October 30, 2012

October 29, 2012

(145)The Book of Mormon Girl by Joanna Brooks

The Book of Mormon Girl 

, Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Pages: 240


Here is a funny story for you.  I recently started a new job, here in Utah, where I work with mostly men.  After I was hired the "Big Boss" had a meeting with the guys and threatened them to "behave" around me because they thought I was a "Super Mo" (their words, not mine).  So why did they believe I was a devout Mormon, I don't know.  Maybe because of the way I dressed (professionally) or the way I carried myself (with confidence) or maybe because the way I spoke (obviously well read).  But when one of the guys was brave enough to ask if I was offended by profanity, I laughed my ass off and said "HELL NO!" .  Needless to say, things lightened up around the office and I often still chuckle at the thought that they thought I was easily offended.   I understand the caution of the bosses, being here in the Mormon Corridor, his odds were pretty good that I was a devout Mormon, but I am not.

Even though I am not Mormon, I find that the religion permeates every aspect of living in Utah and my Step-Daughter is a practicing member, so it is on the fringe of my life. Because of that I am cautiously curious as to why the Church's members are so very loyal and unquestioning of "Authority".  I say cautiously curious because even though I believe wholeheartedly in God, I find myself increasingly adverse to any kind of organized religion and I am afraid of "Beetlejuicing" people (of any religion)who want to share why their ways are the only ways to Believe.

So on a beautiful Sunday morning I sat on the deck enjoying a hot mug of coffee,  this view,  and read
The Book of Mormon Girl.  From what I could tell, (theology aside) Joanna's childhood growing up as in a devout Mormon household was not all that different than mine growing up in a devout Catholic household.  Our entire childhoods revolved around church and church activities, from Youth rallies to Church camps, we had a lot in common.  She grew up longing to go to BYU where she would be surrounded by her "kind" (for me is it was Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa).  She even idolized famous people, like Marie Osmond,  because she was a good Mormon role model. (For YEARS I thought JFK was the greatest President ever just because he was Catholic).  So I found myself relating to a lot of what she was writing.  Most of the book was happy childhood memories and experiences that many of us have had ourselves.  The last third of the book, though, was about her time at BYU and discovering her feminist side and the turmoil that exploration caused, but really it was not as in-depth as I had hoped it would be.   The last couple of chapters were about Prop8 and her involvement in campaigning heavily against the Church's stance and the emotional war it caused within her.  (Sidenote: SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO glad I did not live in Utah at that time!!) 

Bottom line, if you like reading memoirs in general, you would probably enjoy The Book of Mormon Girl. It is a quick, yet fairly uneventful read.   I know that to the author and probably other Mormons, her crisis of faith was earth shattering. I am sure many people find it admirable that she still takes her children to a Mormon church, but I am not one of those people.  I do not find it admirable or courageous to continue to financially support any organization that directly opposes what you believe to be right. But this I believe, Joanna Brooks has the right to believe what she wants, practice what she wants, teach her children what she wants and participate when she wants.  That is her right, to believe otherwise - well it just would not be right.

October 28, 2012

(144)This is How It Ends by Kathleen MacMahon

This is How it Ends

Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Pages: 352


In case you haven't noticed I have a real strong "Why can't we all just get along" personality.  I blame that on the fact that I am a middle child and often, middle children are forced to be the "peacekeeper".   So while I understand a persons passion about politics, I do not understand (or tolerate) the need to be nasty and mean to people who have different political beliefs.  So there, now that that disclaimer is out of the way, let me move on to my review.

I knew going into it that This Is How It Ends was about a man who travels to Ireland, his ancestors country, and falls in love with a local woman, who also happens to be his distant cousin.  What I did NOT realize was that the year is 2008 and this man, Bruno, is escaping the United States until the election is over because he literally can not stand to be in a Bush-run country for one second longer.  He refuses to return to the States until the election is over and Obama has won.  And he is even a bit concerned at what his future looks like if Obama doesn't win.  Of course, as we all know, Obama won. But by then, Bruno has fallen a little bit in love with Addie.  So he says that he will not return to America until after the Inauguration, because, of course the country is still in Bush's hands.  At the same time Bruno is dwelling on the possible ruin of his country, Addie is not only worried about her ailing Father, but also that Obama WILL win and the man she has fallen in love with will leave her.  It is only when Addie receives devastating news that things are put a bit into perspective and Bruno realizes that "home" is anywhere that Addie is and he is in danger of losing his "home".

