Friday Fiction – some fantastic reads as we celebrate Library Information Week

Welcome to Friday Fiction #10

What’s been happening in my reading room?

It’s not been all that long since my last Friday Fiction post, but I’ve read some fabulous books recently and I just wanted to share them with you!

You can see the full list of books I’ve read, complete with my ratings, here: Reading Challenge for 2021

This one is my absolute favourite – my grandchildren sent me a personalised book for Mother’s Day! Such fun and full of love 🙂

Mothers' Day book from my grandchildren
Mothers’ Day book from my grandchildren

Library Information Week in Tumbarumba

Did you know this week has been Library Information Week? I didn’t either until I was asked by the local librarians to do a talk about blogging, followed by morning tea. I plan to write a post about my talk sometime soon, so keep an eye out.

In the meantime here is the program from our local library – literally something for everyone! Did you notice my name on the program?

Library Information Week in Tumbarumba
Library Information Week in Tumbarumba

I’m also thrilled that two of my grandchildren, in different states of Australia, participated in the National Simultaneous Storytime at their Daycare centres – how cool is that?

Something I really loved was the Mystery Book idea. A pile of plain brown paper wrapped books were available for borrowing – but what was in them? That’s the fun – rather than pick something by genre, or the pretty cover, you simply pick up a wrapped book, borrow it and take it home to enjoy. Isn’t that a great idea?

This is the mystery book I received, and I’m keen to read it. If I’m honest, I probably wouldn’t have picked it on my own, so the premise of Mystery Book has worked already hasn’t it 🙂

So what books have I enjoyed since our last chat?

I have read so many excellent books lately I just have to share these four 5 star reads with you. It seems I’ve been enjoying some historical fiction and am glad I’ve discovered Australian author Karen Brooks.

1.The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

This story really appealed to me and it was quick and easy read but the insights will stay with me for quite some time.

Goodreads Blurb:

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting blockbuster novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place. 

2.The Dressmakers of Yarrandarrah Prison by Meredith Jaffe


Can a wedding dress save a bunch of hardened crims? The Full Monty meets Orange is the New Black in a poignantly comic story about a men’s prison sewing circle.

A funny, dark and moving novel about finding humanity, friendship and redemption in unexpected places

My review on Goodreads:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. From the moment I picked it up in the book shop and read the back I was hooked and had to buy it immediately. I worked in a men’s prison (correctional centre) as a teacher and the Manager of Education programs for over 20 years before being made redundant (along with most of the teachers around the state of NSW), so you can imagine how much of this book resonated with me!

The story was fun in places but also showed the life that goes on ‘inside’ with great clarity. It also dealt well with the emotions of the inmate and their family. The daily goings on, the emotions, the staffing issues, the feelings and the thoughts expressed were just right.

This paragraph particularly spoke to me – ‘I told him he was wrong. I reminded him that learning to read and write allows a man to expand his horizons, develop a trade or gain a qualification. It’s money well spent. As opposed to releasing us back into the community the same way we came in, so we’ll reoffend and end up back in here.’
I could have written that myself as I used to explain it this way to anyone who would listen to me, time after time!

A great read, well written, well researched and very timely!

3.The Darkest Shore by Karen Brooks


The independent women of Scotland stand up to a witch hunt, male fury and the power of the Church in a battle for survival in this compelling historical novel based on true events in early eighteenth century Scotland.

My review:

This was one of those books I just couldn’t stop reading. I wanted to stop believe me because it was so harrowing. I kept gasping out loud and getting angry at the awfulness of the times and the way the women in the story were being treated. The fact that it was based on a true story made me cringe and despair but I had to keep reading. I finished it this morning and made myself stay in bed reading until I had finished it, 10.45am, but thankfully it was a Mother’s Day treat to do so.

The story may have been fraught but Karen Brooks made me feel so much for the women involved in this dreadful time. I learnt many new things and now understand the whole ‘fishwife’ thing.

This is my second novel by Karen Brooks and it definitely won’t be my last! 

4. The Chocolate Maker’s Wife by Karen Brooks

From Goodreads:

Australian bestselling novelist Karen Brooks rewrites women back into history with this breathtaking novel set in 17th century London—a lush, fascinating story of the beautiful woman who is drawn into a world of riches, power, intrigue…and chocolate.

My review on Goodreads:

I really enjoyed this trip back in time. The mix of real events and characters and fictional story lines were fabulous and kept me wanting to read on. I appreciated the descriptions of the plague and the great fire of London and learning about women’s roles in these very different (but sometimes similar) times. The chocolate houses were new to me and I learnt a lot. A very interesting and enjoyable book. Will now go looking for more by this author.

Two other books I have enjoyed, but didn’t quite make 5 star rating, were The Diamond Hunter by Fiona Mcintosh and H.A.G.S with Attitude – A Philosophy of Ageing by Angelique Du Toit.

These two quotes stood out to me as I was finishing the book H.A.G.S. I’m not really into fashion but I do love colour and it was interesting to see Angelique’s comments in regards to ageing women.

My friend Leanne at Cresting the Hill had Angelique as a guest on her blog recently and you can read the post here if you’d like more information: Wholehearted Living – Cultivating New Directions.

