Waiting On Wednesday: The Cinema At Starlight Creek by Alli Sinclair

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 May 2019

 

A heart-stirring novel of loss, love and new hope set against the glamorous backdrop of 1950s Hollywood and a small Australian country town.

How far would you go to follow your dream?

Queensland, 1994: When location manager Claire Montgomery arrives in rural Queensland to work on a TV mini-series, she’s captivated by the beauty of Starlight Creek and the surrounding sugarcane fields. Working in a male-dominated industry is challenging, but Claire has never let that stop her pursuing her dreams-until now. She must gain permission to film at Australia’s most historically significant art deco cinema, located at Starlight Creek. But there is trouble ahead. The community is fractured and the cinema’s reclusive owner, Hattie Fitzpatrick, and her enigmatic great nephew, Luke Jackson, stand in her way, putting Claire’s career-launching project-and her heart-at risk.

Hollywood, 1950: Lena Lee has struggled to find the break that will catapult her into a star with influence. She longs for roles about strong, independent women but with Hollywood engulfed in politics and a censorship battle, Lena’s timing is wrong. Forced to keep her love affair with actor Reeves Garrity a secret, Lena puts her career on the line to fight for equality for women in an industry ruled by men. Her generous and caring nature steers her onto a treacherous path, leaving Lena questioning what she is willing to endure to get what she desires.

Can two women-decades apart-uncover lies and secrets to live the life they’ve dared to dream?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

I had an exceptionally bad reading week last week, but an exceptionally fantastic bookish week. Over the weekend, I had a mini holiday with my sister in Melbourne and I pretty much tried to track down every bookish related thing I possibly could. I visited 10 plus bookstores in the end (and didn’t buy a single book; I have no idea how that happened myself!), The State Library, The Wheeler Center for Writers and two bookish themed bars and it … AMAZING. I’ll try and recap it all (which pictures) for anyone travelling to Melbourne in the future. You seriously need to hit some of these stops up pronto!!

On that notes, it’s Easter this coming weekend, so I wish every single one of you the most happiest, chocolate-y filled weekend possible. I hope you all have a brilliant Easter and spend those days off with the ones most near and dear to you. Happy Easter Everyone!

Bookish News:

Tickets for the Sydney Writers Festival (29th April – 5th May tickets are still on sale.

Currently Reading:

 

Can two broken boys find their perfect home?

Sam is only fifteen but he and his autistic older brother, Avery, have been abandoned by every relative he’s ever known. Now Sam’s trying to build a new life for them. He survives by breaking into empty houses when their owners are away, until one day he’s caught out when a family returns home. To his amazement this large, chaotic family takes him under their wing – each teenager assuming Sam is a friend of another sibling. Sam finds himself inextricably caught up in their life, and falling for the beautiful Moxie.

But Sam has a secret, and his past is about to catch up with him.

A heart-stirring novel of loss, love and new hope set against the glamorous backdrop of 1950s Hollywood and a small Australian country town. How far would you go to follow your dream?

Queensland, 1994 When location manager Claire Montgomery arrives in rural Queensland to work on a TV mini-series, she’s captivated by the beauty of Starlight Creek and the surrounding sugarcane fields. Working in a male-dominated industry is challenging, but Claire has never let that stop her pursuing her dreams-until now. She must gain permission to film at Australia’s most historically significant art deco cinema, located at Starlight Creek. But there is trouble ahead. The community is fractured and the cinema’s reclusive owner, Hattie Fitzpatrick, and her enigmatic great nephew, Luke Jackson, stand in her way, putting Claire’s career-launching project-and her heart-at risk.

Hollywood, 1950 Lena Lee has struggled to find the break that will catapult her into a star with influence. She longs for roles about strong, independent women but with Hollywood engulfed in politics and a censorship battle, Lena’s timing is wrong. Forced to keep her love affair with actor Reeves Garrity a secret, Lena puts her career on the line to fight for equality for women in an industry ruled by men. Her generous and caring nature steers her onto a treacherous path, leaving Lena questioning what she is willing to endure to get what she desires.

Can two women-decades apart-uncover lies and secrets to live the life they’ve dared to dream?

