Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Book Review: The Storyteller's Secret by Sejal Badani

Let me start by saying that I really LOVED this book.  SO good! 5 stars (easy) and I would most definitely recommend it.

Now that I have that said, let me tell you what the book is and why I think it is pretty amazing.



This book has great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads - but that doesn't always mean it's fabulous.  But this one definitely is.  This is also a Kindle Unlimited read. (I had KU until last night - and I finished this book with about 17 minutes to spare of my subscription!)

This author, who is a former attorney, is a very accomplished writer.  She has been a finalist for several writing awards and her books have been on best-seller lists.

MY THOUGHTS:

This story weaves difficult subjects with strength, hope, and renewal.  The main character goes on a journey, starting as a broken woman and ending as a strong, confident woman who knows herself and her history, even the secrets.

The story is told mostly through two women, Jaya a young woman who has become severely depressed after several miscarriages and difficulties in her marriage, and Amisha, her grandmother, who lived a short, sometimes very tragic life in India. 

Jaya's parents (who moved to America shortly after their marriage, many years earlier) try to be supportive, but end up making her feel worse about her life and losses.  When news arrives from their family in India, asking for Jaya's mother to come to her childhood home, she declines but Jaya decides running from her current situation is what she needs to heal.

Upon arriving in India, she meets a remarkably loveable character, Ravi, a previous family servant and best friend of her grandmother.  He tells Jaya Amisha's tale and all the family secrets that go alone with it.

My favorite part of the book is her time spent in India.  I would have liked just a bit more descriptive detail about the surrounding area where she stayed - but the book is still amazing as is. 

This book held my interest, I learned things about Indian culture and history, I felt deeply for the characters and felt completely immersed in the story.  I will most definitely be picking up "Trail of Broken Wings", the author's first novel. 

Weigh In Wednesday

I'm linking with Stacy @ Weigh-In Wednesday on A Homemakers Heart 

WHAT WENT WELL LAST WEEK:  Last week was good.  I meal prepped, ate extra fruit and veggies and had blue dots for 6/7 days. 

WHAT DID NOT GO SO WELL LAST WEEK: Still not exercising.  I'll get back to it SOME day!

BEST MEAL/RECIPE: I ate a lot of good meals last week - turkey tacos, chile lime tilapia, and shrimp Buddha bowls.  All super yummy and low in WW points.

RECIPE I WANT TO TRY: I'm going to try a couple new recipes this week - including an Italian rice skillet from the Skinnyish Dish and Skinny Taste's Shrimp zucchini pasta.

WEIGHT LOSS/GAIN:  Down 2.4 this week for a total loss (including 4 before WW) of 41.6!

Have a wonderful and healthy week!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Top Ten Books On My Fall Reading List


I love everything about fall! The clothes, the cooler weather, the brilliant colors, my morning vanilla chai!  It's so close I can feel it!  And something else I LOVE about fall?  Ok, well the new t.v. season - yes - but even more so, atmospheric fall tales of gothic manors, creepy stalkers, homemade monsters, and crackling-leaves-in-the-woods-while-you-run-in-the-dark-from-a-serial-killer-type books!  Yay!

I'm joining That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday!  Here are the top ten books I'm looking forward to reading this fall:



Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley - this book is top of my list because it is the 200th anniversary and there is an international event that you can find out about on Frankenreads .  I'm signed up to do a read-a-long over at Books in Bloom for #FrankenFest



2.  Nora Roberts' "Dark Witch" 
3.  Joe Hill, "NOS4A2" 
4.  Edgar Allan Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum" 
5. Shirley Jackson, "The Haunting of Hill House" 


6.  Mark Z. Danielewski, "House of Leaves" 




8. Stephen King's "Joyland" 
9. Neil Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book" 
10. Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey" *a re-read 



Monday, September 17, 2018

Happy Homemaker Monday September 17th, 2018

Photo from Momy's Musings


I am linking up with Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy Homemaker Monday

The weather..... We are back in the 80s this week.  I think just one more week until the 60s and 70s stick around!  Can't wait! 

Right now I am.... I've got one load of laundry folded, another in the dryer, and one in the washer.  I have dishes in the drying rack.  Just finished breakfast and watching a few Youtube videos. 

