Monday, August 29, 2011

August Book Giveaway Winner Announced

Thank you to all who entered our Paula Vince book giveaway.

The winning entry was submitted by:

Congratulations Rebecca, you have won a copy of "Best Forgotten".

Please contact us with your address details so we can get your prize to you.

Thanks again to Paula Vince for being our guest this month, and for selecting the winner :)

Stay tuned in September for our next book giveaway!

Monday Morning Musings: Would I Buy Ebooks?

Welcome to our first edition of Monday Morning Musings!

For our first edition, I'm going to dip my toes into the huge debate regarding the physical book versus the ebook.  And it will only be a "dip" of my toes because I don't actually own an ebook reader.  Therefore my viewpoint is only from one deciding if I would ever buy ebooks.

Firstly, I'm not a techno-phobe.  Far from it.  I LOVE technology.  I love gadgets and devices and systems that make things more efficient, accessible and instant.  It's why it was my career choice.  I thought the development of digital music was the best thing since sliced bread.  Really, truly.  The fact that I could load a tiny device up with thousands upon thousands of songs - songs I could purchase in the middle of the night if I wished? An utterly useful and thrilling revolution.

Since you can apply the same logic to the development of ebook readers, why haven't I jumped on this bandwagon with the same enthusiasm?

Books. The answer is books.  I love them.  I love to hold them, I love to see them sitting on my shelves.  CDs and their flimsy, cold, unloving plastic covers, I didn't miss them for a moment.  But books ... ahhh books ... I've always dreamed of having a room in my house, wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling packed with books.

If you're a book lover, I'm sure you empathise.  I'm not here to sell the idea of a warm, inviting book to hold in your hands.

So I'm a technology and convenience lover (I am Gen-Y afterall) AND a book lover, and I find myself conflicted. My decision not to have an ebook reader at present is made easier by the fact I'm currently a stay at home mum so I don't often need to carry books out and about.  If I were commuting again, I'd probably give the ebook a lot more serious consideration.

If you've bought Blu-Ray movies lately, you may have seen these 3-in-1 versions.  They include the movie in three formats: Blu-Ray, DVD and electronic version.  The theory is when you buy that movie, you get a version to watch on your tv (the Blu-Ray), one to use in the car (the DVD) and one that you can download to your portable device (laptops,smart phones, PSPs etc).  Pretty nifty idea, and it certainly has enticed me on numerous occasions to purchase the more expensive Blu-Ray version over the cheaper DVD version.

If you apply the same theory to books, what would be the result? Let's throw some arbitrary numbers at a scenario (I'm not an expert on book prices, so forgive me but hopefully it's enough to get the idea).
Option 1: Paperback priced for $15
Option 2: Ebook priced for $10
Option 3: Paperback that includes an ebook version download, for $15-$18

If option 3 were available to me, I'm sure I'd often choose that in order to have the advantages that both physical and electronic books have to offer.  Does this option already exist anywhere out there? Here in Australia the ebook revolution is not quite as prolific as in the US, in fact the Kindle has only just started selling here this week. So I don't know many people who buy ebooks at all. (A friend of ours has purchased one and is going to do a guest post on her experience with it, so keep an eye out for that.)

Would you be enticed to spend a little more money on a two-for-one book/ebook bundle?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Book Review: The Lightkeeper's Ball by Colleen Coble

Available @
Fishpond AU 
& Amazon
The Lightkeeper's Ball by Colleen Coble
Thomas Nelson Publishing, 19 April  2011
It is the dawn of a new century and Olivia Stewart is heiress to an empire. Her family numbers among the Four Hundred—those considered the wealthiest and most distinguished in America. Unfortunately their wealth has nearly disappeared, and now their security rests upon the Stewart daughters' marrying well.

