NonfictionPancakes by Adrianna AdarmeReviewed by Molly

Adrianna Adarme’s Pancakes 72 Sweet and Savory Recipes for the Perfect Stack is a work of 162 pages filled with recipes, color photos and anecdotes set in place by the founder of A Cozy Kitchen blog.

The book is a well-made paperback edition having glossy, thick paper covers. Covers extend longer than the pages, are folded front and back … useful for holding the page last perused, and have notes regarding the recipes, the author and her blog.

Photos offered by Teri Lyn Fisher are colorful, representative of the particular recipes to be found in the book and often shown as 1 of a 2-page spread of photo and recipe.

The Table of Contents begins with acknowledgements, and continues with Introduction, Basic Pancake Recipes, Breakfast Pancakes, Dinner Pancakes, Toppings and finally an Index.

I found the Introduction to be particularly informative, especially for the novice cook; it begins with a charming recollection of the writer’s childhood as she learned to prepare pancake batter under the tutelage of her dad.  While the pancakes produced were from a mix, and did not taste as do the ones offered by the writer; she was provided with a lovely reminisce of childhood, along with a determination to better the batter.

Use of buttermilk, and use of buttermilk powder, vinegar, lemon juice and milk, a caution to not overmix the batter, what to do with too thin or thick batters, fruit and other add ins to the batter, size of the cakes, perfect cooking temperature, use of the oven, syrups, especially the delicious use of real maple syrup, salt and a nice section on pancake tools and supplies.

The author tells her own preference for using cast iron skillets for cooking, before she continues to explain use of bowls, liquid measuring cups, pancake spatula, perhaps known as the pancake turner   fish spatula, muffin pan,

First section is Basic Pancake Recipes and include what the author states she like to consider as classics; Buttermilk, Vegan, Gluten free and Crepes.   They are perfect as is, and work well with add ins to suit personal taste.  Personally I like to add chocolate bits to any and everything, and esp to pancakes.

Second section is Breakfast Pancakes; an offering of 28 pancakes suitable for breakfast, snacks and anytime the notion strikes.  Beginning with orange and chocolate chip pancakes, the reader is made hungry with photos of some plainish, and other really fanciful offerings; apple pie is one.   Carrot cake pancakes drizzled with Cream Cheese Glaze are delish, as are the banana bread.

In this section writer cook Adarme provides some offerings perhaps not always thought of when preparing pancakes.  Dutch babies, popovers, crepes as well as spiced pumpkin and gingerbread for the holidays, oatmeal and multi grain for the health conscious, several varieties of chocolate, or with fruit add-ins are all included.

Third section, the Dinner Pancakes begins with zip -jalapeno corn cakes, and dashes onward to provide 21 separate, easy to prepare, delicious to eat recipes.

Latkes include sour cream and cheese, and sweet potato.  From spicy black bean cakes, to fried mac and cheese, to parmesan mushroom risotto cakes, zucchini fritters, cheddar chive or garlic and parmesan popovers, a super gruyere and ham Dutch baby and buckwheat crepes; there is something to please every diner.

Pretty green spinach pancakes are a delight for St Paddy’s.

The last section is entitled Toppings.  Beginning with a selection berry butters, fruit syrups, an avocado butter; this section may inspire a cook to try various combinations to create their own butters, syrups and tasty toppings.

A four-page index at the end of the book compliments the table of contents to enable adventuresome cooks finding just the right recipe for breakfast, lunch, snack or supper.

When my daughter in law picked up Adrianna Adarme’s Pancakes 72 Sweet and Savory Recipes for the Perfect Stack, I knew I had to have a copy.

Pancakes and waffles too have been a long standing meal beginning for my family. Fêted across all ethnic groups, prepared through use of a diversity of ingredients and prepared by varied cultures worldwide, throughout time; pancakes are the definitive universal food.

And, I just enjoy collecting and using cook books.

