It’s Monday! What are you reading?

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It’s Monday!  What are you reading?  is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey  where we discuss what we have been up to lately, and what we are looking forward to in the coming week.  Stop over there and see what other bloggers have posted!

http://bookjourney.wordpress.com

I am in FLA hanging with the main mouse, Mickey himself-and enjoying the International Food & Wine Festival, but I scheduled this post before I left.  Hopefully, I am relaxing by the pool, with a cool drink and a great book, but it’s more likely that I am sweating, waiting in a never ending line with everyone else trying to have a magical day.

Here is what’s been going on here-

Last week, I posted-

~a review of Diane Setterfield’s Bellman & Black

~Top Ten Best/Worst Series Enders

~reposted my review of The Girl You Left Behind, after She Reads announced it as their October Book Club Selection

I finished reading

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

Before I Met You by Lisa Jewel

Currently Reading

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

Winn Van Meter is heading for his family’s retreat on the pristine New England island of Waskeke. Normally a haven of calm, for the next three days this sanctuary will be overrun by tipsy revelers as Winn prepares for the marriage of his daughter Daphne to the affable young scion Greyson Duff.  Winn’s wife, Biddy, has planned the wedding with military precision, but arrangements are sideswept by a storm of salacious misbehavior and intractable lust: Daphne’s sister, Livia, who has recently had her heart broken by Teddy Fenn, the son of her father’s oldest rival, is an eager target for the seductive wiles of Greyson’s best man; Winn, instead of reveling in his patriarchal duties, is tormented by his long-standing crush on Daphne’s beguiling bridesmaid Agatha; and the bride and groom find themselves presiding over a spectacle of misplaced desire, marital infidelity, and monumental loss of faith in the rituals of American life.

Hilarious, keenly intelligent, and commandingly well written, Shipstead’s deceptively frothy first novel is a piercing rumination on desire, on love and its obligations, and on the dangers of leading an inauthentic life, heralding the debut of an exciting new literary voice.

(goodreads)

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And coming up next-

He’s Gone by Deb Caletti

The Sunday morning starts like any other, aside from the slight hangover. Dani Keller wakes up on her Seattle houseboat, a headache building behind her eyes from the wine she drank at a party the night before. But on this particular Sunday morning, she’s surprised to see that her husband, Ian, is not home. As the hours pass, Dani fills her day with small things. But still, Ian does not return. Irritation shifts to worry, worry slides almost imperceptibly into panic. And then, like a relentless blackness, the terrible realization hits Dani: He’s gone.

As the police work methodically through all the logical explanations—he’s hurt, he’s run off, he’s been killed—Dani searches frantically for a clue as to whether Ian is in fact dead or alive. And, slowly, she unpacks their relationship, holding each moment up to the light: from its intense, adulterous beginning, to the grandeur of their new love, to the difficulties of forever. She examines all the sins she can—and cannot—remember. As the days pass, Dani will plumb the depths of her conscience, turning over and revealing the darkest of her secrets in order to discover the hard truth—about herself, her husband, and their lives together.

(goodreads)

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What’s going on with your week?  What are you reading?

Please leave a comment-I love hearing from you!

(I will definitely answer when I get back!)

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Bellman & Black- a review

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Bellman & Black

by Diane Setterfield

published by Random House

2013

I received a digital copy of this as an ARC from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary

Bellman & Black is a heart-thumpingly perfect ghost story, beautifully and irresistibly written, its ratcheting tension exquisitely calibrated line by line. Its hero is William Bellman, who, as a boy of 11, killed a shiny black rook with a catapult, and who grew up to be someone, his neighbours think, who “could go to the good or the bad.” And indeed, although William Bellman’s life at first seems blessed—he has a happy marriage to a beautiful woman, becomes father to a brood of bright, strong children, and thrives in business—one by one, people around him die. And at each funeral, he is startled to see a strange man in black, smiling at him. At first, the dead are distant relatives, but eventually his own children die, and then his wife, leaving behind only one child, his favourite, Dora. Unhinged by grief, William gets drunk and stumbles to his wife’s fresh grave—and who should be there waiting, but the smiling stranger in black. The stranger has a proposition for William—a mysterious business called “Bellman & Black” . .. (from Goodreads)

My Review

I have looked forward to something new by this author for years now (I loved The Thirteenth Tale, which I strongly recommend!), so I was very excited to see she had finally published something new.  Unlike some other reviewers, I did not have The Thirteenth Tale fresh in my head, as I read it when it was first published years ago.  Therefore, my expectations were not so very high, except that I did look forward to good writing.  I was not disappointed.  I truly enjoyed this book, but I must admit to liking the first half of the story much more than the second half.

This story might have benefitted from being a short story, or a novella, in the vein of Edgar Allen Poe.  If I had known just slightly less of William, and his seemingly blessed life, I would have possibly looked on his downfall with just curiosity.  As it was, I found it almost painful to read on as each new tragedy rained down on him and his family. These events left him unbalanced and he continued to change, becoming a different man, more deranged as the years go by.    He pays dearly for the mistake of his 11 year old self.  As each family member dies, he sees the same man in black at each gravesite.  When his last child does not succumb to death, he feels he has made a contract with this mysterious man, and sets about creating Bellman & Black mourning emporium.  The part I found the hardest was when he is being fitted for a new waistcoat by by the seamstress he has a connection with in Bellman & Black.  He sees through the veil of mania he has lived in.  He can picture reaching for her, being comforted and giving love, but then turns from this last chance, and sinks further into despair.

“He felt something move in his chest, as though an organ had been removed and something unfamiliar left in its place. A sentiment he had never suspected the existence of bloomed in him. It traveled from his chest along his veins to every limb. It swelled in his head, muffled his ears, stilled his voice, and collected in his feet and fingers. Having no language for it, he remained silent, but felt it root, become permanent.”

As I said, this is a very well written book, that for me was just a bit painful to read to the end.  But that could totally just be my own opinion.  I would recommend you read it and see for yourself.

Rating

3.5 out of 5

BTW- if I am totally honest, all the parts with the birds kind of freaked me out, seeing as I am petrified of all birds.  As I was in the middle of this book, I could SWEAR that the geese that hang out near the pond I run around were watching me.  I felt their eyes on me…scared the hell out of me.

To Learn more about the Author, please visit this website-

http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Diane-Setterfield/38679211

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

10 Comments

3

It’s Monday!  What are you reading?  is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey  where we discuss what we have been up to lately, and what we are looking forward to in the coming week.  Stop over there and see what other bloggers have posted!

http://bookjourney.wordpress.com

I actually had a great time this week blog wise!

BLOGGIESTA

I took part in Bloggiesta, where bloggers map out all the little things they want to do to clean up/improve their blog!  I got some of my goals accomplished- very happy- but not the big things like making a Reviews Page, fixing widgets (I stink at this), and joining The Classsics Club-though I think I have finally picked out all 50 books I want to read, so I should be able to do that soon!

I did get the following done-

1- completed the A to Z Survey, 2- cross posted old reviews, 3- posted the second part to The Book Thief Read Along, 4- checked out 4 of the mini challenges.

Bloggiesta was a lot of fun and I would definitely do it again.

I posted a review of Amity & Sorrow.

I am currently reading-

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

The-Husbands-Secret

From the author of the critically acclaimed What Alice Forgot comes a breakout new novel about the secrets husbands and wives keep from each other.

My Darling Cecilia
If you’re reading this, then I’ve died . . .

Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret – something so terrible it would destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others too. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick achieved it all – she’s an incredibly successful business woman, a pillar of her small community and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia – or each other – but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s devastating secret. (from Goodreads)

Next up, not to sure.  I really news to sit down and map out what is lined up, but I think it will probably be Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield.

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Caught up in a moment of boyhood competition, William Bellman recklessly aims his slingshot at a rook resting on a branch, killing the bird instantly. It is a small but cruel act, and is soon forgotten. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, William seems to have put the whole incident behind him. It was as if he never killed the thing at all. But rooks don’t forget… 

Years later, when a stranger mysteriously enters William’s life, his fortunes begin to turn—and the terrible and unforeseen consequences of his past indiscretion take root. In a desperate bid to save the only precious thing he has left, he enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner. Together, they found a decidedly macabre business. 

And Bellman & Black is born

How was your week?  What are you reading?

A to Z Survey

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This is a little fun survey created by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page Turner.  I have wanted to do it for a few weeks, and finally decided to go for it!!

Author you’ve read the most books from:

John Grisham – started reading him when The Firm first came out.

Best Sequel Ever:

Hmmmm…this is a bit difficult for me-but I will sayThe Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson.

Currently Reading:

Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Water.  When it’s later, maybe a glass of chardonnay, but I do most of my reading before dark.

E-reader or Physical Book?

Physical book 85% and E-Reader maybe 15%- I borrow my daughter’s kindle when I really want a book from Net Galley, but otherwise I prefer a real book.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

Sirius Black in High School- later, I would want a Mr. Darcy definitely.  Actually, my husband is a little like that, now that I think of it…

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

The Book Thief

Hidden Gem Book:

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

When, for the umpteenth time, I picked up a book from the library, only to read a chapter or so and realized I had already read it.  That’s when I decided to start keeping track of all the books I read-and stretching those writing muscles- by writing reviews.  Hence, this blog.

Just Finished:

The Never List by Koethi Zan

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

I usually do not read heavy romance.  I like a light, beachy read, but straight romance is not my thing,

Longest Book You’ve Read:

Gone with the Wind– over 1,000 pages

Major book hangover because of:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-I think I actually turned right back to the front and read it again.

Number of Bookcases You Own:

4-two upstairs and two in the basement, but one of those actually has mostly kid’s books.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

Pride & Prejudice

Preferred Place To Read:

on my deck

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

“He’d have been glad to witness her kissing his his dusty, bomb hit lips.  Yes, I know it.  In the darkness of my dark-beating heart, I know.  He’d have loved it, all right.  You see?  Even death has a heart.”

from The Book Thief by Mark Zusak

Reading Regret:

I have never read a Stephen King book.  I will change that.

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):

I started The Game of Thrones series- but came up against a wall with the 5th book.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

Pride & Pejudice, The Book Thief, The Lord of The Rings.

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Harry Potter-though i am horrified to say that I have been unable to get my mother OR my husband (non-reader) to read any of them.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

Sycamore Row by John Grisham- going back to Jack Brigance from A Time to Kill-always picture Matthew McConaughey!

Worst Bookish Habit:

I am-cringe-guilty of dog-earing books I own-but only whenI love a passage and want to be able to find it again-never to mark my place.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind.

Your latest book purchase:

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty-the She Reads Book Club September selection

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

The Bones of Paris by Laurie R. King- a great mystery.