Books

1105 Yakima Street – Debbie Macomber

Here we are back in Cedar Cove for the penultimate story. Although you can get a fair sense of the book if you joined the series now, you certainly do not get the warmth and friendship that runs between all the characters if you had started at the beginning, which I recommend.

So who is uppermost in the story in this book. Well when we left the last book Rachel had left her new husband and stepdaughter. Pregnant and alone, their story is one which is carried through well in this book and deals with a love triangle. The love triangle is actually a jealousy one between Rachel, Bruce her husband and Jolene his daughter. Bruce has his head in the sand and it is going to take some shocks to get him to understand exactly what has happened to his life. Hopefully they can get everything back, but it might not be as easy as he first thought. Bruce’s parenting skills are tested.

Then there is Will, pig-headed and stubborn and has yet to understand why women are suddenly not falling for his charm and sophistication any more. The latest rejection in fact gets married and Will is most put out. Little does he realise that actually there is someone right under his nose if only he would look more closely. Trouble is the person is not falling for his charm and is in fact rather annoying – or is she? Everyone else can see what is so obvious that it becomes a bit of a test.

Will’s mother, Charlotte and her husband Ben have some life changing moments and they have to realise for themselves, that perhaps it is time to move on and that might just require some help. Their daughter Olivia is all too glad to help when they temporarily cannot live in their home, but it becomes a changing moment for her as well as her mother. Olivia still recovering from cancer, has to look after herself and is not sure she can also care for her elderly mother. There is an alternative but it is up to Charlotte and Ben, they might just need pointing in the right direction and hopefully they will find their way there.

The beauty of these books is the interlinking with all the characters, so follow this. Ben’s (mentioned above) son David is the father of Mary Jo’s daughter. Mary Jo’s brother is Linc Wyse and his new wife Lori are also featured quite heavily in this story. They are having a testing start to their marriage. The only person doing the testing though is Lori’s father who is doing everything he can to ruin it. It seems to be at a cost though to his own marriage and it looks like Lori is going to have to step in to help.

And so life goes by in Cedar Cove and when you read any of these books, you are getting a glimpse into all these people’s lives. Grace and Cliff Harding are here and trying to come to terms with all things dog like. Corrie and Roy McAfee are still coming to terms with the Gloria’s presence and news and Mack (married to Mary Jo above – all cyclical) seems to have finally found contentment.

With the last visit to Cedar Cove in the next book, I am going to miss the friends that I have made whilst enjoying these light reads. Recommended if you want that companionship from a book now and again.

I have actually read all of the Cedar Cove series now and although I read most of them in order, I did actually start with Book 5 and read Book 12 before reading Book 9! You can still get a real sense of the place and the people but I think it always best to read them in order. More than likely that is because I am a organised and structured sort of person! I am going to put up a page with a link to all the reviews for this series that I have read, and hopefully develop it with some more of the series of other authors that I am enjoying. In the meantime I will be joining Debbie Macomber on her Blossom Street Series and have the first book, although unbeknown to me I have already read book 5 of this series back in 2010. 

Books

The Roundabout Man – Clare Morrall

What must your young life be like if your mother is a famous author and her books are based on you and your triplet sisters?

Excitement at being famous? A close family? A financially secure present and past?

What if you grow up and still that millstone of a few famous books when you were child carries on into adulthood? And you are the only one keeping your mothers past and actually your mother alive?

This is the story of Quinn who has escaped all of this and lives on a roundabout?.A roundabout near a motorway service station which is his whole world. Where he scavenges for food, drink and friendship. He knows all the workers and they know him. Even if he tries to keep a low profile.

Imagine what would happen if the press got hold of where he lived and the conditions he lived in? The legacy of being Quinn the boy in those infamous childhood books would suddenly be the most important thing? Can Quinn avoid anyone knowing the real truth about him?

This book reminded me of the hearsay about the author Enid Blyton and her rather difficult relationships with her own children. It seems her legacy was a not a nice one for her offspring. This seemed to be the same with Quinn and his sisters, who escaped rather quickly when old enough and have been fairly disjointed from each other for the rest of their lives. At times I found it was quite painful to read when you see how the mother reacts to her own children and it did not make sense when they took in foster children. The past that Quinn had was rather painful and it has obviously affected his adult life which Clare Morrall dealt with well and in surprising ways; hence the title of the book.

I found the writing a bit odd to begin with it goes back between the past and present and it was not always clear where the division was and the added excerpts of the books made it a book you did need to concentrate on. It took some time to get used to the writing but once I did I was drawn in to the is world. Morrall brought to life the service station and you could well imagine someone living there and getting away with it for a long time. The anonymity of a place which is just somewhere where people simply pass through, nothing else.

This is a book is slow throughout but not in a detrimental way, it is not supposed I feel to have page turning moments and heart stopping twists and turns. It is a story of a family and how they exist and survive with a past.

