Showing posts from May, 2010

Month In Review

Wow, I can't believe it's the end of the month already! The weather here is hot, hot, hot and I'm loving it! I am definitely looking forward to summer.
There are two books that stand out to me that I read in the month of May. The first is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. In the 1950's, Henrietta's cells were taken from her unknowingly, were found to be immortal and have been responsible for numerous vaccines and other medical discoveries. They were even sent into space and blown up by the atom bomb. And yet her family didn't know about it until decades later when their cells were taken from the unknowingly. The thing that stood out the most to me from the book is when her daughter states that while Henrietta's cells were being used to cure disease, her family couldn't even afford their own health insurance. It is an incredible story.
The other book that stood out for me was Locavore by Sarah Elton. I'm a big fan of eati…

"Jesus Manifesto" by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola

Lately, it seems as though the gospel has become more about things - doctrines, strategies, rules, formulas - and less about Christ.In Jesus Manifesto, Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola argue that we need to bring the gospel back to what it truly is - Jesus Christ.When we do this, we will have a much more profound experience and as a result, our lives will be transformed.This book is well-written, concise and thoroughly thought out.The authors make great use of the Bible, history and modern ideas to prove their point.It is obvious that they are fully aware of their audience and the way we are influenced by society and culture.The footnotes are numerous and the book definitely inspires further reading. The layout itself gives the book a feeling of a devotional.It is written in a way that doesn't just speak at the reader, but makes them an active participant.Most importantly, it is fully focused on Jesus Christ.Jesus Manifesto is eye-opening and inspiring.It has convinced me to get back…

It's Friday!

And it's time for the Hop! If you're stopping by for the first time, welcome! I hope you take the time to look around and find some good reads. I read a variety of books - fiction, chick-lit, biography, non-fiction, Christian, urban Christian....oh how I love reading!
Another busy weekend here. My wedding anniversary is tomorrow and then there is a big charity walk on Sunday, hopefully I'll be able to fit some reading time somewhere, I have so many books in my to read pile and some great ones coming into the library next week!
Have a good weekend.

"Love Struck" by Chantel Simmons

When image consultant Poppy Ross discovers that her husband Parker is having an affair with a woman from work, she is devastated. She thought her marriage was perfect and could not understand how this happened. But before she can confront him about it Parker is struck by lightning. When he regains consciousness, he has lost his short-term memory and remembers nothing of his affair.
Poppy decides that the best way to save her marriage is not to tell him about the affair and instead make herself over in the image of the woman he was having the affair with. That way he will never be tempted to stray again. But the other woman couldn't be more different than Poppy.
Soon Poppy finds herself in the world of cosmetic dentistry, fake nails, spray tans, hair extensions and butt padding, all to save her marriage. But what Poppy thinks will work ends up having disastrous results on her career and her marriage.
Love Struck is a hilarious novel about having the perfect life, losing it, then…

"Til Debt Do Us Part" by Gail Vaz-Oxlade

If you have seen the television show Til Debt Do Us Part, you know that Gail Vaz-Oxlade is no holds barred when it comes to money and debt (if you haven't seen the show, check it out on Slice.) She is an expert at finance and a whiz at helping couples get themselves out of debt and saving money.
In Debt-Free Forever, Vaz-Oxlade shares all of the tips and ideas she gives to the people on her show. She covers topics such as budgeting, her jar system, credit, paying down debt and bankruptcy. She brings her no nonsense approach to the book, and is honest about the things people need to do to get out of debt.
The best feature of the book is that it is a step-by-step tour of your finances. You start out looking at your spending and figuring out where your money goes and then you create a budget. She also includes charts and worksheets in the book to make this easier for you. Once this is done, Vaz-Oxlade gives you tips and tools to balance your budget, get out of debt and save money…

In My Mailbox #3

No matter how hard I try, I can never seem to control my library requests! My branch is small so almost all of my books are requested online and transferred from another branch. I have the maximum amount of books in queue and I'm trying to space out when they come, but I always seem to end up with more than I can read in a week! Here's what I picked up this week:

Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran by Roxana SaberiOn the morning of January 31, 2009, Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American journalist working in Iran, was forced from her home by four men and secretly detained in Iran's notorious Evin Prison. The intelligence agents who captured her accused her of espionage - a charge she denied. For several days, Saberi was held in solitary confinement, ruthlessly interrogated, and cut off from the outside world. For weeks, neither her family nor her friends knew her whereabouts. In this gripping and inspirational true story, Saberi writes movingly of her impr…

