Monday, May 29, 2017

The Winter Garden, Kristin Hannah

I woke up this morning with a true and serious book hangover. I mean, a real doozy. Swollen eyes, headache, stuffy nose... I must have been crying in my sleep, and The Winter Garden is to blame. I can't think of any thing else at the moment, and I should have known better.

I read The Nightingale last year, and it really touched me, so I couldn't pass up the chance to read The Winter Garden when it was offered for free on the Bookshout app. I don't normally like to read on my phone, but the app has a speed read setting which is awesome for the elliptical or treadmill. So I decided to give it a try. It's a really good thing I read The Nightingale, because I at least had enough warning from that to know I had to stop reading Winter Garden at the gym. I got so caught up in Vera's story that I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to finish Winter Garden last night, and ended up trying to cry as softly as I could manage so as not to wake my husband. Not an easy thing to do, considering my soul was shattered and my heart broken. It's really hard to have a good old ugly cry and keep it quiet at the same time. I can not stop thinking of this book.

Winter GardenWinter Garden by Kristin Hannah

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“We women make choices for others, not for ourselves, and when we are mothers, we...bear what we must for our children. You will protect them. It will hurt you; it will hurt them. Your job is to hide that your heart is breaking and do what they need you to do.”

Oh, how I cried.....!

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Monday, January 9, 2017

Reading Goals and Challenges for 2017

Didn't quite reach my goal for 2016, but I'm not stressed about it. My number goal for 2017 is 40, I decided to stick to doable instead of pushing it. As far as the challenges go, I've chosen two for 2017- so far- Book Riot's Read Harder and Better World Books 2017 challenge.

I'm going to try this again- Maybe I'll get it done this year if I have the books listed beforehand. We shall see....

Book Riot’s Read Harder 2017 Challenge

1. Read a book about sports. Fourth Down and Inches (l)

2. Read a debut novel. The Bell Jar (k)

3. Read a book about books. The Book of Lost things (l)

4. Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author. The Sound of Things Falling (l)

5. Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative. Girl in Translation (l)

6. Read an all-ages comic. X-men- The Age of Proteus (h)

7. Read a book published between 1900 and 1950. The Secret Garden (k)

8. Read a travel memoir. Deep South (l)

9. Read a book you’ve read before. The Gunslinger (l)

10. Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location. The Accursed (k)

11. Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location. Miral (l)

12. Read a fantasy novel. A Court of Thorns and Roses (k)

13. Read a nonfiction book about technology. Elon Musk (l)

14. Read a book about war. The Zookeeper’s Wife

15. Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+. If I was Your Girl (k)

16. Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country. American Psycho (k)

17. Read a classic by an author of color. Their Eyes were Watching God (k)

18. Read a superhero comic with a female lead. Ms. Marvel vol 1 No Normal

19. Read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey (From Daniel José Older, author of Salsa Nocturna, the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series, and YA novel Shadowshaper) The Orenda or Soul Mountain

20. Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel (From Sarah MacLean, author of ten bestselling historical romance novels) Tipping the Velvet

21. Read a book published by a micropress. (From Roxane Gay, bestselling author of Ayiti, An Untamed State, Bad Feminist, Marvel’s World of Wakanda, and the forthcoming Hunger and Difficult Women) In the Fat or Angelina’s Children

22. Read a collection of stories by a woman. (From Celeste Ng, author Everything I Never Told You and the forthcoming Little Fires Everywhere) The Doll. The Lost Stories (h)

23. Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love. (From Ausma Zehanat Khan, author of the Esa Khattak/Rachel Getty mystery series, including The Unquiet Dead, The Language of Secrets, and the forthcoming Among the Ruins) Ode to Common Things

24. Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color. (From Jacqueline Koyanagi, author of sci-fi novel Ascension) If I could Tell You or Song of Solomon

Better World Books 2017 Reading Challenge

A food memoir Toast (l)

A collection of short stories The Doll (h)

A young adult novel Legend (l)

A book with a color in the title Red Queen (l)

A book that’s more than 100 years old The Woman in White (k)

A book you picked based on its cover Asylum (l)

A book set in a place you want to visit A Yorkshire Christmas (k)

A book based on a fairytale Scarlet (l)

A National Book Award Winner Sophie’s Choice (l)

A book that takes place in a forest The Last Unicorn (h)

A romance that takes place during travel Dragonfly in Amber (h)

A book under 200 pages Fourth Down and Inches (l)

A book over 400 pages The Historian (h)

A banned book American Psycho (k)

A nonfiction book about nature The Hidden Life of Trees (l)

