April 2016 favourite reads

Deborah CookLife 31 Comments

Editor’s note: Please welcome back Deborah from Debbish (dot com) who’s sharing her favourite new releases with Styling You readers each month. 

Sorry folks, but we’ve no time for friendly chit-chat today as I’m showcasing six, yes SIX books. So I’ll just assume you’re all fine and dandy and dive straight in to my fave April new releases.

1. The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood
We never meet the one in a million boy, but learn about him through 104 yr old Miss Ona Vitkus and the boy’s father Quinn, who takes his son’s place doing odd jobs for the prickly old lady.

Through Ona we learn about her weekly meetings with the 11yr old – a friendless boy fascinated by facts (and obsessed with the Guinness Book of Records). His eagerness for Ona to set a record enchants the centenarian and she finds herself sharing her life story with the eccentric young boy. And there’s Quinn, who’s been absent for much of his son’s life and struggles with guilt now it’s too late. This is a lovely story of second chances and redemption.

the one in a million boy

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2. Under Italian Skies by Nicky Pellegrino
I sometimes struggle with #EatPrayLove type books about women finding themselves in far off locales but am loath to dismiss them as frivolous. Because many aren’t. Which is why I very much enjoyed this book by UK-born Kiwi-dwelling author, Pellegrino.

London based Stella has been working for a fashion designer for 25 years; so when her boss and mentor dies, Stella’s at a loss. She’s divorced and has no ties so eventually decides on a house-swap.

She’s pretty sure she gets the best of the deal via an Italian seaside villa, while its owner Leo is staying in her small London apartment. In Italy Stella soaks up the culture and cuisine, meets an array of interesting people and makes new friends. And there’s a bit of romance mixed in for good measure. This enchanting book about love, friendship and taking risks won’t disappoint.

under italian skies

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3. The Obsession by Nora Roberts
Roberts’ latest novel starts with a bang (though not literally). The rest is good but the first third was a-freakin’-mazing. And it’s during these early pages we discover what happened to young Naomi Carson.

We jump forward a couple of times, visiting her in the aftermath of the events and then several years later; before finally catching up with Naomi as an adult with an established photography business.

She’s just moved to Sunrise Cove, bought a run-down mansion and  we’re there the first time she comes across local mechanic-cum-bar-owner-cum-musician, Xander. Romance ensues but Xander knows Naomi’s keeping secrets. And it’s not long before those secrets come back to haunt her. *Cue menacing music*

As usual Roberts delivers a good mix of romance and suspense and the prolific author’s many fans will adore this latest book.

the obsession

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4. Shtum by Jem Lester
Ten year old Jonah is profoundly autistic. He cannot speak and remains in nappies. His parents Emma and Ben are at the end of their tether. They’ve found a residential school they think would be perfect for their son, but children’s services has rejected their application. Emma suggests they separate in order that their situation seem more dire, so Ben and Jonah move in with Ben’s father, Georg.

Georg adores Jonah but he and Ben are semi-estranged. There’s a lot of history between the pair and Ben’s heavy drinking is impinging on all aspects of his life, including his running of the family business. He puts it down to the stress of life with Jonah, but we learn there’s more to it than that.

This book is about a couple fighting the system, public perception and their own guilt while trying to do the best for their son. It’s both sad and heartwarming.


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5. The Beekeeper’s Secret by Josephine Moon
Maria Lindsay is a former-nun struggling with a secret and doing (what’s akin to) penance, running Honeybee Haven which sells products to support an overseas orphanage.

Hermit-like Maria is however, unable to avoid her niece Tansy, who’s determined to get to know her estranged aunt and learn why she’s remained hidden from her family.

As a Queenslander I loved that this book is centred around the Sunshine Coast and its hinterland. It also references local markets and other familiar landmarks.

Maria is a beekeeper so those fascinated with the orange and black buzzy things – or nature in general – will appreciate this book and its environs. On a more serious note however, this novel’s set against the backdrop of the Royal Commission into the Catholic Church’s responses to child abuse allegations.

beekeepers secret

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6. The One Who Got Away by Caroline Overington
I’ve only read two of Overington’s other books but love the fact she’s not afraid to tackle controversial issues – such as immigration, refugees and what we share online. This latest book is a little different but insists readers contemplate whether the lives we dream of or admire, are really all they’re cracked up to be.

Loren Wynne-Estes seemingly has a it all. Originally from the wrong side of the tracks, she’s had a good education and married well. Very well. Until one day Loren’s confronted by a secret which will blow her world apart. What happens next confounds her loved ones and the authorities. This psychological thriller will keep you guessing until the very very end.

the one who got away

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Phew… and that’s it for this month. I hope you can find something to read here and if you can’t, well…. there’s really no hope for you. Nah… I’m joking. Well, kinda.

Have you had the luxury of doing any reading of late? Any other suggestions?

debbishDeborah blogs about books, not-dieting and life in general at Debbish. Her life-long love of reading is only surpassed by her addiction to vanilla diet coke (which she’s attempting to give up), baths, chocolate and champagne. 

Comments 31

  1. Five of six are new to me… authors and the titles. Of course I have read Nora Roberts and have been eying this new one.
    Shtum looks particularly interesting and I love the cover of The Beekeeper’s Secret.
    Thanks for sharing your monthly favs.

  2. This makes me want to bite the bullet and finding try out a Nora Roberts book! I’ve been meaning to, but I somehow never make time for it.

      1. Oh, definitely! I have a whole two shelves packed full of her books at my store…not counting the giant plastic bin of them in the back.

  3. I haven’t read a Norma Roberts in a long time but Obsession is getting amazing reviews, I just may. I’m intrigued with The One That Got Away also. Great list Deb

  4. Hmm that is a really clear description of The Beekeeper’s Secret and now you have interested me in it so will be a definite read. Only been to the Sunshine coast once but it sure is worth it. Definitely backing you up on The Obsession and Under Italian Skies. Loved them both.

    1. I would probably normally skip The Beekeeper’s Secret Kathryn as the cover is a bit cutesie for me, but the lure of a secret…. And a nun!

      1. Yep, you actually made a sale for the book. I checked it out at Book Depository then in store here and believe it or not with help of $5 discount was cheaper here. Yay. I know you don’t do cutesie covers so glad you read it and pointed it on. Sounds like some difficult material in it too so can’t make to make a space to read it.

  5. Hi Deborah, so funny…. I just clicked publish on my latest blog post which is a review of 2 books… so yes – I have read some good books lately – Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Is This My Beautiful Life by Jessica Rowe. Thanks for your suggestions, I like the sound of that last one – the one who got away.

  6. It’s been awhile since I have read anything by Nora Roberts but everything I see about this last one seems good. I may have to take the plunge.

  7. I am almost finished The One That Got Away, I have loved everyone of Caroline Overington’s books, I wish she had stuck to an Australian setting though wth this one, it’s lost something for me being set in the US

  8. Thanks Lisa and both are great books. The Beekeeper’s Secret was a bit of a surprise as it looked a bit light and fluffy from the cover, but wasn’t. (Though not too dark either of course!)

  9. I read The Obsession recently and enjoyed it. Have added “Under Italian Skies” to my reading list. So many books to read.. pile keeps growing each week I read Debbie’s post.

    1. Umm… #sorrynotsorry Charmaine! Hope you loved the beginning of The Obsession – I thought it was amazing. In my blog review of the book I mention that I hope to see a spin-off featuring Naomi’s FBI brother! He didn’t play a big role in this but he was a great character!

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