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Sheila

Sheila's Reads

I love to read. I am very eclectic in my reading but I especially enjoy erotica and erotic romance. I also like movies, live theater and concerts, hockey, and counted cross-stitch.

UNCOLLECTED POEMS by Ranier Maria Rilke

Uncollected Poems - Rainer Maria Rilke, Edward Snow
  I like Rilke. I don't always understand his poetry. The poems in this book are from 1909-1926. Many are short. Some longer. Lots to ponder upon.

FUN HOME by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home - Alison Bechdel
Growing up in a small town when you are different is not easy.  Add a father who seems to be so exacting, a mother who is intent on her thesis and her theater productions, and siblings who are into their own things makes it harder.  Alison knows she does not like the feminine clothing her father wants her to wear and their house is, as her mother later calls it, a mausoleum.  At times there are moments when she and her father are close, usually around books.  Coming out in college, she must now come home for her father's funeral.
 
This story resonated with me.  I could identify with Alison.  Though they are a family, there is a disconnect between them.  Each person is into their own thing.  No one seems to be there for one another.  I don't know how this family remained together.  There are memories that come out during the book.  They may provide clues to the father's lifestyle but, for Alison, there is no more to them than the face value at the time.  Later she can see the pattern and realize her father thought she knew about him.  There is so many lost opportunities in this family for them to become closer.  I felt sorry for them all.

TWILIGHT by Erin Hunter

Twilight - Erin Hunter
The Clans are still settling into their new homes and problems are developing between those who feel the Clans should still help one another and those who believe there were always four Clans and each Clan is responsible for itself.  There is also the visions that the medicine cats are receiving that none can interpret.  They can see blood and violence but not the who or why. 
 
I did not cry as badly in this book.  Probably because the battle scene was interrupted by my having to close the book to get off the bus in the middle of the battle scene which was towards the end.  I still teared up though.  This story is more of Leafpool and her feelings.  It also shows the resentment Clans have towards one another but how it is necessary at times for them to help each other.  And the battle still rages between Clan born and kittypets.  Midnight makes another appearance.  I like the respect shown to her.  The bond between those who traveled to the sun-drown place is still strong but fraught with problems because of the division of the Clans.  A surprise appearances occurs.
 
I enjoyed this book.   I look forward to the next book.  I want to know about Leafpool's one vision.  What does it mean for the future?  And why the appearance of an old friend?

CLOCK DANCE by Anne Tyler

Clock Dance - Anne Tyler

Chronicling Willa's life during decisive years for her. Willa's reactions to life events depend on how she sees others responding. She then works to make sure they calm down. It is not until the end she learns to stand up for herself (in small ways) that she becomes her own person.

I liked Willa. I felt bad for her because most of the people around her were jerks and she enabled them to continue acting that way. She idolized her father because of the calmness he exhibited when her mother went off the rails. She wanted to be like him in that way. So many others in her life went off the rails like her mother and, like her father, she was the calm but the others walked over her because they knew that Willa would accept them and their behavior and not lash out.

When she gets a call from Baltimore, she goes even though she has no connection to the people involved except her son used to live with the woman. It is here where she finds a purpose and herself. No, she does not go off the rails like her mother but she does finally stop accepting and glossing over the bad behavior. Willa will never be the scream out loud type but she does make her feelings known if you look for the signs.

SUMMER HOURS AT THE ROBBERS LIBRARY by Sue Halpern

Summer Hours at the Robbers Library - Sue Halpern
Sunny is sentenced to 40 hours per week service at the library in Riverton for stealing.  She shadows Kit, the librarian.  Kit has secrets she tries to hid.  Sunny learns secrets she, maybe, did not want to know.  Rusty, a daily library patron, lets his secrets be known.  They collide and form a bond none expected.
 
I loved this book.  I liked how it was set up by Kit's secrets and by the weeks Sunny worked at the library.  I also liked the story told from the different points of view.  The secondary characters were quirky and fun.  They were honest in their actions and words. 
 
