Monthly Archives: November 2015

Charlotte Bronte.

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Recently I started reading Shirley by Charlotte Bronte. It’s going to take me some time to read because my mind isn’t used to reading a classic anymore. I am not in college. Therefore, I am not used to reading deep literature anymore. Don’t worry. I busted out one of my Hungary pens and a highlighter. I have a method. I promise. One day I’ll take a picture of a page that I’ve marked up. Anyway, I decided because I don’t want to post about my personal life and I don’t have a book to review that I was going to write a post about Charlotte Bronte.

As I’ve said before that I prefer Bronte over Austen. Austen tends to have a character that’s pretty comedic and Bronte doesn’t do that as much. To put the timeline in perspective, Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813 and Jane Eyre was published in 1847. So that was 34 years. Since we’re talking about the two female authors, let’s talk about feelings. From what I have read, Bronte didn’t like Austen’s writing. She thought there was something missing. Some life. I don’t know if I agree but I see the difference. Austen’s books tie up nicely and Bronte’s seem like there’s still some mess at the end. Like, Jane and Rochester’s life wasn’t perfect at the end of that book. Lizzie and Darcy seemed to tie up nicely. I think that Bronte was implying that life doesn’t end nicely. Which knowing of her life, makes sense. And for the record everything that we know of how Bronte felt about Austen is from her correspondence from George Henry Lewes. Austen did not read any of Bronte’s work because Austen died when Charlotte was a year old.

Charlotte was born in 1816 and went to a boarding like school with a couple of her sisters when she was young. This school is what she based the school that Jane went to and Charlotte did lose 2 of her sisters at school. When she was old enough she did become a governess for a few years and create relations that she held on to. But what I always am interested in is post governess work.

It’s no secret that Charlotte and her sisters used pseudonyms when they first started writing and used masculine names. Charlotte was Curror Bell. Being a woman and a published author wasn’t great. There was still a stigma about being a female author if you were a female and could get published. Jane Eyre was the first published second wrote after The Professor.

Bronte did get married to this guy named Arthur Bell Nicholls who had been in love with her for a while and her father’s curate. Her father didn’t approve because Nicholls was dirt poor. She died in 1855 in childbirth. Her death certificate says phthisis which is another name for Tuberculosis. She may have died of typhus that she caught from a servant or she may have died from dehydration and malnutrition because she vomited so much during morning sickness. Which is so interesting to me. I don’t know of anyone who’s come to death because of the side effects of morning sickness. I don’t even think of it. No one I’ve known has gotten that bad. But it depends on what time period you come from or where you live at in the world that would make the difference.

Back to literature. Bronte had a lot of female characters that were way more independent than others. I think they were before their time. Like Jane marrying Rochester on her terms and when she was financially secure was beyond the time. That’s not generally how it worked. She was also good at being dark and writing gothic novels. They’re not easy books to read all the time but I enjoy them. This was just a quick overview of Bronte. I’ll try to get through Shirley as quick as possible.

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If Wishes Were Horses Review

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Recently, I have needed simple books. Smart books are just too much right now. I can’t do it. I need super simple or something I don’t need to figure out. I read If Wishes Were Horses by Robert Barclay. How could you not see where this book was going to end up? Please, the back of the book pretty much ruins it for you.

Totally think that this could be a Hallmark Channel movie. All these characters seem to be pretty stereotypical. I mean Wyatt’s attractive, rich, has a ranch and charms like everyone. Then there’s the beautiful schoolteacher. Then there’s the other woman who completes the love triangle. Though I feel like the triangle wasn’t really developed. The gruff father that has an illness. I did like the father. He was very direct and I like that. Though, I think in real life I may have more issue with it. Not only were the characters stereotypical, the plot was stereotypical. I would be retelling the whole story if I told all the stereotypical plot points. Like of course Wyatt knows the principal and is friends with him and could get in the school during school hours. That’s how everything works in real life. Also, how dangerous and big is this school that it needs security and has that many kids that are troubled.

