Review

Blog Tour: Sunrise at Half Moon Bay. Robyn Carr

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Published: MIRA
Date: April 14th 2020
Source: Publicist via NetGalley

Sunrise at Half Moon Bay is Robyn Carr’s latest book and gives us the story of two sisters – born twenty years apart. Adele and Justine.  Adele has cared for first her father and then her mother, living in the family home with them. Now both of them are gone and she at thirty two must take up her life and live it. Up until now her high flying lawyer sister has supported her, but now things are different.

Justine has hit some snags herself. Her marriage is now in difficulties and husband Scott is at the centre of that! Her two daughters are who she needs to put first and she does.

Both sisters have to make decisions and plot new paths in their lives. That’s what kept me reading – what was going to happen next. The characters seemed a little up and down, but on the whole I warmed to them.

This book did feel instructive and the intention seemed to be to educate. How to negotiate a divorce, friendship with sisters, how to deal with people who take advantage of you, lie to you, abuse you. And how to come out the other side.

There was a lot of prose and telling, more that I like! There was as well dialogue moving the plot forward which placated this reader to some extent. Somehow it didn’t feel to me like it was Robyn Carr’s usual author voice.

That said, I still got immersed and enjoyed the read.

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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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Hello everyone, I hope you are all staying clear of the virus and everyone you know. It is indeed a tough time. We are almost two weeks here in a country wide lock down, they are not sure yet whether it is winning, but another week should tell. We are allowed to exercise in our own locality and only drive when it is for an essential service. Like most countries there have been some little scandals around this. Some people seem a) either think it’s a time to joke or b) its only everybody else who has to obey the edicts, they themselves are exempt!

I am probably listening to too much news but have been tapering off. I do enjoy Trevor Noah’s Daily Show and the people he has been interviewing. Bill Gates one was especially good.

I took time to watch the movie Wonder this week and thought it carried the spirit of the book which I loved.

We put our clocks back this week, as we head into winter. As usual it upsets my sleep patterns but I still like how it gives us more daylight hours. So count me as in favour!

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

 

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And I am about to start listening to…

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Up next:

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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 hanging in there and keeping safe and well. It certainly is different times and perhaps it’s going to bring about changes in the future in the ways our world operates.  In the meantime we gotta live through this!

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

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And listening to The Spies of Shilling Lane.

Up next:

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Last Week’s Posts

The Sea Glass Cottage RaeAnne Thayne

First Quarter Top Reads

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Book Connections

Series and Authors I Treasure

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As readers we all most likely get hooked into series we love. I have quite a number of them and another day I’ll post some more. Most of them other readers have hooked me into. I’ve just read a post and I’ve ordered #1 in a cozy mystery series from the library. It’s not my wheelhouse of reading but… I just might get hooked.

Outlander Series.

book cover Back in 1994 it all began for me. I was teaching and I can’t remember how I chose this book, but I did. On the staff another teacher was hooked too and we often talked about that Scottish Highlander Jamie. It’s time travel at its very best.

I have read everyone in the series since. Some of them are very long but I’ve loved them, sometimes skipping a few gory parts. There are eight books so far and number nine is in the wings “Go Tell the Bees I am Gone.” This series is outstanding in audiobook form and I have reread some of the books this way as well.

I once went to the city and listened to Diana Gabaldon speak after one of her books came out and she was visiting our country. She was very interesting as a speaker.

The Troubleshooters

book cover The Troubleshooters is fast paced romantic suspense. The characters carry on from book to book, with one character mostly to the forefront.  There are about seventeen main books in this series – I have them all. I want to do a reread at some point.  Navy seals – what’s not to like!

I learned about this series from readers on the Susan Elizabeth Phillips readers’ board before it disbanded and went to Facebook. There were always great recommendations there and I really expanded out into USA authors through  that.

Suzanne Brockmann has moved on to film making I think and no more books in recent years.

Virgin River

book cover Once I was stymied what to read. Nothing satisfied me. I’d read a little online about Virgin River and I thought well I’ll take a chance. This was pre-Kindle days. So I bought a second hand copy I think on the Thriftbooks website. The rest is history. I was hooked and ever after that I bought every one that came out. Mostly via Amazon I think

It’s set in a small town in North West America, and each book explores the lives of new characters while maintaining some of the previous ones. It’s romance with sometimes a little suspense thrown in. Another series I’d happily reread. And I am enjoying the Netflix series of it.

I loved it and since then pretty much have read everything Robyn Carr since.

