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July Reading Wrap Up

July Reading Wrap Up

Welcome to my July reading wrap-up:

The total of books I read in July was: 13

Of these: I didn’t read any Library Books, 8 were E-books and 5 were from my physical TBR pile

Then: Out of the books I read I discovered 7 ‘new for me’ authors (i.e. the first time I have read their work).

And: 4 of the books read were written by Australian authors.

Best Book of the month: I had 3 ‘A’ books in July. I give ‘A’s (or 5 stars) to books that, regardless of genre, are complete page turners for me, that have me reading late into the night, suck me straight into the story and leaves me wanting more at the end; and of course, it should go without saying, I utterly recommend you read it. If I give a high score to a book it means it is a top example of whatever genre it belongs to. Someone else may turn their nose up at giving 5 stars to a light and fluffy romance, but if it is the best example of a light and fluffy romance then it is just as worthy of 5 stars than a dreary angst ridden book that wins some great literary award. If I give a high score to a book it means it is a top example of whatever genre it belongs to.

The two genres that made it into my top 3 were a Contemporary Romance, a Paranormal Romance and a Classic Children’s Fantasy. The books were Only We Know by Victoria Purman, The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Gouge and The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride by Kristen Painter. Both were books I read from beginning to end without pause. Both were excellent examples of their respective genres. However I can only pick one, so my book of the month for July was THE LITTLE WHITE HORSE by Elizabeth Goudge. It is a story I have read over, and over, and over again since I was around 12 – it is timeless and I never, ever tire of it.

Least Favourite Book(s):

I say ‘least favourite’ because my lowest ‘score’ still means it is very readable, but for one reason or another I found it a bit of struggle to stay focused and finish. I only struggled with two books this month The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory and Lord James Harrington and the Winter Mystery by Lynn Florkiewicz. Actually I really, really struggled with Lord James Harrington and it came very close to being a ‘Did Not Finish’, so this is why it has won the dubious honour of being my least favourite book of the month. This is just my personal opinion and you may find that it may very well be perfect for you.

General Summary:

Because I am an eclectic reader I read many different genres, sometimes at the same time! This month the different genres covered were Young Adult, children’s, Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance, Mystery, Historical (set over 50 years ago), Contemporary Fiction (set in the last 50 years), Dystopian and Science Fiction. Many of the books were a blend of two or more genre.

The 4 Australian authors for July was one of the new-for-me authors Vicki Tyley; along with Kate Forsyth, Victoria Purman and Rinelle Grey. Just to clarify an Australian author is defined by me as either an Australian born author no matter where they live and write in the world now, or an author who currently lives and writes in Australia even though they have been born elsewhere.

Finally, the 7 ‘new-for-me’ authors this month was my Aussie author Vicki Tyley; along with Heather Blake, Antonia Honeywell, Amy Engel, Kristen Painter, Ovidia Yu and Lynn Florkiewicz. With the exception of Lynn Florkiewicz I would happily read all of these new authors again.

Interesting book related links that I’ve come across this month:

Looking at one of my favourite genre – Young Adult – which lends itself to so many sub-genres:

What’s behind the boom in dystopian fiction for young readers?

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/06/14/fresh-hell-2

Reading list of Science Fiction recommended for Young Adults

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com.au/2011/11/science-fiction-for-young-adults.html

And when they are not struggling with a new world order, or whizzing around in out space – Young Adults are falling in love and solving mysteries:

Romance – http://www.epicreads.com/blog/30-contemporary-ya-romance-reads/

Mystery – http://www.cozy-mystery.com/agatha-awards-best-children-young-adult.html

The List

So let’s get onto what this post is about – what did I read during July? Here is the list of books that I read during the last month (each group is in the order I read them):

A (5 stars) = Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down

Only We Know by Victoria Purman – Contemporary Romance

The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge – Children’s Fantasy

The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride by Kristen Painter – Paranormal Romance

B (4 stars) = Really Good Read

It Takes a Witch by Heather Blake – Paranormal Mystery

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – Fantasy

Thin Blood by Vicki Tyley – Contemporary Mystery

The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel – YA Science Fiction/Dystopian

