Tuesday, October 15, 2019

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros; The Reckless Oath We Made; Bryn Greenwood

Each Tuesday, Vicki, from I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where readers post the opening paragraph(s) of a book that they are reading or plan to read. I loved this author's last book, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things.

The Reckless Oath We Made; Bryn Greenwood
G.P. Putnam and Sons - 2019

Chapter 1


"People talk about having an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other.  I had a pair of imaginary bill collectors, so no matter which way I turned, there was somebody to remind me I needed money.  That's how I ended up on the train at four o'clock in the morning with my nephew and a hundred pounds of weed."

 What do you think about this intro - read more or pass?

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Someone We Know; Shari Lapena


AUTHOR:  Shari Lapena
PUBLISHER: Pamela Dorman Books
PUB. YEAR: 2019
FORMAT: print/Library
RATING - 4/5

A nice, safe neighborhood in upstate New York is shocked to learn their neighbor goes missing and soon after turns up dead. Amanda Pierce has been murdered and, although her husband  Robert is a suspect, there are a few people who might want the young, attractive and flirty woman out of their lives for good.

Meanwhile, a teenage boy from the same neighborhood has been breaking into houses and not stealing anything but, gaining access to the homeowner's computers and learning some secrets which are capable of causing havoc. Could there be any connection?

This is a novel where there are so many so many suspects, secret affairs and other motives. It is a  twisty thriller that had me wondering and changing my opinion about the killer several times over before I was done reading. Although I enjoyed this one, a quick read indeed, I didn't think it was quite as well plotted as the author's previous offerings, but, it was still a good read overall.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Daughter of Moloka'i; Alan Brennert

NOTE--- possible spoilers -- read book 1 - Moloka'i first!

AUTHOR:  Alan Brennert
PUBLISHER: St. Martin's Press
PUB. YEAR: 2019
SETTING: Hawaii and CA
RATING - 4.5/5

The much longed for sequel to a favorite book of mine, Moloka'i (read in 2008), which told the story of Rachel Kalama, a young girl growing up in Hawaii who developed leprosy at the age of seven.  She was taken from her family and forced to grow up in a leper colony on the island of Molokai.

While Rachel does return in this sequel, the focus is more on her daughter, Ruth Utagawa who was sent to an orphanage and then adopted by a Japanese family at the age of five.  Ruth moves from Hawaii to California along with the couple's three boys, and then sadly, Pearl Harbor forces a relocation to an internment camp.  When an unexpected letter from Rachel to Ruth arrives shortly after the war ends, the story takes an unexpected and pleasant turn.

Very little of this novel focuses on the island of Moloka'i. There was a lot of informative history which reveals the suffering some had faced, but, there were also heartwarming moments as well.  A powerful, well-researched piece about a time in history that was not spoken about often enough IMO.  I enjoyed the focus on Ruth from her birth to adulthood. I thought the author did a great job creating characters that I really cared about.

 I enjoyed this sequel, but wished that I had reread Moloka'i again since it has been 11 years since book #1. I guess you probably could read this as a standalone novel but, you'd be missing a really beautiful story.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - The First Mistake; Sandie Jones

Each Tuesday, Vicki, from I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where readers post the opening paragraph(s) of a book that they are reading or plan to read.

The First Mistake; Sandie Jones
Macmillan Audio - 2019


"She looked at me with real warmth in her eyes, as if she trusted me with her life, and for a moment I thought I wouldn't go through with it.

But then I remembered what she'd done and I suddenly felt calm again.  What comes around, and she deserves everything that's coming her way.

Trust is a funny thing; it takes such a long time to build, yet it's broken in a second.

She shouldn't trust me--it will be her undoing.

What do you think?  I'm almost done with this one; a  highly addictive, psychological thriller.

