Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown

Life wins again, Dear Bloggites. :-/  I finished this book in October when it was the actual Books & Broads Book Club monthly choice, but am just now able to write this review.  The October Book Club book choice was The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James BrownI must admit, I was leery about reading this one because it was yet another book set in WWII and has Hitler as a feature due to the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  Fortunately, I rallied on and found that I loved this book!  My goodness, I was so surprised at what I read in this book because most of the Book Club members did not like this book and a few did not read it (yet).  I did go into this book thinking of it as a story about relationships through hard times thanks to the lovely Alice who enjoyed this book (I believe it was Alice, if not, please do not flog me friends).

Going into the story with the focus on relationships, I had the proper eyes to read this book and see all the amazing things about this story.  Daniel James Brown shared this amazing non-fiction story told from the eyes of one of the key members of the rowing team that fought their way to the Olympics against all odds.  While the author does go into a lot of technical elements of rowing and how the boats are built, I enjoyed reading the information because I am always loving to learn new things about the world around me.

The story focuses on nine young American college boys who joined the college rowing team.  All the boys are from many different walks of life and on different journeys in their lives, but managed to form a bond so tight that it dissolved the differences between them and forged the similarities that affected them throughout their lives.  These young men worked hard to obtain the right to go represent America in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and once there, won the gold medal against Hitler’s massive rowing team.

Throughout the novel, you are taken on an emotional journey of love, fear, joy, hate, and insurmountable dedication to achieve the dreams of these young men – a better life and a gold medal from the Olympics.  The relationships that the author highlighted throughout the novel between the boys and their family and friends, gave an intimate insight into life in the 1930s and how Americans lived during the depression and WWII.

The only fault I found in this book was that there were times that the technical repetition of how to row a boat throughout the book became a little daunting, but I believe it served a purpose to get the reader in the minds of the boys while rowing the boat as a team.  Overall, I loved this book and recommend it to those who love a real life, feel good story.

I give The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown 4 out of 5 Bookmarks! 🙂  Happy Reading, Dear Bloggites!  Smooches!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

This book review is on the Books & Broads Book Club August book choice: The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.  I must start off with the disclosure I have told you many times before, Dear Bloggites, I dislike reading war books, no matter the subject of the book, if it involves war, I can almost guarantee I won’t care for it (7 out of 10 times).  With that being said, (or written), here goes.

The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall KellyThe Lilac Girls follow three different women during the invasion of Germany and into WWII.  The three ladies are: Caroline Ferriday, an America socialite living in New York; Kasia Kuzmerick, A Polish teenager; and Herta Oberheuser, a young German doctor.  Caroline is a New York socialite who becomes involved with a French actor that is married.  Kasia lives a standard teenage life in Poland hanging out with her friends.  Herta is an up-and-coming female doctor trying to make her way in the world of only male doctors.  Once Germany invades Poland, the three lives are thrown into a whirlwind of fate that will ultimately cause their lives to cross in the most unexpected way.

Premise sounds really good, right?  You would think this was an exciting book to read and delve into, yes?  NO! NO! NO!  I was so beat down by this book and the war, yet again, as it went along.  Martha Hall Kelly writes the book from each point of view alternating chapters and it is written in first person (don’t get me started).  Now, the first person, I get (begrudgingly) because it allows the reader to fully engage in each woman’s personal life and thoughts on the world around them.

The downfall of the alternating points of view is that the author lost her rotation and you went from reading one woman, to the next woman, then the third balancing the alternation to reading one woman, to reading the next woman, then the next woman again, then finally the third.  This messed up alternation of chapters can confuse and break the reader’s engagement in the storyline.

The author did a good job in really ensuring her historical facts were correct and did give a disclosure on what was true events versus her freedom of imagination in the book.  I did appreciate that disclosure because so many times people will take great freedom with the facts of a historical work they are writing, that the reader, if unfamiliar with the time period, may actually believe all the events in the book are real.

If you are a historical fiction fan or a WWII fan or are fascinated with Hitler’s reign, this book is for you, but if not, I do not recommend you reading it.

I give The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly 2 out of 5 Bookmarks.  Happy Reading! 🙂

~4-Ever, P

Posted in #BloggiteBits Campaign

#BloggiteBits-Live F.U.L.L.Y.

Live F.U.L.L.Y.: Flourish in challenges, Unique outlook, Love unconditionally, Look for the humor, Youthful exuberance

#BloggiteBits-Live Fully
Live F.U.L.L.Y.

When you wake up in the morning, do you ever say, “Today I am going to live life fully to the best of my abilities!”?  Nah, I am sure you don’t, but what if you tried that one day?  In this installment of the ABCs of encouragement with the #BloggiteBits Campaign, I am going to challenge you to Live F.U.L.L.Y. each day of your life: Flourish in challenges, Unique outlook, Love unconditionally, Look for the humor, & Youthful exuberance.