The Beast of Blackmoor Bog by Kate Forsyth – Children’s Fantasy

Aunty Lee’s Delights by Ovidia Yu – Cosy Mystery

The Ship by Antonia Honeywell – YA Science Fiction/Dystopian

Waking the Dragon by Rinelle Grey – Fantasy Romance

C (3 stars) = Above Average – very readable and enjoyable

No ‘C’ reads for me this month

D (2 stars) = Average – it was OK, a bit of a struggle to finish

The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory – Historical

Lord James Harrington and the Winter Mystery by Lynn Florkiewicz – Mystery

So onward to August – Woo Hoo! I wonder what book goodies I will discover this month? My daughter is getting married mid-month and there will be an intensive week and a half of catching up with friends and relatives which will seriously impact on my reading!

Title: Only We Know

Author: Victoria Purman

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Opens: Calla Maloney just wanted it to stop…

My Thoughts: Victoria Purman is one of a handful of authors who is on my ‘must grab every book she writes’ list, and she did not let me down with ONLY WE KNOW.

The story is set on Kangaroo Island which is off the South Australian Coast and a destination that is still on my wish list. There are two ways onto the island – small plane or ferry. ONLY WE KNOW opens on the ferry with Calla Maloney searching frantically for somewhere to hurl!!! Sam Hunter comes to her assistance and directs her outside where she can do so safely. There is instant awareness between the two, but each has come to the island for a purpose rather than a holiday. Sam comes from Kangaroo Island but is now working as a fireman back in Adelaide; his father lives alone on the family sheep farm and is in the early stages of dementia. Sam’s role is to persuade his father to give up the farm and go into care. Calla is an art teacher who has just come out of a heartbreaking relationship and has arrived to find her missing brother who disappeared the day their father was buried two years earlier; she received a tip indicates that he might be living here now.

Once they set foot on dry land they keep bumping into each other and they instantly both feel strongly attracted to each other, even though they both are recovering from disastrous relationships and are not looking for love. Being a love story you know that something has to bring them together so that they focus on each other – and the trigger in this case is a bad vehicle accident where Sam’s training as a fireman has him using the accident as an excuse to sleep over at Calla’s rental to make sure she is ok. Minds out of the gutter people – this scene is innocent. After this event the story takes off and the ‘love skirmish’ begins as they advance and retreat, attract and repel, and leave you on the edge of the seat wondering how on earth they are ever going to get together.

I was swept up into the story almost immediately and really bonded with the chocolate loving, wine appreciative Calla; she’s my type of girl. She has lost all confidence in herself and is running around keeping everyone else happy and not daring to be happy herself. Sam has his own problems, he has rejected the island but now he is seeing everything anew through Calla as she hones in on perspectives that he has never noticed. What was ‘same old same old’ is now new and fresh.

ONLY WE KNOW is about families and relationships, and how both can either break your heart or be the making of you; pull you down or support you. Both Sam and Calla have broken families and been badly hurt in relationships but they come to learn that you can make your own family to replace a broken one and create new, strong relationships to replace soul destroying ones. They just have to let go of the past and grab the future.

Kangaroo Island is a perfect setting for the deep emotions that unfold during the story – the wildness of hurt and the peacefulness of acceptance matches the wildness of the Island and the peacefulness of the scenery. All of the characters in the book come alive on the pages and are totally believable and I came to care for Sam’s dad quite deeply as he reminded me of my dad in so many ways – even the minor ones – the pub conversations are spot on. The descriptions of the scenery are vivid and the emotions just swirl around your own heart as you read. There is a Happy Ending – romances do – that’s why we love them. But it is a bumpy ride to get there – and tears will be shed, well I shed them anyway.

For more about the author – Click Here

A – Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it.

With thanks to Harlequin MIRA Australia and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

Title: Wolves of the Witchwood & The Beast of Blackmoor

Author: Kate Forsyth

Genre: Children’s/YA Fantasy

My Thoughts: THE WOLVES OF THE WITCHWOOD and THE BEAST OF BLACKMOOR BOG are books 2 & 3 in The Impossible Quest series by Kate Forsyth; a fabulous adventure set in the faraway fantasy land of Wolfhaven. Four young teens band together to save their world. Tom, the son of the Wolfhaven Castle cook; Lady Elanor, the daughter of the Lord of Wolfhaven; Sebastian, a young squire who dreams of being a knight and thinks he is superior to Tom; and Quinn, who is an orphan, an apprenticed witch, and think she knows everything. Wolfhaven Castle is captured by Lord Mortlake who uses evil magic to achieve his goal, taking over the world. The 4 mismatched teens manage to escape with the help of the castle witch – who gives each of them a magical gift. With no time to tell them what their gift will do for them, part of the quest is also to unlock the mystery of their gifts. Now they need to try and awaken some legendary sleeping warriors from the past and overthrow Lord Mortlake and his evil plans for taking over the world.

Before they can bring the warriors to life the group need to stop squabbling and work together to find a Unicorn, a Griffin, a Dragon and a Sea Serpent. By the end of these two books they have found 3 of their mythical animals with one more to go. In Witchwood they meet Tom’s mysterious father and a blind witch, Wilda. On Blackmoor the team splits up (always a mistake) and reach one of the castles they are seeking military assistance from. As you would expect when only half way through a series all is not as it seems and the story races along to a life or death climax in the middle of a spooky bog in the middle of the moor.

Overall the books are a fast read as the group lurches from one crisis to another and the plot twists and turns. However, there is real growth in each of the main characters as they get further along in the adventure; they are learning about themselves and their gift, and become a team rather than being just thrown together due to circumstances.

I love the land of Wolfhaven – as with many fantasy novels the setting is medieval, with castles, bows and arrow, knights and a strict social hierarchy. Throw in magical creatures – both good and evil, witches, a talking pendant and tame wolves and you have a wonderful adventure. THE WOLVES OF THE WITCHWOOD really had just the one task to do with all the gang involved as they worked out their own social hierarchy, then THE BEAST OF BLACKMOOR BOG had a few story lines going with the group splitting up into different task threads and heading off in different directions to do what needed to be done. Kate Forsyth cleverly pulled the threads back into line by the end of the book and the teens moved off as one to start their quest for the final creature that they need.

I know I am not the age of the intended audience – but I am really enjoying the adventure. I like how each of the main characters are becoming aware of their weaknesses and finding their strengths. How they are losing sight of their differences and becoming unified in their similarities. The 4th book in the series – THE DROWNED KINGDOM – has now been released, with one more to go, BATTLE OF THE HEROES, being released in a couple of months.

For more about the author – Click Here

B – Great – I really enjoyed reading them both and recommend them to all my friends who like this genre.

Title: The Book of Ivy

Author: Amy Engel

Genre: YA Dystopian

Opens: No one wears white wedding dresses anymore …

Blurb: After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together after more conflict over which family would govern the few survivors. The Westfalls, my family, lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual. This year, it is my turn. My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.

My Thoughts: I have had THE BOOK OF IVY sitting on my TBR pile for a few months now and am so glad I picked it up because I really enjoyed it. After a nuclear war little bands of survivors were scattered around and gradually banded together and erected a large fence around a small town that had escaped the worst of the damage. Then the fighting started again – two families jostled for power, The Westfalls who had started the community and the Lattimers who came along later. The Lattimers won and the head of the family called himself President Lattimer and it became a hereditary title rather than a democratically decided one. The Westfalls and their followers were relegated to a lesser position in the community. In order to ensure peace a law was brought in that made every 16-year-old girl on the Westfall side of town present herself for a wedding to a 16-year-old Lattimer boy. They all had to fill out a questionnaire to be perfectly matched. The idea behind this is that the Westfalls would not risk rebelling and killing their daughters and grandchildren. Punishment for disobedience was harsh – the convicted person would be pushed outside the fence to try and survive on their own.

Ivy Westfall’s father has come up with a plan to overthrow the Lattimer’s, His youngest daughter Ivy is scheduled to marry President Lattimer’s only child – Bishop. Ivy must kill Bishop and the rest of the Westfall’s will kill the President. Her older sister was groomed to be the killer, but when she presents herself at 16 to marry Bishop he announces he doesn’t want to marry until he is 18. This meant that Ivy was to be the one he married and she had just two years to be turned into a killer, an instinct she is not really comfortable with, but resigned to do. Trouble is once Ivy moves in with Bishop, and she sees that maybe things are not as her father has portrayed, her attitude begin to change.

THE BOOK OF IVY is not a fast paced story – but it keeps you riveted with a storyline that contains murder plots, betrayal, uncovered truths and love. To save her people Ivy has to make a sacrifice, she has to kill her husband and risk execution. But as she gets to know her new spouse, and realise he is nothing like his father, she comes to love and admire him and so becomes torn between allegiance to her family and love of her husband.

Ivy was a wonderful complex character – strong yet vulnerable, determined not to love her husband but being deeply attracted to him, trained to kill yet hating violence. Eventually she alone finds the courage and strength to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Then there is Bishop. What a wonderful male lead he is. Not a bad boy come good – he IS good. He is thoughtful, considerate, able to cook and clean, is determined, a strong sense of right and wrong – and if there was a little old lady I am sure he would have helped her across the road.

THE BOOK OF IVY is very thought provoking – the story is definitely character driven and it really makes you think – what would you do if you were Ivy? I am not sure I would have the strength of mind and courage to do what she does. And what did she do? Well you will have to buy the book for yourself and see – and along the way you will meet some very good support characters, both good and wicked. If I had a gripe at all then it would be the world building was not as in depth as I would have liked – the reader is certainly given a sense of everyday life, but not enough to really see what deprivations they must have had after an all-out nuclear holocaust. The next book THE REVOLUTION OF IVY is due out in November and I have already got it on pre-order

For more about the author – Click Here

B – Great – I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.

Title: The Ship

Author: Antonia Honeywell

Genre: Sci-Fi/Dystopian

Opens: Right up to the day we boarded, I wondered whether the ship was just a myth…

Blurb: Welcome to London, but not as you know it today. Oxford Street burned for three weeks. The British Museum is squatted by ragtag survivors. The Regent’s Park camps have been bombed. The Nazareth Act has come into force – if you can’t immediately produce your identity card, you will be shot.

Lalla, 16, has grown up sheltered from this new reality by her parents. But now the chaos has reached their doorstep. Her father has promised Lalla and her mother that they will escape. Escape is a ship big enough to save 500 people. But only the worthy will be chosen. Once on board, as day follows identical day, Lalla’s unease grows. Where are they going? What does her father really want?

My Thoughts: The narrator of THE SHIP is Lalla, who is an interesting character. At 16 she is part child, part woman, and still formulating her outlook on life, a life that she quickly realises she knows nothing about. She comes over at times as a spoilt brat and utterly self-centred, which is not surprising as she has been the sole focus of her parents for 16 years – protected from the horrors of a disintegrating society for most of that time. Now she is of an age where she can no longer be protected from the reality of life. While she lives in a clean flat in central London with a bed and clothes and protection from the elements and access to what little food there is available; others live rough. Homeless and hungry, dispossessed people and refugees living in the streets, abandoned buildings and parks of London are often culled by the ruling party. Culling means parks being bombed; street dwellers shot and buildings being sealed and all those squatting inside being gassed to death. There is no place to go – the land has been poisoned, the climate change has resulted in large parts of the world flooding and super viruses whipping out millions of people.

But Lalla’s father has a plan. He has stocked a ship, an ark if you will, to save his family and 500 other people and sail to a better place. As THE SHIP opens, the time has come to get on the ship. Lalla’s mother is still reluctant to up roots and go even though society is falling apart however as they are in the flat arguing a shot rings out and Lalla’s mum goes down. Now they have to go to the ship as that is where there is medical help. After a dramatic departure the ship sets sail and Lalla watches her mother die.

“…The woman and the doctor stood quietly by, and when he fell back, they caught him and led him away, supporting him on either side. I longed to call out, to go with them. But my mother was dead; I had made her death a painful one. And so I hid, unable to move, unable to cry out to the doctor who thought I’d killed her, or to the father who had, however briefly, forgotten me…”

Lalla has to go through her morning period and author Antonia Honeywell must have experienced great loss to perfectly recreate a teen who has reached the end of her tether. Gradually though she starts to take an interest in what is happening around her – and with the interest comes the questions. Just what is her father up to? Despite being on a ship with 500 other people, and a young man who is interested in her as a girlfriend, Lalla is lonely and confused. She gradually understands that all of the others have been to hell and back – suffered as she didn’t think people could suffer – but she still resents them being there and almost worshiping her father as he becomes increasingly messianic almost. As she hears the stories of those who have been through these horrors her compassionate side is revealed and she has a big heart and wants to help everyone. Even those who have not been chosen to join the ship.