One thing that I didn’t expect was that it took place in Florida. I don’t think of Florida when I think of Equestrian therapy and ranches. I think of something more west than Florida. I also thought that as much as they talked about crocodiles, they would be more part of the story like they killed the prized horse. But they weren’t. Wyatt’s just really good at shooting them.

They didn’t fight the feelings too much did they? I’m a little disappointment. Wyatt and Gabby didn’t even have that epic of fights and didn’t stay mad at each other that long. There was no real yelling. And I’m not just talking about the adults with hiding the feelings, the kid didn’t either. Guess he’s not as harden as would be expected. I thought in five years he would rebel a lot more than was said in the book. But I don’t know. I’ve never been in that kind of situation. I did like that he lost his temper with Ram and stayed mad for a while and then apologized.

I was a little troubled about how the author wrote descriptions. It is obvious that it was written by a man. Every description of a woman included something about her body. And it was like the same description. I also have an issue with the publishers when it comes to the author page. They put the man’s name in all caps like I couldn’t figure out who the author was or who they were talking about. I mean his picture is only on the page. I guess I really didn’t earn that college degree.

I know it seems like I hated this book. It wasn’t a bad book. It’s a fast read. It’s one of those books you read when you want a nice, simple romance. And it didn’t halt though I did wonder why the pastor was in the book. Guess they needed someone to set them up. But honestly I would read it again if I needed something easy.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home Review

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I will willingly admit that growing up I didn’t know anyone who had AIDS. I don’t think I knew anyone that had AIDS until last year and I pulled some shifts at the nursing home and there was a resident there that died not long after I started. There could be people I’ve known living with that disease and I just don’t know. I’m sure it’s not something people talk about in passing. I don’t even know much about it. It comes with living in an isolated area. I’m not ashamed of being ignorant, I just have to ask more questions.

About a month or 2 ago I picked up the book Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. Another author with an interesting name. Actually, just the Rifka part intrigues me. This book takes place in the late 1980’s and June’s godfather and uncle and friend dies of a disease she doesn’t really understand. She starts a hesitant friendship with his ‘special friend’, as June’s mother calls him in the book.

For me, this book was a very quick read. I read about half the book in the first sitting until I decided to work on sleeping. The chapters are pretty short so it’s a good book to read when you’re waiting for something or late at night when you’re in the mood for saying ‘just one more chapter’. It’s a book that’s not overly hard and it moves quickly.

I feel like I have a little bit of June in me. There was a part of me that was her when I was 14. Both of us unsure if we need to have the opinions of those close to us, family in both our cases, or form our own opinions. Does she trust and like the man that was her uncle’s boyfriend or does she side with her family and say he’s a murderer. There’s a big discrepancy about him. To a 14 year old, it is a big deal. It’s probably the first time she’s been defiant. She’s also at the point in her life where she’s attracted to the way older man and also has the kid near her age interested in her but she isn’t seeing that. I think that happens to a majority of girls. Only part of that happened to me.

Obviously, this book is a coming of age book for June. June definitely was older at the end of the book. I also appreciated the sister relationship. I really didn’t have the relationship had with her sister. But then again, I’m more than 2 years younger than my sister. So I don’t really understand their relationship because I’ve never had that. Her sister seemed more immature than June. It was nice that they did have some good times together but at the end of the book I did think that the sister was a typical actress.

I feel like Toby was a little creepy at times, especially with a 14 year old. I also feel like he should have been more responsible for when June was sneaking around trying to see him. Be an adult Toby. June was the only other person that loved Finn as much as he did so she was a comrade in grief. Even though Toby and June were looking out for each other like Finn asked them to, I felt that Toby was very selfish and June was better at looking out for him. It’s just weird to me. He did go and save the sister, putting himself in a pickle. It was a noble thing Toby did.

I do appreciate the subject matter. Not because Charlie Sheen just announced his diagnosis but because I haven’t really been exposed to the subject matter much. I also don’t read books that are timely. I am intrigued with this girl’s point of view. I like that wolves were a running theme throughout the book. And they were never the majestic wolves that is in art it’s the ravenous wolves. I also like the time period because the 80’s had a lot more fear of the condition.

