Need an escape? Then join me for Flossi’s Spring Reading Challenge and pick up a book. Be transported to another world, or inspired to create and learn. Just give yourself permission to stop, indulge and enjoy the beauty and wonder of the written word.
My high school English teacher Mr Grant used to say two things to me “may your life be as smooth and comfortable as your prose”, and “when you need to escape, pick up a book”. One of those things is definitely easier to achieve than the other, and books have been an ‘escape’ for me all of my life. I like to feel the weight of a ‘real’ book in my hands. The deliberate turn of every page, bookmarking my place, the smell of the ink, and anticipation of coming back to a story that will send me to another place and time – just for a while.
Reading is making a come-back in 2020. Books are once again ‘du-jour’, and a once diminishing industry is having a moment in the sun. There are lots of ways to read. Books can be expensive to buy new, and while I love nothing more than to read a great book and pay it forward, there’s now plenty of ways to get your reading fix without a leaving dent in the budget. Here are some easy ways to read:
- E-books – Try Kindle, iBooks or Audible – buy or subscribe;
- The local library – become a member and off you go;
- Book exchanges are popping up in lots of local communities. If there’s not one in your local area, why not start your own;
- Rope in some friends and create a book-swap, book club;
- Buy from your favourite retailer or charity store;
- Pay it forward. Buy a book, read it and give it away.
I’ve put together a list of books to inspire, educate and escape with as well roll into Spring. I’d love you to take part, so reach out and let me know what you’re reading.
Spring reading Challenge
Finding Eadie – Caroline Beecham
Inspired by real events during World War two, Finding Eadie is a story of friendship, secrets and the belief that books have the power to change your life. Alice Cotton loves her job at Partridge Press. Still, finding herself pregnant and unmarried, she’s forced to have her baby in secret. Without the support of her family, and her mother’s choice to take shocking action, what will become of Eadie, Alice’s ‘lost’ daughter.
Caroline transports us back to 1943 with the eloquent stroke of her pen. You’ll be lost in the imagery, and drawn into the struggles facing war-torn London. While Alice’s situation was a common one, her story, at times heartbreaking, is definitely worth the read. You’ll love being part of Alice’s life for a time and getting lost in this beautifully written book.
The Sister’s Gift – Barbara Hannay
Award-winning, bestselling author Barbara Hannay takes us on a journey to Magnetic Island Queensland. Protagonist Freya, a surrogate for her sister Pearl, now finds herself divorced, childless and homeless, with no choice but to return to her family home on the island. Freya’s niece, Billie, offers her a job and a place to live. However, Billie struggles to understand why there’s so much tension between her mother and aunt.
With more than 50 books under her belt, Barbara examines the delicate story of surrogacy, and the consequences of choices made. A veteran storyteller, this is Barbara at her best. You’ll empathise, sympathise and trust in the power of family and love.
Confessions of a forty-something – Alexandra Potter
Nell had the dream life in California – and then it all went bust. Her business failed, her engagement ended, and she had no choice but to return to London, her home town to start over. Nell, looking forward to getting back to friends and family, has high-hopes for her ‘new, old life’; these are quickly dashed. All her friends are married, her family are disappointed in her, and sky-high rents see her room with a stranger. As it all unravels, she sees herself as nothing more than a forty-something f*ck-up.
I loved this book! It’s funny, and fun to read. You’ll love Nell and her not-so-perfect, definitely not Insta-worthy life. If you’re pushing forty or older, you’ll absolutely relate to some of her day-to-day struggles. This one is a MUST read.
The Safe Place – Anna Downes
Affirm Press $16.00
No phones. No outsiders. No escape.
When life isn’t working out for struggling actress Emily Proudman, she takes a job working for a wealthy family and travels with them to France. Emily is living the dream until it all begins to unravel. It quickly becomes apparent, that unless Emily finds a way, none of them will ever escape ‘paradise’.
A page-turner to the end, it’s a quick and entertaining read that will keep you wanting more.
The Banksia Bay Beach Shack – Sandie Docker
A year is a long time in the memory of a small town. Stories get twisted, truths become warped, and history is rewritten.
After finding an old, inscribed photo of her grandmother, Lillian is inspired to find out precisely what the inscription means. She heads to Banksia Bay, the seaside town that holds the secrets of her grandmother’s past. It’s soon clear that everyone in this sleepy town is hiding something. Virginia, owner of the local café, must decide if her secret history, kept buried for sixty years, is now worth sharing. This is the story of a lie. Told to set someone free, but that changed the course of so many lives.
The Farm at Peppertree Crossing – Leonie Kelsall
An unexpected inheritance, traumatic past and a family whose secrets are kept by the town, that’s life at Peppertree Crossing.
