Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Reading Report November, December

What I read in November and December 2014

Up From Orchard Street by Eleanor Widmer
Historical Fiction

Immigrant family of three generations living together trying to make it on New Yorks lower east side based around WWII era. The story hops around focusing on different characters throughout the book but is told from one narrators perspective.

This was a reread for me (for bookclub). It was fascinating hearing the group dissect the story and writing. I breezed through it the first time but reading it in regards to leading a discussion made me have completely different feelings about this one. I liked it through the first time, but was more critical the second time through. 

Encyclopedia Brown Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
Childrens, Mystery

Encyclopedia Brown is a kid genius and notices, discovers and understands things a bit differently than most people. So when mystery's go unsolved Encyclopedia can find the answer. 

I read this and a few others in the series with my 8 year old. She LOVED trying to guess what it was that he figured out. I think she mostly liked flipping to the answers like she was in on the secret. 

The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon
New Adult, Romance

Moses has always felt cracked, broken and unwanted. In order to quiet the waters, he paints. And he's brilliant at it. Next door neighbor Georgia is determined to be his friend but he's not sure he needs any. 

I didn't love this one right away as much as I loved all other Amy Harmon books. I dont know if the characters weren't developed enough for me or if their relationship wasn't developed enough. I did keep reading though, but it was just ok for me.

Code Talker by Chester Nez with Judith Schiess Avila
Non Fiction, History, Memoir

Navajo men were asked to join in the battles of WWII for a secret mission. After they joined they were told they were going to help develop a secret code that the enemy's couldn't break. Chester was one of the original 29 code talkers.

This book was a memoir of Chesters life. It had a lot of story about growing up in the Navajo nation and trying to help his family earn a living, deciding ultimately that he could help them more if he went to school to learn to read and write English. I'd guess it's about half and half Navajo and WWII stories. I found it very fascinating. 

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
New Adult, Contemporary

Sydney often sits on her deck and listens to a stranger, Ridge, across the way play his guitar. One day he holds up a paper with his number and asks her to text him. Their friendship is bold and honest and understanding. From the start through the book. 

This is my first Colleen Hoover book and I loved so much about it. There were a few spots I had a hard time with but I loved the raw feeling of it. I felt often times I could describe the book or scene in one word: swoon. I must say though, that I like Sydney just as much as I like Ridge. I'll probably reread this one again.

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
Young Adult, Contemporary

When Sky meets Holder she's intrigued. At a chance second meeting she decides to get to know him. He's both her rock and what makes her world crumble. 

I'm an instant fan of Colleen Hoover after the last two books. I love the characters she develops and the connections they have. It may be because her characters seem more mature, grounded or open, I haven't decided yet, but I like it. This plot was a bit tough (without spoiling) but the story telling and writing made me stick with it.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Marriage Monday: Choose The Course For Your Marriage

"Every couple needs to take conscious responsibility for choosing the course their marriage will follow."
-Neil Clark Warren, Ph.D. 

More from Neil Clark Warren here.

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Marriage Monday: Stay In Love

"I am satisfied that happiness in marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one's companion. Any man who will make his wife's comfort his first concern will stay in love with her throughout their lives and through the eternity yet to come." 
-Gordon B. Hinckley 

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Reading Report October 2014

What I read in October 2014

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Historical Fiction 

A British spy plane crashes in Nazi occupied France. The two passengers on board are captured. Verity is asked to reveal her secrets, and the secrets of her country. To save her life, each day, imprisoned with the enemy, she writes a story. 

Well written, fun idea told through letters and flashbacks. I had a lot of folks tell me how good this one was so I was a tad disappointed that it didnt hold my interest as much as I was hoping (though more my fault than the books probably). It is rated highly on book sites though so if you like the genre chances are you'll like this one more than me.

Life In Motion An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland
Non fiction, memoir 

Misty Copeland is the only African American soloist to dance with the American Ballet Company. But to get there was no easy feat. 

