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Showing posts from July, 2015

Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Rachel rides the train back and forth to the city every day, and particularly enjoys watching out the window at the world that passes her by. She becomes interested in a couple on their deck, giving them names, "Jess" and "Justin" and making up stories to herself about their lives. But then she sees something that upsets her and she is determined to figure out exactly what is happening with this couple that she thought was perfect. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is a psychological thriller that has been hyped up quite a lot lately. It lived up to the hype, for the most part, but it's still one of those novels that is hard to review since I don't want to give away too much. All I knew going into this book is what I wrote above, and that made the story much more exciting and engaging. Rachel is a complex character, and so is "Jess," who is really Megan. We get to hear from both of these women, as well as a third, throughout the novel.

Book Review: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Marie-Laure lives with her father who is the locksmith at the Paris Museum of Natural History. Despite her blindness, she spends her days exploring the museum and reading. Werner is an orphan boy in Germany with a passion for electronics and science. As teenagers, both are sent on unexpected paths when World War II takes over their lives. Their families, aspirations and futures change. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is a beautiful narrative of a horrible time in history. The imagery and light that Doerr brings out in his writing offsets the destruction of both lives and cities during the war. The novel is really two parallel stories of a boy and a girl finding their way in a world that has been turned upside down. It is written in brief chapters, sometimes merely a page or two, and this style works wonderfully. Marie-Laure and Werner have completely different experiences during the war, and their worlds don't converge until quite far along in the book, but the

High Summer Read-a-Thon Recap

It's been a while since I gave a reading update and since I participated in the High Summer Read-a-Thon last week, I figured this would be a good time to do so. The read-a-thon lasted the full week, Monday through Sunday. I mostly read on Monday and Sunday and that was about it, nothing in between. I think we had activities or plans every night last week! It didn't leave much time to read. On a good note, I accomplished my goal, which was to complete the two books I had been reading this month. I read 113 pages to finish The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi. I also read 175 pages to finish Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. A total of 288 pages in a week isn't anything too exciting for me but at least I completed two books! I now have six books that I've read in 2015 and have not reviewed yet. I need to have a write-a-thon instead of a read-a-thon!! I'm determined to write reviews for a few of those books this week. Actually, I'm hoping to possibly

Book Club Picks: Online Resources

Welcome to my weekly series: Book Club Picks . This week, I'm sharing some great online resources for book clubs. Whether you're looking for book lists, discussion questions or ideas to make your book club meeting more fun and interesting, there are online resources to help. I've put together a list of some of my go-to resources, but I'd love to hear about the blogs and websites you find helpful as well. Please leave a comment to let us know about any other resources you recommend.  Book lists, discussion questions and more Reading Group Choices has a great selection of themed book lists that can help book clubs choose their next book. From Bookish Books to Canine Companions, there's bound to be a list that's right for your group. Goodreads has a Popular Book Club Books list that is a great resource for choosing books as well. Book Movement has lists of popular book club selections as well as reading group guides, giveaways, reviews and more.

High Summer Read-a-Thon

This week, I'm participating in the High Summer Read-a-Thon hosted by Michele at Seasons of Reading . I completely forgot about this, but luckily it's a very flexible read-a-thon. Basically, you read as much as you want throughout the entire week. My goal is always to read more than I normally would. I did a lot of reading on Monday night ~ 113 pages to finish The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi. I haven't had time to read since then. My daughter's swim meet took up 7 hours of my evening on Tuesday night (there was a storm delay) and I was too exhausted to read last night since I got very little sleep the night before. So tonight I plan to get back to it with Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. I started this a while ago but had to put it aside to read The Color of Our Sky for a book tour. I have about 175 pages left in that. My goal is to finish Ordinary Grace during this read-a-thon, and hopefully to make some progress in another book as well. If you

Book Review: The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi

In 1986 India, Mukta is a ten-year-old girl who was born into a long line of temple prostitutes. Tara is 8 years old, living in Bombay with her parents. In an attempt to save Mukta from her destiny, Tara's father brings her to stay with them and the two girls form a strong friendship. But in 1993, Mukta is kidnapped from their home. Tara believes her to be dead, but 11 years later she learns that Mukta is alive, and she begins her search for her friend. The Color of our Sky: A novel set in India by Amita Trasi is a heartbreaking story of two girls whose lives are on divergent courses, yet their connection is never broken. The novel is told in the alternating voices of Mukta and Tara, each girl telling a bit of the story of their relationship when they were together and their experiences since the kidnapping. I personally enjoyed both stories, although Mukta's life, while sad and horrifying at times, was more interesting from a reader's perspective. It's an emoti

Saturday Snapshot

My blog has been unusually quiet this week because I was on vacation in the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Here are a few photos from our week at the beach. I'm linking up to Saturday Snapshot hosted by  West Metro Mommy Reads .  Road trip - packed to the roof! Jockey's Ridge sand dunes Currituck Beach lighthouse  Top of the lighthouse!

