Saturday, March 25, 2017

Books Read - Week in Review - W/E - 3/25/2017


Another week has flown by, definitely more cheerful than the previous.  I had my book group meeting, spring flower show and yoga. We also celebrated my daughter and DIL's birthdays with a nice restaurant lunch on Tuesday, and then we watched the girls at our house on Wednesday so that my daughter and her husband could enjoy a nice kid-free dinner out.  Here are a  few pictures from the flower show.


Books Read Last Week


Ill Will; Dan Chaon
Ballantine Books - 2017

(My Thoughts) - In the present, Dustin is psychologist in Cleveland, Ohio who has recently lost his wife to cancer. He has 2 grown sons, one in college and another struggling with drug addiction. Some 30 years earlier Dustin's parents, aunt and uncle were brutally murdered.  The individual convicted of the crime was his adopted foster brother Rusty who has spent decades in prison until DNA evidence later proved his innocence. So who was the real killer?  In addition to this crime, there is also a present day serial killer thread that runs through the story. Ill Will is a gripping thriller that hooked me from the very beginning but, it's not a quick or easy read. The story is told by a series of narrators, some in the first person and others in the third.  A lot of the story relies on memories, some events having occurred some 30 years earlier,  while the story jumps back and forth in time. Despite this it's a well written novel that kept me on the edge of my seat. Worth reading (4/5 stars)

All the Stars in the Heavens; Adriana Trigiani
Harper - 2015

(March Book Group Read) - Loosely based on the true Hollywood love story of actress Loretta Young and Clark Gable who meet on the set filming Call of the Wild in 1935. Clark Gable is married and 13 years her senior. Alda Ducci, was in training to be a nun at an orphanage when she was forced to leave. She is given a job as Loretta Young's personal secretary, a job which she's ill prepared for given the contrast between her background and the things that go on in Hollywood yet, the two grow very close. The Hollywood story includes other stars such as David Niven, Spencer Tracy, Myrna Loy and a few others as well.  Although I liked Alda's story, I struggled with this book, finding the dialogue between the stars trivial and uninteresting which resulted in my skipping pages while plodding along.  can't recommend this one.

The other women in my book group (most older than me) seemed to enjoy what they described as a "trip down memory lane" so I found myself, along with one other reader about my age to be the only ones disappointed by this offering.  (2/5 stars overall)


Swing Time; Zadie Smith
Penguin Random House Audio - 2016

(My Thoughts) - This was a DNF for me. I had high hopes for this novel, a story of first friendships between two biracial girls in London.  Both girls dream of being dancers, even though only one (Tracey) has real talent. The story is told in the first person by an unnamed narrator and later by Tracey. I started out enjoying the audio but as the story moved from past to present and back again and location to location. London, New York and West Africa, I found myself losing interest. After falling asleep listening 3 nights in a row, I decided to abandon ship. (Honestly, the story seemed unfocused and, I'm not sure I would have enjoyed this one any more if I had tried the print version instead -- probably just not for me. (DNF)



Widowmaker; Paul Dorion
Macmillan Audio - 2016


The Futures; Anna Pitoniak
Lee Bourreaux Books - 2017



(3) new books arrived by mail last week. I think they all sound great.

How was your week ?

30 comments:

  1. Bummer that two of your books were disappointing! I've been on a really great streak and am afraid it's going to end. :-)

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    1. I love when I hit a winning streak like your in. Hope it continues for you.

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  2. The flowers are oh, so beautiful. Seems impossible to imagine there will be green grass and flowers again!

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  3. Diane, I love the flower pics, and your last photo, with the cat and books. Enjoy your new books. I hope to have more time to devote to reading this weekend.

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    1. Thanks Susan, the cat, Buddy, is my constant companion lately -- so sweet.

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  4. Looks like you read some great books and received some other great looking ones. Enjoy!

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  5. The flower show and lunch to celebrate your daughter's birthday sounds like, over all, you had a terrific week. Thanks for sharing your photos from the flower show!

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  6. The flower show and your daughter's birthday sound like fun! I read a Zadie Smith book a few years ago and just didn't get it so I figure she's not for me.

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    1. Kathy, I think Zadie Smith's writing takes some getting used to although some readers really seem to love her style.

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  7. The flower show and birthday celebration must have made up for the disappointing reads - beautiful photos! I haven't had much luck with Zadie Smith in the past, but still had hopes for her new book.

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    1. Thanks Joann - as I mentioned to Kathy, I think Zadie Smith's writing takes some getting used to although some readers really seem to love her style.

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  8. Too bad about the Trigiani book - although I remember other reviews were similar when the book was published. I have high hopes for her new book. The Hideaway caught my eye.

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    1. Mary, I'd still be willing to try her latest book.

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  9. Sounds like a good week and the books were mostly good too!

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  10. I'm glad you enjoyed Ill Will; that's one on my wish list. The author had a signing near me but sadly I couldn't make it!

    -Lauren
    http://shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com/2017/03/a-bit-more-about-usborne-books-and-more.html

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    1. It's a challenging read at times, but a good story.

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  11. Such beautiful flowers! I am glad you had a better week, this week, Diane. I am sorry to hear you were unable to finish Swing Time. I have a copy of that one and hope to read it one of these days.

    We had a lovely week. It rained a little on Tuesday, but other than that, the weather has been sunny and pleasant. I hope you have a great week!

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    1. Thank Wendy, you may enjoy Swing Time more than I did -- many readers loved it. Glad CA is finally getting some rain this year (at times way too much) after so many years without. Have a great week.

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  12. What lovely flowers - tulips are one of my favourites. A shame about the Zadie Smith, which I hou that sounded promising. Still, you can't win everytime with books. Have a good week.

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    1. Emma, I love tulips as well. I do wish they stayed in bloom longer though. hope your week is a good one.

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  13. The photos are lovely. I love flowers! I have Ill Will requested at the library. I was crazy about Chaon's previous novel. I also enjoyed the Zadie Smith, though I think listening to it instead of reading it could have made it confusing. If you are at all still interested here is my review: http://keepthewisdom.blogspot.com/2017/01/swing-time.html. All the Stars sounds intriguing but I have not liked that author's writing when I tried her before, so you saved me some reading time!

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    1. Thanks Judy, I needed the peek at signs of spring this week. I know u enjoyed Zadie SMith's Swing Time, that's why I wanted to read it.

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  14. Beautiful photos! What amazing flowers. I am sure your daughter appreciated her birthday lunch and her birthday dinner.

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  15. I don't always get to comment, but I always enjoy seeing what you are reading. I just began Ann Patchett's "Commonwealth" and loving it. Have a great week. Hugs!

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    1. I like Patchett and enjoyed Commonwealth as well. Thanks for stopping by Bonnie.

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