Sunday, March 31, 2019

March 2019 Reading Log

This month I read some amazing 5 star books books, even the 4 star books were memorable.  I have to say, Daisy Jones and Six was my favorite book. Where the Crawdads Sing and We Were the Lucky Ones were very emotional books and Britt-Marie Was Here made me laugh the most.   The Bookshop had my favorite cover but I would have to say I didn’t care for the story.

Daisy Jones and The Six  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
We Were the Lucky Ones  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Where The Crawdads Sings  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Maybe in Another Life  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Winter Garden  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Britt-Marie Was Here  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Bookshop  ⭐️⭐️⭐️

“There is nothing worse,
not even the daily hell of the ghetto, than for a mother to live with such fear and uncertainty about the
fates of her children.”  

We Were The Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter is based on a true story of the Kurc family from Radom, Poland during WWII.   They, like many other Jewish families, could not begin to imagine the hardship and cruelty they were about to endure at the hands of the Germans and Russians just because they were Jewish during the war.  The family was split up during the war. The parents were forced to move from their home to the ghetto. Their business was taken from them and they were given labor jobs they were forced to work at long hours each day for very little pay.   The family tried to write letters to each other but many of the letters were unanswered because each family member was changing their name and moving in order to avoid being sent to a camp. This was an amazing ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️star book about love, family and self sacrifice.  

“I know there may be universes out there where I made different choices and they led me somewhere
else, led me to someone else.  And my heart breaks for every single version of me that didn’t end up
with you.”  

Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a book that is completely different than anything I’ve read lately.   You can tell it is a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star book when it leaves you thinking about the story days after you finished the book.  It left me thinking which was Hannah’s real life? Both lives were amazing love stories. Both love stories were happy endings.  But which guy was Hannah’s true love? Or was the point we make our own happy endings.

I’m not sure which ending I liked more.  Either way Hannah’s life turned out wonderful.  

“When I eventually retire I’ve no sooner read a few pages then I’m overwhelmed with sleep.”

This quote sums up my reading lately.  Every time I snuggle up with a good book I fall asleep in the first few pages.   That is one reason I am so thankful for audiobooks.

The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald is a short little book about Florence, a widow,  who takes her small inheritance and opens the only bookshop in a small seaside town.  Her bookshop leaks and it is haunted but that’s not her biggest problem, does her little town want a bookshop.   

I love reading books about books.   This is a cute little story.

“You have to have one person in your life that you know would never do anything to steer you wrong.
They may disagree with you.   They could even break your heart, from time to time. But you have
to have one person, at least, who you know will always tell you the truth.”

I know many readers have wrote how great Daisy and the Six is and they are not lying.  I just love this book. I’ve already recommended this ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star book to all my close friends.   I still want to read more about Daisy and Billy. The format of the book is perfect and I thought the audiobook was amazing with a cast of characters.  I love that it is written as an interview. It is what you would expect of a rock band story. There is music, of course, drugs, alcohol, sex and a love story.  

“To those who are here, those who are gone, and those who are lost.”

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah was a bit of an eye opener for me.   I must admit I know little history of the Russian region.  I know the people there have had some hard years and there has been censorship and political persecution.  However I had not read anything about how the people had suffered during WWII. To be honest I was caught off guard on this book.  

This book bounces back and forth between  Meredith and Nina’s lives as they struggle to deal with the death of their father.  They both make promises to their father to help with their mother whom they never really got along with.  She was distant and cold to the girls as they were growing up. Now as all adults they need to find out how or if they can live together as a family.   As Meredith is dealing with her aging Mom she feels it’s time to move her to a home but Nina wants to find a way to break down the walls around her and find out what she has been hiding all these years.   
The story has love, history and family drama and it is a wonderful ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star read with a twist at the end.   

“Autumn leaves don’t fall, they fly. They take their time and wander on this their only chance to soar.”

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars for Delia Owens book, Where The Crawdads Sing.  This is an emotional book about Kya who raised herself in the marshlands of North Carolina.    After her family abandoned her around the age of five she is left to figure out life herself.  She learns to earn money by digging up mussels in the middle of the night so she can by gas and food.  As she grows up she opens up her heart only to have more people abandon her. However when the “marsh girl” is convicted of murdered she finds out that there are people who do love her.  

