REVIEW: THE RED ADDRESS BOOK, BY SOFIA LUNDBERG

 

Meet Doris, a 96-year-old woman living alone in her Stockholm apartment. She has few visitors, but her weekly Skype calls with Jenny—her American grandniece, and her only relative—give her great joy and remind her of her own youth.

When Doris was a girl, she was given an address book by her father, and ever since she has carefully documented everyone she met and loved throughout the years. Looking through the little book now, Doris sees the many crossed-out names of people long gone and is struck by the urge to put pen to paper. In writing down the stories of her colorful past—working as a maid in Sweden, modelling in Paris during the 30s, fleeing to Manhattan at the dawn of the Second World War—can she help Jenny, haunted by a difficult childhood, unlock the secrets of their family and finally look to the future? And whatever became of Allan, the love of Doris’s life?

 

My Thoughts: I was hooked on The Red Address Book from the very first page. I loved Doris, who at 96, looks back on the life she has led, filling in her memories from names in her address book. Stories she narrated for us in alternating storylines take us to the past and then bring us back to the present. I felt as if Doris was a friend, and that her experiences in the past could have happened to people I knew and loved.

Jenny is her great niece, with whom she Skypes regularly. So when Doris falls, and then later has a medical crisis, Jenny comes to her in Stockholm, bringing along her youngest child, Tyra. The reunion fills in the blanks for Jenny, and also brings closure to Doris about some missing parts of her life. There was a great feeling of joy, as well as sadness, as the book came to a close.

This memorable story is one that I will never forget, and it earned 5 stars,

***

Advertisements

REVIEW: BY THE BOOK, BY JULIA SONNEBORN

 

An English professor struggling for tenure discovers that her ex-fiancé has just become the president of her college—and her new boss—in this whip-smart modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic Persuasion.

Anne Corey is about to get schooled.

An English professor in California, she’s determined to score a position on the coveted tenure track at her college. All she’s got to do is get a book deal, snag a promotion, and boom! She’s in. But then Adam Martinez—her first love and ex-fiancé—shows up as the college’s new president.

Anne should be able to keep herself distracted. After all, she’s got a book to write, an aging father to take care of, and a new romance developing with the college’s insanely hot writer-in-residence.

But no matter where she turns, there’s Adam, as smart and sexy as ever. As the school year advances and her long-buried feelings begin to resurface, Anne begins to wonder whether she just might get a second chance at love.

 

My Thoughts: This retelling of Austen’s Persuasion intrigued me from the beginning pages. I haven’t read the Austen book—that’s on my bucket list—but it is not necessary to have done so to enjoy By the Book.

Anne Corey is a bookish and delightful English professor who is hoping to finally earn a tenured position but must publish a book before that can happen. She has been working on it for a while, but so far, she has not been offered a publishing contract. Her days are spent teaching her classes; she hangs out with an old friend, Larry Fellor, another English professor; and locks herself away nights and weekends to work on her book.

The news that her college fiancé, Adam Martinez, has been hired as the new president of the college has catapulted her back in time, remembering their relationship and what happened to break them apart.

Meanwhile, Anne allows herself to begin a casual relationship with Rick Chasen, who has been added to the staff as a writer-in-residence. He pursues her, encourages her in her writing, and she thinks their relationship may help her finally get over Adam.

What happens next is stunning and changes everything Anne thought she knew about herself and about each of the men with whom she has been involved.

I enjoyed the feeling of being a part of the academic world with the characters. I also felt like I was sauntering along with them on the campus, entering the beautiful rooms that the author showed us, and finally, becoming part of their experiences. We had a vested interest in how their lives unfolded. Therefore, I was pleased with the ending, even though it was somewhat predictable, because it felt like the events were happening to old friends. 4 stars.***

RAINY DAY READING….

Today I’m participating in WWW Wednesdays, at Taking on a World of Words Here’s how it works:

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next, and/or what are you eagerly awaiting?

***

 

 

 

Currently Reading:  I’m loving By the Book, by Julia Sonneborn: An English professor struggling for tenure discovers that her ex-fiancé has just become the president of her college—and her new boss—in this whip-smart modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic Persuasion.

