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Rick Kitchen

What Are We Currently Reading?

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4 hours ago, Minneapple said:

Currently reading The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys, a YA historical fiction set after the Spanish Civil War. I'm about 150 pages into the book and it's intriguing so far. 

I've got When We Believed in Mermaids, The Family Upstairs and Ninth House on my list of books to read. Oh, and the Queen of Nothing, Holly Black's final in the Folk of the Air trilogy. Good cozy reading ahead!

I’ve read When We Believed in Mermaids. It was...okay. It filled an afternoon, but didn’t really engage me and I didn’t care about the ‘found’ sister at all.

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I'm reading (slowly) The Death of Mrs. Westaway. Question for those who have read it:

Spoiler

Why does Hal put up with being given that prison cell to sleep in when the house probably has at least ten bedrooms and she basically owns it now?

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I'm re-reading Oliver Twist (it's been about 30 years...) and the grime and cruelty of the first chapters are hitting me hard. As a counterbalance, I have The Complete Father Brown loaded up on my Kindle. In my Canadian Lit bag that goes to work with me, I have just finished Miriam Toew's A Complicated Kindness (beautifully observed but in the end rather depressing story about a rebellious female teenager whose family is completely torn apart within the Manitoba Mennonite community she grows up in).  Next up on that front: Nino Ricci's Lives of the Saints, which also looks to be about the effects of religiosity on everyday lives, although in a completely different context. Will know more once I read more than the title and the blurb!

Just in on my e-Library account (why yes, I do read too many books at once) is the first in Anne Perry's new (and non-Victorian) mystery series, Death in Focus. I have hopes for this one, as I think the William Monk series has been showing signs of being tapped out for a while.  About to be returned from that same e-Library account: The Scarlett Letters, an absolutely delightful collection of Margaret Mitchell's correspondence during the time that Gone With the Wind was being filmed, and then released. The subject matter of the letters gets a bit tedious, because Mitchell took a stance that she wished to leave the filming entirely in the hands of Selznick and his film-makers, and flatly refused to get involved in screenwriting, casting, etc. (and spent a lot of time scolding various PR people about the way she was misrepresented in the press).  But she's a wonderfully verbose and witty correspondent, and the sheer variety of people she wrote to is a wonder to behold. Lots of good explanatory notes for context, too.  

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2 hours ago, peacheslatour said:

I'm reading (slowly) The Death of Mrs. Westaway. Question for those who have read it:

  Reveal spoiler

Why does Hal put up with being given that prison cell to sleep in when the house probably has at least ten bedrooms and she basically owns it now?

I've read the book just a short time ago &

Spoiler

I don't remember who Hal was or what house you're talking about, so even though I can't answer your question, you probably have a good idea about how much I liked the book LOL

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On 11/12/2019 at 1:10 PM, GaT said:

I've read the book just a short time ago &

  Hide contents

I don't remember who Hal was or what house you're talking about, so even though I can't answer your question, you probably have a good idea about how much I liked the book LOL

The one by Ruth Ware? Hal (Harriet) is the protagonist who reads Tarot cards on the pier in Brighton.

Edited by peacheslatour

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3 minutes ago, peacheslatour said:

The one by Ruth Ware? Hal (Hester) is the protagonist who reads Tarot cards on the pier in Bristol.

Yes, the one by Ruth Ware. Still not remembering the name, but I remember the pier LOL

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I'm reading a YA short story collection called Hungry Hearts. It's connected stories that takes place in one neighborhood and center around food. Each story stands alone but you also get glimpses of characters from another story in passing.

I like most of them. Some more than others. There was only one so far that I hated.

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5 minutes ago, GaT said:

Yes, the one by Ruth Ware. Still not remembering the name, but I remember the pier LOL

Hal:

Spoiler

Inherited Mrs. Westaway's estate in Cornwall. It's an old, unheated pile and the evil housekeeper Mrs. Warren makes Hal sleep in a attic room with bars on the windows and a door has bolts on the outside.

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Just now, peacheslatour said:

Hal:

  Hide contents

Inherited Mrs. Westaway's estate in Cornwall. It's an old, unheated pile and the evil housekeeper Mrs. Warren makes Hal sleep in a attic room with bars on the windows and a door has bolts on the outside.

AH HA!!!!! She's the main character, & I couldn't remember her. Yeah, great book.

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4 minutes ago, peacheslatour said:

Did the part I spoilered in my OP bother you too?

