Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion

The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion
Published Date: May 20, 2016
Printed in the United States by St. Martin's Press

Book Jacket description:
"Two Decades ago, Adam Sharp's piano playing led him into a passionate relationship with Angelina Brown, an intelligent and strong-willed actress. They had a chance at something more- but Adam didn't take it.

Now Adam has the life he's planned for himself. He's happy with his partner Claire, he excels in music trivia at quiz night at the local pub, he looks after his mother, and he does the occasional consulting job in IT. But he can never quite shake off his nostalgia for what might have been.
And then, out of nowhere, from the other side of the world, Angelina gets in touch. What does she want? Does Adam dare to live dangerously? 

Set to the soundtrack of our lives, The Best of Adam Sharp follows along with emotion and humor as one man looks back on his past and decides if having a second chance is worth the risk."

Music- the life line of my life, is also the life line of Adam Sharp's life. The day that he met Angelina Brown, soap actress, the love of his life, he was playing Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison at Shanksy's bar in Melbourne, Australia.

Angelina was strong-willed, she was already married, the night at the bar she and her husband were fighting, she asked Adam if she could sing with him. She asked him if he knew, Because of the Night by Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen, he did. She fell in love with Adam when she was only supposed to be having a fling, just as he did her. They were perfect for each other.

Graeme Simsion does a fabulous job of feeding the feeling of forbidden love that can't be controlled and can't be squelched. After Adams' consulting job ends in Melbourne he would be moving on to New Zealand and then back to London he and Angelina have only that time to decide whether they continue together and she divorce her husband or call it quits from their affair? What will they do?

I thoroughly enjoyed the character development that happens in the story. we learn so much about Angelina and Adam very quickly, just as fast as their relationship starts coalescing round each other. 

Twenty years later, Adam gets and email from Angelina in the middle of the night. He is happy in his no challenging relationship with Claire whom had he been living with for years. I get really annoyed by the boredom of his and Claire's relationship, to me it is a scheduled, loveless, non-energy charged cohabitation.  Maybe this is why after that initial email from Angelina, Adam answers with a few words and starts onto an "emotional affair" through email.

When Angelina asks him to holiday with she and her husband Charlie, I am flummoxed that he accepts. What in the world was he thinking?

Then the story gets strange in such a confusing wonderful way. Will Angelina and Adam get back together? Will she let go of Adam for good or choose Charlie again?  You will have to read the story to find out...

I enjoyed the story so much I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads. :)

Have you read The Best of Adam Sharp? What did you think of it?  

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt

You know when you find a book that takes you into your past and helps you to want to learn more? That for me is this book. I enjoyed meeting, learning and being encouraged by the female "computers" of the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California.

My father was a computer programer, reading about the different computers, different ways of programing those electronic computers from Pin punch cards to, FORTRAN to BASIC programing language it was a blast from the past for me.  I still own punch cards that my dad saved from the trash heap of change. Those punch cards served as late note pleas to allow me to enter class without a tardy, a pass from missing a day at school and gathering homework on those months that I needed to be monitored because I wasn't turning work in. Those punchcards meant to much to me and still do. I use them diligently, once they are gone, there are no more to gather... It is a reminder of a history gone.

Barby Canright was JPL's first computer before it was JPL and was just a nerdy boys rocket group consisting of 4 men and Barby. These men attended CALTECH but breathed rocketry. :0)

The women of the JPL computing division were intelligent, hard working and not equal to their male counterparts if doing other work at the lab. There in the Computing division they were top dog. They  forecasted the paths of war missles, satellites and rockets to the moon. Also, helped solved design flaws (such as Appollo I's door restriction that kept Ed White, Cafferty and ????   From escaping during a horrific fire.)

These women were expected to quit their jobs when they got married and started a family. Most of the JPL ladies did as expected then returned because they were usually too smart to just throw dinner parties, take care of their children and run the daily household. They were going crazy not being involved.
Modern electronic computers were starting to come to use while the young JPL computers were adjusting to the possibility of being outsourced to the machines. These women made themselves non-expendable by being the first ones to learn the procedures, languages and foibles of those machines. Continuing their careers with advanced college learning, encouraged by each other to become faster, smarter, more reliable. These women to me were superstars!!!

Can you imagine the satisfaction that they felt knowing they were doing something that made a significant impact on the world through out the 40's to today?  I am in awe of these women who paved the way for other women to be NASA engineers and Astronauts.

The Rise of the Rocket Girls might have been a little technical for the average reader, however I thoroughly enjoyed the technicality. The look into their private lives, their careers and the friendships that they held for lifetimes was refreshing and uplifting. Little girls, women of my age group (oh, heck, all women) need to hear these stories more often.

The book is a great catalyst for the continued conversation of the need for females to excel in STEM programs.

