Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Bookish Thoughts on the Books I Swore I'd Never Read

I read Fifty Shades of Grey (Vintage, 2012; 528 pgs) by E.L. James. And Fifty Shades Darker (Vintage, 2012; 544 pgs). I never intended to. These are so-oo not my type of books. I caved to the buzz. Everyone around me was talking about the books. Some loved them and couldn’t recommend them enough. Most people I know hated the first book and could barely, if at all, get through the it. I resisted. I had no interest in the books. I’m not sure when that changed. The talk got to me. The thing is, I didn’t pick up the first book because I thought I would like it. I picked the book up to read because I wanted to see how ridiculous it was. I wanted a laugh. I know, welcome to Book Snob City.

Hmm.  How to explain what the books are about . . . The man, Christian Grey, is damaged.  Abused and neglected as a child, he has a rather strong need to control everything--and everyone--around him.  And I mean control.  In walks Anastasia, quiet and rather clumsy and seemingly pliable.  Just like he likes his woman.  Only, Ana isn't quite as easy to mold as he first thought.  Not completely anyway.  He balks at first--but he's smitten.  He can't let her go.  He stalks her.  She reprimands him. She can't quite let go of him either.  He needs her.  She can change him!  There are crazy exes, plenty of sex, jealousy (because both protagonists are gorgeous and everyone's in love with or lusting after them), many tears, and much stalking.

Anyway, I didn’t hate it. Not exactly. I didn’t like it either.  Not at all.  I’m not even sure why I picked up the second book to read. Darn cliff hangers. At least now I know what everyone is talking about. It wasn’t what I expected in one regard—the plot line, anyway (yes, the books have one; I really think you have to read the first two books at least to get the best overall impression of it). The characters were just as I imagined from all the talk. The writing left a lot to be desired. My husband exclaimed, “Oh my!” the other night and he’s lucky to be standing. I don’t ever want to read the word “murmur” in a book again.

The male protagonist, Christian, is one sick f**k. I don’t care how wounded and sorry for him we’re supposed to feel (I didn't). Any sane woman should run from him.  I don't care how wealthy he is.  Anastasia . . . Well, I liked her more than I expected--to a degree. I thought she'd be more the damsel in distress--and while at times she was, she also wasn't as accomodating as some people lead me to believe when I first started reading reviews of the books. Still, that whole woman-fix-man routine annoys me no end. In real life and in books.  And she let Christian get away with way too much.

The sex?  There was a lot of it, but then, the series is labeled erotica.  So, it's a given.  I actually was surprised there wasn't more in the first book.  The second book more than made up for it.  As for the type of sex? I knew what I was getting into so there was little surprise there. I did take issue with the punishment clause in Christian's rather stiffling contract (dictating when and what his submissives ate, what they wore, how they behaved in public).  Punishment for pleasure is one thing--but real punishment to intimidate and hurt is something entirely different.  *Spolier Alert* I was so glad when Ana took issue with it too and refused to agree to it (eventually). *End Spoiler Alert*

I can see some appeal in the books. At least, I can understand why some people might like the books. Unfortunately, I am not one of them.

I did laugh. I did make fun. And, yes, I kept reading. I did read two of the books in the trilogy. I think I’ll skip the third. I kind of already knows what happens anyway, and I don’t think I’ll survive any more “Holy crap!”

To learn more about E.L. James and her books, please visit the author's website.

This book counts towards The Eclectic Reading Challenge.



© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Monday, August 27, 2012

My Bookish Thoughts: John Verdon's Series

I was shy about beginning John Verdon's series featuring David Gurney, set in the beautiful upstate New York.  A retired NYPD detective was sure to be hardened and a bit curmudgeonly, right? I’ve been hearing great things about the series though, and so took the plunge.  I was pleasantly surprised. I took to Dave right away.  He’s extremely smart.  He is logical and pragmatic.  He thinks things through, including how to approach people.  He is also not one to be easily mislead.  He can be skeptical, but isn’t afraid to think outside the box.  He is nearly always humble.  Plus, he is tenacious and ever persistent.  Sound too good to be true?  Maybe.  Except he’s not.  He may be extremely good at his job, but he struggles in his personal life.  He and his adult son have a rocky relationship, which seems to stem more from his own hang ups rather than his son's.  In addition, he and his wife aren’t always on the same page.
Speaking of his wife, I adore her.  She’s a social worker, so there was bound to be an instant bond between she and I.  I felt sometimes as I read the books that she was trying too hard to fit her husband into the wrong sized peg.  Yet, I also understood her fears and concerns.  Even despite their apparent relationship issues, the couple love each other and are there for each other when they need each other most.  Madeleine’s insight into Dave’s cases was not only valuable, but valued.  I really appreciated that fact.  And  I came to admire both of them. 
In Think of a Number by John Verdon (Crown, 2010; 432 pgs), Dave is asked by an old college acquaintance for assistance in solving a puzzle.  The puzzle, a seeming threat to the acquaintance’s life, gnaws at Dave, and he ends up agreeing to help the man despite his reluctance.  As Dave puts the pieces of the puzzle together, he uncovers a very dark and sinister –and deadly—plot.  He butts heads with a few rather incompetent bureaucrats along the way, a theme that seems to run through all three of the books in the series so far.  I suspected early on who the bad guy might be—but it didn’t ruin the wild ride that Think of a Number was.  Although I felt the book got off to a slow start, when it took off, it really took off.   
In John Verdon's Shut Your Eyes Tight (Crown, 2011; 528 pgs), a bride is beheaded at her own wedding reception,the killer, the gardener, seemingly having disappeared without a trace.  Dave has no intention of getting involved with the investigation, but his friend at BCI talks him into at least taking a look.  It’s a pretty good bet that “taking a look” won’t be enough for Dave.  After meeting with the bride’s mother and learning a few more facts, Dave can’t help but get involved.  As Dave unravels the mystery, more questions are raised and the more he uncovers.   Shut Your Eyes Tight was even more twisty than the first book, totally gripping and impossible to put down.  
And then comes Let the Devil Sleep by John Verdon (Crown, 2012; 464 pgs).  I was holding on for dear life from page one.  After the events in the second book in the series, Dave has been left wounded, both physically and mentally.  No one could come through either of the two cases he’s dealt with since he retired and come away unscathed.  Madeleine is worried about him, afraid he is sinking deeper into depression.  She encourages him in her subtle way to get involved then with the request of an old reporter friend of Dave’s.  He’s been asked to help her daughter, a fledgling reporter, with her first real project, a documentary television series, and perhaps also sort out the problem with her ex, who she believes has been harassing her.  The young reporter has opened a can of worms with her project, interviewing the families of victims of a serial killer.  
There is so much going on in Let the Devil Sleep, so many different threads and directions taken.   It was almost crazy making.  Dave’s mental state added to that, making the book all the more compelling and intense.  I came away from the book feeling as exhausted as I’m sure Dave and his family must have felt.


I loved the setting of the novels.  Upstate New York is one of my favorite places.  The series mostly takes place in the Catskills, although Dave does a bit of traveling during his investigations.  
The plots in all three novels are a bit over the to and are rather dark and gruesome.  For me, this series is all about the characters, particularly Dave and his wife Madeleine.  I am glad I started with the first book in the series.  Although each book can stand on its own mystery wise, the evolution of the characters, the changes over time based on the experiences in each book, make it worth starting at the beginning.  
John Verdon has put himself in a good position.  Not only is his retired detective character young enough to have many more books written about him, he also has a past that would be worth exploring should the author want to go there.  I certainly will continue with the series!  

To learn more about John Verdon and his books, please visit the author's website.

I hope you will check out what others had to say about Let the Devil Sleep on the TLC Book Tours route!


Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour. Copies of Think of a Number and Let the Devil Sleeps provided by the publisher.  I bought my own copy of Shut Your Eyes Tight.



© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bookish Thoughts: The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand (Uncut version) by Stephen King
Signet, (1978) 1990
Horror; 1472 pgs

Where to begin? I got caught up in the enthusiasm to read The Stand as part of the Stand-along—probably the only way I was going to read it any time soon. I had it in my head I had to read it before I read The Shining (which now I am free to read whenever I want! Yay!). The two books aren’t connected or anything. It’s just the way my brain works. Anyway, I read The Stand. I wasn’t sure I would make it all the way through. I stopped a little over half way through and read five or six other books before picking The Stand back up.

I hoped to love The Stand like so many. I didn’t. I liked it. I liked certain parts much more than others. I didn’t love it though. The novel takes its time getting off the ground—well, after the initial rush to the car and out on the road, that is. It meanders a while as the disease takes hold, killing off the majority of the population. My daughter and I both had colds as I started the book—and well, you can imagine how that went over. Reading a book about a lethal flu like virus and then seeing my daughter’s nose running . . . I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a certain amount of panic, however small.

