Book Connections, Review

Five Favourite Author Books in 2019

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Favourite authors are authors I’ll always buy their books, or most likely pre-order them so they arrive soon after publishing date. Most of them don’t appear in our shops at all or take a week to get there. I did win Under Currents which was very nice. I love a win, who doesn’t! However Nora won’t lose out because I’ll buy the audiobook for my sister as she is a fan too.

Book Cover Nalini Singh is one of my favourite authors from recent years – like the last decade! Her Psy/Changeling paranormal series is the one of hers I enjoy the most. Wolf Dance takes us back to San Francisco and the wolves den, plus the emergence of a new kind of E Psy. I loved the warmth and wit, the catch up with past characters, and the dual between darkness and goodness. Plus two new main characters who were such fun and of course had good sparks flying between them. Memory is one gutsy heroine and I loved her nose to nose encounters with Alexei the wolf changeling. Five stars from me of course. Ouch I want the June 2020 book now. Thinking I might go back and start rereading this series via audio.

book coverThere is no doubt about it – Nora Roberts knows how to write great romantic suspense. There are times of intensity and times of a wonderful family, friendships blossoming and gardens getting big time makeovers. I loved how both Darby and Zane overcome the awful things life has dealt them. Darby’s ninja skills especially were something to admire for sure. Zod the dog – what a darling. Britt – Zanes’s sister, another strong woman. So much to love and cheer for, so much to be sad about. Five stars from this reader.

book coverOne sister disappears, the other – Ryan, is called upon to take care of two girls – seven and five, who seem shell shocked and withdrawn. Add in one parent who is working out on a submarine and rarely heard of. The grandparents have their own stress with Ryan’s dad having had a heart operation. The sister who has disappeared seems to be key to the whole family situation.  A mystery that slowly unravels and a family that eventually realigns itself. Very engaging read.

book coverAh, Kristan Higgins can sure write a book! Such a mix of characters, some strong – some weak. What a great mother Emma is, Riley such a delightful teen. And yes to Tess! I think she is a rampaging 2/3 year old. What havoc she caused, would love to see her as a teen and young woman! For another character – what is it like to carry a secret that scars for life? We see what it is to be a great Dad, and a terrible Dad. Great story, full of emotion, sadness and joy, some humour – the trademark of KH. And by mistake I ordered two of these books – just too overly keen!

book cover I enjoyed this latest novel of Wendy Wax. I liked the author angle, showing the tough world of publishing and having to produce. And then there is  the angst of falling out with your best friend. That happens!  Mother / daughter relationships also feature. They too have a wonderful relationship but what about if there is a secret lurking in there? All the main characters are flawed, in a very realistic, relatable way. There is struggle, and  forgiveness is not easily extended. And I loved the photo at the front of the book of Wendy Wax’s aunt in a stunning wedding dress. I can see how a story needed to be written!

#IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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This past week I finished another lap quilt that I gave as a gift to a very dear friend who taught with me for many years. She has just received some bad health news so it was good that I had already started making it and had it ready. Of course it was book related and had “covers” on the books of her gifts, talents, travels, projects she set her class etc. And books read to classes over the years.

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And this is her cat Poppy, that she rescued from the SPCA. Evidently the cat never sleeps on the couch but when the quilt was placed there she decided to sleep on it all day! It has a lovely cuddle fleece on the back which hopefully will be warm and nice to snooze under. For Francey, not the cat!

quilt and cat photo

 

What I read last week:

I had a great week of reading, enjoyed all three books. And the one I am reading now is good too.

What I am reading now:

I had just finished my last book when this arrived in the post, and it seemed just what I wanted to read. In the same post came a second copy. I’d ordered it twice without realising. So I guess someone will find that passed on to them. Not a bad thing as Kristan Higgins is always a good read.

 

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Up next:

I like to  free wheel my reading in August so haven’t decided what I’ll pick up next. 

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Book Connections, Review

Five Books that Explore Family Complications

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Families most likely by their nature are complicated, I guess we can all point to our own complications. And so when books explore these various complications a) we nod our heads or b) we think “well thank goodness that didn’t happen to us”.

Book cover Lucy’s own mother is dead and she would really welcome a mother figure. However her mother-in-law Diana is not that friendly a figure. She is aloof, unemotional, stands by strict beliefs about money and spends her time on a very good cause. When Diana ends up dead – the question is who did it and why? I didn’t like Diana at the beginning but I warmed to her eventually, I listened to this one on audio and that version was well done.

