Month in Review

December Reading Wrap Up

Total books read this month:  11

Book Ratings

The Choice.   4 stars
Lessons from the Prairie. 3.75 stars
The Clockmaker’s Daughter. 4 stars.
Miracle Creek Christmas. 4 stars
Flirting with the Beast. 4 stars.
The Sweetness of Forgetting. 4 stars.
State of Shock.  Marie Force. 4 stars.
Christmas at the Edge of the World.  4 stars.

New to me authors:

Kristin Harmel

Top Book for December.

Sadly I can’t name a top book for December. They were all good reads, but no one stands out to me as a top read.

Looking forward to reading in January

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Linking up with Nicole from FeedYourFiction Addiction.

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Review

Top Ten Tuesday. Jan 3rd

Top Ten Tuesday

Today I am taking part in The Artsy Reader Girl’s  link up.

Today’s topic is my favourite books of 2022. In no particular order here are ten that I loved… there were more but these seem to be the ones.  If you want to know more details about a book the covers are linked to Goodreads.

book coverI listened to this one and was totally engrossed in it. I know its a bit of a hype book but for  me it worked. One I’d recommend. Elizabeth Zott is a remarkable character. I loved so many of the characters, it had me chuckling out loud, a few times my heart was touched by some of the sadness and it always engaged. It highlights how difficult it was for women not so long ago, and let’s be honest it hasn’t all gone away. I loved Mads the daughter and her ability to cut through all the garbage and say it like it is. I just didn’t want to say good bye to these characters. And if you love a clever dog….

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Snowed in By Christmas was a great Christmas read. 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.

Firstly Nanna Jean just made me laugh so many times and her little interlude with a computer had me smiling more than once.

Thank You for ListeningAnother book I read in audiobook form. Absolutely delightful listening. The story is great, loved the characters and the variety therein. It’s a Rom Com that I really recommend, but its more than that. It has wisdom and growth of character and things to think about. And… Julia Whelan is a fabulous narrator. Oh my I want more where this comes from. Julia write another please.

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Australian author Fiona Lowe did it again. She totally reeled me in and made me feel so fully involved in the lives of her characters. At first I found all the characters and situations a little overwhelming, but once I was in – I was in! A little bit of reader concentration and work never hurts us!

book coverThis book is middle grade but good middle grade is for any reader. I admit I almost read it in a day. Three orphans sent to the country in war set England. Book loving children, who find refuge in the local library when things are so tough. And the wonderful Mrs Muller – the librarian. Need your heart warmed? It might be broken first! This is a perfect read for that.

Hana Khan Carries On

Hana Khan Carries On. Very much enjoyed this book. A rom com, but…. The kind I like, great characters, comedic bits, interspersed with serious issues. Full of family, immigrant issues and most of all love. Highly recommend.

book coverSouth of the Buttonwood Tree.

Loved this story. A bit of mystery – great characters and times of joy and sadness. About secrets and being transparent. Found family. So good.


The Awakening
The Awakening was the first in the trilogy and I read all three. Loved this mix of contemporary and fantasy and a portal between the two. The Irish link didn’t hurt. Loved Breen’s growth and journey. Carried away by story. Epic!

book coverIt’s a few years since I read Beartown but I was able to pick up and remember surprisingly. Yes it is dark in places but so insightful into characters and the space between black and white. An amazing book. So full of wisdom and characters who fall into a reader’s heart. I’d give it 5 stars ++++

book coverWhat an unusual book. I read it over a month as a slow and steady read and it did deserve that. So I was reading to appreciate rather than gobble down. What a character the Count is. A man who takes his circumstances and chooses what he does with it.

And there they are ten. There were more five star reads but these suffice to show that my 2022 reading year was a really good one.

#IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2023

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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 to 2023.   May it be one to shower blessings on you all.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

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Listening to…

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Ongoing Slow Reads

Up next:

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Last Week’s Posts

First Book of the Year

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The First Book of the Year 2023

First book of the year

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Despite losing her parents in a tragic accident just before her fourteenth Christmas, Susan Norcross has had it better than most, with loving grandparents to raise her and a gang of quirky, devoted friends to support her. Now a successful bookstore owner in a tight-knit Michigan lakeside community, Susan is facing down forty—the same age as her mother when she died—and she can’t help but see everything she hasn’t achieved, including finding a love match of her own. To add to the pressure, everyone in her small town believes it’s Susan’s destiny to meet and marry a man dressed as Santa, just like her mother and grandmother before her. So it seems cosmically unfair that the man she makes an instant connection with at an annual Santa Run is lost in the crowd before she can get his name.

