"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

August Books


Between Two Strangers by Kate White -- Skyler is a struggling artist who gets a life-changing phone call one Friday afternoon. Someone died and left her an amazing inheritance. But who is this guy and why did he select her for this windfall? Pretty good.

The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman -- I thought this was a new book since it was on the library catalog, but I quickly realized it wasn't, and it seemed very familiar. Sure enough I read it a few years ago, but since I didn't have another library book on hand, I went ahead and read it since it was an easy read.

Talk of Champions by Kenny Smith -- I heard a short interview with the author on an NPR program so when I saw this book at the library, I read it quickly. Andrew actually checked it out so I read it while he was working. I remember Kenny Smith from his days playing under Coach Dean Smith at UNC-Chapel Hill. He has various chapters about people who shaped him. Fast read.

Beware the Woman by Megan Abbott -- Jacy traveled to visit her father in law and while there has some complications that mean she may have to stay awhile. But this place is increasingly giving her the creeps so she'd really like to go!  An OK book.

The House Guest by Hank Phillippi Ryan -- Alyssa's husband left her so she's in a bar when she meets a woman who looks a bit down on her luck. She buys Bree a drink or two and gives her her phone number. Eventually Bree moves into the guest house, and, honestly, this book was a bit too hard for me to understand sometimes because I am sooo not one to have someone move into my life that easily. Online, perhaps, yes, but physically...no.  An OK book.

The Spectacular by Fiona Davis -- I always enjoy her books about some iconic building or place and event in New York City. This one focused on Radio City Hall during the time a man left pipe bombs around the city for several years. It's told through the eyes of Marion who becomes a Rockette. She meets Dr. Peter Griggs who is based on a person the FBI hired as a criminal profiler. Interesting, easy-to-read book!

A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner -- This book alternates between present day Brette who has the Sight (passed down to females in her family though it skips generations sometimes) and Simone from her time in Paris during World War II and later on a war brides' ship the Queen Mary. Also, it deals with Annaliese who is trying to escape an abusive past. Interesting story.

Before She Finds Me by Heather Chavez -- Julia is standing in line to check her daughter Cora into her freshman dorm when the unthinkable happens: shots ring out and Cora's stepmother who was standing nearby is killed!  Meanwhile Ren recognizes this as being her husband's work, but he never ran this hired hit by her - and they plan their hits together. Why this rush? This story alternates between Julia's and Ren's perspectives. Fast-paced book.

The Messy Lives of Book People by Phaedra Patrick -- Really enjoyed this story about a cleaner, Liv Green, who is employed by the novelist Essie Starling. When Essie passes away unexpectedly, Liv is tasked with something besides cleaning the lady's house!

Pretty Things by Janelle Brown -- Nina is a con artist who works with Lachlan. She wants to get out of the business, but her mom's cancer treatments make it necessary for lots of cash. When Nina is eager to get out of LA (because the police have come around), she heads for Lake Tahoe where she and her mom spent a year when Nina was a sophomore in high school. There she singles out Vanessa,  of the fabulously wealthy Liebling family. Pretty interesting, entertaining book!

The Vanishing at Castle Moreau by Jaime Jo Wright -- DNF; I really tried with this one, but after 158 pages, I cannot get into this story nor keep the characters straight. It's just not that appealing to me.

Summer Secrets by Jane Green -- Cat is an English journalist who struggles with sobriety. Well, first she struggled with realizing her alcohol problem, but once she faces that, she struggles with staying on the wagon. When her American mom tells her a story about her trip to Nantucket before Cat was born, Cat decides to visit for herself. Pretty good story.

The Block Party by Jamie Day -- Every year on Memorial Day, the folks of Alton Street have a block party. Here you are introduced to these rich, complicated people such as Alex who might have a drinking problem; Ken who has been forgiven for an affair years ago, but his wife Emily suspects things; the new neighbors Samir and Mandy with their troubled son, Jay. There are Lettie and Riley and Dylan, and more. Pretty good.

The Senator's Wife by Liv Constantine -- After Sloane's husband is killed, she marries her husband's friend Whit, and things are going pretty well until her hip replacement surgery. This causes her lupus to flare and suddenly she's taking a turn for the worse. Does this have anything to do with her new assistant Athena? What has she been putting into Sloane's food and drinks? Fast read.

