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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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.

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.

Over The Teacups, Review

Over the Teacups #10 with Kristan Higgins and Cathy Lamb

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book coverWhy? I like any book by Kristan Higgins so I was absolutely keen to read this one.

Plot This is about three friends who have weight issues and body image issues – their struggles and their joys. Their families and loves.

What Appeals to me? An extremely well written book that explores hugely important themes in today’s world. Like body image, attitudes around that, other people’s kindness and unkindness. It’s about family struggles too. Parenting.

This book is so sad and so funny at various spots.

It took me  a little while to like the woman characters, but they grew on me. I It really isn’t an easy book to read in some ways, its confrontative.

And so… I think its an extremely important book, and would be excellent as a book club read. So much to talk about you’d need a few sessions!

 

book coverWhy? I thoroughly enjoy any book ever written by Cathy Lamb. Thanks to a blogger I was introduced to her books. This one was one I had that I hadn’t read, its like saving up something special.

Plot  Boss Mom Jaden has loved her son Tate since he was born. Born to her sister Brooke (a drug addict). Tate has a large head, so he has had a good deal of teasing to deal with. But… he is the most loveable of characters. Jaden takes him as her own when Brooke walks out after his birth. Now he is seventeen and he so wants to fly, to play basketball, to be accepted by other. And Jaden is so against that because a knock to the head could cause serious problems for Jaden because he has a shunt going from his brain to his heart.

What Appeals to me? I totally love the characters that Cathy Lamb conjures up. They are so full of warmth and feeling. And humour! Irreverent humour. I love the way she explores and shares someone who is different and so fully a wonderful human being.  It invites us to be open and kind and accepting and really celebratory of all the differences in people.

And so… I do have one more book to read by Cathy Lamb, her one that is due out on the 30th of October titled The Man She Married. I don’t even know what its about. It doesn’t matter. Its written by Cathy Lamb. That’s all I need to know.

Over The Teacups, Review

Over The Teacups #9

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Book CoverWhy? I’ve seen some very good reviews for this book, plus I’ve enjoyed a few previous books written by Karen White.

Plot Larkin returns home to the south when her mother has an accident. She left there 10 years ago when some kind of embarrassing event happened and she has sworn never to go back. Until now. Right into a mystery that slowly unravels about family and secrets and friendship and love.

What Appeals to me? Strangely enough for me – this time the writing. I love the similes, the way the plot is structured, the different time periods that meld perfectly. The little touches of humour that every so often would surprise a laugh out of me. The characters, especially CeeCee, Bitty and Larkin.

And so… I read this from the library, and it was so new, I think I as the first to read it, what a delight! However I want this book to go onto my shelf at home… so I’ll be buying my own copy. When it comes out in paperback. Hardback a little pricey!

book coverWhy? Any romance story I have read by Ainslie Paton is always slightly different to any other one I have read. Her plots are refreshing and fun.

Plot. This is the story of Caleb Sherwood and Finley Cartwright. Both out to help others but Caleb’s family do it in a very interesting way, is it above board or not? Hmm. What will Finley think when she gets hooked in as Caleb’s partner or… one night wife. One thing though – in one or two places TMI! I don’t need or want it, thanks.

What Appeals to Me? Learning about the con was fun! I wonder does it really work! I liked that the story points out the greed and huge ego of many of the rich and famous in this world and how many of them avoid taxes and avoid making real donations. Oh yes, I could name the people on the news who fit this scenario!!

And so... I loved how the Sherwood family were pushing back. Another quirky and charming book from this author.

book coverWhy? A good friend put this into my hand and highly recommended it.

What is it about? This is the memoir written in 2017 by Edith Eger, originally from Hungry. She is Jewish and in 1944 was taken to Auschwitz. Yes readers it is horrific, but see her spirit and beliefs. And amazing how she made it out of there at the end of the war. It is not only about this period in her life, she goes on to live in the USA and eventually her experiences enable her to help many, many others. She is still alive and in her nineties.

What Appeals to me? Well its eye opening. Its mind blowing. It is full of wisdom and insight and beauty. Oh my, what an inspiring woman. I am inspired by her.

And so… Well of course I had to google her! I watched a few You Tube videos. I saw her do her high kick! I want to learn from her. I want you to read it!!!

As I most likely have to return this hardback, I have bought the Kindle copy which is an obscenely low price.

Over The Teacups, Reading challenge, Review

Over The Teacups #8

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book coverWhy? I had read/listened to the previous book The Cafe by the Sea and loved it so I was totally in for listening to this one.

Plot This continues life on Mure which is a small island off the coast of Scotland. It sounds both unappealing and appealing. We meet all the same characters. Flora is running her cafe, her brother is about to get married, there is a doctor who wants to find his wife and children from a war torn area. And Flora is still wondering really about her relationship with Joel.

What Appeals to me? Well I loved the narration by Sarah Barron, perfection. I loved the setting, the characters and the bittersweet angst. We learn so much about the background of Joel, the doctor’s struggle with his search and find of his family, and well… there is one very sad loss happening.

