It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey.

Life…

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What I Read Last Week

 

 Rachael’s Gift by Alexandra Cameron

The Sunnyvale Girls by Fiona Palmer

The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlon

Rain Dance by Karen Wood

Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McIerney

Bite Harder by Anonymous 9

 

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

AWW Feature: Visiting Italy with Fiona Palmer and The Sunnyvale Girls

Review: The Sunnyvale Girls by Fiona Palmer ★★★★

Review: Lyrebird Hill by Anna Romer ★★★★

Review: The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlon ★★1/2

Review: Rachael’s Gift by Alexandra Cameron ★★★★1/2

Review: Rain Dance by Karen Wood ★★★1/2

Stuff On Sundays: The Most Well-Read Cities in Australia

What I Am Reading Today

 

It was crazy really, she had never met the woman, had no idea of her real name but she thought of her as a friend. Or, at least, the closest thing she had to a friend in Dublin. Struggling with a new baby, Yvonne turns to netmammy, an online forum for mothers, for support. Drawn into a world of new friends, she spends increasing amounts of time online and volunteers more and more information about herself. When one of her new friends goes offline, Yvonne thinks something is wrong, but dismisses her fears. After all, does she really know this woman? But when the body of a young woman with striking similarities to Yvonne’s missing friend is found, Yvonne realises that they’re all in terrifying danger. Can she persuade Sergeant Claire Boyle, herself about to go on maternity leave, to take her fears seriously?

What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

On an ordinary day, at an air show like that in any small town across the country, a plane crashes into a crowd of spectators, killing and injuring dozens. But when the dust clears, a thirteen-year-old girl named Ava is found huddled beneath a pocket of rubble with her best friend, Wash. He is injured and bleeding, and when Ava places her hands over him, his wounds miraculously disappear. Ava has a unique gift: she can heal others of their physical ailments. Until the air show tragedy, her gift was a secret. But now the whole world knows, and suddenly Ava is thrust into the spotlight. People from all over the globe begin flocking to her small town, looking for healing and eager to glimpse the wonder of a miracle. But Ava’s unusual ability comes at a great cost, her own health, and as she grows weaker with each healing, Ava begins searching for an escape. Wash agrees to help Ava, but little does she know he has his own secret he’s been harboring, and soon Ava finds herself having to decide just how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to save the one she loves most.

 

Stella only wanted a holiday… the last thing she expected was a love interest and a possible ghost. Third-generation farmer Adam Burton has always tried to keep his family together, but twenty years after his little sister went missing from the family farm he’s losing hope. His dad has walked out, his mum is as reclusive as ever and he still blames himself for his sister’s disappearance. When Stella Reynolds and her young daughter arrive from the big smoke to stay at the holiday cottage on their farm for the summer, Adam is immediately attracted to the beautiful single mum. Although he’s always steered clear of children and doesn’t believe he deserves love or a family of his own, he finds himself spending time with Stella and her young daughter, Heidi, and enjoying it. As the twenty-year old mystery begins to unravel, Stella wonders if she should take her daughter and run. But doing so is easier said than done, because Stella just might be falling in love with Bunyip Bay and a gorgeous, but hurting, farmer.

Kate McDaid is listing her new-year’s resolutions hoping to kick-start her rather stagnant love life and career when she gets some very strange news. To her surprise, she is the sole benefactor of a great great-great-great aunt and self-proclaimed witch also called Kate McDaid, who died over 130 years ago. As if that isn’t strange enough, the will instructs that, in order to receive the inheritance, Kate must publish seven letters, one by one, week by week. Burning with curiosity, Kate agrees and opens the first letter – and finds that it’s a passionate plea to reconnect with the long-forgotten fairies of Irish folklore. Almost instantaneously, Kate’s life is turned upside down. Her romantic life takes a surprising turn and she is catapulted into the public eye. As events become stranger and stranger – and she discovers things about herself she’s never known before – Kate must decide whether she can fulfil her great-aunt’s final, devastating request … and whether she can face the consequences if she doesn’t. Witty, enchanting and utterly addictive, Reluctantly Charmed is about what happens when life in the fast lane collides with the legacy of family, love and its possibilities … and a little bit of magic.

LIGHT DUTIES, LARGE PAY, NO QUESTIONS ASKED … OR ANSWERED After seeing a curious flyer, Freya takes a job caring for Elijah, the comatose son of the eccentric Vincetti family. She soon discovers that the Vincetti’s labyrinthine mansion hides a wealth of secrets, their corporate rivals have a nasty habit of being extravagantly executed, and Elijah is not the saint they portray him to be. As well, Marilyn Monroe keeps showing up, unaware she’s very much deceased. And there’s something very strange about the story that Elijah’s brother Jack is writing … Killing Adonis is a tragicomic tale about love, delusion, corporate greed and the hazards of using pineapple cutters while hallucinating

Chloe Townsend was dumped at the altar. But now she’s landed an incredible job, running a brand new boutique hotel with a difference. It’s a pioneering ‘divorce hotel’, designed to make every aspect of breaking-up pain free – all in a single weekend. No one is better qualified than Chloe to deal with relationships at crisis point, but, with three unhappy couples needing her help, she’s forced to tackle her own secret heartbreak. Can she hold it together and prove that she’s up for the job? The hotel’s opening weekend brings troubles and surprises, and it soon becomes clear that some endings can be very exciting new beginnings…

Matt Preston’s simple, hearty recipes have been finding their way into family repertoires for more than a decade now. This latest collection brings together nearly 200 of his favourite dishes, from slow-cooked roasts and tasty braises to mouth-watering desserts and tea-time treats. But it’s not all twice-cooked sticky ribs and croissant bread and butter puddings; within these pages you’ll also find killer kale recipes, fresh, Asian-inspired starters and more delicious salads than you can shake a stick at! Scattered throughout are handfuls of food ‘hacks': 2-ingredient cakes, sneaky cheats’ tips and tricks to make everyday cooking even faster.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey.

Life…

 With the start of school holidays I won’t have a lot of time in front of the computer.  In order to keep the kids entertained I am planning trips to the beach, the cycle park, the aquatic center plus we have some scouting activities to attend and we are thinking of going camping for the weekend.

Meanwhile, my parents are on a 10 day cruise to Vanuatu!

 

What I Read Last Week

 Best to Laugh by Lorna Landvik

Tumbledown Manor by Helen brown

One Kick by Chelsea Cain

Lyrebird Hill by Anna Romer

The Book of Days by K.A. Barker

 

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

Review: Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts ★★★★1/2

Review: Best to Laugh by Lorna Landvik ★★★

Review: Tumbledown Manor by Helen Brown ★★1/2

Review: One Kick by Chelsea Cain ★★★★

About: The Book of Days by K.A. Barker

Stuff On Sundays: Bookshelf Bounty

What I Am Reading Today

 

Rachael is a child prodigy, a talented artist whose maturity and eloquence is far beyond her fourteen years. She’s also energetic, charming and beautiful, beguiling everyone around her. To her mother, Camille, she is perfect. But perfection requires work, as Camille knows all too well. For Rachael has another extraordinary gift: a murky one that rears its head from time to time, threatening to unbalance all the family has been working towards. When Rachael accuses her art teacher of sexual misconduct, Wolfe and Camille are drawn into a complex web of secrets and lies that pit husband against wife, and have the power to destroy all their lives. Set in contrasting worlds of Australia and Paris, told from the perspective of husband and wife, Rachael’s Gift is a detective story of the heart, about a mother’s uncompromising love for her daughter and a father’s quest for the truth

What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

Three generations of Stewart women share a deep connection to their family farm, but a secret from the past threatens to tear them apart. Widowed matriarch Maggie remembers a time when the Italian prisoners of war came to work on their land, changing her heart and her home forever. Single mum Toni has been tied to the place for as long as she can recall, although farming was never her dream. And Flick is as passionate about the farm as a young girl could be, despite the limited opportunities for love. When a letter from 1946 is unearthed in an old cottage on the property, the Sunnyvale girls find themselves on a journey deep into their own hearts and all the way across the world to Italy. Their quest to solve a mystery leads to incredible discoveries about each other, and about themselves.

Revelation “Reve” Dyer grew up with her grandmother’s family stories, stretching back centuries to Reve’s ancestors, who founded the town of Hawley Five Corners, Massachusetts. Their history is steeped in secrets, for few outsiders know that an ancient magic runs in the Dyer women’s blood, and that Reve is a magician whose powers are all too real. Reve and her husband are world-famous Las Vegas illusionists. They have three lovely young daughters, a beautiful home, and what seems like a charmed life. But Reve’s world is shattered when an intruder alters her trick pistol and she accidentally shoots and kills her beloved husband onstage. Fearing for her daughters’ lives, Reve flees with them to the place she has always felt safest—an antiquated farmhouse in the forest of Hawley Five Corners, where the magic of her ancestors reigns, and her oldest friend—and first love—is the town’s chief of police. Here, in the forest, with its undeniable air of enchantment, Reve hopes she and her girls will be protected. Delving into the past for answers, Reve is drawn deeper into her family’s legends. What she discovers is The Hawley Book of the Dead, an ancient leather-bound journal holding mysterious mythic power. As she pieces together the truth behind the book, Reve will have to shield herself and her daughters against an uncertain, increasingly dangerous fate. For soon it becomes clear that the stranger who upended Reve’s life in Las Vegas has followed her to Hawley—and that she has something he desperately wants.

For the past thirty-three years, Angela Gillespie has sent to friends and family around the world an end-of-the-year letter titled “Hello from the Gillespies.” It’s always been cheery and full of good news. This year, Angela surprises herself–she tells the truth….  The Gillespies are far from the perfect family that Angela has made them out to be. Her husband is coping badly with retirement. Her thirty-two-year-old twins are having career meltdowns. Her third daughter, badly in debt, can’t stop crying. And her ten-year-old son spends more time talking to his imaginary friend than to real ones.  Without Angela, the family would fall apart. But when Angela is taken away from them in a most unexpected manner, the Gillespies pull together–and pull themselves together–in wonderfully surprising ways…  From the bestselling author of The House of Memories comes a funny and heartfelt novel about miscommunication and mayhem in a family like no other.

 

You should come to the drought-relief fundraiser,’ Kaydon said to Holly. ‘It’s a big fancy ball, heaps of fun.’ Boy, could this girl use some fun. And some rump steak. Holly shook her head. Kaydon gave up. Trying to make her smile was like doing a rain dance. There were clouds and rumblings, and a sprinkle here and there. But no amount of fancy footwork was going to make it happen for real. Holly Harvey doesn’t want to move to Gunnedah, far from her friends and her home near the beach. And she’s a vegetarian, so living on a beef property, with cattle yards, polo ponies and pig-shooting, makes it even worse. She and Kaydon are worlds apart – until a fight breaks out at the fundraising ball.

It was crazy really, she had never met the woman, had no idea of her real name but she thought of her as a friend. Or, at least, the closest thing she had to a friend in Dublin. Struggling with a new baby, Yvonne turns to netmammy, an online forum for mothers, for support. Drawn into a world of new friends, she spends increasing amounts of time online and volunteers more and more information about herself. When one of her new friends goes offline, Yvonne thinks something is wrong, but dismisses her fears. After all, does she really know this woman? But when the body of a young woman with striking similarities to Yvonne’s missing friend is found, Yvonne realises that they’re all in terrifying danger. Can she persuade Sergeant Claire Boyle, herself about to go on maternity leave, to take her fears seriously?

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey.

Life…

I have had a particularly hectic past week leading up to and including the weekend. I spent ten hours (two consecutive three hour shows) behind the scenes of my daughter’s annual gymnastic concerts on Saturday wrangling 200+ kids aged between 3 and 22, ensuring that everybody made it on stage when they were supposed to, and then all day Sunday at my children’s school’s annual Fete. I am quite frankly exhausted!

