July 18, 2018

The Summer Wives Beatriz Williams

Published: William Morrow
Date:  July 10th 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Rating:
4.5 stars
Add to Goodreads
In the summer of 1951, Miranda Schuyler arrives on elite, secretive Winthrop Island in Long Island Sound as a naive eighteen year old, still reeling from the loss of her father in the Second World War. Although a graduate of the exclusive Foxcroft Academy in Virginia, Miranda has always lived on the margins of high society.

When her beautiful mother marries Hugh Fisher, whose summer house on Winthrop overlooks the famous lighthouse, Miranda is catapulted into a heady new world of pedigrees and cocktails, status and swimming pools. Isobel Fisher, Miranda’s new stepsister—all long legs and world-weary bravado, engaged to a wealthy Island scion—is eager to draw Miranda into the arcane customs of Winthrop society.


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Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams was a read that I sank into and have to say really liked. It ranges over three time periods - 1930, 1951 and 1969.  It is told mostly from the viewpoint of Miranda, however their is also the story of Bianca.  We go from one time period to another - backwards and forwards.

That could be somewhat disconcerting, however if it is carefully read and characters and events tracked until the jigsaw comes together then it returns a rewarding read. As I kept notes I put what was happening together so there is no surprise much at the end, but the satisfaction of seeing how it all turns out.

It is set on an island where there are the local people - fishermen and then the summer people. The rich people, who eat, drink and make merry and don't intermingle much or at all with the local people. Miranda comes to this island as a teen when her mother remarries on of the summer men. She finds she has a step sister Isabel. I did think it a little odd that she changed in a way I wouldn't expect. 

And her step father - what of him, well he has a lot to do with the characters in this story and just to say I didn't like him.  So many lives intertwine on the island, and not least of all Joseph the young man we first meet saving a fisherman.

To discuss what happens would be to take away from the reader the opportunity to follow the twists and turns, the mystery, the way characters relate to each other.

The writing is beautiful, the issues sometimes sad, yet here is a tale of redemption and hope as well. 



July 16, 2018

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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And so we march on into the middle of July. I had a quiet week you know. The usual - reading, sewing, visiting, ignoring the housework, shopping. All routine and mostly enjoyable.  On Saturday I sat outside in the sunshine - now that's unusual because it is the middle of winter - but it was so still, sunny and warm.

Last Wednesday I went out to a craft night at a friend's house. She lives a bit more out in the country/beach area so some night driving along dark lanes. I dislike night driving and more so in places I am not too sure of with twisty lanes. Anyway I live to tell another tale, read another book!

Today I am off to visit my newest little great nephew. He was meant to be born this month but was born two months early. He has done really well and I very excited to meet him today at his Grandma's house where he is visiting with his mother today.

This is another great niece - a two year old, reading to her dolls with her Nana's glasses (my sister) on. Upside down mind you. Nana needs her glasses when she reads to Elise! Gotta love such an early reader!


This week I finished reading The Choice by Edith Eger. I can only wonder why I hadn't heard of her before, but I have now and I am so inspired and blown away by her story.                   

What I read last week:

From the library... enjoyed it once I got into it, it turned in a strange little way that didn't totally grab me but happy I read it... and it then turned out I could tick of a category in a challenge I am doing. Won't say what because I think better to come across it not expecting it.
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From my Listening  Liked it but didn't love it. Was good starting off but then it dragged and got a bit repetitive, liked her most recent book far better.
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From the review pile  This Australian author always delights me with her unique voice and different take on things. 
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From the non fiction pile and going on my list of top reads for 2018. What an outstanding book - a memoir of an amazing person. 



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What I am reading at present:

From the library....And recommended by both Debbie from The Reading Frenzy and Mary from Book Fan.
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For my listening ... haven't started it yet but will, I listened to the first one and I have seen so many good reviews from some of you for this one I just had to keep going with the trilogy into book 2.

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Up next:

From the review pile...
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Last Weeks Posts
Wicked and the Wallflower   Sarah MacLean

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July 11, 2018

Wicked and the Wallflower. Sarah MacLean

Published:  Avon
Date:  June 19th 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages:  384
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Rating:
4.5 stars
Add to Goodreads
When Wicked Comes Calling… When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She’s seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won’t accept a marriage without it. The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain... Bastard son of a duke and king of London’s dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.