I found the book to be well made, needs to be if it is to be used often and ongoing.  The long over-lap type covers are perfect for indicating the recipe to be tried, the one in preparation or the one last used. The shiny, smooth cover can easily be wiped cleaned without worry that the paper will soon deteriorate should a spill happen.  Binding is glued pages … and so far no problem, the pages are staying glued despite multi uses.

Striking photographs invite the reader to try their hand using the pictured pancake result.  Recipes are easily read, easily followed with the ingredient list placed along the left or right margin.  Makes shopping easy should something needed not be a staple in the individual kitchen.

The complete ingredient list, easy to follow directions for batter preparation and fine product created will be welcomed by novice and experienced cooks alike. The author adds anecdotes as a short italicized paragraph atop the recipe directions themselves.  I like that.

The author suggests keeping pancakes warm in the oven in order to assure that diners, be they family, holiday crowd or friends over for the weekend can enjoy their pancakes warm and delicious together.
This is a book to be referred to often, to help the cook begin to think of pancakes as something more than a circle of cooked batter on the plate, smooshed with butter and doused with syrup; it is a selection of recipes sure to intrigue, delight and satisfy whether used for creating a hearty breakfast, or for a winter supper filled with good scents in the kitchen and delicious food on the table.

I find many of the recipes, the four basic recipes, honey and oat, whole wheat, and banana bread lend themselves very well to being prepared as waffles too.

Dandy recipes     Happy to recommend

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Natural Harmony: Jade’s Story by Gail Albrechtson

Posted February 25, 2016 By Jandy

Natural Harmony: Jade’s Story by Gail AlbrechtsonNonfictionReviewed by Molly

I first read Gail Albrechtson’s Natural Harmony: Jade’s Story several years ago.  Albrechtson’s work is one to be read and read again, and again.

I do not keep all the books I receive for review, this is one that I did keep, have read again more than once, and, since my son’s marriage and his becoming dad to a little boy born with Down’s syndrome; I am especially happy I did.

“In loving memory of Jade July 1, 1979-January 12, 1986”

I am an educator of small children, public elementary classrooms, and I am a QMRP.   Through my work for a period in a residential care facility for developmentally disabled adults, our residents included more than one person born with Down’s. Albrechtson’s work is one to be read and read again, and again.

Jade came into this world, diminutive, exquisite and drowsy. Her parents smitten from the first glance at their daughter could not ponder there might be something atypical with their child notwithstanding their pediatrician’s words that she suspected there were variances needing testing before she could explain her concerns.

As the worried young parents wondered about possible horrible things that might be wrong with their baby test results were held up at first for hours and then days. Natural Harmony: Jade’s Story is not a story book in the sense of a pleasurable account, rather, it is a mother’s affectionate celebration of the little girl with whom she shared her life for a short period and the treasure of recollections she kept when Jade’s life ended.

As children do, Jade learned to walk and to talk, even though her progression took place at a slower rate than do the mile stones met by the ‘normal’ child. During the early days following her daughter’s birth Gail struggled to come to grips with what it meant to care for a child who is not terribly dissimilar, nonetheless is still not just like her peers; Jade spent some time with a foster family during her early months.

As is the case with many families having a handicapped child born to them; Jade was destined to be raised by one parent alone.

Gail and her daughter journeyed a path not traveled by all parents and children for over six years. Most children are ‘normal’ and their interactions and progress are ‘normal.’

Jade was diagnosed as having Down’s Syndrome. Gail came to appreciate and adore unconditionally the little girl who never spoke quite so well as does the ‘normal’ child, took longer to reach physical milestones, and required extraordinary attention due to a congenital heart defect.

Both Jade’s speech pattern and the heart irregularity are characteristic for a Downs child. While there were many things Jade could not perform just as did her peers, there were a good many things she could and did do well. Jade’s recognition and love for animals permitted the little girl to face the tenant mouse with no consternation.

Her resolve to reap a ‘papo’ for knowing her address led Jade to learn her address when others in her school class were also struggling to state their own.

