Category Archives: Book Review
Brooke has the type of marriage that you only see on tv. Married to her high school sweetheart for 15 years, Brooke and Scott still acted like newly weds, sneaking away for quick moments together whenever they could.
Newly married Samantha finds a disturbing email on her husband of 48 hours computer. And she does the only thing she knows … she runs.
Katherine has not really allowed much more in her life than her career and for the most part that was pretty satisfying, even if she does work for the man who crushed her heart many years ago. After an eye-opening blind date for her 40th birthday, Katherine gets a long overdue wake up call on life.
On the outside, these three women have nothing in common, yet their worlds are about to collide in a powerful way that is more than they could ask for.
So much draws me to this book at first look… the cover is gorgeous and inviting, it is a party I hope I am invited to. It’s written about three strong women, each very different in how they live their lives…. and probably most intriguing – it is written by a man.
I dove into All You Could Ask For with a sense of adventure (remember the party cover? I knew I was in for some fun) And I was in for some fun, all three women each had qualities that appealed to me as to how they lived their lives. Brooke’s marriage sounded amazing and fun, Samantha’s desire to push herself physically through triathlon challenges brought out the sports girl in me, and I was impressed by Katherine’s work ethics – although misplaced, she was in a good spot financially. Of course, as in all great reads, I had a favorite character… and I am not going to tell but I will say that at the end of the book it was fun to find out that the authors favorite was the same as mine.
All You Could Ask For is a good read about women who come together under hard circumstances. I enjoyed the quick flow of the books and the alternating chapters told by each of the main characters from their point of view. It is not a perfect book. I have questions. There is a huge relationship gap that bugged me and made the book feel disconnected because of it. However, as I processed my thoughts on this book, I think that maybe Mike Greenberg was right to leave the gap… after all real life works that way. As much as we would love all our situations to end wrapped neatly with a bow, quite often we just run out of tape.
Abraham Lincoln was not always the President Of The United States. He was once a young man filled with spirit and dreams. Before he was the man we have read about and look upon the penny and the five dollar bill, he was just a poor boy from Kentucky. He was a lawyer. he was a member of congress. He was a husband, and a father.This is his story.
Jerome Charyn takes what we know of Lincoln’s life from beginning until the end, and breathes life into the gaps in between using Lincoln’s own voice to tell this first person fictional masterpiece. In fact, I Am Lincoln, begins with the end…. in a theater in Washington DC with only the soft sound of movement and then a sting behind his left ear…
Wow. Wow. Wow.
I have always been fascinated with Lincoln’s life and death. He has always been my favorite of the presidents even though clearly we have never met nor even lived in the same century. 102 years after his death, I would be born.
Lincoln was the man who led us through the civil war, who pushed back against slavery, and did so with integrity. When this book was offered up for review, I did not hesitate on saying yes.
Jerome Charyn writes I Am Lincoln from an amazing perspective; Lincoln’s. For this I give him credit as those are big shoes to fill. Jerome Charyn not only lets us see history unfold, but through Lincoln’s own eyes and words is something pretty close to brilliant.
I adored this book and lapped up each page seeing Lincoln’s life as I never had before. Being able to write this review on Lincoln’s birthday is a great honor to me to be able to speak so enthusiastically about this book.
I found McKinlay’s writing so delicious I had to say some of the lines out loud just to savor them on my tongue ~ Sheila
Eve Petworth finds her 40′s to be a bit of a rocky road. Living in London on her own after a divorce, and struggling as her own adult daughter is about to be married and leaning a little too hard on Eve, Eve takes solace in books written by a popular American Novelist, Jackson Cooper. When Eve writes to Cooper informing him of her appreciation of his books and comparing one of his lines about a watery summer day to ripe fruit, Cooper to her surprise, writes back.
Jackson Cooper has his own tales of love and loss. Now in his 50′s and divorced twice, he really does not know what he wants. Women fall all over him, and if that is what he wanted he would be set, but really he just wants to write that next book that seems stuck in his head without all the – well lets call it what it is: Drama. Writing to Eve in London is like writing to an old friend. They share recipes, they talk about books and the weather…
and both wonder in the middle of this messed up life… if their might be something more…
I am not even sure if I can tell you how impressed I am with That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay. Even now weeks after I have read the book, I glance over at it as I type with a little smile on my face.
