I LOVE buying books! I have so many to read, yet that doesn’t stop me buying and borrowing more. And this week was no different! Earlier in the week I was enticed onto Amazon…a dangerous place for me…and treated myself too:

The Goldfinch
Donna Tartt
I have read The Secret History by Tartt, which I enjoyed, so am looking forward to reading this. It is a bit long though…!

The One Plus One
Jojo Moyes
I have had a mixed experience with Jojo Moyles. I loved Me Before You and yet didn’t finish The Girl You Left Behind, so it will be interesting to see how I get on with this novel.

Haha, good thing I have a “pocket money” account!

Yesterday, I was in WHSmith with my husband, and he treated himself to the new Lee Child hardback book, and because he got a book, I was allowed to spend the same amount on books, from the joint account! I pondered and decided, I could get more Kindle books for the same amount, so I downloaded:

The White Princess
Philippa Gregory
Ooo I do like Gregory’s novels. This is book five in the Cousin’s War series. I have read the first two books in this series, and have books three and four waiting to be read. I can’t wait to get to them!

A Time to Kill
John Grisham
Now this is an oldie! I have read a few Grisham books and recently bought my husband Sycamore Row, but I haven’t read A Time to Kill so can’t read Sycamore Row once he has finished. Looking forward to reading this one a lot.

Looking For Alaska
John Green
I recently read The Fault in Our Stars – I read it in one sitting – and loved it! When I saw this wasn’t very much on Amazon, I was quick to download it!

Blossom Street Brides
Debbie Macomber
This is one of my favourite reading series. It is girly, but a comfort. For ages I have been hoping Macomber would bring out another Blossom Street book, and she has! I am one pleased girl!

I also downloaded a free Cedar Cove short story, When They First Met, by Debbie Macomber.

Plus, from my Mum I borrowed:

The Silkworm
Robert Galbraith
I have only recently finished The Cuckoo’s Calling, which is the first novel from Galbraith and the first in the Cormoran Strike books, yet I really enjoyed it. I am very much looking forward to reading this second novel by Galbraith.

So, quite a haul this week. I am quite pleased with myself! Have you read any of the above? What have you been buying this week?

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Addition: E-book, review copy from NetGalley

Genre: Chick-lit

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:

In the middle of the year, in the middle of her life, Bethanne Hamlin takes a road trip with her daughter, Annie, and her former mother-in-law, Ruth. They’re driving to Florida for Ruth’s 50th high-school reunion. A longtime widow, Ruth would like to reconnect with Royce, the love of her teenage life. She’s heard he’s alone, too…and, well, she’s curious. Maybe even hopeful. Bethanne herself needs time to reflect, to ponder a decision she has to make. Her ex-husband, Grant — her children’s father — wants to reconcile now that his second marriage has failed. Bethanne’s considering it…. Meanwhile, Annie’s out to prove to her onetime boyfriend that she can live a brilliant life without him! So there they are, three women driving across America. They have their maps and their directions — but even the best-planned journey can take you to a turn in the road. Or lead you to an unexpected encounter — like the day Bethanne meets a man named Max who really is a hero on a Harley. That’s when Bethanne’s decision becomes a lot harder. Because Grant wants her back, but now there’s Max…. From Seattle’s Blossom Street to the other end of the country, this is a trip that could change three women’s lives.

Review:

This is number 8 in the Blossom Street series. The story follows a Grandmother, ex-daughter-in-law and granddaughter as they travel across America, from Seattle to Florida on a road trip to Ruth’s 50 year school reunion.  There is more going on with all of them though – Ruth wants to see her first love again and apologise for breaking his heart, Bethanne needs to decide if she wants to reunite with her ex-husband Grant – Ruth’s son and Annie’s father. But he had an affair and left her broken – can she forgive him and trust him again? And Annie is heart-broken. Her boyfriend didn’t propose, he told her he was off to Europe on a trip with his mates that they had been planning for months. Annie wants to go on this trip to have her own adventure and prove she does not need him. She also wants to convince Bethanne that getting back with Grant is the best way forward. But then they meet some bikers and Bethanne starts to fall for Max –  the most unlikely biker, with a heartbreaking story of his own. What will she decide?

Let’s get the negatives out the way first:

  • I miss the original Blossom Street characters – people such as Lydia and Alex – I think Macomber should write about them again
  • As ever, this book was predictable – I don’t mind this, I just enjoy reading the story that leads the ending I already know is coming but others won’t like this
  • These books started out set around knitting, that seems to have faded out somewhat – I used to love following the woman’s lives as they knitted.