A middle grade book that introduces to us two twelve year olds who discover their dads are in a relationship and they want their daughters to be “family”. Initially the daughters are horrified! Then a firm friendship is formed in spite of their quite different personalities. The dads have their issues because they aren’t alike either and they stop the relationship to the disappointment of the girls. I thoroughly enjoyed this middle grade book and was delighted by all the plot twists and turns.

book coverA family complication happens in this YA novel and so Aria and her mother move provinces in Canada. One of the complications is that on a night out on Halloween Aria spies her father in another house with a young child on his knee and  the woman who answers the door is pregnant. Well! And there is a second complication but I am not saying a word because I hope some of you read this novel.  It explores what it is to be different, to harbor a secret, and it takes a hard look at bullying. Loved the touch of romance and development of the characters. K. A. Tucker I am so a fan.

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This book fits only loosely into family complications, because really its about friendship complications.However what about when friends eventually work through all the relationship complications over a long number of years and recognise that actually they are family. That’s how this one works out, along the way exploring alcoholism, dieting, secrets and deceit. I enjoyed this book although I didn’t love it. I was so happy it was a library borrow!

Book Cover What happens when one sister steals or seems to steal the man you are to marry right from under your nose. Going to be complicated for sure and it is. It’s either fight or flight and Lena chooses flight and I sympathise with her on that. When she returns home ten years later its because her Dad has been diagnosed with Alzheimers and its all hands on deck. Herself, her sister and brother plus their Dad must deal. In the dealing there is much exploration of memories, of forgiveness and the difference between forgetting and not forgetting. Plus there is a twist that is well signalled and ties in well to the title. And a second twist that I wasn’t that happy with and meant I scored it 4 rather than 5 stars.

Review

Things You Save in a Fire. Katherine Centre

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Published: Harlequin
Date: 13th August 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center is a short book. No! Not really! But that’s how it felt because I just loved reading it and it just went by far too fast. Always a sign of a good story.

One heroine who has a dark past that has left her angry, bitter and with a “keep your hands off me or you’ll be sorry” kind of attitude, even if its just a sympathetic hug.

Cassie is a firefighter and skilled paramedic. She knows to work alongside men she needs to be the best… and she is. When her mother needs her she reluctantly moves to be with her and start afresh. The men at the new fire station aren’t going to make it easy for her, the rookie provides an interesting new experience for her and life with her mother turns into something more than she was expecting.

Just when I was thinking to myself something is missing – you’ll know if you have read it, or when you read it – wham it arrived in a huge plot twist that was so good.

I loved how Cassie evolved, how she showed courage on so many fronts, how skilled and calm she was with her work. I loved how she came to know the power of forgiveness. And well… what I love most in a book – love and a happy, satisfying ending!

#IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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Well it’s been a wet week with more promised! My reading felt a bit “wet” too, and I even took a couple of days of no reading to  get myself back into reading. It’s one of my ploys for when I fall near a reading slump.

What I read last week:

I also had one DNF which totally failed to reel me in. Just wasn’t for me.

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What I am reading now:

 

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Up next:

Not sure but maybe this one for a reading challenge – being published within 18 years of your birthdate. However I intend reading quite of few of this author, as I enjoyed her so much as a teen. A WW2 nurse in Britain who wrote romance novels after the war and usually set in war time.
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Last Week’s Posts

Kiss Jill Mansell

 

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Review

Kiss by Jill Mansell

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Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Date: 1st August 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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Kiss by Jill Mansell was first published in 1993. This is a new edition being published this year. I didn’t realise that when I first undertook to read and review it, and it made me a little cautious. After finishing it, I have mixed feelings about it. It was fun, it made me chuckle at times, and read well as almost historical fiction at this point in time!

There are a number of characters and relationships and happenings. Some of the relationships made me raise my eyebrows and one seemed really too unbelievable, but luckily didn’t last long. It’s set in England with a little trip here and there further afield.

Izzy in her later thirties is one of the main characters, a singer who believes in living life and having fun and not worrying too much about finance. Katarina her seventeen old, more serious daughter is more inclined to be the adult in the family. Izzy as the book opens has one guy for two nights, another for another two nights, works two nights and has one night for herself. However an accident puts an end to that whole scenario.

Gina who causes the accident, takes Izzy and Katarina in when they have to leave their flat because they can’t pay the rent. She – Gina,  has just had rid herself of a no good husband who features further in this story in a completely yucky way. She flounders around for quite awhile but eventually through many trials actually finds someone she loves.

Well they all do – eventually. While not my favourite Jill Mansell book, I didn’t mind spending awhile  in the wacky world of these characters.

 

#IMWAYR

Its’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Hello August.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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For some reason the last week seems to have been rather long to me, not that it was boring, just that it had a lot of days in it! Lovely sunshine today, but cold, which I love and would welcome colder. Much of the country has snow but the cold only lightly graced our coastal area.

