Monday, May 30, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

As I mentioned yesterday, I am still dipping into and out of a ridiculous number of books. But this should be over soon and I'll be able to clean up the staggeringly out of control "in the middle of" list of books. I might even be able to get back to writing reviews sometime soon. Wouldn't that be nice?! This meme is hosted by Kathryn at Reading Date.

Books I completed this past week are:

The Summer Guest by Alison Anderson

Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
You Have Never Been Here by Mary Rickert
West With the Night by Beryl Markham
A Well-Made Bed by Abby Frucht and Laurie Alberts
Riverine by Angela Palm
The Other Woman by Therese Bohman
The Children's Crusade by Ann Packer
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende
The One-in-a-Million boy by Monica Wood
The Lake House by Kate Morton
Exposure by Helen Dunmore
I Will Find You by Joanna Connors
The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel
Eliza Waite by Ashley E. Sweeney
Shelter by Jung Yun
The Center of the World by Jacqueline Sheehan
The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris
A Manual For Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin
The Last Time She Saw Him by Jane Haseldine
The Beauty of the End by Debbie Howells
The Winter War by Philip Teir
I Hid My Voice by Parinoush Saniee
Bertrand Court by Michelle Brafman

Reviews posted this week:

The Summer Guest by Alison Anderson

Books still needing to have reviews written (as opposed to the ones that are simply awaiting posting):

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman
My Confection by Lisa Kotin
Put a Ring on It by Beth Kendrick
One Perfect Summer by Paige Toon
The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth
The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel by Maureen Lindley
Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson
American Housewife by Helen Ellis
The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton
Closer All the Time by Jim Nichols
The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett
Over the Plain Houses by Julia Franks
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Forsaken by Ross Howell Jr.
The Cosmopolitans by Sarah Schulman
The Spice Box Letters by Eve Makis
Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
A Very Special Year by Thomas Montasser
Specimen by Irina Kovalyova
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Telling by Zoe Zolbrod
The Transmigration of Bodies by Yuri Herrera
The Boy Who Speaks in Numbers by Mike Masilamani
Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
What Comes Next and How to Like It by Abigail Thomas
After the Dam by Amy Hassinger
Our Spoons Came From Woolworths by Barbara Comyns
Umami by Laia Jufresa
The Education of a Poker Player by James McManus
Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse
Mrs. Engels by Gavin McCrea
The Iceberg by Marion Coutts
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Remarkable by Dinah Cox
Miss Jane by Brad Watson
The Inland Sea by Donald Ritchie
The Unseen World by Liz Moore
The Silver Spoon by Kansuke Naka
Blackass by A. Igoni Barrett
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine by Alex Brunkhorst
The Honeymoon by Dinitia Smith
The Last Weynfeldt by Martin Suter
The Grand Hotel by Vicki Baum
Bottomland by Michelle Hoover
This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance by Jonathan Evison
The Lake by Perrine Leblanc
Orhan's Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian

Monday Mailbox

I've neglected this for a couple of weeks so I thought I'd mention the things that came in the weeks I wasn't close to a computer or was too busy to record them. This past (several) week's mailbox arrivals:

The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan came from William Morrow and TLC Book Tours for a blog tour.

I enjoy historical fiction with ties to the present so this one about a society woman who risks everything to do the right thing and a modern day woman trying to uncover the mystery of her biological family looks really interesting.

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood came from me to me.

A neglectful dad suffering from guilt starts visiting the elderly woman his young son was helping out to earn a Boy Scout badge after his son's untimely death.  This will probably be very sad but I'm counting on it to be hopeful as well.

Remember My Beauties by Lynne Hugo came from Switchgrass Books and TLC Book Tours for a blog tour.

This slim novel about a family that is disintegrating, the woman who is trying to hold them together, and the breeding farm and remaining horses that give them hope sounds tough and beautiful.

What Would Mary Berry Do? by Claire Sandy came from me for myself.

Doesn't this one look just sloppily delectable? It hits my love of fun, frothy, Brit lit too. And it sounds like fans of The Great British Bake-Off will thoroughly enjoy it. Can't wait!

Nine Island by Jane Alison came from Catapult.

A woman in a beach-side glass building is deciding whether to give up on love as she translates Ovid's Metamorphoses; this looks literary and wonderful.

Auntie Poldie and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano came from Meryl Zegarek.

