It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is a meme sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey.  Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts gave the meme a kidlit twist.  It’s a great way to reflect on what you’ve read and reviewed the last week and plan what you want to read next.  Join up with us and discover what good books other people  are reading.

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I love vacation reading–especially beach reading! There is nothing better than sitting in the sand and listening to the waves crash on shore while I get lost in a good book. I actually didn’t spend much time sitting with a book on the beach (too busy walking or swimming), but I did enjoy our family’s vacation at Bethany Beach. I had long hours to read in the car on the drive out and back (so glad I don’t get carsick). I also got to discover new books from the stacks lying around the beach house we rented. Now I’m ready to dive back into work as my daughter starts her senior year of high school. I suspect this year will fly by for all of us.

Posts this week:

I finished…

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Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan – This is  one of the books I found lying around the beach house. I’m so glad I did. I seem to be on a spy novel kick these last few weeks, but this is one of the best. It is quite the “literary” spy story. Serena Fromme is working as a lowly clerical worker with M15 in the 1970s when she is given an assignment to recruit a promising new writer to the cause. It sounds great–the writer gets paid to write and has complete freedom. M15 hopes they have picked a writer who will help their cause in the battle of ideas, but they don’t want to appear to be controlling their writers. Once Serena falls in love with “her” writer, things get a bit more complicated as she has to keep her secret. The end gives a delicious twist!

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Belong to Me by Marissa de los Santos – A friend from church gave this one to me, and I read it all on the journey back home. Three women come together in suburbia and find that their lives intersect and intertwine in ways they never could have imagined. Cornelia and her hunky husband fled the city to find security in the suburbs, but Cornelia struggles to find her place in this tight-knit community. She first meets Piper–the Queen Bee from your high school nightmares–who is dislikes Cornelia on sight. She thinks she has found a kindred spirit when she meets Lake, who has moved across the country with her son Dev. All three women hide secrets and pain–one of them a secret that could destroy their friendships completely.

I’m currently reading…

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What Have You Lost edited by Naomi Shihab Nye – I did not take this one on vacation with me (we had limited space), but I’ve read every day since I’ve been home. Some of these poems take my breath away.

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Soul Feast by Marjorie Thompson – I’m reading this with a study group from my church. I missed the first group meeting while on vacation, but enjoyed talking with others at church yesterday who are also reading it. The first two chapters are filled with underlining and notes scribbled in the wide margins. It is definitely a book to read slowly and to chew on thoughtfully between times I sit down to read. I’m looking forward to discussing the first two chapters on Wednesday.

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The Living by Matt de la Pena – I’m to the last section, and I can’t wait to see how it ends out. Right now there are so many loose ends I want to see come together. I have my own ideas and suspicions. Am I right, or does de la Pena have surprises in store that I haven’t dreamed of? I do hope that I learn more about Shoeshine. For some reason, those minor characters who seem to be much more than they appear fascinate me.

Coming up…

I know this week will be hectic with catching up at work and starting school and soccer again, but I’m looking forward to reading when I can and seeing what good books the week brings my way.

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

July books read

66) Cruel Beauty by  Rosamund Hodge, narrated by Elizabeth Knowelden – I loved this fairy tell retelling that turns characters inside out

67) Why? Making Sense of God’s Will by Adam Hamilton – very thoughtful look at what faith in God has to offer through difficult times

68) The Selection by Kiera Cass – My daughter pushed this book on me. She loved its twist on one of her favorite tv shows–The Bachelor/ette

69) Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein,narrated by Sasha Pick – I LOVE this book Now that I have finished listening to it, I want to go back and read a print copy as well, especially for Rose’s poetry

70) Twelfth Grade Kills by Heather Brewer – I thought this was a satisfying ending to the series–though the possibility remains for more adventures to come.

71)  Froggy Gets a Doggy by Jonathan London, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz

72) The Runaway King by Jennifer Nielson – Just as good as the first book. I’ve already started the third.