Not unusual for any parent; Gail devoted much time to her daughter. She rapidly discovered what other parents of a child who is different often will face.   While there is frequently much talk about ‘programs’ and the like; in truth, parents of a handicapped child face many brick walls: day care, schools and society at large regularly do not want any in their midst other than the ‘normal’ kid.
Jade was born during a period when many Downs and other ‘different’ kids were thrust into accommodations where they were permitted to live as perpetual children solely because no one recognized or acknowledged that these kids can and will learn.

True, developmentally disabled tend to learn a bit less, at a slower rate, and lose ground fast if teaching is not continued; however, learn they do just as do their peers.

As Gail and Jade sat by the lake and watched ‘wheeshes’ fly by, or visited the mall at Christmastime the pair behaved as any ‘normal’ parent and child enjoying the day and time spent with each other.
I appreciate Gail Albrechtson’s aptitude for setting aside her own private sadness to set down this accolade to her child.  Natural Harmony: Jade’s Story is a compelling read. The Reader is drawn right into the account. I found it difficult to put the book down as I read, the first time, and as I read each subsequent time. I find the words seem to leap from the page in this well written work.

I smiled as Jade did progress and achieve goals, nodded my understanding at her absolute determination – I too have a handicapped child, my oldest son survived early birth and was destined to always walk with a limp, he has cerebral palsy – and, I wept as I read the ending of Jade’s short story.

I am an educator of small children, public elementary classrooms, and I am a QMRP.   My work for a period in a residential care facility for developmentally disabled adults, our residents included more than one person born with Down’s.  I know those with Down’s do face an uphill battle, but are very like others who are considered ‘normal.’

Smiles and laughter, sense of humor for small things, joy of life, love, lovable, and loving are part of the child or adult with Down’s.

Counselors, teachers and new parents of a Down’s child alike will find comfort and value through reading of Jade’s life and her joy of life as told through the eyes of her mother.

Natural Harmony: Jade’s Story is an outstanding addition to the home library for those who enjoy a true slice of life type work with a twist. We all have some tussle in our lives. Few of us face the struggle this little girl and her mother faced daily.

Excellent read, happy to recommend especially for therapists, parents of a handicapped child, teachers and the general reading populace.

Enlightening Read … Highly Recommended

I was sent a review copy by the author

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Medicine Buddha/Medicine Mind by Charlene Diane JonesNonfictionReview is by Molly

An Easy-to-Understand Exploration of the Healing Power of Your Mind

Charlene Diane Jones has crafted in Medicine Buddha/Medicine Mind a simple to read, stress-free method set down in clear common terms to aid the reader as the writer explores the healing power of the mind.

While not a lengthy tome, 92 pages with a number of them blank at the end of a chapter; the work is not a quick read. It is meant to be studied, savored, implemented and read again, and perhaps again. While I do not know if the intent of the writer or publisher for those blank pages; I found the pages handy for making notes as I went along with my first read.

The paperback begins with dedication, acknowledgements and Preface by Buddhist teacher David Brazier.

Chapter titles encourage the reader toward the writer’s Personal History with Vajrayana Tantra Meditation. It is interesting and easy to read, while not so easy to understand if the reader has little awareness of meditation, or Tantra Meditation. As a reader with little awareness I find the author’s explanations set down in plain straight forward prose helped me set the tone for exploring the book itself with a little more understanding on my part. Wongs are explained, history of Vajrayna Tantra, mysticism, how the influence came to Toronoto and an elementary understanding of neuroscience are all detailed.

It was during the 1960s that writer Jones first met Bikkhu Ananda Bodhi, Blissful Wanderer, and gained some awareness who addressed questions tearing at the writer’s soul. Why bother living, what is the point of life and why make effort were brought into clarity as the writer began her travel for greater understanding using meditation.

The Neuroscience of Brain Maps, Imagination, Medicine Buddha meditation, Self and Others, and Pain are all presented, explored and brought to the writer’s greater awareness that Medicine Buddha practice promotes neuronal changes including shifts in the shape of the brain and provides a platform upon which behavior may begin to be altered via practice.

