Thursday, February 28, 2013

February Reading Wrap Up


How was your month for books? 

 I really enjoyed much of what I read this month (12) books, and I actually managed to read several of the books I said I was going to read as well.  Here is the January 31st list I posted with my plans for Feb.


February Reads and Reviews
  1. The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne; Brian Moore - 5/5 (my shelves)
  2. The Racketeer; John Grisham - 3.5/5 (library audio)
  3. Walter's Muse; Jean Davies Okimoto - 2.5/5 (my shelves)
  4. Are You Sleeping Little One? - 4/5 (NetGalley)
  5. Reading Makes You Feel Good; Todd Parr - 5/5 (Library)
  6. Dear Life: Stories; Alice Munro - 4/5 (library-audio) 
  7. Care of Wooden Floors; Will Wiles - 4.5/5 (eBook)
  8. We Sinners; Hanna Plyvaiinen - 4/5 (ARC) 
  9. The Shining; Stephen King - 4/5 (audio)
  10. Weight Loss for People Who Feel Too Much; Colette Baron-Reid - 4/5 (eGalley)
  11. Taffy Salt Water's Yummy Summer Day, Michael Paraskevas - 4.5/5 (eGalley) (Random House Kids)
  12. Ten White Geese; Gerbrand Bakker - 3.5/5 (eGalley) 
 Favorite Book for February


March Plans

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls; Anton DiSclafani


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pick is one that I'm hoping to get a sneak peek at.


Anton Disclafani - Riverhead - June 4, 2013

(Description)

A lush, sexy, evocative debut novel of family secrets and girls-school rituals, set in the 1930s South. — It is 1930, the midst of the Great Depression. After her mysterious role in a family tragedy, passionate, strong-willed Thea Atwell, age fifteen, has been cast out of her Florida home, exiled to an equestrienne boarding school for Southern debutantes. High in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty, and girls friendships, the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a far remove from the free-roaming, dreamlike childhood Thea shared with her twin brother on their family's citrus farm, a world now partially shattered. As Thea grapples with her responsibility for the events of the past year that led her here, she finds herself enmeshed in a new order, one that will change her sense of what is possible for herself, her family, her country.

Weaving provocatively between home and school, the narrative powerfully unfurls the true story behind Thea's expulsion from her family, but it isn't long before the mystery of her past is rivaled by the question of how it will shape her future. Part scandalous love story, part heartbreaking family drama, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is an immersive, transporting page-turner; a vivid, propulsive novel about sex, love, family, money, class, home, and horses, all set against the ominous threat of the Depression, and the major debut of an important new writer.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Weight Loss for People Who Feel Too Much; Colette Baron-Reid


Title: Weight Loss for People Who feel Too Much
Author: Colette Baron-Reid
Publication Year: 2013
Publisher: Crown
Edition: eGalley

Source: NetGalley
Date Completed: February - 2013
Rating: 4/5 
Recommend: yes

Many people who have struggled with weight issues are emotional eaters who tend to use food as a coping strategy.  This is especially true for many sensitive people.  In Weight Loss for People for Feel Too Much, the author has developed  a 4-step, 8-week program to help such individuals identify and understand the real reason they battle with emotional eating, instead of recognizing  triggers such as, feelings of empathy, sadness, fear, anger etc. The author writes about "empathy overload" and how sensitive people are especially affected by the plight of others, both humans and animals, and how too much television, news and violence is not a good a thing for these individuals. 

This isn't a diet plan that has you limiting calories or counting points, or even restricting your choices to eating special foods. The author does highly recommend eating a plant-based diet, and organic foods whenever possible. It is also important to be aware of how your body reacts to the foods that you do eat. Do certain foods you eat trigger cravings and overeating?  

