06. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Claudia, Inspirational, NonFiction

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Voscamp, Ann, read by Claudia, on 09/02/2014

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You AreJust like you, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists that have us escaping our everyday lives for exotic experiences. “How,” Ann wondered, “do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long—and sometimes even dark? How is God even here?”

In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God’s gifts. It’s only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we’ve always wanted … a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved—by God.

Let Ann’s beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living that is finally fully alive.

 

 

06. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Claudia, Fiction, Mystery · Tags:

The Weight of Blood by McHugh, Laura, read by Claudia, on 09/13/2014

The Weight of Blood

Overview from the Publisher

Missouri River Regional Library’s 2014 Capital READ

For fans of Gillian Flynn, Scott Smith, and Daniel Woodrell comes a gripping, suspenseful novel about two mysterious disappearances a generation apart.
 
The town of Henbane sits deep in the Ozark Mountains. Folks there still whisper about Lucy Dane’s mother, a bewitching stranger who appeared long enough to marry Carl Dane and then vanished when Lucy was just a child. Now on the brink of adulthood, Lucy experiences another loss when her friend Cheri disappears and is then found murdered, her body placed on display for all to see. Lucy’s family has deep roots in the Ozarks, part of a community that is fiercely protective of its own. Yet despite her close ties to the land, and despite her family’s influence, Lucy—darkly beautiful as her mother was—is always thought of by those around her as her mother’s daughter. When Cheri disappears, Lucy is haunted by the two lost girls—the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t save—and sets out with the help of a local boy, Daniel, to uncover the mystery behind Cheri’s death.

What Lucy discovers is a secret that pervades the secluded Missouri hills, and beyond that horrific revelation is a more personal one concerning what happened to her mother more than a decade earlier.

The Weight of Blood is an urgent look at the dark side of a bucolic landscape beyond the arm of the law, where a person can easily disappear without a trace. Laura McHugh proves herself a masterly storyteller who has created a harsh and tangled terrain as alive and unforgettable as the characters who inhabit it. Her mesmerizing debut is a compelling exploration of the meaning of family: the sacrifices we make, the secrets we keep, and the lengths to which we will go to protect the ones we love.

31. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Claudia, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Motel Life by Willy Vlautin, read by Claudia, on 07/12/2014

The Motel Life

In a gritty debut, Vlautin explores a few weeks in the broken lives of two working-class brothers, Frank and Jerry Lee Flannigan, who abruptly ditch their Reno motel after Jerry Lee drunkenly kills a boy on a bicycle in a hit-and-run. The two are case studies in hard luck: their mother died when they were 14 and 16, respectively; their father is an ex-con deadbeat; neither finished high school. Frank has had just one girlfriend, motel neighbor Annie, whose mother is an abusive prostitute. An innocent simpleton, Jerry Lee is left feeling suicidal after the accident, despite his younger brother’s efforts (à la Of Mice and Men’s Lenny and George) to console him: “It was real quiet, the way he cried,” says Frank, “like he was whimpering.” On returning to Reno, an eventual reckoning awaits them. Vlautin’s coiled, poetically matter-of-fact prose calls to mind S.E. Hinton—a writer well-acquainted with male misfit protagonists seeking redemption, no matter how destructive. Despite the bleak story and its inevitably tragic ending, Vlautin, who plays in the alt-country band Richmond Fontaine, transmits a quiet sense of resilience and hopefulness. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information, Review provided by Publisher’s Weekly

31. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Claudia, Inspirational, NonFiction

Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff, read by Claudia, on 07/01/2014

Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World

As a college student he spent 16 days in the Pacific Ocean with five guys and a crate of canned meat. As a father he took his kids on a world tour to eat ice cream with heads of state. He made friends in Uganda, and they liked him so much he became the Ugandan consul. He pursued his wife for three years before she agreed to date him. His grades weren’t good enough to get into law school, so he sat on a bench outside the Dean’s office for seven days until they finally let him enroll.

Bob Goff has become something of a legend, and his friends consider him the world’s best-kept secret. Those same friends have long insisted he write a book. What follows are paradigm shifts, musings, and stories from one of the world’s most delightfully engaging and winsome people. What fuels his impact? Love. But it’s not the kind of love that stops at thoughts and feelings. Bob’s love takes action. Bob believes Love Does.

When Love Does, life gets interesting. Each day turns into a hilarious, whimsical, meaningful chance that makes faith simple and real. Each chapter is a story that forms a book, a life. And this is one life you don’t want to miss.

Light and fun, unique and profound, the lessons drawn from Bob’s life and attitude just might inspire you to be secretly incredible, too.

