BACKLOG BOOK…

It is time for another search of our TBR shelves/piles for those sadly neglected books from the past.  Carole’s Random Life in Books is hosting this event.

Today I found a book I bought in January 2016, and because I loved the series and the author, I am surprised that it is still unread on my Kindle!  The Summer’s End, by Mary Alice Monroe is one I need to read soon!

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Synopsis:

It is the last summer that Marietta “Mamaw” Muir and her three “summer girls” will ever spend at their beloved Sea Breeze before it is sold. As the end draws near, Mamaw and half-sisters Dora, Carson, and Harper struggle to find new places in the world.

Harper intended to stay only a weekend, but a rift with her wealthy, influential mother left her without a home. Free from her mother’s tyranny and encouraged by her family on Sullivan’s Island, Harper has at last discovered her talents and independent spirit. Now, the historic beach house’s fate hinges on her courage to decide the course of her own life. To do so, she must recognize her newfound strengths and accept love fully into her life—of her family, of the lowcountry, and, most of all, of ex-Marine Taylor McClellan, the wounded warrior who has claimed her heart.

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What have you rediscovered on your shelves?

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REVIEW: HER PERFECT LIFE, BY HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN

Everyone knows Lily Atwood―and that may be her biggest problem. The beloved television reporter has it all―fame, fortune, Emmys, an adorable seven-year-old daughter, and the hashtag her loving fans created: #PerfectLily. To keep it, all she has to do is protect one life-changing secret.

Her own.

Lily has an anonymous source who feeds her story tips―but suddenly, the source begins telling Lily inside information about her own life. How does he―or she―know the truth?

Lily understands that no one reveals a secret unless they have a reason. Now she’s terrified someone is determined to destroy her world―and with it, everyone and everything she holds dear.

How much will she risk to keep her perfect life? And what if the spotlight is the most dangerous place of all?
 
 
 
curl up and read thoughts

Alternating stories sweep back and forth in Her Perfect Life, revealing two sisters: Cassie, the older one who disappeared from college when the younger sister, Lily, was only seven years old, and adult Lily who is struggling to keep her “perfect life” going.

In the past, searches yielded nothing, which left Lily, her mother, and her grandmother believing that Cassie had left on her own and didn’t want to come home.

But in the present, Lily’s TV producer, Greer, decides to work with a detective who has presented himself to her, hoping to find Cassie. And finally solve a case his own father had worked on.

But are those helping Lily find answers truly on her side or is there another agenda? As we follow the narratives of each sister, we come to our own conclusions, and are stunned by the twisted plans of some of the characters. 5 stars.
 
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ANOTHER OVERLOOKED BOOK…

It is time for another search of our TBR shelves/piles for those sadly neglected books from the past.  Carole’s Random Life in Books is hosting this event.

Today’s feature is a book I bought in June 2016:  Drinking Closer to Home, by Jessica Anya Blau.

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I don’t remember why I picked it, but the idea of being able to drink close to home was appealing at the time!  LOL.  Here’s the description.

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“So raw and funny I wanted to read parts aloud to strangers.” —Dylan Landis, author of Normal People Don’t Live Like This

From Jessica Anya Blau, critically-acclaimed author of The Summer of Naked Swim Parties and Mary Jane, a coming-of-age novel about growing up and learning to love your insane family. Drinking Closer to Home is a poignant and funny exploration of one family’s over-the-top eccentricities—a book Ron Tanner calls “heartfelt and hilarious.”

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What have you overlooked on your shelves?

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REVIEW: 28 SUMMERS, BY ELIN HILDERBRAND

 

When Mallory Blessing’s son, Link, receives deathbed instructions from his mother to call a number on a slip of paper in her desk drawer, he’s not sure what to expect. But he certainly does not expect Jake McCloud to answer. It’s the late spring of 2020 and Jake’s wife, Ursula DeGournsey, is the frontrunner in the upcoming Presidential election.

There must be a mistake, Link thinks. How do Mallory and Jake know each other?

Flash back to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt, and she agrees to host her brother’s bachelor party. Cooper’s friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere—through marriage, children, and Ursula’s stratospheric political rise—until Mallory learns she’s dying.

Based on the classic film Same Time Next Year (which Mallory and Jake watch every summer), 28 Summers explores the agony and romance of a one-weekend-per-year affair and the dramatic ways this relationship complicates and enriches their lives, and the lives of the people they love.
 
 
curl up and read thoughts

The theme of Same Time Next Year reeled me into 28 Summers, and the setting of Nantucket helped, too.

Nothing could have kept me turning the pages more than the short clips about the summer get-togethers…but hovering overhead was a dark foreshadowing that we glimpsed in the very beginning.

I loved Mallory and Jake…and really hated Ursula. In the end, she did show a bit of compassion, but overall, she was a narcissist that Jake should have kicked to the curb in the early years!