Monday, October 7, 2019

A Nearly Normal Family; M.T. Edvardsson

AUTHOR:  M.T. Edvardsson
PUBLISHER: Macmillan Audio
PUB. YEAR: 2019
FORMAT: audio
RATING - 3.5/5

A Nearly Normal Family is a complex family drama and legal thriller that explores how far parents will go to protect their child.  The Sandells have an 18 year old daughter named Stella who has been accused of the brutal murder a wealthy and unscrupulous businessman, Chris Olson, who in his early 30s. How could this be, what is the connection?

This multi-layered story drew me right in as I watched this dysfunctional family begin to unravel bit by bit. The story is told from the POVs of Adam, the husband and father, who is also a pastor. We also get to hear from Ulrika, the wife and mother who is also a criminal defense attorney, as well as the POV of the accused, daughter Stella.

The story was clever and detailed but, slow moving as well.  Stella was a rebellious teen who got away with a lot; her parents desperate to protect their daughter but not the best parents. The trial was enlightening and lead to some unexpected surprises.  I did like that it's a story that gives you plenty to think about, especially since the epilogue answered the questions I wondered about.

Readers who enjoy legal thrillers might want to try this one.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

September in Review

 I was happy to welcome fall, the weather has been beautiful and the leaves are starting to change. My reading pace was good in September (16) books - (6) of these were kids picture/story books). 

Our book group met to discuss The Secret Chord; Geraldine Brooks, a story about King David.  Only (1) person finished the book, needless to say our meeting was off point., but still a fun meeting.) The librarian chose this one as Brooks is a  Pulitzer Prize winner, but this one just didn't work for most of us; it was a DNF for me.

  1. Pick a Pumpkin; Patricia Toht - 5/5 (print/my shelves-Sept)
  2. Give Me Back My Bones! Kim Norman - 5/5 (print/my shelves-Sept)
  3. On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous; Ocean Vuong - 4/5 (audio- Sept)
  4. The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted; Robert Hillman - 3.5/5 (ARC/Sept)
  5. Never Have I Ever; Joshilyn Jackson - 4/5 (eGalley/Sept)
  6. The 31 Day Food Revolution: Heal Your Body, Feel Great, and Transform Your World; Ocean Robbins 4.5/5 (print/my shelves-Sept)
  7. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill; Abbi Waxman - 4/5 (print/library-Sept.)
  8. Drawing Home; Jamie Brenner - 4/5 - (ARC-Sept)
  9. The Truth About Grandparents; Elina Ellis - 2/5 (print/Sept)
  10. Hide and Seek; Katie Green - 4/5 (print/Sept)
  11. The Escape Room; M. Goldin - 4/5 (print/library-Sept) - RIP CHALLEGE
  12. Daughter of Molakai; Alan Brennert - 4/5 (ARC/Sept)
  13. Someone We Know; Shari Lapena - 4/5 (print/library-Sept) - RIP CHALLENGE
  14. A Nearly Normal Family; M.T. Edvarsson - 4/5 (audio/Sept)
  15. Just Because; Mac Barnett - 4/5 (print/Sept)
  16. Mr. Scruff; Simon James - 4.5/5 (print/Sept)
                                                       Places visited in September
 Florida, Connecticut, Hawaii, California, (2 times), Australia, the Sweden and New York (2 times)


Fiction - 15  NF - 1 
YTD - 116
Audios - 2
eBooks - 1
print     - 13
ARCS/Review Books - 3
audio/eBook Combos - 0
Borrowed from Library - 4
Off my Shelves - 9

DNF - 2 - The Secret Chord; Geraldine Brooks
                Fleishman is in Trouble; Taffy Brodesser-Akner-Akner 

                                                       October Plans (so far)


  • (FINISH) The Dearly Beloved; Cara Wall (it's very good but, I've been side-tracked)
  • (FINISH) The Institute; Stephen King's (listening to audio - 18+ hours and almost done)
  • (READ) - The First Mistake; Sandie Jones
  • (READ) - The Whisper Man; Alex North
  • (READ) The Family Upstairs; Lisa Jewell
  •  RIP 14 Challenge runs from September 1 - October 31). I finished (2) of my 4 books, but only reviewed (1) so far. This is my 11th year participating.
  • Hope everyone had a great month!