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Here is my weekly roundup of books I’ve read, books I’m reading, Internet places I’ve been and quotes I liked.

This week I have finished:

Book: The North Pole Challenge by Kevin George

Genre: YA Fantasy

Thoughts: Not really my cup of tea – just never took off for me – will not read any more in this series.

Book: Sweet Dreams Baby by C.J. Carmichael

Genre: Romance

Thoughts: Separate review here

Book: Lucy’s Book Club for the Lost and Found by Emma Davies

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Thoughts: Separate review here

My Current reads:

Books I am currently reading, and really enjoying, are:

Steam and Sensibility by Kirsten Weiss – YA Historical Steampunk Mystery set in the Californian Gold rush days.

The Greatest Gift by Rachael Johns – Contemporary Women’s Fiction that looks at infertility and egg donation.

Year One by Nora Roberts – 1st in a new trilogy – a breakaway from her usual work – this is not a romance, and is not a mystery, instead it is a post-apocalyptic novel with strong fantasy coming in once the world as we know it has ended.

Quote/s and links for the week

Links:

5 Outstanding Podcasts for Book Lovers

https://bookriot.com/2017/10/09/podcasts-for-book-lovers/

17 Science Fiction Books That Forever Changed the Genre

https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2017/10/17-science-fiction-books-that-forever-changed-the-genre/

People Who Read Live Longer Than Those Who Don’t

http://bigthink.com/laurie-vazquez/yale-study-people-who-read-live-longer-than-people-who-dont

Quotes:

“…How many times have I shown you how to reboot it? Computers can smell your fear, you know; you have to learn to show them who’s boss. Come on, let’s sort it out…”

From Lucy’s Book Club for the Lost and Found by Emma Davies

“…When Ross MacLeod pulled the trigger and brought down the pheasant, he had no way of knowing he had killed himself. And billions of others…”

From Year One by Nora Roberts

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Title: Lucy’s Book Club for the Lost and Found

Author: Emma Davies

Genre: Romance

Opens: It was late night opening at the library, and Lucy Picklescott had a whole thirty-five minutes to herself before she was due back for the rest of the afternoon shift.

Blurb: Twenty-four-year-old Lucy needs a fresh start. Forever single, frustrated with her studies and dreaming of writing a novel she can’t start, she gives up everything to run home and get a job in a little library in the leafy village of Tilley Moreton. Lucy loves reading books almost as much as she loves fixing other people’s problems, so starting a book club seems like the perfect opportunity to do both. As she meets her new members, it’s clear she’s going to have her work cut out for her. One by one everyone at the book club starts the journey to their happy ever afters – even Lucy.

My Thoughts: The subtitle for Lucy’s Book Club for the Lost and Found is ‘a heart-warming feel good romance novel’, and that’s exactly what this book is. Lia, Hattie, Callum and Oscar all turn up at the library to join the book club. Each of the characters take it in turns to tell the story so it is a good way for the readers to know what is going on in each life before the rest of the cast do. Lia is the sole carer for her mother who has Alzheimer’s; Hattie is a single mum whose daughter has just started school and she wants to make friends; Callum wants to make something of his life but his family and lack of confidence is holding him back; while Oscar (who was my favourite character) is a widower missing his wife. Their stories all intertwine as the group becomes friends and each of them hits a low point before realising they don’t have to face this alone, that they have their book club friends to lift them up and help them crawl back out of their pit.

Lucy’s Book Club for the Lost and Found is a wonderful feel good story with depth. It covers quite contemporary issues such as caring for the sick and elderly, broken relationships, single parenthood and unemployment. Each of the sub-plots have closure although happy ever after is not necessarily riding off into the sunset. Overall, five strangers become five good friends and I certainly recommend the book, and will read more of Emma Davies’ work.

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 Bookouture Publishing and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

Title: Sweet Dreams, Baby

Author: C.J. Carmichael

Genre: Romance

Opens: Three weeks had passed since Portia Bishop mailed the letter she should have sent almost a year earlier. Three very long weeks.

