A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

Dear Fellow Reader,

A member of my book club came in one month raving about A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner. She was so enthusiastic that I picked up the book from the library. (Do you say “picked up the book from the library when it is an eBook? Oh well, you get the idea.)

A Fall of Marigolds is the story of a scarf and the women it connects. Clara Wood is a nurse working on Ellis Island in September of 1911. Clara came to New York from Pennsylvania because she yearned for the city life. Her first job in New York was in the building that housed the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. She met a man in the elevator who worked for the Triangle Shirtwaist Company and she was sure they had a connection. He invited her up to see the sewing floor and she was quite excited. She not only wanted to see all the machines working away but she was also sure that he would invite her to dinner after the tour. But instead of going on the tour, a fire broke out in the building and she was evacuated. She was standing on the street when she saw him on a ledge with one of the female workers. They were on fire and there was no escape. She watched him jump to his death. This event shook her to her core. Not only watching people jumping but she lost the man she thought she was in love with. To retreat from the world, she took a job on Ellis Island. With that job, she lived on the island and had the occasional weekend off. In the six months that she had been on the job, she had not left the island.

At work, she meets an immigrant whose wife died from scarlet fever on their way to the United States. Since he has been exposed, he has to be confined to see if he develops the illness. She does him a favor that leads to her finding out a secret that will unravel his marriage. Should she tell him? Is it better for him to know the truth or continue to believe?

On September 11, 2011, Taryn Michaels is working in a specialty fabric store. She works in the store and lives with her daughter in an apartment above the store. On this, the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Twin Towers, a photograph is published that had been lost by the photographer. It is a picture of Taryn and the stranger who helped her on that day. Will Taryn finally come to terms with her husband’s death in the fall of the Twin Towers?

I know that some people do not like books that take place at different times. It can be confusing. I understand that completely. In this book, the times and characters are so different that it is not a problem keeping track of where you are in time. I enjoyed the book and would recommend it. I thought that each story had twists that were unexpected and made the story a bit better than you might expect.

Thanks for reading!

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Finding Discounted Books

Dear Fellow Reader,

A couple years ago, I wrote a post about where to get discounted books. I wanted to refresh the discounted books post and put it up again for those of you who may have missed it.

Because I read a lot, I am always looking for ways to buy books at a reduced rate. I have gotten much better about going to the library. (My husband thanks me…) But sometimes when I come across a deal on a book, I take advantage of it.

I am not talking about the regular discounts on books that you can get from buying from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Usually, the books I find are $5 or less.

There is one important thing to note about most of my discount book ideas. Most of the deals that I find are for eBooks. Also, if you are searching for a particular book, you may not be satisfied with the discount book sites. If you are a true bargain shopper and are patient, you will eventually find the book that you desire. I use these sites more to see what is available than look for a certain book.

There are several sources for discount books. There are stores and on-line locations. First, let’s look at the stores.

In-Person Shopping

Public Library Book Sales – Most public libraries will accept donations and then hold sales to make money. I know that my local library has books for sale in the lobby all the time and they also will hold larger sale days.

Second Hand Book Stores – It seems to me that there are more used bookstores than there used to be. One of the big chain stores for this is Half Price Books. Most of these stores will also let you sell your old books. Don’t expect to get much money for your books.

Garage/Thrift Sales – Always lots of books to be found. Goodwill stores or other charity gift stores always have a selection of books.

On-Line Book Stores 

Amazon – Amazon has expanded its discount book sections over the years. There are two sections- one for physical books and one for eBooks.

If you go to the site and look under the “Books” department, there is a section under “Popular in Books” for Bargain books.

If you are interested in eBooks, in the Kindle eBook department, under the “Popular in Kindle” heading, there is ‘Kindle Book Deals”. When you are on the Kindle Book Deals” page, there is a list of the different kinds of deals. Under that listing, you can sign up to receive daily email notices of eBooks that are on sale.

Note: You can read Kindle books using a free Kindle reading app on any device.

