Women

Review: The Buddha in the Attic


The Buddha in the Attic
The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was chosen for the Book Club Read this month. (http://www.bountifulbookclub.blogspot.com/) I don’t often attend, but usually try to read the book, if it’s available through the Pioneer Library, my main resource for my books. (http://pioneerutah.lib.overdrive.com/B9A44FC8-1126-4EBC-AB38-7E0F204B5EB2/10/50/en/Default.htm) I was pleasantly surprised to find this one available, and it was a quick read. Although, I would not classify it as easy. In fact it was rather heavy.

The story was told from the mindset of the Japanese Mail Order Brides / Picture Brides (kind of reminded me of the Borg on some levels) taking place just prior to Pearl Harbor being bombed. They told of what promises and hopes they had in mind, and their realities, and shattered dreams, they tell of their treatments, and always being on the outside and then move into the suspicion, going into hiding, and then the disappearing.

Overall it was very interesting, really opened my understanding much more. Despite it being a short read, and with the risk of redundancy, it was very heavy and heartbreaking. Nonetheless, it’s a read I recommend just once.

(Actually finished 20 January 2014)

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Review: Briar Rose


Briar Rose
Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I first read this book about 17 years old (16 years ago). This is a book that sticks with you. You know the type, the kind that randomly will run through your head or something else will trigger your thoughts that will end up drifting back to you. For the last 16 years I have considered this on my top books list. It still is for the record. But how I remembered the book and how I internalized it this time were drastically different. But I know it’s the same book nonetheless.

I didn’t remember from before:
* The way Gemma’s story was intertwined with ‘today’ and told in bits and pieces.
* I don’t remember so much detail about the holocaust camps
* I didn’t remember a thing about the Prince!

For whatever reason this book came to mind so much this year that I felt compelled to read again, I was enthralled to find a copy of it on Amazon. (I love Amazon).

Since this was a book-book, it did take me a little longer to get through. Most days I found myself wishing I could simply stay home in my quiet peaceful and clean home enjoying the coolness of the weather and finish this delightful story once again that has lingered in my mind and heart since the last time I read it 16 years ago. I certainly wasn’t disappointed in it, many others re-reads were highly disappointing.

I loved meeting all the characters and hearing their bits and pieces of Gemma’s history with their own. However, most of them were very short. However, “The Prince’s Story” seemed very long! It’s went on for chapters. Not that it’s bad and it’s interesting, and nauseating at the same time. Not because of the writing, but because of what happened. Ah history… but it’s been interesting to see how much his story is elaborated upon.

Overall I still absolutely love Jane Yolen, and look forward to reading more of her books. I love her style, her rhythm, and great talent for story telling.

I tend to have been drawn to many books around WWII, I felt years ago and still that Ms. Yolen has a unique talent for relating the hard stories. Highly recommend!

Favorite Quotes from the Book:

Fairy Tales always have a happy ending.’ That depends… on whether you are Rumpelstiltskin or the Queen.”
― Jane Yolen, Briar Rose

“Time may heal all wounds, but it does not erase the scars.”
― Jane Yolen, Briar Rose

“Stories,” he’d said, his voice low and almost husky, “we are made up of stories. And even the one’s that seem the most like lies can be our deepest hidden truths.”

― Jane Yolen, Briar Rose

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Review: Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story


Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story
Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story by Daphne Sheldrick

Dame Daphne

Dame Daphne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I saw this book recommended from my library, and needing a new biography to read, I jumped on it. Being the Granddaughter of an Elephant Trainer and having a great love for the wonderful gentle (in my experience) giants, I was ecstatic to read this! Perhaps I thought this book would be more like the stories I have heard all my life of my Grandfather & his Elephant friends, and the additional memories of my Father working with him and my own memories. Or perhaps I thought it might be similar to Water for Elephants, which I also loved. Perhaps I thought I’d hear more of the stories that I heard from my former in-laws of their lives in Africa (Angola, Congo & Botswana) before coming to America as refugees….

