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Chocolate Cake For Breakfast – Danielle Hawkins

Chocolate Cake For BreakfastChocolate Cake For Breakfast
Danielle Hawkins
Allen & Unwin
2013, 361p
Uncorrected proof copy courtesy of the publisher/The Reading Room.com

Rural New Zealand vet Helen McBain is taking a breather at a party escaping a boring local when she trips over a very tall man outside. Unthinkingly, she asks him what he does for a living only to discover after he says playing rubgy, that he is national hero Mark Tipene, rugby union player for the Auckland Blues and also the All Blacks. Despite the fact that she had absolutely no idea who he was at first meeting (or perhaps because of it) Mark is interested in Helen and he ends up turning up at her work the next day to ask her out.

In between Mark’s rugby commitments and Helen’s busy calving season they find time to begin a fledgling romance. Things are going well, even though Helen is insecure about what Mark could possibly want with someone like her when he could have all manner of blonde, thin, tanned WAG-wannabes. However then an unexpected surprise throws a spanner in the works and Helen finds herself freaking out over everything, most of all making sure that Mark doesn’t feel guilted or pressured into staying.

I loved this book. On the day I started it, I had read a really quick novel in the afternoon, only 177p so I was at a bit of a loss for something to do so I picked up this in order to just read a bit and get started. I ended up ignoring my family for most of the rest of the evening in order to finish it because I couldn’t put it down. It’s funny and clever and taps into that ‘hero falling in love with an average girl’ storyline that works so well in a romantic comedy.

Helen is a country vet specialising in large animals and on her and Mark’s first date she gets a call out that results in them both having to deliver a dead calf from inside the cow. It’s rather graphic and all together very eye opening – I had no idea that these sorts of things happened and that would be how a vet delivered a stillborn calf that had been unfortunately dead for several days. Mark shows a strong stomach during what must’ve been a rather disgusting procedure in both vision and smell and if I were Helen, I’d probably expect to never see someone again after that. However it doesn’t daunt Mark in the slightest and Helen is surprised to find herself slipping into a relationship with the world’s best rugby union lock. Whatever it is that locks do.

I have to admit, I have no idea what it is that locks do. Of the three relatively popular games we call “football” here (I’m not counting soccer although some do call that football as well), rugby union is the one I know least about. I actually don’t really understand the rules (why do they all fall on each other in a big pile? What is that?). This book doesn’t really shed any light on that and I think that the games take up probably a perfect amount of time in the book. Mark is often playing abroad as is the case these days for someone who plays for their country and Helen, not the world’s biggest rugby fan before meeting Mark tends to only watch to make sure he doesn’t get pulverized during the game. The only thing I know about the All Blacks is that they perform the haka before each match and that’s pretty much the best bit! It’s unfortunate that there’s no mention of that here. You definitely don’t have to be a fan or care about rugby union to enjoy this book but it is a bit of a nice look at the WAG phenomenon and gives Helen a legitimate insecurity. If New Zealand is anything like here, they’d be inundated with the WAGs and what they’re doing, wearing etc and she sticks her hands inside cows for a living. But what I loved about this book was that there was no attempt to make the reader see that Helen was rather stunning and everyone saw it except her. She was what she was – and Mark liked her for that. She was down to earth and funny and a bit awkward and Mark was the sort who seemed to not really embrace the limelight any more. He definitely partied and hooked up when he was younger but you got the impression that he was over that and that he was thinking about his future. He was aware that he only had probably a few years left playing rugby professionally and that he was ready to start implementing the next stage of his life. Probably not as quickly as it played out in the book but he still showed a readiness, when Helen let him and gave him a chance. And I think that part of the story played out with a lot of realism. Both of them are unsure and freaked out a bit, they fight, they do the wrong thing, they end up hurting each other. But then they sort it out and try again. And it works.

Chocolate Cake For Breakfast is one of the most enjoyable novels I’ve read in a while, I can’t remember the last time I read one that made me laugh out loud this often. I loved Helen and loved her family, who are all rather eccentric in their individual ways. Her job added a lot of colour (and information – what has been imagined can never be unimagined) and the romance was both sweet and well written. I’ve got to get behind a book with a title such as this one – I remember when I was at university and I would head back to my dorm, my nan would make me a chocolate cake. And for the next 3-4 mornings, chocolate cake is what I would eat for breakfast simply because it was there, it was easy and quite frankly, who wouldn’t want chocolate cake for breakfast? This book is like chocolate cake for breakfast: addictive. And now I need to track down Danielle Hawkins’ first novel, Dinner At Rose’s as soon as possible because I’m pretty sure I’ll like that too.

9/10

Book #304 of 2013

Whatsinaname6This is the 6th and final book for my What’s In A Name?6 Challenge, filling in the category of something you might find in the kitchen. You can quite often find chocolate cake in mine…..if you look hard enough! Challenge complete!

 

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Top 10 Tuesday 23rd February

Hello everyone and welcome back to another edition of Top 10 Tuesday! Hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl, it features a different topic each week. This week our topic is:

Top 10 Books That Made Me Laugh Out Loud

1. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston.

I read this on a plane and snort-laughed my whole way through it. My kids, who were with me, kept saying ‘what is so funny?’ This book was hilarious. I absolutely loved it.

2. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell.

It’s been quite a while since I read this, but I can still remember just how much it made me laugh out loud. I’ve been devoted to Rainbow Rowell as an author ever since I read this.

3. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.

This was just my jam, I loved everything about it and so much about it made me chuckle out loud.

4. Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert.

I listened to this at night in bed and I’d be laying there, trying to laugh quietly because it was so funny. And usually I don’t connect as well with audiobooks, especially if I haven’t read the book already (I hadn’t read this in print form and actually, I still haven’t) and I think I’d have probably laughed even more if I’d been reading it rather than listening. This is funny, clever banter.

5. Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall.

This was also my jam! There’s loads of humour in this and I really enjoyed this read. I absolutely adore a good pairing of opposites.