Blurb: Three weeks ago, Portia Bishop mailed a letter to the father of her baby, Saddle Bronc rider Austin Bradshaw. It’s a letter she should have written a long time ago—like when she first found out she was pregnant, shortly after she ended things with Austin, dropped out of college, and went running to her family in Marietta, Montana.

Austin has loved Portia since he first laid his eyes on her in college. A year ago, he convinced her to do something impulsive and very romantic. Now, as he opens her letter, Austin has two reasons to return to Marietta–win back the heart of the woman he still loves and convince her he’s a good bet for a forever man and father.

My Thoughts: I have to confess it was mostly the cover that first drew my attention to this book, followed by the blurb. I have previously read, and enjoyed, another of author C.J. Carmichael’s books – Snowbound in Montana – so I knew I would be in for another good read. I was not disappointed.

Austin arrives in Marietta in response to the letter mentioned in the blurb. He has NO idea he is a daddy until he sees Portia opening the door of the Chocolate Shop where she works, holding a baby. He thinks at first she is babysitting, but she tells him the truth and he gets to hold his son for the very first time. And so the story continues – they are both so young – and so in love but both are scared of committing for different reasons. They are each wanting to make the noble sacrifice for the other, despite being miserable over the sacrifice, and they are both wanting only the best for their son, which may not be the best for them. Lack of communication ensures there is lots of misunderstanding and this angst is played out against a backdrop of three other secondary stories. The Chocolate Shop is in danger of having to close down due to a nasty landlord, there are missing family jewels and fundraising is needed to raise money for the burnt down rodeo stadium.

I loved Austin he is smart, still in love, sporty, strong, considerate and always willing to pitch in and help out where needed – even making chocolate! Portia is very mixed up – with a split home behind her, and feeling rejected by her father she doesn’t want her son to come from a broken home – not even thinking that by not giving him one at all she is letting history repeat. She has been keeping secrets from her family as well as Austin and as the secrets unravel she finally has enough peace and confidence to start making decisions.

Sweet Dreams, Baby is the twelfth and final book in the series and reads perfectly as a stand-alone as I haven’t read any of the other books. Something I plan to remedy.

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 Tule Publishing and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

Here are the books I have finished reading with just a couple of sentences voicing my opinion; along with a sneak peek of all the books I am currently reading (as I never read just one book at a time). I have done well with my books this week – they were all really great reads

1. This week I have finished:

Book: Shield Maiden by Richard Denning

Genre: YA Fantasy

Thoughts: First in a series is a blend of edge of the seat adventure, magic, mythology and medieval history. Four young adventurers go up against Norse Gods and their minions to put a stop to Loki gaining enough powerful artefacts to take over the world and destroy everyone who stands in his way.

Book: Oracles of Delphi Keep by Victoria Laurie

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy Adventure

Thoughts: I really, really enjoyed this rollicking magical adventure – set just as WWII starts – there are more adventures to come.

Book: Bound for Eden by Tess LeSue

Genre: Historical Romance

Thoughts: Separate review here

Book: Miss Frost Cracks a Caper by Kristen Painter

Genre: Paranormal Mystery Romance

Thoughts: Kristen Painter is one of my ‘Grocery List’ Authors – I love her work so much that if she published her grocery list I would read it. This is the 4th in a series and we don’t have a love triangle as there is in the previous 3 – we have a love square!!! Yes, Jayne Frost (daughter of Jack) is being wooed by not 1, not 2 but 3 admirers – an elf, a vampire and now a necromancer! By the end of the story there is one man left standing – and yes, once again Jayne needs rescuing from a dangerous situation!

Book: Two steps forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Thoughts: Easy to read story following Zoe and Martin as the walk the Cameo pilgrimage route between France and Spain. It is said walking the pilgrimage route changes you – but will it do that if even you don’t know what you want?

Book: Beartown by Fredrik Backman

(NB – actually read in April – just doing the review now)

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Thoughts: Separate review here

Book: Talk of the Town by Rachael Johns

(NB – also read in April – just doing the review now)

Genre: Romance

Thoughts: Separate review here

2. My Current reads:

Books I am currently reading are:

Sweet Dreams Baby by C.J. Carmichael – Love, babies and a chocolate shop

Steam and Sensibility by Kirsten Weiss – YA Historical Steampunk Mystery set in the Californian Gold rush days.

