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Monday, October 31, 2011

NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo.

http://www.nanowrimo.org

National Novel Writing Month (i.e. November).

Have you done it? Are you doing it this year?

I heard about it for a couple of years now, and I am still deciding whether to do it this year (still have 20 minutes to decide! :)

At one point in my life, I did want to be a writer, but the story sounded so much in my head than on paper (it was in Chinese though). One of the "50 things to do before I die" on my list is to write a book, regardless of subject, so we'll see if that can ever be achieved.

If I do decide to give it a try this year, it really isn't to finish a novel (I am not that naive!) but to see if I can develop a habit or writing. To see if I have the discipline to do so (ha! maybe I'd procrastinate on writing and go on to exercise instead! See? No discipline here...) And to go experience what authors really do. I know I don't give a good rating to all the books I read, but as I stress, it's me, not the author or their book, that's the problem.

Just as I don't like every painting out there. Just as my clients don't like every image I photograph. Just as I don't like every dish I eat at restaurants.

But it doesn't mean I can't try it to see what they have to go through - e.g. many people think photographing a wedding is easy. Let me tell you it really isn't. Click the shutter is easy, but there are a lot of behind the scene stuff that non-professionals don't think about.

If I do try, I don't really have anything planned out like I see many people do. I think that'd deter me at this stage.

Makes me wonder how many avid readers secretly want to be an author :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Little Bit About Me

I don't really do any meme - I don't have the discipline. When I saw this one at Lost in Books, I thought it might be fun to participate since I haven't really shared anything personal before, and I found it's a great way to get to know someone a little bit more!



Age:
34

Bed Size:
Recently changed from Queen to King when we were in need of a new mattress. Now our room looks so small lol!

Chore that you hate: 
Cleaning...

Dogs:
I don't think I'd ever be a dog owner (though I never thought I'd be a cat-mama either...) Husband is allergic to dogs. But if I really have to pick one, I'd choose the big, gentle dogs who aren't hyper lol.

Essential start to your day:
Hot shower to wake me up.

Favorite colors:
I don't really have one... it depends on my mood and depends on what it is.

Gold or Silver:
I can wear both. I like rose gold also because one the first ring I had was my grandmother's rose gold band (she died way before I was born.)

Height:
5'4

Instruments you play:
I learned how to play the piano since I was 4 or 5. I learned the violin for a couple of years but I am bad at it. I learned to play the drums for fun for a year, but too hard to perfect it when you don't have a drum kit to practice on (I "made" my own drum kit using telephone books... but it's not the same)

Job Title:
Analyst / Internal Consultant in a health care institution. Photographer (though I am putting my photography business on sabbatical since my analyst job is keeping me too busy).

Kids:
None... still deciding... unless you count our 3 kittie-kiddies.

Live:
Minnesota (about 7 hours NW of Chicago in the US). Or as they say, Many-snow-ta.

Mother-in-Law's name:
Start with a J. In fact, husband's whole family has a J first name.

Nicknames:
None... even husband calls me by my first name.

Overnight hospital stays:
When I was born.

Pet Peeves:
Probably too many to list, but I can't really think of one that makes me really annoyed. I usually forget about it soon after.

Quote from a movie:
The only one I remember is "I see dead people"? :p (and no, I don't)

Right or Left handed:
Right

Siblings:
2 younger sisters

Time you wake up:
Depends if I have early meetings or not... if I have 7am meeting I need to get up at 5:45am to catch the bus. On the weekend, I just sleep till whenever my body wakes up. I am a night owl...

Underwear:
Yes I wear them :p

Vegetable you hate:
It's a Chinese vegetable and I don't remember what it's called (in either Chinese or English... after googling, I wonder if it is "Garland Chrysanthemum" or "Tong Ho"... tastes like metal :p)

What makes you run late:
Not wanting to get up (night owl, remember...)

X-Rays you've had:
Chest/lung, teeth. The teeth one makes me gag :p

Yummy food that you make:
Ice cream! I can't really cook (though I want to learn) but I can make pretty good ice cream, thanks to David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop ice cream recipe book! I used to feel indifferent about vanilla ice-cream, until I made it myself using vanilla bean. Better than even Ben & Jerry or Häagen-Dazs! Love green tea ice cream. I even modified the recipe to make black sesame ice-cream (you can tell I am Asian since I love green tea and black sesame everything :)

Zoo animal:
Ummm... don't really have a favorite?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Book Review - Night Road by Kristin Hannah



Title: Night Road
Author: Kristin Hannah 
Year: 2011
Page: 385
Genre: Fiction - Women

FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from goodreads.com):
For a mother, life comes down to a series of choices.
To hold on…
To let go..
To forget…
To forgive…
Which road will you take?


For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children’s needs above her own, and it shows—her twins, Mia and Zach—are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill moves into their small, close knit community, no one is more welcoming than Jude. Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable.

Jude does everything to keep her kids safe and on track for college. It has always been easy-- until senior year of high school. Suddenly she is at a loss. Nothing feels safe anymore; every time her kids leave the house, she worries about them.

On a hot summer’s night her worst fears come true. One decision will change the course of their lives. In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything. In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget…or the courage to forgive.

NIGHT ROAD is vivid, emotionally complex novel that raises profound questions about motherhood, identity, love, and forgiveness. It is a luminous, heartbreaking novel that captures both the exquisite pain of loss and the stunning power of hope. This is Kristin Hannah at her very best, telling an unforgettable story about the longing for family, the resilience of the human heart, and the courage it takes to forgive the people we love.


First Sentence:
She stands at the hairpin turn on Night Road.

My Thoughts:

  • I haven't read Kristin Hannah before, but Tea Time with Marce convinced me to give this one as try as she gave it 5 stars (see her review here)!
  • I don't know if it's because I am not a mum, but women's fiction, as well as chick lit, just don't really appeal to me :( I found the story too predictable. The prologue gave away too much.
  • I also thought the characters were too stereotypical. At first I did like the mum Jude (even if she was a little over protective, but I think if I was a mum I would be too) but then she became unlikeable. I suppose if she was too likable then it became unrealistic too.
  • The writing was easy enough to read, so that's a plus.
  • This book did get lots of good reviews, so I think it's just me not liking family drama. This seems too much like a Hallmark/Lifetime movie. Though  I did get slightly teary eyed a little.