73) The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielson – a thrilling conclusion to Jaron’s story

74) The Misison Song by John le Carre – another spy gets thrown out in the cold

75) The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson – lived up to all the good things I heard about it

76) Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee – very though-provoking

77) Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan – a very literary spy story

78) Belong to Me by Marissa de los Santos – loved it!

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is a meme sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey.  Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts gave the meme a kidlit twist.  It’s a great way to reflect on what you’ve read and reviewed the last week and plan what you want to read next.  Join up with us and discover what good books other people  are reading.

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I still haven’t figured out why iTunes on my computer has quit talking with Apple and my iPod, but I found a workaround by transferring the next book I want to listen to to my phone. At least Android seems to be immune for the time from whatever ails the others. It took a while to find the right app to play it, and it’s not as convenient as my iPod since I haven’t figured out how to fast forward within a section, but I’m back to listening to books.

Blogs I posted this week:

I finished…

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The Mission Song by John le Carre  – It took me a little while to get into this one. Salvo is an aloof narrator. Even though it is in first person, it’s hard to get inside his thoughts, much less his feelings. But as I drew near the end, I had a hard time putting the book down. Salvo is asked to translate for a secretive deal that supposedly will bring peace and stability and even prosperity to his home country of the Congo, but he discovers that there are secrets behind the secrets and once again his homeland is about to be pillaged and thrown into war. As he tries to stop the events that he played a small part in setting in motion, he discovers that no one is willing to listen, much less act.

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The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson – I heard so many good things about this book when it first came out. I finally bought it for my nephew’s birthday present. Of course I head to read it, and it was so much fun. There are capers and cons (named after Star Wars and Star Trek and history and music and baseball). There are a gang of friends who sometimes quarrel, but come together to outwit the school bully who is planning to steal the election. There’s even a little bit of romance (but not too much). So what do they do? Steal it back, of course.

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Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee – Despite the controversy surrounding the publication of the lost manuscript, I knew I wanted to read it. How could I join in the conversation if I didn’t read it for myself. In some ways, I found it a bit disorienting. The switch between the present narrative and the flashbacks sometimes threw me off balance along with the disjointed thoughts of Jean Louise. Of course, Jean Louise (aka Scout) was thrown off balance as she confronted the changes and secrets from her past.

I’m currently reading…

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What Have You Lost edited by Naomi Shihab Nye – I think I read one or two poems this week. I need to get back in the habit–or find a way to make it routine so I don’t let the day get away from me before I read another poem. I like the idea of reading a poem a day, but I sometimes forget to sit down and open the book as I get busy.

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Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan – I’m reading another spy story. I do like those. I like the main character/narrator in this one. Serena Frome loves to read, but ends up studying mathematics at Cambridge. She has an affair with an older history professor who grooms her reading in politcs and history and steers her toward a career with M15. In the 1970’s, the options are limited for young women in the service, but Serena continues on anyway. I’m just getting to the part where she goes on her first assignment outside of clerical work.

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Soul Feast by Marjorie Thompson – I’m reading this with a study group from my church. My favorite part of the book is the wide margins for writing reflections as I read. In addition to reflecting on the journal questions scattered through the margins, I have plenty of reaction to much of what I’m reading. I’m trying to be selective in my underlining, but there are so many thoughts I want too come back to that the pages are filling up. This will be a book I will come back to again and again. I’m glad to have a record of my thinking from my first time through it. I’m also looking forward to discussing it with others.

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The Living by Matt de la Pena – Now that I finally figured out how to transfer the Sync YA books to my phone and listen, I picked this one. It’s my first book by de la Pena and I really like it. I’m eager to continue since I’m at the point where everything that could go wrong has–a deadly disease, massive earthquakes and tsunamis, and a sinking ship. I don’t think there will be many characters left among the living for long.

Coming up…

I’m enjoying the books I’m reading now, and have a few in bag to finish. There are even more waiting on my Kindle and phone. The hard part will be deciding which to start on next. I also need to catch up on reviewing what I’ve finished recently.

