Baby Birds and Big Cucumbers

We have four baby birds nesting on the fan blade on the ceiling fan of our carport.  They have been flapping their wings all day.  I think they will be moving out soon.  They are overflowing the nest!

I am finally starting to harvest good stuff from my garden.  I have been using herbs for a few weeks now but in the last few days have also found a few early cherry tomatoes.  There were six.  They were nice and red on the vines.  They were sweet and juicy in my mouth.  They made my belly happy!  Today I found my first two cucumbers.  Now if I can just get some more ripe tomatoes I could eat a nice juicy tomato and cucumber salad!

February, March, April & May Reading Lists

WOW! I have REALLY gotten behind!  School is out now though and I have the lazy days of summer ahead of me to get all caught up.  I am certain I am going to miss a few book here.  I also know that I did not get to do nearly the amount of reading as I had hoped.

I am looking for recommendations for my summer reading list right now.  If you wish to recommend a book that you loved, that you think I will love or that you haven’t read yet but thinks looks interesting, please leave a comment.  I will do my best to get to it and will blog about it when I do.

As always, books listed here will be available through my Amazon store and several are still available for FREE through my PaperBackSwap store.

   A Walk Across America
   By Peter Jenkins

Twenty-five years ago, a disillusioned young man set out on a walk across America. This is the book he wrote about that journey — a classic account of the reawakening of his faith in himself and his country.

“I started out searching for myself and my country,” Peter Jenkins writes, “and found both.” In this timeless classic, Jenkins describes how disillusionment with society in the 1970s drove him out onto the road on a walk across America. His experiences remain as sharp and telling today as they were twenty-five years ago — from the timeless secrets of life, learned from a mountain-dwelling hermit, to the stir he caused by staying with a black family in North Carolina, to his hours of intense labor in Southern mills. Many, many miles later, he learned lessons about his country and himself that resonate to this day — and will inspire a new generation to get out, hit the road and explore.

This book is perfect for anyone with an adventurous spirit.  Peter’s journey is filled with fun and laughter, sorrow and heartbreak, and keeps you in its grasp till the very end.  I couldn’t put this one down!  A word of advice though, if you don’t like knowing what happens ahead of times – AVOID THE PICTURES!!! The pictures are WONDERFUL, BUT they give away some things in the book!

On Mystic Lake: A Novel
  By Kristin Hannah

Annie Colwater’sonly child has just left home for school abroad. On that same day, her husband of twenty years confesses that he’s in love with a younger woman. Alone in the house that is no longer a home, Annie comes to the painful realization that for years she has been slowly disappearing. Lonely and afraid, she retreats to Mystic, the small Washington town where she grew up, hoping that there she can reclaim the woman she once was–the woman she is now desperate to become again.

In Mystic, she is reunited with her first love, Nick Delacroix, a recent widower unable to cope with his grieving, too-silent six-year-old daughter, Izzie. Together, the three of them begin to heal, and, at last, Annie learns that she can love without losing herself. But just when she has found a second chance at happiness, her life is turned upside down again, and Annie must make a choice no woman should have to make. . . .

I have read several Krisitn Hannah books in the past and enjoyed this one as well.  The story is romantic and heartfelt and could really happen.  Kristin Hannah is a down to earth writer.

Light of the Moon
By Luanne Rice

Against a backdrop of stunning natural beauty, and in the shadow of a mysterious family legend, one woman is about to discover that to find your way home, sometimes you must travel far away.…Rice delivers a spellbinding story set within a breathtaking landscape where secrets and revelations have the power to change lives forever.Luanne, New York Times bestselling author

An accomplished anthropologist, Susannah Connolly suddenly finds herself adrift in the wake of a failed love affair and the loss of her mother. Boarding a transcontinental flight on the evening of her birthday, she’s decided to give herself a long-deferred gift. Encouraged by her late mother’s magical stories, she is traveling from the Connecticut shore to the fabled French Camargue, to see its famous white horses and find a mysterious “saint” linked to her family’s history.

Amid the endless silvered marshes, she will find a lonely man, his wounded daughter–and a part of herself she hadn’t known she’d lost…until she realized how hard it would be to lose it again. In Light of the Moon

This book is whimsical and fun.  A little romance, a little mystery and a little magic.  You are on the edge of your seat until the end to see how it all turns out.
 
The Blue Nowhere: A Novel
By Jeffery Deaver

His code name is Phate– a sadistic computer hacker who infiltrates people’s computers, invades their lives, and with chilling precision lures them to their deaths. To stop him, the authorities free imprisoned former hacker Wyatt Gillette to aid the investigation. Teamed with old-school homicide detective Frank Bishop, Gillette must combine their disparate talents to catch a brilliant and merciless killer.

This was my second experience with a Jeffery Deaver novel and it was just as thrilling and intense as the first.  He stories grip you from the beginning, leave you questioning multiple characters, throw some curveballs at you and then leave you totally shocked in the end.  Cleverly written and very knowledgeable this will excite any suspense loving reader!

Resolution
By Robert B. Parker

 A greedy mine owner threatens the coalition of local ranchers in the town of Resolution, pitching two honorable gunfighters, Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, into a make-shift war that’ll challenge their friendship —and the violently shifting laws of the West.

