Exquisite Corpse by Pénélope Bagieu

  • Exquisite Corpse (5:5 First Second)Title:  Exquisite Corpse
  • Author:  Pénélope Bagieu
  • Genre:  Graphic Novel
  • Published:  May 5, 2015 – First Second
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Zoe isn’t exactly the intellectual type, which is why she doesn’t recognize world-famous author Thomas Rocher when she stumbles into his apartment … and into his life.

Zoe doesn’t know Balzac from Batman but she’s going to have to wise up fast … because Rocher has a terrible secret and now Zoe is sitting on the literary scandal of the century. 

My take:  I’ve read a handful of graphic novels so my opinion is based on what I enjoyed about Exquisite Corpse and not how it may or may not compare to other graphic novels.

First off, I loved Pénélope Bagieu’s illustrations. Check out the cover.  Zoe’s wide-eyed innocent look, author Tom’s scruffy sleep-deprived look and editor Agathe’s sleek uptown look were captured perfectly. I liked how various scenes were colored differently to show a change in scene (or chapter?). Like I said, I don’t have a lot of experience reading graphic novels so maybe that’s how they all are. It worked for me.

I won’t spoil by revealing the ‘literary scandal of the century’. I thought the plot was a bit predictable but the illustrations made up for that. Even so, I had to laugh as the story played out. The characters in the book are all adults so readers shouldn’t be shocked by a few adult scenes/dialogue. They fit in with the general tone of the novel.

So, did I like it? Because of my thoughts in the paragraph above, a qualified yes. Will I read more graphic novels? Maybe – when I’m looking for something a little different. Recommended to fans of graphic novels.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

wondrous2

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy at Bermudaonion where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. Join in by writing a post and then add your link to Mr. Linky at Bermudaonion.

It’s been a while since I posted a WWW but, in the meantime, I kept a file of words that caught my eye so I’d have them ready for my next post. Of the two below, I can see myself using yardarm ;)


From The Marriage Charm by Linda Lael Miller

yardarm

The New Oxford American Dictionary:

n.  the outer extremity of a ship’s yard

Example:  The sun is over the yardarm – used to refer to the time of day when it is permissible to begin drinking.

“The sun was well over the yardarm, wasn’t it?”

____

From The Martian by Andy Weir

titration (from titrate)

The New OAD:

v.  ascertain(ing) the amount of a constituent in a solution by measuring the volume of a known concentration of reagent required to complete a reaction with it, typically using an indicator.

“My life is now a desperate struggle for survival…with occasional titration.”

Hold Me by Susan Mallery

  • Hold Me (April28)Title:  Hold Me
  • Series:  Fool’s Gold #16
  • Author:  Susan Mallery
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  April 28, 2015 – HQN Books
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  Destiny Mills is in Fool’s Gold for the summer. She works for a company that provides software to search and rescue departments in the US and Canada. The mayor of Fool’s Gold hired her to work with the local S&R team.

Kipling Gilmore was a world-class skier until an accident changed his life. He’s lucky to be alive much less able to walk. The mayor hired him to head up the S&R team in Fool’s Gold.

Both Destiny and Kipling had less than desirable upbringings. Destiny’s parents are country music stars who divorced after a tumultuous marriage. Both went on to have several partners resulting in more children. Until their divorce and Destiny (age 10 at the time) went to live with her grandmother she’d never felt secure, much less loved. Kipling was raised with a violent father who said all the right words but his actions said other. He was able to leave that life when he moved in with his ski coach and family but he felt guilty leaving his sister to bear the brunt of their father’s anger. It’s no wonder neither Destiny nor Kipling think they can have a normal relationship – they don’t think they are capable because it was never modeled by the adults in their lives.

These two had a lot to overcome. Being a romance novel the reader knows there will be a happy ending. I have to say while I really liked the main storyline of Hold Me I found the secondary plots almost silly. But, this a series I enjoy so I’ll continue to read the books as they are published. I’m hooked. I recommend this book to fans of the Fool’s Gold series, small town romance, and Susan Mallery.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

the year my mother came back (Algonquin)  the backup husband (Aug. review)  the matchmaker (audio)  the art of baking blind (5:5)

Last week on Bookfan:

second chances (Apr14)   Rebel Queen (Mar3)

Currently reading:

second chance friends (5:5 NAL)

Here’s the promised pic of our daughter and her husband at their wedding last week

IMG_4267

Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran

  • Rebel Queen (Mar3)Title:  Rebel Queen: A Novel
  • Author:  Michelle Moran
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Published:  March 2015 – Touchstone
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  When the British Empire sets its sights on India in the mid-nineteenth century, it expects a quick and easy conquest. India is fractured and divided into kingdoms, each independent and wary of one another, seemingly no match for the might of the English. But when they arrive in the Kingdom of Jhansi, the British army is met with a surprising challenge.

Instead of surrendering, Queen Lakshmi raises two armies—one male and one female—and rides into battle, determined to protect her country and her people. Although her soldiers may not appear at first to be formidable against superior British weaponry and training, Lakshmi refuses to back down from the empire determined to take away the land she loves. (from the publisher’s synopsis)

My take:  From the first page I was completely captivated by Michelle Moran’s story. Rani Lakshmi is a heroine with honor, compassion, morals and backbone. She wants to lead her people and keep them safe as well. Rebel Queen is told from the perspective of Sita, one of the rani’s Royal Guard – the Durga Dal – comprised of women responsible for protecting the rani. Sita’s story was so interesting and fleshed out or enhanced the factual story of the rani.

Rebel Queen is the third Moran book I’ve read and, as usual, I learned a lot. I remember in high  school history learning a bit about Great Britain and it’s quest to take India. It saddened me to see the rani and her people lose their country. The British underestimated the determination of the rani and the people of Jhansi who refused to give up without a fight. The immediate results were heartbreaking and horrifying. That said, I couldn’t put the book down. It’s a real page-turner.

If you’re a fan of historical fiction I think you’ll enjoy this book. There’s a helpful glossary as well as an author’s note concerning the factual and fictional aspects of Rebel Queen. I can’t wait to see who Michelle Moran writes about next!

Highly recommended.

Second Chances by Stacy Finz

  • second chances (Apr14)Title:  Second Chances
  • Series:  Nugget Romance series #3
  • Author:  Stacy Finz
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  April 14, 2015 – Kensington
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  Harlee Roberts makes quite an entrance in Nugget, CA. Her Mini Cooper, pulling a U-Haul trailer, slides off the mountain road leading to her family’s cabin. Luckily, Colin Burke, Harlee’s new neighbor, sees it happen and is able to rescue her and her things.

Harlee is looking to get her life back on track after losing her newspaper job in San Francisco. She also wants to devote time to her start-up online company. The mountain cabin near the small town of Nugget seems the perfect place to get her bearings going forward.

Colin is quickly becoming famous for the amazing furniture he makes as well as his custom home carpentry. There’s a bit of mystery about him that Harlee would like to know but she will patiently wait for him to share. That mystery has affected Colin’s life in negative ways. Harlee tries to help him deal with some issues without knowing his entire story. How the truth will affect these two who seem destined for one another soon becomes apparent.

Second Chances is the third book in the Nugget series though it can be read as a stand alone. I enjoyed the Harlee/Colin story as well as seeing familiar characters from previous books. I look forward to seeing how a few subplots progress in the next book. There’s a preview of book 4 at the end. Recommended to fans of small town romance.

Sunday Post (late edition)

Book arrivals: (linked to Mailbox Monday)

that chesapeake summer (6:23 Pocket)  It's You (6:2 Berkley)  Exquisite Corpse (5:5 First Second)  a new hope (6:30)  the secret life of violet grant (blog tour)

Last week on Bookfan:

I took last week off. Our daughter was married on Saturday! I’ll try to get a pic to post next week.

Currently reading:

the sound of glass (5:12 NAL)

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

A Bollywood Affair (audio:kindle)  the shopkeeper's daughter - giveaway win  the house of hawthorne (review 5:21)

Last week on Bookfan:

Visiting the Sins   stardust summer (audio - jukeboxaudio)   Inside the O'Briens (Apr7)

Currently reading:

the sound of glass (5:12 NAL)

The blog will be quiet for the next week as we prepare for a big family event. I’ll be back next Monday.


 

 

#FitReaders Weekly Check-in

FitReaders2015

#FitReaders hosted by That’s What I’m Talking About and  Geeky Bloggers Book Blog 

  • Saturday:       5,367
  • Sunday:          3,841
  • Monday:       11,904
  • Tuesday:       12,196
  • Wednesday:  12,471
  • Thursday:      11,790
  • Friday:           12,237

I had a few walks outdoors but more on the treadmill due to rain.

Read on the treadmill:

the sound of glass (5:12 NAL)

Last week Rita asked about reading on the treadmill and I said I’d post pics:

IMG_4219  IMG_4221  IMG_4223

The first pic is of the treadmill; next with the iPad Mini; last pic is what I see while reading. Everything else fades away and before I know it 45-60 minutes have flown by :) Important to note is that (obviously) the book isn’t at eye level. It’s down a few inches and similar to sitting and reading a book. I was amazed the first time I tried reading this way. That said, I can’t walk and read a paper book – I’ve tried. Do you read while you walk?


Inside the O’Briens: A Novel by Lisa Genova

  • Inside the O'Briens (Apr7)Title:  Inside the O’Briens: A Novel
  • Author:  Lisa Genova
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  April 2015 – Gallery Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis: Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s Disease.

Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure. Each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease, and a simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. While watching her potential future in her father’s escalating symptoms, twenty-one-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life. Does she want to know? What if she’s gene positive? Can she live with the constant anxiety of not knowing?

As Joe’s symptoms worsen and he’s eventually stripped of his badge and more, Joe struggles to maintain hope and a sense of purpose, while Katie and her siblings must find the courage to either live a life “at risk” or learn their fate.  (from the publisher’s synopsis)

My take:   Inside the O’Briens is the third of Lisa Genova’s four novels I’ve read. Each has a medical condition as its focus. With Inside the O’Briens she addresses Huntington’s Disease, an inherited neurological condition that has no cure.

The O’Briens are an Irish Catholic family who all live in a triple-decker in Charlestown, MA. Joe and his wife Rosie are parents to 4 adult children in their twenties (2 boys and 2 girls) and a daughter-in-law. Joe begins exhibiting symptoms that soon result in a diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease (HD). When he and Rosie break the news to the kids they have to explain that each of them has a 50/50 chance of being gene positive, meaning, if positive, they will get HD in ten to twenty years.

Genova’s excellent story-telling skills shine as she takes the reader inside the minds of the main characters. There were times I had to stop reading because the emotions I was feeling were so intense. And then I’d spend a lot of time just thinking about what I would do in their situation. I learned a lot about HD, the genetics involved in a diagnosis, and much more regarding therapy and other treatments for symptoms of the disease.

I would recommend Inside the O’Briens to fans of the author and contemporary fiction with a medical focus. It would be a great selection for book groups.

Audiobook review: Stardust Summer by Lauren Clark

  • stardust summer (audio - jukeboxaudio)Title:  Stardust Summer
  • Author:  Lauren Clark
  • Narrator:  Erin Mallon
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  2013 – Camellia Press
  • Source:  Publisher/Audio Jukebox

Synopsis:  Single mom Grace Mason doesn’t believe in miracles, magic, or love at first sight. She likes the quiet life, complete with her eight-year-old son, their tiny house, and her teaching job. For Grace, happiness means that nothing much ever changes in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. 

Then, one thousand miles away, tragedy strikes. A massive heart attack leaves Grace’s estranged father comatose in an Upstate New York hospital. While a team of doctors fight to keep Henry Mason alive, Grace and Evan rush to his bedside to say their final goodbyes. 

Henry’s passing brings little closure for Grace, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to her new surroundings. What begins as a short trip results in an entire summer spent with Henry’s second wife, Kathleen, and her next-door neighbor, Ryan Gordon, the town doctor. When a series of unlikely events lead to Evan’s disappearance, Grace must face her worst fears to find her son and bring him back home. 

Stardust Summer explores the complexities of forgiveness, what it means to be a family, and the fabulous possibility of falling in love again.  (publisher)

My take:  Grace has no intention of going to see her father and step-mother when she receives a formal invitation to a library function at the college where her father works. They’ve been estranged for a long time and she’s just fine with her quiet life in Mississippi. Her plans change when her father has a heart attack. She and her son Evan hurry to New York hoping to arrive before it’s too late. Their plan is to stay for a week or so but their visit becomes much longer for various reasons. In that time Grace will discover information about her past that could change the way she views her future. Will she be able to change her feelings with the new information? And is she willing to make a fresh start?

Dr. Ryan Gordon, Grace’s stepmother’s neighbor and friend, is at a place in his life where he finally understands the need for a life outside his practice. He shares Grace’s grief and would like to be more than a friend to her. He knows what it’s like to lose someone important so he understands, on some level, what Grace is going through. He also appreciates what is really important in life – family and good friends. Will Grace let him in and take a chance on love?

I liked this book but had to wonder about how Kathleen navigated her grief. I paused at some of the things she did in the week following her husband’s funeral. That could be just me, though. At any rate, I found Grace and Ryan’s story interesting. Lauren Clark’s novel is one I’d recommend to fans of contemporary fiction. I loved the setting – and the cover.

Narrator: I enjoyed Erin Mallon’s narration. From older Kathleen to younger Grace and Ryan to eight-year-old Evan, I thought she voiced the characters perfectly and would definitely listen to more of her performances.

Spotlight/Giveaway/Guest Post by Melanie Denman, author of Visiting the Sins.

Visiting the Sins

Great Expectations of Mothers

Since Visiting the Sins was published, one theme seems to have pushed more hot buttons with my readers than any other: how mothers ought to behave. In most cultures, but especially within the evangelical Christian culture of this story, we like our mothers saintly. Sober, modest and self-sacrificing. Or at least the appearance of such.

On one level, this expectation makes perfect sense. We shudder to imagine a world in which mothers abandon their young for drugs and debauchery. Those of us who were blessed with devoted mothers know in our hearts that we owe much of the good in our lives to the nurturing we received as children. And yet…

The women in Visiting the Sins repeatedly found themselves in situations in which their motherly obligations conflicted with something else. As a dirt-poor single mother without education or skills, Pokey (the matriarch of the Wheeler family) does some unsavory things in order to feed her family and propel them into increasingly greater wealth. In her mind, puritan morality is a luxury she could not afford, and she made no apologies for it.

The shame that Pokey’s behavior causes for her daughter, Rebanelle, turns out to be the driving force in Rebanelle’s life. Rebanelle holds herself to an impossibly high standard of behavior and devotes all her energy to redeeming the family’s reputation. When her daughter, Curtis Jean, slides into alcoholism and depression, the threat of public exposure is more than Rebanelle can bear. She covers it up.

Has anybody else been there?? In the course of my research for Visiting the Sins, I interviewed a host of church-going moms who had struggled with addiction and/or mental illness. Their stories ran the gamut from heartbreaking to hilarious, sometimes both, but one thread ran through almost all of them – the difficulty of admitting to a personal challenge for fear of losing their children or shaming their families.

As I followed the women of Visiting the Sins on their winding journey through the joys and pitfalls and impossible choices of motherhood, I found myself wondering – why are we, as moms, so hard on ourselves and each other? We all know the answer: because we don’t want our children to pay the price for our selfishness and weakness. But the more I hear from women who saw themselves in one of the characters in my story, the more I wonder about the price the whole family pays when a problem has to be kept a secret.


Book Description:

Set in the Bible Belt of Deep East Texas, Visiting the Sins is a darkly funny story about mothers and daughters, naked ambition, elusive redemption, and all the torment it’s possible to inflict in the name of family.

Down through the decades, the lofty social aspirations of the feisty but perennially dissatisfied Wheeler women — Pokey, the love-starved, pistol-packing matriarch; Rebanelle, the frosty former beauty queen turned church organist; and Curtis Jean, the backsliding gospel singer — are exceeded only by their unfortunate taste in men and a seemingly boundless capacity for holding grudges. A legacy of feuding and scandal lurches from one generation to the next with tragic consequences that threaten to destroy everything the Wheeler women have sacrificed their souls to build.

Where to buy the book:

On author’s website
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Melanie DenmanAbout the Author:

Melanie Denman is a native of Nacogdoches, Texas and a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University. An eighth-generation Texan, and a former banker and cattle rancher, she currently lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is working on a second novel.

Connect with Melanie:  Website  ~  Facebook


​Giveaway: ​One of 15 copies of Visiting the Sins (Open USA & Canada) and Amazon Gift Cards 3 X $10, 2 X $15, 1 X $20 (Open internationally). Ends April 25.

Visiting the Sins

Please click here and scroll to bottom of page for Rafflecopter Giveaway


iRead Book Tour Logo Medium

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

beach town (5:19) Tandem Literary  the guest cottage (5:12) ballantine  the idea of love (6:23) St.MartinsPress  the sound of glass (5:12 NAL)

the cake therapist (6:2 Berkley)    second chance friends (5:5 NAL)

Last week on Bookfan:

Never Too Late (Mar31)   Little Beach Street Bakery (3:31:15)   chronically me (memoir)

Currently reading:

Rebel Queen (Mar3)

#FitReaders Weekly Check-in and a Mini Review: Chronically Me

FitReaders2015

#FitReaders hosted by Geeky Bloggers Book Blog  and That’s What I’m Talking About.

