Book Connections

Half Year Favourites 2020

Some books are just so readable and satisfying, I watch anxiously where I am in the book because I don’t want it to end. When I am going “oh I am only at 31%” then that’s the opposite and I know I don’t really like it.

Here are five I really liked so far this year and gave 5 stars. One New Zealand author, two from the USA, one British and one Australian.  That wasn’t planned but that’s how it worked out. Two were audiobooks and  two I have in paperback. One was a review book from NetGalley. Oh and I have Becoming in hardback as well as audio!  So if I could only save five books from the first half of 2020, these are the ones!

All these authors would now be auto reads/listens now.

book coverIt’s no secret I love this series and this book was filled with the beauty and compassion Nalini Singh brings to this pay/changeling series.

Book CoverSuch an inspiring memoir and narrated so well by herself.

 

 

 

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Jenny Colgan brings very likeable characters and her settings are part of it. Excellent on audio.

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A complicated family story that just glued me to the book.

 

book coverLoved the characters, the garden, the writing.

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Connections

The Best of Friendships

When reading I love coming across really good friendships, doesn’t matter who they are between. There is something both inspiring and wholesome about it. These are five books where I came across that kind of friendship.

 

book cover We watch the unlikely friendship of a ninety two year old woman – Mrs G, and Raymond a seventeen year old, develop.  And its a meaty friendship – genuine and full of caring. I loved both these characters and how they related to each other.  Mrs G is blind, she has lived a full life and has a lot of wisdom. But she is in need of help big time. Raymond is a lonely seventeen year old – one who feels he has never been “seen” or understood. Mrs G really sees him! Loved this relationship.

 

book coverIn One Summer in Paris we see the friendship between Grace – in her forties and a teen Audrey. Grace has come to Paris to escape the fact her husband has left her for a “new version” about the same age as their daughter! Audrey has come to escape the alcoholism disease that her mother has. Due to various circumstances they form a great friendship that helps both of them move forwards in their lives.  Loved the two of them, loved the book.

 

book cover The beautiful friendship that develops between Arthur and Maddy. An old man who visits his wife at the cemetery every day, and Maddy an eighteen year old teen who really is very alone.

 

book coverThere’s more than friendship in this book, but.. there is some examples of wonderful, positive friendship. Especially the one that develops between Gray and Diana. Gray is divorced and 34. Diana is about 40 and is really down on her luck. Diana ends up working for Gray who is a reasonably wealthy woman who needs some good organisation and Diana is your one. They both have big challenges in life but the bond that forms between them, moves each of them forwards and into what is likely to be a life long friendship.

book coverI’ve mentioned this book before in terms of an author I now want to read everything he writes. But here I want to mention the theme of friendship where it makes a huge difference in some lives. It’s between an old woman and a young child and the old woman and the little girls parents. I really loved seeing how it all developed.

 

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Book Connections, Review

Books Recommended by Others

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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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Book Connections

Recent New to Me Authors I Have Added to My Want To Read More List

It is always a danger finding a new author I like! It adds to that TBR list for sure. I find new authors through other reader/bloggers, the MMD reading club and summer guide and just picking up a book at either NetGalley or a shop I think I might like.

book coverAlix E. Harrow.

I admit this is not my usual kind of read. But it sufficiently hooked me with its premise of doors opening into different worlds and its theme of safety versus freedom and choice. She has a new one this year and I will certainly give it a read to see if its really me.

book coverSofie Ryan.

I am not much of a cosy book reader but Sofie Ryan has managed to hook me with her cat Elvis (see I even remember his name without having to go look it up). I like the characters and so it is why I will go back and keep reading this series. Who knows after that!

book cover Emma Hannigan.

I loved this story about five women and their households. At first I thought it would be too many people to keep track of, but I soon slipped easily into the goings on of Kingfisher Road, and was cheering them all on. While it covers a few serious issues, each woman has secrets, there is a light warm hearted tone to the book which was so uplifting. The women vary in age ranging from 70 to 20, yet the supportive kindness they extend to each other is wonderful. Maybe everything wraps up a little too well but I am not really complaining. I think I have one of her books already on my TBR shelf which I must reach!book cover

Viola Shipman

I think its two books I have now read by Viola Shipman and I like his writing. I find its just the right kind of characters and warmth that I enjoy, with a little history at times. Will certainly explore any backlog. Must earmark them.

Uzma Jalaluddin

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Uzma is a Canadian author and this was a debut novel I was introduced to by the Modern Mrs Darcy summer reading guide 2019. She hasn’t written another one, but I hope she does and I’d certainly read it. This book was a revamped Pride and Prejudice story, not that I care about that. I just liked the Muslim aspect and the pair involved int he romantic story. So hope she writes another, I’ll buy it and read it.

 

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Review

The Heirloom Garden. Viola Shipman

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Publisher: Harlequin- Graydon House
Date: 28th April 2020
Source: Publicist via NetGalley

The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman is a book to read and relish and stop and ponder. If it doesn’t have you thinking about your own garden and the beauty of flowers, I’ll be really surprised. The book wends its way through the seasons of all the stages of a garden and that of life as well.

Meet Iris, a woman who has built huge walls around her garden, she is a botanist who is very passionate and knowledgeable. She has deeply loved  her family, loved and lost.

Meet Lily a young seven year old who has a mother – Abby, starting a new job – and a father Cody, a returned service man who lies on the couch and seems to be lost in post war horror.

They all have their challenges. Iris is so isolated and  not able to leave her place. Cody can not shake himself out of the stresses of war, Abby must work amongst men who are arrogant and not half as able as she is. Lily – well she has to deal with them all. In a way she is the catalyst that sets all things in motion. She is a total delight.

This is a story of growing friendships, taking small and new steps, reaching out and withdrawing. It’s about the wisdom of age and the wisdom of youth. It is about remembering history and honoring it.

Can you tell I loved this book! It points to the goodness, caring and hope that can be present if we just give it a chance.

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#IMWAYR

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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Review

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 coping. It sure is very odd times. I can’t quite take it all in. My country is today going into complete lock down and closing all except essential services.  A friend and I were laughing on FaceTime last night over the toilet paper spree and how when we were very young um… cut up newspaper was the go to.  I couldn’t cope with that now!!

Our library closes until further notice. I have a couple of books out. I’ve had to limit listening to the radio because they really like to go on about the government not moving fast enough. I think they are making people panic and its not helping – the radio people not the government! They criticise Jacinda Ardern our Prime Minister and her team, but I think they along with everyone else are doing their best.

Take care.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

Loving this.

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Listening to

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Up next:

#2 in series.

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Last Week’s Posts

Comfort Reads

The Grace Kelly Dress Brenda Janowitz

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#IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

badge
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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I had a slow reading week – I know not why! Anyway I did.

I hope everyone is staying well. Uncertain times. Take care everyone.

What I read last week:

I read this one, a sort of memoir of a very entrepreneurial woman who was courageous and hard working. It was interesting to see her grow up on a farm in the USA as she was just a few years younger than myself. (Unfortunately she died a few years back.) The book itself is a little repetitive and could certainly have benefited from some good editing.

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What I am reading now:

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Up next:

 

Last Week’s Posts

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Month in Review

February Reading Wrap Up.

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Total books read this month: 9

New to me authors:

Karen Hawkins
Alix E Harrow. *
Brenda Janowitz.
Sofie Ryan*

Ones I’d read again marked by a *

Top Book for February

Fantasy and most likely in the realm of literary fiction.

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Looking forward to reading in  March

Incoming Books for February

Purchased

Library Books

From NetGalley or Edelweiss

Audio Books Purchased

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Linking up wit Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction.

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