Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Sunday, May 12, 2019

The Sunday Salon and Let's Talk Books... again!

Hello! Happy Mother's Day! It's been a while since I've checked in. You would think that retirement would be vast amounts of time that you need to think of things to fill it up with or else you'll go crazy, but let me tell you... it's not! Much to my surprise, retirement is busy! For me, there was time spent settling into a new home and a new town (Not to mention a new state 800 miles away from where I called home). Slowly meeting people and getting involved in the community was something else I started to do... and getting back to doing activities that I have time for now... such as crocheting & knitting. I actually did my first crafts show showcasing and selling my handmade ponchos and shawls, and also created my business, Shawl Y'all, to showcase those designs... But there will always be reading...

I still have my reading group, Chicks with Books, but now I Skype with then during our book club get togethers. I belong to my local friends of the library, which I have volunteered to help out when needed. And I frequent my library, which is a system of 4 libraries that are in located thru out the same county. I still read! And I still love to talk about what's coming out and that great book I picked up...
So as I sit here with a cup of coffee in hand, I feel like I'm relaxing with an old friend that I haven't spent a lot of time with lately. But that's about to change... time to get back to sharing those great book recommendations every week here. I've missed that. So, let's talk books........

One book I picked up last week was The Bride Test by Helen Hoang. Released just last week, it sounded similar in some ways to The Rosie Project, with the main character falling in love, but having challenges with romance due to his autism and processing his emotions differently than most people. But after reading a little of The Bride Test, I enjoyed the writing and found that though Khai Diep had autism, the storyline really didn't focus on that alone. It seems this romcom is going to be a fun romp...

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he's defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride. 

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can't turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn't go as planned. Esme's lessons in love seem to be working...but only on herself. She's hopelessly smitten with a man who's convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme's time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he's been wrong all along. And there's more than one way to love.

On my wishlist and another recently published novel, is Jennifer McMahon's The Invited. I really loved her book, Dismantled, way back in 2009 and would definitely put anything written by her on my TBR list. She has quite a long list of books too, of which I've read most. Dismantled was my favorite though. She writes these ghost like story stories with the past always coming out of the closet like a bad dream...

In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate have abandoned the comforts of suburbia to take up residence on forty-four acres of rural land where they will begin the ultimate, aspirational do-it-yourself project: building the house of their dreams. When they discover that this beautiful property has a dark and violent past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the local legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago. With her passion for artifacts, Helen finds special materials to incorporate into the house--a beam from an old schoolroom, bricks from a mill, a mantel from a farmhouse--objects that draw her deeper into the story of Hattie and her descendants, three generations of Breckenridge women, each of whom died suspiciously. As the building project progresses, the house will become a place of menace and unfinished business: a new home, now haunted, that beckons its owners and their neighbors toward unimaginable danger.

A book I recently picked up, but had to put down, was Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken. The premise sounded so cute- a woman is found half frozen in a cemetery with only a bowling ball, candlestick pin, and some money. On the surface it seems she has no past and is content to stay put in this little town, but things change...

From the day she is discovered unconscious in a New England cemetery at the turn of the twentieth century—nothing but a bowling ball, a candlepin, and fifteen pounds of gold on her person—Bertha Truitt is an enigma to everyone in Salford, Massachusetts. She has no past to speak of, or at least none she is willing to reveal, and her mysterious origin scandalizes and intrigues the townspeople, as does her choice to marry and start a family with Leviticus Sprague, the doctor who revived her. But Bertha is plucky, tenacious, and entrepreneurial, and the bowling alley she opens quickly becomes Salford’s most defining landmark—with Bertha its most notable resident. When Bertha dies in a freak accident, her past resurfaces in the form of a heretofore-unheard-of son, who arrives in Salford claiming he is heir apparent to Truitt Alleys. Soon it becomes clear that, even in her death, Bertha’s defining spirit and the implications of her obfuscations live on, infecting and affecting future generations through inheritance battles, murky paternities, and hidden wills.

Maybe I just wasn't in the right "mood" for this book, but the beginning was so slow I just had to put it aside. I will give it another chance, but it won't be the first book I grab..

Oh, and a quick mention of our book club read this month... American Princess by Stephanie Marie Thornton... It's historical fiction and about Alice Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt's daughter, who is suppose to be quite the girl... We'll talk more about that after I sink my teeth into it!

So, what are you reading?! Tell me what good books you've found in the comments! I would love to hear about them! And in the meantime... Next Sunday we'll look at some books to saddle up with in honor of that recent horse race, The Kentucky Derby!

Happy reading... Suzanne


Harvee said...

The Bride Test sounds intriguing. I must pick it up. Welcome back to the Sunday Salon!

shelleyrae @ book'd out said...

Bowlaway sounds like a fun quirky read. I really enjoyed Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient and I’m hoping to read The Bride Test sooner rather than later.
I’m glad you’ve settled into your new community.

Have a great reading week

Helen's Book Blog said...

I am just about 20 pages into The Bride Test and enjoying it so far. I also read and enjoyed The Rosie Project so it will be interesting to see how they compare. Have a great Sunday!

Bryan G. Robinson said...

I'm glad to see you back and that you're doing well in life in retirement and in reading. Myself? I'm finishing up All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot today.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I retired a year ago, and I'm still amazed at how busy I am. Of course, you are busy because you have moved and you are trying to get established in the community. I haven't moved but I've been busy trying to fix up our home, and I had to get reestablished in our community. I'm fascinated with the business you've established. It sounds quite fun.

I'm sorry you didn't take to Bowlaway. I love Elizabeth McCracken and the book sounds great, but I trust you are right and, if it's too slow for you at the start, it will be too slow for me.

I like the idea of Bride Test, too. I bet that one would be at my library.

So glad to see you at the Salon, and I hope you will join in whenever you can.

carol said...

I'm honestly not surprised retirement- and moving- has kept you busy. I'm sure I could more than fill my time even without coming to work every day, not even counting things other people would want me to do.

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