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review 2017-07-27 04:45
Cruel Beautiful World
Cruel Beautiful World: A Novel - Caroline Leavitt

This is a painful, heartbreaking story about expectations, disappointments, love and secrets. When Lucy leaves her already fragmented family to run away with William, her 30-year-old high school English teacher, she has no idea how isolated her life will become. (Time out a second - What is it with students and their high school teachers? I loved mine, but I never wanted to run away with them. I know they were nuns, but still.) While the story is primarily Lucy's, Leavitt gives vibrant life to each of her characters, who face their own demons and regrets with grace and dignity.


As usual, Leavitt delivers a beautifully written story, moving in its courage, raw emotion, and unflinching hope. William's selfishness and immaturity made me wonder why Lucy, a young, beautiful girl, would stay with him. Then I listened to this NPR interview that someone kindly posted on Goodreads, and I understood it a little better. This is not an easy story to read, but it is moving and thought provoking, and it is worth the effort you will have to put into seeing it through its final pages. Not because it is hard to read, but instead, because Leavitt has created a world so real that you will worry about these people until the very end, and then, maybe even a little bit longer.

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review 2016-09-30 13:58
Cruel Beautiful World: A Novel - Caroline Leavitt

What a great story. It begins with an older woman taking care of two teenagers that were related to her that she started taking care of when they were very young. They were very young when she took over their care, but the reason why comes later in the book. The background of this woman, Iris, is really heartbreaking, but she takes it all in stride. She ends up being an incredible woman, strong and just an unbelievable woman.

Then there are the girls that she takes on to raise. One is 6 1/2 years old and the other is 5 year old. For Iris, they come out of nowhere. She takes them in and considers them her own children, not an easy job. Especially when the two girls have just lost both their parents. It's a rough ride for a while, but they begin to accept and love her.

As teenagers, they come into their own and that's when the trouble begin. I won't go any further, because I don't want to spoil anything. However, I will tell you that one of the girls believe their teacher who is in his 30's believes he's in love with him and leave with him and go to Pennsylvania to start a new life. I totally expected him to tie her up in the basement and feed her once a week and abuse her. However, he uses a psychological way to keep her from leaving.

I really, really loved this book. Although I had some projects going on, I seriously did not want to put this book down. There were so many things going on and I just had to know the answers.

The author did a great job in writing this book and I commend her on a great job. I would recommend this book to everyone. There were a lot of emotional moments and I really felt for the characters. I did not like Lucy's ending and I wanted more hurt and pain for William. I could name the punishments, but I will refrain from them. I will just say, they would not be comfortable or fun,

Huge thanks for Algonquin Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-01-10 00:51
This is why I got the Lonely Planet Humble Bundle
Lonely Planet's Beautiful World - Lonely Planet

This and other photography books. 


Stunning.   Perfect.   Absolutely mind-blowing.   Breathtaking.  


All of these and more apply to the photographs, some of which are simply the most beautiful nature photography I've seen.   There are two reasons why I dropped a star: the introduction makes a big deal about the groupings and how they're meant to make you think about the pictures.   So I was trying, but they had some weird choices, like trees in community or sharks in space.   I had to stop thinking and just enjoy the photographs to really start digging this, but I wish the introduction hadn't put that into my head. 


Secondly, this is not ideal as a PDF.   I knew it might not be, but it was jarring to see photographs that were clearly spread across two pages split apart, the first half on top and the second half on the bottom.   Again, I stopped thinking of them as one picture, and even taking half a picture as it's own image?   These were gorgeous.  


Some of the pictures were so perfect they looked unreal, the pastels, the flares of color, everything.   The compositions, while spontaneous, were so unbelievably perfect some of these looked staged.   I hate knocking this down to a four, but there were issues. 


I'm getting through some photography books.  I still feel crappy enough that text-based books aren't something I can focus on right now, and I can't sleep after that last nap.   This kept my attention and was so beautiful, it distracted me from the creeping suspicion that my body is horribly angry, and it's been building up for a while, and it's taking it all out on me in one fell swoop.   

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text 2015-04-10 15:55
30 Places You’d Rather Be Sitting Right Now

There's so many places I would want to visit, and admittedly, seeing few of them made my heart squeeze with longing. More awesome, beautiful escapes here.

Sunken alcove garden in NZ

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text 2014-07-06 21:20
Random Amazon (US) Ebook Sale Alert!
Dangerous Ambition: Rebecca West and Dorothy Thompson: New Women in Search of Love and Power - Susan Hertog
The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris - John Baxter
Becoming Queen Victoria: The Tragic Death of Princess Charlotte and the Unexpected Rise of Britain's Greatest Monarch - Kate Williams
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary - Simon Winchester
Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them - Francine Prose

So here's another fun ebook sale alert - apparently we should always be aware that this is going to happen around July 4 - for the US Amazon customers at least. At first I thought it was only about American history but then - well, here's what's popped up lately, that's (hopefully) still on sale by the time I hit post:


Dangerous Ambition: Rebecca West and Dorothy Thompson: New Women in Search of Love and Power by Susan Hertog

Price: .99


The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris by John Baxter

Price: 1.99


Becoming Queen Victoria: The Tragic Death of Princess Charlotte and the Unexpected Rise of Britain's Greatest Monarch by Kate Williams

 Price: 1.99


The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester

Price 1.99


Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose

Price 1.99


I can't swear to the epicness of all of these - many have been on my list for a long time and are there because I read some text or review that made me interested. And these sales end VERY quickly - a Simon Winchester book that was 1.99 on the 4th is now back to 12.99.


I gave in and bought all of those except the Prof and the Madman which I've already read, and the Reading Like a Writer, only because I've bought a chunk of ebooks last month, and really need to not give in. Which of course I will again, because I am weak when it comes to sales. Especially when I read about them on my email on my phone, when I'm sitting at a lunch where I'd really rather be reading.


As always, I found all of these via a heads up email from ereaderIQ (website recommended by Dear Author), which I have a continuing love/hate relationship with (I have soooo many TBR books, argh).


Randomly I should add that all the books I get on sale I put on a shelf called Via Kindle Sale - to make me feel better about the growing pile of them. So feel free to check on that shelf if I sometimes add books but forget to post. (In fact there are three I've added that aren't listed above, still on sale price.) (I have no idea how to link to my own shelves. Can I even do that?)

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