Review

Seven Perfect Things. Catherine Ryan Hyde

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Published by Lake Union

Date: 4th May 2021

Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Thirteen-year-old Abby Hubble lives in an unhappy home in the Sierra Nevada foothills where her father makes life miserable for her and her mother, Mary. One day Abby witnesses a man dump a litter of puppies into the nearby river. Diving in to rescue all seven, she knows she won’t be able to bring them home. Afraid for their fate at the pound, she takes them to an abandoned cabin, where all she can offer is a promise that she’ll be back the next day.

To grieving widower Elliot Colvin, life has lost meaning. Looking for solace, he retreats to the hunting cabin he last visited years ago, before his wife’s illness. What he discovers is not at all what he expected: seven puppies and one determined girl with an indomitable heart.

As Abby and Elliot’s friendship deepens, Abby imagines how much better her life—and the puppies’ lives—would be if her mother were married to Elliot instead of her father. But when Abby’s father moves the family hundreds of miles away, Abby and her mother must decide how long they’re willing to defer happiness.

Catherine Ryan Hyde has written another delightful, heart warming story. Its full of kindness and courage on the part of most of the characters.

Abby is one perfect person herself. When she sees a bag that seems to be alive thrown in the river she follows through, rescues them and then ensures that they are safe and cared for and that takes some doing for a thirteen year old. She can’t take them home because she has a father who is controlling and lacking in anything to do with fatherhood. 

Elliot is a middle aged man, he has just lost his wife – it was a good marriage and he is so sad and lost. Spending a little time in the country at his cabin, his life and Abby’s life and the puppies intersect. 

Mary – Abby’s mother is in a very unhappy, controlling relationship. Her husband is mean and really is the pits. When Mary discovers Abby’s puppies and Elliot she begins to see how things could be different. She gathers courage as time goes by. Plus Abby is so plucky, it must have come from somewhere, and there is a lovely relationship between mother and daughter.

The puppies of course provide a lot of joy and life, although seven puppies. I can’t even imagine looking after them! But Abby is nothing but determined.

So great characters, the plot moves along and a good steady pace and it wasn’t long before I was wishing for the very best for Abby, Mary, Elliot and the puppies.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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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Hope you are all doing well. And into May which I know for many of you will be looking forward into summer. Enjoy, especially all those who have now have had the vaccine, I hear of lovely stories of families meeting up. Some light at the end of the tunnel, although by no means are we at an end. It is so scary for those in India for instance.

I have mostly been hibernating … now we are facing into winter. Some reading and quilting of course and a little walking. The weather is okay today so hopefully I’ll get out for one.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

After reading a few contemporary fiction books I had to have something different so I picked this off my shelf. About to start.

Scandal in Skibbereen

And listening to Under the Southern Skies by Kristy Woodson Harvey.

Up next:

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Review

April Reading

April month

Total books read this month: 12

New to me authors:

Sheila Connolly

Maisey Yates

Anne Glenconnor

Top Book for April

Okay I am addicted to these books. Have already pre-ordered the next one that comes out in December, plus a spin off book that comes out early 2022.

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Looking forward to reading in May

Review of Reading Goals 2021

GR Challenge: Nicely ahead.

TBR/Library portion : Three books off my actual TBR this month.  Two were from the library.

Main Reading Goal for May

  •  Read one of the books I mentioned in my Friday Post Sorting My TBR: April – Stay or Go
  • Pick five books on the read section of my bookshelf to put in the bag for the book fair.

Linking up with Nicole from FeedYourFiction Addiction.

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Review

Confessions from a Quilting Circle. Maisey Yates. Blog Tour

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Published: Harlequin
Date: 4th May 2021
Source: Publicist via NetGalley

Confessions from the Quilting Circle is the story of women from one family, the secrets that burden them, the heartbreak they hide and how they find their way out of it all.

When three sisters find themselves in Bear Creek, mourning the loss of a mother and grandmother, they set about piecing a quilt from fabric in the Dowell house attic. Along with the fabric are some old diaries that will take each of them back to the distant past and link to their stories now.

Avery, married to a local surgeon with two children, the perfect mother and wife, totally involved in all things community. Hannah the violinist hoping for a big role in her orchestra and Lacey returning back to Bear Creek after tough times took her away. As well their mother Mary who always has felt “less than” because her mother left and went away when she was young.

As secrets are revealed, things shared and changes made the four women find a new way and new paths that will surely lead to greater happiness. And as they do so the quilt is finished.

