…. Telepathy. Apparently everyone has it to some degree….

Ever played that game when you were a child where you guessed what your best friend was thinking and she told you, you were right? Well, this is what I thought of when I read this particular book. Telepathy. Apparently everyone has it to some degree. In this book, the author uses a similar method to communicate with nature. The author asks a direct question and she gets answers back.
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Points of interest

  • Gum Trees – I noticed the author directed her question to them specifically.
  • Tasmania – very interesting page on Tasmania and that it is a sacred healing place.
  • the garden and what’s in it brings love and joy.
  • the lemon trees washing paste recipe is the exact recipe that my Nana used for washing wollen jerseys.
  • Time, what is time, we are governed by it, aren’t we? there was a whole section on this and I pulled this quote up, as it resonated with me.
    Quote
    “Soul time is just following one’s instincts and urges to do what one does throughout the day, without looking at the clock.”
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    This was quite some book to read, thoughtful, with quite alot of info in it, it’s the type of book that you get more out of it by picking it up now and again and reading a little, and this is exactly what I did, as I wanted to consume carefully and ponder over it to quite a degree. This book did not just follow plants and flowers, discussed also, is, the moon phases, sun set, sun rise and a few other things that nature lovers would like to know answers about.
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    I’m giving this 5 stars, it’s a very facinating awe inspiring book, which made me more aware of my surroundings, this is not an airey fairy book filled with goobledy goop, but more of a spiritual insight of nature. So in saying that I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is spiritual, who cares for nature, who quizzes the wonders of the world and anyone who is full of gratitude of anything related to nature.

Gifted by the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Year of Talking to Plants – Sarah Rajkotwala

…… amazing plotting skills and the added reaction of …..

Two strong female protagonists, seperate families, not related, each searching for answers, both trying to find their mothers.

So we have Mckenna, who wants to find her mother who she still believes is alive, she has also just discovered she has gifts, but she doesn’t know yet how to use them, so leaving her 2 Dads behind she seeks knowledge of two kinds. Then we have Nissa, nerdy, doesn’t fit in, seeks for her own answers on where her own family are. Both of these girls become friends and search together for questions unknown.

Points of interest

  • map at the beginning, which makes a huge difference of the lay of the land.
  • travel through, England, Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man, Isle of Skye, Maschettes.
  • Authors Notes – Some historical figures in this story include alleged witches Alice Kyteler, Petronella de Meath, and Elizabeth Dunlop.
  • Reiki/meditation references/astro travel/Wiccan Rituals.
  • fae, fairies, spiritual creatures, gnomes and cats
  • centred around the season of Samhain

This was such an amazing story, which you could tell had a huge amount of research into, amazing plotting skills and the added reaction of being scared to read this during the evening I’m sure, the desired effect the author was wanting … yes there ARE scary bits in there readers, so be aware 😬.

I would like to thank the author for gifting me this ebook in exchange for an honest review. This is a 5 star review, and comes highly recommended by me and will suit readers interested in witchy books, a good one for Halloween, for anyone interested in Celtic myths and legends involving Ireland and Scotland, also this is a coming of age story, YA Fantasy.

The Wise One – K.T. Anglehart

… what importance has this yarrow tea have? ….

A modern fairytale. We go to a place called Dorchford, “where everyone knew everyone and their Mums”. In this village there is a small bakery and the protagonist works there, it was a shop for special requests and a rich man wanted some yarrow tea. The protagonist didn’t know of this yarrow tea and was told to go look in the Forest, on her way she got lost but a stranger gave these strange directions “walk west, go around the tree seven times, seven paces to the right …” … and what does she find? what importance has this yarrow tea have? … and why did one particular person ask for it?
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I want to thank NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to listen to this book as an audiobook, in exchange for an honest review. This is now published.

This is a short story, only 15 minutes long in listening time, the genre being folklore, NA, YA Fantasy.

There is a “villain” that comes into this story, that wants this yarrow tea, I wasn’t quite sure if the protagonist knew what she was doing, or whether it was deliberate.

I’m not sure what I think of this story, totally bizarre fairytale I’ve come across, and somehow did not sit right for me.

I’m giving this 3 stars due to a very weirdness of the nature of the story and, what was the point of it all? I’ve probably missed something somewhere, maybe the magic 7 I was lost in and didn’t come back to the right place! 😂. The villain was even strange. I wasn’t totally invested in the voice over either. Yes, this was definitely like having part of an icecream finding it wasn’t what you thought then chucking it in the bin.

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True Loaf – L. Austen Johnson

📸 – a photo of mine, of ….. you guessed it, the yarrow flower, although in the story there were two types of yarrow, one white and I’m not quite sure what the other colour was.

… Agatha has a bit of an obsesSION with her figure ….

Any one like food references in their stories? because if you do, then you are in luck. Agatha has a bit of an obsession with her figure and gave caution to the wind and hogged out with a hamburger, smothered in katchup and then ordered another one. She couldn’t stand diets. Then deared someone to buy a chocolate cake with chocolate sauce and icecream. There is fish bisque, melba toast, duck and orange sauce, and to top it all off, caraway cake, which I really would like to try.
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French perfume was mentioned, and how I wish I could afford that, the real McCoy must cost a small fortune.
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I’m drawn to patterns and the material, tweed was mentioned, how I love tweed.
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So then we get into the nity grity stuff, the garden. Planting seeds of chrysanthemums and a few other flowers mentioned…. rigaleto? sounds more like a flavour of icecream. Trays of African Daisies, a hibiscus, a variety called Disco Bell. Wisteria is mentioned which makes an appearance every year in my garden.
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… as for the murder that took place, that will remain unsaid due to spoilers, but watch out for Mr & Mrs Boggle 🙄😏.

I listened to this as an audiobook via Bolinda Audio (Borrow Box) via Hamiltoncitylibraries.

Overall I’m rating this as 5 stars, so, so entertaining and it made defrosting the freezer more bearable. Recommend to all cozy mystery lovers.
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📸 taken at Hamilton Gardens.

Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardner – M. C. Beaton

….. So what happens when you fall through a mirror …..

So what happens when you fall through a mirror, out the other side and find yourself in the middle ages? Shock would be one word I would use. Irenya O’Neil suffered a panic attack and that’s exactly what happened. She was named “Woman Who Travels Through Mirrors” in a realm called Dar Orien. She learnt from this place that she is “Gifted” and to get back home she had to use her gifts, in the meantime while she’s trying to figure this out, she has to adjust to a different life altogether.

I loved the world of Dar Orien, where there are Griffin birds, where dry onion skins is used as dye for the colouring of clothes. Oils of almonds were used as perfume along side, lavender. The protagonist in this story is interested in music, so picks up what I would say in our world is a Harp, in Dar Orien it’s called a “cirayla” … something that was mentioned that took me to my childhood days, making daisy chains, also if you like maps, there is one at the beginning to get the feel of this realm. I found facinating a wedding taking place and beautiful description of masks, robes and their colours,and jewellery used.
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I’m thanking OdysseyBooks for giving me a gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Giving this a whole hearty 5 star review and recommending this to all Fantasy Fiction lovers. This sure did keep me entertained and nothing was revealed on how the protagonist was going to get back to her normal world, the ending being … very interesting, hmmmm.

…. this will end up on a book sellers list as one of the most popular books to read to date….

A suspenseful, macabre ghost story, throwing you from past to present, with a mystery well worth figuring out. Superbly written and thought out, plot twist thrills and chills. This is definitely a page turner and I throughly enjoyed it. I’m sure this will end up on a book sellers list as one of the most popular books to read to date.
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A 5 star review and recommending to anyone who likes Ghost story, suspense, mystery, past and present, macabre. Setting – Dorset, England.
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I was Ellen Reads proof reader/Arc Reader. The ebook of Die For Love is published on 1 November 2021, but you can pre order now.

Die For Love – Ellen Read

Blurb

What happened to Edward Wallingford? His great-great nephew William is determined to find out.

England 1935.
Edward Wallingford, an artist, is on a solitary walking tour of the West Country. To recuperate from pneumonia, he wants to walk, paint and enjoy the countryside. When he stops at Claeg, a village in Dorset, he visits Marston Castle on the outskirts of the town. He becomes fascinated by Rose Marston who, with her two sisters, owns and lives in their family’s castle.

England Present Day.
William Wallingford has always heard tales of his great-great uncle Edward who disappeared on his walking tour in 1935. When Will’s mother discovers a letter written in Edward’s hand telling his family that he was in Claeg and intended staying at the castle, both Will and his mother are intrigued.

William, a professional photographer, has some free time between assignments, and determines to discover what happened to Uncle Edward. Why, when he went missing, could no one find any trace of him?

Will travels to Claeg and stays at the Clay Cutters Arms where he meets the owners, Natalie Pickering and her father.

Will soon hears local rumours that young men visiting Claeg disappear from time to time.

With Natalie’s help, Will meets a local witch, uncovers an unbelievable truth and nearly dies for love.

…. a little life of Ashling, created in the moment of crisis ….

What do we associate with nests? Homes and families I thought and my thought was right. This was a facinating topic and facinating story, which I knew would throw a million different scenarios to any given situation.

Ashling to me, was star of the show, what a strong female protagonist she is! Ok, nothing comes that easy, right? Well, did she get a shock of her life when Adrian, Ashling’s so called hubby decided that their marriage was over and to try parent nesting. I could see the complications could arise from parent nesting, so I was intrigued even more at how this was going to pan out. In time, as a routine was set up, Ashling grew to be more independent and we hear more of her new life, and even a new lover on the scene.
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Adrian “the ex” to me was a proper A hole, the typical ex who tries to put up a goodie goodie front of managing the kids, work, cleaning the house and cooking meals, no chance buddy, lol, this was so hilarious!
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I enjoyed most of all the fortnightly trips to Ragged Point that Ashling makes, and this was a whole story in itself, a little life of Ashling, created in the moment of crisis of “where do I live when its Adrian’s turn with the kids“…. so we follow her along renovating a beach shack, but not only that we are thrown onto the beach, with seagulls and dishy blokes inbetween and even a sight seeing tour of The Pinnacles and The Lobster Factory.
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I listened to this as an audiobook via Bolinda Audio (borrow box) from my library. To get the full dynamics of the family I strongly advise to listen to the audiobook as Casey Withoos the voice over, throws this little masterpiece alive!!! This was such an involved but classic situation of how most families deal with separation and divorce, that the author wrote a very convincing story on what it’s like. Totally giving this a 5 star rating/recommendation and would suit any writer who is studying the dynamics of broken families, for anyone who has been through something similar, this will have you chuckling away at some pieces and nodding as a knowing at others, and for those who just want an extremely entertaining story, this one will have you listening in the wee small hours of the morning.

