Guess what ?! ===> I’m Still Around…….!! and I Know You Were Wondering…..

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Hello, Friends!!

Just a short note for this July evening.

My blog activity has been slow of late, but I am still around, (and I know you were wondering……..).

This is due to some personal-and-not-too-exciting ongoing stuff!

During this time I have continued reading, but not writing any reviews.

So, once all is right again, there will be review, after review, after review, after…. well, maybe not that much!

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My wishes for life’s blessings are showered on each of you.

Take care,

Patricia

Choose Joy!

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Six Word Saturday!! July 8, 2012


Six Word Saturday is Sponsored by www.showmyface.com

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Oops, ok… it’s Sunday!!

“Stop Spinning……..  Pause…..  Reflect…..  Be Still…..”

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Lake Huron, Ontario 2009

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Happy Sunday, Everyone!

Patricia

Choose Joy!

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Book Review: “Beatrice Munson” by Lorena Bathey

In Vista Heights, the women of the neighborhood have started to look like their homes, varying shades of beige.  Lost in this world of suburbia, Marissa Lyons learns her high school nemesis has bought the house right across the street from her. Afraid that her arch enemy, Beatrice Munson, will move in with Marissa’s high school crush as her husband and cause Marissa to relive the insecurity of high school in her forties, she decides to face the music and heads to Beatrice’s house with warm cupcakes. But what Marissa finds is something she never expected.  How will Marissa and the rest of the women of San Martino deal with someone like Beatrice Munson, whose defining moment in her life was to get a boob job or go on a trip to Egypt. This story is about friendship, love, learning to look at things differently, and great parties. Step into the world of Vista Heights where you might recognize the women, or you might be one of them. (from Goodreads) 

 

When Lorena Bathey was looking for reviewers, for her book “Beatrice Munson”, I jumped at the opportunity.  Many months ago, as I was cruising around on Goodreads, I came across “Beatrice Munson”, and immediately fell in love with the cover!  I think the cover is beautiful, and enticing, and is among my favourite book covers. Lorena Bathey generously mailed the book to me, in exchange for an honest review.  I could not wait for the book to arrive!!  And when the book did arrive, just holding the book in my hand brought a smile to my face.  Then I started to read about Beatrice, and all the ladies in the community of San Martino, a suburb of San Francisco. 

Lorena Bathey’s narrator, Marissa Lyons, is a character who captured my heart in the very first paragraph, (truly, she did!).  I identified with part of her story, of her high school experiences, and her challenge to find her true place in life. 

The character of Beatrice Munson moved into a house across the street from Marissa Lyons.  Once Beatrice settled into her home, decorated in her own personal style, Marissa came for a visit.  The vision of Beatrice’s house was described through Marissa’s voice.  I say vision, because that is the word that came to mind, as I read Lorena Bathey’s beautiful description of Beatrice’s house.  It was a house that I wanted to be in, a living room that I wanted to settle into a chair, with a cup of coffee, and a really good book.  Lorena’s talent with words drew me into the San Martino community, made me feel welcomed. 

Lorena Bathey

The action in this novel moved smoothly and quickly.  The only reason I did not finish the book in one sitting, was because family commitments called me away.  But I did finish the book in my second sitting – reading into the wee hours of the morning!  I could not go to sleep without knowing how everyone’s life turned out! 

In following the characters’ daily lives, the reader sees how each character develops. The enjoyable thing was that Lorena Bathey showed this development through conversation and action, rather than pages of description.  The humour in “Beatrice Munson” is at times elegantly displayed, in beautiful phrases that bring the reader further into the world of all the San Martino ladies.  Sentences like this:   

“….Graydon was like the high dive in the male dating pool, and on the female scale I was about halfway down to the deep end with floaties on my arms.” 

San Francisco – Lorena Bathey Facebook Page

I laughed out loud, and re-read the line a few times before moving on!  Lorena Bathey also brings humour and memories together: 

“Her hair was teased up to the level of a Jiffy Pop popcorn container,….” 

