Tag Archive: BlogHer Book Club

Jan 09 2013

BlogHer Book Club: The Last Runaway

The Last Runaway - Tracy ChevalierHonor Bright will never return to England: this much she knows. Between the shame of her fiance choosing another, the debilitating seasickness she suffered while crossing the Atlantic, and traveling 1/3 of the way across the continent to Ohio, following her sister to her soon-to-be husband’s home–only to lose her sister to yellow fever–it is unlikely Honor will ever be able to go back to her old, safe life. But America is a mystery to her and she’s not so sure she can remain true to what she feels is right in such a hypocritical, rugged frontier.

She knows she will have to marry–she can’t stay with her sister’s betrothed forever–and Jack Haymaker is about as good as it gets for suitors on the edge of civilization. She should consider herself lucky to make such a match. What she doesn’t count on is a secret past in the Haymaker family, preventing them–and her–from doing the right thing. And she’s not so sure she can live with that.

In The Last Runaway, Tracy Chevalier takes us to Faithwell, Ohio during the time of the Underground Railroad. It is 1850 and the Quaker ideals of an inner light in all–of equality–are being tested by new laws requiring all citizens to assist in the capture of runaway slaves, or risk losing their homes, their livelihoods, their little footholds in a new world just being carved out of the landscape. Who will have the guts to do the right thing, despite the huge risks?

I had a hard time getting into this book initially. It was slow moving and I couldn’t care less about Honor Bright and her quilts. She seemed like a snobbish prude, far more judgmental than I imagined a Quaker woman would be. I softened to her with time, as she proved herself to be a woman of integrity, who couldn’t understand why more weren’t decrying the injustice occurring right before their eyes. She started to surprise me as she found her voice, and I was grateful for that. If you like historical novels, this would be a good fit for you. I’ve heard a lot about the Underground Railroad along the East Coast, but very little about the portion through Ohio that led to freedom in Canada. Chevalier helps us envision what people may have gone through in this time of turmoil, with her three strong women who do their small parts to change the world. Three unlikely links in the chain, brought together by a common cause.

Disclosure: The views and opinions expressed on this blog are mine alone, based upon my personal experience. While I received a complimentary copy of The Last Runaway from the BlogHer Book Club, which was used to write this review, as well as monetary compensation, there was no requirement for a positive review

Oct 18 2012

BlogHer Book Club: Diary of a Submissive

When the email arrived seeking volunteers to read and review Sophie Morgan’s Diary of a Submissive: A Modern True Tale of Sexual Awakening, I did not hesitate to respond. I jumped right in with both feet, confident that it would be cool to delve into something a little different, a little more risque, and ride the wave that Fifty Shades of Grey created to see where it took me. I was not afraid.

Then I was.

Huddled in the abandoned-office-turned-break-room on my lunch hour, trying as hard as I could to hide the cover of my reading material, I started to have misgivings about what I got myself into. Surely I blushed more than Sophie at her worst could at the thought of being discovered reading this book at work, albeit not on work hours. It seemed so… naughty. So wrong. Yet so engaging. Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 06 2012

BlogHer Book Club: Trust Your Eyes

When this month’s BlogHer Book Club selection arrived, I was nervous. Linwood Barclay’s Trust Your Eyes was described in the preceding email as a thriller, which is not my usual genre, but I figured I’d give it a chance. It turned out to be a big thriller, boasting a hefty 498 pages. Wow!

Fortunately it didn’t take long to get sucked into the story. Oftentimes I find that mysteries are not so mysterious; you can usually figure out what will happen fairly early on. This is not the case with Trust Your Eyes. You think you know what’s happening, then Barclay throws a curveball at you and you have to pause for a moment, stunned, to get your bearings again. I loved that!

Trust Your Eyes begins with the return of Ray Kilbride to his childhood home, where he must pick up the pieces after his father’s sudden death. It’s not just a burial and some paperwork that he must handle, however: there’s also his schizophrenic brother, Thomas, who has relied his entire adult life upon their father for assistance. While Thomas shuts out the real world, holed up in his room all the time, he believes he is a part of a very important mission for the federal government: he must memorize his way around the world so that, when catastrophe strikes and all the maps of the world are lost, he will be able to recreate them. It is while on one of his missions that he finds something funny, not quite right… and a murder plot is discovered. But who will believe a man who thinks he’s talking to Bill Clinton and sending the CIA task updates? Did he even see anything at all?

Want to know more? Join in the discussion on Trust Your Eyes on BlogHer Book Club! This is sure to be a lively one!

Disclosure: The views and opinions expressed on this blog are mine alone, based upon my personal experience. While I received a complimentary copy of Trust Your Eyes from the BlogHer Book Club, which was used to write this review, as well as monetary compensation, there was no requirement for a positive review.

Jun 14 2012

BlogHer Book Club: My Artist’s Way Toolkit

BlogHer Book Club took a bit of a detour this month, having reviewers try out a program meant to inspire creativity instead of reading the results of someone else’s hard work. This program: My Artist’s Way Toolkit. Existing as both a website and an app for iPhone and iPad, it’s meant to get your creative juices flowing and encourage you to tap into the best you have to offer.

While I loved the idea of this program, I had a hard time keeping up with the requirements of it. Morning pages–3 pages of hand-written, free-flow writing about anything that comes to mind–proved to be nearly impossible to carry out on a daily basis, what with 2 kids, trying to secure a new home for my family, working full-time, and all the other distractions tugging at my attention every day. The Artist’s Weekly Date–an assignment to get you out of your normal element and thinking differently about everyday stuff–is a proven method. I’ve used it before with fantastic results. But again, I found it hard to actually make the time for it. And then I felt badly about not making the time for it. I wish I had gotten more out of the program, but I didn’t have more to give to it, either.

I think My Artist’s Way Toolkit is a great program for someone who is seriously dedicated to cultivating his/her creativity and taking it to the next level. The app makes it easy to take the plan on the road, and the guided exercises give you something to work with so you’re not floundering for ideas. Daily morning pages are actually a great way to open yourself up and let it all out–I found this to be true in a Creative Writing course I took nearly 2 years ago, but have unfortunately had a problem keeping up with this ever since. The exercises, Creative Pages, and Creative Notes help you blossom further and organize your thoughts. But you better plan on making the time commitment, too, to get the most out of My Artist’s Way Toolkit. This requires a serious intention to develop yourself as a writer. Otherwise, you’re just dabbling and it doesn’t really get you anywhere, I’m afraid. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to someone looking to go to the next level–but you must understand that you get out of it what you put into it.

Please join in the conversation on My Artist’s Way Toolkit at BlogHer Book Club! See what others thought about the program and you can find out more information about it, too.

Disclosure: The views and opinions expressed on this blog are mine alone, based upon my personal experience. While I received a complimentary 3-month subscription to My Artist’s Way Toolkit from the BlogHer Book Club, which was used to write this review, as well as monetary compensation, there was no requirement for a positive review.

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