A fantasy novel A Court of Thorns and Roses (k)

A book by a person of color The Song of Solomon (h)

A book by a female writer The Butterfly Garden (k)

A book of poetry Milk and Honey (l)

A book set in Asia Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (k)

A book about immigrants Americanah (l)

A book about a historical event The Devil in the White City or The Rape of Nanking

A book with a child narrator Tell the Wolves I’m Home (l)

A book translated from another language Madame Bovary or The Sound of Things Falling

A book that’s been adapted into a movie The Girl with All the Gifts (k)
(Bonus: Watch the movie and compare)

*Parenthesis are personal notes to remind myself where I can find the books. =)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Whitefern, V.C. Andrews

Whitefern did not pop for me. I'm not saying I didn't like it or think it's a bad read, but it seemed to lack something for me. I'm thinking it might be because I read My Sweet Audrina too long ago, or maybe I've just outgrown V.C. Andrews' novels.

What I didn't like about the novel- Arden's constant reminders to Audrina about the business and why he needed to have all the say.
The lack of darkness- My Sweet Audrina was a very dark, disturbing read. Whitefern seems to lack that darkness, though it alludes to the events that caused the darkness often...

I stuck it out though because I liked Sylvia, needed confirmation about Mrs. Matthews, and knew I'd be proven right by the end of the novel. I think I'll re-read the originals now to see if I still like them.

Whitefern (Audrina, #2)Whitefern by V.C. Andrews

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

My Lady Anne, Gordon Thurborn

"The real life of Lady Anne Clifford, 1590 - 1676, is a story of feminine victory in a man's world, the men including King James I & VI, Charles I, Oliver Cromwell and two husbands: the Earl of Dorset, gambler, waster and womanizer, and the Earl of Pembroke, gambler, waster, womanizer and the richest man in England." -quoted from the description on Goodreads.

I wanted to love this book, simply because I love reading everything I can get my hands on when it comes to the Tuder/Stuart era. But.... while there is a whole lot of interesting information in this book, it just didn't grab me. I would have liked to read more about Anne and less about the people around her...

The First Feminist: My Lady AnneThe First Feminist: My Lady Anne by Gordon Thorburn

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I feel like it took me forever to read this book, and it just wasn't for me....

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders

I don't usually go for mysteries, but lately I've had a bit of a taste for them. This is an entertaining read and the characters are mostly likeable. The ones who are supposed to be likeable, that is. My favorite is dear old Mrs. Bentley, Mrs. Rodd's landlady and companion.

I would recommend this book to friends and buy any subsequent volumes should it continue as a series. Now, if someone would only tell me what makes a mystery cozy....

The Secrets of WishtideThe Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Life InterruptedLife Interrupted by Yessi Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book as part of a read along/ discussion for the Coffee and a Good Book group. I have to say I think it was a good pick. I was a little iffy during the first chapters, as the writing seemed a little shaky and unsure, but I feel like the author found her voice towards the end. Holly is a bit frustrating at times, but likeable overall, and she, Travis and Derrick balance each other out well, IMO. Kudos, Yessi Smith! You managed to bring tears to my eyes more than once. =)

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Doll-Master, Joyce Carol Oates

This is my review of The Doll- Master, which I received from Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.

It has been over a month now since I finished this book and I still can't get The Doll-Master out of my head. Six stories are told in this book, six. But I could only give you a basic plot summary of the other five if you asked me for one, because The Doll-Master is the one that haunts me. And because it does, I will tell you nothing more about it than this- it really doesn't matter if you can see it coming, because you know you are helpless to stop it. And it made my skin crawl.

Out of the other five stories, the one I can recall the quickest and with the most details is Gun Accident. I can relate to Hanna, the shy, quiet girl who can't seem to see that some people ARE just bad, and is picked by her teacher to house sit for her while she is with her husband in the hospital. Things quickly turn bad for Hanna, and the situations she faces are just too real...

Mystery Inc. was an interesting read, nice little turns to that one.

Big Momma, Soldier, and Equatorial were all decent enough reads also. And I think I just put them in order, best to okay for me. They all have their good points, but Equatorial was the one that was most predictable for me, so it rates lowest. I can't say I didn't really like any of them though. I think what I liked best is that there was just enough difference in the way each story was written that it almost felt like they were being told by different people.

If I could have a do over and read this book for the first time again, I would read The Doll-Master last. Just to see if my impressions of the other stories would be any different....

The Doll-Master and Other Tales of TerrorThe Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror by Joyce Carol Oates

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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