Guest Review: The Reluctant Jillaroo – Kaz Delaney

 

The Reluctant Jillaroo

The Reluctant Jillaroo

Kaz Delaney

Allen & Unwin AU

ISBN: 9781925266061

Description:

Surf-loving Heidi impersonates her horse-mad twin to help Harper get a scholarship to attend the much sought-after agricultural school in this rural romance from Australia’s queen of teen, Kaz Delaney. Suitable for teen readers of Rachael Treasure.

Harper Gage has won the opportunity of a lifetime – ten days at Winmaroo Jillaroo and Jackaroo school. The camp could give her the recommendation she needs to go to the exclusive Agricoll for years 11 and 12. But when an accident leaves Harper hospitalised, her twin sister, Heidi, goes in her place. The only problem is that Heidi is not much of a country girl – not like her sister. And to make life even more complicated, her sister’s biggest rival Trent is going to be there. Will she be able to fool him?

And then the reality of the school hits Heidi hard. It’s all dust, snakes and heat – a million miles away from the surf she loves. When she meets the fun and handsome Chaz, life at the school suddenly doesn’t seem so bad, although with Trent acting up and trouble brewing with the other students, Heidi’s not sure how long she can keep her identity secret. And if her secret is revealed, will Chaz ever be able to trust her again

Brenda’s Review:

When Harper Gage injured herself the night before she was to leave for the ten day agricultural school course, which would hopefully set her up for a scholarship at Agricoll in Tamworth, identical twin sister Heidi didn’t think twice. Heidi would be Harper for the duration, and she hoped she could pull it off. Harper loved horses; anything country – while Heidi was a lover of the surf and city. But she had to try – it was her fault Harper was injured after all.

Winmaroo Jillaroo and Jackaroo school was amazing. But Heidi was terrified. When she met Poppy, her horse for the time she’d be there, she fell in love. Poppy was a delightful girl, quiet and secure; Heidi felt Poppy was the only one who understood her. With Trent at the camp – someone Harper went to school with – and the kind hearted and fun Chaz, Heidi’s stress levels climbed. But it was when things started to go wrong that Heidi was sure her secret would be exposed. What would she do if that happened? Would Harper lose everything she’d worked for?

The Reluctant Jillaroo is my first by Aussie author Kaz Delaney and I loved it! Laugh out loud entertainment, as well as some teary moments, plus the usual teenage angst – all set in the rural countryside of NSW around Scone, horse capital of Australia. And I had no idea who the culprit was until the reveal! A really enjoyable read, The Reluctant Jillaroo is one I highly recommend. 5 stars.

Post Script: Duck Gets A Job – Sonny Ross

Duck Gets A Job

Duck Gets a Job

Sonny Ross

Five Mile Press

ISBN: 9781760405359

 

Description:

Duck wants a job. All his friends work in big city banks, and they never stop going on about how much they love it. Duck doesn’t think a job in a big city bank sounds very exciting, but he picks one out of the paper, gets an interview, and gets the job. It’s not long before he realises that the job is NOT for him. He needs to follow his heart and his dream of being an artist. He quits his job at the bank and makes a decision. He is going to be an artist! He puts all the pictures he has drawn into a portfolio and goes off for another interview. He gets the job! He loves the job!

 

 

My View:

The book will delight both child and the adult reader – the child ( recommended for 4 + years)  will delight in the fabulous illustrations and Duck’s adventure in the big city; Duck wondering what he should wear, getting lost, feeling nervous…finding happiness.  The adult reader will find it hard to contain their laughter as they discover the irony and the humour hidden in plain sight in this read. (See posters on the office walls, thought bubbles, Duck sleeping at his desk…) Duck’s journey of self-awareness and self-discovery will resonate with many adults, young children, will for now, just enjoy this unique narrative and the fun illustrations. For the older child, Duck’s adventures provide plenty of opportunities for the reader to initiate conversations about following your dreams…being yourself.

 

I enjoyed this book 🙂

 

 

 

Wendy James…Welcome Back… Part 2

golden-child

Do you have fun with your characters, inject some humour to counter balance the darkness? Wendy shares how she achieves this in The Golden Child (and by the way – I too really enjoyed reading the blog posts/comments injected in the narrative, they made me smile).

In The Mail 20th February 2017

The wonderful people at  Five Mile Press and Bonnier Publishing sent me this delightful assortment of children’s books this week and I cant wait to share my reviews with you.  These books are gorgeous –  the illustrations are award winning, in some the irony and humour will even have some adults smiling as they read to their little ones and the narratives are charming and educational. Look out for these books when thinking of gifts for the 3 + children in your lives.

