MY PROGRESS: COMPULSIVE BOOK BUYING DISORDER…

Have I improved in this area?  Do I sometimes wait and ponder whether or not to “click to buy,” or am I just as compulsive as ever?

Well, let’s take a peek.

In August, I bought 17 books, and I purchased 15 in September.  Here’s October…so far:

 

OCTOBER 2017:

1.Best Day Ever (e-book), by Kaira Rouda

2.Cold as Ice (e-book, Country Club Murders), by Julie Mulhern

3.Last Mrs. Parrish, The (e-book), by Liv Constantine

4.Odd Child Out (e-book), by Gilly Macmillan

5.Seven Days of Us (e-book), by Francesca Hornak

6.Sing, Unburied, Sing (e-book), by Jesmyn Ward

7.Without Merit (e-book), by Colleen Hoover

8.Unraveling Oliver (e-book), by Liz Nugent

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Yes, I could buy more…and I probably will.  But I have been pausing and thinking before “clicking.”  That’s good, isn’t it?

What does your buying record show you?  Or do you avoid buying altogether?

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REVIEW: SAY YOU’RE SORRY, BY MELINDA LEIGH

After the devastating loss of her husband in Iraq, Morgan Dane returns to Scarlet Falls, seeking the comfort of her hometown. Now, surrounded by family, she’s finally found peace and a promising career opportunity—until her babysitter is killed and her neighbor asks her to defend his son, Nick, who stands accused of the murder.

Tessa was the ultimate girl next door, and the community is outraged by her death. But Morgan has known Nick for years and can’t believe he’s guilty, despite the damning evidence stacked against him. She asks her friend Lance Kruger, an ex-cop turned private eye, for help. Taking on the town, the police, and a zealous DA, Morgan and Lance plunge into the investigation, determined to find the real killer. But as they uncover secrets that rock the community, they become targets for the madman hiding in plain sight.

My Thoughts: Morgan Dane is the kind of character that inspires me, with her love of home, family, and justice. Despite the fact that she comes from a family of cops and plans to work for the DA’s office, she makes a decision that many do not understand. She agrees to defend her neighbor, Nick, arrested for the murder of Tessa, with whom he had a close relationship…because there is just something about him that makes his guilt seem impossible.

Her friend and new partner in the investigation, Lance Kruger, is not as sure of Nick’s innocence, but he is determined to stand by Morgan.

Before she is barely off the ground in the investigation, Morgan is confronted by numerous characters who threaten and shadow her. These actions convince her even more that she is getting close to the truth. Who will she finally pinpoint as the alternate suspect, the true criminal? What happened the night of the party, and who else might have seen what happened? I had my suspicions about several, but in the end, I didn’t guess who the perpetrator was.

There was danger, intensity, and a sense of political conspiracies afoot, all of which made Say You’re Sorry a page turner for me. There was also a growing romantic connection between Morgan and Lance, which they tried to fight. I am eager to see what the two of them will do next, in Book Two. 5 stars.***

TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “CARDINAL CABIN”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a review book I’m just about to start reading:  Cardinal Cabin, by Joanne DeMaio, a heartwarming novel as merry and bright as a red-feathered cardinal taking flight.
 

Intro:  “What’s it all for, anyway?” Frank Lombardo asks.  With a wool cap on his head, and his tan canvas jacket zipped up tight against the chill wind coming off the river, he lifts a string of twinkling lights.  The question was meant only for himself, standing on the top rung of a ladder perched against the roofline.  But of course, his hovering sister picked up every dismal syllable.

“What do you mean?” Gina asks from down below while giving him yet another string of lights.

“All this fussing and decorating.”  His gloved hand motions to the grand two-story Addison Boathouse, with its vast deck and, on the roof, a white cupola with paned windows.  The boathouse rises from the banks of the river, and his ladder’s been propped against the building for hours.  “All these lights.  And wreaths.  And ornaments.  For what, really?”

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Teaser Tuesday:  But when one song in particular begins, a slow song, Frank stops stoking the burning logs, sets down the wrought-iron tongs and walks to her.  On the way, he shuts off both table lamps.  The only sound in the room is Sinatra singing promises of home and snow. (p. 113).

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Synopsis:  Frank Lombardo’s never been spontaneous. The closest he’s come was accepting a side job chopping firewood for a lakeside community of rustic cabins. But with another lonely holiday season imminent, Frank’s sister urges him to be spontaneous because, seriously, who does he ever expect to meet out in the woods?

With a suitcase in hand and a bit of reluctance, too, Penny Hart arrives at Cardinal Cabin on Snowflake Lake. It’s only for a brief stay, though nobody knows where she is. Not her boss, not her friends…

Only Frank Lombardo. As the two unexpectedly meet at Addison’s hidden hideaway, a spontaneous kiss sets everything amiss. But can the magic of this quaint New England town keep these snowy sweethearts together?

