An Unhappy Ending….

The past week was full of stuff to do!  A family birthday meant a night out and  garden care – those tomatoes are still looking rough, but other things are coming into harvest.  The hubbs and I also went into Norfolk and to the Cajun fest that’s held yearly.  It was lots of fun but just too hot to sit and watch the musical acts on stage – which was disappointing.  Despite the heat we had a great time looking around and enjoying some New Orleans treats.

Crawdads!!  Great that I tried them – if you’ve never had them then you’re not missing much!

Beignets!! OMG!!  A trip to New Orleans would be worth it just for these.

From The Stacks:

I finished the book I was given awhile back from Goodreads.  The Arsonist by Sue Miller.  It hits stores today if you are interested – great timing!!

The Arsonist by Sue Miller is a novel that is quite ambiguous for me.   After reading this I have one foot firmly placed on each side of the fence.  I really can’t say I would recommend The Arsonist, however I also feel like it’s not on a Do Not Read list either.  

The novel is supposed to be centered around a rash of house fires that break out over one summer and the way the town and it’s people deal with an unknown arsonist in their midst.   I felt this novel went in too many directions and never went down the main path the reader expected.  Much of the story felt like a distraction and was extraneous – just plain irrelevant to the story.  

The flow of The Arsonist is sluggish and even stagnant at some points.  This is a disappointing aspect for a novel thats premise is based on an unidentified person terrorizing a small town by burning it down house by house.  

As far as the ending goes for this novel: If you are one of the many who was up in arms over the final episode of Dexter, or shocked and enraged over the famous Fade to Black of the Sopranos…this book is not for you.


Lazy Day

So I’ve taken a few liberties on this week after vacation….okay stretch that a bit; it’s been 11 days since we got back!  I had so much housecleaning under my belt that I’ve completely idled away nearly two weeks. Time to get back on track I suppose.

The garden needs some major work.  All the heat and no rain to speak of for some time is starting to show.  I ordered some great new garden tools online last week and they should be here tomorrow.  Hopefully they do their job my making mine easier!!

From The Stacks:

                            Reading this one and it’s good so far.  Can’t wait to finish it!

Hope you enjoy the rest of your week!

Unlucky Number…

Today is Friday the 13th.  For the most part, I can say I usually notice when this event occurs on the calendar but it’s never proven to be more than just another Friday.  Lucky Me!  I’m not a superstitious person though.  I don’t go around walking under ladders to tempt fate mind you, but I also don’t avoid black cats or freak out over a broken mirror.  However, thinking about that particular point…how many mirrors does one break in a lifetime?  I can’t recall any.

We have finally gotten some much needed rain!  Most all day yesterday and more expected today.  The garden is starting to look a bit under the weather so I’m hoping this will perk things up.  Actually everything looks great except for the tomatoes!  I read everywhere how tomatoes are the most popular home grown vegetable (uh…fruit) because they are so easy!  Bah!!  Every single year my tomatoes are the first things to need extra care and crap out.  Hopefully this year I’ll keep them going.  If not, tomatoes are cheap at the market!!
Wednesday marked a first I believe for me!  If not the first…certainly the first I can recall.  I started and finished a book all in one day!  I know that gets an eye roll from some, but I’m excited about it!  I know a few people that read a book in one day all the time. Or at the very least one and a half.  I just can’t do it!!  
Granted that it wasn’t a long book at all at just over 200 pages but I’m happy nonetheless 
So here it is…
From The Stacks:
The Murder Farm by Andrea Maria Schenkel is a book published  originally in 2008.  The author is German and the book has been recently translated and is being published by Quercus Books.
Honestly I have very mixed feelings about this novel.  The story is good, the concept.  However, I feel like it is half of a book.  It just felt like a draft more than a competed novel.  The Murder Farm is also listed as a mystery/thriller type book.  I suppose it’s a “who done it” style as the reader doesn’t find out who “the murder” is until the end.  However, I can’t say it was a surprise in the least when the murder was revealed and there was very little you could call thrilling about the book.
The Murder Farm is based around the Danner family who is found murdered.  Some sort of reporter-type character (I can’t say for sure who or what he is) appears at the very beginning of the book. The entire novel is written on the format of a rotating narrator.  Each chapter is told from a different person’s perspective seemingly in an interview style with the reporter.  
While I like the general idea of this, it’s executed poorly.  The reader is given the identity of a chapters narrator as a heading and each chapter is just a monologue of that persons account of events. There is virtually NO dialog in the entire book!  This leads the novel to get pretty boring and is what makes it feel so incomplete.
The story of the Danner family is modeled after the real-life mystery and unsolved murder of a family in 1922 Bavaria, though The Murder Farm is set in the 1950’s.  I really won’t give too many in’s and out’s of the story because there is so little mystery already in the novel.

I will say that the book wasn’t bad, just not at all what I was expecting given the books official description and jacket copy.  I’m not sure if the translation or the writing style caused such disappointment for me.  If you are looking for a quick and easy read then this book may be enjoyable for a day on the beach.  If you are a true mystery/thriller book lover like myself then this is probably not the book for you.

Have a Lucky Friday the 13th!!

Tuesday Recovery

Today I am still recovering from vacation!  However, I was able to finish a SUPER new book.  The good news is that this one is available today – so run right out and grab it up!!

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street is one of the brightest and well written novels I have read in a long time.  Susan Jane Gilman tells the tale of Lillian Dunkle so completely and brilliantly that the reader dissolves into the pages of prose and wonderful characters.

 A Jewish girl from Russia, Malka, and her incredibly poor family immigrate to America in the early 1900’s. Upon arriving they quickly find that their situation in this promised heaven is possibly worse than the impoverished life they left behind.

Through heartbreaking events, Malka loses her family and comes to live with an immigrant Italian family.  It is with them that Malka gains a new family, a new Christian name, and learns the art of making ice cream.

Malka, now Lillian, works in her Italian family’s ice cream parlor.  Though always feeling as an outsider, she struggles for approval and is determined to achieve the American Dream for herself.  Lillian’s desire to achieve success throughout her life becomes blinding and she fails to recognize she has become all she dreamed of.

I can’t tell you how much I loved every page of this novel!  Whatever I pluck from the To-Be-Read stack next has some mighty  big shoes to fill.

Happy Reading!!

Back To Reality

After a fabulous vacation in New York City it’s time to get back to reality and the daily grind of life.  It was such a wonderful trip but the hubbs and I were ready to come home!  Three and a half non-stop days in the city was amazing and exhausting!!

I did not get to read anything at all on our trip – I don’t know when I thought I’d have the time for that!!  So I have an ever bigger stack of books waiting for me and I didn’t make any progress!  The silver lining of that is that I am looking VERY forward to a few lazy days on the sofa or outside doing nothing but reading.

I think the worst part about coming home from vacation is all the laundry and unpacking! UGG… but I will work in a load or two between book chapters and all shall return to normal in a day or so.

A blissful nothing coming up this week and I’m very happy about that!  Laundry, gardening and reading is everything on my list all week!

Here are a few pictures from NYC!  It’s crazy, loud, and surprisingly it smelled!!  But it was a true experience that I enjoyed so, so much and I think it’s a place everyone should visit at least once.

Radio City!

M&M’s Store….

Times Square from the Big Red Steps
Flat Iron Building

Chelsea Market – Food Mecca!!
Central Park from the Empire State Building

Columbus Square, Unisphere

Macy’s at Herald Square
View of the city from Empire State Building

The Bow Bridge at Central Park
Our Lady Liberty