Book Reviews · Recommendations

The Lake House by Kate Morton

The Lake House
By: Kate Morton

Book Cover

Published: October 2015
Published by: Atria Books
Format Read: Hardcover
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Dual-timeline

Rating: 4/5


Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone…yet more present than ever.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

Loanneth; a secluded Cornwall estate was home to the Edevane family and the secrets that would remain hidden for over 70 years. Disgraced investigator Sadie Sparrow, stumbles upon the long abandoned estate and becomes fascinated with what became of the family and the mystery behind what happened to their youngest son Theo.

Kate Morton became one of my auto-buy authors, after loving her novels The Forgotten Garden and The Secret Keeper. Although I didn’t connect with The Distant Hours, I had very high expectations for The Lake House.

This novel captured my attention immediately and I instantly felt familiar with Kate Morton’s style of writing, although it has been some time since I last read a book by her. One theme I noted throughout this and the previous books I’ve read, is the environmental settings Morton features. Whether it be a Victorian garden or a lake front estate, the fragrant descriptions are always so vivid.

While I really enjoyed this reading experience, I thought that the assumptions the present day characters made, in regards to what really happened decades earlier were far reaching given the evidence they uncovered. As a reader I enjoyed having the historical perspective, but it felt as if those in the current day would have had to be privy to more facts in order to reach the conclusions they did.

Other reviewers have mentioned that this authors novels tend to follow a formula, which may be predictable to some readers. While I do see their point and I was able to correctly figure out the mystery, it is still worth reading.

Recommendations · Worth a Watch

Worth a Watch: From Cradle to Stage

A couple of days I ago I posted my review for the book From Cradle to Stage: Stories from the Mothers who Raised Rock Stars by Virginia Hanlon Grohl. After listening to the audio book I discovered that it had been turned into a documentary series. It was released in May of 2021 and can been seen on Paramount.

As with the book, I would recommend this show for music fans of all genres. Check out the trailer below.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

From Cradle to Stage by Virginia Hanlon Grohl

From Cradle to Stage:
Stories from Mothers who Raised Rock Stars
By: Virginia Hanlon Grohl

Book Cover

Published: April 2017
Published by: Hachette
Format Read: Audio book, Audible
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography, Memoir

Rating: 4/5


Written by Virginia Grohl, the mother of Dave Grohl—former Nirvana drummer and current frontman for the Foo Fighters—From Cradle to Stage shares stories and exclusive photos featuring mothers of rock icons, the icons themselves, and their Behind the Music-style relationships

While the Grohl family had always been musical-the family sang together on long car trips, harmonizing to Motown and David Bowie-Virginia never expected her son to become a musician, let alone a rock star. But when she saw him perform in front of thousands of screaming fans for the first time, she knew that rock stardom was meant to be for her son. And as Virginia watched her son’s star rise, she often wondered about the other mothers who raised sons and daughters who became rock stars. Were they as surprised as she was about their children’s fame? Did they worry about their children’s livelihood and wellbeing in an industry fraught with drugs and other dangers? Did they encourage their children’s passions despite the odds against success, or attempt to dissuade them from their grandiose dreams? Do they remind their kids to pack a warm coat when they go on tour?

Virginia decided to seek out other rock star mothers to ask these questions, and so began a two-year odyssey in which she interviewed such women as Verna Griffin, Dr. Dre’s mother; Marianne Stipe, Michael Stipe of REM’s mother; Janis Winehouse, Amy Winehouse’s mother; Patsy Noah, Adam Levine’s mother; Donna Haim, mother of the Haim sisters; Hester Diamond, Mike D of The Beastie Boys’ mother.

With exclusive family photographs and a foreword by Dave Grohl, From Cradle to Stage will appeal to mothers and rock fans everywhere.

My Thoughts

While you may not know who Virginia Hanlon Grohl is by name, you will most likely know her son Dave Grohl, as one of the most influential musicians of the past 30 years. In her book From Cradle to Stage, she takes readers along as she learns about the familial and maternal influences behind some of the most successful musicians. Along with these stories are vignettes about her son, the early years of Nirvana and the Foo Fighters.

I admit that I decided to listen to this audio book specifically to learn more about the lead singer of one of my favourite rock bands; Foo Fighters. I was pleasantly surprised to have enjoyed all the chapters, ranging from those I was familiar with to the ones I had never heard of before.

Chapters I especially found intriguing were that of; Bev Lambert (mom of Miranda Lambert) and Mary Weinrib (mother of Geddy Lee).

