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Book Club: December

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The snow is currently falling outside my window, and with the Alaskan mountains as the backdrop it is hard to tear away from the beautiful sight of the remote rugged terrain of Alaska. For the month of December I wanted to keep up the theme from last month of going back in time, and with this novel we will be heading back in time to 1946, when the second world war was ending, and a new beginning emerged.

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows takes us back in time to 1946 in London, where a young author named Juliet Ashton is looking for a new subject to write about. While she is searching for a new subject to write about she comes across a letter that sparks her imagination, and even inspires her next book. The letter she had found is from a man that is from the island Guernsey, the man had found Juliet’s name inside of another book that was written by Charles Lamb, and wanted to speak with her.
As Juliet and her new correspondents continue writing to one another, Juliet begins to learn about their society, a society that is eccentric and worldly. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was found at the spur-of-the-moment, when they were discovered after breaking curfew, the society had become an alibi for all of those who were in the group. Juliet continues to learn more and more about the group and each of the members, and she even gets to know them a little more personally when she asks them to list their favorite books, and even their opinions about the German’s who had occupied the land around them. After learning so much about them, Juliet sets off for an adventure, sailing over to Guernsey, and what she finds outs will change her entire life forever.

This book is truly one of the most unique books that I have read in a long time, and to be able to read this with the current backdrop that is my current town, it makes the novel even more fascinating and captivating.

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Book Club: November

The leaves have fallen off the trees, and now they have become decomposed carcasses crunching beneath our feet awaiting for the first snow fall to occur. For the month of November I wanted to take everyone back in time to the late 1880’s in Paris, France; where the Eiffel Tower is being erected, and the bond between two people from different classes fall in love.

To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin is a beautifully written novel that takes place in Paris, France in the 1880’s, during the time that the Eiffel Tower is being built. During this time a young Scottish widow named Caitriona Wallace, and a French engineer named Émile Nouguier meet on a hot air balloon; a moment where anything is possible. However, as soon as they touch the ground, it is revealed that they are from two completely different classes and backgrounds. Caitriona who is having a slight problem with her finances is being told that she must chaperone with two Scottish charges, and this does not settle well with her. Émile having come from a very wealthy bourgeois family, whom are forcing him to choose a suitable wife and take over the family’s business. With these two people from different world’s come together, they must figure out what their love is worth, because everything seems to be against them and the love that they have for each other.

This novel is ideal for the beginning of winter time across the world, especially when you are all huddled inside your homes as the snow begins to fall outside the window, and as the steam from the hot mugs swirls around as you read the novel. The novel has something for everyone, from the Eiffel Tower being erected for the history buffs, to the romance between two people for those who are hopeless romantics.

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Book Club: October

For the month of October I wanted to choose a psychological thriller that took place around an abandoned school, that deals with an unexpected “suicide”, spirits, and a woman named Gloria who brings the past back into her life.

The Child Garden by Catriona McPherson is a riveting novel that will draw you from the very beginning. The story takes place around a school named Eden, that was once known as “An alternative school for happy children”. However, the school had closed its doors due to a suicide that had taken place behind its own walls. Years after it closed it became a care home, with only one neighbor named Gloria Harkness, due to the fact that her son is in the care home and she wishes to be near him.
Everything for Gloria begins to change when an old childhood friend comes back into her life, and tells her that a girl is stalking him, stating that she is from Eden. Gloria begins to unravel the past and uncovers secrets that she had never known about.

With it being October I believe that this book will keep you on the edge of your seat while you are lounging about in your home. So grab a nice hot drink, plop on the couch or bed, and dive into the world of The Child Garden, you won’t regret it.

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Book Club: September

Welcome to the fall of 2017 everyone! For the month of September, since it is the beginning of fall, and Halloween is next month, I chose a book that is a fantastic book to curl up with on a cool September day, it is Nora Roberts’ book Dark Witch.

