Friday, May 31, 2013

Flora; Gail Godwin

Title: Flora
Author: Gail Godwin
Publication Year:  2013
Publisher:
Edition: eGalley

Source: NetGalley
Setting: Tennessee
Date Completed: May - 2013
Rating: 5/5

Recommend: yes
 

In the summer of 1945, the end of WWII, 10-year old Helen Anstruther is in for yet another change in her young life.  Her mother died when she was only 3, and Nonie who cared for her since her mother's death, has recently passed away as well.  Her father is still in the picture, the principal of a high school in North Carolina. He drinks too much and isn't someone you could call a nurturer. This summer he will be away to work on a secret project for the government. In his absence, he has hired "Flora", a 22-year old cousin from Alabama to come to care for Helen.

Intro ----"There are things we can't undo, but perhaps there is a kind of constructive remorse that could transform regrettable acts into something of service to life.
That summer Flora and I were together every day and night for three weeks in June, all of July, and the first six days of August.  I was ten, going on eleven, and she was twenty-two.  I thought I knew her intimately, I thought I knew everything there was to know about her, but she has since become a profound study for me, more intensely so in recent years.  Styles have come and gone in storytelling, psychologizing, theologizing, but Flora keeps providing me with something as enigmatic as it is basic to life, as timeless as it is fresh." 

Helen is not thrilled, a pretentious, know-it-all child who finds fault with just about everything Helen will say and do. Her sense of superiority, vivid imagination, and her self-reliance were, were things about her that I actually came to love. She's a sneaky child who tries to undermine Flora every chance she gets, yet there is something about Helen, maybe her spunk, that made me love her all the same.

In addition to Flora there is Finn, a young Veteran who delivers groceries to Flora and Helen who are confined to a ram shackled mountain lodge by Helen's father, a polio survivor, because of another polio outbreak. Finn provides for some interest competition for his attention.

The story is narrated by Helen in the present as a 70-year old, as she looks back on that summer with Flora came to stay after finishing her education in preparation for a teaching career. Old letters that Flora had exchanged over the years with Helen's Nonie serve to fill in the blanks into the family's past. So it is over the course of one summer that Helen learns the many life lessons that can't always be taught in school. In addition, she realizes Flora wasn't all like the older cousin she thought she was as a child.

Flora, is a terrific story about family, loss and how childhood experiences  can impact us for life. I loved this one! This just might make my Top 10 list for 2013. Read it!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Reliable Wife; Robert Goolrick



Title: A Reliable Wife
Author: Robert Goolrick
Publication Year:  2009
Publisher: Algonquin and Recorded Books
Edition: audio
Reader: Mark Feiurstein (very good)
Source: library
Setting: Wisconsin
Date Completed: May - 2013
Rating: 4/5

Recommend: yes

The Reliable Wife is a story which seems simple from the start. Ralph Truitt, is a wealthy, lonely, man who is looking for companionship, without romance.  It's the winter of 1909 in rural Wisconsin, Ralph has no family, his wife died 20 years earlier, so he places an ad for "A Reliable Wife."  Catherine Land answers his ad, stating that she is a simple woman of modest means. Deep down she is anything but, and little does Ralph know, she has other plans. Her thoughts are to work on a plan that will make her a rich widow rather quickly.  Ralph Truitt hasn't been exactly upfront and forthcoming about his past either, and together they make for a couple of truly unlikable characters --- at least at the beginning.
 
Trickery and deception aside, both are wounded souls desperate to survive. Each make for pretty intense characters. It is their thoughts and actions that drive the novel along, as the reader learns more about Ralph and Catherine's past.  Sexual tension and frustrations are intense throughout this novel, but it is extremely well done and this too tends drive the story.  For me, the story dragged a bit at times, but then a twist or new revelation would surface and I had to keep listening. Before too long my feelings for the characters began to change as their sad pasts were revealed.
 
