April 27, 2016

The Vintage Springtime Club. Beatrice Meier

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Published: Hachette NZ
Date:12th April 2016
Format: Paperback ARC
Pages: 329
Genre: Fiction
Source: Hachette NZ
Rating:
4.5 stars             Add to Goodreads
Newly retired Philip returns home to Cologne and is thrown into emotional turmoil upon bumping into his long-lost sweetheart. In the midst of a domestic crisis, Ricarda confides in Philip that she is looking for somewhere to live. And there and then, Philip suggests that she move in with him - he is setting up a  flat share. Will she join him with his mischievous dachshund named Ralf?

To his surprise, Ricarda agrees, leaving Philip to scramble together a crew of retires in time for spring, for the most unlikely of social experiments. There's grumpy cigarette-smoking grandfather Harry; quiet and discreet Eckart, curiously carting around his late wife's headstone; Uschi, brimming with life, harbouring a passion for leotards and aerobics, along with sausages and outrageous knitting patterns; and then, ever-practical and warm-hearted Ricarda, towards whom Phillip is developing real feelings.

Despite their differences, the flatmates thrive and embark on a series of new adventures. But when Uschi falls unwell, familiar cracks begin to show and this uniquely spirited club of friends must work together in order to survive - and truly blossom.
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The Vintage Springtime Club is written by German author Beatrice Meier. It is set in Cologne, Germany and tracks the lives of five older people as they embark on a flat share. They are a mottley bunch all different, yet as the weeks go by something rather amazing begins to build.

Ricarda, Philip and Harry have all known each other since student days. Harry is a bit of a character and can be relied on to wind up Ricarda in various ways. Philip and Ricarda have a bit of a thing for each other, but Ricarda has been sort of ignoring it. She is a psychotherapist, however she is surprisingly out of touch with herself over a number of issues. One being her daughter Stella, who is trying to get her attention to no avail.

Eckart has said good-bye to his son, who has left to grow kiwi in New Zealand. His wife has been dead for twenty years, and he carts around with him a rather heavy tombstone in remembrance of her. Uschi - not long after arriving at the flat has a health issue that sends the whole flat in a spin. They band together in an extraordinary way to help her. However it causes quite a bit of stress as well, and soon it looks like this flat sharing might not last.

There is one more member of the flat - the old dog Ralf, who belonged to Philip's mother before she died. We even get a little from his point of view which is fun.

How these people interact with each other, how they build real relationships that in a sense becomes very much family like, is rather moving and heart warming. I enjoyed the book and really liked the underlying values and hope that it portrayed. I can see why this book was the basis for a TV series in Germany.
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About the author:
Beatrice Meier was born in Germany and studied literary translation at Dusseldorf University. She then went on to complete a scriptwriting programme in Munich Film School in 2002-3 and attended the Cologne International Film school in 2006. She won the Best Screenplay Award at the German Film Festival in 2013 for the feature film Offside Trap, which was screened at festivals. She lives and works in Strasbourg.

April 26, 2016

Lone Heart Pass. Jodi Thomas

Lone Heart Pass book cover
Published: HQN Books
Date: 26th April 2016
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 352
Genre: Western Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rating:
               Add to Goodreads
With a career and a relationship in ruins, Jubilee Hamilton is left reeling from a fast fall to the bottom. The run-down Texas farm she's inherited is a far cry from the second chance she hoped for, but it and the abrasive foreman she's forced to hire are all she's got.

Every time Charley Collins has let a woman get close, he's been burned. So Lone Heart ranch and the contrary woman who owns it are merely a means to an end, until Jubilee tempts him to take another risk—to stop resisting the attraction drawing them together despite all his hard-learned logic.

Desperation is all young Thatcher Jones knows. And when he finds himself mixed up in a murder investigation, his only protection is the shelter of a man and woman who—just like him—need someone to trust.
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Lone Heart Pass - #3 in the Ransom Canyon series and it just gets better with each one. The characters are fun, they have depth and it was easy to just fall in love with them. There is a bit of crime and mystery, along with a ranch that needs taking care of and some romance. We meet some new characters and catch up with a couple of the earlier ones.

Jubilee has had a tough past, her family has never really loved or accepted her and now she finds out the only relative she loved is dead. Yet he has left her his ranch, a place where she has been happy in the past. Yet she is a bit of a city girl and so she is going to need help.

Walk in Charley Collins, a man who has his own family problems and has been cast out by his father. He has a delightful daughter - aged five, and he will do anything for her. When he is offered a job at the ranch he accepts and so the journey begins to bring the ranch back to life.

Thatcher is a young fourteen year old, pretty much with no family, he eventually finds his way to the ranch as well and it is wonderful to see the caring relationship that develops between the little five year old and the rough and ready Thatcher. What a fun hero he is.