Author Nathalia Holt did a fantastic job sharing the early history of missles and Pre-NASA Rockets, through an engaging story carried over decades of success, disappointment, death and the frustration that was felt for the women working at the Pasadena Jet Propulsion Laboratory

This book has feed my desire to visit the JPL my next jaunt down to Southern California.

If you love Rockets, NASA, and Space this book will not disappoint you.

I gave this book a 4 star rating for carrying the message of female scientists, 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives

Impossible Views of the World
by Lucy Ives
Published August 1, 2017

Stella Krakus works at CeMART (Central Museum of Art NYC). When a collegue doesn't show up for work, Stella starts digging around and finds reference and a map to a mysterious place: Elysia.  
Is there a mystery here?  Does Stella find Elysia? Is there even such a place as Elysia? You will have to read the book to find out.

The Reality of the read: For me Impossible Views of the World took a little too long to straighten out in my brain the writing style of Ms. Ives. After about page 80, I realized that I found the book oddly delightful in different ways. Maybe, because as a fellow deep thinker, all over the place, go into my brain and see things happening in story form, like Stella's view of her own maddening stagnation when it came to one of her relationships (I mean, she uses a Star Wars reference for Pete's sake!!) I just got the formation of her thoughts. Ms. Ives creates an impossible view of the inner workings of an inner NYC museum, that none of us might ever get a glimpse of seeing. 

Ms. Ives has a nice literary way of writing. Such as this sentence from the book when describing the feeling of love: "My heart was a piece of paper. It was a paper fan. It was a dove." There were many of these beautiful type of sentences. I think that is what I found delightful about the book. I felt as though i could see what Stella was saying as if I was standing next to her and had xray vision into her soul.

If you don't like expanding your vocabulary while reading, this book might not be for you. Ms. Ives uses obscure and flowery words- like Zaftig (which means pleasantly plump, full figured, fleshy beautiful woman.) Although, if someone used that word now, I think they might get punched! 😮 I enjoyed the odd descriptive words. Kind of like a dictionary carnival.You will find yourself a lot smarter when this book is finished. I know I sure did.

While i read books I am asked to review I take notes. This book had lot of great pages filled with things I wanted to learn more about after I finished reading. There are a ton of art references in this book. If only for the fun of exploring a museum might you read Impossible Views of the World. If for pure reading, it might just be too Impossible to finish.

On a side note: I did get a nice reminder of something that I had forgotten I had come to love as an art student in 7th grade: the Limner Portraiture. Limner art is a form of portrait painting where the painter has very little formal training which was extremely popular in 18th century America. I just might have to dabble a little, just to see if I love it as much as I did back then. 

I did find Impossible Views of the World a tad bit forced at the end. Through 304 pages of story it's only until the last 30ish pages that we get even a hint of a resolution coming for the mystery that surrounds the map of Elysia. 

I gave this book a rating of 3.5 for the slow start and too fast ending.

ADVANCE READER COPY from Penguin Random House First to Read 

by Sandra Brower, Lincoln

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The Enigmatic Need to Judge, (Seriously, Why?) or what my brain started spinning on while reading a facebook shared post.