Next week the usually daily chaos multiples as it is school holidays so my kids will be home 24/7

What I Read Last Week

 

 Already Dead by Jaye Ford

Can You Keep a Secret? by Caroline Overington

The French Prize by Cathryn Hein

Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts

 

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

Review: The Moment of Everything by Shelly King ★★★★1/2

Review: Already Dead by Jaye Ford ★★★★1/2

Review: The French Prize by Cathryn Hein ★★★

Review: Can You Keep a Secret? by Caroline Overington

Review: The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg ★★★★1/2

Stuff On Sundays: What My Kids are Reading…

What I Am Reading Today

 

No one steps up to life’s banquet, holds out her tray, and orders, “Grief, please!” But as a child, Candy Pekkala was served a heaping helping of it. Every buffet line has a dessert section, however, and when a cousin calls with a Hollywood apartment to sublet, it seems as though Candy is finally offered something sweet. It’s good-bye to Minnesota and hello to California, where a girl who has always lived by her wits has a real chance of making a living with them. With that, the irrepressible Lorna Landvik launches her latest irresistible character onto the world stage—or at least onto the dimly lit small stage where stand-up comedy gets its start. Herself a comic performer, Landvik taps her own adventurous past and Minnesota roots to conjure Candy’s life in this strange new Technicolor home. Her fellow tenants at Peyton Hall include a female bodybuilder, a ruined nightclub impresario, and a well-connected old Romanian fortune-teller. There are game show appearances and temp jobs at a record company and an establishment suspiciously like the Playboy Mansion, and of course the alluring but not always welcoming stage of stand-up comedy. As she hones her act, Candy is tested by humiliation, hecklers, and the inherent sexism that insists “chicks aren’t funny.” Written with the light touch and quiet wisdom that have made her works so popular, this is classic Lorna Landvik—sometimes so funny, you’ll cry; sometimes so sad, you might as well laugh; and always impossible to put down.

What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

Life’s going down the gurgler for romance writer Lisa Trumperton. The deadline for her next novel is looming, her daughter won’t eat but has a new tattoo each week, and now her Wall Street trader husband has run off with a woman at work. Lisa makes a quick escape, home to Australia, where at least her girl-magnet son seems to be making hay. Determined to grow older disgracefully, she turns her back on a trim and tidy townhouse that is close to shops, aged-care providers and her bossy older sister, instead buying a grand old house in the country that once belonged to her great-grandfather. But like its new owner, Trumperton Manor has seen better days. Crumbling, filthy and possibly haunted, the old house defies Lisa’s attempts to restore it. Add flood, fire and family secrets, plus a stray cat with attitude and an overly familiar handyman, and the cracks begin to show. . . Richly observed and laugh-out-loud funny, Tumbledown Manor is for anyone who believes it’s never too late for a makeover.

When all that you know comes crashing down, do you run? Or face the truth? Ruby Cardel has the semblance of a normal life – a loving boyfriend, a fulfilling career – but in one terrible moment, her life unravels. The discovery that the death of her sister, Jamie, was not an accident makes her question all she’s known about herself and her past. Travelling back home to Lyrebird Hill, Ruby begins to remember the year that has been forever blocked in her memory . . . Snatches of her childhood with beautiful Jamie, and Ruby’s only friendship with the boy from the next property, a troubled foster kid. Then Ruby uncovers a cache of ancient letters from a long-lost relative, Brenna Magavin, written from her cell in a Tasmanian gaol where she is imprisoned for murder. As she reads, Ruby discovers that her family line is littered with tragedy and violence. Slowly, the gaps in Ruby’s memory come to her. And as she pieces together the shards of truth, what she finally discovers will shock her to the core – about what happened to Jamie that fateful day, and how she died. A thrilling tale about family secrets and trusting yourself…

 

Kick Lannigan, 21, is a survivor. Abducted at age six in broad daylight, the police, the public, perhaps even her family assumed the worst had occurred. And then Kathleen Lannigan was found, alive, six years later. In the early months following her freedom, as Kick struggled with PTSD, her parents put her through a litany of therapies, but nothing helped until the detective who rescued her suggested Kick learn to fight. Before she was thirteen, Kick learned marksmanship, martial arts, boxing, archery, and knife throwing. She excelled at every one, vowing she would never be victimized again. But when two children in the Portland area go missing in the same month, Kick goes into a tailspin. Then an enigmatic man Bishop approaches her with a proposition: he is convinced Kick’s experiences and expertise can be used to help rescue the abductees. Little does Kick know the case will lead directly into her terrifying past…

Rachael is a child prodigy, a talented artist whose maturity and eloquence is far beyond her fourteen years. She’s also energetic, charming and beautiful, beguiling everyone around her. To her mother, Camille, she is perfect. But perfection requires work, as Camille knows all too well. For Rachael has another extraordinary gift: a murky one that rears its head from time to time, threatening to unbalance all the family has been working towards. When Rachael accuses her art teacher of sexual misconduct, Wolfe and Camille are drawn into a complex web of secrets and lies that pit husband against wife, and have the power to destroy all their lives. Set in contrasting worlds of Australia and Paris, told from the perspective of husband and wife, Rachael’s Gift is a detective story of the heart, about a mother’s uncompromising love for her daughter and a father’s quest for the truth

 

Most people believe the best way to forget someone is to throw them down a well. Or lock them in a room with eight keys, or bury them at a crossroad in the thirteenth hour. But they’re wrong. The best way to forget someone is for them never to have existed in the first place. When sixteen-year-old Tuesday wakes from sleep for the first time, she opens her eyes to a world filled with wonder – and peril. Left only with a letter from the person she once was, Tuesday sets out to discover her past with the help of her charming and self-serving guide, Quintalion. Along the way she runs into mercenaries, flying cities, airships, and a blind librarian. But what is her connection with the mysterious Book of Days – a book that holds untold power..

 

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey.

Life…

Yesterday we celebrated Father’s Day in Australia. My oldest daughter was performing in a fundraiser event one town over so we all went along and met my parents there for lunch. It has been raining for days here but the sun finally came out so we all enjoyed a lovely afternoon by the lake.

The first photo is of my husband with our children, the second is of my dad.

fathersday_2014fathersday_2014-wdad

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Thank you again to all those who stopped by to celebrate Book’d Out’s 4th birthday and leave me messages of congratulations. I am truly grateful and humbled by your kind words and support.

