MONTHLY WRAP-UP: WELCOME TO MARCH!

Another month bites the dust.  February was a good month, with lots of intriguing titles.

FAVORITE FEBRUARY READ:

Genres: 

     Mysteries/Thrillers:  3

    Contemporary Fiction:  6

    Historical Fiction:  1

 

Here are my books, linked to my reviews:

FEBRUARY 2019:

1.Best of Us, The  (e-book), by Robyn Carr – (336 pages) – (contemporary fiction) – 2/9/19

2.Daisy Jones & the Six (e-book), by Taylor Jenkins Reid – (368 pages) – (historical fiction) – 2/11/19 – (NG-3/5/19)

3.Don’t Wake Up (e-book), by Liz Lawler – (368 pages) – (suspense thriller) – 2/26/19

4.Late in the Day (e-book), by Tessa Hadley – (277 pages) – (contemporary fiction) – 2/18/19

5.Making of Us, The (e-book), by Lisa Jewell – (403 pages) – (contemporary fiction) – 2/15/19 (Library Book)

6.Not Here (e-book), by Genevieve Nocovo – (218 pages) – (contemporary fiction/suspense) – 2/12/19 (Author Review Book)

7.On Turpentine Lane (e-book), by Elinor Lipman – (322 pages) – (contemporary fiction) – 2/27/19

8.She Lies in Wait (e-book), by Gytha Lodge  – (368 pages) – (suspense thriller) – 2/23/19

9.Untouchable (e-book), by Jayne Ann Krentz – (303 pages) – (mystery) – 2/5/19

10.Woman Who Kept Everything, The (e-book), by Jane Gilley – (777 KB) – (contemporary fiction) – 2/2/19

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NUMBER OF BOOKS READ IN  FEBRUARY 2019:    10

NUMBER OF PAGES READ IN FEBRUARY:  2,963

BOOKS READ YTD:   20

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How was February for you?

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REVIEW: ON TURPENTINE LANE, BY ELINOR LIPMAN

 

At thirty-two, Faith Frankel has returned to her claustro-suburban hometown, where she writes institutional thank-you notes for her alma mater. It’s a peaceful life, really, and surely with her recent purchase of a sweet bungalow on Turpentine Lane her life is finally on track. Never mind that her fiancé is off on a crowdfunded cross-country walk, too busy to return her texts (but not too busy to post photos of himself with a different woman in every state). And never mind her witless boss, or a mother who lives too close, or a philandering father who thinks he’s Chagall.

When she finds some mysterious artifacts in the attic of her new home, she wonders whether anything in her life is as it seems. What good fortune, then, that Faith has found a friend in affable, collegial Nick Franconi, officemate par excellence . . .

 

My Thoughts: My mood led me to On Turpentine Lane, a book that had been languishing on my Kindle, and as I turned each page with fresh delight, I knew I would be engaged throughout.

The story opens with Faith buying a charming bungalow with a lot of quirky elements, not the least of which would lead to a twisty kind of mystery involving previous residents of the home.

Mix in the delightful banter between two friends and coworkers, Faith and Nick, and you are off on a journey toward a hopeful ending.

In the beginning, Faith had a walkabout fiancé that I was pleased to watch her kick to the curb. From there, it was only a matter of time until she improved her situation. I thoroughly enjoyed how the story came together into a very satisfying denouement. 4.5 stars.

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MY BOOK BUYING DISORDER…

Now that we are nearing the end of February 2019, I decided to look back at last year’s purchases…and how many of those books I’ve read so far.

In 2018, I purchased 109 books,, and have read 78.  I DNFed two books.

So I need to get busy and read a few more.  I won’t even go into my purchases for the previous years, although I whittled those stacks down a bit during my Read the Books You Buy Challenges in 2016 and 2017:   100 books in 2016 and 121 in 2017.

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Ideally, I would purchase only as many books as I could read each month.  Wouldn’t that be great?  But my love of the new books I see every month would interfere with that plan.  So I will just keep plugging away at those TBRs…and also find new books at NetGalley and Vine.  Which reminds me:  I haven’t checked Vine in a while!

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How do you manage your reading/purchasing/reviewing stats?

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REVIEW: NOT HERE, BY GENEVIEVE NOCOVO

 

In San Francisco, where the poor are systematically displaced by well-off yuppies, Dina Ostica is part of the problem. The damaged, determined twenty-three-year-old scrambles to make a name for herself in the burgeoning world of podcasting, with the city as her muse. She is hell-bent on professional success, thinking it will mend her broken spirit.

But when her go-to source on local history disappears without warning, she begins to uncover an uncanny pattern that hits too close to home, getting her tied up in the city’s underbelly.

What follows is a gritty tale of exploitation, betrayal, and the strength one needs to survive the whims of those in power.

Will Dina escape or fall victim to the injustice chewing up the city?

My Thoughts: Dina Ostica was an appealing protagonist, and her story in Not Here focused on chasing a dream while trying to do good deeds. Her new life in SF was going to be a great place to achieve her goals, but unfortunately for her, she didn’t know how to protect herself completely from those who would do her harm. I couldn’t help but blame the abusive relationship she had had prior to moving to SF. The domineering fiancé had turned her world upside down and damaged her confidence.

She spent a lot of time in a gym, studying martial arts, but when the evil characters came after her, she was unprepared and unable to save herself.

Until the end. The intense actions of those who would victimize her kept me rapidly turning pages, even as I wondered what had happened to her martial arts skills when she needed them. In the end, Dina came out fighting, finally turning her life around. 3.5 stars.

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FIRST MONTH OF THE YEAR: WRAPPING UP…

Here we are, ending the first month of 2019.  I didn’t finish as many books as I would have liked, but they were all great ones.  Click on over to Book Date to link up and visit other bloggers.

The books were so great that I had two top contenders:

 

 

 

 

 

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Genres:

     Contemporary/Historical Fiction:      3

     Suspense/Thrillers –  7

 

JANUARY 2019:

1.By the Book (e-book), by Julia Sonneborn – ( 384 pages) – (contemporary fiction) – 1/16/19

2.Family at No. 13, The (e-book), by S. D. Monaghan – (288 pages) – (suspense) 1/24/19

3.Forget You Know Me (e-book), by Jessica Strawser – (336 pages) – (suspense) – 1/7/19 – (NG-2/5/19)

4.Liar’s Room, The (e-book), by Simon Lelic – (325 pages) – (suspense thriller) – 1/28/19

5.Red Address Book, The (e-book), by Sofia Lundgren – (304 pages) – (historical/contemporary fiction) – 1/21/19

6.Suspect, The (e-book), by Fiona Barton – (402 pages) – (suspense/mystery) – 1/31/19

7.Those Other Women (e-book), by Nicola Moriarty – (400 pages) – (contemporary fiction) – 1/14/19

8.Verity (e-book), by Colleen Hoover – (333 pages) – (suspense thriller) – 1/25/19

9.Winter Sister, The (e-book), by Megan Collins – (336 pages) – (suspense thriller) – 1/11/19 – (NG-2/5/19)

10.You Don’t Own Me (e-book), by Mary Higgins Clark/Alafair Burke – (288 pages) – (suspense thriller) – 1/1/19- (First Book of the Year)

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NUMBER OF BOOKS READ IN JANUARY 2019:    10

NUMBER OF PAGES READ IN JANUARY 2019: 3,396

BOOKS READ YTD:   10

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REVIEW: THE SUSPECT, BY FIONA BARTON

 

When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft, and frantic with worry. What were the girls up to before they disappeared?

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth—and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, whom she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling.

As the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think…

My Thoughts: I have enjoyed other books by this author, including the recurring appearance of Kate Waters, the journalist. She feels like an old friend, and her first person narrative personalizes her perspective even more.

How does the addition of Kate’s own son, Jake, add to the intensity?

I liked the short chapters and the switching between parents, detectives, and journalists…giving us an emotional layer we might otherwise lose in the mix.

While the detectives, parents, and journalists are revealing their stories, we see flash backs of the girls in Thailand, and with each page, we see that danger has been lurking from the beginning.

We also see the early conflicts, primarily because Alex had been planning the trip with an old friend, Mags, who had bowed out at the last moment. The substitution of Rosie, who was not a very close friend, would turn out to be a big mistake.

Will the revelations bring peace? Or will more pain and conflict arise? A slow build that didn’t feel slow, since we moved from one set of characters to another, The Suspect held my interest throughout, while touching that emotional core as I empathized with the characters.

As the police and press shift from one suspect to another, taking many wrong turns along the way, I kept guessing, and then learning something different at the next turn. The final answers left a few loose threads…and some moral ambiguity. 5 stars.

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GIVING IN TO THE BOOK LUST…

Good morning, and welcome to my epic fail in terms of January purchases…so far.  With only a few days left in the month, what are the chances that I won’t buy more?

Maybe I should give in to my book lust and try to curtail the impulses in February.

But as you study the titles below, can you blame me?  Oh, yes, I could have waited…and spread things out a bit.  But instead of beating up on myself, I could just sink back into my couch…and enjoy.

