Friday, May 19, 2017

It's Beginning to Feel a lot like Summer

After nearly 9 years of blogging and posting (2 to 5 days a week), I'm feeling like I need a break. We had a few 90 degree days last week and, now, I'm ready for an early summer and looking forward to trying a few new things.  I'll still be reading, of course, and I'll update my "Books Read in 2017" list here as well -- just no regular posts.  Wishing you all a nice summer!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Her Every Fear; Peter Swanson

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros sharing the first paragraph, maybe two, of a book that I'm reading or plan to read soon.

Her Every Fear; Peter Swanson
William Morrow / Harper Collins - 2017

Chapter 1

"THE FASTEST ROUTE FROM LOGAN Airport to downtown Boston is a mile-long tunnel called the Sumner.  Dark, damp, and low ceilinged, the Sumner feels as though it were built a hundred years ago, which it very nearly was.  And on Friday, April 24, a warm spring evening, a Boston University freshman ran out of gas halfway though the tunnel, reducing rush-hour traffic to just one slow-moving lane, instead of the usual two.  Kate Priddy, who had never been to Boston and had no idea how she would wind up in a tunnel under Boston Harbor, sat in the back of a stopped taxicab and began to panic."

Base on this intro, would you read more or take a pass?

Feel free to join in by posting your link to your Tuesday Intro below.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Books Read and Week in Review - W/E - 5/13/2017

Happy Mother's Day

On Mother's Day I'm feeling very proud and grateful for having (2) wonderful children who continue to amaze me with the compassion and love and work ethic that they display everyday. I love you both and thank you for the beautiful granddaughters you have given me.

Christmas in May

Books Read
(finished (2) books this week)

The Fall of Lisa Bellow; Susan Perabo
Simon & Schuster Audio- 2017

(My Thoughts) Meredith Oliver is a 13 year old girl, Lisa Bellow is her nemesis.  One day during an armed robbery at the local Deli Barn Lisa is kidnapped, while Meredith crouches on the floor nearby. Over the next several months, Meredith struggles to make sense of what has happened and even imagines what possibilities her kidnapped classmate is now experiencing.  he Fall of Lisa Bellow explores, what happens to the girl who is left behind. There are several threads running through this story which I thought seemed to distract from the focus of this story. Although I enjoyed listening to the audio, in the end I felt like I wanted something more in terms of a resolution. (3.5/5 STARS)

Anything is Possible; Elizabeth Strout
Random House - 2017 (eGalley)

(My Thoughts) - I loved Strout's last novel, My Name is Lucy Barton, and having read that book certainly added to my enjoyment of, Anything is Possible, which returns the reader back to rural Amgash, Illinois and many of the characters we read about previously.  This novel reads like a collection of interconnected stories and it delves into the private lives of those who still reside in this close-knit community. Although Lucy Barton managed to escape Amgash and the hardships and her painful childhood, now 17 years later, she is a successful novelist, returning home to visit her brother Pete whose life somewhat resembles that of a hermit.  Strout knows how to delve into the psyche of her flawed characters, revealing what makes these humans tick.  I was very happy I read this one but, I do recommend reading Lucy Barton first. (4.5/5 STARS)

At the Movies

(We managed to see (2) movies this past week)

The Zookeeper's Wife - 2017

The Zookeeper's Wife tells the account of keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, Antonina and Jan Zabinski, who helped save hundreds of people and animals during the German invasion.  (IMDB)

I read about this true story about 9 years ago and although I liked the book, however,  the movie was even better (IMO). Jessica Chastain was amazing. (Be sure to see it)

The Dinner - 2017

Based on the novel by Herman Koch, The Dinner, had a limited release in our area but, we managed to see it on the big screen. Great cast, Richard Gere came across as the most normal of the parents.   The movie was okay but, in this case I liked the novel better.   Two sets of wealthy parents meet for dinner to decide what to do about a crime their sons have committed - IMDB.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - The Book of Polly; Kathy Hepinstall

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros sharing the first paragraph, maybe two, of a book that I'm reading or plan to read soon.  (I started this book last night and I am loving it thus far).

The Book of Polly; Kathy Hepinstall
Pamela Dorman Books / Viking 2017

"I'm not sure at what young age I became frozen with the knowledge, certainty, and horror that my mother would die one day.  Spared the passing of my father, the Captain, by my status as a fetus, I was cowering in the womb when my mother found my father dead in his chair.

