Friday, April 28, 2017

My Friday Five...

1.  I won the Signature Reads competition, Read the Book First Oscar Nominees Sweeps!!  How cool is that?! Here's what I won:

2.  TV shows. The one show that I've been watching every night is Seinfeld, which I LOVE. I need my fix of funny and this show works perfectly.  Of course, I'm still watching the Housewives NYC, Southern Charm and Better Call Saul.
  • The Housewives are still being crazy for no reason.  Ramona went off on B at dinner, because she didn't automatically tell her that she looked beautiful in a photo.  Lu loved B getting mad at Ramona, so now the two have bonded.  Dorinda is upset with Sonya for talking trash about her and plans on confronting her at a dinner party.  What is with all the dinner party fights?  Oh, and Carole is dis-inviting Ramona to her election night party (the show was shot during last year's election), because she's not pro-HC.  So far, the show has really sucked me in.  Can't wait for the next ep! 
  • As for Southern Charm, Cam is obsessed with getting Shep to date her friend Chelsea.  The only problem is that Chelsea is in deep like with Austen (the new Shep).  And Naomie is upset that Craig is not studying for the bar and is spending his time lunching and napping.  The drama is building up for a fight - I can feel it! 
  • Better Call Saul is sooo good this season.  Jimmy found out that Chuck secretly recorded him and he went to confront Chuck.  The only problem, Chuck had witnesses and decided to press charges against his brother.  Jimmy decided to defend himself.  In the end, he found out that Chuck is willing to forgo a trial if Jimmy confesses his crimes and gets disbarred.  Yep, Chuck is still not happy that Jimmy is practicing law and he wants his brother to stop.  How crazy!  As for Trout, he's met up with Fring and plans were put in action.  Things are heating up!
3. Havaianas.  I love this brand of flip flops.  I live in South FL, so flip flops are staples.  I have several pairs and keep buying new ones. I bought three new pairs of Havaianas in Key West this past weekend and my sister bought five new pairs. We are both addicted!  So many cute designs to choose from! 

4.  AbeBooks.  I found a copy of Cat's Cradle I want to purchase.  I've just never used this site before. I was wondering if any of you have used Abe before and if so, how was your experience? Let me know if this is a good site to use.  Thanks!

5. Yo-Yo Ma.  OMFG, the man is talented. After finding a video of him performing at Ann Patchett's bookshop, I went looking for more Yo-Yo Ma videos.  I am now addicted to his foray into bluegrass music and immediately downloaded The Goat Rodeo Sessions.  Check it out:

And now I'm off to continue reading Auster's excellent new novel, 4 3 2 1.  Happy reading!!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Books Galore...

I just returned from Key West.  Every year, my mom's boss throws a fishing tournament to raise money for diabetes research (her son was diagnosed with type 1 when he was five).  Three whole days in KW with my mom and sis - talk about fun in the sun!  No, I didn't go fishing (that's not my cup of tea) - instead I spent my days at the spa, exploring KW, and shopping for books. Yep, I hit up two bookshops while I was in KW and I loved every minute of it. I hadn't been inside an actual bookstore in ages, so I took my time browsing the shelves and breathing in all that bookish air.  Here's what I ended up buying:

What do you think? Not a bad bunch, right?  I've already read the Strout (thank you NetGalley!!), but I had to have a physical copy of it.  I'm actually thinking of buying the UK version of it, because I love their cover and I love the book so much.  As for the other books, they've all been on my wish list and now I have them on my bookshelf - hurrah! I'm excited for the Auster and Mitchell.  Have you read any of these? Which do you recommend I start with?

Happy reading!!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Red Leaves: A Novel by Paullina Simons

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

In the tradition of Ira Levin’s A Kiss Before Dying and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History comes a suspenseful thriller from the international bestselling author of The Bronze Horseman—an utterly captivating story about four Ivy League students whose bizarre friendship leads to a twisted maze of secrets, lies, betrayal, and murder.

As the star player of Dartmouth College’s women’s basketball team, Kristina Kim is beautiful, intelligent, and fearless. But though she’s just 21, Kristina has already had her share of heartache, loss, and dark secrets that haunt her. She’s best friends with Conni, Albert, and Jim, but the only one who seems to really know her is Albert. With long dark hair, tattoos, and a rebellious streak, Albert doesn’t fit in with the rest of the clean-cut Ivy Leaguers. Like Kristina, he has his share of secrets—secrets that are beginning to unravel this intimate circle of friends.

One wintry Thanksgiving weekend tragedy strikes…

When Detective Spencer O’Malley goes to investigate something suspicious at the foot of a steep hill on Dartmouth’s campus, he doesn’t expect that the frozen, naked body found in deep snow would belong to Kristina Kim—the remarkable young woman he met recently who entranced him. Now Spencer will never know if the chemistry he had with her was real. All he can do is find her killer.

