Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

Lauren Graham

I discovered Gilmore Girls after I turned 60. And it’s no secret that it is my favorite show – TV or Movie.

I loved the dialogue, the quickness, the wit, the characters and the wonderful actors that played these characters so very well.

So, of course when I became aware that Lauren Graham – Lorelai Gilmore on the show – wrote a book I pre-ordered, received it this week and finished it today!

It was a fast read – she writes like Lorelai talks!! Quick, witty and with lot’s and lot’s of charm.


I hope you can read the description on the back. Lauren Graham tells us what it was like being on Gilmore Girls the first 7 seasons and also she tells us about the revival – and how emotional it was for her. She talks about being on Parenthood and meeting her mate!

She also gives some great tips on writing. This is her second book – the first being fiction “Someday Someday Maybe.”

It’s a great book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope you will pick up a copy and read it – especially if you are a Gilmore Girls fan.

She really is just as cool as Lorelai Gilmore! Much more “with it” than OLJ – Old Lady Jackson. (whom she tells about in the book!)

And please – if any of my beloved readers accidentally picked up Lauren’s blue coat from the Gilmore Girls set – please return it – no questions asked!

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

The Readers of Broken...
“The New York Times and USA Today Bestseller 
Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen... 
Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy's funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor-there's not much else to do in a dying small town that's almost beyond repair. 
You certainly wouldn't open a bookstore. And definitely not with the tourist in charge. You'd need a vacant storefront (Main Street is full of them), books (Amy's house is full of them), and...customers. 
The bookstore might be a little quirky. Then again, so is Sara. But Broken Wheel's own story might be more eccentric and surprising than she thought. 
A heartwarming reminder of why we are booklovers, this is a sweet, smart story about how books find us, change us, and connect us.” Amazon 
My Book Club read this book for November. We had read two heavy – deep – depressing books in September and decided our books for October and November should be more enjoyable and in both months we hit it out of the ballpark!!

Who doesn’t enjoy books about books? Books about Bookstores? Too much fun!!!

Readers will understand the last line on the book’s cover:
“A heartwarming reminder of why we are booklovers, this is a sweet smart story about how books find us, change us and connect us.”

In our discussion of this book we talked about books that had changed our lives – or they at least gave us what we needed at the time we read them.

So many books have made an impact on me over the years – as they have for most readers. As a child I always had my nose in a book – well, actually, my whole life I’ve had my nose in books!! But when I was young – an only child until 12, living in the country with no children living anywhere near us – I spent my days reading and then acting out the books. The adventures I took! I filled those summer days on boats, rafts, on southern plantations, and so many places I can’t even remember and as I do remember I know I could go on and on.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend brings to life many characters you will love but it also shows how books connect us in ways we could never imagine!

If you want a feel good book about books. About a very special book store – pick this one up. It’s also GREAT for book clubs.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove
“A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.” Good Reads

I am not sure where to begin! Does this give you an idea?

Tabs in A Man Called Ove
I have NO IDEA how many tabs I have in this book.

I laughed – out loud laughing – and sometimes with tears!!

I cried.


It is my favorite book of 2016 – hands down.

“He’d been a grumpy old man since he had started elementary school” is one description of Ove.

In the beginning of the book – I wasn’t convinced I was going to like it. In fact the first of my many tabs don’t show up until page 36. So if  when you read this book, which I highly recommend you do – Be patient in the beginning.

I’ve reached an age that if a book doesn’t grab my attention pretty quickly I put it down – I don’t have time for books I don’t enjoy – but I am so glad I stuck this one out.

Please – put it in your To Read Pile. And then take the time to read it! – A great read for your Book Club. My Book Club read it in October and I'm so glad we did.

You can read more about Fredrik Backman H.E.R.E.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Lydie’s Ghost by Bob Perry

Lydie's Ghost
In 2010 Randy and I made a trip to Ponca City, Oklahoma and toured the Marland Mansion. It was fascinating, the Marland’s captured my interest  and I’ve been fascinated ever since.

The first book I read about this interesting piece of Oklahoma History – most of which was left out of my Oklahoma History Book in High School Smile  - was “Marland Tragedy” by Kim Brumley. I reviewed that book H.E.R.E.

This last week I made a trip to Ponca City and had the opportunity to visit Brace Books and More. I picked up a copy of “Lydie’s Ghost” by Bob Perry.

