Review

The Italian Daughter. Soraya Lane

The Italian Daughter

Published: Bookouture
Date: 23rd September 2022
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

taly, 1946: As Estee bids farewell to Felix her heart breaks. Thinking back to her childhood when the two friends ran through the cobbled streets of their picturesque town hand in hand, she thought they would never part. But when Estee was offered a place at the world renowned La Scala theatre, she had to say yes. It would change her family’s fortunes forever.

London, present day: Lily clutches a worn Italian recipe and theatre programme in her hands, having just discovered that her grandmother was born in a home for unmarried mothers. The faded objects are the only clues to her past.

Accepting a job on an Italian vineyard –a dream of her late father–, Lily enlists the help of the charming Antonio to help solve the mystery. But arriving in Felix’s town, Lily unearths a tragic love story: of families bitterly torn apart and of two lovers who were prepared to sacrifice everything.

The Italian Daughter by Soraya Lane is a dual time line story that pulls at a reader’s heart strings. It is about lost family and found family.

On one level we follow the story of Estee and Felix, in Italy. She has become an excellent ballerina, and he belongs to a renowned baker’s family. We meet them pre-war and then after the war. Their story is moving and heart wrenching in places, but ultimately resolution happens.

Lily, is learning to be a wine maker and is making her way to Italy to work in a vineyard. There she is welcomed with open arms and is soon entranced by the winemaker’s son, Antonio. She carries with her a small box with two items that were linked to her grand mother. They will take her on a journey that has “gold at the end of the rainbow”

I enjoyed this story, it was both moving and heart warming. Each era moved along smoothly, I am not a great fan of dual timelines but this worked really well. Gently done.

So some mystery, some romance, some meddling as well. This is the first book in a series titled The Lost Daughters. Girls who for one reason or another were adopted out. If this first one is anything to go by they will make good reading.

Review

All is Bright. RaeAnne Thayne.

All is Bright

Published
Date;
Source: Publicist via NetGalley

Sage McKnight is an ambitious young architect working at her father’s firm who takes on her most challenging client in Mason Tucker. The former pro baseball player is still healing from the physical and emotional scars after a plane crash left him a wheelchair-using single dad, and he’s determined not to let anyone breach his emotional defenses. Sage knows her work on Mason’s new home in Hope’s Crossing is her best work yet, and she won’t let her grumpy client prevent her from showcasing her work personally.

All is Bright by RaeAnne Thayne is another wonderful Christmas story set in Hope’s Crossing. Sage is an architect who has designed a beautiful and practical home for Mason to live in. Mason is still rather an angry and grumpy man after all he has been through. But he has come a long way, his nine year old daughter Grace providing much of the incentive – just by being.

Sage has family in Hope’s Crossing – many of them. She has quite a back story. As she spends time here, away from her San Francisco office, she is more and more delighted by her people here and more and more intrigued by Mason himself.

As well we have the story of Taryn, injured in a car accident that killed Sage’s sister. The driver of the car – Charlie has still not forgiven himself. But… Taryn and he have been good friends. Now he is back in Hope’s Crossing to see to his father’s estate. Taryn is finding she is feeling more than friendship for him, but he is avoiding her. Taryn also featured in another book in Hope’s Crossing. I intend going back there!

A community of people who care for each other, a number of people who have disabilities of one sort or another, at various stages in their healing. Family who are there or wanting to be there if they can only be accepted. Another one of those books where the reader wishes it was real and that you could live there.

There is of course romance and love and lots of hope. Inspiring really.  If you like a easy to read, warmhearted book with characters you’ll want to know more, I sure recommend this book.

Buy Links:

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Review

The Book Haters’ Book Club. Gretchen Anthony.

The Book Haters' Club

Published: Park Row
Date: 13th September 2022
Source: Publicist via NetGalley
All it takes is the right book to turn a Book Hater into a Book Lover…

That was what Elliot—the beloved co-owner of Over the Rainbow Bookshop—believed before his untimely passing. He always had the perfect book suggestion for the self-proclaimed Book Hater. Now his grief-ridden business partner, Irma, has agreed to sell the cozy Over the Rainbow to condo developers.

But others won’t give up the bookshop without a fight. When Irma breaks the news to her daughters, Bree and Laney, and Elliot’s romantic partner, Thom, they are aghast. Over the Rainbow has been Bree and Laney’s sanctuary since childhood, and Thom would do anything to preserve Elliot’s legacy. Together they conspire to save the bookshop, even if it takes some snooping, gossip and minor sabotage.