Love and Treasure Review

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This morning I finished Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman. I’ve found lately that I can’t marathon read like I used to. It makes getting books finished hard. This book shouldn’t have been so hard for me to finish. But it was. Because I can’t concentrate. True story.

I first was interested in the author’s name. Ayelet is not a name you hear everyday. According to GoodReads, she was born in Jerusalem. Which makes the name more sense. Or at least the first name. Waldman doesn’t seem like a name that would come from Jerusalem to me. But I couldn’t find the origins of her last name. She’s pretty and I’m very jealous of her hair and it seems like she’s done quite a bit of work all over the world.

Since I’ve gotten home, I’ve been a little obsessed with books that happen in Hungary. So I was really excited about this book because there’s a decent amount is in Budapest. I also have been a little obsessed with World War II in Hungary. The Invisible Bridge (I’m still upset the brother died in that book) and the Hungarian Holocaust Museum did that for me. I did find a book trailer for this book. It’s beautiful. I love it. It gives you information about this book without really giving you information. It’s not a linear book. It’s starts right after the war, goes to modern times and then goes to the early 20th century. The book starts with The Hungarian Gold Train. I didn’t know anything about this. But it was interesting to read up on.

I don’t have many complaints about this book. There were definitely sections I liked more than others. Even though they were all interesting, I was the most involved with the Grandfather’s story with the Hungarian Gold Train. He annoyed me the least. He tried to do the right thing and he wanted all the valuables to be returned to their owners, but no such luck. This was the section I read the fastest. It was the most interesting to me because the era and subject matter. And Ilona was interesting to me. She had to go through a lot. I can’t imagine living through the Holocaust and not having your family anymore. The book did make a point of telling how many Hungarian Jews were deported to camps in a short period of time.

The Granddaughter section was okay but I felt like she was immature for her age. She was definitely the stereotypical American. The way that a lot of Europeans see us. And I don’t know to what extent that Waldman has been in the States or if she made the granddaughter like that on purpose. I don’t know. I just wasn’t a fan of the Granddaughter. If you think about it, how dumb is she? She was with a guy for 12 years, and then was married for a few months before she found out the guy was cheating on her and her family didn’t like him. From the sounds of the guy, how do you not see that he’s crappy? But I shouldn’t talk, I haven’t been in that situation.

The last section wasn’t bad but I really was not invested in those characters. And I have a problem with feminists sometimes. I realize I have a lot to owe to feminist since I can vote and own land and don’t have to rely on getting married. I don’t have a problem with mild feminism. I have a problem with in your face feminism like I felt like some of the characters in the last section was. I think that some of the actions were extreme. I think passion is good when it comes to a cause, not radicalism. Radicalism kind of scares me. It’s like those people don’t have any other way out. I don’t think that the female character need a doctor though. This is the section I had the hardest time reading. But it was nice to have the back story. Though I do wish that events were told differently. Like tell the story chronologically. That’s the way my mind works, that’s the way I want it.

I did find it interesting that anti-Semitism played a role in the whole book. I’m so used to hearing anti-Black or anti-white or anti-Hispanic. I rarely think of anti-Semitism happening today. You would think I would be used to different kind of hate after listening to Hungarians talk about Gypsies. I mean honestly. I think it’s a good thing to talk about. I think it could start conversations within different groups.

The American Heiress Review

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I have a friend on GoodReads that liked the fact I marked this book as a to-read. I was like, maybe she’s an avid fan. Nope. She just wants me to read it before her so she can see if it’s worth it. She’s never read it. The book I’m talking about is The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin. The more friends I get on GoodReads, the more excited that I get because that means I have more book exposure and opinions. And I finished a book. YAY!

There’s a promotional quote on the book that compares this book with Downtown Abbey. Reading it, it does have that feel. I can’t say for sure though. I made it through a couple episodes and haven’t made the time to watch all of it. Does that make me a horrible person? Side note: I do get PBS now. Four versions of PBS and I don’t know why I get 4 versions of it. And I don’t always get them. Sometimes I only get NBC and a radar channel. I’ll take the radar channel. It’ll help a lot this winter when I go to town to work.

