Thursday, May 26, 2016

Readalong of State of Wonder

I'm doing a  Readalong in June with my friend Care from

You can join if you want to.

I just want to point you to Care's blog and say

What she said!

Because, really---she said it best.
So go check out her blog post and join us if you will

(an interesting side note---I met and became friends with Care all because of a Readalong--see what can happen?  It's magic friendship if you read-a-long!)

How does this work?
I stole this from Care's blog: (word for word--I stole it):

How does a READALONG work?  Mostly via Twitter (and likely Litsy and IG), I will be quoting bits and my reactions to stuff. All extremely informal. Take the month of  June. No timeline other than that. Use hashtag:  #StateOfWonder

So... are you in?   Yes?
You want to know what the book is about?
Goodreads says:
Award-winning "New York Times"-bestselling author Ann Patchett (Bel Canto, The Magician's Assistant) returns with a provocative novel of morality and miracles, science and sacrifice set in the Amazon rainforest--a gripping adventure story and a profound look at the difficult choices we make in the name of discovery and love.

In a narrative replete with poison arrows, devouring snakes, scientific miracles, and spiritual transformations, State of Wonder presents a world of stunning surprise and danger, rich in emotional resonance and moral complexity.

As Dr. Marina Singh embarks upon an uncertain odyssey into the insect-infested Amazon, she will be forced to surrender herself to the lush but forbidding world that awaits within the jungle. Charged with finding her former mentor Dr. Annick Swenson, a researcher who has disappeared while working on a valuable new drug, she will have to confront her own memories of tragedy and sacrifice as she journeys into the unforgiving heart of darkness. Stirring and luminous, State of Wonder is a world unto itself, where unlikely beauty stands beside unimaginable loss beneath the rain forest's jeweled canopy

See you on Twitter! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Friday Friend Cookbook Volume 2

Do you remember this?

Well my great friend Shelly, just shipped me this:

VOLUME 2!!!!

It's great, amazing, wonderful, awesome!
It's all about my friends--so how can it not be!!

Oh look---my lovely assistants:

I'll be back with more about the 2nd volume of the FF Cookbook!
I just wanted to say a big Thank you to Barb for typing up the original and for Shelly FOR MAKING ME A PRINTED HARDBACK COPY!

and maybe to the Handyman for saying those famous last words:
You'll never make every recipe in this book!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Summer Before the War

From Goodreads:
East Sussex, 1914. It is the end of England’s brief Edwardian summer, and everyone agrees that the weather has never been so beautiful. Hugh Grange, down from his medical studies, is visiting his Aunt Agatha, who lives with her husband in the small, idyllic coastal town of Rye. Agatha's husband works in the Foreign Office, and she is certain he will ensure that the recent sabre rattling over the Balkans won't come to anything. And Agatha has more immediate concerns; she has just risked her carefully built reputation by pushing for the appointment of a woman to replace the Latin master.

When Beatrice Nash arrives with one trunk and several large crates of books, it is clear she is significantly more freethinking — and attractive — than anyone believes a Latin teacher should be. For her part, mourning the death of her beloved father, who has left her penniless, Beatrice simply wants to be left alone to pursue her teaching and writing.

But just as Beatrice comes alive to the beauty of the Sussex landscape and the colorful characters who populate Rye, the perfect summer is about to end. For despite Agatha's reassurances, the unimaginable is coming. Soon the limits of progress, and the old ways, will be tested as this small Sussex town and its inhabitants go to war

From Me:
I really liked this book--a lovely story about a small town in the south of England, on the verge of WWI, with a cast of quirky fun characters, some whom you will fall in love with.  It's been said if you're a fan of Downton Abbey, then you'll enjoy this book.  There is some similarities, but  it holds up on it's own I feel.  I listened to an audio version and loved the narrator, Fiona Hardingham.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sci-Fi Summer Read-a-Thon

Michelle from Seasons of Reading is hosting a Summer Sci-Fi  Read-a-Thon.

I plan to join along---I've been wanting to read more sci-fi  (It's my least read genre) and this is the perfect opportunity!
Thanks Michelle.

Save the dates!
Read-a-Thon dates: Wednesday, June 1 at 12:00am CST until Tuesday, June 7 at 11:59pm CST (adjust your time zone accordingly).

I can't wait!

One Good Earl and A Rake

From Goodreads:
Lady Philippa Marbury is odd. The bespectacled, brilliant fourth daughter of the Marquess of Needham and Dolby cares more for books than balls, flora than fashion and science than the season. Nearly engaged to Lord Castleton, Pippa wants to explore the scandalous parts of London she's never seen before marriage. And she knows just who to ask: the tall, charming, quick-witted bookkeeper of The Fallen Angel, London's most notorious and coveted gaming hell, known only as Cross.

Like any good scientist, Pippa's done her research and Cross's reputation makes him perfect for her scheme. She wants science without emotion—the experience of ruination without the repercussions of ruination. And who better to provide her with the experience than this legendary man? But when this odd, unexpected female propositions Cross, it's more than tempting . . . and it will take everything he has to resist following his instincts—and giving the lady precisely what she wants.

From Me:
Love. This. Book.
Let me just say that I'm having a real good time 'researching' how the  historical romance novels of today are different from the early RN of the late 1970's and 80's that I grew up reading.   They have taken on a more feminist leaning.  YES--feminist.  That's what I said--and I said it because Sarah MacLean the author of One Good Earl said it, as well as many professors, scholars and students of women's studies.