These aside, I do love Macomber’s books and this is no exception. I find them engaging and I get drawn into the story. I empathise with the characters and want to know what path they will chose to take. I found this story fascinating as it looks also at the different areas of America, a country I have never been too. I felt like I was experiencing some of the charm of these places too.

I find Macomber is good at writing characters that I like and want to read more about. I liked these three girls, although at times I found they all bugged me! Annie was a bit needy and controlling, yet I wanted her to experience some of life and learn to forgive not seek revenge. Bethanne I liked the most and really sympathised with her when Grant and Annie were putting the pressure on her, yet her pining bugged me a little. Ruth was great. She was feisty for an older woman and determined, and I was thrilled with how her story turned out. Grant really annoyed me. I didn’t like how he felt he could just walk back into Bethanne’s life and be controlling – checking up on her etc. Max I thought was lovely and I found myself supporting him throughout this book. His heart was kind and he was learning to heal and love again.

I really enjoy Macomber’s books. I always know what I am going to get and I always come back for more. She is one of my favourite authors because she writes stories that I enjoy, characters I empathise with or spark emotions off in me and she draws me in and makes me feel like I am there in the story. I am yet to be disappointed with her writing.

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Addition: Library book, paperback

Genre: Chick-lit

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

On the anniversary of his beloved wife’s death, Dr. Michael Everett receives a letter Hannah had written him.
In it she reminds him of her love and makes one final request. An impossible request — I want you to marry again. She tells him he shouldn’t spend the years he has left grieving her. And to that end she’s chosen three women she asks him to consider.
First on Hannah’s list is her cousin, Winter Adams, a trained chef who owns a café on Seattle’s Blossom Street. The second is Leanne Lancaster, Hannah’s oncology nurse. Michael knows them both. But the third name is one he’s not familiar with — Macy Roth.
Each of these three women has her own heartache, her own private grief. More than a year earlier, Winter broke off her relationship with another chef. Leanne is divorced from a man who defrauded the hospital for which she works. And Macy lacks family of her own, the family she craves, but she’s a rescuer of strays, human and animal. Macy is energetic, artistic, eccentric — and couldn’t be more different from Michael.
During the months that follow, he spends time with Winter, Leanne and Macy, learning more about each of them…and about himself. Learning what Hannah already knew. He’s a man who needs the completeness only love can offer. And Hannah’s list leads him to the woman who can help him find it.

This is number 7 in Debbie Macomber’s Blossom Street Series. I love this series – it is about friendship, love and knitting. These are fun, easy-to-read, heartwarming books that will appeal to most women.

This book follows Michael, a man who a year ago lost his wife to cancer. Hannah was the love of his life and her death devasted him. On the anniversary of Hannah’s death he goes out for dinner with her brother, who gives him a letter Hannah has written. In it she writes that she wants him to re-marry and has suggested three ladies who might be suitable. Michael hates the idea of this but to honour Hannah he meets all these woman – and one of them will change his life.

I was reading what Debbie Macomber had to say at the beginning of this book and I was touched to find out that this is based on a true story – she had a friend who did this and I thought that was lovely.

I love the Blossom Street books. I find I can’t put them down once I’ve started. Macomber has a way of drawing me into the story and adding in the characters from other books in the series to keep it all tied together. I felt for Michael – how hard must it be to lose your spouse and then to receive a letter they have written asking you to remarry? I felt his character was well written – sometimes he was sad, other times angry – at everything, including Hannah – and yet we watched him heal so often by the end he was happy – and of course he fell in love, which was so nice to read.

Honestly, the storyline is not a surprise. The ending isn’t hard to guess but I don’t mind that in Macomber’s books because I get very engaged in the story. I liked the characters – all had their own story and I loved reading about their lives and seeing the effect one person could have on them all. Hannah seemed so special and friends and family really were rooting were Michael to love again.

These books are enjoyable, lovely, engaging reads. I can easily read one straight after the other. Macomber is one of my favourite authors and I highly recommend her. I love the storyline, her books don’t contain bad language or graphic love scenes, her writing is easy to read and easy to follow and I love these books! It isn’t hard for me to give this book four out of five – maybe next time the ending will surprise me!

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REVIEWS CONTAIN SPOILERS!

Addition: Review e-book from netGalley

Genre: Female fiction, romance

Rating: 4 out of 5

This is a collection of short stories, written by prolific chick-lit authors Debbie Macomber, Susan Mallery and Christina Skye.

