January 24, 2018

Sisters Like Us. Susan Mallery

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Date: 23rd January 2017
Format: 3-ARC
Pages: 432
Genre: Mainstream Fiction
Source:Publisher via NetGalley
4.5 stars                     Add to Goodreads
Divorce left Harper Szymanski with a name no one can spell, a house she can't afford and a teenage daughter who's pulling away. With her fledgling virtual-assistant business, she's scrambling to maintain her overbearing mother’s ridiculous Susie Homemaker standards and still pay the bills, thanks to clients like Lucas, the annoying playboy cop who claims he hangs around for Harper's fresh-baked cookies.

Spending half her life in school hasn't prepared Dr. Stacey Bloom for her most daunting challenge—motherhood. She didn't inherit the nurturing gene like Harper and is in deep denial that a baby is coming. Worse, her mother will be horrified to learn that Stacey's husband plans to be a stay-at-home dad…assuming Stacey can first find the courage to tell Mom she's already six months pregnant.
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Sisters Like Us is #4 in the Mischief Bay series, while part of a series it is very much a stand alone as well. I had been anticipating it with reading relish because so far I have really liked this series.

There are two sisters - Stacey who is about to become a Mom, she is about 6 months pregnant and as sure as can be that she will not make a good mother. Her mother - Bunny sent her the message in childhood that there was something wrong with her, and every since she has believed it.  She has a wonderful husband Kit and his insightful nephew Ashton who would most likely hold a different opinion entirely about Stacey.

Harper runs her own business and seems often to be overwhelmed by it, taking on too much and not standing up to one demanding client. Her mother - Bunny is always harping on to her about getting all the home things right. As the book opens she isn't getting things quite right with her daughter Becca, who is struggling with some pertinent issues.  

We also meet the police cop from the book A Million Little Things.  He uses Harper's business to deal with some of the details of his life like paying his bills. I really liked him and his approach especially to Becca, although I felt one thing he did was really not quite in character, but everyone seemed to understand!

So this story deals with mothers and daughters - what makes a good mother? How can you juggle an important job and be a mother too? And the messages we receive as children from our parents can have a huge impact.  As well we see two sisters who do really support each other, teenage friendships explored, the need for a strong father in one's life and what makes a great teenage romantic relationship.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book - just as I expected.

January 22, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


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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Hope you are all cruising along. I am getting there! Some reading, some sewing and some gardening because I must! Overgrown - you get the picture. Oh and I know this is very English/NZ but I've had plenty of fun cricket to watch on TV!   

We sold my Dad's house and the handover date is this Friday. An end of an era really, the house stands empty, all that is to be done is sign papers and hand the keys over.                                                         

What I read last week:

I finished listening to the audio of A Grown Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson and ably narrated by herself. While it wasn't my favourite one of hers it was still very good and I liked it. The three generations of women found a place in my heart.  

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I also read this recently bought book...
Let's just say I am a Catherine Anderson book fan! This one was satisfying.

And this review book which of course I enjoyed as I do with most of what JAK writes, my kind of suspense novel - not too bloody or graphic!!
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What I am reading at present:

A review book, somehow escaped me in my calendar. How did that happen, must have been Christmas excitement! As it happens this is a New Zealand author but I haven't read her before. This is about three women during WW 11.

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I am about to start listening to this audio, purchased last year during Audible sales.

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Up next:

A review book
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Last Weeks Posts
Over the Teacups #6  3 short reviews

The Promise Between Us  Barbara Claypole White

Read Along With Emilie (Richards) Reading Challenge 2018
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January 21, 2018

Read Along With Emilie 2018: Reading Challenge

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This is where I will keep a record of the Read Along with Emilie 2018: A Reading Challenge issued by one of my favourite authors Emilie Richards.  Go on over and read her post and why she likes a bit of a reading challenge.

The categories are:

  • A book set on the water
  • A novel that features a character with a disability  The Promise Between Us. Barbara Claypole White.  (Disability = OCD)
  • A classic you always promised yourself you'd read
  • A novel with a person's name in the title
  • A travelogue
  • A novel featuring a woman over sixty as a major character
  • A novel set in a different century and a country not your own
  • A family saga
  • A novel from a genre ( romance, sci-fi, etc.,) that you rarely or never read
  • A novel by Emilie Richards
  • A non-fiction "how-to" book
  • A young adult (YA) book
  • A book you choose just because
  • A time travel novel
  • A novel that's been made into a movie
  • A book that's been in your TBR pile for more than a year
  • A memoir
  • A book by a local author
The ones I'll find most difficult to fulfil I suspect are: a book set on water, a travelogue (erk!) and maybe a genre I never read. I'm doing a couple of challenges that call for classics - and... classics reading is a far from strong point for me!!
What would be your Waterloo?  
Have you any suggestions of books you've read that would fit one of these categories?

