Saturday, October 14, 2017

Detective Nosegoode and the Museum Robbery

Detective Nosegoode and the Museum Robbery
By Marian Orton, translated into English: Eliza Marciniak, illustrator: Jerzy Flask
128 pages
On Sale Date: May 22, 2018

Detective Nosegoode and the Museum Robbery written by Marian Orlon, Illustrated by Jerzy Flisak is the third in a series of mysteries starring Detective Ambrosius Nosegoode and his little dog, Cody translated into English by Erika Marciniak. 

This book is actually three stories in one. First is the story of the "Museum Robbery" where we meet some very quirky robbers. The antics of this story is laugh out loud fun!  

The second story is about a "Game of Chess" and a robbery at the Ashworth Chess Club. It was full of not so easy to decipher clues that might stump anyone, that is except to say he wonderful Detective Nosegoode.  

The third story in the book was "The Sad End of the Elusive Hand" This interestingly enough is the only mystery that Detective Nosegoode at first gets wrong and then gets right.  I believe it has a good message for children not to jump to conclusions, which is what the good Detective did.
I think that middle-grade children, especially the younger age in the spectrum will enjoy this book as much as  this child-at-heart reader. 

* I received this book in lieu of my honest review courtesy of Pushkin Children's books through Edelweiss. 

Detective Nosegoode and the Kidnappers

Detective Nosegoode and the Kidnappers 
By Marian Orton, translated into English: Eliza Marciniak, illustrator: Jerzy Flask
128 pages
On Sale Date: April 10, 2018

Detective Nosegoode and the Kidnappers by Marian Orlon is the second in a trilogy of books translated from Polish by Eliza Marciniak.

The illustrations by Jerzy Flisak are fresh, endearing and fun. 

Having read Detective Nosegoode and the Music Box Mystery, I was looking forward to reading this book to my nephew and niece. They are a little on the older side of the middle-grade spectrum, but they liked the story of Detective Nosegoode trying to rescue his beloved dog Cody. They especially enjoyed to "story within a story" of Cody trying to help the kidnappers, just so he could bust them at the same time. They laughed at the antics that Cody gets involved in.

 Mr. Orlon does a very good job of helping 8 to 12 year old readers to anticipate, and sleuth the clues to a not always apparent outcome and then feel satisfaction at the end of the book when they solve the mystery.
I appreciate Ms. Marciniak bringing this book to the english readers. It is a nostalgic look at childhood mysteries.

I received this book from Pushkin Children’s Book in lieu of my honest review. 

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Book Review: Detective Nosegoode and the Music Box Mystery

Detective Nosegoode and the Music Box Mystery Book Review

Author: Marian Orlon, Illustrated by Eliza Marciniak, Translator: Jerzy Flisak
Originally published in Polish, 1976

English Translation from the Polish published by Pushkin Children's Books

On Sale Date: February 13, 2018

 "The first in a series of irresistibly charming, beautifully illustrated children’s classics - the adventures of Detective Nosegoode and his talking dog, Cody." Pushkin Children's Books

Detective Nosegoode is famous and retired. He spends his retirement walking his “shaggy mutt,” Cody; gardening his radishes, sitting on a bench reading the paper and playing his flute in the evenings. Life is slower than what the good detective is used to. Who would know that an adventure is about to begin?

A mysterious Bearded man who lives next door at Mrs. Hardtack’s house watches the detective and Cody whenever they walk out their front gate. This makes Cody, a very special dog nervous. Especially after the Detective is asked to solve the robbery of Mr. Swallowtail, the chemist’s very old music box stolen from Mr. Blossom’s Clock shop.  Who has stolen the music box, is it the Bearded Man or someone else? Read the book to find out. I enjoyed the mystery in this story. I thoroughly enjoyed Cody, the Detective’s dog. Some of the characters were well developed and children will love them. The Bearded Man might scare a younger child, just like he did Cody, however for middle-grade children it will just give them another person to wonder about. Never fear, Detective Nosegoode is here and the guilty party will be found!

This story reminds me of a childhood book that I loved (and read to my children) called “Tee-Bo the Talking Dog”. Cody, like Tee-Bo, can talk. Detective Nosegoode is lucky to have such a good friend, and Cody is lucky to have the detective too. 