Olivia's sister, Eleanor, was engaged to Harrison Bennett, one of the nation's wealthiest men, but has since died. Now the pressure is on Olivia to take her place, despite her suspicions about Eleanor's fiancé. Using her family's long-forgotten English title, Olivia travels to Mercy Falls, California, as Lady Devonworth, hoping to learn more before committing to marriage. There she finds that Eleanor's death was no accident. And Harrison is not the man she thought he would be.

When Mercy Falls holds a charity masquerade ball to raise funds for the new lighthouse, secrets—and truths long hidden—will be revealed. But can Harrison really love Olivia when he finds her true identity? Can she live with the repercussions of failing her family, or will she finally realize that nothing—not money, family, or romance—will ever compare to God's unconditional love?
I have read the first two Lightkeeper's novels (Mercy Falls Series) and enjoyed them a great deal and this installment is no different. In fact, the first Colleen Coble book I ever read was The Lightkeeper’s Daughter and I have been a fan of hers ever since.

If someone were to ask me who my favourite character in this book was, I would say its Harrison Bennett, the hero of the story. I enjoyed seeing the heroine Olivia Stewart grow from a young woman accustomed to wealth and only knowing a distant and impersonal God, to a someone with deeper appreciation of what “wealth” really is and just how personal God is.  But it was Harrison that really caught my attention.

Harrison comes across as a man of integrity and honesty. Though moneyed, he does not care for it, and would prefer to follow his God-given passion for designing and flying airplanes rather than pushing papers around and making boardroom deals. He is passionate about God, ethics, truth and not settling for anything less than what God has to offer.

Coble has given readers an engaging mystery, which clips along at a lovely pace. She has done a great job of providing a compelling romance set in the lovely backdrop of Mercy Falls, California.

Friday, August 19, 2011

August Feature Author: Paula Vince (Interview & Book Giveaway)

We are pleased to introduce Australian Christian fiction author, Paula Vince, as our feature author for this month. Paula has very kindly answered some questions for us, so that we - and you! - can get to know her better.   

This month's feature also launches our first ever book giveaway!  We are giving away Paula's latest release book, "Best Forgotten."  See the end of this post for details on how to enter the competition.

About Paula Vince

Paula is the author of four adult contemporary romance / drama novels as well as the Quenarden series, a young adult fantasy adventure trilogy.

1.  Thanks for joining us on our blog today Paula.  Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Any hobbies you have?

I’m a homeschooling mum with children aged 7, 12 and 16. We tend toward the relaxed, interest-driven end of the home education spectrum and it’s been lots of fun. I love country drives, walks and hikes, which is why I’m thankful to live in the Adelaide Hills, one of South Australia’s most beautiful spots. I sometimes enjoy cooking new dishes, although my husband and kids don’t always appreciate being guinea-pigs. I like to write with the dishwasher or washing machine humming in the background, as this makes me feel as if I’m working productively.

2.  Whose writing do you admire?

Anybody whose stories make me look forward to their next book. I’m happy to be able to rattle off a list of Australian Christian fiction authors whose books fit the bill perfectly. Mary Hawkins, Amanda Deed, Meredith Resce, Carol Preston, Anne Hamilton, Dale Harcombe, Jo-Anne Berthelsen, Laura O’Connell, Janelle G Dyer. I’ve also been reading some brilliant unpublished manuscripts recently and hope to see their authors soon take their places on my shelf. It’s amazing to see the fine quality of stories which haven’t seen the light of day yet.

3.  When you get writers block, what do you do to try and get out of it?

Going for drives works well. Being confined to a small space with scenery flashing past and rhythmic motion is a great way of getting ideas flowing. Drudge work helps too, as if there really is a muse who gets anxious when we don’t pay her attention. Finally, I find writing any silly thing that strikes my fancy is a good method – a bit like shaking the plug from a bottle of tomato sauce.

4.  What books did you read as a teenager?

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” series, L.M. Montgomery’s “Anne” and “Emily” series and every other book she wrote, “Trixie Belden”, Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” books and many others. As I used to love stories set in the past, it’s ironic that I became a contemporary fiction author.