This book is totally different from “Marland Tragedy” because it is fiction. Very fast reading and still very interesting story. Perry did a great job.
“Jordan Bennett’s life rages with uncertainty when her mother and brother move to the small house on 13th Street. The 12 year old girl does not understand her life and everything she once trusted seems to be slipping away. When Jordan goes to find her brother at an ominous old mansion a few blocks away from their house, Jordan meets a mysterious old woman named Lydie with secrets of her own.”
I really enjoyed Perry’s fictional depiction of the way things may have been for Lydie Marland while leaving this historical character with much respect and understanding.

For those of us who respect privacy, Lydie Marland may not be that much different than us. Well – except of course – marrying her “father,” being very very wealthy, disappearing for years – living on the streets and all that!!

If you get an opportunity to pick up Bob Perry’s fiction of Lydie Marland – you should take advantage. I am impressed and I plan on buying his other work of fiction about this same time in history “The Broken Statue.”

Oh, and I even started Pinterest board on my fascination with the Oklahoma Marlands!!!  You can find it here:  Marland Fascination.

Monday, July 25, 2016

All the Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times.)” From Goodreads
Where does the title come from?
The author explains in his own words: "The title is a reference first and foremost to all the light we literally cannot see: that is, the wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum that are beyond the ability of human eyes to detect (radio waves, of course, being the most relevant). It’s also a metaphorical suggestion that there are countless invisible stories still buried within World War II — that stories of ordinary children, for example, are a kind of light we do not typically see. Ultimately, the title is intended as a suggestion that we spend too much time focused on only a small slice of the spectrum of possibility." - Anthony Doerr

I’ve read many books and watched many movies about WWII. The stories that come out of war – any war are endless.
There is a reason Doerr won the Pulitzer Prize for this book. It is unforgettable. Parts of this story will be with me always. 
After reading many war stories, it isn’t often an author can come up with details, descriptions we haven’t already been made aware of – but Doerr does.
No matter what we’ve been taught about this war, Doerr is able to add to my information – not so much the bloody part that we often hear about but the “mind” behind all of Germany at that time. His description of raciological exams was very interesting to me. Hitler was so precise on what he wanted this “perfect” race to be like.
Also, as Doerr shows throughout his book there were Germans who were good people. This is something that is often forgotten when studying this war.

It always seems to begin with a very few who hate, then like a snow ball rolling down a snow-covered hill it grows so large it’s hard to believe there are actually those who don’t hate.

Doerr’s style of switching characters and switching time back and forth confused me a bit.- I really had to be careful to watch the dates on each new section so as not to get more confused. (I confuse easily!!) But I never got so confused that I wanted to stop reading. At first I kept thinking “why does he (Doerr) keep doing this – by the end of the book I didn’t care that he did it.

If you like reading about WWII – this book must be added to your library.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Brunette Ambition by Lea Michele

(notice all my tabs!)

From the Cover:
“This book is the story of how I got to where I am today. My hope is that something from it will inspire and motivate you, and also make you realize that anything you want to accomplish in your life is completely possible.” Lea Michele
“In Brunette Ambition – an illustrated book that’s part memoir, part how-to, and part style guide – Lea reveals the lessons and advice that have worked for her, from how she keeps comfortable on the red carpet and maintains flawless hair and makeup all night, to how she stays motivated to work out (even when she just wants to sit on the couch!). Lea shares her favorite recipes – for the hair masque she uses to restore fried ends, the comfort soup she eats to unwind on Sundays,…and many more. Most important, she reflects on the ways she remains grounded,centered, and true to who she is.”

In reading the synopsis above the most important sentence, is the last one – which speaks volumes “…she reflects on the ways she remains grounded, centered and true to who she is.” 

In a world full of “child stars gone wrong” this is so very refreshing. I realize she is still young (to me! She was born in 1986) but she has a great – strong – solid foundation!

“Be you – It’s so cheesy, but there’s no one better at being you than you.”
“Be proud of all the things that make you different.”
                                                                           Lea Michele

Lea Michele writes to young people. Encouraging them to be themselves and to be their very best. To work their hardest.  To be their very best.

This beautiful author shares tips on caring for yourself, eating right (with recipes), keeping fit, style and her life.

Even at 63, I picked up some fabulous tips from her.

I enjoyed reading about her “low-key” lifestyle. Her practical style of living seems odd in this age of outlandish “stars” trying to shock. But even in her low-key lifestyle she offers us a glimpse of her glamorous life on the red-carpet.

