Sunday, August 09, 2015

Sunday Salon - 08/09/15


If you are interested in other Salon posts, visit the Facebook page to get links. The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Life:

Hey all, sorry I've disappeared of late.

After all my extra effort at work in the spring (and unpaid overtime), it's just not a great fit. Some of the job is working out fine and other parts not so much. I guess this happens sometimes with jobs changes. It's all very, very stressful and frankly sad.

My boss seems committed to working it out, which is nice. I'm not clear how, and miss much of my old job duties, but clearly I have to keep paying my mortgage...so I'm doing my best (while keeping all options open). Only time will tell.
 
But, needless to say it's hard to focus on blogging when every day you are emotionally and mentally drained by the time you get home.  I am hoping (and sending out daily prayers - I welcome any extras that you might have to share) that I will be able to clean up this mess quickly and move forward in wonderful ways. But until then, I'm just treading water.

Otherwise, all is pretty good. Hubby is good, house is good, summer is good, and life is good.  The babies are doing great! They have both grown quite a bit and are finally totally settled. They are clearly still ferals, shy to noise and quick movements, but they cuddle willingly and soak up the love we give them. I'm the luckiest kitty-momma in the world to come home to them each day.

Blogging:

am still reading. In fact, probably more given it's ability to let me disappear mentally. And I am still reading your blogs behind the scenes, as always. But for now, I need to remove the stress of blogging and keeping up the blog for sanity's sake. I will be back....don't remove me just yet! Once all at work calms down I will catch up, I promise. 

Best,
Shannon

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Moloka'i - Brennert

Title: Moloka'i


Author: Alan Brennert
Genre: Fiction
Rating
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: Borrowed from a friend

 
Recommended if you like: Historical fiction, Stories of Hawaii


 

What Its About:  
The Kalama family have lived a happy existence in their native and idyllic 1890's Honolulu, Hawaii, until one day their youngest daughter Rachel develops a rash on her leg. Rachel's mother is horrified and tries desperately to make sure Rachel hides the rash. But through a careless comment, Rachel's sister shares the horrible infomation that her sister is a leper, suffereing from leprosy.  Rachel is quickly shuttled off to the local hospital and held for months while doctors try to save her.  

Eventually, seven-year-old Rachel (a bit of trouble maker, she is a child after all), is deemed a lost cause and sent to Kalaupapa, an isolated leper colony on Moloka'i island. Rachel spends most of the rest of her natural life on Moloka'i watching friends and family come and go, struggling to understand why her mother has disappeared from her life without writing or visiting, and dreaming of that day when she will get to leave the island and reunite with her mother, siblings and a child that she bears who is taken from her before the child can be infected.

It is only in her old age that Rachel finally learns the fates of her sister and brothers and the depth of her mother's love.








The Bottom Line: 
A beautifully written, historically accurate, story of those who found themselves inflicted with leprosy in those days and times. 



Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Love Life - Lowe

Title: Love Life


Author: Rob Lowe
Genre: Memoir
Rating
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: Library

 
Recommended if you like: Memoirs, 1980's 


 
What Its About:  
In his first book, Rob Lowe shared with readers his life history, how he got into acting, his experiences in Hollywood, and his struggle with partying and alcohol. And 1980's teens swooned and read in droves.

Years older and wiser, Lowe's new book shares older and wiser stories from his adult life, post party-boy. His new stories focus on issues such as coaching his children's basketball team, learning about his genealogy, seeing his first son off to college for the first time, and ultimately how he has learned the importance of and what a gift his marriage and wife are. It seems he is maturing, as are his fans, and he shares his experiences with pride and acceptance.







The Bottom Line: 
When I first saw this title, I thought... "Hmm, sounds like he will be talking about relationships." His title would have, perhaps, been more aptly named "Love Life!" An exclamation, or direct order, rather than noun. An older and more mature Rob Lowe communicates perfectly with his older and more mature fans. As with his first title, after reading you are left with more of an understanding and absolute respect for this man.  Well written and exceptionally entertaining!


Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Working Stiff - Melinek/Mitchell

Title: Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner


Author: Judy Melinek/T.J. Mitchell
Genre: Memoir
Rating
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: Library

 
Recommended if you like: Memoirs, medical stories/books, stories about 9/11


 
What Its About:  
An interesting new look at death, Working Stiff is the story of Judy Melinek, a up and coming doctor who discovers that her passion is not where she expected. While she likes medicine, she finds working in a hospital setting less than desirable. She opts to explore the option to study pathology. She is awarded the opportunity to train as NYC medical examiner.

She begins her training just before the September 11 attacks and quickly gains experience and knowledge in her field. Dealing with daily NYC death, with causes ranging from shootings and stabbings, to drug overdoses, to natural causes, Melinek learns the ropes of working in a profession that many could not imagine. She develops not only her medical and legal knowledge, but also her ability to separate the world of death at work and life with her burgeoning family.

All of that experience is tested when on September 11th, her entire world is shaken as she walks to work and see a large plane flying very, very low. Too low. Upon arriving at work, she is informed of the events unfolding and spends the next months in the proverbial trenches with her coworkers assisting with the horrific recovery effort. Ultimately, she finds her place in her new field and 







The Bottom Line: 
Interesting look at the every day life of a medical examiner and the trials they face in their work. Melinek shares the truth behind the glamorized depictions seen on shows like CSI and Law & Order.


Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Tuesday Tunes - 07/07/15




A good lyric is like a great book...

You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile
Harry Connick, Jr.
Martin Charnin, Writer



Hey, hobo man,

Hey, dapper dan,
You've both got your style,
But, brother, you're never fully dressed
Without a smile!

Your clothes may be beau brummelly
They stand out a mile,
But, brother, you're never fully dressed
Without a smile!

Who cares what they're wearing
On main street or saville row?
It's what you wear from ear to ear,
And not from head to toe,
That matters.

So, senator,
So, janitor,
So long for a while.
Remember you're
Never fully dressed,
Though you may wear your best.
You're never fully dressed
Without a smile
Smile!
Smile!

[Spoken:]
Smile, darn ya, smile!


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Etched in Sand - Calcaterra

Title: Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island


Author: Regina Calcaterra
Genre: Memoir
Rating
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: Library

 
Recommended if you like: Memoirs, stories of struggle, stories about children



What Its About:  
Regina Calcaterra's rags-to-riches story of growing up in Manhattan with her multiple siblings suffering at the hands of a neglectful, abusive, alcoholic mother for years before being able to find a way out. Calcaterra's mother repeatedly leaves her children home to hit the local bars and returns months later to discover that her daughters have kept themselves and their siblings alive by stealing food and nailing windows shut for safety.

Calcaterra eventually manages to be the first in her family to attend college, going so far as to get her law degree, and goes on to an admirable legal career in New York politics and activism.






The Bottom Line: 
Well written and heartbreakingly honest, Calcaterra's story shares a childhood of horror while giving the reader hope that there hope beyond adversity.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday Tunes - 06/30/15

A good lyric is like a great book...

Young
Hedley, Artists
Hoggard, Howes, and Poederooyen, Writers




I'm tired of waking up at 5AM
My boss has lost his freaking mind again
I'm getting so sick of the same routine
And living out somebody else's dream
Another zombie coming back to life,
Only 20 but I'm feeling like I'm 45

Better burn out than fade away
So come and have a drink on me
On me, on me

We were young, having fun
Used to party all night long
Jumping up and down and getting crazy,
Banging our heads to AC/DC
We were young, turn it up
Used to party til we'd drop
And we wouldn't stop until we'd see the sun
We were young
Young
Young
Young
Young

I'm tired of dressing up and stressing out
I'm guessing messing up's what I'm about
Kicking and screaming inside my head
A white picket fence, you blink you're dead.
Another zombie coming back to life,
With the beat like a bomb in the blinding lights.

Better burn out than fade away,
So come and have a drink on me,
on me, on me

We were young, having fun
Used to party all night long
Jumping up and down and getting crazy,
Banging our heads to AC/DC
We were young, turn it up
Used to party til we'd drop
And we wouldn't stop until we'd see the sun
We were young

Hey hey hey!
Time is ticking, they say
Hey hey hey!
Not a minute wasted
Hey hey hey!
It's better to burn out than fade away

We were young
Young
Young
Young
Young

We were young, having fun
Used to party all night long
Jumping up and down and getting crazy,
Banging our heads to AC/DC
We were young, turn it up
Used to party til we'd drop
And we wouldn't stop until we'd see the sun
We were young,
Having fun
Used to party all night long
Jumping up and down and getting crazy,
Banging our heads to AC/DC
We were young, turn it up
Used to party til we'd drop
And we wouldn't stop until we'd see the sun
We were young



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Gone Girl - Flynn

Title: Gone Girl


Author: Gillian Flynn
Genre: Fiction
Rating
2/5- Just okay.  Choose with extreme prejudice.