Aside from learning about how these musicians got their start, readers and listeners will see the importance of a strong support system behind big dreams. As a mother this only makes me even more eager to help and support my own child to cultivate his strengths and talents.

Virginia Hanlon Grohl also stresses the importance of funding arts programs in schools and how the lack of this education can negatively impact the success of some children.

I highly recommend From Cradle to Stage to music lovers and mothers alike.

Book Reviews

Trouble and Strife by Johanne Levesque

Trouble and Strife
By: Johanne Levesque

Book Cover

Published: March 2018
Published by: Austin Macauley Publishers
Format Read: Trade Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: 2.5/5


Sometimes the smallest voices make the deepest impact.

Josephine Hadley, a 1930s Canadian housewife, fills her days looking after her children, her indifferent husband and a stream of Depression-era visitors. Her contribution to her guests is a bowl of stew and an open heart.

Her small world, however, is soon shattered by a tragic event which forces her to become the breadwinner. Can she run a business without sacrificing herself? And is it possible to act on a long-buried desire without remorse?

Johanne Levesque’s first novel, Trouble and Strife, is a poignant and heartbreaking look at a woman’s life in a fast-changing time. With intimate details and a deft poetic touch, Levesque has captured the spirit of an age where war and economic hardship altered the workplace, home and women’s lives forever.

My Thoughts

Debut author Johanne Levesque, shares a tale of a Toronto housewife raising her family during the Great Depression.

I had the opportunity of meeting the author at a community event in my hometown, several years ago. Being a historical fiction fan and eager to help support a local talent, I scooped up a copy of Trouble and Strife.

Told in the style of diary entries, this book offers a day-in-the-life glimpse of a women who wasn’t accustomed to hardships in her married life and who, even in the depths of the Great Depression, still had more than most. Josephine was a privalaged woman, whose redeeming quality was her charitable work, assisting those hardest hit by the state of the world.

While I was grateful for the opportunity to read and review Trouble and Strife, I did not connect with the characters at all. There were times when I questioned the historical accuracy, found contradictions and inconsistencies in the storyline. Unfortunately in the end I rated this novel only 2 stars and wouldn’t recommend it to other readers.

Articles · Challenges · Wrap-ups

52 Book Club Challenge Wrap-up 2021

Although I didn’t post my progress here on my blog, I did participate in the 52 Book Club Challenge during 2021. For those of you who have not heard of this challenge or the club, the goal is to read books to match with the prompts given. What I love about this challenge is that it made me pick up books that I might not have otherwise read. Finding books to fit each prompt is easy because of the reading guide on the clubs website and the feedback from the other readers who are participating.

Here are the prompts from 2021:

The 52 Book Club's 2021 Reading Challenge - 52 Books in 52 Weeks

So how did I do?

Well I read over 52 books this past year, however I didn’t manage to fill all of the prompts. However I did complete more than I did when I participated the previous year. The following are the prompts I completed along with the books I read for each:

  1. Set in a school:
    The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
  2. Featuring the legal profession:
    He Sees You When You’re Sleeping by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark
  3. A dual timeline:
    The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand
  4. An author that is deceased:
    Remembrance by Alistair MacLeod
  5. Published by Penguin
    After You by Jojo Moyes
  6. A character with the same name as a male family member:
    Abduction! by Peg Kehret
  7. An author with only one published book:
    For the Love of Friends by Sara Goodman Confino
  8. A book in the 900s of the Dewey Decimal System:
  9. Set in a Mediterranean country:
  10. Related to the word fire:
    Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum, 18) by Janet Evanovich
  11. A book with discussion questions inside:
    Anna’s Crossing (Amish Beginnings, 1) by Suzanne Woods Fisher
  12. Title starting with the letter “d”:
    Double Dare O’Toole by Constance C. Greene
  13. Includes an exotic animal:
    The Devoted (The Bishop’s Family, 3) by Suzanne Woods Fisher [an exotic bird]
  14. Written by an author over 65:
    American Duchess by Karen Harper
  15. A Book mentioned in another book:
    Muddy Bottom (Palmetto Island, 1) by Ashley Farley
  16. Set before the 17th century:
    Catla and the Vikings by Mary Elizabeth Nelson
  17. A character “on the run”:
    The Lieutenants Nurse by Sara Ackerman
  18. An author with a 9-letter last name:
    Lumberjanes (Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy) by Noelle Stevenson et. al.
  19. Book with a deckled edge:
    The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom
  20. Made into a tv series:
    Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
  21. Book by Kristin Hannah:
    Fly Away (Firefly Lane, 2) by Kristin Hannah
  22. A family saga:
    The Lake House by Kate Morton
  23. An ending that surprises you:
    The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
  24. a book you think they should read in schools:
    Flight From the Fortress by Lyn Cook
  25. A book with multiple character POV:
    The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton
  26. An author of colour:
    The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  27. First chapter ends on an odd page number:
    Ice Magic (Silver Blades, 16) by Melissa Lowell
  28. Includes a historical event you know little about:
    We Came Here to Shine by Susie Orman Schnall
  29. Featuring the environment:
    Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards
  30. Watch out for dragons:
    A Royal Pain (Her Royal Spyness Mystery, 2) by Rhys Bowen [a character is referred to as the “old dragon’]
  31. Shares a similar title to another book:
    Verity by Colleen Hoover
  32. A selfish character:
    Tinaca Jones by Matt Boren
  33. Featuring adoption:
    Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
  34. A book you’d rate 5 stars:
    Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins
  35. Set in a country that starts with the letter “s”:
    The Bookshop on the Shore (Scottish Bookshop 2) by Jenny Colgan
  36. A nameless narrator:
  37. An educational read:
    100 Ways to Motivate Yourself by Steve Chandler
  38. Recommended on Book Bub”
    Stranded (Alaskan Courage, 3) by Dani Pettrey
  39. An alternate history novel:
  40. Found via #bookstagram:
  41. An endorsement by a famous author on the cover:
    Inheriting Edith by Zoe Fishman
  42. An epistolary:
    Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Martiza Moulite
  43. A character with a pet cat:
    Royal Wedding (The Princess Diaries, 11) by Meg Cabot
  44. Includes a garden:
    The Mystery at Lilac Inn (Nancy Drew, 4) by Carolyn Keene
  45. A coming of age novel:
    The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
  46. Winner of the National Book Award (any year):
  47. A character with a disability:
    Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  48. A cover with a woman who is facing away:
    Buried Deep by Margo Hunt
  49. A flavour in the title:
    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  50. A shoe on the cover:
    64th Man by Bryan Tucker & Zack Phillips
  51. Published in 2021:
    The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox
  52. Re-do one of the previous 51 categories from this 2021 challenge:
    The New Elizabeth (Sweet Valley High, 63) by Francine Pascal [TV Series]

I’m looking forward to participating in this challenge again this year.

Challenges · Currently Reading · Memes · Personal Post · Recommendations · TBR · Wrap-ups

December 2021 Wrap-up

I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season and wishing you a very happy new year!

Today I am sharing my final wrap-up for the year 2021. After a couple of months with very little progress, I am very pleased with the amount of reading I accomplished this month. I even surpassed my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal!

Total Books Read in December: 6
Total Books Read in 2021: 54/52

Reading My Favourite Authors

I started this TBR back in October and I am very pleased to say that I finally completed it this month. Although these books are from authors that I have loved in the past, unfortunately none of them earned 5 star ratings.

Favourite Authors Read: 3/3

Book Cover

The Lake House
By: Kate Morton

Genre: Dual Timeline, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 4/5

Book Cover

The Notebook
By: Nicholas Sparks

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Rating: 2/5

Seasonal Reads

Two of the books I read in December were set near Christmas or were Christmas themed. The other book, features a winter sport.

Book Cover

He Sees You When You’re Sleeping
By: Mary Higgins Clark & Carol Higgins Clark

Genre: Mystery
Rating: 3/5

Book Cover

Ice Magic (Silver Blades 16)
By: Melissa Lowell

Genre: Middle Grade, Series
Rating: 3/5

Book Cover

The Holiday Swap
By: Maggie Knox

Genre: Romance, Contemporary Fiction, ARC
Rating: 3.5/5
NOTE: I was sent a copy of Maggie Knox’s The Holiday Swap, from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Additional Book Completed

Book Cover

From Cradle to Stage
By: Virginia Hanlon Grohl

Genre: Non-fiction, Audio Book, Biography, Memoir, Music
Rating: 4/5

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 6
Total Number of Fiction: 5
Total Number of Non-Fiction: 1
Total Books Sent for Review: 1
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 5
Total Library Books Read: 0

Formats Read

Physical Books: 4
Audio Books: 

Currently Reading

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