Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward

The Jetsetters
by Amanda Eyre Ward

Published: 2020
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary
Hardback: 352
Rating: 4
Goodreads | Website

Travel destinations:
Greece, Malta, Italy, France, Spain

First sentence(s):
The large oil portrait of Charlotte and her children began with a photo snapped on a Hilton Head Island beach at sunset.

Zombie sighting:
There were the ever-present grayish-skinned guys zombified before a row of slot machines.
Section 3, Chapter 2, page 104


When seventy-year-old Charlotte Perkins submits a sexy essay to the "Become a Jetsetter" contest, she dreams of reuniting her estranged children: Lee, an almost-famous actress; Cord, a handsome Manhattan venture capitalist who can't seem to find a bride; and Regan, a harried mother who took it all wrong when Charlotte bought her a Weight Watchers gift certificate for her birthday.

Charlotte yearns for the years when her children were young and she was a single mother who meant everything to them. When she wins the cruise, the family packs all their baggage—literal and figurative—and spends ten days traveling from sun-drenched Athens through glorious Rome to tapas-laden Barcelona on an over-the-top cruise ship, the Splendido Marveloso.

As lovers new and old join the adventure, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the Perkins family is forced to confront the defining choices in their lives. Can four lost adults find the peace they've been seeking by reconciling their childhood aches and coming back to each other?


My two-bits:
Tough reading about a dysfunctional family theme with unlikable characters. But, it moves forward well as each character is forced to confront selves and others.

~*~

* part of Reese's Book Club 2020 (here)

* part of Armchair Autumn Travel (here)

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel


The Book of Lost Names
by Kristin Harmel
narrated by Madeleine Maby

Published: 2020
Publisher: Gallery Books
Hardback: 400
Rating: 4
Historical, WW2, Romance, France | Goodreads | Website
Travel destinations: France, Switzerland

First sentence(s):
It's a Saturday morning, and I'm midway through my shift at the Winder Park Public Library when I see it.

Inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II, a young woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis in this unforgettable historical novel from the international bestselling author of the “epic and heart-wrenching World War II tale” (Alyson Noel, #1 New York Times bestselling author) The Winemaker’s Wife.

Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books one morning when her eyes lock on a photograph in a magazine lying open nearby. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names.

The accompanying article discusses the looting of libraries by the Nazis across Europe during World War II—an experience Eva remembers well—and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The book in the photograph, an eighteenth-century religious text thought to have been taken from France in the waning days of the war, is one of the most fascinating cases. Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral- und Landesbibliothek library, it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from—or what the code means. Only Eva holds the answer—but will she have the strength to revisit old memories and help reunite those lost during the war?

As a graduate student in 1942, Eva was forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town in the Free Zone, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Rémy, Eva decides she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are too young to remember who they really are. The records they keep in The Book of Lost Names will become even more vital when the resistance cell they work for is betrayed and Rémy disappears.


My two-bits:

Perspectives from people who are part of the resistance in varying degrees.

People's efforts however small (and maybe hidden) had meaning and impact.

~*~

* Listened to audiobook version.

* review copy courtesy of Goodreads

* part of Paris in July (here)

* part of Armchair Autumn Travel (here)

Monday, September 28, 2020

Beartown by Fredrik Backman


Beartown
by Fredrik Backman
translated by Neil Smith
narrated by Marin Ireland

Published:2017
Publisher: Atria Books
Hardback: 432
Rating: 4
Contemporary, Sports, Sweden | Goodreads
Travel destination: Sweden

Beartown series:
Beartown
Up Against You
Those Who Run Towards Fire - release date: 2021

First sentence(s):
Late one evening toward the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barreled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else's forehead, and pulled the trigger.

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.


My two-bits:

Captures the world of small town culture and hockey as major characters in the story. And these characters have such influence on happenings.

~*~


* Listened to audiobook version.

