Book Reviews Over 50s Lifestyle

What’s On Your Bookshelf? July Edition

July 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.

Having returned from a wonderful holiday Cruising Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea I wasn’t expecting to come down to reality with a viral infection a few weeks later. It really knocked me for a loop and after the first few days where I was sleeping or coughing most of the time, the remainder of my recovery had me being so grateful for books! I’m not one to lay about but when your body needs rest you listen and reading certainly helped reduce the boredom.

I’ve shared some of the books I read over the last month, although there is one I’m holding back until next month as it is a 5-star + and deserves a comprehensive review. Watch this space….

The Never Stop Reading Book Club with my Grandson, Ethan

I wrote previously about how my grandson, Ethan who is 9 and I have started a book club together. He named it ‘The Never Stop Reading Book Club’ and selected The Ice Monster by David Walliams as our first book to read.

Each week when I collect Ethan and Elliot from school we discuss what we have read so far. When we finished the book, I set some questions for both of us to answer and like my Classics Book Club we decided to do some baking and make something from the book. . I also wrote some questions for us to answer and it was interesting reading my grandson’s answers on why he liked the book, what he didn’t like and what he had learned

I was impressed when I returned from my 10-day cruise to PNG that Ethan had not only answered the questions without prompting from his Mum, but had thought about his answers. I’ve posted a photo of his answers and I’ve written my review below.

Another positive about reading with children is that they can learn other facts and information. Ethan was playing Trivial Pursuit with his Mum and the question was ‘Who Was Queen Victoria’s husband’. Ethan immediately answered Prince Albert and when his Mum asked how he knew he told her he had read it in The Ice Monster. He is also pretty clued up on Woolly Mammoths now.

The Ice Monster by David Walliams – Ethan and Nan’s ratings – We both rated the book ✭✭✭✭✭

David Walliams has captured his readers with adventure and fun and even at 66 years old I enjoyed the book. The writing is good and I found I wanted to see what happened to Woolly, Elise, Dotty and the rest of the crew. There is a moral to the story which I liked – never give up and help those in need.

Our next book is another by David Walliams – the Midnight Gang and I can’t wait to read it.

Have you ever read a book by an author with the same name as you?

Prompt #30 in the 52 Book Club Reading Challenge is ‘An Author with the same name as you’. Now that sent me down a rabbit hole which was timely as I had just written my monthly contribution to Tell Us About… and the prompt was Curiosity. That was a fun prompt and I wrote What would life be like without curiosity? Whilst surprisingly I am not the only Sue or Susan Loncaric in the world (can you believe that!), there weren’t any authors by that name. Having struck out with Loncaric, I decided to google Sue Roberts, my maiden name.

My full name was Susan Irene Roberts but like most Susan’s in the 50s the name was shortened to Sue. But I digress. I actually found an author Sue Roberts and to make things even better, the books she has written appealed to me. It wasn’t a case of having to read a book I didn’t enjoy just to fulfil the challenge prompt. In fact, this author has written several books, which I’ve added to my reading list. I’ve listed the ones I’ve read this month.

I’ve rated them all 3 stars because they are definitely light. In saying that they are happy and joyful and perfect for a holiday read or if you aren’t well, need cheering up and don’t have to concentrate on the story line.

So are you curious? Do you have the same name as an author? Will you dive down the rabbit hole and find out? I’d love to hear if there is.


Are you a fan of series? Of Cozy Crime or perhaps Nordic Noir? Then I have some books you need to add to your TBR list!

The Dales Dectective Series

On the cruise I enjoyed catching up with Samson and Delihah in the cozy crimes series The Dales Dectective Series by Julia Chapman. These books are easy to read and perfect for a holiday read. I’m partial to cozy crime and if I enjoy a series, I can’t stop until I’ve read all the books. This was another prompt I could tick off in the 52 Book Club Challenge which was prompt #39 ‘The Final Book in a Series’. Date with Evil is Book 8 and the final in the series which ties up most of the loose ends which have been left here and there throught the series. Something tells me we may not have seen the last of Samson and Delihah though as I felt that the ending could leave a door open if Julia wants to continue. I for one would be very happy is she did.

