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.

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Review

No Place I’d Rather Be. Cathy Lamb

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Published:Kensington Books
Date: 29th August 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages:480
Genre: Mainstream Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Rating of book

Two years ago, Olivia Martindale left behind her Montana hometown and her husband, Jace, certain it was the best decision for both of them. Back temporarily to protect her almost-adopted daughters from their biological mother, she discovers an old, handwritten cookbook in the attic. Its pages are stained and torn, their edges scorched by flame. Some have been smeared by water . . . or tears. The recipes are written in different hands and in different languages. In between the pages are intriguing mementos, including a feather, a pressed rose, a charm, and unfamiliar photographs.

Hoping the recipes will offer a window into her grandmother’s closely guarded past, Olivia decides to make each dish, along with their favorite family cake recipes, and records her attempts. The result, like much of her life to date, involves a parade of near-disasters and chaotic appearances by her doctor mother, her blunt grandma, her short-tempered sister, and Olivia’s two hilarious daughters. The project is messy, real—and an unintended hit with viewers.

Even more surprising is the family history Olivia is uncovering, and her own reemerging ties to Montana, and to Jace. Generations of women have shared these recipes, offering strength and nourishment to each other and their loved ones. Now it’s Olivia’s turn to find healing—and determine where her home and her heart truly belong.

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No Place I’d Rather Be – and no book I’d rather be reading. Cathy Lamb has managed to enthral me again with her far reaching story of strong women who are loads of fun.  Lamb has a strong, unique voice in all her writing, as Kristy Harvey says in her review “If I was on a deserted island and stumbled across a blank copy of No Place I’d Rather Be with no title, no author page and no distinguishing marks, I would still know it was Cathy Lamb’s. Her voice is totally unique, pitch perfect and utterly charming.” I couldn’t agree more. And I’d know it too.
This is a mix of historical and contemporary fiction, both heart warming and heart breaking. Gisela is the great grandmother, a German Jew who was uprooted when the Nazi’s went to work. She lost everyone, but did find a strong Montana man in Oliver Martindale an American airforce officer and a doctor. Together they set up a practice and have one child Mary Beth, who in turn becomes a doctor. She did not find a strong Montana man, her husband abandoned her and left Mary Beth and her daughters Olivia and Chloe. But like Gisela these women have spines of concrete. I so loved them all.
Olivia has left her wonderful husband Jace for some reason we don’t know, and it takes quite awhile for that mystery to unfold. I kind of guessed it, but had to wait and see. Jace is amazing and it did break her heart to do it. Olivia has taken on the guardianship of two young girls who need her and she makes a wonderful mother. When she has to return to her home town relationships change, stories unfold and we are introduced to a family I’d love to meet. Chloe, Olivia’s sister has a son – Kyle who has Aspergers.  I loved his part in the story and how he was involved, his whole journey.
If you are a food lover then this book would definitely appeal from that angle. Much to Mary Beth’s disappointment Olivia did not follow her into the medical field, but rather is a fantastic cook. And the discovery of a family cookbook in the attic is a thread that runs through the book, linking past family to the present.
This book has all I could ask for in a book – some history, some humor, some romance, some mystery and suspense, and a huge focus on family and what brings love and happiness. The characters are smart, flawed and totally loveable. Its a big, warmhearted, compassionate feast of a book. I’ll be buying myself a paperback version to reread in future.
Review

My Top Books of 2016

Top Ten Tuesday
Top Ten Tuesday was created and is  hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  
It is rather difficult to chose the top books of 2016 for me. So many good reads, although not necessarily outstanding reads. Some haven’t made the list but could easily have. I haven’t included audiobooks although some were fabulous. Thank you to all the authors who entertained me in 2016. I apologise that your book is not here, mainly because the post would just be far too long!
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This was my first book of the year and it turns out to be one of my top reads for 2016. It was fantasy and a real saga.  I was reluctant to leave these people. I held my breath, I wondered, I wept, I smiled. I’ll be reading Foxmask in 2017, the follow up of this book. First time reading author Judith Marillier – New Zealand born and educated now living in Australia.

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I was impressed by this one and it was my first book by USA author Kristina McMorris. Historical fiction. The climax was tense and I wanted to close my eyes and jump a few pages! Perhaps it ended a little too tidily some might say, however I  found it very satisfying, and loved how the story circled around itself and even with one element having a bittersweet mirror image.