I'm guessing no just because I couldn't remember it. Maybe it bothered me when I was reading the book, but it's a valid question.

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58 minutes ago, MikaelaArsenault said:

I haven't started this yet, but it's called Just As Long As We're Together by Judy Blume:

220px-Just_as_Long_as_We're_Together_boo

I loved that book back when I was in junior high!

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2 hours ago, MikaelaArsenault said:

I haven't started this yet, but it's called Just As Long As We're Together by Judy Blume:

220px-Just_as_Long_as_We're_Together_boo

Oh my God I loved this book! I read it in...fifth or sixth grade, I think.

Anyway, I finished Fountains of Silence. I would give it a solid four out of five stars. Great characters and setting, but I felt like the author didn't end the book very well. Some storylines were too neatly wrapped up, others were kind of left unwritten.

Gonna start The Family Upstairs next.

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I decided to do a re-read of Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series (in series chronology order).  I just finished Shards of Honor and am just starting Barrayar.  I haven't  read the first two books in almost 15 years and even though I remember a fair amount about those parts of the story, what always gets me is just Bujold's way with prose.

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I just finished Make Me a City by Jonathan Carr, a fascinating story of 19th c Chicago that is part fiction against a largely historical background. The author tells the story of the birth and growth of the city in a unique way. In each chapter we are dropped into the day in the life of an ordinary person. One chapter will be straight prose, the next letters between characters, the next a first person recounting of an event, the next a newspaper article.  Near the end he writes a critique of his own book through the eyes of a pompous 19th reviewer.  Of course this episodic style does not let the reader get too comfortable with the characters, aside from a handful that weave in and out of the timeline. (I was constantly googling to see if the character was a real person or not. Many were real.) And often the chapter would end kind of abruptly without letting the reader know how something was resolved (although we'd find out from an offhand comment in a later chapter). I think the author did this to keep reminding the audience that the city itself is the thing that endures, not a particular person. This is a very enjoyable read for anyone who loves Chicago.  Maybe my second favorite book I've read this year.

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4 hours ago, Haleth said:

I just finished Make Me a City by Jonathan Carr, a fascinating story of 19th c Chicago that is part fiction against a largely historical background. The author tells the story of the birth and growth of the city in a unique way. In each chapter we are dropped into the day in the life of an ordinary person. One chapter will be straight prose, the next letters between characters, the next a first person recounting of an event, the next a newspaper article.  Near the end he writes a critique of his own book through the eyes of a pompous 19th reviewer.  Of course this episodic style does not let the reader get too comfortable with the characters, aside from a handful that weave in and out of the timeline. (I was constantly googling to see if the character was a real person or not. Many were real.) And often the chapter would end kind of abruptly without letting the reader know how something was resolved (although we'd find out from an offhand comment in a later chapter). I think the author did this to keep reminding the audience that the city itself is the thing that endures, not a particular person. This is a very enjoyable read for anyone who loves Chicago.  Maybe my second favorite book I've read this year.

Does the book get into H.H. Holmes at all? That case has always fascinated me.

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9 minutes ago, peacheslatour said:

Does the book get into H.H. Holmes at all? That case has always fascinated me.

No mention of Holmes. It’s more about lesser known stories and how common people were affected by corruption, working conditions, water quality, etc. He presents it as an “alternate history.”

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I'm about a third of the way through Margaret Atwood's The Testaments. I didn't know going in who the narrators would be, and was pleasantly surprised. I'm quite absorbed so far.

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Currently working my way through the Dubh Linn series by Ruth Frances Long and I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner. 

I'd bought all three books (A crack in everything, A hollow in the hills, A darkness at the end) when they were launched, but I was buying them as gifts for my sister who loves Ruth's work and i never thought to read them myself until I picked them up at a convention.

They're a young adult series (protagonist is a 16 year old Irish girl) but they read well for adults too.  Filled with faeries and demons and a Dubh Linn that's not quite the same as the Dublin the ordinary people see, it's an exciting read so far. 

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I finally finished Elvis Costello's doorstop of a memoir, and now I'm reading Monica Ali's Untold Story, about a Princess Diana–like character who decides to fake her death to get out of the "gilded cage" of the British royal family. I'm liking it so far.

After this I get to decide what books to order from my way-too-long Amazon list. One of my favorite things to do!

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On 11/16/2019 at 4:39 PM, Black Knight said:

I'm about a third of the way through Margaret Atwood's The Testaments. I didn't know going in who the narrators would be, and was pleasantly surprised. I'm quite absorbed so far.

Should I re-read The Handmaid's Tale before I start on The Testaments?  It's been years since I read the first, and I only really remember the basics.  I have not watched the show.

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30 minutes ago, Browncoat said:

Should I re-read The Handmaid's Tale before I start on The Testaments?  It's been years since I read the first, and I only really remember the basics.  I have not watched the show.

Heh. I had asked the same question here before I started - only, in my case, I have watched the show. Because of the show, I had a lot more than just the basics in my mind, so I felt reading Testaments worked fine for me. But I would definitely advise you to re-read the first book. You'll get more out of the sequel.

I finished yesterday, by the by. The final quarter page made me cry.

I'm now reading Maryanne Wolf's Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World. It started off a little dry, but picked up steam.

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On 11/11/2019 at 6:38 PM, Dani-Ellie said:

Ooh, please let us know how The Family Upstairs is! I've read a few of Lisa Jewell's other books and enjoyed them, and I was eyeing that one in the store the other day.

OK so I finished The Family Upstairs and I really really liked it. Very creepy, very chilling. I figured out some of the twists, but I don't think they were really meant to be SHOCKING TWISTS.

I also read The Queen of Nothing, the third in the Folk of the Air trilogy by Holly Black. This one was a disappointing finish to an otherwise great trilogy. It felt rushed and predictable, and the characters felt flat and two-dimensional compared to the other two books.

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I'm listening to Gardens of the Moon, the first Malazan Book of the Fallen novel. It's mostly pretty good, apart from a couple of things.

First, the character of Kruppe. My god he's annoying. He's an egomaniac who talks about himself in the third person and really goes bloody on and on about everything. If there was ever a 'talking yourself up' competition, I would nominate him to compete.

It doesn't help that the narrator gives him a really silly voice. But that's a problem with audiobooks. Narrators can only do so many voices before either repeating themselves or getting into silly territory. I don't know why he went with silly so early.

And right now, it feels like every third character has access to a warren, a source of magical power, that is even more ancient and elder than the last. If this keeps up, the author is going to have a hard time coming up with synonyms and putting them in order.

Someone is going to control the really-really-ancient elder warren. Then twenty minutes later, there will be the really-really-really-ancient elder warren. Sure, power escalation happens in long-running series, but it shouldn't happen so often in one book!

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1 hour ago, Minneapple said:

OK so I finished The Family Upstairs and I really really liked it. Very creepy, very chilling. I figured out some of the twists, but I don't think they were really meant to be SHOCKING TWISTS.

Awesome, thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it; I will definitely put this one on my list.

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10 hours ago, Anduin said:

And right now, it feels like every third character has access to a warren, a source of magical power, that is even more ancient and elder than the last. If this keeps up, the author is going to have a hard time coming up with synonyms and putting them in order.

That reminds me of something else I noticed with that book - it's been a few years, so I may not have the details completely right, but there's an unseen god that occasionally interferes with mortal affairs by flipping a coin. When the coin flipping is introduced, it's made to sound really rare. Ha! It happens so many times you could make a drinking game out of it.

I didn't like Gardens of the Moon well enough to press on with the series, even though I understand from other people that the sequels aren't straightforward continuations - they follow different characters, etc. But the world just left me cold.

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12 minutes ago, Black Knight said:

That reminds me of something else I noticed with that book - it's been a few years, so I may not have the details completely right, but there's an unseen god that occasionally interferes with mortal affairs by flipping a coin. When the coin flipping is introduced, it's made to sound really rare. Ha! It happens so many times you could make a drinking game out of it.

Yep, Oponn, the god of luck, pops up all over the bloody place in this book.

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I'm currently reading Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers. I decided to re-read my Lord Peter Wimsey books. 

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I just finished Ribbons of Scarlet by a whole load of female historical fiction authors (Kate Quinn is the headliner on it).  It follows 5 women during the Reign of Terror.  They were all real people

Spoiler

and all but one gets sent to the guillotine.

It was good...and not.  The problem is that, with 6 different authors, it is made up of 6 novellas and, frankly, not all are created equal.  I think that Quinn earned top billing, not just because she is probably the best known of the authors, but also because her contribution to the book is definitely the best.  The problem is that the better novellas sort of amplify the problems with the lesser novellas.

I'll be starting Erin Morgenstern's The Starless Sea tonight.

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10 hours ago, OtterMommy said:

I'll be starting Erin Morgenstern's The Starless Sea tonight.