Genre – Womens Fiction/ContemporaryFiction/ContemporaryRomance/Australia

Rachael Johns – Flying the Nest

…so laying down my ignorance, I dove into ….

What a beautiful story this is, I hadn’t really a clue the ins and outs of polo before, yeah sure, I have seen it played on TV a few times, but never sat down and studied it as such, so laying down my ignorance, I dove into this little gem to see how we go, I’m so glad that I did, because I was rewarded with not only learning about polo, but learnt how extensive Cynthia Terelst is on character dynamics. The authors writing skills are highly commendable. There were a mixture of dynamics involved with quite a number of characters. Although this is a contemporary fiction full of romance, it’s full of wit and humour. Humour such as when Sebastian was trying to fight off a magpie with some funny results ending with the most ridiculous head gear you’ve ever seen. The kiddies (Frankie’s nieces and nephew) had a natural curiosity that sent a plethora of mischievous and mayhem where they went. Plus the romance in this story is everything that it should be, heart wrenching at times urging you closer towards the tissues to the other side of the scale of being in the Sabastian fan club, cheering both Frankie and Sabastian on.

Since this book is full of character dynamics I take this opportunity to strongly urge all writers to study this book as it’s a powerful tool for inspiration of character study, as well as phenomenal observations of horses. Australian outback/farm life at it’s best, along with top notch castle descriptions and ruffing it out in the wild with cattle, but for ever enveloping the love heart centre of Frankie’s family, the bells birds and willy the wagtails.

A big thank you to Cynthia Terelst for giving me the opportunity to read her story and gifting me the ebook. I highly recommend this one and rate this as a 5 star review/recommendation.

Get Off Your High Horse – Cynthia Terelst

…..Which ever shape or form “Agatha” comes in, you know you are going to have a jolly good laugh ….

Which ever shape or form “Agatha” comes in, you know you are going to have a jolly good laugh and entertainment satisfaction, now this definitely lived up to my expectations.

Right, let’s back up a bit. I didn’t realise this, but the title indicates two seperate short stories, and here was I thinking how a quiche and a vet could be connected?

The Quiche Of Death
Agatha Raisin has just moved to the Cotswolds, and entered the local baking competition, quiche she thought was a good idea, but she did a little bit of cheating and bought it elsewhere, now she’s in trouble because the judge who took a piece to eat is now dead, the investigations continues.

There were lots of scenes I loved, for example
Agatha getting roped into a woman’s tapestry group.

Loved the quotes
“I’ve just been behind a tractor that was doing 5 miles per hour.”

“Roy, country people make things and grow things, city people pay other people to bake things and grow things”.

“… so that’s Vera next door aye? Does she live in a thatched cottage.
“Yes, why?”
” I just wondered if I could set fire to it”
“I will lend you my lighter”.

… “could you pop across to the village hall and get some scones from the freezer and defrost them in the microwave”

We of course had to have the ever dramatic woman, which in this instance was Vera. Also Agatha is a lover of kittens so in this book we are introduced to “Shivers.” We have chocolate digestives this time as well as scones. Celebrity, Dawn French was mentioned.

There were alot of sound effects used and I particularly loved the cat meowing, and at times I thought it was real and went looking for my own cat.
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The Vicious Vet

We start the story off with “dear old Charlie” (a dog) whose “lambs liver his favourite” … but suddenly needed an operation and died. This was the introduction to of course a new vet in town, that looks the spitting image of Robert Redford, (so everyone was goo goo ga ga about him) so Agatha Raisin has to take Shivers the cat to the vet out of curiosity, and then Paul the vet invites Agatha to dine out, things go slightly pear shaped when Paul invites her back to his place, some very unusual surprises pop out which gave me a chuckle and a “oh dear”. Naturally with any Agatha Raisin stories the police are involved and this left me quite amused especially when Agatha had decided to put her finger prints everywhere which made the policeman very cross. This little short story, I’m afraid wasn’t as good as the first, but still enjoyable.

I was happy with the length of this audiobook, being 1hr, 38 minutes.

This was purely a random pick of mine from Bolinda Audio (Borrow Box) through my library.

Giving this beauty a 5 star review/recommendation and naturally recommend to anyone who likes cosy mysteries and Agatha Christie books.

Agatha Raisin and The Quiche of Death & The Vicious Vet – M.C Beaton

… and true to nature she sure did sprinkle a vial trial that reminded you to empty the garbage bag at a more rapid rate…..

You couldn’t but love Brandon, he was in Hawaii to relax and to get away from a dreadful relationship with Tabu. Tabu, what a name!! … and true to nature she sure did sprinkle a vial trial that reminded you to empty the garbage bag at a more rapid rate. His Dad, JD, not much better, so Brandon had quite a fight on his hands. He then meets on vacation his girl of his dreams, Mindy, but past history with her ex and with his show down with his ex…. well you can see more than fireworks colliding together here … so can these two work out some sort of relationship??
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Freda Ann, the author, knows how to write romance without it appearing to lustful and dirty, a balance that’s tantalising and imaginative, but real. A beautifully presented book with plumeria flowers as a coloured illustration at the top of each chapter. A summer/beach book face that screams Hawaii and that’s just for starters … we have whale watching, chinking glasses of wine on a sandy beach, going on a cruise on the water and going to places in Maui. A book set in Hawaii has to have the classic Hawaiian Dancers with fire sticks, and spending alot of time on the lanai.
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Totally giving this book a 5 star review/recommendation and will suit anyone wanting to escape onto a beach, a great summer time read and anyone interested in Hawaii.

Forbidden Love – Freda Ann

…. this is full to the brim of little surprises …..

Well, I must say, this must be one of the most facinating audiobooks I’ve ever listened to … this is full to the brim of little surprises … we have a few confessions with pleading and crying, a fake ear, a real Raphael Madona, a discussion over which is better – vegemite or marmite, a Fitzroy Cocktail that gets you digbatted, I discovered that Phryne Fisher likes German china, everything was served with gingernuts and tea instead of scones and tea, find out that there is quite a bit of wit with a dog called McTavish, the terrior, who can sniff out Catholics, trots and likes to bite stockings, enjoyed the quote

“…. a very well dressed lady with shoulder blades you could have used to cut cheese….. “

and also

“what say they? let them say.” (but it’s the cadence that it was said

and hints of flowers

“…. Miss Lavenders cottage always smelt strong, all those different scents, roses, almonds … “

and also there is singing… “roll me over, in clover” sung by a Cantonese person on a ship and yes, there are even pirates!
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Well as you can see it’s quite an active audiobook and I’m definitely giving this a 5 star review/recommendation. You will like this if you like cozy murder mysteries, and Agatha Christie books.
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Away With The Fairies – Kerry Greenwood

Blurb
Phryne Fisher drinks cocktails, dances the tango, is the companion of wharfies, and is expert at conducting an elegant dalliance. It’s the 1920s in Melbourne and Phryne is asked to investigate the puzzling death of a famous author and illustrator of fairy stories. To do so, Phryne takes a job within the women’s magazine that employed the victim and finds herself enmeshed in her colleagues’ deceptions. But while Phryne is learning the ins and outs of magazine publishing first hand, her personal life is thrown into chaos. While waiting for her lover Lin Chung’s imminent return from a silk-buying expedition to China, she receives an unusual summons from Lin Chung’s family followed by a series of mysterious assaults and warnings.

….. This was a story full of double crossing, lies and spies with a fast paced gripping story line….

Isabella is the main female protagonist in this story and it’s her story, her turn, to tell us what adventure she is placing herself and us in. Afghainstan I noticed was one very hairy experience that landed Isabella in jail… but how did she get there?

This was a story full of double crossing, lies and spies with a fast paced gripping story line.

I throughly enjoyed the thrill ride and author Julia Blake dangles a carrot right in front of your nose to keep you in suspense. Speaking of food we have carbonara and tiramisu, the tiramisu I would really like to try as a treat. Lots of strong coffee in this one too, which was appropriate for my afternoon reading time. Well I’ve caught up to date with the series but I do hear there are more coming so I’m waiting an anticipation to see what this family does next.

A well deserved 5 star review and recommend to those seeking an action packed fast paced book, a thriller/spy book with all the golden trappings, bells and whistles.
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Kiss & Tell – Julia Blake

Blurb

Sometimes,
you must decide whether to listen
to your head or trust your heart

When 17-year-old Isabella Santorini fell in love with the 19-year-old American boy, Nick Eastman, she thought it was forever. Then fate cruelly ripped them apart. Now, eleven years later, Nick is back, but can Isabella trust him or his vows of love?

Her boss says no. All intel about him says no. Even Isabella’s head says no. But her heart desperately wants to believe that the boy she loved is still somewhere inside the mysterious and dangerous man Nick has become.

From the streets of London to the harsh landscape of Afghanistan, Isabella must fight for her life all the time unsure of who – or even what – Nick Eastman is.

Exciting and fast-paced, Kiss & Tell is a battle between the head and the heart – with death the consequence of a wrong decision.

…. I feel this is more of an adults read due to understanding the concept of this book….


My Thoughts …What a facinating story … This is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, although put in the genre of a childrens story, I feel this is more of an adults read due to understanding the concept of this book. Although kids will enjoy it “as a story”. Because this is set in Alaska, the author has kindly provided a glossary in the back to look up certain words. The author also provides a piece of poetry that she wrote which ties the story together nicely and a lovely way to finish the book.

Don’t you just love the front cover? While exchanging Emails the author said to me “The artist is Michele Bourke and her paintings are admired and bought by the singer, Billy Ocean” and infact you can learn more about this incredible woman in the authors notes at the back. Also there are some beaut illustrations in this ebook, lovely colourful and has the texture of an oil painting and it leaves you with a cosy feeling.

Suzy Davies contacted me via Twitter and gifted me this amazing ebook. Thanking the author with gratitude.

You will definitely enjoy this book if you like Alaskan culture, snowy scenes and wolves, retellings, myths, legends, folk lore. A 5 star review/recommendation on this one.

Leaving you all with the blurb of the book.

Brother and sister, Billy and Stella, compete in the Junior Race with their dog-sledding teams. All kinds of dangers await them, not least the wolves. Their step-brother, Tom, a solitary Inuit, has angered the pack. Queen Wolf is missing. The wolves will make good their loss or else seek their revenge. At the heart of this story, Stella, a rookie musher, is on the threshold of womanhood. The Girl in The Red Cape is running with wolves, dancing across the virgin snow. All alone, it’s Stella against the wilderness.

