Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Blossoms and Bayonet's

Oh my goodness.  You know when a book brings you out of a reading rut? Wow.  I was interested in the book when I heard about it but then I started it and man, I didn't want the story to end. 

It is set in South Korea during WWII.  It changes perspectives between two brothers and their mother.  At first the mixture of Korean words had me checking the cheat sheet at the front of the book but then I got it.  It was never hard to tell the narrator's apart and I appreciated the different viewpoints.  My only complaint was that we didn't get to follow along with the oldest, He-Seung while he worked for the Japanese doing grunt work during the war.  I think that story would have been interesting if not disgusting to hear.  However, it is based off the life of one of the author's and he was not the brother who was conscripted so that may be why.

This was a chapter in WWII history that I have not read a lot about. It was very interesting to learn about how the Japanese treated the Koreans and how people's lives were ruined in South Korea during this time.  It was just a beautiful story and my words cannot do it justice.  I find it harder to glow about books that I enjoy than books I didn't really care for!  And one of my favorite signs of a good book, I was SO not ready for it to end!

Description: Hi-Dong Chai and Jana McBurney-Lin, the award-winning author of My Half of the Sky, turn their hands to a remarkable story of a family and country torn apart by outside forces. The time is 1942, the place, Japanese-occupied Seoul, Korea. Fifteen-year-old He-Seung is full of fire, ready to take on these Japanese...if only he could convince his father, a Christian minister more concerned about saving his flock in a time when Emperor-worship has become mandatory. Since occupation, the Japanese have eradicated the Korean language, names, even the country's flower. Now they are seeking Korean boys as volunteers for their army. When his father is arrested by the Japanese, however, He-Seung must swallow his hatred of the enemy and volunteer for the military. Even harder, he must leave his mother and baby brother He-Dong to fend for themselves. Based on a true story, Blossoms & Bayonets is suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period. The story lends an eyewitness perspective to events as they unfold. revealing an era of nuance and complexity. The result is a work that speaks volumes about the power of faith.

I found the religious aspects of the book very interesting as well.  Especially since the narrator's were Christian and that was what got them into their predicaments as they Japanese were promoting emperor worship only.  I also liked reading the quotes at each chapter beginning from different sources throughout the time period on the state of the war. 

Highly recommend it! I just can't really say it any better than that!

Have you read any books set in Korea before? About the Koreans during WWII?

I received this book from TLC tours, all thoughts and opinions are my own!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Life Less Ordinary

For the last fifteen years, Rose “Manny” Mankowski has been a very good girl. She turned her back on her youthful fancies and focused on her career. But now, at the age of 45, she’s questioning her choices and feeling more and more disconnected from her own life. When she’s passed over for promotion and her much younger new boss implies Manny’s life will never change, something snaps. In the blink of an eye, she’s quit her job, sold her house and cashed in her pension, and she’s leaving town on a six month road trip.
After placing a personal ad for a travelling companion, she’s joined in her mid-life crisis by Zeke Powell, the cynical, satirical, most-read – and most controversial – blogger for the e-magazine, What Women Want. Zeke’s true goal is to expose Manny’s journey as a pitiful and desperate attempt to reclaim her lost youth – and increase his readership at the same time. Leaving it all behind for six months is just an added bonus.
Now, armed with a bagful of destinations, a fistful of maps, and an out-spoken imaginary friend named Harvey, Manny’s on a quest to rediscover herself – and taking Zeke along for the ride.

Manny basically decides to change her entire life in one moment and head out on a road trip with a companion that she does not know, Zeke.  Oh, and her imaginary friend Harvey. (whaaat?) I'm sorry but a 45 year old woman with an imaginary friend is hard to take seriously.  Anywhoo, off they go across the country to do whatever. 

Zeke starts the trip with some very unsavory motives and it's interesting to see how that plays out.

Definitely a light read and minus jumping from charactrer to character and a few too many plot lines, it would be something to read this summer on vacation!

Have you ever traveled with someone you just met?

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own!

Monday, May 5, 2014


So, I'm sure nobody noticed that I posted May Group Read Suggestions and then didn't post a selection. ER.. hum.. whoops. 

April kicked my arse.  I am taking on May with a vengeance but that vengeance is without a May Group Read.  I do apologize and I will put up the Jane Eyre questions this Friday.  So, let's take a break for May and regroup in June. 

On tap for this week

- lots of working out.  I am back on the wagon after a HORRIBLE April.  I came back from vacation and my body/eating apparently just kept myself there because our weather sucked and I just had a crappy month overall.  So, yes lots of working out.  I've started a Wednesday Pound class with people I work with and it's a lot of fun and kicking my butt!  I'm also trying to restart the couch to 5k and other things.

- better eating.  I made a meal plan and I WILL STICK TO IT.  The last two weeks have been god awful and I didn't meal plan for the whole month of April and I really think I set myself up for some awful failure after I'd been doing sooo well.  So, I've learned that for me, that monthly plan is so needed.  I haven't fully planned out May but I have the first two weeks and next weekend I will finish out the month.

- cleaning.  I really feel like I was in a black hole all of April.  Work kicked my butt, my kid kicked my butt and just general life kicked my butt.  My house needs work.  I have been doing better in some spots but cleaning/decluttering needs to be hit hard again.  Especially since I am hosting two rather large parties in the next few months in my house.  AHHH.

Anyway, I do apologize for the absence from here posting and my absence from reading blogs.  I've been trying to do a once a week catch up but that is no fun.  Here's to better time management!