Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Monthly Wrap-Up: May 2011

With another month gone, it must mean that it's time for another monthly wrap-up! May was a slow reading month for me ... don't know why, but I really didn't feel like reading a whole lot. I am now back in the swing of things and enjoying my reading again!

Number of Books Read: 6
Reviews Done: 6 (I finished one for April this month and will have my review of The Devil Wears Prada up tomorrow ... hopefully)
My Favorite Book From This Month: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
My Least Favorite Book From This Month: Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister

Certainly not my best reading month, but I was just in one of those funks where I didn't want to read. I seem to be back into my books though! Part of the distraction was that I discovered 30 Rock starring Tina Fey. I had watched the show here and there (it's on after The Office, which is my favorite TV show ever!), but after reading Tina's book, I just had to watch. And let me say, this show is probably my new favorite thing! Tina Fey is so funny, and I would recommend this show to anyone! Seriously, it's hilarious ... check it out! Not a whole lot else has been going on ... work is work, and that's all I seem to do anymore, but with it being offically summer, I plan to spend a lot of time by the pool, drink it one hand, book in the other, enjoying the beautiful weather.

I hope that everyone had a great May and hoping that everyone has a terrific June!

Top Ten Tuesday (5-31-11)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme, created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, a different topic is posted, and you get to create your own top 10 list! It's fun and a great way to meet other bloggers. This week's topic is: 10 books in your beach bag.

1) Harry Potter - anytime that I go to the beach, I make sure that I take along a book from this series. It's a great way to truly get away from it all!

2) The Devil Wears Prada - I just finished this book (review up tomorrow), but it would be a great book to read at the beach. Not to heavy, but definitely entertaining and engaging to make you want to read.

3) Any Mary Higgins Clark book - I always enjoy her books, and they are substantial enough to entertain me, but I don't feel like I have to sit and read it all at once (that's how I feel with a lot of mysteries).

4) Fly Away Home (Jennifer Weiner) - this book has been in my TBR pile all winter, but I have been saving it for summer. It just seems like it is something to lose myself in.

5) Bossypants (Tina Fey) - I read this book (click for review) a few months ago and LOVED it! Nothing like being on vacation and laughing at the absurdities of the real world to make you feel like you really are away from it all!

6) Any Anita Shreve book - once again, something with enough substance to keep me entertained, but I feel okay walking away from it to enjoy the rest of my vacation.

7) French Lessons (Ellen Sussman) - I just finished this book a few weeks ago and the whole time that I was reading, I wish that I had saved it for later in summer (since I will probably be doing a staycation, I need books that will make me feel like I am far away from it all!), but it really made me feel like I was in Paris, experiencing the joys that the city offers.

8) InStyle - yes, I realize that this is a magazine, not a book! But I look forward to every new issue of this magazine, and what's a trip to the beach without a magazine?!?

9) Major Pettigrew's Last Stand (Helen Simonson) - this is another one in my TBR pile, and I really hope that I can get around to it for summer!

10) Gossip Girl - I haven't read these books in years, but they really are great books! Catty, backstabbing, gossip ... it has everything that you think of when thinking of silly beach books, and yet they are so well written that you don't care! That, and with NYC as a backdrop, you are able to imagine the lives the the uber-rich socialites of Park Avenue.

So, what are your beach reads? It's pretty easy to tell from my list that I want a little substance and a lot of entertainment ... what to do you like to read while away?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird
Author: Harper Lee
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: June 2010 (originally published in 1960)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Source: purchased at Borders

My Rating: 10 stars! (how could you expect any less?!?)

