Showing posts with label kristina riggle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kristina riggle. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Final Countdown: November 2013 in Review

IT'S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN!  (**cue cheesy synthesizer music**)

That's right, my darlings--only 21 days until Tater Tot's due date.  I can hardly believe it.  (Never mind, I can totally believe it, because I am the size of a house.)  Most moments, I'm ready and super psyched for him to make his debut.  A few other moments, I'm like, "OMG WHAT DID WE DO?  AM I REALLY READY TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR 2 TINY HUMANS?"  And then I LOL and figure that ship has long sailed, so panic time is over and I am back to being super psyched.

Fair warning that I will probably go MIA for quite some time after Mr. TT arrives.  Though of course, I will try to at least pop on here and let you know that he HAS arrived.  But afterwards, I'll be going pretty light on the reading until things calm down around here.  I hope you will bear with me during my book blog "maternity leave"!  I plan to get back in the game as soon as I can, though I'm guessing it won't be for a month or two, we shall see.  I do know that I have my trusty Kindle Paperwhite to help me through those 2am feedings, so that should help me along.  :)

For now, I am trying to devour any reading that I can find the time for, while at the same time, devouring all the food in my fridge, since I only have about 21 more days in my life where this will be socially and gastronomically acceptable.
Me and Giant Tater Tot, rocking out in the Thanksgiving snow
Anyway, how was the reading this month?

I am going to do my fave/least fave picks, because I always do, but they really don't feel very fair this month, because all 6 of the books I read were good!  So the "least fave" is definitely not a bad book...it's just #6 on a list of enjoyable books I read this month.  Capiche?

November 2013 Favorite Book: The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle
November 2013 Least Favorite (but still good) Book: The Preservationist by Justin Kramon

In total, I read/reviewed 6 books:

The Preservationist by Justin Kramon
The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio
Buying In by Laura Hemphill
The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok

Otherwise, I volunteered at the Rochester Children's Book Festival, and did a Small Fry Saturday post for How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen.


Posts you can (hopefully) look forward to before this giant baby arrives: 
-my "Best Books of 2013" list, 
-a review of my 2013 resolutions (as well as a list of my new ones for 2014), and 
-a wrap-up of all the crazy reading challenges I signed up for this year.  

What do you think, Tater Tot?  Can you stay all up in my belly until I get that stuff written?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

GIVEAWAY and Book Review: The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle


Title: The Whole Golden World
Author: Kristina Riggle
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: November 5, 2013
Source: copy received for honest review through TLC Book Tours

Plot Summary from Goodreads:

To the outside Diana and Joe have a perfect family-three lovely children, a beautiful home, and a café that's finally taking off. But their world is rocked when it's discovered that their oldest daughter, 17-year-old Morgan is having an affair with her married teacher, TJ Hill.

Their town rocks with the scandal. When the case goes to trial, the family is torn further apart when Morgan sides not with her parents-as a manipulated teenage girl; but with TJ himself-as a woman who loves a 30-year-old man.

Told from the perspectives of Morgan, Diana, and TJ's wife, Rain, this is an unforgettable story that fully explores the surprising, even shocking, events that change the lives of two families.


My Review:

Who's ready for a doozy of a family drama?  Cuz I loooooved this one.

Obviously, the subject matter in The Whole Golden World is rather scandalous, so I was originally drawn in by my curiosity-killed-the-cat mentality.  However, the best thing about this novel is the way that the author is able to successfully weave a tale told by three very different narrators.  Morgan's POV was a perfect portrayal of a 17-year-old high school senior: headstrong, naive, thinks she knows everything and needs no one...until she doesn't.  Her personality is inherently contradictory, and Riggle handles this complexity so very well.  Dinah (Morgan's mother) battles between being an overly involved "helicopter mom" and letting her kids be kids.  And Rain (TJ's wife) must decide how far she's willing to take the idea of "for better or worse".

Flat characters?  I HAZ NONE.  Each of these narrators has some aspect of their personality that they are struggling with, and Riggle does an amazing job depicting those struggles without making the characters seem confusing or inconsistent.

I will say that, for the first 2/3 of the novel, I was confused about why the author chose Rain as the third narrator, rather than TJ.  TJ is much more intimately involved in the central problem of the plot, and I was often left wondering about his motives--thus, his POV would have been helpful.  However, once I got to the last third of the book, it became clear why Rain was in the POV "driver's seat", if you will, rather than TJ.  And despite the lack of narration from him, by the end, I had a pretty good idea of what his intentions were anyway.

Fans of Jodi Picoult, Anita Shreve, etc will definitely be into this one.  Yes, it's full of family drama, but there's more than that--it's also beautifully written, and the story is spliced together in a way that constantly leaves you wanting more.  Every chapter ending will leave you with enough questions that you'll have a hard time putting it down, all the way until the (rather satisfying) conclusion.  This was my first experience with Kristina Riggle's work, but methinks it's time to go back and check out her past novels as well!

As always, much thanks to Trish and TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour!
Check out the other blogs on this book tour HERE.  And connect with Kristina Riggle on her websiteFacebook, and Twitter.


GIVEAWAY TIME!
The publisher sent me an extra copy of The Whole Golden World, and I have decided to gift it to one lucky blog reader.  Just fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter!  Entries are for US/Canada residents only and contest closes 11/27.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 18, 2013

It's Monday--what are you reading?

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!  What are you reading today?
I had a fun book-related activity this weekend, as I volunteered at the 17th annual Rochester Children's Book Festival.  I heard about this right after I moved to the area, and decided it would be fun to volunteer as a way to get to know the event (and the city) a bit better.  I am very happy that I did!  My shift started at 12:30 but I arrived a little early so that I could check things out.  The festival had an impressive list of authors, my fave being Jane Yolen, who writes the How Do Dinosaurs series of children's books that Small Fry looooooves.  I ended up late to my volunteer assignment (whoooops) because I couldn't help jumping into her autograph line for Small Fry.  WORTHSIES!!
(Name edited by me, obviously)
Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple
Yolen was sharing the autograph line with her daughter, fellow author Heidi Stemple.  Jane and Heidi were SUPER nice, asking me about both Small Fry and the increasingly-obvious-under-my-shirt Tater Tot.  Afterwards I volunteered at the main lobby greeting table and had a great time seeing all the happy patrons (kids especially!) coming into and out of the event.  Overall, I really loved doing this and I can't wait to take Small Fry next year...I think he will adore it.

Soooo what am I reading these days?

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and is ranked onFortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one ofTime’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2010, she gave an electrifying TEDTalk in which she described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. Her talk, which became a phenomenon and has been viewed more than two million times, encouraged women to “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.

In Lean In, Sandberg digs deeper into these issues, combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to cut through the layers of ambiguity and bias surrounding the lives and choices of working women. She recounts her own decisions, mistakes, and daily struggles to make the right choices for herself, her career, and her family. She provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career, urging women to set boundaries and to abandon the myth of “having it all.”  She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women in the workplace and at home. (From Goodreads)


I've been meaning to read this ever since it first came out, partially because I can't resist a book that invites controversy, and partially because I am really interested in what Sandberg has to say, especially because I recently left the 9-5 workforce.  I'm about half done and loving it.  I definitely do not agree with everything Sandberg espouses in her book, but even so, it's extremely thought-provoking and has lead to some pretty interesting conversations with my husband.  My review is going to be a mile long when I finally write it (you've been warned).

The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle

To the outside Diana and Joe have a perfect family-three lovely children, a beautiful home, and a café that's finally taking off. But their world is rocked when it's discovered that their oldest daughter, 17-year-old Morgan is having an affair with her married teacher, TJ Hill.

Their town rocks with the scandal. When the case goes to trial, the family is torn further apart when Morgan sides not with her parents-as a manipulated teenage girl; but with TJ himself-as a woman who loves a 30-year-old man.

Told from the perspectives of Morgan, Diana, and TJ's wife, Rain, this is an unforgettable story that fully explores the surprising, even shocking, events that change the lives of two families. (From Goodreads)


This is a TLC Book Tour for me and I am completely immersed!  Fans of Jodi Picoult and family dramas are going to love this one.  Can't wait to share my review with you later this week.  I'm about 100 pages from the end, and I have no idea how it's going to wrap up--gotta love the feeling of suspense.

What will I read next?
I have a month before my next book tour review, so I'm looking forward to tackling a few things on my shelves--hopefully The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok, Allegiant by Veronica Roth (gotta finish that series!!), and/or The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.

What's in your reading plans this week, friends?
 
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