Book Reviews Over 50s Lifestyle

What’s On Your Bookshelf? April Edition

April 21, 2023
What's On your Bookshelf?

It’s time for the What’s On your Bookshelf? link up! 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.

April started well and with the Easter break I relaxed and indulged in my passion – reading. It is always lovely to have a few days where you don’t really need to be anywhere or do anything. So relaxation and reading was on my list. As well as minding our grandpuppy, Wallis, whilst my daughter and her family were on holidays.

My Book of the Month – The Life List – Master Every Moment and Live an Audacious Life – Kate Christie – 5+ stars

Kate Christie reached out to me to be considered as a guest for my Women Living Well After 50 Podcast. You can listen to the episode through my post ‘The Life List: Mastering Every Moment to Live an Audacious Life and after listening to Kate’s story and experience I’m sure you will want to read the book. Kate was an energetic and enthusiastic guest and I was caught up in that enthusiasm. She is one inspiring lady!

The Life List by Kate Christie

Reading Kate’s book left me inspired and motivated as she shows us the process of living an audacious life. The book is not only Kate’s story and experience with with writing her own Life List but she guides the reader through her process of Developing a Life List, The Life List Framework, The Master Every Moment Framework plus a free downloadable planner guide. If you are wanting more from life but aren’t sure where to start then you need to read The Life List – Master Every Moment and Live an Audacious Life.

52 Book Club Reading Challenge

The Challenge is going well with more prompts completed and the Challenge sheet spaces are filling up. I’ve now completed 22 books from the 52 book challenge, so I feel I’m on track to reach my goal by year end.

Prompt #2 ‘Featuring an Inheritance’ – Family Secrets by Liz Birnsky – My rating ★★★★

Family Secrets was the second book I’ve read written by Liz Birnsky. Set in Tasmania, France and England the story has many elements and reminds us that all families no matter how happy to the outside world they appear, still have secrets. Gerald Hawkins is a powerful man in the community and within his inner circle – his family. After a 10 year illness, Gerald passes away and his ‘dutiful’ wife, Connie who been his constant carer is now free to rediscover her life. The Hawkins family has many secrets which unfold throughout the book. Connie hopes to reconnect with her sister-in-law Flora, now living in France, who Gerald banished from the family years ago – Why? and Why did Connie as her best friend not defend her?
Connie also wants to revisit her home in England which she left along with a promising career when she married Gerald.
Connie’s children, Kerry and Andrew both have their problems and secrets.
Nothing though can prepare them for a secret Gerald had hidden from them all.
I enjoyed reading Family Secrets – it was easy to read and I enjoyed ‘visiting’ Tasmania, England and France.

Prompt # 6- ‘Under 200 pages’ The Book Store Sisters – My rating ★★★

I found The Bookstore Sisters by Alice Hoffman promised but under-delivered. A short story of under 200 pages I felt that the characters could have been developed more and the story could have been longer to accommodate this. The story is about two sisters, Isabel Gibson who left her family and childhood home on Brinkley’s Island cutting all ties, and her sister who she hasn’t spoken to for years who runs the family bookstore on the Island. When a mysterious letter arrives containing one word Isabel is set on a journey back to her small hometown and perhaps reconciliation with the past and herself.

Prompt #19 ‘Typographic cover ‘ – The Storied Life of A J Frikly by Gabrielle Zevin – My rating ★★★★

I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin but I was pleasantly surprised. I found by the end of the book that I had connected with A.J., the bookstore owner living on Alice Island. Life has been tough for A.J. Fikry who has lost his beloved wife and is left with a bookstore which he doesn’t want. This is an enchanting story, easy to read and it pulled at my heart strings.

We read to know we’re not alone. We read because we are alone. We read and we are not alone. We are not alone.

Prompt #25 ‘A Fashionable Character’ – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Reid – My rating ★★★★

I had seen this book mentioned in book clubs on social media with good reviews. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was not what I expected and after a slow start I enjoyed the book. Evelyn Hugo was once a ‘blonde bombshell’ of Hollywood. A ‘rags to riches’ story including secrets she has kept hidden. Evelyn has had enough of this world, having lost many who she holds dear including the ‘love of her life’. She enlists an unknown reporter, Monique Grant to tell her story to the world including the secret she has held for decades. Evelyn takes Monique and the reader, through her life in the 50s to present day sharing her intimate thoughts and feelings. I wasn’t prepared for the twist which just added to the colourful life of Evelyn Hugo.

Prompt #36 – ‘Chapters that have cliff hangers’ – The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths – My rating ★★★★

I discovered The Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths through my friend and co-host of WOYBS, Debbie from Deb’s World. I enjoy a good British crime thiller and as Dr Ruth Galloway is a respected archaeologist, her character is a fascinating addition and complements the work of Dectective Harry Nelson. The Janus Stone is the second book in the series and I’ve rated it 4 star. When a child’s bones minus the skull are discovered beneath a doorway during the demolishment of a large old home in Norwich work is stopped and both Ruth and Harry are called in to investigate. Are these ancient bones or something more recent? Is it Roman era rituals or is it something from modern times. A great read which has you guessing until the end.