One thing the plan requires is journaling -- a lot of it -- mornings and evenings to help you get in touch with your feelings.  Although I'm not the type to journal about feelings, I did find that after finishing this book, evening without doing the journal writing, I now find myself analyzing what's going on in my brain when I feeling like munching endlessly. Often, I find it is boredom, or on occasion it's been that I've been thinking about a situation someone close to me is dealing with or thinking about something someone has said to me. Then at other times, it seems that a lot of the cravings go back to childhood where treats were given as a cure for sadness or even as a substitute for quality time with a loved one. There is also a spiritual "higher power" aspect to this book which will get different reactions from different readers.

The author has used this program with private clients, and there are many reviewers who seem to see this as some sort of breakthrough cure-all plan -- to me it's not.  Would I recommend this book to people struggling with dieting for years? Yes, I would, as there is some good information that may help some people refocus and "think" about what is really bothering them when they reach for something to eat that has little nutritional value. It's not, IMO, a plan that would be easy to follow 100%.

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros


Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where I share the first paragraph or (2) of a book I am reading or thinking about reading soon.  Care to join us? Feel free to grab the image and link your post below.

This week I'm featuring an intro from a book I hope to start this week. All of the reviews I have read have made me curious for more, and it's only $1.99 for the Kindle Edition!


2013 - William Morrow / Harper Collins

PROLOGUE

" The poet A.E. Housman wrote of the 'land of lost content,' and how he can never return to the place where he once was so happy.

When I was younger, I greatly admired the poem's sentiment because I was not old enough to realize how banal it was. The young invariably cherish their youth, incapable of imagining life past thirty.  The notion that the past is more idyllic is absurd.  What we remember is our innocence, strong limbs and physical desire.  Many people are shackled by their past and unable to look ahead with any degree of confidence because they not only don't believe in the future, they don't really believe in themselves."

What do you think? Would you keep reading or move on to something else?
Please feel free to link below:


Monday, February 25, 2013

Ten White Geese; Gerbrand Bakker

Title: Ten White Geese
Author: Gerbrand Bakker
Publication Year: 2013
Publisher: Penguin
Edition: eGalley

Source: NetGalley

Setting: Wales
Date Completed: February - 2013
Rating: 3.5/5 
Recommend: possibly


In this quiet and mysterious story, a woman from Amsterdam arrives in Wales where she rents a remote farm cottage in the countryside.  There she seeks solitude and hopes to find the privacy she's been searching for.  Although she claims to be an Emily Dickinson scholar who has arrived to do research for her dissertation, before long it is obvious that she is running away from someone or something.  
 
As she is settling in, Dickinson poetry and Dickinson photos in her possession, she notices "ten white geese" out in the field nearby; she is drawn to them.  Each day when she looks for them,  one, then two, then three, etc. have seemed to have disappeared. She believes a badger is the reason, because she reports that she was bitten in the foot by one right after she arrived.  The village people who hear this do not believe her story.
 
To complicate the turmoil Emilie is obviously experiencing, one day a young man who has been hiking across the land shows up on the property with an injured foot, she tells him to stay the night . The young man named Bradwen having dropped out of the university, stays on longer than expected, and his presence stirs feelings in Emilie and more of her past is revealed. The reader begins to learn what happened to this woman and why she has left her husband and parents without a word.
 
Translated from the Dutch and less than 250 pages, I had some trouble with this novel.   I loved how descriptive the writing was, the beautiful country setting, the sights and smells that heightened one's senses were wonderful, but even with that, in the end I felt like I might have missed something.  I had to ask myself, was this intentional or was it the way the writing translated?  Whatever the reason, that did affect my overall enjoyment a bit.  I do think this book would make for some good discussion with book groups.  I'd be curious to see what other readers think of this book.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Salon - Monday Mailbox


Sunday is my favorite day of the week!
When I retire I'll love everyday just as much!


Can I tell you how thrilled we were to wake up this morning without more snow!! Last night we got some sleet/rain and this morning nothing. I know I may sound like I'm bragging, but it was such a nice surprise. Now they say watch out for Wed-Fri of this week -- we shall see.  

