Posted in book review

THE 4TH MAN, BY LISA GARDNER

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D. D. Warren, a Boston Homicide Detective, prides herself on solving cases. But there is one cold case that still disturbs her. The strangling death of college student Jaylin Banks, whose body was found in the stairwell of the library one late night. Only her white Keds sneakers were missing.

Now, ten years later, D. D. has brought in two consultants from Oregon, the husband and wife team of Quincy and Rainie Connor.

Years before, three suspects had been interviewed: Jaylin’s boyfriend, James Duchovny, and two security guards: Dennis Ringham and Santana.

As the two consultants interrogate each of them again, no new information comes forth. It is only when they bring in Erin Pizzey (the alias for Rebecca Stein), a woman who runs the battered woman’s shelter, that more information is brought to light. A significant detail that leads them to the “4th man,” and an arrest.

The 4th Man was a quick and straightforward read. I enjoyed the writing style, mostly made up of interrogations, and the quick resolution to the case. 5 stars.

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Posted in book review

REVIEW: STING, BY SANDRA BROWN

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When Mickey Bolden and Shaw Kinnard met up in a dive bar in Tobias, Louisiana, they had one purpose. A man named Billy Panella had hired Bolden to kill Jordan (Jordie) Bennett, and Kinnard had come along as a partner in the task. They were planning out the hit.

Seeing Jordie come into the bar was a surprise to both of them, as it is obvious that this is not her kind of place, and their Plan A did not include killing her here and now.

So Plan B takes effect, and when she exits, Bolden and Kinnard follow her…and suddenly there is a shot, and Bolden is dead. Before Jordie can realize what is happening, she has been knocked unconscious, and sometime later, she is aware of being bound in the back seat of a car.

After an intense start, what happens next in Sting will keep you turning pages, but the details are sometimes tedious. Hovering over it all is the question: is Kinnard going to kill Jordie, or is something more happening? Over a two-day period, she is kept bound and then blindfolded, but she is also kept hydrated and fed. She has figured out by now that her fate is tied to the criminal financial schemes that her brother Josh and Panella did together. Panella escaped, and Josh was taken into witness protection, so neither has paid for his crimes.

Intense events kept me hopping as I tried to figure out what Kinnard’s goal might be, as it was obvious there was more going on beneath the surface.

When suddenly and unexpectedly, Jordie turns things around and gets the upper hand, everything changes. Cops and EMTs are on the scene, and within hours, we learn more about Kinnard.

The intense attraction between the two is an undercurrent seething between them, so it won’t be long until they act on their feelings.

Will Panella be captured at some point? Will Josh, who has escaped from protection, turn himself in? What will ultimately happen, if anything, between Shaw Kinnard and Jordie? And what will we learn about the relationship between Jordie and Josh that has kept her tied to him, enabling him for years?

The story takes us from Tobias to the French Quarter of New Orleans…and ends up in Bayou Gauche where all the pieces come together in a stunning reveal. Nothing is as it seems, and I did not see any of these last pieces unfolding. A delightful story that kept me engaged, this one earned 4.5 stars.

ratings worms 4-cropped***
Posted in monthly wrap-up

MONTHLY WRAP-UP: GOODBYE, NOVEMBER!

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Welcome, December!  Before we settle into the new month, let’s take a peek back at November.  What books did we read, love, and add to our shelves? 

Then hop over to Kathryn’s Book Date, add your link and visit all the others who are sharing their wrap-ups.

Now for what I read:   my titles (below) are linked to their reviews.

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NOVEMBER 2016:

1.American Heiress, by Jeffrey Toobin, 339 pages – (nonfiction) – 11/6/16

2. Echoes of Family (e-book), by Barbara Claypole White – 382 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 11/29/16

3. Hillbilly Elegy (e-book), by J. D. Vance – 257 pages – (memoir) – 11/19/16

4.  Inheriting Edith (e-book), by Zoe Fishman – 320 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 11/22/16

5.In Twenty Years (e-book), by Allison Winn Scotch – 334 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 11/2/16

6.Last Good Girl, The (e-book), by Allison Leotta – 304 pages – (mystery/thriller) – 11/4/16

7. Murder Game, The (e-book), by Catherine McKenzie writing as Julie Apple – 303 pages – (legal suspense) – 11/25/16

8. Results May Vary (e-book), by Bethany Chase – 352 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 11/12/16

9.  Rosemary:  The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, by Kate Clifford Larson – 231 pages – (nonfiction/biography) – 11/13/16

