Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Review: Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Leaving Time
by Jodi Picoult, author
Audiobook, Published October 14th 2014 by Random House Audio
Read by: Rebecca Lowman, Abigail Revasch, K├Ąthe Mazur, Mark Deakins
Dates listened: April 16 - May 12, 2017

Jenna Metcalf is a 13-year-old girl searching for her mother who mysteriously disappeared after a tragic accident 10 years prior. She can't imagine that her mother would intentionally leave her behind and feels the urge to find out why she left without saying goodbye or even taking her only daughter with her. She reads and re-reads her mother's journals to learn more about her and feel closer to the woman she barely remembers and longs to know and love in real-time.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Review: Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis By J.D. Vance

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
By J.D. Vance (Author and Narrator)
Audiobook published June 2016 by HarperAudio

Narrated by J.D. Vance himself, I found this book refreshing to hear a personal account of growing up in Appalachia explaining his first hand experience that they have their own mentality.  There seems to be a general cultural consensus in this lower middle class that the rich people and corporations are to blame for their circumstances. Vance proceeds to explain throughout the rest of the book his own experiences growing up in the culture, from the parade of boyfriends his mother had masquerading as father figures to his older sister playing surrogate mother as a teenager to him when their mother wouldn't be able to function due to her addictions.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Paperback, 214 pages
Published: 2011 by Ballantine Books
Audiobook by Random House Audio

The Paris Wife is beautifully written by Paula McLain from the perspective of Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley. I felt like I was right there in the story, which took place in a very different time period nearly 90 years ago. Coincidentally, I read A Farewell to Arms at the same time for book club and now want to read The Sun Also Rises even more.

McLain writes in such a way that can make the reader feel like they're the main character, or perhaps is her best friend or reading her diary. She is a pro at character development as I felt like I knew Hadley and Ernest Hemingway intimately and felt for both of them as they toiled through life together and the later years.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Reading Challenge: Audiobook Challenge 2017


Earlier this year, I participated in the March Take Control TBR Challenge with Caffeinated Book Reviewer, which was not very successful on my part. It was my first monthly reading challenge on my own as a blogger and not directly related to Goodreads and so I lost momentum. Then, today I came across the fifth annual Audiobook Challenge 2017 that Caffeinated Book Reviewer is co-hosting with Hot Listens. I've already listened to four audiobooks this year, and am on my fifth so I am already at the Newbie level and very close to Weekend Warrior status so I thought, hey why not join? The challenge started earlier this year and runs through December 31 to either find a new love for audios or outdo yourself by listening to more audiobooks this year than in 2016. There are two updates the hosts will be doing - one on June 30 and one on December 15, 2017, which is when I plan on doing a progress update of my own of which books I've listened to so far and which level I've reached for the challenge.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Review: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Published 2003 by Riverhead Books
Paperback, 391 pages
Dates read: September 23 - December 25, 2015

Set primarily in a changing Afghanistan over the course of 30 years, The Kite Runner tells the story of an unlikely friendship, love, and family.

Amir, a Pashtun, is the son of a wealthy merchant, and never wants for anything other than the affection of his father, Baba. While Baba clearly and openly loves both boys, he often turns a critical eye on Amir, causing him to feel resentful, jealous, and live with a growing sense of uncertainty. His friendship with his family's servant, Hassan, is even more unusual as he is a Hazara. The boys grow up playing in the field across the street from the house, flying kites, and participating in a number of different boyhood games. But as Amir's desire to appease his father intensifies amid the country's tensions increasing across ethnic, religious, and political lines, their friendship is torn beyond repair when Amir's actions come between him and his friend in one of his greatest times of need. They barely speak, unless necessary, for some time until Hassan and his father move on to other opportunities, or perhaps it's away from Amir's heartbreaking choice, despite the lifelong friendship between Baba and Hassan's father.

Hosseini's debut novel is a powerful account of love, life, family, and the turmoils of an improbable friendship amidst difficult circumstances. Highly recommend.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Cookbook Review: Soup of the Day: 150 Delicious and Comforting Recipes from Our Favorite Restaurants by Ellen Brown

After a week of posts about infertility, some comfort food is in order. Some of my favorite comfort foods are soups and chili, no matter the time of year and most especially when I'm sick. Not only are there so many options to choose from, soup is also easily freezable to save for a rainy day or that craving that randomly kicks in for no apparent reason.

Soup of the Day is a wonderful reference any time of the year when your soup craving kicks in, whether it's a hearty chicken soup when you're feeling under the weather or a light gazpacho to keep you cool in the summer.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Seven Books About Living with Infertility and Beyond

As a bibliophile, book reviewer, and now a self-outed MRKH Warrior, I am compelled to share with you a few books about infertility. I have not read all of these books, only started the first two about MRKH, both of which I have read multiple reviews and synopses. Those I have not read are about infertility in general and are accompanied by other reviewers accounts and/or descriptions.

Look for these today at your local bookstore because April 29 is Independent Bookstore Day. What if they don't have it, you ask. Answer: ask the owner to order you a copy and carry the book to help spread awareness about infertility. But what if they refuse, you say. Answer: Ask again. No? Not comfortable asking? Okay fine, these are also available on Amazon unless otherwise noted.

Friday, April 28, 2017

I or My Partner Just Received An Infertility Diagnosis. Now What?

Take a deep breath. Repeat after me: I Am Not Alone.

Say it again. I Am Not Alone.

But I feel so alone. So ashamed, so isolated, and so heartbroken. My/my partner's identity as a man or a woman is in crisis. I feel like nobody understands. Nobody is listening.

I know. We've all been there and still feel this way sometimes. Did you say we? Yes.

We're all over the place. Some of us are no longer in hiding, and we want to support those who still are, while still protecting your privacy.

Some of these resources are MRKH and women specific because that what I know. If you don't find what you're looking for here, you can use these ideas to seek them out.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

How Infertility Has Taught Me to Listen

Infertility is a blessing in disguise because it has taught me to listen. I know, it sounds crazy that infertility can be a blessing in disguise when it's an emotional struggle. It sounds even more crazy since the emotional affects are not visible to others, even to those in our inner circle, making it that much more of a struggle. Because it's not visible, it doesn't look like we have anything to be upset about and we occasionally get told that to our faces. This attitude towards our "invisible" struggle has taught me that it's not a good idea to judge a book by its cover so to speak, even though that is human nature. It's taught me that not everything is as it appears, and so I do my best to listen.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Celebrating National Poetry Month with Mud Season Review

Writing poetry has been my private outlet of mine for many years. It's been overshadowed on this blog by my book reviews and infertility posts, and that is something that will change eventually. Even though poetry has been so important to me over the years in coping with my infertility diagnosis, and really life in general, I have failed to bring attention to the fact that April is National Poetry Month. It is also known as NaPoWriMo online, and is sponsored by Poets.org.

Perhaps I have forgotten to share my love of poetry with you because my lust for this written form has been satisfied through being a Poetry Reader for the last eight months for the Mud Season Review. It is a literary journal that grew out of the Burlington Writers Workshop in Burlington, Vermont. Just last week we celebrated the publication of our 28th monthly online issue, and Volume 3 print issue. The Mud Season Review publishes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and artwork, and accepts submissions through Submittable.