Polly told me the story when I was old enough to hear it.  She was smoking a cigarette, a habit I feared and detested.  One of my earliest memories was reaching up and trying to snatch a cigarette from her lips.  Even then I knew my enemy.  But she was too fast for me, and by the time I heard the story of my father's death I'd mostly given up trying.  So I just sat watching the trail of smoke.  The Captain was once a navy man, you know that. Anyway, he got this wooden lobster from the Philippines when he met Ferdinand Marcos--another story--but when he died the lobster was sitting there in his lap.  I guess he'd taken it down from the wall to admire it just before the stroke got him.  And that's what happens when you die.  It's no more complicated than that, if you're lucky."

Would you read more or pass on this one?

Feel free to join in by linking your INTRO Post below.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Books Read - Week in Review - W/E - 5/6/2017

Not sure where the week went or what I did with my time, because I only finished one book this week. We did eat out quite a bit and managed to see a wonderful movie ---

Storyline (IMDb)

Frank Adler (Chris Evans) is a single man raising a child prodigy - his spirited young niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) in a coastal town in Florida. Frank's plans for a normal school life for Mary are foiled when the seven-year-old's mathematical abilities come to the attention of Frank's formidable mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) whose plans for her granddaughter threaten to separate Frank and Mary. Octavia Spencer plays Roberta, Frank and Mary's landlady and best friend. Jenny Slate is Mary's teacher, Bonnie, a young woman whose concern for her student develops into a connection with her uncle as well. ----We LOVED this movie! Wonderful from beginning to end, sweet, funny, touching and even a one-eyed cat named Fred. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Books Read

Grand Central Publishing - 2017

(My Thoughts) - I love a good memoir, and this one, although heartbreaking at times, was just wonderful.  

Leah Carroll was raised in Rhode Island. Her mother, Joan,  struggled with substance abuse and was murdered in 1984 by drug dealers with ties to the mafia. These individuals believed that Joan was an informant.  She was killed in a motel and her body dumped elsewhere.  Her father, Kevin, really seemed to love his daughter and wanted to give her a good life but, he battled his own demons. Although gainfully employed, Kevin struggled with depression and alcoholism and died in1998 at the age of 48, when Leah was 18.  A determined young woman, who wanted to know more about the mother she never got to know, Leah researched and interviewed those who had the information she desperately wanted. This memoir was so well-written, I can imagine how painful the process must have been for the author, yet she never comes across as bitter or resentful for a childhood that was anything but normal. Down City is a "must read" for anyone who enjoys a good memoir.  A definite page-turner, you won't want to be interrupted once you begin. (5/5 stars)

Currently Reading

Anything is Possible; Elizabeth Strout
Random House - 2017

The Fall of Lisa Bellow; Susan Perabo
Simon & Schuster - 2017

Have a Nice Weekend!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Anything is Possible; Elizabeth Strout

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros sharing the first paragraph, maybe two, of a book that I'm reading or plan to read soon. This week's choice is a follow-up to,  My Name is Lucy Barton, a book I loved. Started it last night and, although the first paragraph is lengthy - so far so good.

Anything is Possible; Elizabeth Strout
Random House  - 2017

The Sign

"Tommy Nuptial had once owned a dairy farm, which he'd inherited from his father, and which was about two miles from the town of Amgash, Illinois.  This was many years ago now, but at night Tommy still sometimes woke with the fear he had felt the night his dairy farm burned to the ground.  The house had burned to the ground as well; the wind had sent sparks onto the house, which was not far from the barns.  It had been his fault--he always thought it was his fault--because he had not checked that night on the milking machines to make sure they had turned off properly, and this is where the fire started.  Once it started, it ripped with a fury over the whole place.  They lost everything, except for the brass frame to the living room mirror, which he came upon in the rubble the next day, and he left it where it was.  A collection was taken up: For a number of weeks his kids went to school in the clothes of their classmates, until he could gather himself and the little money he had; he sold the land to the neighboring farmer, but it did not bring much money in.  Then he and his wife, a short pretty woman named Shirley, bought new clothes, and he bought a house as well, Shirley keeping her spirits up admirably as all this was going on.  They'd had to buy a house in Amgash, which was a run-down town, and his kids went to school there instead of in Carlisle, where they had been able to go to school before, his farm being just on the line dividing the two towns.  Tommy took a job as the janitor in the Amgash school system; the steadiness of the job appealed to him, and he could never go to work on someone else's farm, he did not have the stomach for that.  He was thirty-five years old at the time."

Would you read more or pass on this one?

Feel free to join in by linking your INTRO Post below.