Ah, yes, Jiffy Pop foil container just about ready to burst, before Mom removed it from the stove, cut the foil, and we dived in – nice memories, and an excellent description of a hair style! The book description on the back cover, also part of the Goodreads summary, reads:  “Step into the world of Vista Heights where you might recognize the women, or you might be one of them.”   And that happened to me as I read through the book.  A couple of times I found myself thinking, “hmmm, that sounds like (insert name)” and “oh, my goodness, that’s me!”  Such is the gentle, yet powerful, word pictures created by this author.  Talent, pure talent. In my book reviews, I do not like to give books a ‘number rating’, or a ‘star rating’, rather I stay with word recommendations, (or not!).  And fiction is so personal; each person experiences the story through their own life experiences.  But with all that said, if I was to give “Beatrice Munson” a number rating, it would definitely be 5 out of 5, in my mind, without question, a 5 star rating.  So, my recommendation to my readers is to definitely read “Beatrice Munson” by Lorena Bathey, and enjoy!! 

photo – Gavin Hellier

Where is the Joy of the Written Word in this book?  The answer is: from cover to cover, from beginning to end. 

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Choose Joy!  

Patricia

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Book Review: ““A Marked Heart”” by David George Ball

David George Ball (portrait taken 2006, copied from the author’s Facebook page)

The son of a missionary and a Baptist minister, seventeen-year-old immigrant David George Ball was following his destiny to become a pastor. He had always dreamed of making a difference in people’s lives. But when he met the then relatively unknown Martin Luther King Jr., the course of Ball’s life changed forever. In this memoir, “A Marked Heart”, Ball narrates his journey: beginning with growing up in wartime England; immigrating to the United States in 1954 to take the pastor’s course at Chicago’s Moody Bible Institute; attending Yale University as a scholarship student; and, most importantly, meeting King. Later, he worked on Wall Street as a lawyer, started a family, championed the 401(k) plan, and served as assistant secretary of labor. “A Marked Heart” describes how Ball’s encounter with King inspired the rest of his life’s work, and it provides a multifaceted look at his immigration, education, family relationships, career, and his commitment to public service. Though Ball never became a minister, his story communicates how his commitment to God and prayer guided his life. (from Goodreads) 

This book was a total surprise!  It really was!  I was deceived by the book cover; or rather I caught myself pre-judging this book, based on the three colour book cover.  Isn’t there an old saying:  “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? 

Well, when I received this book from Bostick Communications, (in exchange for an impartial review), I had second thoughts about whether or not I would enjoy reading it.  And I will admit to putting it to the side of my TBR book stack.  It just looked to be more of a reference book, than a story book.  

I could not have been more wrong. 

A short time ago, while checking my TBR books, “A Marked Heart”, caught my attention.  And after some review of the front and back covers, and recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. pictured on the front cover with the author, I decided I would begin this read. 

Unexpectedly, “A Marked Heart” by David George Ball, was soon to display so much more than its simple cover implied.  By the end of the first chapter, it was not a question of being caught up in the story; it was a matter of needing to know everything I could about the author and those around him.  David George Ball.  I would hazard a guess that most of us have never heard the name, let alone know what his life was all about.  And part of that I would suggest, was by plan – David George Ball’s plan.  In “A Marked Heart”, David George comes through the pages as a humble man, a quiet man, definitely a family man, a very intelligent man, a man filled with compassion for family and friends, and a man filled with pride of his birth country, England, and his country of residence, the United States. 

(photo credit Heather Fraser)

The author speaks of his growing up years with fond memories, and some not so fond. He brings us through his university years, as he earns multiple degrees.  David Ball’s style of storytelling is one that engages the reader, to a desire to learn more.  Ball’s meeting with Martin Luther King Jr., is a turning point in his career, and his personal creed for life.  I found it fascinating to read of M.L. King before his rise within the culture of the day, and his impact on the world.   Although King was a great influence on David Ball, this book is not about King.  We simply see how King affected individuals who became part of his life, and vice versa.  

“A Marked Heart” reaches all parts of the life of David George Ball.  We are with him through his marital happiness and struggles, his desire to serve God, the love he is given by his family, and at times the hard life he was forced to live.  I found myself on life’s journey with the author, through his highs and lows, through his two marriages, and the lives of his children, as they grew and started families of their own.   

