Book Connections

Road ‘n Rail Trips in Books

book coverA family journey across Europe in a camper van. In doing so they are guided by letters from their Pop who died and left them a bundle of letters to guide them. I loved this book, the family – the journey – Pops and his letters. I read every word – no skimming. Its warm, funny, emotional and real. I am not a “let’s take a trip” kind of person but this was so inspiring. Loved the map at the beginning. Loved The Things I Should Have Told You.

book coverAn unexpected road trip takes Greta from her home in Dublin to the bright lights of Vegas, she begins to question if you need to be the perfect size to love yourself. Or to fall in love. Because sometimes the best moments in life come when it’s all gone a bit pear-shaped... I loved the road trip and the characters in My Pear Shaped Life. Great read.

First Lady I read this a number of years ago and have reread it too. The First Lady escapes the White House and eventually teams up with a man and his two young girls in his care. They travel across the Heartland of the USA. I am not sure where that is but some of you will know! This is one I love to reread. But I can’t find it! Amazon tells me I purchased it in 2008. May have lent it out and never returned? I will have to re purchase! Dang it.

Book cover Most likely YA but Field Notes on Love is still very worth reading. An uplifting and delightful story about one sextuplet and his desire to be his own unique self. It’s about a girl with a dream and two dads. It touches on prejudice and racism gently but in a way that opens the readers heart.  Having just been dumped by his girlfriend, British-born Hugo is still determined to take his last-hurrah-before-college train trip across the United States. One snag: the companion ticket is already booked under the name of his ex, Margaret Campbell. Nontransferable, no exceptions.

The Women Who Ran Away I haven’t read The Women Who Ran Away but Trish from Between My Lines hooked me into this one through her review. So its one I’ve added to my TBR and also will be a new Irish author to try out. Trish felt she was road tripping along with the women.

 

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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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Last week I visited around to see what everyone was up to. It’s always dangerous of course because books get added to the TBR. However it is so good to see what everyone is reading and doing. It makes me learn a little, enjoy your happy news and have my heart ache at the sad news.

So last week I looked up the map to see where Montana is exactly is in the USA and while I was there I looked for New Mexico. I did stay for about 10 months in Washington state, but my geography is somewhat hazy. Anyway there you are Montana, sitting right up on the border next to Washington.

And of course so many different books, while we are all readers we have such a wide variety of tastes and that is just great, pointing to our uniqueness in reading. Keep on enjoying those books.

What I read last week:

I had a great reading week, not a lot of reading but the book I read I loved. I finished also listening to a very enjoyable read by Jenny Colgan.

What I am reading now:

From an Irish author I’ve come to really like

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And I started listening to this one, it’s very long so I was putting it off, it will most likely take me all of July to get through it but it will be good.

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Up next:

 

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Last Week’s Posts

Daring and the Duke. Sarah MacLean

Half Year Favourites of 2020

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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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A quiet week, lots of rain! And then we met our shortest day yesterday. Yay.

Well a little bit of a kerfuffle this week because we found out our quarantining at the border has been not that stringent and then two people from the UK were let out with the virus without testing on compassionate grounds, and there tended to be some large holes in their story. Hmm things then turned to custard!  We’ve had more coming in too as more NZers come home. So I am back to being cautious because I can’t trust what is going on at the border.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

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And still listening to and enjoying Five Hundred Miles From You. by Jenny Colgan. Enjoying catching up with little cameos of past characters in the series.

Up next:

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Last Week’s Posts

Book Delights Cost.

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Review

Book Delight Costs!

Kindle books are great and I do appreciate them. However there is nothing like an actual book in hand for me. This past week there has been a feast of books landing at my door. Finally the post is moving from international sources. However… maybe I am not so delighted about other aspects on reflection.

My one problem was – which one to pick up first to read! And what a great problem to have.

book cover This one came from the Book Depository UK. This one was a bit of a shot in the dark because I had seen so many good reviews for it. See my next book – postage is free although I guess may have a little added to book cost I bet. Cost of book $20 NZ. Best of bunch cost wise.

book coverDance Away With Me I had pre-ordered from Amazon USA months ago. And then to be sent my CC had to be changed to pay for it and whatever I did, didn’t work. So.. after about an hour I decided to cancel it and re-order. Bingo – back in business. And imagine my surprise when it turned up on my doorstep a week later. Of course the postage cost was a big ouch. No… a huge ouch. How did that happen. Just looking again. No wonder it came in a week. It cost way more than the hardback book itself. Did I tick a wrong box!! I do need my head examined. Just pretended to buy another book. No! No box to tick, they just put in the one way of sending. Oh well a bit wiser now! Okay I’ll tell you $30.98 USA. That’s about $55 NZ. Looks like I may have to part ways with more than my money. Bye bye books from Amazon by post.

