Sunday, May 21, 2017

May Reading List


Okay, here's my list of what I'm hoping to tackle in May.  I know the month is about 2/3 over, but I figured better late than never.

Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott.  I think my love of Anne Lamott is well known by now.  This is another collection of essays by her.

The Bat by Jo Nesbo.  This is the first book in his Harry Hole series and I'm ready to dive into a new Scandinavian mystery.

An Ordinary Man by Paul Rusesabagina.  This is an autobiography by the man who inspired Hotel Rwanda by hiding Tutsi's during the genocide in 1994.  It was originally on my list September of last year, but never even got cracked open.

Letters to Zell by Camille Griep.  This was in my Fall Sweet Progress Swap package and  is a reimagining of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty.  I'm always down with a good fairy tale retold.

So what are you reading, or have you read this month?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

April Book Recap


So April was a good month of reading, but I didn't get much else done, including blogging.  I started a new job, and now my schedule is 7:00 to 3:30, Monday to Friday.  I enjoy getting done at 3:30, and had really good intentions to spend time once I got home blogging and keeping up with some of the other blogs I follow, but unfortunately, I haven't been able to establish much of a routine yet.  Instead, I get done with work, run some errands, then come home and read, eat supper, maybe go for a walk with my friend down the street and her dog, and next thing I know it's 8 o'clock and I'm falling asleep on the couch.  Still ironing out a routine that fosters blogging time.  But anyways, here's what I read and bought.

Read

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent was interesting.  It takes place in Iceland and is based on a true story.  The author did a great job of painting vivid scenes and really showing how a place looked, felt, and even smelled like, but I didn't love it as much as everyone else seemed to.  I thought it was a good story, but I wanted to know more about the family that Agnes stayed with, more about Agnes even, but she wasn't much of a talker and a lot of the story took place in her head with her remembering it and retelling it to herself.

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey started out with such promise.  I was enjoying it right up until about the time they ended up on the RV.  Then it all started to go downhill.  I enjoyed the characters and cared about most of them, and this book is bleak, no doubt, so I wasn't expecting them to fire up the RV, ride off into the sunset, and find the answer to all humanities woes. I was expecting something like Cormac McCarthy's The Road- not a happy ending but not delusional.  This book ended in such a strange way.  All it made me think is that Melanie may be super smart and observant, but she's still a child or she would have realized that her plan was not only unfeasible to save the one she loved but also cruel.  I don't want to spoil anything, but ugh, that ending just annoyed me.

Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller was nonfiction and a good look at how Christians have a tendency to get all wrapped up in this or hat and forget that our main purpose is to love each other.  I liked most of the stories and it did make me think.  We all have first impressions of the people we meet, but are we willing to dig deeper and see really get to know people.  I know a lot of times, I don't engage with people because I think we'll never be deep friends so why bother, but there's plenty of reasons to get to know someone even if you think they're not going to be your new bff.  This may seem like a duh thing extroverts but I think introverts are going to know what I mean.

A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay was so disappointing.  I loved how the book started, taking place in Noirmoutier and even the little flashbacks were cute at first.  Plus there was some big family secret to unravel!  Oh my, I can't wait!  Well turns out I could have.  The secret is not that devastating.  The way they were carrying on you'd have thought their mother was some sort of puppy murderer or something.  Plus, the main character, Antoine, is this sad sack divorcee who's unsatisfied in his job and can't connect with his kids, and still wants to get back with his ex-wife who left him for another guy.  But all that changes when he meets the most remarkable undertaker.  Look up manic pixie dream girl, and you'll see this chick.  She has an unconventional job, she drives a Harley, she takes the reins sexually, his kids all love her, she never has a bad day apparently, and in turn she turns dumb Antoine's life around, and I couldn't have cared less.  I kept hoping this book would get better but it didn't. 

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson lived up to what I remembered.  He goes from giving history of the trail to telling actual tales from his trip.  It's a nice balance and makes you realize what an amazing thing the Appalachian Trail is.  I don't think I'd ever want to hike the whole thing, but it does make you respect those who do.  And Bryson is funny.  I laughed out loud with this book several times.

Acquired

The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty was picked up at my library's book sale.  I almost put it back because I'm really trying to limit the amount of books I'm hauling home, but after reading more about it on Goodreads, I am glad I picked it up.

Totals for 2017
Read- 14
Acquired- 12

Monday, April 10, 2017

April Reading List


April is here!  And here's what I'm aiming to read this month.
  • The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey was a gift from my Broke and Bookish Secret Santa last year.  I've been looking forward to this read and have been trying to keep away from spoilers, so I'm not sure what all I'm in for, but looking forward to the ride.
  • One True Ocean by Sarah Beth Martin was on my to be read list way back in October of 2015.  But, I never even cracked it open.  So, this is the month for redemption.  It's 
  • A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson is being turned into movie.  When I was at my aunt and uncle's cabin a few years ago, I found a copy there and started reading through it.  So, when I found a copy at a book sale, I snapped it up.
  • Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller us described as a sort of Anne Lamott style book.  So, of course I had to give it a go.  It's been sitting on my shelf for months but decided it was time to dust it off.
What's on your reading list for April?

Saturday, April 8, 2017

March Book Recap


March was a surprisingly good month for reading.  I had gotten into a habit of coming home, plopping in front of the TV and watching reruns until my husband got home, so I broke that and switched from TV to books.  Of course, once you're immersed in a good story, it's hard to put a book down, so I ended up spending a lot of nights curled up with a book.  Here's the details.