Shenandoah Album Series

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There are five books in this series and I loved them all. They are what I guess are Women’s Fiction. They explore various issues and have very memorable characters. This series started me on my love of quilting.

 

I have reread most of them via audiobook which is really excellent via this format as well.

I had discovered Emilie Richards as an author myself by picking up one of her books at a book fair. Not one of this series but it started me on the road of looking out for her books. Now I wouldn’t miss anything she writes.

Pys/Changeling series

book cover The Pay/Changeling series I was slow to take up. I read others comments on the SEP board and was semi tempted. I thought it would be too hot for me. I saw a copy of one of the books in a staff members bag and I asked her about the series. She lent me some of the first ones.

I was hooked. I loved these shape shifters and the mysteries and evil they had to contend with. Nalini Singh has built this world so well. I didn’t think I’d like shape shifter books but this series is just so much fun, plus heart warming and heart reaching.

I am still reading all the new ones now as they come out. I want to do a reread!

 

 

So what would be one of your favourite series?

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Review

The Country Guesthouse by Robyn Carr

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Publisher: HQN – Mira
Date: 7th January 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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The Country Guesthouse introduces us to Hannah, we meet her out near Sullivan’s Crossing escaping from a corporate team building event that just isn’t to her style. However the place beside the lake where it takes place is gorgeous and she tucks that away in her mind. It happens to belong to Owen Abrams, a photographer who travels a lot and rents his place out.

Hannah’s world is turned upside down when she finds herself the guardian of the totally grief stricken but totally adorable five year old Noah. Hannah’s friend has died and she has left Hannah to be Noah’s mother. Adusting to each other takes time and Hannah takes leave from work and decides to take a two week break out at the very same lake in the very same house the team building took place.

Only… Owen has had his next trip cancelled on him and he is going to be staying out in his studio. The best think out is that he has this Great Dane – Romeo and Romeo loves just about everybody, hence his name! And so the story develops, with some hiccups of course. We meet up again with some of the other inhabitants of Sullivan’s Crossing and the town and for this story Helen just can’t keep her nose out of things.

I loved this addition to the series, well when there is a child and a dog that are both so adorable there is a high chance that with excellent writing and plotting and wonderful characters this kind of book is going to be a big success with this reader. I was so disappointed to see the end speeding up to meet me!

I especially loved the quotes at the beginning of each chapter and the cover of the book is just so beautiful. Friendship, family, and big community spirit with genuine care for others made it a winner for me.

 

Book Connections, Review

Five Books with Connections to Self

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Connect Five Friday.  A Friday link up that can be joined in on any day and begins again the next Friday. Post about a list of five bookish related topics/lists of your choice. Be creative and enjoy the process. If you want to know a little more read the introduction to it here.

When I was teaching one of this ways we helped young readers comprehend was to make connections to our own lives from the books we were reading. When I came across the first book in this list of five I realised how my own experience was helping me understand Anthony so I decided to look for some more connections to self in the books I read.

book coverIn this novel we meet a writer hiding ashamed from  one big mistake he made – he plagiarised from a little known author and he was dobbed* in by an “unknown source”. I know, immediately we judge him as a reader, we don’t like plagiarising, we see how it affects authors. But… suddenly I found myself remembering a little plagiarising I did myself as a thirteen year old. We had to write a description, I was under pressure just like Anthony, and I picked up a description of a cowboy from Zane Grey. Thank you Zane! Anyway of course the teacher didn’t buy it, I mean I am and was no Zane Grey. But I do remember the shame and I was cured of plagiarising! Of course as a teacher many years later I’d come to realise the value of mentor texts and how we can learn and model our writing on those writers who write wonderful sentences and descriptions! Anyway my small life experience brought to me some sympathy for this character Anthony and it turns out it wasn’t misplaced.

*British informal. [dob someone in] to tell someone in authority about something bad that another person has done.

book coverThis is the first book written by British author Lucilla Andrews – written in 1954. It is less a romance and rather a fascinating look at hospital nursing life in this era. It will be interesting to see how her writing develops as I read through her books in the order they were written. Who knew that prem babies were fed breast milk with a little brandy! Very realistic and worth reading although a little too much description. I connected to it because way back in the ’60’s I spent a year as a nurse aide in a maternity hospital. It was fascinating to see how things had moved on since 1954. For example after giving birth the women were carried down stairs on a stretcher to the ward after giving birth. At great cost to those carrying.  In my day of course they were wheeled back in a bed. Nowadays if they are at a hospital they are often on their way home a few hours later!

book cover Rival’s Break is a suspenseful cozy mystery sort of book, but what I connected to were the characters and the fact that some of them had quite Catholic connections and some Irish. Emma Sharpe one of the main characters – an FBI member and art expert once belonged to an order of nuns, and there is a Father Finian who became a priest after losing his wife and daughters in an accident. So with my own Catholic upbringing and a good dose of Irish in me I felt very at home in the book!