Under rather suspicious circumstances Irma has sold her bookshop after the death of her bookshop partner, Elliot. Soon her daughters and Thom the partner of Elliot begin to smell a fish. Why on earth would Irma do this before telling the others, just present the deal – signed and sealed.

Or is it? Bree, Laney and Thom think it is smelly and they endeavour to get to the bottom of what is going on. Irma who is cagey is giving nothing away. But its an awful low price so what is going on. So the trio come up with a plan.

After many struggles, secrets, insights and revelations, things begin to work out. A bookshop that seemed to be doomed has a promising new life. And what’s more the characters themselves all too, look forward to that same promise in their own lives.

Buy Links:
HarperCollins.com 
BookShop.org
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Books-A-Million
IndieBound

Social Links:
Author Website 
Twitter: @granthony 
Facebook: Gretchen Anthony
Instagram: @gretchenanthony.writer 
Goodreads

Review

Snowed in for Christmas. Sarah Morgan

book cover

Published: HQN
Date:  20th September 2022
Source:  Publicist via NetGalley

A family gathering
This Christmas the Miller siblings have one goal—to avoid their well-meaning family’s endless stream of prying questions. Ross, Alice and Clemmie have secrets that they don’t intend to share, and they are relying on each other to deflect attention.

An uninvited guest
Lucy Clarke is facing a Christmas alone and the prospect of losing her job. Unless she can win a major piece of business from Ross Miller, the season promises to be anything but festive. She’ll just deliver her proposal to his family home and then leave. After all, she wouldn’t want to intrude on the Miller family’s perfect Christmas.

Snowed in for Christmas by Sarah Morgan may just turn out to be my very favorite Christmas story of 2022.

It just had such a warm, cosy, family feel to it. I felt like I was there in Scotland, with snow and wonderful smells and the chaos of family interactions.

There is a cast of characters. So we have Lucy (the outsider) and  Ross, Alice and Clemmie the three adult children returning home for Christmas. At home there is Glenda the mother and Douglas the dad and the best nana ever. Nana Jean.

Firstly Nanna Jean just made me laugh so many times and her little interlude with a computer had me smiling more than once. Glenda is the heart of the home and is anxious that her children will be happy and that she is has mothered in the right way. Douglas is getting older and with no one in the family to carry on the business – where to next?

There is plenty of drama, finding out mistakes have been made and seeing how things might be set right. There is plenty of emotion and things taking on a life of their own. Of course being snowed in provides the perfect situation for everyone to stay together.

Lucy, the outsider – well if Nana Jean has anything to do with it she won’t be that for long.

I am not going to say more, except if you like a good family snowed in story with romance at Christmas this is definitely for you. It was for me.

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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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Welcome in. Hope your reading week went as you wanted.

I had a good one. As well Saturday night my BIL planned a surprise celebration at a restaurant for my youngest sister for her birthday with a zero on the end. It was great and went really well. About sixteen or so of us. It’s my first time being in a restaurant since Covid was around I think.

On Friday morning  I walked into a local Paper Plus bookshop to buy a book and birthday card for my sister, when I went to the counter I was presented with a free book as they were celebrating some book day. I was first into the shop so the girl chose me! An Australian author I hadn’t heard of so its on my TBR now! So I came away with that book and the one I bought – the new Taylor Jenkins Reid one.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

A library book I am sneaking in among all the review books I should be reading. It is awhile since I read a book in this series but thought it would be nice to dip in.

Grace Under Fire

Up next:

A review book.

Murder on the Poet's Walk 

Last Week’s Posts

Call My Name.   Jenni Ogden

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Review

Call My Name. Jenni Ogden

Call My Name

Published: Sea Dragon Press
Date: 15th September 2022
Source: Author via NetGalley

Her mother dead from a drug overdose, thirteen-year-old Olivia is rescued by Cathie Tulloch, her mother’s friend throughout the years they were held captive in Japanese prison camps in Sumatra in WWII. Welcomed into the Tulloch’s remote family home in the Australian tropics, introverted Olivia is claimed by dramatic, generous, controlling Cassandra Tulloch as her sister and best friend. Moving to the UK at 18, Olivia finds her independence — and partner Ben. But in 1970, after five years away, she is homesick, and ready to fulfill her long-held dream: to make a family of her own. But when the unimaginable happens, destroying the friendship with Cassandra that has been her bedrock for so long, Olivia tells herself that she doesn’t deserve a family, nor a place to call home.  

