Sunday, September 17, 2017

2017 - April to Now

Well once again, I have done it.  I fell off the wagon and having been publishing my books.  Ooops…here’s another omnibus of my reading.
Sandman Slim (Sandman Slim#1) (Listened 4/14/17 to 5/9/17) – 3 star
I really liked the book, the problem is that it was an audiobook it at some point I lost track of where I was and who with who because it was audio and I had to restart it. I think that if I had read it rather than listen to it probably would've given it a higher rating. At the same time the narrator is really good and I do want to finish the series.
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron (Read 4/30/17 – 5/17/17) – 3 Star
This is another Buddhist teachings based book, about how to find happiness and peace when suffering from our current lives situation.  This had some passages that spoke deeply to me, that I used as a jumping off point for some posts on my other blog.  She doesn’t speak to me as deeply as Thich Nhat Hahn does, but I still found plenty of insight in the message she was telling.
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (Listened 5/26/17 -5/28/17) – 0 Stars
This was an audiobook the kids and I listened to on a road trip.  It was light and fun, and it really kept my son’s attention.  We had seen the movie, but as usual the book made far more sense and explained what was happening way better than the movie did.
 Love and Gravity by Samantha Sotto (Read 5/24/17 to 5/28/17) – 4 Stars
This was from my subscription box Once Upon A Book Club Box.  I read the back, and I was thinking it would be a meh book.  Time travel, romance, and Issac Newton.  I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did.  The time hopping aspect had a chance of being very confusing and hard to follow, but Soto did a really good job of keeping the reader engaged and able to follow.  The presents that came along at various points were lots of fun too.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein (Listened 6/11/17) – 4 Star
This was an audio book that I checked out at the same time as The Tale of Despereaux but we didn’t listen to on the trip, so I listened to it while doing chores.  It was a fun light read that has a puzzle solving aspect that I enjoyed, it is aimed at younger readers, but was still a lot of fun.
The Five Love Languages for Singles by Gary Chapman (Read 6/15/17) – 4 Stars
I had read the original 5 love languages while still married, and I had this one to see if there was any new insights for being back in the dating world.  There wasn’t.  There was the same info I had before.  The reason it received a 4 star instead of a 2 star though is because it had a lot of great insight on how to interact with others in your life, such as parents and co-workers that I found extremely helpful and applicable.  The premise is the same for love languages across the board, but the practical application in day to day life I found very valuable.
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (Read/Listened 4/4/17 -6/16/17) – 2 Stars
This was a BOTM book club read.  I was bored out of my mind, as you can tell by how long it took me to finish.  It was just more Jane Austen dribble about finding a husband, and miscommunication in the process because how could anyone ever actually talk to anybody, they just go by rumors and gossip blah blah blah.  I find Austen completely unromantic and dull.
Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic by Esther Perel (Listened 6/4/17 – 6/19/17) – 2 Star
This was a recommendation by a co-worker.  It was talking about how the domesticity kills lust, but that there is a way to keep it alive.  It just didn’t seem to strike a chord with me, it was all stuff I felt like I already knew, there was no revelations here.  It felt like common sense to me.  I was a little bored.
American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes, and Trial of Patty Hearst (Read 6/4/17 to 6/19/17) – Not Rated
I knew nothing about Patty Hearst going into this book.  I found her story interesting.  However the writing of the book itself left a lot to be desired.  There were far too many tangents to keep track of what was happening.  I would often get lost because the author would go off on a side story for 5-10 pages before coming back to Patty and I rarely saw the point of the side story.
The Experiment of Dreams by Brandon Zenner (Read 6/5/17 – 6/26/17) - No Rating
BOTM reading.  It was a quick read, it was a mystery thriller sort of.  Printing things from your memories, but there a twist of a dark and dangerous past.  It didn’t really stick with me, and I had practically nothing to comment on during the read itself.
A Strange Companion by Lisa Manterfield (Read 6/26/17 – 6/27/17) – 4 Stars
Another Once Upon a Book Club Box read.  This one was still ok, I liked it the least so far.  I think on this one, the gifts really helped keep me engaged, it was about reincarnation and lost loves.
The Forever Watch by David B. Ramirez (Read 3/1//17 – 7/5/17) – 3 Stars
This was from a book box I received in 2015, I believe it was a Star Wars Box.  Obviously, this book didn’t grab me.  I had to restart and finish it mostly because I was tired of seeing it on my Current Reading list.  I would say that the last quarter was good, the storyline started moving and it had a great ending, but sadly the 1st 3 quarters were hard to get through.  Very slow and just didn’t peak my interest.
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman (Read 7/5/17 – 7/21/17) – 4 Star
This was a NNCC read.  I really enjoyed it, the writing was humorous and the characters were very engaging if not likable.  The author did a great job of keeping me guessing as to who was the bad guy and what the secret was.
The Painter by Peter Heller (Read 7/21/17 to 7/25/17) – 1 Star
This was my last BOTM club book I read this year, it was after this one that I decided I needed a break.  I HATED this book.  I couldn’t stand the characters, the story line left nothing to be guessed, the ending pissed me off.  There was too much fishing talk and it added nothing to story.  The main character was an asshole and I didn’t feel sorry for him.  The tragedy of his daughters death was stupid, the author made it seem like it was a big EVENT, which yeah she died but the method was idiotic.
The Saturday Evening Girls Club by Jane Healey (Read 7/26/17 – 7/30/17) – 4 Star
This was a really fun Once Upon a Book Club Box read.  It is set in the 40’s and follows a group of friends through an importan year in their lives, they all had different backgrounds and dreams and it was just a fun “Chick Lit” book.  The writing was good, the storyline flowed really well and I enjoyed it.
My Story by Elizabeth Smart (Listened 7/26/17 – 8/7/17) – 2 Star
I checked out this audio book for a drive and I regretted it.  It was boring.  I felt like the entire book was Elizabeth saying, no I never was brainwashed and defending herself.  Which maybe she felt the need to do, but it got a bit redundant.  Also her timeline was hard to follow.
The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman (Read 7/30/17 – 8/20/17) – 3 Star
I think besides the 5 Love Languages for Men, I have read them all now.  This was more of the same from the other books, and it was a lot of the same info.  There were some insights for kids, but nothing that was as revolutionary as I had hoped.  It was a still a good read, and hopefully it can help me reach my kids better.
Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Ben H. Winters (Read/Listened 4/5/17 -8/23/17) – 2 Stars
So same story as original, in fact a lot of original text was used.  But now there is a sea monster element.  It was still just as dull and hard to get through though.
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (Read 8/24/17) – 4 Star
This was  nice light read about WWII and thwarting the Nazi’s.  I enjoyed it, WWII escape/survivor stories are a genre I really enjoy.  The stories that encompass the human resilience gives me hope.  The lengths some ordinary people went to, to help the Jews and other persecuted ones, amazes me and fills me with hope for humanity.  We are not all as selfish as we appear, or at least we are capable of not being so.
The Lightkeeper’s Daughters by Jean E. Pendziwol (Read 8/27/17 – 9/1/17) – 3 Star

