Book Connections

Five Characters I Love

Five book characters I’d love to actually meet up with!

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from The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg.

Arthur an elderly man and a great appreciator. He loved his wife Nola and goes to visit her grave each day and remembers the wonderful loving life they had together.  He is open to eighteen year old Maddy, who wears a ring in her nose, lost her mother at a very early age and has a father who is rather poor at being a father. But he looks with eyes of acceptance at Maddy and is willing to step up for her. He is caring for his elderly neighbour Lucille, especially in her time of great need. Arthur has a lot to teach me about life.

book coverSunshine. – from A Bad Day for Sunshine and a Good Day for Chardonnay. I’ve had two book dates with Sunshine in 2020, I can’t wait to make one in 2021. Sunshine is the sheriff of a small town, she has a delightful daughter and two supportive parents. A great love in her life although that’s complicated but developing. Sunshine is the best of mothers, a fair boss with an eye for great additions to the police force in town. She really goes the extra mile, she really cares. And she solves crimes!

book coverSophy from the Grand Sophy. Most likely Sophy is like many of Heyer’s heroines, but she sure is something. Things happen when she is around. She goes places women don’t, she drives and rides horses as well as any man. She is outspoken and speaks up and out. Vibrant and irrepressible. She is very caring and will risk herself for others when they need it. She can spot someone who is insincere. She mightn’t look perfect to the hoity toy, but I just thought she was a total delight.

book coverLt Sam Holland from Marie Forces series First Family a spin off from Fatal Affairs. Sam is a detective in charge of a homicide team. She is good at what she does, she follows up, goes the extra mile to solve the case. And… she supports her husband who has just landed the biggest job in the land. She is a great Mom to her found family, and very supportive of her friends.

book coverHelen from a Home Like Ours. She is in her mid fifties and is now in charge of a community garden. At one point she was homeless in spite of being well educated. She is spiky, tough talking and a no nonsense kind of person. Most of all I really like her for the way she invites a group of refugee women to take part in the garden and learn how to feed their families. Most of all I really was impressed by how she stood up for what was right and was ready to fight injustice.

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Additions to my Bookshelf

In the last week five books have arrived in the letterbox. Always a nice surprise because there is a two to four week lag from the time I order to the time they arrive from England. So a surprise! By then I often forget what I have ordered .

To Scotland with LoveI have been meaning to try this series, and as their are quilts somehow involved a reason to give it a go. There a middling reviews for To Scotland with Love but might as well try it out.

Booked 4 MurderKatherine from I Wish I lived in a Library says this was a fun beginning to this cozy mystery series. As I was ordering books this one slipped in! Booked 4 Murder.

A Gentleman in Moscow

So many good things said about A Gentleman in Moscow. Did think of listening to it and may do that in the future as well.

Miss AustenMiss Austen has been in my Goodreads TBR for awhile, ever since Mary from the BookFan blog alerted it to me. I like an Austen book of some kind every so often.

The Hope Chest

I want to read all the back list of Viola Shipman, so added The Hope Chest to the basket. Now that I have it and read the back blurb I may just put off reading this one for awhile. I see one of the characters has ALS or known here as MND – a progressive degenitive disease. As one of my sisters has this, might be a little close to the bone at present.

Have you read any of these? If not, is there any one of them you’d pick up to have a look at? Titles are linked to Goodreads.

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At Times Something Comes Last!

These five books have “Last” in their title. Sometimes its not so good to be last, but sometimes it can be a blessing too!
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Truthfully I don’t know what or who the last guard is! However I am going to say it refers to Anchors who are part of a secretive designation whose task it is to stabilize the PsyNet. And to the two main characters, both Anchors. Now the critical psychic network is dying, threatening to collapse and kill the entire Psy race with it. So Canto and Payal Rao are the last guard I do believe.

Last Guard is the most recent in the Psy Changeling series and I am always in awe of how Nalini Singh weaves a story that is engaging and has characters I love. Her books, and this one is a great example, are rich and deep. Full of wisdom about life and speaks to our world today.

5 stars.

book cover Well I do know what the word last means in this book. The last bookshop standing in war torn London during the Second World War.

Grace finds herself in London as the war begins. While she isn’t a reader her mother’s friend pushes her into a bookshop job with Mr. Evans. It’s an old dusty place with books everywhere. Before long Grace finds she has a place there and slowly builds a love of books and reading.  4.5 stars

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What happens one last night in London during the bombing that changed a lot of things? It takes most of the book for us to find out.

The characters are well developed and I really felt for them. I felt saddened by some of the war events, and chuckled at some of the gentle humour at other times.  There are secrets, some betrayal, love that endures and heartbreak. Well really this book has so much to offer.

5 stars

book coverDuring World War 2 it was only allowable that men would be the correspondents on the ground in the war zones.

