Sunday, August 30, 2020

Lovely Books and Things - 8.30.20

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)

~*~

HAPPY THINGS:

1. Independent Bookstore Day, August 29, online author events (details)
2. Schnitzel (recipe) and noodles - a favorite thing from The Sound of Music :-)
3. Setting up an arm chair travel theme for September. Will start off the month with The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel.


~*~


Library: audiobook

The Summer Country
by Lauren Willig
Historical, Victorian, Barbados | Goodreads


Freebies: from Free Little Library

The Broken Kingdoms
by N.K. Jemison
Fantasy | Goodreads


~*~


Virtual Author event: hosted by Booksmith
Listen to archive of this and check out their calendar for future free author events (here)
A conversation between:

Ballistic Kiss
by Richard Kadrey
Urban Fantasy | Goodreads


Shakespeare for Squirrels
by Christopher Moore
Humor Fantasy | Goodreads

A conversation between:

The Great Offshore Grounds
by Vanessa Veselka
Literary | Goodreads


Pull of the Stars
by Emma Donoghue
Historical, Ireland | Goodreads


Virtual Author event: hosted by Politics and Prose Bookstore
Listen to archive of this and check out their calendar for future free author events (here)

A conversation between:

Winter Counts
by David Heska Wanbli Weiden
Mystery, Thriller | Goodreads


Blacktop Wasteland
by S.A. Cosby
Mystery, Thriller | Goodreads


Virtual Author event: hosted by Book Passages
Listen to archive of this and check out their calendar for future free author events (here)

The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls
by Ursula Hegi
Historical, Germany | Goodreads


~*~


AND watched: in virtual theatre

John Lewis: Good Trouble (2020)
Director: Dawn Porter
Documentary | imdb | my rating: 5

The film explores Georgia representative's, 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health care reform, and immigration.

VOTE

Readalong update:

The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen | Goodreads
co-read with Naida at the the bookworm

Aug 17-23: Prologue & chapter 1
I got halfway through the introduction and decided to stop as it was getting too spoilery for me. I will get back to it later along with the acknowledgments which was also part of the front matter of the book.

Enjoying the details of the trek and learning about the various members of the party and how they function.

Aug 24-30: chapter 2
Importance of a good comfortable pair of hiking boots made an impression. Similar to what I found when I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed.

Love his writing style. Felt the cold, danger and beauty of the Himalayas as the search for the Blue Sheep and Snow Leopard continue.

"I am here to be here, like these rocks and sky and snow, like this hail that is falling down out of the sun." -page 108

Liked the reference and thoughts about the Yeti.

Aug 31-Sep 6: chapter 3

Sep 7-13: chapter 4 & wrap-up

~*~

* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently

*** THANKS to those on the front line during these times ***
Shelter In Place - Day 167, Week 25

Stay healthy! Be safe!

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Don't F*** This Up!: How To Get What You Want In Life by Fred Stuvek, Jr.

Don't F*** This Up!: How To Get What You Want In Life
by Fred Stuvek, Jr.

Published: 2020
Publisher: Triumvirate Press
Genre: Self-Help
Paperback: 186
Rating: 5
Goodreads | Website

series:
It Starts With You: Turn Your Goals Into Success
Don't F*** This Up!: How To Get What You Want In Life

First sentence(s):
The single most important quality for achieving any degree of success and happiness is belief.

The margin of error is shrinking. Don't F*** This Up.

Has the new normal just f***ed up your future? Did you get your degree in the mail instead of crossing a stage? You're not alone. You did everything you were supposed to do. You worked hard, got the grades, and you're ready to start your next phase of life.

Then the floor caved in. Thanks to a global pandemic, you're entering adulthood, your new career, your college career, or the workforce during record unemployment, a terrifying economy, and social guidelines that have all but eliminated life as you knew it. Like it or not, this is your sink or swim moment.

If having a strategy was important before, now, it's critical. The choices you make and the practices you adopt right now are going to shape not only your career, but every other aspect of your life as well. It's a lot to wrap your head around, and frankly, many people are going to screw it up.

