Caravaning Company

Travel = husband, dog, 5th wheeler caravan, beautiful scenery,  wild dolphins and books:)

Augusta-2017 Garry & Bob

Bob the Dog enjoying the sites and smells of holidays.

Dolphins

Dolphins playing in the river – you had to be there to appreciate it 🙂

The Animators

The Animators – Five star reading

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman – a fabulous read.

The Unfortunate Victim

The Unfortunate Victim – a great Australian historical crime fiction read.

What more could you want?

 

Post Script: The Pretty Delicious Cafe – Danielle Hawkins

the-pretty-delicious-cafe

The Pretty Delicious Café

Danielle Hawkins

HarperCollins Publishers Australia

ISBN: 9781460752586

 

Description:

Food, family and fresh beginnings. For fans of 800 Words, Offspring, Josephine Moon and Monica McInerney.

 

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.

 

 

My View:

What’s not to like about a Danielle Hawkins book? If you don’t like witty, touching , contemporary writing with a few zany characters, relatable relationships and their trials and tribulations, good food, a wedding or two and a happy ending then don’t pick up this book.

This is life lit at its best! It is so refreshing to read a novel where life is accurately reflected. Life is not always black and white, people’s personal lives can be complicated, and friends do argue or have misunderstandings, marriages do breakup, mental health is a whole of community issue…and families…well they are the most complicated relationship of all.

 

Danielle Hawkins provides the reader with a glimpse of the microcosm of a small town that reflects situations and emotions that resonate with so many of us, there is realism on these pages. A very satisfying read.

 

PS – And a bonus – there are even recipes for some of the dishes served at The Pretty Delicious Café at the back of the book.

Post Script: The Last Crocodile Hunter – Bob Irwin with Amanda French – Guest Reviewer

“Anyone who has ever heard of Steve Irwin should read (this).”

the-last-crocodile-hunter

The Last Crocodile Hunter: A Father & Son Legacy

Bob Irwin with Amanda French

Allen & Unwin AU

ISBN: 9781760292379

 

Description:

‘When the world lost Steve, the animals lost the best friend they ever had, and so did I. But he’s still here with me and knowing that means that I am able to gain strength from him, and harness the same passion and drive that he and I both had together. There are so many people who have been inspired and are still being inspired by Steve Irwin and that makes me feel really, really proud.’ – Bob Irwin

Bob Irwin grew up in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria, Australia, where his passion for wildlife and its environment was born. A near-death experience while working as a plumber made Bob realise he needed to follow his dreams, so he and his wife Lyn uprooted their young family and moved to Queensland where they opened a Reptile and Fauna Park on the Sunshine Coast.

Bob’s passion for reptiles grew with his ever expanding collection and he soon became involved with various venom labs, for which he would catch the snakes that were later milked for the production of life-saving anti-venom. Growing up within the Beerwah Reptile & Wildlife Park, and with Lyn caring for orphaned wildlife at home, passion for the environment and all animals was a way of life for the Irwin children. This unique upbringing had a profound impact on his son Steve, who followed in his father’s footsteps and along the way became famous around the world as educator and wildlife warrior, the Crocodile Hunter.

Bob nearly didn’t survive the sudden death of his adored wife Lyn, and could have gone under again when a routine filming session for Steve’s TV show ended in his tragic death in 2006 at the age of 44. In each instance was the natural world and the animals within it which helped Bob to keep going, and since then he has continued to fight for his beloved Steve’s legacy of protecting the wildlife, environment and planet on which our own survival depends.

Entertaining, moving, impassioned and inspiring, The Last Crocodile Hunter goes to the heart and soul of a great Australian character, father and fighter, and raises issues that are crucial to us all.

 

Brenda’s View:

The Dandenong Ranges in Victoria was where Bob Irwin grew up, and his love of the Australian wildlife and surrounding bush was in him from a very young age. As the years passed, Bob became a plumber and worked with his father. But eventually Bob knew he was no longer happy in his job, so after much discussion with his wife Lyn, in late 1972 they headed for Queensland with the children. The Beerwah Reptile and Fauna Park began on just three and a half acres of land; the hard work was done by the family as they slowly built it to where it could be opened to the public. The family survived on the bare minimum as neither Lyn nor Bob had an income, but they had a passionate vision of the future.

Bob and Lyn’s three children, Joy, Steve and Mandy, all shared their parents’ love of wildlife and conservation, but Steve was a sponge, soaking up everything his father taught him and always wanting more. Bob took Steve on his camping trips when they were contracted to remove crocodiles from particular creeks and rivers – Steve loved it. The two of them had a unique relationship; not just father and son, they were best mates as well.

As the Park expanded Australia Zoo was born – Steve’s famous Crocoseum became a world-wide attraction. But all the while, the animals were the top priority – teaching humans about the lives and habitats of the wild animals we live with was Steve and Bob’s ultimate goal. And they made a difference…

The Last Crocodile Hunter is the most comprehensive, interesting and heart wrenching memoir I have ever read. Emotional, profound and deeply moving, Bob Irwin’s words and memories have come to life with the help of Amanda French, who travelled with Bob throughout the outback, visiting old sites he had been to with Steve, chatting and imparting it all around the campfire. A quiet man, never one for the spotlight, son Steve was the complete opposite – they complemented each other well. Now seventy seven years of age, Bob Irwin continues his fight to preserve the legacy left by Steve for the well-being of our planet, the environment but mostly for the animals on it. The Last Crocodile Hunter is a memoir I highly recommend, and one I feel anyone who has ever heard of Steve Irwin should read. I very much enjoyed this 5 star read.

With thanks to Allen & Unwin for this copy to read in exchange for my honest review.