6. Beach Read by Emily Henry.

I listened to this too and absolutely loved it! Another one where I was trying to laugh quietly when I was listening late at night! This also has a very serious side but the banter is top notch and I’m very much looking forward to Emily Henry’s next novel (which I have a copy of but I’m trying to restrain myself as it’s not out for months!).

7. Act Like It by Lucy Parker.

I love Lucy Parker! I always find her books funny but I have a soft spot for Richard and Lainie. This book has epic re-read value.

8. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett.

Loved this! It made me laugh (and want to watch a lot of old movies) the whole way through it. It’s one of my favourite YA romances.

9. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang.

This is super funny, I have really enjoyed the Helen Hoang books I’ve read so far. I’m looking forward to the next one!

10. Chocolate Cake For Breakfast by Danielle Hawkins.

This is by a New Zealand author and has one of the funnier meet-cutes I’ve read, between two characters. There’s a lot of humour in this and I love Helen and Mark. Every time I end up talking to someone about this book (hi Marg!) I end up re-reading it! Love it.

Here are just 10 of the books that made me laugh out loud (I’m sure there are plenty more!) but these are some sentimental favourites that I revisit when I can. If you’ve read and loved any of these, let me know!

 

 

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Read In 2020

  1. Wild Life by Keena Roberts (Book #1 of Read Non Fiction 2020)
  2. The Family Gift by Cathy Kelly
  3. It Sounded Better In My Head by Nina Kenwood (Book #1 of AWW2020)
  4. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
  5. Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe
  6. The Last Resort by Marissa Stapley
  7. Deep State by Chris Hauty
  8. The House Of Brides by Jane Cockram (Book #2 of AWW2020)
  9. A Murder At Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
  10. The Boundary Fence by Alissa Callen (Book #3 AWW2020)
  11. The Strangers We Know by Pip Drysdale (Book #4 of AWW2020)
  12. Tower Of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
  13. Gun Love by Jennifer Clement
  14. Headliners by Lucy Parker
  15. The Girl In The Gold Bikini by Lisa Walker (Book #5 of AWW2020)
  16. Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
  17. The Love That Remains by Susan Francis (Book #6 of AWW2020, Book #2 Read Non Fiction 2020)
  18. Mr Nobody by Catherine Steadman
  19. With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo (Book #1 of RWP Challenge)
  20. Riptides by Kirsten Alexander (Book #7 of AWW2020)
  21. The Displaced: Refugee Writers On Refugee Lives edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  22. Charlotte Pass by Lee Christine (Book #8 of AWW2020)
  23. The Light After The War by Anita Abriel (Book #9 of AWW2020)
  24. The Daughter Of Victory Lights by Kerri Turner (Book #10 of AWW2020)
  25. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (Book #2 of RWP Challenge)
  26. Nasty Women edited by Samhita Mukhopadhyay & Kate Harding (Book #3 of RWP Challenge)
  27. All This Could End by Steph Bowe (Book #11 of AWW2020)
  28. The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan (Book #12 of AWW2020)
  29. The Hunt For MH370 by Ean Higgins (Book #3 Read Non Fiction 2020)
  30. The River Home by Hannah Richell (Book #13 of AWW2020)
  31. Break The Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli
  32. Kingdom Of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
  33. A Curse So Dark And Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (Book #4 of RWP Challenge)
  34. Night Swimming by Steph Bowe (Book #14 of AWW2020)
  35. The Paris Model by Alexandra Joel (Book #15 of AWW2020)
  36. The Vanishing Deep by Astrid Scholte (Book #16 of AWW2020)
  37. Lab Girl by Hope Jahren (Book #5 of RWP Challenge, Book #4 Read Non Fiction 2020)
  38. The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood (Book #6 RWP Challenge)
  39. Know My Name by Chanel Miller (Book #7, RWP Challenge, Book #5 Read Non Fiction)
  40. The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke (Book #17 of AWW2020)
  41. No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference by Greta Thunberg (Book #8 RWP Challenge)
  42. A Conspiracy Of Bones by Kathy Reichs
  43. Welcome To Country by Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy (Book #9 RWP Challenge)
  44. The Secrets Of Strangers by Charity Norman
  45. Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin
  46. A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn
  47. Scarlett And The Model Man by Cathryn Hein (Book #18 of AWW2020)
  48. Vicious by V.E. Schwab
  49. House Of Earth And Blood by Sarah J. Maas
  50. Fence Vol 1 by C.S. Pacat
  51. Fence Vol 2 by C.S. Pacat
  52. Fence Vol 3 by C.S. Pacat
  53. The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice And Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
  54. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
  55. Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
  56. Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder
  57. Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder
  58. Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder
  59. Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder
  60. Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
  61. The Lost Jewels by Kirsty Manning (Book #19 of AWW2020)
  62. Night Study by Maria V. Snyder
  63. Mum & Dad by Joanna Trollope
  64. Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder
  65. Gulliver’s Wife by Lauren Chater (Book #20 of AWW2020)
  66. Deep Water by Sarah Epstein (Book #21 of AWW2020)
  67. The Deceptions by Suzanne Leal (Book #22 of AWW2020)
  68. The Octopus And I by Erin Hortle (Book #23 of AWW2020)
  69. Touch Of Power by Maria V. Snyder
  70. Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
  71. The Long Road Home by Fiona McCallum (Book #24 of AWW2020)
  72. The Switch by Beth O’Leary
  73. No Small Shame by Christine Bell (Book #25 of AWW2020)
  74. The Girl She Was by Rebecca Freeborn (Book #26 of AWW2020)
  75. Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer
  76. Chocolate Cake For Breakfast by Danielle Hawkins {re-read}
  77. The Viennese Girl by Jenny Lecoat
  78. The Eyes Of Tamburah by Maria V. Snyder
  79. The Swap by Robyn Harding
  80. The Sin Eater by Megan Campisi
  81. The Country Wedding by Barbara Hannay (Book #27 of AWW2020)
  82. From Alaska With Love by Ally James
  83. In At The Deep End by Penelope Janu {re-read}
  84. The Hidden Beach by Karen Swan
  85. Fool Me Once by Karly Lane (Book #28 of AWW2020)
  86. Death in The Ladies’ Goddess Club by Julian Leatherdale
  87. Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell
  88. Hidden Victims by LynDee Walker
  89. The Erratics by Vicki Laveau-Harvie (Book #10 RWC, Book #28 of AWW2020)
  90. An Alice Girl by Tanya Heaslip (Book #29 of AWW2020)
  91. Navigating The Stars by Maria V. Snyder
  92. Jacinda Ardern by Michelle Duff
  93. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  94. Kathleen Folbigg by Matthew Benns (Book #6 Read Non Fiction 2020)
  95. The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
  96. The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey
  97. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
  98. Something To Talk About by Rachael Johns (Book #30 of AWW2020)
  99. Broken Hearts At Brightwater Bay by Holly Hepburn
  100. Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
  101. The House On Burra Burra Lane by Jennie Jones (Book #31 of AWW2020)
  102. Lovestruck by Bronwyn Sell (Book #32 of #AWW2020)
  103. The Christmas Lights by Karen Swan
  104. The Cake Maker’s Wish by Josephine Moon (Book #33 of AWW2020, Book #11 of Reading Women Challenge)
  105. The Roadhouse by Kerry McGinnis (Book #34 of AWW2020)
  106. The Greek Escape by Karen Swan
  107. Sticks And Stones by Katherine Firkin (Book #35 of AWW2020)
  108. The Year The Maps Changed by Danielle Binks (Book #36 of AWW2020)