10. Send in the Clowns (e-book), by Julie Mulhern – 246 pages – (cozy mystery) – 11/17/16

11. Stealing Jason Wilde (e-book), by Dee Ernst – 208 pages – (romantic fiction) – 11/7/16

12. Two-Family House, The (e-book), by Lynda Cohen Loigman – 290 pages – (historical fiction) – 11/9/16

13.  Two If by Sea (e-book), by Jacquelyn Mitchard – 416 pages – (literary fiction) – 11/23/16

14. Unsinkable, by Debbie Reynolds – 283 pages – (memoir) – 11/8/16

15.  While You Were Sleeping (e-book), by Kathryn Croft – 320 pages – (psychological thriller) – 11/30/16

***

NUMBER OF BOOKS READ IN NOVEMBER 2016:         15

NUMBER OF PAGES READ IN NOVEMBER 2016:    4,585

BOOKS READ YTD:                                                                     150

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FAVORITE FICTION BOOKS:

 

 

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FAVORITE NONFICTION:

 

 

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Posted in book review

REVIEW: TWO IF BY SEA, BY JACQUELYN MITCHARD

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It was the night before Christmas in Brisbane, Australia, when the tsunami struck, taking lives and tearing families apart.

Frank Mercy lost his pregnant wife Natalie and several members of her family.

A former cop, Frank is assisting with rescue attempts when he finds two young boys in a purple van, almost submerged by water. The older boy insists that he take the younger one, and he carries him away.

There is something unique about the boy whom he calls Ian. A special gift that calms people down: a kind of telepathy. Has Frank taken him because something in the boy insists on it? Or does he know that he must protect him somehow?

After everything settles down in Brisbane, Frank takes Ian with him to Wisconsin, to his mother, Hope, and his sister Eden. They would settle in at Tenacity Farm and the horses that were part of his life.

At the ranch, Frank helps train the horses…and meets Claudia, a psychiatrist who is also an equestrian. She asks Frank to train her to perform on her horse.

But perhaps Claudia can also help with Ian, whose special gifts may have made him a target for sinister characters.

Two If by Sea was a book that captured my interest, for the most part, although it rambled on for longer than I would have liked, and there were sections, mostly those involving horse training, that I slogged through.

However, I had to keep reading, because I wanted to know what would happen to Frank, to Claudia, and to Ian and his brother Colin, who came to them from an orphanage in Australia.

There were surprises along the way, and a sense of dark foreboding that never lessened. And then, finally, after the whole family moved to England to start over once again, and in the face of a new form of the recurring danger, something truly mystical and triumphant would bring the story to its conclusion. 4 stars.

ratings worms 4-cropped***

Posted in curl up and read

AVOIDANCE & BLOG PLAYING….BOOK DISTRACTIONS?

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The other day, I wrote My TBR Stacks:  A Closer Look, hoping to zero in on my reading progress…and plan accordingly.  I also wrote a little about my fickle reading choices on Friday Potpourri:  Book Hopping, Etc.

Instead of really curling up to read, though, I’ve been creating new blog headers, like the one above…and like this one (below), at Serendipity.

 

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And then…(below) over at Potpourri:

 

 

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I think this one (above) is my favorite!

But…I also like the one at this site….I’m not quite finished with Serendipity, though.   It doesn’t really resonate with me, for some reason.  I’m sure I’ll be working on that, though.

***

So…let’s get to it.  I do have a list of books I hope to read in the next few weeks…and, yes, I am veering off course occasionally, but I’m still whittling away at the stacks.

Hillbilly Elegy is one I’m reading now…although I’m also reading Two If by Sea (halfway finished).  I want to pick up Inheriting Edith soon, as well.

All good choices, since they’re on my TBR pile.  But…shouldn’t I finish one of them?  Or two?

 

 

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Let’s face it…I’ll do my back and forth dance with my books, I’ll watch a little Netflix…anything to avoid having to clean the house.  Yes, I’ve done the bathrooms and the kitchen…but I hate vacuuming and dusting.  lol.  I can always do it tomorrow, right?

What do you like to do instead of housework?  Does reading (or the pretense of reading) keep you away from tasks you would like to avoid?

***

Posted in tbr stacks

MY TBR STACKS: A CLOSER LOOK….

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As the year winds down, I am taking a closer look at my progress toward whittling down my TBR stacks.

The Read the Books You Buy Challenge has helped me keep track of what I’ve read, and the total read to-date is 85.  That includes all books purchased between June 2015 through the end of 2016 (so far).