I am thrilled to announce the winners of my 4th blog birthday celebrations

Kathryn T has won the $25 gift certificate to Gone Reading

Winners of the Amazon/Book Depository gift certificates are:

Helen B; Carol M and Tracey S

{Winners will be contacted via email}

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What I Read Last Week

 

Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan

Mothers and Daughters by Kylie Ladd

Craven by Melanie Casey

Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

The Moment of Everything by Shelly King

 

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

Review: Mothers and Daughters by Kylie Ladd ★★★★

Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas ★★★★1/2

Review: Craven by Melanie Casey ★★★

Review: Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan ★★★1/2

Review: The Children Act by Ian McEwan ★★★1/2

Weekend Cooking: Tacolicious by Sara Deseran et al

*At the AWWC Blog: General Fiction: August 2014*

What I Am Reading Today

 

Miranda shrank away from him, arm pressed to the driver’s door. ‘What’s your name?’ ‘I’m already dead. That’s my name now. That’s what they called me. I’m Already Dead.’
Journalist Miranda Jack is finally attempting to move on from the death of her husband by relocating up the coast with her young daughter, Zoe. Then a single event changes everything. On a Monday afternoon as she waits at traffic lights, a stranger jumps into her car and points a gun at her chest. Forced to drive at high speed up the motorway, Miranda listens to the frantic, paranoid rants of Brendan Walsh, a man who claims he’s being chased and that they’re both now running for their lives. Two hours later her ordeal is over in the most shocking fashion. Miranda is safe but she can’t simply walk away – not without knowing the truth about that terrifying drive. As a journalist Miranda has always asked questions. But this time the questions are dangerous – and the answers might get her killed . .

What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

An ancient riddle, a broken vow – a modern-day quest for a medieval treasure. Australian-born Dr. Olivia Walker is an Oxford academic with a reputation as one of the world’s leading Crusade historians and she’s risked everything on finding one of the most famous swords in history – Durendal. Shrouded in myth and mystery, the sword is fabled to have belonged to the warrior Roland, a champion of Charlemagne’s court, and Olivia is determined to prove to her detractors that the legend is real. Her dream is almost within reach when she discovers the long-lost key to its location in Provence, but her benefactor – Raimund Blancard – has other ideas. For more than a millennium, the Blancard family have protected the sword. When his brother is tortured and killed by a man who believes he is Roland’s rightful heir, Raimund vows to end the bloodshed forever. He will find Durendal and destroy it, but to do that he needs Olivia’s help. Now Olivia is torn between finding the treasure for which she has hunted all her life and helping the man she has fallen in love with destroy her dream. And all the while, Raimund’s murderous nemesis is on their trail, and he will stop at nothing to claim his birthright.

How well do you really know the one you love?  With her customary page-turning style and potent themes, this is Caroline Overington at her thought-provoking best.  ‘Why do some people decide to get married when everyone around them would seem to agree that marriage, at least for the two people in question, is a terrifically bad idea?’ The year is 1999, and Lachlan Colbert – Colby – has the world at his feet. He’s got a big job on Wall Street and a sleek bachelor pad in the heart of Manhattan. With money no object, he and his friends take a trip to Australia to see in the new millennium. And it’s there, on a hired yacht sailing the Whitsundays, that he meets Caitlin.  Caitlin Hourigan has got wild hair and torn shorts – and has barely ever left the small patch of Queensland where she grew up. But Colby is smitten and for Caitlin, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, a blissful future awaits – marriage, a big house, a beautiful little boy. But nothing is ever as perfect as it seems. And for Lachlan and Caitlin the nightmare is only just beginning.

“When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics.” So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can’t forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices.

No one steps up to life’s banquet, holds out her tray, and orders, “Grief, please!” But as a child, Candy Pekkala was served a heaping helping of it. Every buffet line has a dessert section, however, and when a cousin calls with a Hollywood apartment to sublet, it seems as though Candy is finally offered something sweet. It’s good-bye to Minnesota and hello to California, where a girl who has always lived by her wits has a real chance of making a living with them. With that, the irrepressible Lorna Landvik launches her latest irresistible character onto the world stage—or at least onto the dimly lit small stage where stand-up comedy gets its start. Herself a comic performer, Landvik taps her own adventurous past and Minnesota roots to conjure Candy’s life in this strange new Technicolor home. Her fellow tenants at Peyton Hall include a female bodybuilder, a ruined nightclub impresario, and a well-connected old Romanian fortune-teller. There are game show appearances and temp jobs at a record company and an establishment suspiciously like the Playboy Mansion, and of course the alluring but not always welcoming stage of stand-up comedy. As she hones her act, Candy is tested by humiliation, hecklers, and the inherent sexism that insists “chicks aren’t funny.” Written with the light touch and quiet wisdom that have made her works so popular, this is classic Lorna Landvik—sometimes so funny, you’ll cry; sometimes so sad, you might as well laugh; and always impossible to put down.

 

 While you are here…

 

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey.

Life…

It has been a busy week, though for no special reason, just the usual chaotic schedule of school and after school activities to contend with.

It’s the first Monday of the month so here is a quick update on my challenge progress so far…

SNAG-0206

The Eclectic Reader Challenge 10/12

Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 65/50 – Completed!

Aussie Author Challenge 12/12 – Completed

Around the World in 12 Books Challenge 11/12

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I want to thank all of you who have stopped by to celebrate Book’d Out’s 4th birthday and leave me messages of congratulations. I am truly grateful and humbled by your kind words and support.

You still have a week to enter to win one of the four great prizes I am giving away – make sure you enter!

bookdout4_500

 

What I Read Last Week

 Moonlight Plains by Barbara Hannay

When the Night Comes by Favel Parrett

Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett

Craven by Melanie Casey

Murder 101 by Faye Kellerman

Tacolicious by Sara Desern

 

 

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

Review: Moonlight Plains by Barbara Hannay ★★★★

Book’d Out celebrates 4 years!

Review: When The Night Comes by Favel Parrett ★★★1/2

Review: Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett ★★★1/2

Review: Murder 101 by Faye Kellerman ★★★

Stuff On Sundays: 18 Books for Aussie Dads this Fathers Day

What I Am Reading Today

When Apple’s mother returns after eleven years of absence, Apple feels whole again. She will have an answer to her burning question – why did you go? And she will have someone who understands what it means to be a teenager – unlike Nana. But just like the stormy Christmas Eve when she left, her mother’s homecoming is bitter sweet, and Apple wonders who is really looking after whom. It’s only when Apple meets someone more lost than she is, that she begins to see things as they really are.