Read this article:
There is a section on Romance Novels as a Feminist Act

Or this article:

The Romance Novels I grew up on, were --I don't even know how to put this---much darker and a lot of times they included non-consensual sex (rape) and kidnapping. (of course, not all of them, but a good deal of them did)  But I loved did millions of women... and there are reasons for that, but you'll have to take the Women's Studies class at Yale to understand all that.  I'm sure if I went back and read them today, they would be quite bothersome to me.

Today's books are nothing like that.  They have strong, feisty  female characters, men who are strong, gentle, caring and don't treat women as property, but you know--the books still are a romance: he's not that enlightened! (and yet, by the  end of the book he is)
There is still lots of  brooding,  yearning, mixed up messages, great banter and   hot sex.

So, in the name of research,  I am obsessively making my way thru a few in a few days to see how they've evolved.
And guess what---
I'm having a great time!

These are two of my favorites!
I loved them!

Truth be told tho, I still have a little bit of a problem with the covers.  I don't  feel they reflect the story within.  But that's just me, I suppose.

I think MacLean and Enoch are great writers! 
Anybody who has the talent and skill to extract such feelings from  a reader is tops in my book.
If Stephen King can scare you just by the way he combines words on paper and is considered a great writer--  then the way these two authors put words on paper and can make you feel, so, so, so..... Ack!  Happy, frustrated, sensual, sad, ecstatic, then they are writers on par with SK!  And SK is my hero, so this is pretty high praise.
Isn't that the point for putting words on paper--to make a story to make you feel?
They've done a great job.

I don't usually read backlists, but I now what I'm taking to the cabin this summer!

From Goodreads:
Once upon a time, the notorious Viscount Dare charmed Lady Georgiana Halley out of her innocence ― to win a wager, no less! ― and now he must pay dearly. The plan is simple: She will use every seductive wile she knows to win Dare's heart...and then break it. But his smoldering gaze once again tempts Georgiana to give in to desire ― and when he astonishes her with a marriage proposal, she wonders: Is he playing yet another game...or could it truly be love this time?

From Me:
I loved this story!
The Rake turned out to be a great guy.

PS  sorry I lumped them into one post.  It probably wasn't fair, as they truly deserve their own accolades.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

And the Winner is: Brother Odd!

This is the 4th time I have I joined in a monthly meme hosted by Michelle at  Because Reading is Better than Real Life, in which we put up 3 books on the first Saturday of the month, and then you readers, vote on which one I should read, I let you know--on this 2nd Saturday of the month, which one won-- I read and then I write a blog post on the last Saturday of the month.
It's so much fun!
I always have a hard time choosing what book to read any book nerd knows, it's because our TBR Piles are so big!!  So, this is a way to read something I've been meaning to for some time.
This was the book you chose for me this month:

I'm looking forward to reading it!
You can join in this fun meme if you want to.
Just visit

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

From Goodreads:
Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it's time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat--blindfolded--with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

Interweaving past and present,
Bird Box is a snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

From Me:
Oh my gosh!  OMG!  OMG!
I really, really enjoyed this book.

As you know, I don't consider myself a book 'reviewer', but just a reader (takes lots of pressure off of myself that way), and as just a reader I feel comfortable saying what another reviewer said:

(from Christy at Love of Books)

But she's so right!
I listened to this on audio--narrated by Cassandra Campbell,  who is excellent!
It's a little bit sci-fi, a little bit dystopian, a little bit mystery, a little bit spooky,  a lot amazing!

4.5 stars!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter

I read this book for my Library Book Club this  month.
From Goodreads:
Joe and Rose Kennedy’s strikingly beautiful daughter Rosemary attended exclusive schools, was presented as a debutante to the Queen of England, and traveled the world with her high-spirited sisters. And yet, Rosemary was intellectually disabled — a secret fiercely guarded by her powerful and glamorous family.  Major new sources — Rose Kennedy’s diaries and correspondence, school and doctors' letters, and exclusive family interviews — bring Rosemary alive as a girl adored but left far behind by her competitive siblings. Kate Larson reveals both the sensitive care Rose and Joe gave to Rosemary and then — as the family’s standing reached an apex — the often desperate and duplicitous arrangements the Kennedys made to keep her away from home as she became increasingly intractable in her early twenties. Finally, Larson illuminates Joe’s decision to have Rosemary lobotomized at age twenty-three, and the family's complicity in keeping the secret. 
Rosemary delivers a profoundly moving coda: JFK visited Rosemary for the first time while campaigning in the Midwest; she had been living isolated in a Wisconsin institution for nearly twenty years. Only then did the siblings understand what had happened to Rosemary and bring her home for loving family visits. It was a reckoning that inspired them to direct attention to the plight of the disabled, transforming the lives of millions.
From Me:
Very interesting read. 
Years ago, I read every book written about the Kennedy Family---I couldn't get enough.  They intrigue me. 
It's been over 25 years since I've read a book about the family, so when I found out this was a choice for this book club, I was excited to read it.
Would I recommend it? 
 Well... I liked it, but I don't know that learned any new information--but that's just me!  If the family intrigues you and you want to find out more about them,  I suggest you read this.
The Kennedy family, whether you love them or hate them, is fascinating.