August 31, 2016


Breast Cancer Smoothies  
by Daniella Chace
publisher HCI Press
to be published September 20, 2016
source  NetGalley

reflections:  Who doesn't love a smoothie!     Who has friends who are survivors?   Every fall, the school where I used to work has a basketball game honoring staff members who are breast cancer survivors.

Daniella Chace is a nutritionist and author of several books focused on smoothies and other health food.    Her Breast Cancer Smoothies book emphasizes what to avoid and what to add.

Avoid sugars because they feed the cancer cells.  Dairy products are contraindicated.  Plastic food containers and utensils are a big no-no.   Add proteins and fiber.  Fiber slows the release of the natural sugars in the smoothies so that our bodies have time to use the nutrients.

A healthy kitchen is described.  Basic smoothie making steps are given.   Foods that are the most and the least sprayed with pesticides are listed.    The majority of the book are recipes which include detailed nutrition facts and research studies.  

My perspective:  I need to fire up my Vita-Mix machine!

August 27, 2016

In Such Good Company

In Such Good Company
by Carol Burnett
Crown Publishing
to be published September 13, 2016
source NetGalley

reflections:  I enjoyed watching the Carol Burnett Show in the sixties even though there were no captions.  I didn't quite catch all the verbal jokes, but there were enough pratfalls to keep my interest.    

Fast forward to 2016.  There are many You Tube videos of several sketches from the show.  Alas, there still are no captions.

It was a sheer delight to read Carol's memories of the actors and actresses. Jim Nabors was the guest on the first show every year for the entire eleven seasons.  I laughed at some of the jokes told in the book.   It was wonderful to read the background information of some of the characters such as the Charwoman.  

I'm grateful to NetGalley to have had the opportunity to read this book, and for the chuckles I got from Carol's written words.    Hopefully one day, the owners of the Carol Burnett Show videos will add captions to their YouTube versions.

August 25, 2016

Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life   
by Ruth Franklin
publisher  W.W. Norton & Co.
to be published September 27, 2016
source NetGalley

reflections:  When I was a teenager,  I babysat across the street.   The children's mom had bookshelves overflowing.  I found many favorites, including Shirley Jackson's humorous  Life Among Savages and Raising Demons.  To think!  This is the same author who wrote The Lottery,  in one of Pat's anthologies of short stories.  During those teenage years, I also went to the movie The Haunting based upon Jackson's book The Haunting of Hill House.    Shirley Jackson was a strong part of my literary upbringing, so I was delighted to be able to review her newest biography.

The author of Jackson's biography gives a too-long chapter "Foundations"  about Jackson's ancestors.  The chapter explains why she wrote spooky stories about haunted houses.   Her maternal ancestors were architects of mansions in California and fans of the supernatural such as the Ouija board.  The fact that Shirley's mother was overly-critical goes on to tell why there are no loving maternal characters in her novels.

The author goes off on several tangents throughout the book. One example is the description of the Witch Trial years in Massachusetts.   True, Shirley wrote about witches, however I felt the author attempted to pad the biography in order to add more pages.   Six hundred twenty four pages!

While reading the biography, I also read some of Jackson's short stories on the internet:
Charles  (exactly as I remember it from the first time I read it)
The Man in the Woods

My perspective:  a shorter biography would have packed a better punch at describing Shirley Jackson, her life and its influence upon her writings.

August 14, 2016

Three Sisters, Three Queens

Three Sisters, Three Queens
Philippa Gregory
published August 2016
publisher Simon & Schuster, Touchstone
source  NetGalley

reflections:  Most of us are familiar with Henry VIII's six wives and the rhyme that tells of their fates "Divorced, beheaded, died; Divorced, beheaded, survived."   But how many of us know about his sisters?

Phillipa Gregory blends fact with fiction in novels that completely immerse the reader in the world of the Tudors. Three Sisters, Three Queens is no exception. 

The focus is on King Henry VIII's sisters, who become queens of Scotland, England and France. Gregory's character development highlights the compex bonds between family -- where rivalry, jealousy, and love intertwine to form an unbreakable bond, even in the midst of political controversy and war.

guest post by T.M.T.

August 13, 2016

Watching Edie

Watching Edie
author:  Camilla Way
publisher:  Berkley Publishing Group
source:  NetGalley

reflections:   Ever been in a relationship so toxic you are walking on eggshells?  That's the plot of Watching Edie.

Synonyms that build up dread:   watch,  watch over,  surveillance,  stalk.   
Apprehension escalates for the reader.  What happened in the past?  What will happen in the future?  

One of the characters in the book:  "I feel as if we are all waiting for something although I have no idea what for."

The story is told with  Before and After perspectives.
Before:  Heather and Edie meet when they are sixteen.  Edie,  a beautiful wild girl, has just moved to town.   They become instant friends because they like to complain to each other about their mothers. Edie picks up a boyfriend, Connor.    Then something terrible happens.  We readers don't know exactly what until the end of the book.
After:  Edie is a single mother suffering from postpartum.  Heather comes back into her life.

My perspective:  it took me several days to read because of the building apprehension.   I had to take a break to come back to the real world for a few days.