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 🙂
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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A tragic accident at age 17, resulting in a Bravery Award from the Queen, didn’t deter Debbie from travelling the world. A young retiree, after being made redundant from her 22 year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre, she now loves reading, blogging, riding her ebike and a good cup of tea! Also known as Granny Debs to her 4 grandchildren.
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