Since I was all geared up for a lazy Sunday, I could not let myself be disappointed. While my husband slept in late, I got up made coffee, read, watched several episodes of Law and Order, set Roxy in motion to do her thing and put wash in and let the washer do his thing, while I had more coffee and played scrabble online.  I then heard husband stirring and pretended to be hard at work all morning while he had slept, of course this was so I could feel less guilty when I took my afternoon nap -- it was all quite marvelous. (Oh I did make him a nice breakfast and dinner)

I stopped by the library Friday to pick up the audio version of American Psycho, Brett Easton Ellis, and can I tell you how much I  am loving this book so far (he hasn't killed anyone yet, but oh my his brain is quite twisted).

Mailbox Monday is an opportunity to share with other readers the new books that arrived for you during the previous week. February Host: Audra @ Unabridged Chick



Hope you all have a great week !

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Kid Konnection Saturday - February 23rd

A weekend feature about children's books

April 9, 2013 - Random House Kids

Michael Paraskevas (author/illustrator) 
 
In this well done kids book, Taffy and his friends plan to spend a fun day at the beach. Together they want to build the "perfect" sand castle, but the beach is very very crowded.
 
As an adult, let your childhood imagination run wild as you think about the possiblities of still making it a "perfect" day at the beach when plans do not always work out as you expected.
 
This book has the brightest and most delightful colors. Happy characters and bright sunshire adorn the pages.  As the reader, this book made me want to act like a kid again and think about packing up the car and heading out to the beach -- even in February.
 
I really enjoyed this one and think it will be a kid and parent pleaser. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

TGIF - and More Snow in store!


I was amazed to hear on the news yesterday that it was snowing in 20 different states, and that they found 40lb goldfish in Lake Tahoe - something that has never occurred and can't be explained.  How weird is that?  Yet many people still seem to deny the fact that Global Warming is the cause.  I'm fascinated by all I read on the subject, although I do find it scary at times.


Yes, this is a look at our weekend beginning sometime Saturday afternoon. In fact this will be the (3rd) weekend we've had snow, and since we live in a condo and don't have to worry about shoveling or even clearing our steps, I'm really getting excited about being housebound with nothing to do but read and watch movies once again.  Do you mind being house bound?

I'll be finishing Ten White Geese; Gerbrand Bakker and Starting something new. Also hope to watch Argo.

This weeks indoor project will be some "book weeding" and "new recipes" if things go as planned. Whatever you do, I hope your weekend is perfect!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - Elinor Lipman

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week's pick is another one that I just learned about yesterday. I've really had some great reading experiences with this author - so looking forward to this one.


Houghton Mifflin Harcourt- April 16th

The View from Penthouse B  

(from author's website)

Unexpectedly widowed Gwen-Laura Schmidt is still mourning her husband, Edwin, when her older sister Margot invites her to join forces as roommates in Margot's luxurious Village apartment. For Margot, divorced amid scandal (hint: her husband was a fertility doctor) and then made Ponzi-poor, it's a chance to shake Gwen out of her grief and help make ends meet. To further this effort she enlists a third boarder, the handsome, cupcake-baking Anthony.

As the three swap money-making schemes and timid Gwen ventures back out into the dating world, the arrival of Margot's paroled ex in the efficiency apartment downstairs creates not just complications but the chance for all sorts of unexpected forgiveness. A sister story about love, loneliness, and new life in middle age, this is a cracklingly witty, deeply sweet novel from one of our finest comic writers.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros


Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where I share the first paragraph or (2) of a book I am reading or thinking about reading soon.  Care to join us? Feel free to grab the image and link your post below.

This week I'm featuring an intro from: Ten White Geese; Gerbrand Bakker - translated from the Dutch by David Colmer.


Penguin Books -February 26th, 2013

(quotes taken from eGalley - finished copy may be different)

Ample make this bed. Make this bed with awe; In it wait till judgment break Excellent and fair.

Be its mattress straight, Be its pillow round; Let no sunrise' yellow noise Interrupt this ground.