This reminded me a lot of the Orphan Train, felt like almost the same story just I a different setting in fact.  I feel like if I hadn’t read orphan train, I would have enjoyed this much more.  But it felt like a re-read instead of a new read.

The Magician's by Lev Grossman (Read April 2017) - 2 star

This is my April NNCC book club selection.   Quentin Coldwater is a high school student who himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, Brakebills. This book was explained to us as an Adult version of Harry Potter.  And yeah the first part it, it is after part one that things go wonky.  Part 1 Quentin is in college and we get to have fun learning all about his magical school, it was great.  It had much more adult themes and there was drugs, and booze and sex, it wasn't Hogwarts for sure.  I enjoyed this section, I wish it had ended when he graduated, because it went down hill from there for me.
Then Quentin graduates and suddenly we are in Reality Bites, he doesn't know what to do with his life after graduation so he does NOTHING.  He is lazy and parties every day, eventually fucking up his relationship with Alice (an amazing girl) when low and behold his old school rival shows up with a magic button.  And suddenly we jump from Reality Bites into the Narnia novels, only they set in Fillory to avoid copyright issues I think.  Again much like Hogwarts, Fillory i.e. Narnia is a much darker place than the originals.  I felt like all the idea in this book were just recycled, lets take another books storyline, darken it and call our own.  I was very disappointed.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Mirrorgate by Nathan T. Bishop (Read 4/11/17)

