Monthly Archives: June 2012

Timely and a page turner

  Thanks to a Invitational Swim Meet, I was able to finish this book today.  It is entitled What You Wish For, and the author is Kerry Reichs.  I was not sure this would be a story I would enjoy…the cute ducks on the cover scared me a bit.  I was not looking for a book about the early joys of motherhood….not that I did not enjoy those beginning years with my children….I like to read to escape my reality….and the “joys” of motherhood are something I am all too familiar.   Fortunately for me, this story is about the not the birth of a baby, but it is about that point in a person’s life when they decide they want to procreate or maybe they don’t.   There are so many wonderful characters in this book….Dimple, a television star who has turned 40, and her biological clock is ticking….but she has no husband….no partner…to help fulfill her dream — easily.  There is Eva, a Hollywood agent, who does not want children….EVER….and many think she is not normal, but she is not going to have a baby just to appease what society thinks it normal.  There is Wyatt….a high school principal in his 40’s who wants to be a father more than anything, but he has not found Miss Right, so he seeks the avenue of adoption — not an easy task for a single man.  There is Maryn who is a breast cancer survivor….her and her ex-husband decided to freeze her embryos since the chemo would most likely destroy any chances of children, but fast forward to the future where Maryn’s husband has left her alone, and Maryn decides she wants to be  mother.  However, her ex-husband’s new wife is none too pleased at the notion of his ex having his children.

The story moves fast….there is love, tragedy, joy, friendship, and scandal.  She has a lot of cleverly woven dialogue…some funny jokes:  “I named my iPod The Titanic, so when I plug it in it says The Titanic is syncing”.  I love cheesy one liners.   The topic of the novel is timely and does have a bit of political soapboxing (which I am not a fan of in fiction)….but not too much and I think the author does a good job at examining various viewpoints.   I so wanted a happy ending for all the characters is the book, I guess I am at times a bigger sap than I realize.  For the most part, there is happiness…..but a good story not only makes one laugh, smile, feel satisfied, but it can make you weep and get angry at the characters, and I believe there is a little bit of it all in there.

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Powerful Read

  I have just had the privilege to read this amazing novel by Pittsburgh author, sbr martin.  The book is called pig, and it is a story you will not forget.  Martin has created characters so real, so rich in character that you know in your heart that these character must be real.  The story centers around Lily and Bender….a tragically flawed couple whose lives have led them on a path filled with alcohol, domestic abuse, abandonment, guilt, drugs, marriage, parenthood….and ultimately to the setting of the novel…a funeral.  We find Lily sitting on a couch in a funeral home clutching a piece of paper so tightly in her hands…she is not about to let go nor reveal what is in her hands.  The reader joins Lily as she mourns not only death, but as she reflects on her life and how she came to find herself sitting on this couch at her husband’s funeral. 

I sat down to read this book for an hour or so, but I soon realized I was not getting up until I had the book finished.  At the end of each chapter, I would say…”OK…just one more chapter and then I will do some laundry or wash those dishes that have been in the sink since breakfast.”  Yet, one more chapter became one more until I was at the end of the book…which brings me to the end.  WOW! What an ending!  That is all I am going to say….

Her story is original….really unlike anything I have read before.  The characters are so bitterly-real…so flawed and yet understood…redeeming.  I have already placed Sarah’s first book in my amazon shopping cart to purchase…..

Here is the really good news:  sbr martin has agreed to do a fantastic giveaway on my blog….not only is she giving away TWO autographed copies, but also some promotional items.  Please see my giveaway page for more info.

Also:  here is some additional info on the book and talented author:

Book Website: http://facebook.com/sbrmartin.pig

Teaser Clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWkHow6cIyk

 

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Turning ordinary into extraordinary

   Here is a fresh, cleverly written memoir by Tali Nay.  I loved the format of this book entitled Schooled…most likely to the fact that my life has always been the center of education similar to  Tali.  Tali divides her memoir into short, witty stories that she remembers from kindergarten all the way through getting her MBA in grad school.  She talks about the awkward events (learning about sex) to the struggles she encountered (all those popular kids, and why she never seems to reach the height of popularity that she desires), and some sad events (death).  She delights us with an elementary student’s perspective and the reader sees Tali grow…we see her expand and develop into a confident young woman who realizes popularity is self-imaged….hey who gets to decide what is popular anyway??  We get to see how she is not only shaped by her peers, but also by all the teachers that played a part in her education and growth.  As a teacher, I loved seeing how sometimes the simplest lesson transforms a student.  Teachers do not always get to see their impact…we are not always able to know if we made a difference or if we just sound like every adult on the Charlie Brown cartoons to our students.  Tali has a talent with words and expressing herself….she has clearly, cleverly told an original tale for all to enjoy.

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When food comes alive!

This morning during the older boys’ summer school work time, sweet Benny and I grabbed a few books and took advantage of some early reading.  We read (once again) The Runaway Dinner by Allan Ahlberg.  This is another family favorite….the cover is silently torn from all the gentle love.  The story is about a boy named Banjo who sits down to eat his dinner…..his dinner is a sausage named Melvin.  Well, Melvin has other plans than to be Banjo’s dinner, so he dashes off the table and as you would expect….everything follows.  Since Banjo is a hungry little boy, he chases after his dinner on a crazy adventure through his town.  Benny loves the fact that all the peas and carrots have names, and they can walk and have faces.  He loves when a duck eats Paul (one of the peas).  All four of my boys have loved this book and I have in fact used it as a read aloud when I have been a guest reader in their classrooms, and I have read it to the third graders that I teach.  I am pretty sure I could recite the book from memory….and probably my boys could as well.

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Filed under children, fiction, Picture Books

Another Jill Recommendation

Once again, my friend Jill has the subtle ability to hand me a book without uttering a single word, and I know that I need to read it. This is the book Outside the Lines by Amy Hatvany….a new author to me, but this is not her only book.   She weaves a tale of Eden West who is a successful chef at a popular catering company.  Eden grew up with a father who was not only a talented artist, but a man who suffered from alcoholism and mental illness.  Eden has always assumed the role as her father’s caretaker….his one true advocate.  A horrible incident happens when Eden is 10 years-old, and her father is sent away and her mother finally files for divorce.  Fast forward 20 years….Eden is 30 years old and is searching for her father someone is the Seattle/Portland area.  She visits a local homeless shelter in hopes of leaving a picture there for someone to recognize….it is here she meets Jack Baker….another soul with a dark past.  Together, they take on the search for Eden’s father and discover so much along the way.  This is the kind of story that sticks with you…..it reminded me a bit of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls which is based on her own life living with parents who suffered from mental illness.  Both great reads!

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Hello world!

Thanks for stopping by….take some time to browse around, leave a comment, and I hope that you find something that interests you!!  Make sure to check out the giveaway tab at the top….always something good going on there. 

Love, luck & lollipops-

Vicki

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Island life and man’s best friend and now enter chaos

I was extremely surprised….in a fantastic way… with this novel.  I must admit when I looked at the cover I thought it was going to be a sweet, happy little book about a beautiful black Lab.  That is where I was wrong.  This is the book Picture This by New York Times bestselling author, Jacqueline Sheehan.  This is the sequel to her novel Lost & Found.   I did not read the first story in this little series, but I was caught up in no time to the story of 39 year-old recently widowed Rocky Pelligrino (nothing to do with the mineral water…which I just happen to have a minor addiction to).  Rocky was married to Bob who suddenly died in the previous novel, and Rocky moves to Peaks Island, Maine.  (Which sounds like a place I would love to live).  She rents a small cottage and takes a job as an animal control warden while she tries to makes sense of her life.
In the last book, she rescued and adopted Cooper….a kind, loyal and wonderful black Lab.  (I must insert some personal info at this point:  Not only do we share our house with 4 growing boys, but we also have a yellow Lab puppy…Ruby.  She is crazy and sweet, and she is beginning to grow on me, but don’t tell that to my husband.  I am hoping that Ruby starts to relax and listen a little better like Cooper).  OK…..sorry about that.
While on the island, Rocky becomes close to several wonderfully drawn characters….Tess, Isaiah, Melissa, etc.  She evens starts to have a romantic relationship with a man named Hill…Her life seems to make a little more sense to Rocky despite the tragedy that she was dealt.  However, that changes when she receives a phone call from 18 year old Natalie who claims that her father was Bob….Rocky’s deceased husband.  She claims to just wants to get to know a little more about him and wants to know why he never came to get here while she grew up moving from one abusive foster home to the next.  Rocky, who is on leave from her job as a therapist, is drawn to Natalie and wants to save her….and perhaps keep a part of her husband near her.  Unfortunately, as the story begins to unravel, we learn more about Natalie’s past and that her intentions are not so innocent…the story moves fast and keeps you guessing and reading!  And through it all Cooper, the faithful friend, helps shape this story into something unforgettable.

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