To be among the few who rise you need to:

Harness certain proven principles
Adopt high standards and become disciplined
Learn how to focus on goal setting
Develop and improve essential relationships
Establish a high level of personal integrity through the right actions and attitude
Develop the resilience and grit to overcome adversity
If you’re looking for career advice, this is not the book for you. This book is a series of life lessons that lifted generations of Americans through hard times. Some of the lessons will be hard to hear. You will have to take responsibility for your actions and choices; to work for what you want. Are you up to the challenge?


My two-bits:

Great guide to some of the basic tips in life to set yourself up for success.

I liked how this was clear and concise with each chapter ending with the main points to remember.

~*~

* review copy courtesy of blog tour

Friday, August 28, 2020

Happy Release: Don't F*** This Up!: How To Get What You Want In Life by Fred Stuvek, Jr.


Don't F*** This Up!: How To Get What You Want In Life
by Fred Stuvek, Jr.
Self-Help | Goodreads
Release date: June 30, 2020

The margin of error is shrinking. Don't F*** This Up.
Has the new normal just f***ed up your future? Did you get your degree in the mail instead of crossing a stage? You're not alone. You did everything you were supposed to do. You worked hard, got the grades, and you're ready to start your next phase of life.

Then the floor caved in. Thanks to a global pandemic, you're entering adulthood, your new career, your college career, or the workforce during record unemployment, a terrifying economy, and social guidelines that have all but eliminated life as you knew it. Like it or not, this is your sink or swim moment.

If having a strategy was important before, now, it's critical. The choices you make and the practices you adopt right now are going to shape not only your career, but every other aspect of your life as well. It's a lot to wrap your head around, and frankly, many people are going to screw it up.

To be among the few who rise you need to:

Harness certain proven principles
Adopt high standards and become disciplined
Learn how to focus on goal setting
Develop and improve essential relationships
Establish a high level of personal integrity through the right actions and attitude
Develop the resilience and grit to overcome adversity
If you’re looking for career advice, this is not the book for you. This book is a series of life lessons that lifted generations of Americans through hard times. Some of the lessons will be hard to hear. You will have to take responsibility for your actions and choices; to work for what you want. Are you up to the challenge?


Guest post:

Need a New Start? 5 Steps to Restart Your Career
By Fred Stuvek, Jr.

There are numerous reasons why someone changes jobs, and it is much more commonplace than in former times. Estimates range that the average worker will change jobs anywhere from 8 to 15 times in his or her career.

A career change, however, is a different matter. It is usually sparked by a lack of motivation or inspiration in what you are doing as you find yourself simply going through the motions, don’t look forward to going to work, and can’t imagine yourself doing what you are doing now five or ten years from now. And once again, career changes are not unusual and are happening more since people are working longer and later in their lives as a matter of either choice or necessity.

Regardless of what situation you find yourself in, it is never too late for a career change. What you do and how quickly you proceed is predicated on your circumstances.

In any event, with planning and over time, it is eminently doable, if you act and follow these five steps.

1. Identify – Look at those areas that match up best with your interests, skillset, and qualifications that would be something you would look forward to doing. Assess what positions you would be most interested in; what skills you currently have and don’t have, and what you need to do to become a qualified, viable candidate.

2. Plan – Put together a list of all the things you need to do. Develop goals, in order of priority, along with objectives and timelines. Be realistic and practical in terms of what you need to do and how long it will take to do it. Anticipate the barriers or roadblocks that could sidetrack you and come up with strategies or coping mechanisms to deal with them. Financial planning is an integral part of this process.

3. Act – Nothing changes if nothing changes, and nothing happens if you don’t act. While your intentions are good, this career change will only come to fruition if you act upon it. Fear destroys more dreams than failure ever has, so put aside your fears, develop your confidence, and take that first step. It may seem like a long journey, but the sooner you start, the sooner you get there. Once you have taken that first step, take another, and continue to move forward. Later you will look back, reflect on this, and be glad you took that first step.

