Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Summer's End


That Summer
by Jennifer Weiner
Women's Fiction | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

Daisy Shoemaker can’t sleep. With a thriving cooking business, full schedule of volunteer work, and a beautiful home in the Philadelphia suburbs, she should be content. But her teenage daughter can be a handful; her husband can be distant, her work can feel trivial, and she has lots of acquaintances, but no real friends. Still, Daisy knows she’s got it good. So why is she up all night?

While Daisy tries to identify the root of her dissatisfaction, she’s also receiving misdirected emails meant for a woman named Diana Starling, whose email address is just one punctuation mark away from her own. While Daisy’s driving carpools, Diana is chairing meetings. While Daisy’s making dinner, Diana’s making plans to reorganize corporations. Diana’s glamorous, sophisticated, single-lady life is miles away from Daisy’s simpler existence. When an apology leads to an invitation, the two women meet and become friends. But, as they get closer, we learn that their connection was not completely accidental. Who IS this other woman, and what does she want with Daisy?

At Summer's End
by Courtney Ellis
Historical, Romance, British | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

When an ambitious female artist accepts an unexpected commission at a powerful earl's country estate in 1920s England, she finds his war-torn family crumbling under the weight of long-kept secrets. From debut author Courtney Ellis comes a captivating novel about finding the courage to heal after the ravages of war.

Alberta Preston accepts the commission of a lifetime when she receives an invitation from the Earl of Wakeford to spend a summer painting at His Lordship's country home, Castle Braemore. Bertie imagines her residence at the prodigious estate will finally enable her to embark on a professional career and prove her worth as an artist, regardless of her gender.

Upon her arrival, however, Bertie finds the opulent Braemore and its inhabitants diminished by the Great War. The earl has been living in isolation since returning from the trenches, locked away in his rooms and hiding battle scars behind a prosthetic mask. While his younger siblings eagerly welcome Bertie into their world, she soon sees chips in that world's gilded facade. As she and the earl develop an unexpected bond, Bertie becomes deeply entangled in the pain and secrets she discovers hidden within Castle Braemore and the hearts of its residents.

After the Sun
by Jonas Eika
translated by Sherilyn Nicolette Hellberg
Short Stories, Denmark | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

Under Cancun's hard blue sky, a beach boy provides a canvas for tourists' desires, seeing deep into the world's underbelly. An enigmatic encounter in Copenhagen takes an IT consultant down a rabbit hole of speculation that proves more seductive than sex. The collapse of a love triangle in London leads to a dangerous, hypnotic addiction. In the Nevada desert, a grieving man tries to merge with an unearthly machine.


* image source: Three Chairs, La Fontelkina Capri by Gray Malin

* part of Summertime time (schedule)

Monday, August 30, 2021

Summer Tea


The Peppermint Tea Chronicles
by Alexander McCall Smith
Mystery, Cozy, Humor, Scotland | Published: 2019 | Goodreads

To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose; it is summer in Scotland Street (as it always is) and for the habitués of Edinburgh's favourite street some extraordinary adventures lie in waiting.

For the impossibly vain Bruce Anderson - he of the clove-scented hair gel - it may finally be time to settle down, and surely it can only be a question of picking the lucky winner from the hordes of his admirers. The Duke of Johannesburg is keen to take his flight of fancy, a microlite seaplane, from the drawing board to the skies. Big Lou is delighted to discover that her young foster son has a surprising gift for dance but she is faced with big decisions to make on his and her futures. And with Irene now away to pursue her research in Aberdeen, her husband, Stuart, and infinitely long-suffering son, Bertie, are free to play. Stuart rekindles an old friendship over peppermint tea whilst Bertie and his friend Ranald Braveheart Macpherson get more they bargained for from their trip to the circus. And that's just the start...

The Seafront Tearoom
by Vanessa Greene
Women's Fiction, Food, England | Published: 2015 (first 2014) | Goodreads

The first rule of afternoon tea: never rush. Take time to savor it. Just like friendship…

The Seafront Tearoom is an insider secret in small-town Scarborough – a beach-front haven with the best tea and cakes in town – and journalist Charlie Harrison would love to put it on the map with a feature in her magazine. But single mom Kat Murray doesn’t want to see her favorite sanctuary overrun by tourists, and begs Charlie to seek out other options. She offers her help, as a “tea obsessive,” and so does French au pair Séraphine Moreau, whose upbringing makes her a connoisseur of everything sweet and indulgent.

