Monday, August 31, 2009

Review: Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter Memoir

Recommended for: people who enjoy memoirs, readers interested in the psychological impact of WWII

Teaser quote: For decades, readers have wondered what Anne Frank might have become, had she lived. My mother's coming-of-age story may provide some indirect insight, and shed light on the long-term impact of the Holocaust, and other tragedies, on the children involved. (pg. 3)

My rating: 3.5 /5

My thoughts:
I think it’s important to start this off with WHY I chose this book. After the birth of my 1st son, I thought it would be nice to start a family tree. I realized that I didn’t know very much about my mom’s side of the family. My maternal Grandma passed away in the early 80’s leaving my Grandpa as my only known relative. My maternal grandparents, although not Jewish, were Eastern European and fled to Canada during the war…that’s all I knew. I called up my Grandpa to inquire about his past. Did he have any brothers or sisters etc. etc. I could tell by the quick, surface answers I was given that this was just too hard to talk about and left without learning too much. I chose Bending Toward the Sun as a way to fill in the gap of questions that I never had to chance to ask.

Told in three parts, Bending Toward the Sun is a unique opportunity to see the impact a truly horrific experience not only on the survivor but on generations to come. It begins with a glimpse into Rita’s happy childhood which leads into the terrifying experience that ultimately overpowered her ability to enjoy life. There are no grisly details of the Holocaust, just enough information for us to understand what she saw that haunted her forever. The focus of part two is Rita’s adolescence, starting her own family and trying to lead a normal life in America. I found this section a slow read, probably due to the fact that it mostly dealt with her depression and heartache. In reading the book jacket, I was in awe at how successful her daughter, Leslie, became and yet reading about her life in the book I was too caught up in the sadness and did not get the same vibe. The final part deals with the decade over which this book project took place. We see the impact on Rita’s grandchildren and an attempt at closure for all. Maybe I am too much of “a glass is half full” girl but I was expecting more of a fairytale, happily ever after ending which never came into fruition. I applaud Rita (and all contributors) for reliving such a dark part of their lives in hopes that others may learn from it. Thanks to Bending Toward the Sun, I feel a bit of closure.


Leslie Gilbert-Lurie, author of Bending Toward the Sun, will be on the Today show Tuesday, September 1st, the day of it's release (tomorrow!)

Enter my giveaway here

Mailbox Monday

Thanks to Marcia at The Printed Page for hosting Mailbox Monday.

My goodies this week (Now to find the time to read them all!!!) :

Canadian cover VS US cover
I like the US much better!! What do you think???

Going to be a huge hit!

Love the Bones T.V. show, 1st time reading Kathy Reichs

can't wait to read this one!

What books did you get?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Another award!!!

Being a recipient of this award affirms that this blog invests and believes in the Proximity – nearness in space, time and relationships.This blog receives this great award as a further way to re iterate that it is exceedingly charming, and aims to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!

Thanks to Lisa over at Book Blab for once again thinking of me. She is my BBFF (Best Blog Friend Forever)! I didn't start blogging so I could talk to myself so this award means a lot to me.

...and passing this along to Deb over at Bookmagic and Teddyree over at The Eclectic Reader

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Word Verification Balderdash

A fun & exciting weekly meme over at Sheila's blog

All you need to do is write down a few of those crazy word verifications when you post and make up your own definition.

I forgot to write them down!!!! My word I remember from this week:

egape - what happens when someone online drives you go egape!

Thoughtful Thursday

The wonderful world of books enriches our lives by giving us the opportunity to experience, well pretty much anything one can imagine! We can be transported to a new time or place, experience pure joy or extreme sadness, become a president or a slave etc. etc.

Where has your book taken you this week? What have you learned?

Comment then post a link to this post on your blog for others to find their way here and join in on the fun :)

This week I finished Bending Toward the Sun by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie. I was in Poland and California reliving the life of a Holocaust survivor. It was depressing at times but worth it just to get a glimpse at the impact not only on a survivor but on generations to come.

