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What’s On Your Bookshelf? – April 2024

April 19, 2024
What's on your bookshelf?

It’s time for the monthly What’s On your Bookshelf? link up for March 2024! I’m looking forward to you sharing what you’ve read at our monthly link up co-hosted with my friends Deb from Deb’s World, Donna from Retirement Reflections and Jo from And Anways. Remember to check out what has been on their bookshelves as well.

My reviews cover books read and listened to during the period mid March/mid April.

What’s On Your Bookshelf? – April 2024

Book of the Month – One for Sorrow, A Clementine Carter Mystery – Joanne Tracey – My rating ✭✭✭✭✭

The wait is over! Our own co-host, author, and chaser of sunrises Joanne (Jo to us) Tracey has published her latest book – One For Sorrow, A Clementine Carter Mystery and she hasn’t disappointed!

I was privileged to be given and ARC of One for Sorrow – A Clementine Carter Mystery by Joanne Tracey a few months ago. To be transparent, I am a friend of Jo’s but I’m also a fan. I have enjoyed all of her books and if you’ve read my reviews on her Philly Barker series you know that Philly is a favourite of mine. Although that may have changed after meeting Clementine Carter.

Set predominantly in Whale Bay a fictious town on the Queensland coast, Clementine Carter, a Melbourne Lawyer who is disenchanted with life and her partner, discovers her aunt has died and left Clem her house and The Moon Bay New Age Shop.

After a 25-year absence Clem returns back to Whale Bay, carrying a swag of guilt for not contacting her aunt for so long and wanting to just get in, sell the house and not think about why she left so many years ago. But as all good cozy crime readers will know, there is always something or someone to change your plans.

With local developers moving in to try to buy up the area, Clem discovers that perhaps her aunt’s death may not have been accidental. Helped by Finn Marella, a local barister and a possible love interest for Clem, they work to find some answers. It is also time for Clem to confront her past.

I enjoy Jo’s writing style and you immediately feel drawn in and part of the Whale Bay community. The characters are relatable and with her descriptive writing, Jo evokes memories of summer holidays by the sea growing up – the sea, salt, sand, sunshine and the mix of locals, some with quirky personalities. The story draws you in and had some good twists which I hadn’t predicted. I also enjoyed the Tarot readings interspersed with the story.

I’m looking forward to more in the Clementine Carter series and highly recommend book one – One for Sorrow. If you read it carefully enough you might just recognise three of the characters who make a cameo appearance – let me know if you do.

P.S. It also fits nicely into one of the prompts for the 52 Book Club Challenge, so thanks Jo!

Other favourite reads for the month

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the books I’ve read this month so they rated highly. A variety of themes but all of the stories and characters woven so well together they drew me in I just couldn’t put them down. Some of them I was sad to finish and stayed with me long after.

The Scent Keeper – Erica Bauermister – My rating ✭✭✭✭✭

Genre: Fiction, Magical Realism, Fantasy, Coming of Age
Prompt #2- Bibliosmia – A Smelly Book

Bibliosomia actually means the smell and aroma of a book. This challenge prompt explanation was – ‘ it could be a book with an actual odor, or a scent word in the title, or about a perfumist or sommelier etc

Emmeline lives on a remote island with her father. Her lifestyle is idyllic and her father, a scientist teaches her about the sense of smell. He has a cupboard full of small bottles with a paper inside made by his ‘magical’ machine which he keeps out of reach. Each represents a particular smell which evokes memories or feelings. One day her world crumbles and she is forced to live in a world where she doesn’t fit in and doesn’t know her past or the secrets her father kept from her. She meets Fisher, another outcast at school with a controlling father and their friendship blossoms.

Emmeline must face reality and sets out on a mission to find the truth and must overcome lies, secrets and betrayals and also discovers herself.

I loved this book because just when I thought it should end, the author takes the reader on another path. The characters are relatable and the story intriguing. I couldn’t put the book down and didn’t want it to end.

Howards End – E.M. Forster – My Rating ✭✭✭✭

Genre: Historical Fiction, Classics, 20th Century British Literature
Prompt #16 – An Omniscient Narrator

An omniscient narrator is a narrator who knows what is happening at all points of the story at all times. This narrator knows the thoughts and feelings of all the characters in the story.

Howards End by E.M. Forster was my selection for our Simply Stunning Book Club which has the focus of reading Classics. We are yet to have our discussion but I’m looking forward to it as always. I love our book club because although at times we don’t always agree we can usually all bring something of value to the discussion. I always learn so much from my Book club buddies.

