Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

I got this book from the SAPL online library while awaiting hardback holds to come in. Since this book was only a temporary download to my Kindle, I have no notes. I double checked my common place book and also came up empty. Oh well, next time I need to remember to jot notes. Here is my review though, captured by Goodreads.

Quick and easy read. Relatable characters, southern colloquial. An easily detectable whodunnit. The good guy prevails. Recommended read for an escape.

Take a peek if you’re so inclined mi amigos and amigas.

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of Like Wind Against Rock by Nancy Kim

A hold from the library came in and I was able to pick up a real hardback book. I love the tactile sensations of turning pages but I miss the highlight feature of my Kindle. Instead, I old school take notes of lines that grab me. Alrighty, let’s go.

My review brought over from Goodreads: I love the familiar theme of life choices. To take chances or to settle. Is there any way to control who we love? It’s nice that there’s no ending. Let’s see how this plays out … just like Alice and Rick. It wasn’t until I was most of the way through that I realized this wasn’t non-fiction. The author being named Nancy Kim and not Alice Chang should’ve been my clue but oh well. I enjoy when lines are blurred and fiction is that realistic.

Here are a few of my notes credit to author Nancy Kim …

  • It’s a living, but is it a life?
  • Time for me doesn’t fly as much as tiptoe past, as though trying not to draw attention to itself like an early departing guest at a bad party.
  • My daughter, on the other hand, is the product of all my efforts, my hopes, and my dreams … Perhaps that is why she is a failure. When I see Alice, I see frustration, broken promises, missed opportunities. I see myself, unfinished and unfulfilled.
  • … the idea of my own son-in-law working a nine-to-five job with benefits saddens me.
  • I turn and I look at Victor. My son. Is he any less my son because we share none of the same genetic material?
  • But then it occurs to me that maybe Bertha doesn’t really want to lose weight. Maybe what she really wants is another cookie. Maybe what she really wants is for everyone else to accept her the way she is so that she can stop pretending to want to diet.
  • You have more need of time than it does of you.

Okay, guess that’s it unless I wanted to transcribe the whole book. Recommended read. Definitely two thumbs up.

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of A Familiar Sight (Dr. Gretchen White #1) by Brianna Labuskes ~ 10/1/21

This book was a free read of the month from Amazon Prime. Here is my Goodreads, non-spoiler review: Crime fiction at its finest. The psychology of it all was fascinating. What are we capable of? What’s considered normal? Those were part of the theme.

I also have some decent quotes for my commonplace book.

  • Genetics loaded the gun, environment pulled the trigger.
  • “We need people in our lives who don’t expect us to be anything but what we are”
  • ” … how much she hated the word “honestly”—believing no person who was actually acting honestly would need to say it.”
  • “Psychopaths read power the way empaths could read body language. Instinctually.”
  • “Youth had a way of making secrets seem delectable rather than the rotting things age helped you see that they were.”

I want to read Dr. Gretchen White #2 when it comes out. As a character, she is fascinating. Though fictional, I know of a few folks like her in real life.

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of Her Last Breath by Hilary Davidson ~ 9/17/21

My no spoiler Goodreads review: Told in alternating chapters from the point of views of Deidre (sister of the deceased)and Theo (husband of the deceased), this story is a classic suspenseful whodunnit. Sometimes broken relationships are healed and the bad guys get what they deserve.

Some of my highlights:

  • Everyone sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are. —Niccolò Machiavelli
  • “We say we wish to know dark secrets, Theo, but we rarely mean it. The truth is often so ugly we can’t look it in the face.”
  • “But I don’t think genes predict who you’ll be. They give you some characteristics, but they don’t define you.”
  • He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into you. —Friedrich Nietzsche
  • For as long as I’d known Mrs. Chen, her response to any situation, happy or sad, was to cook. It’s her primary way of expressing affection.

A recommended read. Quick, suspenseful, themes of nurture versus nature and more. I could be Mrs. Chen. Food is curative or can be.

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of The Seven Day Switch by Kelly Harms ~ 9/10/21

My no spoiler Goodreads Review While the story has been done before, there was a bit of a twist. Relatable themes of choices made and what it is to be female.

Here are my highlights:

  • … you can have it all, as long as you don’t ever want time to enjoy having it all.
  • Reality crept up slowly, like the sneaky bitch she is.
  • It takes me to a blog called Only Real Moms Know. Immediately I wonder what the hell a fake mom is.
  • We are enough as it is, right now, exactly where we are, no matter what or who we’re not!

Themes that fit with the current state of affairs. Staying in the political free zone, I’ll leave it at that. A recommended read. Quick, relatable, and at times even poignant.

As always, more to come.