" The Pain of the Sister in the Pew Next to You

The reason the sister in the pew next to you is having a faith crisis is not because she is focused on her doubts, its because she wants to know the truth. Her faith is interrupted because she is finding out that some of the things she was taught were true aren’t and because she is giving herself permission to disagree with things she feels are morally out of alignment.
When one dedicates their whole life to an organization and then they find out they haven’t been dealt with integrity it is disrupts      every aspect of their life. It breaks
trust. To dismiss the spiritual wounds of betrayal as a lack of faith is to perpetuate spiritual trauma.
After a faith crisis that is now going in to its fifth year, I would like to share a little about the person in the pew next to you. Some of these are my personal stories and some of them are stories of friends and clients.
Sister Villain
In Relief Society a sister shares her vulnerable experience about the pain she endures because she feels she is left to teach her children the gospel on her own now that her husband is no longer a believer. No doubt her pain is real, it is obvious in her voice and in her tears. But as she explains how her husband has betrayed their marriage covenants by no longer seeing the truths of the church after he “studied some things” the sister in the pew next to you is hearing that her own faith crisis is a betrayal to her family.
As the emotional sister sharing her experience continues to refer to her husband as a wayward, breaker of covenants who is not supporting her in her efforts to direct her family in righteousness, the sister in the pew next to you knows exactly what the husband is going through. He has become the “unrighteous one” in the relationship, spiritually inferior to his wife, the man’s efforts at being a husband and father are being diminished to only reflect his value based on how he can implement the church in his home. Never mind that he continues to for provide for his family. No buttons or bows for funding the mission of his daughter to go preach a gospel he doesn’t subscribe to. His perceived pathetic-ness is now being broadcast to a whole group of women who undoubtedly side with his wife and see him as the wicked villain.
Meanwhile the not-believing-as-much sister in the pew sitting next to you reflects on her non-believing husband at home where he is finally loved by her for who he is, not for how he can perform Mormonism. Her family has never been healthier since she let go of the fear and paranoia of losing them if they didn’t conform. As she listens to the sentiments of the sister at the front of the room, the anxiety begins to build. The sister in the pew next to you toggles between the idea of speaking up for the husband or leaving the room, but she settles on shoving the trauma back down in the deep and tries to redirect her mind to the commitment she made to try and only see the good and be more loving today.
Sister Just One More Time
The priesthood leader in Sacrament meeting is sharing his passionate opinions about how the saints must fight against the worlds agenda to accept things like gay marriage because it harms the family unit and is an abomination to the Lord. The tired sister in the pew next to you was up all night on another suicide watch with her son because the church’s stand on his same sex attraction has caused him to believe he is a mistake and an abomination to the Lord. His pangs of loneliness that come from knowing he must never act on his human desires for intimacy else suffer excommunication from his church are causing such trauma that death seems like a better option.
The sister in the pew next to you has come to church to partake of the sacrament and feel the presence of the Lord and to be strengthened and supported by her ward family. Imagine her anguish because she talked her son, sitting next to her, into coming to church just one more time, promising him things would get better.
Sister Apostate
The Gospel Doctrine teacher has followed the instructions in his manual by putting the three scenarios given in lesson 24 on the board.
Milk striplings.      A misspelled name.      No seat at the temple dedication.
He goes on to share how fragile the testimonies of these characters in our church history were that they could leave the church over such petty things. The woman in the pew next to you is trying desperately to keep coming to church. She has devoured Mormon history trying to get answers to some of her questions and now she is hearing the watered down, whitewashed, church slanted version of the three stories of apostasy as they are read from the manual. She is shocked how the men in the stories are made out to be such petty villains to make a point about how taking offense could cause someone to lose their testimony.
Her own testimony is hanging on a thread. Her mind is heavy with unanswered questions about polygamy, the Book of Abraham, how the methods of the church align with the discoveries of undue influence. She is trying to figure out why she hasn’t been spiritually fed in church for years. She knows she is worthy of being in the house of the Lord but she doesn’t qualify for a recommend because her nice and tidy faith in the church has turned into a pile of rubble she’s trying desperately to piece together.
The sister in the pew next to you has been praying and fasting and studying and begging for God to help strengthen her testimony and help her overlook these things that are truly disturbing and relevant to her faith. The sister in the pew next to you feels like the examples on the board are reducing her faith crisis to petty issues and a mere lack of faithfulness.
The teacher doesn’t know he is perpetuating spiritual trauma but the spiritual wounds are sliced open afresh as her grueling wrestle with her conscience has been reduced to someone taking offense. She doesn’t want to talk to her leaders because she’s concerned, that like the lesson being given to the main body of saints, they too, will see her issues as taking offense or being deceived by the devil, of which she feels neither. She will grieve the loss of her innocent version of the church in silence as the room is being conditioned to believe the apostate saints are so petty in their offenses.
Sister Outside the Gates
The sister in the pew next to you is sitting with her soon to be wedded daughter as the Stake President speaks on the importance of a temple wedding. It’s the only sure way for couples to start their life together with the protection of the Lord. It is the only way to assure your family will be together in the next life.
The sister in the pew next to you, even though she is trying to stay active in the church won’t be able to attend her daughter’s temple wedding because she cannot consciously answer affirmative to the temple recommend questions. She isn’t having any moral issues, she is just finding it difficult to reconcile her conscience to agree with some of the tenants of the church. She feels in order to attend her own daughter’s wedding ceremony she will either have to lie to get a recommend, ask her daughter to get married civilly and wait a year to be sealed or she will have to wait outside with the rest of her un-assimilated family members.
The grief of the sister in the pew next to you is intense. Her daughter shouldn’t have to choose between her family and the temple on her most important day. The sister in the pew next to you wants to support her daughter, she doesn’t understand by she has to be worthy to observe the ceremony when she is not participating in any ordinances for others. She is struggling to see how this strengthens families and she is feeling remorse for not being more sensitive to all the mothers who have stood outside the temple feeling excluded from the day she has been looking forward to all her life.
More than likely, the sister in the pew next to you will miss the gaze the two lovers will share as they hold hands across the alter and say, yes. Someone else will carry her daughter’s dress behind her. Someone else will hand her a tissue to dry her joy filled eyes. A room full of people will hug her daughter and new son-in-law before she will even get to see the couple, probably not until after the pictures. The sister in the pew next to you can’t hear the rest of the message being delivered at the pulpit because the trauma of her daughter’s upcoming wedding day has already happened in her heart.
Maybe you have never considered what is happening with that forlorn, discontent, lost, struggling-to-attend sister in the pew next to you, but now that you do, please don’t tell her to read her scriptures more, to pray a little harder or just trust in the Lord. Don’t take out another knife to dig at her already bleeding heart. Her knees are worn, her pride is shed, her heart is crumbled in pieces. The sister in the pew next to you needs to be heard and understood, yet she is being asked to keep her issues to herself. The pain of the sister, your sister and mine, will get too much and perhaps next week she will no longer be sitting in the pew next to you."

