Summer Reading Bingo Card

Our summer reading program at the library is underway. I meant to talk about this earlier, but, you know, time is always a factor in getting everything done, so here I am, already a few weeks into bingo, telling you now!

I’m keeping track with this little reading log!

What is it about bingo reading cards like this that make you want to complete the squares? I don’t do a lot of challenges because the pressure of doing them takes away my enjoyment of reading. But I’ve always liked this one because there’s a lot of leeway and it’s fun! There’s also the promise of a chance to win some very nice prizes, always a good incentive!

So here’s the progress I’ve made. There are some categories that do not require reading a book, so that puts a little variety in the challenge.

Are you doing any summer reading programs? Do you use bingo cards? Leave a comment!

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Five thrillers I want to read

I think summer is the best time to read a good thriller. Here are five I hope to get to soon. All descriptions are from Goodreads.

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood – I’ve always liked Margaret Atwood’s books, but I’ve never read this one. I read The Blind Assassin (which I think is catagorized as suspense) years ago and thought it was excellent.

It’s 1843, and Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer and his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders.

An up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories?

Captivating and disturbing, Alias Grace showcases best-selling, Booker Prize-winning author Margaret Atwood at the peak of her powers.

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena – I’ve been meaning to read this for a couple years. A lot of these titles blend together. I actually thought I’d read this but I had it mixed up with The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner!

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all–a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family–a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson – I remember seeing this when it first came out and wanting to read it. Somehow it slipped through the cracks.

A bride’s dream honeymoon becomes a nightmare when a man with whom she’s had a regrettable one-night stand shows up in this psychological thriller from the author of Eight Perfect Murders.

Abigail Baskin never thought she’d fall in love with a millionaire. Then she met Bruce Lamb. But right before the wedding, Abigail has a drunken one-night stand on her bachelorette weekend. She puts the incident—and the sexy guy who wouldn’t give her his real name—out of her mind, and now believes she wants to be with Bruce for the rest of her life.

Then the mysterious stranger suddenly appears—and Abigail’s future life and happiness are turned upside down. He insists that their passionate night was the beginning of something special and he’s tracked her down to prove it.

Does she tell Bruce and ruin their idyllic honeymoon—and possibly their marriage? Or should she handle this psychopathic stalker on her own? To make the situation worse, strange things begin to happen. She sees a terrified woman in the night shadows, and no one at the resort seems to believe anything is amiss… including her perfect new husband.

No Exit by Taylor Adams – I have this one on my shelf! Loaned to me by my son. It’s been a few years, so I need to read It soon!

On her way to Utah to see her dying mother, college student Darby Thorne gets caught in a fierce blizzard in the mountains of Colorado. With the roads impassable, she’s forced to wait out the storm at a remote highway rest stop. Inside are some vending machines, a coffee maker, and four complete strangers. Desperate to find a signal to call home, Darby goes back out into the storm . . . and makes a horrifying discovery. In the back of the van parked next to her car, a little girl is locked in an animal crate. Who is the child? Why has she been taken? And how can Darby save her? There is no cell phone reception, no telephone, and no way out. One of her fellow travelers is a kidnapper. But which one?

Trapped in an increasingly dangerous situation, with a child’s life and her own on the line, Darby must find a way to break the girl out of the van and escape. But who can she trust?

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith – This year I read Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks and ever since then, I’ve wanted to read this.

Since his debut in 1955, Tom Ripley has evolved into the ultimate bad boy sociopath, influencing countless novelists and filmmakers. In this first novel, we are introduced to suave, handsome Tom Ripley: a young striver, newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan in the 1950s. A product of a broken home, branded a “sissy” by his dismissive Aunt Dottie, Ripley becomes enamored of the moneyed world of his new friend, Dickie Greenleaf. This fondness turns obsessive when Ripley is sent to Italy to bring back his libertine pal but grows enraged by Dickie’s ambivalent feelings for Marge, a charming American dilettante. A dark reworking of Henry James’s The Ambassadors, The Talented Mr. Ripley—is up to his tricks in a 90s film and also Rene Clement’s 60s film, “Purple Noon.”

Do you like reading thrillers? Which ones are your favorites? Leave a comment!

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You’ve seen the books in my bag, now see what everyone else is reading!

I received a lot of great comments and book suggestions on my recent post about summer reading. Thanks to all of you for taking the time to read and comment. Now’s the time to see what everyone else is reading!

Baydreamer – check out Lauren’s musings and creative writing. A big fan of Elin Hilderbrand, she just finished Troubles in Paradise.

Cathy at 746 Books – follow Cathy as she works through the 746 books on her shelf and her 20 Books of Summer challenge, including Like Life by Lorrie Moore and Little by Edward Carey.

