Review

It’s Monday!What are You Reading?

badge
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.

Line break

Welcome all, hope you are all okay and keeping well. I had a good week and summer stayed around.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

Go tell the Bees That I am gone

And I am doing a reread by listening to the book this time.

Seaswept

Up next:

Go Tell the Bees will take me awhile – lots of pages so not making any plans for another book, if it happens okay, but most likely not. Almost 900 pages should keep me reading. 

Last Week’s Posts

Peaks and Valleys Emilie Richards

Five Books read from my Shelf in January

Line break

 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

https://fresh.inlinkz.com/js/widget/load.js?id=a8b40ada7693d64e5923

Review

Peaks and Valleys. Emilie Richards

book cover

Published: by Emilie Richards
Date: 1st January 2021
Source: Author

The quilters of the Shenandoah Community Church Bee are busy. Not only are they finishing a new quilt, Peaks and Valleys, for a charitable fundraiser, but together and individually they are working on other quilts, too. As always, each quilt tells its own heartwarming story.

Peaks and Valleys contains three novellas that centre around the Shenandoah community in Toms Valley.

The first story is Steps to the Altar – which I thoroughly enjoyed. Rebecca and Connor were to be married, however Connor calls it off at the last moment. So what to do with the Steps to the Altar quilt that the quilters have gifted them. Would the quilters take it back? Would one of them keep it? Or might there be a way to step back to each other and actually put that quilt on their bed? It’s a novella but it felt like a full, satisfying story.

Woven Paths is the second story, centred on twin sisters. Kate is now responsible for Bejoy since their mother’s death. It’s a journey for sure, a surprising and heart warming one. Emilie Richards explores this situation wonderfully well. Both women found a place in my heart. And a second quilt pattern I hadn’t known about. Again a novella that felt very complete.

Peaks and Valleys the third novella is The Contrary Wife. Cathy is the president of the quilting group – perhaps not the best quilter among them, but certainly she has great organisational skills. Alf her husband is retired but undergoing a kind of crisis where upon he wants to go back to the high powered life he left to be a gentleman farmer. The way Cathy conducts herself through all this was delightful. Alongside this couple is a younger couple – Molly and Zach, with a history of their own and who are yet to find their feet. Another totally engrossing story.

The book finishes with an epilogue that has us at the fair that raffles the Peaks and Valleys  quilt that they have been working on and has been a theme through each story. It plays out perfectly with a little surprise at the end.

I fell in love with all the characters – some already known, some new. It is not often I even read a novella and very rare for me to fall for three in a row and award five stars at the end. A winner. Shenandoah series fans will love this one and even if you have never read that series, this is quite a stand alone, so go try a sample of life in Toms Valley.

Review

Jill Shalvis: The Family You Make

The Family You Make
Published: William Morrow
Date: 11th January 2022

Source: Publicist via NetGalley

During the snowstorm of the century Levi Cutler is stranded on a ski lift with a beautiful stranger named Jane. After strong winds hurl the gondola in front of them into the ground, Levi calls his parents to prepare them for the worst…but can’t bring himself to say goodbye. Instead, wanting to fulfill his mother’s lifelong wish, he impulsively tells her he’s happily settled and Jane is his girlfriend—right before his phone dies.

But Levi and Jane do not.

Now Levi’s family is desperate to meet “The One.” Though Jane agrees to be his pretend girlfriend for just one dinner, she’s nervous. After a traumatic childhood, Jane isn’t sure she knows how to be around a tight-knit family that cherishes one another. She’s terrified, and a little jealous. But an unexpected series of events and a host of new friends soon show Jane that perhaps this is the life she was always meant to have.

Right on the first page of The Family You Make Jill Shalvis engages us with action. Serious action as two people face that they might not come out of a dangerous situation alive.

Levi and Jane meet in a scary gondola, buffeted by a storm. Well obviously they do come out of it but one thing leads to another and this pair are falling for each other, in spite of what they both espouse. Jane never stops long in one place, her family history is one of what she experiences as rejection. Levi does have a warm hearted family, but he too has escaped as he was that bit different and felt he wasn’t understood.