4. Accountability – While it is important to have a support group of family and friends, which is of incalculable value, at the end of the day you are responsible for you. Develop a routine, with good habits, and stick with it. Train and condition yourself to become more disciplined so that many of your actions are second nature. Track your progress by routinely reviewing you plan. Hold yourself accountable, and get rid of the excuses.

5. Persevere – If you are wired for instant gratification, get rewired. This is a process that will take time and effort. Understand and accept that setbacks will occur along the way and find a way to deal with them. Review your plan, along with the objectives, and adjust as necessary.

If you need help, do not be shy about asking for it. Do not lose sight of what you are about and why you are doing this. Celebrate the successes – even the small ones – with family and friends as this will energize you.

As you continue to move forward your mindset, habits, and discipline are central in enabling you to successfully execute the plan and achieve your goals.

FRED STUVEK JR. is the author of Don’t F*** This Up and It Starts With You. He has achieved extraordinary success in diverse realms. He has been inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame for achievements in football, basketball, baseball, and track. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy, after lettering three years as quarterback for the Midshipmen. After service as a Naval Officer, he transitioned to the business world where he has held senior leadership positions in private and public companies, both domestically and internationally. Key successes include an international medical imaging start-up that led to a successful IPO, and forming a private medical services company, which he subsequently sold. From the playing field, to the war room, to the board room, his leadership and accomplishments have given him a distinct perspective and a results-oriented mindset.
Visit Fred: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Website | Amazon

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

One to Watch
by Kate Stayman-Londo
narrated by Kristen Sieh

Published: 2020
Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback
Paperback: 432
Rating: 5
Chick-lit | Goodreads | Website

First sentence(s):
The flea market at Clignancourt was at the far northern edge of the city, a few blocks past the final stop on the number 4 Métro, where the Parisian architecture are more simple, more—mundane a reminder that not all of the city was steeped in centuries of history and romance.

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers—and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition—under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, wickedly observant debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men—and herself—for a chance to live happily ever after.


My two-bits:

Loved the behind-the-scenes of a reality tv show. The twist of having a plus-size contestant made this one intriguing.

Romance, beauty standards and following your heart made this a fun read.

~*~



* Listened to audiobook version.

* part of Summertime time (schedule)

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Summer Romances


~*~

Beach Read
by Emily Henry
Romance | Goodreads

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They're polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they're living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer's block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She'll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he'll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.



Hello Summer
by Mary Kay Andrews
Chick-lit | Goodreads

It’s a new season...

Conley Hawkins left her family’s small town newspaper, The Silver Bay Beacon, in the rearview mirror years ago. Now a star reporter for a big-city paper, Conley is exactly where she wants to be and is about to take a fancy new position in Washington, D.C. Or so she thinks.

For small town scandals...

When the new job goes up in smoke, Conley finds herself right back where she started, working for her sister, who is trying to keep The Silver Bay Beacon afloat—and she doesn’t exactly have warm feelings for Conley. Soon she is given the unenviable task of overseeing the local gossip column, “Hello, Summer.”

And big-time secrets.

Then Conley witnesses an accident that ends in the death of a local congressman—a beloved war hero with a shady past. The more she digs into the story, the more dangerous it gets. As an old heartbreaker causes trouble and a new flame ignites, it soon looks like their sleepy beach town is the most scandalous hotspot of the summer.



One to Watch
by Kate Stayman-London
Chick-lit | Goodreads | my review

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers--and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television? Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition--under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She's in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That's it. But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She's in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men--and herself--for a chance to live happily ever after.


~*~

* image source: Le Touquet, France, 2017 by Harry Gruyaert

* part of Summertime time (schedule)

Monday, August 24, 2020

Summer Films


Cool down indoors with some flicks.

~*~

Summertime (2020)
Netflix tv series, season one
Creators: Mirko Cetrangolo, Anita Rivaroli
Stars: Rebecca Coco Edogamhe, Ludovico Tersigni, Amanda Campana
Drama, Romance | imdb

A modern love story, set during a summer on the Adriatic coast. An undeniable attraction unites Ale and Summer, two people from very different worlds.