Mirror Neurons, phantom emotional pain, pain, fear and focusing elsewhere, continue the Jones’ journey toward the healing wellness she is seeking. Medicine Buddha is explained, Neuroscience and a Path from the Past as well as the trap of the past are all exposed, before Conclusions and Forward from Here and the writer’s hopes and expectations are presented.

I like that the book includes an appendix, glossary and bibliography. The glossary in particular is handy for helping to acquaint a novice to the understanding of meditation, Medicine Buddha and the beliefs of the writer.

Footnotes and Endnotes aid the reader toward other sources for pursuit of greater understanding of the ideas she presents.

I found Medicine Buddha/Medicine Mind describes in simple terms how our brains work with meditation including visualization. Despite the dreadfulness experienced during her teens, writer Jones shares her story telling of her journey to enlightenment and a life without suffering via visualization and meditation. We begin to gain awareness and understanding that these techniques do actually work, and we begin to understand why they do.

Happy to recommend Medicine Buddha/Medicine Mind especially for those who may have an interest in meditation, a need for healing and/or dealing with suffering and its results.

Charlene Diane Jones biography on Amazon includes:
“And I love writing. I believe writing provides a primary chance for healing, and I know this from first hand experience.
“Although many methods helped me thrive in my life after a brutal rape and torture when I was sixteen, writing about everything in life helped create a balance and stability I cherish.
“Like the friend that is always present for me, like the counsellor who has whatever hours I need, writing provides a focus and clarity, a deep understanding, a mystery and a surprise sometimes since what I write often comes out before I’ve thought about it.”

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Lyin’ Like a Dog by Richard Mason

Posted February 9, 2016 By Molly

BiographyLyin’ Like a Dog by Richard MasonReview by Molly

The prospective for down home chuckles is set in and actually begins on December 1944 a page or so after the opening chapter.  December 1944 was when it snowed for Christmas and Richard and his friend John Clayton Reed got to spend some time Christmas Eve with Uncle Hugh.  Actually, Hugh was not their uncle; he was an old colored man the boys carried groceries to, from the store in town to his small cabin in the woods nearby, because the elderly man had trouble walking.

Richard Mason’s Lyin’ Like a Dog launches with a burst of words on 23 September 1945 as we meet Richard sitting with his hound Sniffer, ruminating about his birthday.  Essentially, it is a dearth of festivity which has given Richard such consideration.  With the awareness of lads his age, 12 today, Richard ‘fesses up that he is “bent outa shape and sitting around feeling sorry for himself.

Conspiring with his best friend, John Clayton, to gain custody of a comic book having an upside down front cover to hopefully sell for big bucks, Richard tells of angel food cake with pink icing and licking out the icing bowl, as well as camping out in the woods when they were supposed to be camping in one or the other boys’ back yard, Vacation Bible School and an evening revival highlighted with a  truly memorable baptismal service conducted using the baptistery at the church; serve to accentuate the complications, hitches and unsuspected mischief a twosome of spirited lads can get themselves almost without trying keeps the reader smiling, chuckling and at times just breaking down in laughter.

Richard’s anecdotes relating his helping Daddy put in and, take care of, the annual vegetable garden, and his making a bad blunder concerning a red pepper fresh from that garden, as well as tug of war grudge match, sitting as a family near the radio to listen to Walter Winchell announcing the end of WW2, and, when one money scheme ends in tragedy, an alternative is hurriedly hatched; are assured to appeal to lads aged 11 and 12 years and to the generation who were themselves kids growing up and playing outside without TV and hand held game devices during the 1940s and 50s  here in the US.

Prowling around the swampy woods and down along the river bank a little ways out of town, visiting Uncle Hugh and maybe getting to listen to a ghost story, going to school, reading and re reading comic books, Saturdays at the movies with other kids from school, listening to The Shadow and other stories on the radio and sitting on the breadbox outside grocery store and jawing with friends are all a measure of the chronicle.

Running into danger and facing potential injury to themselves during one of their forays into the woods climaxes with Richard and John Clayton becoming town heroes; while the narrative itself culminates with a bit of apprehension.  Daddy has come home liquored up, again, and while Mama does not tie into him as has been the custom in the past; Richard recognizes that there is something not quite right about the situation.

