APRIL WAS UNFORGETTABLE – MONTHLY WRAP-UP

April was a great month!  Every book had something to recommend it, and there were several that were unforgettable  I read in a few categories:

Thrillers/Mysteries/Suspense – 7 books

Contemporary Fiction – 4 books

Literary Fiction – 3 books

Memoir – 1

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Check out the books I read, which link to my reviews.  Visit Kathryn at Book Date to link up.

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APRIL 2017:

1.Arrangement, The (e-book), by Sarah Dunn – 368 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 4/21/17

2.Beach Breeze, by Joanne DeMaio – 322 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 4/8/17 – (Author Review Request)

3.Housekeeper, The (e-book), by Suellen Dainty – 320 pages – (psychological thriller) – 4/23/17

4.I Found You, by Lisa Jewell – 448 pages – (mystery) – 4/26/17

5.One Perfect Lie (e-book), by Lisa Scottoline – 368 pages – (suspense fiction) – 4/6/17 – (NetGalley – 4/11/17)

6.Perfect Stranger, The (e-book), by Megan Miranda – 352 pages- (mystery/thriller) – 4/9/17 – (NetGalley – 4/11/17)

7.Princess Diarist, The, by Carrie Fisher – 256 pages – (memoir) – 4/24/17

8.Secrets You Keep, The (e-book), by Kate White – 368 pages – (mystery/murder) – 4/18/17

9.Slightly South of Simple, by Kristy Woodson Harvey – 368 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 4/11/17 – (Author Review Request)

10.Small Hours, by Jennifer Kitses – 275 pages – (literary fiction) – 4/2/17 –  (Amazon Vine)

11.Sweet William (e-book), by Beryl Bainbridge – 136 pages – (literary fiction) – 4/28/17

12.Wait for the Rain (e-book), by Maria Murnane – 270 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 4/27/17 – (Author Request)

13.Widow’s House, The (e-book), by Carol Goodman – 352 pages – (thriller) – 4/16/17

14.Widower’s Wife, The (e-book), by Cate Holahan – 293 pages – (thriller) – 4/13/17

15.Woman No. 17, by Edan Lepucki – 305 pages – (literary fictiion) – 4/21/17 – (Amazon Vine)

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NUMBER OF BOOKS READ IN APRIL 2017:         15

NUMBER OF PAGES READ IN APRIL 2017:     4,801

BOOKS READ YTD:                                                                    57

FAVORITE FICTION:  The Perfect Stranger

 

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A BOOKWORM’S JOURNEY: KEEPING TRACK….

One of my jobs is to keep track of my purchases.  My March and April numbers are a little bit better than January and February totals.

In January, I purchased 19 books, while I bought 13 in February.

See for yourself what March and April look like:

 

MARCH 2017:

1.All Grown Up (e-book), by Jami Attenberg

2.California Dreamin’, by Penelope Bagieu

3.Every Wild Heart (e-book), by Meg Donohue

4.Housekeeper, The (e-book), by Suellen Dainty

5.Never Change (e-book), by Elizabeth Berg

6.On Turpentine Lane (e-book), by Elinor Lipman

7.Roanoke Girls, The (e-book), by Amy Engel

8.Secrets You Keep, The (e-book), by Kate White

9.Swimming Lessons (e-book), by Claire Fuller

10.Widower’s Wife, The (e-book), by Cate Holohan

11.Widow’s House, The (e-book), by Carol Goodman

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APRIL 2017:

1.All By Myself, Alone (e-book), by Mary Higgins Clark

2.Any Day Now (e-book), by Robyn Carr

3.Arrangement, The (e-book), by Sarah Dunn

4.Dark Flood Rises, The (e-book), by Margaret Drabble

5.Fallout (e-book), by Sara Paretsky

6.Miss You (e-book), by Kate Eberlen

7.My Life To Live, by Agnes Nixon

8.Night the Lights Went Out, The (e-book), by Karen White

9.Red Hunter, The (e-book), by Lisa Unger

10.Widow of Wall Street, The (e-book), by Randy Susan Meyers

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Okay, the numbers are not that much better, but I’m moving in the right direction…LOL.  I still suffer from this disorder:

 

 

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Are you struggling to curb your book buying tendencies?

