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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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And we come towards the end of October! Hope all that celebrate Halloween enjoy it.

Our Spring weather continues to be capricious. I drove into the city in the most stinking heavy rain one day, bumper to bumper and hardly able to see where I was going. Yucky.

I also got some time to read, quilt and do a bit of gardening, earthing up the potatoes that are appearing. I need to plant beans, I am a bit behind. I only like going out on sunny days!

What I read last week:

One audio completed and enjoyed.  A Texas Kind of Christmas was for review and At the Mountain’s Edge was from my own shelf. All good reading.

What I am reading now:

Oops, accidentally picked this up for review  so am now forging ahead!

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And an audio book I bought months ago when there was a sale or something!  Cute cover.

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Up next:

A library book

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Last Week’s Posts

One Wish.  Jodi Thomas

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Mid April

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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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On Saturday I went to a 6 year old party for my grand niece. And what do you take for a gift when you are a booklover and so is she!!   Well books of course and not just one. I had a great time picking them off  the shelf at the bookstore.

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What I read last week:

I read The Little Teashop on Main – a review book, Love Letters is a continuing series and I have to say this one wrapped me round its little finger, and I finished listening to the delightful Mariah Stewart The Goodbye Cafe – so well narrated it put it into the 5 star category for me.

What I am reading now:

I have just started listening to this. I read it when it published in 2017 and now doing a reread via audio. I love Cathy Lamb books – thanks to Shellyrae who shared a review of one of her books on Book’d Out, and totally hooked me into her books.  Bloggers are influencers!

I am reading this from the backlist of Kristin Hannah, it won’t be as heavy as her more recent ones and that’s totally okay. Another author I read anything she writes.

Up next:

I need a funny good feel book for my next read as that is a challenge book for this month. When I saw a review for this from Trish at Between My Lines , it sealed the choice. She says “It is loaded with laugh out loud moments that had my stomach in a knot.” Has to qualify don’t you think!

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Last Week’s Posts

Come From Away Genevieve Graham

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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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It’s been a little cooler here! I even put on some woollen socks on Saturday because I was feeling cold! And then on Saturday it was so cold I lit a fire, and I wasn’t the only one! Autumn has arrived for us. And we ended daylight saving, which as you know sort of knocks you around for a little while.

This week I watched three movies – which I hardly ever do – all old ones but I enjoyed them nevertheless. The Enchanted April. The Descendants and Moana.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

Still listening to this – well into it now…

And picked up from TBR from books bought at book fair year few years ago. From the Rose Harbor series.

Up next:

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Review

Any Dream Will Do. Debbie Macomber

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Published: Random House – Ballantine
Date: August 8th 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 352
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rating:
4 stars          Add to Goodreads

Shay Benson adored her younger brother, Caden, and that got her into trouble. When he owed money, Shay realized she would do anything to help him avoid the men who were threatening him, and she crossed lines she never should have crossed. Now, determined to start fresh, she finds herself in search of a place to stay and wanders into a church to escape from the cold.

Pastor Drew Douglas adored his wife. But when he lost her, it was all he could do to focus on his two beautiful kids, and his flock came in a distant third. Now, as he too is thinking about a fresh start, he walks through his sanctuary and finds Shay sitting in a pew.

My thoughts banner
Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber sucked me in right from the beginning and I couldn’t believe that it was 352 pages long. It felt like 100. It is delightful, warm and entirely a ‘feel good’ book. And… just a little different to her other books to make me sigh with happiness when I had finished.
I loved the characters. Shay is a little hard edged to begin with, but then her life has been no picnic and she has had it tough since childhood. Now being ‘played’ by her brother and having just completed three years imprisonment, she is in danger of being out on the street until she meets Drew Douglas.
Sure Drew is a pastor, but he is still in depression after losing his wife Katie and could himself be in danger of losing his role at the church. However in reaching out to help Shay he finds friends who reach out a hand to him and lift him up and out. He has two adorable children Mark and Sarah, they take  up a good space in the story and I really liked that.
As well there are a circle of people around Drew and Shay who are minor characters but are mostly very likeable or a little prickly but redeemable. There are a couple of homeless men who caught my attention, both wonderful and showed a side of Shay that said so much about her. I would have liked to see a little more of them.
There is a little bit of mystery towards the end that seems to put Shay in danger of losing what she has worked so hard for. That mystery wasn’t difficult to work out ( I think the reader was meant to do so), but it all works out of course. 
A charming, warm and uplifting story.
Review

