Grounded Hearts by Jeanne Dickson: Irish setting, predictable story and conclusion

grounded hearts

In a nutshell – the setting is World War II, County Clare Ireland. As Ireland has declared their country neutral, any troops captured must be reported and interned. The story opens with a Canadian RAF bomber crashing, introducing us to a wounded flyer named Dutch Whitney. He doesn’t know where is but he needs to find his crew and make it to Northern Ireland so he can get back into the war.

He sees a light at a cottage and starts practicing his Irish accent so he won’t be mistaken for Canadian. (Ha!) Wounded, he makes his way toward the cottage. Twenty-eight year old midwife Nan O’Neil (a widow) answers the door and takes him in. She busts him right away on the fake brogue as it is soooo over the top. But so is her dialogue once you get into the book.

“Top of the morn….evening to ya. ‘Tis meself, “tis,” a muffled voice answered.
“Sit here, so”……she brought him water and surveyed his face. Ah, but he had altogether gorgeous blue eyes. His hand touched hers, sending a rush of heat over her skin. No, don’t be drawn to this fella. No good would come of it.

Nan will be sent to prison if she’s caught harboring a soldier but you can see that’s the way the story is going. It’s very predicable with her inward swooning over his eyes and muscular body.

C’mon, it’s so obvious she likes his looks and is attracted to him all the while telling herself to step back. It’s the template of other books where girl meets boy, girl tells herself she must not get involved, repeat this a few times and finally they get together. I thought it might be more Ireland-centic but that wasn’t the case.

I won this book from Goodreads in a Kindle format. Thank you Goodreads!

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday



Reader’s Workout – wishing I were walking in Scotland

I haven’t been linking up as it’s the same old exercise for me – walking.  I do lift a few boxes at work but otherwise, I walk.  And I walk quite a bit.  If only it were in the rolling countryside in Scotland or Cumbria.  So much cooler there and I think I’d have a sense of peace that eludes me here.

I did earn the Great Barrier Reef badge via FitBit so I am certainly high steppin’!


My meal plans have included:

Gyros and Herb Roasted Potatoes
Nigel Slater’s Baked Flounder
Vegetable Stir Fry
Shrimp and Couscous
Pizza night!

Check out Readers’ Workout at Joy’s Book Blog!


Daughters of Ireland (Book 2) by Santa Montefiore

daughter of ireland pomegranit

When I read The Girl in the Castle  I didn’t know it was book one in a trilogy.  That story ended well and didn’t leave you hanging.  Maybe one little mystery at the end but otherwise, it could have been a stand alone novel.  It was quite a treat to find two more books were planned as I very much enjoyed the characters and plot.

The next book is titled Daughters of Ireland and picks up where book one left off.  The little mystery  at the end of book one explains who bought Castle Deverill.

The main setting is in West Cork Ireland with part of the story set in London and New York City.  We pick up the story of Bridie Doyle, Kitty Deverill and Celia Deverill Mayberry, their paths going different ways but eventually crossing back again.  In childhood they were loving and devoted friends but tragedy stirs up a mess of emotional baggage.  Love, revenge, fear and determination are a constant in this book.

This second book has me screaming for more.  So many story lines weaving together, leaving the reader with great anticipation about what happens next.  The main characters are all about to collide and I expect many fireworks in book three.

If you are a fan of family saga type books you will love this series.  It’s a touch of Downton Abbey along with rural hard living families spanning a time period of 1925 to 1938 (book 2).

Food and drinks are mentioned here and there.  I wanted to represent both social economic divisions so I brought a Pomegranate Martini which would appeal to the Deverill family and Scones with cream and jam for the Doyle and O’Leary families.


Pomegranate Martini

2oz Vodka
1oz Pomegranate Juice
Splash of Cointreau

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker full of ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass.

I won a copy of this book from Goodreads. Thanks so much!

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday


Cork Dork – entertaining and informative. I’ll toast to that!


