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rainpebble reads in 2012

100 Books in 2012 Challenge

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Edited: Nov 4, 2012, 5:12pm Top

New Year's Eve 2011.........good time to set up my thread for 2012.

I really had to whittle through my favorite reads of 2011 to get the list down to a reasonable number. I read some really good books this past year. So my favorites of 2011 are:

Moments of Being by Virginia Woolf (5*)
The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope (5*)
A Secret Kept (4*) and Sarah's Key (4 1/2*) both by Tatiana de Rosnay
Sense and Sensibility (5*)and Pride and Prejudice (5*) by Jane Austen
Winter Garden (4 1/2*) by Kristin Hannah
A Spell of Winter (5*) by Helen Dunmore
Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont (5*) by Elizabeth Taylor
The Invention of Everything Else (4 1/2*) by Samantha Hunt
The Help by (4*) Kathryn Stockett
All Quiet on the Western Front (5*) by Erich Maria Remarque
Our Three Selves: The Life of Radclyffe Hall (4*) by Michael Baker
When I Lived in Modern Times (3 1/2*) by Linda Grant
Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books (4*) by Aaron Lansky; an amazing accounting.

The books that were losers for me in 2011 were much easier to list and they are:

After a 6th attempt, Moby-Dick by Herman Melville I cannot even rate this one until I am able to complete it and I WILL one day complete it.
The Spy Who Stayed Out in the Cold: The Secret Life of FBI Double Agent Robert Hanssen (2*) by Adrian Havill
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (was not able to finish it but WILL try it again this year.
It seems like there were a couple more but they are so totally non-memorable that I can't even list them. lol!~!

And that is the year of 2011 reading for belva.

Edited: Oct 30, 2012, 9:26pm Top

1. Larry's Party by Carol Shields; Orange Prize; 1998; (4 1/2*)
2. A Crime in the Neighborhood by Suzanne Berne; Orange Prize; 1999; (3 1/2*)
3. Property by Valerie Martin; Orange Prize; 2003; (4*)
4. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver; Orange Prize; 2005; (5*)
5. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett; Orange Prize; 2002; (4*)
6. Small Island by Andrea Levy; Orange Prize; 2004; (4*)
7. The Tiger's Wife by Andrea Levy; Orange Prize; 2011; (4*)
8. On Beauty by Zadie Smith; Orange Prize; 2006; (2 1/2*)
9. At Mrs Lippincote's by Elizabeth Taylor (2*)
10. These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer (1/2*)

Edited: Nov 6, 2012, 3:18pm Top


to feed Darryl's 'An Orange a Month Challenge' & because I just could not end my Orange January on a 2 1/2 star and my poorest Orange read ever:
11. The Siege by Helen Dunmore; short listed; 2002;
(4 1/2*)
12. Palladian by Elizabeth Taylor (3 1/2*)
13. The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore; (5*)
14. Marley and Me by John Grogan; (4*)
15. Starlight by Stella Gibbons; (3 1/2*)
16. Living, Loving and Lying Awake at Night by Sindiwe Magona (5*)
17. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery (4*)
18. I Thought You Were Dead by Pete Nelson (for bookclub) (2*)
19. Damage by Josephine Hart (3 1/2*)

Edited: Nov 6, 2012, 1:25pm Top


for Darryl's 'An Orange a Month' Challenge:
20. Gillespie and I by Jane Harris (2 1/2*) (long listed, 2012)
21. A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor (4*)
22. Sin by Josephine Hart (2*)
23. Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker (4*)
24. American Jezebel by Eve LaPlante (1 1/2*)
25. The Kitchen Madonna by Rumer Godden (5*)
26. Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson (4*)
27. A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks (3*)
28. Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner (4*)

Edited: Nov 6, 2012, 1:27pm Top


for Darryl's 'An Orange a Month' Challenge:
29. The Submission by Amy Waldman (long listed 2012) (3 1/2*)
30. A Wreath of Roses by Elizabeth Taylor (4 1/2*)
31. Ellis Island and Other Stories by Mark Helprin (5*)
32. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (4*)
33. Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym (4*)
34. 1st To Die by James Patterson (3*)
35. Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James (1/2*)
36. A Village Affair by Joanna Trollope (4 1/2*)
37. A Far Cry From Kensington by Muriel Spark (4 1/2*)
38. Friday Nights by Joanna Trollope (3 1/2*)

Edited: Dec 18, 2012, 2:35am Top


For Daryll's 'An Orange a Month' Challenge:
39. The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve (short listed, 1998) (5*)
40. A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor (4 1/2*)
41. Julie and Julia by Julie Powell (4*)
42. Gemma by Meg Tilly (4 1/2*)
43. Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung (4*)
44. The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman (5*)
45. A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie (4*)
46. Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear (4*)
47. Betrayal by Fern Michaels (3*)
48. They Do It With Mirrors by Agatha Christie (3 1/2*)
49. Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie (3 1/2*)

Edited: Dec 29, 2012, 2:32am Top


for Darryl's An Orange a Month Challenge:
50. The Twisted Heart by Rebecca Gowers (long listed; 2010) (1/2 *)
51. The Sleeping Beauty by Elizabeth Taylor (5*)
52. Revenge by Kate Saunders (edited by) (3 1/2*)
53. Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet (3*)
54. Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron (ARC/ER) (4 1/2*)
55. One, Two, Buckle my Shoe by Agatha Christie (4*)
56. Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie (3 1/2*)
57. Second Nature by Alice Hoffman (3 1/2*)
58. The Robber Bridegroom by Eudora Welty (4 1/2*)
59. The Echoing Grove by Rosamond Lehmann (3*)
60. Peking Picnic by Ann Bridge (5*)
61. Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman (4*)
62. Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear (3 1/2*)

Edited: Dec 18, 2012, 2:24am Top


68. Angel by Elizabeth Taylor (5*)


69. Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris (4*)
70. Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen (4*)
71. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (5*)
72. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (5*)
73. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (5*)
74. The Night Watch by Sarah Waters (short listed 2006) (4*)
75. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (4 1/2*)
76. Gilgamesh by Joan London (4 1/2*)
77. The Siege by Helen Dunmore (short listed 2002) (4 1/2*)
78. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (4*)

Edited: Dec 18, 2012, 9:38pm Top


Darryl's an Orange a Month Challenge choice:
80. The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey (4*)

81. In a Summer Season by Elizabeth Taylor (5*)
82. The Ponder Heart by Eudora Welty (4 1/2*)
83. Losing Battles by Eudora Welty (4*)
84. Illyrian Spring by Ann Bridge (didn't get to this one)
85. Invitation to the Waltz by Rosamond Lehmann (4*)
86. The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann (3*)

87. The Sleeping Night by Barbara Samuel (ARC/ER) (4 1/2*)
88. Gathering of Waters by Bernice L. McFadden ARC/ER) (didn't get to this one; can't seem to find it)
89. Looking for Peyton Place by Barbara Delinsky (3*)
90. The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie (3*)

Edited: Dec 5, 2012, 9:49pm Top


For Darryll's An Orange a Month Challenge:
89. The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright (short listed, 2012) (2*)
90. The Soul of Kindness by Elizabeth Taylor (5*+)
91. The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton by Elizabeth Speller (3*)
92. A Pin to See the Peepshow by F. Tennyson Jesse (4*)

Edited: Dec 14, 2012, 3:38am Top


For Darryll's 'An Orange a Month' Challenge:
93. Small Island by Andrea Levy (4*) winner 2004
94. The Wedding Group by Elizabeth Taylor (4*)
95. The Prisoner Pear by Elissa Minor Rust ((4*)
96. Stein and Hemingway: The Story of a Turbulent Friendship by
Lyle Larsen ARC/ER) (4*)
97. Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie (4 1 /2*)
98. The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg (4*)
99. The Return of Captain John Emmett by Elizabeth Speller (4*)

Edited: Dec 5, 2012, 9:51pm Top


For Darryll's 'An Orange a Month' Challenge:
100. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (4 1/2*)
101. Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor (5*)
102. The Forgetting River by Doreen Carvajal (ARC/ER) (1*)
103. The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks (3 1/2*)
104. Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult (4*)
105. Lucky: A Memoir by Alice Sebold (4 1/2*)

Edited: Dec 31, 2012, 2:41am Top


For Darryll's 'An Orange a Month' Challenge:
106. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (4 1/2 *)

107. Blaming by Elizabeth Taylor (5*) {perfection}

108. Second Glance by Jodi Picoult (4*)

109. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (4 1/2 *)
110. Little Men by Louisa May Alcott (5*)
111. Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple (5*+)
112. Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski (4 1/2*)
113. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett Orange S/L 2012; (5*)
114. The Translation of the Bones by Francesca Kay Orange L/L 2012; (3*)
115. The Splendid Outcast: The African Stories of Beryl Markham compiled and introduced by Mary S. Lovell (V.S.S.) (5*)
116. The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue Orange L/L 2012; (3*)
117. Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

Dec 31, 2011, 6:54pm Top

Happy New Year everyone. I, like most of you, am anxious to get on with my reads of 2012. A lot of good titles coming up and possibly a few duds, hopefully very few. LET'S READ!~!