A sassy, foul-mouthed elderly widow as a sleuth and set in Italy to boot? I don't normally do mysteries but I find myself attracted to every aspect of the blurb for this one (besides the presence of a corpse) so I'm going to give it a try.

A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams came from William Morrow and TLC Book Tours for a blog tour.

Luscious cover, no? The Roaring Twenties, romance, intrigue, and a love triangle. How could anyone resist this? I know I can't.

If you want to see the marvelous goodies in other people's mailboxes, make sure to visit Mailbox Monday and have fun seeing how we are all doing our part to keep the USPS and delivery services viable.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday Salon: Annual Summer Reading List

With Memorial Day tomorrow, it's the symbolic start of summer and as per usual, I have put together a list of books I'd like to read between now and Labor Day. This year the list is more unwieldy than usual but I'm already at least 100 pages in on many of these so in the end it won't end up being more pages than usual I don't think. And of course I certainly won't actually get to all of these. I've come to look at my summer list as a sort of "my eyes were bigger than my stomach" sort of situation and that's okay. I'm still going to dream big! Without further ado, here's the extensive list:

Man by Kim Thuy
A Girl From Yamhill by Beverly Cleary
The Eagle Tree by Ned Hayes
The Girl From the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor
Follow the River Home by Corran Harrington
The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
A House For Happy Mothers by Amulya Malladi
The Royal Nanny by Karen Harper
Wrong Highway by Wendy Gordon
Remember My Beauties by Lynne Hugo
The Hummingbird by Stephen P. Kiernan
A Good American by Alex George
A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams
The Wonder Garden by Lauren Acampora
A Reckless Promise by Kasey Michaels
Lift by Daniel Kunitz
Run the World by Becky Wade
The Runaway Wife by Elizabeth Birkelund
Finding Fontainebleu by Thad Carhart
Home Field by Hannah Gersen
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Lost and Found by Brooke Davis
Secrets of Nanreath Hall by Alix Rickloff
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
The Valley by Helen Bryan
Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale
The Whiskey Sea by Ann Howard
Ostrich by Matt Greene
Course Correction by Ginny Gilder
Gold Fever by Steve Boggan
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
You Have Never Been Here by Mary Rickert
West With the Night by Beryl Markham
A Well-Made Bed by Abby Frucht and Laurie Alberts
Riverine by Angela Palm
The Other Woman by Therese Bohman
The Children's Crusade by Ann Packer
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende
The One-in-a-Million boy by Monica Wood
The Lake House by Kate Morton
Exposure by Helen Dunmore
I Will Find You by Joanna Connors
The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel
Eliza Waite by Ashley E. Sweeney
The Lost Garden by Helen Humphreys
Shelter by Jung Yun
The Center of the World by Jacqueline Sheehan
The Edge of Lost by Kristina Morris
A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin
The Last Time She Saw Him by Jane Haseldine
The Beauty of the End by Debbie Howells
This Side of Providence by Rachel Harper
Bertrand Court by Michelle Brafman
Country of Red Azaleas by Domnica Radulescu
A Different Kind of Daughter by Maria Toorpakai
I Hid My Voice by Parinoush Saniee
Winter War by Philip Teir
If You Left by Ashley Norton
The Heart You Carry Home by Jennifer Miller

Do you make summer reading lists? What's on yours? If you bothered to read such a long, text heavy list, and I don't blame you if you didn't, have you read anything on my list? What did you think of it?

My reading travels this week have consisted of dips into many different places and worlds, too many to list actually. I am almost done with my sampling and look forward to being able to get back to sinking in and finishing everything I read. Where did your reading travels take you this week?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday

This meme is hosted by Breaking the Spine and is meant to highlight some great pre-publication books we all can't wait to get our grubby little mitts on.

The Tumbling Turner Sisters by Juliette Fay. The book is being released by Gallery Books on June 14, 2016.

Amazon says this about the book: For fans of Orphan Train and Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, a compelling historical novel from “one of the best authors of women’s fiction” (Library Journal). Set against the turbulent backdrop of American Vaudeville, four sisters embark on an unexpected adventure—and a last-ditch effort to save their family.

In 1919, the Turner sisters and their parents are barely scraping by. Their father is a low-paid boot-stitcher in Johnson City, New York, and the family is always one paycheck away from eviction. When their father’s hand is crushed and he can no longer work, their irrepressible mother decides that the vaudeville stage is their best—and only—chance for survival.

