Sunday, August 21, 2016

Book Review: Before The Fall

Before the Fall
By Noah Hawley

Before the Fall is a different summer suspense novel. Usually most beach reads, don't go into the characters. That is what makes this novel so interesting. Because it does lead into a character study.

It does take awhile to get into the story. I will confess I was looking forward to reading. It took me quite awhile to build up the story. I may be one of the few that didn't love the book. I did like the story behind the characters. I know this is a double negative and I apologize to the english critiques. Before the Fall disappointed me. I was expecting a bit more. Because of the fanfare about this book all summer. It was such a let down.  I was at the end, REALLY! what a bummer.

The story takes place from Martha's Vineyard to NYC on a flight all of a sudden the plane crashes in the Atlantic Ocean. With 10 people on board, and only 2 survive. A painter, down on his luck. He was not suppose to be there and a young boy, 4 years old. The only surviving member of a wealthy family.

I didn't care for the story itself. But, what I did care for was the interweaving chapters about each of the individuals on the plane. The story didn't make it for me but the characters. That is different for me. I am the kind of person that cares about the story not the characters. This time it is the other way around.

 I was not given a copy to review.

I do suggest not reading till after your plane flight. I give it three tea cups.

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Book Club Read: Big Little Lies

Bigl Little Lies
Liane Moriarty

My own copy

Our book club will be discussing Big Little Lies in about two weeks. Some of our members wanted to read something fun and delicious. So, here it is. It took awhile to get into the story. Once you get into it there is not turning back. It grabs you. The novel is not a literary sensation. But, it is a fun read once you are drawn into the characters. My problem is knowing who was who. The book I think does have alot to discuss for a beach read. There is meat to it. For instance, bullying, child competition, parenting, parent competition, abuse, domestic abuse, school playground, teaching, and of course murder. You say murder, what does that have to do with school children?

You will just have to read the book to find out. I am not going to divulge anything else. I enjoyed reading. From the start I am in my mid 50's, re-mincing about being a parent years ago brought back memories. There always seemed to be competition against the parents. But, I think it is more so now, then when I was bringing up my son. My girlfriend would tell me about her daughter's children. It just reminded me from the start. The first two chapters had me rolling in laughter.

If you are looking for something fun to read and entertained this is it. There is topics to bring up if you are interested in reading for book club. The author has several other books. Also, this book is being adapted for a movie on HBO with Reese Witherspoon, and Nicole Kidman.  Can't wait to see it.  As a beach read I give it 3 stars only because it took me awhile to read and to keep up with the characters.

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Saturday, March 26, 2016

10th Anniversary Book Club Discussion

The Bridal Chair
By Gloria Goldreich

Our book club met this month for our tenth anniversary celebration. We decided on The Bridal Chair. Some of us were reluctant to read because we all thought it was romance.  W were wrong.Elaine Karpel, a snowbird from upstate New York. Arranged for the author, Gloria Goldreich to speak to us through speaker phone. It was wonderful listening to her and learning about the Chagall's and what she thought.

The Bridal Chair, is not about Marc Chagall instead it is centered on his daughter, Ida. The author states that the novel, Bridal Chair is pretty accurate on the life of Marc Chagall's daughter and her father, Marc and her mother Bella.

I reviewed Bridal Chair about a month ago after our book club. I am surprised I still remember some of it. Some of it is somewhere in my memory. Please forgive me if I am not accurate in places, people at exact time and names. I would like to thank Source Book for sending me a review copy and allowing our book club to talk to the author, Gloria Goldreich. Also here is a few other reviews here,

Our book club had our tenth anniversary this month. We met at my friend's house, Carrol's. The theme of food was Russian, French, Jewish cuisine.  There was so much food, and drinks. Our belly's were quite full. My friend Donna's husband made a cake for the occasion.

We had great conversation. There was so much to discuss about Ida, and her parents. The family dynamics, Jewish rejection or wasn't it?, What does he's drawings represents? His daughter relationship with his father? Thank you Elaine for arranging the author to speak to us. Thank you Gloria.

Kate Lloyd, from Simon and Schuester was so kind. As a gift  for our tenth anniversary. Simon and Schuester Publishing gave each of the book club members a copy of, The Lights We Cannot See to our book club she gave us ten copies of the novel, We will be discussing next month. Thank you for all the hard work to put this together. For the publicist's and authors that worked with us to put this together. It was wonderful.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Boston Girl: Book Review

The Boston Gitl
by Anita Diamant

I read this a few weeks ago. I thought I posted, but realized I didn't.
Our book club read, The Boston Girl. I absolutely loved this one.
It is about feminism, Jewishness in the 1920's, and many more themes.

I have read a few novels by Anita Diamant. This one is her best, because it brings up social issues, and history for women in the 20th century. Just up my alley, history, women empowerment, etc.

 I think I liked it so much because it takes place in Boston. Where most of my family is from. There was so much I wanted to ask my grandparents about Boston when I was younger. The book seems to fill in the gaps of unanswered questions.

Since, I read this a few weeks ago. I can't remember everything. Instead I will give you a couple points about the novel.  This is a different type of narrative. Where the grandmother is telling the story about her life from her point of view. The Grand daughter is listening. You almost forget at times the book is told in the first person.
Ava, sweetheart, if you ask me to talk about how I got to be the woman, I am today, what do you think I'm going to say?
From the beginning of the novel, we learn about her family, Jewish immigrants. Betty, her sister the rebellious one. Celia, the soft spoken, and accident prone. Addie, between both of them.

They came to the US from Russia moving to the North End of Boston.  The unwillingness for immigrants to change their thinking. It was very difficult for  Ava, and her sisters of immigrant parents. Because, the children were influenced by the new american lifestyles of their American friends.

There is a part of history that I found was interesting. During the summers she would go to Rock Port, Mass, considered a vacation spot. In the early 20th Century, Rock port Lodge, was bought by many of the companies where the girls worked. The companies bought a hotel for their women workers that were not married. They were given a vacation to spend time in a hotel for $4.00 a day for clean sheets, and going to the beach etc.

Addie had to hide secrets from her family. Without her parent's knowledge she  would go to  meetings at the settlement house. Where she learned about suffrage. The people she met she became close, and became friends.She now had new influences and her horizons opened up with new experiences.  She  would get support from her friends. They were more supportive and mentor her, and give her guidance.  Where at home she was beaten down and put down constantly. She had a difficult relationship with her mother.

She learned about women empowerment,  such as going to college, women's rights, the right for women's to have an abortion.  She learned about clothing, and styles. Wearing "pants", which I found interesting in the novel. Women joining the work force, especially for women. How changes for women played a important part on the early 20th century.

The biggest thing in this book was adapting to changes. Don't let people tell you things are better in the old days. Because it was difficult for immigrants to accept change, and new ideas. 
I enjoyed reading Boston Girl. If you love reading about women empowerment. Pick up this book.
I give it 4 cups. Only because it is slow moving in the beginning and then picks up.

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Friday, January 22, 2016

The Hours Count- Book Review

The Hours Count
By Jillian Cantor

The Hours Count, is a different kind of novel. I have read historical fiction before. But, this is quite different. Perhaps because it is contemporary. What makes this different, I think. I have never read anything that is historical fiction that is mainly about a relationship of two women.  Yes, I have read historical ficiton. It is usually about the events surrounding the book, not characters. This makes this story more intriguing and different.

The author did change the facts around. My suggestion after you read the book. You should do your own research. I found interesting things on youtube about the Rosenberg trials and executions.
The story makes a interesting read. I always wondered why would someone leave behind their children because of the strong politcal convictions? Why were there U. S. Citizens that would betray their own country? Why did the US government allow a woman to be executed? Putting fear of communism being infiltrated in the United States. I never thought there were spies in the United States. I thought it was a joke. Think of the show, The Americans

I remember as a young child stories of the bomb shelter,bomb drills at school, I used to think how ridiculous this was. After taking this part of history more seriously. I now understand this. After WW2 there was a communism threat. The United States government tired to scare the Americans to death by using fear. The book makes you wonder who is a spy? Who is a communist?

Did you know just like sleeper cells that are in the United States? Yes there are sleeper cells. The Russian government had spies in different parts of government. Who would have suspected. Until it is too late. If you have not seen the documentary on Nova about spies, and the atomic bomb. If you are interested in the subject. The biggest thing was a young American scientist that was spying for the Russian and volunteered information. Would you believe he was seeking out someone in the Russian government. Can you believe that??