I admit, when I realized one of Bruno's primary reasons for visiting Ireland I got that rock in your stomach feeling that it was going to purely be a Republican bashing novel.  (For the record I am a registered Libertarian) And while there was a great deal of "Bush bashing" , my irritation waned with the development of the love story of Addie and Bruno as it started to overshadow the hate. I still have pretty strong feelings about Authors pushing political agendas in novels, but I was able to look past that to the heart of the story.  Love.

Bottom line, we have just a little over a week until the 2012 Presidential election, the election season this time seemed especially long and incredibly toxic. I was a bit disheartened to see that an author would tie my beloved Ireland to the ugly political angst that has divided our country over the last decade, but in the end, true love won out over politics and that I found to be uplifting.  What do you think, should authors be aggressive about their political views in novels?  Am I the only one who finds it distasteful? Let me know what you think, but be kind about your opinions, please!

October 25, 2012

(143)The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell

The Making of Us

Publication Date: August 14, 2012
Pages: 403


Lydia, Dean, and Robyn are just going about their own business in the greater London area.  They don't know the others exist and they really have much in common except for the fact that they were born because of a sperm donor.  That sperm donor, Daniel, is dying and his dying wish is to know what became of his children.  While his days slip away, his friend, Maggie tracks down Lydia, Dean, and Robyn.

Lydia is a wealthy business woman, but has a life that is really devoid of family and friends.  Dean is a an old twenty-one year old who just became a single father after his girlfriend died during childbirth, and Robyn just turned eighteen and is at a crossroads in her life.  The three of them awkwardly come together to honor the wishes of their dying father.  Will the strangers be able to develop a sibling relationship or will they do this and never speak again?

The Making of Us  was an engrossing novel.  The author did a wonderful job of giving the reader an in depth look at these three siblings and their father. You really got to know Lydia, Dean, and Robyn, and as the reader truly gets to know them, you realize how much they would benefit from having a sibling.  All three are a bit lonely and adrift in their lives.  Anyone who has a sibling (I have six of them) knows that it can be a love/hate relationship at times, but no matter what happens they are there for you and "got your back".

Bottom line, I really did enjoy The Making Of Us.  The book really grabs you from the first page.  As you start to read about these three very unique individuals you realize that their lives are all lacking in someway.  If you are looking for a well written novel about relationships, you must not miss this one, it will leave you wanting to call your siblings just to say hi...

October 24, 2012

(142)The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury

The Bridge

Publication Date: October 23, 2012
Pages: 272


While I love my nook I will always have a soft spot in my heart for bookstores.  Even before I worked at one I could lose myself for hours in the stacks and after I started working at "Fox Books" (props if you get that movie reference) I really felt like I had found my "home"- a community of people who shared a love for books.

The Bridge is a book where the main characters is a bookstore called The Bridge.  Set in Tennessee, The Bridge has been a  meeting place for many a young couple over the last thirty years.  Molly Allen and Ryan Kelly nurtured their budding relationship by meeting at The Bridge during college and it was very easily the best two years of Molly's life, but they were just from two different worlds.  Flash forward several years and the owners of The Bridge, Charlie and Donna Barton,  have fallen on hard times and are about to lose everything that they have worked so hard for, including the bookstore.  Both Molly and Ryhan feel compelled to return to Franklin to help the Barton's, but doing so comes at great emotional risk for Molly.  What if she runs into Ryan? Will they be able to put the past aside in order to help the Barton's?

