Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saturday Snapshot - June 30th

Saturday Snapshot

Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don't post random photos that you find online.

Yellow and Pink Stargazer Lilies

Have a nice weekend everyone - off to visit your blogs.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday ~ Love Anthony; Lisa Genova

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week's selection of a book that I'm looking forward to being released is:
September 25, 2012
Gallery - Simon & Schuster
From the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice and Left Neglected, comes a heartfelt novel about an accidental friendship that gives a grieving mother a priceless gift: the ability to understand the thoughts of her eight-year-old autistic son and make sense of his brief life.
Two women, each cast adrift by unforseen events in their lives, meet by accident on a Nantucket beach and are drawn into a friendship.
Olivia is a young mother whose eight-year-old severely autistic son has recently died. Her marriage badly frayed by years of stress, she comes to the island in a trial separation to try and make sense of the tragedy of her Anthony’s short life.

Beth, a stay-at-home mother of three, is also recently separated after discovering her husband’s long-term infidelity. In an attempt to recapture a sense of her pre-married life, she rekindles her passion for writing, determined to find her own voice again. But surprisingly, as she does so, Beth also find herself channeling the voice of an unknown boy, exuberant in his perceptions of the world around him if autistic in his expression—a voice she can share with Olivia—(is it Anthony?)—that brings comfort and meaning to them both.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros

Every Tuesday, I'll be posting the opening paragraph (sometimes maybe a few ) of a book I decided to read based on the opening paragraph (s). Feel free to grab the banner and play along.  

This week's pick is from an eGalley (courtesy of NetGalley) that I'm reading right now.

Center Street - Hachette - 2012


"Every living thing dies. There's no stopping it.

In my experience--and I've had more than my share--endings rarely go well.  There is absolutely nothing life affirming about death.  You'd think that, given the prevalence and irrevocability of death, whoever or whatever  put the whole thing together would've given a little more attention to the process of exit.  Maybe next time.

When I was alive, a critical part of my job was to facilitate the endings.  As a veterinarian, I was a member of the one healing profession that not only was authorized to kill, but in fact was expected to do so.  I save life, and then I took it away." 

What do you think, would you read on? 
 (In case you are interested, it's quite good)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bibliophile By the Sea turns 4 - GIVEAWAY

Bibliophile By the Sea
turns 4 on June 28th!

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy blogging (most of the time), but there are times when if feels like another job, and I think about closing up shop, but then I come back to my senses and realize how much I would miss not having this avenue to talk and post about books.  It's also in part a partial journal of pieces of my life. I've interacted with so many great people though blogging, and although we've never met, I feel a kind of friendship with many of you.Thanks go out to all of my readers.

I'd also like to thank the many publicists that have been kind enough to pass along some wonderful review books my way, and I love the fact that eGalleys are becoming readily available, because deep down, I'm a tree-hugger, and love the movement away from physical books.

As a way of saying thank you to my readers,  I am giving away a $25.00 Amazon gift certificate or a Book Depository Gift Certificate - winners choice.
 Eligibility Rules:
  • Open to US and International followers
  • Current readers and followers just need to leave a comment with an email address.
  • If you are NEW to this blog, or this is your first time commenting, you MUST become a follower to be entered in the giveaway drawing. Once you become a follower, then simply leave your first comment with your email address.
  • Tweets qualify for an additional entry
  • Drawing will take place on Sunday, July 8th
  • Good Luck Everyone!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday Snapshot

Saturday Snapshot

Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don't post random photos that you find online.

An unplanned trip to the Berkshires in Massachusetts gave me the opportunity to tour the Edith Wharton's estate located in Lenox, MA.  Admission to the house and the garden were separate and we really only had enough time for one tour so it was the gardens we chose for this trip.  Unfortunately many of the plantings were either just out of bloom or about to bloom in a week or so, but it was still very fun.