If you loved Same Time Next Year, you won’t be able to stop turning these pages. Along the way, you will meet some interesting characters, too. A 5 star read for me.
 
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OLDIES…AND GOODIES?

It is time for another search of our TBR shelves/piles for those sadly neglected books from the past.  Carole’s Random Life in Books is hosting this event.

Today I discovered an oldie from January 2015:  Lost & Found, by Brooke Davis.

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I am not sure why I bought it, all those years ago, but now I am intrigued.  Here’s a description.

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Millie Bird, seven years old and ever hopeful, always wears red gumboots to match her curly hair. Her struggling mother, grieving the death of Millie’s father, leaves her in the big ladies’ underwear department of a local store and never returns.

Agatha Pantha, eighty-two, has not left her house—or spoken to another human being—since she was widowed seven years ago. She fills the silence by yelling at passersby, watching loud static on TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule.

Karl the Touch Typist, eighty-seven, once used his fingers to type out love notes on his wife’s skin. Now that she’s gone, he types his words out into the air as he speaks. Karl’s been committed to a nursing home, but in a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes. Now he’s on the lam.

Brought together at a fateful moment, the three embark upon a road trip across Western Australia to find Millie’s mother. Along the way, Karl wants to find out how to be a man again; Agatha just wants everything to go back to how it was.

Together they will discover that old age is not the same as death, that the young can be wise, and that letting yourself feel sad once in a while just might be the key to a happy life.

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What have you rediscovered today?

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REVIEW: THE GOOD SON, BY CHRISTOPHER ANDERSEN

The #1 New York Times bestselling author delivers another dramatic installment in the lives of the Kennedys—including new details about JFK Jr., his relationship with his mother, his many girlfriends, and the night of his tragic death.

Critically acclaimed author Christopher Andersen is a master of celebrity biographies—boasting sixteen bestsellers, among them These Few Precious Days, Mick, and William and Kate. Now, in his latest thrilling book, new and untold details of the life and death of JFK Jr. come to light, released in time for the fifteenth year marker of the tragic plane crash on July 16, 1999.

At the heart of The Good Son is the most important relationship in JFK Jr.’s life: that with his mother, the beautiful and mysterious Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Andersen explores his reactions to his mother’s post-Dallas suicidal depression and growing dependence on prescription drugs (as well as men); how Jackie felt about the women in her son’s life, from Madonna and Sarah Jessica Parker, to Daryl Hannah and Carolyn Bessette, to his turbulent marriage; the senseless plane crash the took his life; the aftermath of shock, loss, grief, and confusion; and much more. Offering new insights into the intense, tender, often stormy relationship between this iconic mother and son, The Good Son is a riveting, bittersweet biography for lovers of all things Kennedy.

curl up and read thoughts

I have enjoyed a few of the books featuring Jack and Jackie, or even Jackie and her sister. In The Good Son, we are gifted with an intimate peek into her relationship with her two children, beginning in their early childhood, and we can see how strong and special John and Caroline turned out to be, primarily because of Jackie’s parenting skills. She was adamant that her children give to others and develop empathy. She placed a high priority on developing skills for leadership.

She spent quality time with them, while also exploring her own relationships with other adults. Her various lovers were revealed, and while some friends might have disapproved, Jackie knew what she needed in her friendships and how she didn’t want another controlling male (like Onassis). She also kept a wide berth from the other Kennedy children, since the mayhem that dominated Hickory Hill was not what she wanted for her kids.

The sad times continued throughout their lives, however, and the tragic death of John in a plane crash felt like one of Jackie’s premonitions, since she had deep fears about him flying small planes. His death came after hers, though, so perhaps she was spared that grief.

An enjoyable journey inside the Kennedy family, I give this one five stars.#2021ReadNonFic

A SURPRISE ON MY SHELVES…

It is time for another search of our TBR shelves/piles for those sadly neglected books from the past.  Carole’s Random Life in Books is hosting this event.

Today I scrolled through some of my book cover files and found one from 2015!  I really meant to read this one already, but there it is, another neglected book:  The Race for Paris, by Meg Waite Clayton.

The New York Times bestselling author of The Wednesday Sisters returns with a moving and powerfully dynamic World War II novel about two American journalists and an Englishman, who together race the Allies to Occupied Paris for the scoop of their lives.

Normandy, 1944. To cover the fighting in France, Jane, a reporter for the Nashville Banner, and Liv, an Associated Press photographer, have endured enormous danger and frustrating obstacles—including strict military regulations limiting what women correspondents can. Even so, Liv wants more.

Encouraged by her husband, the editor of a New York newspaper, she’s determined to be the first photographer to reach Paris with the Allies, and capture its freedom from the Nazis.