Quote: 
But i know that justice and revenge are two different things. (p204)

Overall Rating:
 

2 Stars. A bit too predictable for me.


All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Book Review - Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon



Title: Don't Breathe a Word 
Author: Jennifer McMahon 
Year: 2011
Page: 447
Genre: Fiction - Murder / Mystery / Thriller / Suspense

FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from goodreads.com):

On a soft summer night in Vermont, twelve-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.

Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn’t fear the dark and doesn’t have bad dreams—who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam’s hardheaded, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed—a promise that could destroy them all.


First Sentence:
If you are holding this book in your hands, you are one of the chosen.

My Thoughts:

  • I read the author's other book, Dismantled: A Novel, and liked it fine (see review here). When I read about this new book from goodreads' newsletter, it sounded creepy enough that I wanted to give it a try! Isn't the cover haunting? 
  • The story started out creepy as promised, and definitely kept you guessing until the almost the very end... then the ending, particular the last page, just confused the heck out of me that I still wasn't quite sure what happened? Maybe I am too linear that I don't like ambiguous ending. Such ending just does not provide enough closure for me.
  • At 447 pages, this book probably was 100-150 pages too long. The story could have been faster-paced. 
  • While I couldn't guess the minute details, I was able to guess the overall direction of the book. So when the twist was revealed, it lacked impact.
  • [Spoiler] Also, they made it sounded like the name Elton was an important twist, but it was never explained? [/Spoiler]
  • Overall, just an okay read... could have been better.


Quote:
Didn't everyone want that? Have a secret longing to be more special than the guy next door? Didn't everyone secretly wish there was another world you could find a doorway to, step inside, and become a queen? (p400)

Overall Rating:


2.5 Stars. Could have been shorter. The ending could have been better.



All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Book Review - Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale by Carolyn Turgeon



Title: Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale 
Author: Carolyn Turgeon
Year: 2011
Page: 240
Genre: Fiction - Fairy Tale

FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from goodreads.com):
The story of two very different women, one mortal, one mermaid, and the clash between worlds best kept apart... It is a cold day at the end of the world when a young woman, a princess in hiding, looks out across a Northern sea and sees something she could not have seen. It looks...it can't be. It looks like a mermaid's tail. And, as she looks more closely, she sees that the mermaid is dragging a drowning sailor in her arms. Because, only hours before, another princess, the daughter of the sea queen, has decided to risk everything and take a look at the world above the sea: the world of mortals. And there she finds a storm, a shipwreck, a sailor, and sets in train events which will change both women's worlds forever.

First Sentence:
It was a gloomy, overcast day, like all days were, when the princess first saw them.

My Thoughts:
  •  I read the author's first book, Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story, last year (see my review here) and enjoyed it - the execution could have been improved as parts of it were just too long and slow, but the surprising twist at the end was very satisfying (yes I still remember - it definitely had staying power). So when I read on All About {n}'s blog that the author had a new book coming out (see her review here), I knew I had to read it.
  • You know, I never knew that the Disney version of Little Mermaid was different! I had only read the original version (in Chinese) when I was a child, and had never watched the Disney movie, so there was only one ending that I knew of, and this book was closer to that version than that of the Disney version. 
  • I hardly remembered the details of the original Mermaid story (just the gist of it) so while reading this book, I had a hard time distinguishing what was a re-tell of the original story, and what was the author's new take of it. Because of my own expectation, I kept waiting for a brilliant twist to come along, but it never really arrived for me. It definitely didn't have as much of an impact as the first book. I thought there might be more "magical realism" in the story but it fell short.
  • The characters also seemed a bit flat and too cliche, and that people just magically fell in love without much relationship development (maybe this was the magic?) I noted that I wished it would expand on Sybil more since she seemed to be the most interesting character - except now, four months later, I don't remember who Sybil is anymore...
  • The cover is very pretty and I love the contrast between the blue-green background and the copper hair. BUT, I thought the main character had white blond "moon" hair?
  • If the author has a new book published, I'd probably still read it. But I hope it has a more memorable twist. 



Overall Rating:


2.5 Stars. Liked the first book better.


All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Books... That Is Exactly How They Work


Saw this on Facebook. Not sure of the source (though there is a URL at the lower right hand corner).

Book Review - Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly by Larry McCleary



Title: Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly
Author: Larry McCleary
Year: 2011
Page: 240
Genre: Non-Fiction - Healthy, Weight Loss

FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from goodreads.com):
Stay slim and mentally sharp by choosing foods that keep your waistline trim and your brain well fed.
 
Renowned neurosurgeon Larry McCleary, M. D., became fascinated by the paradox of the fattening of America and the brain starvation he was seeing in aging brains. His research led to this innovative conclusion: Calories you consume are bypassing your brain and being stored in fat cells. In Feed Your Brain Lose Your Belly, he reveals how ''sticky'' fat cells send mixed messages to your brain, causing you to experience persistent hunger, to overeat, and to gain weight as a result.

If you are ready to get in touch with the signals your body generates so that you work with, not against, your innate metabolic machinery, this book is the tool you've been seeking. Weight loss will be easy as you keep hunger at bay while providing your brain with the high-octane fuel it thrives on. Feed Your Brain Lose Your Belly pairs its advice with 7 days' worth of helpful meal plans and plenty of delicious recipes.

Dr. McCleary's counterintuitive perspective on the benefits of brain-healthy fat consumption--supported by clinical testing with a group that called themselves the ''Biggest Losers''--will help you make critical decisions about your diet. Learning to choose foods that prevent the production of sticky fat cells rather than forcing yourself to eat less is the best way for you to feed your hungry brain cells and stay thin.


First Sentence:
This is a book about hope -- hope that we will all live a long and happy life, that we will be around to help and comfort our aging parents and to enjoy our children as they grow up, and to watch them experience all the joys that we savored as children.

