MONTHLY WRAP-UP: GOODBYE JULY!

July was a somewhat skimpy reading month, partially due to house guests and fun in the sun.  But the books I read were enjoyable.

Check out my reviews by clicking the titles.

Hope you all had a great month!

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JULY 2015:

1.     Blood Red, by Wendy Corsi Staub – 389 pages – (mystery/thriller) – July 1, 2015

2.     Freedom’s Child, by Jax Miller – 308 pages – (suspense) – July 20, 2015

3.     Hour of Need (e-book), by Melinda Leigh – 327 pages – (romantic suspense) – July 18, 2015

4.     It’s You (e-book), by Jane Porter – 321 pages – (contemporary fiction) – July 31, 2015

5.     Murderer’s Daughter, The (e-book), by Jonathan Kellerman – 352 pages – (mystery/suspense) – July 23, 2015

6.     Pretty Baby (e-book), by Mary Kubica – 384 pages – (psychological thriller) – July 6, 2015

7.     Rumor, The (e-book), by Elin Hilderbrand – 369 pages – (contemporary fiction) – July 26, 2015

8.    Those Secrets We Keep, by Emily Liebert – 311 pages – (contemporary fiction) – July 4, 2015

9.    Watermelon (e-book), by Marian Keyes – 417 pages – (family drama/women’s fiction) – July 15, 2015

10.  Wrong Man, The (e-book), by Kate White – 336 pages – (suspense thriller) – July 28, 2015

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BOOKS READ IN JULY 2015:  10

PAGES READ IN JULY 2015:   3,514

BOOKS READ YTD:  109

FAVORITE FICTION READ IN JULY:  Tied:  Pretty Baby and The Murderer’s Daughter

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CURL UP WITH EXCERPTS FROM “DUNE ROAD”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

It’s time to share!  Today’s featured book is by Jane Green, and it was published in 2009.  Dune Road is another captivating tale about starting over.

 

 

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Intro:  One of the unexpected bonuses of divorce, Kit Hargrove realizes, as she settles onto the porch swing, curling her feet up under her and placing a glass of chilled wine on the wicker table, is having weekends without the children, weekends when she gets to enjoy this extraordinary peace and quiet, remembers who she was before she became defined by motherhood, by the constant noise and motion that come with having a thirteen-year-old and an eight-year-old.

In the beginning, those first few months before they worked out a custody arrangement, when Adam, her ex, stayed in the city Monday to Friday and collected the children every weekend, Kit had been utterly lost.

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Teaser:  She still blames the house for the ending of the marriage.  A huge white clapboard house, with black shutters, and a marble-tiled double-height entrance, it was impressive, and empty.  Much the way Kit felt about her life while she was living there. (p. 1).

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Blurb:  An ever-growing legion of fans greets the publication of each new tale from the inimitable Jane Green. Her latest gem, Dune Road, is set in tony Highfield, Connecticut, where recent divorcee Kit Hargrove has joyfully exchanged the requisite diamond studs and Persian rugs of a Wall Street Widow for a clapboard Cape with sea-green shutters and sprawling impatiens. Her kids are content, her ex cooperative, and each morning she wakes up to her dream job: assisting the blockbuster novelist Robert McClore. Then an unexpected series of events forces Kit to realize that her blissfully constructed idyll and blossoming new romance aren’t as perfect as she thought. A warm, witty, and gloriously observed meditation on the challenges of starting over, Dune Road is Jane Green at her absolute best.

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I saw this novel on a blog recently, and realized I had missed it somewhere along the way.  Would you keep reading?

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REVIEW: THE RUMOR, BY ELIN HILDERBRAND

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Summer in Nantucket brings out the best and the worst in the residents.

Grace and Eddie Pancik are an acknowledged “power couple.” He, with his real estate/construction business and Grace with her gardening business, their names are on everyone’s lips that particular summer.

Madeline Llewelyn is Grace’s best friend. They share confidences and keep each other’s secrets. Until they don’t.

