On melreviewsherbooks, we’ve had a branding and logo change. This idea and desire came from my longtime following of @holliestartup and seeing the wonderful, warm and personal illustrations she continuously creates. An idea formed of, “Why don’t I have something a little personal of my own?”.
Hollie is the most kind, intelligent and easy creative to converse with and she has honestly created the ideal image for me. I truely believe, and those who know me personally will agree, that this wraps up all that I am.
So here you have it. This is the true Mel; book reading; coffee drinking; muffin eating; overall wearing; Peachy cat mum; and overall cosy gal.
I’m planning on a few cool things happening around here this year, so keep your eyes peeled and your emails well checked 😉💫
I don’t know about you but I really needed to hear this today. Somehow each passage daily, as humans, we can find some way of applying and resonating this with our lives and current lifestyle. I highly recommend giving this a try and maybe even keep a journal to write down your minds initial thoughts and feelings about each daily passage.
🎧 ‘Folklore’ by Taylor Swift – currently obsessed with this album, I think it is connected to the winter weather rolling in 🌧
I can promise that in 48 hours, you will snavel this novel up and will be continuing on your book buying binge for ALL other Sarah Adams books. (click me and you can see them 😉)
Bree and Nathan have been best friends since high school. Nathan dreamt of becoming an NFL superstar and Bree dreamt of becoming a professional ballet dancer. Sadly, only one of their dreams came true. After having a few years apart in collage, Nathan and Bree have reconnected and their friendship is stronger than ever. It is also particularly threatening to any of the women Nathan’s chooses to dates, mainly as all of these woman can see the unrequited love between the two of them that neither care to admit.
This friends to lovers trope takes a great turn when Nathan’s celebrity stardom approves of Bree as a potential cutesy girlfriend after yet another breakup goes wrong. Que, the two of them in a fake relationship and oh how this is entertaining to read!
Okay positives and contrary aspects:
Written as if the author is talking to you in conversation which makes the novel extremely easy to read
Friends to lovers trope
Characters are really warm and loveable
Bree is so quirky and cute that she is what every girls dreams the main character is in these smutty novels (… or maybe that’s just what I enjoy reading!)
The whole premise of this book happens over quite a short period of time
Not a lot of depth to the environment or back story of each character. I wanted a little more historical detail surrounding Bree and Nathan’s teenage years and friendship bond back then
Wasn’t long enough … I was invested 🤗
There wasn’t a big dramatic peak as there usually is in 80% of novels in this genre. I was kind of waiting for a big secret to be exposed or a disagreement to happen over something minuscule and then have the main characters make up … but it didn’t really happen. In a way this was kind of a positive as the character’s didn’t resent, argue or disagree with one another. The novel just ended in a peachy kind way which was warm and fuzzy.
All in all, this smutty read is perfect for a rainy day, with a nice hot cup of tea!
All you have to do is answer the following three questions:
What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?
CR:Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin has me captivated and desperate to find out where these characters lives are at the end of the novel. I cannot wait to break down each character and my thoughts in a full review when I finish this. I have SO many thoughts on Sadie, Sam, Marx and Dov. Golly, if any of my previous encouragement has not gotten you over the line in reading this novel, this is your calling – DO IT!
RF:The Redgum River Retreat by Sandie Docker was an Australian fiction I recently finished and loved this month. As you longtime book blog followers will know, Sandie is not only one of my favourite authors but also one of my favourite people! Sandie was the first Australian author I interviewed on this blog and she was/is incredibly kind. I am beyond excited to have the opportunity to actually meet Sandie in a week as she visits my local bookstore. It was an absolute pleasure reading her latest novel (in 48hr as per usual – I ADORE them all) and to have organised a few events for her.
RN:How To Be Remembered by Michael Thompson is a perfectly modern and unique spin on The Time Traveller’s Wife and also a novel that I am half way through … meaning, I desperately need to finish it and write a review. Additionally, having the pleasure of meeting Michael recently upon my organisation of his visit to our local store, ensured my desire to finish Tommy Llewellyn’s story.