At the outbreak of World War I, 129 women were registered as medical practitioners in Australia, and many of them were eager to contribute their skills and expertise to the war effort. For the military establishment, however, the notion of women doctors serving on the battlefield was unthinkable. Undaunted, at least twenty-four Australian women doctors ignored official military policy and headed to the frontlines. 

This book explores the stories of the Australian women who served as surgeons, pathologists, anaesthetists and medical officers between 1914 and 1919. Despite saving hundreds of lives, their experiences are almost totally absent from official military records, both in Australia and Great Britain, and many of their achievements have remained invisible for over a century. Until now.
Heather Sheard and Ruth Lee have compiled a fascinating and meticulously researched account of the Great War, seen through the eyes of these women and their essential work. From the Eastern to the Western Fronts, to Malta, and to London, we bear witness to the terrible conditions, the horrific injuries, the constant danger, and above all, the skill and courage displayed by this group of remarkable Australians. Women to the Front is a war story unlike any other.

Listening to:

 

12 hours and 6 minutes

Winner, 2017 Indie Reader Discovery Awards, Fiction

Once in Africa, I kissed a king…

“And just like that, in an old red barn at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, I discovered the elusive magic I had only ever glimpsed between the pages of great love stories. It fluttered around me like a newborn butterfly and settled in a corner of my heart. I held my breath, afraid to exhale for fear it would slip out, never to be found again.”

When a bomb explodes in a mall in East Africa, its aftershocks send two strangers on a collision course that neither one sees coming.

Jack Warden, a divorced coffee farmer in Tanzania, loses his only daughter. An ocean away, in the English countryside, Rodel Emerson loses her only sibling.

Two ordinary people, bound by a tragic afternoon, set out to achieve the extraordinary, as they make three stops to rescue three children across the vast plains of the Serengeti—children who are worth more dead than alive.

But even if they beat the odds, another challenge looms at the end of the line. Can they survive yet another loss—this time of a love that’s bound to slip through their fingers, like the mists that dissipate in the light of the sun?

“Sometimes you come across a rainbow story—one that spans your heart. You might not be able to grasp it or hold on to it, but you can never be sorry for the color and magic it brought.”

A blend of romance and women’s fiction, Mists of The Serengeti is inspired by true events and contains emotional triggers, including the death of a child. Not recommended for sensitive readers. Standalone, contemporary fiction.

 

 

 

 

hoping TO read:

 

 

 

Just Finished:

    

 

 

 

Last week on the blog:

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

REVIEW:  

Waiting On Wednesday: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: The Smallest Bilby and the Easter Tale by Nette Hilton and Bruce Whatley

Published:  20th February 2012

Publisher: Working Title Press, Imprint of Harper Collins Australia

Pages: 32

Format: Hardback Picture book (Borrowed from Library)

RRP: $24.95

4/5 Stars

It’s the night before Easter and for the first time Billy and his band of little bilbies must deliver the eggs. ‘This is fun,’ they sing as they hide eggs here and there and up and down. But when one of the bilbies gets into trouble, only Billy knows what to do.

 

 

 

Following on from where The Smallest Bilby and the Easter Games let off,The Smallest Bilby and the Easter Tale is Bilby’s first official outing as the Easter Bunny-Bilby. Full of Nette Hilton’s quirky humor and quick thinking, combined with Bruce Whatley’s easily recognisable illustrations, this picture book is sure to delight small kids far and wide.

Sticking with their unique Australian tale, The Easter Bunnies have stepped down and let the winners of the Easter Games, the Bilbies carrying on their legacy. Stepping up to the plate, with such big shoes to fill is daunting for all the Bilbies, especially for Billy Bilby who takes his leadership seriously and with so much pride. As their first Easter approaches, the group have trained hard and are ready to succeed in their first Easter mission; they almost do until there is a slight mishap and then it takes all of their combined efforts to bring the mission home successfully and without any of the Easter magic disturbed.

What I love about these books (both the Easter Games and Easter Tales) is how uniquely Australian they are. Not only do they feature the Australian animals heavily through out the books, but the landscape and overall feeling of the book is clearly recognisable as simply Australian. By featuring and highlighting animals such as the Bilby, Hilton and Whatley are also doing their bit in educating young Australians on our own flora and fauna, while opening discussion areas with their parents about the Bilby and their endangered species position. They are also super cute and just a delightful twist on the overdone, traditional Easter picture book.