Black Summer (2019)
Creators: John Hyams, Karl Schaefer
Stars: Jaime King, Justin Chu Cary, Christine Lee
Action, Drama, Horror, Zombies | imdb

In the dark, early days of a zombie apocalypse, complete strangers band together to find the strength they need to survive and get back to loved ones.


Swimming Pool (2003)
Director/screenplay:
Writer: Emmanuèle Bernheim
Stars: Charlotte Rampling, Charles Dance, Ludivine Sagnier
Crime, Drama, Mystery, France | imdb

A British mystery author visits her publisher's home in the South of France, where her interaction with his unusual daughter sets off some touchy dynamics.

~*~

* image source: Thermae Palace, Ostend, Belgium, 1988 by Harry Gruyaert

* part of Summertime time (schedule)

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Lovely Books and Things - 8.23.20

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)

~*~

HAPPY THINGS:

1. Re-arranging and organizing bookshelves. Cleared one shelf to be able to devote to puzzles.

2. Making the Peach and Blueberry Tart with Cream Cheese Filling recipe from the August issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine (here) - yummy

3. Finding a mini painting of the San Francisco Golden Gate bridge in someone's planter box


~*~

Freebies: from Free Little Library


The Mystery at Lilac Inn (Nancy Drew #4) by Carolyn Keene | Classic YA, Mystery | Goodreads
The Clue in the Diary (Nancy Drew #7) by Carolyn Keene | Classic YA, Mystery | Goodreads

Freebies: *!*~Winner~*!*

Marie Antoinette’s World
Intrigue, Infidelity, And Adultery In Versailles
by Will Bashor
History, France | Goodreads
from giveaway at France Book Tours -Thanks!

The Book of Lost Names
by Kristin Harmel
Historical, WW2, France | Goodreads
Goodreads givaway -Thanks!

~*~

Virtual Author event: hosted by The Ripped Bodice
Check out their calendar for future free author events (here)
A conversation between:

Loathe At First Sight by Suzanne Park
Contemporary, Romance | Goodreads

Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim
Romance, Magical Realism, France, Paris | Goodreads

Virtual Author event: Nisha Sharma on instagram (here)
A conversation between:

The Legal Affair by Nisha Sharma
Contemporary, Romance | Goodreads

Like Lovers Do by Tracey Livesay
Contemporary, Romance | Goodreads

Virtual Author event: hosted by Loves Sweet Arrow
Check out the archive (here)
A conversation between:
You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria
Contemporary, Romance | Goodreads

Wayward Witch by Zoraida Córdova
YA, Fantasy, Witches | Goodreads

Virtual Author event: hosted by Green Apple Books
Check out their calendar for future free author events (here)
She Votes
How U.S. Women Won Suffrage, and What Happened Next
by Bridget Quinn
History, Feminism | Goodreads


AND watched: virtual theatre
Chemical Hearts (2020)
Director/screenplay: Richard Tanne
Based on book: Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
Stars: Lili Reinhart, Austin Abrams, Sarah Jones
Drama, Romance, Amazon Prime | imdb | my rating: 4

A high school transfer student finds a new passion when she begins to work on the school's newspaper.

Interesting look at the teen heart and mind development especially in regards to traumatic events.

Readalong update:
The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen | Goodreads
co-read with Naida at the the bookworm

Aug 17-23: Prologue & chapter 1
I got halfway through the introduction and decided to stop as it was getting too spoilery for me. I will get back to it later along with the acknowledgments which was also part of the front matter of the book.

Enjoying the details of the trek and learning about the various members of the party and how they function.

Aug 24-30: chapter 2
Aug 31-Sep 6: chapter 3
Sep 7-13: chapter 4 & wrap-up

~*~

* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently

*** THANKS to those on the front line during these times ***
Shelter In Place - Day 160, Week 24

Stay healthy! Be safe!

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Saturday, August 22, 2020

That Summer by Lauren Willig

That Summer
by Lauren Willig
narrated by Nicola Barber

Published: 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Hardback: 342
Rating: 4
Historical, Romance, Art, England | Goodreads | Website

First sentence(s):
"Someone's left me a house," said Julie. "In England."