I thought this little upload could give you a giggle, while also giving you my reading update! This blog tag was originally hosted by Midnight Book Girl and it aims to share how you’re spending your Sunday reading 🤓
I am to share what I’m reading, listening too and drinking 📚🎧☕️
Currently, I am in-between two book! I know – how can I even be doing that AND just to create more chaos … I think I may start a third this afternoon! #whoops
I am still on my re-reading binge which means that as I track right now, I am more than halfway through A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas. To tell you I am adoring this reread is an understatement. I forgot how action backed these books are, as well as how immersive and addictive they are for me. They are bringing me just the right amount of nostalgia.
I am also about 5 chapters into Duck a la’Orange for Breakfast by Karina May, which is a debut romance novel. This has been on my social media radar like crazy and I couldn’t resist the temptation to give it a try. Max is fresh from a break up and is looking to get back into the dating game … but not ideally wanting to commit to someone. She just wants a good time, some company and a person to fill that whole of communication. Que her best friend and roommate signing her up for a dating app. Before the breakup, Max’s ex mother in law gifted her their traditional family French recipe book and Max is now makeing it her mission to regain her independence by working through the cookbook and teaching herself how to cook. And it just happens to be a wonderful coincidence that one of the guys Max matches with online is a chef. This is making for a fun and bubbly read so far! For a debut novel, it’s going pretty well!
Now … onto the book I’m starting this evening… My Literature book club is reading Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin for the month of April, and I can tell you, I am EXCITED! This book has rave reviews and still to this day, I remember the story of Zevin’s novel The Storied Life of AJ Fikery so fondly. That novel almost brought me to tears. I felt such immense connection to the characters and its story flowed at just the right pace to keep you invested with no idea of what was coming next. Therefore, I am intrigued to read, absorb and *hopefully* devour another on her Zevin’s novel. Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Tomorrow has been topping charts and already being named some people’s favourite read of 2023. We are following Sam, Sadie and Marx on their emotional rollercoasters in creating a gaming empire, falling in and out of love, coping with mental health and healing from trauma. I have no doubt interesting conversations will arise from this novel.
What have you been reading this Easter weekend? Drop a comment below 💬
This past week I shared this beautiful illustration by @alevneto on my Instagram and the response was lovely 💖
Somehow this image incorporated warmth, care and gentleness. To me, it represented exactly how I was feeling the previous fortnight. I felt like I could finally rest my brain and allow those close to me to hold me up.
REAL TALK: Moods change and that’s okay. Something I’ve learnt through time, experience, professionals and wonderful friends & family, is that it’s okay to feel down, but it is absolutely necessary to allow those same people to hold you and lift you back up again 💫
All you have to do is answer the following three questions:
What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?
CR:A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (#2) is fuelling my ongoing desire to read fantasy that will consume all of my thoughts while I’m in it! Honestly, re-reading this bad arse series has been such a fantastic experience. With me reading them as an OG when they progressively came out from 2015 onwards, I was starting to feel as if I’d forgotten the plot lines, delicately woven connections between characters and that ultimate feeling of being captivated in a good romance/fantasy novel. If you don’t know what this series is about, we follow a human called Feyre who hunts in the woods near her house to provide for her starving family. There is a whole other world across ‘the wall’, the land of fae but since the last war there hasn’t been any real interactions with the other world. Until Feyre kills a wolf which is a fae in shapeshift. This plot loosely follow Beauty and the Beast, so I will leave the rest up to your imagination or eyes if you choose to read this fabulous series 👀
RF:A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (#1) – see previous as this is where the story of Feyre begins.
Comment below if you’d like a Book Review on the first novel 🎙
RN:Iris by Fiona Kelly McGregor recently made the Stella Prize longlist of 2023 and to be honest, previous to hearing this announcement, I hadn’t paid the book much attention but GOSH am I glad I know about it now because I am so intrigued!! Iris follows the life and tribulations of Iris Webber, notoriously Sydney’s most murderous woman of the 1930’s underbelly era. Heck, that alone, how interesting to hear a fictionalised story from the perspective of a woman so well known for her sleuthing behaviours, dangerous reputation and run in’s with police. I hope this novel delivers in grittiness. That’s what I’m seeking from my next read – something to blow me out of the park! I’m on the reading hunt for my favourite books of 2023 … I wonder if this will make it …
Here is something new and shiny for all you book lovers to read. I wanted to sporadically (and make it ongoing) share a little bit about my experiences of working in a bookstore and what it’s like to be behind the scenes of the bookselling trade.
