07. May 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Melody, Memoirs, NonFiction

Fifty Acres and a Poodle by Jeanne Marie Laskas, read by Melody, on 05/02/2012

A delightful book about an avowed city girl with closet dreams of owning a farm.  When the farm of her dreams comes up for sale, complete with an Amish barn and beautiful vistas, she and her boyfriend buy it and trade a life of walking down the street for a paper and a bagel for bulldozing multiflora roses and pond mucking.  Wonderful memoir about how when your dreams come true, then the real work begins. Thanks Tammy for the recommendation. 

25. April 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Memoirs, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: , , , ,

Cake Boss: Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia by Buddy Valastro, read by Tammy, on 04/21/2012

In this heartfelt memoir, Buddy from the popular TV show, Cake Boss shares his family’s history and the history of Carlo’s Bakery from the time his dad started working there until today where the bakery, his family and crew are featured on TLC. Buddy shares his journey and transformation from the youngest child in a big Italian family who loses his father as a young man and becomes a person who can run a busy, successful bakery. He also shares some of the recipes made famous by the show sized down for personal baking.

19. April 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Melody, Memoirs, NonFiction

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen, read by Melody, on 04/18/2012

Delightful memoir by Rhoda Janzen, touching and wry.  After the week from hell; her husband leaves her for Bob who he met on Gay.com and she is in a serious car wreck, Janzen returns to her Mennonite family to heal and pick up the pieces of her life.  Full of great advice (her mother suggests she date her first cousin because he has a tractor), an amazing array of cabbage dishes, and lots of love, she shows how funny going home can be.  Very funny and intelligent, a must read.  And I now know what Mennonites ladies wear under all those layers and how to make borscht.  

19. April 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Memoirs, Tammy · Tags: ,

Fifty Acres and a Poodle: A Story of Love, Livestock, and Finding Myself on a Farm by Jeanne Marie Laskas , read by Tammy, on 04/15/2012

Fun memoir of the author’s journey from a city dwelling, cat loving, mutt loving person who just casually dated to the owner of a fifty acre farm with multiple animals including a pure blood poodle with papers and a committed meaningful relationship. I will have to admit as someone who grew up in the country it was amusing at times to realize how unprepared the author and her boyfriend were for living in the country, and not just the farm, but the whole community. I’ve had the opposite kind of culture shock at different times in my life moving into a small town then into a city. So for me part of what made the story enjoyable was that she admitted they didn’t know something and she clearly expressed that these different lifestyles are both fine. You just have to find the one that’s right for you.

The author also shared her hopes and dreams, reaction to reality, then the realization that sometimes what you have, though nothing like you dreamed it would be, is better than you could have imagined.

18. April 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Memoirs, NonFiction, Tracy

Gypsy Boy by Mikey Walsh, read by Tracy, on 04/18/2012

If you’ve ever wondered if all those stories you’ve heard about Gypsies are true, this book is a tell-all. It’s a very graphic and heart wrenching story. I had a hard time reading it and almost didn’t finish. Hopefully the author is having a happier adulthood.

11. April 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Memoirs, NonFiction, Tracy

Brainiac by Ken Jennings, read by Tracy, on 04/11/2012

Ken Jennings is a 2.5 million dollar Jeopardy winner. He was lucky enough to get on the show after they changed the five day winning rule. This book is about his amazing winning streak on Jeopardy and a look at why trivia is so popular. I watch Jeopardy every night but would never consider auditioning. You have to be competitive and have a good memory. Game shows and trivia competitions are popular all over the world. It’s not just about winning money.

07. April 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Memoirs, Tracy · Tags:

Why I Came West by Rick Bass, read by Tracy, on 04/07/2012

Rick Bass describes himself as a poet, oil man, novelist, logger, elk hunter and an environmentalist. When he and his wife moved to Montana and found the Yaak Valley they knew it was going to be there home. Unfortunately he found out the wilderness he loved was not protected. His story is full of frustration and hard work trying to save the land and also help out the local loggers keep their jobs.

