Thursday, April 27, 2017

Mini Reviews (18)

I have a back log of NetGalley reads so I thought I would do a Mini Review post.


Stolen Beauty by Laurie Lico Albanese

I am fascinated by the story of the Adele Bloch-Bauer painting by Gustav Klimt so I was very excited to read this book.  I've seen the movie and a couple documentaries, read some books and even have some Klimt reproductions in my office.   I enjoyed the discussion of fin de siecle Vienna and all the creative movements (artistic and otherwise) that were blossoming during Klimt's life.  It was really interesting to read about how society was changing and art was changing with it.  As a whole, I enjoyed the story but I think the characters were hard to relate to.  At times, I really liked Adele's character and other times, she seemed very whiny and I had a hard time feeling sympathetic to her plight.  The story also jumped back and forth between different time periods and that transition wasn't very smooth.  It was an interesting story as a whole, there were just some things that bugged me a bit.  3 stars.



Daughter of a Thousand Years by Amalia Carosella

I'm not familiar with this period of history and because of that I was drawn to this story.  It was nice to read something different.  This was another book that bounced between past and present and I think it was pretty well done.  Freydis was a very cool and complex character; I liked that she stuck by her beliefs even when it brought her grief.  I also liked the emphasis on religious tolerance in both the past and present stories; it seemed to be very timely.  Overall, a good book with an important message. 3 stars.



This was a really unique historical novel.  The supernatural aspect to the story was compelling; Brette's ability to see spirits and her journey were my favorite part of the story.  I enjoyed watching Brette learn more about her abilities, her family and herself.  I liked the historical side of the story but it felt really rushed and more of an afterthought.  It just didn't mesh well with the rest of the story.  I did really enjoy the ending though.  3 stars.

I received all of these books from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Mailbox Monday (74)

I really didn't want to have another Mailbox Monday post for a long while but I caved and bought a couple of books this week.  YIKES.  I think I only made it two or three weeks without buying books. 

Work continues to be busy and and the week was crazy with house hunting.  We looked at several houses and even put an offer on one but nothing came of it.  So back to the drawing board! I also started watching '13 Reasons Why' on NetFlix and then the hubs got really into it and binge watched the whole season.  I didn't see all of it but I'm pretty sure I've seen enough.  I didn't dislike it but it was pretty dark and makes me terrified of sending my daughter to school.  I think I'll just stick with getting caught up on 'This is Us'.  Because of all that, it was a really slow reading week. I'd like to finish two more books before the month is over so I better get on it!

Finished Reading:

A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner

Currently Reading:

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova
Under the Approaching Dark by Anna Belfrage

Purchased (for kindle):





What books did you get this week?

 




Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Book Blast: "Lilli de Jong" by Janet Benton

Lilli de Jong
by Janet Benton


Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Nan A. Talese
Hardcover & eBook; 352 Pages

Genre: Fiction/Historical/Literary







READ AN EXCERPT.

A young woman finds the most powerful love of her life when she gives birth at an institution for unwed mothers in 1883 Philadelphia. She is told she must give up her daughter to avoid lifelong poverty and shame. But she chooses to keep her.

Pregnant, left behind by her lover, and banished from her Quaker home and teaching position, Lilli de Jong enters a home for wronged women to deliver her child. She is stunned at how much her infant needs her and at how quickly their bond overtakes her heart. Mothers in her position face disabling prejudice, which is why most give up their newborns. But Lilli can’t accept such an outcome. Instead, she braves moral condemnation and financial ruin in a quest to keep herself and her baby alive.

Confiding their story to her diary as it unfolds, Lilli takes readers from an impoverished charity to a wealthy family's home to the streets of a burgeoning American city. Drawing on rich history, Lilli de Jong is both an intimate portrait of loves lost and found and a testament to the work of mothers. "So little is permissible for a woman," writes Lilli, “yet on her back every human climbs to adulthood.”

Available for Pre-Order at
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iTunes | IndieBound | Kobo | Powell's


Praise for Lilli de Jong


"Lilli de Jong, discharged from her teaching job and banished from Quaker meetings because of her father's selfish choice, finds comfort in the affections of her father's apprentice, Johan. The night before he leaves to embark on a new life, she succumbs to his embrace with his promise that he will send for her. Soon thereafter, a pregnant Lilli finds herself shunned and alone, her only option a Philadelphia charity for wronged women. Knowing that she must relinquish her newborn, she is unprepared for the love that she feels for her daughter. Lilli quickly decides to fight to keep her, but in 1883 that means a life of hardship and deprivation. Telling Lilli's story in diary form, debut author Benton has written a captivating, page-turning, and well-researched novel about the power of a mother's love and the stark reality of the choices she must make. VERDICT A great choice for book clubs and readers of Geraldine Brooks." - Library Journal, Starred Review

“A powerful, authentic voice for a generation of women whose struggles were erased from history—a heart-smashing debut that completely satisfies.” —Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

“Beautifully written, emotionally resonant, and psychologically astute, Lilli de Jong is the story of an unwed mother in late 19th-century Philadelphia who, facing peril at every turn, will do almost anything to keep her daughter alive. Benton turns a laser eye to her subject, exposing the sanctimony, hypocrisies, and pervasive sexism that kept women confined and unequal in the Victorian era—and that still bedevil many women today. A gripping read.” —Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and A Piece of the World

“A stunning ode to motherhood. Lilli de Jong reminds us that there is no formula to being a good mother. Love is the essential ingredient, and only it gives everlasting life to our legacies. A debut of robust heart that will stay with me for a very long time.” —Sarah McCoy, author of The Mapmaker’s Children

“Janet Benton’s remarkable novel Lilli de Jong is historical fiction that transcends the genre and recalls a past world so thoroughly that it breathes upon the page. From the first sentence, Lilli’s sensitive, observant, determined voice casts an irresistible spell. Benton combines rich, carefully researched detail with an imaginative boldness that is a joy to behold—though reader, be warned: Lilli’s story may break your heart.” —Valerie Martin, author of The Ghost of the Mary Celeste

“[A] gorgeously written debut . . . Lilli’s fight to craft her own life and nurture her bond with her baby is both devastatingly relevant and achingly beautiful. A stunning read about the fierceness of love triumphing over a rigid society.” —Caroline Leavitt, author of Is This Tomorrow

“The trials Lilli undertakes to keep her baby are heart-rending, and it's a testament to Benton's skill as a writer that the reader cannot help but bear witness. In a style reminiscent of Geraldine Brooks, she seamlessly weaves accurate historical detail as well as disturbing societal norms into the protagonist's struggles . . . An absorbing debut from a writer to watch.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A heartrending debut . . . Benton’s exacting research fuels Lilli’s passionate, authentic voice that is ‘as strong as a hand on a drum . . . that pounds its urgent messages across a distance’ . . . Lilli’s inspiring power and touching determination are timeless.” —Publishers Weekly

“A harrowing look at the strictures of nineteenth-century American society. . . . [Lilli] is a full-fledged heroine, persevering despite seemingly insurmountable odds. . . her voice is distinctive, her fierceness driven by a mother’s love.” —Booklist

“I loved this novel. Lilli de Jong is deeply moving and richly imagined, both tragic and joyous. Janet Benton has an exceptional ability to bring history to life . . . It's not only a compelling, beautifully crafted historical novel, however: it's also important . . . Lilli's life-and-death struggle is shockingly common to women even today.” —Sandra Gulland, author of the internationally bestselling Josephine B. Trilogy

“Writing with a historical eye akin to Geraldine Brooks and incisive prose matching that of Anthony Doerr, debut novelist Janet Benton magically weaves a gripping narrative of hardship, redemption, and hope while illuminating a portrait of little-known history. The result is an unforgettable and important reflection on the maternal and, ultimately, the human bond. Stunning!” —Pam Jenoff, author of The Kommandant’s Girl

“A confident debut . . . Sentence by carefully-crafted sentence, Benton ensnares the reader.” —The Millions

About the Author


Janet Benton’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Glimmer Train, and many other publications. She has co-written and edited historical documentaries for television. She holds a B.A. in religious studies from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and for decades she has taught writing and helped individuals and organizations craft their stories. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. Lilli de Jong is her first novel.

Visit Janet Benton's website for more information and updates. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.


Book Blast Schedule


Monday, April 17
Bookfever

Tuesday, April 18
So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, April 19
Luxury Reading

Thursday, April 20
100 Pages a Day
The Never-Ending Book

Friday, April 21
A Book Geek
Caryn, The Book Whisperer

Saturday, April 22
History From a Woman's Perspective

Monday, April 24
Creating Herstory

Tuesday, April 25
The Book Junkie Reads

Wednesday, April 26
SJ2B House of Books

Thursday, April 27
A Fold in the Spine
One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Friday, April 28
Just One More Chapter

Monday, May 1
Back Porchervations

Tuesday, May 2
Books & Benches
Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, May 3
The Lit Bitch
Unabridged Chick

Thursday, May 4
Beth's Book Nook Blog

Friday, May 5
Brooke Blogs
Trisha Jenn Reads

Sunday, May 7
A Dream within a Dream

Monday, May 8
Book Nerd

Tuesday, May 9
Broken Teepee
The True Book Addict

Wednesday, May 10
What Is That Book About

Thursday, May 11
CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, May 12
A Literary Vacation

Monday, May 15
Passages to the Past

Monday, April 17, 2017

My Whole30 Reintroduction Fail






So I have to be honest, we completely bombed the reintroduction period.  I really don't want to post about my epic fail but I figure it's best to be honest.  We started reintroducing legumes and it went okay though they gave me a stomachache and I thought the peanut butter was bland.  Then we went on to non-gluten grains and that's where things went wrong.  We went to Chipotle for dinner that night and were able to add in rice and tortilla chips. Bad move.  I think tortilla chips are a gateway drug for me.  I ate so many chips and then I couldn't stop craving ice cream...so we went to Dairy Queen.  And then it was all down hill from there. 

I'm bummed about this up because now I don't have a good handle on what upsets my stomach.  My husband has been having a really hard time since we've stopped doing Whole30 a hundred percent of the time and it would be nice to know what his problem foods are (we think gluten but we can't be sure).  I also tend to get a headache after eating a non-compliant food and I wish I knew what specifically was causing it. 

We have been eating Whole30 most of the time but I've really struggled with the 'food freedom' aspect.  Once I start eating something off plan, it gets ugly really quick.  This past week was rough; I went out to lunch with friends twice and then we went out to dinner twice because we were in a hurry after looking at houses.  And then Easter hit.  BLECH.  Needless to say, the hubs and I feel like crap right now.  I'm back to eating on plan as much as possible and I'm considering doing another round of Whole30 beginning in the middle of May.  I think it would be a good way to get back on track for the summer.

I do really enjoy eating Whole30; it makes me feel better and it has helped me understand a bit better how the food I eat affects my body and mindset.  I'm sure you're probably bored of these posts by now but I do have one more planned for later this week and then you don't have to hear about Whole30 anymore.

My Whole30 Experience:

Whole 30 Week 1

Whole 30 Week 2

Whole 30 Week 3

Whole 30 Week 4


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Mailbox Monday (73)

 Hello!  I think this may be one of my last Mailbox Monday posts for a while as I transition to just reading books I own and catching up on reviews.  I got some great books this week so I just had to share.

This week was a whirlwind!  I work at a university and it was the first week of enrollment so we were incredibly busy.  I'm also planning some big family celebrations in the next few months so it feels like there is always something that needs to be done.  I only finished one book this week (Forever A Hero by Linda Lael Miller) and barely made progress on anything else.  I'm hoping that next week will be a tiny bit less busy but we'll see!  




Goodreads Giveaway:

 I hardly ever enter giveaways on goodreads anymore because I haven't won in years. I was so excited to win this book because it sounds so good.

For Review (from HFBVT):
 
I've read all of Ms. Belfrage's books and they are AMAZING.  I can't wait to read this one!

For Review (From NetGalley):
 
This is the third book in the Daughters of La Lune series.  I really loved the last book so I'm eager to see where the story will go.

What books were in your mailbox this week?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

January - March Reading Wrap Up & Some Plans

2017 is already a quarter of the way over!  That's nuts!

I did a terrible job of keeping up with my monthly wrap up posts this year so I decided to combine the first three months into a wrap up of the whole quarter.  I'm doing great with reading so far this year and when March was over, I was perfectly on track to meet my reading goal for the year.  I'm shooting for 100 books again this year and I finished March with 25 so I'm very pleased. 

Stats for January through March:

-25 books read
   - 6 non-fiction
   - 6 historical fiction
   - 2 review books
   -16 library books
   -5 books I own
   -17 ebooks

While I'm staying on track with my main reading goal, I'm really slacking in other areas.  I started a reading journal (which I've been neglecting) and for this year I set out to read 25 non-fiction books and 30 books I own.  I'm doing okay with making the non-fiction book goal but I really need to work on reading books I own.


I've been purchasing books indiscriminately all year.  Some have been books I've purchased with Christmas and birthday gift cards but for the most part, I've just been buying every book I see.  I've been terrible with kindle deals; I used to really think about it before I purchased something and would even check the library but lately, I've been buying anything that sounds good.  And then (as you can see above), I went to the library book sale and bought way more books than I needed to.  YIKES.

So, my goal for this quarter is to focus solely on reading books I own and catching up on review books.  I have one library book on hold and I have one pre-order book coming (A Court of Wings and Ruin, YEAH!) but otherwise, I will focus on books that I already have in my possession.  I'm excited about a lot of the books I bought and this will help me focus on them since I tend to get distracted by library books and new purchases.

I'm also going to try to post on the blog more. I took a small break and now I kind of miss it. I have lots of review books to read so there will be some reviews to post and I'd like to start posting about non-bookish things too.  I really enjoyed blogging about my Whole30 experience and still need to post about my failed re-intro phase (fun times!) so I'm going to try some new things around here.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful April so far!  


 
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