August 26, 2016

Sunset in Central Park Sarah Morgan

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Published: Harlequin
Date: 30th August 2016
Format: e-ARC
Genre: Contemporary romance
Source:Publisher via NetGalley
4.5 stars             Add to Goodreads
Love has never been a priority for garden designer Frankie Cole. After witnessing the fallout of her parents' divorce, she's seen the devastation an overload of emotion can cause. The only man she feels comfortable with is her friend Matt—but that's strictly platonic. If only she found it easier to ignore the way he makes her heart race…

Matt Walker has loved Frankie for years but, sensing how fragile she is beneath her feisty exterior, has always played it cool. But then he uncovers new depths to the girl he's known forever and doesn't want to wait a moment longer. He knows Frankie has secrets and has buried them deep, but can Matt persuade her to trust him with her heart and kiss him under the Manhattan sunset?

My thoughts banner
Sunset in Central Park by Sarah Morgan is #2 in the From Manhattan With Love trilogy. It is also linked to her Puffin Island series. That said you could read it as a stand alone, but like many a book in a series you would lose the richness and nuances of all the characters.

I again really enjoyed the story of Frankie and Matt, they've been friends for years as Frankie has been good friends with his sister Paige since childhood on Puffin Island. Matt I suspect has long had an eye for Frankie but she hasn't been ready for a relationship. Her parents marriage broke up, she hasn't seen her father since and her relationship with her mother is problematic. However life and Sarah Morgan conspire to bring Frankie and Matt together in a story so well told.

The pacing is great, if something is foreshadowed you the reader don't have to wait for half the book to be read through before it happens. It moves along, never drags and plenty happens. I loved the visit back to Puffin Island to witness the wedding of Ryan and Emily, such a nice touch. If you are a Puffin Island fan, you'll know how happy I was to return. Not so Frankie though, her memories of the place are not good, so don't ask her to go back there.

I enjoyed seeing the business that Paige, Frankie and Eva have set up going from strength to strength. There friendship is strong. We get to glimpse Eva's sadness and I can only anticipate a great Christmas romance coming up for her soon! I know it will be good.  

Of course things don't all run smoothly for Frankie and Matt, but honesty, trust and good communication develop and that's something that I like to see between the main couple in a romance story. Frankie is a strong heroine, she is independent and can take care of herself, she doesn't need a man to rescue her, Matt is kind, compassionate and able to listen and wait.  

Very satisfying read.


August 24, 2016

Damaged Goods. Ainslie Paton

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Published: Supervised by Cats!
Date: 1st August 2016
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 327
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Big thanks to the author
4.5 stars                       Add to Goodreads
The Hard Part is Getting Back Up

This is the story of a man who can’t get it up and a woman who’s never gotten it on.

Sidelined by a broken back, CEO, Owen Lange is confronted by two things: his sex life will never be the same and he’s dependent on his pain meds. He never expected to have his dependence called out as addiction by a junior help desk employee.&

Cara Douglas knows all about pain and loss. She’d had her sights set on the US Olympic Gymnastics Team before an accident landed her at a help desk screen. The last thing she expected to be helping with was an intervention for her boss.

Owen doesn’t thank Cara for her trouble. He calls her a snitch. But even through his paranoia he knows she’s right. After all, addiction runs in his family. He also knows he has to make it up to her, but the only thing Cara wants is the one thing Owen can’t give her.

Question: What do an injured athlete finally ready for no-strings sex and a nice guy who can’t get it up have in common?

Answer: Sexual awakening.

My thoughts banner
Damaged Goods is the second book in the Sidelined series by Australian author Ainslie Paton. It isn't necessary to read the first one before this one, but still I'd highly recommend both to you. If you read the blurb above it really tells you what it is all about.

Ainslie Paton writes contemporary romances like no other author that I have read. Her books are clever and creative, she has a totally unique voice and tone. She explores issues and relationships that just have me totally engaged and wanting to read on. Her characters are flawed, gutsy, and downright delightful. 

Owen and Cara make a great couple, both are damaged goods. Cara comes from a hard working but poor family, Owen from a wealthy family with their values all in the wrong places. Cara on the other hand has a Dad who is down to earth and prepared to give Owen a hard time if he thinks it is warranted.  Cara wants to fulfil her dream of being a costume designer, but she is the independent sort and Owens efforts to push those dreams ahead just may not be what she is looking for. However they are well matched, they just need time! There is sexual awakening for sure, but as well there is love that is deep and compassionate.

The story is told from both Owen's and Cara's points of view. I really liked that and seeing inside both their heads, especially Owens. 

One of my favourite parts of the book was an intimate conversation between Owen, Reid and Dev (they are all co founders of the company Plus)  as Owen shares his inability with them around sexual function. It is open, honest communication and a tribute to their friendship. As well as the honest, intimate communications that run throughout the story, I enjoyed the moments of humour and the ways the friends watched out for each other.