Dec 31, 2011, 7:06pm Top

Happy New Year, Belva! Looking forward to following your reading!

Jan 1, 2012, 12:03am Top

You are so organized! happy reading in 2012.

Jan 1, 2012, 12:20am Top

Hey there Doc & hi Judy. Should be fun!

Jan 1, 2012, 1:00am Top

Hi Belva, and Happy New Year! Looking forward to reading along with you.

Are you enjoying/did you enjoy Larry's Party? I've got a copy somewhere on a shelf here...

Jan 2, 2012, 12:07am Top

Happy New Year, Belva!

Edited: Jan 2, 2012, 9:17pm Top

Right back atcha ronin!~!

To those of you who gave this book simply mediocre marks; WHA????????????????????????????????????????????

Larry's Party by Carol Shields: my thoughts and comments:

I loved it. Read it in 2 sittings. One in bed last night and then this afternoon.
Larry's Party is about Larry. Larry at 30, Larry's Love, Larry's Folks, Larry's Work, Larry's Words, Larry's Friends, Larry's Penis, Larry Inc, Larry So Far, Larry's Kid, Larry's Search for the Wonderful and the Good, 1992, Larry's Threads, 1993-4, Men Called Larry, Larry's Living Tissues, 1996, and lastly Larry's Party. So it is all about Larry and the different highlights and lowlights of Larry's life.
I found it fascinating reading. I think anyone who loves words would.
Larry is just a guy; basically this book could be about any man out there. Larry becomes fascinated with mazes and it changes his life. Every major point in Larry's life changes it. The women in Larry's life are fascinatingly different and when you put them together, Larry's life gets more interesting momentarily.
I don't know how I have missed Carol Shields but know I will read more books by her. I really loved Larry's Party and it will probably be on my Orange January list again next year. I highly recommend this one and rated it 4 1/2 stars.

Jan 2, 2012, 9:00pm Top

Great to hear! I must find my copy...

Jan 5, 2012, 3:08pm Top

A Crime in the Neighborhood by Suzanne Berne: my thoughts and comments:

A typical family in a typical American community where families visit over the fences and hedges, children ride their bicycles up and down the street, neighborhood potlucks.........everything in this book is about your typical family community.............until it isn't.
The narrator, Marsha, one of three children sees a lot happen in this summer. Her father has an affair with their mother's sister and leaves the family. Her mother becomes distant and breaks off all connection with her close three sisters. Her older twin siblings spend the summer with friends and return seemingly older.
But the biggest thing that happens that summer is that a young boy in the neighborhood is molested and murdered in a small wood at the edge of the neighborhood. This, quite naturally changes the aura of the neighborhood. People become suspicious and distrustful. they stop having their get-togethers. They do whisper back and forth about who could have come into the neighborhood and committed this horror or was it one of their own?
Marsha spends her summer with a broken ankle and looking for clues where there are and aren't any. The story is based on Marsha's sleuth work and her recording of any and all occurrences that seem to be clues.
This is an interesting story, the characters are easy to identify with for the most part. I enjoyed reading it and do recommend it. I gave it 3 1/2 stars.

Jan 7, 2012, 6:20am Top

OK, Larry's Party will have to be my next book.

Jan 7, 2012, 3:13pm Top

Property by Valerie Martin
My thoughts and comments:

Property is the story of a woman who is married to a quite despicable man who is the owner of a sugar plantation and as thus, with the time and place, also is a slave owner. Her husband is obsessed with a house slave and has two babies by her. The wife, Manon, is repulsed by her husband but is still very angry about the situation. The slave girl, Sarah, hates the master as well.
It is a short story, taking all of about 2 hours to read, but there is a lot contained in this book. The slavery uprisings and murders of hundreds of whites and blacks. The yellow fever and cholera epidemics also killing hundreds and hundreds of people, both free and slave.
The story is interestingly told in the first person of Manon, the wife of the slave and plantation owner. In her daily life it seems that she totally takes for granted these people who are the property of her husband and the fact that they take care of all of the needs of the plantation, including her own personal need and requirements.
During the uprising, her husband is killed, (for which she appears grateful), and she is badly injured herself. The slave girl, Sarah, runs for freedom. Manon offers rewards and hires, with the help of her aunt, a broker to find the girl. It takes several months for the girl to be found and interestingly enough when she is brought back to Manon, Manon seems to be envious of the fact that the slave, Sarah, had known those months/weeks of freedom which she, herself, has never known. It is almost as if within her lifetime Manon has felt like "Property" herself.
I recommend this book and rated it a 4* read. I quite liked it though the subject matter is troubling.

Next up for Orange January is: We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, winner of the Orange Prize in 2005.

Jan 7, 2012, 5:39pm Top

I liked Property as well. I have not read much from this area before so it was interesting in all sorts of ways.

We Need to Talk about Kevin is one of those books that tends to polarize readers. I liked it a lot. Will look forward to your thoughts on it.

Jan 12, 2012, 11:12pm Top

Oh, I thought We Need to Talk About Kevin was marvellous, although I can't say I liked it, or enjoyed it.

Jan 14, 2012, 11:53pm Top

Ladies, We Need to Talk About Kevin was a five star read for me. I think it was written brilliantly. I've had many a movie have me on the edge of my seat but this is the first book I can recall putting me literally on the edge of my seat and holding my breath even though I had figured it out a few pages in, with the exception of the daughter.
I've not been able to write a review on it yet, but will throw one up soon.

Edited: Dec 18, 2012, 1:21am Top

Elizabeth Taylor's writing is always exquisite but somehow I found At Mrs Lippincote's lacking. The characters were uneasily liked and the story quite dreary. I liked Oliver, Felicity and Mr. Taylor. The others I found rather boring and lifeless. I think that I found in this book the same things that I find so often in Elizabeth Berg's books: The boredom and sameness of daily living. At times I can find that extraordinary and charming but sadly in this book I did not.
I will try another of hers next month. I rated this one 2 stars.

My favorite quote of At Mrs Lippincotes is:

"No one could remember. "One of the best meals I ever ate in my imagination was the Boeuf indaube in To The Lighthouse," said Julia; "I see it now and smell it---the great earthenware dish and its" (she closed her eyes and breathed slowly) " 'its confusion of savoury brown and yellow meats, and its bayleaves and its wine' ".
They laughed at her and she took up a spoon and was surprised that the taste was of fruit, not meat.
"Virginia Woolf is a little too modern for me, " said the
wing Commander. She has not stood the test of time. She has not been approved by posterity."
"We have none of us been that," said Julia. But we can still enjoy a meal."

Our Winged Commander had some pretty big kahunas to speak of our beloved Ms. Woolf in that regard.


Edited: Jan 15, 2012, 8:54pm Top

These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer
My thoughts and comments:

I am afraid that I applied the 'Pearl Rule' here. Just not a fan of this type of romance, I guess. It will have to take something stupendous for me to become a Heyer fan. I rated this one 1/2 star.

Jan 16, 2012, 11:55pm Top

So...........on to my next Orange January read. I am halfway through Bel Canto, winner of the 2002 Orange Prize and I am really appreciating and liking it.

Jan 17, 2012, 12:47am Top

Oh dear, I'm a Heyer fan! But I shall graciously allow you to not be one, too. ;)

I thought We Need to Talk about Kevin was marvellous, but terrifying. And I liked Bel Canto very much too! One that lived up to the hype for me.

Jan 18, 2012, 3:13pm Top

@ wookie;
I so agree with what you think of We Need to Talk About Kevin and Bel Canto.

I think my thing with Georgette Heyer is the time period in which this book takes place. I just don't enjoy many storied in that particular era. I know she is well loved and I am sure that she has written books not in this time period so I will try some of them. A writer does not get a reputation like hers undeservedly.
Thanks for popping by.