Synopsis (from goodreads.com): "Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel—a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man's struggle for justice—but the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

My Thoughts: For a book that is truly an American classic, there are so many things that I could talk about. But since this is the first time that I have read this book while having a book blog, I will try to keep it simple. What it is that draws me back to this book, year after year? It's the way that it instantly transports me back to being a child. As I read the book, I am back to being a six year old, still playing make-believe but starting to wonder about the world around me. I don't fee like I identify with Scout, I feel like I am Scout. Harper Lee's writing removes that barrier between reader and characters (at least for me), and I am with Scout and Jem as they await the arrival of Dill each summer and create dramas with one another. It seems cliche, but the book takes me back to a simpler time. A time when I wasn't concerned about who was calling/texting/emailing me, when I didn't care what I would eat for dinner that day, when I was unconcerned with what my laundry situation was like. As long as I could, I imagined and pretended to my heart's content, unaware of the world around me. For that reason, To Kill a Mockingbird will always be one of my favorite books, not because of the characters or setting, but because of the ability to make me a child again.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Book Blog Hop and Follow Friday! (5-27-11)

Happy Friday and Memorial Day Weekend to you all! I am very excited for this weekend ... I am working, sadly, but it marks the official start of summer. Lots of time sitting outside, reading, and lots of watermelon (I just love watermelon!) Well, with the end of another week means that it is time for the Book Blog Hop (hosted by Crazy for Books) and Follow Friday (hosted by Parajunkee).

"What book-to-movie adaption have you most liked?  Which have you disliked?"

Well, for which one I have liked the most, I would have to say Harry Potter. I think that those films capture the spirit of the books perfectly, and I am continually amazed at how well they translate the books to the bog screen. Sure, they leave some stuff out, but what they put in the movie is always so well done. I don't know what to do after this last movie comes out, though!

As far as least favorite adaption, I don't know if I can pick one as easily. I didn't really like P.S. I Love You. I think it mostly had to do with the way that Hilary Swank portrayed her character. Also, I did not like Dear John at all. I'm not a big Nicholas Sparks fan, but wanted to see this movie. The book was alright, but the movie just didn't match up with the book at all. 

How many books do you read in a week? And in what format do you read them, or listen to them?

It depends. It's a cop out answer, but it really does depend on the week and what book I am reading. I read at least 2 books a week, sometimes only 1, but sometimes more. If I am reading a chunkster, then that's probably the only book that I will read that week. And I am strictly the written word! I can't listed to audiobooks ... they move to slowly for me. I just like my hardcover/paperback books, no Nooks, no Kindles, just paper, please!

So, what's your fave book-to-movie adaption? Least fave? Let me know! And have a fun and safe holiday weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

French Lessons by Ellen Sussman

French Lessons
Author: Ellen Sussman
Publisher: Random House
Expected Publication: July 12, 2011
Hardcover: 256 pages
Source: won from goodreads.com

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads.com): A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways.

Josie, Riley, and Jeremy have come to the City of Light for different reasons: Josie, a young high school teacher, arrives in hopes of healing a broken heart. Riley, a spirited but lonely expat housewife, struggles to feel connected to her husband and her new country. And Jeremy, the reserved husband of a renowned actress, is accompanying his wife on a film shoot, yet he feels distant from her world. 

As they meet with their tutors—Josie with Nico, a sensitive poet; Riley with Phillippe, a shameless flirt; and Jeremy with the consummately beautiful Chantal—each succumbs to unexpected passion and unpredictable adventures. Yet as they traverse Paris’s grand boulevards and intimate, winding streets, they uncover surprising secrets about one another—and come to understand long-buried truths about themselves.

My Thoughts: This was a delightful book (yes, I realize I sound 80 when I say delightful), but that's what this book is. It was a nice, easy read through Paris. The premise of the book is that you follow three French tutors with their students. You then experience Paris through the eyes of the students while learning about their personal histories. All of them have come to Paris for different reasons, one to get over heartbreak, another an expat, and another their with his wife, a famous movie star. Being able to experience Paris through these three different characters was great because it's not always that picturesque city that we think of in movies and TV shows. Ellen Sussman does a great job of bringing you into the story, taking you to the streets of Paris with the characters, having you dine with them at the cafes, and experiencing all that a city like Paris has to offer.

