The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

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source: purchased
title: The Five People You Meet in Heaven
author: Mitch Albom/ Twitter
published: Hachette Books (April 7, 2003)
pages: 196
first line: This is a story about a man named Eddie and it begins at the end, with Eddie dying in the sun.
rated: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Eddie is a grizzled war veteran who feels trapped in a meaningless life of fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. His days are a dull routine of work, loneliness, and regret.

Then, on his 83rd birthday, Eddie dies in a tragic accident, trying to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakens in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a lush Garden of Eden, but a place where your earthly life is explained to you by five people. These people may have been loved ones or distant strangers. Yet each of them changed your path forever.

One by one, Eddie’s five people illuminate the unseen connections of his earthly life. As the story builds to its stunning conclusion, Eddie desperately seeks redemption in the still-unknown last act of his life: Was it a heroic success or a devastating failure The answer, which comes from the most unlikely of sources, is as inspirational as a glimpse of heaven itself.

In The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom gives us an astoundingly original story that will change everything you’ve ever thought about the afterlife–and the meaning of our lives here on earth. With a timeless tale, appealing to all, this is a book that readers of fine fiction, and those who loved Tuesdays with Morrie, will treasure.

my thoughts:
The Five People You Meet in Heaven is one of my daughter’s favorite books. After she read it in school she raved to me about it and insisted that I read it too. I read this one quickly and now I can also add it to my list of favorite books as well.

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Among the Lost (In Dante’s Wake) by Seth Steinzor

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source: Free review copy courtesy of Poetic Book Tours
title: Among the Lost (In Dante’s Wake) by Seth Steinzor
genre: poetry/fiction
published: November 2016
pages: 228

blurb:
Among the Lost, set in the modern American rust belt, is a meditation drawn from Dante’s Purgatorio. To Dante, Purgatory was the mountain where souls not damned went after death to cleanse themselves of sin in preparation for entering Paradise. What, Steinzor asks, are we preparing ourselves for, having lost the fear of hell and the hope of heaven, in the course of our daily urban existence? And whatever that is, how do we go about preparing for it?.

my thoughts:
Among the Lost (In Dante’s Wake) is book 2 in Seth Steinzor’s trilogy based on Dante’s Inferno. I haven’t read Dante since high school but I remember some of the storyline.
Dante guides the narrator here as he goes through the motions of daily life. Birth, death, family, love, religion and politics are some of the themes encountered within these pages.

This second installment, based on Dante’s Purgatorio, takes the reader through Purgatory. It starts off with a husband in a hospital room while his wife is in labor. The narrator sees life and death in the hospital, like yin and yang. I have always found the idea of purgatory to be a fascinating and terrifying one. The thought of a soul being stuck midway like that, neither here nor there, in limbo.

The narrator is looking for his love Victoria and on reading the foreword, I found out the author based Victoria’s character on a girl he loved in real life who sadly, tragically passed away.

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A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare

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source: purchased
title: A Week to Be Wicked Book 2 of 5 in the Spindle Cove Series
author: Tessa Dare
genre: regency romance
pages: 322
published: March 27, 2012
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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first line: When a girl trudged through the rain at midnight to knock at the Devil’s door, the Devil should at least have the depravity-if not the decency-to answer.

Blurb:
When a devilish lord and a bluestocking set off on the road to ruin…
Time is not on their side.
Minerva Highwood, one of Spindle Cove’s confirmed spinsters, needs to be in Scotland.
Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne, a rake of the first order, needs to be… anywhere but Spindle Cove.

These unlikely partners have one week
to fake an elopement
to convince family and friends they’re in “love”
to outrun armed robbers
to survive their worst nightmares
to travel four hundred miles without killing each other
All while sharing a very small carriage by day and an even smaller bed by night.

What they don’t have time for is their growing attraction. Much less wild passion. And heaven forbid they spend precious hours baring their hearts and souls.

Suddenly one week seems like exactly enough time to find a world of trouble.
And maybe…just maybe…love.

My thoughts:
A Week to Be Wicked is book two in Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove series. Having read and enjoyed book three, A Lady by Midnight a few years ago, I happily dove into this one when I was in the mood for a nice regency romance. I know I’ve been reading this series backwards but they are standalone reads so it hasn’t made much difference.

In this installment we have Minerva Highwood from Spindle Cove who wants to stop  Colin Sandhurst aka Lord Payne from marrying her sister. Minerva thinks the notorious ladies man Payne is not the right match for her sister. She thinks that Payne is looking to marry so that he can get his inheritance so Minerva makes him an offer he cannot refuse.

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Mandalas to Crochet: 30 Great Patterns by Haafner Linssen

msource: free copy courtesy of St. Martin’s Griffin
title: Mandalas to Crochet: 30 Great Patterns
designer: Haafner Linssen
published: St. Martin’s Griffin (March 15, 2016)
rated: 5 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Crocheted mandalas are having a moment! And it’s no wonder the lovely mandala is in vogue: one evening is often enough to begin and finish something eye-catching. Many crocheters make mandalas as a meditative activity, while others love them simply for the wonderful opportunities they offer for mixing colors and stitch textures. A new take on traditional shapes, like granny squares or hexagons, these attractive crocheted circles are causing a real buzz in the crochet community.

Included are complete written and charted directions for a variety of types of circular designs, plus a range of creative techniques and ideas to make yours stand out from the crowd. With full patterns and inspiring photos, a review of crochet techniques, a discussion of materials, colors, finishing techniques, and lots of project ideas including bags, shawls, blankets, and pillows, this book guarantees many hours of happy mandala-making.

my thoughts:
Mandalas to Crochet: 30 Great Patterns by Haafner Linssen has become an instant favorite. This one has thirty gorgeous mandala patterns, crisp photos, clear instructions and really is a visual delight.

Designer Haafner Linssen says “In Hinduism and Buddhism, mandalas have a ritual role, representing Buddha or even the universe. The different parts of such a mandala have a symbolic meaning. For instance, the outer circle often symbolizes wisdom in Buddhism”

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Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

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source: free copy via AmazonVine
title: Under the Udala Trees
author: Chinelo Okparanta
published: September 22, 2015
pages: 328
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Inspired by Nigeria’s folktales and its war, Under the Udala Trees is a deeply searching, powerful debut about the dangers of living and loving openly.

Ijeoma comes of age as her nation does; born before independence, she is eleven when civil war breaks out in the young republic of Nigeria. Sent away to safety, she meets another displaced child and they, star-crossed, fall in love. They are from different ethnic communities. They are also both girls.

When their love is discovered, Ijeoma learns that she will have to hide this part of herself. But there is a cost to living inside a lie.

As Edwidge Danticat has made personal the legacy of Haiti’s political coming of age, Okparanta’s Under the Udala Trees uses one woman’s lifetime to examine the ways in which Nigerians continue to struggle toward selfhood. Even as their nation contends with and recovers from the effects of war and division, Nigerian lives are also wrecked and lost from taboo and prejudice. This story offers a glimmer of hope — a future where a woman might just be able to shape her life around truth and love.

my thoughts:
Narrated by Ijeoma, Under the Udala Trees starts off when she is just eleven years old and living in the war ridden republic of Nigeria in the late 1960’s.
When Ijeoma’s father is killed in an air bombing, her mother is left grief ridden and depressed, barely able to care for herself let alone her daughter. She sends Ijeoma off to live with a couple in another village. Ijeoma lives there almost two years before her mother comes back to get her. What she finds in this village is a friendship and eventually romantic feelings for a girl named Amina.

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