Category Archives: author

The Little Paris Bookshop Review

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I realize I have a problem. I was going to say it’s a minor problem but that’s not always the case. And yes, I realize I have more than A problem. I realize that I, at times, am more interested in someone’s backstory than the actual person. For example when I lived in Budapest, I would pass the homeless and wonder how they became homeless and not how could I help them now. I understand that this isn’t all bad because to know one’s past is to know one now. If you believe in that theory and I mostly do. All this to say is that I read a book by Nina George. If you don’t know who Nina George is, don’t feel bad because I really don’t know much but there is a fact about her that I’m interested in. She is German who lives in both Germany and France. I’ve been reading more translated pieces and most of the time I don’t get invested in an author, I don’t even do that with American authors. I just got fascinated by people who live in two different countries at the same time.

 

The book I read of hers was The Little Paris Bookshop. This book really got me interested in a person who writes a novel set in a country that is not their own. I got really defensive for a while and thought what made her qualified to write a book about France. But knowing after the fact that she lives in two countries makes a lot more sense. For those whose geography sucks, because mine isn’t great, Germany and France are neighbors so it’s not impossible to do. I know for Americans that’s a hard thing to understand sometimes.

 

Little Bookshop is a book, as I took it, that is about forgiving yourself. I feel like this book, that I really didn’t read the back of, came at an interesting time. I’ve had to learn to forgive myself on a lot of things the past few years and I’m still in the process of doing so. It also comes at a time where it seems like a lot of people on Facebook have been posting articles pertaining to letters to a former best friend. Putting that all together and me being let’s say, overly emotional, made this book a very interesting read.

 

This book isn’t a hard read. At the beginning of the book I was a little worried that it was going to be a book of flowery, beautiful sentiments coming from an old man that ran a bookshop and drastically changed people’s lives. I’m glad that it wasn’t and Perdu isn’t that old, he’s 50. Maybe I see that not as old because I’m in the last year of my 20s and since life goes by fast, 50 isn’t that far away. I don’t mind the flowery, beautiful sentiments when used sparsely but at the beginning of this book there was a lot of those lines that make a sentiment person sigh and dwell thoroughly on what they just read. I hesitated finishing this book after the first few chapters because I was worried Perdu was going to become Ove from A Man Called Ove. For those of you who haven’t read that book, Ove is an older man who is in his grief and angry. Then someone is determined enough to pull him out of his depression and makes him more joyful. And yes, that kind of happens to Perdu but you can’t really put his journey on one person.

 

I can’t help but be utterly invested in Perdu. He is broken hearted, has a boat bookstore and is neighbors with an author. Do I have to say he has a boat bookstore again? I’m not a boat person only cause I live in the frozen tundra and there’s a lake nearby but when do I have time to make friends with a boat owner. I’m more interested in the bookstore and how he can pinpoint what book a person needs. I want to do that. Like the whole thing, bookstore and instinctively know what book someone needs. I also reacted strongly to his journey. Like there were people in his life that brought him to a healthier spot in his life and vice versa.

 

I kind of liked Perdu and Catherine’s relationship. Yes, there was the past love that Perdu had to get over but he was also thinking about Catherine. I also think he didn’t conscientiously realize how much thought he put into Catherine. That just makes them better.

 

Manon’s journal entries were an asset to the story. I wish that there were a couple more of them in the book. But I realize that a person’s journal is a very personal thing. I’d have a major problem if someone got a hold of my journal. I understand that the journal was meant for one other person, Perdu. So I get it. I didn’t need to see the whole journal. I’ll respect a fictional character’s privacy. I know to someone who doesn’t read a lot and has actual real life friends doesn’t understand this sentiment. I think Perdu needed to read that journal to bring him to the end of the majority of his hurt.

 

That young author. I can understand why Max hid. I’ve partially hid for the past year and a half because of the same reason he did. I don’t know what’s going to be next. So in that case I understand Max but at least I’m working and I have things I want to accomplish like buying a car and taking a major trip. Max completely hid and isn’t even working. He drove me crazy for the majority of the book.

 

So if we had to sum this book up, I’m like or relate to a few characters. It’s a self-forgiveness, travel novel that people discover things in. Because of the timing that I read this book, I like this book way more than if I had read it at a different time in my life.

 

 

 

The Bookseller Review

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The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson is not a bad book. It is a book that if you don’t think much about, you won’t mind it. But I’ve overthought it for you because I overthink everything.

