Review

The Other Miss Bridgerton. Julia Quinn

Book coverPublished: Avon
Date:  November 20th 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Historical Romance
Source:  Publicist via Edelweiss

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Fiercely independent and adventurous, Poppy Bridgerton will only wed a suitor whose keen intellect and interests match her own. Sadly, none of the fools from her London season qualify. While visiting a friend on the Dorset coast, Poppy is pleasantly surprised to discover a smugglers’ hideaway tucked inside a cave. But her delight turns to dismay when two pirates kidnap her and take her aboard a ship.

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Miss Poppy Bridgerton is not a docile young woman, she has already had two seasons where she has not met a suitable partner for life. She is not prepared to lower her expectations and just settle for anyone.

Being adventurous, while visiting a friend she finds her way into a cave, where unexpectedly she stumbles into a privateer’s hidden treasure. She is captured and taken aboard where she has an adventure that turns her life upside down. She is treated well and held  in the Captain’s cabin, while he makes his run to Portugal. There is soon witty dialogue, testing of each other, teasing and development of a liking and attraction for each other. What is not revealed to Poppy is the exact identity of the Captain – we the reader know, but she doesn’t – Ouch!

All goes well until Portugal when there is a disruption of the plans and everything falls apart. It actually went up a notch in terms of interest during this stage of the story – Poppy certainly has a big adventure!

I think fans of the Bridgerton series will happily read and enjoy this prequel to the series and will enjoy meeting again some of the Bridgerton clan. I enjoyed it, although I have to admit I got a little distracted trying to work out the logistics of it in terms of a lady being held in a ship’s cabin without any amenities that I could note, except for a chamber pot! And a captain who knocked and entered immediately!

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Review

The Man She Married by Cathy Lamb

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I love a Cathy Lamb book, and this latest one, is no exception. Occasionally  a reader might be turned off by the sometimes deliciously irreverent tone, but that’s just part of her unique writing voice. I do believe I could be read a page of her writing and name it as a Cathy Lamb book. Now you can’t recognise a writer’s voice with many books, but hers – unique.

Sometimes there is always a little touch of the tall story, I could see that with the story her Grandma Dixie tells of shooting a man, such fun.

Natalie is married to Zack, and they sure do love each other, but… Zack seems to be hiding something and when Natalie meets with an accident and has a bad brain injury slowly all is revealed. (It takes the whole book!) Natalie makes a slow recovery, there is no magic wand that cures her within a chapter. And will Zack and Natalie last with all that has been hidden?

I loved all the characters who filled this story, Natalie has such great friends in Justine and Chick – together since kindergarten they are the Moonshine and Milky Way Maverick girls – which sums up perfectly there fun loving, risk taking, sweet, compassionate selves.  Then there are many of the local people, plus the three in rehab who were wonderful too.

Lastly I could not leave without looking at Natalie’s mother, she sure is something else!  She deserted her child and husband when Natalie was seven and now she is on husband number five. I’m telling you, however she does have a surprise up her sleeve and neither Natalie or I saw it coming.

There is so much I could say, I laughed out loud, I shed tears, I delighted in the antics and hyperbole, and as the friendship, love and compassion shone through I just knew I am so grateful that Cathy Lamb is a writer.

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Published by  Kensington. 30th October 2018. An e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley.  But… I did buy a paperback copy as well! If you haven’t read her, what are you waiting for!

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Review

Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane by JoAnn Ross

book coverPublished: HQN Books
Date: November 1st 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Little Bird Publicity via NetGalley

Rating
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Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, Jolene Harper is forever indebted to the mother who encouraged her to fly—all the way to sunny LA and a world away from Honeymoon Harbor. Although Jolene vowed never to look back, returning home isn’t even a question when her mom faces a cancer scare. Which means running into Aiden Mannion all over town, the first boy she ever loved—and lost—and whom she can barely look in the eye.

Aiden’s black-sheep reputation may have diminished when he joined the marines, but everything he’s endured since has left him haunted. Back in Honeymoon Harbor to heal, he’s talked into the interim role of police chief, and the irony isn’t lost on the locals, least of all Aiden. But seeing Jolene after all these years is the unexpected breath of fresh air he’s been missing. He’s never forgotten her through all his tours, but he’s not sure anymore that he’s the man she deserves.

