GR Aussie Book Bingo Challenge #1

One of my challenges for 2020 was the GR Aussie Book Bingo. Every fortnight on a wednesday I will aim to post which square I’m crossing off of the GR Aussie Book Bingo card.

There are 4 levels to the challenge:

  • Shelf: (10 books – 2 rows)
  • Bookcase (15 books – 3 rows)
  • Library (20 books – 4 rows)
  • To Infinity and Beyond ( 25 books – 5 rows)

Obviously I’m aiming towards infinity.

Screenshot_20200107_220846This week it is the square Rated 4+ by a friend

I’m going with Rania Battany’s novel Fleeting Moments which was rated 5 stars by HappyValley BooksRead as well as Helen Sibbrit and Nas Dean  as well as 4 stars by Mrs B’s Book Reviews

My review was published last week and can be read here

Until next time, happy reading.

A-Z Author Challenge – Q

 

A-Z Author Challenge post #1 is Q, so, obviously I’m not going to be going in alphabethical order like I originally had in mind.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

 

I listened to the audiobook verion of this book and it is one that worked well for me, I’ll be looking for more by this narrator.

The Alice Network had me enthralled, this dual timeline narrative is set during the first World War and two years after the end of WW2.

The two main female characters were both very strong women, who did a lot of growing during the story.

Eve was a spy during the first World War and she was assigned to the Alice Network which was a real network, the most successful of it’s time. Eve’s story was full of intrigue and heart stopping moments, corruption and fear. She grapples with many issues during this time, one being her relationship formed with a betrayer of the people whilst she is undercover. This man is a truly horrible person and we meet with him in both timelines as what he does and who he is has far reaching consequences.

Charlie is from a rich American family who is being taken to get rid of an ‘unwanted’ problem. On the spur of the moment, with not much of a plan, she absconds from her mothers clutches and goes off to search for her cousin who went missing two years before in France. Her only lead is Eve, who begrudginly agrees to help (very begrudginly). After meeting Eve and hearing her story as she searches for her cousin, Charlie learns to really understand what she wants and who she is as well as learning to heal from the loss of her brother and her cousin.

Finn, Eve’s chauffeur and all job man, was a great character, I loved how he cared for Eve, and I loved how he fought his attraction to Charlie, you could feel his shift in loyalties as he got to know Charlie.

In searching for Charlie’s cousin old wounds are opened and old enemies come to the fore. We learn Eve’s story in alternating chapters, until we reach a time where she begins to tell her story to Finn and Charlie.

There were some important characters that play a big part in Eve’s story, all based on real characters. I can’t imagine the bravery and conviction these women especially, must of had to be spies during the time of war.

Eve and Charlie are both so different, but both broken and searching for something to heal that brokenness. Their relationship grows and changes throughout the story, having big impacts on them both and leading to an ending with unexpected results.

This was my first book by Kate Quinn and I’ll be looking for me to read by her in the future.

 

Book Review: Fleeting Moments by Rania Battany

I’ve finished my first book of the year and my first book in the #AWW2020 challenge and what a fabulous book to kick off the year.

IMG_20191219_111738I actually read this at the end of November, but I was having an issue with fatigue and wasn’t up to writing a review, I also had a thought in bed after reading it about why Maya, the main character annoyed me so much, but by morning it had flittered away. I thought it only fair to reread it so I could give it a proper review, and I’m glad I did. The thought that came to me after reading it the first time was, ‘Hmm I think the reason Maya annoys me so much is that in many ways I totally relate to her and she has many of the characteristics I don’t like so much in myself’, as is so often the case with things that annoy us about others.

Reading this for the second time, I could see so much of myself and some of my relationships, in Maya, it was so clear and confronting. Rania Battany says in her author’s note at the end of the book “I wanted to create a heroine that was flawed, and Maya is seriously flawed. I often read stories with strong, independent and powerful women, and while these characters may empower others, I can never relate. I wanted to create a character who had to fight her way back after loss, not only the loss of a loved one but the loss of connection with themselves and others – the loss of self-identity and relationships. Regardless of each personal journey, the struggle of fighting through a period of darkness is a universal one, and I believe Maya’s journey is one a lot of women will be able to identify with.”

Well, Ms Battany has certainly achieved this, at least as far as I’m concerned, I identified a great deal. Her author’s note really connected with me the first time I read it too. Reading Fleeting Moments for the second time, was even more satisfying in some ways than the first time, maybe because I knew how it ended and I was able to relax a little more, maybe because this time I knew why Maya annoyed me so much and because of this I had far more empathy for her this time around, just like I realise I need to have for myself.