Let’s start at the beginning. Who the heck pays their maid to help them figure out kissing? That’s when you have a random best guy friend that’s at the party or you whine to your maid about not knowing how to kiss and you’re worried. The kissing of your female maid is weird Cora. It’s even weirder when you pay her. That makes her almost a prostitute. But given the time, I have to remind myself that a best guy friend would not be helping Cora get ready. Having a best guy friend that intimate probably wouldn’t be allowed. Especially with as much money Cora has. Girls like Cora annoy me. They’re rich, beautiful, they’re self-righteous. I don’t care if you’re beautiful or rich. I may be a little envious but what I have a hard time with is when you’re those two things and self-righteous. Maybe not self-righteous. Maybe self-centered. That might be a little better of a word. No wonder the dude ignored her. He saw through her. I do have to commend her for going to a different culture as she did. I first thought that I couldn’t do it like her and then I remembered that I did spend 10 months in Hungary so I could do it if necessary. It’s not easy and Cora needs to be commended for that. I do think that Cora got more relatable at the end of the book.

But at the same time, I have a hard time with him at the beginning of the book when he says ‘but she’s an American’. I hate the prejudice that’s behind it. Yeah, I’ve been outside of the States and I know how people feel about us and it’s not all unwarranted. But give us the benefit of the doubt. Though it does work with the story. I can’t hate it because it works with the story. Though I have hated a book for less. I got frustrated with the Duke because he was fake. I know he didn’t want to marry Cora at first. But it’s part of the story. It was a cultural thing as well. But at the end it did kind of resolve itself, which was nice.

I did feel like their ending was a little convenient. But that’s me.

The mother as crazy but the kind of mother you would expect Cora to have. I didn’t feel bad when her face was burned. I kind of shrugged like my friend Amanda did when she broke a girl’s nose in a basketball game. I also feel like she was a little presumptuous. Like she was pushing Cora a little too much on the Duke. Then I started thinking about that. The main point of the trip was to find a title for Cora and that was an open door.

I liked that the maid part of the story was in. Because I know the premise of Downton Abbey, I expected there to be a maid part of the story. But I like that she was black. I was so heartbroken for her when her mom died at the end of the book. I related way more to her than Cora.

Now a technical thing. Written conversations typically have the quotations with the two marks on either side of the spoken word. This book had just the one mark on either side. That kind of bothered me. At first, for a split second, I thought that I was entering a thought process of a character. Nope, it was an actual conversation. But I got over it and fell into the gist of the writing and how it was published. I did appreciate the language. There were a few words that I didn’t know and I appreciate that. I’ve mentioned before in here that language has gone to hell in very recent times and it’s nice to read of an era and it have the right wording and intelligent wording.

Overall, this was a pretty good book. If you like Downton Abbey, you’ll love it. It definitely feels like that show from what I’ve seen of it.

Epic Book Tag.

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I know that it’s super early in the morning. I’m being an insomniac again. I know this is another book tag and not a review. I’m sorry. I’m having a hard time focusing. I do have a 3 day weekend from work so hopefully I can focus enough to finish The American Heiress. I got this tag from The Honest Bookclub. There were 10 questions but 9 was tagging people and 10 was do the shimmy. Let’s say that I did the shimmy and the proof was destroyed and everyone’s tagged 

If you could invite one author and one of their fictional characters to tea, who would you invite and what would you serve them?

Diana Gabaldon and Jane Eyre. That would be a good woman meeting and very smart conversation. I’d serve tea and sandwiches because I’m really good at sandwiches.

What book do you wish the author would write a prequel for?

I kind of what a prequel for The Hunger Games. Like Katniss’ parents or the war that made the Capital the Capital. I think it’s be interesting. That way you can really get into the series.

Which two characters (NOT from the same book) do you think would make a good couple?

D’Artagnon from The Three Musketeers and the main character from Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. I just think that it would be entertaining. They probably wouldn’t make each other happy. But I’d be entertained. That’s what matters right?

If you ran into your favorite author on the subway and only could say one sentence to them, who is it and what would it be?

