Friday, August 30, 2019

Fiona Friday - Izzy wants my breakfast

I am that spoiled woman whose husband occasionally brings her breakfast in bed on the weekend. This is what I get for it. She actually licked my biscuit. Can't blame her; it was cheesy.

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Passengers by John Marrs

The Passengers by John Marrs is set in the near future. There are five defined levels of driverless cars, from Level 0, in which the driver performs all tasks, to Level 5. Soon, all cars will be Level 5, totally autonomous with no manual override and no steering wheel. As the day begins, the author introduces readers to 8 characters who are boarding fully-autonomous cars. Some of the characters are uncomfortable with the lack of manual override; some are fine with it or even appreciate the freedom to read or do other tasks instead of paying attention to the road. The setting is England.

In Birmingham, there is a court in which the responsibility for autonomous automobile accidents is decided and Libby Dixon has jury duty. Libby was the witness to a horrific accident and knows how such cases can turn out. Now, Libby will have to share her opinion about similar cases between autonomous cars and pedestrians or other vehicles that are not autonomous. She has her suspicions that not everything is on the up-and-up in this court.

Back to the 8 passengers. After all the passengers have been on the road for a while, a hacker takes over their cars, one by one, and claims that he will crash them into each other in about 2 1/2 hours. Soon, the passengers will all be dead. But, he's taken over the airwaves. Now, the people in the autonomous accident court and viewers across England have no choice but to choose one person to live. The hacker provides proof that there is no way to rescue the occupants of the autonomous vehicles.

What's the hacker's objective? Will anyone survive?

Recommended - I had some minor issues with this book, the main one being that it was just a little too far-fetched for me. Some of the victims were chosen at random, according to the hacker. But, he knew intimate details about the lives of most of them and chose to only release partial information, just enough to make them all look guilty of something. In the end, I understood the point the hacker was trying to make. It's really a book about how a small percentage of people controls the vast majority of what happens to the population, how limiting information available can provide a skewed viewpoint, and how difficult it is to get all that across to the populace. I think that's the theme, anyway. I don't want to give away what's being manipulated and why he's trying to draw attention to it because that would ruin the story, but I will say that I found the book a little awkwardly written yet difficult to put down. And, the one thing I loved best about it was that the author managed to keep surprising me. I have a tendency to guess what's going to happen in a suspense, so I always appreciate an author who can surprise me.

I received a copy of The Passengers from Berkley Books in exchange for an unbiased review. My thanks to Berkley! I've already picked out the person I'm going to pass this book onto and I can't wait to hear his thoughts.

While I was in the midst of reading The Passengers, a friend wrote a comment to me on Goodreads to tell me John Marrs is one of her favorite authors. I love it when that happens!

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Rogue to Ruin by Vivienne Lorret (Misadventures in Matchmaking #3)

Ainsley is the eldest of the Bourne sisters and, at 27 years of age, she presumes she will never marry. In the past, she was once betrothed to a horrible man who was emotionally and physically abusive. She managed to escape. The Rogue to Ruin is her story of love and marriage, the third and final book in the Misadventures in Matchmaking series.

Now, Ainsley has decided that The Bourne Matrimonial Agency is not doing well because of the gaming hell across the street. Reed Sterling is the proprietor, a former boxer who retired and made his fortune running the business. Ainsley is certain that his business is keeping potential clients away — not the fact that her two sisters have married two of the wealthier clients, as many suspect. And, she's decided to declare war on Sterling's to drive it out of business.

Reed Sterling's early life was hard. First, his father was killed in a duel and then his mother married a series of awful men. Boxing and then his business were his escape from hardship. But he's developed a strange attraction, in recent years. The eldest of the Bourne daughters is the most buttoned-up and stiff of the lot. So, why does he find her so appealing? When Ainsley declares war on his business he's slightly amused. But, when he walks in to find a man she was formerly betrothed to threatening Ainsley, he is determined to keep her safe. How will he square his newfound affection with the damage she's doing to his business? Will the dangerous man to whom she was formerly betrothed become violent, again, or can Reed protect her?

Highly recommended - It took me a while to warm up to Ainsley. Unlike her lighthearted and slightly silly sister, Briar, you're not as quickly grabbed by the personality of the character. But, it doesn't take long to realize the couple is perfect for each other and to begin to root for them. And, I absolutely adored the ending.