Now I'm back in high school, falling for the 'bad' guy reading Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. Oh the memories! Funny how, after almost 2 decades, it feels like just yesterday :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Giveaway: Bending Toward the Sun

I had the pleasure of reading this last week (my review will soon...hint: Sept 1 release date). In the meantime, I am happy to have the opportunity to host a giveaway!!!

from book jacket:
A miraculous lesson in courage and recovery, Bending Toward the Sun tells the story of a unique family bond forged in the wake of brutal terror. Weaving together the voices of three generations of women, Leslie Gilbert-Lurie and her mother, Rita Lurie, provide powerful -- and inspiring -- evidence of the resilience of the human spirit, relevant to every culture in every corner of the world. By turns unimaginably devastating and incredibly uplifting, this firsthand account of survival and psychological healing offers a strong, poignant message of hope in our own uncertain times.

Rita Lurie was five years old when she was forced to flee her home in Poland to hide from the Nazis. From the summer of 1942 to mid-1944, she and fourteen members of her family shared a nearly silent existence in a cramped, dark attic, subsisting on scraps of raw food. Young Rita watched helplessly as first her younger brother then her mother died before her eyes. Motherless and stateless, Rita and her surviving family spent the next five years wandering throughout Europe, waiting for a country to accept them. The tragedy of the Holocaust was only the beginning of Rita's story.

Decades later, Rita is a mother herself, the matriarch of a close-knit family in California. Yet in addition to love, Rita unknowingly passes to her children feelings of fear, apprehension, and guilt. Her daughter Leslie, an accomplished lawyer, media executive, and philanthropist, began probing the traumatic events of her mother’s childhood to discover how Rita's pain has affected not only Leslie's life and outlook but also Leslie's daughter's, Mikaela's.

A decade-long collaboration between mother and daughter, Bending Toward the Sun reveals how deeply the Holocaust remains in the hearts and minds of survivors, influencing even the lives of their descendants. It also sheds light on the generational reach of any trauma, beyond the initial victim. Drawing on interviews with the other survivors and with the Polish family who hid five-year-old Rita, Leslie and Rita bring together the stories of three generations of women -- mother, daughter, and granddaughter -- to understand the legacy that unites, inspires, and haunts them all.


Now for the boring rules ;)

Contest End Date: Sept 15, 2009

Worldwide entries welcome (Canada, US AND International)

For one entry, comment below with your email address

Additional entries:
+2 for being a follower

+3 for promoting the contest on your blog (please leave a comment with link)

+4 for referring a friend ( just get them to mention your name & blog)

Good luck everyone!

"Waiting on" Wednesday

This weekly event is hosted by Jill at

My can't wait to read book this week is:

Who can go wrong with a title like that! Just in time to be getting into the Christmas spirit, this book is released Oct 20, 2009.

"A riveting and highly commercial debut novel about the rich and complicated friendships between twelve women who meet for a cookie exchange. "

Monday, August 24, 2009

How exciting...award time!!!

Being a brand spanking new addition to this wonderful world of book blogging, I'm so happy to have received two awards already!!! As a newbie, for me this is just as good being nominated for a BBAW award :)

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all.

Thanks to Sara at I'm speechless, lol. I'm late on passing this along as I was on holidays last week, hopefully the wrath of the zombies has some kind of a grace period!

My nominees:


Enjoy everyone!

and now for the 2nd award:

The Lemonade Award is a feel good award that shows great attitude or gratitude. Here are the rules for accepting this award:

- Put the Lemonade Award logo on your blog or post.

-Link your nominees within your post.

-Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

-Share the love and link to the person from whom you received the award.

Thanks to Lisa over at How sweet! (or is it sour??? lol)

I want to pass this onto Lezlie at who not only has one amazing blog, she is super kind :) Thanks so much for being one of the 1st bloggers to make me feel welcome!

Mailbox Monday

Thanks to Marcia at The Printed Page for hosting Mailbox Monday.

Having grandparents from Eastern Europe at this time, I wanted to learn a bit more on this subject.

The Last Song
Nicolas Sparks, what more do I need to say, lol.

Atlas Shrugged
Right up my alley: a mix of psychology, sociology and philosophy. I've been meaning to read this for years!

Friday, August 21, 2009

About Me

Hi Everyone!

Well for starters, my name is Mel :)

I am a wife & mom to two handsome (and energetic) boys. I hold a Bachelor of Commerce degree, specializing in Finance and work full-time in the investment industry. When I do have some 'me' time, I'm usually found curled up on the couch reading a book or watching my favorite t.v. shows (a list that keeps getting shorter and shorter).