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

Twelfth Grade Kills by Heather Brewer

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If you hold the opinion that vampires should not sparkle, check out Heather Brewer’s series The Chronicles of Vladimer Todd. Vlad is awkward and gravitates toward the Goth clique at his school, but he doesn’t quite fit in anywhere. Part of the problem is that he is half human and half vampire. After the death of his parents, he lives with his aunt Nellie, who conveniently brings home bags of blood (she is a nurse at the hospital) for him to consume along with copious amounts of human food. Otis reveals himself as his vampire uncle and seeks to educate Vlad concerning his vampire heritage.

There’s just one slight problem–Vlad’s very existence breaks the laws of Eylsia, the vampire world that exists in secret alongside the human world. Then there’s that disturbing prophecy of the Pravus, that may or may not refer to Vlad as the savior of vampire kind and the enslaver of human kind. Oh yeah, there’s also a vampire slayer society, and Vlad’s best friend Henry’s cousin Joss is a member and on a mission to take out Vlad. Throw in some regular high school drama (girls and bullies and school dances) and life is never dull for Vlad.Vlad’s story begins in eighth grade with Eighth Grade Bites and continues through each year of school until the final installment Twelfth Grade Kills.

As he begins twelfth grade, Vlad just wants to survive until graduation, but that doesn’t seem likely. The Elysian Council has set a date for his trial, which will likely end in a death sentence for Vlad. The Slayer Society has given Joss an ultimatum–kill Vlad or the society will “cleanse” the town by killing everyone. In the middle of avoiding killers on all sides, Vlad thinks he sees his dead father. Is dear old dad dead or alive? As the clock ticks down, Vlad uncovers secrets that will destroy everything he thought he knew.

One of the things I like the most about this series is Vlad. He is not only a vampire (and one with some unique powers), but he is adorably awkward. He is completely unnerved by girls, especially when his ex-crush and his ex-girlfriend happen to be in the same room. He befriends his sworn enemy (Joss from the Slayer Society), and convinces him that not all vampires are evil.

Even though there is a little romance, the action keeps the pace moving. TVlad has to fight off vampires and slayers who want to kill him. He also has to deal with a school bully who is determined to learn Vlad’s secrets and share them with the world with a less than savory school newspaper (think supermarket tabloid for high schooolers). There is even a hint of mystery as Vlad searches for the truth of the Pravus prophecy that claim Vlad will enslave both vampirekind and humankind. Through it all, Vlad just wants to survive and live in both worlds that he is part of. Will he be the bridge that brings them together or the spark that destroys everything?

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is a meme sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey.  Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts gave the meme a kidlit twist.  It’s a great way to reflect on what you’ve read and reviewed the last week and plan what you want to read next.  Join up with us and discover what good books other people  are reading.

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Rain, rain go away. I’m beginning to think we should get out the canoes for our transportation around the county. At least I have had time to read while listening to the patter of raindrops on the roof. I also learned to check out library books on my phone through the Overdrive app. Now I will never be without something to read–at least as long as I have cell service. On the downside, iTunes on my computer has quit communicating with Overdrive and the iTunes store, so I am unable to transfer any audiobooks to my iPod to listen to. Arrgg! I hate it when I can’t figure out technology. I love it when it works.

Blogs I posted this week…

I finished…

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The Runaway King by Jennifer Nielson – Jaron/Sage is just as smart (and smart alek) as he goes to the pirates to try to stop a war that will destroy his kingdom. When I read the title, I was worried that Jaron was running away from his duty as king since he didn’t want it, but I should have known Jaron would never run away. No, he goes on this mission alone because he doesn’t know who he can trust among his regents. There is a traitor–or more–among them still. Unfortunately, he also pushes away his friends, but they refuse to leave him.

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The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielson – Once again Jaron finds himself backed into a situation that there seems to be no way out of…and once (or twice or more) he outsmarts both his friends and his enemies. The ending to this trilogy was even more exciting that the first two books, and I’m still trying to figure out Nielson’s genius in creating the character of Jaron and plotting all the twists and turns that lead to the stunning finale. I am glad that Jaron finally began to trust his friends. There is no way he could have won this war on his on.