Traveling by train from town to town, teenagers Gert, Winnie, and Kit, and recent widow Nell soon find a new kind of freedom in the company of performers who are as diverse as their acts. There is a seamier side to the business, however, and the young women face dangers and turns of fate they never could have anticipated. Heartwarming and surprising, The Tumbling Turner Sisters is ultimately a story of awakening—to unexpected possibilities, to love and heartbreak, and to the dawn of a new American era.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Review: The Summer Guest by Alison Anderson

Occasionally there will be a story in the news about a manuscript by a famous author being discovered in an attic or somewhere else banal and unexpected. This is always thrilling news, of course, especially if the newly discovered work is by a favorite of yours. If such discoveries excite the general public, how much more must they excite the scholarly circles devoted to the writer or artist? We who love the titans of the craft can think of little more sensational than having a new work from an old favorite to enjoy and study. Almost as wonderful as a new work is new insight into the person of the writer by someone who knew him or her. Alison Anderson's newest novel, the tale of a diary written by a friend of Anton Chekhov's and the diary's tantalizing suggestion of a lost novel written by Chekhov, is just the kind of story that stirs the hearts of bibliophiles everywhere.

Zinaida Lintvaryova lives with her sisters, mother, brothers, and sister in law on the family estate in Luka, Ukraine. She trained as a doctor but has had to give up her practice because she is now blind and suffers from headaches and seizures as a result of a brain tumor. Despite this terminal diagnosis, Zinaida remains engaged in life as much as she is able. She is intelligent and thoughtful. With the help of a bar to keep her writing straight, she has started keeping a diary to pass on to her unborn niece so that she may attain some measure of immortality. As she starts to write in her diary, it comes to pass that the Chekhov family arrives to spend the summer in the estate's guest house. Zinaida becomes close to Anton Pavlovich, writing of their intellectually stimulating and philosophically interesting conversations, each playing a vital role in expanding how the other looks at the world. Zinaida is not a muse per se but she does encourage Chekhov to challenge himself, to foster curiousity, and to write outside his comfort level. In Anton Pavlovich's narrative visual descriptions for the unseeing Zinaida, he truly sees what is most important and wondrous in that which he observes, an important gift that shines through in his own writing.

In her journal, Zinaida also mentions a novel she has encouraged him to undertake. But today Chekhov is known for his plays and short stories and no known novel exists. The fact that the diary discusses its existence would be enough to set the literary world on fire. The diary itself, with its insights into the famous writer, during the 2 summers just before his literary star launched into the firmament, is amazing on its own as well though. That it is in the possession of a tiny, British, literary press on the verge of bankruptcy is baffling. Katya Kendall, a Russian emigre married to Peter, a Brit, hopes that this literary discovery will be enough to save the failing press and maybe even her increasingly distant relationship with her husband. She engages a translator to translate the original Russian into English but then becomes almost completely incommunicado about the diary.  Her worries about Peter's drinking and their tenuous financial situation are in a race with her desire to bring the diary to the world and reveal the possibility of a Chekhovian novel before time runs out.

Ana Harding is the translator hired to work on Zinaida's dairy. She is newly divorced, a little bit lonely, and living quietly and frugally in the French countryside. She is a very good translator, careful to maintain the integrity of the works she does but also to render their spirit into the second language as well. In the course of her translating, Ana becomes completely captivated by the diary and Zinaida Lintvaryova and once she reads the mention of Chekhov's lost novel, she is excited and just a little obsessed with uncovering this literary mystery.

Anderson deftly handles the weaving together of these three major plot threads, pulling the reader from one story line just as tension builds, ensuring that the reader must keep turning pages, loathe to leave each of the three stories in turn but always glad to return to a previous thread. The diary portion of the novel is based on the true fact that Chekhov did spend two summers early in his writing career at the farm in Luka, fishing and enjoying the countryside away from the demands of the cities and his increasing readership. The conversations between Zinaida and Anton Pavlovich are incredibly insightful and philosophical, raising deep and important ideas like writing, family, and life and death. The plots dealing with Katya and Ana are slightly secondary to the diary but they are equally well rendered and add their own discussion to the difficulty of making a living in the arts, what is important in life, and the influence and value of words and writing. The ending of the novel is masterful and well earned. In the diary segments, the Russian habit of using names and also diminutives for the same person might add a touch of difficulty for some Western readers but there is a handy list in the front of the book to help keep confusion to a minimum. Beautifully rendered and exquisitely plotted, the novel will appeal to those who enjoy literary treasure hunts, those who read and appreciate Russian authors, especially Chekhov, and those who appreciate well-crafted writing, particularly when it gives a small insight into the publishing or translating world.

