Sunday, July 26, 2020
Sunday, July 19, 2020
Sunday, July 12, 2020
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
I apparently spent the entire month of June with my nose in a book. I read seven books! What the heck! I was spurred a little bit because I had several library books I’d waited on forever that became available at the same time.
1. Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire: The Guide to Being Glorious You, by Jen Hatmaker. ★★★★★ The author says: In this book, I break it down into five self-reflective categories—who I am, what I need, what I want, what I believe, and how I connect—and by working your way through them, you will learn to: own your space, ground, and gifts (they are YOURS, sister); be strong in your relationships and lay down passive aggression, resentment, drama, and compliance; say GUILT-FREE what you want and what you need; and welcome spiritual curiosity and all the fantastic change that doing so creates.
You with me, beloveds? If we do this work on our own selves now, not only will we discover a life truly worth living, but we will free our daughters to rise up behind us, with spines straight, heads up, and coated in our strength.
The Bug Says: That description reads like a typical self-help book, but it doesn’t feel like one. While the writing style is worlds away from Glennon Doyle’s book, the message is similar and just as electrifying: you are allowed to be yourself no matter what boxes your world erects around you. I’ve always chafed at boxes, but I also REALLY dislike any kind of conflict. This gave me a little boost to see if I can break free from some of my confining spaces.
by Nora Roberts. ★★★★
Caitlyn Sullivan had come from a long
line of Hollywood royalty, stretching back to her Irish immigrant
great-grandfather. At nine, she was already a star—yet still an innocent child
who loved to play hide and seek with her cousins at the family home in Big Sur.
It was during one of those games that she disappeared. Some may have considered
her a pampered princess, but Cate was in fact a smart, scrappy fighter, and she
managed to escape her abductors. Dillon Cooper was shocked to find the
bloodied, exhausted girl huddled in his house—but when the teenager and his
family heard her story they provided refuge, reuniting her with her loved ones.
Cate’s ordeal, though, was far from over. First came the discovery of a shocking betrayal that would send someone she’d trusted to prison. Then there were years spent away in western Ireland, peaceful and protected but with restlessness growing in her soul. Finally, she would return to Los Angeles, gathering the courage to act again and get past the trauma that had derailed her life. What she didn’t yet know was that two seeds had been planted that long-ago night—one of a great love, and one of a terrible vengeance.
The Bug Says: This is another fine novel by one of my favorite authors. She writes the best dialogue, and most of her heroines aren’t stupid. I hardly ever yell at them, so you know she does a good job of writing strong women. Ha!
3. Necessary as Blood, (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #13), by Deborah Crombie ★★★★ Once the haunt of Jack the Ripper, London's East End is a vibrant mix of history and the avant-garde, where elegant Georgian town houses exist side by side with colorful street markets and the hippest clubs. But here races and cultures still clash, and the trendy galleries and glamorous nightlife of Whitechapel disguise a violent and seedy underside, where unthinkable crimes bring terror to the innocent.
On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in mid May, a young mother, Sandra Gilles, leaves her daughter with a friend at the Columbia Road Flower Market and disappears. A few months later, her husband, a Pakistani lawyer, is killed.
The Bug Says: I love this series (obviously, since I’m on book 13). This is no cozy British mystery, but even so there is something comforting about reading a Scotland Yard murder mystery. Maybe it’s because I listened to the audiobook and I love the British accent? (This is also true of the next book, although it’s set in the London of the WWII blitz instead of present day).
American Agent, (Maisie Dobbs #15) by Jacqueline Winspear. ★★★★ Beloved
heroine Maisie Dobbs, “one of the great fictional heroines” (Parade),
investigates the mysterious murder of an American war correspondent in London
during the Blitz in a page-turning tale of love and war, terror and survival.
As the Germans unleash the full terror of their blitzkrieg upon the British Isles, raining death and destruction from the skies, Maisie must balance the demands of solving this dangerous case with her need to protect Anna, the young evacuee she has grown to love and wants to adopt. Entangled in an investigation linked to the power of wartime propaganda and American political intrigue being played out in Britain, Maisie will face losing her dearest friend—and the possibility that she might be falling in love again.
The Bug Says: This is another series that I love. She reminds me a bit of Sherlock Holmes because she gathers all kinds of seemingly innocuous information & then uses it in the end to find the killer (or rather, usually she’s just naming the killer who has been there all along). This one was just as interesting as the previous ones. And I really had no idea until the end whodunit!
Daughters of Erietown, by Connie Schultz. ★★★★ Hidden
desires and long-held secrets, the sacrifices people make for family and to
realize their dreams, are at the heart of this powerful first novel about
working class people in a small town. By the popular Pulitzer Prize-winning
In the 1950s, Ellie and Brick are teenagers in love. As a basketball star, Brick has the chance to escape his abusive father and become the first person in his blue-collar family to attend college. But after Ellie learns that she is pregnant, they get married, she gives up her dream of nursing school, and Brick gets a union card instead.
This riveting novel tells the story of Brick, Ellie, and their daughter Samantha, as the frustrations of unmet desire for sex, love, identity, and meaningful work explode their lives. The evolution of women's lives over decades of the second half of the 20th century is explored, in a story that richly portrays how much people know about each other and pretend not to--the secrets at the heart of a family.
