Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

big-little-lies
Title
Big Litte Lies
Author:  Liane Moriarty
Length:  458 pages
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Content Notes:  Strong Language


In the beginning chapters of the book, you find out that there’s an investigation taking place in a small beach-side community. The book switches back and forth from the present time and the investigation to the past and all that happened in the months before the incident occurred. The main focus is on the lives of three women who all have hard issues they are dealing with. From the bookflap:  “Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.” This was one book I couldn’t put down.

 


 

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Title
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Author:  Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Length:  274 pages
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Content Notes:  Language


Juliet Ashton is a writer known for her light-hearted series about Izzy Bickerstaff; but she doesn’t want to write light-hearted pieces now. One day, she receives a letter from someone she doesn’t know who happened to find her name in a book he now owns. He lives on the island of Guernsey and wants to know if she will give him the name and address of a bookshop in London where he could find more books by Charles Lamb. They begin writing back and forth and what transpires is an unforgettable story that is delightful and charming, deep and moving. One minute you’ll be laughing , the next minute you’ll be in tears. It is funny, heartbreaking, sassy, genuine. Written in the epistolary style, these characters come to life as you read about war, love, loyalty and the power of books to unite and sustain.


Quotes from the Book

That’s what I love about reading:  one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book.” (pg. 11)


 

What I’ve Been Reading – February 2017

This is just a quick look at books I read in February. This was a big reading month for me. I don’t typically read this many books in a month’s time! Look for upcoming posts for more about some of these books.


big-little-lies

Big Little Lies
By Liane Moriarty

Reading for Fun Reading Challenge Category
A Book in a Genre You Usually Avoid

This was the first Liane Moriarty book I’ve read. It was recommended to me by a friend who said it was un-put-down-able. And was she ever right! I don’t typically read mystery novels (in fact, I generally avoid that genre); but this one I couldn’t put down. While the mystery is part of the story, the real focus is the lives of three ladies in a small beachside community. Moriarty crafted the novel with such precision that the reader is drawn in from the very beginning and the characters seem real. In addition, Moriarty does a superb job of mixing humor amid heavy, heart-wrenching issues. (Heads up for strong language)
READ MORE


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
By Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Reading for Fun Reading Challenge Category
A Book You’ve Already Read

When I saw this category on the Reading for Fun reading challenge, I knew that one of the titles I’d totally re-read would be The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I loved this book when I read it last year. In fact, it should have been in my blog post about favorite books I read in 2016. Reading it again, I was reminded once again of just how much I love this book. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is an historical novel centered around the German occupation of Guernsey in World War II. It blends the hard, terrible, and sad details of this time in history with plenty of humor and sass. It is by far one of the best World War II historical fiction novels I’ve read.  READ MORE


the-one-in-a-million-boy

The One-in-a-Million Boy
By Monica Wood

Reading for Growth Reading Challenge Category
A Book by an #ownvoices or #diversebooks Author

This book had been on my to-read list for awhile. I was intrigued by the description on Amazon; but just hadn’t taken the plunge to read it yet. When I saw that it qualified for this category in the reading challenge, I finally decided it’s time to read it and I’m so glad I did. The One-in-a-Million Boy is a moving story primarily focused on an unlikely friendship between an elderly woman and a father whose son died. This book would be a great pick for a book club because when you read it, you’re going to want to talk about it! There are lots of themes that can be discussed such as loss, grief, redemption, and second chances.
READ MORE


the-storied-life-of-a-j-fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
By Gabrielle Zevin

Reading for Fun Reading Challenge Category
A Book about Books and Reading

I love reading books about books and reading, and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is just that. Yet, it’s also much more than that. It’s an heartwarming story of loss, finding love again, and the power of books to bring people together.  READ MORE


the-enchanted-april

The Enchanted April
By Elizabeth von Arnim

Reading for Fun Reading Challenge Category
A Book You Were Excited to Buy or Borrow but Haven’t Read Yet

The Enchanted April is about the complexities of the lives of four women who decide to go on a holiday and share an Italian villa. I love the BBC movie adaptation of this book (starring Polly Walker, Miranda Richardson, Josie Lawrence, and Joan Plowright) and have seen it many times. I was really looking forward to reading the book; but for some reason, it sat on my Kindle for months. I’m so glad I finally got it read! There are definitely some movies that I like better than the books; that’s not the case with this one. While there may be some things I do like about the movie better, overall I loved the book more because I found that the novel had even more depth to it than the movie portrayed. (brief language)
READ MORE


and-every-morning-the-way-home-gets-longer-and-longer

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer
By Fredrik Backman

Reading for Growth Reading Challenge Category
A Book in Translation

I don’t know about you, but something about many of Fredrik Backman’s book covers draws me to the books. In fact, I could easily put this one down for the category “A Book You Chose for the Cover.” When I saw the cover for And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer I immediately picked it up, read the description, and knew I wanted to read it. I loved A Man Called Ove and have been wanting to read more of Backman’s books. This is a very quick read, but packed with lots of heart.  READ MORE


the-language-of-flowers

The Language of Flowers
By Vanessa Diffenbough

Reading for Fun Reading Challenge Category
A Book with a Reputation of Being Un-put-down-able