Mr. Orton does a good job of taking middle-grade children through their, possibly, first chapter book mystery. He sets them up for the clues and even walks them through solving the case. That is a perfect for an 8-year-old when they are just learning about sleuth books.

I appreciate, Ms. Marciniak, translating this book into English. It’s not one that a child should miss.

I received this book from Pushkin Children’s Books in lie of my honoest review. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Far Away Brothers by Lauren Markham

The Far Away Brothers 
By Lauren Markham
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (September 12, 2017)
  • Publication Date: September 12, 2017
  • Sold by: Random House LLC

“The deeply reported story of identical twin brothers who escape El Salvador's violence to build new lives in California—fighting to survive, to stay, and to belong."

Growing up in rural El Salvador in the wake of the civil war, Ernesto Flores had always had a fascination with the United States, the distant land of skyscrapers and Nikes, while his identical twin, Raul, never felt that northbound tug. But when Ernesto ends up on the wrong side of the region's brutal gangs he is forced to flee the country, and Raul, because he looks just like his brother, follows close behind—away from one danger and toward the great American unknown.

In this urgent chronicle of contemporary immigration, journalist Lauren Markham follows the seventeen-year-old Flores twins as they make their harrowing journey across the Rio Grande and the Texas desert, into the hands of immigration authorities, and from there to their estranged older brother's custody in Oakland, CA. Soon these unaccompanied minors are navigating a new school in a new language, working to pay down their mounting coyote debt, and facing their day in immigration court, while also encountering the triumphs and pitfalls of life as American teenagers—girls, grades, Facebook—with only each other for support. With intimate access and breathtaking range, Markham offers a coming of age tale that is also a nuanced portrait of Central America's child exodus, an investigation of U.S. immigration policy, and an unforgettable testament to the migrant experience.”

I read this book with an open-heart and open-mind. Living in California, I have heard so many stories like the Flores Twins. 

Lauren Markham has done a wonderful job writing of the hard, terrorizing journey of kids who leave their countries to avoid danger, hardship and potential death and come to a country that doesn’t quite know what to do with them.

 As a daughter of an immigrant from Germany after World War Two, I know the harsh reality of a teenager trying to fit in, even though doing so legally. The Flores twins have to try and find their way to make the connection from illegal to becoming a citizen of the United States. I am not sure what is the right way for that to happen, however, I am thankful that people like Lauren Markham exist. 

This book will help all those who read it to see that these teens are just like their teens, to an extent, hopefully, more people will come to an understanding that kids are still kids and need to be looked after, taken care of and nurtured, no matter their legal standing.

I received this ebook through Penguin's First To Read ARC for my honest review.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Hotel Scarface by Roben Farzad


Hotel Scarface
By: Roben Farzad 
Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (October 17, 2017)
  • Publication Date: October 17, 2017
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
This is a 4-star reading. Based on research depth, plot and author’s storytelling. 

“In the seventies, coke hit Miami with the full force of a hurricane, and no place attracted dealers and dopers like Coconut Grove’s Mutiny at Sailboat Bay. Hollywood royalty, rock stars, and models flocked to the hotel’s club to order bottle after bottle of Dom and to snort lines alongside narcos, hit men, and gunrunners, all while marathon orgies burned upstairs in elaborate fantasy suites.
Amid the boatloads of powder and cash reigned the new kings of Miami: three waves of Cuban immigrants vying to dominate the trafficking of one of the most lucrative commodities ever known to man. But as the kilos—and bodies—began to pile up, the Mutiny became target number one for law enforcement.
Based on exclusive interviews and never-before-seen documents, Hotel Scarface is a portrait of a city high on excess and greed, an extraordinary work of investigative journalism offering an unprecedented view of the rise and fall of cocaine—and the Mutiny—in Miami.”

Living in Florida for a total of 12 years and visiting my sister, who lives in Miami. I’ve always wondered what Miami was like in the earlier days. I was excited to read about its history in the late 70’s and 80’s. I knew Miami was the vibe for the rich and famous, just didn’t know how integrated the rich and famous and the drug lords were. 

Hotel Scarface was intriguing— the ins and outs of the world of drugs, and controlling the realm of greed and excess, the way the people who worked for the Drug Lords lived. Their life was hazy, dangerous and fluid. 

Roben Farzad, of Full Disclosure (PBS) fame, did a fantastic job at researching the history of Miami- the inside look at the players, the Mutiny and its role in the world of Cocaine conspiracies and death. I’ve been to the Mutiny and so reading about its history was an eye-opening experience. Miami Vice- the television show has nothing on this book. 

I would like to thank Penguin First to Read for the opportunity to read this book.

*I received this ebook through Penguin's First To Read ARC for my honest review.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Human relationships and mystery abound in this novel. 

I give this book 5 stars!! 

As a fan of Celeste Ng, I was really excited to read Little Fires Everywhere. This book didn't let me down. 

The poetic use of imagery pulled so many emotions out of my heart. Sadness for the contempt one can have for their own child. Happiness for the freedom some of the Richardson children gained. Awe for the talent that Mia possessed, and despisement and frustration for the shallowness that people can have when dealing with others, not of their "station." 

Ms. Ng does a wonderful job of building her characters, helping you to really, truly care about what is going on in the story and moving the story along at a good pace. Only once did I feel a total hatred within the story, and that was when Mrs. Richardson uses her job to become mean-spirited and dishonest. Man, she really annoyed me! This to me is a good sign of a great book = evoking so many emotions. The novel was entertaining at times, lesson teaching throughout, and just a pure good read. I couldn't put it down. 

Thanks to Ms. Ng, I seriously stopped to think about life in my own little world and what needs to be fixed or what I could do better in my community to help others.

*I received this e-book through Penguin's First To Read ARC for my honest review.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

What would it be like to live 10,000 different lives to be with the one you love- who in all reality can't really live as she, Suzy is better known as Death and risk disappearing into the ether if you don't achieve perfection?
Read this book and you will find out.

This book fascinated me! I know Michael Poore's book was compared to Neil Gaiman, who I simply adore and have read all his written, even his essays, however, I think Michael Poore's book is even better than a lot of Gaiman's stories. This comes from a creative mind filled with of a couple hundred stories of different lives that can be lead.

The lives Milo leads are random, unique, ironic, continuous in some places and completely different at many, many times. Poore fleshes out all ages, all scenarios of what a life can be, even through all the past histories and futuristic fantasies (those were my favorite.) All the while Poore tells the stories well. Even, chapter 14, "The Hasty Pudding Affair," where I didn't enjoy the prison sex allusions (3 times- no telling, no showing, just alluding) I loved, because of the detail that Poore does in all these lives Milo Lives! The story made me think- what would it be like to go home after accepting and becoming happy in a tough situation at 15 years old? Could you truly ever adjust?

The characters are well fleshed out, the writing poetic at times, raw at other times which makes this book even better than I thought it would be.

A must read and rated a 5 from me! I'll buy it just to read again, as I feel I might have missed a few great tidbits.

A must read if you love futuristic stories and/or wonder what its like to be reincarnated 10,000 times.

*I received this ebook through Penguin's First To Read ARC for my honest review.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Massacre of Mankind- Stephen Baxter

It had been a decade or so since I read H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. I was afraid I'd need to go back to read it before Mr. Baxter's novel, so I did. You didn't really need to read WOTW, although I think that it might help to get the feel of the underlying story. 

I had a really hard time reading The Massacre of Mankind. I am not sure if it was because there was too much explaining of the times between attacks (back and forth between the first war and the war happening in current times), the description of the Martians was tedious at times. 

The characters were developed well and I really liked Ms. Elphinstone. I just felt the novel was too wordy and unnecessarily so. The switching back and forth between points of views wasn't always easy to decipher as some were narrated, some first person and others just a telling vs. showing and not done well for me to envision.

I give Stephen Baxter credit for trying to stick to the original feel of WOTW! However, it fell flat for me. This is rated a 2 for me. 

*I received this ebook through Penguin's First To Read ARC for my honest review.

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 lifeline 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 an email from Angelina in the middle of the night. He is happy in his no-challenging relationship with Claire, whom he has 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".

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 colleague doesn't show up for work, Stella starts digging around and finds a 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 types 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 x-ray 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 a 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 the 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.
*I received this ebook through Penguin's First To Read ARC for my honest review.

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 have 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 pedantic 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. 

*I received this ebook through Penguin's First To Read ARC for my honest review.

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.