My Thoughts:
  • I need to lose weight, so the title of this books appeals to my scientific mind as I am curious to know how "feeding your brain" can help that!
  • It was a pretty fast read. It was written in lay-person terms so it was easy to understand.
  • Dr McCleary suggested to eat approximately 60% fat, 20% protein, 20% carb. Or at least a 2:1 ratio of Fat:Carb. Now, it's about GOOD fat like omega-3, not bad fat like ice cream, cake, cookies. Sigh :( If it was only that easy... He also recommended eating food that won't elevate insulin level so that we'd burn the internal source of energy (fat cell) rather than external source of energy (food). When insulin level is high, fat cells are "locked" up for storage. You're also less likely to feel hungry.
  • A lot of the other things he mentioned in the book were common sense, e.g. use spice to add flavor, instead of salt
  • The book included recipes, and lists of good carb, bad carb, good fat, bad fat etc. so it was helpful that you didn't have to google what is good and what is bad
  • Coconut oil is supposedly good too even though it's thought to be the most saturated fat oil - but not all saturated fat are the same - it has medium chained length saturated fat, not long-chained, so it actually goes into the liver and turns into an energy source, as opposed to being stored in fat cells. (Now I don't know if it's true or not, but that's what was stated in this book. I am tempted to give it a try as I like coconut, though I am not sure if I like coconut oil or not since I have never had it... or if I had, it was probably at a restaurant a long time ago)
  • Yes you still need to exercise!!! 
  • The author also mentioned a clinical trial of a product he sells called Vitaloss (a supplement used to speed up metabolism and suppress aptitude). Basically the control group (placebo capsule) hardly lost any weight, the one using the Feed Your Brain Loss Your Belly (FYBLYB) diet/activity + placebo capsule lose 4.36 lb over 6 weeks, those on FYBLYB diet/activity and Vitaloss lost 11.77lb on average. The book didn't mention the sample size but it included an article to read. The article said 67 people were in the study so the sample size was not too big (just roughly 22 people per group). I thought it would be interesting to have another group where the subjects only took the Vitaloss supplement but didn't do the FYBLYB diet/activity.  Some people think that including the Vitaloss information is advertising. I didn't have much problem with that - he still presented that FYBLYF diet/activity alone would help, maybe the supplement just accelerated the process. I won't be buying the supplement for now - there is not a lot of review yet and it's a bit pricy.
  • I may try his "diet" (paying attention to the 2or3fat:1carb ratio he suggested) to see if I will feel less hungry. He claimed that if one took the same calorie intake, but have a different ratio of carb:fat:protein (e.g. more carb than fat as most diets are, 55% carb, 15% protein and 30% fat). I tried tracking my food for a while (without following any type of diet, just tracking food I'd normally eat), and my fat intake definitely wasn't the highest. It was difficult to track though if the food is made from scratch... much easier to track when you buy prepackaged food... but prepackaged food is not as good for you! If only I could take a picture of what I am eating, and it'd give me a detailed nutritional analysis (not just a pure guess... even when I looked up food in the tracking website food database, there is so much variation...)
  • It's hard to rate the book - the book itself was easy to read, and his scientific theory seemed to make sense, but whether weight loss really happened was hard to judge. So I am just giving it a 3 as an average score...

Overall Rating:


3 Stars. Easy to understand, but don't know if weight loss will really happen yet...


All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Book Review - The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen




Title: The Peach Keeper
Author: Sarah Addison Allen 
Year: 2011
Page: 273
Genre: Fiction - Magical Realism

FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from goodreads.com):
It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.

For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town.

Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.



First Sentence:
The day Paxton Osgood took the box of heavy-stock, foil-lined envelopes to the post office, the ones she'd had a professional calligrapher address, it began to rain so hard the air turned a white as bleached cotton.

My Thoughts:

  • Since I "discovered" Sarah Addison Allen this year and really enjoyed The Sugar Queen, I just had to read everything else by her! So when I found out her new book was coming out, I promptly reserved it at the library
  • Isn't the cover so pretty and sweet - though I almost wish it didn't have the girl :) I love the falling flowers and the tree in the background. The title fits the story too
  • I must say I was a bit disappointed with the story though - it just was a bit too predictable and the magic wasn't quite as magical. In fact, the magic seemed a little contrived. 
  • The characters seemed a bit stereotypical. They were likable but none really stood out to me. [SPOILER] I also didn't quite understand how Paxton and Sebastian hit it off since they were never friends - I know the author tried to explain a little about that but the reason wasn't quite good enough [/SPOILER]
  • I'd still read the author's next book. I read on her facebook page that she was going through chemo so I felt bad that I don't quite enjoy this book as much - but I admired her that she still has a book published while she is going through a lot in her personal life!

Quote:
"Superstitions are man's way of trying to control things he has no control over." (p7)

Happiness means taking risks. And if you're not a little scared, you're not doing it right. (p249)



Overall Rating:


2.5 Stars. Not bad, but not her best.


All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Book Review - Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi



Title: Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain 
Author: Portia de Rossi 
Year: 2010
Page: 272
Genre: Non-Fiction - Memoir

FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from goodreads.com):
"I didn't decide to become anorexic. It snuck up on me disguised as a healthy diet, a professional attitude. Being as thin as possible was a way to make the job of being an actress easier . . ."

Portia de Rossi weighed only 82 pounds when she collapsed on the set of the Hollywood film in which she was playing her first leading role. This should have been the culmination of all her years of hard work—first as a child model in Australia, then as a cast member of one of the hottest shows on American television. On the outside she was thin and blond, glamorous and successful. On the inside, she was literally dying.

In this searing, unflinchingly honest book, Portia de Rossi captures the complex emotional truth of what it is like when food, weight, and body image take priority over every other human impulse or action. She recounts the elaborate rituals around eating that came to dominate hours of every day, from keeping her daily calorie intake below 300 to eating precisely measured amounts of food out of specific bowls and only with certain utensils. When this wasn't enough, she resorted to purging and compulsive physical exercise, driving her body and spirit to the breaking point.

