West Hall, Vermont has, like many small towns, urban legends. The towns most notorious story is one a woman named Sarah Harrison Shea who in the early 1900′s was found in a bloody heap, dead, just months after her own young daughter Gertie had tragically died. Through the years, in the woods that were a part of West Hall, other mysterious deaths and disappearances had taken place, only adding fuel to the legend. The truth of what had happened to Sarah was never discovered but the elaborate stories were ones told around camp fires and during moonless nights….
Now, over 100 years later, 19-year-old Ruthie lives with her mother Alice and her little sister Fawn in the very farmhouse that once belonged to the infamous Sarah. One morning the girls wake to find their mother Alice missing with no sign of where she may have gone. As Ruthie explores her mother’s room for clues she finds part of a diary under the floor boards that says it is the secret diary of Sarah Harrison Shea. As Ruthie begins to read the diary she finds it is filled with stories of people called sleepers, those brought back to life from the dead. Sarah not only believed it was possible, she explained how she did it for her daughter Gertie, and… even more alarming, how to bring anyone back to life.
Sheila’s observation: Have we learned nothing from Stephen King’s Pet Cemetery? Bringing people back from the dead is never a good idea…
The Winter People brought up reminiscence of The Returned, and yes, Pet Cemetery. How often have we thought if we only had a second chance with someone who had passed away unexpectedly and/or far too young? How far would one go to bring that person back if they could? AND time after time in our literature we have discovered…. they never come back the way they were. (Walking Dead anyone? Just not a great time…. :razz: )
This opening description might make you think this book is dark, but actually it is not so much dark as it is just a very interesting tale that travels back and forth seamlessly between Sarah’s time of 1908 , and Ruthie’s life of current time. As you read, Sarah’s story as told through her diary entries and see her life move forward as Ruthie, reading the diary all these years later follows the book back in time to hopefully find a connection to her mother’s disappearance.
Beautifully narrated by Cassandra Campbell and Kathe Mazur. I found Winter People to be a familiar tale, but told in a different way that was unique and that made it a decent read.
In 1808, Solomon Northup was born a free man of color. He grew into a man, owned a home, farmed and played violin. He was married and had three children and did well for himself and his family. In 1841, at the age of 33, Solomon was lured into a false job to play violin, he was then drugged and kidnapped, shipped to New Orleans and sold as a slave. For twelve years Solomon was held and sold from one slave owner to the next. His attempts at escaping were fruitless, if he tried to explain that he was a free man, he was beaten either for his lies, or for the fear the white owners had of what he said was true. During this time Solomon had no way of getting word to his family, not knowing if they were dead or alive or what they thought had become of him.
In the twelve years of captivity, Solomon learned what it was like to be slave. During his time of captivity he was able to see the darkest souls of man, but also see kindness in others. Upon his release, Solomon wrote this recap of his time as a slave. It was 1853.
12 Years A Slave was a powerful listen. Narrated by Louis Gossett, in a smooth tone that made you feel that he really was Solomon Northup, retelling his days and months and years with all of his rights as a free man stripped from him.
What makes this book all the more breathtaking is that it is non fiction. Solomon shares with his readers the good, the bad, and the extreme ugliness of man during this time period. I found my heart heavy as I can not wrap my mind around what it had to have been like for Solomon during this time of loss of family, and loss of hope of ever seeing them again.
12 Years A Slave is a remarkable story. I am looking forward to seeing the movie.
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.
Kitchen Confidential, narrated by the author and well-known chef Anthony Bourdain is a “Don’t eat at a well-known restaurant in New York before you read this” type of book. Anthony, in his typical dead pan style takes you through the ups and downs of his world of when you should and when you should not order seafood, why brunches and buffets are the dirty under belly of the food world, as well as good and bad relationships that go on beyond closed doors – or pointedly the kitchen. Kitchen Confidential will take you through Anthony’s rocky start in the world of white aprons and funny hats. Through sex, drugs, and filet Mignon – the secrets of presentation and “how do I get my potatoes and chicken to stack tall like a restaurants, are all inside, if you dare to listen.
I have listened to and enjoyed Anthony Bourdain before in Medium Raw, another of his books on the adventures and pleasures of food. Kitchen Confidential is, in my opinion, rawer than Medium Raw. Anthony is more vulgar, or I suppose, honest in the relationships of the cooking world. Let’s just say that in Kitchen Confidential Anthony readily admits that what he is sharing in this book could possibly get him fired…. if he is just being his sarcastic self, I do not know, but Kitchen Confidential is not for the faint of heart.
Be sure before you enter into this read that you are committed to really wanting to know what is happening behind the kitchen wall. Kitchen Confidential would easily receive a “R” rating if this were a TV show for language, drunks, sex and drugs. Practices that you would probably rather not know about, but perhaps have often wondered (what do they really do with that bread plate that you did not eat?) are revealed. Yet it is not all stomach turning and checking another restaurant off your must try list. Anthony also shares tips for your own cooking skills – sharing with the reader how not to be caught up in the chef knives industry and expense when really you only need one knife that is not a budget breaker and can do just about everything the bank breaking expensive sets do.
While I will admit that there are times Anthony Bourdain steps over the line of TMI a time or two or fourteen… I still enjoy listening to his stories. Beyond the world of food and chefs, Anthony is also an incredible story-teller and if you can handle the truth (which some of we probably suspected) it is a dish worth trying.
