Month: July 2016

Jul 27

Bookish and Not So Bookish Thoughts: July 27, 2016

Bite Size Reviews, Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts 18

Hey There, Bookworms!

It’s Wednesday and my head is full of thoughts. Some bookish, some not so bookish. I have been reading a lot and was planning to discuss a number of books in mini reviews. Since all my good intentions are for naught and I haven’t been blogging a ton lately, I figured I’d just smush a bunch of stuff into a single post. Got to strike while the writing iron is hot, right?

bookishnotsobookish

ONE: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri is a good read if you dig literary fiction. It may also cause you to think waaaaaay too hard about your own name and its implications on your life. Also, I’m now two for two on Jhumpa Lahiri books that feature female characters pulling some traditionally male douchey life decisions. I can’t discuss it without getting super spoiler-y, but Lahiri fans, have you noticed this too? Fascinating stuff.

TWO: Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica is decent if you’re into mysteries and thrillers. I’m not a huge thriller reader, so my standards are impossibly high regarding plot twists. If I can predict what’s going on too early, I’m always a little disappointed. But only when it comes to mysteries. Because I just finished a historical fiction book in which I knew what was happening super early on and I have warm feelings toward it regardless. I got this book at BEA and had it signed, and even though it wasn’t a huge winner for me, I will probably read Mary Kubica again. I like her voice even if I figured things out too quickly- I imagine one of her other books would surprise me more effectively.

THREE: Underground Airlines by Ben H Winters was fine, but I won’t blame anyone for avoiding it based on the Twitter firestorm and tone deaf response of the author and publisher. I got the book at BEA only recognizing the author’s name because of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (review) which I adored. I was halfway through reading it when the things got heated on the bookternet, and being oblivious, I hadn’t seen some of the articles and marketing surrounding the novel’s release. Since publishing has some pretty glaring problems with diverse representation, it bugged a lot of people to see a book about a world in which slavery was never abolished written by a white dude lauded as brave and fearless. (Look at that run on sentence. Man. I am awesome.) Apologies have been made, and I personally think Winters had his heart in the right place (because I am an optimist that way.) However, if you still feel squidgy about the whole thing, you’re  not missing the greatest book ever written or anything. If you’d rather read a sci/fi slavery story by a marginalized author, check out Kindred by Octavia Butler (review).

FOUR:  STRANGER THINGS!!! Hubs and I binge watched the Netflix original show. Actually, we got Netflix specifically so we could watch this show. It did not disappoint. Imagine if the The X-Files and a Stephen King novel had a baby and named it Jennifer because that is what you name babies in the 80s. Well, except for the ones name Katie. I digress, but it’s a really great show. Totally addictive.

FIVE: I’ve been planning a bridal shower and bachelorette bash for one of the best gals I’ve ever known. The party is this weekend. I am not good at planning things without irrationally stressing myself out, so as you can imagine, the old brain has been pretty occupied the past few weeks. Anxious is my default setting.

Alright Bookworms, I am out of words. How has YOUR summer reading been?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

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Jul 22

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

Audio Books, Historical Fiction 11

Salutations Bookworms!

I’ve been summering hardcore, so I haven’t been in a “let’s sit in front of the computer” sort of mood lately. I mean, there are hummingbirds in my yard to stare at. Hummingbirds, you guys! But, just because I haven’t been in a computery mood doesn’t mean I haven’t been in a book mood. I am up to my eyeballs in books I’ve experienced and just haven’t told y’all about yet. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, as you very well know, and I will read books from basically any point in human history. Heck, I’d read books from dinosaur history if they had compelling characters… (Sidebar: How awesome would it be to read Pride and Prejudice, sans zombies, but where everyone is a dinosaur? I mean, would we assign dinos based on the characters’ personal attributes or just have to make everyone a triceratops? If you have to choose but one dinosaur, triceratops is always the correct choice. But, like Lydia’s got some raptor in her, so…) I was talking about a book wasn’t I? Oh yes! The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman! I read it… With my ears. What a delicious audio book treat. Let me tell you about it.

thedovekeepersThe Dovekeepers tells the tale of the siege of Masada from the perspectives of four different women. In case you’re unfamiliar with Jewish history, way back in like 70 CE, the Romans were being total dicks to basically everyone. They burned the temple in Jerusalem and murdered and pillaged all up in the holy land. Different Judaic sects fled into the dessert, and a group of them landed at Herod’s old mountain castle that was all imposing and fortress-y. Masada, said fortress, housed the bands of fleeing Jewish folk for months but it couldn’t last forever. According to Josephus, the ancient historian, only two women and five children survived to tell the tale.

Alice Hoffman put her own spin on the story, weaving mythology, history, and a dash of mysticism to bring history to life. Books like this are SO my jam. This book reminded me a lot of Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent (review), what with the biblical times (well, approximately, anyway) and the writing of women back into religious history. And, of course, Alice Hoffman being Alice Hoffman, the magical elements were perfection. The narrators of the audio book were fabulous too, and each of the four women were given a different voice. Literally. A lot of audio book narrators are really great at differentiating their voices to represent different characters, but you just can’t beat the differentiation that comes with actual different people reading each woman’s account. There are no triceratops in this book, but it’s still totally worth reading.

