Tuesday, March 17, 2015

World Gone By

I've read a lot of great books recently and World Gone By, by Dennis Lehane is yet another! I devoured Mystic River, and did the same with World Gone By! I read it in just over 12 hours with obvious parenting/cleaning/life breaks.

Description: Dennis Lehane, the New York Times bestselling author of The Given Day and Live by Night, returns with a psychologically and morally complex novel of blood, crime, passion, and vengeance, set in Cuba and Ybor City, Florida, during World War II, in which Joe Coughlin must confront the cost of his criminal past and present.

Ten years have passed since Joe Coughlin’s enemies killed his wife and destroyed his empire, and much has changed. Prohibition is dead, the world is at war again, and Joe’s son, Tomás, is growing up. Now, the former crime kingpin works as a consigliore to the Bartolo crime family, traveling between Tampa and Cuba, his wife’s homeland.

A master who moves in and out of the black, white, and Cuban underworlds, Joe effortlessly mixes with Tampa’s social elite, U.S. Naval intelligence, the Lansky-Luciano mob, and the mob-financed government of Fulgencio Batista. He has everything—money, power, a beautiful mistress, and anonymity.

But success cannot protect him from the dark truth of his past—and ultimately, the wages of a lifetime of sin will finally be paid in full.

This was fast paced and the mystery of who would want Joe Coughlin dead made for quite a page turner. 

My only complaint of this book how Lehane had Joe seeing ghosts.  It was just odd to me and took away from everything else.  I mean, in the sense of the book I get it and I get where the book was going, but it wasn't doing it for me.

I loved the different gangsters and the stories of things that had happened.  I loved how people would say or do something and it would make you wonder if they were the one plotting to kill Joe.

This is the third in a series of books about Joe Coughlin, but honestly I hadn't read either and I didn't think it was necessary to read this one.  I know some people complained about how some threads to the plot were just there and how many different people were involved but only one instance did it stand out to me when he ended up at at house and knew everything about the guy in what seemed in the timeline of the book like a day after knowing about him and not having mentioned anything about having someone follow him but then tells the guy that's how he knows things, did it really stand out to me.  For the most part, it's a quick thriller not meant to make you think too much and it's good.

I definitely recommend it if you like thriller fast paced books!

Have you read any books by Dennis Lehane? Watched any of the movies based off his books? Do you like books or movies about the mafia?

I've only read Mystic River and only seen Mystic River.  LOOOOVED the book, hated the movie.  I have a few others of his that are on my shelves that I need to read. I love books/movies about the mafia.

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

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My 5th Stitch Fix

I got my 5th Stitch Fix today! I always get excited to see what will be in the mail. 

I like how the scarf is the pop of color here!I got a vest, a tshirt, a dolman top, the scarf and another casual shirt.

First thing I did, was pop on the scarf over the shirt I wore today...

Henry Birds on a Branch Infinity Scarf - $28.00

I'm leaning towards yes on this.  It's so soft and I've wanted a new scarf for awhile but haven't found one I love. And I don't own one this color.  Need to decide if it will match enough items in my closet.

Pixley Malynn Aysmmetrical Soft Moto Vest - $58.00

I zipped it and then unzipped it.  Bad photo.  It fits, it's soft and cute but I'm not sure I want to pay $58.00 for it.  Maybe if it was another color since I already bought a vest this winter that is black and for only $14.99.  So, probably not. 


Sawyer Space Dye Dolman Sleeve Knit Top - $58.00

So... I didn't think I'd like this when I saw it  And I didn't much like it much on. I was going to try it on again with some black pants I have and I just don't think I will.  The shirt is too big.  I feel like when they send me a shirt that's stretchy or loose the are always far too big.  Eh...
Loveappella Canon Button Detail Striped Knit Top - $48.00

I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this but I really ended up liking it on.  So I'm debating on getting this.  I want to try it on again with a cardigan and what not.  Think about it.
Market & Spruce Sam Hi-Lo Short Sleeve Tee - $44.00

I'm kind of disappointed I got sent this.  I've seen others get it and I had no desire.  It's a tshirt.  And it's an unflattering tshirt at that.  It's also super thin.  I had it on for like 30 seconds and yeah, no way.
I was a little disappointed because I asked for some cardigans or shirts to wear under cardigans and I suppose if I liked the tshirt I could wear it under a cardigan and possibly the Loveappella shirt.  And I'd much have rather gotten a cardigan than the vest.  Oh well. 
So... leaning towards scarf and possibly the loveappella shirt.. Thoughts? What would you keep? I was contemplating the vest until I thought about the fact that I really like my other vest that I got for 14.99 but it was soft.  But yeah...   What do you think?

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Shattered by the Wars but Sustained by Love

Last year I participated in a TLC Tour for Blossoms and Bayonets by Jana McBurney-Lin and Hi-Dong Chai.  I really liked that book which was based off of Hi-Dong's family and their experience in South Korea.  After my review, I was contacted by both authors and Hi-Dong offered to send me his memoir Shattered by the Wars but Sustained by Love.

It covers the same content of the first book but not so much that you feel like you've read the same book if you've read both.  This focuses on the youngest son, Hi-Dong, and his personal experiences growing up through the age of 15 in Korea until he leaves for America on the final page.

Like I mentioned when I read the other book, I do not have a lot of information on Korea or on how WWII or the Korean War affected the Korean people.  This book was very informative in that way.  It definitely gives perspective when you think of a 14 year old boy willing to chop and clean fish in order to help feed himself and his friends.  That same boy as a 15 year old, willing to work in a restaurant dish washing/doing hard physical labor in exchange for food for himself and his mother.  Waking up early to continue to learn English to please his mother so that he could go to America and not be conscripted into the military.