If I have one complaint about the book, it would be this: there was just a bit too much sex (once again, I realize that I sound like an 80 year old). It was just too coincidental that all of these characters could be hooking up with one another, having such great sex. I understand that it's the City of Love, but really? I just found that too be a bit too unrealisitic. Overall though, this was a great summertime book and definitely got me back into the swing of reading. I read it in two days, not because it was incredibly riveting, but because it was just so charming. I really did feel like I was in Paris. If you aren't taking a vacation this summer, then check out this book. It's like taking a trip to Paris without all the expense.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (5-25-11)

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Waiting on Wednesday is a weely meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. To participate, just highlight a book that you are looking forward to being released and post about it! This week, I'm looking forward to My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock (expected release date: June 7, 2011).

Synopsis (from borders.com): After losing her high-octane job as an entertainment blogger, Noelle Hancock was lost. About to turn twenty-nine, she'd spent her career writing about celebrities' lives and had forgotten how to live her own. Unemployed and full of self-doubt, she had no idea what she wanted out of life. She feared change—in fact, she feared almost everything. Once confident and ambitious, she had become crippled by anxiety, lacking the courage required even to attend a dinner party—until inspiration struck one day in the form of a quote on a chalkboard in a coffee shop:

"Do one thing every day that scares you."

—Eleanor Roosevelt

Painfully timid as a child, Eleanor Roosevelt dedicated herself to facing her fears, a commitment that shaped the rest of her life. With Eleanor as her guide, Noelle spends the months leading up to her thirtieth birthday pursuing a "Year of Fear." From shark diving to fighter pilot lessons, from tap dancing and stand-up comedy to confronting old boyfriends, her hilarious and harrowing adventures teach her about who she is, and what she can become—lessons she makes vital for all of us.
I think this sounds like a fun read, a lot like Julie and Julia. So, what you are waiting on this Wednesday?

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Things We Cherished by Pam Jenoff

The Things We Cherished
Author: Pam Jenoff
Publisher: Doubleday
Expected Publication Date: July 12, 2011
Hardcover: 304 pages
Source: won from GoodReads

My Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads.com): 
An ambitious novel that spans decades and continents, The Things We Cherished tells the story of Charlotte Gold and Jack Harrington, two fiercely independent attor neys who find themselves slowly falling for one another while working to defend the brother of a Holocaust hero against allegations of World War II–era war crimes. 

The defendant, wealthy financier Roger Dykmans, mysteri­ously refuses to help in his own defense, revealing only that proof of his innocence lies within an intricate timepiece last seen in Nazi Germany. As the narrative moves from Philadelphia to Germany, Poland, and Italy, we are given glimpses of the lives that the anniversary clock has touched over the past century, and learn about the love affair that turned a brother into a traitor.

My Thoughts: I have read two of Pam Jenoff's book earlier this year and thought that they were okay. Her newest book, The Things We Cherished, is a really good book. Her writing and characterization have improved with each book that she has written, which is evident in her latest novel. Her novel moves between a present-day courtcase and passages of time, going back as for as the 1910s. The present-day proceedings are told from Charlotte's point of view, chronicling her work as a public defender in Philadelphia to her travels through Europe. The chapters that go back in time are told for the point of view of various people, from a clockmaker to a young Roger Dykmans to a young woman in East Berlin. 

The characters are all believable and relatable. I found that Charlotte was likeable and I found her story real. I also real enjoyed the setting of present-day Europe and war-time Poland. I thought that Jenoff wrote clearly and did a great job of painting the scene without making it drag or seem like too much detail. If I have any complaints about the book, it's that it didn't have a thriller aspect like her other books. If you have read any of Pam Jenoff's other books or enjoy World War II fiction, then this a book that you should definitely check out!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Book Blog Hop and Follow Friday! (5-20-11)

Happy Friday everyone! Another week has passed, thank goodness! And with another week gone, it means that we are one week closer to summer! I cannot wait to sit outside and read all day and eat watermelon (my favorite fruit). In the meantime, it's time for the Book Blog Hop(hosted by Crazy for Books) and Follow Friday (hosted by Parajunkee).