Book Club Picks: Mysteries & Thrillers

Welcome to my weekly series: Book Club Picks . This week, I'm sharing some selections from one of my favorite genres: mysteries and thrillers. One concern with some books in this genre is that you need to be sure everyone in your book club is okay with some violence and suspense. For some book clubs, cozy mysteries may be okay, but the books I'm recommending are a bit more intense and often include descriptions of violence. If you don't think your entire book club would like these, perhaps you would like to read one on your own!  Note about the links below: My reviews do not include spoilers, but the discussion guides do. The book covers are Amazon Affiliate links. If you use those links to make a purchase, I will receive a very small commission but your price will remain the same. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn Published June, 2012; 419 pages If you haven't seen the movie yet, this is an amazing book that will keep everyone talking. The characters are so

Monthly Recap: June

We're already getting deep into July but I wanted to share my recap for June. I had a decent reading month. A long flight to and from the Dominican Republic mid-month helped! I didn't get as many reviews written as I was hoping, though. BOOKS READ IN JUNE: 4 REVIEWS PUBLISHED IN JUNE: 4 The Organ Takers by Richard Van Anderson - reviewed At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen - reviewed Genius de Milo by Russ Colchamiro - read and reviewed The Cave by Michela Montgomery - read and reviewed All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins - read TOTAL FOR 2015 Total Books Read: 31 Total Reviews: 30 Historical Fiction: 3 Middle-Grade Fiction: 4 Elementary Fiction: 1 Young Adult: 0 Contemporary Fiction: 7 Mystery/Thriller: 7 Science Fiction: 5 Nonfiction: 2 Memoir: 2 For review: 15 For book club: 6 For me: 10 2015 CHALLENGES Cloak & Dagger Reading Challenge - 7/10 Travel the World in Books Read

Book Review: Love and Miss Communication by Elyssa Friedland

Evie Rosen has been connected to her smartphone and computer for too long. When she realizes that her obsession with the internet has caused major problems in her career and love life, she gives it up. She soon finds that being completely unplugged in today's world isn't easy but it changes her perspective on life in a positive way. Love and Miss Communication by Elyssa Friedland is a fun summer read. Evie is an interesting character ~ a lawyer who is rethinking her career and trying to find her passion. She's also recovering from a harsh break up with a man that she hasn't quite gotten over. This is a bit of a problem when she meets a new man who could be Mr. Right. I enjoyed this modern love story a lot. It's lighter than many of the novels I read, but that's perfect for summer. The romance was fun and realistic, although Evie's obsession with her ex was a bit too much. I won't say it was unrealistic, as I'm sure there are women who obsess

Book Club Picks: Middle-Grade Books

Welcome to my weekly series: Book Club Picks . This week, I'm sharing a slightly different list of books. Since it's summer, I thought it would be fun to share some children's books that would be good for a late-elementary or middle-school book club. Now, I know there are plenty of adult book clubs who would read middle-grade books as well. Mine actually chose one of the books on this list last year. So hopefully you'll find something you ~ or your kids ~ would like to discuss in a book group. Note about the links below: My reviews do not include spoilers, but the discussion guides do. The book covers are Amazon Affiliate links. If you use those links to make a purchase, I will receive a very small commission but your price will remain the same. Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai Published February, 2011; 272 pages This novel, about a Vietnamese girl who has to flee her home country during the Vietnam War and relocate to the United States, is wri

Freedom to Read Giveaway: Anne of Green Gables

It's almost 4th of July weekend and I'm ready to celebrate my country's independence! Want to celebrate with me? As part of the Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop , I'm thrilled to offer two books to one lucky winner courtesy of Penguin. Ana of California by Andi Teran is a charming retelling of Anne of Green Gables with a modern and diverse cast of characters. Here's a description from the publisher: Fifteen-year-old orphan Ana (“one n, like fauna—not Anna, like ‘banana’”) Cortez has just blown her last chance with a foster family. It’s a group home next—unless she agrees to leave East Los Angeles for a farm trainee program in Northern California. When she first arrives, Ana can’t tell a tomato plant from a blackberry bush, but Ana comes to love Garber Farm. When she inadvertently stirs up trouble in town, Ana is afraid she might have ruined her last chance at finding a place to belong. As a companion to this new book, the winner will also receive this b