Note: You do not have to be a gamer to enjoy this read,Masters Of Doom is a story of friendship and living the dream of success and feeling the deep cutting pain of success as well. Do not judge this book by its topic. You will do yourself a disservice.~Sheila
Masters Of Doom is the true story of John Carmack and John Romero, two young gamers from broken homes that teamed up together to create games for the personal computer that changed the gaming world (and the real world) forever. They took the flat screen square looking graphic games and brought them to life by adding screen scrolls, better graphics, and eventually… more violence. Their biggest success DOOM was what finally tore them apart. This book (audio) is their story from rags to riches, from binding friendship to a major falling apart of the two John’s.
Today, more money is spent on video type games than is spent on movies. Does that not blow your mind? Many of the population would rather spend time in a virtual world solving puzzles, crimes, or shooting or blowing things up.
Beyond my desire to know more about this story, was the narration of Wil Wheaton. Seriously – the guy would read the newspaper to me and I would be thrilled. If you listened to ready Player One on audio, that’s the guy!
Masters Of DOOM was an incredible listen. I am not a big gamer, I did play some games as a kid but I was never hard core and never played DOOM or Quest (nothing bloody for me thanks), two of the games designed through this team. I do however love the stories behind the success. As I love the movie Social Network (the story behind Facebook), and the audiobook JOBS (the story of Steve Jobs success with Apple), I also really enjoyed listening to the rise to the top of two computer geeks who loved what they did and created an empire.
Gamers will love the behind the scenes insight of how the games were developed. Non gamers will enjoy the amazing story of friends who were just having fun and stumbled on to something bigger than they ever could have imagined.
He or she goes by the name of A. A lives an unusual life. Every day that A wakes up in the morning, A is in a new body. A may be a teenage boy or A may wake up as a teenage girl. No matter who he/she is, the only constant is that A will be 16. A is not sure why life is this way but it is and because of this A has set up a few ground rules:
1. Never get attached
2. Live low… do not do anything that will draw attention to you
3. Do not do anything that will disrupt the life of the person he/she is for the day
And all of that is working out swell until one morning A wakes up as a boy named Justin, and A meets Justin’s girlfriend Rhiannon. Rhiannon is sweet and kind and way to good for this boy named Justin who A can tell does not value her. And now things are all messed up. A’s rules no longer apply… all A does is think about Rhiannon and want to be with her.
As A continues to “body jump” , A spends his time trying to find where Rhiannon is… and this is dangerous as A is taking the person he/she is inhabiting, male or female, out of their own routine to be with Rhianon.
How do you love someone who is never the same person on the outside – but always the same person in the inside? How do you have feelings for someone who is one day a boy, and possibly the next day a girl?
Oofta. When I picked up Every Day on audio at our library I had no idea what I was about to listen to. David Levithan truly has a gift of thinking outside the box as it was a struggle for me to keep up with who A was next. Defining a character as neither male or female was brilliant on Levithon’s part (even writing this review was hard not to refer to “A”as either he or she), but tricky for me, as my mind automatically made “A” male because of his love for Rhiannon.
Tricky stuff her Mr. Levithan…. tricky tricky…
Because of all of this I have a hard time saying how I feel about this book. The ending to me felt like I needed something more solid even though A had nothing solid to hang on to him, errr… herself. It felt as though there should be a second book but I do not see any mention of this being part of a series of books. It definitely fits into my love of books that are completely different than anything I have read before. I still am struggling to come up with a good solid response here.
So -I can say this. If you are looking for something completely different, give Each Day a try. David Levithan was co author of the book Will Grayson, Will Grayson (which I loved!) and he also wrote the books Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Two Boys Kissing which I have heard good things about but have not read.
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.
Did you ever imitate your parents when you were a kid? Or better yet, imitate your parents imitating someone else? Or try to win favor by pretending to be well-behaved children talking in tones like, “yes father, I would be delighted to pick up the common area of all of my things”?
“Real love amounts to withholding the truth, even when you’re offered the perfect opportunity to hurt someone’s feelings”
“I won’t put in a load of laundry, because the machine is too loud and would drown out other, more significant noises – namely, the shuffling footsteps of the living dead.”
“She’s afraid to tell me anything important, knowing I’ll only turn around and write about it. In my mind, I’m like a friendly junkman, building things from the little pieces of scrap I find here and there, but my family’s started to see things differently. Their personal lives are the so-called pieces of scrap I so casually pick up, and they’re sick of it. More and more often their stories begin with the line “You have to swear you’ll never repeat this.” I always promise, but it’s generally understood that my word means nothing.”
I fell in love with David Sedaris’ writing when I listened to his book Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls. I then went on to list to Me Talk Pretty One Day and his line about the youth in Asia (euthanasia) still cracks me up when I think about it.
It was only natural for me to crave his style of funny humor again. And trust me – David makes anything funny. He talks about anything from what to eat for dinner to doing laundry and I find myself giggling. Be warned though – nothing is sacred. NOTHING. You never quite know what David will say next.
While Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim is funny, it is not my favorite f the three I have listened to. It is good, and it filled my David fix. I will definitely be listening to him again.
If you are planning to give his books a try I highly recommend to listen to them on audio. David narrates them himself and he has just the right tone and pause in his voice that makes it all the better.
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