So disclaimer, I actually know this author personally, so I'm a little nervous about this.  The book opens on a murder scene and Scott is trying to remember what happened:  blood, a machete, and a dead body.  Not such a good start for Scott. 
There were some great idea in this book, it just felt incomplete to me.  It felt like parts were still missing and the story just needs a bit more fleshing out, but it is a great start and a good premise.  Some of the early parts of the book left me confused as to why they were included, could the dog or the pranks tie in later on?  I think that is part of why I felt it was incomplete, it seemed like there was foreshadowing that didn't come back into play.  Nathan also left a nice set up for a sequel though.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Once Bitten, Twice Dead by Bianca D'Arc (Read 4/2/17 to 4/7/17) - 2.5 Star

This book was given to me as a birthday present.  There has been a mistake at a lab and instead of super soldiers, the scientist created zombies!  Officer Sarah Petit was attacked while on patrol, and instead of turning she is one of the very, very few who is immune and she joins forces with the Green Berets to fight the infestation in her home town.  There is a love story, here with Sarah and one of the Green Beret officers Xavier Beauvoir. I liked the story premise.  My issue with the book is the sex.  I'm not saying I had an issue with the sex itself, was it a little more unrealistic, vulgar and violent than my preference, yes but that wasn't my problem.  This is a paranormal romance, I expected sex and even some rough sex, and unrealistic romance novel sex.  Maybe my sex life has sucked for the past 18 years, but I have never had the sort of sex portrayed in romance novels, I've had good sex but not that connected OMG he kisses me and I come sex.  I don't mind that is how it is portrayed.  My problem was that the sex was a bigger part of the story than the story.  D'Arc has a great storyline with the attempt to make super solider and ooops we made zombies.  Its not a world wide epidemic yet, and it not a post apocalypse world.  It was what would lead up to that unless they get it under control.  I love that, I loved the science aspect and wish that had more detail.  I wish there had been more investigation into culprits behind the scenes, expand on that criminal thriller aspect.  I liked the fight scenes, and was disappointed that there were so few.  I feel like if D'Arc had focused more on the storyline and a little less on the "amazing" sex that I could have rated this book higher.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Homeland by R.A. Salvatore (Read 3/8/17 to 3/28/17) - 2 Star

This is March's BOTM book. In Menzoberranzan, a city in the underdark, is here the dark elves or drow live. This is the story of Drizzt Do'Urden from birth until he reaches adulthood. I found the writing very dense and I had to really concentrate. A lot of the book dragged for me.  I will say that it was fun to read from the bad guys perspective, the backstabbing and pettiness, different from always reading from the Hero.  Although the idea that evil society being matriarchal  had some social commentary messages I'm not sure I am so keen on.  It is obvious that this is part of a series, but I can say for sure I have no intention of picking up the rest.  This just didn't interest me enough to continue.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton (Read 3/24/17 to 3/27/17) - 3 Star

This book was recommended to me by a friend, that it would speak to me where I am in my life.  She was both wrong and right.  I could see that Glennon was going through a personal crisis and facing a divorce.  However I couldn't relate to her indecision and inability to see herself. When I left my ex-husband things made sense again, there was no indecision or doubt.  I could relate to her sense of loss, and once she found her inner warrior that made sense, but the difference is my warrior appeared the night I left and I walk the path to this day.  I knew from the start the healing had to start with me, for my children.  I can relate to her feeling of not belonging and inadequacy, I have my own self esteem issues, not going to try and cover that up.  But it seemed like she had a much further journey than I did, where she ended is where I started at.  It felt like she was confirming things I already knew, not opening my eyes to a new view.  And maybe that was my mistake, my friend made it seem like there was great insight in this book, which there is, but it is insights I discovered over a year ago and it didn't speak to me as much as I thought it would.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch (Read 2/28/17 to 3/3/17) - 4 Star

