The Path to Sunshine Cove. RaeAnne Thayne

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Publisher: Harlequin

Date: March 30th 2021

Source: Publicist via NetGalley

The Path to Sunshine Cove by RaeAnne Thayne takes us to a beautiful spot in the American North West and a gorgeous spot on the coast. Here we have a house in need of decluttering, or so Eleanor the seventy year old owner declares.

Jess has a business that declutters. She arrives in her Airstream for the work to begin.  At first Nate’s son is a little anti when he finds a strange Airstream parked beside his mother’s house, but soon comes around. Living in Cape Sanctuary is also Jess’s sister Rachel. The women were once very close but now the relationship is strained. As well Rachel’s life all round seems strained – what is going on there? The two women have a past that is tough and haunts their lives still.

Nate has a thirteen year old daughter, Sophie who at the moment is rather put out by her Dad and is rather short and even at times surly with him. According to her it’s his fault.

So lots of relationships that seem to be in crisis. But of course when we face into a crisis there are always two paths we can take at least. What will Rachel and Jess do about each other? Will Nate and Jess embrace their growing attraction for each other? Oh the choices!

This a sweet, gentle story that touched me the more I read and I really enjoyed the way things worked out. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Book Connections

Romance Books : Reading Joy.

I was once a very avid romance reader, although now its women’s fiction that has taken its place. I happen to like a happy ending kind of book, and at least a promise of happiness.

These are some of my favourite contemporary books that  I have copies of sitting on my shelf, mostly from the past. I still read the occasional recent romance but nothing that really fully satisfies.

Since its February and I missed out on the Valentine theme last week I thought I’d take it up this week.

book coverLong before Virgin River became a Netflix series I had read Virgin River and… all the books that followed. Quite a few as three came out every year for awhile. Robyn Carr writes a good story and there was lots of romance along the way.First Lady

I’ve also read all Susan Elizabeth Phillips books, every single one of them. I think First Lady would be my favourite. The First Lady escapes and journeys around the country with a Dad and two daughters in a motor home. SEP does have a new romance out this year and of course I’ll buy and read it!

book cover I loved all Judith McNaught’s books, and this is one of her contemporary romances. It’s been sitting on my shelf for years along with a number of others written by her. I have no idea now about it so should really reread it to see if I still love it.

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Well this is one by Jessica Bird.  Later on she writes as J. R. Ward. I found all her Jessica Bird books and loved them. Another one I should reread to see how I feel about it now. I think this was her debut book, according to someone on GR. I am not sure but anyway I have them and they still sit on my shelves.

book cover This one is more recent and is YA and contemporary romance. K. A. Tucker has hooked me with a number of her books and I loved this one when I read it in 2019. I have to admit I could easily read it again now, and its why I saved it on my shelf.


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Love at First. Kate Clayborn

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Published: Kensington

Date: February 23rd 2021

Source: NetGalley

Sixteen years ago, a teenaged Will Sterling saw—or rather, heard—the girl of his dreams. Standing beneath an apartment building balcony, he shared a perfect moment with a lovely, warm-voiced stranger. It’s a memory that’s never faded, though he’s put so much of his past behind him. Now an unexpected inheritance has brought Will back to that same address, where he plans to offload his new property and get back to his regular life as an overworked doctor. Instead, he encounters a woman, two balconies above, who’s uncannily familiar . . .

No matter how surprised Nora Clarke is by her reaction to handsome, curious Will, or the whispered pre-dawn conversations they share, she won’t let his plans ruin her quirky, close-knit building. Bound by her loyalty to her adored grandmother, she sets out to foil his efforts with a little light sabotage. But beneath the surface of their feud is an undeniable connection. A balcony, a star-crossed couple, a fateful meeting—maybe it’s the kind of story that can’t work out in the end. Or maybe, it’s the perfect second chance . . .

Love at First by Kate Clayborn is a delightful story of love and friendship and found family.

It has a bunch of quirky characters who share an apartment block and who look out for each other. Into this group Will finds himself when his uncle leaves him his unit  apartment. Will has only been there once before when his uncle rejected him. So of course Will wants to do nothing more than clean the place up and let it. However… that’s not accounting for the fact that the girl/woman he saw on that first visit is still there.