Description:I hate war. War kills. War maims. War orphans. And it leaves a deep scar not only on the land, that will take years to heal, but also in the hearts of those who are affected by the war. I am one of those who carry a deep emotional wound to this day, more than sixty years later.

During World War II, under Japan, my father was imprisoned because he was a Christian minister who refused to bow down to the picture of the Japanese emperor. My elder brother volunteered to join the Japanese military in the hope of having his father released from the prison. He left home as a vibrant, fifteen-year-old boy and returned home as a worn-out, injured, eighteen-year-old man after the war; he died a year later. During the Korean War, two North Korean officers came to my house and took my father away because he was a Christian minister. He never returned.

"Shattered by the Wars" is a story of love, sacrifice, faith, and suffering, all wrapped in one package. The heroine in the story is my mother, as seen by her youngest son. Mother prayed without ceasing. Through her unceasing prayers, she was able to walk through the dark tunnel of trials and tribulations and lead us onward with love and grace and absolute faith in God.

This book was definitely a thank you to his obviously strong and loving mother.  She sacrificed so much and never lost her absolute faith that God is good.  She willingly gave what little she had to others who were in need and passed that on to her young son.

And as a teacher this cracked me up...

"I guess your ancestors had plenty time on their hands and were bored," I said  "And they decided to make English complicated for the future generations to sweat and suffer."

After reading both the fiction and memoir based on the same family I would recommend reading Blossom and Bayonets first and then Shattered by the Wars.  However, reading just one or the other would not be a problem either. 

Have you ever read a fiction and non-fiction book based on the same story? Which do you prefer, memoirs or historical fiction? Do you have stories or memories of your mother sacrificing to make your life easier?

Thank you to Hi-Dong Chai for a copy of his book.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Squat Challenge and Feb Recap

January I did the #mileaday challenge and it was a fabulous jump start into 2015.  Then I decided to try the squat challenge for February.  I started off strong and then the month totally fell apart on me. Sunday I thought about continuing on the challenge and finishing it at my slower pace and then Monday when I attempted my 150 squats I needed to accomplish I decided I'm just over squats.  As per usual, too much of one thing turns me off.  A month of squats got me bored.  So while I didn't finish, I can say my bum is a lot firmer!  I also plan on incorporating more squats into my workout.  Maybe at a more manageable number like 30 to 50 in a workout ha.  I know my body is capable but blargh.  I needed to be done with it.  Just like I was over the treadmill by the end of January, February ruined squats for me ha.

Speaking of the treadmill, I did not get on it as much as I did in January.  I did try out different work outs and I found some winners and losers.  It's definitely just easiest for me to hop on the treadmill at home.  I did however like the Leslie Sansone YouTube workout I found and another Butts & Thighs workout I found.  YouTube will be utilized again.

So my very low mileage number for February was 22.94.

The positive on that was that most of the times I got on the treadmill I did at least 2 miles. ;) 

February was a short month but it felt miles long.  I did manage to have an awesome home cooked Valentine's Day dinner with my husband (steak and lobster), met up for drinks with friends, and saw GARTH BROOKS in concert!!! THAT was THE best part of the month.  Amazing.  One of the best concerts I've ever attended!

Books read...
The All Girl Filling Station;s Last Reunion
The Long and Faraway Gone
Necessary Lies

I loved all of them! If you are going on spring break and need books for the beach, all of these would be great!

Not a good full body photo but it's one of my favorite sweaters from my Stitch Fix boxes and I have sunglasses on my head because there was sun!!!!!!

For March my fitness plan is to work on arms.  (Thank you 30 day fitness challenges).  I kinda made one my own and will keep alternating YouTube videos and treadmill workouts.  I didn't make it to a WERQ class this month so hopefully this month!

What was your favorite book you read in February? Best meal?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Necessary Lies

“Sometimes coloring outside the lines can cost you. Only you can figure out if it’s worth it.”  

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlin is the second book that our Books & Bars Group have read by her and I would definitely recommend it! It's a great book to discuss with others as well.

The book is set 50 years ago in the past.  Jane is a newly married, newly employed social worker with Grace County.  Her husband is a pediatrician who barely humors her desire to work because it makes him feel like others will think his practice is not doing well if she 'has' to work.  He's a bit of an ass.

“All the love in the world doesn't put food on the table.”  

Jane's clients are very poor and some are not very smart.  Be that because of lack of resources or IQ.  One family, the Harts, really connects with Jane.  Her superiors want Jane to sterilize 15 year old Ivy, just like they did her older sister.  However, Jane finds out that they did not tell the girl she was being sterilized because she was a minor and her grandmother signed off on it.  Jane really struggles with putting the paperwork together to have Ivy sterilized as well since her grandmother also signed off for her to have the procedure done as well.

The book delves into the Eugenics Program and the forced sterilization of tons of North Carolina girls and women and men.  Many poor and black.  Is it right to sterilize a 17 year old girl without her knowing? Is it okay to sterilize people that are on welfare? Who gets to decide? It also shows the beginning of the change when women started choosing to work instead of automatically staying home.  About putting a career in front of 'just being a wife.'

“They're threatened by you,' she said. 'You chose to do something they'd never have the gumption to choose for themselves. Being their own person.”  

A great fast paced thought provoking read.

Have you read this book? Have you read any others by Diane Chamberlin? Do you think it is okay to sterilize people without their knowledge?