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Review: The Original 1982 by Lori Carson

Original 1982My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

There were many things I did like about this book, but some aspects didn’t quite jell for me.

Summary via Goodreads:

It’s 1982, and Lisa is twenty-four years old, a waitress, an aspiring singer-songwriter, and girlfriend to a famous Latin musician. That year, she makes a decision, almost without thinking about it.

But what if what if her decision had been a different one?

In the new 1982, Lisa chooses differently. Her career takes another direction. She becomes a mother. She loves differently, yet some things remain the same.

Alternating between two very different possibilities, The Original 1982 is a novel about how the choices we make affect the people we become-and about how the people we are affect the choices we make.

The first thing that intrigued me was the premise of life done differently. The first book I encountered that suggested this approach was Penelope Lively’s Making it Up, which was well written and interesting, but didn’t deliver on that promise to me. The Original 1982 does that, presenting the choice that changes things, and marking out a new path (and comparing it to the old) that follows that decision.

I liked Lisa, the main character, in both versions of her life, and both paths were interesting, and completely different than any life I’ve seen.. She was surrounded by people that I wanted to get to know, and a few I didn’t, but I liked reading about anyway. I enjoyed the author’s writing. The book was written as a letter to a daughter that never was, and that choice resonated with me.

My biggest problem was that I wanted more, from both of the paths. Big issues were touched on, then the story moved on. Relationships were introduced, but not explored.

The second problem was that I didn’t entirely buy the new path, and I can’t tell if that was deliberate. Was I learning from this that Lisa is deceiving herself about what her life would have been like, or did the author fail to construct a life I could buy into? How much is the original life based on the author’s real life, and is the new life her personal wish, or does it belong only to the character of Lisa?

I enjoyed reading the book, and I’d love to have the chance to argue some of these questions with someone else that read it– I think it would be a very interesting book club choice.

I read this book as part of a TLC Book Tour, and was provided a copy of the book to read and review.  For other opinions on this book, visit the other tour stops:
TLC Book Tours

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2013 in books, reviews, tour

 

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April/May Reading Recap

Again, I’m combining two months of reading summaries in one post…

Print Books
April

  1. MayAll the Summer Girls by Meg Donohue
  2. A Complicated Marriage: My Life With Clement Greenberg by Janice Van Horne
  3. The Cottage At Glass Beach by Heather Barbieri
  4. Something About Sophie by Mary Kay McComas

Nook Books

  1. The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
  2. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  3. The Cat, the Wife and the Weapon (A Cats in Trouble Mystery #4) by Leann Sweeney
  4. The Girl Who Fell to Earth by Sophia Al-Maria

Audio Books

  1. Bad Blood (Kate Shugak #20) by Dana Stabenow
  2. Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
  3. Angel’s Peak (Virgin River #10) by Robyn Carr
  4. The Girl Who Disappeared Twice (Forensic Instincts #1) by Andrea Kane
  5. Forbidden Falls (Virgin River #9) by Robyn Carr
  6. Temptation Ridge (Virgin River #6) by Robyn Carr
  7. Dead in the Family (Sookie Stackhouse #10) by Charlaine Harris
  8. Girl Missing by Tess Gerritsen
  9. Coming Back (Sharon McCone #28) by Marcia Muller
  10. The Vanishing Point by Val McDermid
  11. The Once and Future King (The Once and Future King #1-4) by T.H. White
  12. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  13. Paradise Valley (Virgin River #7) by Robyn Carr
  14. Second Chance Pass (Virgin River #5) by Robyn Carr,
  15. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  16. Shelter Mountain (Virgin River #2) by Robyn Carr
  17. Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts
  18. City of Whispers (Sharon McCone #29) by Marcia Muller
  19. A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy
  20. Wicked Business (Lizzy & Diesel #2) by Janet Evanovich
  21. The History of Us by Leah Stewart

The best books I read were Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore and All the Summer GirlsAs you can see, I’ve been tearing through Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series– those are always feel good reads, and I’ve been craving that.

