Sunday, October 5, 2014

What I read in September 2014

September was a slow month but I did manage to listen to two books.  Two very different books but still both enjoyable.

The first book was . . .

The Good House by Ann Leary
Narrated by Mary Beth Hurt

Goodreads  How do you prove you're not an alcoholic?

Hildy Good has reached that dangerous time in a woman's life - middle-aged and divorced, she is an oddity in her small but privileged town. But Hildy isn't one for self-pity and instead meets the world with a wry smile, a dark wit and a glass or two of Pinot Noir. When her two earnest grown-up children stage 'an intervention' and pack Hildy off to an addiction centre, she thinks all this fuss is ridiculous. After all, why shouldn't Hildy enjoy a drink now and then?
But as the story progresses, we start to see another side to Hildy Good, and to her life's greatest passion - the lies and self deceptions needed to support her drinking, and the damage she causes to those she loves. When a cluster of secrets become dangerously entwined, the reckless behaviour of one threatens to expose the other, with devastating consequences.

My thoughts:  This audiobook was recommended to me by my bookclub quite some time ago but I just never got round to listening to it.
I am so glad I made time for it in September.  What a great book (and an awesome narrator!).

It is another thought provoking kind of book.  Not loads of action, although enough to keep the story moving forward.  It is more about the people.  Looking back, it is also a little sad.  Hildy just cannot admit to herself that she is an alcoholic even when she can see all the clues.  The intervention (everyone else is wrong), the blackouts, the times and actions she cannot explain . . .   She can still control her drinking or so she tries to convince herself.

Even though the subject matter is very serious, there are still some laugh out loud moments.  Hildy is an awesome person even if she does have her faults (and bitchy) moments.

I highly recommend this one.

The other book I listened to was .  .  .

Waiting to be heard by Amanda Knox
Narrated by herself

Goodreads: In the fall of 2007, twenty-year old college coed Amanda Knox left Seattle to study abroad in Perugia, Italy for one year. But that November 1, her life was shattered when her roommate, British student Meredith Kercher, was murdered in their apartment. Five days later, Amanda was taken into custody and charged by the Italian police; her arrest and the subsequent investigation ignited an international media firestorm. Overnight, this ordinary young American student became the subject of intense scrutiny, forced to endure a barrage of innuendo and speculation. Two years later, after an extremely controversial trial, Amanda was convicted and imprisoned. But in 2011 an appeals court overturned her conviction and vacated the charges. Free at last, she immediately returned home to the U.S., where she has remained silent, until now.

My thoughts:  I love biographies and memoirs (I had to go and look up the difference - apparently a memoir is a just a piece of someone life . . . a little story from a life).

Anyway, I faintly remembered the name and face of Amanda Knox and that she was accused of killing her roommate while she was a student abroad.  I did not remember the details although I did assume she was found not guilty seeing as she had written a book.

But after listening to her book, I am not completely convinced that she is innocent.   I will even go as far as to say that the book did not even provoke any sympathy for her.  I will admit (if her point of view can be believed) that it is scary to think that the justice system could be so "twisted" (I might even suggest corrupt).   But then other countries and their justice systems are mostly mysteries to most people. 

This is definitely not an Orange is the new Black story.  Prison is supposed to be a scary place and this is what I found it to be in the pages of this book.  I felt some paragraphs was repeated way to much but overall it held my attention until the end.

And is all I read in September . . . 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

What I read in August 2014

I decided that I need to get some reviews down but I am sooooooooooo behind that I thought I would start a monthly blog post until I am able to write reviews again.  So let's start with August.

In August I read (listened to) 3 books.

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
Narrated by Caroline Lee

(Goodreads) At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that’s not meant to be read.

My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died...

Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

My thoughts:
I do not usually enjoy contemporary novels but this one was a good fit for me.  I have recently discovered that I enjoy these kinds of bookclub books on my daily commute to and from work.  It does take a while to listen to all 13 1/2 hours but the narrator really made the time fly (and no road rage!).

About halfway through the book, I was really struggling to accept the choices that Cecilia was making.  What would I do in a situation like this?  Would I decide to keep my husband's secret? Would I be able to stay living with him, loving him, even though I could see the suffering of those affected by the secret?

I can highly recommend this one and Liane Moriarty has a new fan.  I am currently listening to Big Little Lies . . . another good choice . . .

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
Narrated by Peter Kenny

(Goodreads) The extraordinary journey of one unforgettable character - a story of friendship and betrayal, loyalty and redemption, love and loneliness and the inevitable march of time. Harry August is on his deathbed. Again. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. Until now. As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. 'I nearly missed you, Doctor August,' she says. 'I need to send a message.' This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

My thoughts:
  This was something totally different.  Science fiction with a twist.  People must have thought I was a little strange sitting in my car a little longer after I arrived at my destinations.

I am a little lost as to how to describe this story without giving too much away.  All I can say is that it is the biography of Harry -  of his lives and of his deaths.  Of his rebirths and of his efforts to change the past so that it may change the future.  Confused?  You won't be, the author (and narrator) leads you through it all and it all makes sense.  Very entertaining.  I recommend this one.

Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson
Narrated by Becky Ann Baker

(Goodreads) Katie Wilkinson has finally found the perfect man - but one day he suddenly disappears, leaving behind only a diary written by a new mother named Suzanne for her baby, Nicholas. In it she intimately reveals the romance between herself and the child's father, her hopes for their marriage, and her unparalleled joy in motherhood. As Katie reads on, she realizes that the man she loves is Suzanne's husband. Now, filled with terror and hope, Katie must struggle to understand what has happened - and find out if her new love has a prayer of surviving.

My thoughts:  I enjoyed the first half of this book very much.  Unfortunately after that it become all too soppy and lovey-dovey for me.  Don't take this wrong, if you love heavy romances, you will adore this!  It was just a little too much for me.  I enjoy happy romances up to a point but then it just leaves me cold.  I could not wait to get through it -  I was invested in the story, so I wanted to know how it would end, so I persevered.

That was my August reads.  A good month :)