One by Sarah Crossan

Have you ever read a book that changes you…that has just stopped you dead in your tracks and made you look at the world in a different light…if you have, you will understand when I say this book has had that effect on me.

I was already a big fan of Sarah Crossan (@SarahCrossan) , I discovered her earlier this year when I read ‘Apple and Rain’ (absolutely awesome..get a copy..quick sticks). I knew she had a new book coming out later this year but I didn’t want to wait….I was the crazy impatient fan who wanted a copy in my hands pronto! I am very grateful to the lovely Sonia from Bloomsbury Publishing for sending me a review copy of this absolute gem. (thank you!)

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Tippi and Grace are conjoined twins…soul mates. They have done everything together…when they turn their heads, they know the other will be right there beside them. Are there times when they get on each others nerves? Yes. Are there times when they just want to be alone. Yes. But would they rather be apart….?

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This amazing novel, written in verse, takes us inside the heads of these two twins and the daily struggles they face. Their parents can no longer afford home schooling, so they are sent out into the world to a mainstream highschool. A world of cruel comments, stares, friendship , boys, drinking and the general angst of being a teenager. What happens when the deterioration of their health makes them face a life changing decision?

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Sarah has researched in depth conjoined twins , their lives and their struggles. Before reading this book I had very minimal knowledge about this rare phenomenon and it pushed me to do some research of my own. I was amazed and inspired to learn that many live happy enriched lives…. marrying and having children.

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Thank you Sarah for this book, such a gift, and opened my eyes up to something I had so little knowledge of and understanding. This is a book that will stick with you…trust me…you need to read this one 🙂

5/5 marmalade sandwiches

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Today’s brew : ‘Get stuff done’ blend from SUMT

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Wannabe farmers….apply here

Title: Dirty Chick, Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer

Author: Antonia Murphy

Publisher: Text Publishing

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Ok..confession time…I am a farmer wannabe…..when I say ‘wannabe’ I mean, I swoon and coo when I see a goat..cow…chicken….llama…pig….sheep…you name it, I will probably want one.

Now if you haven’t heard of Antonia Murphy (I shamefully had not…I know right..have I been living under a rock?!!) she is a very cool chick (@AntoniaMurphyNZ). Not only is she an author…a farmer, and adventurer she also has written about many of her sailing experiences which have appeared in many sailing magazines. (Many strings to her bow this one)

When I spotted this title ‘Dirty Chick’ Adeventures of an Unlikely Farmer…I thought to myself..this is me! This is the guide book I have been searching for..I need to cyber stalk this woman so I can pick her brains! However….did this give me a reality check! I was quicky thrown out of the ‘romantic’ bubble of farm life, which I envisioned, fresh farm eggs, milk, cheese on the table and a cute assortment of farm animals frolicking happily around the paddocks. (insert rainbows and lollipops here)

“By now I’d learned that country life is not a pastoral painting. Sure, at various times during the year you might see fluffy white lambs prancing in the tall grass, but those moments are rare. Real country life, it turns out, involves blood, shit and worms.”

The reader is taken on a funny, horrifying and entertaining journey with Murphy, which I promise will make you laugh out loud. From a sailor to a rookie farmer she shows us how not to start up a farm in picturesque NZ , with all the trials and tribulations. .The reader will also discover many fun facts from Murphy… the self confessed lamb addict (yes I am one of these too…)

“That’s how that lamb seduced me. It was cute like a baby, but unlike my own children, it didn’t whine or annoy me….I felt sorry for people who didn’t have lambs, because their lives seemed so grey and predictable. Unlike me, they didn’t live in hyper-elevated lamb reality, full of cute things and sparkles.”

Some of these fun facts include an education on a Duck’s penis (I will never look at a Duck the same again), vampire worms, chicken physiotherapy … alpaca noses and a very good example of how not to transport calves.

There are some serious elements as we learn of a death of a friend and the challenges faced with their young son Silas. Readers are able to experience how Murphy and her husband use their lifestyle to help foster his growth. Despite all the very turbulent and graphically described adventures (good and bad), there is still a charm to this lifestyle, which Murphy has no plans on ditching.

Murphy’s ability to find a humourous slant to almost any situation makes this a gem of a read. Wannabe farmer or not.

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4/5 Marmalade sandwiches

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Today’s brew

Organic Unicorn Blood from West End Tea Co.