Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Paris Times Eight is the story of Toronto writer Deirdre Kelly's love affair with the city of Paris and the important role her travels to the city played in her life. She began travelling to Paris as a young woman working as an au pair and eventually travelled there seven more times in many different roles - writer, daughter, fiancee, and mother among many others.
This was an interesting book. Women will be able to relate to the growth we all go through as we fall into our true selves, and the role that outside forces play on our development. Travellers will be able to relate the love you can have for a foreign place and how our travels often lead to self-discovery.
If you have been to Paris you will love the tours of the city that Deirdre Kelly takes you on. This is not a tourists guide of Paris, rather she explores the history and landscape through the eyes of a foreigner in love with all the city has to offer. However, if you haven't been to Paris, you may find yourself lost in her city. While Kelly's writing is beautiful in its descriptiveness, for me at times I felt like I was in a "you had to be there" story.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has had (or is in) a love affair with Paris or who enjoys travel memoirs.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Holly Talbott is married to the founder of Comet Capital and reluctantly falling into her place as a hedgefund wife. As a stay at home mom to son Miles, she lives in a world of excess and luxury, spending her time at black tie charity auctions and lunching with the other hedgefund wives while their husbands are away on their many business trips.
But when a spontaneous adventure with her sister-in-law Kiki leads her to the shocking discovery that her husband has been unfaithful, Holly soons finds herself having to choose between keeping her life of luxury or living a life of integrity. If choosing to leave her husband means becoming an outcast in her Upper East Side world, will Holly be able to survive?
The Ex-Mrs. Hedgefund is a fun look at the life of excess led by those in the financial world prior to the economic collapse. It is a world most will only be able to glimpse through books and Jill Kargman has portrayed it well. The character of Holly is an honest woman who finds herself moving up the social and economic ladder only to find it's not all it's made out to be. She is a relatable character for readers, which often is not the case in books about this type of crowd. The Ex-Mrs. Hedgefund is a lovely and fun read.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Can one person make a difference? When we write a cheque to a charity or volunteer at a food bank, we're part of the solution-aren't we? Author Lawrence Scanlan went looking for answers to those questions by selecting twelve different charitable organizations and spending a month in each. What he discovered during his year-long odyssey was the new face of philanthropy-its players, its politics, its undeniable satisfactions and its fundamental perils. This fresh and critical look at diverse approaches to the troubles of the world's less fortunate demonstrates the compelling need for greater commitment and real connection from us all-individuals, philanthropists of every stripe, and government.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
On a Dollar a Day: One Couple's Unlikely Adventures in Eating in America is the story of two high school teachers who were fed up their high grocery bills and decided to feed themselves on a dollar a day each for one month. Why a dollar a day? Because that amount, or less, is how much a large portion of the world spends on food. Would it be possible to do this and still eat healthy?
While Christopher Greenslate and Kerri Leonard found that it was extremely difficult to do this and maintain their health, the sad reality is that there are many in North America who face this every single day. In an area of the world that is fortunate to have an abundance of food, we face an industry that is not only making us sick but is hurting the poor through things like "supermarket redlining" and "nutritional racism."
After this first experiment, Greenslate and Leonard decided to then spend a month taking on the Food Stamp challenge, spending only the amount of money that people receive in food stamps as well as the average supplemented contribution which totalled $4.13 each, per day. In addition to this, they tried to closely follow the USDA's Thrifty Food Plan which is supposed to be a guide for low-income families to effectively use their benefits.
On a Dollar A Day is the result of Greenslate and Leonard's experiments which they blogged about as they happened. What they discovered about the food industry and the reality that many people in North America face when it comes to food is pretty incredible.
What I really enjoyed about this book was the author's honesty and their "realness." While Greenslate and Leonard are very firm in what they believe when it comes to eating (they are vegan and buy fair trade and organic when possible), they admit to weaknesses for sweets and other things. They do not try to pass themselves off as food experts or perfect eaters. They are also honest in admitting that they always knew that for them this was just an experiment that will end and they can go back to their previous ways, but for millions of people this option does not exist. During the experiments they became involved in Food Justice causes and raised money for a local food initiative. They compared the experience of people living in low income neighbourhoods and upper middle class neighbourhoods when it comes to food availability.
This book will open your eyes not just to the problems that exist in our food industry, but how difficult it is for people who are low-income or on food assistance to eat healthy and spend wisely on food.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
As director of guest relations at the Atlantis Hotel on Paradise Island, Bahamas, Riley Sinclair often has her hands full with the demands of guests. But nothing has prepared her for the week she is about to have.
