12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza Day 10 – Pushing The Limits by Kurt Fearnley (SIGNED)

This year I’m running a crazy 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza whereby I giveaway a different book to one lucky winner for 12 days in the lead up to Christmas (and on the 26,27 and 28th December due to a slight delay at the start of the promotion).

Today’s book to be won as part of the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza is a signed hardcover copy of PUSHING THE LIMITS by Kurt Fearnley.

When Kurt Fearnley was a kid, he would leave his wheelechair at the front gate and go exploring with his brothers and sisters. ‘You’re going to have to be stronger than we are,’ they told him, ‘and we know you will be.’

The boy from Carcoar was raised to believe he could do anything. At fifteen, he won his first medal. Then he conquered the world, winning three Paralympic gold medals, seven world championships and more than 35 marathons. A world-beater in and out of his wheelchair, Kurt is a true Australian champion.

Inspiring, exhilarating and highly entertaining, Pushing the Limits takes us inside the mind of a kid with a disability growing up in a tiny town, a teenager finding his place in the world, and an elite sportsman who refuses to give up, no matter how extreme the challenge.

Please note these books have not been read but are not in pristine brand new condition either.  There may be some yellow markings on the page edges etc.

To win one of three copies of Kurt Fearnley’s biography PUSHING THE LIMITS, leave a comment below answering the following question:

We all know that Boxing Day is for Families and Friends, but do you watch the Sydney-to-Hobart Sailing race or are you an avid Boxing Day Test Cricket fan?

Personally, my family are die-hard Sydney-to-Hobart fans.

*This giveaway is open to AUSTRALIAN RESIDENTS only due to shipping costs. It is also a hardcover SIGNED copy of the book. Please note, that while these books have not been read previously, they are the 2014 release books that were left in my book crate and thus they do show signs of aging.
*This giveaway closes at midnight on sunday 13th january 2019. Winners will be notified shortly after and given a tracking code once the book is able to be sent. Please note, once the book is the hands of Australian Post, I take no responsibility for the delivery once the tracking code has been sent to the winner.

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza Day 3: Johnathan Thurston’s Autobiography (SIGNED)

This year I’m running a crazy 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza whereby I giveaway a different book to one lucky winner for 12 days in the lead up to Christmas (and on the 26,27 and 28th December to a slight delay at the start of the promotion).

Today’s book to be won as part of the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza is a signed hardback of Johnathan Thurston’s newly released autobiography – JT: Johnathan Thurston. The autobiography.
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DISCUSSION : 12 Days of Christmas and The Forgotten Crate Of Books!

 
I’ve been blogging for a number of years now and for most of the time, I have attended a wide variety of book signings and events and picked up a bunch of different books with the intention to hold giveaways on the blog. Some of the signings I’ve worked at and purchased a second and third copy for the blog… all of which get put in a giant plastic crate until it’s time to post the book on to the winner.
 
Recently, I’ve been a lot better with the books I’ve collected, leaving them on my desk and posting the giveaway ASAP. However, recently, I discovered my old trusty crate OVERFLOWING with books and thought it was about time to get rid of them as well as the books I’ve collected this year for the blog. Hence, there’s quite a few books to be won ranging from picture books aimed at children and adults alike, Young Adults novels, fiction from various genres and non-fiction titles.
 

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Local Book Signing: S.E. Gilchrist, Lauren K. McKellar and Lee Christine

To celeberate the release of their new rural bindup collection, S.E. Gilchrist, Lauren K. McKellar and Lee Christine are having a local book signing and they would love for you to come!


WHO: S.E. Gilchrist, Lauren K. McKellar and Lee Christine

WHERE: Big W Charlestown

WHAT: Book Signing

WHEN: Saturday 28th July at 10 am

 

Come along on Saturday 28th July at 10 am and say hello to S.E. Gilchrist, Lauren K. McKellar and Lee Christine and get your book signed.

 

REVIEW: ‘Why My Mummy?’ By Donna & Kai

Published: May 2016

Publisher: Self Published

Pages: 20

Format: Soft cover Picture Books for kids (purchased & Signed)

5/5 Stars

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Why My Mummy? is a picture book designed by Donna and her son Kai for children whose parents have cancer. It’s a book that is poignant, but gentle and a beautiful sight to behold.