This is from my March book club book, and recommended by another member.  This was a super fun book, and I can't wait to read the whole series.  One of my other book club members said it was like X-Files, Men in Black and Buffy all rolled into one, and she is right!  There is a fun an quirky sci-fi element that doesn't take itself or the storyline too seriously along with a kick ass protagonist with witty repartee to give Joss a run for his money.  There were times where the cheese factor was a 10, but your so busy laughing that you don't care.  You are thrown into the action from the very first page and it doesn't slow down. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Three Sisters Island Trilogy by Nora Roberts (Read 2/16/17 to 2/27/17)

300 years ago to avoid persecution during the Salem witch trials, 3 witches Earth, Air and Fire joined powers to create a safe haven, Three Sisters Island.  But their haven wasn't as safe as they thought it would be, each sister made a choice that set a course for their decedents.  300 years later each "sister" must face their ancestors mistake and make it right, or doom the island they love to sink into the sea.

Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts (Read 2/19/17 to 2/11/17) - 4 Stars
This was for my book club February read.  We are introduced to Three Sisters island and the three witches that must break the curse to prevent it falling into the sea.  The first witch is Nell, I could easily relate to her. Be warned she is an abuse victim and there are some graphic scenes that could cause the need for some trigger warnings.  Nell has run to the island to escape her abusive husband, and there she finds what she has always been looking for, a home and a family, but how long can she hold on to it?   I really liked it, I think I just like Nora Roberts.  The Characters were very relatable and likable, and I enjoyed the magic element.  The love story was good, not overwhelming but just right. I thought Nell and Zack were great together, he was just what she needed.  He was there, he acknowledged her past, but didn't treat her like a victim.  He showed her respect and love, and allowed her the time to trust him and open up to him. 

Heaven and Earth by Nora Roberts (Read 2/11/17 to 2/16/17) - 3 Stars
This follows the second witch Ripley and her path to love and breaking the curse.  Ripley walked away from magic 10 years ago, and curse or no curse she has no plans to go back.  I don't really like Ripley, so I had a hard time getting through this book.  I also don't care for her love interest MacAllester Booke, the whole thing didn't do it for me really.  I just wanted to get it done with so I could read the third book.  There was a lot more internal struggle here, and the love story was very blah to me, probably because I didn't like the characters so I had no vested interest in their romance.

Face the Fire by Nora Roberts (Read 2/24/17 to 2/27/17) - 4 Stars
This is the final book in the series and we deal with the final part of the curse.  Mia lost her love Sam logan 10 years ago, he left her broken hearted, but unlike her ancestor she found a way to survive the loss and may have even grown stronger despite it,  Then Sam comes back to the island and she has to face not only her part of the curse, but her broken heart too.  I thought this was a great conclusion to the trilogy.  It did a great job of wrapping up all the storylines.  I like how strong and independent Mia is.  Sam has a lot to live up to earn her love in my opinion after the hurt he caused.  I'm actually kinda on the fence about him, there were things I liked about his character, but at time I felt he should get thrown in the sea too.  I think they were a good match ultimately though.

I've decided after these books and reading the in-death series (a loooonnngggg post to come when I get to end of that series)  that I like Nora Roberts writing.  I like her style and here stories are always engaging to me.  I know that she is known as a romance writer, and there is the romance element, but that is really a side factor to whatever story she is trying to tell.  Almost like throwing sex in a movie, does it make the watcher happy?  Yeah.  Would the story still be good with out it?  Yeah.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hangsman by Shirley Jackson (Read 2/2/17 to 2/21/17) - 2 Star

So this is supposed to be a coming of age story I think.  Natalie goes off to college and leave her childhood behind and becomes an adult.  Now I normally like Shirley Jackson, but I didn't like this book.  I felt it was hard to follow and the characters were un-relatable.  I think Jackson did it on purpose, made them all seem a little crazy but I can;t for the life of me see why.  Natalie's father is controlling and she is sheltered.  I also wonder if she doesn't have multiple personalities.  The writing felt disjointed and hard to read.  It almost felt to me like I was reading a stream of consciousness of a crazy person.  I couldn't follow the timeline or the character arc...and then it ended and I didn't see what was accomplished.  
The description says its based on an actual disappearance...totally missed that part, as far as I can tell nothing bad happens to anybody, besides miserable marriages.  Its supposed to be this chilling and suspenseful story, but I had no interest on what happened to Natalie and I didn't feel it was chilling, it was chaotic maybe.  I just didn't like it, I was bored and found it a bit tedious to read.