Roni has spent her life in foster care. Now pregnant and facing a bleak future, an unknown aunt bequests her an 800-acre property on the edge of the wheat fields of South Australia. With no options in Sydney, Roni decides to find out what this inheritance is all about and heads south. Here she soon discovers that her Aunt has set a series of tasks she must complete before she can claim the inheritence. A journey of family, friendship and learning to trust, Roni must learn what Marian considers the most important life lesson; that everyone deserves love.
The Cedar Tree – Nicole Alexander
Random House $13.99
There’s nothing like a great ending, and this book certainly delivers. The Cedar Tree, spanning two centuries, takes us on a journey of love, faith, destiny and betrayal where decisions made in the past have devasting consequences through the generations.
The Bush Telegraph – Fiona McArthur
Written by renowned midwife, Fiona McArthur, The Bush Telegraph is a modern romance set against the backdrop of the Australia outback. Maddy Locke, determined to silence her demons, returns to the bush town that caused her so much pain; it’s also the birthplace of her precious daughter.
With a spotlight on the difficulties of living in the often-forgotten bush, the story explores community, friendship, love and overcoming the challenges that life often throws at us. It’s a light and enjoyable read.
Miss Benson’s Beetle – Rachel Joyce
This book is a must-read! Simple but beautiful, capturing the hope and the belief that humanity is essentially filled with goodness, I loved every page!
Set in 1950, Margery Benson quits her job and, with her newly appointed assistant Enid, sets off on an expedition to find a beetle that may or may not exist. Together this unlikely duo will risk it all, only to discover their adventure leads to the discovery of their best selves. This is the story of female friendship and the perfect escape novel.
Chillpreneur – Denise Duffield-Thomas
Hay House $17.25
In the pages of Chillpreneur, Denise, a money and mindset coach, challenges the reader to ‘get over perfectionism and embrace the flow of the Chillpreneur’. So, what’s being a Chillpreneur all about? It’s simply finding a new way of doing business, one that works for you, your bank account, the planet, and one that follows the path of least resistance.
If you’re in business and looking for a better way of doing what you do, one that will fill your soul without sending you insane, then grab this book. Denise offers practical tips, reassuring advice, and money and marketing tips that might just change your business for the better.
Keeping House – Emma Blomfield
Hardie Grant $29.99
Quite simply, this book is all about creating the life you want in the space you have, no matter where that may be.
If you’ve always wanted to create a space that feels authentically your own, but feel stuck because you’re renting, can’t afford it or just don’t know where to start then Keeping House is for you. The book is beautifully illustrated with practical decorating advice and entertaining tips on every page. Emma Blomfield, sought after Sydney interior stylist, walks you through each room of the house, sharing her wealth of experience on every page. She also includes some pretty delicious cocktail recipes to boot.
If you want to make your house a home, then grab a copy and get started.
Budgets Don’t Work (But This Does) – Melissa Browne
I’m a huge fan of Mel Browne and her practical, down to earth approach to all things finance. Accountant, financial planner and entrepreneur, Mel’s been on a mission for years to help us get our finances in check. In her latest book, Mel’s thrown the one-size-fits-all finance model out the window. Instead, creating a guide for the reader to discover their Money Story and Money Type. Mel shares the tricks and money habits that will work for you, whatever money type you are.
So, if you’ve ever tried to budget and found it just doesn’t work, or if you really want to get your future financial self-sorted, then this book is a must-read!
Make it Happen – Jordanna Levin
Murdoch Books $22.00
Through her personal experience and insights, Jordana Levin shares the power of manifestation and how to embrace it in your own life, every second of every day. Jordana discusses the theory behind the manifestation equation – there’s a good chance you’ve been missing one vital manifestation step. Plus, she also sets out how to manifest in every area of your life – love, money, career and self-worth.
This book is about creating a manifestation mindset and then letting the universe do its thing.
How to Blog for Profit – Ruth Soukup
Life Well Lived Publications $16.45 (on Audible)
First published in 2013, Ruth Soukup has updated her best-selling book for 2020. With so many people now online, there’s never been a better time to start a blog. Ruth not only sets out just how to do this but goes on to share how to turn your blogging hobby into a thriving business.
Home is where you MAKE IT – Geneva Vanderzeil
Murdoch Books $22.00
Internet sensation, and Collective Gen founder, Geneva Vanderzeil, shares her DIY and style tips for creating the home you’ll love where ever you live. With lots of beautiful projects and images of the author’s own home, you’re bound to find inspiration in the pages.
Want more inspiration, then check out our other reviews here.