Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Show Us Your Books - What I Read in February


Seven days until my birthday and an entire day today devoted to reading about what you've been reading and going over my to be read list and requesting books from the library? Sounds like a perfectly crafted sandwich of joy to me. Except this week is the first Show Us Your Books that one of my favorite authors is no longer with us. Pat Conroy passed away on Friday. Lucky for us, he left behind a lot of treasures. 
Today would also be my Mom Mom's birthday. She's now been dead for longer than I had with her on earth, but she's such an intrinsic part of who I am that it feels like she's never left me. Probably because she hasn't. Fitting that her birthday is on International Women's Day. She's probably the strongest and most independent woman I have ever known.
And remember that podcast Jana dreamed up, The Armchair Librarians? Here's one of them. The first one. We're clearly not professionals, we're just friends talking about books. And while I had a cold, my voice always sucks on recording devices so I'm afraid it won't get much better. lolol 



Linkup Guidelines:
This link up happens the second Tuesday of every month.
The next one is Tuesday, April 12, 2016. 
1. Please visit and comment with both of your hosts, Jana & me
2. Please display the button (need it? let me know) or link back to us on your blog post
2. Please visit a few other blogs who've linked up and get some book talk going!

Here's what I read since the last linkup

Engrossing Reads

Dodgers by Bill Beverly - I loved this book from beginning to end. It gave a glimpse into a life that's totally foreign to me - the criminal drug element and hierarchy of the streets. Beverly didn't go deep enough to overload you with info, but just far enough to make you realize it is a life with totally different rules that you can't even imagine. I loved the main character. I got an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

The Silent Girls by Eric Rickstad - I was hoping this was a series. I liked the police force and PI characters a lot. The story was twisted and there was a big ass twist at the end that I didn't see coming. Eric Rickstad, you should make a series around Frank Rath.

Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver - I found this read emotional and moving. I was a little ragged and achy inside when I finished this. I don't know if it hit me at a good time or what, but the entire reading experience with the story and the words and all of it was beautiful. This is one of the things I really love about reading - the after feeling.

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy - I read this beginning to end in less than 24 hours. I loved the story and messages in this book. I thought Willowdean was just the right combination of kickass and vulnerable and enjoyed the blossoming of her misfit friends. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Brutality (Fina Ludlow #3) by Ingrid Thoft - The third book in the Fina Ludlow series did not disappoint. I had to stay up until 1 a.m. on a work night to finish it. I think Fina is a kickass female lead character and if you like mystery thrillers, you might enjoy the Fina books.

Passed the Time Just Fine

My American Unhappiness by Dean Bakopoulos - Good writing, a little bit of skimming, and characters that interested me...even the ones I didn't like. The problem with going through the books of a newly discovered author close to each other is the comparison issue. I think I liked this story more than Summerlong, but the writing in Summerlong better.

Hard No
The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud - I read this whole book waiting for things to happen. Nothing did. It was good writing on misdirected anger and uselessness feeling and obsession...but if that was what it was going to be about, it didn't need to take that long.

Leaving Shangrila: The True Story of a Girl, Her Transformation and Her Eventual Escape by Isabelle Gecils - One of my problems with reading non fiction is that when I talk about it and things I don't like, I feel like I'm judging someone's life. I think when you write about your life, it's quite hard to see what might not be necessary to the story - you want to lay it all out there. Even if the reader doesn't need it all.

Non-bloggers, what have you read recently? Let me know what you recommend and what to stay away from. Bloggers, link up your posts below.


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48 comments:

  1. I love a good drug book, so Dodgers has been added. I'm SO glad you enjoyed The Silent Girls. I raved about it, readers from this link-up added it based on what I had to say (and the goodreads reviews), so I'd hate for it to end up not being as good as I raved. I've got Dumplin' listed for my book challenge, so I'm pretty sure I'll get to that in the next month or two.
    That picture of you & your Mom Mom is priceless.