If Not For You. Debbie Macomber

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Published:  Ballantine
Date: March 21st 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages:
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rating:
4 stars         Add to Goodreads

If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth Prudhomme might never have taken charge of her life and moved from her native Chicago to Portland, Oregon, where she’s reconnected with her spirited Aunt Sunshine and found a job as a high school music teacher.

If not for her friend Nichole, Beth would never have met Sam Carney, although first impressions have left Beth with serious doubts. Sam is everything Beth is not—and her parents’ worst nightmare: a tattooed auto mechanic who’s rough around the edges. Reserved and smart as a whip, Beth isn’t exactly Sam’s usual beer-drinking, pool-playing type of woman, either.

My thoughts banner
I loved the prologue which whet my interest, and made me want to read on.  A little drama goes a long way!
The contrast of characters in Sam and Beth was interesting but not really surprising.    Sam might seem a little rough with his tattoo, long hair and  strong language.  But he is loved by a couple of children which is kind of telling.  His values are good, although his head is a little mixed up as it turns out.
Beth is an  only child with a mother who is a bit of a snob and rather controlling.  Beth has to move to Portland to make her point that she is her own person, that she can stand on her own two feet, make choices for her life that will make her happy. Perhaps the choices will not earn her the approval of her mother, but then her mother’s values are a little skewed.
I thought the apple does not fall far from the tree because Beth got into a little meddling herself. All done with the best of intentions but was she justified? Or did those people she set out to help heal, need her gentle prod. 
This is a rather straight forward romantic story, with interesting enough characters and a plot that moved along well and was all tied up very neatly at the end. A light, pleasant read.
If Not For You e card
Review

A Girl’s Guide to Moving On Debbie Macomber

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A Girl’s Guide to Moving On
Debbie Macomber
Published:  Random House:Ballantine
Date: 23rd February 2016
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 400
Genre: Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rating:
4 stars                     Add to Goodreads

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Debbie Macomber has succeeded in this novel – A Girl’s Guide to Moving On, of renewing my interest in her novels.  It explores the lives of two women who have or are in the process of divorcing their husbands. What makes it somewhat unique is that that Leanne and Nichole are mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. 
Leanne put up for too long with her husband Sean’s infidelity, and finally upon reaching the ‘enough’ stage she is devastated to see how her accepting Sean’s behaviour has rubbed off on her son Josh. He has engaged in the same behaviour in his marriage. However his wife Nichole called enough first time she finds out.
Both women have written for themselves a short guide to moving on, full of wisdom and practicality. They act on it and big changes begin to happen for them. Leanne takes up volunteer teaching at a community college, teaching English as a second language. She finds it very fulfilling and begins out on an adventure with one of her students, Nikolai, that is both wondrous and who knows where it may lead. She also helps care for Owen her 3 year old grandchild who is the son of Josh and Nichole, when Nichole is working.
Leeanne has a flair for dress and helps out at the local Dress for Success shop. When her car becomes stuck in a ditch she is towed out of it by a big tatooed guy by the name of Rocco. Rocco later returns and asks her to help out with finding a dress that he can approve of for a school dance. All their lives are about to change.
The two men Sean and Josh are on the whole very unlikeable and self-centred. Sean makes use of Leanne and Josh makes it hard right through the divorce for Nichole. However as events and hearts change there is hope for something better, and love proves it can endure all things. 
The friendship between Leanne and Nichole is what I loved about this book, also the way they go about starting new lives, which sets in place new doors opening and a door closing. Forgiveness and love, new beginnings and healing are  strong themes in the book. An enjoyable read.
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Review

16 Lighthouse Road. D. Macomber

Book Cover of 16 Lighthouse Road

16 Lighthouse Road:Cedar Cove Book 1.
Debbie Macomber
Published: Brilliance Audio 2008
Format: Audio
Length: 9hours 47 minutes
Narrator: Sandra Burr
Genre: Contemporary

