Review

Sunset Beach Mary Kay Andrews

Book cover

Published: St Martin’s Press
Date: May 7th 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

 

Banner

Drue Campbell is struggling. She has a serious knee injury due to a surf board kite accident. And she is about to lose her job. What is a girl to do – only crawl back to her home town and take a job – reluctantly from her father and his latest wife – Wendy. Who also happens to be an ex friend of Drue.

She finds herself living in a rundown cottage that belonged to her grandparents and now belongs to her. But… it has a hole in the roof and other problems and she doesn’t have the money to fix up anything… at the moment.

Her work at her father’s lawyer firm is boring and her “stepmother” seems to have the most “going nowhere” jobs for her. But… don’t think Drue is going to be sidelined by that. She finds in her attic some interesting information that sets her “detective nose” into action. And then there is another situation that smells bad to her too. Not to be deterred – she wades in.

Drue is a delightful character, a little foolhardy, but she sure has her heart in the right place. She isn’t sure who she can trust, and she certainly has her doubts about her Dad.

There are a couple of mysteries to be solved, some suspects are fairly obvious and a couple provide surprises. Drue after a little misstep at the beginning finds someone she is going to eventually care for, so there is a little bit of romance in the air as well. And could she be a modern “Robin Hood”. For certain I don’t think she’ll ever be boring.

I loved the setting, the old cottage, and the beach and sunset. I liked seeing Drue find her way and a family of sorts coming together. It was an engaging read – one I took up happily each time I opened the book.

Review

The Little Teashop on Main by Jodi Thomas

book cover

Publisher: Harlequin
Date: 7th May 2019
Source: Little Bird Publicity via NetGalley

 

Set in Laurel Springs, The Teashop on Main, is a beautifully crafted story of friendship and love. Jodi Thomas brings this little town in Texas alive, with her dusty creek beds and shadowy figures that are very much a signature of her stories.

Three young girls bond over a tea party –  a bond that is going to take them right through life. There is Zoe – daughter of Alex, a single mom. Zoe is a free and beautiful spirit, who cares about others and their happiness, and searches for her own sense of “home”.

Shannon has been raised by her Dad – Mack, her mother having walked out on them. He is often away working but there is no doubt of his love for Shannon and the other two girls.

Lastly Emily, somewhat lost and unhappy, with a mother who has smothered her. But… she has Zoe and Shannon who support and worry over her. And then their is Fuller who has a special reason to keep an eye on her. And lastly Jack, who loves all three girls and would do anything for all of them. But… he has a strong attraction and eventually a special love for one of them.

The story ranges over a good time period, so that we see the young people grow up, seek to find themselves and their place in the world, but always is the ongoing friendship that is so strong, that it is forever friendship. And their is that ritual of joining for tea that so important to them.

I loved this story and while tears slid down my cheeks as I finished, I closed the book, with some heartache and a whole lot of admiration for the friends and their various relationships.

Review

The View from Alameda. Robyn Carr

book cover

Published: Harlequin – MIRA
Date:  30th April 2018
Source: Little Bird Publicity via NetGalley

Banner

The View from Alameda Island by Robyn Carr – another of her books that held my interest all the way through.

Lauren is married to a surgeon – Brad, but… he is manipulative, controlling and abusive. She stays in the marriage because of her two daughters, Lauren wants the best for them – in a money sense, however most likely it isn’t good for them really. Lauren is a competent person but she is told by Brad that she is useless. Finally after many attempts Lauren makes plans and leaves him. What a relief!

She meets another man, Beau one day at a garden and they strike up a conversation. Soon they are developing a friendship and spending more time together. However he too is going through a divorce and life is not exactly straight going for him. What I really liked about him was his care for his two step sons – 18 and 21. While his ex wife was the mother, it was Beau who had always stepped up for them.

So a divorce should be straight forward – right? Well not in both Beau’s and Lauren’s cases. They have cray, cray, crazy ex partners who go to extraordinary lengths to put a spanner in the works to prevent the divorces going through. I kept thinking – what next? No! Really!

This is a very good story of a woman finding her way, choosing happiness and a full life. It is about friendship, family and people standing with you and supporting you.  It is about being there for others – being able to admit mistakes and readjust living to a better, more wholesome path.

I really liked Lauren and Beau as characters and was so sorry to have to close the book.

Review

Join in Connect Five Books April-June

BannerJoin me for 2019 in Connect Five – Books.

Congratulations to the giveaway winner for the second link up.

The five books were connected by all having “One” in the title.  You can read the post here.
so another idea – watch the words in the titles.

Other ideas were:

  • 5 Debut books
  • Contained diversity
  • Women growing into themselves
  • 5 Goosebump horror books
  • A theme of Animals
  • 5 Books with List in the title

Thanks to everyone playing along. As you can see, it can be done and now that we are further into our reading year, our book count is growing.