Book Source: Library

 
Recommended if you like: Fiction, Mysteries


 

What Its About:  
Nick Dunne met his wife, Amy, at a party and despite losing contact with her for a year eventually reunited, fell in love, and married. Their "perfect" life carried on in New York City until both Nick and Amy lost their jobs. Then Nick's mother developed cancer and Nick dragged his wife to his home town of North Carthage, Missouri - quite a change for a born and bred New Yorker.

Amy and Nick do their best to adjust to their new lives, despite arguments and struggles. Neither are happy, but both seem to be trying, perhaps. Until one day, on Amy and Nick's fifth-year anniversary, Amy disappears. Out of the blue, she is gone. There appears to have been a, questionable, struggle in their home. The police quickly focus on Nick and pull out all the Missouri "stops" to locate her, or a body. Clues, including an anniversary scavenger-hunt (a tradition between them), lead both the police and Nick to come to conclusions about what happened to Amy.

But...








The Bottom Line: 
This book sounded like such a great concept. It was so very hyped by so many!

But...

In the words of Patricia at American Thinker...

"Gone Girl was one of the best books I had read up until the last few pages. Then it became the worst book I'd ever read..."

Agreed.

Ugh! What a waste!


...sorry Gillian, never again.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tuesday Tunes - 06/23/15


A good lyric is like a great book...

Love, Me

Collin Raye, Artist
Skip Ewing and Max T. BarnesWriters




I read a note my grandma wrote back in 1923
Grandpa kept it in his coat and he showed it once to me
He said, "Boy, you might not understand but a long, long time ago.
Grandmas daddy didn't like me none. But I loved your grandma so."
We had this crazy plan to meet and run away together
Get married in the first town we came to and live forever
But nailed to the tree where we were supposed to meet instead
I found this letter and this is what it said

If you get there before I do, don't give up on me
I'll meet you when my chores are through
I don't know how long Ill be but I'm not gonna let you down
Darling, wait and see
And between now and then til I see you again
I'll be loving you, love me

I read those words just hours before my grandma passed away
In the doorway of a church where me and grandpa stopped to pray
I know I'd never seen him cry in all my 15 years
But as he said these words to her, his eyes filled up with tears

If you get there before I do, don't give up on me
I'll meet you when my chores are through
don't know how long Ill be but I'm not gonna let you down
Darling, wait and see
And between now and then 'til I see you again
I'll be loving you, love me
Between now and then 'til I see you again
I'll be loving you, love me

Between now and then 'til I see you again
I'll be loving you, love me.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Called - Jefferson

Title: Called: Hello, My Name Is Mrs. Jefferson. I Understand Your Plane Is Being Hijacked. 9:45 Am, Flight 93, September 11, 2001


Author: Lisa D. Jefferson
Genre: Memoir
Rating
2/5- Just okay.  Choose with extreme prejudice.

Book Source: Purchased

 
Recommended if you like: Stories about 9/11,  memoirs


 

What Its About:  
Lisa Jefferson, a GTE Airphone supervisor, was taken by surprise on September 11, 2001 when an employee informed her that a man on the telephone system was informing them that he was on a plane that had been hi-jacked. She took over the call, thinking there must be a misunderstanding, and soon found herself speaking directly with Todd Beamer.

Beamer, one of several passengers including Mark BinghamTom Burnett and Jeremy Glick, who formed a plan to take try to recover the plane from the hijackers, shared with Jefferson what was occurring and explained the plan. She spoke and prayed with Todd, a Christian, until, during his final moments, she heard him state the now infamous words "Let's roll!" shortly before the plane crashed into a Pennsylvania field.

Jefferson recalls these moments with Todd and hearing the doomed passengers on Flight 93 and discusses how this event greatly effected her life.








The Bottom Line: 
Overall, Jefferson's story is very interesting and touching. However, her story only represents about half the book. And, her interaction with Flight 93 was considerably less. She shares quite a bit about how her life was changed after this event. Already a Christian, this event seems to have strengthened her belief in God... that's it. The remainder of the book was input from others who lost loved ones on 9/11.  While valuable stories, I was interested in hearing much more about Jefferson's experiences, more of her conversation with Beamer, and felt cheated when it was cut short.

To be fair, such a dramatic event probably made it difficult to remember many specifics... but  overall, I just felt cheated. Well written though, this one's worth it if you are really into stories of 9/11, otherwise there are better accounts of that day out there.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tuesday Tunes - 06/16/15



A good lyric is like a great book...

I Will Remember You
Sarah McLachlan, Artist
Sarah McLachlan, Seamus Egan, and Dave Merenda, Writers




I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

Remember the good times that we had?
I let them slip away from us when things got bad
How clearly I first saw you smilin' in the sun
Wanna feel your warmth upon me, I wanna be the one

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

I'm so tired but I can't sleep
Standin' on the edge of something much too deep
It's funny how we feel so much but we cannot say a word
We are screaming inside, but we can't be heard

But I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

I'm so afraid to love you, but more afraid to lose
Clinging to a past that doesn't let me choose
Once there was a darkness, deep and endless night
You gave me everything you had, oh you gave me light

And I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

And I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Weep not for the memories



Monday, June 15, 2015

Mondays & Monday Mailbox - 06/15/15

Monday Mailbox hosted by Marcia @ To Be Continued.
It's Monday! hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey.







Now Reading:
There Was a Little Girl (Brooke Shields)

Just Finished: 
We Should All Be Feminists (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
On Deck:
So, so many!



My goodness my "Mailbox" was busy this week!







This one came from a publisher...












These arrived from the book sale...
















And these came from the town event, library book stand!
















Overall, a pretty great week book wise!!!


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday Salon - 06/14/15


If you are interested in other Salon posts, visit the Facebook page to get links. The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Life:

Hey there, how the hell are you?!?

It's been a little while, hasn't it? After six months, I am finally at a point at work where my every second isn't triple filled! Which is not to say I've got anywhere near the free time I used too, but at least I can arrive after 8:30 a.m., leave before seven p.m., and even eat lunch, while still keeping up. God willing it will continue to be reasonable. I'm still exhausted by the time I get home though.

Hubby took a week off from work in May, but I wasn't able to join him. But now I'm feeling like it's possible, so I looked up my time and discovered that, in fact, I am no longer accruing vacation because I'm maxed out.  So I have planned three weeks of vacation this summer, with the boss' approval to use some up. Clearly, I can use every second of the rest!  The first is next week, so I am literally counting the minutes until this week ends...

The babies are doing really well. They are eating well and playing lots. We finally opened the summer porch for the season and they are permanent fixtures out there! They love the birds that live in the tree next door and the looking down on the bunnies and chipmunks that are finally around after last year's fix family living next door.

The PV ladies are back together again, at least for the summer, since Vicki got back from her overseas travels. We've got several performances planned this summer, but are enjoying a reduced rehearsal schedule as summer is very busy for everyone.  But it's nice to sing with my gals once again!

Blogging:

I had gotten so behind in blogging, it was crazy. But I have continued to read, as that's about all I have energy for after work...other than TV. And let's be honest, at some point, you have to turn that sucker off. You know?!

am catching up finally, though. My recaps have been updated, and I have gotten a bunch of reviews set to publish... Yes, the books are finally returning to my book blog!! I've also got a bunch of new Tuesday Tunes ready for you and will do my best to keep my Monday posts going.

This past week was wonderful book wise! The town library had their annual book sale. When I mentioned it, hubby didn't threaten to divorce me despite our overflowing shelves. So I went!! As well, this past weekend was a town event where the library always has a book tent where they bring the left-over books and you can take what you want for a donation. I spent about $20 at both events. Not as much as last year, but I got a bunch of great books and look forward to an awesome reading vacation!

What I Am Reading Today
I seem to have finally beat my recent book blahs and have powered my way through a bunch of books recently. Currently, I am reading the third book (I almost positive) of a well known actress. And I read the very short We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanfa Ngozi Adichie this weekend. Short but powerful!

Here's to just a few days left until vacation!!!

Hope it's a great week all!
Shannon


Friday, June 12, 2015

April & May 2015 ReCap




April 2015

This month I read: 
1. Moloka'i



May 2015

This month I read: 
1. Love Life

2. Etches in Sand
3. Working Stiff


In numbers:
Total Read: 4

YTD: 13
Adult: 4
YA/children's: 0
Abandoned: 0


Favorite Book(s) of the Month/s: 

Moloka'i (Alan Brennert)


Challenges Update:
 

2015 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge 
Books to read 2015: 50
7aBooks read in 2015: 15
Books remaining: 35




 

Books to read 2015: 23
Books read in 2015: 6
Books remaining: 17





Books to read 2015: 25
Books read in 2015: 5
Books remaining: 20











Letters to read 2015: 26
Letters read in 2015: 11
Books remaining: 15