Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Turn The Page ... Tuesday

Since it's the month of shamrocks and leprechauns I thought I would start out with a great St. Paddy's read!


An Irish Country Doctor is the first in a series of Barry Laverty, M.B. finding his way (sometimes literally) in the Northern Ireland village of Ballybucklebo. 

From Amazon: "Barry Laverty, M.B., can barely find the Northern Ireland village of Ballybucklebo on a map when he first sets out to seek gainful employment there. But Barry jumps at the chance to secure a position as an assistant in a small rural practice.

At least until he meets Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly.

The older physician has his own way of doing things. At first, Barry can't decide if the pugnacious O'Reilly is the biggest charlatan he has ever met or the best teacher he could ever hope for. Through O'Reilly, Barry soon gets to know all of the village's colourful and endearing residents and a host of other eccentric characters who make every day an education for the inexperienced young doctor.

Ballybucklebo is a long way from Belfast, and Barry is quick to discover that he still has a lot to learn about country life. But with pluck and compassion, and only the slightest touch of blarney, he will find out more about life--and love--than he ever imagined back in medical school.

Previously published as The Apprenticeship of Dr. Laverty."

Yo! Adrienne says: Reading this won't guarantee a pot of gold at the end of your rainbow but it certainly will put a spring in your step. Too fun and light to pass up.


I think Amazon says it best: "Orphan Train is a gripping story of friendship and second chances from Christina Baker Kline, author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be.

Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse...
As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.
Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.
Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are."

Yo! Adrienne says: Read it and prepare yourself to sit with your friend Google and research orphan trains. It happened. It will break your heart. Excellent read.


And since we are on the subject of orphans ... I feel a theme coming on. Every once in a while I like to throw a classic in my line up. I had had Jane Eyre on my kindle for like fo-evah so it was time to get to it.

In case it's been fo-evah for you too - here's what Amazon has to say: "Jane Eyre is the heart-wrenching story of a young girl saddled with both a cruel aunt and a bitter upbringing at Lowood School. Her soul not broken from these encounters, she becomes governess to the children of the handsome Mr. Rochester, with whom she falls deeply in love, but the dark secrets of Rochester's past and outside influence threaten to swallow their budding romance. Explore Charlotte Bronte's world full of shocking secrets, captivating characters, and dark romance. Complete and unabridged, Jane Eyre is an essential collectible that is both elegant and portable."


Yo! Adrienne says: I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed the book. I'd suggest you add this to your collection of classics (and read it!) if you are like me and want to catch up on what you missed in English class. Cliff notes don't cut it.



My cousin told me about a long way gone Memoirs of a Boy Soldier and I was able to track a copy down through Better World Books


Well. Again, Amazon's got it: "This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them.


What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived.

In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he'd been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.
 
This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty."

Yo! Adrienne says: Well. This was a tough read. So worth it despite the heartache and box of kleenex I endured. Often I sat with my mouth agape and my hand over my heart shaking my head in disbelief. Sadly, this is a true account. Even more reason to enlighten yourself to the plight of children in less fortunate countries.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Heartbeat

Me: John (he's 8), will you be my valentine?

John: (does his sweet side smile which makes his dimples show) Moooom, well .... I can for now but one day I'm going to have a wife and she will be my valentine.

Be still my heart.




Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Turn The Page ... Tuesday

Hi there!

Happy February aka show.your.somebodies.you.love.them.month ;-) 

Or as Rocky calls it "another Halmark holiday".

We're so romantic.

It sleighs me.

Anywhoo. On to the books!


Dancing On Broken Glass is what I would call an unconventional love story. I love how the author developed her main characters and gave them depth (and issues) that I have not experienced in another book.

From Amazon: "A powerfully written novel offering an intimate look at a beautiful marriage and how bipolar disorder and cancer affect it, Dancing on Broken Glass by Ka Hancock perfectly illustrates the enduring power of love.

Lucy Houston and Mickey Chandler probably shouldn’t have fallen in love, let alone gotten married. They’re both plagued with faulty genes—he has bipolar disorder, and she has a ravaging family history of breast cancer. But when their paths cross on the night of Lucy’s twenty-first birthday, sparks fly, and there’s no denying their chemistry. 