Normally, this would not be the type of book I would choose, but I downloaded it on audio several years ago and decided to give it a try.  The audio is very well done, it's narrated by Mark Feurstein. It's not a terribly long novel, and overall, I was happy that I kept listening. Readers who love character driven stories, flawed characters, stories about revenge, redemption with a heavy dose of lust, as well, should enjoy this book. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Dinner; Herman Koch


Title: The Dinner
Author: Herman Koch
Publication Year:  2013
Publisher: Random House (Hogarth) and Audio Go
Edition: audio

Reader: Clive Mantle (very good)
Source: library
Setting: Amsterdam
Date Completed: May - 2013
Rating: 5/5

Recommend: yes

I tried to stay away from spoilers when reading the many reviews posted on this novel. I knew it had some shocking aspects, but what they were or just how shocking, I had no clue.  WOW, this is one disturbing, but the way the story rolls out with "the dinner" as it's backdrop is makes for one terrific experience.

The story starts off innocent enough with (2) couples: brothers, Serge and Paul Lohman, and their wives Babette and Claire, meeting for dinner at a high end restaurant in Amsterdam, one lovely summer evening. The story evolves over the various courses of their meal.  Serge is a politician, running for Prime Minister, and Paul is a retired teacher.  It is clear early on that there is no love between brothers, but they have come together to discuss a disturbing incident involving their teenage sons. An incident so horrific that it is about to make the news. Bit by bit the reader finds much to dislike about these snobby, loathsome individuals who differentiate themselves from the "regular people".

None of the characters in this novel are likable, so it's not surprising that their sons have issues given the moral fiber of the parents.  The writing and the way the story unfolds in small doses, not only draws the reader in, but allows them time to form opinions about these adults as well.  The story is told in a series of flashbacks, including some disturbing ones. To me just as disturbing as the incident, is the way some of the parents react to the situation.

It's a story that left me wondering does bad parenting or bad genes attribute to psychopathic behavior?  In this case, I think "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

I finished this well over a week ago, but wanted to process it before writing my review.  Initially I was going to give it a 4.5/5, but the longer I think about this one, I know it's a story that will stick and the dark humor added to my enjoyment of this one. In it's own twisted way, The Dinner, is a story I really enjoyed, Worthy of a 5 star rating in my book -- Read it or listen to it -- the narrator is very good!

Waiting on Wednesday - Valley of Amazement; Amy Tan


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pick is from an author I've enjoyed in the past. Sadly she hasn't had a new book in a long time, so I'm especially excited about this one:

November 2013 - Ecco

Moving between the dazzling world of courtesans in turn of the century Shanghai, a remote Chinese mountain village, and the rough-hewn streets of nineteenth-century San Francisco, Amy Tan's sweeping new novel maps the lives of three generations of women connected by blood and history - and the mystery of an evocative painting known as "The Valley of Amazement." Violet is one of the most celebrated courtesans in Shanghai, a beautiful and intelligent woman who has honed her ability to become any man's fantasy since her start as a "Virgin Courtesan" at the age of twelve. Half-Chinese and half-American, she moves effortlessly between the East and the West. But her talents belie her private struggle to understand who she really is and her search for a home in the world. Abandoned by her mother, Lucia, and uncertain of her father's identity, Violet's quest to truly love and be loved will set her on a path fraught with danger and complexity - and the loss of her own daughter. Lucia, a willful and wild American woman who was once herself the proprietress of Shanghai's most exclusive courtesan house, nurses her own secret wounds, which she first sustained when, as a teenager, she fell in love with a Chinese painter and followed him from San Francisco to Shanghai. Her search for penance and redemption will bring her to a startling reunion with Flora, Violet's daughter, and will shatter all that Violet believed she knew about her mother. Spanning fifty years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement is a deeply moving narrative of family secrets, the legacy of trauma, and the profound connections between mothers and daughters, that returns listeners to the compelling territory Amy Tan so expertly mapped in The Joy Luck Club. With her characteristic wisdom, grace, and humor, she conjures a story of the inheritance of love, its mysteries and senses, its illusions and truths.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros


Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where I share the first paragraph or (a few) of a book I am reading or thinking about reading soon. Care to join us?

