The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

From goodreads: 

August 30, 1975: the day fifteen-year-old Nola Kellergan is glimpsed fleeing through the woods, never to be heard from again; the day Somerset, New Hampshire, lost its innocence.

Thirty-three years later, Marcus Goldman, a successful young novelist, visits Somerset to see his mentor, Harry Quebert, one of the country’s most respected writers, and to find a cure for his writer’s block as his publisher’s deadline looms. But Marcus’s plans are violently upended when Harry is suddenly and sensationally implicated in the cold-case murder of Nola Kellergan—whom, he admits, he had an affair with. As the national media convicts Harry, Marcus launches his own investigation, following a trail of clues through his mentor’s books, the backwoods and isolated beaches of New Hampshire, and the hidden history of Somerset’s citizens and the man they hold most dear. To save Harry, his own writing career, and eventually even himself, Marcus must answer three questions, all of which are mysteriously connected: Who killed Nola Kellergan? What happened one misty morning in Somerset in the summer of 1975? And how do you write a book to save someone’s life?

Pages: 643 (Paperback) 

Publisher: Published May 27th 2014 by Penguin Books (first published September 19th 2012)

Rating: 6 out of 10

Source: Checked out from the library

Date Completed: December 19, 2014

I was not at the Professors and Partners book club meeting where The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker was selected. I still do not know how or why the book was chosen. When I started reading, I was intrigued and the premise was interesting. As the book progressed, I wanted to know what happened, but was bored.  The plot twists kept coming and being resolved, but not in ways that were both realistic and satisfying. 

I am counting this book for the following challenge: 

2014 Chunkster Reading Challenge: At 643 pages, this is certainly a chunkster

Posted on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 5:14PM by Registered Commenter[beastmomma] in | CommentsPost a Comment

The Song of Achilles

From goodreads

Achilles, "the best of all the Greeks," son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful— irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods' wrath.

They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

Pages: 378 (Paperback) 

Publisher: Published August 28th 2012 by Ecco (first published September 1st 2011)

Rating: 8 out of 10

Source: Checked out from the library

Date Completed: October 16, 2014

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller started off as a very interesting retelling of Greek history. I was especially excited to read the book as the author was going to be at the Boston book club meeting.  I started the book when my son was less than a week old. I did not have the ideal reading situation as I picked up the book when I was struggling to stay awake or waiting for him to fall asleep after nursing. The beginning of the book peaked my interest as I was drawn into the story of the budding romance. The middle started to drag; I had a hard time keeping track of all of the characters (like high school!) and the war parts seemed never ending. 


the last part of the book was incredible. I found myself STAYING UP to read a few more pages. I was deeply concerned and invested into the characters. The long war and the feuds were humanized.  As strange as this sounds, I wish that the last part of the book was longer because I felt sad when the story came to an end.  

At the book club meeting, I enjoyed talking with the author. After hearing about her experince researching and writing the book, I appreciated the story more. 

I am counting this for the What's in a Name 2014 Challenge for the category of forename. 

Posted on Monday, April 6, 2015 at 4:30PM by Registered Commenter[beastmomma] in | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

Orphan Train

From goodreads

Nearly eighteen, Molly Ayer knows she has one last chance. Just months from "aging out" of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvie and worse.

Vivian Daly has lived a quiet life on the coast of Maine. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly discovers that she and Vivian aren't as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more she discovers parallels to her own life. A Penobscot Indian, she, too, is an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. As her emotional barriers begin to crumble, Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life - answers that will ultimately free them both.

Pages: 278 (Paperback) 

Publisher: Published April 2nd 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 2013)

Rating: 8 out of 10

Source: Checked out from the library

Date Completed: September 16, 2014

I did not know what to expect of the Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline when it was selected for the Professors and Partners book club. I was drawn to the story immediately and liked the switch off in narrator between Molly and Vivian.  The story was a good way to learn some history; I had no idea that these trains existed. My hope was to finish the book before my son arrived, but that did not happen. Instead, I was reading the book in my hospital bed in those blurry days after he was born. 

I loved the intergenerational friendship between Molly and Vivian. As Vivian's story unfolds, I was reminded of how some things are timeless: wanting to be part of a family, finding love, losing love, creating community, and the gift of being able to share your story with those for whom it will be a treasure.  Some aspects of the character's back story was not explored enough for my taste like Molly's Indian heritage. The other thing I did not lke very much was the ending; I felt like it wrapped up both too neatly and very abruptly. 

Posted on Monday, March 30, 2015 at 4:08PM by Registered Commenter[beastmomma] in | CommentsPost a Comment

The Goldfinch

From goodreads

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

Pages: 771 (Hardcover) 

Publisher: Published October 22nd 2013 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 2013)

Rating: 8 out of 10

Source: Checked out from the library

Date Completed: September 2, 2014

I had heard so many things about The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and was glad to find out what the fuss was about when the book was selected as the April read for the Partners and Professors book club.  I started the book about a month before the meeting and the first section was easy to read and process. I found Theo relatable and was rooting for him. As the book progressed, I had a harder time getting through and find annoyed with Theo.  Each section seemed to contain a sprinkle of hope, a bad decision, and drugs. I was glad to have built in breaks from the book, thanks to library wait lists. 

My favorite character was Hobie, who in fact redeemed the book for me.  The last section drew me in and made me feel a bit better about humanity and the state of the world.  There were many powerful and poignont moments. Finishing the book felt like a big accomplishment.  This was the last book I read before my son was born and I remember when I finished thinking, "Okay, the baby can come now because I just completed a massive project." While I did not adore the book as much as many others, I am glad to have read it. 

I am counting it for the 2014 Chunkster Reading Challenge: At 771 pages, this is certainly a chunkster.

Posted on Monday, January 19, 2015 at 4:22PM by Registered Commenter[beastmomma] in | CommentsPost a Comment


From goodreads

Billie Breslin has traveled far from her California home to take a job at Delicious, the most iconic food magazine in New York and, thus, the world. When the publication is summarily shut down, the colorful staff, who have become an extended family for Billie, must pick up their lives and move on. Not Billie, though. She is offered a new job: staying behind in the magazine's deserted downtown mansion offices to uphold the "Delicious Guarantee"-a public relations hotline for complaints and recipe inquiries-until further notice. What she doesn't know is that this boring, lonely job will be the portal to a life-changing discovery.

Pages: 400 (Hardcover) 

Publisher: Published May 6th 2014 by Random House (first published January 1st 2014)

Rating: 9 out of 10

Source: Checked out from the library

Date Completed: August 13, 2014

I really enjoyed Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl. I thought that she was funny and informative, plus I always felt hungry when I listened to a passage. While at the library, I saw that she had a novel coming out, Delicious! which sounded inspiring and fun. I recommended it to the Professors and Partners book club and was excited that it was chosen for the August selection. 

I found Billie inspiring and sweet; I loved that she was using her happy memories of home cooking as inspiration for her career path. I also liked getting to know one of the other main characters, Lulu,  through letters and liked seeing the creativity and quirks of the staff at the food magazine.  Granted my perspective was influenced by own transitions and hope that something wonderful is waiting if I follow my passions. 

During the book club discussion, one of the members made the ginger cake that is described in the book. The recipe is provided at the end and it was so yummy! I wish that I could eat something from many of the books I read that have yummy descriptions. 

Posted on Monday, January 12, 2015 at 4:58PM by Registered Commenter[beastmomma] in | CommentsPost a Comment
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