Together the three women will scour the countryside for quaint hideaways and hidden gems, sharing along the way their secrets, disappointments, and dreams – and discovering that friendship, like tea, takes time to steep. But learning too that once you open your heart, the possibilities are endless.

Tea & Treachery
(Tea by the Sea)
by Vicki Delany
Mystery, Cozy, Food, Cape Cod | Published: 2020 | Goodreads | my rating: 4

As the proud proprietor and head pastry chef of Tea by the Sea, a traditional English tearoom on the picturesque bluffs of Cape Cod, Lily Roberts has her hands full, often literally. But nothing keeps her busier than steering her sassy grandmother, Rose, away from trouble. Rose operates the grand old Victorian B & B adjacent to Lily’s tea shop... for now. An aggressive real estate developer, Jack Ford, is pushing hard to rezone nearby land, with an eye toward building a sprawling golf resort, which would drive Rose and Lily out of business.

Tempers are already steaming, but things really get sticky when Ford is found dead at the foot of Rose’s property and the police think she had something to do with his dramatic demise. Lily can’t let her grandmother get burned by a false murder charge. So she starts her own investigation and discovers Ford’s been brewing bad blood all over town, from his jilted lover to his trophy wife to his shady business partners. Now, it’s down to Lily to stir up some clues, sift through the suspects, and uncover the real killer before Rose is left holding the tea bag.

Tea with the Dames (2018)
Director: Roger Michell
Stars: Maggie Smith, Eileen Atkins, Judi Dench
Documentary | imdb

Dames Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins, Joan Plowright, and Maggie Smith get together for tea to reminisce and discuss their acting careers.


* image source: book cover for Tea and Tea Drinking by Claire Masset

* part of Summertime time (schedule)

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Lovely Books and Things - 8.29.21

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

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


1. Two weekends of Godzilla film festival at the Balboa theatre
2. Circus Bella at Yerba Buena Center
3. Spotting British royalty in the Bay area


Library: audiobook
We Were Never Here
by Andrea Bartz
Thriller, Mystery | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

Rosaline Palmer Takes The Cake
by Alexis Hall
Romance, Contemporary, LGBTQ | Published: 2021 | Goodreads


Virtual Author event: hosted by Murder By The Book
See archive of this (here)
For Your Own Good
by Samantha Downing
Thriller, Mystery | Published: 2021 | Goodreads


AND watched: Godzilla Film Festival
Godzilla (1954)
Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993)
Godzilla vs. Destroyah (1995)


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

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Books and Puzzles: The Last Resort

The Last Resort
by Marissa Stapley
Mystery, Thriller | Published: 2019 | Goodreads

The Harmony Resort promises hope for struggling marriages. Run by celebrity power couple Drs. Miles and Grace Markell, the "last resort" offers a chance for partners to repair their relationships in a luxurious setting on the gorgeous Mayan Riviera.

Johanna and Ben have a marriage that looks perfect on the surface, but in reality, they don’t know each other at all. Shell and Colin fight constantly: after all, Colin is a workaholic, and Shell always comes second to his job as an executive at a powerful mining company. But what has really torn them apart is too devastating to talk about. When both couples begin Harmony's intensive therapy program, it becomes clear that Harmony is not all it seems—and neither are Miles and Grace themselves. What are they hiding, and what price will these couples pay for finding out?

First sentence(s):
He struggles to breathe. There's blood trickling into one of his eyes. His glasses are gone. He can hear the ocean rising to meet him. It wasn't supposed to be like this.

The Seaside
Gray Malin puzzle (1000 pcs)


* part of Summertime time (schedule)

Friday, August 27, 2021

Summer in the French Riviera


The View Was Exhausting
by Mikaella Clements, Onjuli Datta
Romance, Travel, France | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

The world can see that international A-list actress Whitman ("Win") Tagore and jet-setting playboy Leo Milanowski are made for each other. Their kisses start Twitter trends and their fights break the internet. From red carpet appearances to Met Gala mishaps, their on-again, off-again romance has titillated the public and the press for almost a decade. But it's all a lie.

As a woman of color, Win knows the Hollywood deck is stacked against her, so she's perfected the art of controlling her public persona. Whenever she nears scandal, she calls in Leo, with his endearingly reckless attitude, for a staged date. Each public display of affection shifts the headlines back in Win's favor, and Leo uses the good press to draw attention away from his dysfunctional family.

Pretending to be in a passionate romance is one thing, but Win knows that a real relationship would lead to nothing but trouble. So instead they settle for friendship, with a side of sky-rocketing chemistry. Except this time, on the French Riviera, something is off. A shocking secret in Leo's past sets Win's personal and professional lives on a catastrophic collision course. Behind the scenes of their yacht-trips and PDA, the world's favorite couple is at each other's throats. Now they must finally confront the many truths and lies of their relationship, and Win is forced to consider what is more important: a rising career, or a risky shot at real love?