The Girl In The Red Cape – Suzy Davies

…. I do not understand Maori but I do understand and respect their ethos….

Aroha is an ancient Maori word and way of thinking that means love, compassion, respect and empathy. Discover how we can all find greater contentment and kindness for ourselves, each other and our world with more Aroha in our lives.

The 52 life lessons are arranged into 4 chapters that introduce the different, important facets of Aroha: Manaakitanga (kindness); Kaitiakitanga (love for our world); Whanaungatanga (empathy); and Tino rangatiratanga (what is right).
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My thoughts on this audiobook
This is a personal pick of mine and listened via bolindaaudio through hamiltonlibraries. Although parts are in Maori, Maori psychiatrist Dr Hinemoa Elder does also talk in English and explains the meanings in quite depth. Told in a comfortable understanding calming style, one doesn’t need to understand Maori themselves to pick this book up. I do not understand Maori but I do understand and respect their ethos.
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Giving this a 5 star review and recommend to anyone who is interested in other countries belief system, who love inspirational and motivational non fiction books, plenty of life lesson scenarios, just don’t eat the toilet seat (joke, you wont get it unless you’ve read it already).

Leaving you with little segments that resonated with me that I would love to share.
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“….he who stands lives, he who does nothing perishes ….. just do it …”
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“… starting small leads to growth ….”
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” … nature is trying to give us messages all the time we need to look up from our devices, lift our down cast gaze and rediscover our own beauty and living…”
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“…. a true friend is someone who reaches for your hand but touches your heart, aroha goes straight to your heart …”
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” …to forget one ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without its roots, know where you come from…”

Aroha – Hinemoa Elder

📸 The photo was taken on a walk through the University of Waikato, where there are several pieces of street art, which I absolutely adore. Hamilton has quite a few street art pieces.

How can you be the centre of attention when you aren’t even alive?

How can you be the centre of attention when you aren’t even alive? A mother, normally the main function, the main artery of the family circle has proven to be the very opposite. She had petrified a number of people throughout the community, even towards her own children. She left a trail of disruption, swindled a fist full of people. One member of the family is being blamed for her death, so, we have murder, but who is it?
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I want to thank NetGalley and Rook and Castle Press for the ARC of A Spell Of Rowans. This book will be published on 26 October 2021.
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My Thoughts
We have two sub stories going on here. Byrd Nash takes us on a crime trial where we have the FBI involved with the dialogue being sometimes in police investigation dialogue, and then we have a family dealing with dysfunctional relationships within the family that has a taint of wiccan magick.

I was fascinated and intrigued by both of these stories that interlocked extremely well.

The story is beautifully written but Trigger warnings for discussion of child abuse and trauma, with one assault scene, and some cursing, but I didn’t have any problems with it and I thought these scenes were approached in a thoughtful manner and not too aggressive.

I really enjoyed all the plotting, I found it tight and plausible and its left me now to congratulate Byrd Nash on her remarkable writing skills, phonenomal effort and I do hope this book does well for her.
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I’m rating this book 5 stars and comes highly recommended by me.
It’s a stand alone book, the genre being a Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Lit and Literary Fiction. Perfect for fans of Practical Magic, Garden Spells, and The Witches of New York.
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A Spell Of Rowans – Byrd Nash

“…that’s 3,456 cans of baked beans….”

What This Book Is About
In this frank, funny and thought-provoking memoir, Richard Glover describes how he and his friend Philip and their partners build a house in the bush at the weekends.

What I Thought
I laughed out loud on several occasions, in fact I was laughing so much it had me in tears, the bit I particularly remember was castrating a bull and another bit was why the F-word was better than using the expression holy-moly.

I absolutely loved the camaraderie and banter that went on with the “men” hugely entertaining. I would suggest to listen to this on audio though to get the full effect.

Quotes I Enjoyed
“….get two Australian men together and they will express their love and affection by verbally attacking each other.”
(my thoughts on this was, man did they have a crack at each other most of the time)

“…that’s 3,456 cans of baked beans….”
(my thoughts on this was, that’s a damn lot of beans!! lol, this was soooo entertaining!!! We all know about what happens with humans and baked beans, well, its definitely played as an issue in this book and I just couldn’t help joining in with the laughter, ahhhh priceless!! ).
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So apart from the mostly funny bits in this story it does reveal quite a bit on how to make a mud house, the hard work etc, but there is not serious jargon and it’s not a text instructional book. My observation also was throughout this book, was, is how men are so different to woman in there communicating.
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This was a personal pick of mine and borrowed by my libraries app BolindaAudio (borrow box). Giving this audiobook a 5 star rating and I recommend it to anyone who is slightly curious on how to build a mud house, also I’m sure an Aussie bloke might identify with this, oh and its read by the author, so the Aussie accents are real.
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The Mud House – Richard Glover

…. Recommend to all grandmothers out there ….

What This Book Is About
From the start there are mishaps. We have Great Grandma Winsome who listens alot and note things down, then we have Shirley who is in a befuddlement bliss in her head and finally Beth, the strategist, who has everyone lying low for 6 weeks, due to her ex army training. Look out for the three grannies!

The main concern? Avery, she’s 4 years old, who was abducted by her three grandmother’s. Are their excuses, motives, worth all the effort?
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Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia for the ARC copy of, The Unusual Abduction of Avery Conifer.

This book will be published on – 1 September 2021.

My thoughts
This is a new author to me and I must credit her for such a complicated twisty story, so many plot twists, that keeps you on the hop. Hilarity at it’s best, is what I found in this funny book of mishaps, I was chuckling all the way through this. A rather lengthy read for me, but the story does do it justice. There were alot of character dynamics in this book that add to the drama.

This has a trigger warning – it does contain child abuse, so be careful if you are overly sensitive.
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5 Star Rating
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Recommend to all grandmothers out there, this is a chase on chase book, very entertaining, with heaps of wittiness, comes under the genre – Womens Fiction and written to include Australian scenery, towns.
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The Unusual Abduction of Avery Conifer – Ilsa Evans

…. gut wrenching twist in a Historical Fiction setting ….

1967 …. yes, we start off in the 1960s.

Summer – we start off being introduced to her first at school, at the age of 16, working in a convenient store and living with her free styled parents in a commune. As Christmas approaches, the school pupils write letters/christmas cards to the NZ Army in Vietnam, Summer sent hers that landed in the lap of Corporal Scott Taylor. We are then plunged into Summers life, learning about a new developing interest, painting with water colours, amongst other complicated life scenarios.

Scott – Oh dear, Scott, Scott, Scott …. can he catch a lucky break? We follow Scott through his army years, meet the army “mates” listen to the antics him and his mates get up to on their drunken stoopers, until it’s time to go back home to NZ, to his wife. Scott also continues this pen friendship with Summer, and we ask ourselves will they ever meet? Do we have here a start of something more than friendship? Or is this just kindness swept up in a letter?

I would like to thank Carole Brungar, for gifting me the ARC of, Loving Summer. The eBook will be available Monday 16th August, the paperback will be available in bookstores in NZ from 1st September.

This is beautifully written and I throughly enjoyed it. The authors plotting skills are tight and the characters all had different personalities, very colourful, very real and plausible, the protagonist, Summer, a strong female that was naive from the start, but with determination and with help of some very caring friends ended up to be a well rounded female, with a very strong spirit.

Some of this story took me back to my childhood days with the mention of

counting out lollies into small white bags“.
grey metal milkshake container

and was proud of the fact that our own kiwi author mentioned our own brand of ice cream, hokey pokey!! A New Zealand favourite for many ice cream enthusiasts.

Some of the plot twists were predictable for me, but the major ones definitely put a spanner in the works and twisted the story to amusing heights.

Naturally we go all around NZ … down south as far as Christchurch to way up to the top of the North Island. We don’t stay in NZ though, we are transported to Vietnam and Paris, with a vastly different atmosphere.

I was also pleasantly surprised that some of the book is set out in letter form, so we can see for ourselves what Summer and Scott were writing to each other about.

Although this is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone.

If you are looking for a gut wrenching twist in a Historical Fiction setting, look no further, this will have you crying through the pages,
definitely a 5 star rating from me and will suit anyone interested in the Veitnam War, NZ and Paris, the arts… definitely an interesting tale of love, with torment, tears and laughter.
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Loving Summer by Carole Brungar

…. the author pulls you in so quickly the writing style very memorizing ….

Anna is 30, and has just come out of prison and starting over… she has been sent to a boarding house for 6 months, Jeanette her happy go lucky social worker also helps support Anna. Anna has a job at McDonalds, and everything goes reasonably well. Just one thing Anna craves, but still feels unsure of …. belonging.

The belonging of what? maybe The Womens Circle, Anna’s choice of a therapy group who may have the answers to questions that don’t come easy to her. Anna touches the rose quartz crystal and finds herself in another time and then ….

….we are in Buckinghamshire, England, 1770, not Anna, but a different girl named Aisleen. A brutal regime torments the village and determines to keep the women apart, although Aisleen has other ideas and dangerously sets up secret weekly meetings. Aisleen is desperate to find ways to reunite with her sister and live life on her own terms, without her husband’s permission. The stakes are high and terror of punishment inescapable, but doing nothing comes at an even steeper price.
.. .. ..

I want to thank Karyn Sepulveda, the author, for gifting a beautiful rose quartz crystal to me along with the ARC of her book.
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This is an extremely interesting story, but a trigger warning has to be pinned to this review, it covers drug abuse/drug addiction. We not only get to know Anna the present, and how she adjusts to civil life, but within the story there are flashbacks of how she became a drug addict, with childhood and family history and how she got to where she is now.

A seperate story is weaved into this story as we meet Aisleen in 1770, which I found facinating and I would like to believe plausible back in that era (thinking back to Outlander). Those men, so called “Enforcers” were so ruthless and I ending up saying out loud how much I hated them like leaches, low lifes of men that you could get! Yes!! This was exciting! This is what I needed, a good talking to with a book!!

The author pulls you in so quickly the writing style very memorizing, totally hypnotic, prose that targets a very delicate issue. I highly praise this author for her delivery and approach and respect through writing such an important subject. It’s a five star review from me and comes highly recommended to anyone interested in Contemporary Fiction, Past to Present books.

The Womens Circle – Karyn Sepulveda – now published

…. She drank the words, she felt the words, she saw the words, the words came alive with each breath she breathed….

Liesel being a rather unusual girl, inquisitive about books started reading at a very early age, thanks to her Papa. She drank the words, she felt the words, she saw the words, the words came alive with each breath she breathed.

