Nov 30, 2015

Australia Days Etsy Spotlight & Giveaway: Suze Loves Essence In Life!

I love Essence In Life. The swarovski crystals and gemstone jewelry is absolutely stunning.

The pieces are versatile and the bead work is amazing.

I love the quality of the materials.

Every item in this shop is vibrant and well made.

I can't stop looking at the combination of stones, crystals, beads and colors. Vivien, the owner of this shop, knows exactly what to choose.

She photographs her jewelry from different angles which makes it easy to see what you're buying.

Some of the items have matching colors and can be bought in a set as well as separately. Such a great option.

I love how much choice the customers have.

Vivien strives to translate the essence of life through her jewelry and I think she's doing a great job with that. Her jewelry has so much character and spirit.

Everything comes in a lovely organza pouch.

Vivien spends a lot of time getting every detail completely right. I like that a lot.

Check out these beautiful designs.

You will love this fantastic Etsy store.

Enjoy browsing...

And have fun shopping!

One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a gorgeous prize:

This really pretty ivory freshwater pearl necklace with moonstones and white shells will be for the winner of the giveaway. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

Australia Weeks Guest Post: Heart of my Heart Thoughts of Australia by Maggie Bolitho! + Giveaway

Kennett River Victoria

Heart of my heart, thoughts of Australia

Last year at this time my husband and I were planning a trip back to Australia. We allowed five months. Two months allowed us to catch up with friends and family. Three months let us explore the parts of the country we’d never seen.

Ceduna SA

Our route took us from east to west, south to north, and then across the Outback to Sydney for the flight home. Because we were travelling in autumn-winter in the Southern Hemisphere, we needed warm layers for the high country (the Snowy Mountains). Rainproof jackets for Melbourne and Adelaide. By the time we drove out of Perth, headed for the top end, we were down to shorts and sandals. Once in the red centre, broad brimmed hats and lightweight clothing were essential.

Before we’d even landed, I reverted to the Australian idiom: high country, top end, red centre. The words were as natural to me as if I’d known them my entire life, not just the twenty years I lived Down Under. When we stepped out of the Sydney International Airport, into that blinding Australian sunshine, my bones shifted. I was home.

Dargo High Plains Victoria

We navigated the new labyrinth of city roads, and headed to the Northern Beaches without taking a single wrong turn. Within days, more of the local words seeped into my vocabulary again: toasties, sunnies, cozzies, tradies, grommets, spruikers, utes. The five months passed in the blink of an eye. As I look at our photos, I realise how inadequate words are to describe Australia. It has postcard beauty: stunning beaches and coastlines, lush tropical forests, and flora and fauna stranger than fiction. Urbanites can enjoy the vibrant cities that reverberate with culture, fashion and fine dining. Ocean lovers can sail, swim, and surf the fabulous seas. 

Head of Bight SA

Broome sunset WA

Cape Schanck Lighthouse Victoria

Beneath all this is a wilful lavish land, a phrase coined by Dorothea Mackellar in her poem My Country. During our first week back, a major storm hit Sydney. We were in a small RV in the Blue Mountains and had to bail to a motel for three nights. The ensuing floods killed four people and left whole communities cut off without power and water for days. In every state, we drove through vast areas burnt to the ground by bushfires. Outback highways were littered with hundreds of corpses of kangaroos and cattle.

Tunnel Creek WA

Prison Tree - a boab- outside Derby WA

Freshwater crocodiles at Windjana Gorge WA

Admirals Arch Kangaroo Island SA

We returned our RV in Sydney, twenty-five thousand kilometres later. Then we made a last round of good-byes to dear friends and old haunts. Now that I’m back home on my small island in the Pacific Northwest, I relive the trip every day. The rich experience is mine for a lifetime. If you’ve been there, you’ll understand. If you haven’t, I hope you will get there some day.

About Maggie Bolitho

A free range child, I grew up on an island in Canada’s Pacific Northwest. I spent my formative years flying under the radar, building alternative universes, and longing to be somewhere far, far away.

