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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It’s 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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Hope you are all keeping a head above water. This week I got some reading done and a bit of viewing – some on the TV – I am enjoying a British show The Trouble with Maggie Cole. I also watched half of the Colin Firth Pride & Prejudice (to be continued) via DVD, the first of the new David Letterman on Netflix and the movie The Two Popes. All good viewing.

I can see the I will use Netflix a lot more now that yesterday I sorted myself with a Google Chromecast. Two of my sisters and brother and spouses gathered for a fish ‘n chips tea (evening meal, not sure what you call tea!!) Saturday at my brother’s place and so I saw their Chromecast set up and that’s all the incentive I needed. I had been thinking about it for awhile.

What I read last week:

I also finished listening to

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What I am reading now:

A long time book on my TBR. I saw her new book on NetGalley but wasn’t going to request it when I don’t know if I like her as an author, so off the shelf it comes – I picked it up at a Book Fair about four years ago.

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I am listening to

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Up next:

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Last Week’s Posts

The Way Back Home.  Emilie Richards

Book to Screen

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Book Connections

Eyes on Books to Be Published.

What’s coming up in the next couple of months for Autumn Spring that I will want to read for sure… or at least put on library hold or buy. Here are five for a start. That said, I still have so many books on my TBR!

book coverThis one is published October 29th, although I do have a NetGalley review copy, so all set there. Women’s Fiction by an Australian author I tend to auto-read.

“The first time Ashling Wood realises her marriage is on the rocks is when her husband, Adrian, suggests they try nest parenting. Heartbroken, Ash suddenly finds herself living a double life – one week with her children, the next cohabiting with her happily single sister-in-law. Her friends think the modern custody solution is an exciting opportunity for her to spread her wings, but all Ash wants is her family back together.”

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Well another Virgin River book, I am a sucker for this series so of course I want to read it and I will and can because I also have a NetGalley copy of this. It publishes 13th October. It is about new friends, fresh starts and the magic of Christmas.  Sold!
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This book comes out in October too – Oct 13th and I have had my eye out for it as I read her previous book and liked it. It is paranormal and has to do with witches and sisters. After that I will have to just wait and see!
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October 20th. I’ll pre-order this one. I love this series. Deals with homicide and a fantastic woman Lieutenant and her husband who is the VP and being pressured to run for President.

book coverAnd lastly an author I haven’t read for quite awhile but I do enjoy some of her historical fiction so I am putting this on the list and it does come out earlier than the others on September 1st. Set in 1853 in Oregon and has to do with women’s rights and suffrage. A fictionalised story of a real life person Abigail Scott Dunniway.  It is a possible.



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Fatal Scandal Marie Force

Fatal scandal book cover

Fatal Scandal
Marie Force
Published: Carina Press
Date: January 13th 2015
Format: Kindle
Pages: 290
Genre: Romantic suspense
Source: Own book

As a new year dawns in the capital city, dual scandals rock the Metropolitan Police Department—and Lieutenant Sam Holland is right in the middle of them. Chief Farnsworth is catching heat for the way he handled a recent homicide investigation, and Detective Gonzales is accused of failing to disclose an earlier connection to the judge who decided his custody hearing.

When Gonzo’s fight for his child turns deadly and he has a shaky alibi, Sam must defend one of her closest colleagues. All while her husband, Vice President Nick Cappuano, settles into his new office at the White House.

Nick begins to wonder if the president is using him for a political boost, and his worries mount over a complication in the plans to adopt Scotty at a time when Sam is being put through the wringer by the always-rabid DC press corps. As the evidence against Gonzo piles up, Sam suspects someone is gunning for her—and her team.

