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Hand Me Down (2011)

Twenty-six years ago, two girls were born in the small town of Pisa - not Pisa, Italy but Pisa, Otago in New Zealand. Home of the best cherries you have ever seen. One was a brunette, olive-skinned girl and the other blonde with blue eyes. Hand Me Down starts the day these two babies go home with the wrong set of parents. April Ritchie was a princess in her daddy's eyes and could do no wrong. Her family were wealthy and important - they owned the biggest house in Pisa. But when she is 17, her charmed life comes crashing down as rumours spread that she isn't the biological daughter of Heather and Grant Ritchie. Furious with rage, she is kicked out of home and leaves Pisa, vowing to never return. But first she makes a quick detour to the hospital and steals two medical records - her own and those of Nola Gutsell. Nine years later, April is flat-broke and making her living as a kissing telegram girl singing "happy birthday" to horny guys. When a job comes up, it takes April back to her hometown. Can she prove to them she has changed - that she's not the same person who left nine years ago? Once again, Michelle Holman has written a superb story that will have us in laughter in parts and tears in others as the cracks between April's tough exterior start showing and her true colours revealed. (PP)

Barefoot (2010)

This funny sequel to Bonkers tells the story of how Glenn and Sherry's one-night stand turns into one big mistake as Sherry returns to NZ from Denver to find herself three months pregnant. Now Sherry must embrace what little motherhood skills she may have and try to figure a way out of this mess. At the same time, Sherry must deal with two sets of interfering parents and in-laws, her ex-boyfriend Stuart and a stalker who seems to like the tyres on her car. As a story about the mayhem of family life, Barefoot has it all. For those who have read Bonkers, you also find out the sex of her sister Lisa and Dan's baby and read more about Ben's sexual escapades and how he's lost so much weight. (PP)

Knotted (2009)

'When Daneka Lawton was awakened at 6am by her radio clock and Lily Allen singing her song Smile, she was unaware that her personal nemesis had just stepped off a 747 at the Auckland airport.' Danny is an ER nurse in the North Shore with funky coloured hair and an attitude to match. After her sister's death from breast cancer six months ago, Danny is raising her niece Mia and nephew Matt on her tight budget, with no family to support her. Until, out of the blue, Danny starts to receive letters from Ross Fabello, the brother of the children's dad, who is wanting to get to know the children and introduce them to his family. Worried, that the Italian-American family will take the children away from her, she ignores his letters. Finally after a series of unfortunate events Ross ends up at the hospital where she works. For both parties, it's hate at first sight as neither wants to give up the children. Ross hires a PI to investigate Danny while she Googles him and finds out he is also the famous author RF O'Rourke. After a series of events and slanging matches including the famous apple-throwing incident at the supermarket, together they discover more about each other and in time themselves. Filled with an interesting cultural mix, this book includes New Zealanders Pakeha and Maori as well as Americans, Italians and the Irish. This is one of those books that once you start reading you won't be able to put it down. (PP)

Divine (2008)

"What do you do when your husband leaves you, not for another woman but because he wants to be a she?" Tara Whitehead has been married to husband Richard for 16 years and everything is perfect as Tara has been transformed from a Westie to a Remuera trophy wife. Until one day Richard drops a bombshell and tells her he is leaving her, to become a woman. Forced out of her home, in order for her husband to pay for his surgery, Tara and their 15-year-old daughter Jennifer move to the small town of Divine, which is as far as her designer stilettos will take her. Tara is dogged by financial worries until her new friend Sian finds her a telephone job with the pseudonym Mistress Fury. This is another hilarious and delightful read from Michelle Holman - just divine, in fact. (PP)

Bonkers (2007)

When New Zealand schoolteacher Lisa Jackson dies in a two-car accident, an angel-in-training decides to give her another chance at life and she returns inside the body of the other driver, a demanding American called Linda Brogan. Besides missing her own family, some things are better for the new Lisa. For one, she now has a gorgeous, model-like body and no longer has to deal with the pain of endometriosis. She also lives in a lovely home with her doctor husband, Dan. But he can't stand the sight of his wife. Can Lisa risk telling him why she's nothing like Linda? A prutty charming, lufe-affurming story (sorry, just trying out a Kiwi accent - make that a pretty charming life-affirming story.)

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