(photo credit Heather Fraser)

To be truthful, I do not think that my words do justice to Ball’s life, to his great mind, and kind heart.   I would suggest this book be added to your library, as part of history.  Although not given real credit for this, Ball was the originator of the 401K plan, designed to secure quality of life for individuals, once they retire.  I am not an American, so do not pretend to understand the 401K plan, but in Canada we have Registered Retirement Plans, which would be comparable.  So, I do understand the need to plan for the future.  And I was quite impressed with Ball’s quiet, yet powerful, contribution to American lifestyle.  And the telling of this story was not a mundane presentation, but a story that I felt part of, a story that held joy.  Such is the style of Ball’s writing. I encourage readers of this blog to seek out this book,  “A Marked Heart”,  add it to your library,  and set aside time to read and learn, about events that impact your life, through the life of David George Ball. 

“The Joy of the Written Word” – where do we find joy in the words of my review or in the words of “A Marked Heart”?  Where I see Joy through “A Marked Heart”, is David George Ball’s unending faith in his God, his faith in knowing that, no matter what, God was with him.  He chose Joy!

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Choose Joy!  

Patricia

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Book Review: “Recipes for Disaster” by Sheryl Browne

She’s a single. He’s a widower. She wants him. He wants her. She wants to impress. So does he. There’s just one catch – she can’t cook. To get him, she needs to get past the big fish – his mother. Lucky her, she’s got an Ace up her sleeve and all she’s got to do is impress this one time. Bad luck, though, her new guy can’t cook either, her dog Rambo is on the loose and now they’ve got to pull off the big lunch at the club. Will it be a match made in heaven? Will they be able to pull off a culinary miracle? Will their combined efforts result in love at first bite? Or is it simply a Recipe for Disaster?(from Goodreads)

 

“The best thing I can make for dinner is reservations”. 

“Sure, I know the five basic food groups:  frozen, canned, delivery, pick-up and eating out”. 

Words I have lived by!!   

Needless to say, my husband is the cook in our family!  As I cross the threshold to the kitchen, my brain opens its eyes, and says: “I just remembered, I have to be somewhere else……”.  And it leaves…. 

So, when I read the synopsis of “Recipes for Disaster” by Sheryl Browne, I knew I would need to add it to my book shelf.  I really connected with Lisa, the main character, and non-cook.  I was fortunate when Sheryl Browne, the author, and Kim Maya Sutton, a Director at Safkhet Publishing, sent me a copy of Sheryl’s book, in exchange for an impartial review.  All the way from the U.K.!!  And I thank both of these ladies. Thank you! 

The book uses multiple narrators, who tell the story from their unique positions.  The main character, Lisa, is not a cook, but commits herself to cater a major event, hosted by her prospective mother-in-law!  Chaos and calamity follows.  “Recipes for Disaster” uses humour – from the first page to the last page.  It is humour that pulls you in, and keeps your attention.   

Not only are the characters creating all kinds of delicious foods, making the finished product sound so real, the author is very generous, and gives the reader all the recipes.  Even I became (slightly) inspired to try to attempt these recipes.  I will admit that I have not yet done so, but I can feel myself breaking out of my mold

Sheryl Browne

and surprising family members with Frisian Anchor or Olivia’s Pride!! 

If you love cooking, baking, and trying new recipes, this book is for you.  If you like reading a novel with a strong plot, this book is for you.  This book is such a good blend of fiction and food! 

Just one comment about the cover of the book – it is distracting!  But, distracting in a good way! (hmmm, hmmm) 

One element of the book that I was quite uncomfortable with, is the very ‘colourful’ language that is used – quite a bit of which, I just glazed over.  Regular readers of my blog will know that I have very low tolerance for swearing.  So, I will admit that I missed some paragraphs which were peppered with these words.  

I enjoyed Sheryl Brown’s writing style – very light and fast moving – exactly right for the storyline and the personalities of the characters.  I look forward to future books, which I know Sheryl will write.

White Asparagus Creme Soup

If you are a regular visitor to my blog, you will know that at the end of my posts, I always try to connect the title of my blog with the post itself.  Where do I find “The Joy of the Written Word” as related to this post and the book, “Recipes for Disaster”?  For me, the Joy is felt as I smiled my way through the book, and in feeling Joy in the possibility of me as a cook!!  Just maybe I will keep you posted on that event!

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Choose Joy! 

Patricia

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