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text 2014-06-27 11:54
The Last Matchmaker: The Heart-Warming True Story of the Man Who Brought Love to Ireland by Willie Daly
The Last Matchmaker: The Heart-Warming True Story of the Man Who Brought Love to Ireland - Willie Daly

bookshelves: autobiography-memoir, fradio, love, nonfiction, published-2010, summer-2014, amusing

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from June 20 to 27, 2014


Dermot Crowley reads from the memoir by traditional Irish matchmaker Willie Daly. Telling tall tales of true love, this is a fascinating journey through modern rural Ireland and its recent past.

Abridged by David Jackson Young.

Episode 1: A star added just for the Waterboys theme tune

Episode 2: Willie is inducted into the family business by his grandfather.

Episode 3: How the cultural and social changes of the 1960s began to impact on life in rural Ireland.

Episode 4: Willie's father made his last match a month before he died - finding a wife for his son.

Episode 5: A salutary tale warning against messing with the path of true love.

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review 2014-05-06 01:41
Review: Beach Plum Island by Holly Robinson
Beach Plum Island - Holly Robinson
A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for my review
Genre: Contemporary/Women's Fiction
Page Count: 400 Pages
List Price: $15.00 Paperback
               $ 7.99 Digital Edition
Publication Date:  April 1, 2014
Publisher: NAL Trade
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
One of the things I like about reviewing books is finding new authors that are up to the "repeat performance" test.  Nothing is more disappointing than reading a book that you thought was great, and then the next book is a let down.  On the flip side, nothing is more enjoyable than having that second book live up to, and sometimes even surpass the first one.  Such is the case withBeach Plum Island the new book by author Holly Robinson.  For those of you who read my recent review of her first book, The Wishing Hill, you will know how excited I was to find an author in the women's fiction category that writes with compelling story lines and wonderful, complex female characters.  
Like Holly Robinson's first book, Beach Plum Island is mostly a story about family, in this case siblings.  Ava Barret is the oldest of the sisters, a potter by trade, and the divorced mother of two teenage boys.  All her life she has been the one to "take care of things".  When her father passes away from cancer, he tells he to "tell her brother the truth."  The only problem is, as far as Ava knows, she only has two sisters, Elaine, the sister she grew up with, and Gigi, her half-sister from her father's second marriage. 
Beach Plum Island is one is part mystery and one part family drama, with romance thrown in for good measure. I like the way the clues for the mystery part of the story are revealed slowly, as the story progresses, allowing the mystery to be engaging without taking over the entire plot. Unfortunately, although I enjoyed the mystery surrounding the brother, and the ensuing search for him, this part of the story had it's flaws for me.  In the beginning, it seemed like it was going to be just as complex as the rest of the story, but the conclusion of this story line seemed a bit to easy and didn't quite ring true.  To say anymore would be to include spoilers, but I would have liked this part of the story to be a bit more real. 
 It is the family drama part that Iiked the most,  and where I think Holly's writing really shines.  The relationships between the characters are both complex and flawed, as are the characters themselves.  I love that all of the characters, from the major protagonists all the way down to the character with the smallest part in the story, have demons in their lives that they are dealing with.  Not a single one of them is totally positive or negative.  At times I loved them and applauded their actions, at other times I wanted to yell at them and tell them to grow up, or think things through before acting.  Exactly the way I am with my real life siblings, which makes the story all the more enjoyable to read. 
As I read the book, I found myself turning pages, not wanting to stop reading until I found out how Ava was going to pull the family together, or how Gigi was going to fit into the family without her father around as a buffer, or even whether Elaine was going to decide that a one night stand didn't equal a relationship. This feeling lasted all of the way to the end of the book and beyond.  Although the end of the book was perfectly satisfying, I still found myself wondering what was next for the members of the family. This type of feeling is what I have come to expect from Holly's writing and I am looking forward to her next project.  It is also what makes me recommend this book to all my reading friends.
Source: abookaddictsmusings.blogspot.com/2014/05/review-beach-plum-island-by-holly.html
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review 2014-05-01 00:22
Review: Previously Loved Treasures by Bette Lee Crosby
Previously Loved Treasures: The Serendipity Series Book Two (Volume 2) - Bette Lee Crosby
A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for my review. 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Page Count: 262 pages
Publication Date: April 7, 2014
Publisher: Bent Pine Publishing
List Price: $14.00 - Trade Paperback
               $ 5.99 Digital Edition
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Since May of 2012 I have managed to read all of Bette Lee Crosby's books except one.  Although all of them were either good or great, her latest endeavor, Previously Loved Treasures, is perhaps my favorite.  It is at least my second favorite, as I will always have a spot in my heart for Cracks in the Sidewalk.  
Previously Loved Treasures is the second book in Bette Lee Crosby's Serendipity Series.  It is the story of Ida Sweetwater, whose husband and life long love, Big Jim Sweetwater, has recently died.  Ida is left alone in their large empty house, which begins to weigh on her.  Also weighing on her is her need for an income.  At this point, Ida makes two decisions that kick off the book and set this heart-warming story in motion.  It is also the story of her granddaughter, Caroline Sweetwater, and her need to find a family and a place to belong.  
The first important decision that Ida makes is to open up her home to boarders.  This brings to the story a whole host of characters that not only enrich the story of her and Caroline, but also are interesting in their own right.  This story would be nothing without this ragtag bunch of misfits and their interesting individual stories.  In fact, you could actually say that each of these characters are previously "unloved" treasures that somehow find a home and a reason to be with the help of Ida and Caroline.   I especially enjoyed the way that Bette allowed many of them a chapter told in their own words, interspersed among the regular chapters.  Along with filling in details of the main story, these chapters really helped me get inside the minds of these characters.  This lead to a greater understanding of their motives and thinking, and therefore, to a more enjoyable read. 
The second important decision is Ida's search for her long lost son, James, which ultimately brings her in contact with her granddaughter, Caroline.  It is quickly apparent that Caroline is going to become the catalyst for the story that Previously Loved Treasures is trying to tell.  It is Ida and Caroline's basic kindness that draw the characters in the story to them, and ultimately,allow those characters to repay them many times over with their love. 
And of course the story would be nothing without the Previously Loved Treasures second hand store and its charming proprietor, Peter Pennington.  Peter is a bit of a mystery as a character, as is his ability to always know exactly what someone is looking for.  
As for this being the second book in a "series", the connection between it, and the first book The Twelfth Child, although important to the outcome of the story, is not so ingrained in this story as to make it impossible to read one without the other.  In fact, both stories stand on their own perfectly, and I felt this one was far and away the best of the two.  I was so engrossed in the story from the beginning, that I was basically able to read this book in one sitting,  
Although I would recommend  any and all of Bette Lee Crosby's work to everyone, this book would be close to the top of the list.  Bette has a charming way of telling a story that both delights and engages.  I am anxiously looking forward to reading the last book of hers that is sitting on my shelf, and to seeing what her next endeavor is. 
Source: abookaddictsmusings.blogspot.com/2014/04/reveiw-previously-loved-treasures-by.html
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