Book Reviews

City of Girls- a review

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert is set in New York during the 1940’s. After flunking out of Vasser, Vivian is sent to live with her aunt, the owner of a shabby theater, The Lily, to repair and create costumes for showgirls. The cast of amateur actors and dancers perform melodramas for the locals who are grateful for the low ticket prices.

It’s the cast of characters that is most appealing, particularly Vivian, the protagonist, who acts as the narrator. At 90, she reaches back in time to tell her story when she is asked, “Who were you to my father?”

She weaves a tale of a wild nightlife, her first love, and mistakes she makes in a world that is new and intriguing to her. She quickly assimilates to the New York nightlife only to regret her indiscretion with the husband of Edna, who lets her know, in no uncertain terms, who she really is. That same man changes the character of the theater as well as Vivian.

I found myself highlighting so many of Gilbert’s witticisms. This is definitely a good read, even with the raunchy sex scenes. It is, after all, a coming-of-age story. Gilbert has a gift for putting you in the setting, describing vividly everything that takes you into the book. I could almost feel the feather boas, and hear the laughter from the audience. I am so glad I took it off of my “To Be Read Shelf.”







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Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Journal

Books Anyone?


If you are like many people today you use your cell phone, Ipad or laptop to get updates on news and happenings.
I encourage you to make time for reading a book instead. The benefits are worthy of your time and attention. You have heard the phrase, “Use it or lose it.” Well, it applies to your brain. Reading stimulates your brain and allows new information to get lodged in longterm storage. The physical act of turning pages makes reading tactile, activating an area of your brain. Reading also allows you a break from stressful situations and provides an opportunity to experience places and have adventures in your mind. You gain new information that can be come in handy at some point.

Moreover, reading expands your vocabulary and helps improve critical thinking skills. There is a strong connection between reading and writing. Exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on one’s own writing, as observing the cadence, fluidity, and writing styles of other authors will invariably influence your own work. So next time you are inclined to grab your phone or ipad, pick up a good book and enjoy the benefits of turning the pages.

Here are some suggestions:

Set Boundaries, Find Peace presents simple-yet-powerful ways to establish healthy boundaries in all aspects of life. Rooted in the latest research and best practices used in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), these techniques help us identify and express our needs clearly and without apology–and unravel a root problem behind codependency, power struggles, anxiety, depression, burnout, and more.


While there is no such thing as an “Authenticity Expert,” you now have a viable alternative. Morhaf Al Achkar obtained his Ph.D in education and is currently a practicing family physician at the University of Washington. He was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Since then, his research has focused on the experiences of patients living with cancer. His first book is based on interviews he did with 39 patients who live, like him, with advanced illness. He explored how these patients find meaning, cope, and build resilience. Using his own experiences and deep knowledge of philosophical concepts, Morhaf shares his understanding of authenticity from the perspective of someone aware of his own finitude.

◆ By following along with his fascinating life story, Morhaf invites you on a journey of dialogue and reflection to live a more authentic and purposeful life with integrity.


A Life Without Water can be read as a standalone, but is part of an overarching three book A Life Without Water Series. It is women’s fiction that pulls at your heartstrings from your new favorite author Marci Bolden. If you are seeking awell written, heartbreaking book about forgiveness, and finding peace amidst a tragedy . . . this book is for you! 


The book looks at the most serious issues and helps the reader process them. From the instructions: ”Write about what keeps you awake at night. The emotional upheaval bothering you the most and keeping you awake at night is a good place to start writing.”


A charming, clever, and quietly moving novel of of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us.


 A revelatory look at the complexity of Gandhi’s thinking and motives, the book is a luminous portrait of not only the man himself, but also those closest to him—family, friends, and political and social leaders.


Five shots on Saturday morning change their fate forever…

Shurka is a happy young woman who lives a fairy tale life with her beloved husband and their two young children, in a pretty house in a village in Poland.

She believes that nothing can hurt them. Or so she thinks…

Then, World War II breaks out and the happy family quickly understands that their happiness has come to a brutal end. The family is forced to flee their house and find shelter in a neighboring ghetto, where they come to realized that the Gestapo is taking Jews away on trucks every night, never to be seen again.


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Book Reviews, Children's Books, Literacy Resources

Summer Reading For KIds

Keep up your child’s reading skills by encouraging them to engage in summer reading. I have collected some books that are fun and good for a read aloud or independent reading. Keep a record of the books they’ve read to share with their teacher in the fall.


This is part of a series. The books are about two kids who are an apprentice to a vet who treats imaginary creatures. You can imagine all the crazy adventures that follow as they help unicorns, lake monsters, and sasquatch. So much imagination packed into each book.


In this collection, witness unforgettable kids who, against all odds, survived sinking ships, shark attacks, the most destructive hurricane to hit North America, and the bombing that launched the United States into World War II.


When Kyle Keeley learns that the world’s world’s most famous game maker, Luigi Lemoncello, has designed the town’s new library and is having an invitation-only lock-in on opening night, Kyle is determined to be there! But the tricky part isn’t getting into the library—it’s getting out. 


Ranger is the kind of dog you want, especially if you are on The Oregon Trail.


In this heartfelt story about change, Kelly Jordan’s lilting text and Jessica Courtney-Tickle’s lush art captures the essence of cherishing a favorite place. This is a story about change.








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Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Wisdom

I Am a Book Lover

A great book feels like a good hug, the kind that lingers awhile.

I have been reading more in the last 14 months than I ever have. Being the owner of at least fifty books that been collecting dust, I kept promising myself I would use the pandemic as an opportunity to catch up on my reading. I am glad to report that I completed almost every book. Some of the books I read were previously cast aside as not worthy of my time. I hastily concluded that if the first few pages failed to capture my interest, then it would make it to the “to be read” shelf.

Lately I have approached each book on my cast off shelf with a new perspective since I realized how grateful I am to have choices of books to read. There have been a few books that brought me on a journey, several brought me to tears, and most became a blessed escape from current events. I will take that “hug” anytime!

Listed below are powerful books that I read during the height of the pandemic. Some offered hope, others offered escape, they all offered me time with a great book.

A true account of life in unimaginable circumstances as told by a Holocaust survivor. A lesson on what is important.

A guide to finding peace and calm in times of trouble. His book is an easy read and has gems of wisdom throughout.

This book will help you break old habits and build habits that will serve you well.

A beautiful tale of a childless couple in the wilderness of Alaska during the 1920s. The imagery alone makes this a beautiful book. The story is one that will stay with you for awhile.

A tribute to the grit of the women who survived during the Dust Bowl era. As fierce as the winds were during that time, a mother’s love and devotion prevails. A great read from an author who can write an epic with incredible power.

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Book Recommendations, Book Reviews

The Four Winds Book Review

If you love Historical Fiction, or books that highlight the grit and determination needed to deal with hard times, this is an excellent choice. This is not a “feel good” book. It captures life during the Dust Bowl era with such detail that you can feel bits of dust on your teeth. Kristen Hannah puts you into the scenes with her gift of descriptive narration. The characters are believable, especially Loreda, the typical beligerent teenage daughter. I found myself reading well into the night. This is a heartbreaking look at a time in history that shows the plight of people trying to survive. The parallels to life during a pandemic are staggering. The plight of migrants echoes to this day. Read with wisdom, and an open mind and heart. It is a work of fiction, but it is visceral and timely.

Without giving away too much, this is another big hit for the author of such superb books as The Nightingale and The Great Alone.






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Book Reviews

Emotional Agility

Susan David’s book Emotional Agility inspired me to write this review.

I knew I would love this book when the author made reference to Dr. Victor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search For Meaning. This book takes a candid look at the negative self talk and endless bombardment of thoughts that contribute to our emotional state.  We can choose to tackle or tame them.  Even one negative thought can morph into anger that manifests itself in unintended ways.  There are so many life-changing statements in this book that you will need a highlighter or two and bookmarks to locate the nuggets of truth and guidance when you need it.  The author has a conversational style that makes it an easy read, yet profoundly powerful.  This was my forth and best book purchase of the new year.  Susan David offers advice about “showing up,” learning to tame negative thoughts and practice self-compassion.  This truly remarkable book belongs in everyone’s toolkit.   I have attended, then facilitated Book Circles on this amazing book.  
                             I give it my highest endorsement:   ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Here is the author, Susan David


Image result for emotional agility qotes





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