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Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane is #2 in JoAnn Ross’ Honeymoon Harbor series. This time its another delectable Mannion brother and the woman he’s loved since forever, but somehow they never quite worked it all out when they were young.

Now they are older and wiser and for varying reasons find themselves back in Honeymoon Harbor.  Aidan with a bit of arm twisting from his father takes on the role of police chief to fill in a gap. And he has to be the ideal man for the job for any small town. He has lots of experience, is totally a good cop who isn’t going to take any nonsense when its needed and has a really soft heart when it comes to those in distress.

Jolene is a talented young woman but she has had her share of trauma but is now back in town to support her mother. She provides the feel good mother/daughter relationship in the story, and while she doesn’t want to make any commitment that will tie her down, it has to be said she hasn’t lost her feelings for Aidan.

A small town, feel good story with just enough tension applied along the way to boost interest for the reader. And yes there is a little bit of Christmas happening in the final chapter. And as well an ephemeral  character Bodhi, mate and working partner of Aidan who provide some extra interest to the story.

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#IMWAYR, Review

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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

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I hope you all had a good week.  I finished a couple of books and then finally decided what I was going to read next. It took me a whole 24 hours! Usually I just move into the next one, but not this time.

I’ve been quilting – moved my bookshelf quilt along further and decided I am going to experiment with quilting on all the names of long time favourite authors. That feels so right to me, but… the execution of the wish might be not so good!

On the garden front something (maybe snails and slugs) has been eating the leaves of my beans, even now not sure if I am winning the battle.

What I read last week:

I’ll have a review up soon for the Cathy Lamb book. For The Lost Pearl it is a dual time line book set in Hawaii during Pearl Harbour and also Australia. I liked it but found it a little long.

What I am reading now:

I am not much of a thriller read as you know, but occasionally I just need to clear my reading palate and this one does that. Totally new book from the library.

And I am listening to…

I found out this was published by accident and as I love this series set on the island of Mure in Scotland I pounced on it soon as I realised it was available.  It’s also called Christmas on the Island  which could be the USA title. Not sure.

Up next:

Not sure just yet!
 

Last Week’s Posts

When We Found Home   Susan Mallery

The Single Ladies of the Jacaranda Retirement Village  Joanna Nell

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Review

When We Found Home by Susan Mallery

book coverPublished: HQN
Date: July 2018
Format: Hardback
Pages: 424
Genre:  Mainstream Fiction
Source: Own book

Rating of book
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Life is meant to be savored, but that’s not easy with no family, limited prospects and a past you’d rather not talk about. Still, Callie Smith doesn’t know how to feel when she discovers she has a brother and a sister–Malcolm, who grew up with affection, wealth and privilege, and Keira, a streetwise twelve-year-old. Callie doesn’t love being alone, but at least it’s safe. Despite her trepidation, she moves into the grand family home with her siblings and grandfather on the shores of Lake Washington, hoping just maybe this will be the start of a whole new life.

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I finished When We Found Home, I’d tried to make it stretch out, but well… I just loved reading it, and of course when I do that the pages tend to turn until there are no more!

We are introduced to a family new in the making and of a little odd make up. There is Malcolm – he’s been with his grandfather for a long time and now runs the family business. However he does still remember his early days when as a young boy he was brought in under the family umbrella. It takes many years later for the grandfather to discover that there are two more girls, fathered by his wayward son. Now he has them all under the same roof and he is happy.

So many favourite characters! Although we don’t get Keira’s point of view we certainly get to know her from the other characters, especially her sister and brother. She is whisked into an alien environment and its not until Callie turns up that she receives any understanding. Malcolm is good but he’s a guy who just has no idea! We also get to know Callie through Delaney – barista and with a main character viewpoint of her own. I loved and felt for Keira through their eyes.

Each character has their own wounds and growing challenges, for themselves and in relation to each other. There is some romance of course, however we are also exploring family, life choices, facing up to a one time mistake and moving on, being orphaned and turfed into the foster system. As well as that there is envy and jealousy, distrust and other nasties.

I loved this book and the best part is when I have forgotten it in a few years I can happily read it all over again! Oh how happy it is to have favourite authors who deliver the best so consistently.

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Over The Teacups, Review

The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village by Joanna Nell.

