Book Connections

Recently Read Books.

book coverBy Australian author Sophie Green. The second book I have read by her and one I put on my list to read during October 2021. It is set in the 1980’s. I guess that almost makes it historical fiction but feels quite contemporary.

Four women find each other as they set out to swim each morning in the sea. One had her husband die about five years ago, one has two children and a grotty husband, one has moved from England with her Australian husband and is not coping. And one – the youngest, is a nurse who is estranged from her family and keeps to herself.

We learn about each as they form a group who support and are there for each other through thick and thin.

Insightful and thought provoking. Would certainly read more from Sophie Green  4 stars.

book coverGone too Far by Debra Webb is the second in a series I couldn’t wait to read. A good romantic suspense is always welcome. Thoroughly enjoyed this complicated twisty suspense. Kerri and Luke are a great detective team. Kerri’s daughter adds big interest.and my heart goes out to the tough Sadie Cross. Oh my what a big story for her. She was an undercover cop who went through hell. The ending of the book for her was the beginning of something new. I do hope we see her in the next book. I have the next one sitting in my NG line up. Couldn’t resist. 4.5 stars.

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To Scotland with Love by Patience Griffin was chosen because it has a quilting aspect. Plus it is set in Scotland. I became more and more engrossed in this book and ended up happy with one very soggy tissue. Really enjoyed the characters and I do hope even though the books seem to be pretty stand alone that we meet up with many of the village in the next ones. I was on the fence about it starting, but the characters pulled me in and plus the setting of course. Will read the next one Meet Me in Scotland.           4 stars.

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The Mother’s Promise had sat on my bookshelf since I bought it after it published. But skipped over it each time. Finally I put it on my reading list for October. I resisted it the first few chapters. No – wasn’t going to like it. But then I was hooked in. Alice has cancer, her daughter Zoe has social anxiety. Kate the nurse is dealing with miscarriages, and Sonja the social worker is possibly in an abusive marriage. I think it was Zoe’s story that really pulled me in. I was rooting for her and her friend Harry. Alice was in a tough place, really with no one to support her, but I liked how her brother Paul pulled his weight where it counted. Of course there are some inter connectedness that I eventually saw coming.   4 stars.

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I enjoyed this one. It was nice to go back to a Kristan Higgins more light hearted romance. I was entertained by the father/daughter relationship and the balance that I could see Posey or Cordelia was going to bring to the situation. I loved Posey’s job of working with antique things that had been reclaimed. 

I felt it dragged here and there and can’t say I found the cousin Gretchen that loveable but I guess it provided family tension. I really liked Posey’s relationship with her serious brother Henry and his partner Jon.

Not a keeper but still a satisfying read.  3.5 stars.


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Book Connections

Five Books from Five Shelves

I have five shelves on my bookcase with about twenty books in each. I decided to pull one book from each shelf and endeavour to read them over October. They are all authors I have read before.

Book covers are linked to Goodreads

The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle

This one has been on my shelf since a book fair in 2019, and I have been going past it. It is by Australian author Sophie Green and I have read one of her previous books.

It’s about a friendship between four women who find each other I think as they swim each day in the ocean.

The Mother's Promise I bought this one new, most likely when it published in 2017 and then it has sat there and Sally Hepworth has published far more since then! I think she was born in England but lives in Australia, so if you live in the country then I call you Australian!

Silver LiningsI got this at a book fair, not sure when. It is #4 in her Rose Harbor series. I have been reading it, so time to read on and see what is happening  in Cedar Cove at the Inn.

book coverI bought this recently because it is one I hadn’t read and I just felt like an old style book by Kristan Higgins.  Just a plain straight romance.

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A nostalgic read from childhood. A few years back I bought the whole set of these books – a reprint, so not original covers. Anyway they cost quite a bit and I haven’t read them all (seven altogether). So I decided to make a start!

So if I can fit them all in they will be October reads.


