Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A.D. 30

Ted Dekker is at the top of my list of fantastic authors. He does not disappoint in A.D.30 which is an excellent historical fiction. Very dissimilar from his other novels, this one is nevertheless just as captivating.

The main character, Maviah, was an illegitimate child of a father who cast her to the slave traders as an infant. In her life she suffered - she was a slave - she was a woman - she was an outcast.  When Maviah becomes with child, she is sent to live with her father's people again, as a slave. It is here an enemy of her father attacks and in the event her infant son is tossed out a window to his death and her father is disfigured and imprisoned.  It is Maviah who is asked to deliver them - the very ones who had turned her out. She accepts her mission, though she will be held in dungeons and be blinded in the process.

Two travel companions: Judah, a Jewish man who sees Maviah as a queen, and Saba, a strong and caring slave who will eventually sees her that way as well. The mission takes them to the private and dangerous quarters of King Herod. Here, Maviah must present herself as a queen. But does she think herself a queen, or an unworthy slave, a victim?

Dungeons, beatings, kings, journeys....through it all they are led to Yeshua, the Messiah. Maviah will face her anger, hatred and grievances as the result of meeting this mystic of 30 A.D. And she is called to surrender. But how? How does one surrender it all? One word......

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Acceptance is the third and final book in the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeerMany readers report it reminds themof the first season of Lost where strange events and even stranger wildlife was present.  The first book "Annihilation" follows the story of the biologist and the other team members as they entered Area X  and document the strange writings and other horrific events that occur.  Authority focuses on the new director, Control, and the outdated government complex charged with the mandate to keep an eye on Area X and for getting information out of the biologist. In Acceptance, a new expedition has been sent to Area X including the biologist and Control.  Control They are determined to deal with what is going on even if it kills one or both of them.  They are also in search of the biologist's husband.  If you remember, he went back to the area in Annihilation. Of course it is possible the biologist also known as Ghost Bird is already dead and what we see now is her avatar.  

This book connects the first two.  It covers more of the early days of  Area X and the events leading up to the twelfth expedition.  It tells the stories of those portrayed in Annihilation such as the lightkeeper and how his presence at the inception of Area X influenced the events to come. Each character's actions and motivations are filled in.  You learn that the area is free of heavy metals, pollutants and and water and air are pure. It is also hostile to humans.

As in Annihilation, the language is beautiful and flowing.  You feel as though you have been transformed to a beautiful, and dangerous foreign world.  Although the entire mystery of Area X is not so much solved in Acceptance, enough of the questions are answered so you feel satisfied.  You do regret leaving this beautiful world full of possibilities. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A New York Christmas by Anne Perry

     Anne Perry's new Christmas novel is a tale of love, betrayal, greed, murder, and selfless devotion.  Perry's annual yuletide offering is set in New York City the year is 1904.  Twenty-three-year-old Jemima Pitt, the daughter of Thomas Pitt, head of Britain's Special Branch, is crossing the Atlantic.  She is traveling with an acquaintance, Delphinia Cardew, who is to marry the aristocratic Brent Albright in a high-society New York wedding. This wedding will join together two wealthy families.
     But Jemima senses a mysterious shadow darkening the occasion.  Missing from the festivities is Delphinia's mother, Maria, who is marked by disgrace.  Nearly sixteen years ago, Maria abandoned young Delphinia and disappeared-and now the Albrights refuse to mention her name.  But then Harley, the groom's charismatic brother, asks Jemima to help him search for Maria and forestall the scandal that would surely follow if she turned up at the wedding, Jemima agrees to assist him.
     Jemima searches from Hell's Kitchen to Fifth Avenue, the Lower East Side to Central Park looking for Delphinia's mother.  Along the way she meets a handsome young police officer named Patrick Flannery and he assists her in her search for the missing mother. Jemima walks into mortal danger, from which not even Patrick Flannery can protect her. Together they find a surprising ending to the mystery of what happened to Maria.
     Once more, Anne Perry delivers a suspenseful, deeply moving novel, and captures the essence of the holiday spirit.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Year We Left Home

by Jean Thompson

After reading the final chapter of ‘The Year We Left Home’, I felt a pang of regret. I would miss the Erickson family of Grenada, Iowa. I would miss them despite their flaws and BECAUSE of them.  Jean Thompson so thoroughly knew this family and presented them in such vivid detail, that I am now sure that I knew them too; that I have met bits of pieces of them in my years of growing up and living in the Midwest. 

The story begins in 1972 at Anita Erickson’s wedding reception. Just out of high school and getting married, this is the future that Anita always saw for herself. Tending to details of the reception and carting in the wedding gifts, we meet Anita’s siblings: Ryan who is just heading off to college, Blake and his vamp of a girlfriend, Torrie, the cynical baby of the family, and Chip, their degenerate cousin. It is winter in Iowa and the reception is held at the VFW. Thompson imagery had me holding a plastic cup filled with punch and smelling the smorgasbord of food that is served on Styrofoam plates.

The story of The Erickson’s is a story in which we all are familiar. We meet the Erickson's at a point when Anita and Ryan must take over steering their own futures; Blake and Torrie have a few remaining years but their leaving is looming on the horizon with both dread and excitement. The novel travels the back roads of Iowa, to Chicago and to the western United States. It comes full circle after thirty years of  struggles, tragedies and concessions when the family all land, fairly intact, back in Grenada to deal with some unexpected beginnings and endings.

Monday, December 08, 2014


Lauren Oliver's first adult novel, Rooms, is an unusual book. It's part ghost story and part dysfunctional family drama. But by ghost story, I don't mean scary, creepy, or horror-filled. The ghosts are two women, Alice and Sandra, whose spirits are trapped in Richard Walker's house. They didn't know each other in life, but they have had to bear each other in death for many years, with their own separate connections to the house. When the book opens, Richard Walker has just passed away, and his estranged wife, two children, and a grandchild have come to the house to prepare it for sale and host a memorial service. Richard Walker's ghost does NOT live in the house, but Alice and Sandra know him and his family well. After all, they have been there a long time, and observed his children, Minna and Trenton, growing up in the house. They behave like two maiden old aunts griping at each other and commenting on how badly things have turned out for the members of the Walker family member. The story alternates between first-person narratives and back stories of the two ghosts and a third-person story line of what is happening to the family members now as they come together for a very emotionally complicated reunion. It's a sad state of affairs for all involved, really, but a fascinating look at personal dynamics, for the living and the dead. The climax builds as Alice tries to devise a way to be released from her confinement to the house. Don't shy away from this book if you don't like ghost stories, because it's so much more than that. It's a beautifully written drama of one family's attempts to navigate the world and the death of a loved one.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Mistletoe Promise

Richard Paul Evan is the best selling author of "The Christmas Box."

     Mistletoe Promise is a quick and easy read, that's a beautiful story.  What some might think is a love story between 2 people but then it takes an unexpected turn and becomes much more.

    Two main characters, Elise and Nicholas each have a painful past that leaves them quilt ridden.  Through each other they learn to live and love again and do the hardest thing of all; Forgive Themselves.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Revival by Stephen King

One of the things I’ve always liked about Stephen King novels, is the suspension of disbelief they inevitably engender.  Pragmatic by nature, I’m the last one to throw spilled salt, or avoid cracks on the sidewalk. However, give me five hundred pages of a good King novel and I’m turning on the hallway lights, checking door locks, and just generally feeling a little creeped out (in the most pleasant of ways I assure you).  The power his books have over me lies, in large part, with his ability to create such fully-fleshed characters, women and men I can well imagine I have met, in line at the BMV, on a crowded bus, or at an extended family reunion.  Flawed, but decent folk, too much like the rest of us for me not to be invested in their well-being.  King’s newest novel, proves to be no exception to this.  The novel’s main character, Jamie Morton, opens the novel with a nostalgic look-back into his childhood, to a time when the catalyst to alluded horrors, his “fifth business” first entered his life.  The Reverend Charles Jacob and his charming family arrive in the small Maine town of Harlow in 1962, where they become fatefully intertwined with the Morton family, until a horrific tragedy drives them apart.  Jamie and Charles meet again, several times over the ensuing decades, with lasting effects on Jamie, both good and ill. In his fifties, Jamie, at last apprehending that the long-sought realization of Charlie’s obsession (the source and application of De Vermis, a “secret” electricity) may be more terrifying than miraculous.  The last 200 pages of this novel virtually read themselves.  A cross between a Mary Shelley gothic novel and a Bill Bryson memoir, Revival, is sure to go down as yet another King classic.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

     For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident.  Refusing to believe she was abandoned, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice's old journals. Alice was a scientist who studied grief among elephants, she wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother's whereabouts.
     Jenna lists two unlikely allies in her quest: Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons, only to later doubt her gifts, and Virgil Stanhope, the jaded private detective who'd originally investigated  Alice's case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues.  The three work together to uncover what happened to Alice, they realize that in asking hard questions, they'll have to face even harder answers.
     Jodi Picoult has written a new novel with elephant lore that explores the animals’ behavior when faced with death and grief, and combines a poignant tale of human loss with a perplexing crime story that delivers a powerhouse ending.
     With plenty of twists and a surprising ending, a book unlike anything the author has ever written before. 

Friday, November 07, 2014

The Tilted World

In 'The Tilted World' husband and wife authors Tom Franklin's (Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter) and Beth Ann Fennelly's (Great With Child) collaboration creates a story that swirls in the murky waters of moonshining and murder. It's 1927 in Hobnob, Mississippi, during the Great Flood, and Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover has sent federal revenue agents, Ted Ingersoll and Ham Johnson, to investigate the disappearance of two prohibition agents. On the way, Ingersoll and Ham come across a baby who is the sole survivor of a country-store robbery gone awry. Ingersoll, who is an orphan himself, can’t bring himself to leave the baby with a local agency. Instead he seeks out Dixie Clay, a 22-year-old mother who has recently buried her only child. Dixie Clay, along with her womanizing and abusive husband Jesses Holliver, is a bootlegger. To add to the plot, the Hollivers are possibly the last to have seen the missing revenuers. As the Mississippi waters begin to swell well beyond the banks, Dixie Clay and other residents grab what meager belongings they have and escape the eminent disaster and the adventures takes off.

The author’s voices are harmonious and the language poetic. Fennelly and Franklin convincingly describe a time and place where the landscape (as well as lives) was wildly off-kilter.  

Friday, October 31, 2014


Liz Moore's novel, Heft, is primarily about three people: Arthur, Kel, and Charlene, the woman who brings them together. We never hear from Charlene directly, but Arthur and Kel talk to us in alternating narrations, and Charlene figures prominently in both of their stories.

Arthur Opp is a big man. Big is perhaps not the best word. He weighs 550 pounds. Arthur has not left his home in about ten years--not even past his front porch--and orders everything he needs online, including groceries. Although he takes great pleasure in eating, he is very refined in other ways and thus is embarrassed by his dietary habits. The reasons for his withdrawal from society are complicated, but he has come to terms with his solitude. But then he receives a phone call from Charlene, a former student and paramour with whom he has corresponded via letters for many years. She wants to visit and bring her son Kel because she thinks Arthur could help him. Arthur is stirred to life and begins to think of new possibilities for his future.

Meanwhile, the narration switches to Kel, Charlene's teen-age son, who is a high school senior, a poor student, and an excellent baseball player. He lives in a poor neighborhood in Yonkers, but Charlene managed to get him into a good high school in an upscale suburb. This was one of the last important things she managed to do, actually, before descending into an alcoholic haze, which keeps her from ever leaving the house. Kel struggles with loving her and hating her at the same time, wondering where his father is, and finding his place in life.

Although Heft is primarily a character study of three very complex people, there is still some tension in the story, with the reader not knowing what the future holds for them and wondering how and if Arthur and Kel will actually connect. I listened to this book on audiobook and highly recommend that format for this story. Arthur's and Kel's feelings are so heartfelt, and actually hearing their voices made the text really come alive for me.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Material Witness by Vanneta Chapman

     Happy times are flowing through Shipshewana, Indiana, that is until Aaron, Melinda Byer's little boy, witnesses a murder in the parking lot of Callie Harper's Quilt Shop that sends this small town into shock.  Callie is beside herself and can't believe this is happening.  Little does she know that her world is about to be turned upside down. The killer wants something that Callie has and will not rest until he gets it. Shane Black is back on the scene to investigate along with Andrew Gavin. Shane vows to protect Callie, who has taken up space in his heart, and little Aaron, who is the only one who can identify the madman. Time is of the essence, and they must all work together to figure out why Callie is involved before the killer strikes again. The ladies, Callie, Esther, Deborah, and Melinda, seem to think there are clues to this mystery hidden on a set of quilts that they were given.  Shane thinks they are off their rockers. A stack of quilts can't possibly hold the answer they are looking for, right?  Or can they?

    Material Witness grabs your attention right off the bat and doesn't let you go until your fingers have turned the last page. Love between family and friends and how far one is willing to go to protect them is captured beautifully in this book. The interaction between the children was an added surprise, because I think they stole the show!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Who R U Really by Margo Kelly

Who R U Really by Margo Kelly

The internet is a dangerous place full of untrustworthy people. Unfortunately, many young adults do not realize the dangers they put themselves into when they engage in online video games, chatting, and social media. Who R U Really by Margo Kelly outlines the consequences of putting your trust into strangers online through a touching story centered around a teenage girl named Thea.
Thea is a young teenager with overprotective parents who has always been a model daughter and student. Her life changes drastically after she discovers an online game in which she creates a new life and begins conversing with another player she believes to be a young man named Kit. She begins to feel a deep connection with Kit and lets this relationship take over her life. She gives out personal information and gets herself into a dangerous and vulnerable situation. When another gamer with a connection to Kit is murdered, Thea begins to question who Kit really is and realizes she may not be able to handle this relationship alone. Who is Kit and is he capable of hurting Thea and destroying her life?

Who R U Really is a fantastic read and based on real life events. I really enjoyed seeing how a young girl can get herself into a dangerous situation through the internet and know what warning signs to look for. The internet is not a safe haven and you can get yourself into a bad situation quickly if you are not cautious. This is a great book for teenagers and parents of teenagers to read.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Investigative journalist, Jenny Nordberg, shares what she uncovers (for us) in Afghanistan - that girls sometimes dress as boys, live as boys til puberty, and some even past puberty will still live as men. Afghanistan, we well know, is a culture ruled by men; here men are honored, women (and girls) definitely are not! In Afghanistan it is an advantage to have sons and a disgrace to not have a son. So what to do? Be creative of course and save face! Ask a daughter if she would be a boy!  Or just announce a just-born daughter is a son! It works. The deception is even acceptable to others who know the secret! Does this not surprise you?

As Nordberg investigates this phenomena (or is it a phenomena really?) she asks the very questions you and I would ask: How does this affect these girls psychologically? How do they make the transition back to "girl" from "boy"? How is it they are not caught and punished? What is it like for these "boys" to later be forced to become wives and eventually mothers? How often does this occur?

In The Underground Girls of Kabul, you will be introduced to Azita, Zahra and Mehran and others. You will read how some were born as the unwanted girl but lived as the favored son with freedom to go outside, to talk to anyone, to have an opinion, and even work, helping out the family financially. You will know the secrets of the girls and women of Kabul yourself!

A very interesting read!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue

Author of the best-selling novel “Room,” Emma Donoghue, establishes a successful return to period fiction in her new novel Frog Music, proving once again that she is as adept at creating historical worlds for her readers as she is at weaving contemporary tales.  Frog Music, set in 1876 San Francisco, paints a colorful and disturbing portrait of this then-burgeoning young city.  Narrated by the brassy burlesque dancer and “lady of the night” Blanche Beunon, a recent immigrant to The City from France, the novel chronicles the events surrounding the murder of Blanche’s new-found friend, the larger-than-life, cross-dressing frog catcher Jenny Bonnet. Interestingly, the tale is based on actual persons and events meticulously researched by Donoghue in preparation for the novel. 

Seldom am I able to continue enjoying a novel after it has killed off my favorite character (Jenny the Frog Catcher) no matter how deftly written the prose.  Fortunately, however, Blanche turns out to be a bit of a phoenix and The City proves to be something of a character itself.  Reading this book, I found myself alternately amused, fascinated, and horrified by 1876 San Francisco and its denizens, learning about such various things as early small pox vaccinations, baby “farms,” and back alley “cribs.”  Far from being pigeon-holed as a strictly historical-fiction genre piece, this novel would appeal to any lover of juicy murder mystery.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future by Michael J. Fox

   Michael J. Fox's new book ,"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future," is a perfect gift for graduates.  In his new book he inspires and motivates graduates to recognize opportunities, maximize their abilities, and roll with the punches.
   Michael J. Fox abandoned high school to pursue an acting career.  He writes of coming to Los Angeles from Canada at age eighteen and attempting to make his way as an actor. Fox offers up a comically skewed take on how, in his own way, he fulfilled the requirements of a college syllabus. Michael learned Economics as a starving artist; an unexpected turn as a neophyte activist schooled him in Political Science; and his approach to Comparative Literature involved stacking books up against their movie versions.
  Michael J. Fox's acting career has been a non-stop success story. At thirty years old Michael was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease: twitching, mild tremors, pain in his left shoulder, some rigidity.
This sent his life skidding horribly sideways.  At first there was denial, he refused to disclose his medical situation to anyone but family, and covering up the symptoms with medication. Wary of placing a burden on his family, he pulled in and started to isolate himself.  Michael self medicated with alcohol until he was forced to resort to acceptance.  By choosing to learn more about the disease, he made better choices about how to treat it.  Because Parkinson's demanded of Michael that he be a better man, a better husband, father, and citizen, Michael, often refers to it as a gift.
  A story of a young man with a great future along with twists and turns and lessons learned.  A must read for recent graduates.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A gem by Lisa Jewell

The House We Grew Up In

by Lisa Jewell

Easter Sunday was always a special day for the Bird family. Lorelei, eccentric mother of four, not only planned extravagant egg hunts but insisted on saving every foil egg wrapper for future craft projects . . . as well as every single piece of her children’s art created with the foils . . . and every scrap of material evidence of what she considered an idyllic and even charmed life.  As Lorelei collects mementos, the Bird house soon becomes a hoarder’s haven; a place of storage for obsessive buying binges, material evidence of past pleasures and a place to bury family secrets and hurts.

But one unforgettable Easter, the Birds suffer such a devastating blow that it begins to unravel the family. The tragedy and their home becomes a tomb that the adult Bird children must either escape or, if they stay, risk becoming another ‘item’ for Lorelei to hoard. As the years pass, Lorelei becomes a recluse. Colin, her husband and the children’s father seals himself away in another part of the house and life in general.  The adult Bird children grow into a life where they wrestle with failed relationships, flawed selves, and the torments of that Easter tragedy.
Jewell’s novel weaves a reckless path through a story that is full of both material and emotional clutter. She is a wonderful storyteller who paints compelling characters who struggle desperately to be a family and, despite the wayward paths they take, never give up the effort. At first the story made me feel claustrophobic and a bit hopeless. But, the compelling characters kept me pushing on and by the end, I felt that I had met a family who had really overcome their differences and passed hurts and discovered what it is to be family.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Monday Monday

Author Elizabeth Crook launches her story with the 1966 bell tower shootings at the University of Texas.  The reader feels Shelly's confusion as she watches a young student fall and then as she is struck as well.
Cousins, Jack and Wyatt, rush to help the victims on the plaza.  Shelly, as one of the first to be shot, feels herself dying, until Jack and Wyatt are able to move her to relative safety.  When Jack rushes to help others, a bullet rips through his leg as well.
Crook's story focuses on the lives of Jack, Wyatt, and Shelly as they heal from the disaster.  Shelly and Wyatt become close despite Wyatt's marriage.  Shelly becomes pregnant, leaves Wyatt to preserve his family, and struggles with the decision to give the baby up for adoption.
The story spans the 40 years after the shooting in the lives of these characters and the lives of those they love.

We Are Not Ourselves

I just finished Matthew Thomas's We Are Not Ourselves, and I loved it so much I want to turn back to the beginning and read it again. How can I leave these people? Eileen, who fought her way through life with everything she had, suffered more hardship than anyone deserves, and always yearned for more. Connell, who behaved as any teen boy would, pulling away from his parents and trying to turn into a man by being distant and aloof. And Ed, poor Ed, who was smart and strong and loving and saw his demise coming, probably from a long way off. They break my heart these people. And what can I say about an author who made these people come so alive for me that I honestly forgot they were just characters he made up. I felt a lifetime of emotions in these pages: joy, anticipation, pity, sorrow, love, frustration, anger, tenderness. And what I came away with at the end? It's all worth it. All of it. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Captive in Iran

This is a remarkable true story of two Iranian Christian women, Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh, who were imprisoned for their faith in Jesus Christ, charged as apostates and enemies of the State of Iran, and placed in the notorious Evin Prison where they suffered malnutrition and insufficient medical help, but were sustained by the presence of God.

 Maryam and Mariziyeh, real as can be, persevered in their faith and witnessing, (illegal in Iran), when imprisoned. They not only rebuked offers to renounce their faith and take up Islam, but were very bold with their interrogators (who could have them executed), speaking truth to them, not only The Truth, but also faults of Islam.  I was impressed by their manner with fellow prisoners who they always befriended, even the ones others would tend to withdraw from, and they offered prayer constantly to anyone who wanted it. By doing this, they transformed the atmosphere of the prison with their prayers! Their story greatly inspired me to pray more for others.  Definitely a must read!

This is the Delphi Public Library's Faith Book Club selection for September 2014!

Monday, September 08, 2014

Swan Point

                      Swan Point

                    Sherryl Woods     

    After a nasty divorce from her cheating husband, Adelia purchase a older home at Swan Point where she is warmly welcome.
The home needs some fixing up which is where Gabe comes in.

     Both are trying not to get involved with one another. What becomes renovated is a friendship and love that is built upon mutual respect and true desire in placing each other first.

    This the first time I've read any of Sherrly Woods books.   It was very well written and the characters were very well developed.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

 Asa Larsson is a Swedish crime writer who before becoming an author, was previously a tax attorney like her heroine Rebecka Martinsson.  The food, the cold, the landscape and the sometimes strange ways of the inhabitants are as much a part of these books as the mystery to be solved.  Her latest book is "The Second Deadly Sin" and is the fifth in the series.  Oprah Winfrey placed this series of books in her "Top Ten Mysteries Every Woman Should Read List".
From the first scene, where a bear is attacking a helpless dog which leads to the bones of a man found inside another bear and then to the murder of  a sleeping woman and the disappearance of her young grandson, the story is off and running.  Rebecka is pushed off the case by a rival, but this allows her the time to ponder some coincidences and investigate a pattern that she sees emerging.  The chapters alternate between the current murder investigation and a murder that took place a century ago with ties to the present day murders.  And of course her friend and policewoman Anna-Marie Mella is present to help solve the crimes.  You enjoy the characters in this series so much, you don't want to leave them. However if you are a dog lover, you should have a box of tissues right beside you.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Bone Clocks

Wow. What a mesmerizing, mind-boggling, wild ride. Reading The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas) takes a big commitment--of both time and brain cells. At nearly 600 pages, you have to REALLY want to read this because it will absorb you for a good long while. Thank goodness I read this on ereader, because I used the search feature frequently, as in "Who the heck is that person again?" and "What the heck does that mean, it seems vaguely familiar from about 200 pages ago?" But let me tell you this: it was oh so fun to read. It's surprising, clever, imaginative, complicated, scary, and, well, lovely. This book won't be for everyone, but it has made me look at the world a little differently. It starts out being one thing, and ends up being something entirely different. And Holly Sykes is one character I will carry with me for a long time. Read it. It will be available at the library on September 2.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Year of No Sugar by Eve O. Schaub

After viewing a lecture by obesity doctor, Robert Lustig, the author decided to experiment with taking a year of no added sugar.  The family's project did include exceptions to the no sugar rule but for the most part they hoped to eliminate sugar from their diet for one year. 
Schaub is a mother and writer who has a real interest in food and cooking.  She grew up equating sugary foods with love and enjoyed baking for her friends and family.  Lustig's lecture about the hazards of sugar convinced Schaub to make changes.
This is the record of their struggles and successes including anecdotes from the author, her husband, and their daughters.
The book is more story about their experiment year than data about the risks of sugar, but she does include some of that and recommends other authors for more information.  It is an interesting book about the Schaub family's year long food adventure.

Before Green Gables

     This book is clearly very well researched, giving Anne's background leading up to the beginning of "Anne of Green Gable".

     Suffering the devastating loss of parents at a tender age of 3 months, Anne is shuffled from one foster home to the next, ill-used and barely allow to escape, even to attend school.  Finally even the foster homes are no longer & she finds herself in what seem to her most deadful destination, the Hopewell Orphanage.   Through it all Anne bears her lot in life cheerfully, with the sort of curiosity and  imagination we have all come to expect of her.

    This book gives a realistic view of how Anne have grown up and how she became the girl who met Matthew Cuthbert on the train platform.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Last Kings of Sark - an enchanting summer read

The Last Kings of Sark by Rosa Rankin-Gee

Jude is just 21 years-old when she flies on a private plane to Sark Island to spend the summer serving as a tutor to shy and awkward adolescent, Pip. Unsure of what she is getting herself into, she is even more uncertain when she meets the holiday cook Sofi, a magnetic Polish girl who lacks any real culinary skills and interjects the ‘f’ word into every sentence she utters. Pip’s mysterious and reclusive mother, Esme, whiles away her days in her bedroom and is rarely seen. Pip’s father spends the bulk of the summer on ‘business’ that takes him off the island for weeks at a time. So, the trio (Pip, Jude and Sofi) soon find themselves idling away the summer, exploring the island, drinking from Pip’s father’s wine cellar, and ditching science lessons for other extracurricular explorations and experiments. Soon a powerful bond develops between the three and the summer on Sark shapes into a pivotal one never to be forgotten.
Sark is a tiny Channel Island and the last place in Europe to abolish feudalism, where the sole means of travel is by foot or bike with miles of beach and terrain to explore, and Rankin-Gee beautifully illustrates the lushness and magic of the island. The tale of this summer adventure is a compelling and sensual story by a promising new writer who summons images of lazy summer evenings, daylight filtering through tree tops, summer downpours and bare feet hitting dusty roads: a perfect summer read.