Throwback Thursday – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

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Throwback Thursday is hosted by Renee of It’s Book Talk.  This meme was created to share old favorites and/or books published over a year ago.  Today I’m going to be sharing an incredibly profound book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

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Why I chose this book:

This book was unlike any other I’d read.  I don’t read or post a lot of non-fiction books, but when I was perusing an independent book store while on vacation a while back, and it was on display and highly recommended to me by one of the workers, I decided to download the audiobook and listen to it.  I’d heard of it, but wasn’t sure what it was about.  O….M….Goodness.  I was blown away.  I couldn’t believe that Henrietta Lacks could have possibly affected my own life, and/or the lives of my loved ones.  My emotions were all over the place while getting through this book, but mostly I kept thinking this …

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Henrietta and her family were wronged in so many unimaginable ways.

Rebecca Skloot spent approximately a decade researching and writing this book before it was published.  It involves a young, underprivileged black woman who died of cervical cancer, but her cancer cells kept multiplying after her death in 1951, and they continue to live on in laboratories today.  They’ve been used to develop treatments and vaccines that many of us have probably benefited from.  Apparently the cells are so prolific that at last count they could wrap around the Earth several times.  But there’s much, much more to this story.  Although so many people, including medical professionals, profited from Henrietta’s cells, her family languished in abject poverty, some without medical insurance.  AND, consent from Henrietta or her family was never given to use Henrietta’s cells for research or otherwise.  See my more in-depth review here.

You might recall that the movie was released on HBO earlier this year.  Oprah Winfrey starred in it as Henrietta’s daughter, Deborah Lacks.  It was a good effort, but the book is exceedingly more detailed.  I recommend this book to the entire world.


Have you heard of, or read, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks?  What did you think?  I’d love to know your thoughts.

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Thank you for stopping by.  Have a wonderful day.

 

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His Baby Dilemma by Catherine Lanigan

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ – 5 hearts

Grace Railton had a crush on Mica Barzonni ever since they shared a kiss as teenagers, but she didn’t get the sense that the attraction was mutual. Twelve years later when Grace’s aunt Louise has back surgery and Grace leaves her home in Paris to come help out at The Louise House, her aunt’s ice-cream shop in Indian Lake, Indiana, Mica and Grace get reacquainted. He’s still unimaginably handsome with his black hair and Mediterranean blue eyes. The only difference is that he’s lost the use of his left arm and shoulder after an injury he suffered while trying to repair his mother’s car. The two become caught up in emotions, but their cozy reunion is short lived. Grace returns to her career in Paris and Mica doesn’t hear a word from her until fifteen months later when she is back in Indian Lake, about to present Mica Barzonni with the shock of his life—their six month old son, Jules.

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My concept of Mica Barzonni

After this shocking revelation, is Grace serious about wanting Mica to take care of Jules for a few months while she goes back to Paris to nurture her current career opportunities? Mica isn’t happy about this proposition, and he makes his thoughts on that clearly known. There’s no doubt he still has feelings for Grace, which he doesn’t make known, but their goals are so dissimilar. Mica’s a farm boy interested in farm equipment and machinery. Grace is a fashion designer who grew up in pursuit of the next beauty pageant. Mica has always downplayed Grace’s ambitions, considering them foolish. In his mind they could never be compared to the hard work and dedication that’s needed to run a farm. But after observing her at work one day, in her element, he’s forced to admit that there’s a lot more to the fashion world than he’d realized. Might he have misjudged her? His feelings of anger and betrayal are being replaced by admiration and love. But Mica’s reluctance to express his feelings might cause him to lose Grace forever. And he may be running out of time since it seems there’s an interested Frenchman on Grace’s heels ready to snatch her up.

I have to admit that I wasn’t crazy about Grace when I started reading this book. She was a difficult character to assess initially. I felt like her work ambition was eclipsing her role as mother to little Jules. But as the book progressed she redeemed herself. I saw how much she loved her baby and how conflicted she was. I recognized that Mica was unsure of himself, mostly because of his accident and the perceived limitations it imposed. Also, he’d been a loner and a brooder for most of his life and it was difficult for him to be vulnerable with anyone, including Grace. The two of them drove me nuts at times, suppressing their feelings for each other, but I grew to love them. The scenes with Mica and Jules were so utterly heartwarming that it made me feel, momentarily, like I wanted to have a little baby around again. Well…a grandbaby maybe, LOL.

I LOVED this book. It touched me. And Catherine Lanigan’s worldliness with regard to subject matter—fashion and machinery in this case, gave me insight which I appreciated since I love learning new things when I read. Her knowledge, wisdom, and/or research shines through in her books and gives them a depth that I find particularly enjoyable. Definitely recommended for lovers of sweet romance.

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Thank you for reading. Have a great day!!

Summit Lake by Charlie Donlea

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 – 4.5 stars

On Friday, Feb. 17, 2012, pretty, young law student, Becca Eckersley, died. Why did somebody take her life in such a passionate way? And why are the state police tight-lipped about any details surrounding Becca’s Murder?

Kelsey Castle, True Crime book author and journalist for Events Magazine, has just returned to work prematurely after a six-week leave-of-absence, having survived her own, as yet undisclosed, traumatic life event. Her boss informs her that he’s sending her to Summit Lake, a small town in the foothills of the beautiful blue ridge mountains of NC, to formulate a story about what might have happened to Becca.

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Rewind fourteen months and we are introduced to Becca’s three best friends, and then we’re given a sequential account of Becca’s daily activities which consequently led to her demise. At the same time, Kelsey Castle is tracing Becca’s steps in Summit Lake; questioning her acquaintances, friends and significant others in an attempt to learn more about the girl that she’s becoming psychologically attached to. As she digs deeper into Becca’s life, she unmasks secrets, coverups and deceptions that just might explain what caused Becca’s death.

This book was perfect for me. It had just the right amount of mystery and suspense, and a more subtle thriller factor which I personally prefer. I really appreciate it when an author can create an amazing story without having to resort to needless shock value content in the way of excessive foul language, gratuitous violence or explicit sex scenes. Charlie Donlea accomplished this in a skillful way. There were a couple of unexpected twists that had me like …

Yup, I couldn’t believe it. Totally caught me off guard. I love it when an author can pull that off successfully.

This book was excellent. I was impressed, kept in anxious anticipation of what would happen next, and would jump at the chance to read another mystery/suspense book by Charlie Donlea. Highly recommended.

And finally, below is a trailer for Summit Lake.  Thanks, as always, for stopping by Cozynookbks.  Have a great week.

Throwback Thursday – The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

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Throwback Thursday is hosted by Renee of It’s Book Talk.  This meme was created to share old favorites and/or books published over a year ago.  Today I’m going to be sharing a favorite of mine, The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty.

IMG_3658Why I chose this book:

This book was truly amazing.  I was totally immersed in the story and I literally gasped when I found out what the secret was.  I was like….

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I loved how the author introduced each character’s story and then weaved their lives together, each one playing a significant part in the life of another.   It was masterfully done.  And to this day I haven’t read a more compelling epilogue.   Seriously, I think my mouth was open the entire time I read it (or listened to it as this was an audiobook).  The Husband’s Secret received five-stars from me without hesitation.  It has remained one of my favorites. See my review of it here.


Now you.  Have you read The Husband’s Secret or any other book by Liane Moriarty?  What did you think?  Please feel free to share.

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Thanks for visiting. See ya’ next time…

Am I Normal? (for those of you who really know me, don’t answer that)…

September 30th, 2017 was my twenty-third wedding anniversary.  Yay!!  We decided not to venture out too far from home to celebrate this time, and so we settled on staying at The Ivey’s Hotel, which is roughly 30 minutes from where we live.  It recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation and it is stunning.  Here’s some pictures of the interior…

Pretty ritzy, right?  It was pure opulence, and the epitome of luxury.  There was even a library on our floor that we had twenty-four hour access to…

This was my favorite place to go while we were there.  (That’s my hubby reading in there.)

fullsizeoutput_ac2So here’s why I want to know if I’m normal.  We were supposed to spend four glorious nights there, but after the third night I was ready to go home.  I told my husband and he was just fine with going home early too. So we went home, and we spent the next seven days that he had off from work in the comforts of our own home, occasionally going out to dinner or to the mall, the movies, or just wherever.  We had an amazing time just being in each others company, which is where we are happiest.   And I was thinking….