I would like to know what the future holds for all of them. 

LOLA'S SECRET by Monica McInerney

Lola's Secret: A Novel - Monica McInerney
I loved this book!  I loved Lola!  She is feisty and up-to-date even if she is 84.  She's great!  This is probably my most favorite read so far this year. 
 
The character development is fantastic.  I have a complete picture of Lola.  No shrinking violet is she.  I laughed.  I cried. 
 
I will be buying this book and putting it on my keeper shelf.  I also plan to get other books by this author.  So much fun!

MAUS I: MY FATHER BLEEDS HISTORY by Art Spiegelman

Maus I : A Survivor's Tale : My Father Bleeds History - Art Spiegelman
Powerful story told through the eyes of the cartoonist son of his father who tries to survive WWII.  The family is Jewish and the story is of their lives before WWII and the Nazi takeover of Germany to the time the man and his wife are separated at Auschwitz. 
 
It is a hard story to hear how the survivors made it through and what they did to survive.  Done though graphic novel format does not lessen the horrors or the fear.  Going between the past and today, the story shows the contrast between the generations of survivors and their offspring.  It shows how those experiences continued to influence the present life for those who made it. 
 
This is not a book that will be left behind.  I will remember it.  I also want to read part 2. 

THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne

The Hating Game: A Novel - Sally Thorne

Joshua and Lucinda work at the same publishing house and are now up for the same promotion. Since the mergers of their companies, being assistants to the co-CEOs, they have been sitting next to each other and playing games of one-upmanship with each. Now the stakes are higher because of the future promotion.

This was cute. I smiled throughout as I finally saw Lucinda working things out. It is predictable but Lucinda is great. When she finally stands up to someone, I was cheering her on. She was impressive. A great beach read!

BEAST by Sam Crescent and Jenika Snow

Beast - Jenika Snow, Sam Crescent
Bridget runs to Beast for protection from her fiancé and his father.  Beast tells her there will be a price to pay.  Mostly their hearts.
 
I loved Beast.  He's MC all the way.  Bridget brings out a softer side to him.  As the tension in the story ratchets itself up so does the sex.  Hot! 
 
I look forward to reading more in the series.  Some good secondary characters whose stories I'd like to see.

THE LIBRARY AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

The Library at the Edge of the World - Felicity Hayes-McCoy
Hanna left her cheating husband and moved back to Ireland with her daughter to her mother's home.  She begins to rebuild her life but her ability to trust and fit in are sorely lacking.  The council is deciding where to put their budget money and Hanna brings together the community together to defeat the council's plan where the taxpayers money for the Finfarran Peninsula.
 
I liked Hanna.  I could feel what she felt.  I was rooting her on as she takes on the council.  The people around her are fun.  Her ex, Malcolm, is a jerk.  Jazz, her daughter, needs to grow up.  Her mother is tough.  Conor and Fury are interesting and probably her best friends although she does not realize it.  The story was good.  I felt like I was there in Ireland.  I look forward to the next book.

MY FAVORITE THINGS IS MONSTERS by Emil Ferris

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters - Emil Ferris
Loved it!  Had a hard time putting it down.  Karen is 12 and her upstairs neighbor has been murdered--suicide according to police but the evidence points to murder.  Karen wants to know who killed Anka, the neighbor.  To do that she must find out about Anka's past and how it connects with her family.  Karen also wants to be a monster and live forever.  That part's not working out so well.
 
I loved Karen and her older brother Deeze (DZ).  Tough times lie ahead for them.  They have an interesting bunch of neighbors and acquaintances.  As Karen eavesdrops to learn what is being kept from her, she is also on her own interesting adventures that scare her mother and Deeze when she goes off missing at times.  Learning about Anka's life is eye opening as are the lives of some of the neighbors.
 
This is a cliffhanger and I have to get the next book to find out who killed Anka and what the ending of this book means to Karen.