Maigret on the Riviera
by Georges Simenon
Mystery, France | Published: first 1932 | Goodreads | my rating: 4

In his suit and bowler hat, Inspector Maigret feels out of place among the palm trees, bright colors, and half-clad, tanned vacationers on the Cote d’Azur, in this deft, psychologically fascinating story of men who kick over the traces-and men who don’t.

The Riviera House
by Natasha Lester
Historical, France | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

Paris, 1939: The Nazis think Éliane can't understand German. They’re wrong. They think she’s merely cataloging art in a Louvre museum and unaware they’re stealing national treasures for their private collections. They have no idea she’s carefully decoding their notes and smuggling information to the Resistance. But Éliane is playing a dangerous game. Does she dare trust the man she once loved with her secrets, or will he only betray her once again? She has no way to know for certain... until a trip to a stunning home on the French Riviera brings a whole new level of peril.

Present Day: Wanting to forget the tragedy that has left her life in shambles, Remy Lang heads to a home she’s mysteriously inherited on the Riviera. While working on her vintage fashion business, she discovers a catalog of the artworks stolen during World War II and is shocked to see a painting that hung on her childhood bedroom wall. Who is her family, really? And does the Riviera house hold more secrets than Remy is ready to face?

To Catch A Thief (1955)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writers: John Michael Hayes, Alec Coppel
Based on book by: David Dodge
Stars: Grace Kelly, Cary Grant
Romance, Mystery, Thriller, French Riviera | imdb

A retired jewel thief sets out to prove his innocence after being suspected of returning to his former occupation.

* image source: A Day in Cannes by Gray Malin

* part of Summertime time (schedule)

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Books and Ice Cream: Postscript Murders

The Postscript Murders
by Elly Griffiths
Mystery, England | Published: 2021 | Goodreads | my rating: 4

Jigsaw puzzle sighting: pg 89
"Like a jigsaw" says Neil. Nibble, nibble flicks tail.

The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should not be suspicious. Detective Sergeant Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing out of the ordinary when Peggy’s caretaker, Natalka, begins to recount Peggy Smith’s passing.

But Natalka had a reason to be at the police station: while clearing out Peggy’s flat, she noticed an unusual number of crime novels, all dedicated to Peggy. And each psychological thriller included a mysterious postscript: PS: for PS. When a gunman breaks into the flat to steal a book and its author is found dead shortly thereafter—Detective Kaur begins to think that perhaps there is no such thing as an unsuspicious death after all.

And then things escalate: from an Aberdeen literary festival to the streets of Edinburgh, writers are being targeted. DS Kaur embarks on a road trip across Europe and reckons with how exactly authors can think up such realistic crimes...


* part of Summertime time (schedule)

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Summer Getaways


Untamed Shore
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Historical, Thriller | Published: 2021 | Goodreads
getaway: Baja, California

Baja California, 1979. Viridiana spends her days watching the dead sharks piled beside the seashore, as the fishermen pull their nets. There is nothing else to do, nothing else to watch, under the harsh sun. She’s bored. Terribly bored. Yet her head is filled with dreams of Hollywood films, of romance, of a future beyond the drab town where her only option is to marry and have children.

Three wealthy American tourists arrive for the summer, and Viridiana is magnetized. She immediately becomes entwined in the glamorous foreigners’ lives. They offer excitement, and perhaps an escape from the promise of a humdrum future.

When one of them dies, Viridiana lies to protect her friends. Soon enough, someone’s asking questions, and Viridiana has some of her own about the identity of her new acquaintances. Sharks may be dangerous, but there are worse predators nearby, ready to devour a naïve young woman who is quickly being tangled in a web of deceit.

Last Summer at the Golden Hotel
by Elyssa Friedland
Chick-lit | Published: 2021 | Goodreads
getaway: Catskills

A family reunion for the ages when two clans convene for the summer at their beloved getaway in the Catskills--perfect for fans of Dirty Dancing and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel--from the acclaimed author of The Floating Feldmans.

In its heyday, The Golden Hotel was the crown jewel of the hotter-than-hot Catskills vacation scene. For more than sixty years, the Goldman and Weingold families - best friends and business partners - have presided over this glamorous resort which served as a second home for well-heeled guests and celebrities. But the Catskills are not what they used to be - and neither is the relationship between the Goldmans and the Weingolds. As the facilities and management begin to fall apart, a tempting offer to sell forces the two families together again to make a heart-wrenching decision. Can they save their beloved Golden or is it too late?