I hope to win the lottery some day so I can afford to tour the world.

Reviews By Title

206 Bones -- Kathy Reichs

A Spy In The House (The Agency #1) -- Lee, Y.S
Atlantis Revelation, The -- Thomas Greanias
Atlas Shrugged -- Ayn Rand

Before I Fall -- Oliver, Lauren
Bending Toward The Sun: A Mother and Daughter Memoir -- Leslie Gilbert-Lurie
The Body Finder -- Derting, Kimberly

Christmas Cookie Club, The -- Ann Pearlman

The Dark Divine -- Despain, Bree
Double Eagle -- Collard III, Sneed B

Fade -- McMann, Lisa

Gone -- McMann, Lisa

Handy Answer Book for Kids, The -- Gina Misiroglu
Have A Little Faith -- Mitch Albom
Heist Society -- Carter, Alley
Hex Hall -- Hawkins, Rachel
Hourglass -- Gray, Claudia
How The Dead Dream -- Lydia Millet
hush, hush -- Becca Fitzpatrick

Island Sting -- Doerr, Bonnie
It's Not Summer Without You -- Han, Jenny

Lamb -- Christopher Moore
Last Song, The -- Nicholas Sparks
The Lonely Hearts Club -- Eulberg, Elizabeth

Magic Under Glass -- Dolamore, Jaclyn
The Mark -- Nadol, Jenn
Men Are Stupid, Women Are Crazy -- Howard J. Morris & Jenny Lee
Merlin's Harp -- Crompton, Anne Eliot
Mr. Darcy's Diary -- Amanda Grange
Must Love Hellhounds -- Various

Numbers -- Ward, Rachel

Pendragon's Banner -- Helen Hollick
Playing House, The -- Fredrica Wagman
Possessed -- Cann, Kate

Restoring Harmony -- Anthony, Joelle
The Rise of Renegade X -- Campbell, Chelsea

Scones & Sensibility -- Eland, Lindsey
The Secret Year -- Hubbard, Jennifer
Shade -- Smith-Ready, Jeri
Shiver -- Maggie Stiefvater
Spells -- Pike, Aprilynne

Under My Skin -- Graves, Judith

Wake -- McMann, Lisa
What The Dog Saw -- Malcolm Gladwell
White Cat (The Curse Workers #1) -- Black, Holly
White Queen, The -- Philippa Gregory
Wish -- Bullen, Alexandra
The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams -- Hayter, Rhonda

Reviews By Author

Albom, Mitch -- Have A Little Faith
Anthony, Joelle -- Restoring Harmony

Black, Holly -- White Cat (The Curse Workers #1)
Bullen, Alexandra -- Wish

Campbell, Chelsea -- The Rise of Renegade X
Cann, Kate -- Possessed
Carter, Alley -- Heist Society
Collard III, Sneed B -- Double Eagle
Crompton, Anne Eliot -- Merlin's Harp

Derting, Kimberly -- The Body Finder
Despain, Bree -- The Dark Divine
Doerr, Bonnie -- Island Sting
Dolamore, Jaclyn -- Magic Under Glass

Eland, Lindsey -- Scones & Sensibility
Eulberg, Elizabeth -- The Lonely Hearts Club

Fitzpatrick, Becca -- HUSH, HUSH

Gilbert-Lurie, Leslie -- Bending Toward The Sun: A Mother & Daughter Memoir
Gladwell, Malcolm -- What The Dog Saw
Grange, Amanda -- Mr. Darcy's Diary
Graves, Judith -- Under My Skin
Gray, Claudia -- Hourglass
Gregory, Philippa -- The White Queen

Han, Jenny -- It's Not Summer Without You
Hawkins, Rachel -- Hex Hall
Hayter, Rhonda -- The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams
Hollick, Helen -- Pendragon's Banner
Hubard, Jennifer -- The Secret Year

Lee, Y.S -- A Spy In The House (The Agency #1)

McMann, Lisa -- Wake
McMann, Lisa -- Gone
McMann, Lisa -- Fade
Millet, Lydia -- How The Dead Dream
Misiroglu, Gina -- The Handy Answer Book for Kids (and Parents) 2nd Edition
Moore, Christopher -- Lamb
Morris, Howard J. and Jenny Lee -- Men Are Stupid, Women Are Crazy

