Dewey’s Readathon: Hour 20 update

Hi everybody!

I’ve just got up, had my breaktast taken a shower and I’m going to read for a few minutes because today I signed up for my first race, and I have to go!

I never do anything special on weekends, but when I do something, it’s everything in the same day ;) So this update is not very boookish.

Who is ready for a run?

race

Dewey’s Readathon: Hour 11 update

More mini-challenges I couldn’t resist!

Mini-challenge: Show it off

I would like to show you tree editions of my favourite book: The princess bride. It’s a little collection I started and so far I have an American, a British and a Spanish edition of the book. I’ve read it in Spanish and in English, and I plan to re-read it again, every time a different edition.

The princess bride editionsMini- challenge: On food and books

Well, I have to talk about a recipe inspired on a book, and I’m really bad at English when it comes to food, so I’ll try an easy one.

Since I loved Outlander series, I have tried some Socottish recipes lately, and porridge is the easiest one, and perfect for breakfast when it’s cold, so here we go:

Porridge:

  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of water
  • 4 tablespoons of oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • One banana (or another fruit you like)
  • 1 tablespoon of apricot jam

You have to boil the milk with water, oats and sugar for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour the mixture into a bowl and add the banana sliced on the top.

Heat the jam in the microwave for a few seconds to make it liquid and add it on the top. Enjoy!

Porridge

 

Dewey’s readathon: hour 7 update

I want to tell you what I’ve been doing lately ;)

Mini-challenge: Coffee or tea

I’m TeamTea, which is known in this mini-challenge as Team CS Lewis, since he once said that “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me”, and here is a picture with my favourite tea, one I bought recently that has flowers and flavours of coconut and cinnamon. Delicious!

Team CS Lewis

Mini-challenge: Book shelfie

I love this challenge because I love to see the pictures people post of their beloved books in the shelves.

Here you can see mine:

Book shelfie

Mini-challenge: Quotable quotes

This is the quote I chose from the book I’m currently reading, The weight of blood. It has a gripping beginning, and I’m enjoying it so far.

I told her to ignore them. but I never told them to stop, and that’s what I remembered when Cheri’s body turned up in the tree: the ways I had failed her. Like how I’d been her best friend but she wasn’t mine. How I’d worried something bad might have happened when she went missing, but I didn’t do anything about it.

I’m only at 15% of this book, because you know I read very slowly, but well, I’m having so much fun at the Readathon!

Dewey’s readathon – Starting point

dewey's readathonI’m participating in Dewey’s readathon today!

How exciting is this! :D

Books:

Here in Spain the readathon runs from 14 pm Saturday to 14 pm Sunday, so I’m about to start reading and have lunch almost at the same time.

My book choices are:

Books for Dewey's readathon

The weight of blood (Laura McHugh): this is the book I want to read during the readathon. I’ll try to finish it, but we all know how slowly I read… The rest are “just in case” I find this one difficult to follow or I don’t like it. 330 pages.

Orphan train (Christina Baker Kline): I’ve read a number of positive reviews about this one and I also want to read it. 278 pages.

The horizon (Patrick Modiano): a book in Spanish by the Nobel Prize of this year. I borrowed it from the library to see if I like the author. 160 pages.

Other plans:

I signed up for my first running race, which is tomorrow at 11 pm, so I can say I’m only participating in the readathon today, because I’ll be busy (and nervous too!) tomorrow.

Regarding the Readathon’s activities, I’m planning to accomplish as many mini-challenges as possible, because that’s what I did in the previous readathon and I had a great time.

I’m also twitting and facebooking everything to keep track of the books I’m reading and what the rest of the community is doing.

Here we go!

My grandmother’s brand new library card

Abu's library card 1When my grandmother became a widow she tried to embrace new activities to keep herself busy and go out a little, instead of staying at home thinking she was alone.

I remember that the first thing she did was signing up for computer classes, when she was almost 80! There she went for a couple of courses, and now she knows how to send emails to us, her children and grandchildren; look for whatever she is interested using google, as well as reading the newspaper online, and my blog too!

She also likes sewing with a friend of hers (we all have beautiful curtains, tablecloths and woolen hats made by her) and she is reading a lot lately. Of course, I am the one in charge of providing books for her to read.

I find quite difficult to recommend books, but after some failed attempts I knew exactly which reads she is most likely to enjoy. The problem here is that after a couple of years I have almost run out of her kind of books; I asked her why she doesn’t learn English so I can lend her some books she will love, but she didn’t want to hear about it, so I went for the only choice left: I decided the time to get her own library card had come.

We went to the library together last week in order to get the card (I had already filled the form, etc.), take a look around the library for her to know where to find the novels the next time she goes, and look for the only novel by Kate Morton she hasn’t read yet, which was borrowed (Who dared! Grrrr).Abu's library card 2

In the end, we decided to borrow another book by Jojo Moyes, because we both loved Me before you (my review), and then we had a coffee together to celebrate.