And so… It was a 5 star listen for me. A keeper shelf book and most likely a notable book of 2018 for me.

book coverWhy? I saw this listed over on the AAR website where they had the top 100 romances as voted I guess by their readers. As I had read quite a few on this list I thought I’d try this one – new to the list. I also heard it discussed on a couple of podcasts and reviews on Goodreads were generally very positive.

Plot. This was about Jennifer – the Banana Queen, a baking genius who is totally exploited by her parents. And Cletus Winston – Jen blackmails him into helping her prepare for someone to marry. He sets out to educate her giving her tasks to do – like do something different every day. Cletus is a devious, loveable, quiet and clever individual but it turns out Jen is all of that and more.

What Appeals to me. It was a fun set up, and all the Winston family were a load of fun. They all have their own books I do believe. I listened to the audio and it was an easy listening experience reasonably well narrated.

And so…While I most likely won’t read about the rest of them in their books its only because there are so many books to be read… and if I only had time! A 4 star story and narration.

book coverWhy? I heard Joe Biden being interviewed by Oprah on SuperSoul Sunday Podcast awhile back and I was just so impressed by him. So I put the book into my wish list at Audible.

Plot. Joe Biden recounts some of his experiences as Vice President of the USA, and the years that led up to his son Beau’s death from brain cancer.

What Appeals to Me. I really liked Joe Biden’s values, his devotion to family and to duty and service. His life is inspiring, his simplicity, his authenticity, humility and loyalty. I liked his positivity and belief in his country even as times changed after his time in office. He narrates this book himself, he doesn’t have the most varied of voices, but the fact he is speaking it himself was enough for me.

And so…I was pleased I picked this one out to listen to, Joe Biden because of his life experience with tragedy has a compassion and ability to connect with others who have suffered. A 5 star reading experience.

Over The Teacups, Review

Over The Teacups #7

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book coverWhy? This was on sale at Audible and as I usually enjoy a Luanne Rice book I chose it.

Plot Kate seeks her sister Willa who has gone missing. In the place she searches is lawyer John who is defending a criminal who kills women. He has two delightful children Maggie and Teddy. Will she find her sister alive? Are there any links to the criminal killer?

What Appeals to me? This had some twists and turns and tension that kept me listening. In the last few chapters I was sure biting my nails. Kate was a strong character and a really nice person, Maggie and Teddy while they played small roles, were very much what made this book so appealing. So crime, mystery, tension and a little romance. While I was never sure of how this would end, let’s just say I was satisfied.

And so… I have read quite a few of Luanne Rice’s books and this certainly lived up to what I expect from her. I still have some of hers that I haven’t read so they will be in my future.

book cover Why? I have read the previous books in this series and enjoyed them, although I didn’t like the narration in some of them. So I was going to read this but when I looked at the size of the book I decided to listen.

Plot This one is about CeCe who travels to find out who her family of origin is. Her adoptive father Pa Salt has sent all the girls on an exploration of where they came from. CeCe’s lead her to the western coast of Australia and into the interior to Alice Springs. We also learn the story of Kitty MacBride a Scottish woman who comes out to Broome, Australia- an ancestor of CeCe. I loved both stories. Very well researched.

What Appeals to Me? Well I will hang in there with this series because I want to find out the mystery of Pa Salt, each book a little clue or two is dropped. Also the hidden seventh sister is a mystery. Plus usually the dual time line of these books is very good. I really loved this one, for me the best! The Australian setting was so well done and I loved every part of it. Plus… and a big plus…. the narration was very good. Two narrators – one for CeCe and one for Kitty and their Australian accents were recognisable! Although take note that that is a New Zealand ear listening!

And so... Well I guess I just have to wait for another year or whatever to pass so that I get the next one which sounds like Tiggy is up next and it has something to do with Scotland.

book cover Why? I really enjoy this romantic suspense series of Nick and Sam. I’ve read them all and this is #12. They are addictive.

Plot. In this one there are a number of drive by shootings and Sam and her team are out to find out who it is before more people are mowed down. Nick is dealing with the possibility of seeing the President stepping down and Nick being asked to step up. As well a few side stories of developments for ongoing characters.

What Appeals to Me? I enjoyed the fun winding up by Sam with her partner – Cruz, as she prepares his night out before his wedding. I liked the ongoing story of Nick and his job and Sam’s desire to become pregnant. But I’d like to see developments! Evidently I won’t get them because it wouldn’t suit the possible plots!

And so… I’ll certainly look forward to #13 coming out later in 2018 and will definitely read it, although for me this one just didn’t give the buzz I have come to expect from this series.

Over The Teacups, Review

Over The Teacups #6

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book coverWhy?Susan Wiggs is a favourite author and I have liked and loved every contemporary fiction book she has written, so it was an auto-buy for me.

Plot?This is the story of so many, mainly that of Camille and her daughter Julie. But also Julie’s father and his grandparents. Camille is an expert photographer but since the death of her husband five years ago she has not lifted a camera. Her daughter Julie a young teen is going through a tough time with some very overt bullying happening to her. Onto the scene comes Finn, who seeks out those who are lost – mainly soldiers and brings them home. He has a special mission to find his father.

