I picked this to read because it looked fun but I ended up struggling with it quite a lot. If I never have to hear the term “lady-boner” again in my lI picked this to read because it looked fun but I ended up struggling with it quite a lot. If I never have to hear the term “lady-boner” again in my life, I will be happy. Obviously the author heard it somewhere and thought it was hilarious – and maybe it is, dropped once or twice.
Melody Ashford loves sex and has quite a lot of it – good for her. Most of the sex she’s having is with her married boss, not so cool. In an attempt to get over that she picks up random strangers in bars, including the one with the referred to Micropenis. Melody’s friends seem a bit bored with her sex life and they challenge her to take it slow, to give up sex for a while and just enjoy the foreplay, the build up. In other words, stop gorging yourself on McDonalds and maybe go out for a nice steak.
Melody’s friend dumps her brother on Melody while her apartment is being fumigated without even asking her, giving her brother a key to Melody’s one bedroom apartment and when Melody comes home, it’s to be greeted by a naked Jared. I think this scene is supposed to be funny but it kind of just struck me as all types of wrong. You’re a guest in her apartment….and neither you nor your sister had the decency to actually ask her properly before just moving in. Rude. And then you wander around the place naked, which is not exactly how it’s polite to behave in someone else’s home. But it’s billed as okay, because Jared is hot. Like, super hot. Really, really hot. TOTALLY HOT. I get it, but I still don’t think it makes much of a difference. It was weird. And a bit creepy.
For a sex freak, Melody reverts to a shrieking Victorian virgin when confronted with naked Jared and there’s a clumsy attempt to make her reluctant to hook up with him because she might possibly like him. The thing is Melody and Jared bicker like thirteen year olds and it’s really annoying. Also, Jared continually references how much Melody secretly wants him which is pretty much the least attractive thing that anyone can do, ever.
Whilst I thought the idea of slowing down, enjoying the build up and holding off on the actual sex was fun, it was so overblown in practice that it just makes me laugh. Melody says she won’t have sex until her birthday which is about two weeks away but you’d swear it was about two decades the way she carried on. She complained like it was air or water that she was being forced to go without and the constant whining about how horny she was and her lady-boner just got on my nerves. It really took away from any chemistry that might have been established because it was all about the desperation to have sex and how agonising it was to wait this looooooong period of time, not to just enjoy the journey there....more
Aussie rural romance author Cathryn Hein steps into the self-publishing arena with this sweet little romantic novella set in a world with some familiaAussie rural romance author Cathryn Hein steps into the self-publishing arena with this sweet little romantic novella set in a world with some familiar faces for regular readers of her books.
The characters in this novel are so fun and it was awesome watching them evolve, even though the story is quite brief. Harry Argyle is less than impressed when he finds a horse on the road late at night and he doesn’t waste much time letting the horse’s pretty owner have it. Despite this early introduction into Harry’s temper, he’s really quite a softie and almost immediately regrets his outburst and wants to make it up to Summer, the horse’s owner. Before he can however, he finds himself at Summer’s mercy when the men of the wedding party Harry is participating in are booked in at the local spa and Summer is one of the beauticians.
Even though I kind of suspected what might happen to poor Harry in this scene but it was still so hilarious to read and it played out really well. The scene is kept light and funny with just a touch of the humiliation for poor Harry but it also helps them find new ground and begin to move forward from their previous encounter on the road at night. What follows is a very sweet, awkward and realistic courtship in a way. That’s quite an old-fashioned word to use for a contemporary romance but it fits. Harry is lovely, definitely a typical Hein hero, very much a country boy with a very gentle nature who gets embarrassed quite easily!
Summer Taylor is new in town and just wants a safe option for her beloved horse when she’s at work. I thought the story of the man who owned the property Summer agisted her horse on was very well woven into the story and he became a character you really came to care for the more you read about him. Summer had her reasons for wanting to look after him, perhaps going that extra mile when a lot of the other locals had dropped off, however some come to rally around to help when he really needs it and it became an integral part of the story that helped bring Summer and Harry closer together as well as showcase more of the small community.
