Best Behavior. Wendy Francis

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Publisher: Harlequin
Date: May 5th
Source: Publicist via NetGalley

This story takes place over a weekend that is celebrating the graduation from college for the twins Dawn and Cody. The twins are part of two families, their parents having divorced when they were about twelve.

There is quite a bit of tension surrounding the weekend. Their mother Meredith and step father Joel want to negotiate the days in a way that they will remain calm and sane. Meredith is dealing with the fact that her children are grown up and she is fearing that this is where it all stops for her. They’ll be adults who no longer need her.  Joel has helped raise these two and all he wants to do is see this weekend through with all its potential for chaos.

Roger – the twins’ hot shot lawyer Dad is aiming to give the twins a great time. His young wife Lily is totally wanting to be included in the family, to be accepted and liked. However there is quite some bad vibes coming her way from Dawn and Meredith.  As well Lily is beginning to question her life and needs.

We are given the viewpoints from Meredith, Joel, Cody, Dawn and Lily. As a reader that helps you to understand the fears and anxieties of each of these loveable but flawed characters. I especially liked this aspect of the writing, being able to walk a little while alongside each one.

During the few days things go radically awry, although not in the way I might have first predicted. As the story came to crisis point I was turning the pages to see what would happen.

Book Connections, Review

Books Recommended by Others


When I read a book review by someone and I know that my reading taste intersects with theirs in some ways I wonder if I should try it and I sometimes do, depending on whether of course there is space on my reading calendar. Here are five books that I did pick up. Links go back to the reader’s original review.

book cover I read a book review of this on Mary’s blog Book Fan and while she didn’t say a lot about this debut  novel she did capture my attention about it. So I requested it from the library and it was a very happy match up. So much so I even ended up making it a 5 star read. What a wonderful story. I loved Dan and Ellie and Phineas (the pheasant) and Ed. Beautifully written, quirky, delightful. This is a love story about nature and people who see the world slightly differently. Often I chuckled out loud. I loved much of the imagery – like rock and limpet! It’s about doing what really matters and being what really matters. This is a book I’ll long remember. Thanks Mary because I have not seen it mentioned anywhere else. I will want to read Hazel Prior again.

book coverMy niece Amanda recommended this book to me as it was one of Jojo Moyes books she really liked. It is historical fiction and tells the story of a group of women travelling from Australia to England to join the men they had married from Britain during the war years. All I can say is they were very courageous and the trip was not easy. Some got telegrams mid sail saying they were not wanted and they were put off the ship to be returned home at the next port. At times I found It dragged for me, but on the whole I found it insightful and well worth the read.  I am already a Jojo Moyes fan but only picked this book up because Amanda had enjoyed it.

book cover This book was first recommended by Elizabeth at Silver Reviews and then Debbie from The Reading Frenzy backed that up. When I needed a book for a reading challenge for a book that included food I decided now was the time to read it. It was perfect. Full of delicious smells, scenery, baking. Yum. Wonderful characters, a great sense of family and tradition and lots of little pieces of wisdom thrown in.  I have since read another of Viola Shipman’s books and have another sitting on my TBR.


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It is no secret that Laurel Rain enjoys reading Anne Tyler and I’ve seen her reading and reviewing her books. Last year after reading her review for Clock Dance I went out and bought it. And just this week I read it. It’s a slow moving wending way of a book through the life of one woman Willa and the people who surround her. After the rather hopeless husbands and sons she has encountered she finds a very different group of people, who I think prove to her family is not necessarily about blood. I really liked her vision for going forward. I will certainly read Anne Tyler again.

book cover At first I passed this by on NetGalley but then I read Katherine’s review over at I Wish I Lived in a Library and I saw her ” I really liked it”, I knew I had to take notice.  So I headed back to NG and downloaded it. I am just a little ways in but I can tell that I am going to enjoy it. How much? I am not that sure yet, but it is a very positive start. I’ve also seen others since saying it is a good read, so stepping out in faith and hope!!

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Stories We Never Told. Sonja Yoerg

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Published: Lake Union Publishing
Date: 1st May 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Sonja Yoerg’s latest book Stories We Never Told is a tale of obsession, jealousy, hidden truths, mingled with a cold control on the part of one character.

Jackie Strelitz is a professor married to a sport scout, Miles. For five years she had been in a relationship with Harlan another professor who had wooed her but set a lot of boundaries. Finally when she realises he won’t give her what would make her happy she walks out. Now he springs Nasira on her and then let the games begin.

And they are far from pleasant games. The story builds slowly as the person setting up carefully stacks  a very careful, coldly thought out plan. Most of the characters are quite flawed, mainly because they hide so much and while they “see” they still deny.

I kept turning the pages, although I have to admit this is not my usual kind of read and therefore in some ways I would say “this isn’t for me”. However those who like a good psychological thriller I think will be quite satisfied with it.