D. Wallace Peach – Myths of the Mirror – Take a look at Diana’s recent reviews, including Eternal Road by John Howell and Wings & Fire by Dan Alatorre.

Derrick J Knight – Derrick is working through his Charles Dickens collection this summer. Derek’s blog shares photos of excursions with his wife, Jackie and scenes from their garden. He’s currently reading Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens.

Jill Weatherholt is one of the most supportive and enthusiastic bloggers I know. She’s also the author of inspirational romance and recently reviewed Flashes of Life: True Tales of the Extraordinary Ordinary by Pamela Wight.

Jacqui Murray’s World Dreams – Jacqui gave this courtroom drama 5 stars: A Matter of Life and Death by Philip Margolin.

Jan M. Flynn’s short fiction has appeared in literary journals and anthologies. She blogs about writing, teaching, current events and life. She’s currently listening to The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee and reading Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards.

LA at Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50  – read LA’s posts on a wide variety of thought-provoking topics. Heading on vacation, she’s packed her bag with The Guncle by Steven Rowley, People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry, and The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren.

The Light Behind the Story – Alethea Kehas is an author, poet, reader, yoga instructor and proponent of a better world. She writes about meditation, mindfulness and nature and is a frequent commenter on my book review posts.

Lynette d’Arty Cross is a super supportive blogger over at In the Net! – Pictures and Stories of Life and shares her bookish thoughts in her comments on my blog. She’s interested in reading The Fox and I, a book I want to read.

Marian Beaman – Plain and Fancy – Marian’s love of books began as a young girl. Like Jill Weatherholt, Marian recently reviewed Flashes of Life: True Tales of the Extraordinary Ordinary by Pamela Wight.

Parenting is Funny – the Blog of Author Betsy Kereks – Betsy has a great parenting blog. When she’s not herding her kids, she’s listening to Malcolm Gladwell on YouTube.

Priscilla Bettis is a reader and author. She’s looking forward to reading My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones, to be published August 31, 2021.

Roberta Writes is a creative writing blog for Robbie Cheadle, a South African writer specializing in historical, paranormal and horror novels and short stories. She recently reviewed Weathering Old Souls by James J. Cudney & Didi Oviatt.

Stephanie’s Book Reviews – I enjoy reading Stephanie’s thoughts on these and many other books. She just finished On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn and The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish.

I hope you will pay these terrific bloggers a visit. Will you add any of their recent reads to your list?

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Summer reading ideas – what’s in your bag?

I’m looking forward to reading some new books this summer, even though I already have plenty of books on my shelf. Here are three that caught my eye. All descriptions are from Amazon.

The Plot by Jane Hanff Korelitz (May 11)

Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written—let alone published—anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot.

Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker’s first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that—a story that absolutely needs to be told.

In a few short years, all of Evan Parker’s predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an e-mail arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says.

As Jake struggles to understand his antagonist and hide the truth from his readers and his publishers, he begins to learn more about his late student, and what he discovers both amazes and terrifies him. Who was Evan Parker, and how did he get the idea for his “sure thing” of a novel? What is the real story behind the plot, and who stole it from whom?


The Maidens by Alex Michaelides (June 15)

Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike―particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.

Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.

Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?

When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything―including her own life.


Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship by Catherine Raven (July 6)

When Catherine Raven finished her PhD in biology, she built herself a tiny cottage on an isolated plot of land in Montana. She was as emotionally isolated as she was physically, but she viewed the house as a way station, a temporary rest stop where she could gather her nerves and fill out applications for what she hoped would be a real job that would help her fit into society. In the meantime, she taught remotely and led field classes in nearby Yellowstone National Park. Then one day she realized that a mangy-looking fox was showing up on her property every afternoon at 4:15 p.m. She had never had a regular visitor before. How do you even talk to a fox? She brought out her camping chair, sat as close to him as she dared, and began reading to him from The Little Prince. Her scientific training had taught her not to anthropomorphize animals, yet as she grew to know him, his personality revealed itself and they became friends. From the fox, she learned the single most important thing about loneliness: we are never alone when we are connected to the natural world. Friends, however, cannot save each other from the uncontained forces of nature. Fox and I is a poignant and remarkable tale of friendship, growth, and coping with inevitable loss―and of how that loss can be transformed into meaning. It is both a timely tale of solitude and belonging as well as a timeless story of one woman whose immersion in the natural world will change the way we view our surroundings―each tree, weed, flower, stone, or fox.


I found these recommendations at “Summer Is Coming. Bring a Book.” from the New York Times. What’s on your summer reading list?

