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Library Loot

At about this time of the year all the books start to pile in from my library reserves. At the moment they are speeding in. Two more waiting! It’s going to put me off getting my five read from my own shelf this month but so be it!

book coverWhen I am finding my way into a new author generally I want to borrow the first book I read by that author. As it turns out this is a debut novel. And… Thoroughly enjoyed this romance, loved the characters and especially the down to earth family and friends. Nora and Leo – what a pair. Bernadette and Arthur not far behind. It was cute and made me laugh out loud at times. I never saw what caused the trouble between Nora and Leo and kept wondering what on earth is going on. Well now I know! Very satisfying. Would definitely read another by this author.

4.5 stars

book coverWell all I can say is … delightful. It was fun meeting Poirot and Hastings and see how they related to each other. No one warned me of the humour in these books and that was what was delightful. And while I might say it was far fetched, it was also eerily possible given todays world. Hmm well done Agatha Christie.  The Big Four are about to take over the world – a Russian, an American, and Englishman and a Chinese. Enter Detective Poirot with his clever little plans to thwart them.   4 stars

book coverWell written and engaging. I didn’t expect to really like this book, but turned out it was not mere “rom com” but something deeper than and more than that. I loved Nora’s journey – the witty dialogue between herself and Charlie. Plus her relationship with her sister. Sure a little predictable, but good predictable. Just loved the wisdom of this book.  4.25 stars

book coverMultiple family members and much drama. There was a lot happening and how various characters linked up or fell out made for much happening. It is a step back though kind of writing. I wanted to like it more than I did. At times I felt for the characters and at other times I thought “Really!” 3.5 stars.

book coverAn extremely well written, thought provoking book about a family. Three sisters – well that’s frequent in a book, but somehow this one stands out. They gather around as their mother faces a big change in her life. Laine is the one who returns home to help out. It is she who makes so much growth and development but in a way so do they all.  4.25 stars


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August Books on my Radar

August is also a good month for books coming out or just out. My five top books are…

Quarter to MidnightThe latest book in this romantic suspense series, Quarter to Midnight. However it is the start of a new wing of it and set in New Orleans. This means a reader could start here.  I have it ordered.

It features tough end investigators who are after justice – no matter what they have to do with it.

I’ll probably read this and then go back to my reading through the series as well.

Storm EchoThe latest in the pys/changeling series, Storm Echo, and I really like Nalini Singh series.  I know I thought I wasn’t into these kind of books until … I got invested in them. I already now have this one sitting on my shelf and even have it signed by Nalini Singh as I got it from a bookshop in Auckland where she lives.

You most likely don’t want to know what its about and that’s okay! Go read your books.

Other BirdsI don’t mind what Other Birds is about because its the authors name I go by here. However this is what it is about and I am in line for it through the library.

When Zoey comes to claim her deceased mother’s apartment on an island outside of Charleston she meets her quirky and secretive neighbors, including a girl on the run, two estranged middle-aged sisters, a lonely chef, a legendary writer, and three ghosts. Each with their own story. Each with their own longings. Each whose ending isn’t yet written.

The Secret of Bow LaneAnother series book The Secret of Bow Lane – which is set in England and has a little Downton Abbey feel to it.

A stranger who appears on Kat’s doorstep turns out to be one Charlotte Bristow, legal wife of Joe Bristow, the man Kat once believed herself married to—who she thought died at sea twelve years ago. Kat is jolted by Charlotte’s claims that not only was Joe murdered, but he had amassed a small fortune before he died. Charlotte makes the cook an offer she cannot refuse—if Kat can discover the identity of Joe’s murderer, Charlotte will give her a share of the fortune Joe left behind.   Sounds like a good read. At this point I am in line at the library for it.

book coverGirl Forgotten was definitely not on my radar, however a couple of good reviews plus hearing an interview on the radio has convinced me to give it a go. So have put myself again in the line for it at the library.

It’s a thriller and not my usual line of reading as I am a bit sensitive! However I can see what I think. Karen Rose books are pretty gritty so I might withstand this one!