I enjoyed the story, it’s heartwarming, although I felt the theme and messages in the book were a little labored, as a reader I prefer to find them by reading between the lines.

Photo Maisey YatesAuthor Bio: New York Times Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit.

Buy Links: 
Harlequin 
Indiebound
Amazon
Barnes & Noble 
Books-A-Million
Walmart
Google
iBooks
Kobo

Social Links:
Author Website
Twitter: @maiseyyates
Facebook:@MaiseyYates.Author 
Instagram: @maiseyyates
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Review

Picnic in Someday Valley Jodi Thomas

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Published: Kensington Books
Date::27th April 2021
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Marcie Latimer longs to run away from Someday Valley–especially since her ex-boyfriend spun a web of lies that almost led to tragedy in neighboring Honey Creek. Little wonder so many locals have turned their backs on her. But not Brand Rodgers. The quiet cowboy comes to listen every time she sings at Bandit’s Bar, offering a glimpse of safety and calm that Marcie’s rarely known.

After Texas Ranger Colby McBride saved Honey Creek’s mayor, Piper Mackenzie, from a fire, she claimed him with a kiss. That was five months ago, and Colby still isn’t sure where they’re headed. Piper loves her town–but does she love Colby? And is he even ready for what comes next?

Pecos Smith, Honey Creek’s emergency dispatcher, is grateful to have a new bride he adores and a baby on the way–even if one vital piece of the puzzle is missing. But as trouble comes stalking through the valley, lives will cross surprising paths. And Marcie, who’s always felt that a forever love was out of reach, might discover that Someday is the perfect place to find it..

As soon as I open and read the first page of Picnic in Someday Valley by Jodi Thomas I am totally in. It’s like coming home and being able to rest in the arms of a storyteller who will spin a good yarn. For a start the cover draws me in, and as it will turn out, it is very relevant to the story of one of the characters.

It’s really a good time read. The characters are both sweet and tough. There is one bad guy out to do a lot of damage and he provides the suspense in the story. But maybe he’s about to meet his match from an unlikely source.

Yes there are lots of characters but it’s easy to follow and stay up to date with them. Some get happy at least for now endings and I sense there is more to come for others that I need to know, so expecting more for them in another book. Honey Creek #3 I am looking for you.

Full of small town goodness, Texas flavour and characters to cheer for and chuckle at appropriate times. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Review

The Last Bookshop in London. Madeline Martin

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Published: Harlequin
Date: 6th April 2021
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

August 1939: London prepares for war as Hitler’s forces sweep across Europe. Grace Bennett has always dreamed of moving to the city, but the bunkers and drawn curtains that she finds on her arrival are not what she expected. And she certainly never imagined she’d wind up working at Primrose Hill, a dusty old bookshop nestled in the heart of London.

Through blackouts and air raids as the Blitz intensifies, Grace discovers the power of storytelling to unite her community in ways she never dreamed—a force that triumphs over even the darkest nights of the war.

The Last Bookshop in London slowly draws the reader in (me) and then in a little while it has me fully hooked.

It is a beautifully written story of wartime London and the people who faced such hard times during all the bombing that went on.

Grace finds herself in London as the war begins. While she isn’t a reader her mother’s friend pushes her into a bookshop job with Mr. Evans. It’s an old dusty place with books everywhere. Before long Grace finds she has a place there and slowly builds a love of books and reading. 

At night she helps out patrolling the streets, putting out fires and helping injured people. Her kindness and compassion changes hearts and inspires the ordinary person in the neighbourhood to keep going. She supports others and when the time comes she is moved by those who reach out to her.

Grace is ordinary doing extraordinary things. A quiet heroine. I am sure there were many such people in those times. 

For those you like reading about WW2 and bookshops will find that this book is for them.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Review

The Bookstore on the Beach. Brenda Novak

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Published: Harlequin

Date:April 6th 2021

Source: Publicist via NetGalley

Eighteen months ago, Autumn Divac’s husband went missing. Her desperate search has yielded no answers—she still has no idea where he went or why. After being happily married for twenty years, she can’t imagine moving forward without him, but for the sake of their two teenage children, she has to try.

Autumn takes her kids home for the summer to the charming beachside town where she was raised. She seeks comfort by working alongside her mother and aunt at their quaint bookshop, only to learn that her daughter is facing a life change neither of them saw coming and her mother has been hiding a terrible secret for years. And when she runs into Quinn Vanderbilt—the boy who stole her heart in high school—old feelings start to bubble up again. Is she free to love him, or should she hold out hope for her husband’s return? She can only trust her heart…and hope it won’t lead her astray.

