January 16, 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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Well and another week flies by. I am a bit obsessive - I have been quilting every minute I get, then some reading and er... very little housework. Don't visit! I did manage to walk most days and tinker in the garden... a little.  That was my week and it flew by. I have made myself a list for today of things I really need to do and stop avoiding these simple little tasks!                                   

What I read last week:

Two review books read.  Jodi Thomas outdid herself on Wild Horse Springs. Loved it.
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Finished this audiobook which was time travel historical romance and was a good listen with a fun story so will most likely listen to the series as time goes by.
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What I am reading at present:

From the TBR shelf. I know many of you raved about his one when it was published, like a dutiful reader I bought it and there it sat.... until now. Already hooked into it.
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Listening to...
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Up next:

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Posts from last week:
Sweet Southern Hearts     Susan Schild
Bridge of Scarlet Leaves    Kristina McMorris

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January 15, 2017

Winners from 2016 Challenges hosted at the Book Date

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Full House Reading Challenge 2016

October to December link up of reviews: Darlene from  Darlene's Book Nook  Book from the Book Depository.  The Breakdown  B. A. Paris

Final completed house link up:  Jamie G. from Whatever You Think Of. $30 Amazon Voucher

Women's Fiction 2016 Reading Challenge

July - December link ups of reviews: Sherrie  P.  $10 Amazon voucher

Final link up for completion of challenge:  Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews $25 Amazon voucher.

Read the Books You Buy Reading Challenge 2016
Final Link Up:  Susan from Avid Series Reader  $25 Amazon Voucher

Congratulations to all the winners. 


January 13, 2017

Sweet Southern Hearts. Susan Schild

Sweet Southern Hearts Virtual book tour banner


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Published:  Kensington: Lyrical Press
Date: January 10th 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 214
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rating:
4 stars                      Add to Goodreads
Susan Schild welcomes you back to the offbeat Southern town of Willow Hill, North Carolina, for a humorous, heartwarming story of new beginnings, do-overs, and self discovery...
When it comes to marriage, third times the charm for Linny Taylor. She's thrilled to be on her honeymoon with Jack Avery, Willow Hill's handsome veterinarian.

Jack’s twelve-year- old son is resisting all Linny’s efforts to be the perfect stepmother, while her own mother, Dottie, begs her to tag along on the first week of a free-wheeling RV adventure.Who knew women “of a certain age” could drum up so much trouble? No sooner is Linny sighing with relief at being back home than she’s helping her frazzled sister with a new baby…and dealing with an unexpected legacy from her late ex. Life is fuller—and richer—than she ever imagined, but if there’s one thing Linny’s learned by now, it’s that there’s always room for another sweet surprise…
                                                 
Sweet Southern Hearts is #3 in the Willow Hill series by Susan Schild.  Linny and Jack have tied the knot and the great adventure of marriage beckons. Linny has had two previous husbands, (both now deceased) and this one hopefully is going to be third time lucky.

The book opens with the two on their honeymoon, engaged in a wild water rafting trip, - Jack's choice! Linny just hangs on, but it is kind of exhilarating for her too. It turns out this is a kind of a metaphor for that first year of marriage as while there are some quiet patches in it, they sure hit a lot of rapids as well.

Linny is a bit of a people pleaser, dutiful and responsible. It's not long before things begin to mount up for her. Her business needs her attention, her mother is throwing a hissy fit over a trip she had previously wanted to go on and now has cold feet. Her stepson Neal is a two-timer, sometimes adorable and sometimes the 'kid from hell'. Jack isn't dealing that well with his ex - who has marriage problems. His boundaries are rather weak. Onto that load a crisis for sister Kate and an unexpected arrival on the doorstep. Quite a lot to deal with. Plus - its that first year of marriage.

Jack loves Linny but... at times he annoyed me with his inability to speak up to his ex and his son where he needed to. I wanted to eye him and tell him to man up. He has a treasure - take care of it. 

As well there is three fun old women - Linny's mother one of them who set out on an RV trip and have a little fun and romance along the way. Life is full of second chances when you go looking.

So there needs to be compromise, past life complications have to be dealt with and worked through, resentment might just be beginning to rear its ugly head.  As Mary Catherine ( Linny's good friend) says to Linny she needs to "toughen up". Well a white water ride might just do that and I sure was relieved when that ride was completed and there were some very happy and proud 'rafters'.

While this is part of a trilogy, this book could easily be read alone. The author deftly catches us up on the previous happenings.
Buy Links:
Amazon     Google  Itunes  Kobo

Author Info:

Susan Schild
Susan Schild writes wholesome and sunny Southern fiction. She likes stories about charming men, missing money, adventuresome women, sweet dogs, and happily ever afters at any age. Susan is a wife and a stepmother. She enjoys rummaging through thrift store for treasures like four dollar cashmere sweaters and amateur watercolor paintings. Susan has used her professional background as a psychotherapist and a management consultant to add authenticity to her characters.

SWEET SOUTHERN HEARTS, the final book in the Willow Hill series, will be released in January of 2017. Readers can look forward to more adventures, new beaus, sinister ministers, lovebirds over fifty, a road trip for Mama and her pals, and maybe even an “I Do”...or two. You can follow Susan on Facebook, Twitter and on her website or subscribe to her quarterly newsletter for inside scoop, sneak peeks and giveaways.
Susan is giving away a $25 Amazon card to celebrate the publishing of Sweet Southern Hearts.

Enter Giveaway via Rafflecopter.