Debbie Macomber

Knitting is a way of life: The Twenty-First Wish by Debbie Macomber

Anne Marie Roche and her adopted daughter, ten-year-old Ellen, have each written a list of twenty wishes – on which they included learning to knit. But Ellen has quietly added a twenty-first wish: that her mom will fall in love with Tim, Ellen’s birth father, who’s recently entered their lives…

This short story follows on from the Blossom Street stories. Anne Marie had recently adopted Ellen, a girl who had been bought up by her Grandma until her death. Ellen’s Dad – Tim, who didn’t know until he was a father until Ellen was adopted has been spending a lot of time with both his daughter and Anne Marie. Both adults developed feelings for each other but Tim had a fiancée. When she found out about Ellen, she went back to drinking, and Tim – a recovering alcohol left her. However, Anne Marie felt messed around Tim and decided to have nothing more to do with him. However, Ellen has one wish she has told no one – that Anne Marie and Tim fall in love. Will her wish come true?

I love Debbie Macomber, and I enjoyed this story. Sadly, it was too short! Macomber writes a lovely story about friendship, family and love. My favourite character was Ellen. She was cute and so likeable. She is passionate and just a delight to read. I think Macomber writes really warm, friendly characters and it is so easy to fall in love with them.

The ending was not a surprise – but it was so nice! I was satisfied and happy by the conclusion. The only problem with this story was it was too short. I love the Blossom Street series – the characters, the knitting and the friendship. I really hope Macomber writes another in this series.

Susan Mallery

Knitting is a passion: Coming Unraveled by Susan Mallery

When Robyn Mulligan’s dreams of becoming a Broadway star give way to longing for her childhood home, she returns to Texas, running her grandmother’s knitting store. But the handsome, hot-tempered T.J. Passman isn’t making it easy on her. If he can learn to trust Robyn, and overcome his tragic past, they just might discover a passion like no other. Susan’s story in this anthology is linked to her book ALREADY HOME (April 2011).

To be honest, I didn’t enjoy this story too much. It follows Robyn, a girl who had always dreamt of becoming a Broadway star. She leaves Texas for New York, but her dreams don’t come to anything. She returns to Texas when her Gran needs to go in for an operation. When she walks into the knitting shop she is greeted by an angry stare from a guy she has never met – T.J. After a short, hostile chat with him, she discovers he thinks she is a fraud, lying to her Gran and living off her money. He is wrong, but will she change his mind?

The problem I had with this story was it seemed really sex-driven. Every time T.J. and Robyn look at each other, Mallery seems compelled to describe all emotions and longings. It just made me bored and uncomfortable.

This is another love story with knitting thrown in. Again, the ending was predictable – but who doesn’t like a happy ending?! I thought Robyn’s Gran and her friends were lovely characters. They were funny and so caring. They were really supportive of Robyn, even after her acting career didn’t work out.

This is a nice story, ruined by too much talk about sex, and the longing for it.

Christina Skye

Knitting is a comfort: Return to Summer Island by Christina Skye

After a devastating car accident, Caro McNeal is welcomed by a community of knitters on Oregon’s sleepy Summer Island. She also finds meaning and purpose in the letters she exchanges with a marine serving in Afghanistan. But when life takes another unexpected turn, will Caro pick up the threads of hope, opening her heart to wherever it takes her?

Meet Caro. She loves knitting. When she isn’t working, she knits. That is, until she is hit by a car and her right arm is mashed. She will face a long time in a cast, and then physiotherapy – with no guarantees that she will ever be able to knit again. She leaves Chicago to recover and goes back to the home she grew up in, with her Gran. A chance visit by Gage Greyson changes her mindset and her road to recovery. He is off to Afghanistan – leaving his pets in the care of the local vet. Caro and Gage stay in contact, will it lead to love?

This is a nice love story. It is love not just for another person, but for knitting and animals. It is a story of recovery, patience and art. I thought Caro was a lovely character. She was so gutted by her accident – and so frustrated that she couldn’t knit – or do much in fact. Her mindset is changed by one lovely picnic, and the need to look after Gage’s two animals.

To be honest, this is not a realistic story. It is about love at first sight and long-distance army relationship. Of course this book had a happy ending, I just didn’t think any of this would happen. Gage is involved in a military attack, yet someone Caro’s Gran knows was able to tell her confidential information and get her to the base where Gage was taken after the attack. It was lovely, just unrealistic.

This is a nice collection of stories, based around knitting. The stories and writings are different. It was a nice, quick read – very enjoyable.

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I saw these questions over at The Diary of a Domestic Goddess, and thought I would answer them too!

