April 16, 2014

Iron Junction. Charlotte Nash

Book Cover
Iron Junction
Charlotte Nash
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Date: March 2014
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Desperate to get away from her family's expectations of success in love and in work, Dr Beth Harding leaves Sydney behind and takes a locum job at Iron Junction – a mining town in the distant Pilbara. With the mine growing at a rapid pace, the town full of contractors and tensions running high, Beth is convinced she’s made a huge mistake until she meets Will, a man who shares her dreams and could make the difference between going home and staying on.

For Will Walker, being born into cattle farming was never the life he wanted. He’s traded a broad-brim for a hard hat and headed down the mines. Iron Junction seems like just another gig in the long road that’s taking him even further from home. But in the lonely fly-in, fly-out life, he never counted on meeting Beth ...

But when Beth and Will discover that the choices they make will have far-reaching consequences neither could ever have imagined, they have a decision to make. Will they be brave enough to risk loving each other despite everything that stands in their way?

My thoughts
This was my first time reading a book by Charlotte Nash and I must say I did enjoy it.  I am always on the lookout for something in the medical romance line so that is what attracted me to read this book.

It is set in a mining community in Western Australia, and the way Charlotte Nash describes the environment made me feel like I was there.  At times I was almost brushing the red dust off myself! Taking a look at how a mining operation works was interesting, and the idea of management perhaps cutting corners is not far fetched, as we have sometimes seen with mining disasters around the world.

Beth is at a crossroads in her life, she has shed the shackles of a man who just doesn't feel right for her, and she is wanting to do something meaningful in medicine but is not sure just what.  She has escaped the clutches of a weird mother and taken on a temporary locum job at Iron Junction.  I liked the way she cared for her patients, went the extra mile for them, and was willing to speak up when she thought things were unfair.

Will arrives at Iron Junction, somewhat reluctantly.  He has been sent to help out and finds himself attracted to Beth.  Yet he hangs back, there is something in his past that needs honesty and reconciliation.  If he can face that perhaps he can find his way back to his family, to himself and to reach out to Beth.

If you like books set in Australia, with a little medical context, then I recommend this book. It is interesting and well written.

April 15, 2014

Interview: Author Theresa Rizzo

Interview Banner
Today it is my pleasure to welcome Theresa Rizzo to the Book Date blog.  Theresa has just published her book Just Destiny, it is a very interesting read and I highly recommend it.

Theresa Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and families through real-life trials. 

Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her husband of thirty years. She’s raised four wonderful children who are now scattered across the country.

Theresa’s debut book, He Belongs to Me was a finalist in the General Fiction Category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards!  Her second book, Just Destiny, was released March 31, 2014.

What helped shape your ideas for the issues explored in this book - are they from real life experiences or your imagination?

I often get my ideas from current events—newspaper articles. My husband was on a business trip on my birthday, so my sister and brother-in-law took me out to dinner to celebrate and I’d cut out this article in the newspaper about a woman being sued by her deceased husband’s family to keep her from having his baby after he was dead. The idea of having your dead husband’s baby seemed bizarre, but still it struck me as a frivolous, ridiculous lawsuit. I figured it wasn’t anybody’s business, after all once you get married, your body’s mine and mine’s yours, right?

My attorney sister got this puzzled look on her face and said, “Actually that’s a really interesting legal issue. I wonder if sperm is considered property . . .” And then my brother-in-law looked at her, saying, “I’m not sure I’d want you to have my baby after I’m gone.”

So we discussed some legal and moral implications of the situation and what had initially seemed so incredibly simple and private suddenly became complicated and intriguing, propelling me to do some research into the legalities and morality of the issue. I was so fascinated with the idea that I had to build a book around it.

When planning this book did you start with the plot or characters or the themes you wanted to explore?

The idea for a book always grabs my attention first, then I think about what characters I need to move around this really cool plot. Themes never really consciously enter into it for me.

Would this book be great for book club discussion - why?

I’ve included a number of questions in the back of the book to stimulate discussion, because Just Destiny brings up some emotional and controversial issues worthy of discussion. I’d be interested to hear men’s opinion on whether they would want their wives to have their child after they’re gone. Then there are questions of do you support organ donation and if you do, have you made the effort to designate it on your drivers license? Gabe’s uncle George and Jenny both have family secrets that stimulate great discussion. It’s interesting to hear different people’s opinions.

When did you begin to write? Were you bitten by the bug as a child - or did it take longer to develop?

I loved creative writing as a child, but I am dyslexic and couldn’t read until I was in the third grade, so though I loved reading and being taken away on adventures through a book, it was also a huge source of fear and shame. But after years of extra tutoring and special reading classes, I learned great coping mechanisms, and love to read. Grammar does remains a constant challenge. I think my editor would tell you that despite her best efforts to teach me, I’m pretty much hopeless at figuring out the proper use of a comma. But I’ve always loved to tell stories.

