Book Connections

Five Favourite Books from Second Half of 2020

Today I am sharing five star books from July to December. I had some more five star books but these I think are my top ones. As it happens they were all published this year.  I think they also tell me about what I like to read.  Book covers link to Goodreads.

My first half of the year was here.

book coverThis series just happens to be one of my very favourite series. I have the next one pre-ordered on Kindle already. It is a romantic suspense/detective series. However I love the characters and their development along the way. It just has me hooked. This last one had such a fantastic (to me) ending and promise of where the next book is going.

I am not alone in loving this series although only two people I follow on Goodreads are with me in reading the books.

It has a 4.74 rating on Goodreads from 1,318 ratings. Published in October.

book cover I loved this book, worth every big fat dollar I paid to get a hardback copy. I loved the characters, the serious issues covered and that Wren, she was just baby delicious. And sprinkled through was Susan Elizabeth Phillips smart, funny voice. It is a romance, women’s fiction blend. I always buy her books in print. Her next book is an addition to a series of hers and will be straight romance I am guessing.

On Goodreads it has a 4.06 rating from 5,892 ratings. At least 15 other readers I follow have read it as well. Published in June.

book coverFabulous story of a grumpy old woman with a tough back story. It’s also a tale of her grandson, some Antartica penguins and a few scientists. It touched my heart and made me smile and shed a small tear near the end. Beautiful and uplifting.

It has a 4.18 rating on Goodreads from 3,024 ratings and was published in March 2020.

book coverAnother addictive read in this series. Plus really evil men, but balanced by wonderful family and friendship and love. It’s not like the “good” are perfect, but they make you believe in goodness and all that is great about human kind. So many great side characters hope to see more from.

On Goodreads a 4.32 rating from 1431 ratings. Published in August 2020.

book coverI thought Australian author Fiona Palmer has written an amazing story, that is very touching and had me totally engaged with her characters. The issues she explores in this book were especially topical and well thought out. One of the issues she explores I have never come across in any other book. So wonderfully and compassionately told. While I am not a reader who likes backwards in time sections, this one totally aced it and was perfect.

On Goodreads it has a 4.19 rating from 169 ratings. It was published in August 2020.

As next Friday is Christmas Day and the following Friday is January 1st and First Book of the Year, Connect Friday will take a two week break and be back on Friday the 8th of January.

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Its Monday! What Are You Reading?

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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Well we are now almost mid October! This week I voted. No! Not in the USA election but in my own NZ elections which are on at the moment. Voting day is Saturday, but pre voting can happen and I like that. Not long queues. There has been a higher turnout of pre voting this time around.  Though really who’d want to be government at the moment in these times.

So I’ve been watching some of our political debates and some of the USA. I’ve never been so “political!”

What I read last week:

Hideaway was an okay read but January LaVoy takes the book to a whole new level. Her narration is superb. A Place for Us was well written but I am not one for timelines that swing back and forward. I get that it put more drama in but it distanced me from the characters.

What I am reading now:

I am two thirds through this so most likely will finish today.
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I am also listening to…

Up next:

By Australian author. This one has the most reserves at the library out of the three that I have so I am beginning with this one first.  It is a family drama with… lies!!

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The Sunnyvale Girls. Fiona Palmer

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The Sunnyvale Girls
Fiona Palmer
Publisher: Penguin, Australia
Date: September 24th 2014
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 358
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Three generations of Stewart women share a deep connection to their family farm, but a secret from the past threatens to tear them apart.

Widowed matriarch Maggie remembers a time when the Italian prisoners of war came to work on their land, changing her heart and her home forever. Single mum Toni has been tied to the place for as long as she can recall, although farming was never her dream. And Flick is as passionate about the farm as a young girl could be, despite the limited opportunities for love.

When a letter from 1946 is unearthed in an old cottage on the property, the Sunnyvale girls find themselves on a journey deep into their own hearts and all the way across the world to Italy. Their quest to solve a mystery leads to incredible discoveries about each other, and about themselves.

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The Sunnyvale Girls was a moving, heart warming and at times heart breaking story, set mostly on a farm in Western Australia.  Three women, linked by family and their love for each other and the land they farm.  It ranges in time from the early 1940’s when there were Italian POW’s working on farms in Australia to the present day.
Maggie grew up on the farm, and met Rocco while he was a prisoner of war, however fate and others conspired to set them apart.  Now Maggie is a woman in her seventies, she is still active in the kitchen and garden and deeply loves her daughter and grand daughter.  She is a beautiful woman, kind and loving, with some heartache that she mostly keeps to herself. She has buried her husband and despite the hardships of life feels satisfied with her life on the farm.
Toni her daughter is in her early fifties, she runs the farm, probably as good as or better than any other local male farmer.  She is tough, stubborn and hard working.  Upset her and she’ll remove herself from your environment, as Maggie knows to her heartache.  She has never married, but has a daughter from a passing farm worker.  She adores her daughter and would love to see her travel and widen her horizons.  The present farm worker, Jimmy, ten years younger than Toni, loves her – but Toni is not ready to be involved.  Toni can be a little prickly!
Flick or Felicity is in her early twenties and loves the land, a ride out on her beloved horse Contractor with her dog in the early Australian morning fulfils Flick.  She loves Maggie and Toni and it hurts her when her Mum is not speaking to Maggie.  This time it is serious, Toni is hurt because Maggie has been keeping a secret that has profound repercussions for Toni. 
These three women are basically happy fulfilled people, but can they make the journey into something more?  Each of them have risks to take and still more ‘places’ to go.
I found the plot moved a little slowly in places, however the settings and details were very authentic and at times I felt like I was reading a true life story.  In the end it was a very satisfying read, even if I felt a little heart wrung out!
4 stars