Alright Bookworms. Talk to me. If each Bennett sister were, in fact, a different dinosaur, which ones would they be? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jul 18

Luck, Love & Lemon Pie by Amy E Reichert

Cozy Lady Fiction 10

Greetings Bookworms,

Dessert is one of my favorite things on planet earth. I’m pretty equal opportunity when it comes to sweets- there isn’t much I don’t like. So when you hand me a book with a dessert in the title, I’m probably going to be pretty excited about it. Of course, the dessert in Luck, Love & Lemon Pie wasn’t really the main draw for me. (Although, I must admit I am cringing every time I type the title because OXFORD COMMA 4 LIFE!) I read The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E Reichert last year and loved it so much that I’d have read another Amy Reichert regardless of dessert. This fictional lemon pie is really just a bonus. *I received a copy of this book compliments of the publisher through NetGalley for review consideration.*

lucklovelemonpieMJ Bordreaux is a Milwaukee area wife and mother whose husband of 20 years has been showing more interest in playing poker than in spending time with his wife. After a disastrous anniversary celebration, MJ decides to take up poker in an attempt to spend more time with her husband and demonstrate a shared interest. As it turns out, poker playing is not a substitute for marriage counselling, but MJ is kind of awesome at it.

The hours she spends in the casino preparing, however, haven’t done her marriage any favors. After a series of impressive tournament wins, MJ finds herself on a trip to Vegas to play poker with the big dogs. And one of those big dogs has his eye on MJ. Insert appropriate gambling metaphor here.

This novel breaks away from much of the foodie fiction that I was so charmed by in The Coincidence of Coconut Cake. Not that I can cook, mind. In fact, I was rather amused by the fact that MJ could only cook scrambled eggs and her husband did the heavy culinary lifting. As a gal who isn’t much of a cook, I SO related to MJ’s plight.  Although my husband’s specialty is frozen pizza. Whatever he’s super good at cleaning and there’s always takeout. I digress.

I’m not really into poker, so the whole poker story line was a little confusing to me. Like….Why would anyone do this when there are books and jigsaw puzzles? I know, I know, there are tons of people who are super super into poker but I’m about as interested in poker as I am in sports. Which is to say, not at all. (Unless someone is doing a backflip on purpose because that is just awesome.) Gosh, I feel like this post is taking such a grumpy turn. I really enjoy Reichert’s writing, but I think what fell a little flat for me personally was simply the subject matter of the novel.

Let’s be real for a second. The hard work of marriage and daily life is a lot less sparkly and fun than tales of falling in love. I’m not at all opposed to reading books about the realness of marriage, and I’ve railed on more than one occasion about the extreme unreality of certain romantic tropes. It’s just that I went in expecting a sweet romantic romp with a side of dessert and I got… Meatloaf. It’s good and all, just not what I was expecting. So. Yeah. I will still 1000% read Amy Reichert’s next book, I just hope it’s a little more sweet than savory.

Talk to me Bookworms! Do y’all play poker? Am I missing out on a whole lot of awesome?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jul 08

In Case You Were Wondering (Because I am a Lazy, Lazy Blogger.)

Flowers, Personal 18

Hey There Bookworms,

I know, I’ve been so MIA lately. I’m reading and tweeting and also (apparently) snapchatting (wordsforworms is my username!) but I just haven’t been able to gather my thoughts enough to write a blog post. I blame summer. I want to do nothing but stare at flowers and lounge and read. Computer-y things are really more conducive to cooler temps and earlier sunsets (not that I WANT those things, because I do not. I want to wring all the joy out of summer that I can. All that sunshine is FREE VITAMIN D! I have to take a supplement in the winter.) Anywho, I’m calling today’s blog post “In case you were wondering.” Just in case you were.

In case you were wondering where I’ve been, there’s been a lot of home improving going on at the Gingerbread House. Not that we did ALL the heavy lifting (we’re smart enough to know our limitations and pay people who know what they’re doing) but it’s been time intensive. We got new windows installed on the first floor and had a boatload of landscaping work done in the backyard. But even paying people to do the hard parts? You’ve still got to do the cleanup and odds and ends and play in the dirt and plant more flowers because OMG MORE FLOWERS. But BEHOLD:

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In case you were wondering what it’s like to be friends with me IRL, here’s a text exchange between me and my Bestie. (I also recently told her that she reminded me of garbage, since at one point she’d given me a set of penguiny bathroom accessories complete with trash can that I still use. Sometimes I wonder why she still talks to me…)

ME: I miss you. Here’s what I’d look like if I were a Yorkie.

Snapchat. I have no idea, you guys. Although, this is what my eyebrows look like in their natural state, more or less. Also my bottom teeth are crooked because I didn't wear my retainer.

BFF: Jesus. That’s kind of terrifying!

ME: I know, right? And yet, I am fascinated. Like in Mars Attacks! when they put SJP’s head on a chihuahua body…

BFF: Yeah, I think it’s the gigantic eyes that really push it over the top…

ME: The better to see you with, my dear.

BFF: You look like you should be on Zoobilee Zoo. The kids love it, by the way.

ME: Ha! Give them my love!

BFF: Your… Puppy love? (womp womp)

ME: Yep. Lick them.

BFF: Omigod, I just drooled coffee all over myself LOL-ing at that!

In case you were wondering if my eyebrows look like this Snapchat filter when left untamed? Yeah, basically. Also, I should have worn my retainer more. My bottom teeth are back to being kind of janky and crooked. Fingers crossed my Mom doesn’t read this blog or she’ll find a way to get me a new retainer…

In case you were wondering what I did on the 4th of July, we had family over to enjoy the new back yard and watch the parade that goes right past our neighborhood.

Aunting is my favorite.

Aunting is my favorite.

Alright, you’re officially all caught up. What have you been up to? Tell me everything, Bookworms!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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