This Page

has been moved to new address

Teresa's Reading Corner

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Teresa's Reading Corner: December 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

Queen Hereafter by Susan Fraser King

Synopsis from Goodreads:  Refugee. Queen. Saint. In eleventh-century Scotland, a young woman strives to fulfill her destiny despite the risks . . .

Shipwrecked on the Scottish coast, a young Saxon princess and her family—including the outlawed Edgar of England—ask sanctuary of the warrior-king Malcolm Canmore, who shrewdly sees the political advantage. He promises to aid Edgar and the Saxon cause in return for the hand of Edgar’s sister, Margaret, in marriage.

A foreign queen in a strange land, Margaret adapts to life among the barbarian Scots, bears princes, and shapes the fierce warrior Malcolm into a sophisticated ruler. Yet even as the king and queen build a passionate and tempestuous partnership, the Scots distrust her. When her husband brings Eva, a Celtic bard, to court as a hostage for the good behavior of the formidable Lady Macbeth, Margaret expects trouble. Instead, an unlikely friendship grows between the queen and her bard, though one has a wild Celtic nature and the other follows the demanding path of obligation.

Torn between old and new loyalties, Eva is bound by a vow to betray the king and his Saxon queen. Soon imprisoned and charged with witchcraft and treason, Eva learns that Queen Margaret—counseled by the furious king and his powerful priests—will decide her fate and that of her kinswoman Lady Macbeth. But can the proud queen forgive such deep treachery?

My thoughts:  I am about 50% of the way through this book and am loving it.  Margaret of Scotland is an incredibly strong woman.  While I haven't truly gotten to know Eva I have a feeling that she too is a force of her own.  I am in no way a history buff so I don't know if this is historically accurate, but I really enjoy the way that the accounts are presented.  

One of the thoughts that springs to mind while reading this kind of story is the merit in arranged marriage.  I've read several stories in which marriages are arranged for political reasons (such is the case in Queen Hereafter) or cultural reasons and end up being successful.  The partners develop a great respect for one another and a deep love evolves.  I find this very interesting.  Do you have any thoughts on or even experience with arranged marriages.  

I will provide a full review as soon as I've finished the book.  If you've read it, feel free to let us know what your thoughts are.

I was provided a copy of Queen Hereafter by the publisher to participate in the the blog tour put together by TLC book tours.  

Check out the other stops on the tour:

Susan Fraser King’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, December 6th:  Royal Reviews
Tuesday, December 7th:  Passages to the Past author interview/giveaway
Wednesday, December 8th:  Stiletto Storytime
Thursday, December 9th:  Scandalous Women
Friday, December 10th:  Rundpinne
Monday, December 13th:  Books Like Breathing
Monday, December 13th:  Life in Review
Tuesday, December 14th:  Life in the Thumb
Wednesday, December 15th:  Hist-Fic Chick
Friday, December 17th:  Simply Stacie
Monday, December 20th:  Elevate Difference
Tuesday, December 21st:  The Maiden’s Court
Wednesday, December 22nd:  Girls Gone Reading
Thursday, December 23rd:  Thoughts from an Evil Overlord
Monday, December 27th:  Teresa’s Reading Corner
Tuesday, December 28th:  The Tome Traveller
Wednesday, December 29th:  Chaotic Compendiums
Friday, January 14th:  Luxury Reading

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Dirty Life on Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball

Synopsis from Goodreads:  "This book is the story of the two love affairs that interrupted the trajectory of my life: one with farming—that dirty, concupiscent art—and the other with a complicated and exasperating farmer."

Single, thirtysomething, working as a writer in New York City, Kristin Kimball was living life as an adventure. But she was beginning to feel a sense of longing for a family and for home. When she interviewed a dynamic young farmer, her world changed. Kristin knew nothing about growing vegetables, let alone raising pigs and cattle and driving horses. But on an impulse, smitten, if not yet in love, she shed her city self and moved to five hundred acres near Lake Champlain to start a new farm with him. The Dirty Life is the captivating chronicle of their first year on Essex Farm, from the cold North Country winter through the following harvest season—complete with their wedding in the loft of the barn.

Kimball and her husband had a plan: to grow everything needed to feed a community. It was an ambitious idea, a bit romantic, and it worked. Every Friday evening, all year round, a hundred people travel to Essex Farm to pick up their weekly share of the "whole diet"—beef, pork, chicken, milk, eggs, maple syrup, grains, flours, dried beans, herbs, fruits, and forty different vegetables—produced by the farm. The work is done by draft horses instead of tractors, and the fertility comes from compost. Kimball’s vivid descriptions of landscape, food, cooking—and marriage—are irresistible.

