The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen


source: purchased
title: The Snow Leopard
author: Peter Matthiessen
published: 1978
genre: memoir/non-fiction/classic
pages: 336
first line: In late September of 1973, I set out with GS on a journey to the Crystal Mountain, walking west under Annapurna and north along the Kali Gandaki River, then west and north again, around the Dhaulagiri peaks and across the Kanjiroba, two hundred and fifty miles or more to the Land of Dolpo, on the Tibetan Plateau.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars

blurb:
When Matthiessen went to Nepal to study the Himalayan blue sheep and, possibly, to glimpse the rare and beautiful snow leopard, he undertook his five-week trek as winter snows were sweeping into the high passes. This is a radiant and deeply moving account of a “true pilgrimage, a journey of the heart.”


my thoughts:
I co-read The Snow Leopard with Velvet over the past few weeks. This is Peter Matthiessen’s memoir documenting a trip he took through Tibet in the 1970’s with a zoologist named George Schaller.
Matthiessen’s writing is very descriptive and several beautiful passages stood out at me and as I read I was easily whisked away.

“Where the valley narrows to a canyon, there is a tea house and some huts, and here a pack train of shaggy Mongol ponies descends from the mountain in a melody of bells ad splashes across the swift green water at the ford. From the tea house, a trail climbs steeply toward the southwest sky.” -p. 18, The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen



I feel like sometimes a good book just finds it way to you and the timing is great. I found this to be a relaxing and interesting read during such stressful times now with the pandemic and quarantine.

I think Matthiessen was brave to go off and travel mainly on foot like that through all kinds of trails and terrains, climbing steep hillsides and seeing so many distant places and people. That takes guts. He pretty much did all of this with just the clothes on his back. It’s amazing to think of doing something like that. While he is out on his trek he finds zen moments of introspect and clarity. I try to meditate daily myself and although for the most part I liked when he spoke of Yogis and meditation, I did find some of what he referenced about enlightenment to be odd and just plain gross at times. I wasn’t expecting to read some of the things he was saying would constitute enlightenment but I’ll leave it at that.

The trip is full of inspiration but also of moments of sadness as Matthiessen misses his family and thinks about his late ex-wife. There is also the aspect of danger just on the periphery daily. These people are in remote locations with no nearby doctors, they are climbing steep hillsides and mountains, they need to make sure they have enough food and supplies as well. On top of that the elevation gives headaches and the snow blinds their eyes as they travel. This is a mentally and physically exhausting venture. Not to mention that being for months on end with the same people on such a difficult journey without creature comforts can drive you batty as well.
And I wondered how Matthiessen could up and leave his young son behind. I believe his son was 8 years old at the time of the trip. He promised him he would be home for Thanksgiving and he broke that promise.

Overall this is a beautifully written memoir about a man who goes on a trek to find himself and get a glimpse of the elusive snow leopard. I kept wondering, where is the snow leopard? Will they find it? Is it watching them? There’s a little twist at the end. Highly recommended.




I’ll close with some of my favorite passages:

“I have the universe to myself. The universe has me all to itself.”- p. 278, The Snow Leopard


“The secret of the mountains is that the mountains simply exist, as I do myself: the mountains exist simply, which I do not. The mountains have no “meaning,” they are meaning; the mountains are. The sun is round. I ring with life and the mountains ring, and when I hear it, there is a ringing that we share. I understand all this, not in my mind but in my heart…” p. 208, The Snow Leopard

“This stillness to which all returns, this is reality, and soul and sanity have no more meaning here than a gust of snow; such transience and insignificance are exalting, terrifying, all at once, like the sudden discovery, in meditation, of one’s own transparence.” p.169, The Snow Leopard

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen. Some of the links in the post are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. The book photo in this post is mine and not to be removed from here.

