Friday, June 14, 2019

My Friday Five...

1.  Patti Smith. I've decided to reread her books since she has a new one (Year of the Monkey) coming out later this year. I have to admit that I am really enjoying them all over again. I finished Just Kids and am now on M Train. I'm at the part where she has found Murakami's books and is obsessing over finding the well in his novel, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I just love reading about her discovering his novels and devouring them all. I totally get it. When you find an author and fall in love with their writing, you can't help but be consumed by the desire to read everything they've written. Or at least, I get that way. I went through that with Kurt Vonnegut, Jean Rhys, Yoko Ogawa, Sandra Cisernos, John Irving, Paul Auster, and Murakami. Some writers just capture your heart and mind. Patti Smith is one of those writers for me. As I read her books this time round, I find myself jotting down notes from what I've read or memories that come into mind, in my little A6 size black leather Roterfaden journal. And, I keep wishing I had a cafe to write in like she did with her Cafe 'Ino. Instead, I just make a cuppa, read a chapter or three, and write. I have to admit its turning into a favorite part of my morning. What about you? What authors have you ever become obsessed with reading? And, have you read Patti Smith?


2.  Paris books.  I just receive my copy of Literary Paris: A Photographic Tour by Nichole Robertson. Let me just say, Wow! I am in love! Chock full of photos and quotes, this is my kind of book. I am enjoying dipping in and out of it on the daily to get my Paris fix. I love the colors, the books, the cafes and just looking at Paris through these photographs. Oh, and the quotes by Colette, Oscar Wilde and Gertrude Stein - what a treat! I am in love with this book!

As for my second Paris book, well that will arrive next week. Its the new Antoine Laurain novel and I am super excited to read it. I am a huge fan of his whimsical tales and can't wait to dive into his latest one, Vintage 1954.  Truthfully, I thought the book was coming out earlier this week and eagerly anticipated its arrival, but was sorely mistaken when it didn't arrive. I looked it up and saw the date was June 18th, not June 11th. Ack! Talk about bookish disappointment!  Oh well, I will be delighting in his new novel soon enough.

3.  Precious. I have a question.  Do you own books or journals (or anything) that you treat "precious"? Meaning, you don't throw them around, scratch them up, dog-ear the pages, spill coffee/tea on them, bend the covers, etc.. I'm curious, because I do that with certain ones. And my mom noticed and asked my "why?".  Her logic is that they are just objects and they are meant to be used, so if perchance they get bent or scratched its no big.  I disagree, even though I know she's right. For example, I have a leather cover edition of Just Kids by Shinola. That was the copy I recently read. I was paranoid that the leather would get scratched up, so I was very gentle when I held it and didn't open it wide when reading. Of course, it made reading the book a bit of a chore, but what I can say, I am a stickler for these things. Except, I do notice that I'm not like that with all of my books. I own several books that are stained with coffee/tea and have bent pages. So, its only certain ones I treat in a "precious" manner. Is that weird? Am I alone? Should I just throw caution to the wind and not worry about mucking up my books?

4.  TV shows.  Southern Charm was part 2 of the tree house adventure and Craig's pillow party. K was not happy with D for calling her out on her misbehaving ways and proceeded to ignore her.  Craig was bombarded with orders for his pillows and decided to throw a party where he planned on conning his friends into helping him make the pillows for his orders. Suffice it to say, nothing worked out. K got called out again by D and then by Shep.  Austen got called out by Chelsea for gossiping about her to his girlfriend.  And no one made pillows for Craig. All in all, an uneventful episode, which begs the question, why am I still watching? As for NYC Housewives - holy smokes, Batman! That was a crazy show. Okay, so the women decide to go to a hotel to swim and lunch. Lu and Sonya go to an AA meeting. All seems well until Sonya freaks out at the hotel about the people she just met at AA.  So, the women all head home to lunch and cater to Sonya.  All, except for Lu who thinks Sonya just wants attention. She heads to the beach and to check out the poster of her cabaret show instead. All the women are offended that Lu didn't show up for Sonya, so they massage block her - meaning they book all the massages before her so she gets the dregs of a massage - LOL!  And then at dinner, Lu's minion, Babs, decides to call her out on not being a good friend. Lu goes to hug her and all hell breaks loose. Tinsley starts telling her things and then B jumps in. Lu just sits there acting shocked that they are bullying her for going swimming. B screams at her the most and winds up having a panic attack. Ramonacoaster is crying and Sonya keeps telling Lu they care about her. Its a hot mess.  I laughed, because the whole time they are telling Lu off, the waiters are delivering the kookiest appetizers to the table - one is in a red toaster and the other is in a small popcorn machine. It was crazy!

5.  Music.  The National is still playing in the background, but now I've added Josh Ritter, too.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! Happy reading!!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Valencia and Valentine by Suzy Krause

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

For readers of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, debut author Suzy Krause delivers a quirky, colorful story about love, loss, second chances, and what it means to truly live.