It’s about who killed Emily Vaughan?


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Books from Countries I Haven’t Visited

The informal reading challenge from Emilie Richards Facebook Readers’ Page calls for a book with a country setting you haven’t visited as the August theme. So I have been scrambling around. I am not in the mood for something too serious so looking for mainly light!

book coverI haven’t been to Italy so this book The Italian Daughter by Soraya Lane which publishes in September and I have from NetGalley through Bookoutre.

When Lily is called to a lawyer’s office in London, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. There, she is told that her grandmother was born at Hope House, a home for unmarried mothers, and is given a box containing the only clues to her true heritage. Peeling back the delicate layers of paper she finds an Italian recipe and a theatre programme.       And off she goes to Italy.

book coverI’ve not been to Russia either, and this book has been sitting on my bookshelf waiting.  It could be a possibility although I think it might be my next slow read where I read a book over a few months. Will think and consider it though.

book coverI haven’t got this one but its very appealing and is fairly cheap on Kindle.  Divorced and on a deadline, bestselling novelist Bea Pinkerton has a serious case of writer’s block. With her agent breathing down her neck, Bea will do ANYTHING to avoid writing another word.

So an invite to a reunion with her old school friends at a beautiful chateau in France, is Bea’s perfect chance to escape. Surely here, relaxing with old friends and drinking cold fizz, Bea will find inspiration?chateaux in France.  I haven’t been to France either.

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I haven’t been to Scotland and it would be a country I’d like to visit. A Secret Scottish Escape looked like a light Scotland read that would be good to try.

When Layla’s fiancée has an unexpected heart attack and dies – in another woman’s arms, no less – Layla is determined to pack up and leave Loch Harris, the village she’s always called home. But an unexpected inheritance and love for her quiet corner of Scotland send her down a new path.   I could get this through our local library. I read one of her books recently and it was decent enough.

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Set in Japan and I’ve not been to that country. So The Little Teashop in Tokyo could fit the bill.

Grab your passport and escape to the land of dazzling skycrapers, steaming bowls of comforting noodles, and a page-turning love story that will make you swoon!

For travel blogger Fiona, Japan has always been top of her bucket list so when she wins an all-expenses paid trip, it looks like her dreams of the Far East are coming true.

So a decision to make in August.


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Books Read from my Shelf in July

I’m aiming this year – 2022, to read five books of my print shelf each month, and I have already achieved that for July.  Three were from 2022, one from 2021 and one from 2018.

NightworkAbout one quarter of the way through Nightwork I was ready to fire this book into the “get rid of pile” and concede I’d made a buying mistake. A hero who is a thief just didn’t wash with me.

But Its Nora Roberts! Plus at this point I read Debbie’s review at The Reading Frenzy and that sort of encouraged me.

And within a few more lines I was hooked. The plot turned a little, I became more involved with the characters and I increasingly liked this thief. And what a gifted one at that. Only 4.5 stars though for giving me a “poor start.” Which probably says more about me the reader than the book, but there you are!

book coverI so wanted to love it, but Out of the Clear Blue Sky did not provide me with the reading I desired. Everything is going down the drain and very little of it is uplifting. The main character Lillie is a hot mess of a victim who does some downright retaliative mean and nasty things. I think they were meant to be funny but I thought they were so sad. Melissa the “other woman” has very little going for her, although there is a little hope she might improve. Lillie is a homemaker for sure and I guess she and Ben will one day be a great pair, but we just had to read and read all the whiny victim stuff. KH has been up until now an automatic buy, now I will most likely read the next one, but will be via the library. And hubby? Well what. a wet blanket! Best characters – the dogs! Cover does not relate to the book at all.  2.75 stars.

book coverBirds of a Feather by Australian author Tricia Stringer drew me in well at the beginning and then ensnared me in the day to day lives of three women. One in her seventies, one mid life and one the mother of two young children. They find themselves together and slowly some sincere and important relationships are formed. As well as that each of the three share and come to terms with what has been eating at them from the past and enables them to embrace their futures.  4 stars

