November 29, 2018

This was a singularly interesting book as it was originally written in monthly installments, each chapter including a traditional recipe which is incorporated into the story. The story follows the life of Tita, youngest daughter of Mama Elena, and the trials she faces due to family tradition and her position in the family. The language is wonderful, descriptive, and flowing, the characters are both realistic and fantastic, and their lives are fraught with magic and subject to fate. I great easy read, I loved this book and I want to try some of the recipes myself!

Points: 9.0; Current point balance: 123.5

November 26, 2018

This story captured me from the first page and transported me to 1964 South Carolina; I could feel the lazy afternoon heat, hear the thrum of bees wings in the hives and smell the heady sweet scent of warmed honey and beeswax in the air. The Civil Rights Act has just been passed, but life is anything but equal – this thread runs through and behind the main story of a young runaway girl’s discovery of self and of her own backstory, which has been lost in a turmoil of fear and confusion and betrayal. What an immersive, compassionate, spiritual and cathartic experience this book is. Great read!

Points: 15.0; Current point balance: 114.5

November 23, 2018

What light-hearted, whimsical fun! This is an “Interactive Romance Novel” in which the reader gets to make choices for the main character which determine the course of the storyline, which is decidedly campy and with an historical romance flair. I read the ePub version which contains hyperlinks to different sections of the book – the format needs some editing and not all of the storyline flows together well – and the storyline is a bit spare, but it’s not expected to be high romantic literature. It is an amusing and entertaining light read.

Points: 5.0; Current point balance: 99.5

Posted by: JulieAloha | November 22, 2018

Giving Thanks

November 22, 2018

The Zoo is closing in less than an hour and it is pouring down rain in sheets and buckets – it’s Thanksgiving Day and I’m at work at Guest Services and so very grateful to be here where I love my job and the people I work with and the opportunities and blessings I have. It’s been a quiet day for the most part, a few rentals (mostly umbrellas) and I’ve been able to complete a few projects and do a little reading while enjoying a warming cup of cocoa. I love the sound of the rain plashing outside and on the roof of the building. I love the shine and pattern of raindrops on the pavement. And I love having the time to think and reflect on the year and what it’s brought me.

This year my old Corolla finally failed completely, but I’m thankful that with the proceeds from the sale of my condo last year I was able to buy a brand new Ionic hybrid and the savings in gas alone more than covers my monthly car payment. After a ten month search I found a new condo and I’m thankful that I became a homeowner again in April. It’s been a long process to design and plan renovations for my new home, but I’m thankful that we are set to begin demolition next Monday and I hope to be able to move in by the first week in January. I’m grateful for my family, for their good health and love, for my mom who has put up with me as a house”guest” for a year and a half and supported me in so many ways. I’m grateful for my friends, near and far, and I pray for their good health and joy and comfort in the coming year. I had a little setback this summer in the form of a torn anterior tibialis tendon which required surgery and a lengthy healing process, but that brings me back to my gratitude for my job and the support and latitude they gave me while I healed. Most of all, I’m grateful for almost 50 years of life and looking forward to the years ahead and hoping to make a positive difference in them.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

November 21, 2018

Isabel Allende has been one of my favorite authors for many, many years. She incorporates so much culture and history into her storylines, painting an accurate picture of people’s existence in the time and place they are set. I love her frank depiction of people’s characters, thoughts, and lives – she doesn’t shy away from harsh reality nor from entwining spiritualism and beliefs with that reality. Her characters are thrown into situations which force them to change their perceptions, make hard choices, and pursue unexpected actions in order to move forward and to survive. And as she often does, she includes significant social lessons appropriate to the time period, but also important to keep in mind today. Set in the 1840’s from Chile to China to the Gold Rush in California, this novel started a little slowly for me; there are many characters to discover and learn their backstories and interconnections, but eventually I was racing across pages, devouring words ravenously to find out what happens. An exciting adventure with great heart!

Points: 24.0; Current point balance: 94.5

November 18, 2018

As a holiday favorite, I’ve seen and read A Christmas Carol many times over the years and in many different versions of the story, but this was the first time to hear it as an audiobook and I was very pleased to find an available copy recorded by one of my favorite voice actors, Jim Dale. This story is well known to most people as a tale of one man’s life of tight-fisted stinginess come to haunt him over the course of a single night, changing the course of the rest of his life – but the tale truly comes to life with Jim Dale’s voice characterizations; what an enjoyable experience!

Points: 5.0; Current point balance: 70.5

November 17, 2018

What can I say but that I hated this book…completely, but mostly dispassionately; it irritated me with its style of constant switching from voice to voice in a repetitive stream of idiotic consciousness. I lost patience with a few of the characters, gritting my teeth each time they took up the narrative – I also found myself arguing out loud with their illogical reasoning, but then giving it up as a bad job after realizing I didn’t really care what happened to them. I couldn’t relate to the characters or their situation or their choices or actions. Reading this book was an exercise in futility.

Points: 9.0; Current point balance: 65.5

November 11, 2018

I had a really rough time getting into this one; the story is given to the reader in little glimpses of the aftermath of an event which rocked a town, then the narrative slowly, grudgingly unfolds and becomes clearer in the voices of the people involved. It’s a painful story of anger and power and secrets and pain. There’s love and betrayal, kindness and cruelty, generosity and greed and everything in between in a town called Ruby and the nearby manse known as the Convent. Perhaps the characters were too real, too extreme for my comfort, but for the most part I just didn’t like them, I couldn’t identify with them or their choices. Not a very fun read, though perhaps an important one in order to see the world from a different viewpoint.

Points: 17.0; Current Point Balance: 56.5

November 8, 2018

This was a tough one at times, emotionally wrenching and excruciatingly vivid in the first story about the burning of a black man as witnessed by a child, and light and entertaining in a series of stories about two boys with great imaginations and too much time on their hands. Ellison’s words paint a picture of life in America from the perspective of a people who, having been forcibly brought to this country into slavery and later emancipated without having been given any real help in recovering from it, their society has slowly, painstakingly emerged within hostile territory, a culture submerged within another, subjugated and suppressed by the dominant society. That dominance is clear and present in each story, a part of their every day lives. Eye-opening, humbling, horrifying and heartbreaking for the reader at times, but frank and realistic and educational as well.

Points: 8; Current Point Balance: 39.5

November 2, 2018

This is one of my favorite light comedy plays. I love the witty turns of phrase, the plays on words and the sweet innocence and silliness of the characters as they pursue their heart’s desires, find their paths blocked by their own doing and resolve the issues through the most unlikely chance occurrence. I’ve seen this play on stage and film, this was my first time reading it through, and I still found it to be delightful and fun. What a pleasure!

Points: 3.0; Current Point Balance: 31.5

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