Even as she rose to fame as a cast member of the hit television shows Ally McBeal and Arrested Development, Portia alternately starved herself and binged, all the while terrified that the truth of her sexuality would be exposed in the tabloids. She reveals the heartache and fear that accompany a life lived in the closet, a sense of isolation that was only magnified by her unrelenting desire to be ever thinner. With the storytelling skills of a great novelist and the eye for detail of a poet, Portia makes transparent as never before the behaviors and emotions of someone living with an eating disorder.

From her lowest point, Portia began the painful climb back to a life of health and honesty, falling in love with and eventually marrying Ellen DeGeneres, and emerging as an outspoken and articulate advocate for gay rights and women's health issues.

In this remarkable and beautifully written work, Portia shines a bright light on a dark subject. A crucial book for all those who might sometimes feel at war with themselves or their bodies, Unbearable Lightness is a story that inspires hope and nourishes the spirit.


First Sentence:
He doesn't wait until I'm awake.

My Thoughts:

  • I have read good reviews of this book, but was on the fence to read it until I read Book Addiction's review. I am indifferent about Portia de Rossi - I haven't watched any shows she was in. I knew she was in Ally McBeal and is married to Ellen, and is Australian, but that's about all I know. 
  • This is a very honest memoir. So raw that sometimes I felt like reaching inside the book to shake some sense into her. Some people who had Eating Disorder before mentioned that this book was like a self-help manual, so if you are going through or are recovering from Eating Disordering, it may be best not to read this book as the story may act as a trigger. For someone like me who do not know very much about Eating Disorder but am interested in the psychological aspect of it, this is quite an eye opener about what goes on in their mind and why they act the way they do, along with the different emotions that may go along with it - control, anxiety, depression, self-worth and approval from others
  • It was quite interesting to read that in their mind, "losing weight / dieting = hard work = achievement", and that they felt a sense of accomplishment when they heard the words "too thin" (even though it was meant as a negative comment). One really has to be careful of what to say to people who has Eating Disorder because some words could become a trigger to them
  • I felt bad for Portia - her mother's influence probably played a big role, and then of course being on Ally McBeal probably didn't help since at least 2 other actresses from that show had Eating Disorders. Due to the nature of her profession, the photographers and stylists and anyone else in the industry probably contributed a little too (imagine the pressure of not fitting into the clothes your stylists brought you.) That definitely makes me be more mindful about what I say when I photograph my subjects
  • I enjoyed Portia's writing, though sometimes the story got a bit repetitive - but I guess it just showed what went through the mind of someone with an Eating Disorder EVERY SINGLE DAY.  
  • The epilogue was a bit long and got a bit preachy (e.g. about being vegan). She didn't elaborate a lot on how she recovered, but I think it'd be a different recovery path for everyone as that's no one solution that fits all, or it'd be an easy disorder to cure.
  • There were a few photos in the book, and they made you heart ached seeing how brutal she was with her body. I wish it also included some photos of her younger days though.
  • I like the title - especially the double meaning of the sub-title: A Story of Gain and Loss. 
  • I was particularly touched by her relationship with her brother, and later on, Ellen. She did not bad-mouth anybody in the book, and admitted that she was unreasonable at time in retrospect. This memoir reminded me of Andre Agassi's Open: An Autobiography (my review here). I appreciate their honesty and showed us that being famous wasn't all that glamorous. I sincerely hope that Portia won't go back to her unhealthy lifestyle.



Quote:
I was officially a hypocrite. I wanted to blend in and disappear yet be noticed doing it. (p70)

I didn't decide to become anorexic. It snuck up on me disguised as a healthy diet, a professional attitude. (p277)


It would have been very easy for me to start losing weight again to get the attention and the concern that felt like love. (p279)

I made the mistake of thinking that what I look like is more important than who I am.


Overall Rating:


3.5 Stars. Honest and raw. Not the best memoir I had read but I learned something insight on Eating Disorders.



All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Book Review - Attachments by Rainbow Rowell



Title: Attachments 
Author: Rainbow Rowell 
Year: 2011
Page: 323
Genre: Fiction - Chick Lit

FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from goodreads.com):
Beth and Jennifer know their company monitors their office e-mail. But the women still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers at the newspaper and baring their personal lives like an open book. Jennifer tells Beth everything she can't seem to tell her husband about her anxieties over starting a family. And Beth tells Jennifer everything, period.

When Lincoln applied to be an Internet security officer, he hardly imagined he'd be sifting through other people's inboxes like some sort of electronic Peeping Tom. Lincoln is supposed to turn people in for misusing company e-mail, but he can't quite bring himself to crack down on Beth and Jennifer. He can't help but be entertained-and captivated- by their stories.

But by the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late for him to ever introduce himself. What would he say to her? "Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you." After a series of close encounters and missed connections, Lincoln decides it's time to muster the courage to follow his heart . . . even if he can't see exactly where it's leading him.

Written with whip-smart precision and charm, Attachments is a strikingly clever and deeply romantic debut about falling in love with the person who makes you feel like the best version of yourself. Even if it's someone you've never met.


First Sentence:
Would it kill you to get here before noon?

My Thoughts:

  • I must have been in a fluffy mood back in May because I read 2 chick lits (not my usual genre) that month (the other was Addition by Toni Jordan, reviewed here). When I read Helen's Book Blog's review, I put it on my TBR list because she liked it so much (plus I read a lot of other very positive reviews.)
  • It was a cute read, but like all other chick lit, the storyline became too predictable for me... I know, it's the journey not the destination and all that, but a good twist or a good ending makes such a big difference in my opinion (at least when it comes to books or movies anyway.)
  • The book was written in an email format and it was fun to read. Almost seemed like we were eavesdropping... the characters were likeable. At least nobody was unrealistically perfect. Some people found the story humorous but I didn't recall finding it that funny. Though I have a strange sense of humor. So it's just me. I prefer witty or dry humor (think Whose Line Is It Anyway) than say, Jim Carrey type of humor (in fact, I didn't find his movies funny at all... ) 
  • The title is quite clever though - since Attachments has a different meaning when it comes to emails. Can't really say the cover design is that eye-catching though.
  • So again, an overall quick beach-type read. I guess I am still not convinced that chick lit is my genre. But that's okay, just as murder/mystery/thriller/suspense is not for everyone either :) 