The rating system I use

1* = did not finish/terrible

2* = OK

3* = enjoyable

4* = really good

5* = excellent

My Reading Challenge for 2021

So far I’m up to 43 completed books for the year in my Goodreads challenge.

I started my Friday Fiction series quite a while ago, to share what I’ve been reading, what has taken my fancy or what I’d like to read.

This series was sparked by an item on my list of 12 things to do before turning 60 – which was to write more book reviews and share them on my blog. I have since done an update on my original post – An update on my list of 12 things to do before turning 60, and I’ve now turned 60. Time gets away doesn’t it?

Over to you now, what are you currently reading or watching?

I access many of my books for free, via our regional library app. Sometimes I have to wait for them to be available but generally it works well. I also use Kindle Unlimited and buy titles to read on my Kindle from Amazon. I also buy real books!

Thanks for joining me for another edition of Friday Fiction. I look forward to reading with you again soon.

Don’t forget to tell me what you’re reading at the moment!

Deb xx

You can also find Deb’s World in lots of other places – stay in touch by clicking any of the buttons below.

Debbie - mother of a 40 year old

Everyone has a story to tell! Deb is a young-at-heart & active 60+ blogger/retiree, after being made redundant from her 22-year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre (jail). She now spends her time reading, blogging, riding her ebike and travelling. Deb was awarded a Bravery Award from the Queen when she was 17 after a tragic accident – a definite life changing moment! She is married with 3 grown-up daughters & has 4 grandchildren. She never imagined being Granny Debs would bring so much joy to her life! You can read more of Deb’s story here

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18 Replies to “Friday Fiction – some fantastic reads as we celebrate Library Information Week”

  1. HI Deb,Congratulations on your Library presentation on blogging and aren’t mystery books a fabulous idea. I’m glad you enjoyed The Midnight Library and I also read the Darkest Shore on your suggestion. Isn’t it wonderful when grandchildren develop a love of reading. I know that Ethan who is now reading Chapter books devours them and Elliot also loves ‘reading’ his books with a bit of help from his big brother, Mummy, Daddy and Nan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sue, the mystery book idea was brilliant! I hope you enjoyed the Darkest Shore. I’m so pleased all my grandchildren enjoy reading and even 4 month old Zachary is getting in on the act!


    1. Thanks Carla, it just had my interest the minute I picked it up and it didn’t disappoint, especially given my history in that environment. The Mystery book was a fun element and well received by all accounts.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am a librarian so especially enjoyed your post. I like the name of the library where you spoke; how cool to give a talk on blogging. And two of your grandkids enjoying storytime remotely, fun stuff. I am reading 59 Memory Lane, the main character is 110, older than me, ha ha. Also reading Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. My blog post today is about something I am unhappy about with library education, I call it a whine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much for your visit and leaving me a comment. I also enjoyed hearing about the books your are currently reading. I get your thoughts in your post, where you said you had a ‘whine’, dropping the library from the school name is unbelievable!


  3. Loved the Granny Debs book – such a wonderful keepsake – and something you can read with them when you visit. It could become a new family tradition for bedtime stories. Quite a mix of reading for you this month Deb, I’m just embarking on a YA Fantasy trilogy by Laini Taylor – The Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I have a feeling I’ve read it before…..but with my memory it really doesn’t matter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Leanne, the personalised book is just brilliant! I admire you embarking on a YA trilogy, I’ve read a few YA fantasy books and always enjoyed them. I also like reading a range of genres 🙂


  4. Oh my goodness, Deb! The personalized book. How wonderful! I look forward to hearing how the Resident Blogger at the library went. A great review on “The Dressmakers of Yarrandarrah Prison” especially since you have first hand knowledge working in the correctional centre. We are leaving soon for our off the grid camping trip. I am downloading books for our respite. Thank you for sharing an interesting and information post, Deb.xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Erica, it may not be to everyone’s taste but I really enjoyed the story from ‘inside’. The personalised Granny Deb book is so very special and brought a tear to my eye. I think I’ll record myself reading pages to send to the grandkids, especially the ones I don’t see too often. Your off the grid camping trip sounds great.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Love reading book reviews. These are great Deb. I read The Midnight Library and really enjoyed it, a bit different. Will put The Dressmakers on my tbr, not sure if I can read The Darkest Shore after your review! Too harrowing. Maybe the Chocolate one though.
    I’ve just read Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers. Judging by your other books you would definitely enjoy this easy read. Set in 1957 about a woman caring for her elderly mother and working at a local newspaper.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Alison, I always enjoy reading book reviews so every now and again I like to share what I’ve been reading too. Glad to hear you liked the Midnight Library too, such an interesting perspective. Thanks also for the recommendation, I’ll definitely add Small Pleasures to my list.


  6. So glad for your book reviews. Just pinned all three of these for future reference. I am always looking for different titles t0 share with my book club. Had come across the Chocolate Maker’s Wife and have read The Midnight Library. The Seamstresses sounds like it would be a very good read and something different.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great to hear Leslie, I love sharing books I’ve enjoyed and am happy if anyone else also gets to enjoy them as a result. The sewing group was so out of left field, I thoroughly enjoyed it!


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