Saturday, May 27, 2023

It's Been a While - A Bit of Life and Books

Hello Out There,  how are all of you doing?  Do you have any plans for Memorial Day weekend?

This weekend my son is having a cookout and the weather all weekend is supposed to be beautiful. So looking forward to getting together as 2023 hasn't been a great year for our family. Well to be perfectly honest, the past (14) months have been terrible, so blogging and reading have taken a back seat.  Without getting too specific, I'll just say there has been illness, treatments and even a death in our family.  I also lost my vision but fortunately (2) surgeries and lots of prayers has resulted in new and unbelievably improved eyesight..  It was really awful, not being able to read the iPad, computer and books. I wasn't even being able to read the license plate on the car in front of me, but now I'm safe on the road as are other drivers.  I am fortunate in many ways but, life feels different these days. 

 I haven't been reading much (just 17 books this year) but, I'm slowly getting back.  I haven't  been to yoga in months but hope to resume that in June as I wasn't supposed to do a lot of bending up till now. Thank goodness for family, friends, pets and other book lovers.

I've been sticking close to home and am grateful spring has sprung and summer will soon be here.  I've been buying lots of plants for the deck as well as indoor houseplants.  Of course, I've had to research non toxic plants as one of our two cats is a leaf lover.  I've scared him off from the hanging plants by placing a tiny wind chime in each - he hates the sound :)

I feel like I've missed out on keeping up with even the latest book releases and what has been going on in your lives but, I'm slowly trying to remedy that.  Not sure how much posting I'll be doing but, I'm trying to get back into comfortable routines.  Have you read any good books lately?

I wasn't going to make a summer reading list but, then I decided it might be good for me even if I don't complete it.  So here are the books that caught my eye:

Gull Island,  Anna Porter
Simon & Schuster 9/2023

Ballantine Books - 2022

Barbara Isn't Dying; Alina Bronsky
Europa Editions 2023

Maame, Jessica George
St. Martin's Press - 2023

In a Quiet Town, Amber Garza
mira - August 2023

Flatiron Books - 2022

Tor Nightfire - 2023

The Bird Hotel; Joyce Maynard
Arcade - May 2023

Maureen, Rachel Joyce
Dial Press - 2023

Tom Lake, Ann Patchett
Harper - August 2023

                                           Have any of my picks made you TBR list?


Saturday, January 7, 2023

Books Read in 2023


    1.  Night Shift; Robin Cook - audio - 4/5 stars (January)
    2. Women Talking; Miriam Toews - audio - 3.5/5 stars
    3. It Ends with Us; Colleen Hoover - 4audio - 4/5 stars
    4. The Levee: a novella; William Kent Krueger - audio - 3.5/5 stars
    5. Looking for Me; Beth Hoffman (reread for book group) - 5/5 stars
    6. Ms. Demeanor; Elinor Lipman - audio - 4/5 stars
    7. Rough Sleepers: Jim O'Connell's Urgent Mission to Bring Healing to Homeless People; Tracey Kidder - NF/audio - 4.5.5 stars - February
    8. The Stolen Lady; Laurea Morelli - 3.5/5 stars (audio) book group read February
    9. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo; Taylor Jenkins Reid - 3/5 stars - (book group) March
    10. The Couple at Number 9; Claire Douglas - 3.5/5 stars (audio)
    11. Hello, Beautiful; Ann Napolitano - 4.5/5 stars (April)
    12. The Forest of Vanishing Stars; Kristin Harmel - 4.5/5 stars (book group)
    13. The Half Moon; Mary Beth Keane - 3.5/5 stars (audio) (May)
    14. Mad Honey; Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan  - 5/5 stars (print/audio)
    15. The Kind Worth Saving; Peter Swanson - 3.5/5 stars (audio)
    16. Soulmate; Sally Hepworth - 4.5/5 stars - (audio)
    17. The House in the Pines; Ana Reyes  - 3.5/5 stars (audio)

