Friday, 3 February 2023

Book Review: Broad River Station by Fleur McDonald

 Broad River Station

by

Fleur McDonald

Broad River Station is Fleur McDonald's 20th Novel and a ripper of a read! 

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Publication date: 1st November 2022

Genre: Contemporary/Rural/Crime

Pages: 368 

RRP: $29.99 Paperback

Source: Courtesy of the publisher

My review of Broad River Station

Broad River Station is another engrossing, rural set, police procedural from Fleur McDonald.
 
Wanting to be near her elderly grandmother, newly graduated police officer Mia Worth has moved to Broad River and about to start at her first station as the only female with five male police officers.
Mia is treated as a liability, not only because she is a female but also a rookie.
I love how Fleur writes strong female characters in male dominated roles and we see them push ahead through prejudice and adversity.
 
A few different plot lines are introduced in Broad River Station, all relevant to rural communities; Mia's grandmother has dementia but in moments of lucidity she alludes to a mystery surrounding Mia's father, an organic farmer's crop is sabotaged and a young child goes missing.
 
I enjoyed getting to know Mia and how she fits into Broad River and nearby Burra. Det Dave Burrows is a secondary character but it was nice to have some familiar faces pop in with Dave and Kim, Jack and Zara. I love how Dave gives advice to both Jack and Mia and encourages them in their jobs, just like Bob did with Dave when he was younger.
 
Broad River Station is another fantastic read from Fleur McDonald. If you haven't yet gotten into Fleur's books, what are you waiting for!!!
 
Rural crime at it's best. Fleur knows farming and the rural setting and it's evident in her stories.  
 
My rating 5 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 
About the author
 
Fleur McDonald has lived and worked on farms for much of her life. After growing up in the small town of Orroroo in South Australia, she went jillarooing, eventually co-owning an 8000-acre property in regional Western Australia.
Fleur likes to write about strong women overcoming adversity, drawing inspiration from her own experience in rural Australia. She has two children and an energetic kelpie.
 
 Other books I've reviewed by Fleur McDonald
 

Wednesday, 1 February 2023

Book Review: The Work Wives by Rachael Johns

The Work Wives

by

Rachael Johns

Publisher: Harlequin Australia
 
Publication date: 3rd November 2022
 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
 
Pages: 528
 
RRP: $32.99 Paperback
 
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
 

My review of The Work Wives

The Work Wives is narrated through three very different, yet connected, women. Debra, a single mum in her early 40's, Quinn, a 27 year old dating app addict and Ramona, Debra's 15 year old daughter.
 
Debra and Quinn work together and are best friends. 
When the tall and handsome new Director of Sales is introduced Quinn is instantly keen to get to know him better, only Debra already knows him, they have history.
 
Being a SAHM for decades now I'd never heard the term 'work wives' but I enjoyed the pair's work antics with emails and meet-ups in the photocopy room. I liked that Johns included an age-gap friendship between Debra and Quinn and how they encouraged each other to do things differently. But it wasn't all plain sailing between them, there was also plenty of friction which kept the story interesting. I also enjoyed the generational friendship between Quinn and her elderly neighbour. Quinn really was an exceptional character, young and full of life but also caring and a little lost.
 
With themes of romance, misogyny, bullying, teenage dramas, cancel culture, gaslighting, friendship and social media Rachael Johns has packed a lot of drama into The Work Wives. It's a long book but it moves along at a fast pace.
It might come across as a little contrived but I loved it anyway and couldn't put it down, reading late into the night.

My only let down was the plot twist - I may have even groaned.

I loved that it was set in my home town of Sydney, with lots of local landmarks, and I think Rachael did a fabulous job of the setting. 

My rating 4 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Rachael Johns is an English teacher by trade, a mum 24/7, a Diet Coke addict, a cat lover and chronic arachnophobe. She is also the bestselling, ABIA-winning author of The Patterson Girls and a number of other romance and women's fiction books including The Art of Keeping Secrets, The Greatest Gift, Lost Without You, Just One Wish, Something to Talk About, Flying the Nest and How to Mend a Broken Heart. Rachael rarely sleeps, never irons and loves nothing more than sitting in bed with her laptop and imagining her own stories. She is currently Australia's leading writer of contemporary relationship stories around women's issues, a genre she has coined 'life-lit'. Rachael lives in the Swan Valley with her hyperactive husband, three mostly gorgeous heroes-in-training, two ravenous cats, a cantankerous bird and a very badly behaved dog.Rachael loves to hear from readers and can be contacted via her website rachaeljohns.com. She is also on Facebook and Instagram.
 