We also catch up with Tim O'Grady, Lauren and the Sheriff. Tim is bent on being an author, and is keen to experience life so as he can write about it. Lauren is finishing college and wondering what is next for her. And the Sheriff is caught up in sorting out shootings and murder. 

I really enjoyed the story, chuckled away at the characters and some of their responses to events and generally hoped all would be well for each of them.
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A Word From the Author.
In LONE HEART PASS I had a great time with the characters because they really came alive.  Charley Collins was too good looking and every woman he’d ever met left him shattered and broken.  He decides after his wife runs out on him and leaves their baby that he’ll swear off women for good.  He’s working several jobs and raising a five year old when he hires on to run a broken down ranch.

Jubilee Hamilton has lost everything.  All she has left is a broken down ranch her great grandfather left her and she has no idea how to manage it.  The cowboy she hires to help has the knowledge and needs the money, but makes no effort to be friendly. As they learn to trust one another and work together, they both discover what true wealth is in life.

By the way, readers are going to fall in love with the kid, Thatcher Jones, also.  He’s 14 and hunts rattlers to earn his lunch money.  He’s had to raise himself and thinks twins happen if you hiccup during sex.

LONE HEART PASS marks my 43rd novel.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve had an extra lifetime of friends and family. It was hard writing the end to this one.  I hope you enjoy reading my story as much as I enjoyed writing these characters.




April 25, 2016

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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I had another very enjoyable week doing all my usual activities. Thanks last week for everyone's comments for my sister, who has recovered well. Hopefully she will eventually be back to full strength. The stroke hit her short term memory the most.

I met up with a few of my great nieces and nephews, some came down with their Grandmother so was great to catch up. I also met up with my newest little great niece - Elise. While she lives locally I seemed to miss her each time she was around at my Dad's place.

Elise and myself.

I also walked most days and... on the beach. The Autumn weather has been mild and not much wind - so far! So I get in the car and zap down - about 6 min drive. Our beaches on this side of the country are the grey sand. That is Kapiti Island in the background, it is mostly a bird sanctuary. I have been over there a few times and climbed to the top. Couldn't do it now!

Beach and Kapiti Island

I've been posting for the A-Z challenge over at Discovering Daisies.   I have to admit I haven't quite kept up to the spirit of visiting and commenting as I would like with it, but if I post all the posts for it this year I'll count that as a win.

Still piecing for The Splendid Sampler quilt. Improving - most of them are coming out the right size now although still not getting all the points matching. Still I am loving it and that's what counts. I am also doing a quilt as you go applique one and that is fun too.

Applique Bear

Quilt Blocks from The Splendid Sampler
Four of the blocks from The Splendid Sampler

Snug as a bug in a rug
Some blocks are embroidery ones.

So when I am not reading... that's what I am doing!
                                                         

What I read last week:

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There is a Giveaway on Goodreads for this book I noticed yesterday. If you enjoy Women's Fiction - set in very scenic area and an author who has a lot of knowledge of what she writes about do enter it!
Goodreads Giveaway  Open to US, CA, UK, AU, NZ.

What I am reading at present:

From the TBR...
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Listening to...
This is a follow up to one I listened to awhile back. Narrator is great but she cannot see the difference between an Australian and New Zealand accent. We know there is a difference!!

Up next:

From the review pile.
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She Reads review book



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Posts from the last week:

The War Bride  Pamela Hart

The Obsession  Nora Roberts

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April 22, 2016

The Obsession. Nora Roberts

book cover of The Obsession
Published: Hachette NZ
Date: 12 April 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 453
Genre:Romantic Suspense
Source: Thanks to Hachette NZ
Rating:
4.5 stars             Add to Goodreads

Naomi Carson is a survivor. As a child, her family was torn apart by a shocking crime. It could have destroyed her, but Naomi has grown up strong, with a passion for photography that has taken her all around the world.

Now, at last, she has decided to put down roots. The beautiful old house on Point Bluff needs work, but Naomi has new friends in town who are willing to help, including Xander Keaton - gorgeous, infuriating and determined to win her heart.

But as Naomi plans for the future, her past is catching up with her. Someone in town knows her terrifying secret - and won't let her forget it. As her new home is rocked by violence, Naomi must discover her persecutor's identity, before it's too late.
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Again with The Obsession  Nora Roberts has aced another book out of the park. Once I started it I didn't want to stop. It begins with a ghastly crime, that Naomi - the heroine, comes upon by accident and curiosity.  She is only twelve years old. She and her brother go to live with her uncle Seth and his partner Harry, who surround them with love and give them the security they need.

Now Naomi is settling down into one place in the Washington State, she has fallen in love with an old house, in need of renovation. As the story progresses we hear about the renovation, and as a reader I really enjoy a good renovation! The house sounds totally gorgeous.  Naomi is adopted by a stray dog - she names him Tag because he insists on tagging along. 