2009: When Julia Conley hears that she has inherited a house outside London from an unknown great-aunt, she assumes it's a joke. She hasn't been back to England since the car crash that killed her mother when she was six, an event she remembers only in her nightmares. But when she arrives at Herne Hill to sort through the house—with the help of her cousin Natasha and sexy antiques dealer Nicholas—bits of memory start coming back. And then she discovers a pre-Raphaelite painting, hidden behind the false back of an old wardrobe, and a window onto the house's shrouded history begins to open...

1849: Imogen Grantham has spent nearly a decade trapped in a loveless marriage to a much older man, Arthur. The one bright spot in her life is her step-daughter, Evie, a high-spirited sixteen year old who is the closest thing to a child Imogen hopes to have. But everything changes when three young painters come to see Arthur's collection of medieval artifacts, including Gavin Thorne, a quiet man with the unsettling ability to read Imogen better than anyone ever has. When Arthur hires Gavin to paint her portrait, none of them can guess what the hands of fate have set in motion.

My two-bits:

Story flips from the present to the past early days of the Preraphaelite period in England.

Each story and protagonist were equally appealing to follow throughout as it proceeds to reveal the mystery behind the painting found.

Loved the references to historical art and Tristan and Isolde Celtic legend.

~*~



* Listened to audiobook version.

* part of Summertime time (schedule)

Stolen Obsession by Marlene M. Bell

Stolen Obsession
by Marlene M. Bell

Published: 2018
Publisher: Ewephoric Publishing
Genre: Mystery, Romance, Suspense
Paperback: 294
Rating: 3
Goodreads
Website

Annalisse series:
Stolen Obsession
Spent Identity

First sentence(s):
A ground fog shrouded investigators while they unearthed her roommate from the black dirt of a farmer's field.

People die, but legends live on.

New York antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury recently lost her best friend to murder. The killer’s identity may be linked to her friend’s expensive missing bracelet—a 500-year-old artifact that carries an ancient curse, one that unleashes evil upon any who dare wear the jewelry created for the Persian royal family.

Weeks later, Annalisse sees a matching necklace at a Manhattan gallery opening. She begs the owner to destroy the cursed piece, but her pleas fall on deaf ears—despite the unnatural death that occurs during the opening. With two victims linked to the jewelry, Annalisse is certain she must act.

Desperate, Annalisse enlists the gallery owner’s son to help—even though she’s afraid he’ll break her heart. Wealthy and devastatingly handsome, with a string of bereft women in his wake, Greek playboy Alec Zavos dismisses Annalisse’s concerns—until his parents are ripped from the Zavos family yacht during their ocean voyage near Crete.

Annalisse and Alec race across two oceans to save his mother, feared dead or kidnapped. When the killer changes tactics and goes after Alec behind Annalisse’s back, can her plan to rescue Alec’s mother save them all?


My two-bits:

Busy with many players in this story of mystery, thriller, adventure, travel, and steamy romance.

~*~

* review copy courtesy of author

* part of Summertime time (schedule)

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Don’t Send Flowers by Martin Solares

Don’t Send Flowers
by Martin Solares

Published: 2018
Publisher: Grove Press, Black Cat
Paperback: 442
Rating: 5
Mystery, Crime, Mexico | Goodreads

First sentence(s):
He told them there was someone who could find the girl: an ex-cop.

Zombie sighting:
He pictured a small, smelly bathroom; a cheap blanket; nights spent on a cot, catching a few winks here and there—always at the beck and call of the residents and their stuck-up kids, afraid some burglar might take advantage if he nodded off—that zombie state where you can't think clearly, which steals one day after another until the end.
-page 247

From a writer whose work has been praised by Junot Diaz as "Latin American fiction at its pulpy phantasmagorical finest," Don't Send Flowers is a riveting novel centered on Carlos Trevino, a retired police detective in northern Mexico who has to go up against the corruption and widespread violence that caused him to leave the force, when he's hired by a wealthy businessman to find his missing daughter.

