December 1, 2016

Royal History

This is a very concise and entertaining history lesson on the British monarchy.

November 17, 2016

Monthly Book Review: Oct/Nov 2016

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue – Story of Cameroonian immigrants trying to make their dreams come true in America. The descriptions of life in Africa and what they were willing to do here to make a better one made me appreciate my good fortune. I felt disappointed by the ending at first; however, came to realize all the characters had dreams – some realized, some not. Loved the narration.

Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory – Ms. Gregory seems to have a cult following so I thought I’d check her out and what could be better for me than a book mixing royalty with history?! I really liked this story of Henry VIII’s first wife and two sisters from the perspective of his older sister, Queen Margaret of Scotland. Women had power but had to wield it behind a man lest they be branded crazy. Sadly things haven’t changed much in 400+ years have they?!

The Girls by Emma Cline – A thinly veiled fictionalization of the Manson cult. A recommendation from a fellow Audible lover, I found it “meh”. Too many metaphors for me – felt the author was trying too hard; however, I could relate to the descriptions of the main character’s sense of longing and awkward adolescence.

Girl at War by Sara Novic – Very good. A young Yugoslavian girl discovers by blunt force that ethnicity (Serbian vs. Croatian or Bosnian) makes a big difference in a small world and that there are many facets to being strong.

Next Up:
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
You by Caroline Kepnes
The English German Girl by Jake Wallis Simons
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Relly

October 13, 2016

Monthly Book Review: Sept 2016

Better late than never, right?! :)

I didn't read as much last month - lots going on and I've been enjoying the beautiful Fall weather with friends and family.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane - I've been racking my brain for how to describe this one and all I come up with is "weird". I liked the first half and then ... it got weird. I stuck with it thinking there had to be something I was missing that would be revealed. Sadly there wasn't. I don't get it - maybe it's over my head - so two thumbs down.

Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch - a good biography with excellent narration. The most interesting tidbits were about Princess Margaret, Elizabeth's sister.

The Lake House - Kate Morton may be my new (to me) favorite author. I really liked last month's The House at Riverton so chose this one and it did not disappoint. After reading two of Kate's books, I detect common themes of being careful how you judge as you don't know what goes on behind closed doors and the truth has different perspectives. I agree with both. I love a good period drama and the author likes to keep readers on their toes by adding some curveballs that delight until the very end. Win!

Night Road - This is by the same author as The Nightingale so I was expecting WWII theme. I was completely and pleasantly caught off guard. It gets a little too conveniently all sewn up with a tidy bow at the end but I really liked the story. I will definitely be looking to see if there are other Kristin Hannah books.

Secrets of a Charmed Life - I'm 2/3 through this one and it reads like a Kate Morton book so I like it (author is Susan Meissner and majority of the story is set in WWII).

Bonus:
I saw The Girl on the Train with a girlfriend last weekend because I just had to see how Hollywood handled it. I liked it - very true to the book and I would likely think it even better had I not read the book (the books are almost always better than the movie!).

September 6, 2016

Ink

The kids, particularly Sassy, have been on me for quite some time about getting a tattoo. As I am not into voluntary pain that's a tall order for me. It also freaks me out to think how a tattoo would look on old, crepey skin. And where would it go?

I told Sassy once many years ago that I'd get a fleur-de-lis tattoo with her. She has yet to dial it in that sometimes parents lie to their children to get them of their back.
So tonight at dinner Sassy brought up the three of us getting a tattoo. Something symbolic. I may be able to get on board with that. Thus began my search for the appropriate symbol. 
First I submitted this -

Then I sent this -


Then this -
Sassy's response was "In the search bar are you typing elf fantasy?"
I replied "LOTR" for Lord of the Rings.
I got "Lol mom lol".

My last attempt was this -
Evidently I'm getting "warmer" :)

September 1, 2016

Better Out Than In

I recently saw this on Facebook -
If you avoid conflict to keep the peace you start a war inside yourself.

Amen.

August 31, 2016

Monthly Book Review: Aug 2016 **updated**

Since I've become so bookish I'm going to attempt to do a monthly book review. Attempt is the operative word here.

This month's reads included:

**The Paris Architect - I cannot believe I forgot this one, it was the best of the entire month
A WWII book (surprise!) about an architect that reluctantly designs hiding places for Jews; another unique perspective and a wonderful reminder that the best life is not always the one we initially designed.

The House at Riverton (aka Shifting Fog) - Very good! Bittersweet Downton Abbey style period drama about secrets; while the level of detail seemed a bit much at times while I listened, in retrospect it made the story richer; the main secrets are held to the very last

Code Name Verity - another WWII book (shock!) ; I loved the first half, the last half not as much which was disappointing as there was a big reveal at the end that seemed to land more like a thud than a welcome a-ha; excruciating detail about aircraft that I found tedious at the time but all was revealed in the end

Among the Ten Thousand Things - hard to relate to and vulgar language that I found off-putting for some reason (I'm not a prude as there's plenty of it in other books I like); I just didn't get where it was going, like at all; an event and the fallout for characters was described in great detail and then it flashed forward decades; this is the first book I didn't listen to all the way and actually returned (another reason I'm super impressed with Audible)

Truly Madly Guilty - just released book from the author of Big Little Lies; not as good as I expected but still enjoyed it; it is l-o-o-o-n-n-g - the author likes to describe in intricate detail every thought, feeling and bias each character has which I find interesting, but I can see where others might find it overkill
Next Up -
The Ocean at the End of the Lane (my mom's recommendation)
This is Not my Beautiful Life (my BFF's recommendation)
The Lake House
The Secret Keeper
Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch

July 4, 2016

#murica

I recently visited Maine - more on that in a future post - and fell in love with the charming patriotism displayed almost everywhere I went. I just had to have this vintage looking bunting and I knew exactly where it would go. I think it looks awesome. Not sure if it will stay up until after Labor Day or come down in a couple of weeks ... must research protocol on that.

My Audible progress - not a bad one in the bunch:

The Children Act by Ian McEwan – I didn't know what this was about when I started (I make a point of not reading too much after I select so I start off as unbiased as possible), but it had been on my list for close to two years. It was definitely worth the wait ... how a British judge considers a family court case while also considering her own marriage. Very thought provoking and real - sometimes we should deliberate and sometimes we should act.

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens – a college student from a highly dysfunctional family has to find an elderly person to fulfill a writing assignment. He gets a lot more than he bargained for! A little tough towards the finish as the author piles on a lot of events for dramatic effect, but it all works in the end. It was fun to hear some local references as the story takes place in the arctic.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows – I am sort of on a roll with WWII era books and this was a light change of pace for that genre. Love that the story is told only through letters/telegrams to and from the main character. Who wants to go to Guernsey with me ?!

10% Happier by Dan Harris – I am deeply intrigued by meditation and this was a great first person account of how a quasi-celebrity turned from atheist to "Jewbu" after a lifetime of self doubt and a professional crisis.

The Widow by Fiona Barton – a bit drawn out but an interesting story that keeps you guessing

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – LOVE!!! Another WWII novel told from a female perspective - deeply layered story of love, loss, hope and the depths of the human spirit. I cried multiple times and the ending is fantastic

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – a wickedly fun whodunit set in Australia about the little lies we tell ourselves to survive. This is being made into an HBO  show with Alexander Skarsgård (Tarzan, True Blood) for later this year. Yes please!!!

Next up are:

The House at Riverton (aka The Shifting Fog)
Code Name Verity
Among the Ten Thousand Things
Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch
The Ocean at the End of the Lane