Novel Ideas: February 2017

“She reads books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.” – Annie Dillard

Novel Ideas February

Welcome to Novel Ideas February 2017 edition. Novel Ideas is a round up of mini reviews for books we read this month that didn’t get dedicated posts, as well as snippets of what to look forward to next month and other bookish news.

From the Stacks: Kirsten

In addition to the books I wrote about (review links here: Alphablock, SporkThe Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes, Perfect Little World), I got a lot of reading done. Actually, I got a lot of listening done with some reading done on the side. I love a good Audible book. I’ve talked about it before (in Bookish Things: Jane Austen) but there is nothing that gets me more excited to tackle household chores or blog photography than a good book to listen to as I work. Here are some brief thoughts on the other books I read or listened to this month:

“We are no longer blessed with innocence, nor do we deserve to be.” – Susan Rivers, The Second Mrs. Hockaday
Book Review for Second Mrs. Hockaday

The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers – I listened to this one and loved how the southern accent enhanced this story.  The story follows -you guessed it- the second Mrs. Hockaday as she navigates her life as a new bride running her husband’s plantation while he is off fighting in the Civil War. The story starts with Mrs. Hockaday in jail for killing and concealing the death of her child, who is conceived while her husband is gone. Spanning two generations and told in journals and letters, this story was compelling, but the second generation was unnecessary. It could easily be concluded in “real time” journals and letters as the first half of the book was constructed. 3.5 stars.

“Parents are temporary custodians, keeping watch and offering love and trying to leave the child better than they found him.” – Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, The Nest

The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney – Another audible selection for me, this one taking place in modern day New York City. The four Plumb children all had big plans for their inheritance until Leo, the oldest, uses it to get out of sticky spot. The siblings, all in their 40s or 50s and living separate lives from each other, begin to reconnect as they try to work their way out of the messes they have created for themselves over the years. They each had banked on the money from “the nest” bailing them out, when suddenly the money was gone. This dysfunctional family was a hot mess, but I totally fell for them. Funny, poignant and full of drama, The Nest is a perfect beach read. 4 stars.

“He loved making her laugh. It was the one bodily pleasure he was permitted with her; a harmless physical trespass.” – James Lasdun, The Fall Guy

The Fall Guy byJames Lasdun – 3 stars. I read this on the kindle and rather enjoyed it. The story, starts of slowly describing the characters, their history with each other and life in the Hamptons. Through out the novel it is evident that Matthew, who is staying with his cousin Charlie, has a thing for Charlie’s wife – who  he suspects is having an affair with someone else.  The story was interesting, but I was expecting more suspense. The writing was good, but it never really got anywhere and I was rather surprised when I got to the end. The main issue was resolved suddenly and almost out of the blue.

“A fast didn’t go fast; it was the slowest thing there was.” – Emma Donoghue, The Wonder

Book Review for The Wonder by Emma Donaghue

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue – My second book from this author, this did not live up to ROOM. This story about a fasting girl and the nurse hired to see if she was a miracle or a fraud was…. well…. dull, tedious and frustrating. I listened to this one found my self actually screaming out loud at the characters and their irrational behavior. Much like a fast, this was the slowest thing there was. 2 stars.

From the Stacks: Jackie

This month I did a lot of reading- oh what fun.  I’m not sure where I find the time between work and kids and life but, it was a luxury.  I posted reviews on A Man Called OveGirls in the Garden, The Penderwicks, Night Circus and The Possessions. I was also able to read a few more.

“In the end, fiction is the craft of telling truth through lies.” – Lauren Groff

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff- This book immediately caught my attention and I loved it.  This is a love story between Leo and Mathilde told first from the point of view of Leo and then from the point of view of Mathilde.  However, it isn’t repetitive at all and and offers surprises at every turn.  It is believable, emotional and just a tad bit crazy which is good in my books!!  4 stars

“You don’t realize how language actually interferes with communication until you don’t have it, how it gets in the way like an over dominant sense.”- Lily King

Book Review Euphoria by Lily King

Euphoria  by Lily King is a novel that is based loosely on a 1933 trip through Papua New Guinea by Margaret Mead and her second husband. Euphoria begins with Nell and her husband Fen fleeing a disgruntled tribe. Nell’s glasses have been intentionally broken by her husband, Nell has a broken ankle and they are both filthy and feverish from Malaria. When I  read this book, there was no doubt in my mind how the story would end; yet, I had to keep reading to see the journey. I need everyone I know to read it so I can talk to them about it. Lily King has  written a powerful novel filled with raw emotion, angst and a longing for more by the three main characters in the novel. Did I love it? In some ways, yes.  4 stars to this thought-provoking novel.

“I don’t know whether to worship at your feet or spank the living shit out of you.” – E. L. James, Fifty Shades Darker

Book Review for Fifty Shades by E.L. James

Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James- I will admit that I re-read this book to “prepare” for the movie and remind myself ofthe plot.  Is there really a plot? This was actually my favorite of the three books because it provided the most in terms of story.  I like romance.  I’m not so into the dom/sub world so, not surprisingly, the first book didn’t have the impact on me that it did on some of my friends.  Stay tuned for how the movie measures up! 3.5 stars

Next Month:

To Be Read: Kirsten

High on my list is The Lake House, I started it last month but never had a chance to finish! Other books include: The Zookeepers Wife (in preparation for the upcoming movie) and A Study in Charlotte. Our  Book Challenge will launch next month, so I’ll be tackling The Hunger Games series – a Jackie favorite. I’m also currently reading an advanced reader copy {ARC} of A Bridge Across the Ocean.

To Be Read: Jackie

I have been wanting to Read Americana for a while.  I have it sitting beside the bed and I admit that the almost 600 pages seems a little daunting.  I’m also looking forward to reading Commonwealth, Marriage of Opposites, The Sun is Also a Star, and maybe a few others.  I hope I’m not being too ambitious.  Dragon Masters, a series that my kids all love, is coming out with the 7th book in the series.  We will definitely be reading this as a family.  Stay tuned for our thoughts.

To Be Watched:

Big Little Lies already debuted on HBO, but we will be breaking down our thoughts on the series in March. Fifty Shades of Grey is also on the horizon. Anyone see it already? Thoughts?

Beyond the Bookends:

Here are some other bookish things we love from around the web this month.

Anne of Green Gables is being remade by Netflix. We have mixed feelings on this as both of us LOVE the 1985 version of L.M. Montgomery’s classic novels.

Check out Parchment Girl’s list of the most anticipated novels of the spring.

Epic Reads created a Sherlock Holmes Story Name Generator in honor of the release of The Last of August, the second in the Charlotte Holmes Trilogy. Kirsten is currently loving a Study in Charlotte so this generator is quite fun! For the record, Kirsten’s story name is The Fate of the Persnickety Visitor. Jackie’s story is The Trial of the Maniacal Tracksuit. Test it out and let us know your story name!

Back for its 15th year, Free Library of Philadelphia announced its One Book, One Philadelphia choice. This time they have chosen The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon.

*disclosure: this post contains our Amazon affiliate link, if you purchase anything we get a few cents to further indulge our love of reading*

Novel Ideas February Pinterest