Book Connections

And thank you to the Library

While my main reading goal is to read from my own shelf sometimes there will be the need to read a book from the library. So I am keeping a list of what I need to get from the library. This year though I will only put in a request for one at a time, so that I don’t get swamped by them. So far I have borrowed and read five in 2022 from the library.

Finding Junie KimEvery school library in the country should have this book. If I were still teaching it would go to the top of my list to read aloud and discuss with the class.

It is set in a middle grade USA school, and a Korean family.

I learned a lot about the Korean War. I loved how Junie learned about her Grandfather and grandmother and their life in Korea during very difficult times.

I thought the issue of racism in its many forms was handled well. It always saddens me to hear of racism, which is so rife in my culture in New Zealand but everywhere. Let’s all stand against it. Thank you Ellen Oh for an amazing book.  I heard about this book at the Nerdy Book Club.

book coverThis is next on my list and I  put a reservation in for it once I finished Finding Junie Kim. Set against the backdrop of World War II, Anna, Edmund, and William are evacuated from London to live in the countryside, bouncing from home to home in search of a permanent family.

I heard about it on the Currently Reading podcast and made a note that I wanted to read it. Again its middle grade. I would have bought it but only in hardback at moment and at near $50NZ it was too costly. Library to the rescue!  5 stars

Sweet Salt AirSweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinksy was a big favourite read for me.

I really enjoyed this book. The setting, the characters and the challenges they had. It drew me in at the beginning, kept revealing things that made me keep picking it up all the time. No dead spots. My kind of book. Loved Charlotte and Leo especially and the journey Nicole and Julian had to take. So happy I picked it up to read.  5 stars

book coverExcellent story. The dual time line worked well for me and I am not a fan of them. The 1965 civil rights was insightful and heart breaking. Ellie was brave and was willing to put her life on the line. Win – just so sad. It is just so horrible the way people divide and hate because of total ignorance and unwillingness to see. Kayla’s story in 2010 linked through setting and people. As well as liking Ellie I liked Kayla and her plight. This story just kept me reading on – totally engaged. Also well researched and informative. 5 stars

book coverI saw The Cartographers through to the end. It is an interesting mix of thriller, suspense, mystery and fantasy. When Nell discovers a strange map after her father dies, she is led into a strange world and a mystery town that started many years ago, with a group of cartographers – her parents among them.

The story was an interesting concept and I did want to see how it all panned out. At times I came close to giving up but still wanted to know how it worked out, and while the traitor becomes obvious fairly early on, it takes awhile for some of the characters to realise.

3.5 stars.

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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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I had a good week. I finished watching Season 2 of All Creatures Great and Small. Now I see at least they are making a season 3 and 4 so something to wait for.

I listened to a podcast that interviewed an interior book designer. Who knew that was something that had to be thought through. Now I am examining the book I am reading more carefully to see what she was talking about!

We’ve had lots of rain and in for more. We have been blessed with lots of sun over summer but now the wet weather is here!

It’s a long weekend here – we celebrate the Queen’s Birthday in June and of course its her bitg 70 year celebration. I watched a little of it on You Tube. I only stream so don’t have any channels that might have shown more.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

Almost finished and will do so today no doubt.

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And still listening to Bloomsbury Girls.

Up next:

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Month in Review

May Reading Round Up

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Total books read this month: 11

Book Ratings

You Can’t Hide.  Karen Rose ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Beach House Summer. Sarah Morgan ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Fairy Godmother.  Mercedes Lackey ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ. 5
A Whisker of Trouble.  Sofie Ryan ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ. 5
Twilight Shadows.  Emilie Richards ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
The Librarian.  Salley Vickers ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
A Mother’s Heart.  Carmel Harrington ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
South of the Buttonwood Tree.  Heather Webber ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Court of Thorns and Roses.  Sarah J Maas ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
The Last House on the Street.   Diane Chamberlain ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

New to me authors:

Mercedes Lackey
Salley Vickers
Sarah J Maas

Top Books for May

Looking forward to reading in June

Very likely ones.

Review of Reading Goals for May.

  • five books read from my print TBR. – yes
  • read more of Pride and Prejudice – not sure I read any
  • read a book from library – yes. The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain.

Main Reading Goals for June

  • read five more books from my print TBR
  • continue to read Pride and Prejudice
  • read a library book if one comes in

Linking up with Nicole from FeedYourFiction Addiction.

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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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Hope you are all getting by well. Late Autumn is signalling winter here and the last few nights that’s meant two quilts on the bed!

