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review 2018-06-18 00:46
Sweet Home Highland Christmas
Sweet Home Highland Christmas - May McGoldrick

What a great read! This had everything that I needed right now. The main characters, Gregory and Freya, were great characters that I really loved reading about. I couldn't get enough of the chemistry between them. Freya's niece Ella was an absolute hoot and kept me laughing throughout the book. I enjoyed the fact that this was on the shorter side so that it didn't drag on at all.

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review 2018-06-16 19:37
The Star Witness - Andy Hamilton
(note: the Andy Hamilton who wrote this novel is NOT the person described in the author profile … is there a way for Booklikes to differentiate between multiple authors who happen to have the same name)? THIS is the Andy Hamilton who authored "The Star Witness"
 
I've been a longtime fan of Andy Hamilton via his BBC Radio shows "Old Harry's Game" and "Revolting People", plus very fond memories of catching a few episodes of "Drop the Dead Donkey" on TV long ago. So was happy to discover that he'd written a novel and was eager to read it.
And now I'm eager to read any other novel Andy Hamilton cares to write. "The Star Witness" wasn't anything like his radio shows (which are hilarious with deeply insightful serious underlayers) not that I expected that of him … the man's too versatile to just do the same thing over and over. Instead this work had the serious front and centre with moments of snark and self-deprecating and defensive humour from the main character … a quieter form of comedy interwoven into an larger fabric of a man whose going-through-the-motions life is suddenly turned upside-down and inside-out, and how this this upheaval at first flattens him into apathy and then slowly changes him for the better. We hope. There's an ambiguous at-a-crossroads ending and good on Mr. Hamilton for doing that because, really, I like books that don't spoonfeed me all the answers and instead leave things open for speculation and interpretation.
Definitely have to re-read this with knowledge of that ending because I know it's going to change a lot of my perceptions from the first in-ignorance reading.
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review 2018-06-16 16:47
A story of our times
Home Fire - Kamila Shamsie

A story that explores the controversial subject of the indoctrination of the ISIS philosophy into a sympathetic yet ultimately misguided populace.

 

Isma Pasha followed her dream to America leaving behind her elegant sister Aneeka and her vulnerable yet impressionable brother Parvaiz. Eamonn, the son of outspoken Home Secretary Karamat Lone, becomes captivated by the beauty that is Aneeka. Does Aneeka reciprocate this love or is she merely using Eamonn to help rescue her twin brother Parvaiz who has since travelled to Syria but very quickly lives to regret this decision.

 

There is a nice balance in this novel between the Pasha family whose father Adil, had been a jihadi and had gone to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban  and died for his beliefs, and Home Secretary Karamat Lone a traditionalist and yet a reformer. He loathed those citizens irrespective of  beliefs or culture..."who treated the privilege of British citizenship as something that could be betrayed without consequences"...and further..."I hate the Muslims who make people hate Muslims"......

 

I can understand why Home Fire was the winner of the Women's Prize for fiction 2018 and whilst the first part of this novel was a little reticent and slow to impress the second half presented neatly formulated ideas and beliefs all leading to a very sudden unexpected conclusion. Home Fire is a story of the modern world and shows what happens when the corrupt and misguided prey on the weak and receptive.

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text 2018-06-15 12:00
Friday Reads - June 15, 2018
Wishing Lake (A Finding Home Novel) - Regina Hart
One in a Million - Jill Shalvis
Cafe Au Lait - Liane Spicer
Welcome to Last Chance - Cathleen Armstrong
The Spirit of '76: From Politics to Technology, the Year America Went Rock & Roll (Kindle Single) - David Browne

Today is the first full day of summer vacation for my kids. Don't know how much reading I will be getting done while they are home, but I hope to finish Wishing Lake and at least get started on One in a Million this weekend. Keeping on the contemporary romance track, I hope to get Café Au Lait and Welcome to Last Chance done next week. On the non-fiction side, I want to get The Spirit of '76 read.

 

I am hoping that Storm Hector brings relief from my allergies. Happy reading!

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review 2018-06-14 20:47
Harmony Cabins (Finding Home #2) by Regina Hart
Harmony Cabins (Finding Home Series Book 2) - Regina Hart

Another good installment in the small town contemporary series. This time we find Jackson Sansbury, the last living member of Trinity Falls, OH founding family, owning and running a cabin resort at the edge of town. Jackson has had a rough couple of years; his wife cheated on him while he was at the hospital with their daughter who was fighting (and ultimately lost her battle with) cancer. With the towns 150th birthday celebration just weeks away, the citizens of Trinity Falls hope that he can come around to celebrating with them; but for now he is just dealing with his grief in his own way by being a grumpy recluse.

 

Until Audra "Penny" Lane comes to spend a summer in the one renovated cabin at the resort. Her manager is a native of Trinity Falls and thinks that getting Audra away from the pressure cooker that is Los Angeles will help her get over her writer's block (Audra is a songwriter who just won a Grammy) and help with her insomnia. She finds the small town life very liberating and begins to find her muse again. 

 

Jackson and Audra make a sweet, wonderful couple and both their exes can die in a fiery mosh pit. Doreen amps up her mayoral campaign and gets caught in a sort of love triangle (but let's face it, anyone is better than that asshole Coach Leo). I kind of knew what secret woman Darius was seeing in the next town over and was proven right. The secret coming to light was a nice bit of fireworks to end Trinity Falls celebration.

 

Plot wise, this book moves slow in the first half and then layer upon layer of revelations begin to emerge and makes the story so engrossing. There are other plotlines that are a continuation from the previous book and are left hanging somewhat to be continued in the next book, but these plotlines give the reader a fuller sense of the world building and help set up the next book. Darius really shines in this book and I can't wait to read his story.

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