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Rachael Johns – Australian author produced two books in 2016 I loved, this was one of them.  Outback Sisters –  all that I love in a good romance novel. Add to that a good dose of rural Australia. There were plenty of little twists and turns, much drama and heartache, and of course love. If that wasn’t enough, I was also reminded of good times, when Rachael Johns mentioned The Magic Faraway Tree (Enid Blyton) which took me off in a little indulgent reminiscence. And she also has two characters who love reading and love to discuss the books they read.

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Another Australian author I enjoyed. Historical fiction and debut novel. Set in the USA in the 1920’s. I loved the whole historical background and what it was like for women in those days. It was rather horrifying to read of some of the childbirth practices and attitudes prevalent in that time. A woman’s touch was certainly needed. penned an absorbing, clever book, with characters that came alive off the page. I enjoyed the drama, the humour, the sadness, the romance and the time period. Fantastic read. And totally adore the cover.

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I have come to love the romance books of UK author Sarah Morgan. Loved the #3 in the Puffin Island series. To my mind Sarah Morgan is tops at writing today’s romance stories. This one was charming and enchanting. Set in the winter wonderland of snow and Christmas – a wonderful backdrop. At first I was disappointed it wasn’t all on Puffin Island, but the English countryside was magical too. Loved the tension between the two main characters, the humour and the growing love. There was plenty of wisdom in the story and loved that too. Love her writing and the similes were often spot on. Perfection.

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Allegiance of Honour is #15 in this wonderful urban fantasy/paranormal series. I have loved every book in the series and this was another winner for me. As Nalini Singh (NZ author)  says it has an ensemble cast. Many of the characters from previous books are given updates on how life is going for them. As I love each and every one of these characters that was a delight for me. I took my time reading it. No skipping lines, I just wanted to savour it. Delicious!

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USA author J. R. Ward does it again. This soap drama series has intrigued me and the second one – this one – just left me wanting more of this dysfunctional family. I couldn’t wait to find out all the scandal that has gone on since last year’s book The Bourbon Kings. Of course I had to wait! A whole year, but it has passed and I eagerly began this book. I might even have peeked at the end – although it didn’t tell me that much. This is a book that you have to read every line because you just might miss something of one of the characters evolving story.

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I always love a new book from USA author Cathy Lamb. Toni is the narrator, one of three sisters who have a very special bond. They began their lives in Russia in the 80’s where it was dangerous for them. They were under the eye of the KGB and their large extended family were quietly escaping to the USA. While the story begins in America, every so often we go back to that time in Russia until every little horrific detail of that time is revealed. One of the mysteries that Toni holds a little part – how did their brother arrive to them one bloody night?

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Archangel’s Heartis #9 in the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh. In this book the focus is back on Elena and Raphael and their ever maturing relationship. This time they are off to Morocco where the Luminata have called all the Cadre (the group of archangels who rule the world), because one of the Cadre – Lijuan ruler of China is missing. Is she dead? Hiding out? Or gone into a deep Sleep that lasts for centuries?
This book made me want to reread and reacquaint myself again with the whole series. It was an absorbing and emotional read. Every detail needs to be read, you can’t afford to skip a line, everything counts. Fabulous writing, satisfying reading, the very best!

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This was my first introduction to USA author Karen Rose and her romantic suspense. Every Dark Corner introduces Kate Coppola – an agent I just loved. Despite stress and a personal history that might have levelled another, Kate dedicates herself to helping others, working to save those caught in the nets of depravity.  I highly recommend you get to know her.  She sits within a 5 star read.
I have since gone on to read the first one in the series and have the next one as well. Then I will be all caught up and waiting for the next one in the Cinncinnati series.

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Ah…USA author Mary Alice Monroe. Another in her Lowcountry series. It was everything I love in a story and it was just so good to go back in Taylor’s life to when he first was discharged from the Marines, after experiencing a terrible explosion that left him shattered and suffering from PTSD. He can’t cope with returning to his family for Christmas, finds crowds threatening, and his family are bewildered and find it difficult to understand.
This is a beautifully written story, it sucked me in right from the beginning and I loved every word and minute of it. It is a perfect Christmas story and is linked with little quotes and references to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.