For more information about Alison Anderson, take a look at her web page. Check out the book's Good Reads page, follow the rest of the blog tour, or look at the amazon reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Monday, May 23, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

The reading craziness continues! This meme is hosted by Kathryn at Reading Date.

Books I completed this past week are:

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine by Alex Brunkhorst
The Honeymoon by Dinitia Smith
The Last Weynfeldt by Martin Suter
The Grand Hotel by Vicki Baum
Bottomland by Michelle Hoover
This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance by Jonathan Evison
The Lake by Perrine Leblanc
Orhan's Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian

Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
You Have Never Been Here by Mary Rickert
West With the Night by Beryl Markham
A Well-Made Bed by Abby Frucht and Laurie Alberts
Riverine by Angela Palm
The Other Woman by Therese Bohman
The Children's Crusade by Ann Packer
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

Reviews posted this week:

Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore

Books still needing to have reviews written (as opposed to the ones that are simply awaiting posting):

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman
My Confection by Lisa Kotin
Put a Ring on It by Beth Kendrick
One Perfect Summer by Paige Toon
The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth
The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel by Maureen Lindley
Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson
American Housewife by Helen Ellis
The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton
Closer All the Time by Jim Nichols
The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett
Over the Plain Houses by Julia Franks
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Forsaken by Ross Howell Jr.
The Cosmopolitans by Sarah Schulman
The Spice Box Letters by Eve Makis
Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
A Very Special Year by Thomas Montasser
Specimen by Irina Kovalyova
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Telling by Zoe Zolbrod
The Transmigration of Bodies by Yuri Herrera
The Boy Who Speaks in Numbers by Mike Masilamani
Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
What Comes Next and How to Like It by Abigail Thomas
After the Dam by Amy Hassinger
Our Spoons Came From Woolworths by Barbara Comyns
Umami by Laia Jufresa
The Education of a Poker Player by James McManus
Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse
Mrs. Engels by Gavin McCrea
The Iceberg by Marion Coutts
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Remarkable by Dinah Cox
Miss Jane by Brad Watson
The Inland Sea by Donald Ritchie
The Unseen World by Liz Moore
The Silver Spoon by Kansuke Naka
Blackass by A. Igoni Barrett
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine by Alex Brunkhorst
The Honeymoon by Dinitia Smith
The Last Weynfeldt by Martin Suter
The Grand Hotel by Vicki Baum
Bottomland by Michelle Hoover
This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance by Jonathan Evison
The Lake by Perrine Leblanc
Orhan's Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian

Monday, May 16, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This meme is hosted by Kathryn at Reading Date.

Books I completed this past week are:

Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore
The Silver Spoon by Kansuke Naka
Blackass by A. Igoni Barrett
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
You Have Never Been Here by Mary Rickert
West With the Night by Beryl Markham
A Well-Made Bed by Abby Frucht and Laurie Alberts

Reviews posted this week:

Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore

Books still needing to have reviews written (as opposed to the ones that are simply awaiting posting):

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman
My Confection by Lisa Kotin
Put a Ring on It by Beth Kendrick
One Perfect Summer by Paige Toon
The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth
The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel by Maureen Lindley
Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson
American Housewife by Helen Ellis
The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton
Closer All the Time by Jim Nichols
The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett
Over the Plain Houses by Julia Franks
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Forsaken by Ross Howell Jr.
The Cosmopolitans by Sarah Schulman
The Spice Box Letters by Eve Makis
Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
A Very Special Year by Thomas Montasser
Specimen by Irina Kovalyova
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Telling by Zoe Zolbrod
The Transmigration of Bodies by Yuri Herrera
The Boy Who Speaks in Numbers by Mike Masilamani
Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
What Comes Next and How to Like It by Abigail Thomas
After the Dam by Amy Hassinger
Our Spoons Came From Woolworths by Barbara Comyns
Umami by Laia Jufresa
The Education of a Poker Player by James McManus
Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse
Mrs. Engels by Gavin McCrea
The Iceberg by Marion Coutts
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Remarkable by Dinah Cox
Miss Jane by Brad Watson
The Inland Sea by Donald Ritchie
The Unseen World by Liz Moore
The Silver Spoon by Kansuke Naka
Blackass by A. Igoni Barrett
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

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