Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Whimsy Wednesday...Library


Who else remembers checking out books with cards like this?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Atomic City Girls.... #BookReview

About the book:
In the bestselling tradition of Hidden Figures and The Wives of Los Alamos, comes a riveting novel of the everyday women who worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II.

“What you see here, what you hear here, what you do here, let it stay here.”

In November 1944, eighteen-year-old June Walker boards an unmarked bus, destined for a city that doesn’t officially exist. Oak Ridge, Tennessee has sprung up in a matter of months—a town of trailers and segregated houses, 24-hour cafeterias, and constant security checks. There, June joins hundreds of other young girls operating massive machines whose purpose is never explained. They know they are helping to win the war, but must ask no questions and reveal nothing to outsiders.

The girls spend their evenings socializing and flirting with soldiers, scientists, and workmen at dances and movies, bowling alleys and canteens. June longs to know more about their top-secret assignment and begins an affair with Sam Cantor, the young Jewish physicist from New York who oversees the lab where she works and understands the end goal only too well, while her beautiful roommate Cici is on her own mission: to find a wealthy husband and escape her sharecropper roots. Across town, African-American construction worker Joe Brewer knows nothing of the government’s plans, only that his new job pays enough to make it worth leaving his family behind, at least for now. But a breach in security will intertwine his fate with June’s search for answers.

When the bombing of Hiroshima brings the truth about Oak Ridge into devastating focus, June must confront her ideals about loyalty, patriotism, and war itself.

I worked at a National Laboratory for 15 years. My father worked there for 32. We were in California, but I had contacts at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. I am familiar with security clearances and secrecy. I am aware of much of the history of the Labs and which ones did what work.

National laboratories are like their own little cities and I loved this inside look at the beginnings of Oak Ridge. The girls who were hired to operate machines, but who had no idea why or what those machines did. The scientists working so hard to create something that was destructive yet deemed necessary. The workers who built and cleaned and were simply grateful for employment, but who chafed at mistreatment, simply because of their skin color.

Stories about strong women are my favorites and The Atomic City Girls did not disappoint. June is fantastic: young and a bit naive, but strong when she needs to be. As she learned more about what Oak Ridge was really doing, those parts became my favorites. Seeing her learn and understand the science and the purpose of the machine in regards to uranium, was so refreshing. I enjoyed seeing names dropped that I am familiar with: Lawrence and Teller and Oppenheimer.

The novel revolves around several people whose lives all end up intertwined. June needs a job and enjoys the social life that comes with it; Sam is a scientist who wants to help end the war. Joe just wants to provide for his family and avoid drawing undue attention to himself.

One of the things I appreciated most about this story is the conflict. Some who helped create the atomic bomb, were happy to see it used. Others understood that many innocents would die and lives destroyed because of it. Not everything is black and white, especially during war.

An enthralling story with historical photos, an epilogue and author's note.

Thanks to Edelweiss and William Morrow for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Janet Beard on her website and follow her on Facebook.

Read 10/17

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Friday, January 26, 2018

5 Books I Want to Read: The Ocean

I keep a wish list on Goodreads called "want to read". Currently, it's up to 3014. Yikes. I also have several stacks of books tucked against walls throughout my house. Each is probably at least 3 feet high of books I haven't read yet. I periodically go through my list and purge it, but it still is not slowing down. Nor are the books that keep appearing on my Kindle. They're all still on my wish list, I just haven't gotten to them yet.

Each month I highlight 5 books I want to read. I don't set out to plan themes, but somehow patterns creep into my viewing.

The month of January is always kind of depressing. It's cold and dreary. Gray and wet. Living in a landlocked state, I always miss the ocean. But, I really miss the ocean in the winter. So, it was easy to find 5 books on my list with ocean in their titles.

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The Ocean Liner by Marius Gabriel

As war engulfs Europe, 1,500 passengers risk everything to find a brighter future.

Cousins Masha and Rachel Morgenstern board the luxury liner the SS Manhattan bound for New York, desperate to escape the concentration camps that claimed the rest of their family. America offers a safe haven, but to reach it they must survive a hazardous Atlantic crossing.

Among their fellow passengers fleeing the war, each with their own conflicts, secrets and surprises, are the composer Igor Stravinsky, making a new start after a decade of tragedy, and Rose Kennedy, determined to keep her four children from harm. Particularly worrying to Rose is her daughter Rosemary, a vivacious but troubled woman whose love for a Californian musician may derail her family’s political ambitions. And then there’s young Thomas, a Nazi with a secret…

But, under the waves, the Manhattan is being stalked by a German U-boat. Will any of those aboard the ocean liner ever achieve their dream of a new life in America?

The Secrets at Ocean's Edge by Kali Napier

1932. Ernie and Lily Hass, and their daughter, Girlie, have lost almost everything in the Depression; all they have keeping their small family together are their secrets. Abandoning their failing wheat farm and small-town gossip, they make a new start on the west coast of Australia where they begin to build a summer guesthouse. But forming new alliances with the locals isn't easy.

Into the Hasses' new life wanders Lily's shell-shocked brother, Tommy, after three harrowing years on the road following his incarceration. Tommy is seeking answers that will cut to the heart of who Ernie, Lily, and Girlie really are.

Inspired by the author's own family history, The Secrets at Ocean's Edge is a haunting, memorable and moving tale of one family's search for belonging. Kali Napier breathes a fever-pitch intensity into the story of these emotionally fragile characters as their secrets are revealed with tragic consequences. If you loved The Light Between Oceans and The Woolgrower's Companion you will love this story.

A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner

Wartime intrigue spans the lives of three women past and present in the latest novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life.

February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Resistance spy.

Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark...

Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.

Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes

Jenny Lucas swore she'd never go home again. But being told you're dying has a way of changing things. Years after she left, she and her five-year-old daughter, Isabella, must return to her sleepy North Carolina town to face the ghosts she left behind. They welcome her in the form of her oxygen tank-toting grandmother, her stoic and distant father, and David, Isabella's dad . . . who doesn't yet know he has a daughter. As Jenny navigates the rough and unknown waters of her new reality, the unforgettable story that unfolds is a testament to the power of love and its ability to change everything--to heal old hurts, bring new beginnings . . . Even overcome the impossible. A stunning debut about love and loss from a talented new voice.

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

A captivating, beautiful, and stunningly accomplished debut novel that opens in 1918 Australia - the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who make one devastating choice that forever changes two worlds.

A captivating, beautiful, and stunningly accomplished debut novel that opens in 1918 Australia - the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who make one devastating choice that forever changes two worlds.

Australia, 1926. After four harrowing years fighting on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns home to take a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day's journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby's cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom's judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

M. L. Stedman's mesmerizing, beautifully written debut novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel's decision to keep this "gift from God." And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another's tragic loss.

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What about you? What books are on your "want to read/wish" list?

5 Books I want to Read is a monthly meme started by Stephanie at Layered Pages. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their wish lists look like, you can do that here: A Bookaholic Swede, Layered Pages, The Maiden's Court, Flashlight Commentary and A Literary Vacation.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

#CoverCrush: What the Lady Wants


I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.


Love this gorgeous cover. The muted colors in no way detract from its sumptuousness. Who is this woman? Is she dressed for going out or staying in? What does she gaze at through the window? What is her story?

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's Court, Flashlight Commentary, A Bookaholic SwedeLayered PagesA Literary VacationOf Quills & Vellum.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Childhood Favorites...Queen Zixi of Ix: The Story of the Magic Cloak

Childhood favorites. Everyone has a favorite book or author from childhood. A book that touched them or changed them. A book that perhaps initiated their love of reading and put them on the path of libraries and learning.

Childhood Favorites is a monthly series focusing on beloved books from the past. 


Donald Zolan, Quiet Time.

I am not a fan of The Wizard of Oz. There. I said it. Out loud. I tolerate the film, I never made it through the book. I don't love Wicked (please leave your pitchforks at home) or the later stories written about the Oz characters.

But, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...no, just kidding. It was a long time ago, but it was only in California, which sometimes does seem like its own galaxy, but I digress.

My third grade teacher read to us each week. And one of the books she read to us was L. Frank Baum's, Queen Zixi of Ix: The Story of the Magic Cloak. It was originally written in 1905. I don't know how many people are even familiar with this book as it has nothing to do with Oz, but I loved it.


It's the story of a magic cloak that grants its wearer one wish. As the cloak passes from person to person, many wishes are made. Some are foolish, some are wise. Some are selfish and some generous. The cloak eventually falls into the hands of two children; an orphaned brother and sister who are living with their aunt in poverty. The resulting tale is engaging and funny and thoughtful.

I finally managed to get my own copy when I was in college.

What about you? What is one of your childhood favorites?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

#CoverCrush: the canterbury sisters


I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.


I love tea cups. Have I ever mentioned that here? I love stacked tea cups. And the colors here are muted and springy. Maybe I liked that because here in Idaho in the winter? It's gray and dreary. Is this a book about sisters? Do they drink tea? Have tea parties? Live a high life? What is their story?

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's Court, Flashlight Commentary, A Bookaholic SwedeLayered PagesA Literary Vacation, Of Quills and Vellum.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Weekend Reflections 1/13

Looking outside...it's clear and currently 33. The sun is shining and the sky is blue. We've had rain this week, which we need, but no snow since Christmas. I'm okay with that. The sun is shining. That's the most important thing.

Listening...to absolute silence. The boys are asleep. The Doctor is seeing some patients this morning.

Loving...time with The Doctor. I do enjoy being in the office with him and working together. I love hearing him talk and work with patients. I love seeing patients walk out of his office happy and feeling better.

Thinking...that I could use some solitude. I think we're overdue for a drive up the mountains.

In my kitchen...Crio Bru. We grilled burgers and brats last night.

Wearing...yellow minion jammies, black long-sleeved shirt and pink fuzzy socks.

Reading...Mmmhhhhmmm.

Today...who knows. We could all use some down time.

Quoting...
 
Feeling...tired and drained. Have I ever mentioned how much I despise health insurance companies? 

Thursday, I came home with a stress-induced migraine. Friday, I called one company trying to find out benefit information on a patient and I actually cried after ending the call. I miss the days when you could hang up on a person and they knew it.

I had a whole rant written a few minutes ago. I even named insurance companies. And then, I deleted it. There is no point in ranting today. I spend far too much time ranting.

I had a wonderful Simply Healed session last week with Melanie Newman. She's amazing. I've worked with her before and I had mentioned in passing that I wanted to do another session. My sweet husband listened and as one of his Christmas gifts to me, scheduled a session for me at the first of this year. I was touched that he'd listened. And my session with Melanie was wonderful. We released so many blocks and I came away feeling lightened and focused.

And then, I let the negativity of working in healthcare bring me down again. I haven't been focusing on my own positive energy, my own affirmations. I've been letting outside influences affect me instead of my making a difference to them.

So, I'm going to focus on myself this weekend. I'm going to work at raising my own energy and building better things within myself.

Planning...this next week. Looking ahead to Spring Break.

Gratitude...for the sunshine today.

From my world... 



I love these three men.

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

#CoverCrush ...The Colour of Milk


I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.



I know nothing about this book. A friend shared it as part of a selection of books she'd discovered and added to her TBR. But, I loved the cover.

Who is this woman? Her clothes are worn and her boots servicable. She wears an apron, so she is possibly a servant or possibly lives on a farm. The title is curious.  Who is she and what is her story?

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's Court, Flashlight Commentary, A Bookaholic SwedeLayered PagesA Literary Vacation, Of Quills and Vellum.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

#CoverCrush: The Essence of Chocolate


I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.


Chocolate. Enough said.

No, seriously. Look at that. Rich, smooth chocolate, flowing down the sides of a dense, delicious cake. I want to reach out my finger and take a taste, and then I could just take the pitcher and drink it. I need this recipe book in my kitchen.