January 19, 2018

Over The Teacups #6

Short Reviews Over a Cuppa

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Why?Susan Wiggs is a favourite author and I have liked and loved every contemporary fiction book she has written, so it was an auto-buy for me.
Plot?This is the story of so many, mainly that of Camille and her daughter Julie. But also Julie's father and his grandparents. Camille is an expert photographer but since the death of her husband five years ago she has not lifted a camera. Her daughter Julie a young teen is going through a tough time with some very overt bullying happening to her. Onto the scene comes Finn, who seeks out those who are lost - mainly soldiers and brings them home. He has a special mission to find his father.
What Appeals to Me?I loved the characters, yes Camille was a little prickly, but five years isn't that long in the scheme of things so its understandable she hasn't quite moved on. I liked her story and that of Julies as they let go and move on. I loved the small vignette WW11 story and the outcome from that. And of course it was delightfully set in both the east coast of the USA and Provence, France. Loved the writing too. Such an appealing read all round.
And so... the next Susan Wiggs book will of course be an auto-buy!

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Why? I had a bit of spare reading space and was perusing Amazon and when I saw this one I clicked!  Eloisa James right!
Plot? This one is set in Georgian times, when they wore wigs and powdered their hair and the women wore very low cut dresses! Alaric is the hero and Willa the heroine. They are pretty much their own persons and don't worry too much about wigs and powder. He is back from big adventures, is a writer and very popular with the ladies. What follows is a love adventure with an evil killer thrown in and a skunk who knows when to leave a stink.
What Appeals to Me? Well written and fun. Light and warm mostly. I haven't met a pet skunk in a book before, plus the plot moved along well and was rather unique. Also there is a large Wilde family and plenty more stories to be told. It ends with a cliff hanger for one of the brothers - North and its sure to deliver.
And so... Sighting next book in series - Too Wilde to Wed which promises to publish about May 2018.

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Why? Well Catherine Anderson is pretty much an auto-buy for me and when I need a really good comfort read, I can always rely on her to deliver.

Plot.  This is the story of 1) Tanner who is about 78 and living in an assisted apartment while he heals from a fall. And the woman who runs the place is a dragon. 2) Crystal his grand daughter who is keeping the home fires burning while her grandfather is in care. She is looking after his dog who is a total handful. Somehow she has a young kitten on her plate as well. 3) And then there are a couple of love interests and a small bit of mystery thrown in.

What Appeals to me. I liked the two sets of couples - one younger and one older - both full of wisdom and emotion. I liked Rip - the unforgettable dog, and feel good emotional story.

And so... The next Catherine Anderson book can't come soon enough! An auto-buy. There is a lovely interview with Catherine Anderson on Goodreads about this her latest book.

January 16, 2018

The Promise Between us. Barbara Claypole White

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Published: Lake Union Publishing
Date: 16th January 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
5 stars           Add to Goodreads
Metal artist Katie Mack is living a lie. Nine years ago she ran away from her family in Raleigh, North Carolina, consumed by the irrational fear that she would harm Maisie, her newborn daughter. Over time she’s come to grips with the mental illness that nearly destroyed her, and now funnels her pain into her art. Despite longing for Maisie, Katie honors an agreement with the husband she left behind—to change her name and never return.

But when she and Maisie accidentally reunite, Katie can’t ignore the familiarity of her child’s compulsive behavior. Worse, Maisie worries obsessively about bad things happening to her pregnant stepmom. Katie has the power to help, but can she reconnect with the family she abandoned?

To protect Maisie, Katie must face the fears that drove her from home, accept the possibility of love, and risk exposing her heart-wrenching secret.

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The Promise Between Us was my first read for 2018 and really it was a perfect choice. What a mind blowing, emotional, informative story.  It is one that will stay with me and one that I will want to reread again.

