September 21, 2017

Sugar Pine Trail. RaeAnne Thayne

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Published: Harlequin
Date:  26th September 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher and Little Bird Publicity
Rating:
4.5 stars          Add to Goodreads
Librarian Julia Winston is ready to ditch the quiet existence she's been living. She's made a list of new things to experience, but falling for Jamie Caine, her sexy military pilot neighbor, isn't one of them. Julia's looking to conquer life, not become the heartbreaker's latest conquest. But when two young brothers wind up in Julia's care for the holidays, she'll take any help she can get—even Jamie's.

Happy to step in, Jamie reveals a side of himself that's much harder to resist. Not only is he fantastic with kids, he provides the strength Julia needs to tackle her list. She knows their temporary family can't last beyond the holidays, but the closer she gets to Jamie, the more she wonders if things could be this merry and bright forever…


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Sugar Pine Trail - #7 in the Haven Point series by RaeAnne Thayer was just the perfect read for me at the right moment. Sometimes a light, well written and totally engaging book is just the prescription. 

This is the story of Julia - slightly uptight librarian who becomes less and less so as she becomes connected to two young brothers in a spot of trouble and she steps up to the plate. Very soon her heart is totally taken by them and so was mine.

She has rented her upper storey apartment to Jaime Caine, who so far has never been caught by any woman and really doesn't intend to be. But soon he finds he just might really like Julia and the two boys and together they all bond and do some really fun things.

Both Julia and Jaime have issues from their past that haunt them but... I loved watching them eventually share and heal and open their hearts. They are both great people and I must say I loved the Caine family and must go back and read any of the other books in this series and the Hope Crossing series that have them in. 

This was beautifully plotted and once I began reading it was just so easy to keep going. It had the right amount of heart wrenching moments, coupled with some chuckle out loud moments and some really sweet moments.   Plus two little boys who were a wonderful addition, plus three snooty cats and finally one....   No - not telling, read and find out.

I can only say I loved this book, a throughly satisfying read. RaeAnne Thayne - could be that she is turning out to be an author I'll be reading a lot more from.

September 20, 2017

When We Were Worthy. Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

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Published: Lake Union
Date: 12th September 2017
Format:e-ARC
Pages: 278
Genre: Mainstream Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rating:
                   Add to Goodreads
When the sound of sirens cuts through a cool fall night, the small town of Worthy, Georgia, hurtles from triumph to tragedy. Just hours before, they’d watched the Wildcats score a winning touchdown. Now, they’re faced with the deaths of three cheerleaders—their promising lives cut short in a fatal crash. And the boy in the other car—the only one to survive—is believed to be at fault. As rumors begin to fly and accusations spin, allegiances form and long-kept secrets emerge.

At the center of the whirlwind are four women, each grappling with loss, regret, shame, and lies: Marglyn, a grieving mother; Darcy, whose son had been behind the wheel; Ava, a substitute teacher with a scandalous secret; and Leah, a cheerleader who should have been in the car with her friends, but wasn’t. If the truth comes out, will it bring redemption—or will it be their downfall?


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When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen was a really good, thought provoking story. It is set in the small town of Worthy, where the local high school football players are kings - and full of themselves. Alongside them are the cheerleaders and it is these girls who form the basis of the book.

The story is told mainly from the alternating points of view of...
  •  Marglyn - mother of Mary Claire one of the cheerleaders. We first meet her when she has just had an argument  with her daughter and made a choice that displeases her daughter. Through this relationship the story explores the mother/daughter relationship and what is good parenthood and all the emotions that go with that.
  • Darcy - mother of Graham, who is about fifteen years of age. She is split from her husband Tommy who went off with someone else. Darcy married young and is now only thirty-six.  She is really annoyed when Tommy buys Graham a new car - sure to make him esteemed among his peers.
  • Leah - a young sophomore cheerleader and friend of Mary Claire, Keary and Byrnne. On the night of a fatal accident she is split from her friends for a reason and so misses a fatal accident. She has a secret and we watch her make a journey of courage, trust and truth as the story reveals itself.
  • Finally Ava, new to Worthy, with a husband who suddenly seems to have deserted her. She has two young children and is a sub teacher at the high school. As she is trapped into something not of her making I felt for her as those she should have been able to count on for support abandoned her.
This story fully engaged me, I didn't mind going from one character point of view to another. It was realistic and showed the foibles and weaknesses - even evil of human nature, people's blindness - sometimes by choice, to what goes on around them.  It also explores parenthood, friendships, the difficulties of fitting in and being accepted. Most of all it shows how trust, hope, truth and love are so important and are what really counts.