Picked this one up for book club and then sadly wasn't even able to go that month so I didnt get to hear others thoughts or discuss it. I had a hard time with this one because other than being in the ABC it seems like the book was filled with, 'life was hard, then it got harder' or 'nothing I did was appreciated'. Misty sounds like she overcame a lot and has worked hard to get where she was, but it maybe could have been told better (different things added or taken out?).   It felt like I had to muddle through just to finish. 

Starbird Murphy and the World Outside by Karen FinneyFrock
Young Adult

Starbird lives on Free Family Farm where everyone chips in and everything they have is everyone's to use. When Starbird leaves to be a waitress at the Family's diner she realizes there is an entirely different world outside the farm. And she might not want to ever go back.

Picked this up off the shelf at the library. It was both exactly what I expected (from the blurb) and also kinda surprising. Interesting, a little frilly, and a tad weird. 

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg
Fiction, Historical fiction, 

A recent empty nester, Sookie discovers something about her past that shakes her to the core. Her entire identity crumbles and she secretly tries to put the pieces together before anyone can find out.

This is my first Fannie Flagg book (though I loved the movie Fried Green Tomatoes). Told in a current time period with stories from the past (war era) the story is unraveled and woven to create a history Sookie never knew. Read this one for book club and enjoyed it ok. I do want to read another Fannie Flagg.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Marriage Monday: Nurture Your Marriage

"Keep  your courtship alive. Make time to do things together-- just the two of you. As important as it is to be with the children as a family, you need regular weekly time alone together. Scheduling it will let your children know that you feel that your marriage is so important that you need to nurture it. That takes commitment, planning and scheduling."
-Joe J. Christensen

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Marriage Monday: Gratefulness Makes Us Happy

"In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but the gratefulness that makes us happy." 
-Albert Clarke

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Marriage Monday: We Need to be Loved

"I learned a long time ago that most people, including me, go through times when we are not very lovable. We get beaten up by stress, discouraged by our lack of success, overburdened by work, underpaid, sick or whatever. For short or long periods of time we need to be loved even though we don't merit it."
-Finding The Love of Your Life by Neil Clark Warren, Ph.D

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Marriage Monday: Committed to Success

"If you choose wisely and if you are committed to the success of your marriage, there is nothing in this life which will bring you greater happiness." 
-Thomas S. Monson

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Reading Report September 2014

What I read in September 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Isla and Josh attend an American HS in Paris, but while they were both home in Manhattan the summer before their senior year they run into each other giving them a reason to meet up when they return to school. Hoping they'd get to spend their Senior year in bliss together Isla and Josh have a few roadblocks to overcome.

 Fans of Stephanie Perkins have been waiting for this book for a long time and it did not disappoint this reader. I LOVE all she's written but this really was just delightful. I've read her others a few times and enjoy them every time. This is the 3rd book in a companion set (Anna and the French Kiss & Lola and the Boy Next Door). 

Mash by Richard Hooker
Historical Fiction, Humor

The original versions of some classic scenes from the motion picture and television series.

A quirky look at life in the Army.  I really liked this one. Mainly stories about Hawkeye and Pierce but a lot of the gang is there. Most of the stories I could remember seeing aspects of it in the tv show. 

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
Contemporary, YA, Fiction

Delilah's losing her grip and seems to think it's a family trait. After finding out her grandma passed away her and her mom are off to close up her grandma's house, where she used to spend her summes until something went wrong. The last few years they haven't spoken to the family.  This year though, she's finding herself and her family secrets. 

I like Ocklers writing. I was a little annoyed at Delilah's constant lost feeling but I suppose it's because I couldn't quite relate. Regardless the story was good. There is a good array of characters and a cute boy which always helps too. 

The Husband Maker by Karey White
Romance, Contemporary

Charlotte doesn't have a great history with the men seeing as how every time she breaks up with one, he gets married to the next woman he dates. Her friend sets her up with political hopefuly Kyle and the two seem to click. 

I only liked this one sorta. By the title I was expecting something different but the story involves one chapter where Charlotte talks about her past ex's and how they're all married then the rest of the book is about her relationship with Kyle. It's a fun story but I was frustrated with the book because of the non-ending ending, not realizing it was a series. Interesting but I don't care enough to pick up the next one.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Fiction, Romance, Adult

Georgie's marriage is in trouble. But she deeply loves her husband Neal and he loves her. Right before they're supposed to take their girls to his parents house for Christmas a big project comes up at work and she decides to stick around to work. She immediatly regrets not going and wonders if it might be too late. It's then she finds a way to communicate with Neal, but it's Neal from back when they were dating. Is this how she can fix her marriage?

Another great one by Rainbow Rowell. While I wasn't sure about the plot lines (I didn't read the synopsis before I started the book, and wasn't expecting a non realistic) I still enjoyed the story. She has a way of writing characters that are quirky and interesting and real and not at all perfect. Plus her writing pulls me in. Or her storytelling. Or both. She's brilliant. (My favorite of her books is Attachments.)

The Pet War by Allan Woodrow
Childrens, Humor

Otto wants a dog. Lexi wants a cat. Their mom isn't sure about either. Otto and his sister Lexi have one month to earn $500 each to show their mom they're serious about wanting to take care of a pet. The winner chooses the family pet.

I read this one with my kids. Multiple times they laughed and laughed. I wasn't totally thrilled with all the silly name calling (it's written from an 11 yo boys point of view) but it was a small dislike for an overall fun book! We got to have a lot of talks about responsibility and following through with what you say.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Marriage Monday: Designed for Intimacy

"Marriage is designed to satisfy this deep search for intimacy. Thus, marriage is not simply a relationship, it is an intimate relationship that encompasses all aspects of life: intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, and physical. In a marriage relationship, a husband and wife share life with each other in the deepest possible way. They view themselves as a unified team, not as two individuals who happen to be living in close proximity." 
-The Four Seasons of Marriage by Gary Chapman

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Ideas for kid chores, jobs, helping around the house

I had a few friends ask about how we do kid jobs at my house so I thought it'd be fun to share.

Just to note, for me, I think a big factor in sticking with it, is that *I* was just as motivated as the kids.  You'll see we've tried a handful of things (and often times go back to some after we've let them rest for a bit) because for me/us it's fun to have a surge of newness.

In no specific order here's what we've done:

Chore Bucks

Using a money image I saw online, I created our chore bucks. Colored paper and photos of my kids really make it easier for us all to spot.

We’re currently doing this one again. My 8 yo and I decided together on a good amount to charge for cashing them in. Here’s our current system for earning and cashing.

1-ea job on post its, see below (2-3 listed daily)                
1-putting away school items                            
1-pick an item from Extras pg                        
1-getting ready & staying in bed                      
1-getting up & dressed (1 reminder from mom)
1-brushing teeth
1ea-practice spelling, math worksheet, other small homework items
1ea- practicing piano/violin/guitar
1-5 min of reading

*I usually have a list in the kitchen of 2-5 things that need to get done at some point and the kids can choose anything from that list. Sometimes I also put a pt value if it's bigger items.

Cashing in:
1- Play with friends outside
2- Play with friends here
6- Screen time (1 tv show, 25 min computer or Xbox)
20- Stay up 20 min extra w/ mom
40- Special Prize (they create, we negotiate)
50-Day w/ no jobs

*Consider what motivates your kids. My kids are at an age where these things are particularly motivating. You could put in a special treat, a play date with a favorite friend, a late night (I'll probably add this in the spring/summer), a big toy they've been asking for, etc.

I've also allowed my kids to split, like screen time, if I've got two home right after school who'd like to watch a short show while they eat after school snacks. Tailor it to your needs and what might work best for peace at home. ;-)

Daily Post Its

I started this during the summer this year. I bought each kid their own color notes and each night after they're in bed I assign jobs and leave the note out in the kitchen. A few times the kids even ask or sneak a peak to get a head start the night before (works for me!). We have a few 'ask mom', 'freebie' or 'you pick' ones thrown in.

