Sunday, April 8, 2018

When life gives you goats, make goat cheese…

Jennifer McGaha’s Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir of Appalachia pulls the reader into a world of debt, sacrifice, fear, love, perseverance, and forgiveness.  McGaha delivers a passionate memoir chock full of real life situations regarding finances and the turmoil they can cause and coming out on the other side of said turmoil.  

McGaha, like many of us, never expected to see a day when she only had $4.57 in her bank account, but when she discovered that her husband, David, neglected to file taxes over several years – her universe was flipped and turned upside down.  In a desperate attempt to save money they were forced to foreclose on their suburban family home and move their family to a dilapidated cabin in North Carolina.  What starts as a sacrifice turns into a journey of chickens, goats, dogs, snakes, and love.

With pure honesty, McGaha tells the story of how sacrifice and love can make a world of difference when you’re flat broke and forced to make due with what you have.  This story helps one to realize the power of love and the real definition of home.

I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir and highly recommend this book to anyone that loves to read a book loaded with authenticity, humor, and a bit of love sprinkled on top. 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - 5 stars

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin

A classic tale of young lovers rebooted in a different region, chock full of text messages and hip-hop innuendos.

Pamela L. Laskin's created an au courant verse novel of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet by transporting two teenage lovers to a new setting, Gaza. Ronit is a Jewish Israeli who meets Ronit, a Muslim Palestinian, by way of their fathers, one a pharmacist, the other a doctor. They immediately fall in love in spite of their father's warnings that they refrain from looking upon one another. Their interactions flow in a first person, poetic format. Their feelings for one another sent via text messages and voiced during secret meetings is easy to follow and highly relatable. The abrupt changes in emotions, showcase the immaturity of the star-crossed lovers. What makes this story so mocking is the fact that both of their fathers often work together to service and heal the sick, but they cannot put their cultural bigotry aside and accept that their children have fallen madly in love. Laskin's words help educate readers on the political, cultural, and religious stakes in a war-torn region. A place where love may not always get you through. 

This work is both romantic and educational, with a modern day twist on teenage fever. 


I feel like I'm losing you in pieces
I'm losing pieces of myself too
I lie awake
I can't feel my heartbeat
The blood no longer flows through my veins
I came from your womb
I am you, you are me
If you cease
I cease

By: T. Jordan

Thursday, March 29, 2018

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini's novel, "And the Mountains Echoed," is one of the most emotionally gripping stories that he's written. The complexity and rhythm of the novel is striking. Although, Hosseini doesn't focus on any one character, he is able to artfully take the foundation of this story and develop it into branches, then leaves, that all receive their nourishment from the same place. The root of the story.

The book is built around the story of ten-year-old Abdullah and his three-year-old sister Pari and their father's decision, through coercion from his brother-in-law, to sell Pari to a wealthy, childless couple in Kabul. This event gives the story it's roots, it's bloodline. Abdullah stays behind in an impoverished village in Afghanistan while Pari is whisked away to begin a life of privilege. Pari is eventually taken by her adoptive mother, a sensual poet, to live in Paris. Hosseini shows us how this act sends fractures through a family and how these fractures lead to strikingly different paths for the family.

This book speaks to status and power. Hosseini exposes his readers to the privileges that the wealthy have over the poor. They have the freedom to decide if they will lend a hand and how they will lend it, and it all comes down to one thing. Money. The poor are often powerless in their hunger and make gut wrenching sacrifices to make it through each precarious day. The beauty in this novel is the ties that bind Abdullah and Pari. No matter how far apart and markedly different their lives were, they were still bound by blood and that bloodline, after many years apart, led them back together again.

Abdullah and Pari's story reminds me that although we are individuals we share a common bond that may be invisible to us, but it is there in the universe, and keeps us interconnected.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

I'm not even sure if I'm supposed to post this as I received an advanced reading copy of this book.  So, I'm feeling a bit of pressure considering it was a "gift".  In summary, The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, a delight for those who love contemporary romance, encounters Sarah Hollenbeck, a famous risque romance writer that has a very abrupt career and life change when she attends church one Sunday and decides to dedicate her life to Jesus Christ. With her new found faith she must walk away from the world of erotic novels and into the world of bible scriptures and tithing.

Any genre of romance is artful deception. This manuscript is no exception. The characters fall in love too fast, make life changes too fast, and adopt new ideals and principles too fast. Although, I must say that Turner avoids the sweet sappiness that makes me turn up my nose at romance novels. I will consider that this is an uncorrected proof and hope that the final edition includes a solid foundation with a little more meat and potatoes. This version is very skeletal and doesn't begin to touch the surface when considering the struggles that a rich and famous secular novelist would endure when switching to a life of Christianity and diving head first into a relationship with her pastor. I guess I was looking for more and this book didn't give it to me.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

imgres.jpg  I loved reading about Hattie's children. This book is not your typical read. The book opens in 1925 with the story of Hattie's first born twins, Philadelphia and Jubilee, and continues with a view into the lives of her twelve children. I read many negative reviews and put this book on the back burner for quite some time because of what I had heard. I am glad I decided to take a chance and read these "short stories." This book is beautiful in a way that takes you into another atmosphere. You cannot have a mediocre soul or you will not enjoy this book. You have to be prepared to take this book for what it is. It is writing that is purely heartbreaking in its honesty. This is what people go through in life, this is real struggle. We all know that everything is not coming up daisies in life and Mathis was not afraid to pen that to paper. The family relationships, the affairs, the sex, the hope, the struggle; it is all in there. It proves that just because a family can move out of oppression does not mean that the oppression ever stops coursing through their blood. Everyday is a survival and Hattie did her best to raise her children in the right way. She wanted to raise them into soldiers in order to fight in the battle of life. I truly felt Hattie's character, her pain and her heart when I reached page (236), "She had failed them in vital ways, but what good would it have done to spend the days hugging and kissing if there hadn't been anything to out in their bellies? They didn't understand that all the love she had was taken up with feeding them and clothing them and preparing them to meet the world. The world would not love them; the world would not be kind." I have read complaints from other readers regarding the format of this book. Yes, it is a series of short stories. No, it is not written with a plot and the characters do not intertwine except for the fact that they share the same mother and father. Does that matter? Does one need a plot in order to enjoy a story, a book for what it is? Accept this book for what it is and I think you will see the beauty and the treasure in it. I did.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Sharp ObjectsSharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Exciting, witty, a masterpiece. Gillian Flynn writes with expertise. I kind of LOVE her. There is no mediocrity. Her stories are well researched and written in a way that grabs you and keeps you intertwined until the very last page. This is suspense personified. She writes the kind of books that you cannot talk about without giving the story away. That takes talent. Keep 'em coming Flynn. I'm addicted to you like a bad habit!
Camille Preaker is a cutter. Words such as cook, cupcake, and petticoat etched on her skin by her own hand. Her first carved word at the age of thirteen, WICKED. Carved with her mother's steak knife, across her pubic bone. Camille, a Chicago Daily Post reporter, is sent to investigate two gruesome killings in her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri. Two young girls were killed nine months apart. One body was found in the creek, the other was wedged between a beauty parlor and a hardware store. The murderer removed both girl's teeth with a plier. Gruesome. As Camille works her way through the town interviewing reluctant neighbors and witnesses, she begins to identify with the victims and uncovers a truth that will send her into a tailspin.


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