(Helen: Ooh Trixie Belden ... there's a name I'd forgotten!)

5.  If you could be any fictional book character for a day, who would you be, and why?

I decided to choose Pollyanna, from Eleanor H. Porter’s series. She’s had her detractors who think she stubbornly refused to acknowledge the bad, but they have the wrong idea. She never denied the negative but chose to focus on the positive. You see, I have a melancholic streak, so bubbly enthusiasm isn’t usually my gut reaction to anything less than wonderful, although I try to make it my second or third reaction. I’m also an introvert who tends to get brain-freeze and tongue-tied in social situations. It’d be great to experience the world from the point of view of a sunny sanguine for a day. Besides this, she did so much good, helping people cure their depression and making them feel happy just by being herself. And she married Jimmy, who I used to think was one of the manliest men of children’s literature.

6.  Can you tell us about any of your current works in progress, and any books that are coming out soon?

I’ve made a start on a new novel with the working title, “Along for the Ride.” It has a quiet heroine with a secret that’s spread its guilt through her whole life. She’s on a mission to make up for it but doubts if she can. There is also a really lovable talented blonde hero (I made him blonde because I realised I’ve had a thing for dark-haired heroes and wanted to break the mold). He receives some unexpected news that knocks him flat. It’s going to be a book about healing on all levels, emotional, spiritual and physical. It will be some time coming, as “Best Forgotten” is still recently new, but I’m already enjoying it thoroughly.

(Helen: Sounds like a very interesting story, Paula! Looking forward to that one.)

7.  This is our extra special question, reserved for our Aussie guest authors: What's the best thing about being an Aussie?

I love our vast space, full of contrasting beauty. I love our unique flora and fauna. I love our warmth and the blueness of our sky. I love our particular style of humour and candour, evident in some of our descriptive vernacular. Many Aussies, like me, can probably claim to be descended from strong, admirable and courageous people of faith, who lived rugged, gruelling lives but kept their chins up and made the best of it. We have their blood flowing in our veins and I love that. Well, that’s more than one thing, but they all blend together.

Thank you so much Paula for taking the time to answer our questions :)

Paula Vince's Links

Paula also contributes to the following blogs

Paula Vince's Published Book List

Christian Contemporary Romance / Drama Fiction
Quenarden Trilogy (Young Adult Fiction)
  • Quenarden: The Prophecies
  • Quenarden: The Castle of Light
  • Quenarden: The Dark Secret
Paula's books can be purchased through Apple Leaf Books

Book Giveaway: Best Forgotten by Paula Vince

Here it is folks, our first ever book giveaway! We're thrilled to be offering you the chance to win Paula's latest book, "Best Forgotten".

A young accident victim wakes up in hospital and can't remember who he is. Why does he have nothing in common with his family? Why does he despise the person he was supposed to be? Why has his best friend disappeared without a trace? Is somebody after him? His family can offer no solutions. His girlfriend is strangely aloof and he cannot shake off a feeling that the answers will prove more unpleasant than his amnesia. Somehow he must find out as it seems time is running out.Paula Vince has woven elements of secrecy and suspense with her trademark warmth and compassion. Best Forgotten is an inspirational masterpiece you won't forget.

Paula has kindly posed a question which you must answer in order to be in the running to win this prize:

The hero of Best Forgotten has total amnesia. If you were in his position, name one thing youd be sad to forget and another youd be happy to forget.

Competition Details and Conditions of Entry

  1. The competition is open to anyone from any country
  2. In order to complete an eligible entry you must answer the above question posed by Paula Vince, by way of posting a comment to this post (see end of post for comments)
  3.  It is not necessary to put your email address in your comment.  We will be announcing the winner of the competition on the blog, and the winner will have 1 week to contact us with their details. 
  4. In addition to answering the question, you must be either one of the following:
    • a follower of this blog by using the Google Friend Connect found in the left hand menu of this blog  
      5.  The competition ends at 7pm on Friday 26th August, Australian Eastern Standard Time   (which is 10am GMT of the same day).  The winner will be announced in the early part of the following week.
       6.   The winning entry will be judged by Paula Vince.

