Monday, February 28, 2011

Mailbox Monday February 28

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists! Mailbox Monday was started by Marcia at the Printed Page. Mailbox Monday is now on tour and this month's host is Laura at Library of Clean Reads. Thank you Laura for hosting this month!

I am so tired of winter and I am very ready for spring. My daffodils are two inches out of the ground but not looking so great since they have been snowed on. I wish Old Man Winter would go away. This mailbox picture brightened my day. I hope it brightens yours as well.

I am still working on Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum but hope to have it done very soon. I have a review to write for The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship by Lisa Verge Higgins also. Trying to find time for myself is tough these days. I'm still trying to figure out how to balance it all. I'll get there eventually. I received on book for review this past week and it looks like a good one!

Catching Babies by J.D. Kleinke

Summary from the back of the book

Birth, and death. Two ends of the same spectrum. And sometimes the only person standing between is a tired, overworked resident with personal problems of her own.

Welcome to the world of Catching Babies. In the halls of a busy metropolitan teaching hospital, a group of OB/GYN doctors complete their residencies and embark on ambitious careers, all while trying to hold their lives together at the seams. Jay is running from a life he’s tried to leave behind, while Katie sacrifices everything she has to serve an endless parade of needy patients. Anna is out trying to save the world, while Tracy is trying to save twins dying in utero. Based on true stories from delivery rooms and labor decks, Catching Babies spins the doctors’ stories into a gripping mosaic of the obsessions, the anxieties, and the heroism of doctors who have chosen to preside over life’s greatest medical drama—high-risk childbirth.

About the Author

J.D. Kleinke is a medical economist, health industry leader, and the author of Bleeding Edge: The Business of Health Care in the New Century and Oxymorons: The Myth of the U.S. Health Care System. His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, JAMA, Barron's the British Medical Journal and other publications. Catching Babies is his first novel.

Publisher: Fourth Chapter Books, Portland, OR
Pub. Date: March 2011
ISBN: 978-09826639-0-5
Pages: 328

I received this book for review from Mary Bisbee-Beek. Thank you very much Mary!

Isn't that cover eye-catching? I am off to wait for the home health nurse and then I hope to find some time to read everyone's mailbox posts and maybe tackle my google reader posts again. Hopefully I will get my reviews posted this week as well! Thanks for all the well wishes, thoughts and prayers. I am pretty sure the prayers and thoughts are carrying me through!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Amaryllis in Blueberry

Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum

Summary Borrowed from Goodreads

In the stirring tradition of The Secret Life of Bees and The Poisonwood Bible, Amaryllis in Blueberry explores the complexity of human relationships set against an unforgettable backdrop. Told through the haunting voices of Dick and Seena Slepy and their four daughters, Christina Meldrum's soulful novel weaves together the past and the present of a family harmed--and healed--by buried secrets.

"Maybe, unlike hope, truth couldn't be contained in a jar..."

Meet the Slepys: Dick, the stern doctor, the naive husband, a man devoted to both facts and faith; Seena, the storyteller, the restless wife, a mother of four, a lover of myth. And their children, the Marys: Mary Grace, the devastating beauty; Mary Tessa, the insistent inquisitor; Mary Catherine, the saintly, lost soul; and finally, Amaryllis, Seena's unspoken favorite, born with the mystifying ability to sense the future, touch the past and distinguish the truth tellers from the most convincing liar of all.

When Dick insists his family move from Michigan to the unfamiliar world of Africa for missionary work, he can't possibly foresee how this new land and its people will entrance and change his daughters--and himself--forever.

Nor can he predict how Africa will spur his wife Seena toward an old but unforgotten obsession. In fact, Seena may be falling into a trance of her own.

About the Author

Christina Meldrum
received her Bachelor of Arts in religious studies and political science from the University of Michigan. After working in grassroots development in Africa, she earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. She interned with the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva, Switzerland, and worked as a litigator for the law firm of Shearman & Sterling. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family and is on the advisory board of WOW, an organization that helps grow women-led businesses in West Africa.

My Thoughts (so far)

I am supposed to be posting a review for Amaryllis in Blueberry today but unfortunately I am not done with the book. I am reading the book and was going to read through it quickly and post the review but I'm afraid that would not do the book justice.

