June 28, 2017

One Wrong Turn. Deanna Lyn Sletten

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Published: Lake Union Publishing
Date: June 20th 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 204
Genre: Mainstream Fiction
Source: Author via NetGalley
3.5 stars                   Add to Goodreads
The words “I’m her husband” roll off Clay Connors’s tongue, but with his estranged wife lying in a coma—and no assurance that she’ll awaken—he knows he’s perilously close to losing everything. A singular, terrifying accident has left Jess Connors suspended between life and death. Now Clay is reunited with the family he hasn’t seen for two years, including the daughters he left behind.

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In One Wrong Turn Deanna Lyn Sletten explores a family wounded and hurt by one of their members struggling with alcoholism. Clay has struggled for years with this disease, he loves his wife and two girls very much, but every time he endeavours to overcome it, some stress or other sends him over the edge. Now he hasn't been home with his family for two years, yet he has managed to stay sober for almost two years. However he is afraid to return home in case he falls into old patterns.

However when his wife Jess has a car accident he is called back by the medical people. Naturally his daughter Maddison, 12  years old is not over welcoming. She has seen her father repeatedly let them down, so her frosty challenging behaviour is very understandable.   Jilly, just 7 remembers less and is delighted to have her father with her.

The tension in the story comes from a few factors. Firstly the antagonism of Maddison towards her father, she holds out against him, continually giving him a challenging time. It breaks his heart because he loves her, understanding at the same time he is responsible for how she sees him. Maddie has been let down too many times, she has seen her father leave and not return, she is hurt and doesn't trust.

As well there is the fact that Jess is in a coma and nothing seems to be waking her. Will she wake? Will they have to go on without her? The continual visiting with no sign of life is wearing on them all and the hope and faith they have wavers for some of them.  

The question is can Clay keep his head above water with all this going on around him? He does have some good support people and it is to them he turns when times are really tough.

I enjoyed the read, the story moves along well, the struggles were real and I was cheering the family on as they dealt with a serious crisis.

June 26, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 26th June


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, hope you all had a great week and some good reading to delight your reading minds and hearts. I certainly enjoyed mine.        

What I read last week:

Finished listening to...
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Read from my own books...
I loved it. It is the start of a "new season" with this series and is set in Russia. I was worried leaving all the characters I love but this was perfect and I had to read it slowly and get lost in the bear's home.

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I also read for review and it is also a She Reads pick, another excellent book.
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What I am reading at present:

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And listening to...
New to me author but seen some good reviews for it and so far I am really enjoying it.
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Up next:

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Last Weeks Posts
Anne of Avonlea    L. M Montgomery
A Stardance Summer   Emily March
The Cafe by the Sea    Jenny Colgan
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June 24, 2017

Anne of Avonlea. L. M. Montgomery

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Published: Recorded Books
Date: 1996 First published 1909
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Barbara Caruso
Length: 9hrs 19min
Genre: Classic YA book
Source: Own book
4.5 stars        Add to Goodreads
Anne of Avonlea is the second of six Anne novels. The present volume finds Anne at age 16, teaching school, studying with Gilbert, forming a social club, and getting into her usual trouble.

Along with the unforgettable heroine and great quirky side characters, the listener is treated to the small, peaceful Prince Edward Island in Northeastern Canada, beginning on "...an August afternoon with blue hazes scarfing the harvest slopes, little winds whispering elfishly in the poplars"...

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I am not sure whether I read Anne of Avonlea as a child because I remember none of it and I also know I could not get my hands on every book in the series. This one may have been one of the ones I pined for but never managed to track down in my book small world of the mid twentieth century.

I thoroughly enjoyed this version read by Barbara Caruso. She narrates well and I will certainly stay with her as I listen through to the other books in the series. After a small break I will be on to Anne of the Island.

There are many witty little events that happen in this book that I chuckled out loud at. Like Anne and a parrot that belongs to a next door neighbour.  I liked the irrepressible Davy one of the twins that come to live with Anne and Marilla. His reasoning and thoughts often had me smiling. However Dora was a very flat character and we did not see much of her.  Davy was a little jealous of the attention Anne gave to one of her pupils Paul Irving. I liked Paul too, but he was a little too perfect for my taste.

In this book Anne spends two years teaching at the local school. As a teacher myself I identified with many of her thoughts and experiences and fully sympathised with her over her terrible Jonah day. Some of the views expressed, especially over physical punishment was before her time, but then again Davy would prefer a good walloping rather than the boring punishments meted out to him by Anne and Marilla.

There is an author visit that excites Anne and Diana, a mishap with a plate that lands Anne in one of the funniest situations, I could imagine a cartoon of it and made a note to look at a physical book to see what illustrations are in it. I'd actually like to buy a set of Anne books so I am looking around. Any suggestions for a good version - let me know.