    • Fiction - 15
    • Non Fiction -  1
    • Children's Books - 
    • Print Books (includes ARCS) (my shelves) - 
    • Print Books (library) - 1
    • eBooks/eGalleys (my shelves) -
    • eBooks (library) -
    • Audiobooks (my shelves) - 4
    • Audiobooks (library) - 11
    • Combo (read/listens) - 1
    • Female Authors - 13
    • Male Authors - 4
    • Debuts - 
    • January Books Read - 6
    • February Books Read - 2
    • March - 2
    • April - 2
    • May - 5

    DNF - 
    1. We Should Not Be Friends; Will Schwalbe - abandoned at 27% wasn't holding my interest (May)
    2. The Book of Goose; Yiyun Li - audio abandoned at about 30% - couldn't connect with story (May)

      Sunday, January 1, 2023

      Here's to a Better 2023 and Favorite Reads of 2022


      Hello all! Please forgive my abrupt disappearance from the blog (and life in general.) 2022 has not been a kind year for our household. One bad thing after another and it even meant ringing out 2022 with my first case of COVID...Day 3 of isolation here.  Here is to a much better 2023.  I'm not planning on too much blogging at least the first several months of the year due to vision issues.  I'm having some laser surgery in February and then need cataract surgery in both eyes as well.  I've been just listening to audio books as a result.

      I did want to do a final 2022 recap of how my reading year went.

      I read or listened to 141 books (LIST & LINKS HERE in 2022 but, you can see below that as my vision worsen my monthly reads declined as well.  

      • Fiction - 116
      • Non Fiction - 25
      • Children's Books - 12
      • Print Books (includes ARCS)(my shelves) - 35
      • Print Books (library) 12
      • eBooks/eGalleys (my shelves) - 28
      • eBooks (library) - 2
      • Audiobooks (my shelves) - 40
      • Audiobooks (library) - 23
      • Combo (read/listens) - 16
      • Female Authors - 102
      • Male Authors - 39
      • Debuts - 19
      • January Books Read - 14
      • February Books Read - 12
      • March Books Read - 18
      • April Books Read - 15
      • May Books Read - 14
      • June Books Read - 16
      • July Books Read - 14
      • August Reads - 15
      • September - 9
      • October - 9
      • November - 2
      • December - 3
                                 FAVORITE READS of 2022  (no particular order)

                                     Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2023.

      Tuesday, October 25, 2022

      First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Mad Honey; Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

      Welcome to First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Yvonne @ Socrates Book ReviewsEach week readers post the first paragraph (or 2) of a book we are reading or plan to read soon.

      Mad Honey; Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan
      Ballantine Books - 2022

      December 7, 2018 ...the day of

      From the moment I know I was having a baby, I wanted it to be a girl. I wandered the aisles of department stores, touching doll sized dresses and sequined shoes.  I pictured us with matching nail polish--me, who'd never had a manicure in my life. I imagined the day her fairy hair was long enough to capture in pigtails her nose pressed to the glass of a school bus window: I saw her first crush, prom dress, heartbreak. Each vision was a bead on a rosary of future memories. I prayed daily.

      As it turned out, I was not a zealot...only a martyr.

      What do you more or pass?

      Sunday, October 23, 2022

      (2) Brief Book Reviews - Our Missing Hearts; Celeste Ng and Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life, A Memoir; Dwlia Ephron


       Our Missing Hearts; Celeste Ng
      Penguin Audio - 2022
      (library download) - 9 hours 51 min   
       Narrated by:  Lucy Liu, Celeste Ng

      I've read and enjoyed everything Celeste Ng has written so I couldn't wait for my audio reserve of her latest book to become available.  This book is quite different - a bit of a mystery with with a dystopian theme.