book cover Alpha Night I had pre-ordered here from online shop Mighty Ape. There was a lag because the publisher was having trouble getting things transported. I know because I asked them on Twitter! Anyway it landed on my door on the same day as Dance Away With Me. Cost of  courier  was I $3.90. Out of the five books that arrived this week, this was the one I am choosing to read first. It’s one of my favourite series and well Nalini Singh lives in NZ.

book coverThe following post My Pear Shaped Life was sitting there. This is by an Irish author that I am now obsessed by and this is her latest book. I’d ordered it from the Book Depository UK months ago but there were problems and then they couldn’t post the version I had pre-ordered. So then… I ordered another one and after a long lag this one began its journey across the world. Just so happy to have it now to even look at happily. Cost of book $30.51 NZ

book coverJust when I thought book life couldn’t get any better this one turned up yesterday. From Mighty Ape NZ so cost $3.90 by courier. Cost of paperback in NZ dollars was $36. Books are expensive here. That’s pretty normal for a paperback. $30 if you are lucky to buy it on a slightly dropped price.

 

So all books in the hand but leaving quite a big hole in my book budget. Lucky for me there are not many books this season that I really want as actual books.  Well as far as I know anyway! But post has turned out to be somewhat a revelation to myself!

Why don’t I buy these from the walk in local book stores? They don’t carry books like these, except maybe a small shelf of Nalini Singh. Very toffee nosed readers in NZ.

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Book Connections

Anticipated TBP Books for 2020

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I always like to check up on favourite authors and what they might be publishing next. These five I plan on buying.

My biggest lookout would be the one coming out in June by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. She doesn’t write a book every year so I always look forward to the year she does. It doesn’t have a cover yet so here is the place holder. I have already pre-ordered a hard copy from Amazon! Right now it is cheaper than the paperback and the same as the Kindle price!

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When life throws her one setback too many, midwife and young widow Tess Hartsong takes off for Runaway Mountain. In this small town high in the Tennessee mountains, surrounded by nature, she hopes to outrun her heartbreak and find the solace she needs to heal. 

Another author I’ve come to like is Sarah Morgan and her next one comes out in April.

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I couldn’t find any information about what it is about, but that’s okay. It says on the cover “Who says you can’t choose your family?”  Good enough for me. Will pre-order from the Book Depository.

K. A. Tucker – a Canadian author has become a favourite of mine in the last few years. This one is the continuation of her previous book The Simple Wild.

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Calla Fletcher returns to Toronto a different person, struggling to find direction and still very much in love with the rugged bush pilot she left behind. When Jonah arrives on her doorstep with a proposition she can’t dismiss, she takes the leap and rushes back to Alaska to begin their exciting future together.  
But! It sounds like it’s not all a bed of roses.  Publishes in March. Again will pre-order from the Book Depository.

Fiona Lowe is an Australian author and I really liked her book Home Fires, so I have had my eye on her next one. It publishes in February. I’ll buy it locally, I resisted requesting it for review. I want the actual copy to read and put on my book shelf.

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Australian author Fiona Lowe returns with a juicy family saga, set against the backdrop of Victoria’s high country, about unforgettable characters tangled together by a wealthy inheritance, secrets and betrayal.

Lastly one from Anne Bogel. I’ve already pre-ordered this from the Book Depository.  It publishes in March.

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We’ve all been there: stuck in a cycle of what-ifs, plagued by indecision, paralyzed by the fear of getting it wrong. Nobody wants to live a life of constant overthinking, but it doesn’t feel like something we can choose to stop doing. It feels like something we’re wired to do, something we just can’t escape. But is it?

Anne has some strategies for us in making the small and large decisions.  I predict it will be worth reading.

I am sure very soon I will have another list of five publishing this year that I want. Do you make a list of authors you keep an eye on, for what they are publishing next?

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Review

First Star I See Tonight. Susan Elizabeth Phillips

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Published:William Morrow
Date: August 2016
Format: Hardback
Pages:370
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Own book
Rating:
4.5 stars         Add to Goodreads

Piper Dove is a woman with a dream—to become the best detective in the city of Chicago. First job? Trail former Chicago Stars quarterback, Cooper Graham. Problem? Graham’s spotted her, and he’s not happy.Which is why a good detective needs to think on her feet. “The fact is…I’m your stalker. Not full-out barmy. Just…mildly unhinged.”