I do want to plan another visit to tour the inside of the home, perhaps in the fall when the foliage will be beautiful en route. As JoAnn, Lakeside Musing suggested, maybe a place where East Coast bloggers could meet up?

only had my iPhone for photos unfortunately

forgot what this was called - anyone know?

wouldn't this be a cool spot to read?

perhaps a great place to do some writing as well

Plenty of events are always going on here.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Picture This; Jacqueline Sheehan

Title: Picture This
Author:  Jacqueline Sheehan
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: William Morrow
Edition:  eGalley
Setting: Maine
Source: Edelweiss
Date Completed: 6/2012
Rating: 3.5/5
Recommend: yes

Picture This, a sequel to Jacqueline Sheehan's novel, Lost in Found, picks up where the other story left off, when Rocky Pelligrino's husband Bob, died a sudden death at the young age of forty-three.  Rocky, still grief stricken,  has rented a summer house on a tiny island (Peaks Island) in the middle of Maine. While she is trying to decide about returning to her counseling job at the University, she has taken on a job as game warden on the island. She and her large black Labrador, Cooper have begun to ease into a somewhat more normal kind of life.

On the island, Rocky has made a few friends who have had mutual healing powers for the other party.  Melissa is a teenage girl struggling with an eating disorder, who has found comfort being around Rocky and Cooper, and is coping with her battle with anorexia. Cooper, the Lab is a character in himself as he gives his perspective on what his "humans" mean to him, and how he sees his role around them.  Rocky has even taken a few steps toward a new relationship with her archery instructor as well. He's patient, hard-working, and an all-around nice guy, but Rocky isn't sure she's ready for a serious commitment.

One day Rocky gets a phone call from a young woman named Natalie, who is looking for her father. The girl, now eighteen,  has spent her life thus far in too many different foster homes. Natalie believes Rocky's late husband Bob, is her biological father. How could this be? Is Natalie mistaken?  Rocky's counseling background and warm nature, immediately wants to help and nurture this poor girl. She allows Natalie to spend some time with her and Cooper while she looks for a job.  This decision causes turmoil in Rocky's life making her feel unsettled once again, yet determined to find out the truth about Natalie's birth father.

My Thoughts - I'd first recommend that readers interested in this one should first consider reading Lost and Found  to get a better feel for where Rocky has been and what she is all about. I actually liked that book as well as another book of hers called, Now and Then better.  Although it would be hard for me to imagine what Rocky has been through, I just found her incredibly annoying at times.  I also thought there were too many other characters issues being discussed.  I would have preferred more of a focus on Natalie's time in foster care and Rocky's story instead.  It is one of those stories that will appeal to some readers more than others, and some may find the reading sad as well.  Although this book wasn't perfect for me, I would still definitely read more books by this author; the cover art is always terrific for her novels as well.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Partial History of Lost Causes; Jennifer DuBois

Author:  Jennifer DuBois
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Random House Audio
Edition: audiobook and eGalley
Readers: Kathe Mazur and Stephen Hoye
Setting: MA and Russia
Source: Library and NetGalley
Date Completed: 6/2012
Rating: 4/5
Recommend: yes

  All of us are doomed, but some are more doomed than others. 
Vladimir Nabokov

A Partial History of Lost Causes is a story about two very different individuals whose lives are about to intersect. Aleksandr Bezetov, is a former chess prodigy who decides to challenge Vladimir Putin for President of Russia. The other individual is a 30 year old college lecturer from Cambridge, MA named Irina Ellison.

After Irina’s father dies from Huntington’s disease, she finds a letter that he had written some twenty years earlier to the Russian chess champion, Bezetov asking him, “what is the proper way to proceed when you are dealing with a lost cause.” Her father died without ever receiving a reply. Seeking an answer to the question while suspecting that her life will also be cut short because of a genetic link to Huntington's Disease, she decides to leave her American life behind, and go to Russia to track down Aleksandr Bezetov. Not only does she hope to get an answer to her father's question, but also she hopes to add adventure and meaning to what time she has left in life.

This debut novel held my interest, and the audio book readers were very good as well. I liked the way it is narrated by the two main protagonists, in alternate chapters.  It was interesting to read about descriptions of life from the Cold War to the present. I also enjoyed the way the story rolled out contrasting Irina's personal struggles, which she had no control over, with the self inflicted struggles of Aleksandr --the two, an unlikely pair of lost causes. Without giving away significant spoilers about how this story turns out, I'll just say I was pleased  to see that Irina does find the answer to the question that she and her father wanted to know.