This is the last book in the Misadventures in Matchmaking series and I recommend reading them in order because the other two sisters occasionally flit in and out with their spouses. Plus, there's a delicious surprise at the end regarding a regular character who is not a part of the family. I loved this series. Usually, I don't keep romance books for a reread but I've held onto all three of the books from the Misadventures in Matchmaking series, I enjoyed them so much.

I received a copy of The Rogue to Ruin from Avon Books in exchange for an unbiased review. Many thanks!

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals:

  • A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher and
  • Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram - both purchased
  • Invisible as Air by Zoe Fishman and
  • No Judgments by Meg Cabot - both from HarperCollins for review

Fiona was wondering what on Earth I was up to, as you can see! The two books I purchased were both pre-ordered. I think A Boy and His Dog, etc. was recommended by Andrew Smith (Young Adult author of many books) but I can't recall where I read about Darius the Great. I think I have one or two more pre-orders coming (one in January?) but I've put myself back on a book-buying ban and haven't had many offers for review books, lately, so the arrivals may dry up. That's fine. This has been my lowest-quantity reading month and I still have a backlog, so I need to work at reading what I've got.

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • The Passengers by John Marrs

Ugh, that's it. Just one book. Praying, hoping, crossing fingers that this week is better.

Currently reading:

  • The Rogue to Ruin by Vivienne Lorret (Misadventures in Matchmaking #3)

In spite of hopes, I didn't touch In Pain by Travis Rieder, this past week, but it's a good book and a quick read so when I get to it I'll undoubtedly finish it quickly. I have really enjoyed the Misadventures in Matchmaking series. This is the last, since it's about three sisters working different parts of the matchmaking business and slowly getting paired off without having much success at finding matches for their clients.

Posts since last Malarkey:

Harry's Trees is going on the favorites pile. I wish I'd thought to start a favorites pile earlier — at the beginning of the year rather than a few months in. I've got a sizable portion of them set aside, though, which will make it easier than normal to review my favorites at year end. And maybe I can make space and shelve them together. I need to work on getting rid of some older titles that I thought I'd reread but now realize I never will, anyway.

In other news:

There's not much other news. I'm trying to decide whether or not a landscape I painted on top of collage (on 12" x 12" board - something I've done twice since viewing a free Ivy Newport video on this particular technique) is done and ready for varnishing or needs a bit of touch-up. I think there are one or two places I'll touch up. Humorously, I have probably done about 40-50 paintings since I started painting, a few years ago, and I haven't signed a single one because I can't decide how to sign them. Full signature? Cutesy little block of initials? Husband prefers I don't sign them at all because it's not like I'm going to be a famous artist, so why wreck the painting with my signature. But, I appreciate my grandmother's signature on her paintings, so I don't think I'll listen to him, although I don't know what I'll do about the plethora of unsigned paintings lying about and hanging. I probably won't pull any off the walls to sign. Maybe I'll just start signing them, from now on.

I'm still watching The Royal and now on the fifth and final season (at least, the final season available to us for viewing), which is good because I'm about ready to move on to something else. They have a tendency to mercilessly kill off favorite characters. I've been too busy to watch TV, most days, so I've generally watched The Royal while eating supper, just to sneak in a little TV time.  Future daughter-in-law has loaded her Netflix onto our TV, so that widens my options for finding something new after I finish with The Royal. Anyone have suggestions for great things (not mysteries or anything gruesome/terrifying) to watch on Netflix?

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Fiona Friday

This cracks me up.

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Harry's Trees by Jon Cohen

He tossed and turned in his bed. He'd hoped that now that he had commenced the maintenance and repair of Pratt Library, it might assuage his nighttime frets. He'd had such a good morning at the library, trapping the ceiling raccoons. Though there'd been some pushback in that situation, too. One little sharp-toed son of a bitch attached itself to the leg of Ronnie's pants, and he had to hobble-run to the front door and launch it with a catapulting kick out onto the front walk. 

He slammed the big oak library doors and leaned against them, panting.

"That's a wondrously resourceful method of pest control, dear," Olive called over from the circulation desk. 

~from p. 173 of Harry's Trees

As I write, it's Monday evening and I know I'm going to have trouble getting into the next book I read because the last, Harry's Trees by Jon Cohen, was so good that I already know it's going onto the favorites for 2019 pile; it got a solid 5 stars at Goodreads.

