Monday, December 26, 2011

End of Year Book Survey

This Year I am doing something different, for the fist time on my blog I am evaluating my reading habits, and books I have read for the year, on Seaside Book Corner. I would like to thank Perpetual Page Turner for hosting, 2011 End of Year Book Survey.
1. Best Book You Read In 2011?

Unfortunately, there are too many books that I have read this year, too really pick one. So, I am going to give you a few reads, that I think meant something, or inspired me, and was a book to shout about.

This is not in any order:
Saving Cee Cee Honeycut by Beth Hoffman
Butterfly's Daughter by Alice Monroe
The Kitchen's Daughter by Jael McHenry

The Ballad of Tom Dooley by Sharyn McCrumb was not totally out of my comfort zone. Because I love history, and new cultures. But, because of the setting, I never cared about the culture there. Most likely, because of the stereotyping from this area. It totally surprised me. It is rich in history, and culture. I am spreading my wings in new tastes of books. I will most likely read more of this author.

HOW do you pick a favorite!? 
I picked these top one's because they either inspired me, and did something to open my spirit. These books,  helped me explore my inner soul.

Also, these books were out of my comfort zone, and made me think another way of picking my books.

2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?

Has to be Lipstick in Afghanistan. It was about a nurse that decides she wants to work as a nurse in the military. It was more of a romance novel, than anything else. Very dissappointed. I thought because the author was a nurse in Afghanistan that it would be more realistic.  Very dissappointing.
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?
Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry, I did not expect it be so well written. I just loved it.
4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?

Butterfly's Daughter again.  I recommended it on Facebook,  and passed it on by word of mouth,and wanted to read it for our book club discussion, which we did.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?

Jael McHenry, Kitchen Daughter, I loved her writing style, and the story with truism mixed with mysticm. I only recently started reading books like this. I actually enjoy reading them.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

 Too my exicitement, lightbulbs, and fireworks ending for 2011,with the book by Sharyn McCrumb, The Ballad of Tom Dooley. I don't usually go out of my comfort zone. For some reason, I felt like I needed too. I am glad I did. I have never read her novels, and did not expect the book I did . I was expecting a mystery. 

Also, Kitchens Daughter by Jael McHenry was out of my comfort zone.
9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?

I would have to say, Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian. I have read most of his novels, even before Oprah. I discovered his first book, Midwives while on vacation to Martha's Vineyard in a small book store, called Bunches of Grapes.

The book, was not what I expected. You can go to my blog and read my review. All I will say, it was very different from Chris's other books, it was out of his comfort zone, and I still liked it.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011?

11. Most memorable character in 2011? 
Cee Cee Honeycutt has to be my favorite character. A young girl, living with her schizophrenic mother. Has a hard time dealing with her mother's death. Then lives with her aunt in Georgia. She has the courage to move on.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?

The most beautifully written has to be Butterfly's Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe. How she described the butterfly's migration from the United States to the mountains in Mexico, was so beautiful, and poetic.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011? 
I have to say again Butterfly's Daughter really moved me, and loved the spiritualism and mysticm of the story of the migration that paralleled with the story of Abuel's grand daughter from Millaukee to Mexico.

14. Book you can't believe you waited to 2011
That is one, thing I want to do different. I want to start reading books that have been in back of my mind to read. That has been published in the last 10 years.  For example, Jane Smiley, 1000 Acres,  John Irving, Margaret Atwood-, and Bean Tree by Barbara Kingslover I am finally reading, now for my book club.

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody about?
Has to be the Ballad of Tom Dooley, to another person that loves the history and culture of the land of the United States.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

My best event that I had participated in, was when I went to see Mary Alice Monroe. She has to be the most generous person. I had sent a email to her asking her if she would like to donate to our temple auction. She sent me a couple books.  That had to be the most memorable thing. The other was, when I went to the Moveable Feast, She actually took the time, to shake everyone's hand and get to know them on a personal level. I have been to book signing, in NJ. I have never seen a author do that. I think that will stick out in my mind forever.

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2011?

 I have always, wanted to go to BEA, but unfortunately, this year and since I have been blogging I most likely won't for quite a while. But, I did enjoy the virtual BEA from Armchair BEA. I enjoyed reading everyone's posts, and what was going on, and the authors, and books, and the publishers that I have met online through my email. Thanks to Armchair, I would not have gotten so close. I love reading and sometimes participating from the sidelines.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
I think I was so excited when Beth Hoffman commented on my blog. It was on my review about Saving Cee Cee, and had more reviews than I had in a long time.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.
I found several, but a few stick out in my mind, is Bookmovement,  and Edelweiss. Found out what books are coming out soon.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I set my goal at 20 books, on Goodreads. I did not want to set my goals too high. I finished the Southern Reading Challenge, and I did not realize I have read alot of southern fiction.  

1. One Book You Didn't Get To In 2011 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2012

                                        I want to read Gone With The Wind, in 2012. There is a readalong as well, in January. I hope I will be able to follow through.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2012?

  Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, it is takes place in Alaska. One place I have not read.  I have been reading novels that have realism mixed with magic. Like Kitchen's Daughter. Which I loved.

 A couple creates a child out of snow. When she appears on their doorstep as a little girl, wild and secretive, their lives are changed forever.
Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for a couple who have never been able to conceive. Jack and Mabel are drifting apart—he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone, but they catch sight of an elusive, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.
This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and leaves blizzards in her wake. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who seems to have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in the Alaska wilderness, life and death are inextricable, and what they eventually learn about Faina changes their lives forever.

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2012?
I would like to read novels, that take place all over the country of the United States. I read mainly the east coast, New England, and the South. I would like to read books that take place in different places in the country, such as the middle west, and West coast. More books that are Jewish themed.  I also would like to attempt the Where are you reading challenge hosted by Reading Journey.

The other thing, I want to be more active in the book blogging community, with challenges, and memes. I will have to see.

I still want to thank one of my faithful readers, that always comments on my of my posts. Bermuda Onion. Even though I don't have a large following, I feel alone out there. I have thought about quitting my book blog. Then Bermuda comes along to write a comment.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Book Review: Ballad of Tom Dooley

The Ballad of Tom Dooley
By Sharyn McCrumb

Library copy

This is the story of a murder, that takes place in Wilkes County, N.C. in 1866. The murder of Laura Foster was made into a ballad by the Kingston Trio. This is what intrigued me at first to read this.

The Ballad of Tom Dooley was recommended by a event that I went to in November, hosted by Litchfield Books, in Litchfield SC, The Moveable Feast.

The other reason, I chose to read this book, was I was getting bored, reading the same thing. I wanted a change. The Ballad of Tom Dooley, was totally out of my comfort zone. At my age, you are set in your tastes of reading.  Quess What, folks!! I was wrong.  I enjoyed reading The Ballad of Tom Dooley.