The book starts out with a woman on trial in Africa for the murder of her husband. The story then backtracks into how the story has ended up to where it began. The Slepy family is very dysfunctional but I find them very interesting. The daughters are all named Mary - Mary Grace, Mary Tessa, Mary Catherine and Amaryllis. I really want to know why Amaryllis' name is different from the rest. So far I can say this is a very good read especially if you are drawn to dysfunctional families. I am enjoying the setting of Africa. I like being able to read about different places and different times. I look forward to finishing the book soon and finding out how the trial ends. I will be reviewing the whole book when I finish it.

I received this book courtesy of Gallery Books and Inkwell Management for my honest opinion.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mailbox Monday February 21

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists! Mailbox Monday was started by Marcia at the Printed Page. Mailbox Monday is now on tour and this month's host is Laura at Library of Clean Reads. Thank you Laura for hosting this month!

I finally finished a book yesterday and made some progress in another book. These three books I received over the past few weeks. Two are for review and one was a win.

Friendship Bread by Darien Gee

An anonymous gift sends a woman on a journey she never could have anticipated.

One afternoon, Julia Evarts and her five-year-old daughter, Gracie, arrive home to find an unexpected gift on the front porch: a homemade loaf of Amish Friendship Bread and a simple note: I hope you enjoy it. Also included are a bag of starter, instructions on how to make the bread herself, and a request to share it with others.

Still reeling from a personal tragedy that left her estranged from the sister who was once her best friend, Julia remains at a loss as to how to move on with her life. She’d just as soon toss the anonymous gift, but to make Gracie happy, she agrees to bake the bread.

When Julia meets two newcomers to the small town of Avalon, Illinois, she sparks a connection by offering them her extra bread starter. Widow Madeline Davis is laboring to keep her tea salon afloat while Hannah Wang de Brisay, a famed concert cellist, is at a crossroads, her career and marriage having come to an abrupt end. In the warm kitchen of Madeline’s tea salon, the three women forge a friendship that will change their lives forever.

In no time, everyone in Avalon is baking Amish Friendship Bread. But even as the town unites for a benevolent cause and Julia becomes ever closer to her new friends, she realizes the profound necessity of confronting the painful past she shares with her sister.

About life and loss, friendship and community, food and family, Friendship Bread tells the uplifting story of what endures when even the unthinkable happens.

I received this book from Ballantine Books through Librarything's Early Reviewers. Looking forward to reading this one. I have had an Amish Friendship Bread Starter before and we really enjoyed the bread I made from it. That cover is yummy, don't ya' think?

The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel

The highly anticipated sixth book of Jean Auel's Earth's Children® series, THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES, is the culmination fans have been waiting for. Continuing the story of Ayla and Jondalar, Auel combines her brilliant narrative skills and appealing characters with a remarkable re-creation of the way life was lived more than 25,000 years ago. THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES is an exquisite achievement by one of the world's most beloved authors.

I received this book from Crown Publishers through Shelf Awareness. My Mom is a huge fan of this series and is always trying to get me to read them so I had jumped on this book before my Mom got ill. When the book came, she was here so I handed it over to her. It is a chunkster with 757 pages! It should keep her busy for some time and hopefully I can get her to review it.

Bering Sea Blues by Joe Upton

This is a gripping memoir of a winter season of crab-fishing in the Bering Sea, filled with scary moments, killer ice, risky work, and for the lucky ones financial rewards. For others, surviving was their reward. Just 25, Joe Upton was the youngest guy aboard when the 104-foot Flood Tide pulled out of Seattle in March 1971 headed for Dutch Harbor with 700-pound crab pots stacked three deep on her deck. The top-heavy load caused some anxious moments later when the vessel iced up. The crew went to work with hammers and baseball bats as howling winds roughed up the seas and the Flood Tide rolled from side to side, threatening to capsize while everyone held their breath. BERING SEA BLUES is a thinking-man's book of the TV series 'Deadliest Catch' because Joe Upton did a lot of thinking that winter working 12- to 14-hour days in weather that would scare most mariners away. He figured if he challenged fate in the Bering Sea crab fishery too long he would wind up either rich or dead, or both.

I won this over at Rose City Reader. Thanks you Gilion and Mary! I am a huge Deadliest Catch fan so this book really appeals to me. If you ever want to know why crab is so expensive just learn a bit about the risk and life of a crabber. Their life is not easy and crab fishing is not an easy task at all!

So that is what has come to my mailbox lately. I am hoping to find time today to check out other MM posts. I have a home health nurse coming for Mom today so I may not be able to get to them until tomorrow. I am so looking forward to visiting blogs again and catching up. I have missed this more than you can imagine!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Update

I am back! My mom is out of the hospital and I have moved her and her dog in with us for now. She has Congestive Heart Failure and Pneumonia. She is doing pretty good aside from hating being on a low fat, low cholesterol, low salt, low carb diet. The house is very crowded but we are all managing to fall into some sort of a routine. I have been finding some time to read a little and hope to get back to blogging. It may be a bit sporadic but I am going to try. I have missed everyone. My google reader has well over 1000 posts! I have a lot of catching up to do! Thank you all so much for your prayers, well wishes, emails and posts! You have no idea how much it means to me! The book blogging community is the best! It's great to be back!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bloggin Break

I am taking a bloggin break for a bit. My mother is in the hospital and I am needed there. It is her heart. She went in Sunday night and is looking much better but has a long road ahead of her. Not much reading going on here either. I look at a page and can't concentrate right now. I hope to be able to get some reading done soon. Right now Mom is my first priority. Thanks for understanding!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blizzard 2011

We survived the Blizzard of 2011! It was unlike anything I have ever been through before. The wind in the middle of the night was very intense and really rather scary. It was like a hurricane with snow. Once I figured out the snowplows weren't getting through, I was a bit nervous. It's nerve-wracking to think if you have an emergency, you are on your own. We had a Civil Emergency or Civil Danger Warning. They said roads were impassable. We couldn't even see where our roads were. Even the freeway was closed down. Many people were stranded in their vehicles and had to spend the night in them. A few people were rescued by snowmobilers. Finally, yesterday we saw a snowplow and they made a narrow path which made me feel so much better. The sun came out and the dig out began. That is my son shoveling the end of the driveway. He looks happy, don't ya think? He was a real trooper! We even managed to have a bit of fun while shoveling. We are on our second day of no school and the roads are not great but better. Yesterday was eerily quiet. No cars out, just the hum of snowblowers and a few voices outside. Today there are a few cars out. I think tomorrow life will be back to normal somewhat. Today though I will be reading, cooking and doing some laundry and enjoying the sunshine! This storm is one for the record books. I know I for one won't ever forget it!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mailbox Monday January 31...on Tuesday

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists! Mailbox Monday was started by Marcia at the Printed Page. Mailbox Monday is now on tour and this month's host is Rose City Reader. Thank you for hosting the month of January. Next month's hostess is Laura at Library of Clean Reads.

I am late with my Mailbox Monday post. I am getting ready for the big blizzard that should be arriving sometime today. I can hardly wait....not! I am very excited about the books I received this past week. All books were purchased on the recommendations of other book bloggers. At least if I have to be snowbound, I can read some good books, right?

First off is One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. I am very excited about this book! I am going to try and follow along with the reading and discussion over at (in)courage. There is still time to join in if you wish to. Ann Voskamp will be in on the discussion also. I am very excited. I am sure the inside of this book will be as beautiful as it's cover.

Next up is Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks. I love Nicholas Sparks' books and my mom loves them also. I have heard this book is a bit different from his usual so I am curious about it.

Next up is a book I saw on a blog or two and it really spoke to me, plus I really love that cover. It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know by Rachel Olson.

And because I needed an inexpensive book to get free shipping on Amazon(like I need an excuse to buy a book!) I found Magnolia Wednesdays by Wendy Wax. It was on my wishlist and was bargain priced.

What books made their way into your home?

Now I am off to tackle the crowds at the grocery store, get my hair done(no snow is gonna stop me from losing my gray hair today!) and pick my daughter up from school this afternoon. Yes, we have school! It is Wisconsin after all! I hope the kiddos get home before the blizzard starts. Tomorrow, I have declared a snow day here regardless. I am sure school will be called off if we get the 2-3 feet of snow they are predicting.