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REVIEW: I FOUND YOU, BY LISA JEWELL

In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother.

Two decades of secrets, a missing husband, and a man with no memory are at the heart of this brilliant new novel.

MY THOUGHTS: 

Almost immediately, I was caught up into the life of Alice Lake and the man she finds on the beach. She is drawn to him, even though her best friend Derry warns her that he could be dangerous. But Alice, an artist, and someone who doesn’t necessarily follow a conventional path, is willing to take the risk. She feels something special in this man.The children are wary at first, but soon, even the dogs have befriended him. They call him Frank.

Meanwhile, in alternating chapters, we watch as a woman named Lily, a newly-wed in a London suburb, desperately tries to find Carl, her missing husband.

Flashing back to 1993, a story unfolds involving Gray and Kirsty Ross, and a handsome rich boy named Mark Tate, who quickly turns from charming to frightening. Each time we flash back, more of the mysterious puzzle pieces fit together.

What is the connection, if any, between these seemingly unrelated characters? Are the events in the present day a surreal coincidence, or might there be a tie between them?

I Found You was a riveting tale that kept me engaged, and even as I thought I had figured out the mysteries and the connections, I was only partially correct. I liked the ending, which felt hopeful. 5 stars.

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REVIEW: THE ARRANGEMENT, BY SARAH DUNN

Lucy and Owen, ambitious, thoroughly-therapized New Yorkers, have taken the plunge, trading in their crazy life in a cramped apartment for Beekman, a bucolic Hudson Valley exurb. They’ve got a two hundred year-old house, an autistic son obsessed with the Titanic, and 17 chickens, at last count. It’s the kind of paradise where stay-at-home moms team up to cook the school’s “hot lunch,” dads grill grass-fed burgers, and, as Lucy observes, “chopping kale has become a certain kind of American housewife’s version of chopping wood.”

When friends at a wine-soaked dinner party reveal they’ve made their marriage open, sensible Lucy balks. There’s a part of her, though-the part that worries she’s become too comfortable being invisible-that’s intrigued. Why not try a short marital experiment? Six months, clear ground rules, zero questions asked. When an affair with a man in the city begins to seem more enticing than the happily-ever-after she’s known for the past nine years, Lucy must decide what truly makes her happy-“real life,” or the “experiment?”

MY THOUGHTS:

Almost immediately, my eyes glazed over at the image of the “bucolic life” of these characters, but I wanted to know what they would do with the experiment.

It didn’t take long to realize that there would be consequences. Would they be able to move beyond The Arrangement?

I felt a connection to both Lucy and Owen. There were no “bad guys” here, just vulnerable ones hoping to find something that would strengthen their marriage.

Yes, they believed that their little experiment would make them stronger. But they were not prepared for the unexpected.

How did Owen deal with an out-of-control lover named Izzy? What will Lucy do about unexpectedly falling in love with Ben?

In addition to our two main characters, there were others within the community who would learn more about themselves and travel down unique pathways.

I was hooked by the story, remembering how I came from an era of experimentation and learning more about ourselves through these “out there” times. I would award this book 4.5 stars.

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REVIEW: THE WIDOWER’S WIFE, BY CATE HOLAHAN

 

Ana Bacon, a beautiful young wife and mother, tumbled off a cruise ship into dark and deadly waters. Ana is gone–leaving behind her wealthy husband and adorable daughter–but not everything about her disappearance adds up. What secrets did she leave behind?
MY THOUGHTS:
 Before the fatal cruise, Tom and Ana were barely holding on financially. Tom had been unemployed for a while, and his beautiful wife Ana had lost her job recently under mysterious circumstances. Many secrets are hidden behind these closed doors. What will Tom and Ana do to find a way out of their financial difficulties? How will they protect their three-year-old daughter Sophie?The Widower’s Wife is told in alternating narratives, from Ana’s first person voice in August, leading up to the end of that cruise; and then we have the voice of an insurance investigator, Ryan Monahan. His narrative begins in November, as he tries to determine if he should pay out the insurance benefit. He has some serious concerns about the story Tom is telling.

