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Baseball metaphors

Stealing Home Book Cover Stealing Home
(A Sweet Magnolias Novel, Book 1)
Sherryl Woods
Fiction
HarperCollins UK
November 1, 2011
400

Coming to Netflix May 2020 Maddie Townsend might live in a town called Serenity, but there's been nothing calm or peaceful about her life since her marriage broke up.

This stay-at-home mum has no job skills, an out-of-control sixteen-year-old son, a talkative fourteen-year-old who's suddenly gone silent, a six-year-old daughter whose heart is broken, an ex-husband whose younger girlfriend is expecting their baby and two best friends who think she's somehow qualified to help them open a fitness spa for women.

But if Maddie is a tad on edge with all that on her plate, it's nothing compared to the chaos that ensues when she discovers that her son's baseball coach has feelings for her and the whole town disapproves. Maddie's faced a lot of challenges lately with strength and resolve, but Cal Maddox may turn out to be more than she can handle. Then again, he could just be the one man in all of South Carolina who can help her find serenity.

This is a metaphor title, for those who recognise it, for baseball. The very special feeling that ball players get when they advances to a base which they are not entitled to, and the official scorer rules that the advance should be credited to the action of the runner – them. … Successful base stealers are not only fast but have good base running instincts and timing.

There is a film called Stealing Home and a famous book about the Los Angeles Dodgers too. So a metaphor that would be familiar to US readers – but not UK I’m afraid.

However, the story gradually explains the very special feeling that baseball runners get when they ‘steal’ this run, and how important it is for them to play.

What is also interesting is how this story explores what it means to be a woman many years older than her lover/boyfriend and society’s reaction to this  combination – yes discrimination again as it is common among men and not commented on – other than sometimes salaciously by other men.

And adolescents and their hormones and their actions and reactions to their mother with a new life.

I thought the story was told empathetically and enjoyably. Well written in its genre.

nb re-issued due to Netflix Series – but don’t think it is quite the same as the book – it isn’t!

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No more Irish Nuns

I Won’t be a Nun Book Cover I Won’t be a Nun
Michaela Francis
Fiction
Troubador Publishing Ltd
April 28, 2020
200

Everything these days is online – including how a woman is meant to meet Mr Right. But, Sonia wonders, as she joins up to the dating app, how can someone decide simply by looking at somebody’s face that they’re the right person for her? And as she swipes with little to no matches, her confidence affected as she wonders “What’s wrong with me?”

Past history meets present as she continues on the carousel, emotions building up and tearing down, being used and discarded like an old sweet wrapper and the crushing knowledge that she’s in her late 30s and her clock is ticking. She needs to meet Mr Right right now. She turns to alcohol to mask the fear that she will never find him but refuses to recognise that her crutch is crippling her – until it’s too late. As the overall pressure of society, her addiction and her own fears weighs her down, will Sonia overcome everything that is expected of her or will she succumb to her choices and live a life half-lived?

In my considered opinion, and taking into consideration that at a conservative estimate i have read over 20,000 books in my life, ranging from fantasy and romance to Dickens, Shakeapeare, French (in the original) novels, and computer science and programming books, they can start in one of two ways if they want to attract your attention and get you to read further.

They can start with a bang, as it is said in Trampolining with Dragons, see further review, or they can start subtly and draw you into a deceptively intricate story that weaves a web of intrigue so that you want to read further to find out what happens in the storyline, or to the characters or…

Poor books do neither of these things. And if by 10% or even 25% Ii am still wondering why I am reading this book, the author has failed in their job to interest me in my super power, as it says on my mug, to read.

I read voraciously. Many different genres. Many different lengths but longer being better as a book that I can finish in an hour is too light – unless it makes me laugh. Which is why I usually dislike novellas unless they are a part of a series. I read at least a page a minute as i can speed read easily and so 300 plus pages is my preferred book.

I Won’t be a Nun only half interested me and at 7% of the way through I abandoned it to read another book and then came back to see if I felt I if for a different reader it might do well. I find that I rarely get on with Irish books but occasionally they surprise me so I keep trying.