Shortly after my 17th birthday I set out to see the world, or at least large parts of Canada. I lived in four of Canada’s major cities before eventually moving to Australia where I married the love of my life.

While living Down Under, I explored the Outback and started writing fiction. Some of my adult short stories have been included in different anthologies in Australia, the US, and Canada. My poetry has been published in Quills Canadian Poetry magazine. 

In 2007 my husband and I returned to Canada. We settled in a leafy suburb on the island where I grew up. We divide our time between Victoria and Salt Spring Island where we enjoy forest hikes and walks along rocky beaches. We no longer wish to be anywhere else, except when memories of Australia's golden shores and beautiful bushland rise in our hearts.

November 2015 my adult novel, Outback Promise, will be released by HarperCollins Australia.

In 2014 my debut novel, Lockdown, was released by Great Plains Teen Fiction.

Amazon USA Amazon UK Amazon Au


One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a kindle copy of the beautiful Outback Promse by Maggie Bolitho. If the winner is from the UK or Canada an Amazon gift card will be sent instead. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

Australia Days Book Review & Giveaway: Outback Promise by Maggie Bolitho

Amazon USA Amazon UK Amazon Au

Review by Suze

Ros and Grady lost their young son Cadel. They've been mourning for six years and life is tough without him. A hit-and-run driver took Cadel's life and Ros and Grady have been heartbroken ever since. Now their marriage is under pressure. Grady has done something that hurt Ros very much and she doesn't know if she can forgive him. When he suggests a three-month camping trip she agrees. Ros wants to see if wounds can be healed. 

Ros and Grady are traveling through the Outback together while they're used to life in the city. On their journey they meet new people, they make friends and enemies and they find themselves in fantastic and horrible situations. Will this bring them closer together or drive them further apart and are Ros and Grady ready to face their problems?

Outback Promise is a beautiful and moving story about two people who have lost the most precious person in their lives. They're lost after the accident. Maggie Bolitho describes their situation with such sensitivity that I had to cry while reading some of the scenes. My hearth ached for Ros and Grady. She deals with this topic in such a gentle and understanding way while the story is raw and honest at the same time. I liked the contrast and think it worked very well. Even though the main characters have been through a lot the story is never too heavy. There's also hope and plenty of beauty.

The camping trip through mostly wilderness and remote areas was very thoroughly described. I could picture the stunning surroundings and the people Ros and Grady meet on their journey so well. I could almost taste the food and feel the joy, anger and fear. For me that was the best part of the book. Maggie Bolitho knows how to make her stories come to life. I think Outback Promise is amazing. It's a unique story with a difficult topic which is captivating, gripping, emotional, honest and absolutely brilliant.


One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a kindle copy of Outback Promise. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

December New Release Giveaway Hop Sign Ups

You can sign up now for the December New Release Giveaway Hop! This hop will be hosted by me and Shannon from It Starts at Midnight.

Sign up because it's fun to host a giveaway together with other bloggers. You can attract new followers and readers by signing up. This hop is very active and there are plenty of readers who absolutely love it. Hops generate a lot of extra traffic and the people who like your blog will keep following it which means you can increase your audience.


This giveaway hop is especially for books that will be released in December 2015.

  1. The prize has to be a book that has been published in December 2015, both ebooks and paperbacks are allowed.
  2. You can also give away additional items like bookmarks, gift cards, etc. as an extra prize.
  3. Don't use too many entries. I won't be really strict, but keep it easy for people to enter.
  4. Please be clear if you will be sending worldwide or not. Put it in the linky, so people will know. As you can send books via the Bookdepository for free, it would be great if you could send worldwide.
  5. Add the linky to your blog post ( I will send all the necessary information to you by email a few days before the start of the hop ).
  6. Please keep this hop family friendly. 
7. Have fun as that's the best part of hops! 

Australia Days: Australian Organics Hand Cream, Shower Gel & Body Lotion Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win Australian Organics hand cream, shower and bath gel and body lotion. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

Nov 29, 2015

Australia Days Book Review: The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin


As warming as hot chocolate, visit Paris this winter and watch the snow fall

Le Vie En Rose

Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with her new Parisian friend for 6 months! And saying yes is a no-brainer – after all, what kind of a romantic would turn down a trip to Paris…for Christmas?