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  2. Love the pic with your Mom and Happy early Birthday! I always set aside some time to read on my b-day too. :) Dumplin' has been on my list for months now, and I've heard nothing but great things about it, so it's going to the top of the list. I love a good series and definitely want to check the Fina Ludlow series and The Silent Girls too.

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  3. The Silent Girls is definitely a book that I would plow through...thanks for sharing! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  4. Interesting point about non fiction! I never thought about it in those terms, but I think that's what I've been feeling about some of the memoirs I've been reading - it's just rambling about their lives without the cohesion of a fantasy story. There's still good tidbits to pick up when listening to anyone's life story, but if they tell you everything there's no central theme or ultimate conclusion.

    That's a wonderful quote. One of my newly discovered favorite authors died about a year ago (Terry Pratchett). I feel like half the quotes I see and love are by him - he had such a unique and cynical sense of humor.

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  5. I was on the waiting list for Dumplin' and when I finally got it, it was a PDF, not an ebook. I can't really be bothered to read on my computer screen, so I just didn't get to it. Maybe I'll look for a copy at the library instead.

    1am on a work night is a testament to a book.

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  6. The Silent Girls and Dumplin' both sound great! Adding them to my list!

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  7. I instagrammed about Mom Mom's birthday this morning. A mutually beneficial relationship. You brought her back to life.
    I never take watching Lola for granted. I am a lucky duck. I chose my grandparent name, Mommom because of Madge. And happy you have Magdelena as your confirmation name. None of this has anything to do with books, but very special and important to me.
    Love. Your. Momma.

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  8. I've heard great things about Dumplin and The Silent Girls. They're both on my to read list so I'm excited to get into them! I kind of agree with you about non-fiction. I try as much as possible to judge the writing and how the author's story is presented rather than the actual content of their life. It can be tricky to separate the two though. Thanks for hosting! I LOVE this link-up!

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  9. Ill be coming back here when Im looking for new books to read. How do you rip through these books so quickly??? I'm in awe!
    Happy birthday to your Mom Mom--I think it says a lot about her that you speak about her so highly :)

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  10. 1) I had not heard about Pat Conroy :( What a literary loss, he was such a fantastic writer.

    2) Happy Birthday to your mom<3

    3) DUMPLIN'! YES! ALL THE LOVE!

    4) The only Kingsolver book I have read was The Poisonwood Bible in high school, but I enjoyed it.

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  11. The Silent Girls is already on my TBR list but as usual my library does not have a paper copy. One of these days I'm going to try the Interlibrary Loan Program. Their 2 weeks check out with no renewal time frame is daunting though, I know I can do it but will I if the pressure is on?

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  12. Love the tribute to you grandmother . . . and I love "vintage" pictures! Otherwise, I got nothing for the books. Wish I did, but I don't!

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  13. I haven't heard of most of these books and the only one I read was Dumplin' which I thought was okay. I've read a couple of Kingsolver's books and may have to check out Animal Dreams.

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  14. oh no, i am sorry about pat conroy :( i know he was one of your favourites, right? that quote is amazing.
    i will listen to your podcast when i get home, yay!
    ugh, that sucks about leaving shangrila. i didn't remember it being non fiction.. lame. i hate non fiction. i will still try and read it though. adding your engrossing reads to my list, except dumplin because i read and loved that!

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  15. I'm soooo into crime books right now and The Silent Girls just moved up on my list, thanks! And YES to the "after feeling" of books…such a high of sorts huh? Adding Animal Dreams.

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  16. I've had The Silent Girls and Dumplin' on my list for quite a while, and I'm hoping to read them soon! Both sound like great books in their own way! I'm always in the mood for a good thriller, so I'll definitely be checking out the Fina Ludlow series! I tend to really like books written about the darker side of society, so I'll definitely want to check out Dodgers too! You read a lot of good ones this month!