The description of this book was intriguing to me when I first read it. I jotted the title down as a possible book to read and then out of the blue, the very next day a friend asked me if I had read this book and said that she loved it. I bought it and immediately started reading. When reading reviews of this book, it was described as un-put-down-able. So I chose it for this category. And indeed, I didn’t want to stop reading it. In this novel, Victoria has a knack for matching the right flowers with the right person. But where did she learn so much about flowers? And what role did flowers play in her own life? This novel is about dealing with the past and finding healing. (heads up for brief strong language)  READ MORE


Children’s Literature I Read This Month


charlie-and-the-chocolate-factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
By Roald Dahl

Such a fun book…especially after having watched both movie productions many times. It was interesting to compare both movies to the book.


alices-adventures-in-wonderland-and-through-the-looking-glass

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
By Lewis Carroll

This is one that I simply finished in February. I had begun reading it awhile back and needed to finish it. Then I followed it up with Through the Looking Glass.

Through the Looking Glass
By Lewis Carroll

Both this and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland were among my favorites I read aloud to my daughters several years ago. Not all books work well as read-alouds; these did. It was fun reading these again. Humorous and at times lyrical, these books will have you laughing out loud.


Persuasion by Jane Austen

persuasion
Title
Persuasion
Author:  Jane Austen
Length:  236 pages
Genre:  Classic Literature
Content Notes:  I found it to be a bit wordy and tedious in some places.


Anne was in love with Captain Wentworth; but she allowed others to persuade her not to attach herself to him. In this classic novel, Anne has to find that balance between being open to persuasion and standing firm on her own convictions. This is a story of love, regrets, second chances, and determining when to be persuaded and when not to be. In true Austen style, it is a story of love lost and found. It doesn’t take the place of my favorite Austen novel (Pride and Prejudice); but amidst the wordiness and rambling sections, this novel grew on me.


Quotes from the Book

…there could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison; no countenances so beloved.” (Ch. 8)

A man does not recover from such a devotion of the heart to such a woman. He ought not; he does not.” (Ch. 20)

You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever.” (Ch. 23)

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

the-bookshop-on-the-corner

Title The Bookshop on the Corner
Author:  Jenny Colgan
Length:  332 pages
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Content Notes:  Language (includging brief strong language), Course talk, Brief Racy Content


Nina loves books and loves her job at the local library. Then she finds out the library is closing and merging into a different branch with a whole new vision. In the midst of trying to figure out what she’s going to do, she gets hooked on the idea of starting a mobile library. The thought of it is scary and exciting at the same time. She steps out of her comfort zone and what unfolds is the adventure of her life.

A fun lighter read, this novel is about being brave and stepping out to do something you love. Enjoy this look at the power of books and reading.


Quotes from the Book

…for Nina, whenever reality, or the grimmer side of reality, threatened to invade, she always turned to a book. Books had been her solace when she was sad, her friends when she was lonely. They had mended her heart when it was broken, and encouraged her to hope when she was down.” (pg. 40)

Welcome to Silver Street Farm by Nicola Davies

welcome-to-silver-street-farm
Title
Welcome to Silver Street Farm
Author:  Nicola Davies
Length:  72 pages
Genre:  Children’s Literature


“Gemma says that it started with eating jelly beans on the merry-go-round in the park. Karl says no, it started with Auntie Nat’s poodles. But Meera knows that the real beginning of Silver Street Farm was their very first day of kindergarten in Mrs. Monty’s class.”  (pg.1) And so begins the story of how three children and some interesting circumstances bring about a farm in their city. Funny and creative, children will have fun reading this book.

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

david-copperfield

Title David Copperfield
Author:  Charles Dickens
Length:  791 pages
Genre:  Classic Literature
Content Notes:  This is a long book; but the length shows the author’s ability to really develop the characters.


In this classic novel, Dickens tells the life story of David Copperfield. He does a superb job of developing the characters and leaving no loose ends when you finish the last chapter. The novel deals with a fair bit of heavy issues:  hardship and cruelty, poverty, death, loss, scandal, and misplaced love. However, it’s also filled with themes of enduring friendship, unconditional love, forgiveness, kindness, and strength of character to overcome. This is obviously not a light read; yet, Dickens manages to make it feel less heavy at times by sprinkling in humor here and there. Don’t let the length cause you to look over this book. While there may be some wordiness at times, it’s truly a well-written classic.


Quotes from the Book

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.

My meaning simply is, that whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well; that whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; that in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest.