A Partial History of Lost Causes is the type of story that makes you remember to appreciate what you have, and to make the most of your life even if the odds are against you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Monday Mornings; Sanjay Gupta

Author:  Sanjay Gupta, MD
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Edition: audiobook 
Reader: Christian Rummel (very good)
Source: Library 
Date Completed: 6/2012
Rating: 4/5
Recommend: yes
Monday Mornings, is a fictionalized account of the personal and professional lives of five surgeons working at Chelsea General Hospital in Michigan.   Every Monday Morning at 6:00 the surgeons hold a weekly meeting (M&M - Morality and Morbidity) to discuss their professional mistakes and cases which lead to a patient's death.  No one else is allowed in their meeting, and no surgeon is excused from attending. At one time or another everyone gets their turn being center-stage among their peers. While some of the medical mistakes experienced by the surgeons are much less serious than others, the purpose of the open discussion among peers is to avoid similar issues in the future, by learning from each others mistakes.
I enjoyed this book, but I must say that the individual stories for the most part were not memorable.  The only story that lingered for me was one that involved the death of a young boy, a death that haunted the surgeon and nearly ended his career as well.  The book is a reminder that even the best of surgeons are not perfect and that medical mistakes can and do happen. Surgeons are not Gods, they are very real everyday people with personal issues and other things on their minds besides medicine.

The audio book reader, Christian Rummel, did a great job keeping the story lively enough to hold my interest, but this book might not be one that works for everyone. 

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the chief medical correspondent for CNN. Gupta, is Chief of Neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital, and a member of the staff and faculty at the Emory University School of Medicine.

Summer of the Gypsy Moths; Sara Pennypacker

Author:  Sara Pennypacker
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Edition: trade softcover
Source: Amazon Vine
Setting:  Cape Cod - Massachusetts
Ages: 8+
Date Completed: 6/2012 
Rating: 4/5
Recommend: yes

In Summer of the Gypsy Moths, eleven year old Stella has not had an easy life thus far.  She has moved from place to place and is use to her flaky mother taking off on her from time to time.  This summer she hopes to forget about the past and enjoy a nice summer in Cape Cod visiting her great-aunt Louise.  Louise is the caretaker for "Linger Longer Cottages" there.
Just when she thought the summer would be perfect, she realizes once again that things don't always turn out as planned.  Louise's foster child, Angel who is twelve years old and Stella, couldn't be more different, but when something happens to aunt Louise that no one could have anticipated, the girls must join forces and come up with a plan to deal with the situation, so that they won't be forced back into the foster care system, and deal with another move.  Their teamwork results in a cleaver (albeit unrealistic) plan on how to survive on their own -- at least for a while, but in the end they also learn the meaning of friendship and home. To say any more will spoil the story for other readers.
Summer of the Gypsy Moths was a fun story for ages 8 and up. It's a story that will hold your young girl's interest. The cover art is adorable, and the story although far-fetched had me quickly turning the pages.  The author, Sara Pennypacker is also the author of the popular Clementine series.

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating! Want to participate? Post your own WOW entry on your blog, and leave your link at Breaking the Spine. My pick is:

Europa - August 28, 2012

Winner - Campiello First Novel Award;
Finalist – The Strega Prize for Fiction.

Camelia is a young Italian woman who lives with her mother in Leeds, a city where it is always December and winter has been underway for such a long time that nobody is old enough to have seen what came before. She’s dropped out of university and translates instruction manuals for an Italian washing machine manufacturer; her mother, Livia Mega, once a renowned flautist, spends her days inside taking photographs of holes she finds in the house. Camelia and her mother communicate in a language of their own invention, in which words play no part. The lives of these two women have been undone by a calamity in their recent past, and there seems little or no possibility of ever finding their way back to a normal life. But one day Camelia meets Wen, a local shop owner. To win Camelia’s affections, Wen begins teaching her Chinese ideograms. Through this new language of signs and subtle variations Camelia learns to see the world anew and, in it, a chance for renewal.

 Stylistically innovative, linguistically thrilling, 70% Acrylic, 30% Wool announces the arrival of an exceptional new talent. A most unusual love story, one as unpredictable as the human heart itself, 70% Acrylic, 30% Wool is funny at times, bittersweet at others. It will find admirers among readers of Karen Russell and Jennifer Egan.

(I love Europa Editions, and when I learned of this one the other day, I had to pre-order it  (just $10.88 on Amazon).

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros

Every Tuesday, I'll be posting the opening paragraph (sometimes maybe a few ) of a book I decided to read based on the opening paragraph (s). Feel free to grab the banner and play along.  This week's pick is from a book that will be released in (2) weeks, by an author I enjoyed in the past.

Simon & Schuster (July 3, 2012)

August 24, 2004
Changing room, Olympic Velodrome, Athens, women's sprint cycling Olympic gold medal race 

"Just on the other side of an unpainted metal door, five thousand men, women, and children were chanting her name.  Zoe Castle didn't like it as much as she thought she would.  She was twenty-four years old and she sat where her coach told her to sit, beside him, on a thin white bench with the blue protective film still on it."

"Don't touch the door," he said. "It's alarmed."  

Would you  read on? Have you read, Little Bee , and if so, did you love it as much as I did?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mailbox Monday - June 18th

 Mailbox Monday's  host for June is
Marie at  Burton Book Reviews.
Just (2) new print books (in the mail) last week, but several eBooks.
Have you read these, anyone?

(arrived from a paperbackswap member)


enjoy your new books!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Salon - Happy Father's Day Edition

 Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there.  It's  gorgeous weather in our area, and looking forward to spending may days outdoors.We are actually celebrating Father's Day in New York City this weekend (so this was a scheduled post). Meeting the hub's sons and grandchildren for Sunday brunch and heading home on the train later in the day.

Week in Review:
  •  It was great weather here this past week and next week. Got out for a few walks, but somehow managed to gain (1) pound back of the (4) I lost last week.  We did go out to eat a lot last week.
  • Finished the audio book: A Partial History of Lost Causes; Jennifer duBois (pretty good)
  • Took a break from Stephen King's, The Stand - but I'll be returning to it this week. Every time coworker's sneezed or coughed I got a little freaked out:) 
  • Reading Picture This; Jacqueline Sheehan - enjoying it.
  • Got to spend some time with my granddaughter. She's gained almost 4 pounds in (8) weeks and the doctor thinks she looks great. She says she thinks she will be tall and lean --(that's a good thing:) She's sleeping well, eating well and more aware. Another month and perhaps some serious smiles.
  •  Enjoy your Father's Day

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday Snapshot - June 16th

Saturday Snapshot

Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don't post random photos that you find online.

A few weeks ago I got invited to a "baby kitty shower" for this adorable new arrival.  This gorgeous ragdoll cat is (3) months old.  He joined the household of a friend who has (2) adult cats who detest each other, and now they have to contend with this new interloper.  Their (12) year old large dog loves the kitty, and the kitty loves the dog as well.

Can you tell our cats hate when they see anyone getting ready for a business trip (or any trip period)?  They are very good at making us feel guilty,

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Spectator Bird; Wallace Stegner

Author:  Wallace Stegner
Publication Year: 1976
Publisher: Penguin
Edition: trade softcover/1990
Source: personal collection
Setting:  CA
Date Completed: 6/2012 
Rating: 5/5
Recommend: yes

Joe Allston is a retired literary agent. Somber and introspective, his wife Ruth describes him as irritable and depressed.  The couple moved from New York to California after retirement, but despite the move and new surroundings Joe is still haunted by the sense of guilt he feels ever since his only child died in a surfing accident twenty years earlier.

Joe sees himself as a failure -- as a son to his mother and as a father to his son....... 

"I learned to scratch dead leaves over what I didn't want to see." 