What follows is Susan and her friends’ hilarious and heartwarming search for the mystery Santa—covering twelve months of social media snafus, authors behaving badly and dating fails—as well as a poignant look at family, friendship and what defines a well-lived and well-loved life.

Why I Chose This One from My Shelf

I have been waiting to read it for awhile. I know its summer here, and in these hot summer nights I sure have a wish for winter! So some winter reading in the middle of summer seems just the thing. As well its Viola Shipman and I’ve enjoyed every other book I’ve read by this author. Therefore I expect to enjoy this one as well.

Happy New Year to you all. Wishing you a great 2023 in reading especially, but of course in every other way as well.

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#IMWAYR

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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Sitting here Boxing Day morning feeling a little tired but pleasantly so. Christmas Day was lovely. I think I am off to a family picnic today, for a little while any way.  Hope you are all managing with that cold dump going over USA.   Happy reading for the week with all those new books. I made the mistake of giving Mr. 9 year old a Dad’s Jokes book as a gift. He peppered us with Dad jokes for a lo…………ng time! Bittersweet because a year ago he couldn’t read!

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

I had planned another book but then well I shelved it and went for this one just published.

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And I still have some slow reads going and an audiobook I mentioned last week and haven’t started yet!

Up next:

A library book which needs to be fitted in before it has to go back.

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Last Week’s Posts

Bread Over Troubled Waters. Winnie Archer

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Review

Bread Over Troubled Water. Winnie Archer.

Bread over Troubled Water

Published: Kensington
Date: 29th November 2022
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

A regular who used Yeast of Eden as a workspace, Josh Prentiss always turned heads with his startlingly good looks and thousand-watt smile. But Ivy can’t help noticing one morning that he seems distracted and off his game. Later, during a visit to the park where she and Miguel plan to hold their engagement party—with plenty of baked goods on the menu—her rescue pug, Agatha, sniffs out Josh lying in a bed of poppies…scone cold dead.

There’s no reason for Ivy to get involved. She’s busy enough holding down the fort as the shop’s owner, Olaya, cares for her recently orphaned niece, not to mention the stress when a new employee is fired and storms out in a rage.  Then a band of rabble-rousers starts picketing the bakery, claiming that Olaya’s sourdough roll is what killed Josh—and Ivy hears some salacious gossip about her beloved boss. She doesn’t think there’s a grain of truth to the seedy rumors—but to prove it, she’ll have to start sleuthing . . .

Bread Over Troubled Water is #8 in the Bread Shop Mysteries.  It is the first time I have read a book in this series so it took me quite awhile to settle into the shop and its characters. Ivy works there in part time on a kind of voluntary basis. She is very loyal to the owner Olaya who also happens to be in a relationship with Ivy’s father.

When Josh Prentiss is found murdered, by Ivy, and because he has just eaten at the bakery, the immediate public blame falls on the bakery. So Ivy is very motivated to prove they had nothing to do with it. Or did they? And with the elderly pink loving Penelope Branford, Ivy is on a mission. She has friends in high places in the local police – her best friend and well… sister in law. However in the past Captain York has been a bit of a thorn in Ivy’s side. In her favour Ivy is someone who shares most of what she finds out with the police.

They mystery was full of red herrings so I never really worked out who the murderer was until Ivy works it out at the very end.

Starting into this book at #8 was workable, however it would have been a lot easier to follow if I had come to know the characters via the previous books.

#IMWAYR

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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Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas to those who celebrate and a peaceful lead up to it. Next Monday you will hopefully be relaxed and resting after the excitement. I’ll spend Christmas dinner at one my sister’s place. Hopefully the weather will be fine, but at this point who knows as we have had so much rainy and humid weather. Fingers crossed!

What I read last week or finished last week:

Enjoyed them all. These Precious Days has essays by Ann Patchett. Very engaging. Fatal Grace pulled me in and I am now a fan! So much want to see what happens for Gamache next. So pleased I am reading from Book 1 and onwards.

What I am reading now:

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Listening.

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Slow Reading.

These are my slow reading. Both are quite considerable so they will take me into January and be my last and first reads of the year. I only read them for about 15 – 20 minutes. The Winners with coffee in the morning and Tell Me a Story for before I turn the light out. I like Non-fiction I’ve discovered at night. Unfortunately I have it in hardback and a bid heavy to hold in bed!

Up next:

Bookclubbed to death 

Last Week’s Posts

The Boardwalk Bookshop.  Susan Mallery

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Review

The Boardwalk Bookshop

The boardwalk bookshop

Published: HQN
Date:  31st May 2022
Source: Publicist via NetGalley

When fate brings three strangers to a charming space for lease on the California coast, the Boardwalk Bookshop is born. Part bookstore, part gift shop, part bakery, it’s a dream come true for Bree, Mikki and Ashley. But while their business is thriving, their personal lives are…not.