  109. Bottlebrush Creek by Maya Linnell (Book #37 of AWW2020)
  110. A Year At Castle Court by Holly Hepburn
  111. Red At The Bone by Jacqueline Woodson (Book #12 RWC)
  112. Alice To Prague by Tanya Heaslip (Book #38 AWW2020)
  113. 488 Rules For Life by Kitty Flanagan (Book #39 of AWW2020)
  114. Whitsunday Dawn by Annie Seaton (Book #40 of AWW2020)
  115. Better Luck Next Time by Kate Hilton
  116. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen (narrated by Rosamund Pike)
  117. Australia Day by Stan Grant
  118. The Silk House by Kayte Nunn (Book #41 of AWW2020)
  119. The Spanish Promise by Karen Swan
  120. My Best Friend’s Royal Wedding by Romy Sommer
  121. Love By The Book by Melissa Pimentel
  122. In The Line Of Ire by Camilla Chafer
  123. A Longer Fall by Charlaine Harris
  124. Death In Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh
  125. Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody (audiobook)
  126. Truganini by Cassandra Pybus (Book #7 Read Non Fiction Challenge, Book #13 RWC, Book #42 AWW2020)
  127. Brazen And The Beast by Sarah MacLean
  128. The Farseekers by Isobelle Carmody (audiobook)
  129. The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish
  130. Blood by Tony Birch
  131. Talking To My Country by Stan Grant
  132. Artistic License by Elle Pierson
  133. The Goldminer’s Sister by Alison Stuart (Book #43 of AWW2020)
  134. Water Under The Bridge by Lily Malone (Book #44 of AWW2020)
  135. The Drover’s Wife by Leah Purcell (Book #45 of AWW2020)
  136. The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan
  137. “They Can’t Kill Us All” by Wesley Lowery
  138. Confessions Of A GP by Benjamin Daniels
  139. Ashling by Isobelle Carmody (audiobook)
  140. The Christmas Party by Karen Swan
  141. The Farm At Peppertree Crossing by Leonie Kelsall (Book #46 of AWW2020)
  142. Elsa Goody, Bushranger by Darry Fraser (Book #47 of AWW2020)
  143. Duchess By Day, Mistress By Night by Stacy Reid
  144. The Earl In My Bed by Stacy Reid
  145. Evernight by Kristen Callihan
  146. White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
  147. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
  148. Deadman’s Track by Sarah Barrie (Book #48 of AWW2020)
  149. Stars Over The Southern Ocean by J.H. Fletcher
  150. Actress by Anne Enright
  151. The Memories That Make Us by Vanessa Carnevale (Book #49 of AWW2020)
  152. Matilda Next Door by Kelly Hunter (Book #50 of AWW2020)
  153. Maeve’s Baby by Fiona McArthur (Book #51 of AWW2020)
  154. The Sister’s Gift by Barbara Hannay (Book #52 of AWW2020)
  155. The Secret Life Of Shirley Sullivan by Lisa Ireland (Book #53 of AWW2020)
  156. Reasonable Doubt by Dr Xanthe Mallett (Book #54 of AWW2020)
  157. Redhead By The Side Of The Road by Anne Tyler
  158. The Night Whistler by Greg Woodland
  159. The McCalister Legacy by Nicole Hurley-Moore (Book #55 of AWW2020)
  160. The Last Migration by Charlotte McConaghy (Book #56 of AWW2020)
  161. A Lonely Girl Is A Dangerous Thing by Jessie Tu (Book #57 of AWW2020)
  162. Loner by Georgina Young (Book #58 of AWW2020)
  163. The Last Lions Of Africa by Anthony Ham
  164. The Cafe By The Bridge by Lily Malone (Book #59 of AWW2020)
  165. Bush School by Peter O’Brien
  166. Christmas Under The Stars by Karen Swan
  167. Serenity’s Song by Cathryn Hein (Book #60 of AWW2020)
  168. A Nanny Called Alice by Barbara Hannay (Book #61 of AWW2020)
  169. The Healer by Allison Butler (Book #62 of AWW2020)
  170. The Girl In The Mirror by Rose Carlyle
  171. I Give My Marriage A Year by Holly Wainwright (Book #63 of AWW2020)
  172. The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-eun (Book #14 RWC)
  173. The Bush Telegraph by Fiona McArthur (Book #64 of AWW2020)
  174. The Recovery Of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
  175. Tread The Boards by Nikki Logan (Book #65 of AWW2020)
  176. Set The Stage by Daniel de Lorne
  177. Take A Bow by Fiona Greene (Book #66 of AWW2020)
  178. Elsa’s Stand by Cathryn Hein (Book #67 of AWW2020)
  179. The Mystery Woman by Belinda Alexandra (Book #68 of AWW2020)
  180. Dreams They Forgot by Emma Ashmere (Book #69 of AWW2020)
  181. The Road To Ironbark by Kaye Dobbie (Book #70 of AWW2020)
  182. The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker
  183. The F Team by Rawah Arja (Book #71 of AWW2020, Book #15 RWC)
  184. Lonely In Longreach by Eva Scott (Book #72 of AWW2020)
  185. Well Met by Jen DeLuca
  186. The Improper Bride by Lily Maxton
  187. The Single Girl’s To Do List by Lindsey Kelk
  188. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough (Book #73 of AWW2020, Book #16 RWC)
  189. Either Side Of Midnight by Benjamin Stevenson
  190. The Survivors by Jane Harper (Book #74 of AWW2020)
  191. House Of Correction by Nicci French
  192. None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney (Book #75 of AWW2020)
  193. This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
  194. Here Is The Beehive by Sarah Crossan
  195. Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  196. The Minute I Saw You by Paige Toon
  197. The Lying Life Of Adults by Elena Ferrante
  198. A Lifetime Of Impossible Days by Tabitha Bird (Book #76 of AWW2020)
  199. Second Chance Lane by Nicola Marsh (Book #77 of AWW2020)
  200. Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould (Book #17 of RWC)
  201. Mind The Gap, Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  202. Scrublands by Chris Hammer
  203. Earthlings by Sayaka Murata
  204. Return To Virgin River by Robyn Carr
  205. Letters From Berlin by Tania Blanchard (Book #78 of AWW2020)
  206. Silver by Chris Hammer
  207. Beach Read by Emily Henry (audiobook)
  208. Christmas At Claridges by Karen Swan
  209. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Book #18 of RWC)
  210. Trust by Chris Hammer
  211. The Billionaire’s Wake Up Call Girl by Annika Martin
  212. Too Much And Never Enough by Mary L. Trump (Book #8 Read Non Fiction Challenge)
  213. How To Talk About Climate Change In A Way That Makes A Difference by Rebecca Huntley (Book #79 AWW2020, Book #9 of Read Non Fiction Challenge)
  214. Anxiety by Dr Mark Cross (Book #10 of Read Non Fiction Challenge)
  215. Flying The Nest by Rachael Johns (Book #80 AWW2020)
  216. The Mother Fault by Kate Mildenhall (Book #81 of AWW2020, Book #19 of RWC)
  217. The Five: The Untold Lives Of The Women Killed By Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold (Book #20 RWC)
  218. On Pandemics by David Waltner-Toews (Book #11 Read Non Fiction Challenge)
  219. Life After Truth by Ceridwen Dovey (Book #82 AWW2020)
  220. The Shearer’s Wife by Fleur McDonald (Book #83 of AWW2020)
  221. The Bookish Life Of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman (Book #21 RWC)
  222. The Queen’s Captain by Peter Watt
  223. The City Of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty (Book #22 RWC)
  224. Dash & Lily’s Book Of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan (Book #23 RWC, re-read)
  225. The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthal (DNF)
  226. Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
  227. The Champagne War by Fiona McIntosh (Book #84 of AWWC)
  228. The Duke And I by Julia Quinn
  229. When I Come Home Again by Caroline Scott
  230. The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth (Book #85 of AWWC)
  231. The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
  232. A Promised Land by Barack Obama
  233. Catch & Kill by Ronan Farrow
  234. How The King Of Elfhame Learned To Hate Fairy Tales by Holly Black
  235. From Blood & Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  236. Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (audiobook)
  237. Ink & Bone by Rachel Caine
  238. The Kingdom Of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
  239. The Godmothers by Monica McInerney (Book #86 of AWWC)
  240. The Valley Of Lost Stories by Vanessa McCausland (Book #87 of AWWC)
  241. The Queen Of Nothing by Holly Black (audiobook)

