Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed

BLOGBrave Enough is a collection of quotes from Cheryl Strayed who is the author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, and Torch.  It is beautifully packaged as a little green book and full of inspiring quotes for when you need them most.  I have only read Tiny Beautiful Things from Cheryl Strayed, which I did really like, however what made me gravitate toward this book was my love of quotes and the way they can provide inspiration and at times comfort.  In her introduction, Cheryl Strayed describes it best:

“I think of quotes as mini-instruction manuals for the soul.  It’s my appreciation of their very usefulness that compelled me to put together this book.  Not because I believe in my own sagacity, but because I believe in the power of words to help us reset our intentions, clarify our thoughts, and create a counternarrative to the voice of doubt many of us have murmuring in our heads–the one that says You can’t, you won’t, you shouldn’t have.  Quotes, at their core, almost always shout Yes!”

Brave Enough is a wonderful collection of quotes that can be enjoyed by everyone, whether you are a Cheryl Strayed fan or not all too familiar with her work.

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

IMG_0107“There weren’t many people in this world who would let you be vulnerable and still believe you were strong.”

I rarely listen to audiobooks, but lately I’ve started to explore that world and I gotta say, it’s pretty great.  And a book read by Veronica Mars herself, Kristen Bell?  It doesn’t get better than that.  The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line is the first book in the Veronica Mars mystery series, with Veronica back in Neptune and back in the P.I. business.  It is spring break time and Neptune has become party central.  Things take a turn when two girls go missing, each last seen at a party held at the same mansion just weeks apart.  Veronica takes on the case, slowly adjusting to her new life in Neptune.

I was a big Veronica Mars fan back in the day, so it was fun going back to that world and re-visiting all the characters.  Kristen Bell does an absolutely brilliant job in narrating the story, even doing different character voices.  The mystery itself was a little underwhelming and usually wouldn’t be my cup of tea, however it fits with what we’ve come to know about Neptune and works well as a Veronica Mars story.  I was engaged from the very beginning, which was a result of Kristen Bell’s wonderful narration and enjoyed the story overall.  If you’re interested in reading The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line I would definitely recommend checking out the audiobook.

Christmas on Primrose Hill by Karen Swan

IMG_0139“I am a giant blue bunny.  A blue freaking bunny.”

Over the holiday weekend I was in the mood for a fun read and ended up picking up Christmas on Primrose Hill.  It follows twenty-six year old Nettie Watson who ends up becoming a social media star after a video of an incident at a marketing campaign goes viral.  Pretty soon Nettie ends up as the star of a campaign of the marketing company she works for, and in addition to a slew of Twitter followers, she gets the attention of the famous front man Jamie Westlake.  Nettie’s quiet, unassuming life is flipped upside down and an unexpected adventure begins.

Christmas on Primrose Hill is a nice book to get lost in and enjoy over a weekend.  Although some of the situations and events are a bit far-fetched and out there, it is a quirky and fun read with interesting characters.  You do have to suspend reality with quite a few things, but sometimes it’s nice to escape into the improbable.  Nettie is very sweet and likeable as the main character, and someone you want to root for.  Christmas on Primrose Hill is a romantic read to get lost in.

Ghost Stories for Christmas

IMG_0081Revive a spooky, old Christmas tradition. 

Reading a ghost story on Christmas Eve was once as much a part of traditional Christmas celebrations as turkey, eggnog and Santa Claus.”

Now this is my kind of Christmas tradition. These little stories jumped out at me at a bookstore and soon became a must do for Christmas Eve.

The Signalman by Charles Dickens was published in 1866 and described as “an eerie story of isolation, dread and supernatural visitation.”  Not your typical holiday read but for a ghost story it’s wonderfully spooky.

One Who Saw by A. M. Burrage was published in 1931 and is the story of a writer who is “enchanted by the spectre of a weeping woman.  His obsession builds until her ghostly hand falls from her face and he, in horror, becomes the ‘one who sees.'”

It looks to be a dark and rainy day here, so ghost stories and some eggnog will be a perfect combination. 🙂

Cheers!

Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis

23129923“But what am I without those who understand me?”

What would happen if animals were given human consciousness?  This is a question posed by the god Hermes to Apollo.  Apollo believes that they would be even more unhappy than humans, while Hermes believes that they would die happier.

– I wonder, said Hermes, what it would be like if animals had human intelligence.
– I wonder if they’d be as unhappy as humans, Apollo answered.
– Some humans are unhappy; others aren’t.  Their intelligence is a difficult gift.
– I’ll wager a year’s servitude, said Apollo, that animals – any animal you choose – would be even more unhappy than humans are, if they had human intelligence. 

So, a wager is set between the two gods, and fifteen dogs at a Toronto veterinary clinic are granted human consciousness.  The gods look on as the lives of the dogs unfold with their new-found abilities.  There are those who embrace the new way of thinking and those who feel they’ve lost their way. Continue reading “Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis”

The Blue Girl by Laurie Foos

IMG_0068“All secrets are terrible, I know that, and I know that no matter how many times I feed them to the blue girl, there is no relief.”

Sometimes the premise of a book is so strange that you can’t help but be drawn to it.  The Blue Girl is a very unique and intriguing story, told through alternating perspectives of three mothers and three daughters.  They live in a small town with a lake and they all have their secrets, leading lives of silent suffering.  One day while at the lake, the mysterious girl with blue skin is saved from drowning by Audrey, one of the daughters.  From that point on the three mothers begin to make night visits to the blue girl and feed her moon pies, which contain their secrets.

An odd concept but one that is very well executed.  Through the different perspectives we truly get to feel the sadness and desperation of the lives of these girls and women, along with the damage that can be caused by a lack of communication.  Everyone has their fears and secrets, and are aware of the secrets of their mothers and daughters but choose silence.  The Blue Girl is a unique, beautifully written novel and a great choice if you are looking for a simple and easy read.

“I say nothing.  I let them have their secret.  Now, I think, we all have them.”

The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister

IMG_0020“Tonight, I will do the impossible.  The impossible is nothing new to me.  As I do every night, I will make people believe things that aren’t true.  I will show them worlds that never existed, events that never happened.  I will weave a web of beautiful illusion to ensnare them, a glittering trap that drags them willingly with me into the magical, false, spellbinding world.”

When I came across The Magician’s Lie at a bookstore, I was very much intrigued by the premise.  The most famous female illusionist of her time, the Amazing Arden (Ada) is known for her trick of sawing a man in half.  One night after the show, the body of Arden’s husband is discovered onstage and the famous illusionist becomes a wanted woman.  Arden is apprehended by an officer and taken into custody where over the course of one night, she tells her story.  One that may prove her guilt or innocence. Continue reading “The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister”