The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery

Posted by on May 23, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Book Review | 0 comments

The Blue Castle by L.M. MontgomeryThe Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery

Genre: Fiction
Format: Paperback and ebook
Publisher: Bantam Books
Publication Date: Paperback 1988 (originally 1926
Pages: 218
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

At twenty-nine Valancy had never been in love, and it seemed romance had passed her by. Living with her overbearing mother and meddlesome aunt, she found her only consolations in the “forbidden” books of John Foster and her daydreams of the Blue Castle. Then a letter arrived from Dr. Trent — and Valancy decided to throw caution to the winds. For the first time in her life Valancy did and said exactly what she wanted. Soon she discovered a surprising new world, full of love and adventures far beyond her most secret dreams.

My Thoughts:
Here’s where I confess that I never read any of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables books.It was in the midst of an online discussion of the recent television adaptation of Anne that a friend mentioned that Anne wasn’t her favorite Montgomery heroine. She said her favorite was Valancy Stirling in The Blue Castle. I had never realized that Montgomery had written any adult fiction. It turned out that my library had a copy so I picked it up on the way home.

This is just a lovely little romance novel and I absolutely agree that Valancy Stirling is a wonderful character. At 29 she’s resigned to being an ‘old maid’ and willingly submits to the demands of her overbearing family. When a letter from her doctor changes her outlook on life she decides that she’s no longer going to do what her family expects her to do.

While it’s far from my usual fare, I absolutely loved Valancy and this book. If you haven’t read it you must! If you do go looking for it I’ll warn you that some editions have truly awful covers.

4 stars

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It’s Monday What Are You Reading #81

Posted by on May 22, 2017 in Blogging/Reading, What Are You Reading? | 2 comments

Monday What Are You Reading #65

It’s Monday What Are You Reading? is a weekly reading roundup is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

This is technically a weekly meme but I don’t read fast enough to make that worthwhile so I post it every two or three weeks.

Finished in Print

The Stingray Shuffle by Tim Dorsey

The Stingray Shuffle by Tim Dorsey

This series is wacky and fun and I’m glad I read another one. I need to read more soon though, because The Hubster is two books ahead of me.

 

Black Hammer: Secret Origins by Jeff Lemire

Black Hammer: Secret Origins by Jeff Lemire

I am a huge fan of Jeff Lemire and this first volume of a new series from him was wonderful.

 

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

I never read any of the Anne of Green Gables books but when a friend told me that the main character of this book was her favorite Montgomery character I decided to check it out. It’s a lovely little romance that’s a bit different and I agree that the main character is great.

 

Fairest Vol. 1: Wide Awake by Bill Willingham

Fairest Vol. 1: Wide Awake by Bill Willingham

This is the first volume of another spinoff from Willingham’s Fables series. It was fun.

 

Started in Print

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean

This is fun and interesting nonfiction about the elements of the Periodic Table. Lots of intersting scientific history.

 

Finished on Audio

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Norma? by Jeanette Winterson

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Norma? by Jeanette Winterson narrated by the author.

This memoir by the author of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a look back at her tough childhood.

 

Started on Audio

Imitation in Death by J.D. Robb narrated by Susan Ericksen

Imitation in Death by J.D. Robb narrated by Susan Ericksen

This series has been a guilty pleasure of mine for years. After listening to the audio of the previous book I’m not going back to the print editions. Susan Ericksen does a great job of narrating this mix of police procedural, light science fiction, and romance.

 

Reviews since my last update:

The Buffalo West Wing by Julie Hyzy

Black Hammer Vol. 1: Secret Origins by Jeff Lemire

The Stingray Shuffle by Tim Dorsey

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson narrated by the author

 

What are you reading?

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Weekend Update – The Ten Things I Liked This Week May 2017

Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Ten Things, Weekend Update | 3 comments

Ten Things I Liked This Week May 2017

Ten Things I Liked This Week May2017

I started doing Ten Things I Liked This Week in June of 2015 and it’s definitely become my favorite monthly post. I love adding to my list throughout the week.