As well as Owen and Cara we still have wee glimpses of the previous couple from Offensive Behavior, - Reid and Zarley and Dev and Sarina whose stories are yet to be published. Can't wait. Why? Because I know Ainslie Paton will do something that is totally romantic, different and refreshing. I know I won't have read a book like it before.  

Keeper shelf jewell page turner Kangaroo Heart
Damaged Goods

August 22, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 22nd August.


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 all had a good week and are happy with your Olympics viewing. I think my country is rather delighted with their athletes and I take quick peeks on the news!

Last week in a comment Judy asked how my quilting was going. Thanks Judy. As it turns out I had just finished one and delivered it to my young grand nephew Maximus who loves all the animals.
animal quilt

I also made a simple one for his one year old sister Scarlett, so two completed. Both of these have lovely cuddle fleece on the back so hopefully nice and cosy!
pink quilt
At the moment I am thinking about what I will make next and in the meantime am practising some skills for quilting.

I've been catching up on a few podcasts and really enjoy What Should I Read Next? One I listened to has made me realise I might be avoiding Jane Steele for no good reason ( I keep rescheduling it on my reading plan). I listened to one Mamamia Book Club and enjoyed where they took The Husband's Secret apart by Liane Moriarty. I have quite a few more to listen to. 

Other than that it has been a quiet week, beautiful weather to be enjoyed.

What I read last week:

This one is for review later in the month. I really enjoyed it as I do all of Jodi Thomas books.
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This one was from my recently bought books and I loved it. Review in the coming week.

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And from the TBR pile I am making inroads into the J.D. Robb series #34
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What I am reading at present:

Still listening to....      
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Review book...
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Up next:

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Review book: This may a bit of a stretch for me but will see how I go. James Joyce was her father, Samuel Beckett was her father. A fictionalised story of Lucia Joyce.

Posts from the last week:

Belgravia   Julian Fellowes

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August 17, 2016

Belgravia Julian Fellowes

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Published: Hachette NZ
Date: July 2016
Format: Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Thanks to Hachette NZ
4 stars          Add to Goodreads
Set in the 1840s when the upper echelons of society began to rub shoulders with the emerging industrial nouveau riche, Belgravia is people by a rich cast of characters. But the story begins on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. At the Duchess of Richmond's n0w legendary ball, one family's life will change forever.

My thoughts banner
Belgravia begins in 1815 and then moves on to the 1840's. We have a cast of characters that was soon reminding me of those from Downton Abbey for all kinds of reasons, however the story is quite different but still entertaining!

James Trenchard is a self made man with aspirations to be among the wealthy, but more importantly to be among the 'the ton of society'. He has a beautiful daughter Sophie who is in love with a young Lord Bellasis - Edmund, and as the ball ends on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo they marry. However the Battle of Waterloo is not the only tragic event of those days and as we move back to London in the 1840's we catch up on what happened and the consequences.

Anne Trenchard is the wife of James and the mother of Sophie and Oliver. She is a down to earth, practical woman and does not have her husbands aspirations or desires to be accepted by the titled of the day.   They have a lovely home, not as grand as James would like, but Anne is firm - she likes what she likes. Oliver the son is somewhat of a disappointment and does not have his father's head for business. His wife Susan has an upward eye for a climb in society, all going well! But will it!

Lady Brockenhurst - Caroline, is a Bellasis and not inclined to hobnob with the Trenchards until... events lead to chain of events that bring them closer and closer together. This is all focussed on Charles Pope - a young business man who is highly successful in the cotton industry.

So you have all the snobbery and rules of the titled aristocracy, the place of the rich business men of the wealthy middle class and of course the downstairs crew. Think of the Downton Abbey downstairs cast with those who are honest and those who are not. Belgravia is rich with a downstairs lot who have an eye to a quick buck and their own pocket so there is an amount of wheeling and dealing and plotting.

I am endeavouring not to give a way to much of the plot, so will mention no one else or anything about them. I found it an absorbing and fun read, and dramatic. Really I would have much prefered it as a movie or TV drama. I love the houses and clothes that lend such drama to a story like this. At some point I think I will give the audio version a listen as narrated well this would be perfect.

There are a number of You Tube clips that I intend exploring but here is a snippet that gives Kate Williams view of three of the characters.

August 16, 2016

One Less Problem Without You. Beth Harbison

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Published: St Martin's Press
Date: 26th July 2016
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
4 stars                   Add to Goodreads
Meet Prinny, Chelsea and Diana. Prinny is the owner of Cosmos, a shop that sells crystals, potions, candles, and hope. It’s also a place where no one turns down a little extra-special cocktail that can work as a romance potion or heal a broken heart. But Prinny is in love with her married lawyer and she’ll need nothing short of magic to forget about him.

Chelsea works as a living statue at tourist sites around Washington, DC. It's a thankless job, but it helps pay the rent. That, and her part-time job at Cosmos. As her dream of becoming a successful actress starts to seem more remote and the possibility of being a permanently struggling one seems more realistic, Chelsea begins to wonder: at one point do you give up on your dreams? And will love ever be in the cards for her?