Valencia, a timid debt collector with crippling OCD, is afraid of many things, but the two that scare her most are flying and turning thirty-five. To confront those fears, Valencia’s therapist suggests that she fly somewhere—anywhere—before her upcoming birthday. And as Valencia begins a telephone romance with a man from New York, she suddenly has a destination in mind. There’s only one problem—he might not actually exist.

Mrs. Valentine is an eccentric old woman desperate for company, be it from neighbors, telemarketers, or even the funeral director (when you’re her age, you go to a lot of funerals). So she’s thrilled when the new cleaning girl provides a listening ear for her life’s story—a tale of storybook love and incredible adventures around the world with her husband before his mysterious and sudden disappearance.

The stories of Valencia and Mrs. Valentine may at first appear to have nothing in common…but then again, nothing in life is as straightforward as it seems.

my thoughts:

What a delightful and quirky book! I absolutely LOVED Suzy Krause's novel, Valencia and Valentine. It was such a treat to read! And that book cover - oh, my! I loved the bright, vivid blue and characters in their windows. Such a cute cover!

As for the story...LOVED it!!  Valencia and Mrs. Valentine's stories unfold at an odd pace, but they are both so interesting that you can't help but get easily caught up in it all. I found myself relating to Valencia, because I too am afraid to fly and have been prone to panic attacks. So, I could definitely relate to her cluttered mind that was chock full of irrational thoughts. As for Mrs. Valentine, I loved her colorful stories that she shared - they were so much fun to read. These two characters made quite the impression and I was curious to figure out what their connection would be. Thankfully, Krause was able to bridge the two stories seamlessly, cleverly, and with such witty writing. I truly enjoyed every minute I spent with this story. Such a gem!

I would happily recommend Valencia and Valentine to fans of anyone looking for their next great read.

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Valencia and Valentine
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

The Islanders: A Novel by Meg Mitchell Moore

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

“One of my own favorite writers.” –Elin Hilderbrand

J. Courtney Sullivan’s Maine meets the works of Elin Hilderbrand in this delicious summer read involving three strangers, one island, and a season packed with unexpected romance, well-meaning lies, and damaging secrets.

Anthony Puckett was a rising literary star. The son of an uber-famous thriller writer, Anthony’s debut novel spent two years on the bestseller list and won the adoration of critics. But something went very wrong with his second work. Now Anthony’s borrowing an old college’s friend’s crumbling beach house on Block Island in the hopes that solitude will help him get back to the person he used to be.

Joy Sousa owns and runs Block Island’s beloved whoopie pie cafĂ©. She came to this quiet space eleven years ago, newly divorced and with a young daughter, and built a life for them here. To her customers and friends, Joy is a model of independence, hard-working and happy. And mostly she is. But this summer she’s thrown off balance. A food truck from a famous New York City brand is roving around the island, selling goodies—and threatening her business.

Lu Trusdale is spending the summer on her in-laws’ dime, living on Block Island with her two young sons while her surgeon husband commutes to the mainland hospital. When Lu’s second son was born, she and her husband made a deal: he’d work and she’d quit her corporate law job to stay home with the boys. But a few years ago, Lu quietly began working on a private project that has becoming increasingly demanding on her time. Torn between her work and home, she’s beginning to question that deal she made.

Over the twelve short weeks of summer, these three strangers will meet and grow close, will share secrets and bury lies. And as the promise of June turns into the chilly nights of August, the truth will come out, forcing each of them to decide what they value most, and what they are willing to give up to keep it.

my thoughts:

Beach read alert! The Islanders by Meg Mitchell Moore is the perfect book to take along with you when you read at the beach this summer. It is chock full of drama, an island, and relationships - what more could you want?! How about terrific writing, fascinating characters, and a small island filled with local gossip, sun-drenched days, and frequent "bump-ins" with the neighbors? MMM has created a wonderful story that will feel relatable at times, but also keep you hooked with all of the "secrets" waiting to be spilled. Such a fun book!!

I absolutely LOVED getting to know Anthony, Joy, and Lu - they were such a great cast of characters to get invested in. Each one has struggles and secrets that they are dealing with whilst trying to get through the summer on Block Island. The more you get to know them, the more you can't help but want to find out what will happen to them. As the summer unfolds, these three work on figuring out who they really are and what they really want from life. Its definitely a book you can sink into as you dip your toes in the sand on a sunny day.

I would happily recommend The Islanders to fans of MMM and anyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book!!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: The Islanders

Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Three Things...