Jamie, you killed my father, prepare to die….haha, just kidding.

What book made you a reader and why?

It wasn’t a book, it was me falling off a horse, breaking my wrist and having nothing to do for a good chunk of the summer. Let’s not pretend that it was a book that brought me back. It was a stubborn thoroughbred quarter horse mix horse. But the one book from that time that stands out was Catrin in Wales by Mabel Esther Allan.

Incendio! Your bookshelf just caught on fire! Show us the one book you save.

I can’t do it. It’s like a parent choosing a favorite child.

Which dystopian world would you want to live in if you had to choose one? Why?

I think the one that Cinder’s in. Because it intrigues me. And there’s cyborgs. I really need to read the rest of that series. But mainly I pick it because it’s intriguing.

What is your most epic read of all time?

Outlander. I haven’t read a series that I’ve been through the whole long series and still be dedicated. Can’t believe that it was there because it’s obvious.

I’m tired but I got through it! YAY! Now if you want to do the tag, do it.

The Coffee Book Tag

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I did steal this from Beachy Reads. I can’t take credit for this tag. And I love coffee. I made some this morning and I enjoyed it. I sat and held my mug even after the coffee was gone. Mmmmmm coffee. Tuesdays were coffee day in Hungary. Starbucks was on the way to bible study. We had to do it. Norbert was our coffee guy for most of the year.

1. Black: Name a series that’s tough to get into but has hardcore fans.

Well, I had a hard time with Game of Thrones. I muddled through the first book and after that I said no. I couldn’t do it. It seems like everyone who loves these books, are really into it. Or at least the fans of the television show. I’m just not into it and it’s sad because I thought that would be a series that I could get into.

2. Peppermint mocha: Name a book that gets more popular during the winter or a festive time of year.

My first instinct was the first Harry Potter book. But then I was like Little Women. They both confused me for Christmas. Unless Harry Potter was because they were popular in winter because they’re supposed to be darker? And the other one because it’s quaint? I don’t know! I can only guess.

3. Hot chocolate: What is your favorite children’s book?

Amelia Bedelia. They were the first books that I remember really getting into. I also don’t remember reading books by myself before these books. I probably did but I don’t remember them.

4. Double shot of espresso: Name a book that kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

Amazonia by James Rollins. It was my first Rollins book. It’s the only adventure author I’ve ever gotten into. He’s a smart adventure writer. Rollins writes in a way that makes me interested. It keeps me on the edge of my seat and I want to find out if everything ends okay. I consciously know that it will but I keep reading because I don’t know that emotionally all the time.

5. Starbucks: Name a book you see everywhere.

Everywhere physically or virtually? I’ve seen books by Sarah J. Maas a lot lately. I’m okay with it because she seems like a cool person and the one book I’ve read by her is good.

6. That hipster coffee shop: Give a book by an indie author a shout-out

Chuck Klosterman. I don’t think he’s necessarily an indie author. But I like the one book I’ve read of his. Klosterman wrote Downtown Owl. He’s an author that wrote about small-town North Dakota and got it right. Some people are offended by it but I think it’s reality. It made me laugh. Definitely not everyone’s speed.

7. Oops! I accidentally got decaf: Name a book you were expecting more from.

Wicked. I know that it’s a Wizard of Oz retelling and the Wizard of Oz scares the crap out of me but I expected this book to be better just because…..well just because. I always have high expectations of a Wizard of Oz retelling. I have hopes that I won’t get nightmares. The other night I watched the Wizard of Oz commentary as I embroidered (yes, I’m in my upper 20’s and embroider. I’m an old soul…..I think) and I had a dream about the Cowardly Lion grabbing my ankle while I was in bed. It wasn’t fun.

8. The perfect blend: Name a book or series that was both bitter and sweet but ultimately satisfying.

Outlander? I’m stretching there. There’s war and marital and extra-marital relationships and nice moments and not so nice moments. Let’s go with that. Outlander.

So that’s that tag. I’m not going to tag anyone. I don’t want to but if you want to do it, go ahead.