Showing posts with label unconditional love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label unconditional love. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finn Boylan ~ A Book Review

 Every now and then it's a good thing to jump out of your comfort zone and try something new.  So, to that end, I asked for and received a copy of Mad Honey from Netgalley.com.  The only thing that they request is after reading the book that I leave a review!  It is my pleasure to do just that! 

Mad Honey, the title of this book, got me right from the start, because my Son-In-Law is a beekeeper and honey extractor extraordinaire!  Every time we are together he tries to "teach" me something else about bees that the average person would not know.  He is a wealth of information in that regard and takes his beekeeping very seriously.

But let me tell you, this book has so much more going for it than learning about bees and honey!  It is a story about family, family dynamics, coming of age and our acceptance of who is in our lives.  It's a love story on so many different levels too!



Mad Honey

The story surrounds the lives of Olivia McAfee and her son Asher!  She is the wife of a renown Cardiac Surgeon and when Asher is born, life as Olivia knew it would be a joy and blessing for sure.  Like most things in life, nothing is "for sure" and Olivia's husband starts to show a distinct dark side to his personality.  When Asher is in the midst of a violent outburst, Olivia knows that she can no longer stay in this marriage.  

Lily Campanella is also starting new life in the tiny town of Adams in New Hampshire.  The last year of high school and it's a new beginning for Lily, who knows what it's like to have to start all over again.  She and her mom are paving a new road for both of them and hopefully this time the road will be smooth and without complications.

We all know that life is always full of complications and while we are rooting for these two moms and their children to have a great life, trouble seems to find them.

Asher and Lily are boyfriend/girlfriend, inseparable!  It's young love with all the hormones and angst that tends to rage during those years.  We can all remember going through some of those tough times, but in the case of Lily and Asher things are just a little more complicated.

I don't want to give too much of the book away in this review, but suffice it to say you will learn a lot after reading this book. It's not all about the honey bees either!  

This book is a must read for anyone who enjoys a good love story with a dark twist in it.  It will make you re-evaluate how you might handle different situations too.

Unconditional love is great when life is easy, but when things become difficult, sometimes that unconditional love has some conditions attached.  You will have to read in order to find out why.


                                         Image by Sheryl Maiorano from Pixabay 


This book from start to finish is 432 pages long and it could have been longer and still held me captive.  

After the story there is a lovely addition that I'm sure everyone will enjoy and that is about 10 pages of recipes where the key ingredient is, you guessed it, HONEY!

After learning all you did about bees and honey, you will be doubly delighted at the recipes included with this book.

Things like Beekeeper's Granola, Queen Bee Cocktail or a Bee's Knees cocktail!  How about Pork with a Honey-Lime Marinade?

The two that really have me wanting to bake are the Honey Loaf and Hope Cakes.  Both of these recipes are found in the book too!  

So with Mad Honey, you get a great story and a wonderful adventure into the world of bees, but you also get some sobering thoughts about relationships and surviving the ups and downs of real life too!  

This book gets 5 Stars (*****) from me and I would recommend it to everyone!  I'm sure you will learn more than you bargained for once you crack open the cover.  You will have a hard time putting it down again.

Oh an added bonus is that if you have an Audible subscription you can get this book for free!  What can be better than that?







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, September 15, 2022

Barking to the Choir - Book Review

Some books change us by flipping what we think we know, or what we think we are about, on its head. Barking to the Choir is one of those books. I am not the same person I was when I first cracked open the cover of this book.

In showing me what radical kinship looks like—in living it out on these pages—Gregory Boyle has me wondering: 

What if outreach to the marginalized is really about being willing to be reached by them?

What if it's about receiving rather than giving or doing?  You know—truly receiving the unwelcome with a welcoming embrace?

What if I came to know, deep within my core, that you are the other me, and I am the other you... that our separateness is only an illusion?

What if I said yes to entering into the fullness of kinship with you, and you, and you?

What if we meet there at the edge of I and Not I and discover unity?

What if we lifted one another out of isolation by merely showing up... every time?

Perhaps radical kinship begins with living these questions. 

Perhaps compassion is the answer to every question.

Perhaps the welcoming embrace begins there—begins here.

I open myself to it... to being it.

I invite you into this beautiful kinship. 









Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, July 15, 2021

Catching Dawn - Book Review

To what lengths would you go to keep a promise to a stranger?  To whom would you turn when fulfilling that promise proved to be beyond the scope of what you alone could do?

Catching Dawn starts as a rescue story that becomes a story, within a story, within a story.  There is the story of what it means to rewrite your own story as you do everything within your power to help the ones barely surviving.

And then there is the story of how the strays of the world find their belonging, their purpose, their peace.