We look forward to your entries!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Book Review: Perfectly Dateless by Kristin Billerbeck (Young Adult Fiction)

Available @
Fishpond AU 
& Amazon

Daisy Crispin has 196 days to find the right date for the prom. There's only one problem--her parents won't let her date or even talk to a guy on the phone. Oh, and she's totally invisible at school, has to wear lame homemade clothes, and has no social skills. Okay, so maybe there's more than one problem. Can she talk her parents into letting her go to the prom? Or will they succeed at their obvious attempt to completely ruin her life?

"Perfectly Dateless" is the first Christian Young Adult fiction book I have read in a long time, and the first chick-lit Christian YA fiction I have ever read.  When I was a teenager I didn't know this genre existed, and I wish I had!

I found "Perfectly Dateless" addictive.  Once I started, I couldn't put it down. I loved the way Kristin Billerbeck dealt with serious issues that teengaers and families face these days without tarring it with a thick heavy brush of doom and gloom.  The atmosphere of the book remained light and humouress without skirting these issues.  I think this is a very important balance.  For validity and authenticity of a YA novel, it needs to deal with the current day issues.  However, I believe it should be done without casting the reader into darkness and despair.  Kristin definitely succeeds in doing this.

A note for Australian readers: The Christian references are very "American".  The fact that it's quite "normal" to go to church and youth groups is unfamiliar to most Australian readers (certainly to me!) and so it was a little strange at first.  However, once I got into the book and got over that fact, I barely noticed the "Americanism".  I'm sure if you read more books in this genre by American authors you'd soon not notice it at all.

The Christian faith is very evident throughout the book, it's certainly not subtle but it's also not "in your face".  The fact is the characters are Christian, and so their beliefs are naturally and appropriately woven into the story.  The characters have their flaws and their lives are not perfect.  I could see a lot of myself in Daisy, and had bucket loads of empathy for her high school plights and battles with the parents!

The bottom line is, I loved the story.  The characters and their endeavours are real and believable, there's humour, a bit of drama, a bit of romance and a happy ending. If you are, or have, a romantic minded teenage girl, get a hold of books like this!

There is a second installment to Daisy's story, "Perfectly Invisible" which was released 1st July this year (2011).  I'm very keen to get my hands on that and give that a read too :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 has arrived!

Welcome to our new look blog!  We do hope you like the new colours and design.  We're pleased to also have our new address  Easy to remember, right? We hope so!

The timing seems perfect, for if you'll look in our menu on the left you should see we are very close to reachng our first 1000 hits.  Great way to celebrate - new look site AND our first ever book give away later this week.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Changes are on the way

Keep a close eye on our blog as we have a big week ahead planned!

This week we'll be releasing our new look blog that we've been working on, as well as our own dot com.  We're hoping this will help people get to our site more easily.

We will also be posting August's Feature Author at the end of the week.  This month we are featuring an Australian author.

I guess the biggest news of all is that we will be holding our first ever book giveaway! It will be open to everyone, regardless of where in the world you live.  Yes Aussies, that means you too!

We are looking forward to it all, hope you are too :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Book Review: Tea for Two by Trish Perry

Available @
Fishpond AU 
& Amazon
"Counsellor Tina Milano has been visiting Milly’s Tea Shop regularly for the past several months. She has many friends but no steady man in her life. Zack Cooper is a local farmer who provides Milly with fresh fruit and vegetables. As a single parent, Zack is doing his best to raise his teenage son and daughter on his own.

When the kids get in minor scrapes with the law, Milly gently encourages Zack and Tina to work together to draw the teens back before their rebellious natures land them in even hotter water. At first Tina sees the relationship in only a professional capacity, but soon her friends notice the luscious scent of romance in the air and decide to help things along."