Do you like wine?  I like wine.  Do like a well researched book with an engaging writing style, entertaining stories plus a hearty dose of clear and informative information?   I found this book to be all of those things….but again, I like wine so I was interested in this journey.

Bianca Bosker introduces herself:

“I am a journalist by training and a type-A neurotic by birth, so I started my research the only way I knew how: I read everything I could get my hands on, carpet-bombed sommeliers’ in-boxes, and showed up at places uninvited, just to see who I would meet.”

I liked this woman immediately.  Type-A style is fascinating to me as I am such a laid-back type-B that I would never, ever dream of tackling anything with this sort of drive and passion.  It’s over-drive!  She never quits.  Impressive.

Quote from the first chapter:

“When you inform your friends and relatives that you have left your stable job as a journalist to stay home and taste wines, you will begin to get concerned phone calls. You say: I’m going to hone my senses and find out what the big deal is about wine. They hear: I’m quitting my job to drink all day and improve my chances of ending up homeless.”

As you move through the book you are taking this journey with Bianca Bosker.  Please remain seated……….The details and dedication of becoming a sommelier is daunting.  It’s their job to help select a wine appropriate for the meal and the guests’ tastes all the while  making money for the restaurant.  The markup is very significant when it comes to wine and beverages.

But the tasting sessions they live for, the money they spend, the endurance and tolerance for so. much. wine.……it’s a journey.    It’s a journey I personally would not be up for with the expense and my non-discriminating palate, never  mind being kind to my liver.   I buy wine because I like having it with dinner.

As mentioned in the book, “Marketing will get you to buy a wine once.  Sensory will get you to buy it twice.”   Take a look at the bottles I have posed with the book – these are not high priced wines, the most expensive one being $22 which I wanted to try. Sometimes I try a wine based on a review or because I am intrigued by the label (marketing) but I will buy it over and over again for the taste and pleasure (sensory).

chablis This Chablis was a new one for us and we very much enjoyed it.  If you like the mineral taste in a wine, a Chablis is a good pick.  We had this with grilled Tile Fish and when the last of the bread and cheese was finished, I was sad the wine was also gone.

tile fish

With no common sense we promptly opened a bottle of Chardonnay.  I’m pleased to say we only had a small glass and saved the rest. 🙂 The Chablis was the better of the two wines and we would certainly buy it again.

This book is recommended as it reads as a memoir but provides investigative reporting, funny antidotes and overall information on the wine and tastings.  If any of this appeals to you, you will enjoy this book.  I couldn’t put it down.

I first heard about this book through Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness and Beth Fish Reads.  Thank you, ladies 🙂

Linking up to  Girlxoxo for the June Destination theme, the June Foodies Read at Based on a True Story and Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking Series.

Lonely Planet bring us a Film and TV Locations book

Our local library recently acquired this book and on a whim I checked it out.  What a cool book! It gives the locations of more than 100 movies or TV shows.  Did you ever wonder where King’s Landing in Westeros, from Game of Thrones was filmed?  It’s in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The Martian, one of my favorite movies and books, was filmed in Jordan on the red sands.  Don’t you think of red sand and Mars?  Perfect.  The Kellig Islands in Ireland are seen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  So many perfect fantasy settings are actual places and it’s fun to browse through this book.  It also gave me ideas for movies I want to see coming up.

This book is from Lonely Planet.


Wool Gathering and Armchair Traveling

Sometimes we are able to travel and see more of the world. Other times it’s armchair traveling through books and websites.  When we were able to visit England many years ago I did not seek out the typical touristy souvenirs.

I like to get something unconventional or useful, that way I think back on the trip when it’s put to use.  Charity or thrift shops are great places for me to go.  There was a shop in Cheddar Gorge (maybe it was a Sue Ryder shop),  I picked up this old and well used leather bookmark.  It’s my favorite and I use it constantly.  It brings to mind that shop, the day spent there and the wonderfully chatty lady who ran the shop.

She was telling us how she didn’t like how the “National Trust took our gorge” and complained about Tony Blair.  “Oh course, you have that Clinton fellow” and she also wondered why politicians were always smiling, she asked in a mistrustful way.  But what a delight she was to talk to and she gave us her opinion on so much.  See, I still remember her well.


Perusing another shop I found this old thermometer.  We still use it.  I wonder who owned it before.

Other travels I have enjoyed, vicariously of course, have been through the excellent site A Bit of Britain.  As I read about places I want to visit I add them to my ever growing list.

  • One of my very favorite posts has a good accounting of Swinside Stone Circle complete with photos.  The scenery is breathtaking and of a great interest to me.   My great great grandparents were married and raised a family in Cumbria, formerly Cumberland county.  I hope one day to roam around Cumbria and see firsthand all the images I have been enjoying through the Internet.

Photo credit: This is from A Bit of Britain, post on Swinside


Another excellent site is My Yorkshire Dales. Treat yourself to armchair traveling through either of these sites mentioned and you will be trying to figure out how to move there. The winters would be tough…..I may have been in Florida too long for that!

That’s enough wool gathering today.

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday


Halfway Through the 2017 Monthly Motif Challenge

This past December I joined a few book challenges.  This helps me form reading lists, adding books I definitely plan to read in 2017.   This year I joined in on a new challenge.  The 2017 Monthly Motif Challenge.  Here is my 6 month update and so far, I am on track!


If you haven’t checked out Girlxoxo you may want to drop by.  I had fallen in love with this site and the life hacks, the book reviews and organizational tips.


Anyway………..this Monthly Motif Challenge  has me reading outside of my typical favored genres.  Here is a shameless copy and paste job of the themes (books read are added along with the links for the review). It’s not too late to sign up if you are interested!

JANUARY – Diversify Your Reading
Kick the reading year off right and shake things up. Read a book with a character (or written by an author) of a race, religion, or sexual orientation other than your own.
Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals that Brought Me Home by Jessica Fechtor

FEBRUARY – Undercover Thriller
Read a book involving spies, detectives, private investigators, or a character in disguise. Watching the Dark by Peter Robinson

MARCH – Time Traveler
Read a book set in a different dimension, a book in which time travel is involved or a dystopian or science fiction book where reality looks very different than what we’re used to. 11/23/63 by Stephen King

APRIL – Award Winners
Read a book that has won a literary award or a book written by an author who has been recognized in the bookish community.  And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

MAY – Book to Movie or Audio
Read a book that has a movie based off of it. For an extra challenge, see the movie or listen to the audio book as well.  The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

JUNE – Destination Unknown
Read a book in which the character(s) take a trip, travel somewhere, go on a quest, or find themselves on a journey toward something.

I started Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker.  The journey is about wine, learning how difficult it is to become an accomplished sommelier and there is most certainly a bit of travel too.


Here are the categories for the next 6 months.

JULY – Believe the Unbelievable
This month it’s all about fantasy. Epic fantasy, urban fantasy, fairy tales, magic, etc.

AUGUST – Seasons, Elements, & Weather
Read a book in which the season, the elements, or the weather plays a role in the story.

SEPTEMBER – Creepy, Chilling, & Frightful
Cozy mystery ghost stories, paranormal hauntings, murder mysteries, weird and scary creatures- it’s up to you!

OCTOBER– Games, Challenges, & Contests
Read a book that involves a game of some sort. Video games, war games, psychological mess-with-your-mind games, characters who participate in a contest, or a story in which the character takes on a challenge.

NOVEMBER – Last Chance
Read a book you’ve been meaning to get to all year but haven’t yet or read the last book in a series you started.

DECEMBER – Picking Favorites
Read a book by one of your favorite authors or read a book that Girlxoxo has recommended this year.

So there it is, folks.  I am almost to the halfway mark.  It’s been enjoyable.

 Join in, it looks like fun!2017-reading-challenge-sign-ups-1