Nested within those stories are the circular beginnings and endings where the lines blur between having rescued and having been the one most in need of saving.

When Melissa Armstrong is approached by a stranger about helping a litter of newborn puppies born to a dog living on the streets, she is quick to take on the mission.  After all, how hard could it be to gather up a nursing dog and her babies?

It turns out that a highly traumatized dog is one of the hardest things anyone could ever attempt to catch.  Six months of failures could have been the end of that story (and the end of those frail puppies).  Instead, this book reveals how both humans and animals in desperate need helped one another rise above those initial failures.

As a young girl, Armstrong grew up feeling there was something wrong with her that made her unlovable.  She felt out of place and knew great loneliness.  Her inner stray could relate to the fear and lack of trust displayed by dogs that felt a need to hide and avoid the kind of pain associated with people.

While going to great lengths to catch a dog that did not want to be caught, Armstrong simultaneously found herself catching the things that had proven so elusive during her earlier years: feeling loved, being needed, and discovering the embrace of a real family.

Having been immersed in challenging dog rescue scenarios, there was much that resonated for me in these embedded stories of transformation, friendship, and healing.  The writing revealed the beauty and wonder of the truest of relationships.  This book reminded me to never take for granted the many gifts offered up by my animals every single day.  It deepened my gratitude for how my rescue dogs have helped me rewrite my story.  

There are no small promises when lives are hanging in the balance.  There are no lengths too great when it comes to living out our promises.  Catching Dawn inspires us to be the promise needed in this world.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, February 6, 2020

Brave Girl, Quiet Girl - Book Review

Read an Excerpt
Every extraordinary book has that moment when you fall irrevocably in love with it.  For me, that oh-I-just-love-this-so-much moment in Catherine Ryan Hyde's Brave Girl, Quiet Girl came from the mouth of a babe.  You can pretty much count on a two-year-old to get right to the heart of the matter and Etta doesn't disappoint.  When she whispers brave girl, quiet girl to her trembling rescuer, the story is made... the book's soul is revealed... and this reader was completely smitten.

Because you can follow links to the official book synopsis, I won't spend time rehashing what you can discover for yourself.  Let me just give you the broad strokes and then cut to the chase.  After all, that's what I want in a review—not so much facts, as the alchemy of what makes for an unforgettable reading experience.

I have already mentioned Etta.  If you ask me, this amazing toddler is the pivot upon which everything turns.  As the story begins, Etta is ripped away from her family in the course of a carjacking.  Her mother, Brooke, is desperate to find her baby, but the odds are stacked against a safe return.

And then there is Molly, a cast-off teen, living on the mean streets of L.A. after being discarded by her rigid, unaccepting parents.  It is so perfectly fitting that a child who has lost all sense of worthiness is the one who comes to find, and protect, Etta after the jackers abandon her in the dark of night.

Despite the bleak circumstances that embrace both Brooke and Molly (or, I'm now thinking it is because of that bleakness), the broken pieces of two psyches will discover a way to fit together in perfectly imperfect ways to form a new sense of acceptance, belonging, and family.

Brave Girl, Quiet Girl is ultimately the story of how the light gets in through the broken places to illuminate the beauty that was formerly hidden within the bleakness.  I've come to the recognition, after reading a majority of Catherine Ryan Hyde's books, that one of her many gifts as a writer is something I can only compare to the Japanese aesthetic known as wabi-sabi.

The thing I find so appealing about this aesthetic, especially as it applies to CRH's consistent approach to bringing together beautifully flawed people, is how the imperfection causes me to love them more.  Just as the Japanese do, the author highlights rather than hides the flaws.  In her skillful hands, the flaw becomes the work of art.

Just as wabi-sabi features that which is authentic, and acknowledges that nothing is finished, so too do we see that in this book's work-in-progress characters.  We experience them in their raw state of becoming.  It makes them entirely relatable and, in my case, made me feel great empathy for their plights.

Finally, I was deeply struck by how the homeless in this story viewed those who sought to help them.  It made me reflect on my current relationships with those who are without a home.  Why is help offered?  When is help not at all helpful?  What is the best way to reach out to those in need?  How do they define the need?

Those who appreciate the humanity at the center of Catherine Ryan Hyde's writing are sure to find much to love, just as I did, in Brave Girl, Quiet Girl.  I knew I could count on coming away from this read with a feeling of greater compassion—not only toward Brooke, and Molly, and Bodhi—but also for my own flawed self.

Brave Girl, Quiet Girl releases on May 19, 2020.  I received an Advanced Reader Copy (e-galley) from NetGalley in return for my honest review.  I highly recommend this book and encourage you to pick up your copy today.











Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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