Edited: Jan 18, 2012, 3:25pm Top

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett is a novel of love, intrigue, an attempted coup, a massive taking of hostages by terrorists who planned to kidnap the President of this South American country at this, but he did not attend. So they took all of the guests hostage.
The book is beautifully written, the characters are grown well, the story is good; all things that make a good book possibly great.
There are important people at this party. One of them a premier Opera Soprano. As time goes by she begins singing for the group of hostages and terrorists daily. Things change the longer the hostages are held. They lose much of their fear and animosity toward the terrorists. The terrorists relax in their vigil but no one attempts to escape. There is much interaction between the hostages and the terrorists. And when the end comes, as it must, the hostages are overcome by the carnage and weep for their kidnappers.
It does end on a surprising high note which left me with raised eyebrows but this is a very good book and deserving of the Orange Prize. I rated it 4 stars and highly recommend it, though I will say that I hated the next to the last bit.

Jan 26, 2012, 3:47am Top

I am about halfway through The Tiger's Wife and loving it. I really like the way Obreht writes.

Jan 28, 2012, 3:30pm Top

Now reading On Beauty by Zadie Smith and enjoying it.

Jan 29, 2012, 5:00pm Top

Did you get to finish The Tiger's Wife? I've been holding off...

Feb 1, 2012, 12:17am Top

I did finish The Tiger's Wife and it was a 4 star read for me. I really liked it tremendously.

Edited: Mar 13, 2012, 5:30pm Top

Finished On Beauty a bit ago and was really disappointed in the last portion to the point that it ruined a good read for me.
I will begin tonight The Siege by Helen Dunmore as part of Darryl's 'An Orange a Month Challenge'. I know I will like it as I love Dunmore's writing and I just couldn't stand the thought of ending my January reading with such a disappointment.

Feb 11, 2012, 5:45pm Top

Finished The Siege; loved it; rated it at 4 1/2*; followed it up with The Betrayal which I loved even more and rated 5*.
I am currently reading Starlight by Stella Gibbons. Hoping to love it as well.

Feb 14, 2012, 2:42am Top

I had to change my mind about the Stella Gibbons book as hubby & I watched Marley and Me on the telly and I just had to read it right away. My granddaughter had forgotten her copy here so I read it and loved every page. I laughed, I cried..........quick read and so glad that I did read it.
This is the story of a yellow lab named Marley; supposedly the worst dog in the world. His family adores him but he has so much energy and is bursting with just the happiness of life that he simply cannot behave. A true story. A sweet story. A happy story. A sad story.
We have a yellow lab too and I have a feeling that if our three year old Abby the Labby didn't have hip dysplasia, she could give Marley a run for his money. I thoroughly enjoy this little book and rated it a 4* read.

Feb 21, 2012, 4:58pm Top

I cannot wait for my BookCrossing materials to arrive so I can get these books that I do not wish to keep on their windward way.....out of my house......and into someone's hands who, hopefully, will enjoy them.

Feb 21, 2012, 5:03pm Top

I simply have not been able to write reviews for what seems ever so long. We have a dear, dear friend who passed Monday early afternoon. She had been fighting the good fight for a year and a half. As we came nearer and nearer the end, I found myself reading passages of my books over and over again and just not caring to share. I am sorry dear friends. My mind was just focused on the gift at hand whilst we had her yet. Perhaps in the near future I will be able, once again, to write some reviews.

Feb 21, 2012, 5:14pm Top

I just read Marley and Me too! I also laughed and cried.

More importantly, though, I am so sorry for your loss. Some things are infinitely more important than reviews.

Feb 21, 2012, 6:17pm Top

Labradors are the most wonderful dogs. Go and get a hug from Abby, and {{hugs}} from me too. I'm sorry for your loss.

(And I'm also a keen BookCrosser, when you're ready to chat about that.)

Edited: Feb 23, 2012, 6:15am Top

For those of you who read The Help, whether you like it or not but especially if you had a problem with any realism of the subject matter, you should read this last book of mine. It is called Living, Loving and Lying Awake at Night and is by Sindiwe Magona. The first half of it is about domestic help in (I believe) South Africa. The second half is a grouping of short stories of domestic help there also. I could not put it down. I began it late last night and read a third of it before I fell asleep and woke when the book smacked my nose. I finished it when we got home from town tonight. I found it to be very fascinating and there are a couple of real heart grabbers amongst the shorts. I rated it a 5* read and very highly recommend it.

After much consideration, (The Pursuit of Love & The Sea, The Sea), I believe I am going to read something very light next. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery is calling out to me so off I go to begin it. Night all. (3:15 A.M. our time)

Feb 23, 2012, 5:57am Top

Thank you Dr. Jennifer. I appreciate it.

wookie; you and squeakie are the only true bookcrossers I know so I will be picking your brain. I have 2 big stacks ready and waiting for my stickers, etc to arrive. I think where I will need the most help is with location. I would like to leave them in areas where the finder/reader is more likely to respond on the website. I think I have only had one respond thus far but then again, I have only sent 3 or so out there. I can't wait. I think this is going to be so much fun. Much more so than taking them to Good Will where they will charge 2.50 for them.

hugs ladies,

Feb 23, 2012, 3:32pm Top

I gave up on bookcrossing for a while, or at least on rings, rays, and the like. I can't seem to get in touch with anyone to move books along, and if hosts offer instructions in those situations, they're usually to hang onto the books indefinitely. It's just uncomfortable in that, at that point, I almost feel responsible for stalling the process. Oh, well.

I'd eventually like to get back to wild releases, but I'm having trouble with the same issue; location. People here just don't read.

I guess it's been a combination of things that's killed the bookcrossing spirit in me.

Anyway, hope you have much better luck and more fun with it than I did!

Edited: Mar 1, 2012, 6:46pm Top

Damage by Josephine Hart

My thoughts and comments:

I knew that this book was going to be a train wreck ten pages in but I couldn't stop myself. There was something fascinating about this simple marriage and the husband who became so narcissistic. Perhaps he was... all along and it took Anna to bring it out where we could really see it.
The story is about a family of four: father, mother, son & daughter. The son is a lothario, bringing home a different blonde to Sunday Dinner weekly. That is until he meets Anna.
The daughter is a nice sweet British lass who has her head on right.
The mother and father are a relatively boring couple who do everything just right. That is until the son brings Anna home.
This isn't a book you will like but you will perhaps be fascinated by it as I was, horrified by it as I was, appreciate the writing as I did and find a new author to read as I did.
I rated this one 3 1/2 stars and recommend it to a select group of readers.

Mar 1, 2012, 8:05pm Top

Wild releasing is tough, I think I released about 20 or so before I got a nibble, and even then, the finder was frustratingly brief! But every now and then you get a brilliant find, where the finder is bouncing with joy at finding a book on the bus/park bench/beach, and it gets passed along...

You just have to keep on releasing and releasing, and accept that the really excellent finds are rare. But they do make your day when they happen!

And I've only found ONE book in the wild! And it was the rather dreadful The Beauty Myth, but I paid $4.50 to release it from the charity shop where I found it. Some days, you gotta do what you gotta do. :)

#47> allthesepieces, yeah, rings/rays can be a trauma. I just don't join them any more, apart from local ones (we pass around the Booker shortlist in Sydney each year, and no one minds if it takes you months to read the tougher ones because they're not keen on getting to them either!). I also found the pressure to read books within a time-limit hard. (Library books are different. If I don't read them this time, I can get them out again.)

Mar 1, 2012, 8:49pm Top

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, but glad you had the gift of appreciating her.

Mar 4, 2012, 9:16pm Top

Thank you wookie for you expertise on BookCrossings. I have so many books that I want to get rid of after I have read them that I think/hope I won't expect too much.

And thank you ronin for you sympathies. I appreciate it.

Mar 4, 2012, 9:26pm Top

Sin by Josephine Hart:
My thoughts and comments:

This book wasn't as good as Hart's Damage. It is the story of two sisters. One, Ruth, an actual birth daughter and the other, Elizabeth, her cousin, whose parents were killed in an accident. Ruth grows up hating Elizabeth but hiding it for the most part. Elizabeth is the total opposite. She is very flexible and does whatever she can to create a smooth life for the family. Even into and through their adulthood Ruth hates Elizabeth and it seems that she is constantly thinking about how she can hurt Elizabeth. This one is a train wreck also but I didn't think it was done as well.
I don't think I can sincerely recommend this one and I find that very disappointing as Damage and Sin were just published by Virago Press in 2011. I find it quite sad that today the works they are publishing (or some of them) are quite inferior to what they published back in the day.