Y'all think you know the story of Tom Dooley, I thought I did. But, after reading Sharyn McCrumb's version, the Kingston Trio's version falls apart at the seams.  Sharyn McCrumb did her own research, with the help of many people, including college professors, map experts, war veterans, etc.  The only reason this is not non-fiction and is considered fiction because, there was not any documentation of facts and dialog written anywhere.

Tom Dooley, know actually as Tom Dula, and his lover Anna were accused of the murder of Laura Foster.

He was a Confederate soldier, returning from the Civil war.

 Laura, and Tom were childhood sweethearts, she was a raving beauty, but she was very self centered.  Anna married James, after Tom went off to fight in the Civil War, she knew he was not a good provider.

 James Melton, was too busy working as a homesteader, he did not notice his wife fooling around with Tom, or he just turned a blinds eye, but the Appalachian Community noticed that she was fooling around.

 To add to the story, you had the narrative of two voices, Pauline was the cousin of Anna and Laua, she was a conniving, tongue wagging trouble maker, that instigated the trouble between Laura and Anna.  She moved in with Anna, while she was getting treatment for Syphillis,  and stayed for exchange for her house work.

The other narrator was the lawyer defending Tom Dula, he eventually after the trial became the NC governor.

  Both of the young ladies, if you want to call them ladies, did not have any dignity, or ethics of what was right or wrong. I think that was the way they were brought up. As well, as Tom he was a good for nothing, he did not work, and was extremely lazy, and laid on the fat of the land, and slept around.  Everyone seemed to know what was going on, but it was accepted.

 It seemed, that both parents knew that their adult 22 year old children were sleeping around, but they did not care.  But, when the horse was stolen that is when Laura's father was upset, and wanted her to be found.

 Pauline knew that Laura and Tom were not eloping, instead she knew that Laura had a beau, and she was planning on eloping the next day. Pauline asked Laura how was she going to elope. . Pauline suggested steal her father's horse. That actually was death, if you stole a horse at that time, and in that community. Her Beau was a black man by the name of Jackson, but for some reason, Pauline kept quiet.

This ultimately was the demise of Tom. Tom ultimately told his attorney that he was the only one that stabbed Laura, that Anna had nothing to do with the killing and the murder.

I am excited, as a book lover, and a book blogger that I discovered a new author. It does not  happen often. Finding someone that you would like to read again. Too bad, I discovered her too early, this year to put in my challenge.because I wanted to use this author on my challenge that I entered, Where Are You Challenge. Oh, well.

 Her writing, I did not expect to appreciate as much as I did. I had heard that she writes mysteries.  But, I found that the stories she writes are adapted from a true crime event.

From a Yankee's perspective, I did not appreciate the Appalachian mountain culture, history, and the care these people had of their land.. After I read this novel, it changed my view point of the community of that area. The only thing I knew of the Applaccian mountains, was when I was a young girl, going to Florida, we passed the mountain side of Ky, and Tn. and saw the houses on the side of the mountains. Also watching the show, The Waltons. I never had any other exposure to their culture, and have never been there.

Most of the character's I did not care for.  Because all of the characters, did not have any morals, or ethics and were not educated, knowing the difference of right or wrong.

What I liked, at the end of the book is the author's note. She told all the different perspectives and scenerios that were possible and not possible and why. The people that helped her with the research. The author's note explained the holes I did not understand.

It seems, that I am reading alot of Southern fiction lately, and I hope to find other books that capture me. I am so happy that I read this. Happy to discover a new author at the end of 2011. I am happy to say this is probably one of my favorite books of the year. I plan on posting in a few day a recap of my reading experience of 2011, with my favorite books. This is probably the fist time, that I can say, I discovered some author's that I loved, some I hated. Which I never explored before.
Happy Holidays To All My Readers, hope your reading experience this year was as good as mine. Thank you for following, and reading my blog this year. I hope you continue reading, as I do...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Very Valentine, Book Club Read

Very Valentine
By Adrianna Trigianni

Very Valentine opens with Valentine Roncalli, a 33 year old living in New York City. is a member of a large Italian- American family.
Valentine, is a shoe apprentice, she lives and works with her grandmother,Teodora, a master shoe maker in Greenwich Village in New York City, called Angelina Shoes, founded in 1903.

Valentine is spyed on by a neighbor, on the roof of ther tenement, Roman.  Valentine and Roman meet each other by her grandmother.  They eventually become romantically involved with each other. Roman owned a busy restaurant, in town. Between her romance of Roman, and her shoe business she tries to juggle both.

During their courtship, Valentine learns that their family owned business, Angelina Shoes, is about to go into financial collapse. Angelina Shoes, are custom made bridal shoes that was started by her grandmother, and her grandfather since 1903.

 But, of course Valentine wants no part of this. She is going to fight tooth and nail to save the business from ruin. Her brother, Albert wants their 80 year old grandmother to retire.

Valentine is invited to participate in a shoe contest. This is not just, any contest. Many of the major custom shoe factories are participating, but Valentine is not aware of the competition.

In the meantime, Valentine and her grandmother go on a business trip to Italy. During the trip Roman is unable to go to Italy immediately. Instead he will meet her in Capri for her birthday.

Her grandmother, while in Italy meets a old flame, and his son. She learns about her grandmother's love interest, and why it was hidden from her family. The father, and Valentine's grandmother become romantically involved again, after so many year.

 While this is happening, the son takes Valentine under his wing and teaches her the art of shoe making.  He teaches Valentine all that he knows about shoe making. She learns, to look at shoe making in a new way. As a art, and an expression of her love of shoes.  She takes her shoe design at a new level.

I am not going to tell you any more of the story, you will just have to read it for yourself.

My Review: We read this book for our book club. I don't think I would have picked it up, for any other reason.   I have read the Stone Gap books, the first one and I was not impressed. I could not connect to the characters. But, what a 360 turn around, I loved this book. I connected with the characters immediately.  The story, just flowed for me. 

Valentine's family was a bit quirky, but you fell in love with them. Her mother was something else, and Valentine's grandmother was a gutsy lady.  You felt like you were one of them.
The story was full of warmth, and you could feel the love that was pouring out by the author.

The book, reminded me of Greek Fat Wedding, with the entire family getting in everybody's business. Everyone meddling, which was none of their adult daughter's affair.

I was given a copy of Brava Valentine, before reading Very Valentine. I was not thinking about reading it. Well, now that I have read, Very Valentine I am enchanted by the author's work. Maybe, not so much by Stone Gap, but her other works. I am going to pick up Brava Valentine, which is the next one in the series. 

I recommend it highly, and give it 5 thumbs up!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Jewish Southern Experience: Home in the Morning

Home in the Morning
By Mary Glickman
Courtesy of Open Road Media

Home in the Morning takes place in the turbulant years of the 1950's and 60's, in Guilford, Mississippi.  The Sassaport's, are a well to do Jewish southern family living in Mississippi.
Jackson, is the eldest son, and is overly protected by his mother, a genteel southern lady.