Monday, February 20, 2017

2017 to current.

I swear I am going to get back on the blogging horse...I just have failed...with this post though I am 100% back up to date and I will do it right from here on out!

The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore (Listened to 1/3/17 to 1/6/17) - 3 Star

This is the January book for my book club NNCC.  I listened to the book on audio, and as plus the narrator did a good job, in fact my kids listened to parts and liked it too.

This is the story of the famous lawsuit between Edison and Westinghouse over who invented the light bulb, and the reality that it was about much more than a simple patent, it was about the future of electricity as we know it.  It is set in New York in 1888; George Westinghouse hires Paul Cravath fresh out of Columbia Law School to be his lawyer on the billion dollar lawsuit between Westinghouse and Thomas Edison.   The case affords Paul entry to the heady world of high society—the glittering parties in Gramercy Park mansions, and the more insidious dealings done behind closed doors. The task facing him is beyond daunting. Edison is a wily, dangerous opponent with vast resources at his disposal—private spies, newspapers in his pocket, and the backing of J. P. Morgan himself. Yet this unknown lawyer shares with his famous adversary a compulsion to win at all costs.   In obsessive pursuit of victory, Paul crosses paths with Nikola Tesla, an eccentric, brilliant inventor who may hold the key to defeating Edison, and with Agnes Huntington, a beautiful opera singer who proves to be a flawless performer on stage and off. As Paul takes greater and greater risks, he’ll find that everyone in his path is playing their own game, and no one is quite who they seem.

The book was good; I liked the dynamics and the writing style.  I knew a little about the historical figures, especially the rivalry between Edison and Tesla because my Ex was fascinated by Tesla and had both told me a lot about him and I had read some of Tesla's papers and biography.  I liked the main character Paul and how in the end everything wrapped up nicely, I suspect if this had been more fact than historical fiction it may not have been quite so smooth, life rarely is.  I liked that there was enough fact in the fiction to make the story feel authentic and I don't feel like Moore took too much creative license. 

How to Murder a Millionaire by Nancy Martin (Read 1/6/17 to 1/7/17) - 3 Star

I have had this book on my shelf for some time, and I just finally got around to reading it.  This is about Nora Blackbird, a former Socialite in Philadelphia.  Her Parents left her with the family farm, and the 2 million dollar tax debt.  In order to pay the bill, she must get a job, and she beigns working for a newspaper as the society page writer.  It is during one of these parties that she finds murdered body of the host, and her friend.  This of course pulls Nora into the investigation, can she figure out who, what and why before it becomes her life on the line.

This was exactly what I thought it would be, a fun light read.  The characters are quirky and the storyline is engaging.  The love story angle took a backseat to solving the murder, which was nice.  And it was obvious that Martian was doing some world building to set the scene for a series.  Which I admit, I went and put on my wish list.  I enjoyed the characters and their craziness.  The murder was tame compared to some I have read, and the mystery was good.  Upon reflection there were some clues and I had my suspicions, but the actual murder was not who I thought it was.  Although, I knew the murder was involved in some way, just not the actual deed.  So although the clues pointed in the right direction, they did not give away the ending.  I liked it.  The writing was good, it flowed smoothly and made it a nice quick weekend book for me.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (Read 1/17/17 to 1/28/17) - 4 Star

This is a Victorian drama in true Dickensian darkness.  Sue Trinder is an orphan and raised by Mrs. Sucksby in the London slums.  Sue is offered to participate in a Con, become the maid of Maud Lilly and help Gentleman entice her in to marriage for her fortunes.  But there are twists, and then there are more twists!

Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris (Read 1/2/17 to 1/22/17) - 3 Star

This is the new series by Charlaine Harris and there are lots of characters from other books in it, which let me tell you sent me down some rabbit holes since I have read ALL of her books and I had to remember where they came from.  But it was fun, I like the town and the characters, they all have great back stories, maybe I liked them so much because I actually knew the back stories.  Gotta give Harris her props, my jaw actually fell open at the end of the who dunnit.

Day Shift by Charlaine Harris (Read 1/29/17 to 2/1/17) - 4 Star

The next one in the series, built nicely upon the first book.  I liked the storyline better, the end wasn't as shocking.

Night Shift by Charlaine Harris (Read 2/5/17 to 2/7/17) - 4 Star

This felt like a wrap up for me, everyone's storylines seemed concluded, a nice little trilogy.

Self Help that didn't help the way I thought

You know when I was married I read a whole lot of self help books to try and salvage my marriage, but out of shame I never put the reviews on my blog, I didn't want anyone to know I was reading them.  I didn't want anyone to know that my marriage was failing and that I was having to work at it.  Maybe if I had some people would have known to reach out, I don't think it would have made a difference at the time, but upon reflection I am proud of how hard I worked to save my marriage,  and true we didn't save it, we are still divorced, but I can honestly look back at all the reading and talking and therapy and say, I gave it 120%.  Our marriage ending in divorce is, and I have no regrets and no wonders if there had been more that I could have done because I did everything in my power, besides allow the situation to remain status quo. 

The Books I read that I didn't post reviews for were:

True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh  - This was a book recommend by my therapist, and on some of our joint sessions she would sometimes quote parts. 

Forgiveness: How to Make Peace with Your Past and Get on With Your Life by Sidney B. Simon - another book recommend by my therapist, intened to deal with trauma from my childhood and my rape, but did add some insight to forgiving my ex-husband.

How to Stop Lying: The Ultimate Cure for Guide for Pathological Liars and Compulsive Liars by Caesar Lincoln - I read this because he managed to convince me that I was a pathological liar, and I was so far down the rabbit hole that I actually believed him, even though I knew I wasn't.

I Love You But I Don't Trust You: The Complete Guide to Restoring Trust in Your Relationship by Mira Kirshenbaum - This was supposed to be for me to earn his trust back, but it ended up teaching me a lot about myself and the way my ex was treating and lying to me.

Tell Me No Lies  by Elen Bader - again it was supposed to be about showing my ex I was trust worthy, again it opened my eyes to some of the lies he was telling me.

How to Love by Thich Nhat Hanh - After the first Thich Nhat Hahn book, something clicked and I began to buy them all

The 5 Love Languages: the Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman - this was insightful and for a little bit it, it did seem help, but it was sadly short lived.

One More Try:  What to Do when Your Marriage is Falling Apart by Gary Chapman - Yep too late for this to help, maybe if I had read it years ago.

Things I wish I'd Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman - ditto

The 5 Languages of Apology:  How to Experience Healing in All Your Languages by Gary Chapman - Sadly I spent most of my time apologizing, although no matter how I tried they were never accepted, again I believe it was because I was the wrong person apologizing.

The Argument Free Marriage:  28 Days to Creating The Marriage You've Always Wanted With the Spouse You Already Have by Fawn Weaver - I don't think we got past the introduction.

When Sorry Isn't Enough:  Making Things Right with Those You Love by Gary Chapman - Good stuff, just didn't work for us.

The Art of Communicating by Thich Nhat Hanh - we even signed the contracts but one of us wouldn't hold up their end of the bargin.

Anger:  Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat Hanh  - This was more for him and his anger issues, but I read it too, and it helped a lot during the divorce proceedings to calm my anger at him.

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone - Found out afterwards that I didn't have problems with difficult conversations, I had problems with conversations with him.

Peace is in Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Hanh - I use the ideas here everyday to ground myself and appreciate my life, even when it is full of turmoil.

Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh - Fear ruled my life for the last few years, this was great for facing and even embracing them.

No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering by Thich Nhat Hanh - Another great one, I love this guy!

The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh - sort of like Peace is in Every Step, but still good.

Your True Home by Thich Nhat Hanh - 365 days of thought provoking blurbs, I just skim it sometimes

Once the separation happened, the books changed from ones to save my marriage to ones that were to save me and to help me understand what I had been through.   Books to help me heal, books to help my children heal, and books to help me grow as a person in general:

You Are Here:  Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment by Thich Nhat Hanh (Read 2/20/16 to 2/22/16) - 4 Star

I have read more books by Thich Nhat Hanh than I can count.  He is a Buddist Monk, and he speaks to my soul.  This is a tiny book, only about 150 pages, but it talks about being in the present and how to appreciate exactly where you are in your life.  His words tend to flow over me like calming waters and I often turn to his books in times of anxiety and stress.