 

What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

 Four mothers. Four teenage daughters. An isolated tropical paradise with no internet or mobile phone reception. What could possibly go wrong? There’s tension, bitchiness, bullying, sex, drunken confessions, bad behaviour and breakdowns – and wait till you see what the teenagers get up to… How can we let our daughters go to forge lives of their own when what we most want to do is hold them close and never let them go? How do we let them grow and keep them protected from the dark things in the world at the same time? And how can mothers and daughters navigate the troubled, stormy waters of adolescence without hurting themselves and each other? A clear-eyed, insightful and wildly entertaining look into the complicated, emotional world of mothers and daughters by the acclaimed author of Into My Arms, Last Summer and After the Fall.

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.  While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

Fiona Maye is a High Court judge in London presiding over cases in family court. She is fiercely intelligent, well respected, and deeply immersed in the nuances of her particular field of law. Often the outcome of a case seems simple from the outside, the course of action to ensure a child’s welfare obvious. But the law requires more rigor than mere pragmatism, and Fiona is expert in considering the sensitivities of culture and religion when handing down her verdicts.
But Fiona’s professional success belies domestic strife. Her husband, Jack, asks her to consider an open marriage and, after an argument, moves out of their house. His departure leaves her adrift, wondering whether it was not love she had lost so much as a modern form of respectability; whether it was not contempt and ostracism she really fears. She decides to throw herself into her work, especially a complex case involving a seventeen-year-old boy whose parents will not permit a lifesaving blood transfusion because it conflicts with their beliefs as Jehovah’s Witnesses. But Jack doesn’t leave her thoughts, and the pressure to resolve the case—as well as her crumbling marriage—tests Fiona in ways that will keep readers thoroughly enthralled until the last stunning page.

“When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics.” So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can’t forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices

In the tradition of The Cookbook Collector comes a funny, romantic novel about a young woman finding her calling while saving a used bookstore. Maggie Duprès, recently “involuntarily separated from payroll” at a Silicon Valley start-up, is whiling away her days in The Dragonfly’s Used Books, a Mountain View institution, waiting for the Next Big Thing to come along. When the opportunity arises for her to network at a Bay Area book club, she jumps at the chance — even if it means having to read Lady Chatterley’s Lover, a book she hasn’t encountered since college, in an evening. But the edition she finds at the bookstore is no Penguin Classics Chatterley — it’s an ancient hardcover with notes in the margins between two besotted lovers of long ago. What Maggie finds in her search for the lovers and their fate, and what she learns about herself in the process, will surprise and move readers. Witty and sharp-eyed in its treatment of tech world excesses, but with real warmth at its core, The Moment of Everything is a wonderful read.

 While you are here…

WINNER of Quick by Steve Worland. : Aaron C

Enter to WIN in the Book’d Out Birthday celebrations

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey.

Life…

The routine of my week doesn’t vary much, though now I have resumed coaching basketball in advance of the season kicking off in a few weeks, making Monday and Thursday evenings particularly chaotic with multiple after school activities to juggle. I need to get a bit more organised, and stop binging on Netflix!

Oh! And I would like to invite you all to drop by Book’d Out on Wednesday, August 27th, to celebrate my 4th blogiversary with a great giveaway!

bookdout4_500

 

What I Read Last Week

 

Hindsight by Melanie Casey

The Catch by Taylor Stevens

 Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

Quick by Steve Worland

The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Norland

 

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

Review: I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan ★★★

Review: Heartbreak Hotel by Debbie Moggach ★★

Review: The Catch by Taylor Stevens ★★★1/2

Review: Hindsight by Melanie Casey ★★★★

Review & Giveaway: Quick by Steve Worland ★★★★

Review: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami  ★★★

Stuff On Sundays: Bookshelf Bounty

What I Am Reading Today

In 1942, as the Japanese sweep towards northern Australia and allied troops swarm into Townsville, Kitty Martin is sent inland to the safety of Moonlight Plains. But when two American airmen crash on the isolated property, she is forced to grow up fast, coming face to face with tragedy, with love . . . and with heartbreak. Years on, and Sally Piper, a young journalist, is sent to Moonlight Plains to cover the story of a cattleman turned builder who is restoring his grandmother’s forgotten homestead. Sparks fly between them, but Sally is struggling to let go of the past, and Luke has his eyes fixed firmly on the future. What they uncover together is a shocking secret that has been kept safe for more than seventy years. Now the entire family’s happiness is at stake – or does the truth about the past hold a valuable lesson for the future?

 

What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

Running away from the mainland was supposed to make their lives better. But, for Isla and her brother, their mother’s sadness and the cold, damp greyness of Hobart’s stone streets seeps into everything. Then, one morning, Isla sees a red ship. That colour lights her day. And when a sailor from the ship befriends her mother, he shares his stories with them all – of Antarctica, his home in Denmark and life onboard. Like the snow white petrels that survive in the harshest coldest place, this lonely girl at the bottom of the world will learn that it is possible to go anywhere, be anything. But she will also find out that it is just as easy to lose it all. For Isla, those two long summers will change everything. Favel Parrett delivers an evocative and gently told story about the power fear and kindness have to change lives.

Colt Jenson and his younger brother Bastian live in a world of shiny, new things – skateboards, slot cars, train sets and even the latest BMX. Their affluent father, Rex, has made sure that they’ll be the envy of the new, working-class suburb they’ve moved to.  But underneath the surface of the perfect family, is there something unsettling about the Jensons? To the local kids, Rex becomes a kind of hero, but Colt senses there’s something in his father that could destroy their fragile new lives.

As a detective lieutenant with the LAPD, Peter Decker witnessed enough ugliness and chaos for a lifetime. Now, he and his devoted wife Rena Lazarus are ready to enjoy the quiet beauty of upstate New York, where they can be closer to their four adult children and their foster son. But working for the Greenbury Police department isn’t as fulfilling as Decker hoped.  While Rina has adapted beautifully to their new surroundings, Decker is underwhelmed and frustrated by his new partner, Tyler McAdams, a former Harvard student and young buck with a bad ‘tude. Just when he thinks he’s made a mistake, Decker is called to his first real crime here—a possible break-in at the local cemetery. At first, it seems like a false alarm until it’s discovered that a mausoleum’s stunning Tiffany panels have been replaced by forgeries. Then, a coed at one of the exclusive local colleges is brutally murdered. Poking into the hallowed halls of academia to find a killer, Decker and McAdams are drawn deep into a web of dark secrets, cold case crimes, international intrigue, and ruthless people who kill for sport. Suddenly, the job is anything but boring. This case just might be too much to handle and Decker will have to draw on every ounce of experience that he has garnered in the past thirty years as a Homicide cop. And then again, even that might not be enough!

