Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Being The Irrepressible You - Revisiting Georgina Penney.

Irrepressible YouIrrepressible You by Georgina Penney

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You don't become a notorious British celebrity without rubbing a few people the wrong way, which is why writer and comedian Ben Martindale has decamped to Australia until the latest media frenzy dies down.

When he meets Amy Blaine, a perky blonde who dresses like a 1950s pin-up girl, he knows he's hit the satirical jackpot. He begins to fill his weekly London column with snarky observations about her life, clothes, and even their most intimate moments. It doesn't occur to him that Amy, who is letting her guard down for the first time in her adult life, might be upset - after all, it's hilarious, and his readers love her!

It isn't until Amy discovers the extent of his betrayal that Ben begins to realise just how badly he's cocked up the best thing that ever happened to him. But is it too late?

There is something addictive about Georgina Penney's story telling.

Actually - there's plenty that's addictive about Georgina Penney's story telling and it has certainly entrapped me since I entered her world through the doors of "Fly In Fly Out" which serves as the prequel to this title. I greedily gobbled Irrepressible You up over the past week, gleefully returning to the world of the Blaine sisters Jo and Amy. Where Jo took centre stage in the previous novel, the one thousand watt Amy gets her chance in the spotlight here and it was just a delight to see the world through her eyes. I have to admit to having something of a major crush on Amy and I found myself feeling the occasional pangs of jealousy as she traverses the tight rope of romance with English journo/comedian and sometimes *complete* horses arse in Ben Martindale.

Irrepressible You is packed full of Penney's signature wit, attractive characterisations and vivid imagery - particularly Western Australia's cosmopolitan capital Perth and the gorgeous Margaret River wine region. Penney has a skilfull sense of comic timing and she can quickly switch to moments of deep emotion, heartwarming sincerity and unbridled, crackling passion. All these combined make Irrepressible You such a satisfying romance and I was left, at the end, with my cup full but my heart aching to go back their and spend more time at Babyface/Gentlemen Pefer Blondes.

I quite fancy an old school cut throat shave.

Georgina Penney first discovered romance novels when she was eleven and has been a fan of the genre ever since. It took her another eighteen years to finally sit in front of a keyboard and get something down on the page but that's alright, she was busy doing other things until then.

Some of those things included living in a ridiculous number of towns and cities in Australia before relocating overseas to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam and presently, Bonny Scotland.

In between all these travels, Georgina managed to learn to paint, get herself a Communication and Cultural Studies degree, study Psychotherapy and learn all about Hypnotherapy. In the early days she even managed to get on the IT roller coaster during the early noughties boom, inexplicably ending the ride by becoming the registrar of a massage and naturopathy college. There was also a PhD in the mix there somewhere but moving to Saudi Arabia and rediscovering the bodice ripper fixed all that.

Today she lives with her wonderful husband, Tony in the Scottish wilds surrounded by hairy coos and far too many procreating rabbits.


View all my reviews

Friday, November 13, 2015

Dean & Lucy from Australia Read Bedtime Stories (Podcast).

So...we're fortunate in our household that both our children have taken to reading and story telling with the kind of enthusiasm that makes bedtime a welcome part of the day. My wife and I take it in turns (mostly) to read to the children, swapping between our 9 year old son and 6 year old daughter. 

A few nights ago, my daughter Lucy, asked me - quite out of the blue I might add - what a podcast was. Apparently she'd been talking to her school friends and they were discussing story telling podcasts. I've no idea which ones they were talking about but Lucy told me that she wanted to do a story telling podcast of her own and could she and I record one. 

Evidently, the ability to record audio nowadays is pretty easy, so we decided to have a crack. So in the interests of sharing, I'd like to present to you our *ahem* attempt at story telling with a short read through of "The Night Fright" from the popular Australian "Billie B. Brown" children's books by Sally Rippin - one of Lucy's favourite authors.

DOWNLOAD .MP3 as read by Dean and Lucy Mayes. (right click and 'Save As...').

Billie loves hanging out with Rebecca's older sisters. They make her feel so grown-up! But is Billie grown-up enough to handle the scary movies they like? 

Sally Rippin was born in Darwin and grew up in South-East Asia. As an adolescent she studied traditional Chinese painting for three years in Shanghai and Hangzhou. Returning to Australia, her time overseas inspired her first novel Chenxi and the Foreigner. Sally has also written and illustrated many books for children, including titles from the Go Girl and Aussie Bites series and the popular Fang Fang stories. She is also the illustrator for many others, including the recent Me, Oliver Bright (2009) by Megan de Kantzow and Mannie and the Long Brave Day (2009) by Martine Murray. Sally lives in Melbourne and writes and illustrates full time.

Run time is a little under 15 minutes and we had a lot of fun recording this at bedtime. 


Friday, October 2, 2015

The Water Seer by HMC - A Stylish, Supernatural Thriller.

The Water SeerThe Water Seer by H.M.C.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

MOUSE is a seer. She’s had a vision of a little boy’s death, and it's someone she knows and loves. But how could a champion, junior nipper drown in a calm ocean when he swims better than most adults?

When a strange woman comes to town, her allure is undeniable, but something is off. Mouse’s visions are frequent and vivid, children she works with go missing, and the past, present, and future blur together. Her new enemy is a Bruja Del Agua – Water Witch, who not only drowns her victims, but tortures them for eternity.
With the help of her dead Aunt Catalina, her best friend, Trent, and a Wiccan called Anna, Mouse must use her power and wit to defeat the most powerful Bruja she’s ever seen.

The Water Seer is a vivid tale of witchcraft and the supernatural that blends effortlessly with a modern day, Australian narrative about a young woman who is juggling two very different roles in her life.

Author Hayley Clearihan's writing is visually stimulating and satisfyingly intense. Her grasp of the action and the supernatural were, at times, pulse pounding and I found myself quite anxious to see what was going to happen next. The most effective quality of her writing however was the earthy realism Clearihan brought to her narrative. It drew me in immediately and could see myself inhabiting the places and the situations that possessed a unmistakably Australian feel.

Her characters, led by the enigmatic "Seer" Mouse are dynamic and nuanced and Clearihan gives you time to get to know them well and the space to invest yourself in them without bogging the narrative down. Given that this book was quite compact, that was something that impressed me a lot. I found the mythical elements of the story particularly fascinating and I liked the way Hayley brought specific elements of witchcraft and mythology together to create something really original.

The Water Seer is an effective supernatural thriller and a stylish addition to Hayley Clearihan's body of work.

From her home on Queensland's Gold Coast, Hayley Clearihan (HMC) balances her career as an author with teaching while raising her two children with her "motorbike-loving Viking" partner. HMC recounts that she writes for the pure pleasure of being able to express herself and to think critically about issues that are passionate to her.

HMC says - "I blog about asylum seekers, gay rights, tattooed professionals, robot dancing, baby poo, and so on … you know, the juicy stuff. I’m sometimes serious, but mostly not."

Read my recent feature "Seeing Hayley" here.


View all my reviews