Saturday, January 28, 2012

Heart of Gold by Fiona Palmer

Heart of Gold

~An Aussie Review~

CJ Wishart is a hardworking country girl with a heart of gold but a life that can be tough. Her job as a wool classer is back-breaking, her family life is a disaster and, after a string of dating debacles, she's put men in the too-hard basket. 
When stong, handsome Lindsay arrives on the scene as their new shearer, CJ can't help but take notice. They have an undeniable spark, but can she handle the complications and potential heart-break of falling in love? 

With help from her best friend and an endearing old farmer, CJ learns that when you stay true to yourself and open your heart, anything is possible. (blurb copied from Goodreads)

I grew up on a dairy farm and I have to say, I do love a rural read - it brings out the ocker in me. I learnt heaps about shearing in this novel.  Fiona has heaps of info about shearing HERE ...Now I want to visit a sheep farm.

I loved this book! Mostly - I read it with a smile or with a lump in my throat.

Thoughts while reading…

This book has themes of depression and takes a look at how men deal with it. There are many organisations ready to help people get themselves out of that dark downward spiral. Knowing the signs of depression, and to encourage a friend to seeking help, could be the best thing you ever offer a loved one.

Family burdens affect everyone differently, and most families come with some baggage. I think there are times in life where you need to ask, ‘Is this my responsibility to carry, or should I walk away?’ And only you can answer that.

In this book we take a look at Good old ‘Heart of Gold’ Aussies who shoot straight and tell it like it is. It’s too easy to get caught up in playing games or not saying something in case you offend someone. But personally, I love honesty. I love when I meet the, ‘What you see is what you get’ type of person.

How about you?

Are you part ocker?

Do you shoot straight?

Some links to depression resources … Beyond Blue ,  Black Dog Institute  
My friend Jo has overcome depression - You might find her blogs and links

2012 Book Challenge

This is an unsponsored review

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Nanberry by Jackie French

~An Aussie Review ~
Happy Australia Day!

The blurb...
Nanberry, black brother whiteIt's 1789, and as the new colony in Sydney Cove is 
established, Surgeon John White defies convention 
and adopts Nanberry, an Aboriginal boy, to raise as 
his son. Nanberry is clever and uses his unique gifts as an interpreter to bridge the two worlds he lives in. With his white brother, Andrew, he witnesses the struggles of the colonists to keep their precarious grip on a hostile wilderness. And yet he is haunted by the memories of the Cadigal warriors who will one day come to claim him as one of their own. This true story follows the brothers as they make their way in the world - one as a sailor, serving in the Royal Navy, the other a hero of the Battle of Waterloo. No less incredible is the enduring love between the gentleman surgeon and the convict girl, saved from the death penalty, to become a great lady in her own right. (copied directly from Goodreads)

Thoughts while reading….
I cannot image how invaded the Aborigines would have felt. I cannot image myself living in Australia during the late 1700s. I appreciate and admire the people who came to Australia, who respected the land they had come to and the people who lived here first. 
The has been stigma around this issue of being a convict. It has taken generations for some families to leave their convict history in the past. I love that Australia isn't divided by class. A ‘Gentleman’ can fall in love with anyone and marry her. A person, who has been in jail, can serve time, repent and make a new life and isn't forever labelled a jailbird. (I hope)
When I think back to the way things were run, especially when the Governor left the country and the law was left the hands of the drunken New South Wales Corps, I'm thankful for the legal system we have in place now. Though often frustrating, I'd rather have some system than none.

Though labelled a Young Adult book, I highly recommend it for anyone 13 to 100. There are themes of abuse, mistresses, alcoholism and violence – so use parental discretion.
I thoroughly enjoyed Nanberry by Jackie French.  It is a compelling story to read. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Smashing Moment

~Friday Flash Fiction~

Written for a Scary Story comp
'Morning.'  Two police officers’ shadows filtered through Tammy’s doorway. 'We have a warrant.'
            'To search your apartment.'
'But, I was about to go out.' She looked at Indy, strapped in the stroller.
‘We'll be done in a few minutes and you can be on your way.'
            Her hand shook as she pulled the door open.
'Sorry if we’ve surprised you.' They entered her apartment, then opened and closed doors and drawers.  
            She waited rocking the stroller back and forth. The men soon returned with an envelope.
            'Jerome Hale—friend of yours?'
            'Jerome from next door?' She didn’t know his surname. One night.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.
            ‘He's done a runner.'
            'What’s that?' Tammy eyed the envelope.
            'Legal documents. He planted them in your wardrobe. Did he mention his daughter?'   
            'Only briefly. I haven’t met her, though.'
            'He’s kidnapped her. Would you know anything about that?'
            Tammy shook her head.
            ‘He’s dangerous. Call us if he returns.'
            She pulled her daughter from the stroller. 'What was I thinking, Indy?'
            She didn’t want to take any chances. They hibernated in a stifling, locked up apartment.
            That night, wind gusts clattered the windows. The sky turned into an electrical light show and the walls vibrated with each crack of thunder.
            Lightning blacked out the power and the rolling rumbles woke Indy. Fearful of Jerome returning, Tammy settled her daughter back to sleep.
            After the storm had passed, a raucous knock rattled the front door. Her hands trembled at Jerome’s outline in the opaque window. She crawled to Indy’s bedroom.
            'Come on Tammy. I’ve got bubbly.'
            She salivated at the thought of a drink.
            'I just want to see Indy before I head off.'
            Tammy reached for the bedroom door and swung it closed. Indy stirred.
            'Shh baby. It's ok.' Tammy hummed.
Indy relaxed, drifting back to sleep.
            'Tammy! I know you're home.'
            She bit down hard on the inside of her mouth, sprouting blood onto her tongue.
            'I’ll come in the back.' Jerome’s voice now quiet, barely audible through the paper-thin walls.
            She breathed deeply. My phone. She crawled to the kitchen and reached up to the bench where she always left it.
            Jerome banged on the backdoor. Tammy rushed back to Indy's room and punched in '000'. At the same time, Jerome began tapping on the window. She snapped in a short breath.
            A voice boomed, 'Name and location please.'
            Tammy felt for Indy’s play mat on the floor and lifted it over her head. She whispered the details. 'Jerome…  police … told me he's dangerous…  outside now… think he’s tapping a stone on the window.’
            A loud crash of glass made her jump.
            'Please stay on the line,' the voice said.
            It wasn't Indy's window. Which window was it? She froze with fear. A siren blared then a small tribe of scuffling shoes passed Indy's window. Voices yelled. Tammy heard a muffled thwack. More scuffling. More voices.
She sat still until a knock on the door startled her.
'Tammy. Police.'