Let’s talk about the bad things right away and get that out of the way. My biggest problem is with the end. Swanson had a perfectly good stopping point and then it seems that she had some extra time before her deadline and added some more and ran out of time. Then the publisher said okay, whatever you want and published it. I feel like it didn’t end well. I feel like there was loose ends that really, REALLY needed to be tied up. I would have ended it after Kitty saw her former friend and saw her parents. End story. The friend situation bothered me. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve royally screwed up a friendship before and it hit a nerve or this is just one of those things where it wasn’t handled well. After years of letting things settle and for the reason why Kitty backed out, there would be a little more grace for what happened. But I don’t know. I’m not always the person to ask when it comes to relationships. And what the crap is with this title? Yes, in one life she is a bookseller and that’s what pretty much drives her in one life but this book is way more of her finding what life is the real life and which one is fake. And what is Kitty’s husband? Average with amazing eyes or hot? I guess I understand that her opinion changes with how she feels about him but I hate when people do that in real life so in books it bothers me.

I am completely fascinated by the premise. At first I was like, yeah, she’s just dreaming the one life and then not long before she realizes it, I start to wonder if she has it flip flopped. Kitty did say after she figures out that the one life was very convenient. I did like how this book started which is so weird for me to love a beginning and hate the ending. I usually will say I love the ending. There are parts of each of her life that I really like. One life she is more conventional than the other and I don’t know how I feel about that. Both ways Kitty is painted seems to fit her. I want to like that there are triplets in the story. My mind stops from liking it and I don’t know why. I think having children, especially one with a disability, adds dimension to the book. I do really like Lars. He seemed like a really good guy that I would get along with. The kids seemed pretty good but I saw her parents as being part of a faction of people from a certain generation that would bug me about not being married and then be too sweet. But people can annoy me so don’t take my word on the parents.

I do like that Kitty sees how her life is both ways. It makes me wonder what my life would be like if I had gotten married after college and had kids instead of stayed single and traveled and basically have the life I do now. 99% of my life I wouldn’t change but it’s still interesting to think of an alternative life, just as long as I keep it a fleeting thought.

This book does have dimension to it and I don’t completely hate it. It’s a good book if you’re looking for a half decent book. Like I said, I would have loved this book a lot more if the end was different.

A Curious Beginning Review

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I took a mini vacation to the Black Hills this weekend. I took five books along for 3 days. I didn’t get to them all. I did read A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn. It’s the first book in The Veronica Speedwell Mysteries and this is at least a trilogy. I haven’t read any of Raybourn’s other novels. But according to the New York Times, she’s a best seller. So that’s saying something. This will be a short review. Nothing against the book, it’s just how it is.

Let’s point out the one major thing that is this book. I don’t feel the Victorian era very much. I know that Veronica is not supposed to be your typical Victorian woman. But no one in this book feels very Victorian to me. But then I asked myself what the purpose of the book was for. It’s not supposed to be a fictionalized history of spunky females in the Victorian age. It’s for entertainment and I have to remember that. But that was my only real big complaint. That’s not so bad.

The rest of the book was good. I liked that there was an excellent vocabulary. I like the character interaction. The interactions between Veronica and Stoker were good. There was a general distrust between them that changed into a trust. If they don’t end up being married or even more like siblings, I’ll be surprised. The interactions with the other characters were great too. I liked that there was a little bit of mystery with all the characters all through the book. Everyone has their secrets and they’re revealed slowly and smartly.

Then there was the circus part. There was a reason for it. I didn’t quite understand to begin with but it definitely had its reasons. It grew on me. Even after dwelling on it after finishing it, it grows on me.

Overall, a decent book.

Slade House Review

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I’ve been in a major reading slump lately. Obviously, with the lack of posts lately. I’ve been tired lately. In all cases; emotionally, physically and mentally. It’s further proof I need a vacation from work. But I have been out twice in a week…with people…in a social setting. That’s twice more than usual. One friend is moving to the other Dakota soon with her husband and we went to a vineyard and the other time was for a good bye party for a friend that is moving to Virginia. But I’ve had two days off in a row which doesn’t happen often and I could do a little concentrating on myself.

I’ve been randomly picking up books, like I do, and I picked up Slade House by David Mitchell. I read it in a day. It would have been hours if I hadn’t taken quilting breaks. (remember that I haven’t hit 30 yet. I’m an old soul sometimes in my hobbies.) It’s just under 250 pages so it isn’t that long. I have the copy that has the gray-ish cover and I love this cover. It’s so pretty. It’s better than the yellow version because it fits the book better.

I went into this book with having just read the back of the book and I thought it was really interesting. Reading it, I think it is even more interesting. The concept of people being in or at a place that they want to be at and then completely changing is compelling to me. I think that each person that went to Slade House was very interesting. They were all vulnerable in one way or another and they all had their own weaknesses. And not only were the victims vulnerable but Jonah and Norah were too. In a totally different way like needing people every 9 years but they were still very dependent and had a vulnerability in their weakness. Eventually, with each person, I did want to yell at the person to get out of the house or not to enter it. Being the reader, you have the privilege of reading the back and knowing that there’s something not right. That gives you the privilege to yell at the oblivious characters. But why would they know that the house has something off with it? They haven’t read the back of the book. The back of the book was probably written at the end of the publishing process. And they can’t read the back of the book. They’re freaking fictional.