Cass thought she had experienced every kind of death… Moving to the city, Cass Lehman hoped to leave her recent notoriety behind her. Her ability to experience the final moments of a violent death helped the local police capture a serial killer, but also meant she was almost his final victim… With a place of her own and a new job, things are looking up for Cass. But just as she starts to feel settled, Cass is targeted by a deranged stalker. Are the personal attacks linked to a string of unsettling deaths that have left the police stumped? Her ‘gift’ is called on yet again by the one man she vowed she would never contact. Cass and Detective Ed Dyson are thrown back into each other’s lives but can they overcome their feelings to put an end to the terror? Will her experiences of death reveal the mind of the killer… or is there no such thing as a happy ending? A reluctant psychic, a troubled detective… and a deeply twisted serial killer.

The old world is buried. A new one has been forged atop the shifting dunes. Here in this land of howling wind and infernal sand, four siblings find themselves scattered and lost. Their father was a sand diver, one of the elite few who could travel deep beneath the desert floor and bring up the relics and scraps that keep their people alive. But their father is gone. And the world he left behind might be next.  Welcome to the world of Sand, the first new novel from New York Times bestselling author Hugh Howey since his publication of the Silo Saga. Unrelated to those works, which looked at a dystopian world under totalitarian rule, Sand is an exploration of lawlessness. Here is a land ignored. Here is a people left to fend for themselves. Adjust your ker and take a last, deep breath before you enter.

A collection of recipes for fun, accessible taqueria fare–including colorful salsas, tasty snacks, irresistible cocktails, and of course tacos galore–from the wildly popular San Francisco restaurants and acclaimed Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market food stand, Tacolicious. Tacos may be the most universally loved, happy-making food on earth. After all, who can say no to a juicy, spicy Chile verde taco; a decadently deep-fried Baja-style fish taco; or a gloriously porky Carnitas taco? At Tacolicious, the San Francisco Bay Area’s most popular Mexican restaurant, tacos are a way of life. And now, in this hotly anticipated cookbook, co-owner Sara Deseran shares all of the restaurant’s tortilla-wrapped secrets. Whether you’re seeking quick and easy weeknight meals or inspiration for a fabulous fiesta, Tacolicious has you covered. With recipes for showstopping salsas, crave-worthy snacks, cocktails and mocktails, and, of course, tacos galore, this festive collection is chock-full of real Mexican flavor—with a delicious California twist.

 

 While you are here…

Enter to WIN Quick by Steve Worland. Open worldwide.

Don’t forget to stop by on August 27th!

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey.

Life…

I’ve been a bit distracted this week, season four of Haven finally showed up on Netflix and I decided to rewatch the entire series.

I have just enjoyed a very peaceful weekend. My husband took our boys on a weekend Scout camp leaving just my daughters and I at home alone. We embraced the quiet, each absorbed in our own tasks (ie: watching Haven for me), before sharing dinner and a movie on Saturday night with my BFF , the girls godmother, whose husband also went on the camp.

Of course the serenity was shattered the minute the boys returned on Sunday afternoon with bags of muddy clothes to wash and loud voices competing to be the first to tell me everything. I adore them but they are so noisy!

 

What I Read Last Week

The House We Grew Up in by Lisa Jewell

The Broken Places by Ace Atkins

New Orleans Requiem by Don J Donaldson

Heartbreak Hotel by Debbie Moggach

I Work At a Public Library by Gina Sheridan

 

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

Review:  Deadly Obsession by Karen M Davis ★★★

Review: Nest by Inga Simpson ★★★

Review: The Broken Places by Ace Atkins ★★★1/2

Review: The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell ★★★★

Feature: Q&A with Don J. Donaldson, author of the Andy Broussard/Kit Franklyn series

Review: New Orleans Requiem by Don J Donaldson

Last chance to vote in the People’s Choice Best Designed Book of 2014!

What I Am Reading Today

Cass Lehman has a terrifying ‘gift’… She sees what others can’t… Cass Lehman had the misfortune of being born into a family of extraordinary women with supernatural talents. Her mother sees the future, her grandmother is a healer and Cass has the less sexy talent of seeing the past… but not just any past events… Cass’s terrifying gift is triggered when she walks over a spot where someone has met their end in a sudden and brutal way. Not only does she see their death, but she feels it… she relives it. So, for years, she’s hardly set foot outside… until now. Spurred by a desire to have a life of her own, Cass decides to take her first tentative steps towards freedom only to find herself confronted by murder and mayhem in her sleepy hometown of Jewel Bay. Taking a chance, she offers to help the local police track down the killer and finds herself thrust into working with the tormented and emotionally charged Detective Ed Dyson. Together they battle to overcome his prejudice and her fear of using her talent aiming to stop a killer who’s been operating quietly and systematically in their midst for years… Can Cass save the killer’s latest victim… and herself?

 

What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

In the wake of going head-to-head with international sex traffickers in The Doll, Munroe has retreated to Djibouti, where, while passing as a man, she finds work as an interpreter for a small, private, maritime security company. Pressed into duty at sea by her boss, Leo, Munroe discovers she is part of a gunrunning operation and she wants no part in protecting the crew or cargo. When the ship is attacked by pirates off the Somali coast, Munroe escapes and takes the unconscious captain with her to get answers. Leo’s wife, Amber Marie, the only person Munroe has cared about since she arrived in Africa, is desperate when Leo goes missing along with the rest of the hijacked crew, so Munroe agrees to try to find him for Amber Marie’s sake. She soon realizes it’s not the cargo or the ship or the crew that the hijackers were after: they want the captain. On the run, wounded, without connections or resources, and with the life of the captain as bait and bartering chip, Munroe believes that the only way to save Leo, assuming he’s still alive, is to hijack the ship back.

 

Tsukuru Tazaki had four best friends at school. By chance all of their names contained a colour. The two boys were called Akamatsu, meaning ‘red pine’, and Oumi, ‘blue sea’, while the girls’ names were Shirane, ‘white root’, and Kurono, ‘black field’. Tazaki was the only last name with no colour in it. One day Tsukuru Tazaki’s friends announced that they didn’t want to see him, or talk to him, ever again. Since that day Tsukuru has been floating through life, unable to form intimate connections with anyone. But then he meets Sara, who tells him that the time has come to find out what happened all those years ago.