Let’s try another way to count my progress:  how many are still unread?

For the period from June 2015-December 2015 (the books not purchased for rereads)

Only eight remain!

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For the period from January 2016 through November (current figures)

48

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Next year, I will worry about the unread books purchased in 2014….sigh.  There are a few: 

 23 books unread

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So….here are the titles, with links to those already read and reviewed:

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JUNE 2015:

1.    Catching Air, by Sarah Pekkanen

2.   In the Unlikely Event (e-book), by Judy Blume

3.   It’s You (e-book), by Jane Porter

4.    Out of Orange (e-book), by Cleary Wolters

5.   Rumor, The (e-book), by Elin Hilderbrand

6.    Wrong Man, The (e-book), by Kate White

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JULY 2015:

1.    A Man Called Ove (e-book), by Fredrik Backman

2.    At Risk (e-book), by Alice Hoffman

3.    Dune Road (e-book), by Jane Green

4.    Friday On My Mind, by Nicci French

5.    Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee

6.    Losing Me (e-book), by Sue Margolis

7.    Perfect Son, The (e-book), by Barbara Claypole White

8.    Remember Mia (e-book), by Alexandra Burt

***

AUGUST 2015:

1.    Accident Season, The (e-book), by Moira Fowley-Doyle-DNF

2.  Broken Homes & Gardens (e-book), by Rebecca Kelley

3.   Honest Illusions (e-book), by Nora Roberts-DNF

4.   Race for Paris, The (e-book), by Meg Waite Clayton

5.    Rainy Day Sisters (e-book), by Kate Hewitt

6.   Summer Wind, The (e-book), by Mary Alice Monroe (Book 2)

7.   Who Do You Love? (e-book), by Jennifer Weiner

***

SEPTEMBER 2015:

1.   Dance Begins, The (e-book, prequel), by Diane Chamberlain

2.   Forever (e-book), by Judy Blume (Banned Books Week)

3.   Girls of August, The (e-book), by Anne Rivers Siddons

4.   Gray Mountain (e-book), by John Grisham

5.    Maybe in Another Life (e-book), by Taylor Jenkins Reid

6.    Nesting Place, The, by Myquillyn Smith

7.    Seventh Heaven (e-book), by Alice Hoffman

8.    Sleeping with the Enemy, by Nancy Price (for reread)

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OCTOBER 2015:

1.     Admissions, The (e-book), by Meg Mitchell Moore

2.    Cherry, by Mary Karr

3.    Deep End, The (e-book), by Julie Mulhern

4.   Girl with No Past, The (e-book), by Kathryn Croft

5.   Jane Fonda, The Private Life of a Public Woman, by Patricia Bosworth

6.    Liar’s Club, The:  A Memoir, by Mary Karr

7.     Lucky Us (e-book), by Amy Bloom-DNF

8.    Shadow Year, The (e-book), by Hannah Richell

9.     Truth Be Told (e-book), by Hank Phillippi Ryan

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NOVEMBER 2015:

1.     Black Widow, The (e-book), by Wendy Corsi Staub

2.     Forever, Interrupted (e-book), by Taylor Jenkins Reid

3.    My Life on the Road, by Gloria Steinem

4.   November 9 (e-book), by Colleen Hoover

5.   Wildflower, by Drew Barrymore

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DECEMBER 2015:

1.   All Dressed in White, by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke (Entry in First Book of 2016 Event)

2.    Behind Closed Doors (e-book), by Elizabeth Haynes

3.    Better Off Without Him (e-book), by Dee Ernst

4.   Broken String, The (e-book, novella), by Diane Chamberlain

5.    Empty House, the (e-book), by Rosamunde Pilcher

6.    Just Say Yes (e-book), by Alyssa Goodnight

7.   Secret Sisters (e-book), by Jayne Ann Krentz

8.   What She Knew (e-book), by Gilly MacMillan

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JANUARY 2016:

1.  Brooklyn (e-book), by Colm Toibin

2.  Crossing Places, The (e-book, Book 1 Ruth Galloway), by Elly Griffiths

3.   Ex, The (e-book), by Alafair Burke

4.   Guaranteed to Bleed (e-book, Book 2), by Julie Mulhern

5.   Summer’s End, The (e-book, #3), by Mary Alice Monroe

6.   Three To Get Deadly (e-book), by Janet Evanovich

7.   What Was Mine (e-book), by Helen Klein Ross

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FEBRUARY 2016:

1.  Find Her (e-book), by Lisa Gardner

2.  Girl in the Red Coat, The (e-book), by Kate Hamer

3.  Price of Salt, The (or Carol) (e-book), by Patricia Highsmith

4.   Ramblers, The (e-book), by Aidan Donnelley Rowley

5.   ROOM (e-book), by Emma Donoghue

6.  Under the Influence (e-book), by Joyce Maynard

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MARCH 2016:

1.   Another City, Not My Own (e-book), by Dominick Dunne (for reread)

2.   Be Frank with Me (e-book), by Julia Claiborne Johnson

3.   Breakdown (e-book), by Jonathan Kellerman

4.   Domestic Secrets (e-book), by Rosalind Noonan

5.   Friction (e-book), by Sandra Brown

6.   Must Love Dogs:  New Leash on Life (e-book, #2), by Claire Cook

7.   My Name Is Lucy Barton (e-book), by Elizabeth Strout

8.   Nest, The (e-book), by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

9.   Orphan Choir, The (e-book), by Sophie Hannah

10.  She Can Kill (e-book), by Melinda Leigh

11.  Somewhere Out There (e-book), by Amy Hatvany

12. Terrible Virtue (e-book), by Ellen Feldman

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APRIL 2016:

1.    Excellent Lombards, The (e-book), by Jane Hamilton

2.   First Frost (e-book, Waverley #2), by Sarah Addison Allen

3.   Lies & Other Acts of Love (e-book), by Kristy Woodson Harvey

4.   Luckiest Girl Alive (e-book), by Jessica Knoll

5.   My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry (e-book), by Fredrik Backman

6.   Obsession, The (e-book), by Nora Roberts

7.    One and Only, The, by Emily Giffin

8.    Other Typist, The (e-book), by Suzanne Rindell

9.   River Road (e-book), by Carol Goodman

10.  Scandal in Skibbereen (e-book, County Cork #2), by Sheila Connolly

11.  Shelter Mountain (e-book, Book 2), by Robyn Carr

12.  What We Find (e-book), by Robyn Carr

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MAY 2016:

1.  A Lowcountry Wedding (e-book), by Mary Alice Monroe

2.  Blue Bath, The (e-book), by Mary Waters-Sayer

3.  Clouds in My Coffee (e-book), by Julie Mulhern

4.  Dear Carolina (e-book), by Kristy Woodson Harvey

5.   Dear Thing (e-book), by Julie Cohen

6.   Flight Patterns (e-book), by Karen White

7.   I Let You Go (e-book), by Claire Mackintosh

8.   Island House, The (e-book), by Nancy Thayer

9.   Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty:  Memoir, by Diane Keaton9

10.  My Husband’s Wives (e-book), by Faith Hogan

11.  Some Women (e-book), by Emily Liebert

12. Two-Family House, The (e-book), by Lynda Cohen Loigman

13. Two If By Sea (e-book), by Jacquelyn Mitchard

14.  Unsinkable:  Memoir, by Debbie Reynolds

15.  Wilde Lake (e-book), by Laura Lippman

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JUNE 2016:

1.   Confess, by Colleen Hoover

2.  Death at Breakfast (e-book), by Beth Gutcheon

3.  Deep Dark (e-book), by Laura Griffin

4.  Dinner, The (e-book), by Herman Koch

5.  Drinking Closer to Home (e-book), by Jessica Anya Blau

6.   Exit, The (e-book), Helen FitzGerald

7.   Here’s To Us (e-book), by Elin Hilderbrand

8.   Mystic Summer (e-book), by Hannah McKinnon

9.   One True Loves (e-book), by Taylor Jenkins Reid

10.  Sunshine Beach (e-book), by Wendy Wax

11. Sweetbitter (e-book), by Stephanie Danler

12. Vinegar Girl (e-book), by Anne Tyler

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JULY 2016:

1. Coincidence of Coconut Cake, The (e-book), by Amy E. Riechert

2.  Girl You Lost, The (e-book), by Kathryn Croft

3. In Twenty Years (e-book), by Allison Winn Scotch

4. I’ve Got Sand in All the Wrong Places (e-book), by Lisa Scottoline, et. al.

5.  Melody Lingers On, The (e-book), by Mary Higgins Clark

6.  They May Not Mean To, But They Do (e-book), by Cathleen Schine

7.  This Must Be the Place (e-book), by Maggie O’Farrell

8.  Truly Madly Guilty (e-book), by Liane Moriarty

9.   Truth-Teller’s Lie, The (e-book), by Sophie Hannah

10. Valley of the Dolls, by Jacqueline Susann (50th Anniversary Copy – reread)

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AUGUST 2016:

1.All the Ugly & Wonderful Things (e-book), by Bryn Greenwood

2. American Girl, The (e-book), by Kate Horsley

3.  American Heiress, by Jeffrey Toobin

4.  Behind Closed Doors (e-book), by B. A. Paris

5. Book that Matters Most, The (e-book), by Ann Hood

6.  Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, by Anne Tyler (reread)

7. Family Tree (e-book), by Susan Wiggs

8.  Firefly Summer (e-book), by Nan Rossiter

9.  I Am No One (e-book), by Patrick Flanery

10. If I Forget You (e-book), by Thomas Christopher Greene

11. I Found You, by Lisa Jewell

12. It Ends with Us (e-book), by Colleen Hoover

13.  Map of the World, A (e-book), by Jane Hamilton (reread)

14. My Life, My Body, by Marge Piercy

15. Results May Vary (e-book), by Bethany Chase

16. Rosemary:  The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, by Kate Clifford Larson

17.  Silver Linings Playbook (e-book), by Matthew Quick

18. Siracusa (e-book), by Delia Ephron

19. Sister, The (e-book), by Louise Jensen

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SEPTEMBER 2016:

1.Come and Find Me (e-book), by Hallie Ephron

2. Finding Libbie (e-book), by Deanna Lynn Sletten

3. Kept Woman, The (e-book), by Karin Slaughter

4. Last Good Girl, The (e-book), by Allison Leotta

5.Life She Wants, The (e-book), by Robyn Carr

6. London Train, The (e-book), by Tessa Hadley

7. Some Tame Gazelle (e-book), by Barbara Pym

8. Sting (e-book), by Sandra Brown

9. Watching Edie (e-book), by Camilla Way

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OCTOBER 2016:

1. Commonwealth (e-book), by Ann Patchett

2. Dollhouse, The (e-book), by Fiona Davis

3.  Echoes of Family (e-book), by Barbara Claypole White

4.  Hot Milk (e-book), by Deborah Levy

5.  Hungry Heart (e-book), by Jennifer Weiner

6. Love Letters, by Debbie Macomber

7.  Mean Streak, by Sandra Brown

8. Mothers, The (e-book), by Brit Bennett

9. Red Car, The (e-book), by Marcy Dermansky

10.Saturday Requiem, by Nicci French

11. Send in the Clowns (e-book), by Julie Mulhern

12. Spelling It Like It Is, by Tori Spelling

13. Stealing Jason Wilde (e-book), by Dee Ernst

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NOVEMBER 2016:

1. Another Brooklyn, by Jacqueline Woodson

2.Hillbilly Elegy, by J. D. Vance

3. Home, by Harlan Coben

4.In a Dark, Dark Wood (e-book), by Ruth Ware

5. Inheriting Edith (e-book), by Zoe Fishman

6. Murder Game, The (e-book), by Julie Apple

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That’s my closer look, and now I feel as though I have a fresh perspective.  What do your unread stacks tell you?

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Posted in first paragraphs, Teaser Tuesdays

LET’S CURL UP WITH “SEND IN THE CLOWNS”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s feature is the fourth book in the Country Club Murders series:  Send in the Clowns, by Julie Mulhern.

 

 

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Intro:  (October, 1974, Kansas City, Missouri)

I’ve tripped over a body.  I’ve run over a body.  I’ve even swum into a body.  I never imagined one would fall on me.

Then again, wandering around a place called The Gates of Hell, what did I expect?

How I came to be at The Gates of Hell is a story in itself.  The short version is that my daughter, Grace, missed her curfew.  It was a school night and she’d sworn on a stack of Emily Posts that she’d be home by ten.  When I called her friends’ homes, I learned that each thought she’d gotten a ride home with someone else.  She’d been left behind.  At a haunted house.  In a neighborhood best described as sketchy.  “Omigosh, Mrs. Russell I don’t know how this happened,” spoken in a breathless, apologetic voice didn’t help.  Not when Kim said it.  Not when Peggy said it.

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Teaser:  The building was purple—a deep violet shade.  Bamboo grew out of pots flanking the door.  The windows—there were two—had peace symbols painted on them.  The sidewalk was cluttered with a mismatched assortment of tables and chairs. (63%).