I actually liked the first part of the book quite a bit, the way King described the spread of the disease and the impact it had on the characters. It was both frightening and at times overwhelming. King has a way of making fantasy seem so real. I got a good sense of the devastation and how alone the characters must have been feeling.

My heart ached for Fran, pregnant and alone. Well, she had Harold, but I never quite warmed to him—something seemed off about him—and I think to Fran too. Then there was Stu. How awful it must have been for him, quarantined, separated from his friends and fellow townsfolk, tested and prodded . . . He and Nick, the deaf mute, were my favorite characters. They both seemed to have good heads on their shoulders and were reasonable under pressure. If I was ever in a similar situation, I would want them by my side. Nick’s back story was heartbreaking—I really came to like and respect him. For all he’d been through, he was amazingly strong and capable. Thanks to Tom Cullen, I have a couple of choice phrases stuck in my head. I actually caught myself saying to my daughter, “You are loud today. M-O-O-N, that spells loud.” And “Laws, yes!” I never quite saw Larry Underwood the way his mother or even he saw himself. He seemed like a good guy right from the start, even if a bit foolhardy. To say the least, the cast of characters is quite long and each made an impression on me in their own way.

There came a point in the book, about where I took my long break, when I told my husband over dinner one night that I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue, especially if the book continued in the direction it was going. When I told him why (God versus Devil like scenario), he told me then I might want to stop reading because that’s exactly where the book was going. Of course, this was also the point everyone was telling me the book got good.
The speed of the book did pick up considerably about 75% in (I was reading my e-copy by that point as my paper copy was beginning to fall apart) and I found myself reading more intently. I can’t say I liked the final third of the book better, but it certainly held my attention.

I could write about the more worldly issues addressed in the book—about the forming of society, the role religion and politics takes in the process, etc. It’s all there. But I can’t say I really carried much away from the novel in that regard. My focus was more on being entertained and getting through the book.

Stephen King is a great story teller. He’s the kind of guy you want to hang out with while sitting around the campfire making smores. He creates characters I wouldn’t mind getting to know in real life – at least the good guys.  While the story--towards the end--might not have been my cup of tea, I still enjoyed it. 

I watched the mini—series right after finishing the book and have to say, it was awful. It was dated and campy and the acting was terrible. I sure hope Ben Affleck’s version is better.

Source: I purchased both the mass market paperback copy and the e-copy I read from.

This book counts towards The Eclectic Reading Challenge.


© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: 17 Months (+9 days)

Hosted by Wordless Wednesday


© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bookish Thoughts: Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson
Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, 2012
Nonfiction; 336 pgs


I cannot remember who first introduced me to Jenny Lawson's blog, The Bloggess.  I do remember the story I read though.  It involved her husband, her promise not to buy towels, and a large metal chicken named Beyonce.  I thought it was hilarious and so shared with my husband.  He didn't laugh.  I'm pretty sure he rolled his eyes.  I forgot about Jenny and her chicken.  Until, that is, I came across another blog post of hers that I couldn't help but share with my husband. Soon I was a faithful follower of Jenny's blog, her posts never failing to make me smile, and more often than not, laugh out loud.

Still, I wasn't sure I wanted to read her book. I'm not a huge memoir fan, particularly of celebrities.  And while not a huge celebrity, Jenny is one just the same.  My husband decided for me.  He got the book via Audible.com and told me I had to listen to it.  And so I did.  I love Jenny.  She is crazy and witty and insightful.  She is funny and smart and oh so human.  I laughed, I cried, and I can't recommend the audio version of the book enough.  And in some ways, I could relate to her.

There is no better narrator for her own story than Jenny herself.  I admit to being curious about the paper version of the book in part because it really felt like she was talking to me, the reader, with all the asides and tangents.  I can't help but wonder how that looks in book format, if it translates quite as well.  In the book, Jenny shares stories from her life, from childhood to adulthood.  She grew up poor but happy, her father a taxidermist who often brought his work home with him, and a mother who was a cafeteria worker.  Jenny talks about the the time she got her arm stuck in a cow's vagina, about working in the Human Resources department, her miscarriage, her struggle with mental health issues, her dog's death, and her daughter's birth.  She shares how she met her husband and about her father's eccentricities.  Jenny uses humor a lot, including to offset some of the more serious issues she discusses. She curses, she jumps from subject to subject, following a train of thought that may raise your eyebrows, and she opens herself up for the readers, laying herself bare.  Even despite her social anxiety disorder.  There's something to be said for that.