My Friend Wendy shared this wordpress post on Facebook and really hit home...

*If you are LDS and say you CAN'T relate to the featured post above, you would already have been translated to Heaven. Then, and only then, should you skip along your merry way. 😶  (AND can I say, we can put "Brother in the pew next to you" also?) 

I have to say that "Sister Villian," in the post, irks me even more than the others did- and they all irked me to no end! Heart — that people is the #1 greatest show of who you are, not others perceived judgment of your lack of activity or even non-activity. 

I've had a "leadership" person with a drag-on-the-floor-open-mouthed-shocked-and-perplexed face comment to me, "I've never meet a sister like you," all because I wasn't complaining about my inactive husband and my desire to "fix" him... had he met my Matt? Yes, once. Did they speak? No.
Except for drinking milk faster that i can buy it, or loving (to my nose's consternation,) stinky, nasty mustard, or tracking dirt/ mud through my wood-floored house, what non-Sandi-quirk-issue is there really to complain about? The Man lovingly and never-endingly provides, guides through righteous desire and soulfully takes care of his family. Serves others by helping our community everyday of his life as a career. Donates money to those in need AND (most of the time) unquestionably supports his book loving, quirky, super procrastinator (did you see the cap flying when you read that? Super P!) church going, extroverted wife in all she wants to do. 

So he doesn't go to church with me. It doesn't make him any less spiritual than I am or even a lot of those sitting in the congregation with me. Have they walked through the woods with him and seen his awe and reverence for the creations God has made? I have. Have they seen him weep over one of our children's needless suffering? I have. Does he support me going to church and participating in Temple sessions? Yes. Does he do so without complaining? Yes. He knows it's important to me and helps make me who I am — the woman he loves. So seriously, what's to complain about? I know his heart. I know we will be together in the eternities. God has my back. 

I know with all my heart the LDS Church has help ME become a better person, however I am not blind to the fact that great, amazing people walk in all paths of life AND not all LDS people can be called great. All humans are all a work in progress, right? I think that's the whole point of our mortal life.

As the Savior said, "As I have loved you, love one another." It's my foundational belief that it is not my place to tell other people how to live. That job belongs to someone way smarter than me and a lot more Holier. 

My soul belief is that I was put on earth to love my family and raise my children to the best of MY struggled-to-learn-and-partially-flawed-to-others-formulated values and understanding of life, and let my children fly to where their values and understandings lead them.

Also it is my belief that I should befriend all creatures (puppies, birds, flowers, even the annoying neighbor cat who poops on my new lawn every single morning, oh, and those human beings who may or may not have a smile on their face... 😊 ) placed on my path through my earthly journey. If you know me, you know this to be a soul truth. 

It doesn't mean I'll always agree with you, however I will always respect you enough to agree to disagree, and still like/love you after hearing your point of view, And as is ALWAYS the case: I will learn something that connects to my heart from your POV that adds more depth to my values. 

We can all glean good tidbits from other people's POV's.😉

Please, Please, just remember to be kind, that's all I ask, oh, and talk to someone who looks like they are sad, scared, or even happy. Communication is what makes the world go round, unless you are an introvert and then it drives you bazonkers.  😏

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

• secret spoiler, not a story spoiler...

The Roanoke Girls
by Amy Engel
Published by:
Publication Date: May

When Lane's damaged, emotionally absent mother Camilla commits suicide, she at the age of nearly 16 is sent to live with her grandparents and Cousin Allegra. People she had never met, people her mother would never talk about.  Allegra was a wild, larger than life 15 year old, 9 months younger than Lane. She introduces Lane to the photos of all the Roanoke girls- girls identical to them, same hair, same faces, same age difference.
By the end of the summer Lane runs away like so many of the other Roanoke girls. A decade later, Allegra is the one missing and Roanoke draws Lane back into it's grasp.  All the usual suspects are still around, Tommy, Cooper, Charlie, Sharon, Grandpa and Gran. It's like nothing has changed; then again, everything has changed and Lane knows it.

I read V.C. Andrew's series Flowers in the Attic when I was a teenager. I thought that we were beyond the writing of books about incest. This book was the most incestuous book I have ever read. Brother, father, grandfather, handsome Yates Roanoke loved his girls, and still, some how, I loved this book, even though it was not my type of story...

Maybe it is because Amy Engel does a really great job of introducing the characters and their very quirky personalities. I loved the characters, even started falling in love with Yates. It's hard not to when he makes his girls feel like they are the most important people in the world. Especially for Lane who has never felt love in her whole life. The only person I couldn't fall in love with was Gran. I don't know what it was about her, maybe that prim and proper personality or the hidden agenda she has that you just can't figure out at first what it is.

I read this while I was sick with Pneumonia. It kept me going. It was an easy read even for someone who was coughing her guts out ever few seconds. This story is not gross, it is not dirty,  it doesn't "show" any of the dark stuff, its just an underlying current, a hidden scent of a secret that you just can't ignore.

Where did Allegra go? What made her run? What is her secret? Is there more than just the family secret?  You will only find out if you read this book!  Go ahead and read it, You won't be disappointed!  :)

I rated this 4.5 stars for Character development and intrigue

Have you read Roanoke Girls?  
What did you think about the story?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Books a Plenty!

Books, Books, Books, have you ever had the good pleasure of having too many new books to read?

This is the wonderful predicament that I am in right now.  I have 7 books of all genre's waiting in the wings while I finish 2 books I am currently reading, (which I am almost done with 50/100 pages to go!) and the one book I still need to review. I love having this kind of a challenge. It makes me happy reading great stories. This summer hasn't let me down, all 6 books I've finished have been great, except for one and luckily that was a short one.

What kind of books are you reading this fine summer? 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Who is Rich? By Matthew Klam : an honest review for Penguin Random House's First Read.

Who Is Rich? 

Rich is a man suffering from an average life with middle age anxiety.Who has an affair and buys a $3,000.00 bracelet just to get back at his wife and then gives to his extremely wealthy paramore who doesn't need a gift at all! 

I have to be honest, this book was not for me. I tried to read it and give it a chance as the writing was quite well done. Matthew Klam has a way with spinning a yarn. I know I will have to read more of his work. 

However, I am not sure if it was the bouncing back and forth between Rich's memories between his relationship with his wife or the affair with Amy, that I just couldn't stomach the subject matter. 
I am not often approached to read adulatory stories. The love Rich has for his for children was heartwarming. His desire to feel needed, vaguely familiar as emotions I have seen with family members who has strayed from their spouse, and his lust for physicality was just heartbreaking to me. I am not sure if it is best for a couple to stay together just because of the kids as both Rich and Amy do in their prospective marriages. 

I felt as I was reading the book that Rich ponders over the same issues over, and over again in the matter of a space of 96 hours that he is becoming pandantic and pathetic. He definitely was not my type of man. Maybe this book goes over better when a guy reads it? Sorry. I really wanted to like it, I just didn't. 

It is with sadness that I rate this book 3 stars
 as the writing, as I said before, was well done. 

Thank you First Reads for giving me a chance to read and review this book.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

Beckford, UK a place with many, many deaths relating to their river. Starting back in the ages of witchcraft and misunderstanding...

Like the movement of a river, this books takes twists, turns and definitely has it's depths of danger and intrigue. Below is a little introduction of some of the characters in the story and I don't think any spoilers. I hope you enjoy this review and intro. 😁

I read Girl on the Train and thoroughly enjoyed it. When I found out, through Booksparks, that Paula Hawkins had written the book Into the Water I knew I had to read it!  I really liked the character development from the very start of the story. I liked that we were able to meet each person in their own words in their own time. I thought I knew what was happening and who "did the murders, but I was WRONG.  Yes, I admit it, I guessed wrong! That is the sign of a good writer in my opinion.

Jules Abbott, hasn't talked to her sister Nel for a very long time and now she will never be able to talk to her again. Nel died falling off a cliff at the infamous river's Drowning Pool, the one place that she swam in every day since she was a child. Jules didn't think that Nel would commit suicide, but what did she know? She didn't know who Nel was as an adult, did she?  Now,  Jules is going home to Beckford to take care of details of Nel's funeral and become Nel's daughter, Lena's guardian.

Lena's best friend Katie, died a few months before her mother, also committing suicide. Now she really had no one except for Jules. Lena doesn't know know her aunt, actually she hates her, because she never answered her mother's calls, never spent any time with her mother or her, and still, the nerve of her! She thought she could just come and take over, go through her mother's things and insert herself into Lena's life, like she had been around since Lena was little. Who did Jules think she was?

Detective Inspector Sean Townsend and Detective Sergeant Erin Morgan, are trying to get to the bottom of the mystery of why so many woman have died around the Beckford river. will they find answers?  Sean's mother herself committed suicide in the river. He has zoned it all out of his mind just like his father told him to, so why does he feel as if everything is all wrapped up together in a tight little package?