Hope she enjoys walking around the bookshelves at the library as much as I do!

Me before you, by Jojo Moyes

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me before you jojo moyesPlease, readers, don’t judge this book by its cover. I did think this was an easy chick-lit read full of funny situations, probably about a girl trying to get the man of her dreams, but I was totally wrong – behind the frivolous cover you see there is a deeply sensitive story, and one of the best I have read this year.

Will Traynor is a successful and wealthy business man, whose hobbies are mainly extreme sports, who has an accident that leaves him a quadriplegic. At the third page of the book.

After this shocking start, we meet Louisa Clark, a girl who has just lost her job as a waitress and the only one she is able to get – considering she has no higher education – in the little village where she lives is taking care of a quadriplegic man: our Will. They don’t get on well with each other at the beginning because Will has become grumpy and bad tempered, but Louisa is capable of looking through all that resentment and try to make he see that there are still things that can bring joy to his life.

Yo antes de ti

This is my sister, performing acrobatics with the book (hanging from aerial silk), in memorial of Will’s love for risky sports :)

The story is about Louisa’s efforts to come up with plans for Will – plans that are not always welcome by him, but thanks to her perseverance the readers find themselves committed to Louisa’s cause, praying for that idea to turn out well or feeling sorry when she doesn’t succeed, having she worked so hard.

The cast of secondary characters is also remarkable, and they bring touches of amusement and sorrow to some parts of the story. For example, there is Louisa’s boyfriend and his obsession with triathlons – taking into account that Louisa is not very good at sports, they make a funny couple; or Louisa’s father, who has also lost his job and now their only income is her daughter’s job, so they behave like she is the head of the family, a role she doesn’t want. All these characters make the story more enjoyable, adding what we can called mundane issues (compared to Will’s disability, I mean) to the story.

I would really like you to give Me before you a chance and help Louisa to show Will that his live isn’t over yet; that he can still love, learn and have fun regardless of his condition.

rakin5P.S. I lent it to my grandmother and she loved it as well.

P.S2. Now I’m looking forward to reading more books by this author.

P.S3. There will be a film based on this book, with Emilia Clarke playing Louisa!

Me before you
Jojo Moyes
Viking, 369 pages
Penguin Books, 400 pages

30 authors in 30 days: Jeff Abbott on “After I’m Gone” by Laura Lippman

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Today I’m very excited to introduce you to Jeff Abbott, the bestselling author, who is going to talk about one of his favourite books: After I’m gone, by Laura Lippman, as part of the event 30 authors in 30 days (#30authors).30 authors in 30 days30 Authors in 30 Days is a first of its kind event aimed at connecting readers, bloggers, and authors. Hosted by The Book Wheel, this month-long event takes place during September and features 30 authors discussing their favorite recent reads on 30 different blogs. There are also some great prizes provided by GoneReading.com and BookJigs. For the full schedule of participating authors and bloggers, visit The Book Wheel or join the Facebook group. You can also follow along on Twitter with the #30Authors hashtag!

Jeff Abbott on After I’m gone

After I'm Gone by Laura LippmanAFTER I’M GONE is Laura Lippman’s finest novel. It builds its powerful suspense not only by the slow reveal of the truth of what happened to gangster Felix Brewer after he disappeared, but the truth about the relationships of the women he loved and left behind. His loyal mistress Julie, his underestimated wife Bambi, his three very different daughters—Linda, Rachel, and Michelle—all were forever changed when Felix vanished. What happens when a father, a husband, a lover voluntarily walks away? How do you love or trust again?

These are big questions that Lippman doesn’t flinch from confronting. But the story is not only a thoughtful examination of how people have to find their strength again after abandonment, it is a brilliantly executed page turner of a mystery that plays (but always fairly) with the reader’s expectations. Lippman leads you one way, then another, through the labyrinth of blame, guilt, and motives of the five women.

As well, the novel draws a sharp portrait of family life in Baltimore from the 1960s to the present, through the filter of the shattered Brewer family. (I have only been to Baltimore once, but Lippman makes it vivid and alive as a setting even if you don’t know the city well.) The drama and the mystery plays out as the Brewer women deal with changing gender roles, politics, the tech bubble, and the dawn of a new century. The chapters move seamlessly back and forth through time, with Lippman never losing the narrative thread. All with Felix’s long shadow cast over their lives, until a horrific discovery forces the Brewer women to face a long-buried secret that has haunted them for years.

Whenever I speak at book clubs, they ask me for more reading recommendations, and I always suggest Laura Lippman. Her novels strike an excellent balance to intrigue readers: she always offers a compelling mystery, and intelligent, detailed character studies. AFTER I’M GONE meshes a compelling family drama with a tragic crime story; that it works so well is a testment to Lippman’s skill as a novelist.