To my surprise this was uniquely not like any of what I had expected.  Dame Daphne is definitely an interesting person, who

David Sheldrick

David Sheldrick

has lived an extraordinary life and I feel made a greater impact on the world than she realizes, let alone Kenya, and the rest of the African continent and it’s largest population. While there were something’s she shared in her life, decisions and actions that I personally don’t agree with she is still a stellar woman. Who undoubtedly ADORED her second husband David, who helped build her ultimate legacy as well as his.

In the reading of the book, I felt that at many times it dragged on and on. That Dame Daphne obviously prefers the company of animals to humans, and that the relationships with them, how brief some may have been were much more significant than those of anyone outside of David and her two daughters. That being said the stories of the animals, which are the basis of this writing, seemed never to end and went into considerably too much detail, which made me want to skip a lot, although I never did. But then it felt like a chore to persevere through the book rather than go along for the ride.

English: Baby elephants in "The David She...

English: Baby elephants in “The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust”, Nairobi, Kenya. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has, between 1987 and 2009, successfully hand-reared over 85 newborn and very young elephant orphans through its Nairobi Nursery. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This being said, there were many wonderful parts of her story that ultimately teach us lessons and leave us yearning to make a difference in the world around us. To follow our hearts, our passions and find our greater purpose here on Earth. Sadly most of the greatest parts of this book were in the last few pages. However, I’m sure that without reading the entire epilogue that they would have not been as dramatic or left such a deep impression. I feel that reading this book has left an impression on my heart that will stick. A further love of the African Wildlife, and fascination of Africa, more rooted desire to visit there someday and find my own way to serve there and here at home.

Avril Jenson

Avril Jenson

Dame Daphne Shledrick

Dame Daphne Shledrick – http://http://youtu.be/dqvDHx0vJrI

Passages that really stuck out were about Elephants and their amazing memory. A few of my most vivid memories are those with the Elephants, myself, my Grandfather & my Father. I’d always heard this my whole life… Until I was a teenager I didn’t fully comprehend. I remember going to The Hogle Zoo with my family, where my family had worked. My father was a boy/teenager when he’d worked at the zoo with his father. But I remember the elephants come running and seemingly so excited to see my father. Normally the elephants would ignore the tourists unless they were giving them food. But all my father had to do was walk up to the fence, say softly “There’s our girl. Hey Toka.” She immediately turned and ran to my father trying to reach him over the ‘moat’ around her pen. She seemed to be smiley and giddy as a child, mimicking my fathers similar reaction. My father hadn’t been there in years, and had been a boy. But I knew then Toka, Toni and Hydori all remembered my father, and associated the love and joy that my Grandfather (Avril Jenson) gave to them for all those years with my father as well. As you can imagine the times of going to the zoo with my Grandfather were even greater, with similar but more intense reactions of love and excitement for my Grandpa, who simply loved and adored these amazing creatures.

Dame Daphne relates a similar experience when one of her elephants joyously runs to enthusiastically greet a former caretaker from 30 years in the past. Her closing statement of the book Is that she has learned her lives greatest lessons from the elephants, wherein which no matter the wrong that had been done to them they had such a high resolve to forgive the trespasses against them, without the ability to ever forget. What a strong lesson in that simple statement! We as humans have the ability for things to slip from our minds, to actually forget many things after a great or small wrong as besought us, yet forgiveness is such a huge thing for us to obtain or give, and we can let it go, we can forget it ever happened and go on with life! Imagine never being able to ever to simply forget, but having to consciously forgive and take the higher road, to give others the chance to grow, learn and become better individuals, even though they might never do so.