Edited: Mar 13, 2012, 5:32pm Top

I have completed Young Man With a Horn by Dorothy Baker and loved the way it was written, the storyline; just everything about this book. I found it to be quite marvelous. I do think that one would possibly have to like music and understand obsessions to perhaps not be bored. Reading it is rather like listening to Miles Davis, Gorden Dexter, Chet Baker & others of their caliber. I absolutely loved it.
The storyline is about a youngster named Rick Martin, who in just passing by pawn shops and seeing the instruments becomes enamoured by them and he stops daily and looks by the hour at these instruments and imagines playing them. He pulls a tune out of his head and imagines playing; what notes he would pull, how long he would hold them, etc. He teaches himself to play the trumpet and the piano in this manner. The book is only biographical to his music. The remainder of his story is fictional. He becomes a wonderful musician and is quite recognized by like musicians.
I know my description of this book does it nowhere the credit it deserves. It is a wonderful, humorous & yet sad story with extraordinary characters.
This was a five star read for me and I KNOW that I will read it again and probably again, as I have Of Lena Geyer. Young Man With a Horn is a wonderful book and I truly loved it. My best read of 2012 thus far.

Mar 13, 2012, 4:28pm Top

American Jezebel; interesting topic but written quite redundantly about Anne Hutchinson, New England's foremother and Harvard's midwife. I don' t know about others, but I was very bored by 1/3 of the way through the book. Puritan New England, not told in the best manner. A 1 1/2 star read for me and I really can't recommend it.

Edited: Mar 13, 2012, 5:37pm Top

Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker:
Imagine, just imagine something or someone and presto; there they are............in your life. That is Miss Hargreaves. What a romp! Truly a book to enjoy. She wreaks all manner of havoc in the lives of our narrator. And he has to figure out how to get out of the mess he has made for himself.
A really fun book to read. An easy 4 star book for me and one very easily recommended.

Edited: Mar 13, 2012, 5:49pm Top

I am now reading The Kitchen Madonna by Rumer Godden and loving it. Just a wee book.
I am so excited as 7 of the new Orange nominated long listed books came in for me at the library and we just got home from picking them up. Snowing hard so hubby took me but as it turned out, there was none on the road. As soon as I finish The Kitchen Madonna, I will begin on these Orange nominated books from the new long list.

What arrived for me was:
The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright,
The Translation of the Bones by Francesca Kay,
Gillespie and I by Jane Harris,
Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg,
The Submission by Amy Waldman,
The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen and
Tides of War by Stella Tillyard
So....................we'll see how she rolls.


Mar 13, 2012, 8:30pm Top

The Kitchen Madonna by Rumer Godden is a lovely story about a couple with a little boy and girl and a Ukranian housekeeper. The children realize one day that the housekeeper, Marta, is unhappy when in the kitchen and they ask her about it. She shares with them in her broken translation that there is no happy place in their kitchen; no Holy place. That where she comes from they have a special place in the kitchens, a shelf or such, where upon there is placed a picture of Madonna and Child, decorated with lovely fabrics and beautiful jewels and special candlelight to show the picture. This makes a 'happy kitchen'.
The little boy is quite troubled by this; that Marta is unhappy, missing a 'Kitchen Madonna'. He decides that he will make her one and this is the story of how one little boy with the help of his sister goes about doing something wonderful and beautiful for someone he cares about.
The story is beautifully drawn out, the characters are open to you.
Rumer Godden is something really special. A 5 star read and highly recommended.

Mar 14, 2012, 11:53am Top

Hello! I have found you again! Thanks for the PM. I am sorry about your earlier loss. It is never easy. You are on an amazing reading tear! I have read several of your earlier books, but none of the more recent. Some really good reviews and this last one sound particularly good. Big Hugs!

Mar 14, 2012, 5:56pm Top

Thank you for popping over Berly. I hope that one day we
are able to have a Pacific North West Meet Up. Wouldn't
that be fun?

Okay, to the Orange Long Listeds;
first up: Gillespie and I by Jane Harris.

Have any of you read her The Observations?


Mar 14, 2012, 10:04pm Top

I've read The Observations and it was good fun. My review: http://www.librarything.com/work/799892/reviews/78148644

The best bit was the narrator, Betsy, who is as cheeky as a monkey.

Mar 18, 2012, 8:59pm Top

Gillespie and I by Jane Harris
My thoughts and comments:

This was quite a strange book in that I quite liked the first half and could barely abide the second half of the book.
The story is about a spinster London lady who decides to visit Scotland, the fatherland of one of her parents. She befriends and is befriended by a family living near her and spends a great deal of time with them. They have two young daughters, both very different from the other. Strange things begin to occur withing the household of her friends and finally the horrific kidnapping of one of the daughters comes about.
Here is where the story got dicey for me and I shan't tell you any more as I wouldn't wish to ruin it for anyone wanting to read the book.
The best thing about this book for me is that it is on the 2012 Orange Prize long list. I found it not to be very well written and the second half I found to be exceptionally boring. Another good to fair story poorly written, I guess would sum it up for me.
I gave it 2 1/2 stars and guardedly recommend it. I am sure those of you who follow the Orange will wish to read it and I hope the majority of you enjoy it more than I did. It took me five days to read the thing and that is an anomaly.

Mar 18, 2012, 11:51pm Top

Ummmm...thanks but no thanks?! Hope your next one is better.

Edited: Mar 19, 2012, 6:59am Top

Ha! Fat chance. I guess I just can't pick them right now.

I just completed The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright; long listed for the 2012 Orange Prize.
A story written on the infidelities of a husband and sister-in-law. It is written in a rather simplistic style and again, I found this one to be fairly boring. I was not drawn in to the characters nor was I fond of them. Pretty much a waste of a couple of hours. Not what I am used to in an Orange Prize listed book. This one will not make the short list. I gave it 2 stars.

Next up is another long listed Orange Prize contender: The Submission by Amy Waldman. I am hoping for a vast improvement here.

Mar 22, 2012, 7:51pm Top

Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson
My thoughts and comments:

As the story begins eight year old Jane is sitting having
an ice cream sundae whilst her imaginary adult friend,
Michael, has a dish of melon balls. They enjoy each
others company so much and go to museums, parks,
and just spend time together. Jane's mother, Vivienne,
is a constant critic of Jane and is not happy unless
she is finding fault with her. No one can see Michael
but Jane.
When Jane turns nine, Michael tells her that he must go;
that all people like him who come to befriend children
must leave their children when the child turns nine years
of age. He tells her that she won't even remember him
and that it will be all right.
However, Jane never forgets Michael, though she some-
times does doubt if he was ever actually real. She does
not have a happy childhood nor life. But the story moves
ahead to when Jane is in her thirties and something
amazing happens.
This is a beautiful little 'chick lit' story and I loved it. I
liked the characters I was supposed to like and disliked
the ones I was supposed to dislike.
This book was what I needed the last couple of days.
Reading it brought an ease to my heart that I desperately
needed. I recommend it to people who are in need of a
light, heart felt story and to those who enjoy this type of
read. I rated it a 4 out of 5 star read.

Mar 23, 2012, 1:49am Top

Glad you finally found something that clicked! Gillespie and I remains on my wishlist, I really liked her previous The Observations.

I've read one book by Anne Enright, and that was her Booker winning The Gathering. Can't say I liked it much, a similar reaction to you in that I disliked all the characters. I think I may just avoid her for a bit longer...

Mar 23, 2012, 2:51pm Top

I keep hearing good things about Anne Enright's The Observations so I think I will read that one soon. Thanks wookie.

I am putting down The Submission for the time being. I don't know why I picked all of these dark Oranges; guess I didn't realize they were at the time. I need lighter, much lighter reading right now. So for my next read I have chosen a bit of fluff: A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks. Hopefully I will be ready for more darkness by July.

Mar 24, 2012, 11:25pm Top

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks;
My thoughts and comments:

Choke, choke; sob, sob.
A lovely little story about a group of teenagers
in their Senior year. Our main guy and narrator,
Landon is one of the hip kids, who laugh and make
fun of anyone who is a little different, etc. Our main
gal, Jamie, is one of those kids who is a little different.
By the end of the story, Landon's life has been
changed for the better because of Jamie.
This was a quick, easy, and soothing read and I really
liked it and was moved by it. I realize that a story
does not have to have a lot of depth to be appreciated.
I recommend this book and rated it 3 of 5 stars.

Edited: Mar 29, 2012, 3:57pm Top

This morning I began Lolly Willowes or The Loving Huntsman by Sylvia Townsend Warner and I am quite enjoying it thus far. I am not far into it however. It is just being decided that Laura will go to London to live with her brother and sister-in-law, Caroline. I am going to take this one nice and slow. I think it is going to be a really good read.

Edited: Mar 29, 2012, 3:56pm Top

Lolly Willowes or The Loving Huntsman:

I think you all know the story of this little book by Sylvia Townsend Warner. The spinster aunt who goes to live with brother & wife and after helping to raise their children, goes out on her own.
I enjoyed it greatly and I am sure will return to it again. I thought the writing brilliant and loved walking through the wood with Laura. I totally related to her. The family irritated me as I think they were meant to.
Warner is wonderful. Four stars and recommended.

