Thursday, May 21, 2015

Quick Reviews

Here are a few quick reviews of books I've read lately but haven't had time to review in detail - I'm heading on vacation later this week so I won't be posting for a week or two but I should get lots of reading done so look for lots of reviews coming up in early June!

The Bluest EyeThe Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OK, I get it now. This was my first foray into Toni Morrison's work and now I get it. She's amazing. Her ability to paint a picture with words is just stellar. The themes that she explores in this novel are so important - as important today as it was when she published this novel. If you've been intimidated by Toni Morrison (as I have been after trying to read Beloved in high school), this is a great place to start. This was a wonderful exploration of beauty, womanhood, love and the internalization of hate. I highly recommend this one! I can't wait to work my way through all of her novels!

The Walls Around UsThe Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very well written YA novel - dark, twisty and engaging! So glad I'm not a teenager any more! Very disturbing novel but disturbing in the best way! Didn't want to put this one down! Very well conceived and delivered! I am looking forward to reading more of Nova Ren Suma's work! Very smart and nuanced YA! Definitely recommend this one (and the cover is so beautiful, right??)!

View all my reviews The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy LeagueThe Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a really engaging read that explores some really important things. I think it's a book that most people will enjoy - it's very well written narrative non-fiction. Such a tragic story that I highly recommend!

Where Women Are KingsWhere Women Are Kings by Christie Watson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although this isn't a perfect book, I really think it was a really engaging read that I truly didn't want to put down. I'll try to do a more robust review some time but I did want to recommend it. There is a lot of thoughtful exploration of themes here - faith, child abuse, foster care, adoption, mental illness and more. Really glad that I read this one.

The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2)The Mistake by Elle Kennedy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really enjoying this new adult romance series.

Overruled (The Legal Briefs, #1)Overruled by Emma Chase
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first in a new series - I really enjoyed this romance. I enjoyed that part of it took place in DC which is close to home for me!

Chase Me (Broke and Beautiful, #1)Chase Me by Tessa Bailey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another new to me series that I'm really enjoying.

Need Me (Broke and Beautiful, #2)Need Me by Tessa Bailey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second in Tessa Bailey's Broke and Beautiful series. Really liking these!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Review: Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College TownMissoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I will pretty much read anything Jon Krakauer publishes, regardless of the topic he explores. He writes non-fiction that reads like really great fiction. This book is no exception. What an important exploration of rape and the justice system, using Missoula as a case study! After working with sexual assault victims for many years, this book really resonated with the experiences that I saw with my own clients (and a few friends who experienced rape & didn't have great experiences with the justice system).

This book covers a difficult topic, but one that we all have a responsibility to understand. The trauma of rape is bad enough but the fact that most victims are traumatized even more by the justice system's inability to effectively help them and society's lack of understanding about the impact of rape is something that should make us sick. I am so glad that Krakauer has taken the time to write this book which I hope will help those with little to no knowledge of the impact of rape to women, families and communities, will come out of reading this with more understanding and EMPATHY for the victims of these atrocious crimes.

This isn't an issue that impacts only women - it's one that affects all of us. I appreciate what Krakauer has done with this book to bring focus to an issue that really needs better understanding. I highly recommend this one to everyone!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Review: Sweetland by Michael Crummey

SweetlandSweetland by Michael Crummey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although the description of this one didn't do much for me, I kept hearing such good things that my curiosity got the best of me. And I'm so glad that I read this one. Such a beautiful story ... so beautifully written.

I didn't understand much of the history of resettlement in Newfoundland but this novel made that very history come alive with the amazing people in this novel. This novel is rather quiet (for the most part) ... it's focus on a small community and the many personalities within that community can make it feel like a small story. It has such strength and beauty. The people, the landscape, the sense of solitude that the writing brings. It's certainly not a loud, fast paced book so if you're looking for that, this isn't the book for you. But, if you want something lyrical, beautiful and full of meaning ... pick this one up.

The themes of memory, solitude, community and home are so well done with this novel. Michael Crummey's ability to weave these themes into such beautiful writing is just astounding. I found the story to be a meditation on solitude and change. Such a beautiful story that I'm so glad I gave a chance! Quietly impactful is a good description of this one for me!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Review: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

A Little LifeA Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wish I could give 10 stars on Goodreads. This book deserves far more than just 5 stars! This book has flown up to the top of my ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS list! This one is definitely worthy of all of the hype it's received.

This is an amazing, searing, emotional, and devastating book. It's the kind of book that makes you sob. That tears at your heart and soul. That will stay with you. I read this over a month ago and I'm still thinking about it. The characters in this novel will stay with me for some time.

The story centers around a man, Jude, and his friends in NY. It's about the relationships between these people and how they love and hurt one another over time. It's about friendship, survival, tragedy and healing. Jude is a man who has been hurt in unimaginable ways and how that hurt impacts his life, his friendships and his work. If you are uncomfortable reading about child abuse or the impact of that abuse on adults, this is not the book for you. It's very raw and dark and difficult. It's not for everyone. I don't find it to be gratuitous as it really helps you to better understand the characters and their journeys. But, I would only read this one if you think you can read difficult material. The content can be, at times, very brutal. Be forewarned.

This was particularly impactful to me because I spent almost 10 years counseling domestic violence and sexual abuse survivors and this story is VERY close to the abuse one of the women that I counseled for years endured over her lifetime. This book did an amazing job of capturing what it's like to live through something so horrible as well as to care about someone who is trying to live with the lifelong affects of such abuse. I've heard folks complain that its not realistic to have endured what the character in this story does but if my work with abuse victims is any indication, I can tell you that some people do horrible things to other people - unimaginable things. And you'd be surprised how often and how much abuse victims are victimized in their lifetimes.

The characters in this novel will stay with me for some time. They are beautifully written, extremely real and just jump off the page. I came to care (and sometimes hate) them so much more than I would have expected. There were passages in this novel that literally took my breath away, made me think about things in new ways and just simply impacted me deeply. I kept re-reading some of them over and over again because they just perfectly stated something in a way that just overwhelmed me. This is one that I will re-read regularly. It's such a beautiful piece of writing and a story that just tore me up. In the way that the best novels tear you up.

I can't recommend this one highly enough. It's a truly amazing novel that just killed me ... I feel almost sad that I've finished it and will never read it again for the first time. It's difficult, heartbreaking, touching, beautiful and evocative! So worth reading ...

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Review: Lawless In Leather by Melanie Scott

Lawless In Leather (New York Saints, #3)Lawless In Leather by Melanie Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this novel, the 3rd book in the New York Saints series. It gave me exactly what I've come to expect from Melanie Scott's work - a great story, interesting characters, and witty dialogue! I was eager to read this particular installment as it centers around Malachi who has been a bit more evasive than the others throughout the series. I was eager to learn more about him and better understand his character. I found the romance between him and Raina to be very believable and interesting. They are not my favorite New York Saints couple (I think that has to be Maggie and Alex) but I really did enjoy their story.

I truly love the world that Melanie Scott creates in this series and highly recommend it regardless of whether or not you're a baseball fan. These stories are so fantastic - full of great chemistry and interesting characters. Really great modern romances! Can't wait to see what's coming next ...

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book from Net Galley for an honest review.

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Tusk That Did the Damage by Tania James

The Tusk That Did the DamageThe Tusk That Did the Damage by Tania James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this novel which gave me an entirely new insight into the ivory trade. I was concerned that having part of the story narrated by an elephant but I think that was a really great way to give a new perspective to the story. Really great story which gave a well rounded look at the impact of the ivory trade on elephants, poachers and those trying to protect the elephants. Definitely recommend this novel, especially if you're interested in elephants or the ivory trade.

Another novel that gives great insight into elephants is Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult which I really loved. These two novels could be great companions to one another.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Review: All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

All My Puny SorrowsAll My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had such big expectations for this novel but I really struggled with it. The themes are right down my alley but something about the execution just didn't quite work for me. I did like how the themes of depression, sisterhood and suicide were explored throughout the novel but I found the novel's voice to be less fluid than I would have liked. I'm having a hard time really capturing what my issues were with this novel other than to say it just didn't work for me. It felt like work to read this one and that ultimately took away from the overall impact of the novel. Where it should have made me feel sad, I just didn't feel much of anything. I never felt that I connected with the story, the characters or anything else. In the end, this one just didn't work for me. I've heard such great things about Miriam Toews and I am eager to pick up something else from her work despite the fact that this one just wasn't what I'd hoped it would be.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review: Trisha's Table

Trisha's Table: My Feel-Good Favorites for a Balanced LifeTrisha's Table: My Feel-Good Favorites for a Balanced Life by Trisha Yearwood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is my first Trisha Yearwood cookbook. I really enjoy her show on the Food Network so I was eager to check this out. Overall, this is a good cookbook, not great but quite good.

The book itself is constructed very well - the photos are fantastic as is the design. I do wish every recipe had a photo but most of them do in this cookbook. The quality is high on the production of this cookbook. It looks and feels great.

