RAINY DAY READING: MONDAY MUSINGS

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Welcome to another Rainy Day Reading post.  It is raining here again, so I am eager to curl up and burrow into my books.  I am also musing about my reading, along with host Jenn, at A Daily Rhythm.

Here are some of her options to contemplate:

 

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

 

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Do you have any particular “quirks” when it comes to reading? (eg. taking notes while reading, etc)

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First, I want to share my thoughts on What Was Mine, by Helen Klein Ross, my current read.

 

 

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Simply told but deeply affecting, in the bestselling tradition of Alice McDermott and Tom Perrotta, this urgent novel unravels the heartrending yet unsentimental tale of a woman who kidnaps a baby in a superstore—and gets away with it for twenty-one years.

While the idea of feeling anything but horror for such a woman would normally be a predominant one, I found myself empathizing with Lucy, the “kidnapper,” whose almost obsessive desire for a baby leads to such a horrific act.  The author skillfully takes us through her thought processes, breaking them down into manageable moments that slowly turn into something almost palatable…and then, just when we think we can live with what she did, the repercussions start happening.  Life comes undone.

With part of the story in Lucy’s voice, we come to understand her.  But what about all those whose lives were damaged?  We learn more as the story draws to a conclusion.

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My reading habits could be described as “quirks,” since I usually only read one book at a time, and take notes as I go.  Sometimes I pick up another book, too, if it is a different genre than the primary book I’m reading.  I have to write the review immediately after finishing…and I may have a Word doc going as I read, writing preliminary thoughts, so that I can post the review right away.

Then I move on.

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What are your habits?  What are you reading?

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RAINY DAY READING CAN BE RESTLESS READING

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Good morning, and welcome to another day of Rainy Day Reading.  It is the morning after a restless reading night.  Perhaps I could sense the rain coming…or maybe it was the weather man’s prediction that tipped me off.  LOL.

In any case, I was flipping between books, having trouble settling on any one book.  I had been reading Gloria Steinem’s Life on the Road yesterday…and I’m halfway through it.  I’m enjoying it, but sometimes I need to break up my nonfiction with a little make-believe.

 

 

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So I found a little book on Pippa that seemed very different from the memoir:  Lucky Us, by Amy Bloom.  I’ve never read Amy, but I’ve heard good things.  Well, it’s not that I didn’t like the book, but I was only a couple chapters in when I set it aside…for later.

 

 

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Then…I grabbed Secret Sisters, which I had been planning to read next anyway…and soon I was lost in the pages.  It will definitely be my “other” book for the rest of the week. 

 

 

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From the very first page, I felt myself sucked into the world of the characters:  a frightening opener, a mystery, and a secret that has lasted for decades…and now it is coming out!

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To sum up my feeling for the day:  my daughter sent this image to me, and I think it says a lot about me.  What do you think?

 

 

Hippie image

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CHASING AWAY THE BLUES WITH “MISSING PIECES”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book is an e-ARC from an author I enjoy:  Heather Gudenkauf’s newest book, Missing Pieces, will be released on February 2, 2016.

 

 

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Intro:  (Prologue – 1985)

Lydia gazed absentmindedly outside the kitchen window, the bright May sunshine glinting off the dew-glazed sweet-potato vine that cascaded from the window box just beyond the screen.  It was barely seven thirty, and fifteen-year-old Jack and eleven-year-old Amy were already on the bus, making the forty-minute ride to school.  Their last day before summer vacation began.  She’d have to make a special supper to celebrate the occasion.  Waffles topped with strawberries and freshly whipped cream, lemonade garnished with mint snipped from the windowsill herb garden.

Outside, Grey, their pewter-eyed silver Lab, began barking.  A relaxed, friendly yapping.  Lydia leaned in, scanning the yard for the source of Grey’s excitement.  From her vantage point, the farmyard was deserted.  John’s truck was still gone and wouldn’t return until after six.  The bedsheets that she had forgotten on the clothesline overnight flapped languidly in the mild morning breeze.  The gravel road that wound its way up to the main highway was empty, no telltale dust announcing the arrival of a visitor.  Someone could have come by way of the old mud road, but few dared to, for fear their tires would become stuck in the mire brought along by the early-summer rain….

