Mini-Views: Plane Crashes and Shipping Containers

April 13, 2015 Book Review 3


While both of these gems are written by female authors, that is about all these two books have in common.  If I really wanted to stretch, I could say both have significant transportation issues as part of the main storyline.  I can say that without giving away spoilers and without too much of a cheeky grin ;-)

Girl Underwater Debut novel about a 19-year-old survivor of a plane crash in the Colorado Rockies. I started crying about page 87 and did not stop until the final page. It wasn’t without fault, but the emotional punch it packed certainly made up for the very few shortcomings.  Written by a medical doctor with PTSD as a major plot point ~ if even half of the symptoms of PTSD were accurate then this book not only entertains, it also offers much-needed education on a terrible disorder suffered by many.   Recommended for fans of Lauren Oliver – the emotional meltdown I had reminded me of when I read Before I Fall and Vanishing Girls.


The Singer’s Gun  My first introduction to Emily St. John Mandel.  Yes, it is true, I have not read Station Eleven yet, but don’t hold it against me!  Believe me, after reading this one, I will pick up anything Mandel writes.  It wasn’t so much that I connected with any of the characters, but more that Mandel is a darned good storyteller.  International intrigue, family drama, conflicts with inner values and a State Department Investigator that just will not give up  – yes! more, please!  While I have fallen head over heels in love with Mandel’s writing I’m still not sure I should start Station Eleven until I have a solid weekend to do nothing but read. . .advice from anyone who has read it already? wait for time to read non-stop or go ahead in sporadic spurts?

What’s the last book you read that had you sobbing through a box of Kleenex? Or rolls of toilet tissue. . .



March in Review

April 2, 2015 Book Talk 7

So March has left us and would you believe this past weekend it was back down to the 30’s and yet by Monday we were up to 75?!? This weather is crazy!  I’m not telling you anything new am I? No matter where in the world you may be ~ seems like the weather is a bit crazy for all of us.

March was an insanely busy month so not a whole lot of reading nor blogging got done.  I’m glad April is here, the sun is shining and a new day has dawned.  Kind of out with the old, in with the new, right?

What I’ve Been Reading

Girl Underwater by Claire Kells

A Fireproof Home for the Bride by Scheibe

The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell

Dead Wake by Erik Larsen

Some Luck by Jane Smiley

Thrive (re-read) by Arianna Huffington

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

The No More Excuses Diet by Maria Kang

The Coral Thief by Rebecca Stott

What I’ve Been Reviewing

A Fireproof Home for the Bride {review here}

The No More Excuses Diet {review here}

Some Luck {review here}

I’ve got to get busy and finish writing some of these reviews! Please tell me there are others with that problem!

What I’ve Been Giving Away

Rachel won a copy of One Plus One 

Of Particular Note

If you haven’t discovered Bryn’s blog yet at Gleaningful then you are in for the most wonderful treat!  Her posts are thoughtful, eloquent and will have you thinking and/or writing a book of a comment in response to her posts!  Let me know what you think! I know I’ve been inspired by her What a Thousand Splendid Suns Teaches Us About Friendship and Little Women: The Moral of the Story.

Also, a few blogging friends have started a much-needed space to discuss ALL aspects of a book and not just the ‘surface-y’ review stuff.  The design is clean-cut yet welcoming and the conversation is lively and inclusive.  They’ve only just begun but already they’ve had quite the discussion happening around their place!  Have you joined in at The Socratic Salon yet?

Dear Lovelies how was your March?  


The Night I Learned the Meaning of Miscegenation

April 1, 2015 Book Talk 1


It was 2012 when I sat on a bleacher in the back of a crowded coffee shop with my daughter and a hundred others to listen to the Poetry Slam as part of the annual Decatur Book Festival.  We were all sweaty, stinky and yet glued to our seats as United States Poet Laureate Natasha Tretheway and her father, poet & professor Eric Tretheway, shared with us their history, their hearts and their poetry.

My favorite poem of the evening, and the one that takes me back to that bench on a hot, muggy, Georgia September night is Miscegenation.  It is no wonder she won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for Native Guard, of which this poem is from.  Natasha Tretheway writes poems filled with depth and light and humanity.  If you ever have an opportunity to attend a Poetry Slam ~ especially one where Ms. Tretheway may be speaking, then make sure you snag the best seat and know you are in for the treat of a lifetime.


In 1965 my parents broke two laws of Mississippi;
they went to Ohio to marry, returned to Mississippi.

They crossed the river into Cincinnati, a city whose name
begins with a sound like sin, the sound of wrong—mis in Mississippi.

A year later they moved to Canada, followed a route the same
as slaves, the train slicing the white glaze of winter, leaving Mississippi.

Faulkner’s Joe Christmas was born in winter, like Jesus, given his name
for the day he was left at the orphanage, his race unknown in Mississippi.