A CURIOUS BEGINNING by Deanna Raebourn

A Curious Beginning - Deanna Raybourn
Veronica's last guardian has died and she is alone in the world.  When she returns to her cottage after the funeral she finds a man ransacking it and she is rescued by a baron.  They travel to London where the baron puts her under the protection of Stoker.  The next morning the baron is dead--murdered and the plot thickens.
 
I enjoyed this book.  I loved Veronica and Stoker.  She is a kick-ass broad and Stoker learns early not to get in her way.  Both have pasts and Veronica is always shocking Stoker with hers as she pulls his out of him. 
 
The world building in the story is good.  The mystery is good.  The story is good.  I hope some of the secondary characters remain in the series.  I look forward to book 2.

THE LEAVERS by Lisa Ko

The Leavers: A Novel - Lisa Ko
The story of Deming and his mother.  The story is told from both points of view, past and present, alone then together.
 
I did not care for any of the characters.  Deming as a child is great but as an adult, as Daniel, he is a jerk.  His adoptive parents are also jerks.  I felt bad for Polly, his mother, but she did not have her act together either.  Had I not read this for book club I would probably never picked it up.  The story was interesting enough but I never developed any empathy for the characters.

THE POWER by Naomi Alderman

The Power - Naomi Alderman

Wow! Imagine a world where the women take over. Men are controlled by women and women make the decisions. No man is permitted to do anything or go anywhere without a woman's approval. That's the premise of The Power.

I liked it. A lot. Roles are reversed. The thoughts and words have changed gender. Men control very little and only with the approval of women.

I was so into the story I forgot that it is a story that will be a novel of the time when the world changed from men leading to women leading. The set-up to and from the novel is done through letters from the author to a friend. Since he cannot tell the history as history, he does it as a novel. It works very well this way. I forgot it was a novel and was looking at it as ...hmmm, what if?

I liked how it is done by years and each year is seen from the main characters point-of-view. I liked Roxy. She's tough and a survivor. Allie started to believe her PR. So does Margot. I'm not sure whether the two of them become hinderances or return to the light. Allie's voice makes me wonder--serpent or angel. I also enjoyed Tunde and his male point-of-view of what is happening to the men and will they survive.

A well done novel that will make you question your beliefs. Lots of discussion points for book clubs. I know I'm recommending it for mine.

BETTER NATE THAN EVER by Tim Federle

Better Nate Than Ever - Tim Federle
Fun and funny book about Nate who runs away from home to audition for ET, The Musical, on Broadway.  He is only to be gone overnight but it seems the team for ET is not done with him.
 
I chuckled throughout this book.  Nate has such a dry sense of humor  and has a delivery that makes him one of the funniest characters I have read.  I loved him.  I also liked how he gives us glimpses into his life without pulling us out of the immediate story in which he is involved.  I enjoyed Libby, his best friend.  She was his straight sidekick.  She watched out for him.  His glimpses into life in New York was so refreshing.  It was nothing like Jankburg, his home town. 
 
I look forward to reading the rest of the series.  There are a few questions left open and I want answers.

THE SUMMER BEFORE THE WAR by Helen Simonson

The Summer Before the War: A Novel - Helen Simonson
Good story of how life was simple before WWI in a small English village of Rye then the war came and secrets came out and life became messy and complicated as the villagers try to maintain a semblance of life before the war.
 
I enjoyed this book.  I loved Beatrice and Hugh and was so glad that Hugh made the decision he did.  I'm also glad that Beatrice did not scare easily.  Some of the characters were the stereotypes we expect in a small village.  Others were not, I was glad to see.  I am glad that Celeste's story finally came out in the end.  Agatha was an interesting character and I'm glad that Beatrice questioned her actions at times.  Agatha needed to look at herself and finally let go of the expectations of her position as did the Wheatons, which, again, does happen at the end with Harry.
 
A good read that I got into.