The Heirloom Garden. Viola Shipman

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Publisher: Harlequin- Graydon House
Date: 28th April 2020
Source: Publicist via NetGalley

The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman is a book to read and relish and stop and ponder. If it doesn’t have you thinking about your own garden and the beauty of flowers, I’ll be really surprised. The book wends its way through the seasons of all the stages of a garden and that of life as well.

Meet Iris, a woman who has built huge walls around her garden, she is a botanist who is very passionate and knowledgeable. She has deeply loved  her family, loved and lost.

Meet Lily a young seven year old who has a mother – Abby, starting a new job – and a father Cody, a returned service man who lies on the couch and seems to be lost in post war horror.

They all have their challenges. Iris is so isolated and  not able to leave her place. Cody can not shake himself out of the stresses of war, Abby must work amongst men who are arrogant and not half as able as she is. Lily – well she has to deal with them all. In a way she is the catalyst that sets all things in motion. She is a total delight.

This is a story of growing friendships, taking small and new steps, reaching out and withdrawing. It’s about the wisdom of age and the wisdom of youth. It is about remembering history and honoring it.

Can you tell I loved this book! It points to the goodness, caring and hope that can be present if we just give it a chance.



Five books from 2019 I’d Reread.

These are not necessarily books I marked as five stars although I might have. But they are ones that spoke to me and I’d like to reread once I’ve forgotten them a little.  I don’t reread as I often as I’d like but I think if I could squeeze out the time these would be some I’d want to sample again.

book coverThings You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center is a short book. No! Not really! But that’s how it felt because I just loved reading it and it just went by far too fast. Always a sign of a good story. I might listen to the audio as a way of rereading.



book cover Loved this story and am so happy that I bought a copy and will be able to return to it again.



Book coverOMG I loved this book, I just was so annoyed when it ended, the best kind of annoyed though. I have read this every spare minute I had, I love this kind of book magic that draws me into a story. It often surprised a laugh out of me. It often had me worrying over the outcome for characters. There are some serious issues that are explored.

book coverFor those who like an absorbing family story, with mystery that leaves clues along the way so that you are able to infer and make judgements about what tack the story is going in. A satisfying read.



book coverA delightful story, so warm hearted with delicious cooking smells and full of family traditions and history. Lots of wisdom too.


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Blog Tour: Sunrise at Half Moon Bay. Robyn Carr

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Published: MIRA
Date: April 14th 2020
Source: Publicist via NetGalley

Sunrise at Half Moon Bay is Robyn Carr’s latest book and gives us the story of two sisters – born twenty years apart. Adele and Justine.  Adele has cared for first her father and then her mother, living in the family home with them. Now both of them are gone and she at thirty two must take up her life and live it. Up until now her high flying lawyer sister has supported her, but now things are different.

Justine has hit some snags herself. Her marriage is now in difficulties and husband Scott is at the centre of that! Her two daughters are who she needs to put first and she does.

Both sisters have to make decisions and plot new paths in their lives. That’s what kept me reading – what was going to happen next. The characters seemed a little up and down, but on the whole I warmed to them.

This book did feel instructive and the intention seemed to be to educate. How to negotiate a divorce, friendship with sisters, how to deal with people who take advantage of you, lie to you, abuse you. And how to come out the other side.

There was a lot of prose and telling, more that I like! There was as well dialogue moving the plot forward which placated this reader to some extent. Somehow it didn’t feel to me like it was Robyn Carr’s usual author voice.

That said, I still got immersed and enjoyed the read.




First Quarter Top Reads

Top reads for me are ones that absorb me and that I really love the characters in the book. Usually I am reminded to about what it is to be truly the best kind of human. They bring me hope and inspire me. They might make me laugh or cry. They might make me stop and think. Also they often just plain entertain me.

In no particular order these are the ones I have loved in 2020 so far. I awarded them 5 stars. Links take you to Goodreads.

book coverIn this House of Brede was my first read of the year and a reread. It stood the test of time. While I acknowledge that this 1960″s classic is not for every reader, the close study of human character was what drew and held me. Set in a Benedictine convent in England.

Book Cover Diane Chamberlain did not disappoint me in this her latest book. Set in North Carolina Big Lies in a Small Town was my second read of the year! I loved this book. It held me in its thrall all the way through. There is mystery, challenge, injustice, racism and violence – but not too much, just a taste.

book cover It wasn’t until mid February that my next 5 star read presented itself. Again The Ten Thousand Doors of January  only for readers who enjoy a fantasy type story. Which I do from time to time. When I could hold this book in my hand I could see the wonderful cover. Will be the one to beat for me in 2020. The blurb says “Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.”
book cover Just an Ordinary Family by an Australian author. This one was all about family and secrets. I found it a really worthwhile and very must pick it up read. The characters were flawed and yet gained a place in my heart.

book coverThe Heirloom Garden is my most recent read and there will be a review further on. Only to say now I loved it and anybody who loves flowers will love this one. I think this is the second Viola Shipman book I’ve read and now he is a firm favourite. I have one sitting on my TBR shelf too which I’ll want to get into soon.






