Wednesday, March 1, 2017

My Not So Perfect Life - Sophie Kinsella

Sophie Kinsella is a very popular author and now I see why! I totally enjoyed this book and the twists and turns of Katie Brenner's life. It reminded me a bit of my daughter's struggles living in New York City with a horrible commute and working so hard just to be able to survive living in a very small room with a variety of interesting roommates. You find yourself cheering her on in her attempts to succeed at work and in her personal life too. I don't want to give away any surprises that occur so I will just say that she has a good time back at home when co-workers turn up at her family's new glamping enterprise. You will enjoy following along her days both in the city and out and need to read to the very end because it is definitely worth the trip!

I was provided an advance copy of this book by NetGalley and am so glad I was approved for this one!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is one of the authors at the top of my reading list. I was pleased when I was granted the chance to read this book through NetGalley because I didn't think I had enough reviews on my profile to qualify. That being said, I had no idea how intense this book would be to read. I have always enjoyed stories that incorporated medical settings and also court ones, as a result of my legal background. This has both and more.

Ruth is a labor and delivery nurse with 20 years' experience and is also a mother of a young man ready to graduate high school and go to college. She is also black and this is what brings so much to the story. There are lessons to be learned from this book. It is strong and important and I'm so glad I read it. I've grown up in a very different life than Ruth did and have traveled and lived many places and had a lot of friends from different backgrounds and yet there is so much that I couldn't relate to since I am not black. The world is not a kind place to those who are different even if they seem like and me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Stars In the Grass - Ann Marie Stewart

This is a story of loss told by a 9-year-old little girl in 1970. This is a time when I was growing up and experiencing losses in my family so a lot about this story is the same as mine and yet very different. I enjoyed the references to many of the things that were popular during that time -- toys, TV shows, etc. They brought back good memories to me. But, if you are younger and this is just a time in history, you will still like this book!

A loss in a family affects each member differently and how they cope and react affects the family as a whole. This is the basis of this family's story. You will want to read to the very end to see exactly how things turn out whether everything resolves and they move on or if they are irreparably broken. That is your job though to follow their paths and see where they end up. It is a charming and very sad but touching story. I will hold it in my thoughts for some time to come.

I read this through Netgalley and received an advance copy this is no way affects the review given for each and every book. I appreciate the opportunity to read new books through NetGalley to discover new authors to follow.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Pattern Artist - Nancy Moser

I have had this book on my list to read for a little while. I find it interesting that I chose it before others and the timing of it corresponds to the recent focus on immigrants in America! I won't turn this into a political review because that would not do the book justice. I honestly ascribe to the saying "everything in its time" and this was perfect timing for me to read this story!

For those who love to sew, this is a book you will enjoy. For those who enjoy stories about the American dream and having your dreams come true in ways you wouldn't believe, it is also for you!

The author did a wonderful job of shaping the characters and bringing them to life. She also incorporated real history which in turn added a lot to the storyline. I learned things about pattern making and the Butterick Company and Macy's that I never knew but also gives me more respect for those who began those companies!

There is romance, family, a little violence but not graphic, suspense and finally a spiritual link with genuine human kindness thrown in. I was sad when I finished it and couldn't know what would happen next! That's the mark of a good book indeed!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Promise Kitchen - Peggy Lampman

When reading the description of the book, you have expectations. I started it and wasn't sure if it I wanted to continue because it didn't start as I expected. However, as I continued reading it, I found myself wanting to get to know Mallory and Shelby even better. In Shelby's case, life was hard but she felt she could "be an example, proving to her that when you set your mind to do something you can make that something happen" which is such a motivating way to look at life. The author definitely did a great job describing and growing the two main characters and helping the reader to really feel what it was like to be living in rural Georgia and Atlanta -- two very different places indeed.

Both Shelby and Mallory were cooks. One started in a rural town with down home recipes and ingredients. The other was more sophisticated and came from a more refined life. Both loved food and sharing it with friends and wanted more from their lives. This story brings them together in an unusual twist. I love to cook and the food aspect definitely appealed to me but the contrast between the two women and the direction of their lives kept me turning the page to see what would happen next.

A favorite passage was "Carefully chosen words threading into a sentence, paragraph, then story -- as colorful patches sewn into a quilt -- comfort me, weaving me into a bigger life, a life that matters." This in itself describes why we continue reading book after book and enjoy it so much!

This was one of the ARC from Netgalley which I am thankful I have the opportunity to be a part of the community of readers.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Only in Naples - Katherine Wilson

After having the chance to live in Italy for 3 years, the charm of the country, its people and its food will live in me forever. The author shared this quote by Goethe "See Naples and die" -- she didn't die but started to live. When you visit Italy, you enter another time. Life is slower and fuller. As a result, you learn to appreciate things more, when you slow down and start to really live.

When visiting Italy, Naples is not at the top of most people's lists. It is famous for crime and it is not as picturesque (a/k/a dirty, trash filled) as many other locations. However, it is where pizza was born and who can't appreciate that fact!

One of the first people she meets is the mother of a young man sent to show her around. This woman was 56 years old and not the stereotypical Italian mother that we picture standing at a stove cooking all day. She wore tight white jeans and high heeled boots with a rhinestone studded belt. Rhinestones are definitely a fashion necessity that I learned about during my time there. This made me laugh when I read it from the memories of ladies at the baseball games in our town of Nettuno. These ladies take care of themselves from top to bottom. It made me rethink my clothing when going out and about in town. It was important how you looked no matter what errand you may be running!

The food..... oh how I enjoyed the descriptions of the food that the mother was cooking for the family. One ingredient that is common in all of the recipes is love. The time and effort put into each dish reflects the love of the mother for her family. I'm hungry just thinking about all of the things she prepared! You'll have to read it yourself to find out just what she cooked!

This was an ARC from NetGalley and is now available on Amazon. Everyone interested in Italy should read it without a doubt!

Love Sick - Cory Martin

I chose this book because I know two people who suffer from MS. One of them is this amazing man who is Italian/American and has been battling this disease for some time. His name is Tony Lonero and he is committed to conquering the disease. He is a bicycle rider who is encouraging others to "Non Mollare (never give up) Ride to Finish".  Even when his test results can be discouraging, he goes out and rides hundreds and thousands of kilometers to overcome the life sentence that the diagnosis of MS holds. I met another person, a young woman, when I was in the hospital who is going through the never ending process of testing and guessing what her status is. She is married and has a young son. She is a positive person and is trying hard to learn as much as she can to help herself continue to live for herself and her family.

As I read Cory's story, I could only imagine the emotions she was experiencing and the frustration of not knowing the full extent of her physical condition. The disease becomes the center of your whole world. It also affects how others look at you and act around you. Cory makes it real in this book. It isn't pretty. It isn't glossed over. If you want to learn more about how MS affects someone like you and me, this is definitely the book for you to read. She is still a young woman so the full effect on how her life will turn out is yet to be seen. One can only hope for research to be successful in finding medications to lessen the effects of MS.

I think it's important that we read more about these diseases and the way they affect people's lives so that we can be more understanding when we have friends affected in this way.

I received the ARC of this book through NetGalley. It is not available for purchase on