My books read for the year are up to 14 Nook Books, 7 paper books and 46 audio books, for total of 67 books read.  I’m on pace to make it to 150 books read for the year.

Thank you again to Venice Tretiak.for the darling kitty monthly graphics

Have a great June, and enjoy your summer reading!

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2013 in books, summary

 

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Review: Something About Sophie by Mary Kay McComas

Something About Sophie by Mary Kay McComasMy rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Mystery meets chick lit?

Summary via Goodreads:

Clearfield, Virginia, is a sleepy, idyllic hamlet where residents welcome its comfortable, familiar routines. But when a newcomer arrives in town, long-buried secrets threaten to surface and destroy their haven . . .

Answering a call that summons her to a stranger’s deathbed, a reluctant Sophie Shepard is too late to hear what he was so anxious to tell her. What was so important that a dying man would think of her in his final moments? With the help of Dr. Drew McCarren, Sophie begins to dig into her past, setting off a chain of events that chills the quiet town of Clearfield, Virginia, to its roots.

With part of her wanting nothing more than to put Clearfield behind her and run back home, Sophie knows she won’t rest until she discovers the truth. But growing closer to the residents also means uncovering their dark secrets–secrets about the woman who gave Sophie up for adoption, the mysterious part these strangers played, and the life she never knew she nearly had.

There’s something odd about this book, that gets a little odder the more I think about it.  It’s a mismatch between the tone and the events in the book.

The thing is, I like sweet, good-natured women’s fiction. I mentioned this in my recent review of Robyn Carr’s The Wanderer. This book out-nices Carr in many ways, particularly the sweet Kindergarten teacher of a main character. She’s never been curious about her birth parents, because she loves her adoptive parents so much. And now she’s in a small town where everyone knows one another, and she’s making friends fast.

Then there’s the mystery, which starts out much like a cozy mystery– the bad stuff, including a murder, happens off-screen, with vague threats impinging on our heroine’s activities. I like cozy mysteries, so this is good as well. The book is a little more about the character and less about the who-dunnit, and Sophie isn’t all that involved in trying to find the bad guy or guys.

But then the last section of the book happens, and it gets grittier, with more details on much more unpleasant occurrences (yes, even more unpleasant than murder). And that’s fine with me as well, but it seems out of place compared to the rest of the book.

Overall, I liked the characters, even if they all seemed a little cartoonish. I thought the plot was well constructed.  The romance was cute, even if I didn’t really see the steam. Overall, I enjoyed reading Something About Sophie.

I read this book as part of a TLC Book Tour.  Thank you to TLC for providing me with a copy of this book for review.  If you’d like other opinions on Something About Sophie, check out the other tour stops:
TLC Book Tours

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2013 in books, reviews, tour, Uncategorized

 

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February/March Reading Results

Yes, I fell behind in posting my summaries, as well as my reviews!  I’m not behind in my reading, however :-).

FebruaryNook Books

  1. The Girl Who Fell to Earth by Sophia Al-Maria
  2. Minefields of the Heart: A Mother’s Stories of a Son at War by Sue Diaz
  3. Blameless (Parasol Protectorate #3) by Gail Carriger
  4. Changeless (Parasol Protectorate #2) by Gail Carriger
  5. Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman
  6. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (reread)
  7. The Long Way Home (Chesapeake Diaries #6) by Mariah Stewart

Print Books

  1. The Wanderer (Thunder Point #1) by Robyn Carr
  2. The Missing File by D.A. Mishani

MarchAudio Books

  1. The Beautiful Mystery (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #8) by Louise Penny
  2. Last to Die (Rizzoli & Isles #10) by Tess Gerritsen
  3. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
  4. Beautiful Sacrifice by Elizabeth Lowell
  5. The Rope (Anna Pigeon 0) by Nevada Barr
  6. Lady Fortescue Steps Out: Being the First Vol. of the Poor Relation (The Poor Relation #1) by Marion Chesney
  7. Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows #1) by Kim Harrison
  8. Missing (The Secrets of Crittenden County #1) by Shelley Shepard Gray
  9. Hidden Summit (Virgin River #17) by Robyn Carr
  10. The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life That Follows by Brian Castner
  11. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
  12. Redshirts by John Scalzi (reread)
  13. Naughty in Nice (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries #5) by Rhys Bowen
  14. The Last Boyfriend (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #2) by Nora Roberts
  15. The Diamond Throne (The Elenium #1) by David Eddings
  16. Four Day Planet (Federation) by H. Beam Piper
  17. What’s a Ghoul to Do? (Ghost Hunter Mystery #1) by Victoria Laurie

The best book I read during this time was Tell the Wolves I’m Home. Although I got through a lot of books in February (and I started and abandoned quite a few more)  nothing I read during that time (other than rereads) qualified as a best read, although quite a few were enjoyable.

My totals for the year are now at 38 books read: 10 Nook books, 3 print books, and 25 audio books.

Thank you again to Venice Tretiak.for the darling kitten monthly graphics :-).

Have a great April, everyone!

 

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2013 in books, summary

 

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January summary

January kittenForget the books for a minute, and look at the picture next to this!  I’ve mentioned the kitten cam a few times here, and the current batch of kittens there are my favorites!  This is Ash, and you can watch him and his siblings. But as wonderful as it has been to watch these kittens, it has been even more fun to meet the wonderful and talented viewers, one of which made this image for me!!  Thank you, Venice Tretiak.

And now, on to the regularly scheduled book talk. January was a good month, with some great books.  Now, to get back into the swing of reviewing, which I badly neglected this month…

Print Books

  1. Villa Triste by Lucretia Grindle

Nook Books

  1. Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow
  2. 206 Bones (Temperance Brennan #12) by Kathy Reichs
  3. A Simple Thing by Kathleen McCleary

Audio Books

  1. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
  2. A Duke of Her Own (Desperate Duchesses, #6) by Eloisa James
  3. Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks
  4. The Ice Princess (Patrik Hedström #1) by Camilla Läckberg
  5. The Next Always (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #1) by Nora Roberts
  6. Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History by Antonio J. Mendez
  7. Mr. Churchill’s Secretary (Maggie Hope Mystery #1) by Susan Elia MacNeal
  8. Brava, Valentine (Valentine #2) by Adriana Trigiani

This month had two standout stars for me.  Both were book club books, I’ve reviewed one, and will review the other as soon as we discuss it (soon).  I fully expect both to make my list of top books of the year.  These were Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend and Where’d You Go, Bernadette.  Villa Triste gets an honorable mention, it could easily have topped the list in a different month.

And now, to start the yearly books read count!  As is clear from the lists above, I’ve read 12 Books:  1 paper book, 3 Nook books, and 8 audio books.  I’m roughly on track for my goal of 150 books this year.

How was your January?  What are you looking forward to in February?

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2013 in books, reviews

 

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2012 in review

20132012 was a good reading year for me, particularly the first half of the year.

Depending on how you count it, I read 156 or 160 books in 2012.  I read 156 distinct books, but I reread some of them, putting my total count at 160.  (That’s not counting books I didn’t finish for whatever reason– there are at least 3 where I made it to the halfway point before abandoning them.)

I went through to pick my top books I read during the year. I came up with a 16 of them I wanted to recognize– a top 10 list and 5 more I didn’t want to leave off :-).

The list is:

  1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  2. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
  3. The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani
  4. Bury Your Dead/A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny
  5. Wonders of the Invisible World by Patricia McKillip
  6. Spy Mom by Beth McMullen
  7. Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook
  8. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  9. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  10. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
  11. Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King
  12. The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel
  13. How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue
  14. The Garden Intrigue by Lauren Willig
  15. How it all Began by Penelope Lively

The books on the list are fairly recently published– 11 from 2012, 4 from 2011, and 1 that I snuck in combined with another book, from 2010.  Only 45 of the books I read were published in 2012, so that’s pretty impressive.  I also read 40 books from 2011, 10 from 2010 and 47 from 2000-20009.  8 were from the 1990s, 3 from the 1980s, and then I had books from 1961, 1953, 1929 and 1595 (Romeo and Juliet).

Of the books on my list, I read 11 of them  before July 2012.  I liked most of the books I read during the year, but not many got past that level in the second half. This indicates that I need to start thinking harder about how I’m picking my books again.   I’ll set that as my first goal going forward to 2013.  I don’t know what form that will take, but I want to read more books I’m going to love, not just like.

My other goal is to get back to writing one review per week.  That won’t be everything– I’m planning to read around 150 books again this year, with an increasing number of them as audiobooks, but it is a number I think I can sustain.

Happy New Year everyone!  May 2013 bring you many books that you love.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2013 in blogging, books, summary

 

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December summary

Calendar-decemberI’m working on my look back at 2012, but I wanted to get a quick glance at December.  I really wanted to get in a Christmas mood, so I tried all the holiday related audiobooks I could download from my local library, the sappier the better!  In the reading I did, Robyn Carr wins as master of the genre, with A Virgin River Christmas having the best characters, the best romance, and a darn good sappy story.

Audio Books

  1. Heartsick (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #1) by Chelsea Cain
  2. The Look of Love: A Piper Donovan Mystery (Wedding Cake Mystery #2) by Mary Jane Clark
  3. Let It Be Love (Effingtons #11) by Victoria Alexander
  4. Mrs. Miracle (Angelic Intervention #1) by Debbie Macomber
  5. A Cedar Cove Christmas (Cedar Cove #8.5) by Debbie Macomber
  6. A Christmas Journey (Christmas Stories #1) by Anne Perry
  7. A Virgin River Christmas (Virgin River #4) by Robyn Carr
  8. Blood Rites (The Dresden Files #6) by Jim Butcher
  9. Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19) by Janet Evanovich
  10. The Proposal (The Survivors’ Club #1) by Mary Balogh
  11. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

Print Books

  1. Cascade by Maryanne O’Hara
  2. Love is Not Constantly Wondering if You Are Making the Biggest Mistake of Your Life by Anonymous

Nook Books

  1. Reached (Matched #3) by Ally Condie
  2. The Retribution (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan #7) by Val McDermid
 
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Posted by on January 1, 2013 in books, summary

 

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Review: Cascade by Maryanne O’Hara

CascadeMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary via Goodreads:

During the 1930s, a conflicted new wife seeks to reconcile her heart’s ambitions with binding promises she has made

1935: Desdemona Hart Spaulding was an up-and-coming Boston artist when she married in haste and settled in the small, once-fashionable theater town of Cascade to provide a home for her dying father. Now Cascade is on the short list to be flooded to provide water for Boston, and Dez’s discontent is complicated by her growing attraction to a fellow artist. When tragic events unfold, Dez is forced to make difficult choices. Must she keep her promises? Is it morally possible to set herself free?

Cascade is an interesting, well-told look at the life of a woman artist from 1934-1947. It’s a glimpse into America of that era, a nation that is changing in many ways.

It is about a small town, and the need to escape that life. It’s about big choices, and the big choices other people make, and the ones you think you can change, and the ones you have no influence over.

It is about all kinds of people. The main thing they have in common is that they have strengths and they have flaws. All were interesting and real, although Dez’s husband Asa was a little too close to a stereotypical man of his time. Most of the others went outside that mold in ways good and bad.

This book was suggested to me as a romance, but I don’t think that’s where I’d put it. This is historical fiction, and the story of a woman. Her life is shaped by love, although I’d say that love for her father is an even stronger force than the romantic love she also deals with for part of the book.

The other thing that I didn’t expect coming into this book was the look into what it means to be an artist. Getting Dez’s way of seeing the world, seeing what she saw as the difference between her commercial work and her “real” work, and seeing some of how the art scene functioned, all of these were interesting to me.  I also enjoyed the variety of Shakespearean ties woven into the story.

This was a book that kept me reading, more for the people and places than plot, but I really wanted to know more, so overall, I’d call the book a success.

I read this book as part of a TLC Book Tour.  To find out more about the author, check out her website, blog, and Facebook page.  To see other opinions on the book look at the other tour stops:

TLC Book Tours

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2012 in books, reviews, tour

 

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November update

Calendar-November2

November is a month for being thankful, and I have a lot to be thankful for– my family, health that may not be perfect, but could  be much worse, a stable life, and lots of time to read. I’m also thankful for on-line friends and kittens I can watch over the Internet.

I did get quite a bit of reading done in November, although perhaps not quite as much as the book count suggests– there are some very short books in there!

I realized one of the reasons that I haven’t been reading as many print books is that I’m getting older, and my eyes are having trouble at times with the print in books.  Getting a second pair of reading glasses, so that one stays in my purse and one stays by my bed, has helped a lot with that.

So, on to the books read:

Paper books

  1. Double-Booked for Death (Black Cat Bookshop Mystery #1) by Ali Brandon
  2. Elegy for Eddie (Maisie Dobbs #9) by Jacqueline Winspear
  3. What the Zhang Boys Know by Clifford Garstang

Nook books

  1. A Novel Way to Die (Black Cat Bookshop Mystery #2) by Ali Brandon
  2. Among the Mad (Maisie Dobbs #6) by Jacqueline Winspear

Audio books

  1. How It All Began by Penelope Lively
  2. The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University by Kevin Roose
  3. Tonight I Said Goodbye (Lincoln Perry #1) by Michael Koryta
  4. Shadow Puppets (Shadow Saga #3) by Orson Scott Card
  5. Black River by Dean Koontz
  6. Son (The Giver Quartet #4) by Lois Lowry
  7. Messenger (The Giver Quartet #3) by Lois Lowry
  8. Gathering Blue (The Giver Quartet #2) by Lois Lowry
  9. The Giver (The Giver Quartet #1) by Lois Lowry
  10. Redwood Bend (Virgin River #18) by Robyn Carr
  11. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

This brings my yearly totals to 145 books read: 38 paper books, 23 Nook books, and 84 audio books.  There shouldn’t be a problem reaching to 150 for the year :-).

The best books of the month were Between Shades of Gray and How It All Began, followed by Elegy for Eddie.

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2012 in books, summary

 

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October Reading

I’m on track for my 150 book goal this year!  My reviews are running a bit behind, but I’m still getting a few out each month.

Print Books

  1. Wonders of the Invisible World by Patricia A. McKillip (review coming soon)
  2. Something Missing by Matthew Dicks
  3. Murder Most Austen (An Elizabeth Parker Mystery #4) by Tracy Kiely

Nook Books

  1. Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio
    (review coming soon)

Audio Books

  1. Heat Rises (Nikki Heat #3) by Richard Castle
  2. Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs
  3. Dodger by Terry Pratchett
  4. MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search For A New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche
  5. Devil’s Food Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen #14) by Joanne Fluke
  6. Murder in the Sentier (Aimee Leduc Investigations #3) by Cara Black
  7. Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
  8. Royal Blood (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries #4) by Rhys Bowen
  9. Death Masks (The Dresden Files #5) by Jim Butcher
  10. The Gathering (Darkness Rising #1) by Kelley Armstrong

My favorite books of the month were Wonders of the Invisible World and Something Missing.

My total for books read for the year stands at 128 books34 print books, 21 Nook books and 73 Audio books.  I seem to be moving more and more to audio books, as I’m accepting less review books.  I think I enjoy playing computer games and watching the Kitten Cam while reading :-).

 

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2012 in books, summary

 

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