One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

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One Plus One

by Jojo Moyes

published by Pamela Dorman Books

2014

I received this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

I am a big fan of this author and have enjoyed her books in the past, so I was really looking forward to reading this.  It honestly started a little slow for me.  I could not really believe what a mess Jess’s life was, or how royally Ed could screw up without someone stopping him.  Once they actually got on the road and headed to Scotland on their crazy road trip to the Math Olympiad, I was totally hooked.  I loved these two main characters and how funny they were when they interacted.  I also love how good of a mom Jess is trying to be and how she is always thinking things will work out.  This is a lite and fun read- a little different from Moyes’ other work, but very well written and engaging.

Summary

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.

My Rating

4 out of 5

You mean there are other things to do besides read?? A Top Ten List

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely ladies over there give us book bloggers wonderful and fun topics to create our lists! Check out what others have posted by going over there!

http://brokeandbookish.blogspot.com

This week’s topic is-

Tope Ten Favorite Movies/T.V. Shows

Full Disclosure- I don’t watch much television.  I like a football/hockey game in season, but otherwise-nah.  I do have a few I do like- I guess it means shows that are actually on now, as opposed to in the post (The Sopranos would be #1)

I decided to do a little mix again-5 T.V. shows and 15movies, so here it goes-

T.V. Shows

1.  Orange is the New Black

Just started watching this (binge watching)

2.  Mad Men

I only got up to the 5th season, but I really plan on getting back to it.

3.  The Colbert Report

The funniest man on television.

4.  The Big Bang Theory

I have a child that is a little TOO much like Sheldon.

5.  The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

Cracks me up- whenI stay up late enough to watch it.

Movies

1.  Casablanca

2.  The Shawshank Redemption

3.  The Wizard of Oz.

4.  The Godfather

5.  The Breakfast Club

Bonus:

Love Actually

My Fair Lady

I know it looks like a very strange mix.

What are some of your favorite T.V. shows or movies?

June was Stephen King Month…at least for me that is!

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Hello all!  This past June, I really got into reading the great Stephen King.

I was fortunate enough to win a copy of Bag of Bones from Rory over at Fourth Street Reviews for participating in King’s March.  I then decided to tackle my first novella by King, and then timed it totally right to request Mr. Mercedes as soon as it was released from my library.

So, I decided to wrap all this up in one mini review post.

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Bag of Bones

Thank you so much Rory!  I don’t think this would have been on my radar, if it had not been recommend to me by you.  I am continually surprised by how versatile a writer Mr. King is.  I first read The Shining, which scared the life out of me.  Next up was The Stand-so very different, but equally captivating.  Now we have Mike Noonan, and his broken heart.  Did Stephen King realize he was writing what is essentially a love story, albeit a haunted, spooky one?  My heart broke with Mike’s grief for Jo, his dead wife.  Don’t get me wrong-this is no fluffy love story.  It is creepy, with lots of bad people, ghosts, and very strange going ons.  But it is amazing how King shows grief, and live, through Mike. I loved this story, and want everyone to read it.

Great lines-

Any good marriage is secret territory, a necessary white space on society’s map. What others don’t know about it is what makes it yours.”

“A writer is a man who has taught his mind to misbehave.” 

“For men, I think, love is a thing formed of equal parts lust and astonishment. The astonishment part women understand. The lust part they only think they understand.”

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Mr. Mercedes

Mr. Mercedes is King’s newest novel, released just last month.  This is the story of a man who ran into a line of people waiting to enter a job fair with a stolen mercedes, and  Detective Hodges who recently retired, leaving this case open.  When the killer contacts Hodges in hopes to drive him over the edge of despair, he piques the detectives interest too much, and pushed him back on the case.  Part of the genius of King’s writing is the belief that evil, and evil people, are right there walking among us everyday, mostly without us knowing.  A great story- definitely recommend reading this.

Great lines-

“Hodges has read there are wells in Iceland so deep you can drop a stone down them and never hear the splash. He thinks some human souls are like that.”

“Never tell a lie when you can tell the truth.”

“Everybody likes the ice cream man.”

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Different Seasons

This is a collection of four novellas and is the only one of the three books by King I read last month that I didn’t love.  First, I am not a fan of short stories, though I don’t know why.  Second, it contains two stories that have been made into movies that I love. So, let me review each story-

Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption

If you saw the movie, you know the story- Andy Dufrene is sent to Shawshank prison for the murder of his wife and her lover.  The story was good and well written, but-I am cringing when I write this- I liked the movie better.  I think it is an amazing movie and I loved Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman in it.  It was slightly different from the book, and whenI read it, these differences bothered me- sort of like it usually bother me watching a movie after I read the book.  It was a good story, but the movie tells Andy story more fully.

 Great lines-

I guess I just miss my friend”.

“Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

“Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.

Apt Pupil

This was one very creepy story and I did enjoy it.  Todd Bowen, 12 years old, discovers that an old neighbor  was a nazi commander at a concentration camp, and is now in hiding.  He forces Mr. Dussander to tell him all he wants to know or he will expose him.  Todd want to know everything that Dussander did or saw in the camps, in painful detail.   This book has no sympathetic characters, and has been called “pure evil” by some.

The Body

This was the other story that bothered me a bit, but not as much as Shawshank.  Stand by Me-the movie version of this novella, is wonderful.  It is the amazing story of youth and friendship, and I consider it mandatory viewing for parents and preteens alike.  This is the story of four friends, who decide to go look for a dead body during the last days of summer.  Will Wheaton and River Phoenix do an amazing job and its you haven’t seen it, go get it now.  The novella was VERY good, but I couldn’t help compare it to the movie I loved.  The book isn’t very different from the movie-or vice versa- and I think you should experience both.Great lines-

“I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12 – Jesus, did you?”

“Am I weird?”

“Yeah. But so what? Everybody’s weird.”

The Breathing Method

A wonderful, creepy tale about Davis, a middle aged lawyer who joins a gentleman’s club, where they enjoy brandy and tell stories- engraved on the fireplace is-”It is the tale, not he who tells it”.  We learn the story of Miss Sandra Stanfield and her illegitimate child.  A wonderful story- short and sweet.

Best Books of 2014! A Top Ten List

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely ladies over there give us book bloggers wonderful and fun topics to create our lists! Check out what others have posted by going over there!

http://brokeandbookish.blogspot.com

This week’s topic is-

Top Ten Books I have read so far this year!

(with a link for a review if one was posted)

(The topic was supposed to be Blogging Confessions, but my biggest one has been that I have been lazy)

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1.  The Stand 

by Stephen King

I was always intimidated by the size of this book, but when I read the last page, I was wishing it could go on and on.

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2.  The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

by Gabrielle Zevin

LOVED this story about a quirky and ornery bookstore owner on a small New England island.

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3.  Left Neglected

by Lisa Genova

Another surprise for me-very well written.

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4.  The Green Mile

by Stephen King

I know-another King book.  I am always amazed at how versatile the author is.  A must read.

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5.  The Rosie Project

by Graeme

Quirky and adorable.

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6.  The Secret Life of Violet Grant

by Beatriz Williams

A perfect summer read!

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7.  Sycamore Row

by John Grisham

John Grisham brings us back to the world of Jake Brigance.

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8.  Schindler’s List

A difficult read, but well worth it.

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9.  Bag of Bones

by Stephen King

A King novel that reads like a love story (a haunted one, but still).

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10.  The Divorce Papers

by

A very fun look into the world of divorce attorneys.

The Collector of Dying Breaths

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The Collector of Dying Breaths

by M.J. Rose

published by Atria Books

2014

I received this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

 

My Review

It turns out this is the 5th book in the author’s Reincarnationist series, yet that did not take anything away from this story, though reading the 3rd and 4th books might help  little with the backstory.  I really enjoyed this book, as I love when there is a story behind things such as scents and flowers.  I loved the story of the perfumer Rene le Florentin, his apprenticeship with the Monks, and his eventual rise to perfumer of the powerful Catherine de Medici.  There was so much espionage, intrigue, and murder in the royal court.  Add to that the powerful motivation to find the secret f immortality by collecting the dying breath of a person.

The story goes back and forth between Rene and present day with mythologist Jac L’Etoile.  Hers is the story that might be aided by reading the previous two books in the series, but only a little.  She becomes embroiled in finishing the work of Rene, after the mysterious death of her brother.

A great read that I did not want to put down- I definitely recommend this book!