Quote:
"Do you believe in love at first sight?"... "I don't know," he said. "Do you believe in love before that?" (p319)

Overall Rating:


3 Stars. Light-hearted read.


All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Book Review - Addition by Toni Jordan



Title: Addition 
Author: Toni Jordan
Year: 2008
Page: 256
Genre: Fiction

FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from goodreads.com):
Grace Lisa Vandenburg orders her world with numbers: how many bananas she buys, how many steps she takes to the café, where she chooses to sit, how many poppy seeds are in her daily piece of orange cake. Every morning she uses 100 strokes to brush her hair, 160 strokes to brush her teeth. She remembers the day she started to count, how she used numbers to organize her adolescence, her career, even the men she dated. But something went wrong. Grace used to be a teacher, but now she's surviving on disability checks. According to the parents of one of her former students, "she's mad."

Most people don't understand that numbers rule, not just the world in a macro way but their world, their own world. Their lives. They don't really understand that everything and everybody are connected by a mathematical formula. Counting is what defines us . . . the only thing that gives our lives meaning is the knowledge that eventually we all will die. That's what makes each minute important. Without the ability to count our days, our hours, our loved ones . . . there's no meaning. Our lives would have no meaning. Without counting, our lives are unexamined. Not valued. Not precious. This consciousness, this ability to rejoice when we gain something and grieve when we lose something—this is what separates us from other animals. Counting, adding, measuring, timing. It's what makes us human.

Grace's father is dead and her mother is a mystery to her. Her sister wants to sympathize but she really doesn't understand. Only Hilary, her favorite niece, connects with her. And Grace can only connect with Nikola Tesla, the turn-of-the-twentieth-century inventor whose portrait sits on her bedside table and who rescues her in her dreams. Then one day all the tables at her regular café are full, and as she hesitates in the doorway a stranger—Seamus Joseph O'Reilly (19 letters in his name, just like Grace's)—invites her to sit with him. Grace is not the least bit sentimental. But she understands that no matter how organized you are, how many systems you put in place, you can't plan for people. They are unpredictable and full of possibilities—like life itself, a series of maybes and what-ifs.

And suddenly, Grace may be about to lose count of the number of ways she can fall in love.


First Sentence:
It all counts.

My Thoughts:

  • I don't usually read chick lit. They are typically too predictable for me and I usually cannot identify with the protagonists. However, when I read Caroline Bookbinder's review of this book (see here), I was intrigued since she doesn't really read chick lit anymore and found that she likes this one.
  • The book started out interesting as you learned more about Grace, the protagonist who had OCD and was quirky about numbers. That made her a bit different from your typical girl next door. She was likeable. But just like other chick lit, the storyline got predictable, and the love interest, Seamus, just seemed too perfect.
  • I looked back at my notes, and I noted that there was a twist but the twist didn't really give a full explanation on some of the background.... now 5 months later, I have no recollection of what the twist was. Oops. Need to take better notes. Or write a review sooner!
  • I also wrote in my notes that it didn't shed good lights on mental health professional. I seriously don't remember why I wrote that... maybe because I work with mental health professionals who are great people so I am a bit more sensitive on this topic when they are represented in a negative way. 
  • The book title is quite fitting, though I kept thinking it was called Addiction instead of Addition.  Addition definitely makes more sense given that numbers played a big role in the story. The cover design is okay... nothing that makes me love it or hate it.
  • Overall it is a quick read. A beach-read type of book. It reminds me a bit of the Kitchen Daughter (see my review here) where both stories are a little quirky. Though I have to say I like Kitchen Daughter better as it has a surprising twist that I still remember. I don't regret reading this though, since the author is Australian and I used to live there, so some of the slang used in the book just bring back a warm and fuzzy feeling. 



Quote:
Counting is what defines us... the only thing that gives our lives meaning is the knowledge that eventually we will all die. All of us. That's what makes each minute important. Without the ability to count our days, our hours, our loved ones... there's no meaning. Our lives would have no meaning. Without counting, our lives are unexamined. Not valued. Not precious. This consciousness, this ability to rejoice when we gain something and grieve when we lose something - this is what separates us from  other animals. Counting, adding, measuring, timing. It's what makes us human. (p130)

Average doesn't mean normal (p243)

Overall Rating:


3 Stars. Fun read. Not the best, not the worst. Fun to read when you want something a bit fluffy.


All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Liberated... abadoning books

I abandoned 7 books in the first six months of 2011, and abandoned another 7 books in the last 4 months... in a way it's quite liberating because I am trying not to feel guilty about it - "it is me, not you (or your book)". By all means, these are not bad books. In fact, you will find A LOT of positive reviews on them (more so than negative reviews). Regardless, it's just not the right time, or the right mind set or mood, for me.

How come people usually don't feel guilty when they stop watching a movie or a TV show when it's not to their liking, yet we feel bad when we stop reading a book? Or feel like we're obliged to finish them? I know it takes an author A LOT OF TIME AND EFFORT to write a book, but the same can be said for movies and TV shows?

Anyway... by stopping to read what doesn't engage me, free me to explore more books. Here are the list of DNF (Did Not Finish) from July onwards. Review will come soon to explain why I stopped. (for the ones I abandoned earlier this year, see here at the bottom - click on the book title for "reviews").


  1. Middlesex: A Novel by Jeffrey Eugenides (July)
  2. Joy For Beginners by Erica Bauermeister (July)
  3. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (September)
  4. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (September) 
  5. Mirror Image (Daniel Rinaldi Mystery) by Dennis Palumbo (October)
  6. The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta (October
  7. Best Kept Secret: A Novel by Amy Hatvany (October)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Book Review - Children of Paranoia (Children of Paranoia, #1) by Trevor Shane



Title: Children of Paranoia (Children of Paranoia, #1)
Author: Trevor Shanex 
Year: 2011
Page: 384
Genre: Fiction - Dystopian

FTC Disclosure: Received a free copy as part of the Crazy Book Tour, in exchange for an unbiased review.

Summary:

all wars have rules

rule #1: no killing innocent bystanders

rule #2: no killing anyone under the age of eighteen

break the rules, become the target


Since the age of eighteen, Joseph has been assassinating people on behalf of a cause that he believes in but doesn’t fully understand. The War is ageless, hidden in the shadows, governed by a rigid set of rules, and fought by two distinct sides — one good, one evil. The only unknown is which side is which. Soldiers in the War hide in plain sight, their deeds disguised as accidents or random acts of violence amidst an unsuspecting population ignorant of the brutality that is always inches away.

Killing people is the only life Joseph has ever known, and he’s one of the best at it. But when a job goes wrong and he’s sent away to complete a punishingly dangerous assignment, Joseph meets a girl named Maria, and for the first time in his life his singleminded, bloody purpose fades away.

Before Maria, Joseph’s only responsibility was dealing death to the anonymous targets fingered by his superiors. Now he must run from the people who have fought by his side to save what he loves most in this world. As Children of Paranoia reaches its heart-in-throat climax, Joseph will learn that only one rule remains immutable: the only thing more dangerous than fighting the war. . .is leaving it. 

First Sentence: 
Christopher, you need to know who you are.

My Thoughts:
  • I knew I had to sign up for this blog tour when I read this on Crazy Book Tours, "CHILDREN OF PARANOIA is set in a dystopian landscape reminiscent of I am Number Four and The Hunger Games, with a moral sensibility that will entice fans of Showtime’s Dexter. Trevor Shane effortlessly transitions between nail-biting action and heartfelt emotion, sure to delight genre fans and literary fiction lovers alike." I really liked the Hunger Games, I like dystopia, I like the concept of Dexter (I watched the 1st episode only and it was a little slow for me... but people had told me start from Season 2 instead? Anyway I digress.) so it is no surprise that this book sounds like my type of book!
  • Because of the Hunger Games connection, I was expecting a YA Dystopian for some reasons even though no where did the description said it was YA (in fact, it specifically said "since the age of eighteen, Joseph...") So I was pleasantly surprised that it was not YA. Now, there is nothing wrong with YA, but at my age (close to mid 30's) I'd become a bit picky when it came to YA since sometimes I feel I am too old for the "lessons learned". Not that I don't see the value in those lessons, but I'd learned them way too long ago already :) I was also a bit afraid that this would be character-driven and slower paced than the usual suspense/thriller because it said "A Novel" after the book title (as opposed to A Thriller). But I needed not worried, this book had BOTH great characters and action!
  • I am also not sure if this book really is dystopian. As I was reading it, I think the storyline could be happening RIGHT NOW. In fact, if you think more about it, it IS happening to a lessen degree - people hating (or maybe killing) each other for reasons no more than "we are the good guys, they are the bad guys". I guess there is no time limit when it comes to Good Vs. Evil.
  • The story was written as a diary but it wasn't really in a traditional diary format (i.e, not "Sunday, 1/2/11... Tuesday 3/2/11"). It was written in both 1st person and 2nd person "you" format, and this is not a style we typically see. Some paragraphs and chapters were quite long (especially compared to the usual thrillers when each chapter is typically quite short), but the story did not feel like it dragged on. In other books, long paragraphs sometimes annoyed me (just difficult to read) but this book didn't bother me.
  • I enjoyed the character development - I felt like I got to know Joseph and Maria and Joseph's friends quite well. They felt real. I particularly liked reading how Joseph taught the class to deliver maximum impact, and I enjoyed reading the details of his plan for each job.
  • It was not an ending I expected but it was fitting, and I can't wait to read Book 2 to find out where the story leads us.
  • There are a few other points I want to discuss but they include spoilers. So spoilers start now! 
  • [SPOILERS] -  Despite how much I enjoyed the book, I thought there were a couple of points that seemed a little unrealistic. 1st - no gun training? I would have thought it would be essential for an assassin. Secondly, what Joesph's mother did seemed a bit out of character? We'd only been hearing how sweet and loving his mother was, so I couldn't quite understand her action in betraying her son... it perhaps could have been elaborated more. But I supposed since this was written as Joseph's diary, we couldn't get the mother's thought process. Also, it made me wonder about the significance of the names - Joseph, Maria and Christopher? Or maybe I am reading too much into it. [/SPOILER]
  •  I loved the title of the book - very intriguing and yet very fitting to the story. While the cover did not give away much, the yellow definitely made it stand out.
  • Even though there is another 2.5 months left in 2011, I am fairly certain this will become one of my top 10 of the year. I loved that it had both good characters and plot. I was engrossed in the story to see where it'd go. I also got a bit teary eyed towards to end because I wish things did not turn out they way they did, but yet could understand why it happened the way it did. I read this just a couple of weeks ago, so I could still remember the story fairly well. It would be interesting to test its staying power when the next one comes out next fall (tentatively titled Children of the Underground.) Kudos to the author as this is his first novel!
  • Knowing what I know now, Children of Paranoia is more of a love story in disguise. Doesn't matter if it's dystopian or YA or not.