All in all, The Smallest Bilby and the Easter Tale is a another great addition to any child’s growing library and it suited to a young child’s imagination, love of magic and the mystery of Easter, and just a general feel good story that will delight and educate at the same time.

To read my review of The Smallest Bilby and the Easter Games, click here.

To purchase a copy of The Smallest Bilby and the Easter Tales, visit the following online retailers:

Amazon AUSAngus & RobertsonBooktopiaDymocks | Harper Collins Australia

 

To learn more about Nette Hilton, visit the following social media pages:

NETTE HILTON’S WEBSITE |

To learn more about Bruce Whatley, visit the following social media pages:

Bruce Whatley’s Website|

 

REVIEW: The Smallest Bilby and the Easter Games by Nette Hilton and Bruce Whatley

Published: 4th February 2008

Publisher: Working Title Press, Imprint of Harper Collins Australia

Pages: 32

Format: Hardback Picture book (Borrowed from Library)

RRP: $24.95

4/ 5 Stars

When the rabbits decide to stop delivering Easter eggs, all the bush animals want to be the new Easter Bunny. After all, Easter wouldn’t be the same without eggs! But how can the rabbits choose the best animal for the job? The lop-eared rabbit has an idea – and that’s when the Easter games begin.

 

The Smallest Bilby and the Easter Games is a delightful book for kids of all ages this Easter.

When gossip that the Easter Bunnies have quit spreads through the bush like wildfire, the animals begin to panic and scramble for information. Disappointed, the Easter Bunnies sadly admit the bush gossip is true and that they are dreadfully tired and need a break. The rest of the animals beg for the chance to become the new Easter Bunny; so the old Easter Bunnies put them to the test to find out who is really up to the task of becoming the next Easter Bunny. What ensures is a hilarious tale about personalities, uniqueness and acceptance with a good dose of Easter humor thrown in for good measure too.

The Smallest Bilby and the Easter Games is a really cute and well executed festive book; with a  format and story that I think many on the contemporary market are still trying to emulate to various degrees today.

Nette Hilton’s text is clean, clear and concise, however the story is a bit wordy with each text page having anywhere from two-five paragraphs. That said, the story reads effortlessly and quickly, with much dialogue and action taking place, allowing the storyteller freedom over the story’s delivery as well.

Bruce Whatley’s illustrations both complement Hilton’s text, and bring the story to life further by emphasizing the humor of the text, and bringing to light the Australian bush and animals in a playful and unique way.

For the most part the book features a double page spread with one page of text and a small drawing, with an almost full page illustration boxed in a black outline on the accompanying page. The use of the white border and background helps to emphases the narrative and illustrations equally, making the book less crowded.

All in all, The Smallest Bilby and the Easter Games is a playful tale that is sure to bring laughter to a household near you this Easter.

To purchase a copy of The Smallest Bilby and the Easter Games, visit the following online retailers:

AMAZON AUS | AMAZON USHARPER COLLINS AUSTRALIA |

 

To learn more about Nette Hilton, visit the following social media pages:

NETTE HILTON’S WEBSITE |

To learn more about Bruce Whatley, visit the following social media pages:

Bruce Whatley’s Website|

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

 

Bookish News:

Hachette Australia and WHO editor Keshnee Kem are hosting a Books & Bubbles event with Natasha Lester and Kelly Rimmer on the 2nd May  2019 from 6-8.30pm and tickets are available here for just $10. I’m seriously tempted to go to this one myself!

Tickets for the Sydney Writers Festival (29th April – 5th May tickets are still on sale too.

That’s all I have for this week as I’m a bit out of the loop thanks to a crazy Uni and work schedule.

Currently Reading:

 

Can two broken boys find their perfect home?

Sam is only fifteen but he and his autistic older brother, Avery, have been abandoned by every relative he’s ever known. Now Sam’s trying to build a new life for them. He survives by breaking into empty houses when their owners are away, until one day he’s caught out when a family returns home. To his amazement this large, chaotic family takes him under their wing – each teenager assuming Sam is a friend of another sibling. Sam finds himself inextricably caught up in their life, and falling for the beautiful Moxie.