“He was my friend, and you can’t just go around replacing friends.”

I read Bobby vs. Girls Accidentally by Lisa Yee with my fifth grade reading group.  It was a cute book about Bobby who needs to work through his feelings of being lonely when his best friend Holly makes some new girl friends.  At first when the girls picked this book I was not excited about it but it has some nice life lessons in it.

“One morning you wake up with more life behind you than in front of you, not being able to
understand how it’s happened.”

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman is a charming story of an older woman who has just found out her husband has been having an affair for the past two years and she leaves him and looks for a job.  She has been the “proper” kind of house wife for Kent and his children for 30 years. She has a lot of preconceived notions based on what Kent has told her throughout the years and she is very set in her ways especially when it comes to the kitchen.  

The unemployment office sends her to run down recreation center in a struggling community to be a caretaker.  At first Britt-Marie doesn’t fit in with the community around her. They are different from her not that she would judge them for that.  However one by one Britt-Marie wins over the people at the community center. She becomes a football (soccer) coach for the kids team, she becomes involved with a family with no parents.   She becomes a beloved member of the community. This is a great story about opening up your heart and taking chances, I give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars.

“When you’ve lived in a cage, you can’t bear not to run, even if what you’re running towards is an illusion.”

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien, won the 1972 Newbery Medal.   Mrs. Frisby is on a quest to save her son. He is too ill to move to the summer home and she must move before the garden is plowed.  Mrs. Frisby must find the courage to trust an owl and the rats to find a solution to her dilemma. This wonderful story teaches that with enough courage and determination anything is possible if you are willing to work together in your community.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

February 2019 Reading Log

“I don’t believe in a lot of baggage….Life’s too short to fuss with it.”
Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting was one of the books I put off
reading for Battle of the Books. I never read it before and to be honest
I really didn’t want to read it.   Animal Fantasy is not my favorite genre. I read this on my phone and it felt like the book that would never end.
Tommy wants to learn to be a naturalist just like Dr. Dolittle and he
convinces the doctor to let him be his apprentice.   What parents are going
to let their 10 year old boy live with a strange man and a bunch of animals?
Of course the adventures they go on are beyond belief and completely

My biggest concern about the book is the stereotypes portrayed in the book and the dated language. I would not recommend this book and I think it should be taken off the Battle if the Books list. This is my first year at my school participating in this program and most of our kids are reading the books on their own with no discussion. Books like this need to be part of a discussion of what is appropriate and what is not.  

Reading Challenges Met:
#battleofthebooks2018  #HBTB2019reads (book with an animal on the cover)

“A good friend is like a four leaf clover, hard to find and lucky to have.”
I wanted a light and fun read after some of the heavy topics I have
read about lately.   Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch was just the
book. It is a YA book about a young girl, Addie, who makes a BIG
mistake at the beginning of her senior year of high school.   How
is she going to tell her family and face her friends. She is
trying to deal with her feelings as her family vacations in
Ireland. However, her brother, Ian is also going through something
on his own as well.  They have to work together to solve their
problems or as least come to a understanding. I am giving this
book ⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars. It is an enjoyable and fun story.

Reading Challenges Met:
#unreadshelfproject2019   #HBTB2019reads(Author’s surname begins with a W)

“Sharing is caring and laughing is loving.”
Healthy, Happy, YOU by Nora Rosendahl, Nelli Lahteenmaki and Alesksi Hoffman is a 365 daily action book.  I, of course, just read through it and made notes of things I think I should do now in my life to live healthier.  I am going to try to add one new thing in my life and make it stick before I move on to the next thing.
  • Join the gym and go to water classes
  • Red basket of fruit on table--You must snack on fruit
  • My Daily Commandments:  Always be positive with my husband, Put family first, Exercise daily, Eat Healthy
  • Mindful Eating -- more thinking on this
  • Think of little exercises to do throughout your day  Start with one and then add more once it is a habit. (Double up and always sit down twice.)  Add wall squats to morning routine.
  • Brainstorm a list of easy healthy meals to make for Friday Family Meals
  • Work to develop planks into my exercise routine
  • List my guilty habits and then work to eliminate them.  
  • Add two fruits to breakfast
  • Evening Stretches
  • New Food Schedule(Breakfast, 10 snack, Lunch, 3:30 snack, Dinner, Protein Bedtime Snack)

Reading Challenge Met:

“Pay attention, follow the directions, use good ingredients, practice techniques, share with friends, and voila! Happiness abounds.”
The Late Bloomer’s Club by Louise Miller is another fun and light read.  To be honest I picked this book because of the bike on the cover. I was disappointed that the main character, Nora,  only rode the bike one time when she borrowed her car to her younger sister. Nora owns a diner in a small town and has been running it since her parents past away. Nora and her sister, Kit, inherit a farm and have to make decisions together.  This is a nice story about sisters working out their issues. I think this is a ⭐️⭐️⭐️ star book.

I have taken all the hints, recommendations and suggestions and I am finally reading Anne of Green Gables.  I did not read this as a child so this is my should not be too hard I already own six beautiful copies of it.  I can alternate between books if I get bored. I am a little bit nervous about reading the book I have never been able to sit through any of the movie versions.  Does this count as one unread book or if I read two chapters from each book does it count as six unread books?

Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it…….yet.”
Anne of Green Gables by L.M.Montgomery is a classic book that has been around forever.  

I don’t remember reading it as a young child most likely because Anne has red hair. I think if I read about the intro as a child I would have put the book down.  I have come to terms with my red hair as I grew older but I hated it as a young child.

What I loved in this book was Anne’s spunky spirit.  Her ability to always look at the positive, even if the situation was not positive to begin with.  I even liked Marella as closed off as she was in most of the book unable to express her true feelings. She was so afraid of spoiling  Anne.

Reading Challenges Met:
#unreadshelfproject2019   #MMDchallenge2019 (a book recommended by someone with great taste)

“I might take risks, but they’re always worth it.”
The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker is an adorable romantic story set in Alaska.  I would like to thank the readers at #galsandbookpals for encouraging me to read this book.  I enjoyed the discussion as well.

In the story, Calla has not seen her dad since she was 2 years old and for the last 12 years has not even had a phone call from him.  Now a friend of her dad’s calls and says she should come to see him he has cancer.

She goes but she is not greeted with smiles from all of her dad’s friends.  In fact one guy is just mean to her. He blames her for not having a relationship with her father.  

In some ways this book hit home with me. I don’t have a father that lives far away however our relationship is a struggle. Nothing is easy with him. In fact he is the opposite of the character Wren.  Wren was quiet and unable to express his thoughts or feelings. My dad is very opinionated and demanding. He does not move from his point of view nor does he even consider someone else might have an opinion different from him. But just like Calla in the book had to realize,  Wren is her father, and nobody is perfect. He still is a good person and she needs to be there for him. That to is what I have come to accept with my own father.

The Calla/Jonah love story is adorable.  It is a love/hate relationship. The similarities between Calla and Jonah’s story and Wren and Susan’s story add a nice twist to the story.  I am giving this story ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars.

In Philip Hall Likes Me.  I Reckon Maybe by Bette Greene, Beth Lambert is always taking second place to Philip Hall the cutest boy in her class.  But is he really smarter and faster than her or is she afraid to beat him. What if she beats him at something will he still like her?   Beth has to find her own inner strength and confidence to let her light shine through because like ma says,
“It being you, you couldn’t hardly do nothing but what you did do …..your best.”

This is a great story of friendship and courage.   Growing up is hard but when you have friends to count on life is easier.  This book is a great example for kids to see how to work together and support one another.  

Reading Challenges Met:

“I had heard the old Indian legend about the red fern. How a little Indian boy and girl were lost in a blizzard and had frozen to death. In the spring, when they were found, a beautiful red fern had grown up between their two bodies. The story went on to say that only an angel could plant the seeds of a red fern, and that they never died; where one grew, that spot was sacred.”
Where the Red Fern Grows by William Rawls is an incredible story about a boy and his two dogs.  It is a story that all young children should read. In our world of materialism and overindulgence here is a story of hard work and sacrifice.   The main character, Billy, saves for two years to buy himself two hunting hounds. Billy’s love for his dogs is unbelievable. As the story continues you see Billy’s strong sense of responsibility towards his dogs.  He feeds them and takes care of them and doesn’t expect his parents to do a thing for his dogs. As he goes hunting with his dogs and earns money from the raccoon skins, he doesn’t waste the money on candy or other stuff for himself.  He gives all the money to his dad. He didn’t need the money he had his dogs. I’m not a fan of animal hunting but years ago it was done for survival so I am not going to debate that here. But Billy’s sacrifice/love for his family believes any money he earns should go towards the good of the family.   That’s a quality that should be admire. This is a quick short read. It was on the #GreatReadPBS and that is why I picked it up. It is definitely a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star read.

I enjoyed The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie more than last month’s selection.  I didn’t find the character Hastings as annoying in this book. Poirot is called to France to help with a secret but before he gets there his client is murdered.  Then to complicate things another person is murdered.

I have to say all my years of watching NCIS has paid off because I figured out  this murder-mystery too.

Reading Challenges Met:

These are the books I found at the Goodwill and Half Price Books today.  I wanted to read The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden for the 2019 Newbery Read Along #newbery2019 hosted by @happylittlebirdy and @lollipopsandlyrics in February.   Unfortunately I didn’t get the book from the library on time but I found the book and read it today anyways.

It was a quick read about a boy, a cricket, a rat and a cat.   This animal fiction book is about the wonderful friendship formed between the animals.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

January 2019 Reading Log

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid was a wonderful story to kick of the
New Year with.  I have been wanting to read this book for some time and I decided to start the year
with it.  This book just flows beautifully. There are parts that jump from present time to the past
however it feels natural and smooth.  The story has so much interesting content and twists and turns
in it that it’s hard to put the book down. Evelyn and her husbands and the love of her life will
surprise you.  Right up to the very end when Monica, the reporter, puts all the pieces together and
struggles with her decisions. This book deals with so many themes, fame, fortune, romance, love,
driving under the influence, right to live, and what constitutes a relationship/marriage. This is a five
star book.
#unreadshelfproject2019  #unreadbotmchallenge
  • A Book I’ve Been Meaning to Read  #MMDchallenge2019

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry is the Newbery Winner for 1990 and although this is my second
time reading it, I really did not remember the details of this book.  I am glad I took the time to reread
the story. The story takes place in Copenhagen, Denmark during the Nazi occupation. Lowry
writes about two little friends, Annemarie and Ellie whose lives have two different fates based on
religion.  The story focuses on Annemarie as she learns how her family is helping the neighbors, The
Rosens, survive. She also learns more about herself and what it means to be brave.
#battleofthebooks2018 #middlegradebooks

The Mysterious Affair at Styles is Agatha Christie first novel, she wrote it on a dare from her sister.
 To be honest the book reminded me of the game Clue. It felt like in one chapter all the clues lead
to one person but then the next chapter all the clues lead to another person.  But like all good
mysteries you have to put each clue together and start to eliminate suspects. The story is told from
the point of view of the character Hasting who was invited to recuperate after an injury during WWI.
 When the Mistress of the house in murdered, everyone is a suspect. Hastings asks his friend
Poirot, an ex Belgium detective to help him solve the case. I watch a lot of NCIS and the case
always boils down to who stands to inherit the most and this mystery was no different.

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza was my favorite book of the month so far.  Thank you
#aplaceforgalsandbookpals buddy read for encouraging me to read this book.  It is a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
star book. I just loved the characters and the family dynamics. I didn’t realize it until the last
chapter but Rafiq was my favorite character.  The story reminds you that there is always more than
one way to look at a situation. There are always many factors that influence decisions.

“Be thoughtful and make things nice for your husband or wife….it’s a two way street.”  

George and Barbara Bush: A Great American Love Story by Ellie LaBlond Sosa and Kelly Anne Chase
was a wonderful short story about an amazing couple.  This was their story from their first meeting through
their courtship and throughout their marriage.  Their great-grand-daughters (the authors) have quotes from the
Bush’s letters they wrote to each other and from interviews that add great personal details to their story.   Both
Barbara and George were very down to earth people and very much in love with each other. The book shows
Barbara’s love and support for George as he ran for office. And even in the face of disappointment they held
their heads high and moved on to the next thing with grace and dignity.   This is a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star read.
#HBTB2019reads (biography)
  • A book about a topic that fascinates you.  

You may be ignorant...but you are kind,  and kindness is the most underrated of all human

Midnight Magic by Avi, as with most of these Battle of the Books, was a book outside my comfort
zone.  I would not have picked this book on my own. However, what I liked about the story was the
character Magnus.  No matter what happened to Mangus or how people treated Mangus, he replied
with kindness and respect. To me that is a great lesson to teach kids as they read the book.  
#battleofthebooks2018  #HBTB2019reads (written in 1950 - 1999)

“I am just a tiny person in Africa, but there is a place for me, and for everybody, to sit down on this
earth and touch it and call it their own.”

The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith is the story about Precious
Ramotswe  who sets up the No.1 lady detective agency in Botswana, Africa.   The story starts out
telling her father’s story and then moves into her story.  When her father passes away he leaves her
some money, well enough money to buy her own home and start her detective agency.  Throughout
the book she has several small cases to solve. What stands out the most about the book to me is the
little bit that the Botswana people need to live.    
#HBTB2019reads  (written in 2000-2010)

“Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.”
Wild, by Cheryl Strayed is a book about an amazing young girl who sets out on a courageous
 adventure of a lifetime. She hiked the Pacific Crest Trail of 1,000 miles from the Mojave Desert
through California, Oregon and Washington State.  After her mother passed away, family fell apart
and her marriage fell apart. She was lost drinking and taking drugs so she decided to hike the PCT
on her own.   She learned a lot about herself on this journey, From day one she had to deal with
unbelievable physical pain, unpredictable people, and unknown elements, Through it all she gained
some wonderful friends and developed a healthy sense of who she was as a person and woman.  

Now I don’t know about you but there is no way I could survive this kind of journey.  I am not cut out
for the outdoors. I could handle drinking water and hot tea, but I couldn't live without my granola
bars and not to mention my cell phone.    
 #HBTB2019reads (one-word title)

“We can believe this promise:  In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have
been called according to his purpose"
Anxious for Nothing,  by Max Lucado, was my spiritual reading for the month.
This statement from the book sounds like me, “Anxiety takes our breath, ….takes our sleep, our
energy, our well being….blood pressure rises, headaches…..Anxiety ain’t fun”  Max quotes the
Bible, “Be anxious for nothing” Phil. 4:6 and as I read through the book there were so many
passages that spoke to me. I typed up several passages to put in my calendar book to remind
myself throughout the year to “put everything in prayer…..and thanksgiving.”  I have been doing that
throughout the month and it has helped a bit.
#unreadshelfproject2019   #HBTB2019reads (Christian Living)

I am enjoying my “snow day” finishing the book Miracles on Maple Hill #battleofthebooks2018 and spring
cleaning my kitchen. I am enjoying the story so far. It is very uplifting. It is told from a young girl’s point of view
about the struggles her family is facing now that Daddy is home from the war.
 #battleofthebooks2018  #HBTB2019reads (Children’s book)

“Don’t waste your energy on the hate. That will kill you sure as anything. Focus on keeping your strength.
You’re resourceful. Find a way to outsmart them.”
Luckily me I had several extra days off this week because of the extreme cold weather.   I curled up
on my sofa and read, Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, this is truly an amazing book.  I could not put
the book down. It is based on the real-life socialite,Caroline Ferriday,  of New York who worked to
helped others throughout WWII and then survivors of concentration camps.  Just Caroline’s story is
amazing. She is an inspiration for all of us to give selflessly. However, there are more characters in
the book.    Herta Oberheuser is another real person from German history who worked as a doctor
at Ravensbruck, the women’s concentration camp where medical experiments were conducted.
 Finally, there is Kasia and Zuzanna, two polish teenage sisters who are arrested for their role in the
underground resistance and sent to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, who are fictional characters.
 However, their story is based on the real survivors known as the Rabbits. Each chapter tells the
story of the war from a different women's point of view. I loved this 5 star story. I am so glad I joined
the buddy read with #LilacBuddiesRead started by @buzzedaboutbooks.  Thanks for giving me the
nudge I needed to read this book.
#unreadshelfproject2019   #HBTB2019reads (two-word title)