I'm about 100 pages into it and am loving it so far.

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1 hour ago, catlover79 said:

This is the story of a nurse/suffragette in 1885 Nevada who butts heads with a swaggering cowboy:

40767129._SY475_.jpg

Is it any good? Is it well written? Are you enjoying it?

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14 minutes ago, BlackberryJam said:

Is it any good? Is it well written? Are you enjoying it?

So far, so good! I'm still in the first chapter. ☺ I'm a sucker for historical Christian romances, and so far this book is right up my alley!! ❤

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On 11/20/2019 at 7:31 AM, Minneapple said:

OK so I finished The Family Upstairs and I really really liked it. Very creepy, very chilling. I figured out some of the twists, but I don't think they were really meant to be SHOCKING TWISTS.

Just finished and to be honest, while I really enjoyed it and it was a pretty quick read, it didn't wow me. I didn't really think there were any real twists, since you kind of knew where the story was going barely a third of the way into the story. 

I guess the only real "twist", depending on how one defines a twist, is 

Spoiler

the disturbing obsession Henry had with Phin, that was revealed towards the end of the story. And the not so subtle suggestion of his being a borderline psycho. To be honest, I was a bit torn on this. On the one hand, I guess it kind of makes sense for all they had been through that one ended up so fucked up.

But at the same time, I hated it because they'd all been through so much. And so it kind of sucked that in the end he was essentially framed as this obsessed psychopath who will likely go murder poor Phin who did everything he could to get away from his past. 

Also, the main character Libby was kind of dull. Girl seemed very passive and simply reactive to everything. 

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23 hours ago, catlover79 said:

I'm a sucker for historical Christian romances, and so far this book is right up my alley!! ❤

Have you ever read anything by Bodie and Brock Thoene? I used to love the Zion Covenant series and the Shiloh Legacy books. Francine Rivers' mark of the Lion series is really good as well.

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1 hour ago, Constant Viewer said:

Have you ever read anything by Bodie and Brock Thoene? I used to love the Zion Covenant series and the Shiloh Legacy books. Francine Rivers' mark of the Lion series is really good as well.

I haven't, but I will check them out. Thanks for the suggestion. Francine Rivers definitely has written awesome books. ☺

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4 hours ago, Spartan Girl said:

Finally read Know My Name by Chanel Miller.  Brock Turner, his family, his lawyer, and that judge can all rot in hell.

You mean convicted rapist Brock Turner?

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And the recalled judge? (Who was then strangely hired to coach girls' high school JV tennis, and summarily fired once people pointed out that he might not be an ideal choice for that role.)

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1 hour ago, Black Knight said:

And the recalled judge? (Who was then strangely hired to coach girls' high school JV tennis, and summarily fired once people pointed out that he might not be an ideal choice for that role.)

Wait, somebody actually thought having this guy (who goes from a judge to a high school tennis coach?) being in a position of power over young girls was a good idea & hired him?

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Finished The Starless Sea last night.  It takes me breath away how beautiful the writing is.  It certainly lives up to they hype.  Brilliant book.

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6 hours ago, GaT said:

Wait, somebody actually thought having this guy (who goes from a judge to a high school tennis coach?) being in a position of power over young girls was a good idea & hired him?

Mind-boggling, isn't it? If you wrote a book with that plot point, it'd be derided as requiring too much of a suspension of disbelief. The high school wasn't even far across the country where maybe the case wasn't as publicized - it's located right here in northern California where the uproar over Brock Turner and the subsequent recall went down. Very, very heavily reported.

I'm currently reading Gabrielle Moss's Paperback Crush, recommended by several others here. It's a blast tripping down memory lane of YA 80s and 90s books! I'm impressed by the extent of Moss's coverage and am also enjoying the way she balances her clear fondness with righteous snark.

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19 hours ago, peacheslatour said:

You mean convicted rapist Brock Turner?

11 hours ago, Black Knight said:

And the recalled judge? (Who was then strangely hired to coach girls' high school JV tennis, and summarily fired once people pointed out that he might not be an ideal choice for that role.)

My mistake.  I should have given them their proper titles.

It gave me a rage stroke reading about how Turner's family apparently gave her dirty looks after the sentence was read.  You know, I'm pretty sure it IS possible to emotionally support your son while acknowledging his wrongdoing and giving proper sympathy/apology to the person he wronged.  No wonder the asshole was so entitled, all he really apologized for was getting drunk.  "Shown remorse" MY ASS.

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