* part of Armchair Autumn Travel (here)

* part of Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2020 (here)

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Lovely Books and Things - 9.27.20

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update


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

~*~


HAPPY THINGS:

1. Falling into the internet rabbit hole about Book Nooks shelf inserts. Inspired to make one. See samples (here).
2. Exploring colors to select for a crochet project. I have to pick out 10 balls of yarn.
3. Sitting under a steampunk goddess at Patricia's Green in Hayes Valley, San Francisco. This is Tara Mechani by artist Dana Albany which is described as a sculpture of a robot-like female Buddha.

~*~


Library: audiobook

Beach Read
by Emily Henry
Romance | Goodreads


Furia
by Yamile Saied Méndez
YA, Sports, South America | Goodreads


~*~

AND watched: on Netflix
The Last Dance (2020)
TV series
Director: Jason Hehir
Stars: Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan
Documentary, Biography, History | imdb | my rating: 5

Charting the rise of the 1990's Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan, one of the most notable dynasties in sports history.

SUCH drive and passion. Wow.

AND watched: on Kanopy
The End of the Tour (2015)
Director: James Ponsoldt
Screenplay: Donald Margulies
Based on book by: David Lipsky
Stars: Joan Cusack, Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg
Biography, Drama | imdb | my rating: 5

The story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace, which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace's groundbreaking epic novel, 'Infinite Jest.'

POIGNANT, loved this insight on the writer.

~*~

* 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 195, Week 29


Stay healthy! Be safe!

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyun Kim


The Last Story of Mina Lee
by Nancy Jooyun Kim
narrated by Greta Jung

Published: 2020
Publisher: Park Row
Hardback: 384
Rating: 4
Contemporary, Mystery, Korean American | Goodreads | Website
Travel destination: Los Angeles, CA

First sentence(s):
Margot's final conversation with her mother had seemed so uneventful, so ordinary—another choppy bilingual plod. Half-understandable.

Margot Lee's mother, Mina, isn't returning her calls. It's a mystery to twenty-six-year-old Margot, until she visits her childhood apartment in Koreatown, LA, and finds that her mother has suspiciously died. The discovery sends Margot digging through the past, unraveling the tenuous invisible strings that held together her single mother's life as a Korean War orphan and an undocumented immigrant, only to realize how little she truly knew about her mother.

Interwoven with Margot's present-day search is Mina's story of her first year in Los Angeles as she navigates the promises and perils of the American myth of reinvention. While she's barely earning a living by stocking shelves at a Korean grocery store, the last thing Mina ever expects is to fall in love. But that love story sets in motion a series of events that have consequences for years to come, leading up to the truth of what happened the night of her death.


My two-bits:

The mother-daughter relationship was a constant theme in swirl.

Got me thinking of the importance of knowing (or not) family history.

~*~


* Listened to audiobook version.

* part of Reese's Book Club 2020 (here)

* part of Armchair Autumn Travel (here)

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson


The Bookshop of Yesterdays
by Amy Meyerson
narrated by Ann Marie Gideon

Published: 2019
Publisher: Park Row
Paperback: 400
Rating: 4
Contemporary, Mystery | Goodreads | Website
Travel destination: Los Angeles, CA
First sentence(s):
The last time I saw my uncle, he bought me a dog.

Miranda Brooks grew up in the stacks of her eccentric Uncle Billy’s bookstore, solving the inventive scavenger hunts he created just for her. But on Miranda’s twelfth birthday, Billy has a mysterious falling-out with her mother and suddenly disappears from Miranda’s life. She doesn’t hear from him again until sixteen years later when she receives unexpected news: Billy has died and left her Prospero Books, which is teetering on bankruptcy—and one final scavenger hunt.

When Miranda returns home to Los Angeles and to Prospero Books—now as its owner—she finds clues that Billy has hidden for her inside novels on the store’s shelves, in locked drawers of his apartment upstairs, in the name of the store itself. Miranda becomes determined to save Prospero Books and to solve Billy’s last scavenger hunt. She soon finds herself drawn into a journey where she meets people from Billy’s past, people whose stories reveal a history that Miranda’s mother has kept hidden—and the terrible secret that tore her family apart.


My two-bits:

Loved the tie-in with novels and scavenger hunt theme. Painful secrets eventually get revealed.

Makes me wonder if things are better off not said.

~*~


* Listened to audiobook version

* part of Bookshops Challenge (here)

* part of ibc book club (here)

* part of Armchair Autumn Travel (here)

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Spotlight: A Fast Woman by Laralyn Doran

A Fast Woman
by Laralyn Doran
Contemporary Romance
Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Goodreads | Playlist

Come celebrate the release of A Fast Woman by Laralyn Doran, the first contemporary romance novel in the Driven Women series. Each book has an HEA and features feisty, headstrong heroines and the men who fall for them. You’ll want to devour this enemies to lovers romance. Check it out, order your copy and enter the fabulous giveaway!

CJ Lomax
People called me a fast woman—not because I slept around—because I broke men’s hearts after I beat them on the track. While climbing up stock car’s highest level of racing, I learned three truths: Adrenaline was my drug of choice, wearing a pair of heels was a form of torture, and I didn’t have time for distractions—especially from men. I had one goal—a Cup Series contract—and it was within my reach. Until Grady McBane cut me off—sending me, and my dreams, into a tailspin. His smile, his charm, his talent…his touch. My damn hormones overrode my focus.

Grady McBane The moment the beautiful, spitfire CJ Lomax tripped into my arms, it felt right. Then Karma stepped in and laughed—Redeeming my reputation meant ruining her dream. Even though I needed the contract to salvage my career, I found myself chasing her instead of racing her. Her focus, her sass, her grit…her passion. I wanted it—I wanted her. Could we cross the finish line without wrecking each other’s hearts?

Strap in…it’s a hell of a ride. 


EXCERPT #1—Grady

CJ returned with a piece of chocolate pie on her plate but pulled up short when she noted the solemnity of the table and everyone throwing furtive glances toward her.

“Is there something wrong with my pie?” It was the first time I heard her southern twang.

I studied her concerned expression before quickly digging my fork into the chocolate pie Andy put in front of me.

I wasn’t giving much thought to eating it, just doing it to ease her worry. But when the chocolate sweetness smoothly awakened my taste buds. I fell back in my chair, closed my eyes in bliss and groaned—loudly. “Oh my God…CJ.”

When I settled back down to Earth and focused on CJ, she resembled a virgin at a Magic Mike show. Her cheeks were crimson and her eyes as wide as saucers. The silence was thick among those at the table as their eyes bounced between us.

Sass tried valiantly to hold it in, but the laugh burst from him. Harper’s followed. Gus covertly studied CJ out of the corner of his eye and then glared at me.

What did I do? Harper gave me a knowing smile—well, maybe the groan was a bit much.

“What?” I asked. “This pie is amazing!”

CJ seemed to have trouble swallowing.

“You okay over there, CJ?” Harper said. “Gus, you may want to give CJ some breathing room. I think it’s been awhile since she’s heard a man groan her name.”

If it were possible, I think CJ turned even more red. That was until she picked up the plate of pie as if she were going to throw it at Harper. Gus caught her arm and took the plate.

“Easy, killer,” Gus whispered. “No need to waste good pie.”

CJ—she actually began to smile. First at Harper, then Gus, and then at me. I was trapped. Her smile was everything. It transformed her and mesmerized me. Her face softened, her eyes brightened, her lips…God, her lips…

CJ’s body began to shake. She was laughing and it was as if the heavens opened.

It was beautiful.

I did that—even if it was unintentional. I made her laugh. It was the best rush I’d had in…awhile. It was better than when I opened up the engine and slingshotted through the first banked turn.

I wanted to do it again.

Harper and CJ had the entire table laughing. I joined in.

I felt at home with these people. I just met them yesterday, and already I was at home with them.

In all honesty, some of them would probably hate me by the end of the season—including the captivating, complex woman whose laugh I was fixated on.

But tonight, the cool, spring, lake weather in the dimming evening, surrounded by people who genuinely liked each other and who seemed like family—I wanted to be part of it.

