☕ Book Break ☕ |~A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy~

 ~A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy~

“She was still vaguely hopeful that there was love out there somewhere—just a little less sure that she might actually find it.”

“Her life was like her house—a colorful fantasy where anything was possible if you wanted it badly enough.”

Chicky Starr revamps an old mansion, turning it into a holiday resort for those wanting to spend time in an out-of-the-way place. Stone House is in a remote area on the cliffs of Ireland, part of a small village. The novel follows a varied cast of characters. A warm read. Humorous. Relatable.

Maeve Binchy was one of a kind. I’m not sure how she did it. The stories she wrote are rich with characters in situations that we often find ourselves. I find myself becoming attached to her characters, and remembering them long after the last page has been read. This was her last novel.

While this is not my favorite novel of hers, it was a joy to revisit for this fan.

This one may be a bit slow in parts, and does seem to meander a bit, but I think it’s well worth the time. It leaves me with a warm, cozy feeling.

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☕ Book Break ☕ |~Across The Universe by Beth Revis~

~Across The Universe by Beth Revis~

Seventeen year old Amy, along with her parents, is cryogenically frozen in order to make a 300 year trip to a new earth. Someone starts the thawing process early, and Amy wakes. We don’t find out who until the end of the novel.

Amy doesn’t fit in with the other people. The small society of ship dwellers have become genetically similar over the generations spent on board, and Amy sticks out with her red hair and white skin. The ship dwellers’ behavior is odd and troubling. Elder, in training to become the leader of the ship, The Godspeed, is the only person Amy’s age on board. He finds Amy irresistibly attractive. Elder searches for the person who is tampering with the cryogenically frozen passengers and discovers much more.

My eldest picked this book for me at the library. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this novel. Before I made it to the last chapter, I felt the need to reserve the next book in the series. Many of the sci-fi novels my boys pick are too heavy on the technical side for me, but this one was perfect.

If you are a fan of sci-fi stories or shows, you might like this series. Great read. Highly entertaining. Satisfying ending to the book with enough left over to make me want to get the next book. Engaging. Satisfying story.

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☕ Book Break ☕ |~The Ocean at The End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman~

~The Ocean at The End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman~

I had no idea what this book was about or even what type of book it was when I picked it up. I thought it was suspense maybe. Instead, I was treated to fantasy.

I listened to the audiobook read by Neil Gaiman. I’m always curious to hear them read their own work, how they meant for the story to sound when they wrote it. I have to say Neil Gaiman is the best author narrator I have heard. Some authors probably should not read their own work, but I think Neil Gaiman could make a grocery list sound enthralling.
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A coming of age story at the crossroads of mystery and wonder, the book has tragedies and magic mixed together. Every once in a while, I like a story that has a little bit of magic and supernatural elements stitched through. .

The story has so many truths woven through it. The characters are fantastic. I adored this book.

“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”

“Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.” .
“I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy.”

“Books were safer than other people anyway.”

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☕ Book Break ☕ |~My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows~

~My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows~
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This book had me snorting into my teacup. It’s a retelling of Jane Eyre, with the authors taking flexible liberties. It’s kind of a cross between the classic tale and Ghostbusters with a little extra thrown in for good measure.
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For purists who like their classics, the irreverence may be a bit much. I found it hilarious. The cultural references to LOTR and the Princess Bride had me laughing out loud. I’ve always had a soft spot for literature that breaks the story by speaking directly to the reader. There’s something special about seeing “Dear Reader”. ❤️
I adore this book. I did not read the first one, but it certainly on my list now.
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If you’re looking for a lighthearted read I love Jane Eyre adaptations you should check this one out.
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There is mild language in one section of the book when are heroines are in dire straits and frustrated beyond their limits. Other than that, there should be nothing in here to shock the sensibilities. Unless ghosts disturb you. These ghosts are funny, for the most part.
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Loved it.

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☕ Book Break ☕ |~Entwined by Heather Dixon~

~Entwined by Heather Dixon~
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She wanted to give him toast. The sort that had melted butter and a bit of honey spread on top. It was a stupid thought, but there was something comforting about toast.
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I can be agreeable,” said Fairweller. “If the other party is.”
“Oh, well,” said Bramble. “There goes that, then.”
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If you want to break all the windows in the house and drown yourself in a bucket but don’t actually do it, well, that’s love.
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I am rediscovering my love of fairytales. This was a delightful read. I love the way the author took an old favorite fairytale of the twelve dancing princesses and wobe a completely new story but retained echoes of the old classic.
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The castle has a bit of magic around the edges, left over from the time when the evil king ruled. Azalea and her sisters are forced to give up everything for a year of morning when her mother dies. The hardest thing to give up is dance. Azalea discovers a secret passage way that leads to a magical place where she is free to dance, she returns again and again. She finds it she cannot give it up, even when the Keeper, Who rules this en chanted room begins to make her uncomfortable.
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I was thoroughly entertained and enchanted by this novel. I love Azalea. It seems like she got the short end of the stick. Her mother dies and her dad, the king, checks out. The girls must all wear black. Azalea is of the age that she should be attending parties and balls, interacting with prospective suitors.
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Father daughter relationships. Evil villains. Characters with strong personalities. Romances. Hardship. Enchantment. I love the sisters. I could clearly picture each one of the characters.
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This was a long book that didn’t feel long. There were parts that were creepy, parts that were lovely, and lessons to be drawn. Well done.
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The villain is quite dark compared to some fairy-tale versions, depending on what you’re used to. Those with younger readers may want to be aware. This fairy-tale is suitable for older teens. It really does depend on your experience and expectation. I usually find the fairy-tale retellings to be tamer than the original fairy tales I read when I was a child. Most of those did not end well.
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☕ Book Break ☕ |~Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven~

~Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven~

“We’re all weird and damaged in our own way. You’re not the only one.” 

