Welcome to my blog!

This blog highlights all my favorite picks and ponderings. I share book recommendations, yummy recipes and fashion favorites! I throw in some surprises every now and then and share my life happenings and LOTS of pictures of my adorable sons, Joey and Teddy:) Hope you'll keeping stopping by!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Summerland-Elin Hilderbrand

It's freezing outside and summer is just out of our reach. Why not do the next best thing? Curl up with a proverbial beach read! Elin Hilderbrand novels are the perfect recipe for taking a trip to Nantucket to warm up from our frigid Maine winter. Hilderbrand's novels are more than just your typical beach read. Her brilliant, seamless writing makes you want to crawl inside the book and walk the island with her drivingly complex characters. You'll want to wake up early and take a long walk on Cliff Road, grab a sandwich at Something Natural and bring it down to Steps Beach. You will want to enjoy a cold glass of Sancerre on the back deck during cocktail hour before booking the back table at the Company of the Cauldron. Her vivid descriptions of the island make me nostalgic for a place I've never even been and her remarkable character development makes you truly champion for each and every one of them. I have read all of her books and even had the pleasure of attending a book talk with her last June. She is not only a stunning writer but has a wonderful and captivating presence. The last novel that I read was her most recent, Summerland. Told from multiple points of view, an unthinkable tragedy unfolds and a community must deal with the aftermath as well as the secrets that come to light.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Book Thief-Markus Zusak

Narrated by Death, this unforgettable story is about a young foster girl named Liesel living outside Munich in Nazi Germany.  When her foster family decides to harbor a young Jewish man, their lives change in beautiful and heartbreakingly tragic ways.  Liesel finds solace in books, and is soon stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever they are to be found.  One compelling feature about this book was the unusual account of the Holocaust.  Rather than focus on the Jews, or the soldiers or even Hitler, this story encapsulates the life of a young German girl living in Nazi Germany and profoundly illustrates the hardships that even the non-Jewish German families had to face during this horrific time.  Another poignant feature of this book is the unique and unprecedented narrator of Death.  Death tells the story in such a stunningly lyrical albeit disjointed way that truly captivates the audience.  But The Book Thief truly is a story of persisting in a corrupt world, of finding friends and family in unlikely places, and of finding peace despite the harshness of reality.  The character of Liesal’s accordion playing foster father is right up there with Atticus Finch as one of my all time favorite literary characters.

A taste of Death’s narration:

As I've been alluding to, my one saving grace is distraction. It keeps me sane. It helps me cope, considering the length of time I've been performing this job. The trouble is, who could ever replace me? Who could step in while I take a break in your stock-standard resort-style vacation destination, whether it be tropical or of the ski trip variety? The answer, of course, is nobody, which has prompted me to make a conscious, deliberate decision--to make distraction my vacation. Needless to say, I vacation in increments. In colors.

Still, it's possible that you might be asking, why does he even need a vacation? What does he need distraction from?

Which brings me to my next point.

It's the leftover humans.

The survivors.

-Markus Zusak

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Divergent-Veronica Roth

With the renowned success of the Hunger Games, dystopian fiction has emerged as an up and coming genre.  Like the Hunger Games, Divergent is a trilogy set in a futuristic dystopia.  The story centers around Tris, a teenager girl who seeks to break free from her homogeneous society that divides people based on human traits. She leaves her faction and joins a rival group where she falls for a young man while also learning of her divergence, a fact that she must keep hidden or suffer the effect.  This riveting novel creates a story filled with emotional decisions, shattering betrayal, staggering consequences and a captivating romance.  Now like many girls I love me some love, and a charming romance does transpire.  However, in Divergent, Good, Evil and Tris are our love triangle.  And that is refreshing.  I literally could not put this book down and in fact read it twice in one week (Hey, I was pregnant at the time, so I had a good excuse to put my feet upJ).  I predict it will have a popularity that rivals Hunger Games, and a movie is already in preproduction.  It is set to be released in 2014. Hopefully you will love the book as much as me and be fervent to get your hands on the sequel!  Well there is good news and bad news.  Luckily the second book, Insurgent, has been released!  Sadly, the third book, yet to be titled, is predicted to be released in the Fall of 2013.  So like me, you will have to eagerly await the conclusion to this electrifying thriller.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

When We Were the Kennedys-Monica Wood

When We Were the Kennedys is the heartbreakingly poignant story of a family and the tragic loss of their father. In the endearing voice of the author's childhood recollections, Wood weaves a story that offers a stunning portrait into the grief and healing of a family. The novel reads like a reliable companion and you will find yourself nodding sympathetically as your eyes brim with tears for the friend you now hold dear. Wood does an exceptional job at paralleling her own family's story with that of the national loss of JFK. Based in Mexico, Maine those who are natives of the state will appreciate the way Wood captures the shimmering mill town life of her youth.

My favorite excerpt:

"As we watch TV for three days straight, I observe my mother in dawning wonder, having spent most of three seasons comparing my family to other families, both fictional and real. We're not the Vaillancourts with their working father, or the Gagnons with their fried toast and heaps of shoes. We're not the Marches of Little Women, with their grand piano and happy ending; or the Cuthberts of Green Gables, with their one irrepressible child; or the Drews, lousy with last minute luck. We are, it turns out, bracingly closer to a family that seems equal part real and make-believe: stoic and storied and rich, admired the whole world over. Imagine my surprise." -Monica Wood

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars-John Green

The Fault in Our Stars is a New York Times Best Seller and with good reason.  Although classified as a young adult fiction, John Green will captivate any audience.  He tells the heartbreaking story of Hazel and Augustus, two teens battling cancer, and their epic love story.  With bursts of humor, triumph and devastation, Green truly captures a story worth both our laughs and our cries. A book that should surely be at the top of your must read list!

"One doesn’t like to throw around phrases like “instant classic” lightly, but I can see The Fault in Our Stars taking its place alongside Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret in the young-adult canon. Green’s book is also a good example of why so many adult readers are turning to young-adult literature for the pleasures and consolations they used to get from conventional literary fiction.” -Time