The back and forth storyline shows the reader Ana’s thoughts and what she and Tom had planned, and as we read Ryan’s narrative, we see how far off track their plans led them.

This was a story I could not stop reading, wanting to know how it all played out, but there were also some twists that strained credibility and kept me from truly immersing myself in its outcome. In the end, I decided to go with it and imagine that all would work out for my favorite characters. 4 stars.

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REVIEW: SMALL HOURS, BY JENNIFER KITSES

 

In the vein of Richard Russo and Tom Perrotta, a gripping, suspenseful, and gorgeous debut novel–told hour-by-hour over the course of a single day–in which a husband and wife try to outrun long-buried secrets, sending their lives spiraling into chaos.

MY THOUGHTS:

Tom Foster and Helen Nichols had fled urban NY with their twin daughters, Sophie and Ilona, hoping to find a more peaceful life. They settled into small town Devon, but after Tom lost his job, and after the financial downturn, they found themselves scrambling, just to meet the bills and to work out their child care arrangements.

But both Tom and Helen were keeping secrets, and the darkness of their hidden selves and Tom’s secret life brought them to a crisis that could have unraveled everything.

Alternating narratives between Tom and Helen gave the reader a look at those secrets, and how each of them was treading water, headed “out to sea.”

The narratives flashed back to the past, too, revealing some of what led them to this point in time: this one long day that became a series of defining moments.

Miscommunication, misunderstandings, and outside stress led to the chaos they faced at the end of one long day. Small moments had escalated and now they would have to ask themselves what they would give up…and what they wanted to keep. Small Hours was captivating with engaging characters, so I could not stop reading. 4.5 stars.

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CURL UP & READ: MONTHLY WRAP-UP

My wrap-up is a little early, as I’m leaving tomorrow for my weekend beach getaway.

What a month!  There were so many wonderful books on my stacks, and I thoroughly enjoyed everything.  I had to choose two books for my favorites this month…and there were more that could have earned the title.

What did you enjoy this month?  Click the titles for my reviews.

Check in at Book Date for other wrap-up posts.

 

MARCH 2017:

1.Almost Missed You (e-book), by Jessica Strawser – 320 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 3/3/17 – (NetGalley- 3/28/17)

2.Bridges (e-book), by Maria Murnane – 194 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 3/23/17 – (NetGalley – 4/4/17)

3.Cutaway, The, by Christina Kovac – 308 pages – (thriller, mystery) – 3/30/17 – (Amazon Vine Review)

4.Fifth Letter, The (e-book), by Nicola Moriarty – 288 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 3/10/17

5.Futures, The (e-book), by Anna Pitoniak – 320 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 3/15/17

6.Good Daughter, The (e-book), by Alexandra Burt – 367 pages – (mystery/family saga) – 3/7/17

7.Good Neighbor, The (e-book), by A. J. Banner – 198 pages – (suspense thriller) – 3/1/17

8.Idaho (e-book), by Emily Ruskovich – 320 pages – (literary fiction) – 3/17/17

9.Idea of You, The (e-book), by Amanda Prowse – 338 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 3/21/17 – (NetGalley – 3/21/17)

10.It Happens All the Time (e-book), by Amy Hatvany – 320 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 3/9/17 – (NetGalley – 3/28/17)

11.Mother’s Promise, The (e-book), by Sally Hepworth – 384 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 3/13/17

12.Never Change (e-book), by Elizabeth Berg – 353 pages – (literary fiction) – 3/19/17

13.Persons Unknown, by Susie Steiner – 316 pages – (mystery/crime fiction) – 3/27/17- (Amazon Vine)

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NUMBER OF BOOKS READ IN MARCH 2017:         13

NUMBER OF PAGES READ IN MARCH 2017:     4,026

BOOKS READ YTD:                                                                    42

FAVORITE FICTION:   ALMOST MISSED YOU; NEVER CHANGE

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