Here comes the snow, do do do do….

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Hello winter storm Juno!

So it seems we are getting slammed with an “historic” snowstorm and I luckily live smack dab in the middle of it.  I have run my necessary errands- hot wings and soda for the kids, wine and brie for me.  And a quick stop to the library :-)  Oh- and got out LOTS of candles, since all it takes is a little fart from Mother Nature, and I lose power.  During Hurricane Sandy, we were without power (and that means no heat or running water-thank you well water) for 2 weeks.  So, I may not be able to get my posts out- since I have been skiing, I haven’t done any planned posts.  I do hope to get lots of snuggling and reading in-Yay!!

So if you are also on of the lucky 60 million getting hit by this- good luck!

To the rest of you- think of us out here in the Northeast!

I will be thinking of this-

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Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm

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Unbecoming

by Rebecca Scherm

published by Viking Adult

January 22, 2015

I received an advanced review copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in return for an honest review.

My Review

I usually enjoy books I receive as ARCs, and every once in a while, I love them!  I felt this way about The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, The House We Grew Up In, and The Boston Girl.  And now I feel this way about Scherm’s debut novel, Unbecoming.  I picked this book up in the morning, and finished it 12 hours later.  It is not only a fast read, but captivating.  It flows at such a nice pace, keeping you interested and moving along.  We meet Grace in Paris, where she is know as Julie, working as a restorer of antiques at a not so reputable business.  She is hiding from her boyfriend and his friend, who are being released from prison in Tennessee, for a robbery that she was somehow involved in, yet was never implicated.  To go beyond this point in the story would be to spoil some really great plot twists, and there are quite a few!  This is the first book in a long while that I devoured in a day.  When I put it down, I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed reading it.  I hope you will give this wonderful book a try soon.

 

Summary

On the grubby outskirts of Paris, Grace restores bric-a-brac, mends teapots, re-sets gems. She calls herself Julie, says she’s from California, and slips back to a rented room at night. Regularly, furtively, she checks the hometown paper on the Internet. Home is Garland, Tennessee, and there, two young men have just been paroled. One, she married; the other, she’s in love with. Both were jailed for a crime that Grace herself planned in exacting detail. The heist went bad—but not before she was on a plane to Prague with a stolen canvas rolled in her bag. And so, in Paris, begins a cat-and-mouse waiting game as Grace’s web of deception and lies unravels—and she becomes another young woman entirely.

About the Author

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Rebecca Scherm is the author of Unbecoming, a novel. She received her MFA from the University of Michigan, where she was also a postgraduate Zell Fellow. She lives in Michigan, where she is working on her second novel, Beta.
Find her on Twitter @chezscherm or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rebeccascherm

A Top Ten Freebie- My Favorite Couples

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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

Today was a Freebie topic, so I looked over past topics that I missed and chose Top Ten Couples!

1.  Elizabeth Bennet & Mrs. Darcy- Pride & Prejudice

This is my absolute favorite literary couple.  I love the way their love story evolved.

 “But above all, above respect and esteem, there was a motive within her of good will which could not be overlooked. It was gratitude. — Gratitude, not merely for having once loved her, but for loving her still well enough to forgive all the petulance and acrimony of her manner in rejecting him and all the unjust accusations accompanying her rejection.”

2.  Kitty & Levin -Anna Karenina

This couple is the perfect balance against Anna and Vronsky

“He could not be mistaken. There were no other eyes like those in the world. There was only one creature in the world who could concentrate for him all the brightness and meaning of life. It was she. It was Kitty.” -Levin 

3.  Rhett Butler & Scarlett O’Hara- Gone With the Wind

The absolute passion and fireworks that come from theses two is breathtaking.  I have to believe that when tomorrow did come, they were together.

Rhett: Don’t start flirting with me. I’m not one of your plantation beauxs. I want more than flirting from you.
Scarlett: What do you want?
Rhett: I’ll tell you, Scarlett O’Hara, if you’ll take that Southern-belle simper off your face. Someday, I want you to say to me the words I heard you say to Ashley Wilkes: ‘I love you!’
Scarlett: That’s something you’ll never hear from me Captain Butler as long as you live.

4.  Stu Redman and Frannie Goldsmith – The Stand

“He held her and made her know it was all right without saying anything.  He didn’t tell her not to worry or that he would take care of everything, but he made love to her again and she thought that she had never been so happy.”

5.  Arwen & Aragorn- The Lord of the Rings

“For I am the daughter of Elrond. I shall not go with him when he departs to the Havens: for mine is the choice of Luthien, and as she so have I chosen, both the sweet and the bitter.” 

6.  Peeta & Katniss- The Hunger Games

“Peeta, how come I never know when you’re having a nightmare?” I say.