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book cover Why?  I picked this up because it is a book for the Books With Heart online book club. It has as its main focus a 79 1/2  year old woman, and that also covers a challenge to read a book with a  main character over 60.

Plot  Peggy lives in a single bedroom apartment with her old dog Basil. Life is rather blah until a long time friend arrives to jazz her up. And there are a couple of surprising revelations there! Peggy also has her eye on a neighbour – Brian, whom she rather fancies. So we follow the health struggles, the life challenges, the family ups and downs, until we arrive at the other side and Peggy is almost a new woman.

What Appeals to me? This story gives us a look in on the wonderful people who are often invisible to the eye. Is being elderly a time to sit and be boring? Or is it a time when life can be lived to the full – and why not? Peggy is very real and her desire for love and friendship is a basic need. With a little confidence she is going to bring out the Smart in her. This book gives insight from the older person’s point of view. Joanna Nell is a doctor, so she brings to the story wisdom and understanding.

And so… I think this is a book that would count as exploring diversity – of age! Well done Joanna Nell. It was the Books with Heart book for November and I enjoyed reading and contributing to the discussions about it during the week.

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Review

Christmas Camp by Karen Schaler

book coverPublished: William Morrow
Date: 16th October 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 368
Genre: Contemporary Christmas
Source: Publicist  via Edelweiss

Rating
Goodreads callout

Haley Hanson’s idea of the perfect Christmas is escaping to the Caribbean to work so she can avoid all the traditional Christmas distractions. Over the years, she’s sacrificed her personal life to climb the corporate ladder at a prestigious Boston advertising agency. Now she just needs to land a coveted Christmas toy company account to make partner. But first, her boss, Larry, thinks she needs a holiday attitude adjustment, so he ships her off to a Christmas Camp at Holly Peak Inn to help her find her Christmas spirit.

Arriving at the charming mountainside inn, Haley meets the owner’s handsome son, Jeff, and feels an instant spark, but resists the attraction, refusing to be distracted from her goal of doing all the required Christmas tasks as fast as possible so she can get back to work.

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What a delightful, fresh, original Christmas season story. I wanted to resist it at first, but bit by bit it hooked my in and kept me reading on. I loved the characters and their stories, I loved the persistence of Max ( a dog) and his insight into the human heart!  I found myself wishing I was their at the Christmas Camp along with all the participants. I might be a little bit easily led I know, but I just couldn’t resist the feel good message in this story.

Haley is a sort of Grinch. But… she doesn’t really have all that much in common with that character, when you examine her life and her heart. Really that is in the right place. She has just become obsessed  with work and her eye is forever on that goal. But thanks to her boss she gets a call to step outside her life and experience something different. I found myself on her side, wanting her to love her respite in this wonder filled place, but also to be successful in her ultimate goal.

I loved the activities, the friendships and relationships that were begun or strengthened. Mmmm all the feels of the Christmas season plus. I believe this just may have a follow up. I’m all for it!

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Over The Teacups, Review

Over the Teacups #12 With Jennifer Ashley and Fredrik Backman

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book coverWhy? I read the first one in this new series and really enjoyed it.

Plot  Mrs Holloway (Kat) and Daniel are back together solving thefts of antiques  and murder in the London about them.  Much of it takes place in the kitchen below stairs, but… the murders and thefts seem to have a lot to do with upstairs. There is a surprising little twist at the end.

What Appeals to me? I love the characters, Mrs Holloway is a treasure, I would love to just be in her kitchen and watch her cooking – and sample it! I liked her new assistant very much, and hope to see a lot more of her. Daniel is interesting and in this book we learn a little more of this mystery man.

And so… I really look forward to the third book, and will certainly be early in line to read it.

 

book coverWhy? I had seen a lot of good reviews for this book, and I needed a book that had been translated for the Modern Mrs Darcy reading challenge

Plot  Set in a small town near or in the forest in Sweden. Its about a hockey club that has done well but now its life and the town’s life is on the line. If it doesn’t regain its success the town will continue to go downhill. There is a lot of politicking and when something very bad goes down – a lot of silence, until bam the s*** hits the fan. Some parents shouldn’t be parents, some parents find they just can’t keep their children safe.