I liked the book quite a bit and can highly recommend it.  I suppose it wouldn't be for everyone, but I hope you'll give it a try if you haven't already. At least take a look at her blog and get a feel for what she's like to see if her book would be for you or not.

Source: My husband bought a copy of the audio book and shared it with me.


© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Reading

Weekly meme where we discuss the books you've read
and those you plan to read in the coming week.

My frantic reading seems to be slowing down to a more normal Wendy-like speed.  I don't know whether to be disappointed or relieved. I am just about finished with John Verdon's Shut Your Eyes Tight and will next be reading the third book, Let the Devil Sleep, in his David Gurney, retired NYPD homicide detective series.  This second book is a lot darker than the first.  I am quite enjoying the series, particularly the more personal layers involved in the series.

I didn't get a chance to listen to David Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty One Day at all last week, but I am determined I will eventually make it to the end!

What are you reading this week?


Hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading
Weekly meme where we muse over a weekly question.

This week’s musing asks…
Have you ever reread a book and found that your opinion changed?
My first experience with Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice left a lot to be desired.  I read it in high school.  I was one of those students who enjoyed most of what I read back then, even the required reading.  So, my opinion of the book stands out in my memory.  For whatever reason, I decided to tackle the novel again a few years ago and now count it as one of my all time favorite novels.  My appreciation for Jane Austen's writing, her characters and the world she created grew considerably over time.  I am not sure why, exactly.  Experience?  Mood?  Timing?  Maybe all of those things.

I rarely reread books.  Okay, so that's a lie. I do reread books all the time these days. Mouse had me read Louella the Ladybug's story five times in a row yesterday.  And I've read Mouse's book about trucks too many times to count. But in terms of books I read for my own pleasure, I rarely reread them.  It isn't because I have no plans to reread books. I just haven't made the time. When it comes to choosing what to read next, I am more likely to pick up a book I haven't yet read.

What about you?


© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Fun: Book Beginnings and Latest Additions to the Wish List

Hosted by Gillion Dumas of Rose City Reader
Weekly meme where book bloggers and readers share the
first sentence of the book they are reading say what they think
.


I love this meme. An opening may not make or break a book, but they are important. Especially for someone like me who needs an instant hook or else I might start looking elsewhere.

Excerpt from John Verdon's Think of a Number:

"Where were you?" said the old woman in the bed. "I had to pee, and no one came."
As a first sentence, not much is revealed about the book or what it might be about from that first statement.  The second sentence fills in the picture slightly more, although not much:

Unruffled by her nasty tone, the young man stood at the foot of the bed, beaming.
Clearly, he's excited about something.

Then there is the second book in the series, Shut Your Eyes Tight:

He stood in front of the mirror and smiled with deep satisfaction at his own smiling reflection.
Followed by:

He could not at that moment have been more pleased with himself, with his life, with his intelligence--no, it was more than that, more than his intelligence.  His mental status could more accurantely be described as a profound understanding of everything, an understanding that wetn far beyond the normal range of human wisdom.
I had to laugh a little seeing these two beginnings one right after the other.  They are very similar, aren't they? The characters, likely the antagonists, are both very happy about something.  Given they are in a mystery series, my guess is whoever the guys are, they are up to no good.

It got me curious about the third book in the series, Let the Devil Sleep, which I have yet to start reading.  Would it have a similar beginning as the other two books?

She had to be stopped.
The first two books in the series opened with first sentences that were, well, okay.  Not quite enough to pull me in on their own, but enough to keep me reading.  The opening to the third book, however, hooked me right away. 


What do you think?  Do these openings make you yearn for more or are they not quite tantilizing enough?


I distinguish my To Be Read (TBR) collection from my Wish List--one made up of books I own or have on hand to read, while the other is a list of books I want to read but do not yet have in my possesion.  On Fridays, I offer a sampling of books that have been added to my Wish List. 

Latest Wish List Additions:

He Died with His Eyes Open by Derek Raymond
recommended by Marie from The Boston Bibliophile

Marie's description of this book as "The book is great, gripping and poetic crime fiction" piqued my interest immediately. And from her review, this is a can't miss literary mystery.


Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine
recommended by Aarti from BookLust

This particular book caught my eye because of my interest in the subject matter.  After reading Aarti's review, I am even more curious about it.  I wonder how it will compare to the class I took in college many years ago on a similar topic.


