Which Books Made My February Reading List?

A long, hot summer-  one with plenty of reading time

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I read nine books this month, a mix of fiction and non-fiction.  Often a serious book will prompt me to choose something lighter to read or I will pick a non-fiction book instead.

Does your own reading follow a pattern or do you choose books at random?

           In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende

 

In The Midst of Winter
Simon and Schuster

 

Three people brought together by chance, in a snowstorm. Richard, a university professor, Evelyn, an undocumented migrant from Guatemala and Lucia, a visiting Chilean academic, she is also Richard’s tenant.

Each has past filled with secrets and heartache. They form an unlikely alliance to help Evelyn who was involved in a minor car accident with Richard. Terrified she can hardly speak as she faces a  major problem.Her problem involves them in something far more serious than anticipated. In spite of some bleak events, this is a life-affirming and inspiring book. I won a copy of In the Midst of Winter in a giveaway but  there was no obligated to write a review

.                               5:2Vegetarian by Celia Brooks

 

5 2 VegetarainWhile I am not a vegetarian, I don’t eat a lot of meat, so this book appealed to me. With recipes for easy fast day meals, speedy breakfasts and simple snacks, the book was just what I was looking for. There is a section on convenience foods and packed lunches, with suggestions for how the recipes in the book can be used as packed lunches. All in all a practical and useful book. I borrowed this book from the library

 The Romance Reader’s Guide to Life by Sharon Pywell.

 

The Romance Readers Guiee to Life

This is a book that is quite hard to categorise, in fact, it’s a bit of a genre-busting book. The cover although brilliant is slightly misleading as it conveys the promise of a romance.The story concerns, ghosts, history, domestic violence, entrepreneurship, the relationships between siblings, a murder and a pirate tale. There is a parallel storyline between the supposedly real-life events involving the two sisters and the romance storyline. In a sense, I felt that the title was deceptive in its promise of “romance”. The romance was certainly there, but the author delivered another and more complex and darker version of what life and romance might be. I would certainly be interested in reading another of her book.This book was one that I bought.

                             Jenna’s Truth by Nadia L King

 

Jenna's Truth
from Good reads


The book was written in response to the tragic suicide of Amanda Todd a US teenager who was bullied to death.Jenna’s Truth is a powerful story, which is very relevant for today’s’ teens and their concerned parents.

Written in the first person it feels very authentic. When Jenna is befriended by the popular girl at school she doesn’t question why, as this is her dream come true. Tina’s aim is to lull Jenna into a false sense of security and then to betray her trust.The casual cruelty of the situation is well depicted. Driven by desperation Jenna feels that she has nowhere to turn.

This is a book that should be widely read and its message shared, to speak out against bullying and that there are things that can be done to stop the spread of bullying.In addition to the story itself, the book has pages of resources against bullying and cyberbullying, discussion questions and activities. For international readers, there is a glossary of Australian terms.

   The Hairy Dieters Eat for Life by Si King and Dave Myers

 

Hairy Dieters
Photo from The Hairy Dieters website

 

One look at the cover photo will show how well the boys have succeeded in losing weight. The recipes are colourful and tasty and they should appeal to the man in your life.Unless you are eating one meal a day they may be mostly too high in calories for using with 5;2 or the Fast diet. Eat for Life would be good to use to on non-fasting days to keep your calorie count in check.

                    The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth

 

Things that we keep
Image from Good reads.

Although the book tackles potentially depressing topics –such as young age Alzheimer’s disease and the aftermath of fraud and suicide, it is not a depressing read. In parts, the story felt reminiscent of Lisa Genova’s Still Alice as Anna, writes herself journal entries to try and retain a sense of who she is.

Anna Forster is only thirty-eight and worked as a paramedic so she knows the outcome of her disease only too well. Now, she is a resident of RosalindHouse, an assisted living facility. Jack, her twin chose it because there is another young resident.

Eve, Bennett has come to Rosalind House as the cook, a far cry from her easy life of wealth and privileged, as a pampered wife. Her circumstances have changed and she has an important motive for being there.

The story has a parallel structure with Eve and Anna telling their own stories, I found it was easy to read and it kept me turning the pages.

But, the author left Anna and Luke, (the two young age Alzheimer sufferers,) still functioning and maintaining a sense of their own personalities. So while their final outcome was spelt out, the book did not go there. A thought-provoking book.

                           Million Love Songs by Carole Matthews

Million Love Songs HAchette
Image Good reads

After a marriage breakup and a blow to her self-esteem, Ruby Brown wants to start a new life. Forget love and commitment, it’s time for Ruby to let her hair down and have some fun.

Although her friend Charlie warns Ruby about Mason Sloan ( aka Shagger Sloan) and their boss. Ruby enjoys flirting with him. He’s a charmer and an outrageous flirt and his bad boy reputation doesn’t hurt either.

Then there is Joe, her diving instructor who is good looking, caring, friendly but with serious baggage, An ex-wife, who he is technically still married to and two teenage children,

Having the two such different men in her life Ruby is spoilt for choice.Can she tame bad boy Mason? Does she want to? Will Joe see her as more than a casual friend? Is she ready to take on his surly children?

Charlie her best friend and huge Take That! fan swoons over Gary Barlow, it’s far safer than getting involved with a real-life man, one who could hurt you. Ruby’s emotions sway in favour of one and then the other. Her love life has never been busier or her heart so torn.

 Nevermoor; The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

 

NeverMoor image Hachette
image Hachette

While I am not the intended readership of this book, it’ss for primary school aged children ) I enjoyed it very much. I feel it is probably more advanced than most primary aged readers and at 448 pages it is quite a long read. I suggest its more for a mid-grade readership, perhaps 11+

Who could resist reading about Morrigan Crow who is cursed? She is an unusual but relatable character and the concept and ideas of the story worked well. Although it’s a longish book I never felt that the story dragged

Transported to an unfamiliar world Morrigan has the protection of Jupiter North, who proves to be an erratic and eccentric guardian.But without him, she knows that she would be dead.

She learns that in order to remain in Nevermoor she has to face four trials. She feels ill-equipped to handle even one and the mysterious Jupiter isn’t exactly helping.

For an older reader, there are plenty of oblique references to our world, which are likely to amuse you. I particularly liked the reference to the Gobleian library. A second book in the series planned for release in 2018 and I am sure many fans will be looking out for it.

             Ghouls Just Haunt to Have Fun by Victoria Laurie.

 

19918890._UY200_
from Good reads.

This is part of a series of books written by real-life psychic Victoria Laurie.It’s not the first book in this series, but it is the first one that I picked up and it can easily be read as a stand-alone.

Its a fast and easy read, with a mixture of humour and suspense. M.J Holliday is talked into appearing on a TV show by Gilly her business partner The show is being promoted as a cross between The Antiques Roadshow and Ghostbusters. MJ and other psychics will sense what the objects handed to them have to say.

They are staying in ‘the most haunted hotel in San Francisco’. It is obvious that more than a TV show has to happen. So a murder and an apparent suicide, a portal, and a demon are all in the days work for MJ. and Heath the fellow psychic that she is working with.

The first two-thirds of the book engaged me, the last third less so. It felt a bit rushed and my suspicions about certain characters proved to be correct.

Do any of my choices appeal to you? What have you been reading this month? I’d love to know!

Author: soniabellhouse

Sonia Bellhouse is a contributor to Writing the Dream, an anthology for published writers produced by Serenity Press in 2016. In 2012she won two major awards in the inaugural Rockingham Short Fiction contest. Sonia's articles and stories are published in various magazines both in Australia and the UK. These include Good reading, Today's Bride, That's Life! and That's Life! Fast Fiction in Australia and Yours, The People's Friend and Best of British in the Uk. Sonia worked as a book reviewer for two years .As an avid reader and writer of multiple genres she facilitated a local book club for eleven years. She reluctantly decided to give it up, to concentrate on her writing. Sonia is a long time member of a writers group, regularly engaging authors to present workshops to the group.. Sonia enjoys catching up with friends, ignoring the ironing in favour of playing with her cat and learning new things. She's taken several online courses with Future Learn and The University of Iowa for both writing and non writing topics.