"As much as you transform the land by farming," she writes, "farming transforms you." In her old life, Kimball would stay out until four a.m., wear heels, and carry a handbag. Now she wakes up at four, wears Carhartts, and carries a pocket knife. At Essex Farm, she discovers the wrenching pleasures of physical work, learns that good food is at the center of a good life, falls deeply in love, and finally finds the engagement and commitment she craved in the form of a man, a small town, and a beautiful piece of land.

My thoughts:  I saw an introduction to this book on one of the blogs that I read (I think it was the Tattered Cover) and was immediately intrigued.  Then later that morning I was lurking on twitter and came across a tweet by the publisher and was even more intrigued.   I wouldn't go so far to say that I'm a city girl, but I can definitely say that I'm not a farm girl.  The closest I've come to actually growing something is the accidental pumpkin patch we ended up with after pumpkin guts were put in the compost pile.  (ask me if you want to know more)

Recently the idea of growing my own food has become more and more appealing.  As I read about others doing it and the satisfaction they get from their gardens I am more and more interested.  I loved their idea that they wanted to produce everything to feed their community.  They had some animals and a variety of crops.  This wasn't your typical farm.  They did as much of the work as they could using horses and old fashioned farm equipment.  They also utilized everything they produced to the greatest extent possible.

I immediately liked Kimball's voice.  She was very no nonsense about her desire to learn more about farming and about her romance.  Farming is difficult work and a difficult life.  I commend her for choosing to live her life the way that she wanted to.  In no way am I ready to take on life on the farm, but I think I just might plant a small garden next spring.  I think it would be good for me and for the little monkey.  Not only because we'll know where our dinner is coming from but so that we have a little bit of an understanding of the important role that the farmer plays in our life.

This was a fantastic book that I highly recommend.  I went on a bit of a memoir kick for awhile and this one is the best of the bunch.  I'll be passing this one around for some time to come.  I can't tell you how many times I've discussed it and suggested it already.

I received a copy of The Dirty Life from the publisher.  This is my honest opinion of the book.

Labels: ,

Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros

My thoughts:  I picked up this book for a quick diversion.  It is a very quick read (it took me about three hours)  that is largely comprised of tweets.  For those of you who may be unfamiliar with twitter or tweeting, it is a form of social media in which your entire comment is limited to 140 characters.  

A very sweet story about an author who has pretty much fallen from the public eye after a rapid rise to the top.  Struggling to write her next story and feeling pressure from her publicist she reluctantly signs on to twitter and is immediately contacted by Mark.  

Mark teaches the newbie the ins and outs of twitter and the two begin a flirtation.  Mark shares his adventures and Abby shares her frustrations.  The story is not without its ups and downs.  Having isolated herself for so long, Abby questions the wisdom of opening up to a man that she met on the Internet.  Mark's life seems so exciting and he is able to reach her in ways that others have not so she casts those questions aside.  Mark motivates her to move forward both professionally and personally.  Abby convinces him to reveal his true self.

This is a great novel for a quick escape from reality.  Some of the pop culture references lead me to believe that I fall squarely in the middle of the target audience for this book, but I think some younger people will be able to appreciate it.  It is a fairly innocent romance, but I will caution that there are one or two parts that are a little more suggestive.

I received my copy of Goodnight Tweetheart from the publisher for review.  This is my honest opinion of the book.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani

Synopsis from Publisher:  When Valentine's grandmother begins a new life in Italy, she places Valentine and her nemesis, her brother Alfred, "the Prince," as partners at the Angelini Shoe Company, makers of handcrafted wedding shoes since 1903. A once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity takes Valentine from the winding streets of Greenwich Village to the sun-kissed cobblestones of Buenos Aires, where she unearths a long-buried family secret and finds herself torn between a past love that nurtured her and a new one that promises to sustain her, in this "dazzling" (USA Today) follow-up to Very Valentine.

My thoughts: Although this is the second book in what I've learned is a trilogy this was my introduction to both Valentine Roncalli and the author, Andriana Trigiani.  I remember seeing several reviews for Very Valentine last Spring and knowing instantly that I wanted to read it.  While my intention was to read Very Valentine before this one, it just didn't happen.  I didn't feel like I was lost reading this one even though I hadn't read the first installment.  I certainly intend to read it in fairly short order. 

Brava, Valentine begins with Valentine Roncalli along with her large family in Italy preparing for her beloved grandmothers wedding. There is no shortage of drama in this very fun and entertaining story.  This is not only a life changing event for the bride and groom but for Valentine as well as she is taking over the family business, or is she?  Valentine is a great character.  She is strong and independent, but still a little bit quirky.  She is presented as a real woman with her own set of issues rather than a perfect character.  There is such a mix of fantastic characters in this story.  Each of the individuals within the Roncalli-Angelini family and then the family itself.  They were quite the bunch. 
Brava,Valentine lived up to my expectations as I'm sure that Very Valentine will.  I would encourage you to pick them both up. 