Living in the south during the 1960's was horrible enough, but in this story the divide of White, Black, Christian or Jewish was worse. There were hazing, beatings, civil rights movement, and anything to cause the divide of White and Black.  He becomes friends with a Afro-American boy, named Lil Bo'key.

In the house is Katherine Marie, a Afro American housekeeper. They become close friends. He's friend Lil Bo'key and Katherine Marie become boyfriend and girlfriend.

Jackson, a reform Jew eventually does leave Mississippi, to go to college at Yale University. He meets Stella Godwin a Orthodox Jew. They eventual marry and move back to the south. Where he rebuilds his friendships with Katherine Marie.

Jackson, has a younger brother that is coddled by his mother. He is troubled, lazy, and is often in trouble for one thing or another. But, he's mother always seems to help him out of the trouble he gets out of by paying someone off.

My Review: I read this novel, because the author is from Charleston, SC. Not too far from my house.

I picked up the novel, Home in the Morning because I liked the synopsis of the Jewish Southern experience during the 1960's. Has to be a great read, right. Sorry to say it was a let down.

Anyway, it took me about 100 pages in to finally connect with the characters, and finally understand what was going on.

Finally after the 100 pages, I was captivated by the story. I kept wanting to flip the pages, it was getting intense. But, by the end of the book, what a let down. I am not going to tell you, just in case you may want to give it a try. I did not like the ending it ended abruptly.

I think the author had a good story, but it just did not go anywhere. I really enjoyed one part of the story when the cousin, Lil Mo and Jackson ganged up and threatened his brother. I wish the author had done more about this part of the book.  Also if she wrote about the Jewish Southern experience during the 60's, and  Jewish-black divide. This would have enriched the novel, she did snipets but nothing more.

I really wanted to like this book, because of the reasons stated above.  I really cared though for the characters except for Jackson's brother. There are many other readers that did enjoy reading this.  I would still give it three stars.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lost in Shangri-La: Book Review

Lost in Shangri-La
By Mitchell Zuckoff

Lost in Shangri-La, takes place in New Guinea. There is a military army base at the end of WW2.  On May 13, 1945, 24 military men, and women decide they want to take a fun trip. They want to take a pleasure trip into the valley, known as Shangri-La. There is plenty stories that has come out of the valley.

They are flying on the Gremlin Special into the valley, and then a fatal crash occurs.   Of the 24 men and women, only three survive the plane crash. The three are hurt very badly, Margaret Hastings, John McCollum, and  Kenneth Decker, are severely wounded.

How they trek on foot with their multiple injuries in the jungle. Worried they will succumb to health problems. Such as gangrene, sepsis, and eventually loosing their leg, and possibly death. How they were able to survive.

But, not only do they have to worry about the Japanese, and the jungle elements. But, the natives from a "lost Civilization". They come upon natives that are friendly as well as cannibals and headhunters.

It is a interesting story about how these three connect with the natives. The natives think they are g-ds that fell from the sky. They are from a lost civilization, where life is primitive.

We learn about how the rescue happened instead of a plane they used the invention of a glider, into the jungle. How they found the right people for the rescue team, and what difficulties happened along the way.

The story is not just about the survivor's survival, but a lost civilization of natives they met.
The author uses Margaret's journal that was found, to thell about their survival, the planned rescue, the culture of the natives, that lived in Shangri-La.

After the rescue this lost civilization, what happened to the lost civilization of Shangri-La? During the time the three were living in Shangri-La, there was air drops of necessities. The natives were curious of course.  They wanted to become civilized.  The world came to them, and modernized the natives.

The ending tells what happened to the natives, the survivors, and the rescuers. What fame did to them, etc. The book reminded me of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I wanted to read this because, I wanted to read something different.  If you want to read to transport you,to someplace else than this is it.   I am glad I read this book.  I highly recommend.

If you want to supplement your reading, go to the author's website. There are videos that show the interesting rescue of the three survivors on the Gremlin Special.

 This copy was borrowed from the library.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Bit Late: Book Tribute to Moms

Please Look After Mom
By kyung-sook shin

  One day a elderly woman is lost on the subway in Seoul.  One minute she is behind her husband the next minute he can't find her. The story narrative is each childs thoughts and feeling of their mother's journey during the time she is lost.

  Where did she go all this time? Why can't we find her? How can our father loose our mother, and not know where she went? These are questions are asked all through the novel.

One of the children could not separate their mother from the kitchen. The one son thought her mother had no life, but living in the kitchen.

Her daughter thought her mother was in misery, but she was happy in her life.

 Her eldest son needs a important certificate. But, it can't get to him. So, she decides she is going to trek and get it for him.  What a mother will do to sacrifice for her own child.

 Her children, I thought were very selfish, and did not have the time to appreciate, and care what happened to their mother. But, come to the realization while they are trying to find their mother, that she was a selfless, devoted and caring, and, do almost anything if her child needed her,

All the children realize toward the end of the story that they really don't know their mother.

At the end do we really know our mothers? Do we know they have another life outside of their children and their husband? Would we make sacrifices for our children? Most mothers do.

I don't want to tell you the end of the story. It has a unique ending.  I thought this book was a nice effort to give tribute to all mothers. It is a mystery, suspense, and a literary story.

Would I rare about it, probably not. But, I am still glad I read it, becuase it made me appreciate my mother. I hope there will be other books that will be a love story to our mothers.  Here is the NYTimes thoughts on this novel.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Book Club Discussion: Left Neglected

Our book club had their discussion with Left Neglected.  We had 14 people come to the meeting. It was a bit too much. There is one lady, she is our favorite. She is a snowbird, so everyone was glad to see her. But, the true problem she was talking to one of the members almost the entire time.  It was disturbing the others.  I did not want to say anything, because we were all glad to see her. But, maybe next time who ever is leading will say something.

I was the moderator for this meeting. I loved this book and knew there would be alot to talk about.  The story was about a woman that was career oriented, overachiever, that wanted it all. She wanted to be able to have a family, and work 80 hours a week. Which is impossible in todays world. Something has to give. She was pressured from all sides, and felt guilty she could not give enough to her children.  At the same time, she learns that her son, Chalie may have ADHD. One day, Sarah turns her attention to her cell phone, and everything stops.
What we loved about the book was how do you juggle both your work and family? Is it possible to do both?   What was brought up, can a mother be a good mother working, and family at the same time. Some said yes, others said quality time is enough.

We all loved the relationship of the mother and the daughter. We all thought she made a more high powered independent woman because of her mother. Her mother was not there for Sara as she was growing up.

We like the rehabilitation phase, as this is when she learned about her self, and how to slow down and pay attention, and what was important to her.

 Left Neglect is a true complication from a head trauma or brain injury.  Your right side is effected, this makes your left side not aware of anything on your left side.  This leads to washing half of your face, Shaving half of your beard, half of your makeup, and see only half of your plate, you did not realize the other half.

We all liked the comparison between Sara's craziness and her son Charlie's ADHD. We liked how they were both hyper- couldn't concentrate, but by the end of the book the both  they were able to calm down.
Some members including myself talked about our children with ADHD.

Some women did not care for her Sarah,  and very critical, they voiced that Sarah had no business being a mother. You either be a mother or a career woman. You can't do both. This was a hot topic as you can imagine.

What we all liked was almost at the end of the book, how Sara was able to change her life, and take a breather and finally pay attention and take notice of things that really mattered.

We all enjoyed Left Neglected, and we would recommend it to everyone. It makes you take stock, and learn, what to pay attention to.  Good discussion for a book club. You can find Lisa's website at

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Scary Read: Night Stranger

The Night Stranger
By Chris Bohjalian

 Chip Linton, his wife Emily, and his two twin daughter, Hallie, and Garnet live in Pa.

Chip has been  a accomplished pilot for years. On his last flight tragedy occurs.  Some geese fly into the engines of the plane, and a forced landing occurs because of the stalled engines.  The plane strikes the water, and crashes into Lake Champlain in NY.   39 passenger die from the accident, including a few children.

Of course,after the accident Chip has tremendous guilt, and sadness and loss caused by the accident. He can't live without thinking about the victims.

His wife, Emily wants to uproot the family and start all over in  NH. Strange things start happening when the family move in.

Chip notices a door in the basement with 39 bolts. The same number of passengers that died on his flight.  He later learns that there are bones in the shaft behind the door, human bones. You find out, eventually about the house. The house takes it own personality.  The house had a family with twins. Whats up with twins? You keep reading, In the house, was it a suicide of one of the twins? Or was it murder?

Is Chip seeing ghosts,? or is he having a melt down?

The community of rural NH is strange. The town, the people, the women are not what they seem. Are they really herbalists?   What is going on in this town?

My Review:

I recieved a copy from Chris Bohjalian. I am a big fan of all his writing even before Oprah. I discovered his writing when I visited Martha's Vineyard many years ago.  I have read most of his books. He's books are social commentary novels, not ghost stories.  Psychological suspense  is not my genre, but willing to give it a try.

I thought it was interesting for the setting to be in NH,  Since the area is very secluded, this worked for the setting of the book as well as the character of so called herbalists, and witches.

The one part that annoyed me, was telling the story in the second person. I don't usually like to read book as second person. Second person gets me a bit confused, and have to reread the paragraph to get who they are talking about.


The novel is slow moving at first then builds up momentum of suspense, the 3/4 of the book it turns to something more.  Are the communal of herbalists, friends or foe? Why are the herbalists so friendly to the children? We find out later why the communal of women need the Linton family children.

   IT IS STEPFORD WIVES MEET STEPHEN KING. These community of women reminded me of the Stepford Wives, why you ask? They were living in a area with a small population.  The community of women and a few men were in on it.   Knowing what they were planning to do. But the main characters had no idea what was happening until it was too late, to get out.  That is why I said, that the NH was the perfect setting secluded, it would not have worked anywhere else.

 I finished The Night Stranger last night, a perfect setting, of  freezing cold, and blistery wind whipping through my house. This is the perfect read for this kind of setting. I just wish I had a cozy fireplace.

The story scared me, gave me goose bumps, and I practically jumped out of me skin when my son touched me, towards the end of the novel. I still enjoyed it, and I am still thinking about it after a few days.

I thought Chris was very creative and original writing The Night Stranger. I would recommend this novel if you like more than gothic, ghosts and psychological suspense. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pursue My Career

Today, I have to post something that has been troubling me for the last few days. 

There has been a lot of changes in my life, in the past few months. Many years ago, I left my profession of nursing, 1990. When my son was born.  I was burned out... I did not think I would ever want to go back to nursing again( RN). Big Mistake.

I worked as a floor nurse in 1980's. I worked on a surgical floor, then cardiac, and then worked as a Psychiatric nurse, in the VA Hosp in Florida. It just got to me.  I decided to become a stay at home mom till my son was 14. Then I decided to try being a caregiver to a elderly woman. I then decided to go back to school, and pursue something in the medical field again.

I tried Medical Coding, and decided the business end of the hospital was just not for me. I liked the patient-nurse contact. Then I decided to go back to nursing.

 I could not pursue, nursing as my license lapsed. I talked to the board of nursing. I felt like I forgot everything. I decided I wanted to go back to nursing school and start over.

All my friends were cheering me on, to go for it.  I decided to do it. I went back to college, and take some classes. I thought I could go right back into the nursing program, since it was 20 years, not so simple.   I got accepted in the nursing program, but thought I could re-learn everything since I have not practiced. I found out, I can't do it that way. Since, I already graduated nursing school, the only way is take a refresher course, or take the NCLEX again.

It turns out my friend, that was gongho for me to take courses and pursue my dream, is not so gongho.
I don't why but now, she is telling me I am crazy!! I am too old to think of this. Most people think about retiring now, not going back to nursing.  I am much younger than her. I don't know why she turned totally 360 degrees.

 I don't know if she is jealous, because she lost her dream. She is always telling me she is going to do something, to jumpstart her career, but then she procrastinates.  She has a idea, then she totally drops it. Then you don't hear about again. Then a few months later you hear about something else. 

In the next few months, the refresher course will start. I plan on going for it. But, she acts like I am not in reality. Do you realize how much it is going to cost? She then says, How are you going to pay for lodging? How are you going to get there? She thinks I am a child, I quess.  I have considered all these things. I don't know what her problem is saying this to me.

In January, I plan on going through with this. Finding out what I need to do. But, I don't need some friend bursting my bubble. Telling me it is ridiculous for a 53 year old woman to pursue her dream. I know plenty of women my age, that decide later in life to go back to their profession.

The review course I have to take will take me the most 6 months. But, so what, at least I am attempting it. If you sit back and don't try, you regret it for the rest of your life.

Thank you for letting me vent. I usually don't post things like this but I had to get it off my chest. Wish me luck!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sweeping Historical Novel: 22 Britannia Road

22 Britannia Road
By Amanda Hodgkinson

This is the story of a newly married Polish couple, Janusz and his wife Silvana. Both swept up by the war, Janusz must leave his newly married wife and child Aurek, and report for duty.  They are separated during the war.

Silvana and their son Aurek are forced to flee their home. They are forced into hiding in places you wouldn't dream of.  They were forced to go from place to place and hope for the best.  At times they were kept safe. But, toward the end of the war they were forced into the forest to live like animals. 

Then, in alternating chapters we learn that Janusz is is hurt and separated from his unit.  A family finds him, and their beautiful daughter, Helene nursing him back to health. They both fall in love. You don't find out what happens to Helene till the end of the story.

Janusz reaches England and asks the Red Cross to find his family. The Red Cross brings them to England and they are reunited.

Both Silvana and Janusz want to move on and forgot their past, and move on to 22 Britannia Road. But, it is not possible till they can forgive each other and accept what each one has done and heal each other, separately, and together.

Most of the story I can't devulged without ruining the story.  I will tell you there are alot of twists and turns and surprises. The entire book played out like a movie in my mind.