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JANUARY 2019:

1.A Simple Favor (e-book), by Darcey Bell

2.Becoming Mrs. Lewis (e-book), by Patti Callahan

3.Best of Us, The (e-book), by Robyn Carr

4.Her One Mistake (e-book), by Heidi Perks

5.Late in the Day (e-book), by Tessa Hadley

6.Liar’s Room, The (e-book), by Simon Lelic

7.Red Address Book, The (e-book), by Sofia Lundberg

8.She Lies in Wait (e-book), by Gytha Lodge

9.Suspect, The (e-book), by Fiona Barton

10.Untouchable (e-book), by Jayne Ann Krentz

11.Wallis in Love, by Andrew Morton

12.Woman Inside, The (e-book), by E. G. Scott

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What has your January looked like?  So far I have read and reviewed one of my January books, and I’m reading another one, The Liar’s Room.

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REVIEW: THE FAMILY AT NO. 13, BY S.D. MONAGHAN

 

Mary has everything. Beautiful and rich, she lives on an exclusive street in the heart of the city, in a house with gorgeous views and an immaculately maintained garden. Her life looks perfect.

But behind closed doors the truth is very different. Her husband Andrew barely speaks to her, spending his days down in the basement alone. Her teenage nephew is full of rage, lashing out with no warning. Her carefully constructed life is beginning to fall apart.

And then someone starts sending Mary anonymous notes, threatening her and her family…

Everyone has secrets. But is someone at number 13 hiding something that could put the whole family in danger?

 

My Thoughts: Connor is one of the first characters we meet in The Family at No. 13. He is a therapist trying to live and work in a building that has many issues, so when he is offered a bungalow in a nice neighborhood, he thinks everything will be great.

But nothing is as it seems in the new neighborhood, beginning with the fact that a patient he just discharged lives right down the street, and the people next door have a horrific teenage boy living with them. A rage-filled boy who relishes bouncing loudly up and down on a trampoline and torturing animals.

Alternating narrators tell the stories of the neighborhood. Mary’s voice is a first-person look into her life and her experiences. We later learn the story of the boy, Finbarr, which does offer a more compassionate perspective, but does not make him any more likable.

What are the secrets that are dictating the lives of the neighbors, and how will Connor deal with the new life he has chosen? What convoluted events will turn the neighborhood upside down and change the lives of the residents? 4.5

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REVIEW: THOSE OTHER WOMEN, BY NICOLA MORIARTY

 

A laser look at the uneasy relationships between women and the real-world ramifications of online conflicts and social media hostilities in this stunning domestic drama. A story of privilege, unspoken rivalries, and small acts of vengeance with huge repercussions sure to please fans of Sarah Jio and Ruth Ware.

Overwhelmed at the office and reeling from betrayals involving the people she loves, Poppy feels as if her world has tipped sideways. Maybe her colleague, Annalise, is right—Poppy needs to let loose and blow off some steam. What better way to vent than social media?

With Annalise, she creates an invitation-only Facebook group that quickly takes off. Suddenly, Poppy feels like she’s back in control—until someone be-gins leaking the group’s private posts and stirring up a nasty backlash, shattering her confidence.

Feeling judged by disapproving female colleagues and her own disappointed children, Frankie, too, is careening towards the breaking point. She also knows something shocking about her boss—sensitive knowledge that is tearing her apart.

As things begin to slide disastrously, dangerously out of control, carefully concealed secrets and lies are exposed with devastating consequences—forcing these women to face painful truths about their lives and the things they do to survive.

 

My Thoughts: Poppy’s world crashes down around her as a result of a big betrayal. Afterwards, she is vulnerable to Annalise, a colleague who is encouraging her to change everything about her life. Together they attempt an experiment. They create the online group that will define their world for a while…and then everything begins to come apart.

Multiple narrators from opposing groups reveal the perspectives of the women. I liked how each of them had secrets and fought hard to protect them.

How would the conflicts begin to surface and change the nature of their groups and their lives?

A narrator writing letters anonymously is not revealed until the end. I thought I knew whose voice brought that part of the story, but as time passed, several possibilities presented themselves until finally, the hidden parts of all their lives came to light.

Those Other Women was an interesting story about how women, wanting support and comfort in others like them, found out how to meet their needs in kinder, gentler ways. 4 stars.

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CURLING UP TO READ…SEEKING NORMALCY!

In a New Year, we often make bookish plans.  Not resolutions, exactly, but goals.  Reading more of the books on my TBR…and buying fewer books.

Well, here’s what I’ve done so far in the book buying department:

JANUARY 2019:

1.Becoming Mrs. Lewis (e-book), by Patti Callahan

2.Wallis in Love, by Andrew Morton

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And while I haven’t yet dipped into the back of my Kindle, my First Book of the Year was my first read.

JANUARY 2019:

1.You Don’t Own Me (e-book), by Mary Higgins Clark/Alafair Burke – (288 pages) – (suspense thriller) – 1/1/19- (First Book of the Year)

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My current read is Sadie, by Courtney Summers, a book I purchased in November 2018…

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Tomorrow I hope to take down the Christmas decorations.  Then I want to curl up with my books, and even watch a few movies.  In other words, my normal routines.

What does your 2019 look like so far?

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