      Noah Gardner (his mother calls him Bird) is a twelve-year-old boy who lives with his father in a dormitory at the university where his father works at the library.  Their life is one of order and routine ever since the "Crisis" changed everything for their family and his mother, a Chinese American poet, disappeared from their lives. At school he is learning new things and around him things are happening which he is desperate to understand. For example, why Asian Americans like his family are looked down upon and viewed by others with a mistrustful eye. In school Noah hears the taunts that his mother is a traitor. The boy has no friends except for Sadie and, one day she mysteriously disappears. as well

      This is a story though set in the near future seems frighteningly realistic as to what we've seen on television or read about happening here in some parts of the United States to targeted race groups including child parent separations.  The audio book was mostly riveting; although a somewhat sad story, it is one that will stick with most readers I suspect.

      RATING - 4/5 stars
      Length: 9 h
      Little Brown and Company - 2022
      Library Download - 7 hours 39 min
      read by author - good

      In her newly released memoir, Delia Ephron, successful novelist, screenwriter, playwrite and lover of all things that the Big Apple has to offer gives readers a glimpse at her second chance at life.  

      After losing her husband Jerry to a cancer diagnosis, an op-ed essay that Delia wrote for the New York Times earned her a surprise contact by a man from her past and a second chance at love.  Her new relationship is tested when Delia, like her sister Nora, learns that she has (AML) a fast progressing form of leukemia and that her only chance at survival is a successful bone marrow transplant.   Instead of running away from the very ill 72 year-old-woman, Peter, her new found love, asks Delia to marry him.

      This memoir is indeed a second chance at love and life. Told with humor and, yes, there is at times some sadness too, but the writing was wonderful. I love that the audio was read by the author.

      RATING - 4.5/5 stars

      Current Reads 

      90% completed

      Book group read 
      75% completed

      Hope to Start Soon

      Wednesday, October 19, 2022

      Brief Book Review - The Old Place; Bobby Finger


      The Old Place; Bobby Finger
      G.P. Putnam - 2022

      The Old Place is a debut novel that takes place in a small Texas town.   From the very beginning of the novel we get the feeling that protagonist ,Mary Alice Roth, is a troubled woman with secrets.  She is a rather stern woman and a recently retired school teacher who has not made peace with being forced to retire. She isn't quite sure what she will do to fill in her free time without her job to go to.  Once a wife and mother, there is a mystery as to what happened to the men in her life.  Fortunately she is on good terms once again with her neighbor Elie now as they once had a falling out. Both women look forward to meeting for morning coffee and conversation. There is the planing of the annual neighborhood picnic and the delegation of tasks which is funny to read about.  Just as Mary Alice begins to find a find a kind of rhythm to her daily routine, she has an unexpected visit from her sister who has some rather shocking news which threatens to uproot some things that perhaps were best left buried.

      This was a very good debut novel full of small town charm, pettiness and gossip and secrets around every corner.  Although a bit slow moving at times, I liked the slower place and the way the secrets gradually emerged,  In the end I was happy that I had a chance to read this one.

      RATING - 4/5 stars

      (NOTE: I received a copy of the eGalley from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for my unbiased review.)

      Tuesday, October 18, 2022

      First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros; Ghosts of Martha's Vineyard; Thomas Dresser

      Welcome to First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Yvonne @ Socrates Book ReviewsEach week readers post the first paragraph (or 2) of a book we are reading or plan to read soon.

      Arcadia Publishing - 2020


      Martha's Vineyard's history, along with its fair share of strange occurrences, make it a major hub for ghost hunters and local storytellers alike. Whether you're fully in touch with the spirit world or you're a little skeptical, the Vineyard is rife with amazing coincidences,  strange experiences and unknown mysteries.

      That so many guests, employees, locals and visitors have experienced a visit from beyond  gives credence to the basic premise that we we don't really know or understand everything that is happening around us.

      I thought this would be a fun read during the month of October. I love Martha's Vineyard and am looking forward to reading about local lore. What do you think, read more or pass?