Note: If you own a Kindle and are an Amazon Prime member, you will get an email at the beginning of every month. The email will have a list of 4 or 5 books and you can pick one book from the list and receive that book free.

Barnes and Noble – They also have a discount section on their site. For physical books, if you look at the list of choices across the top of the site, you will see “Sale” in red. Click on that, and it will take you to their selection of sale items. Books have a section under the sale items. (The stores also have a discount section.)

If you are interested in Barnes and Nobel eBooks (for the Nook), if you go to the Nook Books section, they have a Special Values section on the site.

Booksamillion – This is an online and a “brick and mortar” bookseller. There are locations throughout the US. They have an online discount section and a discount section in the stores.

Alibris – This site sells used books. The advantage is that you can look for a particular book on this site. So, when I am not having much luck finding my book club selection for the month, I can go there and usually find it. This site is an aggregator. You are not buying from Albris, you are buying from some location that has the book for sale. When you put in the title you are looking for, you are given a list of the sellers that have the book for sale, the price, the condition of the book, and the seller’s rating. You will pay $3.99 to ship each book you buy. If you sign up to be on their email list, you will frequently get discount coupons. (I have never bought enough books from them to be able to use a coupon.)

Email Notices

There are a number of email subscriptions that you can sign up for and receive daily emails of sale books. These specials are usually one day specials so you need to pick them up when you see them. I think sometimes they may last longer than a day but not always.

Also, depending on the book, it may be available from several eBook sellers. You may be able to find it on Kindle, Nook, or Kobo depending upon the book.

Rebecca@Riffle – If you join Riffle, you will receive a daily email with eBook specials. Riffle is a site like GoodReads that lets you keep track of books you have read. There are also articles about books. I get the emails but do not regularly go to the site. (Okay, it looks like I never go there – according to the site, I have read 2 books.)

BookBub – This site sends out a daily email with different book specials. They only list eBook specials.

eBook Soda – Sign up at this site and you will receive an email with book specials  (“tailored to your taste”) daily. I think I must have fallen off this list as I have not seen an email from them in ages.

NOTE:  With these daily emails, you will see LOTS of books that you are not interested in buying. BUT then sometimes you will find the jewel in with the colored stones. Be prepared to not buy more often than not.

Book Recommendation Sites

There are a couple of sites that will send you recommendations based on your preferences.

Off The Shelf – This site was created by readers to give recommendations to each other. You can join and get weekly or daily book suggestions.

New in Books – This site send out an email every Tuesday to alert you to new books coming out that day in genres that interest you. There are also articles with book recommendations.

Have fun bargain hunting!

Thanks for reading!


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Sunburn by Laura Lippman

Dear Fellow Reader,

I was excited to receive an advanced copy of Laura Lippman’s new book, Sunburn.  I had read other books by Laura Lippman and had enjoyed them.  She has seven books in the Tess Monaghan series along with many other books. She has won awards  and praise for her writing.  She is from the Baltimore area and many of her books take place in or around that city.

Sunburn is a psychological thriller.  As the book opens, we meet Adam Bosk. Adam is in Belleville, DE, on a case.  He is a private investigator and has been hired to find and follow a red-headed woman.  He follows her to a bar in Belleville and then to a seedy hotel.  The woman, who gives her name as Polly Costello, has just left her husband and three-year-old daughter.  They were on vacation and she walked away from them while they slept.

Adam has information on the woman from his client.  He was also warned to watch out for her. He has been told that she is dangerous.  When Polly takes a job at a local restaurant/bar, Adam does too.  He finds that he is drawn to her and she is drawn to him.  But both have secrets that they cannot reveal.  Polly does indeed have quite a past that is revealed as the book progresses.  Even after Adam discovers more about her, he still finds her irrestible.  Then when a co-worker dies suspiciously, another level of suspicion grows between the couple.

Is Polly truly as bad as she seems?  Is she heartless?

I liked the book.  The end of the book is a HUGE shock.  I sat with my mouth open.  It was nothing that I expected.  It made the book.  I am glad I read it.

