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“It’s a terrible feeling, being despised. From the moment I set foot in Hickory, I felt the suspicion, distrust, and outright hostility of most of the people I met. Even my new sister-in-law regarded me with disdain.”

The Stolen Marriage
By Diane Chamberlain
Source: Advance review copy

It’s 1943 and Tess DeMello’s world is centered on getting her nurses license and marrying the love of her life but Vincent has left Baltimore for a temporary physician assignment in Chicago. She realizes that this is for his career and is patiently waiting and dreaming of the day when they can work side-by-side but the weeks turn to months. When her best friend suggests that they go to Washington, D.C. little does Tess know that this trip will change the course of her carefully laid-out plans.

Tess leaves her hometown and goes to Hickory, North Carolina to marry Henry Kraft, the town’s most eligible bachelor. She is willing to make the best of their situation and Henry seems like an honorable man but his kindness is about the only she’ll receive. His family, who they’ll live with for a while, is less than thrilled at having her in their home. They don’t know what to make of her with her dark looks, Italian background and Catholic faith.

There are confrontations because Tess is not willing to lose all of herself as she is determined to still pursue her nursing career. Her husband at time seems like a man of many secrets and she doesn’t know if they’ll ever have the kind of love she’s dreamt of but all she can do is think of the future and try not to think too much of all that she’s lost.

When a polio epidemic hits the town, everyone must pitch in to help. Tess will be able to put her nursing skills to good use and at the same time confront the past.

I really enjoyed this novel. I thought the author did a great job of giving the reader a sense of place and showing what it must have been like for women forging a path for themselves and how costly it was for a woman to make one mistake. What I didn’t like as much was the ending. I just felt like the actions weren’t true to the main characters and I was a bit disappointed by that. Still if  you enjoy women’s fiction and family dramas I would recommend this one.

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Bookgirl's nightstand by Iliana - 6d ago

I hope you all had a great weekend. I have a few new books to tell you about that I’ve received recently. I actually have been downloading a lot of books from NetGalley but those are for another post. Here’s what I’ve received:

The Ghost Tree by Barbara Erskine. Ruth has returned to Edinburgh after many years of exile, left rootless by the end of her marriage, career and now the death of her father. She is now faced with the daunting task of clearing his house. A story about family secrets and a look at the past. I have not read anything by this writer so I’m excited about this book.

Mine by Courtney Cole. When Tessa Taylor unlocked her husband Ethan’s iPad to discover nude photos from a twenty-six-year-old bombshell named Lindsey, her seemingly perfect life came to a screeching halt. Oh boy, what explanation is the husband going to come up for this one?

No One’s Home by D.M. Pulley. Margot and Myron Spielman move to a new town, looking for a fresh start and an escape from the long shadow of their past. But soon after they buy Rawlingswood, a foreclosed mansion rumored to be haunted, they realize they’re in for more of the same…or worse. Always love a story about a haunted mansion.

How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper. Andrew’s been feeling stuck. For years he’s worked a thankless public health job, searching for the next of kin of those who die alone. Luckily, he goes home to a loving family every night. At least, that’s what his coworkers believe. I think this is going to be a good one.

Let me know if you are planning to read any of these. Which one would you start with first?

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I’m currently in the middle of five books and I wanted to share a bit of my thoughts on these.

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker. I’m listening to this one on my commute and it’s the story of two sisters who disappeared one day, one has come back three years later but what happened to them and is her sister still alive? Lots of crazy family dynamics in this one and a psychologist who may also be carrying some baggage as well. Interesting but I wish there was more action.

The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde. I am not very far into this one but it’s a hoot. Mary Mary and Jack Spratt work the Nursery Crimes Division and they’ll be tasked with finding out who pushed Humpty Dumpty off the wall.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, adapted by Renee Nault. I have read this Atwood classic twice and it’s one of my all time favorites and when I saw the graphic novel version at the library I couldn’t resist. The illustrations are beautiful and so far I think it captures the novel very well.

The Carrying by Ada Limon. I didn’t feel a strong connection to this poetry collection at first but there have been a couple of poems that have really moved me. I’m half way through this and I feel like the best is yet to come.

