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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

BOOKISH SIDE OF LIFE: JULY READING REVIEW 29.7.15


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Today is update day of July completions 
for Kel's Summer Reading Challenge 
June thru August 2015
July Linkup Here
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My July reading, being influenced by the
9th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, began July 1st [til next July 1st],
with a focus on reading Canadian authors and book settings, 
~ as well as ~
Paris in July #6 !  A month of reading everything Paris and French inspired.
A lot of fun motivation and blogging interaction en francais!
I'm pleased with my reading count so far.  Running List Here
I surpassed the summer goal of 20 July 21st 
and 117 118/120 for my year's total.
Here' s how this month stacked up
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1st read - City of Darkness and Light by Rhys Bowen
1905 NY Italian gang actions sends Molly, with her young son, to stay with friends in Paris -
But does the trouble stop there...?  The friends aren't there to meet her arrival as planned and as a new arrival in Paris, she's in unfamiliar territory.  The artist community is central to this Molly Murphy mystery series.  A Paris in July read that familiarized me with Paris streets , city layout and arrondissements I found helpful in further Paris themed reading.
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2nd - Tides of Honour by Genevieve Graham
Paris in July and Canadian author for Book Challenge reading  
Canadian soldier, Danny, meets the lovely Audrey while marching through the French countryside. Love at first sight becomes a commitment to love after war even when Danny loses his leg.  An evocatively moving story rich in emotion and learning through historical facts . 
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3rd - A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
Audio listen July 6th for Paris in July 2015
Picturesque descriptions of this bestseller of the author and wife's adventures whilst living with the locals in Provence. Mayle's writing details prevailing work and life attitudes of the French extremely different from their own, food, drink and work habits, driving distractions, guest visits and expectations of British and European nationals, all written with an overarching humour well conveyed by Mayle's personable narration.
A pleasure to discover and inhabit for the length of the recording
and ensuing colourful responses to life in France.
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4th - Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner
Hotel du Lac provides an atmospheric Swiss lakeshore setting for Edith's exile and return to writing after public disgrace. Focused on the few off season guests, Edith's ruminations expand her perspectives of others as well as her personal reflections and self-realizations as the story unfolds to a surprise conclusion. I found the writing dense and altogether too weighty for being touted as a "romantic, witty, humorous, love story". Reading was like wading upstream. Lighter descriptive moments of personable connection with our protagonist were too few and far between. A solemn tone prevailed. As reader, I was viewing characters on the story's stage. Though written in the 1980s, the sense was of an earlier indeterminate era, leaving unsettled confusion of not being grounded.
As a Paris in July read,
numerous examples of French language spoken by hotel management and guests was a surprise that piqued my interest and some research of French language usage in Switzerland and this area of Lake Geneva. 
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5th - Lisette's List by Susan Vreeland
A #ParisinJuly contender!
My full review and response HERE as read for #collaboreads
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6th - To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander
See Among the Fair Magnolias for full posts of the 4 stories.
After loving Tamera's historical novel, TO WIN HER FAVOR, I appreciated being party to Savannah's own story, her siblings care, and the opportunity for both a life and a love of her own. Savannah would do almost anything to revisit her family home.
When the new owner, Aidan Bedford, seeks to redecorate the house for his fiancĂ©e, an unexpected twist offers Savannah her opportunity. But can she find the treasure her father described hiding there during the war? Definitely a wee bit of love for her worthy hero!  Delightful conclusion to the mystery search as well.
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7th - A Lady of Esteem by Kristi Ann Hunter
An intro to an upcoming Regency series, this was a light read with some entertaining twists.
Miss Amelia Stalwood may live in London at her absent guardian's townhouse, but she's never actually met any nobility, and instead of aristocrats, her closest friends are servants.
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8th- A Heart so True by Dorothy Love 
One of the entries in the collection of 4 southern romances of Among the Fair Magnolias.
Abigail Clayton hopes to reconcile with Dr. Wade Bennett and become his wife. But her father insists she marry her distant cousin Charles Kittridge so the plantations of the two families will be joined. With her wedding looming, Abby must choose between duty to her family and the yearnings of her own heart.  Such emotional responses to this story I was shocked at her father's actions and more than relieved with the final satisfying reveal... 
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9th- Full Circle by Mona Ingram
New Canadian author discovery for this contemporary story that captured me from the beginning.
Pregnant Bella is given a choice: Go to Atlanta and give up her child for adoption or leave town and raise her child on her own. She travels to California settling in Santa Monica at the recommendation of a fellow coach traveller.  Her recently widowed landlady is the perfect counterpart for Bella, helping her through pregnancy and birth.  Determined to make her way in the world and return to Willow Bend on her own terms, Bella puts all her energies into building a successful business together with her landlady.  Definitely a tribute to women's friendships, it was a positive read.
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10th- An Outlaw's Heart by Shelley Gray
Another of the Among the Fair Magnolias southern romances.
Young Russell Champion was betrayed by the two most important women in his life. Russell returns home a changed man, but can he prove it to those he loves most? 
Wonderful story from a male point of view told with spare masculine dialogue I found authentic and refreshing. The twists were reading pleasure!
And his willingness to act on his feelings made me a cheerleader.
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11th- Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser 
My final read in the collection Among the Fair Magnolias
Emily Derracott values her childhood friend Thomas McGinnis, but she cannot marry a man who doesn't share her strong convictions about the freedmen. The prospect of becoming his wife is not only improbable,it is completely impossible, despite her mother's manipulations.  The plight of the freedmen vs political opposition was strongly represented and well researched.  I learned much about plantation owner farming situations and murders at the hands of KKK actions. Thankfully, a satisfying conclusion to this insightful story.  And a delight to read a story by an expat living in Lyon France for our #ParisinJuly theme for this month!  Elizabeth's Lemon Filled Coconut Cake is a sure winner for any patisserie lover [recipe included] Merci Elizabeth!
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12th - The Curiosity Keeper by Sarah E Ladd
Brilliant beginning to the Treasures of Surrey series. I've had a fabulous day of
High Summer ReadaThon, meeting fiesty characters, fighting emotions, parental betrayal, and discovering the unexpected in this captivating Regency mystery novel. Looking forward to more of this series; I always anticipate enjoying Sarah Ladd's writing ...
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13th- The Art of Mentoring by Darlene Zschech
Very thorough coverage of mentoring to pass on to others the value of
what one has learned, experienced and knows. 
One's attitude plays an important role.
 That fact is otherwise overlooked in other similar resources.
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14th- The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz
A Paris in July audio listen.  Humorous insider's views of life in Paris and its surrounds, from this American expat pastry chef. Shopping, dining, cooking, touring, negotiating contracts, contractors, and language - contrasted examples of American vs French interactions via David Lebovitz's experiences of living in France. 

An excellent guide of awareness and prevention of faux pas 

for anyone planning to visit or to relocate.

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15th - Currently laughing out loud as I read Mark Greenside's 
I'll Never Be French [no matter what I do]
Here's my Tuesday Intro and Teaser for a wee taster of this Paris in July treat.

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I do credit High Summer Readathon hosted by Michelle at Seasons of Reading
as great annual mid summer motivation!
and
Thanks to Kels, the Bookish Side of Life Challenge and monthly linkup 
is another keeping me on track with 20 books of summer's reading.
Let's see what happens once #AusteninAugust begins ...
My Jane Austen interests are taking over the reading shelf!
Feel Welcomed to join us 
and share your reading with us at the 
Bookish Side of Life reading linkup for August.
~*~
Find my  JUNE wrapup Here
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Shared With :

* Bookish Side of Life * Literacy Musing Mondays * Book Nook 12 * Paris in July *
* Dreaming of France *
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6 comments:

LuAnn Braley said...

You are my shining star example of organization for reading and reviewing/sharing! These days for me, getting a book read is quite easy, but reviewing/recording for challenges, etc? FUGEDDABOUTIT!

Terra said...

Paris in July as a reading challenge interests me, especially since I lived in Paris for a total of 6 months. Now you have me wanting to buy and read "I'll Never Be French."

Dana @ Slow and Steady(ish) said...

I'm impressed at how many books you got through in a month! I added 'I'll Never Be French (No Matter What I Do)' to my to-read list... sounds interesting! :)

Kristen @ See You In A Porridge said...

you read so many books! i love the idea of a themed challenge / month like that.

Tamara said...

You have been a valued and active participant of Paris in July, and I've really enjoyed your contributions. Your summary here is impressive - very active reader indeed. I love the idea of listening to David Lebovitz - wish I had thought of that earlier - I'm reading it, but I'd love to hear it read outloud. Thanks again..

Kels @ BlonderSide said...

Ok all of your reads are new to me so THANK YOU for linkin up so I've got some new ones to check out!

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