The Last Resort
by Marissa Stapley
Mystery, Thriller | Published: 2019 | Goodreads
getaway: Mayan Riviera

The Harmony Resort promises hope for struggling marriages. Run by celebrity power couple Drs. Miles and Grace Markell, the "last resort" offers a chance for partners to repair their relationships in a luxurious setting on the gorgeous Mayan Riviera.

Johanna and Ben have a marriage that looks perfect on the surface, but in reality, they don’t know each other at all. Shell and Colin fight constantly: after all, Colin is a workaholic, and Shell always comes second to his job as an executive at a powerful mining company. But what has really torn them apart is too devastating to talk about. When both couples begin Harmony's intensive therapy program, it becomes clear that Harmony is not all it seems—and neither are Miles and Grace themselves. What are they hiding, and what price will these couples pay for finding out?

Old (2021)
Director/Screenplay: M. Night Shyamalan
Based on graphic novel: Sandcastle by Frederick Peeters, Pierre-Oscar Lévy
Stars: Gael García Bernal, Vicky KriepsRufus Sewell
Drama, Mystery, Thriller | imdb | my rating: 4

A family on a tropical holiday discovers that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly reducing their entire lives into a single day.

certainly got me thinking of life, Lost vibes


* image source: Capri Da Luigi Beach Club by Gray Malin

* part of Summertime time (schedule)

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Summer Surf


Barbarian Days:
A Surfing Life
by William Finnegan
Memoir, Travel | Published: 2015 | Goodreads | my rating: 5

Barbarian Days is William Finnegan’s memoir of an obsession, a complex enchantment. Surfing only looks like a sport. To initiates, it is something else entirely: a beautiful addiction, a demanding course of study, a morally dangerous pastime, a way of life. Raised in California and Hawaii, Finnegan started surfing as a child. He has chased waves all over the world, wandering for years through the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, Africa. A bookish boy, and then an excessively adventurous young man, he went on to become a distinguished writer and war reporter. Barbarian Days takes us deep into unfamiliar worlds, some of them right under our noses—off the coasts of New York and San Francisco. It immerses the reader in the edgy camaraderie of close male friendships annealed in challenging waves.

Finnegan shares stories of life in a whites-only gang in a tough school in Honolulu even while his closest friend was a Hawaiian surfer. He shows us a world turned upside down for kids and adults alike by the social upheavals of the 1960s. He details the intricacies of famous waves and his own apprenticeships to them. Youthful folly—he drops LSD while riding huge Honolua Bay, on Maui—is served up with rueful humor. He and a buddy, their knapsacks crammed with reef charts, bushwhack through Polynesia. They discover, while camping on an uninhabited island in Fiji, one of the world’s greatest waves. As Finnegan’s travels take him ever farther afield, he becomes an improbable anthropologist: unpicking the picturesque simplicity of a Samoan fishing village, dissecting the sexual politics of Tongan interactions with Americans and Japanese, navigating the Indonesian black market while nearly succumbing to malaria. Throughout, he surfs, carrying readers with him on rides of harrowing, unprecedented lucidity.

Tapping the Source
by Kem Nunn
Mystery, Noir | Published: 2005 | Goodreads

People go to Huntington Beach in search of the endless parties, the ultimate highs and the perfect waves. Ike Tucker has come to look for his missing sister and for the three men who may have murdered her. In that place of gilded surfers and sun-bleached blondes, Ike's search takes him on a journey through a twisted world of crazed Vietnam vets, sadistic surfers, drug dealers, and mysterious seducers. Ike looks into the shadows and finds parties that drift towards pointless violence, joyless vacations and highs you might never come down from ... and a sea of old hatreds and dreams gone bad. And if he's not careful, his is a journey from which he will never return.

Endless Summer (1965)
Director: Bruce Brown
Stars: Michael Hynson, Robert August
Documentary, Sport | imdb

The crown jewel to ten years of Bruce Brown surfing documentaries. Brown follows two young surfers around the world in search of the perfect wave, and ends up finding quite a few in addition to some colorful local characters.

by Frederick Kohner
Classics, YA | Published: 2001 (first 1957) | Goodreads

My English comp teacher Mr. Glicksberg says if you want to be a writer you have to, quote, sit on a window sill and get all pensive and stuff and jot down descriptions. Unquote Glicksberg! I don't know what kind of things he writes but I found my inspiration in Malibu with a radio, my best girlfriends, and absolutely zillions of boys for miles. I absolutely had to write everything down because I heard that when you get older you forget things, and I'd be the most miserable woman in the world if I forgot all about Moondoggie and what happened this summer. I absolutely owe the world my story. (And every word is true. I swear.)