Laine Fulton is an author, staying at the hotel to do research for her new book. She is over-bearing, demanding and getting on Riley's nerves. But much of this is just a cover for the hurt she is hiding inside. Tamyra Larsen is a beauty queen who doesn't make eye contact with anyone. Having recently received a life-changing diagnosis, she just wants to be left alone. Winnie Harris is seventy-two years old, a spitfire Southern woman and principal of a tough high school. Her children have forced her on this vacation, the first without her recently deceased husband. Add Riley's once-broken life and a hurricane headed toward the island and these women are in for a vacation they will never forget.
Hurricanes in Paradise is a story of love, friendship, and healing. The four characters are unlikely friends, but they soon learn that they are in desperate need of healing, and they will each help the others find it. Surviving the storm may be difficult, but with good friends and God, they will come out the other side changed women.
This book is a good summer read for the Christian woman. It deals with difficult and deep topics but in a well-written and easy manner. The message of forgiveness and healing through God is there throughout the entire book in a subtle way. I think that women who aren't Christian but enjoy chick lit novels will also enjoy this book. I recommend reading this book, you will find it both enjoyable and inspirational.
I received this book courtesy of Tyndale House Publishers. The opinions expressed above are purely my own.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
For his entire childhood, Mosab Hassan Yousef was a witness to the inner workings of an internationally recognized terrorist organization. His father, Sheikh Hassan Yousef, was a founding member of Hamas and as he grew older Mosab was trusted at the highest levels of the organization and a participant in the Intifada. He was arrested and imprisoned by the Israeli internal intelligence system many times.
But Mosab was beginning to question the motives of groups like Hamas and the reality of war between Palestine and Israel. Soon, he found himself working with the Israeli intelligence service as a means to try and prevent more unnecessary bloodshed between the two groups. He shared with them any information he was given by Hamas and for years was one of their most trusted intelligence operatives.
After a chance encounter with a British tourist, Mosab began to embrace the teachings of Christianity, something which put his life in even more danger. But as his faith in Jesus Christ grew, he knew he had to put an end to his involvement with both the Israelis and Hamas, and he sought political asylum in the United States.
Son of Hamas is an incredible story of a young man whose life was changed by God and who put his own life in danger to prevent bloodshed in the name of religion. His childhood gave him a viewpoint of Middle East conflict in ways very few people see it. In this book, he shares the true story and real players behind the Israel/Palestine conflict.
Mosab Hassan Yousef is honest in his feelings about being involved in the conflict, the inner workings of Hamas and why he chose to give intelligence to Israel. He is also honest in the difficulty of making the decision to follow Jesus Christ and how he struggled between everything he knew growing up as a Muslim and his life changing experience with Jesus.
Son of Hamas will give readers a great understanding of why the Middle East is in conflict without getting too heavy or academic. It is an eye-opening insiders tale of an unlikely journey in the Middle East.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
A whole new cast of incredible characters including, but not limited to: Berthea Snark, psychoanalyst and unwilling mother to Oedipus Snark (the nasty Lib Dem). William French, wine merchant living in Corduroy Mansions, and lover of wines of the Bordeaux region. Marcia Light, proprietrix of Marcia's Table with her sights set on William. Barbara Ragg, lover of Oedipus Snark -- would like to marry him; would like to marry anybody. Loafers, wine merchants, vitamin evangelists and the occasional psychoanalyst pass each other on the stairs of this delightful metropolitan residence.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Callie Perry is a stay at home mom and successful family photographer living in Bedford, New York with her husband and two young children. She loves her life, adores her family, and is living each moment with happiness.
Her younger sister Steffi is a free spirit, vegetarian chef and bouncing between jobs and boyfriends in Manhattan. However, she is about to discover another side of herself when she gives it up to live in the country.
Callie and Steffi's parents, Honor and Walter, have been divorced for thirty years and are rarely in the same room together.
Callie's best friend Lila is in a great relationship with the man of her dreams and adores his son, the only problem is his demanding ex-wife.
These people, and more, form a loving, close-knit family. But when tragedy strikes, everyone will find their lives turned upside down. Their current lives will be examined and when they come out on the other side they will find themselves bound together stronger than before and changed forever.
Promises to Keep is an incredible story about facing whatever life throws at us, the effect it has on our relationships and the enduring nature of love in our lives. Jane Green has written a beautiful tale full of love, pain, happiness and tragedy. Readers will be touched by the relationships that form this story, the power that love has in a person's life and the importance of living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity rather than letting them drift by. This is an excellent read and I highly recommend it.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Denver Moore grew up in modern-day slavery, a sharecropper from Louisiana. When he finally had enough, he jumped a train out and ended up homeless in Texas for decades.