We see no crazy extravagance in her life, she seems to be very wise in all aspects.

I like that about her. About her book. It shows her readers that being authentic, being sincere is the best you can do for yourself. – Even if your life is without glamour! After all, we aren’t all created to be on a red carpet!

Beyond the book:
On Rachel Berry,
I loved Rachel Berry in Glee. She is my favorite character. I am always shocked when I hear people say “Rachel is so annoying!”  So I am quick to defend her by explaining her behavior!!

On Lea Michele,
None of us should be defined by our tragedies or our successes. Because it is adding all of our tragedies, mistakes, successes together that makes us a whole. Together they define us, they all work together to make us the person we were always intended to be. Whether we understand or not.

It’s no secret that I can’t carry a tune. I’ve always wanted to be able to “belt it on the fly” as Rachel was able to do but there is a reason God made me without a beautiful voice (one that should never be heard outside of a shower).
- It’s because He knew I would let it completely take over my life. I would let it define me.

Lea Michele is – in my opinion – one of the best singers – performers I have ever heard. But I don’t get the impression she lets it completely define her. She has a very well rounded life outside of her singing voice.

Maybe I see more in this beautiful woman than is actually there – but I don’t think so. I like her!

I liked the book. I’m buying copies for my grand girls!

I am very glad Lea Michele wrote Brunette Ambition!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

"In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. His hosts hope that Mr. Hosokawa can be persuaded to build a factory in their Third World backwater. Alas, in the opening sequence, just as the accompanist kisses the soprano, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.
Joined by no common language except music, the 58 international hostages and their captors forge unexpected bonds. Time stands still, priorities rearrange themselves. Ultimately, of course, something has to give, even in a novel so imbued with the rich imaginative potential of magic realism. But in a fractious world, Bel Canto remains a gentle reminder of the transcendence of beauty and love. --Victoria Jenkins"

I liked this book. I started reading it while flying home from a trip – once I got home, I put it down for a couple of weeks – busy! Then picked it up without having to review it. Very memorable and full of wonderful quotes.

     “For a man to know what he has when he had it, that is what makes him a fortunate man.”

Funny quote:
     “Maybe there would be a bad outcome for some of the others but no-one was going to shoot a soprano.”

     “It’s easier to love a woman when you can’t understand a word she’s saying.”

The quote that immediately reminded me of my husband:
     “But together they moved through the world quite easily, two small halves of courage making a brave whole.”

The reader continually hopes for the fairy tale ending. If one is thinking logically one knows it can’t turn out well for everyone, but there is still hope.
It’s so easy to see the Stockholm Syndrome at work and how one could easily (?) fall into the thinking of acceptance.

Music lovers will especially enjoy the “Lyrics” of this book.

You can read about Ann Patchett H.E.R.E.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

"Sylvia Plath was an excellent poet but is known to many for this largely autobiographical novel which was first published in 1963 under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. The Bell Jar has become a classic of American literature.

The book is based on her own experience yet one has to be careful not to confuse this novel with an autobiography, it has been written with a certain audience and effect in mind, 10 years after the actual events.

Esther, an A-student from Boston who has won a guest editorship on a national magazine, finds a bewildering new world at her feet. Her New York life is crowded with possibilities, so that the choice of future is overwhelming, but she can no longer retreat into the safety of her past. Deciding she wants to be a writer above all else, Esther is also struggling with the perennial problems of morality, behaviour and identity. In this compelling autobiographical novel, a milestone in contemporary literature, Sylvia Plath chronicles her teenage years - her disappointments, anger, depression and eventual breakdown and treatment - with stunning wit and devastating honesty. --Penguin Books "

I picked up this book for only one reason – It is mentioned several times on the Gilmore Girls.  Lorelai and Rory are warming up in front of their gas oven and Lorelai says,”Did anyone ever think that maybe Sylvia Plath wasn’t crazy, she was just cold?”

This statement intrigued me so I did some research on Sylvia Plath which led me to her book, “The Bell Jar.”

“The Bell Jar” is described as the Memoir of Sylvia Plath and her descent into mental illness.  It was during the era of electrical shock treatments.  It is a sad book. – but not depressing. 
{over the last year I have discovered the difference between sadness and depression.}

It’s a short book – easy to read.

