Win a copy of Shallow Breath with the Australian Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop

It’s a pleasure to be participating in the Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop, thanks to Book’d Out and Confessions from Romaholics. You can find the full list of participants here, all of whom are giving away bookish prizes as part of this event. There are some fantastic sites to visit, and I hope you enjoy hopping around them.

I’m giving away a copy of my new novel Shallow Breath, which you can read all about here. All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is to leave a comment on this post.

Competition closes at midnight on 28th January, and the winner will be picked at random. I’ll announce the winner on my site, on Facebook and on Twitter. Please note that this giveaway is for Australian residents only. If you’re overseas, I’m hoping to set up another international giveaway soon on GoodReads, so watch this space!

Gook luck and thanks for visiting!

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BOOK LOVE: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – from an idea by Siobhan Dowd

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting– he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd– whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself– Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

 

This is classified as a Young Adult book, but its appeal is much, much broader than that. The simple, precise narrative tells the story of Conor, a young boy dealing with a terrible event in his life, who has dreamlike episodes where he faces his ‘monster’. It is a book about the horror of loss, the burden of helplessness, the terror of truth, and the insistent voice of hope. A raw, beautiful story.

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BOOK LOVE: Wool by Hugh Howey

What would you do if the world outside was deadly,

and the air you breathed could kill?

And you lived in a place

where every birth required a death,

and the choices you made could save lives

—or destroy them.

This is Jules’s story.

This is the world of Wool.

 

 

From the blurb alone I had a strong suspicion I was going to love this book, and I wasn’t wrong. I’m a big fan of dystopian fiction, I love reading about alternative societies that are so different in some ways and yet intensely familiar in others. Not only has Hugh Howey constructed an absorbing vision of an intimidating future world, he has also created a fast-paced thriller which will ensure you don’t want to put this book down.

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BOOK LOVE: The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

1961 England. Laurel Nicolson is sixteen years old, dreaming alone in her childhood tree house during a family celebration at their home, Green Acres Farm. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and then observes her mother, Dorothy, speaking to him. And then she witnesses a crime.

Fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress, living in London. She returns to Green Acres for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday and finds herself overwhelmed by memories and questions she has not thought about for decades. She decides to find out the truth about the events of that summer day and lay to rest her own feelings of guilt. One photograph, of her mother and a woman Laurel has never met, called Vivian, is her first clue.

The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams, the lengths some people go to fulfill them, and the strange consequences they sometimes have. It is a story of lovers, friends, dreamers and schemers, play-acting and deception told against a backdrop of events that changed the world.

 

I was keen to get stuck in to this book after I heard Kate Morton talking about it at Joondalup Library back in November, but I forced myself to wait until Christmas so I had enough time. I loved The Shifting Fog and the Forgotten Garden, and in this, Kate’s fourth novel, there are more intriguing characters, a few superb secrets that last all the way through, and effortless shifts of character perspectives, which I so enjoy in stories.

There is a delicacy to Kate’s language that I love. She doesn’t fill a sentence unnecessarily, but on so many occasions her word choice enhances her descriptions beautifully. As as result it’s easy to get lost in her gentle style of storytelling. I was absorbed into the characters’ stories – I went over all the options in my mind and so I did guess some of the big twists and turns, but I never settled on anything with too much certainty for it to spoil the intrigue for me. The novel really brings the Blitz to life as well. (I hadn’t realised just how many bombs were dropped on London until I read an article in the Daily Mail about a month ago – the word Blitz really does sum it up.)

My only criticism, being very nit-picking, is that I found it extremely convenient that Laurel and Gerry could research so much of their mother’s past because everyone involved seemed to have had their diaries and letters placed in museum archives. But this is a very small quibble, and overall I thoroughly enjoyed The Secret Keeper. You can find out more about all Kate’s books at www.katemorton.com.

I’m counting this as one of my reads for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013.

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Happy New Year!

I hope you have all had a fantastic Christmas and New Year. I’ve spent the last week enjoying some much-needed R&R with my family, and I’ve also loved having time to read. As a result, there will be more Book Loves coming up shortly!

I’m already busy planning everything that’s going to keep me busy over the next few months: there’s a new book that needs writing, events at UWA Extension, South Perth library and the Perth Writers Festival coming in February, and Come Back to Me and Shallow Breath should be available in new territories on Amazon Kindle in the coming weeks.

2012 finished on a high. Monique from Write Note Reviews listed Shallow Breath as one of her favourite reads of the year, and Susan from An Adventure in Reading gave it a wonderful review. On Saturday it was also Pick of the Week in the Sydney Morning Herald – fantastic!

I was really touched when Anna Lee Huber, an author in the US, tweeted that Beneath the Shadows had been one of her top reads of 2012. It means a lot to me when people take time out of their day to let me know they have enjoyed one of my books, and I’d like to thank everyone who has been in touch over the last year.

For 2013 I’ll be signing up to the Australian Women Writers Challenge. I nearly did last year, but I was into the intense writing process of Shallow Breath and couldn’t see where I’d get free time to read a book that wasn’t research! The AWW challenge began last year, the brainchild of Elizabeth Lhuede, and it has been fantastic watching everybody taking part and helping to promote all those brilliant books out there by Australian women. I’ve signed up for the ‘Miles’ challenge, to read 6 books, although I’m secretly hoping I’ll make it to ‘Franklin’ status. If you go on to the AWW website you’ll see there’s an absolute smorgasbord of choice, and I’m excited to be taking part this time. I’m also looking forward to seeing who takes out the inaugural Stella Prize – my money at the moment is on ML Stedman for her fabulous book The Light Between Oceans.

In 2013 I’m keen to keep spreading awareness of the conservation projects that form the backdrop to Shallow Breath – particularly the plight of orangutans in Indonesia, the dolphin atrocities in Taiji, and the elephant genocides in Africa. And I hope I have more opportunity to be involved in projects and fundraisers run by Room to Read, who are doing fantastic work helping children’s education in the developing world. All in all, it’s shaping up to be a busy year!

Wishing you all many hours of happy reading in 2013.

Sara x