Even if it does mean leaving the irresistible Ridge Warner behind, Sarah’s sure she’s in for the holiday of a lifetime – complete with all the books she can read!

Imagining days surrounded by books, munching on croissants, sipping café au laits and watching the snow fall on the Champs-Élysées Sarah boards the plane.

But will her dream of a Parisian Happily-Ever-After come true? Or will Sarah realise that the dream of a Christmas fairytale in the city of love isn’t quite as rosy in reality…

Amazon USA Amazon UK Amazon Au

Review by Tanya

  I have been eagerly awaiting this since I heard about the plot and again this is a great feel good book from Rebecca with a serious side. Some of the characters follow on from the Gingerbread series but this book could be read as a standalone and it's perfect for this time of year although it could be read anytime. 

I loved the magical element of Paris and the romance that comes through. The research into the area certainly comes across (although I cannot confirm this as I have never been there). It has definitely made me want to visit there and I think that Christmas and the markets would be an ideal time. I was intrigued by the introduction needed to some shops and the mysterious things that may be found in the back.

The characters were wonderful and oh so different they each added a special part to the book and in the development of Sarah. I happily observed the changes in the characters through the interactions and how they opened up to each other. The style of Oceane and her willingness to help Sarah see her style potential was great (I just wish I could meet an Oceane). Her background story was interesting and I would love to know more about her family. TJ was such a loveable character and you could not help warming to him. I imagine he would be a great friend always knowing when to help.

The friendships that developed all helped the advancement of the bookshop which at first I was not in love with as there seemed no warmth however this grew on me over the time and I would like to investigate the shop and all the rooms. I can imagine spending many hours walking around and toughing the books.

Well done Rebecca on a great first book in the series and I look forward to reading the next.

Australia Days Etsy Spotlight & Giveaway: Suze Loves Matoirs!

I love Matoirs. It's such an amazing leather shop.

I love the quality of the work and the beautiful designs.

What's great about this shop is that there's something for everyone and for every budget.

Everything is so well made and the quality of the work is great.

I love that the pieces in this shop are timeless and unique. Plus they will last for years.

I've asked Melanie, the owner of Matoirs, a few questions to find out more about her and her work:

Where did you learn your craft?

I come from a few generations of leather smiths. I’ve been in touch with leather since I was a child as my dad is a traditional book binder and i have spent many years in his workshop helping with the family business of bookbinding.
As for the leather crafting itself, it is a real mixture of what I’ve learnt from my dad, from my studies," when it comes to the pattern making and sewing", and some self taught leather crafting techniques that I have acquired through research from books and over the internet.

How did your Etsy adventure start?

I spent a lot of time searching for platforms and market places for artists and crafters to sell their wares online. Etsy was the best one I found and it ticked all the boxes for me. This is where Matoirs truly started and I’ve been a happy Etsian since.

How would you describe your style?

Matoirs is Classic and Vintage.

What inspires you?

When it comes to the traditional leather crafting i am inspired by the rustic, the vintage and the classic but i do occasionally incorporate some colourful paintings to my leather which is inspired mainly by the fauna and flora of Australia. This country is so fertile and rich in it's unique natural beauty.

What's your signature piece?

I believe it would be one my bohemian bags. The Maeva Handbag.

What are your plans for the future?

I am hoping to expand my range of products and range of colours. I would also like to offer a broader range of personalisation and tailored products for each customer's need.

Melanie's designs are simply stunning.

Check out the beautiful patterns and the fantastic designs.

You will love this Etsy store.

Enjoy browsing...

And have fun shopping!

Also, visit Melanie's website to find out more about her work and local events.

Don't forget to browse the amazing gallery.

And read the raving customer reviews.

One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a fantastic prize:

This beautiful leather journal or notebook cover (you can keep refilling this) will be for the winner of the giveaway. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.
Be an e-tailPR blogger