For the Promise of Passion... But there’s nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she’d rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil’s carefully laid plans are in chaos and he must choose between everything he’s ever wanted…and the only thing he’s ever desired.


My thoughts banner
Wicked and the Wallflower was a wonderful read.  Although I have heard many a reader proclaim the joy of reading Sarah MacLean's books, this was my first actual dip into one of her books. And I just thoroughly enjoyed it.

The prologue had a fairytale feel to it, it engaged me immediately. The fairytale aspect didn't fade and at times was referred to by the characters. 

The female characters are like no others that I have met in historical romances before. They are not going to be swept under the carpet by their men folk.  No siree. They can stand strong for themselves. Take Felicity for example, wow she is a very dapper hand at being a lock pick and it sure does come in handy.  And a very powerful little skill to have!

Felicity was a heroine easy to like and enjoy. She has been involved in a little scandal previously to the opening of the story, nothing really serious. But you know the ton! They are pretty snooty and well full of gossip and quite considerable meanness, which sometimes borders on the edges of cruelty.  And what's worse for Felicity is that her brother and father have lost all their money and so they see their only salvation is that she marries a rich Duke, if only one were around.

Along comes the hero, with plans to set Felicity up with a Duke, but for hidden, underhand reasons. He is into revenge big time, although with some good reason, his father was a d***. Devil has plans, which was a lot of fun seeing them come undone as he parried with Felicity.

Characters I loved, witty dialogue, an interesting plot - what more could a reader want in an historical romance.   I so want to read the next book in the saga of the Barenuckle Bastards of Covent Garden. And I do believe the next one is  being written right now! If you enjoy historical romance don't miss this one.




July 9, 2018

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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Hope you are all well and that some of you are not being too scorched by the power of the sun. I have a thunderstorm and heavy rain going on overhead as I write.

This week I'd like to introduce you to my commenting partner for July. She has a great blog and for all you food lovers I think it would just go along perfectly for you as its all about reading and cooking. I want to try her recent sharing of a scallop one.  Just have to find some scallops!  So take a click over to Megan  The Hungry Bookworm  and give her a wave  comment. And get... a recipe!


I have seven blocks done for my bookcase quilt. Here is a peek at one block. Isn't that kitten so darn cute. No I didn't design him, I got him in a pattern over at Craftsy!

quilt block of cat and books
                                                         

What I read last week:

Both great reads.

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I also finished listening to...
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What I am reading at present:

Library book.
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I am also reading this amazing memoir, I just have to keep reading it.

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I am about to start listening to...
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Up next:

Review book.
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Last Weeks Posts
Audiobook Half Year Update
The Bookshop of Yesterdays  Amy Meyerson
Rainy Day Friends   Jill Shalvis
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July 7, 2018

Audiobook Challenge Mid- Year Accounting

2018 Audiobook Challenge
I didn't make my goal in 2017 but I hope to in 2018 ... but am on track. Most likely I need to get a move on! Yes sure I am half way to 20 but really I need to be further into the 20's to be satisfied! Like 28 would be good. However the good thing about doing the mid-year accounting is that I had forgotten to add two books to my total so now it is looking a little healthier!

The Challenge Details can be found at Caffeinated Reviewer   and Hot Listens.

This year I am going  for the Binge Listener Level which is the 20 -30 level, and hopefully it will be closer to 30 than 20.  

