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Search tags: midnight-at-the-bright-ideas-bookstore
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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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review 2018-04-21 18:31
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore - average
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel - Matthew J. Sullivan

An intricate story of many people all connected through a bookstore and/or their pasts. Lydia has changed her last name and moved back to the city of her childhood, deciding to start over and having somewhat unrealistic ideas that nobody will uncover her secret (including the man she lives with.) That all starts to unravel when Joey, a patron of the Bright Ideas Bookstore, kills himself among the books. Lydia finds him and subsequently inherits all of his earthly possessions - most of which are books.

 

Through these books Joey enlists Lydia in unraveling the mysteries of his death and life. Meanwhile news from the suicide in the store pulls Lydia's past into her present. Through flashbacks and a lot of foreshadowing we learn along with Lydia about surprising and extremely coincidental connections among a cast of characters that previously seemed unconnected. Meanwhile there's this suicide and a baroque bunch of messages from beyond  the grave to unravel. While figuring out Joey's actions, Lydia is forced to face her own past whether she wants to or not. (She doesn't.)

 

There are some real coincidences in this book, but they didn't bother me enough to make me put it down. It becomes pretty clear early on who the villain is, even if his motives remain unclear. Lydia, the main character, can be quite frustrating but I accepted everyone on their own terms and read on. It's a quick read and the mystery changes through the book. Some of the characters are lovely, sadly these aren't the main characters. It is a decent read with a great title. However, I don't know who I might recommend this to, and in the final examination, I just didn't care enough about any of the characters or find their story very compelling.

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