True Blue – David Baldacci

Rating: 3 stars

Cliff Notes: Quick Beach Week read

Full Summary: I liked the sisters and plan to go to Baldacci’s backlist to see if there is a book that covers Mace’s kidnapping, etc. I could have done without about 100 pages of Psycho, Tyler, Razor, etc. I don’t think it would have spoiled the plot at all.

David Baldacci True Blue
By |2019-12-12T19:26:39-05:00July 1st, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

The Fallen – David Baldacci

Rating: 3 stars

Cliff Notes: I really like the Amos Decker character, but I could have used this book to be shorter by about 75 pages and less of a skip off into the sunset.

Full Summary: Not much more to add to the review, really. I don’t need much personality woven into my Amos Decker stories. It was sweet how he connected with Zoe, but it did not change the rating for me. I will continue to read the Memory Man series!

The Fallen David Baldacci
By |2019-12-12T19:27:27-05:00June 29th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Lucky – Alice Sebold

Rating: 4 stars

Cliff Notes: I am not sure how I missed that this was a memoir of her rape as a Syracuse freshman. Perhaps not a great choice for a Beach Week read, but I am glad I did.

Lucky Alice Sebold

Full Summary: I am glad this was relatively short because I could not put it down, and it was intense. I picked it up because The Lovely Bones is a favorite of mine – a book I kept even after reading it. I kept waiting for the twist where the rapist would go free on a technicality and was so grateful how it all turned out.

Then I was confused when there were still about 50 pages of the book left but her trial was over. THEN OH MY GOSH. I do not pretend this is a spoiler-free blog, but on this one I am going to leave this as just an OH MY GOSH. I truly think that last part of the book is the lesson that we are supposed to learn from this memoir. How we all come to – and leave from – each situation differently.

After I finished reading this book, I also spent time thinking about Sebold’s current relationship with her mother. It is not a spoiler to say her mom was unhelpful almost to the point of harmful, then there was such a heartfelt message to her mother in the acknowledgments. Was there a reckoning that happened? What does her mom think about how she was portrayed in the book? I plan to do a deep dive on this the next time I cannot sleep in the middle of the night. I shall report back.

By |2019-12-12T19:28:25-05:00June 27th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini

Rating: 3 stars

Cliff Notes: I have heard great things about this book for years and was excited to pick it up at a recent book sale.

Full Summary: It took me a little longer to get through because of the foreign names of geography and culture (food, clothing, celebrations, etc). I also got bogged down at times with the in depth details of the conflict in the region.

But the stories of these women. Holy cow. The resilience and courage these women showed throughout the novel is humbling, especially knowing that the situations that these women endured are probably taken from actual events. And are probably still happening today.

A Thousand Splendid Suns Khaled Hosseini
By |2019-12-12T19:29:07-05:00June 24th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Secret Daughter – Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Rating: I would rate it 3.5 stars if I could.

Cliff Notes: I loved all of the Indian culture present in this book. The author did a great job describing it in great detail. The themes of motherhood and what that means for women really struck a chord with me, making it hard to read at times.

Full Summary: I don’t think this is spoiler-ish at all, but read the review at your own risk. Somer could not have kids and struggled with that infertility and what it meant about her as a woman. It really struck a chord with me as I have had these same thoughts. Not that I struggled with infertility, but as a woman who does not have biological children of her own.

Shilpi Somaya Gowda Secret Daughter

Throughout evolution, one of the main “purposes” for women is to procreate, to carry children, nurture them, work with other women to foster a community in which to raise the children. This is not my jam. I am about as nurturing as a porcupine, although it has gotten a bit “easier” as the kids have gotten older. Teenagers don’t really want to cuddle – they actually don’t even want to be on the same level of the house with us. I put “easier” in quotes because let’s be honest – the bigger the kid the bigger the problems. We certainly have had our fair share. But I am specifically talking about my ability to be maternal and nurturing. Or not be maternal and nurturing, as it were.

When I first became a step mother and we made the choice to not have children of our own, I did struggle with the idea that I had no purpose as a woman if I was not going to have my own kids. What was broken in me that I did not long for that? Over time I have come to see different ways. I can make a difference in the lives of kids – my nieces or my step kids. Friends’ kids and such. Not everyone needs to birth kids in order to make an impact in their lives. Nurturing can look many different ways.

By |2019-12-12T19:29:22-05:00June 22nd, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

The Pull of the Moon – Elizabeth Berg

Rating: 5 stars

Cliff Notes: I could not put it down and read it in one sitting. Then I was sad it was over. I will be keeping this book.