A seventeen-year-old girl has disappeared after a fight with her boyfriend that was interrupted by armed men, leaving the boyfriend on life support and the girl an apparent kidnap victim. It's a common occurrence in the region—prime narco territory—but the girl's parents are rich and powerful, and determined to find their daughter at any cost. When they call upon Carlos Trevino, he tracks the missing heiress north to the town of La Eternidad, on the Gulf of Mexico not far from the U.S. border—all while constantly attempting to evade detection by La Eternidad's chief of police, Commander Margarito Gonzalez, who is in the pockets of the cartels and has a score to settle with Trevino.


My two-bits:

Sketchy characters, corruption and loyalties. And yet, one who gets the job done despite the pickles he finds himself in.

~*~

* part of Books, Inc. Foreign Intrigue Book Club (here)

* part of Summertime time (schedule)

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Summer Mysteries


~*~

Dark August
by Katie Tallo
Mystery, Thriller | Goodreads

An electrifying, page-turning debut about a young woman haunted by her tragic past, who returns to her hometown and discovers that there might be more to her police detective mother’s death—and last case—than she ever could have imagined.

Augusta (Gus) Monet is living an aimless existence with her grifter boyfriend when she learns that her great grandmother—her last living relative—has just died. Ditching her boyfriend, Gus returns to the home she left as a young girl. Her inheritance turns out to be a dilapidated house and an old dog named Levi. While combing through her great grandmother’s possessions, Gus stumbles across an old trunk filled with long-lost childhood belongings. But that’s not all the trunk contains. She also discovers cold case files that belonged to her mother, a disgraced police detective who died in a car accident when Gus was eight. Gus remembers her mother obsessing over these very same documents and photographs, especially a Polaroid of a young ballerina.

When Gus spots a front-page news story about the unearthing of a body linked to one of the cold case files from her grandmother’s trunk, she can’t resist following her mother’s clues. As she digs deeper, determined to finish her mother’s investigation, her search leads her to a deserted ghost town, which was left abandoned when the residents fled after a horrific fire. As Gus’ obsession with the case grows, she inadvertently stirs up the evils of the past, putting her life in danger. But Gus refuses to be undeterred and is committed to uncovering long-buried secrets, including the secrets surrounding a missing geology student, the young ballerina in the Polaroid, a prominent family’s devastating legacy, and a toxic blast that blew an entire town off the map.

But is Gus ready to learn the truths that culminated on one terrible August night, more than a decade earlier, when lives were taken, and secrets were presumed buried forever…?



The Lion's Den
by Katherine St. John
Chick-lit, Thriller, Mystery | Goodreads

Belle likes to think herself immune to the dizzying effects of fabulous wealth. But when her best friend, Summer, invites her on a glamorous getaway to the Mediterranean aboard her billionaire boyfriend's yacht, the only sensible answer is yes. Belle hopes the trip will be a much-needed break from her stalled acting career and uniquely humiliating waitressing job, but once she's aboard the luxurious Lion's Den, it soon becomes clear this jet-setting holiday is not as advertised.

Belle's dream vacation quickly devolves into a nightmare as she and the handful of other girls Summer invited are treated more like prisoners than guests by their controlling host-and in one terrifying moment, Belle comes to see Summer for who she truly is: a vicious gold digger who will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

Belle realizes she's going to have to keep her wits about her -- and her own big secret closely hidden -- if she wants to make it off the yacht alive.



Blacktop Wasteland
by S.A. Cosby
Mystery, Thriller | Goodreads

Beauregard “Bug” Montage is an honest mechanic, a loving husband, and a hard-working dad. Bug knows there’s no future in the man he used to be: known from the hills of North Carolina to the beaches of Florida as the best wheelman on the East Coast.

He thought he'd left all that behind him, but as his carefully built new life begins to crumble, he finds himself drawn inexorably back into a world of blood and bullets. When a smooth-talking former associate comes calling with a can't-miss jewelry store heist, Bug feels he has no choice but to get back in the driver's seat. And Bug is at his best where the scent of gasoline mixes with the smell of fear.