Although there were quite a few recipes that I liked, there were more that didn't appeal to me. I was hoping for something that I didn't find ... I liked that they are fairly simple and easy recipes. But, nothing really jumped out at me as I looked through it. I found it to be more basic in its approach so perhaps it's better for those who aren't as experienced in cooking.

But, I do think it's worth checking out if you're a Trisha fan and enjoy her style of food (from her show). It's not a bad cookbook but it just wasn't what I was hoping for.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Blog Tour, Giveaway & Revie: The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase

Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Ballantine Books


Perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, this bright, funny debut from a fresh voice in fiction offers a delicious take on love, family, and what it means to build a home of one’s own.

Sarina Mahler thinks she has her life all nailed down: a growing architecture practice in Austin, Texas, and an any-day-now proposal from her loving boyfriend, Noah. She’s well on her way to having the family she’s hoped for since her mother’s death ten years ago. But with Noah on a temporary assignment abroad and retired Olympic swimmer—and former flame—Eamon Roy back in town asking her to renovate his new fixer-upper, Sarina’s life takes an unexpected turn. Eamon proves to be Sarina’s dream client, someone who instinctively trusts every one of her choices—and Sarina is reminded of all the reasons she was first drawn to him back in the day. Suddenly her carefully planned future with Noah seems a little less than perfect. And when tragedy strikes, Sarina is left reeling. With her world completely upended, she is forced to question what she truly wants in life—and in love.

Full of both humor and heartbreak, The One That Got Away is the story of one woman’s discovery that, sometimes, life is what happens when you leave the blueprints behind.

About the Author:

A native of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Bethany Chase headed to Williams College for an English degree and somehow came out the other side an interior designer. When she’s not writing or designing, you can usually find her in a karaoke bar. She lives with her lovely husband and occasionally psychotic cat in Brooklyn, three flights up. This is her first novel.



If you're interested in a chance to win a free copy of this book, please go here!

My review:

What a wonderful novel! The original description that I read indicated that it might be a good book for fans of Emily Giffen and Jennifer Weiner which drew me in as I love Emily Giffen, in particular. Given this is a debut novel, I was hesitant that this one would have a lot of the problems that I often find in debuts but this one is a solid effort! I honestly COULD NOT PUT THIS DOWN! It was so fantastic! The story was charming, heartwarming, funny and entertaining!

I loved the characters and how Bethany Chase brought them all alive on the page. They felt like flesh and blood to me. I could relate to them and what they were experiencing. The pacing of the novel was really good - building interest and intrigue. Overall, I felt that Bethany Chase took a fairly common romance plot and improved it! She made it funny, endearing and charming! I really enjoyed this story so much and cannot wait to see what Bethany Chase has in store for us in the future! If this book is any indication, I suspect she is going to be added to my list of favorite contemporary romance authors! Really enjoyed this and definitely recommend it!

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

NOTE: I received this book via e-gallery from the publisher for an honest review!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Review: Clean Slate by Martha Stewart

Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide: Reset Your Health, Detox Your Body, and Feel Your BestClean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide: Reset Your Health, Detox Your Body, and Feel Your Best by Martha Stewart
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was really hopeful about this cookbook but it wasn't quite what I was expecting based on the description. Although I think this cookbook offers a lot, particularly to those interested in healthy eating and increasing whole foods in your diet. There are a lot of resources in the book that can help clarify and educate the reader on all things whole foods. The book itself is well made with nice, heavy pages and contains great photographs of the food. I really like that there are photos for almost all of the recipes in the cookbook which is always a plus for me. All in all, I recommend this to those who are serious about whole foods and healthy eating, particularly those interested in a comprehensive resource, including recipes.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Mini Reviews, Romance & A General Update

Hi everyone! I have been reading a TON but I haven't been posting a lot of detailed reviews because I've been reading primarily what I'd consider chick lit or romance novels which are a lot of fun and easy to read but there typically isn't a ton to reflect on or note in a review.  I've had a lot of stuff going on and I have just needed some light reading to escape from the busyness of life! But, I thought I'd do a post here to share what I have been reading (in case you also need something more lighthearted and fun to read) lately ...  quick note: I just checked and I've already read 53 books in 2015. That is a ton considering we're just in mid-March at this point!

My romance/chick-lit focus began with the 50 Shades trilogy because I really felt like I couldn't be critical of a series unless I'd actually read them ... so I jumped in and have basically read almost all romance since mid-February.

