June.2016 TBR

Villa AmericaI cannot believe we are in June – the half way point in the year.  I really have no idea where May went.  It worries me a bit when summer comes and the month goes by so quickly that I feel like I have not taken advantage of it.  April and May is a very busy time at work for me as it is our year end and the auditors arrive, the annual report and financial statements are due along with all the other work that I am responsible for so I feel like those months, I go to work, come home, read a bit and go to bed.

So normally I would have a more ambitious to-be-read list for June, however, I am away at a conference for work for five days and I’m not sure how much reading I will get done that week.  If I get more reading time in than I expect, that will be a bonus and I have lots of books I can pull off of the shelf and read.  So without further ado, I plan to read:

game of crowns

Villa America by Liza Klaussman

The Bridge Ladies by Betsy Lerner

Game of Crowns by Christopher Andersen

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater – this was a leftover from my May TBR

Gwen

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May.2016 Reads

The following are the books I completed in the month of May.2016 along with my rating on Goodreads:

  1. The Nest by Cynthia D’Apix Sweeney – 4 stars – I have a full review on my youtube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9MIomVLwtQ
  2. I Think I am Outta Here by Carroll O’Connor – 3 stars – I have a full review on this blog.
  3. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout – 3.5 stars – I have a full review on this blog.
  4. Making It Up As I Go Along by Marian Keyes – 4 stars
  5. Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It (various letters and essays) – 4 stars
  6. Titans by Leila Meacham – 3 stars
  7. The Bookseller by Mark Pryor – 4 stars
  8. Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent – 4 stars
  9. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – 4 stars

The one book I want to highlight is #8 – Dinner with Edward.  This was such a sweet book.  It was a memoir where Isabel describes how she met Edward through her girlfriend.  Edward was her girlfriend’s father who was in his 90’s.  He had recently lost his wife of 67 years and was so lonely and depressed.  It was suggested to Isabel that maybe she would stop in and see Edward occasionally to check up on him.  Edward was a fantastic cook and once he got to know Isabel she would join him for dinner once a week where he would cook these delicious 4 course meals.  While the meals were fantastic, it was the conversation that the both needed — Isabel was unhappy in her marriage and Edward was lonely.  He taught Isabel how to live and it was just a wonderful story that I would highly recommend.  A very short read – barely 200 pages but it packed a big punch.

Book Haul

So these are the books that I accumulated in the month of May.2016.  Please excuse the wonky picture with my eyes closed, however, I didn’t look at the picture right after I took it and went ahead and put the books away and I couldn’t be arsed to take a new picture!

  1. Rare Objects by Kathleen Tessaro – this was a book given to me by my sister after she had read and enjoyed it.  It is about a daughter of Irish immigrants who settle in Boston.  She grows up in Boston and has developed a bad habit of liking the wrong men and bootleg gin.  She ends up in a psychiatric hospital for a period of time and when she is released, she obtains a job in an antique store where she gets to meet Boston society members.  One of the women she is reacquainted with is a woman she made friends with in the psychiatric hospital and the story goes from there …
  2. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert – I absolutely loved Eat Pray Love and have read it several times. I was always hesitant to pick up this book knowing that this is fiction and not sure whether I will like it.  I don’t know a lot about it other than the main character is a woman botanist and it is set in the 1800’s.  I really like Elizabeth Gilbert’s writing style so thought I would give this a try.
  3. The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews – I have read most of Mary Kay’s books and have enjoyed them.  This is set in North Carolina.  the character is to meet her husband at the docks in order to take the ferry to their summer property on an island.  Her husband doesn’t show, but a process server finds her and she is served with divorce papers.  The book ensues with her friends rallying around her and helping her try to track down her husband who has disappeared.  Sounds like a fun summer read.
  4. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – I am in love with these cloth-bound Penquin classics.
  5. The Bridge Ladies by Betsy Lerner is a memoir of a woman who has to reside with her mother for a number of weeks while she recuperates from surgery.  Her mother has belonged to a bridge club for decades and Betsy starts to play with them and starts to learn not only more about them, but also herself.  I started reading this in the bookstore and can hardly wait to dive into this one.
  6. The Edge of the Fall by Kate Williams – this is the second book in what I believe will be a trilogy.  The first book, The Storms of War was about a family in England (very Downton Abbeyish) just before World War I breaks out.  This second book continues with this family after World War I has ended but prior to World War II.
  7. Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It – this is a collection of stories that women have wrote describing how the book Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert changed their lives.  I actually read this within one day of bringing it home and rated it 4 stars.
  8. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas – this is the second book in the series with the first being A Court of Thorn and Roses which I have not yet read.  This is a YA fantasy series.
  9. Hamilton the Revolution – is a book about the Broadway hit play Hamilton that contains pictures and information about the play, along with all the lyrics to the songs.