Anne is still full of imagination and romance and her heart receives a fullness of it, although at this point Anne is more interested in matchmaking romance for others, rather than being ready for her own. We leave Anne here at the age of eighteen, ready to go off to college.

So happy I made it a priority to listen to this book. The book I think stands the test of time.

audiobook keeper shelf classic reading memories

June 22, 2017

A Stardance Summer. Emily March

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Published: St Martin's Press
Date: 27th June 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
4 stars                   Add to Goodreads
Brick Callahan enjoys every minute of chaos at his campground, Stardance Ranch, especially after the Tornado Alleycats arrive for an extended summer stay. The members of the all-female glamorous camping club are primarily seniors—active and adventurous, friendly and fun. But when he discovers Liliana Howe frolicking with the glamping grannies in a late night skinny-dipping session, he fears he's in for a summer of trouble. Because his best friend's kid sister has grown up to be drop-dead gorgeous.

Betrayed by those she trusted, Lili decides she's put her career first for too long. She sells her practical sedan, buys a travel trailer, and heads to Eternity Springs for a summer of rest, relaxation, and reassessment as the newest member of the Alleycats. The last person she expects to find running an RV resort is her high school crush. Their undeniable mutual attraction is a reminder that life is full of surprises. But when the past comes calling, will their summer romance stand the test of time?

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As I marked Stardance Summer by Emily March on Goodreads as currently reading, I noticed it was #13 in the series. How did we get that far in this romantic series I love so much. The time has sped by. These books are an auto read for me, and I love every visit to Eternity Springs where the inimitable Celeste, the 'angel' watches over all - especially would be couples, who need a little push and shove to find themselves, heal and reach out to true love.

This time it is Liliana who flees to Eternity Springs because she has struck trouble in her home town and she sure is hurting from it. She joins a feisty group of women out to have a good time, led by Patsy, in a way not dissimilar to the wonderful Celeste in her spirit and ways of life. 

Lilana walks right into the camp of Brick Callahan ( and don't get me going on the Callahan men, omg - I love that gang).  It's a bit of a shock for Lili, she sets eyes on Brick and realises she has known him as the boy next door, many years ago when he was Mark and her brother's best friend. And... her secret love. He was very good to her but well she still wasn't allowed into their tree house.

Along the way as these two meet up and explore their relationship now, we get to reacquaint ourselves with many of the beloved characters in this town. If you are new to the series you don't have to have read previous books, they all stand alone, however every story is such fun.  Many of them join with Celeste to put the screws on Brick when he is following the path all Callahan men seem prone to take, as I said I just love them.

Another heart warming, delightful read and visit to Eternity Springs. One of those small towns you really wish existed and you could visit... or live!
Emily March is the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series. Publishers Weekly calls March a "master of delightful banter," and her heartwarming, emotionally charged stories have been named to Best of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Romance Writers of America. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeño relish has made her a tailgating legend.

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June 20, 2017

The Cafe by the Sea Jenny Colgan

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Published: William Morrow
Date: June 27th 2017
Format: e-ARC
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
4.5 stars             Add to Goodreads
Years ago, Flora fled the quiet Scottish island where she grew up -- and she hasn't looked back. What would she have on Mure? It's a place where everyone has known her all her life, where no one will let her forget the past. In bright, bustling London, she can be anonymous, ambitious... and hopelessly in love with her boss.

But when fate brings Flora back to the island, she's suddenly swept once more into life with her brothers -- all strapping, loud, and seemingly incapable of basic housework -- and her father. Yet even amid the chaos of their reunion, Flora discovers a passion for cooking -- and find herself restoring dusty little pink-fronted shop on the harbour: a café by the sea.

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So on the one hand you have hot, muggy, dirty London - squashed into a tiny flat, eating food from a microwave and doing a small paralegal job. Or... you could be back home on a small Scottish island in the far north. That is the dilemma for Flora in The Cafe by the Sea.  She has escaped island life, her mother was always so keen for her to be educated and to go forth and experience the world, not the small world of the island.

However Flora finds herself back on the island when her work calls for someone who knows the local area well and some law as well. There we find her back with her family, in a tough hardworking family farming environment. They are a family who deeply mourn the loss of a wife and mother gone before her time. They've let things slide, and Flora isn't too sure of her welcome back - even for such a short time - because she may have gone too far in what she said at her mother's funeral.

I can only say I adored the setting of the island, the scenery described, the wildlife, the animals. If I were a travelling person its a place I'd love to visit. Joel, Flora's boss sees the beauty of the place and the way Flora handles herself in this environment. Unbeknown to him Flora has been carrying a torch for him for a long time. But Joel has issues of his own and is a little overpowered by the strong family environment he witnesses when he visits to check up on the case in hand.

I loved all the characters, Flora's Dad, her three brothers, her three year old niece and of course the dogs. And all the crusty people that make up the island, along with the wealthy new hotel owner - Colton, who wants to prevent a wind farm being built right in front of the hotel, but must woo these taciturn people to his way of thinking.

I was transported out of my own life into these islanders lives and I loved every moment of it. A very entertaining and delicious read!

page turner well written delish keeper shelf book

June 19, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading 19th June


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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As a reader I gather all the books I want to read, and as always it takes ages to get to them. The same happens to me with quilting opportunities... I am always seeing fabrics, patterns and quilt alongs I want to try. There are never enough hours in the day!

Sometimes I lose something and never see it again. This week after four years an iPod Touch 4 turned up. I used them for class work when teaching and this went missing about a year or so before I retired. We stored the iPods in a filing cabinet and it turns out someone found it there. Now the school where I taught has since closed and moved to new premises and that filing cabinet moved too. Yet a teacher dropped the iPod Touch into me in pristine condition!  I had a bit of a laugh at the photos and videos on it as it awakened memories. (Yes I bought a couple of iPods, I'd be waiting forever for the school to do it, although they did get an iPad for each room). When I was teaching I loved using such technology in the classroom. I donated the others to a starting out teacher when I retired, but I will keep this one now.

We had a lot of fun making the videos and of course I am sure they were educational!!

Also this week a book I requested on NetGalley over a year ago was also approved. I had given up on it and forgotten about it. How odd is that!

This week I have enjoyed a couple of bloggers who have been sharing about Book Expo. Sheila from Book Journey shared about time with Lisa Jewell and Jane Green  and Kristin from Always With a Book shared each of her days 1-4 of Book Expo. I love to live vicariously!                                         

What I read last week:

Well I didn't accomplish a lot of reading this week as I got caught up in hours of quilting. It was also a people kind of week, which was really nice but meant my reading was limited although rewarding.
I read for review....
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What I am reading at present:

From the very recently bought pile a book from one of my top favourite series. I do read paranormal but I am not a huge paranormal reader, but this series speaks to my reader's heart. I love those changelings.
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Still listening to...
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Really enjoying it, I remember none of it which I guess is not surprising after so many years, and am chuckling away as I listen.

Up next:

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Last Weeks Posts
Come Sundown   Nora Roberts
Beach House for Rent   Mary Alice Monroe
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June 16, 2017

Beach House For Rent. Mary Alice Monroe

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Published:Gallery Books
Date: June 20th 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Southern Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
4 stars                     Add to Goodreads
Mary Alice Monroe,bestselling author of the Lowcountry Summer series, returns to her beloved Beach House series with the highly anticipated follow-up to Beach House Memories and The Beach House.

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Beach House for Rent is #4 in Mary Alice Monroe's Beach House series. I hadn't read the previous books so I can say this is a very good stand alone, and I am sure lovers of the series would also relish this beautiful addition to it.

The characters:
Cara is just turning fifty and she is having a life crisis. While happily married to Brett for the last ten years, she feels she is missing out on something, a passion and purpose in life over and beyond what she has now. Once a very successful advertising agent she is now questioning where her life is going. As the story unfolds and as it turns out her whole life is turned upside down in this book and it is a slow crawl out of the deep hole she finds herself in.

Heather is a young woman who lost her mother in a car accident that Heather too was in. Always a shy person she now suffers from panic attacks and social anxiety. However what she does have is a passion for painting and she has just won a commission to paint some southern seabirds for some stamps. When her father arranges for her to spend the summer in the beach house she is really anxious about it - however it turns out to be a very healing and growing time for her.

The setting:
If you love the beach and the sea and the sand and the romance of a beach house then you can indulge in this book - it is alive with the sights and sounds and beauty painted in words for you to envision by Mary Alice Monroe. The beach house - Primrose Cottage is delightful, who wouldn't want to spend a summer in it, no one in their right mind would sell it.

As in all the novels I have read by Mary Alice Monroe the flora and fauna of the southern coast of Carolina is wonderfully brought to life. Through Heather's eyes we see the wonders of the birds and the turtles. We also get a peek into the life of canaries as Heather as three gorgeous birds that bring her so much joy.  And of course there is a strong theme of environmental care running through the story.

The Extras
I liked the small cast of secondary characters, the men in Heather's and Cara's life, the friends they both make or already have. I especially enjoyed having a little mention of a couple of characters from the lowcountry series.   All in all a very enjoyable read.

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