Imperfect Chemistry

This was exactly what I was in the mood for when I discovered it – a cute romantic comedy featuring likeable characters and an easy-to-follow plot.

Lucy, the main character, is basically a female version of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, except I pictured her to look and sound like Amy Farrah Fowler.

Lucy has never been in love and wants to study emotions as a pathogen. Enter her good looking, newly heartbroken neighbour and watch the hilarity unfold.

There wasn’t anything ground-breaking in this story. It unfolded exactly as I expected, complete with zany sidekick friends and overbearing parents. But it was written well and I could easily pretend I was watching a movie.

My only qualms were the repetition of the phrase he scrubbed his hand through his hair and the word coursed (as in through someone’s veins). I also felt the ‘betrayal’ at the three-quarter mark was a bit weak.

It’s actually a great piece to analyse if you’re trying to figure out how write your own romantic comedy because the turning points were so obvious (and I mean that in the best possible way).

Overall, it was a fun, quick read and I’m thinking I will look up the next two books in the series.

Recommended for romantic comedy fans.

3.75 / 5 stars

Maroochy Wetlands & McMartin’s Strawberry Farm

mw1I’m reviewing these two at the same time because they are next door to each other and make a great morning out if done together.

It’s best to visit in early spring, for two reasons. One, the strawberry farm is only open from June to October, and the wetlands are not fun to visit during the summer when the mosquitoes are out in full force. It can get pretty cold in winter, hence early spring is ideal.

I suggest you do the wetlands first and walk along the boardwalk to the edge of the Maroochy River. You will see a variety of plant life, but the mangroves are the main attraction. It takes about 20 – 30 minutes to walk to the end if you are really taking your time (look out for crabs in the mud!). You must then return the way you came.

The strawberry farm next door is obviously a great place to pick a punnet of ripe strawberries, but it also has a small cafe and playground attached. The setting is quite peaceful, and the kids can order a strawberry sundae. Adults will probably choose the Devonshire tea (which can be replaced with coffee if you wish).

parkHow To Get There
Despite it being called the Maroochy Wetlands, it is actually closer to Bli Bli. Both places are located at the end of Sports Road, which has recently been paved.

Free unless you eat at the cafe.

Attraction Rating

Other Info
Check out the McMartin’s website:
Or the Wetlands site:

Hector and the Search for Happiness

This was a quick, fun read. I have long been a fan of self-improvement books that are presented in the form of a quest, so this was right up my alley. When I first started reading it, I found the language a bit too simple, almost patronising. But after a while, I really got into it, and the simplicity actually made me consider the lessons for happiness a bit more deeply than I might have otherwise. I’m not sure I came away with anything brand new, but it was a good way of presenting information I was already aware of in a different way.

A Wild Sheep Chase

This is my third Murakami book, and probably the most confusing of the three (the other two being Norwegian Wood and 1Q84). I loved it, but I’m not sure how to explain why.

I am not the kind of person who can dig into themes and subtext and give everyone an insight into the deeper aspects of a story, so I’m just going to review the story in the only way I know how.

The protagonist is an almost too average guy. He doesn’t have a name. His wife just left him. He spends his days working at a PR business he half owns with an alcoholic friend.

And then a mysterious man shows up and wants him to track down a sheep in a photo that was used in one of their PR campaigns.

With the help of a girlfriend who has magical ears, they set off to the wilds of Hokkaido to find this sheep, which apparently inhabits people and then essentially tries to take over the world.

It all sounds really weird, and it is. But the interesting thing about Murakami’s books is how mundane the stories are, until suddenly they’re not. Apart from the sheep aspect (and the magic ears), the rest of the action is almost boring. There’s a lot of musing, and a lot of waking up, eating, walking etc. But I liked this because it reminded me of day-to-day life when I lived in Japan. I also love the descriptions of the scenery. Murakami has a deceptively simple way of writing things, which make abstract concepts easier to understand.

The last part of this book is quite dark and disturbing, although you don’t even really find out why until right at the very end.

I do recommend it, but I would possibly try something else by Murakami first to get a feel for how he operates.

I think this book will stick with me for a while.

Miniature Ride-On Steam Trains in Nambour

This is a fun outing. It’s not a full day activity, but it’s a great way to spend an hour or so. The trains operate on the fourth Sunday of every month. To make it worthwhile, perhaps take some morning tea or a picnic. There aren’t a lot of eateries open in Nambour on Sundays apart from the pub, but we did discover a new Taco Boy on the main street, so that was our pick.

The line-up for the train can be between half an hour and an hour on sunny days, so go with a relaxed attitude (and also some sunscreen, because there is no shade for most of the queue). The trains are a novelty, and the kids love them, so it’s worth at least one visit. The ride itself only goes for about five minutes, but it winds around a grassy field and then amongst the trees. There are several trains with different seating arrangements, and they run from 10.00am – 3.00pm.

How To Get There
Entry to the grounds is via Florence Street in Nambour. This is behind the real train station. Parking is difficult to find on a sunny day, so be prepared to walk a few minutes from your car.

Approx $3 per person.

Attraction Rating
6/10 (only because of the wait required compared to the length of the ride)

Other Info
Closed toe shoes must be worn.
Check out the website:

Kids Bike Path in Kawana

kawana(This is my first entry in a new series of articles about things to do around the Sunshine Coast. Future entries will be listed under Blog / News > Weekend & Holiday Adventures.)

This is a great park for kids who are learning to ride bikes. There is a playground in the middle, in the shape of a boat, and a winding path complete with miniature road signs and petrol station around the outside. My five year old loved it, considering he has only been riding without training wheels for a few months. My two year old preferred to play in the boat and on the swings.

