Review

Lake Season. Denise Hunter. #TLCBookTours

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Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Date: 12th November 2019
Source: TLC Book Tours via NetGalley Banner

 

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Lake Season is the first book in a new series by Denise Hunter set in Bluebell NC. A family of three – two sisters and a brother work to bring to reality their parents dream of opening a bed and breakfast place near a lake. Unfortunately their parents  never could realise the dream themselves as they lost their lives in an accident.

Molly the elder of the girls is a book lover and swoons whenever she hears the name of a certain male author. Unbeknown to her said author is struggling to meet his latest deadline and is in her town looking for a muse and inspiration. But… he keeps his identity secret and writes under a different name. Both of them have a few family issues, yet on the whole are well adjusted young people.

As they put the final touches to the house a letter from the sixties is found in the wall. (The building in one of its former lives was a Post Office). This letter sets Molly off wanting to find out about Lizzie and the man the letter was written to.  By this time Adam (the author) has arrived at the bed and breakfast and he helps. And so begins a journey that will led them to some surprising news and as well, along the way they grow as people.

So there is a pleasant setting, a mystery, some identity deception and kind warm hearted characters. The story pans out satisfactorily and of course – happily! Those looking for a gentle, heart warming romance would certainly enjoy this book.

Connect with Denise

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

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Other book reviews from the Tour.

Tuesday, November 12th: Bewitched Bookworms

And tomorrow

Thursday, November 14th: Run Wright

Review

Meant to be Yours. Susan Mallery

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Published:Harlequin
Date. 22nd October 2019
Source. Publisher via NetGalley

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Meant to be Yours is #7 in Susan Mallery’s Happily Inc series. However it can easily be read as a stand alone, although I am sure readers of the series will be very happy to catch up with other previous characters.

Happily Inc is a town that has come to life because it caters for specialty destination weddings. In this book we meet Renee, who is one of the actual wedding coordinators. She helps plan all the details and sees it through to the end. She is a lovely down to earth person, except that she has a big hang up about her mother. She loves her very much but can’t cope with a special ability her mother has. Renee has decided that while she plans others weddings, marriage isn’t for her.

Jasper is a writer, ex military who has seen far too much for any human being and has been deeply changed by his war experiences. He believes he can never marry because he is far too damaged and won’t be good in a committed relationship.

They meet! And are about to have all their pre suppositions challenged!

I loved the pet aspect to this book, it added warmth and charm, It also challenged our two – Renee and Jasper to see things differently. I liked the friendship aspect to the story, the women were there for Renee, the men for Jasper – and that was something new for him, now he has friends to turn to. And the love story is sweet.

I wasn’t so enamoured by the wedding planning business. How many ways to add zest to a wedding! What’s wrong with plain ordinary! It bored me somewhat.  However this town has certainly found a way to form a community and make a living which is great.  For those who enjoy a small town romance.

Review

A Texas Kind of Christmas

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Published: Kensington Books
Date: 29th October 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

A Texas Kind of Christmas has three novellas by three authors. They are loosely linked by place and year. The first is by Jodi Thomas, and here we are taken to the Texas frontier with a mixture of ranchers, lawmen, supposed outlaws, hotel staff and a young woman about to choose her husband.  She has a wealthy father who just wants to see her married off and happy, but her step mother has nasty intentions. She eventually makes her choice as does Katie one of the hotel maids.

Birdie’s Flight by Celia Bonaduce is the second story. We meet Birdie or Bridget, just arrived in Dallas needing a job. Thanks to a few serendiptious happenings she finds one as a seamstress. We also meet the capricious Charlotte who is looking for that perfect dress for the dance. Birdie is fleeing someone, just who and why we have to read on to find out. By the end of the story both girls find the one they love.

Spirit of Texas  by Rachel Miles gives us a ride through Texas to Dallas on a coach along with Eugenie who has come from England to seek out and bring home her mother.  Asher has been designated to guide her to Dallas to the St Nicholas hotel. Its a story of second chances and a ride through the wild country side.

These stories have plenty of a western feel and are a load of adventure and fun. They are short but each of them is satisfying and I felt did not suffer from being a novella.  I picked this book up because of the name of Jodi Thomas, however I have to say I enjoyed each story – all so well written and engaging.

Review

All About Evie. Cathy Lamb

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Published: Kensington
Date: 29th October 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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Evie has premonitions, unbidden they come to her and show her what is going to happen to a person. It drives her crazy because if they are bad she wants to save the person and stop whatever is about to befall them.  Sometimes she saves someone, stops the awful thing happening, other times she experiences powerful guilt that she couldn’t stop it.