What follows is a delightful story of two people who have been wounded by their upbringing, where they had learned certain things about life, that maybe no longer stood them in good stead. It was delightful to see them changing and growing and finding their way.

One of my favorite characters was Will’s boss, Gerald. He too undergoes change and finds his way in life and love in a heart warming vulnerable way.  

This book shows us what it’s like to live with a diverse group and be accepting and caring. To find love in all its facets.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Way Back Home

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Published: 1st October 2020

Source: The author.

The Way Back Home is the second in the trilogy by Emilie Richards – Homecoming. In the first book we met Krista looking for her sister Rosie, a runaway. Krista felt really ashamed that in the moment Rosie needed her she let her down.

Now in The Way Back Home we meet the lovely Anna Fitzgerald, a staff member at First Day, a place that takes in runaways and offers them the chance of taking a new start in life, and even if they don’t take up that offer, a roof and a bed in the meantime. The runaways are tough, yet Anna is tough herself. Having been on the streets for a number of years, she knows the tricks of the trade. Not much gets past her. She has a wonderful four year old – Ryan and they live in a very small apartment.

And so of course we come to Rosie’s story. I don’t think it takes much deduction for the reader to work out who Anna was in her past. We learned in book one why Anna left home and now we learn of her heartbreaking years on the street. We see her partially back together but not fully healed.

As the story progresses there are a number of twists and turns. Anna is going to find the going challenging, the invitation to take more steps right there. Of course there is a love interest. This is a romance, with taste of women’s fiction and some suspense.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and look forward to the final in the trilogy. In this book I met characters I loved and cheered for and a story I wanted to keep on reading. While this is a republication of a book written back some time ago, I think readers will find it stands up well to 2020 reading.

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The Friendship List. Susan Mallery. Blog Tour

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Published: Harlequin
Date: 4th August 2020
Source: Publicist via NetGalley

Single mom Ellen Fox couldn’t be more content—until she overhears her son saying he can’t go to his dream college because she needs him too much. If she wants him to live his best life, she has to convince him she’s living hers.

So Unity Leandre, her best friend since forever, creates a list of challenges to push Ellen out of her comfort zone. Unity will complete the list, too, but not because she needs to change. What’s wrong with a thirty something widow still sleeping in her late husband’s childhood bed?

Unity and Ellen have been best friends forever.  Whatever is going on in their lives, they’ve been there with and for each other. When they recognise that their lives are in a bit of a rut they make a list of all the things they could do to move them from that rut.

When Ellen heard Cooper saying he was worried about his Mom and he wasn’t sure that it was right for him to go away to college, she was devastated. When Unity had a few important people in her life point out she was living in the past – she got shirty, then she got working on a list in the meantime. Still not sure she was ready to move on.

I liked both the men in the book – Thaddeus and Keith. They were honest good men, and had a lot going for them. I loved how Thaddeus treated his great aunt and Keith loved and sweated over his daughter Lissa.

The story ambles along, alternating between the two couples mainly, with some falling out and falling in. There were some funny, laugh out loud moments. It’s about friendship, moving on and growing up and second chances. In places somewhat saucy. While I prefer a women’s fiction book I am going to place this right into the romance genre.


Twitter: @susanmallery
Facebook: @susanmallery
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Book Connections, Review

Five Diverse Books I’ve Read in 2019


Reading can take us beyond what we experience from people and events and culture immediately around us. These books did that for me. I think after the mass shooting we saw happening in the mosques in Christchurch New Zealand, I challenged myself to be more aware of picking up books that helped me explore the wondrous diversity existing in our world.

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Ayesha at Last is set in Toronto, Canada and is about Ayesha and Khalid, both belonging to a Muslim community. It’s a romance that is full of twists and turns, has humour and a tad bit of revenge which I always enjoy when a baddie gets his desserts. Ayesha and Khalid have a love/hate thing going on, plus interfering relatives to add to it. I loved the diverse aspect of the Muslim religion, how they live and what’s important to them. Not everything in the story is completely wrapped up for every character, which really just made it feel more real. I’ll certainly want to read another book from this author – this is a debut novel, with flavourings of pride and plenty of prejudice.