I first heard about Why My Mummy? whilst watching The Project one night on TV. The crew there were talking to Donna (I think from memory) about how she noticed the gap in the market for books aimed at children to help explain what their parents are going through. Donna was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer in 2008 and upon struggling to find something to express the grave and emotional journey they were on, Donna decided to make her own book to help parents and children in the same situation and so the book Why My Mummy? was born.

When Donna was first diagnosed, she searched far and wide for children’s books about cancer to help explain to Kai what was happening to her but found nothing but doom, gloom and disaster. “I could’t find a single book to read to Kai about cancer. How do you explain to a child what terminal means? Why your hair is falling out? How can I help my son to process the fear of losing me?”- Why My Mummy? Website

When Donna was on the project, she was crowd funding the book to get it self published, seeing a very worthwhile course, I jumped at the chance to help and so I crowd-funded my third every book. It arrived earlier this month and I couldn’t have been honoured and proud to be involved (even though it was only a small financial payment) in this fantastic resource for families. Donna was originally asking for $10000 in donations (viz Pozible) to get the project off the floor and make it a reality, by the end of the crowd funding project she had $23085 donated by 465 supporters and her dream to create this book became well and truly a reality.

The end result is a stunning and vibrant 20 page picture book featuring photos of Donna and her family and a story narrated by 9 year old Kai. Each double page spread features one full page photo of Donna & Kai or Donna and the rest of the family, as they deal day-by-day with the cancer. Set opposite each photo is a one-toned full coloured page of varrying shades of blue, grey and purple. The text is written in a childlike bubble like font and accompanied by cartoon like illustrations of tears, plants, birds and flowers.

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The story itself was written by Donna, who choose to narrate  the story from the perspective of her then 9-year-old son Kai, as it was his question of ,

‘Why, out of all the mummies in the world does this have to have to my mum?’

that jump started the book’s creation. What ensures is a heartfelt, beautifully presented and narrated story of a child coming to terms with what cancer is and what it means for his family.

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This book is stunning. More importantly though, it has heart and soul and I hope, much like Donna and her family, that it reaches families around the globe who are looking for this incredible resource and touching story.

I wrote this book to help other parents and carers explain what cancer is to their children in simple terms using non-intimidating language they can understand. It is the first in a series of books aimed at helping families living with cancer. 

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To learn more about the book Why My Mummy?, visit the following social media websites:

Why My Mummy? Facebook Page | Twitter Account | Coming Soon: Why My Mummy? Website | Instagram

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Sadly the book isn’t available to purchase yet, for those who haven’t crowd-funded the project, you can however sign up to the website for updates on when the book will be available again. To do so, click here to be taken to the web page.

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REVIEW: Yellow by Megan Jacobson

Published: 1st February 2016

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

Pages: 259

Format: Paperback purchased

RRP: $19.99

5/5 Stars

If fourteen-year-old Kirra is having a mid-life crisis now, then it doesn’t bode well for her life expectancy. Her so-called friends bully her, whatever semblance of a mother she had has been drowned at the bottom of a gin bottle ever since her dad left them for another woman, and now a teenage ghost is speaking to her through a broken phone booth. Kirra and the ghost make a pact. She’ll prove who murdered him almost twenty years ago if he does three things for her. He makes her popular, he gets her parents back together, and he doesn’t haunt her. Things aren’t so simple however, and Kirra realises that people can be haunted in more ways than one.

I picked up this book because I was heading to Penguin Teen Australia’s #YASquad 2016 event in Sydney and Megan Jacobson was one of the four Aussie authors speaking. I can’t thank Penguin enough for bringing this book to my attention, or Jacobson for writing such a gut wrenching book.

Not going to lie, I went into this book with no expectations and the 90s world Jacobson writes about smacked me in the face with all the subtle etiquette of a freight train. In fact I started reading it while waiting for my younger sister’s drama class to finish. In that hour I was outraged and texted Amy from Lost In A Good Book (because I knew she’d read it and loved it) like crazy … weeks later I still don’t have enough words to sum up this book!