There is so much to know about bookselling, the profession and as a career. I hope that by sharing a little about my world in the book industry, it may fulfil some part of you (as an avid book lover) and make you love bookstores just a little more deeply! A lot of work goes into bookselling and if you’re anything like me, a lot of thinking time about books, book ideas and business outside of work hours, because the love and care for bookselling runs deep.
So – let me bring you up to speed on one of my most recent book industry experiences.
Last week, I travelled to Canberra with my boss/mentor/book industry encourager. We had been invited to Affirm Press’ Roadshow, in which they wanted to share some of their exciting upcoming titles, authors and explain their recent expansions.
To put it in straightforward terms, in Australia there are probably about 5 big guys (Publishing Houses). I would *personally* view those guys as (in no particular order):
Penguin Randomhouse Australia
Allen & Unwin Australia
Pan Macmillan Australia
Now, these big guys publish hundreds of titles a year from a variety of different genres. Affirm Press is one that continues to make slow and steady process to move their way up the chain. They have gone from publishing around 9 titles a handful of years ago, to now publishing 99. Their books are quality and they have one extremely successful author under their belt – that being Pip Williams.
Pip is the author of ‘The Dictionary of Lost Words’, which won the Australian Book Industry Award in the category of General Fiction Prize in 2021. This is one of the best and most reputable prizes for a novel to win in Australia – especially during the pandemic!!
At the Roadshow, Affirm Press essentially shared their plans for 2023, their staffing team for our region of Australia and also some shiny new prerelease titles with us. It was also a great opportunity to meet other booksellers, some bookstore owners and event planners from the area. Oh and not to mention, Pip Williams was actually PRESENT at the event. It was wonderful to meet her and her professionalism + book expertise is divine. We were also introduced to Pip’s second novel, published in March this year, “The Bookbinder of Jericho”. Luckily, we each received an uncorrected proof copy of this new novel, as well as had it signed by Pip. This was a special moment for us and Pip as it was her first time signing ANY of the Bookbinder … it was a moment to remember.
I left the event and overnight stay feeling more connected to the book industry and fresh with creative ideas for the future of our local bookstore/author events.
We also took the opportunity in Canberra to visit 3 bookstores. I regularly love to do this (much to my families teasing, they say “You work in one! Why do you need to see more?!”) because every bookstore is SO unique. From the furnishings, the books, giftware and bookmarks stocked, to the staff and the recommendations. I always come back home with new ideas and inspiration. We visited BookFace in Gungahlin, Paperchain in Manuka & Dymocks in Belconnen.
So book lovers, what do you think? Do you like this little update on the life of a bookseller? Comment below if you’d like to see more blog posts here 🎤📚🎙
Imagine a rainforest that overshadows your local town. The sounds of the leaves rustling, the swoosh of the trees moving and the crackle of branches being trodden on the damp and mossy floor which create a sort of compelling whispering.
A whispering that many young people have heard before.
A whispering that is believed to take people away, into the rainforest and never come out again.
‘The Whispering’ by Veronica Lando had an eerie, compelling and unique spin on crime fiction. I have only read one other novel similar in this spiritual/naturalist/mystical sub genre of crime fiction, and that book was ‘The Bluffs’ by Kyle Perry. It was one of my favourite books of 2021. It was a given as soon as I read the blurb of this novel, I was hooked. ‘The Whispering’ was also the winner of the Banjo Prize for Fiction in 2020, therefore I was also more inclined to start reading. This prize is awarded by Harper Collins Australia to an unpublished Australian manuscript and author with the hope of launching their writing career.
Now about the book … Callum Haffenden never believed he would return to Granite Creek. It’s a place of heartbreak, sickening memories and feelings of physical and emotional loss. In the past and as a teenager, Callum was involved in an accident that caused the loss of his leg from the kneecap down. At the same time, he also lost the girl who was his first love and she lost her elder sister. The tragic series of accidents have always been swirled with mystery and secrets. But a feeling, or a whispering of events unresolved, are calling him back now.