Emily Dickinson  

NOVEMBER 

"Early one morning she saw the badgers.  They were near the stone circle she had discovered a few days earlier and wanted to see it at dawn.  She had always thought of them as peaceful, shy and somehow lumbering animals, but they were fighting and hissing.  When they noticed her they ambled off into the flowering gorse.  There was a smell of coconut in the air.  She walked back along the path you could find only by looking into the distance, a path whose existence she had surmised from rusty kissing gates, rotten stiles and the odd post with a symbol presumably meant to represent a hiker. The grass was untrodden."

What do you think ? -- Would you keep reading?  (I have not started this one yet - but plan to - eGalley available on NetGalley)

Please feel free to link below:


Monday, February 18, 2013

We Sinners; Hanna Pylväinen



Title: We Sinners
Author: Hanna Pylvainen
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Edition: ARC

Source: amazon vine
Setting: US/Michigan and Finland
Date Completed: February - 2013
Rating: 4/5 
Recommend: yes


Rather extreme religious fundamentalism is ground on which the novel, We Sinners is built. Its a story of the Rovianiemi clan, a large family from Finland (nine siblings), who reside in the US and are members of a called ultra conservative religious sect called: Laestadianism, a branch of the Lutheran Church.  Although the story is a work of fiction, the author was raised in a similar household as this family with its very strict rules.  The norm is, no television, no popular music, no birth control, no alcohol, regular religious practice and hymn singing, conservative dress, no dances, no nail polish, yet, oddly, swearing seems to be commonplace at home.
 
The story is told through the family members, with individual chapters devoted to each, including the parents Warren and Pirjo.  All of the family members are very close because of the way they were raised, but as they reach maturity, they begin making their own choices about the life they want to lead.  Themes such as identity, sexuality, temptation, love and faith are addressed as the siblings tell their stories. It's a story the demonstrates how religion when taken to extremes has the potential of possibly tearing families apart.
 
I was enjoying the way the story was told, and I found it particularly touching to see how the children felt about their life and how very different it was from other children. Was their some validity to what their peers said about the children being brainwashed One negative to me was  with final two chapters, where the story takes an unusual turn back to the 1840's and back to Finland.  There was also an outsider's view on the children which I think would have been better served if it was omitted.  All in all I was glad I read this one, but not sure every reader would feel the same.

Mailbox Monday - February 18th



Mailbox Monday is an opportunity to share with other readers the new books that arrived for you during the previous week. February Host: Audra @ Unabridged Chick

What's is in that pretty package?


It's Beth Hoffman's new book. She not only writes a great book: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt (her debut), her presentation is always special. Her new book, Looking for Me, debuts on May 28th (Pamela Dorman Books)

 Thanks Beth

Sunday, February 17, 2013

#shineon Stephen King mid month check-in










I first read The Shining back in the 1980's when it was first released, and loved it. Since then I've seen the movie at least (5) times -- my favorite time to watch it is on a snowy night day.  This time around for the #shineon, I am listening to the audio version which I am enjoying  -- on Chapter 32. This time around I'm not finding the book scary at all, but the movie, no matter how many times I've seen it still creeps me out in parts.. Jack Nicholson makes the movie, and that Wendy was creepy in her own way in the movie.

The book somewhat different from the movie, and I do like both versions, but the book is better, IMO, the two are different and the book is much more detailed. Based on what I've read/listened to so far (up to chapter 32). Here are some of the differences that I noticed so far (I'm sure there are more, but it's been over a year since I last saw the movie).

 POSSIBLE SPOILERS

 I feel that the book gives the reader more insight into a lot of elements of the story.  From animal shaped hedges in the book vs a maze of hedges in the movie and what happens around the grounds are different. The incident of the bees in the book is missing from the movie, and the role little Danny's imaginary friend "Tony" played is much more evident and clear in the book -- In the book he's mentioned frequently and plays a more significant role that made way more sense to me.  Also, the details about Danny's "shining" / visions are much more vivid in the book.