Book Haul May.2016

Weekend Reads

This is a long weekend in Canada with Monday being Victoria Day so I get another day for reading!! Yea!!!!!!

The Book SellerI am currently reading The Bookseller by Mark Pryor.  This is the first book in the Hugo Marston series.  Hugo is the head of security at the US embassy in Paris.  He occasionally purchases books from a bookseller on the streets of Paris.  One day he goes to look at the bookseller’s selections and encounters a situation between Max (the bookseller) and a thug.  Max is forced onto a boat by gunpoint and Hugo can’t seem to get anyone from the police to believe that Max is in trouble.  I am about 14% complete so just nicely into it and I find it very interesting and of course, the Paris setting doesn’t hurt either.

 

 

 

Lilac GirlsWhen I finish The Bookseller, the next book I plan on picking up is Lilac Girls.  I so love the cover of this book.  This story is set during World War II.  The main characters are three women – one works at a consulate in France (I think), another is a teen from Poland which has just been invaded by Germany and she is part of the underground resistance and eventually gets taken to the women’s concentration camp and the third is a woman doctor in Germany who answers an ad for a medical position.  She is so happy she has gotten this position but it turns out to be a nightmare (I suspect she may end up being a doctor at the concentration camp).  I think this is going to be a very interesting but difficult book to read because of the content.

Hope everyone has a good weekend and happy reading!

Book Review – I Think I’m Outta Here

I listened to this book on audio which was read by the author.  I had been expecting to hear Archie Bunker’s voice flow through my ear pods but what I heard was the Broadway cultured voice of Carroll O’Connor.  I didn’t realize that his voice changed as much as it did when he played Archie.

Archie

As in most biographies, Carroll spent some time talking about his childhood and young adulthood.  He talked about how he got into the acting business and his time on Broadway.  While he did discuss how he landed the part of Archie Bunker in All in the Family, I was disappointed that he did not spend much time talking about this character and how he actually felt about Archie and what it was like playing him.  The last third of the book was all about his son, Hugh, and his drug addiction.  I think writing the book was a bit of a cathartic exercise with respect to his son’s addiction and death and the last third of the book was mostly Carroll’s journal entries of what was happening with respect to Hugh (i.e. Hugh was high today; Hugh seemed to be sober today, etc.).

Overall, I gave this book 3 stars.

Book Review – My Name is Lucy Barton

My name is lucy barton

I received this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lucy Barton had an unhappy childhood full of poverty and abuse and was the daughter of dysfunctional parents.  As an adult, she has married and is a mother herself when she ends up in the hospital for a period of eight or nine weeks.  She has siblings that she has lost touch with and has not seen her parents for many years.  During her hospital stay, her husband is unable to visit her very often as he works and then has to look after their two young children so he contacts Lucy’s mother to see if she will travel to New York from Illinois to spend some time with Lucy while she is in hospital.  Lucy is very surprised to see her mother and they spend several days together reminiscing about friends and family.  I had a difficult time liking Lucy’s mother.  Although she seemed to make sacrifices when visiting Lucy (sat by Lucy’s bedside night and day during her time there), I didn’t find her maternal and felt that part of the reason she never left Lucy’s side was because she either didn’t want to spend the money or she didn’t have the money to spend on a hotel room and food.  The upside to this story is that Lucy recognizes the childhood for what it was and that she will never have a relationship with her parents and siblings like a lot of people do but she has turned that around for her own family unit where she shows great love and affection for her children.  You are left with the feeling that Lucy and her children will have a good relationship and that she has broken the dysfunctional circle.  I found this to be a 3.5 star read.

Book Review – Making It Up As I Go Along

Making It Up As I Go Along

 

Making It Up As I Go Along is a bind-up of a series of Marian’s observations that have mostly been published previously in UK and Ireland papers and in various magazines.  Most of them are short and humorous and are good for picking up when you are only planning on reading a few minutes as you can read several in a short period of time.  I’m looking forward to Marian’s next actual novel but this was a nice departure and was a four star read for me.