I read
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky, which had been on my February reading list, but I never got to it.  It was a quick read, but much more intense than I was expecting.  I was expecting this cutsie little story about friendship and finding your place in life, and that is not what this is at all, it's much darker and more intense.  But it was good and I'm glad I finally read it.
  • The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes (originally from my November 2016 reading list) was also darker than I normally read.  I think this would be classified as horror, where I'm more a suspense type girl.  I really liked the premise of a time traveling serial killer, but there was a lot of questions left unanswered and some of the relationships and decisions of the characters just didn't seem reliable to me, and the gore was more than I care for in my books.  But it was interesting, that's for sure.
  • Still Mine by Amy Stuart didn't live up to my expectations.  I didn't really like any of the characters except for maybe the missing girl's mother, who has dementia.  The whole town sounded like a downer and being in healthcare, one my biggest annoyances was that this town of like a couple hundred people, two hours from anything in the middle of no where, isolated from everything because it's on some remote mountain road, has a hospital even though it seems like there's only one doctor and one nurse running the whole thing.  The grocery store consisted of a couple rows of stuff in the hardware store.  The town residents drive two hours to get food, but they manage to maintain a hospital?  Seriously, my town has about 4,000 people and we are pretty tiny to have a hospital.  It probably seems like no big deal to most readers, but the whole remoteness, yet randomness of this town really annoyed me.  And like I said, combine that with characters you don't care about- even the missing girl seemed unremarkable, and it makes for a fast but not really memorable read.  I did enjoy the parts of Claire's story that fleshed her out a little, but there wasn't enough to make me care about her that much.
  • Children of God by Mary Doria Russell was much better than I was expecting.  It's the sequel to The Sparrow, which was my favorite read of last year.  While the sequel wasn't as good (are they ever), I did enjoy reading more about Emilio Sandoz again, and watching him overcome the trauma he experienced in the first book.  The war in the middle got long, and I felt like a lot of it could have been cut or condensed, but I liked the back and forth point of views, where one chapter would be on Earth and the next would be on Rakhat.  I think this is one of those books that you either love or hate.  And you definitely need to read The Sparrow before this one, or you're going to be lost, or at least not as emotionally invested in a lot of the characters.
I added
  •  Lenten Lands by Douglas Gresham is a memoir of C.S. Lewis' stepson.  The more I find out about Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis' marriage, the more I want to hear about it, so this book by her son seems like an obvious read for me.
  • What Strange Creatures by Emily Arsenault is a murder mystery with a strong family story woven in.  To be honest, the cover drew me in, but I have a feeling the book is going to go a whole different direction.
  • Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes was at the dollar store, for $1.  I picked it up before I read The Shining Girls and now that I have read The Shining Girls, I worry it may be too gory for my taste, but I'm willing to give it a read.  Per Goodreads, it got slightly higher ratings that The Shining Girls.

2017 Totals
Read- 9, Acquired- 11

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Winter Bingo Wrap Up

Well, it was my first time playing Bookish Bingo, hosted by Bekka from Pretty Deadly Reviews.  I didn't get many books read this winter, but did manage to eek out a Bingo.  Here it is...


Set Abroad: The Man from Beijing by Henrik Mankell
Romance: Dear Mr. Darcy by Amanda Grange
Free
Blue Cover:
Stone Mattresses by Margaret Atwood
Unreliable Narrator: Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Simple

Also read...
GR Choice Nominee: The Trespasser by Tana French 
Not YA: The Cozy Life by Pia Edberg
Super Hyped: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brenea Brown

If you want to play along this spring, go to Pretty Deadly Reviews and sign up.

Friday, March 3, 2017

March Reading List


Here's what I'm looking forward to reading in March.
  • Still Mine by Amy Stuart was on my reading list way back last June, but I never got around to giving it a try.  It looks like a good mystery, so I'm looking forward to giving it a whirl.
  • Children of God by Mary Doria Russell is the sequel to my favorite read of 2016- The Sparrow.  I've had this copy for probably six months now, and finally decided it's time to give it a read.  I'm not expecting the same magic of The Sparrow, but I'm looking forward to seeing where this book takes those characters.
  • Soul Shift by Steve Deneff is nonfiction book all about spiritual transformation.  It details how we sabotage our efforts to change and how to shift your mindset.  It's been on my shelf for a while, but I feel like I could really use it now.
Have you read any of these?  Or have a recommendation for me?  Feel free to drop me a note in the comments letting me know.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

February Book Recap


February wasn't as good of a month for reading as I was hoping it would be.  To be honest, I've just been trying to survive the winter.  I haven't felt like doing much of anything- no reading, no cooking, no sewing.  Just working and occasionally going out to see friends.  My coping skills for winter consist of drinking coffee, eating chocolate, and napping.   I'm looking forward to spring though.  We just got more snow yesterday, but I feel optimistic that it can't last much longer.

Anyhow, on to the recap!

The only book I read was Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.  It was funny and entertaining, if not a little predictable.  But, I liked the combination of letters, faxes, emails, and even medical bills used to tell the story.  I'm glad I finally read it,

What I added... well, my birthday is in February so some of these were gifts and a couple had been on my search list for a while.

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence and Practicing His Presence by Brother Lawrence and Frank Laubach as well as The Passenger by Lisa Lutz were all birthday gifts, although you really couldn't get much different than devotions written by a 17th century monk on being present in even mundane tasks and a thriller about two women on the run from their past.
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis is a book that I've been hunting for quite a while, so I was excited to find this one and Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs by Heather Lende on Bookmooch.

Jo Nesbo is an author I've been wanting to read for a while, but I wanted to start the series at the beginning, so when I found The Bat at a used book store while on my weekend out of town, I snapped it up.  Definitely worth the $4 price tag.

So, while I added quite a few, all of these were ones I've been wanting to read.  I'm excited about that.  Totals for 2017, I've read five, added eight.