Full Summary: This one really touched a nerve with me as June is my birthday month, and 2019 is a milestone birthday for me – a milestone that rounds up to 50, the age Nan is in this story. The age she is lamenting in this story. Nan is wrestling with lots of the questions I have been turning over this year. What does it mean to get old? Am I supposed to age gracefully or become a truer version of myself as I age and stop putting up with bullshit?

Why is retirement feared – I often hear of employees who don’t want to retire because they don’t know how they will fill their time. What happens when we get still? They don’t know if they can stand to be with their partner all the time – what happens if we have different interests?

From Nan, The Pull of the Moon

I am not going to lie – I had a hard time between 35 and now. I thought I would be at a different point in my career. Seven years ago I chucked the career I had worked for since I was in 3rd grade straight out the window. I am not going to say that I have never looked back, but I will say several changes in my life have made room for the smaller inside voice to be heard in the stillness. The “dull nudge” that Nan talks about in this book.

“The thought was not in words, it was in the form of a dull nudge. And it was that nudge that got me to find this journal, and get going on this trip. And now, in my own stillness, I hear something. ‘Where have you been?’ my inside body whispers to my outside one. Its sense of outrage is present but dulled by the grief of abandonment. ‘I had ideas, There were things to do. Where did you go?’

Nan, The Pull of the Moon

I still do not think I have landed exactly where I am supposed to be, but I sure am closer than ever. I have a few circles of friends who help with this discovery – trying to excavate creativity, authenticity, and vulnerability. It is challenging, exciting, exhausting and invigorating all at the same time. I am extraordinarily lucky to have a partner who supports this excavation and is not threatened by it in the least (I attribute this partly to waiting until later in life to marry). However, I have had relationships change their look and feel or fall by the wayside altogether.

While I certainly have mourned these relationship changes and second guessed myself (usually in the middle of the night when I cannot sleep for thinking about it), I don’t want to continue to put everyone else ahead of me. Dulling my creative energy to take care of someone else’s needs is not what I am on the Earth for. I am sure my fellow people pleasers can relate. And where are all the pleased people anyway?

The Pull of the Moon Elizabeth Berg
By |2019-12-12T19:30:51-05:00June 14th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

My Old True Love – Sheila Kay Adams

Rating: 4 stars

Cliff Notes: Some of the passages in this book just took my breath away. It was a short book, but I slowed down to not miss them so it took me a little longer to read it. I also loved the dialect and phrases and these cannot be read on Sue Speed.

“I went right back to bathing Sylvaney. Sometimes you have to set grief down and not carry it right then, but do not fret. It will squat right there and wait for you to pick it back up.”

Arty Norton

Full Summary: Like life, this book was a trudging of daily hardships at times. It would just outline this happened and that happened, then this happened so that happened. But then there was a flurry of joy or tragedy and the processing of it all. These parts of the story are what kept me engaged in the read. One of my favorite parts was around the deaths that occurred. Stay with me – it is not morbid.

At one point in the novel when Arty is grieving a death of a loved one, she refers to something she was taught. That you actually are born twice – once to the world and once to Heaven. I find this so comforting, like a way that death is a beginning, not an ending.

By |2019-12-12T19:32:25-05:00June 7th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Gone – James Patterson

Rating: 3 stars (3.5 in my head but Goodreads won’t let me do half stars).

Cliff Notes: Sometimes you just need a sure thing.

Full Summary: Sometimes you just need a sure thing. That is when I turn to authors like James Patterson. Some people complain it is cookie cutter and like junk food. BUT I LOVE JUNK FOOD. Junk food never lets me down – it takes me away from nonsense of daily life, keeps a fast pace through its unfolding drama in a setting that I am not very likely to encounter. I think it is always good to try to new authors and genres, but there is a reason that he has written and sold a gillion different books.

Anyway, I liked the story and the pacing. This book was well researched in a way that was interesting, but didn’t get bogged down in details about the weapons or planes and other stuff I didn’t care about. I want to go back to read some of the other books in this series to find out how they ended up with 10 kids.

By |2019-12-12T19:32:42-05:00June 6th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Casual Vacancy – J.K. Rowling

Rating: n/a

Cliff Notes: It was too dense to wade through with people I hated.

Full Summary: DNF’d after 235 pages (out of 500). I hated all these characters and there were too many to hate them all. Then piling on local politics — BARF. At least with Harry Potter I had Minerva and Hermione to keep me going – I remember being overwhelmed with the amount of people and magical names with HP the first time I read it too.

I wonder how much of my disappointment with Casual Vacancy is that I loved Harry Potter so much. There was just too much hype going into it, maybe? Maybe it just need a basilisk to goose some of these idiots into doing something interesting.

JK Rowling Casual Vacancy

By |2019-12-12T19:33:04-05:00June 1st, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments


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