I have to bring up Norah and Jonah. First of all, I love the names. Then, I find them…I don’t know how to describe it. Like I want to be sympathetic to them but then not at the same time. Like I understand why they’re doing what they are and I understand the backstory but does it make it right? Where is the moral line? I’m finding myself thinking of those twins probably more than everyone else in the book. And reading the book again, I’d probably focus on another character but this time it’s them. I want to sit them down and pick their brains about why. But then I am fascinated with people’s backstories and why they do things. Fictional characters Megan. Fictional characters. They can’t talk back to you. This is proof that I need to get out more. (Don’t worry. I’ve been trying to be social. People just haven’t been cooperating with me.)

I have to give props to Mitchell for not just writing well, but every once in a while putting in a line that would make me stop and think. If I read a book in a day, I normally don’t stop and think about lines as hard as I did with this one. I saw one review that said Mitchell is really good at writing short stories and gluing them together and I hadn’t thought about it until then. But it’s true. Each section is a different person and they could stand alone but you still really needed the story before.

This book, to me, had the same feel as The Night Circus. I definitely think that if you like one, you’ll like the other. I liked Slade House better but it’s still the same feel for me. Let me know if you agree or disagree or what you thought of this book. To me it’s a keeper.

The Hidden Oracle Review

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Last night was a bad night at work. Trust me, it was bad. At one time, I had to physically be in three places. Not fun. Anyway, instead of reading Faulkner when I got home, I pulled out a Rick Riordan book because I really needed a simple easy book. Riordan is okay for that. So I read The Hidden Oracle in less than a day.

It’s not a bad book. I have found that Riordan has a very distinct voice that you hear in all his main characters. I feel like the male lead is mostly alike in all of them and the female lead is mostly alike in all of them. They’re all snarky and have a sense of humor tied to that snarkiness. I don’t care because the majority of teens I know have a snarky sense of humor. It’s just the same personality, different book with him. Apollo was some different though. He still had the snark but he was way vainer and at the same time fatherly. He did lose some of the vanity through the book and learned how to become a father more through the book and I appreciate that. He realized that he didn’t care about his kids before and learned to fight for them. Hence, the less vanity. I’m okay with that. I like that Riordan made a father figure because Riordan could put some of the things he knows as a father into a book and make a character learn them and show his readers with crappy fathers what a good father is. Yes, that was one epic sentence that should not have been one sentence.

I like that the book was from a god’s point of view. It’s nice that in reality, he’s thousands of years old but looks like he’s 16. It was nice to bring him down a few notches.

Then there’s Meg. Through the whole thing, you know she has a secret and there’s clues and there’s times where she doesn’t say anything when you know she almost did say something. I just ignored it. And how old is she? It was never confirmed. He estimated like 12 but she acts older. Back to her secret. I wasn’t so surprised who her mother was but more her step-father and then I sat back and said oh yeah. Should have seen that coming. I wonder how much of the whole situation she fully realizes. I know she knew some of it but how realistic is it that she knew as much as she led on?

I like the side characters. I liked the children of Apollo and I like that some of the characters from other books came into play. I like that Percy made an appearance but had an excuse why he wasn’t in the whole book. It was even nicer that there were older characters that are more of a big deal in this book, like Nico. The more books I read of Riordan’s the more I realize you kind of have to read all of them in order, starting with Percy Jackson. You can do them alone but there seems to be characters added and popping back up all over the place. But I like it.

I would read this book again, I would recommend it and I would continue the series.

William Faulkner.

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So sometimes I get intrigued by an author. William Faulkner is one of them. He’s also an author that I feel like I’m lacking on. I’m only now reading one of his books. So I did some research. This post is not his whole life, this is a VERY quick overview.

Faulkner wasn’t a tall man, I’m taller than him. But at almost 5 foot 10 (not quite. With my boots I’m just about 6 foot), I’m taller than a lot of people. He was just 5 foot 6. He also looks like someone’s grandfather if you look at pictures at him. I will point out that Faulkner was not allowed to join the U.S. Air Force but wasn’t allowed too because of his height. But he got around this. He lied on where and when he was born and added a ‘u’ (cause it was Falkner) to his name to make him look more British and joined the Royal Air Force. (RAF) Just so he could join the military. That’s interesting to me. I’ve had no desire to go into the military. My paternal grandmother wouldn’t have been happy with any of us grandkids if we had joined the military. (Interesting story behind that but that’s for a different time. It includes my great grandfather and what grandma believes killed him.) Faulkner never saw combat even though he was around and available during WWI. He was honorably discharged in 1918. It’s interesting that my research kind of portrayed him as always lying. Which you can’t blame the man, he was very creative/imaginative at an early age. It was like he couldn’t help it.