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  17. I remember reading The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver in high school and really liking it when my peers hated it. I haven't read a book of hers since, but have now added Animal Dreams. I haven't read any crime books lately, so The Silent Girls is also being added. I hate that "waiting for something to happen" feeling from a book. I'm currently listening to one like that and while I don't 100% want to abandon it, I wish it were more.

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  18. Dodgers sounds really interesting. I agree with you on the non-fiction comments... about feeling like you're judging someone else's life... but I'm also beginning to make my peace with the fact that I'm perfectly okay with judging how an author portrays someone... and I'm more judgy-judge on the author than the individual... if that makes sense. It's also why I basically hate most "journalists".... meep. Getting on my soapbox up here.

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  19. Loved Dumplin' too :) Can't wait to listen to the podcast!!! The Fina Ludlow series sounds good!

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  20. Oh man, I haven't heard of any of these, except for the Kingsolver one. Although, I haven't actually read anything by Barbara Kingsolver and I'm thinking I need to fix that!

    What a sweet photo of you and your mom. <3

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  21. Dumplin has been on my list since Jana raved about it, so I need to get on that! Just added The Silent Girls to my list! Loved the podcast!!! I listened on my way to work this morning and cant wait for more. I was all nostalgic every time you said the word book because I was like yup....that's PA right there!!!

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  22. I have been wanting to read Dumplin!

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  23. That Pat Conroy quote is wonderful—thank you for sharing. And happy birthday to your Mom Mom. How lucky you were to have the time you did with her! I cannot WAIT to have a few minutes of quiet to listen to your podcast :D

    I've still yet to read anything by Dean Bakopoulos but every time I read anything about his books I feel more drawn toward him. For some reason he's not stocked at my library though so I think I'll have to just go out on a limb and make a purchase.

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  24. I went through a reading RAGE this past month - 6 books in February - I've never done that. Its like my super powers of reading kicked in :)
    Love that your grandmothers birthday falls on such a woman impowering day. Grandmothers always live with us...
    Off to listen to the podcast! :)

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  25. I added The Silent Girls and Dumplin to my To Read list.

    I swear one of these days I'm going to link up, but it always seems to sneak up on me! I read Leah Remini's book this month, which was fabulous if you like her and/or books about scientology. I also read Nora Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck and didn't think much of it.

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  26. I added Animal Dreams & The Silent Girls to my list. Happy almost birthday :) A whole day of reading sounds amazing! Great quote of Pat Conroy, one of my favorite's of his was Beach Music.

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  27. The podcast is AWESOME! you guys sound really good. I love it. Way to go y'all! Definitely adding dumplin to my reading list. I'm over here just reading Harry Potter, don't mind me. 105 books. you are so good. I really loved listening to the podcast. I wish I could read on the plane.

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  28. How awesome that your mom's mom's birthday is on International Women's Day! As always, in awe of how much reading you get done. I need to channel my inner-Steph :)

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  29. What a great quote from Pat Conroy-- what a sweet picture with your mom mom! I really want to read Dumplin'-- everyone has such great reviews of it! Added The Silent Girls in my tbr list!

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  30. Happy Early Birthday! And I agree, I love spending a day reading or picking out a bunch of new books to read.

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  31. Dodgers sounds like my kind of book. I'll have to look into that one. I agree about non-fiction. Some stuff, as a reader, is irrelevant, but looking at it from a writer's POV, I see how they'd want everything there.

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  32. I read about one book a month so I'm always so impressed by the hundreds of you who read so many books!!! Awesome day to highlight your Grandma, she sounds like she was an awesome lady. I can't listen to a podcast right now but I want to come back and do it when I can!!! I love hearing bloggers' voices, ha.

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  33. Busy busy month means not enough reading. I started 'I am Malala', but realized I really had to stay on it, so I put it away for later. I read about half of 'What the Dog Knows:The Science and Wonder of Working Dogs'. It's interesting and informative, but I was more in the mood for a good story, so that one also got temporarily shelved. I am currently reading 'The Lost Child of Philomena Lee: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty Year Search'. Again, non-fiction, but this one is holding my wandering attention. Not sure why I've been drawn to non-fiction at a time when my focus is so off...
    Gotta try 'Dodgers' and 'The Silent Girls'.
    So many books to read; so little time!