Evie runs a bookshop, she is passionate about it, look out if you haven’t read a book lately! She loves animals, and has quite a variety of them, often she has rescued them from mean circumstances. She loves to eat healthily – like ice cream because it has protein and nutritious milk origins.  She adores her sister Jules and loves her mother and aunts. She is so in love with Marco, the vet, but for some unfathomable reason sees no future with this.

Evie’s Mom and two aunts are wacky! They provide much of the comic relief, a bit like the clowns in a Shakespearean play. They love flowers, and the hats they make and wear are outrageous. They drove me a little silly to be honest, but… their hearts are full of love.

And we do need a little comic relief because there is a dark side to this story. We meet Betsy and Johnny, and they are in a very dark horrible place. Prison to be exact. Some of the prison scenes are gut wrenching.

Cathy Lamb in All About Evie explores family, love, friendship, cruelty, heartache and twisted prejudices. It’s entertaining and funny with sad depths. However it’s ultimately  uplifting redemptive  and a celebration of life – a worthwhile read.

Review

One Wish. Jodi Thomas

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Published: Kensington Books
Date: 29th October 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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One Wish is a novella written by Jodi Thomas with her trademark Texan setting and characters. And there is a canyon! Yes I associate canyons with Jodi’s books.

Maggie has a general store in town – she is all alone her parents having died. One evening bad men storm her store and it is only due to Sam Thompson’s quick thinking that she is saved from them. Needing to get Maggie to safety because the outlaw may gun for her, Sam takes her deep into the canyon he calls home. Oh my I loved the description of how his home is built.

It’s a novella so things move fast, there is action,  we meet a few other delightful characters, a couple who are mean and nasty and one surprising character who arrives at the right moment.

It’s a warm delightful little story and I revelled in it as I read.

Book Connections, Review

Five Diverse Books I’ve Read in 2019

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Reading can take us beyond what we experience from people and events and culture immediately around us. These books did that for me. I think after the mass shooting we saw happening in the mosques in Christchurch New Zealand, I challenged myself to be more aware of picking up books that helped me explore the wondrous diversity existing in our world.

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Ayesha at Last is set in Toronto, Canada and is about Ayesha and Khalid, both belonging to a Muslim community. It’s a romance that is full of twists and turns, has humour and a tad bit of revenge which I always enjoy when a baddie gets his desserts. Ayesha and Khalid have a love/hate thing going on, plus interfering relatives to add to it. I loved the diverse aspect of the Muslim religion, how they live and what’s important to them. Not everything in the story is completely wrapped up for every character, which really just made it feel more real. I’ll certainly want to read another book from this author – this is a debut novel, with flavourings of pride and plenty of prejudice.

book coverPride Prejudice and Other Flavors is set in California, however it involves a high ranking Indian immigrant family and DJ Caine a chef who is a mix of Indian/African. While the two main characters have their share of pride and prejudice, the book also touches on the prejudices white people have towards those with darker skins. The many tasty flavours of Indian cooking is a large component. I enjoyed this read, it explores the roles in family, sibling relationships, illness (Trish the heroine is a neurosurgeon) and betrayal. It does have romance but its more mainstream than outright romance. My kind of read.

book coverThe story of three sisters, who visit India, in response to their dead mother’s request. Each has a secret or challenge they are hiding from the others. While they have not been that close, due really to growing up circumstances, the trip eventually bonds them together. I liked the Indian setting and the cultural values shown. Some very shocking from my viewpoint. I liked though how the book highlighted and dealt with the issues raised. The only question I still wonder about is the sore ankle the eldest sister had. It went nowhere. Excellent on audio -the narrator did a very good job on the whole and added to my enjoyment of the book.

Book coverField Notes on Love has  two delightful main characters who come from diverse backgrounds. Hugo is bi racial and has throughout his life had to put up with slurs, but with the support of his siblings (one of sextuplets) Hugo has come through it well. Mae is the wonderful daughter of two Dads and with the side support of a special Nana she too is a well balanced individual. They both have dreams and throughout a week long train trip they will discover what that really means. It is YA and I loved the read.

Book CoverThe Stationery Shop of Tehran is partially set in Iran and shares the story of the coup of 1953. A prime minister who had been elected democratically was ousted by the Shah,and foreign powers! All because of oil! This story gives insight into a family life and the love of two people whose lives are disrupted by this event. It’s sad because two young people who love each other are separated by others. Who? Well it will take them many years to realise. In the meantime they have lived good lives but what might have been? I liked this story even though it was a little outside my usual.  I especially liked the insight into Persian life and cooking.

Review

Just One Wish. Rachael Johns

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Published: HQ & Mira Australia
Date: 21st October 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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Just One Wish is the latest piece of fiction from the hand of author Rachael Johns. It’s set in Melbourne, Australia and presents to us the lives of three generations of women: Grandmother, Mother and Daughter.

