Ginny, a twenty-something chef-extraordinaire finds solace in her family kitchen as a means of avoiding people (she doesn't like them) and the world aGinny, a twenty-something chef-extraordinaire finds solace in her family kitchen as a means of avoiding people (she doesn't like them) and the world around her (she doesn't understand it). Often referring to her Normal Book and multiple blogs and websites for advice and cooking information, Ginny lives a quiet life in the safe shelter of her mother and father. When they both pass away in an accident, Ginny must grapple with her world turning upside down, and to cope, turns to the kitchen's familiar scents and tastes. However, she is now able to summon the spirits who created the beloved recipes she holds dear, and these spirits reveal information to her that will change her reality.
I had a difficult time rating this book because I often wasn't sure how I felt about it as I read. I didn't care for Ginny as a protagonist. I know I was supposed to mostly dislike her sister, Amanda, but I generally felt apathetic towards her. As for the secondary characters, I don't feel that they added too much to the story. People are calling this a novel of magical realism, but I don't think it had enough magic in it to warrant this title.
It's a quick read with the smell and taste of food really brought to life by the author's words; for me, this was the best part of the book. Worth a shot if you enjoy foodie fiction. ...more
This is a really great summer read or travel book!
When author Emily Watson's life suddenly changes, an invitation to spend a month on a beautiful islaThis is a really great summer read or travel book!
When author Emily Watson's life suddenly changes, an invitation to spend a month on a beautiful island off the coast of Washington arrives at precisely the right time. Deciding to use the backdrop of the island as research for her next book, she packs up and departs for the home of her beloved Aunt Bee.
When Emily discovers a diary from the 1940s in her bedroom, she embarks on a quest to solve the mystery of the romance presented within its pages. Alternating between the 1940s and the present, The Violets of March is a wonderful escape for the reader, who will meet a bevvy of interesting characters along the way. I love that Jio creates a character out of Bainbridge Island, and everyone I have talked to about this book falls in love with Bee.
While I really enjoyed this book and read it in a couple of settings, it does present a couple of issues I was willing to look past. Many of the members in my book group were confused about the family dynamics that were not clearly described. KIND OF SPOILER ALERT! We also had major issues with her falling in love and entertaining a relationship RIGHT after divorce - it just doesn't seem feasible. Most of us thought the romance component was just so-so, and we were more interested in the stories presented in the diary.
Still...lots of fun! I will keep my eye on this author! ...more
I am having such conflicting thoughts on this book and I really hope to write one of my sarcastic rants (think "The Ruins" or "Harper's Island", thoseI am having such conflicting thoughts on this book and I really hope to write one of my sarcastic rants (think "The Ruins" or "Harper's Island", those of you who have seen my posts in various groups about the two) about some of the plot points. I almost laughed out loud a couple of times at the absurdity of a couple scenes.
That being said, I am totally baking the damn bread when I am done. I swear the author is a shill for "Amish Friendship Bread" the brand, coming soon to a grocery store near you. Nearly every page includes some sort of paragraph designated to the praise and exaltation of the wonder that is Friendship Bread, along with its ENDLESS varieties (brownies! cinnamon raisin! cranberry! vegan!) that these townspeople seem to bake about four times per week. Who the hell has that much time to bake?!?!?
Anyway, I am going to end my rant there, because even with the laughable scenes in the book (like people freaking out because the bread starter exchange WON'T STOP and people MUST KEEP BAKING) I enjoyed picking this book up at the end of the day - it was like reading a cozy mystery without the mystery. Avalon is a sweet town full of good people who come together over a recipe, and I guess with so much negativity and chaos in the world today, along with a general disregard for our fellow man, I found this concept appealing. I feel like I have read variations of this book before, but it was a nice summer read that didn't require much brainpower. I would give it a mild recommendation if I knew someone specifically liked this genre of book. ...more
I have to admit, as someone leery of the fantasy/sci-fi genre, I picked up this book for my reading group with great trepidation. While it took me aboI have to admit, as someone leery of the fantasy/sci-fi genre, I picked up this book for my reading group with great trepidation. While it took me about one hundred pages to get into the story, I became completely absorbed by Kvothe's tale and found myself enthralled by his life as a young adult as he relays it to the Chronicler. This is a fantasy accessible to anyone, really; Rothfuss writes a beautiful story that is at turns witty, sad, and gripping. In fact, he is already being compared by critics to J.R.R. Tolkien, and I must say I would agree. A few parts of the book dragged a little, but the rest of the book more than compensated for this; because I had so much fun reading about the world Rothfuss so wonderfully made real for me and plan on reading the next book in the series, I couldn't help but give this one five stars.
If you're hesitant about fantasy, try Tolkien and Rothfuss. Lots o' fun!...more
Intense. Lots of interesting characters, twisting and curving plots, strange emotional relationships that are difficult to understand, and one GretcheIntense. Lots of interesting characters, twisting and curving plots, strange emotional relationships that are difficult to understand, and one Gretchen Lowell. I can see why so many people enjoy this thriller/mystery series - it's also refreshing to see a woman as the "bad guy" instead of the victim for a change.
I listened to this on audio, which had very good narration, but I had a hard time staying focused b/c of other happenings in my life at the time of reading.
If you have a hard time with violence, there are definitely scenes that will make you clench your fists and squirm a little. I think it was harder to listen to the narration of these scenes than it would have been if I had experienced it in print form.
Wow, did this book just OOZE cheese. I enjoyed learning about quilting, as I have a fascination with reading about crafting of any sort, but it was diWow, did this book just OOZE cheese. I enjoyed learning about quilting, as I have a fascination with reading about crafting of any sort, but it was difficult for me to relate to the terminology and quilting designs featured in the story.
The main character, Sarah, moves to a new town with her husband Matt and quickly falls into a "job" (I use that term loosely) and a quilting group that both enable her quick and fabulous friendships. Her chats with her employer were probably the worst part of the book for me - while the author used these visits to tie the past to current town events, the segues were just horrific and I found myself laughing like I do with the ones used on newscasts.
This book was a cozy mystery without the mystery. I upgraded my rating to a 2.5 because I am willing to give book two a shot to see where the story goes. If you're looking for something heartwarming and easy to read, this might be the book series for you. ...more
This book was great character study set against the backdrop of the music world. The format shouldn't work, but it does: each chapter features a diffeThis book was great character study set against the backdrop of the music world. The format shouldn't work, but it does: each chapter features a different character/set of characters and is told from differing perspectives (thankfully, not labeled as the title so we can just figure it out) jumping around in time. One chapter is even a Power Point presentation...a little difficult to read on my nook, but very creative. Watching how the characters' lives intertwined was fascinating and as soon as I finished I thought "I wish I could go back and start over to look for certain things" again. A really nice surprise. ...more
Talk about a book that will stay with you. Jack tells us about his life in a room that is 11x11, written in a five-year-old perspective by Donoghue soTalk about a book that will stay with you. Jack tells us about his life in a room that is 11x11, written in a five-year-old perspective by Donoghue so beautiful it will make you tear up. I read this in one sitting and stayed up all night (wasn't feeling well and couldn't sleep anyway), and I am still thinking about this book. Because we all know how very real this situation has been in the headlines, it makes it all the more sad. ...more
What a beautifully written, page-turner of a novel about one of the most horrific periods in our nation's history. The story was incredible, but evenWhat a beautifully written, page-turner of a novel about one of the most horrific periods in our nation's history. The story was incredible, but even more so were the characters that Grissom develops before our eyes. You fall in love with the characters you are supposed to love and come to despise the characters you are supposed to despise. I loved the alternating narration between Lavinia and Belle because it provided two different perspectives of the situation, and I also loved the possibility for a follow-up novel. Fantastic. One of 2010's best....more
I loved this story about a girl heading home to Alabama to face her past and her future all in one messy family situation. While the story has definitI loved this story about a girl heading home to Alabama to face her past and her future all in one messy family situation. While the story has definite serious themes, the narration is funny and I found myself smiling quite a bit as a read. As for Burr, the protagonist's boyfriend, he has become one of my favorite characters in recent memory. The author transitions from past to present flawlessly, without dumbing it down with dates for the readers. Thank you. ...more
I feel like this book took awhile to find its footing and I had a difficult time relating to and understanding the characters until about 100 pages inI feel like this book took awhile to find its footing and I had a difficult time relating to and understanding the characters until about 100 pages into the book, but then it just took off for me. The weaving of the lives of all of these interesting people into a tale that mimic's one once told my the main character's mother is really something special and something that was difficult to put down once I hit "the spot." Now I plan on going back to read The Lace Reader, the first book by the author. ...more
I really enjoyed this story about a young girl faced with many tough decisions and the effect they may or may not have in her life. CeeCee's life brinI really enjoyed this story about a young girl faced with many tough decisions and the effect they may or may not have in her life. CeeCee's life brings up many questions about morals and responsibility; the interesting thing is that you will find yourself constantly thinking what you would do in her position. It seems like an easy answer, but is everything so cut and dry? Ultimately, do you side with CeeCee or against CeeCee? This was a great page-turning summer read, a mystery you know the general ending to, and an incredible adventure in getting there. ...more
Child 44 is a terrifying book that makes for a fantastic summer read, especially if you don't have to work in the morning so you can stay up all nightChild 44 is a terrifying book that makes for a fantastic summer read, especially if you don't have to work in the morning so you can stay up all night reading.
I found some of the material to be extremely difficult to read, and this story is certainly not for the faint of heart, but the intricacies of the plot and the horrors of the government kept me turning pages...one night until 3am.
I will be reading the second book, because yes, this did hook me! ...more
Wow. This is one of those rare books that is so powerful and so moving that you can only read it in bits at a time. War-torn Sarajevo is the backdropWow. This is one of those rare books that is so powerful and so moving that you can only read it in bits at a time. War-torn Sarajevo is the backdrop for the story of four very different individuals experiencing the horrors of shells and sniper fire in their neighborhoods. The cellist, one of the four whose tale is told in the book, sits outside everyday for twenty-two days playing for the lives of the men and women killed while waiting to receive bread across the street from his apartment. The other three stories revolve slowly, deliberately, around his. Remembering the events of the early 90s made this an incredible read for me, and I found myself experiencing so many emotions while reading it. Brilliant. ...more