Mailbox Monday 2-17-14

mailbox mondayMailbox Monday is a great place to take a peek at other peoples loot without breaking into their homes!!  It’s a central place where book lovers can link their posts on what they received from the mailman (or UPS, or Fed Ex…) this week.  Stop by the host of Mailbox Monday and link up, if you like, or just drool over what other bloggers were lucky enough to nab.  I have to warn you though,  you’ll want to add these titles to your “I HAVE to read that” list!

This week was a good book week for me.  Here is what I scored:

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A Lifetime to Die by P.S. Meronek

The Isolation Door by Anish Majumdar

Evening Stars by Susan Mallery

Poison Town by Creston Mapes

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris   (isn’t this one totally different!  I’m most excited about this one this week!)

The Diet Fix by Yoni Freedhoff, M.D.

So in other words, this week I received books about the Russian mob, schizophrenia, complicated sister relationships, a cancer causing chemical leakage,  a stolen identity, and a self-help book to make your diet more effective..  Now really,  what more does a girl need?  🙂

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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes *Review*

me before youLou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

Having never read Jojo Moyes writing before, after finishing this book, I had to ask “Why?”  What has kept this author off my radar?  Primarily, I believe it’s because the description of her novels always sounded like just a sappy, romantic love story.  I can assure you, Me Before You is not just a sappy love story, and if the rest of her books have depth like this one does then I will assuredly add them to my book shelf.

Me Before You not only broke my heart, but opened my mind as well.  What do you do when you all choices are taken from you?  Do you adjust…can you adjust?  And what problem does falling in love add to the equation?  I urge you to read this book and tell me that there is only black or white, yes or no answers.  A beautiful story of love and life, Me Before You deserves to be treated as more than a romance book.

Mailbox Monday February 10th, 2014

mailbox mondayThank God for books.  Seriously, what else is there to do in a cold Minnesota winter like this?  The weatherman on channel 11 news just said we have had 43 days in a row of zero or below zero temperatures.  Sometimes opening my mailbox and seeing a padded envelope which I know contains a book is the only bright spot of my day.  That being said, here is what graced my mailbox this week:

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The Fitness Fun Busy Book  My granddaughter and I should have fun with this one!

A Little Help From My Friends  Hmm..young adult romance…we’ll see

The Plover  Looking forward to this one the most this week!

The Sun and Other Stars  Only seen a few reviews for this one so far, but they’ve been good ones!

If you’d like to link up to mailbox Monday and show off what you got this week just click here.

The rest of my week after work is very tame, which is good because with wind chills in the -25 to -35 range, I don’t want to go anywhere.

Monday, I’ll be working out with my cousin Janeen, Tuesday I have my TOPS meeting and a book club meeting  (I’m in charge of dessert for book club and have no clue what I’m bringing yet), Wednesday the men’s Olympic USA hockey game will be on (USA! USA!)  Thursday is another workout with Janeen, Friday I’m making a special surf & turf Valentines dinner for my family whom I heart very much, Saturday I’m hosting a birthday party for my mother (Happy 68th mom!) and Sunday I serve at church in the morning.   GULP!  Maybe not as tame of a week as I originally planned!  🙂

Regardless, you know I’ll be fitting in a little reading time here and there throughout as well.  Have a great week!

People Tools: 54 Strategies for Building Relationships, Creating Joy, and Embracing Prosperity by Alan C. Fox *Review*

ALAN C. FOX PEOPLE TOOLSIn ten thousand classrooms we teach reading, writing, and arithmetic, but we leave solutions to the universal problems of human relationships to be discovered, if at all, by trial and error. The trial is typically painful and the error is often costly. As Benjamin Franklin noted, “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.” People Tools: 54 Strategies for Building Relationships, Creating Joy, and Embracing Prosperity defines, explains, and provides examples of 54 easy-to-grasp behavioral techniques that readers can use to improve their relationships, and their lives. It is the perfect resource for busy people looking for fast and effective solutions to the challenges they face every day.

People Tools is time proven, inspirational, practical and easy to understand. From building self-esteem, to developing better communication skills, to finding effective ways to cope with anger, each “People Tool” addresses a specific issue or problem. Each tool provides a simple, straightforward strategy that readers can adopt to immediately bring about desired change and positive results. Every tool is illustrated and supported by anecdotal examples that are relevant and relatable.

Although readers may recognize some of the more intuitive techniques in People Tools, this source book provides explanations and helpful examples of many different tools so that the reader can build and expand his or her existing repertoire of skills. Some of the useful “People Tools” in the book include:

1. The Belt Buckle. When words say, “Yes” and action (The Belt Buckle) says “No,” trust the Belt Buckle

2. The Ticker Tape. At times honesty and completeness are not merely the best policy–they are the only policy

3. Catching a Feather. An alternative to an endless chase, this Tool allows solutions to float into your life

People Tools is organized into 54 chapters. Each chapter contains short, engaging stories using humor and personal anecdotes to illustrate the “People Tool” presented. The language is friendly and non-intimidating. Each chapter presents a unique solution to a specific problem. The reader could open the book to any page and find practical solutions they can immediately apply to their own lives.