Haunted by the ghost of who he used to be and the father who disappeared when he needed him most, Bug must find a way to navigate this blacktop wasteland...or die trying.


~*~

* image source: Pointe du Raz, Brittany, France, 1983 by Harry Gruyaert


* part of Summertime time ( schedule )

Monday, August 17, 2020

My Summer of Love and Misfortune by Lindsay Wong

My Summer of Love and Misfortune
by Lindsay Wong
narrated by Nancy Wu

Published: 2020
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Hardback: 384
Rating: 5
YA, China, Beijing | Goodreads | Website


First sentence(s):
I, Iris Wang, was born to be unlucky.

Zombie sighting:
I see my mom stiffen like a zombie. -chapter 7

Iris Wang is having a bit of a rough start to her summer: Her boyfriend cheated on her, she didn’t get into any colleges, and she has no idea who she is or what she wants to do with her life. She’s always felt torn about being Chinese-American, feeling neither Chinese nor American enough to claim either identity. She’s just a sad pizza combo from Domino’s, as far as she’s concerned.

In an attempt to snap her out of her funk, Iris’s parents send her away to visit family in Beijing, with the hopes that Iris would “reconnect with her culture” and “find herself.” Iris resents the condescension, but even she admits that this might be a good opportunity to hit the reset button on the apocalyptic disaster that has become her life.

With this trip, Iris expects to eat a few dumplings, meet some family, and visit a tourist hotspot or two. Instead, she gets swept up in the ridiculous, opulent world of Beijing’s wealthy elite, leading her to unexpected and extraordinary discoveries about her family, her future, and herself.


My two-bits:

Oh, a young spoiled hot mess gets sent off to family in Beijing, China. Although this protagonist coming of age was painful to read, (bit cringe-y at times) it was wonderful to see the transformation.

Enjoyed the comments and observations of this American Chinese experience as well as sights, sounds and traditions of the place.

Loved how the concept of family and its ways were presented.

Got a kick out of the references to the chinese zodiac animals and how they interconnect (or not so much).

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* Listened to audiobook version.

* part of Summertime time ( schedule )

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Lovely Books and Things - 8.16.20

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)

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HAPPY THINGS:

1. Bookstore Romance Day on August 15th (details). Have a list of new romance authors to try - Alyssa Cole, Nisha Sharma, Suzanne Park and Alexis Daria. I also visited the participating bookstores and found a "Where's Fabio" contest at The Fountain Bookstore (here)
2. Taco Tuesday on Saturday - made taco seasoning with spices (here) instead of using a packet
3. Made a simple watercolor with summer theme.


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Bought:


The Disaster Tourist
by Yun Ko-eun
translated by Lizzie Buehler
Literary, Feminism, Travel, Korea | Goodreads


Freebies: from Free Little Library
Flâneuse
Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London
by Lauren Elkin
Memoir, Feminism | Goodreads


For Review:
Don't F*** This Up!
How To Get What You Want In Life
by Fred Stuvek, Jr.
courtesy of publisher -Thanks!
Self-help, College | Goodreads

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Virtual Author event: hosted by Booksmith Listen to archive of this and check out their calendar for future free author events (here)
Make Change
How to Fight Injustice, Dismantle Systemic Oppression, and Own Our Future
by Shaun King
Memoir, Race | Goodreads


Virtual Author event: hosted by Book Passages
Listen to archive of this and check out their calendar for future free author events (here)
A conversation between: Michelle Bowdler and Ayelet Waldman

Is Rape a Crime? A Memoir, an Investigation, and a Manifesto
by Michelle Bowdler
Memoir, Feminism, True Crime | Goodreads


Flipping through: Martha Stewart Living, July/August 2020 issue



Readalong update:

Looking forward to doing a co-read of The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen (Goodreads) with Naida at the the bookworm this week.



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* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently

*** THANKS to those on the front line during these times ***
Shelter In Place - Day 153, Week 23

Stay healthy! Be safe!

Thanks for stopping by :-)
 
Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu