The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


Dear Fellow Reader,

Occasionally, I urge you to read a book because I think that it is THAT good. This is one of those books. This book is absorbing and is well paced. It is classified as a YA (young adult) book but I think that is too limiting for this book.

The Hate U Give is a story about Starr Carter. Starr is 16 years old and lives in the ghetto in an unnamed city. She attends a predominantly white private school and spends most of her time with her classmates. But during the spring break of her junior year, she reluctantly goes to a party in her neighborhood. While at the party she sees her old friend, Khalil and they start talking. While they are talking, shots ring out. Khalil tells her that they need to leave and that he has a car and will take her home.

On their way home, they are stopped by the police. Starr reviews in her mind the lessons drummed into her head by her parents about how to behave when stopped by the police. She hopes that Khalil has been told the same thing by his grandmother. She starts to worry when Khalil asks why they were stopped. The encounter escalates quickly with Khalil being dragged out of the car. When Khalil leans over to ask if Starr is okay, he is killed by the policeman.

Starr is then caught in events that cause her to rethink her life and friendships and how she should react to life events. Should she stay hidden or come out to seek justice?

I thought the book was incredible. It was 447 pages long and read faster than a book half the size. It drew you in from the very beginning. You could see the world from Starr’s perspective and feel for her conflicts.

I would love to drag out this review and tell you more of the story but I don’t know if my words can do it justice. I just think you need to read the book. I can’t believe that you won’t be affected by the story.

Thanks for reading!

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The Advice Column Murder by Leslie Nagle


Dear Fellow Reader,

Those of you who frequently read this blog know that I am a sucker for mystery series. I love to find a new one – especially one that has several books in the series before I find it. That gives me a lot to catch up on and that is a good thing. Authors that come to mind are Donna Leon, Louise Penny, Nancy Atherton, Rhys Bowen and Patricia Wentworth to name just a few.

So, when I was on Net Galley a few weeks ago, I was interested to see a new mystery by Leslie Nagle available. I was not familiar with the author but it looked interesting. The only cloud in the sky was that it is the third book in the series. I  like to start at the beginning of a series because I think it does make a difference. Despite the misgivings, I thought I would read this book. The most that could happen is that I would be sorry that I didn’t read the books in order. (I was given a copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review.)

Charlie Carpenter lives in Oakwood, OH. She lives with her father Bobby, who was the beloved football coach but is now confined to a wheelchair. Oakwood is a very friendly town where most residents know one another. When Charlie’s next door neighbor moves out, he decides to rent his house rather than sell it. The new tenants are not friendly and have resisted the overtures of friendship from Charlie and Charlie’s father’s caretaker, Lawrence. The husband is a doctor with the Air Force and seems to have a penchant for yelling at his family at volumes loud enough to be heard easily in Charlie’s house. It seems that the neighbors, Paxton and Judith Sharp and their 4-year-old twins have Paxton’s son from a previous marriage and Judith’s daughter from a previous relationship staying at the house also. One evening, Sarah Weller, Judith’s daughter, approaches Charlie and asks if she “only helps the police or if she helps other people”. The conversation is ended abruptly when Judith calls Sarah back into the house. Several days later, Charlie hears screaming coming from the house next door and finds Judith bending over Sarah’s dead body.

The inevitable questions of who killed Sarah and why haunt Charlie as she decides to do a little sleuthing. It is not the first time (since it is book three in the series) but this time, Charlie will not be working with her boyfriend, Detective Marcus Trenault. Seems the Detective is not getting along with his boss and the case is assigned to Sergeant George Drummond, who is with the Sheriff’s Department. He and Charlie’s beau have a long-standing feud and Drummond is antagonistic toward Charlie.

I think that perhaps it was an error not the read the books in order. Yes, this book does stand on its own but there are so many characters introduced that I finally gave up on some of them. Just could not remember how they fit into the story. While I was frustrated by this, it was still a good read.

I do not worry about trying to solve a mystery when I read it. Yes, probably in my mind I think about who might have done it but I don’t sit and try and figure it out. I just want to be entertained and I want it to make sense. The end of the book ties the plot up nicely but WOW what a convoluted motive. I understand who and why but it would take pages to explain the connections and why there were two murders. (Yes, not one but two…)

The Advice Column Murders is available in eBook format from eBook sellers for $4.99.

Thanks for reading!


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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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