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

Top Ten Tuesday # 4

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toptentuesday

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 weeks topic is-

Top Ten Favorite Book Covers of Books I Have Read

1. Brave New World-creepy!!

2. Lost & Found– how can anyone look at that face and not love it- plus I have one that looks JUST like it 🙂

3. The Great Gatsbythe eyes follow you around…

4. Where The Wild Things Are– one of my favorites

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows– he looks like he is ready to kick some Voldermort butt!

6. To Kill A Mockingbirdclassic

7. The Last Letter from your Lover– look how close they are, like the moment right before or after kissing

8. The Thirteenth Tale– books on a book cover grab me!

9. Wicked- TWOO was my favorite growing up-going to see the play this weekend with my daughter!

10. Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil– that is one scary statue-I know, I visited this cemetery in Savannah.

 

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