J-Dubs Review of Later by Stephen King ~ 9/3/21

My no spoilers Goodreads Review: Storytelling at its most entertaining. Took me away as fiction does yet written in a relatable homey style. Don’t we always say “later” thinking I’ll get to it eventually. I know I do. Only in hindsight.

A few of SK’s verse quotes and my notes follow:

“Grits ain’t groceries and revenge don’t pay the bills” I’m not sure why I wrote this one down. I just liked the words I guess. Kiss my grits Flo. Lol.

“He kept moving west, like some fucked up brain dead pioneer” This paint a vivid image. Like the old Oregon Trail video game. Graphic scene actually.

“E and E – English and European literature. I once made the mistake of calling it lit and he corrected me, saying that was either for lights or being drunk” The character who said this is who I originally wanted to be growing up … a professor.

“I tell you what, the worst part of growing up is how it shuts you up” Damn if those aren’t the truest words you’ve ever read. As I got older, I became even more introverted, quiet, not always in a good way either. Experiencing growing pains shut me right the hell up.

“We change, and we don’t. I can’t explain it. It’s a mystery.” I’m reminded of the adage the more things change, the more they stay the same. Yeah Buddy.

And I gave it a recommended read. The number of stars is irrelevant. Read it if you have time.

As always more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

My Goodreads review was light. This is all I wrote: Sadly familiar but still no answers.

This book was the last hard back book I got from the library. I’m back into my own self-imposed semi-lockdown and haven’t felt like browsing. Fortunately my Kindle to loaded up with my freebies – one (sometimes two) books per month as a Prime member.

I returned this book with a whimper. Sadly, the story though fictional hits too close to home. The world is a terrible place … or can be. And that’s all I have to say about that.

As always, more to come.

Off Cycle Book Club With Some Reflection ~ 8/15/21

On the first Fridays of the month (I reserve the last Friday for #WATWB), I write a review of a book I’ve recently read. I am digging out of a backlog of previously read gems because my neurosis to only post one book a week only in chronological order has me reading ahead of what I am able to write about. I could slow my pace to catch up the writing with the reading but what fun is that? I’m finally reading again regularly for FUN or escapism after a brief hiatus invoked by the pandemic. That, the reading for pleasure, I won’t give up. A girl has to be passionate about some things. Am I right ?!?!?!?

The italicized word is me being passive aggressive and not letting go of a comment written to me last week. At least I own it. How can I improve if I don’t acknowledge my flaws? The stinging will end soon enough. I have already partially moved on.

On to better things. Yesterday while savoring all the wonderful #SoCS entries, I stumbled across this post from Lakshmi Bhat. The Francis Bacon quote does well to explain what I was having trouble putting into words. The words I LOVE so much. A perk of WordPress (love it or leave it) is how the platform unites us. I would never have stumbled across Mukhamani otherwise. The geographic separate alone would have prevented us from meeting each other.

Now for the cherry on top of the whipped cream of the chocolate sundae, here is the quote:

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.”

Francis Bacon

I’d simply say I don’t read books, I inhale them. Now I can say I eat them. Haha! or YUMMY 🙂

Wishing you all a peaceful Sunday.

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop by Fannie Flagg

Anyone else remember Fanny Flagg from Match Game and other assorted 1970’s television? Well she is also an author. I read her book Fried Green Tomatoes and watched the movie where Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy were phenomenal. Mary Stuart-Masterson and doe eyed Mary-Louise Parker were awesome too. Dearly departed Cicely Tyson, personified Sipsey. Watch the movie and you’ll see for yourself.

Okay, back to this week’s book. My Goodreads review follows:

A cast of known characters from Fried Green Tomatoes. No spoilers. Homespun. A recommended read.

I’m not making that same mistake again of spilling the beans but that review was a bit brief. I checked my common place book and have one long quote.

I’ve made some money in my time, but all my life, I’ve had something that no amount of money could buy. I’ve had people who loved me and who I loved right back.

Bud Threadgoode from Fanny Flagg’s The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop

At the time, this quote struck me. I was probably pissy about work. The bane of my existence. I made it 4 days y’all. Before the new shiny feeling of returning after vacation wore off. Doesn’t help that I returned at the worst time ever. Also doesn’t help that I’m sensitive. Since only I can control my reaction, I say fuck it. I’m back to swearing like a sailor. lol.

One more quick note, the book has a few things not really PC by today’s standards. Things that don’t happen as much now. It was written based on the times which some may not like. So there is that, you’ve been warned.

As always, more to come.

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Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline ~ 8/6/21

My review on Goodreads: I was captivated from the moment I read the jacket content “it’s the year 2044 …” I’ve always enjoyed a dystopian tale. I’m not even a video gamer but the nostalgic references to pop culture pulled me in. Now to watch the movie. Hopefully they did it justice. Definitely a recommended read.

I’ve streamed the movie. Enjoyable and stayed close enough to the book to do it justice. IMO.

As always more to come.