Robert Frost’s Poems

robert-frosts-poems

Title Robert Frost’s Poems
With an Introduction and Commentary by Louis Untermeyer
Length:  275 pages
Genre:  Poetry


This book is not just a book full of poems; it is also filled with commentary that gives insight into Frost’s poetry. With me not being a big poetry person, the commentary was really helpful. I didn’t like everything written by Frost that was included in this book; but this book shows the wide range of ability Frost had in crafting poetry in its different forms. What surprised me was that Frost even wrote some fairly creepy poems. Who knew he had some Edgar Allen Poe in him!


Quotes from the Book

A complete poem is one where an emotion has found its thought, and the thought has found the words.” Robert Frost  (pg. 220)

What’s Helping Me Right Now

Last week, Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy talked about what’s saving her life right now.  Then she offered for everyone to join with her in sharing what’s saving our lives right now. These are things that are breathing life into us right now, things that are helping us get through the dreary and cold days of winter.

For the past month, we’ve had day upon day upon day of grey, overcast days…some even quite darker than the average overcast day. We’ve had back to back days of rain at times too. I like to see sun shining through my windows and these seemingly nonstop days of grey skies can make a person feel just plain’ole blah. So these are a couple of things that have really helped me right now.

helping-graphic

Reading and Talking about Books

I know I love to read and love books and read all.the.time. But especially right now, reading and talking with friends about books is helping me through these dreary, grey days. Recently, a friend and I have been texting back and forth about what we’re reading, what we’ve read, and books we’d like to read. It’s so fun!

I’ve read some good books already in January. And these grey days are good for curling up on the couch, in front of the fireplace, snuggled in a warm blanket, reading. Obviously I can’t do this all day long (wouldn’t that be nice sometimes? 🙂 )…..but I thoroughly enjoy the moments in the day when I can.

Coffee

I love coffee! But there’s something about a warm cup of coffee on a dark, dreary day…especially when it’s coupled with a good book or a good movie/show!

Sunshine Moments

Here and there amidst the grey clouds, the sun occassionally tries to pop out. When it does, nothing feels better than to turn my face towards the window and the sunshine, close my eyes, and soak in that sunshine. Sometimes, the sunshine will peak through the grey and shine through the window that my desk sits in front of. In those moments, I like to just sit at my desk, close my eyes, and do nothing but enjoy that little bit of sunshiny happiness. 🙂

Trips to the Bookstore

I love going to the bookstore. Sometimes with a book in mind…sometimes just because. Just the other day, it was so grey and dreary outside that I told my daughter, “I think we need a trip to the bookstore, what do you think?” Of course she said “Yes!” She loves going to the bookstore just as much as I do. So after dinner, off we went. It was just what we needed.

These are just a few of the things that have really helped me during this winter season. What has been helping you?

What I’ve Been Reading – January 2017

This is just a quick look at books I read in January.

robert-frosts-poemsRobert Frost’s Poems
With an Introduction and Commentary by Louis Untermeyer

Reading for Growth Reading Challenge Category
A Book of Poetry, a Play, or an Essay Collection

I am not a big poetry person; so I am trying to be more intentional about incorporating more poetry into my reading life. What I liked about this book is that it contained commentary that gave insight into Frost’s poetry. While I didn’t like every poem in the book, I did have some favorites. My favorite poems were Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening, The Road Not Taken, and A Time to Talk.   READ MORE


david-copperfieldDavid Copperfield
By Charles Dickens

Reading for Growth Reading Challenge Category 
A Book That’s More Than 600 Pages

I started to read David Copperfield several years ago but never finished it. I decided it was time to pick this one back up and start it all over again. In this classic novel, Dickens tells the life story of David Copperfield. He does a superb job of developing the characters and leaving no loose ends when you finish the last chapter.   READ MORE


persuasionPersuasion
By Jane Austen

Reading for Growth Reading Challenge Category
A Book Published Before You Were Born

I’ve seen I don’t know how many movie/mini-series productions of Jane Austen’s works. But until last year, I had not read any of her books in their entirety. I had tried to read several of them in years past but never finished any of them. Last year, I finally read Pride and Prejudice and loved it. I found that I didn’t like Persuasion quite as much as Pride and Prejudice though. It felt tedious to read at times with its wordiness. However, the novel grew on me and I think this is one I would read again.   READ MORE


the-bookshop-on-the-cornerThe Bookshop on the Corner
By Jenny Colgan

Reading for Fun Reading Challenge Category
A Book Set Somewhere You’ve Never Been But Would Like to Visit

England, Ireland, and Scotland are all places I’ve never been to but would love to visit sometime. And The Bookshop on the Corner happens to take place in England *and* Scotland. The main character, Nina, leaves her home in England to start a mobile bookstore in a small town in Scotland. This is a lighter read but has its moments of depth. (Heads up for language, course talk, and brief racy content.)   READ MORE


welcome-to-silver-street-farmWelcome to Silver Street Farm
By Nicola Davies

This is a cute children’s chapter book about three children who end up starting a farm in their city.
READ MORE