Thursday, April 25, 2013

Moving on. Moving Up.

Moving on, moving up.

Well.  I finally did it.  I launched a website, with a new blog, complete with my name.  Hah.  It's been fun posting semi-anomously while I figured everything out and worked on my book.  If you would like the link, just leave me a message in the comments and I'll be happy to send you there.  Thanks for allowing me to grow and learn with you along the way!


Thursday, April 11, 2013

here's how I see it- a review of "Cutting for Stone"

Cutting for Stone Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really a 4.5 rating.  I didn't know anything about this book when I began and the best way for me to describe the writing style is that of a fast flowing river that has many eddies along the way.  I would be floating along, just starting to really get into a certain character, or what was happening in the story and then suddenly I was off on the side, slowed down by going into detail about another character.  At first this was really bothering me, and I admit, if I wasn't listening to the audio version, I may have put it down.  But once I figured out the writing style and embraced it, and as I learned more about all the characters, I really fell in love with this book!

There are very strong medical and cultural influences throughout which I really enjoyed learning about, especially given Abraham Verghese's expertise and background.  I have no idea how he came up with such an elaborate storyline filled with so much turmoil over the years.  I thought it was very interesting that Verghese decided to begin the story even before Marion and Shiva's births, and I loved the hint of mystery over a pregnant nun and her run-away lover.

I love love loved Hema and Ghosh.  They represent everything parents should be and their love for Marion and Shiva is beautiful.  I love that the birth of the little twins is what finally brings the two of them together.  I also love how they each had their own strong identities, but they were such in sync partners.  I think it was so sweet that for as talented as Hema was with her work, at home she was just Mama- she never wanted her boys to think her love for them could be divided or lessened by her work.  I can't imagine how haunted she was for so long over the possibility that Thomas Stone could come back and claim the twins.  I love how Ghosh never contacted Stone out of respect and love for his wife.  He was a great husband as well as a father.  

Marion and Shiva- the way Verghese describes their connection as twins is so beautiful.  I love their foreheads touching as boys and how that piece comes full circle in the hospital at the end.  The description of them as on Shiva-Marion was really interesting and sweet.  I saw a lot of Thomas Stone in Shiva's personality, and thought how different of a book this would be from any other perspective- especially Shiva.

Genet's character was so tragic.  Eventually I just felt sorry for her.  I couldn't believe what she had to go through at her mother's hand, and it made me furious that Shiva never owned up to his part in it.  I wanted closure with her in the end, and I guess there is the hint of that, but I wanted her to mend it better with Marion.  Although, her tragic life, wreaking havoc in her wake wherever she went, was a huge part of the story.  ANd how awful for Marion to have such a love-hate relationship with her and never be able to rid himself of her spell.

I think the search for redemption was a huge theme in the book.  Thomas trying to find it after abandoning his sons and then being able to do the surgery, Sister Mary Joseph Praise traveling to find it under the guise of a nun and penning the letter on her deathbed, Gosh never searching out Thomas but leaving the letter for Marion to find all those years later, Shiva for what he did with Genet seeking redemption by giving up his liver to his brother.

Even though the pace was meandering for me at times, I'm so glad I read this book and really enjoyed the story and characters.  I found myself wishing that this was one of my book club's selections because there would be so much to discuss.  I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a bit of a challenge that will be worth your effort.


Friday, March 29, 2013

here's how I see it: a review of The Fault In Our Stars

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think everyone should read this book!  It was the perfect mix of emotion- a serious topic intermixed with a witty, sarcastic teenager's voice, who might be falling in love and is just trying to breathe.  This book was so easy to fall right into, where you feel like you just know Hazel Grace (because how can I call her anything else after hearing Augustus Waters say her name that way?).  It pulls at all your heartstrings- as a teenager wanting to be normal and experience love, as a mother wanting to protect and comfort your child, and just as a human not wanting to be sick or lose people you love.  There were several times in this book where I would well up with tears and laugh out loud all within a few sentences of each other.  I think I read it in two days, it was such an easy and compelling read.  This is a great book for anyone, as there's no way you won't be touched by it.  This is going to be my go-to recommendation for a while!  I loved this book and kind of feel like Hazel... I might track down John Green to find out what happens to Hazel Grace  :)


here's how I see it: a review of The Kitchen House

The Kitchen HouseThe Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book!  I was swept right up into this story, with all of its twists and turns, captivated by the inner workings of the big house and the kitchen house and moved by the intricate relationships between everyone.  I really couldn't put it down.

The plot was so interesting as it spans through the lifetime of this family, starting when Lavinia's parents die on the ship to America and she is separated from her brother.  She is brought and adopted by the slaves of the Kitchen House and basically grows up as the white girl among these loving and hard working slaves.

I was so moved by Mama, who just embodied her title, just the right amount of firmness along with a whole lot of love.  The family situation among them was so interesting to me- they all really took care of one another even if they weren't immediate family.  I loved hearing how they would be so kind to one another 's children, or on the other hand give them a talking to if they needed it.  They worked so hard and were so appreciative of the little things,  It is so appalling that slavery was ever allowed to exist and this is just another testament to endurance and the human spirit.  I love that Lavinia never sees them as anything other than her family.  I especially love how she wouldn't call her Mama and Papa anything else until it is completely forced on her.

The amount of loss is staggering- so many hardships everyone had to endure on so many levels.  One that sticks out to me as especially awful is when Jaime is taken from Belle.  I can't even imagine having a child taken away.  Not to mention all of the deaths (especially of the babies!!) throughout the book, or the defiling of the women.  I just don't even know how people go on in the face of crisis that is depicted so common place here.  Maybe they were strong because they had no other choice.  Even from a young age Lavinia is taught not to cry and when to hide her emotion.  

It was interesting to watch Lavinia grow up and eventually make it back to Tall Oaks.  I could just feel her excitement upon arriving and the sinking devastation as she realizes her husband is not who she thought, and she isn't going to be able to help her family in the Kitchen House like she's wanted.  I can't imagine how lonely she feels.  You can see it coming when she starts drugging herself like her mother in law, and you want to stop her, but you can see how she gets to such a dark place.

Marshall's character is complex because of the abuse when he was young, and then the incident with his sister.  I don't think I was ever clear on exactly what he was doing when he caused Sally's death.  Why was he pushing her so hard??  The poor boy was so traumatized and then his father was never home and Rankin was such a horrible influence, and marshall always thought Belle was his dad's mistress!  It was like the perfect storm to corrupt a young impressionable boy.  And then he never can pull himself out of his vices.  I felt so bad for Lavinia as she realizes just how mean Marshall can be.  I kept wanting her to fight!  But I could see how, especially at that time, she wouldn't feel like she could.

There were so many layers with this story- it seems like I could go on forever.  This would be a great book for a book club because there is so much to discuss and so many controversial things that happen.  It is an amazing book, not only the story itself, but it was beautifully written.  The story of how the author came to write it is very interesting, if you haven't read about  it on her website, you should.

The emotion of this book and the characters will stay with me for a long time.  I recommend this book to anyone that wants a hearty, heartwarming and heart-wrenching story that depicts both the nastiness and  loveliness of family.  Loved this book!!


Friday, March 1, 2013

same song second verse

Been doing a lot of wake. coffee. eat. clean/feed/playwithbaby. write. edit. audiobook. workout. wine. sleep.  I feel like I'm in a process loop- or same song-second verse, as my late great grandma TuTu used to say.  I haven't been posting very well because I'm in the middle of a big edit and I just want to FINISH, so every single spare second I snag my macbook air and write until my fingers bleed.  Whenever I  have to do stuff around the house or drive somewhere, I'm listening to an audiobook, which is awesome because it makes the time fly by and I get through a lot of books quickly, hopefully sharpening my writing skills along the way!

My hubby finally finished and gave me a bunch of feedback on my book- hence the big edit I'm inundated with, so I want to publicly thank him for all of his help and suggestions.  He's sort of a freaking genius.  

A little while ago I mentioned how bad I've been wanting to get out of town and now we're doing it!  We are going to Cabo at the end of this month sans baby doll, which I'm totally freaking out about, but trying not to.  He will be with my mother, who raised 6 kids... so that should go ok right?  I'm trying so very hard to be ok with it...  I console myself by thinking how he won't even remember it.  Is that bad that's the only way I can get around it?  I'm a first time mama- I'm letting myself off the hook.

I went to an AMAZING conference with the motivational speaker named Danille Laporte, who I LOVED!  I learned so much from her and I'm reading her book now called, "The Fire Starter Sessions."  I typically shun anything self-help-ish... I don't know why they always rub me the wrong way, but this one was fantastic.  Totally got me motivated!  I'll have to do an entire post dedicated to what I've learned from her sometime.

But for now... on to editing!  I've never been more exited about FINISHING my book than right now!  I'll try to post more regularly!  Have a great weekend!!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

here's how I see it: a review of A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid SunsA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think it deserves more of a 4.5.  This book was another tough subject matter, dealing with two women and their ravaged lives during wartime in Afghanistan.  Told from two female perspectives that eventually intersect, this was a sobering look at some really tough things women have to go through.  The worst part is that these things are happening right now, modern day, during my lifetime.  It made me very conscious of the freedoms I have as a woman, and so very thankful that I had the freedom to choose who I married, and I am treated as an equal with respect.  I had no idea just how much is demanded from these women.

The book itself was, in true Hosseini style, a beautiful and haunting tale.  It spans an entire lifetime against the backdrop of war ravaged Kabul, and depicts the lives of two women who end up married to the same man.  It is a story of  friendship born under the worst of circumstances, and I loved the moment when these two women finally open up to each other, becoming allies instead of enemies.  Both Miriam and Liala went through such awful things that it made it that much sweeter when they found their friendship.  I knew one of them would have to kill Rasheed but I thought it was going to be Liala.  I like it better the was it was written, allowing Miriam to give her life, turning it into a life of honor, a life that meant something, and allowing Liala to escape with Tariq.

The love story between Tariq and Liala as best friends in childhood then being separated all those years and finally reunited was beautiful.  A true love story.  I also loved how little Zalmai ends up having a sweet relationship with Tariq, and I adore Tariq for loving him unconditionally.  I loved the ending, where I mourned for Miriam, but also felt her strong spirit live on and through Liala in making the orphanage a better place.

I thought it was a beautifully written book, full of deep and complex characters who will live on in my mind for a long time.  Khaled Hosseini has a beautiful way of writing rich stories that weave themselves into your heart.  I can't wait for his new book.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

here's how I see it: a review of Room

RoomRoom by Emma Donoghue
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's really more of a 4.5 but I can't do that on here.  Brilliant in it's delivery of a very hard topic matter, Room is a beautiful read. I was amazed by Emma Donoghue's portrayal of Jack and his thoughts and feelings.  I have no idea how she came up with all of the nuances of a five year old to make him sound so authentic.  My heart breaks for his Ma, and all that she had to go through.  I zipped right through it because I couldn't wait to see what was goign to happen next.  Fabulous!



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