Review, Top Ten Tuesday

Books I Loved but Never Reviewed Here.


Linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl

We could choose any back listed topic from Top Ten Tuesday so this is mine, books I have loved but never reviewed here on my blog.

The Reading List.  Sara Nisha Adams..  2022. This was a very good read, it is more character driven than plot driven but … things do happen. There is inter-generational friendship, family difficulty, loneliness, mental health problems, grief and loss, and best of all books and a library. I came to love and care about the characters and cheer them on. Set in Wembley, London.  4.25 stars. Debut book. Author has another book coming out this year and I’ll want to read it.

The Winners. Fredrik Backman. 2022. What an amazing read. So sad and yet so heart warming. I almost want to go and live in Beartown or even Hed! My heart bled for the inhabitants of these towns and my heart cheered for them. Backman really completed the end to this trilogy in such a wonderful way. I read it as slow read over about a month or so. I found just a small visit each day meant I really lived in this book, and deeply cared about all that happened. It’s tough but rewarding reading. Only read it though after the first two.  5 stars +

Someone Else’s Shoes.  Jojo Moyes.  2023. A throughly entertaining read that kept me up at night reading on to find out what these women would get up to next.  Two women mix up their gym bags and there is huge complications for both of them. It’s entertaining and light, yet explores values, women standing up for themselves and “boys’ club”. workplaces.  I know of one author I follow that read this and it took her out of a book slump.  5 stars.

Lessons in Chemistry.  Bonnie Garmus. I loved this audiobook version of Lessons in Chemistry. It was so well narrated. Loved so many of the characters, it had me chuckling out loud, a few times my heart was touched by sadness and always engaged. It highlights how difficult it was for women not so long ago, and let’s be honest it hasn’t all gone away. I loved Mads the daughter and her ability to cut through all the garbage and say it like it is. I just didn’t want to say good bye to these characters.  I’ll read it at some point. This won best Debut novel on Goodreads 2022.  5 stars.

Thank You for Listening. Julia Whelan. 2022.  Absolutely delightful listening. The story is great, loved the characters and the variety therein. It’s a Rom Com that I really recommend, but its more than that. It has wisdom and growth of character and things to think about. This is about a book narrator who has had a tough time and now is no longer going to narrate romance  – except for one last time for a special narrator.  Julia Whelan is a fabulous narrator. Oh my I want more where this comes from. Another entertaining easy listen.  5 stars.

I’m Watching You.  Karen Rose. 2004 Well I dislike the crime parts, I might skip a little here and there! But it is so fast paced and the characters are so likeable. I love the Reagan family. Part of what I like about these books is the family aspect and the friendships. And often we get ongoing updates as other members of the family or friends get a book of their own. The crimes escalate and its more than one perp. Creepy deaths, maybe they deserve it but… Points to the corruptness of the system really. Romantic aspect – top notch.  The book is part of a series but can be read as stand alone. 5 stars

A Mother’s Heart. Carmel Harrington  2022 A Mother’s Heart is a beautiful bittersweet yet heartwarming read. My heart ached for the ever gracious Rachel, who was an excellent mother to 5 year old Dylan and 8 year old Olivia. The three of them have been through the wringer with Lorcan’s death. And now one set of grandparents seem determined to take Rachel on and challenge her for the children’s care and loyalty. Set in Ireland and New Zealand.  5 stars

In The Middle of Hickory Lane.  Heather Webber. 2022 A really delightful story, with great characters. Friendship and family are strong themes. A little bit of magical realism thrown in. I listened to the audio and it was really well done. True justice was done to the characters and the story just sprung alive.  5 stars

A Gentleman in Moscow. Amor Towles. 2016 What an unusual book. I read it over a month as a slow and steady read and it did deserve that. So I was reading to appreciate rather than gobble down. What a character the Count is. A man who takes his circumstances and chooses what he does with it. I think I will need to read it again to fully appreciate it.  “A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.”  5 stars

An Island Wedding Jenny Colgan.  2022. I really loved another visit to Mure and wedding planning that goes awry but finally sorts itself out. One storyline in particular is heartbreaking – please let there be another book in this series. The way to read this book is via audiobook. The narrator is excellent, with consistent voices for all the characters. If this is the first book in this series you are reading drop it and begin with the first one, you will miss out on so much otherwise. There are five in the series, the first being The Café by the Sea.  Set in Scotland on an island, full of quirky characters and heart warming and heart breaking scenarios. Every book in the series earned 5 stars from me.  5 stars

Top Ten Tuesday

General/Women’s Fiction on my Shelves


Linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl

This week its exploring any kind of genre that takes our eye.