Call My Name by Jenni Ogden is about two women and their journey through a large part of their lives. The story is told from Olivia’s point of view.

What did I like?

  • The settings of the UK and Australia. There is a great sense of place.
  • The complicated back story of Olivia’s mother and the relationship she had with Cathie – the woman who welcomes Olivia to her home, from New Zealand to Australia.
  • I liked Cathie and her husband William who together made a loving and generous family. They give Olivia so much, even when she doesn’t realise it.
  • I liked the men in this book, to me they were the heroes! I know! I know! This is about two women and their relationship and choices! But it was the men I really liked. Ben and Sebastian made patient, forgiving and understanding husbands.
  • The historical setting of the events that take place are important and cover a time when the events that take place largely were affected by laws or lack of laws.

What did I not love?

  • There are so many issues covered in this story. Each important and worth exploring in their own right. But my goodness, how can there be so many for a couple and their extended family.  There are losses, grief, secrets and you begin to wonder what next!
  • Olivia and Cassandra. The two women. I didn’t really warm to them. They do have a friendship but its unbalanced. As I said, they had great husbands who loved them. I guess that counts for them!
  • The book ends on a sad note and while there was some small resolution in the two women’s relationship – I am not so sure!

Yes heaps of issues and if I listed them all here it would really give away the whole plot, so if you were to read this I’d say go in but be warned, you could be triggered.

Review

Dewey Decimated. Allison Brook

book cover

Published:  Crooked Lane Books
Date: 6th September 2022
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Carrie Singleton is just off a hot string of murder cases centered around the spooky local library in Clover Ridge, Connecticut. She could really use a break—but no such luck, as she; Smoky Joe, the resident cat; and Evelyn, the library’s ghost, are drawn into another tantalizing whodunit.

Meanwhile, the town council, of which Carrie is also a member, is embroiled in a hot-headed debate over the fate of the Seabrook Preserve, a lovely and valuable piece of property that runs along Long Island Sound. Turn it into an upscale park? Sell it to a condo developer? Or keep it as protected land?


As the dispute rages, there’s another murder, this time involving a council member. Could the two murders be connected? And could Carrie be next on the hit list? 

Dewey Decimated is #6 in the Haunted Library series, and a great addition it is too.

We have all the usual characters, plus an extra library Ghost who creates a bit of a mystery and a rather cold feel in the library.  And we learn a tad more about Evelyn the usual library ghost.

Carrie is busy with the library and her work on the local council. She finds herself up against a cold case and then one that just happens. Are the two linked in some way? As well at the library there are renovations going on that will see the library enlarged.

Like a thorn in Carrie’s  side – Julie a local reporter seems to think that she and Carrie can form a team of sleuths. I wondered what eventually would become of Julie. I thought it was likely she could find herself murdered!

I really enjoyed the read, so easy to pick up, sink into and enjoy. Already looking forward to #7 and seeing does Carrie grow any closer to marrying Dylan.  By the way I didn’t read the blurb and pleased I didn’t because it gives away too much about the book.

Review

August Reading Round Up

Total books read this month: 11

Book Ratings

Four Weddings and a Funeral   4 stars
The Annotated Pride and Prejudice 5 stars
Flying Solo. 3.45 stars
A Certain Darkness 4.5 stars
The Summer Place 3.5 stars
Storm Echo 4.25 stars
Everything Must Go 4.25 stars
Dewey Decimated 4 stars
The Hotel Nantucket 4 stars
A Gentleman in Moscow 5 stars
Call My Name. 3 stars

New to me authors:

Amor Towles

Top Book for August

This was my slow and steady read. Twenty or Thirty minutes a day, and it made great reading. Not my usual but so happy to have picked it up.

book cover

Reading in September

Review of Reading Goals  for August

I aim to read five off my shelf each month. This month only four and that was with the help of Pride and Prejudice which I had been reading for months!

Chose my next slow and steady read which I completed in this month and was my favourite.

Main Reading Goals for September

Let go my goal of five off my shelf this month. Because…. I need to read more review books which are stacking up on me.

