Saturday 31 December 2022

Book Review: Becoming Beth by Meredith Appleyard

 Becoming Beth


Meredith Appleyard

She's remembered the truth about her own life... what happens now?
Publication date: 7th September 2022
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 418
RRP: $32.99AUD Paperback
Source: Beauty & Lace Book Club

My review of Becoming Beth

This review first appeared on the Beauty & Lace Book Club 
Becoming Beth is a story about finding yourself after major life upheavals and moving on.
Beth is in her 50's and back at her childhood home after an unexpected marriage breakdown. She has left her job and needs time to mourn not only her marriage but also decades of old hurt and the loss of her mother after a severe stroke.
I loved that Meredith has given her readers an older character having to start over in life. Beth is living with her elderly father however he is not frail and is quite able to care for himself and Meredith Appleyard touches on the stigma of mature children living at home with their parents unless they are a carer.
Becoming Beth is set during the pandemic with mentions of lockdowns, social distancing and disinfectant spray. These were all a part of our lives for so long and I liked that it was included in the novel rather than setting it during a previous year. I think I am now ready to read books with covid restrictions affecting families with parents dying, no visitors, no funeral. I couldn't have done that a year ago.

In Becoming Beth Meredith Appleyard highlights problems faced by small country towns with fundraising to maintain community halls. I loved how the townsfolk all worked together and helped each other. The whole book had a lovely community feel with people of all ages working together for the good of the community. 
Meredith Appleyard portrays the heat of an Australian summer with ease. I breezed through this book, it was such an immersive story with just the right amount of drama and a couple of mysteries running through it.
The only thing I would have liked a bit more of was the romance element.
My rating 4 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 
About the author
Meredith Appleyard lives in the Clare Valley wine-growing region of South Australia, two hours north of Adelaide. As a registered nurse and midwife, she has worked in a wide range of country health practice settings, including the Royal Flying Doctor Service. She has done agency nursing in London and volunteer work in Vietnam. After her first manuscript was rejected, she joined a writers' group, attended workshops and successfully completed an Advanced Diploma of Arts in Professional Writing with the Adelaide College of the Arts. And she kept working. When she isn't writing, Meredith is reading, helping organise the annual Clare Writers' Festival, or at home with her husband and her border collie, Daisy 

Friday 30 December 2022

In 2022..... My Life in Books

I love this fun book tag created by Shellyrae @ Book'd Out and you can see her post HERE
The idea is to complete each prompt with a book that you have read in 2022.

2022 was the year of: The Way it is Now

In 2022 I wanted to be: The Brightest Star

In 2022 I was: The Understudy

In 2022 I gained: A Recipe for Family

In 2022 I lost: The Postcard from Italy

In 2022 I loved: The Last Summer







In 2022 I hated: Keeping Up Appearances

In 2022 I learned: The Raven's Song

In 2022 I was surprised by: Lily Harford's Last Request

In 2022 I went to:The Wattle Seed Inn







In 2022 I missed out on: The Reunion

In 2022 my family were: A Family of Strangers

in 2023 I hope for: A Little Spark








If you think this looks like a fun tag why not check out Shellyrae's post here and join in with your own bookish answers. 

My Life in Books... 2020


Wrap-up of my 2022 Reading Challenges - Let's see how I went!

 It's that time of year when we look back over our challenge pledges and see how we went.

The first one was the Dymocks Reading Challenge

There were 20 categories plus an additional 6 extra categories.

I managed to complete 21 of the 26 prompts

You can see the full list of books HERE


Next up is the Mount TBR Reading Challenge
I chose the lowest level which was 12 books from your TBR
I managed to read 7 books that had been on my shelf prior to 2019
You can see the full list HERE
Next was KT's Book Bingo on Instagram

 This had 25 squares to complete and I managed to fill 18 of the 25

You can see the full list HERE
The last one was 22 reads for 2022
This is from The Book Stack Facebook Group
 I managed to complete 19 of the 22 prompts
You can see the full list HERE
Well that's a wrap for 2022. I didn't complete any of my attempted challenges but I had fun joining in!

Friday 23 December 2022

Wishing you a Merry Christmas from The Burgeoning Bookshelf - 2022

A big thank you to all my followers for all your support. I will be back soon with my 2022 challenge update (let's see how I went). Until then have a wonderful Christmas and I hope you find a favourite book, or two, under the Christmas tree.


Thursday 8 December 2022

Book Review: The Christmas Postcards by Karen Swan

Title: The Christmas Postcards
Author: Karen Swan
Publication date: 27th October 2022
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Romance
Pages: 480
RRP: $34.99AUD (Paperback) 
Source: Courtesy of the publisher 
My review of The Christmas Postcards
Every year I look forward to Karen Swan's Christmas story. I can always be assured of a riveting tale and a happy ending set in an exotic location with plenty of snow. 
In the weeks leading up to Christmas Natasha's  young daughter loses her treasured toy cow, Moola, accidentally leaving her behind in a B & B in Vienna. 
Duffy is staying one night in Vienna, hoping to catch up with a friend before his next flight to Nepal, when he happens across a toy cow exactly like the one his sister had. He takes this as a sign and now Moodle will be his good luck mascot as he treks the Himalayas.
A social media post to help find Moola goes viral eventually reaching Duffy although he is already too far to return the toy he promises to send photos whenever he has internet.
I loved the idea of a social media post to find Moola going viral and flying around the world. So many wonderful people wanting to help. 
There is so much to this story! It has mystery, suspense, armchair travel, edge of your seat suspense and romance all rolled into one.
Nat is very unsettled in her marriage, she has everything she could want and she can't seem to pinpoint why she is unhappy. Swan deftly depicts Nat's unsettledness without making her unlikable or appear selfish.
The two plot lines are so different in content and theme. Nat's is all about a husband who is rarely home and trying to handle a distraught toddler alone and her feelings of disconnect now she is no longer in the workforce. Duffy's story is more melancholy, showcasing the atmospheric Himalayas and the dangers faced by mountain climbers in extreme conditions. The two plots are pulled together by the emails and photos between Natasha and Duffy.
The Christmas Postcards is an immersive story about love, loss, second chances and the fate that sometimes controls our life.
My rating 5 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author
Karen Swan is the Sunday Times top three bestselling author of twenty-two books and her novels sell all over the world. She writes two books each year - one for the summer period and one for the Christmas season. Previous summer titles include The Spanish Promise, The Hidden Beach and The Secret Path and, for winter, The Christmas Secret, Together by Christmas and Midnight in the Snow.