Zander is a local car mechanic, plays in a band, and before long he is making a move on Naomi. Along with him, his friend Kevin and wife Jenny become good friends. Naomi does what she loves best, photography. She soon finds oodles of things to photograph, not least of all the hot men working on her renovation!

Everything goes along so well, until.... A killer is in the midst of the town, and the crime has such a similarity to the one that Naomi walked in on years back - there just has to be a link. Mason turns up, everyone is on the look out, but will they find the killer before he gets to Naomi? For once I knew who the killer was from the start of the second spate of crimes, but that didn't lessen my enjoyment of the book and seeing it out to the final denouement.

Classic Nora Roberts!



April 20, 2016

The War Bride. Pamela Hart

The War Bride book cover
Published: Hachette NZ
Date: 22nd March 2016
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 354
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source:Thanks to Hachette NZ
Rating:
4.5 stars                  Add to Goodreads
January, 1920. Young Englishwoman Margaret Dalton is full of excitement as she arrives to begin a new life in the warm, golden land of Australia. She leaves behind the horrors of WWI and can't wait to see her husband, Frank, after two years' separation. But when Margaret's ship docks, Frank isn't there to greet her and Margaret is informed that he already has a wife . . .

Devastated, Margaret must swap her hopes and dreams for the reality of living and working in a strange new city. And just as a growing friendship with army sergeant Tom McBride gives her a steady person to rely on, news arrives that Frank may not have abandoned her. Where should Margaret's loyalties lie: with the old life or with the new?

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The War Bride by Pamela Hart turned out to be a delightful and really absorbing read. I loved the time it was set in - just at the end of World War. I also loved the geographical setting - Sydney, Australia. Margaret finds herself in Sydney with no one to meet her. Fortunately Tom a local soldier, helps her out and eventually she finds herself at a boarding house with the delightful landlady - Burnsie and her daughter Jane.

It is quite a culture shock for Margaret, Australia is really a different country to England, already by that time the Australian culture was evolving rapidly. Women had the vote and went swimming with gusto. The language was English but of course there are many sayings that were new to her and words she hadn't ever heard before. 

The book explores what it is like for those who are returning from war and settling back into ordinary life again. After all that's what they fought for - so that ordinary life might go on. Many of them are still dealing with the inner and outer wounds of war. Tom was relatively unscathed physically but he still has nightmares.  Tom is a Catholic though and Margaret a Methodist. In those days, never the two should meet. I really enjoyed seeing  the characters and their thoughts and feelings about religion. The attitudes of people towards various events too was interesting. Society has changed, however I grew up in the 1950's and things were pretty similar to the book's era I have to say.

Tom and Margaret begin to form a relationship and it is really going somewhere when Margaret hears that her husband Frank didn't desert her, he is living with Gladys and his daughter Violet. This throws Margaret into a quandary.  What should she do? 

The characters are very real, I liked them all, the dilemma that faced Margaret was really difficult. I liked too that the story is based on what actually happened to some real life brides. It opened up a small window for me on that era.

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April 18, 2016

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

Hope this finds you well and a good week. I had a mixed week, some good and some not so good. I managed to re home a cat that was scavenging at my Dad's place. He is too old for a cat. My friend is fostering it until the SPCA give the go ahead owners cannot be found. While I like animals I am not confident with them so my friend is huge cat lover so hopefully she will get to keep the cat. It has been on the run for a number of weeks. 

My sister had a back of her head brain bleed - she is five years younger than me. While I haven't seen her as she lives hours away, some of the family have and of course her partner is keeping watch. She is making excellent progress so fingers crossed. Certainly scary though.

I continue to quilt and read and you know, the usual! At the moment I am cutting down on caffeine - none after 3pm ish and finding camomile is an okay replacement. Then no TV or computer after 7:30pm ish. So plenty of time to knit and listen to podcasts etc! Okay if I am reading a paperback but even staying away from Kindle in evening. Decided to do it all April and maybe May, to see if it makes a difference to sleep pattern. How many of you avoid blue light and caffeine at night in order to improve sleep? 

What I read last week:

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What I am reading at present:

About to start this, heard great things about it so will be interesting to see how I find it. Set during second world war.
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Up next:

Have been waiting to get to this one for awhile. Picked it up in January I think from NetGalley. New Zealand author! She is a neuropsychologist, and lives I think on Great Barrier Island off the coast of NZ. Book is set in Australia on the Great Barrier Reef.
After this one I will see, have quite a few in the log jam so will be a what I feel like as they are all due!

Posts from the last week:

Lies and Other Acts of love   Kristy Woodson Harvey

What We Find   Robyn Carr

Under Italian Skies   Nicky Pellegrino

Reunion Pass   Emily March
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