I have chosen what loosely might be termed general/women’s fiction and could be both contemporary or historical. These are all actual print books I have sitting on my TBR waiting to be read.

The Life You Left.  Carmel Harrington. Her husband leaves for work and doesn’t return.

The Hope Chest.  Viola Shipman. Mattie has ALS and Don her husband of fifty years can’t imagine life without her. The discovery of a hope chest unveils some precious memories.

Bad Behaviour.   Liz Byrski.   Zoö in Freemantle, Julia in London. These two women made choices back in 1968 that shaped their future pathways.

The Tea Chest.  Josephine Moon. Three women come together to realise a vision of a tea shop in London. It may fail and they may need to look at what is important to each.

Grown Ups. Marion Keyes. About a family – the Caseys who are a large family until one gets concussion and spills some secrets – leaves them wondering if its time to grow up.

The Sweet Taste of Muscadines.. Pamela Terry.  When their mother dies Lila and Henry return home and start to uncover some shocking secrets that overturns their family history as they know it.

Wish You Were Here.  Jodi Picoult.  A woman is stranded in the islands of Galapagos and as she faces dangers she finds she is evolving into someone different. She breaks down years of estrangement with her mother, takes the initiative in her profession and looks and her partner Finn.

The Reading List.  Sara Nisha Adams.  When Aleisha discovers a crumpled reading list in a tattered library book it sparks an extraordinary journey.

Someone Else’s Shoes. Jodi Moyes. Sam and Nisha mix up their bags at the gym, each has quite different shoes in them and both of them must use what’s there.

The Last Summer. Karen Swan.  Set in the 1930’s and goes from a remote Scottish Island to a position on an Estate in the mainland. There is murder and mystery and relationship involved.

If you have read any of these let me know. If not do you know a book that could easily be added to this list?

Top Ten Tuesday

My Anticpated New Release Reads for the first half 2023.

Top Ten Tuesday

Today I am taking part in The Artsy Reader Girl’s  link up.

Todays link up asks us to take a look at our most anticipated books being released in the first half of 2023.

I thought I wouldn’t find ten but I did!  There are a couple of others but I have them so I am choosing the ten I want to remind myself to keep an eye out for.

1. Someone Else’s Shoes  Jojo Moyes.  February

2. Coronation Year.     Jennifer Robson.   April

3. The Wonderful Thing about Phoenix Rose.   Josephine Moon.   April

4. Identity.   Nora Roberts.   May

5. The Girl from Donegal.  Carmel Harrington. No cover out yet.  May

6. Warrior Girl Unearthed.  Andeline Boulley.  May

7. The Celebrants.   Steven Rowley.   May

8. Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt. Lucinda Riley/Harry Whittaker.  Audio most likely.  May

9.  The Secret Book of Flora Lea.  Patti Callahan Henry.   May

10. The Money Club  Fiona Lowe.  May

Book Connections

Libraries Draw a Reader in

I was listening to a podcast that mentioned a book that has as part of its setting a library. I decided I’d like to read it, but that set me thinking about books I’d already read that either had a library somewhere in its setting or one of the main characters was a librarian.

book coverWell obviously this has a library in it. It’s not really about the library as such, but… it is an important place in that one of the characters finds refuge there. Another loves coming there for book club and the librarian is afraid her job is going because the council are threatening to close the library.

Plus who couldn’t love the cover. This was so worth reading on so many levels.

Death on a Shelf

There are a number of cozy mystery series that has the library as a strong setting.  The Haunted Library series by Allison Brook is a really good one. It has a library ghost who appears every so often to one of the librarians – Carrie. Of course there is a cat in it – Smoky Joe who is totally delightful. There is usually a great mystery to be solved – like murders and Carrie has a romantic relationship developing.  This is #5. #6 is published this year.

book cover The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles presents us with the American Library in Paris in the months leading up to WW11 and during the war. Like all stories set in this era at times it is stark and heart breaking. The people suffer so much.