In The Last Correspondent Soraya M. Lane gives us a graphic portrayal of what it was like for women correspondents to do what they so strongly felt called to do. Report what was happening at the front of World War 2.

And guess who is there when it really counts. Yes I will tell you – the women!

5 stars

And where possible I like to include one I haven’t read yet, but sits awaiting. I’ve read some good things about this book.

Before Owen Michaels disappears, he manages to smuggle a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. So I am guessing that’s the last thing he told his wife, to take care of his 16 year old daughter from a previous relationship.

I’ll have to read it to see what unfolds.

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Book Family Complications.

Family is a rather ubiquitous theme in books, as a reader you meet it whether its in the title or not! However I find it is endlessly interesting.

Family Reunion I’ve just  read Family Reunion  It’s set in Nantucket. There is Eleanor who is the grandmother and lives in a wonderful old house on the island.

Her grand daughter Ari is with her spending the summer after study. She has just broken up her engagement. She loves her grandmother and they have a great relationship.Then there is Ari’s parents and uncle. They live off island but visit. They provide quite a bit of the conflict.

I liked the two main characters, and the plot moved along at a nice pace, there was always something happening – mostly in a quiet kind of way, but still eventful. Plus most of the characters grow as the book develops.   4 stars.

book cover I  just finished reading this backlist book by Emilie Richards – Rising Tides. It follows on from Iron Lace which I read back in 2017 but never moved on to this one. It was first published in 1997. Aurore has died and all relevant people have been called to the cottage to listen to the will in Louisiana.

Complicated family totally, with racism, tension violence and huge secrets. I don’t know that I like this family that much! But they do get surprises and that’s for sure and maybe some answers.

It isn’t a favourite by ER for me, but I am still finding myself wanting to find out all the sordid family details and what each will do with them. It is a 4 star rating for me.

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One I read way back in 2016. Echoes of Family. This is a story of family, of the burdens some carry from their past, of living with a mental illness. And that from the point of view of the person with the mental illness and those who love and support them and angst for them. It gave me insight and enabled me understand and open my heart to those who have the burden of such illness.

I like anything this author writes but she hasn’t published anything recently.

This was a  five star read. Keeper shelf.

book cover A 2020 read – Just An Ordinary Family. I always love to showcase this Australian Author. She writes a fine story.

Any book that makes me want to keep coming back to pick it up and read is a winner in my view. It is complicated family relationships at its best. It made me waver back and forth about all the characters – did I like them, did I agree with them, could I accept them for all their flaws? Final verdict is that I did hold them in my heart – wept at times and smiled at times. Cheered them on.

4.5 stars. Keeper Shelf.

And one from my TBR shelf! Hana Khan Carries On. Surprising to me on my actual TBR print books I could only pick out one book that seems to be family complications oriented.

It centers on Hana but involves her mother and a mysterious aunt and teenage cousin which draws Hana into a long-buried family secret. Published 2021.

Looking forward to reading this one soon.

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Recently Placed Books on to my TBR Shelf

Well that would be my virtual TBR! Which has grown again. I often put a book into my virtual TBR and hope that I will get to it. I did cull it, but maybe I need to do that again. But in the meantime I am looking at five of the latest that I have added that I am more likely to pick up.

Book coverWhat? First in a crime series. It involves a a couple of police characters and killer of course and its set in a small town in Woodbury MA. One character is Ellery Hathaway. No one there knows she was once victim number seventeen in the grisly story of serial killer Francis Michael Coben. The only one who lived.

Why? I liked the review of the #3 book in the series that I read and so I always like to start with #1.

How likely am I to get to it? Some likelihood. It is at our local library so that increased the possibility. Crime reading only forms part of my reading diet but I do like one now and then.

book cover What? Stuck in a dreary Boston winter, Annabelle Martin would like nothing more than to run away from her current life. She’s not even thirty years old, twice-divorced, and has just dodged a marriage proposal… from her ex-husband. When she’s offered her dream job as creative director at a cutting-edge graphic design studio in Phoenix, she jumps at the opportunity to start over.

Why? Again I was alerted to this book via someones review. It’s contemporary women’s fiction and that’s probably my top reading genre.

How Likely am I to get it? A good likelihood. It is at the local library which is a point in favour. I like a story where a woman starts over.

book coverWhat? London 1943: War and dwindling resources are taking their toll on the staff of Partridge Press. The pressure is on to create new books to distract readers from the grim realities of the war, but Partridge’s rising star, Alice Cotton, leaves abruptly and cannot be found.

Why? Again a review drew me to this book. It’s WW2 and involves some publishing and I think a missing child.

How Likely Am I to get to it? Highly likely as I have it already out from the library. Which doesn’t mean I always will read a book, but when its sitting there I will pick it up if I can.

book coverWhat? Melanie Trenholm and her family navigate the eerie happenings in their town as ghosts threaten to upend their lives once again.