This week I'm featuring an intro from a book that I'll be starting this week (I hope):


June 4-2013 - Harper

"I have to wonder whether any of the true highlights of my forty some years have had to do with food.  I don't mean celebratory dinners, good fellowship:  I mean salivation, mastication, and peristalsis.  Oddly, for something I do everyday, I can't remember many meals in detail, while it is far easier for me to call up favorite movies, faithful friendships, graduations.  It follows, then, that film, affinity, and education are more important to me than stuffing my face.  Well done, me, you say.  But were I honestly to total the time I have lavished on menu planning, grocery shopping, prep and cooking, table setting, and kitchen cleanup for meal upon mean, food, one way or another, has dwarfed my fondness for Places in the Heart to an incidental footnote; ditto my fondness for any human being, even those whom I profess to love.  I have spent less time thinking about my husband than thinking about lunch.  Throw in the time I also spent ruing indulgence in lemon meringue pies, vowing to skip breakfast tomorrow, and opening the refrigerator/stopping myself from dispatching the leftover pumpkin custard/then shutting it firmly again, and I seem to have concerned myself with little else but food."


What do you think? Would you keep reading or move on to something else?    (I think it's a little rambling, but still feel it is setting the stage for a good story)

 Please join us and add your link below.
 
 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday Snapshots - May 25th - 2013


Alyce at At Home With Books has decided to take a break from blogging and from hosting Saturday Snapshot. We will miss her, but all of us understand a need to step back, regroup, and prioritize one's life. We hope to see her back soon. Saturday Snapshot is now hosted by Melinda at West Metro Mommy while Alyce is away.

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky (at West Metro Mommy). Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

This past week we had our annual employee picnic at work. They had all sorts of events for employees to participate in, or to just sit back and enjoy: psychic readings, comedy acts, jugglers, magicians, DJ, bingo, photography, landscape tips, rug braiding demonstrations, manicures, door prizes and more.

One of the demonstrations was from the inhabitants of a local parrot shop. There birds were so entertaining and so smart. They even performed for us...LOL (I had no idea that these birds live to 50 years of age on average.)There were also about (5) others not shown here.

 
 (4) week old lovebird
 




Friday, May 24, 2013

Under the Dome ; Stephen King - Read-Along



Need a Stephen King Fix?  Why not join in an informal read-along?

Thanks go out to..
The Under the Dome, mini-series will premiere in exactly one month on CBS, the summer readalong starts now and will extend past the mini-series premiere.

Doing a kick-off post? Then feel free to give details on:
  • Show us your copy! Audio or print?
  • Have you read Uncle Stevie before?
  • Oh.....yes....more than half of his novels...the creepier tne better!
  • What are you familiar with about Under the Dome or Stephen King?
  • It's still a mystery to me- plan to start it over the weekend I hope.
  • What are you looking forward to?
  • Reading other bloggers thoughts!
Won't you join us?  
Sign up- http://www.coffeeandabookchick.com/

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Magnificence; Lydia Millet


Title: Magnificence
Author: Lydia Millet
Publication Year:  2012
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co
Edition: eGalley and audio (Xe Sands-narrator)
Source: Edelweiss and library audio
Setting: CA
Date Completed: May - 2013
Rating: 3.5/5

Recommend: yes (read books 1 and 2 first)

I struggled with coming up with a cohesive review for this novel, as my thoughts about this one seemed scattered.  Did I like the novel? Yes, but I had issues with it as well.
 
Magnificence begins as the novel's protagonist, Susan Lindley, and her daughter Casey head out to the airport to pick up husband/father Hal. Hal has been in Belize looking for Susan's boss, T, a real estate developer, who has gone missing. Little do either women realized but Hal is dead, the victim of a mugging turned violent. Why he is in South America, and why Susan is  feeling guilty was a mystery to me, but as I read on I realized that this, is in fact, the third book in a trilogy: How the Dead Dream, Ghost Lights and now Magnificence. Although it has been stated that this novel can stand alone, I tend to disagree. I'm pretty sure I would have enjoyed it more if I knew the entire story of Susan, Hal , (now deceased), and Casey, (now a paraplegic), and why Susan blames herself for Hal's death.
 