About the author:

Laralyn Doran is a multi-award winning writer of fun, contemporary romance and dark, urban fantasy romance. Her latest manuscript, “A Fast Woman” is an “enemies-to-lovers” racing romance, set to release in the fall of 2020 and will be the first in the “Driven Women” series. In 2019, “A Fast Woman” was awarded The Writer Award, given by the Land of Enchantment Romance Authors (LERA). Laralyn is a proud special needs mom, and an autism and dyslexia awareness advocate.  She lives in Maryland and is a member of Romance Writers of America, Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers, Washington Romance Writers, and other affiliate chapters, where she met some amazing and supportive authors who have had the patience of saints and given her more than one kick in the backside.
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Newsletter

Giveaway:
Open to US/CA residence 18 years or older. Winner will receive a signed copy of A Fast Woman and a $25 Amazon eCard.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
~*~



* part of book tour hosted by Caffeinated PR

Monday, September 21, 2020

Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby


Blacktop Wasteland
by S.A. Cosby
narrated by Adam Lazarre-White

Published: 2020
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Hardback: 304
Rating: 5
Mystery, Thriller, Noir | Goodreads
Travel destination: Virginia

Zombie sighting:
A few patients tethered to IV's were moving past the staff like forlorn zombies.
-chapter 33

First sentence(s):
Beauregard through the night sky looked like a painting.

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.


My two-bits:

Cars, heists, bad guys, good guys...

Great wild ride with this gritty contemporary story with a noir vibe and thrilling car chase scenes.

~*~

* Listened to audiobook version.

* part of Armchair Autumn Travel (here)

* part of part of Summertime time (here)

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Lovely Books and Things - 9.20.20

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update


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

~*~


HAPPY THINGS:

1. Back to long daily walks in fresh air! - yay! smoke-free again in San Francisco
2. Jane Austen's Persuasion adapted by Kerry Skam by Iowa Stage Theatre on YouTube - watch it free (here)
3. Snail mail

~*~


Library:audiobook
Death on the Nile
by Agatha Christie
Mystery, Crime, Egypt | Goodreads

Freebies: from Free Little Library

The Last Book Party
by Karen Dukess
Contemporary, Coming of Age, Cape Cod | Goodreads


We Went to the Woods
by Caite Dolan-Leach
Contemporary, Thriller, New York | Goodreads


The Christmas Boutique
by Jennifer Chiaverini
Christmas, Quilts | Goodreads


Virtual Author event: hosted by New York Times Books
Listen to archive of this (here)
A conversation between:

Homeland Elegies
by Ayad Akhtar
Literary | Goodreads


The Mars Room
by Rachel Kushner
Literary | Goodreads


Black Leopard, Red Wolf
by Marlon James
Literary | Goodreads


~*~

AND watched: on Netflix

Frances Ha (2012)
Director/Writer: Noah Baumbach
Writer: Greta Gerwig
Stars: Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner
Comedy, Drama, Romance | imdb | my rating: 5

A New York woman (who doesn't really have an apartment) apprentices for a dance company (though she's not really a dancer) and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as the possibility of realizing them dwindles.

Beautifully done coming of age story filmed in black and white.

~*~

* 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 188, Week 28


Stay healthy! Be safe!

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia


Mexican Gothic
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
narrated by Frankie Corzo

Published: 2020
Publisher: Del Rey
Hardback: 301
Rating: 4
Historical, Horror, Mexico | Goodreads | Website
Travel destination: Mexico

First sentence(s):
The parties at the Tuñóns' house always ended unquestionably late, and since the hosts enjoyed costume parties in particular, it was not unusual to see Chinas Poblanos with their folkloric skirts and ribbons in their hair arrive in the company of a harlequin or a cowboy.

After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find - her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.


My two-bits:

Slow burn surreal horror with that gothic vibe as the title suggests. Haunted house doings. Perfectly haunting for the season.

~*~


* Listened to audiobook version.

* part of Armchair Autumn Travel (here)

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd


The Book of Longings
by Sue Monk Kidd
narrated by Mozhan Marnò

Published: 2020
Publisher: Viking
Hardback: 416
Rating: 4
Historical | Goodreads | Website
Travel destination: Israel, Egypt

First sentence(s):
I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus ben Joseph of Nazareth. I called him Beloved and he, laughing, called me Little Thunder.

Raised in a wealthy family in Sepphoris with ties to the ruler of Galilee, Ana is rebellious and ambitious, a relentless seeker with a brilliant, curious mind and a daring spirit. She yearns for a pursuit worthy of her life, but finds no outlet for her considerable talents. Defying the expectations placed on women, she engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes secret narratives about neglected and silenced women. When she meets the eighteen-year-old Jesus, each is drawn to and enriched by the other’s spiritual and philosophical ideas. He becomes a floodgate for her intellect, but also the awakener of her heart.

Their marriage unfolds with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, James and Simon, and their mother, Mary. Here, Ana’s pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to the Roman occupation of Israel, partially led by her charismatic adopted brother, Judas. She is sustained by her indomitable aunt Yaltha, who is searching for her long-lost daughter, as well as by other women, including her friend Tabitha, who is sold into slavery after she was raped, and Phasaelis, the shrewd wife of Herod Antipas. Ana’s impetuous streak occasionally invites danger. When one such foray forces her to flee Nazareth for her safety shortly before Jesus’s public ministry begins, she makes her way with Yaltha to Alexandria, where she eventually finds refuge and purpose in unexpected surroundings.


My two-bits:

Got a sense of the state of an independent forward thinking woman's perspective in this classic story of the past.

Because of the time period one could feel the strong theme of "waiting for men" for most of this story.

~*~


* Listened to audiobook version.

* part of ibc book club (here)

* part of Armchair Autumn Travel (here)

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

The Snow Leopard
by Peter Matthiessen

Published: 2008
Publisher: Penguin Books
Paperback: 336
Rating: 5
Memoir, Travel, Nepal | Goodreads
Travel destination: Nepal

First sentence(s):
In late September of 1973, I set out with GS on a journey to the Crystal Mountain, walking west under Annapurna and north along the Kali Gandaki River, then west and north again, around the Dhaulagiri peaks and accross the Kanjiroba two hundred and fifty miles or more to the Land of Dolpo, on the Tibetan Plateau.

When Matthiessen went to Nepal to study the Himalayan blue sheep and, possibly, to glimpse the rare and beautiful snow leopard, he undertook his five-week trek as winter snows were sweeping into the high passes.

My two-bits:

With all the trials and tribulations undergone including some life and death situations in this travel adventure, a lot of growth and introspection were the benefits.

Weekly feels posted on Sunday posts:
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
Meditation and expectations.

Sep 7-13: chapter 4 & wrap-up
Final thoughts and observations by the author of the place and people left me ready for a new outlook on future travel adventures.
~*~

* part of Armchair Autumn Travel (here)

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Tenant by Katrine Engberg


The Tenant
by Katrine Engberg
narrated by Graeme Malcolm

Published: 2020
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Hardback: 368
Rating: 4
Mystery, Thriller, Denmark | Goodreads

Travel destination: Denmark

Kørner/Werner series:
The Tenant
The Butterfly - release date: January 2021

First sentence(s):
The morning light swirled up dust from the heavy drapes.

When a young woman is discovered brutally murdered in her own apartment, with an intricate pattern of lines carved into her face, Copenhagen police detectives Jeppe Korner and Anette Werner are assigned to the case. In short order, they establish a link between the victim, Julie Stender, and her landlady, Esther de Laurenti, who’s a bit too fond of drink and the host of raucous dinner parties with her artist friends. Esther also turns out to be a budding novelist—and when Julie turns up as a murder victim in the still-unfinished mystery she’s writing, the link between fiction and real life grows both more urgent and more dangerous.

But Esther’s role in this twisted scenario is not quite as clear as it first seems. Is she the culprit—or just another victim, trapped in a twisted game of vengeance? Anette and Jeppe must dig more deeply into the two women’s pasts to discover the identity of the brutal puppet-master pulling the strings in this electrifying literary thriller.


My two-bits:

The theme of parallels pasts that intertwine struck me with this mystery.

~*~



* Listened to audiobook version.

* part of Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2020 (here)

* part of Armchair Autumn Travel (here)

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Armchair Autumn Travel

Armchair Autumn Travel
September to December 2020


Starting out my trip with this while sitting in a virtual airport...

