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review 2018-07-17 03:26
Summer Sisters ★★★★☆
Summer Sisters - Judy Blume

I wish I knew what magic makes a book so compelling that you just get sucked right into it and look up hours later, thinking, “I should go to bed, but just a few more pages, but ohhh I’m really going to be sorry when my alarm goes off at 5:30, but just a few more pages, ohhh what the heck okay another chapter.”

 

In another author’s hands, maybe, this would not have been that kind of book. There were a couple of twists but it was otherwise fairly predictable. The characters were not especially complex and yet I just wanted to know what happened, what they did, why did they do it, and yes I even needed a few Kleenex at the end. The brief little peeks into every (with one key exception) character’s innermost thoughts following key events should have been annoying, but I was instead delighted with them.

 

I can’t explain it, but this was one of those books. More than 400 pages and I am a slow, stodgy reader, but I gobbled this one up in 2 days. Go figure.

 

Paperback version, picked up secondhand on a whim 3 years ago.

 

Previous Updates:

7/16/18 – 297/416

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text 2018-07-16 19:25
Summer Sisters - 297/416 pg
Summer Sisters - Judy Blume

Oh thank goodness. It feels like it's been forever since I sat down with a non-audio book and really enjoyed it. I was starting to worry that my brain was broke and didn't like reading fiction anymore. 

 

I started this yesterday afternoon and stayed up well past midnight reading. I finally had to make myself close it and go to sleep so I wouldn't be completely dead at work today. 

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review 2018-07-14 05:43
On the Divinity of Second Chances ★☆☆☆☆
On the Divinity of Second Chances - Kaya McLaren

I hate first person present tense. Even worse, though, is a story told from the alternating viewpoints of five separate characters, when all five use first person present tense. ALL FIVE. The only exception is the opening passage, which is written from the moon’s (literally, the moon) POV… in third person present tense. Hell, for all I know, we are also treated to the dog and the imaginary friend as narrators in first person present tense, but I only got to page 37 before I closed the book and threw it across the room at the garbage can.

 

Paperback, which has been sitting unread on my bookshelf for so long that I no longer remember when or why I even bought it. I suspect it was a recommendation from the (now defunct) Books on the Nightstand podcast.

 

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review 2018-02-07 13:04
The Contadino ★★☆☆☆
The Contadino - Frank J. Agnello

With better editing, this might have been an enjoyable read. There is a good sense of place and history, and the characters are interesting. But it was difficult to get past the frequently shifting tenses, the missing commas, and even a couple of incomplete sentences. These flaws pulled me out of the story multiple times in every chapter.

 

Paperback copy, a gift from my father several years ago, because the setting and historical events reflect our own family’s history of Sicilian immigrants to the USA around the turn of the 20th century.

 

Previous Updates:

2/4/18 - pg 3/472

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text 2018-02-04 16:08
The Contadino - page 3/472

 

One of my regrets is that I didn't read all the books my dad gave me before he passed away, so I missed the opportunity to talk with him about them. Granted, he gave me a lot of books, and most of them were on subjects or genres that I really didn't care much about. But still. What a wasted opportunity to share something with him and create a lasting memory. 

 

The Contadino - Frank J. Agnello  appears to be a self-published book by some guy who may or may not be a distant relative. Based on the acknowledgements, he's at least a friend of a cousin. My dad was fascinated by the family history, where his grandparents were part of a wave of starving Sicilian peasants who immigrated to the US at the turn of the 20th century. This book is a fictionalized story of one such family. 

 

I have fairly low expectations, but the prologue was not bad, so maybe it'll be a pleasant surprise. 

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