After She’s Gone by Camilla Grebe. I read her book, The Ice Beneath Her, and really enjoyed the twists and turns so I was looking forward to this one but this one seems to be lacking that tension of the first book.

So those are my current reads. I will probably finish a couple of these soon so I’m already looking forward to what I’ll pick up next. Would love to hear if you’ve read any of these and what you thought.

I hope you have a great weekend and let me know if you are starting/finishing any books this weekend.

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Bookgirl's nightstand by Iliana - 1w ago

I’ve been enjoying some new things and wanted to talk a bit about those here.

First up, booktubing. I know bookworms have been vlogging about books on YouTube for years now but I’ve been slow to catch on to that. Usually I tend to watch crafty videos on YouTube but I just discovered El Librero de Valentina and I’m hooked. She’s a Mexican book vlogger and has some wonderful recommendations of books from Latin America. So needless to say my wish list is exploding. If you understand Spanish (or want to practice) go check her out and I bet you’ll come away with a lot of books to add to your list.

I’ve also recently finished two books, Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner and Useful Phrases for Immigrants by May-Lee Chai. I was expecting the Steiner book to be a great follow up to her first novel but I was not happy with the protagonist most of the time. Luckily the Chai short story collection was very enjoyable. I’ll have more info on those books in upcoming posts.

Finally, are you guys watching Bosch? I really enjoy the series and we’ve got one more episode to finish out the season. Do you have any good crime shows to recommend?

Otherwise around here I’m still way behind on talking about some other books I’ve finished in the past couple of months so stay tuned for those.

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I hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend. We had a really nice weekend and I just wish it would last one more day. Isn’t that always the case though. Ha.

The weekend kicked off with a lot of rain but despite the downpours and much cooler temperatures, I ran a lot of errands on Saturday. I lucked out at JoAnn’s and found some crafty things at a great discount. Not that I need more crafty supplies but like books, I can’t help myself when I’m around them.

Saturday evening my husband and I went to a fabulous concert presented by Austin Classical Guitar. The concert was at a Lutheran church and they played music from Bizet to the Beatles. When the director talked about one of the pieces he described it as a mysterious beauty and as I was listening to the music amidst the stained glass windows and candles at the altar, well, it was a bit of an otherworldly experience. I’m looking forward to more concerts later on in the year when the season starts again.

Today I hung out with my mom and we watched a lot of television but we talked about my Abuelita and stories of my mom’s youth. I always enjoy hearing about that and really should be more diligent about recording them in my journal.

On the reading front I have finished a couple of books which I’ll tell you about in another post. I hope you have a great week ahead and more book talk soon.

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“There weren’t many things that I didn’t like about Adam when I first saw him across the crowded bar at the Grosvenor Hotel in London, aside from his lack of empathy. I’d just come out of an incredibly dull ‘Future of Recruitment’ conference and needed a drink far more than he or the barman realized.”

The Other Woman
By Sandie Jones
Source: Advance review copy

Emily Havistock finds Adam Banks quite attractive and after they hit it off at the bar the two seem to be spending more time together time passes by and Emily is excited that maybe she has finally found “the one.” Her best friends are excited for her and Emily is thrilled when Adam finally wants her to meet his mother.

Pammie is not quite the person Emily was expecting and before too long she realizes that in Adam’s eyes Pammie can do no wrong so she better learn to make the most of her relationship with his mom. It’s just that it is so hard when it seems every effort is thwarted by Pammie.

Emily is starting to feel resentful of Pammie because she feels she’s always being upstaged by her. Wait until you see what Pammie does at a family event the couple is hosting. Still Emily perseveres and thinks eventually Adam will come to her side and realize just how unfair his mom is to Emily.

Why Emily put up with so much from Adam and Pammie is beyond me but it sure does make for a fun read. Yes, I think the story could be a bit over the top at times but frankly, it was almost fun to see what Pammie would be up to next in her attempt to keep Emily away from Adam. If you enjoy domestic thrillers give this one a try.

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We enjoyed a really nice weekend and one in which I feel like I actually was able to cross off quite a few things from my to do list. To start off the weekend, I finished The Awakening by Kate Chopin Saturday while I enjoyed my breakfast. I was looking back on my blog and noticed I first mentioned wanting to read it back in 2007! Who knows how much longer it’s been sitting on my TBR shelves.

