July 5, 2015

Sunday Post. Fitreaders. What Are You Reading?

 badge for Sunday PostIt's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Sheila at Book Journey runs It's Monday! What Are You Reading? While this  meme is not fully active at present I will be linking up as well to the Sunday Post at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I met my goal for the week, it's great to have a goal of so many steps as I endeavour to meet it where possible.
Delighted to hear I was the April winner of at Jen's blog, thank you for the lovely prize.  Even though the reward is getting out there at exercising, it's very nice to receive extra kudos! Thanks Jen.

What I read last week:

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The Flower Arrangement - set in Dublin and Women's Fiction
Making Magic - set in North Carolina and Paranormal romance
Spring Fever - audiobook- set in North Carolina and  well presented by Kathleen McInerney enjoyed very much.

What I am reading at present:

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Up next:

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So looking forward to reading this next one in the Goddesses Anonymous series.

Posts from the last week:

And if you like reading short stories that are linked then I recommend the giveaway of The Settling Earth by Rebecca Burns. They are historical and are set in nineteenth century New Zealand. Giveaway open for signed copy of The Settling Earth, book longlisted for Edge Hill Award. The Settling Earth Giveaway  I reviewed it last year if you want to check out what it is about. The Settling Earth review.

July 2, 2015

The Lives Between Us. Theresa Rizzo

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The Lives Between Us
Theresa Rizzo
Published: Rizzo Publishing
Date:  July 1st 2015
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 441
Genre: Fiction
Source: Author
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How far would you go to save the one you love?

Reporter Skylar Kendall has run from commitment all her life, pushing people away before they leave her, until her niece worms her way into Skye’s heart and settles in tight. Skye relaxes into a career she enjoys and relishes being a doting aunt.

Then her niece becomes gravely ill. Unable to bear yet another loss, Skye is determined to find a cure, but the girl’s only hope lies in the embryonic stem cell therapy Michigan Senator Edward Hastings repeatedly opposes. When Skye fails to find alternative treatment in time, she vows to end the senator’s political career.

Curious about the woman behind the scathing articles on his best friend, Mark Dutton pursues Skye. Dating Mark gives her access to Hastings’s life and secrets that would launch Skye's career and satisfy her need for retribution… Only she hadn’t counted on falling in love.

Can she avenge the lives lost to politics at the expense of her new love and friends?
My thoughts banner
The Lives Between Us by Theresa Rizzo was a fascinating read and kept me engaged right the way through. I was a little thrown by the ending - read it twice and had to admit to myself I was still unsure.  It wasn't until I read the questions for discussion at the end of the book that things clarified a little for me.  Hmm... interesting.

As I began the book I was soon on to Google to find out a little about stem cell therapy and in particular embryonic stem cell research and therapy.  Just enough to focus myself.  This book explores the ethical, political, financial and emotional aspects of this research and therapy.  It gives the pros and cons along the way and the differing view points.  

The story itself was good and on the whole I liked the characters.  Skylar is a reporter with a tenuous job at a local newspaper.  She has it in for the local Senator who is against embryonic stem cell research and has been partly funded by pro-life supporters into office.  She harasses him when and where she can, because she believes that embryonic stem cell research can save lives. And oh... her extremely ill niece just might benefit from it.

When Skylar meets Mark she meets Senator Hastings at a more personal level and her views begin to develop and change about him.  Mark on the whole is a great guy, although I was a little disappointed in him at one point. I liked the Hastings family and Skylar's family too.

I don't really want to discuss the plot  or characters too much in case you read the book, as this book really depends on you not expecting or knowing. There are enough twists and turns that had me wondering - what next?

 No doubt you will have your own personal beliefs that you bring to the book, you might have pre-formed thoughts on where you stand.  For me it was an exploration, an opening up to thinking about this topic and appreciating the varying viewpoints. Like many issues today, ethics and integrity play a big part.

This book would make a great discussion book for a book club. It's the kind you'd want to think about and talk about.

4 stars
Find Theresa on the web at www.theresarizzo.com, or connect with her on Facebooktwitter or Amazon, and Goodreads.

Full House Link Ups July - September

badge Full House reading challenge
Into the third quarter of the year, can you believe it!  Hope your challenge is going well. I have almost finished mine, just need to tidy it up and see which ones I need to fulfil.
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The winner for the second quarter was: Claudia over at My Soul Called Life.

