Showing posts with label susanna daniel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label susanna daniel. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Well-Read Redhead's Best Books of 2013!

It's that time of year, y'all!  All those Best Books lists are being released, and I am never one to be left out of the fun and games.  So without further ado...

The Well-Read Redhead's Best Books of 2013!

As happened last year, I had an immensely difficult time compiling this list.  It took me ages to narrow it down to just 10 books that I've read in the last year.  But I managed, and here they are (in no particular order, and with links to my original reviews):

1. How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
I went into this novel with hesitation, because I hadn't done a heavy classic in a while.  I was more than pleasantly surprised.  An amazing coming-of-age tale that is going to stick with me for a long, long time.

2. Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson
I am admittedly biased because I love food memoirs, and I love the Food Network stars...so this was a match made in heaven for me from the start.  Either way, it deserves a spot on this list, if only because Samuelsson's journey is so unique and inspiring.

3. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
As an avid Picoult fan, I had high expectations for this one, and was not disappointed in the least.  I've read a lot of Holocaust-based historical fiction...this is one of the better ones I can remember coming across.

4. White Dog Fell From The Sky by Eleanor Morse
Beautiful, picturesque, gorgeous, awesome-sauce writing is the #1 reason why this made it on the list.  The captivating story is a bonus.

5. Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel
If there was a book that should be on everyone's list for great character development, this is it.  Beautiful prose, and makes me feel like one of my 2014 resolutions should be to read more of Daniel's stuff.

6. Everybody Has Everything by Katrina Onstad
This book tugged at my mommy heartstrings.  HARD.

7. Cooked by Michael Pollan
I continue to be wow'ed by the depth of Pollan's food-based research, combined with his entertaining commentary along the way.  He makes me feel smarter...and hungrier.

8. We Are Water by Wally Lamb
Another epic family drama from Lamb.  He has yet to disappoint me.

9. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
The unsettling tone of this novel is still creeping me out.  The ending was awesome.  I am not quite as in awe of this one as I was of Gone Girl, but ohsoclose.

10. Expecting Better by Emily Oster
This book should be required reading for every pregnant or soon-to-be-pregnant woman out there.  How I wish I had this to counterbalance all the crazy pregnancy books I read when I was knocked up with Small Fry!  At least Tater Tot is reaping the benefits now.

That's the list for this year, readers!  And now you've got 14 more days to buy them for your friends and family before Christmas.  You can thank me later.

What made YOUR best-read list for 2013?

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Surprise and A Sorry: July 2013 in Review

What a month July has been!  To recap...I will start with the "surprise" part of my post title.

Last week was our appointment to find out if Tater Tot (hereby the official blog name of baby #2) is a boy or a girl.  We didn't find out before Small Fry was born, so it was kind of exciting to get the reveal this early.  ALL of our friends and family were predicting girl.  And guess what?

All of our friends and family are terrible guessers.

Tater Tot is a BOY!  Woohoo!  Here comes a little brother for Small Fry!  Somebody break out the first aid kits, I'm going to need them with all these little men in my life!
Don't worry, I'm not posting the picture of his "goods".  I am not THAT mom.
Beyond that, our lives have been filled with getting ready to MOVE.  Our official move date to the temporary rental house is this coming Monday.  EEEEKKKK.  Most of my life is in boxes right now.  But hopefully by mid-next-week we will be somewhat settled into our temporary residence.

The "sorry" is for how spotty my posting will probably be during the next few weeks.  We have next week's move, and then we'll be spending lots of time getting settled and figuring out our new neighborhood/town.  I will be charging into my new adventure as a stay-at-home-mom.  And, by the end of the month, we will be preparing for our second (and FINAL) move into the new house, in September.  Don't worry, I do have some reviews lined up, but I just might not be very comment-respondy or Twitter-chatty.  I will let you know when life returns to normal though!

Onward to the July reading!

The July 2013 Fave/Least Fave choices are deceiving this month, because I can't say I disliked any of the books I read...I just liked some more than others.  So my "least fave" shouldn't be read as being a "bad" novel, capiche?

June 2013 Favorite: Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel
June 2013 Least Favorite: A Woman in Jerusalem by A.B. Yehoshua

In total, I read/reviewed 6 books:
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
Joyland by Stephen King
July 7th by Jill McCorkle
The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison
A Woman in Jerusalem by A.B. Yehoshua
Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel

I also posted 2 new Small Fry Saturday Reviews of On The Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman, and Roadwork by Sally Sutton.