Cautious every step of the way, they are determined to make their relationship work—and they put it all in writing.  Mickey promises to take his medication. Lucy promises not to blame him for what is beyond his control. He promises honesty. She promises patience. Like any marriage, they have good days and bad days—and some very bad days. In dealing with their unique challenges, they make the heartbreaking decision not to have children. But when Lucy shows up for a routine physical just shy of their eleventh anniversary, she gets an impossible surprise that changes everything. Everything. Suddenly, all their rules are thrown out the window, and the two of them must redefine what love really is.

An unvarnished portrait of a marriage that is both ordinary and extraordinary, Dancing on Broken Glass takes readers on an unforgettable journey of the heart."


Yo! Adrienne says: Get your kleenex, some chocolate, and whatever comforts you and curl up for an emotional roller coaster that will make you glad that an author can dig deep and show big love. How's that for a run on sentence. I really, really loved this book. It made me mad, cry, and happy - sometimes all at once. I'm team Chandler all the way.



I've had I Capture the Castle on my to read list - for like - f.o.r.e.v.e.r. and .e.v.e.r. amen. 

Cool fact: this was written in 1948 and the author wrote 101 Dalmatians.

From Amazon: "I Capture the Castle tells the story of seventeen-year-old Cassandra and her family, who live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Here she strives, over six turbulent months, to hone her writing skills. She fills three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries. Her journals candidly chronicle the great changes that take place within the castle's walls, and her own first descent into love. By the time she pens her final entry, she has "captured the castle"--and the heart of the reader--in one of literature's most enchanting entertainments."

Yo! Adrienne says: You must read this book (if you haven't already). It's such a funny clever read. Despite the fact that I have never experienced living in a castle and was born in 1972 in the U.S. as opposed to the 1920's in Europe I 'got this book'. The author does such a good job of brining the characters (and they are characters) that you can't help but laugh, scratch your head, and keep your fingers crossed for a pleasant outcome.

There is also a movie and I'm so darn disappointed that I waited too long and now can't watch it on Amazon Prime. Drats. The only way I can get my hands on it is to buy the DVD for close to $20 bucks. As Rocky likes to say "na ga da" - not gonna do it. Oh well. Maybe soon it will be back to streaming again. Sigh.

 

I am a part of a wonderful book club. We call ourselves Wine, Women, and The Word. We meet once a month to discuss, laugh, cry, eat, drink and most importantly share what we've learned (or confused us) from our assigned book. I look forward to this every month. The Prodigal God was on the docket for January.

Wow.

Prodigal (according to Merriam-Webster):  characterized by profuse or wasteful expenditure, recklessly spendthrift, yielding abundantly

If you are unfamiliar with the parable of the prodigal son it's in Luke chapter 15. In a nutshell - one son (the youngest) squanders his inheritance (that he demanded from his dad while his dad was still alive and kicking) and the oldest son is appalled at his brother's behavior and follows all the rules. Tim Keller breaks down the story by helping us see what Jesus was saying - the father's love (as in the Father - God) - loves us with reckless abandonment. No matter what we have done - broken the rules or followed them to the letter (for all the wrong reasons) - He loves us regardless. He wants to invite us into a relationship with him despite our brokenness. He is our 'prodigal God'.

Yo! Adrienne says: This book is amazing. I had always focused on 'the mess of a younger brother' not realizing how the older brother was just as lost. The father welcomed them both with open arms despite how they both had hurt him. An amazing book that expands on the love story of our God who is a spendthrift of grace and love for us all.




I might be that last person in American. No wait. The world who has read this book. It's been on my list fo-ev-ah but never made it to the top. Thank you Angelina. You caused such a stir with all you left out I just had to get my grubby hands on it before I give you any of my money.

Another Wow.

Can't even imagine.

I've read so many WWII books. 

Survivors. Civilians. Polish. Jew. Christian. Soldier. Children. Fiction. Nonfiction.

You name it.

But I had never read of the Pacific.

There are no words.

Maybe one.


Just incase you have no idea what this book is about (but I doubt it) 

From Amazon: "In boyhood, Louis Zamperini was an incorrigible delinquent. As a teenager, he channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when World War II began, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to a doomed flight on a May afternoon in 1943. When his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean, against all odds, Zamperini survived, adrift on a foundering life raft. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will."

Yo! Adrienne says: um. If you haven't read it. Do. One of the greatest stories told. 'nuf said.


If you've been around here a bit then you know I like to 'screen' books for my avid (but young) readers. And usually what happens is I end up reading the whole series and have a mini book club with my kiddos.

Cue music.

It's awesome.

The latest is for my "in the middle reader". Second grader reading waaaaay beyond his reading level but content? Gotta watch that. 

In what I was hoping would not be a futile effort I stalked the youth section of our library - reading glasses perched on my nose. I meant business. Not to mention the fact that I can't read squat without them. I was about to give up hope and solicit the help of a librarian when Heros in Training caught my eye. Oh! And it's a series - as in - that buys me more time before I have to repeat a search for appropriate books. Seven books at this point. Perfect. I'll take them all.

This past Thursday was my trek to the library. At the rate John is plowing through these books I have about 2 more days until I must return with glasses in hand - ahem - on my nose - and begin the quest again. But don't loose hope for me. I found this great website In The Middle Books (that just happens to publish the Heros series) that addresses my plight. They have a whole slew of books for kids just like John (and Jill if you have one of those). You better believe I've compared their list to our library's catalogue and ready for the next few rounds. It should last me a month. ha!

In case you are interested in Heros

From Amazon: "From School Library Journal: Gr 2-4-This funny chapter book retells the story of Zeus, Cronus, and the Olympians. Many kids will already be familiar with Cronus, King of the Titans, who swallows his children so that they might never steal his throne. Zeus, the youngest of the Olympians, is smuggled out to a mountaintop sanctuary, and it is from this haven that he is kidnapped by some hungry, none-too-bright giants. Along their journey to Cronus, Zeus, who has always heard voices foretelling some great destiny, is helped by a number of mythological creatures. The voices and some strange clues he finds along the way lead him to think that the Olympians trapped inside Cronus are the key to his survival, even though he doesn't know the truth about who they are. This is a fun read, casting Zeus in the role of relatable kid, and there is a nice balance between his primary goal of survival and his sense of destiny and adventure. Drawings throughout illustrate particularly dramatic scenes, but for the most part, Zeus and his world are left to readers' imaginations. The story ends with him freeing the Olympians, who he is surprised to find are kids like himself. He agrees to travel with these new friends to find the rest of the Olympians, setting up the future of the series nicely. Share this title, and likely more to come, with those still too young for Percy Jackson's adventures.-Heather Talty, formerly at Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York City"

Yo! Adrienne says: I'm finishing up book 2 of the series trying to catch up with John. He is tickled that he has something to talk to me about and loves to ask "where are you now - I don't want to ruin what is coming up". John is very imaginative and despite the king eating the kids "fee fi fo fum down the throat here you come" - he thinks it's hysterical as opposed to scary. The story is written in a nonthreatening way and is so far fetched that he gets that it's not real. There is a character who pops in now and then (she's an oracle) and often has foggy glasses and mispronounced words that distort her "visions" - Titan giants now rule all of Earth's domains - oceans, mountains, forests, and the depths of the Underwear. Ooops - make that Underworld. Even this 42 year old had to giggle.

Now if you are new to TTPT don't be intimidated by all the books I have listed. I am still playing catch up from all the books that I read in 2014 - Oh how I wish I could read this many in one month! So join us if you've read one or twenty! 



Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Turn The Page ... Tuesday

Happy 2015!
 
I hope everyone had a blessed holiday season. Christmas for us was very busy (I changed our guest room sheets 3 times!) but quite peaceful despite the rotating house guests. We brought the new year in with some friends (a 14 year tradition that now includes our kiddos) and spent new years day with family. To say I'm ready for along winters break (nap) would be correct! I have quite a few books stacked one upon one another that I'm working my way through. The leaning tower of literature ... fingers crossed for lots of reading this winter.
 
So .... on to Turn the page ... Tuesday! I read this trilogy the beginning of 2014 but thought it would be great to share in January (um - not to mention that I was in a bit of an unplanned/unannounced blog sabbatical). There's lot of snow and down right miserable conditions - perfect to read while curled up by a cozy fire with a kitty (or dog) on your lap.
 
 



The Bronze Horseman, Tatiana and Alexander, and The Summer Garden is a love story that begins in Russia during WWII. There is so much that happens that it really is hard to believe. It had me often thinking "seriously - no way". BUT. If you are one to root for the underdog you become a cheerleader. You can't help it. You can't put the book down. The author hooks you with so many twists and turn. You have to know what is going to happen next. I only made it through The Bronze Horseman because I knew there two other books - the main characters had to make it - right?! Thankfully I'm not a nail bitter - I would have none left otherwise.

I will say there is quite a bit of  "adult content" in these books but there is also a lot of Russian history and references to Russian literature. I was often referring to my friend Google to know more about a person, place or an event. I even ordered a few books that would have never been on my radar had it not been for this series.

When I was done with the last book (I literally read 3000 pages?! in a week - don't ask about the state of my home or children or husband during that time) I couldn't pick up another book. I just had to sit with the characters a bit longer. AND THEN. As fate would have it - I was able to track down a little bit more of my people - Tatiana's Table.


Now - if you followed that link - don't think I've lost my ever lovin' mind or are top of the Forbes list like Bill Gates. No, I referred to old faithful again to search - and search - and search - and well. You get the point. I found a used copy in New Zealand. Apparently, whoever owned it wasn't nearly as interested in Russian WWII cooking as me and was willing to sell it for a decent price. The shipping cost me more than the book! I know. I have issues. And no. I have not cooked one single thing from the book. But I've read it. It actually is a book not just a cookbook so the recipes are embellished with a few chapters that compliment what was in the series.

Once I satisfied my appetite (I know - I slay me) - I was able to move on to other books. Relief! I'd hate to have loved a series so much that it ended my reading career.

Yo! Adrienne says: Goodness. Go order all three (and the cookbook if you can track it down for less than the cost of your first born). Hunker up by the fire with a box of tissues (oh yessss - you will need those), a hot cup of something (or wine depending on time of day) and get going!


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Turn The Page ... Tuesday

LeRoy and I had a nice little chat ... and now I'm live! Well, actually only partially - something is wrong with my laptop but at least our desktop is connected. So - with out much further ado ...
 
Welcome back to another edition of Turn the page ... Tuesday! I've got quite a few for you this month. I hope you enjoy.
 
 
 
600 Hours of Edward and Edward Adrift  were such engaging reads. I really came to love Edward and all his quirks (don't all have a few?) and was pulling for him to "step out" of his comfort zone. Much happens in Edward's life that is comical, heartbreaking and heartwarming. Despite that fact that Edward is 37 years old these books are really a coming of age story.
 
From Amazon: "A 39-year-old with Asperger’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder, Edward Stanton lives alone on a rigid schedule in the Montana town where he grew up. His carefully constructed routine includes tracking his most common waking time (7:38 a.m.), refusing to start his therapy sessions even a minute before the appointed hour (10 a.m.), and watching one episode of the 1960s cop show Dragnet each night (10 p.m.).But when a single mother and her nine-year-old son move in across the street, Edward’s timetable comes undone. Over the course of a momentous 600 hours, he opens up to his new neighbors and confronts old grievances with his estranged parents. Exposed to both the joys and heartaches of friendship, Edward must ultimately decide whether to embrace the world outside his door or retreat to his solitary ways."
 
Yo! Adrienne says: Add them to your list. They are definitely a fun and engaging read.



 
 
So some of you may already be rolling your eyes at the thought of a cat story.  Stop right there. Even if you are not a cat lover Homer's Odyssey is a great read! We all love our pets like family and are convinced that they completely understand us ... and us them (ok - so we really don't understand our cats but we wish we did!). Gwen Cooper was cracking me up when she was describing her self as "that cat lady - the one who will always be single because she has (shudder) three cats." How she comes to become that cat lady is a wonderful story that has many bumps, 9/11, and a fairy tale ending. No more cats but definitely a knight in shining armor.
 
From Amazon: "Once in nine lives, something extraordinary happens... 
 
The last thing Gwen Cooper wanted was another cat. She already had two, not to mention a phenomenally underpaying job and a recently broken heart. Then Gwen’s veterinarian called with a story about a three-week-old eyeless kitten who’d been abandoned. It was love at first sight.
Everyone warned that Homer would always be an "underachiever," never as playful or independent as other cats. But the kitten nobody believed in quickly grew into a three-pound dynamo, a tiny daredevil with a giant heart who eagerly made friends with every human who crossed his path. Homer scaled seven-foot bookcases with ease and leapt five feet into the air to catch flies in mid-buzz. He survived being trapped alone for days after 9/11 in an apartment near the World Trade Center, and even saved Gwen’s life when he chased off an intruder who broke into their home in the middle of the night.
But it was Homer’s unswerving loyalty, his infinite capacity for love, and his joy in the face of all obstacles that inspired Gwen daily and transformed her life. And by the time she met the man she would marry, she realized Homer had taught her the most important lesson of all: Love isn’t something you see with your eyes.
Homer’s Odyssey is the once-in-a-lifetime story of an extraordinary cat and his human companion. It celebrates the refusal to accept limits—on love, ability, or hope against overwhelming odds. By turns jubilant and moving, it’s a memoir for anybody who’s ever fallen completely and helplessly in love with a pet." 
Yo! Adrienne says: Definitely a Christmas present for the cat lover in your life not to mention a fabulous read for yourself. Meooooow.


 
Goodness.  Sophie Hudson makes me smile. Almost everyday (I read her blog and you should too). She is so funny and genuine and that 's how she writes as well. You feel like you are on the phone with her or in her living room. I had seen A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet around in the blog-o-sphere but for some reason didn't pick it up. Something lit a fire under me and I randomly put it in my shopping cart. I read it in record speed and laughed out loud more times than I can count. I found myself saying "Rocky, listen to this ...." and reading a section (or two or three). Something you must know about Sophie (since I'm on a first name basis with her now that I read her blog) - she is a HUGE sports fan - specifically anything to do with Mississippi State. Her antics about life in the south, food, family, and lets not forget State football are not to be missed.
 
From Amazon: "There's nothing quite like family--and some people would say that there's nothing better. But in a world where we sometimes know more about the Kardashians than we do about the people sleeping right down the hall, it's easy to forget that walking through life with our family offers all sorts of joy wrapped up in the seemingly mundane. There's even a little bit of sacred sitting smack-dab in the middle of the ordinary. And since time's-a-wastin', we need to be careful that we don't take our people--and their stories--for granted. 
 
Whether it's a marathon bacon-frying session, a road trip gone hysterically wrong, or a mother-in-law who makes every trip to the grocery store an adventure, author Sophie Hudson reminds us how important it is to slow down and treasure the day-to-day encounters with the people we love the most.

Written in the same witty style as Sophie's BooMama blog, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet is a cheerful, funny, and tender account of Sophie's very Southern family. It's a look into the real lives of real people--and a real, loving God right in the middle of it all."
 
Yo! Adrienne says: Another one to add to your must read and to give to every gal you know. She has another book coming out and I cannot wait!
 

Another one of those books that just kept popping up and I kept ignoring. Good golly. I'm going to start wizening up and start adding those books that catch my eye into my cart! The Antelope in the Living Room is down right belly holding, cheek hurting, and eyes watering funny. Again poor Rocky was subjected to my bursts of laughter and reading aloud. Melanie sums up marriage perfectly - even if your hubbie isn't a hunter and you don't have an antelope in your living room as she does I guarantee you will relate to her witty and sweet narrative of her marriage.

From Amazon: "Welcome to the story of a real marriage.

Marriage is simultaneously the biggest blessing and the greatest challenge two people can ever take on. It is the joy of knowing there is someone to share in your joys and sorrows, and the challenge of living with someone who thinks it’s a good idea to hang a giant antelope head on your living room wall.

In The Antelope in the Living Room, New York Times best-selling author and blogger Melanie Shankle does for marriage what Sparkly Green Earrings did for motherhood—makes us laugh out loud and smile through tears as she shares the holy and the hilarity of that magical and mysterious union called marriage."

Yo! Adrienne says: Get shopping/clicking/or checking out - this is another must read and a great gift idea. Melanie also has a blog that I stalk and a book about being a mother (need to read that one myself) along with another (book - not baby) on the way.

 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Technical Difficulties


I think our elf on the shelf LeRoy is making mischief. Our internet is down and TTPT is waaay to long to peck out on my phone. Thankfully I have most of my post done so fingers crossed that at some point tomorrow I will be up and runnin!

Stay tuned ... Reviews that you won't want to miss as are headed your way - right LeRoy?!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Trotting

We woke up at the crack of zero-dawn-thirty and braved the freezing rain ...


to run with one of many turkeys ...


one turkey in particular who had never ran in a race much less 3 miles. 


We were more than ready for naps and good eats (and in that order)!
 
Hope you had a blessed thanksgiving filled with every turkey (or ham) that you love.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Trot on over this Tuesday for another edition of Turn the page ... Tuesday! I've got some good ones for you and I can't wait to see where your beak - I mean nose has been.