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Synopsis:  Haunted houses are scary enough without knife-wielding clowns. Especially murderous knife-wielding clowns. So thinks Ellison Russell, single mother, artist, and reluctant sleuth.
Now death wears a red nose and Ellison is up to the blood-stained collar of her new trench coat in costumes, caffeine, and possible killers. Who stabbed Brooks Harney? And why? Money? Jealousy? Drugs?
With Mother meddling, her father furious, and her date dragged downtown for questioning, turns out Ellison’s only confidante is Mr. Coffee.

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What do you think?  Does this one grab you?  I know that I’ve loved the three previous books in the series, so I’m eager to enjoy this one.

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Posted in book review

REVIEW: ROSEMARY: THE HIDDEN KENNEDY DAUGHTER, BY KATE CLIFFORD LARSON

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Over the years, I have read numerous memoirs and biographies that feature the Kennedys. But none have focused on their first daughter…until this book, Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter.

The author skillfully incorporated the stories of the Kennedy family, their position in society, their various homes and political experiences, and then spotlighted Rosemary as the centerpiece in the way that she affected all of their choices.

Not that she was viewed as more important, but in trying to meet her mental and emotional challenges, the parents were forced to study up and increase their knowledge of what was available, and in later life, her needs and what her experiences had shown them would impact donations, foundations, and laws introduced by the political members of the family.

The experience of Rosemary’s birth, as the first daughter and third child for Joe and Rose, would, of course, set her life on an irreversible journey, facing challenges none of the other siblings would have to face.

The era of her birth and early childhood years (1917-1920s) were absent the knowledge and expertise that would come later. Special education and resources to meet those needs, as well as knowing what to do to overcome brain injuries suffered in birth, would be many years away.

The Kennedy wealth did help to smooth the way to schools, the resources that were available, and experiences of living abroad when Joe, Sr., was an ambassador to England.

The frustrations of Rosemary as a young adult would lead to one of the most chilling experiences ever, in my opinion. The lobotomy.

Still in the experimental stages, (and hopefully, a thing of the past now), the procedure was somehow offered as a potential cure for Rosemary, but I’m not sure her father even believed that there would be a cure. He seemed keenly aware of the dangers of having her out there in the world, behaving badly, jeopardizing herself, and giving the family a bad name, and he could not take that risk.

When in this state of mind, a parent can be persuaded of any number of things. But after the lobotomy, Rosemary’s condition lost considerable ground, physically and mentally, and institutions were her future. Cut off from the world, her family, and life as she’d known it…possibly the only blessing for her was that she might have lost many memories of how things had been before.

It is easy to lay blame on decisions and choices made in stressful situations, especially for a family consumed with wealth, power, and their reputation…but, in the end, we can also blame the lack of knowledge in the medical profession at the time, coupled with the desire of the experimenters to push their own theories forward.

A book that kept me fascinated throughout, it also added more layers to the family picture. I especially enjoyed seeing the photos, showing Rosemary as part of the family. 4.5 stars.

ratings worms 4-cropped***

Posted in book review

REVIEW: UNSINKABLE, BY DEBBIE REYNOLDS

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A story of a star from the Golden Age of Hollywood, Unsinkable brings us the inspirational tale of Debbie Reynolds, a woman who rose above the adversities that life offered…and soared. She truly excelled at finding the bright spots in her life, even though she was betrayed by the men she married.

Her children, Carrie and Todd Fisher, are truly the lights of her life, and despite Carrie’s struggles with mental health issues and addiction, she, too, has managed to turn darkness into humor and creative accomplishments.

There are also the stories of friendships, torn and mended, like the one between Debbie and Elizabeth Taylor. After Eddie Fisher left Debbie for Elizabeth, there would naturally be a rift between the two, but Debbie forgave Elizabeth and the two became friends and colleagues again, in a movie Carrie produced, These Old Broads. Debbie, Elizabeth, Shirley MacLaine, and Joan Collins portrayed former stars reuniting when one of their movies becomes a cult hit.

Debbie’s efforts to create a museum for her astonishing collection of movie memorabilia, like costumes from films that spanned decades, became a pursuit that would lead her to explore many venues. When all efforts failed, she bravely did something she had never imagined she would do.

Surviving a career that began with the studio system, facing betrayal and financial upheavals, and still finding a way to keep her sense of humor and grace is a testament to Debbie’s spirit. A fascinating story that kept me intrigued throughout. 4 stars.

ratings worms 4-cropped***

Posted in curl up and read

THE STATE OF MY TBR: READING IN BED, ETC.