As with most classics it took me a little time to get into the book. For this book, I read, listened to the audio and also watched the movie starring Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham-Carter, Vanessa Redgrave, Antony Hopkins and an excellent supporting cast. I fell in love with Emma’s portrayal of Margaret Schlegal.

Published in 1910, E.M. Forster’s, Howards End is a novel which looks at the lives of three families and their intertwined relationships – the Schlegals (Margaret & Helen) liberal thinkers and part of the upper class, the wealthy Wilcox’s who own Howards End, the childhood home of Mrs Wilcox who are conventional thinkers and the working class, the Basts, in particular Leonard Bast a banking clerk who obsessed with self improvement and the desire to rise the social ranks . It’s about social issues at the turn of the century and explores the social, economic and philisophical attitudes of each family before World War 1.

Forster weaves a story based around Howards End which is seen as a symbol of England and the changing social scene. E.M. Forster asks ‘Who shall inherit England?’.

I enjoyed Howards End immensely. Forster’s portrayal of each character and their feelings, flaws and attitudes to life is well balanced. He shows both sides of the story and the struggles of each class to adapt to a new world, including gender inequality.

The Storyteller by the Sea – Phyllida Shrimpton – My Rating ✭✭✭✭

Genre: Contemporary
Prompt #44 – Includes a Wedding

A beautifully written book by Phyllida Shrimpton, I fell in love with all of the characters – Melody, Flora, Milo, Daniel, Julian, Isobel, Gordon and ‘Big Joe Riley’. I wasn’t prepared for the twist just over halfway through but it certainly added to the richness of and depth to the story.

Set in Shelley, Devon, Melody spends her days beachcombing collecting items from the beach to take home to ‘Sprindrift’ her home on the ocean. She lives a solitary life, coping with grief after the loss of her mother, Flora and then her brother, Milo. When developers threaten her home, she must face the reality of her loss and come to terms with a secret she has been hiding.

A highly recommended read.

When We Were Friends – Samantha Tonge – My Rating ✭✭✭✭

Genre: Chick Lit, Romance, Women’s Fiction
Prompt #7 – At least 4 different POV

When We Were Friends by Samantha Tonge was a surprise read for me. I thought it would be a ‘soft serve’ story but there were many layers which were unexpected.

Four friends who had been inseparable during High School, fall out on the night of their High School Prom. They never spoke again but now 19 years later, Morgan needs their help. Can they overcome what happened that night and reform ‘The Secret Gift Society’ to help Morgan find her son’s father who disappeared without trace before she could tell him she was pregnant.

This story has many layers as each of the characters explain ‘that night’. It’s about friendship, loss, secrets and betrayal and finding your way home.

I’ve not read Samantha Tonge before but will definitely be looking for more of her work.

The Last Witch of Scotland – Philip Paris – My Rating ✭✭✭

Genre: Historical Fiction, Witches, Scotland
Prompt #9 – A
Character Driven Novel

The Last Witch of Scotland by Philip Paris was inspired by the last person to be executed in Britain accused of witchcraft. At times it is an emotional ride including those who manipulate, the ‘mob’ mentality and the innocent who don’t have a voice. Times certainly haven’t changed since 1727 when the book is set.

After losing her father to a fire and with horrific injuries trying to save him, Aila and her mother Janet move to the remote Scottish Highlands. Aila to cope with her loss and injuries and her mother to cope with the loss of her husband.

When a new minister takes over the parish, his minisitry is one of ‘fire and brimstone’ and ‘witches’, dividing the community and bringing distrust.

A group of entertainers all with their own pasts and led by the charismatic Jack, stay with Janet and Aila and change their lives for a time bringing joy and friendship. However, gossip, innudendo and accusations continue.

I was quite emotional, angry really, that people would be so easily led. The Last Witch of Scotland is a fascinating and distrubing journey but certainly well worth reading, especially if you enjoy Historical Fiction.

Note: This was the first book I had read by Philip Paris and as I enjoyed it so much I decided to read more. Alas, I selected one of his first books Casting Off which did not live up to my expectations. I will look at other books written by Paris and then make a final judgement.

The Frozen River – Ariel Lawhon – My Rating ✭✭✭

Genre: Historical Fiction
Could fit Prompt #6 – Women in STEM but I’ve decided it doesn’t quite fit for me.