Olivia Lockhart 16 Lighthouse Road Cedar Cove, Washington Dear Listener, You don’t know me yet, but in a few hours that’s going to change. You see, I’m inviting you to my home and my town of Cedar Cove because I want you to meet my family, friends, and neighbors. Come and hear their stories – maybe even their secrets! I have to admit that my own secrets are pretty open. My marriage failed some years ago, and I have a rather difficult relationship with my daughter, Justine. Then there’s my mother, Charlotte, who has plenty of opinions and is always willing to share them. Here’s an example: I’m a family court judge and she likes to drop in on my courtroom. Recently I was hearing a divorce petition. In Charlotte’s view, young Cecilia and Ian Randall hadn’t tried hard enough to make their marriage work – and I agreed. So I rendered my judgement: Divorce Denied. Well, you wouldn’t believe the reaction! Thanks to an article by Jack Griffin, the editor of our local paper (and a man I wouldn’t mind seeing more of!), everyone’s talking. Cedar Cove – people love it and sometimes they leave it, but they never forget it! See you soon? Olivia

My thoughts:
This is the first in the Cedar Cove series and I listened to it on audio.  The audio version was excellent, Sandra Burr always does an excellent narration in my opinion. She varied the voices and I am sure that I marked the whole book up by one because she gave added value.

It was a very busy time of the year as I listened to this book, and for awhile I became a little disorientated with it, as I had trouble tracking all the characters.  Eventually though I was able to straighten them all out.

I liked all the little story lines and the things that characters were involved in.  There seemed to be a lot of secrets that people were keeping from each other.  Some of which we knew by the end of the book and some that we didn’t.  I think some of the characters like Olivia, Charlotte and Grace may be involved in further books, and so there may be updates in their lives.

All in all, this was a gentle small town story with a whole community of characters.

4 stars

Review

Starry Night

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Starry Night
Debbie Macomber
Publisher:Ballantine Books
Date: October 8th
Pages:256
Genre: Contemporary romance
Format: e-Arc
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Summary from Goodreads.

Carrie Slayton, a big-city-society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories.  Her editor hands her a challenge.  She can cover any topic she wants but only if she first scores an interview with Finn Dalton, a notoriously reclusive author.

Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a mega bestselling memoir about surviving in the wild.  But he stubbornly declines to anyone in the press, and no one knows exactly where he lives.  Digging deep into Finn’s life Carrie flies out to snowy Alaska.  When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she expected.  Soon she is torn between pursuing her story of a lifetime, or following her heart. 

My thoughts
This was a very pleasant and satisfying read,  it was a story that was fun and easy to read. A holiday season book – I could easily see this making a very satisfying holiday season movie.  I like this kind of plot; a reclusive author and a journalist seeking an interview.  Overcoming challenges the journalist finally arrives and then the sparks fly. As it is partly set in Alaska, that gave it an edge and the addition of a somewhat fickle and loveable animal added to the fun.

Carrie and Finn were two characters that I liked and the story at times moved from one point of view to the other – another small point in the favor of this book.   It is a shorter book with its 256 pages as holiday season books tend to be.  I read it in one day, and as I had had a rather difficult and challenging week, it was just the right read for me.  Uplifting but not requiring a lot of brain power.

In romance stories like this one, there is often a coming together of the characters – an attraction and then something that parts them – until they then find their way back together.  I found the cause of separation in Starry Nights somewhat unsatisfying to me, a little contrived. It was a part of the book that disappointed me, otherwise I enjoyed it. A very gentle romance story.

4 stars.

Review

Rose Harbor in Bloom

Book Cover

Rose Harbor in Bloom
Debbie Macomber
Published: Random House. Australia
Date: September 2nd 2013
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary romance
Format: e-book
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Summary from Goodreads

Jo-Marie has started to feel at home running Rose Harbor Inn.  Now in memory of her late husband, Paul, she has designed a beautiful rose garden for the property and enlisted handyman Mark Taylor to make it happen.  Jo-Marie and Mark don’t always see eye to eye, yet she finds comfort in his company.  While she still seeks closure (with the death of her husband Paul) she welcomes her latest guests to the inn.