Nadol, Jenn -- The Mark

Oliver, Lauren -- Before I Fall

Pearlman, Ann -- Christmas Cookie Club, The
Pike, Aprilynne -- Spells

Rand, Ayn -- Atlas Shrugged
Reichs, Kathy -- 206 Bones

Smith-Ready, Jeri -- Shade
Sparks, Nicholas -- The Last Song
Stiefvater, Maggie -- Shiver

Greanias, Thomas -- The Atlantis Revelation

Various -- Must Love Hellhounds

Wagman, Fredrica -- The Playing House
Ward, Rachel -- Numbers

Contact Me

Should you have any questions, comments or concerns I'm just an email away!

hefollowedme AT gmail DOT com

I look forward to chatting with ya :)

Review Policy

Hi and welcome to my book blog!

If you are a publicist or author and would like me to review a book, please take a few moments to review my guidelines.

  • Although I am an eclectic reader, my favorite genre is historical fiction and I have a soft spot for YA.
  • I accept ARCs as well as books that have already been released. At this time I do not review e-books or self-published books.
  • I will review books received within two (2) months. If you have a specific deadline in which you need a review posted, just let me know. I try to to post ARC reviews during the first week of their release.
  • I will review your book honestly, which means I reserve the right to post a glowing review, a less then favorable review or none at all. If I am unable to finish your book I will try to pass it on to another blogger & contact you with my explanation.
  • In addition to posting my reviews here on my blog, I am open to posting on, and I post the review link on Twitter and in addition to emailing it to book provider.
Thank you for your consideration, I look forward to working with you!
hefollowedme AT gmail DOT com

(last updated January 8, 2011)

Friday, August 14, 2009

will be MIA for a few days..

off to the cottage with the boys. Wish me luck, 4 hour drive with 2 kids !!!

I'll catch up with everyone on Wednesday:)


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Word Verification Balderdash

A fun & exciting new weekly meme over at Sheila's blog
All you need to do is write down a few of those crazy word verifications when you post and make up your own definition.

my words this week:

gratio: an Italian greeting, translated to 'hello' in English

nessess: referring to the Loch Ness monster (plural)

Thoughtful Thursday

The wonderful world of books enriches our lives by giving us the opportunity to experience, well pretty much anything one can imagine! We can be transported to a new time or place, experience pure joy or extreme sadness, become a president or a slave etc. etc.

Where has your book taken you this week? What have you learned?

Comment then post a link to this post on your blog for others to find their way here and join in on the fun :)

This week I finished Lamb by Christopher Moore. The story takes place in the 1st century and there were a few things I had to Wikipedia. Not only did I have a fun Bible lesson, I learned about the four schools of thought back then: Pharisees, the Essenses, the revolutionaries and the Sadducees.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Review: Lamb by Christopher Moore

Recommended for: people with a sense of humour...hopefully that's everyone!

Contains: course language, sex, violence (& sarcasm)

Description from cover:

The birth of Jesus has been well chronicled, as have his glorious teachings, acts, and divine sacrifice after his thirtieth birthday. But no one knows about the early life of the Son of God, the missing years -- except Biff, the Messiahs best bud, who has been resurrected to tell the story in the divinely hilarious yet heartfelt work "reminiscent of Vonnegut and Douglas Adams" (Philadelphia Inquirer).

Verily, the story Biff has to tell is a miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healings, kung fu, corpse reanimations, demons, and hot babes. Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Saviors pal may not be enough to divert Joshua from his tragic destiny. But theres no one who loves Josh more -- except maybe "Maggie," Mary of Magdala -- and Biff isn't about to let his extraordinary pal suffer and ascend without a fight.

Teaser quote:

"Shut the door", the innkeeper shouted as the wind whipped through the room. "Were you born in a barn?"

"Yeah", said Joshua.

"He was", I said. "Angels on the roof, though."

My rating: 5/5

My thoughts:

WARNING: do not drink & read as liquids may go flying.

My BFF over at and I decided that we needed a funny book. Lucky for us we found Christopher Moore & after looking at reviews, Lamb seemed to be everyone's favorite. Not having much of a religious background, I was hesitant thinking that many jokes/references would go over my head. I'm sure many did and yet I have not had so many tears, giggles, snorts and 'eyes popping out of my head' moments (as in, did he actually just say that!!!) from one book. Rest assured, having greater knowledge of the Bible would have been helpful (Wikipedia came in handy a few times) but don't be afraid to read this hilarious book based solely on the subject. Starting on the second page of chapter 1, all the way through I laughed my butt off (well, until you know what happens in the end) and did not want to put the book down.

"...we have a thirty year hole in the life of the most influential human being ever to walk the face of the earth. With Lamb, in my own goofy way, I attempted to fill that hole in history, but again, I am not trying to present history as it might have been, I'm simply telling stories." (Pg 439) Moore succeeded in taking a serious subject and building his own story with humour & sarcasm all while sticking to our perception of what Jesus is. Similar to my experience with Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, after reading Lamb I was left wanting to read the Bible to find out what parts were truth, what were fiction.

You know you've read a great book when you get to the end and you're left wanting more (or should I say Moore, hehe). I'm putting this one back on the bottom of my 'to read' pile as it's definitely one to read again.

For more goofiness, visit

What books have you read & loved that surprised you?

Lesson #5:
Don't judge a book by its cover!

If you got this far, thank you so much for reading my review!!! Being my first, I would appreciate lots of feedback (I'm tough so please feel free to critique). Should I add more book details, write my own summary about the book rather then use the book cover? Thanks everyone!

It's Monday! What are you reading this week?

This is a weekly event at to list the books completed last week, the books currently being reading, and the books to be finish this week. Feel free to join, the more the merrier :)

Tonight, I'm finishing up :

I needed a funny book, and this one did the trick!

Tomorrow I'm starting:

Read great reviews on this everywhere! I've started this book twice before and partway though have gotten sidetracked. Trying again, along with my bff as incentive to finish it :)

Lesson #4
If you write something down, somehow you feel more accountable.

Friday, August 7, 2009

What's Up With Your Blog Name?

In my quest to join the blogging world, the 1st thing was to pick a name. Being the late bloomer (or should I say loser, lol) that I am so many names were already taken. Some names I tried were ridiculous and yet 'not available', so it got me thinking...where did people's names came from?

Mine wasn't my 1st choice though I can't remember what that was, guess that means I tried too many ;) "He followed me home, can I keep him?" was on a t-shirt I had as a kid. A little girl had a cute monster on a leash, hence the monster pic on my blog. It was my favorite & over 30 yrs later is still safe somewhere in a box. Why I still have it, I have no idea why- gotta be that OCD thing of mine! I'm thinking this name will take on a whole new meaning as I come home with books in hand & have to explain it to the hubby ;)

I thought it'd be fun to see where everyone's name came from or odd names people have come across

Lesson # 3
Sitting on your butt does nothing but give you a silly name. Don't wait for things to come to you, be proactive & take action!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Who Knew???

In my mission to find more crazy book people like myself, I came across this: . Nominations close on August 15th!

so here I go:

1) What has been one of the highlights of blogging for you?

A bit of a tough question since I've only been at it a few days... fun to read others thoughts & hoping to find many others who share a passion for books!

2) What blogger has helped you out with your blog by answering questions, linking to you, or inspiring you?

I need to find more friends to answer this one ;) My bff at helped me get started!

How can I forget the obvious ... thanks to Lezlie at for mentioning the BBAW site in the first place & offering support!

3) What one question do you have about BBAW that someone who participated last year could answer?

Did you discover what is now your favorite blog from BBAW?

Lesson #2
There's a whole new world out there for me to discover...sometimes I think I live in a bubble :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I'm back...with a vengence!!

Well after taking a few years off to raise my little guys, the avid reader in me has returned! But boy do I have a lot to catch up on.

I'm probaby driving my bff crazy, heading out to every used/discount bookstore trying to make up for lost time. Sometimes it feels like I'm on the hunt for the Holy Grail. Now it's not just about finding THE book, it's about the adreneline rush you get when you find one on the 'to buy' list. The downfall of the search is that while scanning the mulitude of shelves in every store, the 'to buy' list doesn't seem to shrink but my wallet sure has!

Well I've decided with each post, I'll keep track of all the life lessons learned from books, so without further ado...

Lesson #1
Stick to the books on the 'to buy' list & borrow the rest from the library (or your bff).