 

Strap in for a breathtaking, tyre-peeling, high-octane adventure ride by rising star of action thrillers. Melbourne, Australia: Round one of the Formula One World Championship. Billy Hotchkiss no longer races a V8 Supercar, but that doesn’t mean he’s lost the need for speed. When the young cop uncovers a diamond heist in progress he leaps into action and almost captures the thieves single-handedly. Lyon, France: Interpol are convinced the criminals are somehow connected to Formula One. And they think this Australian ex-race driver is just the guy to stop them. Sent undercover with an unwilling French partner, Billy is thrust into the glamorous world of international motor racing. But as the duo closes in on the thieves they soon expose a far more sinister threat. With the fate of a city and the lives of one hundred thousand people in the balance, Billy must drive like never before to stop the worst act of terror since 9/11.

In 1942, as the Japanese sweep towards northern Australia and allied troops swarm into Townsville, Kitty Martin is sent inland to the safety of Moonlight Plains. But when two American airmen crash on the isolated property, she is forced to grow up fast, coming face to face with tragedy, with love . . . and with heartbreak. Years on, and Sally Piper, a young journalist, is sent to Moonlight Plains to cover the story of a cattleman turned builder who is restoring his grandmother’s forgotten homestead. Sparks fly between them, but Sally is struggling to let go of the past, and Luke has his eyes fixed firmly on the future. What they uncover together is a shocking secret that has been kept safe for more than seventy years. Now the entire family’s happiness is at stake – or does the truth about the past hold a valuable lesson for the future?

An investigative journalist uncovers a hidden custom that will transform your understanding of what it means to grow up as a girl. In Afghanistan, a culture ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as misfortune. A bacha posh (literally translated from Dari as “dressed up like a boy”) is a third kind of child – a girl temporarily raised as a boy and presented as such to the outside world. Jenny Nordberg, the reporter who broke the story of this phenomenon for the New York Times, constructs a powerful and moving account of those secretly living on the other side of a deeply segregated society where women have almost no rights and little freedom.  The Underground Girls of Kabul is anchored by vivid characters who bring this remarkable story to life: Azita, a female parliamentarian who sees no other choice but to turn her fourth daughter Mehran into a boy; Zahra, the tomboy teenager who struggles with puberty and refuses her parents’ attempts to turn her back into a girl; Shukria, now a married mother of three after living for twenty years as a man; and Nader, who prays with Shahed, the undercover female police officer, as they both remain in male disguise as adults.  At the heart of this emotional narrative is a new perspective on the extreme sacrifices of Afghan women and girls against the violent backdrop of America’s longest war. Divided into four parts, the book follows those born as the unwanted sex in Afghanistan, but who live as the socially favored gender through childhood and puberty, only to later be forced into marriage and childbirth. The Underground Girls of Kabul charts their dramatic life cycles, while examining our own history and the parallels to subversive actions of people who live under oppression everywhere

 While you are here…

Make your vote count in the ABAI Book Cover Design Awards

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey.

Life…

Meh!

 

What I Read Last Week

 Deeper Water by Jessie Cole

Hangtown by Karen Sandler

Deadly Obsession by Karen M Davis

Working Stiff by Judy Melinek and TJ Mitchell

Sweetshop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan

 

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

Review:  The Aitch Factor by Susan Butler ★★★

AWW Feature: Jessie Cole and Deeper Water

Review: Deeper Water by Jessie Cole ★★★★★

Review: Are You Seeing Me? by Darren Groth ★★★★

Review: Hamlet’s Ghost by Jane Tara ★★★1/2

Review: Hangtown by Karen Sandler ★★★★

National Bookshop Day

Review: Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner  by Judy Melinek and TJ Mitchell ★★★★★

Weekend Cooking: Sweetshop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan: Tablet (Scottish Fudge)

Review: Sweetshop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan ★★★1/2

 What I Am Reading Today

Meet the Bird family. They live in a honey-colored house in a picture-perfect Cotswolds village, with rambling, unkempt gardens stretching beyond. Pragmatic Meg, dreamy Beth, and tow-headed twins Rory and Rhys all attend the village school and eat home-cooked meals together every night. Their father is a sweet gangly man named Colin, who still looks like a teenager with floppy hair and owlish, round-framed glasses. Their mother is a beautiful hippy named Lorelei, who exists entirely in the moment. And she makes every moment sparkle in her children’s lives. Then one Easter weekend, tragedy comes to call. The event is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear the family apart. Years pass as the children become adults, find new relationships, and develop their own separate lives. Soon it seems as though they’ve never been a family at all. But then something happens that calls them back to the house they grew up in — and to what really happened that Easter weekend so many years ago. Told in gorgeous, insightful prose that delves deeply into the hearts and minds of its characters, The House We Grew Up In is the captivating story of one family’s desire to restore long-forgotten peace and to unearth the many secrets hidden within the nooks and crannies of home.

 

What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

 A year after becoming sheriff, Quinn Colson is faced with the release of an infamous murderer from prison. Jamey Dixon comes back to Jericho preaching redemption, and some believe him; but for the victim’s family, the only thought is revenge. Another group who doesn’t believe him – the men in prison from Dixon’s last job, an armored car robbery. They’re sure he’s gone back to grab the hidden money, so they do the only thing they can: break out and head straight to Jericho themselves. Colson and his deputy, Lillie, know they’ve got their work cut out for them. But they don’t count on one more unwelcome visitor: a tornado that causes havoc just as events come to a head. Communications are down, the roads are impassable – and the rule of law is just about to snap.

Hugh Tindall is an ordinary man who has lived through extraordinary times in outback Queensland. From a poor man’s selection on the Diamantina in 1928 to owning six large stations with his family, from shearing his first 100 sheep a day at the age of sixteen to organising sheds in the long running 1956 shearer’s strike, Hugh’s story is part of a turbulent time in the outback, whose history he is passionate about. Told in his own voice, it is an honest account of life in isolated western and central Queensland, where the tough survived or died.

