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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker

A complicated story of friendship and growing up, secrets held unknown to those even those very very close to one and the sad end to this particular story.

Sharon has always felt out of place. Not just within her family but at school, at college. Until she met Mel and found a soulmate. Abrasively different to Sharon who was self effacing, and full of doubt, Mel was confident and bold and together they became a great team. Having come far in their profession, they are now popular and at the top of their game.

Life and personalities get in the way and cracks begin to appear in what has upto now been solid bonds.

Told mainly from Sharon's perspective the story unfolds slowly to a climax which is unexpected and sad.

A roller coaster for the emotions!

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Random House Publishing Group, this was a read that makes one think even after you finish the book.Th

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Beyond the Fight by Carol Preston

The First World War setting is quite commonplace but this was unusual because the setting was Australia. It was my first read of WW background in Australia and the subject of internment of those immigrants of German origin was another first for me. I did not know this happened in Australia as well.

Percy has not gone on with his father - there have been differences of opinion on various subjects and it has now come to a head with the internment of German origin Australians. The bombshell that he is not his father's son makes him re think his ideas for his future, and pursue a career in the field of telecommunications and specifically telephones, a rather new field in Australia and one which is met with scepticsm amongst many.

Meeting Mabel unexpectedly is the beginning of a romance but with many complications. Percy has to maneuver his way through a minefield of his background, his job and the overwhelming odds of Mabel's mother who dislikes him on sight and is determined to dislike him forever!

A very nicely told romance, with overtones of history and life in Australia during this period of WWI very well told.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Rhiza Press.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Proposal To Die For by Vivian Conroy

I fell in love with the cover as I am a sucker for nice covers! the story however was slightly different from my expectations. I expected my heroine to be more forthcoming, more modern for want of a better word but she was every bit of a retiring maiden trying to conform to social expectations of the time but fortunately with a bit of spunk.

Lady Alkmene comes from an unusual background. Her father is a famous botanist and is always off in search of new plants. He does not take his daughter with him and so Alkmene has a certain degree of independence, not common amongst ladies of her kind. She is also of an enquiring mind and this has led her to many scrapes and this is the latest episode.

Overhearing a marriage proposal and subsequently linking it to a murder of a prominent, rich man, the man's death seems suspicious and she along with Dubois a journalist with a mysterious background try to find out who and what is behind the murder. Uncovering the murderer step by step is no easy task in the 1920s and we are given a very descriptive way this is done.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Carina Books.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

With love from the inside by Angela Pisel

A book about the relationship between a mother and daughter. Sad, emotional and very poignant it brings about some home truths about how much stress a relationship can take before one or the other steps away from it. Whether you can mend it or not, depends on the people involved and how far they are willing to go to try to repair damages.

Grace is on death row for the murder of her little baby son. The family disintegrated once she was accused and though Sophie her daughter did try, she found it very hard going. As a teenager it was difficult to live without a mother and when her father died as well, Sophie was left alone to cope as best as she could. Growing up, getting married to a surgeon who loved her and understood her was fine but her earlier life was a book she did not want anyone reading about. It was a secret that she had to live with.

A chance letter from her mother's attorney opened the wounds once more and Sophie had to decide whether she wanted to visit the mother she had not seen in years. Grace's execution date was growing closer and Ben her attorney was one of the few people who was clearly convinced of her innocence.
Delving further into the case it was obvious that Grace's defense had done a very poor job of her case and it was sad that despite the evidence unearthed, that it proved of no help to Grace herself.

Reconciliation and a chance to meet her daughter was enough for Grace at this point and though it was very sad, it brought closure to Sophie and also brought the couple of Sophie and Thomas much closer together than before.

Sensitively told especially for a debut novel.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Penguin Group Putnam

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Across the Common Elizabeth Berridge

Louise has left her husband of twelve years and returned to the family home at The Hollies. Her three aunts are older than ever, more eccentric than ever and each determined to keep the family honor despite hard times.  Louise lost her parents as a young child and her memories of them are hazy. An unexpected letter from her late father through his lawyers was a bolt from the blue - and apart from the very pleasant legacy of some money, his last note to her leaves behind remains of a mystery which she wants to solve.

Solving the mystery is going to be tougher than she thinks as the Aunts are determined to keep the past in the past and are perturbed at Louise's investigations. She feels however that she owes it to her father to discover the secrets in the family and put it to rest.

More of a coming of age story Louise has to decide her priorities, take charge of her life and decide which path she will take.

Sensitively told this was a book sent to me by Netgalley, courtesy of Endeavour Press for an unbiased review.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Time and Regret by M K Tod

Grace Hansen is at a crossroads in her life. She has  just lost her grandfather and is in the middle of a divorce which took her by surprise. She never saw that coming. Left a small box by her grandfather with a cryptic message, Grace feels that she owes it to his memory to follow the small clues left behind, and the hidden message and this involves going to France and following in the footsteps of her grandfather during the period he enlisted in the Army and fought in France.

Told in two separate time frames (always interesting) we go behind the scenes of the war to all the major battle stands. Very descriptive of the period of the War and also of the present times we set out with Grace on her adventure, step by step. At some point Grace realises that she is being followed but she is nonplussed as to what the reason could be. Meeting Pierre and attracted to him, she falls in love slowly with France as well, knowing full well that she has a life in America with her two young sons and the grandmother who raised her. How she is going to solve the riddle of her grandfather's legacy and at the same time balance her personal life, is going to be her dilemma.

Secrets are unraveled slowly and Grace begins to think that she can trust hardly anyone as there seems to be a conspiracy whichever way she turns. Starting from within her own family.

Mysterious and very well told the author draws us into this story.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lake Union Publishing.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy by Rumer Godden *****

I've loved this author's writing - the perfect stillness she seems to generate throughout the book in its atmosphere of the cloister, but with all the noise, danger and petty slights and jealousies of the human race thrown in as well.

This story introduces one to the order of the Bethanie (a new one for me as well) and wasn't it educative. An order of nuns in a secluded house doing prison counselling and upliftment of women amongst the most hardened prisoners of the day. We have Sister Lise herself with a colorful background and one which she would like to keep hidden and then a host of other Sisters all equally powerful in their own right and all very necessary for the smooth and efficient functioning of the house as well.

The individual stories of the characters in this story meld beautifully. Each one is intricate, complicated and with a dark history but in the confines of the convent, each person reaches a state of peace, contentment and happiness which is enviable. I doubt that any of the individuals should they be living a more public life would be able to live so serenely the way they did, if it was not for the religion and beliefs which powered them.

As usual Ms. Godden's work is stellar. This is a book I will read again and again.

Sent to me by Open Road Integrated Media courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.