Tuesday, January 22, 2019

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Good Riddance, Elinor Lipman

Each Tuesday, Vicki, from I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where  readers post the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book that they are reading or plan to read. (This week's pick is by one of my favorite author's.)

Good Riddance; Elinor Lipman
Houghton, Mifflin Harcourt - 2019

The Grateful Class of 68

"FOR A FEW WEEKS after my mother's death, I was in possession of the painstakingly annotated high school yearbook that had been dedicated to her by the grateful class of 1968.

Yes, she'd been their English teacher and yearbook advisor, but that didn't explain her obsessive collecting of signatures and tributes next to every senior's photo.  I could picture her --age twenty-three, her first job after college, roaming the corridors or Pickering High School, pen and book in hand, coaxing the shyest, least engaged boy or girl to sign--Write anything, I want to remember every one of you. Could you personalize it, just a few words?"

Would you read more or take a pass?

Sunday, January 20, 2019

My Week in Review

We woke up to snow, snow and more snow (about 5"- 6") and now sleet and freezing rain. Colder temps are moving in this tomorrow - perfect reason to stay in and read.
It was nice having a no-stress week.  It's also so nice to live in a condo and not have to worry about snow removal on days like today.
Reading - Still reading The Overstory; Richard Powers (beautiful writing, but, a tough read for me). This may be a DNF.

New Book Arrivals 

Some wonderful new books
from: Viking, Penguin, Atria, Candlewick, Celadon, Bookouture

Finished -  I  finished (3) other books (no reviews yet) : What to Eat When; Roizen & Crupain (just okay as it contained a lot of familiar info) and An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good; Helene Thursten (loved it) and Waiting for Bojangles; Oliver Bourdeaut (another loved it)
(Still) Listening To The Whistler; John Grisham
Watching - Thrilled to see: The Good Doctor, The Residents, New Amsterdam and This is Us return after it's winter break.  We also watched The Founder (McDonald's story). We saw this one at the movies, but, enjoyed it again a second time.
In The Kitchen - We always eat out a lot but, I did make a pasta primavera with shrimp one day.
New To Me Stuff - Frye Melissa Tote (this one is similar but mine has a zipper closure) and TJ MAXX had a much lower price.                            

Last Week - I did go to yoga M-W-F , I visited 3 different libraries, had a hair appointment and I  had lunch with my daughter and one granddaughter.
This Coming Week: Book group on Wednesday, yoga W and F and, I hope to have lunch with my son, DIL and  granddaughter on Friday.
Hope you all had a good week!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

One Day in December; Josie Silver and The Travelling Cat Chronicles; Hiro Awikawa

TITLE: One Day in December (416 pages)
AUTHOR: Josie Silver
PUBLISHER: Crown Publishing
PUB. YEAR: 2018
SETTING:  London
FORMAT:  - eGalley (Edelweiss)
RATING: 4/5 stars

  • It feels like love at first sight when Laurie sees a man through the window of a bus she is on. Their eyes connect but then he is gone.  His name is Jack but, all Laurie can do is search, yearn and hope that their paths will cross once more.  Then one day at a party they meet, nut, Jack is dating Sarah, Laurie's best friend.
  • Romantic comedy with movie potential - think of Sleepless in Seattle.
  • A feel good story to be enjoyed by anyone longing for a nice lighter read.
  • The story is told through Laurie and Jack's POV.
  • It makes you think about the "one that got away".
  • A nice story that I enjoyed way more than I  enjoyed way more than I  expected to.

TITLE: The Traveling Cat Chronicles (288 pages)
AUTHOR: Hiro Awikawa
PUB. YEAR: 2018
FORMAT:  - print (sent by publisher)
RATING: 4.5/5 stars

  • Translated from the Japanese and told mostly from the POV of a once stray cat.  The cat was taken in by the kind-hearted Santoru after it was hit by a car.  The cat was named Nana (based on the Japanese word for seven-a lucky number). After 5 years together, the two head out on a road trip to visit old friends from Santoru's past. We are not sure why, but, it appears as if Santoru is trying to find a new home for Nana.
  • Without giving spoilers, this book is a must-read for anyone who has had a special bond with a cat (or any animal for that matter).
  • Funny, sad and a quick read as well. It's a story of family, old friendships, love and loss.
  • I loved this story so much but, I do wish that it was all told from the POV of the cat.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good; Helene Tursten

Each Tuesday, Vicki, from I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where  readers post the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book that they are reading or plan to read.

