October Book Club Pick!

Ok, I can’t believe it is time to pick the next Parra Reads online book club title. No sooner do we pick a title and start reading then it is time to start all over again.

September’s title ‘A Thousand Ships’ by Natalie Haynes ended up being a great read! Being a big fan of historical fiction and having not read any books on ancient Greek mythology ‘A Thousand Ships’ was an enjoyable read for me. I love reading historical fiction told from a female perspective. If you do too then this is a must read for you!

Our October pick is ‘Enid, the scandalous life of a glamorous Australian who dazzled the world’ by Robert Wainwright.

October’s pick happened to come into fruition because of my Mother-in-law. Each year as part of her birthday present I buy some lovely handmade fig jams, fresh tea and a book. The books are always about Australia whether it be fiction or non-fiction. When she was younger my Mother-in-law loved nothing better than hooking the caravan up and setting off on a trip around Australia, in fact given any opportunity now she is always off on the train somewhere for lovely day trips exploring new and old towns.

So searching through new release titles I came across ‘Enid’ by Robert Wainwright and thought it would be perfect pick for her birthday. Then after reading the blurb and a bit of the first chapter I thought it would be a good pick for Book Club and luckily enough our rbDigital Library had it available as both a multicap eAudiobook and eBook title, so we can all ‘read along together’

I hope you enjoy it as much as I already am!

Jody

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Book Club Reviews

Our Dundas Book Clubs have been very busy reading and reviewing their book club picks over the last month.

Read what they thought about, ‘The Woman in the Window’, ‘Any Ordinary Day’ and ‘The Alice Network’. All of which have been hugely popular reads with a lot of our clubs.

Enjoy!

Jody

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Parra Reads Book Club Wrap-Up & September Pick!

I made it! Finally managed to finish one book club title for August just before we reach the end of the month. I am so happy with myself. I literally just finished reading ‘Six Minutes‘ by Petronella McGovern and thought to my self I had to hop straight onto Parra Reads and write about it.

If you haven’t already guessed by the tone of my writing, I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact there wasn’t one section through the whole flow of the book that I did not enjoy. Sometimes when I finish a book and even though I have enjoyed it there are often some characters or story lines that I am not interested in. This wasn’t the case with ‘Six Minutes’, every character and every story line interested me and was relevant to the whole story.

On the cover of ‘Six Minutes’ best selling author Liane Moriarty describes the book as, ‘Impossible to put down. Full of twists and turns you won’t see coming! I loved this fabulous debut novel.’ I would have to agree with that description but I also think it is also so much more.

The setting, characters and their lives felt so real, like you are a part of the story watching the news or browsing through your Facebook feed. I haven’t experienced that with a book in a long time. Halfway through ‘Six Minutes’, I jumped online and ordered a copy of Petronella’s new book ‘The Good Teacher’, don’t worry we have ordered library copies too.

I am still reading our second August title, ‘Stranger Country‘ by Monica Tan. So far I am finding it an interesting and enjoyable read. I especially like reading about the Australian landscape.

To read something totally different in September we have chosen ‘A Thousand Ships‘ by Natalie Hayes which is a retelling of the Trojan War from an all-female perspective. And this month to take the pressure off everyone we will only be reading one book.

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Book Reviews Alice to Prague and The Mother-in-Law

Alice to Prague

Tanya Heaslip

A Parra Reads Book Club title for May 2020. ‘Alice to Prague’ was one of two titles picked for our newly established online book club and it was an enjoyable read!  

In it, Tanya shares her personal experiences as she leaves behind her life as a lawyer in Alice Springs to teach English in the Czech Republic. With no prior teaching experience or grasp of the language, Tanya certainly shows us she is a person of considerable determination with an unstoppable strength of spirit.

Alice to Prague is a well-rounded read with a good balance of ‘something for everyone’ through the story. History and travel, a life adventure and even love.

Well worth a read!

Keep an eye out for Tanya’s new book ‘An Alice Girl’

Jody

The Mother-in-Law

Sally Hepworth

Sally Hepworth’s ‘The Mother-in-Law’ is one of those reads that grabs you from the first page, and doesn’t let go. Told from two points of view, daughter-in-law Lucy, and mother-in-law Diana, and spanning alternate timelines, it is fast-paced and engaging.

From the moment Lucy met Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana is extremely polite, but Lucy knows, even after marrying her son Oliver, that they’ll never have the closeness she’d been hoping for. Diana is picture perfect. The pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice, the matriarch of a loving family. And yet, while Lucy tries time and again to please her, Diana remains cold and distant.

That was ten years ago. Now, Diana has been found dead, leaving a suicide note. But the autopsy reveals evidence of suffocation. And everyone in the family is hiding something…

Creating a character that you both love and hate is never an easy feat, but Sally Hepworth manages to do just that. I found myself conflicted, changing my opinion of Diana constantly between chapters, which is refreshing. In fact, I liked the nuanced character of Diana more than I did Lucy. As Sally Hepworth peeled back the details of the experiences that shaped her personality I wanted more. She seemed very reflective of the time in which she was born, and recognisable.

While people expecting to read a thriller might find themselves disappointed, I found the book to be an ideal mix of thriller and domestic drama.

A must read!

Jody

Book Review – The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living

The City Bake’rs Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

Summary

When Olivia Rawlings—pastry chef extraordinaire for an exclusive Boston dinner club—sets not just her flambéed dessert but the entire building alight, she escapes to the most comforting place she can think of—the idyllic town of Guthrie, Vermont, home of Bag Balm, the country’s longest-running contra dance, and her best friend Hannah. But the getaway turns into something more lasting when Margaret Hurley, the cantankerous, sweater-set-wearing owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, offers Livvy a job. Broke and knowing that her days at the club are numbered, Livvy accepts.

Livvy moves with her larger-than-life, uberenthusiastic dog, Salty, into a sugarhouse on the inn’s property and begins creating her mouthwatering desserts for the residents of Guthrie. She soon uncovers the real reason she has been hired—to help Margaret reclaim the inn’s blue ribbon status at the annual county fair apple pie contest.

With the joys of a fragrant kitchen, the sound of banjos and fiddles being tuned in a barn, and the crisp scent of the orchard just outside the front door, Livvy soon finds herself immersed in small town life. And when she meets Martin McCracken, the Guthrie native who has returned from Seattle to tend his ailing father, Livvy  comes to understand that she may not be as alone in this world as she once thought.

But then another new arrival takes the community by surprise, and Livvy must decide whether to do what she does best and flee—or stay and finally discover what it means to belong. Olivia Rawlings may finally find out that the life you want may not be the one you expected—it could be even better.

Comments

The City Bakers Guide to Country Living is a window into the life of a small town in North East USA, Livvy, an accomplished pastry chef escapes to Guthrie; Vermont and her high school friend Hannah, after causing a fire during a high profile event at her Boston workplace.

This story of friendship, love, compassion, rivalry and acceptance draws you in with Louise Miller’s great descriptive writing. I laughed out loud in parts. She brought alive the landscape and traditions of the area.

As an ex-caterer I was right there in the kitchen; it was so real. A compelling easy read!

Tina, Dundas Readers 8/10