Friday, October 30, 2015

From India to CA

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
: April 5th 2011 by William Morrow Paperbacks
First Published: March 15th 201
I had several friends that loved this book, which is why I wanted to read it in the first place. So while I may want to say I was surprised by how much I loved it, that isn't quite the case. Instead I went into it expecting to fall for it, and that's exactly what happened.

Starting with a tiny detail, I really loved that the main character, the secret daughter, was exactly my age. Obviously it's a little thing, but it made it easy to tell how old she was as time moved in the story. Also while I really don't feel that old, you could definitely tell how much has changed since the 80s by reading the chapters from that time period.

Slightly less superficial, I loved the scenes in India. It's a country I'm really curious about, although I haven't read very much about it, so I loved getting to experience it through these words.

Most important to the book were the characters and the story. It's a book I couldn't seem to stop reading and one that brought me to tears. It's actually been a while since I've finished reading it (I've actually finished reading two other books since), but even so it's one that's still fresh in my mind and I imagine will continue to be for quite a long time.


Monday, October 26, 2015

10 Months Update

You are 10 months old!
10 Months
Without any official stats this much, most of the things we use to watch your size are still pretty much the same. You're wearing a mix of 6 and 9 month clothing. You're still in size 3 diapers and wear your bumgenuises with one row unsnapped at the legs and 2 rows unsnapped at the waist.
Have a sweet new year to you and yours! #lshanatovah
Heading to Rosh Hashanah Services, September 14
In addition to your two vampire teeth (which I many not have actually mentioned last month), you have a one that's popped through on the bottom and another that's on its way for a total of 4ish teeth.
Chewing on Keys
September 27
You're still on the move and cruise around the furniture with ease. You've even started to use your walker to get around the room. But you aren't quite ready to really walk without holding onto something.
photo 3
October 1
You continue to be obsessed with food and will scream at Mommy and Daddy if they're eating without you. One of your favorites lately seems to be yogurt (which Mommy thinks is kind of weird since she thinks it's gross). And while we aren't really keeping track of your new foods anymore, you did have peanut butter this month without any reactions.
Trying Peanut Butter
Trying Peanut Butter, October 3
As for a few firsts, you had your first set of high holy days and got to meet a few other babies at children's services. You also spent Mommy's birthday at your first LSU football game, watching LSU beat South Carolina. We're definitely making sure to turn you into a Tigers fan early.
Going Shopping, October 3
It's so hard to believe that you're getting so close to being 1-year-old. Where did this year go?!?! But as quickly as the year has flown, I know that the next ones are going to go by even quicker so I definitely want to savor the last bit of your babyhood while I still can.
Celebrating my 31st
October 10
1 Month Old2 Months OldIMG_3341
1 Month ~ 2 Months~3 Months
4 Months ~ 5 Months ~ 6 Months
7 Months ~ 8 Months ~ 9 Months

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Choosing the Chosen

Between Gods by Alison Pick
: October 20, 2015 by Harper Perennial
I've read a lot of memoirs on all type of subjects, except none of them have moved me as much as this day. I couldn't seem to put it down, which in some ways makes me a little sad, because I wish I was still reading it.

Alison Pick, the author, is the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. Except when her grandparents escaped to Canada, they lived as Christians in an attempt to fit in and forget about what they lost. Both Alison, and her father, were raised as Christian, except as Alison is researching her newest book she starts to explore her family's past. She's on the eve of getting married and becoming a mother, which I think is part of the reason why figuring our her own faith is so important to her.

Being raised Jewish I know all the holidays and customs. I can sing the prayers and retell the stories. Except most of the Jewish education happened as a child, which is quite a bit different than learning it as an adult. In some ways I'm a bit jealous of Alison. As she talked about the books she read and the classes she took, it makes me want to explore my own faith in a similar way. And while I'm so happy I was raised Jewish, there is something to be said of making that decision yourself and wanting to convert.

Going into this I knew I would like it, but I didn't expect to love it. It's actually inspired me to read some of the fictional books she's written as well as the non-fiction ones mentioned (written by Anita Diamat who I actually have read before). But more than that it also made me think, and be a little more introspective.


Disclosure: I was provided this book through TLC Book Tours. All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Mailbox Monday (120)

It's officially my birthday week! I know birthdays are supposed to get less exciting as you get older, and while I may not necessarily like the getting older part, I still like the celebrating me part. Of course, I'll have to get through this week first, but till then here's a look at the books that have recently joined our household.
Mailbox Monday
From PJ Library
Shai's Shabbat Walk by Ellie G. Gellman
This book is about a boy who takes a walk on a Shabbat afternoon and see all types of things that remind him of what you do on Shabbat (rest, sing, tell stories...) It's a cute little book. I especially love how Shai has his teddy bear with him in each picture.

From TLC Book tours
Between Gods by Alison Pick
Continuing on the Jewish theme, this book is a memoir where the author is the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. Except after they escaped to Canada, as a way to escape their past they lived as Christians instead. In this book Alison writes about how her grandparents decision impacted her and how she decided to explore her Jewish identity. I'm actually about a quarter of the way through this one now, and while I was expecting to enjoy it (why would I have agreed to review it otherwise?), so far it's been even better than anticipated.

What did you find in your mailbox this week?

Also while you're here, don't forget to enter my giveaway to win a copy of The Determined Heart by Antoinette May!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

{Giveaway} The Tale of Mary Shelley and her Frankenstein

The Determined Heart by Antoinette May
: September 29, 2015 by Lake Union Publishing
I love reading historical fiction books about historical figures. (I almost want to call them biopics, but that doesn't make sense since they aren't movies. So maybe biobooks?) I really enjoy learning new things about historical figures, and I'd rather read it in a fictional tale since I love having a story there as well.

Of course, there is a fine line between biography and "biobook", and when you cross over it's hard to fix, something I've experienced in several books lately. I think sometimes there's a need to put in as much fact as possible, that the story gets a little lost, which is the case here. There is so much detail about Mary Shelley's life and everything that happens to her that it feels like the majority of the book takes place over her entire life. Yet instead it's really only 4 or 5 years of her life, if that, which is almost unbelievable considering how much happened.

I realize this hasn't been the most positive way to start this review, which wasn't my intention, because I actually liked this book. I loved seeing the events that shaped Mary's life and lead her to write Frankenstein. I loved hearing pieces of the public's reaction to it. But was only a small piece of the book.

Instead so much of the book was about Mary's relationships, with her husband, sister, step-sister, children, and friends including the poet Lord Byron. Again here, I actually feel like I got to know so many of the characters that made up Mary's life, but there were almost too many and it was a little too much. There were just so many players and so much that was always happening that it was hard to keep up.

I feel somewhat conflicted writing this review. So much of what I enjoying reading historical fiction was here, and yet in some ways it was too much of a good thing. I can at least say that I know far more about Mary Shelley than I ever would have anticipated, and don't see myself forgetting her or this book.


I have one copy of The Determined Heart to giveaway to one lucky reader. (US and Canada only.) Please use the rafflecopter form below to enter.
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Disclosure: I was provided this book through TLC Book Tours. All opinions expressed are my own.