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All About Ella. Meredith Appleyard

All About Ella

Published: Harlequin – Australia
Date: 1st September 2021
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

At 70, Ella’s world is upended, leaving her at odds with her three adult children, whose attention is fixed more firmly on her money than her ongoing welfare. After an argument with her son Anthony, she flees his Adelaide home for Cutlers Bay, a seaside town on the Yorke Peninsula. There she befriends Angie, a 40-year-old drifter, and becomes an irritant to local cop Zach. He’s keen to shift Ella off his turf, because Anthony phones daily, demanding his mother be sent home. And besides, Zach just doesn’t trust Angie.

Ella warms to Cutlers Bay, and it warms to her. In a defiant act of self-determination, she buys an entirely unsuitable house on the outskirts of town, and Angie agrees to help make it habitable. Zach is drawn to the house on the clifftop, and finds himself revising his earlier opinions of Ella, and Angie.

All About Ella was a lovely surprise of a read. Right from the start I was on team Ella. She’d gone through a really hard time, nursing her dying husband, having the family house sold from under her and then hustled to live with her son and daughter in law.

Ella is very realistic and in lots of ways, ordinary. But she is so likeable and I was wishing for her the very best. It was a delight to see her finding her feet and then standing firmly on them.

I loved the sound of the old house she lives in and the Australian small town feel. The house had not been lived in and felt really unsuitable but it made Ella’s heart sing and through many ups and downs she achieved so much.

Angie adds to the story with her wandering, unsettled heart. She has had a difficult family upbringing which is at the root of her wandering. The relationship that builds between Ella and Angie warmed my heart. As well Ella has a great relationship with her grandson Stefan, another element I enjoyed.

The local community is rich in ordinary warm hearted people going about their lives, doing their best and looking out for each other.

The book makes us examine what we value when it comes to allowing older people to make their own choices and live their lives as they see fit, and that families don’t need to step in unless its in the really best interests of the elder. Purpose and meaning in life is important at any age.

A delightful winner of a book and my word the cover is perfect.


The Women’s Pages. Victoria Purman

book coverPublished: Harlequin Australia
Date: 3rd September 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

In The Women’s Pages, Victoria Purman tells us the story – the history – of the lives of those as WW2 ends in Australia. In particular she paints a picture for us of the life of a woman journalist and her family and friends.

Tilly’s husband is a soldier at war, she hasn’t heard from him since 1942, but she forever hopes, as she writes  what she is assigned. What she is assigned is not always to her passion. Women are in many ways ridiculed by the men, who take “the important” stories and the larger pay packets home.

In many ways this is a black and white picture. Victoria Purman manages to provide for us an idea of the realities of that time. It is still a time of great struggle and injustice. Men return – if they do – often physically and psychologically wounded. With images in their minds that will scar them forever.  Women have scraped and provided for their families on very little and still there is very little let up. Everywhere there is injustice.

We especially see that injustice played out in the life of Tilly’s father – a waterside worker. They worked long hard hours for little remuneration and very poor working conditions. They are asking for better and are labelled “commies”.

Tilly is a gutsy woman, she has passion and fire. Even though she suffers in little and large ways she fights on. She takes the opportunities small as they are, she sees the stories of so many women of that time and is determined to make a difference.

A very realistic and eye opening depiction of this era from a woman’s point of view. Well done to Victoria Purman.


Are You Influenced by Book Covers?


Until recently I would have doggedly declared that I was not influenced in the least by book covers. I might pick them by titles – sure and certainly by authors I really like. But book covers! Gah! But… this year I was introduced to a blind side part of me.

You see I had downloaded this book from Edelweiss but I kept avoiding it. Feeling guilty of course but well still avoiding! I knew it had something to do with Germany and Auschwitz plus those colours, plus the title, sort of spoke of sadness. Now as I enlarge the cover though I see the man and boy and dog and well if I had noticed that, maybe I’d have felt differently. Plus I’ve read some now and see how it fits in.

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Then I read a review for this book over at Book’d Out and the book had an alternative cover and suddenly I felt quite differently about the book.

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Sure it still has the colour red  but it has such a cosy feel to it. Books on the cover and a teapot and a yellow canary (yes and there is one in the book). This one doesn’t look threatening at all. I want to read this book!