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2020 Beach Reads

Photo by Jonas Ferlin on Pexels.com

Hey Everyone!

I’m heading to the beach soon for a quick day trip. Now I’m trying to decide whether to bring my Kindle, which is packed with new books, or a paperback so I don’t have to worry about sand and surf.

Meantime, there are plenty of great book recommendations out there so take a look at what these bloggers are saying:

Grab Some Sun and a Book: Ten Beach Reads from Plucked from the Stacks

Summer Beach Reads 2020 from Sunshine and Books

Top 5 Summer Reads! from Books and Co.

And who can resist checking out a book that’s actually titled Beach Read? See what two of my favorite bloggers have to say about this new book by Emily Henry:

Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies

What good beach reads have you discovered this summer? Leave a comment below!

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Book Club Mom’s June recap – books, authors, celebrations, fiction and a survey

Oh boy, June has come and gone! I had a lot of fun on Book Club Mom this month. I read some good books, met an indie author, and celebrated six years of blogging. I also had time to write a little Friday Fiction and conduct a reading survey. Thanks to everyone who visited, commented, shared and participated in my poll!

This is the time of year when all the animals outside get busy and bold. First, I discovered nibbled-down pansy plants and watched a bunny make a nest for her babies in the middle of our yard. She must have decided to have them in a safer place, though. Too bad, we would have loved seeing baby bunnies hopping around. Earlier this week, I was admiring the flowering Morning Glories on our deck, but yesterday I opened the blinds to see a bunch of chomped off vines, with only a few lonely flowers. Oh well, I guess the deer had a good feast. We also had a fox saunter across our front step on the weekend – it’s quite an animal kingdom out there!

In case you missed any posts, here’s a rundown of what went down on Book Club Mom:


I read four books, all great picks for summer reading:

Lot by Bryan Washington
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
Run Away by Harlan Coben


If you’re looking for more summer reading recommendations, check out these previously reviewed books:

Book Club Mom’s summer recommendations


I met indie author D. Wallace Peach and learned about her fantasy and science fiction books. If you haven’t already said hello to Diana and learn why she went from pantser to planner!

If you are a self-published or indie author and would like to be featured, email me at bvitelli2009@gmail.com for more information.


June is my blog anniversary month and this year marks six years of blogging. I’m happy to say I haven’t tired of reading, writing posts and visiting other blogs, so here’s to more of the same!

Celebrating 6 years of blogging!


If you have been following my Friday Fiction, you’re familiar with “A Man and His Phone,” a fun look at twenty-something dating experiences. It’s easy to jump in to the story so check out these recent episodes:

Friday Fiction – A Man and His Phone – June 7
Friday Fiction – A Man and His Phone – June 21


Some miscellaneous posts included a What’s That Book about The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore and a Book Talk about a terrific book I just finished today, Sounds Like Titanic by Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman.

What’s That Book? The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore


Book Talk – Sounds Like Titanic by Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman


In honor of my father, I shared a Father’s Day tribute about one of many family trips to Dairy Queen.

Dairy Queen with my father


And related to the bunny activity in our yard, I wrote about Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown.

A backyard rabbit’s nest and Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown


And last, I conducted a casual readers’ survey and gathered some interesting info about all your reading habits and preferences. Thank you all for your enthusiastic responses!

The results are in! Here’s what you say about your reading preferences!


I hope you had a good month on the blog and out in the world. Summer’s in full swing now, so after a hot and busy day, grab a lemonade, a good book and hop into your favorite chair!

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Book Club Mom’s summer recommendations – grab a book and some fresh air!

Image: Pixabay

Summer reads have a certain feel about them and grabbing the right book can take you back to when you had long lazy days stretching out in front of you. Now, for many of us, it’s more a matter of creating the mood of an endless summer. So steal an hour, find a nice place in a park, in your yard or even at home with the windows open, and dig into a book that will grab you right away. Here are some recommendations to help you choose:


Dig Right In

The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin – light, entertaining historical fiction during the late 1800s when billionaire American families match their daughters with cash-poor dukes and princes in need of American money.

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer – set in Greenwich Village, NY, Greta discovers her 1985 self living in two other time periods, one in 1918 and one in 1941.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin – historical fiction and fascinating portrait of Truman Capote and his distinct sides, as both pet and confidante to the New York upper class, and serious writer.

Things We Set on Fire by Deborah Reed – great story about a mother who believes she is doing the right thing, but can’t see its impact until decades later.


Family Dramas

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler – a complicated family from Baltimore, full of secrets and an unacknowledged division between its members.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett – great family saga that begins in the 1960s with six kids from two different families, thrown together because of an affair, a divorce and then a marriage.