A delightful book, With Love From London was one that is both full of love and loss, so both heart warming and tinged always with a sense of sadness. If only relationships could have worked out perfectly, but no. However what lasts, lasts and in a way in the end love wins. Plus a charming bookstore, books loved and a bookstore cat. Good reading.  4.25 stars.

book coverAn enjoyable story set in Scotland and involving a manor and a teashop and some fun characters. It has family and romance and new beginnings, nicely told, warm and cozy. The cover is especially delicious and does match the book! 3.75 stars.


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Books I Didn’t Know I Wanted to Read

One of the good things or dangerous things about book blogging is finding out about books I didn’t know about and now think I wouldn’t mind reading. Here are five.

I never expect to love them like the reader who interested me in the book, I know we all have different tastes, but at times a book seems to say “try me”.

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A fascinating exploration of the intricacies of how we remember, why we forget, and what we can do to protect our memories, from the Harvard-trained neuroscientist and bestselling author of Still Alice.

Mary from Book Fan told me about this book. I should probably read Still Alice as well.

book coverI hadn’t heard of Maddie Please until Sandy shared about her book Old Friends Reunited.

Divorced and on a deadline, bestselling novelist Bea Pinkerton has a serious case of writer’s block. With her agent breathing down her neck, Bea will do ANYTHING to avoid writing another word.

book coverKatherine sometimes shares books by Barbara Michaels and it makes me want to try a book by her. Katherine’s review of The Wizard’s Daughter.

Upon the death of her grandfather, Meg Venturi unexpectedly inherits the eccentric millionaires antique jewelry business. There is one catch to her sudden windfall – she must share the wealth with a taciturn and oddly attractive young man who has an entire town stirring up rumors – about murderous secrets and a dark legacy.

book coverI forget where I heard about this book but I think it was a book podcast. Another place to tempt me to add books to the TBR.

Nora Hamilton knows the formula for love better than anyone. As a romance channel screenwriter, it’s her job. But when her too-good-to work husband leaves her and their two kids, Nora turns her marriage’s collapse into cash and writes the best script of her life. No one is more surprised than her when it’s picked up for the big screen and set to film on location at her 100-year-old-home. When former Sexiest Man Alive, Leo Vance, is cast as her ne’er do well husband Nora’s life will never be the same.

book coverI have read Elin Hilderbrand a couple of times but I don’t so far follow her books. However Laurel Rain persuaded me with her review of The Hotel Nantucket.

After a tragic fire in 1922 that killed 19-year-old chambermaid, Grace Hadley, The Hotel Nantucket descended from a gilded age gem to a mediocre budget-friendly lodge to inevitably an abandoned eyesore — until it’s purchased and renovated top to bottom by London billionaire, Xavier Darling.


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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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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I had a good week – some of us got together for one of my sisters significant birthdays. Her daughter held it at her place and it was just great to get together with various family. We’d had to put it off once because of Covid in the family but this time it went ahead with only one couple not making it because of being sick with Covid.

I had a good reading week. My review for The Edge of Summer will be posted soon. I did not like Out of the Clear Blue Sky and a short review will be up later in the month.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

Murder Spills the Tea

And still listen to and really enjoying An Island Wedding by Jenny Colgan.

Up next:

Birds of a Feather 

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Books I Have my Eye on This July!

Five of the books that have caught my eye that are publishing in the next few weeks.

Sugar and SaltI am always ready for a new Susan Wiggs book and this one publishes on the 12th of July but not available a little later internationally.

It is part of the Bella Vista Chronicles and I have enjoyed all of the three previous books. But it looks like its a stand alone really.

Food, friendship and love – all I need as a reader. Will be a buy book.

The Best is Yet to ComeThis book The Best is Yet to Come publishes on the 12th of July as well. I’ve had it reserved at the library for awhile now. It will probably be a while before it arrives, is processed and out there. If it takes too long I can buy it. Its marked as a heartwarming read and new starts and Mary from Book Fan rated it really well. Want to read it now!