Thinking.... as per usual - thinking about how short the weekends are and how badly I need a vacation.  A PAID vacation :( 

Something fun or interesting that happened.... Well, we rescued a little girl cat.  I've named her Jane Austen.  She was found under a car and after attempting for a week online, at shelters, and going door-to-door, the woman who found her was not successful at finding her owner.  She was going to take her to the shelter since her boyfriend is highly allergic.  Y'all know I couldn't let that happen.  






On my reading pile.... Lot of reading going on, but only finished one book.  If you want to know all about my reading life and hear what I thought of reading "Island of the Blue Dolphins" as an adult, go HERE. 

On my TV..... Most of my favorite shows will be starting back up in the next week or two!  But for now: 
Days of Our Lives
Heartland (season 6) 
DC Legends
Young & Restless
YouTube videos 

At Weight Watchers this week.... Last week I gained a little, but this week I am down 2.9.  WW total of 37.6 and overall weight loss 41.6!  Yay me! 


On the menu for this week....
Sunday - Turkey sloppy joes with broccoli cheese tots 
Monday - Dinner with family and game night: Pork chops, baked potatoes, green beans, salad 
Wednesday - Leftovers 
Thursday -Bibimbap bowls


Friday - Garlic and herb tilapia with steamed broccoli and couscous 
Saturday - Copycat Chic-Fil-A chicken sandwiches with oven fries 


At the Thrift and/or Dollar Store..... I bought some fall decor at Dollar Tree - some leaf-print oven mits, dish towel and drying mat, etc.  At the thrift, I bought a Crazy Horse black purse for 8.99.  I saw a couch at the thrift that I would have LOVED to purchase - only 69.99.  Not that I need a couch - or have 69.99 to spare.....but I digress. 




Other purchases....... Bath & Bodyworks pumpkin patch candle, pumpkin spice body wash, body spritz, and a couple of car smellies.  

On my to do list.... 
Put clean clothes away
Put clean dishes away
Bring clean laundry to Dad
Type up a few reports (overtime .... needed) 
Bible study 
READ
Declutter in the living room a bit more 
Take Emily driving 

In my planners....  







Looking forward to this week.... My bosses leaving on vacation.  AGAIN!  And payday, of course. 

Fun Outings.... The girls and I went to the library this week.  I found out that I am totally addicted to audio books!  I have been listening to a wonderful book by Kristin Hannah while I drive and at work while I'm doing computer billing.  I'm loving it!  I also took out "An American Marriage" and it is so good so far. More on that next week.  And I FINALLY got with the program, instlled the Libby App and can borrow e-books from the library.  As much as I loved Kindle Unlimited, it's one more monthly bill I've said goodbye to. 









Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Monday Book Report, Edition #5



I am linking up with 








WHAT DID I READ THIS WEEK:  I finished only ONE book.  ONE!  But I started way too many.  As with everything else in my life, I need to FOCUS.  

I re-read "Island of the Blue Dolphins" by Scott O'Dell.  This is on my Classic Club master list of classics I want to read in the next few years.  You can read my review HERE.  

BOOKS I HAVE STARTED (AND PLAN TO FINISH!): 
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
The Storyteller's Secret by Sejal Badani
(Audio) The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah
How to Fall in Love in a Bookshop (temporarily put aside) 

DNF BOOKS: 
Debbie Macomber's "The Inn of Rose Harbor"  I was just not in the mood for that type of read this week.  It was actually good.  I am sure I will pick it up again when the mood strikes.  I am a very mood-y and seasonal-ish reader! 
Kate Morton's "The Lakehouse" - same as above.  I WILL finish this book at some point - it just may be months down the road.  I am not giving up on either of these books!  It's just not the right time for me. 

FAVORITE QUOTE FROM A BOOK I READ (LISTENED TO): 

“A girl was like a kite; without her mother's strong, steady hold on the string, she might just float away, be lost somewhere among the clouds.” 
― Kristin Hannah, The Great Alone


“Books are the mile markers of my life. Some people have family photos or home movies to record their past. I’ve got books. Characters. For as long as I can remember, books have been my safe place.” 
― Kristin Hannah, The Great Alone


WHAT BOOKS DID I BUY/BORROW THIS WEEK:  I went to the library for the first time in a LONG time.  What was wrong with me?  The library is my happy place!!  I found Tayari Jones' "Am American Marriage"  (started reading....fabulous)  a Mary Kubica novel, and Kristin Hannah's "The Great Alone" audio book.  





Also borrowed (e-books on Overdrive/Libby) were "Island of the Blue Dolphins" by Scott O'Dell and "Into the Water" by Paula Hawkins. 

My last Kindle Unlimited book borrowed (subscription is up in 3 days since I have library e-books now)  is "The Storyteller's Secret" by Sejal Badani.  

WHAT IS THE BOOK I MOST WANT TO GET MY HANDS ON RIGHT NOW: I have three AH-MAZING books right now.  I can't even think of one I want more than the ones I am currently reading! 

WHAT ARE MY READING PLANS FOR THE UPCOMING WEEK: 

  1. Finish 3 books (all current reads)
  2. Finally do review of "The Little Prince" 
  3. Decide what book I will read next for Classics Club
  4. Make a trip to the library 

FAVORITE BOOKISH MEME AND/OR BLOG-VLOG: The 2018 National Book Award Long List for Fiction 

ANY NEW BOOK EVENTS OR BOOK NEWS ONLINE OR IN YOUR TOWN?  Here are the 11 Best Books on Detroit 




AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE: ANYTHING READING RELATED, ETC.: 
The Books Everyone Starts and No One Finishes   I have actually finished 3 of these.  I haven't abandoned any.  You? 







Book Review - Island of the Blue Dolphins

BOOK TITLE: ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS 
AUTHOR: SCOTT O'DELL
MY RATING: 5 *****

I read this book for the Classics Club. You can find my list of all the classic books I plan to read over the next three years HERE.

Island of the Blue Dolphins is about a 12-year-old Native American girl who lives on an island which is shaped like a dolphin. Terrible things happen to her people, many of them are killed. The rest of her tribe are brought back to America - but Karana was left stranded.

She survives the terrain, the loneliness, the weather, the wild animals. She finds a way to feed herself, clothe herself, hunt, fish, and even put a roof over her head.

I love this book because Karana is brave. She is no-nonsense and does what needs to be done to survive. Her only company is the animals of the island, a couple of them she keeps as pets. Her best companion being a wild dog.

 I remember when I first read "Island of the Blue Dolphins". I was so amazed that a young girl, just like me, was able to take care of herself and actually thrive on a deserted island. Re-reading this children's classic was just as magical.

Surprisingly, I never knew that this book is actually based on a true story! A Nicoleno Native American girl was left alone on San Nicholas Island in the 1800s. She was alone for 18 years!

Here is a short video exploring the island:


This book won the 1961 Newbery Medal. O'Dell did write a sequel, Zia. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

#FallIntoBooks - 5-Star Reads

JOIN THE FUN HERE

It would be easy to list a couple dozen classics that I have absolutely loved - but I decided to dwindle this list down to my top favorite classics as well as my top favorite 5-star books. I'm really looking forward to seeing other bloggers #5starreads for the #fallintobooks challenge!

My favorite 5-star book of all time is an easy-as-pie pick for me.  I fell head-over-heels in love with Scarlett and Rhett, Miss Mellie, Mammy, and the Tarleton boys.  My mom placed this book in my hands when I was around 14 and it has been my absolute hands-down favorite ever since.

GONE WITH THE WIND BY MARGARET MITCHELL


It's my favorite movie, too! 


Now, in no particular order, books I've given 5 stars over the years (and I'm a tough judge!)

Love Comes Softly, Janette Oke (and most of the entire series) *free on Kindle Unlimited




The Yada Yada Prayer Group, Neta Jackson

The Tea Rose, Jennifer Donnelly

The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley

The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver *only 2.99 for Kindle right now




White Oleander, Janet Fitch




Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers

The Queen's Fool, Phillipa Gregory

The Red Tent, Anita Diamant

The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah (love all of the books I've read by her)




The Josephine Bonaparte Trilogy, Sandra Gulland 

Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte *Free for Kindle

The Woman in the Window, AJ Finn

The Designer Bag at the Garbage Dump, Jackie MacGirvin

East of Eden, John Steinbeck




Katherine, Anya Seton

Outlander, Diana Gabaldon (ALL of them!)

Into the Wilderness, Sara Donati

Complete Jane Austen

A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini