First of all, I wanted to say Thank you! to everyone for the adorable Tucker birthday wishes and comments.  He had a vet appointment today and he’s doing great.  He needs to put on a little bit of weight, so he’ll be dining on hardboiled eggs (in addition to his stinky dry dog food) at breakfast and dinner.

Both Kostas and Tucker are very fit and lean dogs–Kostas actually weighs 20 pounds more than Tucker!  He carries his weight in his huge ears 🙂


Moving on to recent reads…

Cold, snowy, icy weather the past couple of weeks has meant I’ve been A-OK with taking some time to read.  Here are the last few books I’ve read:

A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass – My niece suggested I read this book and I’m glad I took her recommendation.  It’s definitely in the YA genre so it wasn’t too taxing.  The book is the story of Mia Winchell and her struggle with synesthesia – her senses mingle and so words and letters have color for her.  She tries to hide this from her friends and family, but she is struggling in school so her parents take her to a series of doctors.  Mango, the family cat, is also central to the story.  No spoiler alert here, but the ending is sad.  I was intrigued to learn more about synesthesia.

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell – The overall premise:  two young sisters are forced to take care of themselves after the “mysterious” death of their parents.  The friendly neighbor takes the girls in and starts to get suspicious that the parents are not coming back from their trip to Turkey (this is what the girls tell people – their parents left town).  This story pulls at the heartstrings and is a brilliant debut novel.  On Goodreads I only gave this 3 out of 5 stars because it was just so depressing.  The ending was a real shocker and I think when I closed the book after finishing it I let out a very audible sigh because I’d been taken on an emotional roller coaster.  All that said, I still recommend it.

Hikikomori and the Rental Sister by Jeff Backhaus – If you read this, try to read it when you have time to dedicate to getting through the entire book in one or two sittings.  You’ll want to get to know the characters and find out if/when they are successful at starting over.  Thomas and Silke Tessler live together in their New York apartment but Thomas has sequestered himself in one room–for the past three years.  The Tessler’s son died and Thomas feels to blame.  Thus, the seclusion.  He only goes out at night for groceries – microwave dinners and instant coffee.  Silke wants her husband back.  She hires Meguni, a young Japanese immigrant attuned to the hikikomori phenomenon, to lure Thomas back into the world.  This is a complex story and I enjoyed it because I learned about hikikomori and felt invested in these characters.

These books have been a bit deep–I may need to read a book about puppies and rainbows to bounce back!

How is your Monday?  Any book recommendations to share?

A little of this…

…And a little of that…

Over the weekend I finished reading Om Shanti, Babe by Helen Limon.  I passed it along to my niece – she’s an avid reader and I think she’ll get a kick out of the book.  It’s is a fun trip to India, seen through the eyes of a teenager.Young readers will relate to the struggles of being a teen – relationship with parents, finding new friends, body image, trying to find a style, and trying to fit in.  Older readers will appreciate the fact that we’ve all been there before.

This is a quick-paced book that takes the reader on a journey through Kerala, India, with plenty of adventures along the way.  Whether that’s going to a small village, riding the train, or learning more about tradition, it’s all done with fun and plenty of delightful characters.


My niece gave me two book recommendations that are added to my library queue – A Mango Shaped Space and Wonder.  Mixing things up a bit and reading YA fiction is a nice change of pace.

Is anyone else enjoying seasonal temps today?  I saw lightening at about 5:30am!  And by Thursday/Friday we’ll be back to bundling up to battle the cold.

And lastly, I think I may have hit the wall when it comes to watching The Bachelor–I didn’t watch last night (though it is waiting in my Hulu queue).  But last week when I watched, all I kept thinking was, “I hope everyone gets a flu shot!”  I mean really–that’s a lot of germs being swapped!!!

What this or that do you want to share today?