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Teaser:  She had settled on the couch, not anticipating being able to sleep but grateful when it came.  Someone must have laid the blanket over her sleeping form.  A kind gesture made ominous because she’d slept so soundly through it. (65%).

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Synopsis:  A woman uncovers earth-shattering secrets about her husband’s family in this chilling page-turner from New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf 

Sarah Quinlan’s husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the small farm town of Penny Gate, Iowa, where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalized in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded.

Upon arriving in Penny Gate, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago—barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia’s accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack’s past. But the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  I know that I have loved every book I’ve read by this author.

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RAINY DAY READING: BOOKS & MOVIES

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The rain is definitely coming down today!  I have posted about Rainy Day Reading when there was just a hint of rain, but today the sidewalks and my patio are drenched.  Luckily, the patio which I had not swept or dusted in a while is now glistening.  Or perhaps it is simply muddy.  The berries that constantly drop on the ground (see the sidewalk view below) are now really annoying….

 

 

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And the leaves I haven’t swept away are now wet clumps….

 

 

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So the state of the outdoors is an even more compelling reason to curl up and read.  Right?

I am intrigued and thoroughly engaged in The Swans of Fifth Avenue, by Melanie Benjamin.  A NetGalley e-ARC with a publication date of January 26, it brings the reader right into the glamorous and glitzy world of Truman Capote and his “swans,” those elegant women who felt safe with him, and therefore shared too many secrets.

 

 

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I have two movies based on Truman Capote and Harper Lee:  Capote, the story of his world when he was writing In Cold Blood; and Harper Lee’s involvement in that story and in his life, in Infamous.

The movies, as well as the book, give me a further glimpse of the world in which the characters lived.

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What else am I reading today?  I am considering The Opposite of Everyone, by Joshilyn Jackson…and/or Secret Sisters, by Jayne Ann Krentz.

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This evening, I will venture forth to help celebrate the birthday of my youngest grandson, Noah, who turned thirteen today!  A teenager…oh, no!  Does this mean that he will soon become annoying?  LOL.

Probably not right away….here he is (below) at Christmas.  He was totally absorbed in his video games.

 

Noah - Christmas 2015

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What do you love to do on a rainy day?  Are you having a rainy day?

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HERE’S HOW I CHASE AWAY THE BLUES….

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Wow, am I glad to see a normal Monday…finally.  Okay, holidays are great, but I crave routines.  Yes, I’m weird like that.

Today’s Musings are hosted by Jenn, at A Daily Rhythm.  Check out her topics:

 

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What do you do when you finish a book? Do you immediately start another one?

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I’ll start with the random question….I finish a book, review that book, and start the next one.  Unless it’s the middle of the night, and then I’ll wait until morning.

I just finished The Black Widow late last night and immediately posted my review.  (Click the title).

 

 

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It was one of those books with alternating narrators, which ratcheted up the suspense as we got closer to the end.  To say that I couldn’t put it down…is an understatement.

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Meanwhile, I blogged about a topic yesterday that I’ve been noticing around the blogosphere…could I say it has gone “viral”?  One Word is a theme that is repeating everywhere.  Here is my post:  My Interior World: Finding My Balance.

 

 

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What are you musing about today?

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LET’S CELEBRATE THE LAST MONDAY OF 2015!

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Welcome to another Monday….and since it’s the first Monday after Christmas, and the last one in 2015, let’s give it a great high sign.  Let’s join Jenn, at Musing Mondays, to chat about bookish things.

Here are some topics:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Did you buy books for anyone, this Christmas (other than yourself)? 😉

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This week I’m going to be starting my First Book of 2016, celebrated over at Book Journey.  My post will be at An Interior Journey.

No, I’m not telling the book title yet…tune in on Friday to find out…LOL.

Meanwhile, however, I’ll be catching up on books I purchased in 2014…yes, clearing out Pippa.  Then I hope to read The Swans of Fifth Avenue, a NetGalley book by Melanie Benjamin. (Release date – 1/26/16).