What Appeals to Me?I loved the characters, yes Camille was a little prickly, but five years isn’t that long in the scheme of things so its understandable she hasn’t quite moved on. I liked her story and that of Julies as they let go and move on. I loved the small vignette WW11 story and the outcome from that. And of course it was delightfully set in both the east coast of the USA and Provence, France. Loved the writing too. Such an appealing read all round.

And so… the next Susan Wiggs book will of course be an auto-buy!

book coverWhy? I had a bit of spare reading space and was perusing Amazon and when I saw this one I clicked! Eloisa James right!

Plot? This one is set in Georgian times, when they wore wigs and powdered their hair and the women wore very low cut dresses! Alaric is the hero and Willa the heroine. They are pretty much their own persons and don’t worry too much about wigs and powder. He is back from big adventures, is a writer and very popular with the ladies. What follows is a love adventure with an evil killer thrown in and a skunk who knows when to leave a stink.

What Appeals to Me? Well written and fun. Light and warm mostly. I haven’t met a pet skunk in a book before, plus the plot moved along well and was rather unique. Also there is a large Wilde family and plenty more stories to be told. It ends with a cliff hanger for one of the brothers – North and its sure to deliver.

And so… Sighting next book in series – Too Wilde to Wed which promises to publish about May 2018.

book coverWhy? Well Catherine Anderson is pretty much an auto-buy for me and when I need a really good comfort read, I can always rely on her to deliver.

Plot. This is the story of 1) Tanner who is about 78 and living in an assisted apartment while he heals from a fall. And the woman who runs the place is a dragon. 2) Crystal his grand daughter who is keeping the home fires burning while her grandfather is in care. She is looking after his dog who is a total handful. Somehow she has a young kitten on her plate as well. 3) And then there are a couple of love interests and a small bit of mystery thrown in.

What Appeals to me. I liked the two sets of couples – one younger and one older – both full of wisdom and emotion. I liked Rip – the unforgettable dog, and feel good emotional story.

And so… The next Catherine Anderson book can’t come soon enough! An auto-buy. There is a lovely interview with Catherine Anderson on Goodreads about this her latest book.

Over The Teacups, Review

Over The Teacups #5

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Why? I have enjoyed all of Kristy Woodson Harvey’s previous books and so of course I would read this one too.

Plot Ansley has three daughters who for all different reasons return home to Peachtree Bluff. Ansley herself (mother) has quite a back story and that is all revealed as the story progresses. The story is told from Ansley’s and daughter Caroline’s point of view. Caroline is deciding what to do as her husband has been unfaithful in a spectacular way. She is very pregnant and has an older daughter of about ten – Viki. Ansley has been dealt a hard card in life but the way she has picked herself up and looked after everyone is outstanding. There is a little plot twist that turns things somewhat as well.

What Appeals to me?

I loved the setting of course and the sisters relationship with each other was a drawcard. Each of the main characters is dealing with difficulties that are definitely quite south of simple! I did like too how Caroline grew as a character. Also that the characters each had their quirks and challenges. I just wish Ansley would think of herself just a little bit more.

And so… I see this is #1 in the Peachtree Bluff series so I am looking forward to catching up with this family in the future.

book coverWhy? I wanted a food memoir to read for the Better World reading challenge and I saw a review for this by Katherine over at I Wish I Lived in a Library.

Plot Well there isn’t one but there is a wonderful accounting of Edward in his nineties and Isabel who is in an unhappy marriage. Isabel visits Edward once a week and partakes in his delicious meals. No recipes but oh my, makes me want to appreciate and taste such food.

What Appeals to Me? The way Edward lives his life so fully in his nineties and his obvious deep love and devotion to his wife who is now dead. He battles with this loss but it does not diminish too much his participation in life. I liked the way Isabel valued the friendship and grew as a person in the time she was able to experience this special relationship.

And so… Very happy to have read it. As one person also pointed out from It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? pointed out there is a great tip for scrambled eggs that she uses to this day. I have yet to try it but I will.

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Why? This has sat on my actual TBR shelf for quite a few years! I was wondering about what to read next and saw there is a bit of a romance in this book while the couple are travelling. Perfect for the Better World reading challenge I thought! Besides I have never read Monica McInerney, but seen noted many good things about her books.

Plot. This is a book about a family! A grown up family who are in the Travel business. There are two men, two women – one of whom came to the family when she was eight – Lara. As a travel tour around Cornwall and Devon is to take place centred on an old TV show, Lara goes missing. Harriet is leading the tour and is worried about Lara as is Austin one of the brothers. So there is a little romance, (Harriet and the star of the TV show) a mystery, secrets and family relationships in the mix.

What Appeals to me? I found it a little slow, but the variety of characters was fun, the mystery and secret kept me going and the whole family aspect with its exploration of loss and grief was interesting. Plus how we often make judgements about others that is quite far from the actual truth.

And so... At some point in time I will be happy to venture into reading another Monica McInerney book .