January 11, 2017

Bridge of Scarlet Leaves. Kristina McMorris

Published:Kensington Books
Date: 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages:437
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source:Library
Rating:
5 stars          Add to Goodreads
Los Angeles, 1941. Violinist Maddie Kern's life seemed destined to unfold with the predictable elegance of a Bach concerto. Then she fell in love with Lane Moritomo. Her brother's best friend, Lane is the handsome, ambitious son of Japanese immigrants. Maddie was prepared for disapproval from their families, but when Pearl Harbor is bombed the day after she and Lane elope, the full force of their decision becomes apparent. In the eyes of a fearful nation, Lane is no longer just an outsider, but an enemy.

When her husband is interned at a war relocation camp, Maddie follows, sacrificing her Juilliard ambitions. Behind barbed wire, tension simmers and the line between patriot and traitor blurs. As Maddie strives for the hard-won acceptance of her new family, Lane risks everything to prove his allegiance to America, at tremendous cost.

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Bridge of Scarlet Leaves - my first book of the year - what a powerful read.  I had read a picture book a number of years ago that told the story of how the Japanese immigrants - many of them citizens of America, were herded into camps in the U.S.A once the war broke out. So I was prepared but... Kristina McMorris' thoroughly researched, extremely well written novel opened my eyes to this time in history.  I know we are meant to learn from history and not repeat its mistakes. However  I suspect those who need to, don't read these kind of books. For I know the kind of indiscriminate decisions made then could be repeated now, in most or all countries of the world. However let us read and have our hearts and minds opened.

I loved the story of Maddie - in love with Lane a son of a Japanese immigrant and a U.S. citizen. They kept their love hidden for quite awhile because of the opposition they knew they would meet. Lane was also the best friend of T.J. Maddie's brother. T.J. took it on himself to be responsible for Maddie after their mother died and their father sunk into deep depression. T.J. would not look kindly on any relationship between Maddie and Lane.

When the war against Japan starts all their lives are changed forever. Lane's family are sent away, T.J joins up and Maddie is determined not to be separated from Lane and sets out to find him and be with him. I really don't want to give any more away, only to say it is a deeply emotional and at times very hard story to read. War atrocities and the camp at Manzanar (where Lane's family ended upt) were terrible. 

Yet there is powerful hope and a sense of the importance of life and living.   I loved the exploration of the Japanese culture and the emphasis on how important it is to reach out to each other in forgiveness, peace and hope. I loved the way Maddie integrated with Lane's family and the blossoming of Lane's mother and their ultimate decisions. I also loved how the latest addition to the family reaches out and awakens someone who has long been sunken in grief. 

I highly recommend this book to everyone.  You can also read a  review and interview with Kristina McMorris over at The Reading Frenzy if you would like to know more.

heartfelt keeper shelf thought provoking page turner


January 9, 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!
a divide
I hope you all had a great start to the year. It's been a quiet week for me, trying to get back into the habit of a walk most days, but weather puts me off a bit. It is meant to be summer here but so far not delivering. Although I hate really hot weather so not complaining too much. The garden has started delivering beans, potatoes, carrots, beetroot, parsnips so that part is good.
                                                   

What I read last week:

Perfect book to start 2017. Excellent. Review to follow.

Great listen. Loved the reread after decades from reading it last.


Review book which was a delightful read.

What I am reading at present:

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Listening to...
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Up next:

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Posts from last week.
Mulberry Moon Catherine Anderson
Breath of Fire    Amanda Bouchet

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January 6, 2017

Breath of Fire

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Published:Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date: 3rd January 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 448
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rating:
                        Add to Goodreads
SHE'S DESTINED TO DESTROY THE WORLD... 
"Cat" Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat's tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what's a girl to do when she knows it's her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.

BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT
Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world-for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin must embrace their fate together. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom...or not at all.


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Breath of Fire is  the second book in the Kingmaker Chronicles by Amanda Bouchet.  Much like the first one it is full of magic, Greek mythology and action.

Cat is now well accepted and even loved in Sinta, and Griffin and herself now set their sights on Tarva and Fisa, their aim is to unite these three into one and rule with care and justice. In this book Cat reveals more about herself to Griffin and his family. There are some fireworks between the couple, but really Griffin has one true love and that's Cat and it's not about to change.

They travel on a long arduous journey to seek help, and while Cat might have the gods on her side, it is not always certain they'll show up and support when the going is rough.  And just when one journey is completed, the action takes on an even more deadly course.  Tarva is hosting a games where teams fight to the death. Reminded me a little of The Hunger Games!

There is always something happening in this book, be it the relationship between Cat and Griffin, the many fights and tight corners the team finds themselves in, or the people who show up at opportune times. 

I enjoyed seeing Jocasta - Griffin's sister, taking more of a role in this book and would really like to see her have a stable relationship develop with Flynn one of Griffin's team. There is news for Cat that she doesn't see coming, although Griffin has an inkling and plenty of hints are dropped for the reader to pick up on.  And I enjoyed the way Griffin helps Cat to see herself as she truly is, so that as the story moves on, she grows as a leader and a person. She can also be pessimistic so his optimism is refreshing and healing for her as well.

I will certainly be looking forward to the third book in the trilogy as they turn towards Fisa, and Cat's wily, tyrannical mother who needs to be dealt with.
page turner well written magical family



Link Ups of reviews January - March for Full House. 2017

Full House 2017

While reviews are not mandatory in the challenge, you may choose to link up and at the end of the quarter there will be a random choice of one review, and the reader will win a $12 voucher for Amazon or book up to that value at the Book Depository.

When linking your review share which category the book fits, for example... Western.


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