Her father encourages everyone to not hang onto the past, he becomes their son, their father, their children, and their future. But what is the future going to be, and how can he expect Lalla to forget her mother? As she learns about what has happened in the rest of the world, Lalla starts to believes that there can be no future. And the dreams she has when her mother speaks to her only compound her overwhelming feelings of hopelessness – why does no one on the ship seem worried about where they are going – what the future is going to bring?

I really, really enjoyed this story. THE SHIP is a brilliant concept and though Honeywell’s glimpse of the future is quite terrifyingly real (as there are hints already around the globe that it can happen the way she foresees) it is also thought provoking and it is not too late to start lobbying to change the direction of our world. In the end the focus of the story is how far would you go to survive? THE SHIP is a debut novel and I for one will be keeping an eye out for more from this author.

For more about the author – Click Here

B – Great – I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.

With thanks to Hachette Australia and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

Title: Thin Blood

Author: Vicki Tyley

Genre: Mystery

Blurb: Craig Edmonds is a successful businessman who reports the disappearance of his wife, Kirsty, after he wakes up with a hangover. What starts as a typical missing person’s case soon evolves into a full-blown homicide investigation when forensics discover blood traces and dark-blonde hairs in the boot of the missing woman’s car. Added to this, is the revelation that Craig’s is having an affair with the victim’s younger sister, Narelle, and he had recently purchased a $1,000,000 insurance policy on his wife’s life. He is charged with murder but, with no body and only circumstantial evidence, he walks free.

Ten years later Jacinta Deller, a newspaper journalist, is working on a freelance story about missing persons, when she comes across the all but forgotten Edmonds case. She discovers her boyfriend, Brett, works with Narelle and she is now married to Craig Edmonds. Jacinta thinks she has found the perfect angle for her article and makes arrangements for Craig and Narelle to come over for dinner. Soon her life is turned upside down, when she becomes good friends with Narelle, some bodies are found and the focus is again on Craig for murder.

My Thoughts: Many of my online friends have been raving over how good Vicki Tyley books are, but I have only just got around to reading one for myself. Why, oh why, have I waited so long?THIN BLOOD is Vicki’s debut novel and I am glad that there are at least four more for me to read as this one grabbed me from the very first page.

I have to tell you that it is written so well that I suspected just about everyone at some stage, there was no way Vicki was going to let you figure out the end until she was good and ready to let her readers in on the plot!! There were more twists and turns than I would of thought possible and all of them set in a great story that encouraged you to actually care for the characters.

The main character is Jacinta and I had a love/hate relationship with her character, starting out disliking her but changing my mind as her character grew. Jacinta went from being a self-seeking, care for no one to get her story person, to someone who realised she had a heart and wasn’t meant to be cut-throat, no holds barred, investigative journalist. She started off by using her boyfriend to get access to Narelle and Craig for no other purpose than to get her story, this is when I disliked her. Gradually she does become torn between her professional life and her instant bonding Narelle and becoming friends. Now she wants to prove Narelle innocent and protect her from the investigation. As the events heats up and danger increases Jacinta still can’t back off and let the police do their job. Telling them what she knows may have helped solve the case quicker. Overall I really enjoyed THIN BLOOD – there was main story of the missing wife, then then the sub plots to do with two bodies found in a forest and Jacinta’s childhood. The chapters were short and snappy. There were some surprises, especially at the climatic reveal at the end, but nothing from left field, definite tension with some occasions spent on the edge of my seat. I recommend you read this if you like mysteries that grip you but don’t overwhelm you with blood and gore.

For more about the author – Click Here

B – Great – I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.

