Friday, November 27, 2015

Girl Underwater

"Oxygen masks bounce on seats like coiled springs. Someone's leopard-print luggage lands in the doorway between first class and coach. Lights are flickering. Alarms blaring. ... It occurs to me then, finally, that we're going down. There are other people sharing this nightmare, two hundred of them, seeing the same horrors and experiencing the same despair and hearing the same staccato beat of air and engines. Our paths were supposed to diverge again in Boston, but they didn't. We're here. We're ending. Together."


Sophomore Avery Delacorte is flying home for Thanksgiving when her flight crashes in the Colorado Rockies. The plane lands in a remote mountain lake. There are only five survivors: Avery, three little boys, and Colin Shea, a fellow swimmer on Avery's college swim team. Together they must face the cold, the snow, the fears of three small boys, and the uncertainty that all of them will be rescued in time.

Girl Underwater by Claire Kells is more than a story of wilderness survival; it's also the story of the aftermath of that plane crash and how Avery is affected by everything that happened before, during, and after. Not only does she have to deal with the psychological and physical trauma, she has to deal with her feelings for Colin, and her hopes and fears for the future. This novel is nicely complicated, well developed and very absorbing. I read it in two days. But then I'm a sucker for survival stories, especially when they end well. And this book's ending made me smile.

Happy Reading!

Monday, November 23, 2015

A bookish update...

Recently finished: Deadlight Hall by Sarah Rayne

Still reading: Red--A History of the Redhead by Jacky Colliss Harvey

Recently checked out from the library:
Feed by Mira Grant
The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
Love Finds You in Calico. California by Elizabeth Ludwig
The Caged Graves by Dianne Salerni
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
In Search of the Rose Notes by Emily Arsenault

Really looking forward to: Thanksgiving day turkey, stuffing, and homemade pumpkin pie (with lots of left-overs for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) as well as staying home and NOT shopping this weekend.

Am very grateful for:  family, friends, the gospel of Jesus Christ, employment, a car that runs, vacations, good books, hoodies, chocolate, and bubble baths.

Up next: Not a book, but my favorite holiday movie, the one I watch every Thanksgiving: Miracle on 34th Street (the classic version starring Maureen O'Hara, John Payne and Natalie Wood)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Historical fiction fun...

It is 1871 and the Ladies' Emigration Society has promised Caroline Jamison, a young Civil War widow, and several other single women homestead claims in Cayote, Nebraska. But when they arrive, the women discover that Mr. Drake, the man in charge of the Emigration Society, has actually lined up marriages for them instead. Only Caroline isn't interested in marrying again. She and five of the other women insist on filing homestead claims in Plum Grove, Nebraska instead.

Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson is an entertaining historical fiction novel with a lot of humor and a lot of heart. The five women who are the main characters each have their own story to tell: Caroline, a southern belle who married a yankee; tall and plain Ella, who came out with her mother, Zita; Ruth, also a widow, and her fourteen-year-old son, Jackson; rough-around-the-edges Sallie, who divorced her abusive husband; and Hettie, who secretly ran away from hers. I liked them all. There's romance in this novel, too, some of it predictable, some of it unexpected, all of it enjoyable. Plus, I've been drawn to homesteading stories and this time period in American history ever since I was a kid and first read all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder for me, this novel checked all the boxes.

Happy Reading!

Monday, November 16, 2015

November's Bookish Art...

Mary Cassatt
"I like best to have one book in my hand,
and a stack of others beside me."
--Dorothy Parker

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bookish thoughts...

To review or not to review.  What do you say about books that aren't bad, but that aren't great either? Like all those books you give three stars to on Goodreads. They aren't bad enough to trash, but are they good enough to recommend when there are so many other, possibly better, books out there to read? I prefer to write about the books I really like, not the ones that are merely okay. The only bad thing about that is when I hit a stretch of mediocre reads and end up having nothing to write about at all.

On books vs. movies.  In the past, whenever they turned a book into a movie that I wanted to see, I always tried to read the book before I saw the movie. Because the book came first. But lately, whenever there's a movie coming out of a book I haven't read yet, I find myself thinking, "Oh good. Now I don't have to read the book; I can just go see the movie." It's sad but true. Especially with books that are probably really good. Like The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials and Room. All are books I had on my To Read list once, but now I no longer feel like I have to read them...I can just go to the movie instead. And I don't even feel guilty about it. There are just too many other books that I want to read...and never enough time to read them all.

Happy Reading!
(or movie watching)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Got books?

Wendy Welch and her husband, Jack, purchase an old Edwardian house in Big Stone Gap--a tiny Appalachian coal town in southwest Virginia--and almost on a whim, decide to turn the downstairs into a used bookstore. Opening a bookstore had always been one of their dreams, but they weren't exactly prepared for their dream to arrive so soon.
"We bought the house in July and planned to open shop in October; a quick turn-around meant the place could start paying us back for its purchase. Since we didn't have any investment capital, without remorse or pity, we culled our personal library for inventory...The books from our personal cull barely filled half of one room's shelves, yet three rooms waited. It didn't feel cozy or full of promise, more barren and tomblike...The book morgue that wanted to be a shop was our problem, waiting for our solution. But hook, crook, or sheer force of will, we would find more books--without going into debt for them."
5 things I loved about The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: a memoir of friendship, community, and the uncommon pleasure of a good book by Wendy Welch:

  • It's a book about books...and a one-of-a-kind bookstore! Two of my favorite things. 
  • Welch's writing is humorous, honest and heartfelt. making this memoir a delightfully funny read.
  • Big Stone Gap itself and the sometimes quirky, always interesting, book-loving characters who live there.
  • Every chapter is headed by an awesome bookish quote. (And I love bookish quotes!)
  • At its heart, this story is about making your 'someday dreams' come true. Because...
"What if someday is today?"

Happy Reading!

Similar read: 
Three Things You Need to Know About Rockets by Jessica A. Fox (Which is about a girl and a dream, a bookstore in Scotland, and a fairy tale romance.)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Another bookish gem ...

Title: The Ladies Auxiliary by Tova Mirvis
First line: Before Batsheva moved to Memphis, our community was the safest place on earth, close, small, held together like a carefully crocheted sweater.

The arrival of free-spirited Batsheva and her young daughter quickly disrupts life in this tight-knit Orthodox community: she sings too loud at shul, dresses wrong, and doesn't wait to see how others do things; she just acts. She doesn't try to fit in. Instead, she begins studying with the Rabbi's handsome son, Yosef, in the mornings, and teaching art classes at the Jewish school in the afternoons. She asks questions, and soon has the other women questioning things, too, even if only within themselves. It's not her intent, but Batsheva's influence soon ripples through this traditional community...unraveling everything.
"Mark my words, Helen. This is going to be a situation to watch out for."
This book is a charming blend of Jewish culture and Southern hospitality. It's a book about women: young and old, widows and wives, mothers and daughters. I liked all of them. Especially Batsheva. I admired her view of religion and how, by keeping kosher and celebrating Shabbos, she seeks to draw closer to God; I also found it interesting how it's this aspect of her character that seems to make the other women most uncomfortable. How they react to Batsheva's presence, and the effect she has on their lives, made me laugh, wince, and at times, even want to cry. It's a thought-provoking read. I loved the humor and the honesty of Mirvis' writing. Most of all, I loved the way this book made me stop and ponder my own life.

Happy Reading!

Monday, November 2, 2015


I had 12 categories left on my reading bingo card and I just finished reading the last one. (Hooray!) Here are the books I read and the categories they filled for the last 12 squares:

20th Century Dead Author: The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie (Because you can never go wrong with Christie.)
ART: The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro
Banned: The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (For some reason this was the hardest category for me to complete.)
A Book Abandoned: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (I got to page 280--more than halfway through this 529-page book--and while I thought it was interesting, I just didn't want to read the rest. So I quit.)
Book of Essays: The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan (Such amazing writing!)
Celebrity: Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison
Cult Classic: I actually ended up reading two books for this category: Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, a novel about a carnival cult, and V For Vendetta by Alan Moore, a graphic novel that has a cult following.
Passion: Blind Descent by James M. Tabor
Pulitzer Prize: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Revisited: The Alliance by Gerald N. Lund (My all-time favorite dystopian novel!)
Trash: Captive Heart by Michele Paige Holmes (Not so much trash as pure fluff.)
UFO: Raven's Exile: A Season on the Green River by Ellen Meloy

One of the reasons I love doing reading bingo is that it pushes me out of my bookish comfort zone and makes me try books I wouldn't otherwise read. Which is a good thing. So here's a big THANKS to the Unruly Reader for coming up with this awesome bing card. I had a lot of fun completing it!

Happy Reading!

(To see what I read for the other 13 bingo categories click here.)