Pros to this one is that it can get as specific as I need and it is ever changing so the kids and I both have stayed interested. A major pro for me is that many jobs we have aren't daily (unloading the dishwasher, taking out the garbage) so I can assess each day and decide what I most want them to do.

Some days I put easy/have-to-do-anyway things on there like practice piano or spelling. Other days they may have one, clean bedroom, but I'll break it up into three jobs like: pick up clothes, pick up toys, vacuum.

Money Bags & Burglars

My daughter and I thought up this idea for our chores and had Tarl draw them out for us. We wanted something that could move around on the game board. They’d get the guy out of jail and save the bags of money by doing those jobs.

Weekly Jobs


This was one we did last year through the entire school year. It worked fine for the most part. The kids knew what they were in charge of for the whole week so they tended to do a good job reminding their siblings to take care of their own things. 

Cons to this one was that I felt like they were already big jobs so I didnt want to then assign them more on top of these. Often times I'll have the kids unload the dishes or fold laundry but I never know when I need those done until that day. Yet on some days their assigned jobs were practically done because it was done from the day before. It was mostly my issue but it's why I like my current post it notes one.

Ticket Store

When my kids were still pretty little I used to let them earn these tickets (like carnival tickets) that I found at the dollar store (this is a small amount out of my package). Tickets could be earned for whatever I felt like. We did this when my kids were like 6-2ish. I'd give them tickets for whatever jobs I'd assign them but also for doing me favors or getting along with their siblings.

When they earned 10 they were allowed to pick out any item from my store—which was just a collection of toys, school supplies, water bottles, anything I could find from the dollar store and sometimes I’d through in a candy item. (I had about 15-20 items on hand for them to chose from.) Once a week or so I'd lay the handful of items out on my bed and then bring the kids in making it a big deal that they were at my store and they could browse through the things. They'd have to pay me to take their item so they liked that it was 'official'.

 Pick Your Poison

This was mostly when my kids were little and couldn't read. I printed off these pictures of jobs on cards and they'd get to come pick out a few to do that day. Depending on the state of our house I'd remove some or just have them pick 1-2 and have them tidy. I also had blank ones and when they picked that one, I got to tell them a 'mom job' which was anything I needed but didnt have a picture of. Or sometimes it was to help me do a bigger item. 

Mostly I just cater whatever we're doing to work for both the kids and me. It works best if we're all excited about it, but mostly if I'm interested enough to push it (and get the kids excited about it). When I can tell we're losing steam, thats when I switch it up again, but I will say, now that they're older it seems the stretches last longer! I hope this gives you some good ideas. 

Do you have some that have worked really well for your family?? 
I'd love it if you wanted to share in the comments. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Marriage Monday: Connections

"The more connections you and your lover make, not just between your bodies, but between your minds, your hearts, and your souls, the more you will strengthen the fabric of your relationship, and the more real moments you will experience together."
-Barbra de Angelis

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Reading Report August 2014

What I read in August 2014

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Contemporary, Romance, Adult

Company policy states that work email is subject to be read by a third party yet it doesn't stop Beth and Jennifer from sharing friendly, funny, or personal correspondence. It's Lincolns job to monitor company emails and he can't help but feel like he's getting to know Beth and Jennifer, even though they've never met before.

I thought this was a fun idea and I think Rowell pulled it off rather brilliantly. She has away of capturing and expressing the vulnerability in her characters without making them feel weak. I liked this one!

Every Secret Thing by Susanna Kearsley
Mystery, Thriller

While on assignment in a foreign country, Kate is approached by an old man who makes a passing comment about her grandmother. After the brief conversation she's left wondering more but it's too late as he's struck and killed by a hit and run car. She can't leave it be and starts uncovering a story about her beloved grandmother and a man she never knew, but must have been a bigger part of her grandmothers life. Some one is trying to keep things hidden though as the trail turns even more dangerous and deadly.

I read this one for book club and liked it okay. The plot sounded fascinating but I felt like it took too many turns and at some points got a bit confusing how she kept figuring things out and how one person was involved in the plot. Maybe if I had more time to really jump in I could have focused better. 