I really enjoyed this cute and fun little romance with a very professional polish. Summer and Harry are amazingly sweet and very easy to relate to and it was nice to see those few familiar faces and get to be a part of something special with characters from a previous story....more
I must’ve started a dozen books lately and abandoned them – not because they weren’t good, but they simply weren’t what I was looking for. I didn’t evI must’ve started a dozen books lately and abandoned them – not because they weren’t good, but they simply weren’t what I was looking for. I didn’t even really know what I was looking for until I remembered that I had nabbed this from NetGalley and it was probably time that I read it. Lily Malone writes fabulous contemporary romance set in Australia and from the moment I started this, I couldn’t put it down.
Seth and Remy come from very different worlds but there’s a definite likable chemistry between them from the very beginning. Remy is lots of fun but she desperately needs her job and she’s very serious about it as well. She’s attracted to Seth but she’s also cautious and wary, because she knows what will happen if anything goes wrong. He’s on the board and he’s one of the owners, he’s going to be fine. It’ll be Remy that will be out of work and in big trouble. Things were barely off the ground between Remy and Seth when they went horribly wrong, sabotaged in a neat two pronged attack that left both Remy and Seth with confused and troubled feelings about the other. Remy leaves, rebuilding a new life for herself in South Australia, a life that is threatened when Seth and his company turn up in the local area, making sure that Remy and her fledgling property is dependent on them.
I loved Remy and Seth. They were fun together, I enjoyed their banter and Seth was far more down to earth than I expected him to be. At heart they had a lot of similar interests and played off each other very well. What I really liked though, was the way that things played out in South Australia when they ran into each other again. Seth is under several misconceptions about Remy, fed to him after she left but he listens to her side of the story and believes her and better than that, he uses what he knows of Remy and what he sees, to judge for himself what really happened back when Remy was working for him. This was a refreshing change from having things drag out and allowed the story to move on at a good pace and give the two of them time to reconnect, get to know each other all over again. Even though Seth is in a difficult place having bought out the winemaker that buys Remy’s grapes and needs to make it more profitable, he still takes the time to listen to her concerns and takes an interest in how Remy gets involved in the community. Seth at times, seemed a bit removed from the smaller growers and I think that Remy was a good way for him to be able to connect with them and their needs. He has his board to answer to and he needs to make sure his business does well, but if his lower prices drive the growers out of business, then he’s going to be stuck, unable to make his product to the best of his ability. So there’s a need for balance and compromise and I think Remy helps Seth see the growers as more than just a cog in his business wheel as well. Remy is perfect because she’s a strong character who stands on her own two feet and is determined to free herself from something she considers to be hanging around her neck. Despite her strength of personality and her determination, there’s a hint of vulnerability to her as well.
I absolutely loved this book. Seth and Remy had me from the start and even though I don’t really drink wine (nothing against it, I just don’t drink much in general), I like reading about the process. It’s a huge part of many Australian states and I wouldn’t mind visiting the Margaret River area one day as well as some of the winegrowing regions in South Australia. I haven’t seen much of the country and there are lots of different areas I’d like to see where wineries are a big part. I remember the last time I did a winery tour, it was actually for a wine tourism course I did at university – it was close to 40 degrees and there was a lot of walking. I ended up with sunstroke! We learned a lot about the process that day too and I like hearing about the different growing techniques. I’m not sciency-minded so the actual winemaking tends to go over my head but the growing stuff interests me, as did the stuff Remy was doing with vegetable gardens in the local community. So even if you’re not a wine connoisseur and know nothing about wine (like me!), don’t worry. It’s not a huge part of the story, more just the backdrop for both our characters. It did make me wish I drank wine though, in a way!
I’ve read quite a few of Lily Malone’s books now….I think this is #4 and this one is my favourite. All of her books have been highly enjoyable and just getting better with each release. This one is a must for contemporary romance lovers....more
It’s 1925 and after an idyllic childhood growing up in the Torres Strait Islands, learning to swim in the clear warm waters, Catherine finds herself aIt’s 1925 and after an idyllic childhood growing up in the Torres Strait Islands, learning to swim in the clear warm waters, Catherine finds herself an orphan and living with her aunt in England. She’s miserable, trapped in a school where she doesn’t fit in, where she hasn’t been raised the same way as the other girls. She can’t swim, something she has lived for as long as she can remember. Her aunt Louisa is a busy doctor and she holds views on the way Catherine needs to behave now. The time for running wild on the island is over – she needs to grow up into a well rounded young woman who now has the opportunity to do anything, to be anything.