In the present, a local, well-known and well-loved community man has gone missing in the rainforest, around the same dangerous boulders of Callum’s accident. When his body is soon discovered, Callum’s previous journalism traits jump to action. In search of answers, Callum’s past and present collide. This isn’t the only secret that Callum begins to uncover the more questions he asks around town. You quickly discover as the reader that nobody is trustworthy and everybody has a motive to be part of this towns historical eeriness.
This was a quick but slow read. Quick because the storyline mostly flowed and the amount of dialogue included helped to move things along well. Slow because, I personally felt some aspects were disjointed. One moment I was in one place and then the next the story had moved on without a clear explanation or connection. HOWEVER, I will hand on heart admit I read a lot of this novel before bed and mostly falling asleep. This is also one the first crime book I’ve read in a while (like, 6 months a while), so my judgement could be swayed. Overall an enjoyable read for a debut fiction ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (3.5/5 stars)
Chumpy, Ellidy and Minnie’s story is one for the ages. Their perspective on love, life and strength is unbelievable. In particular I strongly admire Ellidy’s ability to keep living through her grief and bring Minnie into a world swirled by strong belief that she is loved, she is a miracle creation and first and foremost, that she is the daughter of Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin.
Let’s start by chatting about the big and colourful being that was Chumpy.
Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin was an Australian snowboarder who competed at the 2010, 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics. He held the honour of carrying the Australian Flag in the opening of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. He won the snowboard cross World Championship – twice. He was an athlete. He was the musical creator and singer behind Chumpy and the Sunsetaroonies. He was a bright soul and he was Ellidy’s person for this wonderful thing called life.
On the 8th of July 2020, the life that Ellidy knew took a devastating turn. Chumpy tragically passed away in a shallow water diving blackout at the age of 33. This unfathomable accident shook those who knew Chumpy personally, had followed his athletic life and achievements, those who competed with him, those in his home town, celebrities across the globe and just ordinary people like myself who heard this on the news one morning. A fit, healthy and active man who was incredibly experienced in the water, passing away. Surely this doesn’t happen right?
A little about Ellidy – she and Chumpy met at the age of 21 and fell immediately in love. She had studied nursing, commerce and worked in a variety of jobs. Chumpy used to describe her as someone who was ‘always happy’ and ‘woke up happy’. For Ellidy to still find that light within herself and for Minnie, even now after the tragedy she’s experience, I’m just in awe and admiration. A really large part of what Ellidy’s purpose, advocacy and awareness is around shallow water diving blackouts. She also aims to shine a light on post mortem sperm retrieval, as this is how little Minnie was created.
Ellidy and Chumpy always knew they’d start a family and they’d been trying for the past 12 months before Chumpy’s accident. Luck was never on their side. They felt as if they came close a few times, but sadly never fell pregnant. IVF appointments were discussed, plans were made and then suddenly, Chumpy wasn’t there. In the hours after Chumpy’s passing, a close friend that actually brought Ellidy and Chumpy together in the first place, relayed to Ellidy’s brother this amazing procedure called post mortem sperm retrieval. Ellidy only had to hear the words, “There is still a chance you and Chumpy can have a baby” and that was enough for her to say “Yes, go, do what you need to do”, for close friends and family to jump to action. There are a number of loop holes in making a procedure like this happen, including time sensitivity after a persons passing, legal requirements and state legislations. The stars aligned and Ellidy likes to believe that Chumpy was along the journey pushing for those green lights from above.
Even through her grief, Ellidy knew that having Chumpy’s baby was something she had to do. She had her parent’s support, her brother, Chumpy’s parents and sister, as well as her multitude of close friends encouraging her to make this happen when she was ready. 15 months after Chumpy’s passing, que the creation of Minnie Alex Pullin. And let me tell you folks, she’s bloody gorgeous!
I’m so glad this heartbreakingly beautiful story was one of my first reads this year. I love watching my daily Instagram stories of Minnie, as found on Ellidy’s profile, and watching her grow surrounded by love. I encourage you to read this book, educate yourself on the power of true love and absorb the wonderful miracles that are created through modern medicine. Below, you’ll find one of the most heartwarming videos of Minnie and her dad 💫💖