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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

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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

Title: Bound for Eden

Author: Tess LeSue

Genre: Historical Romance

Opens: Alexandra Barratt wasn’t a violent woman. Most times she couldn’t even crush a house spider. But Silas Grady was no spider. Silas Grady was a black-hearted, lily-livered, weak-kneed swamp rat. If anything, death was too good for him.

Blurb: Fleeing from the murderous Grady brothers with a stolen fortune hidden in her luggage and her younger brother and sister in tow, Alex disguises herself as a boy to join a wagon train headed West … a wagon train captained by the irresistible Luke Slater.

At first, Alex can’t believe the way every woman in town falls at Luke’s feet, including her suddenly flirtatious sister. But when she sees him naked in the bathtub, she finds herself swooning over him too. If only she could wash the muck of her face and show him who she really is. As for Luke, he has no idea that the ragtag boy in his care is none other than the woman of his dreams. But when circumstances connive to throw Luke and Alex into each other’s arms, their relationship becomes very complicated indeed, and a matter of life or death.

My Thoughts: I know you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover but the male model on the front of this cover had me go weak at the knees. My husband felt that he was better looking than the cover hero – and maybe he was – 50 years ago!!!

Set in the mid-1800s, Alexandra Barratt and her two siblings Victoria and Adam are in dire straits as the neighbouring Grady brothers move in to take over their property after the death of their parents. No money, no food and physical threats have the three siblings at the end of their endurance. A fluke event gets them gold and bonds and has them fleeing west to Oregon to join their older brother. Scared of being followed Alex disguises herself as a young lad and they tell everyone that Alex has gone east and so their adventure begins. The Grady brothers come looking – and horrible things happen to animals and people as the wicked brothers look for their property. Alex and her sister both fall for Luke – but he has a woman he is promised to back west, and besides Alex is just a wet behind the ears bothersome kid. There are a few sub plots going on and many misunderstandings as the danger to the wagon train increases. The story is well stocked with quirky characters, loose ladies and mysterious Indians to name a few. I really, really enjoyed the story, and the final climax was edge of the seat stuff. There is tension and passion, humour and horror all set on the Oregon Trail.

This was Tess LeSue’s debut western and I really hope that it is not long before she releases a second one.

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 Harlequin (Australia) Publishers and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

October Reading Wrap Up

I haven’t done one of these for a year – so without further ado – welcome to my October 2017 reading wrap-up

Total books read this month: 13

Best Book of the month: I read two ‘A’ books this month. I give ‘A’s 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, that 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 an ‘A’ 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 an ‘A’ than a dreary angst ridden book that wins some great literary award. If I give a high score to a book it means, in my humble opinion, that it is a top example of whatever genre it belongs to.

So October found me with 2 books that fit this criteria, and these were – SECRETS BETWEEN FRIENDS by Fiona Palmer and DEAD MAN TALKING by Jana Deleon. However, I can only have one ‘Best’ book and this month it goes to SECRETS BETWEEN FRIENDS by Fiona Palmer – it really has it all, friendship, squabbles, secrets, laughter, danger, love and tragedy.

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.

This month there were only two – so I’ll call it a tie. SCOTLAND BY STARLIGHT by Nancy Volker is the sequel to a book I read and enjoyed last year. This one just didn’t grab me in the same way. Similar situation with DEATH OF A GHOST by M.C. Beaton. It is officially going to be the last Hamish MacBeth book that I’ll be reading. I loved the series when it started but the last few years I am struggling to keep on with the series and is no longer magical for me.

Please remember that this is just my personal opinion and you may find that it may very well be perfect for you, and both these book have got good reviews elsewhere.

The Reading List

So let’s get onto what this post is about – what did I read during October? 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

Secrets between Friends by Fiona Palmer – Women’s Fiction

Dead Man Talking by Jana Deleon – Paranormal Mystery Romance

B (4 stars) = Really Good Read

Dark, Witch & Creamy by H.Y. Hanna – Cosy Mystery

Death at the Café by Alison Golden – Cosy Mystery

Christmas Light by Jolyse Barnett – Romance

A Baby for the Alien Prince by Miranda Martin – Sci-fi Romance

Shield Maiden by Richard Denning – YA Fantasy

Bound for Eden by Tess LeSue – Historical Romance

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

Jogging is bad for Your Health by Cynthia Hickey – Cosy Mystery

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman – Women’s Fiction/Paranormal

Holding by Graham Norton – Mystery

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

Scotland by Starlight by Nancy Volker – Romance

Death of a ghost by M.C. Beaton – Cosy Mystery

So onward to November – Woo Hoo! I wonder what book goodies I will discover this month?

 

Here are the books I have finished reading this week (well actually this first one is for two weeks’ worth) 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).

1. This week I have finished:

Book: Holding by Graham Norton

Genre: Mystery

Thoughts: Set in Ireland, a body is found, a bumbling policeman starts to investigate and secrets are revealed. There are two main suspects and a few interconnecting back stories which create twists and turns. I enjoyed the story and the setting.

Book: Witch Glitch by Robyn Peterman

Genre: Paranormal Romance/mystery

Thoughts: Didn’t enjoy this as much as the first book in the series – won’t be continuing on with it – I DO enjoy many of her other series so will concentrate on them instead.

Book: Christmas Light by Jolyse Barnett

Genre: Christmas Romance

Thoughts: My Christmas reading starts earlier each year – this is a perfectly lovely romance as love rekindles and blooms in the snow.

Book: A Baby for the Alien Prince by Miranda Martin

Genre: Sci-Fi Romance

Thoughts: This was a free Kindle download – I thought “It’s free so why not will be either utter rubbish or a great read”. Well I was very happy as it was a wonderful fun read, with tension, danger and luuurve – I enjoyed it so much that I have paid for, and downloaded, the next two books in the series.

Book: Dead Man Talking by Jana Deleon

Genre: Paranormal mystery Romance

Thoughts: First in a new series that I have been dying to get my hands on – it’s very cleverly done – a four book series of interconnecting stand alones set in the town of Everlasting – one book being released a week during October – each of the books have a different author. If this book is an indication of the caliber of the stories I am in for a mighty fine time as I work my way through them.

Book: The Life of a Banana by PP Wong

Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction

Thoughts: Separate review here

Book: Flesh and Bone and Water by Luiza Sauma

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Thoughts: Separate review here

2. My Current reads:

Books I am currently reading are:

A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena – Mystery and suspense – lots of secrets.

Two steps forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist – Contemporary fiction set on Pilgrim walk from Cluny, in France to Santiago, in north-western Spain.

Bound for Eden by Tess LeSue – Historical Romance on the Oregon Trail.

3. Quote/s and links for the week

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

Aussie Romance authors got a mention on the ABC:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-14/aussie-rural-romance-authors-romp-on/9042994

New Zealander Librarians go “Kardashian” by doing parody of one of their magazine covers:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/shush-for-a-second-and-watch-these-librarians-recreate-a-kardashian-cover_us_59e501a9e4b02a215b321d99

Now a quote, only one this week as my first week back on deck – will do better next week:

From Holding by Graham Norton:

“…she needed to anchor herself to something or she might fly around the room screaming out her pain like a hysterical balloon…”

Australian Women Writers Challenge Blog

Supporting and promoting books by Australian women

Australian Rural Romance

Contemporary & Historical Rural Fiction

Cleopatra Loves Books

One reader's view

Rachael Johns

romance fiction - red dust to big smoke

Devoted Eclectic

...reading, writing and reflecting

Lauren Keegan Writer

Writer. Reader. Psychologist.

All The Books I Can Read

1 girl....2 many books!

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