Somebody I Used to Know Review


Somebody I Used to Know
Somebody I Used to Know

Somebody I Used to Know is a mystery novel by David Bell. The main character, Nick, has been haunted for 20 years by the death of his college girlfriend. Even through his marriage, his wife says that he was still in love with Marissa, the girlfriend who died in a fire. So, as a divorced middle-aged man, Nick keeps busy working for the under-dog and playing basketball with his friends.

He lives a life of the status-quo, so to speak, until a young woman who has a strong resemblance to his long-dead girlfriend shows up in the grocery store of his small town. When he approaches her, she drops her groceries and runs. The rest of the novel unfolds as Nick, with the help of another college friend, who kind of disappears halfway through the novel, start to unwind the tangled web of the past.

As I read the novel, I thought it was a great start for a first novel. I thought that the author had a really good shot at going somewhere with his writing, if he kept on writing. I was shocked when I reached the end and read at the bottom of his biography that he was the author of several other novels. To be honest, his writing wasn’t what I expect from a seasoned author.

Characters, like the main character’s college friend, come and go with little explanation. There is little to no character development of anyone other than the main character. And finally, while the ending makes sense logically, it doesn’t make sense realistically. The motives assigned to the perpetrators were a bit far-fetched in my opinion, which is why I thought the author was new and would tighten his plotlines in the future.

While I don’t regret reading this novel, I don’t recommend rushing out to read it immediately.

You can pick up a copy of Somebody I Used to Know when it publishes on July 7, 2015.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy of Somebody I Used to Know for review. All opinions are entirely my own.

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

 

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Monthly Goals: July

July Goals

Well, I haven’t posted any goals in awhile because the last time that I posted them, I got through three-fourths of the month before excruciating pain stopped my life and all goals, large and small, halted. I know that I wrote that I was a person, even though I was sick, who still needed goals. Unfortunately my body, was like “yeah, good luck with that!”

Again, I am not doing well, but I am determined to reach a few goals. Not only will I use the daily goal tracker, but I have a few other things to accomplish:

monthly goal tracker final

[Again, I can’t figure out how to embed an pin still, so you’ll have to click the picture.]

Daily Goals:

+ Some type of daily activity. This doesn’t have to be classic exercise. This can be physical therapy, PT exercises, washing my hair and going to a doctor appointments, or even just a 10 minute stretch.

+ Taking supplements everyday. I’m terrible about this, but if I check it off, I’ll do it.

+ Drink enough water every day

+ I’m sure I’ll think of a few more…

Monthly Goals:

+ Read three novels from NetGalley for review. I’m really bad about over requesting because I’m afraid of being turned down. Then, I’ll get too many. I don’t want to hurt my percentage (they want you to keep an 80% review rate), so it’s time to get reading.

+ Write more blog posts. I neglected this space for awhile. I still feel horrible, but sometimes taking my mind off of my pain and turning it towards something like writing is helpful.

+ Organize bill due dates so I don’t overpay again this month. (Oops.)

+ Try to keep myself organized so that I don’t forget to call in medication refills, pay bills, etc.

What are your goals this month?

 

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What I Read Last Month: June


What I Read Last Month: June 2015 >>> Seriously, Sarah?
I worked a little bit on my Summer Reading Challenge and TBR Pile Challenge this month. Also, I decided to read a few classics and fun novels. Basically, I was all over the place!
Contemporary

Life After Life

Life After Life

Honestly, a few weeks after reading this novel, I barely remember it. I know it got a ton of awards and lots of people love it, and maybe it was too difficult for my brain to understand during that time period, but… it didn’t stick with me.

The Kind Worth Killing

The Kind Worth Killing

The story was simple and an exploration of moral dilemmas, but I think it was overrated.

The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England

The Plantagenets

This was a looooooooooooooooong one. However, I really liked it. I don’t read/listen to a lot of non-fiction history books, but this one was really helpful. I’ve read historical fiction novels about the beginning of the Plantagenent family through the end of the reign of Richard the Lionheart and then novels that pick back up with the War of the Roses, but there are several hundred (almost a thousand) years of history that I didn’t know about. This book filled that in for me!

There is a sequel to this book. I am thinking about listening to it. Reading? No way.

Where They Found Her

Where They Found Her

I found this novel more “adult” than the author’s first novel, Reconstructing Amelia, which seemed more young adult. It wasn’t the best novel that I’ve ever read, but I liked it. It kept me guessing until the end. I read the hardback instead of listening, since I read that the novel would be told through several mediums – like Reconstructing Amelia, which used text messages, instant messages, emails, and many types of prose. There weren’t as many in this novel, but I still liked it.

Recovery and Renewal:

Your Essential Guide to Overcoming Dependency and Withdrawal from Sleeping Pills, Other ‘Benzo’ Tranquillisers and Antidepressants

Recovery and Renewal

I found this book extremely helpful. I am always being switched around on my medications, so it is no secret that I have gone through withdrawal a few times. I’m not addicted, but physically dependent. As the author of the book points out, the people who post on the internet about their withdrawals are usually the ones with horror stories or who did not cope well. The author actually had an extremely horrific withdrawal, but as a counselor, she utilized her formal training on herself (the author is also in the UK where the medical system is different). Anyway, I recommend this for anyone who is tapering or going to be tapering off of a benzo.