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  34. So after so many years of reading your blog it's funny to actually hear your voice. Great job with the podcast. I love that you are the first one to drop an F-Bomb it was only appropriate.

    Happy Birthday to your Mom Mom. My grandmother was the epitome of a matriarch and taught me how a woman should be treated and respected. I see why you love your March birthday even more now.

    So is Tuesday still an asshole when its International Women's Day? :)

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  35. Grandmother's hold a special place in our hearts forever. I know the bond will never be broken. Happy birthday to her! And wow you crushed it in the book reading department for Feb.

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  36. We've talked about a bunch of these already but I think it bears repeating that Dumplin' was one of my favorites of last year. Such a strong, amazing character surrounded by unique and fun and interesting supporting characters and I loved that she's a overweight girl with feelings and personality and self-confidence rather than a caricature. My American Unhappiness was my least favorite of the Dean B. books but it was still pretty good.

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  37. Hi Steph, Glad you enjoyed THE SILENT GIRLS so much. Thanks for passing along the word. And, yes, indeed there is a sequel to it in the works, nearly done. And LIE IN WAIT takes place a year prior, with Sojna Test sat he lead detective. Cheers! Eric Rickstad

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  38. I love what you said about your Mom Mom. I feel the same about my grandmother. Even if she's no longer here, she's never really gone.

    The Silent Girls, Dumplin', and My American Unhappiness are all already on my "To Read" list. I'm going to add Animal Dreams. I love when an author can make me feel the story very deeply (even if it means completely ripping my heart out), so this sounds perfect.

    I'll also be listening to that podcast a little later when I have some time. I think it's awesome that you guys decided to do that!

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  39. Yay, your podcast! I love your accents, ladies! :) I liked Fates and Furies, but it was unnecessarily long. I couldn't care less about all of the plays, but now that Jana mentioned it, I do commend her for writing them all! I definitely liked the second half better.

    My American Unhappiness is on my list, but I can't find it to borrow anywhere and I don't want to buy it yet. Dumplin' was pretty great.

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  40. The Silent Girls sounds like an interesting mystery/thriller. I will have to come back to it later - needing to read something light-hearted after reading The Girl on the Train

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  41. Dodgers sounds really good! I'll have to add that to the list. And I spy Barbara Kingsolver...how does the book compare to The Poisonwood Bible? Thus far that's the only book I've read by her, but I LOVED it. Haven't gotten a chance to read anything else. So excited to find this linkup!! <3

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  42. I hate when you read a book and nothing seems to happen and you keep waiting and waiting. I've added Dumplin and The Silent Girls to my list.

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  43. DUMPLIN' IS MY SPIRIT ANIMAL! LOVED it! :) Definitely looking into some of your recommends! :) XO - Alexandra

    http://simplyalexandramyfavoritethings.blogspot.com/2016/03/february-reads-delightful.html

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  44. Dumplin' has been on my TBR list since Jana reviewed it.
    I read Small Wonder by Kingsolver in college and I was moved by it so much I kept the book. She's just got a way.

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  45. Dumplin' sounds really cute, adding to my TBR list!

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  46. Pat Conroy noooo :( I have only read one (one!) book of his - Beach Music - but it was pretty darn great. I must read more. Lucky you to have such strong female role models - it's in your genes! When life calms down just a peg or two I will most certainly listen to your podcast. I do love a good podcast.

    Oh and I think Dumplin’ is going on my list.

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  47. I'm always sad when a good author goes. I haven't read any Pat Conroy, but I used to work in a Books-a-Million in the South and people down there loved him. Animal Dreams intrigues me. I haven't read any Barbara Kingsolver before, but sounds like an emotional book.

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  48. Dodgers looks interesting. It's not something I would normally gravitate to. I love Kingsolver and Animal Dreams was no different.

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