After the Russian government built the hydrogen bomb. The Russian spies leaked out the information to Russia. The bomb wouldn't have been built if American spies were helping the Russians. This caused so much fear and political turmoil. Forced the government to be harsh. Unfortunately, Ethel Rosenberg was in the crossfires and the scapegoat.

McCarthyism, causing the government to be harsh, and aggressive. Now, the irrational search was on to find the spies. No one could be trusted.

The Hours Count starts with the first sentence, "On the Night Ethel is suppose to die, the air is heavy to breathe".

Ethel, and Julius are first born Jewish Americans. Ethel has a wonderful relationship with her husband and children. Where Millie's husband is questionable. There are many suspicious and unanswered questions.

Who can you trust.The situation with Ed are starting to get suspicious. There is also a love interest between Millie and David's doctor, Jake. Can he be trusted? There are many twists and turns I didn't suspect at all.

The author took liberties to embellish the story. The author did a good job blended fiction with facts. What Ed did, and tried to do. I'm afraid to tell you anything more.  Just to tell you it is worth the read.

The book also brings back nostalgia about our social, and political culture during the 1950's. The pill, planned parenthood, mentally challenged, feminism, psychiatry, husband-wife relationships.

The Hours Count will make great discussion for your book club. I promise you heated.
The book doesn't merit a great prize of fiction. Though, it is a wonderful read to entertain and discuss
the political scare and turmoil of the 1950's.

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The Hours Count: Jewish Grand Strand Reads

The Hours Count
By Jillian Cantor

After doing a google search for a novel, and pretty much gave up this year. I found a novel, on the Jewish Book Coucil's website. It was about the Rosenberg's. Already this novel, had me hooked even before I reached the first page. I had heard about them. Only knew they were Jewish, and both husband and wife were executed.  I was young then. Didn't understand the implications. As I got older. I realized why this was important. This is still a hot topic. Why, you ask? The start of the Cold War, The wall between E. Germany and W. Germany. The Manhatten Project, Los Alamos,

Personally as a young child I didn't think this was a big deal. But now, years later I realize the implications. The race to make the bomb first. Interesting enough the Russian's build the first bomb first, the Hydrogen bomb. How did this happen? The U.S was embarrassed how this came about first. The United States governement tried to find anyone with information. Who they found was David Greenglass, Ethel Rosenberg's brother. This started the ball rolling. He accused both husband and wife of spying for the United States government. It was found out much later he was protecting his wife. There were plenty of American citizens that wanted to tell Russia what the United States was doing. There were scientists that were spying for the Russian government. Then came McCarthyism. Famous people loosing their reputation, because of the trials. One specific person was Lucille Ball. She was accused, but luckily her reputation was affected. Later on though it didn't ruin her. She was the lucky ones.

I asked the question, why would anyone betray their own government? What I got was people telling me. People were tired of the U. S. government. You are probably wondering why I thought this was important? Because reflecting back on our history. With terrorism with Al-Queda-ISIS. People were scared of the 1950's. Who would have ever guessed we would be in this situation. They are a mass of people,( a man without a country), there isn't a country represented. Instead of mass of terrorists terrorizing us. How did this happen compared to what happened in the 1950's. Russia, a country may build a bomb.  We are not as worried about them as we are about ISIS. It is so ironic that Russia and US have a different kind of worries.

I started thinking this would be a bouncing off board from the novel to discuss the political climate. I know I am right. I brought this book up with my book club. There was already heated conversation. No one read the book yet, except for me. I can't imagine what heated conversation this is going to start when we actually read the book, and skype the author. Even if the book is not great. It is a wonderful springboard for discussion.

It was decided in conjuction with Jewish Grand Strand Reads and Hadassah Carolina Mizrah with a combined effort will come together to host a skyping program. Also we will be hosting a documentary that was directed and produced by Ethel and Julius Rosenberg''s grand daughter called, Heir to the Execution.  If you live in Myrtle Beach area. You are welcome to join us.

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

This is Your Life Harriet Chance: Book review

This Is Your Life Harriet Chance
By Jonathan Evison

Galley was given by publisher

This Is Your Life Harrient Chance is a different type of writing. I enjoyed the writing style of the author. The novel is not writen linear, but written at different times of Harriet's life. From the age of 78, then to her 20, then when she is a little girl.

 I enjoyed the different perspectives of her life, and her point of views.  For instance the memories and reactions, how the story is told can be very different when she is younger, or told when she is older.

 In life when we recall something, there is a trigger that something jogs are memory. Then a cascade of dominos start falling. That is exactly what happens with the writer.

The novel starts out when Harrietl is 78. Her husband passses away. A travel agent calls her and tells her that her husband has not picked up he's prize. Harriet decides she will not let it go to waste, she goes to Alaska.  She revisits her entire life.  Her husband's spirit continues to come into her life. There are realizations she learns about her husband that upsets her. Her daughter enters the picture. They try to reconnect, there is anger, sadness, and happiness. Throughout the novel, I was thinking of the man, on at TV show, " This Is Your Life". Watching her every move, and re-rolling her story. Sort of remembering the movie, Christmas Carol, and Christmas past keeps coming back to haunt her.

Our book club read this for our book club. Unfortunately, I couldn't be there. I had a hard time getting into the novel. But, after I finished the book, I got it. The novel is a fast read.  It is a coming of age story when your parents get older. When you get older.  Things in life happen, and your daughter and son's perspective of you. Your husband's perspective, and the reinvention of life.

There were many sad parts in the book, with many regrets, and sometime hard to swallow. But, I still enjoyed reading. I heard from our book club that most ladies didn't enjoy reading. I think because most of the people that are in the book club are older, and they did not live like Harriet, and experience the things that Harriet, and her family experienced.

Or because she had to make some tough choices. Some of the other ladies, said, " I didn't like the book". It was so sad. I didn't see it that way.

If you like books that are different,and unique. You may enjoy it. I found it to be a character study, and a beach and at times fun read.

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Finding a Family for Nachat

Hi blog readers,

With a heavy heart I am trying to find a new family that would love him, and pamper him. I need a locate a new home for my dog, Nachat as soon as possible. He is free to a good family. He is very loved and wanted. I can no longer keep him as I am moving and they don't allow pets.

I am posting today in despiration to find a new family to take my cutie pie in. He's name is Nachat( Naa-chaat) short vowels. He is a male Tzit-Tzu. He is 9 years old and is neutered.

He lives with my parent's dog, and was raised with my son since he was 12. He is good with other people, well tempered, quiet, doesn't bark, only when someone is at the door.  He is shy until he gets to know you. He is leash trained. He is trained to go outside without a leash as well.

He would be great with an retired family member. Because he doesn't have to walk him far.

He is well behaved, and pampered, and loves attention. I live in South Carolina. If you know someone, or you would like to adopt him please let me know. If you are interested please leave me a message on my blog how I can get a hold of you.

Update: I am sorry I haven't been on my blog for months and got back to you. Nachat has been taken in by my parents. So, there is a happy ending. I have been going through a rough time sorry that I didn't get back to you. Thank you to all the people who were willing to adopt him. There is a happy ending. 

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Review: Invention of Wings

Invention of Wings
by Sue Monk Kidd
Published by Penguin

Invention of Wings takes place in Charleston, SC. It is based on historical characters, the Grimke family. Sarah, and Angelina. This is a part of history that is not well known. Most likely because the sisters were against slavery, and women inequality. It is most likely why the author, Sue Monk Kidd decided to write the book. Because not much is known about the sisters, Angelina and Sarah.

Our book club selected this novel, for September, Invention of Wings. I am so glad we picked this novel. It is the story of Sarah Grimke. Who is Sarah Grimke, you ask? She is part of history that is not well known in the south, particularly, Charleston, SC.

She is the oldest child of a plantation, and slave owner in Charleston,SC..  11 years old Sarah is the main character. Her parents giving her a birthday present. What she didn't figure was the present being a slave.What does a 11 year old child do with a slave, named Hetty.. If she is anything like Sarah. She is defiant. She teaches Hetty how to read, and write. Which is against the law at that time. What a mess she causes. Teaching a slave to read. Hetty, also known as Handful is whipped.

On the other side of the story is Handful's mother Charlotte. She is defiant like Sarah. She finds any opprotunity to find a way to escape. Each time she tries she is found out. Ususally with a beating.

This is why this novel, works on opposing ends.Sarah being defiant, independent. She also lives under the confines of being suffucated by the southern ideas. Then you have Hetty and Charlotte being a slaves.. They have different views of s being a southern girl, and another being a slave. Different ways to look at slavery.

Sarah has strong views being a woman is not going to stop her. She wants to go to college to become a lawyer.  She thought her brother would defend her views being a woman.

But, when her father was having a discussion about her brother becoming a lawyer. She thought this would be a good time for her to discuss herself. It did not work out as planned. Sarah has strong views against inequality of women and slavery.

She was heart broken that her father didn't agree with her. She thought her brother would defend her. The only ambition a woman should have as she is told by her mother. Is getting married, and having children.

Mother entered swaying with her weight. "I took no joy in seeing your hopes quashed" she said. Your father and brother were cruel." But, I believe their mockery was in equal proportion to their astonishment. A lawyer, Sarah? The idea is outlandish. I feel I have failed you bitterly. Your father belives you are an anomalous girl with your craving of books and your aspirations. But, he's wrong. Every girl comes into the world with varying degrees of ambition. Even if its only the hope fo not belonging body and soul to her husband. Every girl must have an ambition knocked out of her for her own good. You are unusual to fight the inevitable. You resisted, and now it came to pass to being broken like a horse..
After this incident, her mother is pregnant. She gives birth to Angelina. Sarah wants to be Angelina's godmother. With some apprehension her mother agrees with the plan. For many years after. The sisters are close.  But, then Sarah is given no choice she must travel with her father to Philadelphia. Sarah is saddled again. This time to travel with her father to Philadelphia to convalence, and  care for her father who is ill. While there she learns that her father is there to die

While living in Philadelphia she learns about the activism against slavery with the Quakers. She decides to stay. For years conflicting view about staying or returning to Charleston.

The part I most enjoyed is when Handful, and Sarah are cleaning the chandalier. Handful says, My body may be a slave, but my mind is not shackled. Where Sarah is opposite.  I will tell you later on in years. The Grimke sisters are not welcome in Charleston.

The Grimke sisters in history are thought of as trouble makers. Not true abolishists because. They also believed in Women's rights. The movement felt they would facture the slavery movement. Maybe it did, but they were important to women's rights. If it wasn't for them. Women may not have gotten the vote.

My Review: I absolutely loved the narrative. The author told the story with opposing ends. All the characters have some type of inequality that they are dealing with. Slavery, women's rights, etc. I loved the different points of views of the characters. Sarah then telling the story of the southern culture compared to the Quakers ideals. What the views of slavery of the northern ideals. The way the story was told couldn't be done any other way. I think a straight narrative wouldn't work.

There is not many historical fiction during the era of the Civil War, and slavery about inequality.
Most books are written by men for men. I absolutely recommend it to someone who loves historical fiction, wants to know about abolitionist. If you like to read novels, with strong characters, and strong ideals, I recommend this one.  You may look at women's right a different way. You can also find a newspaper article here.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Miniseries Review: The Tudors

The Tudors
TV Miniseries

After several attempts in the previous years. I finally watched the entire series of the Tudors. I enjoyed watching it. Even though it was not historically accurate. I understand why, the producers wanted to make a pleasant and good looking Henry. I enjoyed watching because of the back drop, the time period, the costumes, etc.

I always thought that Henry 8th started the reformation because he believed it was for the good of the British people. That was not so. But was for himself. He didn't want the reformation to the Anglican Church. He wanted the Catholic religion to stay. He only wanted to have the complete power to allow himself to divorce and marry without conflict.

Now on with the review. if you watch it be prepared to see many flaws.  If this bugs you, I wouldn't watch it. If you can bare it. After watching and you want to do your own research. Then check out some of the official British websites. If you are watching it for face value for the heck of it. Then go for it.

One thing, I have been trying to figure this out why, oh why, is the title called The Tudors. It is only about one Tudor, Henry the 8th. Perhaps, called Henry, or Henry Tudor. There are many generations of Tudors.

Warning there is a lot of sexual graphic content, and violence. . If you can get past that, Then you will be OK. I still enjoyed it. If you watched this. I will recommend another called, White Queen. You can watch it on Amazon Prime.

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