Book Connections

Connect Five Books – November/December

BannerJoin me for 2019 in Connect Five – Books.

 

Congratulations to Bev at Beverley Baird  for Sept/October. She’ll be choosing her book soon.

The last couple of months here are some of the connections readers made.

This month readers linked up via blogs, twitter and Goodreads. Which was so cool and readers – so simple!

Remember you didn’t need to sign up for this challenge you can just join in as you see you have five connections.

When you have five that connect in whatever way you are able to group them then link up. How might you do this?  One of these ways is good.

  • Write and link up a blog post
  • Share the five books on Instagram and link up
  • Have a Goodreads shelf and link that up – this may be a little different but maybe use it in combination with a comment would be helpful.
  • Or… if you belong to none of these places, share five books in a comment.

What’s the Challenge?

To look for connections between books you read. There will be  many connections that just float over our awareness. Let’s see can we raise that a bit, whether its fairly surface level or something deeper.

If you need some guidelines for this then see the original post. Connect Five Books.

Remember:

  • A book can only be used once for this challenge in the year.
  • The books must be read in 2019.
  • Books can be carried over until you have five of something. It may take a few months to gather five of something.
  • You may have  many connections of five to link up . So if you have two groups of five then you can link up twice and so on within a month.
  • You may just link one group of five during the year, or many each month. It depends on how many connections you come across!
  •  Use the hashtag  #connect5books2019 if sharing on social media.

When?

Every second month I will post a link up on the last Wednesday of the month. This one will finish on the last day of December.

#connect5books2019

A Giveaway

For those who have a five book connection and link up there will be a random prize draw for one reader who will win a book of their choice for that month from the Book Depository.

At the end of the year there will be one draw as well for all those who have participated during the year –  a book of choice from the Book Depository up to the value of $18 U.

Please remember to link to the actual post/place where you have the five connections.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

https://fresh.inlinkz.com/js/widget/load.js?id=d1626941e732cbb79b50

Book Connections, Review

Five Diverse Books I’ve Read in 2019

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Reading can take us beyond what we experience from people and events and culture immediately around us. These books did that for me. I think after the mass shooting we saw happening in the mosques in Christchurch New Zealand, I challenged myself to be more aware of picking up books that helped me explore the wondrous diversity existing in our world.

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Ayesha at Last is set in Toronto, Canada and is about Ayesha and Khalid, both belonging to a Muslim community. It’s a romance that is full of twists and turns, has humour and a tad bit of revenge which I always enjoy when a baddie gets his desserts. Ayesha and Khalid have a love/hate thing going on, plus interfering relatives to add to it. I loved the diverse aspect of the Muslim religion, how they live and what’s important to them. Not everything in the story is completely wrapped up for every character, which really just made it feel more real. I’ll certainly want to read another book from this author – this is a debut novel, with flavourings of pride and plenty of prejudice.

book coverPride Prejudice and Other Flavors is set in California, however it involves a high ranking Indian immigrant family and DJ Caine a chef who is a mix of Indian/African. While the two main characters have their share of pride and prejudice, the book also touches on the prejudices white people have towards those with darker skins. The many tasty flavours of Indian cooking is a large component. I enjoyed this read, it explores the roles in family, sibling relationships, illness (Trish the heroine is a neurosurgeon) and betrayal. It does have romance but its more mainstream than outright romance. My kind of read.

book coverThe story of three sisters, who visit India, in response to their dead mother’s request. Each has a secret or challenge they are hiding from the others. While they have not been that close, due really to growing up circumstances, the trip eventually bonds them together. I liked the Indian setting and the cultural values shown. Some very shocking from my viewpoint. I liked though how the book highlighted and dealt with the issues raised. The only question I still wonder about is the sore ankle the eldest sister had. It went nowhere. Excellent on audio -the narrator did a very good job on the whole and added to my enjoyment of the book.

Book coverField Notes on Love has  two delightful main characters who come from diverse backgrounds. Hugo is bi racial and has throughout his life had to put up with slurs, but with the support of his siblings (one of sextuplets) Hugo has come through it well. Mae is the wonderful daughter of two Dads and with the side support of a special Nana she too is a well balanced individual. They both have dreams and throughout a week long train trip they will discover what that really means. It is YA and I loved the read.