1. Who is your all-time favourite author, and why?

My favourite all time author is Roald Dahl. I love his books. They gave me hours of entertainment when I was small, and now keep me entertained as an adult. I’m currently re-reading James and the Giant Peach, and I’m laughing, and I’m gripped, and I love the illustrations by Quentin Blake. I don’t think it is possible to be too old to enjoy Roald Dahl, I love him.

2. Who was your first favourite author, and why?  Do you still consider him or her among your favourites?


Enid Blyton. I loved everything of hers that I read. I loved The Magic Faraway Tree, and remember my Mum reading that to me and my brother – and the Secret Seven, the Famous Five, Mallory Towers…the list goes on. I loved them all! I always found myself wanting to live in those books! I haven’t read any of these books in a long time, but I really want to – I’m sure I would still love them. I think I would still put Enid Elyton as a favourite author because of the memories I have of reading her books and really enjoying them.

3. Who’s the most recent addition to your list of favourite authors, and why?

Sarah Dessen. I discovered her when I was blogging about young adult books. Every one of her books that I have read I have loved. I found her gripping, entertaining, touching, realistic and just fantastic. I read Just Listen first and it blew me away. I haven’t found a bad book by her yet – thankfully!

4. If someone asked you who your favourite authors were right now, which authors would first pop out of your mouth?  Are there any you’d add on a moment of further reflection?


Terry Pratchett, CS Lewis, Sarah Dessen, Erica James, Wendy Virgo, Philippa Gregory, Roald Dahl. After some thought… Enid Blyton, Ben Elton, Dorothy Koomson, Beatrix Potter, A A Milne, Mark Driscoll, Debbie Macomber, Elizabeth Noble, Nicholas Sparks, Sophie Kinsella, Stephanie Meyer, JK Rowling, Andrew Wilson and Jane Austen I think.

5. Which “unknown” author do you recommend to people most often?

Probably Wendy Virgo. She writes theology books, mainly for women and I love her. I wrote a Recommended Author post about her. The books are easy to read, engaging and for me, life changing. I think everyone should read her books.

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Book Sort: Library Book

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

Dear Reader,

Considering that I’m married to Cedar Cove’s private investigator, you might think I enjoy mysteries. But I don’t — especially when they involve us! Roy and I have been receiving anonymous postcards and messages asking if we “regret the past.” We don’t know what they mean . . .

On a more positive note, we’re both delighted that our daughter, Linette, has moved to Cedar Cove to work at the new medical clinic. A while ago I attended the humane society’s “Dog and Bachelor Auction,” where I bought her a date with Cal Washburn, who works at Cliff Harding’s horse farm. Unfortunately Linette is less enthusiastic about this date than I am.

Speaking of Cliff, the romance between him and Grace Sherman is back on. But that’s only one of the many interesting stories here in Cedar Cove. So why don’t you drop by for a coffee at my husband’s office on Main Street or our House on Harbor and I’ll tell you everything that’s new!

Corrie

This is typical Debbie Macomber. This is number five in the Cedar Cover series and is in every way as good as the others. You could read this as a stand alone book as it does recap the general story lines from other books, but it does carry on nicely as part of this series.

The main focus of this book is the private investigator, and his wife – Roy and Corrie. They have been receiving mysterious gifts and postcards. They have concerned Corrie and Roy is struggling to find out who they are from. In other stories, Charlotte marries Ben, but is upset by her children wanting to check him out first, Olivia is concerned for Jack’s health – and when he ends up in hospital she sees she is right about his lifestyle and everything is a bit on-and-off with Cliff and Grace.

This book includes all the usual favourite characters and we continue to follow them through their lives in Cedar Cove. I don’t think I have a favourite, no one sticks out in my mind, but they are all nice and it is quite a gentle, friendly community they live in. It is idealistic but so what? It is nice reading.

Once Roy and Corrie’s daughter moved to the area and started making friends I quickly worked out who it was sending the anonymous notes and how the love story would pan out. I didn’t mind the predictability however. This is simple chick-lit that would make a good beach read. It is a lovely series to escape to and I always enjoy Macomber. This is a good book for those who like a light, quick, chick-lit read.

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Good morning! It is Friday again, I don’t know where this week has gone, and while I try and straighten out my thoughts regarding history and fiction for my dissertation I thought I would join in the Hop!

Jen’s question this week is: Tell us about some of your favorite authors and why they are your favorites!

