Review

My Name is Anton

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Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Date: 1st December 2020

Source: Publisher via NetGalley

t’s 1965, and life has taken a turn for eighteen-year-old Anton Addison-Rice. Nearly a year after his brother died in a tragic accident, Anton is still wounded—physically and emotionally. Alone for the holidays, he catches a glimpse of his neighbor Edith across the street one evening and realizes that she’s in danger.

Anton is determined to help Edith leave her abusive marriage. Frightened and fifteen years Anton’s senior, Edith is slow to trust. But when she needs a safe place to stay, she lets down her guard, and over the course of ten days an unlikely friendship grows. As Anton falls hopelessly and selflessly in love, Edith fears both her husband finding her and Anton getting hurt. She must disappear without telling anyone where she’s going—even Anton.

If keeping Edith safe means letting her go, Anton will say goodbye forever. Or so he believes. What would happen, though, if one day their paths should cross again?

Catherine Ryan Hyde writes an emotional story, with characters I always find myself taking into my heart. My Name is Anton totally lives up to this expectation I have of her books.

Anton is a wonderful young man at the beginning of the story, dealing with challenging life events. He has this amazing grandmother – Marion and a great uncle too. They know how to be with and for Anton. The same cannot be said of his parents. They seem to have checked out.

So there is a strong theme of family running through this book, and an exploration of love that is unselfish as opposed to love that is centred on “what’s best for me”.

Anton makes choices along the way. One I had some difficulty buying into but I did find it stretched me to examine my attitude and allow the choice to play out. It worked out and I was able to see the rightness of it.

Catherine Ryan Hyde explores some tough issues in this book, but with great gentleness and in a way that makes a reader believe in the goodness of the human heart. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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Review

My Non-Fiction Reading in 2020

I know many readers celebrate non-fiction books by devoting November to it. I am not a big non-fiction reader. My Dad was a huge non-fiction reader but I preferred good ol’ fiction. One young 7 yr old great-nephew was quizzing myself and his grandma (my sister) on the names of the dinosaurs, and even though I’d made him the quilt with all the dinosaurs on, I didn’t have a clue. And couldn’t remember them when he told us! I’m not into dinosaurs!

So when I do read non-fiction what do I pick up.  I am looking back over 2020 to see what I did read or am reading at present that can be termed non-fiction.

Book Cover I read this back in January because it was recommended by Anne Bogel. It’s written by a therapist about her own journey and those she works with. Well worth reading and reflecting upon. Very moving in places and filled with humanity and compassion.

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As it turns out the next book in non-fiction that I read was by Anne Bogel! A well written, well planned and presented book on over thinking. Are you guilty of over-thinking? Most likely in some area or another! And if you think you’re not just be aware of yourself for a day and see. I found myself debating whether I’d roast or put the chicken in the crock pot for today’s meal. Too much mental energy expended.

With wonderfully real examples Anne Bogel depicts the over thinking that many of us engage in (from time to time) and gives us tips to manage this little habit that robs us of energy and time. In one place it had me chuckling out loud. Anne doesn’t spare herself.book cover

 

The third book was because of my hobby of quilting and I wanted to know a bit more about Nancy Zieman. This was worth reading to me. I think this woman Nancy Zieman was remarkable, even though she would probably have said she wasn’t. I enjoyed reading about her early life on a farm, and through many setbacks doing something she loved and succeeding at business with her husband. The book it self is not well edited so don’t expect it to be. Just read it for the gem it is of this time and era and an ordinary woman doing something really well.

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An amazing person who by her example inspires me anyway to always be on the path of becoming. She embodies what it means to be truly authentically human. Her message of hope, unity and acceptance and respect for diversity, her optimism and courage. What an example of both humanity and womanhood. She is both powerful and humble. I truly enjoyed hearing her story.

 

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And lastly one of the non-fiction books I am reading at present. I didn’t know very much about Kamala Harris as I don’t live in the USA, so I decided to pick up this book on Kindle. It is really interesting reading and again I have a growing admiration for this woman. So much of what she discusses is so relevant to my own country and in some areas we are rather different. Recent events have made me think so much more about politics. I was having a discussion with a friend last night. What is socialism? What do Republicans value? I was saying I think I am a socialist. (Our country NZ  veers that way). And then I was saying, “oh the way you say that  it makes me think the Republicans have a good point”. Anyway Kamala Harris I’d vote for you!

Looking at my 2020 reading I am too influenced maybe by the USA! I need to outreach a bit more next year! It’s good to look back and think about my reading. I obviously like reading about women and books by women. Although I am a Richard Rohr reader ( he is an American priest with a great theology I can subscribe to.) And I usually have one of his books on the go.  I think I live on the Left!

What would be one of your favourite non – fiction books this year? Tell me I need to put it on my TBR.

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Review

Fugitive. Emilie Richards

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Published: November 2020

Source: From the author.