Fitbit steps:

  • Sat:     12,367
  • Sun:    11,875
  • Mon:  10,648
  • Tues:   11,521
  • Wed:   14,299
  • Thu:    11,938
  • Fri:        7,095

I walked outside almost everyday. Ah, fresh air :)

Treadmill reading:

Finding Glory (May26)

Outdoor audiobook:

stardust summer (audio - jukeboxaudio)


Mini Review:

Chronically Me: Flushing Out My Live and Times With IBS: A Memoir in Comics by Joy Spencer

chronically me (memoir)Joy Spencer’s memoir perfectly portrays the frustration of trying to find answers regarding a medical condition. Her frustration is conveyed by her humorous illustrations of medical appointments, treatments, and life with a chronic disease in general. I have to believe her book will put a spotlight on how people dealing with chronic diseases feel on a daily basis. Kudos to Joy Spencer! Recommended.

 

Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

  • Little Beach Street Bakery (3:31:15)Title:  Little Beach Street Bakery
  • Author:  Jenny Colgan
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  March 2015 – William Morrow
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  When 30-something Polly’s life leads her to the day where the men from the bank take over her (and her boyfriend’s) house, and their business is dissolved, she is forced to start over – without the boyfriend. She finds herself living in a wreck of a flat over a vacant bakery in a tiny seaside village an hour from where her old life went wrong. There’s nowhere to go but up. Polly survives on her optimism and willingness to change. She’s a character you can’t help but cheer on as she takes her hobby of baking bread to the next level and eventually has more takers for her bread than she ever dreamed.

It’s not all easy street for Polly though. Gillian, the woman who used to be the only bakery owner on the tidal island is not pleased with her competition. She uses intimidation on Polly but to no avail. Can the two co-exist? And what about the intriguing fisherman, Tarnie. Polly is surprised by her attraction as he’s so different from her last boyfriend. Can she even look at him in that way? But there’s more – Huckle, the American beekeeper is a bit of a mystery that she would like to solve. Huckle’s friend Reuben and Kerensa, Polly’s best friend, add an over-the-top and highly entertaining aspect to the plot.

I don’t want to spoil by telling more but suffice to say that Little Beach Street Bakery could end up on my 2015 Favorite Books list. It’s the first of Jenny Colgan’s books I’ve read and I can’t wait to read another.

Blog Tour: Never Too Late by Robyn Carr

  • Never Too Late (Mar31)Title:  Never Too Late: A Novel
  • Author:  Robyn Carr
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  March 2015 – Mira
  • Source:  Publisher/Little Bird Publicity

My take:  The McCarthy sisters are about to face big changes in their lives. Clare caught her husband of sixteen years cheating (again) and it’s the last straw. Maggie’s daughters are presenting the usual challenges that come with young teens. She’s also wondering why her husband doesn’t seem to find her attractive anymore. That has to be why their love life is lacking, right? In the years following their mother’s death, youngest McCarthy sister Sarah has become an almost reclusive artist  spending every waking moment at her studio. When will she find the courage to jump back into life?

When Clare flees the scene of her husband’s latest incident she’s involved in a terrible accident. Her recovery will take months and she’ll rely on her family like never before. There are a couple of male friends who will try to be part of her healing. Maggie can only hope there’s time to get her oldest daughter back on track. Sarah completes a self-makeover with interesting results. It’s not just Clare who’ll need the support of her sisters. All three will prove their love for each other through strength that only sisters can show.

I enjoyed Robyn Carr’s updated rerelease of Never Too Late. I didn’t have a chance to read it the first time around. There are moments with the mothers and their children that most mothers will relate to and I know many readers with sisters will find much that resonates. I’d recommend this book to fans of the author and contemporary women’s fiction.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

The Miracles of Prato  What I Remember Most (kindle:audible)  chronically me (memoir)

Last week on Bookfan:

the bookseller (Mar3)   the traveling tea shop (Mar3)   One True Heart (blog tour 3:25)

Currently reading:

Finding Glory (May26)

#FitReaders Weekly Check-in

FitReaders2015

  • Sat:     13,270
  • Sun:   10,009
  • Mon:  13,643
  • Tue:    11,664
  • Wed:   11,691
  • Thu:     4,651
  • Fri:     10,443

My cold left last week and I felt more like getting some regular exercise. Still on the treadmill because temps haven’t been out of the 30s (F). We’re supposed to reach the 40s and 50s in the week ahead so I’m looking forward to walking outdoors and listening to an audiobook. Have a great week!

Treadmill reading:

Finding Glory (May26)