Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

(155)All She Ever Wanted by Rosalind Noonan

All She Ever Wanted

Publication Date: December 24, 2012

Chelsea Maynard has always had "it" together.  She was a DIY guru for a well known magazine in NYC, she had an amazing marriage and a beautiful house in the suburbs when she finally got what she wanted most in life - to get pregnant.  Now baby Annabelle is six months old and Chelsea is barely a shadow of her former self.  It is all she can do to get up in the morning, the dark thoughts invade almost every waking moment.  Postpartum Depression has ravaged this young woman from the inside out.  

It is Chelsea's husband, Leo, and her sister that are holding Chelsea together and making sure the baby gets what she needs.   But then Leo has to go out of town for work and Chelsea's sister is facing her own health crisis. And one morning during that horrible week Chelsea wakes up to find Annabelle gone.  GONE.  She doesn't remember much from the night before and as dark as things have gotten, Chelsea doesn't THINK she did anything to the baby, but how can she know for sure when she doesn't remember anything at all?  Did Chelsea do something to harm her baby or is there some other dark force at play here? And will baby Annabelle ever come home?

I have never been pregnant so I have never had an opportunity to have Postpartum Depression, but the picture that Rosalind Noonan paints with her words is so very frightening.  While Chelsea has the support of her family you can FEEL her desperation leaking off the pages because she realizes that her family doesn't realize just how desperate the situation has become. Then when Annabelle goes missing, we - the reader - don't know what happened.  We don't know who did the unthinkable, making All She Ever Wanted the ultimate page turner.

Bottom line, All She Ever Wanted was a "can't put down" book for me.  I stayed up long past my bedtime to read this one in one sitting and as an old woman it takes a special book to get me to stay up late reading.  I think there are millions of women out there who can relate to Chelsea and her Postpartum Depression - and the rest of us will get just a glimpse at what it must feel like.  If you are looking for something to spend those gift cards on, then really, look no further.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

(154)Becoming Sister Wives by Kody, Meri, Janelle, Christine, & Robyn Brown

Becoming Sister Wives
The Story of an Unconventional Marriage

Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Pages: 288

So my husband & I have a guilty pleasure.  We love to watch Sister Wives, shockingly, my husband more than me.  There is something fascinating about watching this unconventional family navigate through "normal" everyday life.

Becoming Sister Wives tells the stories of how Kody met his wives and how their family grew into what it is today.  From how Kody met each of his wives, to the birth of their children, and finally how the came to have their own show on TLC and of course their move to Las Vegas. There were a lot of growing pains that took place and are never really addressed on the show, but it was certainly interesting to read. . The wives all take turns telling their story and Kody only chimes in at the beginning and end of the book.

I admit that I was a bit surprised by how honest the Wives were when telling their stories and the "growing pains" that came with the addition of each wife. I am sure writing what they did took great thought and opened old wounds. Especially Meri and Janelle, they have had a really rough time with their relationship as Sister Wives.

I know there are a lot of people out there who are against Polygamy and I agree -IF THERE ARE CHILD BRIDES INVOLVED.  As far as I am concerned, grown and consenting adults can do whatever the heck they want to do in the privacy of their own homes. Whether they are polygamists or gay or "living in sin" - whatever the heck they want to do is none of my business.  Having said that, Kody Brown does not appeal to me in any way shape or form,  but then again - neither does millions of other men.

Bottom line, as far as memoirs go, Becoming Sister Wives is not the most literary one that you will find on the market, but it is written from the heart and that goes a long way in my book.  If you are a fan of the show or have a curiosity in the Polygamous lifestyle then you should pick up this book, it is a quick, but engrossing read.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

(153)Invisible by Carla Buckley


Publication Date: December 11, 2012

Dana left her small Midwestern hometown of Black Bear, Minnesota nearly eighteen years ago and has never looked back.  But when she receives a phone call from her niece, Peyton, saying that her mom, Dana's sister, Julie is gravely ill.  After something goes terribly wrong on a construction site that Dana was in charge of, she decides maybe a trip to Black Bear would be a good thing.  Only she is too late and Dana arrives in time to bury her sister.  In the days after Julie's funeral Dana learns that the disease that afflicted her sister has struck several people in Black Bear. Dana does not believe that it is just a coincidence and starts digging around into the town's manufacturing companies.  Could they be slowly poisoning the residents of Black Bear?

I read Carla Buckley's first novel, The Things That Keep Us Here almost three years ago, and I enjoyed it so much I actually read it again this past summer.  So, I was all ready for another book from this author.  I jumped at the chance to read Invisible. While it didn't suck me in as quickly as I had expected, I really did enjoy the story.  I enjoyed watching Dana get to know Peyton.  And you know what - there is a twist there that I haven't even mentioned, the reason why Dana left Black Bear all those years ago and never returned.  It adds even more of a dramatic flair to the story.  While it hasn't been eighteen years since I was "home", I only get back once or twice a year, having just been there I could totally relate to Dana's feelings driving down the streets after all these years.  The more things change the more they stay the same...

Bottom line, Invisible is a great dramatic read with a great environmental message. There are layers to this story that get peeled away with every page you turn.  If you are looking for a good read to take you away from the hustle and bustle of the Holidays, then look no further!

Monday, December 10, 2012

(152)Christmas Magic by Cathy Kelly

Christmas Magic 

Pages: 416
Publication Date:  November 6, 2012

Can you believe that Christmas is just two weeks away?  Really TWO WEEKS away.  Never in all of my life has a year gone by so fast.  Christmas is typically my favorite time of year and it feels like I got a late start to the festivities, with being in Iowa for so long at Thanksgiving.  But here we are... 

I have been a fan of Cathy Kelly for many years.  Her Irish Fiction has transports me to the "home" that I have never seen.  Her latest work, Christmas Magic, is a compilation of short stories that will seem warm, familiar and likely to touch your heart.  From office Christmas parties to neighborhood mailmen (postmen) to familial issues that always pop up around the holidays this collection holds something for everyone. 

Bottom line, if you are looking to supplement all of the Christmas movies that pop up this time of year, then you must pick up Christmas Magic. The writing is so engaging and the characters so well written you find yourself thinking about them even after you have moved onto the next story. With character such as Millie, Stevie, and Frankie you are sure to find yourself flying through the pages!  And best of all, the e-book is only $5.99!

Monday, December 3, 2012

(151)The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg

The Middlesteins

Pages: 288
Publication Date: October 23, 2012

For many years obesity has very much been a taboo topic.  One that everyone has tiptoed around for years, but it seems recently that a lot of authors have dared to tackle the tough topic.  Jami Attenburg is the latest author to do so with her new book, The Middlesteins.

The Middlesteins is a story centered around Edie Middlestein.  She has always been a little overweight, but now that she mas moved into her sixties her morbidly obesity is affecting the whole family.  Her husband, Richard, has left her to pursue single women he meets on the internet.  Her daughter, Robin, is furious at her father and refuses to have anything to do with him.  Edie's son, Benny and his wife, Rachelle, are concerned with her weight, but are more concerned at how the family issues will affect their twins and their upcoming religious ceremony.  Is a "happily ever after" ending really possible for the Middlesteins?  You will have to read to find out.

The Middlesteins is told from all different angles in all different periods of Edie's life and at the start of each chapter from Edie's perspective is her weight at that moment in time. (nice, huh?) But the underlying theme in each chapter is Edie's weight.  And while her family would LIKE you to believe that they are concerned about Edie's weight because of her health, the feeling I got was that they were concerned for more selfish reasons.  Like being embarrassed by her size. It was especially interesting to me to see all of the reactions when she brought a date to the big party.  In fact it even made me mad on her behalf that they were so shocked that she actually had a date.

Bottom line, The Middlesteins is not just another ordinary book about family dynamics.  Well it is, but when you factor in Edie's weight and all of the family's perceptions (and realities) that go with it, you have a pretty exceptional book.  Let me know what you think!

Why I Read...

I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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