Thursday, November 30, 2023

November 2023 Reads

What I read in November

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! 

As we are in a buying season, I wanted to say out loud again please avoid buying books from Amazon unless they are unavailable elsewhere. Our indie bookstores need us if we're buying books, and Amazon does not ever need our book money. Buying books from Amazon or Target is killing the small local bookstores. If you are not near a local bookshop or can't get there for whatever reason, you can order on and choose a bookstore to support, or just have your purchase support a small bookstore in general as every purchase donates money to local bookstores. Buying from a small shop will cost you a few extra dollars and/or extra shipping, but it keeps bookstores alive. 

Purchasing books from Amazon kills bookstores, flat out. Here's a little more info on that.

If you're not buying but are reading (which is what I'm doing most of the time), there's also my lifelong favorite the local library - it is free for every single person and it is never too late to get a library card. You can also check out Netgalley for advanced copies.

Thanks for coming to my Don't Buy Books from Amazon or Target TED Talk.

Engrossing Reads

The Locked Door by Freida McFadden - A yearly shore rental guest dropped a boatload of Frieda McFadden books off to me in October and I've just started making my way through them now. I feel sort of like they are an assignment? LOL I've avoided this author thus far, not sure why. I liked this one. Paperback, gifted

'Till New Year's Day by Breonna Brownlee - As you all know by now, I am not a standard romance reader but I do like to pepper mysteries and lit fiction with romance and I love to support a fellow blogger (am I a former blogger at this point?). This novella was the perfect hour read before bed for me. Also loved Bre's novel Two Too Many - check that out if you're looking! Kindle, purchased

The Spy Coast (The Martini Club #1) by Tess Gerritsen - That rare Amazon First or whatever they're calling the monthly free book now that actually slaps. I don't know what future ones in the series might be like but I'll try them if she writes them because I like the characters assembled here. Also loving me some main characters in their 60s and beyond who are still actively living not solely reflecting on the lives they've already lived. Well done, Tess. Free Amazon First or whatever reads, digital 

The Heiress by Rachel Hawkins - Quick and enjoyable. One of those layered try to figure it out reads with a few red herrings that were clever. Thanks to Netgalley for the free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review, book publishes January 9

The Lies You Wrote (Raisa Susanto #1) by Brianna Labuskes - I didn't see that coming. I'm glad to see this is a #1 - I liked Raisa and will definitely read more, hoping this becomes a series. I wouldn't mind seeing Kilkenny as the supporting character in future books. Thanks to Netgalley for the free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review, book publishes January 1

Christmas Presents by Lisa Unger - I got sucked right into this - quick moving and a little scary at times - one of those books that is not winning any literary accolades but is getting an A+ for keeping me invested Thanks to Netgalley for the free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review

All the Little Truths (Finley O'Sullivan #3) by Debra Webb I’ve read all three in the past few weeks and have really come to love these characters. The books are simultaneously easy and intense and kudos to Webb for pulling that off. I’d definitely read more of these Thanks to Netgalley for the free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett - Already sung about this from the rooftops in Instagram stories, but big, big love for this book despite standardly not having big love for Ann's novels. I read a copy from the library and then bought myself a copy for Christmas. As I get older, I buy less physical books with plans to keep them because I do not want shelves and shelves of books I didn't love - I only want to keep the ones I really loved. This was purchased with plans to keep. OCNJ library hardcover, now own a hard cover copy

Passed the Time Just Fine

Never Lie by Freida McFadden - The thing about these is that I can read them in a few hours, which is good? Totally fine way to pass a few hours. Paperback, gifted

Only If You're Lucky by Stacy Willingham - I'd clock it at a four, rounded up from 3.5, if we're going by a five star standard. Very passable and readable, but I did not devour this like I did her other two novels, probably because this was very slow out of the gate and also read younger to me and also had a similar setting to a book I just read and loved. I liked how things tied together throughout. Thanks to Netgalley for the free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review, book publishes January 16

Today Tonight Forever by Madeline Kay Sneed - Whew! I knew nothing about this going in and for some reason thought this was a light romance and it was absolutely not LOL. It was a lot. Some heavy AF topics in here, people dealing with deep shit that felt a little surface at times because there was so much going on, to go in depth on all of it would have been like three books. I was not prepared.
I loved the introspection of each character and the bits of overlapping perspective in POV shifts. Also loved the Deacon and Mollie characters immediately and fiercely. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review

