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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Week 9


In an attempt to get my book blogging life back up and running more regularly, I decided to add a weekly meme or two to my schedule. I like the idea of this meme because it focuses on what you’re reading and I can make that as quick as a bulleted list or embellish as much as time permits. Here’s a little more about It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? from the current proprietor, Book Date:

“It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!”

Although I wasn’t officially planning on it, I took last week off from blogging. My sister and her three children came down to visit for Memorial Day weekend. I enjoyed my time with them. My nieces and nephew are readers and it warmed my heart to watch them enjoy my illustrated copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Illustrated Harry Potter

They ended up staying an extra night because Meridith’s car developed brake problems just as she was leaving town. It gave her an extra night to continue beating me at cards. I loved every extra minute. The rest of last week was focused on my oldest daughter’s dance recital. She had a dress rehearsal Wednesday and Thursday nights. Then we spent most of the day Saturday at the recital itself. What a week!

I did get some reading done. I started and finished The New Neighbor by Leah Stewart in print. I’ll be reviewing it later this month, but it made for a nice, summer read.

Cover of The New Neighbor

I had a good book mail week as well.

BookMail

I bought Margaret the First and requested The Children. The rest are my #ArmchairBEA prizes.

This brings me to what I’m currently reading:

Audiobook

Cover of The GirlsI ended up DNFing America’s First Daughter for now. Cassandra Campbell’s narration was wonderful as usual, but early American historical fiction just doesn’t always work for me. I need to be in the right mood. I was not, apparently, in the right mood. I then picked up Maestra for a Litsy book club. That book was a major turn off full of body shaming. Roxane Gay’s Goodreads review says it all. I then started The Girls by Emma Cline. It’s narrated by Cady McClain. The story is interesting, but the narration is a bit measured. I’ve enjoyed it more after I discovered that Cady McClain is an actress from one of my soap operas. Her narration very much matches her approach to acting. I suppose that made me more comfortable.

Print

Cover of If You LeftI just finished The New Neighbor Saturday evening. It gave me a taste for summer reads, so I picked up If You Left by Ashley Prentice Norton. This novel interested me when it was pitched because it is about a wife and mother with manic depression who wants to have a “normal” summer with her family. My guess is that it doesn’t go well. Parenting and marriage are hard enough without having mental health issues. I also can’t imagine how it must be to grow up with a parent who has such intense highs and lows. I also admit that the cover was also appealing and part of why I requested it. I can very much imagine myself reading on that orange deck chair. I’m hoping this is a good summer read with a little bit of an edge.

Cover of Never a Dull MomentI’m also reading Never A Dull Moment: 1971 The Year That Rock Exploded by David Hepworth. This book attracted me because it’s a month by month look at the year I was born. When it arrived I intended to just read the introduction, but I soon found myself half way through February. It’s already prompted me to download and listen to Carole King’s Tapestry, an album I’d never before listened to all the way through. It’s fantastic. I’ve enjoyed learning more about bands and artists I’m familiar with as well as those that are new to me. This is a wonderful book to pick up and read in sections.

Diamond Head by Cecily Wong ~ Book Review

Cover of Diamond Head

Diamond Head by Cecily Wong

Published by: Harper

Published on: April 14, 2015

Page Count: 320 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

My Reading Format: Paperback review copy provided by the publisher for consideration

Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, and Audiobook

Summary from the Publisher:

A sweeping debut spanning from China to Hawaii that follows four generations of a wealthy shipping family whose rise and decline is riddled with secrets and tragic love—from a young, powerful new voice in fiction.

At the turn of the nineteenth century, Frank Leong, a fabulously wealthy shipping industrialist, moves his family from China to the island of Oahu. But something ancient follows the Leongs to Hawaii, haunting them. The parable of the red string of fate, the cord that binds one intended beloved to her perfect match, also punishes for mistakes in love, passing a destructive knot down the family line.

When Frank Leong is murdered, his family is thrown into a perilous downward spiral. Left to rebuild in their patriarch’s shadow, the surviving members of the Leong family try their hand at a new, ordinary life, vowing to bury their gilded past. Still, the island continues to whisper—fragmented pieces of truth and chatter, until a letter arrives two decades later, carrying a confession that shatters the family even further.

Now the Leongs’ survival rests with young Theresa, Frank Leong’s only grandchild, eighteen and pregnant, the heir apparent to her ancestors’ punishing knots.