Quote:
"Okay, I know you guys are nervous. You're nervous for two reasons. First, you're nervous because you don't know why you're here. Second, you've got an idea abut why you're here and you're nervous that you might be right." (p23)

I guess the when is the question that's usually asked because when somebody punches you in the nose your first instinct isn't to ask why, it's to feel pain and anger and to want to punch back. Eventually, you'll ask yourself why. The why always comes. It's unavoidable. (p28)

When you've got passion, you don't need reason. It's only when you get old, like us, that you start asking questions. The older you get, the more your passion drains out of you and the more you look for a reason behind everything. (p55)

"Either they're evil or we are. And I know for damn sure that I'm not evil." (p153)



Overall Rating:


4.5 Stars. I can't wait to read Book 2 of this trilogy!




Tour Schedule:

10/11 - Kritters Ramblings   http://www.krittersramblings.com                       
10/12 - Ravishing Reads   http://ravishingreads.blogspot.com                        
10/13 - My Utopia   http://myutopia36.blogspot.com/                           
10/14 - Reader Girls   
http://readergirls.blogspot.com                          
10/16 - Mental Foodie   
http://mentalfoodie.blogspot.com                             
10/17 - Rants~N~Scribbles   
http://rantsnscribbles.blogspot.com       
10/18 - Sinnful Books   http://sinnfulbooks.blogspot.com                         
10/19 - A Bookish Affair   
http://abookishaffair.blogspot.com/                           
10/20 - Between the Covers   
http://www.betweenthecoversblog.net/               
10/21 - The Fiction Enthusiast   http://thefictionenthusiast.blogspot.com/      
10/22 - Proud Book Nerd   http://proudbooknerd.com/                           
10/23 - Book Hooked   
http://www.bookhookedblog.com                           
10/24 - Girls in the Stacks   
http://www.girlsinthestacks.com                          
10/25 - All I Ever Read   http://books.nicoleabouttown.com 



Trailer:



All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Difference among Mystyery, Thriller and Suspense?

Back when Marce hosted Thrill Week (see here), I found that I couldn't quite distinguish the differences among these genre: mystery, thriller and suspense.

I came across this article today that talked about it. What do you think of the explanation? In short, this is the summary (copy/paste from the article):

mystery: the main character is occupied in tracking down the truth about an event, usually a murder. If the protagonist is in any danger, it is usually moderate, and becomes a problem only as the detective approaches the truth.

thriller: the protagonist is in danger from the outset.

suspense: the main character may become aware of danger only gradually. In a mystery, the reader is exposed to the same information as the detective, but in a suspense story, the reader is aware of things unknown to the protagonist. The reader sees the bad guy plant the bomb, and then suffers the suspense of wondering when or if it will explode.


Does that help you? 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Question Time - Do People Ask You Why You Blog?

As I was busy typing up my last review, my husband asked, why do you do reviews? I guess to him, it's like homework.

Why would I want to assign myself homework huh :p

I guess since he doesn't read books (he prefers short articles, with his ADD and all), he doesn't quite get the excitement of discovering books (especially novels) and talking with others about books.

He likes movies, so to me books are no different to movies, except I play the movies in my head when I read. I am the director, the casting director, the photographer, the...  it always amazes me that people get weird when they hear you love to read, but they don't give a second thought if people say they love movies.

I also told him I don't want to forget what I read (and of course he asked, why? So what if you forget?)

Well I just want to damnit :) I love to read, but I don't like reading textbooks at school. I like to blog but I don't like writing reports for school/work.

I blog because I can. Because I want to :) It's not like I am asking him to blog :)

Book Review - The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown



Title: The Weird Sisters 
Author: Eleanor Brown 
Year: 2011
Page: 320
Genre: Fiction

FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from goodreads.com):
A major new talent tackles the complicated terrain of sisters, the power of books, and the places we decide to call home.

There is no problem that a library card can't solve.

The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. See, we love each other. We just don't happen to like each other very much. But the sisters soon discover that everything they've been running from-one another, their small hometown, and themselves-might offer more than they ever expected.


First Sentence:
We came home because we were failures.

My Thoughts:

  • I admit, I read this book because of the hype. When it first came out earlier this year, it had SO MUCH BUZZ in blogsphere. Book Addiction's review (see here) made me put this book on TBR (she called it " unputdownable"! Could a recommendation come higher than that?)  Not my typical genre, and I am not a Shakespeare fan either, but since I have 2 younger sisters, I have a soft spot for books about sisters.
  • I love how clean and whimsy the cover is, but I don't think it really reflected the story.... I don't know what type of cover it should have (that's why I am not a designer!), but the story didn't have the fairy-tale quality that the cover seemed to imply.
  • One thing that many people mentioned in their reviews was the unique "first person plural" ("We" instead of "I"... well I think it's called first person plural anyway since it's not 2nd person or 3rd.) I didn't really see what the big deal was. In fact, it was more like a combination of 1st person plural + 3rd person since it'd go "We...." then "Rose did ...".  I didn't find it confusing (some people didn't know which character was speaking when they used 'we") but I also didn't think it enhanced the story one way or another.
  • The three sisters, Rose, Bean (Bianca) and Cordy (Cordelia), didn't quite live up to the book title either as I didn't think they were that weird. Since I had only read one or two Shakespeare (back in high school... Midsummer Night Dream and Macbeth), I didn't quite know what the sisters' namesakes were supposed to be like. There were also quite a few Shakespearean quotes in the book as the family injected their daily conversation with Shakespeare verses. I guess Shakespeare fan would appreciate the quotes better than I did since these quotes didn't quite add to the story for me. In fact, the quotes got old fast for me... do people really speak like that in real life?
  • I did like that the characters LOVED reading, which probably appealed to all book lovers
  • "The sisters loved each other but didn't like each other" -- I guess I could identify with that somewhat. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't dislike my sisters, but sometimes I may not agree with everything they do but I still love them just because. I guess being the oldest, I could also identify with Rose who felt like it's her responsibility to make sure the family holds together. Rose's dad kept telling her that her parents and siblings are not her responsibility. Chinese think otherwise - in fact, family is number 1 priority no matter what. Now I am not 100% on that - I don't like the concept  of blindly supporting someone just because they are part of the family (I am talking about distant family here too, not just your nuclear family). Luckily I haven't been put into the position to test this out (I mean, if your brother is a serial killer, proven without a shadow of doubt, would you still support what he did unconditionally? I don't know if I could...)
  • The reason I only gave this book 2 stars was because there wasn't much to the plot (remember, I usually like reading plots with lots of twists and turns). I just don't typically do well with character-driven books. The characters weren't very likeable either - granted, the sisters were flawed but the rest of the characters just seemed too perfect so the gap was quite jarring. 
  • It's been 5 months since I read this book, and I hardly remember what happened to the characters, just that it was something predictable (if it had a big twist, I would have remembered it better). So, the story had no staying power for me. In fact, when I was about 1/3 through the book, I was going to abandon it. I kept going just to see what the hype was all about. I should have trusted my instinct. I'd been trusting my reading instinct a lot lately - probably because I'd been busy at work, so I couldn't tolerate something that only remotely interest me. When I have little time to read, I want to read something that can engage me. Something that'd make me want to stay up to read even if I am dead tired!
  • What I learned is that I am just not a Shakespeare fan. At one point back in high school, I thought Shakespeare was pretty cool - I mean, he almost invented his own language! And there must be a reason why he is so popular - so back then I really wish I was smart enough to know and understand Shakespeare. Now? Just give me the lay-person version of the story :) I remember loving the scenery in the movie Romeo & Juliet (the Leonardo DiCaprio & Claire Danes version - love the songs by the way!) but I wish they spoke with plain English instead because it seemed too pretentious not to.
  • Okay, Shakespeare fan, don't hate me :) English is hard enough for me to master, let alone Shakespearean :) If I am really missing the mark about this book, please enlighten me. I want to learn why people love this book so much, so that I can grow to be a better reader!