I definitely enjoyed reading the escapades and two misadventures two pre-teen lads convey in the youthful jargon of narrator, Richard Mason.  The monkeyshines and mischievousness, conceivably essentially taken from the author’s life in rural Arkansas, bring to this reviewer’s mind the accounts my Daddy shared of his growing up in rural Arkansas and then California.   Many an evening, as sisters and I were growing up, found us gathered around the supper table laughing and enjoying listen to Daddy and his adventures as a child.

And, despite the fact that my own growing up years was lived in semi-rural San Joaquin Valley, California during the 50s, where we lived surrounded by cotton fields and not swamp or woods, the large irrigation ditch moving water needed for farming was the site of many adventure for 3 little girls, and their friends, as we too played outside minus much observation, or baby sitters and the like.  Those were the tales told to parents only after we were grown and enjoyed watch Mama’s hair turning grey before our eyes.

The eleventh year in the lives of Richard and John Clayton presented in book one of the Richard the Paperboy series, their friends at school and the little town of Norphlet, Union County, Arkansas takes place in the area just north of the Louisiana border where Union County, LA meets Union County AR.  And not too far south of the area where many of my people live today.

The setting for the tale is the difficult period December 1944 to September 1945; a time often repeated during the 1950s as families gathered around the radio to listen to the evening news.  Richard’s family listened to Walter Winchell report the war news WWII; during the 1950s families often listened attentively as Edward R Murrow told us of the events far away in Korea.

Lyin’ Like a Dog told in the first person, by means of local dialect, is a work sure to have charm for a wide-ranging continuum of readers.  This is a manuscript evocative of Twain’s writings.  While teaching 4th grade, I read aloud daily and found girls and boys alike listened keenly as I read Twain and his Tom Sawyer adventures.

Lyin’ Like a Dog will be placed in my Sub bag for reading a chapter aloud to students; should I received a call for classroom subbing in a classroom of  4th graders rather than my usual K 1 preference.

I had no problem envisaging or believing the capers Richard, John Clayton and others in the area experienced.  Attempting ludicrous, to adults, schemes largely centered around how to get rich, i.e. possibly bring home as much as $100!, starting to notice girls, as well as the you can’t be serious!, happenings including Vacation Bible School, revivals, a still out in the woods, jars of ‘shine, going barefoot, Big Chief tablets, a kid with a newspaper route, even the term colored man point to another time and place many older readers likely experienced in part during the early years of their lives.

Characters are well fleshed, settings are filled with imagery, names of the kids, John Clayton … both names used rather than just first name, Connie, Rosallie, plain simple names, and nick names; Tiny for the big kid, Ears and the like  are right for the time and place.  Readers are sure to be drawn into the story from the opening lines and the descriptive hijinks hold reader interest and keep the pages turning right on to the last when Richard ruminates over the carryings-on experienced during his eleventh year as he ponders Heck, I’m twelve now, and maybe I’m old enough to keep outta trouble…. But, naw, I can tell you right now if I told you that, I’d just be lyin’ like a dog.

 Highly readable text, Lying Like a Dog will have a place in the home, library, school library, classroom and as an item in a gift box for birthday, Christmas or anytime.

I particularly like the old photo c 1940s of a skinny kid, hands on hips, down at the calf pen, farm house in the background used as cover art.

I received a paperback ARC for review.

Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend

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Dead Wake by Erik Larson

Posted August 8, 2015 By Jandy
Dead Wake by Erik LarsonNonfictionThe Last Crossing of the Lusitania

On May 1, 1915, the English cruise ship Lusitania was sunk off the Ireland coast by a German U-boat, U-20. About 1,200 people died in the torpedo attack – sailors and stow aways, rich and poor, men and women, children and babies. Over 750 people survived, including Captain Turner, the man who didn’t receive any reliable warning of the U-boat activity in the area or any of the expected protection from the Royal Navy. This is all history, well recorded and discussed over the last 100 years.