This is going to be a short and sweet review. I was combing my bookshelf for something light and fluffy to take me away from the stress our household had been under for several weeks. I spied this book tucked away between some bigger hardbacks and thus almost missed it. Twenty-four hours later I was done.

"Tea for Two" did such a wonderful job of transporting me out of my stressful period and into the lovely and funny world of Milly’s Tea Shop. The two main character’s Tina and Zack are very funny and they ooze chemistry. Tina’s group ladies cracked me up at almost every turn.

In short this book was just what the doctor ordered – funny, light, romantic and just plain fun!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Father's Day Gift Ideas: Sports Biographies

Leading up to the Australian Father's Day, we're going to be doing a series of posts featuring books which might make good gifts for the numerous men in our lives who are "fathers".  Father's Day is Sunday 4th September which is 4 weeks away.  It's time to start thinking of something special as time gets away from us all very quickly these days.

Book Review Sisters Hot Pick

Rafa: My Story - Rafael Nadal
"No tennis player since Andre Agassi has captivated the world like Rafael Nadal. He's a rarity in today's sporting arena - a true sportsman who chooses to let his raw talent, dedication and humility define him. This autobiography, written by Nadal with award-winning journalist John Carlin and including the thoughts of those closest to him, features memorable highlights such as winning the Wimbledon 2008 final in what John McEnroe called, "the greatest game of tennis ever played" and completing a career Grand Slam after winning the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open in 2010. This book gives Nadal's millions of fans what they've been waiting for - a glimpse behind the racquet to learn what really makes Nadal - an intensely private person who until now has never talked about his personal and family life - tick."

The book is actually being released in Australia before the USA (only by 5 days, but still, a rare treat for us!)

Pre-order now and it will ship on release date, arriving to you just in time for Father's Day.

Available in Australia August 18th from Fishpond in Hardback

Available in the USA August 23rd from Amazon in Hardback

Other Picks
Line and Strength: The Complete StoryGlenn McGrath Line and Strength: The Complete Story
Buy Now From: Amazon | Fishpond AU
Wayne Bennett - The Man in the Mirror
Buy Now From: Amazon | Fishpond AU
Roger Federer: The GreatestRoger Federer - The Greatest
Buy Now From: Amazon | Fishpond AU

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Guest Post: By Martin King #100blogfest is here!

As mentioned in our previous post, the Book Review Sisters is involved in author Martin King's #100blogfest, where he is writing 100 blogs about his childhood, over the month of August.  Today, it's our turn to host Martin :)

It seems only fitting to tell a book story about when I was younger seeing as this post is going on a book review site.

When I was little I didn’t read books. Yeah, my mum bought and read to me stories from the Ladybird book range. Stories such as ‘The Little Red Hen’, and ‘The Old Woman and the Pig’. Then there was ‘The Magic Cooking Pot’ and ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’ to mention just a few.

I also remember the coloured Pirate series at school...remember the Red Pirate and the Blue Pirate? But I wasn’t a big reader by any stretch of the imagination because I was a boy and boys didn’t read. We did more macho things like play out and play football. Build swings in trees and make dens in the woods.

But I did discover a read that kept me going for years thanks to the local library. I don’t even know if such premises are used that much these days, but often I would visit two, three times a week in the hope that one of the books in the series had made its way from a different library to mine.

However, it wasn’t just one series of books, it was two. And I’m sure I could sit here and write two blogs about each one. They were Asterix annuals and Tintin. You notice the common denominator? They were both picture story books. I loved them.

From defeating the Romans by using the magic potion to beating the bad guys to the treasure with his able companion – snowy, both these books managed to keep my imagination alive. And perhaps it is this memory more than all the others, which may have planted a seed somewhere deep down, for me to become a children’s author.

So for all those boys that don’t like reading, I say bring back comic book style storytelling, even more so today in this electronically controlled life we find ourselves in. If I ever do go onto becoming a very Successful author, I will do all I can to put my stories into a comic book style story!!!