 

From Deborah Moggach, bestselling author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, comes another hilarious and romantic comedy, this time set in a run-down B&B in Wales. When retired actor Buffy decides to up sticks from London and move to rural Wales, he has no idea what he is letting himself in for. In possession of a run-down B&B that leans more towards the shabby than the chic and is miles from nowhere, he realises he needs to fill the beds – and fast. Enter a motley collection of guests: Harold, whose wife has run off with a younger woman; Amy, who’s been unexpectedly dumped by her (not-so) weedy boyfriend and Andy, the hypochondriac postman whose girlfriend is much too much for him to handle. But under Buffy’s watchful eye, this disparate group of strangers find they have more in common than perhaps they first thought…

Andy Broussard, the plump and proud New Orleans medical examiner, obviously loves food. Less apparent to the casual observer is his hatred of murderers. Together with his gorgeous sidekick, psychologist Kit Franklyn, the two make a powerful, although improbable, mystery solving duo.  It s a bizarre case for Andy and Kit. A man is found in Jackson Square, stabbed, one eyelid removed and four Scrabble tiles with the letters KOJE on his chest. Soon, there s a second victim, also stabbed and missing one eyelid, but this time with only three letters on his chest, KOJ. The pattern is unmistakable, but does it mean there will be two more victims and then the killer will go away, or is he leading up to something bigger and deadlier?  Broussard and Kit use their disciplines to profile the killer, but it soon becomes clear that the clues and objects they ve found are part of a sick game that the killer is playing with Broussard; a game most likely engineered by one of the hundreds of attendees at the annual forensics meeting being held in New Orleans. Has Broussard finally met his match?

 

 While you are here…

Thanks for stopping by!

Review: Sweetshop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan

9781402281839

 

Title: Sweetshop of Dreams

Author: Jenny Colgan

Published: Sourcebooks Casablanca August 2014

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from August 08 to 09, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher/Netgalley}

My Thoughts:

From Jenny Colgan comes another delicious tale of family, love and romance in her newest release, Sweetshop of Dreams.

If pressed, Rosie Hopkins will admit that she is in a bit of a rut, her career has stalled, and so it seems, has her relationship of seven years, but she can’t imagine how spending six weeks in rural Derbyshire will help matters any. However her elderly Great Aunt Lilian needs help and Rosie, an auxiliary nurse, is best placed to do so. Reluctantly Rosie travels to the small village of Lipton, determined to sort out her aunts affairs and return to London, and Gerard, as quickly as possible, but as she experiences the charms of country life, changeable weather and grumpy dentists notwithstanding, Rosie slowly discovers just how sweet life could be.

On her first day in Lipton, Rosie gets lost in the country side during a rainstorm, on her second she discovers her aunts sweetshop, which needs to be sold as a going concern to fund Lilian’s move into a nursing home, has been abandoned, and on her third she careens out of control on Lilian’s old bicycle, destroying a farmer’s vegetable patch and humiliating herself in front of a hunky farmhand and the handsome local doctor. Country life, Rosie is convinced, is not for her but as she begins to restore the sweetshop to its former glory and make friends with the locals, she begins to consider the choices she has made and reevaluate what would make her happy.

Entwined with Rosie’s adventures in Lipton are glimpses into Lillian’s past as a young woman and the regrets, disappointments and tragedies that shaped her life. This goes a long way to explaining Lilian’s sharp tongue, and gives the story a little more depth, emphasising the novel’s major theme of regret over the risks not taken.

Most readers of a certain age will fondly remember the sweets of their youth, my preference was for cobbers (caramel squares covered in milk chocolate) and lurid pink musk sticks, so Rosie’s refurbishment of Lilian’s sweetshop holds a great deal of nostalgic appeal. Colgan’s recipe additions for treats such as Coconut Ice, Peanut Brittle and Tablet (aka Scottish Fudge- which Jenny Colgan kindly shared with Book’d Out readers) are a welcome inclusion, and perfect to enjoy along with the book.

An engaging and charming story with few sour notes, Sweetshop of Dreams is an enjoyable novel and a sweet treat to savour.

Sweetshop of Dreams is available to purchase from

Sourcebooks I Amazon I BAM I B&N I Indiebound I Indigo I Kobo

Click on the image for Jenny Colgan’s recipe for Tablet (aka Scottish Fudge)

Tablet The Fudge House

Weekend Cooking: Sweetshop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan

 

9781402281839

Sweetshop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan

Rosie Hopkins’s life is…comfortable. She has a steady nursing job, a nice apartment, and Gerard, her loyal (if a bit boring) boyfriend. And even though she might like to pursue a more rewarding career, and Gerard doesn’t seem to have any plans to propose, Rosie’s not complaining. Things could be worse. Right?

Life gets a bit more interesting when Rosie’s mother sends her out to the country to care for her ailing great aunt Lilian, who owns an old-fashioned sweetshop. But as Rosie gets Lilian back on her feet, breathes a new life into the candy shop, and gets to know the mysterious and solitary Stephen—whose family seems to own the entire town—she starts to think that settling for what’s comfortable might not be so great after all.

Recipe for Tablet (Scottish Fudge) from Jenny Colgan

Tablet The Fudge House

Ingredients:

1 stick butter
4 cups white sugar
1 small tin condensed milk
I cup milk.

Method:

• Melt butter slowly. Stir sugar in slowly, if it burns it’s done for.
• When melted in, add milk & condensed milk. Bring to boil, then back to a simmer, and keep stirring for about 45 minutes!!!
• When it goes brown, drop a bit off a metal spoon into a cup of cold water- it should form into a soft ball. Then it’s ready.
• Take off heat, scrape sugar off sides, STIR VIGOROUSLY for a few minutes until you feel the mixture start to thicken and granulate a bit.
• Pour into buttered tins. Will set like concrete in about 3 hours.
• Don’t then do what I did last night and eat so much you think you’re going to spew :) . You can add vanilla flavoring, or nuts and things, but I like it the traditional way.

 

****

A former columnist for The Guardian, Jenny Colgan contributes regularly to national BBC radio and is the author of more than eleven bestselling novels, including her recent international bestsellers The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris published in 2014 and Welcome To Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams, which won the 2013 Romantic Novel of the Year award from the Romantic Novelists Association. She is married with three children and lives in London and France.

****

Read my review of Sweetshop of Dreams by clicking HERE

9781402281839

Sweetshop of Dreams is available to purchase from

Amazon I BAM I B&N I Indiebound I Indigo I Kobo

****

wkendcooking

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