Have you ever read a book that you just didn't know how it was going to end?  That is that book!  Did she or didn't she? Did he or didn't he?  Only one in town knew all the secrets and no one, not a single person, but partly Nel listened to her. IS that why Nel died?  Well, you won't find out until you read Into the Water! 😉

I give Into the Water: 5 stars!
Q:  Have you read Into the Water yourself?  What did you think?
If you are local and would like to read it, I have a copy you can borrow. Just let me know.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa

Who would've known that some German refugee's fleeing during WWII would have gone to Cuba?  I sure didn't. This Historical Fiction book is about a girl, Anna who receives a packed of pictures from her father's aunt Hannah. Without realizing what the connection between the little girl and her great aunt is, she starts looking into the life of a father she never knew.

Anna Rosen's dad disappeared while her mother was pregnant with her. Her mother can't tell her much about him as she hadn't been married to her for very long herself when he disappeared.
Her mother struggles with missing him, raising Anna and moving on with life without her husband.

We meet Hannah Rosenthal first though, the year of her 12th birthday. She lives in the middle of Berlin with her mother and father in an apartment her family owns. She is contemplating killing her parents as a protection of herself: "I was Almost Twelve Years Old when I decided to kill my parents." Her best friend Leo is the only person she knows that views life honestly and openly. She loves her father and puts up with her mother whom she calls, "The Goddess". Her family is wealthy. It is a few weeks after Kristalnatch and the threat from the "Ogres" is more dire than ever. She doesn't look Jewish and while wandering around town gets photographed by a man who puts her on the cover of Das Deutsche Madel. She becomes the image of the perfect German Girl. Ironic as she is Jewish.

I won't give away anymore of the story. You will just have to read it to find out "the rest of the story". I have read many, many books on WWII, the Holocaust and Jewish treatment in Germany, but this book was a new perspective for me. I didn't know that Jewish refugees went anywhere but to the US, Canada or other parts of the European nations. I was drawn in from the first paragraph and couldn't put it down.

All the women involved in this story had their own levels of strength, but I was impressed most of all by Hannah and her desire to honor her parents, Leo and the life she once had. It did hurt my heart that she stuck around Cuba, a place she never thought her family would permanently reside.  Living in one country that stifled peoples freedoms and having to leave that birthplace to be forced to live in another stifling country is beyond my comprehension. It also hurts that Canada and the US didn't even attempt to take the St. Louis's passengers into their countries. It is unfathomable to me, that they would rather have these poor people head back to Germany instead of protection them from the horrific situation of concentration camps.

Mr. Correa shows through his novel that he has researched in depth the passengers of the St. Louis and what it was like in Germany and Cuba at the time of the story. I once again felt like I was part of the story. Fantastic read.

I rate this 5 star for character development, and topic.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Silence by Shusaku Endo

“Lord, why are you silent? Why are you always silent...?” 
― Shūsaku EndōSilence

Silence is filled with non-quiet moments that make you want to scream, "Dear God, please save these poor Japanese people!" It is a lesson in the decisions that religious people make to protect themselves from the torture in dictatorship ran countries where freedom of religion doesn't exist. 

Endo does a great job of helping you to feel the stress that Father Rodrigues goes through with every step of his journey from Portugal to Japan. He and his missionary companion Garpe go in good faith to find Father Ferreira a priest whom the word around the Christian world says apostatized from the Catholic Church. Rodrigues and Garpe were Ferreira's students, they don't believe that he could have become an apostate.

Many times Rodrigues talks to the Lord of Chicago, Inoue who argues that the Catholic faith is not for the Japanese. During one of those conversations Inoue argues that the Japanese don't need the christian religion, they have the Buddha, they have their religion and that the Catholic faith is a false teaching, an untruth for the Japanese. This is how Rodrigues answers: 

"'according to our way of thinking, truth is universal, said the priest... a moment ago you officials expressed sympathy for the suffering I have passed through. One of you spoke words of warm consolation for my traveling thousands of miles of sea over such a long period to come to your country. If we did not believe that truth is universal, why should so many missionaries endure these hardships? It is precisely because truth is common to all countries and all times that we call it truth. If a true doctrine were not true alike in Portugal and Japan we could not call it "true".' " - Rodrigues, Silence

Garpe, the priest and companion drowns in the ocean as Rodrigues watches, while trying to save some of their congregation before the faithful japanese are drowned themselves. Rodrigues in the end is not as strong as he believes as Garpe was to save the japanese people. The journey through his belief becomes parallel to the one that Christ took on his way to eternal life until the very end of Christ's Martyrdom. Their guide Kuchijiro fills the role of Judas. At the point right before death Rodrigues must decide what it means to save his people: for them to die for his teachings and their faith or for him to die as a martyr never backing down from his belief. 

“I did pray. I kept on Praying. But prayer did nothing to alleviate their suffering.”   Shūsaku EndōSilence

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Reading All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda was definitely an adventure. No, not an adventure, it's a psychological thriller. I loved every twist and turn.

Nicolette Farrell left her small close knit town when she was 18 years old after her best friend Corrine disappeared. 10 years later she gets a mysterious call from her brother and she gets sucked back in to a place she never wanted to visit again.  This thriller is written in a unique fashion. I won't tell you about that because i don't want to ruin any of the fun you will encounter.

This is the 1st book I've read of Ms. Miranda's.  I was blessed to be able to talk to her about All The Missing Girls

My Question: "Megan- what part of writing the story was a surprise even to you? Did your characters develop their own stories that you didn't plan?" 

Megan's Answer: "So many elements end up surprising me as I write! This is one of my favorite parts about writing too -- I love to discover something I never expected when starting out. So many of the characters ended up becoming different than who I thought they were at the start. It was like I was uncovering more about them, just as Nic was." 

The intrigue of the muse has always gotten to me. We don't control our characters, they control us. We are just their mode of transportation into the world of their story. 
Nic seems to be unemotional, selfish woman during the whole story, however if you really analyze her reactions you see she is doing everything she can just to hold her mind together. Will she decide to face her past? Will we find out where Corinne disappeared to and do we ever really know who, in that small little town who is actually telling the truth? That is what you will wonder as you go through the life of Nicolette, her family and close friends. 
*I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The written format was perfect for the story. The characters were full of depth and I felt like I could be living in the midst of them all. Not that I want to be part of a murder mind you, but they were real flesh and bone to me. I feel that is the sign of a great author! 

I am now anxiously, anticipating reading her new book, The Perfect Stranger. 

My Rating: 
It's that good!
Read it for yourself and see if you agree with me...

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I Choose You

"If you’re in relationship, I invite you to ask yourself this question: “Why am I choosing my partner today?” Bryan Reeves

I was asked the other day (and a few weeks back by two different people) how as passionate people, with extremely different personalities, Matt and I have made it to (almost) year 28 of our marriage, and year 30 of being together without killing each other. My snarky remark would be, "why in the world would I want to re-train someone?" 

My honest answer is, it's not always easy.  

After all, we are complete opposites. He is the yin, I am the yang... I talk a lot, he listens. Our love languages don't always blend well together, I am a communicative and physically demonstrative person; he is a service giving person. We've had to learn through trial and error how to make those two languages blend tightly together. We've learned to let things go, we've learned to go to different corners of the house, to think over our responses before we say something we might regret. We've learned to continue on and push through the difficulties because, we choose everyday. Let me repeat that: we choose every; single; day; to be together. 

You might have noticed my use of the semicolon to stop and pause those words. It's intentional. Sometimes you have to stop, pause, and think about what you want to accomplish, move on with those steps in mind, or stagnate and let a relationship die. This is what happens the majority of the time, when a marriage (or any relationship) gets beyond the honeymoon period and you haven't figured out how to blend your different upbringings together. 

Some people chose to get divorced, others choose to coexist and revolve around each other. The more successful marriages, i think, might coexist for a bit, then plug on through to relearning to love each other. 

In other words, they chose to find qualities they love about their spouse and focus solely on that, until they can over look the things that bother them and rediscover the other things they loved about their spouse from the start. Longevity is about give and take. Sometimes you give and other times you take, but you can NEVER, EVER, be the only one giving, or be selfish enough to only be taking, or you become unresponsive to the other spouses feelings and the connection can severe and die away permanently. 

Ask our children, it wasn't always sunshine and flowers. There were tears, yelling, silent treatments and trying to push the other person to be like ourselves. Trying to get him to think the way I did. Him trying to get me to be as active as he was. When an extremely active, wilderness loving person marries a bookworm, who is content to soak up the rays at the beach, compromise is needed. This makes for growing pains from each person in the relationship. Growth is a good thing. Not always when you don't want to and especially not on someone else timetable. Tears I tell you, lots and lots of tears... 

Moving often didn't help. I would just get settled into my herd of friends; the house decorated the way I liked; the kids doing great in school and after school programs batted up and flowing daintily, and bam! off we'd go to another town in another state. I thrive on socializing with people, I don't thrive on change per se. I would pray a lot that our move was what was best for each of us and like Ruth, "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay," my place was with my husband whom I loved. 

Communication is key. This is what the experts say and I completely agree.