But Sam has a secret, and his past is about to catch up with him.

A heart-stirring novel of loss, love and new hope set against the glamorous backdrop of 1950s Hollywood and a small Australian country town. How far would you go to follow your dream?

Queensland, 1994 When location manager Claire Montgomery arrives in rural Queensland to work on a TV mini-series, she’s captivated by the beauty of Starlight Creek and the surrounding sugarcane fields. Working in a male-dominated industry is challenging, but Claire has never let that stop her pursuing her dreams-until now. She must gain permission to film at Australia’s most historically significant art deco cinema, located at Starlight Creek. But there is trouble ahead. The community is fractured and the cinema’s reclusive owner, Hattie Fitzpatrick, and her enigmatic great nephew, Luke Jackson, stand in her way, putting Claire’s career-launching project-and her heart-at risk.

Hollywood, 1950 Lena Lee has struggled to find the break that will catapult her into a star with influence. She longs for roles about strong, independent women but with Hollywood engulfed in politics and a censorship battle, Lena’s timing is wrong. Forced to keep her love affair with actor Reeves Garrity a secret, Lena puts her career on the line to fight for equality for women in an industry ruled by men. Her generous and caring nature steers her onto a treacherous path, leaving Lena questioning what she is willing to endure to get what she desires.

Can two women-decades apart-uncover lies and secrets to live the life they’ve dared to dream?

 

Listening to:

 

10 hrs 16 mins

When two unlikely allies become two unwitting outlaws, will two unforgettable lovers defy unbeatable odds?

Bonnie Rae Shelby is a superstar. She’s rich. She’s beautiful. She’s impossibly famous. And Bonnie Rae Shelby wants to die.

Finn Clyde is a nobody. He’s broken. He’s brilliant. He’s impossibly cynical. And all he wants is a chance at life.

One girl. One boy. An act of compassion. A bizarre set of circumstances. And a choice – turn your head and walk away, or reach out your hand and risk it all?

With that choice, the clock starts ticking on a man with a past and a girl who can’t face the future, counting down the seconds in an adventure riddled with heartbreak and humor, misunderstanding and revelation. With the world against them, two very different people take a journey that will not only change their lives, but may cost them their lives as well.

Infinity + One is a tale of shooting stars and fame and fortune, of gilded cages and iron bars, of finding a friend behind a stranger’s face, and discovering love in the oddest of places.

 

 

 

 

 

hoping TO read:

At the outbreak of World War I, 129 women were registered as medical practitioners in Australia, and many of them were eager to contribute their skills and expertise to the war effort. For the military establishment, however, the notion of women doctors serving on the battlefield was unthinkable. Undaunted, at least twenty-four Australian women doctors ignored official military policy and headed to the frontlines. 

This book explores the stories of the Australian women who served as surgeons, pathologists, anaesthetists and medical officers between 1914 and 1919. Despite saving hundreds of lives, their experiences are almost totally absent from official military records, both in Australia and Great Britain, and many of their achievements have remained invisible for over a century. Until now.
Heather Sheard and Ruth Lee have compiled a fascinating and meticulously researched account of the Great War, seen through the eyes of these women and their essential work. From the Eastern to the Western Fronts, to Malta, and to London, we bear witness to the terrible conditions, the horrific injuries, the constant danger, and above all, the skill and courage displayed by this group of remarkable Australians. Women to the Front is a war story unlike any other.

 

Just Finished:

    

 

 

Last week on the blog:

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

REVIEW: The French Photographer by Natasha Lester 5/5 Stars 

Waiting On Wednesday: The Bridal Test by Helen Hoang

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting On Wednesday: The Bridal Test by Helen Hoang

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: Berkely

Expected Publication: 7th May 2019

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

 

REVIEW: The French Photographer by Natasha Lester

Published: 26th March 2019

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Pages: 448

Format: Paperback courtesy of publisher for review

RRP: $29.99

5/5 Stars

Inspired by the incredible true story of Lee Miller, Vogue model turned one of the first female war photojournalists, the new novel by the bestselling author of The Paris Seamstress

Manhattan, Paris, 1942: When Jessica May’s successful modelling career is abruptly cut short, she is assigned to the war in Europe as a photojournalist for Vogue. But when she arrives the army men make her life as difficult as possible. Three friendships change that: journalist Martha Gellhorn encourages Jess to bend the rules, paratrooper Dan Hallworth takes her to places to shoot pictures and write stories that matter, and a little girl, Victorine, who has grown up in a field hospital, shows her love. But success comes at a price.

France, 2005: Australian curator D’Arcy Hallworth arrives at a beautiful chateau to manage a famous collection of photographs. What begins as just another job becomes far more disquieting as D’Arcy uncovers the true identity of the mysterious photographer — and realises that she is connected to D’Arcy’s own mother, Victorine.

Crossing a war-torn Europe from Italy to France, The French Photographer is a story of courage, family and forgiveness, by the bestselling author of The Paris Seamstress and A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald.

Hands down The French Photographer by Natasha Lester is perhaps my favourite book that I’ve read this year to date… and that’s not a comment I make lightly.

Right from the very first page, I was  effortlessly transported to the world of 1942; first in New York City then to Italy, London and later France. Lester’s world building was fascinating, and she contrasted war torn Europe and that of 2005 France exceptionally well. So well in fact, that I found myself racing through the book’s 448 pages eager for more of Jessica May’s exceptional tale, and the world where men like Dan Hallworth existed.

Jessica May’s character was mesmerising, while the book tells me how her natural model-worthy appearance was jaw-dropping, it was her mind and quick whit that held me captive and kept me wanting more of her story. While I appreciated the back and forth between 1942 Europe and D’Arcy Hollworth’s 2005 art-history based France, and found both women interesting and their tales inexplicitly linked, I found myself increasingly desperate to get back to the story of Jessica May and how she became who she was. A point further heightened by the knowledge that May’s story was inspired and is based upon the true story of Lee Miller, a woman I desperately want to read more up on now.

It’s no secret that I love history and historical fiction, with this in mind I knew The French Photographer was going to be my kind of  book, what I didn’t expect however was to be so blown away by it. I could not put the book down. At. All. When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about the characters, the situations they found themselves in and injustices of war. I was desperate for our characters to get some good news, and their own happy endings, all the while knowing that for the majority of people in their situation, happy endings were not a reality. I guess you could say I was completely and utterly hooked on Lester’s characters and her brilliant storytelling, so much so that I became obsessed with the book… and you know what? I regret nothing. I already have plans to dive right back into the story in the hopefully not too distant future to experience it all over again!

In all honesty, The French Photographer is a book of many emotions. I laughed while reading it, and had my heart broken more times than I am willing to admit. A smile was plastered across my features and tears lined by face as some of the best and worst elements of humanity and history were brought out in all too real settings and events. Goosebumps rattled my skin as anxiety for the characters and their emotional upheaval scattered my rational thoughts. These people felt like long lost friends and family members and I just wanted to give them all a massive hug and keep them all from harm. Especially our heroines and heroes, and injury prone Jennings!

The French Photographer is a book that made me think, that expressed another side of war in all it’s glory and haunting nightmarish elements. It’s a book that rattles the reader, while comforting them and giving them hope, a sense of love and place in a world that is really sometimes just too foreign for us to describe adequately. It was beautiful and breathtaking and a story that everyone needs to read.

Natasha Lester’s writing is second to none, and  with this book alone she has firmly cemented herself as one of my favourite Australian Authors and a must-buy author from here on out. Her writing is as exquisite as it is emotional heartbreaking and up-lifting, and she has crafter a page turning experience like no other. I dare you to read The French Photographer and not be held captivated and hostage by the haunting tale of war, family and love.

I highly recommend this book for fans of historical fiction; it is ideal for fans of Pamela Hart.

 

To purchase a copy of The French Photographer, visit the following online retailers:

Hachette Australia | Amazon AUS | Amazon US | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Book Depository | Dymocks |

 

To learn more about Natasha Lester, visit the following social media pages:

Natasha Lester’s Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram