Friday, July 30, 2021

Fiona Friday - Where's the complaint department?

I would like to submit a complaint. My human put me in a space capsule and took me to the bad place. I object. 

©2021 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, July 28, 2021

The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman

In The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman, the author explores a difficult relationship between two sisters and the challenges of being a woman. It's really a sister book, in my humble opinion, not a WWII book, although the Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts makes an interesting historical setting and its role in WWII appears to have been important. 

I'm not usually a fan of sister books because they tend to be gushy friendship stories. The Wartime Sisters is different and I like that because I prefer the conflict. Ruth and Millie are opposites in many ways. Ruth, the elder of the two, is envious of her pretty younger sister. She's very intelligent, good with numbers, but plain and narrow. Millie has curly red hair and is gorgeous and curvy but not the sharpest knife in the drawer. From an early age, their mother shows a clear preference for Millie, expecting her to marry well and making it far too clear to Ruth that her mother has neither a particular interest in her nor any great expectations for marriage. Being snubbed by one's own mother has harsh effects; Ruth becomes bitter and resentful.

Millie doesn't understand her sister's antipathy. She's blind to the fact that male attention is immediately shifted from Ruth to Millie when she's around and doesn't encourage men to act the way they do. She even tries to talk up her sister when marriageable men are around. 

Eventually, both sisters marry and WWII arrives. Ruth is living at the Armory in Springfield when her sister says her husband has enlisted, gone missing, and then writes that "he's gone". Feeling guilty over something she did after their parents' accident, a few years back, Ruth invites Millie and her son to move in with her family. But, the old resentment is still there and they skirt around each other. Will Ruth and Millie ever learn to get along? Will Millie be able to pull herself out of poverty and make a life for herself and her son, Michael? What secrets are the sisters keeping from each other?

Recommended - While I picked up The Wartime Sisters because of the word "wartime" in the title, not the "sisters" aspect, I really enjoyed The Wartime Sisters for the fact that it felt more realistic to me than most sister books and I didn't mind the fact that the war is merely a backdrop, apart from the details of the Armory. I also liked the fact that the family is Jewish so you got a little bit of the father speaking what I assume is Yiddish, the holidays and food that are important and Judaism. I loved that peek into the Jewish culture. 

©2021 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, July 27, 2021

Waiting . . .

No review today because we're just sitting here, waiting for the new sofa to arrive. This little gal will go flying under a bed when the delivery guys knock. 

This seems like a good opportunity to show off a full view of the "good shelves". Unfortunately, the phone camera is all I've got, right now, so you can't see the books all that well. But, aren't the shelves pretty?

Izzy's a great meowdel. She also let me take her picture with my most recently finished read (as of last night). 

Happy Tuesday! Hopefully, I'll have a review finished and posted early tomorrow. 

©2021 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, July 26, 2021

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

I've been seeing a lot of [mostly gushy] reviews of Colleen Hoover's books since I joined Instagram, a couple years ago. So many of my IG friends swear by her!  So I had to give one of her books a try. 

There are two interconnected storylines in Regretting You, the connection being family. 34-year-old Morgan married the wrong guy but she's happily married and close to her 17-year-old daughter Clara, the center of her universe, although she's starting to think it's time to go back and finish her education. The man she felt more in tune with as a teenager but didn't end up ever even dating is back in her life, father to her sister's baby boy and planning to marry the mother of his child. Morgan doesn't want to live a life of regrets so she's trying very hard to tolerate this complication. 

Clara is a sweet teenager and a good student with a devoted best friend but there's one boy who acts like he'll be poisoned if he gets too near her. When she stops her car to ask him if he wants a ride on a very hot day and he asks her to help move something, she discovers that he's actually a pretty nice guy. But, why has he been avoiding her at school if he's so friendly when they're alone?

When tragedy strikes and a betrayal comes to light, Morgan and Clara find themselves at odds and turning to the men who are willing to be there for them. 

