logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: ireland
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-07-20 02:40
The Return Journey - Maeve Binchy 
The Return Journey - Maeve Binchy

Adventures of the timid. Bunch does a thing where two people meet, strike up an immediate friendship, and proceed to give one another excellent advice about managing their lives. She does that here,and it is really good, pragmatic advice. Anyway, stories about middle class adults and their working class parents, with some affairs included to keep things dramatic, to amusing effect in Excitement. And no one else has done a better job of portraying just how tiring it can be to be a modern woman trying to keep everyone else happy.

Library copy

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-06-12 02:49
Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts
Jewels of the Sun - Nora Roberts

Surprising herself and nearly everyone who knows her, Jude Murray quits her job as a psychology professor, rents out her Chicago condo, and flies to Ireland to live in a little cottage once owned by a relative of hers. She hadn’t even reacted this drastically when her husband asked for a divorce only a few months after they’d gotten married. All she knows is that she’s stressed and unhappy with her current life, and she has no idea what to do about it. She intends to stay at the cottage for six months, write an academic paper about Irish legends, and somehow figure out what to do next.

The village of Ardmore awakens a part of Jude that she’d thought long since squashed out of existence, a dreamer willing to believe in romance and magic. She’s baffled and pleased when two local women, Brenna O’Toole and Darcy Gallagher, decide to befriend her. Then there’s her attraction to Darcy’s charming and gorgeous brother, Aidan. And the beautiful and sad ghost who seems to be residing in her cottage.

This was a reread. I loved it when I first read it: the cozy Irish village and welcoming villagers, the Gallagher and O’Toole families, and Jude learning to just do things without worrying so much about the possibility of failure. I still enjoyed it this time around, although my enjoyment was a little more measured.

The main thing that kept me from completely sinking into this story was how painfully obvious it was that Jude came from a fairly wealthy family. She’d have to be, in order to suddenly quit her job, fly to another country, and spend six months working on a paper that, on its own, would probably never pay any bills. At one point, she went on a shopping spree with Brenna and Darcy and spent 2000 pounds on lingerie, plus who knows how much on purses, shoes, and outfits. Just thinking about it made panic well up in my throat - I couldn't help but remember how I'd felt when I paid $100 for a nice coat to wear to job interviews back when I was job hunting. Jude was also a bit shocked at her shopping spree, but whereas I kept thinking about her spending that much money without knowing when she’d see another paycheck, I had a feeling that Jude’s reaction was primarily inspired by her having done something so out of character for the person she’d been back in Chicago. Chicago Jude was practical and wouldn’t have spent so much money on sexy things.

I have a really nice life, but I can’t imagine ever having the kind of safety net that would be required for something like Jude’s story. When it dawned on her that what she really wanted to do was write stories, she worried about failure, but not about how she’d pay her bills if she failed. I could relate to aspects of Jude’s personality quite a bit - I, too, have a tendency to avoid risks and drama - but not so much her background.

That said, I still consider this one to be of Roberts’ better books. It was a quick and cozy read. Aidan was great, a guy who used to be a wanderer but who’d since matured and settled down. The gift-giving bit was lovely and sweet. The way he tried to handle Jude near the end of the book was more than a bit boneheaded, something he probably should have figured out sooner, but I could mostly understand how he’d gotten those idiot ideas in his head. And the groveling at the end was nice.

There were lots of other moments I loved that weren’t directly related to the romance. The way Jude’s mother, who up to that point had been painted as stiff and unemotional, got angry on Jude’s behalf. The hints of Brenna’s unrequited feelings for Shawn. Molly O’Toole’s steadiness, and the surprise Molly’s husband and Brenna had lined up for her. The way Darcy panicked when she realized that she might have had a part in setting Aidan up to be deeply hurt. Darcy wasn’t my favorite character, and I recall her book being my least favorite one in the trilogy, but I did like the way she’d get into snarling fights with her brothers and yet still clearly care about them. (Although her asking Jude for details about sex with Aidan seemed weird. Do sisters with brothers ever really do that? I only have a sister, and I can’t imagine wanting to discuss her sex life.)