Book CoverThe Stationery Shop of Tehran is partially set in Iran and shares the story of the coup of 1953. A prime minister who had been elected democratically was ousted by the Shah,and foreign powers! All because of oil! This story gives insight into a family life and the love of two people whose lives are disrupted by this event. It’s sad because two young people who love each other are separated by others. Who? Well it will take them many years to realise. In the meantime they have lived good lives but what might have been? I liked this story even though it was a little outside my usual.  I especially liked the insight into Persian life and cooking.

Book Connections

Connect Five Books – August to October

BannerJoin me for 2019 in Connect Five – Books.

 

Congratulations to Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction, Nicole was the winner of the previous link up for June – August.

The last couple of months here are some of the connections readers made.

Remember you didn’t need to sign up for this challenge you can just join in as you see you have five connections.

When you have five that connect in whatever way you are able to group them then link up. How might you do this?  One of these ways is good.

  • Write and link up a blog post
  • Share the five books on Instagram and link up
  • Have a Goodreads shelf and link that up – this may be a little different but maybe use it in combination with a comment would be helpful.
  • Or… if you belong to none of these places, share five books in a comment.

What’s the Challenge?

To look for connections between books you read. There will be  many connections that just float over our awareness. Let’s see can we raise that a bit, whether its fairly surface level or something deeper.

If you need some guidelines for this then see the original post. Connect Five Books.

Remember:

  • A book can only be used once for this challenge in the year.
  • The books must be read in 2019.
  • Books can be carried over until you have five of something. It may take a few months to gather five of something.
  • You may have  many connections of five to link up . So if you have two groups of five then you can link up twice and so on within a month.
  • You may just link one group of five during the year, or many each month. It depends on how many connections you come across!
  •  Use the hashtag  #connect5books2019 if sharing on social media.

When?

Every second month I will post a link up on the last Wednesday of the month. This one will finish on the last Wednesday of October.

#connect5books2019

A Giveaway

For those who have a five book connection and link up there will be a random prize draw for one reader who will win a book of their choice for that month from the Book Depository. The last link up will be posted in November and go through December. At the end of the year there will be one draw as well for all those who have participated during the year, –  a book of choice from the Book Depository up to the value of $18 U.S

Please remember to link to the actual post/place where you have the five connections.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

https://fresh.inlinkz.com/js/widget/load.js?id=d1626941e732cbb79b50

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!

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.

Book Connections

5 Books – Bookclubs, Libraries, Bookshops

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I am a sucker for a book that has a bookish word in the title. Generally I am not disappointed either.  These five were 2019 reads, although a couple of them have been around quite awhile.

book coverThe Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick. Martha the main character works at the library, used to write stories with her Grandma and there is a bookshop owner and bookshop as well. I enjoyed this story, liked Martha as a character, her quirkiness and the way she changed.  My review.

 

 

book coverA Month of Sundays by Liz Byrski is set in  Australia. It is about four women who belong to an online book club. They are invited by one member to join her for a few weeks in the Blue Mountains. They have never met in person before, each one is either retired or about to retire.  They each have to bring a book that is going to reveal to the others something about themselves. They take a week to read and then discuss each one. The books mentioned are real books, and bring out information about each character. They have very thoughtful discussions. My first read of this author and I will certainly look for more by her.

book coverFive women meet each month to discuss a book. Their friendship is important to them, even if some are tinged with tension. Each women faces a challenge as the story unfolds and each responds in a way unique to her. And through all the trials friendship carries the day. Each chapter begins with a quote from a book that is rather relevant to what happens in the chapter. I cheered them on, recognised and understood the crises  and rather admired their steps forward in their lives.

 

book cover I thought this might be another happy book about a bookshop, however I was warned in the forward by someone other than the author that this was a sad book, and so it is. It was an excellent listen on audio, I don’t think I’d enjoy just reading it. Set in a small village in England it is a tale of taking a risk, being a little naive about what might be a success and how to run a small business. Florence Green has a kind heart, but that cannot be said for another woman in the village who ruthlessly sets about being Florence’s and the bookshop’s downfall.