I’m currently reading…

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What Have You Lost edited by Naomi Shihab Nye – Such loss and heartbreak in this week’s poems. The poems that struck me this week remind me that sometimes it is my own choices that create loss, and sometimes that’s not all bad.

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Beastly by Alex Flinn – We read a few chapters, but late nights and weekend trips (by my daughter) kept us from getting too far. Kyle is not coming to terms well with his new look.

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The Mission Song by John Le Carre – I got distracted by shiny new books this week, but I did read a little more. Salvo is thrown into a situation where he is asked to both use and hide his language skills. He’s trying to figure out the context of what is happening, but no one is forthcoming with much information.

Coming up…

I want to finish the books I’m reading before school starts in a few short weeks. I know once homework and soccer practice hits, we won’t have much time to read together before bed.

What books have you been reading this week?

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

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My daughter pushed this book on me. As soon as she finished it, she went and bought all four books in the series for her Kindle and read them in two days. She loves the tv show The Bachelor/ette, so I can see why she loves this book.

Mix up manufactured romantic competition of The Bachelor with the oppressive governmental control of the Capitol from The Hunger Games and you can begin to imagine the world that America Singer lives in. Every time a royal prince comes of age to marry, he must select his wife from contestants drawn from the common people of the districts of the future country in what used to be the United States. All contestants must live in the castle and have plenty of opportunities to mingle with each other and the prince. Winning the prince’s heart automatically brings the girl and her famly to the top social class of Ones.

Society is strictly stratified and movement between the numbered classes is limited. Even though America’s family struggles as Fives (artists), America loves music–singing and playing instruments. However, she is in love with a neighboring Six (servant class), and thinks she is willing to give up her slight status as a five in order to marry him.

America wants nothing to do with the contest to find a princess, but she reluctantly enters at the insistance of her mother and her boyfriend. To her surprise, she is the winner for her district and heads to the Capital to meet the prince. Even though she makes it clear to the prince that she is only there to help her familiy (they receive a stipend for each week she remains in the competition), Prince Maxim is quite taken with her. I imagine he finds her blunt honesty quite refreshing. And he is open to learning more about the plight of the people throughout his country.

I enjoyed the story, but was not as caught up in it as she was (though I finished the book in less than a day.) I liked America , but I think I’m getting tired of the love triangles. I enjoyed the story much better before love interest #1 showed back up. After dumping her, the first boyfriend Aspen shows back up as a royal guard (yep, he got called up by the draft.) I wish he would have stayed out of the picture so America could pursue other avenues of thought.

There are several interesting ideas Kiera Cass could explore–and that I want to know more about. What will Prince Maxim do about the inequality throughout the kingdom? Who are the different bands of rebels that attack the kingdom and what do they want? Why are there no history books? I hope the rest of the series explores these issues more than which guy America should end up with. I suppose it’s too much to ask that she be happy with herself?

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

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Rose Justice is an American pilot who is flying planes for the ATA in England near the end of World War II. When she flies an Allied fighter plane from Paris back to England, she is captured by the Nazis. Rather than treating her as a prisoner of war, the Nazis send her to Ravensbruck as part of a transport of French political prisoners.

A companion to Code Name Verity, Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein stands alone as a powerful novel set against the backdrop of World War II on the home front in England and in a Nazi concentration camp. I listened to this one, narrated by Sasha Pick, thanks to the Sync YA summer downloads. Pick does an excellent job narrating (I loved the accents and voices for the different characters), but I do want to go back and read a text version. I know one reading of any kind is not enough to enjoy all this book has to offer.

I love so much about this book. Let me count the ways!