What Appeals to me? To begin with this took about 70 pages to get into, getting to know the various characters, but once I had it I was feeling for them all. Most of them have their challenges, some do things I hated, and they did things I loved. They are characters with faults and failings, and in spite of that, still human beings to want to know and cheer on. But not all of them. Ouch for the denial and ruthlessness. I thought ice hockey is a brutal sport though. What really appealed to me most was the universality of this story. It really could be about any town – anywhere. Or about people we hear about in the news every day.

And so… I will certainly read the next one, Them Against Us, once I’ve had a break from it.

#IMWAYR, Review

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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

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Well I had a good week’s reading again this week. Sometimes its really nice to get on a roll like this! I am a listener to the podcast What Shall I Read Next with Anne Bogel. I rarely have any matches with what readers talk about but I just enjoy the book enthusiasm. But this week on podcast Episode 153 I was excited to have read the three books mentioned as favourites, plus some of the others.

We are into Spring now. I even have some beans appearing up out of the garden. Things are starting to grow. The potatoes are in but haven’t appeared and I have a couple of pots of tomatoes to go out once the bad weather is really past. I even have some flowers blooming about. Do I sound like a gardener, well I’m not – I mostly spend my time beating back weeds which I dislike doing.  Mostly the place looks somewhat unkempt!!

What I read last week:

All of these were so good. Tinsel in a Tangle was a short novella and well written. Will have a short review next week for my thoughts on Beartown.  Being Magdalene was a YA book about a girl in a religious cult, very fact based and I was totally engrossed. What can I say about The Simple Wild other than I laughed out loud and cried. Loved it. I just finished listening to The Lilac Bouquet which was a heartwarming read of feuding people going way back and a young couple trying to organise their marriage through it all.

What I am reading now:

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I will start listening today to this one – #3 in the series, I just wanted something light to listen to as I potter.  And this series certainly is a lot of fun. Who knew I’d get hooked into a cozy series!

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Up next:

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Last Week’s Posts

Short reviews of Lisa Patton and Josephine Moon books

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Over The Teacups, Review

Over The Teacups #11 Josephine Moon and Lisa Patton

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book coverWhy   I read a previous book by Australian author Josephine Moon The Beekeeper’s Secret and was very impressed by it. So when a new book came out I was very quickly putting in a reserve for it at the library. Actually now I wouldn’t mind my own copy!

Plot We first meet Lara in Italy – she has just arrived there from Australia. She meets a crusty old man,Samuel,  her caring nature comes out and before she knows it she is working for him at his villa. He sure has a back story and so does Lara. Slowly all this is revealed. Both have had very tough life experiences.

What Appeals To Me?  It is set in Tuscany and a little in Australia. It has a wonderful Italian flavour and goats, cheese making and food is very central. The writing is excellent as well. I loved Lara and Samuel and felt for them both. The story unfolded perfectly. There is a little romance mixed in, but mostly its a wonderful family story, but with some very serious issues explored. I don’t want to give away those because to do so would to start giving the story away.

And so… this is what I would call a keeper shelf book and I will be putting it on my list of 2018 top books.

book coverWhy? I noticed this book on a couple of book blogs that I follow and I decided to chase up the book on their recommendation. I found it through our library system and as I put in a reserve for it I was first on the list and read a beautiful new hardcover book.

Plot  The story centers around admitting girls to a sorority in what’s known as Rush. At ‘Ole Miss’ university in Oxford Mississippi. It is told from a number of viewpoints, a few girls, a mother and a housemaid at the Alpha Delt house. As well this book explores the lot of black Americans and racial injustice.

What Appeals to Me? Ha! Firstly as a person living in another country it took me awhile to work this whole sorority business out, but I think I have  a sort of understanding of it now! Wowee though, in this book the cost per year was a little mind blowing. I liked though the idea of friendship, kindness and forgiveness in this novel. The contrast of rich and less wealthy and the fact that its not what counts when it comes to the value of a person. I loved the characters, all of them even Mrs Whitless Whitmore was somewhat understood at least.    I really liked the social justice aspect and the fact the girls were willing to do something about an issue right in their midst. I felt the book had a universal aspect to it and I could identify with issues and characters, especially Wilda, one of the mothers.

And so… I’ll certainly look out for other books written by Lisa Patton, a new to me author.