Not For Me**
**This usually means if I knew now what I knew before I started it, I would not pick the book up in the first place
Held: A Novel by Anne Michaels - First, this book is absolutely beautiful in both its writing and its undercurrent of despair. Second, it begins after WWI and I tend to avoid that time period for some reason? It does span many years after though. Third, it reads like a college lit assignment and I feel like I should be sitting around with others trying to discuss themes and appear intelligent. Thanks to Netgalley for the free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review, book publishes January 30

What We Kept to Ourselves by Nancy Jooyoun Kim - Again, beautifully and carefully written. Again, undercurrent of depressing and despair. I’d read a whole book focused entirely on Sunny. The plot, eh, the kids, eh, husband, eh. The best parts of the book were the Sunny parts. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review

The Ex by Freida McFadden - What the hell was this, really. At the end I was like say what now? You want me to think what happened? Paperback, gifted

The Perfect Son by Freida McFadden - This was a little too boring and obvious for me and felt like a phone-in. Paperback, gifted

Did Not Finish

Clover Hendry's Day Off by Beth Morrey - Netgalley, publishes January 30


What have you been reading?


Monday, November 20, 2023

snippets of the weekend 11.20.2023

To wake up on a Friday in mid-November and have it be 60 some degrees is insane and amazing. I had to take a walk down to the beach before work. I had massive tech issues Friday and had to call Xfinity which made me rage. I got my nails painted during that though - this is the red from this year's OPI Holiday Collection - Rebel without a Clause. It's a really good red.

After work walk was a good one. Mr. Rooney ends up in a bag on the way back when we walk far, which we did Friday. We had soup for dinner and watched reruns of The Office. 
We got going early on Saturday for a fun day along Route 9. We hit Treasures Past first, where I picked up two tables for bedsides that have a bookshelf under them. I got one from there last year and was thrilled to walk in 20 minutes after they opened to find these for $12 each. A freaking steal, and they were just dropped off that morning. I will paint them as I did with the one I got last year. 

Next we popped into CoHo Antiques before heading on to historic Cold Spring Village - we thought the grounds were open despite the buildings being closed but that was not the case. We took a quick walk around the perimeter before heading out again to Treehouse Antiques of Cape May. Wonderful owners, great conversation, and two mid century mod dining chairs I am obsessed with. I only wish there were two more! We popped in to Aldi on the way back and that was that. A successful day out!
When we got back, we took a family walk to the beach then came home to watch Beckham. Doesn't Mr. Rooney look like a muppet dog?

Sunday MFD headed back to Philly and I had a nice slow Sunday - lots of coffee, read a book, took a long walk in the afternoon that included a Kohr Bros cinnamon/pumpkin twist, thundering waves, surf watch, and sunshine. I made steamed broccoli and salmon for dinner and stayed up later than normal watching Bakeoff. 

weekending reels on Instagram - current favorite weekend look back mode.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Snippets of the weekend 11.13.2023

Friday was raw, and consequently the first time in over a week I didn't hit my 10k steps goal. We had dinner at Jon & Patty's, then home to read, watch Witches of Eastwick, and lounge.

Saturday I did errands on foot to Lisa's Bakery and Bennie's. I did a run through Boyar's but they didn't have the rolls I wanted to off to ACME. I put together a chair for the living room, made veggie soup, french dip, and indulgent mac & cheese from dwardcooks. Friendsgiving was a lot of fun as always - I love being with these people and have for over 30 years. Hallmark Christmas movie bingo happened this year!
Sunday we lingered over coffee and I think Amanda and Frank were the last to leave around 1? I lay down for several hours and didn't move LOL. A walk to the beach, finishing a book, and leftovers for dinner did it for me for the day. 

weekending reels on Instagram - current favorite weekend look back mode.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Snippets of the weekend 11.6.2023

My first weekend not hosting or hanging with other people, traveling, or doing turnover shit since well before Labor Day

Friday I picked up some groceries, walked around after work and hit the library and the bay, and finally got Ben to sit on the same couch as Mr. Rooney.
Saturday I did the sunrise with Ben, leisurely drank coffee and had a bagel and read, popped over to HomeGoods, hit the beach in the afternoon, set the house to rights upstairs, and read. 
Sunday I went to another HomeGoods, purged and reorganized MFD's outdoor crime scene of a closet and the under bed tool box, threw out all sunscreen that will expire before next spring, dis some cooking, took Ben to the beach for sunset, showered, did a face peel, and read.

weekending reels on Instagram - current favorite weekend look back mode.