Book coverOMG I loved this book, I just was so annoyed when it ended, the best kind of annoyed though. I have read this every spare minute I had, I love this kind of book magic that draws me into a story. It often surprised a laugh out of me. It often had me worrying over the outcome for characters. There are some serious issues that are explored.

Zoe brings her own brand of book beliefs to the blue van while Nina is busy holed up in a hospital bed. (Remember Nina from The Bookshop on the Corner). Zoe brings her own brand of being a nanny to three “lost” children and she is a wonderful mother to her own.

Set in Scotland – in a big house like a castle. At some point I hope I’ll hear this on audio because I am sure it would be wonderful with the right narrator.

LOVED IT.

Book Connections

Five New to Me Authors I Enjoyed.

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Five new to me authors I’d certainly want to read more from. I am not that much of an adventurous person, but I do seem to read quite a few new to me authors. Some of course are just once and that is enough, but here are five I would happily read again. In fact I was straight out ready to buy the latest Julie Buxbaum book. It’s now sitting on my shelf waiting for me to read.

Book cover This was a fascinating look at the world mostly around the Cuban crisis and the time of President Kennedy. These were in the background as a young Cuban woman whose family had to flee Cuba in the revolution becomes involved in espionage and one handsome American senator. The book is well written, the story was mostly believable and I liked the main characters. I’d certainly read this author again.

book cover This one involves twin sisters, one on the beauty queen stage – the other a down to earth school librarian. When the beauty queen comes down with a bad allergy she twists the arm of her twin sister to take her place in the initial events of the competition. While the first sister is at first resistant she gets in the spirit and is a very refreshing entrant. This book was light and funny and I enjoyed the quick read. I’d be happy to read Teri Wilson again sometime.

book coverIn Tell Me Three Things Jessie must make a new beginning as a sixteen year old when her Dad uproots her to leave Chicago and live in California with a step mom and step brother. She has to settle into a new home, a new school and new friends. If she can make them. Add to that she grieves the loss of her mother who died about two years previously.  I loved this book, the characters, the wisdom and insight and the struggle. I really look forward to reading more by Julie Buxbaum.

book cover I’m Fine and Neither Are You explores grief, a working mother, two young children and a house husband who may not quite be pulling his weight. Penelope and Sanjay seem to be coasting towards boredom and dissatisfaction with their marriage. Could adding some honesty into the mix help or hinder? While there are serious issues explored in this book I read it quickly with enjoyment. I would certainly read this author again.

book coverWhat a beautiful story, as a teacher I appreciate the portrayal of a talented and caring compassionate teacher in Maggie. My heart went out to Katya and Sasha who were victims of the Chernobyl disaster. Their son Yuri has a heart defect as a result of all the radiation. Such a moving, sad and yet hopeful story. I loved the relationship between Maggie, Yuri and Finn. So many good friendships in the book. The only thing that sort of amused me was I know the writing of the students would not have been so highly edited in their notebooks. I certainly would recommend this book.

Book Connections, Reading challenge

Connect Five Books June – August

BannerJoin me for 2019 in Connect Five – Books.

Congratulations to the giveaway winner for the May – June link up Carolyn from the Riedel Fascination blog. She linked five books by choosing that they were all set in European countries.  

Other choices for the last two months were…

I was very impressed by the five books with alliterative titles I have to admit. I don’t think I could do that!

Remember you didn’t need to sign up for this challenge you can just join in as you see you have five connections.

When you have five that connect in whatever way you are able to group them then link up. How might you do this?  One of these ways is good.

  • Write and link up a blog post
  • Share the five books on Instagram and link up
  • Have a Goodreads shelf and link that up – this may be a little different but maybe use it in combination with a comment would be helpful.
  • Or… if you belong to none of these places, share five books in a comment.

What’s the Challenge?

To look for connections between books you read. There will be  many connections that just float over our awareness. Let’s see can we raise that a bit, whether its fairly surface level or something deeper.

If you need some guidelines for this then see the original post. Connect Five Books.

Remember:

  • A book can only be used once for this challenge in the year.
  • The books must be read in 2019.
  • Books can be carried over until you have five of something. It may take a few months to gather five of something.
  • You may have  many connections of five to link up . So if you have two groups of five then you can link up twice and so on within a month.
  • You may just link one group of five during the year, or many each month. It depends on how many connections you come across!
  •  Use the hashtag  #connect5books2019 if sharing on social media.

