Home Feed
Home
Search
Search
Add Review, Blurb, Quote
Add
Activity
Activity
Profile
Profile
LitStephanie

LitStephanie

Joined June 2020

reading now icon
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
review
LitStephanie
post image
Pickpick

Because those personality traits ever go together. 🤣 This was my 1st romance novel, and it was delightful. I howled with laughter at the stereotypical female fantasies, with a dude unicorn, and the over the top passionate (in Scottish dialect!) language. This author can write. I am not saying the book is exactly well written--it is formulaic romance, after all, but the writer is good enough to come up with a good, exciting story.

9 likes2 comments
blurb
LitStephanie
post image

TBR for #wintergames2021 #teamgamesleighers
The pictured, plus The Stupidest Angel (re-read on audio), The Warmth of Other Suns (already started but twice as long as most books so I figure it counts), A Highlander's Christmas Kiss (couldn't resist a holiday bodice ripper), Merry and Bright (cheesy holiday romance), and Long Road to Mercy (recently started). Holiday beer to accompany. Let the games begin!

review
LitStephanie
Home Before Dark | Riley Sager
Pickpick

A woman returns to the supposedly haunted house where her family spent a short time in her childhood. Her father made big profits off a supposedly true haunted house account. This is partly a spoof of the "true horror" genre, with alternating chapters of dad's cheesy, foreshadowing at the end of every chapter, book and daughter Maggie's experiences as she tries to get some closure on what exactly happened here and why her parents lie about it.

review
LitStephanie
Walk the Wire | David Baldacci
Pickpick

This was a good murder mystery set in a fracking town in North Dakota. Amos Decker and Alex Jamison are sent by the FBI to investigate, and they discover something much bigger going on at the local air force base. This is the last in the Memory Man series. The characters are likeable, and the mystery keeps you guessing.

review
LitStephanie
Normal People | Sally Rooney
post image
Pickpick

I had a hard time putting this novel, about a relationship between two people from high school through college, down whenever I picked it up. I still can't decide if the on again, off again sometimes sexual relationship between Marianne and Connell is healthy, or if the ending is sad or happy. Maybe that's the point. They have a deep connection despite miscommunications but can't seem to stop abandoning each other. The writing is powerful, ⬇️

LitStephanie exploring how people often work out their demons through sexual relationships and how hard it is for young people to let go of horrible family dynamics, which they carry into sometimes poisonous interactions with lovers and friends. 1mo
merelybookish I loved this book and the miniseries based on it is good too. 1mo
LitStephanie @merelybookish good to know. I was worried the miniseries would just be gratuitous and focus only on the S&M stuff because it's TV. 1mo
27 likes3 comments
review
LitStephanie
Romeo and Juliet | William Shakespeare
post image
Pickpick

Although plays are meant to be seen, R&J has been so overdone that it was great to slow down and really enjoy the language by reading it with #shakespearereadalong. The beautiful imagery and witty comedic dialog never get old. In reading vs. watching, you also can't be distracted by the much older actors in most productions and remember that these were two kids dead because of the absurd hatred and customs of older generations.

batsy Yes! I think it's a play that's taken a life of its own in pop culture and become overburdened with symbolism, so it was really nice to go back to reading the play slowly and discussing 🙂 1mo
LitStephanie @batsy totally agree. 1mo
22 likes2 comments
review
LitStephanie
post image
Pickpick

This is the best book I have read in a couple of years. Eleanor is a lonely, depressed young woman who doesn't know she is lonely until she finally makes a friend. She is hilariously socially awkward due to terrible events in her childhood, but there is no self pity, and the violence in her past is neither gratuitous nor dwelt on. I love that this book is about the transformative power of friendship, not romantic love. It only takes one person ⬇️

LitStephanie to really see her and like her despite her faults to open up her mind to possibilities. Some people will always be rude to misfits, but Eleanor learns that she has something to offer in relationships with other people. A very funny book that gets more serious as she deals with repressed trauma in the last fourth of the book. 1mo
IuliaC Great review! I liked this novel very much 👍 1mo
LitStephanie @IuliaC thanks! 1mo
22 likes3 comments
quote
LitStephanie

