Tess Woods’ @TessWoodsAuthor Footy Tipping Report

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Tess Woods, Beautiful Messy Love 

Last Thursday I had a wonderful conversation with Tess Woods at the author event for her latest contemporary romance novel, Beautiful Messy Love at Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne. Because one of the main characters in Beautiful Messy Love is an Australian Rules Football (AFL) player and we were in the most AFL mad city in the world, I asked Tess to share her footy tips for the weekend with us. As promised, I have Tess’s results for you all. The teams below without the strike through are Tess’s tips.

Western Bulldogs Vs Greater Western Sydney (GWS)      0/1

Sydney Vs Fremantle                                                               1/2

Geelong Vs Richmond                                                              2/3

Brisbane Vs Gold Coast                                                            3/4

Essendon Vs Adelaide                                                               4/5

West Coast Vs Carlton                                                               4/6

Melbourne Vs St Kilda                                                              5/7

Hawthorn Vs North Melbourne                                              6/8

Port Adelaide Vs Collingwood                                                 7/9

Final score: 7 out of 9 correct tips. A very good effort, particularly since Tess doesn’t follow the AFL too closely!

 

Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods @TessWoodsAuthor book event at Dymocks @Dymocks234Melb

I had the most amazing time at the Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event hosted by Dymocks 234 Collins Street. Thank you very much to all of the wonderful people at Dymocks who hosted such a fun, beautifully organised, and well planned, event in one of the most beautiful book stores in Melbourne!

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event at Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne

Didn’t the team at HarperCollins Publishers Australia did an amazing job on the cover and display artwork of Beautiful Messy Love!

 

 

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event at Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne

Here is another lovely set-up by Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne, as well as a very full basket of donations for Share the Dignity!

 

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event at Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne

I have to admit I felt a little bit nervous being on the stage, but Tess is amazing in front of an audience and we chatted about all sorts of interesting things, including romance, love, feminism, writing, books, and Australian Rules Football. I will update how Tess went with her footy tips for this weekend on Monday! I particularly loved that there were lots of questions from the amazing audience. Thank you so much to everybody who attended, it was so lovely to meet all you.

 

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event at Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne. Jade St Clair and Tess Woods. 

 

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event at Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne. Jade St Clair and Wes. 

Tess and I were a bit tired by the end of the night but we had a ball!!! Thank you again to every single person who came and worked together to put on such a fantastic bookish evening. And a very special thank you to Tess for having me last night and for writing two of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a long time. I can’t wait to read your next one!

 

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods book event at Dymocks 234 Collins Street, Melbourne. Jade St Clair and Tess Woods. 

 

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Love at First Flight and Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods @TessWoodsAuthor

 

 

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Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods

Goodreads Synopsis

What happens when love and loyalty collide? Two couples must deal with the consequences of their messy love not just for themselves but for those who depend on them. For lovers of passionate romance in the vein of Nicolas Sparks.

When football star Nick Harding hobbles into the Black Salt Cafe the morning after the night before, he is served by Anna, a waitress with haunted-looking eyes and no interest in footballers famous or otherwise. Nick is instantly drawn to this exotic, intelligent girl. But a relationship between them risks shame for her conservative refugee family and backlash for Nick that could ruin his career.
Meanwhile, Nick’s sister, Lily, is struggling to finish her medical degree. When she meets Toby, it seems that for the first time she is following her heart, not the expectations of others. Yet what starts out as a passionate affair with a man who has just buried his wife slips quickly into dangerous dependency.
Through attraction, breakups, triumphs and tragedies, these two couples learn just how much their beautiful messy love might cost. A West Side Story for the modern day.

My Thoughts

Beautiful Messy Love is a sequel to Tess Woods’ debut novel, Love at First Flight. Mel’s children are now grown up and the novel focuses on Nick and Lily’s lives and romantic adventures.

Nick is now an Australian Rules Football star who liked to party hard until he meets the enigmatic Anna/Anwar with a conservative Egyptian family and a complicated life. Lily is struggling through medical school until her life is consumed by Toby who is dealing with the recent death of his wife.

I loved Beautiful Messy Love just as much as Love at First Flight, or maybe even a little bit more. Anna’s experiences as an Egyptian refugee with both Christian and Muslim ancestry were beautifully and passionately written. This makes a lot of sense because the author shares a similar ancestry.

Thank you very much, Tess, for including my favourite Australian Rules Football Club in your story just for me. Go Cats! I’m a bit nervous to read Tess’s next novel because I’ve heard a rumour that there will be a character named Jade in that one…

I will be interviewing Tess Woods at the Melbourne launch of Beautiful Messy Love at Dymocks on Collins Street next Thursday, August 10th at 6:30 pm. This is a free event and all Melbourne romance readers are more than welcome to join us for the event. For event details head to trybooking.com  or the Facebook Event Page.  

Looking forward to seeing lots of Melbourne readers and writers there!

Details

Title: Beautiful Messy Love

Author: Tess Woods

ISBN: 1460753836 (ISBN13: 9781460753835)

Published: August 1st 2017 by HarperCollins Publishers Australia

Pages: 432

Genre: Contemporary Romance

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Goodreads

Amazon

 

 

 

 

The First Year by Genevieve Gannon

 

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Ziggy and Zeus survived their first year together fairly well! 