Here is the link up for the next quarter.  You will still be able to access the link up for the first and second quarters in the main challenge post in case you need to check what you have already linked.

There is a $12 Amazon gift voucher or a book to that value from the Book Depository if you are in their free posting zone, for the third quarter. If you forget to link this quarter, books can always be linked in the following link ups later in the year.

Women's Fiction Link ups July to December

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We are now moving into the second half of the year for this challenge. Thanks to everyone who is participating. Hope your challenge is going well. I have been picking up ideas for more books to read. (Rolls eyes) Like I need that!
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Congratulations to Betty who was the winner for the first half of the year. 

Here is the link up for reviews for July to December.  Again there is a $12 Amazon gift voucher or book to that value from the Book Depository if you are in the free postage area of the world and most are.
At the end of the year.
There will be a final link up post at the end for those who complete their challenge.  All those who complete the challenge will go into the draw for a $25 prize to be in the form of a book from the Book Depository or voucher for U.S. Amazon store.  A Gone Reading voucher is also an option.

July 1, 2015

Month in Review

Welcome in, do join me by sharing your link to your look back at this month. I'm looking forward to visiting and seeing what everyone has been up to.  The link will be open for you to share your post whenever you post over the next few days.  Do visit each others' posts.

Total books read this month: 16

Audio Books Read:
The Summer Wind  Mary Alice Monroe
Spring Fever     Mary Kay Andrews

Ebooks Read
Blueprints   Barbara Delinsky
Know Your Heart   Tracey Alvarez
A New Hope  Robyn Carr
The Lives Between Us       Theresa Rizzo
The Perfect Son                  Barbara Claypole White
The Perfect Bargain       Jessa McAdams

Paperbacks Read
Julia's Chocolates  Cathy Lamb
Divided in Death  J. D. Robb  
Safe Harbor   Luanne Rice
Zac & Mia     A.J. Betts
Honeysuckle Summer   Sherryl Woods
Visions in Death        J. D. Robb    -   Library
A Year of Marvellous Ways    -   Sarah Winman 
The Flower Arrangement   -    Ella Griffin    

Top Books for June

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Where I read this month:
Cornwall - England,  Scotland, Northern New Zealand, Western Australia,  Oregon, Massachusetts, Michigan, South Carolina, North Carolina, New York, (USA) Dublin - Ireland.

Incoming Books.

Total: 24
Book Spending
Four of paperbacks were bought with gift vouchers, so haven't counted those in.
In New Zealand dollars: $67.66
In USA dollars: $46.37

The Bridges of Paris  through Pat's Posting For Now
Safe Harbour  by Helene Young
Northern Heat by Helene Young  both won through Sheree's The Eclectic Reader.

Paperback Books Purchased:
In the Unlikely Event - Judy Blume
The Possibilities  -      Kaui Hart Hemmings
It's You -  Jane Porter
Saving Grace   - Jane Green
Still Life With Bread Crumbs  - Anna Quindlen
The Spring Bride - Anne Gracie
Accidents of Marriage - Randy Susan Meyers

E Books Purchased:
Suddenly One Summer    -  Julie James
Down The Rabbit Hole  - Holly Madison

Library Books: 
Visions in Death    -   J D Robb
Honeysuckle Summer  -  Sherryl Woods

Books coming from NetGalley 
Ransom Canyon    -    Jodi Thomas
My Very Best Friend   -    Cathy Lamb
If You Only Knew      -     Kristin Higgans
Starlight on Willow Lake   -    Susan Wiggs
Wildest Dreams     -     Robyn Carr

Books from Hachette NZ
The Flower Arrangement  -   Ella Griffin
A Year of Marvellous Ways -  Sarah Winman

Accepted to review
Inconsolable    - Ainslie Paton
The Perfect Bargain  -  Julia London writing as Jessa McAdams

Audio Books 
The Summer Wind  -  Mary Alice Monro.

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So how did your reading month pan out?

