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Showing posts from June, 2017

Wordless Wednesday, June 28

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Today's Wordless Wednesday is of a few of the birthday cards I received this week.

The top one is from Unabridged Toddler, who, when asked what message he wanted to put in my card, said: "I'm watching you."

Ominous much??

Have a Wordless Wednesday to share? Put the link in the comments!

Book Review & Giveaway: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

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First line: The first person I met in England was a hallucination.

Everyone, this book. This book!! Plot, characters, place, era, details, drama, villains, heroines, and wonderfully compelling storytelling -- everything was there that I wanted, unfolding in that delicious way that makes me just want to skip meals and read.

The novel follows Charlie St. Clair, a pregnant college student shipped to Europe to get an abortion, who yearns to find her beloved cousin who went missing during World War II. She meets Eve Gardiner, an pistol-wielding woman with a drinking problem, foul attitude, and destroyed, mangled hands. In alternating chapters, we learn Eve is recruited to work as a spy during World War I, part of the famous Alice Network, and her important but dangerous work changes her life.

Normally I'm not a dual narrative fan, but Quinn sucked me in with both stories/heroines and I really can't say which was my favorite. What I loved most about this book was its depiction of f…

Weekend reads, or summer, summer, summer!

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It's officially summer now, but Boston has been alternating between 80ish days and 40ish ones, so who knows. But I'm really looking forward to our summer plans: lots of day trips, some camping, catching up with friends, and lots of summer eats.

My weekend reads for this weekend is Christina Henry's Peter Pan retelling, Lost Boy. The cover is a leeeeeetle gory for my tastes, and I am using big stickies to keep Unabridged Toddler from seeing it, but otherwise, I'm very excited to dig in.

I've got a crazy book hangover from Kate Quinn's The Alice Network (review and giveaway next Mon!) so I'm glad I've got something else that should suck me in.

What are you reading this weekend?

Teaser Tuesday: The Alice Network

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My Teaser Tuesday for this week comes from Kate Quinn's marvelous The Alice Network. I'm only a fourth through but I am hardcore in love. There are a handful of badass women who dominate the book, and Quinn's trademark mix of rich detail and delightful one-liners. (Limiting myself to one teaser today was a challenge!)

This quote is from the start of the novel, when our World War I spy Eve gets her first job at a Lille-based restaurant..

Eve could see why the Germans came to dine here. It was a civilized place to relax after a long day of stamping on your conquered populace. (p103)

What are you reading right now? Any teasers to share?

Winner!

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A second whirlwind weekend, so my apologies for this late giveaway winner announcement!

The winner of my giveaway for Novel Destinations is ... Carrie of nomadreader!

Congrats, Carrie! I should have more giveaways coming up so don't despair -- be sure to keep reading!

Book Review: The Secret History of Jane Eyre by John Pfordresher

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First line: We begin with a mystery.

I grabbed this book because of the cover (gorgeous) and the fact that I'm not a huge Jane Eyre fan and I kind of want to be. (I mean, it seems like a book I should be all over.) I love books about books, stories that dive into the nitty-gritty and ineffable magic of writing a novel. And I'm always up to learn more about books and how, possibly, to read them.

But this one really disappointed me.

Pfordresher's argument -- his 'secret history' -- is that Brontë mined her own life for Jane Eyre. (No duh.) But he pushes a literal person-for-person sort of equivalency that really disappointed me; while arguing for Brontë's creative genius, I couldn't help but feel like he was minimizing it in this manner.

There are also some intense leaps that just seemed a stretch to me. For example, Rochester's agonizing sexual frustration reflects "...a sexual energy Charlotte Brontë knew, daily, at Haworth," (p82), from the a…

Book Review: Swing Time by Zadie Smith

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First line: It was the first day of my humiliation.

Unbelievably, this was my first Zadie Smith. How is that possible? I'm super embarrassed by this fact, but there it is.

The novel is narrated by a young biracial woman, recounting her childhood and early adulthood, and the things -- dance, music, education -- and people -- her mother, best friend, employer -- that shaped the direction of her life.

Passionate about dance, our narrator becomes friends with the only other biracial girl in her dance class, Tracey. Tracey is gifted at dance and her mother eagerly supports her while our narrator's mother is focused on educating herself and achieving personal happiness and success. Our narrator is shuttled to better schools and ends up becoming the assistant to a massive pop celebrity, an experience that changes her life in so many ways.

I liked this book, although I don't think its blurb does it justice -- I really expected a story about two friends -- the narrator and Tracey …