My thoughts banner
Fatal Scandal is #8 in the series.  This series is addictive reading for me, I can’t wait for the next one each time!  I generally read it pretty much as soon as its published and I had this one pre-ordered for a few months now.
So was I disappointed? No way.  As usual I was hooked in and enveloped in Sam and Nick’s world along with their son Scotty and friends and colleagues.  This time around Nick is about to take up his new job at the White House and meanwhile many of Sam’s colleagues seem to be being targeted by someone who has it in for them and …. perhaps Sam as well.
There are murders, much crime, some tension and nail biting ( that last bit is me). I recoiled a few times!! There is the warmth of family and the love of Nick and Sam for each other and some hot  romance that sizzles of course. Then there is Scotty their adopted son who is now thirteen.  Before the final papers are signed though they need to look for Scotty’s biological father to ask him to sign papers.  Well how is that going to go? Sam’s dad is still very ill and he’s even making some noise about ending his life!  Not if Sam can help it.  
There is a cast of characters that readers have come to love and care about and we are updated on what is happening for them.  Shelby learns of Avery’s (the FBI character) infatuation with Sam and she is none too impressed, especially as Avery, Nick and Sam have all kept it from her.  Watch this space.  How will Gonzo fare with his child’s mother claiming what she is claiming? It seems everyone’s world is turning upside down.
Looking forward to finding out what Marie Force has planned for #9! Will Nick make waves in the White House? How long will the Nelson administration keep him on the outer?  How will Sam come back to work from her latest escapade and will she continue to get away with having no secret service watch on her? And is there still a traitor in the Metropolitan Police Dept?  
How many months to my next fix?
5 stars

I Saw Her Standing There. Marie Force

I Saw Her Standing There. book cover

I Saw Her Standing There
Marie Force
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Date: 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 347
Genre: Contemporary romance
Source: Own book

Colton Abbott and Lucy Mulvaney have a secret. Colton’s nosy siblings have begun to put the pieces together, but it’s not like Lucy to keep things from those closest to her—especially her best friend, Cameron, who recently moved to Vermont to live with her true love, Will. But Lucy isn’t about to tell Cam she’s having a fling…

Flitting between New York and Vermont is exhausting, so Lucy is looking forward to a long weekend with Colton at the Abbott family lake house in Burlington. Too bad Will and Cameron have the same idea, and once Colton and Lucy are caught red-handed (and red-faced), will their clandestine romance lose its appeal or will their secret beginnings be the start of something lasting?

My thoughts banner
I Saw Her Standing There is #3 in Marie Force’s Green Mountain series.  It has all that makes a great read of those small town series:  a fabulous setting, characters that pull you in and those emotional twists and turns as two people are drawn together.
This time it is the story of Colton and Lucy.  The main problem for these two is that Colton lives in Vermont on a mountain and Lucy lives in New York.  And while Lucy’s best friend Cameron solved that difficulty by leaving New York and coming to live in Vermont with Colton’s brother Will, that is just so not what Lucy can do.  
The Abbott family are a big family – ten, seven boys and three girls.  Their parents Molly and Lincoln round that out, with Elmer the Grandad also popping up at odd but significant moments.  There’s not much the Abbott clan can put past the last formidable three, they have a lot of life experience. Lincoln and Elmer are an unlikely team of matchmakers and will go to any lengths to see the right couples find each other.  There is a bit of a competition going on between them.
I love the romance and right along with that the interactions of this large family who love and care for each other, but who also like to engage in quick banter that is geared up to embarrass one of their siblings.  I also love how we get a good dollop of previous characters.  Marie Force weaves them into the story seamlessly, updates about their lives from their point of view really works for me.  This time I loved the secret surprise that Nolan has up his sleeve for Hannah.  And a very tender moment when he pulls it off.
This series is fast becoming one of my favourite small town series.  
4 stars
Green Mountain Series
I Want to Hold Your Hand #2
I Saw Her Standing There


Fatal Affair. Marie Force

Fatal Affair
Marie Force
Published: Carina Press 2010
Format: Kindle ebook
Pages: 294
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: Own book.
Add to Goodreads

Washington, D.C., Metro Police Detective Sergeant Sam Holland needs a big win to salvage her career–and her confidence–after a disastrous investigation. The perfect opportunity arises when Senator John O’Connor is found brutally murdered in his bed, and Sam is assigned to the case. Matters get complicated when Sam has to team up with Nick Cappuano, O’Connor’s friend and chief of staff…and the man Sam had a memorable one-night stand with years earlier. Their sexual chemistry still sizzles, and Sam has to fight to stay focused on the case. Sleeping with a material witness is another mistake she can’t afford–especially when the bodies keep piling up.

My thoughts banner
Fatal Affair by Marie Force is the first in her Fatal series.  It is a reread for me as a couple of years ago I read through this series obsessively until I had caught up to date.  Now I wait each time with anticipation for the next one  ….. coming out early in 2015 by the way.
I think Nick and Sam might just be my favourite couple in romantic suspense books, although Eve and Roarke from the J.D. series are in the mix too!
I loved this book every bit as much as I did the first time reading it.  In fact I will be giving it an increase of one star from the first time I read it!
I remembered who was responsible for the main murder, but had forgotten quite a few details and that there was more than one murder.  ( Sorry that is a bit of a spoiler).  
I loved refreshing my mind about both Sam and Nick – their background histories and the beginning of their relationship.  Many of the other characters that we meet and get to know as the series progresses had minor parts to play and it brought back the pleasure of later reading their developments.  
I may not get to reread the rest of the series just now, but I believe it would stand the test.  My sense of delight with the book and series was still there as I finished.  Heart hit.
If you enjoy romantic suspense and have not read this series – try it.  
5 stars

All You Need is Love. Marie Force

All You Need is Love book cover

All You Need is Love
Marie Force
Publisher: Berkeley
Date: 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 302
Genre: Contemporary
Source: own book.
Add to Goodreads

The family-run Green Mountain Country Store is cherished by locals as a reminder of simpler times. The Abbott children are determined to keep it that way—but their father has different plans…

When Cameron Murphy heads to Vermont to build a website for a new client, she imagines a more relaxing trip than she gets. After wrecking her car by colliding with the town moose, she meets the most handsome hero she’s ever seen. Unfortunately, her savior, Will Abbott, is also the son of her client—and he wants nothing to do with the new website or the city girl creating it.

For all Will cares, Cameron can march her fancy boots right out of town and out of his family’s business. But he can’t seem to get her out of his head. As his family’s dispute heats up, so does the chemistry between the two, leaving them wondering if simple is better after all—especially when it comes to matters of the heart.

My thoughts
All You Need is Love is the first in Marie Force’s Green Mountain series.  I fell in love with it straight away because of the ….. setting!  It is set in Vermont, which I know nothing about, however after a virtual trip thanks to Google, I so wanted to visit this place.  Marie Force must have enjoyed her research of this place.  The author speaks of the Vermont Country Store – it’s real and I could visit that online too.  After my virtual ‘research’ I settled in happily to the book and enjoyed the story and the family that runs the store in the book.
Cameron, arriving at a small town in Vermont, comes off second best with the local moose – Fred. However she is rescued by Will Abbott, who while he may seem a little grumpy, actually soon falls under her spell.  Will comes from a very large family, the exact opposite of Cameron who has grown up as an only child. Her mother is dead, and her rich father is rather aloof.  Cameron finds that while Will’s siblings initially resent her and the job she has come to do, they soon come around. Cameron finds herself enveloped by this family, and especially loves Will’s dad and mum and grandfather.
Cameron loves the country store the family runs, and soon has wonderful plans for the website.  Her relationship with Will develops, yet they both recognise it has a limited life span.  Will is a country boy and Cameron… she’s a city girl.  What will happen when the job is done and Cameron wants to return to New York?  
It’s a warm, cosy, family oriented story, with a couple who are attracted to each other and know it. In such a large family – the Abbotts have many a story to tell, so I know I will be looking forward to each of them finding ‘true love’. I would even love to read the story of the grandparents and parents.
Readers of Robyn Carr and Jill Shalvis would love this series. 
4 stars
Green Mountain series
#1  All You Need is Love
#2  I Want to Hold Your Hand – published June 2014
#3  I Saw Her Standing There – to be published November 2014
#4  And I Love Her – to be published 2015


Fatal Jeopardy. Marie Force

Fatal Jeopardy.  Marie Force

Fatal Jeopardy
Marie Force
Publisher: Carina Press
Date: March 2014
Format: Kindle eBook
Pages: 287
Genre: Romantic suspense
Source: Own book

Washington, D.C., Police Lieutenant Sam Holland and her husband, U.S. Senator Nick Cappuano, have been looking forward to a quiet Thanksgiving with their son. But any thoughts of a restful holiday are dashed when Sam and Nick return home to a gruesome scene: Sam’s seventeen-year-old niece Brooke, barely conscious and covered in blood on their front stoop.

With lines between personal and professional blurring in this emotionally charged, deeply personal case, Sam is relying on Nick more than ever for support.But when suspicious images from the night in question appear on social media, Sam begins to wonder if her niece is telling her everything she knows about what really happened. And when Nick questions her tactics—and her ethics—as she races against the clock, Sam will need to decide how far she’s willing to go to prove Brooke is a victim, not a murderer.

My thoughts
Fatal Jeopardy is #7 in the Fatal series and again like the rest of this series I thoroughly enjoyed it.  On one hand these books are short and to some extent there is a simplicity about them – they are easy to follow and there is no great passages of description.  They remind me of a TV drama series, with great characters and a drama that grips the viewers.
So as you would sit back and enjoy a drama on TV, I sit back and enjoy the next segment of Sam and Nick’s lives, with the family and friends that they each have.  I love the updates on Scotty their adopted son, and their joys and fears around this. 
All things seem to be set for a week’s vacation for Sam and Nick, when they are catapulted into another case for Sam to get her teeth into, only this time it is close to home, her niece Brooke is seriously hurt and in deep muck.  Teenagers, drink, drugs have ended in a nasty conclusion.  Sam because of her family tie with Brooke has to hand the investigation over – and if you know Sam, that does not sit well.  Nor does she just sit by looking pretty. 
Meanwhile Nick is not a happy camper.  He is feeling somewhat miffed that Sam has prevented them from going on the vacation – which is very needed and deserved.  Also his usual jealousy of Agent Hill  is showing up.  I often wonder why Nick feels a little insecure about this, as Sam and Nick do have a solid relationship.  I guess he’s imperfect!!  There is a big decision for Senator Nick Cappuano to make, after a visit with the President. This lead up to his decision created a considerable amount of tension to the story, and as it built I had no idea what his decision would be until he made it.  I was interested to see that neither did author Marie Force know until she wrote that part what it was going to be.
This is a very good read for the beach or by a winter fire.  If you haven’t read the series do start with the first one, no book really stands on its own.  Too many back story details.  #8 Fatal Scandal is to be published in January 2015. I have already pre-ordered my copy.
5 stars
My review of Fatal Mistake #6
Check out the series below by 
clicking on Goodreads button.

Fatal Mistake

Title:  Fatal Mistake (#6 in Fatal series)
Author: Marie Force
Publisher: Carina Press June 2013
Version: Kindle
Pages: 317
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source:  Own book.

Summary from Goodreads.

D.C is recovering from riots after one player blew the D.C. Federals’chance at the World Series, and Lt Sam Holland is determined to unravel the twisted web of motives behind the star centre fielder’s death.  Was it a disgruntled fan, a spurned lover or a furious teammate?  

While Sam digs through the clues her husband, U.S. Senator Nick Cappuano, fights for his political life in the final days of his reelection campaign as financial irregularities threaten his future.  Its a distraction Nick can ill afford with Sam in the middle of a high profile murder investigation and both of them trying to help their adopted son Scotty, cope with the murder of a ball player he admired.

My thoughts.
I read the first five in this series straight, one after another, but had to wait for this one!  It did take me a little while to re-orient myself into the characters, but once I got going I enjoyed another great story by Marie Force.

For some reason I really like this series.  I like her other series, but don’t rush to read them when they are published.  This series though is different.  I pre-order!  I have come to love the variety of characters.  Sam and Nick are adorable together and Scotty their adopted son has added another fun dimension and some challenges for both Nick and Sam as they adapt to their new role.  One laugh out loud moment was with Nick and Scotty when Scotty is trying to fathom out some school yard chat, and Nick has to negotiate it delicately.

As always the police that work with Sam are another hook into the book.  There was no story line involving any of them this time although Hill the FBI agent continues to ‘develop’ a relationship with Sam.  After the last book, fans were horrified at Hill’s appearance, but Marie Force has it all in hand!

There is murder to solve, as I was reading I began to think of the In Death series by Nora Roberts.  In truth these series are quite different, the Fatal series is more of  a ‘cosy suspense’  The death details are usually not too gruesome, and the hard edge while there, is on the lower end of a continuum.

There is enough at the end of the book to make me want to read the next in the ongoing saga of these people.  What is going to happen to Sam’s dad will certainly make me want to keep reading.  Looking forward to March 2014.

Check out the series on Goodreads.