Mini Reviews -

NOTE: Although I'm not rating the Fifty Shades trilogy very high, I do understand why they are so beloved to some - the story really is engaging. My ratings are more focused on the actual writing of the books which I just don't think is good! I will say that I was drawn into the story and if I ignore the glaring annoyances - the bad writing, the inner goddess crap, etc - I can completely understand why so many love this series. I should also mention that I do not, in any way, think that these books glorify abuse in any way whatsoever. In fact, just the opposite. I think it's clear in the novels that Ana is the one with the power and any of the sexual experiences that they share in the novels were completely consensual and in no way abusive. Is Christian obsessive of Ana? Um, yes. But she pushes back on that aspect of his personality time and time again ... she is in no way his victim. Anyway, enough commentary. I just wanted to be clear that I'm not saying they are horrible stories - just poorly written stories, which is kind of sad because I can see the potential in the trilogy.

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I was talking about this book and someone asked me if I'd read it and I realized that I should read it before I comment on it.

Well, the first time I started it, I gave up in 3 pages because the writing is sooooo bad. And then I tried again. And I stuck through it and finished it. It's just not a well written book. It's silly, repetitive, unrealistic and poorly developed. I have to believe that there are better written novels about this BSDM topic. Not my kind of thing so I have no recommendations but I have to believe THIS isn't the best in the genre. I totally get why some women might like the idea of a Christian and this whole thing. But, I really struggled with this one - it's just not good.

I will, however, watch the film ... mostly because I'm a huge fan of Jamie Dornan and I'm interested to see what he can do with this material. I wasn't interested until he became attached to it. I'm not going to the theater ,.. I will wait until its on cable but I will see it. I'm doubting I'll read more of these.

NOTE: I did indeed see the movie after all and I actually really loved it. I think it was MUCH better written than the novel was and I think the casting was spot on! Jamie Dornan just BECAME Christian for me and I think Dakota Johnson was just adorable and funny. Many of the bad reviews of the movie must be by people who did not read the book - I keep hearing how wooden Jamie was but I thought he portrayed Christian exactly as he was written in the novels. Anyway, I was surprised how much I liked the movie!

Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, #2)Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

See notes above ...

Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades, #3)Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

See notes above ...

Slammed (Slammed, #1)Slammed by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh Colleen Hoover! You are killing me! Yet another wonderful novel that made me cry like a baby! I read it in one sitting.

Bared to You (Crossfire, #1)Bared to You by Sylvia Day
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Ugh! I only read this as someone told me I might like it better than 50 Shades as it was written better. Yeah, not so much. In fact, I think 50 Shades was far superior to this one, despite it's flaws. At least I somewhat bought the Christian/Ana relationship. This entire book felt like a rip-off of the 50 Shades story. And it wasn't even a good one. And the writing was just as bad, just different. I'm still looking for more decently written and well told romance ... This was not it.

 Maybe Someday (Maybe, #1)Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yet another really great book. It was a quick read but had a great deal of emotional punch! Colleen Hoover really knows how to write a compelling story!

 Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1)Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another easy read - I liked this one but didn't love it. These easy to read romances are hitting the spot lately!

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a pleasant surprise this book was ... very well written, well constructed, good character development, there was humor and good dialogue. Can't complain one bit! A nice little romance!

One Plus OneOne Plus One by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It took me a really long time to get into this book and care at all about the characters and their journey.I think this one suffered from my having read Me Before You prior to this one. It just isn't as good as that one ... at all. But, in the end, this one was a good book that I enjoyed. I just wish I'd been engaged earlier in the story and the characters as it would have been more impactful!

Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2)Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 ConfessConfess by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Devil in Denim (New York Saints, #1)The Devil in Denim by Melanie Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really enjoyed this sports focused romance.

 Angel in Armani (New York Saints, #2)Angel in Armani by Melanie Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 Seeing Me NakedSeeing Me Naked by Liza Palmer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This little book really surprised me - it was a light read but not at all simple. There was complexity and character development in this one that stands out among similar books!

 Nowhere But HomeNowhere But Home by Liza Palmer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this novel. Although it's a light read, there was a lot of complexity in this one. Very compelling story and multi-faceted characters. I really enjoyed how this explored themes of home, family and identity. Definitely recommend.

Ok, I think that's it for now. Sorry for the long post but I did want to share some of my recent reads in case you were interested in the whole romance genre and trying something new. I think that reading romance is really about finding what works for you and what doesn't. I've been pleasantly surprised by how much really good storytelling is in the genre ... I think I had some negative connotations with the whole 'romance' thing. It's been nice to discover that there is quite a bit of romance that I really do enjoy!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright PlacesAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! This book blew me away! This is some of the most well-written and brilliantly conceived young adult fiction that I've read. So good.

It's a novel about mental health, adolescence, suicide, friendship and grief. And it's amazing! I have lost two people to suicide and I am very aware of the messiness that surrounds it. And I feel this novel handles both mental health and suicide so effectively and honestly.

