MONTHLY READING ROUNDUP

MONTHLY READING ROUNDUP

Well, we have arrived at November 2019. The month of October flew by for me. Christmas will be upon us before we know it. I work as manager and bookkeeper for an RV park in
in Arizona. My husband and I started working five days a week now, rather than just two hours a day.
I only had time to read four books this month, but I enjoyed all of them. The full reviews of these books, with the exception of Orphan X, are all on this blog under Book Reviews. Here they are in the order I finished them.

Crippen by John Boyne

I have read several books written by John Boyne. He is in the top five of my favorite authors of all time. This book was a fictionalized story of Hawley Harlan Crippen who was accused, arrested and tried for the murder of his wife Cora. It is based on a true story. Dr. Crippen, got his “degree” from correspondence courses. He has wanted to be a doctor since early childhood. When friends started questioning Hawley about Cora’s absence, he told them that she had gone to California to tend to a sick relative. Eventually, the police started questioning him as to her disappearance. He was accused for her disappearance. He had taken a lover, a young woman who worked with him and they boarded a cruise ship in Antwerp and headed for Canada in order to live freely and without shame together. The twists and turns of this book are marvelous. If you haven’t read it, please treat yourself. I highly recommend this one.
I finished reading Crippen on October 12, 2019
Get it from Amazon


The Minotaur’s Son and other wild tales
by Kevin Ansbro

Kevin Ansbro, the author of ‘The Minotaur’s Son and other wild tales’ has written three books besides this one and I have devoured each one. These books introduced me to the genre of Magical Realism and I was fascinated. The Minotaur’s Son is a collection of short stories and one of them, if not all, will appeal to everyone. You meet a siren, a hip space cowboy and many others. It’s terrific and can be purchased on Amazon.
I finished reading this book on October 14, 2019.
Kevin is taking a hiatus from writing for a bit, but I am waiting patiently for his next masterpiece.


The Night Olivia Fell
By Christina McDonald

This book really was well-written. I think that it is more for teenagers, mostly girls, than for adults. However, it was a good story. Olivia is a sixteen-year-old teenager with a single mother who is very protective. Olivia falls from a bridge one night and is rendered brain dead. Much to her mother’s surprise, she is told that Olivia is pregnant. Before she is taken off life support she must be kept alive until the baby she is carrying is developed enough to be born and survive the outside world. Olivia’s mother goes on a quest to find out what really happened to her daughter. She does not believe it was an accident nor a suicide. This book was enough to keep me reading because I wanted to find out what happened in the end. Very well-written. You may purchase this book at Amazon.
I finished reading this on October 20, 2019


Orphan X
By Gregg Hurwitz

This is an older book. When I started doing research on it, I found that it is the first book in the Orphan Series. It was dynamite. Move over James Bond!! Evan Smoak was alone in the world, an orphan, raised by a covert operation that is part of the government that disavows any knowledge of its members should there be trouble. Basically, Evan is a trained killer. He was trained by the best for the most dangerous assignments. After dropping out of this covert organization, he vows to help anyone that needs his help. “Pay It Forward” so to speak. This book races from one danger and hair-raising situation to the next as fast as lightning strikes. It’s a great action book, easy and quick to read. You may purchase it at Amazon.
I finished reading this on October 28, 2019

I hope you enjoyed my monthly roundup. I’ll be back on December 1, 2019, to do the Monthly Roundup for November. Happy Reading everyone.

LAGNIAPPE - A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA

BOOKS THAT ALL INTROVERTS SHOULD READ

Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?

I ran across an article earlier that had to do with introverts. Since I am an introvert, I stopped to read it. It gave twenty-six (26) books that introverts might enjoy. I have read a couple of them and I am going to add another one or two to my ever-expanding TBR list. However, my list will outlive me, I have no doubt. I’m in the process of writing a post about my goals as far as book reading goes, during 2020. I’m aiming high and hope I can live up to.
Please check out this article. You can find it here. You will probably find some you have read and add to your list as well
.
There is also a quiz on this site that you can take to determine to what degree and what kind of introvert or extrovert you are.

I have listed below six of the books from this list that either caught my eye, I have read, or I’m planning to read. There are twenty more to check out. It’s a fun list to look at.


TELL THE WOLVES I’M HOME
BY CAROL RIFKA BLUNT

SYNOPSIS
It’s 1987, and June Elbus has lost her best friend in the world, her uncle Finn. June is 14, and reserved in a way her sister, Greta, will never understand. They used to be so close, but now, the only comfort June can find is in the woods, where she is free to think and be alone without the painful eyes of other people on her. As June finds out more about her uncle, and comes to learn more about herself, her family, and the world itself. This perfectly quiet novel will make any shy or introverted person feel immediately understood.

MY THOUGHTS
I have not read this book, however I find the synopsis above to be tempting. Sometimes when I was a child, after I lost my grandmother who died at 96, I would go off in the woods next to our house with just my dog, Lucky, and roam for hours. If I found a cleared spot or got tired, I would stop to rest. I had all I needed. My lunch, my dog, and a book. I may add this to my list. Said list is already so long, it will undoubtedly outlive me. This book is available at Amazon



READY PLAYER ONE
BY ERNEST CLINE

SYNOPSIS
It’s 2044, and the world is falling apart. Ernest Cline’s bestselling first novel tells the story of Wade Watts, a teenager who has almost completely removed himself from reality in order to pursue an “Easter Egg” within a video game to win a billion dollar prize. Wade, and the rest of the world, would rather communicate via virtual reality than actual reality, they feel more themselves tucked away, a feeling most introverts know all too well.


I’m reading this book now (October 30, 2019). I haven’t gotten very far into it, but it has been on my TBR list for a very long time. I checked Goodreads for reviews and came away with many 5* reviews. A good many, from long-time friends of mine whose opinion I trust. So, I have high hopes for this one. This book may be found at Amazon


WHERE’D YOU GO BERNADETTE
BY MARIA SEMPLE

SYNOPSIS
Bernadette might be the ultimate introvert in literature. She would rather disappear from her daughter’s life all together than take a trip to Antarctica, because other people will be there. While we’ve surely all felt this way at one time or another, Bernadette takes introversion and dislike of crowds to an entirely new, hilarious level.


MY THOUGHTS
This is another book that has been on my TBR list for a couple of years now. It will go on my list of goals for 2020. Be on the lookout for a separate post later in the year.


It really sounds good. While I am an introvert, I don’t think that I would risk losing contact with one of my children rather than go anyplace undesirable to me. I would probably just “suck it up” and be miserable. I’m looking forward to reading this book. This title can be purchased from Amazon


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
by Susan Cain

SYNOPSIS
Susan Cain takes a scientific look at introverts, and the quiet power they hold, even in a society that seems to grow louder and louder every day. A must read for any and all introverts who could use a little empowerment every now and then.

MY THOUGHTS
I have read this book and it was an epiphany to me. It’s a must if you’re the least bit curious about introverts and extraverts and the difference between the two. I highly recommend reading this. You can find it here.


THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
BY STEPHEN CHBOSKY


SYNOPSIS
It wouldn’t be a list about being an introvert without this one. Stephen Chbosky (literally) wrote the book on it. There’s a good chance you read The Perks of Being a Wallflower at some point in high school and related so well to Charlie that you couldn’t quite believe it. He’s quiet, he just wants to read his books, go to school, and make things work, and, sometimes, he just can’t put those things into words. Been there, felt that.

MY THOUGHTS
I have read this book many years ago. It described exactly how I felt as a teenager in high school. I was a big geek, as I am now, and would rather read than socialize. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, young or old for either a reminder of their teenage years, or to make them feel better to know that lots of people go through this to some degree.
Find it here . A movie was also made several years ago. Find it here


THE GOLDFINCH
BY DONNA TARTT


SYNOPSIS
The Goldfinch features the ultimate dynamic: the introverted, shy friend joined by the incredibly spunky, outgoing best friend. Tartt’s writing has so much to it, but one of the best parts by far is the friendship between Theo and Boris. An introvert brought out of his shell and pushed by an extroverted friend is something all introverts have experienced at least once!

MY THOUGHTS
This is in my top five favorite books for me in 2019. It was absolutely wonderful. Donna Tartt is a terrific author and I have read several of her books. Unfortunately, I could not find a website dedicated to her. You can find out more about her from goodreads.com. You can find the book at Amazon. The Goldfinch was a Pulitzer Price Winner for fiction in 2014. A movie came out in 2019. I did not get a chance to see it. I’m hoping it will hit Netflix sooner than later. It is fantastic and I would recommend it to all.

So that’s it folks. I hope you look over the entire list and maybe you will pick up one or two that you must read. I know I did.

ABOUT ME

THINGS TO PONDER

I’m having a lazy day today. Just sitting here thinking about things I need to think more about. Just random thoughts. And it suddenly occurred to me that maybe someone else out there needs to give more thought to things in their life. I will add to the post from time to time. For today, I am thinking about two things.

I think about this a lot. How much does swearing and pitching a fit about something really help any situation. I’m sure that most people will say, it only makes the situation worse, but it always makes me feel better to let loose with a temper tantrum and a few well-chosen curse words.
You know what they (I’ve never really known who “they” is specifically) say. Opinions are just like a**holes, everyone has one. I always try to remember that I can agree to disagree with many different opinions but still remain open to others.