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My favorite thing about evenings is coming into my cozy bedroom—some might say cluttered, but those people won’t be visiting in this space!—and gathering books around me.  And the remote control, as I also watch TV or DVDs here.  Sometimes I even bring in my laptop and watch Netflix or Amazon Prime videos.

 

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It is tempting to stay up all night, reading or watching something, but eventually, I have to give in to sleep.  And I love it, once I’ve gone there, but falling asleep is sometimes a challenge.

Probably because I’ve been reading thrillers or watching the same on TV or Netflix.

A cup of tea helps, occasionally.

 

tea***

How am I doing on my various lists?  My challenges?  Here’s what I’ve read from my 2016 purchases this year, with links to the reviews.  As you can see,  some months are better than others.

 

JANUARY 2016:

1.  Brooklyn (e-book), by Colm Toibin

2.  Crossing Places, The (e-book, Book 1 Ruth Galloway), by Elly Griffiths

3.   Ex, The (e-book), by Alafair Burke

4.   Guaranteed to Bleed (e-book, Book 2), by Julie Mulhern

5.   Summer’s End, The (e-book, #3), by Mary Alice Monroe

6.   Three To Get Deadly (e-book), by Janet Evanovich

7.   What Was Mine (e-book), by Helen Klein Ross

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FEBRUARY 2016:

1.  Find Her (e-book), by Lisa Gardner

2.  Girl in the Red Coat, The (e-book), by Kate Hamer

3.  Price of Salt, The (or Carol) (e-book), by Patricia Highsmith

4.   Ramblers, The (e-book), by Aidan Donnelley Rowley

5.   ROOM (e-book), by Emma Donoghue

6.  Under the Influence (e-book), by Joyce Maynard

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MARCH 2016:

1.   Another City, Not My Own (e-book), by Dominick Dunne (for reread)

2.   Be Frank with Me (e-book), by Julia Claiborne Johnson

3.   Breakdown (e-book), by Jonathan Kellerman

4.   Domestic Secrets (e-book), by Rosalind Noonan

5.   Friction (e-book), by Sandra Brown

6.   Must Love Dogs:  New Leash on Life (e-book, #2), by Claire Cook

7.   My Name Is Lucy Barton (e-book), by Elizabeth Strout

8.   Nest, The (e-book), by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

9.   Orphan Choir, The (e-book), by Sophie Hannah

10.  She Can Kill (e-book), by Melinda Leigh

11.  Somewhere Out There (e-book), by Amy Hatvany

12. Terrible Virtue (e-book), by Ellen Feldman

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APRIL 2016:

1.    Excellent Lombards, The (e-book), by Jane Hamilton

2.   First Frost (e-book, Waverley #2), by Sarah Addison Allen

3.   Lies & Other Acts of Love (e-book), by Kristy Woodson Harvey

4.   Luckiest Girl Alive (e-book), by Jessica Knoll

5.   My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry (e-book), by Fredrik Backman

6.   Obsession, The (e-book), by Nora Roberts

7.    One and Only, The, by Emily Giffin

8.    Other Typist, The (e-book), by Suzanne Rindell

9.   River Road (e-book), by Carol Goodman

10.  Scandal in Skibbereen (e-book, County Cork #2), by Sheila Connolly

11.  Shelter Mountain (e-book, Book 2), by Robyn Carr

12.  What We Find (e-book), by Robyn Carr

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MAY 2016:

1.  A Lowcountry Wedding (e-book), by Mary Alice Monroe

2.  Blue Bath, The (e-book), by Mary Waters-Sayer

3.  Clouds in My Coffee (e-book), by Julie Mulhern

4.  Dear Carolina (e-book), by Kristy Woodson Harvey

5.   Dear Thing (e-book), by Julie Cohen

6.   Flight Patterns (e-book), by Karen White

7.   I Let You Go (e-book), by Claire Mackintosh

8.   Island House, The (e-book), by Nancy Thayer

9.   Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty:  Memoir, by Diane Keaton9

10.  My Husband’s Wives (e-book), by Faith Hogan

11.  Some Women (e-book), by Emily Liebert

12. Two-Family House, The (e-book), by Lynda Cohen Loigman

13. Two If By Sea (e-book), by Jacquelyn Mitchard

14.  Unsinkable:  Memoir, by Debbie Reynolds

15.  Wilde Lake (e-book), by Laura Lippman

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JUNE 2016:

1.   Confess, by Colleen Hoover

2.  Death at Breakfast (e-book), by Beth Gutcheon

3.  Deep Dark (e-book), by Laura Griffin

4.  Dinner, The (e-book), by Herman Koch

5.  Drinking Closer to Home (e-book), by Jessica Anya Blau

6.   Exit, The (e-book), Helen FitzGerald

7.   Here’s To Us (e-book), by Elin Hilderbrand

8.   Mystic Summer (e-book), by Hannah McKinnon

9.   One True Loves (e-book), by Taylor Jenkins Reid

10.  Sunshine Beach (e-book), by Wendy Wax

11. Sweetbitter (e-book), by Stephanie Danler

12. Vinegar Girl (e-book), by Anne Tyler

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JULY 2016:

1. Coincidence of Coconut Cake, The (e-book), by Amy E. Riechert

2.  Girl You Lost, The (e-book), by Kathryn Croft

3. In Twenty Years (e-book), by Allison Winn Scotch

4. I’ve Got Sand in All the Wrong Places (e-book), by Lisa Scottoline, et. al.

5.  Melody Lingers On, The (e-book), by Mary Higgins Clark

6.  They May Not Mean To, But They Do (e-book), by Cathleen Schine

7.  This Must Be the Place (e-book), by Maggie O’Farrell

8.  Truly Madly Guilty (e-book), by Liane Moriarty

9.   Truth-Teller’s Lie, The (e-book), by Sophie Hannah

10. Valley of the Dolls, by Jacqueline Susann (50th Anniversary Copy – reread)

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AUGUST 2016:

1.All the Ugly & Wonderful Things (e-book), by Bryn Greenwood

2. American Girl, The (e-book), by Kate Horsley

3.  American Heiress, by Jeffrey Toobin

4.  Behind Closed Doors (e-book), by B. A. Paris

5. Book that Matters Most, The (e-book), by Ann Hood

6.  Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, by Anne Tyler (reread)

7. Family Tree (e-book), by Susan Wiggs

8.  Firefly Summer (e-book), by Nan Rossiter

9.  I Am No One (e-book), by Patrick Flanery

10. If I Forget You (e-book), by Thomas Christopher Greene

11. I Found You, by Lisa Jewell

12. It Ends with Us (e-book), by Colleen Hoover

13.  Map of the World, A (e-book), by Jane Hamilton (reread)

14. My Life, My Body, by Marge Piercy

15. Results May Vary (e-book), by Bethany Chase

16. Rosemary:  The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, by Kate Clifford Larson

17.  Silver Linings Playbook (e-book), by Matthew Quick

18. Siracusa (e-book), by Delia Ephron

19. Sister, The (e-book), by Louise Jensen

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SEPTEMBER 2016:

1.Come and Find Me (e-book), by Hallie Ephron

2. Finding Libbie (e-book), by Deanna Lynn Sletten

3. Kept Woman, The (e-book), by Karin Slaughter

4. Last Good Girl, The (e-book), by Allison Leotta

5.Life She Wants, The (e-book), by Robyn Carr

6. London Train, The (e-book), by Tessa Hadley

7. Some Tame Gazelle (e-book), by Barbara Pym

8. Sting (e-book), by Sandra Brown

9. Watching Edie (e-book), by Camilla Way

***

OCTOBER 2016:

1. Commonwealth (e-book), by Ann Patchett

2. Dollhouse, The (e-book), by Fiona Davis

3.  Echoes of Family (e-book), by Barbara Claypole White

4.  Hot Milk (e-book), by Deborah Levy

5.  Hungry Heart (e-book), by Jennifer Weiner

6. Love Letters, by Debbie Macomber

7.  Mean Streak, by Sandra Brown

8. Mothers, The (e-book), by Brit Bennett

9. Red Car, The (e-book), by Marcy Dermansky

10.Saturday Requiem, by Nicci French

11. Send in the Clowns (e-book), by Julie Mulhern

12. Spelling It Like It Is, by Tori Spelling

13. Stealing Jason Wilde (e-book), by Dee Ernst

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NOVEMBER 2016:

1. Another Brooklyn, by Jacqueline Woodson

2. Home, by Harlan Coben

3. Murder Game, The (e-book), by Julie Apple

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The good news, however, is that I have now read 78 books for the Read the Books You Buy Challenge, which includes books purchased from June 2015 on.

I know, I should BUY LESS AND READ MORE!

What does your year show you so far?  Do you like reading in bed? 

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