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What do you think?  Do you want to keep reading?

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HELLO OCTOBER! SEPTEMBER WRAP-UP

Welcome to a great month of reading!  Let’s check out what others have read at The Book Date.

Favorite Book of the Month:

Genres:

Mysteries/Thrillers – 6

Contemporary Fiction – 4

Historical Fiction – 2

Nonfiction – 2

Literary Fiction – 1

 

Click on the titles to read my reviews:

SEPTEMBER 2017:

1.A Stranger in the House (e-book), by Shari Lapena – 305 pages – (thriller) – 9/16/17

2.Best Kind of People, The (e-book), by Zoe Whittall – 448 pages (contemporary fiction) – 9/13/17 (NetGalley – 9/19)

3.Blackbird Season, The (e-book), by Kate Moretti – 352 pages – (mystery) – 9/19/17 – (NetGalley – 9/26/17)

4.Burning Girl, The (e-book), by Claire Messud – 248 pages – (coming-of-age tale) – 9/10/17

5.Dangerous Crossing, A, by Rachel Rhys – 360 pages – (historical fiction) – 9/30/17

6.Happy People Read & Drink Coffee, by Agnes Martin-Lugand – 200 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 9/22/17 – (Amazon Vine)

7.Heartbreak Hotel (e-book), by Jonathan Kellerman – 368 pages – (mystery) – 9/1/17

8.Heirs, The (e-book), by Susan Rieger – 254 pages – (contemporary/historical fiction) – 9/23/17

9.I’ll Have What She’s Having (e-book), by Erin Carlson – 300 pages – (nonfiction) – 9/26/17

10.Lies She Told (e-book), by Cate Holahan – 288 pages – (mystery/suspense thriller) – 9/6/17 – (NetGalley – 9/12)

11.Open House, by Amanda Pays & Corbin Bernsen – 176 pages – (nonfiction) – 9/24/17

12.Our Souls at Night (e-book), by Kent Haruf – 180 pages – (literary fiction) – 9/20/17

13.Stolen Marriage, The (e-book), by Diane Chamberlain – 384 pages – (historical fiction) – 9/28/17 – (NetGalley – 10/3)

14.Truth We Bury, The (e-book), by Barbara Taylor Sissel – 286 pages – (contemporary fiction/mystery) – 9/4/17

15.Z:  A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Anne Fowler – 371 pages – (historical fiction) – 9/8/17

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NUMBER OF BOOKS READ IN SEPTEMBER 2017:         15

NUMBER OF PAGES READ IN SEPTEMBER 2017:     4,520

BOOKS READ YTD:                                                      132

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MINI-BLOGGIESTA: FINISH LINE POST…

Goodbye to the Fall Mini-Bloggiesta!

Click on over to see what others have done….and here’s my list:

 

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REVIEW: OPEN HOUSE, BY AMANDA PAYS & CORBIN BERNSEN

Transforming older homes into modern, functional, open spaces filled with natural light.

Author Amanda Pays and Corbin Bernsen share ideas for remodeling older homes to create modern, open floor plans while sharing lessons learned along the way. Topics include tricks of seeing through cluttered, dark rooms to imagine an open floor plan and space filled with light; how to manage a renovation budget (ideas on where to shop, items to splurge on, where to save); and designing homes for simple family living.

My Thoughts: I love interior design, and while I have no training in this area, I devour everything I can find with photos and ideas about changing up my space.

I used to watch HGTV religiously…and then I started buying every magazine I could find with photos that would give me ideas.

I first heard about this book, Open House, and its authors Amanda Pays and Corbin Bernsen, on the Hallmark show Home and Family. Of course I had to buy it.

I was especially drawn to their passion for renovation and recycling…and re-purposing items to make unique interiors.

The book is filled with text and photos, so a reader can learn a lot about how they accomplish what they did…or the reader can simply luxuriate in the gorgeous photos.

I have enjoyed Corbin Bernsen in several shows and movies, beginning with LA Law back in the day. I also look forward to his occasional appearance on The Young and the Restless, where his late mother, Jeanne Cooper, was an iconic member of the cast.

If you love design, or enjoy looking at lovely homes and interiors, this might just be the book for you. 5 stars.***

REVIEW: THE BLACKBIRD SEASON, BY KATE MORETTI

In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community.

Beloved baseball coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alecia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the many reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a wayward student, Lucia Hamm, in front of a sleazy motel. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are engaged in an affair, throwing the town into an uproar…and leaving Alecia to wonder if her husband has a second life.

And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only to have one suspect: Nate.