Her obsession in time grew daringly, with the knowledge and sightings of the Germans who deliberately had regular bonfires to burn books that had nothing to do with their believe system. Here we discover, listen, and learn with interest how Liesel steals without being caught, plus leading a double life with having a Jew stashed in her families basement.

I listened to this as an audiobook from BorrowBox Audio, it is set in the 1930s, Germany, and classed as YA Historical Fiction

The narrator, Dennis Olsen, was extremely creepy, hypnotic and I felt I was watching some sort of horror film. The sound effects were used every now and again that really gave off a sense of like being in a cave where it was slightly echoing, foreboding.

The blurb it tells us its narrated by “death”… but I struggled with the concept of this, to me, it was just a creepy voice telling a story.

The whole of The Book Thief has you in a trance, with every word, letter, description, there is another world we go into, this book is extremely unusual, one of a kind. Since I listened to this as an audio, the only thing I didn’t like was the accordion music that was used every now and again, I found it was too cheesy, (and I cringed everytime it was used) although I can see why it was used.

Many characters I loved too, Rudy, even though he was a defiant little so in so!! Liesels mother, although at first I thought she was cold hearted, in the end she warmed to me and I had to chuckle at her demeanor. Max! .. Max, poor Max, in that basement for so long, thin, then fell dreadfully sick, the air raids where he peeped through the black out curtains and then … goodness knows where he drifted off to. Then Liesels so called father, he was a very interesting man.

So I dug out bits that stuck with me:

Papa teaching the toddler to read (in German of course) was extremely interesting using each letter with a picture.

I loved the scene of Liesel in her school classes. The nun who chose everyone but Liesel to recite in class and then she stands up for herself, unfortunately with disastrous results. The antics that these kids get up to and the dreaded “corridor”. I didn’t like this nun at all.

There were quite a few books mentioned in this story, but the three mentioned more than once was, The Gravedigger’s Handbook, The Shoulder Shrug, and The Whistler, all of which seem to have a life of their own and leaves you so curious, that like me you will be scrambling off to Google the titles.

Making snowmen in the basement and then Max getting sick and ending in Liesels bed.

Rudy running away and coming back again with Liesel, tired and their feet sore.

The word shakers that climbed trees.

“what the hell do we do with the plate?” … after eating all the biscuits.

Giving a tremendous 5 star review on this one, and will suit anyone interested in creepy stories, historical fiction lovers, especially the YA ones. I wanted “something different” and I certainly got that!… this was a pick of my own.

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

…..Remember the TV show, Mind Your Language? ….

The authors love of music and singing naturally features in this memoir, her idol being Liszt, and was very fortunate to have a birthday surprise tour of his birth place and photos taken there. Yes, Linda had moved to Hungary, the land of her idol, pianist-composer Franz Liszt, in Budapest.

…. so let’s back track abit, on Linda’s 41st birthday she sees a psychic, who predicts that Linda will soon be leaving Hank for a romantic and classical music-filled Odyssey in Europe. There, a “Russian icon” will lead to her future husband, a “tall man with glasses.”

…. 6 months later she heads to Budpest, enrolled at an ESL teaching course for 3 months. We look onto the Danube and go over the Freedom Bridge. We also look at the type of students she has in her class. Remember the TV show, Mind Your Language? Well it was a bit like that, hugely funny and entertaining. … still the author was obsessed finding this man that’s tall with glasses. Many, many other things happen to Linda which does involve several encounters of different men and also we dont stay in Budpest either, we branch out to different other countries.

I had to keep telling myself that this is a non fiction memoir, as it reads as a Fiction book, it is light, fascinating, easy to read and at times had me in stitches of laughter. I’m giving this 5 stars, this is pure entertainment and will suit non fiction fans, plus music buffs, I’m seeking out all Historical Fiction lovers here, lots of references to buildings far and wide … and then there is a sweep of romance!! Will Linda find her one true love? Tall man with glasses?

Odyssey Of Love – Linda Jamsen

… She wanted to reflect, she wanted to turn over a new leaf, she wanted ….

Well yes, aptly named Bliss, this is just what Mia wanted. She wanted to reflect, she wanted to turn over a new leaf, she wanted to stop having these past triggered nightmares, and what better place to do this than a beach summer holiday with Hope her dog, but she wasn’t prepared to meet her dishy neighbour, Dash, who was at his Villa with his daughter Allie. Ok, so they clashed first time, but do we see a romance basking?

I absolutely adored this novella!! It had such a beachy, sunny, holiday vibe!! And the title of the book, is how I felt through quietly reading this summertime story. The author writes about a character who suffers a phobia, has anxiety and weaves her story around this issue, the twist I liked most was, that the character investigated into a particular situation, being proactive, reading more into “what had happened that night that she can’t remember” … unlocking certain revelations. I also enjoyed how Mia talked to Hope like a human being, you will know why once you’ve read this story too.

Definitely a 5 star read. A beaut novella just perfect for summer reading. The fast readers are going to breeze through this, slow readers like myself will cling onto it never wanting the sunshine to end. So there you go, for all love story readers who like a summertime romance story, with a cute dog and cute 8 year old then this is worth pursuing.

Summer In Bliss – Freda Ann

Do we get to know what the connection is between the painting and the grave?

A lonely grave far off in the outback draws concern. It’s so old no one knows who is buried there, legend has it it’s the stockmans grave, and he haunts the area.
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Cameron goes missing, and is found dead, no explanations and no logical reasons why he is in such a way off place and what he died of.
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Then there is a connection with a painting which Cameron painted of the lonely grave, but although Cameron is no longer alive no one dears to touch it, as apparently its cursed.
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Nathan, one of Cameron’s brothers seems to be more into puzzling things out than the police are. So how does he go? Do we get to know what the connection is between the painting and the grave? And how did Cameron die? And why the commings and goings on to the untitled grave? Things heat up and get stifling hot when Xander, Nathan’s son doesn’t want him living in the outback anymore. Will Nathan sell up, or stay and figure out who killed his brother.
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Amazing ride through the outback I had. This is a cosy mystery that has you gently flipping the pages to discover the unsolved unexplained death of Cameron. I couldn’t guess and it had me thinking all the way through, but it’s not all about the killings in this book a few other surprises developed on the way. Great plotting skills yet again from Jane Harper. A well earned 5 stars from me and recommend to all lovers of mysteries/unsolved crime books and readers who enjoy the warmth of the Australian outback.

The Lost Man – Jane Harper

To get the feel of how this author writes, quotes I grabbed quickly are ……

Why was Elizabeth having these strange fainting spells? and why was it set off with looking at paintings? Hints of nostalgia and melancholy looming and others are looking at sending her to an institution, so can they figure out what is happening and what the connection might be? Carefully calculated thinker Jane is determined to ask questions before Elizabeth’s memory disappears forever.
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We go to 1913 and then to ………
Listened to as an audiobook.

To get the feel of how this author writes, quotes I grabbed quickly are

“porridge – cream and a knob of butter”
I was transported back in time when as a night nurse I had to make porridge that way.

“Acumen, what is acumen”
which I still need to look up. Isn’t it funny how you find different words in a book you’ve never heard of before?

The golden mean was talked about with its numbers and sequences, because this book has alot of painting and art references. Also mentions, Chinese calligraphy, Painting of The Cuttysark. The place, Bathurst, is mentioned alot. We have Pelicans and Gum Trees, and “whirligigs”.

“pears, soap, a blue bag, half a pound of tea, a ham hock, and …..”
Was said like a rhythm

she sliced off the top off the first egg with more force then she intended and scooped the dribbling egg yolk from the side of the cup with her finger.”

“Let’s make a cuppa tea, tea fixes everything”.

“grasped like dandelions”

“Jane Austen her guilty secret, how she loved those books”

“She must see the girl gets some more note books, she goes through them like barley sugars”

“Arnotts biscuits”

A surprising ending.

Authors notes at the end is extremely interesting and tells what’s true in the book.

The author aimed to write a book that was fictional but plausible.

Rating this a whole hearty 5 stars, and will suit Historical Fiction lovers – Australia/England and anyone who is into the arts.

The Girl In The Painting – Tea Cooper

You would have seen the TV programme Doc Martin, right? because, to me ……..

Lucas who is a funny dude, a vet, wry sense of humour. Laura who finds him attractive finds him rude to the point where she admits to her friend Amy, “we tolerate each other.” but alas her emotions swings from liking to disliking that you never know what she is thinking which makes the story even more hilarious.

Amy who is trying and I mean trying to match make Lucas and Laura and we end up hearing a few gaffes from Amy. Meanwhile Amy has eyes for Mr Hotshot Lawyer, Sam (and even more gaffes there).

Then we have Bronte the dog, mischievous as he is. He pokes his nose into the story every now again and it’s always the wrong time as Lucas pulls Lauŕa up about her dog every single time.

This, and a whole lot more drama appears when Laura’s ex does the dirty on her, here she is in a new place which just happens to be near the seaside and just inherited a B&B can things get any better?

I would say that this book is what I call a LOL book, such hilarity and misfortunes. You would have seen the TV programme Doc Martin, right? because, to me it had elements of and similar to.

This is a new author to me and Louise Mercer has an easy breeze, friendly writing attitude that fits this genre perfectly. I’m definitely going to seek out more of what she has written.

Giving a whole hearty 5 star rating/recommendation/review on this one and would suit anyone into light hearted feel good humorous books, with the touch of the seaside and a lover of pets.

If Only You Knew – Louise Mercer

……. man it stunk! ……

The past – A bush walk, tents, bush fires, rustic camp outs and clues of puzzling happenings. This is what 5 women tramp their way through until 1 goes missing.
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Alice goes missing and I’m not surprised she does as she’s a nasty piece of work. Alice to me, started acting slightly off when she was caught using her cellphone, you see the rule was that everyone had to leave their cellphones behind, it didn’t work in spots that they were tramping to, but her attitude! man it stunk!
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The present – The four returning women tell Falk a tale of fear, violence and fractured trust during their days in the remote Australian bushland. And as Falk delves into the disappearance of Alice, he begins to suspect some dangers ran far deeper than anyone knew.
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Jane Harpers writing was very intriguing, the author feeds you little bread crumbs of info and clues throughout. To me this was definitely a page turner and I throughly enjoyed the experience of being thrown into the wilderness and the thrill and excitement that something very sinister was about to happen at some point in time.

This is a new author to me and gifted to me by Ellen Read, she knows me well as this certainly had me laid back on the couch wanting to know more, just thank goodness our weather was crappy when reading it.

