Reciting From Memory by Jim Landwehr

reciting from memory

My Review:
Reviewed for author for honest review

Jim’s poems were an eye-opening experience for me. As a person who does not read poetry very often and only for reviewing purposes, I always thought of poems being things that have to rhyme to make sense. This collection of poems are more like mini stories. They are beautifully written, giving the reader a great insight into one man’s life. It has not been an easy life by all means but the overwhelming love for family and faith shine through the sadness and brings light where darkness once prevailed.

If you are a lover of poetry with a difference. Prose that paints a very clear and vivid picture of life with all it’s joys and heartaches then this collection is definitely one worth reading.

Red Hill by Jamie McGuire

red hill

Story Outline:
When the world ends, can love survive?

For Scarlet, raising her two daughters alone makes fighting for tomorrow an everyday battle. Nathan has a wife, but can’t remember what it’s like to be in love; only his young daughter Zoe makes coming home worthwhile. Miranda’s biggest concern is whether her new VW Bug is big enough to carry her sister and their boyfriends on a weekend escape from college finals.

When reports of a widespread, deadly “outbreak” begin to surface, these ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances and suddenly their fates are intertwined. Recognizing they can’t outrun the danger, Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda desperately seek shelter at the same secluded ranch, Red Hill. Emotions run high while old and new relationships are tested in the face of a terrifying enemy—an enemy who no longer remembers what it’s like to be human.

Set against the backdrop of a brilliantly realized apocalyptic world, love somehow finds a way to survive. But what happens when the one you’d die for becomes the one who could destroy you?

Red Hill grabs you from page one and doesn’t let go until its stunning conclusion. This is #1 New York Times bestselling author Jamie McGuire at her unforgettable best.

My Review:
When I first started reading Red Hill, I was not convinced that I would like or even enjoy it. I had never read a “zombie” story before. Halfway through I was still not sold on the whole flesh-eating creatures but the characters that the story was based on had started to catch my attention more. With less than a hundred pages to go did not want the book to finish and had become completely compelled to know how it would all end for them.
The story is told from the point of view of three characters, Scarlet, Nathan and Miranda. It was this factor that made the story a lot strong in my opinion. Seeing how each of these characters reacted to and dealt with the horrid situation they all now found themselves in was interesting. I also like how the minor characters had impacts on the main characters. It brought another level to the story. Writing stories that weave people together is a talent Jamie McGuire exudes.
Has the author convinced and converted me to like zombie stories? I am not sure but, it has proven to this reader to never say never.

Third Offence by Helen McKenna

third offence

 

 

Story Outline:

To Jack Nolan, young Danny is like a son. Despite Danny’s rough start in life, Jack saw potential in the boy that few others did and encouraged Danny to pursue dreams he never imagined he could achieve.

But an anonymous letter about his long absent father makes Danny question everything. Can he really rise about his background or is his future set in stone?

Jack is a lawyer at the top of his game and there is nothing he wouldn’t do for Danny, who helped him many years ago, as a mere child. But the more Jack uncovers, the more he sees his chances of winning his first criminal case slipping through his fingers.

With time and mounting evidence stacked against them, Jack and Danny negotiate a web of lies and deception, Danny’s dread that history will repeat itself and Jack’s fear that he is in way over his head. Can they actually uncover the truth and, more importantly, will their friendship survive the ordeal?

 

My Review:

Book gifted by author in return for honest review

Third Offence is a novel based on characters from Helen McKeenas highly popular novel “The Beach House” (Published in 2011 by Joshua Books). It was wonderful to revisit characters from a book that I have read and absolutely loved. I had no idea the author was working on this and was even more surprised and delighted when asked to read it. Jack is a favourite of mine in The Beach House so it’s lovely to catch up with what has been going on in his life since.

The thing that worries me as a reader is when an author decides to write more books from a much-loved story. I wonder will they do them justice or whether they should have been left as they were. I am pleased to say that this book like all the other books I have read by this author did not disappoint. In fact, I think it has made me like the character of Jack even more.