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The Sea Glass Cottage. RaeAnne Thayne

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Published: HQN
Date: 17th March 2020
Source: Publicist via NetGalley

Olivia daughter of Juliet, is called home when Juliet falls and breaks a hip. They have already known hard challenging times as Olivia’s dad was killed in the line of duty in a fire. Her sister Natalie died of an overdose. When Juliet had so much to deal with Olivia took back stage and so there is a sticky mother-daughter relationship. Plus Olivia with some good reason has fears that are holding her back on making new choices around her work.

Juliet has parented Natalie’s daughter Caitlin, continued on with a very successful garden center and has another secret she isn’t letting on about to her daughter and grand daughter. Her neighbor Henry is a great friend and there might be something more there but Juliet is not going to allow it if at all possible.

Caitlin has found her mother’s and Olivia’s diaries and read them avidly because she wants to find out who her father could be.  Since reading the diaries she has been surly with Olivia because Olivia expressed some strong feelings as twelve or thirteen year old might.

Connor has returned to town as fire chief because his sister Mel and her three boys need a bit of support after a no good husband and father abandoned them. He and Mel have always been connected to the Harper family growing up and Mel is Olivia’s best friend.

So… there is plenty of things going on and the stories of each carry the plot along in a seamless way. And eventually everyone finds what they seek and new paths are chosen. I enjoyed the story and once everyone really communicated, difficulties were resolved.

A warm satisfying read with flawed but very well intentioned and loving characters who all deserved their positive ways forward.

author photoRaeAnne Thayne
New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern
Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors,
including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and Career Achievement and Romance Pioneer awards from RT Book Reviews. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website.

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It’s Monday! What Are you Reading?

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 coping. It sure is very odd times. I can’t quite take it all in. My country is today going into complete lock down and closing all except essential services.  A friend and I were laughing on FaceTime last night over the toilet paper spree and how when we were very young um… cut up newspaper was the go to.  I couldn’t cope with that now!!

Our library closes until further notice. I have a couple of books out. I’ve had to limit listening to the radio because they really like to go on about the government not moving fast enough. I think they are making people panic and its not helping – the radio people not the government! They criticise Jacinda Ardern our Prime Minister and her team, but I think they along with everyone else are doing their best.

Take care.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

Loving this.

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Listening to

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Up next:

#2 in series.

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Last Week’s Posts

Comfort Reads

The Grace Kelly Dress Brenda Janowitz

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Comfort Reads in These Times

As I find my anxiety ratcheting up in these rare times, I have looked at my books and wondered if I needed something really good to read that would engage me, what would it be? These are some I picked out, although there are many more I could choose.  My library is still open, unlike some around the world but of course that could change in a moment.

book coverPublished 2009. I really enjoyed this book, it was excellent. It is about four writers. One of them has her life fall apart and the other three come to her rescue. To help her they co author her book that must be written to meet a deadline. Of course no one else knows that. Each chapter starts with a wonderful little quote that are gems in themselves. It is extremely well written and once started fully engages the reader. As I was reading I found plenty to enjoy and ponder on.


book coverWritten in 1996. The last thing widow Althea Winsloe wanted to do was remarry. Unfortunately, her meddlesome mountain neighbors had other plans. So, one autumn night they banded together and gave Althea a shocking ultimatum: She was to find herself a husband by Christmas…or the town would do it for her!

I didn’t write anything about this book for review on Goodreads but I have a memory of it being so heart warming and beautiful. It would most likely be the book I’d pick first.


book cover Published 1996 as well. Annie Trimble lives in a solitary world that no one enters or understands. As delicate and beautiful as the tender blossoms of the Oregon spring, she is shunned by a town that misinterprets her affliction. But cruelty cannot destroy the love Annie holds in her heart.

No review for this one either but the emotion of it lingers and that’s really what counts for me in a book.


book cover And one from 2017. Most likely any of Kristan Higgins books would do but this one for sure.
On Second Thought  was a read that I couldn’t put down. I came back to it any time I had, other things I thoroughly enjoy were put aside. I was totally hooked into this book, I laughed and at times a few tears slipped down from the sheer perfection of some of the relationships and how they worked out.

book coverPublished 2018.
Single mother, Ruth, and her son, DJ, have never truly fitted in, but that didn’t matter, so long as they were together. When their home comes under threat, their quiet life will change forever.
My review was very short! “Oh my goodness – I loved this book – it goes straight to the heart. Loved it, loved it!”



What few books would you choose for a comfort read? Stay well everyone.

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