In the movie the use of mirrors happened a lot and "redrum" was easy to decipher immediately in the movie, where as, while listening the to the word "redrum" on audio book, had I not seen the movie or heard about it previously, would have left me curious until it was explained. Also,  I didn't remember the reference to the Mafia hits at the Overlook in the movie which were mentioned in the book.

Until my 2/28/2013 wrap-up post ....  #shineon  peeps!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Saturday Snapshot - February 16, 2012

Saturday Snapshot

Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don't post random photos that you find online.  


Raising a Reader


 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Care of Wooden Floors; Will Wiles


Title: Care of Wooden Floors
Author: Will WIles
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: New Harvest
Edition: eBook

Source: free/amazon prime
Setting: Unnamed European Country
Date Completed: February - 2013
Rating: 4.5/5 
Recommend: yes


In Care of Wooden Floors, an unnamed narrator from London agrees to house sit for Oskar, his former college friend, while he flies back to the US to finalize his divorce from his American wife. Oskar makes, what seems to be, some reasonable requests of his friend: feed his (2) cats: Shossy and Stravvy, no cats on the sofa, don't touch the piano, let the housekeeper in once a week and, make sure nothing damages his beautiful "wooden floors".  Oskar seems a bit obsessive and does not seem totally confident about the narrator's ability to do as he's been asked. Oskar leaves random notes around the apartment reminding his friend where the cleaning supplies are and what he expects of him. It's almost as if he expects a mishap to occur here and there. 

What starts out as a nice change of pace for the narrator soon develops into an amusing, and at times horrific week of house sitting. It begins when a red wine spill goes unnoticed until it is too late, causing a big red blotch to mar Oskar's pristine wooden floors.  This incident with the floor causes the narrator to obsess about the stain and seek a way to fix it or make it less noticeable.  If this doesn't cause enough stress for the house sitter, things get even more complicated when he breaks another one of Oskar's rules about not touching the piano, which triggers another incident, this time with one of the cats.

"Is everything OK in the apartment?" [ My eye strayed to the cats on the sofa and the stain on the floor. The stain was actually hidden from me by the coffee table, but I felt I could still see it; a flash burn on my retina, always in center view . You tried to look at it, when it swam away!]

This story starts off slow and then suddenly the plot builds with one calamity to the next.  There is a fair share of suspense in this story, but mostly, I found myself laughing about the measures the narrator takes to cover up his tracks.  The incident with the piano and the cat was funny to me, but maybe not all animal lovers will feel the same. I had to keep telling myself "it's just a work of fiction".

Care of Wooden Floors, was just the type of book I needed -- very fun, often wacky -- try it. Readers who like dark humor will be the best candidates for this debut novel.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday ~ Paris, Edward Rutherfurd



"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pick is one that I just learned about yesterday. I know many of my readers adore Paris, so this may be one for your "must read list".

April, 23, 2013 - Doubleday

Paris : City of love. City of revolution.  This thrilling and romantic story opens in La Belle Époque, the golden, hedonistic age of peace and joie de vivre. Moving back and forth in time across centuries, the story unfolds through intimate and vivid tales of self-discovery, divided loyalty, passion, and long-kept secrets both fictional and true, set against the backdrop of the city - from the summit of Montmartre to the Gothic towers of Notre Dame to the grand boulevards of Saint-Germain, from the medieval world of saints and scholars to the modern French ideals of liberté, égalité, fraternité.

The noble family de Cygne have served king and country through the ages, while their ancient enemies the Le Sourds embody the ideals of the French Revolution and the Paris Commune. The two Gascon brothers come from the dangerous slums behind Montmartre, but while Thomas goes to work building the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower, Luc makes a living in the underworld of Pigalle, near the Moulin Rouge. The Blanchards, ruined in the reign of Louis XV, rise again in the age of Napoleon and help establish Paris as the center of art, literature and style that it is today. The American Hadleys, the father a painter, the son a friend of Hemingway, find romance in Paris, while the Jewish Jacob family of art dealers, expelled in the Middle Ages, try to survive in the Second War.