One part of the story I was upset what happened. I thought to myself no mother would do that. But, once I was immersed in the story, and got deeper and drew me in, I forgot about it, and got over it.

In the beginning I did not care for the characters, but once I was captivated.   I was just swept in by the story. Something like, "Calgon take me away". I think the story became more important than the character flaws. 

What worked was the alternating time of place of Janusz and Silvana in Poland, and then in England.

I was very surprised reading this. I thought it would be a literary read. But, it was I felt a mixed bag of things, and I can't put my finger on it. But, it worked and I enjoyed reading 22 Britannia Road.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Year We Left Home: Book Review

The Year We Left Home
By Jean Thompson

This is the story of the Erikson family in Iowa, in 1973. The story spans 30 years from the time they are coming of age into adulthood, to their middle age years.

The story is about each individual family member, Anita, Blake, Torrie, Ryan and their cousin Chip, and of course their parents.  Each of them, leave home, in different situations. The affect it has on them for them when they reach their 50's.

The confrontations, the battles, the tragedies, and the ties that bind them as individuals and as a family.What happens to this family, and turns the family to extended family, as Great Grandmother, Grandmother, Great Grandfather, Grandfather, Mother, Father, Son, Daughter, Sister, Brother, Cousin, Nephew, Neice, etc.

There are three children, Blake, Torrie, Anita, and Ryan, and their cousin, Chip.  At the opening scene, Anita is getting married. She pictures a perfect marriage and family. A house, with a white picket fence, with of course a dog and 2.2 children. Just like everyone else did, in the 70's. But, unfortunately, life does not go as planned.  Her husband becomes a alcholic.

Ryan, has to find himself and his dream. He ends up working in computers. Somewhat of a loner. He marries, and has kids. Later in their marriage, they end up divorced, and he feels the kids don't care about him.

Torrie, the youngest daughter, is in a car accident. Torrie, is left handicapped with physical disabilities.  Torrie feels her mother, smothering her and does allow her to be as independent. Torrie escapes by finding her creativity, in photography. Her mother allows her independence and leaves home.

Blake, has not much to talk about. He is just there in the background. He has a happy life. At the end of the story we learn his son, wants to join the military.

Their cousin, Chip is a drifter. He doesn't seem to ever get it together. The Vietnam War, has forever changed him.

My thoughts, I enjoyed reading this novel. I connected from the start. The Year We Left Home, is not for everyone. There is historical background, and politics that appear in the story.   It is slow moving, but it was fluid, and came together. There was not any part of the novel that was disjointed.

I may have connected to the story, because I am middle aged. I don't think a younger person would have enjoyed, or related to the Erikson's as much. That is just my personal opinion. 

I loved the ending of the story, and the character development. The author, did a good job writing this novel. I have never read any of her books before. I hope to read her other one's in the future.
The only critque, I have is why Blake is not developed more in the story? For what reason, she did not give Blake more story line, and why Chip is in the story? I am not sure if Chip made the story more interesting or not, or was the author trying to put another spin to the story.

The borrowed this book from the library.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Book Review: Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt

Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt
By Beth Hoffman

Cee Cee, is living in Ohio. She  is a 12 year old young girl. She has to grow up fast because of her mother's psycotic ways.  Her father, is rarely around for Cee Cee.

Her mother, Camille struts in  to town most days in a tiara on top of her head and her old prom gown that she wore in a pagent in 1954.

When Cee Cee was small  she did not know any better. She appreciated her mother's eccentric and crazy behaviors. But, as Cee Cee became aware of her mother's crazy behavior, she became aware that her mother was not normal.  Her father conviently left town when things got tough for Cee Cee.  Cee Cee was forced to grow up fast, and to learn to develop a tough skin, because of the gossip, and humiliation, and embarrassement her mother caused.

Her only friend was Ms. Odell, the elderly next door neighbor. She always watched over Cee Cee, giving her hugs, and grandmotherly advise. Her other escape was reading, she loved to escape into books.

One afternoon, her mother decides she wants to walk into town with her usual attire, her tiara and her colorful prom dress. Unfortunately, she is hit by a car.

Her father realizes, he can not raise Cee Cee. He decides the best thing, is for her to live with her Aunt Tootie, in Savannah Georgia.

Aunt Tootie, is a elderly, wealthy, and eccentric woman. Cee Cee meets Aunt Tootie's friends and neighbors. All of them are colorful and eccentric, and a bit off.

Cee meets her Aunt Tootie's housekeeper, Oletta Jones, her neighbor, Mrs. Goodpepper, and the town hussy, Mrs. Hobbs.

Her Aunt Tootie's housekeeper, Olletta Jones, is a godsend for Cee Cee. She finally learns to live, laugh, and have fun, and learn life lessons from all these colorful characters. Cee Cee has a entire summer to learn these life lessons.

My Review: I would like my readers to know that this novel was not sent by a publisher, but borrowed from the library. I truly did not know what to think about this small novel at first. I usually don't read books about coming of age. I am glad I read, Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt, I loved it.

Reading a story about a young girl coming of age from the south, in her perspective was refreshing.  This book blew me away. I just loved the small little tidbits of wisdom, Mrs. Odell and Oletta gave her.

There were tears, laughter, joy, and heartache, I felt for Cee Cee, and all the quirky characters. Especially at the end, was all those mixed emotions.

Aunt Tootie had the garden party.  It all came to a head, a confrontation between Mrs. Goodpepper, and Mrs. Hobbs, the town hussy.

  I could see all these upper class  ladies tongues wagging with gossip, and gawking at the spectcle.

The entire book, I was cheering on the side lines for Cee Cee.  Cee Cee was haunted by her
mother's illness, and her past, but with the help of these women she was able to finally let go of her mother's past, and heal emotionally. With all these women chararcters giving her love, support, and encouragement along the way, especially Oletta, Cee Cee was able to let go and move on.

The book was a fun and great read, I recommend it highly.  I am going to spread the word, and recommend our book club to read it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Story of Beautiful Girl

The Story of Beautiful Girl
By Rachel Simon

This is the story about how four peoples lives intercept at a single night in 1968, and how it changes their lives forever.

Lynnie,  is developmentally challenged, young woman, and Homan is a Afro American deaf young man. They are on the run after escaping,The School for the Incurable and Feeble Minded.

 They find a farm house, and Martha a elderly widow.  But, unfortunately, the authorties find them.

Lynnie is caught, before she is taken away she whispers something in Martha's ear, hide her.

This statement changes Martha's life. She names the baby girl, Julia and moves away.
Homan, in the dark night escapes the authorities. He discovers a new way of life, and learns life lessons, and makes new friends.

Lynnie is caught and taken back to the intstitution.   After a few years, society learns of the atrocities of the condition of The School for the Incurable and Feeble Minded.  The school is closed down.  Lynnie learns to live a semi- independent life.

