Monday, January 31, 2011

Mailbox Monday and It's Monday....What are you reading?

~Mailbox Monday~ 
is hosted by Rose City Reader (January Host)

We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. (Library books don’t count, but eBooks & audiobooks do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring meme (details here).

The Girl On Legare Street (Tradd Street)The Memory PalaceOld Town

The Girl on Legare Street by Karen White from Paperbackswap

Old Town by Lin Zhe (Purchase for my Kindle)


Hosted by Sheila

Weekly meme where we discuss the books you've read
and those you plan to read in the coming week.

Read and reviewed last week:

Letter to My Daughter by George Bishop - Excellent writing of a female character by a male author, focus on the mother/daughter relationship, the ending felt incomplete.
The Red Thread by Ann Hood- Beautifully written, a must read.

Reviews for this week:

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (January Book Club)

Rescue by Anita Shreve (audio book)

On My Nightstand:

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen SimonsonThe Apothecary's DaughterBy Laura Hillenbrand: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption [Audiobook]

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (February Book Club)

The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen (On my Kindle)

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (On audio book, may download to my itouch)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Salon- Health & Nutrition -Weekend Cooking

We've been fortunate to avoid the big snowstorms so far this month here in Ohio. Although, there is one predicted for this week, we're waiting to hear if the winds will shift and it will head in a different direction. I've had a busy month at work, working part-time feels a lot like full-time as there is just as much to do at home in addition to working.  I work in the schools and fortunately, I can work at home some days when I am writing reports which is a nice benefit. My son had the dreaded URI (Upper respiratory Infection) this week and missed three days of school. He's in middle school so he's going to have a lot of work to catch up on next week. Fortunately, it bypassed my husband and I and we're thankful for that. I was sick enough last fall and I hope that I stay healthy this winter.

I recently had some blood work done and found out that I'm severely Vitamin D deficient(like most of us in the Northeast) , hypothyroid and I have to start on thyroid medication. I also have high cholesterol and my inflammatory markers were high so I've taken on some healthier changes. I've joined Weight Watchers Online (I've already lost 6.5 lbs in 3 weeks!) and I have decided to limit red meat to lean meats occasionally. I'm also taking a prescription mega dose of Vitamin D, multi-vitamin, fish oil to get my Omega 3's and calcium/magnesium supplement. 

I have been researching and reading about healthy eating and have several books on my shelf that I plan to read and adapt changes to my lifestyle. These are a few and I would love to hear from anyone else if they have any other suggestions. 

~Nutritional Books~
Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight LossThe China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term HealthPrescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food SupplementsSuperFoods HealthStyle: Proven Strategies for Lifelong Healthby Michael Pollan (Author)In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto (Paperback)


I have a lot of cookbooks but with the exception  of a few Weight Watcher cookbooks, I don't have anything that focuses on health and nutrition. I'd like to find some good cookbooks that support healthy eating, so please share any suggestions or recommendations.

~Healthy Food Finds~

I have found some wonderful healthy foods that I wanted to share. Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, unsweetened. I use it to make oatmeal, add it to my cereal and to make a fruit smoothie: whirl a cup of almond milk, frozen berries and a banana in a blender~delicious! Please share any healthy food finds or ideas, I would love to hear them.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Review-The Red Thread by Ann Hood

Author: Ann Hood

About (From :W.W. Norton & Company):
From the best-selling author of The Knitting Circle, a mother’s powerful journey from loss to love.

“In China there is a belief that people who are destined to be together are connected by an invisible red thread. Who is at the end of your red thread?”

After losing her infant daughter in a freak accident, Maya Lange opens The Red Thread, an adoption agency that specializes in placing baby girls from China with American families. Maya finds some comfort in her work, until a group of six couples share their personal stories of their desire for a child. Their painful and courageous journey toward adoption forces her to confront the lost daughter of her past.

My Thoughts:

This is a beautiful story about the thread of connection that people have who desire and long for a child. The novel centers on Maya who owns and operates The Red Thread Adoption Agency which helps families adopt baby girls from China. She has hidden her own previous loss of a child and marriage from her friends, clients and staff. The story focuses on six couples, including Emily, one of Maya's closest friends. She alternately shares the stories of six women from China and their sad stories of how they had to abandon their daughters. Ann Hood flawlessly threads the stories together so that they are not overwhelming or hard to follow and in the end, she seams together the loose ends. Maya is the thread that connects all of the characters while she is on her own journey of healing and exploration of how she can find wholeness in her own life once again.

This is a beautifully written novel that I found touching and heartfelt. I felt a sense of connection with the characters and their stories and it stirred my own emotions as one who had a strong desire to have a child and became a mother in my mid-thirties. As I read the stories of the Chinese women who had to give up their beloved daughters it made me stop and think on a deeper level. These babies are often well loved and their parents often want to keep them, there are reasons that they must be put up for adoption. In most cases, they are forced to do so. It doesn't take away the pain from the parents letting them go in the hopes of a better life in America for their child. The stories shared scenarios and experiences that give a cultural background and delve into the experiences and emotion of foreign adoption. Some of these  stories will definitely tug at your heartstrings as they did mine. My heart went out to the birth mothers who had to let go of their own thread of connection to their baby girls and allowed another connection to be put in place.

This is an intensely personal story for Ann Hood who lost a child and went through a similar adoption process. This book is fiction but there seems to be some parallels to her own life.  Her writing is superb and rich, this is an author that you don't want to miss. I read her novel The Knitting Circle several years ago before I started blogging and found it to be a deeply touching and powerful story.

Source:  Library Thing Early Reviewers

You can read an interview with Ann Hood about The Red Thread, here.

Check out this wonderful video with Ann Hood:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Review- Letter to My Daughter by George Bishop


Author: George Bishop

Genre: Fiction

About (From Random House website):

Dear Elizabeth,
It’s early morning and I’m sitting here wondering where you are, hoping you’re all right.

A fight, ended by a slap, sends Elizabeth out the door of her Baton Rouge home on the eve of her fifteenth birthday. Her mother, Laura, is left to fret and worry—and remember. Wracked with guilt as she awaits Liz’s return, Laura begins a letter to her daughter, hoping to convey “everything I’ve always meant to tell you but never have.”

In her painfully candid confession, Laura shares memories of her own troubled adolescence in rural Louisiana, growing up in an intensely conservative household. She recounts her relationship with a boy she loved despite her parents’ disapproval, the fateful events that led to her being sent away to a strict Catholic boarding school, the personal tragedy brought upon her by the Vietnam War, and, finally,  the meaning of the enigmatic tattoo below her right hip.

My Thoughts:

Letter to My Daughter is just that, a letter that a mother Laura, writes to her daughter, Liz after they get into a terrible fight and Liz runs away with a family car. What is astonishing is that it is written by a man. George Bishop has a wonderful way of capturing the female narrative and perspective ofLaura as a woman and a mother. Laura decides to write a letter after Liz runs off explaining details about her own life, her relationship with her parents, falling in love at 15, the Vietnam War, her love for her daughter and how she had vowed to never be like her own mother. Laura realizes that she never shared these things about her past with Liz and regrets not doing so. Laura's character was sincere and honest and the story was told in a realistic way when she expressed her feelings as a teenager and mother. This book shares the realities that mothers and  daughters face and how often mother's may not realize that their daughters need them to be honest about their own past and to  be open in listening to how their daughter's feel.  I did enjoy the novel but it felt incomplete in several ways and there were some gaps in the story. Although the focus of the novel is on the mother and daughter, it bothered me not to know who Liz's father was. Laura referred to him as Liz's father but not who his character was, not even a name. The ending left me as a reader hanging and the story incomplete.

Source: I received an advanced reading copy from Random House.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mailbox Monday- January 24, 2011

~Mailbox Monday~ 
is hosted by Rose City Reader (January Host)

We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. (Library books don’t count, but eBooks & audiobooks do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring meme (details here).


Knitting & Crocheting for DUMMIES from Paperbackswap

Sing You Home: A Novel

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult  

(Advanced Reading Copy with CD of original songs which correspond to each chapter) from Simon and Schuster.