 

Goodreads Synopsis

The first year of marriage is hard no matter what. Throw in jealous exes, high-pressure careers and two wildly different families, and the degree of difficulty goes up a few more notches. Determined to beat the odds, one couple comes up with a plan to keep their romance alive – but life has other ideas.

Saskia is an up-and-coming jewellery designer, waiting tables at a trendy cafe to keep her fledgling company afloat. Andrew is a corporate lawyer who wants to be known for more than his family’s money. They’re passionate about their work and each other, but with Andy’s job in jeopardy and Saskia’s jewellery label taking off, the pressure is taking its toll.

As life pulls them in different directions, the two of them are forced to decide: Just how important is their marriage? And how hard are they willing to work to protect it?

My Review

This is the third book I’ve read by Genevieve Gannon, and I think this one is my favourite! The First Year is the story of the first year of the marriage of Melbourne couple,  jewellery designer Saskia and intellectual property rights lawyer  Andy. As you can imagine, they are a bit of an odd couple and face a range of issues during their first year.

I loved that Gannon set this novel in our mutual home town of Melbourne. Saskia and Andy represent two common Melbourne stereotypes and I felt they rang very true. Saskia was a perfect Brunswick hipster type with just the right amount of talent and down to earth attitude to make her likable. Andy was a very typical corporate type with a snobby family. I feel like I’ve met both of them before a couple of times around Melbs!

All of the best parts about Melbourne were included in The First Year. Great coffee, great food, live music, and the thriving arts community were all in there.  I think Melbourne is a fantastic setting for a novel and would love to see more Melbourne based books. I’m also taking this as a sign that Gen will be back one day…everyone comes home to Melbourne eventually!

The First Year also tackled copyright infringement from the perspective of a small designer taking on a big chain. This is such an important issue and I feel like we really do need to be talking and thinking about copyright law more than we do. Copyright law is a mess right now and corporations hold all the cards. On one hand, we have designers being ripped off and losing money due to copyright infringement. On the other hand, the public domain is shrinking rapidly because the length of copyright has been extended so much over the past century. The public domain is essential to continue creativity because all great ideas come from somewhere. If there are no new ideas in the public domain then we will very quickly run out of new ideas.

The Creative Commons was created as a response to the ever-shrinking public domain. There are images and sound files you can use in your own works with correct attribution and you can also find a copyright license to use for your own works. And the licenses are written in plain English, so it’s very easy to use and find exactly what you’re looking for. It’s an essential tool for everybody who creates on the Internet!

Details

Title: The First Year

Author: Genevieve Gannon

Published: April 24th 2017 by HarperCollins

Genre: Romance

Pages: 347

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

Book Review: Of Love and Secrets by Margaret Lynette Sharp

Title: Of Love and Secrets

Of Love and Secrets cover
Of Love and Secrets

Author: Margaret Lynette Sharp

Published: January 5th 2015 by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Description from Goodreads:

This is the story of an eighteen-year old woman as she battles for autonomy and a life of her own. Still living at home, under the ever-watchful eye of her domineering mother, Jenny struggles to build a life and find love. What is her destiny?

My Thoughts:

I received my copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Of Love and Secrets by Australian author, Margaret Lynette Sharp, is a lovely contemporary romance novel, set in beautiful Sydney, Australia.

Jenny has just turned 18, has been dumped by her boyfriend, and feels like her mother still treats her like a child. She jumps at the chance to get out of her stifling home to go to a party with her friends where she meets the handsome older man, Richard.

Jenny and Richard begin to spend all of their time together and seem to fall head over heels in love with each other. Jenny believes that she is old enough to make her own decisions. Richard is only in his early 20’s, appears to really like her, and even her Dad seems to like him, so what’s the problem?

Jenny’s mother has all kinds of problems with the relationship. She thinks that Jenny is too young and that Richard is only interested in taking advantage of her. This makes things very tense at home, but when Richard starts to talk about moving to Melbourne Jenny begins to wonder where exactly their relationship is heading.

Jenny was such a likable, if a bit naive, character that I found myself really hoping that things would work out between her and Richard. I was really hoping for her to stand up to her overbearing mother, although I could also see things from her point of view at times. Even when you’re 18 it is quite rude and irresponsible to be staying out til all hours without letting your parents know and 18 is still too young to know for sure that you’ve found the love of your life. (In my opinion.) However, one of the most difficult aspects of parenting must be knowing when to let go and allow your children to make their own decisions, good or bad.

I really enjoyed Of Love and Secrets. It was much more than just about romance, it was about families, relationships, and the struggles of growing up and finding your own place in the world.

Check out Margaret’s Guest Author post here from earlier this month!

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Book Review: A Kirribilli Christmas by Louise Reynolds

Title: A Kirribilli Christmas                                                                                          Akirribillichristmas

Author: Louise Reynolds

Published: 2 Dec 2014, Penguin Books Australia/Destiny Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 54

My Rating:  3/5

Description: From the publisher

Eight years ago Shelby left Sydney for LA, determined to set the world on fire. Now she’s nearly broke and her boyfriend has left her alone at Christmas. Lonely and miserable, Shelby finds herself drawn back to the childhood home she thought she’d left behind . . .