Q: "If you were given the chance to spend one day in a fictional world (from a book), which book would it be from and what would that place be?"

Oh my goodness, there are so many to choose from! The obvious choice would be Harry Potter, but I will try and think of something else. Probably one of the books that I love to read that is set in WWII. It may sound weird, but I would have loved to see the world at that time, to experience what all those people went through. I don't know if I could pick just one book though.

Q. It's circle time. Time for us to open up and share. Can you tell us FIVE quirky habits or things about you? We all have them...

1) The Office is my guilty pleasure. I would love to work at Dunder Mufflin ... I think it would be a hoot. And who wouldn't love to stare at Jim all day?

2) I like to have everything alphabetized. Books, DVDs, CDs ... you name it, I want to alphabetize it.

3) Disney is my obsession. I try to learn everything that I can about Disney ... I have always been this way. Ever since I was a child. I just wanted to learn everything there was to learn about Disney!

4) I can't eat rice. It makes me sick ... it's not an allergy, but it's the only food that I can't eat.

5) My new addiction is Angry Birds and 30 Rock. After reading Tina Fey's book, all I want to do is watch her show! And Angry Birds is just plain addicting!

I hope that everyone has a great weekend! Let me know what your quirks/habits are!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (5-18-11)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. My pick this week is The Girl in the Blue Beret by Bobbie Ann Mason. (expected release date: June 28, 2011)

Synopsis (from amazon.com): Inspired by the wartime experiences of her late father-in-law, award-winning author Bobbie Ann Mason has written an unforgettable novel about an American World War II pilot shot down in Occupied Europe.When Marshall Stone returns to his crash site decades later, he finds himself drawn back in time to the brave people who helped him escape from the Nazis. He especially recalls one intrepid girl guide who risked her life to help him—the girl in the blue beret.At twenty-three, Marshall Stone was a U.S. flyboy stationed in England. Headstrong and cocksure, he had nine exhilarating bombing raids under his belt when enemy fighters forced his B-17 to crash-land in a Belgian field near the border of France. The memories of what happened next—the frantic moments right after the fiery crash, the guilt of leaving his wounded crewmates and fleeing into the woods to escape German troops, the terror of being alone in a foreign country—all come rushing back when Marshall sets foot on that Belgian field again.Marshall was saved only by the kindness of ordinary citizens who, as part of the Resistance, moved downed Allied airmen through clandestine, often outrageous routes (over the Pyrenees to Spain) to get them back to their bases in England. Even though Marshall shared a close bond with several of the Resistance members who risked their lives for him, after the war he did not look back. But now he wants to find them again—to thank them and renew their ties. Most of all, Marshall wants to find the courageous woman who guided him through Paris. She was a mere teenager at the time, one link in the underground line to freedom.Marshall’s search becomes a wrenching odyssey of discovery that threatens to break his heart—and also sets him on a new course for the rest of his life. In his journey, he finds astonishing revelations about the people he knew during the war—none more electrifying and inspiring than the story of the girl in the blue beret.Intimate and haunting, The Girl in the Blue Beret is a beautiful and affecting story of love and courage, war and redemption, and the startling promise of second chances.

Hopefully, I will be back in the swing of things this week. I have been reading, but it seems like I just read a few pages at a time and don't make any progress in my books. Add that to the fact that we didn't have internet/phone/cable at all this past weekend (thanks, Comcast!), and it was difficult to try and get on and blog after a long day at work. But everything is up and working now, and here's hoping for a better reading week!