 

Book coverAs soon as I started The Country Guesthouse I was making connections. I was thinking of all those times we did things as a staff to build rapport and trust etc. The fall back the heroine had to make  to someone who couldn’t be trusted at work ( and she wasn’t caught!) I hated those team build times as much as Hannah. And then 5 year old Noah has lost his mother and doesn’t want to forget her. It reminded my of my nephew Max and the hard time he had and still does at the loss of his great grandpa when he was 5. And I loved and could identify with Owen’s love of a quiet life in a less populated area. Already I’ve stopped in the early parts of the book to reflect. So much so, my Kindle has turned off a few times while waiting for me to go on!

book coverMany readers I follow enjoyed this author and book so I wanted to try it out. I am growing in years and the characters in this book are experiencing many of the things I know about. They are a bit older than me, but not much and so their thoughts and feelings I can really identify with and it makes me stop and think, and admire their struggles and kindnesses, and their knowing that life is still for living and the great choices they make.  I really admired Frank and Lucille’s honesty with each other in this story and their acceptance of each other and the love and friendship they had for each other. Never too old! And I totally identify.

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Review

The View from Alameda. Robyn Carr

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Published: Harlequin – MIRA
Date:  30th April 2018
Source: Little Bird Publicity via NetGalley

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The View from Alameda Island by Robyn Carr – another of her books that held my interest all the way through.

Lauren is married to a surgeon – Brad, but… he is manipulative, controlling and abusive. She stays in the marriage because of her two daughters, Lauren wants the best for them – in a money sense, however most likely it isn’t good for them really. Lauren is a competent person but she is told by Brad that she is useless. Finally after many attempts Lauren makes plans and leaves him. What a relief!

She meets another man, Beau one day at a garden and they strike up a conversation. Soon they are developing a friendship and spending more time together. However he too is going through a divorce and life is not exactly straight going for him. What I really liked about him was his care for his two step sons – 18 and 21. While his ex wife was the mother, it was Beau who had always stepped up for them.

So a divorce should be straight forward – right? Well not in both Beau’s and Lauren’s cases. They have cray, cray, crazy ex partners who go to extraordinary lengths to put a spanner in the works to prevent the divorces going through. I kept thinking – what next? No! Really!

This is a very good story of a woman finding her way, choosing happiness and a full life. It is about friendship, family and people standing with you and supporting you.  It is about being there for others – being able to admit mistakes and readjust living to a better, more wholesome path.

I really liked Lauren and Beau as characters and was so sorry to have to close the book.

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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

The Best of Us by Robyn Carr

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Published by: MIRA
Date: 8th January 2019
Pages: 384
Source: Little Bird Publicity
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The Best of Us is #4 in Robyn Carr’s small town series of Sullivan’s Crossing, Colorado.  A new book in any of her series has always been a delight and this is just as much so in this case.

I liked especially the variety of age range in this book. Firstly we have I guess what might be the central couple of Leigh Culver – the local doctor and Rob Shandon the local pub owner. Leigh is thirty four, Rob is forty and has two teenage sons.  Rob is the brother to Sid, we met her in a previous book when she fell for Dakota Jones.

It’s not long before Leigh and Rob fall for each other, there is a fun first meeting and from then on its all on. But… do this couple have their act together? They both have previous experiences that make them cautious. When one is hot the other is cold on a permanent relationship. So will they ever be on the same page… and believe me they sure need to get there!

Helen is Leigh’s aunt and she comes to stay with Leigh. In fact she brought Leigh up as Leigh lost her mother at the age of four. Helen is a retired teacher and a writer of mystery books – quite gory ones if her new reader can be believed!  She finds that she loves sitting on Sully’s porch out at the camp at Sullivan’s Crossing, looking out at the wild life while she writes. And that’s not all that she finds herself looking at.

The young people are represented by Finn (Rob’s son)  and his girlfriend Maia,  both just finishing high school and preparing for college. They are a delight and full of tender, young love. There is a rather huge crisis that brings Finn stepping up very much to the plate and indicates what kind of man he is going to grow into.

This is very much a story of family, being there for each other, sorting through challenges and coming out the other side. Another charming developed story, with characters I couldn’t help falling for.  Sean and Finn looking right at you!