prior to their release.

Upon first picking the book up and reading through it, I was instantly blown away. Not only is the narrative text well presented (no more than roughly four lines per page, and cleverly placed across the page to engage the reader in every aspect of the story) but the bold cartoon illustrations are vibrant and pull the reader in right from the very first page. Each page should feel as sudden assault to the readers sensors with how bright the colours used are, and how they are contrasted against the textured patterns of some of the backgrounds (think lines, swirls, patterns etc), and yet, it somehow just effortlessly works so well together.

The lift-the-flap element gives the book another later of intrigue and tactile involvement, as readers are actively participating in the story. Although lift-the-flap elements are nothing new, it’s interesting to note that they are always childhood favourites, but are elements used sparingly alongside big name characters like Spot and Peppa Pig. While widely popular, I was still surprised to find this element in the book, but loved the surprise none-the-less.

To purchase a copy of Bluey: The Beach, visit the following online retailers:

Penguin Random House Australia | Angus & Robertson  | Big W | Booktopia | QBD |

 

Published: 5th November 2019

Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia

Pages: 24

Format: Board board (ARC supplied by the publishers for review. All opinions are my own.)

RRP: $14.99

4/5 Stars

Join BLUEY on a dreamy night-time adventure. What will you see in the dark?

In Bluey: Fruit Bat we have many of the same features that made Bluey: The Beach such a hit – bold, vibrant cartoon illustrations placed against equally bold backgrounds, featuring the much loved Bluey characters from the hit children’s television series -, this book pushes the boundaries that little bit more by incorporating glow-in-the-dark elements.

By using clusters of stars and the broken lines as glow in the dark elements, Bluey: Fruit Bat has added another layer to board books that I don’t think previously existed. (At least, I can’t recall glowing elements being used since The Not So Scary Ghost paperback from MY childhood). With the glowing elements being raised slightly, it gives the book a tactical element that has proven endlessly popular with the That’s Not My series, but it’s also added an additional layer of light and surprise. Although we know the book features glow-in-the-dark elements from the cover, its still kind of surprising and fun to find it mixed through the story. It’s sure to have kids ohh-ing and ahh-ing as they giggle with delight when the story transforms before their very eyes.

In terms of the narrative, Bluey: Fruit Bat is a sweet tale about the power of one’s imagination. About families, dreams, responsibilities and possibilities. It’s a fun, quirky, and imaginative tale about what it would be like if Bluey didn’t have to go to bed a night and instead, she was a fruit bat. Full of adventure and endless possibility its a feel good story that is sure to enthrall.

What I think I like the most about the Bluey books is the way their messages aren’t necessarily subtle, but they are never preachy or judgmental in tone. The narratives are gentle, fun-loving and warm. Promoting good old-fashioned family fun, in a modern environment.

In my experience as a bookseller, I find it’s this Bluey book that is often overlooked out of the three original books released*. The beach is fun, an obvious hit for Australians during Summer, while Fruit Bats are a bit more mysterious and other. Out of the two board books though, I thoroughly enjoined this one and wished more readers would pick it up. It’s an underrated gem, that needs so much more appreciation and love!

*note: this book is still incredible popular, it’s just an underrated gem compared to the other two.

 

To purchase a copy of Bluey: Fruit Bat, visit the following online retailers:

Penguin Random House Australia | ANGUS & ROBERTSON | Big W | Booktopia | QBD 

Waiting On Wednesday: ‘The Heart Principle’ by Helen Hoang (The Kiss Quotient book 3)

 

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine. The purpose is to spotlight upcoming releases that we are excited for.

 

Published by: Berkley

Expected Publication: 4th May 2020

USA Today bestselling author Helen Hoang returns with a witty and sizzling new romance that shows how wrong you can be about someone…and how right they can be for you.

To most people, Quan Diep is nothing but a surly-looking, underachieving playboy. The problem is he’s not any of those things. And now that he’s the CEO of an up-and-coming retail business, he’s suddenly a “catch,” and the rich girls who never used to pay any attention to him are looking at him in a new way—especially Camilla, the girl who brushed him off many years ago.