A chance meeting with rich American Manfred Lear Black gives Catherine the opportunity she so desperately craves – the chance to swim. He convinces Catherine to come to New York and go up against some of America’s best female swimmers. He’s convinced that she could be the first woman to successfully swim the English Channel and he’s willing to provide the financial backing for her attempt. But is it simply an innocent interest in finding a champion or does he have deeper motives?
Swimming Home is the latest novel from bestselling author Mary-Rose MacColl and it gives the reader three very different settings – an island in the Torres Strait off the coast of the northern tip of Australia, London and then New York. Catherine grew up the daughter of a doctor who worked on a remote island in the Torres Strait. She learned to swim in the open water at an incredibly young age and it’s something that shapes her entire life, as are her relationships with her father’s native housekeeper, who has cared for Catherine since the death of her mother when she was a toddler, as well as the housekeeper’s son Michael. On the island, the relationships are different, although the native Torres Straight Islanders do not escape having their children taken to be ‘fostered out’ among white families in order to see them raised properly and put to work.
When Catherine is 14, her father dies leaving her an orphan. He makes his sister, Catherine’s Aunt Louisa her guardian, someone Catherine has only seen once when she was a young child. Unmarried, Louisa is a busy surgeon, not at all sure of how to raise a teenage girl. Still she does her family duty and travels to the islands to bring Catherine back to England, seemingly unaware just how reluctant Catherine is to leave her home and move somewhere so utterly removed from everything she has ever known. To be honest I thought Louisa, although clueless about adolescents, did show quite a bit of shortsightedness here, thinking that enrolling Catherine in good school where she would be very unlikely to fit in, especially immediately would be the answer to Catherine’s development. I understand where she was coming from and her thoughts on how to raise Catherine, a girl who had been left to really kind of go wild, from an English point of view. But she really seems very oblivious to the fact that the girl has had so much change in her life and she’s miserable. She’s had the things and people she loves most taken from her and she’s moved to a place that’s the virtual opposite of everything she’s ever known. Louisa is very busy and she has trouble actually sitting down and talking to Catherine, as Catherine’s presence stirs up memories for her. It’s Louisa’s housekeeper Nellie who understands how lonely and out of place Catherine feels. When Catherine swims the Thames, she is asked to leave her exclusive school but it also in its own way, is the catalyst for the presentation of opportunity.
I really enjoyed reading about Catherine as a character – her unusual upbringing, her difficulty in fitting in once she moved to England and her devotion to swimming. For Catherine it wasn’t just a past time, it was a necessity. Something she required for her mental well being, it was almost as much a part of her life as breathing. And not just swimming, but the sort of open water swimming she had grown up with. Training in a tank in New York, attempting to adapt her stroke to what her coach wanted, wasn’t enough to satisfy the craving in her to just get out on the water and swim. I loved the part of the book devoted to swimming and the move towards the first woman being able to swim the English Channel. As someone who cannot really swim (bit embarrassing, being an Australian!), the idea of swimming such a distance is mind-boggling. The fatigue, the cold, the sheer length of time it takes – it’s amazing that someone of Catherine’s age with pretty much no formal training, could be considered for such a feat.
There are a few mysteries and twists in this book which are really interesting. So interesting in fact that I’d have loved to read more about the time before Catherine was born. The upbringing of Louisa and her medical studies and what happened to her would’ve been good to read about in greater detail, as well as Catherine’s parents’ marriage. There could’ve been a deeper delving into the island life of the early 1900’s, especially what it was like when her parents first arrived there. I really could’ve read a lot more in this setting.