This was a book I would not have picked up if it was not for the wonderful blogs that I read where I first spotted it. It was different, I was captured by the idea of a man living on a roundabout. Also once I started reading I was drawn into the world of being famous almost by default and the impact that can possibly have on you. 

A very different read that doesn’t fit easily into any category and cannot be summed up as a book about one particular genre or aimed at a particular audience. It is aimed at anyone who likes reading quite simply. I am intrigued about what Clare Morrall’s other novels are like and will add her name to the every growing list of people to read. 

Books

1022 Evergreen Place – Debbie Macomber

Life is still happening in Cedar Cove for its residents and whilst some are recovering from illness and death. There are others who are embarking on new chapters in their life and they have decided to tell us all about it in this tenth book in the series.

Mary Jo is in love with her neighbour, that is certain. He is equally in love with her and her delightfully daughter who he helped bring into this world one Christmas Eve in his job as a local fire-fighter. Trouble is their relationship is just not getting off to the right start, there are too many secrets and stubbornness in both characters and it looks like they might be going to lose each other. The one thing neither of them want to do is to lose is baby Noelle to her real father. He is simply interested in making trouble and nothing else.

Meanwhile the marriage of Rachel and Bruce is suffering. The problem is Bruce’s daughter Jolene, who whilst once thinking it was a good idea for Rachel to marry her dad, now that it has happened it seems to have not the same effect. You can feel the tension building between them all and it is inevitable something is going to happen. It is just Rachel has a surprise and it looks like it could ruin it for them all. Perhaps she has only one choice.

But this book is not just about these Cedar Cove residents, there are many mentioned as we catch up on their lives. Olivia is recovering well from her cancer. Her brother WIll, seems to have settled back into the area, but women are not falling at his feet as they once did. Grace, Olivia’s friend has a new initiative at the library which seems to be working, and brings together two rather different teenagers. And so it all goes on full circle with their lives intertwining whilst we read what happens.

If you are a fan of sagas, then this is the series for you, but I would go and start at the beginning you will enjoy it much more!

I only have one more of this series to read  – the aim to read it before the end of 2013. 

Books

A Red Herring Without Mustard – Alan Bradley

Back for a third visit to the house Buckshaw in Bishop’s Lacey and its residents. Three willful girls, Flavia, Daphne and Ophelia and their quiet father, plus Mrs Mullet the lady that helps in the kitchen and the faithful Dogger who seems to do everything in the grounds.

A seemingly ordinary large crumbling house in a village in Fifties Britain. However this house holds Flavia de Luce, the eleven year old girl who has a penchant for chemistry, even to the fact that she has her own laboratory in the east wing of the house, a fascination with poisons and is well known to the local constabulary – for finding bodies. Dead bodies.

In this book, Flavia befriends the local gypsy and fortune teller, after feeling guilty about setting her tent on fire at the local church fete. She lets her stay on the de Luce land but it causes somewhat of a problem as it seems this gypsy woman has been in the village before just when something unpleasant happened. Is her return opening wounds of the past? It seems to when the gypsy is attacked and it is Flavia that finds her.

So Flavia wants to find out the truth, especially when the gypsy woman’s granddaughter Porcelain shows up and thinks Flavia is to blame. Flavia has to use all her precocious skills and knowledge of chemistry to win the girl over but then another body turns up. In fact it is hanging up a bit too close to home for Flavia. It seems the weapon was even closer to home. But distracted by fire irons turning up all over the place when they should be by the fireside at Buckshaw, it seems that Flavia is going to need more than her wits to get to the bottom of this mystery.

All of this you have to remember is occurring when Flavia is merely eleven. You get the very honest emotions about her sisters who seem to be her tormentors and there is that fatherly love which seems to be missing but is shown in parts throughout this book more than before. For me Flavia seems to be missing something in her life and she finds that comfort in her chemistry lab and also with the faithful Dogger and Mrs Mullet who Flavia uses to her own advantage in solving the mysteries that she stumbles across. Flavia is a child in an adult world, and is much older than her years.

This is a traditional village crime book in some ways and like the title there are plenty of red herrings thrown in so you are not sure where exactly the author is going to take you. But rest assured it is a delightful journey and you must simple go along for the ride.

It has been a while since I have read any Flavia de Luce and when I spotted this on my last visit to the library I was taken, I thought it would make a good holiday read. So it did, but I do wish I had written the review fairly soon after reading the book; there is so much one can say about the prose and language used by this author and her does demonstrate so well how witty Flavia is in the world she exists in. Perhaps there is a rose tinted view of Britain in a Fifties Village which some people have commented on negatively but so what. Life is full of a lot of non-rose tinted things and it is nice to escape in to a nice world albeit with a few murders and Flavia thrown in. 

I will try not to leave it so long to read the next book and also write at least a rough review after having read it. 