"Living Oprah" by Robyn Okrant

On January 1, 2008, Robyn Okrant began a yearlong experiment in which she followed every piece of advice dispensed by televisions most popular and influential personality, Oprah Winfrey. Taking on every suggestion made through The Oprah Winfrey Show, O, The Oprah Magazine and, Robyn set out to discover if one can really live their "Best Life Ever" by following someone else's ideal.
Over the year Okrant blogged about her experience of taking Oprah's advice on everything. Along the way she discovered just how far-reaching Oprah's words are. Whether you love or hate her, Oprah has the potential to influence our buying habits, our diets and even our politics, and she is a force who cannot be ignored.
Living Oprah is a funny and thought-provoking, not to mention costly, experiment. Throughout her journey, Okrant learned many valuable things about herself, but also found herself doing some silly and often contradictory things. For example, a few weeks afte…

Book Blogger Hop

Happy Friday! It's time for the Book Blogger Hop. Check out Jennifer at Crazy For Books and all of the wonderful bloggers who have signed up. I'm sure you'll find some great blogs to follow.
It's the long weekend here in Canada, Monday is Victoria Day. I'm looking forward to having my husband home an extra day, the warm weather and lots of reading!

"The Finishing Touches" by Hester Browne

Twenty-seven years ago, a newborn baby was left on the steps of the esteemed Phillimore Academy for Young Ladies and taken in by the owners and staff, raised as their own daughter. Now, Betsy returns to the Academy on the sad occasion of the memorial of Lady Frances Phillimore.
Upon her return Betsy finds that the school is struggling and about to close. She is asked to use her business skills to help turn around the school and keep it open. Betsy views this as an opportunity to help save the legacy of the Phillimore's and also to do some snooping and discover who it was that left her on the doorstep all those years ago.
But turning the Academy into a modern Finishing School for the twenty first century girl isn't going to be easy. Throw in a couple of potential suitors, a scandal and a long list of girls who could possibly be her mother and Betsy wonders if she has gotten herself in over her head.
The Finishing Touches is a fun read with a unique setting - the Finishing S…

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot

In the 1950's a black woman named Henrietta Lacks arrived at John Hopkins Hospital suffering from cervical cancer. Without her knowledge doctors took a sample of her cells which ended up becoming the first "immortal" human cells grown in culture. Though Henrietta has been dead for decades, her cells still live today in laboratories around the world.
The cells, known as HeLa, have been instrumental in developing medicine and vaccines, have led to in vitro fertilization, cloning and gene mapping, and have even been sent up into space. HeLa cells have created a billion dollar industry, and yet Henrietta's family still cannot afford their own health insurance and drug coverage. They did not learn about Henrietta's cells until more than twenty years after her death when their own cells were taken without informed consent and used in research.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is the complete story of Henrietta's life, her illness, her cells and the industry t…

Book Blogger Hop

Jennifer at Crazy-For-Books hosts a weekly book blogger hop where you can go and find some cool blogs and share your own. This is only my second time participating but already I've found some great blogs to follow, and to help me increase my always-growing to read list.
I haven't had a chance to get through many yet, but two from this week that I've already signed up to follow are:
Book Addict's Book Reviews Reading Without Restraint
Hope you all enjoy the hop!

"Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go" by Lucille O'Neal

Lucille O'Neal is probably best known as NBA star Shaquille O'Neal's mom. In Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go she shares the story of her life, from being a rebellious teen and single teenage mom to a forty-something college student and confident woman. She overcame heartbreak, financial difficulties, alcohol addiction and abuse to become an assured woman and stronger than ever. In this book she shares her journey in the hopes of guiding other young women down a different path.
Lucille O'Neal definitely has a story to share. Many women will see themselves in Lucille in some way. The book is written through the voice of a proud woman and mother. She is honest about her trials and she recognizes her responsibility in them. She shows women that it is never too late to make a change and bring forth a new beginning.
The book is a quick read. It's a simple telling of her story, and feels very much like a motivational speech. A great feature of the book is the ep…

"Black Mamba Boy" by Nadifa Mohamed

In the summer of 1935 Jama is a ten-year-old Somali boy living in the slums of Aden, Yemen. He learns to survive with other young boys in the street. But when Jama loses everything, his whole life changes. He realizes that his only hope of survival is to find his father, who years before left the family to go to Sudan in hopes of a better life.
Jama's journey takes him far from home, through Eritrea and Sudan, to Egypt and Palestine and finally to Britain. Along the way, World War 2 comes to Africa and Jama ends up on a journey he had not planned for.
Black Mamba Boy, though a work of fiction, is based on the story of Nadifa Mohamed's father. It is an incredible story of family, love, war, occupation, resilience, friendship and hope. The story of what happened in Africa during World War 2 is something that is not often seen in fiction. It is a reminder of how much the war affected everyone around the world.
The book is well-written and incredibly descriptive. However,…

In My Mailbox #2

Well, I had such a busy weekend that I ended up not reading at all. That rarely happens to me! So I've fallen about two weeks behind on my library books, but since they only hold books for me for one week, I had to go and pick up more! Here is what I brought home this week:

Late Night Shopping by Carmen Reid (2008) As ultra stylish personal shopper Annie Valentine is about to learn there are some things the man in your life doesn't need to know: The price of your delicious new handbag (...and shoes.) The fact that you've reached the limit on all your credit cards. You're planning to start a retail business of your own (and there are 500 imported accessories in the spare room.) Then there are a few things you may have to mention: You've booked a 'surprise!' romantic holiday to Italy (but your relatives are coming too). You seem to have put the house up for sale. A gorgeous Italian has fallen madly in love with you. Could this be one challenge too ma…

"In the Midst of it All" by Tiffany L. Warren

Seventeen-year-old Zenovia Sinclair has spent her life caring for her schizophrenic mother and trying to get by in her tough neighbourhood. When the Brethren of the Sacrifice Church come knocking on their door offering them acceptance, they jump at the chance.
As Zenovia and her mother find stability with the Brethren, she finds herself caught up with thoughts of Tristan, a fervent young member who acts like he wants her, Jason, Tristan's older brother who is more into her than he pretends, and Emil who is associated with the Brethren but is not allowed to be a part of it.
But Zenovia soon finds out that life in the Brethren is not what it is made out to be. She finds herself at odds with them, and loses out not just on being a part of the community but her relationships with Tristan, Jason and Emil. Can Zenovia put the pieces of her life back together and find her way back to God? And will she ever be able to mend her relationships? It's a rough road, but Zenovia discove…

"Locavore" by Sarah Elton

Our local grocery stores are like a United Nations of produce all year round. Carrots from Venezuela, broccoli from Mexico, lettuce from China, potatoes from the US. Yet these are crops that can all be grown right here in Canada. So why are we passing over locally grown produce in favour of imported, and what can we do to change that?
Locavore looks at a growing food movement in Canada, one that is bringing local food to the forefront. From family farms on the East Coast to year round farms in Ontario to a city farm in British Columbia, farms are changing the way our produce is grown and bringing the freshest possible foods to people all across Canada. Add to this the local cheese industry in Quebec, organic wheat farmers in Saskatchewan and chefs using local foods in their restaurants and Canadians are being offered more and more ways to support the local food system.
The book takes you across Canada, introduces you to various players in our food system, gives expert testimony to …

In My Mailbox #1

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Book bloggers post what books have arrived in their home each week. I love reading other bloggers IMM posts, I get so many great titles to add to my to read list. So I figure I may as well start posting myself! Tuesday is library day at my house, so I'll try to post each Tuesday (except for today.)
Today I picked up 4 books at the library:

The Finishing Touches by Hester Browne (2009) Twenty-seven years ago, an infant turned up on the doorstep of the esteemed Phillimore Academy for Young Ladies. Loved by Lady Frances Phillimore and her kindhearted staff, Betsy grew up aspiring to be an academy girl. But Franny and her husband, Lord Phillimore, advised Betsy to hone her considerable math skills at college. Now, on the sad occasion of Lady France's memorial, Betsy finds the school in disrepair, enrollment down, and Lord P. desperate to save his legacy. Enter Betsy, the numbers genius, and her business plan...

Love Struck

"A Gate at the Stairs" by Lorrie Moore

Tassie Keltjin, a college student, has taken a job as a part time nanny for a mysterious and glamourous family. She cares for their adopted biracial daughter as though she is her own as she navigates her way through life. But over the year her life goes through dramatic changes. And then she discovers that the family she has become a part of has a secret that could change everything.
A Gate at the Stairs is a tale of family and love. There are many additional themes woven throughout the novel and the US preparations for war in the Middle East following 9/11 serves as a backdrop to the story. The book also examines the idea of family and what makes up one including biological families, adoptive families, biracial families.
The characters seem a little under-developed as do some relationships in the novel. Tassie's life is broken up into different parts and the connection between them does not seem to be that strong. The ending of the book as well is not very strong. However…

"A Week In December" by Sebastian Faulks

Over the course of a week in December 2007, lives collide in London and they don't even know it. A Polish footballer, a hedge-fund manager, a book critic, a young student led astray by Islamic theory, his father a chutney magnate, a teenage boy hooked on skunk, a schoolteacher, a young lawyer with little work, a tube driver and others. They all go about their daily lives not realizing how closely their lives are related or in what ways their paths are going to collide.
A Week in December is a fascinating look at modern urban life. In cities populated with millions of people, we pass by so many people not knowing the complications of their lives, their hopes and fears, and how they may possibly affect our own lives.
Sebastian Faulks weaves many themes into the book - greed, loneliness, disillusionment, love - to show us the nature of this world.
It is obvious that Faulks has done an incredible amount of research for the book on the financial world as well as football, the internet,…