Saturday, February 29, 2020

Eat Right 4 Your Type; Dr. Peter D'Adamo

TITLE: Eat Right 4 Your Type: 4 Blood Types, 4 Diets
AUTHOR: Dr. Peter D'Adamo
PUB. YEAR: 2016 edition
FORMAT: print/library

I read this book 10+ years ago out of curiosity but never followed the recommendations. Now in my 60's and in pretty good health except for and under active thyroid for which I take a pill each day.   I am also constantly bothered by post nasal drip.  I also began to suspect I was lactose intolerant due to stomach issues after consuming milk and cheese products, so I decided to revisit this book.

BINGO: Type A and dairy products are not compatible. In fact Type A's have a sensitive immune system and do best with a vegetarian diet: plenty of fruits and veggies and whole grains (no tomatoes, corn, peppers or potatoes, cabbage, eggplant and mushrooms are also no-nos, as is shellfish and meat - turkey is okay as is some whitefish).  

TYPE A's also do best with gentle exercise like yoga, golf and meditation.

Many people claim to lose a good amount of weight following the plan, based on your blood type. I just started by eliminating dairy this week and feel better already - bye, bye, bloating.  The book also recommended starting each morning (before coffee) with a cup of warm water and squeezed lemon - boy does that work in helping to eliminate excess mucous.   I'm seeing positive results by just making these 2 small changes thus far. I never ate much meat anyways so total elimination would not be an issue for me.

This book just made sense to me considering the fact that not everyones internal chemistry functions in the same manor. I liked the insight as to how to fight off illness, have more energy and how to slow down the aging process.  Have you read it?

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Long Bright River; Liz Moore

Each Tuesday, Vicki, from I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter 
First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where readers post the opening paragraph(s)
 of a book that they are reading or plan to read. Here's my pick for this week:

Long Bright River; Liz Moore
Penguin Audio - 2020

"There's a body on the Gurney Street tracks, age unclear, probable overdose, says the dispatcher.

Kacey, I think.  This is a twitch, a reflex, something sharp and subconscious that lives inside me and send the same message racing to the same base part of my brain every time a female is reported.Then the more rational part of me comes plodding along, lethargic, uninspired, a dutiful dull soldier here to remind me about odds and statistics: nine hundred overdose victims in Kensington last year.  Not one of them Kacey.  Furthermore, this sentry reproves me, you seem to have forgotten the importance of being professional.  Straighten your shoulders. Smile a little. Keep your face relaxed, your eyebrows unfurrowed, your chin untucked. Do your job."

What do you think? Read more or pass?

Friday, February 21, 2020

The Winters; Lisa Gabriele

TITLE: The Winters
AUTHOR:  Lisa Gabriele
PUBLISHER: Viking/Penguin
PUB. YEAR: 2020
SETTING: Cayman Island and Long Island, NY
RATING: - 3/5

Loosely based on Daphne Du Maurier's novel Rebecca, this is one of those books that you might have to suspend belief a bit, but, it hooked me early on -- at least for a while.

In this story, the 26 year old unnamed narrator looks back at a romance that is clear has ended badly. She's a sad young woman whose parents are dead, she's living in the Caribbean working at a charter boat rental establishment.  It's there that she meets Max Winter, a rich senator from the state of New York. After just a month or so there's romance, passion and expensive gifts, making Max hard to resist.

Max whisks the young woman back to his mansion Asherley, in Long Island, New York.  She leaves the Cayman Islands for a life of luxury, but, unfortunately, memories of the first wife, Rebekah, are everywhere haunting her at every turn.  Then there is his 15 year old daughter, Dani, who wants nothing to do with her father's fiancee, even threatening to kill herself.

This was a fun read initially. The air of mystery held my interest but, then unnecessary animal death written into the story line spoiled it for me, causing me to skip ahead to see how it would end. Overall, my rating might have been higher but, for me, never is animal cruelty acceptable -- even in fiction.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Mr. Nobody; Catherine Steadman

TITLE: Mr. Nobody
AUTHOR:  Catherine Steadman
PUBLISHER: Ballantine Books
PUB. YEAR: 2020
FORMAT: eGalley
RATING: - 3.5/5

"Mr. Nobody" is a 40-something man who is found on a British beach in Norfolk on a winter's day. With no ID, he is taken to a hospital where his identity remains a mystery. A nurse and the media, fascinated with this individual, begin to refer to him as Matthew.  As time ticks on and still no closer to finding out who the man is, those involved in his case begin to wonder whether he is truly unable to recall details of his past or, is he just unwilling to communicate?  Is there something in his past he is hiding from?

Dr. Emma Lewis is just over 30 years old and an expert in her field of neuropsychiatry. She is asked to step in on "Mr. Nobody, A.K.A. Matthew's case."  Emma, however, is a woman with a past she'd prefer to forget, and, stepping in on this case means returning to the town that she fled from years earlier.  Although Emma does not seem to know the mystery man, he seems to know her. Could there be a connection? Also, why is the government interested in him as well?

I love a good psych thriller and although the author's first book, Something in the Water, was a psychological thriller I enjoyed, this book failed to "wow" me. The first third of the book moved quickly, but then my interest waned a bit. There were some unexpected twists, but, overall, I felt somewhat unsatisfied when I finished this one.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Olive, Again; Elizabeth Strout

TITLE: Olive, Again
AUTHOR:  Elizabeth Strout
PUB. YEAR: 2020
FORMAT: library/audio
RATING: - 5/5

The sequel to Olive Kitteridge (2008), the prickly Olive is back in her charming town of Crosby, Maine.  A retired math teacher, now in her lates seventies to early eighties (she ages a decade in this offering), her husband Henry has passed away and, despite her tough exterior, she's lonely and misses having that human connection.  

Like the original book, Olive's story is told through a series of (13) somewhat connected stories involving some of the same characters and some new ones as well. We learn more about her strained relationship with her son and his new family, as well as details about Jack Kennison, a Harvard Alum and new husband to Olive. 

I loved traveling along side with Olive through her senior years as she reflects on her life. It's easy to see that beyond Olive's matter-of-fact, blunt style, she a woman with a big heart who faces  the same vulnerabilities as other seniors as she ages.  She's softened a bit and perhaps a little more tolerant as well, but, by the end, it's pretty clear that Olive is just a woman who is just looking for peace and contentment in the time she has left on earth.

Beautifully written, I found Olive, Again, to be an emotionally moving read. The author does an amazing job forcing the reader to think about the emptiness factor seniors can experience as one ages and the importance of that human connection. The audio was expertly done.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Weather, Jenny Offill

Each Tuesday, Vicki, from 
I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter 
First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where readers post the opening paragraph(s)
 of a book that they are reading or plan to read. Here's my pick for this week:

Weather, Jenny Offill
Knopf - 2020


Voted, that the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof; voted, that the earth is given to the Saints; voted, that we are the Saints.


"In the morning, the one who is mostly enlightened comes in.  There are stages and she is in the second to the last, she thinks.  This stage can be described only by a Japanese word. 'Buket of black paint,' it means.

I spend time pulling books for the doomed adjunct.  He has been working on his dissertation for eleven years.  I give him reams of copy paper, binder clips and pens.  He is writing about a philosopher I have never heard of. He is minor, but instrumental, he told me. Minon but instrumental!"

What do you think? Read more or pass?

Saturday, February 15, 2020

A Good Neighborhood; Therese Anne Fowler

TITLE: A Good Neighborhood
AUTHOR:  Therese Anne Fowler
PUBLISHER: St. Martin's Press
PUB. YEAR: 2020
RATING: - 4.5/5

Oak Knoll, NC is a "good neighborhood" that is about to face tragedy.

The story immediately draws the reader into the lives of two families: the Whitman's, a blended family with new money who buys a house, tears it down along with the surrounding trees to build a McMansion. Brad owns a successful HVAC business, his wife Julia, has a somewhat troubled teenage daughter named Juniper from Julia's previous relationship and, together the couple has a 7 year old daughter.  The other family is Valerie Alston-Holt, a black ecology professor and her bright, soon to be college-bound, biracial son, Xavier.  Initially, the two families seem to have very little in common, but, they try to be cordial as their property lines connect. Before long tensions rise between the neighbors leading to a devastating and unexpected outcome.

This page-turner has great character development, is emotionally complex and touches on a variety of topics: race, class, love and environmental issues as well. I was emotionally invested from beginning to end. This is one of those novels that would make for a great book club discussion.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - The Winters; Lisa Gabriele

Each Tuesday, Vicki, from 
I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter 
First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where readers post the opening paragraph(s)
 of a book that they are reading or plan to read. Here's my pick for this week:

The Winters; Lisa Gabriele
Penguin - 2020


"Last night Rebekah tried to murder me again.  It had been a while since I'd had that dream, not since we left Asherley, a place I called home for one winter and the bitterest part of spring, the dream only ever recurring when Max was gone and I'd find myself alone with Dani."

What do you think - read more or pass?
(I received print copy from publisher for review)

Monday, February 10, 2020

The Woman in Cabin 10; Ruth Ware

                                                     The Woman in Cabin 10; Ruth Ware
Simon & Schuster Audio
Originally read in July 2016 - 
Reread/book group/ audio February/2020

Lo Blacklock is a journalist for Velocity, a travel magazine.  She's been given the work opportunity of a lifetime, a week on the Aurora, a luxury cruise ship.  Lo thinks that this assignment may be just what she needs to calm her nerves, as a few days earlier her London flat was broken into while she was at home.  Although she never got a good look at the masked crook and she wasn't physically harmed, emotionally she's a wreck and has been unable to sleep.

She boards the ship, destination Norway, but smooth sailing and calm nerves are not to be. Lo's first evening aboard she sleep deprived and spends a few hours dining with the small intimate group and drinking a bit too much.  Then she returns to her cabin she thinks she has witnessed the woman in the cabin next to hers (Cabin 10) being tossed overboard. She's pretty sure it was the woman whom she had borrowed mascara from earlier in the evening.

When Lo reports what she's seen to the crew member in charge, no one believes her. She is told that all the passengers are accounted for, and that cabin 10 is unoccupied. Determined to prove she's not going mad, Lo begins asking questions, perhaps too many questions for her own good.

The Woman in Cabin 10 is one of those mysteries that hooked me early on and kept me eagerly turning the pages.  The story is not perfect but, the characters are interesting and diverse and the setting awesome for the way this story played out. The sometimes paranoid protagonist, who at times had more guts than brains helped to make this a fun read.

Although I forgot parts of this one, my original rating (trying the audio this time) remained the same. Fun listen. 4/5 stars

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: a Memoir; Lori Gottlieb

TITLE: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
AUTHOR:  Lori Gottlieb
PUBLISHER: Houghton, Mifflin and Harcourt
PUB. YEAR: 2019
FORMAT: print/library
RATING: - 5/5

In this memoir written by psychotherapist, Lori Gottlieb, the author gives readers a sneak peek into the out-of-sync lives of (4) patients as well as insight into her own life during a period of turmoil when a relationship fell apart.  

In addition to the author's personal therapy sessions, the reader is introduced to John, a forty-something, successful producer, married with children who thinks most everyone he encounters is an "idiot".  Then there is Julie, a new bride who learns she has breast cancer. Also, Rita, a 69-year old woman  who wants to find a reason to go on living by her 70th birthday and, finally, Charlotte, a 20-something woman who drinks to much and gets involved with the wrong men.

This memoir was a delight, bold, brutally honest and funny at times as well, the stories were so readable. In some ways I was even able to relate to the Rita character's thought process at different points of her life. So happy that many of my blogger friends pointed this one out with their rave reviews.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Mr. Nobody; Catherine Steadman

Each Tuesday, Vicki, from I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter 
First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where readers post the opening paragraph(s)
 of a book that they are reading or plan to read. Here's my pick for this week:

Mr. Nobody; Catherine Steadman
Ballantine Books - 2020

"If the car crashed, at this speed the impact wouldn't be enough to kill us instantly.  Which you might think is a good thing.

But it's not.

The one thing worse than dying on impact is not quite dying on impact.  Trust me, I know, I'm a doctor. And now that I'm thinking about it--I'd be genuinely surprised if this rental car even had airbags."

I really loved this author's last book, Something in the Water, and I'm hoping this one is as good.  Based on the intro above, would you read more or pass?

Monday, February 3, 2020

Talking to Strangers; Malcolm Gladwell and The Secrets We Kept; Lara Prescott

TITLE: Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know
AUTHOR:  Malcolm Gladwell
PUBLISHER: Hachette Audio
PUB. YEAR: 2019
FORMAT: audio
RATING: - 3.5/5

Malcolm Gladwell's latest book takes a look at how people tend to interact and react to people that they don't know. Why can't we identify when a stranger is lying to us?

In most cases people tend to default to the truth, assuming transparency and, that people tend to tell the truth in most circumstances. It cautions readers to be more wary when meeting strangers since most people are not very good at evaluating the intentions and honesty of new people we meet.

The chapters help readers to better understand different aspects of a stranger problem and what we suspect may be the problem, really might not be the issue at all.  It uses some highly publicized cases in the media such as, the Jerry Sandusky, Penn State University scandal, the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme, the Sandra Bland of Texas case that ended with her being jailed and committing suicide, the Larry Nassar, Michigan State doctor who sexually  assaulted many gymnastics team women as well as several other prominent cases.

Although I don't feel like I learned anything new, it did make me think about that next interaction with a stranger and whether they are being truthful or sharing things about themselves that they feel might lead to a more favorable first impression.

TITLE: The Secrets We Kept
AUTHOR:  Lara Prescott
PUBLISHER: Random House Audio
PUB. YEAR: 2019
SETTING: Russia and US
FORMAT: audio
RATING: - 3.5/5

This debut novel was a pick for Reese's bookclub and, although I don't read a lot of historical fiction, I though it sounded rather good.  The story takes place during the Cold War and is set in both the East and the West.  It follows two secretaries from the CIA typing pool in Washington DC who have bigger dreams than working for a secretarial pool. The mission is to smuggle the controversial Dr. Zhivago manuscript by Boris Pasternak out of the Soviet Russia so that the masterpiece can be published for the world to enjoy.

The audio, with multiple narrators was good as it combines both espionage and romance. I found Pasternak and Olga, his long term mistress and inspiration for Lara, stories to be very well done. Although the story held my interest for a while, overall, it just wasn't as exciting as I had hoped it would be.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Week # 5 in Review - 2020 - Monthly Reading Summary

January has come and gone and I'm happy that our winter weather and temps have been milder than usual. January was a good month for me in terms of really enjoying what I read (for the most part). I finished 9 books  and had (1) DNF.  (I'm really behind on reviews but, hope to do some mini reviews this week.)

 (7) Fiction and (2) NF - (5) audios - (2)-eGalleys and (2) print 
  1. The Guardians; John Grisham - 4/5 (audio/library)
  2. Surfside Sisters; Nancy Thayer - 4/5 (audio/library)
  3. American Dirt; Jeanine Cummins - 5/5 (eGalley)
  4. Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know; Malcolm Gladwell - 3.5/5 (audio)
  5. The Stars Are Fire; Anita Shreve - 4/5 (reread/print/library/book group)
  6. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone; Lori Gottlieb - 5/5 (library/print)
  7. The Secrets We Kept; Lara Prescott - 3.5/5 (audio/library)
  8. A Good Neighborhood; Therese Anne Fowler - 4.5/5 (eGalley)
  9. Olive Again; Elizabeth Strout - 5/5 (audio/library)

    DNF - The Violent Bear it Away; Flannery O'Connor

     This Week's Winners
        (loved them both)

                                                                   This Week's Movies
                                                                 (2 more winners!)

We loved 1917 - it wasn't at all what I had expected and we both thought it was wonderful!

I read Olive Kitteridge 10+ years ago and loved it and, let me tell you Olive, Again was just as good. I was so sad to have finished Olive, Again, that I immediately decided to watch the miniseries, as a refresher to the original "Olive" and, boy was I happy I did - so much to love above this series and a beautiful Maine setting as well. The prickly "Olive" was played by Frances McDormand. who was perfect for the role.  (I am now very tempted to buy copies of both books). Have you read Olive Kitteridge or Olive, Again? Don't miss them!

The rest of the week included 3 days of yoga, dinner with high school friends (always fun catching up) a trip to the library and a visit from granddaughters - always a treat as well. Oh, yes, and we also caught up on Season 10 - episodes 1 and 2 of Curb Your Enthusiasm (we both needed something to laugh about after, a dreadful news week). It was so funny !

February Reading Plans - I actually haven't started another book after Olive, Again.  I need to find another winner...any suggestions?

Possible February Reads - The Red Lotus; Chris Bohjalian and The Great Believers; Rebecca Makkai and The Heart's Invisible Furies; John Boyne

The end of the week is my husband's birthday so I'm making reservations at a favorite restaurant that we tend to hit only on a birthday as it's not that close to home but, worth traveling for.

How was you month?