Dark Witch follows a young woman named Iona Sheehan who looks for acceptance, love, and devotion; this stems from having parents who are portrayed as being indifferent. Even though she has not been able to find that from her parents, her maternal grandmother showed her where she can find the acceptance, devotion, and love she seeks in nature and even in old legends that reside in her ancestor’s homeland, Ireland. Iona sets off to Ireland, and there she meets her cousins Branna and Connor, who take her into their home and into their lives. Iona ends up landing a job at a local stable, where she ends up meeting the owner, a man by the name of Boyle McGrath. He is everything that makes her weak in the knees, a cowboy, pirate, and wild tribal horseman.
Iona realizes that here in Ireland she can make a life for herself, however, an ancient evil sets upon Iona’s family tree, descending upon her and her cousins. Setting in motion, Iona and her family must fight to defeat the evil.

This book is truly amazing, and it certainly is a great book to curl up with while you are enjoying your hot drink and taking in the Autumn breeze that pelts against your house.

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Book Club: July

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“The Diary of a Chambermaid” by Octave Mirbeau graces the book of the month club for the month of July. This classic book transports back in time to witness the life of Celestine, a chambermaid, that goes to different houses and takes care of the occupants. Her first station is at the home of an elderly man who has an odd fetish with her boots, later on while she is still working there, she finds the man dead in bed with one of her boots in his mouth. She then takes a position at a home where a married bourgeois couple reside, and she finds herself in the midst of a estranged marriage and ends up becoming entangled in their marriage as well. Celestine’s last position is at the home of bourgeois café hostess who mistreats her servants at every turn. During all these positions at all of these different residents, Celestine has begun to learn more about her body, her mind frame, and finds herself learning the ways of love, sex, and even the ways of the upper class world.

Octave Mirbeau is one of the most gifted authors of the late 1800’s-early 1900’s, and this book proves the talent he possessed. Celestine, the main character of the novel, is a great strong leading character, showing exactly what all women go through from an early age, and it shows that each woman takes control of their own lives and situations in different ways.

I thoroughly enjoy this novel, just as I enjoy all of Octave’s other novels, and this is why I highly recommend reading this book for the month of July. Once you have finished reading this book, comment below and tell me what your thoughts are on the character, the plot, and the book as a whole.

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The Books That Shape You

The books we read shape us into the beings that we are, if you don’t believe that then look at your bookshelf and see which genre out rules the rest, then dive deep into your mind and heart, you will see that those books shaped you in ways you had not realized.

For myself, I read just about anything and so the list of books that I have read is completely all over the page from classic to fantasy to psychological thrillers. Even though I cannot pick a favorite book, I tend to find my self lean towards the classics, such as A Room With a View, Sense and Sensibility, The Raven, Moby Dick; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to name a few. Those books helped shaped into the person that I’ve become.

Recently, I read an article that was titled, “What Your Favorite Book Genre Says About Your Personality”, and I was intrigued. Being so intrigued, I began to read what this person had thought about each genre and how it developed a person’s personality. And when I read the first one, classic, I was smiling so big that I was surprised how accurate this person had pinpointed my personality from just focusing on my favorite book genre. Here is what the article said about classics, ” You have and will reread just about every classic there is. Jane Austen and Sylvia Plath, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck — this is the crew that will always be your favorite writers. You were the kid in high school who actually read all of the mandatory books and enjoyed them. You prefer getting to know one person deeply, rather than knowing a couple people on the surface. You tend to cherish the simplicities in everyday life more than anything else.” 100% that is me in a small paragraph when it comes to pinpointing me with a book genre. I was excited to read the books that my teachers had assigned for us to read, in fact, I got in trouble for reading the entire book ( we were only supposed to read two chapters), and was unable to say anything about the book, because I might’ve spoiled it for the rest of the class. I didn’t mind, it just meant that I could read a different book while they were discussing the chapter that they were on.

The article continues to go on and list other genres such as fantasy, horror, and romance. What is your favorite book genre? Do you have more than one? Classics is my number one, then fantasy. And the description for the both of them definitely suits me.

Follow this link and read the original article about book genres and personalities.

https://www.bustle.com/articles/109117-what-your-favorite-book-genre-says-about-your-personality

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On My Bookshelf

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If you have been following me for any period of time, you have begun to notice that I am what you would call a bookworm, however I refer to myself as a book dragon (I divulge the books and sear them into my memory). Give me a cup of good tea, comfy lounge pants and shirt, a comfortable place to sit in, and a pile of books, and right there you have my ideal heaven. My bookshelf is filled to brim with books, and it spills out onto the floor and in boxes. One might say that I have way too many books, however, I beg to differ. You can never have too many books in my opinion.