Summary

Florence, Italy—1533: An orphan named René le Florentin is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. Traveling with the young duchessina from Italy to France, René brings with him a cache of secret documents from the monastery where he was trained: recipes for exotic fragrances and potent medicines—and a formula for an alchemic process said to have the potential to reanimate the dead. In France, René becomes not only the greatest perfumer in the country but the most dangerous, creating deadly poisons for his Queen to use against her rivals. But while mixing herbs and essences under the light of flickering candles, Rene doesn’t begin to imagine the tragic and personal consequences for which his lethal potions will be responsible.

Paris, France—The Present: A renowned mythologist, Jac L’Etoile, is trying to recover from personal heartache by throwing herself into her work, learns of the 16th century perfumer who may have been working on an elixir that would unlock the secret to immortality. She becomes obsessed with René le Florentin’s work—particularly when she discovers the dying breathes he had collected during his lifetime. Jac’s efforts put her in the path of her estranged lover, Griffin North, a linguist who has already begun translating René le Florentin’s mysterious formula. Together they confront an eccentric heiress in possession of a world-class art collection. A woman who has her own dark purpose for the elixir… a purpose for which she believes the ends will justify her deadly means. This mesmerizing gothic tale of passion and obsession crisscrosses time, zigzagging from the violent days of Catherine de Medici’s court to twenty-first century France. Fiery and lush, set against deep, wild forests and dimly lit chateaus, The Collector of Dying Breaths illuminates the true path to immortality: the legacies we leave behind.

 

Happy Independence Day!!

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How are you celebrating Independence Day?

There are so many ways- are you enjoying a Backyard BBQ, or a sunny beach vacation?

Maybe going to see some fireworks later, or watching Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest?

(I watched that ONCE with my kids- couldn’t eat a hot dog for two years)

However you are celebrating, I hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday!

I will be away from my blog for the next week and a half (I know it is shameful since I took most of June off.  But it was a crazy time- daughter graduated middle school, family things, etc)

I have scheduled posts, but will not be able to answer any comments.  I look forward to getting back to everyone once I am back.

till then…..

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The Declaration of Independence

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The Secret Life of Violet Grant

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The Secret Life of Violet Grant 

by Beatriz Williams

published by Putnam

2014

I received this book from the publisher through Library Thing in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

This is a PERFECT summer read.  It is the story of the beautiful and spirited Vivian Schulyer, who receives a mysterious suitcase.  She discovers it belonged to an aunt that has never been mentioned before.  Vivian works to uncover the mystery of  Violet Grant and is amazed at what she uncovers.  We learn the story of Violet, an aspiring scientist who marries her much older professor right before the outbreak of WWI.  I loved the writing and the way the story unfolded.  I don’t want to give away too much, but I definitely recommend you get this book as soon as you can.  It looks liked the 4th might be a bit of a washout hear on the East Coast- a perfect time to curl up with this great book!  If you must, you can watch the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest (shudder), but otherwise, enjoy some great writing!

Summary

Manhattan, 1964. Vivian Schuyler, newly graduated from Bryn Mawr College, has recently defied the privilege of her storied old Fifth Avenue family to do the unthinkable for a budding Kennedy-era socialite: break into the Mad Men world of razor-stylish Metropolitan magazine. But when she receives a bulky overseas parcel in the mail, the unexpected contents draw her inexorably back into her family’s past, and the hushed-over crime passionnel of an aunt she never knew, whose existence has been wiped from the record of history.

Berlin, 1914. Violet Schuyler Grant endures her marriage to the philandering and decades-older scientist Dr. Walter Grant for one reason: for all his faults, he provides the necessary support to her liminal position as a young American female physicist in prewar Germany. The arrival of Dr. Grant’s magnetic former student at the beginning of Europe’s fateful summer interrupts this delicate détente. Lionel Richardson, a captain in the British Army, challenges Violet to escape her husband’s perverse hold, and as the world edges into war and Lionel’s shocking true motives become evident, Violet is tempted to take the ultimate step to set herself free and seek a life of her own conviction with a man whose cause is as audacious as her own.

As the iridescent and fractured Vivian digs deeper into her aunt’s past and the mystery of her ultimate fate, Violet’s story of determination and desire unfolds, shedding light on the darkness of her years abroad . . . and teaching Vivian to reach forward with grace for the ambitious future––and the love––she wants most.