 

***

BOOKS FINISHED SINCE LAST WEEK: (Titles/Covers Linked to My Reviews)

The Winter Sister, by Megan Collins (NG-2/5/19)

Those Other Women, by Nicola Moriarty

***

EAGERLY ANTICIPATING:

The Liar’s Child, by Carla Buckley, will be released on March 12, 2019:  In this intense and intimate family portrait that moves at a thriller’s pace, a troubled woman faces a gripping moral dilemma after rescuing two abandoned children from a hurricane.  I have read several engaging books by the author, so I have bookmarked it on Amazon.

 

Synopsis:  On the outskirts of North Carolina’s Outer Banks sits the Paradise, an apartment complex where renters never stay long enough to call the place “home”—and neighbors are seldom neighborly. It’s ideal for Sara Lennox, who moved there to escape a complicated past—and even her name—and rebuild a new life for herself under the radar. But Sara cannot help but notice the family next door, especially twelve-year-old Cassie and five-year-old Boon. She hears rumors and whispers of a recent tragedy slowly tearing them apart.

When a raging storm threatens then slams the coastal community, Sara makes a quick, bold decision: Rescue Cassie and Boon from the storm and their broken home—without telling a soul. But this seemingly noble act is not without consequences. Some lethal.

Carla Buckley crafts a richly rewarding psychological portrait, combining a heart-wrenching family drama with high-stakes suspense, as the lives of three characters intertwine in an unforgettable story of fury, fate—and redemption.

***

What has your week brought to you?  Are you loving your books, or are you slogging along?  Thanks for sharing.

***

REVIEW: THE WINTER SISTER, BY MEGAN COLLINS

 

Sixteen years ago, Sylvie’s sister Persephone never came home. Out too late with the boyfriend she was forbidden to see, Persephone was missing for three days before her body was found—and years later, her murder remains unsolved.

In the present day, Sylvie returns home to care for her estranged mother, Annie, as she undergoes treatment for cancer. Prone to unexplained “Dark Days” even before Persephone’s death, Annie’s once-close bond with Sylvie dissolved in the weeks after their loss, making for an uncomfortable reunion all these years later. Worse, Persephone’s former boyfriend, Ben, is now a nurse at the cancer center where Annie is being treated. Sylvie’s always believed Ben was responsible for the murder—but she carries her own guilt about that night, guilt that traps her in the past while the world goes on around her.

As she navigates the complicated relationship with her mother, Sylvie begins to uncover the secrets that fill their house—and what really happened the night Persephone died. As it turns out, the truth will set you free, once you can bear to look at it.

My Thoughts: As Sylvie returns home, reluctantly, to care for her sick mother, Annie, she is confronted by the past and its dark secrets. Sometimes, studying the past can change one’s perspective and even the reality of one’s relationships.

What would Sylvie learn, as she tried to sort through the events leading up to her sister’s death? Would her view be reinforced, or would she realize that she had it all wrong?

As we follow Sylvie’s story and her interactions with Persephone’s boyfriend, we learn more about Annie’s story. The one loss that changed everything in her life, leading to Dark Days and the inability to really nurture her daughters, could have been the one thing that changed everything for the girls, too.

How can Sylvie sort through the detritus of her sister’s life, as well as her mother’s secrets, and discover the truth? As the final revelations in The Winter Sister are unveiled, everything will finally be brought to light, setting them free. 4.5 stars.


***My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley.

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “BY THE BOOK”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists.

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a download from almost a year ago:  By the Book, by Julie Sonneborn:  Funny, smart, and full of heart, this modern ode to Jane Austen’s classic explores what happens when we run into the demons of our past…and when they turn out not to be so bad, after all.

 

 

Beginning:  “What time’s your class, Anne?”  my best friend and fellow English professor Larry asked.  He was standing at the door to my office in his pressed shirt and tortoiseshell glasses, his balding head shaved close and his hand clutching an interoffice mail envelope.

***

Friday 56%:  Best to wait until the book was out to share the news, I decided.  Anything could happen between now and the book’s publication, and I didn’t want to rile him up unnecessarily.  With his leg hoisted onto the stool, he looked frailer than normal, swallowed up by his huge armchair.

***

Synopsis:  An English professor struggling for tenure discovers that her ex-fiancé has just become the president of her college—and her new boss—in this whip-smart modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic Persuasion.

Anne Corey is about to get schooled.

An English professor in California, she’s determined to score a position on the coveted tenure track at her college. All she’s got to do is get a book deal, snag a promotion, and boom! She’s in. But then Adam Martinez—her first love and ex-fiancé—shows up as the college’s new president.

Anne should be able to keep herself distracted. After all, she’s got a book to write, an aging father to take care of, and a new romance developing with the college’s insanely hot writer-in-residence. But no matter where she turns, there’s Adam, as smart and sexy as ever. As the school year advances and her long-buried feelings begin to resurface, Anne begins to wonder whether she just might get a second chance at love.

***

I am eager to read this one, a book that has been quietly resting on my Kindle for almost a year.  What do you think?

***

A LOOK BACK AT NEW YEAR’S EVES OF THE PAST…

Now that New Year’s Eve is behind us, I took a look back at some of my previous celebrations.  Quiet, of course, but with movies and moments.

Four years ago, this is what I wrote:

Have some popcorn and movies handy, preferably some old favorites like The Way We Were.  I saw the original movie on a New Year’s Eve, when it first came out on the Big Screen…yes, that was a long time ago, early seventies.

 

 

41Q542T9F4L

 

Even though I have seen it MANY times, I keep hoping that the ending will change, and Katie and Hubbell will end up together.  Sigh.

I saw Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford in an interview together…I think it was one of Oprah’s last years of shows.  So amazing.

Okay, I am a sucker for sad stories (movies) that somehow have a happy ending, or even one I wish would happen.

Then, of course, I will have some champagne to sip while I watch the ball drop on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, with Ryan Seacrest...Oh, I miss Dick Clark, sigh.

I met him once…Dick Clark.  My second son worked for Dick Clark Productions for a few years, as a CFO, and in 1999, Dick Clark Productions and Soap Opera Digest put on the Soap Opera Awards show. (Now no longer an event..sigh).  I attended, of course, as my son gave me a ticket, and that included the pre-party as well as a Back Stage Pass.   See bottom center.

 

Mementos

Mementos

 

That event was not on a New Year’s Eve, but in February of that year.  It felt like a New Year’s Eve event for me, however.  (In case you don’t know, I am seriously addicted to soap operas, and since there are only four left, I record them all daily).

But back to my quiet New Year’s Eve….

I also have a few other movies picked out, like Beaches, Annie Hall, and Urban Cowboy.

Yes, seriously sappy.  But I love the music in Beaches and Urban Cowboy, and the humor of Annie Hall will lighten things up.

You may have noticed these are all oldies…but I have them in my own DVD Collection, which exceeds 800 movies.  Yes, I am addicted.

***

For New Year’s Eve in 2018, I watched When Harry Met Sally, another movie that says “Happy New Year” to me.

What did your New Year’s Eve look like?

***

RAINY DAY READING: WWW WEDNESDAYS

Today I’m participating in WWW Wednesdays, at Taking on a World of Words Here’s how it works:

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next, and/or what are you eagerly awaiting?

 

***

Currently Reading:  I am enjoying an e-ARC from NetGalley, to be released on 2-5-19:  The Winter Sister, by Megan Collins:   a young woman haunted by the past returns home to care for her ailing mother and begins to dig deeper into her sister’s unsolved murder.

 

Last week, I was reading Sadie, by Courtney Summers, but I had to DNF it at 117 pages.  I tried, but it wasn’t working for me.

***

BOOKS FINISHED SINCE LAST WEEK-(Titles/Covers Linked to My Reviews):

I only finished one book.  Forget You Know Me (e-book), by Jessica Strawser, will be released from NetGalley on 2/5/19.

***

EAGERLY ANTICIPATING:

I have put a library hold on From the Corner of the Oval, by Beck Dorey-Stein.  I should have it in 12 weeks.  Or maybe I will grow impatient and buy it.  No, I’m going to try to wait.

Synopsis:  In 2012, Beck Dorey-Stein is working five part-time jobs and just scraping by when a posting on Craigslist lands her, improbably, in the Oval Office as one of Barack Obama’s stenographers. The ultimate D.C. outsider, she joins the elite team who accompany the president wherever he goes, recorder and mic in hand. On whirlwind trips across time zones, Beck forges friendships with a dynamic group of fellow travelers—young men and women who, like her, leave their real lives behind to hop aboard Air Force One in service of the president.

As she learns to navigate White House protocols and more than once runs afoul of the hierarchy, Beck becomes romantically entangled with a consummate D.C. insider, and suddenly the political becomes all too personal.

Against the backdrop of glamour, drama, and intrigue, this is the story of a young woman making unlikely friendships, getting her heart broken, learning what truly matters, and, in the process, discovering her voice.

***

That was my less than stellar week.  What did yours look like?

***

REVIEW: THE ADULTS, BY CAROLINE HULSE

 

Claire and Matt are no longer together but decide that it would be best for their daughter, Scarlett, to have a “normal” family Christmas. They can’t agree on whose idea it was to go to the Happy Forest holiday park, or who said they should bring their new partners. But someone did—and it’s too late to pull the plug. Claire brings her new boyfriend, Patrick (never Pat), a seemingly sensible, eligible from a distance Ironman in Waiting. Matt brings the new love of his life, Alex, funny, smart, and extremely patient. Scarlett, who is seven, brings her imaginary friend Posey. He’s a giant rabbit. Together the five (or six?) of them grit their teeth over Forced Fun Activities, drink a little too much after Scarlett’s bedtime, overshare classified secrets about their pasts . . . and before you know it, their holiday is a powder keg that ends where this novel begins—with a tearful, frightened call to the police.

What happened? They said they’d all be adults about this. . . .

My Thoughts: From the very beginning of The Adults, I had one of those “uh-oh” feelings. Nothing about this plan of theirs could be a good idea. Right? Vacationing with exes and new partners during the Christmas holidays sounded like the death knell for at least one or two of those relationships. A long five-day “weekend” could be disastrous.

Add in the somewhat bratty child Scarlett with her Imaginary Rabbit friend…and you are in for some tension, at the very least.

Matt was the first one I couldn’t stand. He was an annoyingly vague kind of person, unsure of what to tell his partner Alex about anything, not wanting to deal with the complications that might arise. He knew she wouldn’t want to go on the trip, so he didn’t tell her until the plans were all set.

Claire, Matt’s ex, seemed to have way too much control over everything. Others might feel slighted, or even ignored. And everything seemed to center around keeping their daughter Scarlett pleased about anything and everything.

Then there was Patrick, Claire’s new partner, whose jealousy reaches extremes before the weekend is done. What eventually happened took a while to sort out, and part of the narrative focused on a police investigation. What could have gone wrong indeed?

This interesting story with unlikable characters earned 4.5 stars.

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “VERITY”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a new download:  Verity, by Colleen Hoover: a standalone romantic thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover. Due to graphic scenes, this book is recommended for ages 18+

 

 

Beginning:  I hear the crack of his skull before the spattering of blood reaches me.

I gasp and take a quick step back onto the sidewalk.  One of my heels doesn’t clear the curb, so I grip the pole of a No Parking sign to steady myself.

***

Friday 56%:  Maybe what I felt was mother’s intuition.  Maybe, deep down, I knew something terrible was going to happen to Chastain, and that’s why I had been given that immense and sudden love for her.

***

Synopsis:  Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of the night their family was forever altered.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

***

WHERE ARE MY RAINY DAYS?

Welcome to another Thursday!  Usually I am posting on another blog…and I did that today over at my Coffee Chat post.

Since I created a new blog header here, I wanted to write something to showcase the new look.  Yeah, a little bit weird, I know.  So…I searched for Thursday memes, and couldn’t find anything.  Do some of you regularly participate on Thursday?  Something other than the one I already did?

It is not even raining today, or I would have chosen to spotlight rainy day photos.  I love the one of the little girl in the rain…on the header.  It reminds me of rainy days when I was a child, when I regularly wore rain boots and jumped in puddles.  I grew up in the Central Valley, where I now live, but a little farther north;  there was a lot more rain back then.  No matter what some say, there is truly a Climate Change happening.  Drought is common here, and rainy days are rare.

Here is one of my rainy day photos.  I think it was from a couple of years ago:

I finally finished reading Tell Me Lies, by Carola Lovering.  It was a slow read that went back and forth in time, and while I like faster paced books, there was something about this one that kept me reading. (Click for my review).

I created a new blog header there, too:  on my Curl up and Read blog.

***

So…what is happening in your world?  Are you experiencing rainy days?  Are the holidays bringing you down, or keeping you excited with a frenetic kind of energy?

***