Ron Hall had a lower-middle class upbringing and worked himself into the upper class by becoming a high end art dealer.
These two men couldn't have lived any more different lives. But when the two men came together through Ron's wife Debbie, they forged an incredible bond and the result was a life-changing, extraordinary kind of love no one saw coming.
Same Kind of Different As Me is an amazing true story. The friendship that has formed between Denver and Ron will be an inspiration to everyone who reads the book. Theirs is a story of friendship, faith and forgiveness.
Written in the narratives of the two men, so much is covered in this book. Compassion, mercy, the grace of God, homelessness, the trappings of success - the people in this book represent two completely different spectrums of society, but they show that in many ways and in the most important ways, we are all the same. This book will move you, inspire you and stay with you as it challenges you to see our world in a different way.
I received this book as part of Thomas Nelson's Booksneeze.com program. The opinions expressed above are purely my own and I received no compensation for them.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
For Deirdre Kelly, Paris is not only a dream city but also the place where she attains a deeper understanding of herself. Having always defined herself in opposition to her mother, Kelly finds in the city itself her "other mother," the mother of her imagination. At nineteen, Kelly first arrives in Paris as a starry-eyed ingénue. In a subsequent visit she appears as a budding writer, eager for intellectual and sexual adventure, who interviews the legendary Nureyev and crashes an exclusive fashion show. In an emotionally charged return,Kelly takes her mother to Paris to meet her "other mother," with not altogether happy results. She also takes her future husband, who has his own connection to the city. On her last trip, she is a mother herself. During all these visits, Paris is the constant, but Kelly's shifting emotional world creates varying perspectives on both the city and her evolving self. Paris emerges as a principal character, an influence that inspires and guides Kelly on her path to growth and maturity.
A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery.
An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel.
A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream.
A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.
It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana . . . and an East Texas honky-tonk . . . and, without a doubt, in the heart of God. It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda . . . an upscale New York gallery . . . a downtown dumpster . . . a Texas ranch.
Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, this true story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
The World Cup is drawing to a close in South Africa, but long after it is done soccer will remain a fixture on streets, beaches and pitches throughout Africa.
In Africa United, journalist Steve Bloomfield travels through thirteen African countries meeting players, fans, rebel leaders and politicians to explore the role that soccer has had in shaping the continent.
This book is a wonderful balance of the story of Africa and the role soccer has had on the continent. It easily tells the history of thirteen countries and gives readers an understanding of how the countries came to be where they are today. Readers will be amazed to see just how closely the game of soccer is linked with politics. It is far from being just a game played by kids on the local pitch. Soccer has helped to not only bring countries together but to stoke conflict, prop up authoritarian regimes and even end wars.
This is a great book. Steve Bloomfield has access to many people and places of Africa that most from the West do not have. This reads as an insider's history of Africa and shows just how important soccer, and other sports, are for developing countries. It brings a fresh perspective to how significant it is that this years World Cup is the first to be held in Africa.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Peg Staynor is a young woman growing up as an outsider in the small rural town of Walvern, Ontario at the beginning of the 20th century. She is an outsider because locals believe that Peg is a "river child," who has been taken over by an evil spirit from the Magurvey river that flows through town. Peg is blamed by the locals for every misfortune that hits the town. But Peg refuses to be a victim to their superstitious beliefs and moves on through her life with strength and resilience.
When the reality of the First World War hits Walvern, the towns old world beliefs will be challenged. As the young men of the community return from the War injured, depressed, or not at all, the town finds itself thrown into the realities of modern society. Will their beliefs about Peg begin to change and will she finally find acceptance in the community that has shunned her, but which she has always felt attached to?
The Last River Child is a beautiful story about a young woman in a small Canadian town trying to find her place and stay true to herself while up against the narrow-minded and unfortunate views of those around her. Bloomfield has created a character which the reader will become attached to, hoping that one day others will see her for her beautiful soul.
The book also shows the effects that World War I had on the young men who went off to fight, the families they left behind and the communities they returned to. Bloomfield manages to take large influences such as war and superstition and easily present them through the eyes of one small town girl, giving the reader a more intimate understanding of small town life in the early 20th century. The Last River Child is a beautiful read that I could not put down.
I would like to thank Second Story Press for providing me with a copy of this book for review.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Son of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yousef