Monday, May 16, 2011

South of Superior by Ellen Airgood

South of Superior
Author: Ellen Airgood
Publisher: Riverhead
Expected Publication Date: June 9, 2011
Hardcover: 384 pages
Source: won from goodreads.com

My Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads.com): When Madeline Stone walks away from Chicago and moves five hundred miles north to the coast of Lake Superior, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, she isn't prepared for how much her life will change. 

Charged with caring for an aging family friend, Madeline finds herself in the middle of beautiful nowhere with Gladys and Arbutus, two octogenarian sisters-one sharp and stubborn, the other sweeter than sunshine. As Madeline begins to experience the ways of the small, tight-knit town, she is drawn into the lives and dramas of its residents. It's a place where times are tough and debts run deep, but friendship, community, and compassion run deeper. As the story hurtles along-featuring a lost child, a dashed love, a car accident, a wedding, a fire, and a romantic reunion-Gladys, Arbutus, and the rest of the town teach Madeline more about life, love, and goodwill than she's learned in a lifetime. 

My Thoughts: With the start of summer just around the corner, this was a great book to set my mind to summer mode. This story follows Madeline from her life in Chicago to the Upper Penninsula of Michigan. She leaves a big city for a small town, where the nearest movie theater is 100 miles away and the busiest season is summer, when the town is flooded with tourists. Madeline moves here to learn more about her family history with a woman who was in a relationship with her grandfather and that woman's sister. Madeline helps to take care of them while learning about her family, the town, and herself.

I found the story to be interesting, just lacking in some places. I felt there were parts of the story that were missing or weren't fully explained, and while it didn't detract from the reading at all, I did feel like I was missing something. I also felt like there were a few too many characters introduced. I occasionally got characters mixed up or thought that I had never met certain characters, when they were introduced much earlier in the story. Other than that, I really enjoyed Ellen Airgood's story and would recommend to anyone looking for a summer read.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (5-11-11)

Happy Wednesday everyone! It's time for Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. My pick this week is Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer.

Synopsis (from borders.com):Making the startling discovery that her family finances are in dire straits is only the latest shock endured by Carley Winsted after her husband’s sudden death from a heart attack. Resisting her in-laws’ well-meaning overtures to take in Carley and her two daughters, the young widow instead devises a plan to keep her family in their beloved home, a grand historic house on the island of Nantucket. The solution is right at Carley’s front door: transforming her expensive, expansive house into a bed-and-breakfast. Not everyone, however, thinks this plan prudent or quite respectable—especially not Carley’s mother-in-law. Further complicating a myriad of challenges, a friend forces Carley to keep a secret that, if revealed, will undo families and friendships. When her late husband’s former law partner keeps showing up at the most unexpected times, Carley must cope with an array of mixed feelings. And then, during a late-summer heat wave, the lives of Carley and her friends and family will be forever changed in entirely unexpected ways. 

So, what are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister

Joy for Beginners
Author: Erica Bauermeister
Publisher: Putnam
Expected Publication: June 9, 2011
Hardcover: 288 pages
Source: won from GoodReads

My Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads.com): At an intimate, festive dinner party in Seattle, six women gather to celebrate their friend Kate's recovery from cancer. Wineglass in hand, Kate strikes a bargain with them. To celebrate her new lease on life, she'll do the one thing that's always terrified her: white-water rafting. But if she goes, all of them will also do something they always swore they'd never do-and Kate is going to choose their adventures. 

My Thoughts: When I first read the synopsis of this book, it sounded like something I would really enjoy. I liked the premise, the thought of character development and growth; however, I found little of that in this book. I kept on trying to like this book, but it just didn't work for me. I think that Erica Bauermeister had a really good plot idea, but the book was too short for it to ever develop. Seven women's stories are told in this book, each getting their own chapter to highlight their adventure that Kate chose for them. Each woman had the possibility of a unique story, but they never grew. You got a little back story on each woman, her task, and then her completion of the task. Every woman's task tied up nicely, with them finding a man/gaining insight/overcoming a fear. It was too formulaic and predictable.