Harry's Trees starts with a memorial service. Harry's wife Beth is being memorialized at a Quaker gathering, where people sit quietly until one feels the urge to say something, sing, recite a poem, whatever they're compelled to do. A couple tell stories about Beth and then one plays a song on her flute. And, then Harry does something strange. We then go back in time to find out how Beth died, what happened in the moments before her death, and why Harry is tormenting himself with guilt.

In another part of Pennsylvania, Amanda has lost her husband Dean. The reader learns about the circumstances of Dean's death, as well. Amanda has a daughter named Oriana who believes that her father has taken on another form, with wings. Amanda has spent a year trying to nudge Oriana out of her fantasy world and into the reality that her father is dead and he's never coming back, without luck, when the local librarian in a library that's falling apart in a town without the funds to repair it hands Oriana a handmade book and advises her to check it out.

And, then their paths cross. Harry has quit his job to go to the forest. There, he is spotted hitting his head on a stone fence by Amanda, who is a nurse. Oriana sees more than Amanda does and because of what she's seen, she knows something about Harry and determines that he is somehow connected to her.

I'm being deliberately vague because Harry's Trees is so magical that I don't want to give anything away. The storyline absolutely did not go where I expected it to go, although there were some predictable threads. Harry ends up living in a treehouse on Amanda's property, built by her rugged deceased husband. Oriana inserts herself into Harry's life, reads him the handmade book, and comes up with a solution to assuage Harry's guilt and free him from the pain he's been holding onto. But, it's so unique that I don't want to tell you about it. Just read the book, okay?

Highly recommended - There are touches of magical realism in Harry's Trees but they're delicate touches, much like those in Sarah Addison Allen's books. There's a little tragedy, a little magic, sweet friendships, some pay-it-forward kindness, a couple of villains. Harry's Trees is about grief and healing, love and heartbreak, guilt and atonement, greed and generosity. It's about moving forward after the worst thing you can imagine happens and it's just beautiful. The scene I loved most is the final scene with the librarian, which brought me to tears but in a moving way, not a sad one.

I love, love, loved Harry and Amanda and Oriana. Especially Oriana. She's a delightful child — smart and cunning and a little wise, but not in a way that's far-fetched. Her belief in magic is handled beautifully. You see the connections that she does but you're aware, at the same time, that her viewpoint is both clever and full of the kind of childish wonder that most adults blow off. Harry understands her because he needs that kind of wonder in order to help him break free of the guilt that's weighing him down. Anyway, it's pretty much perfect. There were places I thought some of the prose could have been edited down a bit, but not enough to convince me to knock off even half a point.

I received a copy of Harry's Trees from MIRA (a Harlequin imprint) for review. Many thanks! I've recently read two MIRA books and I'm impressed with the quality. Back in the 90s, when I was involved in a romance writers' group, I recall reading a handful of MIRA titles, mostly fantasy/sci-fi, as I recall, each with a touch of romance. I love the direction they've taken this imprint.

There is a little extra material at the back of the copy I read (the cover image shown is the one I have). In it, the author talks about being told, early on, that his books were "very visual" and would make good movies, which led him into screenwriting. I just happened to have been thinking that it was easy to visualize this story and it would make a great movie, just before I read the author interview. Ha! Somebody turn Harry's Trees into a movie, please.

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals (top to bottom):

  • Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko and
  • The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton - both purchased 
  • Summary of the Mueller Report for those too busy to read it all: Abridged and Introduced by Thomas E. Patterson - from the author for review
  • Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris - from St. Martin's Press for review
  • The Lost Man by Jane Harper - purchased
  • Renia's Diary by Renia Spiegel - from St. Martin's Press for review

I don't normally accept anything for review directly from authors, but I made an exception for the Summary of the Mueller Report because I just finished reading the full version and it's a slog. I figured it would be helpful and fun to read an abridged version (kind of a review/revise experience, if you will). Plus, having read the longer version I will definitely be able to tell readers whether or not you get the same basic gist out of the shorter abridged report. The author has assured me that the words are all directly cut from the full report. It's not an alteration (like a summary in his own words), in other words, title aside. Since the summary has arrived and I haven't yet written my review of The Mueller Report, I'm going to hold off and review both at the same time. That'll also give me time to work on organizing my thoughts about the Washington Post printing.