It is also quite close to Kawana Shopping World, so we went to Guzman Y Gomez for a Mexican lunch and then Yogurtland for dessert! The perfect kids outing!

boatHow To Get There
The park is next to Kawana Library, so head towards Kawana Shoppingworld, turn left into Point Cartwright Dr if you’re coming from the north and then turn right into Nanyima Street. You should then see the park on your right.


Playground Rating (judging by how long it kept the kids interest)

Other Info
There are public toilets nearby and lots of grassy areas if you want to have a picnic.


A couple of my writer friends and I have formed an unofficial book club. So far, we have read Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid (an awesome Sliding Doors type story), Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover (sorry, I just couldn’t finish it!) and now Horns by Joe Hill.

I read a lot of horror and thriller when I was younger, but I seemed to have forgone them in recent times for more light-hearted stuff. So when I first saw that Stephen King’s son was the author of our newest read, I was a little scared.

And I had a right to be so.

Joe Hill has a knack of lulling you into a false sense of security, making you think everything’s OK (despite the fact that the protagonist has newly developed horns growing from his head), and then bam! You’re suddenly sympathising with people exhibiting the darkest elements of human nature.

The interesting thing about this book was that as events unfolded, it became harder and harder to tell who the ‘bad guy’ was. I don’t want to give any spoilers away, so I’ll just say that not everything is as it seems, and it does make you question traditional religion in a way you might not have considered previously.

I felt like there was a bit of a Devil’s Advocate vibe throughout. Also Fallen – with its Rolling Stones’ references. Joe Hill’s descriptions were perfect at creating a grungy, small town feeling and a sense of bleakness to the environment. There was also just the right amount of confusion and dream-like quality to keep you from being pulled out of the story, even as things got as unbelievable as it’s possible to get.

I was really impressed with this book, and binge-read the last 40% in one morning.

Anyone who is a fan of Stephen King should really appreciate this book.

Finding Harmony (Katie & Annalise Book 3)

The third book in this series contained an incredibly tense plotline that kept me zooming through the pages so I could find out what happened next.

I both love and hate suspense, especially when it’s done well, because I can’t concentrate on anything else until it’s resolved. This book definitely did it well. A big part of the story opened up a whole other side of the island Katie calls home – and a sinister one at that.

I’m not sure how much I can reveal without giving anything away, but it concerns a missing person and Katie’s attempts to find them.

The only thing I had concerns with was that Katie had slightly odd priorities that I’m not sure I agree with as a mother. And I also found myself not liking Nick much this time around. But then one of Pamela’s talents is creating realistic characters who behave in realistic ways, so this was a testament to her ability.

There is a huge reliance on the supernatural in this book – moreso than the other two books – so if you weren’t a fan of that angle earlier, you will probably like it even less here – but I thought it was clever the way it was used to help Katie solve the case.

Overall, this series was awesome and I will be checking out some of Pamela’s other stuff soon. Her way with words is unique, and she has inspired me to strive to be the best author I can be.

Thanks Pamela! You rock!

Leaving Annalise (Katie & Annalise Book 2)

I actually started thinking about how much information I prefer to know about a book prior to reading, and I’ve decided all I need is the blurb (the shorter the better) and the average star rating. I actually really like reading full reviews after I’ve read the book to see if people agreed with certain aspects of the story to me.

Although with this one, I didn’t even need the blurb or star rating before I started. I bought Leaving Annalise because of the Nick factor from the first book. And thankfully all questions were answered very quickly in the first few chapters.

Then there was a rather sentimental chunk of the story that while written well, wasn’t quite my cup of tea… but then it got back into the drama and intrigue that we all know and love from the first book. I read all three of the books in this series very close together, so I’m having a hard time separating the events in my brain, but there was definitely enough going on in this second instalment to make me move straight onto the third.

I still love the author’s ‘voice’ and all her descriptions of the location and its characters. Rashidi was one of my favourite people, and I would love to see a whole book about him!

For anyone who loves a bit of a mystery mixed in with their romance and set in an exotic location, this is your book.

An awesome addition to the series.

Saving Grace (Katie & Annalise Book 1)

This was my first book from Bookbub and it didn’t disappoint. Saving Grace is set in the Caribbean and features an attorney named Katie who likes to drink. It’s romantic mystery, but there actually isn’t a lot of romance in this first book. At least not reciprocated romance. Katie is hung up on Nick, a private detective she works with, but he’s going through a divorce and isn’t forthcoming with his feelings towards our heroine.

After several issues at work, Katie heads to Saint Marcos and puts an offer in on a beautiful old mansion complete with jumbie (or ghost for those who don’t know Caribbean lingo).

I absolutely loved the author’s ‘voice’ and her clever way with words. This was a very funny book, despite dealing with the serious issues of death and loss.

The supernatural aspect might not appeal to everyone, but I think it worked well mixed in with the ‘voodoo’ vibe of the story. I haven’t been to the Caribbean, but I found myself reminiscing about a trip I went on to Vanuatu a few years ago and its wild tropical beauty. The setting is a character all on its own, and it carried the story when the plot slowed down a bit mid-book.

Not all loose ends are tied up by the end, so of course I had to get the second one straight away. I think I would have preferred one of the major plot lines to be wound up in the first book, but I was going to buy the second one anyway.

It’s been a while since I’ve read something that I couldn’t put down. And while I’ve enjoyed the last few ‘straight’ romance books I’ve read, the funny stuff is much more up my alley.

Highly recommend :)