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Review: When It All Went To Custard by Danielle Hawkins

When It All Went To Custard
Danielle Hawkins
Harper Collins AUS
2019, 400p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

Odds of saving marriage – slim. Farming expertise – patchy. Chances that it’ll all be okay in the end – actually pretty good …

I wasn’t enjoying the afternoon of 23 February even before I learnt that my husband was having an affair …

The news of her husband’s infidelity comes as a nasty shock to Jenny Reynolds, part-time building control officer and full-time mother – even though, to her surprise and embarrassment, her first reaction is relief, not anguish. What really hurts is her children’s unhappiness at the break-up, and the growing realisation that, alone, she may lose the family farm.

This is the story of the year after Jenny’s old life falls apart; of family and farming, pet lambs and geriatric dogs, choko-bearing tenants and Springsteen-esque neighbours. And of just perhaps a second chance at happiness.

In recent years, Danielle Hawkins has become one of my favourite contemporary authors. I love her rural stories set in New Zealand – Chocolate Cake For Breakfast is one of my favourite books. And I’ve enjoyed all her others too so I was really excited to discover that she had a new book releasing! I actually didn’t know about it until it just before it’s release so I was super pleased to receive a copy and be able to get stuck straight in.

It’s not a good day for Jenny when her neighbour comes to her and admits that he caught her husband with his wife. Jenny and her husband lease land from her parents to farm but it’s barely keeping their heads above water and Jenny also works a couple of days a week in town as a building control officer. When she separates from her husband, he leaves the farm which means that Jenny has to juggle even more. They have two young children as well, with Jenny doing the bulk of the caregiving.