The BodyGuardLike many another reader this has been on my radar for awhile. And now it publishes July 12th as well. Bu internationally a few weeks later. The bodyguard is a woman and protecting a guy who is being stalked.

It’s well rated by all he readers I follow on Goodreads. Another one I want to read now! One I will buy.

book coverIt’s awhile since I read a Buchanan series book but decided I’d give this one a whirl. It has a bodyguard as well – this time a male bodyguard for a woman who doesn’t want one. The book publishes mid July and I have put in a hold for it at the library.

book coverI’ve enjoyed a couple of books by Heather Webber and I will certainly be wanting to read In the Middle of Hickory Lane which publishes at the end of July. It involves a grandmother/grand daughter and a garden and I suspect a little magical realism. I am looking forward to it, Maybe in print or audio.


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And thank you to the Library

While my main reading goal is to read from my own shelf sometimes there will be the need to read a book from the library. So I am keeping a list of what I need to get from the library. This year though I will only put in a request for one at a time, so that I don’t get swamped by them. So far I have borrowed and read five in 2022 from the library.

Finding Junie KimEvery school library in the country should have this book. If I were still teaching it would go to the top of my list to read aloud and discuss with the class.

It is set in a middle grade USA school, and a Korean family.

I learned a lot about the Korean War. I loved how Junie learned about her Grandfather and grandmother and their life in Korea during very difficult times.

I thought the issue of racism in its many forms was handled well. It always saddens me to hear of racism, which is so rife in my culture in New Zealand but everywhere. Let’s all stand against it. Thank you Ellen Oh for an amazing book.  I heard about this book at the Nerdy Book Club.

book coverThis is next on my list and I  put a reservation in for it once I finished Finding Junie Kim. Set against the backdrop of World War II, Anna, Edmund, and William are evacuated from London to live in the countryside, bouncing from home to home in search of a permanent family.

I heard about it on the Currently Reading podcast and made a note that I wanted to read it. Again its middle grade. I would have bought it but only in hardback at moment and at near $50NZ it was too costly. Library to the rescue!  5 stars

Sweet Salt AirSweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinksy was a big favourite read for me.

I really enjoyed this book. The setting, the characters and the challenges they had. It drew me in at the beginning, kept revealing things that made me keep picking it up all the time. No dead spots. My kind of book. Loved Charlotte and Leo especially and the journey Nicole and Julian had to take. So happy I picked it up to read.  5 stars

book coverExcellent story. The dual time line worked well for me and I am not a fan of them. The 1965 civil rights was insightful and heart breaking. Ellie was brave and was willing to put her life on the line. Win – just so sad. It is just so horrible the way people divide and hate because of total ignorance and unwillingness to see. Kayla’s story in 2010 linked through setting and people. As well as liking Ellie I liked Kayla and her plight. This story just kept me reading on – totally engaged. Also well researched and informative. 5 stars

book coverI saw The Cartographers through to the end. It is an interesting mix of thriller, suspense, mystery and fantasy. When Nell discovers a strange map after her father dies, she is led into a strange world and a mystery town that started many years ago, with a group of cartographers – her parents among them.

The story was an interesting concept and I did want to see how it all panned out. At times I came close to giving up but still wanted to know how it worked out, and while the traitor becomes obvious fairly early on, it takes awhile for some of the characters to realise.

3.5 stars.


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Five Books Read From My Shelf in June

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Count to Ten by Karen Rose. Another very good addition to this series. The bad guy is so bad and far too many murders. Had to skip some of that. Why do I read them though? The good guys – in this case Mia and Reed and the team are so dedicated to their work of bringing justice and putting themselves on the line. And there is such innate goodness in them. Loved seeing the origin of Faith Buchanan who we meet later on in the series.