Once Susan realizes what has happened to Hal, she is beside herself with guilt. She decides to sell their home and start fresh by moving to the beach. Just as this happens, she learns that she has inherited an estate in Pasadena, CA, from an eccentric uncle that Susan hardly knew. Once Susan gets inside of this weird old mansion, things get creepy. The house is full with exotic wildlife from all parts of the world that her uncle has hunted and had stuffed. Deer, bear, eagles, hawks, leopards and other creatures fill the rooms of the mansion; the place is certainly bizarre.  The floor that Susan chooses to live on has 8 bedrooms each with a geographic letter theme on the door: The Rainforest, The Arctic, The Himalayas etc. This was also a part of the novel I loved as well.
 
The reason for Susan's guilt is eventually revealed, and as Susan begins sorting through her uncle's extensive taxidermy collections, she ends up not only caring for the collection, but allowing other damaged individuals like herself stay with her to help with their issues as well.
 
Much of the novel is told through the internalized thoughts of Susan, as she dwells on the role she played in her husband's death.  Susan was an extremely flawed character, and at times I found her thoughts and ramblings moving.  I do wish that the secondary characters were more fully explored as I would have liked to know more about them. The writing was very good; at time satirical, and definitely a perceptive account of love, loss, loneliness and aging.  I liked the ending, and even though it was not perfect, it was not disappointing either. I'm so sorry I did not read the first (2) novels in this trilogy before attempting this one, and I honestly think my appreciation of this story would have been more fully realized.  I do plan to go back and read all (3) novels in order. I do recommend this author.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - Accidents Happen; Louise Millar


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pick:

June 25, 2013 - Atria/Emily Bestler Books


From Louise Millar, the acclaimed author of The Playdate, comes a gripping psychological thriller where one woman’s streak of bad luck may be something far more sinister.

Kate Parker lives her life in a state of heightened anxiety, constantly afraid that something terrible will happen to her and her ten-year-old son, Jack. She obsesses over statistics to make them safe. There’s a reason for Kate’s nervousness. She lost her parents in a freak traffic accident on her wedding night, and her husband Hugo was murdered. It’s time for Kate to move on and start a new life.

When Kate meets Jago, it feels like she’s about to get that new beginning. Soon, though, her doubts return—despite the fact that everyone thinks she’s irrational. But is she imagining things? Or does she have a real reason to worry? After all, accidents happen.

Heralded as “a writer to watch” (Booklist) for her stylishly creepy and accomplished debut, Louise Millar skillfully layers suspense and twists in this taut and deeply suspenseful thriller.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros


Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where I share the first paragraph or (a few) of a book I am reading or thinking about reading soon. Care to join us?

This week I'm featuring an intro from a book that I'll be starting this week (I hope):



" The coffin struck fast at the angle of the garden path and the gateway out into  the road.  The undertaker's men shunted to and fro, their hats knocked askew by low branches, their topcoats showered with raindrops from  the hedge.  The mourners halted around the front door and waited in silence.  Birds sang effusively.  At least the men managed to pivot the coffin on the gatepost and proceeded to the waiting hearse.  The coffin was loaded.  The mourners straggled out into the road and hesitated, unwilling to commit themselves to the attendant limousines."

What do you think? Would you keep reading or move on to something else?   

 Please join us and add your link below.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Salon - May 19th



Hope everyone is having a nice weekend. We are in NYC and have been for the last several days celebrating the Bat Mitzvah of my husband's oldest granddaughter.  Although there were (3) days of planned activities for family and friends, we did manage to have some free time to visit The Strand and The Met as well as visiting several terrific restaurants. Our time here has been fun and the weather had been awesome except for Saturday afternoon and today. We'll be heading home this evening.

How was your week in general?  It's was a busy week at work for most college employees - Commencement is this weekend, and picture perfect weather....sunny and 70 degrees all weekend. I'm off until Tuesday so happy about that.

Reading

Finished - 

Finishing  Up - 
  • The Dinner; Herman Koch on audio --OMG...but in a good, albeit sick way.
  • Flora; Gail Godwin - very good
Up Next - 
Some "cat ladies" start their obsession very young!
Have a Great Week Everyone - I'll Catch up on Visiting Your Blogs on Monday.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Chosen; Chaim Potok

 















Title: The Chosen
Author: Chaim Potok
Publication Year:  1967
Publisher: Fawcett and Recorded Books
Edition: paperback and audio
Source: my shelves and library audio
Setting: NY
Date Completed: May - 2013
Rating: 4.5/5

Recommend: yes

The Chosen takes place in Brooklyn, New York in 1944-1949, beginning with (2) sixteen year old Jewish boys whose lives intersect unexpectedly. Danny Saunder's father is a Rabbi for a strict, Hasidic sect. Reuven Malter, is the son of a more modern Orthodox Jew; his father is a professor, writer and political activist. Danny and Reuven play on  opposing softball teams. During one of their games Danny hits a ball that strikes Reuven in the eye and he is taken to the hospital and later undergoes eye surgery. 

Danny is a brilliant boy who has a strong interest in psychiatry, but his father has been busy preparing him for his inherited role of succeeding him as a rabbi. Deep down, Danny has no interest in Talmudic studies. Instead, he spends his free time at the library absorbing complex books of all types, hoping to eventually fulfill his dream of becoming a psychologist. 

Reb Sanders has a strange relationship with his son Danny. There is rarely any communication unless it has to do with theTalmud. Oddly, his father does stress the importance of going to the hospital to apologize to Reuven about the accident.  Reuven is not to thrilled by the visit or the apology, but Danny persists and the two eventually end up being friends.  As their friendship progresses it is Reuven who communicates with Danny's father about his son's passion.
 
The Chosen is a book that has sat on my shelf unread for far too long. Part coming of age story, it is also a story about a deep meaningful friendship between boys through high school and college. There is also a dose of history and religion as well as talk about the modern day Israel. I thought the information about the Jewish culture as well as the differences between the Jewish sects was fascinating. Although the role of both boys seemed equally important in this story, it was Reuven who told the story, and I thought it makes sense why that happened. I haven't read a book like this one in a long time and was happy that I did.
If you haven't read this one yet; consider giving it a try. 
 
Initially, I listened to this one on audio. The reader, Jonathan Davis, did an excellent job, but there were so many terrific passages that I also marked them up in the paperback copy that I had at home as well. I thought I'd share a few quotes with you:
 
  • "There were fifteen of them, and they were dressed alike in white shirts, dark pants, white sweaters, and small black skullcaps. In the fashion of the very Orthodox, their hair was closely cropped, except for the areas near their ears from which mushroomed the untouched hair that tumbled down into the long side curls. Some of them had the beginnings of beards, straggly tufts of hair that stood in isolated clumps on their chins, jawbones, and upper lips. They all wore the traditional undergarments beneath their shirts, and the tzitzit, the long fringes appended to the four corners of the garment, came out above their belts and swung against their pants a they walked. These were the very Orthodox, and they obeyed literally the Biblical commandments."
  • "You must remember what the Talmud says. If a person comes to apologize for having hurt you, you must listen and forgive him...What I tried to tell you, Reuven, is that when a person comes to talk to you, you should be patient and listen."
  • "From the time Danny was about six or seven until the end of his last year in college, Reb Saunders, Danny's father, had deliberately created a barrier of silence between himself and his son, except when they studied Talmud together. He was frightened of Danny's cold brilliance; he wanted to teach his son what it meant to suffer."

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Looking for Me; Beth Hoffman


Title: Looking for Me
Author: Beth Hoffman
Publication Year:  2013
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Edition: ARC
Source: sent by author
Setting: KY and SC
Date Completed: May - 2013
Rating: 5/5
 


From the age of 10, back in 1964, Teddi Overman had an eye for beautiful furniture. One day she found an old chair in a ditch along the side of the road, and carried it down the road to her family farm.  After she finished restoring the chair, she found a small table to refinish and sold the piece for $100.00. This sale led to her being invited to meet with a Mr. Palmer, an antique's dealer in South Carolina.

Teddi dreamed that one day she'd have her own antique's business. Her controlling mother had other plans for Teddi. She wanted her to go to secretarial school after graduation. Her father, on the other hand, was quiet about his feelings on the subject, but deep down supported his daughter.

Without giving too many specifics about this story away, I'll just say that it isn't all about Teddi, it's about family as well. It's about losing people we love, and accepting our losses. Teddi's younger brother Josh (who Teddi got to name when he was born), is a haunting character in this novel. Teddi describes her brother as: "quiet and introspective, gentle, a loner, thoughtful". He was also was a lover of nature and animals and loved spending time in the woods.  An extremely, sad incident involving Josh at the age of 17 causes him to leave home one day while Teddi is living in South Carolina.

This is a story that full of Southern charm. I loved the characters that the author has created. They are not perfect people, but so real and memorable. The storyline goes back and forth in time, a device which seemed to work well in this novel. Although the story, for the most part, is quiet and contemplative one, it is never boring, nor does is disappoint. Acceptance is a theme that came across loud and clear to me -- there are some things that happen in life, choices we make that just can't be explained or undone.  The novel is not entirely sad, some of the quirky characters will make readers smile. The title "Looking for Me", was a perfect choice as readers will come to realize for themselves once they finish this touching story. A perfect summer choice. Be sure to read it!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros


Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where I share the first paragraph or (a few) of a book I am reading or thinking about reading soon. Care to join us?

This week I'm featuring an intro from a book that I'm currently reading.



"There are things we can't undo, but perhaps there is a kind of constructive remorse that could transform regrettable acts into something of service to life.

That summer Flora and I were together every day and night for three weeks in June, all of July, and the first six days of August.  I was ten, going on eleven, and she was twenty-two.  I thought I knew her intimately, I thought I knew everything there was to know about her, but she has since become a profound study for me, more intensely so in recent years.  Styles have come and gone in storytelling, psychologizing, theologizing, but Flora keeps providing me with something as enigmatic as it is basic to life, as timeless as it is fresh." 

What do you think? Would you keep reading or move on to something else?   - I liked the intro a lot and the first 50 pages have breezed by for me, and looking forward to reading more.  

 Please join us and add your link below.


 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Reconstructing Amelia; Kimberly McCreight



Title: Reconstructing Amelia
Author: Kimberly McCreight
Publication Year:  2013
Publisher: Harper
Edition: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Setting: New York
Date Completed: May - 2013
Rating: 4/5 


Part coming of age story, part mystery, Reconstructing Amelia is a story that pulled me in early on.

Amelia is the fifteen year old daughter of single mom Kate Baron, a high powered Manhattan litigation attorney.  Amelia is funny, has friends, is smart, an honors student, who attends Grace Hall, an elite private school in New York.  So naturally when Kate gets a telephone call from the school saying that Amelia has been suspended for cheating, she can't believe what she is hearing.  Kate is told to come and get her daughter. As shocking to Kate as this may seem, what happens next is every mother's worst nightmare.  When she arrives at the school a short time later, she is told her daughter is dead after jumping off the roof of a building. The police call it suicide, but that changes when Kate received an undisclosed text message which reads: "She Didn't Jump".

What really happened to Amelia?  The story is told through both the viewpoints of Amelia, before her death, and Kate after her daughter's death.  The police reopen the case and, the remainder of the novel keeps the reader guessing as to what happened to Amelia and why? Set in the present day of texts, Facebook, and blogs, the story covers the gamut of teen issues: mean spirited teens, bullying, hazing, sexuality as well as other sensitive issues.  The characters were fairly well developed, a few were ones I despised. I think I know how the term "snobby rich kids" got its bad rap.

For the most part, I liked this debut novel, but not the way it jumped around from past to present I think this story will be a hit with readers who enjoy YA novels, although some of the subject matter is for mature readers. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Salon - Mother's Day Edition


Happy Mother's Day to Mom's Everywhere!
 
How was your week blog readers?   It's kinda scary the way the weeks have a way of just flying by.  I feel like I have all sorts of new energy lately. I've lost 23lbs in the last (4) months so I am pretty happy,  and also having fun building a new spring wardrobe:). Still hoping to lose some more over the summer, which with all the fresh fruit and veggies and ice cream, I'm hoping it won't be too difficult.