Sometimes I feel like rural fiction can occasionally romanticise farming life – this book does not really do that. Jenny and her husband don’t own the land, it’s something her family owns and they lease part of it from them in order to farm. It’s Jenny’s dream to make this land work, with the plan being that they would buy her parents out eventually and own and farm themselves. The land however, has dramatically increased in value since her parents purchased it and there are big corporate style buyers with offers sniffing around. Jenny is pulled in so many different directions: the farm doesn’t really make a lot of money and it’s possible that the person who works for them has been skimping on his duties, her children are struggling with the marriage break up and the fact that their parents now live apart and they split their time between them, her job comes with its own challenges and her family and ex-husband are constant sources of frustration. There were times reading this that I felt my own stress levels rising (usually after Jenny had had a conversation with her freeloading lodger, ex-husband and/or her sister, both of whom I found to be frustrating characters. Particularly the ex-husband who is a narcissistic gaslighter). I don’t know how Jenny managed to keep her cool in so many situations – perhaps she has just learned to not rise. I would certainly have risen to the bait being dangled many times.

I really enjoyed Jenny’s interactions with Andrew, the neighbour who farms the property adjacent to hers (and who caught her husband in bed with his wife). Andrew is patient and thoughtful, a bit of a quiet type and Jenny finds herself suddenly spending more and more time with him. Sometimes the ways in which they interact are awkward and embarrassing and Jenny I think has been so beaten down by her relationship with her ex-husband that she’s not sure how to put herself out there anymore, how to open herself up to the possibility of something new. It’s a thing she has to learn, to quell that instinct to dampen herself down. It makes her very skittish about moving forward and I get it – it’s good to take things slowly, to wait until you’re sure, especially when there are young children involved. But in Jenny’s case, she’s kind of treading water and not even considering the future, which makes things quite difficult for someone who wants to make a future with her! Jenny has to realise a few things and undergo a bit of growth in order to really move forward and she also has to compromise on a few things as well as kind of put her pride aside and take the leap.

Danielle Hawkins’ books always provide me with a little bit of everything – there are lots of funny moments in here, but it also really thoughtfully and seriously explores the breakdown of a marriage, the separation of a partnership, single and co-parenting, negotiating an ex’s new relationship, starting a new one yourself, farming difficulties, the struggle to remain a family farm and small community life. I was a big fan of the romantic interest in this one, he’s my sort exactly!

Another super fantastic read here, now I begin the wait until the next one.

8/10

Book #69 of 2019

 

 

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Review: The Pretty Delicious Cafe by Danielle Hawkins

pretty-delicious-cafeThe Pretty Delicious Cafe
Danielle Hawkins
Harper Collins AUS
2016, 352p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

On the outskirts of a small New Zealand seaside town, Lia and her friend Anna work serious hours running their restored cafe. The busy season is just around the corner, and there are other things to occupy them. Anna is about to marry Lia’s twin brother, and Lia’s ex-boyfriend seems not to understand it’s over.

When a gorgeous stranger taps on Lia’s window near midnight and turns out not to be a serial killer, she feels it’s a promising sign. But the past won’t let them be, and Lia must decide whether events rule her life or she does.

The Pretty Delicious Cafe will remind you of those special, good things we love about living. And the food is great.
A warm, witty novel, brimming with the trademark romance, friendship and eccentricity that Danielle Hawkins’s fans adore.

Oh my gosh, I love Danielle Hawkins. I really do. When I opened up a hefty parcel from the lovely people at Harper Collins Australia and this tumbled out, I might’ve squealed. Firstly, because I adore her two other books. Her previous novel, Chocolate Cake For Breakfast is one of my favourites. And secondly because I didn’t know that she had a new book coming out and it was such an awesome, fun surprise! Of course I pretty much had to read it straight away.

I’ve never been to New Zealand but this book has made me even more keen to visit. The setting is truly beautiful and described as such a natural part of the story. Lia and her friend Anna run a cafe which is still in the ‘taking off’ stage but the busy season is just around the corner and they have high hopes that it will be successful. I feel as though I must warn potential readers – don’t read this book when you’re hungry! It will have you craving the amazing delicious treats Lia describes as she makes them but helpfully the book does come with a half dozen or so recipes in the back, things that Lia makes to sell at Pretty Delicious Cafe.

Lia is single, having recently broken up with someone who seems to be having trouble accepting that what’s done is done. When new-to-the-area Jed knocks on her door at midnight and turns out not to be a crazy serial killer, Lia sees the potential for something with him. Jed has his baggage though and although there’s a strong attraction between the two of them, the way things in his life are means that his stay isn’t going to be permanent. Danielle Hawkins writes cute but realistic romance so well and I loved the blossoming friendship plus a bit more that Lia and Jed are experiencing. Jed has some quite serious commitments and I appreciated that his situation was not something I read about too often in fiction, but in this time is increasingly more common.

Anna is engaged to Lia’s twin brother Rob and the three of them have a somewhat complex dynamic due to the deep connection that Lia and Rob share. I’ve always found twins really interesting, I’ve known several pairs of twins both identical and not and it does seem as though they do often have special connections. As Rob’s partner, I think Anna is somewhat wary of this connection, it’s something that she can’t be a part of, either with her partner or her best friend. And I think it’s something that she perhaps finds a bit difficult to accept because of the nature of it. I didn’t particularly blame her about that, I think it’d be something that would be quite difficult to be comfortable with.

Although this book is super funny with plenty of quirky characters, amusing moments and that lazy, laid back feel of rural coastal life, it also has a very serious side, tackling an issue that is very prevalent in society today. The novel did end up taking a darker swerve than I anticipated towards the end but I think that Hawkins did a great job balancing out the lighter side of the book with the darker and nothing felt out of place or jarring. Lia’s situation slowly escalates but in a way that still makes you surprised at the act towards the end.

Like her other books, this one was a winner for me. I loved every turn of the page and it lives up to the expectations I had of a good read when it arrived. I would be super happy if every book I read left me at satisfied as Danielle Hawkins’ books do.

8/10

Book #192 of 2016

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Top 10 Tuesday 31st December

TTTIt’s officially the last day of 2013! I can’t believe it really – for me this year has gone super fast and it’s hard to imagine that tomorrow brings a brand new year, especially the year in which my oldest starts school. So because it’s the last day of the year, of course for Top 10 Tuesday, hosted by The Broke & The Bookish, the topic is:

Top 10 Books I Read In 2013!