The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopian 

Kestrel is the general's daughter and is supposed to get married or join the army, though she wants neither, At the auction she unexpectedly finds Arin, a slave up for bid, and buys him. 

An interesting world. Deep characters. A rich story. I want to reread it. (FYI the first in a series, and it just came out so the next couple will be along but are not out yet.)

As You Are by Sarah M. Eden
Regency Romance, Clean, Historical Fiction

Corbin Jonquil comes from a large powerful family. He's always been more comfortable in the stables with his horses and just blending in.  But when Mrs. Clara Bentford is new in the neighborhood he takes notice and wants her to notice him. His brothers all suggest ways to catch her eye but none of them are him and Corbin and Clara fumble around each other. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love anything by Sarah M. Eden. Her characters are vivid and full and interesting. She's a great storyteller and her writing is engaging. Usually when I pick up her books I can't put them down until I'm done. I've read these completely out of order, which I haven't minded but if you haven't started yet, the first one was is Friends and Foes.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Marriage Monday: Deal with Conflict

"In all kinds of relationships, people have conflict and disagreements and hurt one another's feelings. What determines the success of the relationship is the way people deal with conflict." 
-John and Julie Gottman

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Marriage Monday: Priority

Scheduling sex doesn't take the romance out of it, it just makes it a priority in your marriage.

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Marriage Monday: Opposite of Loneliness

The opposite of loneliness is not togetherness it's intimacy. -Richard Bach

How can you cultivate intimacy in your own relationship? 
What can you this week to create more intimacy within your marriage?

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Marriage Monday: Each Other

Learn to love and appreciate the good in each other.

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Marriage Monday: Expressions of Love

Expressions of Love


Don't withhold those natural expressions of love.

Express gratitude for what your spouse does for you. Express that love and gratitude often. That will make life far richer and more pleasant and purposeful.                                       --Richard G. Scott

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Reading Report June and July 2014

What I read in June and July 2014

Below Stairs by Margaret Powell
Historical Fiction, Non fiction, Biography

Recalling her times as a servant in 1920s England. Starting at the bottom and moving and working her way up the ranks of servants. 

Read this one for book club and really enjoyed it. If you like books or shows with regency themes this is very interesting. It's not totally fluid but a small flaw. I haven't watched either show on the books cover but if you've seen those I think you'd like this book even more. 

Defy by Sara B. Larson
Fantasy, Young Adult

To fight for her life Alexa disguises herself as Alex and joins the kings army. As one of the best swordsmen in the land she earns a spot in the princes guard. Prince Damien is abducted and Alex and fellow guard Rylan must risk their lives for the prince and the country they love.

A debut novel by Larson, she builds an interesting society that will be fun to see where it can lead in the rest of the series. 

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Young Adult, Contemporary

There's a hat box in her closet that she keeps the letters she writes to each of the boys she's had a crush on. These boys never knew she had crushes on them. After being confronted at school by one of her past crushes she discovers the box's contents have been mailed to each boy. She must now face what her heart once felt. 

I liked the way Han crafted this one. It could have been cheesy or watered down but I thought she crafted her characters well and I enjoyed the plot. 

Infinity + One by Amy Harmon
New Adult, Contemporary

Clyde and Bonnie Rae are lost souls who find each other, but can they help each other find themselves?

I love all of the Amy Harmon books I've read so far and this one was no exception. Fun plot idea and great characters. If you're interested in trying another one by her, check out Running Barefoot or A Different Blue.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Marriage Monday: Vibrant Marriages

Vibrant marriages always strive to give the very best of themselves.

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Reading Report May 2014

June was Audiobook month
My guiltly pleasure :)

Just so happened I went on daily 1-2 hour long walks in May so I listened to several on audio (which would have worked out beautifully if I'd actually gotten this posted up in June, haha). I also have a goodreads shelf here: Cranberryfries Audiobook listens.

 What I read in May 2014

Between the Lines by Tammara Webber
Young Adult, Contemporary

Emma just landed the lead role in a new big film opposite the fan girls favorite Reid. He's got a past to deal with and she's new to the lifestyle and trying to balance her old life. Plus there's Graham, another costar. 

An interesting story line perhaps but for me but I felt  the dialogue and plot movements were too watered down. Big (adult) themes for a book that couldn't hold my interest as an adult.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Fiction, Contemporary, Adult

Lou is very content in her very ordinary life. So when she loses her job it shakes her world. 
Wills forced into his ordinary life and he's done with it. 
But Lou meets Will. And Will starts to laugh again. 

I had a riot of emotions through this book. I love Lou. I loved this story telling.  I think I'm at an age/time in my life that I could appreciate (to more of a degree I could have 2 years ago) so much the quality of life aspect Will is forced to live everyday. Certainly made me ponder on life.

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Middle Grade, Classic

Sam moves to his grandfathers old land to live off the earth. He must find all the necessities; food, water, shelter, on his own.

I bought this to read with my daughter but she wasn't interested at the time. A fun look though at what life is like trying to do it alone. Perseverance. Optimism. Risks and chances. 

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright
Historical Fiction, Culture

Ki and Sang live in a village in a dump with their small, sick baby. Everyday they sift through the garbage for recyclables to earn money.  The Rent Collector demands the rent though the family has recently suffered some major hurdles. 

This book was recommended to me several times and my step mom even handed me her copy and it sat on my dresser for a few months. I just couldn't muster the interest. However it was our bookclub pick so I finally read it and LOVED it! The first 1/4 of the book was difficult to muddle through (because it's just hard to read about how desperate they are), but so worth it as it's a beautifully told story.

When It Happens by Susane Colasanti
Contemporary, Young Adult 

Sarah and Tobey are Seniors so they have a big year of figuring out what is next and of course it's high school so who to date.

I've read a couple from her before and they were ok. I like stories that have two  narrators. This one was interesting because we get specific information we clearly couldn't have gotten from only hearing one side. However this one honestly annoyed me. So cliche' and extreme in places it made me roll my eyes.

Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

A look into how Wall Street used to be and how it changed with the knowledge of what the internet really was capable of. 

This is the author that wrote Money Ball so I was intrigued about reading another book from him. Given that I know nothing about stocks and trading I was a tad confused at first but this book was incredibly fascinating! It highlights a few key players in the different firms in the exchange so we get a bit of their story and their working history and also how the market changed so drastically in the last several years.

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Young Adult, Contemporary

Emily and Sloane are best friends who knew how to have a lot of fun together. Only, one day, there's no trace of where Sloane has disappears to. Only a to-do list she left behind for Emily. They're just crazy enough Emily believes that if she finishes each one it'll help her find Sloane.

Morgan Matson is one of my most favorite authors ever. (If  you know me, you know this, as I recommend her books to everyone.) She has deep, quirky, totally everyday characters coupled with fun, wild, totally everyday plots. I enjoyed this one.

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf
Contemporary, Suspense

One very early morning Callie (a selective mute) and best friend Petra have been discovered missing. Callie's mother Antonia denies it could be her husband but now fears that her choice to stay married has cost her her daughters voice. 

A good cast of characters that all have a deep story. An interesting read even though it was a bit dark. I liked this one.

When I Found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Fiction, Contemporary

On an ordinary day Nathan finds a newborn baby in the woods, rescuing it. The baby's sent off to his grandmothers and Nathan asks that one day he can meet the boy.  Years and years later Nathan assumes his request ignored or forgotten when a boy and a suitcase show up on his doorstep.

This was such a bizarre story line to me but completely fascinating. The story spans almost a lifetime which could be difficult for some authors but I felt Hyde did a good job with it. I liked this one.

The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan
Historical Fiction, Culture

Wininie and Helen know each others deepest secrets. Helen thinks herself to be dying so she wants to tell all but Winnie believes it's her right to tell her daughter the secrets of her past.

Read this one quickly for book club. The discussion was fascinating and I'd like to reread this one and give it more attention the second time through.