However, her Commanding Officer has other ideas about the role of women in the press corps. To fulfill her ambitions, Liv must go AWOL. She persuades Jane to join her, and the two women find a guardian angel in Fletcher, a British military photographer who reluctantly agrees to escort them. As they race for Paris across the perilous French countryside, Liv, Jane, and Fletcher forge an indelible emotional bond that will transform them and reverberate long after the war is over.

Based on daring, real-life female reporters on the front lines of history like Margaret Bourke-White, Lee Miller, and Martha Gellhorn—and with cameos by other famous faces of the time—The Race for Paris is an absorbing, atmospheric saga full of drama, adventure, and passion. Combining riveting storytelling with expert literary craftsmanship and thorough research, Meg Waite Clayton crafts a compelling, resonant read.

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Now I need to pull this one forward on my Kindle!  What are you overlooking on your shelves?

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MONTHLY WRAP-UP…

Another month has ended, and this one brought some great reads. I actually read and reviewed 14 books this month, and here are two of my favorites: one fiction and one nonfiction.

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Genres:

     Mysteries/Thrillers – 10

     Contemporary Fiction:  2

     Nonfiction:  2

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Here are my titles and stats.  Click the titles to visit my reviews.

 

AUGUST 2021:

1.Affair, The (e-book), by Amanda Brooke (411 pages) – (contemporary fiction) – 8/11/21

2.All the Best Lies (e-book), by Joanna Schaffhausen – (321 pages) – (murder mystery) – 8/15/21

3..Always Young and Restless, by Melody Thomas Scott – (239 pages) – (memoir) – 8/2/21 – (Nonfiction Reading Challenge)

4.Cul-de-Sac (e-book), by Joy Fielding – (364 pages) – (domestic thriller) – 8/16/21

5.Everything We Keep (e-book), by Kerry Lonsdale – (292 pages) – (mystery) – 8/20/21

6.Gone for Good (e-book), by Joanna Schaffhausen – (292 pages) – (murder mystery) – 8/24/21

7.Guilt Trip, The (e-book), by Sandie Jones – (305 pages) – (thriller) – 8/13/21

8.House Guests, The (e-book), by Emilie Richards – (428 pages) – (contemporary fiction) – 8/3/21

9.Lie Beside Me (e-book), by Gytha Lodge – (346 pages) – (murder mystery) – 8/30/21

10.Necklace, The (e-book), by Matt Witten – (296 pages) – (murder mystery) – 8/17/21 – (NG- 9/7/21)

11.Nine Perfect Strangers (e-book), by Liane Moriarty (450 pages) – (thriller) – 8/6/21

12.Not a Happy Family (e-book), by Shari Lapena – (348 pages) – (murder mystery) – 8/4/21

13.Perfect Family, The (e-book), by Robyn Harding – (333 pages) – (thriller) – 8/22/21

14.Reckoning, The (e-book), by Mary Trump – (178 pages) – (nonfiction) – 8/26/21 – (Nonfiction Reading Challenge)

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BOOKS READ IN AUGUST: 14

BOOKS READ YTD: 87

PAGES READ IN AUGUST: 4603

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What did your month look like?

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REVIEW: LIE BESIDE ME, BY GYTHA LODGE

 

Louise wakes up. Her head aches, her mouth is dry, her memory is fuzzy—but she suspects she’s done something bad.

She rolls over toward her husband, Niall. The man who, until recently, made her feel loved.

But it’s not Niall lying beside her. In fact, she’s never seen this man before.

And he’s not breathing. . . .

As Louise desperately struggles to piece her memories back together, it’s clear to Jonah Sheens and his team that she is their prime suspect—though they soon find she’s not the only one with something to hide.

Did she do it? And, if not, can they catch the real killer before they strike again?
 
 
 
curl up and read thoughts

An intense mystery that pulled numerous characters into the mix, Lie Beside Me kept me rapidly turning pages.

Louise was a major player who told her side of the story to us, even as other characters revealed what they saw of her and how they imagined that events would unfold.

I liked how the numerous police officers showed us their thoughts and actions on the case while also revealing their personal issues and relationships, all of which gave us a chance to know them all and even guess what they might do next.

In the end, I was still surprised by how the case was wrapped up, even as we seemingly watched and listened to everything happening as we went along. A great story that was layered and fascinating and earned 4.5 stars.
 
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A DELICIOUS BACKLOG BOOK…

It is time for another search of our TBR shelves/piles for those sadly neglected books from the past.  Carole’s Random Life in Books is hosting this event.

Today’s feature is a book I purchased in July 2016:  The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, by Amy E. Reichert.

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I love coconut cake, and the idea of something delicious pulled me in.

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You’ve Got Mail meets How to Eat a Cupcake in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.

In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancé…until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.

Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.

The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?

Set in the lovely, quirky heart of Wisconsin, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is a charming love story of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and the power of food to bring two people together.

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Now I want to read this one!  What do you think?

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