I tend to want to communicate through a problem, "If there's a problem, Yo, I'll solve it." sorry, certain words always shoot off a song in my head...
I'm sure it drives my "think before you speak husband" absolutely batty when I push to get him to face my way of slamming through the problem, from the second I see there is a problem. I,  going to be straight up blunt and honest here, have a personality that doesn't handle criticism well.  I blame being a Gemini and an Extroversion Intuitive (and Sensory: I equal out on that and Intuitive. I think it depends on my mood on the day I've taken the Myer-Briggs test) Feeling PerceptionThat's my story and I'm sticking to it. This makes communication hard when talking to me. Luckily I married a man, who over the years, has learned how to "handle" me when I need refocusing. I don't like the word correction, it sounds like a parent is disciplining a child. He is not my parent, I am not his child, even if I act like one sometimes. 😉 

Like I said, he is the Yin, I am the Yang, or as Rocky Balboa says,  “I dunno, she's got gaps, I got gaps, together we fill gaps.” Matt fills my gaps. He is steady, strong, sincere, and stalwart. I am mind blazing, full steam ahead, all over the place. I tend to have a hard time focusing on any one thing. He has helped me to learn to focus and complete tasks before starting on something new when it comes to serious ambitions, say like work or school; besides that, I am all about playing and having fun.  I'm a "jack of trades and a master of none". Luckily for me, I tend to pick things up easily. Unluckily, I want to try everything, so I tend to move on to step 1050 when I should really be on step 2: Come on people, The big picture is visualized, let's not have to plan it to death, let's just get It done, before I lose interest!! That is my thinking, why waste time when you know what you want to accomplish. 
As Nike's logo says, "Just do it!". This drive my husband, the planner, nuts. He sees the big picture, but wants to make sure all the steps aren't missed or it might not turn out right. I've always believed if you miss a step whatever comes from what you have done might turn out even more amazing than what you envisioned. Let it grow and breath in the direction it wants to... 

Yup, I run off creativity. He runs off of plans. I'm good with picking a spot on the map and saying let's go there. This is where I might want to rest my head, and then a few hours from where I might want to land is when I make a hotel reservation. He wants it all scheduled hour by hour; nope, doesn't always work for me. He's had to learn to stop and smell the roses on the way, because I won't let him just move from spot A to B without a few sniffs of those gorgeous roses. I mean, how can you learn to appreciate nature, if you are moving from A to B, without using your senses and stopping to enjoy those senses?  

He's taught me how to develop a work ethic. I had never in my life met someone who cleaned, as if they were spring cleaning, every single day. This was a 2 times a year ritual for our family, in his it was a way of life. He taught me how to clean, not the other way around. I am thankful for that. Like I said, he fills my gaps.

As I mentioned above- my friend and the other two people (one of them was my dentist; we also had a discussion on raising kids in-between him cleaning my teeth, that's another post...) who asked me what the magic of our longevity is. That caught me off guard. I really had no clue how to answer. I had to think about it for a minute. 

Here is the answer I gave my dentist: There is no secret formula. I figured it all comes down to choosing. I chose Matt each and every day and he chooses me. We just push along from that choice. My choice comes mostly with a smile, some fun and starring at him, realizing how lucky I am to have met this gorgeous man in the first place. 

Ultimately, the answer is that I choose to fall in love with him, as if it is the first time I saw him working at the electronics counter in Fred Meyer. I will continue to choose him every single day for the rest of my life, because I want to grow old with him. Him sitting next to me on the back deck porch swing looking out over our favorite view, where ever that might be, and me holding a book on my lap and one hand in his... 

Q: If someone doesn't fill your gaps, how can you continue a relationship with them? I am honestly curious about this, anyone have an answer? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Reading, Reading all over Lincoln... What's New with You?

I thought it might be fun to do the reading that I am doing for Life of a Book Addict in different places all over town and beyond. Sort of like the book sighting in New York that is facebooked and tweeted from the Subway every morning- like @hotdudesreading or @booksonthesubway, however this would be me and only me until I find other's who are doing it also while I am out and about.

Sorry, can't get my book into the shot with Webcam :(

Right now I am sitting in my back yard on the one bit of pavers that consists of seating area of our Fire-Pit. there is no other flat land that you could even say resembles a finished yard. Even this is semi-done in no flattering words. Matt still has to sandblast and water seal it. My brother-in-law Lou helped Matt but together the first layer of our garden wall. It is moving tortoise slow but I can see the potential and I am loving it!!!  Thanks guys!

I am reading The German Girl by Lucas Armando Correa It's a story about a girl named Anne who receives an envelop filled with information on her Great Aunt Hannah whom her deceased father was raised by. The book tells the story of Hannah's journey from Germany during WWII to an asylum meant to be the half way mark to a permament move to America.  I am only in chapter 3 of the story, but I am engrossed in it already. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I intrigued by history, especially WWII Nazi occupied Germany. It is part of my DNA, a large section of my family history, I couldn't ignore it if I wanted to which I don't!  What you don't learn from in the past can be recreated and accepted in the future. I can't allow that, so I learn from the experiences, I empathizes with those who have lived through it and I digest and apply the lessons I have learned into my core values and share those things with others.

What do you think?  Will I see you out and about reading throughout Lincoln too?  How about lunch time? I mean after all, it is GORGEOUS outside!!!  Take my challenge, read a book, snap a pic, add it to the comments of my post. What can it hurt? It could be fun!  Hope to see you out and about reading. Enjoy.