This is a five star review and recommend to all who like a cosy mystery and who want to be transported to Australia.

Force Of Nature – Jane Harper

….. how, of his faith, of A church of A religion, could actually say something as is nasty as what he did? …..

Firstly I want to thank Tracy Lee Thompson for gifting me the ARC of Pick the Wildflowers, which is now published. This beautiful book deals with love, a love between not only Toby and Hildy, but also brotherly love, blood love, as I call it “love is thicker than water love”.

This is a story about Toby Mitchell, aged 94, he looks back on his life starting at the age of 17, he has a brother called Bill, who always has to have “one up on him”, and then there is Hildy.

Sensitive readers, a trigger warning for you, be careful as this book does address rape and violence.

I found all three main characters extremely interesting.

We have BIll, although mischievous, I reckon he was your typical brother, trying to “show the ropes” to Toby in the younger years on getting a girl, I don’t think he meant any harm by it, naturally he was the older brother, but his mouth got him into trouble, so much so, that a dreadful drama scene with Hildys parents, that meant to go smoothly, actually turned out a whole lot worse. It’s a shame Bill didn’t quite deal with his demons, I have a feeling drink was only part of a deep disturbing problem, however … all is not lost with something else to mirror the little boy that was.
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Toby, I really enjoyed, he had such a carefree attitude, I liked the fact that he loved dancing in the rain, never mind that there wasn’t any music, and what’s not to love about skimming stones on the water. However, I was horrified that he had to witness a terrible event that basically broke his soul, I couldn’t help but wonder whether he would go down the spiral of blaming himself for circumstances that were beyond his control.
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I decided straight away that I loved Hildy very much, totally different to other girls that were born into the society of wealth. She had a heart, not at all materialistic and what was so refreshing to see was, that she took time to get to know Toby’s mother who had dementia. Things turned upside down for her, I really can’t imagine what it must have been like to not only go through a horrendous experience, but to have parents that were money driven and didn’t in the least think or care for her safety.
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A character I didn’t like is the priest, I mean he was mean, I’m sure his attitude would not be tolerated in this day and age, how, of his faith, of A church of A religion, could actually say something as is nasty as what he did? ….. how? Oh I totally agree with Bill, a bunch of hypocrites!!!
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Rating this a well deserved 5 stars, and it comes highly recommended by me, would suit readers interested in contemporary fiction – brotherly love – love through tragic times – poor vs rich

Pick the Wildflowers – Tracy Lee Thompson

… will suit anyone interested in Contemporary Fiction – Romance …

I want to thank all the authors in this anthology for such an amazing trip to Australia, writing skills are phenomenal. A special mention to Leanne Lovegrove, who contacted me and asked me if I wanted to review the ARC. A five star review is rewarded ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and comes highly recommended by me, will suit anyone interested in Contemporary Fiction – Romance

Release Date – 1 June 2020.
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Love On The Sweeping Plains – Leanne Lovegrove
Is about Tori, who decided to come back to her own home town, however she got quite a shock when Zac, the local vet announced he was on a reality dating TV Show. There is past history with them both, so how do they handle it?

I loved Leannes writing there is a fun vibe going on here, she swept me along with chickens and bottle brushes, two guineapigs called Puddles & Rainbow, and the suspense was killing me on how Tori was going to handle meals with meat, and being the “chef”. The picnic scene I had to laugh at with Lucy’s reaction when she caught a fish.
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Love in the Ragged Mountain Ranges – Susan Mackie
This is about Nik and Lucy who was starting over. Nik had bought herself an old courthouse to renovate, however she not only does she find herself a courthouse, but two very kind men who are her neighbours, who proves to be helpful in more ways than one.

I loved Susan’s description of the courthouse, which had been turned into a family home in the early nineteen hundreds. I’m very interested in the older type houses and Susan guided me through the house. I also enjoyed the descriptive writing of the renovations of the outside, absolutely adored the dynamics between “the neighbours” the friendly banter, laughing, joking and having pizza. I admit tears rolled down my face when Scout had puppies and Minnie wasn’t going to survive. I also loved the relationship that developed between Lucy and her enthusiastic love of horses. I thought Lucy was very responsible for her 11 years, what with riding a horse on her own and baking scones! What can’t she do?
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Far Horizons Love Story – Emma Powell
This is about Molly, who has decided to head back to her birthplace in Nahill. Hahill is way in the whop whops, where they grow wheat. Yes the birthplace of where her mother grew up. The family house was still standing, but one evening while venturing into the old family house, she found something, but she fell through some rotting floorboards, luckily the local policeman was nearby, this lead to a trip to the hospital where she meets more than the obvious challenge of crutches. Does dishy, flirty local plod come to the rescue?

I loved the humorous writing of the author, two of my favourite characters were Molly, she’s one of those people that everything seems to go wrong, but let’s face it, I think it might have something to do with her attitude, I mean who climbs over a barbed wire fence in an expensive skirt and rips it? and then their was dear, dear Lachlan singing old Macdonald.
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Love by the jewel sea – Rhonda Forrest
This was about Frankie her new job finds herself travelling to Dingo Beach, however getting there was no easy task, finding herself getting lost in a field on private land and then she crashes her car, things go pear shaped from there. Poor Frankie finds it a bit tough mingling with the “locals” and we as readers can’t wait to find out what happens next.

I loved basking in the Queensland sun, smelling the cows which played a dominant role at the start of the story, and absolutely adored the sugar cane!! An appropriate time to read this story as we are encroaching winter and I had plenty of doses of hot sun. Word of warning though, perhaps better not eat lunch when approaching the boat scene.
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Core of my Heart – Louise Forster
This is about Madeline, she has recently moved to a new town and now working at a bakery, she discovers an old friend of hers, a teenage crush, is she ready for another relationship?

I loved being transported into a bakery with sweet items I’ve never heard of before, I’m not sure whether this was entirely Italian, with its sweets and pastries, but I was won over by Mongolian Sweet Dumplings and plenty more.

I wasn’t quite sure about Madeline, something wasn’t right with her at all, but as the story unravelled I told myself I should not judge, there must be something more to it and I was totally surprised there was.

I loved the ending, there is nothing like whole families getting together for a big occasion… what big occasion? Well, let’s just say this story was well worth placing at the end of the anthology, yay for a grand finale.

….not to mention the dreadful combination of top and skirt….

I was very much touched with this audiobook, firstly I would like to thank the author, Catherine A. Hamilton, for giving me a gifted copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This ARC is now published.

Readers, do you want a raw, poignant book? because this one is definitely that. Anyone read the Tatooist of Auschwitz? If you have, cut the tatooist out of the story and concentrate on the crudeness of concentration camps and you have more of an idea of just a touch of what this book is like.

Etta had it really tough, first of all she was deaf and couldn’t talk, she loved painting and creating but couldn’t show her work, she had to hide them under the floor boards in an attic.

Victoria, although the two girls were very much the protagonists in this story, I felt Victoria dominated most of it, herself assured attitude kept her alive even though her parents weren’t what you call favourable. Abused by Ettas father as well as being made to wear ill fitting shoes and basically be a slave to Etta’s parents.

There were many characters I didn’t like in this book, but two that I picked out are the most important ones that you would think would be the most caring. The two mothers, Ettas and Victoria’s, however in saying that Victoria’s mother was a kind woman. She tried desperately to protect Victoria and her sister from the Nazis, and she secretly gave food to the Jewish seamstress.

Loved when the two girls, Etta and Victoria meet in the attic.

Loved the friendship Victoria had with Mrs Kosa, the wise mature woman who was extremely daring not to mention the dreadful combination of top and skirt.

Room 324 ended up haunting me, as Etta now had to get used to living there.

The mystery for me was finding what happened exactly in the shower room, which a nurse found out through simpleton Phillip, who held the key.

Loved the part where Victoria found her friend Sylvia in a brothel, but was heartbroken that she had fallen pregnant so many times and I felt for her when she had decided to keep the baby.

This was definitely a 5 star read for me and would suit anyone interested in Historical Fiction, especially Poland and Germany, WW2. Nazi v Polish/Catholics. Years 1939 – 1941.

Victoria’s War – Catherine A Hamilton

In VICTORIA’S WAR, Hamilton gives voice to the courageous Polish Catholic women who were kidnapped into the real-life Nazi slave labor operation during WWII. Inspired by true stories, this lost chapter of history won’t soon be forgotten.
POLAND, 1939: Nineteen-year-old Victoria Darski is eager to move away to college: her bags are packed and her train ticket is in hand. But instead of boarding a train to the University of Warsaw, she finds her world turned upside down when World War II breaks out.
Victoria’s father is sent to a raging battlefront, and the Darski women face the cruelty of the invaders alone. After the unthinkable happens, Victoria is ordered to work in a Nazi sewing factory. When she decides to go to a resistance meeting with her best friend, Sylvia, they are captured by human traffickers targeting Polish teenagers. Sylvia is singled out and sent to work in the brothels, and Victoria is transported in a cattle car to Berlin, where she is auctioned off as a slave.
GERMANY, 1941: Twenty-year-old Etta Tod is at Mercy Hospital, where she’s about to undergo involuntary sterilization because of the Fuhrer’s mandate to eliminate hereditary deafness. Etta, an artist, silently critiques the propaganda poster on the waiting room wall while her mother tries to convince her she should be glad to get rid of her monthlies. Etta is the daughter of the German shopkeepers who buy Victoria at auction in Berlin.
The stories of Victoria and Etta intertwine in the bakery’s attic where Victoria is held—the same place where Etta has hidden her anti-Nazi paintings. The two women form a quick and enduring bond. But when they’re caught stealing bread from the bakery and smuggling it to a nearby work camp, everything changes.

Paperback ISBN 9781632100689 – 19.95
Published by Plain View Press
e-book ISBN:9781632100696

…… you are waiting, you are watching, your palm of your hands are getting slightly sweaty ….

Wow, what the hell did I just read? If you want a stunned ending, you’ve got it here. I promise you now that if you are about to read the last few chapters in the evening there is absolutely no way you can put this book down, forget sleep, it wont happen. Ok, backing up now, I know I’ve started backwards, but this is so worth reviewing this way.

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for giving me the opportunity to review the ARC.

This is about Bill, a pilot, who becomes hostage, but only he knows via communication via laptop which is linked to another hostage site which is his home and family, now if you think that’s mediocre, to spice things up Bill is told that there is someone else on board the airplane that’s a double crosser. During the story the cabin crew find out that there is one, but not who, and part of their mission is to keep everyone safe as if nothing is happening without alerting the doublecrosser BUT all is not what it seems.

Character’s I enjoyed

  • Jo, she has to be the star of the show, she kept her wits about her, in the most stressful situation with being level headed, I can’t really say more without giving away spoilers, but for those who have read it, you will know why as well. She rocks, she needs a medal.
  • Big Daddy, for his brave attitude and his hilarious style. I loved the way he persuaded Jo about something onboard that she had to realise. Good plan about the masks, yes, Big Daddy is a cool dude, well worth having on your side using his humour to break the tension.
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    The author slowly leads you from one chapter to the next, you are waiting, you are watching, your palm of your hands are getting slightly sweaty as we are fed little tit bits of the story, by far, this is the best thriller I’ve read in a while. Not surprisingly the authors knowledge on airplanes had alot to do with it being a flight attendant between 2011 to 2021, which made her story telling that more plausible.
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    PUBLISHING DATE – 2 June 2021.
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    5 star review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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    Recommended to Thriller Suspense fans.
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    Book Review – Falling – T.J. Newman

very similar to Agatha Christie/PG Wodehouse.

This whole story comes across as hugely funny, Sam, who owns the cafe is interviewed, as there was a murder in it, now Sam doesn’t speak English very well so his responses to questions were bloody hilarious 🤣. Totally reminded me of Emanuel off Faulty Towers.

Set in a cafe where coffee is served, served was an understatement, one of the characters has 4 cups of coffee and they couldn’t even touch the scone they ordered with the first cup!

The book cover I thought is very alluring, how can you not resist sitting down in those chairs a little before deciding on whether to go into this creepy cafe.

Throughout the story there is a play on words, that will have you in stitches of laughter, the writing style very much reminds me of PG Wodehouse turned detective style.

What is unique about this story is there is an alert pause from the author before reading a bit further on to see if you can guess the ending.

The length for this story was just right for me, it was a short 42 pages, but I was using this as an “inbetween” read.

This is definitely a 5 star ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ read for me.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants a small pause in reading a long novel, this would take most readers an afternoon to read, I feel this belongs in the cosy mystery genre, very similar to Agatha Christie/PG Wodehouse.

Murder At The Roadside Cafe – Brian O’Hare

The food! – Why? Because Julia is a connoisseur when manifesting eatables.

Who is the sugar and who is the spice? Well I don’t know, but I do know that this book centres around a female protagonist called Susannah. She runs a little bookshop, her life quite, uneventful, until one day something happeneds which leads her to camp out at a safe house that the police provide. We are lead on a cat and mouse chase as her attacker just manages to catch up with her and then she’s off again.
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This is a twisty tunnel full of suspense that Julia Blake has written, a gripping story that will keep you up into the wee hours of the morning.
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Memorable moments and why

Asbo, the cat – Why? Because I love how Julia introduces cats in her stories, I’m a cat lover too and I’m always intrigued to see what kind of a cat she has created.

James Sullivan – Why? Because he is every woman’s type of man, he cooks! He actually cooks! there is love, oh yes there is love, we feel it when a kiss is planted on Susannahs lips. I also love this type of angle Julia took with the romance in this book, James is a heart throb, a Casanova, what more can you ask for.

The food! – Why? Because Julia is a connoisseur when manifesting eatables. I loved the mention of bacon and who cant resist a bacon sammy hmmm? and then Julia knows my soft spot, sweet treats and in her book we have a chocolate croissant and bits of flaky pastry … the ultimate sin!

The plot and delivery of – Why? Each chapter I had no idea where the protagonist was going to go next, or if at all the murderer was ever going to be caught, making it a very exciting, intriguing book and a very suprising ending.
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So this is definitely a five star recommendation ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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Sugar & Spice by Julia Blake
Contemporary thriller – suspense – mystery – romance

nobody loves you, nobody cries for you and you are as lonely as the devil……

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
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I’ve all ways had a facination with Heathcliff, I knew nothing of the story behind it, nor the Bronte Sisters, I was bought up listening to the song that Kate Bush sang – Wuthering Heights. So naturally I took to YouTube again to listen and now after reading the story, it makes perfect sense.
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Wow, this is some dramatic book, but I listened to this as an audiobook which made it far more exciting. The part I liked best was when Cathy was locked in her room, she starts having obsessional thoughts and dreams, clearly going mad with plucking feathers from a pillow, Heathcliff was the only person on her mind.

I also enjoyed the bit when Isabella, Edgar’s sister marries Heathcliff and they land back at Wuthering Heights, you could almost feel a death sentence being yelled, you instinctively knew that something dark and luring was going to linger among that place like a fog that’s chilly and depressive. I was not wrong in assuming that whatever Heathcliff wants, he gets and stops for nothing to get it.

Seems fitting to put a quote here at the very end of the book, that I really enjoyed.

Catherine says to Healthcliff
“nobody loves you, nobody cries for you and you are as lonely as the devil.”

Totally enjoyed this audiobook. I consider this must be the most entertaining classic book I’ve come across yet. How can I not give this 5 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 as this book certainly deserves every star, amazing writing, how the author managed to pen such a feeling of hatred we have for Heathcliff, I don’t know, but I do know it is a sign of a magnificent author.
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Recommend to anyone who likes classic books, although be careful if you are overly sensitive as this story can be deeply disturbing.

I mean who calls a sausage dog, Wasabi? …….

Oh heck this was an adventure in a half. After Mercy Blains house burns down she wonders where she is going to live next. Well you would think that this would be easy, normal infact, but nothing was normal or easy for Mercy. A chain of calamity events happens, now we must remember here, she hasn’t stepped foot outside her house for two years, yeah I know! … two years! …. so her anxiety levels was as high as a rocket. To begin with her ex husband who lived across the road offered comfort, but, well you know, that isn’t going to work out, so she finds herself a clapt out old campervan and decides to randomly drive parts of Australia, encountering an adventure within an adventure that is hilariously funny, I mean who calls a sausage dog, Wasabi? Who cuts their hair with a knife? Who drives a van with no exhaust or muffler? I’m not a mechanic, but you get my drift? anyway who drives it that way so the whole highway can hear it?
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Thankfully the book provides a map so we know where Mercy goes, because I’m lost when it comes to directions, north, south, whatever, it means nothing to me.
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Recommendation – this is a new author to me and she sure does give you a ride for your money! Very witty. Although in the genre of Womens fiction, I would put it under contemporary fiction as well. This book is about anxiety, pain and grief and how this woman deals with it.

Rating System 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 5 stars
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I want to thank NetGalley and Harlequin Australia for allowing me to read the ARC which is due to be published on 7 JULY 2021.
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ISBN9781867214908 PRICE A$29.99 (AUD)

The Other Side Of Beautiful – Kim Lock

it was a good taste, the taste of lemon pepper flavoured skipjack tuna, canned….

I was hooked, like a fish lured to a fishing hook, caught, that’s what it felt like with taking a taste of the first chapter, it was a good taste, the taste of lemon pepper flavoured skipjack tuna, canned.
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This was like camping on your own with a penknife, defensive, waiting with abaiting breath of how Katniss, with her bow and arrows, was going to break her ground and win The Hunger Games. Katniss is prepped on strategies, manoeuvres, fighting procedures to out do her component. A very serious business because basically its fight to survive, purely high fantasy with tracking systems inserted in the arm, climbing up trees and strapping oneself into the sleeping bag, killer wasps, berries that kill. None of the opponents I liked, infact the worst of them all was foxface, I can see her now, the cunningness, her sneaky laughter 😖 and I’m glad how she died 😊 … a pure hatred, her character grated on my nerves.
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Three quotes I loved
“As long as you can find yourself, you’ll never starve.”
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“Oh, and I suppose the apples are the cheese” I say.
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“So now that you’ve got me, what are you going to do with me?” I turn to him. “Put you somewhere you can’t get hurt.”

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Oh wow, what an ending that was, totally unexpected and actually I don’t blame Peeta for feeling the way he did in the end, oh well I need to buy book 2 to see how it pans out.

Rating this with 5 stars – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 A highly entertaining book
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I definitely recommend this to any high fantasy lovers and especially females who are interested in reading about a strong female protagonist and of course there is a pinch of romance in this, kind of.

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

What a shame we don’t have radio stations that do broadcasts of Serials anymore …..

14 April 2021 – Audiobook Review
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I was gifted the audiobook via Ellen Read and listened from Google Play, although I understand you can access it from book bub, Amazon.com and Audible, and there could be a few other places, please do a search to find what suits you best.
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Alexandra and Edith are exactly how I imagined they sounded like, giving off the flavour of Upstairs Downstairs with English accents given to the era. I’m picking that’s why Ellen Read wanted an English narrator to make this audiobook come alive. Congratulations to P J Roscoe who did just that. Edith, in her early 20’s, gives off a concerning and worrisome nature, but bounces back with her romantic and happy self. Alexandra, the main female protagonist, also in her early 20’s, gives off a very stern and authoritative manner which makes quite an interesting combination of talkative flow when you hear the both girls together, bringing the whole story to a delightful awareness that I think, is the highlight of this cosy mystery.
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What a shame we don’t have radio stations that do broadcasts of Serials anymore, as this took me back to when I used to listened to them and it certainly would make entertainment around the radio.
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Set in the 1920s , it is a historical fiction set in Australia. A light romance, and to top it off, to give an extra interest and a unique angle, cosy mystery in the shape of Agatha Christie. I highly recommend it.
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Duration Time – 11 hrs, 1 min

The Dragon Sleeps – Ellen Read

looking for followers on Twitter…….