This book reminds me a little of the flow of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, but with a gentler flow to it. This one grabbed me as I enjoyed Eve and her struggles with her every day life as well as Jackson’s struggles as he continuously (sometimes hilariously) messed everything up.
This is the book I recommended for February in the Blogger Recommended publication. I hope you too will take a closer look at this book and give it a read. I seriously enjoyed it.
As Labor Day approaches in Holton Mills, New Hampshire, 13-year-old Henry and his mother Adele head into town to pick up some groceries and supplies for their home. This is a rare trip to town as single emotionally damaged mom Adele does not like being around people and mainly sticks to home where she lives her quiet small life. Henry, a product of his environment is much a loner himself with no real close friends and no one he really hangs out with except his dads new wife’s kids. Henry spends much of his time playing with his hamster, trying to make his mom feel better, and thinking of girls.
At the grocery store a limping man, named Frank, approaches Henry asking for help. Henry sees that Frank is bleeding and takes him to his mother who in turn takes Frank home with her and Henry. This is when Frank shares his story that he has escaped and is a wanted man (not in a sexy way…. but in a “my face is going to be on tv” way).
Over the next five days surrounding the Labor Day Holiday Henry will learn a lot about his mom, he will learn to bake with Frank’s expertise, and how to correctly throw a ball. And Henry will come out of the weekend a changed boy – with more knowledge about love, betrayal, and letting go… even when it is the last thing we want to do.
I am having a hard time spilling out my feelings regarding Labor Day. On one hand, I want to say that Adele’s inability to use her backbone brings the”strong female characters preferred” gene in me screaming through the book like fingernails on a chalk board.
But that is harsh.
And probably not fair.
Isn’t it funny how my own preferences of how women need to be strong and able to take care of themselves rears up out of nowhere?
I have a hard time wrapping my head around a single woman with a young son to look after, taking home a strange man that she knows nothing about and then under the strangest conditions keeping him there.
On the other hand, I do not know the depths of Adele’s depression, or the amount of frailness she withholds from past hurts. It is not fair of me to judge what I do not understand.
Labor Day is told from Henry’s point of view so we (I) must be reminded that what is happening is how he see’s things with his 13-year-old mind. (Although… I can not see how else he could have seen it) Doh! I did it again.
I think I am in the minority as I glanced at overall reviews of this book on Amazon they rate fairly high. I struggled personally with the probability of such a thing happening – but… we do live in a strange world.
Here are some different thoughts on this book from Bloggers I trust:
I clearly did not love the book, but I did not hate it either. It is a book that still has me thinking about it. The fact that it creates such strong emotion in me must say something
My book club received copies of this book to read as a group in anticipation of the movie. Tonight we are going to the movie as a group and I am hopeful that my opinion of the storyline will change after the movie. No matter what, I still get to hang out with a great group of girls
If you have followed my journey, you know that the past year I have “dabbled” in running. I still don’t think I qualify as a runner, but my cousin says that if I am not laying on the couch and I am out moving my body, I am a runner.
Ok… I guess that makes me a runner.
Right before Christmas I treated myself to a purchase just for me. I bought this book. Runner or not, I am always interested in working with whole foods and breaking the habit of the “fast food fix” that tends to occasionally plague my busy lifestyle.
The Runners World Cookbook promotes eating well if you run 10 miles a week or one hundred. (A hundred!) It also encourages “eating the rainbow” a colorful array of fruits and vegetables every day. Mmmmmm
The book starts out with explaining healthy antioxidants, carbs, grains, proteins and fats. Then the book breaks down into chapters:
- Snacks and Smoothies
- Salads and Dressings
- Soups and Stews
- Sandwiches, Pizzas, Burgers
- Sauces and Pasta
- Meat and Poultry
- Fish and Seafood
The recipes look delicious! They are submitted from runners, marathon winners, Olympians, doctors, test kitchens and more. At the top of each recipe is a little paragraph of when is a good time to eat this (pre – run, after run, recovery…. daily….). It also shares how long to prep, how many servings, and of course nutrition values. I also like that each recipe is labeled : V: Vegetarian, VE: Vegan, GF: Gluten Free, Many of the recipes are also accompanied by a photo which I love to drool over!
I admit, I have not had a chance to cook out of this book yet although I have spent time over several days paging through and making note of the ones I want to try. A few that caught my eye are: Egg and bean burritos with avocado and yogurt lime sauce, banana oat energy bars, spinach bacon sweet potato salad, Asian Noodle Salad with eggs and peanut dressing, Thai Avocado soup, Smoked Salmon and Vegie Wraps, Jerk Shrimp with sweet potato and black beans… I could go on forever
Tonight, I think we are going to try the Chicken Mango fajita. Seriously, look at that tasty picture. It is labeled as Fast, Recovery and Low Calorie. Since I am planning on running a 5k today to keep up my motivation for the half marathon I signed up for at the end of this month as well as a walk with my dogs in snow shoes- it sounds perfect. :) I think you may see recipes coming out of this book frequently this year
I am submitting this post as part of Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking. It is true, I always have more time to make good tasty and healthy dishes on the weekends.
In 1945 a war-torn Germany struggles to get a foot hold on some sort of stability. Anna Klein and her six-year-old daughter Amalia are among those struggling as well. Separated from her husband for their own safety, Anna finds herself working for the US Army’s Monuments Men as they search for art and other stolen treasures. When it is discovered that Anna speaks English, she is recruited as a translator for American Captain Henry Cooper, a laid back man who likes opportunities to bend the rules. When a mysterious stash of art is found, secrets are created causing Anna to question where the truth really does lie and look closely at the secrets she herself keeps….
The Roses Underneath is one of those books that you want to read slowly and cherish as one would a favorite candy. Savoring each word as it dissolves into the next. Reading this book caused me to slow down and really take it all in, which is not always the case in my reading style. I often find myself reading fast paced books that flow with activity and crackle with adrenaline. I was pleased when I started this read and found that this was a book that I needed to take my time with.
I am careful when I choose to read a book that involves war. I tend to become so engrossed in the heaviness of the subject that I usually choose to pass on these books. Yet there was something that called to me about The Roses Underneath that caused me to take a chance on it and I am glad I did. Anna was a protagonist that I found myself hoping for things to turn out well.
I enjoyed this book, even if it did make me slow down and well… smell the roses.
When bestselling author Will Shepard’s young son is killed in a tragic car accident, Will is left with a tremendous amount of grief that he can not seem to get out from under. As Will’s aging father memory fades, Will uses his talent of writing to rewrite the truth. Amazingly enough, the fictional version of Will’s life brings relief that he never expected.
Hannah Linden rents a cottage next to where Will and his dad lives. Hannah comes with her own cross to bear as she deals with her grown sons struggles. As a holistic veterinarian and healer, she uses her gifts to try to bring peace to Will and his dad’s lives, finding her own solace in putting her energies into someone else.
The In Between Hours is one of those books that just makes me feel warm inside. I liked reading this book and perhaps, for a while, feeling like I too lived in the neighborhood and seen everything play our first hand as I watched Will, and his dad, and Hannah.
I am especially impressed on what an additional layer to the book Will’s dad brought to the read. While the book could have worked with the focus being on Will and Hannah, Will’s dad made me smile… he brings the icing on the cake, or in this case – the filling to an already engaging read.
I enjoyed The In Between Hours and will think about this one for quite a while.
I am at the end of the tour on this one – but please feel free to stop in and see what others though of this book:
Tuesday, December 31st: bookchickdi
Thursday, January 2nd: Bibliotica
Monday, January 6th: cupcake’s book cupboard
Tuesday, January 7th: Kritters Ramblings
Wednesday, January 8th: Tina’s Book Reviews
Thursday, January 9th: Chronicles …
Tuesday, January 14th: Becca Rowan
Wednesday, January 15th: From the TBR Pile
Friday, January 17th: Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, January 17th: Not in Jersey
Monday, January 20th: Staircase Wit
Tuesday, January 21st: Sweet Tea and Lollipops
Wednesday, January 22nd: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Friday, January 24th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Monday, January 27th: As I turn the pages
Tuesday, January 28th: Book Journey
Wednesday, January 29th: Found Between the Covers
Thursday, January 30th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
32 year old Holly Brennan was never what you would call a small girl. When her husband at a young age suddenly became ill, Holly comforted herself with food. When he passed away, the food addiction did not go away.
Then Holly meets Logan Montgomery on a plane. Logan is fit, self-assured, confident, and good-looking. Everything Holly feels she is not. When Logan shares with Holly that he is a personal trainer and would like to work with her at a discounted rate to get her moving in the right direction, Holly figures why not, after all… she is not moving in any direction currently.
Turns out, Holly has some natural-born skills when it comes to working out. She is hard-working, determined, has great strength and is flexible. Before long Holly is shaping up and more than one guy is noticing, including Logan. But is it really in the cards for Holly and Logan to be together?
Big Girl Panties for me, was a fun read with a great protagonist. I really enjoyed Holly, who is funny, quick-witted, and doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to her weight issues. She was an easy girl to cheer on as she reaches her goals. I even enjoyed Logan who is not perfect by far, and has a few strange habits but deep inside, despite this, I liked him.
Big Girl Panties was one of those books that I picked up planning to read a few pages and then just kept reading to the point I carried it around the house with me while I made dinner, let the dogs out, and propped it up on the bathroom sink while I styled my hair. It was quick and it was fun.
One word of advice, Big Girl Panties is a book that can easily be taken offense too. It deals with weight issues and eating disorders and not always kindly. There is talk of using liposuction to improve Holly’s body. There is also some odd interactions regarding sexual activities that mainly comes from the direction of Logan’s friend Chase, but in some cases, Logan too.
Over all, I liked the book. It’s not perfect, but I would probably be bored if it was. I do not have to like all the characters in a book – and in this book I didn’t. Holly is what keeps this book moving forward. She was someone I wanted to root for, I wanted things to go well for her and you will too.
1933 Southwestern Pennsylvania is a hot spot of activity. The coal miners are on strike and the Klu Klux Klan is gaining momentum and both are striking fear into many hearts. The Sweeney family: Fin, Clare, and their three daughters; Deidre, Katie, and Norah are right in the midst of it all. Fin, who coal mines for a living is an angry man who fights for the rights of his fellow miners by day and then takes his anger out on his wife and daughters by night.
Secrets are held within each of the Sweeney women and as each shares their story, you see that what is happening within these stories, mirrors the legend of the 7th century St. Barbara, patron of miners, which plays out annually at the town pageant.
Sometimes…. historical fiction blows me away. I felt as though I had donned my own pair of coal mining boots as I sunk dust deep into this amazing read. This was such a change from what I have been reading so far this year and I enjoyed it so much. Sometimes I forget how much I enjoy good historical fiction. And really, who better to tell it? Author Marian Szczepanski whose own grandparents were immigrant miners.
I have a feeling I will be gushing about Playing St. Barbara for some time to come. It was amazing to me, who honestly knew little of this history, how the KKK played a role in what happened. Exasperating, breathtaking, and awe inducing…. Playing ST. Barbara is a must read for lovers of historical fiction novels. I want to say more, but more than that, I want YOU to read this book.
Strong single parent Kate Baron has had no problem raising her daughter Amelia on her own. Amelia, even now at the age of 15, has always been a fairly easy laid back kind of girl. She didn’t get in trouble or hang out with the wrong crowds, she had few close friends but by choice not because she couldn’t have them. She gets good grades, Amelia’s easiness made it possible for Kate to pursue and be successful as a litigation Lawyer in a good firm.
So when Kate received the call from the Private School her daughter attended saying that she had been caught cheating, Kate is floored. Amelia had never done anything like this before and there must be some mistake. When Kate arrives at the school she is hit with an even bigger shock, Amelia had went to the roof of the school and jumped to her death.
Suddenly Kate is caught up in a whirlwind of emotion and pain. What had she missed? Where did she go wrong? The police have ruled it a suicide. Then Kate receives a text.
Amelia didn’t jump.
Now Kate is searching for the truth. Looking through her daughters emails, texts, and Facebook posts, Kate uncovers what everyone had missed, and she discovers a daughter she never really knew at all.
Why did I want to read this book? This book was chosen for our January Bookies read. When it was nominated, the synopsis was so powerful it brought tears to my eyes. I had to read this book.
Reconstructing Amelia is a YA style read with a lime twist. It has a bit of a zing to it that makes it different from any YA I have read before. That zing is both surprisingly good and a bit bitter at the same time.
It is hard for me to put a rating on this book. On the one hand, I have always appreciated books that surprise me and this one did indeed do that. I liked Amelia. I liked the setting of the Private School. On the other hand, I had a hard time keeping in mind that Amelia was 15. It felt as the protagonist role was written for an older girl… 17 or 18. That may be just me.
Reconstructing Amelia is a good read. If you enjoy YA reads with modern-day and realistic teen dealings, this will be a good fit for you. I can see this as a movie.
Because my head is full of questions, I am wheeling out the Spoiler Button. All DOT certified for 2014… here we go.