Told through the eyes of the Leong’s secret-keeping daughters and wives and spanning The Boxer Rebellion to Pearl Harbor to 1960s Hawaii, Diamond Head is a breathtakingly powerful tale of tragic love, shocking lies, poignant compromise, aching loss, heroic acts of sacrifice and, miraculous hope.

My Review

Someday I would really like to go to Hawaii. I’m pretty sure I’ve had this dream as far back as the first time I saw the surfing Brady Bunch episode. I have no worries about curses because I’m not as foolish as the Brady boys. My first precious piece of jewelry also has a Hawaiian connection. My great grandmother, who passed away just before my first birthday, went to Hawaii after I was born. She came back with a pearl necklace for me so that I would always know I had a Great Grandma Iola who loved me. As much as Hawaii gives me warm feelings, I can’t remember ever having read a book set in Hawaii. So, when Harper Perennial dangled Diamond Head in front of me on Twitter one night, it was the setting (okay, the setting and the cover) that prompted me to say, “Yes, please!”

Interestingly enough, the beautiful Hawaiian setting itself was the least of what I ended up loving about Diamond Head. I was drawn into the Leong family’s Chinese origins and history. I was drawn to the role that the Boxer Rebellion shaped their family, the decisions that were made, and the lies of omission and commission that knotted the family up. Their culture and history were always in the forefront and I found that very appealing. I went into Diamond Head wanting to read historical fiction, especially from perspectives I was less familiar with in fiction. This book delivered.

Cecily Wong is a debut author and I very much enjoyed reading Diamond Head. It gave me the taste of Hawaii I was looking for and more. It gave me another perspective on family traditions and heritage and made me so very thankful to have a strong family, even if I don’t get to see them as much as I’d like. It made me pull out the pearl necklace and remember that my great grandma loved me. I will be looking forward to more reading as Wong’s career develops. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for her next novel.

My Husband & Michael Stipe

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My husband and I met on a talker back in 1994. At that time, I was entirely obsessed with Michael Stipe and R.E.M. I would log on each evening and try to get everyone there to talk about Stipe. One evening, Danny said, “Stipe is unripe.” I almost blocked him, but when he mentioned that […]

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The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson ~ Book Review

Cover of The Opposite of Everyone

The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson Published by: William Morrow Published on: February 16, 2016 Page Count: 304 pages Genre: Southern Fiction My Reading Format: Advanced reader copy sent to me by the publisher as a prize for winning a contest Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and Audiobook Summary from the Publisher: Born in Alabama, […]

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Week 7

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In an attempt to get my book blogging life back up and running more regularly, I decided to add a weekly meme or two to my schedule. I like the idea of this meme because it focuses on what you’re reading and I can make that as quick as a bulleted list or embellish as […]

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The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff ~ Audiobook Review

Cover of The Witches

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff Published by: Little, Brown and Company Published on: Page Count: 512 pages Genre: Non-Fiction My Reading Format: Audiobook review copy provided by the publishers for consideration. Audiobook Published by: Hachette Audio Narrator: Eliza Foss Audiobook Length: 18 hours 22 minutes Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and Audiobook Summary from […]

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The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse ~ Book Review

Cover of The Taxidermist's Daughter

The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse Published by: William Morrow Published on: March 29, 2016 Page Count: 432 pages Genre: Fiction My Reading Format: Advance Reader Copy provided to me by the publisher for consideration. Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and Audiobook Summary from the Publisher: A chilling and spooky Gothic historical thriller reminiscent of Rebecca […]

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The Crooked Heart of Mercy by Billie Livingston ~ Book Review

Cover of The Crooked Heart of Mercy

The Crooked Heart of Mercy by Billie Livingston Published by: William Morrow Published on: March 8, 2016 Page Count: 272 pages Genre: Fiction My Reading Format: Review copy sent to me by the publisher for consideration. Available Formats: Paperback, eBook, and Audiobook Summary from the Publisher: Ben wakes up in a hospital with a hole […]

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Week 6

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In an attempt to get my book blogging life back up and running more regularly, I decided to add a weekly meme or two to my schedule. I like the idea of this meme because it focuses on what you’re reading and I can make that as quick as a bulleted list or embellish as […]

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Armchair BEA ~ Day 3 ~ Beyond the Blog

It’s been a tumultuous week with my middle school aged daughters. I had every desire to knock Day 3 out of the park, but it’s 11pm and my laptop just died. I’m going to have to wing this from my iPad Mini. Here goes: Beyond the traditional form of the novel, what are your favorite […]

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