Thursday, July 17, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry


ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):

Winner of the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, the Agatha Award for Best First Novel, and the Mary Higgins Clark Award

When she sees what looks like a child tumbling from a ferry into frigid Lake Champlain, Troy Chance dives in without thinking. When she gets the child to shore she discovers that his name is Paul, he speaks only French—and no one seems to be looking for him.

Her determination to protect Paul pulls Troy from her quiet life in a small Adirondack town into an unfamiliar world of wealth and privilege in Canada and then in Vermont. Her attachment to him—and the danger she faces when she tries to unravel the mystery of his abandonment—force her to evaluate everything she thought true about herself.

Sara J. Henry's riveting, award-winning debut will keep readers engrossed right up to its shattering conclusion.

MY REVIEW:

I'd never heard of this book or the author before, but I accidentally came across it somewhere and it sounded interesting so I thought I would give it a try.  I could not put this book down.  The story grabbed me from the very beginning and then there was mystery, suspense and a subtle romance that kept me hooked until the very end.

Troy Chance is the heroine who rescues a young boy and then makes some risky decisions in order to keep him safe. As she discovers more about who he is and where he came from, she also discovers more about herself.  There is a twist toward the end that might be slightly unbelievable, but it's easy to forgive because the story is just that good.

I recommend this book primarily for women who enjoy fiction and I would definitely read anything else by Sara J. Henry.




Friday, July 11, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

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ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):

Award-winning author Gretchen Rubin is back with a bang, with The Happiness Project. The author of the bestselling 40 Ways to Look at Winston Churchill has produced a work that is “a cross between the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love.” (Sonya Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want) In the vein of Julie and Julia, The Happiness Project describes one person’s year-long attempt to discover what leads to true contentment. Drawing at once on cutting-edge science, classical philosophy, and real-world applicability, Rubin has written an engaging, eminently relatable chronicle of transformation.

MY REVIEW:

A friend recommended this book to me awhile back and I'm glad I finally read it.  I think the idea of a "happiness project" is intriguing.

Rubin conducted her "happiness project" over the course of a year, with one "resolution" per month.  Her plan was to tackle one resolution at a time and build upon those resolutions throughout the year. Some of her resolutions included: boost energy, make time for friends, and pursue a passion.  She went into detail on each one about how she would accomplish those "resolutions" (she cautions the reader not to view them as "goals" which can be accomplished once and then we move on to something else, but rather these are resolutions that she will continue to strive to keep over time).

I connected a lot with Rubin as she discussed her husband and her kids and balancing work/life as a working mother. She is a likable person with a positive energy that she wants to spread to others.  I felt inspired to start my own happiness project and may even use some of her examples (like cleaning out the clutter in my house and getting my birthday calendar organized!).

One of my biggest take-aways from this book was that our general mood affects those around us - in our home, in our work environment, in our social media communities, etc.  Wherever we are on the happiness scale, there is always room to move up higher, and when we choose do that, we can have an impact on everyone around us.  Why not give it a try?