Thursday, September 21, 2017

Book: Under the Flame Tree



Summary: When Kirra leaves school to begin her first job on the station where she grew up, she is unimpressed to find herself partnered with a new employee who will barely speak to her. Daniel is undeniably cute, but he has a serious attitude problem and a mysterious past - there are whispers that he's fresh out of juvenile detention, but no one will tell her why. Daniel gradually thaws and reveals his secrets and Kirra starts to see beyond the moodiness to a boy she can believe in. But others remain wary of him, and her best friend warns her to stay clear. Kirra has some decisions to make. Is Daniel worth fighting for? Or should she walk away?


What I Thought: Really enjoying this author's teen books. It was like a teen rural romance! Ha ha

Book: Life as I Know It




Summary: Michelle Payne rode into history as the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup. She and her 100-to-1 local horse Prince of Penzance took the international racing world by surprise but hers was no overnight success story. Michelle was first put on a horse aged four. At five years old her dream was to ride in the Melbourne Cup and win it. By seven she was doing track work.

All of the ten Payne children learned to ride racehorses but Michelle has stayed the distance. She has ridden the miles, done the dawn training, fallen badly and each time got back on the horse. So when she declared that anyone who said women couldn't compete in the industry could 'get stuffed', the nation stood up and cheered.

What I Thought: I really enjoyed this. She went to my kids school and I drive past her dad's place all the time so it was definitely a "Ballarat" book which makes it relatable. She was a bit blunt at times though...


Monday, September 11, 2017

Book: Gossip Girl - Would I lie to you?


Summary: Blair and Nate reunite just as Serena realizes she's in love with him. Dan starts an experimental literary salon and thinks he's gay after making out with his male co-worker. 

What I Thought: I had read the first 9 of these eons ago and really want to finish them before watching the TV show. This one was pretty bad... but I'm still compelled to read the final couple of books!

Book: Daintree



Summary: The Daintree breeds survivors, those who can weather the storms, heat and floods that come hand-in-hand with its beauty. Doctor Emma Porter is one such survivor, dedicated to her patients and to preserving this precious land where she has made a home.

Emma's quiet life is disrupted when Doctor Jeremy Langford starts working at the hospital, bringing back painful memories: Jeremy was her first love and embodies all that she left behind in Sydney. Jeremy has demons of his own, however, and the tight-knit community of Dalrymple seems to promise the peace he has been looking for.

But while some come to the Daintree to find shelter, others are here to exploit the rainforest's riches. And they will stop at nothing to get their hands on its bounty.


What I Thought: Hooked! Loved it and am now itching to visit FNQ!

Book: Third Time Lucky



Summary: After a disastrous marriage, December Doyle has returned to her home town to try to pick up the pieces of her life and start again. She’s also intent on helping breathe new life into the Christmas Creek township, so the last thing she needs is trouble.

Bad boy Seth Hunter has also returned to Christmas Creek, and trouble is his middle name. Wrongly convicted of a serious crime in his youth, Seth is now a successful businessman, but he’s intent on settling some old scores.

As teenagers, December and Seth were madly in love, and seeing each other again reawakens past feelings. But will Seth be able to overcome his destructive anger about the past, and can December conquer her fear of heartbreak to make their relationship third time lucky?




What I Thought: Loved this - even though I had read the novella version of this story this sucked me in and I was hooked.

Book: Standing Strong



Summary: Former city girl Jacqueline Havelock, Wattle Creek’s newly arrived psychologist, has settled in to country life and is slowly coming to terms with the town’s quirky ways. Farmer Damien McAllister’s plans with his animal welfare venture are falling into place nicely and it finally feels like he has a future to look forward to.


But everything can change as quickly as the fickle weather – and it does. A fire challenges the community and soon Damien and Jacqueline find themselves in a situation neither had anticipated. But is their growing relationship also under threat?


Although the town comes out in support of their newest resident, is the Wattle Creek community strong enough to stand together and win this David and Goliath battle? And could happily-ever-after still be possible for Damien and Jacqueline?


What I Thought: Loved this - not sure if it's realistic or not but a great read.

Book: Dear Banjo


Summary: They were best friends who were never meant to fall in love – but for one of them, it was already way too late.

Willow ‘Banjo’ Paterson and Tom Forrest were raised on neighbouring cattle stations in the heart of the Kimberley. As young adults, sharing the same life dreams, something came between them that Willow cannot forget. Now ten years have passed since she's even spoken to Tom.

When her father falls ill, Willow is called home to take over the running of the family property, Paterson Downs. Her vision for a sustainable, organic cattle station is proving hard to achieve. She needs Tom’s help, but is it too late, and all too complicated, to make amends?

Tom’s heartfelt, decade-old letters remain unopened and unmentioned between them, and Willow must find the courage to finally read them. Their tattered pages reveal a love story like no other – and one you’ll never forget.

What I Thought: Loved this! Kick started my reading mojo again. Another new author on the list!


Book: Wild Lands



Summary: New South Wales, 1837, and settlers in search of fertile country are venturing far outside the colony. Literally cutting a swathe through the bush with their bare hands, they lay claim to territory beyond government jurisdiction – and the reach of the law.


As she accepts a position on one such farm, seventeen-year-old Kate Carter is unaware she is entering a land of outlaws, adventurers and murderous natives. Because the first people of this new world will no longer accept the white man’s advance, and retaliatory attacks on both sides have made it a frontier on the brink of war.


Into Kate’s path comes Bronzewing, a young white man schooled by a settler family yet raised within an Aboriginal tribe. Caught between two worlds, Bronzewing strives to protect his adopted people and their vanishing civilisation. But as he and Kate will discover, ‘beyond the outer limits’ is a beautiful yet terrifying place, where it’s impossible to know who is friend and who is enemy . . .




What I Thought: I did enjoy this but it was a big build up to any "action".

Book: Walking the Line








Summary: Country-loving Dallas Armstrong is a hard-as-nails bull rider, who dreams of becoming Australian champion, just like his father, Mick, was. But when he discovers a shocking secret about his father on the same day Mick dies in a car accident, Dallas’s world is turned upside down. Now it’s up to him to protect his mother from the truth, and to keep the family farm Rollingstone Ridge afloat. And he will do everything in his power to do so.

Charlize Dawson is a successful city journalist whose marriage is in tatters. Begrudgingly sent to the country to write about Dallas, she is surprised to find that he isn’t the arrogant cowboy she’d assumed he’d be. Instead she and Dallas and share an intense chemistry and deep connection that lead to a stolen kiss at the Rodeo Ball.


But when Charlize’s research for her article puts her on the path of uncovering Dallas’s secret, he demands she stop or lose him forever. Dallas or her career, which should she choose? How can she turn her back on the people who have welcomed her into their lives with open arms, all in the name of her job? Her career is all she has left, and she has worked so very hard to be where she is. But how can she reveal what she knows, if it means losing the love of her life?


What I Thought: Enjoyed this - easy rural romance.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Book: The Long Paddock


Summary: Country-girl Cressida Knight fills her days with her farm, a mischievous pet bull called Reggie and her volunteer emergency services work. The busier she keeps, the less she thinks about the cowboy who left her behind. She’s convinced the small-town Woodlea grapevine that she’s moved on, but now it’s time to move on for real. 
Champion bull rider Denham Rigby shares Cressy’s deep love for the land and all he’s ever wanted was to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Cressy through life. But three years ago a dark family secret left him no choice but to run. Now family duty gives him no choice but to return to the bush.
What Denham hasn’t come home to do is to hurt Cressy by rekindling their relationship. He’s nothing but a liability and the beautiful, self-reliant cowgirl has to stay off limits. But when faced with Cressy’s desperation to save her drought-stricken farm, he can’t keep his distance. He joins her out droving on the long paddock. Then when Woodlea is hit by more than just rodeo fever, they are further thrown together and Denham loses the battle to lock down his emotions.
But has he left it too late to stop running? And will the woman he’s always loved be prepared to risk her heart for a second time?

What I Thought: Loved this although there could have been more about the long paddock! 

Book: Operation White Christmas


Summary: Hollie Douglas has dreamed of a White Christmas ever since she was a child, but her dream implodes when her fiancé breaks her heart two months before their big day. Convinced by her best friend to go ahead with her planned honeymoon anyway, Hollie doesn't expect to find herself stuck in a snowstorm in rural Canada two days before Christmas.

What I Thought: A lovely sweet Christmas romance xxx

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Book: Trouble



Summary: When the entire high school finds out that Hannah Shepard is pregnant via her ex-best friend, she has a full-on meltdown in her backyard. The one witness (besides the rest of the world): Aaron Tyler, a transfer student and the only boy who doesn’t seem to want to get into Hannah’s pants. Confused and scared, Hannah needs someone to be on her side. Wishing to make up for his own past mistakes, Aaron does the unthinkable and offers to pretend to be the father of Hannah’s unborn baby. Even more unbelievable, Hannah hears herself saying “yes.”

What I Thought: A brilliant teenage read - this author is fantastic. It's the second one I've read but I'll be hunting out more.

Book: Life Support



Summary: A piece of you will always be left at home. When emergency nurse Emma Chirnside's husband dies unexpectedly, she finds herself tangled in lies and secrets. The last thing she expected to receive from him was a heritage-listed mansion in her home town of Birrangulla, but with her in-laws causing chaos, she flees to the country, hoping to rebuild her life. Fleeing, it turns out, creates new complications. The estate manager is none other than her teenage crush Tom Henderson. Tom hasn't thought about Emma since high school. They'd always been friendly - like Emma, Tom knows how it feels to care for a sick mother from a young age - but as far as Tom was aware, they were nothing more than friends. He had no idea of Emma's feelings for him, or the way he'd once broken her heart. When their worlds collide again, Emma realizes the depth of her feelings for Tom, and wonders if she's been given another chance to find true love. But Tom has demons of his own. Will Tom's secrets drive them apart and break her heart again? Or will they both get their happy-ever-after?




What I Thought: I'm loving this author and the rural medial romance elements. A nice read.

Book: 12 days at Silver Bells house





Summary: Kate Singleton has twelve days to find herself. With Christmas Day and her thirtieth birthday approaching, the best thing a city-chic fashion designer who no longer has a raison d’etre can do is nullify herself in the country. With Chardonnay.
When trouble strikes, the country presents her with Jamie Knight — a gallant but uncommunicative He-Man who drives an excavator and arrives to rescue Kate, her shoes and her case of Chardonnay from a boggy field.
The adventure should be over — nothing but a good story to tell to her friends in the city — but her saviour turns out to also be an unexpected roommate, the new owner of Silver Bells House, Kate’s holiday home.
Forced together and dragged into the community Christmas spirit of the town, Kate and Jamie flounder their way through mistletoe, kissing games, carolling choirs, and a bone-deep yearning for community and acceptance.
Can the enchanting Silver Bells House and the holidays bind them together? Or will love get lost on Highway B23 back to the city?


What I Thought: Nice quick rural romance - loved it!

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Book: Hillsborough Voices



Summary: On 15 April 1989, the world witnessed one of the worst football disasters in history occur at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield. 96 people were crushed to death and another 766 injured in a tragedy that was later admitted to have been exacerbated by police failures.
Hillsborough Voices does justice to the memory of all those who died and for all those left behind. From the tragic events of the day to what unfolded in the hours, days and eventually years that followed, the book will interweave the voices of those who were there with the families and friends of those who died, and all those who have played key roles in the long search for the truth.
The author, Kevin Sampson, has a long history with Hillsborough. Not only was he there as a fan to witness the horror first-hand, he also helped organise the Hillsborough benefit concert at Anfield and has close connections with the justice campaign. He has conducted exhaustive and exclusive interviews both with people who have become familiar public figures and those who will be telling their heart-rending personal stories for the first time – to bring us the full story.


What I Thought: Wow - just heart breaking. Had to keep putting it down as it was so harrowing. I knew a lot of the story already but it made it angry and sad. A great read.

Bookgroup book: Shanghai Tango

Summary: This unusual memoir describes how China's foremost male ballet dancer (and colonel in the People's Army) underwent one of China's first sex-change operations and became the Shanghai Ballet's prima ballerina.


What I Thought: Just didn't do it for me. Didn't believe most of what I read and the guy/girl was just so self-centred it did my head in!

Book: Country Roads



Summary: Rebecca Duprey is working day and night to keep the family sheep station, Bluestone Ridge, afloat. But Bec's father, who's been in a wheelchair since a farming mishap, keeps second-guessing her decisions. Now, to add Bec's woes, her unfaithful ex-boyfriend has started lurking around, and the adjoining farm she'd hoped to buy has been snapped up by a guy from the city called Matt Harvey.

After leaving his job in advertising, Matt became a bestselling novelist. But since the death of his fiancee in a car accident, he's had severe writer's block and is desperately hoping his move to the country will help him deal with his grief and allow him to focus on completing his next book. Problem is, he seems to have started off on the wrong foot with his new neighbour, Bec Duprey.

Bec isn't quite sure when she started feeling attracted to Matt, but she's determined not to succumb to his charms. And Matt isn't sure when his feelings changed about Bec; all he knows is he can't get her out of his mind. Can Bec and Matt overcome their fear of loss to find love and happiness with each other...?


What I Thought: Absolutely loved - bring on book #2! I love that it is set like an hour from home!

Book: Northern Heat






Summary: In steamy northern Queensland, Conor is rebuilding his shattered life. Working at Cooktown's youth centre has given him the chance to make a difference again, and the opportunity to flirt with Dr Kristy Dark. The local GP is hiding her own secrets and struggling to raise her feisty teenage daughter alone.
When a severe cyclone menaces the coast, threatening to destroy everything in its path, tensions come to a head – and the weather is not the only danger. Cut off from the world and with her life on the line, Kristy will have to summon her courage and place her trust in Conor, or they'll both lose someone they love.


What I Thought: Really enjoyed this although way too far fetched


Friday, May 05, 2017

Book: Heart of the Sky



Summary: A year after a tragic accident changed her life forever, Tess Daley is in desperate need of a change. When she is offered a position with the Flying Doctor Service, she seizes the opportunity to make a fresh start. Yet once she arrives in remote Mica Ridge she feels like an outsider, unable to connect with her patients and unsure if she'll ever fit in with this outback community.
Station owner Soretta Byrnes has grown to love the company and chaos that comes with living in a house filled with boarders. So with tenants moving out and bills piling up, it's a welcome relief to have Tess and new pilot Charlie Fennes arriving in town and looking for somewhere to stay.
As they share life's triumphs and challenges, it isn't long before everyone at the station feels like family. But Charlie has yet to reveal his motive for coming to Mica Ridge and his secret will change the life of someone in the house forever ...

What I Thought: A nice easy read - loved it. 

Book: Secret Years



Summary: When Lucy Hunter stumbles upon her grandfather's World War II memorabilia, she finds a faded photograph of a stunning young woman known simply as 'George' and a series of heartfelt letters. They are clues about the secret years, a period of Lucy's family history that has been kept a mystery . . . until now.
How did a cattleman from north Queensland find forbidden love with the Honourable Georgina Lenton of London? And why are the effects of this encounter still reverberating in the lives of Lucy and her mother, Rose, all these years on?


What I Thought: Loved this rural romance and the historical elements too.

Bookgroup: Gone Girl



Summary: There are two sides to every story. The Gone Girl is a chilling story in which Nick wakes up to find his wife of 5 years missing, Nick is immediately accused of her disappearance but Nick denies all of it, so where is his beautiful wife?


What I Thought: So much hype around this and I enjoyed the book - but didn't love it. It hooked me from the start but I got kind of bored in the middle then it got me in the end again. Ooh so nasty and a great twist. Contemplating watching the movie now...

Friday, March 17, 2017

Book: The Crossroads



Summary: One family. Three women. Will the lies they tell and the secrets they hide lead to more heartache, or will fate bring them together before it's too late?

Rosie O'Shea dreams of seeing the world. But right now, the outback hotel she inherited from her husband is falling down around her ears, her bank account is empty and family duty means she's staying put.

The only thing keeping Stephanie Bailey sane are the rides she takes on their sprawling property, even if the earth is red and barren as far as her eye can see. Drought has forced the sale of almost all their cattle and her husband is getting more and more distant. The last thing she needs is the complications her brother-in-law brings.

Sydney girl Faith Montgomery is single, out of work and at the age of 31 has just discovered she is adopted. Furious at being lied to for her entire life, she lands a job at the Crossroads Hotel so she can track down her biological mother without revealing who she is. When Cameron Bailey walks into the bar his curious blend of country charm and city savvy has her falling hard.

What I Thought: Loved this - hooked from the beginning.

Book: The House on Burra Burra Lane





Summary: Just ten days after her fresh start in the isolated Snowy Mountains, Samantha Walker trips over a three hundred pound pig and lands in the arms of Dr. Ethan Granger — and the firing line for gossip. It was hardly a ‘date’ but sparks of the sensual kind are difficult to smother in a community of only 87 people. Now there’s a bet running on how long she’ll stay and what she’ll get up to while she’s in town.

Ethan has his own issues — Sammy’s presence in his childhood home brings with it painful recollections of family scandals and a bad boy youth. When the gossip around them heightens, his life is suddenly a deck of cards spread on the table for all to see. Then Sammy's past catches up with her... and it looks like all bets are off.




What I thought: This was ok. I really really struggled with the writing style. Will read the next one in the series to see if it is better as I have loved a different book of hers.

Book: When the snow gums dance



Summary: Set against the steamy tropical north of Papua New Guinea and Australia's Snowy Mountains, the winter playground of the mega-rich, is the story of Kylie Harris, a woman with a thirst for adventure. When glamour and fun turn to tragedy, Kylie is forced to reassess her life, and she chooses to help others. As an aid worker she falls in love with Danno O'Keefe, the man of her dreams and her soul mate. Not everyone, however, can be trusted, and happiness is an elusive gift. Tragedy returns and Kylie must rebuild her life in the face of enormous pain and loss. Heartbroken, Kylie is convinced she will never again love so deeply or so passionately.
She becomes determined, however, to move forward. But can she find the courage to let go of her past?


What I Thought: I enjoyed this one. Bit more of a saga over many years and split into parts with different characters etc. but enjoyable still.

Book: The Horseman


Summary: Craig Munroe is the kind of man legends are written about. It's been eleven years since Dr Peta Woodward, born into a horse-breeding dynasty, fled the family stud in the wake of a deadly tragedy that split her family apart. Carrying wounds that have never truly healed, Peta has focused on helping others. But when an injury during a solo trip through the Australian high country leaves her stranded, the man who comes to her rescue is Craig Munroe, a born and bred high-country horseman, and the kind of man legends are written about.
Stuck in the tiny town of Yarraman Falls while she recovers, Peta is surrounded by prying eyes and heartbreaking reminders of all she has lost. But while she resolves to leave as soon as she can, fate has other ideas . . .

What I Thought: Loved this one - hooked from the first page! I'd also been up this way at Chrsitmas so the area was fresh in my mind!

Bookgroup: Death Comes to Pemberley



Summary: In their six years of marriage, Elizabeth and Darcy have forged a peaceful, happy life for their family at Pemberley, Darcy’s impressive estate. Her father is a regular visitor; her sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live nearby; the marriage prospects for Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, are favorable. And preparations for their annual autumn ball are proceeding apace. But on the eve of the ball, chaos descends. Lydia Wickham, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister who, with her husband, has been barred from the estate, arrives in a hysterical state—shrieking that Wickham has been murdered.  Plunged into frightening mystery and a lurid murder trial, the lives of Pemberley’s owners and servants alike may never be the same.


What I thought: It was ok - nice to revisit characters and see how the future may lay for them.  Still a few loose ends that weren't tied up for me in this book though. Oh well!

Book: Runaway Lies











Summary:  Darcy Montgomery is on the run. She must hide until she can testify in a shocking court case involving her former employer, but so far the witness protection program has only brought more danger. Any hopes of keeping a low profile are dashed when she saves the two children of wealthy property developer, Dominic St. James, from a sinking car driven by his ex-wife.
Dominic St. James learns the car crash was no accident and his ex-wife is still missing, presumed dead. He is determined to keep his children, as well as their mysterious rescuer, safe until the threat is neutralised. Fighting his enemies and a growing attraction, he discovers that Darcy is much more than she seems.
The danger to Darcy, Dominic and his family grows as their security is eroded and they face not one but two adversaries who have deadly intent. Who ultimately can trust who?


What I Thought: Loved this one - saw it on the shelf at the library and I wasn't disappointed.