1.  Therapy. I'm still going. I need to. Especially lately, as I've been feeling a bit more depressed and the anxiety has been ramping up a bit. A lot has been going on and its not all good. So, that's why I'm feeling the way I've been feeling. Ugh. Its frustrating and hard. But, I am sticking with the therapy to help me navigate through all of it.  It must be working, because at least now I am more aware of the shift in my mood so that I can start work harder to get a handle on it. So, yeah, getting help has really helped me. Its also allowed me to feel free to be open about what I'm going through and how I'm feeling. I just emailed my friend Kris and shared with him about my last therapy session. I told him how I just now finally realized how numb the depression has made. I was so disconnected, that I just found myself doing things and choosing things that were easiest - like, I didn't stop to think whether or not I liked it or wanted it, I just went along and picked whatever was expected from me. Does that make sense? Anyhow, I told him how at 40 I am finally starting to figure out what I really like and don't like. How crazy and sad! I can see now how so many parts of my life were affected by this, but how I never really realized it before.  I'm just grateful that I'm in such a better place and that I am working through all of this. In fact, I finally started to write again. I was always a writer, but I just stopped. That's why I think I became so obsessed with journaling, because at least I was still writing, even it wasn't fiction or poetry. It was something and that was all I needed.  But now, I am feeling so much better, that I can see I need more. I need to write my stories and poems - they are who I am. So, I wrote something and it wasn't my best work, but it still felt awesome. It felt so good to just pour everything into this short piece. I can't stop thinking about it and how I want to fix it. I almost feel like "me".  Anyhow, I just wanted to share that I'm doing better and that the therapy is helping. Thanks for reading these posts and your kind comments - I really do appreciate them so much.

On a lighter note...

2.  Rachel Hollis. Girl, Stop Apologizing. I just finished this book. I had seen it all over IG and couldn't help but be curious. Especially, since I am all about finding your purpose and being who you were made to be. I am so into these types of books lately. Nonfiction is my jam!  And so, I got a copy and started reading and reading and reading. This book was so good. I found myself stopping every so often, just so I could jot down something from the book, or so I could think about how much the words struck a chord with me.  It was crazy how some lines just felt like they were meant for me. The fact that it touched me so deeply, means that I found this book at just the right time. So, of course now I want to read Hollis' other book: Girl, Wash Your Face.  How could I not, right? Have you read it? Let me know what you think.

3.  TV shows/Music.  Southern Charm was ridiculous. The whole episode seemed to consist of everyone confronting K over her lack of phone etiquette. Meaning, she didn't answer Danni's phone call so its now the end of the world. Yep, it was lame and rather a waste of an episode.  The only highlight was looking at the pretty treehouses they would be staying in - they really did look like something out of a fairy tale. As for NYC Housewives, well that was another bore. The ladies recover from Sonia's disastrous drinking the night before. They all head out to check out art, except for Ramona who needs to "rest" before the party she is throwing that night. All the gals get free pieces of art work by famous artists and laugh that Ramona missed out on it all. The party is a bunch of random people thrown together so that Ramona can show off to her ex-husband Mario that she has a date. Tinsley cries that she misses her ex, while her sister hugs her. All in all, it was a bore. Next week looks good though - all the women tell Lu that life is in fact not a cabaret, much to her chagrin. I can't wait!!  Of course, trashy TV shows are not the only things I watch. I will be catching up on Fear The Walking Dead this weekend ( I missed the first ep of the new season).  I will definitely be watching the latest season of The Handmaid's Tale and starting When They See Us. So much good TV to watch!!

As for music, its been all about Natalie Merchant these past few days. I just love her voice!

And now, I'm off to journal. Hope you are having a lovely week. Happy reading!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The Flatshare: A Novel by Beth O'Leary

(Thank you to Flatiron Books for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

my thoughts:

Love, love, love! What a fun and sweet story! Imagine falling in love with someone you have never met? Well, you know them through the notes that you leave one another about roommate issues. Yep, you are roommates who have never met. How crazy, right? Except, you work during the day and he works nights, so your paths never seem to cross. So, when would you have time to meet? See, its not that crazy.

The Flatshare is Beth O'Leary's debut novel and it is fantastic! Tiffy (a name that just annoys me) and Leon (I couldn't help but think of Kings of Leon when I read the name) decide to share a flat.  She will be in the flat at night and on weekends, whilst he will be in the flat during the day.  Sounds perfect, right? A flat all to yourself basically for half the rent. What more could Tiffy or Leon want? So, they become roommates and as roommates sometimes have questions for each other, they decide to leave each other notes to communicate with one another.  At first the notes are just about garbage or leftover food, and then they begin to evolve into more personal messages - sharing bits and bobs about each other.  As the two get to know one another, their feelings begin to shift from platonic to romantic. And the more we get to know these two, the more we learn about their struggles and the issues they are dealing with.  Talk about romantic fiction at its best!

A lovely story with a bit of depth and a lot of heart - what more could I want?! I absolutely enjoyed every second I spent with The Flatshare. I would definitely recommend it to anyone and everyone looking for their next great read - you won't want to miss this one!!

Thank you to Flatiron Books for providing me with a copy of this book!!