(These are roughly in the order I read them, not in any real particular order of actual preference)

  1. FirebirdThe Firebird, by Susanna Kearsley. I love pretty much all of her books and this one expands upon a couple of earlier stories (it’s best if you’ve read The Winter Sea and probably also The Shadowy Horses before this one). Whoever thought a psychic could be so hot? And the setting is beautiful.
  2. Rosie ProjectThe Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion. This book won the heart of pretty much everyone that read it this year – it’s such a charming and funny story with lovely characters. I probably don’t need to say much about it!
  3. Wild GirlThe Wild Girl, by Kate Forsyth. Kate Forsyth writes so beautifully – her books retelling fairy tales truly are masterpieces. For anyone who read and loved Bitter Greens then you definitely need to read this one too. It’s a fabulous story, utterly engaging.
  4. People SmugglerThe People Smuggler, by Robin De Crespigny. I don’t read much non-fiction, although I probably read more in 2013 than I have in the past 10 years. There were a few really good choices, but ultimately I decided to go with this one because I think it presents such a different side to the refugee and boat people crisis from what a lot of people (especially those in power) would have us believe. It’s very interesting and very well done.
  5. Life In Outer SpaceLife In Outer Space, by Melissa Keil. A wonderfully quirky and funny YA novel that was recommended to me by the fabulous Mandee from VeganYANerds and I’m so glad she did. I really enjoyed this one and in turn, I’ve recommended it to a bunch of other people. I can’t wait to see what Melissa Keil writes next.
  6. LickLick, by Kylie Scott. This one took the eBook world by storm and it wasn’t hard to see why. It taps in to a lot of those fantasy style stories: waking up married in Vegas, finding out your brand new husband is actually the super hot guitarist of a well known band…. etc. And then there’s the issues, which are awesome. Fantastic writing, sexy and there’s more to come!
  7. Outback DreamsOutback Dreams, by Rachael Johns. I read a lot of fabulous rural romances this year and it was hard choosing one to include in this list but in the end I went with this one because I really enjoyed a slightly different take on the friends-to-lovers and I thought the community created was awesome and I liked the way in which it explored some issues. It’s also first of a trilogy so the bonus is we get to return to the setting twice more next year.
  8. Vampire AcademyThe Vampire Academy Series, by Richelle Mead. Seriously, it was ridiculous that I didn’t read these until now.
  9. Hate Is Such A Strong WordHate Is Such A Strong Word, by Sarah Ayoub. I’ve mentioned this book a lot lately but I have to include it here. I think at times it’s difficult for some people to understand what it might be like for first generation migrants who are caught between their parents culture and the culture of their new country. This book does an excellent job of exploring that with some sweet teen romance thrown in. Was a winner for me.
  10. Fiery HeartThe Fiery Heart, by Richelle Mead. I have to admit, I didn’t fall in love with this series right away, like I did with Vampire Academy. It took a little while for Mead to convince me of everything she had going on here but this book definitely did it. It steps everything up a lot and really makes you think about how/where things are going to go from here.

It was surprisingly easy picking my 10 here however I’m going to throw in a few honourable mentions because I really did read a lot of fabulous books in 2013! So here we go:

A Spear Of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn, Love With A Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche, Dark Horse by Honey Brown, Half Moon Bay by Helene Young, The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty, Heartland by Cathryn Hein, Roll With It by Nick Place, Terminated by Rachel Caine, My Notorious Life by Kate Manning, Me & Rory Macbeath by Richard Beasley, The Whole Of My World by Nicole Hayes, Redemption by Jussi Adler-Olsen, The Outback Heart by Fiona Palmer, The Girl In The Yellow Vest by Loretta Hill, The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan, Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas, The Best Man by Kristan Higgins and Chocolate Cake For Breakfast by Danielle Hawkins.

Happy New Year everyone!

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2013 End Of Year Book Survey

Book Survey 2013For the last couple of years I have been taking Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner‘s End of Year Bookish Survey. It’s always a lot of fun and you can surf around plenty of blogs and see what other people were enjoying and pick up at least a hundred new books for your TBR. Because we all need more of those!

So let’s get into it.

1. Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)

I am going to break this down a little because I read a lot of books in 2013 and it’s pretty much impossible to choose just one.

Best Contemporary:  The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion. What is not to love about this book? It’s so funny but yet beautifully heartwarming and serious underneath as Don, a Professor with some Asperger’s tendencies undertakes The Wife Project, to find the woman he will marry.

Best Young Adult: The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. I resisted reading these for so long and I finally caved this year and I became obsessed. Basically everything can be summed up by saying: Rose. Dimitri.

Best Literary: The Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Richard Flanagan. I think that this book is pretty well not a surprise to most fans of Australian novels. Flanagan is well known and his exploration of life on the Thai-Burma railway and love and loss is beautifully written. This book will win prizes.

Best Non-fiction: The People Smuggler, by Robin De Crespigny. Can someone give this book to Tony Abbott? Please?

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Hmmm. Okay I know I’m kind of out here alone, but I’m going to say Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. I was so excited to read this book, it was pumped up so much but I have to say, I didn’t really enjoy it anywhere near as much as I thought I would. There’s no denying it’s clever but I found myself getting bored in more than one scenario and it was repetitive.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?

Probably the Vampire Academy books. I really did not expect to fall in love with them that much.

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley and Hate Is Such A Strong Word by Sarah Ayoub

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

I’ll go with the Fever series, by Karen Marie Moning, given I’ve already said VA a couple times now.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

Danielle Hawkins, author of Dinner At Rose’s and Chocolate Cake For Breakfast

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

On The Trail of Genghis Khan, by Tim Cope. I really don’t read a lot of non-fiction, memoir etc but I really enjoyed this one.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

Dangerous Girls, by Abigail Haas

9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

The Firebird, by Susanna Kearsley

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

Wild Girl

The Wild Girl, by Kate Forsyth

11. Most memorable character in 2013?

Professor Don Tillman from The Rosie Project. Or Jericho Barrons from the Fever series. Orrrr….. Agnes Magnúsdóttir from Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

The Narrow Road To The Deep North by Richard Flanagan and The Whole Of My World, by Nicole Hayes

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?