This book is the September choice by She Reads.
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September 18, 2017

It's Monday! What Am I Reading?

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and 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 that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!

Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join them!
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Sadly on Friday morning my Dad passed away quietly, he just did not recover from the broken hip as there were other complications. So at the moment I am involved with family as we both grieve and celebrate a great life of 93 years. 

I did get a couple of books read early in the week but will share next week. Take care - enjoy your reading and will re-connect with you next Monday.



September 13, 2017

The Summer That Made Us. Robyn Carr

The summer That Made Us. Robyn Carr
Published:Harlequin - MIRA
Date: 5th September 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages:  336
Genre: Mainstream Fiction
Source: Publisher and Little Bird Publicity
Rating:
4 stars                   Add to Goodreads
For the Hempsteads, two sisters who married two brothers and had three daughters each, summers were idyllic. The women would escape the city the moment school was out to gather at the family house on Lake Waseka. The lake was a magical place, a haven where they were happy and carefree. All of their problems drifted away as the days passed in sun-dappled contentment. Until the summer that changed everything. This is now...  Torn apart, none of the Hempstead women speak of what happened that summer, and relationships between them are uneasy at best to hurtful at worst. But in the face of new challenges, one woman is determined to draw her family together again, and the only way that can happen is to return to the lake and face the truth.

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As always Robyn Carr has written a well crafted story that fully engaged me all through the book The Summer That Made Us.  It has many threads to it, many issues and themes that ebb and flow as the story unfolds.

This is a story about relationships mostly - that of sisters and cousins, plus some of the people that surround them. As it starts out it is rather obvious that you could put a capital D on dysfunctional for many but not all of the family members.

There is Lou and Jo, two sisters - once such good friends, now estranged. Two families who grew up close to each other, spending time as children at a lake house in Minnesota. Two families of thre girls each. However one summer everything turned to ruin and they never went back...

Until Meg wants to go back to that house. She is dealing with cancer, she has had her last ditch treatment and it is time to see will it work... or not. Charlie her sister wants to make that happen for her and does so. As Charlie begins her renovations there, her cousin Krista turns up, just out of prison.  We are also introduced to Hope, Krista's sister and all is not right in the state of Denmark for sure in her life. 

We see things from all their points of view which does help  me the reader be sympathetic towards them and to wish the best for them. I am not always engaged by so many characters in one book with issues and things to deal with. But the fact that they are all related and have been affected by the same family dynamics and tragedy, pulled me in. It perhaps lost a little though in the focus being on so many, not much, just a tad, it left me feeling a little distant from the full emotion of the characters.

Each woman grapples with her own life, moving towards resolution, new hope, forgiveness and healing in various forms as the story is retold and understood.  Another well told story from Robyn Carr.

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Robyn Carr is an award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River and Thunder Point series, as well as highly praised women’s fiction titles such as Four Friends, What We Find, and The Life She Wants. Robyn has won a RITA Award from the Romance Writers of America, and in 2016 she was awarded RWA’s Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the genre. Her novels have been translated into 19 languages in 30 countries. Originally from Minnesota, Robyn now resides in Henderson, Nevada, with her aviator husband; they have two grown children. When she isn’t writing, Robyn puts her energy into community service: she has mentored a seniors’ memoir-writing group, attends book club chats in and out of state whenever possible, and is working with her local library on the Carr Chat Series, a program centered on fundraising and visiting author events that bring writers, their books, and the community together.

September 11, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and 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 that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!

Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join them!
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This week was mixed as on Wednesday my 93 year old Dad fell and broke his hip, so far so good in recovery, however still a long way to go. We are a large family and everyone arrived from around over the weekend to visit him in hospital. 

However I did get some reading done at the beginning of the week and towards the end of the weekend.  But I was somewhat absent around the blogging world.

Thinking of all those affected by earthquake in Mexico and the hurricanes in the south of USA. I hear Irma's path is a little unpredictable, so hope you all stay safe if in that area.
                                                         

What I read last week:

Finished listening to...                                            and read....
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What I am reading at present:

From my TBR and part of my goal to read a few books from backlists of favourite authors. 
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Also still listening to The Widow of Wall Street.

Up next:

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Last Weeks Posts
Something Like Happy    Eva Woods
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September 8, 2017

Something Like Happy. Eva Woods

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Published: Harlequin - Graydon House
Date: 5th September 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Mainstream Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley and Little Bird Publicity
Rating:
4 stars        Add to Goodreads
Annie Hebden is stuck. Stuck in her boring job, with her irritating roommate, in a life no thirty-five-year-old would want. But deep down, Annie is still mourning the terrible loss that tore a hole through the perfect existence she'd once taken for granted—and hiding away is safer than remembering what used to be. Until she meets the eccentric Polly Leonard.

Bright, bubbly, intrusive Polly is everything Annie doesn't want in a friend. But Polly is determined to finally wake Annie up to life. Because if recent events have taught Polly anything, it's that your time is too short to waste a single day—which is why she wants Annie to join her on a mission…


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Something Like Happy could have been a sad, emotional read, and to some extent it is, however it is also enchanting and uplifting. 

Annie has gone through a lot and really is in a dark place, she struggles through each day not really caring.  And to make matters worse Annie's mother doesn't recognise her as she has early onset Alzheimers. Until one day she meets up with the inimitable Polly. Polly who is keen to live one hundred days doing something happy every day. However Polly has a journey to make as well - she has a brain tumour that means she on some level knows her days are short.

Polly is quite madcap, yet it turns out she is the best thing out for Annie. Through her Annie begins to come back to life while it slowly ebbs from Polly. The things they do are mostly simple but the proof is in the changes that come into Annie's life. And for Polly she has a new found friend who stays with her in her bid to live out her last days fully. They make a formidable team.

Much of the story takes place in a hospital and we meet the chocolate loving, Scottish doctor - Dr. Max and another one who seems serious but when you scrape the surface has his own burdens to carry. Polly has a brother George and Annie has a flatmate - Costas, both characters who come to life and are very much part of the story. 

For me this book worked. At one point I wondered if  I would keep going as I have a sister with a brain tumour so it felt a little close to home, however the story is told with the right amount of irreverence, compassion and love that it became a celebration of life and the reminder that each of us have  a limited time in which we can choose to live all the sad and happy moments of life with whole heartedness.
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September 4, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and 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 that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!

Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join them!
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Welcome in everyone and happy September! In our part of the world Spring is appearing in little ways and I have been busy still in the garden - I have been digging in lupin and mustard to the vegie garden and  let me tell you this older body is protesting. I feel a need to rest up and read for a few days!
                                                         

What I read last week:

I enjoyed The Christmas Room and will have a review up nearer publication. At Home in Mitford was easy reading, I don't feel called to read on in the series but it was good to see what it was about.

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I finished listening to Clean Sweep and liked it, may continue with the series at some point. It was one of their lighter books I think which suits me.

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What I am reading at present:

From my recently bought shelf I am reading the second one in Beverly Jenkins series. It is set in a town in Kansas. It is sort of similar to the Mitford series but I prefer this one so its likely I will read right through to #8 which is as far as it goes - #8 was out this year.
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I have begun listening to 

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I am also a good ways through listening to Anne's House of Dreams. You might notice this is from LibriVox, as there was no edition available to me on Audible. I am finding it well narrated so quite happy.
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Up next:

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Last Weeks Posts
Reading Month in Review for August

September Book of Choice Giveaway   As always a spot for everyone who joins on this post so do enter.
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