Screamfree Parenting:  The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping it Cool by Hal Edward Runkel (Listened to 5/1/16 to 5/22/16) - 4 Star

This is a parenting book about how to parent to raise independent kids, to stop yelling and over reacting and listening and actually connecting with your kids.  I found the audio book so good I recommended it to all the moms I know and bought a hard copy for my library.  It confirms so many things my parents used to raise me, but in more modern applications.  It talks about teaching children to make good decisions and how to do that in a society that pressures parents to hover and not let their kids be independent.  It helped give ideas of how to balance the modern world with the ideals from my own childhood.

It's my Life Now: Starting Over After an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence by Meg Kennedy Dugan (Read 5/27/16 to 6/7/16) - 5 Star

This discusses how to recover once you escape from an abusive relationship, because honestly escape is just the first step there is a lot of work and a lot of healing that must happen after.  There were some great resources listed and book suggestions that I actually took.  It was a great first step down healing.

Victory Over Verbal Abuse: A Healing Guide to Renewing Your Spirit and Reclaiming Your Life by Patricia Evans (Read 7/8/16 to 7/29/16) - 3 Star

This was about what I had been through, it was good and it confirmed and showed me that no I wasn't crazy.  I didn't feel it did much on the path to recovery, but maybe I read it to early too.

Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn (Listened to 7/19/16 to 8/24/16) - 3 Star

These were supposed to be medetations, but there was a lot of chatter, they were ok, I would rather pick up a Thich Nhat Hanh book I think.

When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse by Lundy Bancroft (Read 8/29/16 to 9/9/16) - 5 Star

This is the most helpful book I read, it really helped me to change some of the ways I was doing things with my kids and how I was explaining/handling the situation with my ex and them.  After reading this, things began to improve.  I feel that this was most practical book I read, and it had actual advice to give.  Being a victim of abuse, especially verbal abuse, I doubt my own judgment and my own decision making skills not only about myself but about my kids and the decisions I was making for them.  The advice here allowed me to regain some of my confidence as a parent.

Boundaries in Dating by Henry Cloud (Read 9/9/16 to 9/11/16) - 2 Star

I read this because I'm back in the dating world, and I felt it might be nice to have some ideas it was nothing new, the boundaries I had already known.  It just gave a lot of christian reasons for why to have them.

How to Survive the Loss of A Love by Melba Colgrove (Read 9/12/16 to 9/20/16) - 2 Star

This was an odd book, it was full of poetry and odd advice, I didn't find it useful at all.  Although I did like some of the poems.

Codependent No More:  How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie (Read 9/24/16 to 9/30/16) - 4 Star

I am a co-dependent.  I enable and I take care of people, there are lots of reasons why I learned this behavior.  I always thought being co-dependent meant being weak, and found the term derogatory.  It isn't something I want to be, but I find it less insulting.  This real gave me some insight to my own behavior and how my actions had allowed some of the things to happen in my life, it made me look closer at myself.

The Little Book of Letting Go: A Revolutionary 30-day Program to Cleanse Your Mind, Lift Your Spirit and Replenish Your Soul by Hugh Prather (Read 9/11/16 to 10/5/16) - 2 Star

This was recommended by my therapist, and I found it might have been useful earlier on, but it felt repetitive as I had done most of the things it recommended already.

The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond by Patricia Evans (Read 10/10/16 to 10/26/16) - 3 Star


Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way by Patricia Romanowski Bashe (Read 10/8/16 to 11/10/16) - 3 Star

This was insightful, and I think that it would be a good book for parents going through a divorce that does not involve abuse, either physical or substance.  The advice there seemed like it would be great if I was divorcing a rational or even stable person, but due to the situation things were just not tenable.  There was a blurb in the book about halfway in that a lot of this information can be disregarded when an abusive situation is present; it was at that point that I started skimming.

Beyond Codependency: And Getting Better All the Time by Melody Beattie (Read 11/17/16 to 12/6/16) - 2 star

This was a slow read, and it focused a lot on 12 step programs, which turned me off.  I am sure there was a lot of good info in it, but it got lost in the promotion of joining a 12-step.