  • Rose herself. Rose is a little bit brash (from her youth and American optimism) and a little bit naive. (While her fellow pilots and prisoners endured the hardships and horrors of World War II, Rose was back home near Hershey, Pennsylvania, competing in canoe races, singing Girl Scout Camp songs and playing basketball.
  • Flying! I have my pilot’s license and love any story that takes to the air. Rose’s flying goes beyond anything she could have imagined back home stateside. In particulary, she learns–and later attempts–taran, the practice of using your airplane to ram another. While risky, it could be survived if the pilot was skilled and lucky enough. Taran shows up again and again, both literally and symbolically. I love how Rose and Irena (a fellow prisoner and Russian fighter pilot) use their hands in flight to give each other courage.
  • Poetry. Not only does Rose fly airplanes, but she also writes poetry. She also quotes extensive poetry, especially poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay. The poetry is the main reason I want to read the text. I want to see the poems on the page and savor each word. Poetry gives Rose a voice when she cannot trust her own.
  • Survival. The prisoners at Ravensbruck are not passive victims of Nazi cruelty and brutality. From their initial processing to their eventual escape, Rose and her fellow prisoners engage in acts of rebellion. While they cannot stop the Nazi’s murder of millions of prisoners, they can “organize” needed supplies and hide some prisoners (the rabbits) scheduled for the gas chambers. Rose’s “family” in Ravensbruck even says grace before eating their meager rations. They look out for each other the best they can and grieve for those who are killed.
  • I learned more. I have read a lot of books, both fiction and nonfiction, about the Holocuast and thought I knew quite a bit. I learned even more about the horrors of medical experiments conducted by the Nazi doctors. The girls and women from a Polish transport underwent many operations that left them lame. Those who survived were protected by their fellow prisoners. They were ingenious in finding ways to get their story out, even when the world could not believe them.
  • No easy answers. Many of the characters are complex and even difficult to like. Rose is certainly flawed as she puts her foot in her mouth and just doesn’t get things. The German pilot who flies her to Ravensbruck is kind. He gives her chocolate bars and even lets her fly the plane. The German prisoner who leads Rose’s work detail (the worst kind of work leader) was one of the guards who held down the rabbits for their operations, but she also provides extra vitamins for the girls on her work crew. Roza, the most unforgettable of the rabbits, is demanding and insulting and incredibly brave.
  • A glimpse of life after the war. I am so glad Wein did not stop the story with Rose’s escape from Ravensbruck. She goes on to show how difficult it is for Rose to reenter life after experiencing the horrors there. At first, Rose cannot bear to wear clothes or leave her hotel room as she writes down her experiences. She does go on with her life, but she is forever changed. She promised the rabbits that she would share their story with the world, but she finds that she cannot speak of it. When she writes poetry and stories, she finds that the editor doesn’t want the ones that detail the horror. It is too much for readers.

If you have not read Code Name Verity or Rose Under Fire, what are you waiting for? Both books give a heart-poundng, page-turning account of life in the middle of World War II. Whie the stories are very different, both build almost unbearable suspense that makes me glad I live in a time and place where peace mostly prevails.

What stories from World War II or the Holocaust would you recommend?

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is a meme sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey.  Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts gave the meme a kidlit twist.  It’s a great way to reflect on what you’ve read and reviewed the last week and plan what you want to read next.  Join up with us and discover what good books other people  are reading.

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It has been a busy week with our county fair. My daughter was 4H Queen. She served as an ambassador for the 4H program at the fair (which meanth watching a lot of livestock shows and passing out ribbons. My husband and I ended up there every night of the fair with some group or another–passing out Smokey Bear stickers and bookmarks (my husband) or volunteering in the food stand (me). In addition, I had the pleasure of babysitting in my daughter’s place while she was at the fair. We had lots of fun with all kinds of activities.

Blogs I posted this week…

I finished…

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Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein,narrated by Sasha Pick – I LOVE this book Now that I have finished listening to it, I want to go back and read a print copy as well, especially for Rose’s poetry. There are so many things I love about this book, but Rose herself tops the list. I also like the fact that it continues past her escape from Ravensbruck and gives a glimpse of her life as she tries to pick up the pieces and move on.

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Twelfth Grade Kills by Heather Brewer – I thought this was a satisfying ending to the series–though the possibility remains for more adventures to come. There were several surprises at the end–some pleasant, some not so much. I had started the companion series that focuses on Joss and the Slayer Society. I would like to continue wiith it to see how Joss changes from dedicated vampire killer to Vlad’s friend. Together Vlad and Joss have to outwit both the vampires and slayers.