Spencer is pulled into the strange, complex web of the surviving friends. Many important questions about Kristina’s murder cannot be answered, such as: why did none of them report her missing for nine days before her body was discovered? The more Spencer digs, the more clear it becomes that each of the three has a motive for killing Kristina. And as Spencer, seeking justice for a dead girl, is led down a labyrinth of deceit, every new revelation proves more shocking than the last….and more dangerous.

my thoughts:

What a disappointment!  Red Leaves turned out to be a dud for me.  I found the story to be too predictable - there is no mystery as you will easily figure out "whodunit" right from the start.  The characters were all unlikeable and cliched caricatures that made you wonder how they could even call themselves "friends".  Their relationships were beyond flawed - they were twisted and harmful.  As for the dialogue between characters - unrealistic and awkward to the point that it distracted from the actual story.  I found the book to be lackluster in every area.  I wound up skim reading bits and pieces of the story, but ended up giving up on the book midway through.  I had to DNF Red Leaves in the end.

Of course, I seem to be in the minority, as all of the reviews I've read praise the book for its slow-burn pace and suspenseful mystery.  What am I not seeing?!  Anyhow, the book was a miss for me, but it may be a hit for you - so, check out what other bloggers have to say about Red Leaves.

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for:  Red Leaves
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Cost of Courage by Charles Kaiser

Out today in paperback:
(Thank you to Other Press for providing me with a copy of this book!)
The Cost of Courage by Charles Kaiser is nonfiction at its best!  A mix of history and biography with a suspense novel feel, this book is truly a must-read.  Its gripping storytelling, vivid details, rich history, and realistic portrayal of heroes is simply unputdownable.  I found myself settling down with this book for the night and turning the last page late into the early morning. I was completely hooked and felt my heart breaking and bursting for this family's experience and their story. 

So, what's the book about?  Here's a quick summary:

"This heroic true story of the three youngest children of a bourgeois Catholic family who worked together in the French Resistance is told by an American writer who has known and admired the family for five decades

In the autumn of 1943, André Boulloche became de Gaulle’s military delegate in Paris, coordinating all the Resistance movements in the nine northern regions of France only to be betrayed by one of his associates, arrested, wounded by the Gestapo, and taken prisoner. His sisters carried on the fight without him until the end of the war. André survived three concentration camps and later became a prominent French politician who devoted the rest of his life to reconciliation of France and Germany. His parents and oldest brother were arrested and shipped off on the last train from Paris to Germany before the liberation, and died in the camps. Since then, silence has been the Boulloches’s answer to dealing with the unbearable. This is the first time the family has cooperated with an author to recount their extraordinary ordeal."

How amazing does that sound?  I think that anyone interested in history, specifically the French Resistance in Nazi-occupied Paris will be fascinated by The Cost of Courage.  It is no doubt a must-read for history buffs.  I absolutely enjoyed every minute I spent with this powerful story - it was unforgettable reading experience.

I would happily recommend The Cost of Courage to fans of Charles Kaiser's writing and fans of history books - you will LOVE this book!!

Thank you to Other Press for providing me with a copy of this book!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Kinship of Clover: A Novel by Ellen Meeropol

(Thank you to the publisher and Poetic Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

He was nine when the vines first wrapped themselves around him and burrowed into his skin. Now a college botany major, Jeremy is desperately looking for a way to listen to the plants and stave off their extinction. But when the grip of the vines becomes too intense and Health Services starts asking questions, he flees to Brooklyn, where fate puts him face to face with a group of climate-justice activists who assure him they have a plan to save the planet, and his plants.
As the group readies itself to make a big Earth Day splash, Jeremy soon realizes these eco-terrorists devotion to activism might have him and those closest to him tangled up in more trouble than he was prepared to face. With the help of a determined, differently abled flame from his childhood, Zoe; her deteriorating, once rabble-rousing grandmother; and some shocking and illuminating revelations from the past, Jeremy must weigh completing his mission to save the plants against protecting the ones he loves, and confront the most critical question of all: how do you stay true to the people you care about while trying to change the world?

my thoughts:

What a book! So many important topics tackled - environmental issues, mental health, memory loss, activism, etc. - in such an engaging and thought-provoking story.  I just loved Meeropol's writing - fluid, smart, and imaginative.  The characters she creates are relatable, strong, and forthright in their beliefs - I enjoyed getting to know them all. Especially, Flo.  She was my favorite part of the entire story.  An elderly gal struggling to maintain her identity as an activist, all the while dealing with the effects of Alzheimer's.  Talk about a tough cookie!

Kinship of Clover was a terrific story that truly tugged at the heartstrings. I found myself rooting for these characters - hoping they would thrive and survive whatever battles they faced.  I read late into the night, unable to put this book down for anything. I enjoyed Meeropol's storytelling so much - it was captivating!  I feel like there is so much to say about this book, but I can't seem to find the right words.  Just know that I loved every minute I spent with it. I would definitely recommend it to fans of Meeropol's works and anyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE Kinship of Clover to bits!!

Here's the link to the Poetic Book Tours schedule for: Kinship of Clover
Thank you to the publisher and Poetic Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!