Highly recommended - I love the "married the wrong guy" trope because it's always so fascinating. How can the couple who belong together get along while fighting back feelings? Is there a way they can end up together without everyone getting hurt in the process? Well, in this case, the complications are a little different than just learning to get along as friends. But, I think if I share any part of the tragedy/betrayal plot points it'll ruin the book for anyone who is interested, so I won't. 

What I will say is that Regretting You is believably emotional and I particularly liked the way Clara's feelings were portrayed as her life is pretty much spinning out of control. My only problem with the book was that the men were too perfect and, in fact, a bit too similar. And, the grief was hard. I've had a loss like Clara's when I was fairly young and it brought back the memories so it was a teary read for me. 

I have a copy of Verity on my reader so that will be the next Colleen Hoover book I read. I'm glad my Instagram friends brought this author to my attention!

©2021 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, July 23, 2021

Fiona Friday - In the bubble

Fi and I went on a bit of an unfortunate adventure, yesterday. We still go to the same vet we went to before moving, now 30 miles away. Till yesterday, we've never had a problem. But there was apparently an accident on the highway and we only made it 2/3 of the way. It wasn't clearing up and I got tired of edging forward at 2 mph so we got off the highway at the first available exit and returned home. 

I will say this . . . when she doesn't have to actually go into the vet's office, Fiona doesn't mind the ride! She was very chipper when we got home. She complained for a few miles but then made herself at home in her little carrier. I guess we'll try again next week.  

©2021 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, July 22, 2021

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

When I heard Where the Crawdads Sing was our July selection for F2F group, I actually said, "Ugh," aloud. I did not want to read this book. The sheer volume of hype had turned me off and the few reviews I read didn't make it sound appealing to me. I strongly considered skipping this book group selection. After all, I'm on a book-buying ban and planned only to buy those I'm most interested in for book group. 

What changed my mind? I looked up the book and it was reasonably priced. At that moment, I didn't want to go hunt down a copy at the library so I just hit the button and voilá, it appeared in my mailbox. I miss having bookstores nearby but can't deny that modern book ordering can be kinda cool. I read it immediately (in June) because I had been planning to read Gone With the Wind in July since the beginning of the year. 

At first, I was sure my "Ugh," was going to be accurate. I spent the first 60 pages hating the book because I was so angry at every character who abandoned the main character, Kya, aka the Marsh Girl. And, as I mentioned in yesterday's review of Gone With the Wind (and many others), I'm not a fan of dialogue written in vernacular unless its use is very limited. At one point, I mentioned the fact that I just wasn't sure I was going to be able to finish. Thank goodness a friend on Instagram informed me that it improves. 

I'm not sure when I got to the point that I couldn't bear to put Where the Crawdads Sing down but I was up a tad late on the night I finished and totally gripped. I was angry, skeptical, teary, happy briefly, then teary again. What an emotional ride. 

Recommended - While there were things I disliked about Where the Crawdads Sing and things that I found implausible (to the point that I was visualizing the author sitting with pen and paper, plotting), I loved the naturalist aspect of the book and eventually the book became impossible to put down. I had to know what was going to happen to Kya, especially whether or not she would ever end up with the love of her life. The murder mystery was not nearly as interesting to me and I'm not actually sure how I feel about the ending. 

Unfortunately, I did not feel up to driving the 30 miles to book group so I can't speak to what others in my F2F group thought, darn it. I was really looking forward to this meeting because I think there's lots to talk about in Where the Crawdads Sing. So, I'd recommend it as a discussion book, even not knowing how the discussion went. 

©2021 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, July 21, 2021

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

What is there to say about Gone With the Wind that hasn't already been said? I've been thinking about this a lot. Since it took me a full two weeks to read, my posts about it at Instagram were just updates about where I was in the story and that seems like a good place to start. 

Here are the updates I wrote throughout the reading of Gone With the Wind:

  • 5 days into my reading, the Yankees are coming, Prissy don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies, and Scarlett is frankly pissed that Melanie survived childbirth. 
  • As God is her witness, Scarlett will never be hungry again, or so she says. Not sure if that's really working out for her. I'm so involved that last night I found myself thinking, "Damn Yankees!" I was angry with them for stealing food and valuables, shredding the furniture, and causing everyone but Scarlett, her son, and Melanie's baby to hightail it to the swamp with whatever they could carry. Also, Melanie is tough under that sweet exterior.
  • I passed the halfway point in Gone With the Wind two days ago but yesterday I was so glum I didn't feel like reading at all. I declared that it was Intermission and went to bed early. Back to reading, tonight. Scarlett is wearing her mama's green velvet curtains and I keep thinking of Carol Burnett's hilarious skit in a dress made of curtains with the curtain rod still in them. 
  • Getting there, slowly but surely. There's a lot more that's not in the movie, the farther you get into the novel. I'm enjoying the newness and depth of these added details but I'm also starting to get fidgety, wanting to finish. The funniest/weirdest thing about my Gone With the Wind experience? While I'm reading, the movie theme song is almost always playing in my head. Strange but true. 
  • Rhett and Scarlett are not getting along. Rhett thinks Scarlett has abominable taste in home decorations and Scarlett doesn't care because it's so fun to have money and flaunt it. I hope to finish by tomorrow but might go to bed early and ruin my plan. 
  • FINISHED!! I hope to rewatch the movie soon. I read somewhere that what's most amazing about Gone With the Wind is the fact that Margaret Mitchell managed to make people care about such an unlikable heroine. Scarlett is cunning and courageous, though, in addition to her negative qualities. And Rhett, Melly, Ashley . . . so many fascinating characters. I will remember this book fondly forever. 

Highly recommended: a new favorite - Reading this saga was not just fun, it was an experience. I gave Gone With the Wind five stars. Captivating, informative about the way Southerners thought and behaved and the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction, absolutely addictive reading. 

I can see why Gone With the Wind is considered problematic, now, and why it's also The Great American Novel. Like most other novels with vernacular dialogue, I sometimes became frustrated because those bits were so difficult to read. But, It was simply one of the most engrossing reads of my life so I can't take off even a fraction of a point. 

It took me two days but I did manage to watch the entire movie version of Gone With the Wind across Saturday and Sunday evenings. It's been ages since I've seen it and it was a different experience viewing the film after reading the book. Instead of just sitting back and enjoying it, I was analyzing the differences between book and movie, like the fact that Scarlett's first two children don't exist at all in the movie. 

Obviously, a lot of material had to be cut out of the book to make even a 3-hour film but I was surprised at how faithful the movie is to the book. Instead of cutting out too many important scenes, what David O. Selznick did was boil down many of the plot points to a single scene. So, instead of having Scarlett's long drive to Tara past burned-out mansions, as in the book, the movie shows a single ruined mansion, Twelve Oaks. This nicely ties back to the barbecue at Twelve Oaks where Scarlett surrounded herself with her beaux to try to make Ashley jealous enough to ditch Melanie. Spoiler: It didn't work. 

I like the way the movie ends on a high note, with Scarlett determined to win Rhett back. Even as a child, I was fine with that ending because I remember just believing Scarlett would succeed. I went ahead and got them back together mentally and I was satisfied. 

Back to the book:  I keep using the word "experience" to describe the reading of Gone With the Wind because it truly was. There's so much to the book. Scarlett is both heroic and hideously selfish. Rhett is a rogue but he also has a heart and adores children. Melanie is weakened by childbirth permanently but she's tough as nails when strength of spirit is required. Ashley is so much nerdier than I realized and a terrible businessman. The war is described with some detail but made palatable by the fact that it's told through the eyes of the people of Atlanta as they become aware of what's happening or through Scarlett's eyes as she ends up nursing soldiers against her will. Seriously, what an amazing read. 

Have you read Gone With the Wind? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

©2021 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.