I bought Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko after reading that it was chosen for Wiley Cash's book club. Although I haven't been participating, I've found that his choices all interest me. Until I feel like I have the time to participate, I'm not going to buy them all, though. Ceremony intrigued me because it's Native American writing and I have a particular interest in all things Native American but have found it a little difficult finding recommendations for Native American writers or book titles. The Outsiders was a purchase I should have made ages ago. A friend is reading it with her kids and her post about the books she will be reading with her boys reminded me of just how long The Outsiders has been on my wish list. 10 years? Longer? It was on my PBS wish list for ages. I've never seen the movie, either, although I saw a tiny bit of it, one time, and it was a very emotional scene. At any rate, I'm glad to finally have a copy. Would you consider it a modern classic?

Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris is by far my most hoped-for and anticipated ARC arrival. Since my book group just recently read The Tattooist of Auschwitz (in which Cilka is a character) and there was some disagreement about whether or not she could be considered a collaborator, I'm very eager to read her story. 

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • Normal People by Sally Rooney
  • Harry's Trees by Jon Cohen

Currently reading:

  • In Pain by Travis Rieder

I should say I have a bookmark in In Pain because I set it aside to focus on Harry's Trees and then had a week of not really reading and gobbled down Harry's Trees over the weekend. I hope to get back to reading In Pain tonight. Novel-wise, I'm kinda-sorta between books. I started reading my F2F group's discussion book (we meet this week) but I didn't get very far so I don't know if it'll stick, yet. It's The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis.  You'll hear more about it if I do manage to read it, obviously!

Posts since last Malarkey:

In other news:

Last week was a bad week for the Bookfool family and we have more bad weeks on the horizon, so my reading and blogging are likely to suffer. I guess we'll just have to let things unfold as they will. If I have to take an extended break, I'll let you know. Some days I can't read at all. One day at a time.

I didn't watch anything overly thrilling. A bit more of The Royal, some random episodes of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, a little news. That's about it. Kiddo was home and he watched an old favorite, Father Goose starring Cary Grant, from our old DVD collection. I asked him to leave the movie in the DVD player and I'm hoping I can find the time to watch it, this week.

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Fiona Friday

The reason I'm slow to get the laundry folded. Mustn't ruin the kitty's comfort. Isabel loves a good pile of freshly-cleaned laundry.

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Normal People by Sally Rooney

In Normal People by Sally Rooney, Marianne is a wealthy outcast who is crackling with intelligence but hasn't got a single friend in school (the equivalent of American high school, I think, but the book takes place in Ireland). Connell is equally sharp and has a wide circle of friends. His mother cleans Marianne's house and he'll occasionally stop to talk to Marianne while he waits to pick up his mother from work. In her home, Marianne speaks freely in a way she doesn't at school, and her conversation with Connell is natural and relaxed. When they begin sleeping with each other, though, it's with the knowledge that neither can acknowledge the other in school.

Both are accepted into Trinity College in Dublin, where their circumstances are flipped. Popularity and friendship are based more on income than personality at Trinity. Connell is admired for his looks but he feels adrift and friendless while Marianne now has plenty of friends. Their unique friendship continues even though they occasionally drift away, through difficult relationships and good ones, depression and abuse, ups and downs. Slowly, Connell becomes aware of Marianne's dark secrets and Marianne helps him deal with his own challenges. When push comes to shove, they may hurt each other at times, but they're always there for each other, as well.

Highly recommended - The depth of characterization in Normal People and the simple but powerful writing style made it nearly impossible to put Normal People down. I was utterly fascinated with the characters, the writing, the depth of emotion, and the way Marianne and Connell seemed to circle each other magnetically and simultaneously fiercely resist the pull. Would they end up together or would one of them eventually drift out of orbit, maybe marry another?

I'm not going to ruin the ending. I'll just say that while it wasn't the kind of ending I prefer and I had to sit with it over a bowl of spaghetti (which was really terrific), I realized after letting it settle that it was, in fact, the perfect ending for this particular story. Most crucially, I am in awe of the writer's keen observation and mastery of language. I definitely plan to read her other book, Conversations with Friends.

The cover of Normal People shown above is the cover of my personal copy, which I ordered from Book Depository, so it might not be what you can find in the US. I just finished it and immediately sat down to write my Goodreads review, then realized there wasn't much I'd change about that review (my reviews at GR and the blog are often quite different in size and style) so most of this is copied directly from that review. I had planned on working on my review of The Mueller Report, today, but it's going to require some thought and care and may take a little longer than I'd hoped. I wrote some preliminary thoughts, last night, and totally went off the rails — too much, too much. I'll try to whittle it down but still hit all the most important points. If you're waiting on that review, please be patient with me. It's such an important book that I want to get it right.