In addition, we chatted about my biggest reading pet peeve, things that make me tell a book to talk to the hand, and the generalized chaos in my life.

So here comes August...month of moving.  AND ALSO...my 1-year Blogoversary!!  Stay tuned for that, I will definitely have a fun giveaway lined up.

Have a great month, readers!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Book Review: Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel

Title: Sea Creatures
Author: Susanna Daniel
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
Source: copy received for honest review through TLC Book Tours

Plot Summary from Goodreads:

When Georgia returns to her hometown of Miami, her toddler son and husband in tow, she is hoping for a fresh start. They have left Illinois trailing scandal and disappointment in their wake: Graham's sleep disorder has cost him his tenure at Northwestern; Georgia's college advising business has gone belly up; and three-year old Frankie is no longer speaking. Miami feels emptier without Georgia's mother, who died five years earlier, but her father and stepmother offer a warm welcome-as well as a slip for the dilapidated houseboat Georgia and Graham have chosen to call home. And a position studying extreme weather patterns at a prestigious marine research facility offers Graham a professional second chance.

When Georgia takes a job as an errand runner for an artist who lives alone in the middle of Biscayne Bay, she's surprised to find her life changes dramatically. Time spent with the intense hermit at his isolated home might help Frankie gain the courage to speak, it seems. And it might help Georgia reconcile the woman she was with the woman she has become.

But when Graham leaves to work on a ship in Hurricane Alley and the truth behind Frankie's mutism is uncovered, the family's challenges return, more complicated than before. Late that summer, as a hurricane bears down on South Florida, Georgia must face the fact that her choices have put her only child in grave danger.

Sea Creatures is a mesmerizing exploration of the high stakes of marriage and parenthood, the story of a woman coming into her own as a mother, forced to choose between her marriage, her child, and the possibility of new love.


My Review:

Love and loss and hurricanes, OH MY.  This might be one of my favorite books of the year so far, friends.  TAKE NOTE!

Sea Creatures, for me, is the perfect blend of serious literature, family drama, and captivating page-turner.  I mean, read that description...is there anything NOT included?  Difficult motherhood issues, strained marriage, death of a parent, job loss--the list goes on.  I was never bored reading through Georgia's journey, that's for sure.  I think it can be risky for an author to attempt so many issues in one book, but Susanna Daniel has a knack for putting together this menagerie of scenarios in a way that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.  I never felt overwhelmed, and each situation was given enough page time that it didn't feel peripheral.  The end result is a novel that constantly keeps your wheels turning, and who doesn't want that?

The characters are wonderfully complex, and as a reader you often get the feeling that you might know them better than they know themselves.  I was forever trying to figure each of them out--their personal motives, their flaws, and their next moves.  Georgia and Charlie (the loner artist mentioned in the description) certainly had one of the most interesting relationships.  They have a push and pull with each other that becomes the centerpiece of their growth as characters during the novel.  And as a reader, I felt that push and pull quite a bit: did I want them to be friends?  Lovers?  Father/daughter-ish?  I couldn't decide, but I found myself quite pleased with how they ended up by the conclusion of the book.

Equally interesting is the relationship between Georgia and her husband Graham.  Daniel does an amazing job of slowly opening the chasm between them as the novel moves along.  Disagreements between them that seem relatively small at in the beginning eventually grow into issues that I never saw coming.  Yet again, even though I wasn't sure what direction they would take, by the end of the book I was impressed with how well their story came together.

And Frankie (Georgia's 3-year-old son)...what a compelling little boy.  You guys know I have a soft spot for well-written child characters, and Frankie is certainly one of them.  Those of you that are mothers will be especially hard-pressed not to have your hearts melt as you follow his progress throughout the novel.

I could write about this book for days, but for respect of your time, I won't.  There's so much going on with each character, so many unexpected twists, so many complex relationships--you'll just have to trust me.  If you need your next un-put-down-able novel, Sea Creatures is it.

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 Susanna Daniel on her websiteFacebook, and Twitter.

We're over halfway through the year, peeps--what have been some of YOUR favorite reads so far?
 
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