Maya really is a great character, she is flawed and sees herself as different from others, unable to connect properly, unable to be understood, she deals with anger and hurt by withdrawing or getting angry (I feel like I’m talking about myself).

When the book starts we meet Michael, an asshole, and her longtime partner, things hit rock bottom for Maya soon after and we ride along with her for the fallout.

Then we meet Sam, (big sigh), what a gorgeous guy, (just the kind of guy I need) and maybe the kind of guy Maya needed. Sam is positive, easy-going, generous, kind and a great friend. I loved Sam and wondered why he persevered sometimes with Maya (hmm another insight into myself). I loved the relationship that Maya and Sam started to develop, the whole getting to know someone can be fraught with many challenges, especially if you are full of self-doubt.

Another element to the story is Maya’s grief at losing her father and how this has impacted just about every aspect of her life. We all deal with grief differently, there is no right or wrong way and sometimes it can be really messy. I am lucky and haven’t experienced grief like Maya, I’m not sure how I’d cope and hopefully, I won’t have to find out for a very long time, but I imagine it would be a very messy and mixed up time. Seeing how Maya had coped with this grief was heartbreaking, losing the one person she thought truly understood her, made other relationships tumble.  Maya’s relationships with her sister and her mother are difficult and I  lived alongside Maya while she worked through the issues she had with them, wondering if they could be repaired in any way. My heart really went out to all three of them, I could completely empathise with each character.

We also meet Amanda, who Maya works with and who extends to Maya a hand in friendship. Amanda, and what she is dealing with, is a reminder that we need to connect with others, that we need to see past what is there on the surface and get to know people and find out how they really are coping with life. Connections with others are so important and we can all gain so much from taking the time to get to know people on more than a surface level.

This is a story of loss, grief, hope, love, friendship and finding oneself amidst the chaos of this thing we call life. This is a story I am sure I will revisit again one day because Rania Battany certainly achieved her goal of writing a character I was able to identify with and one that would give me hope “that healing is possible no matter how deep the pain

Thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of this novel in return for an honest review. Thanks also to the author for giving me so much to think about and work on in my own life.

Author’s Facebook                  Website               Goodreads

Amazon AU            Amazon US              Amazon UK

FB_IMG_1577105032228   #AWW2020 1/50

 

Goodreads- Annual A-Z Authors Challenge 2020

Happy New Year!!!

A-Z

I thought I’d share with you the books I am planning to read for the A-Z Authors Challenge in 2020, these are subject to change depending on any review books that come in before I get to that letter, but I am hoping to be able to cross the majority of these off this year, as some have been waiting for a while. I haven’t decided if I am going to go through the alphabet or just play it by ear, time will tell.

A – Alissa Callen – The Boundary Fence

B – Anna Bradley – To Wed a Wild Scot

C – T.M Clark – Cry of the Firebird

D – Pip Drysdale – The Strangers We Know

E – Ella Carey – Beyond the Horizon

F – Fiona Lowe – Just an Ordinary Family

G – Kathryn Gauci – Conspiracy of Lies

H –  Susan Hoddy – Security

I – Sue Ingleton – Making Trouble

J- Rachael Johns – Just One Wish

K – kim Kelly – Walking

L – Julian Leatherdale – The Opal Dragonfly

M- Katie McGarry – Echoes Between Us

N- Joanna Nell – The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker

O – Sunni Overend –

P – P.J Tracy – Ice Cold Heart

Q – Kate Quinn – The Alice Network

R – Kelly Rimmer –  The Things We Cannot Say

S – Sasha Wasley – Love Song

T – Kendall Talbot – Out of Luck

U – Jacquie Underdown – Meet Me in the Middle

V – Vanessa Diffenbaugh – The Language of Flowers

W – Carol Wyer – The Blossom Twins

X – Alix E Harrow – The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Y

Z – Tiffany Reisz – The Rose

Book Review: Winter in Mason Valley by Eliza Bennetts

Winter in Mason ValleyThis is my final review for 2019 and what a great book to end a fabulous year of reading on.

I loved the first two books in this series and I really enjoyed catching up with Dee again after she left Urchin’s Bluff for a new job position to further her career.

I have to say it makes a nice change to be reading about women my own age making big decisions in their lives, whether it is a career, relocation or love or all three. It’s also nice to think that I’m not alone in still searching for the right job and the right man and also that not all women have to have had children to be content, though in this case, Dee gets a child as part of the package, maybe that’ll happen for me too, you just never know.

Starting her new job at the paper factory in Mason Valley Dee seems extremely off-kilter in her behaviour and it didn’t entirely endear her to me, though on further reflection, I’ve started jobs where the need to impress or make a stand straight away has made me behave slightly different to the way I normally would, though unfortunately never because the men I’m working with have blown my socks off, lucky Dee.

I wasn’t overly taken with Travis in the beginning either, his behaviour towards Dee to start with was annoying. The way he was with his mother and his daughter however, showed what a caring person he could be.

Both Dee and Travis’s characters grew on me as the story progressed and I was definitely hoping they could sort things out by the end.

I didn’t like creepy, smarmy Vince, the money man, who Dee has to work with and I seriously couldn’t understand how she didn’t pick up on his dodginess (is that a word) from the get-go, instead making excuses for his behaviour (I shudder when I think of him).

I enjoyed Dee and Travis’s undercover sting, I’ve always liked a Nancy Drew operation. What they uncover made me wonder how much of this sort of thing goes on every day and how often people get away with it or for how long. I can’t imagine ever being that dishonest or needing money that badly, but I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who fit one or the other of the criteria.

My favourite character was Annie, followed closely by Travis’s mum. Annie was an absolute delight and always brought a smile to my face.

A really enjoyable read, I look forward to Eliza Bennetts’ next book in the seasons series which is Spring at Lake Grange.

Thanks to the author for providing me with a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

End of year 2019 challenge wrap up and new challenges for 2020

What a wonderful year of reading this has been. According to Goodreads I read and reviewed on their site 243 books in 2019, I read a few more than that, but didn’t log them all, for reasons of my own. I had to look up my challenge post from the beginning of the year to see what I had challenged myself to read 2019 challenges. I initally said I’d read 100 books, knowing full well I’d probably need to up that. If you’d like to check out my list of reads on Goodreads, here is the link. For 2020 I will again set my goal to 100, but I will adjust accordingly as the year progresses. I still have 2 books to read this year which will round off the total nicely.

This was a cool little statistic GR20191

The next challenge was Book Bingo which I just finished in time, I’m looking forward to 2020s challenge which is much easier, saying that I may have signed up for a few more challenges this year as I really want to get through some of my TBR list.

IMG_20191220_220658

 

For the Australian Women Writers (AWW) challenge I said I would read 40 books, I can’t believe I thought that was even a serious number. According to the AWW website I reviewed 105 books by Australian women. I do tend to favour books by Australian women as a conscious choice because we have so much talent here that deserves to be recognised. According to Goodreads I read 121, so there were a few I didn’t review fully and therefore didn’t link to AWW. This year I have signed up to read and review 50 books in the #AWW2020 challenge. I no longer work in cranes so my alloted reading time has gone down a bit. I definitely hope to read many more than 50 though.

The last challenge was the Aussie author challenge which I completed but didn’t link my books to.

Onto 2020s challenges.

So we have Goodreads general challenge of 100 books

FB_IMG_1576969010534#BookBingo2020

 

 

and FB_IMG_1577105032228AWW set at 50 books. To sign up for the AWW 2020 challenge just follow the link.

 

 

 

I’ve also joined 2 other challenges, though some of the books will overlap on the different challenges (thank goodness).

I’ve joined the Goodreads Annual Aussie Author Bingo Challenge 2020 and have set most of my books for this challenge, which should help get through some of the books that have been waiting on my shelf for too long. If you’d like to join or take a look just click on the link above.

I’ve also joined the Goodreads Annual A-Z Authors Challenege and have set most of the books for this too. Click on the link to join or take a look.

 

Nonfictionchallenge2020Oh I nearly forgot one! Shellyrae @  Book’d Out is hosting a Nonfiction Reader Challenge, I was initially unsure about joining this as I’m not a massive nonfiction reader and her challenge was either Nonfiction Nibbler with 6 books or Nonfiction Know-it-all with 12 books, Shellyrae has nicely added an extra level with Nonfiction Nipper with 3 books, so I’ve signed up for this.  If you’d like to sign up click on the link above or just join in by hashtagging #2020ReadNonFic when posting your books.

 

It looks like 2020 is going to be a very busy year of reading indeed.

 

No photo description available.Books and Bites with Monique Mulligan is also running a Book Bingo Challenge for anyone interested. I will take a look, but won’t commit at this time.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for all your support in 2019, I’m looking forward to sharing what I read in 2020 and hearing your thoughts and what you are reading.

Merry Christmas and the winners of the blog birthday competition.

Merry Christmas everyone, I got two books to read for Christmas and hours worth of Downton Abbey to watch.

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The Winners of the cometition were Kate Forsyth and Mel Bowers, Congratulations! And thank you to everyone who entered and everyone who follows my blog. I’ve messaged the winners, but if you haven’t seen the message contact me and let me know which book you would like.

To see the draw check out the link below.

Thanks again and I hope everyone had a great Christmas or whatever you celebrate and that you got plenty of books.