As well we have Charlotte and Mateo, two doctors who work at the local hospital. Both fantastic people who are finding their way to each other. Charlotte is working at letting Jane know she has a home with her. At the moment Jane sees herself as a guest renter, but Charlotte is showing her otherwise. Part of the book’s appeal is the journey that Jane makes from “no family” to plenty of “found family”.  Charlotte herself has a past history that makes her hold back with Mateo, and so she too has a journey to make.

There is plenty of romance, delightful characters, a quirky family and a Cat that knows its place. A book for those who like an engaging read with these kinds of ingredients.

Review

Reading Goals for 2022

  1. Read five books a month from my actual TBR print shelf.
  2. Keep some series going that I have started  So ….                                                                     the Karen Rose romantic suspense series, the Rhys Bowen Royal Spyness series,                      Ellery Adams Secret Scone and Book Society and the Patience Griffin series set in Scotland. There are a couple of other cosy mysteries that I’d like to read one in to see how I like them.I also want to try a Sarah Maas fantasy series.  Of course there are other series where a new one will come out and I’ll read those of course.
  3. I want to cut down on my book buying so that I don’t end up with lots of books waiting to be read. So I have decided I must read three from my print TBR before I buy a new print book. According to my maths calculation that is a ratio of 3:1 and my TBR shelf should shrink a bit over the year! As well, for every new book I buy one has to go from my shelf into a box to be donated, either from the read section or the TBR section.
  4. Read the back lists of authors I like or newly discovered and want to try another, can be any author but thinking Roisin Meaney, Julie Cantrell, Josi Kilpack, Steven Rowley, to name a few.
  5. Reread some books. I like the idea of rereading but never do. So I am just going to say about six and it can be via audiobook as one way of doing that.

Banner

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

https://fresh.inlinkz.com/js/widget/load.js?id=a8b40ada7693d64e5923

Review

Anything Could Happen. Lucy Diamond

book cover

Publisher: Quercus Books
Date: 6th January 2022
Source:Publisher via NetGalley

For Lara and her daughter Eliza, it has always been just the two of them. But when Eliza turns eighteen and wants to connect with her father, Lara is forced to admit a secret that she has been keeping from her daughter her whole life.

Eliza needs answers – and so does Lara. Their journey to the truth will take them on a road trip across England and eventually to New York, where it all began. Dreams might have been broken and opportunities missed, but there are still surprises in store…

In Anything Could Happen by Lucy Diamond, the main characters – Lara, Ben and Eliza find that indeed anything just could happen!

Lara and Ben met one day in New York while they were both there on holiday as young twenty somethings. Then life – well anything could happen and it did.

About eighteen years on, back in the UK,  we find Lara and Ben into their forties and Eliza – Lara’s daughter determined to find out who her mystery father is. And she is determined to find out. In so doing she unearths a few secrets and hidden truths. In those eighteen years Ben has married Kirsten and Lara has raised  a young woman – Eliza.

I enjoyed all the characters. They are very realistic, imperfect and yet willing to take an honest look at things and eventually make decisions that will affect their lives going into the future. I liked that we got the viewpoint of Ben’s wife – Kirsten, as it added to the 360 degree viewpoint.

I liked this book although I didn’t fall totally into it. It kept me reading to the end though and I enjoyed the final epilogue scenario.

Review

The Christmas Wedding Guest.

book cover

Published: Harlequin
Date: 28th September 2021
Source: Publicist via NetGalley

The Somerville sisters believe in love, but they’ve lost faith it will happen for them. Reggie hasn’t been home since the end of the world’s shortest engagement. When her parents decide to renew their vows, she buffs up her twinkle to help with the Christmas wedding. Unexpectedly, Toby, her first love, is back too, and the spark between them shines as brightly as ever. In the spirit of the season, will they let go of past hurts and greet the New Year together?

Done waiting for the one, Dena is pregnant and on her own—on purpose. But then a gorgeous, sad-eyed songwriter checks in to a room at her inn. Micah, unable to write since he lost his wife, finds inspiration in Dena’s determination to be a mom. One snowflake-speckled kiss and he’s a goner. But Dena is afraid to believe that a rock star could fall for a cookie-cutter small-town girl like her.