Nate’s coworker and sole supporter, Bridget Harris, Lucia’s creative writing teacher, is determined to prove his innocence. She has Lucia’s class journal, and while some of the entries appear particularly damning to Nate’s case, others just don’t add up. Bridget knows the key to Nate’s exoneration and the truth of Lucia’s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of that journal.

My Thoughts: The alternating perspectives of Nate, Alecia, Bridget, Lucia…and others reeled me into The Blackbird Season, a dark tale that probes beneath the surface of small town life in Pennsylvania.

Could the golden boy Nate have crossed some lines while dealing with his students? Could his desire to help them have drawn him into a dark place? And what is behind his almost obsessive need to be liked by everyone?

As a result, I found myself not really liking Nate, who always seemed defensive and did not prioritize his family at all. However, there was also the possibility that more was hidden beneath the surface, and that others bore a great deal of responsibility for what happened to Lucia.

Bridget, of course, was his biggest supporter and the friendship that Alecia had once felt for her began to fizzle. How could Bridget blindly believe Nate when the evidence suggested otherwise?

And what was Lucia’s game? She seemed broken and who wouldn’t empathize? But her seductive, weird behavior bugged me. I don’t automatically believe the stories teenage girls tell. But it was also possible that some of what she said was true, even if there were lies and manipulations involved.

What would happen before the truth finally came out? I couldn’t stop reading, waiting for it all to unravel so we could see and understand. 5 stars.


***My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley.

TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “OUR SOULS AT NIGHT”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a recent download, a book I’ve been wanting to read before the movie comes out at the end of the month.  Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf, the perfect final installment to this beloved writer’s enduring contribution to American literature.

 

Intro:  And then there was the day when Addie Moore made a call on Louis Waters.  It was an evening in May just before full dark.

They lived a block apart on Cedar Street in the oldest part of town with elm trees and hackberry and a single maple grown up along the curb and green lawns running back from the sidewalk to the two-story houses.  It had been warm in the day but it had turned off cool now in the evening.  She went along the sidewalk under the trees and turned in at Louis’s house.

***

Teaser:  Well, Diane stayed herself anyway, Louis said.  Throughout.  As I say I can appreciate that now.  I didn’t then, at the time.  But we didn’t know anything in our twenties when we were first married.  It was all just instinct and the patterns we’d grown up with.

***

Synopsis:  In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf’s inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away, her son even farther, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in empty houses, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with. But maybe that could change? As Addie and Louis come to know each other better–their pleasures and their difficulties–a beautiful story of second chances unfolds….

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What do you think?  Do the snippets tempt you to keep reading?

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REVIEW: LIES SHE TOLD, BY CATE HOLAHAN

 

The truth can be darker than fiction.

Liza Cole, a once-successful novelist whose career has seen better days, has one month to write the thriller that could land her back on the bestseller list. Meanwhile, she’s struggling to start a family, but her husband is distracted by the disappearance of his best friend, Nick. As stresses weigh her down in her professional and personal lives, Liza escapes into writing the chilling exploits of her latest heroine, Beth.

Beth, a new mother, suspects her husband is cheating on her while she’s home caring for their newborn. Angry and betrayed, she aims to catch him in the act and make him pay for shattering the illusion of their perfect life. But before she realizes what she’s doing, she’s tossing the body of her husband’s mistress into the East River.

Then, the lines between Liza’s fiction and her reality eerily blur. Nick’s body is dragged from the East River, and Liza’s husband is arrested for his murder. Before her deadline is up, Liza will have to face up to the truths about the people around her, including her own. If she doesn’t, the end of her heroine’s story could be the end of her own.

My Thoughts: In alternating narratives, we enter the worlds of Liza and Beth, and, at first, it seems as though Liza is simply creating a romantic suspense novel, even though she readily admits that her fiction is often based on composites of people and events in her own life. She says “to be a writer is to be a life thief. Every day, I rob myself blind.”

Sometimes events in her fictionalized world definitely mimic her life. She is worried about her marriage and she is on fertility drugs that render her emotional. And sometimes she has memory issues. Could she be mixing up events? Does her real life look too much like the fictional one? Could she have done something dreadful, and then forgotten about it?

It doesn’t help that both Liza’s husband David and fictional Beth’s husband Jake are liars…and probably cheaters. Or is everything skewed by Liza’s version of the truth?

I couldn’t stop reading Lies She Told. I loved going back and forth between the worlds of Liza and Beth, and trying to decide the truth of what had actually happened. Did David kill Nick, or has Liza done it and forgotten? Have all the actions she has attributed to Beth been her own? Is she even writing a book? Then we discover a buried secret from Liza’s childhood, one that definitely changes everything we thought we knew. An unputdownable book that earned 5 stars.

***My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley.