Monday, August 20, 2012

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry ~ Book Talk

Harold Fry is a quiet, unhappy retired Englishman who receives a letter in the mail from an old colleague, Queenie.  Harold has not forgotten about Queenie but he has not thought about her in a long while. Suddenly she consumes his thoughts and mind. He has an awakening of sorts. Queenie tells him in her letter that she is dying and wanted to say goodbye.  Harold decides to send her a letter and in walking to the post to mail his letter finds himself on a mission to walk to Queenie and deliver the letter himself. This is the start of Harold's 600 mile pilgrimage to deliver his letter to Queenie himself. As he walks, he begins to remember things from his past, much of which he has repressed. With the choice Harold has made, to walk across the country in the clothes on his back, he has set into motion a series of events that will affect many. As the story unfolds, we uncover the reasons of Harold's actions and events that have caused the estrangement from his wife Maureen and his son.

I understand that Harold's walk...his pilgrimage, is a way to sort out his past, regrets, pain, sorrow and misunderstandings. We all make mistakes and can lose our way and some find themselves deeply entrenched and have trouble pulling themselves out. We need others to help us along the way to force us to see reality and face the truth. This happens to Harold and subsequently effects many others along his pilgrimage to see Queenie. 

In honesty, this book just didn't work for me. I found it depressing and unrealistic. I did not adore Harold, I found him annoying and a bit boring. I did like the ending which was a surprise and redeemed the book for me in many ways.  The book seemed to me a bit of a take off of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand which I my opinion, this did not have the same humor or strength of the story and characters that the Major had. 

Source: Public Library

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Gone Girl ~ Book Talk

About Gone Girl: 

Most likely, you have already heard about Gone Girl or read some buzz about this hit book of the summer. I don't want to spoil the reading experience for you as it really is an experience! Gone Girl can be described as a psychological thriller and it's not my usual genre that I pick up. With the buzz and the bits and pieces that I had heard and read about the story, I knew that I had to read it. What's not to draw you into a novel about a seemingly happily married couple celebrating their 5th wedding anniversary and the lovely wife disappears and suddenly it is obvious that something is very wrong in their marriage...but what is it? The twists and turns that the reader takes through the minds of Amy, the wife, with what she reveals in her diary messages and Nick, her husband, with his twin sister who believes in him but oh he really innocent? This novel is pure manipulation of our minds as readers but it is so engrossing and riveting that you will not want to put the book down!

Recommend: Absolutely! This is the kind of book that makes you love reading. A book that is so engrossing, you don't want to stop reading and for me, I did not figure out the ending which was a bit of a surprise. The ending  leaves some things undone which some readers may not like but it does leave open the possibility for a sequel. Gillian Flynn was on The View this month and I watched a clip online with her interview and she did slightly allude that this was a possibility: 

Source: Public Library, Kindle E-Book Loan

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Snapshot ~ August 18

Gaggle of Geese at the Lake

There is a favorite park near where we live that has a beautiful lake and a two mile walking trail to walk around the lake. On a recent summer evening, my husband and I came across the path of this gaggle of geese. We saw a Blue Heron that night as well on the other side of the lake but we couldn't capture a photo of it hidden in the brush around the lake. It's a very relaxing place to walk, enjoy the beauty of nature and the lake. 

(Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home with Books)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Broken Harbor ~ Book Talk

What Broken Harbor is about:

Broken Harbor is the fourth novel in Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad novels. Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy is the Murder Squad's top detective and plays by the book and gets put in charge of the biggest murder case of his career. He ends up choosing rookie partner, Richie, which ends up to be a challenge in itself. Their case, the violent assault and murder of a family in a half built and abandoned luxury home development in Broken Harbor which also holds past memories for Mick. 

Why did I choose to read this book?

I read Tana French's first book, In the Woods, earlier this year. I liked the writing style, detail and character development. Although, I did find the novel drawn out and felt like the story could have been told with less detail. I didn't read the authors next two books  but this one caught my interest and I decided to give it a try. 

