Books Hauls · Personal Post · TBR

My First Little Free Library Hunt

The following post is shared from my Instagram page: @melissaleesredhousereviews .

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Mother/Daughter Buddy Read 1: Secrets of the Lighthouse

Growing up reading was a big part of my childhood. In fact I would say that my love for books came from both of my parents, although my reading taste is more similar to that of my Mom’s. One of our favourite things to do together is to share and talk about books.

While unpacking my numerous boxes of books I discovered that I had two copies of Santa Montefiore’s Secrets of the Lighthouse. I gave one copy to my mom and kept the other for myself. We decided to both read it at the same time and so we officially did our first Mother/Daughter buddy read.

Secrets of the Lighthouse
By: Santa Montefiore

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Published: January 2013
Published by: Simon Schuster
Format Read: Hardcover
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Rating: 3.5/5


Ellen Trawton is running away from it all—quite literally. She is due to get married to a man she doesn’t love, her job is dragging her down, and her interfering mother is getting on her nerves. So she escapes to the one place she know her mother won’t follow her—to her aunt’s house in rural Ireland. Once there, she uncovers a dark family secret—and a future she never knew she might have.

Meanwhile, Caitlin Macausland is mourning the future she can never have. She died tragically in what the village thinks is suspicious circumstances, and now she is stuck in a limbo, unable to move on.

And between the two of them is an old lighthouse—the scene of so much tragedy. Can each woman find the peace she so desperately longs for? And can they find the way to live again?

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

Secrets of the Lighthouse follows Ellen Trawton, a privileged woman who runs away to Ireland and discovers a family she didn’t know she had. Meanwhile the rural seaside town she escapes to is defined by family loyalty and tradition.

My Mom and I have both read Santa Montefiore in the past. While we both enjoyed The Girl in the Castle, I did find it to be drawn out. Thankfully I did not find this novel to be this way. We found the descriptions of the small Irish village to be beautiful and the reading experience was made even more enjoyable by being able to discuss it as we read along.

There is a supernatural element to this storyline that I was unsure of at first. However in the end I thought that the author presented it in a way that was thought provoking.

My Mom and I both recommend Secrets of the Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore to fans of contemporary fiction, with a pinch of magical realism. We both look forward to reading more from this author and sharing more buddy reads in the future.

Challenges · Currently Reading · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: July 2021

Total Books Read in July: 4
Total Books Read in 2021: 32

Backlist Catch-up TBR: 4/7

Backlist Catch-up TBR Books Read in July:

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The Lake of Dreams
By: Kim Edwards

Genre: Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3/5
NOTE: I won a copy of The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards, from Goodreads and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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The Lieutenant’s Nurse
By: Sara Ackerman

Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3/5
NOTE: I was sent a copy of Sara Ackerman’s The Lieutenant’s Nurse, from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Additional Books Read:

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
By: Roald Dahl

Genre: Children’s Books, Children’s Fiction, Classics, Chapter Books
Rating: 3/5

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Murder at Blackhead
By: MK Staple

Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 1/5


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All My Love, Detrick
By: Roberta Kagan

Genre: Historical Fiction

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 4
Total Number of Fiction: 4
Total Number of Non-Fiction: 0
Total Books Sent for Review: 2
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 4
Total Library Books Read: 0

Formats Read

Physical Books: 3
Audio Books: 

Currently Reading

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Book Reviews · Recommendations

The New Elizabeth (Sweet Valley High 63) by Francine Pascal

The New Elizabeth
(Sweet Valley High, 63)
Created by: Francine Pascal
Written by: Kate William

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Published: January 1990
Published by: Bantam Books
Format Read: Paperback

Genre: Series, YA Lit, Middle Grade

Rating: 2.5/5


If one more person calls Elizabeth Wakefield responsible or predictable, she’ll scream! In an effort to prove that she can be as adventurous as Jessica, her daring identical twin, Elizabeth secretly decides to take up surfing. That will show her friends she knows how to take risks.

But from the start, Elizabeth’s new hobby causes problems. She has a sneaking suspicion that her surfing instructor is falling in love with her. And even worse, she has to lie to her steady boyfriend, Todd, in order to keep her surfing a surprise. Todd’s becoming suspicious and angry — and Elizabeth is beginning to wonder if a daredevil reputation is worth the trouble after all.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

I uncovered The New Elizabeth in a box of old books from my childhood. I remember really enjoying the stories about identical twins and followed them from their adventures as kids, right up to university. Elizabeth was always my favorite sister, which is probably why I’ve held on to this copy after all these years. Even at a young age I related more to her introverted personality than to the more spontaneous and outgoing Jessica. However in this installment Elizabeth wants to prove that she can be adventurous too by learning how to surf.

Although this was originally released in the 1980s, I think that the plot will still interest its target audience today. I would say that The New Elizabeth would be appropriate for older middle grade readers or younger teens. 

Books Hauls · TBR

July 2021 Book Haul

I added more physical books to my collection during the month of July than I normally do. The first picture includes books I found at a library book sale and the second picture are books my parents brought back from Newfoundland.

Library Book Sale

The Letters (Inn at Eagle Hill 1) by: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Royal Wedding (Princess Diaries, 11) by Meg Cabot

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn

Books Set in Newfoundland

Stormy Cove by Bernadette Calonego

Murder at Blackhead by M.K. Staple

New Girl in Little Cove by Damhnait Monaghan