Frangipani House now belongs to Dan Sayers, the boy from the wrong side of the tracks who found a new start in Kirribilli. When he spots Shelby dragging her suitcase up the front steps on Christmas Eve, he can’t believe his eyes. It’s been four years since he last saw her. Then, she’d been aloof, a stranger in designer sunglasses and killer heels, barely acknowledging their shared past.

As Christmas unfolds, Shelby and Dan grow closer than ever before and Shelby begins to see her ramshackle home in a new light. But before she and Dan can have any hope of a future together, they must first confront their past.

My Thoughts:

A Kirribilli Christmas is my 8th and final novel that I have read as part of the Aussie Readers Christmas/New Year themed December challenge. I’ve really enjoyed reading Christmas themed books this month, it’s a great way to get into a Christmassy frame of mind.

Shelby left Kirribilli, a suburb of Sydney Australia, to become a famous actor. It’s not working out so well for her though. She’s only had a handful of of bit parts and a rich jerk of a boyfriend to show for all of her efforts. When he makes it clear that she isn’t invited to spend Christmas with his family she takes up his offer to fly home to Kirribilli for the holidays despite the fact that since her mother passed away and she has no family left.

Her family home which is called Frangipanni House (maybe a little bit too ‘Australiana’ cliche for my tastes) is now owned by Dan, one of the many foster children that Shelby’s mother took in over the years. There seemed to be all kinds of tension between Shelby, Dan and the rest of the foster children who still get together every year for Christmas. I really felt like the tension between Shelby and the others needed to be explained more clearly. They were far too hostile for the brief explanation that was given. I think perhaps the novella was just a tiny bit too short and could have done with being a tad longer to explore those relationships more thoroughly.

Another thing that I found a little bit difficult to swallow was the location for this family. Kirribilli property is expensive, and I mean really expensive, so I’m not sure how a single mother with a hoard of foster children could have afforded such a large house there on her own even 20 years ago. And there was no way that I could imagine that anyone would be able to make a decision on whether to sell a property or not in that area on a whim. This detail is entirely irrelevant to the enjoyment of the book, especially for readers overseas but it was something that stuck out like a sore thumb for me.

Overall, A Kirribilli Christmas is a nicely written contemporary Australian romance, set on the lovely shores of Kirribilli (Sydney). The characters and story line are quite interesting and it’s a little bit deeper than the usual Christmas themed novella.

Now, this is where my review would have ended if I hadn’t turned the page and read Louise Reynolds’ author bio. I’m a born and bred Melburnian (a person who is from Melbourne) so I took particular exception to the following sentence:

“After one look at Melbourne beaches she got a library card and started to read.”

I usually steer well clear of the Sydney vs Melbourne debate but it is well documented here, here and here, as well as thousands more. But I will say that there are many reasons why Melbourne is regularly voted one of the most livable cities in the world and Sydney the most expensive. I believe that Sydneysiders are always going to prefer their home town and Melburnians are going to prefer theirs and will usually leave it at that but disparaging Melbourne’s beaches in an author bio is probably not a good way to go about things. I would have thought Melburnians would have made up a far chunk of Louise’s readers so it might be a better idea to speak about both towns in a positive light, especially since she lives here now.

Louise, you also don’t need to wear so much black, that’s just a tired old stereotype and you know that Melbourne’s fashion is better than Sydney’s. I think that most people would agree that there is so much more versatility during the colder weather that we get here during winter.

And if you have been looking for lovely beaches in Melbourne’s northern suburbs you have been looking in the wrong place! I’ve decided to help Louise out but showing her a few of my favourite Melbourne beaches.

Here we have Brighton Beach, just a 30 minute drive south of the CBD. These beach boxes there are worth quite a lot of money and the houses along the beach here would match or top the Kirribilli property market.

Brighton Beach image

Image uploaded to Flickr by Reinis Traidas and shared under the Creative Commons License. Visit here to view the original image.

Here is my favourite beach in Sorrento which is just down the road from my home town. This beach is virtually empty all of the time because the only way to get there is to drive down several roads with signage stating ‘no beach access’ and then walking the rest of the way over sand dunes. (There is no way that I will tell you how to get there, sorry!) Sorrento is a 1.5 hour drive south of Melbourne’s CBD.

sorrento beach

Image from my own personal collection

And here are the famed 12 Apostles which are along the Great Ocean Road, a top tourist destination. The 12 Apostles are about a 3 hour drive west of Melbourne’s CBD but it is well worth the trip and while you are there you might as well visit other beautiful and world renowned beaches such as Lorne, Torquay and Anglesea just to name a few.

12apostles

Image uploaded to Flickr by Stephenk1977 and shared under the Creative Commons License. Visit here to view the original image.

This could be asking for trouble, but feel free to share your thoughts on Melbourne Vs Sydney as long as you keep it reasonably nice!

 Purchase A Kirribilli Christmas from Amazon

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