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris

Lessons from Madame Chic

I read this for the Summer Reading Challenge. I picked it up as a book that I had never heard of before. It seemed interesting. While it would be really easy to make fun of, I still didn’t mind it terribly. I did think it was interesting to read about an entire society of people who live with “capsule” wardrobes. [I’ve never been to France and cannot vouch for the validity of any of the book.] I hardly have one, but my closet has been whittled down due to the fact that I’ve lost weight, so a lot of clothes went upstairs because they were too big and don’t need that many different outfits anymore, anyway.

[Summer Reading Challenge: 10 points: Read a book you have never heard of before.]

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect

I chose this novel because it has alliteration in the title. It was the shortest one I could find – I am kicking myself for reading Dear Daughter before the start of the challenge! It was funny and fit. Not to spoil a book that came out 20 years ago, but I don’t think the ending was very realistic, but I’m not a professionally trained counselor.

[Summer Reading Challenge: 30 points: Read a book with an alliterative title. (All words in the title must begin with the same letter; no exceptions for articles or prepositions. Examples: Gone Girl or Nicholas Nickleby. Yes, this is tough, which is why it’s worth the most points!)]

Second Life

second life

It took over half of the novel for the story to start to “come together.” And by “come together,” I mean that the torrid affair scenes cooled down enough for the story to move forward. In the end, Watson made a good point about life, but it got lost in pandering to trendy literature.

[Note for other readers: This book is not PG-13. It might test the limits of R ratings, if you’re not comfortable with reading that. And some of it was gratuitous, whereas some added to the plot.]

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs #1)

maisie dobbs #1

Solid 3.5, so I’m rounding up, since I rate everything a 3!
I put it down a few times, so it wasn’t as compelling as I would have liked, but I’m kind of burned out on books that take place during the World Wars.
The “mystery” wasn’t as much of a mystery as I would have liked, but I think it introduced readers to the main character and her background, nicely. I intend on reading the next book in the series!

[Summer Reading Challenge: 25 points: Read a book that is part of a series with at least four books. There are at least 11 novels in this series so far.]

The Black Album

The Black Album

I purchased this novel with the short story at the end back in 2010 or 2011. I really bought it for the short story. I read that. So, for the summer reading challenge of reading something that’s been on my shelf for 2 years, I chose this novel.

[Summer Reading Challenge: 10 points: Read a book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years. (If you’ve had a Goodreads account for 2+ years, this will be easy to figure out. If you don’t, do your best to pick a book you’re pretty sure you’ve been wanting to read for years.)]

Your Drug May Be Your Problem: How & Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medications

your drug may be the problem

This book mostly focuses on antidepressants, but I picked it up with the hopes that it would talk more about benzodiazipines. However, some medications marketed as antidepressants have been given to me over the years as neurological medications, as well as the benzos. I guess it is obvious from what I’m reading that I am trying to educate myself more on what medications could be doing to me. I’m just an English major, but as a professional patient, who has been reading medical literature online for years, I decided to graduate to books.

Modern Romance

Modern Romance

I laughed, I learned, and how the heck did I end up married? I listened to the book (so I didn’t get to see all of the funny charts that Ansari was putting on Instagram), but his asides to the listeners were hilarious. It seemed well researched and even if it wasn’t, the excerpts from the focus groups were hilarious.

Hausfrau

Hausfrau

I think there was a lot to learn from this story, but the ending left me wanting more concrete details. Like Second Life, I think a lot of the story was obfuscated by the endless affairs for me, but unlike Second Life, this novel did a better job of actually getting to “the point.” Essbaum is a wonderful writer who wove the main character’s therapy sessions (and psychological theories) with language, how we use it (and how it might reflect our personalities – I loved that part), and just more than I can fit in this review.

The Rule of Four

The Rule of Four

I really enjoyed this novel. It was a less complicated and less adventurous DaVinici Code or National History [I only watched the movies… and National History was just a movie I liked. Don’t judge 😉 ].

classics

Ruth
Ruth

Why so many sad stories for the Victorians? Hardy? Wharton? Stop it. I liked this right up till the end. Ruth, I love you.

[Summer Reading Challenge: 15 points: Read a book by an author you have read before. (No re-reads for this one.)]

Where Angels Fear to Tread

where angels fear to tread

I didn’t love this novel, but I didn’t hate it. It was kind of sad.

The Reluctant Widow

the reluctant widow

This novel had a lot more murder and intrigue than I’m used to in Heyer novels!

The Nonesuch
the nonesuch

A typical Heyer novel, but in a good way.

Drumroll… it took me two months this time…

finished summer reading challenge

You can read my projected list here, but my actual list is here! They aren’t very similar, like my winter lists. I want to thank Megan for hosting these seasonal challenges because they stretch me, and I look forward to them!

read theseThe Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England – If you like historical fiction, this was a wonderful companion to help make sense of the novels, but it is not a light read.