The book’s supernatural aspects weren’t too bad either. This is one of the few “Nora Roberts trilogies tied together by something supernatural” that I can stand. The supernatural aspects are well-integrated into the romances and aren’t too hokey. Basically, a long time ago a mortal woman named Gwen fell in love with a faerie prince named Carrick. However, she doubted that her feelings for him and his feelings for her were real and ended up marrying the perfectly nice man her father lined up for her. She had kids, a decent marriage, and a nice but not passionate life. All the while, Carrick tried to woo her but made one big mistake - he never actually told her he loved her. At the end of Gwen’s life, he essentially cursed himself and Gwen not to be able to move on until three other couples fell in love. It was a bit silly and lacking in details (Carrick never actually specified which three couples, so it could have been anyone falling in love, not just the Gallagher siblings) but not too bad.

Jewels of the Sun hasn't perfectly stood the test of time for me, but it still made for a good reread.

 

Rating Note:

 

The me prior to my big job hunt probably wouldn't have had a problem rating this book. It would have been an easy 4 stars, possibly even 4.5. This reread left me debating between 3.5 stars and 4. In the end I settled on 4, because I mostly enjoyed myself and could see myself rereading it again sometime in the future.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2017-05-16 07:49
Reading progress update: I've read 141 out of 386 pages.
The Good People - Hannah Kent

Enjoying this more than 'Burial Rites'. It is very atmospheric.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2017-05-10 17:40
An Epic Emotional Tale
The Heart's Invisible Furies - John Boyne

I ended this story in tears, what a beautiful, horrible, epic family tale. It ranged from 1945 till present times, through many nightmarish times for me. The first years of Aids, the fears  the lies, and the Twin Towers, such darkness. I felt so much, this was such an emotional story. It was so real, laced with histories I lived through, a time machine of sorts.  I had to stop many times to think about the events and to compare them to my memories of the time.This was the longest I've ever taken to read a book, it could not be read quickly it was too intense. 

Cyril born in 1945 to a single mother thrown out by her family and church in Ireland placed in a adopted family lived an epic life. Raised by off centered cold parents, he was always held apart and alone. Growing up he had love for his friend that wasn't allowed or returned. He was a young gay man when it was a near death sentence to be one in Ireland. Political, legal, religious, and social wars against gay people were extreme, he hid and became a bit self destructive. He was terrorized, as were most in that time. He left Ireland after a punch in the gut wedding and began an epic journey through 3 countries, one great love, a new family, and many horrible loses. The great circle of life brought him so close to his roots many times always just a touch. 

What a book. I don't think I am capable of describing it fully. It is beyond my ability to write the feelings. 

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-04-29 16:23
Great Collection of Short Stories
Whitethorn Woods - Maeve Binchy

I have read this collection before and I still enjoy it. I think that the best thing about it is that all of the stories are connected around the town of Rossmore and a well that a lot of people go and pray to (St. Ann's).

 

The central figure in this collection is Father Brian Flynn who appears in other Binchy stories. In the end, the resolution regarding the well I thought was a smart idea.

 

 

Honestly my favorite stories are:

 

"The Sharpest Knife in the Drawer"-telling the story of a good man named Ned who even though he is not the smartest man, is definitely better than his good for nothing brother. He appears in some of the other stories and I recall I think that he popped up in "Heart and Soul."

 

"Gold Star Claire"-reading about a woman who is connected to the character of Ned. I was honestly shocked at this story. A woman who is quite frank about rape and molestation that is going on in her family and someone else that was brought up in "The Sharpest Knife in the Drawer". I loved Claire, but did think that part of the story did get into some absurd things when we find out about what job Claire takes up in order to go to school and take care of her sister.

 

"Your Eleven O'Clock Lady" was hilarious. It was a case of mistaken identity and people doing pretty much a whose on first thing. 

 

"The Intelligence Test" was also very good. It was definitely a feel good story. 

 

I did like the other stories, but these are the ones that I liked the most.

 

Kindle edition pages: 354 pages. 201 to 400 pages: $3.00

April 15: $20
April 17: $23. I read The Wangs Vs the World (do not read this book) pages 368.
April 24: $28. I read "Dream Wedding, pages 512.
April 25: $28. Landed on BL and had to post a vacation photo or tell a story about a vacation.

April 29: $31. 

 

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?