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In The Mail This Week 30th October 2016

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Some great reads received in the mail this week -The Barry Maitland’s Slaughter Park is a win from Text Publishers- thank you very much – I am a big fan of the Harry Belltree series.  What would you read next? One of these or is their something else that demands to be read next? What’s on the top of your TBR today?

Henry VIII’s Whiskey Slash – Shakespeare, Not Stirred – Caroline Bicks & Michelle Ephraim

Cover Shakespeare Not Stirred

Shakespeare, Not Stirred

Cocktails for Your Everyday Dramas

Caroline Bicks & Michelle Ephraim

Scribe

ISBN: 9781925106909

rrp$27.99

 

Henry VIII’s Whiskey Slash

The best leaders aren’t afraid to make unpopular decisions. Like King Henry VIII, if you’re a Real Man you have to be ready to ditch a pope, behead a wife who can’t give you a male heir, or divorce one who’s just kind of ugly. In Henry VIII, or All Is True, Shakespeare and his cowriter John Fletcher dramatized the king’s smooth Man-euvering from Wife #1 to Wife #2. Breaking up is hard to do, but only if you’re a pussy. This whiskey cocktail celebrates the alpha male’s right to slash any inconvenient ties that bind. Like a sacrament. Or a neck.

10 fresh mint leaves

½ cup lemon pieces

½ ounce simple syrup

2½ ounces rye whiskey

Maraschino cherries

Slash the mint leaves into little pieces. In a shaker, muddle the lemon pieces with the mint leaves and the simple syrup until they cry out for mercy. Add ice and the whiskey. Shake hard and strain into an old–fashioned glass over ice. Stick 3 (or more, if you’re feeling the urge) maraschino cherry “heads” on an olive pick, for garnish.

 

 

Mini-Bard: Henry VIII broke the Man-o-Meter when he split from the pope and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon—all so that he could marry his mistress Anne Boleyn. Henry and his team started weakening Rome’s power in England by getting a series of Acts passed in 1532 (when it was looking like Henry was never going to get the divorce or the son he wanted). They completed the break with Rome two years later when Henry declared himself Supreme Head of the Church of England. In the meantime, he’d already married the pregnant Anne and gotten the Archbishop of Canterbury to nullify his marriage to Catherine. The play Henry VIII casts Anne as “the goodliest woman / That ever lay by man,” and ends with the christening of her and Henry’s baby daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth I. The playwrights didn’t include any of that messy later stuff about Anne getting beheaded when she, like Catherine, failed to produce a male heir. Or anything about Henry’s other (*cough*) four wives. The original Globe Theatre burned to the ground during a 1613 performance of Henry VIII when a cannon shot, meant to herald the king’s greatness in act 1, blew up in his face. Can you say “karma”?

 

 

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Post Script: The Bit In Between – Claire Varley

Cover The Bit In Between

The Bit In Between

Claire Varley

Pan Macmillan Australia

ISBN: 9781743535608

RRP $29.99

  

Description:

There are seven billion people in the world. This is the story of two of them.

After an unfortunate incident in an airport lounge involving an immovable customs officer, a full jar of sun-dried tomatoes and the capricious hand of fate, Oliver meets Alison. In spite of this less than romantic start, Oliver falls in love with her. Immediately. Inexplicably. Irrevocably. With no other place to be, Alison follows Oliver to the Solomon Islands where he is planning to write his much-anticipated second novel. But as Oliver’s story begins to take shape, odd things start to happen and he senses there may be more hinging on his novel than the burden of expectation. As he gets deeper into the manuscript and Alison moves further away from him, Oliver finds himself clinging to a narrative that may not end with ‘happily ever after’.

 

My View:

A contemporary love story that explores all the relationships in the narrative rather than focusing on just those of the protagonists – Alison and Oliver; everyone that comes within their orbit has a unique story, even the minor characters – the taxi driver, the house cleaner, an aunt, members of the band, the passer-by…I loved these little vignettes of life, where we are privy to the personal events that have shaped people rather than just seeing the faces/the facade usually presented to the world.

 

In a particular I enjoyed reading about the development of the relationship between Alison and Sera and her extended family – seeing how the extended family/community helps to raise the children, “… babies are part of the cycle of nature…the community raises the baby. I (Sera) am not doing it on my own. It is not just my love that will raise these babies.” (p219) This is just one example of the very poignant and astute story telling that forms part of this complex narrative which is punctuated with such observations and hilarious anecdotes.

 

More than a story of romance and love this is a story of real relationships and personal growth, perhaps this could even be recognised as a contemporary “coming of age” story. Claire Varley writes with passion and exuberance.