The story of the city is rich indeed: From the days of Notre Dame and the mighty Knights Templar to the expulsion on the Jews;  from the age of heroic Joan of Arc, to cunning Cardinal Richelieu and the bloody conflict between Catholics and Huguenots; from the glittering court of Versailles to the Terror of the French Revolution; from the heyday of the Impressionists to the shame of the Dreyfus Affair, and the tragic mutiny of the First World War; from the 1920s when the writers of the Lost Generation could be found drinking at Les Deux Magots, to the Nazi occupation, and the heroism of the French Resistance.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dear Life: Stories; Alice Munro


Title: Dear Life: Stories
Author: Alice Munro
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Random House Audio
Edition: audio

Source: Library
Setting: Canada
Date Completed: February - 2013
Rating: 4/5 
Recommend: yes


In the past I've tended to pass on short story collections but I've been trying to step out of my comfort zone a bit.  This collection was a good choice for me.
 
Dear Life: Stories, by Alice Munro is a collection of 14 stories, most of them are set in the 1940s-1950s and take place in rural areas of Canada - probably somewhere near Ontario.  Most of the stories had characters that are easy to feel for -- often flawed or with lives in turmoil. The characters and settings are what appealed to me the most.  The stories seem very plausible and in many cases the readers, once they finish a particular story, will be left to form their own conclusions. 
 
Some of stories in this collection that resonated with me the most were: In Sight of the Lake, story about a woman who seeks out a doctor to help her with her memory loss. Also, Pride, a story about a wealthy girl and a disabled boy who grew up in the same town and as adults have a somewhat awkward friendship. I also really enjoyed Amundsen, about a young woman who travels to a remote area to teach in a sanitarium for individuals who have contracted TB.  Sadly, she lets herself be seduced by the doctor in charge and begins a no-win relationship.
 
The final (4) stories Munro wrote are called, The "Finale" are autobiographical in nature. Munro is 81 and it seems clear that through this collection she is looking back at her "Dear Life", and those I found bittersweet.  Although most of the stories are a little sad, I did not find them depressing. Most involve a significant event that changes the lives of one or more of the people involved.
 
I would definitely recommend this short story collection. The audio book  (Random House Audio) was read by Kimberly Farr and Arthur Morey who did a very good job.

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros


Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where I share the first paragraph or (2) of a book I am reading or thinking about reading soon.  Care to join us? Feel free to grab the image and link your post below.

This week I'm featuring an intro from :The Black Isle, by Sandi Tan


Hachette - July 2012
PART ONE

The Haunted

" Anyone who has lived as long as I have, and who has done the things I have, knows there will come a reckoning.  Mine announced its arrival quietly--in a library, no less. 

Every Saturday, like a faithful grave-tender, I would go to visit a certain book at the Archive of Wartime Affairs.  The book was part of my private curriculum--my research, if you will--not that I ever had to worry about secrecy.  This being 2010, the Archive, perched atop a crumbling  billiards parlor, is little known and even less loved."

What do you think ? -- Would you keep reading?  (I have not started this one yet - but am thinking about it - I liked the intro)

Please feel free to link below:


 


Monday, February 11, 2013

Mailbox Monday ~ February 11, 2013


Mailbox Monday is an opportunity to share with other readers the new books that arrived for you during the previous week. February Host: Audra @ Unabridged Chick.


How about you? Any new books?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Salon ~ After the Blizzard - February 2013



The blizzard is over and actually, we enjoyed being confined to our house for (2) days.  They closed the College on Friday and Saturday and only essential personnel were allowed on the roads after 4p.m. on Saturday which was great for road crews.  My poor Son-in-law works in health care and had to go in early and then stay for a double shift because of call outs.  When all was said and done we got close to 2 feet of snow where we are.

after they snowplowed our sidewalk this morning

end of a long long driveway

How did everyone else in the path of the blizzard make out.  Some of the beach communities were flooded from tidal surges once again. They just had to deal with that a few months ago with Hurricane Sandy.  I think that would be enough incentive for me to try to sell oceanfront property, if we were in that situation.

