I absolutely loved this story from start to finish. Relin is a great author. I was rather saddened to learn to that amidst all the controversy that suI absolutely loved this story from start to finish. Relin is a great author. I was rather saddened to learn to that amidst all the controversy that surrounded the veracity of Three Cups of Tea he had taken his life this past December. In Second Suns, Relin follows Tabin and Ruit throughout the Himalayas and Africa as they attempt to eradicate preventable blindness. The story of both of these men is an incredible story in itself. Ruit was born in a remote Nepalese village. As a bored little boy who always seemed to be getting into trouble his father hiked for days to take him to the closest school. Tabin is just a likeable eccentric. As a pre-med student he was introduced to mountain climbing and had a difficult time deciding whether attending classes or taking off for his next pitch was more important. Together these men performed cataract surgeries in some of the most remote areas with less than ideal medical conditions.
The book captures the joy of the thousands of patients who have their sight and lives restored. For many of these individuals having limited vision meant being confined to their rooms. There is no room for error on the side of a mountain if one cannot see where to put their foot. It is shameful to think that millions live in darkness when having their vision restored is an easy 10 minute procedure.
The book also focuses on the medical industry and their goal of making money vs. helping others. I recognize that we all need to pay the bills. However I find it despicable that lenses can be made in India and other countries for about $4 vs the cost of having them made in a Western country. In the beginning of Ruit career he trained under an Australian physician who exposed the marked different between medical care to Aborigines vs. whites. He died early from cancer but his dream to have lenses made at a fraction of the cost was fulfilled. Ruit and Tabin attend a conference in Hong Kong where many doctors are only interested in gathering the sag from large pharmaceutical companies and paying attention to devices that will increase their profits. As a keynote speaker Ruit who discusses how the surgery can be done safely and successfully Ruit's audience is a small group of 11 doctors.
Linda lead the life I would have wanted to live in my teen years (minus the au pair taking care of children). I always wanted to be a flight attendantLinda lead the life I would have wanted to live in my teen years (minus the au pair taking care of children). I always wanted to be a flight attendant and live abroad. I was too short on the flight attendant part and I was never going to babysit anyone's children on a full time basis.
It all started when author Linda wanted to work for the airlines. Finding out that she needed to speak another language she decided that she would be an au pair in France and learn the language so that she could fly to France. The part of the program that she did not take into account was that she would need to speak French. The author had a French speaker complete her application.
All was well until she met the family that she was going to work for an au pair for...or more specifically the madame of the house. Of course it is understandable that Madame was upset that that Linda did not speak French. But given she was about 8 months pregnant she decided to keep Linda. All was downhill from here. While every story has two sides, Madame comes across as the meanest crankiest person one could be stuck working for in a foreign country where one did not speak the language. When Linda takes ill with the flu Madame gives her barely a moment to get better warning her that she had better not infect the household. While Linda was expected to do light house work she found herself beating carpets and serving guests. Of course no visit to France would be complete without a married man hitting on you (it was one of the guests). My favourite was when Linda complained that there was no heat in her room and she was told to send home for warmer clothing.
To her credit Linda tries to make the best of the situation despite all the challenges. Madame's daughter is a mini Madame, snarky and undermining Linda. The young boy is a delight to spend time with and Linda enjoys baking and making him pancakes.
Trying to learn French Linda takes classes at a university in a nearby town. Here she meets some college kids and finds herself a cute boyfriend. Interacting with other English speaker and young people her age gives her some sanity.
After months of torture Linda makes a decision to quit. Once again Madame's true colours come out as she kicks Linda out of the house.
I give Linda credit for trying to make the best of a situation. Along the way she is able to experience some of the treasures of France. Messieur teaches her about wine and dinner at the house is always a culinary experience.
Should you read this book...without a doubt. It is fun and keeps your attention throughout. You want Linda to succeed and not succumb to tears....more
Yes I am a shallow book reader, the cover alone drew me in. Chocolate chip cookies, old books on the cover, literature and love (I am not a latte persYes I am a shallow book reader, the cover alone drew me in. Chocolate chip cookies, old books on the cover, literature and love (I am not a latte person, but a cup of tea would work well with me).