I've read several books this year that were set in Italy and with each one my desire to visit becomes stronger and stronger.  Hopefully I will get to see these beautifully described settings one day.  Until then, I'll keep on reading about them.  

I received my copy of Brava, Valentine from the publisher to participate in this Blog Tour. 

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Let's Eat! by Denise Burroughs

My thoughts:  This is a short and sweet cookbook that is full of simple recipes that are ideal for someone who is just starting out in the world and not used to cooking for themselves.  In reading through the book I found several that were similar if not the same as some that my grandmother wrote on index cards and gave to me when I moved out on my own.  It has a lot of helpful hints, tips and conversions in the front of the book.

Many of the recipes do rely on ready to prepare items that one might keep on hand to use in a pinch.  It does not include many fresh ingredients or give the option to make something from scratch.  Will this book assist a bachelor in basic meal preparation, absolutely.  Will it teach you some basics of cooking, sure.  Will you create masterpiece meals, probably not.

I think there is room in every kitchen for a variety of cookbooks and this one deserves a place simply because it has some of those old time favorites in it.  I remember the first time I got to help my mom make "Fantasy Fudge" which is an included recipe.  I know each of us has likely made or eaten a variation on her Cream of Mushroom Pork Chops.  Take a look and see if you find any of your old favorites or perhaps a way to enhance a dish that you already love.

My copy of Let's Eat was provided by the author in order to participate in her tour through Pump up Your Book.  Receipt of the book did not affect my review.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Kids Corner: A Winter Solstice Celebration by DiDi LeMay

Synopsis of A Winter Solstice Celebration from the authors website – A Winter Solstice Celebration” helps children and adults alike to understand how the animals feel about their planet, how humans can help and how and how humans and animals can live together in harmony. A Winter Solstice is warm story that relates to all who read it.

A Winter Solstice Celebration takes young readers deep into the forest, where they discover how seemingly harmless human activities can wreak havoc on the natural world.

About Didi LeMay: Didi lives in Toronto with her husband and her cat.  She has been involved in many aspects of children's entertainment for years.  She is currently busy writing and teaching English as a second language.  

My thoughts:  As a parent one of the things that I strive to do is to teach my little monkey about respect.  Not only respect for other people, but for the environment as well.  I'm very proud of the fact that at his young age he is already familiar with the concept.  

Some of the concepts that can be found in children's literature surprise me.  When I was presented with with a book that aims at teaching children about animals and the environment I was immediately interested.  This book was a little too advanced for my monkey as he quickly lost interest in the story.  It would certainly be appropriate for an older child.  

This story is full of imagination and is beautifully illustrated.   The animals are able to talk to Miya who tells the other villagers about the animals plight and how human actions affect them.  The animals and humans are able to come together for the celebration and work toward a common goal. 

This story is a great springboard for a conversation about the environment.  This would make a great gift for a younger reader.  

My copy of A Winter Solstice Celebration was provided by the author for participation in her blog tour.  Receipt of the book did not affect my opinion of the story and illustrations. 

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Winter Solstice Celebration by Didi LeMay

I have to apologize to Didi LeMay, the author of A Winter Solstice.  I am part of her blog tour for this fantastic children's book.  I got called away on a business trip in my non blogger life and forgot to pack the book so that I could write her review.  Please check out some of the other rave reviews this book has been getting and look for my own review later this week.

My sincerest apologies to Didi for not being ready.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Making Light of Being Heavy by Kandy Siahaya

Synopsis from publicist website:  These days everyone has a society-driven mindset and totally forget to laugh, especially at themselves. This may be cliche but the author truly believes that laughter is the best medicine and thinks everybody should laugh every day. Period. Over the years as a person blessed with the fat gene, Kandy has been in many situations where if she could not find humor she probably would end up on the couch in the psychiatrist s office. This book is about as politically incorrect as it gets for such a subject but it is also based on reality. This is a reality that many women have just like Kandy but do not think they can (or should) at times just laugh about it. Her intention when she started writing this book was to hopefully give insight to many who could never relate but at the same time perhaps provide a different perspective to women just like her. It is a point of view that has given her the strength to live her life happily and project these feelings onto everyone she comes in contact with. She has a great sense of humor and a quick wit and guarantees you will be laughing (and thinking) with each chapter of Making Light of Being Heavy.