I always enjoy a good homesteader/wild west type novel.  This book was descent in that the story was interesting and fast-paced.  The writing style was amateurish in my opinion. There was a lot of dialog followed by, “‘so-and-so’ said.”  It got a little mundane after a while.  And while the story itself was interesting I was SHOCKED at the use of foul language throughout the book.  I purchased this book at walmart who is so well known for their censorship of music, not allowing any un-edited CD’s with a parental advisory sticker to be sold in their store.  Well clearly they aren’t policing their books.  The F-word was used on nearly every other page throughout the book! So, while the story was good, I’ll leave it up to you to decide about the quality of the book!

Testimony: A Novel
By Anita Shreve

At a New England boarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape. A Pandora’s box of revelations, the tape triggers a chorus of voices–those of the men, women, teenagers, and parents involved in the scandal–that details the ways in which lives can be derailed or destroyed in one foolish moment.

Writing with a pace and intensity surpassing even her own greatest work, Anita Shreve delivers in TESTIMONY a gripping emotional drama with the impact of a thriller. No one more compellingly explores the dark impulses that sway the lives of seeming innocents, the needs and fears that drive ordinary men and women into intolerable dilemmas, and the ways in which our best intentions can lead to our worst transgressions.

Although the book starts out with a very explicit description of the sexual scene which unfold on the tape I really found this to be a compelling book.  As a teacher who works with teens I think the message in the book was very real and very relevant.  The situation described in the book is likely one that many teens are faced with and the book shows the many views and effects of a single split-second decision.

Jack’s Shop: Beyond the Front Porch
By James P. Herndon

Follow the antics and adventures of a young boy growing up in rural Virginia during the1950s and ’60s. It may bring to mind a far simpler and, in some ways, misguided period in the history of the south. A bygone era of outhouses, skunks, and the simple pleasures of country living is fondly recalled with a unique sampling of poignant humor. Through his eyes, the serenity and simplicity of the day is continually questioned until finally a life-threatening illness forces a painful reality.

This book was written by a friend of my parents.  It was very enjoyable.  The writing style is a little “rough-cut” but only adds to the charm of the book.  Through your reading you will feel as if Jim has pulled up a chair beside you on the porch and is sharing stories of the “good-ol-days” with you as you sip iced tea.  The stories in the book are funny and heart-warming.  I look forward to reading more of Jim’s work.

The Soul of a Chef: The Journey Toward Perfection
By Michael Ruhlman

In his second in-depth foray into the world of professional cooking, Michael Ruhlmanjourneys into the heart of the profession. Observing the rigorous Certified Master Chef exam at the Culinary Institute of America, the most influential cooking school in the country, Ruhlman enters the lives and kitchens of rising star Michael Symon and renowned Thomas Keller of the French Laundry. This fascinating book will satisfy any reader’s hunger for knowledge about cooking and food, the secrets of successful chefs, at what point cooking becomes an art form, and more. Like Ruhlman’s The Making of a Chef, this is an instant classic in food writing-one of the fastest growing and most popular subjects today.

In the last few years I have begun to realize my dream to become a chef.  Although it is highly unliklythat I would uproot my life to attend culinary school, I do try to read as many cooking resources as possible to improve my technique and broaden my knowledge of the culinary world.  Michael Ruhlman in an excellent author in this field.  In this book he follows several chefs as they face the challenges of becoming better and making it in a dog-eat-dog world.   The book was funny, intriguing and eye-opening.  Additionally, it contains a full section of recipes at the back! YUM!

Two Rivers
By T. Greenwood

In “Two Rivers”, Vermont, Harper Montgomery is living a life overshadowed by grief and guilt. Since the death of his wife twelve years earlier, Harper has narrowed his world to working at the local railroad and raising his daughter, Shelly. Still wracked with sorrow over his loss and plagued by his role in a brutal, long-ago crime, he wants only to make amends for his past mistakes. Then one day, a train derails in Two Rivers and Harper finds a chance at atonement. One of the survivors, a pregnant fifteen-year-old girl, needs a place to stay, and Harper offers to take her in. But soon he suspects that Maggie’s appearance is not the simple case of happenstance it first appeared to be.

This book was a good read but was quite on the predictable side.  It was enjoyable to read and the story is built well.  The characters are charming and the transition between past and present keep you interested in the book.  I liked it but also couldn’t help but feeling that something was missing in the end.  Something was left hanging but I cant quite put my finger on what it was.

The Way Life Should Be: A Novel
By Christina Baker Kline

Angela Russo finds herself in Maine thanks to a sailing instructor, an impulse, and an idea that in Maine, people live “the way life should be.” But reality on Mount Desert Island is not what she expected. Far from everything familiar, Angela begins to rebuild her life from the ground up. Relying on the flair for Italian cooking she inherited from her grandmother, she begins to discover the pleasures and secrets of her new small community—and to connect her heritage to a future she is only beginning to envision.

Having spent nearly every summer of my childhood in Maine, I am drawn to books about the coast.  I stood in some of the place that Kline describes in this book and was immediately transported back their through her words.  The story is part love story, part soul searching, part cookbook.  Maine and Food! What more could I ask for in a book??!  I really enjoyed this read and love the fact that all the recipes she talks about are included in the back!

 

Thanks for checking out my list of books!  You can purchase all of these books in my Amazon store and many of them are listed in my PaperBackSwap shop!  ENJOY!

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