Recommend? I have mixed feelings about this. I did find Broken Harbor more engaging than the first book, and my interest was held throughout most of the book. I found the character development engaging and the characters were complex but not hard to follow. I found a few things near the ending that didn't seem realistic  and I did find myself skimming pages and did not miss the points of the story. The author did a great job in the creepiness factor with the psychological bents as I did find the story invading my dreams at night. I had to put it aside and read it during the day. I've had this happen before so it just may be my own subconscious sensitivity to psychological thrillers. I believe that if you are a fan of  police & psychological thrillers that you will enjoy this book and if you are a fan of Tana French and her writing you will most definitely enjoy Broken Harbor. 

Book Talk: In my back to blogging goals, I am trying to write my reviews in a simpler, quicker manner as if I was sharing my thoughts with a friend. I am patterning my reviews after my blogger friend Staci from Life In The Thumb and her Bookish Thoughts posts. I admire her heartfelt honesty and ability to get to the point and enjoy reading her Bookish Thoughts reviews. I'd appreciate your thoughts on this review style. I may tweak it as I go along but for now it is a great way for me to get reviews written quickly and with less pressure. 

Source: Public Library

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is on tour the month of August with 
host Jennifer D from 5 Minutes for Books

It's been quite awhile since I've participated in Mailbox Monday where we share the books that came into our house the last week. I did receive one new book in the mail:

Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook from Paperbackswap

I can't wait to read this one as Claire Cook is one of my favorite authors, it just may be the perfect book for me to read next! 

Catching up on a Sunday....

Summer is passing quickly and soon it will be back to school time. My son will be in his last year of middle school and I am starting a new job and will be working with preschoolers this school year. It's all good and I am looking forward to a positive change. My goal is to keep up with my blog and make things simpler here and less pressure for myself. As my wise blogger friend Bookfan Mary recently commented... "Take time with the blog. It's your hobby- not your job, right? ;-)" Thanks Mary, your words rang true for me! 

I have been reading and my goal is to blog about the books I've been reading in a mini-review style. I have not been accepting books for review except some Kindle e-galley copies and I plan to write some reviews about these books as well. I have decided not to participate in book tours for now as they are too much pressure for me to stick to deadlines. I also plan to stop and visit my blogger friends blogs. I want to enjoy blogging, for it to be fun and to connect to other readers, bloggers and authors. Truly, the main goal for me is to write about and share my love of reading in a simple and authentic way that is not stressful or full of conflict, pressure and deadlines. I hope that you guys stick around, I am thankful for those who have kept in touch with me.

Some of the books that I've recently read:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Kindle Ebook from library)

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake (Audio book from library)

Books I am Currently Reading:

Broken Harbor by Tana French (Hardback from Library)

A Turn in the Road by Debbie Macomber (Audio Book from Library)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday Snapshot ~ August 11

(click on picture to see an enlarged view)

~Beading Class~

I took a beading class with a friend of mine last month. It has been something that I have always wanted to try and this was a beginner's class and I made the necklace in the top picture and the bracelet below. I now know some basics to beading and learned some techniques and tips. The instructor was helpful and the ladies that sat at the table with us were more experienced and they willingly shared some tips on websites to find tutorials and how to's as well as places to purchase beads and tools at reasonable prices. I already have some requests to make some things and these would also make great gifts. Someone suggested making beaded bookmarks which would be a fun thing to make. Does anyone bead or have any suggestions for a newbie beader? I'd love to hear any advice or tips!

My blog has been quiet again this summer. I am trying to find a balance and a way back to blogging. I will continue to focus on finding my "voice" or my "style" here on my blog. I've had a bit of writer's block and other issues which have kept things quiet here. My goal is to find my way back to regular blogging about books and life. Bear with me as I find the balance and I hope to stop and visit your blogs as well.