About Jeff Abbott

Jeff AbbottJeff Abbott (born 1963) is a U.S. suspense novelist. He has a degree in History and English from Rice University. He lives in Austin, Texas. His early novels were traditional detective fiction but in recent years he has turned to writing thriller fiction. A theme of his work is the idea of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary danger and fighting to return to their normal lives. His novels are published in several countries and have also been bestsellers in the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, and France.

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Interested in After I’m gone? You can learn about Laura Lippman by liking her on Facebook or following them on Twitter. Or, you can purchase the book now on Amazon. You can also learn more about Jeff Abbott by liking them on Facebook, following him on Twitter, or purchasing his last book on Amazon.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! Entry-Form

Panic, by Jeff Abbott

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30 authors in 30 daysAs part of the event 30 authors in 30 days (#30Authors), this week I’m posting a review written by Jeff Abbott and, since I had not read any book by him, I thought the time had come. It’s a shame that, among more than a dozen books he has out, only two of them have been translated into Spanish. So well, I chose Panic to read and review for the event.

Panic Jeff AbbottEvan Casher is a documentary filmmaker with a normal life who one day goes to visit his mother and discovers she has been murdered. Evan himself is almost killed too, but in the end a man helps him and tells him that his parents were secret agents who bought and sold secrets to the US government and other companies. Evan doesn’t have much time to give some thought to that unbelievable revelation because he is being chased by dangerous people, so his only chance is to look for what his parents really were and try to understand why there are people interested in him now.

This is the classic thriller, with a lot of surprises, twists and very evil characters – one of them I think is up to the point of insanity – which make the reader get glued to the pages. I liked the explanation about what really happened with Evan’s parents; it was really unexpected. However, I didn’t like that amount of characters involved in the plot; they were too many and this made me loose track with the story: if you read the book little by little, as I did, you may forget some of the names and get a little lost when you pick it up again.

Summarizing, Panic is a good read if you look for entertainment; the kind of book that you can perfectly imagine as a film with all that action sequences – chases, murders, secrets and federal agencies involved.

rakin3

Travel the world in books Readathon: mini-challenges and reviews

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As I told you in my last post, I’m participating in Tanya’s Readathon but only for the last days, so I chose a short book in order to finish at least that one.

Review: The listener, by Tove Jansson

The listener Tove JanssonThe listener is a collection of short stories written by a Finnish female author called Tove Jansson. I had never heard of her before, but I saw that cover in a tiny bookshop window of my hometown – the only one where you can buy books in English, actually – and I knew I had to read it. I looked for further information on goodreads and, even though it is a short stories book (not my favourites), I decided to give it a try.

As it always happens, I liked some stories more than others, but the ones that focus on one character are touching; The listener, the first story, talks about a woman who makes her loved ones always feel special and comfortable by her side, but now she is older, her behavior suddenly changes, and that’s what a younger relative is telling us in the story.

All of them leave you with a feeling of sadness; you feel sorry for the characters and there are no happy endings, but they are beautiful in a way. Most of them are explicitly set in Scandinavian lands and the characters live alone in a small island, or they only know the time thanks to their watches, because it’s always dark in winter.

They are stories to read slowly by the fire when it’s cold.

Book scavenger hunt Mini-challenge:

This is the only mini-challenge I’m participating in, with tree categories:

mini challenge7. Book cover with a foreign country name or city in the title: Shanghai.

3. Book cover from one of your favorite books from around the world: New Zealand.

2. A book cover with a flag, map or people dressed in their culture’s traditional clothes: a woman dressed in ancient Rome clothes.

And that’s all. I would like to try Tanya’s challenge for next year, because I like the idea and the activities she prepares for us brave and traveller readers :D

Coming back to blogging life

Hi everybody,

I’m back!

I have spent a good summer; I did not take many trips out of my hometown but I did a lot of things here: I’ve tried new recipes, including one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever eaten; I went cycling a couple of days (cycling is not my thing); I beat my own running record when I ran for an hour for the first time in my life; and I have read quite a bit. Alright; I also studied hard because I had exams on the first week of September, which is not that delectable, but it’s part of my job.

summer activities

In August I spent the weekends watching my new favourite show, which is obviously Outlander! I enjoy it even when the Scottish characters speak and I can’t understand a word. Who cares – I only want to see Jamie Fraser!

Now I am ready for the autumn, my favourite season together with winter. I love the chill, the walks on the park with the falling leaves and all the recipes with ginger and cinnamon that I see everywhere.

One last thing before I start reviewing again: I want to remind you that there are two bookish events taking place right now:

30 Authors on The book wheel: every day in September one author is writing a guest post on a book blog. I am participating in this event, and my guest author is Jeff Abbott, whose novel Panic I’m currently reading.

Traveling the world in books Readathon on Mom’s small victories: this is a readathon in which you have to read books set in or written by authors from other countries than the one where you live. I’m starting the readathon today because I couldn’t do it when it began, on September 1, and I’m reading a book of short stories in English titled The listener by an author called Tove Jansson, from Sweden. Besides, today you can read a little contribution I wrote for the readathon on Tanya’s blog.

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