Erik Larson has a knack in researching history and bringing it to life. In Dead Wake, he visited museums, read personal diaries, found ships and U-boats logs, examined treasure, and used other primary as well as some secondary sources to tell the story of the Lusitania from a human standpoint, not just a political or historical one. Read the remainder of this entry »


The End of Your Life Book Club by Will SchwalbeNonfiction The End of Your Life Book Club
Will Schwalbe; Alfred A. Knopf 2012

When Mary Anne Schwalbe was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, her family was right there for her. She was able to continue much of what she loved. One of those things was her love of reading. Her son Will and she agreed to have a two person book club. They discussed the different books they read while they sat through her chemotherapy sessions, at the doctors’ offices, by the phone, and at family gatherings. Read the remainder of this entry »

Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton

Posted April 4, 2015 By Jandy

NonfictionJust a Geek by Wil WheatonJust a Geek
Wil Wheaton; O’Reilly 2004

Unflinchingly Honest Tales of the Search for Life, Love, and Fulfillment Beyond the Starship Enterprise

When he was a child, Wil Wheaton was a busy Hollywood actor. He became famous when he starred in an Oscar award winning movie, Stand by Me, and an extremely popular television series, Star Trek Next Generation. He admits he also was (and still is) a nerd or geek. He was as star struck as any other teen.

Just a Geek is Wil’s story after Star Trek up to his early 30’s. He’s an actor who has a family to support. If you’re not a top A List actor, you scramble with everyone else for jobs. Being a techie geek, he started his own blog. When he was in his early 20’s it was nerdy and rash and a bit scattered. As he met his wife and took in his sons and matured, so did his blog. Throughout Just a Geek he brings back quotes from his blog, even the semiliterate entries. Read the remainder of this entry »

Love, Lucy by Lucille Ball

Posted February 7, 2015 By Jandy

NonfictionLove, Lucy by Lucille BallLove, Lucy
Lucille Ball; Thorndike Press 1997

with Betty Hannah Hoffman

During the 1950’s and 60’s Lucille Ball’s television shows were the love of Americans. I Love Lucy with her first husband, Desi Arnaz, was the top television show while it was on air. Lucille Ball started acting in the early 1930’s and was modeling in New York City before that. Her public life seemed wonderful when the television show was on. Reality wasn’t reflected on TV.

According to her daughter Lucie Arnaz, Lucy wrote her autobiography, Love, Lucy, in the early 1960’s. It appears to be a self reflection and cleansing text. It was never published it while she was alive. Instead it was stuck away with documents not discovered until a few years after her death. Although written before her first husband’s biography was published, hers wasn’t published until after their deaths. This text ends after she had married Gary Morton, her second husband. Read the remainder of this entry »

Margarita Wednesdays by Deborah Rodriguez

Posted November 2, 2014 By Molly

BiographyMargarita Wednesdays by Deborah RodriguezReview is by Molly

Deborah Rodriguez’ Margarita Wednesdays a Memoir, begins with a pop-pop-pop  sending the writer out of her bed, onto her feet and then falling to the floor as memories of another time and place overtook reason for a moment before Rodriguez remembered she was no longer in Afghanistan, and the explosions were not likely to be gunfire directed at herself or anyone else.

This American born woman who had married an Afghan man had lived in that country for a period of time during which the sounds of fighting had often raged not too far from her front gate.

Flight from the land she had embraced and had come to love was precipitated during spring 2007, by realization that she and her 20 year old son Noah were in imminent danger.  Word on the street was that Noah was targeted for kidnapping or worse; and that was something Rodriguez knew she could not allow.  Her own life was beginning to unravel, her marriage had become a sham, and life in Afghanistan had to end as quickly and safely as possible.

Seeking refuge first in the wine country area of northern California, Rodriguez eventually trekked south, crossed the border and took up residence near the coast in Mazatlán.

Impertinent, perceptive, and unashamedly forthright, Rodriguez guides the reader on the passage of insight, realization and restoration away from the life filled with people who offered little in the way of solace and away from her own poor choices regarding life, relationships and location to the life she has embraced and feels at home, with friends and family nearby.

