Aug 172018
 

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Ginny Tapley Takemori – translator
Nancy Wu – Narrator

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 3 hours and 21 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Audible.com Release Date: June 12, 2018
Thirty-six-year-old Tokyo resident Keiko Furukara has never fit in, neither in her family, nor in school, but when at the age of eighteen she begins working at the Hiiromachi branch of a national convenience store chain Smile Mart, she realizes instantly that she has found her purpose in life. Delighted to be able to exist in a place where the rules of social interaction are crystal clear (many are laid out line by line in the stores manual), Keiko does her best to copy the dress, mannerisms, and mode of speech of her colleagues, playing the part of a normal person excellently, more or less. Keiko is the perfect employee, never late, always worrying about how to maximize sales, brilliantly conscientious and highly energetic. Managers come and go but Keiko remains at the store for eighteen years. Its almost hard to tell where the store ends and she begins. Keiko is very happy in her life, but the people close to her, from her family to her coworkers, pressure her to settle down with a man and to find a proper profession. Eventually, she is pushed to make a huge change. The static world of Keiko is upended but will it be for the better? A brilliant depiction of an unusual psyche and an extraordinary world, Convenience Store Woman is both an ironic and sharp-eyed look at contemporary work culture and the pressures to conform, as well as a charming and completely fresh portrait of an unforgettable heroine.

Thoughts
I first saw this book when Kathy posted her thoughts on it. It sounded different than anything I’ve ever read and she enjoyed it so I thought I’d give it a try.

I loved Keiko. She grew up knowing she was different than other people and felt like she didn’t fit in, even at a young age. When she graduated high school she started working at a convenience store and finally found her place in the world. The routine, order, & sounds of the store made her feel comfortable and capable.  She was the perfect convenience store worker.

The characters are fun to get to know, especially Shiraha, the man she meets at the store who is more of an outcast than she ever thought she was. He has a low opinion of just about everyone, especially women . But Keiko and Shiraha start a relationship of sorts, and that was when her family finally eased up on worrying about her. After all, she was almost 40 yrs. old and had never had a boyfriend. Things were not quite what they thought though.

It was fun learning that cashiers in Japan talk differently to their customers than cashiers in the U.S. One of the things they say is “Your receipt, sir. Thank you for your custom!”. I also liked learning that they greet customers by saying “Irasshaimase”, which means “welcome” or “come in”.

This is a really short read (or in my case, listen) and I definitely enjoyed it. It’s a great choice if you’re in the mood for something different or a quick read.

Counts toward the following challenge:
Audiobook

Aug 132018
 

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros sharing the first paragraph or two of a book that I’m reading or plan to read soon

Feel free to join in by posting your own FCFPTI and linking below

The Wife Between Us

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

She walks briskly down the city sidewalk, her blond hair bouncing against her shoulders, her cheeks flushed, a gym bag looped over her forearm. When she reaches her apartment building her hand dips into her purse and pulls out her keys. The street is loud and busy, with yellow cabs racing by, commuters returning from work, and shoppers entering the deli on the corner. But my eyes never stray from her.

Aug 092018
 

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
Narrated by Stephanie Racine

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 9 hours and 27 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Audible.com Release Date: March 13, 2018

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:

I’m in a coma.
My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from 20 years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller audiobook asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?

Thoughts
Oh. My. Goodness.

This book is told in 3 different time settings.
Now– when Amber wakes up in the hospital, not knowing how she ended up there. She can hear everything that’s being said & feel everything. She can feel on the inside and outside. She can feel when people touch her or when they administer a bag of medicine etc.
Then– the events leading up to her being admitted to the hospital.
Diary entries– from 1992 when she was a child.

I can’t imagine being in a coma. Hearing everything that’s being said but not being about to speak. She would scream at them, trying to make them hear her but they couldn’t. She was trapped inside her body, having no say in any conversation about her or what was being done to her.

I’ve only recently started reading mystery/thrillers again and the last few I’ve read (listened to) have been amazing. This is my favorite. Just when you think you have everything figured out, there’s another twist that shocks you again. There’s one twist/surprise after another and it kept me so engrossed that I would stay awake at night even when I had to work the next day. I literally couldn’t wait to see what happened next.

Each twist was shocking. So much so that I had to put the book on pause so that I could think about what just happened. But there was one majorly huge twist where I had to stop for about 10 minutes and try to wrap my head around what I’d just heard. Even after I thought I got it all figured out, I was still in shock and kept thinking about it, trying to make sure I got it right.  It was  a big shock!

I’ve read some reviews of this book where people say it was too confusing and the ending didn’t make sense. I agree. But if you take the time like I did and try to decipher what happened, it makes so much sense. This is the most cleverly written book I’ve ever read.

This is the authors first book, which surprised me. You’d think she’s been writing for many years. If review sites had a 10 star rating, that’s what I’d give this book!

The book is narrated by Stephanie Racine who did a terrific job!

The author’s website says the book is soon to be a tv series. I sure hope it’s available in the U.S. !

She has a book coming out later this year titled Sometime I Kill. I will definitely be getting a copy.

Counts toward the following challenge:
Audiobook

Aug 082018
 

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Listening Length: 3 hours and 55 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Listening Library
Audible.com Release Date: August 28, 2014
Language: English
ASIN: B00MI249D2

Jacqueline Woodson, one of today’s finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

Thoughts
I’ve wanted to read this book for a few years and since the August Monthly Motif book theme is “Award Winners”, I chose this book.

I was surprised to learn that the author was born in Columbus, Ohio which is where I grew up.  I was also surprised that the author could remember so much from her childhood, especially her younger years.

The book was very interesting and gave me a great picture of her family and her life growing up. I’m a big fan of family time in books and this book was full of that. I was happy to know that she accomplished what she wanted in her life as a child. Not many of us can say that.

This was a really short read but it was full of good memories and I enjoyed it a lot. I would definitely recommend it.

I enjoyed listening to the author’s narration. She did a great job!

Counts toward the following challenge:
Audiobook
Non-Fiction
Monthly Motif

Aug 062018
 

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros sharing the first paragraph or two of a book that I’m reading or plan to read soon

Feel free to join in by posting your own FCFPTI and linking below

Sometimes I Lie

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:

1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

I’m always delighted in the free fall between sleep and wakefulness. Those precious few semiconscious seconds before you open your eyes, when you catch yourself believing that your dreams might just be your reality. A moment of intense pleasure or pain, before your senses reboot and inform you who and where and what you are. For now, for just a second longer, I’m enjoying the self-medicated delusion that permits me to imagine that I could be anyone, I could be anywhere, I could be loved.

Aug 022018
 

How To Walk Away by Katherine Center

Narrated by: Therese Plummer

Listening Length: 10 hours and 36 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Audible.com Release Date: May 15, 2018

Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment. In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there’s her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there’s Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won’t let her give in to her pity and who sees her like no one has seen her before.

Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.

Thoughts
This is another book that will be going on my 2018 favorites list. I love the way the story is written, the way things unfold, and all of the characters.  I did end up wanting to tell one of the characters off a few times, but in the end everything worked out.

I loved the way Margaret handled what she was dealt. I loved that her parents were so supportive, I loved that her sister Kit decided to go back home and help Margaret through this tough time. And I loved Ian. He was gruff and all business without a sense of humor with his patients, but soon he softened up just a tiny bit and you could tell there was a good guy  in there hiding.

I don’t want to say much more because I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone. I will say this is a really good book and I couldn’t listen to it fast enough. There were a lot of ups and downs and some really funny parts and some really sad parts. The ending was fantastic!

The narrator did a great job with the voices, especially Ian’s.

So glad I listened to this!

Counts toward the following challenge:

Audiobook

Jul 302018
 

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros sharing the first paragraph or two of a book that I’m reading or plan to read soon

Feel free to join in by posting your own FCFPTI and linking below

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

february 12, 1963

I am born on a Tuesday at University Hospital
Columbus, Ohio
USA-
a country caught

between Black and White

I am born not long from the time
or far from the place
where
my great-great-grandparents
worked the deep rich land
unfree
dawn till dusk
unpaid
drank cool wather from the scooped-out gourds
looked up and followed
the sky’s mirrored constellation
to freedom.