Why? It’s part of a series – #7 that I am reading, but I need to read #6 first. This one publishes later in the year. The final one I believe. It involves ghosts and mystery.

How Likely Am I to get it? 100 % likely. I am invested in reading or listening to this series.

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What? When thirty-nine year old Maria Forssmann wakes up in her seventeen-year-old body, she doesn’t know how she got there. All she does know is she has to get back: to her home in Bienville, Mississippi, to her job as a successful psychiatrist and, most importantly, to her husband, daughters, and unborn son.

Why? Again I read a review for this book and it appealed. It has some time travel and magical realism. Plus it has a women’s fiction feel.

How likely am I go get it? A good likelihood. It’s not at the library, but it is on audiobook at Audible and so I have put it in my Wish list.

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British Authors I Have Enjoyed

Once I read pretty much all British authors.  However now, not so much. As I prefer contemporary fiction first here are some present contemporary authors I read. Tracy Rees is more historical but that’s my second go to in reading. Probably a ratio of 1:5 is about right! Although come to think of it Jojo Moyes writes both.
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Jenny Colgan

I’ve probably read the most by this author. I enjoy her upbeat fun books, often with some theme that is more serious. Her series are good and this one set down in the south of England with a pet puffin is fun. This is #4 in the series.

Jojo Moyes. I haven’t read all her books and must pick out another one to read. I see I have a couple of her older ones on my bookshelf. My second Jojo Moyes book and I enjoyed it in spite of the serious nature of the underlying choice that Will makes. I liked how Will and Lou interacted and the difference they made in each others’ lives. I liked the chapters from three other characters’ points of view. I would have liked one or two from Wills, but I guess that might have given away too much too soon. I’ve read the three in this series.

Tracy Rees I have two of hers.  Amy Snow by Tracy Rees is a debut novel that enthralled me from start to finish. It is set in England in early Victorian times, and while in one sense it merely covers a matter of months, it also goes back in time, so that we the reader are slowly fed all the details. This allows the mystery of the story to unfurl. A little soap drama in flavour but still a good read.

I have read another one by her the second book she wrote. I have the third sitting on my shelf – a dual time line one I think.The Hourglass. Another one I need to pick up.

book coverSarah Morgan. Another author I have read a lot of books by her. Family for Beginners – Wonderful heartwarming and uplifting family. Characters so delightful, family, friendship, trials, secrets, fears and so much more. Wisdom too!  I haven’t read all her books and think I have one or two already on my Kindle. Plus of course she’ll have something new out before long.

book coverBeth O’Leary I have read two by this author and I see another one in the shops that I will get at some point from the library. The Road Trip.

At first I couldn’t get into this book. Thought I didn’t like how it was structured. Then… I was hooked. Loved this warm hearted – quirky, flat sharing note-making friendship. And more.

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Authors’ Back Lists

Sometimes a new to me author makes me want to think about what the author has written previously and I like to think about what I could read of theirs.

The GunkleI’ve been reading The Guncle by Stephen Rowley which is exploring some serious issues, mainly that of grief and loss but with some humour and great compassion. And the main character is so engaging.

It’s made me realise I’ll need to read another by Steven Rowley. I think my next one will be The Editor.

And then here are other authors who I have come across in recent years and am well into reading their back lists.

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I’ve now read quite a few by Karen White but I have some to go and I’d like to keep reading anything she has written and at the moment I am working my way through the Tradd St series, but I have others of hers to read as well.

 

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I have read the recent books by Viola Shipman but there are a couple of previous books that I’d like to catch up on. The Charm Bracelet and The Hope Chest.

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When I read my first Katherine Center book How to Walk Away I knew I’d want to read anything else she has written. I have read her recent ones and have a few of her back list still to go. So I have chosen my next audiobook by her and it is called The Bright Side of Disaster. When I like an author I don’t even usually read the blurb – I just pick it up and read!

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I picked this book by Liz Byrski, from a local bookshop based on the cover as you do! It brought me the happy acquaintance of a new to me author. I have since read I think at least one or two of her books and she does have a few back list books. I picked up three of them cheaply from the same bookshop recently. She lives in Australia and I think is of British origin. She writes women’s fiction and often has an older character in her books. She has a new one coming out in September I see. 

When I read a new author I don’t always start to note their backlist books. I guess it’s a good indication if I do, that I really liked their books. In the past I’ve found  author sand read everything by them. 

Who is an author that you have at present that you want to read all their backlist books?

