For Title Talk, 09.2019, I thought I would share a few of the books I’ve read over the past couple of months. Bear in mind that I am a slow, distractible, sleepy reader, which keeps me from devouring books like so many of my blogging buddies do. And when I find a book that I enjoy so much that it holds my focus, I want to savor it…and will stop mid-chapter, mid-sentence to ponder the story for a bit. Anyone else like that?
Title Talk, 09.2019
So thankful to the great group of gals in my virtual book club who have made looking for books and reading them fun again. As most of you know, I was in a deep blue funk when I retired. The very first Get Your Pretty On style challenge spurred me to get dressed in the mornings. But then what was I supposed to do next? And that’s how this blog was born. I thought I would share book reviews, library lessons and life on my blog.
Once Upon a Time has turned out to be heavy on the life sharing and light on the lesson plans and book reviews. Hoping to get back to more of that.
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by Beth O’Leary
4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon
4.24 out of 5 stars on Goodreads
Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…
Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.
But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rule book out the window…
This book was the runner up for our virtual book club’s August read. The winning title was pretty heavy and deep so I read The Flatshare to balance it. Really enjoyed this story. It is lighter fare but the characters are well drawn and the story is more than just chic lit fluff. As the relationship between Tiffy and Leon progresses beyond roommates, we learn more about the past romantic relationships of both characters. O’Leary takes on psychological and emotional abuse, homosexual relationships, hospice and elderly care, and the human desire to be valued and loved. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding (Book club read)
by Jennifer Robson
4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon
4.17 out of 5 stars on Goodreads
From the internationally bestselling author of Somewhere in France comes an enthralling historical novel about one of the most famous wedding dresses of the twentieth century—Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown—and the fascinating women who made it.
Wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. Seemed part biography-part historical fiction-part fashion design reference book. And it turned out to be a well-written combination of the three. When a book inspires you to want to know more, it’s a good thing, right? Found myself researching Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown and the history behind it.
Robson uses beautiful language with which to describe the handiwork that created this memorable wedding gown. I felt as if I was in the dress shop alongside the seamstresses whose talents brought this dream of a dress into fruition. The art of sewing has eluded me with the exception of needlepoint, crewel embroidery and cross stitch. So I am in awe of anyone who can create with fabric and thread. Add to this a bit of romance and a dose of history and you have a satisfying read. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
The Mother-in-Law (Book club read)
by Sally Hepworth
4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon
4.09 out of 5 stars on Goodreads
From the moment Lucy met Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana is exquisitely polite, but Lucy knows, even after marrying Oliver, that they’ll never have the closeness she’d been hoping for.
But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice, the matriarch of a loving family. Lucy had wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law.
That was ten years ago. Now, Diana has been found dead, leaving a suicide note. But the autopsy reveals evidence of suffocation. And everyone in the family is hiding something…
Looking for a good story? Look no longer, this is your book! The Mother-in-Law is the story of complicated familial relationships. And the resulting death or suicide of Diana, the mother-in-law. My opinions and feelings for the various characters developed and changed from chapter to chapter. I could sympathize and/or empathize with Diana, then with Lucy and some of the secondary characters, as well.
In many ways, this story hit close to home. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Had me thinking about and examining my relationship with my own mother-in-law and that of my daughters with theirs. Our virtual book club gals tend to be on the quiet side, with only a handful who really like to ‘discuss’ the books we read. But a number of us had something to say about this read. We had 88 comments in our discussion thread. An all-time high! I give it 5 out of 5 stars.
The Unhoneymooners (Book club read)
by Christina Lauren
4.50 out of 5 stars on Amazon
4.05 out of 5 stars on Goodreads
Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.
Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.
This was a book club read and most of the gals described it as predictable but enjoyable. The dialogue between Ethan and Olive is witty, clever and often biting but believable, and natural, at the same time, for a couple who thought they despised each other. I giggled aloud more than once. But 3/4ths of the way through, I was growing a bit weary of the love-hate relationship between the main characters and ready to move to the inevitable and slightly obvious ending. All in all, though, a fun, entertaining read. I give it 3.75 out of 5 stars.
When All Is Said (Book club read)
by Anne Griffin
4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon
4.08 out of 5 stars on Goodreads
If you had to pick five people to sum up your life, who would they be? If you were to raise a glass to each of them, what would you say? And what would you learn about yourself, when all is said and done?
This is the story of Maurice Hannigan, who, over the course of a Saturday night in June, orders five different drinks at the Rainford House Hotel. With each he toasts a person vital to him: his doomed older brother, his troubled sister-in-law, his daughter of fifteen minutes, his son far off in America, and his late, lamented wife. And through these people, the ones who left him behind, he tells the story of his own life, with all its regrets and feuds, loves and triumphs.
I listened to this book on Audible. In fact, looking back over this list, I listened to the last 3 titles. Love reading with my ears these days. Have never had headaches until this summer. Had my eyes checked last week and looks like maybe I need to actually wear my glasses rather than use them like a headband. Hmmm.
The book club gals broke their silences on this one, too. Over 40 comments in our discussion thread for When All Is Said. If you read and enjoyed A Man Called Ove or The Five People You Meet in Heaven, you will likely enjoy this book, too. Along the same theme, with the main character, in this case, Maurice, reflecting on his life.
Maurice is a crotchety old soul whose end of life introspection leaves him feeling sad about the life he’s lived and the relationships he has struggled with or failed at. It is funny and poignant and at times frustrating…as one of the girls in the club said, she felt all the feels reading this title. But in every case, my friends were glad they read When All Is Said. And I was, too. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.
So those are the titles I’ve read over the last couple of months. I am finishing up our current book club choice, Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane and another title I started on my own, Whisper Me This by Kerry Anne King. And our virtual book club will be voting on our next read at the end of this week. If you are in the market for a no-pressure book club to join, ours might be the perfect fit.
We read at our own pace, comment and discuss when something we’ve read moves us to do so. Pass on books that are not of interest and read about a book a month. If you would like to try our club on for size, please let me know in a comment below and I will send you more info – that rhymes!! Or message me on Facebook, here or here.
Movies We’ve Loved Lately
My Prince is an A #1 movie lover. When we first met, Friday night was movie night. Whether there was anything worth watching out or not! But with the increase in movie tickets, and we have to have popcorn, we have begun more selective on what we spend hard-earned money to go see.
Among the ones we have seen recently, these are some we have really liked.
“Brittany Runs a Marathon”
– loosely based on a true story. Very loosely.
Brittany Forgler is a hilarious, friendly, hot mess of a New Yorker who always knows how to have a good time, but at 27, her late-night adventures and early-morning walks-of-shame are starting to catch up to her. When she stops by a Yelp-recommended doctor’s office in an attempt to score some Adderall, she finds herself slapped with a prescription she never wanted. Forced to face reality for the first time in a long time, Brittany laces up her Converse and runs one sweaty block. The next day, she runs two. Soon she runs a mile. Brittany finally has direction–but is she on the right path? [source]
88% critics; 88% real folks
– You have to suspend all sense of reality. Which can be hard for me to do. But I really, really liked this movie. And the soundtrack was great!
Jack Malik (Himesh Patel, BBC’s Eastenders) is a struggling singer-songwriter in a tiny English seaside town whose dreams of fame are rapidly fading, despite the fierce devotion and support of his childhood best friend, Ellie (Lily James, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again). Then, after a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, Jack wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never existed… and he finds himself with a very complicated problem, indeed. [source]
63% critics (eh, what do they know?); 89% real folks
“Blinded by the Light”
– Similar to “Yesterday”. The Boss Bruce Springsteen instead of The Fab Four. Based on a true story.
1987. When music fanatic Javed discovers the illustrious back catalogue of The Boss his world is turned upside down; already a creative soul his passion for music and writing is set alight by the songs of the working-class poet, whose lyrics feel all too familiar to the aspirational teenager. Yearning to escape his rundown hometown and the rules of his traditional Pakistani household, Javed finds himself caught in between two worlds and must discover if he too is Born to Run… [source]
88% critics; 91% the rest of us
We’ve been seeing a whole lotta Disney lately, too. Have taken Cia to see “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “Sleeping Beauty” and now, “Tangled”. Girlfriend finally broke out her own princess dress for “Tangled.” She starts out sitting but winds up standing mid-way through each movie. And she ducks behind the little wall/partition when she gets scared then raises her head up slowly to see if the coast is clear.
What are you reading these days? How would your Title Talk 09.2019 post read? Where do you prefer to read and at what time of day? I love my Audible books because they allow me to ‘read’ and drive. And you thought texting and driving was dangerous!!
Thank you for coming by to visit. Going to try…how many times have I said this??…to get back on some kind of blogging schedule for reading and writing and visiting and sharing and pinning. I have this week off from Cia-sitting or actually Cia-tending is more accurate, so trying to find my rhythm again. Always glad to spend a little time with YOU.
Hugs and kisses,