Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Travel Book by Lonely Planet

The Travel Book is a beautiful, high quality journey through every country in the world.  Photographed in an awe-inspiring National Geographic style and featuring write-ups, and data of each country by the superb folks at Lonely Planet travel guides, this book is more than just a simple atlas and more than just a simple photography book.  It’s an excellent read for any armchair traveler, with one exception: it might not fit in your armchair. This book is enormous, clocking in at 11x14 inches and about 10 pounds, which makes it better suited for a dining room table than a La-Z-Boy.  But it is also a worthwhile adventure for anyone who’s ever wanted to get a sense of the richness and diversity of all of the countries of Earth. Definitely recommended.

Class Mom by Laurie Gelman

"Class Mom" by Laurie Gelman is a romp through kindergarten from the viewpoint of a class mom; you know, the person that is designated to round up volunteers for treats and events throughout the school year. Gelman approached her subject with vigor, humor and plenty of snark.
She embraces her story speaking from experience, having been an actual class mom herself. Gelman served as a class mom and was even fired from that role. She takes that experience and it applies it to her main character Jen Dixon.
Jen's emails to parents are loaded with sarcasm and the aforementioned snark, and at times are either found hilarious, or offensive, depending on the parents they are sent to. The story, however, does not stay in the world of email alone. "Class Mom" looks at the relationships of parenting - family, friends and getting along with new people. Some of these new people have a few issues of their own that are revealed as the book plays out. At times there is even a little bit of a mystery to be solved.
"Class Mom" takes place during the course of one school year, and it keeps you involved throughout as you go from class event to class event. Sometimes saucy and even a little suggestive, the story is filled with humor and keeps you turning pages to see who you can learn more about next. My wife and I both thoroughly enjoyed it. A great read with school starting up in the next few days.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Always by Sarah Jio

As Kailey Crane leaves a restaurant with her fiancĂ©, she comes face to face with a homeless man whom she recognizes as her former love, Cade.  What has happened to him and why did he disappear from her life so many years ago? Kailey needs answers and sets out to find this man though aware how her search and concern could jeopardize her relationship with her fiancĂ©, Ryan. How did a successful millionaire now live on the streets?  Helping Cade get the care he needs and spending time with him reignites old feelings but she feels love for Ryan too. A love story with some mystery also delves into issues with the homeless and social justice.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

"You Say Tomato" by Joanne Weir

Are your tomatoes starting to ripen rapidly in your garden?  Mine are, and I've found a book full of ideas to deal with all of them.

"You Say Tomato" has information on the basics of peeling, freezing, drying, and canning tomatoes, as well as lots of great looking recipes for sauces, soups, salads, entrees, spreads -- even some desserts and drinks!  I'm excited to get into the kitchen and cook up some tasty tomato dishes!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

On Second Thought by Kristin Higgins

And to think I picked this one because of the lovely purple tulips on the cover! It's really the story of two half-sisters who are both facing a difficult time in their lives. One, having been married only four months, loses her husband to a bizarre accident. She experiences real grief that you can truly empathize with. While the other sister doesn't experience death, she does lose her relationship with a long-time boyfriend. Her grief is just as real, and Higgins does a good job of drawing parallels between the two. Also included are hilarity, family issues, and romance, making it a well-rounded interesting tale.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Eggshells by Caitriona Lally

Told by her parents that she was "left by fairies," Vivian spends her days walking the streets of Dublin, Ireland in search of the portal that she will fit in.  Her eccentric ways will not conform to everyday norms; she spells trouble for social workers.  A lover of words, maps, and history, Vivian functions every day on her own terms, keeping a fish for company and advertising for a friend who in her mind must be named Penelope.  Her only sister avoids her and tells her to shower more often. With good intentions, Vivian prepares an elaborate dinner and invites her family over.  What follows is a series of laugh aloud mishaps.  Eggshells is a dark comedy of mental illness that keeps me reading and hoping for a breakthrough for the protagonist.