Modern Romance – Listen if you can!

if you have time

Where They Found Her

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs #1) – if you like “cozy mysteries.” (Apparently this is a genre).

don't bother smaller

The Kind Worth Killing

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris

What I Read: Round Up of Monthly Reads

You can read my past monthly round ups:

May 2015
April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

And other archived roundups here!

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations  based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

Did you read anything good last month? Are you participating in any challenges? What should I be reading? 

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!

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Top 10 Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015


My Top 10

Today I’m linking up with Broke and Bookish to talk about my Top 10 Favorite Books that I’ve read so far this year. Earlier this year, I was supposed to write about my favorite books from the past few years, but I limited it to the past year because, well, let’s face it, I didn’t read much after college. (I’m a terrible English major, I know…)

In no particular order, here are my top 10 favorites that I’ve read so far in 2015! (The titles are clickable to get to the Goodreads page!)

Astonish Me Title

astonish me

 

This wasn’t a light read, but it was thought provoking and interesting.

modern romance title

Modern Romance

Oh, wow. Stick around for my full review tomorrow, but it was hilarious, well researched, and informative.

 

Yes Please

yes please

Amy Poehler was hilarious and candid in this autobiography. Loved it.

Where All Light Tends to Go title

Where All Light Tends to Go

David Joy wrote a heart-wrenching and beautiful novel. I can’t wait to read more from him in the future.

dear daughter title

Dear Daughter

While Dear Daughter was no great work of literature, it was hysterical. I also think I read it at the right point in my life when I really needed something funny.

everything changes title

everything changes

I’ve read all but on Tropper novel. This novel, which was written earlier in his career, didn’t have the ambiguous ending that Tropper seems to be favoring these years, so I liked the cleaner, warmer ending.The Bookman's Tale Title

the bookman's tale

I read Lovett’s second novel, first. I backtracked and read his first novel, which I loved even more. In fact, it’s one of my favorite that I read this year!

Into the Tangle of Friendship Title

into the tangle of friendship

I don’t typically read non-fiction or memoirs. However, I picked up Kephart’s memoir on friendship because friendship is a topic that is near, or shall I say, very far, from my heart right now. I honestly enjoyed her reflections, especially on how she has wanted friendships that never turned into anything, watching her son make friends on the playground, or how she maintained friends throughout the years.

 

 

The Invention of Wings Title 2

The Invention of Wings

My first exposure to Sue Monk Kidd was The Secret Life of Bees, which I read for my Southern Lit class in college. When I picked up The Invention of Wings when I saw it popping up all over my Goodreads feed, I knew that I had to read it. I couldn’t put it down!

This is Where I Leave You title

this is where i leave you

This is Where I Leave You was the first Tropper novel that I read. I picked it up because the movie version was star-packed. Once I read the novel, though, I was confused about how it would translate onto the screen, since the novel is mostly introspective. In my opinion, it didn’t translate well, despite the excellent work by all of the actors and the fact that Tropper wrote the screenplay. So, I highly recommend the novel over the movie. But, watch the movie if you have two hours because the star-studded film was still kind of fun.

What have been the best novels you’ve read so far this year?

 

 

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Summer Reading Challenge Results

 


Summer Reading Challenge Results: Seriously, Sarah?

I would like to thank Megan at Semi-Charmed Kind of Life for hosting a twice a year reading challenge. Last winter was my first participation, in which I I read everything within a month! It took two months this time, but I liked it because it pushed me to read books that I had meant to read or books that had been on my “I would like to read one day… maybe…” list outside of my comfort zone!

Here are the final results!

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules.

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey (The Women of the Real Downton Abbey #2)

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey

I was definitely disappointed in how much it overlapped with the first book in the series. If I could give half stars, it would be 2.5 because it wasn’t terrible, but there wasn’t anything earth shattering in the WWII research, of course, and there wasn’t even much detail on the clothes, manners, or things that I found fascinating in the first book.
Those things were mentioned, but inconsistently. It felt like if the author needed to fill some space, she’d throw it in there, instead of focusing on it.

Pages: 368


10 points: Read a book you have never heard of before. (Just go to a shelf and pick a book based on the cover, the title, whatever you want!)

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris

Lessons from Madame Chic

I picked it up as a book that I had never heard of before. It seemed interesting. While it would be really easy to make fun of, I still didn’t mind it terribly. I did think it was interesting to read about an entire society of people who live with “capsule” wardrobes. [I’ve never been to France and cannot vouch for the validity of any of the book.] I hardly have one, but my closet has been whittled down due  to the fact that I’ve lost weight, so a lot of clothes went upstairs because they were too big and don’t need that many different outfits anymore, anyway.

Pages: 283


10 points: Read a book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years. (If you’ve had a Goodreads account for 2+ years, this will be easy to figure out. If you don’t, do your best to pick a book you’re pretty sure you’ve been wanting to read for years.)

The Black Album

The Black Album

I purchased this novel with the short story at the end back in 2010 or 2011. I really bought it for the short story. I read that. So, for the summer reading challenge of reading something that’s been on my shelf for 2 years, I chose this novel.

Pages: 320


10 points: Read a book that won a Goodreads “Best Book” award in 2014.

We Were Liars

we were liars

I have heard a lot about this novel. It won a Goodreads award, of course. I haven’t read anything similar like it in a long time, so I did enjoy it. I was a bit (and still confused) why the main character called her friends “The Liars” from the very first, but I’m sure that’s a spoiler. I read the Kindle version fairly quickly. It was short, interesting, and very trendy.

Pages: 227


15 points: Read a book by an author who is completely new to you.

Don’t Try to Find Me

don't try to find me

Decent coming of age/young adult novel. Don’t buy the publisher’s advertising. Nothing like Gone Girl/Reconstructing Amelia. Not innovative at all. This novel did fulfill a summer reading challenge requirement, which was a plus, since it was an easy read.

Pages:  384


15 points: Read a book by an author you have read before. (No re-reads for this one.)

Ruth
Ruth

Why so many sad stories for the Victorians? Hardy? Wharton? Stop it. I liked this right up till the end. Ruth, I love you.

Pages: 499


15 points: Read a book with “light” or “dark” in the title. (Or “lightness” or “darkness.”)

Where All Light Tends to Go

Where All Light Tends to GoI’m really glad that I took a chance on this novel. I did need something with “light” in the title for a reading challenge, but when Audible recommended it, it seemed to be the perfect Southern Lit book for me. I can’t wait to read more from David Joy in the future.
I have to say that the novel seemed all too heartbreakingly realistic. Joy did a great job writing beautifully about the messy side of life in the rural South.

Pages: 260


20 points: Read a book with the name of a city, state or country in the title.

Jamacia Inn

jamacia inn

Ehh, this has to be my least favorite du Maurier novel, and I love her novels. It was predictable and kind of cheesy.

Pages: 320


20 points: Read a book with an animal on the cover.

A Civil Contract

a civil contract

This novel, by an author that I obviously like, was read for the Summer Reading Challenge to fulfill the category for a novel with an animal on the cover. I listened to the version with the horse on it!

a civil contract animal cover

Pages: 320


25 points: Read a book that is part of a series with at least four books.

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs #1)

maisie dobbs #1

Solid 3.5, so I’m rounding up, since I rate everything a 3!
I put it down a few times, so it wasn’t as compelling as I would have liked, but I’m kind of burned out on books that take place during the World Wars.
The “mystery” wasn’t as much of a mystery as I would have liked, but I think it introduced readers to the main character and her background, nicely. I intend on reading the next book in the series!

Pages: 309 / At least 11 novels in the series


25 points: Read a book that is longer than 500 pages long.

The Way We Live Now

the way we live now

Sorry, Trollope you could have cut this book by at least 1/4. However, I still liked it.

Pages: 1024


30 points: Read a book with an alliterative title. (All words in the title must begin with the same letter; no exceptions for articles or prepositions. Examples: Gone Girl or Nicholas Nickleby. Yes, this is tough, which is why it’s worth the most points!)

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect

I chose this novel because it has alliteration in the title. It was the shortest one I could find – I am kicking myself for reading Dear Daughter before the start of the challenge! It was funny and fit. Not to spoil a book that came out 20 years ago, but I don’t think the ending was very realistic, but I’m not a professionally trained counselor.

Pages: 369


 

Now, I’ll have to read books from my other challenges and maybe a few of my fun books from my Summer Reading list… or even some from my Spring Reading list!

 

 

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My Top 10 Summer Reading List 2015 Picks


Summer Reading List 2015 from Seriously, Sarah?

I have been letting reading challenges dictate a lot of my reading choices, and likely, I probably still will. However, if I were to disregard all challenges, these would be the 10 novels on my Summer Reading List 2015! These aren’t the latest, greatest, or even classic beach reads. Just 10 books that I’d like to knock out this summer.

Don’t forget to stop by the bottom and let me know what you’re reading this summer, so I can get a few more ideas!

Linking up with Broke and Bookish for Top 10 Tuesday.

Second Life

second life

I know the reviews on Goodreads aren’t great right now, but I loved the author’s first novel so much that I absolutely want to read this one. I picked this one up on Audible since my credits were piling up.

The Book Thief

the book thief

I’ve had this novel sitting on my shelf for awhile. And by sitting on my shelf, I mean, I have the audio. It’s kind of long, but I really want to listen. I know that it’s supposed to be a wonderful novel. I will finally get to it!

How to Talk to a Widower

how to talk to a widower

I think this is the last Jonathan Tropper novel that I need to read. I have at least enjoyed, if not loved, every novel that I’ve read by him. I can’t wait to read it this summer. Actually, I listened to all of the other novels, but this was the only one that I picked up in paperback instead, so it will be interesting to read. I had a harder time listening to some of the novels because the narrator was the same guy who did Atlas Shrugged and a bunch of other novels.

How to Be Both

how to be both

I always like to peruse the Man Booker prize long list and this novel caught my eye last year. While this novel seems a little dense, I do think it seems interesting. It seemed too confusing to listen to, so I’m going to try to read the ebook. We’ll see how that goes.

The Invisible Circus

The Invisible Circus

I thought that A Visit from the Goon Squad was one of the most innovative novels that I had ever read. I picked up a used copy of The Invisible Circus and can’t wait to read more of Egan’s work. I was able to get this one through Paperback Swap (I think…) so I’ll see how reading, rather than listening goes, first.

The Nightingale

the nightingale

This newly released novel definitely caught my attention. I picked up an audio version.

The House at Riverton

the house at riverton

This is a Kate Morton novel that I haven’t read, yet! I have decided that I will read this one. My mom listened to the audio and loved it, so I decided to listen to it. After this, I will still need to read The Distant Hours. Oh, and her new release this fall!

Modern Romance

modern romance

Who doesn’t love Aziz Ansari? I can’t wait to read his take on modern relationships. They confuse me. I still don’t know how I ended up married. *Insert over-medicated joke*

Call the Midwife

call the midwife

My aunt and lots of other people have gushed about this novel. So, I guess I will read this over the summer!

Last Night in Montreal

last night in montreal

I absolutely loved Station Eleven, so I picked up some used novels by the same author. I hope to read some, including Last Night in Montreal over the summer.

What is on your Summer Reading List 2015?

Don’t forget that you can be my Goodreads friend here!

You can read reviews from my prior review roundups here.

 

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What I Read: May


I read a lot less this month than normal, yet, I did read a long one! And I know I always say that I’ve been sick so my numbers are down, but I think I read 9 books. That’s sick when I normally read 20. I didn’t watch TV, either.
what i read may
I spent most of my time this month working on reading or listening to novels for the Summer Reading Challenge. It was a challenge because my 500+ page book was actually 700ish pages. I did enjoy it, although it could have been shorter. I did read a few not in the challenge. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the whole challenge in less than a month, like the Winter Challenge!

Contemporary

Where All Light Tends to Go

Where All Light Tends to GoI’m really glad that I took a chance on this novel. I did need something with “light” in the title for a reading challenge, but when Audible recommended it, it seemed to be the perfect Southern Lit book for me. I can’t wait to read more from David Joy in the future.
I have to say that the novel seemed all too heartbreakingly realistic. Joy did a great job writing beautifully about the messy side of life in the rural South.

This novel was read to fulfill a Summer Reading Challenge category. [15 points: Read a book with “light” or “dark” in the title. (Or “lightness” or “darkness.”)]

Dear Daughter

Dear Daughter

This book was hysterical! I wasn’t super pleased with the ending – so many questions. Like, if I had been the main character, who had been so clever, I might have done a few things differently, but it was still a really fun read. [Not family friendly, but probably falls somewhere between Young Adult and Adult novels.]

We Were Liars

we were liars

I have heard a lot about this novel. It won a Goodreads award, of course. I haven’t read anything similar like it in a long time, so I did enjoy it. I was a bit (and still confused) why the main character called her friends “The Liars” from the very first, but I’m sure that’s a spoiler. I read the Kindle version fairly quickly. It was short, interesting, and very trendy.

[10 points: Read a book that won a Goodreads “Best Book” award in 2014.]

Don’t Try to Find Me

don't try to find me

Decent coming of age/young adult novel. Don’t buy the publisher’s advertising. Nothing like Gone Girl/Reconstructing Amelia. Not innovative at all. This novel did fulfill a summer reading challenge requirement, which was a plus, since it was an easy read.

[Summer Reading Challenge: 15 points: Read a book by an author who is completely new to you.]

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey (The Women of the Real Downton Abbey #2)

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey

I was definitely disappointed in how much it overlapped with the first book in the series. If I could give half stars, it would be 2.5 because it wasn’t terrible, but there wasn’t anything earth shattering in the WWII research, of course, and there wasn’t even much detail on the clothes, manners, or things that I found fascinating in the first book.
Those things were mentioned, but inconsistently. It felt like if the author needed to fill some space, she’d throw it in there, instead of focusing on it.

[Summer Reading Challenge: 5 points: Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules.]

Yes Please

yes please

Yes, please. Read this novel. SO FUNNY. While I think it was either naive to think her kids will think she’s too boring to read it and read about her drug use, her editors pushed her, her kids’ friends will read it, or she didn’t think she could hide it anyway… I thought it was an hilarious read. But, it will be awkward to find out that your mom wasn’t hung over… she was recovering from drugs… but I am sure life is much, much different for their family.

classics

A Civil Contract

a civil contract

This novel, by an author that I obviously like, was read for the Summer Reading Challenge to fulfill the category for a novel with an animal on the cover. I listened to the version with the horse on it!

[20 points for Summer Reading Challenge: Read a book with an animal on the cover.]

a civil contract animal cover

The Way We Live Now

the way we live now

Sorry, Trollope you could have cut this book by at least 1/4. However, I still liked it.

[25 points for Summer Reading Challenge: Read a book that is longer than 500 pages long.]

Jamacia Inn

jamacia inn

Ehh, this has to be my least favorite du Maurier novel, and I love her novels. It was predictable and kind of cheesy.

[Summer Reading Challenge 20 points: Read a book with the name of a city, state or country in the title.]

read these

Dear Daughterif you like slightly off-color novels that make fun of pop culture with a murder mystery!

Where All Light Tends to GoI can’t promise you won’t tear up.

Yes Please

if you have time

We Were Liars

don't bother smaller

Jamacia Inn – There are many better du Maurier novels!

 

I hope to finish up the Summer Reading Challenge during next month and doing a little more reading!

What I Read

You can read my past monthly round ups:

April 2015
March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

And other archived roundups here!

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations  based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

Did you read anything good last month? Are you participating in any challenges? What should I be reading? :)

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!

 

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: What I Read Last Month
I Never Thought I Would a Write This

**Sorry for the typos – I wrote my post on the WordPress app, using the hunt and peck method, mostly, on my ipad, to fix Siri typos**

I am not writing for sympathy as much as for awareness. I know I lost “followers,” with my last post. This could offend others. But, I write for awareness. If you don’t want to be aware, I understand. Life is more comfortable when you can say something nice here or there and then live a full life. Checking in on your family may be all you can do, so you know about this and don’t want to read about it. I get it. I wish I didn’t :)

If you blog, you know Facebook doesn’t share a lot anymore. This was too long for Twitter, but I did want to share it. I once read (I would link if I could find it) that illnesses without a definite endpoint makes people uncomfortable. Things that don’t have a cure make them really anxious to be near.

Hell, I have them and they make me uncomfortable. Not just physically, either, but emotionally. I would rather have something that would end. People don’t bring dinner to people with an indefinite illness. Even families have to move on with their lives and ask you to take Uber or a Taxi, if you aren’t feeling well enough to drive. I understand because people shouldn’t put their lives on hold for something that will never end or could be years before a resolution takes shape.

However, while I wait on another final (and by final diagnosis, I mean even that first appointment since I’m still waiting. I thought it was the obvious thing – an injury, but I  am deteriorating faster than I can be treated. I am in pain that doesn’t match the “obvious.” I am frustrated, but healthcare is trial and error sometimes. Now that my doctors realize that something is not right, I get to wait. And wait some more. Fights of screaming in agony apparently didn’t tip them off.

Today was my first full day using a walker outside of my home. The first time I left the house with it and used it in the store, while my husband really did the shopping. I just needed to leave my prison… I mean house. We needed to pick up something for me to work on my own extra Physical Therapy.

It is already uncomfortable enough to have to use a walker (or wheelchair for some) when you’re young, so when the wife of a minister I respected saw me with my spouse, and she recognized me, did a double take while she was on her phone (so it’s not like I would have even waved hi to embarrass her) and hauled it back to the side of the store she came from it hurts. I am honestly not sure how I stopped my tears from flowing.

Every fear I had about using it came true. Will I ever attend a service again? People who know me could see me and be uncomfortable. Do I want to be the source of that? I try to discuss the lives of the people around me. I try to remember what they like, so I can tell them about a new movie I saw that will be coming out that will fit their interests or if their favorite author is releasing a book. I ask about their race times. Since my husband will be at work, I’ll sit alone. A walker isn’t a friend. I wish it were.

In a culture where health, wealth, beauty, athleticism, and things that are not conveyed by a walker, it makes me hesitant to use it. Yes, it can provide relief to certain body parts. But the emotional toll is huge. I can hurt physically or emotionally. Which is worse? I can’t change anyone’s perceptions. So, do I stay at home?

If I was older, it wouldn’t be so horrifying. It would be an accepted part of getting older. Instead, I’m a social pariah, despite my best attempts. I don’t want special treatment. I just want normal treatment. It’s hard to ignore walking aids, but it’s easy not to run away.

Faith and illness can be fragile, so don’t take any chances. Don’t be unnecessarily hurtful.

People who are horrified by my mere existence as a 27 year old using a walker probably don’t even remember for more than a few minute, but I’ll have to work really hard to forget it along with all of the other pain. I will work on on it, because it is part of getting well. However, I hope that I’ve never done most of the things that leave me crying, although I am sure I have. No one is perfect, but happy Public Service Announcement!

Categories: Uncategorized
Entitled to Compassion


These are my thoughts about telling women to be silent about their suffering without getting professional help to cope with the pain.

Empathy, understanding, love, kindness, goodness, friendship, and a listening ear should all start at the Church. They should come from Christians, firstly. And no matter how you live your life, telling women that talking about their pain without ever explaining if you got professional help is irresponsible. Maybe you read a GREAT book. I don’t know. But, you and Jesus did not work it out on your own.

Shaming women into silence by insinuating that you’re superior because don’t bother other people with your pain is wreckless. Not everyone has had the benefit of professional help to learn to cope. If you don’t have credentials to offer tips, then you might want to back off. I haven’t read a blog in awhile, but I received several upset text messages yesterday. Enough to break my silence.

There is science to back up Cogitative Behavioral Therapy, Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, and other therapies to deal with chronic illness and pain, in addition to treating the illnesses, when possible, but not everyone has the benefit of starting immediately, having transportation, or even realizing that they need help at first. Most of society and the majority of the medical doctors that I’ve seen have never suggested dealing with my pain from a psychological standpoint. It’s a broken healthcare system. So getting on a high horse is kind of… well… just a bitch move.

Some people don’t realize that, diagnoses are hard to find or someone has several issues, so it’s hard to figure out what is going on with the person. Sometimes people continue to develop more issues or their current health conditions leave them open to more problems. [See autoimmune disorders.] The average person with one of my conditions waits 5 years for a diagnoses, and during that time, they can suffer permanent damage to their spine. No matter what, those therapies are coping skills. But guess who is in the position to tell people what to do? Doctors. Guess who isn’t? A blogger. A blogger can talk about their coping skills, share links, do whatever the fuck they want, so someone in pain can find help, but by making other women in pain feel “less than” because they share their pain, they may be less likely to get help. Nothing is more off putting. Think about it.

Personally, if I don’t say something to my family about my symptoms, I tend to forget that I had the symptom. It’s how I cope. I’ve coped with pain from my Tourette’s symptoms like that – by simply forgetting until someone would see me – almost my whole life. I’ll still forget if someone doesn’t say something to me. I’m 27. I can write things down, but when things skyrocket to 12 out of 10 (yes, that’s real), I don’t write. I scream. Don’t worry. I’m not instagraming either, in case anyone was worried.

Sharing your story and the human experience is one thing. In fact, being a gifted writer with a story to share is amazing, but don’t undermine it with statements that are easily misconstrued, misleading, or hateful.

A lot of people function normally. They hold down jobs and use their blogs to raise awareness. They tell their friends about their conditions when the condition will affect their social activities. The end. Who has the right to stop or shame that? It is the prerogative of the person who writes and posts, but still… yuck.

Other people are homebound. Or maybe they work, but they don’t connect with other patients. Some people live in small cities where public transportation and large social activities are not available. Getting sick wasn’t in the plan, so no one decided “hey, I should move to a metro area with a great subway system and good doctors, so I can get around and meet other people!”

But just because someone wants to connect with other patients and tags an instagram photo #spoonie, it does not make them less of a person. It just makes them someone seeking community. I am confused about why anyone would need to belittle a person who wants to find that.

I have the third most common movement disorder in the United States, but I never met another person with Cervical Dystonia in person until I attended a conference in person. Now, I belong to a private facebook group. The group that helps me the most is not the cervical dystonia group, but rather a group of people who have all sorts of disorders (we call ourselves alphabet soup) where we can ask questions from people who have had arthritis for 20 years, or just share a funny story. There is connection there that I won’t ever find in my personal life.

Basically, anyone can write whatever they want, but I still don’t think they should…

Comments are closed because I don’t care about what a single person thinks today. I’m not a professional, but I sure do know a ton about suffering. Sorry for sharing. If that offends you, again, just move on. I’ll post puppy pictures or something about books in a few weeks. I have this “pain” problem.

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized
What I Read Last Month: April


What I Read April

I broke up the novels between contemporary and classic, as usual. If you scroll to the bottom, you can see the ones that I would say to definitely read, read if you have time, or skip all together.

The reviews are a lot shorter than normal. I had been trying to keep reviews on Goodreads as I went or typing them up here, but that didn’t happen this month. I just formatted and wrote “review.”

I’ll just go ahead and blame my busyness with the Summer reading challenge for the short reviews, but the truth is that I am forcing myself to smile as I type to get through the pain. This is my favorite post each month, even though it has lost its popularity. I guess I’ll at least be able to look back on it as a reading diary of sorts!

Contemporary

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle

Lady Almina and the Real Downton AbbeyRating: 4/5 Stars

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about life during the time period, as well as the house that inspired Downton Abbey. The fact that there is some Egyptian treasure hunting and the discovery of a very famous tomb didn’t hurt the story, either!

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
The Power of Habit Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

 Rating: 4/5 Stars

The beginning of this book was a little bit slow. I’m not sure if I read the information in another book or watched it in some type of documentary (I’ve never taken a psychology class), but it wasn’t new information. A few of the chapters were more about companies or organizations, but they were still interesting.

I really enjoyed the diagrams. At the beginning of the book, I could see more of how things like “keystone” habits have worked in my life before, rather than how to create them in my own life now. Fortunately, Duhigg included some emails from readers, plus the appendix had helpful information. Overall, the book was super interesting. I don’t read many “self help” or non fiction books, but I loved this.

Love in the Time of Cholera

love in the time of cholera

Rating: 4/5 Stars

I’m definitely not one to blush at a novel, but this one definitely centered heavily on the aspects of sex in the relationships between men and women, both married and unmarried. The descriptions weren’t graphic, but the writer really explored the implications of relationships where sex was the foundation and where sex wasn’t, and how they were different. Not my usual cup of tea.

This novel fulfills a requirement for my 50 “classic” books because it is older than 25 years, but I’m including it in contemporaries.

Everything Changes

everything changes

Rating: 4/5 Stars

This is an earlier Tropper novel. If you like his novels, I highly recommend it. He is great at juxtaposing heart-wrenching, dysfunctional family moments next to some laugh out loud scenes. He strikes a great balance. Also, I’ve kind of been reading his novels in reverse order that they were written, so I’ve noticed that he’s going more ambiguous with his endings as time goes on. I particularly liked the ending of this novel, not to give too much away.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

the girl who kicked the hornet's nest

Rating: 4/5 Stars

This was a long one, but I’m glad I finished all three novels. I liked the character development, although I would have liked to see some of the characters change a little bit for the better; however, too much change probably would not have been realistic.
The final novel brought the entire story full circle, which I really did not see happening!

The Secret Place

The Secret Place

Rating: 5/5 Stars

I absolutely loved this novel. I had read some more negative reviews, which is why I held off on the long novel. I did listen on audio, though. I started reading the series last summer and read a few and listened to a few. Generally, I loved to listen to the Irish narrators, however, I couldn’t wait for this to end from the narration standpoint. Since the novel is about the murder of a high school boy that takes place on the grounds of an all girls boarding school, the detectives interview a ton of teenagers. I’m sure French must have written the dialogue to mimic the way an Irish teenager would talk, but listening to an adult male mimic a teenage girl (mostly girls) for most of the 20 hours was frustrating and probably a poor choice for production. Still, the story was so good that I could get around that.

Plain Truth

Plain Truth

Rating: 4/5 Stars

This was my first Picoult novel. I was interested in it because it involved a mystery. Since I wanted to try one of her novels, I figured that I should chose one that had a plot that seemed like one I might pick no matter who the author was. Again, I listened to this on audio. Big Mistake. I’ve never really read any fiction with Amish characters, but I’ve seen a few TV shows. The narration was horribly annoying, and I imagine would have been slightly offensive to any Amish listeners. Hearing the narrator switch back and forth between the brash Pittsburgh lawyer and the overly-meek Amish girl and then her family was distracting. I guess that I just want to hear the story and prefer that the narrators keep their storybook voices for reading their own children to bed.

classics

The American

the american

Rating: 3/5 Stars

This book wasn’t a horror novel like Turn of the Screw, but it definitely creeped me out a lot. It’s not for everyone; it’s especially not for people who are not specific Henry James fans.

The House of Mirth

The House of Mirth

Rating: 4/5 Stars

This novel was much more sad than I anticipated after reading Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, which was written later, though. I did love it, though.

The Moonstone

the moonstone

Rating: 4/5 Stars

I liked this novel for what it was. I thought it was an interesting glimpse into the Colonial world that was fascinated by all things “other,” to the point that they thought there were magical powers in diamonds, etc. The absolutely terrible detective work, if you could call it that, was funny. I did enjoy that like The Woman in White, this novel was also told in the past tense, but in chronological order, by observers of “the crime.” The second observer, though, who was obviously meant to make fun of the evangelical Christians of the day, was a bit over the top and got on my nerves. I almost put the novel down.

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose

Mystery and Manners Occasional Prose

Rating: 4/5 Stars

If you are a Flannery O’Connor fan (or have to write a paper about anything she’s written), I highly recommend this book.

The King’s General

the king's general

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

While this novel did rely on some Gothic standards, it was not what I was expecting from du Maurier, after reading Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel. It is not much of a Gothic novel at all. It does tell the story of a little studied English Civil War, while the main character, who is paralyzed, flagrantly thumbs her nose at all social conventions. It is a tense story because you are always wondering if she is on the “right” side.

Sprig Muslin

Sprig Muslin

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Ehhhh. Not a great Heyer novel, like when I compare it to my favorites, but it didn’t actually make me angry for creating dumb female characters who were dependent on villainous male characters, either. Just below average.

Mary Anne

mary anne

Rating: 3/5 Stars

I found this du Maurier novel based on her great-great grandmother extremely interesting and a worthwhile read, even though the main character is entirely unsympathetic, in my opinion. Some people might find her determination to survive at all costs sympathetic; however, I think she got greedy. It was an interesting look at the English legal system and the role of women.

There was a particularly humorous and observant quote (I forgot to write it down and can’t find it anywhere) at the beginning of the novel made by the “child” version of Mary Anne, who sees men as weak creatures after watching her stepfather and younger brothers, yet realizing that even though they are much weaker than women, they hold the purse strings and run society.

read these

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Everything Changes [If you like Tropper novels.]

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose [If you like O’Connor or Literary Theory/Criticism.]

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

if you have time

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle

The Secret Place
don't bother smaller

The American

Sprig Muslin

 

During May, I’ll be reading novels for Megan’s Summer Reading Challenge. You can read my picks here. I’ll probably be slowed down by a few lengthy and a few more paperbacks than normal, plus I anticipate even more pain this month than last. I tried to pick a few fun ones, but not everything on my list is my dream book. So, we’ll just have to see!

What I Read

You can read my past monthly round ups:

March 2015
February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014
And other archived roundups here!

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!

 

 

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: What I Read Last Month Tags: , ,