The Jetsetters
by Amanda Eyre Ward
Contemporary, Chick-lit | Goodreads | my review
Countries in this story include:
Greece
Malta
Italy
France
Spain

ASIA
NEPAL: The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen - my review

EUROPE
DENMARK: The Tenant by Katrine Engberg - my review
FRANCE: The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel - my review
SWEDEN: Beartown by Fredrik Backman - my review

MIDDLE EAST
Israel: The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd - my review

SOUTH AMERICA
Mexico: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia - my review
Argentina: Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez - my review

AFRICA
Ghana: His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie - my review

OCEANIA

NORTH AMERICA
California, Los Angeles: The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson - my review
California, Los Angeles: The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyun Kim - my review
Virginia: Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby - my review

And when all is said and done with this travel interlude, I will catch a ride on...
The Last Flight
by Julia Clark
Thriller, Mystery | Goodreads | my rating: 4

my two bits: Really engaging with a good pace for a thriller mystery read. I liked how the switcheroo trope played out.

~*~


* header image source: Compartment C Car 293 by Edward Hopper

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Lovely Books and Things - 9.13.20

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update


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

~*~


HAPPY THINGS:

1. Discount coupon for fresh bagels at House of Bagels - oh yeah, going for garlic bagels!
2. Listening to KPop - back to my gateway band, MBLAQ :-)
3. Before the smoke alert days this past week on a daily walk I found this stencil in front of 4-Star theatre (miss movie outings). Dorothy and her famous last words...There's no place like home.

~*~


Library: audiobook
Mexican Gothic
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Historical, Horror, Mexican | Goodreads


~*~

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

Nevertheless, She Wore It: 50 Iconic Fashion Moments
by Ann Shen
History, Fashion, Feminism | Goodreads


Virtual Author event: hosted by Green Apple Books
Check out their calendar for future free author events (here)
A conversation between: Sophie Yanow and Suzy Exposito
The Contradictions by Sophie Yanow
Graphic Novel, LGBTQ, Feminism, Travel, Paris | 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: Mary Ladd and Don Asmussen
The Wig Diaries
by Mary Ladd
illustrated by Don Asmussen
Memoir, Cancer, Humor | Goodreads


A conversation between: Rhy Bowen and Cara Black
The Last Mrs. Summers
by Rhys Bowen
Mystery, Historical, British | Goodreads


~*~
AND watched: on Netflix

Desperados (2020)
Director: LP
Writer: Ellen Rapoport
Stars: Nasim Pedrad, Anna Camp
Comedy, Romance | imdb | my rating: 3

A panicked young woman, with her reluctant friends in tow, rushes to Mexico to try and delete a ranting email she sent to her new boyfriend.

CRAZY feels, fun and friendship.

Dolemite Is My Name (2019)
Director: Craig Brewer
Writers: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps
Biography, Comedy, Drama | imdb | my rating: 5

Eddie Murphy portrays real-life legend Rudy Ray Moore, a comedy and rap pioneer who proved naysayers wrong when his hilarious, obscene, kung-fu fighting alter ego, Dolemite, became a 1970s Blaxploitation phenomenon.

LOVED Rudy's spirit, passion and drive.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020)
Director: David Dobkin
Writers: Will Ferrell, Andrew Steele
Stars: Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Dan Stevens
Comedy, Music | imdb | my rating: 5

When aspiring musicians Lars and Sigrit are given the opportunity to represent their country at the world's biggest song competition, they finally have a chance to prove that any dream worth having is a dream worth fighting for.

DREAMERS doing it, gotta love it!

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
Meditation and expectations.

Sep 7-13: chapter 4 & wrap-up
Final thoughts and observations by the author of the place and people left me ready for a new outlook on future travel adventures.

~*~

* 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 181, Week 27

Stay healthy! Be safe!