Swimming Home is a beautifully written story of a girl who just wants the freedom to go home, to be with the people she loves and do what she loves. I did really like the way in which the relationship between Louisa and Catherine evolved, even though they did spent quite a bit of time apart. Louisa makes some difficult choices sometimes, you can see where she’s coming from and why she might do it but you can also see that it’s going to make things even more difficult between her and Catherine and from those different places they have to come together and reach an understanding, air the secrets between them in order to move forward. The believability and well-roundness of the characters are definitely a strong point and it’s the sort of book that makes you feel as if you know the people involved. I only wish there’d been more....more
I first read a M&B book when I was about nine or ten, stealing them from my mother and hiding in my room to read them. My mother was horrified wheI first read a M&B book when I was about nine or ten, stealing them from my mother and hiding in my room to read them. My mother was horrified when she found out, believing me too young to read a lot from the 'sexy' line and instead I had to only read the 'sweet' until I was in high school and they relented simply because my Nan had so many of them and I read more books that they could keep up with. From a very long way, the Sheikh ones were kind of my favourites and I don't really know why. I think that probably of all the M&B storylines, these are the ones that are the most idealised and romanticised.
Olivia Miller has turned her back on the horse world but Sheikh Saladin Al Mektala isn't taking no for an answer when it comes to his star stallion. He turns up to her B&B in terrible weather to persuade her to come back to his country and work her 'horse whisperer magic' on his injured stud so that he might be saved. Olivia takes some convincing - the horse world holds bad memories, humiliating ones and Saladin is a dangerously attractive man as well, which complicates things. Eventually he promises enough money so that she could fix up her old house and get herself out of debt and she finds herself on a private plane, heading for a foreign land.
I don't read too many M&B these days but every now and then I find that they're a good palate cleanser or something nice and quick and easy to help when I'm in a bit of a slump and can't decide what I want to read next. When I do read one, I like them to be like this. Although Sheikh Saladin is quite alpha, as most 'sexy' line heroes are, he manages to avoid verging into utter douchebag territory where they basically ride roughshod all over the female character. He was nicely fleshed out with his grief over his first wife, which gave him some depth that the male heroes can often lack. His devotion to his livestock also worked to accomplish this as well and I found that make him somewhat more likable. Olivia was actually quite spunky, I do like the way that she attempted to hold her own as much as she could against the Sheikh and all of his obvious power and influence.
I enjoyed this. It's always good to have one or two handy as they are so useful for when you just want something that you don't have to think much about. I stopped reading so many because some of the alphas made me irrationally angry but when you can find one that manages to balance it out, it's worth the read....more
Natalie is definitely not what the locals would be expecting when she rolls into town in her cute little sports car with her designer clothes and highNatalie is definitely not what the locals would be expecting when she rolls into town in her cute little sports car with her designer clothes and high heels. She’s clearly from a very different world but Natalie has come to Lake Biddy, population less than 300 in Western Australia, to take up a position at the small local school. She’s very passionate about her job and she cannot wait to meet her young students and get started. Nat’s enthusiasm and energy for her job and the way that she builds a rapport with her young charges as well as her friendliness and willingness to be involved in the local community quickly wins over the residents.
The Saddler Boys packs a lot in between its covers – it’s not just a rural romance. Palmer tackles some issues close to a rural community’s heart as the school Natalie has come to work at faces closure by the government due to lack of numbers, which will mean longer bus rides for the children to nearby, bigger towns with schools. The community bands together to protest the closure and Natalie becomes heavily involved as they campaign to save it. Despite the connection Natalie has made with local single father Drew, and the time they are spending together, she has a boyfriend in the city. She finds herself torn between the life she always envisaged with her boyfriend, who comes from a family very close to her own, but it’s a life that since she moved to Lake Biddy, has become somewhat suffocating. Natalie finds herself patronised by her boyfriend and wondering if he really is all that she had thought him to be. In contrast, time spent with Drew is easy as she learns more and more about country life, helping with shearing and minding Billy, Drew’s son while Drew seeds new crops on the farm. She fits in and she’s one of the first people Drew turns to when he feels that Billy may be in danger. I got a good idea of what it might be like to be a single parent and a farmer as well as how closures of things like schools can really affect tiny communities.