And then here is another cover for the book that also says – I am so light and sweet and happy.  Look at those books flying about, looks very inviting. I am totally ignoring the bit in the title that says broken hearted.

Now that I am into the book I really think that it has  aspects of each of the covers, (I haven’t finished it yet). But now I am leaning towards the first, somehow it evokes in me some of the emotional aspects of the book.

You? Are you swayed by book covers?

Which of these book covers would entice you to pick up this book?


Linking up at Feed Your Fiction Addiction.


Home at Last Meredith Appleyard

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Published: Mira   Australia
Date: 18th March 2019
Format:  e-ARC
Pages:  416
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley


I chose to read this book because I’ve always had a fascination with the Flying Doctor Service in Australia. I think it goes back to the years of radio when when there’d be stories that involved this incredible service.

Anna comes back to Broken Hill as a pilot for the FDS. I loved that gender roles were reversed in this novel. Anna is a very competent pilot, has had a challenging life but always seems to make something work.

She meets up with one of the FDS nurses – Nick and a relationship develops. However for both of them there are issues especially that of trust that makes things rough going for awhile. Nick has his own baggage and it all takes some time to be worked out.

The flying doctor service aspect did not disappoint, the author’s own experience of nursing with the FDS made for very authentic situations. I loved the Australian rural setting, a couple of the minor characters added some fizz to the plot.

The story deals with issues of parenthood, ageing parents, having work that is satisfying and of course working out a relationship. A good read.


Home Fires. Fiona Lowe

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Published: Harlequin Australia
Date: 18th February 2019
Genre: Women’s fiction


I am still dabbing my eyes and swallowing the back taste of smoke as I finish Home Fires by Fiona Lowe. As I read into the book I just couldn’t put it down,  I was drawn into the lives of the people of Myrtle in Victoria, Australia.

We all watch devastating events happening most nights as they play out on our TV screens. As I read this book I am hearing about a fire devastate a town in my own country.  Home Fires explores the terrible destruction of fire that can spring up and engulf a community.

This is a book not only about the horror of fire out of control, but the lives of people both before and after the fire. There is the shock of loss of life and home and animals. Add into that the people who survive and the huge stress that is placed on them. The world forgets them, but they are left to pick up the pieces.

Home Fires presents us with a wonderful group of characters all who are dealing with fire related issues, and issues that were already present and greatly exacerbated by the fire. We see a motley group of people struggle and fall, challenge each other and support each other until… something new arises.

So worth reading! A fabulous Australian setting,a disaster event and the courageous response to it, family upheaval, violence and marriage issues, PTSD, crime, and above all family and community supporting each other. This book has it all. The title of the book is totally apt and the cover gorgeous.

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Lost Without You by Rachael Johns

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Publisher: Harlequin Australia
Date: October 29th 2018
Format:  Trade Paperback
Source: Own book



Lost Without You by Rachael Johns is a roller coaster ride of family, friendship, a secret, loss, guilt and love.

Rebecca is a mother to Paige and wife of Hugh. Early on she is faced with a serious health issue that throws her family into some stress. Evaluating her life Rebecca decides to look back and open a door in her life she has hidden away.  Her daughter is about to go down the marriage path and has a really lovely partner Sol. So Paige decides she wants to find her mother’s wedding dress and be married in it.

This search leads her to Josie and Nic – married and Josie is not coping with the miscarriages she has had to endure. However the two girls become friends and everything there seems to be good.

Clara is another person in the mix – she nurses Rebecca when she is in hospital and also helps Josie out with her grief.

When Rebecca’s secret is revealed everyone is thrown out of their comfort zones. Some become judgemental and angry and rifts occur. And it also turns out that all the women’s lives are more intertwined than first thought.

I felt for them all but most of all for Rebecca because of the way others turned on her. I understand that we can get hurt and angry with family members so I could see where they were coming from, but all the way through I was on her side!

It was a very good read,  possibly some links were a little too coincidental, however it was story with challenging issues that were well explored.

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Over The Teacups, Review

The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village by Joanna Nell.


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 #11 Josephine Moon and Lisa Patton


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.