June 30, 2015

The Perfect Son. Barbara Claypole White. Review & Giveaway

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The Perfect Son
Barbara Claypole White
Published: Lake Union Publishing
Date: July 1st 2015
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 398
Genre: Fiction
Source: Author and Publisher via NetGalley
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From a distance, Felix Fitzwilliam, the son of an old English family, is a good husband and father. But, obsessed with order and routine, he’s a prisoner to perfection. Disengaged from the emotional life of his North Carolina family, Felix has let his wife, Ella, deal with their special-needs son by herself.
A talented jewelry designer turned full-time mother, Ella is the family rock…until her heart attack shatters their carefully structured existence. Now Harry, a gifted teen grappling with the chaos of Tourette’s, confronts a world outside his parents’ control, one that tests his desire for independence.
As Harry searches for his future, and Ella adapts to the limits of her failing health, Felix struggles with his past and present roles. To prevent the family from being ripped apart, they must each bend with the inevitability of change and reinforce the ties that bind.
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The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White was a book I simply loved.  I thought starting out it was women's fiction, and I see some have classified it as that, but I think it falls more into general fiction. The book opens on a flight where Ella has a heart attack. This throws her husband Felix and son Harry into a deep dark hole.  Ella who has given up her jewelry designing to care for their son and home while Felix is the earner.  Now everything is turned about.

Harry has a number of conditions - ADHD, anxiety and Tourettes syndrome.  Wouldn't one be enough for anyone to cope with? Three is a lot. Just turning seventeen Harry is one of the characters I fell in love with.  What a warm heart, what a discerning mind he has. I loved what he finally chose to do in life.  Yet his mother has always been there for him, now Ella is distancing from him and Felix must be the parent he turns to.  His Dad doesn't have much idea and can't even cope with a hug.  I really liked seeing the person behind the syndromes, I have met many a person with ADHD and anxiety but not Tourettes. I think I felt a little nervous about even meeting anyone with this, yet now having read this book I feel I would look beyond to the person.  I love it when a book helps me to take a new viewpoint.

Felix the dad and husband is a flawed and dare I say beautiful character.  He loves Harry and his wife Ella, but in his very English controlled way.  I liked how his character developed the most in this book, the challenges he is thrust into would take anyone's breath away.  The way he renegotiated his work commitment, expressed his love for Ella and slowly built a relationship with his son was very satisfying. His back story is difficult and his love for his brother Tom redeeming. Had it not been for Tom where might Felix have ended up?

The minor characters of Katherine ( Ella's friend), Eudora - the little old lady next door who is no push over, and lastly but not least Max - the very good friend of Harry and Sammie - Harry's first girlfriend.  They all added flavour to this book, I  loved Max, what a guy.

I don't really want to give any of the plot away, although this is a very character driven story.  I smiled at times and felt deep emotion at other times. This read was so good I know it is a book that I will want to go back to. Perhaps it all tied up a little too cosily at the end, I'd have been satisfied without the epilogue but it was there so... - I vote for it!
4.5 stars

This book is available on Audible (narrated by Justine Eyre) Amazon or the Book Depository. I am sure there are other places, they just happen to be my haunts.

Because it is mid year and mid summer in some parts and mid winter in others, I am going to do a giveaway for a paperback copy of this book.  Open internationally so long as the Book Depository ships to you free. Closes on 12th July. To enter just fill out form below.

June 29, 2015

The Perfect Bargain by Jessa McAdams - Julia London

The Perfect Bargain
Jessa McAdams
Published: Entangled
Date: June 30th 2015
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 179
Genre: Contemporary romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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My thoughts banner
The Perfect Bargain is a light, fun romantic story set in Scotland. Julia London writes it under the name of Jessa McAdams.

Sloane arrives in a small Scottish town, recovering from being let down by Adam who was soon to be her husband.  Her girlfriends want to set her up with another guy and she wants to escape their well meaning but annoying concern.

So she asks Galen to pretend to be her boyfriend for awhile and she will pay him for the pleasure, and because Galen Buchanan's pub needs some serious funding he takes up the challenge.  The American lass sort of annoys him with her buttoned up approach but in actual fact there are some sparks of attraction flying around.

When Sloane's girlfriends turn up early with even more of a surprise on its way, Galen and Sloane have to play out the 'farce', which along the way turns into something more.  Perhaps Sloane has actually found her own Outlander Jamie Fraser.

This is a light sexy fun read, with a good dose of Scottish flavour thrown in.

3 stars

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