When?

Every second month I will post a link up on the last Wednesday of the month. This one will finish on the last Wednesday of August.  (I have changed this, I was going to do it every month, but every second month is going on trial!)

#connect5books2019

A Giveaway

For those who have a five book connection and link up there will be a random prize draw for one reader who will win a book of their choice for that month from the Book Depository. The last link up will be posted in November and go through December. At the end of the year there will be one draw as well for all those who have participated during the year, –  a book of choice from the Book Depository up to the value of $18 U.S

This link will close last Wednesday in August.  (NZ time!)

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

https://fresh.inlinkz.com/js/widget/load.js?id=ef8b06cc10bc6002458d

Book Connections

Those Sister Relationships!

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There are many books about sisters. These are ones I’ve read this year. So far! So many books either have the title with sisters in it or involve sisters. Whether you have six sisters like myself or no sister at all, sisters are a special relationship that makes great book material.

The third in this trilogy saw three sisters fulfil their dead father’s wish of restoring a theatre. It was a very satisfying third book and I was sorry to see this story most likely end.  Loved the characters and the relationships they develop between themselves. During the three books the sisters really come to know and love each other and form lasting relationships.

book cover Another third in a trilogy about three sisters and their mother. This was the story of Emerson the youngest. An actress who struggles to decide about her career and her marriage to Mark with Kyle the coffee guy in the background. Eventually good things happen for her but it took her awhile! Nice ending to the series .  I did really like the way the three were so supportive of each other.

Book coverThis is a story about three sisters who are all dumped in the same weekend. Ali and Finola fall apart at first, they are the victims and go into that space of victimhood where one rages, drinks, eats and sees no way out. But… only for awhile – both girls discover new insights about themselves and begin to rethink their lives. Zennie the third sister decides to do something wonderful for a friend – becoming a surrogate. And of course through challenge all the sisters win through.

book coverThis book has twin sisters Julia and Augusta. It details their lives growing up. One sister pleases her parent, one sister is outspoken and seeks adventure. They are very close and love each other. Julia though is loved more by her parents than Augusta. Julia is happy with the status quo but does hold one disturbing secret. Augusta questions, loves the dictionary and asking questions. Both will face deep grief and cope differently.

Book cover In The Lemon Sisters one sister – Mindy, lands on her other sister, Brooke whom she hasn’t seen in over a year and hands over her three children. She is suspicious of her husband and is exhausted. She needs time out. I thought Brooke was a very good sport for taking them on. She returns to the home town where she left someone and needs to face the music. While it is a love story it is also the story of a healing relationship between the two women, one that is likely to last.

Do you have a favourite book about sisters? Any recommendations?

Book Connections, Reading challenge, Review

Women Growing into Themselves

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book coverMarilla of Green Gables Sarah McCoy.   Historical fiction.
Marilla is loyal to the family and the farm. While she loses the love of her life she does not let it embitter her. She finds meaning in helping out in the community and even being part of the underground railway.

 

Book CoverBecoming Mrs Lewis   Patti Callihan   Historical fiction.
Joy Davidman was a woman of courage who had to make difficult choices and she did. Choosing what felt right to her and would give her fulfilment and joy.  She chose her children, her writing and her relationship with C. S. Lewis. She left her homeland and journeyed to live in a new country. In spite of many difficulties she hoped and loved.

book coverTrue Places   Sonja Yoerg      Contemporary fiction.
Suzanne after an incident in Africa becomes anxious and fearful. She settles for being a wife and security. When a young woman arrives in her life it awakens in her the need to be strong and to be herself.

book coverAmerican Duchess – Karen Harper  Historical fiction.
A young woman, Consuelo Vanderbilt,  is forced by her mother to marry a Duke. After a unsatisfying marriage and two children, she finds the strength to claim a life of service and to be with the person she truly loves.

Book coverMeet me at the Museum  Anne Youngson.
Tina Hopgood has been a farmer’s wife for forty years. She has cooked and cleaned and made life comfortable for her husband and children. But… she has neglected her own needs. In writing to a man in Denmark she comes to understand herself and what has happened to her. Through this she grows and when the crunch comes, is strengthened to take steps that will lead to growth for her.