Review provided by publisher Thomas Nelson

31. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Claudia, Fiction, Historical Fiction

The Signature of All things by Gilbert, Elizabeth, read by Claudia, on 07/22/2014

The Signature of All Things

In The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker—a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry’s brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father’s money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma’s research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction—into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist—but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life.

Exquisitely researched and told at a galloping pace, The Signature of All Things soars across the globe—from London to Peru to Philadelphia to Tahiti to Amsterdam, and beyond. Along the way, the story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who—born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution—bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas. Written in the bold, questing spirit of that singular time, Gilbert’s wise, deep, and spellbinding tale is certain to capture the hearts and minds of readers.

Review provided by Viking Penguin

07. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Claudia, Fiction, Mystery

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin, read by Claudia, on 05/03/2014

In the 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas “32” Jones were boyhood pals in a small town in rural Mississippi. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry was the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, black single mother. But then Larry took a girl to a drive-in movie and she was never seen or heard from again. He never confessed . . . and was never charged.

More than twenty years have passed. Larry lives a solitary, shunned existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has become the town constable. And now another girl has disappeared, forcing two men who once called each other “friend” to confront a past they’ve buried for decades.

06. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Claudia, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

The Free by Willy Vlautin, read by Claudia, on 04/15/2014

Severely wounded in the Iraq war, Leroy Kervin has lived in a group home for eight years. Frustrated by the simplest daily routines, he finds his existence has become unbearable. An act of desperation helps him disappear deep into his mind, into a world of romance and science fiction, danger and adventure where he is whole once again. Freddie McCall, the night man at Leroy’s group home, works two jobs yet still can’t make ends meet. He’s lost his wife and kids, and the house is next. Medical bills have buried him in debt, a situation that propels him to consider a lucrative–and dangerous–proposition. Pauline Hawkins, a nurse, cares for the sick and wounded, including Leroy. She also looks after her mentally ill elderly father. Yet she remains emotionally removed, until she meets a young runaway who touches something deep and unexpected inside her.

06. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Claudia, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Teen Books

The Chosen by Chaim Potok, read by Claudia, on 04/01/2014

It is the now-classic story of two fathers and two sons and the pressures on all of them to pursue the religion they share in the way that is best suited to each. And as the boys grow into young men, they discover in the other a lost spiritual brother, and a link to an unexplored world that neither had ever considered before. In effect, they exchange places, and find the peace that neither will ever retreat from again….

Potok’s first novel, The Chosen, was published in 1967, and he quickly won acclaim for this best-selling book about tensions within the Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish communities. This and later books have been both critically and popularly successful. Many of them explore the meaning of Judaism in the modern era, focusing on the conflict between traditional teachings and the pressures of modern life. The Chosen was nominated for a National Book Award in 1967 and made into a successful film in 1982. Its sequel, The Promise (1969) was the winner of an Athenaeum Award.

05. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Claudia, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriaty, read by Claudia, on 02/12/2014

The Husband's Secret

This is such a great book!  It could have been so predictable, but the author makes it into one of the most original reads I’ve had in a long time.  I was immediately engaged with the story and liked the characters.  There were so many spot-on things written about the lives of busy working moms struggling with balancing work and family.  I found it very relatable on that level.   I highly recommend this to readers of intelligent chick-lit!

From Barnes & Noble

“My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died….” Her husband had not intended that she read the letter until after his demise, but Cecilia’s curiosity betrayed him. The unsettling words that she read forever changed the life of this once contented wife and mother; yet this well-intended posthumous missive also becomes the spur that enables Cecilia to connect with two other women recently pushed towards crossroads. A new novel by Liane Moriarty (What Alice Forgot; The Hypnotist’s Love) as original and well-crafted as a fine string quartet.

06. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Claudia, Cookbooks, Informational Book, NonFiction

Kale: The Complete Guide to the World's Most Powerful Superfood by Stephanie Pedersen, read by Claudia, on 01/23/2014

Kale is the veggie everyone’s gone mad for—from farmers and foodies to celebrity chefs! For those eager to get in on this healthy, tasty trend, here is a fun-to-read, one-stop resource for all things kale, including more than 75 recipes to entice, satisfy, and boost your well-being. The dishes include meltingly tender stews, flash-sautéed side dishes, salads and slaws, sandwiches, smoothies, and even muffins and chips. Stephanie Pedersen, a holistic health counselor and experienced health writer, provides dozens of tips for making kale delicious and desirable to even the most finicky eater. You’ll even learn how to start your own kale garden and turn over a new leaf for a healthier life.

06. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Claudia, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Driftless by David Rhodes, read by Claudia, on 01/15/2014

David Rhodes’s long-awaited new novel turns an unblinking eye on an array of eccentric characters and situations. The setting is Words, Wisconsin, an anonymous town of only a few hundred people. But under its sleepy surface, life rages. Cora and Graham guard their dairy farm, and family, from the wicked schemes of their milk co-op. Lifelong paraplegic Olivia suddenly starts to walk, only to find herself crippled by her fury toward her sister and caretaker, Violet. Recently retired Rusty finds a cougar living in his haymow, dredging up haunting childhood memories. Winifred becomes pastor of the Friends church and stumbles on enlightenment in a very unlikely place. And Julia Montgomery, both private and gregarious, instigates a series of events that threatens the town’s solitude and doggedly suspicious ways. Driftless finds the author’s powers undiminished in this unforgettable story that evokes a small-town America previously unmapped, and the damaged denizens who must make their way through it.

06. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Claudia, Fiction, Mystery

Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh, read by Claudia, on 01/07/2014

For fans of Gillian Flynn and Daniel Woodrell, a dark, gripping debut novel of literary suspense about two mysterious disappearances, a generation apart, and the meaning of family-the sacrifices we make, the secrets we keep, and the lengths we will go to protect the ones we love.

The Dane family’s roots tangle deep in the Ozark Mountain town of Henbane, but that doesn’t keep sixteen-year-old Lucy Dane from being treated like an outsider. Folks still whisper about her mother, a bewitching young stranger who inspired local myths when she vanished years ago. When one of Lucy’s few friends, slow-minded Cheri, is found murdered, Lucy feels haunted by the two lost girls-the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t protect. Everything changes when Lucy stumbles across Cheri’s necklace in an abandoned trailer and finds herself drawn into a search for answers. What Lucy discovers makes it impossible to ignore the suspicion cast on her own kin. More alarming, she suspects Cheri’s death could be linked to her mother’s disappearance, and the connection between the two puts Lucy at risk of losing everything. In a place where the bonds of blood weigh heavy, Lucy must decide where her allegiances lie.

The Good Life for Less: Giving Your Family Great Meals, Good Times, and a Happy Home on a Budget

Amy Allen Clark (creator of MomAdvice.com) has written a gem of book.  I must say the title of the book got my attention immediately.  Who doesn’t what to live the good life for less?  We all do, right?  I must admit I have gotten more skeptical with age, but by end of the first chapter I was hooked.  Clark has such a down-to earth, conversational style you practically feel like you know her!  She and her husband struggled early in their marriage with finances, and although they have made their way out of debt, they still choose to live simply and within their means.  I was impressed by Clark’s many smart and creative ideas for families living on a budget. She also includes a chapter of good recipes I have already introduced to my family, and most importantly, they liked them! This book is a guide for everyone who finds themselves challenged to juggle all the roles that come with working and parenting  Amy Allen Clark gives you the tools, the guidance, and the inspiration you need to run your own household with wisdom, wit, love, and style.  As a Librarian at Missouri River Regional Library, I purchased the book for the library and checked it out.  I wasn’t even half-way through reading the book before I decided I need to invest in my own copy, and that is truly the best endorsement I can give any book!

07. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Claudia, Informational Book, NonFiction

How to find out anything by Don Macleod, read by Claudia, on 12/19/2013

In How to Find Out Anything, master researcher Don MacLeod explains how to find what you’re looking for quickly, efficiently, and accurately—and how to avoid the most common mistakes of the Google Age.

Not your average research book, How to Find Out Anything shows you how to unveil nearly anything about anyone. From top CEO’s salaries to police records, you’ll learn little-known tricks for discovering the exact information you’re looking for. You’ll learn:

  • How to really tap the power of Google, and why Google is the best place to start a search, but never the best place to finish it.
  • The scoop on vast, yet little-known online resources that search engines cannot scour, such as refdesk.com, ipl.org, the University of Michigan Documents Center, and Project Gutenberg, among many others.
  • How to access free government resources (and put your tax dollars to good use).
  • How to find experts and other people with special knowledge.
  • How to dig up seemingly confidential information on people and businesses, from public and private companies to non-profits and international companies.

Whether researching for a term paper or digging up dirt on an ex, the advice in this book arms you with the sleuthing skills to tackle any mystery.

07. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Claudia, Informational Book, NonFiction

Discover your optimal health by Wayne Scott Andersen, read by Claudia, on 12/12/2013

Go from surviving to thriving! Anyone who has ever lost weight only to ultimately gain it back will benefit from this life-changing breakthrough program that shows you not only how to reach and maintain your healthy weight, but how to create a life of renewed vibrancy and become as healthy as you can. Thousands of people worldwide have gone from discouragement to confidence by following this easy-to-use guide by Dr. Andersen, one of America’s most esteemed and compassionate practitioners of weight loss and optimal health. Discover Your Optimal Health teaches you how to live better, happier, and healthier into your eighties, nineties, and beyond.

04. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Claudia, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction · Tags:

Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg, read by Claudia, on 11/28/2013

With the same incomparable style and warm, inviting voice that have made her beloved by millions of readers far and wide, “New York Times” bestselling author Fannie Flagg has written an enchanting Christmas story of faith and hope for all ages that is sure to become a classic.

Deep in the southernmost part of Alabama, along the banks of a lazy winding river, lies the sleepy little community known as Lost River, a place that time itself seems to have forgotten. After a startling diagnosis from his doctor, Oswald T. Campbell leaves behind the cold and damp of the oncoming Chicago winter to spend what he believes will be his last Christmas in the warm and welcoming town of Lost River. There he meets the postman who delivers mail by boat, the store owner who nurses a broken heart, the ladies of the Mystic Order of the Royal Polka Dots Secret Society, who do clandestine good works. And he meets a little redbird named Jack, who is at the center of this tale of a magical Christmas when something so amazing happened that those who witnessed it have never forgotten it. Once you experience the wonder, you too will never forget “A Redbird Christmas.”

04. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Claudia, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Ruins of Us by Keija Parssinen, read by Claudia, on 11/07/2013

More than two decades after moving to Saudi Arabia and marrying powerful Abdullah Baylani, American-born Rosalie learns that her husband has taken a second wife. That discovery plunges their family into chaos as Rosalie grapples with leaving Saudi Arabia, her life, and her family behind. Meanwhile, Abdullah and Rosalie’s consuming personal entanglements blind them to the crisis approaching their sixteen-year-old son, Faisal, whose deepening resentment toward their lifestyle has led to his involvement with a controversial sheikh. When Faisal makes a choice that could destroy everything his embattled family holds dear, all must confront difficult truths as they fight to preserve what remains of their world.

“The Ruins of Us” is a timely story about intolerance, family, and the injustices we endure for love that heralds the arrival of an extraordinary new voice in contemporary fiction.

01. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Claudia, Fiction

The Cure for Everything:untangling twisted messages about health, fitness, and happiness by Timothy Caulfield., read by Claudia , on 04/13/2013

Caulfield’s book has been dubbed the Freaknomics of the health industry.  Like many women, my weight has always been an issue. I like to eat everything that is bad for you ( I like good stuff too) from fast food to donuts, and watch out if I don’t have my afternoon Coca-cola!  I’m not much of an exerciser and my genetic make-up is not playing in my favor.  I try my best….I’ve been a weight watcher, a slim faster, a sugar buster, a Jenny Craigster, just to name a few!  Caulfield’s book equally humorous and depressing.  Guess what?  There is NO magic diet!  Researcher Timothy Caulfield talks with experts in medicine, pharmaceuticals, health and fitness, and even tries out many of the health fads himself, in order to test their scientific validity, dispel the myths, and illuminate the path to better health.  His findings are simple: intense exercise is best; eating fewer calories, more fruits and veggies, and no junk is better than any fad diet; and that you need to be “skeptical, scientific, self-aware and patient” to decipher greed-fueled mixed messages from food, drug, and diet conglomerates. No one says it’s easy, Caulfied notes, but the truth never is.

 

 

17. April 2013 · 1 comment · Categories: Children's Books, Claudia, Fiction, Poetry

Book Speak: Poems about books by Laura Purdie Salas, read by Claudia, on 04/16/2013

This is a very whimsical children’s poetry book about books with fun titles like “Calling all Readers,” “A Character Pleads for his Life,” “On the Shelf and Under the Bed,” “Paper Sky, Bookplate,” and “I’ve got this covered” just to name a few.  Characters plead for sequels, book jackets strut their stuff, and we get a sneak peek at the raucous parties in the aisles when all the lights go out at the bookstore! My daughter and I took turns reading the twenty-one poems aloud to each other and found ourselves giggling until the very end.

03. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Claudia, Fiction · Tags:

Traveling Mercies: Some thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott, read by Claudia, on 03/21/2013

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith

This is not your typical book on faith.  Anne Lamott shares the stories of her spiritual awakening and transformation in a refreshingly candid and endearing.  Her writing style always strikes me as poetic and funny. Lamott offers an honest look into her life, her search for meaning, her encounters with God, and her struggle with destructive addictions.  With a sense of humor and a dose of irreverence  Lamott reflects on her deepest fears, her painful losses, and her overwhelming desire for meaning and love in her life. Her tales are told with poignant insights and real pain as she offers wit, grace and hope for living life to the fullest and beyond. Traveling Mercies offers every woman and man, in search of meaning and spirituality, a traveling companion.