Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Jellicoe RoadWhy I read it:  Various friends of mine have been telling me I need to read this book. I was warned about possible ugly-crying and an emotional wringer. It seems to be a much beloved book. I bought it a while ago and finally decided to actually read it. From a quick survey of my Twitter friends, it seems I’m a bit of an outlier.  So, YMMV. A LOT.

Warning:  This book has been out a while so I feel less guilty about spoilers.  What I most want to talk about is very spoilerish.  So, ALL THE SPOILER WARNINGS.  If you haven’t read Jellicoe Road and you want to, don’t read this review.  It’s a very plotty book and while the structure of it didn’t always work for me, I think it probably works best not knowing all that much going in. (It is “safe” for romance readers to read.) I also think that if you haven’t read the book you won’t get a lot of out the discussion below and it could colour your view because I have Things. To. Say.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  I’m dreaming of the boy in the tree. I tell him stories. About the Jellicoe School and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world. Hannah, who found me on the Jellicoe Road six years ago.

Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs – the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor’s only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother – who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.


I’m putting the entire review under the jump because: SPOILERS

Unsuitable by Ainslie Paton

UnsuitableWhy I read it:  I received a review copy from the author. 

In the interests of disclosure, the author and I chat on Twitter often and we met when I was in Sydney in March of this year. If I didn’t think I could be objective I wouldn’t review her work here.  Ultimately, it is for readers of the review to decide if it has any value to them.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Can they make trailblazing and homemaking fit, or is love just another gender stereotype?

Audrey broke the glass ceiling.

Reece swapped a blue collar for a pink collar job.

She’s a single mum by design. He’s a nanny by choice.

She gets passed over for promotion. He struggles to find a job.

She takes a chance on him. He’s worth more than he knows.

There’s an imbalance of power. There’s an age difference.

There’s a child whose favourite word is no.

Everything about them being together is unsuitable.

Except for love.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I moved this one up the TBR queue when I realised it had a male nanny.  Not only is he a male nanny, he’s tall and broad, so he doesn’t fit the physical picture of a male nanny one may naturally assume.  That’s not me being sexist – that’s made explicit in the book.  His body actually works against him when he’s looking for work in his chosen field.   He doesn’t look like a thug but he does look like a muscly giant of a man.  Very nice to look at in the man candy stakes but kind of incongruous when paired with a nanny role.  Let’s face it, nannying is considered “women’s work” – not just by men, by almost everyone.  There’s no reason this should be the case, other than prejudice but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

Floored by Ainslie Paton

FlooredWhy I read it:  I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.  (In the interests of full disclosure: The author and I often chat on Twitter and I met her when I went to Sydney recently.)

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  They’re a car crash waiting to happen…so why do they keep crashing into each other?

From the moment Fetch gets knocked off his Harley, crawls into Driver’s car and offers her an obscene amount of money to drive him from Sydney to Perth — no questions, no names, no chit chat — they’re stuck with each other. By the time they arrive, they’re stuck on each other.

It’s lust at full throttle, with no seat belts. It could be more, but he’s a fake and she’s a liar. They’re both neck deep in crime, and only one of them is on the right side of the law.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  There were so many things to like about this book.  I loved that the main characters (Cait and Sean) were together for almost the whole of the book (yay for road trip books!).  It was a relatively long book (these days I expect maybe 200 pages so 330 means long) and there was plenty of time for the characters to be developed, to get to know one another, for the sexual tension to build and still get all the payoff of those things later on without being rushed.  I loved that Cait and Sean took time to get to know each other before things turned physical.  There was a point where tension became combustible and Sean cranks it up yet another notch – I felt it both fit the story but was also a clever way of increasing the readerly tension of “when will they get it on!” and I appreciated that it wasn’t drawn out unnecessarily.

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