This is the book I took home with me on the plane at Christmas. It was the perfect read. Molly the main character is faced with major financial challenges after her cheating husband walks out on her and her 6 year old. Molly finds herself with a job helping Simon open up a pastry shop. The job seems perfect for Molly-the pastry shop is to have a literary theme. Simon has other ideas.
Used to getting all the women he wants Simon is thinks he is the perfect dessert. Initially Molly is beyond flattered by the hot, sexy green eyed British chef. This is never the type of man who was attracted to her. Intimidated by both her own insecurities and Nick, Simon's business partner Molly is not sure whether to devour Simon or abstain. She cannot risk losing the job and the income it will generate.
I devoured the story with all it's delicious and sometimes sour ingredients as Molly starts to discover herself as a newly divorced mother raising a child.
Caldwell gives her readers a fast paced book, while exposing the harsh realities of many women who find themselves single with a child and no current skills after years of child rearing. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and especially enjoyed Molly's transformation through the various chapters. While the book does not center on food, I liked the idea of a literary pastry shop and at the end of the book there are also a few recipes.
My one criticism of the book was the use of the "F" word. There was no need for it and I am not sure why Caldwell felt the need to interject it in an otherwise wholesome book.
You should pick this one up. You will not be disappointed. ...more
It only seems fitting that I would read How to Eat a Cupcake as I was on my way to France. The French are apparently obsessed with cupcakes and we areIt only seems fitting that I would read How to Eat a Cupcake as I was on my way to France. The French are apparently obsessed with cupcakes and we are obsessed with their macarons. Why not read a book about the love of baking as I was headed over to the pastry capital of the world. I am proud to say that I gave this book to the front desk clerk at my hotel in Paris and she was delighted by it. You would think that I was giving her freshly baked cupcakes.
How to Eat a Cupcake is a book after my heart. I wanted to be Annie. The book had me wearing an apron, bringing out my kitchen aid and just tasting one batter after another. Okay not really, remember I was in France. I was either reading late at night all tucked in my hotel room or dragging the book out to dinner with me. High on French pastries and wine, laying in a bed in France, what better way to enjoy the book.
(From the author)Free-spirited Annie Quintana and sophisticated Julia St. Clair come from two different worlds. Yet, as the daughter of the St. Clair’s housekeeper, Annie grew up in Julia’s San Francisco mansion and they forged a bond that only two little girls oblivious to class differences could—until a life-altering betrayal destroyed their friendship.
A decade later, Annie bakes to fill the void left in her heart by her mother’s death and a painful secret jeopardizes Julia's engagement to the man she loves. A chance reunion prompts the unlikely duo to open a cupcakery, but when a mysterious saboteur opens old wounds, they must finally face the truth about their past or risk losing everything.
Seriously the book had a little about friendship, a lot about betrayal and the best descriptions of ingredients that I have read about in a long time. As a young adult Annie is at the St. Clair residence catering a party with her yet to be famous cupcakes. She has not spoken with Julia in many years. After tasting one of her wonderful cupcakes Julia decides to finance a cupcakery for Annie. Opening a cupcakery with the person who was once your closest friend and you feel betrayed you is not an easy task for Annie.
The opportunities it presents to Annie are endless. For once Annie can indulge in the high quality ingredients she has always dreamed of.
I would usually think of a book like this as my fluffy beach read. This book is anything but a fluffy book read. Donahue did a lovely job of developing both the young women's characters. You understood their personalities and the decisions they made.
For me the highlight of the book was the process of both opening the cupcakery and Donahue's descriptions of the cupcakes and their recipes. Throughout the book she had me wanting to be in my kitchen baking alongside Annie.
If How to Eat a Cupcake is any indication of Donohue's talents I hope that she comes out with another book soon, maybe about a woman who runs a chocolate store perhaps.