4.5 stars

book coverThe Wedding Dress Sewing Circle by Jennifer Ryan. 4.5 stars. A really feel good story set in England during WW2. I love these kinds of stories that tell of women doing things that made a difference in their local community. The three characters – Grace, the vicar’s daughter, Violet daughter at the manor and Cressida – Violet’s aunt and well known dress designer all change and grow as the war goes along and various opportunities come their way. The local community and their support was wonderful and it was good seeing class barriers fall. Well worth reading. 4.5 stars

How Hard Can it Be?How Hard Can it Be sat on my shelf for three years so good to attend to it. It is set in England and tells the story of an almost fifty year old and her life with a husband, and two teens Ben and Emily.

The best part of this book was the relationship between Emily and her mother Kate. So full of the teen issues of today.

It’s not my style of book really. It is sort of Rom Com style of writing although it’s a women’s fiction novel.That said it is very well written and while the style didn’t appeal to me, the general premise and issues explored did.  3.5 stars

book coverIt took me a little while to warm into this story, The Homewreckers by Mary Kay Andrews. I think the Hollywoodish angle put me off a little. I liked Hattie and Cass and I felt they could have had more to say about what went on with the renovation of the house. That said, it was a very good read, I enjoyed the mystery – the unravelling of an old murder. Hattie’s relationship to her father-in-law, her own father and loss of a husband were all low key but provided background. There is a low burn romance and that worked out well in the end. That house would have looked amazing by the end.  4.5 stars

The Library at the Edge of the WorldNot quite sure about this book. I did find part of it overly descriptive and slow. Yet there is a charm and pull in to it. There is the library, Hanna finding her own two feet after divorce. Did I like Hanna and her mother Mary? Well in some ways not really. Who wants a gruff “keep quiet” librarian? My least favourite kind! Yet they grow on me and I was wishing them life and growth. My favourite character was Fury, the builder who obviously has a kind heart but isn’t beholden to anyone and rules can be side stepped. He is rather creative. Will I read any more. I don’t know. Our library doesn’t hold any of these books so I’d need to buy them. Will I? Time will tell.  3.5 stars.


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More 2022 Books on my WTR List

Busy time of the year for books! These books have either already been published in 2022 or soon will be. They are ones I have organised in my online shopping in various places. If they are books I really like the author, I generally get a print book as I prefer reading in that format when possible. The first three will be print books, Viola Shipman’s will be a digital egalley and the last one will definitely go best on audio.

These all show my liking for women’s fiction with a bit of a mix of romance !

book coverFlying Solo Linda Holmes. I really enjoyed Linda Holmes previous book – Evvie Drake Starts Over so this is an automatic buy for me. “Smarting from her recently cancelled wedding and about to turn forty, Laurie Sassalyn returns to her Maine hometown of Calcasset to handle the estate of her great-aunt Dot, a spirited adventurer who lived to be ninety”

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The Emma Project.  This book is part of a series I’ve been reading. This one gives and Indian/American twist to Emma by Jane Austen. It’s a Rom Com and while that is not my favourite genre these books are well written and make a pretty  good read. So another buy book.

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Kristan Higgins latest book Out of the Clear Blue Sky is another buy. I have found her last few books a little issue oriented but still can’t resist giving this one a read. Some readers I follow have loved it and some are not so warm about it. So I’ll have to read it and see where I sit. Perhaps knowing that I haven’t been so keen on her recent books might make me read this one slowly and patiently.

book coverThe Edge of Summer publishes on the 12th of July. I am fortunate to have a NetGalley copy of this one but if I totally fall in love with it I know I’ll want to buy it as well. It’s about a woman seeking out the mystery of her mother who has just died and secrets that have as yet to be revealed. Viola Shipman is a pen name for Wade Rouse. He has recently written a memoir I’d like to read too at some point.

book coverAn Island Wedding by Jenny Colgan. Well anyone who loves visiting the island of Mure will be waiting for this one. Looks like there are a few relationships happening and Flora and Joel are finding the going and hard and I can’t wait to see how Lorna and Saif are getting on. I love to listen to this series and so looking forward to it.