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review 2017-11-21 03:02
Coming to my Senses
Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook - Alice Waters

I decided to listen to this book because it is read by Alice Waters. While she cannot really compare to the many wonderful, professionally-trained actors who read audiobooks, I still enjoyed hearing the story from her. She is in her 70s now, I think, and there is something mind-blowing about hearing someone that age talk about how she payed for the building that is now Chez Panisse with the help of parents, friends, and some "un-named dope dealers." How she came to be such a culinary legend is a truly roundabout and fascinating story, and you should listen to it just to hear the names of all the people who dropped by before they were famous. Also, in perhaps the biggest understatement of the book, she admits turning down a dinner with her friend John Kott while she was living in London - he was in town to interview John Lennon (in 1967 or so), and she was too overwhelmed by the thought to join them for dinner. She admits, "in hindsight, that was probably a mistake." Her love of food is contagious, and her rapture about garlic and fresh-picked lettuce made my mouth water — has your mouth ever watered for the taste of lettuce? That's impressive. Her kitchen is a legendary rite of passage for some of the biggest names in the Slow Food movement. If you are any kind of cook or foodie, you will love this story.

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review 2017-11-20 23:12
The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Audiobook)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman

Can a pond be an ocean?

 

This isn't the best that Gaiman's ever written, but it's still filled with his delightful prose and vivid imagination. The boy who is the POV character is more of a witness to the events around him, even while he's the unwitting reason for many of them. Leti, her mom and grandmother are as mysterious as they are fascinating. Since the boy isn't really given many answers, a lot goes unresolved or hinted at, but it's the adventure that this boy goes through that matters. 

 

Neil Gaiman narrated this and I could honestly listen to him read the telephone book, so full marks for the narration.

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review 2017-11-20 20:11
The Kiss of Deception / Mary E. Pearson
The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles) - Mary E. Pearson

She flees on her wedding day.  She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.  She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.  She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.  The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia escapes to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

 

Holy Mother of Love Triangles, Batman!

However, having said that, it’s a common trope in Romance novels, and is used quite effectively in this YA novel. Of course our main character is a princess, one who has become a runaway bride. Unwilling to marry for political purposes to a young man that she’s never even met, Lia takes off on her wedding day and sets her sights on becoming a commoner.

Enraged that his bride has kicked over the traces, her betrothed goes looking for her. He seems unsure of quite why—maybe he just wants to look at the woman he’s lost, maybe he wants revenge. Also pursuing the fugitive bride is an assassin from a neighbouring kingdom whose job it is to eliminate the princess and thus make sure that these two countries don’t unite against his.


The inevitable (in romantic fiction) happens and both young men unexpectedly find that they really like Lia. They both (unwisely) spend time with her and learn the reason that she fled and the things that matter to her. Lia finds that she likes both young men, not knowing that they have ulterior motives for spending time in her company.

I have to say that it took me 2/3 of the book to figure out which name belonged to which man! I could have sorted it out, but preferred to just plough on until the matter sorted itself out. I didn’t really find the assassin’s task to be a sensible one—just let the princess stay lost and the situation resolves itself! Plus, Lia’s quick adaptation to working at an inn seemed too easy. Despite those misgivings, I think that my teenage self would have loved this book. It makes at least as much sense as the Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart books that I was devouring at that age!

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review 2017-11-18 19:24
A Different Pond
A Different Pond (Fiction Picture Books) - Bao Phi,Thi Bui

It’s early in the morning on a Saturday, yet his father has been up a while getting ready for the day. The streets are empty as the father and his young son set out for the fishing trip, stopping off to get bait, at a business that his father frequently visited. The boy is squeamish about the procedures for fishing, his father is patient and loving with him as he assists his son with the tasks. As the two fishermen patiently wait for a tug on their lines, father tells his son stories about life before coming to America, an emotional subject not frequently visited. As they arrive back home, the sun rising, the father must now get ready for work. It has been a successful morning, they will now have food on the table tonight. Living in America has been hard for this family. As mother and father leave for work, they know that coming home tonight will be special.

 

This story was a relaxing, calm read yet I knew about the hardships that this family was enduring on a daily basis and the ones that they had lived through. This story is about endurance, strength, and family. You could feel the love that lived within this family in the way that they communicated with each other and the way they interacted with each other. I enjoyed this children’s novel.

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review 2017-11-18 13:57
Secrets For The Mad by Dodie Clark

 

You can tell that Dodie is not a professional writer, not that this is written badly by any means. There are just some parts that drag a little or the wording is a little odd and doesn't flow too well. I still really enjoy the book.

I love her as a person, and enjoy getting to know more about her, at least the stuff she was willing to share in this book, and it seemed she shared quite a lot! Thanks Dodie. We need to talk more about stuff like this so people know we're important, too. Invisible illnesses are the worst, because nobody believes us.

I relate to the mental health stuff she is going through, though I do not have the exact same mental disorder she has. It makes me so sad to know someone as nice as Dodie feels as bad as I feel, if not worse (at times) because of her fame and differences in her life.

This book makes it even more clear how strong and brave Dodie is. It's not easy to share your innermost feelings, let alone with millions of strangers. I do not know if she fully realizes how much of a role model she is to people of all ages. She seems like such a humble person. Of course this is from what I see of her online personality and this book.

One of the things in the book that I liked is how she talked about being able to find humor even during the worst of times. We've got to be able to laugh and sometimes we need that humor to get through tough situations.

She stresses about how important self care is. This is something I really agree with, but often forget, so I am glad she talks about it.

The poetry and song lyrics were a great touch. I also loved the photos and drawings scattered throughout. I can only imagine how pretty the physical book will be.

My final thoughts: If you are a Dodie fan, you might like this! Even if you do not know her, you might relate if you suffer from mental health issues. I do feel this is written for a teenage audience, but who cares about age. I hope all ages can love this and get to know Dodie.

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