Lambs of God by Marele Day

Rating: 3.5 of 5

Synopsis: “Three eccentric, secluded nuns live on a remote island, forgotten by time and the Church – until a priest unwittingly happens upon them. He is as surprised to see the nuns as they are to see a flesh-and-blood man, and what follows is the strange, moving, and often hilarious story of their struggle – a struggle of wills, and of faith.” (source)

My thoughts: Lambs of God gifts its readers with lush imagery, memorable characters, and a pervading undercurrent of myth and magic.

It wasn’t a story I was expecting to like, not only because of its religious setting, but because once I started, it took about 50 pages before I was fully settled into its world.

Slow-paced, full of vivid descriptions, slightly contrived…yet Iphigenia, Margarita, Carla, and even Father Ignatius (who I found hypocritical and didn’t like much at all) were too strange to ignore, too different to dismiss outright. I’m glad I kept reading.

Recommended if you want a story about three nuns, a priest and a dilapidated monastery, tempered with magical realism.

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(Review cross-posted on LibraryThing and Goodreads.)

Hello, My Name Is Doris (2015)

Rating: 7 of 10

movie poster Hello, My Name Is Doris (2015)It’s never too late to live the life you always wanted.

Synopsis: “After a lifetime of being overlooked and ignored, a woman of a certain age finds her world turned upside down by a handsome new co-worker and a self-help seminar that inspires her to take a chance on love in Hello, My Name is Doris, a witty and compassionate late-life coming-of-age-story.” (source)

My thoughts: Sally Field plays Doris, a single women in her sixties who still lives in her childhood home, now alone in that house following the death of her mother. Oh, and she’s a hoarder. Quirky is one word to describe Doris. She’s quiet, prone to daydreaming, socially awkward, and yet she’s unafraid to wear whatever she wants and her sense of style is…different. While it’s slightly uncomfortable to watch Doris navigate life, especially after the self-help seminar motivates her to go after that which is most likely unattainable, there’s also an excitement to the story, wondering just where Doris will end up. The interactions between Doris and the hipsters are hilarious!

A coming of age story that proves you’re never too old to start living the life you always dreamed of.

Highly recommended if you enjoyed films like GARDEN STATE or RUSHMORE.

Check out HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS official website and trailer | on IMDb | on Facebook

(Watched DVD on 7/30/2016)

The Memory Garden by Mary Rickert

Rating: 4 of 5

9781402297120What frightens Nan is the way the past sneaks up on the present, consuming all in its path.”

Give me a story featuring a young adult, who doesn’t quite know the person she is yet or what she wants to do with her life, living with an old woman, who has secrets to tell and wisdom to bestow, set in a small town in which the two rank highest on the gossip hounds’ list, and I’m happy as a petunia in early July. The Memory Garden by Mary Rickert was that, times 100.

I loved how every chapter started with a plant description; how Nan could tell who was lying by the way their words tasted; how the garden was almost as predominant a character as Bay, Nan, Mavis and Ruthie; how Nan used the shoes people threw at her house as planters; how I could taste every dish during the Flower Feast; how magic felt completely real and incredibly possible.

But my favorite thing about this book was the way it explored friendships: the loyalty and devotion; that it’s never too late to forgive, let go and move on.

Read an excerpt on the publisher’s website. Listen to a podcast with Mary Rickert discussing The Memory Garden.

(Review cross-posted on LibraryThing and Goodreads.)