2016 in Review Part 2

Part 2:

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (Listened to 10/21/16 to 10/22/16) - 4 Star

Wow that was powerful!  An hour of pure terror, heroism, and love.  It wasn't a condemnation of massacre shooters, it was about the ability of one person going above for another, and about humanity.  The motives are immaterial when faced with such a terrifying event the unity and connections formed are admirable.   Great writing I was really drawn in.

California by Edan Lepucki (Read 10/1/16 to 10/26/16) - 3 Star

I enjoyed the story, I am not sure I enjoyed the shifting point of views.   Both Frieda and Cal are sad different people from the way they view each other, but I suppose that is true of any relationship.  The book is super creepy, The Land is a cult.  I can't stand Frida though, she is stupid and blind, and the poster child for "the internet can only publish the truth" type person.    It was an ok read, wouldn't recommend though.

Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding (Read 10/26/16 to 10/30/16) - 2 Star

Interesting that Colin firth playing Mr. Darcy in book is major crush of Bridget, and he played Mark Darcy in movie....hmmm  I know this is supposed to be a revamp of Pride and Prejudice, but I don't see it.  It totally reminded me of pre-married days.  I couldn't imagine living this way now.  I like the movie better.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding (Read 10/30/16 to 11/3/16) - 2 Star

I was bored, not sure as to why this book doesn't seem as fun as the movies.  Egads another book that I prefer the movie too.  The antics that are supposed to be amusing just aren't doing it for me.

Bridget Jones's Guide to Life by Helen Fielding (Read 11/3/16) - 1 Star

Cut little book, didn't add anything to the series.

Down the Rabbit Hole by Various Authors (Read 11/3/16 to 11/13/16) - 3 Star

This had 5 short stories:

Wonderment in Death I like it, I like the In Death series though, I like the futuristic twist to the detective stories.  The crime was a little predictable but  I still thought it was a fun little story.  I like the image of Alice at the "tea party."

Alice and the Earl in Wonderland  Another story that is from another series, so the characters were well developed, it was a bit of a teaser though, made me interested in reading the actual books,  so I guess it did its job.  It had a nice switch up of characters being pulled into future rather than the past.

iLove Our phones are the rabbit hole!  I loved the idea,  It was a cute little love story about appreciating each other.

A True Heart  IRS Revenue Office as lead many things wrong that it made it really hard to focus on the story.

Fallen  very strange romance, the end seemed slapped together, like oops lets wrap this up.  It was ok for time travel, but I liked Alice and the Earl in Wonderland better.

The First Bad Man by Miranda July (Listened to 11/21/16 to 11/28/16) - 1 Star

Very strange story - the whole scenario seems off.  Cheryl is crazy and the way her inner dialogue works keeps it that way.  The whole book is crazy.  Who would give this crazy woman a baby?  I wasn't attracted to any of the characters, they are all creeps.

The Girl with No Past by Kathryn Croft (Listened to 11/29/16 to 12/1/6) - 4 Star

This was a good listen.  I really liked Leah and I was kept guessing until the very end as to what actually happened!

Only  a Promise by Mary Balough (Read 12/17/16 to 12/7/16) - 5 Star

OMG a romance book that I gave 5 stars to!  I really liked it.  I picked the book up based on a review that it wasn't your typically romance.  Sex doesn't fix the relationship issues, character growth does!  And the review was right.  The Characters weren't automatically in love because they had amazing sex.  Actually they had blah sex, which was appropriate for the story line.  I really liked it.

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon (Read 12/8/16 to 12/10/16) - 4 Star

This was a fun supernatural mystery.  I saw part of the twists but not all.  The actual way it came about was unexpected.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (Listened to 12/2/16 to 12/15/16) - 4 Star

This was a check out from the library because I liked the movie, it was sorta similar, but not really.  There was a lot more depth to the story than I expected.

Holidays on Ice by David Sendaris (Read 12/8/16 to 12/23/16) - 1 Star

This was awful.  The author was too sarcastic and down right cruel in my opinion.  I didn't have a single story I enjoyed.

After You by JoJo Moyes (Listened to 12/24/16 to 12/31/16) - 3 Star

This was an ok wrap up to the first one, it let us see what had become of Louisa, I thought it was good, but not as good as the first.