Tuesday, September 1, 2015

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - My Name is Russell Fink; Michael Snyder

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where I share the first paragraph sometimes two from a book I am reading or thinking about reading soon. I purchased this eBook on Amazon a while ago and think it sounds good in a quirky kind of way.

My Name is Russell Fink; Michael Snyder
Zondervan Press - 2008

Part One


"My conscience must be out of order.

Otherwise I'd feel at least a tinge of guilt as I consider making this call.  Only two reasons exist for dialing this number: first, to inform Max Hengle III that I'm about to land a big sale, and to say this is rare would be an understatement.  It's happened exactly twice. And neither transaction was the result of any Herculean effort on my part, more like fortuitous timing or dumb luck.  But this did not prevent me from taking full credit.  Sales is a tough business.

The second reason for dialing this number -- the egregiously more common reason--is to call in sick.  One could argue hypochondria, but I prefer preventative maintenance.  Still, I contend that over the life of my career, these measures will have made me a happier and more productive employee.  And who wouldn't want a whole stable full of happy and productive employees?"

What do you think -- keep reading or pass?  

(Feel free to join in this week by posting your intro below?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Goodbye August ~~Books Read ~~ and RIP X Challenge

I love fall, but always hate saying goodbye to summer. I think the beach is always most enjoyable after the tourists head home for locals.  September and even early October make for some of the best days to head to the beach with a good book and a small lunch.  

Since retiring in July sometimes the days seem interchangeable and although it would seem like I'd have more time for reading, I find I have less.  I use to read about 12 books a month, but August fell short with just 7 (and 2 of these were kids books a mere 20 pp or so). Here's the list with links to my reviews.  I liked them all so it's hard to pick a favorite.

August Reads--
  1. Summerlong; Dean Bakopoulos - 4.5/5 (ebook) (Aug)
  2. Wind/Pinball; Haruki Murakami - 4/5 (audio/eGalley) (Aug)
  3. What I Remember Most; Cathy Lamb - 4.5/5 (eBook) (Aug)
  4. Max the Brave; Ed Vere - 4.5/5 (arc) (Aug)
  5. Trapped: A Whale's Rescue; Burleigh & Minor - 5/5 (sent by author) (Aug)
  6. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory; Caitlin Doughty - 4.5/5 (library) (Aug)
  7. The Sunken Cathedral; Kate Walbert - 4/5 (eGalley) (Aug)
September Reading Plans --

It's time for RIP X

Fall means more mysteries for me and darker psychological fiction stories. In past years Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings hosted the RIP Challenge each fall; I've participated for at least 6 years. It's the only challenge I join these days. This year (#10),  Carl is passing off the hosting to Andi and Heather of The Estella Society and I'm sure it will be just as much fun.  R.I.P. X officially runs from September 1st through October 31st.  

You can choose to participate on several different levels, I'm choosing the one with the least amount of pressure --Read just (4) books in (2 months: mystery, suspense, thriller, dark fantasy, Gothic, horror or supernatural. 

Tentative RIP X Choices
Hope you all consider this fun challenge!

Link up HERE

Sunday Blatherings and a few New Books

The above picture is just a reminder of how quickly summer has passed. Planning to enjoy every nice day before the snow shovels appear.

The past week has been really busy and fun with not too much time for reading, but there is one book that I'm reading and enjoying -- The Last September by Nina de Gramont. It's one of those stories that hooked me early on and made me anxious to turn each page to find out more. In some ways it reminds me of Life Drawing, by Robin Black a book which I really enjoyed.

We went to a few fun children's museums with the grand kiddos and I probably had as much fun as they did.  We painted, did construction work, visited The Very Hungry Caterpillar's house, read books, played in a spaceship, pretended we were doctor's and dentists, played grocery store and cashier, junior carpenters,  played with the largest collecting of Lego's I've ever seen, and even experienced a hurricane simulator. Here are a few pics from some of the activities --

Kids do know how to have fun

Back to books -- I did get a few new books in the mail last week.  

I hope to spend some time on the deck reading and relaxing today. Hope you enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Sunken Cathedral; Kate Walbert

The Sunken Cathedral; Kate Walbert
Scribner - 2015

The Sunken Cathedral is a character driven novel with not much plot, but still a very interesting read.  There is a sense of dread throughout the novel about some catastrophe looming, with surreal images of the Hudson River flooding NYC as strange storms threaten to devastate New York.

Marie and Simone grew up in France and later moved from Europe to Chelsea after WWII reuniting as young mothers after both women married Americans.  Now widows in their 80's it's hard not to notice just how much life in their NY borough has changed.  Both are still active women but anxious women as well. 

The women begin a painting class from Sid Morris along with Helen a former art historian who is also in her 80's. Sid leaves a lot to be desired. His studio is filthy, his manners missing and he's eccentric to say the least.  Both Marie and Simone oddly seem interested in the uncouth Sid.

Elizabeth is another character, a tenant of Marie. She is a 40-something woman with not much self-confidence.  Elizabeth struggles with the uncertainty of life. Her young son Ben attends a progressive K-8 school where parents are thoroughly involved, and seem to have it all together which intimidates Elizabeth all the more. Children at this school are prepared at an early age for terror attacks, earthquakes and other natural disasters.

Told from the third person POV, I liked the fact the central characters were seniors, something you don't see as often in fiction today.  The story was well written and footnotes can be found at the bottom of many pages which further explores the more personal inner thoughts and details of various characters -- this worked extremely well IMO.

Overall, I was very pleased with this novel. It's different, but in a good way and fewer than 300 pages as well.

4/5 stars