Then they lives intercept again. I am not going to tell you how since that may spoil it for you. This book is so good, I am hoping you will read it.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed reading The Story of Beautiful Girl.  It is slow in the beginning, but it grabs you from the start, and doesn't let go til the end.  There is a bit of Jewish themes immersed in the novel, which made the story more interesting.

 I enjoyed the author's writing style.  The author used the voices of what she thought Lynnie and Homan would think and talk. At first I had a hard time grasping it, but after a while I started getting pulled in.

The story begins from 1968 to the present.  I enjoyed reading Homan, and Lynnie's true voice, the separate lives they had, and what was happening to them.  This made you want to keep flipping the pages, and wanting to stay up in the wee hours of the night.

The Story of Beautiful Girl, was part mystery, part suspense, part romance, and also social history, and social commentary, of what happed to the physically and mentally challenged during the 1960's.

When you were physically or mentally challenged, you were usually put away in a institution and forgotten and never spoken about again.  The autrocities in these places were unspeakable. 

Thanks to JFK, new laws were put in place to protect the mentally and physically challenged.  The citizens that were physically and mentally challenged were not easily put in institutions.  They finally had rights.  Institutions started to close up. 

Unfortunately, this left some of them with not a place to go, and left them homeless, and without medical care. You were fortunate if you had family to care for you, or at least look out for your welfare.

The author, Rachel Simon read a story about a deaf, Afro American man escaping a institution. She wanted to give him a voice, and tell his story what it was like.
But, also her sister, is developmentally challenged. She wanted to discuss the treatment and conditions of the developmentally challanged during the 1960's when she was growing up.  How some people autrocized, and how society treated them before laws were changed.  Her sister was lucky, her parents never thought to give up her sister to a institution.

The Story of Beautiful Girl, would be a good discussion for a book club. There is so much to talk about.  I can't see why no one would enjoy this book, it has everything, like I said before, romance, mystery, love story, suspense, and history, and social commentary, and social history.   The social issue part of the story, stirs up your juices and gives you a voice. I can see many arguments in anger during this discussion, if our group decided to select, The Story of a Beautiful Girl.

The only thing I did not like was the end, it was too predictable. The conclusion made a romantic happy ever after ending.  But, still recommend this to my blog readers.

 I am very glad I read, The Story of Beautiful Girl.   Thank you, Rachel Simon for a copy,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Little Bride: Book Review

The Little Bride
By Anna Solomon

The Little Bride, is about Minna Losk, 16 year old, living in Odessa, the old country.  She wants to leave the old country for a better life in America, as a mail order bride. 
When she is little her mother leaves the family, and her father works in the coal mines, where he eventually dies tragically.  Minna is forced as a young child to work as a maid sevant.

She then decides to become a mail order bride. She dreams of a wealthy life, with a wealthy husband and a beautiful house.

But, when she arrives to America she is sadly mistaken.  She arrives to be picked up by her to-be-husband teenage son, Jacob. When she meets Max, her to-be-husband, all her dreams are shattered.   Max is a strict religious Jew, much older than her, penniless, and a shabby house.

She was hoping to be living in NYC, in a beautiful house, instead she is in a desolute plains of "Sodokata".  Max, has signed a contract called the Am Olam. This is a movement of Jews go out of the crowded city of New York, and move west to become farmers.

When she arrives, she finds Max, has two strapping teen age sons, the same age as her. She is attracted  to his son, Samuel. 

After a few weeks she marries Max, and settles into the life, and accepts what happens to her.
But, when the winter arrives, she realizes the hardship, and difficulties she is against during the grueling winter.

My Thoughts:  I wanted to like Little Bride, especially since I had communicated with her.  I feel pretty bad, about this review, since I communicated with the author. I have heard from others, that they liked. But, everyone has different taste. 

 Unfortunately, I could not find anything I liked about it. I  The novel felt like a romance novel I used to read years ago. The novel was predictable, I was hoping for a better story, with intrigue, and depth. Most books, I read I like to read something new.  I hope to learn something. 

When I was reading this, I was seeing the TV show, Little House on the Prarie. I wanted something original.  I read a book, a few years ago called Away by Amy Bloom. In the beginning it reminded me of that same novel. The hardship the young girl goes through. But, that is where it ends.  In Away, I cared about the characters, this story I did not like any of the characters, and I could not connect with the story or the characters. There was something missing.

There was one part of the book, some of the scenes were far fetched. One part of the story when Minna marries Max, she is hidden by a lace scarf through out the ceremony, and into the dinner. That is far fetched.

I recently went to my first  Jewish orthodox wedding. It is true that the bride's face is covered. But, after the ceremony the lace covering is taken off. 

In the book, it is covered the entire time, and she dribbled everything all over her. I think after that, I really lost it.  Books, don't have to be entirely accurate for a historical novel, but it just lost it for me after.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What We Have: Book Review

What We Have
By Amy Boesky

What We Have is the story of a family of women. Most of the women in the family are predisposed to ovarian cancer, this haunts the author constantly.

  Amy is a young woman in her thirties, she is a professor at a top college. She is on a time clock, because she is worried for herself, and her sisters. She is recently married, and would like to have children right away. Because if she waits she realizes she may not be able to have children. She is worried that she will succumb to Ovarian Cancer, like the rest of her family.

 Amy's mother had Ovarian treatment long ago.  She then went on with her life. But, researchers, were not aware of is, that just because you were "CURED" of Ovarian Cancer, doesn't mean that you can't get another cancer, Breast cancer. 

Amy and her sisters,and father watched their mother succumb to the disease. There was nothing that could be done. She eventually passed away.

After her mother's death, Amy and her sisters had to decide if they wanted the blood test for the gene BRCA1 and BRCA2. If they find out the results are positive, do they go further with this and have the surgery to prevent the spread of cancer? What about their children? grandchildren? Sons?

My Thoughts: When I saw this memoir, I knew I had to read this. This story is my story in certain ways.  My Mother, Grandmother, and Great Aunt all have a history of breast cancer. My Grandma and Great Aunt both had Mastectomies, and lived on for many more years. My Mother had a lump removed from her breast and had lympthectomy done on that side of the breast. For me, in my forties I had a benign biopsy, so far nothing yet has developed. But, I am waiting.

 The memoir, does not take place now, this happened in the 1980's. This story is not just about the disease.  But, also how the family coped with their predisposition to the illness, as well as their mother succumbing to the illness, and her eventual death.   But about the close knit family, and how they coped with their mother's illness. How they became closer and what they did with their knowledge about the disease.

After I read this memoir, I wondered to myself about my family's predisposition of breast cancer. My I would not have the test to determine if I am predisposed to breast cancer. I also would not have the preventive surgery either.

I also thought of my brother's, even though it seems it runs on the female side. It also seems that there is a high percentage of prostate cancer that sons could get it. Also Jewish families. 

The first 100 pages, I did not love the book. She was talking about marriage and babies. I was not interested. I was hoping the memoir was about women that are previvors. But, the book changed after to what I was looking for.  I  am happy that I continued on to  read this book. 