Just in time for the Holiday book season, The Bridge is a sweet and heartwarming novel about the impact a place like a bookstore can make on your life.  We all should be so lucky to have a place like The Bridge in our lives.  I enjoyed all of the characters in the story, but I was a bit irritated by Molly's timid nature, just because I don't like the way she handled her father's meddling.  At the beginning of her new book, The Bridge, prolific Christian Fiction author, Karen Kingsbury, gives props to not only bookstores, but booksellers. And that means a lot to folks like me.  It is nice to feel appreciated by the authors whose work we sell.

Overall, the Winter weather we have been having, really  put me in the mood for my first "Christmas" book of the season.  The Bridge was a quick, feel-good read that has me nostalgic for family holidays and the BN crew at Zona Rosa.  If you have ever had a bookstore in your life that felt like home, then you must run out and read The Bridge.

October 23, 2012

October 22, 2012

(141)That's Amore by Wendy Markham

That's Amore 

Publication Date: June 30, 2004
Pages: 354


Daria Marshall has always had a bit of a wanderlust.  She has never really settled down in any one platce long enough to call it home.  She was last in Arizona crashing with a friend when her sister, Tammy, invited Daria to stay with her for a while in New York City.  Tammy and Daria are close like most sisters are, but they share something that most sisters don't, a psychic ability.  It is on New Years Eve when Daria meets Ralphie, a nice man who is very recently out of an engagement. Not only is Ralphie nursing what should be a broken heart, he is mourning the recent loss of his father. Daria and Ralphie strike up a friendship after Daria mistakenly leaves her iPod behind, plus she has a developed a great fondness for Ralphie's late father.  Will they be able to put their issues behind them and find happiness?  Or will Daria's wanderlust carry her away from New York City and the man she has come to love?

So first things first, did you know that Wendy Markham is a pen name for Wendy Corsi Staub?  I did not!  I have several books by Wendy Corsi Staub, but admittedly have not read one yet.  I do know that they are a completely different genre than what Wendy Markham is known for writing.   That's Amore  was a sweet novel about two people trying to find love.  I enjoyed Daria, even though there were a few times that her hesitation frustrated me.  I also enjoyed Ralphie, his down to earth qualities with his family loyalty makes him a great guy for any woman, especially Daria.

Bottom line, That's Amore  is a sweet  paranormal romance. Even though it was a bit predictable at times the characters are unique enough to make it worth the read.  Let me know what you think!

October 21, 2012

(140) The Walking Dead Volume:2 Miles Behind Us by Robert Kirkman

The Walking Dead Volume 2:
Miles Behind Us

Publication Date: December 20, 2006
Pages: 136


I don't think that I was as excited for a show to start this Fall as I was for The Walking Dead. The season premiere lived up to my every expectation and it seemed like the fastest hour of my life.  To extend the excitement I decided it was high time for me to read the next installment of the graphic novels. 

Miles Behind Us picks up at the tale end of winter. Rick and the group are all traveling in Dale's RV when they stumble across a gated community.  They think that they have hit the jackpot with this community, believing that it will be free of Walkers and they will be able to settle down and make new homes. Of course nothing could be that easy and soon they are back on the road and are in even more trouble when Carl gets shot.  Will the old man on the farm let them stay or will they be forced to go back on the road?

The beauty about reading the Graphic Novels and watching the show are that they are similar, yet so different.  Since we are on season three of the show I thought that I would know what to expect in the graphic novel, but I was wrong.  There are a lot of similarities, like Carl getting shot.  But there are a lot of differences, too.  Enough to keep me guessing and enjoying the novels, which is what I love. 

Bottom line, I don't know why I (and ten million other people) am so fascinated by The Walking Dead, but I am, and not just the television show.  There is a certain amount of emotion conveyed in the artwork of the graphic novel that you just don't get from a regular novel.  If you are a fan of the show, but have not read the books, then WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?? You must run out and start reading the graphic novels immediately! 

October 19, 2012

(139)Finding Casey by Jo-Ann Mapson

Finding Casey 

Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Pages: 336



There are two stories being told in Finding Casey.  First there is forty-one year old Glory is loving life in  ways that she never imagined that she could. She has so much to be thankful for, she is married to the amazing Joe and not only do they have an amazing daughter, Junniper, but Glory is pregnant .  Junniper is blossoming into a beautiful young woman under the guidance of Joe and Glory.  Just a few short years ago, she was unsure of what her future would be when they assigned Glory to be her Foster Mother after her own family fell apart and her sister, Casey, went missing.

At the same time we are reading about Glory and her family we are reading about Laurel Smith who is worried about her critically ill daughter, Aspen. She leaves the "compound" where they live with a religious sect, against the wishes of the creepy leader, Seth.  She is awkward and unsure of herself in the outside world, but she knows she must do whatever she can to get help for Aspen.  The two stories are separate, until you realize that they are not.

Set against the beautiful Fall backdrop of Santa Fe we get to know these families in an intimate way.  I really enjoyed Joe, Glory, and Junniper.  The whole family dynamic at Thanksgiving was interesting with Glory's sister and mom there.  OH!!  I forgot a very important character, Dolores, the ghost who shares their home!  She certainly adds character to the story, but at times it felt really forced.  My heart really went out to Laurel.  Her anxiety about being away from Seth probably came across more strongly than any other emotion in the book and it really endeared her to me.

Bottom line, Finding Casey was a good story.  I felt the plot drag at times, but I stuck with it because I wanted to see what was going to happen and find out how the stories would merge.  I think it is worth the read, but be prepared for the fact that it isn't exactly a fast paced novel.

October 18, 2012

(138)Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin

Ashen Winter 

Publication Date: October 16, 2012
Pages: 594


So my confession, I agreed to read an ARC of Ashen Winter (yes, I DID read the synopsis this time) and when I sat down to read it this past Saturday, I realized that it was a sequel.  The beauty of e-books is that without having to leave the couch I downloaded the first book and by the end of the night I had read them both.  Lately it is rare for me to get so much reading time, but I had no choice.  I could not stop reading!!

Ashen Winter picks up where Ashfall left off. Alex and Darla have made it to Illinois to discover that Alex's parents had left to find him. After waiting things out for a few months Alex can wait no longer.  He must set off to find his parents and bring them back to the farm.  Of course Darla will not let him leave without her and they set off on another dangerous journey.  If it is not the danger of crossing the Mississippi again or dealing with the neverending winter weather, they are dealing with the brutal bandits that are still terrorizing the countryside. Alex loses Darla to those bandits and gains Alyssa and her brother, Ben.  But, NOTHING will keep Alex from finding and rescuing Darla, no matter who he encounters along the way... 

Once again Mike Mullin had me on the edge of my seat.  I could not believe how quickly 594 pages seemed to go by again.  I found myself caught up in the world that is both familiar, yet unrecognizable. I loved how Alex, again, proved that he is no longer just a teenager.  He has become a man since the volcano erupted and he will let nothing stop him from tending to what he sees as his responsibilities.  The growth of Alex from the early pages of book one to the end of book two is certainly night and day, it is wonderful to watch that growth. 

Bottom line, Mike Mullin seamlessly continues the story of Alex and his family in Ashen Winter. Some months have passed and it is interesting to me to see how society has adapted to the aftermath of the volcano.  Again there are some really adult themes mentioned in this book, human slavery is just one and the cannibalism is much more prevalent, so let your younger kids read with caution.  Overall though, the themes of survival and perseverance in the face of adversity are ones that most of us can learn something from.  Let me know what you think!

October 17, 2012

(137)Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Ashfall

,Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Pages: 476


And the obsession continues....

We have all heard about the Super Volcano that is dormant in Yellowstone National Park.  We have all heard the "what if" stories about what would happen to the world as we know it if the Super Volcano actually blew.  Well, author Mike Mullin puts his imagination to work and shares with the world what would happen.