These blogs are all about fun and sharing. Thank you for reading a ‘#100blogfest’ blog. Please follow this link to find the next blog in the series:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

#100blogfest is paying a visit to the Book Review Sisters

What on earth is the #100blogfest?

Author Martin King is embarking on a "100 Blogs as a child" tour for the month of August.  That means he will be writing entries about childhood memories across 100 different blogs - and that will include a stop here, at the Book Review Sisters.

We're pleased to advise that Martin's guest entry will be appearing here on the 6th of August, which is in 2 days time. 

The purpose of this quest is to drive interest and link together author & book related blogs.  I guess it forms a kind of unofficial blog ring :)

You can follow the hype on Twitter just by searching the #100blogfest hashtag

Make sure you're back here again in 2 days time! Meanwhile you can follow Martin's progress so far from his main #100blogfest blog entry

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Review: "The New Strong-Willed Child" by Dr. James Dobson

Available @
Fishpond AU 
& Amazon

For those of you who have already been following our blog, you will probably be thinking that this review comes out of the blue.  This book doesn't run in accordance with our usual genres, and I hadn't mentioned it was coming up.  But nevertheless, I have just finished reading this book and am eager to share with you my review.

First of all, why was I reading this book?  It's obviously not a book for general reading, and it's not something I stumbled across. It's a book I went looking for. My eldest daughter is 2.5 years old and a handful.  I realise that she is currently going through the "terrible twos" and all children are blessed handfuls at this stage but you should hear the sass that she gives me.  I am often left speechless by her obstinance, willfulness and defiance.  Don't get me wrong, she is also an angel, very loving and very switched on.  I just know there is a streak in there that I'm not familiar with and I need help handling it.  (My mother is often telling me, "I don't know where that has come from.  You and your sister were not like this.)

"The New Strong-Willed Child" by Dr. James Dobson was very helpful.  It's titled "New" because it is the revised edition of the original "The Strong-Willed Child" which was published in 1978.  Dr. Dobson spent 14 years as an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, where he also obtained his PhD in child development.  He's written over 30 books and has decades of experience with children.

The book begins by sharing the stories of mothers of strong willed kids.  I must admit I was having quite a giggle at the antics, but I was also laughing our of nervousness.  These kids sound like my daughter and I started to get really worried about the teenage years.

After the finishing this book however, I'm not so terrified anymore.  I'm still apprehensive, but I feel a little like I'm prepared for battle.  I understand the battlefield and the "enemy" better and I feel like I am heading towards the future with some tools under my belt.

Dr Dobson goes through explaining why strong-willed children are the way they are and how to discipline them by "shaping the will" without breaking that spirit that makes them so unique.  He deals with common mistakes made by parents, handling sibling rivalry and dedicates a chapter to the strong-willed adolescent.

Dr Dobson is an unashamed advocate of corporal punishment, and I was interested to read his opinions, explanations and methodology.  I believe he puts forth a sound argument in it's favour, though I'm sure it will remain a controversial subject for many readers.

"The New Strong-Willed Child" is written in a relaxed manner, with strong and sound advice, is easy to read and full of helpful and often humorous anecdotes.  It was easy to relate to as a mother of a strong willed child, and I'm thankful that I went in search of information at an early stage and it lead me to Dr Dobson's book. It's refreshing to read such good, solid, biblically based, tried and tested advice.

If you have a strong willed child, and often feel like you have no control, are wondering where your child came from and how you are going to manage their defiance and willfulness, I can't recommend this book enough.  I've started employing some of the principles and techniques, and already I can see an improvement in my ability to handle my daughter.

This book comes in a special 3-in-1 book called "The Dr. James Dobson Parenting Collection" with the other two books being "The New Dare to Discipline" and "Parenting Isn't for Cowards".  I am keen to read these other books too. 

The Dr. James Dobson Parenting Collection
Available @

If you are interested in Dr. James Dobson's general family advice as well, he founded Focus on the Family which has a regular radio broadcasts and other resources for marriages and parenting.