This is Franzie, part Holden Caulfield, part Lolita. The guys call her Gidget--short for "girl midget”--and she’s a girl coming of age in the summer of 1957. Based on the experiences of his own daughter, Frederick Kohner's trend-setting novel became an international sensation and turned its irrepressible heroine into an American pop culture icon whose voice still echoes every thrill, every fear, and every hope that every teenager ever had about growing up.

Gidget (1959)
Director: Paul Wendkos
Screenplay: Gabrielle Upton
Based on book by: Frederick Kohner
Stars: Sandra Dee, James Darren, Cliff Robertson
Comedy, Music, Romance, Coming of Age | imdb

A young girl discovers surfing and love (in that order) during one transitive summer.

Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961)
Director: Paul Wendkos
Screenplay: Ruth Brooks Flippen
Based on characters by: Frederick Kohner
Stars: Deborah Walley, James Darren
Comedy, Music, Romance | imdb

Francine (Gidget) is desperate: her parents want to force her to come with them on vacation to Hawaii - just during the two weeks when her beloved "Moondoggie" is home from College. When he suggests she go for it, she's even more in panic - doesn't he care to be with her? So she sets out for Hawaii in the worst mood. On the plane she meets the sociable Abby, who gives her the advice to forget about Jeff - and regrets it shortly after, when Francine follows the advice and steals her boyfriend Eddie, a famous dancer. But then Jeff discovers he's missing Francine...


* image source: San Diego Surfer by Gray Malin

* part of Summertime time (schedule)

Monday, August 23, 2021

Summer with Jane

More Austen in August...going to continue my things Persuasion-themed from Jane in July.

Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer
edited by Christina Boyd
Romance, Short Stories, Jane Austen theme | Published: 2015 | Goodreads

If you desire a little heat, a summer flirtation, or an escape to bask in your own private sun, this whimsical collection of original short stories is inspired by all things summer. In collaboration with some of Meryton Press’s most popular and award-winning authors, this anthology debuts other promising and emerging talent.

Contemporary and Regency alike, each romance was dreamt as a perfect summer refreshment to bring a smile to your own sun-kissed face.

The short story by Sophia Rose re-imagines a modern-day Persuasion in Second Chance at Sunset Beach.

Persuasion (2020)
theatre production
performed by Ross Valley Players
Based on book by: Jane Austen
Stars: Amanda Root, Ciarán Hinds
Drama | YouTube

Based on the novel by Jane Austen, this period movie tells the story of Anne Elliot, spinster daughter of a British nobleman. Anne is unduly influenced by her society-oriented family's preference for a gentleman match and turns away a love interest, only to cross paths with him again seven years later. The movie explores societal conventions around marriage and class in 19th century England.

The Jane Austen Journal
Persuasions, volume 42, 2020
published by Jane Austen Society of North America

Austen in August events
hosted by The Book Rat (here)

Persuasion plums


* header image source: Persuasion by Jane Austen, 1999 Tor Classics cover

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Lovely Books and Things - 8.22.21

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

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



1. Best Thai Tea from Art Bistro
2. Bookstore Romance Day virtual events (details)
3. Encountering a funny oopsie


The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels
by India Holton
Romance, Historical, Victorian | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

Freebies: from Little Free Library - thanks to the folks who share their books
No. 112 Spring 2018
Literary Journal | Goodreads

The World of Ice & Fire
The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones
(A Song of Ice and Fire)
by George R.R. Martin, Elio M. García Jr., Linda Antonsson
Fantasy, Reference, Illustrated | Published: 2014 | Goodreads

Half Sick of Shadows
by Laura Sebastian
Fantasy, Retelling-Arthurian | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

The Truth About Unicorns
a novel about love and witchcraft
by Bonnie Jones Reynolds
Fantasy, Gothic | Published: 1972 | Goodreads


Virtual Author event: hosted by Poisoned Pen
See archive of this (here)

56 Days
by Catherine Ryan Howard
Thriller, Mystery, Ireland | Published: 2021 | Goodreads

Virtual Author event: hosted by Murder by the Book
See archive of this (here)

The Guilt Trip
by Sandie Jones
Thriller, Mystery, Portugal | Published: 2021 | Goodreads


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

Thanks for stopping by :-)

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