Next up: Elizabeth Taylor's A Wreath of Roses. I began it last night in bed and am half way through. It is wonderful thus far.

Mar 31, 2012, 7:43pm Top

A Wreath of Roses is a wonderful novel about the annual summer month long visit of Liz, her infant son Harry, & her life long friend Camilla with Frances, Liz's childhood governess & nanny.
Like so many other 'green' books, it is actually about nothing and in that lies it's charm. This story tells of their thoughts, dreams, hobbies; in other words their daily lives.
Camilla, who is unmarried, is a bit chuffed with Liz's marriage and baby but rather than talk about it just seems not herself and unhappy. Liz is emotional and her friends think that she is upset about her life but it is really simply first time motherhood. Frances, a painter, seems different also. Her age is beginning to show in that she tires easily and her interest in painting is beginning to wane.
Into the story comes a no-gooder ladies man in the form of one Richard who becomes set upon Camilla to no good end. Also we welcome into the story one Morland, a friend and admirer of Frances and her work. I believe that he was my favorite character.
When you read Taylor, prepare to love how she builds her characters and the plot. (if there is one) She writes beautifully and the first of her stories that I read, when I finished it and put it down I just sat there thinking about the book, how lovely it was and how I had just now realized it was about nothing. How one can fall in love with a book about nothing I know not. I only know that with Taylor, I do.
I rated this one 4 1/2 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it.

Mar 31, 2012, 7:47pm Top

Next up, I am going to try The Translation of Bones by Francesca Kay for my April Orange.

Apr 1, 2012, 6:37am Top

I've heard of Lolly Willowes but actually know nothing about it. Thanks for bringing it back to my attention!

Oh, I've slacked off on Orange reads this year! Must pick that back up...

Apr 1, 2012, 4:39pm Top

Last year I loved almost all of my Oranges. But this year the long list is not quite as appealing to me. I seem to be having trouble concentrating on them.

Edited: Apr 4, 2012, 1:29pm Top

The Submission by Amy Waldman

There are so many good reviews of this book on the book page that I am just going to put down a few thoughts.

I thought the book good and I think it would be especially good for a book group or book club as I think it would generate a great deal of lively discussion.
I also felt that we were left hanging in a few areas of the story. But it was very thought provoking and insightful. I gave it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars and recommend it.

Next up: Ellis Island and Other Stories by Mark Helprin
I thought his short stories might be a good way to introduce myself to
Helprin's writing as I want to read his A Soldier of the Great War.

Apr 4, 2012, 8:28pm Top

I just received The Submission from the library. I have recently heard a few negative things about the book, so I'm glad to hear that you liked it. makes me feel better about starting it now.

Edited: Apr 5, 2012, 12:41am Top

I'm here to tell you that Mark Helprin writes one hell of a short story. We are talking AWESOME here!~!

Apr 5, 2012, 12:36am Top

judy, I will say that I had to put The Submission down a couple of times. It is pretty intense and I did have to take a couple of breaks from it. I hope you appreciate it too.

Apr 5, 2012, 2:57am Top

I'll let you know :o)

Apr 10, 2012, 11:05am Top

Ellis Island and Other Stories by Mark Helprin
My thoughts & comments:

I think that this is the best book of shorts I have read since Stefan Zweig.

In the first, the main character has lost his wife and child and doesn't really want to go on. Then he gets it in his mind to go far away and climb The Schreuderspitze to the top of the mount's spire. So he travels, gets a room, begins slowly over time to accumulate the climbing gear he needs and to spend his time eating little and doing basically an all-day work out to get in shape.
The story describes in great detail how he does all this and the length of time he takes to do it. Then he begins to dream............
A wonderful short.
In Ellis Island a young man is traveling to America shipboard. When he arrives there (Ellis Island), he glimpses a golden haired girl that he wants to meet. They are held on the island for several weeks and then he is allowed off as he tells them he is a tailor and they believe that he will have no problem getting work. Then they tell him when he has the job to return and sponsor the girl and she can leave the island as well.
When he gets to the city, he basically gets rolled and so has no pack, no money, can't find a place to stay nor a job. But eventually things come together and he is ready to go back to the island and fulfill his responsibility.........
Another wonderful short.
These stories, and there are eleven in all, are all wonderful. My first reading of a Helprin book and I was quite impressed. I rated this book a 5 of 5 star read and highly recommend it.

Next up: Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear.

Apr 12, 2012, 2:11pm Top

Loved, loved, loved Maisie Dobbs. Especially the inner story. It was beautiful. Can't wait to pick up another.
In the meantime, I am reading Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym. I have a feeling that by the time I am done with it I will be thinking: hmmmmm; shoulda, coulda, woulda been a Virago except for _____.

Apr 12, 2012, 3:39pm Top

Best short stories since Zweig? That is praise, indeed. I'll have to read that. I hear his novels are excellent, too.

Apr 18, 2012, 1:04am Top

For another switch-up, I am reading James Patterson's 1st To Die. I just began the last part and am finding this one to be just mediocre. Have any of you read James Patterson mysteries? I have 6 more of these 'Women's Murder Club' books and I really liked the television series. Maybe he is just off to a slow start with focusing on building the characters of the series rather than the story. I hope so.
Well, I guess I will find out.

Edited: Apr 20, 2012, 2:31am Top

I finished 1st To Die this morning and while it was interesting enough to read through, it only rated a 3 from me. And I even wondered if that was 1/2 * too high.
Next up; I am thinking Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James.

Silly me for assuming. I thought that E L James was a man; but he is a she.

Edited: Apr 20, 2012, 2:54am Top

Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James;
My thoughts and comments:

I was suckered in!

re: Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James

I enjoyed the 'VERY' first pages of this book. And while I do not think
of myself as prudish, the book was just over the top for me. I only made it a little more than half way through before I felt like I was going to vomit. I did find the characters fairly well drawn out but the story just gagged me. I will not be finishing it nor can I even give it a one star rating nor will I be reading either of the sequels to this volume, (which I believe are only in e-book form at this time). I do NOT recommend this book. It is going in the garbage. Dominatrix is just not my style.

There is one line in the book that I did love however: "To be honest, I prefer my own company, reading a classic British novel, curled up in a chair in the campus library." Isn't that a great line?

Excuse me while I grab my barf bag.

Apr 20, 2012, 3:20am Top

Now what can I read to settle my stomach?

Apr 20, 2012, 3:55am Top

Well, I won't be looking for that one any time soon :0)

Apr 20, 2012, 9:10pm Top

No, I didn't think you would!

Apr 20, 2012, 9:13pm Top

1st To Die off my shelves and out the window.

Fifty Shades of Grey off my shelves and in the trash! Couldn't read it by half.

Apr 28, 2012, 10:22pm Top

Muriel Spark is an author whose books are 'to die for'. I really loved reading A Far Cry From Kensington. I enjoyed how she drew her characters, how she played them, the story, the entire work. I am so happy she wrote quite a few books and I will be seeking them all out.
On to Friday Nights by Joanna Trollope who is also a new author to me. I have only previously read one and I loved it too. I am thoroughly enjoying this one as well.
These are both comfy, easy reads as my R/L has taken a very sour turn this month and I desperately need soothing. These books are helping a great deal but man, you should see my house. No, perhaps you shouldn't. Have been spending my days at hospital. Three different ones. One is only an hour and a half away and the other two are two and a half hours away. Two North and One South. And we have lost a dear, beautiful, sweet boy; best friend of my fourteen year old grandson, (they went to school in all the same classes, played all of their sports together and he spent half of his summer breaks here swimming in our pool with Tyler (my grand). He was like a nephew to me. Just in the eighth grade. The others are my brother with stage 4 emphysema, my sister-in-law in renal failure and a dear family friend of a lifetime with kidney cancer. I don't do so well with this stuff. Skylyr's service will be on Wednesday and I know the church will not hold all who come to mourn the loss of this child. He died of a ruptured appendix. Who dies of a ruptured appendix these days? My heart is simply bleeding.

Apr 28, 2012, 10:43pm Top

So sorry about your losses, both Skylyr and the losses of health at this point of so many close to you. It has to be very difficult. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Apr 29, 2012, 2:07am Top

Thank you. I will muster through. We always do somehow. I am so thankful for my books at times like this. They have gotten me through so much in my lifetime.