If you want to read more about the illness, you can visit the author's website. There are a few articles. This book is good for book discussions.  To discuss the illness, with your families, and sisters.  Good book to read alongs with family members( sisters, mothers etc.). I had a good discussion with my mother about this book.

I would recommend this to many people I know.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Favorite Novel as a Young Child

Random House Readers Circle, posed a question today, and I started thinking about the books I have read since I was a book worm, and how my tastes have changed.

This is the first book I remember reading as a 16 year old. I have to say my tastes have changed.  When I was a teenager, I loved to read gothic novels. Penmarric had a impact, because I can remember it was a 700 page novel.  Since, then I loved to read romance. But, luckily my tastes have changed to literary style novels.  During that time, I would read Victoria Holt, Susan Howatch, and other gothic, victorian romance novels, then I switched to romance.  Now, I look at a Harlequin, or Danielle Steel with distate.  How I read those novels back then.

Here is a bio on Susan Howatch : a British novelist, has given the world some great books over the past 30+ years.
First there were her family sagas: Penmarric, Cashelmara, The Rich are Different, Sins of the Fathers, The Wheel of Fortune.

Random House, also asked what was your first novel as a child you can remember. Did you like or not like the book? I remember reading, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms. What a wholesome book.

But, my two favorites were Charlotte's Web, and Pippy Longstockings.

As a young child, I remember Snowy Day as one of my favorite picture books.

What do you remember reading? any favorites? as a child, or as a adolescent?

Happy Reading, leave your comments. Would love to know.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Book Giveaway Winner

Congratulations Dawn, of Too Fond of Books.  you are the winner of Left Neglected by Lisa Genova.
Ayelet, of Simon & Schuster will be getting in touch with you.  You are in for a great ride, right before the end of the summer.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Left Neglected Book Tour and Giveaway

Left Neglected
By Lisa Genova

Dear readers, please forgive this review. I have had a problem posting with blogger at least four different days. I have been upset, because I had a lot to say about this novel. But, most of it has faded away. This is my favorite novel for the summer, beside Butterfly's Daughter.  I like to read a book that has something to say, with some research mixed in. I could tell Ms. Genova did her research.

 Thank goodness I had posted some thoughts on Goodreads.  I am posting it from there. Please forgive me this time. As my life is topsy-turvy right now with moving, and finding a new job, and lots of different changes. I am sad about these life changes. But, I always have believed there is a reason for everything.  So, I don't know what it is yet, but I am sure it will come to me. 

Read on to my review: I may go back and revise in a few weeks when my life is not so crazy. I would like to apologize to my readers and to Ayelet from Simon and Schuester. I promised this would be up this week.  

I am having a giveaway for Left Neglected. Leave a comment the one thing that causes you the greatest stress and did you do anything about it. The giveaway starts Monday August 1st, my son's b-day, till Friday August 5th. I will let you know the winner, on August 8th after I move.

 I love the book cover of the paper back better than the hard cover.  I like the texture of the paperback, and the color. Rather than the hard back of the navy blue.

 Lisa Genova, is the author that wrote Still Alice, which I highly recommend as well.  Lisa Genova   is a psychologist and her expertise lies in neuroscience.

Sara and her husband, Bob have 3 children. Linus 8 months, and their other school age children, Charlie, and Lucy.

 Both Sara and Bob have high powering, stressful jobs, and trying to juggle home life and work simultaneously.

 While driving home, Sara has a important call to answer. But, the one second trying to find the phone changes her life.

She gets into a car accident, and everything changes.

 In todays world, of computers, and phones, we are always multi-tasking and  juggle everything in our daily life. Something has to give sometime. In this case it did.

Sara has not been paying attention in her daily life. She has not had time to pay attention and absorb anything in her life. Like the title of the novel, her life has been NEGLECTED,before the accident. 

Since the accident the complication of problems with the right side of her brain, causes her not see anything on her left, or do anything on her left side of her brain does not register. This is truly a true disorder.

What she endures in therapy gives her a time to stop and absorb and think about her rushed life.  Before she hadn't anytime to care about herself, or her family and her relationship with her husband, mother, and her children.

Also before Sara gets into the accident, her son has been having difficulties in the classroom.  Sara and her husband are both asked to come to the school to for a school conference about their son, Charlie. The teacher observes Charlie's poor behavior with the other students and he's behavior in the classroom. What they learn is there is a possibility that he has symptoms of ADHD.

This is the first time I have read a novel that talks about ADHD. I have a connection and felt sympathy for the family. I understood what Sara and Bob were going through when they first learned about their son, Charlie's diagnosis.

 I went through the same thing with my son at school. With being so proud when my son accomplished something. But, ADHD causes the child to be different and a outcast.  The author touched based on this. She hit it on the nail how, us parents feel.

I liked the similarities of Sara needing to slow down as well as her son's diagnosis resulted in his behavior slowing down, I liked the parallel.  Her son, Charlie,  in the beginning of the story was fidgety, could not concentrate and always moving sounded similar to Sara's fast track life.

The only part I did not like was the ending. The story fit, happily ever after. I would have given the story 5 stars if it was not for this part. But, overall I liked the book and I kept wanted to flip the pages. 

Thank you Avelet for allowing me to read, and review and host a giveaway.  I hear that Lisa Genova is writing another one.  I am not going to give you a hint you will just have to go to her website or her facebook page. She discusses her book there.

Good reading!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Borders Closing

rders is closing, see what NPR has to say.

Sorry I posted below, but for some reason blogger is not allowing me to edit anything lately. I am really thinking of closing shop on blogger. Starting over on another host. Ever since blogger has changed their format, I can't change posts. My posts are not formatted right. I want to edit a post and it won't. So bear with me until, I get this straightened out. I hope this does not affect me loosing my readers. Sorry,

Post below is my thoughts on Borders Book Store.

Another One Hits The Dust: Borders Book Store

Today is a sad day for the publishing industry and the book business. Most of the stores that are still in existance are questioning, will we still be in business, with E-books on the rise. Will patrons still buy a physical book. What happened to Borders? Will it happen to us?

My experience with Borders was living up north, in Paramus NJ.  Beside Borders at Garden State Mall, we had two, yes I said two Barnes and Noble one different sides of the road, on Rt. 17, a mile apart.
We also did have a few independent book stores, one in Ridgewood, NJ, called Bookends.  Then another one in Wycoff. Don't remember the name of that one.

I preferred going to BN, instead of Borders. I liked going to Borders for the the events. But, I did not like the layout. Barnes and Noble had the large couches and oversized chairs, and it had a comfy feeling.  Borders did not, and either does the Indies. I left NJ about 10 years ago.

Now, that I live in Myrtle Beach, SC. We do have a Barnes and Noble, It used to be in Myrtle Beach, but since 2 years ago BN moved at the Market Commons( upscale shopping).  The new store is sharp, and modern.  With lots of chairs, and comfy. We also have a nice coffee shop there.  