Title: My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises (AKA – My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry)

Author: Fredrik Backman

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Quote: Every seven-year-old deserves a superhero…

Blurb: Granny has been telling fairy tales for as long as Elsa can remember. In the beginning they were only to make Elsa go to sleep, and to get her to practise granny’s secret language, but lately the stories have another dimension as well. Something Elsa can’t quite put her finger on…’

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy. Standing on the balcony firing paintball guns at men who want to talk about Jesus crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa dreams about to her grandmother’s stories, to the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas. There, everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.

So when Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has upset, it marks the beginning of Elsa’s greatest adventure. Her grandmother’s letters lead her to other rooms in her apartment block full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones – but also to the truth about fairytales, kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

My Thoughts: MY GRANDMOTHER SENDS HER REGARDS AND APOLOGISES is written from the point of view of a 7 year old girl. A very advanced 7 year old girl, precocious even; many of my reading friends commented that the story does not read how a ‘normal’ 7 year old would speak – it didn’t bother me at all – I am suspecting Elsa is extra ordinary and may be either a genius or on the Autistic spectrum, possibly both! In the end it did not distract from the story rather it added another element.

Elsa’s parents are divorced and her mother is pregnant with her new husband, George. And her father is remarried and lives with his new wife and her children. Elsa is understandably concerned about her place within the two family units, wondering if the new children in her parents’ lives will push her out, she turns to her grandmother for the undivided attention that she so desperately needs. You see Elsa has problems – because she is advanced and openly reads Harry Potter books, Spider man comics and knows how to search Wikipedia, the other kids her age at school bully her terribly. Her parents don’t get it – thinks she is the one who is causing the trouble, only her grandmother understands and attempts to give Elsa the tools she needs to get through this emotionally turbulent time of her life. Her grandmother introduces her to the five magical kingdoms in the Land-of-Almost-Awake, each with a special logic and sphere for heroic action. The five kingdoms are so complex that I got lost once or twice trying to work out what was going on. There are storytellers from Miamas, the dream hunters from Mirevas, the sorrow-keepers from Miploris, the musicians from Mimovas, and the warriors of Mibatalos. These kingdoms were where Elsa could retreat in her mind as she tried to use them to explain the events that are happening around her.

Then, near the beginning of the book, her grandmother dies, and just before this happens she gives Elsa an envelope and asks her to deliver the letter to the person it is addressed to and that the person won’t accept it but Elsa has to insist and say “…granny sends her regards and says she’s sorry…” So begins the rest of the story, as Elsa starts out on her quest that has its basis in both the real world and the fantasy world of the five kingdoms. The first letter leads her to a Wurse (a giant of a dog that has to be hidden), and then the Monster (a man with cleanliness phobia and says little) and then with their help she moves on to many other characters that dwell in the five kingdoms – and in the apartment block that Elsa lives in.

“…Elsa decides they should begin by taking the bus, like normal knights on normal quests in more or less normal fairytales when there aren’t any horses or cloud animals available. But when all the other people at the bus stop starts eyeing The Monster and the wurse and nervously shuffling as far away from them as it’s possible to be without ending up at the next bus stop, she realises it’s not going to be quite so straightforward.

On boarding the bus it becomes immediately clear that wurses are not at all partial to travelling on public transport. After it had snuffled about and stepped on people’s toes and overturned bags with its tail and accidently dribbled a bit on a seat a little too close to The Monster for The Monster to feel entirely comfortable, Elsa decides to forget the whole thing, and then all three of them get off. Exactly one stop later…”

The quest becomes more dangerous and Elsa has to rely on the recipients of the letters to help her – and one will even lay down their life for her. Oh I cried buckets over that. The supporting cast of characters all live, as I mentioned before, in the same apartment block and are all connected to each other through granny. Like the 5 kingdoms their connections and their background stories are complex but by the end of the book all the dots are joined and the healing can begin for everyone.

Funny, moving, occasionally confusing, MY GRANDMOTHER SENDS HER REGARDS AND APOLOGISES made me laugh, and it made me cry, and I certainly felt inspired by people who lend a hand when help is required. It is not a children’s book – don’t think that because the main character is 7 that it is aimed at children. It is definitely a grown-ups book.

For more about the author – Click Here (sorry it is in Swedish so you’ll have to translate it)

B – Great – I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.

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