Welcome to Friday Fiction #11
What’s been happening in my reading room?
I’ve read some fabulous books recently and I just have to share them with you!
It’s winter here at the moment and the best place to read is in my sunroom, which is in my back yard – it’s bright, light and I’m outside, but inside out of the inclement weather!
I’m trying to get into the habit of writing my Friday Fiction posts towards the end of each month, so here are some of my favourite reads since my last update.
You can see the full list of books I’ve read so far this year, complete with my ratings, here: Reading Challenge for 2021
So what books have I enjoyed since our last chat?
I have read so many excellent books lately I just have to share these enjoyable reads with you.
I’m glad I’ve discovered Australian author Sasha Wasley, due to the Mystery Book from our local library which I mentioned in my previous Friday Fiction post – Spring Clean for the Peach Queen. The librarian suggested I would enjoy this author and she was right.
I went on to read Sasha’s trilogy Daughters of the Outback series and although they were more romance-y than I would usually read, they were relatable and had interesting themes going on as well as the romance. I loved them and would recommend them if you like Australian outback stories and romance – in order: Dear Banjo, True Blue, Love Song
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?Deb’s World
1. Wild by Kristin Hannah 5*
In the rugged Pacific Northwest lies the Olympic National Forest—nearly a million acres of impenetrable darkness and impossible beauty. From deep within this old growth forest, a six-year-old girl appears. Speechless and alone, she offers no clue as to her identity, no hint of her past.
Having retreated to her western Washington hometown after a scandal left her career in ruins, child psychiatrist Dr. Julia Cates is determined to free the extraordinary little girl she calls Alice from a prison of unimaginable fear and isolation. To reach her, Julia must discover the truth about Alice’s past—although doing so requires help from Julia’s estranged sister, a local police officer. The shocking facts of Alice’s life test the limits of Julia’s faith and strength, even as she struggles to make a home for Alice—and for herself.
This was a compelling read and I couldn’t put it down! The story of the girl who suddenly showed up in a small town, unable to speak and severely malnourished captured my heart and I would highly recommend it.
2. Megacity by Terry Tyler 5*
The UK’s new megacities: contented citizens relieved of the financial burden of home ownership, living in eco-friendly communities. Total surveillance has all but wiped out crime, and biometric sensor implants detect illness before symptoms are apparent.
That’s the hype. Scratch the surface, and darker stories emerge.
Tara is offered the chance to become a princess amongst media influencers—as long as she keeps quiet and does as she’s told.
Aileen uproots to the megacity with some reluctance, but none of her misgivings prepare her for the situation she will face: a mother’s worst nightmare.
Radar has survived gang rule in group homes for the homeless, prison and bereavement, and jumps at the chance to live a ‘normal’ life. But at what cost?
For all three, the price of living in a megacity may prove too high.
Terry has a way of making me see the world, as she writes it, and although it’s a hard world and hopefully not the future for us, I do enjoy her books. This was a great final story, tying everything up, and giving me hope for the characters left standing!
I must say, Terry’s previous books, mainly her dystopian fiction, have influenced my short story writing and I think this can be best seen in my story for Marsha’s Story Chat recently – The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – I admire Terry’s imagination and creativity immensely!
3. Spring Clean for the Peach Queen – by Sasha Wasley 5*
Twelve years had passed since the last Harvest Ball.
I was just eighteen when my hometown crowned me their Peach Queen with a blossom coronet. And I was eighteen when I left.
One tanked career, one badly timed glamour shoot and one dead boyfriend later, thirty-year-old Lottie Bentz is finally going home.
Back in the orchard town of Bonnievale, Lottie embarks on a radical declutter of her life, Marie Kondo-style. She casts out everything that got her into trouble: her phone, socials, make-up and a tendency to tell little white lies – to herself and others. But home has its own issues, not least Lottie’s staunchly feminist mother, who is furious with her.
When Lottie lands herself a place to stay in exchange for helping kindly Mrs Brooker try out the Kondo method, it seems like the perfect farm escape. That’s until Angus, Lottie’s former Peach King and heir to the Brooker orchards, makes it clear she’s not welcome – especially when Lottie’s declutter begins to stir up long buried memories and half-truths.
As Lottie finds her way back to herself, can she use her talents to coax Bonnievale and the Brookers out of the past? After all, everyone deserves to feel love, hope and the occasional spark of joy.
A deeply moving story about forgiving, finding joy and falling in love with life again.
I picked this up as a Mystery book, wrapped in brown paper at our local library as part of Library Information Week recently. The idea was you selected a book you knew nothing about and even the cover wasn’t able to guide you. It was a pure mystery book. I really enjoyed this book and must admit I probably wouldn’t have picked it up, which is why I think I enjoyed it so much! It was completely unknown and that was refreshing. I could relate to the small town setting, the politics, the activities and some of the family issues. It was a great read with many likeable characters and a slow burn romance. As a result I’ll probably look for more from this Aussie author and I will thank the librarian for the great read!
4. The Family Doctor by Debra Oswald 5*
Paula is a dedicated suburban GP, who is devastated by the murder of a friend and her children by their estranged husband and father. Stacey and the children had been staying with her after fleeing his control, and Paula is haunted by the thought that she couldn’t protect them when they most needed it. How had she missed the warning signs? How had she failed to keep them safe?
Not long after, a patient with suspicious injuries brings her anxious young son into Paula’s surgery. The woman admits that her husband hurts her, but she’s terrified to leave for fear of escalating the violence, and defeated by the consistent failures of the law to help her.
Can Paula go against everything she believes to make sure one woman is saved, one child spared? She isn’t motivated by revenge. She’s desperately trying to prevent a tragedy . . .
This was an unputdownable book, although in some ways I didn’t want to read it at all. It was well written and the characters highly believable. Once I started it I couldn’t stop reading but it was shocking and scary too, because domestic violence is a part of many people’s lives.
5. The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth 5*
From the outside, everyone might think Fern and Rose are as close as twin sisters can be: Rose is the responsible one and Fern is the quirky one. But the sisters are devoted to one another and Rose has always been Fern’s protector from the time they were small.
Fern needed protecting because their mother was a true sociopath who hid her true nature from the world, and only Rose could see it. Fern always saw the good in everyone. Years ago, Fern did something very, very bad. And Rose has never told a soul. When Fern decides to help her sister achieve her heart’s desire of having a baby, Rose realizes with growing horror that Fern might make choices that can only have a terrible outcome. What Rose doesn’t realize is that Fern is growing more and more aware of the secrets Rose, herself, is keeping. And that their mother might have the last word after all.
I think I inhaled this book, it was so enjoyable! I constantly had to change my thinking but I do admit to having a soft spot for Fern all the way through. A great book about sisterly relationships and community support as a whole. Loved it!
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 60 completed books for the year in my Goodreads challenge, where my goal is 105 books. I think I’m fairly on track!
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?
I access many of my books for free from my local library and via Borrow Box, 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 have restarted using Audible to listen to books as I drive, but they’re not my preferred way of ‘reading’ I must say. I also buy real books and belong to two bookclubs, one local group (using our library) and the other is an online bookclub using Zoom. It keeps me engaged and happy, plus reading is my idea of FUN!!
Over to you now, what are you currently reading or watching?
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 about the book 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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