May 5, 2012, 9:08pm Top

A Village Affair by Joanna Trollope
My thoughts and comments:

I absolutely loved this book. It is about a young woman who really wants to get away from her parents & home. She meets a young man who is from a fairly well to do family and he falls for her, proposes to her and they marry. The story moves through their lives and relationships as they have children. The young lady has a very good relationship with her mother in law and they actually love each other. The m-i-l worries as the d-i-l goes through postpartum depression and does all she can to aid her d-i-l.
Then comes along a friend for the young woman who helps with the children, with the house and actually is a true friend to the young woman. Turns out to be too good of a friend. And I will leave it to lie there. Suffice it to say that in the end none of the adults turn out to be truly happy but this reader was. Loved the book, loved the story, loved the writing, loved the characters, loved how she built them, can't wait to read more of her works. I gave it 4 1/2 stars out of 5 and highly recommend it.

May 9, 2012, 9:57pm Top

Julie and Julia by Julie Powell:

I laughed (and belly laughed at times) my way through this book. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the mis-steps of Julia Child's recipes by Julie. And the amazing successes also. I do not think that I could eat a fraction of these recipes. There is a lot of internal organs being cooked in this book. And I often wondered how Julie afforded all of the components of these recipes what with having to make some of them two and three times.
The story is of Julie taking one year of her life and cooking every single recipe of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It was an amazing undertaking. She and her husband Eric, had many friends to come to dinner and help eat the concoctions. Most of them were enjoyed with only a few being yucked.
I liked the book a great deal and enjoyed all of the characters. Julie's husband is a saint. I highly recommend this read for the simple enjoyment of it and I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.

May 12, 2012, 1:37pm Top

Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung
my thoughts and comments:

I quite liked this story of a Korean family who immigrated to America at the time of the war. We get to know the family of four with 2 sisters, in depth. We learn of their hardships, their homily beliefs, how they were treated by some Americans, their diets. I found it very interesting and I liked how Catherine Chung wrote this, her debut novel.
She captures the way of life that the Koreans led and the sibling rivalry between the sisters very well. When the father becomes ill the parents decide it is time to return to the homeland and I loved her expressions and descriptions of Korea, the family there and all of the love and angst between family members, core and external. The estranged sisters remain behind in university. As the father's illness progresses the sisters return as well. Some of the families struggles are healed but not all.
I don't find many novels written on Korea and I truly enjoyed this one and think that I learned quite a bit from it. I would like to read more Korean novels.
I rated it a 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it.

May 12, 2012, 1:48pm Top

Popping in to say Hi! I haven't been here in a while and I am not sure what all has transpired in your life, but it seems you have hit a rough patch. Sorry to hear that. I hope you enjoy this beautiful weekend we are having.

May 12, 2012, 8:18pm Top

Ah Berly, thank you so much for coming by. I so seldom 'talk' to anyone anymore. I am enjoying the lovely weather this weekend and reading some 'cozy/cosy' (?) mysteries. Just the thing to take my mind off my trials. And I am resting, getting rested up for the week to come.
I hope all is well with you and yours. I think of you often and I hope you are reading something really good.

May 12, 2012, 8:43pm Top

The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman
My thoughts and comments:

I would not consider this book a great work of literature but I enjoyed it so much and it filled such a hole in me that I had to give it 5 stars.
A comfy, cosy mystery with the very pregnant Tess bedridden in her last trimester and spending her days on her sun porch watching the world outside. Each day she waits and watches for those who daily walk their dogs past her windows. And each day she sees an attractive young lady in a green raincoat, green pumps, with a green umbrella walking a dog in a matching green raincoat. One day she sees the little dog go running by with his green leash flying behind him. Even though she is bedridden she must find out what has happened to the little dog's owner.
A truly enjoyable book. Just right for those rough patches in one's R/L.
Recommended but book 12 out of a series of 13. I need to go back and find the 1st.

Next up: my first Agatha Christie, A Pocket Full of Rye.

Edited: May 12, 2012, 10:48pm Top

I like the sound of The Girl in the Green Raincoat. I will have to see if the library has it.

. . . and it does!

May 13, 2012, 12:50am Top

Yea!~! It's very good but light. I hope you enjoy it jl.

May 13, 2012, 4:27am Top

Sometimes some light reading is just what I need!!

Edited: May 20, 2012, 3:16pm Top

Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear

Another little Maisie Dobbs mystery. I love these books. Comforting and relaxing.
Maisie is a private investigator who, in this particular, is searching for a missing person and comes across a multiple murder scenario which ties in with her missing person case.
Just a nice little cozy read when that is what is needed. Highly recommended for those times or any time one is looking for a light read. I rated this one 4 out of 5 stars.

On to another easy read which seems to be all I can handle with what is going on in my R/L at this time: Betrayal by Fern Michaels

May 20, 2012, 3:08pm Top

Gemma by Meg Tilly

Meg Tilly is a very good writer. It always amazes me when an actress turns out to be that. I don't know why.
She takes this book from past to present in the first person with an ease that just carries the reader along. The story itself is about a 12 year old girl who is abducted by her mother's boyfriend and sold to a pedophile who rapes her repeatedly.
When she escapes he catches her and threatens her with the police for 'what she has done'. In the end she does get away, is found, there is a trial, & she is taken in & cared for by a loving couple who know how to help her. The book ends with hope for a little girl, who has gone through hell and back to be helped to find a whole or nearly whole life.
I highly recommend this book and rated it 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Edited: May 20, 2012, 3:14pm Top

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

This is the first in a series of eleven. A nice little who-done-it that is just right for a rainy day, a day at the beach or when life is overwhelming which mine is at the time.
Maisie is just opening her own investigative firm and has taken on her first case which becomes something more.
I love these books and recommend them for times like above or anytime one is looking for a light and fun read. I rated this one 4 out of 5 stars. It was very enjoyable.

May 22, 2012, 1:21am Top

Hi Belva,

Hugs to you and I'm so sorry to hear of your loss - such a heartbreak for your grandson to lose his good friend at such a young age. My heart goes out to all of you.

I'm glad you're enjoying Maisie Dobbs. I have the first few in the series but have yet to read them.

May 26, 2012, 7:03pm Top

You will love them Joanne. They are such a fun relaxing read. Not a lot of depth, but definitely good for what ails one.

May 26, 2012, 9:55pm Top

Hi there. Hope you are enjoying your Memorial Day Weekend. I have been cooped up sifting through piles of papers, all of which need me to DO something with them. Sigh. Currently reading 1Q84 and taking a 6-week class on it. Loving both the book and the class!! Hugs.

Edited: May 26, 2012, 10:29pm Top

Berly; sorry you are having a working weekend. I hope you are being well paid.
The only Haruki Murakami I have read, I am very sorry to say because I LOVED it, is Norwegian Wood. I thought it written a bit differently than anything I had previously read. I will have to pick up some more by him. So glad you are enjoying the book and the class so much.
later babe,

May 27, 2012, 3:06pm Top

The Robber Bridegroom by Eudora Welty
My thoughts and comments:

A strange little fairy tale with some frontier reality thrown in just to make a nice mix.
The story begins bigger than life when the father of the 'Cinderella' character buys a night's sleep (?) in a hotel/hostel. Two other men come in and play/fight most of the night. By morning the instigator is gone and the room is trashed. The father invites the 2nd man to come to his home for a meal and the dude hesitatingly accepts.
The 2nd man unbeknownst to the father is a highwayman come robber and eventually steals away the father's lovely daughter. I will leave you to fill in the rest.
I loved this little story. Eudora Welty has such a way with words that she could make 'Dick and Jane' into a wonderful story.
I highly recommend it and gave it 4 1/2 stars out of 5.

May 27, 2012, 3:48pm Top

Betrayal by Fern Michaels
My thoughts and comments:

Imagine, just imagine that you and your husband who have not been blessed with children, are best friends with your husband's childhood friend, wife and 2 young girls. You meet a couple of times a year and the girls spend all of their school breaks and vacations with 'Auntie and Uncle' and the four of you love your time together. Then imagine that the unspeakable happens and one of the daughters accuses your husband of touching her inappropriately. The confusion, heartbreak, and legality of the issue are almost more than one can bear.
And then imagining it getting even worse. Your innocent husband is found guilty and sent to prison for twenty years. Imagine how you would react. What would you do? Can you think of anything to set things right and get your life back?
That is what Kate, the main character of this book attempts to do.
I recommend this book for an appropriate day when perhaps it is raining and you are in the doldrums and simply need an interesting but non-challenging book to read. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars.

May 27, 2012, 3:57pm Top

Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie
My thoughts and comments:

"Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid;

Fly away, fly away, breath!
I am slain by a fair cruel maid.

My shroud of white, stuck all with yew
O prepare it;

My part of death no one so true;
Did share it."

