Posted in Reading, reviews, Women, World War II

Winter Garden: A Review

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a short blogcation last week. I’m halfway done with my second WIP of the summer and I’m excited about this one just as much as I was excited about the first one I finished. I’m also back to work. Sob. Summer is over.

I didn’t get all three books done like I planned. Sigh. However, that can be summed up in one word. Kids. 🙂

So to ease myself back into the blogosphere. I thought I’d share my thoughts on one of the books I read over the summer. The title is “Winter Garden” by Kristen Hannah. The cover and blurb are below.

 

Winter Garden by [Hannah, Kristin]

Can a woman ever really know herself if she doesn’t know her mother? 

From the author of the smash-hit bestseller Firefly Lane and True Colors comes a powerful, heartbreaking novel that illuminates the intricate mother-daughter bond and explores the enduring links between the present and the past 

Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard; the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time—and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya’s life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother’s life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.

 

My Thoughts:

 

I loved this story. It was emotional and well written like all of Kristen Hannah’s books are. The first one of her books I read was “The Nightingale” and it was good, too. In “Winter Garden” the main characters are two sisters who are polar opposites. One who takes on all the responsibilities of her family orchard and one who runs away.  She does a great job of showing their two distinct personalities and the conflicts they incur because of them.

This is a tale of a complicated relationship between a mother and her two daughters. The mother is cold and unloving and her daughters resent this, but as the story unfolds, they learn the heartbreaking story of why their mother is so reserved. They come to understand her and understand the love their father had for her.  They also grow to love her.

I don’t want to give too much away so I won’t give away any more details, but I will say there is a surprise twist at the end so have your tissues handy!

If you’re looking to add something to your TBR pile for the long winter months. This would be a great addition. How about you? Have you read any good books this summer that you’d like to share? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Posted in Uncategorized

Blogcation

 

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. I’m taking a Blogcation Day today. I’ve been very busy with my writing, back to school, and birthdays so I’ve got to have a day of rest. (pant, pant)

So, I’ll be back next week for our regularly scheduled programming! 🙂

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

 

 

 

 

Posted in kindness

Kindness Matters

 

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’ve been busy working on my latest WIP and polishing the manuscript I just finished. I ran across an article on Facebook when I was in the middle of revising. Yes. I’m trying to stay away from social media so I get more done, but some days I’m better at it than others. But I digress. Today I’d like to talk about Mob Mentality.

 

Photo via Visualhunt.com

The event that inspired this post is an article about a new release coming out. Here’s the link to the article here:  Article about the Book Review

 

This all started over a review about the story, “The Black Witch.” One reviewer didn’t like the book and she wrote about it on her blog. It offended her. She’s entitled to write about her reaction to the story, but what happened afterward is sad.

Many other bloggers and many of her followers jumped on the band wagon and criticized the book even though they hadn’t read it. This is what I mean by a mob mentality. People joining in on the criticism even though they had no idea if what this blogger said was true. So, a book that had a popular buzz going ended up tanking because of this blogger and the people who jumped on the band wagon.

Photo credit: Dave_B_ via Visual hunt / CC BY

I think this is unfortunate, but I’m not here to complain about that. I wonder if mob mentality is something we can use to spread kindness. Let’s think about it. We know it exists so let’s use it for good instead of evil. What do you think? Is it possible?

I don’t know. But I’m willing to find out. Why can’t some form of kindness go viral? Why is it always something negative? I know negativity sells, but we could turn that around, too. Don’t you think?

 

Photo credit: duncan via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC

What if a bunch of us bloggers got together and wrote posts about kindness?  How it matters. The positive impact it has on our lives. Anything like that, and we used a hashtag like #kindnessmatters. I wonder if we could get it to go viral.

 

Photo credit: Steve.r via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC

Wouldn’t that be something? Just think if we could start a positive vibe. I wonder what the ripple effect would be?  Well, there’s only one way to find out. Is there anyone who’d be interested in getting together and doing this? I’m thinking maybe we could write a post once a week about an act of kindness we preformed or one we received. The more bloggers who get involved the bigger the ripple. What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let me know. I’m up for it, are you?

Posted in Health

The Benefits of Forest-Bathing

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week. We went on a quick vacation to Tahquamenon Falls and had a good time. We hiked along the river and got some great pictures. I love getting out into nature, it’s so calming and good for you, too! Experts are calling it Forest bathing.

IMG_20170802_114710367_HDR

I mentioned it last week in a post and I thought I’d dig a little deeper. Forest bathing originated in Japan where it is called Shinrin-Yoku. Why is walking through a forest beneficial for us?

That is a very good question. The reason traipsing through the woods is good for us is because we inhale phytoncides when we breathe in the forest. These are antimicrobial volatile compounds derived from trees.

 

Photo via Visual Hunt

These phytoncides are released by the trees and plants as a defense mechanism against fungus, bacteria, and even animals. These compounds are good for humans as well. According to one study, they enhanced the destructive mechanism in our cells that kill the cell when its time has run out. It also enhanced the anti-cancer proteins production.  Now that is good news.

To put this in layman’s terms, breathing in phytoncides enhances our own natural defenses.  I think this is incredible. It supports the theory that we’re all connected, with each other, and with nature. Wouldn’t you agree?

Not only is forest bathing physically healthy it’s also psychologically good for us, too. It has been found to be advantageous to people who are dealing with chronic stress. I can attest to the stress-relieving benefits of walking through nature, but now I have scientific proof. Yay Me! For more info about this, check out this post from Huffington Post.

Huffington Post

It’s important in our hustle and bustle world that we teach our kids how to take care of themselves, and one of the things we need to teach them is how to decompress. Not only is forest bathing a great way to relieve stress, it’s a great way to reconnect with your family. It’s important to reconnect with our loved ones. It’s vital to everyone’s psychological health.

 

Photo via VisualHunt.com

So get out into the forest and get moving! It’s good for your body and your soul. Thanks for stopping by, I’d love to hear your thoughts on forest bathing so leave a comment. Or maybe you have other stress relieving habits you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you!