I've been busy reading, but have not sat down to write any reviews this week...sighhh. Here's what I've read (a few were in process from the previous week):

Currents reads:
Today's plans have changed a bit, as we were off to a local winery but the weather is cloudy with rain expected.  Looking forward to relaxing, some company this afternoon and just enjoying a Mom's Day of doing as I please. Same to all of you.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lake People; Abi Maxwell



Title: Lake People
Author: Abi Maxwell
Publication Year:  2013
Publisher: Knopf
Edition: ARC and eGalley
Source: Amazon Vine and Edelweiss
Setting: New Hampshire
Date Completed: May - 2013
Rating: 3/5 
Recommended: ?



Lake People drew me in from the very beginning with the following opening:
1982 
 
" IN THE COLD and windy days after I was born, I was deposited into an old canoe on the big lake.  I have recently discovered this.  I like to think my birth parents believed that this lake would hold me safe, but I don't see how that could possibly be true, for it turns out I come from a long line of people swallowed by these waters.  My name is Alice, and by the time I was born, unwanted, the belief that there were places in the lake where the floor of the world either dropped out or was never put in and had settled itself deep into my blood."
but, then something happened-----

In a nutshell, Alice Thornton is a woman who is eager to learn details about her early life. She grew up in Kettleborough, New Hampshire (fictional town) with her father-- her mother had taken off early on. She later learns that it was she who was abandoned, found, and then adopted.  She is eager to find out about about her ancestors and her roots. 

The novel begins and ends in 1982 when Alice was 24 year's old, yet the story itself spans a period of over seventy-five years. Covering such a long period and so many different people from some of the town's earliest inhabitants, and trying to piece how they fit into Alice's story proved difficult for me. Thank goodness each new chapter was dated, but it was still a chore at times to stay interested and to keep everyone's story straight. 

It wasn't all negative for me, I did like the air of mystery, the setting, and most of the characters.  It wasn't even the somber tone that bothered me, it's just that before long, it started to feel like one too many short stories were being crammed into what was intended to be a novel, and the writing style just never seemed consistent.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday ~ We are Water; Wally Lamb

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pick is by another favorite author:



Oct 29th-2013 - Harper Collins

Book Description Obtained HERE -

"Set in New England and New York during the first years of the Obama presidency, "We Are Water" explores America's class divisions, its changing social mores and its legacy of racial violence . . . [and] asks: where does art come from, what motivates the artist to create it, and what is creativity's relationship to madness?"

The novel follows the long marriage and break-up of half-Chinese, half-Italian university psychologist and his wife, an "outsider" artist, and the lives of their twins. When the wife plans to marry the woman who is her art dealer, it opens a "Pandora's box of toxic secrets."

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Looking for Me; Beth Hoffman


Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where I share the first paragraph or (a few) of a book I am reading or thinking about reading soon. Care to join us?

This week I'm featuring an intro from a book that will be released this month:


Pamela Dorman Books - May 28th, 2013

"Some people run toward life, arms flung wide in anticipation.  Others crack open the door and take a one-eyed peek to see what's out there.  Then there are those who give up on life long before their heart stops beating--all used up, worn out, and caved in, yet they wake each morning an shuffle their tired legs through another day.  Maybe they're hoping for a change --a miracle, even --but runaway dreams and lost years hang heavily on their backs.  It's the only coat they know how to wear."

What do you think? Would you keep reading or move on to something else?   - I liked the intro a lot and the first 50 pages have breezed by for me, and looking forward to reading more.  

 Please join us and add your link below.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mailbox Monday - May 6, 2013


For those who participate in Monday Mailbox, Apple Blossom, of 4 the Love of Books is the host for May. I haven't participated for a few weeks so I have an embarrassing amount of new books to share this week.

 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Saturday Snapshots - a few photos and a few questions for my readers



Saturday Snapshot


Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don't post random photos that you find online.


 Why does this "orchid" like being at work more than me?


Honestly, this orchid was nearly dead at home, but I brought it to work about (6) months ago and it now has (6) huge blooms (3) buds about to bloom and me shoots sprouting at the bottom! Clearly it doesn't mind work as much as me:)
 
Why don't any birds in the neighborhood want to call this birdhouse home?

I put up my first birdhouse here (I've had a birdbath and feeders for 4 years), but, sadly,  no birds have tried to nest here.  What's wrong with it? It has just the (1) front opening and the bird feeders are within (30) feet of it.