The first name that pops into my head is Sarah Dessen. She is writes great young adult books that are realistic and meaningful. She writes great characters, all of whom I end up loving and story lines that keep me hooked. The second name would be Nicholas Sparks. I have only come across one book I didn’t finish and I think that was because I put it down and when I took it back up I had lost the essence of the story. His books often move me to tears and I find myself not wanting the books to end. Other authors I like are Terry Pratchett, Philippa Gregory, Debbie Macomber, Dorothy Koomson and Meg Cabot.

I also join in with the Follow Friday fun!

Please leave a comment if you Hop by or come via the Follow!

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BWS tips button2010 Summer “Beach Reads” Challenge
*throws confetti*

I’m sure you’re asking yourself, but Jessica, what exactly is a “beach read”? A beach read by my definition is any book you’d choose to take with you to a day at the beach. Think something light, airy, perhaps a romance or two? It’s really all up to you! Beach reads are what you make them! I’ve been known to take a vampire novel with me to the beach…. vampires and sand? Yes!
This challenge is being hosted by myself, Raila of Books Out of the Bookshelves, Linna of 21 Pages, and Heather of A Bibliophile’s Paradise.
Timeline: July 1, 2010 – August 31, 2010

Levels:
Remember swim classes? Thus our reading challenge levels!
* Tadpole – Read 4 books in this challenge.
* Minnow – Read 8 books in this challenge.
* Dolphin – Read 12 books in this challenge.
* Shark – Read 16+ books in this challenge!
Another Summer reading challenge! Yay! So, here we go:
  1. Debbie Macomber: 50 Harbour Street 2nd July
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Good afternoon! It is Monday, so time to review the week and plan what to read this week! This is organised by Book Journey, and I love it 🙂

Past Week

I haven’t read as much as I would have liked. I focused on my TBR pile, and read three:

  • Macomber: 44 Cranberry Point
  • Beaumont: E
  • Hore: The Memory Garden (technically finished today!)

I read one library book too:

  • Blume: Forever

Do check out In My Mailbox to see what books entered my home last week!

This Week

Currently reading: Elizabeth Noble: The Girl Next Door

That is a library book, and I hope to get more of my borrowed books read! I would like to read these this week:

  • Sparks: True Believer
  • Macomber: 50 Harbour Street
  • Hornby: About A Boy

So the important question: what are you reading?

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Synopsis:

Peggy Beldon
Thyme and Tide B and B
44 Cranberry Point
Cedar Cove, Washington

Dear Reader,

I love living in Cedar Cove, but things haven’t been the same since a man died in our B and B. Turns out his name was Max Russell, and Bob had known him briefly in Vietnam.We still don’t have any idea why he came here and–most important of all–who killed him. Because it now appears that he was poisoned. I sure hope somebody figures it out soon!

Not that we’re providing the only news in Cedar Cove these days. I heard that Jon Bowman and Maryellen Sherman are getting married. And Maryellen’s mom, Grace, has more than her share of interested men! The question is: Which one is she going to choose? Olivia–I guess it’s Olivia Griffin now–is back from her honeymoon, and her mother, Charlotte (who’s in her mid-seventies at least), seems to have a man in her life, too. I’m not sure Olivia’s too pleased….

There’s lots of other gossip I could tell you. Come by for a cup of tea and one of my blueberry muffins and we’ll talk.

Peggy

This is number four in Macomber’s Cedar Cove series. The story picks up pretty much where it left off- new marriages are blossoming, friendships growing, but more importantly, mysteries still unsolved. Peggy and Bob have been struggling since a man called Max turned up in the night to stay at their B&B, and died . It was later found out it was murder. They just want this solved. There are other things going on too, such as the Navy boys returning to their families and Grace trying to get over losing Cliff.

I love Macomber’s novels. They are pure and simple chick-lit. This story was full of life, love, friendship and family. But with this series there is a slight twist – Macomber has added in the idea of mystery. In this book, and the previous one: 311 Pelican Court, the mystery surrounds this man Max, his death and his connection to Bob. In the next book the mystery will be surrounding Ray, the Private Investigator. I like this addition to the novel. Macomber writes great novels anyway but this just adds something special and lifts it out of the bog-standard chick-lit genre.

Macomber also writes wonderful characters. I love Olivia, Grace, Peggy and the like. Their friendships are special and reading about their families and events in their lives is great fun. I find them believable and I wish they were real! They are full of wisdom – the kind of older female friends one would want to have around for friendship and guidance.

Yes this is a fairly predictable story, and the murderer wasn’t much of a surprise but I enjoyed this book. It was a nice novel that I read in 24 hours. Like the rest of Macomber’s books, this comes with high praise from me.

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