  • So read one or two off my shelf.
  • Keep up to date with library books that are turning up because its my turn.
  • Read review books on my calendar for September
  • Choose and start my next Slow and Steady read… from my shelf!

Linking Up with Nicole from FeedYourFictionAddiction

Review

The Wishing Quilt. Jodi Thomas, Lori Wilde, Patience Griffin

The Wishing Quilt

Published: Kensington
Date: 30th August 2022
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

THE SECRET WISH * Jodi Thomas
The little town of While-a-Way, Texas, may as well be named Last Chance as far as Avery Cleveland is concerned. Running her late great-grandmother’s quilt shop is the only way to build back her life after losing her dancing career. But local sheriff Daniel Solis is stunned by Avery’s beauty and spirit—and hopes to show her how to stitch brand-new dreams together . . .

WISH UPON A WEDDING * Lori Wilde
Ellie Winter’s sister is holding a quilting bee as her bachelorette party, creating a memory quilt for their grandmother. If only the event weren’t happening at the ranch where Ellie spent childhood summers, now owned by the man she can’t forget. Four days surely isn’t enough time to fall in love again . . . but what about four long, hot, summer nights?

WHEN YOU WISH UPON A QUILT * Patience Griffin
Paige Holiday’s last visit to the International Quilt Festival in Houston ended in heartbreak. It seems like all the women in her family are unlucky in love. So at this year’s festival, Paige is focused solely on business, until a gorgeous cowboy crosses her path, ready to turn her life—and her luck—around . . .

MY THOUGHTS

The Secret Wish by Jodi Thomas has all her trademark story ways. Texas, sheriffs, small dusty towns and a young woman in search of a new start. And I loved that she’s taking up the call from her great grandma to reopen and old broken down quilt store, plus keep her love of ballet. It’s a heart warming, romantic fun read. It has plenty of action and humor in it, and a just beautiful ending.

Wish Upon a Wedding  by Lori Wilde brings Ellie and Dalton back together after a number of years. They did love each other but for unknown reasons Dalton sent Ellie on her way. Now they have the opportunity to reconnect as Ellie and her sister and wedding party get together to make a quilt top for their Grandmother who has early alzheimers. Here at the ranch Ellie learns what is really important in life and her choices then match that.  A romantic story.

When You Wish Upon a Quilt was a story I enjoyed because it involved Quilt Market and Quilt Festival and a young woman with hopes of becoming a fabric designer. Of course there is a handsome cowboy, a very cautious sister of the cowboy and an ex girlfriend. It all adds to the story and I found myself sitting down and reading this one right through in one sitting.

As they are all novellas there is insta love, there isn’t so long to develop the relationship so a reader just has to go with it!  And I did and they were all very readable. I will add that the quilt factor in each of them was a much appreciated bonus.

Review

Anna Lee Huber: A Certain Darkness

A Certain Darkness

Published: Kensington
Date: 30th August 2022
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

March 1920: Life has turned unsettlingly quiet for former British Intelligence agent Verity Kent and her husband, Sidney. But even that false calm is about to end. As threats remain, the French authorities soon request Sidney’s help with a suspect who claims to have proof of treason—shortly before she is assassinated. And Verity, too, is called to investigate a mystery . . .

The murder of a Belgian lawyer aboard a train seems at first to be a simple case of revenge. But the victim was connected to British Intelligence, and possessed papers detailing the sinking of a gold-laden German ship during the war.

As Verity and Sidney dig deeper, they discover their cases are intertwined—and a lethal adversary persists. Officially, the Great War may be over, but this is a battle of nerves and wits they cannot afford to lose . . .

Verity and Sidney are off on another dangerous adventure.  While World War 1 is over, not everything is over! There are still hang overs from that time in more ways than one. One of those left overs has the pair travelling to France and Belgium.

The journey is fraught with danger and a few murders along the way that they have to figure out who and why. It’s hard for them to know who to trust and even those they may have trusted in the past – they too are in question.

What they eventually discover will send Sidney spiralling and have Verity thinking things she hasn’t considered before. It brings into question too those in political power and how genuine they were in seeking peace rather than war.

It’s only historical fiction I kept reminding myself. But… it could have some kernels of truth. As we well know in this age the power of being misinformed.

It is action packed and ends with another assignment in the future that will likely take this pair right into the heart of their ongoing quest.  I’d advise starting with the first book in this series to fully understand what is at stake.