Flourish in challenges: As crazy as this statement sounds, it is possible to flourish in challenges faced in your life.  Everyone has a choice when they are faced with something that is unfamiliar and challenging to them.  Those choices are to wither away and hide or face the fear and flourish.  Anytime you find yourself faced with a challenge, think of how you can turn the negative aspect of the challenge into something that is positive.  By finding the positive in a challenge, you allow yourself to look outside the proverbial box and flourish within that challenge.  Flourishing in a challenge could be something as simple as getting through it to the other side with minimal damage.  It can also mean getting through the challenge a stronger, more confident person than you were.  Either way, you still beat that challenge because it did not defeat you; you flourished because you defeated it.

Unique outlook: Most people who are living life fully have a unique outlook on it.  They are the ones that always seem to fight the status quo and find their own way.  To live life fully, you need to change your perception of what life should be and begin to make it what you want it to be.  Having a unique outlook in life just means to question everything.  Question why you are here, in this situation, at this precise moment in time.  By questioning the ‘norm’ you will begin to create your own unique outlook.  Once you have that unique outlook created, you will begin to truly live life fully.

Love unconditionally: We have all heard this phrase.  Loving unconditionally is hard for many people.  It is very rare to find someone willing to do something without any strings attached in this day and age.  The “me” mentality of people cause them to always look for some kind of leverage in all situations to make it beneficial to them.  In order to live fully in life, you need to stop thinking with the “me” mentality and trying to find what is in it for you.  Being able to love unconditionally frees a person because they are not waiting for the pay off, they are just living life fully.  Learning to love unconditionally takes practice and will challenge the most emotionally aware person out there.  If you do learn to love unconditionally, you will find yourself feeling freer than you have ever felt before and this freedom will begin to help you live life fully.

Look for the humor: People are waaaayyyy too serious.  Did you know that every situation has a humorous side to it?  No matter how bleak life may seem, look for the humor in it.  Laughter truly is the best medicine for the seriousness of life and when you look for the humor in life you begin to live fully in the moment.  Humor in serious situations does not take away from what is going on nor does it mean you do not realize the importance of the situation.  Looking for the humor is a good release for most people.  By breaking up the mood with something positive and humorous, no matter how fleeting, you will find that you are a bit more relaxed and able to cope better.

Youthful exuberance: This suggestion may seem off for the subject of living fully, but I feel having a youthful exuberance about life helps you live fully.  Think back on your childhood.  Were you carefree and excited about finding out what the day held for you when you first woke up?  Now, think about how you feel when you wake up as an adult.  Do you still feel that excitement about what lies ahead?  Probably not.  Having a youthful exuberance about life helps you look forward to whatever is in store for you each day.  Making yourself view life with a youthful exuberance each day will help you begin to live fully.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in #BloggiteBits Campaign

#BloggiteBits

Good Day, Dear Bloggites. 🙂  I know my last post was a rather melancholy one about my Dah (Dad), so I decided to share a bit about how I get through when life is throwing nasty screwballs my way.

I combat those screwballs by focusing on everything I have that is positive in my life.  Today, while I was musing over the way I cope, I thought, wouldn’t it be awesome to take that coping mechanism and spread out into the world?

I have always been a Brighter-Side kinda gal most of my life.  I believe in the greater good of a person’s heart versus the darker death-toll of their heart.  However, even though I look for the good in others, I am all too familiar with the darker side of them as well and see the potential danger in each person I meet on my Life Journey.

With all the negative energy and negative activity going on in the world, I am going to do my part in trying to balance it out with some #BloggiteBits daily.  Each day, I am going to try and remember to post something on my personal accounts with Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, etc. that will be an encouragement, a funny thought, or musing that will put positive spins out there in the netherworld.

If anyone wants to join me on my quest to beat the negativity, just post your musings or thoughts and end with the all familiar hashtag of #BloggiteBits.  Let’s go make a difference in the world, everyone! 🙂

~4-Ever, P

Posted in This & That

Cancer Scare

WARNING DISCLAIMER: Gory personal information! 🙂

Hello, Dear Bloggites, long time no blog. Well lots of stuff has been going on in my UberGoofy World of P. The latest of these challenges was the Cancer Scare. I have been bleeding constantly for a year and I finally went to see my doctor (yes I know what you are thinking, ‘why wait a year?’ well probably simply because I tend to disregard issues with my health way too much for way too long).

Well he took some blood tests and informed me he thinks I have this ultra-rare form of Cancer called Uterine Sarcoma. He did a biopsy of the uterus and then put me on a strong cancer pill that is only prescribed to advanced Cancer patients. So after a week of wondering if I had Cancer, I finally received the news from my doc that the biopsy was negative, however, this form of Cancer could be growing on the smooth walls of my muscles behind the uterus…hence, even if the biopsy was negative I could still have it.

He scheduled me for an emergency hysterectomy to remove my uterus and possibly my ovaries as well (can we say ‘Hello Menopause!’?). I was excited about the hysterectomy because I do not plan on having any more children and it would stop the bleeding to death.

The surgery was a week ago this past Monday and I am recovering well. Doc says my uterus was extremely enlarged and full of blood (yummy). He said the pathology department will test it to see what caused the issues but good news, there were no signs of Cancer in my muscle walls (YEAH!!!).

So I am out for 8 weeks because it will take my body that long to heal so, yet again, I cannot dance yet. I have not danced since last December and it is killing me!!!! I hate not being at the studio and dancing with my wonderful teacher. It will happen though, I refuse to give it up.

~4-Ever, P