The Bookstore on the Beach  follows the story of three women, all related, from three generations. It also includes the people who love and support them – or not.

Mary or Mimi to Taylor and Caden, has had a very bad experience in her past that she has kept secret. Now there are factors that are threatening to have this become more known than she wants.

Autumn her daughter and mother of Caden and Taylor, has been searching for her husband Nick, who has mysteriously gone missing. Now she has fallen for someone else.

Taylor at seventeen, broken hearted from the loss of her Dad does something that has repercussions for herself and those who love her.

Each of these women are at a crisis point in their lives, they have big issues to face and work through. Are they able to? Can they follow their hearts and live true to themselves?

The story is set at a beach side place with a bookstore that doesn’t play a huge part but is there, providing a steady backdrop to the lives of the characters.

I enjoyed the book and it makes for a good heart warming, bittersweet read.

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Review

The Path to Sunshine Cove. RaeAnne Thayne

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Publisher: Harlequin

Date: March 30th 2021

Source: Publicist via NetGalley

The Path to Sunshine Cove by RaeAnne Thayne takes us to a beautiful spot in the American North West and a gorgeous spot on the coast. Here we have a house in need of decluttering, or so Eleanor the seventy year old owner declares.

Jess has a business that declutters. She arrives in her Airstream for the work to begin.  At first Nate’s son is a little anti when he finds a strange Airstream parked beside his mother’s house, but soon comes around. Living in Cape Sanctuary is also Jess’s sister Rachel. The women were once very close but now the relationship is strained. As well Rachel’s life all round seems strained – what is going on there? The two women have a past that is tough and haunts their lives still.

Nate has a thirteen year old daughter, Sophie who at the moment is rather put out by her Dad and is rather short and even at times surly with him. According to her it’s his fault.

So lots of relationships that seem to be in crisis. But of course when we face into a crisis there are always two paths we can take at least. What will Rachel and Jess do about each other? Will Nate and Jess embrace their growing attraction for each other? Oh the choices!

This a sweet, gentle story that touched me the more I read and I really enjoyed the way things worked out. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Review

A Home Like Ours. Fiona Lowe

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Published: Harlequin – Australia

Date: March 3rd 2021.

Source: Publisher via NetGalley

A Home Like Ours is set in a small fictional town in Victoria, Australia. It’s what I’d call an issues driven book. It’s full of them! It is also filled with a wonderfully  eclectic range of characters. Many of them I fell for, and of course some of them are just not ready for redemption yet. We can always hope change one day might be possible! I mention a few of the central characters below who experience displacement of one kind or another and do grow through it, largely because of the support of others in the town and their own resilience.

The plot centres around a community garden, a group of women who want to keep it going and to admit those who others don’t “approve”. And there are some dastardly councillors who want to sell a plot of land adjacent to the garden to big developers. Of course lining their own pockets in doing so.

Helen is the caretaker of the garden – she has had a tough life, she is in her mid-fifties and while educated has found it difficult to find a job in the past. She also knows first hand what homelessness is all about. I loved spiky, tough talking, take no nonsense Helen. And its a matter of can she have her heart opened again and embrace  a second and better life.

Tara is a younger person with two children and a family owned business in town. She is about to find out what its like to deal with a big challenge and who her friends really are. I really felt for Tara and her husband Jon. I liked how their story develops.

Jade is a young single mother – to Milo. She lives on a benefit and if I thought Helen was spiky well Jade can give her a run for her money. Jade has had a tough life, however she is about to find out what trusting and opening up to new possibilities are all about.

Oh, I forgot to mention all of the above are white! Because in town there are also a number of refugees with pasts that none of us have ever had to live through and when they come to their new country everything is not as rosy as promised. 

You can’t read this book and remain detached from all the issues presented. Mainly I think because they are so universal and we know them in our own towns. The book asks us to examine our own hearts. To name a few – homelessness, white privilege, prejudice towards those who are different, struggling single mothers, abusive partners, ageism, the sudden onset of a challenging disease.

Coupled with all that is true love and trust, hope, belief in what can be changed and how we can build a better place by being open to and learning about differences. And what true friendship looks like.

Fiona Lowe has written a rich, thought provoking book that will long remain with me.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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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Hope you are all okay and that those of you who have had snow and cold that now it is beginning to improve.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

#6 in my current quilting cozy series that I am reading.

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About two thirds of the way through A Promised Land. I must admit it is rather a little beyond me at times as there is so much government USA stuff.

Up next:

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