Prom Mom by Laura Lippman -- Amber went to her high school prom with the rich boy she was tutoring in French. They weren't a couple that anyone could tell, but he agreed to take her to prom. When she left early due to a terrible stomach ache, well, who knew that she really was having a baby? Years have past, and Amber has distanced herself from her hometown and the "prom mom" label that described her back then. But when she's back in Baltimore to settle her stepfather's estate, she decides perhaps it is time to move home - and see if she has shed that label once and for all.  OK to pretty good.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick -- I read another of her books recently and decided to try another. I enjoyed this story of Arthur Pepper who is coming upon the one year mark of when his wife of forty years died after a sudden illness. Arthur is finally cleaning out her things when he comes upon a charm bracelet placed in a boot. He never saw his wife wear this bracelet, and wonders about the history of these charms. Thus, his finally leaving the house for more than a trip to the store and finding out more about his wife - and himself.

The Secretary by Renée Knight -- Christine Butcher is the long-time secretary for the supermarket heiress Mina Appleton. Christine's role isn't just her sorting Mina's worklife, but doing much much more. And Mina requires loyalty and time like you wouldn't believe. When Mina is written about in a newspaper and sues due to the unflattering portrayal, Christine finds herself on trial. Pretty good story.

Blood Done Sign My Name by Timothy B.Tyson -- I found this in a Little Free Library awhile back and had it on a shelf. Recently I was between library books, and decided to start this one. The subject is tough so I didn't read it quickly as I alternated between it and light fiction instead. The author speaks of his upbringing in eastern North Carolina with an emphasis on the murder of a young black man in Oxford - what led up to it, who did it, and what happened to those who killed this man. This book started off as a thesis for university work, and ended up being fleshed out into this book. It helped me realize the necessity of sometimes destroying property, the reasons behind it, and such.

No Bad Deed by Heather Chavez -- Cassie is driving home from her clinic one night when she stops to help a lady who is being abused by a man. This leads to a host of issues like her husband going missing while trick or treating with her daughter the next night! What gives? Pretty good if you like suspenseful mystery types.

Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi Ryan -- When Lily was 7 years old, her college-aged sister disappeared. Later Lily is a celebrity journalist with the "perfect life," and she's confronted with what happened to her sister all those years ago. With the help of her producer, Greer, and a mysterious informant, Smith, Lily has to make a decision about what to do about Cassie.

None of This Is True by Lisa Jewell -- While eating out for her 45th birthday, Josie notices another lady celebrating her 45th birthday: what are the odds that they are birthday twins at the same restaurant? After looking up this lady - she'd heard her name mentioned - she realizes Alix Summer is a podcaster telling stories of women brave enough to make changes in their lives. Josie contacts Alix about her own story: one where she plans to make big changes.  Pretty good story.

It.Goes.So.Fast. by Mary Louise Kelly -- I've been listening to this author on NPR for several years now, and this book explored "The Year of No Do-Overs" as Mary Louise wanted to make time to see more of her sons' soccer games since the oldest one was getting ready to leave for college soon. The news program she co-hosts begins at 4, the same time her sons' games begin...it's a problem. This book touches on her struggle to hear (a big problem when you work in radio), aging as she wrote much of it the year she turned fifty, her parents, her children, some stories from Ukraine and about her interview with Mike Pompeo, even a curveball towards the end that saddened me. I read this book quickly - within a half day - as it was relatively short, but also fast-paced and interesting.

In A Far-Off Land by Stephanie Landsem -- A good story about Minerva aka Minnie or Mina who travels from South Dakota to Hollywood where she hopes to make enough money to save the family farm! She stole the rent money in order to make the trip, but she has every intention of paying it back - and then some - once she lands a part in a movie.  Meanwhile Oscar and Max, Lupita, Roman, and Angel play their parts in this Depression-era story. Pretty interesting!
Tom Lake by Ann Patchett -- During the global lockdown in 2020, Joe and Lara's three daughters return to Northern Michigan in order to hang out at the family's cherry orchard. While working the fruit, the girls ask their mom about her time as an actress, and her relationship with a famous actor one summer at Tom Lake. I enjoyed this one! 

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