Books

I have been to the ……Library

Now as a voracious reader, you would think that I spent a lot of time in the library, but I don’t. I have more than enough books at home, over 150 to read according my Goodreads to read list. Lets not even count those on my kindle shall we? No! But I will quickly pass over that. I had time, the weather was nice and I was after a PG Wodehouse Jeeves and Wooster book to read, I fancied some silly humour and Jeeves and more importantly Bertie Wooster was going to hit the spot. Plus it would add to one of my challenges for 2013.

So off I went, feeling virtuous because I walked there and back. Stopping at the hairdresser on the way (I have been to the…… Hairdresser). Now I was never going to pick up one book was I?

If I had given more thought to it, I would have brought a bag with me but no matter. I found a Wodehouse – Very Good Jeeves though there was not a vast choice.

20130811-073802.jpg

The Roundabout Man by Clare Morrall, I spotted this probably a couple of years ago on a blog and have hovered with it the bookshop many a time, but for some reason did not buy it. When I saw it on the shelf, I thought I would stop the hovering.

So there is also the third Flavia de Luce novel by Alan Bradley A Red Herring Without Mustard. I am getting behind reading these as I think he is up to book 5 of Flavia’s adventures .

Then there is three Quick Reads books, not for me, but for my dad. Quick Reads are a great initiative to get people reading, the length of these books, the languages and the font size, are ideal for my dad who doesn’t like overly complicated books or ones with too many characters. He read quite a few of this years selection and wanted to read more rather impatiently if I must say. Mum and I were looking to get him more but so far had not got round to it. I stumbled across these by pure accident in the library and had that light bulb moment when I thought – “why had I not thought of coming here before to look for some more for him”. There was plenty of choice so it will keep him going for a while at least.

Then the last book on the pile is by Ben Aaronvitch Rivers of London. I saw Ben speak at the recent newbooks magazine Readers Day and was captured by his writing as well as his wry dry wit. What better chance to give one of the books a go by borrowing it from the library.

So there you go, my visit to the library. I should go more often, but I expect lots of us say that, and I was impressed by the amount of recent books they had on their shelves – I spotted a copy of Perfect by Rachel Joyce waiting to be read. It was on the floor for some reason, I moved it to a more prominent position.

There were no Mary Stewart, which was a shame because I fancied reading one of these for the Mary Stewart week coming up in September but no matter I can always buy one. No Georgette Heyer which again is a challenge for 2013 and I have not got round to reading any yet. I thought with it being holiday time it might be a good opportunity.

And because it is holiday time there is bound to be a I have been to the…. bookshop post! Do pop back!

Books

I have been to the ……Library

Now as a voracious reader, you would think that I spent a lot of time in the library, but I don’t. I have more than enough books at home, over 150 to read according my Goodreads to read list. Lets not even count those on my kindle shall we? No! But I will quickly pass over that. I had time, the weather was nice and I was after a PG Wodehouse Jeeves and Wooster book to read, I fancied some silly humour and Jeeves and more importantly Bertie Wooster was going to hit the spot. Plus it would add to one of my challenges for 2013.

So off I went, feeling virtuous because I walked there and back. Stopping at the hairdresser on the way (I have been to the…… Hairdresser). Now I was never going to pick up one book was I?

If I had given more thought to it, I would have brought a bag with me but no matter. I found a Wodehouse – Very Good Jeeves though there was not a vast choice.

20130811-073802.jpg

The Roundabout Man by Clare Morrall, I spotted this probably a couple of years ago on a blog and have hovered with it the bookshop many a time, but for some reason did not buy it. When I saw it on the shelf, I thought I would stop the hovering.

So there is also the third Flavia de Luce novel by Alan Bradley A Red Herring Without Mustard. I am getting behind reading these as I think he is up to book 5 of Flavia’s adventures .

Then there is three Quick Reads books, not for me, but for my dad. Quick Reads are a great initiative to get people reading, the length of these books, the languages and the font size, are ideal for my dad who doesn’t like overly complicated books or ones with too many characters. He read quite a few of this years selection and wanted to read more rather impatiently if I must say. Mum and I were looking to get him more but so far had not got round to it. I stumbled across these by pure accident in the library and had that light bulb moment when I thought – “why had I not thought of coming here before to look for some more for him”. There was plenty of choice so it will keep him going for a while at least.

Then the last book on the pile is by Ben Aaronvitch Rivers of London. I saw Ben speak at the recent newbooks magazine Readers Day and was captured by his writing as well as his wry dry wit. What better chance to give one of the books a go by borrowing it from the library.

So there you go, my visit to the library. I should go more often, but I expect lots of us say that, and I was impressed by the amount of recent books they had on their shelves – I spotted a copy of Perfect by Rachel Joyce waiting to be read. It was on the floor for some reason, I moved it to a more prominent position.

There were no Mary Stewart, which was a shame because I fancied reading one of these for the Mary Stewart week coming up in September but no matter I can always buy one. No Georgette Heyer which again is a challenge for 2013 and I have not got round to reading any yet. I thought with it being holiday time it might be a good opportunity.

And because it is holiday time there is bound to be a I have been to the…. bookshop post! Do pop back!