Wm Shakespeare

Another innocent young lady charged with murder.
Another crime solved by the magnificent Hercule Poirot.
I am coming to love the Agatha Christies.
I recommend this one as well and gave it 3 1/2 stars out of 5.

May 27, 2012, 4:04pm Top

They Do It With Mirrors by Agatha Christie
my thoughts and comments:

Yet another kookie, silly, fun Miss Marple mystery by Christie.
There becomes a comforting sameness in these after a bit but that
does nothing to destroy the enjoyment of the story.
In this one a family member is shot at a private rehabilitation center and
Miss Marple must get to the bottom of it. Which she does with her
usual aplomb.
Again I recommend it and gave it 3 1/2 stars out of 5.

May 27, 2012, 6:25pm Top

I love Agatha Christie! You are on a roll... I read Dead Man's Folly this year and enjoyed it quite a lot. I also gave it 3.5 stars. Enjoy!

Jun 17, 2012, 8:15am Top

Belva, I'm so sorry, I've been so caught up with my own RL issues (at least just work related ones) that I'm only just making time catching up on threads here. So sorry to hear about your awful times of late. I hope everything's going well for you, and many many *hugs* for what you've been through.

Glad you've had a Christie binge of late, I do enjoy her books very much.

Jun 17, 2012, 12:35pm Top

Hi wookie. I've hardly had time to hit any threads for ever so long so not to worry. I think R/L hits all of us at different points in our lives and it must be dealt with. I am doing well and hope you are also.

Am loving reading the Christies. I can't believe that I have waited this long to read her. Miss Marple returns to Public Television this Monday evening and I'm looking forward to that.

Thank you for popping over. You are appreciated.

Edited: Jun 18, 2012, 12:15am Top

The Twisted Heart by Rebecca Gowers
my thoughts & comments:

I found this book to be definitely not for me and I can't even recommend it. I gave it 1/2 * out of 5 and felt that was too much. So disappointed that I spent book money on it. So NOT what I have come to expect of Orange Prize listed books.

I hope some of you like it.....................

edited later: to say that in all fairness to Rebecca Gowers & this novel, I must admit that it could be 'the place' I am right now that turned me so against this one. Sometimes R/L can keep one from appreciating a book. I know that and perchance judged it too harshly. But I only have my take on it and my gut to tell me, so I have to stick with that.

Jun 18, 2012, 12:11am Top

Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman
my thoughts & comments:

Another fun Laura Lippman P.I. whodunit. I really enjoy these. They are relaxing, interesting & fun reads.
The main character, Tess Monaghan, ex-reporter turned P.I. is hired by her friend Rock, to tail his girlfriend. She has changed in the last few months and he is worried about her and wants to know why she is spooked. During Tess' investigation she finds that the girlfriend is spending weekly afternoons in a hotel room with her boss. She talks the girlfriend to tell Rock the truth about what has been going on. That very night the boss turns up dead, beaten to death. Looks pretty bad for Rock. He is arrested and charged.
The attorney Rock hires in turn hires Tess and while this investigation is ongoing a few more connected murders occur. There are a lot of really interesting characters withing the framework of the story. Twists and turns galore and quite a fun little mystery.
I rated Baltimore Blues 4 out of 5 stars and easily recommend it.

Jun 19, 2012, 12:27am Top

I am getting quite near to the end of Elizabeth Taylor's The Sleeping Beauty and have found myself loving it from the very beginning. I love Taylor's sense of humor. (i.e.: "I'm in the Army." She glanced gravely at his uniform, not smiling.") Her timing is impeccable. This is one of my favorites of hers and all of hers are my favorites. lol!~! And though there are sad moments and awkwardness for some, I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Jun 23, 2012, 11:08pm Top

Hi Belva! How is summer starting off for you? I am still waiting for the sunshine. BB sounds like a good one. I am reading Jane Goodalls Through a Window and enjoying it very much. Miss you. Hope all is well.

Edited: Jun 25, 2012, 5:46pm Top

Hi there Berly. Baltimore Blues was very good. Just a nice, easy and perhaps cozy mystery. And I am guessing that the Goodall is non fiction. She has ever fascinated me with her love of the primate. She has given so much. You will have to let me know how it is. I've not read her; just watched a lot of her shows on Public Television.
I miss chatting with you too. R/L has been in my way for the past 2 1/2 years between mother and my brother. No one else is willing or nearby to do all of the running and paperwork. But such is life. At least mine right now.
We are preparing for retirement and have purchased a travel trailer and a one ton truck to pull it. We'll not be sun-birds but just come and go as we please.
One wonderful thing has occurred in my life. My daughter takes her mini-aussie to a sheep herding place where they also give obedience lessons. And everything is very practical. Anyway I have taken our Abby Labby twice and we all love it. By the time she is done, she is so mentally exhausted that she sleeps for three days. lol!~! She doesn't want to herd the sheep but she wants to please us so she is trying really hard. Who would have thought that playing in dog and sheep shit could be so much fun but it is.
later babe,

Jun 25, 2012, 5:39pm Top

Revenge edited by Kate Saunders

This book is filled with well thought out 'getting even' tales. With authors from Louisa May Alcott, Winifred Holtby, Gaskell, Braddon, Spark, Walker, to Saunders herself.
In some of the stories the wronged person took a great deal of time to plot and plan her revenge. In a few it was pretty instantaneous. But in all of them it was fascinating.
A very enjoyable book of shorts. Thank you Elaine.

Jun 26, 2012, 1:41am Top

More Maisie Dobbs. Yea!~!

Jul 2, 2012, 7:44am Top

Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

The third of the Maisie Dobbs series is just as delightful as the first two.
In 'Lies' she is hired to find the location and if possible the burial place of a pilot who died in the war. During the upshot of this hunt several other crimes are solved and Dobbs finds herself being tailed, stalked with attempts made on her life. But she manages to come through with her usual aplomb.
I highly recommend this series and gave Pardonable Lies a 3 1/2 stars out of 5.

Jul 2, 2012, 3:38pm Top

Yes, I know all about RL getting in the way. Sorry yours is so overwhelming!! Goodall's book was .... good! I love reading about all her insights into our closest relatives. Fascinating. Let me know if you travel in your trailer down my way...I'd love to meet in person. : ) Hugs.

Jul 3, 2012, 11:51pm Top

Ditto here regarding meeting in person. Portland is only 2 hours from us so it would be an easy meet-up for me.

Jul 15, 2012, 6:46pm Top

I am loving this re-read challenge and as it is Orange July, I re-reading some of my Oranges and they are so good. I wish every book I read was as good as those I have read by Helen Dunmore.
Darn, missed watching the Rangers shut out the Mariners. 4-0 I hate when that happens. Last series with them, we kicked butt. This time, not so much. But they are our home team so we still love our Mariners. ;-)

Jul 17, 2012, 11:54pm Top

The Return of Captain John Emmett by Elizabeth Speller
My thoughts and comments:

In a beautifully told mystery of the deaths of those servicemen involved in the execution of a British Officer in W.W.I. Elizabeth Speller has excelled in her debut novel. I was easily placed in the trenches along with the soldiers, in London, with those who remained behind and felt closely involved with her characters. I truly cared about them, even the not so nice ones.
This paragraph really caught my eye:
"I hadn't been idle since the war. I'd needed to do something. I'd met Philip Morrell many years before. My wife was a distant relation of Lady Ottoline, Morrell's wife." I found it very interesting to find those lines in this book.
At any rate I highly recommend this read and gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

Jul 19, 2012, 12:31am Top

Still lurking...just thought you should know! ; )

Edited: Aug 28, 2012, 10:05pm Top

Hello Berly. ;-)

I am currently reading an ARC/ER, The Sleeping Night by Barbara Samuel and find myself loving it. It is about a returning WWII Veteran who is colored to his Texas hometown where he loves a white woman who lives in the colored section of the physically divided community. They never verbalize nor show their feelings of affection to one another but I find myself on pins and needles wondering what is going to happen and will they ever be together. Guessing that given the time and place it won't happen.
I will be looking for more of Barbara Samuel's works.

Sep 1, 2012, 3:54pm Top

I find myself about halfway through The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton by Elizabeth Speller, the follow up to The Return of Captain John Emmett. I really liked the 'John Emmett' read and 4 *ed it. In this, the sequel, the characters are not nearly as well drawn. I am very easily distracted from the story which does not really follow the former story at all except for the major character and one minor one. At this point I am very disappointed in the book but will finish it mainly to find out what did happen to 'Kitty Easton' and to finish the story line of the labyrinth/maze on the estate and the one found in the old church floor.

Sep 1, 2012, 4:01pm Top

Hey there! Nice to see you in these parts. The Sleeping Night sounds promising, but I think I will pass on Emmett. Hope your summer has been good? Have you made any voyages in your trailer yet? Miss you! Hugs.

