The Historian

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THE HISTORIAN BY ELIZABETH KOSTOVA

Yes, I am really just getting around to reading this book. “The Historian,” has been on my bookshelf for many years and I finally picked it up and read it. It seemed like it took forever to get through it. At a whopping 700 pages, this is a book you have to really be invested in and spend some time with. That being said, if the book had been shorter and not so drawn out, it would have been much better!!!!

The author is very meticulous, too meticulous really and you have to read it slowly. The gist of the book is the search for the tomb of Dracula. Was he a real person? Is he still alive? Will they discover the truth?

The author takes you to many different countries in search for clues to this mystery and her descriptions of these places really make you feel like you are there. I loved how the historians visited so many different libraries all over the world, discovering ancient books and interesting artifacts that serve as clues for their search. I wanted to visit each of these libraries myself to see the beauty the author described. The characters risk their lives and much more trying to uncover secrets from the past.

What I liked most about this book was the characters. They are the heart and soul of the book. They made all the lengthy historical details and drawn out letters worthwhile. The book has a little of everything: romance, history, suspense, mystery, vampire folklore, and the supernatural.

Even though I am not a big fan of historical fiction, I thought overall it was a good book. I recommend it for history lovers and those who are interested in Dracula or vampires. While my review may seem a little negative, I really did enjoy the book and had to read until the end so I would know what really happened. As a lover of literary fiction, I can honestly say that Kostova is an amazing and very talented writer.

The Nightingale

nigh.jpgFinally got around to reading this gem.  A very moving story about two sisters during the holocaust era.  Isabelle has always been a bit of a rebel, always speaking her mind, determined to make a difference.  Vianne has always been the rule follower, cautious and afraid.  Both women are forced to be strong, face severe conditions and fight to survive during the war.

There are some chilling and horrific moments in the book that really open up your eyes to what people had to face during war.  The book focuses on how war effects people.  The book discusses family, love, loss and motherhood as well.

“If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this:  In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.”  “Grief, like regret, settles into your DNA and remains forever a part of us.”  Great book. Very moving! Couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

then she found me

0755329473-01-_sy200_sclzzzzzzz_Elinor Lipman’s books have been in my to read pile for a very long time. This is the first book I have read of hers and I found it to be delightful. A very quick, fun read. April is almost 30 when her birth mother finds her and they begin to develop a relationship. Her birth mother just so happens to be a famous talk show host with a big personality.  There is never a dull moment when she is around. This book had a lot of heart and humor and a just enough romance. It was heart warming and witty. It also included a charming cast of characters that were lonely and looking for love in different ways. Can’t wait to read this authors other books!!

What did she know???

whatyWhat I know about “What she Knew”:

At the beginning of this book, Rachel Jenner lets her 8 year old son, Ben run ahead of her in the woods and he disappears.  I was a little disappointed with this one. I had read so many wonderful reviews, but the book did not live up to my expectations. The first 200 pages of the book really dragged.  I did consider a couple of times possibly not finishing, but a little over halfway into the book the pace picked up.  I never did figure out exactly, “what she knew.”  I am not a big reader or fan of mysterys or thrillers, nor do I have any children of my own to compare Rachel’s loss with, so maybe that’s why I just wasn’t that crazy about this one. Don’t let my review stop you from reading the book though, because plenty of other people out there just loved it!

 

bookshelf building husband

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I have always wanted a man that would build me bookshelves!! My sweet husband just built me these lovely wood bookshelves pictured above and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Aren’t they fantastic? I mean, is there anything better than a home with bookshelves full of books? It’s like that quote by Cicero, “A home without books is a body without a soul.” I just want to walk by and pet them. Every time I visit someone’s house, I go straight to their books to see what treasures they own. 

The only problem with my new shelves is that I need way more shelves!!! When I lived with my mother I had a whole room for my books and now I have only one wall! So begins my weeding. How do you decide which ones to part with? It’s so hard!!!!!!  According to my LibraryThing account I own 2,482 books (https://www.librarything.com/catalog/amanaceerdh/yourlibrary) and I need to get rid of at least half. It’s like slowly being tortured each time I put one of them in the get rid of pile.  😦  I know only you other book loving souls out there will understand my dilemma! I would love to see pics of your shelves and hear your advice on weeding if any of you feel like sharing!! 🙂  Happy reading, lovelies!!!

 

Imagine Me Gone

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This book is a heavy read.  It is about John and Margaret and their three children Alec, Celia, and Michael.  Margaret married John knowing that he had issues with severe depression.  He suffered through difficult episodes of it his whole life. Sometimes he would just completely shut down, for weeks or months. Eventually he couldn’t keep a job and it began to have an effect on his wife and children.

Then it turns out that the eldest son, Michael, suffers significantly from depression and anxiety.  His mother and siblings do everything they can to help him cope.  It really takes a toll on the whole family.  A very powerful novel about how depression can effect people and their loved ones.

The author did an outstanding job of putting into words what depression and anxiety feel like. “What do you fear when you fear everything? Time passing and not passing. Death and life. I could say my lungs never filled with enough air, no matter how many puffs of my inhaler I took. Or that my thoughts moved too quickly to complete, severed by a perpetual vigilance. But even to say this would abet the lie that terror can be described, when anyone who’s ever known it knows that it has no components but its instead everywhere inside you all the time, until you recognize yourself only by the tensions that string one minute to the next. And yet I keep lying, by describing, because how else can I avoid this second, and the one after it? This being the condition itself: the relentless need to escape a moment that never ends.”

Behind Closed Doors

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Another thriller that I could not put down. Grace meets Jack in the park one day and they fall madly in love. He seems so perfect: Handsome, charming, kind, wealthy and so accepting of Grace’s sister who has Down syndrome. The couple marries and then things start to change. Do they have the perfect marriage or not? What goes on behind closed doors? How well do we really know what goes on in other people’s private lives?? I couldn’t wait to pick up this book and find out what this psychopath was doing next! A little disturbing at times, but a very suspenseful read!

in a dark, dark wood

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This book is your typical psychological murder mystery novel.

It took a long time for me to get into this book, at least 75 pages. I considered putting it down and moving on to something else but I am glad I didn’t.

 Lenora (also known as Nora and Lee) is invited to a hen weekend (bachelorette party) for her old best friend Clare, who she hasn’t seen in ten years. She thinks it strange that she is invited after all these years but decides to go anyway.  Soon after she arrives at the secluded, creepy glass house in the middle of the woods things begin to go bad. 

Next thing you know, Nora wakes up injured in the hospital and can’t piece together exactly what happened to get her there.  

Honestly, I really didn’t care that much for any of the characters and they were all a little strange and the first part of the book really dragged. That being said, the second half of the book was very suspenseful and I couldn’t put the book down until I knew what had really happened. A good thriller, but there are other thrillers I enjoyed more.

 

the good girl by mary kubica

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Mia Dennett, a 24 year old art teacher and daughter of a wealthy Chicago judge is kidnapped and taken to a secluded cabin by her abductor, Colin. When she returns home, three months later, she suffers from amnesia and a sort of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The book alternates from the perspectives of Mia, her distraught mother (Eve) and the dedicated detective (Gabe) assigned to her case. The book switches back from past to present and it takes a little while to get used to it. You learn about Mia’s troubled past with her self absorbed father and a little about the other characters in the book as well.

 I can’t say a lot without giving away the book. I really enjoyed this one. One of the best thrillers I have read.  I could not turn the pages fast enough. I even cried a little.  The ending is a jaw dropping shocker and it really makes you revisit and re-examine everything you just read.

the life we bury

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In order for me to enjoy a mystery, it has to have a little heart and some literary merit.  This book has both.  Joe Talbert meets Carl Iverson in order to do a biography on him for a college class.  Carl was convicted of murder thirty years ago and has been sent to a hospice center where he is dying of cancer. Carl agrees to tell Joe his story because he says, “I have to say the words out loud.  I have to tell someone the truth about what happened all those years ago.  This is my dying declaration.”

As Carl tells Joe the story of his life, it brings up ghosts from Joe’s own past.  Joe has some guilt over his grandfather’s death and over leaving his autistic brother at home with his alcoholic mother to go to college.  As the book develops, each man comes to terms with the things in their pasts that they have buried. Carl tells Joe, “No matter how much whiskey I drank, I could never dim my memory.  I just wanted the pain to stop.  I thought that by going to prison, I might silence my ghosts-bury that part of my life.  But in the end, there’s no hole deep enough.  No matter how hard you try, there are some things you just can’t run away from.’

I won’t give away too much of the book but by the end of the story, Carl has really opened Joe’s eyes to what it means to really live and be happy. Joe: “A heavy snow began to fall outside.  An incredible sense of lightness filled me as I brushed snow off the windshield. A young couple entered the restaurant, releasing a wave of warm air fused with the scent of fresh-baked goods.  The aroma sailed no a light breeze and swirled around my head.  It caused me to pause and remember something Carl had told me- that heaven could be here on Earth. I drew in a breath of crisp December air and stood perfectly still, savoring the feel, the sound, the smell of the world around me, sensations that would have passed by me unnoticed had I never met Carl Iverson.”