Trevor, Madeline’s husband is a pilot and away a lot. He doesn’t figure into the story very much. But he is supportive of Madeline’s writing and her need for a “room of her own,” so when she rents an apartment for her writing space, he is completely behind it. She is determined to write something worthy of the generous advance she has received after the success of her dystopian novel, Islandia. So will she cross a line to achieve her goal?

Then when Eddie stops by Madeline’s apartment to ask why she used another agent to rent the space, busybody eyes notice him there, and the first “rumor” springs to life. Soon many are chatting about the supposed affair between them.

Meanwhile, however, Grace and Benton Coe, the landscape architect helping her redesign her garden, seem to be spending an awful lot of time together, aside from their gardening.

What is going on? Can the rumor mill spin its wheels fast enough?

Meanwhile, the teenagers are stirring up their own brand of trouble. Eddie and Grace’s twins, Allegra and Hope, are nothing alike. Allegra is narcissistic, spoiled, and cheating on her boyfriend Brick, Trevor and Madeline’s son. Hope, quiet and studious, has her eye on Brick for herself, but she won’t betray her sister.

The Rumor: A Novel is an intriguing story with twists and turns that kept me guessing, even as I suspected where much of it would go before the end. But there were a few surprises, and I liked the ending. A 4 star read for me.

REVIEW: HOUR OF NEED, BY MELINDA LEIGH

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When Lee and Kate Barrett head out for a night to celebrate their 10th anniversary, they are each thinking of some of the obstacles in their lives. Even a year ago, they weren’t sure the marriage would continue. So the night is bittersweet.

At home, their two children, Carson, 6, and Faith, 4 months, are with the teenage babysitter, Julia, who lives next door.

Before the night is over, the two of them will be dead, shot by an unknown assailant.

In Afghanistan, Major Grant Barrett, Lee’s brother, receives the call that sends him back home to Scarlet Falls, NY, to help pick up the pieces. He finds that handling the traumatized children is a huge challenge…but he also discovers help from Ellie Ross, Julia’s mother, and eventually from his siblings Hannah and Mac.

But none of them are really equipped to handle the long term care of the children. What will happen to them? And how does a case Lee was working on figure into the murders? Why is someone stalking and threatening Ellie, an administrative assistant at the law firm?

Hour of Need (Scarlet Falls) is told from multiple perspectives, including one narrative from a man named Donny, presumably the killer/stalker. But who is he working for? And what mysteries in Lee’s life will lead them all to the answers?

A case of bullying amongst a group of ice skaters, a girl’s presumed suicide, and some parents willing to do anything for their guilty daughters add intriguing layers to the story. As each potential killer is exposed, I thoroughly enjoyed trying to guess who was behind it all. The surprising reveal was satisfying, and so were the romantic developments between Grant and Ellie. I found the interludes between them fun to watch, even as they thought that any future between them was impossible due to Grant’s eminent return to Afghanistan.

As with every book I have read by this author, I thoroughly enjoyed the mix of mystery and romance. 5 stars.

LET’S CURL UP WITH “WATERMELON” – TUESDAY EXCERPTS

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book is one I’ve had on Pippa for a while.  This will be my first time reading this author, Marian Keyes, and Watermelon sounds like a book that I will enjoy.

 

 

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Intro:  (Prologue)

February the fifteenth is a very special day for me.  It is the day I gave birth to my first child.  It is also the day my husband left me.  As he was present at the birth I can only assume the two events weren’t entirely unrelated.

I knew I should have followed my instincts.

I subscribed to the classical or, you might say, the traditional role fathers play in the birth of their children.  Which goes as follows.

Lock them in a corridor outside the delivery room.  Allow them admittance at no time.  Give them forty cigarettes and a lighter.  Instruct them to pace to the end of the corridor.  When they reach this happy position, instruct them to turn around and return to whence they came.

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Teaser:  I felt at a great disadvantage.  That I wasn’t doing myself justice.

To put it simply, I was not looking my best.  As I say, a humiliating kind of a business. (p. 2).

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Blurb:  Claire has everything she ever wanted: a husband she adores, a great apartment, a good job. Then, on the day she gives birth to their first baby, James informs her that he’s leaving her. Claire is left with a newborn daughter, a broken heart, and a postpartum body that she can hardly bear to look at.

She decides to go home to Dublin. And there, sheltered by the love of a quirky family, she gets better. So much so, in fact, that when James slithers back into her life, he’s in for a bit of a surprise.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  I am definitely curious about how events will unfold.

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REVIEW: THOSE SECRETS WE KEEP, BY EMILY LIEBERT

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In the year following the sudden death of her sister Amy, Sloane has been struggling. Her loss consumes her, although she still clings to her remaining connections, to her daughter Maddie and her husband Eddie.

But for a while now, she has felt distanced from her marriage.

So when Maddie heads off to sleepaway camp that summer, Sloane takes her aunt up on her offer to spend some time in her cabin at Lake George. And Sloane invites her friend Hillary, who has become someone she sees as reliable and comforting.

But before she can even drive away from her home in Brookline, Massachusetts, Sloane’s old college friend Georgina calls and insists on coming with them.

Frustrated, Sloane tries to look forward to the getaway, but is reminded once again of how disappointing her friendship with Georgina has become. A wild child, Georgina has always had all the money she wanted and no responsibilities. She is loud, gregarious, and pushes her way into every situation, with her sense of entitlement showing.

It was easy to dislike the character of Georgina, and even though Sloane is trying to figure out what she wants and where she will end up, I found myself rooting for her. And I was also eager to see good things happen for Hillary. Before the summer ends, however, we will discover the big secret she has been keeping from her husband.

Those Secrets We Keep was a somewhat predictable novel about friendships, secrets, and trying to find new beginnings during a summer getaway, and while there were some unexpected situations, like the huge secret Georgina has been keeping, there was nothing particularly unique about the story or the characters.

However, it was interesting to see how everything played out, watching what the women would do and what choices they would make. 4 stars.

HELLO JULY! WRAPPING UP JUNE….

It is that time again!  Can you believe that June is over already?  And while I didn’t reach the number of books read and reviewed as I did in May, it was a month full of wonderful characters, plots, and unforgettable moments.

Check out my titles, linked to my reviews:

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JUNE 2015:

1.    Ana of California (e-book), by Andi Teran – 368 pages – (coming-of-age story) – June 28, 2015

2.   Before We Met (e-book), by Lucie Whitehouse – 276 pages – (psychological suspense thriller) – June 22, 2015

3.   Bones of You, The (e-book), by Debbie Howells – 320 pages – (psychological suspense) – June 19, 2015

4.   Crash & Burn (e-book), by Lisa Gardner – 399 pages  – (suspense thriller) – June 1, 2015

5.   Crooked Little Lies (e-book), by Barbara Taylor Sissel – 346 pages – (suspense thriller) – June 8, 2015

6.   Cry, The (e-book), by Helen Fitzgerald – 320 pages – (psychological suspense) – June 10, 2015

7.    Eight Hundred Grapes, by Laura Dave – 260 pages – (contemporary fiction) – June 11, 2015

8.    Golden State (e-book), by Stephanie Kegan – 288 pages – (family drama) – June 13, 2015

9.   Monday’s Lie (e-book), by Jamie Mason – 283 pages – (psychological suspense) – June 3, 2015

10.  Neighbors, The (e-book), by Ania Ahlborn – 223 pages – (horror) – June 23, 2015

11.  New Neighbor, The (e-book), by Leah Stewart – 304 pages – (suspense/family drama) – June 26, 2015

12.  Rocks, The, by Peter Nichols – 414 pages – (historical fiction) – June 4, 2015

13. Things You Won’t Say (e-book), by Sarah Pekkanen – 352 pages – (contemporary fiction) – June 7, 2015

14.  Three Wishes (e-book), by Liane Moriarty – 375 pages – (contemporary fiction) – June 15, 2015

15.   Week at the Lake, A, by Wendy Wax – 349 pages – (contemporary fiction) – June 21, 2015

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BOOKS READ IN JUNE 2015 –   15

PAGES READ IN JUNE 2015 –    4,877

BOOKS READ YTD:    99

FAVORITE FICTION READ:   Tied:  Crash & Burn; The New Neighbor

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What did your month look like?  Come on by and share!

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