The story is told mainly from Katie's point of view, the mother who walked out and left her child because she was terrified she would harm her. However we also have Cal - her ex husband, Jake his close mate, Lilah now Cal's wife and Maisie the daughter of Cal and Katie.  As well there is Delaney - Katie's sister and Ben the guy who just might be someone important in Katie's life. While the last two do not get a 'viewpoint' they have important roles and I love how Barbara Claypole White portrayed them

The other 'main character' in the story is OCD, Katie lives with it and now after accidentally meeting Maisie, she fears  Maisie has it too.  As a reader I learned so much about OCD through the book and how important treatment is for it and how courageous one has to be to live fully and not let the OCD take over your life. And so terrible things happen in this story, but always there is courage and hope and that stood out right the way through.  

As it turns out Katie and Maisie are not the only ones suffering from anxiety - and that was a heart breaking aspect as well to this story - I am not going to say who or how as I do not want to spoil the story if you read it.  However it is handled gently and in a positive manner.  I loved the emphasis on truth and honesty, and kudos to Lilah, what a wonderful young woman - so wise.

At the beginning of the book Jake seems to be a frivolous, happy go lucky man, but in actual fact he has hidden depths and I can see as the future evolves he and Katie will work together on some project close to their hearts.

A favorite quote from the book:
" Perfection stops you from enjoying the wonder of what is. It snares you with unrealistic expectations. Tells you constantly things can only be a certain way, and that's how you fall into the trap"

This was a wonderful story to read, just as a story - but as well it helped me see into the mind and heart of others and invited me as a person to expand my heart and mind to believe all over again that darkness does not win; compassion, love and hope are far stronger. 

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January 15, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


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!
a divide

Hello to you all. Hope you are all managing to deal with the weather in your part of the world and manage to get in some great reading!

What I read last week:

A review memoir that I enjoyed.

A romantic suspense from my actual TBR pile - also enjoyed.

What I am reading at present:

Reading a new buy - just felt like I needed a Catherine Anderson book - which also happens to be her most recent.
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And I am still listening to A Grown Up Kind of Pretty by J Jackson.

Up next:

This review title ...
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Last Weeks Posts
Heart on Fire   Amanda Bouchet

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January 9, 2018

Heart on Fire. Amanda Bouchet

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Published:Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date: 2nd January 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 448
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
4.5 stars                  Add to Goodreads
Who is Catalia Fisa?
With the help of pivotal figures from her past, Cat begins to understand the root of her exceptional magic, her fated union with Griffin Sinta, and Griffin's role in shaping her destiny.

Only Cat holds the key to unlocking her own power, and that means finally accepting herself, her past, and her future in order to protect her loved ones, confront her murderous mother, and taking a final, terrifying step—reuniting all three realms and taking her place as the Queen of Thalyria.

What doesn't kill her will only make her stronger...we hope.

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And so we come to the third book in the KingMaker Chronicles - Heart on Fire. Right from the word go I really enjoyed this book, maybe even a little more than Books 1 and 2 if that's possible!  There is action, love, loss, betrayal, surprise, anguish, and above all family and hope.

There is the usual cast - Cat of course and Griffin, Griffin's family and team, the gods and some of Cat's family.   Cat and Griffin have fought for and won both Sinta and Tarva and now their mission is to take Fisa under their wing and unite all of Thalyria into one. The one fly in the ointment of course is Fisa is Cat's home country and the ruler is Cat's ghastly mother.

I wondered if I should reread the first two books, but the first couple of chapters soon had my mind refreshed as to previous happenings and I was soon caught up in the swing of things, with the skilful  recapping of salient points.  The book opens at the end of the brutal Agon Games. There they lost on of their fighters - Cassandra and Piers, Griffin's brother is very displeased about that. So much so it triggers the first major event of the book.

This book is really about Kat truly finding herself, she has to learn to trust herself and to find balance with all the magical powers that she has and combine them with compassionate humanity. So she doesn't always get it right which at times leads her into the depths, where she has the choice of giving up or finding a way through. Just because she has magical powers doesn't mean they are there at her finger tips with no effort on her part whatsoever.   It was this journey that she undertakes and I think its why I liked this book so much.  I liked the inner journey as much as the outer one.

I am not going to discuss anything that happens because to do so would give away the surprises and the plot. Suffice it to say there is a little unsolved mystery by the end, Little Bean is alive and well in Kat's womb and ready no doubt to challenge her mother when she arrives. I did love that Kat really wants to be a good mother, and with Griffin as a father I think she'll do well.

Like many other readers I do not want to leave these characters here. I know their mission is complete but there are unfinished stories I want told!  May it happen!!

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