The Bug Says: I read this book because I follow Connie Schultz on Facebook. She is an award winning journalist who lives in Cleveland, but she’s also the wife of Senator Sherrod Brown. I was prepared to be kind while reading it, but it is actually a very good book! I don’t often willingly read novels about generations of families (see British mysteries, above), but this one was engaging and left me afterword wondering how Sam was doing. I missed her & Ellie! I highly recommend picking this one up!
Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides. ★★★ Promising
to be the debut novel of the season, The Silent Patient is
a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her
husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive…
Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him...
The Bug Says: I got very behind on book club books. I think this was the book for May? It’s because I didn’t want to purchase the book (and the next one, below), so I had to wait until they were available at the library. This book was pretty good. The writing style sort of reminded me of somebody reading someone else’s notes from the file. Kind of dry? I don’t know – it was hard for me to get into it in the beginning, but it did pick up momentum, and there is a twist at the end that had me reflexively giving it 4 stars. Such a great twist! But in the end I backed it down because of how hard it was for me to stay engaged until the last third of the book. HOWEVER, I still recommend that you read it & tell me what you thought of the end.
Exit, by Taylor Adams. ★★★ A brilliant, edgy
thriller about four strangers, a blizzard, a kidnapped child, and a determined
young woman desperate to unmask and outwit a vicious psychopath.
On her way to Utah to see her dying mother, college student Darby Thorne gets caught in a fierce blizzard in the mountains of Colorado. With the roads impassable, she’s forced to wait out the storm at a remote highway rest stop. Inside, are some vending machines, a coffee maker, and four complete strangers. Desperate to find a signal to call home, Darby goes back out into the storm . . . and makes a horrifying discovery. In the back of the van parked next to her car, a little girl is locked in an animal crate.
There is no cell phone reception, no telephone, and no way out. One of her fellow travelers is a kidnapper. But which one?
The Bug Says: This is another one where I wavered between a 3 and a 4. It was a romp to read (in a gory, sadistic, evil villain matching wits with an intrepid heroine sort of way), but there were so many little things that drove me crazy (whose iPhone hovers at less than 10% power for that many hours?). Also, by the end, I was like, come on – another plot twist? However, it was fast paced and very satisfactory despite the fact that not all of the good guys lived.
On my shelf now: The One-in-a-Million Boy, by Monica Wood and I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, by Austin Channing Brown. They are both excellent and I already know I’m going to want to recommend them to you. What are you reading?
Sunday, July 5, 2020
Blogger has updated its interface and I am NOT AMUSED. The spacing is weird, I have to add pictures one at a dang time (I used to upload them all, and then just insert them where I wanted), and I can’t just type in the labels anymore – I have to scroll through the whole list to find the ones I want. I have a jillion labels. Labels might be a thing of the past (I mostly use the search feature when I’m trying to find a post anyway). Okay, rant over. For now.
Sunday, June 28th
Dr. M spent some time with his dad & the hydrangeas that are from his mother’s funeral.
I spent some time with my dad and Sue, and picked some blueberries. When I commented that the thing on the right was NOT a blueberry, my dad yanked it up & sent it home with me (garlic – yum!).
Monday, June 29th
Tuesday, June 30th
Another day, another mask situation.
Our neighbor’s daylilies are lovely!
Wednesday, July 1st
I posted this about being glad my new curling iron came with that warning, and then things took a bawdy turn – especially after I read the instructions. And all I can say about that is OUCH.
Thursday, July 2nd
One of my coworkers’ husbands brought us patriotic donuts. Yum!
That evening we had a visitation from the blissed out Roy.
Friday, July 3rd
I had the day off from work – woo hoo! I finished up this project – another non-sock item made from sock yarn that I’d had for about 5 years. I actually mostly finished it a couple of weeks ago, but I was POSITIVE I had another skein of the yarn in the house somewhere. I did another pretty exhaustive search on this day & had no luck. It’s fine – this is supposed to be a scarf, not a shawl anyway. Photo shoot to come after it dries.
Saturday, July 4th
We spent part of the day with Dr. M’s dad. We had bbq & baked beans with fried okra (I don’t know why the only picture I took of that was the okra). And then we had cupcakes, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Dr. M spent some time talking with his dad & I spent some time picking blueberries. I think it’s fitting that I began and ended the week with blueberries!
I often have a lot of conflicting feelings about this day, but this year it was more troubling than usual. I’ll let Frederick Douglass explain (and my goodness, I read an alternate opinion of him this week & now I’m giving him side eye!).
I’ve had a lovely long weekend, but I don’t mind going back to work (at least I won’t mind once I’m up and out of the shower – pre-shower I will be a little salty about it). When I’m out of my routine I can spiral down into complete lethargy with a touch of depression. I did get some housework done, so I feel good about that, and I finished a couple of books and started on THREE more. But I’ll bet my screen time was through the roof! What did you do with your down time? (If you had some – and I don’t want to hear it from my retired people – I’m looking at you Daddy.)
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