This wasn’t one to surprise me. It lacked the humour that would have encouraged me to go further.

1 for me – maybe 3 for a reader who likes Irish stories.

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Tangled in Dresses

The Tanglewood Wedding Shop Book Cover The Tanglewood Wedding Shop
Lilac Mills
Fiction
Canelo Escape
January 13, 2020
300

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something untrue… Edie has enough on her plate keeping her tyrannical boss happy at Moira’s Wedding Shop. So when society bride Tia begs Edie to design her wedding dress – and keep it a secret from the domineering mother-in-law to be – Edie reluctantly says ‘I will’ to making Tia’s dream come true. If her deception is found out, though, it would mean losing her job… Meanwhile best man James has his eye on Edie and he’s proving ever harder for her to resist. James is upper-crust and Edie’s one unexpected bill away from the breadline – they’re from completely different worlds and there’s no way it can ever work between them… right? A charming, feel-good romance for fans of Daisy James, Holly Martin and Portia MacIntosh.

A wedding shop story with difference.

We are not reading about the shop but the seamstress, who does not own the shop, but makes and designs the gowns – for a pittance due to a mean shop owner.

We have a cute village which emphasises just how remote some of our Welsh ( and Welsh Border) villages can be, lacking the amenities of travel if you don’t have a car, with rare and unreliable buses.

Overall a sweet story within the genre but no real bite and a rather wishy-washy heroine.

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Glamour and ….

American Royals Book Cover American Royals
Katharine McGee
Teens & YA , Women's Fiction
Puffin, Penguin Random House UK
September 3, 2019
368

Romance, glamour, ambition and power . . . meet the Washingtons - the most scandalous royal family ever! HRH Princess Samantha has always been a royal rebel. She's the spare not the heir, so no one minds too much who she dates or how hard she parties. It helps that her sister, Princess Beatrice, is literally perfect. She's demure, sweet and beautiful, and she knows that the crown always comes first - no matter what her heart might really want. But they're not the only ones with their eye on the throne. Daphne Deighton might be 'newly noble' but she won Prince Jefferson's heart once, and she'll do anything to get back into the court's favour - and his bed. If only she knew that her competition was a common nobody - plain little Nina Gonzalez, the daughter of the king's secretary. Together these four young women must navigate the drama, gossip, scheming and sizzling romance of the most glorious court in the world. They'll either be crowned in glory - or end up as shockingly royal disasters.

Overall I liked this alternate history of America and thus the world. 
My one issue was with Daphne's age. She was still 17 at the time of writing. 
Her scheming was that of a teenager true, but the concept of marriage at such a young age- well. My guess is that the ages of the main characters were to appeal to an YA audience.
It would have been nice to have had more history of America in the storyline. What had happened after the war with the British? 
There were odd sentences here and there-eg about slavery & Native Americans, but they only left me wanting more detail.
I'm sure a YA audience will love this new series, after all, so many girls dream about being a: 
a. a princess and 
b. To be in charge- to rule.

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Cornwall’s Secrets

A Midwinter Promise Book Cover A Midwinter Promise
LULU TAYLOR
General Fiction (Adult) , Romance
Pan Macmillan Pan
November 28, 2019
400

One family across two generations. A marriage marred by trauma and infidelity. Lives marked by death, divorce and a shattered family. A dark secret at the heart of a tragedy. Now the Pengelly family reunites around the sickbed of David, a beloved husband and father, to confront the emotions and the secrets that have divided them over the years. Set around the beautiful wildness of Tawray, a house near the Cornish coast, A Midwinter Promise by bestselling author Lulu Taylor, is a dramatic story of loss, grief and the legacy of secrets. It is also a tale of reconciliation and renewal.

Cornwall is here again in its dark and gloomy clothes – the Cornwall that holds secrets and keeps things close to its heart within family houses and lakes and moors. A story of despair and family intrigue and secrets and all the other elements expected in a saga such as this beautifully written with empathy and understanding. A writer with style.

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