Prompt # 42 – ‘Time in the Title’ – How to Stop Time by Matt Haig (audio) – My rating ★★★★

Having read and loved The Midnight Library I was eager to read Matt Haig’s ‘How to Stop Time’. My friend, author (check out her books) and WOYBS co-host Jo Tracey from And Anyways wrote ‘My read of the month and, dare I say it, I suspect this might be one of the best books I read all year. ‘ I actually downloaded the audio book version and enjoyed listening. Matt is definitely a story teller and takes the reader on a journey. As such this book needs time and focus to do the writing and the story justice and to fully appreciate all aspects. I enjoyed following Tom’s story and I won’t give anything away as I think you should discover the magical, mystery tour that we are taken on. I rated this book 4 stars as it could be heavy going at times – well worth it though.

Prompt # 45 – ‘The first word in the book is ‘the” – Three Women and a Boat by Ann Youngson – My rating ★★★

A chance meeting by three women develops into an unlikely friendship and opportunity to take time out to reflect on their life, make changes and step outside their comfort zone.

Eve has just left her job after 30 years, Sally has decided she wants to leave her marriage and Anastasia an independent, narrowboat dweller now faces her toughest challenge.

Walking along the towpath in opposite directions, Eve and Sally are drawn to a dog barking on a boat. They meet Anastasia. This chance encounter sees Eve and Sally embark on a journey through the canals of England taking Anastaisa’s boat for maintenance whilst she deals with serious health issues.

Three strangers brought together, discover themselves and take on new challenges and life changes in midlife meandering along the canals.

This book is gently paced rather like the narrowboat they travel in.

Book Clubs

The Stunning Book Club group

Prompt # 3- ‘ Title Starting with the letter G’ – Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens- My rating ★★★★★

Our Classics Book Club has been reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. We have previously read all of the Brontë Sisters and Jane Austen books which I enjoyed immensely. Great Expectations is a book that everyone has heard of and I although I knew the story, I realised I had never read the book. Throughout the discussions in the group, I realised that each character in the book had their own Expectations and I found it interesting to delve into not just Pip’s Great Expectations but those of Miss Havisham, Estella, Joe, Magwitch and the lesser known characters. I enjoyed the book and also exploring Dickens’ own life and the social issues during the Victorian era which is reflected in his books.

I love this book club and each member brings their own thoughts and qualities which makes me think. A special mention to my friend and co-host of WOYBS, Donna from Retirement Reflections who pushes me to think outside the box.

The Kitchen Confidential Cook Book Club

The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen – My rating ★★★★

The next book selected is the The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen apparently this is a classic cookbook and rated as ‘one of the most influential cookbooks of our time’. I hadn’t heard of the book but it is popular in the US. I’ve actually made some delicious recipes from the book including Apricot Almond Bread and my review for the signature dish I selected , Stuffed Eggplant, was published on Bernadette’s New Classic Recipe website on April 16. You can read it HERE

Moosewood cookbook

Well that’s what has been on my bookshelf during the month, What’s been on yours? I would love you to share with me.

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 18/Friday May 19. I’m looking forward to seeing and reading What’s Been on your Bookshelf? during the month.

Sue Loncaric

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Women Living Well After 50

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29 Comments

  • Reply Jo April 21, 2023 at 08:50

    I’ve just begun the Ruth Galloway series – and 3 of them will be in my April post. Everything on your list sounds like something I’d enjoy… so many books, so little time…

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 21, 2023 at 12:36

      Hi Jo, I love a good British crime and it is a nice change to have an archaeologist involved. x

  • Reply Debbie April 21, 2023 at 09:01

    Wow Sue what a fabulous month of reading you’ve had! Your reviews are engaging and I love that you seem to be reading a variety of books with your 52 week challenge. I’m glad you enjoyed the Ruth Galloway book as it can sometimes be a worry when you recommend books to others and they don’t click for whatever reason. I always look first to your book posts as I get so many new books to add to my list! Thanks for being such a supportive and insightful co-host of WOYBS each month.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 21, 2023 at 12:36

      I have read some different books this month Deb although I’m struggling with Mrs Dalloway – that’s a post for another time LOL 🙂 Thank you for your kind words about my reviews. xx

  • Reply Gail Is This Mutton April 21, 2023 at 16:21

    A lot I’d like to read here- particularly the Ruth Galloway – somehow never got round to that series – and the book about Evelyn Hugo. I might revisit Great Expectations on holiday. It’s one of my favourite of Dickens. Have a great weekend x

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 22, 2023 at 17:12

      I think you would enjoy Evelyn Hugo, Gail and I do love a British Crime series, hence the Ruth Galloway series I’m currently reading. Enjoy your holiday xx