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's CourtFlashlight CommentaryA Bookaholic SwedeLayered PagesA Literary VacationOf Quills and Vellum.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Books I Have Forgotten

Each month I revisit some of my past reviews. One of the reasons I started this book blog was to remember what books I have read. My memory isn't the greatest anymore and I found that I would read a book and then not remember if I liked it or what it was even about.

Maybe one of these will prompt you to seek out an older, but amazing book. Or, if you've read one of these and your review was different, please share!

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My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock
4/5 Stars
7/2011

"While the book sounded fascinating, my first reaction was that it would be an excuse to capitalize on the whole, I'm-going-to-do-something-related-to-someone-famous-and-then-write-a-book-about it thing. I had no idea who Noelle Hancock was when I started reading this book. I don't follow celebrity/gossip blogs or magazines. I don't read US Magazine in print or online. I don't even watch television, so I don't always recognize celebrities anyway.

I was so happy to find this to be an engaging and inspiring memoir. Noelle is honest in admitting her fears and her faults. So much of what she writes, I can relate to and understand. I was once confident, but often I now find myself timid and unable to believe in my abilities."

I wish I remembered reading this book. Shoot, I want to read it again now!


Left at the Altar 
by Julie N. Ford
7/2011
4/5 Stars

"Left at the altar, aspiring country singer Kelly Grace Pickens attempts to put her life back together. When her television producer cousin invites her to be a contestant on a reality show, Kelly agrees simply because she needs the money. After comparing herself to the conniving, beautiful women on the show, she's convinced she won't last. Kelly's plans change when she makes an impression upon bachelor Dillon Black and she finds herself presented with rose after rose and invited back time and time again. As the show progresses, Kelly finds herself torn between affection for her absent fiance and a new-found attraction for Dillon.

I'm not a fan of reality television and I've never seen an episode of The Bachelor so I have no idea how the show works. But, using it as a setting for Kelly's story was a lot of fun. There were laugh out loud funny parts and tender, poignant parts as well. While I realize the focus of the story is on Kelly and her self discovery, I wish there had been more development of Dillon and his past/family history. I think a sequel is definitely in order here! This was, quite simply, a delightfully fun novel. It's a clean, funny Christian romance and a story that I can wholeheartedly recommend! "

This is another one that I wish I could remember reading.


Next to Love by Ellen Feldman
2/5 Stars
7/2011

"The novel is rich historically and provides a perspective of World War 2 that is interesting: what happens to those left behind and how does everyone adapt when the war is finally over? And, while there are moments of drama and heartache, the story itself was disappointing and rather lackluster. Present tense narration is always frustrating to me and I don't think it helped the story. Why do authors write in present tense anyway? I have yet to read a book written in the present tense where that tense actually made the book better. I think, in part, it was the narrative that kept me from connecting with the characters and ultimately I felt it was a story that tried too hard to please."

Present tense as a narrative is almost a guarantee that I won't love the story.

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What about you? What are some of the books you've read in previous years?

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 Wrap-Up

11 books. That's all. I read 11 books this year for review and two of those reviews won't be published until 2018.

But of the 11, I read? I enjoyed nearly all of them.

Favorites for this year:

 

Leonard
The Last Neanderthal


The Atomic City Girls
The Room on Rue Amelie



The Life She Was Given
The Bookshop on the Corner

This year there was only one disappointment. I had high hopes for it because the premise was terrific. The execution, not so much.


An Extraordinary Union

This is the lowest number of books read since I started reviewing online. I've read more books that these 11, because I can't not read. But much of my reading has been rereading old favorites or fanfiction. Things I can enjoy without the pressure of reading for review.

I've kept up with my recurring posts: Cover Crush, Whimsy Wednesday, 5 Books I Want to Read, Books I Have Forgotten, etc.

I have also written some more personal posts this year as well as continued my Weekend Reflections posts and in them I've shared that this year has been challenging. And it has.

So reading with the pressure to review has not been something I have wanted to do. However, I am hopeful for a better reading year in 2018.

Thank you for visiting, for commenting, for following this year.

What about you? What was your favorite book for 2017?