The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey.
Despite a rather lazy week I didn’t get much reading done, to be fair we did celebrate my son’s 9th birthday on the 30th and then New Years, of course. I did however do a little maintenance on the blog: updating lists, creating pages to track my 2015 challenges and backing up, plus I posted everyday.
This week it’s my daughter’s 12th birthday and I have 8 preteen girls coming for a sleepover party tomorrow. After baking 5 cakes in the last 3 weeks for birthday and Christmas celebrations, I was relieved when she asked that I make her an ice-cream cake. It’s chilling in the freezer as I write – M&M’s, Maltesers, Caramello squares, crushed Flakes and Violet Crumbles plus white choc chips mixed through vanilla ice-cream. I will just need to add the Ice Magic and Hundreds & Thousands when I serve.
What I Read Last Week
Things Half in Shadow by Alan Finn
It Started with a Kiss by Lisa Heidke
Daughter by Jane Shemilt
The List by Joanna Bolouri
What Burns Away by Melissa Falcon Field
(click the titles to read my reviews)
Review: Murder at the Book Group by Maggie King ★★
Review: The Divorce Diet by Ellen Hawley ★★1/2
Review: It Started with a Kiss by Lisa Heidke ★★★1/2
Review: Daughter by Jane Shemilt ★★★1/2
**On the AWW blog: 2014 General Fiction Challenge Round Up**
What I Am Reading Today
Rachel, Max, and their daughter Ellie had the perfect life—until the night Rachel’s heart stopped beating. She was thirty-six. Just as her family can’t forget her, Rachel can’t quite let go of them either. Caught in a place between worlds, Rachel watches helplessly as she begins to fade from their lives. This fresh debut novel touches on the various stages of bereavement, from denial to acceptance. As Max and Ellie work through their grief, Rachel too struggles to come to terms with her death. And as her husband starts to date again, Rachel realizes that one day Max will find love, and that Ellie will have a new mother figure in her life.
What I Plan To Read This Week
(click the covers to view at Goodreads)
After months working on an oil rig in the Atlantic Ocean, engineer Jo Blaine can’t wait to get home. Her job is tough, and she is desperate for some long-overdue girl time. When she walks through her front door to find an unexpected man in her house, she’s tempted to head straight back out to sea. Stephen Hardy has always felt guilty for the part he played in ruining Jo’s leaving home years earlier and jumps at the chance to make amends. It takes some fast talking, but he finally convinces Jo to let him look after her apartment and her giant cranky cat while she’s away on the rig. And by the time she leaves for her next shift, they’re both eagerly anticipating her return. But balancing family and friends with a new relationship when you’re never around is tricky, and Jo is also keeping secrets about her past. After a lifetime of taking care of herself, Jo isn’t used to sharing her problems – especially when they involve her messy family history. Picking up the pieces every time she comes home is getting harder, and Jo begins to wonder if a fly-in fly-out lifestyle is really worth it . .
A extraordinary, eye-opening look behind the razor wire into life inside the walls of one of the most notorious hospitals for the criminally insane, a hellish world inhabited by mass murderers, serial killers, and other figures from our nightmares. Psychiatrist Stephen Seager was no stranger to locked psych wards when he accepted a job at California’s Gorman State hospital, known locally as ‘Gomorrah’, but nothing could have prepared him for what he encountered when he stepped through its gates, a triple sally port behind the twenty-foot walls topped with shining coils of razor wire. Gorman State is one of the nation’s largest forensic mental hospitals, dedicated to treating the criminally insane. Unit C, where Seager was assigned, was reserved for the ‘bad actors’, the mass murderers, serial killers, and the real-life Hannibal Lecters of the world. Against a backdrop of surreal beauty – a campus-like setting where peacocks strolled the well-kept lawns – is a place of remarkable violence, a place where a small staff of clinicians are expected to manage a volatile population of prison-hardened ex-cons, where lone therapists lead sharing circles with psychopaths, where homemade weapons and contraband circulate freely, and where patients and physicians often measure their lives according to how fast they can run. Behind the Gates of Gomorrah affords an eye-opening look inside a facility to which few people have ever had access. Honest, reflective, and at times darkly funny, Seager’s gripping account of his experiences at Gorman State hospital give us an extraordinary insight into a unique and terrifying world, inhabited by figures from our nightmares.
Twelve-year-old Bobby Nusku is an archivist of his mother. He catalogues traces of her life and waits for her to return home. Bobby thinks that he’s been left to face the world alone until he meets lonely single mother Val and her daughter Rosa. They spend a magical summer together, discovering the books in the mobile library where Val works as a cleaner. But as the summer draws to a close, Bobby finds himself in trouble and Val is in danger of losing her job. There’s only one thing to do — and so they take to the road in the mobile library…Quirky, dark, magical and full of heart, Mobile Library is both a tragicomic road trip and a celebration of the adventures that books can take us on. It’s a love-letter to unlikely families and the stories that shaped us.
t’s a wonder to behold what happens when love moves in . . . Former child star Fiona Hume deserted the movie biz a decade ago–right after she left rehab. She landed in Baltimore, bought a dilapidated old mansion downtown, and hatched dreams of restoring it into a masterpiece, complete with a studio for herself. She would disappear from public view and live an artist’s life. That was the plan. Ten years later, Fiona’s huge house is filled with junk purchased at thrift stores, haggled over at yard sales, or picked up from the side of the road. Each piece was destined for an art project . . . but all she’s got so far is a piece of twine with some antique buttons threaded down its length. She’s thirty-two years old and still recognizable, but Fiona’s money has finally run out. She’s gotten pretty desperate, too, and in her desperation she’s willing to do almost anything for money. Almost. So it is that she comes to rent out the maid’s quarters to a local blacksmith named Josia Yeu. Josia is everything Fiona isn’t: gregarious, peaceful, in control without controlling . . . in short, happy. As the light from the maid’s quarters begins to permeate the dank rooms of Fiona’s world, something else begins to transform as well–something inside Fiona. Something even she can see is beautiful.