Two people, two lives, which is false? which is reality? Alexander is caught in a life of total unhappiness within his marriage, reaches for Twitter and hits the jackpot with the gold being in the shape of Maria.
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Maria, a writer, looking for followers on Twitter, gets herself into a pickle of…. is this for real? Is this man a scammer? Well, it wouldn’t hurt would it, if I play the game a little?
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My thoughts – all through this I was thinking … this is going to end really badly. Soulla Christodoulou gives us a highly entertaining twisty tale of deceit, love, and heart break. We have not only a cheating husband Alexander to his wife Sandra, but Maria now single, has to deal with a daughter that has deep secrets. For those who are drawn to a more serious romantic side of books, this has it in some places, but it’s done in a tasteful manner.
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A very gripping book that will have you leaning over your cellphone to put it on silent.
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A well earned 5 star read – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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Recommended genre – Contemporary Fiction/Romance

Alexander and Maria – Soulla Christodoulou

wondering what an orange and pink bedroom would look like……

After having her house burnt down and no insurance, Freya has been invited by her niece, Billie to help out on Magnetic Island (locals call it Maggie Island). Billies Mum, Pearl (Freyas sister) who manages a restaurant in Maggie’s Island, has decided, along with her husband, to do a tour around Australia in so many days. Now let’s note here, there is a family history that has caused a rift between Pearl and Freya. We do hear in this story what it is.
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Billie, why here is a girl that her past catches up with her, she finds herself pregnant, does the revealing to Freya, but adamant not to tell her own mother. Also a detective comes to the island which means an unexpected trip to Cairns. So you see, many complicated issues Billie faces.
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It felt like I was at the beach myself with listening to The Sisters Gift. Gift is right, when I read one of Barbara Hannays books, she sends you into a heaven of imagination that you want to stay with, for the rest of your life. I listened to this via audiobook. Excellent descriptive words. I was left wondering what an orange and pink bedroom would look like. I chuckled at the word “bloody Brian” (Freyas ex) and I loved and bathed in the discription of Maggie Island. There is a surprise, but satisfactory ending. So I am happy with that.
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Kudos goes to the narrator, Sarah Kennedy. Her Australian accent, made the story so real that you felt you were in Australia. The “sound effects” for the telephone, I thought was brilliant and sounded scaringly real.
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To me this had slight hints of The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth in it, but more of a romantic, light easy feel to it.
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Listening time – 10 hours, 21 minutes.
Listening app that I listened on was Bolinda audio from my library.

Rating – 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.
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Recommendation genre – Australian Fiction/Contemporary/Romance

The Sisters Gift – Barbara Hannay – Blurb

As a vibrant, young woman with a lifetime of possibilities ahead of her, Freya grants her sister, Pearl, the ultimate gift of motherhood. However, this comes at a hefty price – an unexpected rift in her family and the loss of the man she loves.

Decades later, Freya is divorced, childless and homeless, at rock bottom after losing everything she’s worked for. When her estranged niece, Billie, offers sanctuary, managing the family restaurant on beautiful Magnetic Island, Freya can hardly refuse.

Billie has never understood the tension between her mother and her aunt and now, with a newly broken heart, she is nursing a family secret of her own. All three women come together under the tropical Queensland skies, but can they let go of past regrets, or will old tensions tear them further apart?

caning and whipping till bones are cracking …..


The Thornton Mysteries – The Amber Trap (book 3) – Ellen Read

This time when we open The Thornton Mysteries, The Amber Trap, we are introduced to another lot of family members! More of a look into the immediate family, we get up close and personal to Joyce, (Benedict’s mother) a woman that’s as hard and cold as stainless steel, Florrie, (Joyce’s sister) who is a sandwhich short of a picnic and good old Ned (Benedict’s father). Pets, not animals are more the trend, with a couple of dogs and a dear old Clydesdale horse, all with personal characters of their own.
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Florrie, I found the most disturbing out of the whole lot, she pops right into your face and repeats things.
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Stamps, amber and entrapment, were all the talk of the town that lead to burning like a house on fire, spanner in the works, caning and whipping till bones are cracking and a loss that ends with tears, pooled together with a bittersweet ending and this is what you get when you read Ellen Read’s books, I had to rest a couple of days just to get my head around it all.
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At this stage I better say thank you to Ellen for gifting me the ARC of The Amber Trap in exchange for an honest review, the ebook is due out on the 21 March 2021. Ellen’s writing is again, phenomenal and does not wane. This is a strong and steadfast book, with an excellent ending leading into book 4. Not speechless this time, because Ellen’s writing is well worth spreading like a wild fire, only you wouldn’t want to dampen the flames. The pacing just right for this book with a very climatic ending. Congratulations Ellen, can’t wait to read book 4.
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Giving a rewarding and well earned 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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Recommendation – Even though this is a cosy mystery murder, it comes under Historical Fiction, as Ellen has a knack of putting Historical facts into a fiction story and not making it feel like you are getting a history lesson. This also comes under Romance, due to Benedict and Alexandra being reasonably newly weds. Don’t forget, this doesn’t have to be read as a series, all of The Thornton Mysteries can be read as stand alones.

The Amber Trap – Ellen Read

THE AMBER TRAP BLURB

Murder on the High Seas. Thomas Thornton reads the newspaper article.
 
Can the murder of a young German man, fatally stabbed during a voyage out of London to Melbourne, have anything to do with the Thorntons? Alexandra’s curiosity is piqued when a Prussian Count, who travelled on the same ship, shows up at Thornton Antiques in search of a rare amber postage stamp.
 
Alexandra Thornton and Benedict Archer have been married for one year. Benedict is estranged from his family, who own a vineyard in the Barossa Valley in South Australia. Alexandra urges him to try to heal the breach. 
 
Murder. A strange count searching for a rare stamp. A missing opal. A family in turmoil. How are they all connected?

Subconscious mind meets subconscious mind in just a greeting …..

Focused, yes I was totally focused when I was listening to this audiobook.

Subconscious mind meets subconscious mind in just a greeting or in Elizabeth case with Ann Patchet “a greeting kiss”. I was so fascinated by the whole scenario over the Amazon jungle novel. It does makes sense, and I have it seen it myself, writer to writer, writer to book, reading authors books … facinating stuff.
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This is totally an inspirational book, Elizabeth Gilbert actually reads the book herself and talks about many issues dealing with not being inspired in some way, the mental road blocks creatives encounter, the dreaded worry and fear that’s a death sentence to any creative person.
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Alot of inspirational quotes sprung up, infact this is definitely a one to read if any writer is feeling a writers block comming on, this will definately unblock the system, but not only writers, but any creative person.
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Because I was listening to this, I could only catch a few and jot them down, but it will give you an idea of what you are in for.
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Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you.

A creative life is an amplified life.

My fear became boring.
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5 star rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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Recommended genre – Lifestyle/wellbeing/self- improvement

Blurb

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Gilbert offers insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

Wheres Wally? Wheres Waldo? I didn’t realise until I

Wheres Wally? Wheres Waldo? I didn’t realise until I listened to this audio book that Wally, Waldo had so many different names!!

Fern, and we are talking about Fern in the story, not Fern Cotton, absolutely highlighted this book for me…. all I can say is wow … wow …. and wow.

So many twists and turns in this story that I really can’t say much otherwise I’m going to give quite alot away, but this is loaded, riddled with a maze that will definately have you in a daze.
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Listened as an audiobook through Bolinda Audio. 7 hrs, 43 minutes and read by Casey Withoos. (noticeboard – Australian accent).
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A very easy 5 star rating from me ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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Recommended genre – Mystery Thriller – Suspense
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Sally Hepworth – The Good Sister

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Notice Board – I’ve decided not to include the synopsis to this one, as I do feel it actually spoils the mystery to this book. When choosing this book I’m thankful that I didn’t either, because it made the book so much more enjoyable.

I know if my cat Chloe could read I’m sure she would enjoy this…..

Does anyone enjoy reading about cats in children’s books? I know if my cat Chloe could read I’m sure she would enjoy this. I was actually very surprised that the cat is a “he” … and liked baking and sewing! 😯🤷‍♀️ … so that was a twist in the story of gender equality right from the start. Mincemeat was another reason why I read this story in the first place, it had me curious and let’s face it, who names a pet after food. You know my love of flowers, right? …so we have Lilac Hill and Aunt Petunia. Then I noticed the station names which I truly adored, Bumblebee Bridge, Hamster Heights, Marshmallow Ridge, to name a few out of the blue. This is aimed for the 5 – 9 year olds although older readers would enjoy this too. I picked out just one excerpt and it’s obvious why I chose it.

Excerpt
“The next station was Lilac Hill. Everywhere you looked, there were hundreds and hundreds of pale violet lilacs. They were in hanging baskets along the platform, and the rooftop of the
ticket office was covered in lilacs too. The flower stall on the platform sold nothing but lilacs! Mincemeat had never seen anything like it.”

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My sincere thank you goes out to the author, Lois Davis for gifting this ebook to me in exchange for a honest review.
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I’m giving this book 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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recommended genre – childrens book

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Mincemeat and the incredible train ride – Lois Davis
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I will leave you all now with the synopsis
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Mincemeat, a kind, devoted and human-sized ginger cat, lives with rascally sidekick Great-Grandma in the village of Howdoyoudo. Mincemeat loves sewing, dancing and his motorbike. But not as much as he loves baking! Together he and Great-Grandma embark
on all kinds of crazy adventures.
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Featuring an array of eccentric characters, Lois’s humorous tales explore themes of kindness, consideration, encouragement, pride and forgiveness.

On average in America you move 11 or 12 times …

I won this audiobook as a giveaway the author provided. Unfortunately it’s taken me two years to get to this one, due to blowing off some dust bunnies in the shed and cranking up the old faithful CD machine.
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Although this is an audiobook, Ali does talk about diagrams and such like that you can physically do in the paperback version.
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On average in America you move 11 or 12 times … that’s quite a number of times. Ali suggests and gives her expertise help on something that you would think is easy, but isn’t, the CD was loaded with common sense observations that we tend to over look when buying a house.

There were 4 disks in the CD case, (with mine an additional bonus of the PDF) Ali mentions decluttering before moving, and even you aren’t moving this was so facinating to listen to and some very useful hints that I will be putting into practice. There was quite alot on pets and travel and how to plan shifting with them. How to set up rooms, once you have arrived. How to greet people in a new town and carry on with a conversation when you are making new friends. Alot of thought has been put into this CD.
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Rating The Art Of Happy Moving 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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Recommended genre – self help – non fiction – life skills – audiobook

The Art Of Happy Moving – Ali Wenzke

think PG Wodehouse in a steampunk book with a murder

Thank you to OdysseyBooks for gifting me this book in exchange for a honest review.

This book was extremely hard to follow, there were quite a few characters and alot going on, infact trying to make sense what was what, was in itself … very trying, however I carried on regardless until the halfway point and then I gave up 🤷‍♀️ sadly, yes … but I really couldn’t make head or tail of this story. I noticed most of the chapters were quite short and I wondered whether it had to be that way, wouldn’t it have been better off combining some? Maybe it might have flowed a bit better if it had.

I thought also there was no need for the subheadings as it kind of spoiled what was coming up in the chapter, especially when the chapters were so short.
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This book was extremely witty though, think PG Wodehouse in a steampunk book with a murder and you’ve got the tone of the book.
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I did enjoy Gladys, absolutely loved her demeanour and I loved how the author wrote a drunken character into the book, the dialogue was absolutely hilarious and this character seemed to get drunk regularly…. but apart from that, I really can’t rate this book, you will just have to see for yourselves.
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Rating – DNF
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Recommended genre – steampunk – adventure.
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Leaving you all now with the synopsis….
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Hungover aristocrat Edward “Charlie” Decharles awakens in the back of a steam-cab, only to discover that the driver has been murdered. Unused to feeling responsible for anything, he feels compelled to find the killer. As he investigates, he meets “The Amazing” Gladys Dunchurch, a stage magician’s assistant whose employer has disappeared – and not in a good way. They form an alliance – Charlie will help Gladys with his considerable resources and Gladys will help Charlie with her even more considerable brains.

