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Showing posts from May, 2013

Armchair BEA: Non-Fiction

Design credit: Emily of Emily's Reading Room
Today's theme at Armchair BEA is Nonfiction. I really enjoy all sorts of nonfiction. Many of the nonfiction books I've read have been with my book club. We read a wide variety of books and often end up reading memoirs and other nonfiction books. Also, in 2012, I hosted the Non-Memoir Non-Fiction Reading Challenge. This was a challenge to help me branch out from memoirs and learn something new!

Following are some of my favorites from the past few years. I've discussed several of these with my book club, but I think all of them would be great selections for book club discussion.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Khristof and Sheryl WuDunn

The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew-- Three Women Search for Understanding by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver and Priscilla Warner

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer

The Glass Castle by …

Armchair BEA: Literary Fiction

Design credit: Emily of Emily's Reading Room
Today's theme at Armchair BEA is Literary Fiction. I enjoy literary fiction about as much as I enjoy the genres that I wrote about yesterday. I like a mix, so I don't think I could just read literary fiction over and over. One thing I will say, though, is that I have a hard time categorizing books as literary fiction. Some are clear, but others could be considered literary fiction even though they also fall within historical fiction or other genres. I looked at a list of popular literary fiction books, and a couple of the books I mentioned on my genre post were on the list!

Here are a few of my favorites that I would consider literary fiction, but not necessarily genre fiction.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

The Ruins of Us by Keija Parssinen

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell

In the Lap of the Gods by Li Miao Lovett

The Girls: A Novel by Lori Lansens

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

What ab…

Armchair BEA: Genre Fiction

Design credit: Emily of Emily's Reading Room
Today's theme at Armchair BEA is Genre Fiction. We've been asked to discuss:
If you’re a reader of genre fiction do you have a favourite author or series? And what keeps bringing you back for more fantasy/sci fi/horror etc? As I mentioned in my introduction yesterday, I read an eclectic range of books, and genre fiction fits right in there. I definitely have some favorite genres and some that I rarely, if ever, read. For example, while I hopped on the bandwagon and read 50 Shades of Gray, I don't generally read erotica or even romance novels for that matter. I personally feel like they are a waste of my time because they don't engage me and interest me the way more substantial novels do. I feel the same way about chick lit, paranormal and most fantasy novels. I guess I like my novels a bit more serious and deep.

So what genres do I like? My favorites are mysteries and thrillers, and historical fiction. I've provided s…

Armchair BEA: Introductions

Design credit: Emily of Emily's Reading Room
Today is the first day of Book Expo America (BEA) in New York. Unfortunately, I am not in New York this week. So I'm joining in the Armchair BEA. Today is the day for introductions. I look forward to getting to know everyone. Here's a bit about me.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? 

My name is Julie and I've been blogging here at My Book Retreat since October 20, 2009. Almost 4 years!! It's hard to believe it's been that long. I originally did my blogging on another blog where I wrote about  activities I was doing with my kids. I started sharing some of the books I was reading with them, and decided it would be fun to share the books I was reading myself as well. So I started My Book Retreat. Now that my kids are older, I've shut down the old blog and am focused on this book blog.

I work full time as a content strategist for a l…

Week in Review

Good evening. I'm a little late but I'm actually posting this while it's still Monday, so that's good! I hope those of you in the U.S. had a fabulous Memorial Day weekend. We did. We had a great potluck with neighbors on Saturday night, then went to see the Triangle Wind Ensemble at an outdoor venue on Sunday night. They played several John Williams songs and some patriotic songs as well. It was a lot of fun. Today, we ended the long weekend with a cookout with friends and then a trip to the pool.

Recent Reviews and Other Posts
I posted an interview with author Karen Inglis last week. I can't believe I didn't manage to write some reviews. I'm determined to do that this week, even though I'm also participating in Armchair BEA.

What I'm Reading
I read The Show by John A. Heldt last week. It was a great follow up to The Mine, which I read last year.

Up Next for Me
Now I'm reading some children's books I have for review, before moving on to anoth…

Interview with author Karen Inglis

Today, I'd like to welcome Karen Inglis, author of three new children's books: Ferdinand Fox's Big Sleep, The Secret Lake and Eeek! The Runaway Alien.

Q. Welcome to My Book Retreat! Who or what inspired you to become an author?
A. Becoming an author was never a childhood dream, however writing was always part of my life and very much second nature to me - I kept diaries for many years as a child, and had pen friends in Africa, France, the USA and even within England!

I first dabbled in writing short stories when I was a student – but never really got far with it. It was really when my second son, Nick, was born that I became inspired to write for children - probably because I’d just had two years of reading children’s books cover to cover to his older brother! Sharing stories with my young children took me back to my childhood when my mother would read Tales by the Riverbank and The Book of A Thousand Poems to us. Quite suddenly I realized that I had ideas that I could de…

Week (or Two) in Review

And once again, life took over and I disappeared from My Book Retreat. On a good note, I have been finding time to read in the evenings. I just haven't honestly felt like getting on my computer and typing. I'm sure part of that is due to the fact that I spend my days typing at work! Anyway, thanks for stopping by and here's a recap of what I've been doing the past couple of weeks.

Recent Reviews and Other Posts
I have not posted anything new, as you may have noticed. I have two reviews to write, and I have two author interviews ready to go. So I will have some things coming up over the next couple of weeks.

What I'm Reading
I finished reading Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I'm having a hard time deciding what I thought of it, so I haven't managed to write the review yet. My book club is discussing it next week, but they're meeting on my son's birthday, so I'm not sure I'll be attending.

I'm now reading Run Like a Mother by Dimity M…

Week in Review

Good morning. I'm writing from gray and gloomy North Carolina. I cannot believe the weather this spring. It's so depressing! I hope wherever you are, it's at least sunny!

Recent Reviews and Other Posts
Last week, I posted a review of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman. It was my book club's April selection, and I have to say it's not a great choice for discussion. But it is a nice summer read if you're looking for something to put on your list. Check out my review.

I also posted a trailer for A Delicate Truth by John le Carré. It looks like a great thriller!

What I'm Reading
I finished All Over But the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg and really loved it. I wish I hadn't waited for so long to get around to reading it. I'll try to write up the review this week.

Now I'm reading my May book club selection, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I haven't gotten very far, but so far it's holding my interest.

Up Next for Me
I think I'll pick u…

Book Review: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Camille Honeycutt is lost in the past, forever the Savannah Vidalia Onion Queen of 1951, traipsing around town in old gowns from the thrift store. But it's the 1960s now, and Camille is living in Ohio with her 12-year-old daughter, CeeCee, who has been responsible for taking care of her mother for years. The embarrassment that comes with having a mother who is the laughingstock of the town prevents CeeCee from making any close friends.

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman is the story of CeeCee's escape from this life after the tragedy of her mother's death. She is sent by her absentee father to live with her Great Aunt Tootie in Savannah. There CeeCee begins to heal with the help of Tootie and her housekeeper, Oletta, as well as the colorful characters that live nearby ~ Miz Goodpepper and Miz Hobbs.

I really enjoyed the characters in this story. They were a bit outrageous at times, but that made it more fun to read. I think it would make a great movie! Some of the iss…