Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing and listening to.
What I/we’ve Been Reading
So I finished The Do Over by Bethany Turner this week and I’m going to offer a little review here instead of breaking it out in a separate post.
I like Bethany as a person. She’s fun to watch and listen to and as someone who writes Christian Fiction and actually mentions God and is still told my books aren’t Christian enough, I do feel bad writing that this book isn’t Christian fiction, but, well . . . it isn’t.
It’s a clean book. It’s a funny book and I did enjoy it for the most part. It’s full of pop culture references – so many you can barely get a few pages, sometimes a few paragraphs, before another movie or celebrity is referenced, but there is not one reference to God in the book. Not even anyone going to church.
It’s a simple, clean romantic comedy written by someone who once wrote Christian fiction and that is not a bad thing. I am, however, a little bewildered why the book is listed under Christian fiction. It definitely didn’t hold my attention as well as some of her other books and the reveal of the person who committed a crime in the book wasn’t a surprise at all.
The book was also yet another romantic comedy love letter to New York City, which is getting a little tiresome actually. It’s like yet another love letter to Jane Austen books or London. All the name drops of locations in New York City did very little for someone who isn’t as excited by the city as Turner is, unfortunately. But if you love NYC and squealing about specific locations like they are a big deal, you’ll love this book. (We’ll all just pretend crime isn’t a daily occurrence and instead believe that the characters aren’t praying they don’t get mugged while walking by the homeless on the streets.)
The saving grace of this book was Henry Blumenthal, even though he could have been a little more well-rounded in my opinion. He seemed very stoic and awkward, but he was supposed to be so I guess that worked. What I do love is how Turner writes a kiss scene. It’s not overdone or over explained, but you feel the emotion and I like that.
I think after reading The Do Over, though, I might have to finally admit something. I don’t like a lot of traditional romance books. I don’t like when the entire book is built around swoons and misunderstandings, break-ups and then resumed swoons (shhh…I know mine are similar but I try to throw in a little bit more plot to even it out and hopefully I’ll get better at it.) Oh, and then epilogues with weddings or future scenes of happy marriages with children now born. (Yep. Totally did this in my second book. Never did it again.)
Almost every single romance or romantic comedy I’ve read in CF has ended this way and Turner’s books are no exception, but I wish they were.
So what’s next for me?
I don’t know yet. I can’t decide what I am in the mood for, but The Husband has suggested a couple of books for me, including What’s the Worst That Can Happen by Donald Westlake and The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz.
I’m also considering reading the second book in the Pop Larkin series because those books are fairly quick reads.
I hope to finish Anne of the Island this week as I have enjoyed reading it leisurely at a couple chapters a day for the last couple of months.
The Husband is reading Don’t Know Tough by Eli Cantour (which he is almost done with).
The Boy is reading War of the Worlds by H.G. Welles.
Little Miss and I are re-reading Romona and Beezus by Beverly Cleary but she also let me read from Anne of Green Gables last night.
What’s Been Occurring
My husband had a small part in the local theater group’s production of Anything Goes and this week was showtime. He had dress rehearsals the first part of the week and then the show Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. He was on stage for the speaking part for about five minutes but then he was in the background as a sailor.
Little Miss, The Boy, and I went for the dress rehearsal Monday but it got late and we slipped out after the first act. Little Miss wanted to go back to watch the whole show but we didn’t make it for various reasons (partially because I wasn’t sure she’d stay seated for a three-hour show) so I looked up a production of it we could watch at home and found one performed in the West End Theater in London earlier this year and showcased on PBS. Someone had put it up illegally on YouTube (yeah for pirating! 😉). I thought Little Miss would like to see the second half of it but it turns out she only wanted to see the version our local performers did. Boy did I feel like a jerk that I didn’t get her over there after that. I enjoyed it at least and will include a link to it under the What I’m Watching header.
I took some photographs of the dress rehearsal along with The Husband for the paper since The Husband was in the first act and couldn’t take photos of himself. He took photos of the second act and a collection of both our photos were used for a photo page in the paper, which is a weekly paper.
The Husband doesn’t want me to post any photos of him, but I thought I’d share a few others I took that night.
This one is my favorite and it is close to the one on the front page of the newspaper he works at:
We took a break on Tuesday and then Wednesday we went to my parents to swim but were dive bombed by some wasps and had to head out earlier than we wanted to. We hope to be able to spray them before we go in the next time. It’s been very hot here for the last two weeks. You know it’s been hot when you see it’s going to be 81 later in the week and you’re excited about the cooler temperatures. I know that 90 to 92 is not as hot as down South or in Arizona, but it’s hot for Pennsylvania and it’s hot for me since I’ve never done well in the heat.
Friday it was grocery shopping day again. Blah. I hate grocery shopping.
Yesterday it was time to relax for me and today The Husband finally gets to relax after several 14 or more hour days in a row (between work and rehearsals).
What We watched/are Watching
I continued watching Paul Newman movies this past week with Sweet Bird of Youth. I’d never heard of this movie and was blown away by the acting and the viscousness of the characters. This was another movie based on a Tennessee Williams play.
This one startled me a little to be honest. It was put out in 1962 and dealt with some more steamy topics than I expected. Newman was a gigolo and at one point he was rolling blunts for his current client, a washed-up actress who he’d taken with him back to Talahasee to see the girl he wanted to marry as soon as he hit it big as an actor. His character seriously drove me nuts – he was so fixated on becoming famous and hitting it big so he could provide for the girl he loved that he literally would do anything to get to the top. And I mean just about anything.
The plus side of this movie, besides the fact the acting really was very good, was that Paul had his shirt off more than he had it on. This, of course, annoyed The Boy who told me at one point, “Just go back and watch your movie with shirtless Paul Newman.” He then rolled his eyes. I, of course, obliged. *wink* (Please know that I am just joking around. I am a married woman and Paul is, well, dead.)
As I mentioned above, I then watched Anything Goes, essentially by myself since my children abandoned me. This version was with Sutton Fuller who won a Tony for her performance.
I also watched The Bachelor and The Bobby Soxer with Cary Grant, Myrna Lloyd, and Shirley Temple, which I have watched before and really enjoyed. It’s very funny.
The plot is that Temple falls for Cary Grant, who is probably 25 years older than her, when he speaks at her school, and tries to chase after him. Her older sister, Loy, is a judge who has had Grant before her in court for another matter. Long story short, Temple goes to Grant’s apartment and is caught there and Grant is framed for tying to get involved with a minor. In an effort to try to deter Temple, Loy’s uncle, the city District Attorney, suggests that Grant carry on the charade (no pun to the other movie Grant was in) and try to frighten Temple off. This completely backfires and hilarity ensues.
What I’m Writing
- On the blog this week I shared:
Fiction Friday: Mercy’s Shore Chapter 12
- Faithfully Thinking: Letting God Lead
- Classic Movie Impression: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (with spoilers)
- Book recommendation: Walking In Tall Weeds by Robin W. Pearson
I’m also working on Mercy’s Shore, of course.
Now it’s your turn
Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.