LET’S CURL UP WITH A NEGLECTED BOOK…

It is time for another search of our TBR shelves/piles for those sadly neglected books from the past.  Carole’s Random Life in Books is hosting this event.

Another day of searching through the pages of this blog, trying to find a book I have neglected that I really need to give another opportunity to be a favorite.

I found Miss You, by Kate Eberlin, purchased in April 2017.

I knew immediately why it was still unread:  453 pages.  Not that I don’t read books with more than 300 pages, but if I don’t have a history with the author, I might push it aside for a bit.

Well, a bit has turned into more than three years!  Enough already.

The description was one that drew me in, so let’s take another look at it:

“TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.” Tess can’t get the motto from her mother’s kitchen knickknack out of her head, even though she’s in Florence on an idyllic vacation before starting university in London.

Gus is also visiting Florence, on a holiday with his parents seven months after tragedy shattered their lives. Headed to medical school in London, he’s trying to be a dutiful son but longs to escape and discover who he really is.

A chance meeting brings these eighteen-year-olds together for a brief moment—the first of many times their paths will crisscross as time passes and their lives diverge from those they’d envisioned. Over the course of the next sixteen years, Tess and Gus will face very different challenges and choices. Separated by distance and circumstance, the possibility of these two connecting once more seems slight.

But while fate can separate two people, it can also bring them back together again.

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So…up it goes on the list.  Let’s hope I find my bliss in these pages.  What unread book did you find this week?

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REVIEW: FINAL CUT, BY S.J. WATSON

 

They tried to hide the truth. But the camera never lies…

Blackwood Bay. An ordinary place, home to ordinary people.

It used to be a buzzing seaside destination. But now, ravaged by the effects of dwindling tourism and economic downturn, it’s a ghost town—and the perfect place for film-maker Alex to shoot her new documentary. But the community is deeply suspicious of her intentions. After all, nothing exciting ever happens in Blackwood Bay—or does it?

When I first picked up Final Cut, I was intrigued with the opening scenes of a girl on the beach, suffering from amnesia and a mysterious past. A girl who renames herself Alex.

Years later, she is a filmmaker about to return to the scenes from the past and the strange mystery of girls who have disappeared and/or died. Is Alex one of those girls? What will she remember as she explores the events of the past, along with those in the present? What can she learn from watching clips of old films and documentaries?

Unfortunately, the story moves along so slowly that even the twists and turns don’t really keep me invested. I wanted to love this book and kept reading because I did want to know what happened. And I was glad to finally have some answers. But I can only give this book 3.5 stars.

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ANOTHER BOOK HIDING OUT ON MY SHELVES…

It is time for another search of our TBR shelves/piles for those sadly neglected books from the past.  Carole’s Random Life in Books is hosting this event.

Today’s book from the backlog hasn’t been hiding out that long:  this one was purchased in September 2019. I have been eager to read it, but kept setting it aside, waiting for the right time to dive into it.

Elevator Pitch, by Linwood Barclay

Description:It all begins on a Monday, when four people board an elevator in a Manhattan office tower. Each presses a button for their floor, but the elevator proceeds, non-stop, to the top. Once there, it stops for a few seconds, and then plummets.

Right to the bottom of the shaft.

It appears to be a horrific, random tragedy. But then, on Tuesday, it happens again, in a different Manhattan skyscraper. And when Wednesday brings yet another high-rise catastrophe, one of the most vertical cities in the world—and the nation’s capital of media, finance, and entertainment—is plunged into chaos.

Clearly, this is anything but random. This is a cold, calculated bid to terrorize the city. And it’s working. Fearing for their lives, thousands of men in women working in offices across the city refuse to leave their homes. Commerce has slowed to a trickle. Emergency calls to the top floors of apartment buildings go unanswered.

Who is behind this? Why are they doing it? What do these deadly acts of sabotage have to do with the fingerless body found on the High Line? Two seasoned New York detectives and a straight-shooting journalist must race against time to find the answers before the city’s newest, and tallest, residential tower has its ribbon-cutting on Thursday.

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What books have you set aside and/or neglected?  Enjoy!

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DISCOVERING A TREASURE ON THE BACKLOG…

It is time for another search of our TBR shelves/piles for those sadly neglected books from the past.  Carole’s Random Life in Books is hosting this event.

As I scrolled through my blog pages, I found this book from May 2017, and I love this author and her books!  Why have I overlooked it?  Same Beach, Next Year, by Dorothea Benton Frank, promises to be one I will love.

Description:  One enchanted summer, two couples begin a friendship that will last more than twenty years and transform their lives.

A chance meeting on the Isle of Palms, one of Charleston’s most stunning barrier islands, brings former sweethearts, Adam Stanley and Eve Landers together again. Their respective spouses, Eliza and Carl, fight sparks of jealousy flaring from their imagined rekindling of old flames. As Adam and Eve get caught up on their lives, their partners strike up a deep friendship—and flirt with an unexpected attraction—of their own.

Year after year, Adam, Eliza, Eve, and Carl eagerly await their reunion at Wild Dunes, a condominium complex at the island’s tip end, where they grow closer with each passing day, building a friendship that will withstand financial catastrophe, family tragedy, and devastating heartbreak. The devotion and love they share will help them weather the vagaries of time and enrich their lives as circumstances change, their children grow up and leave home, and their twilight years approach.

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Doesn’t this one tick all the nostalgia buttons?  I am bringing it forward now!

What did you discover in the back corners of your shelves?

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HELLO SEPTEMBER!

Goodbye to August!  What a great month it was, although it flew by too fast.  I only read eleven books, but of those, I had four favorites.

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Genres:

     Thrillers/Mysteries:  7

     Contemporary Fiction:  3

     Historical Fiction:  1

 

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Here are the books I read and reviewed.  Click titles for the reviews.

AUGUST 2020:

1.Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing (e-book), by Allison Winn Scotch – (328 pages) – (contemporary fiction) – 8/22/20

2.End of Her, The (e-book), by Shari Lapena – (347 pages) – (psychological thriller) – 8/12/20

3.He Started It (e-book), by Samantha Downing – (400 pages) – (suspense thriller) – 8/24/20

4.His & Hers (e-book), by Alice Feeney – (304 pages) – (thriller) – 4/8/20

5.Home Before Dark (e-book), by Riley Sager – (297 pages)- (thriller) – 8/31/20

6.Imperfect Women (e-book), by Araminta Hall -(287 pages) – (psychological thriller) – 8/15/20

7.Just Between Us (e-book), by Rebecca Drake – (372 pages) – (domestic suspense) – 8/5/20

8.My Pear-Shaped Life, by Carmel Harrington – (367 pages) – (contemporary fiction) – 8/10/20

9.Paris Never Leaves You (e-book), by Ellen Feldman – (347 pages) – (historical fiction) – 8/19/20

10.Switch, The (e-book), by Beth O’Leary – (328 pages) – (contemporary fiction) – 8/28/20

11.Until I Find You (e-book), by Rea Frey – (320 pages) – (thriller) – 8/3/20 – (NG-8/11/20)

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NUMBER OF BOOKS READ IN AUGUST 2020:    11

NUMBER OF PAGES READ IN AUGUST 2020:  3,797

BOOKS READ YTD:  97

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How did your August unfold?

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REVIEW: HOME BEFORE DARK, BY RILEY SAGER

 

What was it like? Living in that house.

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

When Maggie returns to Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she is hoping to finally settle in her mind what really happened back then, when they lived in the house her father wrote about. Had he written lies, or were the things he wrote about true?

Home Before Dark is narrated alternately by Maggie’s father Ewan, back when the family lived in the house, and Maggie herself as she tries to sort through the discoveries she makes in the present.

Were her family members victims of some ghostly creatures back then? Are the strange events that continue even to this day part of something supernatural?

An enticing tale that kept me turning pages, I was surprised by how all the events unfolded. 4.5 stars.

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BACKLOG BOOKS TO BRING FORWARD…

It is time for another search of our TBR shelves/piles for those sadly neglected books from the past.  Carole’s Random Life in Books is hosting this event.

Another scroll through my purchases reveals a book I downloaded in September 2019, one I have been meaning to read.  Why haven’t I?  The competition of other titles, perhaps.

The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett, is a book I hope to love.

Description:  At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.

The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakeable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.

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What books have you overlooked?  Enjoy!

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REVIEW: PARIS NEVER LEAVES YOU, BY ELLEN FELDMAN

Living through World War II working in a Paris bookstore with her young daughter, Vivi, and fighting for her life, Charlotte is no victim, she is a survivor. But can she survive the next chapter of her life?

Alternating between wartime Paris and 1950s New York publishing, Ellen Feldman’s Paris Never Leaves You is an extraordinary story of resilience, love, and impossible choices, exploring how survival never comes without a cost.

The war is over, but the past is never past.

