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text 2019-04-26 17:49
Friday Reads - April 26, 2019
We Fed an Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal At a Time - Richard Wolffe,José Andrés
Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine - Damon Tweedy
1969: The Year Everything Changed - Rob Kirkpatrick
The Making of the President 1972 - Theodore H. White

We have an official announcement and a pack of paperwork so the assignment move is for real and moving more rapidly than we thought. We leave the UK mid-June and have to be at our next base by the end of June (so no taking a vacation to visit family). So I have a lot on my plate, but this being the military, every office/department we visit to get clearance/signed off on our outprocessing checklist involves a lot of waiting room and ques. Perfect time to read a few pages that add up to chapters finished by the end of the day. My kids still have a month of their extracurricular activities, so our weekends are going to be busy as well.


I hope to start my last two library borrows, We Fed an Island and Black Man in a White Coat. I also want to finish 1969 so that I can get to 1972 starting in May.

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review 2019-03-25 18:13
Following Three Women on Their 30th, 40th, and 50th Birthdays
The Year that Changed Everything - Cathy Kelly

Well this was ultimately a delightful read. I really got a kick out of following Ginger, Sam, and Callie. I thought it was an odd writing choice that had Kelly go back one month before their birthdays and then jump forward again. Other than that, I enjoyed this book and found Ginger to be the character that I felt for and wanted to read more about. That said, I still enjoyed the characters of Sam and Callie.

"The Year Everything Changed" follows  Ginger, Sam, and Callie, on their 30th, 40th, and 50th birthdays and the year that follows.


Ginger is 30 years old and has never been kissed. She's a larger woman who no matter what she tried has never been able to find a man to be with. Now she's a bridesmaid in her best friend's wedding and hoping that she may meet a man that can be the one. 


Sam is expecting her first baby after years of thinking she would never be a mother. Turning 40 has her feeling older and even though it's her first child, not ready for her new baby at all.


Callie is dreading her 50th birthday party that her husband Jason is insisting that they throw. She's constantly fighting with her 14 year old daughter Poppy and has started taking a Xanax to deal. 


So Ginger's story is wonderful. Working for a newspaper where she rocks her job, she wishes she can be just as strong as confident outside of work. She also has a secret at said job which I got a total kick out of too. When she overhears her so called friend talking about her weight and her clothing she decides to she is going to make some changes to her life. There is some romance that Kelly interjects that I thought worked quite well in the story. I also loved Ginger's family, especially her great aunt. 


Sam....hmmm. Honestly it took me me a while to warm up to her. I initially liked the character, but it took a little too long to get to where I already knew Kelly was going with her character. And her suddenly blaming everything on her mother just made me tired after a while.


Callie also took me some time to warm up to. We definitely see she has her head in the sand about her marriage and her family's wealth. And when we get to why she's estranged from her family I was looking at her sides-way. But then Kelly smartly develops this character and her bratty daughter and I found myself rooting for them. Callie had the most transformation I think from the beginning of this book until we get to the ending. 

I think the main reason why this book works is that Kelly smartly doesn't have the three women meet up right away. We follow them on their separate paths and a few times one of them will reference the other character (without knowing them) and we eventually get to the meeting point for these women further along in the story (around the 80 percent mark or so). The flow was great and Kelly balances out each story. I am almost always disappointed when an author tries to focus on multiple characters because usually what happens is that one person takes up the bulk of the book with the two other ones not really being in it. Or all three stories lose something by the author trying to balance everything.


The ending was very good and I loved how Kelly tied up all of the loose ends. I wouldn't mind another book following these three women. 

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review 2013-09-27 01:34
What a Year It Was
The Year that Changed the World: The Untold Story Behind the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Michael Meyer

A concise yet great read, this book reveals the events that led to the democratic revolutions that toppled Communism in Eastern Europe in 1989, as seen from a correspondent's eyes. It's like a classic movie with a plethora of characters. Villains like Honecker and Ceausescu. And heroes like Walesa, Havel, and the lesser known Nemeth. On one side, a repressive system. On the other, peoples yearning for freedom, democracy, and prosperity. A thrilling read about those heady days of 1989 and a reminder not to take those democratic values for granted.

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review 2011-09-22 00:00
The Year that Everything Changed
The Year that Everything Changed - Georgia Bockoven The Year Everything Changed is an immensely readable, albeit predictable, story about family and love. Four women are thrown together at the behest of their biological father. Two never knew him; two were seemingly abandoned by him at young ages. All must adjust their expectations and opinions of him in order to seek closure, if closure is what they seek. No matter what their relationship to their biological father, all must adjust to the fact that they each have three "new" sisters.There is not much that is a surprise in Georgia Bockoven's latest novel. The reader can predict every plot twist and turn in the novel several pages, if not chapters, in advance. The characters are one-dimensional with little to no character development. The novel itself is too short to adequately build any empathy with any of the characters or to learn more about them at a level deeper than the superficial. It is a testament to Ms. Bockoven's writing that in spite of all this, a reader will find it difficult to stop reading. In fact, I would say that I kept reading The Year Everything Changed because of these normally negative elements.The Year Everything Changed makes no demands on the reader. One only has to suspend a modicum of disbelief at some of the occurrences. The story is prettily written, glossing over some of the more dubious situations with lighthearted grace. It requires no deep philosophical studies but rather shows the ebbs and flows of love - parent, spouse, child - over generations and how one's perceptions can so easily be skewed by others. It is a simple reminder that one very rarely knows the entire story of someone else's actions. The Year Everything Changed fits in to the ubiquitous genre of "chick lit". I think a more fitting term would be to describe it as "relationship lit" since the novel is more about the relationships between parent and child than about women in general. As expected, there are no earth-shattering revelations. Instead, it is a charming story about love that is ridiculously difficult to put down and that leaves a reader with the all-important "warm fuzzies". Everyone deserves/ needs a book like this periodically. Acknowledgements: Thank you to Megan Traynor from William Morrow for my review copy!
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review 2011-03-20 00:00
The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle that Changed the World
The 5000 Year Leap (Original Authorized Edition) - W. Cleon Skousen This should be a must read in every school! It is a bit hard to read as it is written in a text book style but you begin to understand so much as you go. This is a must have for every American's shelf.
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