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Guest Book Review: Why Do Birds Do That? by Dr Grainne Cleary

 Why Do Birds Do That?

by

Dr Grainne Cleary

Over fifty answers to the most often asked questions.
 
Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Publication date: 5th October 2022
 
Genre: Non Fiction / Wildlife
 
Pages: 288
 
RRP: $32.99AUD Paperback
 
Source: Won in a competition
 

Guest review of Why Do Birds Do That?

I was so happy to win this book in a competition because I knew of two young avid bird enthusiasts who would be fascinated by the facts and information found within. 
 
The book was shared between the cousins and here is what they thought of it...
 
Dom, 13
I enjoyed reading the book as I am crazy about birds. I like the way the book was written with the questions and then the answer was given in the first two lines. I really liked how it gave me extra information on the bird behaviour.
 
Owen, 13
It was a good book for anyone interested in birds. I liked the book because it answers common questions on birds. I liked the way the book was written with questions and answers, and it was easy to read.

 
 
 
Dom and Owen enjoy going bird watching and talking about birds. They have attended bird watching events with local bird observers club. 

Thank you Dom and Owen for your reviews. I am pleased you both enjoyed the book.
 
About the book

For thousands of years birds have fascinated us. We've observed what they do - their behaviours, their characteristics, their survival skills, the food they eat and their habitats - and wondered why they do it.


Why Do Birds Do That? answers many of these often-asked questions, such as: Why do birds sing in the mornings? Why are some birds so colourful and others are not? Why do starlings form murmurations? Why do birds have 3 eyelids? and Why do birds attack their own reflections?

In an easy-to-find question & answer format, Why Do Birds Do That? provides fascinating and comprehensive information about the birds we watch every day.

If you have ever wondered why birds behave as they do, you will find the answers in this book.
 
About the author
 
Dr Grainne Cleary received her PhD from Trinity College, Dublin. She has lived and worked in Australia for many years where citizen science became a passion. Grainne has been a Research Fellow at Deakin University and has also worked at Sydney University, Taronga Park Zoo and National Parks & Wildlife NSW.

Grainne, author of Your Backyard Birds, is an enthusiastic communicator about birds and their habits. She is often sought for radio interviews, q&a segments and television to discuss topical birding news.

Recommended for all bird enthusiasts.


 
 


 
 

 

Friday, 13 January 2023

Book Review: The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

 The Kaiju Preservation Society

by

John Scalzi

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia

Imprint: Tor

Publication date: 29th March 2022

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 264

RRP: $32.99AUD Paperback

Source: Courtesy of the publisher

 My review of The Kaiju Preservation Society

I have to start this review with an admission. I had no idea what a Kaiju was!! It's clearly evident that I am not an avid science fiction fan. That being said, I really enjoyed this book; it was a lot of fun.
 
The story opens on the cusp of the COVID pandemic and after losing his job at a tech start-up company Jamie takes a job as a food delivery person. One of the customers offers Jamie a job at an animal rights organisation working in the field to protect and preserve large animals. What he doesn't tell Jamie is the animals the team care for are not here on Earth.
 
The story that follows is filled with humour as Jamie and the rest of the team, who mostly have PHD's in biology, geology or physics, go about studying the Kaiju. Jamie seems to be there as general dogsbody and comic relief. He is quick with the sarcasm and doesn't take himself too seriously. Jamie is a very likeable main character.

The parallel Earth was all well explained and very simplistic in it's execution. The Kaijus and their biological makeup, nuclear energy and whole ecosystem is pure escapism and I couldn't get enough of them.
I loved the banter between the team it was a lot of lighthearted fun with plenty of schoolyard humour. 

There was never any real sense of danger even though the characters did encounter potentially dangerous situations. This, combined with the level of humour, made me think the book was more for the young adult audience rather then the die-hard Sci/Fi fan.
 
recommended for 13 - 16 years (and those just wanting a bit of fun)
 
 
My rating  4 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
 
 
About the author
 
John Scalzi is one of the most popular and acclaimed SF authors to emerge in the last decade. His debut, Old Man’s War, won him science fiction’s John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. His New York Times bestsellers include The Last Colony, Fuzzy Nation, The End of All Things and Redshirts, which won 2013’s Hugo Award for Best Novel. Material from his widely read blog Whatever has also earned him two other Hugo Awards. He lives in Ohio with his wife and daughter.  


Wednesday, 11 January 2023

Book Review: Shelter From the Storm by Penelope Janu

 Shelter From the Storm

by

Penelope Janu

When Patience Cartwright is stranded in her home town, the last thing she expects is a second chance at love.... 
 
Publisher:
Harlequin Australia
 
Publication date: 4th January 2023
 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Romance
 
Pages: 448
 
RRP: $29.99AUD paperback
 
Source: Better Reading Preview
 

My review of Shelter From the Storm 

Patience Cartwright’s life is the Navy, all she wants is to be at sea. A clash with her superiors sees her with the choice of either leaving the Navy forever or accepting a secondment to work with a group of environmentalists on a national project.

There is only one problem, Hugo Halstead, the man who broke her heart years ago is head biologist on the team.
 
I love how Penelope Janu has delivered a story about the environment and biodiversity that is wonderfully informative and blended it with a heartfelt romance. In Shelter From the Storm Janu effortlessly weaves vivid descriptions of the countryside and local bird-life into the narrative.
 
Patience is a delightful character, smart and stubborn but also vulnerable. She is a character you will warm to right from the beginning. Patience excels at all things mathematical and she uses maths as a coping mechanism to calm herself by counting and doing equations and calculations in her head. I enjoyed this side of Patience because calculus has always fascinated me and I love anything numbers.
 
In Shelter From the Storm Penelope Janu touches on subjects such as occupational sexism, child abuse, PTSD, environmental issues and biodiversity. I loved all the information on frogs and it’s easy to see this is a topic dear to the author.
 
I totally enjoyed Shelter From the Storm brimming with secrets, twists and a heartwarming romance. It is a captivating story about breaking down walls, overcoming past hurts and moving on with your life.
 
My rating 5 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Penelope Janu lives on the coast in Northern Sydney with a distracting husband, a very large dog and, now they are fully grown, six delightful children who come and go. Penelope has a passion for creating stories that explore social and environmental issues, but her novels are fundamentally a celebration of Australian characters and communities. Penelope enjoys riding horses, exploring the Australian countryside and dreaming of challenging hiking adventures. Nothing makes her happier as a writer than readers falling in love with her clever, complex and adventurous heroines and heroes.

 
Other books I've read by Penelope Janu.

 

Tuesday, 10 January 2023

My 2023 Reading Challenges

 


I love reading challenges and they are a lot of fun but I do find them quite a lot of extra work so I am only going to sign up for three challenges this year.
 
These three challenges are areas I want to improve on in my reading. 
 
I'm signing up again for the Non-Fiction readers challenge hosted by Shelleyrae @Bookdout. I didn't do this one in 2022 and I only read 4 Non-Fiction and one was a knitting book. 😄
Follow the link to read all about the challenge https://bookdout.wordpress.com/2023-nonfiction-reader-challenge/  #readnonficchal
 

 There are 4 levels and I will be joining nonfiction grazer. It's sort of a commitment without a commitment. 🤣 I hope to read 6 Non Fiction in 2023.

Nonfiction Nipper: Read & review 3 books, from any 3 listed categories

Nonfiction Nibbler: Read & review 6 books, from any 6 listed categories

Nonfiction Nosher: Read & review 12 books, one for each category

Nonfiction Grazer: Read & review any nonfiction book. Set your own goal

Categories:

History
Memoir/Biography
Crime & Punishment
Science
Health
Travel
Food
Social Media
Sport
Relationships
The Arts
Published in 2023

 📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘 

 
Mount TBR Reading Challenge hosted by

  

Another challenge that I joined in 2022 was the Mount TBR Challenge. I didn't get my goal last year but I will try again for 12 books that have been on my shelf from 2020 or earlier. #MountTBR2023

📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘

 
 

My third challenge is just one for myself. I read 43 books by Australian Female authors in 2022 and only 14 books by Australian Male authors. In 2023 I want to increase my Aussie male author reading to at least 20 books. 
 
You can follow along with my challenge progress under the 2023 challenge tab. 

Sunday, 1 January 2023

Happy New Year 2023!

 Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2023

May your year be filled with family, friends and five star reads.