SOHO Crime - 2018 

An Elderly Lady Has Accommodation Problems

"THE SHRILL SOUND of the doorbell sliced through the silence.  Maud sat motionless in her armchair, making no attempt to get up.  She knew the bell would soon ring again. And again. And again. This had been going on for weeks"

I came across this on the "new book" library shelves last week, the size is so cozy, smaller than my Kindle and just 171 pages.  It's not often fiction is written about senior citizens and a mystery collection as well so I decided to give it a try. What do you think?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

My Week in Review

It's  22° with snow predicted on Friday and continuing through the weekend. 
On Tuesday I had a biopsy and I'm feeling thankful that the results came back as benign.  Not so thankful for my first UTI (ever) but, at least the meds are working.  Also our middle granddaughter had a terrible bout of the flu, spent time in the ER and lost 3 lbs in a few days but, finally she has turned the corner.
Reading - The Overstay; Richard Powers (beautiful writing, liking it, but it's lengthy and a tough read for me)
Finished - One Day in December; Josie Silver (no review yet) 4/5 stars and The Traveling Cat Chronicles; Hiro Awikawa (no review yet) loved it -  4.5/5
Listening To - The Whistler; John Grisham
Watching - We binge watched The Sopranos this week (1 season)
In The Kitchen - We ate out a lot this week as I was kinda stressed but, I did make pancakes and banana nut bread this morning.
New To Me Stuff - Love Beauty & Planet Lavender Deodorant (love this stuff)
                              - Harney's Tropical Green Tea (liked it)

This Week - Back to yoga M-W-F (I missed all last week due to medical stuff for me, but thankfully thats all behind me. Bringing my SIL to airport on Tuesday and have a hair appointment Wednesday.
Hope you all had a good week!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - The Traveling Cat Chronicles; Hiro Arikawa

Each Tuesday, Vicki, from I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where  readers post the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book that they are reading or plan to read.

Berkley - 2017 (277 pps)
(translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel)

The Cat With No Name

"I am a cat. As yet, I have no name.  There's a famous cat in our country who once made this very statement.

I have no clue how great the cat was, but at least when it comes to having a name I got there first.  Whether I like my name is another matter, since it glaringly doesn't fit my gender, me being male and all. I was given it about five years ago--around the time I came of age."

What do you think? Pass or read a bit more? I'm enjoying it so far.

Monday, January 7, 2019

First 2 Books of 2019 - Winter in Paradise and The Women in the Castle; Jessica Shattuck

TITLE: Winter in Paradise (310 pages)
AUTHOR: Elin Hilderbrand
PUBLISHER: Little Brown & Co
PUB. YEAR: 2018
SETTING:  Iowa and St. John's, Caribbean
FORMAT:  - library print (borrowed)
RATING: 3.5/5 stars

  • First book of a 3 book series
  • Irene Steele is a 50-something wife and mother of 2 adult sons. Her husband travels a lot for his business. It isn't until tragedy strikes and she travels with her sons to St Johns that she learns that her husband had a secret life in the Caribbean.
  • I was surprised that it took me a while to get into this story and some of the things that happened seemed implausible. The story ends with a cliff hanger and, although overall this book left me lukewarm, I'm curious enough to want to read the next installment.

AUTHOR: Jessica Shattuck
PUBLISHER: William Morrow and Harper Audio
PUB. YEAR: 2017
SETTING: Germany
FORMAT:  - Galley and audio download
RATING: 4/5 stars

  • "Three women, haunted by the past and the secrets they hold"
  • Book group selection for January
  • This story opens in 1938 where Marianne Von Lingenfel is hosting a party at a Bavarian castle that has been in her husband Albrecht's family for generations. Albrecht and two friends are part of the resistance that are trying to assassinate Hitler.  He asks his wife to promise to find and protect the wives of his friends if something happens to the men (which it does).
  • After the war ends Burg Lingenfel castle is in a serious state of disrepair from the war. Marianne keeps her promise to her husband. We follow the women through decades and a detailed story of secrets unravels.
  • This was an excellent story with great writing. Although the audio was beautifully narrated by Cassandra Campbell, I found it very hard to follow as the story moves back and forth in time. Because of this I supplemented it with my eGalley and that worked out well.  At times the details were heartbreaking.
  • I'll be looking forward to discussing this one with my book group later this month.  I generally do not read books set in this time period, but, I'm glad I tried this one. The author is very talented.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Reading Thoughts for 2019

Blogging about books for over 10 years now, I no longer join lots of reading challenges like I did early on, with the exception of the fall RIP Challenge that I've done every year since 2008. I do, however,  like to make some tentative lists in a new journal that keeps me somewhat on track during the year.

For 2019 here's my plans thus far:
  • Read or listen to at least 100 books (2) per week is more than doable being retired.
  • Read 4 (min)  Classics (2) by Dickens
  • Read 25 books (min) from my shelves (sounds easy but it's always a challenge for me)
  • Read 10  eGalleys  from 2018 or earlier(catching up on downloads)
  • Read 4-6 Summer Themed Books between Memorial Day and Labor Day)
  • Read 4 mysteries or thrillers for the RIP Challenge in Fall
  • Read 4 Christmas or holiday themed books in December
  • Continue my library book group (January's pick is Women in the Castle; Jessica Shattuck)
  • Join an online monthly read group (can you suggest some online group you enjoy?)
Current Reads - First Books of 2019 (in progress)

Do you have any plans in mind for 2019 reading?