 

 

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Of all the glamorous stars of New York high society, none blazes brighter than Babe Paley. Her flawless face regularly graces the pages of Vogue, and she is celebrated and adored for her ineffable style and exquisite taste, especially among her friends—the alluring socialite Swans Slim Keith, C. Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness, and Pamela Churchill. By all appearances, Babe has it all: money, beauty, glamour, jewels, influential friends, a prestigious husband, and gorgeous homes. But beneath this elegantly composed exterior dwells a passionate woman—a woman desperately longing for true love and connection.

Enter Truman Capote. This diminutive golden-haired genius with a larger-than-life personality explodes onto the scene, setting Babe and her circle of Swans aflutter. Through Babe, Truman gains an unlikely entrée into the enviable lives of Manhattan’s elite, along with unparalleled access to the scandal and gossip of Babe’s powerful circle. Sure of the loyalty of the man she calls “True Heart,” Babe never imagines the destruction Truman will leave in his wake. But once a storyteller, always a storyteller—even when the stories aren’t his to tell.

Truman’s fame is at its peak when such notable celebrities as Frank and Mia Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, and Rose Kennedy converge on his glittering Black and White Ball. But all too soon, he’ll ignite a literary scandal whose repercussions echo through the years. The Swans of Fifth Avenue will seduce and startle readers as it opens.

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I remember seeing some of these glittering characters in the movie Capote, as well as Infamous, so I am already eager to find out more.  One of my blogger friends, Patty, at Books, Thoughts, & a Few Adventures, Googled some of these characters and events, to add to her enjoyment of the book.

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What engages you on the last Monday of the Year 2015?

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RAINY DAY READING: BOOKS, OBSESSIONS, & HOLIDAYS

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Good morning, Rainy Day Readers…it’s another Monday on Rainy Days & Mondays, and while it’s not raining at the moment, it looks like rain as I gaze out the window.

I’m linking to Jenn’s Musing Mondays today.

She has a host of suggestions for us today, but I’m going to tell you about the two books I’m currently reading…and why they are perfect for a rainy day.

I started The Things We Keep, an e-ARC by Sally Hepworth, and I am fascinated by the storyline, the characters, and the suspense I already feel as there are hints of things awry in the residential facility where our MC Anna is living….

 

 

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Then I picked up November 9, by Colleen Hoover…and I don’t usually read more than one book at a time, but I felt restless.  It works, because the two stories couldn’t be more different. 

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

 

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Doesn’t that synopsis grab you?  I have heard only good things about both books I’m reading…and that is perfect for a holiday week, don’t you think?  And for a rainy day, too, as they are both so engaging that I just want to curl up and read.

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As the holiday approaches, I’ve been having that itch to change up a blog or two…but my most recent change was the theme and header at my website.

 

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Here’s a screenshot:

 

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My holiday decorations this year were minimal…and I could bring out more….but I’m thinking “less is more.”

 

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What are you reading, watching, or obsessing about this season?

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MUSINGS: BOOKS THAT ENGAGE ME….

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It’s time to muse!  Let’s join Jenn, at A Daily Rhythm, to share our thoughts.  Here are some prompts:

 

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What makes a book really enjoyable for you? And, conversely, what would turn you off about a book?

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The random question appeals to me today, especially since I read three amazing books this past week, and they were different from one another.  So what is the commonality that made them so appealing?

 

Here are the books:  click the titles to read my reviews:

 

Review:  The Admissions (e-book), by Meg Mitchell Moore

Review:  Truth Be Told (e-book), by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Review:  Snow Angel Cove (e-book), by RaeAnne Thayne

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The first book was engaging because the characters felt so real, and their issues resonated with me…it was a family story.

The second book kept me engaged because it was a mystery, but it also had really relatable characters.

In the third story, I was caught up in the romance and the holiday spirit.

 

So…there is no one theme that engages me.  And sometimes it is the writer’s style…but mostly, the characters draw me in.

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What about you?  What engages you in a story?

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HUMP DAY THOUGHTS: RAINY DAY READING

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In the middle of a week, I like to contemplate what lies ahead…and these days, I hope for a rainy day.  Yes, we are in the midst of a drought…and it feels like it’s been going on forever.  But occasionally, it does rain.  And when it does, I love reading in it.

