Summer Harvest (by Georgina Penney)

Women’s Fiction / Contemporary Romance

In the space of a few months, Beth’s sister dies of breast cancer, she herself is diagnosed, and after a double mastectomy her husband leaves her. She returns to live with her grandmother and withdraws into herself, only venturing out for her job as a dog trainer.

When her grandmother gives her a trip to Australia for her birthday she is reluctant to leave the austere life she has built for herself after the divorce. But despite her misgivings a week later she finds herself driving along a dry dusty road in the Margaret River wine making region of Western Australia, her destination a small cabin on a working farm.

As she settles in, she makes new friends, among them Clayton who runs a vineyard in the area. Their attraction is immediate but her scars run deeper than the surgeons knife, and for his part Clayton’s mother died of cancer and he is terrified of starting a relationship with Beth only to have her taken from him.

Summer Harvest is something of a hybrid. It combines the best elements of Contemporary Romance with what is essentially Women’s Fiction and it manages to effortlessly avoid the pitfalls of both. I wouldn’t call it a fun read, it’s serious and occasionally emotionally fraught but ultimately it’s emotionally satisfying and I loved it.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 4.24.20 PMMany thanks to Penguin Books Australia and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

Orange, Red, Yellow. What it means:  YOR-Guide

Love & Other Lies (by Madeline Ash)

Contemporary Romance

When Abby moved to the small coastal town of Belgulla, she wasn’t running from her shameful past, she was confronting it. The first thing she did when she arrived was tell everyone in the town what she had down and why they couldn’t trust her. Since then her life has been confined to her job as the town’s vet and a quiet, isolated life with few friends.

Rue has been travelling around Australia and is on the final leg before heading home when he arrives in Belgulla and crashes straight into Abby. Her brutal honesty somehow appeals to him so he asks her out. When she says he is too good for her, something that every woman before her has said, it’s a red rag to a bull and he decides if she wants a bad boy he’ll give her one.

Love & Other Lies is great. It’s a quick and easy story about a woman who genuinely has a past she can be ashamed of –– not the typical Hollywood scars you see in so much romance. There is a bit of ache, but for the most it is angst free. A lot of love for this book.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 9.23.18 pmYellow, Orange, Red –– what it means:

Big Little Lies (by Liane Moriarty)


Big Little Lies starts with a school trivia night and a murder. Then we return to the beginning of the school year, four months earlier, to the events that lead to it.

When Jane moves to the quiet beach side suburb of Pirriwee, it’s not just a fresh start for her, it’s the end of her running from the past.  Her son Ziggy is enrolled in kindergarten at Pirriwee Public School and when she meets another kindergarten mother, Madeleine, things seem to be looking up for her.

Then before the day is finished, one of the girls in Ziggy’s class accuses him of bullying her and all at once the promising start evaporates.  Instantly the other kindergarten mothers ostracise her and Ziggy and as the term progresses things only get worse.  The mothers  are suddenly divided into two camps.  The Madeleine camp who are on Jane’s side and the Renata camp who are against her.

As the term progresses clues are given about dark secrets that are hidden behind the closed doors of seemingly happy and perfect families and as the school trivia night approaches we not only find ourselves puzzling out who committed the murder, we are also trying to figure out who was murdered.


I really enjoyed this book.  It’s not perfect, I think the excerpts from police interviews that start each chapter are a little over-done and the conclusion wasn’t as satisfying as I hoped, but the book is overall quite good and those criticisms are really very minor things in what is a unique and entertaining mystery.

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 3.09.42 pmYellow, Orange, Red –– what it means:

Wardrobe Girl (by Jennifer Smart)

Chick Lit

When Tess’s boyfriend breaks up with her by showing up on the red carpet with another woman, she quits her job working as a costume designer for the BBC, packs up her life and movies back to Australia. Working as a wardrobe assistant on a low budget Australian soap opera isn’t where she envisioned her life heading, but it’s the fresh start she needs.

Eight years earlier, when Tess was offered her dream job, Jake left her rather than putting his own dreams on stand-by. Now he is back in Australia with his beautiful fiancée and a job as director on Tess’s soap opera.

With a family that’s oblivious to her feelings –– sleazy, albeit very good looking, actors hitting on her –– and old hurts coming to the surface, Tess struggles to maintain her professionalism and keep her personal life from falling apart.

This was a difficult book for me. There were things I really didn’t like…things that I struggled with. There is a gritty honesty that’s not always easy to take, a warts and all realness to the characters that occasionally made me want to look away. But when I remove my personal prejudice I have to admit this book is pretty damned amazing even if it wasn’t the cute and quirky feel good rom-com the cover suggests.

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 4.32.33 pm

Yellow / Orange / Red –– What it means.

Many thanks to Random House Australia and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.

On the Jellicoe Road (by Melina Marchetta)

At the age of 11 Taylor was abandoned by her mother on the Jellicoe Road.  Now 17,  the closest person she has had to a mother for the past 6 years, Hannah has disappeared without a trace. As Taylor starts to pull at the threads she finds that her past is interwoven with that of five friends who met on the Jellicoe Road nearly 20 years earlier.

It’s hard to avoid superlatives when talking about this book. It’s nothing short of a masterpiece. From page one I was completely drawn in and overwhelmed by Taylor and her friends.

5 Amazing Stars.