Who were the childhood authors that entertained you and now the present
authors that you enjoy reading?

My favorite book as a child with Five Little Peppers by Margaret Sidney, and then I love the Little House on the Prairie and Black Stallion series. Now I have too many authors to name, but a few are Suzanne Collins, JK Rowling, Jodi Picoult, Harlan Coben, Susan Wiggs, Lisa Kleypas, Tessa Dare, and on and on…

Do you write full time? Where to from now - what have you planned for your readers for the future?

I do write full time. In the fall I’ll put out my next book, The Lives Between Us, which is a book dealing with love, loss, revenge, and making hard choices. Here’s the description: Grieving the loss of her beloved niece, reporter Skylar Kendall plots revenge on the US Senator who opposed life-saving stem cell research and therapy. She becomes romantically involved with his best friend, putting her in the perfect position to tear the senator's world apart when tragedy strikes. Only, she hadn’t counted on falling in love. Sen. Hastings's tragedy would absolutely make Skylar’s career and satisfy her thirst for revenge, but can she betray her new love and friends?

I would like to thank Theresa for her time, this is my review of her book Just Destiny.

Find Theresa On the Web: Website FacebookTwitterGoodreads

Order Just Destiny at Barnes & Noble,  iBookstoreAmazon & Barnes & Noble

April 14, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Sheila at Book Journey runs It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

As every week has been it has been a busy week, just beginning to feel a slight chill in the air as Autumn begins to make its presence felt.  I am looking forward to a two week break as Easter comes, which will be very nice.  Lots of reading time ahead!

This past week I read:

Iron Junction: Review to come.
At present I am reading:
All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins.
It's a 'must read' as have already renewed it twice at the library. Feel bad for holding it so long!

Up next:
The Collector by Nora Roberts.
Was going to read this last week but saw it was rather long, so keeping it for the Easter break!

Coming up on the blog:
An interview with Theresa Rizzo - tomorrow. I really enjoyed her book Just Destiny.

April 11, 2014

Book Blog Walkers Check in. 11th April

This challenge is organised by Felicia over at the Geeky Blogger's Book Blog.

I went into a less is more mode in the last week.  General tiredness meant I just cut back a little.

Saturday: Rest 
Sunday: 30 minute walk
Monday: 25 minute walk
Tuesday: Rest day
Wednesday 25 minute walk
Thursday 25 minute walk
Friday 25 minute walk.

I continue to listen to 11/22/63 by Stephen King.  At least I am up to Chapter 27, so the end is in sight!

April 10, 2014

Betting the Rainbow Jodi Thomas

Book cover of Betting the Rainbow
Betting the Rainbow
Jodi Thomas
Published: Berkley
Date: April 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 278
Genre: Contemporary
Source: Own book
Sisters Abby and Dusti Delaney have spent their entire lives on Rainbow Lane, but they dream of something bigger. So when a poker tournament comes to town, Dusti is determined to win enough money to leave. Enlisting expert Kieron O’Brian to teach her the game, sparks begin to fly as they play their hands. But Kieron refuses to stand in the way of her dream, even if it means losing her forever...

After a year of traveling, Ronny Logan is settling into a home on Rainbow Lane, but that’s all the settling she’ll be doing. Ronny refuses to fall for anyone, regardless of the chemistry she has with her neighbor Austin Hawk. Yet something undeniable begins to grow between the two loners—if only they can let their barriers fall and open their hearts...

My thoughts banner
Betting the Rainbow is #7 in the Harmony series and was every bit as satisfying as the previous six in this series.  This particular book has at its heart a set of characters - some new and some we have met before along the way.  This is definitely a series that needs to be read in order.  This could be read as a stand alone, but then you would miss out on following Ronny and Reagan right from the beginning of the series.  Abby and Dusti, the two sisters are new characters, and make a great addition to the Harmony community.

The main interest for me was Reagan, I have always loved her, and followed her relationship with Noah.  She has finally had enough of Noah, and along with a surprise addition, Reagan has made up her mind about Noah.  I was totally in agreement with her!  

Ronny is another character who has had a long line story, another one that I have always been interested in.  She finally has her time where the future looks great and I am hoping that the road ahead is all she well deserves.

While this book has at its heart relationships and romance, its not one that is 'hot'. Rather it has the intricacies of good relationships and neighbors who are their for each other.  Jodi Thomas adds enough details to make Harmony a place that brings warmth to a reader's heart.
4 stars
Harmony series
Welcome to Harmony
Somewhere Along the Way
The Comforts of Home
Just Down the Road
Betting the Rainbow

April 8, 2014

Four Friends. Robyn Carr

Book Cover
Delighted today to be part of Little Bird Publicity for:
Four Friends                                             
Robyn Carr
Published: Harlequin Mira
Date: March 25th 2014
Format: e-ARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Gerri can't decide what's more devastating: learning her rock-solid marriage has big cracks, or the anger she feels as she tries to repair them. Always the anchor for friends and her three angst-ridden teenagers, it's time to look carefully at herself. The journey is more than revealing—it's transforming.

