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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Books this week

Goodreads Goal

    Last week I received an e-mail telling me my progress on my 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge.  Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. Ironically, 2 of my favorite pastimes can completely take time away from each other. Both reading and penpalling takes some effort and time for me to fully pay attention. Because of this, I had decided early on that I wanted to make sure that I read at least 1 book a month. After my first few books I realized that that was a pathetic "goal" for me and there was no way I was going to read less than 12 books in one year. I chose to aim for 50 books, knowing that most of my reading would be done during school vacations and the summer.  As of last week I was at 48% of my reading goal.
     Due to Timmy's crazy baseball schedule (and the request by the coaches to "stay out of the sun"), I had a lot of time to relax read last week. In addition to having time, the weather here in MA was humid and disgusting. I'm a pale Irish girl who feels like my skin is being fried whenever I walk in full sunlight- never mind when it's hot and humid with no breeze. I also browsed some book blogs and decided to give myself the luxury to enjoy my leisure time.

Books last week: 

    I heard that this book had been read in many book clubs and I found it in the book swap in our teachers' room at school.    This book is about a girl named Dolores Price. It tells about the relationship with her father and the consequences of her life when he leaves the family to be with another woman. At first I liked this book because the characters just seemed (very dysfunctional but) real. They had problems that people have and some of them reacted to those problems in common ways- denial, gratification in some other way, escape, etc. Maybe it was the narrative style of the book that I appreciated at first- or the sarcasm.  Unfortunately, I never found any edification for any of the characters. I wanted to like somebody in the book but it just kept getting more depressing. I finished it, in hopes of something good, but was left feeling just kind of gross. I thought I read somewhere that this was going to be made into a movie at some point. I would not watch it.
   I have read the previous two William Marshall books (A Place Beyond Courage and The Greatest Knight.) and enjoyed them so when I saw this on the same teacher swap shelf as the book above, I snagged it. I was concerned that I wouldn't remember the story or the characters since it has been a while since I've read the first 2 books. Since this book continues chronologically from the other 2, this was not a problem. Chadwick is good about reviewing family relations in the book and I found this book very easy to just settle into.  
     One thing that I enjoyed about the book was also the one thing that kind of aggravated me too. The story, and the relationship between William and his wife, Isabelle, was a little formulaic. On one hand, I appreciated seeing the steadfastness in their marriage and knowing that she would wait for him or support him, regardless of what their family was going through. On the other hand, William is upset- Isabelle comforts- William goes away- William comes back- Isabelle comforts, got a little old to me.
      I do like Chadwick's style of writing. I appreciated all of the research that must've gone into this book. I have always been interested in Medieval times so stories set in that time period tend to get my attention.
     This was another book I got from a Goodreads giveaway, and another book I probably wouldn't have given a chance if I hadn't gotten it for free. This book is about a woman named Halia, who owns a soul food restaurant named Sweet Tea. After leaving an investor of the restaurant to close up, Halia returns to find Marcus (the investor) murdered in the back room. Fearing that this would look very bad for her restaurant, Halia and her cousin Wavonne, who also works at the restaurant, move the body.  Halia expects that the body will be discovered in the morning but when she doesn't hear anything she makes an excuse to throw some boxes into the dumpster near where the body was dumped. She then realizes that somebody else had taken the body. 
    Marcus ends up being found in a nearby lake. Unsure of what to do, and not wanting to be implicated in any way, she and Wavonne investigate the people they suspect might have been behind the crime. 
     This book was an easy read. The book itself (despite the murder) was a bit lighter than what I usually read, but I enjoyed the characters. Wavonne is one of those people who just speaks her mind, regardless of whether what she is thinking if appropriate or not. There were quite a few characters whom I felt I could associate with people I have come across in my life and Sweet Tea seemed like your average local diner. The book also included a few recipes that I might try. 
    This is the final book I completed this week. It was my favorite of the bunch.When I first heard of this series I thought, "Wow, that looks kind of different and interesting." I tend to be a bit of a book hoarder so a few years back I made a "1 book out/ 1 book in" rule, meaning that I was going to add a book to my apartment, another book had to go. This shouldn't have been hard because I don't really re-read books. It's harder than I thought- and then my upstairs neighbor (who is retired and apparently addicted to James Patterson..lol) started getting rid of her hordes of books bringing me books and leaving them outside our apartment. Now I have too many books that have started to become piles on top of my "to read" bookshelf. A few months back I got a gift card to Amazon.com and decided to buy myself this set as a gift.  
     This book is about a boy named Jacob who, after his grandfather's death, feels that he needs to go to a remote island of the coast of Wales to research the stories of his grandfather, which he could never decide were fact or fiction. This research led him to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. The home seems deserted when he first sees it. Throughout the story Jacob uncovers the meaning of his grandfather's last words, discovers the answers to many questions regarding his grandfather and learns a lot about himself.  
     I finished this book in one day. I enjoyed the whole concept of the book and thought it was very creative. The pictures throughout the book are apparently all real pictures that have been obtained from people's collections. The author, Ransom Riggs,  has a penchant for creepy photographs that just seem, "off" in some way or another. As I looked at some of the photos, many gave me a "What the heck?" type feeling. I love the way that he built a story around these photographs. Speaking of the author, as I was reading, I realized that I recognized his name from somewhere other than these books. I read that he is the author of Strange Geographies, some of which I had looked at and read before. I look forward to reading the other 2 books in the series and possibly see the movie when it comes out. I can imagine that it will be very interesting visually. 

Other than reading:

   In other news:
-Timmy's team lost the sectionals, which was kind of a disappointment, but we're proud of his hard work.
- Another baseball tournament starts this weekend. lol
- I might try to take some time this week to catch up with some family. 
- I joined a gym. After I finish this post I'm going to drag myself there since I obviously have gotten no cardiovascular exercise this week! (PS. I'm now at 54% of my Goodreads goal and reading The Altar Ego by Craig Groeschel.)

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