Hate Is Such A Strong Word by Sarah Ayoub

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?

Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?

I never write down quotes I like. Oops.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

The longest is definitely Command Authority by Tom Clancy at a pretty whopping 752p. The shortest was Chained by Ruthie Knox (40p), which was just part of a book really. So the shortest complete book was No Money Down by Julie Moffett at 90p.

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.)

The end of The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead. Also Cry Blue Murder by Kim Kane and Marion Roberts and Dark Horse by Honey Brown.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc)

Romance: Nicola and Rob in The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley, Rose and Dimitri in the Vampire Academy books,

Friendships: Bill and Sticks/Lucas in The First Third by Will Kostakis,

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else

Life In Outer Space by Melissa Keil

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

I read pretty widely but probably contemporary romance

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?

Good Lord, where do I start? Dimitri Belikov, Rob McMorran from The Firebird, Jericho Barrons, Shehadie Goldsmith (let’s ignore the fact that he’s 18, shall we?).

23. Best 2013 debut you read?

Going to go with something I haven’t already said – Roll With It by Nick Place

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?

Chocolate Cake For Breakfast by Danielle Hawkins

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

Um, I cry in pretty much everything. It would probably be quicker if I listed books that didn’t make me cry. But the one that surprised me the most when I cried was Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. I also did some serious sobbing in Paper Chains by Nicola Moriarty.

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

Often I see a few books that get plenty of love overseas but not so much around the Aussie blogs/sites like The Circle by Dave Eggers. I think Me & Rory Macbeath definitely needs more love and I’d love to see books like Life In Outer Space and Hate Is Such A Strong Word do well overseas.

I always enjoy doing these, it makes me go back and really examine the books I’ve read including ones that I read so long ago that I’ve almost forgotten them or it feels like much longer ago that I read them! I obviously found quite a few books in 2013 that I really loved because there’s several I mention many times! I hope my reading in 2014 brings about just as many wonderful books.

 

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Top 10 Tuesday 17th December

TTTTop 10 Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme created by The Broke and the Bookish featuring a different theme each week. Today it is:

Top 10 New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2013

  1. Richelle Mead. This one is easy! I’d never read Richelle Mead before this year although the first book I read by her was Gameboard of the Gods which for me, isn’t really a showcase of her talents. But it was enough to finally convince me to read the Vampire Academy series, which I’d always avoided before now because of the name (horrid!) and the covers. I immediately went straight on to Bloodlines after that and also read her Succubus series which was awesome as well.
  2. Karen Marie Moning. I read her Fever series this year in about four days – I became completely obsessed with it. I also listened to the audiobooks of 4&5 many, many times (especially the last one). I did try the Dani O’Malley book but I have to say, it kind of creeped me out. The next book occurs 3 years after so Dani is 17 now which makes it seem slightly less weird. But only slightly. But I’m looking forward to the return of Mac & Barrons.
  3. Sarah Ayoub. This Australian freelance journalist released her first novel, Hate Is Such A Strong Word this year and I loved it. It’s such a fabulous story set among Sydney’s Lebanese Australian community and it definitely gave me lots to think about in terms of what it mean to be torn between two cultures and your family and a desire to have a life.
  4. Kristan Higgins. I have heard a lot about her books as I follow quite a lot of contemporary romance fans but I’d never read any until very recently. Her books are very funny with offbeat characters and interesting family relationships. I’ve requested some more of her titles from my local library.
  5. Dave Eggers. I read The Circle earlier this year and really liked his ideas and his style and reading more about him, I definitely want to read more of his books, especially A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius which is a story that’s sort of a memoir based on him quitting college to look after a younger sibling after both of his parents died young a short time apart.
  6. Richard Flanagan. Flanagan is a very well known and respected Australian author – in fact he’s one of my husband’s favourites. He’s been trying to get me to read him for years and finally succeeded this year with his latest release, The Narrow Road to the Deep North which features predominantly around the Thai-Burma railway which is also known as the Death Railway due to how many people died during its construction. Beautiful book beautifully written.
  7. Danielle Hawkins. This NZ author has two books out and I read them both within a couple of weeks of each other. I actually read her 2nd novel first, Chocolate Cake for Breakfast which was released this month because I received an ARC. I adored it – it was so funny and interesting and I immediately found her first book Dinner At Rose’s and devoured that. They’re different books, Rose is much more serious and sombre but still rife with a lot of humour that Aussies get.
  8. Melissa Keil. I really enjoyed her debut, Life In Outer Space. She has a new book coming out next year and I can’t wait to get my hands on that one!
  9. Erin Morgenstern. I read The Night Circus for book club which was a nice push because I’d owned it for a long time and hadn’t gotten around to picking it up even though I’d heard so many fabulous things about it. It’s a gorgeous book, so wonderfully evocative and a lovely story. So much whimsy and fantasy in that world I can’t even begin to describe it. I’m eagerly anticipating what she might come up with next.
  10. Samantha Shannon. So there was a lot of hype and anticipation about this title which always makes me super wary because so often the hype really does more damage than good, giving a book unrealistic expectations. I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this and everything that went into it and the story of Paige and Warden was full of surprises. I can’t wait for the next installment!
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Dinner At Rose’s – Danielle Hawkins

Dinner At Rose'sDinner At Rose’s
Danielle Hawkins
Allen & Unwin
2012, 416p
Bought for my Kindle

After arriving home and finding her longtime boyfriend engaged in sexual activities with her best friend on a chair, physiotherapist Jo Donnelly flees Melbourne for the safety of her country New Zealand hometown. She fills in for the local, an old friend who is going on maternity leave and finds a share house to live in. But things aren’t exactly fabulous – the receptionist in the clinic spends most of her time doing her nails and suffering from a runny nose and one of Jo’s housemates watches non stop reality TV and follows Jo around switching off lights and making sure she only boils the kettle with enough water in it for one cup of tea.