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That’s not to say we don’t enjoy going away on vacation.  There have been places we’ve gone where we’ve extended our stay.  But not this time.  So, I ask you, is it normal to want to leave a swanky hotel prematurely and go back home?  Have you ever gone away on vacation or for some other occasion and longed to go home?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Thanks for reading!!

Throwback Thursday – The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

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Throwback Thursday is hosted by Renee of It’s Book Talk.  This meme was created to share old favorites and/or books published over a year ago.  Today I’m going to be sharing The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

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Why I chose this book:

This book was INCREDIBLE!  It had such an emotional effect on me.  This is how I felt while reading it…

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It was one of the books that reinvigorated my love of reading.  In fact, I don’t think I was writing book reviews yet when I read The Kite Runner, so I don’t have a review to attach to this post.  All I can say is it was a book that stayed with me for weeks afterwards, and it remains a favorite.  Definitely a five-star read.


Have you read The Kite Runner?  What did you think?  Please feel free to share.

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Thank you for reading. Until next time…

Home Delivery Meal Kits – Yay or Nay?

We’re seeing them everywhere. Meal kits delivered to your door, ready to prepare. There are so many options you can choose from, including: vegetarian, gluten free, paleo, vegan, organic and so on. And since most companies offer your first box at a reduced price, I decided to try one. I settled on Home Chef since their meals seemed more suited to my family’s taste. There are times when I forget to take something out of the freezer to prepare for dinner, or I just want to try something new, so I thought this might be a good way to do it.

The following is my experience with Home Chef’s meals:

Bone-in Pork Chop with Candied Walnut Butter

My result:

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This meal was excellent! We were very pleased with the results. And bonus, I was introduced to acorn squash which was very delicious.

Four Cheese Baked Ziti


My result:


This dish was very good. I liked the addition of spinach in the pasta. It made me feel better that there was a healthy element to it. Granted, I could have easily made this myself, but adding the spinach and different variety of cheeses was new to me so overall I was happy about this recipe and the results.

Mongolian Beef with Ribeye Steak

 My result (minus the peanuts):

This dish was delicious!! I have to admit I was a little skeptical when I was preparing it. It looked like it might be dry, and I had no idea how Chinese broccoli would taste. It looked like green aluminum foil pieces when I took it out of the oven. But when it was incorporated into the dish, it was a perfect fit. One of my favorite meals.


These three meals were my favorites. I prepared three others that were *meh* at best, a bit too bland for my taste and I was like….


This is an example of how you receive your ingredients in the mail:

Four Cheese Baked Ziti contents:


And they give you this cool recipe binder to keep all of your recipes in:

So far I’ve cooked about six meals, and I’d say we loved 50% of them.  The others were just okay.

THE VERDICT….

Pros:

  1. Just about everything you need to prepare a meal in less than an hour at your fingertips. Convenient.
  2. Discovered new recipes that we enjoyed, including food items that I may never have tried otherwise.
  3. Ability to suspend shipments at will. If you don’t like meal choices for a particular week you can skip that week.
  4. Meal options are displayed on the website weeks in advance so you can plan out your deliveries accordingly.
  5. Decent meal variety.
  6. Good customer Service.

Cons:

  1. Thoroughly satisfied with only about half of the meals I prepared.
  2. Expensive—all things considered.
  3. Some meals were too labor intensive; too many steps, pots and pans.
  4. A massive amount of packaging material!!
  5. Limited time period to prepare meals once received.

Overall, my experience with Home Chef was pretty good. I don’t regret trying them out.  I had originally cancelled after my first shipment but they gave me an incentive to give them another shot so I did. I will probably discontinue my membership though. The pros ultimately don’t outweigh the cons. I’ll let you know if I change my mind after I prepare my latest meals.

Regarding all of that packaging material from my first shipment, I repurposed some of it into a cat bed for Kit-Kat (a.k.a. Kitty-baby). He LOVES it!! All you need to add is an old t-shirt, pillowcase, and a few safety pins.


I actually wound up double padding it so it’s really soft inside. It can be washed easily so that’s a plus. Just remove the t-shirt and pillowcase and wash them. To give you an idea of the actual size, Kitty-baby is about 12 pounds.

So tell me, have you tried any of these home meal delivery kits? What was your experience like? If you haven’t tried one, would you?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.