My other problem with this book was the writing. I felt that the writing wasn't organic, that Bauermeister was trying too hard to express the character's feelings. It was too decadent at times, the words and language trying to convey too much. Also, the chapters were a bit too choppy for my liking. Some paragraphs were only three or four sentences, and then break away to a new thought. It wasn't something I really ever connected to because the writing was too distracting for me. 

I really wanted to enjoy this book, and while the premise of the book still appeals to me, it's not something that I will be reading again.

It's Monday! What are you reading? (5-9-11)

It's Monday! What are you reading? This weekle meme is hosted my Shelia at Book Journey. It's pretty easy to participate ... all you  have to do is go over the books you read this past week, what you are reading now, and what you plan to read this upcoming week. I had an okay reading week this past week ... slowly getting back on track with my reading. The warmer weather helps a lot because I can just sit outside and read all day! Or until I have to go to work at nite. So, here was my week:

Books I Read This Past Week
Barrel Fever by David Sedaris
Joy for Beginners by Ellen Bauermeister (review up later today)

Books I'm Currently Reading
South of Superior by Ellen Airgood

Books I Plan to Read
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

So, what are you reading this week?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

In My Mailbox (5-8-11)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren where you share what books you acquired this week. I had a BIG book week, and for pretty cheap! I received two of the books that I won from GoodReads this week and went to the Friends of the Library sale and got some summer reading. I was pretty excited to find these books and to know that I have some good summer reading books lined up.

Received from GoodReads
Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister
South of Superior by Ellen Airgood

The Funny Thing Is … by Ellen DeGeneres
Light on Snow by Anita Shreve
Body Surfing by Anita Shreve
The Last Time They Met by Anita Shreve
Riverside Park by Laura van Wormer
We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates
In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh
The Gravedigger’s Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz

So, what was in your mailbox this week?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Barrel Fever by David Sedaris

Barrel Fever
Author: David Sedaris
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Published: June 19995
Paperback: 196 pages
Source: purchased

My Rating: 2.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads.com): In David Sedaris's world no one is safe and no cow is sacred. A manic cross between Mark Leyner, Fran Liebowitz, and the National Enquirer, Sedaris's collection of stories and essays is a rollicking tour through the national Zeitgeist: a do-it-yourself suburban dad saves money by performing home surgery; a man who is loved too much flees the heavyweight champion of the world; a bitter Santa abuses the elves; a teenage suicide tries to incite a lynch mob at her funeral.

My Thoughts: David Sedaris is a famous essayist and commentator, bringing a hilarious twist to the world around him. I discovered David Sedaris about six months ago and fell in love. His writing is dry and quick, moving quickly and cutting to the heart of the matter. His observations have left me doubled over in laughter. I expected the same from this book but was a bit disappointed. The book is divided into two parts, stories and essays. The stories are pieces of fiction that Sedaris wrote, the essays things that Sedaris actually lived through. While the essays bare the things that I have come to expect from Sedaris' writing, the stories left something to be desired. While humorous, they weren't as good as his essays. I also felt that they went a bit too far at times, that Sedaris was trying a little too hard. If the essays weren't included, I don't think that I would have finished this book. That being said, I still like Sedaris and will continue to read him. If you haven't read David Sedaris, I highly recommend that you check out his work, like Me Talk Pretty One Day (link goes to my review), but would steer clear of this book.

Follow Friday (5-6-11)

Happy Friday everyone! Thank goodness that this week is over ... it seemed like it would never end! My blogging and reading definitely suffered because of it, but here's hoping for a better week! Parajunkee hosts Follow Friday, and this week's question is:

What character in a book would you most like to be, what character in a book would you most like to date?

The character I would most like to be is Hermione Granger. I would love to be that smart and at Hogwarts. The character meeting I would most like to date ...hmm ... as silly as it is, probably Noah from The Notebook.

Hope everyone is having a great Friday and has a fabulous weekend

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (5-4-11)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's a way to highlight upcoming releases and maybe even find some more books to add to your TBR pile! My choice this week is Faith by Jennifer Haigh

Synopsis (from goodreads.com): When Sheila McGann sets out to redeem her disgraced brother, a once-beloved Catholic priest in suburban Boston, her quest will force her to confront cataclysmic truths about her fractured Irish-American family, her beliefs, and, ultimately, herself. Award-winning author Jennifer Haigh follows her critically acclaimed novels Mrs. Kimble and The Condition with a captivating, vividly rendered portrait of fraying family ties, and the trials of belief and devotion, in Faith.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer

The Invisible Bridge
Author: Julie Orringer
Publisher: Doubleday
Published: January 2011
Paperback: 758 pages

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis: Paris, 1937. Andras Lévi, a Hungarian Jewish architecture student, arrives from Budapest with a scholarship, a single suitcase, and a mysterious letter he has promised to deliver to C. Morgenstern on the rue de Sévigné. As he becomes involved with the letter’s recipient, his elder brother takes up medical studies in Modena, their younger brother leaves school for the stage—and Europe’s unfolding tragedy sends each of their lives into terrifying uncertainty. From the Hungarian village of Konyár to the grand opera houses of Budapest and Paris, from the lonely chill of Andras’s garret to the enduring passion he discovers on the rue de Sévigné, from the despair of a Carpathian winter to an unimaginable life in forced labor camps and beyond, The Invisible Bridge tells the unforgettable story of brothers bound by history and love, of a marriage tested by disaster, of a Jewish family’s struggle against annihilation, and of the dangerous power of art in a time of war.

My Thoughts: As you may know by now, World War II books are among my favorite books written. Something about that time period really appeals to me, and The Invisible Bridge was no different. While the characters and part of the story take place in Hungary, I had no idea the role that Hungary played in the war. It was refreshing to read something about this time period that I was not familiar with and it really did intrigue me and keep me wanting to read and learn more about the characters. I felt that Julie Orringer did her research and tried to make this book as authentic as possible, and it shows in her writing. The characters are real and raw, baring their emotions throughout the story.

If there is one thing that I didn't like about this book, it was the length. Now, I love long books where I get to truly know the characters inside and out. However, I felt at times that the story was really dragging with so much detailed information and dialogue and that  if it were edited a bit, it would have made for a more enjoyable, and faster, read. 

If you enjoy historical fiction or WWII novels, that I would definitely recommend checking out this book. Just get ready for a lengthy story.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mailbox/What are you reading Monday (5-2-11)

Hello bloggers! I have been a little out of the blogging world this past week or so ... between work and lack of sleep, I haven't found much time to post anything. But here's hoping that this week goes a little bit better! So, starting with, what are you reading?

Books I Read This Past Week:
The Invisible Bridge  by Julie Orringer (review up tomorrow ... hopefully)

Books I'm Currently Reading:
Barrel Fever by David Sedaris

Books I Plan to Read This Week:
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
(I'm planning an easy week so I can get back into the groove of blogging again)

While it wasn't my best reading week, The Invisible Bridge was a chunkster (700+ pages), so it took a little longer to read. But I'm hoping that I can get back on track this week.

For Mailbox Monday, I didn't actually receive anything in my mailbox, but I did get lots of new books (and won a few, too!) I went rummaging through some of the books that my mom has read and found a couple in there to add to my TBR pile and also found some at Target that have been on my wishlist.

What I Found Rummaging:
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

What I Bought at Target:

The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure by Rachel Friedman

What I Won on GoodReads:
French Lessons: A Novel by Ellen Sussman
The Things We Cherished by Pam Jenoff
Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister
South of Superior by Ellen Airgood

All in all, not a bad week! Hope that everyone is having a great start to their month and getting ready for summer!