Here are ten things I liked this week:

1. These Candy Bars
I’ve been a Nestle’s Crunch fan all my life. These are better.
Trader Joes Candy Bar

 

2. Worthy Easy Day Kolsh
This is just great on a warm day.
Worthy Easy Day Kolsch

 

3. Special Counsel
It’s a step in the right direction

4. My second favorite news story of the week
Dutch King reveals he secretly piloted KLM passenger flights for 21 years.

 

5. This horse and his squeaky chicken

 

6. Polar Bear Belly Flops

 

7. Friday afternoon in the back yard
Record setting rain is getting old. Friday was beautiful and I worked from home so I could skip the whole commute time and go straight to enjoying life in the back yard.
Friday afternoon in the back yard

 

8. Silver Falls State Park
We went for an explore yesterday. First stop was Silver Falls State Park. Eight waterfalls worth of hiking on a beautiful day. This is Middle North Falls and is one of the falls you can walk behind.
Middle North Falls

 

8. This weather vane at the Oregon Garden
Another one of our stops yesterday. I need this weather vane.
Dragon Weather vane

 

10. A spectacularly beautiful day
view from Mt. Angel Abbey

 

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson – Audio Edition

Posted by on May 19, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Book Review | 0 comments

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Norma? by Jeanette Winterson narrated by the authorWhy Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson narrated by the author

Genre: Memoir
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 6 hours 7 minutes
Narrated by: Jeanette Winterson
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Jeanette Winterson’s bold and revelatory novels have established her as a major figure in world literature. She has written some of the most acclaimed books of the last three decades, including her internationally bestselling first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, the story of a young girl adopted by Pentecostal parents that is considered one of the most important books in contemporary fiction. Jeanette’s adoptive mother loomed over her life until Jeanette finally moved out at sixteen because she was in love with a woman. As Jeanette left behind the strict confines of her youth, her mother asked, “Why be happy when you could be normal?”

This memoir is the chronicle of a life’s work to find happiness. It is a book full of stories: about a girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night; about a religious zealot disguised as a mother who has two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the dresser drawer; about growing up in a north England industrial town in the 1960s and 1970s; and about the universe as a cosmic dustbin. It is the story of how a painful past, which Winterson thought she had written over and repainted, rose to haunt her later in life, sending her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her biological mother. It is also a book about literature, one that shows how fiction and poetry can guide us when we are lost. Witty, acute, fierce, and celebratory, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a tough-minded search for belonging – for love, identity, and a home.

My Thoughts:
I’m glad I chose the audio edition of this book. Author narrated audiobooks seem to be hit or miss for me. Jeanette Winterson is not a professional narrator but I think hearing this book in her voice made it even better than if someone else had narrated it.

I loved hearing her speak about how important books and reading were to her despite the fact that most books were not allowed in her home. Books and reading were not only an escape from her difficult childhood they were also her way out and ultimately her livelihood.

The first half of the book is about her childhood and her adoptive parents and her fundamentalist upbringing. She left home at 16 when she fell in love with her second girlfriend. Her adoptive mother’s statement is now the title of the book. It seemed proof that Winterson’s earlier exorcism hadn’t worked.

The second part of the book takes place years later and is about Winterson’s search for her biological mother. And her own struggles with depression.

This was a moving memoir and one that will stick with me for a while.

If you choose to read it I recommend that audio format.

 

Rating
4 stars 4/5 for the book

4 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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The Stingray Shuffle by Tim Dorsey

Posted by on May 18, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Book Review, Tim Dorsey | 0 comments

The Stingray Shuffle by Tim DorseyThe Stingray Shuffle by Tim Dorsey

Genre: Crime Fiction, Humor, Suspense
Format: Hardcover and Ebook
Series: #5 in the Serge Storms series
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 303
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

When serial-killing local Florida historian Serge A. Storms is off his meds, no one is safe — not Russian hoods, Jamaican mobsters, spoiled frat boys, women’s book clubs, drug dealers, bad Vegas-rejected local lounge acts — especially when $5 million in cash in a bugged suitcase is still racing up and down the Eastern Seaboard. But in the oddball circus known as the Sunshine State, little things like astronomical body counts tend to get lost in the shuffle.

My Thoughts:
It’s been about a year since I last read a Serge Storms book from Tim Dorsey and it was just the kind of lunacy I was in the mood for. I have always described this series as Pulp Fiction takes Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride through Florida and this fifth volume is absolutely all that and more.

It was the usual chaos that happens when Serge is off his meds. In this one Serge came up with some particularly inventive ways to kill people.

This series does not have a linear timeline at all. The suitcase full of money was introduced a couple of books ago. It was fun to get back to that storyline.

The spectacularly inept mob guys from several different countries were my favorite part.

This is violent stuff but in such a darkly humorous way that it just makes me laugh.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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