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My Book Reviews for Books #16 to 22 Read in 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Well....I am quite behind in posting my book reviews, so without further ado here are all of my reviews for books #16 to 22 read in 2011:

Book #16 Read in 2011----The Anatomy of an Execution by David R Dow

“In an argument against capital punishment, Dow's capable memoir partially gathers its steam from the emotional toll on all parties involved, especially the overworked legal aid lawyers and their desperate clients. The author, the litigation director of the Texas Defender Service and a professor at the University of Houston Law Center, respects the notion of attorney-client privilege in this handful of real-life legal outcomes, some of them quite tragic, while acknowledging executions are not about the attorneys, but about the victims of murder and sometimes their killers. While trying to maintain a proper balance in his marriage to Katya, a fellow attorney and ballroom dancer, he spells out the maze of legal mumbo-jumbo to get his clients stays or released from confinement in the cases of a hapless Vietnam vet who shot a child, another man who beat his pregnant wife to death and another who killed his wife and children. In the end, Dow's book is a sobering, gripping and candid look into the death penalty” ~(Plot synopsis from publisher’s weekly)

My Take:
This is truly a remarkable book. No matter what your opinion is of the death penalty there are lessons to be learned from this amazing eye witness account of death row in Texas.

Book #17 Read in 2011---A Change of Habit: the Autobiography of a Former Catholic Nun by JoAnne Howe

“The author takes you through the sacrifice, rigors, humility and discipline of what it takes to become a professed nun, describing her experience of becoming and living as a nun during the early 1960’s.” (Synopsis from

My Take:
For me this book was just OK. It was fairly interesting to read, but did not go into as much depth as I would have liked as to the day-to-day experience of being a nun.

Book #18 Read in 2011---The Eat Clean Diet Stripped: Peel off those last 10 pounds! By Tosca Reno

“Getting rid of the last 10 pounds is the hardest part of losing weight because your body wants to hang on to them. So many people exercise and eat right, but those pounds refuse to budge and they have no idea why! Utilizing her clean eating principles, author Tosca Reno shares the slim-down secrets of fitness models and celebrities, teaching readers how to finally lose that last 10 pounds and keep it off for good. Bonus feature--includes 50 new Eat-Clean recipes!” (Synopsis from

My Take:
I love Reno’s Eat Clean approach to a healthy lifestyle. This book was worth buying for me if only for all of the new recipes it contains.

Book #19 read in 2011---Everyone is normal until you get to know them by John Ortberg

“There are no normal people, asserts prolific author and pastor Ortberg (If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat; The Life You've Always Wanted), and the sooner Christians accept this disquieting truth, the healthier they and their churches will be. In this treatise on Christian community, Ortberg implicates Christians who are constantly on the run and on the most superficial terms with their fellows. Citing numerous biblical stories where Jesus turned the tables on foes and drew in unlovable and undesirable people, Ortberg nicely communicates his passion for seeing past external appearances and delving deeply into people's hearts and souls. Christians, he says, must learn to communicate on Jesus' terms; they should practice unconditional love, strive for authenticity and build mutual trust” (Synopsis from Publisher’s Weekly)

My Take:
Ortberg uses humor to make his points which is always appreciated. This book really helps you delve into your own problems, to appreciate the differences in others and focus on the importance of community in the Christian Church.

Book #20 read in 2011--- One Good Dog by Susan Wilson

“Adam March is a married father and successful businessman poised to become a CEO—that is, until the day his troubled past catches up with him. Soon Adam has lost his job, his family, and his house and is living in a lonely apartment working off his community-service sentence in a local men’s shelter. Adam’s story alternates with that of Chance, a former fighting pit bull who has escaped, lived on the streets, and is now back at the animal shelter. When circumstances require Adam to adopt and care for Chance, he comes to realize the joy and comfort of animal companionship. Adam’s and Chance’s tale is one of love, loyalty, and determination, as both fight to begin new lives and relationships” (Plot Synopsis from Book List)

My Take:
This is NOT the sort of book I normally read, but a friend suggested I give it a try. I am glad I did. It was a quick and enjoyable read!

Book #21 Read in 2011---The Other Life by Ellen Meister

“What if you could return to the road not taken?
Happily married with a young son and another child on the way, Quinn Braverman has the perfect life. She also has an ominous secret. Every time she makes a major life decision, she knows an alternative reality exists in which she made the opposite choice-not only that, she knows how to cross over. But even in her darkest moments-like her mother's suicide-Quinn hasn't been tempted to visit . . . until she receives shattering news about the baby she's carrying. Desperate to escape her grief, Quinn slips through the portal that leads to her other life: the life in which she stayed with her exciting but neurotic ex- boyfriend, and is childless. The life in which-as she is amazed to discover-her mother is still very much alive. Quinn is soon forced to make an impossible choice. Will she stay with the family she loves and face the painful challenges that lie ahead? Or will a more carefree life-and the primal lure of being with her mother-pull her into her other life for good? (Plot synopsis from

My Take:
I am a sucker for this sort of book! Ultimately this is a story about working through grief, learning to forgive and realizing what is truly important in life. Suspend your reality and believe that Quinn could travel between worlds. Then ask yourself what would you do? This book brings to the surface a lot of excellent discussion questions and could be a good choice for book club. Well worth reading.

Book # 22 read in 2011----The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

“You don't have to have a sister or be a fan of the Bard to love Brown's bright, literate debut, but it wouldn't hurt. Sisters Rose (Rosalind; As You Like It), Bean (Bianca; The Taming of the Shrew), and Cordy (Cordelia; King Lear)--the book-loving, Shakespeare-quoting, and wonderfully screwed-up spawn of Bard scholar Dr. James Andreas--end up under one roof again in Barnwell, Ohio, the college town where they were raised, to help their breast cancer–stricken mom. The real reasons they've trudged home, however, are far less straightforward"
(Plot synopsis from

My Take:
If you love a sister story, Shakespeare or reading in general, this will be a perfect read for you. HIGHLY recommended!
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