My bookclub read The Hideaway by Lauren Denton and though the group was mixed on their opinions, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Sara, a woman in her late 20’s/early 30’s inherits an old house that belonged to her late grandmother, Maggie. Throughout the novel, we learn about each of their lives, the hits and misses, romances and relationships. Sara thought she knew all about her grandmother but as an adult she was able to discover The Hideaway a side of her few knew had existed. It is a bittersweet novel, as Sara realized Maggie was so much more than just her grandmother. It is hard to describe what seems like an obvious observation, that a younger Maggie had a full and extensive life before Sara or even Sara’s mother, was born. This realization give Sara the courage to trust her herself to make risky decisions about her own life. She had been living in a sheltered existence, avoiding reality while pretending that she was happy and fulfilled.
The Hideaway will make you think about the people in your life, past and present, and wonder how well you know them. It made me wish I could go back and ask my grandparents more questions about their earlier lives. Written well, going back and forth between the two time periods, readers will find themselves drawn into both stories and I think, find the end satisfying.
I work in an office that teaches students about professionalism in the work place, as well as other career related topics. We have a range of staff from leadership to student employee, with about eight people supervising the full-time staff, to another six to eight who supervise graduate and undergraduate students. With so many supervisors and staffs, there are often conversations about managerial style and employee work and productivity.
Ask a Manager is direct and offers simple advice for a multitude of scenarios, from both the employer and employee perspectives. Some of the situations are extreme and others are common, almost mundane. Having both types demonstrates the idiosyncrasies within all industries and recognizes different personalities. Though ideal for someone new to the field, it is a good refresher for those who have worked for a while too. Definitely recommend and perhaps a good choice for someone who recently became a supervisor or manager.
(I received a free copy of this book from Amazon and have provided an objective review)
Jamie’s cat MacGyver is super intuitive to her moods and feelings, more than the typical cat. In addition, he is pretty smart, able to figure out how to escape his house to explore the neighborhood where they moved to. The book follows Jamie’s year without a man, while she figures out her life after deciding to have a career change. She came to realize that she was putting her needs and interests behind those of the men she dated and lost herself in the process. The story occurs over the course of a year, and we get to experience her ups and downs along the way. She makes new friends and discoveries, allowing her to find her path and contentment along the way. Definitely a good book for cat fans, as well as those who like books with a romantic plot line.
The Power of Moments, authored by brothers Chip and Dan Heath, outlines ways we can introduce defining moments in our lives. Whether at work or home, with individuals or groups, kids or adults, the ideas introduced in the book can be adapted and applied. Broken into four sections: Elevation, Insight, Pride, and Connections, the authors define their terms, give examples of when these work, and steps to implement them in our own lives.
As I read the book I kept imagining what I could do with co-workers, clients, and family members. How could I establish a tradition or create a memory so impactful, it would resonate for years? Some of the ideas are fairly simple and cost effective; others are more elaborate and could be cost prohibitive. Yet, I still felt like the advice is manageable and relevant for a wide array of people. After finishing the book, I discovered a link to a website for additional ideas, a newsletter, and once I signed up for the newsletter, an email address for the authors. I sent a note with a question and to my delight, Chip responded within hours. It is always appreciated when an author answers an email, and even more so, in such a short period of time. I look forward to trying out his personal suggestions based on a situation I described. Lastly, I am a fan of the Freakanomics series, as well as books by Malcolm Gladwell, like the Tipping Point, which resonate with me in similar ways. Based on other reviewer’s comments, it looks like I will now be reading other books by the Heaths. I already bought another one and look forward to using the information in that one too.
( I was provided a copy of the book by Net Galley in order to write an objective review.)
After reading the short blurb about Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, I was highly intrigued about the plot and the writing. I was fascinated by the idea of a children’s home stealing kids and selling them off to the highest bidder. However, once I began reading, I was unprepared for how distressing main character Rill’s story would turn out to be. I actually could not finish it, knowing that horrible fates likely awaited Rill and her siblings. Perhaps I am too shallow, but reading the book and anticipating what would be happening to the kids, as well as the torture the parents felt over losing their children, was not an option for me. As a parent, I had great difficulty reading about subjects such as children being separated from the only family they know, about a child being abusively punished for bed wetting, about lies being told while children were used as pawns.
So I do recommend the book for those interested in realistic fiction, who have a stronger stomach than me. I think there are many well written pieces and the author does a commendable job outlining the plot, using a mystery as a good device to share this past atrocity. Friends and my book club read the book and though they thought it was upsetting, were glad they read it.
Between the TidesWhile on vacation, I decided to read Between the Tides. However, this is not your typical beach read; instead, it is thought provoking and compelling. The main character, Cappy (nickname from Catherine), is 30 years old and facing life as a recent orphan, most recently losing her father within the past year. He requested his ashes be strewn in the river of her childhood home, a town she lived in till she was 12 and tragedy struck. The idea of returning to Seaboro 18 years later is overwhelming and beyond comprehension. However, after determining she must in fact do it, she and a friend (former boyfriend Forrest) take the trip, a five hour car ride away.
While in Seaboro, Cappy discovers she did not know her father nearly as well as she initially believed, learning about secrets and aspects of his life she did not foresee or fathom. She also faces her own identify crisis, coming to terms with the incident that drove the family from town. As an adult, Cappy has kept just about everyone at arm’s length, and those walls are forced to crumble upon learning information about her past and even her present situation. In less than a week, Cappy must make unexpected, life altering decisions regarding her own future, as well as those she loves.
Henry’s writing is well done; the sentences flow easily and she integrates prose and quotes effortlessly into the text. Cappy’s father speaks to the concept that one’s life is a story and that one can learn about your own life from different published tales as well. This lesson had been lost on Cappy for the past 18 years, but she comes to an understanding of him and his intentions as the plot unfolds. There are some plot elements that wil not surprise the reader and will actually validate the feelings about the characters; I think readers will find the storyline well constructed and appropriately designed. The book is left open to consider a sequel with some of the side characters, should Henry wish to explore their stories as much as Cappy’s.
Side note: I met the author in summer 2017 when discussing one of her newer books. She is an engaging speaker and captivated the audience with her authentic tone and stories about her family and childhood. I plan on reading Henry’s other books and sharing them with friends.