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  Froggy Gets a Doggy by Jonathan London, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz – The library bag was filled with Froggy books this week (another favorite series from my daughter’s childhood). I still enjoy Froggy’s antics and enthusiasm as he does everything from getting dressed to hopping across the room. Nothing can contain his excitement at the pet store where he wants a dog (not a rabbit, alligator, or mouse). Both my neighbor and I agreed that getting an alligator for a pet might pose some problems for a family of frogs.

I’m currently reading…

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What Have You Lost edited by Naomi Shihab Nye – I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t read many poems this week either. I’m looking forward to dipping back into the poems this week.

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Beastly by Alex Flinn – We didn’t read much this week due to too many late nights at the fair. Instead, I got to read aloud a few chapters of Matilda to our neighbor since I provided back up for babysitting while my girl served at the fair all week.

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The Mission Song by John Le Carre – I haven’t read anything by Le Carre since I read The Spy Who Came in from the Cold in college. Someone donated this one to my Little Free Library (I get to read them, too!). I’ve just barely started, so I don’t know what I think yet, but I am intrigued by the main character so far.

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Running with Scissors by Augusten Borroughs – I picked this up (another donation) to read while waiting for my daughter to get home from the fair. I think I’m going to put it aside for later or pass it on. It was described as funny, but I found it more horrifying than humorous.

Coming up…

Today at church I passed on my copy of The Wright Brothers by David McCullough and someone else gave me Belong to Me by Maria de los Santos. It looks good. Now I need to decide if I want to start it now or save it for vacation. Don’t worry, I have plenty of books stacked up to read at home. I also need to choose a new audiobook to listen to. Thanks to Sync YA, I have plenty of good ones to choose from.

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

I loved Eleanor and Park (at least until I threw the book across the room at the end). I laughed and cried and cheered my way through Fangirl. So when I saw a copy of Landline sitting on the shelf at my local public library, I knew I had to read it now. I did not want to miss out on the latest by Rainbow Rowell.

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I found it slow to get into at the beginning, but I’m glad I stuck with it. Georige McCool is a comedy writer. Just before Christmas, she and her longtime writing partner, Seth, get the break of a lifetime–the opportunity to write their own show–if they can create a pilot and four episodes by the end of the year. Georige leaps at the chance and breaks the news to her husband and daughters that she won’t be able to go to Nebraska for the holidays even though they’ve already bought the tickets. To her surprise (and dismay), Neil packs up the girls and goes home without her. It’s the first Christmas Georgie has spend apart from Neil since he broke up with her in college.

Georgie is devastated at being left alone. When she crashes at her mother’s house, she plugs in her old telephone and tries to call Neil. The Neil who answers is the boy who broke up with her fifteen years before. As Georgie tries to wrap her brain around the fact she has a direct line to the past, she keeps talking with long ago Neil. The more she worries about her future with Neil, the more she wonders if she should try to change the past. What would happen if she talks past Neil out of driving back to California to propose to her that Christmas fifteen years ago?

Rowell weaves the different threads of the story together until I can see how Georgie shares the same struggles I do. Flashbacks reveal how Georgie met Neil and how their relationship began. Conversations with past Neil explore both the past and current tensions in their relationship. Georgie’s family (mom, very young stepdad, much younger sister and assorted spoiled dogs) provide comic relief and force Georgie to confront what is going on. Is Neil leaving her or just visiting his family for Christmas? Needless to say, Georgie is not much up for writing comedy as she deals with the drama in her own life. She knows that Neil is the center of her life. What would she do without him?

I may not be a comedy writer for a hit television show, but I struggle every day with the balance between work and family. I deal with assorted family members that I love even when they don’t follow the script I would write for them. I may not have a direct line to my past, but my actions yesterday and today continue to influence what happens tomorrow. What would you do if you had a direct line to someone in your past?

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is a meme sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey.  Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts gave the meme a kidlit twist.  It’s a great way to reflect on what you’ve read and reviewed the last week and plan what you want to read next.  Join up with us and discover what good books other people  are reading.

