Told from the first person perspectives of Mel and Matt, Love at First Flight is an unconventional love story which explores the motives for an illici Told from the first person perspectives of Mel and Matt, Love at First Flight is an unconventional love story which explores the motives for an illicit affair, and the damage left in its wake.
When Mel meets Matt during an interstate flight they recognise each other as soul mates. The problem is Mel is a married mother of two who lives in Perth, and Matt, who lives in Melbourne, is engaged to be married. Despite saying goodbye at the airport, they are both unable to forget their brief time together, and embark on a passionate affair that threatens to destroy them both.
Relationships are complicated things and Woods intelligently and compassionately explores the evolution of Matt and Mel's affair from their first meeting, through their consuming affair, and to the messy, bitter end. It's an emotional journey that draws the reader in with complex characterisation and a compelling narrative.
I was surprised to find I could relate to Mel in some ways, I found it difficult to blame her for reveling in the attention Matt gave her during the flight, but she definitely crossed the line for me when she chose to meet with him later. Her spiral into obsession was unsettling but I believed in it, as I did in her growing self awareness.
I particularly admired the way Mel eventually took responsibility for her failings with her husband. Mel's shame and guilt, and Adam's hurt and anger, in the aftermath is visceral. I've witnessed a similar situation among friends and feel that Woods portrayal of their struggle towards forgiveness and redemption is very well drawn.
Woods convinced me of the overwhelming chemistry between Mel and Matt, no mean feat considering I'm not sure I really believe in the idea of love at first sight. I wasn't a fan of Matt, despite his sympathetic background he struck me as a weak man, but I thought he was a well rounded character.
Love at First Flight is a surprisingly thought provoking story about love, marriage, intimacy and honesty. An impressive debut from a new Australian author.
Turtle Reef is Jennifer Scoullar's fifth novel, and her fourth engaging contemporary regional romance.
City girl Zoe King is thrilled when she lands he Turtle Reef is Jennifer Scoullar's fifth novel, and her fourth engaging contemporary regional romance.
City girl Zoe King is thrilled when she lands her dream job at a marine park and research center in Kiawa, a small town in northern Queensland, looking forward to working with the Reef Center's impressively credentialed director, Bridget Macalister. Though the job proves more demanding than she expected, Zoe quickly learns to embrace its challenges, impressed by Bridget's dedication to the center and delighted by the aquarium's residents, including their six rescue dolphins. Its the findings from Zoe's first research project, monitoring the local dugong population and mapping seagrass meadows, that alerts her to a problem not only with the reef, but also the operation of the marine center.
Conservation management and environmental protection is a major theme of this novel. Set in a small sugar cane community on the Queensland coast, Scoullar writes of the risks outdated cane farming practices poses to the coastal environment, the general threats to our fragile marine ecosystem as well as the desirability of rehabilitating wild creatures for return to their natural environment.
The intrigue in the novel is a touch slow to develop but I enjoyed the measured unraveling of secrets. The suspense is fairly low key for most of the novel but the danger Zoe faces when she comes too close to working out exactly what is going on came as a surprise, raising the tension considerably.
There is an unconventional romance for Zoe in Turtle Reef. Quinn Cooper is a fifth generation local cane farmer and a caring guardian of his brain injured younger brother, Josh. Zoe is attracted to his good looks and down to earth charm from their first meeting, but as Bridget's long term boyfriend, Quinn is strictly off limits. I have to be honest, I found the relationship a little odd, though the chemistry is there, the circumstances are awkward.
The Reef Center is home to a half dozen rescue dolphins, given delightful personalities by Scoullar. I was charmed by Josh's interactions with them and saddened by the way in which they were betrayed. I was surprised to learn how intelligent octopuses can be, and fell in love with Einstein.
Scoullar's descriptions of the beauty of the reef and the ocean are highlights of the novel. "All around them lay a tapestry....Brightly coloured parrot fish abounded and were utterly fearless. Zoe could hear the soft chomping of their beaks as the grazed on the branching coral gardens. Blue-spotted lagoon rays scooted past,... and a shovelnose shark, with its strange triangular snout."
Turtle Reef is a lovely novel from a storyteller whose fiction evokes the romance of the Australian landscape, and the heart.
A lighthearted chick lit novel, Yes, Chef! is Lisa Joy's debut, inspired by her real-life adventures as a PA to a celebrity chef.
Becca Stone works in A lighthearted chick lit novel, Yes, Chef! is Lisa Joy's debut, inspired by her real-life adventures as a PA to a celebrity chef.
Becca Stone works in a small call centre fielding table bookings for a celebrity chef's string of popular restaurants in London. She adores her colleagues, with whom she daily raids the chocolate store downstairs and celebrates 'Sexual Harrassment Thursdays', but the work is boring and the pay is lousy. Nearing thirty and single Becca knows she needs to make a change, so when she is chosen to fill in for Daniel Malone's vacationing PA she is determined to prove herself to the celebrity chef.