Perfect puttering alone time weekend.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

October 2023 reads

I've been on overload personally and professionally and the state of the world is not conducive to  reading right now. I've been falling asleep exhausted. Many others too, I'm sure. 

What I read in October

Engrossing Reads

The Unmaking of June Farrow by Adrienne Young - Really good and hard to put down. I liked this much more than Spells for Forgetting. Netgalley free advanced copy

The Last Lie Told (Finley O'Sullivan #1) by Debra Webb - First in the series because I have three from Netgalley so I had to go back for the first two. Pleasantly surprised to be into it. Kindle, own

The Nature of Secrets (Finley O'Sullivan #2) by Debra Webb - Even more pleased to sink deeper into this one. I sort of hope the third is not the end of this series. Kindle, own

Passed the Time Just Fine

Mother-Daughter Murder Night by Nina Simon - I hemmed and hawed about putting this in this category or not for me, so that's that on that. The Grandmother was fine, the daughter annoying, the granddaughter mildly annoying. OCNJ library hard copy

Deadly Tides (Misty Pines Mystery #2) by Mary Keliikoa - A solid second entry in this series. I still really like the characters, side characters also. Would definitely read more Netgalley free advanced copy

Not For Me

Did Not Finish


What have you been reading?

Monday, October 30, 2023

Snippets of the weekend 10.30.2023

I was supposed to go to the shore Thursday as Mom & Rich were headed down, but we picked up Mr. Edward Rooney from his foster fam on Thursday. Friday we realized he had an infection and took him to our vet. He did much better after he got some antibiotics. I headed to the shore after work.
Saturday Mom and I walked the boards while Rich was on a bike ride and walked back along Asbury. We waited for him to get back then headed to the beach. Absolutely stunning warm day, and a full moon at night. Just perfect. We  had Durham Deli goods for dinner and sat out on the porch enjoying the weather.
Sunday more hanging and walking - thank God my mom was there because I dropped dog poop bags somewhere and she ran back to the house for replacements LOL - soccer on the telly, MFD arrived in the afternoon, and Mom and Rich took us to dinner at the Anchorage. 

It was a good weekend and a nice visit, much nicer than it would have been if they came down the monsoon weekend in September as originally planned. 

weekending reels on Instagram - current favorite weekend look back mode.

Monday, October 23, 2023

snippets of the weekend 10.23.2023

Cousins weekend! Amazing light on Friday night. Everyone trickled in and got settled, and Stephen & Aub made dinner for everyone. Phillies loss but fun to watch
Saturday we ate Courtney's sausage balls for breakfast that were amazing, and trickled out to the boards for a walk, some arcade, saw Santa and dogs in costumes, Brandon bought everyone pizzas for lunch, and back to the house to eat and relax. 
We went out again, me and Mike to the beach and some folks to the not very good Howloween parade, 
before reconvening for dinner made by Stephen & Aub again, parlay, Phillies win probably due to our superstitions - good vibes helmets, Tommy in the kitchen, etc. 
Sunday everyone was gone by 1 and I lay around with my teeth in my mouth for the rest of the day as I spent all of my social capital and was rendered mute. 

weekending reels on Instagram - current favorite weekend look back mode.

I'm glad we made this weekend happen spread across states and ages! It was nice. Missed Tracy & fam and Gabby!

Monday, October 16, 2023

Snippets of the weekend 10.16.2023

Friday I did school dropoff and pickup for my niece and nephew, with showering and a work trip to Swarthmore in between. I browsed my work BFF's favorite store for a magic pin and some other treasures, and she gave me my birthday gift. After school pickup we went to the Halloween store, and to Friendly's for dinner, back to my house to watch a movie, then on home to theirs. 
Saturday was lounging, laundry, lazy because it was raining. It cleared up in time for Brenna & Nick's wedding sail on the Delaware. Loved the costume party and the super cool skull thing they made themselves! I got zero photos of them aside from one on the table. It was nice to see everyone.
Mrs. Roper era in full effect.
Good times and home by 11!
Sunday I was back in Old City to pick a few things up from my office before heading home to clear surfaces in the kitchen and dining room, cut up veggies, and lounge and read.

weekending reels on Instagram - current favorite weekend look back mode.

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