book coverPride Prejudice and Other Flavors is set in California, however it involves a high ranking Indian immigrant family and DJ Caine a chef who is a mix of Indian/African. While the two main characters have their share of pride and prejudice, the book also touches on the prejudices white people have towards those with darker skins. The many tasty flavours of Indian cooking is a large component. I enjoyed this read, it explores the roles in family, sibling relationships, illness (Trish the heroine is a neurosurgeon) and betrayal. It does have romance but its more mainstream than outright romance. My kind of read.

book coverThe story of three sisters, who visit India, in response to their dead mother’s request. Each has a secret or challenge they are hiding from the others. While they have not been that close, due really to growing up circumstances, the trip eventually bonds them together. I liked the Indian setting and the cultural values shown. Some very shocking from my viewpoint. I liked though how the book highlighted and dealt with the issues raised. The only question I still wonder about is the sore ankle the eldest sister had. It went nowhere. Excellent on audio -the narrator did a very good job on the whole and added to my enjoyment of the book.

Book coverField Notes on Love has  two delightful main characters who come from diverse backgrounds. Hugo is bi racial and has throughout his life had to put up with slurs, but with the support of his siblings (one of sextuplets) Hugo has come through it well. Mae is the wonderful daughter of two Dads and with the side support of a special Nana she too is a well balanced individual. They both have dreams and throughout a week long train trip they will discover what that really means. It is YA and I loved the read.

Book CoverThe Stationery Shop of Tehran is partially set in Iran and shares the story of the coup of 1953. A prime minister who had been elected democratically was ousted by the Shah,and foreign powers! All because of oil! This story gives insight into a family life and the love of two people whose lives are disrupted by this event. It’s sad because two young people who love each other are separated by others. Who? Well it will take them many years to realise. In the meantime they have lived good lives but what might have been? I liked this story even though it was a little outside my usual.  I especially liked the insight into Persian life and cooking.


The Lemon Sisters Jill Shalvis

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Published: William Morrow
Date:  18th June 2019
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss


The Lemon sisters are at a crossroads. Mindy turns up at sister Brooke’s LA apartment with three children – one not potty trained, saying she has had it, she is tired, her husband is stepping out on her and she needs a break. Some of that is true, some of that she’s making up stories in her head.

Brooke works on making travel movies but in these later years she has  been  in the studio, not out in the field. It turns out she has some PTSD from a traumatic event that has left her fragile, anxious and heart sore. She hasn’t been back to Wildstone for a long time. But when Mindy appeals for help, she finds herself wending her way there minus Mindy and three children in tow.

The men are good guys, Linc is a hard working guy, but clueless about his wife and what is happening to her.  Garrett the next door neighbor has a history with Brooke that ended in heartbreak for both of them, he has a whole growing up situation too that has left him with issues.

Of course we have the cats, a likeable dog and balloon that denotes the travels of a pet to sweeten the deal. Plus three children who are mostly adorable. They made the book for me, and I laughed at the toilet seat difficulty that Millie points out about of her youngest brother. Who hasn’t been caught out by that!

This has all the trademarks of a Jill Shalvis – some humor, some sizzling romance with misunderstandings, and a well told happy ever after story.


The View from Alameda. Robyn Carr

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


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.


The Girl He Used to Know. Tracey Garvis Graves

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


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!


The Cliff House RaeAnne Thayne

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Published: Harlequin
Date: 26th March 2019
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Source:  Litte Bird Publicity via NetGalley


The Cliff House is a really wonderful read – I think my favorite from this author. It abounds with love and family and care for the wider community.

Stella is a middle school teacher, a “mother” to her two nieces and a beloved foster mother to many another child. But… she is only forty and she hankers for her own child.

Her two nieces are now grown women, a credit to her and themselves – yet some things are not yet sorted. Bea is a great mother to Mari, born of a marriage to a rock star, that has long since ended and she is so ready to move on.   Daisy is a talented financial advisor and accountant, but a little tight and buttoned up. She carries some secrets and surprises though.

The story explores the issues of the importance of foster care, and for each of the women a second chance at becoming firstly more themselves  and secondly a relationship for each of them that promises to be very fulfilling.

It was a story I just kept reading, there is an adorable dog or two, women who care about each other and men who each have their strengths and abilities to be there for the women they have come to love. A secret here and there, past mistake, some tension and loss, and some big hearted giving.

This stand alone book is RaeAnne Thayne’s first ever book in hardcover and it is certainly worthy of it.