Diana Tiesman is married to Leif, a charismatic man who isn’t faithful. But no matter how many times he lets her down, Diana just can't let him go. She knows the only way she can truly breakaway is if she leaves and goes where he will never think to follow. So she ends up at Cosmos with Leif’s stepsister, where she makes her homemade teas and tinctures as she figures out whether she'd rather be lonely alone than lonely in love.

My thoughts banner
One Less Problem Without You by Beth Harbison was the first book I have read by this author. I found the pages just turned themselves as I read it. It is the story really of three women, and one man.

Diana is married to Lief (the man!), however the cracks are well and truly there and as we meet them Diana has found she has had enough of his infidelity and abuse. She leaves him and turns to Prinny - his half sister, for help. Diana has a special gift that she has learned for mixing teas, all kinds of teas! I am not sure I'd take a cuppa from her if I was on the wrong side of her.

Prinny is someone who growing up put up with a lot from Lief, he went out of his way to be mean to her. Now with their Dad dead he resents her share of the money she received in the will and is forever threatening her and her business. Prinny has an ability to at times know what is going on for  another person - she has some psychic ability.

Chelsea, is an aspiring actress and in the meantime works part time at Prinny's shop, and makes a good fortune teller as well. For awhile it was a little difficult to see why she was in the story but as things transpired it was no accident.

Lief - pure evil or mad and insane? I certainly did not like him in any way. I know these kind of people exist, we see them on our TV screens every so often after some crime they have committed. So will it be Lief who commits the crime in this book? 

The book is a little dark, and I am not sure really that I agree with the choice of one of the women. Even though I know she was totally driven to it. Did she have the right? Did I read the book right?Would make a good book club discussion.

new to me author well written women's fiction thought provoking

August 15, 2016

It's Monday! What Are you Reading? 15th August 2016


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 you all had a good week, it went by again so fast!

What I read last week:

Damaged Goods was a review book and post will be up at some point. As will be One Less Problem Without You.

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From my new books shelf I read another great book - #10 in the Fatal series. This is a series that must be started at the beginning! It is one of my indulgent reads!

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What I am reading at present:

Still listening to Beach Colors by Shelley Noble and enjoying it.

1st time reading this author... just starting.
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Up next:

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Posts from the last week:

The Angels' Share    J. R. Ward
Family Tree  Susan Wiggs

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August 11, 2016

Family Tree. Susan Wiggs

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Published: William Morrow
Date: August 9th 2016
Pages: 368
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
4.5 stars              Add to Goodreads
Annie Harlow knows how lucky she is. The producer of a popular television cooking show, she loves her handsome husband and the beautiful Manhattan home they share. And now, she’s pregnant with their first child.

But in an instant, her life is shattered. And when Annie awakes from a year-long coma, she discovers that time isn’t the only thing she's lost.

Grieving and wounded, Annie retreats to her old family home in Switchback, Vermont, a maple farm generations old. There, surrounded by her free-spirited brother, their divorced mother, and four young nieces and nephews, Annie slowly emerges into a world she left behind years ago: the town where she grew up, the people she knew before, the high-school boyfriend turned ex-cop. And with the discovery of a cookbook her grandmother wrote in the distant past, Annie unearths an age-old mystery that might prove the salvation of the family farm.

My thoughts banner
It is always with a sense of delight that I pick up a new book by an author whose books I have always enjoyed. This one was like sinking down into a warm cozy bath on a cold day. It was almost everything I love in a good book.

Annie is a wonderful character, going for her dreams but finding that things haven't worked out quite the way she thought. Her partner and husband Martin just might not be the best thing going for her. When an unusual accident lands her in a coma in hospital his narcissistic self does what he does best, looks after Martin.

Annie's family are wonderful although not perfect. She has a Gran she idolised and loved - and although no longer alive she lives on in Annie. Annie's parents divorced when she was about ten years old and she has never quite gotten over her father walking out on his family. She sees her mother with a talent as an artist who has never fulfilled her dreams. She stayed back from going on to develop her abilities - choosing instead to care for her family.  Yet when Annie is down it is family who stands by her.

Fletcher is a person who has put his roots down in Switchback. He and Annie go way back, have loved each other and parted. Annie's desire to spread her wings and follow her dreams have meant they have had to part. Now with Annie back in town there is a possible second chance.

As Annie recovers from  injuries sustained in a freak accident she is determined and feisty. However she must start from scratch and discover who she is now and what she wants to do. It takes awhile but the journey just endeared her to me and I was delighted by all the steps she takes. 

The only thing I didn't like about the book was the Now/Then part of the storytelling. I'd be immersed in the now, and then would be taken back into the past. Necessary but just something I don't particularly like. I prefer a linear story. But I guess I'd be in the minority and the telling of a story just might have needed it.

One of those books I just want to go on forever!  
Favourite author Family Page turner Delish

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