My thoughts:  This is a very quick read at 90 pages long.   It is fantastic that the author has embraced her weight and is okay with who she is.  In this day and age, self acceptance especially among women is difficult to achieve.  Parts of the story reminded me of a stand up comedy act, others felt like she was defending her choices.  There was a lot of information on various popular diets ranging from the gimmicky diets to the tried and true.  Kandy relates her successes and failures with each. 

I've read some of the reviews and I know that I'm in the minority when I say that this book wasn't quite what I expected.  I guess I was looking for more of a memoir about what her life is like  and how she handles the prejudice that can exist against larger people.  I thought it would be more personal stories that would let me get to know Kandy as a person not just stories about why she is fat.  I was looking for fewer fat jokes and more of her personality to shine through.  

Here are a couple of the other reviews that I found:

As the pages turn
Beck's Book Picks

This book was provided to me by the publicist for review. 

Labels: ,

Author Spotlight: Kandy Siahaya Guest Post

Please welcome Kandy Siahaya, author of Making Light of Being Heavy to Teresa's Reading Corner.

Finally, a little vindication for the fat chicks….
According to an the article on WebMD “New Genes Linked to Obesity, Belly Fat” two studies have identified 18 new genes linked to overall obesity and 13 more that influence whether your weight goes to your belly or to your thighs (the lovingly labeled apple shape or pear shape body). These new findings may explain why blanket recommendations about exercise and eating right just don’t work for a lot of people. Wow, imagine that. This is exactly one of the points I was making in my book, Making Light of Being Heavy.
Anyone who is just normally skinny seriously cannot wrap their head around any reason for another person being fat, and these people include physicians, counselors, experts, etc., unless it is one of the obvious incorrect assumptions including eating too much, not enough exercise, and basically not taking care of oneself. These studies do not surprise me in the least, but actually make total sense and validate my lifelong struggle with weight and many others like me. Apparently, the more obesity genes you have the greater chance for you to have the risk of obesity and even greater difficulty in maintaining a “normal weight.” Personally, I think the whole “normal weight” theory is a bunch of hogwash anyway because as I have said before, if we all fit perfectly into the predetermined guidelines set forth by our physicians, counselors, experts, etc. we would all be the same size. And how normal would that be??
So there you have it, proof genetics plays a key role in our weight. To all my fellow fat chicks and professional dieters, give yourself a break! Life is good, get out and enjoy it - things will fall into place.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Christmas Chronicles The Legend of Santa Claus by Tim Slovner

Synopsis from Goodreads:  In this new holiday classic, Tim Slover crafts a marvelous, magical novel about how Santa Claus became the man he is today. After reading The Christmas Chronicles, you’ll believe all over again in the magic of the season.
Snow is falling, and the clock ticks toward midnight on Christmas Eve while countless children, too excited to sleep, anticipate the arrival of Santa Claus. But in Tim Slover’s deeply charming and utterly thrilling new novel, that’s the end rather than the beginning of the story. In this richly imagined tale of Santa’s origins, the man in full finally emerges. The Christmas Chronicles is at once an action-packed adventure, an inspiring story of commitment and faith, and a moving love story.

It all starts in 1343, when the child Klaus is orphaned and adopted by a craftsmen’s guild. The boy will grow to become a master woodworker with an infectious laugh and an unparalleled gift for making toys. His talent and generosity uniquely equip him to bestow hundreds of gifts on children at Christmas—and to court the delightful Anna, who enters his life on a sleigh driven by the reindeer Dasher and becomes his beloved wife.

Still, all is not snowfall and presents. Klaus will be shadowed by the envious Rolf Eckhof, who will stop at nothing to subvert him. But in the end, Santa’s magic is at last unleashed, flying reindeer come to his aid, and an epic battle between good and evil is waged in the frosty Christmas skies.

My thoughts:  I am the type of person who has to wait until after Thanksgiving to embrace the holiday season.  As soon as the Thanksgiving feast was finished and the leftovers packed away I grabbed a warm fuzzy blanket, a hot cup of tea and this book and made my first venture into the holiday season of 2010. 

This story was a delightful way to kick off the holiday season.  I could almost smell the peppermint in the air.  While the story is not geared for younger readers (it opens with the premise that Santa isn't real) it is a great little story for the older reader.  I would welcome you to pick up a copy and make it part of your holiday tradition.  It will renew your own belief in Santa.  

I'll be putting out the cookies on Christmas Eve along with my little monkey, will you?  If not, read The Christmas Chronicles and you just might change your mind.  

I received my copy of The Christmas Chronicles from the publicist in order to participate in this blog tour.  Receipt of the book did not affect my opinion of the story.

Labels: ,