Monthly Archives: August 2012

13 Years in America

  I had the pleasure of reading a little glimpse into author Melanie Steele’s experience living in America as a Canadian.  Her story is called 13 Years in America: One Women’s pursuit of the American Dream.  Melanie chronicles her life from for 13 years starting in 1998.  She has spent some time after college graduation traveling around Canada experiencing life…you know that time that young people spend trying to find themselves.  Melanie’s truly values experiences and people over money and status and this is consistent theme throughout her story.    She quickly meets and marries her American husband and then moves to Minnesota to begin their life together. It was fascinating to read  of their struggles not only the financial ones, but with their own value system opposed to those around them.  That is a tough part of life….the time you realize that your dream life may not be financially possible, so you have to adjust….do you change your dream or change your mindset?   Melanie has never wanted to conform or fit into a mold.  She wants to work where she feels that she is doing something that is appreciated…the money does not matter.    My favorite part of the book is when they move to Grand Marais, and she takes a job writing grants for a radio station.  I felt this is where Melanie found happiness.    However, the book ends quite abruptly and does not have the ending I had expected.  I am not sure if she ever discovered her American Dream (for it is different for all Americans…that is what makes America so beautiful to me.)

A side note….Melanie works for a year as a college professor teaching freshman English.  She seems dishearten by this experience for the students are not eager to be there nor seem to be moved by her passion for writing, so she decides to pursue other avenues.  I wished that she would have stayed in this profession longer…she seemed gifted as a teacher.  As a teacher myself, and being married to an English teacher….I understand the frustration.  There seems to be more students who appear uninterested, and yet years later, we have both received emails or letters from students telling us just how much they learned from us and appreciated our classes.  Teaching like parenting is a very under appreciated profession…and it may be years until your children see just how much you have helped them.  In all honesty, we may never truly know how many lives we have touched….we have to believe we have made a difference.  Teaching is a beautiful thing…

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Winner Announced of The Wild Princess

Congratulations to Trista Mentz-Johns for winning a copy of The Wild Princess by Mary Hart Perry!!!  Thanks to all who entered, and keep reading to find more giveaways!!!

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Fast-paced crime

This is the debut novel by Vincent Anthony entitled The Cigar Box.   If you are looking for a fast read full of action, crime and sex…..look no further.  This first novel reads like the latest Hollywood movie following the life of Joe Battaglia, a hired hit man under unusual circumstances.  Joe is in his sixties and has decided to “confess” his life of murder and crime to David Thompson…a soon-to-be retired lawyer.  The two quickly strike up a one-of-a-kind friendship as Joe confides his past deeds to David over  three-month time period.  After unloading his burden, Joe decides to take another route….one of revenge upon those who “forced’ this criminal career upon him.  The book moves quickly, and you – the reader- dart in and out of the action up until the very end.  I appreciated all the references to places I have been…Deep Creek, Maryland, Cape May, NJ, Virginia, Washington D.C. and many others.  It helped me visualize the action clearer.  I recommend this book to anyone who loves stories of crime,the mafia and action.

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New giveaway!!!

If you would like to win a copy of The Wild Princess, simply Email me telling me your favorite reading spot along with your mailing address    I will pick one winner at random.  Contest ends August 10th at 6 pm.   Good luck!

dztrixie@gmail.com

 

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A must have for women runners

  As a runner and a mom, I found this book a welcome read.  Kristin Armstrong, Lance Armstrong’s ex-wife, is positive, inspiring and entertaining as she explains 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run.  Now, let me preface this by saying….I would recommend reading this book in pieces.  If you feel like you need some motivation…read a few sections and then once you have been inspired, motivated, entertained….then set it down for a while.  Kristin is a FAST runner….she runs with FAST women.  She is an extremely positive person even through all she has encountered in her life.  These are all wonderful things, but after reading her reasons….you may grow a little weary of her optimism.  I don’t mean to sound all smile-upside-down -kind of girl, I just believe her book is not meant to be read in one sitting.  If I did read it all I once, I may have found myself grabbing a Ritter’s dark chocolate bar instead of my running shoes.

So luckily for you, I have read it in pieces and was quite delighted.  I could relate to her passion as a mother and a runner. I understand the friendship that bonds female runners.  I run with a group of amazing women regularly, and I could not imagine my life without them or the conversations we have. I could relate to her love of real food. She loves her children more than anything and this comes through in her words.

She has the book broken into sections:  i.e. mothers, kids, identity, freedom,hills, race day, roadblocks, etc.  The stories are short and easy to breeze through.  I am going to keep this book handy for when I need a little extra motivation or maybe just something to make me smile.

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Oh! The scandal of royalty!

  Something you may not know about me….I am a sucker for anything written about European Royalty.  With Philippa Gregory, I was able to experience Queen Katherine of Aragon,  Mary & Ann Boleyn,Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth….because when it comes down to it I love these women.  Their stories fascinate me…and now I have found Mary Hart Perry who wrote this book…The Wild Princess.  This fictionalized stories is about Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s 4th daughter (out of 5…she also had 4 sons).  Princess Louise was the daughter who did not take kindly to being tied to all the rules that one of the Royal Court must abide.  She had a passion for art and wanted to attend art school with commoners, and was she was able to convince her mother to allow her…with some guidelines.  Though being independent and stubborn she finds a way around these guidelines and also discovers love, passion, alcohol and drugs.  Much scandal occurs, and years pass.  Queen Victoria is desperate to settle Louise down and arranges a marriage for her.  Though this is not a marriage that the princess has imagined, for she longs for true passion…adventure.

During this time, there is a dangerous plot to the Royal family from Irish radicals.  Queen Victoria hires a handsome Civil War American solider to head security for the family.    His name is Stephen Byrne and may just be the forbidden passion Princess Louise desires….

I love the drama, the tradition, the setting, the romance and suspense that this delicious story has to offer.  There are many little stories laced within the main story….stories of artist, doctors, models, Civil War soldiers, and so many more fabulous characters.   I can’t wait to read another books!!

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