"I had no idea how to respond, and opted for a smile, which serves me well on most occasions (not if it's something to do with death or illness, though--I know that now)." This book keeps making me laugh. I have not laughed so much at a book about someone who has endured serious trauma since reading Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. It is wonderful and witty!

quote
LitStephanie
Romeo and Juliet | William Shakespeare

"There is thy gold--worse poison to men's souls, Doing more murder in this loathsome world Than these poor compounds that thou mayest not sell. I sell thee poison; thou hast sold me none." I love this speech from Romeo when he buys poison. Money is no doubt largely the reason the Montagues and Capulets, the two richest families in the area, started fighting in the first place. #shakespearereadalong

quote
LitStephanie

"My phone doesn't ring often--it makes me jump when it does--and it's usually people asking if I've been mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance. I whisper I know where you live to them, and hang up the phone very, very gently." Just started this book but it looks funny! ?

16 likes1 stack add
review
LitStephanie
Pickpick

This book was fun, but it takes more suspension of disbelief than even the other Jack Reacher books I have read. It is set in the implausible situation of a midsize U.S. city ENTIRELY controlled by two organized crime gangs. Jack bumps into a guy deep in debt to one of the gangs and decides to help. The body count is comically high, and the other characters are good action ready sidekicks.

review
LitStephanie
Fields Where They Lay | Timothy Hallinan
Pickpick

Crime mystery starring Junior Bender, a professional thief hired to find out why shoplifting is out of control at a dying mall. I enjoyed the narrator's often funny commentary, the well drawn characters (Jewish mall Santa is one of my favorites), and the various views of cheesy, materialistic, yet somehow alluring Xmas. This would be a fun December read.

8 likes1 stack add
review
LitStephanie
Mexican Gothic | Silvia Moreno-Garcia
post image
Pickpick

Once the story really started getting creepy, I had a hard time putting this book down. It is a fun Gothic horror set in 1940s or 1950s Mexico, complete with a scary old mansion run by a mean old man who might just be a literal monster and not only a metaphorical one, a smart young heroine determined to solve the mystery of the family, ghosts (or just bad dreams?) and even some romance. Highly recommend.

blurb
LitStephanie
Sleepy Hollow | Washington Irving
post image

It's a black bean brownie, kitty snuggles, binge watch the Fox TV series Sleepy Hollow kind of day. This show is nothing like Irving's story, but it is a super fun Halloween cheesy plot!

review
LitStephanie
post image
Mehso-so

This book spends way too much time on the sexual tension between Patroclus and Achilles as young boys, and they don't get to Troy until over halfway through the book. The timing feels off once the war starts, too. Some parts that are lingered on (such as a wildly unbelievable subplot of Achilles and Patroclus saving a bunch of girls from sexual slavery and Patroclus constant admiration of Achilles's appearance) feel indulgent and even 👇

LitStephanie as if the author is trying to fill space. Miller hints at a theme of humans being thwarted by capricious gods when they exercise too much free will, and there certainly is a theme that you can't escape fate, but there is no "so what." Mostly this is a well written love story between two people totally obsessed with each other from age ten or so to death, to the point where it is just weird. 2mo
19 likes1 comment
review
LitStephanie
Measure for Measure | William Shakespeare
post image
Pickpick

Although the stakes are high, with Claudio facing death for the crime of fornication and a corrupt magistrate demanding sex from Claudio's sister in exchange for sparing him, there is a lot of funny in this play. Pompey is one of my favorite clowns (goes from pimp to executioner's assistant smoothly and with no complaints), and Lucio's hilarious two-faced slandering leads to a wonderful spectacle of come-uppance. 👇

LitStephanie The themes around people trying to find the balance between oppressed, judgmental prudery and all-out libertine are thought provoking and relevant right now. 2mo
11 likes2 comments
quote
LitStephanie
Fields Where They Lay | Timothy Hallinan