She also elaborated on things such as a conviction that Elephants must be able to communicate telepathically. This, I find simply fascinating! I’m anxious to follow the studies through the rest of my life to see what we are able to figure out about their higher level and ability to communicate. In addition she also made reference to the fact that the animal kingdom seems to function at a higher level of understanding, in a much older and adjusted world. As if they have been given blessings and understandings than any of us humans could ever comprehend. Thinking on this, I believe she is right. We already know that God has only given us so much knowledge in this life so far, because of our cardinal selves, and the fact that we haven’t been able to raise ourselves high enough yet for further enlightenment. What a cool time that will be!

Despite the sometimes long and drawn out seasons of this book, I still highly recommend.

If you are interested in learning more about the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and how you can be involved go to their website to learn more: http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org You can also follow them on Facebook, & YouTube.

david-sheldrick-wildlife_152012217521.jpg_article_singleimage

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Categories: Beauty of the World, Career, Cause, Education, Family, Humanity, Life, Passion, Purpose, Service, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: The Husband List


The Husband List
The Husband List by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

Janet Evanovich at a book signing at Borders B...

Janet Evanovich at a book signing at Borders Books and Music in Braintree, Massachusetts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

At first I struggled with Janet’s attempt to branch out to other time periods and plots. I could definitely feel the influence of the Doreen Kelly, aka not Janet’s methods and styles. However after the first few chapters she found her groove and her characters and we had smooth sailing from that point on. It was a fun

 

little read and nice to have Janet but a different story line, even though her formula reins supreme. Fun read, glad she is branching out with other stories beside Stephanie, Joe & Ranger and Diesel and Lizzy. 🙂

 

(Actually Finished June 24th 2013)

 

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Review: Enna Burning


The Goose Girl (novel)

The Goose Girl (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Enna Burning
Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was really excited to read the second book of the Books of Bayern Series, I had just been struggling through the awful “In Courts of the Sun” and was desperate for something actually good. Since I had such a great experience with “The Goose Girl” I thought this would be a great reprieve from my book despair.

While it was a million times better than Courts of the Sun, it wasn’t as good as Goose Girl and I was a bit disappointed. I didn’t hate it though. I really enjoyed Enna‘s character in the first book and the princess, now Queen Ani was still delightful. I’m sure I’ll still finish the series hoping this was a hiccup, and the rest is great. The ending left it hanging and I need some resolution.

Granted, the part where I really started struggling was when she was in love with what’s his bucket “for a week” and they had just immediately fallen in love and she had turned her back on her friends… it was weird and I was upset. I don’t believe in love at first sight and it tends to cloud everything else out. However, I felt much better after realizing that he had the people speaking gift that can make people make decisions and do things against their will.

(Actually Finished August 24th 2013)

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Review: The Help


The Help
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m one that has a really hard time giving in to read really ‘popular’ books… so I procrastinate and procrastinate simply because I don’t want to simply follow the crowd. Well I have to admit on this one, it was a simply amazing book! What courage, dedication and resolve these strong women showed in the face of adversity. I don’t know that I would have had the same courage and conviction, if I were in any of those roles, to be the difference, I pray that I would, but I just don’t know.

The writing style was well done in this book, easy to follow and most definitely engaging! Once I got into it, it did take a minute, I couldn’t put it down. I found every opportunity I could to read, and found myself laughing and crying all the way through. Definitely heart wrenching.

I am curious though, I know it was based on a true story. But if that’s the case and this is the story about them writing their story, and their story in the book is titled “The Help” then where is the other book??

I wish I would have had the few minutes to write the review when I finished this book. However, I delayed because I wanted to give it the time and dedication in writing a review it deserved, and unfortunately I’m writing it 3 months later and not giving it the love I wanted it because it’s faded a bit.

Regardless, fantastic read everyone should put on their list, popular or not.

(Actually Finished June 3rd,2013)

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Categories: Education, Family, Humanity, Life, Literature, Relationships, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Review: Mom & Me, & Mom


Mom & Me & Mom
Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love Maya Angelou and was very excited to learn more about her life, what it was like and what made her who she is.

