The Clover House

June 1, 2015 at 10:56 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , )

15798318Title: The Clover House

Author: Henriette Lazaridis Power

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Length: 397 pages

It took me much longer than it should have to read this book. It has the vibe of a Kate Morton novel, but didn’t quite enrapture me in the same way – mostly because I am preoccupied.  It’s possibly ironic because this preoccupation was along the same vein of that of the main character – but I was left unmoved.

It’s the slipperiness of memory that caught my attention though.  How some people remember things so drastically different than other people who were right there in the same room.  How perceptions are changed by knowledge.  How ignorance is not always bliss, but can be if you let it.

I think more than anything, the book was good, but perhaps I wasn’t ready for it.  And if I was, perhaps I’m just not ready to discuss it.  Don’t be surprised if I bring it up six months from now, once I’ve digested it all.

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Grandmother’s Cabin

July 23, 2014 at 5:31 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Grandmother's CabinTitle: Grandmother’s Cabin
Author & Illustrator: Angela Rout (@mamacomic on twitter)
Genre: Children’s Picture Book

We received this book in the mail from the author right before I left on my book signing tour to San Antonio.  I was mean, I was so excited about it, I made kiddo wait until I got back from my trip.  Daddy was under strict orders that this book was not to be read while I was away.

I thought about it while I was away a lot.  All the colors of the front cover kept coming to mind while I was faced with all the colors of San Antonio.

It was worth the waP1020726it.  Grandmother’s Cabin lived up to my own mental hype.  Kiddo snuggled up in my lap last night and settled in for the new book to review, ready with opinions.

It seems to be a snugly sort of book in general, my favorite kind, as during story time today everyone was reaching for their mothers and trying to get into laps.  That’s not typically the case with other stories.  Instinctively, children know: this book is for families and heritage, and appreciation of the good things that calm our souls.

The front cover is simply one of many exciting illustrations.  The further into the story you get, the richer the images, and more vibrant the colors – or maybe it’s the story that makes me feel like they’re richer and more vibrant…

Rout maintains a splash of color on the right side of the page and ornate pencil sketches on the left side along with the text.

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It’s whimsical, magical, and even won a “Moonbeam” award.  If that doesn’t sound mysteriously romantic, I don’t know what does.

P1020722Dedicated to all things grandmothery and cozy, the book is about spiritual healing found by looking back to your ancestors, finding comfort in tea, and relaxing with a good book and favorite activity.

“I like to paint too!” My kiddo squealed when Grandmother revealed an easel and paint tray among the tropical forest.

When Grandmother did her super hero pose, Kiddo did hers too.  Later when we went over the discussion questions Rout provides on the last page, Kiddo answered that she wants to be like Grandmother.  “I can heal like Grandmother – by licking – like Helo.”  Helo is the dog.  Clearly, my child needs more grandmother interaction and less puppy play.

“When I’m happy I don’t fly high in the sky,” Kiddo lamented.  “And I get sad when I’m sick.  And I get upset when Dad plays with MY frisbees.”  Well, then.

Finally, I read the last question to my daughter:

Grandmother’s love makes Mother feel happy. How can we connect with our ancestors and our loved ones who have lived before us?  What can we do to help them be of service to us? As an example some people tell stories, remember them, pray for them, learn about them, or celebrate their accomplishments.  What does your family do?

“Walk in the woods.  I like to walk in the woods,” my child responded wisely.  Yes, my darling, we do.  And that’s why this book spoke to us from the front cover alone.  Coffee and Tea Cups, Books, Paint Brush, Foliage… what more could a gal need to feel restful and restored?

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Grandmother’s Cabin is lovely and enriching.  It opens up a topic of discussion many people believe to be beyond what children can handle, but it’s perfect, and the children I’ve read this book to today handled it with grace and curiosity.

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I read children’s books at the Half Price Books in Humble every Wednesday throughout the summer, starting at 10:30 am.  Many of these titles are plucked from the shelf and are available for purchase right then and there.  Some of what I read and share come from a publisher or an author and might not otherwise be readily discovered.  Like today, Grandmother’s Cabin was sent to me from an author in Calgary, Alberta.  If you have kiddos, live in the area and wish to join us, please do.

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Mother’s Day

May 11, 2014 at 7:03 am (In So Many Words) (, , , , , , , )

This is my third mother’s day – fourth if you’re one of those people that count mother’s day when you’re pregnant because you’re a mother from the first heartbeat.  I believe in life from the moment of conception, but I wasn’t really thinking of myself as a mother yet.  I didn’t really feel like a mother until I was nursing and changing diapers and praying I didn’t screw it up.

Preggo me with fam

Me & Ayla Day One

Although this blog began as a book review blog, it is still a blog and by definition it is an online diary.  Which means it contains not just one of my passions, but all of them.  Books, Kung Fu, Cycling, and now, of course, for the last three years – mothering.

Being a mother, for me, has meant that I have found every possible way to make half my previous yearly income from home.  I’m not quite making half as my book sales are chronically lean because it’s in the wrong category on Amazon.  I’m a little conceited about the beauty of its cover and enticing back jacket blurb and think it would sell like hotcakes if only the right people could find it by browsing.

Of course, being a mother has actually made it possible for me to finish writing a book in the first place.

Day in the Life 054Being a mother, for me, has meant that my book reviews take me twice as long to write because I used to be able to completely bury myself in a book until I felt like coming up for air.  Now, I don’t get to choose when I come up for air – that is usually chosen for me by a precocious three year old who will say things like, “Mommy, I need more juice.”  “Mommy, look, it’s echoes, like in the bathroom.” (After drawing a series of parenthesis like lines getting larger across the width of her chalkboard.)  “Mommy, I need a peanut butter sandwich.”  “Mommy, you be the orange dalek and I’ll be the white one – ‘Exterminate! Exterminate!” (While dancing rubber Daleks across my kitchen table.) “Mommy, I want to learn something.  Can we do a lesson?” “Mommy, can you teach me my letters now?”  I love my tiny, vocal, human who will assert her needs and remind me to read to her at every turn and not neglect her schooling.

At the dock 6Being a mother, for me, means endless beautiful walks in the woods.  Miles and miles of trails, flower picking, foraging, bird-watching, and outdoor story time.  It means multiple trips to the park, the lake, the grocery store, bookstores, and libraries.  It means art projects, painting, dancing, extra house cleaning just for the fun of letting her sweep and mop knowing I’ll have to do it again.  It means demonstrating all of your passions, all your talents, all your dreams, and all your healthy habits to a small person who is watching your every move and gathering every ounce of information she can from it all.

Being a mother has meant seeing this little girl go from this:

Ayla

To this:

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In what can simultaneously be equated to a blink of an eye and the longest three years of my life.

I didn’t think I’d be a mother.  But I’m enjoying it immensely.

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