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I hope everyone enjoyed the Fourth of July celebrations this weekend. We kept it quiet–worked in the garden, made freezer slaw, grilled burgers, watched fireworks at our local park. I was quite surprised at how much reading I got done this week. That’s what happens when I find books I don’t want to put down.

Blogs I posted this week…

I finished…

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Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business – I couldn’t help myself after hearing my daughter read parts of it aloud to our neighbor. Rereading this one brought back so many good memories of reading to my daughter when she was in kindergarten/first grade. I love that she is sharing these stories with our neighbor. Her take:  These books are so much fun to read aloud. Yes, they are.

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The False Prince by Jennifer Neilson – Okay, I didn’t actually have the chance to finish reading it aloud to my daughter. She thought it was too slow and devoured the rest of it in one day along with the second book (which I still need to read). The hardest part was holding my tongue until she got to the big surprise. We were riding in the car (I was driving) when she figured it out.

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Cruel Beauty by  Rosamund Hodge, narrated by Elizabeth Knowelden – I loved how the ending came together with this one. I think my favorite part of this fairy tale retelling (that’s almost like a reverse negative of the traditional tale) is the fact that the main characters are not perfect. They are stubborn and selfish and angry–but they try to find the right path through a thicket of puzzles that doesn’t have any clear right answers.

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Why? Making Sense of God’s Will by Adam Hamilton – I borrowed this book from my husband. His Sunday School class is studying it. I found it to be a very thoughtful look at what faith in God has to offer through difficult times. Hamilton doesn’t offer easy, glib answers–and sometimes tears through the illogic of some of those pat answers such as “It must be God’s will.” He asks if it is really God’s will that thousands of children die every day from starvation. Well, when you put it like that, no. God’s will is for us to get up and feed them.

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The Selection by Kiera Cass – My daughter pushed this book on me. As soon as she finished it, she went and bought all four books in the series for her Kindle and read them in two days. She loves the tv show The Bachelor/ette, so I can see why she loves this book. I enjoyed the story, but was not as caught up in it as she was (though I finished the book in less than a day.) I liked America Singer, but I think I’m getting tired of the love triangles. I enjoyed the story much better before love interest #1 showed back up. I wish he would have stayed out of the picture so America could pursue other avenues of thought such as why there are no history books.

I’m currently reading…

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What Have You Lost edited by Naomi Shihab Nye – More mournful poems to savor this week. Many of them reflected on missed opportunities and lost memories from the past.

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 Beastly by Alex Flinn – My daughter picked this one for our next read aloud together. She’s read it and loved it, but somehow I’ve missed reading it for myself. I keep telling her she should read it to me, but she’s not going for it. I know I will enjoy it since I’ve loved everything else I’ve read by Flinn.

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Twelfth Grade Kills by Heather Brewer – I started this series when it first came out and enjoyed the vampires that definitely did not sparkle (a funny line from the current book). I stalled when the 11th grade book out. For some reason, I never got my hands on it, but I had the 12th grade book sitting around. I finally decided to go ahead and read it. I’ve missed a few points, but Brewer does a good job of catching me up. The stakes have never been higher (or coming more frequently) for Vlad.  Both the Vampire Council and the Slayer Society is determined to kill him. Can he outwit both groups without fulfilling the prophecy of the Pravus to enslave all humankind.

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Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein,narrated by Sasha Pick – Rose Justice has kept me good company this week as I’ve cleaned the house, mowed the lawn and hoed the garden. I’m sure a few more weeds bit the dust because I wanted to keep listening. I read mixed reviews when this one first came out, but I’m loving it. Rose is brash and sometimes naive, but she faces challenges with poetry. How could I not love her? It is not so much as a sequel to Code Name Verity as it is a companion. Maddie shows up, but only briefly so far. The story is all Rose’s–and that of her new camp family in Ravensbrook. I thought I knew of the horrors of the Holocaust, but I am learning even more of the evil from it through Rose’s story.

Coming up…

It’s going to be a busy week with our local fair this week. I’m sure I’ll find something to read. I’m just not sure what. Do you have any suggestions?

What have you been reading this week?

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

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