The Reckoning by Jane Casey
recommended by Jill from Rhapsody in Books Weblog

For some reason, I am especially interested in British Crime Fiction right now and so when I saw mention of this book and read Jill's review, I knew I had to add it to my wish list. This may be one book that doesn't stay on it long--my TBR collection may have an opening soon.


Translation of Bones by Francesca Kay
recommended by Diane from Bibliophile by the Sea

I nearly dismissed this book when I initially read the description of it, but Diane's review convinced me I might enjoy this one.  I am really curious about the direction the author takes the subject matter.


Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
recommended by Jenners from Life... With Books

I really like the sound of this particular book and Jenners has me convinced I will like it just as much as she did.

   
City of Women by David R. Gillham
recommended by Julie from Booking Mama

There's just something about this cover.  Set during World War II, of course, I sat up and took notice.  It sounds like something I would really like.  And if Julie loved it, I likely will too.


Have you read any of these books?  What did you think?

© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bookish Thoughts: The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy

“I’ve never been fooled by the romantic, grand gestures. Love is all about the little things, the everyday considerations, kindness, and pardons.” [pg 30]


The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy
Crown, 2011
Fiction; 292 pgs

My thoughts on this book can be summed up in three words: I loved it.  Sarah McCoy is my new favorite author.  That’s all.  Want to know more?  Here you go . . .

Book Description:


In 1945, Elsie Schmidt is a naive teenager, as eager for her first sip of champagne as she is for her first kiss. She and her family have been protected from the worst of the terror and desperation overtaking her country by a high-ranking Nazi who wishes to marry her. So when an escaped Jewish boy arrives on Elsie’s doorstep in the dead of night on Christmas Eve, Elsie understands that opening the door would put all she loves in danger.


Sixty years later, in El Paso, Texas, Reba Adams is trying to file a feel-good Christmas piece for the local magazine. Reba is perpetually on the run from memories of a turbulent childhood, but she’s been in El Paso long enough to get a full-time job and a fiancĂ©, Riki Chavez. Riki, an agent with the U.S. Border Patrol, finds comfort in strict rules and regulations, whereas Reba feels that lines are often blurred.

Beneath the surface is a story about love, about family and about relationships. It’s about facing our demons—our pasts—our fears and our regrets. And about forgiveness—not only of others, but of ourselves. Yet, perhaps not in the way you might think.
The Baker’s Daughter caught my attention initially because of its tie to World War II. But if you are thinking the novel is just another story about a woman who must decide whether or not to shelter a Jewish person during the Holocaust, you’d be mistaken. Beneath the surface is a story about love, about family and about relationships. It’s about facing our demons—our pasts—our fears and our regrets. And about forgiveness—not only of others, but of ourselves.

I loved Elsie Schmidt from the beginning, from her innocence as a young woman to her wisdom and positive outlook on life as a much older one.  She showed great courage and yet was also very human in terms of her vulnerability and thought processes. I would like to be more like her, truly. She seems to radiate wisdom and love, even despite the darker spots in her past.

Elsie’s sister Hazel’s story particularly interested me. I was not too familiar with the Lebensborn Program before having read the novel. The researcher in me was intrigued, however, and off I went to learn more. In an effort to promote and continue a “pure” race, the Lebensborn Program was designed to encourage "approved" young women and SS officers to procreate. Infants deemed acceptable were then placed in homes of SS officers to be raised. Those found to be unacceptable were disposed of. In Hazel’s case, she volunteered for the program after the father of her son was killed. Through her letters to her sister, the reader gets to know Hazel and her situation. It was heartbreaking to say the least.

I found Josef, friend to Elsie's family, to be a particularly diverse and interesting character. I really appreciated how the author portrayed his character and the way she wove his story into Elsie's.  As an SS officer, he provided an interesting viewpoint. He wasn’t guiltless by any stretch in terms of the atrocities committed against the Jewish people during World War II; however, some of the choices he made, some of the doubts and regrets he had, made him seem more sympathetic—more human. It goes to show what a skilled writer Sarah McCoy is.