That being said, it was interesting to really learn a lot more about her and things in her life I would have never guessed! I really learned much about this astounding woman. In addition I have added more levels of appreciation.

That being said, this was a hard book to read. It didn’t follower her normal writing styles and seemed to go on and on. It just goes to show the differences of what we all find interesting and important about our lives. It could have been that it was a hard read for me since it immediately followed me finishing “The Help“.  Out of the biographies I’ve read, I’d have to say, this isn’t my favorite. But still good to read.

Nonetheless, I found it an informative, interesting, and enlightening to one amazing and “Phenomenal Woman“!

(Actually Finished June 26th, 2013)

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Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Categories: Beauty of the World, Education, Family, Life, Relationships, Schooling, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Review: Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead


Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOW!!! I cannot say enough wonderful things about this book! Since I have finished it I bought myself two copies, one audio, and one print. To nearly every woman I come in contact with I have highly recommended!!! The book was engaging and entertaining. Mrs. Sandberg addressed so many things I have personally dealt with in the workplace and life, that never gets addressed. I appreciate so much what she is doing and how she is helping career women everywhere! One thing she mentioned that really stuck out to me was that we need to be uplifting the other women around us, often times we don’t support our own and that needs to change. I love that she addressed how so many of us are afraid or make career choices based on we want to be mothers and wives, so we shoot ourselves in the foot now and down the road for something we don’t yet have and might not ever have. That was her “Lean In” theme, lean into our careers, lean into our lives, give it everything we’ve got and when other blessings come along like husbands and children things will work themselves out, but don’t self-sabotage in the meantime. If we want to be a stay-at-home mom, we can, retire at that point, or whatever we want, make the adjustments when the time comes, but don’t limit our possibilities to make a difference and truly enjoy our lives. There is so much that I could elaborate on and frankly I wish I had been able to write this review immediately upon finishing. This might seem like a hard core feminist book, it’s not, (and she addresses that too!) but it’s a realistic view of what things are like, where we came from, how things have progressed, where things are headed and how we can be and make a difference! Phenomenal book! Well written best biography I have read in a very very long time!! HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

(Actually Finished July 12th 2013)

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Review: Explosive Eighteen


Explosive Eighteen
Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the little change in the plot adding in Hawaii and her even more ‘complicated’ status to her Morelli & Ranger relationships. The Hawaii part was a lot of fun since I was actually blessed with the opportunity to go to Hawaii this last spring! It also made me incredibly grateful that I didn’t have any major issues! Somehow I can see my life altering just slightly to be as chaotic as Stephanie’s and while I thoroughly enjoy her stories and life, I’m grateful it’s not mine! 🙂 Only one more book to read until I’m waiting like the rest of the world. I’m not one that re-reads many books unless it’s over an expanse of like 10 years, however, I might have to make an exception so that I don’t go through complete withdrawals.

(Actually finished August 11th 2013)

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Review: The Goose Girl


The Goose Girl (novel)

The Goose Girl (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Goose Girl
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn’t sure what to think when Kylene recommended this to me. Honestly I took a look at it and said yeah, I probably won’t be super into it, but probably won’t hate it. Kylene hasn’t led me astray yet with decent books, so I thought I’d give it a chance, besides I don’t get too many recommendations from people, just the online library that certainly does lead me astray! In addition, I was surprised to find so many friends who had already read this unknown book. So I put the book on hold and found it surprisingly engaging from the first chapter. It was fun to learn about the fantasy and folklore of people who have underlying ‘language skills’ of the animals, birds, people, wind, fire, etc. Fascinating concepts frankly. I found myself connecting quickly with the Princess Anidori, and certainly falling in love with her prince as well. I love the depth the book displayed so elegantly of the princess. She was highly capable and incredibly loving, she took her bad situations in stride, but never gave up, she was enticing, witty, engaging and smart! Great book, I highly recommend as well. I’m excited to read the rest of the series, and grateful the story goes on!

(Actually finished July 7th 2013)

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