“I don’t know. I don’t think I cry out or thrash around or anything. I just come to, paralyzed with terror,” he says.

“You should wake me,” I say, thinking about how I can interrupt his sleep two or three times on a bad night. About how long it can take to calm me down.

“It’s not necessary. My nightmares are usually about losing you,” he says. “I’m okay once I realize you’re here.

7-10.  Rounding it out with my favorite couples from the Harry Potter series-

Harry & Ginny

“And he knew that at that moment, they understood each other perfectly, and when he told her what he was going to do now, she would not say ‘be careful’ or ‘don’t do it’, but she would accept his decision because she would not have expected anything less of him.”

Ron & Hermione

Hermione came over and sat down in Parvati’s empty chair. She was a bit pink in the face from dancing.
‘Hi,’ said Harry. Ron didn’t say anything.
‘It’s hot, isn’t it?’ said Hermione, fanning herself with her hand. ‘Viktor’s just gone to get some drinks.’
Ron gave her a withering look. ‘Viktor?’ he said. ‘Hasn’t he asked you to call him Vicky yet?’
Hermione looked at him in surprise. ‘What’s up with you?’ she said.
‘If you don’t know,’ said Ron scathingly, ‘I’m not going to tell you.’ “

Lily Evans & Severus Snape

“Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
“After all this time?”
“Always,” said Snape.”

Remus Lupin & Nymphadora Tonks

As Ginny and Hermione moved closer to the rest of the family, Harry had a clear view of the bodies lying next to Fred: Remus and Tonks, pale and still and peaceful-looking, apparently asleep beneath the dark, enchanted ceiling.”

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

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Still Alice

by Lisa Genova

published by iUniverse

2007

My Review

Here is another book that I chose to read because I heard about the movie about to come out.  I also loved Left Neglected by this author, so I picked this to read.  I cannot believe this was Genova’s first novel.  It was wonderful.  We meet Alice Howland, a successful Harvard professor and lecturer.  She and her husband are extremely busy, flying all over the country for research, speeches, and such.  Their three grown children are out of the house and on their own (sort of).  One day, when Alice goes on her daily run, she realizes she has no idea where she is, though she has run the same way for years.  Another day, she is giving a lecture, and she completely loses a word.   Realizing something is wrong, Alice goes to a neurologist, and is shocked when her diagnosis is early onset Alzheimer’s disease.  She is only 52.  Genova then takes on a heartbreaking journey, with Alice and her family, as they grapple with their new reality.

This book, much like Matthew Thomas’ We Are Not Ourselves, left me shaken.  The harsh reality of this disease, especially the early onset type, is heartbreaking.  To so slowly lose yourself, or someone you love is a nightmare to me.  The only other disease that elicits this type of dread for me is ALS.  As the daughter of a parent in their 70s, I pray that this is not something I have to experience firsthand.  Genova handles this topic with honesty and compassion.  When Alice can no longer follow the story of a book, her husband John buys the movie versions of the ones she wants to read.  Her eldest Anna, make books up for Alice- with stories about each family member.  One of the most heartbreaking scenes is when Anna, who is trying to get pregnant, learns she carries the gene that causes the disease, and that she can pass it on to any children she has.  With brutal honesty, Genova shows John pull away, thinking of his own career and life.

I loved this book, though I had a very unsettled feeling after reading it.

I am eager to see Julianne Moore take on the role of Alice, though I understand they moved the setting from Harvard to Columbia (WHY??)

Summary

Alice Howland—Harvard professor, gifted researcher, and lecturer, wife, and mother of three grown children—sets out for a run and soon realizes she has no idea how to find her way home. She has taken the route for years, but nothing looks familiar. She is utterly lost. Medical consults reveal early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Alice slowly but inevitably loses memory and connection with reality, as told from her perspective. She gradually loses the ability to follow a conversational thread, the story line of a book, or to recall information she heard just moments before. Genova’s debut shows the disease progression through the reactions of others, as Alice does, so readers feel what she feels: a slowly building terror.

 

About the Author

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I’m a Harvard-trained Neuroscientist, a Meisner-trained actress, and an entirely untrained writer!

My first novel, STILL ALICE, winner of the 2008 Bronte Prize, nominated for 2010 Indies Choice Debut Book of the Year by the American Booksellers Association, and winner of the 2011 Bexley Book of the Year Award spent over 40 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. It has been translated into 25 languages and was chosen as one of the thirty titles for World Book Night 2013.

Originally self-published, I sold it out of the trunk of my car for almost a year before it was bought at auction by Simon & Schuster.

To learn more, go to  http://www.lisagenova.com/

Bookish (& Not So Bookish) Thoughts

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Bookish & Not So Bookish Thoughts

is a weekly meme hosted by Christine over at Bookishly Boisterous, where we post things that are on our minds.  Head over there and check it out!

1.  I watched the new show Empire.  I know I am dating myself, but did it remind anyone else of Dynasty?  Cookie is the new Alexa Carrington!!

 

2.  I saw this on Shelf Awareness’s FB page-and swooned.  I loved this book-and Hugh Jackman.

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3.  I have been in a little bit of a slump with the ARCs I have been reading.  Not really enjoying all that many-until this week.  I read Unbecoming by Rebecca Sherm in one day and I loved it! I can’t wait to write the review.  Have you read any amazing books for review lately?

4.  I booked a trip for my family over the kids’ spring break.  My 16 yr old son and 15 yr old daughter wanted to go to-Disneyworld.  With a side trip to Universal for some HP fun.  While I am excited about going to HP world for the 1st time, I thought-Really?  Disney again?  But then I realized this might be the last time for a good long while, so if they want to go-ok.  I can’t believe how much they love going to Epcot and walking around the different countries.

5.  I am reading Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald- is it me or is this his BEST novel?

6.  Looking forward to getting some skiing in this weekend!  If it has to be cold, then I want to at least be able to ski.

7.   I love my gym (as much as anyone can love a place you go to torture yourself).  It has great treadmills I use during the winter, fun spin classes, and an awesome hot yoga class.  I HATE going to the gym in January.  Everyone with a New Year resolution to lose weight is there.  Good word- get off my freakin treadmill!

8.  Another thing I hate about the gym- the yummy mummies.  I saw a woman yesterday on the machines “working out” with about 5 other women.  Forget that they were working out there jaws about 100x more than anything else.  One woman had full make up on-fully done up- a beautiful top bun, and sunglasses on top of her head- working out?  My age- not some 20 something home from college.  Really?

I guess I don’t actually love the gym- so scratch that.

9.  I actually succeeded in my Goodreads challenge for 2014 and read 100 books.  I was so happy.  I upped it to a whopping 115 this year.  I should have made it 200, because really, failure is failure, whether by a little or a lot.

These are all the thoughts in my head.  I am off to find an empty treadmill, then to hot yoga, so I can witness how much more flexible and agile everyone else is in the class.  While sweating my ass off.

Top Ten Books I missed in 2014

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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 2014 Releases I meant to Read But Didn’t

1.  All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

2.  Gray Mountain by John Grisham

3.  Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

4.  The Martian by Andy Weir

5.  Landline by Rainbow Rowell

6.  Mrs. Hemmingway by Naomi wood

7.  Nora Webster  by Colm Toibin

8.  The Magician’s Lie by

9.  Lost Lake by Greer Macallaster

10.  Natchez  by Greg Iles

 

What books did you miss?

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

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Wild

From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

by Cheryl Strayed

published by Knopf

2012

My Review

I admit I was interested in this book after I read about it when the movie was about to come out.  I know a lot of bloggers really loved it too, so I thought I would try it, even though non fictions not my cup of tea.  I have heard great and awful things about the book, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

I really liked it.

Many have complained the author is a whiny, self indulgent, narcissistic character, others that the story didn’t really focus on the Pacific Crest Trail.  Some have gushed about what an amazing thing she did.  It was a confusing place from which to start a book.

If you are living under the same rock that I was here is a quick break down.  Cheryl Strayed was pretty destroyed by losing her mother to cancer.  Cheryl was 21?, and her mom in her very early 40s.  Her siblings dispersed, her step dad remarried.  Cheryl proceeded to destroy what was good in her life by repeatedly cheating on her husband, and then telling him.  After separating from him, her life got even  worse.  She hooked up with a drug user and started doing heroin.  She had an abortion.  Just when it looked like she was doomed, she decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Souther California to Oregon.  She had never really hiked before-so probably not a very smart choice.  She didn’t prepare physically or mentally.  She just set out with a gigantic backpack.

Honestly, at no point in this book did I think to myself- wow- she is brave, or strong, or smart.  She was unprepared.  She didn’t really know what she was doing.  But- and here is the point, I think- of the whole story-she DID something.  When she knew her life was going terribly wrong-she stopped, evaluating everything in the process.  She TRIED to work through her problems on her own out there.  There was no wonderful happy ending, except that she made it through and came out on the other side, while having one of the best, rewarding and amazing experiences of her life.

I loved reading about all the wonderful people she met out there (though there were also some pretty creepy ones).

I am really glad I read this book.  It reaffirmed for me that we are all only human.  We make mistakes.  Hopefully, we learn from them and become better people.

Now I can’t wait to see the movie!

Summary

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — and she would do it alone.
Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.