Mar 26, 2022

Sunday Salon: New Books Reviewed

 Currently reading:

I was curious about Reptile Memoirs, this thriller by a Norwegian writer, borrowed through NetGalley. I'm in the middle of the ebook now and trying to figure out how the woman's pet python relates to her own psyche. 

This another ebook borrowed through NetGalley. Stay Awake is a thriller involving amnesia and a crime the female suspect doesn't remember committing.

Finished reading:

The Housemaid by Freida McFadden, April 26, 2022, NetGalley. 
The book is a dark thriller with violence, cruelty, and revenge. The novel stalled in the middle of the book, making me want to stop reading, as if the story had nowhere further to go. However, luckily for this reader, it picked up dramatically in the second half, with a surprising twist at the end. 

And now for something completely different, a literary drama about a family in three generations. NetGalley. 

French Braid tells the story of Mercy and Robin Garrett - their married life together and apart, their children and grandchildren. Mercy, an artist and wife who longs to get back to painting full time, is distracted at home. Her older daughter, Alice, picks up the slack to watch out for younger sister Lily, and little David, their brother.

In one way the marriage is not a success since Mercy wants to take off on her own and leave Robin to fend for himself. However, success may be found in the children. Alice, Lily, and David go on with their lives into adulthood and marriage, regardless of their parents. Their paths are not always smooth, however - seen in the unconventional marriage choices made by Lily and David. The connections between Mercy and Robin and their offspring remain throughout, likened to a French braid that keeps its wrinkles and crinkles as a result of being so intertwined over time.
The characters make this book, as much as the stories of where their lives head.

This was a pleasure to read, as it brought lots of laughs and chuckles. 
I loved the humor and the characters of a book store owner and her employees. Sophie Bernstein, 54, shop owner and recent widow in Washington DC, wants to shut herself off from society in a secret nook she discovered at the back of her bookstore. While trying to make the dusty nook into a habitable one room apartment, she has several misadventures involving a vacuum cleaner, an errant tortoise belonging to her employees, demanding customers and their dogs, and a blackout from a busted electrical system.

Amid the humor, brought about by Sophie herself and her responses to these events, are the customers and their foibles, book signing authors with their strange quirks, and finally someone interesting to help Sophie take a new look at her world.

A wonderful read, a laugh-out-loud entertaining rom com/women's fiction. Borrowed from NetGalley.

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You ReadingMailbox Mondayand Sunday SalonStacking the Shelves

Mar 19, 2022

Sunday Salon: New Book Arrivals

 New book arrivals for possible review


Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You ReadingMailbox Mondayand Sunday SalonStacking the Shelves

Mar 13, 2022

Sunday Salon: Rom-Coms Galore

 Romantic comedies: NetGalley

Lucy Checks In by Dee Ernst, August 16, 2022, St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: romantic comedy, women's fiction, travel

Comments: Lucia Giannetti was hotel manager for the Fielding Hotel in New York, but after hotel owner and former lover Tony Fielding disappears with millions of dollars, Lucy has to cover the lawsuits and debts with her own money.  

Broken hearted, discouraged, and broke, she accepts a job at the Hotel Paradis in Rennes, France to renovate the 200-year-old hotel. The owner, Claudine, is looking for an American manager to attract tourists. Fixing the run-down chateau with help from only the six hotel residents/co-owners, and with few resources or funding, Lucy faces a daunting challenge. 

I got a better idea of what it takes to update and run a large hotel, from clean linens, to painting the walls, repairing woodwork, plaster and plumbing, decorating each room, and then attracting and taking care of  visitors. 

It was an interesting reading experience, following Lucy and the residents/co-owners of the hotel through the process of creating a beautiful country hotel. Romance helped the story too, as of course, Lucy meets someone she becomes attracted to. A delightful read for the armchair traveler and those who enjoy romantic comedy and France.

I also liked the author's previous rom-com, Maggie Finds Her Muse

Rom-coms to be read:

Seoulmates by Jen Frederick, January 25, 2022, Berkley
Genre: romantic drama, multil-cultural interest

About: When Korean adoptee Hara Wilson lands in Seoul to find her birth mother, she doesn’t plan on falling in love with the first man she lays eyes on, but Choi Yujun is irresistible. (publisher)

The No-Show by Beth O'Leary, April 26, 2022, Berkley
Genre: rom-com, women's fiction
AboutThree women are unwittingly stood up by the same man they all consider their boyfriend.  