Piper soon finds herself working for Graham himself, although not as the bodyguard he refuses to admit he so desperately needs. Instead, he’s hired her to keep an eye on the employees at his exclusive new nightclub. But Coop’s life might be in danger, and Piper’s determined to protect him, whether he wants it or not. (Hint: Not!) If only she weren’t also dealing with a bevy of Middle Eastern princesses, a Pakistani servant girl yearning for freedom, a teenager who just wants to fit in, and an elderly neighbor demanding Piper find her very dead husband. And then there’s Cooper Graham himself, a legendary sports hero who always gets what he wants—even if what he wants is a feisty detective hell bent on proving she’s as tough as he is.

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Another book by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. An auto buy for me ever since I chose an audiobook Match Me If You Can many years ago now.  Since then I have eagerly awaited her books, and have been guided by her readers both on her board (since disbanded) and her Facebook groups. They have given suggestions for my reading way before I started blogging.
First Star I See Tonight was a fun read, a romantic comedy, that has a feisty, stubborn, in your face heroine and a charming, equally stubborn hero.  I found myself laughing out loud in places and enjoying every word. It is so well written, full of drama, a little suspense and all round quirky characters.
Piper at the beginning of the book is finding it hard to get her investigative detective agency underway.  When she finally finds work at Cooper Graham’s night club, she soon has it hopping in all kinds of ways. Cooper doesn’t quite know where he is, but one things sure, Piper takes the job seriously and nothing is going to go under the radar. 
I was invested in these two characters and loved each move that they made. What would each of them do next? I wanted to read on and slow it down because I didn’t want to let them go. 
If you only read a little contemporary romance, put this one on your list. It is not over the top sexy, it is just plain filled with great characters, a well paced, something always happening kind of book.  Kick back and relax and just read for total pleasure. Susan Elizabeth Phillips sets out to entertain and bring a little joy into the world. She succeeds.
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Review

Heroes Are My Weakness Susan Elizabeth Phillips

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Heroes Are My Weakness
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Publisher: William Morrow
Date:  2014
Format:  Hardback
Pages: 367
Genre: Contemporary Gothic Romance
Source: Own book

The dead of winter. An isolated island off the coast of Maine. A man. A woman. A sinister house looming over the sea …

He’s a reclusive writer whose macabre imagination creates chilling horror novels. She’s a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids’ puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill with laughs.

But she’s not laughing now. When she was a teenager, he terrified her. Now they’re trapped together on a snowy island off the coast of Maine. Is he the villain she remembers or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes.

It’s going to be a long, hot winter.

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Susan Elizabeth Phillips has changed it up a little with her latest book.  In a salute to some of her favourite writers of earlier years she has written a novel that combines elements of the gothic with her own contemporary romance style.  It works for me!  Why churn out more of the same all the time?
She has challenged herself as a writer and has then challenged her readers to adapt as well.  I applaud her for that, and it is with the promise of a good book to be relished, I settled down to read this one.
I was soon engulfed in a cold, wintery scene with a menacing atmosphere.  Annie the heroine has arrived on the island of Peregrine off the coast of Maine.  She is penniless and accompanied by her beloved puppets and she is heading for the only item to her name, Moonraker Cottage.  If she wants to keep this cottage she has to live on it for two months or she loses it. A condition laid down by the owner of the towering house just above the cottage – Harp House. Her mother when dying said that Annie would find something in the cottage that would be her inheritance.
At the moment the owner is away and living in Harp House is Theo the son, and past nemesis of Annie – they have a history, and its left a bad taste in Annie’s mouth.  When things start to become menacing for Annie, naturally she blames Theo and has her own little ways of getting back at him, she has skills does Annie that come in handy at times.
Also at Harp House is a beautiful black stallion, a black cat called Hannibal, Jaycie the housekeeper and her mute four year old daughter, Livie.  Annie immediately connects with Livie, or actually its Scamp that connects with Livie.  As I said Annie is gifted in many ways.  I loved how this relationship developed.  Wonderful.
I appreciated the accomplished writing, the revealing of the various characters in their highlights and lowlights, the mystery – I didn’t pay enough attention to the little hints of who was ultimately trying to be rid of Annie, but it was logical when all was revealed.  The characters are realistic and a little different, the exploration of their background history was so much part of the story.  The puppets were an inspired addition and I loved Annie’s use of them.  Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s quirky humour was evident, although I didn’t have a laugh out loud moment until I was quite a way into the book.  
At first I found Theo unlikeable, but that changed as I read on.  The romance between Annie and Theo is delightful and sizzling – there is some heat, but it does not dominate the book – I like that.  Loved the epilogue – thank you Susan Elizabeth Phillips for another wonderful read.
5 stars

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