I’ve been reading and a little visiting and some viewing. Now the nights have closed in its easier to sit by the fire and catch up on some TV shows. I was delighted to find Season 2 of All Creatures Great and Small had dropped here while I wasn’t looking so one of the shows I am indulging in.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

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And Listening to…. Bloomsbury Girls

Up next:

The Library at the Edge of the Worldย Last Week’s Posts

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Review

Big Lies in a Small Town. Diane Chamberlain

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Published: St Martin’s Press
Date 14th January 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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If you ever had any doubt that you must let go the past so that you can move into the future then this book will certainly convince you of it being so true.

Morgan Christopher has the huge task of restoring a mural painted by Anna Dale in 1940. Morgan has been unfairly in prison for the past year, because of a boyfriend who was a coward. This is an opportunity for her, although she knows nothing about restoring painting. Plus there is a time limit. And why did the well known artist Jesse Williams name her as the person who must do it?

Anna Dale has been given the task of painting the mural in Edenton ย to hang in the post office. She moves there for awhile while she paints it so that she can get a feel for the place, its history and people. A few young students help her, Jesse among them. Anna has come from the north and is rather wondering of the racist ways still present here in this town and she is to run up against it in unpleasant ways.

The less said about the plot the better. It needs to unfold for the reader so that you have an opportunity to see it play out before your eyes. The story is told between Anna and Morgan. The chapters are short, so this time I could easily live with the dual time line. There was no time to miss one character because I was speedily back with her. As well, their stories of working on the mural and the mystery it presents links up so seamlessly.

I loved this book. It held me in its thrall all the way through. There is mystery, challenge, injustice, racism and violence – but not too much, just a taste. The characters of Anna and Morgan – nothing not to love. Jesse was another who in the ’40’s I cheered on. And his family.

All I can say is don’t miss out on this one. I wish it went on much further, but maybe Diane Chamberlain knows where to stop!

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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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Welcome in again everyone. Hope you are all doing okay. As planned I am reading a little slower this year and only a couple of review books a month. Its very liberating! I think I am recognising my present reading taste too some more and while I recognise a book is good it might not be for me.

All the best for the coming week.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

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and still listening toย The Sometime Sisters.

Up next:

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Last Week’s Posts

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

My Year in Books 2019

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2020

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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 to another year of It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Hope you loved seeing the new year in. I have to say I fell asleep before the clock rolled over, but I am sure I was awake when it rolled over somewhere else in our world!

What I read last week:

The first two I finished last year!ย In This House of Brede was my first book of the year. I liked it very much although I know it would not be for everyone. However I found it an excellent read and would link it to Susan Howatch’s Church of England Starbridge series.

What I am reading now:

For review – just beginning.

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And am listening to..

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Up next:

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Review

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

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Published: St Martin’s Press
Date: 3rd October 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre:Mainstream Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Rating
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In 1944, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly ends her engagement to the love of her life when she marries a mysterious stranger and moves to Hickory, North Carolina, a small town struggling with racial tension and the hardships imposed by World War II. Tessโ€™s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows no interest in making love. Tess quickly realizes sheโ€™s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.

The people of Hickory love and respect Henry and see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain, especially after one of the townโ€™s prominent citizens dies in a terrible accident and Tess is blamed. Tess suspects people are talking about her, plotting behind her back, and following her as she walks around town. What does everyone know about Henry that she does not? Feeling alone and adrift, Tess turns to the one person who seems to understand her, a local medium who gives her hope but seems to know more than heโ€™s letting on.

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What can I say! Diane Chamberlain has again written another very engaging story with The Stolen Marriage. I was soon transported off into story land and really enjoyed the read.

Tess is a beautifully compassionate heroine who finds her self in a spot of bother. We are talking back in the 1940’s when to become pregnant outside marriage was something to be hidden. When she tells the man who was responsible alongside herself he does the decent thing and offers marriage to which she agrees. And leaves behind the love of her life, Vincent.

Does she really know her husband Henry (Hank)? Lucy his sister would say no. And she doesn’t. But as time goes by she learns more and finally learns the truth. I saw part of it coming, but oh no, I did not see the totality of it, so the final reveals were full of thrills.

The polio epidemic was fascinating as I am old enough (sigh) to remember those fearful times, and can remember being made to rest as a young child after lunch to stay in good health. Then of course came the wonderful medicine we swallowed and were given immunity. I can also remember devouring the book Over My Dead Body by June Opie as a young teen, so this aspect of the story really engaged me.

The minor characters added to the flavour of the book, the township of Hickory in North Carolina, the issues of racism, and the part of Reverend Sam all added the the mix to make this book such a wonderful story. I liked the growth of Tess and applauded every stand she took to choose her own life. I liked Vincent and his approach and yes really liked Henry too.

Diane Chamberlain has again spun an engaging tale that had me springing up off my chair and shouting “Yes”! at one point.