Siobhan is a life coach; Miranda is a tree surgeon; Jane is a  volunteer for a local charity shop. 

Can't wait to see how each one handles this. 

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You ReadingMailbox Mondayand Sunday SalonStacking the Shelves

Mar 11, 2022

The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina: Book Beginning


The phone booth at the edge of the world by Laura Imai Messina
Published March 9, 2021, Harry N. Abrams

Book description: "grief, mourning, and the joy of survival, inspired by a real phone booth in Japan with its disconnected “wind” phone, a place of pilgrimage and solace since the 2011 tsunami."

Yui makes a pilgrimage to the phone booth in the garden of Bel Gardia, at the foot of the Mountain of the Whale. Here people find solace in talking on the disconnected phone to the ones they lost in the tsunami of March 11, 2011, their voices carried away by the wind. 

Book beginning:


In the vast, steep garden of Bel Gardia, great gusts of wind lashed the plants.

The woman instinctively raised an elbow to her face, rounding her back. Then, almost immediately, she straightened up again. 

She had arrived before dawn, and watched as the sun came up but the sun remained hidden....

Page 56:

"She's stopped talking, yes, but I'm optimistic, and so is the pediatrician."


Would you read on?

The Friday 56. Find any sentence that grabs you on page 56 of your book. Post it, and add your URL to Freda's Voice. Also visit Book Beginnings at Rose City Reader.

Mar 6, 2022

Sunday Salon: Three Book Reviews

 Books read and reviewed:

The Lincoln Highway 
Author: Amor Towles, October 2021, Viking 

Emmett, 18, and his eight year old brother Billie plan an epic trip from Nebraska to California, by car, to find their mother who had abandoned them years ago. They are joined by two other teens, runaways from a juvenile detention center, who want to go to New York before the Emmett and Billie take their car to California.

The journey becomes convoluted and much longer than expected, as Duchess and Wooley, the two runaway boys, make demands and have unfinished business in NY, unintentionally forcing Emmett and Billie to go along with their plans.

The themes are settling of accounts, for the boys, to give and to take, and the book takes the reader on a long, roundabout journey, along the roads as well as into the minds and hearts of the boys. A slow journey, literally and figuratively, but the book is well worth reading and savoring along the way.

The Caretakers by Amanda Bestor-Siegal, April 12, 2022, William Morrow

Genre: contemporary fiction, women's fiction, YA. Source NetGalley

The novel gives an in depth look at several international aupairs/ caretakers and their French host families. The book focuses on three American girls, their family backgrounds, their sometimes harrowing experiences in the French homes they are assigned to, and where they land up after their time looking after children is over.

Caretakers may or may not be fully suited for the job, and the host families may or may not be suited to have an au pair in their home. The book pointed out to me the situations that could occur - unsuitable caregivers and/or unsuitable host families or even dysfunctional families. The novel covers all of these, including a few normal families, with an excellent plot.

One Step Too Far by Lisa Gardner, January 18, 2022, Dutton

Genre: thriller, adventure set in Wyoming

Frankie Elkin spends her life finding the lost and missing, successfully finding at least 16 so far. 

In One Step Too Far, she travels to the wild and rugged Popo Agie Wilderness, Shoshone National Park, to help search for Tim O'Day, a young man who disappeared on a camping trip five years ago. The trek was with three of his best friends, groomsmen for his upcoming wedding who later emerged from the wilderness, distraught over losing Tim on the trip.

Frankie joins the search party five years later, one organized yearly by Tim's persistent father, but this year's search turns out to be even more perilous and dangerous than the one that lost Tim. 

The party includes a cadaver dog and his female handler; three of the surviving four groomsmen; a seasoned outdoorsman; a Big Foot enthusiast and tracker, and Frankie, all led by Tim's father. 

This is a thriller with an excellent plot with equally excellent descriptions and dramatic action that gives you a feel of the Popo Agie, its challenges as well as its beauty and perils.


Currently reading:

Psychological suspense


Thriller set in Alaska

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You ReadingMailbox Mondayand Sunday SalonStacking the Shelves

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