Belated Bingo – October

It’s over a week late but here are some of the books I read for October Bingo and their corresponding Bingo Squares. Better late than never!

Marrying Winterborne by Lisa KleypasMarrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas

Bingo Square: From Beyond the Grave

I’m missing the Lisa Kleypas fan club gene so the best I can say is that this book was okay. I was really interested in Rhys Winterborne as he seemed such a standout hero – he wasn’t part of the ton,  he was a self-made man, Welsh, etc etc. Marrying Lady Helen Ravenel is his way into society but of course she has her own secrets that she feels she can’t reveal – and all of these are secrets of her dead parents whose lives impact and control her even from their graves.  Sadly, once the “Shock! How will their love overcome this doozy of a problem” was revealed, I felt that Winterborne hardly appeared in the story until the very end where instead of  an emotional punch I got a rushed love declaration. Hmmm. Certainly not a keeper.

Say you love me by Johanna LindsaySay you love me by Johanna Lindsey

Bingo Square: Fester

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Michael Page. As this is number 5 in a series I got completely bored with all the fabbo*snark* characters from all the previous books having full chapters focused on them rather than on the main story. This ALWAYS FUCKING BORES ME!

The premise to this novel is that the heroine, unbeknownst to her aunt, decides to be a martyr for her family and agrees to be sold at a brothel as a mistress to pay her uncle’s debts to save her younger sister. Fortuitously, hero boy was passing the time in the foyer (while his cousin found his “girl”) when he saw the auction and his arch evil nemesis bidding on the frightened woman so to save her he buys her and since he buys her he might as well get down and dirty with her.

But then love hits him.

And then he discovers she was always a lady.

And then he declares that he is glad she was forced to be sold at a brothel otherwise he would never have met her and frankly he is a festering wound just like the festering sick dicks that the convoluted plot included.

Yeah. But no.

(Please note that this book is suffering from 1990itis which is a period of historical romance reading that I could barely countenance).

The good greek girl by Maria KatsonisThe Good Greek Girl  by Maria Katsonis

Bingo Square: Stripped

How could I go past a title like this one. I knew nothing about Maria Katsonis and her memoir when I picked it up off the new book shelf at my library but within a couple of chapters of reading I felt totally stripped of my defences and I sobbed sobbed sobbed at her difficulties growing up in a culturally different world from her Greek migrant parents which included struggling with both her cultural identity and sexual orientation especially the fracturing of her relationship with her father when a community member reveals that she is a lesbian to her parents resulting in an act of violence against her. Maria Katsonis starts her story from when she is heading to Harvard to study public policy to being institutionalised with mental health problems whilst her pre-Harvard life is presented in flashbacks.

There was much that I could relate to in Maria’s life and in my life. Her deep seated Greek-Australian-ness resonated with me. This is a struggle that I publicly dealt with at a young age both in print and in film (I had a short film documentary made about my “struggle” for identity when I was 10 which was aired repeatedly on national TV in 1980 – I hated this experience and the long term impact it left). Being torn between cultures and finding oneself is a writing theme that is quite common in Young Adult fiction (I’m looking at you Melina Marchetta), comedians are still making fun of these difficulties (vile fucking Nick Giannopoulos). However, just like Magda Szubanski’s Reckoning, this was a serious, middle aged woman struggling with mental illness and depression due to displacement and the long term impacts of generational and geographical problems. I wept because I certainly don’t have Maria’s courage to try to write to deal with the divide that she talks about (and that I certainly still struggle with) and I sit in awe of her fluid writing and heartfelt prose.

There is a monster on my holiday who farts by Tim MillerThere is a Monster on my Holiday who Farts by Tim Miller

Bingo Square: Dutch Oven

The title is self explanatory. A kid on a road trip with his parents is totally convinced that the monster travelling with them is letting off silent and deadlies. A wise uncled told me that you can gage a child’s intelligence and social awareness by the age when they start denying that they farted. The earlier the fart lie, the smarter your child. So I find it totally amusing to find a picture book totally based on fart denial and being stuck in a closed space, unable to escape the steamy, fruity expulsions of intestinal air monsters. Car farts are totally banned in my household. Especially when we are on an expressway where you can’t wind down the windows. Ewwww. Hilarious picture book.

Abigail the Whale picture bookAbigail the Whale by Davide Cali and illustrations by Sonja Bougaeva

Bingo Square: But then I thought about the game AND Delight

Abigail is learning to swim but is teased by the other children for being large. Abigail’s imagination allows her to take charge of her own swimming skills and oh my what a gorgeous picture book. The sublime illustrations capture the deep emotions that Abigail is experiencing especially with the body issues and fat shaming she is subjected to. Abigail’s approach to overcoming her problems is just delightful. I loved it. One of my favourite for this year.

All the books mentioned in this post were borrowed from a public library in New South Wales.

ShallowreaderBINGO! April Edition!

It’s the end of April, Easter is upon us (Orthodox folks) and Valancy has won this month’s ShallowreaderBingo!!!! Hurrah! Hurrah! May there be rejoicing!

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Meanwhile, I continue to lose at my own game. But read, I did. Here are the squares I scored:

 

Lady Bridget's DiaryLady Bridget’s Diary

by Maya Rodale

Bingo Square: Dear Diary

This is the first of Rodale’s new Keeping Up with the Cavendishes series. The Cavendish family is from America. The brother has inherited some duke-ish title so the whole family has packed their bags and moved to the United Kingdom where they struggle to fit in. The duke’s sister Lady Bridget keeps a diary where she reveals all her feels for the Ton and especially horrible Lord Darcy who ends up being her lurve but not before her diary is stolen and a big, dark secret is at risk of being revealed. There are aspects of this book that I loved (one day I even found myself kissing the pages I had just read!) yet the overt Pride and Prejudice parallels annoyed me and the who Team USA brought love to the UK sentiment grated. It is hard being torn in two directions with the one read.

I borrowed this book from a public library in New South Wales.
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Being Thoroughly Busy Blogger

Every now and then, when I don’t feel I have enough to do, I write a few blogs over at Read Watch Play.

I wrote about Picture Book Romances with several recommendations. All of these titles are modern romances and represent whammo! strong women for their protagonists. I would have loved to add an LGBT title but I haven’t come across any really enjoyable ones. I wanted to add Mr Pod and Mr Picallili but I wasn’t sure if I was reading too much into the book.

I also had a bit of a sooky weep over the Lizzie Bennet Diaries ending their filming today. Don’t think that because I blogged over at RWP about Thoroughly Modern Lizzie I won’t write more on this blog. I’ve saved the best for Shallowreader – a Darcy Squeal fest.

Book 6: Don’t Worry Douglas by David Melling

David Melling is amongst my favourite picture book authors. Quirky, heartfelt stories with wry humour and lots of love. His Hugless Douglas series are about the adventures of a young bear called Douglas. In this lovely book, Douglas’s woollen hat unravels and he worries about telling his father. Filled with gorgeous illustrations throughout the book, this would make a good storytime book for libraries.

Book 4: Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems

Any person who has met me and asked for a picture book recommendation will know that my first suggestion is Mo Willems’ Knuffle Bunny. I adore all of Willems’ books but my deepest love is for Knuffle Bunny and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. So I surprised even myself when I took so long to finally read the third Knuffle Bunny book. And it is fabulous! Knuffle Bunny, Knuffle Bunny, Too and Knuffle Bunny Free all manage to capture expressions and feeling of not only the child in the story but of the bemused, frustrated and perplexed adults in the stories too. By the end of Knuffle Bunny Free I had sweet tears come to my eyes. Such a heartfelt story.

Highly recommended! Buy or borrow all three!