Fugitive by Emilie Richards is #3 in her Homecoming trilogy. At centre stage is Tate, we meet her as a runaway in #1 and a little in the second book as well.

Now she has left Kris and Jess and is living in a mountain cabin in Mountain Glade, Arkansas, left to her by her late father. It has no running water or inside bathroom. It’s pretty lonely – just an ol’ dog named Cinn that her father has left behind. Tate is quite savvy, she’s fended for herself on the streets so she is no helpless young woman.  However when confronted with an escaped prisoner, she is in for a rather wild ride. He is a convicted murderer. Yet he says he is someone else. Can Tate trust him?

This story is full of twists and turns, the plot just speeds along and I loved Tate as a character. She has had a tough life, her mother never wanted her, she never met her father. But… possibly she is not that far from family if she is willing to look. And when she does look, they sure are something else!

The escaped prisoner? Well no more to be said. Discover for yourself. Let’s just stay he the features quite a bit!

The setting is vivid and I could picture the area, the cabin, the trees, the river. So well written. I liked all the books in this trilogy, but this just might be my favourite.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Homecoming Series

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Review

The Last Correspondent. Soraya M. Lane

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Published: Lake Union

Date: 1st November 2020

Source: Publisher via NetGalley

When journalist Ella Franks is unmasked as a woman writing under a male pseudonym, she loses her job. But having risked everything to write, she refuses to be silenced and leaps at the chance to become a correspondent in war-torn France.

Already entrenched in the thoroughly male arena of war reporting is feisty American photojournalist Danni Bradford. Together with her best friend and partner, Andy, she is determined to cover the events unfolding in Normandy. And to discover the whereabouts of Andy’s flighty sister, Vogue model Chloe, who has followed a lover into the French Resistance.

We are used to seeing journalists and reporters risk their lives to share with us the often dangerous and horrific events in our world.

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

She has thoroughly researched this time period and the gender discrimination that existed. Only men were deemed strong enough to report the war. It was very difficult for women to get a look in.

In Danni and Ella we meet very gutsy women. Danni a photographer and Ella a writer. They see and deal with life threatening circumstances. Chloe who starts off as a rather young and naive women, eventually becomes an amazing young woman. 

The story is gripping, sometimes shocking. But mainly it delighted me with the strong bonds of friendship and the determination of the characters to seek what felt true to them, whatever the obstacle.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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Books I Bought in October

I haven’t bought five books in a month for a very long time, I’ve been relying on the library, NetGalley and my own shelf for my reading. But this month the buying bug hit me.

I am not telling you much about the books so if you want to know more the book covers will take you to Goodreads.

book coverAs you know I have been a little bit on a quest about Jane Austen and especially Pride and Prejudice, and I bought this edition because I believe it will give me better insight into the background of that particular time in England.

book coverEvery so often I see what Sheree has been reading on Goodreads, before she stopped blogging (The Eclectic Reader).  There were lots of books we liked in common and I noticed she’d given 5 stars to Secrets and Seashells of Rainbow Bay. Plus what a cute cover and something about a castle in Northumberland!

book coverI saw this reviewed in a local women’s magazine and I decided to buy it and give it a go. It is some kind of medical drama, written by a haemotologist, and a New Zealander. I guess I thought I’d support a local author. She has written other books but this is the first one I’ve come across.

book coverI heard a review of this one on the radio and it was described as a charming light read and well I am always one for that kind of read. It’s set in Australia, Scotland, Ireland and England. About love, lies, hope and sorrow and families. So…! Why not!

book coverThis was the only Kindle book out of the five I bought. It’s one of my top favourite romantic suspense series and this one was hit right out of the park and fulfilled all my hopes for the way this series might go. Well of course I read it – straight away. It’s that kind of series. Addictive. Well, soppy book cover, but I believe the book following is going to have a different look.

The next book about the characters comes out in April 2020. I have pre-ordered it!

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Review

Flying the Nest. Rachael Johns

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Published: Harlequin Australia
Date: October 29th 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Flying the Nest by Rachael Johns is a thoroughly good read. It just goes down so smoothly, I found myself flying through it!

It’s told from Ashling’s point of view. Her husband hits her with a a very tough call. He wants them to try nest parenting! What! she thinks. Oh and as well they should separate as he wants to experience relationships with other women. Now all this is not what Ashling had forseen But she’s catapulted into it.

At first she is so totally blindsided she stutters around. But the thought of visiting a seaside place and doing up an old shack soon snare her.

There are difficulties and challenges. The children – ten year old Payton and teen Saxon resent the new arrangement and of course their parents separation affects them deeply.

The book has a distinctive but subtle Australian flavour. I loved Ragged Point and the little island. The people at Ragged Point were a wonderful community and Dan added a whole extra interest. My favourite was the possum. In my country they are a huge pest, but at Ragged Point the needs of one rambunctious possum are taken into account.

The book explores a marriage gone stale, the impact of separation on children, the way a person can let their needs go by the way, how loss can affect a person it different ways. It has thoughtful points to make as well as being a wonderfully good read.

Review

The Way Back Home

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Published: 1st October 2020

Source: The author.

The Way Back Home is the second in the trilogy by Emilie Richards – Homecoming. In the first book we met Krista looking for her sister Rosie, a runaway. Krista felt really ashamed that in the moment Rosie needed her she let her down.

Now in The Way Back Home we meet the lovely Anna Fitzgerald, a staff member at First Day, a place that takes in runaways and offers them the chance of taking a new start in life, and even if they don’t take up that offer, a roof and a bed in the meantime. The runaways are tough, yet Anna is tough herself. Having been on the streets for a number of years, she knows the tricks of the trade. Not much gets past her. She has a wonderful four year old – Ryan and they live in a very small apartment.

And so of course we come to Rosie’s story. I don’t think it takes much deduction for the reader to work out who Anna was in her past. We learned in book one why Anna left home and now we learn of her heartbreaking years on the street. We see her partially back together but not fully healed.

As the story progresses there are a number of twists and turns. Anna is going to find the going challenging, the invitation to take more steps right there. Of course there is a love interest. This is a romance, with taste of women’s fiction and some suspense.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and look forward to the final in the trilogy. In this book I met characters I loved and cheered for and a story I wanted to keep on reading. While this is a republication of a book written back some time ago, I think readers will find it stands up well to 2020 reading.

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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 our elections are over, culminating on Saturday night where I sat glued to the TV and my iPad until I was bug eyed. However pretty early on it was obvious from early on our Labour government was returned with a large majority and won’t  need another party to make a coalition to govern with. But it is expected that Jacinda Ardern our prime minister will include the Greens (environmental sort of party) in some form of it.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

This seems to be a follow up to The Printed Letter Bookshop, set in the same street with a few old and some new characters.

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Still listening to Seabreeze Inn.

Up next:

book cover Last Week’s Posts

Return to Virgin River.  Robyn Carr

Australian Authors I Favour

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Review

Australian Authors I Favour

There are some Australian authors who have become authors I like to pick up anything that is published that they write. I recognise USA readers may not be able to access these books, but because Australia is my country’s nearest neighbour they are sold here.

The authors I choose of course are because of my particular reading bent, but there are many, many more very gifted Australian authors.

book coverI have just finished this book by Fiona Palmer.  I first came across her when I read her novel Brothers and Sisters. In Tiny White Lies she writes a very compassionate story of two families facing a number of issues. It engaged me, its well written and well worth reading. I am still thinking of her two women characters. 

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Rachael Johns is another Australian author I’ve been reading in recent years. She often writes rural romance although she writes very good women’s fiction as well and Flying the Nest is her most recent. My review will be published soon, but in a nutshell what happens when your husband suggests you nest parent!

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Fiona Lowe might be my top Australian author even though I’ve so far only read a couple of her books.  I’ve chosen Home Fires to place here as it impacted me in a way that I still remember the story. I guess in this day we here so much about towns being swept through by fire and this book brought it totally home to me. Apart from that it has plenty of drama and mystery.

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Natasha Lester tends to write historical novels and those that I have read have been well worth it.  She pens absorbing tales that enlighten the reader about the particular time period. I prefer contemporary novels but I will pick up an historical written by Natasha Lester.

Anne Gracie writes romance and I have enjoyed some of them. Her Chance sister quartet of books is a set I have particularly enjoyed. A lot of fun and strong female characters. I have one of her books sitting waiting for me to read on my bookshelf Marry in Scandal.

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Review

Return to Virgin River. Robyn Carr

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Published: Harlequin: Mira
Date: 13th October 2020
Source: Little Bird Publicity via NetGalley

Return to Virgin River – I thought we were finished with books in this series and it was with a little bit of  trepidation that I picked up this one to read. Of course I always will want to return to Virgin River. I’ve loved the previous 18 in the series – but could #19 do justice to the series? Well it’s a big YES from this reader.

I loved how Robyn Carr brings Kaylee, newly grieving the loss of her mother to spend some time in Virgin River, and to add to that Kaylee is a writer, struggling to finish a book that is really due in very soon. Very soon she is wrapped up by the arms of this small community, and especially welcomed by an artist/dog trainer when she finds herself without a place to stay.

It’s set in the three months leading up to Christmas, and Virgin River does those months really well. If there is going to be only one Christmas book that you read this year, make it this one. It made me sad as some of the characters struggled with loss, but it warmed my heart with the kindness and outreach of so many.

Many of the Virgin River characters make little cameo entrances, especially of course Jack and Mel. It was great to see them all and still all looking out for each other and those who are new as well.

There are animals involved. Be warned – your heart will be captured by them.

A very satisfying, heart warming and wise read. I know it’s part of a series, but it would read fine as a standalone.

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Rating: 4 out of 5.