When my son was struggling with Tourette Syndrome and the pediatricians and specialists I had brought him too could not find the right medications to help him out we ended up seeking help from a neurologist at a well-known hospital several hundred miles away. He told us we were right in seeking a different type of doctor. “Every doctor has different tools in his toolbox” he said “we’ll keep trying different tools until we find the one that works.”  It took a few tries, but we eventually found the right one and my son’s life became a whole lot easier.

People Tools: 54 Strategies for Building Relationships, Creating Joy, and Embracing Prosperity has a lot of tools to try. Will all of them work for you? Probably not, but you have plenty more to choose from! I enjoyed reading through this self-help guide at looking at our life from a different perspective. The chapters were quick and easy to read and the examples and advice were written in an honest and humorous way. But a word of caution: just because this is a quick and easy read shouldn’t mean you can read it and set it back on your bookshelf. This is one that should sit by your bedside so you can thumb through it and absorb the tools that best fit your situation and life experiences.

The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons *Review*

galleryLondon, 1958. It’s the eve of the sexual revolution, but in Juliet Montague’s conservative Jewish community where only men can divorce women, she finds herself a living widow, invisible. Ever since her husband disappeared seven years ago, Juliet has been a hardworking single mother of two and unnaturally practical. But on her thirtieth birthday, that’s all about to change. A wealthy young artist asks to paint her portrait, and Juliet, moved by the powerful desire to be seen, enters into the burgeoning art world of 1960s London, which will bring her fame, fortune, and a life-long love affair.

The Gallery of Vanished Husbands started out slow and continued at a leisurely pace. But that doesn’t mean it was not a good book. The novel follows the life of Juliet Montague from when we meet her on her thirteenth birthday in 1958 throughout her entire life. While most books rush to some kind of climax or conclusion, The Gallery of Vanished Husbands was like trailing your toes in the water as you walk along the beach. Slow, steady, comfortable, but in the end a bit cool. More “gallery” than “vanished husbands” the novel is about Juliet, her love of art, and her talent in seeking out new artists. But all the while she’s doing this there is the stigma of her being an aguna (a jewish woman whose husband has deserted her or disappeared but still considered by others to be anchored or chained to her marriage)

When after eight years alone Juliet decides to take a lover she earns the disappointment and scorn of family and neighbors in her Jewish community, and ultimately her teenage daughter Frieda. Juliet knows that if she’s ever going to live again she has to do things her own way, no matter what others may think.

The Gallery of Vanished Husbands will not leave you at the edge of your seat, but its quiet manner will allow you to sink into it’s cushions.

Mailbox Monday January 20th, 2014

mailbox mondayI have never participated in Mailbox Monday before, I’ve always just been one who has drooled over the stack of books everybody else has been getting in the mail.  But over time, I have come to realize that my mailbox is getting fuller and fuller every week.  So I guess now is as good a time as any to link up with this meme.  If you would like to link up as well please click here.

This is what made its way to my mailbox this week:

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Independent Study

Traveler  I have a friend who is chomping at the bit to get his hands on this one!

Shotgun Lovesongs   Looks good doesn’t it?

People Tools

The Other Language

North of Boston  This is the one I’m most excited to dig into!

Did you get any of these in your mailbox this week?  Which one looks the best to you?

 

Breathless by Anne Sward *Review*

breathlessLo was just six when she met thirteen-year-old Lukas the night a brushfire threatened their community. Both the children of immigrants, both wild with love for the land, theirs was an easy friendship despite the fierce injunctions of Lo’s family. Meeting in secret at an abandoned lake house, they whiled away their summers in the water and their winters curled up inside, reenacting dialogue from their favorite film, Breathless.

How a friendship so innocent and pure—and so strictly forbidden—could be destroyed is a mystery that unfolds across Lo’s travels from Berlin to Copenhagen to New York, from tryst to tryst, as she seems fated to roam the outside world she blames for tearing her and Lukas apart. Haunting, resonant, full of humor and heartrending depth, Breathless explores how childhood acts can stake an unimpeachable claim on our older selves, and how atonement might be wrest from the past.

How do I even begin to describe this book?  As I was reading it I found myself caught between feeling bored and feeling transfixed.  I didn’t really like it but I couldn’t put it down.  I loved it but I was afraid to pick it up again.  My emotions ran hot and cold throughout the book.  I knew little about what was going on, but I understood it all.

I realize as I am attempting to write this review that I can’t pin down what I want to say, and therefore I am not going to try, other than to throw out a few adjectives: haunting, beautiful, tragic.