One of my favorite quotes from the novel captures it's take on mental health so well ... As someone who suffers from depression, this quote particularly resonated with me.
It's my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.
The relationships in the book felt very honest and real. The novel made me feel raw and emotionally impacted beyond what I typically feel. I suspect Finch will be a character who will stay with me for a long time. He almost felt like an old friend as I felt in him some of what I felt for people I've cared for in my life.

Although not a joyful novel, particularly given the very raw and emotional core of the story, it is a hopeful one. One that spoke to me as a human being and made the issues of the mentally ill very real.

I highly, highly recommend this one. Very good - well written, plotted so well, and ultimately gave me a great deal to think about.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Mini Reviews

I've been really busy and haven't had time to write the more detailed reviews that I typically shared but I still wanted to share my thoughts on a few of the books that I have read lately ... hence, the mini reviews ...

ChesapeakeChesapeake by James A. Michener
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first Michener novel and I really enjoyed it. It wasn't a quick read due to its size but the stories within this novel were informative and interesting! Michener does an amazing job of including all the detail you could ever want without weighing it down and making it boring. I love the Chesapeake and spent almost every summer of my entire life on the Bay so this novel was a true home run for me. The only reason it's 4 stars is that the last couple of parts of the novel weren't nearly as interesting as the first 3/4 of the book. It felt as if they were weighed down in some way and much less compelling. However, the success of the first 3/4 of the novel makes it well worth the read!

Ugly LoveUgly Love by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have had a number of bookish friends recommend that I read Colleen Hoover so I picked this one up to giver her a try. And, WOW, I am so happy that I did. Although this novel is technically a romance novel, it's so much more than that. Colleen Hoover can write - it's not deep literary fiction but it's really well written romance. I was really surprised by how much I loved this novel and how much Hoover made me FEEL as I read it.

This book just killed me. Had me sobbing on the couch as I read ... in that way that only a great romance can do! These characters were really compelling and I enjoyed the story quite a bit. All in all, a great read! I read it in almost one sitting - I could not put it down!

Hopeless (Hopeless, #1)Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My second Colleen Hoover novel and another great read! Although I didn't love this one quite as much as the last, this one was also fantastic! If you want unique romance that is well written, interesting and keeps you emotionally compelled, I have to recommend this and/or Colleen Hoover.

I'm grabbing up more of her work because I'm so happy with the first two reads! I read this in just a day ... immensely readable, fascinating, and kept me on the edge of my seat! Definitely recommend!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Review: Supermarket Healthy by Melissa d'Arabian

Supermarket Healthy: Recipes and Know-How for Eating Well Without Spending a LotSupermarket Healthy: Recipes and Know-How for Eating Well Without Spending a Lot by Melissa d'Arabian
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This rating makes me so sad because I love Melissa d'Arabian and was so hoping this would be a great cookbook for our family. Perhaps I'm not the right person for it and that's why it didn't resonate? I'm not sure but this one just didn't wow me.

It is definitely a well produced book.The paper is fine, the book binding is also fine. The photography is really good - I enjoyed the overall design of the cookbook.

I think that what I wasn't a fan of is really the types of dishes explored in this book. I was viewing this as a resource for our family - a cookbook to help me find interesting dishes that won't break the bank. Dishes geared towards families. And I didn't find the dishes featured to be particularly family friendly in some places. Although my family is far from picky, I had a hard time finding anything here that isn't either already on our usual dinner list (things I already cook) or things that I felt like my kids would enjoy.

In my reviews of cookbooks, I always try to outline the recipes that caught my eye but I'm having a hard time doing that with this cookbook. I am going to go through and pick a couple of things to try despite their not initially jumping out at me and I hope that will help me begin to find more value in this one.

I suggest that you take a look at this one in a bookstore before purchasing to be sure that what you see offered here is something you're interested in. I'm really bummed that I didn't love this one given how much I enjoy d'Arabian's show on the Food Network!

NOTE: This book was offered to me for free by the publisher for an honest review.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Review: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the EndBeing Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! This is one of those books that I think everyone should read. It is such a thoughtful exploration of death and end of life. I keep thinking back to this book and the things it made me think about. It helped me see that I need to have a different kind of conversation with my family about end of life than I probably would have before reading this book. And I think back to the end of life experiences of my grandparents and wish I'd had this book to lean on as I watched them face death. This book is about what it is to be human today and how medicine can help and hurt those facing death. I just can't get over how readable and interesting this book was ... I highly recommend it. It's a must read, in my opinion!


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