Libby Strout was once named “America’s Fattest Teen” but now she has gotten healthy enough to go to public school. Jack Masselin has no shortage of friends. But he has a secret, he’s face blind.

Prosopagnosia produces a great deal of stress and anxiety, and Jack keeps his problem hidden. It makes him look like a jerk much of the time. Libby had to be cut out of her house once, so she has her own issues she’d rather not bring into the spotlight. The two end up falling for each other.

I loved Libby’s outlook on life. She is determined to make the best of life. It took me a while to warm up to Jack. By the end, I felt for him.

The story idea is fantastic, and the portrayal of prosopagnosia was interesting. Libby’s plight broke my heart. Plenty of teenage introspection. Well written. It did seem to be heavy on the profanity, which I found distracting. Still, never once did I feel like abandoning the story, and the end was satisfying.

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☕ Book Break ☕ |~How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry~

~How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry~

I have a soft spot for books set in bookshops, and books set in the Cotswolds! I like being able to see glimpses into the everyday lives of people and the culture. There’s just something about it.
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Emilia has promised her father to keep the Nightingale Bookshop open. After he passes away, she realizes the shop is in financial trouble. They need infusions of more than cash, they need fresh ideas, updates, and all manner of complications arise. Of course there is a pushy property developer waiting in the wings, salivating in anticipation of Emillia’s failure.
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It was enjoyable. The pace was relaxed, but not in a bad way. There was plenty going on, and a delightful cast of characters. The setting has charm galore. A little romance and a few heartbreaks. .
Veronica Henry skillfully knit the novel together, even though the characters each had their own separate stories to tell. A feel good read.

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☕ Book Break ☕ |~The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale~

~The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale~

“It wasn’t a person’s age that made death sad. It was the size of the absence it caused in the ones left behind.”

This book has all the feels. The story is set in the same part of the country as Steel Magnolias, which I feel should be required viewing for anyone who is breathing, and it has a little bit of the same flavor, with sassy southern women. The characters face adversity with a dash of humor and grace.

I loved the the authentic setting and characters. I was surprised it was categorized as Christian fiction. While there is mention of church and God and the main character, Carrigan, has many questions about God’s will, it doesn’t read like inspirational fiction. I would identify it more along the lines as southern fiction or women’s contemporary.

Friendship is an important theme in this novel, and Celeste Fletcher McHale paints a lovely picture of true and lasting friendship between three women. It makes one long for the faithfulness and resilience of lifelong friends. I found myself chuckling and crying as I read about these three women. .
We are given an epilogue at the end of the story, however I would love to see additional novels about these characters.

Beautifully written and completely enjoyable. I look forward to reading more by this author.

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☕ Book Break ☕ |~Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman~

~Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman~

Eleanor is socially awkward. She lives alone, spending her time working, drinking vodka on the weekends, and taking phone calls from Mummy. Raymond is the typical IT guy from the office, sloppy and unorganized. After work one day, they witness an old man, Sammy, as he collapses on the sidewalk and they work together to help him. The three become friends.
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What a beautiful novel. Eleanor is wonderfully quirky, and the author so clearly draws this character that my sympathies were completely in Eleanor’s corner even when her behavior raised the ire of her coworkers. I adored Raymond, who is as clueless as Eleanor in his own way.

This book is entertaining, amusing at times, tragic, and completely worthy of any reader’s time. Eleanor has left little cracks in my heart, and at the same time restored hope. A must read.

Gail Honeyman had me from paragraph one all the way until the last word.❤
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And did I hear this was going to be made into a movie? No way will it be as good as the book, but I’ll be watching, just in case.

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☕ Book Break ☕ | ~When Never Comes by Barbara Davis~

~When Never Comes by Barbara Davis~
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“Integrity isn’t something you have in some parts of your life and not in others. You either have it, or you don’t.” 

Christy Lynn has no troubles. She has survived a troubled youth to become the wife of a best selling crime novelist. She believes her marriage to be an ideal one, until her husband has a car accident, his car ending up in Echo Bay. In the car with him is a half naked blonde.

This book grabbed me from the beginning. A complicated story about a complicated young woman. Her plight tugged at my heart strings, and by the end of the story I wanted her to find her happiness. Christy Lynn learns about her husband’s secret life, and discovers much about herself in the process.

I don’t want to give any spoilers away, but the book ends exactly as a book should.
There is some language in it and some uncomfortable subject matter. The scenes are not explicit, but the main character has had a rough life in the past.

Lovely ending. I was cheering her on. A very satisfying read.

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