Soon they discover that their respective mysteries are not only connected to each other, but related to other seemingly unrelated strangeness transpiring in London – the murder of an astronomer, an attack on a patent medicine factory, a mysterious cult in an idyllic town, and reports of deadly creatures in the London sewers.

Charlie and Gladys find themselves pitted against dead-eyed assassins, murderous pirates, wingless flying machines, and perhaps even creatures from beyond this Earth. And lurking behind it all lies a sinister cabal that knows the secret origin of the steam-powered society that powers their world. Can our heroes save the day, or will the fallout from that secret destroy two worlds?

Champagne Charlie and the Amazing Gladys is a fun, witty Steampunk adventure yarn, featuring a cast of eccentric characters.

but alas, not for the faint hearted, cruelty and other issues will lead you…..


Historical Fiction, West London, 1960s. Two twins, 15 years old, and a dog … ordered by their father to spend their life in New Forest countryside, with their grumpy old grandmother after their mother ended up in an asylum…. a mystery occurs when Duncan (one of the twins) disappears without any warning. Some say it’s the “mad woman” in the woods, who shoos everyone off, scares people. She hasn’t spoken to anyone in 10 years, but not this time, can she cough up? What does she reveal? Or is there something else entirely going on?
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Lesley Pearse writes in a very easy style, simplistic. Some would find this a bit slowish to start off with, but I didn’t have an issue with it. To me this had a feeling of a cosy mystery, with alot of questioning and analysing and pursuing answers. I thoughly enjoyed this book which nearing the end was quite gripping, but alas, not for the faint hearted, cruelty and other issues will lead you leaning back to get the tissue box. Quite a thick book, I own the paperback version with 386 pages, but the good thing I found is, the print is rather large, which meant it is more of an easy and fast read.
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This was a personal pick of mine, as I am adding to my collection of Lesley Pearse books. Bought from Book Depository.
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🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 5 star rating.
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Recommendation – Genre – Historical Fiction/London 1960s – Adventure – Cosy Mystery/Thiller.

The Woman In The Wood – Lesley Pearse

Pause, reflect and what did I just listen to?

Pause, reflect and what did I just listen to? Ok you would think, ah yes, another one of these inspirational books, just saying the same thing, with the same uplifting phrases, well yes, …. but wait a minute, not so fast … and that’s it … although I did do a heap of cleaning around the house with this one, I must admit, at times I sat on the green grass outside in the shade, with Chloe, the daisies and the dandelions and also making sure I wasn’t sitting among some bird poop…. and listened.
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Yes, I listened to Inspire by Ben Fogle as an audio book. A personal pick of mine.
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Ben Fogle, while in isolation and in locked down, spent his time with pen and pencil up in his childrens tree house, delivering to us an entertaining, awe inspiring view of his life.
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Very nature inspired due to Ben Fogles experience with out door adventures, TV related programmes, for example – “Castaway” when reality TV, was just that, and not scripted, we are tossed and turned into the ocean when rowing across the Atlantic. Snow bound and frost bite warnings in the South Pole. An arrange of stories from the sea, letches in jungles, why you keep your feet dry at all costs “because your feet are your wheels” . Killings of animals on “Castaway” which was totally facinating and very insightful.
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I wrote down and played back a few quotes that will appear from time to time on Facebook and Instagram.
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Not all the book is like this, but well balanced with stories full of adventure, but there were sad bits too, my eyes welled up when Ben mentioned his stillborn baby boy he and his wife had, which he held in his hands, I can’t think of anything worse with me being a Mum how that would have been like.
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If you have lost your mojo, or you just want a bit of an uplift this will do it, or like me and you just wanted to know what this man you’ve seen on TV is like … well this is your chance.
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Rating this as 5 Stars
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
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Recommended Genre – NonFiction/Biography/Lifestyle/Mind, body & spirit/Recreation/Nature/Animals

7 hrs – 15 mins. Released 15 Oct 2020

What happens when you fall in love with a man that …….

What happens when you fall in love with a man that you can’t have? What happends when someone who is keeping a secret says … “If we sink, we sink together”.

I was totally invested in this audiobook. Although it is Historical Fiction, and there was a bit about the tulip trade and how valuable (in money sense) one bulb can be, it wasn’t the main centre of attraction for me. The centre of attraction were William, Maria, Cornelis,Sophia, Jan Van loos.
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Maria, a character I didn’t like because of her deception saying to Sophia “If we sink we sink together” mind you Sophia was just as bad, the two of them plotting the most evil crime.

Cornelis, a character I felt really sorry for, he hadn’t a clue what was going on.
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Jan Van loos, a character that is the lover that is like no other.
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William, a character that got swindled and then slowly disappeared, but a surprise awaits near the end.
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So as the plots reveal themselves slowly throughout the storyline you are kept in suspense as you would when you wonder whether avocados and bananas go well in a sandwhich, all you want to do really when listening to this is to paddle along the beach, headphones on, a refreshing breeze and the water refreshingly warm… waiting …. man this was some book!!!
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This audio was 7 hrs, 23 minutes. A book full of beauty, love, greed and deception. 17th Century – Amsterdam.

Rating – 5 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
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Recommended genre – Historical Fiction – General Fiction – Historical Romance – Romance – Sagas

had me glued to the couch, and also under the Nashi Pear tree, with a plastic faded …..

Anyone house buying? Or interested in following stories of people looking at buying houses? Purely fictional of course, but Fixtures & Fittings had me glued to the couch, and also under the Nashi Pear tree, with a plastic faded green chair, a cross wind and Chloe of course. This was no ordinary house hunting, what started with a facination with a tree house ended up being something entirely different. With all that was going on, I’m really suprised our Marcus Blackwood wasn’t quanked, he stayed cool, calm and collected and above all … polite! I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Marcus Blackwood.

Nope … no, no tittynope here with Julia Blakes descriptive writing on food… the smells, the taste, will have you frantically searching in your own fridge. But it’s not all smiles, laughter and appetising food. We are horrified of the events slowly revealed to us of what happened to Megan, so frighteningly tragic, that it has left her mute. I tell you what did steal the show is … the twins 😍 although throwing rotten tomatoes was a hilarious incident, I did sort of cringe when something happened in the car.

So let’s join Marcus Blackwood and family, Grace Lovejoy and Co and see where this leads. Can they get Megan to talk? What really happened? It will be interesting to see where the relationship goes with Marcus and Grace Lovejoy, will there be love and joy?
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Thank you Julia Blake for such an entertaining read, and to Platform House Publishing for such a delightful book cover.
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5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
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Recommended genres – Romantic Suspense/Romantic Thriller

Blurb copy and pasted from Goodreads.

Sometimes a choice must be made. What to keep and what to leave behind.

Rich, handsome, sophisticated Marcus Blackwood has it all. Then a double murder turns his perfect life upside down, leaving him sole guardian of his young niece. Traumatised into muteness, Megan needs so much more than Marcus believes he can ever give her.

Searching for their forever home, instead, Marcus finds Grace Lovejoy. An eccentric single parent, Grace and her children are being forced to sell their house. Somehow a connection is forged between Megan and the Lovejoy family, which Marcus hopes will bring his little niece back from a very dark place.

And then there’s Grace herself. The complete antithesis to everything he has ever looked for in a woman, yet still there is a bond between them that Marcus cannot explain. She is not what he wants, but is she what he needs?

And all the time, the deadly consequences of trying to break Megan’s silence creep ever closer, because there is a killer out there with unfinished business.

….. I bathed in a rural area of Australia …..


A Good Life??? Yes, A Good Life indeed!! Firstly I was drawn to the bookcover!! but the girl on it, I was drawn to more!! and so I should too, this is one woman that went through hell and back to pay back for a devilish crime, embezzlement. So how did it all begin? What was Greta’s job? How can a sweet girl be caught up in such mess? This is a story told through the protagonist eyes, a strong female who wants to right the wrong and then believe and belong, but it sure isn’t that easy when “labelled” a crim… so this book is all about how she adjusts to life out side. Of course, life is never a straight path to walk, staying at her Aunt Millies place adds a pleasant distraction if yet a challenging one and of course there is Brodie… I see love there, but will it turn out the way us readers would like? What traumas lie ahead for them both.

I want to sincerely thank Leanne Lovegood for giving me the opportunity to review the ARC of A Good Life, which will be published 15 October, 2021. This was an amazing ride, amazing story and very creative throughout, very “art” orientated as Aunt Millie and Brodie are artists in this story, so a large portion of this delves into artwork and references of France. Loved the setting for the story, I bathed in a rural area of Australia, a little community where everyone helps out with each other, the dynamics and dramas with characters I really enjoyed and kept me interested throughout, no way did I wonder at any point away from the story, the plot twists I loved, absolutely enjoyed reading the whole scenario, a bit sad near the ending but this story wouldn’t be complete without it as the author weaves this as a well rounded balanced climax to the end. I feel I can’t rav about this book enough, I’m over whelmed by the exquisite talent of this author. Giving this a 5 plus star review/recommendation.
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A Good Life – Leanne Lovegrove
Contemporary Fiction/Romance
Setting – Australia
Points of Interest – rural areas, art related, France, Aussie outback, strong female protagonist, love with complications, stories about forgiveness, acceptance and choosing the right path.

Blurb

Greta Johnson made a dreadful mistake.

A two million dollar mistake. Unemployed and afraid she flees to her eccentric old aunt, a noted artist living in a ramshackle cottage in secluded rural hinterland. Life has never seemed more difficult.

Brodie Quade is her aunt’s protégé. Born and raised in the region, he paints controversial pieces that depict life’s injustices while working at his parent’s caravan park. He’s going nowhere, but dreams of changing the world.

Greta represents everything Brodie detests about our greedy and shallow society. Yet in the tranquillity of her aunt’s home, they learn to accept each other, and begin to heal old wounds. When all they’ve gained is threatened by the sudden return of Greta’s past, they are forced to face the truth. Has Greta really learned from her mistakes? Is Brodie man enough to do more than confront the wrongs of the world and challenge his own beliefs?

A Good Life is a moving story about forgiveness, acceptance and choosing the right path.