"Say what you will about the past, it's rarely an improvement to bulldoze it wholesale. Even in Los Angeles, if you go back far enough, you'll encounter two or three periods when people briefly displayed good taste, and some of those structures should be preserved, if only for variety." Not sure what I think of the story yet, but loving the commentary!

quote
LitStephanie
post image

Right there with you, Achilles! That is pretty much how I have always thought of the Trojan War.

review
LitStephanie
Redemption | David Baldacci
Pickpick

This detective novel is more realistic and had better character development than a lot of this genre. A detective revisits a murder investigation he solved years ago when events occur that suggest the man who went to prison was innocent. A good murder mystery that also explores dealing with loss, coming to grips with your mistakes, and not drowning in the past. Recommend.

Jennaree3 Sounds like it should be added to my list. Thanks ! 2mo
9 likes1 stack add2 comments
review
LitStephanie
post image
Pickpick

Jack Reacher, crime fighting drifter with super-hero-like strength and fighting prowess, sees a criminal mastermind he thought he killed years ago walking alive down the street and joins a DEA team investigating one of his underlings (because yeah, federal law enforcement just allows things like that, LOL). I liked how you get a bit of Reacher's MP background in this one.

review
LitStephanie
The Sentinel: A Jack Reacher Novel | Lee Child, Andrew Child
post image
Pickpick

While unrealistic to the point where I was expecting a surprise twist that the protaganist would turn out to be a secret super hero with magic powers, this was a fun thriller. Jack Reacher is an ex-military guy who wanders the country getting into trouble, including lots of violent fights, because he likes to help victims and solve crims. I have already read another Jack Reacher novel and intend to read more.

LitStephanie Think that (IMO) terrible John Wick movie but more entertaining and with extra judicial murders to fight crimes against random strangers instead of personal vendetta. 3mo
7 likes1 stack add1 comment
blurb
LitStephanie
Persuasion | Jane Austen
post image

#pemberlittens Arsenic complexion wafers, anyone?

blurb
LitStephanie
Macbeth | William Shakespeare
post image

#shakespearereadalong I have been a terrible slacker the past few weeks due to travel, but on the plus side, I got to geek out over these pages from the first folio.

MoonWitch94 So cool!!! 3mo
LitStephanie @MoonWitch94 this was at a computer museum, and I spent more time on this and the cuneiform and clay tablet displays than on any of the electronics. :-) 3mo
MoonWitch94 😂🤣 I would have done the same! 3mo
14 likes3 comments
quote
LitStephanie
Measure for Measure | William Shakespeare
post image

I love Pompey so much! He is now one of my favorite Shakespeare clowns. #shakespearereadalong

15 likes1 comment
quote
LitStephanie
Measure for Measure | William Shakespeare

In 4.1.71, the Duke tells Mariana "He is your husband on a precontract; To bring you thus together is no sin." Yet Claudio and Julietta had a contract made in the presence of witnesses, and Claudio is sentenced to death. What a difference for such similar situations! #shakespearereadalong

Graywacke The Duke‘s whims? 3mo
LitStephanie @Graywacke I am not sure if it is that or if there was some actual legal difference in the ceremonies. I was assuming the latter, but maybe this is just showing how capricious the law is under this administration. 3mo
12 likes2 comments
review
LitStephanie
Echoes from the Dead | Johan Theorin
Bailedbailed

This one didn't bring me in. Not bad, just too slow moving for my taste. It is about a woman still grieving her son and missing lots of work because her child disappeared 20 years ago. She is rather unlikeable. Then someone mails her dad what might be the child's shoe, and takes forever to tell her, bit by bit, what his suspicions are. I bailed a little over a third in.

SamAnne Yeah, it‘s a slow one. I liked the backdrop for the story though. 3mo
LitStephanie @SamAnne me too. I enjoyed the descriptions of the landscape and working life in the village 3mo
8 likes2 comments
review
LitStephanie
The Family Upstairs | Lisa Jewell
Pickpick

I read this engrossing, menacing-mood thriller in a few days. A young, adopted woman comes into her inheritance of a mansion from her birth parents and tries to find out more about them, and their violent deaths. It isn't quite perfect--the concealment of Lucy's true identity feels forced and unnatural after awhile--but the character development and narration, which switches from memoirs to present action, are great.

review
LitStephanie
All's Well that Ends Well | William Shakespeare
Pickpick

A virtuous, admired young woman sets her sights on a womanizing guy way above her station. She earns a special dispensation from the king to marry him, but it's a forced marriage for him. She works some tricks to snare him, but he's a slimeball who is never going to treat her well or really love her. There is a lot of humor in this play, but also a timeless, serious question: why do playboy POS's attract smart, great, loyal women? Continued below.

LitStephanie There is a lot to think about here. Is Shakespeare showing the unhappiness that results from the social disruption of marrying above your station? A woman doggedly pursuing an unwilling man is kind of a gender role reversal--is the point that forced marriages, regardless of who is being forced, are problematic? Or is this truly a story of how having someone good really love you no matter what leads to redemption? #shakespearereadalong 4mo
12 likes1 comment
blurb
LitStephanie
Persuasion | Jane Austen
post image

Chapter 12. #pemberlittens

quote
LitStephanie
Persuasion | Jane Austen
post image

Chapter 10. Can we talk about Mary for a moment? So ready to think she is being slighted or neglected! So completely oblivious to how unpleasant people find her company! I love how she always complains about her health but insists on not being left out of any activity. It is only through Elizabeth being a complete monster that Mary seems like a good sister. #pemberlittens

Crinoline_Laphroaig She reminds me of my mother.😳 Austen always does such a good job writing hypochondriacs. You know there had to be some in her life. 4mo
LitStephanie @Crinoline_Laphroaig she reminds me of a certain family member, too. Like Anne, I love this person, but man she is a pain! Always looking for reasons to be offended. I like how Austen captures that dynamic of liking someone even as you are frustrated with some of their personality traits. 4mo
29 likes1 stack add2 comments
quote
LitStephanie
All's Well that Ends Well | William Shakespeare
post image

Act 5. Bertram the liar continues to lie, claiming he is sorry about not appreciating Helena, that really the reason he didn't was that he secretly loved Maudlin (because he has been offered an advantageous marriage to her), and to top it all off says the ring he got from his one-night stand lady (for so he thinks it was) was thrown to him by some lovelorn woman who refused its return when he said he was married. I hate this guy.

9 likes1 comment
review
LitStephanie
Every Last Fear | Alex Finlay
Pickpick

I devoured this in four days. A teenage boy is accused and convicted of murdering his girlfriend, but his dad and sister never believed it, and a new clue emerges. Dad and sister foolishly follow the clue to Mexico, not considering that whoever might have framed their Danny might do anything to avoid the truth coming out. Danny's brother Matt, who thinks Danny is guilty, is left to try and figure out what really happened.

LitStephanie @SamAnne thanks for the suggestion! 4mo
SamAnne I‘m only halfway through! Have been listening but decided I needed the print version to really enjoy. Waiting at the library for me to pick up tomorrow! 4mo
LitStephanie @SamAnne I read it on Libby. Couldn't put it down. Sometimes audio books are hard to stay interested in. 4mo
10 likes3 comments
quote
LitStephanie
Persuasion | Jane Austen
post image

Sorry to post two quotes from chapter 3, but Sir Elliot is just killing me with his foppish snobbery! 🤣
#pemberlittens

SamAnne 😂😂😂 4mo
Crinoline_Laphroaig Protect the shrubberies! 4mo
LitStephanie @Crinoline_Laphroaig right? Does he imagine they will beat them with umbrellas? 4mo
24 likes3 comments
quote
LitStephanie
Persuasion | Jane Austen

"consequence has its tax; I, John Shepherd, might conceal any family-matters that I chose, for nobody would think it worth their while to observe me; but Sir Walter Elliot has eyes upon him which it may be very difficult to elude . . . two hours will bring me over at any time, to save you the trouble of replying."

Shepherd's obsequious, flattering manner towards Sir Walter = ??? Chapter 3 #pemberlittens

review
LitStephanie
Lavinia | Ursula K. LeGuin
Mehso-so

Meh. This is a narrative of the life of Lavinia, Aeneas's last wife in Vergil's Aeneid. As a teen, the poet Vergil speaks to her across time as he is dying and tells her what is going to happen. The purpose of her life is to marry a hero, a widower twice her age, who will die three years later, so she can bear his child, whose descendents will found Rome. She gets no other life. How depressing. Just interesting enough to finish.

blurb
LitStephanie
The Bat | Jo Nesb
post image

I am looking for recommendations for good crime mystery novels, please. I liked the one tagged, but am open to all good mysteries. The one thing I absolutely cannot handle is animal cruelty, so please suggest books without that.

SamAnne I‘m listening to Every Last Fear right now and enjoying it. And if you find A good one let me know. I‘ve been wanting to read Jo Nesbo. 4mo
SamAnne One I liked this year in the Nordic noir genre. You are welcome to borrow it. I found it on a list in the NYT on the best recommendations on Nordic Noir authors. 4mo
LitStephanie Thanks @SamAnne ! I would like to borrow it. 4mo
10 likes2 stack adds3 comments
review
LitStephanie
post image
Pickpick

Arnold's book is a very interesting collection of accounts and facts about the "Spanish flu" pandemic (including why it was called that). She gathered a lot of first hand accounts that are both scary and fascinating. This is not a scientific analysis, and sometimes the editing is poor and leaves you scratching your head after reading a paragraph until you realize she didn't express some math quite right or made a mistake, but it is still good.

SamAnne I read Pale Rider at the beginning of the Pandemic. Learned so much. 4mo
LitStephanie @SamAnne she mentions that memoir in this book and tells the flu story of the author. 4mo
10 likes2 comments
review
LitStephanie
Bailedbailed

I was hoping this would be amusing, and it was at first, but it is just boring and petty. The witty observations and repartee of Pride and Prejudice are traded for clumsy innuendos and euphemisms. I did not even find the numerous sex scenes very sexy. Dialog and description were both unskillful, and the plot is slow, scattered, and smallish. I threw in the towel at 95 pages.

12 likes1 comment
blurb
LitStephanie
post image

Finally got time for this, thanks for the tag @SamAnne!
1. I became quite obsessed with the tagged book this month, and now I want to read more about the subject.
2. Expendable by James Alan Gardner would make a great sci fi flick.
3. Scientists!
@Eggs #wondrouswednesday

LitStephanie Tagging @Darklunarose and @DaveGreen7777 although I realize it is late in the day! 4mo
DaveGreen7777 Thank you for the tag! 😊 4mo
Eggs Thanks for joining in 📚📖 4mo
Darklunarose Thanks for tagging! 4mo
13 likes1 stack add4 comments
blurb
LitStephanie
post image

1. As a little kid, I was very upset when the first full blown casinos opened in my state, due to legislation allowing them a few years prior. Yeah, I was a weird kid.
2. Bookstores, sadly. I can't stay out of them when I travel.
3. I loved the Chronicles of Narnia and read them numerous times as a child. I had no idea they were religious, LOL.
#wondrouswednesday @Eggs

SamAnne @LitStephanie as a fellow non-Christian the religious allegory went completely over my head too! I laughed when I reread them when older. 5mo
LitStephanie @SamAnne I did not find out until college when we reviewed some of Lewis's beautiful Christian apologetics prose in Philosophy class. Then of course it all clicked with the Aslan figure and his murder and resurrection. . . Duh! 5mo
Eggs Thanks for joining in 👍🏼🥳📚 5mo
15 likes3 comments
quote
LitStephanie
All's Well that Ends Well | William Shakespeare
post image

Act 2. Does anyone understand what the fight between Lefew and Parolles is all about? I don't understand why this exchange was so offensive to both of them! #shakespearereadalong

blurb
LitStephanie

One of the reasons I am reading this book is that I wanted to understand how the COVID 19 virus compares to the flu of 1918. Per this book, 4500 people died of flu and pneumonia in the third week of October 1918 in Philadelphia alone. To compare, COVID 19 has killed 3754 people in Philadelphia total, since the first reported case in March 2020. Kind of puts things in perspective.