©2019 Nancy Horner  All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals (top to bottom):

  • Crosstalk by Connie Willis - purchased
  • Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling - from Sterling Children's Books for review
  • The Road to Urbino by Roma Tearne - from Megyl Zegarek Public Relations, Inc. (unsolicited, I think?) for review
  • Vox by Christina Dalcher,
  • The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street by Karen White, and
  • The Passengers by John Marrs - all from Berkley for review
  • Tiny but Mighty by Hanna Shaw - purchased

Of the two books that I purchased, one was brought to my attention on Instagram (which, I find, is becoming very dangerous) and the other . . . well, also via Instagram but through the author's kitten rescue page. She knows how to care for the tiniest of kittens and shares her knowledge about caring for them while posting pics of her latest tiny foster babies. I don't know if I could ever care for the most fragile, young kittens if I were to ever foster (which won't happen as long as Isabel has a say in the matter) but I've really been enjoying learning from her Instagram posts and decided it would be a great idea to learn more . . . just in case I ever happened across any tiny kittens or if I'm ever free to foster, one day. Can't hurt to be educated. And, I just love Connie Willis. Here's the cover of that kitten book:

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • The Mueller Report - Washington Post edition 

Finally! Finishing up The Mueller Report meant not reading much else, last week. I had one DNF: The Escape Room by Megan Goldin. I don't often give up on books but I've given up on two, this past month! Weird. This one . . . I don't know if being in the right mood for it would have changed anything. It might have, but by the time I set it aside to finish The Mueller Report (I reached the point that I was sick of not being done with it and focused on finishing), I considered giving up on The Escape Room instead of just setting it aside and when I came back and read a handful of pages I agreed with myself. I personally thought the prologue ruined the book. In the prologue, a security guard hears gunshots and finds a bloody scene. So, you know this particular situation is coming and you quickly figure out that one of the two main happenings is going to end up in carnage. But, I absolutely did not care who lived or died. The only character I kind of liked was apparently already dead. Bummer. Anyway, it just wasn't for me. At another time, I might have finished it anyway. But, this wasn't the week for it. 

Currently reading:

  • In Pain by Travis Rieder
  • Normal People by Sally Rooney

In Pain is an ARC but the finished book has already been released and describes the author's experience with painkillers after a devastating and extraordinarily painful injury. I have no idea why I ordered Normal People, although it's the winner of the 2018 Costa Novel Award. It might have been an enthusiastic review. So far, if so, I share that reviewer's enthusiasm. Sally Rooney's writing is understated and yet precise and powerful. It really is amazing how beautifully the two main characters were drawn within a few short pages. I am hooked. 

Posts since last Malarkey:

In other news:

Kiddo was home, this weekend, and developed an earache that escalated to the point that he didn't think he could drive himself the 2 1/2 hours to Oxford, yesterday. Since he has work and an important meeting (plus, the clinic he uses is there), I drove him up to Oxford and will have to fetch him when it's time for him to come home. It's a pleasant drive and I love Oxford but because I didn't make the decision to take him home till about 1:45 and left at 2:00 PM, I didn't have time to go to Square Books. I figured it would be a bad idea not to make a quick turnaround so I could get home before dark. No Square Books. Feel for me, people. On the plus side, we'll have to pick him up, at some point. So, maybe we'll get a nice dose of Square Books, then.

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, August 09, 2019

Fiona Friday

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Storm Blown by Nick Courage

In New Orleans, Emily's brother is recovering from surgery after a major illness and his immunity is still compromised. Her father works on an oil drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico and her mother spends most of her time fussing over Emily's brother. Because of his lowered immunity, Emily isn't even supposed to walk into Elliot's room and her mother hardly even looks at her, anymore. When Emily spends the night in Audubon Park and develops the sniffles, her mother shoos her to a friend's house, not realizing that Emily's friend isn't even in town, a hurricane is on the way, and Emily is feeling rejected. Emily leaves without telling her mother where she's going and shortly after, her phone battery dies.

Alejo lives in Puerto Rico and helps his padrino (the online dictionary and a translator both say padrino means godfather) with his work at a resort hotel. His mother has moved to the American continent and someday Alejo hopes to join her. But, for now, he lives in an impoverished area outside San Juan and he's happy. When news that a deadly hurricane is coming reaches the resort, Padrino Nando decides he must go home briefly. But, when Nando doesn't return, Alejo becomes concerned and decides he must go find his padrino.