As I read the first few chapters I thought meh, not sure I am going to get into this, and then wham the story sprang to life and all hell let loose. It has so much drama – family drama, going on. As well it explores all kinds of relationships, plus the role of a woman in today’s world, what really matters in life, lost love and found love, and mostly being true to yourself.

Alice is the grandmother, she is a woman of science, and believed that it was really important to not have your life dictated by marriage and the need to have a man in your life. How does that pan out? Well in a very interesting way.

Her daughter Sappho is married to Tony and has two grown up children and a couple of grandchildren. She is a stay at home mother with a difference. She is the Happy Happy Housewife with a big following on You Tube and Instagram. However life is about to throw her a curve ball that really puts some spice into the family’s life.

Ged is Sappho’s daughter. The story is told from her point of view and this really worked well. Ged is a journalist, she adores her grandmother and wants to write the biography of Alice, such an inspiring woman. We meet Ged as she is dealing with a broken romance that she thought was going somewhere. Surprise! Well there are a few surprises for Ged, they come thick and fast.

I loved this family, the falling outs, the helping outs, all the things they have to deal with. The book is well written, once I was into it, I was reading along wondering what was going to happen next. Well worth the read.

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 was a bit slower with reading this week, mainly because I got a bit obsessed with quilting. It is also addictive and so relaxing to do. The weather is warming up and its time to get out in the garden too – which I do reluctantly, but quite enjoy a little time out there when I go.

What I read last week:

I really liked this one and am happy that I own it and it can go on my shelf with hopefully a reread some time in the future.
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What I am reading now:

I am about 75% through this one. It has slightly more wacky older characters than she usually has, but it is still holding me. It’s a review book but I’ll want to buy it I think as well.

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I am listening to The Giver of Stars and really happy that I chose to take this way of reading it.

Up next:

I just picked this up from the library and it better go next. I had to take back without reading The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek without reading it because others had reserved it in the meantime. So I bought the Kindle copy, but don’t want to mix it up by reading it at the same time while listening to The Giver of Stars.

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Last Week’s Posts

Life On Loan  Ashley Farley

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Review

Life on Loan. Ashley Farley

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Published: Lake Union
Date:October 8th 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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I’ve never read a book by Ashley Farley, but the cover and the book blurb made me suspect this kind of story would be for me. And I must say I was right.

It’s about two women who meet many years after the years in college as friends. It is now the mid years for them when many reassess their priorities and life and often make changes. After all, we have one life and its important to be happy and have that deep down gut feel what we do and who we are is just right.

Lena has had it with her husband and daughter, she has let them walk all over her, suddenly she has had enough and leaves, deciding to take a month to be by herself and sort herself out.

Olivia’s marriage ended a few years back, after a revelation from her husband. She has been running a successful blog, but she is tired of the unnecessary drama of certain aspects of it, and besides she wants to write and test her talents, could she write a novel?

Meeting at an airport they make the decision to exchange places for a month and see where life leads. Olivia finds herself in a lovely cottage by the river right next door to Alastair, a life long friend of Lena’s. He has been through the trauma of loosing his wife and is in a bit of a black hole.  Lena on the other hand finds herself in Charleston and soon awakens in her the delight she has for photography. However this also leads her down some unexpected paths.

I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and their explorations and taking a second look at their lives. They will find new focus,  a little romance, family bonding and deepening friendships.

I will certainly look out in the future for more books from Ashley Farley.

Review

Christmas from the Heart. Sheila Roberts

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Published: Harlequin Mira
Date: 24th September 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Christmas from the Heart is the name of this novel but also the name of the organisation that Livi runs as a non profit to bring joy and love to families at Christmas. The only trouble is… this year it has been very difficult raising the money to make this possible. To cap it all, the Hightower corporation have refused to give any donation, and they have been the main contributors since her grandmother’s time.

Livi herself lives on a shoe string, she lives at home with her Dad and scrimps by with very little. Guy on the other hand – the CFO of Hightower has his own swanky apartment and lives rather well. He is rather cautious though of women who have their eye on the money and that leaves him a little cynical. And that includes Livi the do gooder. To be fair he is hardworking and the Hightower business is struggling despite all the long hours he works. If only his brothers could contribute their share of the work.

Can a scrooge business man’s heart take on the spirit of Christmas? Can a woman bent on spreading the Christmas spirit have her heart persuaded to take a second look at the man she has come to despise. Will a deception be forgiven?

Christmas From the Heart is very much in the Christmas feel good, spread good spirit genre. Those who like such movies should enjoy this story.