Annie arrives in town to organise her grandparents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration.  But she is struggling to move on from her broken engagement, and her grandparents seem to be having a difficulty getting along.  But all the best parties end with a surprise and Annie is about to get the biggest one.

Mary has achieved incredible success in business, yet serious illness has led her to face her sole regret in life.  Almost nineteen years ago, she ended her relationship with George, and now she has returned to Cedar Cove to make amends.

My thoughts:
In this second book in the series, set in time over about four days, we meet some interesting characters and tension abounds.  Much of this tension lies with what has been going on previously in the characters’ lives.

There are three main story lines and the book switches from one to another, of course just at the moment when the reader wants to know what happens next! And groan, we have to wait!  However very quickly Debbie Macomber has us engrossed in another set of characters’ stories.

The main character is Jo-Marie, who is now well into the groove of running her inn, she is in for a few bumps in the road in this book but comes through them wiser and stronger.  She has no little help from her delightful dog Rover, he appears to know just the right thing to do and be in every situation.  Who wouldn’t like a pet like Rover!  Jo-Marie’s friendship with Mark progresses, I was sorry we did not get his POV, as I am sure he has a back story that makes him think and act in the way he does.  I suspect as this series develops we will be let in on the secret!

I liked Mary and George’s story, the question for me was – had Mary learned anything from her previous life experiences?  Her reasons for being back in this area of the country were foreshadowed as the book moved along, so it was with some knowledge that the reader realised that George was likely to be in for a few surprises.  I liked George and was strongly applauding some of his actions.

The third storyline of the fiftieth wedding anniversary for the Shivers set up by their granddaughter Annie also held my interest.  It provided some tension and some humour.  I liked the old couple and Annie’s relationship with Oliver was fascinating.  I liked him because he was planning a trip to Australia, New Zealand and the Cook Islands!  Obviously knows a thing or two, does Oliver!

Rose Harbor in Bloom is a feel good, entertaining read that captured my interest all the way to the end. I am looking forward to the next one in the series.

4 stars

Review

Starting Now

Book cover of Starting Now

Starting Now        (Blossom St #9)
Debbie Macomber
Arrow Books:Random House 2013
Pages:419
Format: Paperback
Genre: Contemporary romance
Source: Own book.

From Back Cover

Libby Morgan has sacrificed everything for her careeer as a lawyer – friends, marriage, her chance of a family.  Until, after years of hard work, the unthinkable happens, and suddenly  libby must rebuild her life… starting now.

With no job in sight, Libby spends her afternoons at A Good Yarn, the local knitting store.  there she forms a close bond with the sweet-natured shop owner, and with Ava, a shy and troubled teenager who needs her in ways Libby could not have expected.  She even finds time for romance with a handsome doctor.

My thoughts.
I enjoyed this latest book in the Blossom Street series.  It was a warm and cosy read, sometimes I just need a read like that, and this book fit the criteria!

This story explores how someone might react when they find they are no longer employed, they are let go!  Libby while at first blown away by the disaster eventually comes around to making choices that lead to a more fulfilling life.  While I have never lost my job like this, I did compare it to someone I know who totally went to pieces and blamed everyone and everything else, instead of taking a good hard look and choosing something better.  What came to mind for me, was the thought of in eighteen months I plan to retire.  Like Libby I need to make wise choices, and after reading another book recently – Somewhere Between Luck and Trust, I have already one thing in mind that I would find fulfilling.  I think I better start making a list.

Libby builds up a relationship with a young girl Ava, a thirteen year old who is facing down another huge life experience.  Libby begins to relate to her and support her.  Debbie Macomber has had this scenario a number of times in these stories.  In this book it is great to meet Lydia and the young girl Casey that Lydia’s family adopted.  Casey is friendly and supportive of Ava.

Libby finds herself involved with some volunteering at the hospital and there she meets Dr. Phillip Stone.  While there relationship has the usual starts and stops, it was a delightful addition to the life of Libby as she reinvents herself.  I like that she came through it a better and stronger person.  These kinds of stories where women meet challenges and come through well always inspire me.

4 stars for this book.