Inspired by Martha Ballard, a Midwife in the 1790s who defied the legal system, The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon is a special read. For many it was their book of the year for 2023. An historical novel, Martha is a midwife and using Martha Ballard’s life, as recorded in her journal, and the biography written by Laura Thatcher Ulrich—A Midwife’s Tale (1990)—as loose guidelines, we find a novel that is gripping and leaves the reader wanting more.

The book is based around a body found in the river, a man who is one of two men accused of rape. Martha, a midwife is called to testify for both cases. The Frozen River looks closely at the treatment of women, the puritanical shame culture and the farce of the court system.

Well worth taking the time to read.

During the month I ticked off a few more prompts on the 52 Book Club Reading Challenge.

You can start the challenge at anytime so here is the link to find all the information about 2024 Reading Challenge – The 52 Book Club. Some of the prompts are definitely unusual however there are guides on both the 52 Book Club website and Goodreads to help you decided what books might be a good fit for the prompt.

Here are the prompts I’ve completed so far and most of the books I’ve reviewed this month have slotted nicely into the prompts.

Well these are the books that have been on my bookshelf during the month, What’s been on yours? I would love you to share with me your recommendations.

Dates for the Diary

The What’s On Your Bookshelf? Link Up dates for 2024 are listed below. Make a note in your diary as a reminder as we would love to have you join us.

The link for What’s On Your Bookshelf (WOYBS) is open on the third Friday of each month at 8 am (AEST) – that makes it sometime on the third Thursday of each month if you’re in the northern hemisphere…

• January 18/19,
• February 15/16,
• March 14/15,
• April 18/19
• May 16/17,
• June 20/21,
• July 18/19,
• August 15/16
• September 19/20,
• October 17/18,
• November 21/22
• December 19/20.

Happy reading and remember to pop over to read what books have been on my co-hosts shelves.

The next #WOYBS will be Thursday May 16/Friday May 17. I’m looking forward to seeing and reading What’s Been on your Bookshelf? during the month.

Sue Loncaric

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  • Reply Thistles and Kiwis April 19, 2024 at 09:27

    Must get hold of Jo’s new book! The Storyteller by the Sea sounds good. I read Howard’s End so long ago I can’t remember much about it, though do remember the film. Time for a re-read or re-watch perhaps.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 20, 2024 at 15:57

      You would enjoy Jo’s new book, Barbara, I’m sure as well as The Storyteller by the Sea. I hadn’t read Howards End before now but have enjoyed it and greatly enjoyed the movie.

  • Reply Jo April 19, 2024 at 10:23

    Thanks for the massive shoutout! My reservation for The Last Witch in Scotland came in last week so it’s waiting for me to start reading when I get home. It’s also timely considering my subject matter for this Philly adventure.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 20, 2024 at 15:58

      My pleasure. I do hope you enjoy The Last Witch of Scotland and look forward to your thoughts. x

  • Reply Cathy April 19, 2024 at 12:33

    Oh my, lots of different books there to keep me interested Sue…if I had the time. I know some are in the library catalogue so will have to add them to my very long TBR list.
    Cathy #WOYBS

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 20, 2024 at 15:58

      Our TBR lists grow each month, don’t they Cathy! We will never be bored! x

  • Reply Toni Pike April 19, 2024 at 15:25

    Great reviews, Sue

  • Reply Jennifer Jones April 19, 2024 at 15:47

    I was absolutely captivated by The Frozen River Sue, but then I’m a big fan of historical fiction. As for One For Sorrow, I really do feel that it is Jo’s best book so far. I’m looking forward to Book #2 in this series. I also used it for the challenge. There were a few prompts that it fitted into.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 20, 2024 at 16:00

      I love historical fiction, too, Jen and The Frozen River held my attention. I couldn’t put it down. x

  • Reply Gail Is This Mutton April 19, 2024 at 17:15

    I’m always attracted to the books you read. I love the sound of The Last Witch and The Frozen River!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 21, 2024 at 11:39

      Hi Gail, I always am interested in what you’ve been reading too. I’m sure you will enjoy The Last Witch and The Frozen River.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 21, 2024 at 11:40

      Hi Alison, thanks so much for linking up to #WOYBS? I’m off to take a look at your post. x

  • Reply Joanne April 19, 2024 at 20:02

    I really enjoyed the Scent Keeper and The Frozen River too; I’m currently reading One for Sorrow and liking that one as well.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 21, 2024 at 11:40

      The Scent Keeper was just lovely, Joanne and The Frozen River is special. I’m pleased you are enjoying One for Sorrow. Jo just keeps getting better and better!

  • Reply Kirstin Troyer April 20, 2024 at 09:12

    Ooooh your books sounds great. I got Jo’s book…I’ll share it next month, since this month I only shared what I finished in march. 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 21, 2024 at 11:41

      Hi Kirstin, I had a great month for reading and I do hope you are enjoying Jo’s book. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. x

  • Reply Retirement Reflections April 20, 2024 at 10:54

    Hi, Sue – I am sorry that I missed taking part in WOYBS this time. I am now back home but still on my blogging break as I still have much to do for my mom (this time by phone and online).
    I wholeheartedly second your review of ‘One for Sorrow.’ The characters have really stayed with me and I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.
    I have about one hour’s left of reading for Howard’s End and hope to finish it tonight (if I don’t go completely comatose first). 😀 It is such a beautifully written book with so much to say. Thank you for recommending it.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 21, 2024 at 11:42

      We miss you Donna, but Mum takes priority. I’m looking forward to our discussion of Howard’s End in our next meeting. x

  • Reply Carol @ ReadingLadies April 21, 2024 at 11:59

    My tbr thanks you for sharing Joanne’s book! 👍 The Scent Keeper is a unique read….but the ending went off the rails a bit in my reading experience! The Frozen River is a memorable read!

  • Reply marsha57 April 21, 2024 at 12:27

    I keep seeing The Frozen River and will have to check it out. I’m currently reading books by Lisa See and the experiences of Chinese citizens who emigrated to the US in the early 20th century. I’m also rereading a favorite book from when I taught 4th grade. I know how it ends…sadly…but it’s such a good book. Congrats to your friend for publishing her book!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 21, 2024 at 17:28

      The Frozen River is very popular, Marsha and one I’m sure you would enjoy x

  • Reply Debbie April 21, 2024 at 19:23

    Thanks so much Sue for these ideas for my 52 Book Club Reading challenge prompts – some will fit prompts I’m having trouble with so win/win! I agree with your lovely review of Jo’s book, she is a star and one of my favourite authors. You always deliver great reviews and I’m so pleased to have you as a stunning co-host for our WOYBS? linkup. I’ve added most of these to my TBR list 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 22, 2024 at 08:24

      I’m glad I could help with some prompt ideas, Deb. That is the part of the challenge that takes a while! x

  • Reply April 22, 2024 at 11:02

    Glad to be reminded of The Scent Keeper. I have it on Audible and started it but somehow got interrupted and never returned to it. Glad to see you gave it such high marks. Will dig it out again and finish. I liked Frozen River, too. Have been struggling with The Secret Life of Cecily Larson but beginning to get into it.

  • Reply Alison April 22, 2024 at 15:51

    I love the sound of The Frozen River and The Last Witch, as you saw from my post I’m a big fan of historical novels that look at things not that well known. Also The Scent Keeper. Great reviews.

  • Reply Rosie Amber April 24, 2024 at 19:50

    The scent keeper sounds like a fun read.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 26, 2024 at 05:47

      I really enjoyed the Scent Keeper, Rosie. x

  • Reply Lanae Bond April 25, 2024 at 00:16

    I love how this challenge allows people to read different genres. I would love to read The Last Witch and Scent Keeper. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 26, 2024 at 05:47

      Hi Lanae, yes I’m enjoying the challenge. It is the second year I’ve taken the challenge and it certainly opens up new genres. I’m sure you would enjoy The Last Witch and The Scent Keeper. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you do. Enjoy your weekend. x

  • Reply Claire 'Word by Word' April 29, 2024 at 02:43

    Oh I didn’t know Philip Paris had written this book, I read one of his books years ago The Italian Chapel a fictional account about some Italian prisoners of war that built a chapel on Orkney. He also wrote a non-fiction version of it, but I did really enjoy the fictional version.

    I am about to start Seaborne by Irish author Nuala O’Connor who writes historical fiction. The last one of hers I read was Nora about Nora Barnacle, the wife of James Joyce. Seaborne is set in the 1700’s and begins in Kinsale, Ireland and follows the story and legend of seafaring Anne Bonny.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 9, 2024 at 08:43

      Hi Claire, I will definitely check out Seaborne as I’m partial to historical fiction set in Ireland or Britain. x

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