While Hurricane Valerie is growing, the people the National Climatic Research Center are almost all home with the flu so one employee who isn't an expert in weather patterns, Joy, is charged with watching the crucial numbers that indicate the strength of the storm. Suddenly, after merging with two other weather systems, Hurricane Valerie becomes a "megastorm" and Joy has to gather the team together to head down to New Orleans.

In a heart-pounding second half of the book, Megastorm Valerie moves into Puerto Rico and then New Orleans as two children face their fears alone outdoors with the dangerous storm moving in quickly.

Storm Blown by Nick Courage is a middle grade book told from 5 separate viewpoints: Emily's, Alejo's, a petrel flying over the Atlantic, Emily's father on an oil platform, and Joy's.

Recommended but I had some minor issues with this book - First, what I loved. Storm Blown is edge-of-your-seat as the storm moves closer and then arrives. It's dramatic, exciting, adventurous, and the author treats the emotions of the two youngsters with respect. I could easily imagine myself in the shoes of those children, drenched and wind-blown but determined to find a loved one (Alejo) or hide from them in a favorite place to seek comfort (Emily). In spite of what I considered its flaws, I really enjoyed Storm Blown and I'm glad I read it. I think I would have enjoyed it if it had been around when I was in elementary school.

The minor issues I had were the fact that the author chose to create a fictional research center rather than using the National Hurricane Center (I'm sure he had his reasons but I would have much preferred a glimpse inside the NHC and a bit of accuracy) and a couple statements I considered inaccurate about hurricanes. But, it's a children's book and it was more about the courage those children had to summon, the emotions they were going through, and the danger they were encountering than what a government agency does. So, while I would have preferred accuracy, I enjoyed the story and definitely recommend it for the child who loves an exciting read.

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Rosie Colored Glasses by Brianna Wolfson

Rosie and Rex are opposites. Rosie is brimming with life, loves color and sparkle and disorder. Rex is organized and disciplined. When they meet, it's because Rosie has done something Rex would never do. And, yet, there's a spark between them when they meet again, and they begin to date. He doesn't approve of her marijuana use and is uncomfortable with the chaos that surrounds her. She thinks he's a little stiff. And, yet, somehow he is charmed with her and she finds comfort in his stability. They fall in love and marry.

Willow and Asher adore their mother. On days that they go to Rosie's house, they know they'll get to watch movies, eat sugary things, wear matching pajamas, and have fun. On the days they stay with their father, they have to follow detailed lists. They never get to cook or dance. Rex doesn't pay as much attention to them as Rosie does. Rex's house is just not fun and sometimes he becomes very angry when they don't follow the rules.

But, Rosie is becoming increasingly unstable and unpredictable. Sometimes she comes late to pick them up from school. Sometimes, Rex arrives instead. Willow is stressed. She's bullied at school and the sharp differences between her parents aren't helping. When Rosie spirals out of control, what will happen? Asher is adaptable. But, can Rex be the parent that Willow needs him to be? Or, has he been showing his love all along in ways that Willow hasn't noticed?

In alternating chapters, the reader experiences the unfolding romance and collapsing marriage of Rosie and Rex alongside Willow's story as she navigates divorce and bullying then observes her mother's downward spiral.

Highly recommended - A gut-wrenching read, at times. Rosie appears to be bipolar, although that's never stated. Rosie Colored Glasses is about mental illness, love, parenting, addiction, grief, romance, marriage, divorce, bullying, and being yourself. It's heartbreaking and uplifting and sad and beautiful. I imagine this book will stick with me hard for some time to come. The author says it's based on her own childhood and I actually wondered about that, as I was reading. It seemed awfully detailed for mere imagination. Not that authors can't be that creative but often when a book is that vivid there's at least a little of the author's story tucked in there. Be prepared; Rosie Colored Glasses is an emotional read, but thought-provoking and meaningful on so many fronts.

I received an ARC of Rosie Colored Glasses from Harlequin in exchange for my unbiased review. My thanks to Harlequin/MIRA!

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

I just wrote four full paragraphs about Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb and decided it's far too plotty to summarize easily. I don't want to give anything away. So, I'll just refer you to Goodreads for the book summary (Meet Me in Monaco link) and tell you that it's about a perfumer named Sophie and a photographer named James who meet and fall in love against the backdrop of Grace Kelly's romance and marriage in France.