Jo’s honourary Aunt Rose is a bright spot in her life. Fabulously eccentric with her pet pig, her odd cooking inclinations and a wonderful sense of humour, she’s been a part of Jo’s life for a long time and Jo adores her. When Rose is diagnosed with a horrible illness Jo gives up the share house to move back in with her and take care of her as she embarks upon a grueling regime in order to try and combat it. This brings her even closer to Rose’s bona fide nephew Matthew. Jo and Matthew were best friends growing up, each having crushes on the other at various stages but with those stages never coinciding. A few years ago the planets aligned briefly for one night before Matthew went overseas and not long after Jo left for Melbourne and met her boyfriend who would become the chair acrobat.

But now the two of them are close again and with Rose wanting to see both of them sublimely happy (with each other) it’s only a matter of time before the chemistry simmering between them bubbles over.

Recently I read Danielle Hawkins’s second novel Chocolate Cake For Breakfast and loved it so immediately this one was on my radar. Recently I switched my Amazon account from the American to the new Australian store and to my surprise, this title was one of the daily deals recently and so I snatched it up and ended up reading it that same day. It’s littered with the same humour I found in her second book but this one also takes a much more serious tone, tackling an illness that many women face today with strength and bravery and the ability to still look for the positives even when the outlook is so very bad.

The characters are a shining light in this novel, from Jo and Matt right down to the slightly quirky local residents. Jo is someone we can all relate to, stalking her former best friend on facebook for the updates with her romance with Jo’s now ex-boyfriend. She’s smart and funny and very compassionate. She handles Matt’s younger teenage sister Kim with consummate ease, giving her someone to talk to that isn’t her older brother or her relatively useless mother Hazel, who flitters in and out of the story complaining about how difficult everything is for her, from teenage Kim and her rebellious antics to Rose’s growing illness. Jo’s former crush on Matt rears its head, complicated by the fact that he’s dating a local whom Jo nicknames ‘Farmer Barbie’. The scenes between Jo and Matt are so good – they know each other so well, even though they haven’t seen each other very often in the past few years and they are both able to be themselves around each other and let each other see them at their worst without it being uncomfortable. Their shared fear and grief unites them even further, fleshing out their crush into a real genuine relationship and understanding of each other.

**Please note the following paragraph does contain ***SPOILERS***

Recently I had the very unpleasant and heart wrenching experience of watching someone die for the first time in my life. It took place in a hospital so much of the caring was done by nurses and the staff but I got a pretty good look at what it is like to care for someone who is terminally ill. And it is horrible. When Jo gives up her place in the share house and moves home to care for Rose, it’s the sort of sacrifice I don’t think you can appreciate until you’ve seen what it takes yourself. And it is a sacrifice, even though those who do it would say that it isn’t. But it takes over your life and you are exposed to so many different things that you’d never otherwise see and that people would never want you to see. Rose suffers a lot with pain and other complications and side effects and she begs Jo not to remember her this way, but to remember her when she was healthy and whole and could take care of herself. Jo swears that she will and the way in which Jo copes with the task of looking after Rose is enormously admirable. She’s still working pretty much full time as well as taking care of Rose, which is almost yet another full time job in itself plus dealing with the often hysterical Kim and the condescending Hazel, who is no help at all and almost a hindrance but seems to resent Jo for doing so and believes her to be ‘wearing Rose out being a guest’ and she basically does a lot of it all on her own. Matt is a busy dairy farmer but he stops by as often as he can and helps her but there’s a lot of things he cannot do and no doubt that Rose wouldn’t want him to have to do as well. It’s such a raw and honest look at suffering and illness and the toll it takes not just on the one diagnosed but those around them too.

End spoilery paragraph

Another wonderfully written and highly enjoyable book and I’ll be watching in 2014 and hoping that Danielle Hawkins has another release.

8/10

Book #319 of 2013

 

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November Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 27
Fiction: 25
Non-Fiction: 1 (and 1 is both, a bunch of letters some of which are true and some of which aren’t)
Library Books: 0
Books On My TBR List: 5
Books in a Series: 9
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 17
Male/Female Authors: 6/18 (and 1 that is both men and women, the Women of Letters book)
Kindle Books: 4
Books I Owned or Bought: 3
Favourite Book(s): Chocolate Cake For Breakfast, by Danielle Hawkins, The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
Least Favourite Book(s): November was a pretty good reading month, nothing really comes to mind
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 10

I honestly cannot believe that the year is nearly over and we are entering the last month of 2013 today! This year has gone so fast. I’m about to order my blogging journal for 2014 and it seems crazy that I’m going to need it so soon.

I noticed that I didn’t read a single library book in November! This is I think, because I returned all of my library books except 1 before my trip interstate in October and when I got home I had such a backlog of books that I haven’t even thought of going to my library to request something until just this week. I returned 1 book and picked up 1 – it’s very very unusual for me to only have 1 book checked out of my library.

Soon I will be wrapping up my challenges – some I have already passed and others I know I will fail miserably! I’ve really read very little in the way towards my Classics Challenge this year and several books that I have read I haven’t gotten around to writing reviews for yet. Even though I still have 3 years left of the Classics Club Challenge, I am already way behind the pace I need to be on to finish it! I’m also behind on my Literary Exploration Challenge so I’m just going to roll that one over to next year and hope to complete the rest of it then. I think I also need to read 2 books for the What’s In A Name?6 Challenge. However two that I have passed with flying colours are the Australian Women Writers Challenge (107 titles so far read, probably 104 or so reviewed) and the Aussie Author Challenge which I adapted slightly to encourage myself to read more books by Australian men as men are so poorly represented in my reading. I aimed for 12 titles, 1 a month and I have read about 17 which I find very pleasing. I aim to increase this a little next year.

Sometime this month I also hope to do a Best Reads of 2013 as well, something I need to sit down and have a think about.

Next up on my reading pile: Picking from Small Town Storm by Elise Ackers, Gabriel’s Rapture by Sylvain Reynard or Secrets of the Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore.

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