Most of the employees there, I have known for years. Since I moved to SC. It is the same people and feels like home.  Sorry, to say I am not going to miss Borders. But, it is sad to hear of the closing.

It makes you wonder what happened. Did the competition of the big book chains cause the defunk.  I am talking of BN, Amazon.

What is going to happen to the physical stores? Is what is going to happen to Blockbuster going to happen to the book stores? You will use the store to download your books?  Personally, I don't think this is the end of the physical book. I have the Nook, and use it occassionally. But, I still love the physical book. I like when you can flip the pages back if you forget something. I can't figure the fangled thing, and takes too long to highlight. I would rather take a marker and highlight a book. But, I like a nook when I am going to the beach, or if I was traveling.

I think with the closing of Borders, publishers, and authors are taking stock. Thinking the end of book stores is near. I hope not!! Maybe the next generation. My generation still likes the physical book.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Turn of Mind: Book Review

Turn of Mind
Alice La Plante
Copy as ebook
by Netgalley
 Lately, many authors are writing novels about memory loss and Alzheimer's Disease. It could be that the baby boomers are getting to middle age. This was a interesting read. 

  Turn of Mind is the story, about Jennifer, 64 year old widow, with Alzheimer's Disease. She has a daughter Fiona, and a son Mark. She has a caretaker 24/7, Magdelena staying at her home. Her friend Amanda, her neighbor is killed with 4 fingers severed off her hand.

  Most of the time, Jennifer has a notebook that she carries around with her everywhere. But, it is unrealiable.

Police think Jennifer was responsible. But the problem is Jennifer's memory is detoriating. It is very interesting how the author plays with the confusion. There are several times myself I was confused and had to flip back the pages to understand what was going on. I think the author's technique of writing was very unique.

Out of the blue, Jennifer loses time. You are reading something, then all of sudden she is in the middle of the street with oncoming traffic. How did she get there? There are many times that the author had Jennifer come in the middle of a situation. Try and think of yourself, sometimes when you drift off and find yourself drifting back.  How do you feel? A bit disoriented until you get your bearing.

Another time, when Jennifer left the facility, she befriends a couple of homeless men. They realize her facilities are not all there. But, they think they can con her.

After this incidence she takes a cab with not any money and she doesn't have shoes on. She arrives at her clinic ready to work. But she doesn't have her license any longer. Her fellow physicians recognize her. One of her fellow physicians says, I thought you retired. Then they all kept working. No one called to report something was amiss. I just think this did not fit the story.

There is a twist at the end of the story, I am not going to tell you.

The story is written in four parts. The first part when she is being cared by a care taker. The second part is when she taken to a nursing home. The third part when she escapes the nursing home wandering. The fourth part when she is taken back and the mystery is solved.

The novel is more about the illness, than the mystery of her friend Amanda. I enjoyed reading the story. Going into Jennifer's head, going from sanity to  confusion to senility to confusion.

 Going back in time when she was a little girl. At one point she thought her mother and sister were still alive. That I am sure can be frustrating to convince someone that they are living in the past.

  But, like all other books dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, it is difficult to read, because of the subject matter.  Visit NYTimes website for a nice review of Turn of Mind.

 After you read this one, you may want to read  another novel, that is very good it is written like a memoir, about Alzheimer's you should check out Lisa Genova's Still Alice. Very hard to read but is excellent.

Books, and More Books Arriving This Week

Wow, this week has been a winner with all the books and gifts I recieved.  First I recieved compliments of Book Club Girl,  a tote bag with books authored by Mary Kay Andrews, Deep Dish. But, what I was really excited about was, Summer Rental.  How great is that!! Check it out below.

These are the books that came this week:

Left Neglect by Lisa Genova
 Storm Chasers by Jenna Blum
 Maine by J.Courtney Sullivan
 Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
 I Gave My Heart to Know This, Ellen Baker

Happy Reading!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Book Club Discussion: Butterfly's Daughter

 I thought I would post this for a laugh today. Look Above. 

Our book club, 38th Ave. Diva Readers, met today.

What a book club it was. The last time we had this kind of meeting, was when Benay hosted it at our temple. We had 18 ladies attend. As you can imagine, when many ladies show up, it is a gathering.

The one thing I decided if more than 8 ladies were showing up, I would do just the usual munchies. But, because I thought only 6-8 were coming I would make it more elaborate. What a mistake, all of sudden 11 people show up. like always, some people didn't RSVP. Luckily I had made enough food.

But despite the large number of 11 ladies, only two did not show up. I was hosting this one.  If you follow this blog you all know I read this a few months ago.  One of the book club rules: you must read the book before suggesting it.

I personally don't like this rule, because I don't like re-reading the book again.

I decided I was going to do a food theme, based on the book, Mexican.  There was lots of food themes to go with the book. But, I decided, main course would be Taco Salad.   I modified the recipe added cilantro, black beans, and corn with the meat mixture, then added lime.  I got the greatest compliments. Our members called to find out my secret ingredients, LOL!!, We are all Jewish ladies, some of our book club ladies follows kosher dietary laws. I decided to make Tuna Fish Taco Salad for the ladies that follow Kosher dietary rules.

I love flan, when I lived in Miami I used to be able to get it easily. But, in Myrtle Beach, not as easy.  I found a recipe on line was intimidated. My son's Friend Dylan, helped me make the flan.  I am not a baker, I did not realize you can liquify sugar. Learn something new everyday,me dummy.  Anyway, he did a great job. Every one loved it. There was none left.

On to the discussion.  The person that suggests the book is the person that leads the discussion and hosts it, thats me this month.   Most everyone enjoyed reading the book. Because of learning about the metamorphisis of the butterfly, the migration, etc.

The parallel story about the Journey of Luz and her friends. Reminded me of Thelma and Louise. The life lessons Luz learned along the way.

Some members did recall, something amazing happening. One of our members, Benay recalled when her sister died, a butterfly showed up. She told us she did not believe it was her sister, but her daughter's spirit. But then two other butterfly's showed up, she believed it was her parent's spirit.   This book is amazing and brings up so many beliefs and emotions.

A couple members felt the story was so contrived. I did not pay attention to that. I just liked the story, the hidden meanings, the journey, and traditions, carrying on the family.

 One group member that has not been at our meetings for a while, showed up.  She has monopolized the book club, always interupting everyone, and taking over. She did not do it this time. What a relief.

Our book club this month was successful. Everyone was respectful, and not one person interupted each other. Our book club had a lot to discuss with this novel.  Our book club met for two hours.

I would recommend this novel, Butterfly's Daughter for a book club, lots to talk about. I had contacted Mary Alice Monroe a few months ago for the discussion questions. I am sure by now, it must be on her website. I also contacted MAM, for the milkweed seeds, and book marks to go with this book.

I would like to thank MAM, for all her help with receiving the book marks, the discussion questions, and milkweed seeds.

Lilac Girls: Book Review

Lilac Girls By Martha Hall Kelly Review copy from Ballantine Books You may not want to read my review. I am very critical of ...