Post Script: The Easy Way Out – Steven Amsterdam

The Easy Way Out

The Easy Way Out

Steven Amsterdam

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733636271

 

Description:

A brand new novel everyone will be talking about from the award-winning author of THINGS WE DIDN’T SEE COMING and WHAT THE FAMILY NEEDED.

 

If you could help someone in pain, would you?

 

Evan is a nurse, a suicide assistant. His job is legal . . . just. He’s the one at the hospital who hands out the last drink to those who ask for it.

 

Evan’s friends don’t know what he does during the day. His mother, Viv, doesn’t know what he’s up to at night. And his supervisor suspects there may be trouble ahead.

 

As he helps one patient after another die, Evan pushes against legality, his own morality and the best intentions of those closest to him, discovering that his own path will be neither quick nor painless.

 

He knows what he has to do.

 

In this powerful novel, award-winning author Steven Amsterdam challenges readers to face the most taboo and heartbreaking of dilemmas. Would you help someone end their life?

 

 

My View:

This book is very easy to read, the main characters are well developed and interesting, contemporary themes are explored in depth, many perspectives are shared; this book has a lot to offer.

 

Relationships are put under the microscope, moral dilemmas abound.  I applaud this author as he deftly introduces the subjects of assisted suicides, voluntary euthanasia, depression, terminal illness and suicide by “accident” into this narrative. Steven Amsterdam has cleverly created a safe place for lively discussion within this work of contemporary fiction and his experience as a palliative care nurse gives this book a unique tone and honesty as it subtly asks the question, “Would you help someone end their life?”

 

An interesting contemporary read that will cause reflection and debate.

 

 

Post Script:Like I Can Love – Kim Lock

Like I Can Love

Like I Can Love

Kim Lock

Pan Macmillan Australia

ISBN: 9781743538630

 

Description:

On a hot January afternoon, Fairlie Winter receives a phone call. Her best friend has just taken her own life.

 

Jenna Rudolph, 26 years old, has left behind a devoted husband, an adorable young son and a stunning vineyard. But Fairlie knows she should have seen this coming.

 

Yet Fairlie doesn’t know what Jenna’s husband Ark is hiding, nor does she know what Jenna’s mother Evelyn did to drive mother and daughter apart all those years ago.

 

Until Fairlie opens her mail and finds a letter. In Jenna’s handwriting. Along with a key.

 

Driven to search for answers, Fairlie uncovers a horrifying past, a desperate mother, and a devastating secret kept by those she loves the most.

 

Heartbreaking and terrifying, Like I Can Love explores love in all its forms – from the most fragile to the most dangerous – and the unthinkable things we do in its name.

 

 

 

My View:

One of the hardest things to do is to review a book you really love without spoilers!  I loved this book!!!

 

This is a book that will pierce no rip out your heart. It is a book that will have you air pumping shouting YES YES YES I GET IT!   I sincerely hope you do to because that is what we need – more people to understand this issue. (No spoilers here).

 

So maybe I had better try and articulate my feelings about this book – for it is a book about feelings – and whilst the title may allude to a rosy happy ever after love story – this isn’t. Yet this is a story about love, about relationships; about best friends for ever love, about mothers and daughters, men and women, husbands and wives and soul mates, and children and other stuff that will remain nameless until you to have read the book.

 

It is also a story of manipulation, intimidation, greed and control and…love.  The psychological suspense is palpable.  The opening begins with Fairlie’s ordinary day imploding after receiving a call to advise her that her best friend has just committed suicide.  What a great opening hook – now we want to know the how, where and why. The why is oh so important!  And slowly a three dimensional picture is revealed.

 

This is domestic noir at its very best. This book stands proudly next to my favourite book Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes. It is not as violent as Elizabeth Haynes’s book but it is as credible, and as compulsive a read and as shocking a read as Into the Darkest Corner.  I don’t think I can give a book any higher praise.

 

Read this and have your eyes opened. Read this and understand. Read this and be consumed by the emotions that you cannot hold back. Just read it!

 

PS I can predict an award or two in the future for this book and writer.

 

 

Post Script: A New Era For Manny Youngman – Mike Murphy

Cover A New Era For Many Youngman

A New Era For Manny Youngman

Mike Murphy

Michael Murphy

ISBN: 9780994414809

 

Description:

Manny Youngman has some unconventional ideas on feminism and the effects it has had on our society. He thinks there is an imbalance and men also need to find a new role for themselves to stop the growing spiral of domestic violence, broken marriages and male suicides. His ideas sound good in theory, but they are sorely put to the test when he is confronted with a teenage daughter he didn’t know he had and her militant feminist mother who is going to jail.

 

Manny’s world is turned upside down, drawing his parents, his professional colleagues and his associates in the New Era Men’s Support Alliance, as well as the friends of his new-found daughter and her mother, into a sequence of events over which it seems no-one has any control.

 

Funny sometimes but always with a serious undertone, A New Era For Manny Youngman is a very different novel with something to say about male-female relationships.

 

 

My View:

Mike Murphy presents some interesting view points and scenarios in this contemporary novel. Undoubtedly the role of men and women in today’s society is one that is complex; there are no “Golden Rules” to making a relationship work – or is there? Manny and his band of cohorts, family – immediate and extended, eventually prove that honesty and the use of passive listening techniques go a long way to understanding and living in harmony. Sounds easy doesn’t? Tricked you – life is never easy but it could be a lot easier for some of us if we just took some time to truly listen to someone else’s view; switch off, turn off, power down and listen.

 

Mike Murphy’s writing demonstrates his high level of listening skills; the voices of his characters are realistic, their actions credible. The scenarios are a little complicated but then, so is life.

 

 

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.