The Sandhamm Murders Series

My friend and co-host Debbie from Deb’s World reviewed this series last month and as I had read Hidden in Snow another of Viveca Sten’s books I immediately looked up this series. I do love a series and this Nordic Noir author is tempting me away from my first love the British Cozy Crime Series. Still Waters is #1 and Closed Circles is #2 in the series and I’m enjoying not only the plots but also where the series is set in the Swedish Archipelago. I remember vividly cruising through the beautiful as we said goodby to Stockholm so I’m enjoying getting to know the area in more detail.

Closed Circles Viveca Sten

Other reading

Hidden in Snow by Viveca Sten– My rating ✭✭✭✭✭

I’ve read Nordic Noir books ages ago. Who didn’t read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series? One of the prompts in the 52 Book Club Challenge is Nordi Noir. I had previously read An Elderly Lady Is Up To No Good and you can read my review HERE in my May edition of WOYBS?. However, I found it a bit light on for my interpretation of Noir.

I’m not sure how I came across Hidden in Snow by Viveca Sten but I loved it.

This is the first book I’ve read by Viveca Sten but I will certainly be back for more.  Hidden in Snow is a thriller that will keep you enthralled and guessing.

Hanna Ahlander has crashed and burned both in her professional life as a Stockholm police officer and in her personal life.  She seeks refuge in her sister’s holiday lodge in the ski resort town of Are to lick her wounds and work out what her future will be.  When a teenage girl goes missing, Hanna joins the search and rescue and is rescued herself when Detective Inspector Daniel Lindskog asks her to join his team.

With sub zero temperatures and inclement weather time is running out to find the missing girl but they uncover more than they expected.

If you love crime, mystery and a book that holds your interest until the last word then Hidden in Snow is for you. I can’t wait to read the Sandhamm Murders series by Viveca Sten. My friend and co-host Debbie from Deb’s World reviewed this series last month.

The Navigator’s Daughter by Nancy Cole Silverman– My rating ✭✭✭

I was fortunate to receive this book as an ARC through Book Sirens and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Kat has lost her job and probably her husband and not sure what is next for her.  Her Father, a WWII navigator whose plane a B-24 went down in Hungary. has received a letter from advising him that the plane has been found.

He asks Kat to go and see for herself and also to find the mother and her son who helped her Dad and his fellow crewman when they landed in enemy territory.  Would they still be alive? Is this a scam? Kat embarks on a journey of discovery and there are twists and turns along the way including being caught up in an Art smuggling ring and a discovery that will change her life.

I enjoyed the book by Nancy Cole Silverman and would recommend it to readers who enjoy historical fiction and mystery.  This story will hold you until the last page.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol. My rating ✭✭✭

Written in 1865, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol (the pseudonym for Charles Dodgson), was the selected reading for our most recent Classics Book Club. Although this is regarded by many as a children’s story, especially if you watched Disney movies as a child, there is much more to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. After scooting down a rabbit-hole, I discovered that the book had been banned not once, but at least 3 times in the 20th Century. This information, provided me with a solution to my 52 Bookclub Challenge prompt #33 ‘A Banned Book’.

In 1900 it was suspended from classroom use at Woodsville High School in Haverhill, New Hampshire, because the novel contained expletives, references to masturbation and sexual fantasies, and “derogatory characterizations of teachers and religious ceremonies

In 1931, the work was banned in China by the Governor of Huan Province on the grounds that “Animals should not use human language, and…it [is] disastrous to put animals and human beings on the same level.”

It was banned in the ’60s in the US for the book’s references to drug use.

Is this a children’s book originally a simple story to entertain three young girls during a 5-mile boat ride in July of 1862?

We had a lively Book Club discussion – some enjoyed the book others didn’t for various reasons. I found it difficult to immerse myself in the ‘imagination’ of the writer whereas one of our group loved the book and totally enjoyed following Alice down the Rabbit Hole. We all agreed that the book could possibly be banned again like Pride & Prejudice or the Roald Dahl books recently, as seems to be the practice these days. However, we also agreed that books written in previous eras, were written of that time and society. We can’t change what has happened in the past but we can learn from history and it is a shame to have books banned because they don’t fit into societal requirements in modern day.

What do you think? Should we ban books because the content doesn’t sit well with us?

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 August 16/Friday August 17. I’m looking forward to seeing and reading What’s Been on your Bookshelf? during the month.

Sue Loncaric

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32 Comments

  • Reply marsha57 July 21, 2023 at 13:50

    Somehow or other, I’ve been reading lots of probably YA books…wizards and witches and such. I read Alice in Wonderland years ago for a college course. I enjoyed it, but I was more taken with the story behind the book. I still can’t make up my mind about Lewis Carroll. Book bans are so out of control here in the US. Parents, who haven’t even read the books, are fighting to have them removed because they “heard” thus and so.

    I did google my name as an author…turns out there are books by someone by my name! I never would have thought it!

    https://marshainthemiddle.com/

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 22, 2023 at 08:54

      HI Marsha, I don’t usually read YA books but the 52 book club challenge is encouraging me to look at different genres. x

  • Reply Alison July 21, 2023 at 17:36

    Wonderful you found an author with the same name that you actually liked. Not sure I would be that lucky, I’m doubting there are any Alison Hutt’s/Wards out there. I’ll have to check out the Nordic Noir ones as I do like watching these TV dramas. I’ll add mine to the “party”, but also here just in case.
    https://travelswithali.com/2023/07/20/whats-on-your-bookshelf-july-2023/

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 22, 2023 at 08:54

      Hi Alison, I think you would enjoy the Nordic Noir books by author Viveca Sten. I’m really enjoying her Sandhamm murder series. x

  • Reply Alison July 21, 2023 at 17:39

    Strange, I’ve just commented on this but now can’t see it! Also have added my blog and not the post to the link party.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 22, 2023 at 08:55

      Hi Alison, for some reason all comments including mine go into pending and I just cannot figure out why. Thanks for joining us and I’ve left a comment on your post. x

      • Reply Alison July 22, 2023 at 10:45

        Yes I figured that when the second one also didn’t appear! It will be in the settings somewhere, maybe under reading.

  • Reply Toni Pike July 21, 2023 at 19:40

    These all look fantastic, Sue

  • Reply Joanne July 21, 2023 at 20:45

    I have Hidden in the Snow waiting for me in my book basket downstairs! How neat that you found an author with the same name as you; I settled for an author with the same first name as mine.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 22, 2023 at 08:56

      I’m really enjoying Viveca Sten’s books, Joanne and I’m sure you will too. x

  • Reply Debbie July 21, 2023 at 21:48

    Hi Sue, your list of books and reviews are great but I’m sorry you’ve not been well. Hopefully things are improving for you now. I really enjoyed the Viveca Sten series for the reasons you stated – great locations, intertesting plots and well written characters. I couldn’t believe that Alice in Wonderland had been on a banned book list! How amazing to find books by your namesake :). I am tempted to do this 52 book challenge next year. Thanks for your great reviews and thoughts. x

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 22, 2023 at 08:53

      Hi Deb, I think you would enjoy the 52 book challenge. It isn’t difficult and I’m finding most of my books fit into the prompts. I am also enjoying reading different genres – that is a challenge for me. x

  • Reply Bernadette July 21, 2023 at 22:10

    Sue, I just love that you have your own bookclub with your grandson. And, I love, that I get your recommendations for the children’s books.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 22, 2023 at 08:52

      Hi Bernadette, it is lovely sharing my love of books with my grandson and reading books that he enjoys. x

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee July 22, 2023 at 08:21

    I’m wondering on the masturbation?? I seem to have missed that part, even tho I’ve read it probably 40 times or more….I go to anything on Alice (I do think the films miss the magic). The appeal of the book is the trick of the eye and the delight that nothing needs be as it seems, nor do our reactions to it. Very rarely do we experience this in real life – so those that love the book, are like Alice, always longing for that escape into Wonderland (I think Dispatches from Elsewhere tapped into rhat too)

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 22, 2023 at 08:57

      We had a great book club discussion on Alice, Lydia and I’m coming around to your way of thinking. It was interesting to read about Lewis Carrol and I was surprised that the book had been banned. I always thought it was a children’s book LOL 🙂 x

  • Reply Jo July 22, 2023 at 09:54

    I loved the final Dales mystery and how she tied it all together. I too hope we see more of Samson and Delilah. Re Alice, I need to re-read it to find out the banned bits…I completely missed those references lol! Loving your Never Stop Reading Bookclub too.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 24, 2023 at 10:33

      Yes I hope we see more of Samson and Delilah too. I read them on your recommendation and really enjoyed the series. x

  • Reply June and July 2023 reads – Eat, Play, Live July 22, 2023 at 17:06

    […] What’s on your Bookshelf hosted by Sue (Women Living Well After 50), Donna (Retirement Reflections), Jo (And Anyways), and Deb (Deb’s […]

  • Reply Janine July 22, 2023 at 21:27

    I do hope you soon get back to full health and can enjoy your normal routines. Sounds like you have had some enjoyable book reading to help relieve the boredom – I like the sound of the Nordic noir series. I also love how your Grandson has really dived into his reading and book club with you. So lovely to see the younger generations enjoying books!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 24, 2023 at 10:34

      Thanks Janine. I’ve had several things happen all at once which makes it a little more difficult to handle. I’m loving the Nordic Noir books and I’m sure you will too. x

  • Reply Retirement Reflections July 23, 2023 at 00:46

    Hi, Sue – Your bookclub with your Ethan totally warms my heart. What an amazing way for a Nan and a grandson to connect. I can’t think of a better way to instill the love of reading.
    I also love your stroll down your namesake books. I doubted that there were any authors with my same name. Just on chance, I Googled this. Surprisingly there is one. Donna Connolly is the author of ‘Forgotten Prayer of Jesus: Investigating the Prayer for Oneness in the Gospel of John.’ So you never know until you ask, look or question. I think this last sentence is a great one to live by. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 24, 2023 at 10:35

      Hi Donna, there was a Susan Loncaric but I believe it was a scientific book and that isn’t one of my strong points! x

  • Reply Retirement Reflections July 23, 2023 at 00:50

    You also inspired Richard to Google anything written by a ‘Richard Wageman’. And what did he find? His own smiling (albeit somewhat younger) face beside different articles he wrote on Franchise Law in China. How cool is that?!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 24, 2023 at 10:35

      It’s fun to google our name isn’t it? x

  • Reply Jennifer Jones July 23, 2023 at 17:08

    I do love Nordic noir Sue. I wondered how you’d approach the author with same name approach, and how good for you that the book was enjoyable.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 24, 2023 at 10:36

      Hi Jennifer, yes for the author with the same name I wanted to at least try and get first and surnames. The books are light reading and perfect for holidays x

  • Reply Carol @ Reading Ladies July 24, 2023 at 03:57

    I LOVE the bookclub you have with your grandson soooo much! What a treasured memory that will become for him!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 24, 2023 at 10:37

      Hi Carol lovely to meet you. Yes I really enjoyed our first bookclub book with my grandson. I’m not pushing him because I want him to enjoy reading and the books we read. I have to remember he is 9 years old and doesn’t read as fast as Nan LOL 🙂

  • Reply Janet Alcorn July 26, 2023 at 11:35

    The Nordic noir series looks interesting.

    I read Alice in Wonderland as an older teen and wasn’t impressed, though I certainly don’t think it should be banned. Book banners are never on the right side of history.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 28, 2023 at 09:24

      Hi Janet, I’m really enjoying the Nordic Noir series but instead of rushing through the whole series at once (which I usually do), I’m trying to space them out. x

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