Thanks for reading!


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Marabel and the Book of Fate by Tracy Barrett

Dear Fellow Reader,

ALERT – this book is not an adult book.  This book is for Grades 3-7.(ages 8-12)

Why? Why did I read this book?  It caught my attention and perhaps I was trying to avoid reading a book for my book group.  (No…. that can’t be true) I was given an advanced copy of this book for my unbiased review.

While I have not been in third grade for a long time, I do remember having a reader that was not very motivated at that age.  I really had to search to find something that would be interesting to him. I think that this story would have worked but it might be more interesting to a girl because the protagonist is a girl.

As the story of Marabel and the Book of Fate opens, Marabel is about to turn 13.  She is a twin and she is a princess.  Her twin brother, Marco, is the definite star of the family.  He is going to be the future king and receives better treatment than Marabel. She doesn’t seem to mind as she knows he will be the king.  Marco is a nice guy who gets along well with people, a trait that Marabel has not quite mastered. Even though she is a girl, Old Lucius gives her sword lessons. The lessons are hidden from her parents because girls shouldn’t learn sword fighting. She enjoys those lessons.

At the big birthday party for Marco and Marabel – really for Marco – Marabel sees something odd.  She sees a woman slip around the security line and go into the party. She tells security but they don’t pay much attention to her.  Then, just before the big birthday moment, a spell is cast on the crowd and Marcus is taken by the King’s sister.  Mab was banished to the Desolate Barrens, the kingdom next door, after she and her brother had a disagreement about who should lead the kingdom.

Marabel decides that she needs to go to get her brother back. Ellie, her faithful servant announces that she has to go with her. While leaving the kingdom secretly, Marabel and Elie are joined by Floriano, the talking unicorn. They encounter many new and magical creatures on their way to rescue Marcus.

As you can tell, this book is a fantasy. I liked it. I would say that the King (Marabel’s father) treats her poorly through the entire story.  She is not given credit for anything she does until Mab gives it to her.   That part is a bit bothersome but it works out.  I would have wanted a different ending but that is not to say that the ending isn’t good.

On the good side, it does show that while Marabel does not fit in with the other princess’s very well that she is strong and courageous on her own. She doesn’t have to fit in to be a good person – that her personality is perfect for what she needs to do.

Thanks for reading!

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By the Book by Julia Sonneborn

Dear Fellow Reader,

Anne Corey is an English professor at Fairfax College.  She needs to have her book (a scholarly work on several 19th-century woman novelists) published so that she can keep her job.  She wants to keep her job – she loves teaching at Fairfax and she doesn’t want to bounce around trying to find another position. Her friend, Larry Ettinger, is a professor at Fairfax; he helped her get the position. She is running out of time and publishing options.  If that isn’t enough stress, her family was not supportive of her decision to get her Ph.D. in English and the accompanying cost of that education.  She has student loans she is trying to pay off. Losing her job will not help keep her head above her debt.

Fairfax College has a new president.  Anne has not paid much attention to this as she has many other things on her mind. Her friend, Larry, tells her that she needs to go to a reception to meet the new president and then mentions that the new president went to the same school at Anne.  When she askes Larry the name of the new president, she is shocked.  It is her ex-fiance.  She had broken up with him at graduation 10 years ago and had not spoken to him since. She goes to the reception and it is definitely her Adam Martinez. So, her ex-fiance is now her boss.

That is the start of By the Book by Julia Sonneborn. It is a good premise for a that keeps blossoming. Throw in an extra-marital affair (not Anne),  a romance that is full of deceit, a death, and success (publishing? love?).  Through the story, we find out more about Anne’s family, her research, and romance. Will the dashing, successful writer Richard Forbes Chasen be the perfect man for Anne?

Some might recognize the storyline as a modern retelling of Jane Austin’s Persuasion. I liked the book.  It was fun to read and find out all the twists and turns. The cast of characters is interesting and believable.  A good first outing for Julia Sonneborn, who is an English professor.

Thanks for reading.

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