I won first prize for this story over at Writing Classes for Kids (and adults) 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Come Back to Me by Sara Foster

Come Back to Me
~An Aussie Review ~

“When Mark introduces his date, Julia, to Chloe and her husband at a London restaurant, it's obvious that something is very, very wrong. Alex and Julia pretend not to know one another, but the shocked expressions on their faces tell another story. 

As the mystery of Julia's identity unravels, a terrible tragedy from ten years ago gradually comes to light. While Chloe struggles with a secret of her own, Alex has to decide whether he should take Julia back to Australia to try to lay the past to rest, when doing so will risk all he has with the wife he loves. 

And Julia must decide whether to finally confront Alex with the whole truth about what happened back then. 

Set in London and Perth, Come Back to Me is a taut psychological drama that will keep you enthralled until the very last page.” Blurb copied from Goodreads

As a writer, an exceedingly good book to me, is when I don’t notice how it’s written, but find myself completely wrapped up in the story. Come Back to Me by Sara Foster was one of those books. I couldn’t put it down and lacked sleep for a few days.

Thoughts while reading…

Communication in relationships means everything. Putting off a difficult conversation allows the problem to fester and grow. Not saying what you really mean can lead to life changing consequences. In Ephesians we read to never let the sun go down on an argument. Not to go to bed angry. In Come Back to Me, we see characters hurting. Many times this pain could have been avoided by making time to have that difficult conversation.

Another thought was how important it is to love the moment because you really don’t know when a crazy catastrophe may change your life forever.

And the third thing that kept coming to mind while reading was the importance of forgiveness. Forgiving yourself and others and letting the past stay in the past. Tomorrow is always new and fresh, even when living with the consequences of tragedy, a new beautiful can be found. 

This was the first of Sara Foster's books I've read. Can't wait to read more.

Reading my way through 2012 with the Australian Women Writers Challenge
2012 Book Challenge

This is not a sponsored review 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Voice, New Testament

~ Book Review ~
The Voice New Testament (Revised and Updated)by Ecclesia Bible Society is relatively new. It is similar in some respect to The Message version as it reads like a story, yet from what I’ve read so far, The Voice has kept the power of other translations. The team of 27 bible scholars, 51 writers and 36 contributors have created a translation that is considered a “contextual equivalence” rather than a paraphrase.

I’m not sure if I agree on a couple of decisions the team made when translating the original Bible texts into the Voice. One of those being that when Jesus addressed people as ‘brothers’ the Voice team have decided to write the scriptures as gender neutral or gender inclusive - ‘brothers and sisters.’(preface xv)

In general, this version is incredibly enjoyable to read and understand. It now stands proudly beside my New King James version.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 Challenge ~ Australian Women Writers

This is a great challenge if ever I did see one. 
Reading and supporting Aussie women writers. So easy! 
I'll be starting with ...

Ellenvale GoldCome Back to Me

Beneath the Shadows

 Terry       The Schoolmaster's Daughter: A Novel   Blue Skies    What Alice Forgot      A Full Life  The Rainbow Necklace   The Embarrassed Evangelist    A Little Wanting Song      
[Cover] Product: Cora Villa ImageA Simple Mistake 

Who knows what else I'll end up reading. We have so many talented women who write in this beautiful country.

~~ Happy reading in 2012 ~~

What books do you plan to read this year?

Shown above :- Ellenvale Gold by Amanda Deed, Come Back to Me by Sara Foster, Beneath the Shadows by Sara Foster, Beyond Resolution by Rose Dee, Terry by Anne Hamilton, Sandra Temple, The Schoolmaster's Daughter by Meredith Resce, Blue Skies by Fleur McDonald, What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, A Full Life by Vivien Wilson, The Rainbow Necklace by Jacqueline Larsen - (Australian Girl), A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley, Heart of Gold by Fiona Palmer, Cora Villa by Meredith Resce, A Simple Mistake by Andrea Grigg, Purple Roads by Fleur McDonald