Andy doesn't have a great track record with men, and she's come to believe that a lasting love is out of reach. When she finds herself attracted to her down-to-earth contractor—a man without any of the qualities that usually appeal to her—she questions everything she thought she wanted in life.

Sonja's lifelong pursuit of balance is shattered when her husband declares he's through with her New Age nonsense and walks out. There's no herbal tonic or cleansing ritual that can restore her serenity—or her sanity.

Miraculously, it's BJ, the reserved newcomer to Mill Valley, who steps into their circle and changes everything. The woman with dark secrets opens up to her neighbors, and together they get each other back on track, stronger as individuals and unfaltering as friends.
Banner:  My thoughts
In Four Friends Robyn Carr has explored many of the issues that women - and men - face after the wedding.  I am forever a romantic - and love the happy ending, however I recognise that just doesn't just "happen".  The challenges of life, mistakes, reality, children factor in; our past may catch up with us, and what we have denied may now demand to be recognised.  If we are fortunate we have good friends who walk with us, we courageously choose what will help us, and we grow.  Love deepens or love dies.

Four Friends explores big issues: abuse, infidelity, loss, depression, the menopause, mental breakdown, the challenge of raising teenagers, sexual orientation and the challenge of busy lives.  Also the need for and often lack of good communication between husband and wife, which can lead to needs unmet. This book would be excellent for book groups, I am sure it would engender lively discussion. While its intended audience perhaps is women, I would love to think that men might read it too. 

I loved the four women and the way they supported each other, the way they were there for each other, at times one then another leading the way. Each had their strengths and weaknesses.  Gerri is very organised and gutsy.  She has a job she loves and is good at, three children and a husband.  She also has time for friendships - and as well has a very healthy relationship with her mother-in-law.  If there was one thing I didn't like about Gerri in the beginning is that she was just a tad smug! However life can knock those edges off us, and Gerri is no exception - she works through her challenges and comes out on the other side with renewed energy.

Andy is a school Principal who has tended to choose the wrong man for her life, however I like that she has the courage to throw the scumbags out of her life. They deserve it.  She finds a man in a million in a guise she didn't expect, her values just change up a little and suddenly new life opens up for her.  

Sonja - well I could understand how she was tolerated in the beginning by her friends but not really valued. She would have irritated me!  However her story is powerful and I really liked how she had the courage to face herself, and her pain.  I loved the way she comes out the other side, true to herself.

BJ is the dark horse of the group and the one we see the least.  We don't see so much from her point of view.  Yet she has a profound effect on the other three and they all bond so strongly.  BJ's life has already changed before the story opens, her new path just beginning.  

I really appreciated the way Robyn Carr portrays the men in this book, sure some were unredeemable and were readily dispatched as deserved.  However Phil, George and Bob were men that I liked.  Phil's story was written well, my heart went out to him, and while Gerri gave him some serious boundaries, I liked that a couple of times he quietly drew his line in the sand.  George was a bit of a surprise, more caring than at first it seemed.  Bob was the man of wisdom - I have copious notes of all the wisdom that he shared especially with Noel - Andy's son.

This is a book for my keeper's shelf, my paperback copy is on its way to me as I write.  
5 stars
Robyn Carr banner
She can be found at her: Website Facebook Twitter

Goodreads link

April 7, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Sheila at Book Journey runs It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This week has been a balmy, sunny, windless Autumn week, totally gorgeous weather.  This week its about to turn, and wouldn't you know it we have some royal visitors this coming week to sample the not so good weather.  However I hope Prince William, his Duchess and Prince George enjoy NZ anyway.  

Last week I managed 5 days walking, mostly 30 minutes, one a bit shorter - rather than not go at all! I am appreciative of Felicity at  Geeky Blogger's Book Blog for running this challenge as it keeps me motivated. The check in just adds the needed pressure!

This week I read:

Floored  Review

I will eventually read the whole Night Huntress series - I am not a huge paranormal fan, but that said I seem to read quite a few of them!  Floored by Ainslie Paton ( Australian author) entertained me with a romantic suspense.  

I am reading:
Betting the Rainbow by Jodi Thomas.
I am about halfway through - I really like her Harmony small town series, many of the characters have their stories carried through many of the books, this one has some more about Reagan and Ronny, both characters I love.

Next up:
The Collector by Nora Roberts

Coming up on the blog:
My review of Four Friends by Robyn Carr - the 8th
Interview with Teresa Rizzo  -  14th.

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