Saturday, October 18, 2014

Review: Le Divorce

Le Divorce
Le Divorce by Diane Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Le Divorce is interesting in that the cover (the cover shown here is not the one I had) looks like the book would be Chick Lit. It's not, though, which makes it interesting when you look up reviews. While it's good literature, those who may have picked it up for the cover may not have especially enjoyed it.

I found it to be refreshing. It covered quite a few different themes, such as navigating a divorce in France, the property rights of a painting, reasons for marriage and divorce, attraction to power, femininity and the battle of the sexes.

One of the quotes I especially liked was, "We wrongly tend to think old people depend on us."

When you're young, you assume the world revolves around you and other young people. As you grow older, you realize everything is actually quite the opposite and older people just let youth believe everything is all about them, so they can get on living.

So... about the book.

Isabel moves to Paris to help her sister Roxy during her pregnancy, since she just quit film school. Just before Isabel shows up, Roxy's husband leaves her and her daughter.

Roxy is distraught and fine with letting people believe he is just away on a trip, but as things move on, people begin to learn the truth and Roxy dives further and further into depression.

When Isabel arrives in Paris, she does not understand what it is about the French that Roxy loves so much, but the longer she is there, the more it grows on her, especially the food. When Isabel finds herself being drawn to a powerful older man, she contemplates what it means to be a mistress and eventually learns first hand.

This novel not only shows some of the differences between Americans and the French through an interesting storyline, but also explores how greed can work its way into the hearts of those that didn't think they were interested in money just by the mere possibility of it.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Review: Chocolat

Chocolat by Joanne Harris

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I truly enjoyed this book. I enjoy most books about food, but a book about chocolate can hardly be beat. After I finished reading the book, I watched the movie again to see if it was the same, as there were some things that didn't seem familiar to me, and, in fact, there are quite a few variations between the two. However, while the movie definitely strayed form some of the characters and details, the theme remained in tact. Both cover the theme of the righteous wanting to control life, while showing that that is neither possible nor the most loving thing to do.

Vianne, the main character, draws people in with her welcoming smile and her lovely chocolates. While the local priest sees this as evil, with her temptations, she is merely loving the people that come into her life the best she can. He on the other hand does not know what it means to love, only judge. Though the two are clearly set against one another, perhaps there's room for them both in this small French village.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Review: The Debutante

The Debutante
The Debutante by Kathleen Tessaro

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm quickly becoming a fan of Kathleen Tessaro's work. I first picked up The Perfume Collector because it has a gorgeous cover of a mysterious woman wearing a red dress. After enjoying it, I went back to Half Price Books to see if there was anything else by the author and found this one. While I may not have enjoyed it quite as much as the first one (it's set in England rather than Paris), I still liked it a lot.

An auction house owner lets her niece come to live with her because she is in some sort of trouble and she gives her a job working with a longtime employee, who just happens to be handsome, though brooding.

The niece is nothing like the employee thought she would be and actually enjoys her company as they go to an estate to take inventory.

At the estate, the niece finds a hidden room with a hidden box that leads her down a road of mystery. As she finds out more clues to a famous debutante from the past, the woman realizes some of the mistakes of her past and has to make a decision on what to do about it.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Review: Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier

Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier
Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier by Robert A. Emmons

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book will not only give you the research behind gratitude and why living a grateful life leads to a longer, happier life, but will also teach ways to cultivate gratitude. If you've ever felt you should be more thankful, this book will tell you why you're right and what to do about it.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Review: Nurturing Healing Love: A Mother�s Journey of Hope & Forgiveness

Nurturing Healing Love: A Mother�s Journey of Hope & Forgiveness
Nurturing Healing Love: A Mother�s Journey of Hope & Forgiveness by Scarlett Lewis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book just takes a few hours to read and tells such an inspiring story about love and healing.

A mother, whose son died in the Sandy Hook tragedy, tells her story of grief and healing after such a tragic loss, while also telling a story of hope and sharing her son's message to others.

During the months following the tragedy a year from last December, the mother tries many healing mechanisms, from therapy to spiritual practices, and finds the ones that help her most.

While the story may sound sad, this book is not one of sadness, but of hope and healing.

The mom and the son that remains move toward hope through helping others and spreading the message of love around the world.

I would highly recommend it to anyone.

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Review: How Should a Person Be?

How Should a Person Be?
How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I just couldn't finish this book even though I tried. It's been so highly praised, I had high hopes, but I just can't make myself do it.

If someone who loved it wants to share some insight, I'm open to hearing it, but I had a really hard time relating to the characters.

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Friday, January 3, 2014

Review: Stumbling on Happiness

Stumbling on Happiness
Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book gives a clear idea of why people make decisions they think will make them happy, but don't always end up that way. In the end, we learn that the best way to determine if we should do something is to ask someone how they feel right now as they are doing the thing we are thinking about doing. Notice I didn't say to ask someone who has done what we want to do. The reason is we often have different feelings about what we have done or are going to do than what we actually felt while doing that thing.

For instance, how often does someone scream with fear while on a roller coaster, but then later say it was awesome? The same goes for those who get a masters degree. They may say once it is over it wasn't that bad, but ask anyone in the middle of getting their master's and you will hear a much different story.

Ultimately, your mind plays tricks on you on how you felt about circumstances and events in the past and how you'll feel about them in the future.

Read the book for a more extensive look at all of the ways we trick ourselves and to see some of the events people assume will bring happiness versus which ones actually do.

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Review: Love in the Time of Cholera

Love in the Time of Cholera
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gosh! it took so long to read it's hard to know what to write. I did enjoy it, but it stretched on, taking me months to read.

This is a bit of a complex novel in that it has many, many loves explored throughout--fleeting love, young love, persistent love, long-term love and old love.

It's an interesting look at how people choose who they want to love and who they choose to keep at a distance.

I'd recommend it to readers who don't mind a novel to take it's time in telling the story and want to explore ideas of different kinds of love throughout life.

I'd skip it if you're looking for an easy read or something that gives you immediate pleasure. While I've just finished "Love in the Time of Cholera," I get the feeling it's one of those that will have me reflecting the different aspects of it for a long time. I've been told that I need to read "One Hundred Years of Solitude," but I may need a bit of a break before embarking on that adventure.

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