My father was reading War and Peace when he gave me my name.
I was born near Easter, 1966, in Mississippi.

When I turned 33 my father said, It’s your Jesus year—you’re the same
age he was when he died. It was spring, the hills green in Mississippi.

I know more than Joe Christmas did. Natasha is a Russian name—
though I’m not; it means Christmas child, even in Mississippi.

~ Natasha Tretheway

What is your favorite poem? Join me in celebrating ALL poetry this month, from the works of Shel Silverstein to Pablo Neruda to Poet Laureate’s like Natasha Tretheway ;-)


Comparison Traps and Loving the Home You Have

March 31, 2015 Book Talk 9


Create-the-home-of-your-dreams-right-where-you-areSeveral years ago I was blessed to be able to buy my mom’s house after she remarried and I had just divorced.  It was a small starter home, yellow siding with a one bay carport.  There were three bedrooms, one bath so my two girls shared the largest room and my son had the smallest.  The eat-in kitchen opened up into the living room, and in its entirety, the house was right at 1000 sq. feet.

At the same time a good friend of mine and I started a book club.  She was an attorney I worked with in the juvenile courts of the quad-county area we served, and it was just natural that we invited other professionals to join us {like the juvenile court judge, Department of Family and Children’s Services Director and others}.  The plan was to meet once a month in rotating homes.  Can I just be honest here?  I was so envious of everyone else’s home and so embarrassed by mine.  What would they think of my small house compared to theirs?  Would they look down on me?  And my furniture! It was all hand-me-down, mismatched and not very expensive, at all.

Fast forward to today.  For the past year, I’ve been reading a blog that has brought my thinking around 360 degrees!  Melissa Michaels at The Inspired Room is such an inspiration and encouragement.  Her message, Love the Home You Have, has just been released as a book under the same name.   It has been through her blog that I really came to love the home I am in, no matter where that may be or how small it may appear.

Last year, we bought a small cabin in the woods.  It was purchased as a rental investment, but we have since decided to move in and do some renovating.  It has one bedroom, two bathrooms and a finished daylight basement.  Although we’ve just moved in, my sweetheart, who is corporate by profession but builder by heart, has already begun renovations.

Do I love this home? Immensely.  Am I looking forward to hosting book club at the cabin while in the chaos of settling in and renovating? Absolutely.  Gone are the days of comparing my home to my friends’ homes. Gone are the days of wishing away what I have. . .

To celebrate book publishing day, Melissa is hosting a 31-day challenge to Love Your Home.  I hope you will join me in participating AND in reading her book Love the Home You Have.  Congratulations Melissa, and a tremendous thank you for helping me shift my perspective and love my home!

love the home you have




Book Review: A Fireproof Home for the Bride

March 25, 2015 Book Review 0

Many thanks to the publisher for the complimentary review copy; however, these are solely my thoughts and opinions.

Book Review: A Fireproof Home for the BrideA Fireproof Home for the Bride
by Amy Scheibe
Published by St. Martin's Press
On March 10th, 2015
Genre: Fiction, Literary
Pages: 384
Source: complimentary review copy
Visit Goodreads
Buy the Book from IndieBound
Buy the Book from Amazon


A slow, yet methodical, building of the plot to an ultimate firestorm;

A coming-of-age novel with a strong female lead;

Issues of family secrets ~ how do you handle learning the people you love are not who you thought they were?

Racial tensions ~ the white man against anyone not white, male and Protestant.

Religious intolerance ~ strong intolerance by the Lutherans of the Catholics; I can’t even pretend to understand the conflict here, but I think that’s the point.

Why I Read A Fireproof Home for the Bride  the charm of the 1950’s with secrets & struggles & enough family strife to make it real + a heroine worthy of cheer = yes, please, give me more!

What I Would Have Liked Better Having read this one in a couple of days, it’s apparent that there wasn’t much I didn’t like!  The ultimate firestorm was a bit over-the-top taking away from the believability of the story but not so over-the-top that I didn’t want to finish.  At times it was hard to keep all of the characters straight between the Brann’s and the Nelson’s and which belonged to which family and then throw in her father’s extended family and it got to be a bit confusing.  I muddled thru, obviously!

Please Give Me More The characters were so fully drawn I felt I knew them.  I’ve always heard that Midwesterners were hard workers, especially the farmers.  The author did a fabulous job of making these Midwesterners real, not stereotypical – she showed  us rather than told.  I lived on my grandparents farm for a few years growing up and I know it’s hard work, long hours with very little pay.

Interesting to Note  I was not aware the Klu Klux Klan had such a prominence in Minnesota during the ’50s or that Mexican field workers from Texas would migrate to Minnesota to work the farms & in the sugar beet factories.  Fascinating the things one can learn from fiction!

If you liked The Swan House or The Boston Girl then you may enjoy A Fireproof Home for the Bride. Recommended.

What book have you read recently where you learned something new about history?