Anyway I really loved this book. Have you read it? Here’s just one quote that I have to share:

“I don’t mind walking. I always feel so sorry for women who don’t like to walk; they miss so much — so many rare little glimpses of life; and we women learn so little of life on the whole.”

I couldn’t seem to get the book out of my mind all morning but a good distraction of course was going to the bookstore. I had my cafe mocha, a cookie and ended up buying the latest Somerset Studio magazine because it has several articles on different book structures. There’s not a lot of instruction but I mainly wanted it for the visuals.

Today was mainly a day for staying in and doing some chores but I also managed to spend a bit of time crafting and listening to music. So all in all a great weekend. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and maybe even managed a trip to the bookstore. Let me know what you were up to and if you bought any new reading material.

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Image from Bookish

Are you ready for the weekend? I know I am. We may be getting a lot of rain this weekend so hopefully that means perfect weather for enjoying lots of reading time. We really should be working on our garden but I guess we’ll see if the weather cooperates.

So now that National Poetry Month is over I’m happy to report that I did discover some new poets and poems. I’ve been really into poetry this year so I plan to continue checking out poetry books. I am currently reading The Carrying by Ada Límon. I’ve only read a few poems in this collection so far so not sure how I feel about them yet but I’ll keep you posted.

As far as reading challenges go, I didn’t sign up for any this year and plan to join in some reading events but I saw this May Bookish Bingo and am kind of tempted to try it. I like that they give you suggestions for each of the categories.

Finally, I did buy a book recently and that was The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde. I have not read any of his books but am excited to finally check this one out. This is the May selection for my book group. Plus, it’ll be great to finally get to the bottom of how Humpty Dumpty fell from the wall. Ha.

Alright friends, I hope you have a wonderful weekend and more book talk soon.

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Until next year, April! What a crazy busy month at home and work. I’m glad a new month is coming around and while I don’t think all of a sudden all of the demands will go away, it’s exciting to look forward to a new month. Despite all the busy-ness, my reading went pretty well as I finished six books.

Here are the books I read:

I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh
Rolling Blackouts by Sarah Glidden
The Crooked Inheritance by Marge Piercy
The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor
Snap by Belinda Bauer
Something New by Lucy Knisley

My two favorites were the poetry collection by Marge Piercy and the thriller by C.J. Tudor. It’s not a surprise to me either that the books I fell back on were mainly mystery/thrillers. At least I did branch out a bit and enjoyed two graphic novels.

So while I didn’t get to post much this month there was a lot of reading going on. I have been enjoying several magazines which have piled up on my nightstand. Lots of World Literature Today and Art Journaling editions.

Did you guys do anything to celebrate World Book Day? I took advantage of the Amazon Read the World promotion and added several new books to my Kindle.

Alright now it’s time to get back to reading. Hope you are all having a wonderful week and here’s to joyful month ahead!

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Bookgirl's nightstand by Iliana - 1M ago

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend. Ours was low-key which was so nice given that last week was quite hectic. It all started off with my mom falling and spraining a foot. Luckily she is ok but that was scary and of course she’s been hobbling a bit as she recoups. So I was helping her a bit more with daily things. To top it off my work was all sorts of madness but I was so happy when one of my dear friends ended up coming to Austin for work and we were able to visit for a bit. We caught up over dinner and even enjoyed a delicious wine.

The rest of the weekend was a bit of a blur. We did go to the bookstore but believe it or not, I didn’t buy anything. I wanted to find a book on sketching but nothing caught my eye. Speaking of sketching, I don’t draw but that’s one thing I wish I could do well, so I’ve signed up for a free trial on Skillshare. Have you heard about it? They have some neat classes. I haven’t had a chance to take many but I am doing a course on Urban Sketching. If you’ve taken classes through it let me know if there are any you recommend.

On the reading front I feel like I didn’t make much progress over the weekend but I did finish Snap by Belinda Bauer today. This was a book I had set aside because I couldn’t get into and decided to give it another go. I’m glad I did because I quite enjoyed it.

So I’m way behind on visiting your blogs, posting reviews or posting in general but one of these days I’ll get back into the groove. Thank you for hanging in there with me!

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