I loved the ease of Natalie and Drew’s friendship and the way Palmer took time to nurture it. Drew is well aware Natalie has a boyfriend and the two of them are mindful of boundaries but at the same time, really enjoy spending time with each other and want it to continue. I really enjoyed the glimpses into Drew’s head that writing in the third person allowed Palmer to give the reader and he’s always much more honest about his feelings for Natalie to himself than she is to herself about him, still confused by the complication of her boyfriend. Drew and Natalie fit together very well, despite their very different backgrounds and lifestyles and all of their scenes together are so well done that you become very invested in them getting it together already. Natalie is perfect with Billy, Drew’s young son who is perhaps a little different, and who requires a little more than most students would. He’s an interesting child and I enjoyed the part of the story concerning him and how it all played out. Children are often hard to place within a book that has romance and it’s difficult to get that authenticity but I feel as though this was definitely one of the book’s strong points.
I love a good rural story – even though I don’t live in the country myself, they’re just so familiar and comforting, they’re the perfect things for me to read when I’m distracted and stressed because I can slip into the story so easily. This was exactly what I needed and I’d recommend it not only to fans of the genre but also those who haven’t yet tried it yet. It’s got enough going on to satisfy any reader....more
It’s always a little scary when a favourite author tries something new. Their previous books are familiar, you always know what you’re going to get anIt’s always a little scary when a favourite author tries something new. Their previous books are familiar, you always know what you’re going to get and it’s going to be good! There’s always a little nervous anticipation diving in when a writer deviates from their previous work, but it’s an excited anticipation. It’s the unknown and if you’re lucky, it will be just as fabulous but in a different way.
With The Patterson Girls, Rachael Johns moves from rural romance to the broader women’s/contemporary fic genre and neatly ties in the stories of four sisters, all returning to spend their first Christmas at home with their recently widowed father. Their mother died unexpectedly and her absence is felt keenly by each of the Patterson daughters, as well as her husband. Two of the daughters, obstetrician Madeleine and violinist Abby now live overseas. The two other daughters, teacher Lucinda and yoga teacher Charlie also live interstate so it’s not often that they all return together to their family home.
I don’t have a sister and sometimes I lament that but sometimes I’m actually rather glad of it. I have a brother and we have a wonderful relationship, I couldn’t ask for a closer sibling. But I do enjoy reading about sisters, perhaps because for me, it’s the unknown, the different relationship that I’ve never experienced. I have sisters-in-law, and get on rather well with one of them but it’s not quite the same. I think the sister dynamic can be difficult to get right because four, very different grown up women are going to interact in many and varied ways. They will love each other and they will at times, hate each other too, or at least fight. In this novel, each of the sisters is a fully fleshed out personality with attributes and faults and their personalities do often clash in believable and yet also silly ways – just as people who have known each other all their lives would.
Each of the sisters has an issue in their personal life and after the Christmas holiday is over all four of them once again find themselves back at home. Each of the girls’ stories are incredibly interesting and I found that I had little trouble relating to almost all of the sisters at one point or another in the story. I understood Lucinda’s longing for a child and her frustration at her mother-in-law’s attitude. I also understood how her longing could become an obsession driving a wedge between her and her husband Joe. Charlie was a favourite character of mine and her story is an absolute page turner! I don’t want to say too much about it for fear of spoiling anything but the twist in the story that involves Charlie is amazing and very well orchestrated. It’s an emotional rollercoaster – for both the characters and the reader!
To be honest I’m not really one for believing in curses or anything like that so I did wonder how I would go with that part of the story but I think it’s presented in a way that you can understand why the sister’s would begin to really start to question it, especially Lucinda who is searching for an answer, any answer to a question. I found myself quite enjoying the revelation about the curse and how it played out. There was something about the way it was written and something about the way the girls slowly came to question whether or not it was just rubbish or if there could really be something to it and it might explain a few things that they have begun to question and worry over. Each of them react to the news about the curse, some of them do things that are quite out of character and some of these things (probably most of these things) end up getting them into problematic situations. It’s how these situations get resolved that make for wonderful reading as each of the sisters put their lives back together, take on new challenges and head in different directions from the ‘before’ time, when their mother was still alive. Even their father begins to embrace change and the chance to live again.
I really enjoyed The Patterson Girls and I’m sure it’ll bring Rachael Johns new admirers. For her old fans, there are times when she hasn’t strayed too far from the familiar – Charlie and Mitch’s story could’ve probably made a full length rural! But there are more intricate layers here and more main characters are handled expertly with none losing out in depth and time in the limelight. Luckily for me, The Patterson Girls is just as fabulous as Johns’ other books, just in a different way!...more