Fifteen year old Alex is just like any other fifteen year old boy.  He would much rather stay home and play video games than travel with his family to Illinois to visit his uncle's farm, but after a huge argument with his mom he is allowed to stay home.  He is sitting at his computer in his Cedar Falls, Iowa when it happens.  Something has crashed into his house causing a fire to erupt, after escaping the wreckage he realizes that it was a rock thrown from the volcano eruption in Yellowstone, 900 miles away.  It is not long before the ash starts pouring down and Alex wants nothing more than to be with his family.  He decides to set off on foot to find his family in Illinois. Along the way he encounters all sorts of trouble and he would be dead if not for eighteen year old Darla.  They join forces and continue the journey to Illinois, but it is not easy. They have to fight not only the mounds of ash, but the brutal winter weather, as well as bandits out to plunder and pillage.  Will they be able to make to Illinois and what will they find if they make it to the farm?

Wow!  What a novel, I don't even know where to begin.  First of all, Alex reminds me so much of my fifteen year old step-son!  All through this book I couldn't help but compare him to Alex and imagine what he would be like in that scenario.  Alex (like my Riley) is a smart and resourceful kid and I have no doubt Riley would use his wits to survive.  I also found myself longing (again) for Iowa.  If I had to live in a Post-Apocalyptic world, I sure would want to do it in Iowa.  The small town, neighbor helping neighbor feeling really came through when Alex and Darla went to Worthington. But, also, living only 300 miles from Yellowstone leads me to believe that it is doubtful we would survive a super volcano.

Bottom line, while Ashfall is a Young Adult novel, I would caution that the younger kids of that classification may find parts of the book disturbing.  There is a fair amount of violence and the references to cannibalism may be disturbing.  Having said that, don't let the Young Adult classification keep YOU from reading this book.  It is so well written and so fast paced, it is easy to forget that Alex is just a young teenager.  In an admirable way he steps up to the plate in order keep himself and Darla safe.  If you are a fan of Post Apocalyptic fiction, then you must read Ashfall!

October 16, 2012

(136)Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie

Forgotten 

Publication Date: October 16, 2012
Pages: 448


Emma Tupper is shell-shocked when her mother passes away after an illness, like anyone would be, obviously.  But she is even more shocked when her mother's last wish is for Emma to take a trip to Africa in her honor.  After finally getting law firm to approve the month off, she goes to Africa. Only to fall sick and become "trapped" by an earthquake.

Six months later, Emma is finally returning to civilization only to discover that everyone thought she was dead.  Her bank accounts have been closed, her apartment has been rented by a very handsome man named Dominic, and her mortal enemy, Sophie has not only taken her job, but her boyfriend.  Slowly as she tries to piece her life back together Emma starts to realize that maybe starting over is the best thing that could have happened to her!

Catherine McKenzie is such a talented writer!  I thoroughly enjoyed her first book, Spin, I bought (but have not read) her second book, and JUMPED at the chance to read her third book, Forgotten. I am so glad that I did.  Emma Tupper is a sweet character at a crossroads in her life, by no fault of her own and she is not sure which way to go.  Right back to the life that she was living or improve her life by switching jobs, boyfriends, and apartments.  I enjoyed everything about Emma. Her feelings about her situation really translated well to the reader, my heart ached for her.  I also really enjoyed the relationship between her and her best friend, especially the way her entire family enveloped Emma at Christmas, it was really heartwarming.

Bottom line, Forgotten is an enjoyable book on so many levels.  The characters, the scenery, the level of conflict that Emma faced.  It all joined together to make Forgotten an unforgettable novel.  (HaHa! See what I did there....) Be sure to pick it up today and let me know what you think.

October 15, 2012

(135)Hanging By A Thread by Sophie Littlefield

Hanging By A Thread

Publication Date: September 11, 2012
Pages: 288


In most situations I am the Queen Chicken of our family. I hide my eyes during scary movies and until this year I refused to step foot in a haunted house.  Having said that, I really enjoy spooky books with a hint of paranormal activity.  With Halloween fast approaching, Hanging By A Thread is the perfect kind of book to read.


Clare is finally moving back to her hometown after being away for years.  And she is "home" just in time for the big Fourth of July celebration the town has every year.  But this year is different and the town is on edge, because for the last two years a young person was murdered during the big celebration.   Well, what nobody knows is that Clare has a special skill, when she wears other peoples clothes not only can she can see what they saw when wearing the piece of clothing, but also feel what they were feeling.  Clare realizes that she stumbled across something when she finds a denim jacket at a rummage sale.  Will the jacket help her figure out who is killing young people before it is too late?


Hanging By A Thread has everything a good suspense novel should have.  A strong female character, not one but two handsome boys, a mystery, and some supernatural powers.  The story moves along nicely and keeps you guessing as to who is the killer.  I also really enjoyed the relationship between Clare and her mother and grandmother.  It didn't seem like the way most Young Adult novelists portray the mother/child relationship.

Bottom line, if you are looking for a mild mannered "spooky" book to read during the Halloween season, I urge you to give Sophie Littlefield a shot.  This was the first book of hers that I have read, but I am looking forward to looking up more of her works, I am especially to see what she does with novels for adults.

October 13, 2012

(134)From Notting Hill with Love....Actually by Ali McNamara

From Notting Hill with Love..Actually

Publication Date: 10/1/2012
Pages: 448


Okay - admit it - raise your hand if you have watched movies such as Sleepless in Seattle, Notting Hill, Pretty Woman, and Love Actually more than once? How many lines can you recite from each movie?  Any self respecting woman with basic cable has wasted at least one weekend afternoon zoning out with Chick Flicks, I mean how can you NOT put down the remote control when you come across Meg Ryan's smile or Hugh Grant's twinkling eyes.   If you enjoy Chick Flicks, then you will love this book!

Obviously Scarlett O'Brien was destined to be a movie lover from birth.  After her mother left Scarlett and her father they escaped their reality by going to the movies.  They even own a company that sells and services popcorn machine.  Now Scarlett is a grown adult and engaged to marry a man who owns the largest chain of movie theaters in the UK. A match made in heaven, right?  Well, Scarlett starts having doubts when she realizes that her relationship does not make her feel as warm and fuzzy as the fake relationships in the movies make her feel. When the opportunity arises for her to house sit in the famed Notting Hill, she jumps at the chance to take a break from her fiance for a minute.  Scarlett uses the time apart to meet new people and even start searching for her absent mother.  The time away from David gives her a little perspective on life and their relationship.  Will she return home and marry the "safe guy" or will she fall for her handsome neighbor in Notting Hill?

From Notting Hill with Love...Actually is a super cute book.   Quotes from all of your favorite Chick Flick movies are rampant in this book. The characters are colorful and fun. In my mind as I was reading, I was envisioning how it would be staged on the big screen.  Admittedly there were parts of the book that were a  bit predictable, but then again, aren't most Chick Flicks?

Bottom line, I don't think there are many, if any women out there who has not sat through one kind of heartwarming Chick Flick or another.  If you like Chick Flicks, you will love this book. All of the references to the movies really make the story feel really close to home. You can relate to Scarlett's love of movies and desire to find her "happily ever after" as before the credits role.  What is your favorite Chick Flick? I guarantee it is mentioned in From Notting Hill with Love...Actually.

October 12, 2012

(133)The Runaway Princess by Hester Browne

The Runaway Princess

Publication Date: 10/2/2012
Pages: 448


Every little girl grows up hoping to find their Prince Charming.  The handsome man who will sweep her off her feet and treat her like a Queen. Gardener Amy Wilde is no different.  She meets the handsome, Leo and only after he sweeps her of her feet does Amy realize that Leo is a Prince and about to become the next in line to the throne.

What all little girls don't realize is that being a Princess is not everything that it is cracked up to be. The rules of etiquette alone are enough to drive Amy crazy and it does not take long for the media scrutiny to invade every aspect of her life. Even digging up parts of her family's history that are best if they remain buried.  Will Amy runaway from it all and the man of her dreams or will she be able to acclimate to life as a Princess?

My world has been pretty busy since school started & I haven't had a whole lot of time to read.  Which is why it took me over a week to finish this book.  I did really enjoy The Runaway Princess, as I do with all of Hester Browne's books.  Amy was a fun character and I loved her friends, Ted and Jo.  Their parties are obviously legendary. LOL.   Having said that, the book really didn't grab me like I had hoped.  I think it was mostly because I was just too busy to give it the focus it deserved.