My Little Crocheted Christmas by Doerthe Eisterlehner

source: review copy via NetGalley / Dover
title: My Little Crocheted Christmas: Festive Projects to Make the Season Bright
genre: crochet patterns
published: Dover Publications; Translation Edition (September 18, 2019)
rated: 4 out of 5

blurb:
Add a little handmade warmth to Christmas with these charming crocheted decorations, toys, and charms. The projects include tree ornaments, a cuddly fox and animal Santas, a mouse quartet, a tabletop nativity set, finger puppets, gingerbread “hearts,” and many other delightful ornaments. These projects are suitable for crocheters at every level of experience — a How-To section explains the basic techniques, so even beginners can whip up many of these items. Each features detailed instructions and full-color photos of the completed piece. The handmade items will be lovely gifts with a personal touch for friends and family as well as keepsake additions to your own holiday decorations.

my thoughts:
Yay for Christmas crochet! This review is literally one year overdue so shame on me but I like to crochet something from the pattern books I receive for review so I didn’t want to share this one until I made something from the book.
My Little Crocheted Christmas: Festive Projects to Make the Season Bright is a lovely pattern book to add to any crocheter’s collection. The festive patterns inside are whimsical and fun.

“At the coldest time of year, it’s especially fun to cozy up on the sofa, light a fire, and grab your crocheting. This book is full of patterns for a colorful and vibrant Christmas season and a festive,sparkling Christmas celebration.- “My Little Crocheted Christmas by Doerthe Eisterlehner

The crochet patterns within these pages include cookies and sweets, an Advent Calendar, a cuddly fox, festive pencil toppers, small Nativity set, thermos cozy and several other gift ideas that would make for cute stocking stuffers and presents.
The well written patterns all come with clear photos. I love the presentation throughout the book it’s very festive. I’d say this is for the beginner crocheter through the advanced one as well because these are fun projects and most are not too time consuming so you can spend an afternoon whipping something up for yourself or a loved one without too much time commitment. This is a nice pattern book to bring out for crocheting while watching Christmas movies.


These wrist warmers look very cozy.

I whipped up the snowman jar cozy. The pattern was very simple and I tweaked mine a little to fit the smaller candle.






I think my snowman looks more like a penguin though lol.


Overall, this is a terrific crochet pattern book to add to your shelves. I recommend it! Special thanks to NetGalley / Dover for my copy.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received my free review copy of My Little Crocheted Christmas: Festive Projects to Make the Season Bright via NetGalley / Dover in exchange for my honest thoughts. Some of the links in the post are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. The photos in this post are mine and not to be removed from here.

Final Flight by Eric Anderson

flight
source: copy for review via MerylMoss Media and Dunn Books
title: Final Flight
author: Eric Anderson
published: June 9, 2020
genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Political thriller
pages: 284
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

starstarstarstarhalf

blurb:
On a clear, cold night high above Asia, a China Air passenger jet disappears from radar. An anomaly, a fluke, an unsolvable puzzle-and then a couple of hours later, it happens again.

A former member of the U.S. intelligence community, author Eric Anderson takes us to 2023 in his new book FINAL FLIGHT (Dunn Books: June 9, 2020), and picks up where real-life Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 left off. What happened to that airplane and all the people aboard?

Former Air Force maintenance officer Jason Montgomery and his erstwhile wrench-twister, Rob “Ski” Kalawski, have just landed the gig of their lives. China Air’s aging fleet of Boeing 777s now desperately needs navigation hardware and software upgrades. It’s a multimillion-dollar contract, and they’re just the guys to do it. Too easy, right?

Wrong.

The Japanese firm supplying the gear knows the Chinese will reverse-engineer and steal it, so they’ve planted a deadly navigation bug to trigger at the first sign of theft. Jason’s just the middleman, but he finds himself trapped between yakuza gangsters, a tattooed dragon-lady sales exec, and murderous Russian mobsters looking to make a profit on the missing airplanes and passengers. If these crazies don’t start behaving like moral adults, people are going to die by the hundreds . . . and they do.

FINAL FLIGHT, the latest prescient tale from the man who brought us the “New Caliphate” trilogy Osiris, Anubis and Horas as well Byte, might make you think twice before boarding the next plane.

my thoughts:

Final Flight is different from my usual reading fare. This is a story revolving around two China Air Passenger planes that went missing from radar. The book is based on real life  Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 which went missing over the ocean in China in 2014. Jason Mongomery and Ski Kawalski have been hired by China Air to install the software and hardware on their Boeing’s. However, Jason soon realizes that the Japanese company that supplies the software planted bugs on it. He just wants to get the job done and get home back to the U.S. Jason and Ski find themselves in the midst of an all out mess and are even blamed for sabotaging the software themselves. As the book goes on you are introduced to a set of several characters like Yamakita, Bao, computer programmer Yatso, the gangster tattoo artist Kanto and his love interest an executive named Sako. Side note, the dragon tattoos Kato does for Sako sound pretty intricate and bad-ass.

Continue reading

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

thehousesource: purchased
title: The House We Grew Up In
author: Lisa Jewell (Twitter)
genre: fiction/family issues
pages: 386
published: August 12th 2014
first line: Tuesday 2nd November 2010
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
starstarstarstar

blurb:
OUR HOUSE. OUR FAMILY. OUR SECRETS.

Meet the picture-perfect Bird family: pragmatic Meg, dreamy Beth, and towheaded twins Rory and Rhys, one an adventurous troublemaker, the other his slighter, more sensitive counterpart. Their father is a sweet, gangly man, but it’s their beautiful, free-spirited mother Lorelei who spins at the center. In those early years, Lorelei tries to freeze time by filling their simple brick house with precious mementos. Easter egg foils are her favorite. Craft supplies, too. She hangs all of the children’s art, to her husband’s chagrin.

Then one Easter weekend, a tragedy so devastating occurs that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear the family apart. Years pass and the children have become adults, while Lorelei has become the county’s worst hoarder. She has alienated her husband and children and has been living as a recluse. But then something happens that beckons the Bird family back to the house they grew up in—to finally understand the events of that long-ago Easter weekend and to unearth the many secrets hidden within the nooks and crannies of home.

my thoughts:

After having read Then She Was Gone this past January I knew I wanted to read Lisa Jewell again. The House We Grew Up In centers on the Bird family and their secrets, heartache and healing. The story goes back and forth from past to present day as we get each family member’s story. The matriarch of the house is a hoarder. When the children were growing up Lorelei seemed like an eccentric stay at home mom with a house full of knick knacks and the walls covered in her children’s drawings, but as the years passed this turned into a full on hoard situation. Her husband Colin is a quiet teacher who turns a blind eye to the hoarding, their twins sons are Rhys and Rory and the daughters are Meg and Beth. The neighbor Vicky and her children also become part of the Bird’s lives.

Continue reading

Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde

brave
source: free ARC via Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing
title: Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde
published: May 19th 2020
genre: fiction
pages: 300
first line: It started that day with just the normal levels of my mother driving me crazy.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
starstarstarstar
blurb:
Brooke is a divorced single mom, financially strapped, living with her mother, and holding tight to the one thing that matters most: her two-year-old daughter, Etta. Then, in a matter of seconds, Brooke’s life is shattered when she’s carjacked. Helpless and terrified, all Brooke can do is watch as Etta, still strapped in her seat, disappears into the Los Angeles night.

Miles away, Etta is found by Molly, a homeless teen who is all too used to darkness. Thrown away by her parents, and with a future as stable as the wooden crate she calls home, Molly survives day to day by her wits. As unpredictable as her life is, she’s stunned to find Etta, abandoned and alone. Shielding the little girl from more than the elements, Molly must put herself in harm’s way to protect a child as lost as she is.

Out of one terrible moment, Brooke’s and Molly’s desperate paths converge and an unlikely friendship across generations and circumstances is formed. With it, Brooke and Molly will come to discover that what’s lost—and what’s found—can change in a heartbeat.

my thoughts:
If you want to read an emotional story revolving around important issues that will pull at your heartstrings may I suggest Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde.

As the story starts off Brooke is a 30 something divorced single mom living with her mother and 2 year old daughter Etta. Brooke takes Etta out one evening to the movies when she is carjacked and dragged out of the car. The carjacker proceeds to speed off with baby Etta still in her car-seat. A mother’s worst nightmare right?

Continue reading