  1. The Sea of Tranquillity   Katja Millay. Book 5 stars Narrated: Kirby Heyborne and Candace Thaxton.  5 stars    Length 13hrs 10 min 
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  2. A Grown Up Kind of Pretty   Joshilyn Jackson 4 stars  Narrated: Joshilyn Jackson     5 stars Length: 12 hr 25 min  
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  3. The Secret Hour  Luanne Rice. Story 4.5 stars Narrated: Christine Traister  4.5 stars Length 10hr.53 min  
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  4. The Pearl Sister.  Lucinda Riley. Story 5 stars Narrated: Stephanie Racine; Rehanna MacDonald  5 stars. Length  19hr 55min 
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  5. Sweet Tea and Sympathy.  Molly Harper. Story 4 stars  Narrated by Amanda Ronconi.  4 stars. Length 9hr 27 min 
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  6. Still Me   Jojo Moyes. Story  4.5 stars Narrated by Anna Acton  4.5 stars  Length 13hr 27 min
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  7. The Denim Blue Sea   Joanne Demaio  Story  4 stars  Narrated by Nick Cracknell 3.5 stars Length 10hr 25 min  
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  8. The Endless Beach  Jenny Colgan Story  5 stars   Narrated by Sarah Barron   5 stars Length 10hrs  
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  9. The Secret to Southern Charm Kristy Woodsen Harvey  Story  5 stars Narrated by Janete Metzger; Candace Thaxton.  5 stars  Length 10 hr  
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  10. Meet Me at The Cupcake Cafe   Jenny Colgan Story  4.5 stars   Narrated by Penelope Rawlins 5 stars  Length 14hr 33 min  
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  11. Beard Science  Penny Reid  Story 4 stars Narrated by Joy Nash; Chris Brinkley  4.5 stars   Length 13hr 55 min  
  12. Promise Me Dad.  Joe Biden (Memoir) Narrated by Joe Biden.  5 stars   Length 8hr 53 min

Last month - Audiobook Month I did mean to write a post but life got in the way! So a little more about audiobooks!

Have I always listened to audiobooks and when did I begin?
As I thought about this I realised it began as a child. Yes... on the radio, there were always books and stories read. I grew up without TV (can you believe it!) TV didn't arrive in my house until I was a teen. So we sat around the radio. ( Talking 1950's here). I remember still listening to Nevil Shute's  A Town Like Alice. Magical, I waited every Saturday night for the next episode!

Then many years later I discovered Audible and I am talking early days. Soon after it started I guess.  When it took forever to download a book. And then I had to convert it to CD. Were iPods invented then? I am not sure!  Then I got tired of the slow download and cancelled.

In 2008 I came back. Downloading was a little faster but not much! However so much faster now and of course I have an iPod and an iPad. I don't like listening on my iPhone but I could. Yes I am Apple through and through. Blame it on a Principal at school, my colleague, in the late 1990's who was big time Apple.

My favourite audiobook in the above list?
I pick my audiobooks carefully - well I am paying for them! So I rarely have a dud. Out of this list I have to say I really loved The Sea of Tranquillity.  I guess its YA or maybe New Adult. Who cares, I am neither of those! Heh! Heh!

What's My Least Favourite Thing About Audiobooks?
I hate a narrator that spoils a book. There are some books I'd like to listen to but the narrator is weak so I read them, I love that I can pre-listen to a little bit.  The other thing is I am not an audio person, I like an enormous amount of quiet so I don't have the urge when I am doing housework etc to pick up my iPod.

Oh and I should add a huge pet hate! Lack of world book rights so that we can't listen to a book we want to because ... yes we don't live in a certain part of the world. I know! It happens to us all, right! 
Yes I hate this in my wish list. And how do I get rid of it anyway. Now that I can't have it!!
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Do I speed up the listening?
Anathema! Didn't I tell you I pay for these books. I want the whole experience. Yes listening to a book is a little slower than reading it but so what. The narrator has had to read it at normal speed after all! I want to savour it all.  Savour! 

A book from this list I think is better listening to.
The Pearl Sister for sure. It's a long book and the narrators do a fantastic job of keeping you on focus and besides they just nail it!  They send it up a notch. It's also the longest book on this list! The longest books on audio that I have listened to are the Outlander books (I've read them all and listened to many of them) The narrator of those in a class of her own. Superb. Yes that would be Davina Porter.

What! An author narrating her own book.
Yes well most of them I hate when they try that. Was going to name but won't. Let's just say if they narrate their own book I won't buy the audio version. But......  Joshilyn Jackson - she nails her own books every time. Perfection. Nobody else should narrate them.

Hmm okay. A little listening today, I better get on to it!
Girl listening to audiobook

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