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review 2019-11-11 11:54
Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel - Matthew J. Sullivan

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore had a couple of things going for it. First and most importantly a bookstore. These kind of books always find a way onto my reading list. The main character being a bookseller also helps. Add to that some mysterious messages that are left and a death to investigate. It sounded like nothing could prevent this from being an amusing read.

And it was a nice read, just I had expected a little bit more from it. The past narrative from the main character made I couldn't focus on the ongoing investigation and I never really got into the story. While the writing was nice and made it an easy read, it wasn't anything special either.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2019-03-12 10:11
Needs better relationships
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel - Matthew J. Sullivan
Minor nitpick: How is this bookshop staying open? The current economic climate has booksellers internationally at quite tight margins!
This story features suicide by hanging.
Lydia Smith used to have a different name but she achieved notoriety as the survivor of a serial killer attack (Nora Roberts has used this trope a few times). She works in a bookshop (that seems almost like a library) and tries to keep her life going. Sometimes almost going through the motions. She hasn't talked to her father in several years.
When one of the men who use the bookshop as a refuge (they call them bookfrogs after the frog in the Wind in the Willows) hangs himself in the bookshop he leaves Lydia all his treasures and she follows some clues he leaves into her past and the mystery of the murder at the centre of her life. He uses books to send her a message but it's complicated and messy. It will change her life and her attitude to everything.
Thinking back I don't recall a single functional relationship that involved sex in the story. It's not a bad read but it just felt like a lot of effort for not a lot of gain.
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review 2019-02-01 14:09
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel - Matthew J. Sullivan

Joey, a Book Frog, kills himself in the upper floors of the bookstore and when he is found, it is while going through his items left to her, that she starts to remember her own past and the "Hammerman." 


This was two stories at the same time and constant jumping back and forth between the two. This is not my favorite style of story and so I didn't really enjoy the story. 

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review 2018-10-22 19:28
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore / Matthew Sullivan
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel - Matthew J. Sullivan

When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind. Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.

But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore’s upper room, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely, uncared for man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?


I’m always on the look-out for a good book about a library or bookstore and I’m also a fan of the mystery genre, so when I ran across this title, it went on my “to read sooner rather than later” list right away. I really enjoyed it—largely because of the setting (the bookstore) but also because the suicide wasn’t the only focus of the story. It becomes obvious early on that there is a mystery in Lydia’s background too, and one that she must sort out if she’s going to figure out why Joey Molina killed himself in her bookstore.

It takes courage to face the past and you can’t blame people for avoiding it whenever possible. Lydia is wary of becoming “Poor Lydia,” the girl who survived the Horrible Thing. But when your childhood trauma was front page news back in the day, it’s hard to avoid being recognized. It’s even harder to come to try to come to grips with a crime that’s colder than Greenland.

I loved the gradual reveal of Lydia’s memories and how she starts to try to make sense of them as an adult. I also found her gradual reunion with her father to be realistic and well done. There are lots of co-incidences and synchronicities required to weave the different story lines together, but nothing too incredible to deal with—I’ve seen real-life situations that would be more unbelievable than this. I also liked the slightly messy ending, being the sort of reader who doesn’t like everything tied up too neatly.

Perfect as the “Book that involves a bookstore or library” selection for my PopSugar challenge this year.

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text 2018-10-11 18:06
TBR Thursday
Made to Kill: A Novel (L.A. Trilogy) - Adam Christopher
Evil Librarian - Michelle Knudsen
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel - Matthew J. Sullivan
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis,Pauline Baynes


I'm currently working on The Mysteries of Udolpho, which pretty much demands that you take things slow and gentle.  I feel like I've been reading forever, and the girl isn't even an orphan yet.  And she must be an orphan for this to be gothic!  It's one of my Halloween Bingo choices, so I've got to persevere.


I've got two more Halloween Bingo books waiting.  I've read a few pages into Made to Kill, but I'm making myself wait to start Evil Librarian


And I've got two books from my planned reading list for the year, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  I've heard very mixed reviews on the former, but the latter should be a reliably good read.


Also on my schedule is a performance of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, which I'm attending on Sunday.  Our city's Shakespeare Company is doing a season centred on Hamlet, which this play kicks off.  Next up will be Hammered Hamlet, followed by Hamlet, a Ghost Story.  The fourth play is The Hamlet Frequency, but I've got my fingers crossed that I will be in France at that point.


I still need to get my Science Fiction & Fantasy books organized--maybe I can squeeze that task in as well.


Have a great weekend!




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