A brilliant and creative story that is full of intrigue, secrets, and half-truths. The author writes in such a way that you have to engage with the characters and the story that is going on before you. You have no choice but to be pulled into what is going on. There are a lot of different things happening at once with this tale. Jack is a lawyer who volunteers to help out the father of his friend Daniel, a boy he has been a benefactor too. Daniels father is less than cooperative with the case. So, it is up to Jack and Danny to figure out why he was framed for a crime he swears he did not commit. Being a fan of mystery it was great to try to work out who had framed Daniels father and why. Yet again I was getting lost in my suspicions and did not even get close to who it was before it was revealed.

There are many different themes explored by the author. Not judging someone because of life circumstances, seeing things from a different perspective. Never losing faith in what you believe in and for me, the biggest messages was that family is important. No matter what people are going through, when all is said and done your family whether they are related by blood or not, are important.

A heartwarming tale that will make you laugh, cry, and use your powers of deduction. It can be read as a stand-alone story but I would recommend reading The Beach House first.

Highly recommend

The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson

queen of wishful thinking

Story Outline:

When Lewis Harley has a health scare in his early forties, he takes it as a wake-up call. So he and his wife Charlotte leave behind life in the fast lane and Lewis opens the antique shop he has dreamed of. Bonnie Brookland was brought up in the antiques trade and now works for the man who bought out her father’s business, but she isn’t happy there. So when she walks into Lew’s shop, she knows this is the place for her.

As Bonnie and Lew start to work together, they soon realise that there is more to their relationship than either thought. But Bonnie is trapped in an unhappy marriage, and Lew and Charlotte have more problems than they care to admit. Each has secrets in their past which are about to be uncovered. Can they find the happiness they both deserve?

 

My Review:

Book reviewed for Netgalley and Simon & Schuster (Australia)

I have heard a lot of great things about Milly Johnson books. When I saw this title was available through NetGalley, I thought why not see what everyone is talking about? I found to my surprise that people had not been exaggerating.

The Queen of Wishful Thinking is a book that I could happily read many times, in fact, it is a book that I could happily jump into and stay there. The characters are so alive that they become real as you immerse yourself into the story and into their lives. I found myself not wanting to put the book down; it is such a heartwarming element to it that you just want to sit down and read it. The author has a magical ability to make you become instant friends and enemies with her characters. Some will warm your heart and others will leave wanting to strangle them. One such character is Bonnie’s husband Stephen. He is the type of character that you despise with all your soul. He actually put me in mind of the character of Shaun Walsh from Circle of Friends. He has the same kind of vindictive controlling nature that makes your skin crawl. Whilst Lewis Harley was the complete opposite with his caring nature and gentlemanly manners. He stayed the gentleman all the way through the disastrous situation that he found himself in. I think will find him with many a female fan who reads this book. The antique dealers that sold their wares in Lewis shop were a motley crew of all personalities. When reading about them you could tell the author had been around people such as this. They were as true to life as if they were standing in the room with you. This story will make you laugh, make you cry. Most importantly it will give the reader insight into what real friendship and camaraderie are all about. When the world slips out from under Bonnies feet, it was wonderful to see people come to her defense.

Milly’s fans will no doubt love this new book with its array of colourful lovable characters. I am definitely going to be reading more books from this author in the future.

Warning: Strong language

Finding Colin Firth by Mia March

colin

I will be honest and admit that I actually bought this book solely based on the title. I am a huge fan of Colin Firth and the title definitely caught my attention. I did not really know what to expect. I guess like most people who see the title straight away think that it will be all about Colin Firth, that could not be further from the truth. What the reader will find is a heartwarming, sweet and sometimes heartbreaking tale of three women who are desperate to find something…. Veronica Russo wants to find peace with the mistakes of her past by returning to the town of Boothbay Harbor, where she caused and felt so much heartbreak and pain. Bea Crane wants to find the mother who gave her up for adoption and Gemma Hendricks wants to find a way to make her life the way it use to be before she lost her job and discovered she is pregnant. Even though they are all looking for something, none of them can resist going on a hunt for Mr. Firth when he is rumoured to be coming to the town to shoot scenes for a new movie.