Career wise, he was very good at writing at an early age, but had some failures. From how I understand it, he struggled in the beginning. After his infant daughter died, he did do some writing. He was a screenwriter for a while and he would go back to it if book sales slumped. He liked writing poetry it seems and wrote a lot of it. It was what he started. Like there’s a crap load of it and there’s short stories and novels and the such. Faulkner was awarded the Howells Medal for distinguished work in American fiction in 1950. He was a co-receiver of the Nobel Prize for Literature. He attended at least one international writer’s conference.

Now he wasn’t an alcoholic but would go on drinking binges. Which means he had an alcohol problem. I feel like a lot, a decent amount, of iconic writers have a problem with some kind of substance. Obviously not all of them but there do seem to be a number of them. But anyway, Faulkner was in and out of a facility when he would have these binges. If I were his wife, I’d not stay around during these binges and maybe walk away altogether if they happened a lot.

Random facts: Can I point out his name was Cuthbert? If any research should be done, it should be on that name. And a cool thing about his great grandfather is that his father was killed in a duel with an ex-business partner. I don’t know why, but duels fascinate me. He named a daughter Alabama. Yes, after a state. I feel like that was the random name of the time. He did have one surviving daughter named Jill. He also went to college without a high school diploma or something equivalent.

I could write about him forever because there’s a lot of information and things you could go down the rabbit hole on. Go look him up.

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel Review

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Recently I made a shopping trip to Bismarck because I needed a place with better groceries and I needed to get my glasses fixed. But because it’s me, I made a trip to Barnes and Noble. I was with someone so I couldn’t stay as long as I had liked. But I did find one book that I did find interesting. It’s The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy.

I had the hardest time with this book. It’s a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, not my favorite folk story, and its set in World War 2, one of my favorite wars. But from the get go, I didn’t like it. A lot of people do, not me. I always make an excuse for why I don’t like a book. Like life issues or it wasn’t the right time for me to read this book or conflict of interest or something of that sort. I could do that for this book. But I won’t. Just a warning, there’s going to be spoilers.

From the start of this book, I had a hard time believing it. I know war makes you do drastic things but it seemed the father seemed way to easily convinced to abandon his children and then the stepmother be like go by Hansel and Gretel and the kids be like okay, let’s leave breadcrumbs to leave a trail. I wouldn’t have taken that at that age. By the way what is with that marriage? I didn’t like it. She had too much power over him. The stepmother just seemed like an altogether horrible person to me. She didn’t even tell the father where the kids were. I know it was for protection but still not a likable character.

So the kids. I feel like I’ve said this a lot but I was confused on ages. They say early on how old Gretel is but Hansel I couldn’t figure out right away because he seemed quite a bit younger but said the word penis quite authoritatively but then questioned what the circumcision is. But maybe I’m expecting of him. Maybe he hadn’t been fully told what a circumcision was. It’s totally possible. I thought there was a lot of pressure on him at the end to take care of him and Gretel and she was messed up. He did show his age when he got jealous of the baby and I appreciated that.

I questioned the priest because he wallowed in his own self-pity and drank because of it. I kind of always hate that character that wallows in self-pity. But then he redeems himself by killing Nazis then openly sat with the blood on him. Did he want to get caught so he would die and end his self-hate? How should I feel about him? I’m not quite sure. I also wondered how many of the clergy lost their faith during that time because there was so much strife during that time. And you see a lot of strife in the book. Side note: there are a couple other characters in the book but I don’t want to talk about them.

Magda saved the book for me. She’s the reason I gave this book a three on GoodReads and not a 2. I really didn’t enjoy this book. But then there’s the scene where she dies and I loved it. I hated to see her die but loved how it was written. I liked her snarky lines. Magda could not do any wrong in my eyes. I think she had a line at the beginning about Christians acting like the Christians they bragged to be. I liked that. I also like she was gypsy. I feel like if you weren’t Jew in WWII, you were forgotten and there were a lot of groups that were persecuted. This book showed that and I appreciate that.

Random thoughts. I found it was interesting that you didn’t know any of their real names. It bothered me and I really liked it at the same time. I always thought you were going to learn their names at the end but you didn’t and I was almost okay with that. Little disappointed though. I get the kids were too young and traumatized to remember so I get it. I also kept thinking of the movie that Heath Ledger was in about the Brothers Grimm.