Yesterday, Sheila at Book Journey posted about listening to the rain on her deck while she read.

I love the sound of rain, especially the soft raindrops…and I curl up on this sofa and grab Pippa or the next print book on my stack.

 

 

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I am still on the second book of the week….the first one, Broken Homes & Gardens (click for review), flew by quickly…and this new one, The Perfect Son, has been holding my interest, too.  But I am distracted.

 

 

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Maybe I just need some rain falling on my patio so that I can fully engage….or perhaps I need to learn how to shut out the distractions tugging at me.  Like new shows on TV at night, or Netflix…yes, I confess to watching way too much!  The West Wing has pulled me in.

 

 

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I now have FIVE NetGalley books to read.  All will be released after the first of the year:  four in January, and one in March.

I downloaded one yesterday that will be released on January 5.  Chris Bohjalian’s The Guest Room.  I haven’t read anything by this author since Midwives, which I loved. (Click for my review).

 

 

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls comes the spellbinding tale of a party gone horribly wrong: two men lie dead in a suburban living room, two women are on the run from police, and a marriage is ripping apart at the seams.

When Kristin Chapman agrees to let her husband, Richard, host his brother’s bachelor party, she expects a certain amount of debauchery. She brings their young daughter to Manhattan for the evening, leaving her Westchester home to the men and their hired entertainment. What she does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, her husband sharing a dangerously intimate moment in the guest room, and two women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night.

In the aftermath, Kristin and Richard’s life rapidly spirals into nightmare. The police throw them out of their home, now a crime scene, Richard’s investment banking firm puts him on indefinite leave, and Kristin is unsure if she can forgive her husband for the moment he shared with a dark-haired girl in the guest room. But the dark-haired girl, Alexandra, faces a much graver danger. In one breathless, violent night, she is free, running to escape the police who will arrest her and the gangsters who will kill her in a heartbeat. A captivating, chilling story about shame and scandal, The Guest Room is a riveting novel from one of our greatest storytellers.

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Doesn’t this sound like a wonderful page turner?  A good one for a rainy day, I think.  I am eager to begin…but I don’t want to read it too soon, due to the release date.

What do you do about books that won’t be released for a while?

What are your favorite rainy day reads?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: EXCERPTING “THE ACCIDENT SEASON”

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Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

In last week’s Bookish Friday, I enjoyed excerpting “Cop Town.”

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

Let’s grab our coffee and begin with today’s feature:  The Accident Season, by Moira Fowley-Dodd.

 

 

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Beginning:

So let’s raise our glasses to the accident season,

To the river beneath us where we sink our souls,

To the bruises and secrets, to the ghosts in the ceiling,

One more drink for the watery road.

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When I heard Bea chant the words, it was as if little insects were crawling in under my spine, ready to change it.  I was going to crack and bend, become something other.  Our temples were sweating under our masks, but we didn’t take them off.  It felt like they had become part of our skins.

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56:  After answering my mother’s fifth text, Sam tells me that last night he dreamed about an old farmhouse in the middle of the country and how he knew it was empty but he kept seeing all these faces in the windows.  I tell him about the kids I thought I saw in our reflection in the train window, and about my dream of the changeling siblings.

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Blurb:  For fans of We Were Liars, How I Live Now, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane comes a haunting, sexy, magically realistic debut about a family caught between a violent history, a taboo romance, and the mysteries lurking in their own backyard.

Every October Cara and her family become inexplicably and unavoidably accident-prone. Some years it’s bad, like the season when her father died, and some years it’s just a lot of cuts and scrapes. This accident season—when Cara, her ex-stepbrother, Sam, and her best friend, Bea, are 17—is going to be a bad one. But not for the reasons they think.

Cara is about to learn that not all the scars left by the accident season are physical: There’s a long-hidden family secret underneath the bumps and bruises. This is the year Cara will finally fall desperately in love, when she’ll start discovering the painful truth about the adults in her life, and when she’ll uncover the dark origins of the accident season—whether she’s ready or not.

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I haven’t started this one yet, but now I’m putting it near the top of my list.  I can’t wait to find out more.  What do you think?  What are you sharing?

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