I have to say that this was nothing like I expected it to be from reading the blurb, but I loved every single minute reading this story. The author has the ability to make you feel for her characters, you become one with them, feel the pain, anxiety, and joys. Each woman has a story to tell individually, but it is when their lives become entwined that the story takes on a whole new meaning. They might start out as complete strangers, but eventually, they begin to change each others lives in a way they never thought possible. This book will make you laugh, make you cry, make you want to eat pie and without a doubt make you want to watch Colin Firth movies. Even though there is a theme about the actor throughout the book, you do not have to necessarily be a fan of his to enjoy it.

Highly recommended reading

Room 46 by Helen McKenna.

classic nightstand with flower at the wall and door

E-book was gifted by the author for review

Room 46 is a lot of things to a lot of different people. For Edith it is her place now, after a tragic accident that left her unable to look after herself this is where she ended up. Even thought it is bright and colourful and the people are friendly and helpful, to her it is place she would rather not be.

For Grace, it is a place she dreads going to, she is afraid, afraid because her life had not turned out the way she had imagined. So much promise and now what did she have to show for it? She lives in constant panic over situations and people to the point she has panic attacks, how on earth is she supposed to volunteer at the nursing home and worse still, read to a person she has never met before? The one good things in this situation is, the patient can not talk so, will not be able to ask questions about her and her life, the only silver lining.

For Marion, it is a place she loves to work in, the residence of Rosehill Gardens are happy and always pleased to see her when she cleans their rooms. She especially loves cleaning Edith’s room. The poor woman who lost her husband in a tragic accident and slowly lost her voice and mobility due to a series of strokes. That however has not killed Edith’s spirit, each day when she arrives at work Edith is always eager for her cleaner to have a chat. Marion has another reason for wanting to work at Rosehill Gardens. She is hatching a plan to change the lives of Edith and Grace, they both need a push in the right direction. Because of what happened in the past, Marion will do anything in her power to make the future bright again for these two women.

Helen McKenna, has done it again with this wonderful tale. I am a huge fan of this author’s work and was delighted when I was asked to read this book for review. There are so many different levels to the story going on all at once, but it is so cleverly done, you do not actually realise it all connects together until you reach the last chapter. The short stories that Grace reads to Edith are so engaging that when they came to an end, I was disappointed because I wanted to know more about the characters. The secret to what makes this story work is the beautifully crafted characters that are so engaging. They all have a story to tell, some of them will make you laugh, get angry or even shed a tear or two, but above all they all have one theme in common, even when life looks like it has no direction, with a little help and encouragement anything is possible.

Highly recommended.

 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling

harry potter1

I found the idea of this series of books wonderful. When they were released there were not a lot of children’s books that were set in the world of magic. I think for me the greatest thing about this book is, it teaches children and adults alike that, you can achieve anything you wish even when you think that it is impossible. I also think the theme of friendship is important, people can be friends whether you agree with everything about them or not, Hermione is a great example of that throughout the book, she is more of a straight-laced student but she befriends Ron and Harry. She tells them it is to keep them out of trouble, but I believe deep down she is actually happy that she has found people that like a bit of adventure, it is something new to her.

One aspect of the story that there has been a lot of discussion about is, why Harry was left with the Dursley’s after the death of his parents. Although it is clear that Harry is not treated very well at all, I think this was the best place for Harry to grow up. Although he cannot understand why they do not like him because of his magical ability, they teach Harry a very valuable lesson…kindness, when he comes across all different kinds of people at Hogwarts, he is more prone to showing kindness to them after the way he has been treated by the Dursley’s. They also have taught him how to stand up for himself when he is taunted by Draco Malfoy.

Rowling has the ability to create a world that every reader of these books wishes to enter and never leave. With owls that deliver the mail, a magical school where anything is possible and lets not forget the moving pictures, Hogwarts is a place that will live in the hearts of fans for years to come.

All and all a great start to what looks like a fantastic series. If you are a fan of all things magical and have not delved into the world of Harry Potter yet, I would highly recommend you give this series a chance.