May 31, 2012

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Put together Eat, Pray, Love and A Walk in the Woods plus brutal honesty and you get Wild.  Torn down by her mother's cancer and unexpected death, her own destructive behavior, and the eventual demise of her marriage, Strayed embarks on a solo journey along the Pacific Crest Trail.  She starts her 3 month trek in Southern California with pennies to live on, too small boots, zero trail experience, and an overly packed and terribly heavy backpack, nicknamed Monster.  In Wild, Strayed intertwines her past experiences that have led her to the PCT and the challenges she faced almost every day on the grueling and lonely hike.  From wild animals, constant thirst and hunger, pain all over, to record snowfall, blistering heat, and descents that cost her toenails, Strayed had one catastrophe after another.  However, she clearly had the determination to accomplish her goal to get from the Mojave to the Bridge of Gods.  This was another great book to follow along with Google Images and has left me with the desire to explore the PCT myself.  Thanks Dad for the suggestion!

May 25, 2012

Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s Thirty by Glamour editors and Pamela Redmond Satran

As a woman in the last year of her twenties, I saw this book, 30 Things, and had to read it.  I don’t have any Need-To-Do-Before-I’m-Thirty lists and I probably won’t be creating one after reading this book, however I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and would absolutely recommend it to any woman no matter what her age.  Featuring essays from several women we should all know, from Katie Couric to Maya Angelou to Taylor Swift, each describes how an item on the list speaks to them personally or what 30 means to them.  The wisdom and personal experiences shared are valuable lessons for the rest of us.  It was great to laugh in understanding, to shake my head at memories, and to feel that sting behind my eyes when I realized that others felt a certain way too.  I highly recommend it, it’s a quick read but the list is timeless and one you can refer back to time and again. 

May 14, 2012

Rosamund Lupton's Afterwards

When the school starts on fire, Grace’s reaction is to run straight into the building to save her children that are caught inside.  Her eight-year old son makes it out unscathed however Grace and her daughter, Jenny, are seriously injured.  When Grace finds out the fire was arson she is determined to track down the criminal who put her children in danger.  New information leads Grace to believe the fire was started to eliminate her daughter and when Jenny’s breathing tube is disconnected, it’s clear the person still wants Jenny dead.  But the police investigation comes to a halt when an anonymous witness claims the fire was started by Grace’s son.  As Grace does her best to unravel the truth and exonerate her son, she learns far more about the people she loves than she ever thought she knew.  A truly amazing book about family, especially mothers and the overwhelming love they have for their children.    

May 8, 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

In Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Taylor paints such a mysterious, complex and imaginative world it’s difficult to describe in short.  Some descriptions may seem typical of a young adult novel but it’s a story you haven’t come across yet.  

Tattooed and blue-haired Karou doesn’t understand her life.  She is filled with questions she can’t get answers to and is always feeling unsettled.  Karou was raised by creatures that would scare most people but is all she knows as family.  Her foster father, Brimstone, is a ram/dragon cross and wishmonger of the Chimaera world.  Without explanation he often sends Karou on errands through magical portals around the world to collect human and animal teeth from traders.  While off on these errands Karou notices mysterious smoldering handprints seared into the portal doors.  This only creates more questions for Karou, but when she tries to find out for herself what all her life’s mysteries mean she angers Brimstone so much that he banishes her from entering the Chimaera world again.  Losing what little family Karou had has been devastating especially when she runs into an angel that has his heart set on destroying the Chimaera world.