Of all the characters, I most identified with Reba.  I didn’t always like the choices she made.  She could be a little cold at times—or so it seemed.  But that’s just the way she was.  That was part of her defense.  It’s easy as a reader to see the whole picture.  The characters within the story often only know their own hearts and minds.   In some ways, as I read, I felt like Sarah McCoy had gotten into my head and was holding up a mirror to me—“See?”  She was saying, “I know you.  I understand.”  I couldn’t have chosen a more perfect time to read this book as I am coming to terms with my own past and the loss of my father.   Reba’s and my lives are entirely different, of course.   Still, I could relate to her in a lot of ways.  I know what it is like to grow up with a parent who suffers from Depression and alcoholism.  I know what it is like to move hundreds of miles to get away.  I know what it is like to feel alone, to not trust anyone, and to be afraid to get close to anyone.  I know what it is like to want to be someone else, sometimes trying to be someone else.  I know what it is like to be depressed too. 

Elsie’s story is not much different in some respects, only it is more about her own decisions, including how they impact her relationship with her family. She had such difficult choices to make, as did everyone in her family during a very trying time.  In some ways, I could relate to her story as well, particularly in terms of her relationship with her father.

A subject I wasn’t quite expecting to pop up in the novel was the issue of immigration, in particular those crossing over the border from Mexico illegally. It makes sense, really, given Reba’s fiancĂ© Riki’s job as a border patrol agent. Still, I hadn’t expected it to take a somewhat prominent role. I think it provided a good juxtaposition to Reba’s journey through the course of the book as well as with her relationship with Riki.

Sarah McCoy has taken several different elements and adeptly woven them together in The Baker’s Daughter. There are two seemingly very different stories, and yet they come together in such a way that makes it nearly impossible not to see the parallels and common themes.  I took much away from this book and continue to think about it days--even weeks--after. 

There wasn’t anything I did not like about The Baker’s Daughter, from the well-drawn characters to the various story lines, to the historical and present day aspects. This book offers a lot of food for thought (and recipes at the end!) as well as touched my heart. I had a similar experience reading The Baker’s Daughter as I did reading Ann-Marie MacDonald’s The Way the Crow Flies. Is it any wonder then that Sarah McCoy’s novel, The Baker’s Daughter, is not only my favorite so far this year, but also made my all-time favorite book list?

To learn more about the Sarah McCoy and her books, please visit the author's website or her blog.

I hope you will check out what others had to say on the TLC Book Tours route!


Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour. Hardcover edition of The Baker's Daughter provided by the publisher.


This book counts towards the The Eclectic Reading Challenge and Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.

© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday's Reading Musings

Weekly meme where we discuss the books you've read
and those you plan to read in the coming week.

I am on a crazy mystery series reading spree.  Having recently caught up with Linda Fairstein's Alex Cooper series, I decided to spend this month reading John Verdon's Dave Gurney, retired NYPD Homicide Detective, series.  Currently I am reading Think of a Number and hope to start on the second book in the series, Shut Your Eyes Tight, later this week.

Last week I finished reading The Stand by Stephen King.  Yes, finally!  I was beginning to have my doubts about whether or not that would happen.  I haven't yet sat down to compile my thoughts about the book (and the mini series), but I do plan to, so look for that post in the future.

In audio, I am still listening to David Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty One Day. After the first few essays, I was beginning to wonder where the humor everyone raved about was, but I finally came across a couple of essays in the collection that had me chuckling as I listened. Sedaris's first year experience as a writing professor was a hoot--it reminded me of my high school psychology teacher (only he had years of experience).  Sedaris had his class watching soap operas while my teacher had us watch talk shows (remember Sally Jessy Raphael?).  I'm not sold on David Sedaris just yet, but I'm not quite finished with the book.  Time will tell.

As I got into the office this morning, I noticed Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers sitting in my desk drawer, my bookmark still inserted where I last left it.  It's been a couple of months at least since I last picked the book up to read.  I am debating whether to continue or set it aside.  It's very well written and I enjoy the book while I am reading it. I just can't seem to find the motivation to pick it up and read it.  Maybe it's a mood thing?

What are you reading this week?


Hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading
Weekly meme where we muse over a weekly question.

This week’s musing asks…
Do you snack while you read? If so, what is your favorite reading snack?
When the clock strikes 1:30 p.m. on a week day, I search out an empty quiet office, settle in with whatever book I am reading at the time, and eat my lunch.  It's my only uninterrupted hour of reading bliss.  Most of the time, anyway.  Occasionally I read while I eat breakfast, but only if I'm alone.

Other than that, I rarely eat--or snack--while I read.  It's just not something I think about.  Or it is late at night, and I am reading right before I drift off to sleep.

What about you?



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