I had a good reading week, totally loved three of these books and one was just okay. But happily it was a library book.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

Just starting another book by Carmel Harrington – Irish author. Thanks to Trish at Between the Lines who introduced this author to me.

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I am still listening to the Rosamunde Pilcher book The Shell Seekers and will likely be most of the month as its long.

Up next:

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Last Week’s Posts

The Huntress. Kate Quinn

July Reading Round Up

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Month in Review

July Reading Round Up

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Total books read this month: 14

New to me authors:

Balli Kur Jaswal
Mary Beth Keane
Linda Holmes
Robert Hillman
Meg Mitchell Moore
Kate Quinn

Authors Come From:

USA: 9
Singapore: 1
New Zealand: 1
England: 2
Australia: 1

Reading Challenge Update:

Four books towards my library challenge completed this month.

Three audiobooks marked off.

Top Books for July

Well I need three! All different but all five star reads from me.

 

Looking forward to reading in August

Some of what I have planned.

Main Reading Goals for August…

  • include some library books in my reading
  • make a dent in some of the books I’ve bought this year
  • No review books allowed!
  • Give up on Lonesome Dove, I never picked it up in July, will put it aside for now – maybe forever.

Incoming Books for July

Purchased

I am buying all the Kindle books available of Lucilla Andrews – a nostalgic author whose books are out of print but they are publishing them on Kindle and I want them all!

Library Books

From NetGalley or Edelweiss

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Won

I had a little win on Instagram – Thank you Hachette Australia.

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Audio Books Purchased from Audible

Linking up with Nicole at Feed my Fiction Addiction

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Review

The Huntress. Kate Quinn

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Published: HarperCollins
Date: 2019
Source: Library

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I first heard of The Huntress by Kate Quinn from the Modern Mrs Darcy Summer Reading Guide 2019. I wasn’t sure if it was for me, but I put in a reserve for it at the library and in due course it arrived. Would I read it? Do I want to know about all the bloodshed and evil of the WW2 time in yet another historical fiction book? I decided to read a few pages and see how I went.

After five pages – I was hooked. The writing and tone of the book just reeled me in. The story rotates around three characters’ points of view. There is Ian an Englishman who lost a brother in the war, he is a journalist, suffers from post war trauma from his time as a journalist during it. Now he is part of a small team hunting Nazis down and bringing them (hopefully) to justice. Along with him is Tony a European with Polish/Hungarian blood, younger than Ian but still a good foil to him and very useful as “the charming good guy”  of the pair.

Nina forms the third member of the team, she is Russian and grew up in harsh conditions, survived and became a pilot in the Russian army, in a women’s division known as the Night Witches. What a character she is. She Is hard bitten and tough, a razor wielding vixen. But look closer and just maybe there is a softer side to her. I have to say I came to adore her.

Jordan lives in America in Boston, hers is the third POV. She is young and loves to photograph people. She has a new stepmother and new little sister. She has a fiancé who while he seems right for her, perhaps isn’t. I found myself totally hooked into the relationship that Jordan and her stepmother form. I loved Jordan’s love for her little stepsister Ruth and her protection of her.

We toggle between a few time periods – during the war getting Nina’s back story and then after the war in 1950 Ian and Tony and Nina working together to find the woman who has eluded them but they are compelled to track down.  As well Jordan’s timeline tracks along at about the same time in Boston. It totally works.

I loved the tiny pieces of humour in the book that made me smile,( Ian’s reading material being one)  while every moment I had I was  picking  up the book to see what was going to happen next in the nail biting, yet slow, patient, tracking of The Huntress. Bring to this story your own experience of hiding from something or someone and if you are like me you’ll hate the crime but possibly feel for the hunted.

Extremely well written, informative and thought provoking. I highly recommend it.

#IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Goodbye July

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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Well last week I talked about maybe washing a quilt and if I’d get it dry in the winter weather. Well I did wash it, got it mostly sort of dry outside and finished it off by the fire that evening and then the airing cupboard. Mission accomplished!

The lovely thing is when I presented it to Miss 4 year old for her birthday, she loved it and responded so well. The response warmed my heart and will be the one I ever remember. Later that day she told her grandmother (my sister) “When I roll up in this on the floor, no one is to come near me  with their shoes on!”  If you enjoy quilts and four year olds – photos here.

What I read last week:

One from the TBR, one from the library and one audiobook finished.

What I am reading now:

This one is from the library. I wondered if I’d just return it – unread! Just a little overfed with WW2 fiction. But…. I picked it up to try out and I am still reading at page 319! Well written, pulled me in. And it is scary to think of all those Nazi who escaped to other countries and often not much was done about it. It goes 530 pages, and I don’t think it will be long before I make it.

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I have just started a reread via audiobook version this time. It’s almost 20 hrs long so will take me awhile no doubt.

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Up next:

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