I’ve been putting a lot of thought into the fact that I wasted so much time of my life doing things that I really didn’t enjoy. Putting up with people that I really didn’t enjoy. No, I’m not feeling sorry for myself or regretting the life I have led. At the time, I was doing exactly what I thought I wanted to do at the time. One of the main things I really should have thought about was getting married fresh out of high school at 18 years of age. I had no idea who I was or who I might become . I stumbled around for years, hating the jobs I had, not being with people that I really enjoyed being with. I could go on and on about the stupid things I did as a younger person. I have to laugh at some of my shenanigans. I have come to realize that I had to get past 60 to settle down into a job I love, travel where I want to go and have found my soulmate.

I’d like to see what things you regret as well as things that have gone right for you. I’d be interested to know.

THINGS I'M DOING

One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America by Gene Weingarten- ARC Review — Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub

This is a re-blog book review from the ‘Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub’ that I found very interesting. I immediately ordered this book and am really looking forward to reading it. I thought maybe some of you might find it interesting and want to read it as well. I think it would be a very good book for discussion. See what you think. While you’re enjoying this post, you might want to check out her blog. She’s got lots of interesting things on there.

Originally posted on Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub: On New Year’s Day 2013, two-time Pulitzer Prize–winner Gene Weingarten asked three strangers to, literally, pluck a day, month, and year from a hat. That day—chosen completely at random—turned out to be Sunday, December 28, 1986, by any conventional measure a most ordinary day. Weingarten spent the next…

One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America by Gene Weingarten- ARC Review — Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub
BOOK REVIEWS, YA BOOKS

THE NIGHT THAT OLIVIA FELL BY CHRISTINA MCDONALD

Publishing Information from Amazon.com

  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (February 5, 2019)
  • Publication Date: February 5, 2019
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English

SYNOPSIS FROM GOODREADS

In the small hours of the morning, Abi Knight is startled awake by the phone call no mother ever wants to get: her teenage daughter Olivia has fallen off a bridge. Not only is Olivia brain dead, she’s pregnant and must remain on life support to keep her baby alive. And then Abi sees the angry bruises circling Olivia’s wrists.

When the police unexpectedly rule Olivia’s fall an accident, Abi decides to find out what really happened that night. Heartbroken and grieving, she unravels the threads of her daughter’s life. Was Olivia’s fall an accident? Or something far more sinister?

Christina McDonald weaves a suspenseful and heart wrenching tale of hidden relationships, devastating lies, and the power of a mother’s love. With flashbacks of Olivia’s own resolve to uncover family secrets, this taut and emotional novel asks: how well do you know your children? And how well do they know you? 

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My Thoughts

When I first saw this book, I knew it would be an easy read with a little mystery in it. I didn’t realize it was a YA book. I should research more carefully in the future. Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a terrible book and I’m sure that middle school and high school age children would eat it up. But for me, not so good.

The book centers around a 16-year-old high school girl named Olivia who has a terrible “accident”. Or, is something more sinister at the root of her fall? Her mother Abi, an overprotective single mother who adores her daughter and keeps a tight rein on her.

Olivia has a BFF, Madison, a boyfriend, Tyler. Madison has been a friend since they were small children and Tyler is, of course the handsome but shallow captain of the football team.

I could go into great detail about all the characters and the twists and turns this book made, but I will let you read it for yourself.

All of this is quite predictable and I had no problem figuring out how it would end. Like I stated above, it was not a terrible book, but pretty lightweight. I didn’t research it or read reviews.

The book has some redeeming features that will be evident toward the end. If you like YA books or have a teenage daughter or son that is a reader, this is a perfect book for them.

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About the Author

Christina McDonald

Christina McDonald is the USA Today bestselling author of The Night Olivia Fell (Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books), which has been optioned for television by a major Hollywood studio. Her next book, Behind Every Lie, is out Feb 2020. Her writing has been featured in The Sunday Times, Dublin, USAToday.com, and Expedia. Originally from Seattle, WA, she has an MA in Journalism from the National University of Ireland Galway, and now lives in London, England with her husband, two sons, and their dog, Tango.

BOOK REVIEWS, HISTORICAL FICTION

THE CONFESSIONS OF FRANNIE LANGTON BY SARA COLLINS

THE CONFESSIONS OF FRANNIE LANGTON
BY SARA COLLINS

Title: The Confessions of Frannie Langton
Author: Sara Collins
Publisher: Harper – May 21, 2019…….375 Pages

FROM THE BACK COVER
No one knows the worst thing they’re capable of until they do it . . .
“All of London is abuzz with the scandalous case of Frannie Langton, who is accused of the brutal double murder of her employers, renowned scientist George Benham and his eccentric French wife, Marguerite. Crowds pack the courtroom, eagerly following every twist, while the newspapers print lurid theories about the killings and the mysterious woman being held in the Old Bailey.

The testimonies against Frannie are damning. She is a seductress, a witch, a master manipulator, a whore. Frannie claims she cannot recall what happened that fateful evening, or how she came to be covered in the victims’ blood, even if remembering could save her life.

But she does have a tale to tell: a story of her childhood on a Jamaican plantation, her apprenticeship under a debauched scientist who stretched all bounds of ethics, and the events that brought her into the Benhams’ London home—and into a passionate and forbidden relationship.
Though her testimony may seal her conviction, the truth will unmask the perpetrators of crimes far beyond murder and indict the whole of English society itself.

The Confessions of Frannie Langton is a breathtaking debut, a murder mystery that travels across the Atlantic and through the darkest channels of history. A brilliant, searing depiction of race, class, and oppression that penetrates the skin and sears the soul, it is the story of a woman of her own making in a world that would see her unmade.”

THE STORY

The book opens at Newcastle Prison in London, England, where Frannie Langton is on trial for the premeditated murders of her Master and Mistress, George and Marguerite Benham. She faces the death penalty. Frannie maintains she has no memory of the incident.

Frannie has been taught to read and write by Langton in order that she could help him with his scientific “experiments”. She was educated, which was rare for a woman of color in that day and age. She longed to write; and, while awaiting her fate in prison she wrote her memoir.
Frannie begins her memoir from her childhood in Jamaica to her arrival in London. She chronicles her years as a slave in Jamaica and the “scientific” atrocities she was forced to be witness and participate in while she was there. Langton, her master in Jamaica, was working with another very well known and respected scientist. They were working on the same project. I shall not, at this point, reveal the subject of these experiments. I will let you read this book if you have a mind to. Trust me when I say, they are macabre & frankly sickening.

Langton subsequently offers to gift Frannie to the more well-known scientist, Benham and they travel to London. Upon arriving, Frannie works as a servant under the supervision of the house manager, who hates her. However, shortly after arriving, she has caught the eye of Marguerite Benham, Meg as her friends refer to her and becomes Meg’s lady maid. The two of them become extremely close friends much to the chagrin of the house manager and the Master George Benham. Frannie tends to Meg’s every need. And I want to stress “every need”.

I’m going to stop here so as not to post any spoilers. Anymore detail would be an injustice to future readers of this magnificent book It’s a must-read book and you will not be disappointed.

MY THOUGHTS

This wonderful book not only addresses the subject of slavery in both Jamaica and England, but also it brought to my mind the prejudice that is still in existence today targeting anyone who is “different”.

I was born and reared in Louisiana. I now reside in Arizona. I am also of the advanced age that I remember segregation very well. Not only in our schools but on public transportation. They had to go to the back of the bus. Also at the lunch counters, restrooms and water fountains. The list goes on and on. I had children that I did my best to dissuade from that kind of attitude in which I was saturated as a child. I think I did a pretty good job. Those children now have children of their own who have also been taught that prejudice is wrong and will not be tolerated.

Far be it for me to suggest that this attitude does not exist today. Sadly, it does. We can only hope that through education and the instruction of tolerance, we have hope for a better tomorrow.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Collins is of Jamaican descent. She studied law at the London School of Economics and worked as a lawyer for seventeen years before doing a Master of Studies in Creative Writing at Cambridge University, where she was the recipient of the 2015 Michael Holroyd Prize for Creative Writing. She lives in London, England. The Confessions of Frannie Langton is her debut novel, and was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Prize.

LITERARY FICTION

LADDER TO THE SKY BY JOHN BOYNE

John Boyne knocks it out of the park again. This is another masterpiece. The protagonist “Maurice Swift”, from a very early age, longed to be a famous, best-selling author. There’s one problem, Maurice cannot come up with stories. He has no imagination. So, what does he do you might ask. He uses his good looks and charm to cozy up to successful story-tellers by however means necessary. He is asexual. Even though he is distractingly handsome, to both men and women, he cares nothing for sex. He uses his sexuality on both men and women throughout this book. He tramples on everyone on his way up the ladder to success. I believe he is what we’d call today a psychopath. He leaves broken and hurt associates all along the way. However, the higher we climb, the farther we have to fall.

John Boyne is one of my favorite authors. Every book I have ever read by him has been brilliant. He just simply knows how to develop a story with characters you will never forget.

If you haven’t read this book, run, do not walk to your nearest bookseller and buy a copy. I have full confidence you too will be hooked like I am.

https://johnboyne.com/
You may see all John Boyne’s books at his official website

John Boyne (born 30 April 1971 in Dublin) is an Irish novelist.

He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where he won the Curtis Brown prize. In 2015, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by UEA.

John Boyne is the author of ten novels for adults and five for young readers, as well as a collection of short stories.

His novels are published in over 50 languages.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which to date has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide, is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and a film adaptation was released in September 2008. Boyne resides in Dublin. He is represented by the literary agent Simon Trewin at WME in London, United Kingdom.