Bree, wounded by brilliant but cold parents and her late husband’s ultimate betrayal, has sworn to protect her heart at all costs. Even from Ashley’s brother, a writer and adventurer who has inspired millions. He’s the first man to see past Bree’s barricades to her true self, which terrifies her. Mikki has this divorce thing all figured out—somehow, she’s stayed friends with her ex and her in-laws…until a new man changes how everyone looks at her, and how she sees herself. Meanwhile, Ashley discovers that the love of her life never intends to marry. Can she live without being a wife if it means she can have everything else she’s ever wanted?

At sunset every Friday on the beach in front of the Boardwalk Bookshop, the three friends share a champagne toast. As their bond grows closer, they challenge one another to become the best versions of themselves in this heartachingly beautiful story of friendship, sisterhood and the transformative power of love.

Let me introduce The Boardwalk Bookshop by Susan Mallery to you, in case you haven’t come across it. It did publish back in May and while I had intended reading and reviewing it earlier, I have just got to it now.

The book has three women who share a common retail area and sell books, gifts and muffins. And while they didn’t know each other initially they begin to form a common bond and a great friendship. For each of the women  there is a relationship challenge and they must each work out what they really want. And for one especially the challenge of letting go the past so that it doesn’t influence the possibility of happiness in the future.

I was hoping for. a more women’s fiction kind of read than a romance, and so for me the book began to drag, in spite of the interesting back stories of each of the women. Another reason it began to drag was it was so like many other stories I’ve read of three women forming a friendship and negotiating romantic relationships. The third reason it began to annoy me was Mallery’s approach to sex and the use of slang sexual words in this book and a previous one I’d read by this author.

So these things may not bother you as a reader so we can agree – not for me, but maybe for you.

#IMWAYR

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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Hope you are all keeping well. I’ve had a quiet week on the whole, one day with a friend, but apart from that read, quilt – rinse and repeat! One good thing is now that the holiday season is coming up I see that the library has extended our loan period, so that’s a small delight.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

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My slow reads are

And my audiobook is stillbook cover

Up next:

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Last Week’s Posts

The Sunshine Girls. Molly Fader.

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Review

The Sunshine Sisters. Molly Fader. Blog Tour.

The Sunshing Girls

Published: Graydon House
Date: December 6th 2022
Source: Publicist via NetGalley

1967 Iowa. Nursing school roommates BettyKay and Kitty don’t have much in common. BettyKay has risked her family’s disapproval to pursue her dreams away from her small town. Cosmopolitan Kitty has always relied on her beauty and smarts to get by and to hide a painful secret. Yet the two share a determination to prove themselves in a changing world, forging an unlikely bond on a campus unkind to women.

Before their first year is up, tragedy strikes, and the women’s paths are forced apart. But against all odds, a decades-long friendship forms, persevering through love, marriage, failure, and death, from the jungles of Vietnam to the glamorous circles of Hollywood. Until one snowy night leads their relationship to the ultimate crossroads.

Fifty years later, two estranged sisters are shocked when a famous movie star shows up at their mother’s funeral. Over one tumultuous weekend, the women must reckon with a dazzling truth about their family that will alter their lives forever…

Will the real BettyKay stand up? Well as the book starts of course she can’t. It begins with her funeral, her two daughters at odds with each other and unbeknown to each on a bit of a precipice in their own lives. And to add drama to the situation, a famous movie star walks into the situation.

We are taken back to the 1960’s where Kitty, BettyKay and Jenny meet up as they begin nursing training. It is the beginning of a long ranging friendship, true friendship where they support each other through all kinds of challenges and hardships. At times they fall out and take time – sometimes a long time before the relationship is repaired. The main focus is on Kitty and BettyKay, but I loved the hardworking Jenny and her love and support that she gave as well. As a black woman of that time she faced many challenges but was courageous and made great choices.

The story ranges from a small town to Hollywood and then Vietnam and back again. Slowly Abbie and Clara piece together things they never knew about their mother and to a much less degree their much loved father. The secrets abound, and as they are revealed walls break down around all of the living characters.

This is a book to get immersed in, to feel for the characters and love the friendship of three women and the promise for two daughters, who finally facing the truth, will have new life and new hope.

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Author Bio:

MOLLY FADER is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets, The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season, and more than 40 romance novels under the pennames Molly O’Keefe and M. O’Keefe. She grew up outside of Chicago and now lives in Toronto.

Author Website:     Facebook:    Instagram: 
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