Yet within the confines of the library there are warm friendships among those who work there and those who come to read, write and borrow books.  I really found it good reading.

book coverThis one The Giver of Stars along with The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek – I read both – gives us insight to the courageous librarians of the WPA Packhorse Library in rural Kentucky from the mid 1930’s to the mid 1940’s.  The Appalachian mountains were challenging to say the least. I really enjoyed both books set here. Both very worth reading. I listened to The Giver of Stars which was excellent.

book cover I’d forgotten this one has a librarian but it does. Samantha Casey is a school librarian who loves her job, the kids, and her school family with passion and joy for living. But she wasn’t always that way.

I liked the emphasis on however life is going, take the moments you can, to celebrate and to choose joy – even be a little wacky at times. I also loved Sam’s library set up.

A good summer read.

Next week five books set in a library or with a librarian I want to read. Already going to be difficult to confine to five! However if you have a favourite book with library vibes to it, let me know!


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Book Connections

British Authors I Have Enjoyed

Once I read pretty much all British authors.  However now, not so much. As I prefer contemporary fiction first here are some present contemporary authors I read. Tracy Rees is more historical but that’s my second go to in reading. Probably a ratio of 1:5 is about right! Although come to think of it Jojo Moyes writes both.
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Jenny Colgan

I’ve probably read the most by this author. I enjoy her upbeat fun books, often with some theme that is more serious. Her series are good and this one set down in the south of England with a pet puffin is fun. This is #4 in the series.

Jojo Moyes. I haven’t read all her books and must pick out another one to read. I see I have a couple of her older ones on my bookshelf. My second Jojo Moyes book and I enjoyed it in spite of the serious nature of the underlying choice that Will makes. I liked how Will and Lou interacted and the difference they made in each others’ lives. I liked the chapters from three other characters’ points of view. I would have liked one or two from Wills, but I guess that might have given away too much too soon. I’ve read the three in this series.

Tracy Rees I have two of hers.  Amy Snow by Tracy Rees is a debut novel that enthralled me from start to finish. It is set in England in early Victorian times, and while in one sense it merely covers a matter of months, it also goes back in time, so that we the reader are slowly fed all the details. This allows the mystery of the story to unfurl. A little soap drama in flavour but still a good read.

I have read another one by her the second book she wrote. I have the third sitting on my shelf – a dual time line one I think.The Hourglass. Another one I need to pick up.

book coverSarah Morgan. Another author I have read a lot of books by her. Family for Beginners – Wonderful heartwarming and uplifting family. Characters so delightful, family, friendship, trials, secrets, fears and so much more. Wisdom too!  I haven’t read all her books and think I have one or two already on my Kindle. Plus of course she’ll have something new out before long.

book coverBeth O’Leary I have read two by this author and I see another one in the shops that I will get at some point from the library. The Road Trip.

At first I couldn’t get into this book. Thought I didn’t like how it was structured. Then… I was hooked. Loved this warm hearted – quirky, flat sharing note-making friendship. And more.


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Book Connections, Review

Books Recommended by Others


When I read a book review by someone and I know that my reading taste intersects with theirs in some ways I wonder if I should try it and I sometimes do, depending on whether of course there is space on my reading calendar. Here are five books that I did pick up. Links go back to the reader’s original review.

book cover I read a book review of this on Mary’s blog Book Fan and while she didn’t say a lot about this debut  novel she did capture my attention about it. So I requested it from the library and it was a very happy match up. So much so I even ended up making it a 5 star read. What a wonderful story. I loved Dan and Ellie and Phineas (the pheasant) and Ed. Beautifully written, quirky, delightful. This is a love story about nature and people who see the world slightly differently. Often I chuckled out loud. I loved much of the imagery – like rock and limpet! It’s about doing what really matters and being what really matters. This is a book I’ll long remember. Thanks Mary because I have not seen it mentioned anywhere else. I will want to read Hazel Prior again.

book coverMy niece Amanda recommended this book to me as it was one of Jojo Moyes books she really liked. It is historical fiction and tells the story of a group of women travelling from Australia to England to join the men they had married from Britain during the war years. All I can say is they were very courageous and the trip was not easy. Some got telegrams mid sail saying they were not wanted and they were put off the ship to be returned home at the next port. At times I found It dragged for me, but on the whole I found it insightful and well worth the read.  I am already a Jojo Moyes fan but only picked this book up because Amanda had enjoyed it.

book cover This book was first recommended by Elizabeth at Silver Reviews and then Debbie from The Reading Frenzy backed that up. When I needed a book for a reading challenge for a book that included food I decided now was the time to read it. It was perfect. Full of delicious smells, scenery, baking. Yum. Wonderful characters, a great sense of family and tradition and lots of little pieces of wisdom thrown in.  I have since read another of Viola Shipman’s books and have another sitting on my TBR.


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It is no secret that Laurel Rain enjoys reading Anne Tyler and I’ve seen her reading and reviewing her books. Last year after reading her review for Clock Dance I went out and bought it. And just this week I read it. It’s a slow moving wending way of a book through the life of one woman Willa and the people who surround her. After the rather hopeless husbands and sons she has encountered she finds a very different group of people, who I think prove to her family is not necessarily about blood. I really liked her vision for going forward. I will certainly read Anne Tyler again.

book cover At first I passed this by on NetGalley but then I read Katherine’s review over at I Wish I Lived in a Library and I saw her ” I really liked it”, I knew I had to take notice.  So I headed back to NG and downloaded it. I am just a little ways in but I can tell that I am going to enjoy it. How much? I am not that sure yet, but it is a very positive start. I’ve also seen others since saying it is a good read, so stepping out in faith and hope!!

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading October?

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 another pretty normal week. Last weekend we moved to daylight saving so that meant an hour earlier for us to rise and shine! Four of my sisters went off for a week on the Gold Coast of Australia on Friday so they are coping with a three hour time difference. Guess who is going for early morning walks on the beach!

What I read last week:

Keep Her Safe was all I had hoped for from this author, fast paced, a mystery to solve, and characters I loved. I am now a total K. A. Tucker addict reader.  I got this from the library but her new books go to auto-buy.
I finally finished listening to The House of Tradd St. Really enjoyed it and am looking forward to listening to the rest of the series.
Just One Wish is a review book that will have a review on its way.

What I am reading now:

For listening I chose The Giver of Stars. Evidently there is some bit of controversy over this book and its similarity to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. So I’ll read that soon and then make my own mind up.

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I am about to begin reading this one of my TBR shelf

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Up next:

A review book

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Last Week’s Posts

Looking back at September Reading

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One Plus One. Jojo Moyes

One Plus One Book Cover

One Plus One
Jojo Moyes
Published: Penguin
Date: February 2014
Format: Audiobook
Length: 13 hrs 5 min
Narrators: Elizabeth Bower, Ben Elliot, Nicola                           Stanton, Steven France.
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Own audiobook
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One single mum. With two jobs and two children, Jess Thomas does her best day after day. But it’s hard on your own. And sometimes you take risks you shouldn’t. Because you have to….

One chaotic family. Jess’ gifted, quirky daughter Tanzie is brilliant with numbers, but without a helping hand she’ll never get the chance to shine. And Nicky, Jess’ teenage stepson, can’t fight the bullies alone. Sometimes Jess feels like they’re sinking….

One handsome stranger. Into their lives comes Ed Nicholls, a man whose life is in chaos, and who is running from a deeply uncertain future. But he has time on his hands. He knows what it’s like to be lonely. And he wants to help….One single mum. With two jobs and two children, Jess Thomas does her best day after day. But it’s hard on your own. And sometimes you take risks you shouldn’t. Because you have to….

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This is my first book ever by Jojo Moyes and I believe it was a good introduction. I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook.  I mainly listen to audiobooks while walking, this book had me talking out loud to the characters, smiling at the world and discreetly wiping away some tears.  
This is probably the first time I have listened to a book with four narrators, the book tells the story from the point of view of four characters- Jess, Nicky, Tanzie and Ed.  After a few moments of discomfort these narrators became the characters, and I am sure that they totally enhanced this book for me. I give them all top marks for bringing these characters alive in my imagination.
Jess is an amazing woman, she has a husband who has deserted any sense of responsibility and disappeared, she has little money but works hard to support her small mismatched family.  Money problems dog her much of the way, at one point she makes an error of judgement, however the way she handles that had me applauding her.  She is a great mother and Nicky and Tanzie are very fortunate to have her.
I also loved how the children Nicky and Tanzie were very much part of this story with their challenges of growing up and being their true selves.  Norman the dog completes the family, and does he come to the party when it really matters – you bet! Big and slobbery but well loved and included in the family.
Ed is almost against his will in the beginning sucked up into this family when he joins them to help them take a step to help Tanzie achieve a dream.  They take a car journey together across country which turns out to be no picnic but all the same things happen!  Loved the way Ed helped Nicky and Tanzie.
A heart warming emotional read, where honesty, family, personal growth and change  and small kindnesses stand out.  
5 stars