Sep 2, 2012, 1:32am Top

Summer has been good. The beginning was filled with grandkid's baseball and they begin practicing football in August so that is always fun. We have not made in voyages in our trailer as of yet. My sis-in-law from Kentucky is here for 6 weeks and she doesn't like to stay with anyone. She asked if she could stay in the trailer and park it at her friend's house. Of course I said yes, never dreaming that her brother would say no. Next year I will have her talk to him. The boys' games have begun and Tyler's are Friday nights with Kyle's being on Saturday afternoons. So there will be no using of the trailer for us until after Football season because we just don't miss their games. Sometimes we even go and watch practices.
And I have been spending a lot of time in Olympia with my ill brother. Roger (hubby) always likes to go with me if he isn't working. So our yard is really showing the neglect this year. And we wanted to paint the outside of the house also and that wasn't able to happen.
How was your summer? I hope your family enjoyed the fair weather once the rain and that icky humidity left.
Thanks for popping over.

Sep 4, 2012, 2:49am Top

Still slogging through The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton by Elizabeth Speller. Am beginning to feel as if I shall never finish it.

Sep 7, 2012, 3:19am Top

note to self: Am I ever going to finish this book? Boring............so far..........

Sep 7, 2012, 1:53pm Top

Feel free to Pearl rule it! Not every book needs to be finished.

Sep 10, 2012, 8:50am Top

So...did you finish it or did it finish you? : )

Sep 11, 2012, 4:31pm Top

I FINISHED IT!~! I am one of those literary idiots who simply finds it so hard not to finish a book I have begun Berly. From page 194 on, it became quite good actually. So I guess for The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton by Elizabeth Speller, I have extended the Pearl rule (& thanx ronin) from 50 pages to 194 pages. lol!~!

How's U?

Sep 13, 2012, 12:14am Top

Hmmm. I am not so sure about expanding the Pearl Rule. I am just starting to feel like possibly, maybe I don't have to finish books I don't like. I'll compromise. How about 100? Glad you enjoyed the book in the end. So gratifying after slogging through a rough start.

Edited: Oct 30, 2012, 9:59pm Top

So I have been trying to catch up on my reading of Elizabeth Taylor's works and am finding them to be very satisfying reads indeed. And now I am reading some of my ARCs that I had misplaced. The first of those is Running the Rift which is very good thus far. It is about Rwanda and the Hutu/Tutsi Tensions. The main character is a young Tutsi lad who yearns to run in the Olympics. It is not a fun book to read but is appearing to be a very good book to read.

Edited: Dec 18, 2012, 1:48am Top

Football season is almost over. Our little 2 B High School made it to the State Tournament only to lose the Championship game by 2 points. :-(
Our grandson, as a lowly Freshman, is the starting Center and he had a great season and didn't blow one snap all season long. We are so proud of him. And I say our season is almost over because he has been invited to play in the National East/West Junior Invitational Bowl Game to be played in Houston over the Christmas Holidays. So we fly out on Christmas Day and return home on New Years Day.
But in the meantime no more FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS! Which means belva gets to read a lot more because Football Season is our busiest season of all. We have 2 grandsons playing (one on the High School Varsity Team and the other on the little guy team), and we also enjoy watching them practice and run them to and from as Mom & Dad work plus Dad coaches Jr. High. I am really looking forward to having some me time and reading at my leisure.

Dec 2, 2012, 11:06pm Top

I loved Running the Rift. The subject was very grim and difficult but the writing was just wonderful. Hope you are still enjoying it.

Dec 3, 2012, 1:34am Top

Ah, my daughter played soccer, and it wasn't Friday night lights, but Saturday morning early fog, and why didn't the clubhouse have a proper barista and coffee machine, honestly, this is the inner west of Sydney, we have high coffee standards...

I have since given up coffee and have been much less grumpy. :) Not sure if she'll be back for soccer next year, she's not very competitive and the boys on the team are all pretty serious...

Dec 3, 2012, 6:21am Top

So good to hear from you Belva:)

Dec 5, 2012, 8:42am Top

@ judylou;
I really liked Running the Rift and it was a 4 1/2 * read for me. I agree that the subject matter was upsetting, that the writing was beyond wonderful and am so happy that you thought as highly of it as I did. I can never turn away from a book on Africa. Simply one of my passions.

I so agree. Saturday mornings in the cold & damp are much worse than Friday nights in the pouring rain. Perhaps because one must get up and hop to whereas with Friday nights one has the day to prepare the mind & soul for a good soaking. :-)
Our little grand played soccer the first year it was offered for his age group and somehow got kicked in the head. That was it for him. No more soccer. But he is older now and loves football, baseball and distance running. We enjoy them so much.

@ calm;
Nice to 'see' you as well calm. It has been a while.

I hope you all are reading some really good books.

Edited: Dec 14, 2012, 1:30am Top

I have fallen in love with the writing of Dorothy Whipple, having just finished her Someone at a Distance. What a wonderful read and to come after just having read Elizabeth Taylor's Blaming which was also wonderful.......I feel so blessed. To be finishing my year of reading on such high notes is so awesome.
My review of the Whipple book is here, http://www.librarything.com/work/75990, should it be of interest to anyone.
I believe I will read Little Boy Lost next. I think I am a new Persephone fan.

Dec 15, 2012, 6:57pm Top

I love seeing these lists of "bests" at the end of the year. They often prompt me to remember some of the books that sounded interesting but that I didn't wishlist at the time. I'll have to get my list organised now.

Dec 16, 2012, 3:49am Top

And I will have to come by and check them out judylou. Thanks for popping over. I always enjoy seeing everyone's lists as well. I get a lot of ideas for books that I have forgotten that I want to read. L.T. is so good at giving you recs. I guess that is why all of our bookshelves are filled to overflowing. :-)

Dec 16, 2012, 7:21pm Top

Wow, I really must read some Elizabeth Taylor!! I have Angel somewhere in the house...

Dec 17, 2012, 1:53am Top

Hi there!! So nice to visit you here. : ) Apparently I shall have to see what Elizabeth Taylor is all about, since she took up over half your best-of-the-year spots!! I prefer nights and dry for sporting events, but I live in Portland and my kids are all into soccer, which can be anytime all weekend long! LOL. Hugs

Dec 17, 2012, 11:00pm Top

Elizabeth Taylor is a marvelous author. She writes about the most incidental occurrences in the lives of her characters but does it in such a way that I find fascinating. I have loved everything I have ever read of hers.
Berly, are you still interested in a meet-up? I am thinking that perhaps early spring a Portland meet up would be great. I had a list of L.T.ers within what I figured a 2 hour radius and as I recall there were quite a few. IDK, just something to think about. Or we could have it in the middle between Portland and Seattle and draw from both areas plus a couple of hours from the East. I am going to sleep on it.
hugs to you and wookie.
Praying Christmas blessings on the both of you and your families.

Edited: Dec 17, 2012, 11:05pm Top

Definitely up for a meet-up! Here, there or in-between. I am coming!

And many Christmas blessing to you and yours, too. : )

Dec 18, 2012, 1:15am Top


Dec 19, 2012, 2:43am Top

Getting ready to go to bed and begin a new to me Orange short listed book. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. I hope it becomes a state of wonder to me!
nite all

Edited: Dec 26, 2012, 11:22pm Top

State of Wonder was indeed a wonderful 5* read for me. I loved it. (review on the book page)
I followed it with Translation of the Bones; a 3* read for me. Will do a review later on this one.
Today I will finish The Splendid Outcast, a book of African short stories by Beryl Markham. I am so loving this book and I know it will be at least a 4 1/2 * read for me.
I finished this one this afternoon and had to change it's rating to 5*s. I absolutely loved it and can't wait to do a reread.

Dec 27, 2012, 8:55pm Top

Have begun The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue, an Orange listed book. So far it is good but has yet to really suck me in.

Dec 31, 2012, 12:53am Top

Oh, I am so glad you like State of Wonder, too! Wishing you a very Happy New Year! And that includes lots of great reading in 2013. Hugs.

Dec 31, 2012, 2:39am Top

Ah Berly, Happy New Year to you & yours as well. Hope your book choices for 2013 turn out to be great reads for you and let's plan that N.W. Meet-Up this spring sometime. (the planning of) Okay?
big warm hugs back your way,

Dec 31, 2012, 3:06am Top

My, we are up late aren't we?! LOL. Yes, this year we will have a NW meetup. : ) I'll raise a glass to you tonight!

Dec 31, 2012, 10:24am Top

And I to you sweet girl!

Group: 100 Books in 2012 Challenge

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