  • Reply Bernadette April 22, 2023 at 00:14

    Hi Sue, we seem to be reading a few of the same books. Of course, the Moosewood Cookbook. The other book would be The Bookstore Sisters. I sadly agree with your review of this book. I am a devoted fan of Alice Hoffman but this didn’t hit the mark. I am also listening to Eat a Peach by David Chang. It is an interesting memoir but not one I would highly recommend. The author is very defensive about his success and somewhat repetitive. I tried to use the link to participate in What’s on… but could not get in. Sorry.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 22, 2023 at 17:15

      Hi Bernadette, I was pleasantly surprised with The Moosewood Cookbook so again I thank you for starting the Cookbook Confidential. I haven’t read any of Alice Hoffman’s other work so not sure whether to give them a go as I was disappointed with The Bookstore Sisters. I’m sorry you could get in with the link Bernadette as it is open for a week. thanks for giving me your thoughts though here in the comments. xx

  • Reply Toni Pike April 22, 2023 at 02:12

    A fabulous list, Sue – you’re really fertilising your mind.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 22, 2023 at 17:16

      Hi Toni, I love your phrase ‘fertilising your mind’ xx

  • Reply Joanne April 22, 2023 at 05:47

    Lots of great reading this month! I enjoyed Evelyn Hugo a lot too. I’ve been putting off “under 200 pages” for the challenge because I often find that short stories fall so flat on character development and I’m always left wanting more.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 22, 2023 at 17:17

      Hi Joanne, I have read some good books this month but the 200 page The Bookstore Sisters was a disappointment. At least I’ve ticked off the prompt LOL 🙂 x

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee April 22, 2023 at 07:35

    We read a Costa Book winner once and it was quite odd. Something about Wolves. Not entirely sure they’re my thing. I love the jacket on 7 husbands but didn’t love the book. I might give the Haig a go as I really like books that play with time….you’re really powering thru them!!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 22, 2023 at 17:18

      Hi Lydia, I had a love/hate relationship with Evelyn but in the end on reflection I did enjoy the book. Matt Haig’s book will be heavy going and I’m glad I listened to it on audio. I’m not sure I would have stuck it out reading the book although I loved the Midnight Library. x

  • Reply Bernie April 22, 2023 at 15:59

    I loved the podcast you had with Kate Christie and The Life List. I am trying to see if I can get this from my library app. I am amazed at how many books you’ve read considering all the other things you always seem to have on the go. I absolutely love the “bingo” type 52 list you are filling up. Where is it from? You hosts do a fabulous job so thanks! It’s always interesting to see what I can grab for my shelf from these reads.
    Bernie

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 22, 2023 at 17:20

      Hi Bernie I know Kate’s book has just been published and is on Amazon so not sure about the library as yet. The 52 Book Challenge is something a blogging friend told me about you can find it at /

      • Reply Bernie April 23, 2023 at 14:56

        I can find it where Sue? The link to it didn’t come in. Bernie

        • Reply Sue Loncaric April 23, 2023 at 15:01

          Hi Bernie, do you mean an email advising that the link is open? I notice your post is in the link up so I’m a little confused now. x

  • Reply Janine April 22, 2023 at 18:44

    Hi Sue – another great haul of books. I must really try the Ruth Galloway books as I definitely think I would enjoy these. You are doing so well with your book challenge. Are you enjoying being made to read so many differing types of books? It can be easy to get stuck in a rut with our book choices. It’s why I have been enjoying discovering what everyone else has been reading in this link up. Thanks for sharing

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 23, 2023 at 04:57

      Hi Janine, I’m sure you would enjoy the Ruth Galloway series. The challenge is good and some of the prompts will certainly make me select books I normally wouldn’t read. Sometimes we need to get out of our comfort zone, although reading is something I love and if I’m not enjoying a book then it takes the pleasure away. I have had some suprises though and it has made me keep an open mind. x

  • Reply tobyo April 23, 2023 at 22:30

    Wow all you gals read a lot! Which is an inspiration for me. However, since I still work part time, my reading will pale in comparison. My list is only largish because I combined February and March. Yours is another great list! I’m especially interested in reading Family Secrets and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. Those sound like my kind of stories 👍

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 24, 2023 at 05:32

      Hi there it doesn’t matter if you read one book or ten, we are always interested in hearing about what others are reading. I really enjoyed The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and hope you do too. Let me know your thoughts if you read it. x

  • Reply Alison April 23, 2023 at 22:45

    I’ve added mine to the Linkz party as well
    https://travelswithali.com/2023/04/23/whats-on-your-bookshelf-april-2023/

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 24, 2023 at 05:31

      Hi Alison, yes I saw your link, some good suggestions for my reading list, thank you x

      • Reply Alison April 24, 2023 at 06:01

        Thanks Sue ☺️

  • Reply Janet Alcorn April 25, 2023 at 00:40

    What a great list! I added The Bookstore Sisters and The Life List to my TBR as well as the first book in the Ruth Galloway series (which I think I’ve heard of but wasn’t familiar with till your post).

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 26, 2023 at 10:46

      I think Deb from Deb’s World suggested Ruth Galloway and I’m really enjoying the series. I have to stop myself from just binging on a series once I find one that I enjoy. Thanks for linking up Janet and have a great week. x

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