The North Pole Challenge by Kevin George – Flea has always felt different to the other kids – he is not athletic, he has pointed ears, can build anything out of wood – and often has snow falling around him.

3. Quote/s and links for the week

Links I found:

Harry Potter is celebrating his 20th Anniversary

Nancy Drew is a role model for both boys and girls!

Reading is more important than ever.

Quotes I found:

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.

By Mason Cooley

I think of life as a good book. The further you get into it, the more it begins to make sense.

By Harold Kushner

There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.

By Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.

By Maya Angelou

Title: Talk of the Town

Author: Rachael Johns

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Opens: Megan McCormick froze at the sound of a car door slamming outside.

Blurb: Lawson Cooper-Jones has two priorities in life – his son, Ned, and the survival of the dairy farm that has been in his family for generations. Despite the best efforts of the town matchmakers and the determined pursuit of local girl Adeline Walsh, Lawson’s heart belongs still, and only, to his late wife. But when a flat tyre strands Lawson and Ned in nearby Rose Hill, he’s surprised to find a woman living alone in the old general store of the deserted town. Ned immediately forms a bond with the beautiful stranger called Meg, and Lawson is surprised to find himself captivated by her too.

Although shy at first, Meg starts to open up to him about the haunting secrets of her new home and, with Lawson unable to get her out of his head, they agree to investigate the history of the old building together. Soon they find their friendship has bloomed into something more. But when meddling Adeline makes it her mission to uncover the truth about the newcomer and her real identity is revealed, Lawson and Meg’s budding romance comes crashing down. Can they both learn to forgive in order to claim a future for their damaged hearts?

My Thoughts: TALK OF THE TOWN is a Rural Romance, a genre that is a firm favourite of mine. Author Rachael Johns is also a favourite of mine – she belongs to an elite group of authors that I call my ‘Grocery List’ Authors – Love their stuff so much that if they published their grocery list I would read it!

Meg has a past – a past that she wants to stay hidden. In her mind the best way to do that is hide away in an old General Store in a small ghost town with one other living resident near a slightly larger rural community and keep to herself. The story opens with her lurking alone in her home when a small whirlwind called Ned forces his way into her house and her heart – closely followed by his dad!

Of course this wouldn’t be a romance without conflict – and there is conflict in bucket loads! Lawson is in conflict with having feelings about a woman other than his late wife, and Meg has conflict with revealing the truth about her past. Topics covered as the story unfolds are the very relevant issues such as those dairy farmers face today, drugs in society, single parenthood, disabilities, remote medical access and attitudes towards convicted criminals who have served their time and just want a new start and the chance to move on.

There are some wonderful characters – both dead and alive – and certainly at least one handkerchief moment. Rachael Johns communicates both sides of living in a small community. The good is how the community pulls together in a crisis and will support each other when someone is in trouble; the bad is how gossip, petty power struggles and out and out meddling can affect people. Needless to say – good does win out – and the past is settled and the future looks bright for now as the characters make it to the end of the story. I do hope that Tab gets her own story in the future as I would love to revisit this town.

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 Books and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

Title: Beartown (Please note: an alternative title for this book is ‘The Scandal’)

Author: Fredrik Backman

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Opens: Late one evening, toward the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barrelled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead, and pulled the trigger. This is the story of how we got there.

Blurb: People say Beartown is finished. A tiny Swedish community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys. Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil.

My Thoughts: Although the events before, during and after an ice hockey match are the bones that the story is pinned on – the focus is NOT ice hockey. For which I was truly thankful because I know nothing about the game – other than it looks very dangerous! No, the book’s focus is on the individual characters that are directly involved, and also on the emotions of the township as a whole – this quote sums it up:

“…Hate can be a deeply stimulating emotion. The world becomes easier to understand and much less terrifying if you divide everything and everyone into friends and enemies, we and they, good and evil. The easiest way to unite a group isn’t through love, because love is hard, it makes demands. Hate is simple. So the first thing that happens in a conflict is that we choose a side, because that’s easier than trying to hold two thoughts in our heads at the same time. The second thing that happens is that we seek out facts that confirm what we want to believe – comforting facts, ones that permit life to go on as normal. The third is that we dehumanize our enemy…”

There is a diverse cast of characters and their different viewpoints are each recorded meticulously. Being a small isolated town in a remote area of Sweden the community of Beartown is tightly knit – they all know each other, and pull together to survive. The upcoming ice hockey match is currently the sole focus of the town, with the expected win to potentially turn the town fortunes around.

So, summed up, the hopes of the whole town all ride on the shoulder of one young star player. So when after a pre-match party he is accused of rape the focus of Beartown turns onto his alleged victim; she now becomes the only thing standing between Beartown finally declining and it’s rebirth as a society. You can imagine that sympathy is not a common thought towards her. The resulting furore becomes a catalyst for a very traumatic time for the community. With accusations and counter accusations flying; lies, innuendo and rumours being taken as fact – the citizens of Beartown almost immediately start to show their true colours and the lines are drawn. But what is more important – an ice hockey match or a human being? Friends become enemies, and enemies team up in a common cause. The many different actions taken are slowly woven together as each action causes a reaction that ripple-effects across the town and adds to the progress of the story. I became utterly engrossed as the story gradually unfolded.

Beartown was an emotional rollercoaster for me as my reactions to the events and conversations triggered my mood to swing from happy to angry to upset and back to happy again – sometimes in the same chapter! Often, the actions of the characters surprised me in how they reacted, especially when it was different to how I thought they should react. Beartown tackles some heavy issues – peer pressure, homophobia, rape culture and hero worship of sportsmen and women. All very current themes faced daily by different societies around the world.

An edge of the seat story – and, as I have said, an emotional rollercoaster that left me panting in exhaustion at the end.

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 Atria Books and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

Here are the books I have finished reading this last week with just a couple of sentences voicing my opinion. Also giving you a sneak peek of a couple of the the books I am currently reading (as I never read just one book at a time).

I have done well with my books this week – they were all really great reads and recommend them all!

1. This week I have finished:

Book: Shield Maiden by Richard Denning

Genre: YA Fantasy

Thoughts: First in a series is a blend of edge of the seat adventure, magic, mythology and medieval history. Four young adventurers go up against Norse Gods and their minions to put a stop to Loki gaining enough powerful artefacts to take over the world and destroy everyone who stands in his way.

Book: Oracles of Delphi Keep by Victoria Laurie

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy Adventure

Thoughts: I really, really enjoyed this rollicking magical adventure – set just as WWII starts – there are more adventures to come.

Book: Bound for Eden by Tess LeSue

Genre: Historical Romance

Thoughts: Separate review here

2. My Current reads:

Books I am currently reading are:

Two steps forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist – Started this last week – have almost finished – Contemporary Fiction set on Pilgrim walk from Cluny, in France to Santiago, in north-western Spain.

Miss Frost Cracks a Caper by Kristen Painter – One of my favorite feel good authors – this is the 4th in a series about Miss Frost

3. Quote/s and links for the week

First some links that I found while surfing the net this week:

Have you ever wondered how some people can read hundreds of a books a year while you are lucky to get through 30? Do you even care? If you do – then the following link has some tips for you, the tip about not forcing yourself to read a book you’re not enjoying is a good one:

https://medium.com/the-mission/how-to-read-a-lot-more-books-this-year-according-to-harvard-research-e1dfc55e0b9f

I would like to point out that books I don’t finish, I don’t count. But it frees up time to read ones you DO love

Book Riot is a shop – but they have some really good suggested reading lists – I made this find during the week: https://bookriot.com/2016/04/11/i-got-your-weird-right-here-100-wonderful-strange-and-unusual-novels/

Yes there really is a book about a walking, talking, saxophone-playing bear and one that has Alligators roaming the world like humans during the American Civil War

Now quotes, here are some book related quotes I found this week:

She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.”

by Louisa May Alcott, Work: A Story of Experience

A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.”

by Edward P. Morgan

Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”

by Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid

Australian Women Writers Challenge Blog

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Writer. Reader. Psychologist.

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