The comment made by Lorelai on The Gilmore Girls referred to the fact that Sylvia Plath did indeed stick her head in the gas oven and commit suicide on February 11, 1963. Her book “The Bell Jar” was published under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas on January 14, 1963.

You may read about Sylvia Plath  H.E.R.E.

A passage worth noting from “The Bell Jar” -
     “A girl lives in some out-of-the-way town for 19 years, so poor she can’t afford a magazine, and then she gets a scholarship to college and wins a prize here and a prize there and ends up steering New York like her own private car.”

I’m glad I read it.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Winter Butterflies by Kenzie Janzen


Winter Butterflies by Kenzie Janzen was published in 2014 by Hoyal Creek Publishing, LLC

“Winter Butterflies by Kenzie Janzen is a daunting but often amusing pursuit of motherhood. This book takes you on an unimaginable journey. When all hope seems lost, her incomprehensible God makes great changes. Winter Butterflies gives you a new perspective on the unexplained trials in this life. It inspires courage when strength seems fleeting. A cliffhanger story of tribulation, perseverance, and hope … and it’s all true.” From the back cover.

You can’t make this stuff up!! If it had been fiction I would have scoffed at all of this happening to one family – but truth is always stranger than fiction.

Janzen speaks honestly and passionately about her years of yearning for more children. – And how God leads, guides and holds her in His arms during all that happens in this family and the family they are forever connected with.

One of the main ingredients that stood out to me while reading Winter Butterflies was the honesty in which Janzen speaks. I had a tear in my eye as I thought of the lost babies in our family and of the miracle baby my friend Carol has as her grandson.  God always speaks, always reaches out to us – we just don’t always listen. Anytime I read a book and can compare it to my life it is a “win.”

When Janzen ends the book with “Loving God is sometimes not easy. Understanding God is impossible, but He will provide a rainbow after the storm… In His time” I thought this is so true for all of us. No matter what trial we have gone through or are going through we don’t understand and often look up and say, “Really, God. Now what?” But He does prevail – in His time.

Kenzie Janzen is a busy mom to Kate, Brody, and Laney and helps maintain the family farm in Oklahoma. She received her BS in Biological Sciences from Oklahoma State University and a MEd in Secondary Education from Northwestern Oklahoma State University. Before becoming a stay at home mom, Kenzie served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. She also taught secondary science and math in several rural schools in Oklahoma. From her book

You can learn more about the author here  Kenzie Janzen

I highly recommend this book.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I Am a Church Member by Thom S. Rainer

I Am a Church Member

Sunday, Pastor Brad mentioned this book. I needed something to read and he said the keyword for my life lately – short.

“I Am a Church Member (based on an idea originally taken from author Thom S. Rainer's daily blog) discusses the attitudes and responsibilities of church members. Rainer addresses in detail what congregations should really be focusing on — praying for church leaders, being a functioning member, treasuring church membership, and more.” From Lifeway website.

I got the book on my Kindle about three hours ago and I've already finished it. A perfect example of “good things come in small packages.”  It was a small jewelry box filled with huge gorgeous diamonds! This book is a keeper and one I am sure to use for many future references.

Easy to read, convicting and so very practical. I can see a new Christian enjoying it as well as a seasoned Christian. It’s a great “teaching” guideline for new believers and a very great reminder for those of us who have been around churches for several years.

I not only recommend this book for you as an individual but I highly recommend this as a small group study. If you are not a part of a small group, this book is an excellent way to have a 6 week study with a group of friends. - Invite them to your home, have someone volunteer to bring a simple snack, and go through the book. It teaches itself, all you need to do is facilitate. An added bonus is that the discussion questions are already included!

From the book:

"We may discover that the reason our nation is in such bad shape is because our churches are so unhealthy."  (If I take this comment a step further - I may discover that I am an unhealthy church member.)

“God did not give us local churches to become country clubs where membership means we have privileges and perks.  He placed us in churches to serve, to care for others, to pray for leaders, to learn, to teach, to give, and in some cases, to die for the sake of the Gospel.”

“Thom S. Rainer is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. He is author of more than 20 books including Simple Church and The Millennials. Prior to coming to LifeWay, he served as pastor to churches in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky and Indiana and was founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.” From Lifeway website.

Follow Thom S. Rainer on Facebook or on Twitter

His Blog

Lifeway – where I’ve been able to get some great Bible Studies and Bible Helps.

I highly recommend this book.