You didn’t need to sign up for this challenge

you can just join in as you see you have five connections.

When you have five that connect in whatever way you are able to group them then link up. How might you do this?  One of these ways is good.

  • Write and link up a blog post
  • Share the five books on Instagram and link up
  • Have a Goodreads shelf and link that up – this may be a little different but maybe use it in combination with a comment would be helpful.
  • Or… if you belong to none of these places, share five books in a comment.

What’s the Challenge?

To look for connections between books you read. There will be  many connections that just float over our awareness. Let’s see can we raise that a bit, whether its fairly surface level or something deeper.

If you need some guidelines for this then see the original post. Connect Five Books.

Remember:

  • A book can only be used once for this challenge in the year.
  • The books must be read in 2019.
  • Books can be carried over until you have five of something. It may take a few months to gather five of something.
  • You may have  many connections of five to link up . So if you have two groups of five then you can link up twice and so on within a month.
  • You may just link one group of five during the year, or many each month. It depends on how many connections you come across!
  •  Use the hashtag  #connect5books2019 if sharing on social media.

When?

Every second month I will post a link up on the last Wednesday of the month. This one will finish on the last Wednesday of June.  (I have changed this, I was going to do it every month, but every second month seems more realistic!)

#connect5books2019

A Giveaway

For those who have a five book connection and link up there will be a random prize draw for one reader who will win a book of their choice for that link up from the Book Depository. The last link up will be posted in November and go through December. At the end of the year there will be one draw as well for all those who have participated during the year, –  a book of choice from the Book Depository up to the value of $18 U.S

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

https://fresh.inlinkz.com/js/widget/load.js?id=76159bd4ca438d83f080

Review

The Land Girls Victoria Purman

book cover

Published: Harlequin Australia
Date: 15th April 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Banner

Three women join the women’s land army in Australia during World War 2. The Land Girls introduces the reader to them and by the end of the book, each woman found a place in my heart and my very sincere admiration.

Flora is thirtyish and from Melbourne, she lives with her Dad, a brother who can’t go to war (Jack) and Frank who is fighting in the war overseas and they haven’t heard from him. A white feather given to her brother Jack on the street one day, decides Flora  to join the Land Girls – her first assignment  is picking grapes – hard work but she meets up with a delightful family. Slowly a relationship develops between Flora and Charles the owner of the farm but she is only there for a few weeks.

Lily is   18  from an Adelaide wealthy family, she has a sister a doctor working in the war overseas but Lily  hasn’t found her own niche. She finds it hard to even learn shorthand and typing. She is in love with David who is going off to war. Taking up her courage she too joins the land girls – unusual for some one from such a family. She is sent out to a place north of Adelaide to pick cherries

Betty is almost 18, friends all her life with Michael next door, she is an only child and she too decides to join Land Girls when Michael joins up in 1942 when he turns 18. She starts this life picking grapes in Mildura, many miles north of Melbourne, on the edge of the outback. She is among 20 other girls. It’s hard work and Betty is homesick. One Sunday she meets Flora who gives her words of encouragement, that really help.

I loved the Australian setting, the  realistic painting of what it was like to live in that time during war. The women who joined the land army worked hard, and it changed them in so many ways.  How worrying though for them for the loved ones who fought overseas and often when bad news came, so heart breaking.

Victoria Purman had me fully invested in each woman, each story so real. I loved the way the woman put their hands up and contributed. The way they supported each other and developed such important and memorable friendships.

Review

It’s Monday! What are you Reading this Easter?

badge
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.

Line break

Hope you all had a great Easter break. We had a couple of gorgeous days Friday and Saturday and then Sunday…. very wet!  But I had a delicious dark chocolate egg that was very yummy to chase away the wet!

In this last week I got out finally and did a small bit of gardening. I also visited a friend in hospital and got horribly lost on the way, in a very hilly area and narrow roads and even a one way that you guessed it, I might have had to turn around on! The problem was I discovered later that right at the beginning I took a wrong turn.  Needless to say I did arrive at my destination, but somewhat stressed!

On Thursday it was the birthday of my sister who passed away last year. So a number of us gathered at the cemetery in the sunshine and toasted her with a small glass of wine and some memories. Then we gathered at the home of one of my other sisters for dinner. I have to say it was rather special.

I also read and worked on a second quilt for the first responders of the Christchurch shootings. And of course did some reading!

What I read last week:

The Things We Do For Love from my TBR was a Kristin Hannah worthy story that I really enjoyed. 183 Times a Year was about a mother and two teens and the rest of the family. I read it as a humour/funny challenge book…. but my sense of humour is different I guess. Still I will count it!  This was a UK book, I think as a New Zealander I might have a different kind of sense of humour!