Anna Sun dislikes Quan Diep almost as much as germy bathroom door handles. Or so she tells herself. She will never admit that she has a secret crush on him, especially because he only has eyes for her charismatic and newly engaged younger sister Camilla. Over the years, Anna has worked hard to overcome her OCD, but she’ll still need to find a way to bury her anxieties and seduce Quan so he doesn’t ruin her sister’s engagement, and with it, a crucial real estate development deal.

Slowly, Anna breaks down Quan’s dangerous and careless exterior while peeling off her own tough, protective shell. But when Quan discovers Anna’s true intentions, he’s forced to confront his own hurtful past and learn to forgive, while Anna must face her greatest challenge: truly opening herself up to love. 

Waiting On Wednesday: ‘Where The Lost Wander’ by Amy Harmon

 

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine. The purpose is to spotlight upcoming releases that we are excited for.

If I can sum up my reading in 2019, it would be known as the year of Amy Harmon. I devoured her books last year, and when I saw this one scheduled for release, I know I’ll be one-clicking this on release day no questions asked!

Published by:

Expected Publication: 28th April 2020

In this epic and haunting love story set on the Oregon Trail, a family and their unlikely protector find their way through peril, uncertainty, and loss.

The Overland Trail, 1853: Naomi May never expected to be widowed at twenty. Eager to leave her grief behind, she sets off with her family for a life out West. On the trail, she forms an instant connection with John Lowry, a half-Pawnee man straddling two worlds and a stranger in both.

But life in a wagon train is fraught with hardship, fear, and death. Even as John and Naomi are drawn to each other, the trials of the journey and their disparate pasts work to keep them apart. John’s heritage gains them safe passage through hostile territory only to come between them as they seek to build a life together.

When a horrific tragedy strikes, decimating Naomi’s family and separating her from John, the promises they made are all they have left. Ripped apart, they can’t turn back, they can’t go on, and they can’t let go. Both will have to make terrible sacrifices to find each other, save each other, and eventually…make peace with who they are.

Waiting On Wednesday: ‘The Ingredients of You & Me’ by Nina Bocci

 

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine. The purpose is to spotlight upcoming releases that we are excited for.

 

Published by: Galley Books

Expected Publication: 28th April 2020

From the USA TODAY bestselling author of the “heartwarming and refreshingly sweet” (Lauren Layne, New York Times bestselling author) On the Corner of Love and Hate comes a sizzling and sweet small-town love story that follows a bakery store owner who decides to take her chances on a truly hopeless romantic.

After selling her successful bakery back in New York, Parker Powell decides to visit her best friend Charlotte in Hope Lake, Pennsylvania, to figure out her next steps. As she acquaints herself with the people in town, she begins to wonder why she ever loved city life in the first place. Between the Golden Girls (a.k.a. the senior citizen women who hold court), the response from the town to her sweet treats, and Nick Arthur, the ever-charming local owner of a landscaping business she spent time with during her last visit, Parker finds a community of cheerleaders who encourage her to get her baking mojo back.

At first, everything is great—she collaborates with the Golden Girls to put new twists on traditional confections, and thanks to Nick’s advice, she quickly learns the stark differences between big city and small-town business practices. Although Nick has become her friend and confidant, Parker’s determined to keep things platonic—especially since his girlfriend isn’t a fan of their friendship. But just when things fall into place so they can finally be together, Parker’s dream bakery is threatened by a major corporation who wants to take her down using the very bit of advice that Nick gave her.

With a recipe for disaster looming, Parker must cook up a new scheme, figuring out how to keep the business—and man—she’s come to love before she loses it all.

Perfect for fans of Amy E. Reichert and Jenny Colgan, The Ingredients of You and Me is a scrumptious romantic comedy that lets you have your cake and eat it too.

 

Waiting On Wednesday: ‘The Gravity of Us’ by Phil Stamper

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine. The purpose is to spotlight upcoming releases that we are excited for.

 

Published by: Bloomsbury

Expected Publication: 17th March 2020

As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.

Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels—fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.

Expertly capturing the thrill of first love and the self-doubt all teens feel, debut author Phil Stamper is a new talent to watch.

Waiting On Wednesday: ‘Undercover Bromance’ by Lyssa Kay Adams (Bromance Book Club Book 2)

 

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine. The purpose is to spotlight upcoming releases that we are excited for.

 

Published by: Berkley

Expected Publication: 10th March 2020

Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction.

Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.

Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club.

Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assist Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even while she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.