When a postcard arrives, forwarded from New York to California, from an old friend in Denmark named Astrid, Joe's memories think back to a trip he and his wife took there 20 years earlier as a way of dealing with their grief over the loss of their son.  Joe digs his way through old boxes and finds (3) notebooks from their trip in 1954.  Joe begins to read the diaries, and is surprised that he could have written some what is contained within.  When his wife finds out what he is doing, she insists that he reads the diaries out loud to her.  Each night he reads a bit more to his wife, and as he does, Ruth hopes to clear up some questions about that period in time that has been troubling her for years. 

So begins Joe's odyssey into the past, back to his earliest beginning with his mother, which explained so much about the man he grew to be.

"Young, middle-aged, or getting old, Joe Allston has always been full of himself.  He has always hunted himself in places where he has never been, he has always been trying to thread some needle with a string that was raveled at both ends.  He has always been hungry for some continuity and assurance and sense of belonging, but has never had ancestors or descendants or place in the world.  Little orphan Joe, what a sad case."

".......I have never needed many people around. I always had more than I wanted. A few friends are enough.  There are lots of perfectly pleasant people that I like, but if I don't see them, I don't miss them.  What kept me in New York was work, not people. When the work ended, most of the people ended, all but the handful that meant something. Maybe that's alarming, but that's the way I am."

"The sixties are the age of anxiety.  You feel yourself on the brink of old age, and you fret. Once you pass your seventieth birthday that all clears away. You are like a man with an old car and and no particular place to go. You drive it where you want to, and everyday it keeps on running is a gift."

The Spectator Bird is really two stories. One story deals with how Joe sees his life. It's about marriage, aging, growing old, internal crisis and regrets about the past.  The other story is one that unravels as Joe reads the old diaries to his wife from (20) years earlier.

Stegner's writing is fantastic.  Descriptive,  the characters finely tuned, leaving the reader with vivid images and lasting impressions There is so much that resonated with me as I read this book. Although, I'm not as old as Joe or retired or in crisis mode, I saw a lot of myself in Joe when I think about my life. 

At first I saw his wife Ruth as a bit of a nag, but by the end of the novel, I saw the genuine caring and love between them.  Like many couples, although they were often irritated with one another, their relationship was solid. Ruth was always fussing over Joe, kind of like a mother hen with a deep desire to nurture her husband, something that Joe needed this as well.

(a favorite quote )
"It is something --it can be everything--to have found a fellow bird with whom you can sit among the rafters while drinking and boasting and reciting and fighting go on below, a fellow bird whom you can look after and find bugs and seeds for; one who will patch your bruises and straighten your ruffled feathers and mourn over your hurts when you accidentally fly into something you can't handle."

Indeed, Joe Allston was the "Spectator Bird" in the game of life.

Read this Book! I definitely plan to read more books by this author.

Knopf Children's Books for June ~ Mine! and Farmyard Beat

 Knopf Young Readers - June 2012
( Edelweiss Download)

 "Sharing", especially for young toddlers is never an easy thing, and in this book, things might have turned out better had the toddler learned to willingly share his toys from the very beginning for the story. "Mine", is a delightful picture book that your preschooler will be able to read to you for a change -- there are just (2) words "mine" and "woof", but it's not about the words, it's the visual illustrations (two very young children and a dog) which make this book special.

The illustrations are in pretty pastel shades, the characters are done with digital pencil sketches that have almost an animated look to them, and their expressions are priceless.  It's a great book for even the very youngest of children. (4/5 stars)

 Knopf Young Readers - June 2012
(Edelweiss Download)

This is such a cute book for young kids to enjoy -- just probably not at bedtime!  You see in his story the animals would rather be dancing than sleeping. Beginning with chicks peeping, soon all the other barnyard animals -- sheep, cow, owl, cat and dog join in the fun; they even wake up farmer Sue. 

What is especially nice about this book are the great colorful illustration and rhythmic beat that will have your little one wanting you to read this book "over and over again". (4.5/5 stars)

You might also enjoy Dancing Feet by the same author which I reviewed earlier this year.

