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Literary Friday: The Red Notebook, The Grownup, and Stars In Your Eyes

Friday, January 22, 2016

Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!  This week has been an overall bummer for me because I've had to go out of town a couple of times plus I've had a little cold.  I didn't accomplish much other than school and reading (I read three books this week).

My second book of 2016 is The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain.  Coincidentally, it is also about a Parisian bookseller like my first book of 2016, The Little Paris Bookshop.  I checked out this book from our local library because my librarian said I'd probably enjoy it since I loved The Little Paris Bookshop.

According to Goodreads:

Heroic bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street. There's nothing in the bag to indicate who it belongs to, although there's all sorts of other things in it. Laurent feels a strong impulse to find the owner and tries to puzzle together who she might be from the contents of the bag. Especially a red notebook with her jottings, which really makes him want to meet her. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?

Oh, how I love this book!  The owner of said red notebook is Laure.  She is mugged for her expensive purse, and once the valuables are taken the thief throws the purse and the remaining contents away and that's how Laurent finds the notebook.  I enjoyed reading Laurent's quest for finding Laure's identity and then finding her.  An interesting side note is that it isn't strictly Laure's notebook that intrigues Laurent: He's also intrigued by her other possessions and her apartment.

Our homes and possessions do tend to depict a little of who we are.  I know that I'm guilty of being a looky-loo when I'm in others' homes.  I try to peek at two things:  their art and books!  Are you a Nosy Nellie like I am?  Mayhap I can relate to Laurent!

When I first read about this book I thought that Laurent might be a little stalker-ish, but he isn't. Without giving away any major plot points, Laurent is an intriguing man himself.  The red notebook is simply a serendipitous find at the most opportune time.

The second book I read this week was The Grownup by Gillian Flynn.  THANK GOD I checked this one out of the library.  *SO NOT* a fan....

According to Goodreads:

A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection. However, when the "psychic" visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan's terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan's teenage stepson, doesn't help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it.

Whoever wrote this book blurb should become the next leader of either the Republican National Committee (or the DNC, whichever) because I've never read such an inaccurate blurb in my life. Spinnity spin!   I could write my own commentary after each line of the blurb, but I won't.  

The unnamed narrator is one of the most unlikable characters ever.  She's a failure to herself and to the sisterhood.  She has earned carpal tunnel syndrome, and she deserves it.  Just read the first sentence in the book.  I would post it here but it is so gross I don't want to mess up my pretty blog.


The back of the book asks the question: Do you like ghost stories?  Well, yes!  Yes, I do!  But unfortunately, someone on crack must have decided to pose that question on the back of this particular book because this is not a ghost story.  It's about a con women and upper middle class spoiled people who are a waste of oxygen on this earth (well they would be if they were real)...

The only positive is the plot.  It takes you places you are not expecting, and methinks it will take the narrator straight to jail.  One can only hope!

I don't recommend this one because I don't like to be lied to in book blurbs and on the cover of books!

BUT....according to the back of the book....this book self-identifies as a ghost story so I suppose I can add this one to my Gothic Reading Challenge hosted by Diana @ Book of Secrets.

The last book I read this week is Stars in Your Eyes by Lynn Kurland.  I bought this one with a gift card I received for Christmas.   I buy and read all of Lynn's books.  She is one of the very best romance writers in the world, and she's my favorite.  

According to Goodreads:

Imogen Maxwell is on a hunt for rare, antique items to use on a period movie set. The last thing she expects to discover in the peaceful Scottish countryside is a pristine medieval sword . . . or to suddenly find herself facing its very vintage owner in a far too authentic castle.

Phillip de Piaget has run out of patience with his recalcitrant Scottish betrothed and is determined that she will join him, once and for all, in front of the altar. Only the lass he captures fleeing his would-be keep seems more interested in running away from him than talking to him. In fact, she seems to have no idea who he is.

But taming his reluctant bride is the least of his worries; it seems someone else wants him at the chapel . . . in a stone box. As for Imogen, how can he let her go, when she holds the key to not only the castle, but his heart?

Finally Philip de Piaget's book is here!  I've been reading about Philip for over twenty years, so it's fun to finally read his book.  Philip is the oldest son of Robin and Anne of Artane for those of you who read this series.  Actually my expectations were guarded with this book because Philip's personality isn't as gregarious as his younger brother Kendrick's, so I wasn't expecting his story to be as exciting, and it isn't.   Given his unique family with time traveling in-laws, I was a bit surprised that he spends a big part of this book in denial, but in the end he remains calm and composed during a life or death challenge.

I am not a huge fan of Imogen.  Although she is brave during most of the book, I am disappointed in how she succumbs to her family's bullying toward the end of the book.  It seems out of character as she's the family rebel.  Philip deserves better in my opinion.  The epilogue doesn't help her case much, either, but it does make me appreciate Philip more.  I hope to catch glimpses of them both in future books because I would love to change my opinion of Imogen.

What did you read this week?  This is a link party!

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. OK, you are on a reading roll and I'm just going to follow you! Adding The Red Notebook to my list. I'll pass on the other two because I'm not on crack and I don't like ghost stories. :)

  2. One good thing about not feeling well is you got in plenty reading time. The first one sounds like a good read.

  3. I sure hope you are feeling better soon. Ricki Jill during the blizzard we are getting this weekend I am going to read The Little Paris Bookshop and look forward to reading the Red Notebook. Love your Friday posts of book recommendations.

  4. First of all, The Red Notebook sounds delightful! I love stories with notebooks, journals, etc. So many secrets to be discovered. Yay for the great librarian recommendation!

    Second, The Grownup. Yep, that was a trippy story. Actually, I liked it for the most part, trying to figure out if there really was some paranormal activity going on or what. The main character was a hot mess for sure. And, I'd definitely consider it Gothic.

    Thanks so much for mentioning my little reading challenge! Have a great weekend. :-)

  5. That second book must have been a real lulu!!! I am reading SECRETS OF A CHARMED LIFE which I am LOVING. Of course, I love these romantic dramas of the WW2 period in England. The people suffered such hardships during the war when they hadn't even fully recovered from WW1. (I have a minor in British History as well as an entire section of my little library devoted to the subject so of course I do.) This book would be a fantastic book club selection.

  6. I am afraid to want more books! Have read four this year...not this week! ;) Having trouble getting into my current read...might have to try when it isn't bedtime!

  7. How do you find the time my friend, must try and find the opportunity to link up with your meme again.

  8. I am totally checking the red notebook out!!! I just finished my last book and started on Drew Barrymores new book and i had to stop i was so disappointed. But this one sounds amazing!!!

  9. Hi Ricki! We may not have the same taste for Gillian Flynn :) but I do love your selections. You have always been one of my reference points when I want to buy a new read.

    I actually have developed respect for writers of ghost stories. Years ago, we were asked to write short story under this genre. What I thought was easy because in my case, I grew up hearing superstitious beliefs... turned out to be challenging. The words used has to be carefully crafted and as you know, ghost stories need to have that concrete visual effect to the readers.

    Haven't been blog hopping but I do read your blog once in a while.

    have a great day!


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.


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