Friday, October 21, 2016

Parent Hacks: 134 Genius Shortcuts for Life with Kids by Asha Dornfest

This book is a fun, quick read!  Parents of young children are always looking for solutions for the everyday issues, and this book is full of useful tips.  Written by a blogger, it contains the best submissions from over ten years of online exchanges with other parents.  Ideas cover many phases of early parenting, explained simply and with entertaining pictures, great for those who welcome the help but have little time to read.  Especially fun were the suggestions for painter’s tape and Press ‘n Seal wrap!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Girl With the Lower Back Tatoo by Amy Schumer

To me, Amy Schumer's The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo will best be enjoyed by two groups of people: 1) those that are fans of Schumer and her comedy; and 2) those that have heard of Schumer and just want to learn what she is all about.
The book is written in a very informal, conversational style that reads easily. Schumer is a good storyteller and the book zips along. As her comedy is on the blue side, so is the book; so if you easily blush, you may want to read elsewhere.
One thing the book is not, is a pity party. Schumer tells you all about her life, the good, the bad, and the traumatic. She does this to explain just who she is, not as some kind of excuse as to why she is messed up or why her life has been so rough. Schumer is not unhappy. She likes her place in the world, problems and all, and has a close circle of family and friends that help her get through it. Overall, the book is a very positive, and humorous, read.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Claiming Noah by Amanda Ortlepp

This is the story of two mothers and their families. The first mom, Catriona and her husband James, by necessity, use in-vitro fertilization in order to have a child. The second mom, Diana, and her husband, Liam, adopt the leftover embryo of Catriona and James. So then, while Catriona is in a clinic recovering from puerperal psychosis, her baby dies of SIDS while in the care of her husband, James. Instead of telling her, James decides to hide the death of the baby , use nefarious means to find out about the baby born from the other embryo, and hatches a plan to kidnap the biological brother. Amazingly, this plan works and goes undetected for 2 years until a blood test at a doctor visit reveals that the baby was not the one born to Catriona and James. Lots of emotions and trauma occur in both women's lives. The story culminates in a legal battle to discover who will end up being parents to the young Noah. I found this book to be intriguing and was quickly carried away with the story. It was a good read.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood

With her marriage ended and children grown, Ava decided to join her friend's book club.  The theme for the year is the book that matters most.  Each member takes turn to present a book that is crucial to them.  Ava recalls the book From Clare to Here that helped her cope with the deaths of her sister and mother when she was a child.  The process of searching the obscure book and the author reveals family secrets but also comes full circle. Meanwhile Ava's daughter Maggie who is supposedly studying art in Florence, is living marginally in Paris and deep in heroin addiction. The depiction of her struggle is graphic. Somehow the plot seems implausible, yet I couldn't put the book down.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Mischling by Affinity Konar

Twelve year old twins Pearl and Stasha arrive at Auschwitz in 1944.  Because they are identical twins, the two girls become part of the notorious experiments of Joseph Mengele.  The focus of the book is not on the horrors they face, but on the bond between the sisters and the hope and resilience they display in brutal circumstances. Although it is fiction, the book was inspired by the real-life experiences of twins Eva and Miriam Mozes.  I recommend it!

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Things We Do For Love by Kristin Hannah

After a failed marriage, the loss of a baby, and a botched adoption Angie Malone returns to her warmhearted Italian family. Her beloved father has died and the restaurant her family runs is failing. Angie, who had a successful advertising career helps out with the restaurant making many improvements.  When a teenage girl, Lauren, who lives in a very poor area of town with an alcoholic, uncaring mother begins working at the restaurant Angie develops a relationship with her. Angie, who so wants to have a child becomes a mother figure to Lauren though her emotions are still unstable as she tries to help Lauren. As more difficulties arise in Lauren's life and Angie's husband returns an emotional journey continues with love and heartache.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Ashes of Fiery Weather by Kathleen Donohoe

These are the stories of 7 women from a multi-generational family of Irish/American firefighters who belong to the Brooklyn "Glory Devlins" firehouse.  The stories span time from the potato famine in Ireland to post-9/11 New York City.  They aren't told in chronological order, which made the book more interesting for me.

Generational events are portrayed well, from the quick weddings in WWII, to unwed mothers fearing for their jobs, to resistance toward females becoming firefighters.  Loves, losses, joys, and difficult decisions fill each woman's life.  This was a book that quickly grabbed my interest, and held it throughout the book.