quote
LitStephanie

Wickham on Lydia: "Looking again to his wife, he then just as hastily looked away, not wanting to invite her conversation. She was licking the last residue of chocolate from her fingertips with no less noise than a cow sucking it's foot from the mud. He prayed that her indecorous desire for bonbons was the source of her ever-increasing girth and she was not with child, for a wailing infant would be the last straw upon his ill-temper." ?

LitStephanie #pemberlittens, anyone read this one? I just started, but it's pretty amusing so far. 5mo
14 likes1 stack add1 comment
quote
LitStephanie

"In Hamburg, four hundred were dying each day and furniture vans had to carry the bodies to the cemetery. 'We are returning every day to the barbarism of the Middle Ages . . . ,' wrote Princess Evelyn. 'I am often astonished that there are no religious fanatics nowadays to run through the streets, dressed in sackcloth and ashes and calling on the people to repent their sins.'"

Riveted_Reader_Melissa Sounds like a very timely read! 5mo
LitStephanie @Riveted_Reader_Melissa it is really interesting. It came out in 2018, so it isn't one of the ones that was rushed out to capitalize on the current situation. 5mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa @LitStephanie That‘s even better, because then the parallels are just that and not emphasized after the fact. 5mo
16 likes2 stack adds4 comments
review
LitStephanie
The Tragedy of King Richard III | William Shakespeare
post image
Pickpick

A plucky, upstart younger son follows his dream to become king, overcoming obstacles* like living brothers and nephews with single-minded determination, wit, and rapacious ambition. His rise and fall, with many adventures and plots along the way, is brilliantly penned by Shakespeare. Richard is the king you love to hate.

LitStephanie *other obstacles overcome by the hard-working Richard include several cronies, a wife, an anointed king, an anointed king's son, and assorted relatives of a sister in law. 6mo
Graywacke Gotta overcome. 🙂 ⚔️ 🩸 5mo
16 likes1 stack add4 comments
review
LitStephanie
Cockroaches | Jo Nesbo
Pickpick

Good murder mystery set in Thailand. Our alcoholic protagonist, Harry Hole, is sent to investigate the death of a Norwegian embassy official who may or may not be involved in the child sex trafficking/pornography industry. Everyone wants to keep it out of the news, but Harry can't seem to stay out of trouble.

7 likes1 stack add
blurb
LitStephanie
King Richard the Third | William Shakespeare
post image

I have always been fascinated by Richard's relationship with his mother. He murders one brother, murders four nephews, and murders his own wife. But he always speaks in gentle gratitude to his mother, even when she curses him and says she wished he had never been born. He is clearly afraid of her. Maybe he hoped he would finally impress her by becoming king? #shakespearereadalong

11 likes2 stack adds
quote
LitStephanie
Emma | Jane Austen
post image

"Have you anything to send or say, besides the 'love,' which nobody carries?" I love Mr. Knightley's occasional quips like this. Really, why do we all feel compelled to "send our love" or even "tell her hello" when it doesn't really mean anything? Chapter 45. #pemberlittens

SamAnne I know! This might be my favorite Austen. 6mo
12 likes1 stack add1 comment
blurb
LitStephanie
Emma | Jane Austen
post image

Chapter 39. Miss Bickerton is the worst friend ever, shrieking and fleeing, leaving Harriet behind. Also, is a child begging really that scary? Had they never seen a beggar before? I get being intimidated by a group of scruffy strangers hassling you for money, but not to this extent of panic! #pemberlittens

23 likes1 stack add
blurb
LitStephanie
Emma | Austen Jane

Chapter 38. Anyone else remember Emma's resolution to give more attention to Jane Fairfax? Did she even speak to her once at the ball? #pemberlittens

sprainedbrain Seems like Jane was very occupied! 6mo
14 likes1 comment