It was a great weekend for movies and reading though.  We watched Silence of the Lambs (us), On Golden Pond (just me) and Hope Springs (just me) . I hated that movie, IMO, probably the worst movie Meryl Steep ever starred in and not really her fault either.

I finished Care of Wooden Floors by Wills Wiles - what a bizarre read, but I really liked it and was glad I read it. (Hope to draft my review this afternoon.)  This book is a FREE eBOOK loan for Amazon Prime members.

Not sure what book is up next but I'm continuing with the audio version of The Shining; Stephen King for #shineon and really enjoying it. Close to the half way point. 

Have a good week everyone!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Walter's Muse; Jean Davies Okimoto


Title: Walter's Muse
Author: Jean Davies Okimoto
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Endicott and Hugh Books
Edition: Trade

Source: my shelves
Setting: Washington
Date Completed: February - 2013
Rating: 2.5/5 
Recommend: no
 

I read several favorable reviews about this book, but sadly I wasn't as impressed.  It was definitely a character driven novel, but I found the writing overwrought and lacking substance.
 
The story takes place on Vachon Island, Washington, a remote island accessible only by ferry or boat. The locale seemed lovely and the beauty and tranquility the island seemed to offer takes on a life of its own -- makes me want to live there.  There are (2) major characters in this story: Walter, a grumpy senior citizen, who is also awell known writer of children's books. He is also a man who has struggled with alcoholism. Maggie, the other main character, is a former school librarian who is now retired. At 65 when she thinks of Walter, she can't help but recalls a much earlier encounter with him when she worked as a librarian.  Maggie's also a nosy lady who likes to snoop on others, and she spends much of her time feeling sorry for herself, and the way her life turned out. Both of these characters enjoy their solitude and privacy. There are a few minor characters on the island as well. Miss Martha, a senior, senior citizen who shares wisdom of the ages; she's now 91, and, there is Bill Bailey, Walter's dog who is mentioned so often I had to count him as a key player.
 
When the story begins, Maggie hears Bill Baily, Walter's dog, howling non stop and goes over to check things out during a high wind and rain storm. She finds Walter has fallen off of a ladder and is injured. She calls for help and he is taken to the hospital.  In the interim, Walter asks Maggie to care for his dog, which she does.  As the novel progresses, and it is a painfully slow process, they begin to see the good in one another and form a connection.
 
I can see the appeal of this book for some readers who enjoy setting more than story, but it's just not the type of novel that I typically enjoy, and honestly I didn't care for the main characters either.

Waiting on Wednesday - Chris Bohjalian


 

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I haven't participated in this weekly even in a while, but when I saw this one yesterday, I decided to share my "can't-wait-to-read" selection by one of my favorite authors: The Light in the Ruins, by Chris Bohjalian.

July 2013 - Doubleday
SYNOPSIS

From the New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls comes a spellbinding novel of love, despair, and revenge – set in war-ravaged Tuscany.

 1943: Tucked away in the idyllic hills south of Florence, the Rosatis, an Italian family of noble lineage, believe that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. Eighteen-year-old Cristina spends her days swimming in the pool, playing with her young niece and nephew, and wandering aimlessly amid the estate’s gardens and olive groves. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis' bucolic tranquility is shattered. A young German lieutenant begins to court Cristina, the Nazis descend upon the estate demanding hospitality, and what once was their sanctuary becomes their prison.

1955: Serafina Bettini, an investigator with the Florence police department, has her own demons. A beautiful woman, Serafina carefully hides her scars along with her haunting memories of the war. But when she is assigned to a gruesome new case – a serial killer targeting the Rosatis, murdering the remnants of the family one-by-one in cold blood – Serafina finds herself digging into a past that involves both the victims and her own tragic history.