Advice that she should communicate with glowworms and embrace self-examination for one year was the tipping point for Rodriguez who following a cruise to Mexico and despite knowing no one in the area as well as having no real plan, and little to no Spanish packed belongings, and her cat, in to a Mini Cooper and began driving south.

Middle aged, adventuresome, the self-described drama queen found herself unemployed, owner of a small house purchased with a portion of the small savings she had at her disposal and determined to settle down, find work and establish a life filled with friends, joy and not a lot of stress.

The title of the book includes the word memoir and it is pretty much a slice of the life of the writer rather than a relationship or self-help, although it is listed as self-help.  And, perhaps for those who may be trying to work through a knotty situation and are finding some of the introspective type works less helpful, this book may be an aid to the catharsis often needed to help provoke our own self-realization.

Margarita Wednesdays is not a book for everyone, there are those who are sure to be put off by the blunt language and baring of so much of what may be seen as the more personal and private life of the writer.

On the other hand, for those who do enjoy a straightforward tale, and one that is filled with some pithy insight; Margarita Wednesdays may be more than a simple telling of the a period in the life of the writer and may indeed become the catalyst designed to aid the reader gather courage to contemplate leaving a destructive situation or relationship and striking out to discover his/her own reservoir of strength.

I find Rodriguez’ breezy, blunt writing style to be very readable.  She is an excellent weaver of a tale, readers will find their interest whetted via the uninhibited panache of Rodriguez’ writing. I like when someone, writer or not, can see their mistakes, can laugh at themselves and not resort to mawkish or maudlin behavior or writing in order to gain empathy or sympathy for their plight.

Rodriguez’ desire to aid other women toward a better life is commendable.  Embarking on a journey toward restorative self-realization, free enterprise, and giving back to the community is not always an easy one.  Rodriguez did this and by the end of Margarita Wednesdays has even entered into a relationship which is proving to be good, healthy and fulfilling.

Interesting read.

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Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Posted October 28, 2014 By Jandy

Orange Is the New Black by Piper KermanNonfictionWhen she was in her early 20’s, Smith graduate Piper Kerman walked on the wild side of life. She fell in love and ignored the person her parents raised her to be. She and Nora adventured in Indonesia and other foreign pleasure spots. She knew Nora was involved in an international drug ring. It was an adventure for her. Nora convinced Piper to be a courier of laundered money occasionally. When Nora insisted she start carrying drugs was when Piper finally broke away and returned to the States.

She moved to San Francisco and made a new group of friends both close and casual. Eventually one of those casual friends became closer, then more. Eventually she and Larry fell in love and moved in together. When Larry got a new job in New York City, she left her job and moved with him. Then her past caught up with her. Nora had been caught. Nora made a deal, giving the names of other people who were also involved with the drugs and money laundering. Piper was one of the names she she gave up. Read the remainder of this entry »

Packing for Mars by Mary Roach

Posted September 24, 2014 By Jandy
Packing for Mars by Mary RoachNonfictionPacking for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void
Mary Roach; Norton 2010
The Curious Science of Life in the Void

The current space exploration dreams are for a manned trip to Mars. That’s a small group of people in a confined space under abnormal conditions for well over two years. What provisions will be required? What type of equipment will be required? What type of person would be able to complete the trip successfully? What design and materials will be needed for the spaceship itself? How will the pitfalls of zero gravity be addressed? How can a person stay healthy both mentally and physically in those conditions? Read the remainder of this entry »

1493 by Charles C. Mann

Posted August 22, 2014 By Jandy

Nonfiction1493 by Charles C. MannUncovering the New World Columbus Created

“In fourteen hundred ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

In 1493 Europe, starting with Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, and England, explorers started traveling to the Americas to find a short route to Asia. While the route was eventually created, it wasn’t as easy as the European countries had predicted. In the Americas, though, they found other riches – in the land, in the crops, in the silver and in other minerals. They also brought things with them – domestic animals, yellow fever, earthworms, and more. Read the remainder of this entry »