Yellow is about Kirra, a 14 year old teenager who lives on the wrong side of the hill near South Beach, a small costal town near Mount Warning and not too far from Bryron Bay in Australia. Nicknamed yellow because of the unusual shade of her eyes, she is constantly taunted by the unforgiving world of teenager girls in high school. After a particularly harsh day, Kirra hits the deserted unpopular beach only to find an abandoned telephone box ringing. Odd. Not to be weird out, but fearing yet another harrowing teenage prank, Kirra answers the phone and learns that the voice on the other end belongs to a teenage boy named Boogie who claims to have been murdered 20 years prior.

‘I don’t believe in you,’ I whisper. ‘Ghosts aren’t real.’

‘You’re wrong,’ He sounds upset. ‘There’s nothing more real than the things that can haunt you… but, you know, there’s nothing more powerful than deciding not to be afraid.’

Maybe he’s right, but the thing is, fear doesn’t let you decide if you’re going to feel it or not. It barges in on you without knocking.

I connected with Kirra from early on in the book. High school, or in my case primary school, was not all sunshine and roses. In particular I learnt from an early age that girls can be really cruel when they want to be. So to see the extent of the bullying in this book, and to see it so viciously on the very first couple of pages made my skin crawl. It got me outraged and so angry and brought back a flood of memories. It made me feel violently ill in places and it’s been a while since a book has given me that kind of physical reaction.

I think what the book is trying to say is that everybody is vicious and brutal really, once you scratch the surface. It’s only society that makes us pretend that were not.

The quality and ease of the prose of Jacobson’s writing astounded me. From the very first page I was sucked into her world, and it only took a couple of pages for me to fully see just how amazing her writing style was. The words on the page ebbed and flowed with the natural grace of the story; they were almost whimsical and musical, and just so profound in parts that I found it hard to place this book within the knowledge that this was Jacobson’s DEBUT novel! There are some seriously beautiful passages in this book.

Words are the most powerful things there are. Words change thoughts, and thoughts change actions, and actions change the world.

Yellow is a heartbreakingly sad and in your face raw and honest narrative about the world around you. I touched on it above, but it deals with a number of serious issues that aren’t usually conveyed in YA novels – or at least aren’t usually all represented in the one book. It’s one of things I admire about the narrative, about Kirra’s characterisation and about Jacobson’s writing; the refusal to back down and shy away from the unlike-able and unfavourable parts of life.

Kirra isn’t a perfect character by no means. She’s self centred – a trait that we can move past given everything that’s going on in her life -, insecure, obsessed and driven by this need to be popular and liked. But more importantly she’s lonely.

Before I grab a couple of sets to put on the beds I stand there for a moment. I close my eyes and lean against the frame, and with my eyes still closed, I slot my hand inside the folds of one of the bed sheets at the bottom of the stack. I imagine, with the pressure of it, it’s someone holding my hand. Not just someone. I imagine it’s my mother holding my hand, and she’s soft and nice and smells sweet like washing powder. She’s holding my hand because she wants me to be safe.

Her parents have recently split, her mother is an alcoholic and her father has a new family and a new baby on the way too boot. Her friends are not only nasty, but out right bullies!

.. I think of The Circle, and how it felt like their words were scratching me right up, except the scratches were all on the inside, and how it felt as raw and painful as it would have felt if they’d been using their fingernails to claw at my skin. Maybe more. Real scratches heal. Those words they used, they drew blood all right. I need to use those types of words, Boogie said, and I wonder where I can find them.

Kirra can’t see life past the few weeks before her because she simply can’t fathom the world beyond her town and high school.

From up on the hill my town looks so small, like a toy town, with one main road, some fish and chip shops, a police station, a grocery, a library and a hardware store. But when you’re in it, my town seems like the biggest thing in the world.

It seems like the whole world.

Nothing around her shows her that there is more to life than the misery and gloom that surrounds her. Until Boogie of course. But he is a whole other story. One I can’t deal with here without hinting heavily at spoilers (this review is so hard to write without giving anything away!).

But despite all that, I really felt for her. On almost every page I wanted to pull her from the pages of the book and just pull her into the tight hug and tell her that it will all be okay. Kirra has a strength of character that I haven’t seen since reading Frankie by Shivaun Plozza, and yet it’s different too. She’s clearly alone, fragile and has low self-esteem, but she’s also incredibly smart and brave and courageous for what she does and how she overcomes things. Although I don’t condone some of her actions, and I wanted to scream at her with some of her dealings mid-to-late-book with her ex-best-friends (I literally put my head in my hands at one point), I generally admire her as a character. Especially in the scene where she tries to help her mum overcome her addiction, even if she might have gone about it the wrong way.

Only stupid people aren’t scared when they face something dangerous. Courage, real courage, comes from being afraid but doing it anyway.

Even more so, I love that despite all the shit Kirra is dealing with, with her problems at home and those confronting her at school and with Boogie, she’s not whiny. I can’t commend Jacobson for being able to pull that massive feat off enough!

There is really so much to love about this book. The narrative is not only intriguing, but its full of mystery and suspense and the smallest touch of paranormal that somehow works despite the relatively contemporary grounding of reality present in the narrative itself. The paranormal aspect just works even though it sounds like it shouldn’t, in that vain I think it’s similar, but perhaps a more mature version and target of the paranormal elements found in Kaz Delaney’s Dead Actually and Almost Dead books. There’s also a touch of romance with Noah and a sense of true friendship with Willow, who also brings this sense of life and humour to the book. Willow is kind of awesome in that regard, as she is both an enabler and a sense of reason for Kirra, and yet she is so witty and laugh-out-loud-funny!

Do not define me by my gender or my socio-economic status, Noah Willis. Do not tell me who I am and do not tell me who society thinks I am and then put me in that box and expect me to stay there. Because, I swear to God, I will climb the hell out of that box and I will take that box you’ve just put me in and I will use that box to smash your face in until you’re nothing more than a freckly, bloodied pulp. You got that, sweet cheeks?” – Willow

And lastly, the big I-can’t-talk-about-moment most of all is this books ending and what an ending it is. I think Jacobson nailed the pacing to this gripping conclusion, but I so was not ready for all the feels, even if I did suspect what was going on regarding a big reveal fairly early on in the book. Even knowing didn’t diminish it’s effect or power.

Yellow doesn’t shy away from life’s hard truths. Told poetically by Jacobson, you can’t escape the unfathomably raw and hard to take realities of Yellow’s/Kirra’s world. In the end, I think its wiser that you don’t. This book will hold you captive from the very first page and force you on emotional journey that perhaps you didn’t think you were ready for. It will make you more aware of the types of friendships you surround yourself with, and the type of person you want to be. That you can be.

Yellow is the type of book that leaves you staggering for more and I’m not afraid to say that following Frankie, I think Yellow is my second favourite book of the year so far. I know it’s a big call, especially this early on to make. And I never make these calls, but I really don’t know what can beat it now. With this one book, Megan Jacobson has firmly cemented her place on my MUST BUY list and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.

To learn more Megan Jacobson, visit the following social media sites:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Penguin Books Australia | Goodreads |

To purchase a copy of Yellow, visit the following online retailers:

Booktopia | QBD | Angus & Robertson Bookworld | The Nile | Boffins Books |

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And The Winners are …

Thank you to everyone who entered the first week two weeks of giveaway prizes as part of my 3rd Birthday Celebration Extravaganza. There was an overwhelming number of entries for every competition. The ONE month subscription to THE YA CHRONICLES is still open, and there are plenty more giveaways coming this week. Winner’s of each giveaway were determined using random.org. Congratulations to those who won!

 

AMY

won the signed copy of Storm Clouds by Bronwyn Parry (Australian)

 

 

JANINE K &  WOMBLYWOO

each won a ebook of their choosing from the Bindarra Creek Romance series (International)

MELINDA

won a copy of one of Annie West’s titles of her choosing (International)

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 won a copy of one Michelle Douglas’ titles of her choosing (international)

AMY

won the signed copy of Darkest Place by Jaye Ford (Australian)

 

JESSY

won one of Cheryl Adnams ebooks of her choosing!