June 28, 2010

review: Hector and the Search for Happiness

Hector and the Search for Happiness
author:  Francois Lelord
ARC from:  Crazy Book Tours
A translation from the French;  to be released August 31, 2010

Description from Goodreads:   Hector, a psychiatrist, is very good at treating patients in need of his help. But he can’t do much for those who are simply dissatisfied with life, and that is beginning to depress him.

Hector takes a trip around the world.  From his observations and meeting people, Hector makes a list "Happiness is...." 

My perspective:   The sentences are short and deceptively simple.   At first it seems like a children's book, but it is not.  The book includes prostitutes, monks,  and other adult topics.

I smiled at some paragraphs;  for example:  "Hector is a psychiatrist; he only has to look at people to know where they went to school and whether their grandfather collected butterflies."  I know a school psychologist who, five minutes after he meets someone, classifies that person according to Myers-Briggs, such as INFP or ESFJ.
 
 I'll close with a reflection upon one sweet book from the 1960's, Happiness is a Warm Puppy.

What makes you happy?




CymLowell

June 22, 2010

Max and Millions of Marbles

Well, maybe not millions, but hundreds of marbles.
 This is his daddy's t-shirt from the early 1980's.
What!!!  Me pick 'em all up?  Ya kiddin' me.

June 21, 2010

review: No and Me

author:  Delphine de Vigan

Description from Goodreads:   Parisian teenager Lou has an IQ of 160, OCD tendencies, and a mother who has suffered from depression for years. But Lou is about to change her life—and that of her parents—all because of a school project about homeless teens.

My perspective:    Lou, intelligent, also seems to have Asperger's.   This is a somber book with dark   themes.  Lou meets a homeless 18-year-old girl No, and interviews her for a school project.  We learn what being homeless is like: get up early to leave the shelter because everyone must leave.  Wander around the cold (brrrrrrr) city all day until time to get in line for another shelter.

Homelessness is not the only desolate topic covered.   Lou's family has a history they never talk about.  Lou's school friend Lucas has his own set of problems.  And of course, we meet No, the 18-year-old homeless girl,  and get a hint of her own issues.   I liked what a French reviewer wrote (translated through Google) about No:  "a rebellious bird and tame will not be a simple matter." 

Somber, but well worth the read.

No and Me won the French  Literary Expression of Rotary International prize.
CymLowell

June 19, 2010

review: The Julian Game

The Julian Game 
by Adele Griffin
released August 26, 2010
 
Rae and her only friend create an identity, Elizabeth,  on Facebook.    They want to see how many “FB friends” Elizabeth can get and if the local boys fall for her.

In chapter two, I got lost.  Seven names or characters were  introduced and described in a two page spread.

Rae becomes acquainted with one of the girls in The Group.   The fake Elizabeth is used  for  revenge upon one of the guys. This leads to getting even, gossip, and payback.

My perspective:  I’m too old for this.   I work  in a small  high school where bullying is not condoned, yet it still happens behind the scenes and off-campus. Now to read about revenge in a book during my leisure time? Not appealing to me, but your mileage may vary.

The cover is quite colorful with an ice-blue wig and the bright green kid gloves in front of a chessboard.   Sometimes I wonder what a book's cover has to do with the story inside.  But this time, yes, the wig and gloves are relevant to the story.   Does The Julian Game end in a checkmate?   You will have to discover that  for yourself.

Received the arc of this book from Around the World Tours.

June 17, 2010

Siesta Summer Bible Study - iii

The LPM blog (by Beth Moore and her two daughters) is sponsoring their third summer Bible study,   Ruth: Loss, Love & Legacy  by Kelly Minter.   I've bought my little book and am all ready to start! 

Join us?

June 14, 2010

A Little Bird Told Me

My friend Rebecca told some of us last week about Brave Girl Camp and their daily (M-F) emails.
I had a series of rough messages earlier today from a certain someone.  I was ready to throw in the bucket -- "WHO needs this baloney anyway?"  Then today's post from Melody and Kathy of Brave Girl Camp came through.  It spoke to my heart. 

Dear Insightful Girl,
You already know the answers to the questions that are eating away at you... you just have to trust yourself enough to really listen and be brave with your decisions.
You know oh-so-much-more than you give yourself credit for. You have a good heart and powerful intuition and you really do know the right way to go...
that doesn't mean it's always the easiest way to go...but the easiest path never was the most fruitful path....and you are one of the courageous souls who seeks the best fruit.

Trust your gut...it has never led you astray.
You can do it...you are a Brave Girl.

xoxo

More about Melody and Kathy:
We have been talking a lot this year about the lies the world forces upon us every day...lies about what is most important, who we are, who we can become, what we can accomplish, our value, our potential, our worth, what makes our lives meaningful, how & where we can find true happiness, and on and on. So we've decided to wage our own little war against those lies by sending our brave friends a daily truth. Think of it as a little bird delivering your truth-- and imagine that this truth-teller is someone who loves you and understands you completely.
 
 
To subscribe, click here

June 9, 2010

review: The Mark

author:  Jen Nadol
received through Around the World Tours

The plot is easily described by one question on the cover:  If you had the power to see death, would you wish it away?

To rephrase the question, this one from the arc's cover:   If you knew today was someone's last, would you tell?

Cassie sees a glow around a person ... that person will die today.  She has had this gift (or curse) since she was four years old;  now she is sixteen and has just figured out what the glow means.   How can she handle this?

Something I just remembered while writing this review,  Cassandra, of Greek mythology, had the gift of prophecy.  What an appropriate name for our heroine! 

This is an intelligent read;  Cassie audits a philosophy class at the local university.  Because of this class, philosophical and ethical questions and discussions come up.    I was absorbed in Cassie's story, thanks to the author's way with words and examination of tough issues.

The book does not end as a cliffhanger, thank goodness.  There is room for a sequel,  Vision in 2011.  I'm definitely grabbing Vision as soon as it comes out. 

June 7, 2010

Lost it?

It was one of those weeks filled with paperwork, the last week of school.   My birthday was Monday.

I came home late to find two birthday cards in my mailbox.  How sweet!  But I was too tired to open them.  Went straight to bed.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday came and went in a blur filled with papers and people.  More tired day by day.

Friday morning, the last day of school, dawned.   I saw the envelopes  sitting in the kitchen, and opened them.  Julie's card hit me hard.

Not that I'm that old.   But I started questioning whether I might have actually lost my ability to marvel at things.  The tears started.  I cried sobbed all the way to work.  Broke down more in the office.

I wanted my Marvels back!  Wanted to enjoy things.  Take pleasure in life.  Get rid of the feelings of grief.  Bury the paperwork.

Went to a meeting with my boss to discuss one piece of paperwork she wanted.  Turned out she had had a crying jag that morning too.  We had a good talk. She's the best boss! 

Then things happened.   A friend I had not seen in over 18 months e-mailed me saying she wanted to meet for lunch next week.   Another one texted  the same thing, "let's meet for lunch soon".   I finished up a book I was working on with the help of a third friend -- 10 minutes to spare!   

By lunchtime at work, my Marvels had returned.    Life is good.

Thank you, Julie, for the card, for touching my heart and mind, and for making me realize my Marvels are not lost.   Thank you, PSFs and f2f Friends too.   You are cherished.

June 5, 2010

review: Sleepless

available July 13, 2010

Remember the tales of the sandman of your childhood?  He sprinkled sand on you and helped you sleep.  ZZzzZZZzz   Did you wonder where he came from? 

Cyn Balog weaves a fabulous description of the sandmen "culture" and how they interact with the humans they are charged to protect.
Eron is a sandman who has helped Julia go to sleep during her sixteen years.  Soon, though, Eron will become human himself.   Uh oh, what next?

I truly don't want to tell more about the plot -- I enjoyed the book much more knowing as little as I did before I started it.   I want you to have the same pleasure of discovering things about the sandman world and sighing with a fluttering heart over  Eron.

Sleepless led me off on a tangent when Eron and Julia discussed the architecture of Dubai.   I immediately looked up pictures of Dubai buildings on the Internet.   Books that give some nuggets of new information, as well as being the best in plot and character development  are what make them so memorable.

Thanks, Cyn, for your sharing your talent.  Thanks, Lauren, for sending me the arc!  


Received from  DGLM (Dystel and Goderich Literary Management).  I was not paid for this review.
CymLowell

June 3, 2010

review: I Now Pronounce You Someone Else

I Now Pronounce You Someone Else
by Erin McCahan
received through Around the World Tours

Basics:  Bronwen is from a dysfunctional family, emphasis on dys!   Proof:  she doesn't like ketchup; therefore she can't possibly be a member of her family.  Bronwen disses her family.  She begins dating Jared, who is finishing up college while she is still in high school.  Before long, plans are made for their wedding.  

My perspective:  At first I wasn't sure I'd like this book (ok, ok, call me judgmental -- but hey, this girl is still in high school and already engaged to an older guy?), however I  ended up enjoying this book more the further I read. 

Bronwen's spunk and sarcastic comments are fresh.   She tells Jared  about her pains of the past in order to get the secret of filling out the college Roommate Questionnaire.

This is not a typical syrupy-sweet love story, but one with explanations on who Bronwen really is  and what she longs to be.   Highly recommended.

June 2, 2010

Giveaway: Naamah's Curse

 My first Giveaway ---   an ARC of Naamah's Curse.
 
WINNER selected by Random.org  is # 2   Congratulations, Ashley!

 Book Two of Jacqueline Carey's triology.
Plot:  Far from the land of her birth, Moirin sets out across Tatar territory to find Bao, the proud and virile Ch'in fighter who holds the missing half of her diadh-anam, the divine soul-spark of her mother's people.

U.S. readers only. Giveaway ends midnight, June 11.

I'd love you to follow my blog under Google followers.    But you don't have to follow in order to win. The ARC was given to me by DIG (Dystel & Goderich Literary Management).

How to enter:  fill in the Linky below with your name and email addy.  Add your blog url if you wish.   I'll email the winner who will  have 48 hours to reply.  If no reply, another winner will be chosen.