                                                                    MOST BELOVED :

                                                    (The books that I always have near)

  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The ultimate spiritual book that I can refer to when I am having those moments of feeling lost.
  • Jane Austen: Complete Novel Series. These novels are a great stress reliever, and for me, when I am overly stressed, I turn to Jane Austen with a cup of tea and something to eat.
  • All things Edgar Allan Poe. This man has shaped me in so many ways, especially with my writing skills. No matter what time of the year it is, I always turn to Poe and enjoy his poems and short stories. Gothic Romance are the type of books that I can always turn to when my mind wishes to dive into a world of mystery.
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. Jules Verne has always been high on my list of people that I enjoy reading all the time. In fact, for me, I cannot and will not put down any of his novels for they contain sea monsters, the ocean, and the world in general. He uses so many symbolic references in his novels, and in this novel, there are so many that you will try to decipher them the entire way through. Although I will say this, I could never really choose a favorite author or book, however if I were to choose, this book would be number one.
  • When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi. To describe why I love this book and hold it near and dear to me would be impossible. The way Nadia writes her stories is truly breathtaking, and with this novel, you cannot put it down, and if you have to you will ultimately fighting back the tears of not knowing of what is about to happen to the main character Fereiba.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. The original story, not the Disney-fied version, is truly more captivating and more relatable in many ways. And with this novel always being a beloved novel to me, I can truly see through the eyes of Quasimodo and Esmeralda at the same time, and feel what they feel. Victor Hugo is one of the classic authors that cannot and will not be ignored, for his story is engrained into the minds of those who have read his novels.
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll. “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date!” This childhood story of mine has always been close to my heart, and as I had gotten older, that was when I realized the references were to being high as a kite, quite honestly it doesn’t bother me at all. Alice in Wonderland is one of the most influential stories of all time when it comes to giving books to our children, and when my mom introduced the book to me at a very young age, I was so thrilled, that I started the book right away.
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. I am going to be honest, I love all of Shakespeare’s works from Romeo and Juliet all the way to The Tempest. However, A Midsummer Night’s Dream has always been my number one favorite out of all of his works due to the fact that she shows love comes in all forms, and shows the mystical side of the mind. Shakespeare truly captivated my mind from an early age, and even though I remember more lines from Romeo and Juliet, the lines of Puck will always be seared into the back of my mind.

                                                                      Present Company:

                                                    (What I am currently reading and thinking about)

  •  The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb. This story is about a girl in search of her father who was last seen in Vietnam, and wishes to figure out the fate of his demise. For the relationship between her and her father had become estranged when he became separated from the girl’s mother. This story is extremely touching and it will certainly tug at the heart strings.
  • The Things We Cherished by Pam Jenoff. The story follows a woman by the name of Charlotte Gold, whose ex-fiancé comes back into her life and seeks help from her and the company she works for. The novel takes place during the time of Nazi Germany and follows the web of stories and lies that follow the characters. Quite honestly, this is a fantastic story and highly recommend it to everyone.
  • Once we were Brothers by Ronald Balson.  This is currently on my to be read pile. Not only that, I think that Mr. Balson is a fantastic author, so to have this book in my pile, I am absolutely thrilled and can’t wait to read soon.
  • All Things Beautiful and Bright by James Herriot. I have read other books by Mr. Herriot and to see that he has a book out that I haven’t read makes me a little sad, so I grabbed a copy and it is now waiting ever so patiently to be read.
  • Claude and Camille: A Novel of Monet by Stephanie Cowell. Lets be honest here, who wouldn’t want to read a novel about one of the world’s most famous painters? I would in a heartbeat. Currently this lovely novel is in my novel to be read. And once I have begun to read it, I know that I will be sucked into the story and will not want to be taken out.

Now these are not all of the books that I contain, trust me, these are just the ones that I hold dear to my heart and ones that I cannot wait to dive into and explore the other worlds that are lurking between the black and white lines of the pages of these novels.

So, what is on your bookshelf? What are your most beloved novels? What the novels that are on your to be read list?

Photo Credit: Dree Harper