It took me a little while to warm up to Becca, I thought her to be whiny and self centered to begin with. Eventually she proves she isn't quite as shallow as she seems, she is smart and feisty just lacking in self awareness. Her love life is also a disaster, she is attracted to men for superficial reasons and ignores genuine interest in favour of men who do something for her ego.
Malone, who reminds me of Gordon Ramsey, is an egotistical boss who demands Becca fulfils his every whim, from sourcing dozens of unique plates from a Turkish bazaar at short notice to lying to his high-strung wife regarding his whereabouts and it's not long before Becca's dream job becomes a nightmare. She lets some of Malone's attitude slide but eventually his sleazy, self-aggrandizing behaviour goes too far and she has to decide if the career she wants is worth the compromises she has to make.
The story is formulaic, not really offering any surprises, but an easy read. The writing isn't quite as strong as it could be, uneven in places with weak transitions. Personally, I favoured the scenes Becca shared with her friends and colleagues from the call center. They are warm, funny and authentic and their banter is entertaining. The romance is fairly low key but I was happy enough with the way it resolved.
Yes, Chef! is a quick, light read about love, food and finding your path in life....more
Cranky Ladies of History is an anthology conceived and developed by Tehani Wessley of Fablecroft Publishing and author, Tansy Rayner Roberts. Crowdfun Cranky Ladies of History is an anthology conceived and developed by Tehani Wessley of Fablecroft Publishing and author, Tansy Rayner Roberts. Crowdfunded through Pozible during Womens History Month in 2014, the concept attracted many supporters eager to be a part of project.
Twenty two authors have contributed to Cranky Ladies of History, including award winner's Thoraiya Dyer, Juliet Marillier, Jane Yolen and Garth Nix.
Each short story in Cranky Ladies of History features a real female historical figure. I'm not familiar enough with history to separate fact from fiction in these pieces but these strong, often fierce women are those who challenged society's rules and ideas about how women should behave, though not always in heroic or noble ways. While Garth Nix honours Lady Godiva in 'The Company of Women', 'Look How Cold My Hands Are' by Deborah Biancotti features Countess Bathory, an insane serial killer.
The women featured include an Ancient Egyptian ruler ('Neter Nefer' by Amanda Pillar), a Chinese Empress ('Charmed Life' by Joyce Chng), a British women's rights campaigner ("Mary, Mary" by Kirstyn McDermott) and an Australia doctor ('Due Care And Attention' by Sylvia Kelso. Some of the protagonists represent well known figures such as Queen Elizabeth 1 ('Glorious' by Faith Mudge) while others feature woman whose lives have all but been forgotten, such as the Icelandic Viking warrior, Hallgerðr Höskuldsdóttir ('For So Great A Misdeed' by Lisa L. Hannett)
An entertaining and interesting anthology, Cranky Ladies of History is an important collection of fiction that gives voice to an extraordinary selection of women from a broad range of backgrounds, era's and cultures. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. ...more
She's Having Her Baby is a funny and bittersweet debut chick lit novel from Lauren Sams.
"This is it. She's going to ask me to be her surrogate. No, sh She's Having Her Baby is a funny and bittersweet debut chick lit novel from Lauren Sams.
"This is it. She's going to ask me to be her surrogate. No, she won't. Surely she won't. That only happens in Katherine Heigl movies, Jesus f** Christ, what if she asks? What am I going to say? There's only one answer, right? Jesus f**"
Thirty something magazine editor, Georgie Henderson, has never wanted kids but her best friend, Nina Doherty, wants nothing more than to be a mother and when her latest IVF attempt fails, she asks Georgie for the ultimate favour. Reluctantly Georgie agrees to become Nina's surrogate, willing to help Nina's dream come true, but Georgie is wholly unprepared for what comes next...
Life doesn't always go to plan and in She's Having Her Baby the plot doesn't quite develop as the reader may expect. Sharply observed, the author explores the themes of infertility, surrogacy, motherhood and friendship in a manner that is funny, poignant and compassionate.
I found Georgie to be an interesting character, she definitely has her flaws, being somewhat inflexible and self absorbed, but she is amusing, feisty and loyal in her own way. I admired Georgia for deciding to help Nina, though I think choosing not to have children for whatever reason is a perfectly valid decision, and though Georgia doesn't cope particularly well when things don't work out as expected, including with her relationship and career, she eventually pulls it together.
I've witnessed the toll infertility can take on the soul, and relationships, and I really felt for Nina, her desperation is authentic and moving. I laughed out loud at the passages describing the parenting styles of Ellie and the mothers at the playground. Those type of 'helicopter', holier than thou parents drove me crazy when my children were babies so I agreed . It's not like I let mine play with knives or fed them a steady diet of McDonalds but they watched ABC Kids, ate jarred baby foods and wore disposable nappies, and let me assure you they are all bright, healthy and happy children.
The writing is of a good standard, the dialogue is natural, and humour is used to good effect, without undermining the more serious issues. The pacing works well with some surprises in the plot and a conclusion that is satisfying but not too neat.
I enjoyed She's Having Her Baby, I found it to be both an entertaining and touching novel tackling issues relevant to the modern woman. Lauren Sams is a debut author with promise. ...more