04. April 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Melody, Memoirs, NonFiction

Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez, read by Melody, on 04/03/2012

Kabul Beauty School is at turns funny and heartbreaking, tragic and telling.  Deborah Rodriguez is a hairdresser who joins a humanitarian aid group in Afghanistan to try to make a difference. Despairing of having no practical use, she finds that her talents as a hairdresser are needed both both Westerners and Afghan women.  With help from international organizations and corporations, Rodriguez opens a beauty school in Kabul to teach Afghan women the skills to open their own salons and to be self-sufficient.   Rodriguez tell the heartbreaking stories of the women she meets, women raped, sold into marriage, or left widowed by war or the Taliban.  Her women are beset by hard choices and a culture who devalues them and yet they retain their dignity and strength.   Rodriguez love for Afghanistan and it’s women is obvious but she doesn’t shrink from the messiness of international situations or the everpresent dangers.   Great book.

02. April 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Memoirs, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: , ,

License to Pawn: Deals, Steals, and My Life at the Gold & Silver by Rick Harrison, read by Tammy, on 04/02/2012

Story of life at the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas made famous by the History Channel show Pawn Stars. Rick gives you info on the pawn shop business and some of his personal and family history. He also shares some of the more interesting items that have come in to the shop, items that aren’t for sale and stories about some of their more colorful regular customers (with names changed of course). His Dad, Corey and Chumlee each get their own chapter to tell the story from their viewpoint as well. Chumlee does come across smarter in the book than he does in the show, but he also comments that he doesn’t mind that he still sells more fan t-shirts, bobble heads etc., so he’s happy with how he is portrayed on TV. If you’re a fan of the show because of the unique items that come in and the relationships between the family members you will enjoy this book.

16. February 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Memoirs, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: ,

Detectives Don't Wear Seat Belts: True Adventures of a Female P.I. by Cici McNair, read by Tammy, on 02/14/2012

Detectives Don’t Wear Seat BeltsTrue story written by a woman who grew up in a small town in Mississippi but ended up traveling the world then decided to try her hand at being a private investigator in New York City. Cici loves creating characters on the spur of the moment and for her the stage is wherever her assignment takes her. She ends up working with law enforcement, going undercover, dealing with the ruthless Born to Kill gang in Chinatown and the Middle Eastern counterfeiters west of Broadway. The book starts out slow but quickly builds as her cases and experiences grow. A detailed account of the hidden world and real-life cases of a P.I.

08. February 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Memoirs, Tracy

A Country Year by Sue Hubbell, read by Tracy, on 02/08/2012

A Country YearCountry living isn’t for everyone. Sue Hubbell made it work for her with a  successful bee keeping business on a small farm in the Ozarks. With no television or furnace in her cabin she cuts her own wood and never gets bored with the wildlife and vegetation. She also has a deep respect for her surroundings. Instead of avoiding the critters and bugs she tries to understand their lives and is curious about everything. I enjoyed reading about her year full of hard work processing and selling honey. I learned a lot about bee keeping and the native plants and animals in Missouri.

27. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Graphic Book, How To's, Memoirs, NonFiction

Picture This by Lynda Barry, read by Courtney, on 01/26/2012

I had a good feeling about this one. You see, I loved Lynda Barry’s earlier work, “What It Is”, the ground-breaking, mold-shattering, genre-defying and above all, inspiring, book about creative writing. I had a sneaking suspicion that she might have adapted the same format with visual art in mind. And I was right. “Picture This” does for art what “What It Is” did for creative writing. They encourage letting go of preconceived notions of “good” and “bad” and promote experimentation. The format is highly unusual, combining full page works of art, comics and activities to get the mind operating in new and different ways. Barry never makes the reader feel as though they can’t do something; in fact, that is one of the best elements of her work. Her exercises do not intimidate. They are not pretentious. They make you realize you had the artistic streak in you all along; you just thought you were somehow doing it wrong and therefore had no talent. Barry wants you to know that you’ve had it in you all along. If readers of this book don’t feel like grabbing a paintbrush (or their art-related weapon of choice)upon finishing this book, said readers may not be human.

20. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Memoirs, Tammy

If You ask me, And of course you Won't by Betty White, read by Tammy, on 01/09/2012

If You Ask Me, And of Course You Won’tBetty White shares her thoughts and opinions on topics like friendship, romantic love, aging, fans, love for animals, and celebrity. Betty is candid on everything from her rumored crush on Robert Redford (true) to the Facebook campaign that helped persuade her to host Saturday Night Live despite her having declined the hosting job three times previously.

A fun, fast read.