This book is beginning of a series by Susan Mallery in Wishing Tree – a small town in Washington state, that really gets into the Christmas spirit.

Reggie is home to help her mother organise a very special renewal of vows, and brings with her, her Great Dane – Belle, and for me just might be the star of the show.  Reggie is about to discover that maybe love just might be around the corner.  Belle certainly works out early on, where her affection is going.  Harrison a young boy just might be my second star of the show.

Dena is a teacher, single and pregnant, because she wants a family and just hasn’t found the right man. But could he be not that far away after all. If only she could believe.

The characters are interesting, the setting is one of those lovely Christmas settings, and there is a strong sense of family and sisterhood.

For me though I found a lack of tension in the plot, there is a lot of sweet set up, but I had to wait for a long time to get to where it became really page turning.  It finally finished in a satisfying way.

Review

Sleigh Bells Ring. RaeAnne Thayne

Sleigh Bells Ring

Published: Harlequin
Date: 26th October 2021
Source: Publicist via NetGalley – Blog Tour

Angel’s View Ranch has always been special to Annelise McCade. Once upon a time, it was her family’s land, until her grandfather sold it to billionaire Wallace Sheridan. Now employed as the live-in caretaker, Annie is just trying to make it through the holidays with both her sanity and her niece’s and nephew’s faith in the magic of Christmas intact.

The six-year-old twins recently lost their mother, so Annie tells herself it wouldn’t be a problem to bring them to Angel’s View. Why should it be? The Sheridans haven’t visited in years, not since Wallace died. They would never know the twins were there…until Tate Sheridan shows up out of the blue two weeks before Christmas.

Crushed to learn that Tate is there to sell his grandfather’s property—and mortified that her secret guests have been discovered—Annie offers her resignation. But Tate asks them to stay and help him get the house ready for one last family Christmas before it’s put on the market.

Annie and Tate have three days to work their magic before the Sheridan clan arrives—and to work through the growing attraction between them. But Annie simply can’t fall for the man who will put her out of a job and a home. Still, the sparkle of the season is impossible to deny…and this Christmas has surprises in store for everyone.

Sleigh Bells Ring by RaeAnne Thayne was a marvellous Christmas read. It warmed my heart, made me tear up a little with a mix of sadness and joy.

It has a cast of characters who all crept in turn into my heart. Those six year old twins Alice and Henry. Oh my. They have so much to deal with, yet their Auntie – Annaliese or Annie for short, may not have had children of her own, but she is just wonderful with them.

Then enter the Sheridan family. Returning to the ranch for one last time before Irene the grandmother intends to sell it now her dear Wallace has died, they fill the house and bring both joy and heartbreak with them. Wallace was someone who wasn’t there, but was! What a big heart and great foresight.

The ranch and town and sleigh rides all embodied the Christmas spirit. I loved seeing how they reached out and supported.

There is a facing up to tragedies of the past, and facing into the challenges of the now. And of course relationships develop in the romance way, but in all kinds of ways.

This is a Christmas book you won’t regret reading. Although you might regret having to close the book after the last page.

Buy Links: 
BookShop.org
Harlequin 
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Books-A-Million
Powell’s 

Social Links:
Author Website
Facebook: @AuthorRaeAnneThayne
Instagram: @raeannethayne
Twitter: @raeannethayne
Goodreads

Review

Can’t Go Back. Debra Webb

book cover

Published: Thomas & Mercer
Date: 14th December 2021
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

The past and the present collide in the final installment of USA Today bestselling author Debra Webb’s Devlin & Falco series, threatening everything these two detectives care about.

Birmingham detectives Kerri Devlin and Luke Falco arrive at the scene of a double homicide to discover that nothing makes sense. A woman and her child are dead, and though the husband says he killed them, the evidence says otherwise. Why would a man confess to unspeakable murders he didn’t commit?

What starts as an open-and-shut case explodes into a web of new leads. Devlin and Falco get to work tracking down every single one—including a disturbing connection between the murders and Falco’s dark past.

Can’t go Back  by Debra Webb is the third book in the series. Like any good thriller we are right into the action. However there is a very deft fill in of the characters and place,  And boom, we are into the next case.  

Luke and Debra make a great detective team, and as it happens they are not only that. Their relationship is also developing. And while Tori – Debra’s daughter is away, they are trying the live – in arrangement.  I really liked seeing their relationship growing and the way Debra is there to show her trust and support of Luke.

And Luke needs that, because as they chase down a grisly case of arson and murder, they find that Luke’s undercover work from some time ago is also somehow mingling with the new case and making it all that extra bit dangerous.

I was happy to see Sadie who we got to know in previous books had a small cameo contribution and to see how her life was turning out.

A riveting read, with lots of twists and turns. There is more than one bad guy and of course with Luke and Debra on the trail, they won’t get away with anything. And while part of a series could be read as a stand alone.

Review

The Memory Quilt. Leonora Worth

The Memory Quilt

Published: Kensington: Zebra
Date: November 30th
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

the first in a new inspirational romance serieswith a touch of suspensefeaturing independent Amish sisters who run a historic inn located near Lake Erie, Pennsylvania. It’s a satisfying life of simplicity and peace…but when Abigail King finds an injured Englisch man who’s lost his memory, unexpected love and a bit of mystery stirs a longing for more. Using scripture and a memory quilt to piece together the brief flashes of his life, will the mysterious stranger choose to stay once his memory returns?

Abigail finds a injured man almost drowned on the beach and with help gets him home. Because he seems to have been coughed up out of the sea she calls him Jonah.

And so begins the relationship between Abigail and Jonah. Abigail is Amish, she lives with her family, her parents and two sisters. Their parents have raised them to be independent thinking girls, but still ones who keep the way of living of the Amish.

Jonah is an outsider, and after he is discovered by her family he stays with him. His memory of who he is has completely vanished. As he works around the inn and grounds slowly he has little flashes of memory. Abigail keeps track of these in a primitive art memory quilt, building his story as memories surface.

However there is tension for Jonah and Abigail. They are obviously falling for each other but it is apparent to them all that his way of life and theirs is not compatible. There were many instances where this proved so, but others where it showed a different side. My favorite moment was Jonah standing up to Abigail’s aunt Miriam.

There is a little suspense, especially at the end. Probably not in the strong way I am used to, however it was the insertion of Jonah into the Amish family and the tensions there of that held it together for me. I was especially interested in the quilt being made.

I was of course happy with how it all resolved and I have to say I just might want to read the next one about one of the other sisters, just to see how the family are doing.

Review

Call of the Penguins. Hazel Prior

book cover

Published:Random House. UK
Date: 11th November 2021
Source:Publisher via NetGalley

At eighty-seven, Veronica McCreedy thinks her days of travelling the world are behind her. But when she’s invited to take part in a TV nature documentary that will take her across the globe filming her beloved penguins, she leaps at the prospect of a new adventure . . .

We first met 87 year old Veronica in in How the Penguins Saved Veronica  or as it is titled elsewhere Away With the Penguins. And now she is out on a new adventure to a different place this time and different penguins.

Veronica is a bit of a curmudgeon with a tough outward exterior, but really she has a soft centre. This time she is off to help present a documentary about penguins. We also meet up with Terry and her grandson Patrick who at the start of the story are back in Antartica. However soon Patrick is off delving into family history and trying to make sense of it and to come to terms with it.

In the same way as Patrick learns more, Veronica also has her way of seeing the past challenged. Meanwhile work with the penguins goes on as does filming. On the Falklands leg of the journey Daisy a young girl who has been through some severe cancer treatment is living out her dream of meeting up with penguins. Veronica and herself have a very special relationship.

The story is strongly environmental. There are so many kinds of penguin, and we along with Veronica fall for the breeds we are introduced to. In a way that twines a human interest story and an environmental one, we see the consequences of our thoughtless actions in a very concrete way.  And if you are like me you will be googling to see what each type of penguin looks like.

Call of the Penguins is another delightful read by Hazel Prior. While it does help to have read the previous book, it is not necessary, and a reader could easily pick up this one.  I really enjoyed reading about Veronica and her team’s further exploits, and was sorry to close the book on them.