Waiting on Wednesday; Peaches for Father Francis; Joanne Harris

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating! Want to participate? Post your own WOW entry on your blog, and leave your link at Breaking the Spine. My pick is:

Viking - October 2, 2012

I was disappointed when my request for an eGalley of this one wasn't approved. I love Joanne Harris and thought this sounded good.  What do you think about the sound of this one?

The bestselling author of Chocolat and The Girl with No Shadow returns to Lansquenet in this enchanting new novel — When Vianne Rocher receives a letter from beyond the grave, she has no choice but to follow the wind that blows her back to Lansquenet, the beautiful French village in which eight years ago she opened a chocolate shop and first learned the meaning of home.

But returning to one?s past can be a dangerous pursuit. Vianne, with her daughters, Anouk and Rosette, finds Lansquenet changed in unexpected ways: women veiled in black, the scent of spices and peppermint tea?and there, on the bank of the river Tannes, facing the church, a minaret. Most surprising of all, her old nemesis, Father Francis Reynaud, desperately needs her help.

Can Vianne work her magic once again?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

First Chapter First Paragraph ~ Tuesday Intros

Every Tuesday, I'll be posting the opening paragraph (sometimes maybe a few ) of a book I decided to read based on the opening paragraph (s). Feel free to grab the banner and play along.  

This week's selection is from a book that I hope to start this week. Jacqueline Sheehan's,  Lost and Found was a book  I enjoyed in the past. I do need a little break from Stephen King's, The Stand - 23% completed according to my Kindle -- every time some coughs or sneezes I'm feeling a bit creeped-out)

Picture This; Jacqueline Sheehan
(William Morrow - May 2012)

(Chapter 1 - Natalie)

"Natalie had seen more therapists in her life than she could remember.  She couldn't remember a time without them.  Therapists come with the territory in foster care, along with caseworkers and a slew of people who control where you live, where you go to school, and when and if you get medical care. And here's what they're good for: getting a new foster family when a kid has been stuck with whack jobs that's what."  

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mailbox Monday - June 11th

Not that I need more books right now, but they make me so happy when I see them in our mailbox.  Here are a few from last week, have you read any of them?

(The first on and third one arrived from the publishers Viking and William Morrow - thanks so much) and the middle one, The Taker, came from a Paperback Swap member --thanks again).


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday Snapshot - Meet Roxy!

Saturday Snapshot

Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don't post random photos that you find online.

Meet Roxy the iRobot Roomba 780
my new best friend
Why Do I Love Thee? 
  1. She can turn herself on and off and even find her way back to her docking station.
  2. She's quiet and never complains (like I did ) when it's time to vacuum.
  3. The cats are pretty fascinated with her instead of running to the basement like when I used the noisy and heavy Dyson.
  4. She does a great job on hardwoods and on carpets.
  5. She doesn't disturb me while I enjoy my coffee and a good book.
  6. She navigates her way around anything and redirects herself when she bumps into something.
  7. She even found dirt under the furniture (imagine that).
  8. She's a terrific conversation piece,.
  9. She has a red light "trash bin" that lights up when her dirt receptacle is full.
  10. and the best reason of all.....She was free.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fitness Friday and The Joy Fit Club: Cookbook, Diet Plan and Inspiration; Joy Bauer MS, RD

Last Friday, I decided to try to be better about watching what I eat, and trying to move more.  I was much better watching what I ate, than I was about exercising, but I still managed to lose (4) pounds. That first week is always easy for me, but I'm hoping the loss will motivate me to continue in the right direction. 

I got a chance to review this wonderful book through the Amazon Vine program last week.  I think the stories and recipes inspired me as well.  Have you read this book?

Author:  Joy Bauer, MS, RD
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Wiley
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Amazon Vine
Date Completed: 6/7/2012 
Rating: 5/5
Recommend: yes

What a fantastic book for anyone who has struggled to lose weight.  What I loved about this book is the fact that it isn't another "diet book".  More than anything else, I found this to be inspirational -- leaving me with the feeling you can do this.  It's about learning to live healthy and to change the way you think about yourself and about food.

One thing that is obvious is that there is not one weight-loss plan out there that will work for everyone.  We all have different triggers and reasons why we overeat, and other reasons why some of us have been unsuccessful with keeping the weight off that we worked so hard to lose.

Truly inspiring in the book were the (30) very personal stories of men and women who have lost 100, 200, and even 300 pounds.  You'll learn what they ate before -- the "triggers" and what they ate while they were losing weight and how they keep the weight off.  They share what in particular inspired them to get off the couch and start moving, and how some had never exercised at all.  Each person has also included a few of their favorite recipes and some even shared their new love of their kitchen and meal planning.

All of the stories were amazing. This is a 288 page book that most everyone who is serious about getting healthy and losing weight will read and not be able to put down until they have finished it.

This book is not like other weight-loss book; it is a keeper. Highly Recommended!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Neighborhood Watch; Cammie McGovern

Author:  Cammie McGovern
Setting: Connecticut
Publication Year: 2010
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Edition: audiobook 
Reader: Coleen Marlo
Source: Library 
Date Completed: 5/2012
Rating: 4/5
Recommend: yes

Have you ever read a book and not realized you had read it previously until you were almost done with it?  That's what happened to me with this book.  Not until the end did it start to sound very familiar, but I merrily listened along and then checked to see whether I read it -- yup (hardcover 2010) when the book was first released.   Oh well, although my rating is still the same, I think I even enjoyed this audio version even a bit more (2) years later.  Here's my take....

Hey, who among us book lovers would not be drawn to a story about a somewhat sad-sack, former  librarian who spent (12) years in prison for a murder she didn't really commit?  This is what happened to Betsy Treading in Neighborhood Watch.  Betsy was accused and confessed to the murder of her neighbor, Linda Sue.  She confessed, not because she did, but because she couldn't remember, and a bloody nightgown was found in her house.

When Betsy is released from a Connecticut prison, her lawyer suggests she snoop around her old neighborhood a bit, to see if she can come up with anything that may lead to finding Linda Sue's killer.

The story is narrated by Betsy and the story quickly engages the listener.  Betsy doesn't remember much about that night, and she did have a history of sleepwalking, a history of childhood trauma which has caused her to block out painful memories, and she did dislike Linda Sue.

Although most of the old neighbors have moved, Betsy slowly begins to piece together what likely occurred the night Linda Sue was killed.  This audio book was read by Coleen Marlo who did a great job.  You'll be guessing along the way who was involved in the murder. A fun audio book.

Home; Toni Morrison

Title: Home
Author:  Toni Morrison
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Knopf
Edition: Kindle
Source: Edelweiss
Setting: WA and GA 
Date Completed: 5/2012 
Rating: 4.5/5
Recommend: yes

A lot of terrifying things happen in the first few pages of Home. Two young siblings out in a field at night see beautiful horses and the hasty burial of a black man. He is being tossed from a wheel barrel by hooded men, the same men who are forcing families from neighborhoods as well.  These sad beginnings were just a prelude to what Frank Money and his sister Cee would experience later in life. 

Their parents worked long hours in the cotton fields and died an early death. Abused by grandparents, Frank was protective of his younger sister Cee, but when Frank left for the Army to fight in the Korean war, Cee took off with the first man who paid any attention too her, and neither plan worked out well for the siblings.

When Frank is released from the Korean war, he's a broken man, having witnessed his friends being killed in battle. While his girlfriend tries to ease his emotional pain, she's unsuccessful.  Home, is mostly a story about Frank, and what life was like in the early 1950's for a black, unemployed man, reentering society after the war.  It's only after a desperate letter arrives telling Frank he must go back to Georgia to save his sister, that Frank finds a chance to save himself as well.

Home is short novella, fewer than 200 pages, but like Morrison's other novels, it packs a punch.  Although I read this book a month ago and thought it was very good, I had a hard time writing about it until now. Yes, it's a sad story, and the first person narration made it even sadder at times. As always Morrison's writing is beautiful, contemplative and memorable, but the story itself wasn't quite as deep as some of her earlier works -- still highly recommended though.