Kitchens of the Great Midwest

 

From practically the minute Eva is born her Father a chef sets out to develop her palate.  Having raised an infant of my own who could barely keep down rice cereal, the menu Lars creates for Eva had me raising my eyebrow.  Luckily he consulted her pediatrician before adding in some of his food choices.

While at a Farmer’s market a very tiny Eva goes straight for freshly grown tomatoes which she eats with such glee. But Eva does not have an easy life.  Abandoned by her mother at birth and raised by Lars and his family she makes her way through life.

Her palate and love for food is the driving force of her success.

What a quirky fun novel.  It reminds me of the fun I had when I read Where’d you go Bernadette. I loved the characters in this book and the writing.  When he describes Lars and Jarl’s childhood growing up in St Olaf and their task of making lutefisk I could not help by smile.  It reminded me of a scene out of The Golden Girls when Rose(Betty White) talks about her days in St Olaf.

The interesting thing about this book is how it is written.  Many of the books I have read and I am sure you all have read follow the main character through their eyes.  This book does some of that but then switches to the satellite characters.  This allows you to get a good feel for Eva and her world.  If you are a Foodie you will like this book because each chapter centers around a different food and recipe.

Put this on your reading list.  I think you are going to like it!!

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Mozart In the Jungle

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Ever since I can remember classical music was played in my house.  My Mom loved music and had some great pieces.

When I was in college I stumbled into this music appreciation class and fell in love with Mozart. My special favorite was Symphony in G Minor K 550.  So much passion.

I got lucky.  When my daughter was in third grade she came home and asked if she could play the violin.  I said why not and it turned out that she actually could play.  One of my favorites that she would play with her group was the Bach Double Violin Concerto.

I am an amazon prime member and until recently I only used my membership on things delivered to my house.  That all changed when amazon started music streaming at no extra charge.  Then I discovered prime video.  I binged watched Mozart in the Jungle. Imagine my delight when the show won awards at the Golden Globes.  If you have amazon prime and have not watched this show yet, watch it.  If you don’t have prime check it out.
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This Angel on My Chest

Number one: I seem to be drawn to books that are written about one of two themes, terrorists or people dying too soon.  I have lost four people since Christmas.  Two were in there 80’s and two were in there 50’s. One can say the two who were in their eighties lived a long life and that would be true.  But losing them does not make the pain any easier to bear. But the two  in their 50’s was even harder to bear.  One was so sudden it is still hard to believe.  She went to lie down for a few minutes.  When she didn’t return her kids went to check in on her and found her.

I went to see the parents of this woman and the pain in her father’s eyes was overwhelming. Her Mom would not stop moving the furniture back into place.

I also went to see the husband of the 80 year old woman.  I just sat there holding his hand for the longest time.  What else could I do? There really wasn’t anything I could say.

The book This Angel on My Chest is about people who lost a spouse at a young age.  Honestly I don;t know why I picked up this book.  I guess I was drawn to the title.  It really is not my type of book.  First of all it is short stories.  I am not crazy about this genre.  I like to get attached to the characters and in short stories I don;t feel like there is enough time to do that. Secondly it is all about death.  Now usually I would have put this book away but something just made me read it.  I guess it was because I could identify how these people who were left behind felt.

It really ended up being  an interesting read although I can’t say I am happy to have read it.  In case you are wondering, I did finish it.

The Guilty

I am exhausted from the holidays.  New Year’s week I was on 24/7 call and it was busy as usual.  So in order to rest my weary brain I decided to read one of my favorite guys David Baldacci.  The Guilty is his latest novel and it is the 4th in the Will Robie Series.

Will is a  US federal employee whose job just happens to be taking out those people who are not favorites to the world.  When I say he takes them out, I mean he kills them.  He is a professional sniper.

In the books opening pages he takes out a target but in doing so he also kills a child which everyone is calling collateral damage but not Will.  It messes with his brain and his ability to do his job.

At the same time his Dad is accused of murder.  He and his Dad never had a stellar relationship but Will decides to check out his Dad’s case and also sort out his work dilemma.  The book takes some twists and turns which made it an interesting read.  If you are taking a plane ride anytime soon tuck this into your carry on or sit on the sofa  and enjoy.

 

After You

If I have an author that I enjoy reading then I always look forward to his or her new book. However, if they are writing  a sequel, I am always a little leery of the continuation of the story.  This is especially true if I loved the first book.  That is what happened with this book which is the sequel to Me Before You.  My expectations were extremely high.

In Me Before You Louisa(Lou) is the caretaker/companion of Will who up until his catastrophic accident was a wealthy, successful business man.  Now a quadriplegic he makes a decision that has a profound effect on those around him including Lou.

A year ago my dog was diagnosed with cancer.  It happened quickly but he was in pain and was not the active happy dog we had raised from a puppy.  The Vet said we could take him home and ply him with pain meds and try to keep him alive but ultimately he had only a short time to live.  My husband and I decided we could not stand to see him suffer and so the Vet gave him a lethal cocktail.  We sat with him as he peacefully fell asleep, never to wake up again. I was devastated.  While I knew it was the right thing to do the pain of losing him was overwhelming, he was my baby.  One can say he was only a dog but he was a family member.  The only consolation I find is that he is no longer suffering or in pain.

After You brings back all the main characters.  All of them are struggling to move forward with  the aftermath of Will’s death.

I think that all of Will’s loved ones ultimately supported his decision, however how they dealt with the decision and how they picked up the pieces of their life is what the author tries to convey in this sequel.  Again this is a sequel and while I was eager to see how everyone moved on, it just wasn’t as good as the first book.  Still worth reading if you want to know more about the characters.  You really must read the first book before this one.