Saturday, October 31, 2015

Review: All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All the Light We Cannot See is a beautifully written tale of Marie-Laure LeBlanc and Werner Pfennig. Marie-Laure is a blind young woman living in Paris at the height of WWII and Werner is a young German orphaned boy recruited into Hitler's Youth. Marie-Laure and her father are forced to evacuate to St. Malo, France where Werner is eventually deployed to. It is there that Marie-Laure and Werner's paths cross. Two worlds collide in the midst of the bombing of St. Malo. They are each victims needing to be saved. They are each other's light.

This story is well-crafted with layers of themes and symbolism. It is thought-provoking and evocative. Doerr takes the reader on a sensory journey. It is written in short chapters that move back and forth in time, much like a puzzle that you put together piece by piece, you see the story piece by piece until you can make out the full picture. It is the perfect book for a book club or discussion group. It is definitely one of my favorite reads of the year.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Review: Pepper: A History of the World's Most Influential Spice

Pepper: A History of the World's Most Influential Spice Pepper: A History of the World's Most Influential Spice by Marjorie Shaffer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is really more about the history of the early pepper trade/trading route around Sumatra, as well as the Spice Islands, involving the East India Trading Company and the Dutch India Trading Company. I was hoping there would be more history on pepper, its usage throughout time, and uses today, but it really was more on how the trading of pepper influenced history. There was one great chapter on the current medicinal uses of pepper.

It was very interesting but not what I expected.

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Review: Beekeeping for Dummies

Beekeeping for Dummies Beekeeping for Dummies by Howland Blackiston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great basic book for the novice/backyard beekeeper. Lots of step by step instructions as well as detailed discussions on bees and their behaviors, equipment, hive types, raising queens, and harvesting. I also like that the author explains the different types of medicines that can be used for diseases and pest issues while explaining their side effects and steers the reader toward holistic methods.

Worth having on hand as a go-to guide.

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Review: A Cherry Cola Christmas

A Cherry Cola Christmas A Cherry Cola Christmas by Ashton Lee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another lovely story about the town of Cherico, MS from Ashton Lee. The whole town is concerned when a large boot manufacturer pulls out of their bid to place a warehouse in the town of Cherico. The new business would help the town that is slowly losing its residents and shops to the bigger towns miles away. Maura Beth and the Cherry Cola Book Club members decide to opt for a Christmas celebration instead of the usual club meeting in December to try and lighten the mood among the town members, while a famous country star comes to town on his way to his next gig. Will he be the shining Christmas star that saves the town?

I always enjoy a visit to this homey little town in Mississippi. It wasn't as "Christmassy" as I expected but was still a fun read.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Review: Come Rain or Come Shine

Come Rain or Come Shine Come Rain or Come Shine by Jan Karon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

True love will endure, come rain or come shine. The newest title in the Mitford series brings the story of Father Tim and his family full circle. We met Father Tim, a then bachelor Episcopal priest, in At Home in Mitford. He had an eye for his new neighbor Cynthia, an issue with his dog, Barnabas, who only behaved when scripture was spoken, and the problem of a young orphan boy whose best behavior included cussin' and spittin'. Dooley was ornery, rough, and begging to be loved. Throughout the series we have watched these characters grow, and in Come Rain or Come Shine, Dooley is about to wed his fiance, Lace, finish Vet school, take over the local veterinary, start a new life on a farm, and one other closely held secret. With only a few weeks to go, Dooley's adopted dad, Father Tim and his now wife, Cynthia pitch in, along with all of the quirky characters of Mitford to help Dooley and Lace have the wedding of their dreams.

I love coming home to Mitford. I don't know if this is going to be the last in the series. I hope not. I think this book opens up a new generation with new stories to tell. If this is the last book, I at least feel that the story is complete. We've seen Dooley grow up to be a wonderful man and husband. Father Tim has built a family and we have watched beloved characters come and go. Now it is time to see what stories can be told about the family of Doc Kavanagh.

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Review: Pumpkin Pied: A Gray Whale Inn Short Story

Pumpkin Pied: A Gray Whale Inn Short Story Pumpkin Pied: A Gray Whale Inn Short Story by Karen MacInerney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pumpkin Pied is a quick romp to one of my favorite places to read about, The Gray Whale Inn on Cranberry Island, Maine. MacInerney offers a great read for the fall season, to tied us over until her next full release in the Gray Whale Inn series. Natalie Barnes is on the trail of a new mystery. It's time for the annual Cranberry Island Harvest Festival and Pie Bake-off and someone is out to sabotage the festivities. Pumpkin Pied will have you grabbing for a pumpkin latte and cider donuts with this quick, cozy read.

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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Review: Salt: A World History

Salt: A World History Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Salt...we dont't seem to get enough of it...some people crave it. It enhances the food we eat, it preserves and protects, it deices the road we travel, and it softens the water we use. It is an important mineral that has been used for centuries. Kurlansky follows the salt trail from its early days in Sichuan, China to the form we know today, often seen in that round box stamped with a girl and her umbrella. A very interesting look at the history of salt.

I enjoyed the book and learned more than I'll ever really need to know about it. I was hoping to get a little bit of information about how the human body reacts to it, but this is strictly a history of the usages and manufacturing of salt.

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Review: The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Sixth Extinction is a very thought-provoking read about the state of our world and environment. Kolbert discusses the the five previous big mass extinction periods that have occurred in history and posits that we are currently going through the sixth. Each chapter follows Kolbert on travels throughout the world following different species that are currently going or have gone extinct and the issues and effects that caused their demise. My take on what was posed is that humans are a major factor in the decline of many species and our environment. If humans were not on Earth, it is quite likely that our planet would still change and evolve in some way, but man is causing irreparable changes that would not otherwise occur and we are helping to kill off our planet and very likely ourselves.

No matter your thoughts on climate change and evolution, I think this is and important read. It will make you think about how everything you do affects the world, yourself, and the future of our children.

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