Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Finds -- 10/30

Happy Friday! My find this week is the new book from the author of Eating Heaven, Jennie Shortridge. It is called When She Flew and is available November 3rd. Here's the Barnes and Noble description:

Police officer Jessica Villareal has always played by the book and tried to do the right thing. But now, she finds herself approaching midlife divorced, estranged from her daughter, alone, and unhappy. And she's wondering if she ever made a right choice in her life. But then Jess discovers a girl and her father living off the radar in the Oregon woods, avoiding the comforts-and curses-of modern life. Her colleagues on the force are determined to uproot and separate them, but Jess knows the damage of losing those you love. She recognizes her chance to make a difference by doing something she's never dared. Because even though she's used to playing by the rules, there are times when they need to be broken...

What did you find this week? Friday Finds is a meme hosted by Should Be Reading.

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Last week I finished Testimony by Anita Shreve and I am now in the middle of my library book club's selection -- The Painter from Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein.

Have a great week!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Barney's Online Book Club Discussion -- October 2009

Welcome to the third discussion post of Barney's Online Book Club! This month we are discussing Testimony by Anita Shreve. Below are questions to start the discussion, feel free to raise your own questions in the comments section. Please note that the questions and the comments sections may include spoilers! Read at your own risk.

Let the discussion begin!

Discussion Questions:

1. Many blog reviewers have mentioned that telling the story through multiple characters made the story difficult to follow. Do you agree?

2. Did you sympathize with any of the characters? Why or why not?

3. Who do you feel is to blame for Silas's death?

4. How do you feel about Rob's assessment at the end of the novel? Do you think he (and the other characters) will lead a better life because they survived the scandal?

5. What was your over impression of Testimony?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Real Life 'Testimony'?

My sister-in-law, Deb, who is a member of the Barney's Online Book Club wrote me an email today about our book club pick Testimony by Anita Shreve. She remembered seeing an article about a real life private school sex scandal that had happened in Massachusetts -- which is very similiar to the plot of Testimony. Here is part of the email that she sent me:

This one paragraph really reminds me of the 'Testimony' story:

The lowlight of this giant love-in came that January, when a sophomore girl slid into the locker room for the varsity hockey team and fellated five boys in succession. This story passed from students to parents to the headmaster to prosecutors and The Boston Globe. The ensuing scandal was devastating for almost everyone involved. The school was nationally embarrassed, and sometimes girls who’ve graduated from Milton are asked if they are the serial fellator. The five boys involved were expelled, and the three older ones were charged as adults with statutory rape — charges that were eventually dismissed. Controversially, the girl was not expelled. She was placed on administrative leave and eventually transferred.

For more of this article, go to:

Thanks Deb for the great info!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Barney's Online Book Club -- Discussion Post Reminder

Just a quick reminder that the discussion post for Barney's Online Book Club will go up on Sunday, October 25th. We will be discussing Testimony by Anita Shreve. All are welcome!

It's Monday! What are you reading? -- 10/19

I am currently reading Testimony by Anita Shreve for Barney's Online Book Club. It is an interesting read, told in a very interesting style, and I can't wait to discuss it on Sunday.

What are you reading? This meme is hosted by J. Kaye at J. Kaye's Book Blog.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pictures From My Trip

Here are some pictures from my fantastic vacation! The photos are from the first day of the tour. We went to Windsor Castle and Oxford University. Both places were beautiful and the weather was gorgeous so I was able to take a ton of photos. Enjoy!

Windsor Castle:

Oxford University:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Review -- The Opposite of Love

The Opposite of Love
by Julie Baxbaum
Random House, 2009
320 pages

Summary: Emily's life begins to unravel the day she breaks up with her boyfriend just as he is about to propose. So she throws herself into her job only to be sexually harassed by her boss, starts spending quality time with her grandfather as he memory slips away, and tries to connect with her father who is still grieving the death of her mother.

Review: Even with the substantial plot, The Opposite of Love is a light and quick read. Emily is an interesting character, whose life is complex and funny. At the same time, Emily can be a difficult character to understand and empathize with. Her choices are sometimes hard to swallow even though they eventually lead her to a happy conclusion. Baxbaum's writing is clear and flows nicely keeping the reader entertained. Many of the supporting characters are wonderful, such as Ruth -- the retired judge that takes Emily under her wing. While other characters are not as clear, such as Emily's father -- a man who seems to be unable to communicate with his own father and daughter. Rating:*** out of 5.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Review -- The 19th Wife

The 19th Wife
by David Ebershoff
Random House, 2008
528 pages

Summary: It is 1875, and Ann Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled and an outcast, Ann Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of her family’s polygamous history is revealed, including how both she and her mother became plural wives. Yet soon after Ann Eliza’s story begins, a second exquisite narrative unfolds–a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah. Jordan Scott, a young man who was thrown out of his fundamentalist sect years earlier, must reenter the world that cast him aside in order to discover the truth behind his father’s death. And as Ann Eliza’s narrative intertwines with that of Jordan’s search, readers are pulled deeper into the mysteries of love, family, and faith. (From Barnes and Noble website)

Review: David Ebershoff writes an ambitious novel that ties together the fall of polygamy in the late 1800s with a present day mystery of polygamous marriage that ends in murder. The author fully immerses the reader into the history of Ann Eliza as well as the current lifestyles of polygamous cults still active United States. The novel is immensely detailed and can, at times, be a slow read. Still, the end result is an amazing read that should not be missed. Rating: ****1/2 out of 5

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I'm Back!

I am back from my fantastic vacation! I went to England, Scotland, and Wales for 11 days and had a wonderful time. Thanks for all the great comments wishing me well as I went off on my fantastic adventure!

Now that I am back I will have reviews for The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff, The Opposite of Love by Julie Baxbaum, and Stolen by Lucy Christopher posted within the next week or two. I also have to start Testimony by Anita Shreve which is the Barney's Online Book Club selection for October. Only a few weeks until the discussion post!