Review

Pretending to Dance. Diane Chamberlain

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Pretending to Dance
Diane Chamberlain
Published: St Martin’s Press
Date: October 6th 2015
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 352
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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Pretending to Dance is a heart wrenching, gut punching, emotionally engaging read. I am still feeling some sadness, some joy as I close the book. Wowee, Diane Chamberlain has again written an amazing book exploring so many issues of the day.

Molly and Aidan, a married couple in their late thirties are wanting to adopt a child and are going through the tough highs and lows of applying. ย They are a strong, loving couple – they believe honest communication is really important. Yet while Aidan appears to come from a settled family who are still present in their lives, Molly is not so fortunate. Her father is dead, and she says her mother is too. But Molly isn’t entirely living out her value of honesty with Aidan, and doesn’t want to risk sharing with him her real story.

The novel swings between the journey of Molly and Aidan in the present and the Molly of long ago when she was fourteen and living at Morrison Range in North Carolina with her family. Step by step her life there throws light on the real Molly. Her Dad is a therapist and he and Molly have a very close relationship. Molly is just beginning to explore her independence and exploration into relating with adolescent boys. Her ground is shaken a little as she learns some things about her life that she never knew, and finally sends her into orbit when her Dad dies. She is suspicious and unforgiving of her mother and leaves, cutting off all that she has known.

I loved the people at the Range and the struggles they were challenged with. The way they protected Molly and yet hurt her deeply. ย While Aidan – Molly’s husband is more of a background person I loved how he was able to be there for Molly in important ways.

This book is a celebration of family and the gift of a child with all the joy and worries and grief those things brings. As Molly’s Dad would say most if not all families are dysfunctional, yet many are filled with life and love.

This book explores tough issues in a very compassionate and believable way. You’ll have to read the book for yourself because to discuss them would be to give too much of the plot away. This is a book that will open your heart and enable you to walk in another’s shoes. Loved it. And I just have to say the last four lines give a final punch to the story.

5 stars
Review

Before the Storm Diane Chamberlian

Published:

Before the Storm
Diane Chamberlain
Published: Mira Au
Date: 2008
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 470
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Own book
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Fifteen-year-old Andy Lockwood is special. Others notice the way he blurts out anything that comes into his mind, how he cannot foresee consequences, and that he’s more child than teenager. But his mother sees a boy with a heart as open and wide as the ocean.

Laurel Lockwood lost her son once through neglect. She’s spent the rest of her life determined to make up for her mistakes, and she’s succeeded in becoming a committed — if overprotective — parent.

Still, she loosens her grip just enough to let Andy attend a local church social — a decision she regrets when the church is consumed by fire.

But Andy survives… and remarkably, saves other children from the flames. Laurel watches as her son becomes the darling of their community, basking in the postive attention he’s always craved.But when the suspicion of arson is cast upon Andy, Laurel will risk everything to prove his innocence. Except she could never have known just how many secrets would surface in her desperate bid to clear his nameโ€ฆ

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Before the Storm is the first of ย two in a ย series by Diane Chamberlain. ย It was a little like the couple of other books I have read by this author. ย Surprises along the way that some of the characters know, but not all of them. ย Lies, deceit and infidelity wend there way through the story.
Laurel after the birth of her first child Maggie, sank into depression and then into alcoholism. ย While in that state she fell pregnant and so Andy is born with Fetal Alcohol Apectrum Disorder (FASD). Later when she has recovered and regained the care of Andy she devotes herself to his upbringing and care. It was very interesting to see how Andy is and the challenges inherent in raising him. ย He takes many things literally and needs help with ordering his life. ย He is a loveable character, although it is heart breaking to see how he is belittled by peers.
Maggie is a little older, supposedly the one who can be relied on, a successful student and responsible sister. ย She misses her Dad, who died when she was eight, and with whom she bonded early in life, during those years when Laurel was unavailable to her. ย  How has that all affected her? ย Well let’s just say Laurel is in for a few surprises.
Marcus is the brother of Jamie – Lauren’s husband and Maggie’s and Andy’s father. ย Growing up in their family of origin, Jamie was the favoured son, Marcus the black sheep. ย But are people really all black or all white? ย They might be treated as such but in actuality it is rarely so. So what secrets do these brothers hold?
As well involved in the story is Sara, sort of a back seat character, not very much present in the story, yet at certain times a key player. ย Sara and Lauren are close friends, well supposedly, maybe they are, maybe not. ย I think I will hold that question until I read the book that follows this one to make my mind up.
This is a story of mistakes and wrong turnings, however it does hold the promise of new paths and possibilities. ย I’ll be looking forward to reading on, to find out what takes place for these characters a little along the road.
3.5 stars