I primarily chose to read Meet Me in Monaco because of the backdrop. I've always found it fascinating that an American actress became a princess in a French principality but I've only read bits and pieces about Princess Grace, her rise to fame, and her marriage. So, it was Grace's story in the background that appealed to me, initially.

As it turned out, I loved both stories. There's enough about Grace Kelly becoming a princess to fill in some of the gaps in my understanding of her romance. But, the romance between Sophie and James is equally appealing, if a bit of a rollercoaster ride. James is divorced with a daughter in London and his job is based there. Sophie's true home is in a small village in France where her herbs and flowers are grown for use in the perfumes she creates. Her father started the business, kept a notebook of his formulas, and taught her about making perfume. It's the connection to her father and her profession that's most important to Sophie. And, therein the dilemma lies. Can either James or Sophie sacrifice what's most important to be together?

Recommended - Captivating, romantic, tragic, beautiful. Read Meet Me in Monaco when you're in the mood for romantic historical fiction or if you're dying to learn a bit more about Grace Kelly but don't mind if she's not the main character. She's there, dropping into scenes as she develops a distant but charming friendship with Sophie and there's enough about Grace to fill in the gaps if you only know about her remotely, as I did. Some of the descriptions of places she went and things she did sent me scrambling to find out more or look up images online. There is a video of her arrival in Monaco by ship (for her wedding) on YouTube! Cool.

Meanwhile, both of the main characters, Sophie and James, have a lot going on and the book is surprisingly more driven by plot than characterization. Still, there's always the "Will they or won't they end up together?" question about James and Sophie lingering. Will James find a way to connect with Sophie without losing his daughter? Will Sophie be able to escape the destructive relationship she's kept secret from James? Will Sophie's business survive or will she have to sell to the real estate agent who won't leave her in peace? What will happen when tragedy strikes? I had trouble putting the book down. It's surprising, sometimes heartbreaking and ultimately satisfying. I loved all the unexpected turns the story took.

I received an Advance Reader Copy of Meet Me in Monaco from HarperCollins in exchange for my unbiased review. Many thanks!

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals (top to bottom):

  • The Same Sky by Amanda Eyre Ward
  • Cold Granite by Stuart MacBride
  • The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
  • The Good, The Bad, and the Furry by Tom Cox
  • Normal People by Sally Rooney
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  • Recursion by Blake Crouch
  • Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

All purchases, most from Book Depository. Wanderers was bought separately. A Gentleman in Moscow is one that I've already read but didn't own. Since it was my favorite in 2018, I've been wanting to get a copy to eventually reread but it wasn't till I found myself tossing books into a cart that I decided to look up the price and discovered it was both reasonably priced and available in the format I like (I'm a paperback girl). Most of these titles were either recommended to me by friends or a blog or Instagram post piqued my interest. See, book blogs are still relevant!

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • Storm Blown by Nick Courage
  • Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour, an Introduction by J. D. Salinger
  • Rosie Colored Glasses by Brianna Wolfson

Currently reading:

  • The Escape Room by Megan Goldin
  • The Mueller Report

Good news! I am now halfway through The Mueller Report! Bad news! I didn't finish. But, I'm finally making progress. I stopped on Thursday to read Storm Blown (a middle grade book) because I needed a break. And, then I read the other two books over the weekend. So, now I hope to get back to The Mueller Report and finish it up. But, I'm not going to fling myself off a bridge if it takes me another couple weeks.

Posts since last Malarkey:

In other news:

I managed to finish two extra books, besides Storm Blown, because I participated in the Reverse Readathon, starting Friday night. While I'm distractible (I stopped to read other people's Instagram posts about the readathon, frequently) and continued doing chores throughout the weekend, I finished the Salinger on Saturday morning and was about 2/3 of the way into Rosie Colored Glasses when I realized I wasn't going to reach the end before the close of the readathon and wandered out to the living room to hang with the husband. It didn't take long to finish that up on Sunday. I opted not to update on my readathon progress at the blog because . . . well, I just didn't want to, I guess. Instead, I updated on Instagram, when I felt like it. I think I posted 6 times. That's the most I've ever posted at Instagram in a day. I seldom participate in readathons because I consider weekends family time, but I didn't let the reading time stop me from hanging out with family, so it worked out perfectly.

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, August 02, 2019

Fiona Friday - Reading Mueller with Cats

I need a lot of support. 

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.