Jul 292018
 

Sunday Reflections

Outside…
76° with a clear light blue sky, high of 88° with 98% humidity & 90% chance of thunderstorms & very quiet

Thankful…
For feeling a bit better

Reading…
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

Listening To…
One Night In November by Amélie Antoine

Watching…
P.S. I Love You

Fitness…
I found some workout videos that Stacy posted a year ago and I want to check them out and see if there’s any that I want to do

In The Kitchen…
No idea

Today’s To-Do List…
Just relaxing with some books, tv, & my animals

One of my favorite things:
Rare days of no plans & nothing on the to-do list

Looking forward to…
Cooler weather and the end of our rainy season, it’s so humid, even before the sun comes up

A Link I Want To Share
Snapguide

Question…
Do you have any siblings?
My answer: I have a twin brother & 3 older sisters, our oldest sister is deceased

A Favorite Bible Verse…
A merry heart does good like a medicine; but a broken spirit dries the bones.
– Proverbs 17:22

From the camera…

Jul 242018
 
Readers-workouts-Joy
Hosted by Joy @ Joy’s Book Blog

For 5-6 days I’ve had a bad cough, keep losing my voice,  and light headed on & off. Still, I’m doing ok with my eating and most of my fitness goals. I don’t seem to be running a temp. other than at night sometimes. I seem to have the same level of energy until I use it all up at work and then all I want to do is eat a light meal and recoup. I’ve not been sleeping very good at night due to bouts of coughing so naps are very welcome in the early afternoon.

July Goals
1. Eat more meatless meals
2. Drink enough water:
3. Strength train 5 times a week
4. Tai-Chi/Chi Gong twice a week

I’ve done great this last week with eating more meatless meals
I’m doing good with drinking water
I strength trained 5 days
No Tai-chi/Chi Gong,  due to being tired and lightheaded

Steps Last Week
Tuesday~ 7/17: 8,873
Wednesday~ 7/18: 8,886
Thursday ~ 7/19: didn’t track
Friday ~ 7/20: 10,142
Saturday ~ 7/21: 8,392
Sunday ~ 7/22: 7,415
Monday ~ 7/23: didn’t track

Jul 232018
 

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros sharing the first paragraph or two of a book that I’m reading or plan to read soon

Feel free to join in by posting your own FCFPTI and linking below

High Seas Homicide (Hannaford British Cozy Mystery Book 1) by [Collins, Danielle]

High Seas Homicide (Hannaford British Cozy #1) by Danielle Collins

Lucy Hannaford was in the middle of racking her brains for what she would do next when her husband John came home from work. He worked as a tax attorney for the city of London- the least glamorous job anyone could possible have. She didn’t envy his work. He came home weary, his head down, his back hunched over. He went straight for the armchair every day, not even bothering to change his clothes. He pushed his shoes off his feet, then scrounged around for the television remote.

Jul 222018
 

Sunday Reflections

Outside…
Right now it’s 90° with a “feels like” of 105°, and there’s a thunderstorm warning in effect for the next 24 hours

Thankful…
That I don’t have to work tomorrow

Reading…
I’m still in a reading slump and just can’t get into the printed word

Listening To…
How To Walk Away by Katherine Center

Watching…
I’m still watching Big Brother 20 and started binge watching When Calls The Heart because I’m missing it while it’s on summer break

Fitness…
I found a post Stacy did back in August of last year with her 5 favorite workouts she did for her 30 Day Challenges. I plan on watching them later today or tomorrow and hopefully I’ll find a few that I want to do for next month

In The Kitchen…
KFC

Today’s To-Do List…
Work and then some laundry, blogging, tv, & audiobook, and maybe a nap

One of my favorite things:
Not getting caught in the rain

Looking forward to…
Going to Jeremy & Susie’s with Anthony for a movie marathon next weekend

Question…
Would you rather have unlimited sushi for life or unlimited tacos for life?
A: I like sushi but I LOVE tacos, so tacos would be my answer

A Favorite Bible Verse…

From the camera…

 

Jul 192018
 

Heaven Adjacent by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Narrated by: Laural Merlington
Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 06-19-18
Language: English
Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Roseanna Chaldecott spent her life as a high-powered lawyer in Manhattan. But when her best friend and law partner dies suddenly, something snaps. Unsure of her future, Roseanna heads upstate on one tank of gas and with no plans to return.

In the foothills of the Adirondacks, Roseanna discovers the perfect hideout in a ramshackle farm. Its seventy-six acres are rich with possibilities and full of surprises, including a mother and daughter squatting on the property. Although company is the last thing Roseanna wants, she reluctantly lets them stay.

Roseanna and the young girl begin sculpting junk found around the farm into zoo animals, drawing more newcomers—including her estranged son, Lance. He pleads with Roseanna to return to the city, but she’s finally discovered where she belongs. It may not provide the solitude she originally sought, but her heart has found room for much more.

Thoughts
This is a feel good book although there are a few sad moments. It’s about an older women finding herself before it’s too late, like it was for her best friend Alice. Her journey leads her to a piece of heaven out in the country which is out of her comfort zone since she lived her whole life in NYC. She meets some wonderful people and a few not so wonderful people. Her son Lance finds her and tries to talk her into going back to her life in the city but she won’t do it. So they end up working together to find their way to the relationship they both want.

There are a few times this book made me laugh out loud.

I loved every minute of this book. The narrator did a great job with the voices. My favorite voice was the little girl named Willa. The narrator did such a great job with her voice. She sounded adorable!

This story has a great message: YOLO. Don’t spend your life thinking about what you want to do when you retire. Live your life NOW.

Another message is that family isn’t only the relatives you have, family can be the people you meet in your life that you choose, or choose you, as part of their family.

Love this author!

Counts toward the following challenge:

Audiobook

Monthly Motif

 

Jul 182018
 

 

Readers-workouts-Joy

Hosted by Joy @ Joy’s Book Blog

July Goals 
1. Eat more meatless meals: I ate 15 meatless meals last week
2. Drink enough water: Drank more, still about 10-15  oz. short each day
3. Strength train 5 times a week: I met my goal for strength training
4. Tai-chi/chi-gong three x’s a week: Fell short again

Food
I signed up to try Dinnerly. Not sure how we’ll like it since we didn’t like the first meal kit plan we tried. I got the first three meals last night and plan on making one of them tonight.

Steps Last Week
Tuesday~ 7/10: 8,216
Wednesday~ 7/11: 8,281
Thursday ~ 7/12: 8,113
Friday ~ 7/13: 9,004
Saturday ~ 7/14: didn’t track
Sunday ~ 7/15: didn’t track
Monday ~ 7/16: 12,052

Jul 162018
 

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros sharing the first paragraph or two of a book that I’m reading or plan to read soon

Feel free to join in by posting your own FCFPTI and linking below

The Bridge: A Collection of Short Stories

The Bridge: A Collection of Short Stories by Paula Kay

Not Today

Laura glanced at her reflection in the rearview mirror as she waited for the light to change.

So tired. She looked so damn tired. And old. And pathetic, she thought as she noticed just how red her eyes were from the latest onslaught of tears that had come during the last hour.

Jul 152018
 

Sunday Reflections

Outside…
It’s too early to tell, but it’s been cooler the last few days so I’m hoping today will be too

Thankful…
For family time

Reading…
The Bridge: A Collection Of Short Stories by Paula Kay

Listening To…
Heaven Adjacent by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Watching…
Big Brother 20

Fitness…
I’m doing good, eating better and drinking more water. Sunday is a “free” day as far as food

In The Kitchen…
Last night we had fish and baked beans

Today’s To-Do List…
I have a 4 hour meeting at a nearby hospital which is for work and then going to Mr. Dunderbak’s with Anthony, Jeremy, & Susie

One of my favorite things:
Smelling fresh cut grass

Looking forward to…
Spending time with my daughter tomorrow

Question…
Would you rather live permanently in a roller coaster park or in a zoo?
My Answer: I LOVE roller coasters but I also love animals, and think a zoo would be a better place to live permanently. Although coaster are fun, animals are better company.

A Favorite Bible Verse…

From the camera…

Jul 102018
 

Readers-workouts-Joy

Hosted by Joy @ Joy’s Book Blog

July Goals
1. Eat more meatless meals
2. Drink enough water
3. Strength train 5 times a week
4. Either tai-chi or chi gong at least twice a week

I met this weeks goals for #’s 1 & 3 but not the other two

Food Ideas For This Week
Taco Salad (recipe to be posted on Sat.)
Pork chops, mashed potatoes, corn
Baked Black Beans & Sweet Potato Flautas (recommended by my dil)

Steps Last Week
Tuesday~ 7/3: 8,667
Wednesday~ 7/4: 11,682
Thursday ~ 7/5: 8,690
Friday ~ 7/6: didn’t track
Saturday ~ 7/7: 10,844
Sunday ~ 7/8: didn’t track
Monday ~ 7/9: 10,033