Bottom line, Hester Browne is a great Chick Lit author who has become one of my "must read" authors.  In Amy Wilde, she created a sweet, funny, and independent young woman who just wants happiness, but is  not ready to sacrifice her family to attain that happiness.  If you are looking for a good "fluffy" kind of book, than look no further.  The Runaway Princess is just for you!

October 7, 2012

October 2, 2012

(132)Does This Church Make Me Look Fat by Rhoda Janzen

Does This Church Make Me Look Fat

Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Pages: 256


I wasn't a HUGE fan of Rhoda Janzen's first book, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. You can read my review here.  I did not find it as funny and insightful as many others did, but I am always willing to give someone a second chance.   So when I saw that Rhoda Janzen had a second book coming out, I agreed to read it without even reading the synopsis.  I really have GOT to stop doing that, by the way. 

Does This Church Make Me Look Fat finds Rhoda Janzen in a new relationship with ex-bad boy, Mitch.  While Rhoda is still not practicing the religion of her youth, she believes there is a God and agrees to go to church with her new boyfriend, who is a member of a Pentecostal church.  She is still struggling with her new found church and relationship when she gets devastating news from her doctor.  She has a very aggressive form of breast cancer. 

Does This Church Make Me Look Fat follows Rhoda as she battles cancer while trying to foster a new relationship and attending a new church that is so different than anything she ever experienced growing up in the Mennonite faith.  Having grown up Catholic, I have not had really any exposure to the Pentecostal faith, so I found that a bit interesting.  I also enjoyed watching her relationship develop with Mitch and even Mitch's son, Leroy. 

Bottom line, if you enjoyed Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, you will enjoy Does This Church Make Me Look Fat. The author's sense of humor remains intact despite the fact that she is battling a life threatening disease.  The book is about Church, so really it is to be expected that there will be quotes from the Bible and sharing experiences at a new church.   Give it a read and let me know what you think.

October 1, 2012

(131)Love Anthony by Lisa Genova

Love Anthony

Publication Date:  September 25,2012
Page: 309


Nantucket in the off season is a whole different world than Nantucket in the height of the season.   Beth Ellis came for the season over fifteen years ago and never left.  Instead she fell in love with a local boy, Jimmy.  They married and had three beautiful daughters.  But now, after fourteen years of marriage Beth discovers that Jimmy has been having an affair with a coworker.  Beth uses her heartache to finally rediscover the woman she used to be before marriage and kids.  She starts to write a story about a young man with Autism. 

Olivia Donatelli has been a seasonal resident of Nantucket for years.  But now she has come to Nantucket to heal after the loss of her son and her marriage.  She is also trying to rediscover the woman that she was before having a son with Autism changed everything in her world.  She has decided to turn to the photography that she loves and has been helping families document their time and memories of their Summer at Nantucket.  It is through the photography that Olivia and Beth meet .  Their paths cross several times again over the course of the book, until one day Olivia offers to help Beth with her book.  And she realizes that the story that Beth has been writing is one that is very, very familiar to her.  

Beth and Olivia are both women at a crossroads in their lives.  There are two ways that they can go at this crossroads.  Either down the path towards healing and becoming whole again. Or down the path of destruction where they let their circumstances serve as an excuse to stop living.  Which way will they go?

You may remember Lisa Genova from her blockbuster debut novel, Still Alice. Still one of my favorite books to this day.  Her new book, Love Anthony, has almost a mystical feel to it. In that way that gives you goosebumps as you are reading.  I enjoyed both Beth and Olivia, and their stories.  There were things that I found myself relating to with both women and that is something I always enjoy. 

Bottom line, Love Anthony is a wonderfully heartwarming novel about two women with different stories, but at the same place in their lives. Watching their stories start to overlap and watching them come to terms with their situations was almost empowering.  Looking for a good book, don't let this one pass you by.