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Author binge: Louise Penny

Louise Penny
Reading Challenge
(mystery)


Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series:

Still Life
A Fatal Grace
The Cruelest Month
A Rule Against Murder/The Murder Stone
The Brutal Telling
Bury Your Dead
A Trick of the Light
The Beautiful Mystery
How the Light Gets In
The Long Way Home
The Nature of the Beast
A Great Reckoning
Glass Houses
Kingdom of the Blind
A Better Man
All The Devils Are Here

~*~

* image source: cover for The Brutal Telling

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

The Jane Austen Society
by Natalie Jenner
narrated by Richard Armitage :-)

Published: 2020
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Historical, Romance, Jane Austen theme
Hardback: 309
Rating: 5
Goodreads | Website | Book Playlist (Spotify)

First sentence(s):
He lay back on the low stone wall, knees pulled up, and stretched out his spine against the rock.

Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England's finest novelists. Now it's home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen's legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen's home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.


My two-bits:

Wonderfully weaves in Jane Austen novels themes, observations and fan geeking.

So cool to read about dudes reading Austen and adoring characters.

Loved the fun facts about things Jane and her books.

~*~

* Listened to audiobook version.

* part of ibc book club (here)

* part of the Goodreads Austenesque Lovers TBR Challenge 2020 (here)

Monday, September 7, 2020

The Summer We Found the Baby by Amy Hest

The Summer We Found the Baby
by Amy Hest

Just released: August 4, 2020
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: Historical, WWII, Middle Grade
Hardback: 192
Rating: 4
Goodreads
Website

First sentence(s):
I'm the one who found her.

On the morning of the dedication of the new children's library in Belle Beach, Long Island, eleven-year-old Julie Sweet and her six-year-old sister, Martha, find a baby in a basket on the library steps. At the same time, twelve-year-old Bruno Ben-Eli is on his way to the train station to catch the 9:15 train into New York City. He is on an important errand for his brother, who is a soldier overseas in World War II. But when Bruno spies Julie, the same Julie who hasn't spoken to him for sixteen days, heading away from the library with a baby in her arms, he has to follow her. Holy everything, he thinks. Julie Sweet is a kidnapper.

Of course, the truth is much more complicated than the children know in this heartwarming and beautifully textured family story by award-winning author Amy Hest. Told in three distinct voices, each with a different take on events, the novel captures the moments and emotions of a life-changing summer -- a summer in which a baby gives a family hope and brings a community together.


My two-bits:

Captures a WWII experience in a summer snippet with children's perspective with love and loss presented in a gentle way.

~*~

* review copy courtesy of publisher

* part of Summertime time (schedule)

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Lovely Books and Things - 9.6.20

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

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

~*~

HAPPY THINGS:

1. Warm and sunny days final break through the fog in San Francisco - proper Autumn weather ;-)
2. Tickled by the Lizzie Bennett Diaries on YouTube (here) - cute short snippets of a modern day Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice story
3. Working with wonky shaped puzzle pieces - makes things fun and interesting


~*~


Library: audiobook

The Last Story of Mina Lee
by Nancy Jooyun Kim
narrated by Greta Jung
Contemporary, Mystery, Korean | Goodreads


Freebies: from Free Little Library

The Girl with the Leica
by Helena Janeczek
translated by Ann Goldstein
Historical, Photography, Italy | Goodreads


For Review:
The Summer We Found The Baby
by Amy Hest
Historical, WWII, Middle Grade | Goodreads
courtesy of publisher -Thanks!


~*~


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

All The Devils Are Here
by Louise Penny
Mystery, Canada, France | Goodreads


~*~


AND watched: Netflix

Baby Mama (2008)
Director/Writer: Michael McCullers
Stars: Amy Poehler, Tina Fey
Comedy, Romance | imdb | my rating: 3


A successful, single businesswoman who dreams of having a baby discovers she is infertile and hires a working class woman to be her unlikely surrogate.

Fun to see the interaction and chemistry between the two characters.

A Futile and Stupid Gesture (2018)
Director: David Wain
Writers: Michael Colton, John Aboud
Based on book by: Josh Karp
Stars: Will Forte, Domhnall Gleeson, Martin Mull
Biography, Comedy | imdb | my rating: 4

In the 1970s and '80s, National Lampoon's success and influence creates a new media empire overseen in part by the brilliant and troubled Douglas Kenney.

Sad that troubled life brought about such humor.

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
Meditation and expectations.

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 174, Week 26

Stay healthy! Be safe!

Thanks for stopping by :-)
 
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