Paris Never Leaves You was a breathtaking story of one woman’s journey during a troublesome time in the world. When Charlotte and her young daughter Vivi do what they have to do to survive the hard times, while still finding comfort where they can, she had no idea that the next chapter in her life would force her to accept some unpleasant truths about how she survived and how she would explain those years to her daughter.

When Charlotte starts her new life in New York City, working in a publishing house under a sponsorship from an American publisher, she follows the credo that some secrets are best kept to oneself. But Vivi probes for answers about their lives in Paris, their heritage, and any other moments that can make her feel a part of something.

Will Charlotte be able to finally tell her true story to Vivi and to others? How will she accept the part of herself and her life that she finds unpalatable?

Charlotte discovers that doing what you have to do to stay alive might be unpleasant or hard to accept, but that very acceptance can also be liberating and a way forward. A 5 star read.

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ANOTHER TREASURE IN THE BACKLOG…

It is time for another search of our TBR shelves/piles for those sadly neglected books from the past.  Carole’s Random Life in Books is hosting this event.

Today I scrolled through my book purchases from 2018 and discovered a book purchased in October that should have been a favorite…if I had read it.  Shell Game, by Sara Paretsky, is a compelling and timely adventure that centers on some of the most divisive and pressing issues of our time…

Why did I buy it?  I love V.I. Warshawski, and have enjoyed the series for years.  But…I got sidetracked by other books, as usual.  I need to fix that!

Description: When V. I Warshawski gets word that her closest friend and mentor Lotty Herschel’s nephew has become a suspect in a murder, the legendary detective will do everything she can to save him. The cops found Felix Herschel’s name and phone number on the unknown victim’s remains, but Felix insists he doesn’t know why.

As Vic digs deeper, she discovers that the dead man was obsessed with Middle Eastern archaeology—the first clue in a bewildering case that leads to a stolen artifact and a shadowy network of international criminals. But the trouble multiplies when Vic’s long-lost niece, Reno, goes missing. A beautiful young woman with a heartbreaking past and a promising future, Reno is harboring a secret that may cost her her life. V.I. can hear the clock ticking on her niece’s safety and is frantic in her efforts to find her.

Vic won’t leave any stone unturned until these very personal cases are cleared—a complex investigation that will entangle the Russian mob, ISIS backers, rogue ICE agents, a nefarious corporation preying on the poor, and a shady network of stock scams and stolen antiquities stretching from Chicago to the East Indies and the Middle East.

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What did you discover today?

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BOOKS FROM THE BACKLOG: ANOTHER POTENTIAL TREASURE!

It is time for another search of our TBR shelves/piles for those sadly neglected books from the past.  Carole’s Random Life in Books is hosting this event.

Lately I have been slowly reading books I found through this meme.  What a satisfying feeling that has been!  There are still more to bring forward, however, and today I found one purchased in April 2017 from an author I have enjoyed, and as I read the description, I am excited at the prospect of digging in.

The Dark Flood Rises, by Margaret Drabble: From the great British novelist Dame Margaret Drabble comes a vital and audacious tale about the many ways in which we confront aging and living in a time of geopolitical rupture.

 

Sounds good to me right now!

Here’s the description from Amazon: 

Francesca Stubbs has an extremely full life. A highly regarded expert on housing for the elderly who is herself getting on in age, she drives “restlessly round England,” which is “her last love . . . She wants to see it all before she dies.” Amid the professional conferences that dominate her schedule, she fits in visits to old friends, brings home cooked dinners to her ailing ex-husband, texts her son, who is grieving over the shocking death of his girlfriend, and drops in on her daughter, a quirky young woman who lives in a flood plain in the West Country. Fran cannot help but think of her mortality, but she is “not ready to settle yet, with a cat upon her knee.” She still prizes her “frisson of autonomy,” her belief in herself as a dynamic individual doing meaningful work in the world.

The Dark Flood Rises moves between Fran’s interconnected group of family and friends in England and a seemingly idyllic expat community in the Canary Islands. In both places, disaster looms. In Britain, the flood tides are rising, and in the Canaries, there is always the potential for a seismic event. As well, migrants are fleeing an increasingly war-torn Middle East.

Though The Dark Flood Rises delivers the pleasures of a traditional novel, it is clearly situated in the precarious present. Margaret Drabble’s latest enthralls, entertains, and asks existential questions in equal measure. Alas, there is undeniable truth in Fran’s insight: “Old age, it’s a fucking disaster!”

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I am eager to start reading it!

Why did I neglect it?  Same old story.  I think I may have begun reading it three years ago and just didn’t connect with it at that time.  Or the new thrillers were calling to me.

What are you finding on your TBR piles today?

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