What I am reading now:

A review book…

Book cover

Up next:

One I bought last year from a local bookshop, I think the author is Australian. My excuse for buying – well it had a bookcase on the cover!

book cover
 

Last Week’s Posts

The Girl He Used to Know Tracey Garvis Graves

Line break

 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

https://fresh.inlinkz.com/js/widget/load.js?id=76159bd4ca438d83f080

Review

The Girl He Used to Know. Tracey Garvis Graves

book cover

Published: St Martin’s Press
Date: 2nd April 2019
Genre: Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Banner

Right from the beginning I was hooked into this book and the story. I just totally loved Annika and her background story.  In college she was not very socially adept, missed cues, spoke her mind, hated loud noise and wasn’t keen on being touched. But… what a heart and gorgeous person. I also fell for her room mate Janine who was kind enough to reach out in genuine friendship and help Annika to find her way through the world that mystified her.

In college she meets Jonathan and he is everything you’d like in a male. We find out that something separated them and now as they meet ten years later and begin to find their way with each other, we are led on, wondering what on earth went wrong between this wonderful pair.

The story is told in two time lines, college days and 2001. They fit together seamlessly and as I read, the question I held about what went wrong was answered. And no more about the plot – its best discovered as you read.

This book was a fast read, I picked it up every moment possible. It was emotional – heart warming and heart breaking. If you love unforgettable characters, a little mystery, and an emotional read with an intense ending – pick this one up. I hated it had to finish!

Review

Come From Away. Genevieve Graham

Book cover

Published: Audible Studios
Date: 5th March 2015
Narrator: Michelle Ferguson
Length: 8 hrs 2 min
Source: Author

Banner

Earlier in the year I enjoyed the audiobook Tides of Honour – a story about Danny and Audrey and WW1. When I started listening to this book Come From Away, I was delighted to find out that this one picks up the lives of their children and especially that of their daughter Grace. It’s a complete stand alone, however, seeing how life has moved on pleased this reader!

Grace works in a local store in Nova Scotia, while her three brothers are away at war – world war 2. Her parents Danny and Audrey are there with her and also other various family members live by.  One evening at a local dance some strangers come by, and Grace is attracted to one man who dances with her – then they are gone. Now off Nova Scotia there are German u-boats, so could these men have come from there?

Some weeks later this stranger wanders into Grace’s store – Rudi is his name. Supposedly a trapper but is he?  And so the story takes off. There is challenge and adventure, distrust and trust, and an evolving relationship with Rudi and the family and of course Grace.

I loved the story of the family in Nova Scotia, and what happened to them as the war progressed.  Depicted was the toll that war places on ordinary men, the demands made on them, and that underneath so many of them  are men of honour and care.

The story moves along at a good pace, the characters are ones that I could take into my heart and care about. The narrator was very good and brought this book alive.

 

Review

The Library of Lost and Found

book cover

Published: Park Row
Date:  March 26th 2019
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

I am always drawn to a book with the words library or book or bookshop in its title. Books on the cover also help. So even though I’d never come across a Phaedra Patrick book before, The Library of Lost and Found was a book that I knew had my name on it!

The main character is Martha Storm, and she is rather quirky. It took me awhile to work her out. She keeps lists, only has a part time job at the library, lives in a house that at first sight could belong to a hoarder. She is a people pleaser and allows others to walk all over her, with their requests. She doesn’t let others close.  So my question was “Who is she?” “Will I like her?”

When Martha finds a book on the doorstep of the library, it leads her to question the belief she has that her grandmother is dead. The book appears to be stories that her grandmother Zelda and Martha told when Martha was a child. But she died when Martha was thirteen – or did she?

As we track down the mystery with Martha we learn about her life at home as a youngster, the little stories she told, interspersed with the main text give us insight into what kind of home life she had. No wonder Martha is like she is.  But her inner spirit is quite different and slowly it emerges and the real Martha steps out.

I enjoyed the cameo minor characters, the unravelling of the mystery, the book references of course, and of the main characters finally returning “home”. And yes I ended up really liking Martha and being very hopeful for her future.

Review

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

Book Cover

Publisher: Graydon House – Harlequin
Date: 19th March 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

 

Banner

In The Things I Cannot Say Kelly Rimmer as penned a very powerful dual time line story.

In one time space we are taken to Poland in the early times of Nazi occupation during WW2 and to the story of Alina and Tomasz and their families. Those times were horrific and yet the bravery of these people stand out as they dealt with the terror.

In the present we have Alice and Wade and their two children – one very intelligent and one who is on the autism spectrum. The stresses in the family are well depicted and felt very real. When Alice is asked by her grandmother to return to Poland to seek information about what happened back then and who is there now, it is a huge challenge for her.

The dual time lines worked well. While I am not a huge fan of dual time lines, I have to admit the way the details were spread throughout the story was very effective.  I was sucked into both stories – one shocking and so hard to read, one “easier” but with its own difficulties.  And always such love.

Its very emotional and tissues were needed! I came to love and admire all the characters and to be in awe of the story telling power of Kelly Rimmer.