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Reasons I Am Not Reading So Much

Recently I have noticed I am not reading as much, sometimes it even seems like a chore. I want to see what might be happening…

  1. I spend quite a bit of time quilting – it is my new hobby since I retired a few years ago. I love doing it, making quilts and giving them to people. I also love scrolling through fabric stores online, looking at colours and pretty designs. I sometimes  even buy some. It’s a bit like books – there are designers and they have new lines come out every so often. So tempting!
  2. I spend way to much time online – scrolling through places like Facebook and Instagram. Plus watching videos on You Tube. Mostly “how to” videos about quilting! Or sometimes other interests.
  3. I am walking every day which is great – early mornings are so fresh and mostly without any deterring wind. But… I’ve given up listening to audiobooks while I walk, I am preferring to just “be” and enjoy my surroundings and the peace and quiet… or noise of the traffic! So fewer audiobooks, plus listening time goes into podcasts, so many good ones.
  4. At night I find myself more tired thanI used to be,so when I pick up a book I can’t concentrate.  Sometimes in the early afternoonI am too heavy headed to read. So a little siesta is needed. I do get up at 6am every morning which works well, but it has some downsides.
  5. And then … too many books which creates unneeded self pressure to read them. I want to read all those books from the library and while I do keep review books to a limited number, I look at all my own books and I feel swamped.  Plus I am always picking up recommendations from bloggers and authors.

So it’s only a problem if its a problem to me, and it just natters away a bit at me. I am going to try a few things in the next weeks – August and see if it helps. Some things I don’t want to change but I may find other ways to get my reading mojo back.

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Cozy Mystery Series

So many books, I can’t keep up! I decided to look at cozy mystery series I will prioritise. Some I am almost up to date with so I haven’t included those. Another time I might look at other series I want to keep up to date with as well. The one thing about a cozy mystery is they do read quickly on the whole. so that’s a reading positive.

Checked Out for Murder This is #4 in the Haunted Library Mystery series and I have enjoyed the first three via audio. So this is a definite series to follow through.

Love the library ghost, the library cat and librarian Carrie. I see she gets on some reader’s nerves but my nerves are reasonably stable at the moment!! I also like the mysteries and the narrator does a good job.

book cover The Royal Spyness series and I am up to this one #7 Heirs and Graces. So well narrated and a load of fluffy royal British fun. Such easy listening and some interesting murders and situations.

The Whispered WordLook at those yummy scones on the cover, plus the books of course. I enjoyed #1 and The Whispered Word is #2 of The Secret, Book and Scone series. It has a group of women, one of them Nora, runs the bookshop and she knows how to pick the right book for you. Again the narrater Cris Dukehart presents the books really well.

book coverThis is #1 of the Liz Talbot Mystery series. I haven’t started this one but its in my library at Audible …. waiting! Liz Talbot is a modern Southern belle: she blesses hearts and takes names. She carries her Sig 9 in her Kate Spade handbag, and her golden retriever, Rhett, rides shotgun in her hybrid Escape. When her grandmother is murdered, Liz high-tails it back to her South Carolina island home to find the killer.Twisted threads

I’m up to date with reading  my quilting cozy series and so even though I don’t do needlepoint this series comes recommended by a respected cozy mystery reader,  so I have this one out from the library. Love the cover again and I am looking forward to reaching it. Because its #1 in the series I am hoping I’ll be able to keep this one for awhile as most interested will have read it.

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Recently Bought Books

I have too many good books to read! I have those library books mentioned last week. Plus it seems to have been a big buying month! Sometimes the bug hits. It is going to be awhile before I get to these but I am so wanting to.

The GunkleA gay uncle has to look after his niece and nephew for the summer. I heard about this on a book podcast and I really want to read it sooner rather than later. I haven’t read Steven Rowley yet, I did intend to, so I can start with this one.

When Stars CollideI have recently bought this one too and I really, really want to read it soon. SEP’s latest romance between an opera singer and a back up quarterback. I am a die hard fan. Out of the five, when I get a chance this will be the first one.

The Player Next DoorI also am a fan of Canadian author K. A. Tucker and I need an author with same initials as me for a challenge. Well I don’t have an A. but I consider the K and the T reason enough!  It is a romance as well. I didn’t even really read what its about, just the author’s name is enough!

Don't tellDon’t Tell is the first one in Karen Rose’s romantic suspense series. I’ve read some of the later ones, but I want to go back and start the series. I probably won’t get onto it for awhile but I have this one and the second one. However the latest one comes out early August and I suspect I’ll read that one first when it publishes.

The Book ClubThis was close to an accidental buy. I had put it in my wish list after what Irish blogger/reader Trish had to say about this on IG or Facebook. Can’t remember. It was sitting in the list beside a book I intended to buy. I must have accidentally put this one in the cart and saw it only after I’d paid. I didn’t want to go through the rigmarole of changing it, so I left it. It will be good I am sure, I haven’t read anything by the author yet. Was published in June 2021 by Irish author Roisin Meaney. Well I mean, look at the title!!

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