Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Bad Guys Series By Aaron Blabey

You may think wolves, sharks, piranhas, and snakes seem like "bad guys", but they are out to change their image!  For their first mission, Mr. Wolf hatches a plan to free 200 dogs from a Maximum Security Dog Pound.  Will it be that easy to become good guys?  This is the first book of an 11 book series, suitable for beginning chapter book readers.  It is full of wacky illustrations and silly humor.  Check out The Bad Guys series and see if they can salvage their reputations by tickling your funny bone : ). 

Monday, July 15, 2019

The Easy Gluten-Free Cookbook by Lindsay Garza

Along with the basics about the gluten-free diet, and other helpful tips throughout, this book includes a variety of gluten-free recipes that use readily available ingredients and are simple to make. Many of the recipes are for traditional classics like chili, lasagna, potato salad, and chocolate cake. They are each labeled as “5-Ingredient”, “One-Pan” “One-Pot”, “Sheet-Pan”, or “30-Minute” (many with more than one label), and there is a handy index of the recipes by these categories at the end of the book. If the recipes are also vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, and/or nut-free, this is noted too. Although I don’t typically eat only gluten-free foods, I really enjoyed browsing through this cookbook, and will likely add several of the recipes to my collection.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Send Down the Rain by Charles Martin

     This story of a Vietnam War veteran is a lot about his life before and after serving as a soldier. Having their Dad leave them at an impressionable age, Joseph and his brother are deeply affected by his desertion. They each cope in their own way, going in different directions. Joseph is close to his brother, but is deceived by him more than once throughout the book.
     It is odd to him that he is so successful at things he tried after serving his country. Mostly he was just trying to cope with serious thoughts of desperation, and in so doing.....amassed a lot of money, which he used to help other people in desperate situations.
     It isn't until the end that you realize what a truly great sacrifice Joseph has made his whole life. I really enjoyed this story and think this author is fun to read because he often uses male protagonists.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig

11 year old Donal lives with his grandma on the Double W ranch in Montana.  When she has to have an operation, she sends Donal across the country to stay with his great-aunt and uncle, whom he doesn't know, in Wisconsin for the summer.  Riding the dog bus (Greyhound to you and me!), Donal meets all sorts of interesting people, who he tries to get to sign his autograph book.
Once there, Donal does his best to fit in, but it's tough and he makes mistakes.  One of my favorites is his description of a certain Montana festival to his aunt's bridge group.  His aunt finally has had enough, and decides to send Donal back to Montana before the end of the summer.  But who does Donal discover at the bus station?  His uncle, Herman the German, who has decided to go along for the ride.  We learn more about Herman along the way, and the characters that they meet during the ride are memorable.  They do indeed, take the last bus to Wisdom, and their story comes to a satisfying conclusion.

This is the first book Iv'e read by Ivan Doig, and it won't be the last!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Instant Family DVD with Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne

     Pete and Ellie are searching for more in their lives after having established careers and achieving a certain amount of success.  Should they start a family? So begins this funny and loving movie.
     Their adventure into foster care is fraught with problems and entanglements. Just when it seems things are going okay, a new disaster sets in. This movie is inspired by a true story and I really liked it. I think the whole family would enjoy it—however, it is rated PG13.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

84-year-old Florence has fallen in her apartment at Cherry Tree nursing home.  While waiting for the paramedics, her thoughts go to her best friend Elsie and the buried secrets that may surface.  Relying on her fragile memories, Flo is determined to find out if the new resident is who he claims to be…  Having been a psychiatrist, Joanna Cannon explores dementia and the bonds of friendship.  The story is filled with humor, mysteries and tenderness.

Monday, June 3, 2019

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

I've enjoyed every one of Lisa See's books that I've read, and this one is no exception.  "The Island of Sea Women" tells the story of the women divers on the Korean island of Jeju.  It follows the lives of Young-sook and Mi-ja, best friends who come from very different backgrounds.  It begins in the 1930s, under Japanese occupation, and follows them through WWII and the Korean war, into modern times.  Their friendship is tested and strained through events that no one could have foreseen, and only much later in their lives is the entire story understood.

I also learned about the matri-focal culture of the haenyeo, the women divers, which I had never heard of.  While they still needed sons to perform ancestor worship, and in modern times would never be head of the Fishing Association (a man would), the Jeju divers were strong women who did hard labor diving in the sea while the men took care of the children.  Women were used to making their own decisions, making money, and being in charge.

I thought this was one of See's most interesting book, and highly recommend it!