The Vacationers by Emma Straub – light beach read about a dysfunctional family on a trip from Manhattan to Spain for some forced family vacation fun.

When I Found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde – a man goes duck hunting and finds an abandoned baby boy in the woods, changing his life in unimaginable ways.


Historical Fiction

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín – classic tale about post-war immigration from Ireland to America.

The Hours Count by Jillian Cantor – set in NY in 1950 during the Red Scare, the story of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, arrested for spying for the Russians.

Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor – biographical novel about Emily Dickinson and a fictional coming-of-age story about her young Irish maid.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain – a look at Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Elizabeth Hadley Richardson and their six-year marriage, spent mostly in Paris.


Secrets and Suspense

The Dry by Jane Harper – atmospheric thriller set on the edge of the Australia’s bushland during a devastating drought.

Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey – an old woman on the edge of dementia falls into a confused world of memories and suspicions, certain that her friend Elizabeth is missing.

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian – a flight attendant wakes up after a night of heavy drinking and discovers she is in bed with a man who has been brutally murdered.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – Young Adult story about mysterious events of one summer, forcing a family through painful changes.


I hope you find a good place to escape for a bit. What will you read?

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What’s That Book? Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements

whats-that-book

TitleThings Not Seen

Author:  Andrew Clements

Genre: Young Adult/Science Fiction

Rating:  ****

What’s it about?  Fifteen-year-old Bobby Phillips wakes up one morning to discover that he is invisible.

Bobby is thrust into independence when his parents are hurt in a car accident and he must stay alone while they recover. Keeping his condition secret, he travels through the city of Chicago unnoticed and, along the way, forms an unlikely friendship with a girl he meets in the University library. He and his family learn a great deal about themselves and their relationships as they try to understand and reverse what has happened to make Bobby invisible.

How did you hear about it?  I saw it on one of my children’s summer reading lists.

Closing comments:  I enjoyed reading this coming-of-age story.  It has a science-fiction spin that makes it modern and, surprisingly realistic.

Contributor:  Ginette


Have you read something good?  Want to talk about it?
Consider being a contributor to What’s That Book.

Email Book Club Mom at bvitelli2009@gmail.com for information.

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Summer Reading Challenge – Build a Better World 2017

It’s time to plan my summer reading list and, like last year, I’m all signed up for our library’s Adult Summer Reading Challenge. This year, it’s a BINGO board. I’m hoping to fill in all of the squares so I can win some prizes. I already have my eye on a couple of the baskets on display!

One of the challenges is to listen to an audio book. I’ve never done that so I will be forced to try something new. It gets busy at my house in the summer and I’m hoping I won’t fall behind. How do you feel about summer reading challenges? Do they stress you out or do they motivate you?


Look for this logo on my posts and follow along with my challenge.

 


I have completed these challenges as of 9/1/17:

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Summer Reading Recap

School starts tomorrow at our house so now is a good time to look back on a busy summer. Here’s a recap of what I read in June, July and August. Click on the titles for the full review.


Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet picHotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Rating:  ***

A sentimental World War II love story about a Chinese American boy and a Japanese American girl who is sent with her family to a Japanese internment camp.


Slaughterhouse-FiveSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Rating:  *****

Excellent satirical novel about violence and war. A genius mix of fiction and Vonnegut’s experience as a prisoner of war in Germany during World War II.


Just Enough JeevesVery Good, Jeeves &
Joy in the Morning
by P.G. Wodehouse
Rating:  *****

From the collection of stories, Just Enough Jeeves.  Hilarious and clever, a light but smart retreat to the upper class world of England’s Bertie Wooster and his manservant Jeeves.


Second Street StationSecond Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy
Rating:  ****

An engaging historical fiction murder mystery about the first female detective in Brooklyn. Lawrence Levy’s first of a series.


America AmericaAmerica America by Ethan Canin
Rating:  ***

A political drama about the rise and fall of a United States presidential candidate in 1972.


The TranscriptionistThe Transcriptionist by Amy Rowland
Rating:  ***

Rowland’s debut novel about a newspaper transcriptionist and an unlikely news connection.


the valley of amazament picThe Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan
Rating:  ** 1/2

Saga about mother and daughter and courtesan life in Shanghai, China during the 1890s and 1900s.


Candidate_cover5Candidate by Tracy Ewens
Rating:  ****

Smart political romance full of fun, tantalizing banter and romantic tension.


IMG_1890“The Man Who Knew Belle Starr” by Richard Bausch
Rating:  *****

Jarring short fiction about strangers meeting, misinterpreted remarks and unstable situations.


I read some good stuff this summer!  How about you?

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