Quote:
We are at our most miserable when we're doing it to ourselves. (p234)

Overall Rating:
 

2 Stars. Not for me.


All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Book Review - Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love by Matthew Logelin



Title: Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love
Author: Matthew Logelin
Year: 2011
Page: 238
Genre: Non-Fiction - Memoir

FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from goodreads.com):

Matt and Liz Logelin were high school sweethearts. The pair settled together in Los Angeles and they had it all: the perfect marriage, a beautiful new home, and a baby girl on the way. But just twenty-seven hours after they welcomed Madeline into the world, Liz suffered a pulmonary embolism and instantly died, without ever holding the daughter whose arrival she had so eagerly awaited.

Faced with devastating grief and the responsibilities of a new and single father, Matt coped by returning to the small blog he had created to keep friends and family updated on Liz's pregnancy, which today has become a place for him to share with over a million curious readers the day to day of two lives bound by loss and love. But there is more to his story than just raising a daughter alone: Matt Logelin is an extraordinary human being. Having been sustained through tragedy by the kindness and generosity of strangers, he is now dedicated to helping others in difficult situations by reaching out and inspiring those facing loss or adversity.

A heartwarming and heartbreaking story punctuated by beautifully recollected— and often humorous— memories and anecdotes, TWO KISSES FOR MADDY unquestionably has something to offer any reader who has experienced grief, and has sought the courage to live again.


First Sentence:
I met my future wife, the future mother of my child, at a gas station.

My Thoughts:

  • I first heard about this book from Lovely Little Shelf's post (see her review here). You know I like reading memoir, especially emotional memoir. So this sounded like something I'd have picked to read. I hadn't heard of Matt and Liz before. Hadn't read Matt's blog. So I really had no idea what to expect (apart from knowing the general premise).
  • I read this book about 5 months ago (yes, just got around to reviewing it now, shame on me!) and at that time I didn't take any notes for this book for some reasons (apart from the quote I included at the end of this post - which I do love).  It was difficult for me to rate this book - don't get me wrong, this is a very sad story and I feel for Matt (father) and Maddy (daughter) and their families on losing Liz (wife/mother) - but I didn't cry, which was very surprising to me as I thought I would need a whole box of kleenex. Now, sometimes I wonder if that was because I do not have a child, so I couldn't quite feel the devastation... but I don't really think that is the case since I do have a spouse, and I thought Matt/Liz kinda reminded me of my husband and myself when we were dating, so it was something I could identify with somewhat (thinking of the possibility of losing J made my heart break). Also, I remember reading two other books before - both dealt with the death of their respectively child - I felt distant when I read This Lovely Life by Vicki Forman, but I got really emotional when I read Josie's Story: A Mother's Inspiring Crusade to Make Medical Care Safe by Sorrel King later. So I really don't think it was the topic, but rather than writing.
  • Now, I did feel some of Matt's emotion, and he wasn't shy to share exactly what went through his mind (quite a few F words were used) so I could feel his despair, but it just didn't quite touch my crying nerve... And yes, I don't just judge a book by its cover, but I judge how emotional I feel too. I tend to score books higher if they make me cry... it must have something to do with those psychology lessons I had learned back in college - we might not remember the details of an event (e.g. what we fight about) but remember how we feel (e.g. hurt). 
  • Speaking of the cover, I do really like it. Being a photographer, I like the non-posed style of portraits. Though I wish the book title wasn't smack right in the middle which distracted from the image, especially since it covered the part where Matt's hands were holding Maddy. Hands are expressive! I like that the title was in a white circle and I like the font, but just didn't like the placement. As you can see, I have a strong opinion when it comes to photography and cover design :) Call it occupational hazard. The title is also very fitting, and tied in with the story very well. 
  • I haven't googled lately to see how Matt and Maddy are doing (I did look it up after I finished the book, and they seemed to be doing well then.) I wish them all the best. I hope when Maddy is older, she'd read this book and know how much her parents loved each other, and how much they loved her. And that despite the tragedy, Matt tried to help others in need as well, which is admirable.



Quote: 
Together during the worst of times is better than being alone at the best of times. (p18)

Overall Rating:


3.5 Stars. Sad but inspiring. Though I didn't get as emotional as other boos I'd read on similar topics.



All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

All-TIME 100 Best Nonfiction Books

Came across this list from The Time Magazine, let's see how I do...

Politics and war, science and sports, memoir and biography — there's a great big world of nonfiction books out there just waiting to be read. We picked the 100 best and most influential written in English since 1923, the beginning of TIME ... magazine

Green Highlight - Have read
Yellow Highlight - Already on TBR list
Orange Highlight - Did Not Finish


Autobiography / Memoir

Biography

Business

Culture

Essays

Food Writing

Health

History

Ideas

Nonfiction Novels

Politics

Science

Self-Help / Instructional

Social History

Sports

War



It makes me wonder how these books are picked... and if they have read all non-fiction there is out there!