Friday, August 17, 2018

Upcoming Book Club Titles

The hiatus is over! We are returning to our book club meetings in October!

On October 16th we will meet to discuss We Were the Lucky Ones , by Georgina Hunter.

Our November 27th pick is the sequel to Beartown, Us Against You by Frederick Backman. 
Click below to purchase!


Can’t wait to get together and discuss!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Priscilla's Summer 2018 Book List

I know summer is not over yet but with school starting soon, I am just about done with my summer reading.  This season proved me to be a reader of all types of generes; literary fiction, thrillers, romance, memiors, contemporary fiction, young adult and new adult. Listed below are some of my favorite reads this summer.  Feel free to click on the images to send you directly to Amazon if interested in purchasing.

I kicked off the season with How to Walk Away by Katherine Center.   The main characters', Margaret, life turns upside down when she decides to step in the airplane with her fiance.  This life changing event that occurs, forces Maraget to become a shell of person she once was.  I highly recommmend this book for those that love strong characters, rich meanings, romance, heartbreak and some humor!


Confession: I like a good thriller but can only read them occassionally (yep, I'm a highly sensative reader and can't read these books often).  The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn was one of the creepiest books I've ever read.  As an agoraphobic, Anna Fox, has many issues, including mixing lots of red wine with psychotrophic medication.  Deciphering between what's real and what isn't, becomes a struggle for Anna, so when she sees something terrible occur next door, others are not entirely sure she is telling the truth.  This one keeps you guessing until the end!  And, it's going to the big screen!


If you are looking for some whitty and addicting "MAMA DRAMAS," the folowing two books, When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger and Other People's Houses by Abbi Waxman, are must reads, especially for moms of young children and those care givers trying to juggle life with small children and still trying to have a social life.  These books are best read in a hot bath with a glass of wine.  Be ready for some eye-rolling and chuckles!


I typically enjoy reading light books without much depth into them, but this summer, I found two books worth reading that had me in tears.  First, A Place for Us by Fatima Farhenn Mirza, published by Sarah Jessica Parker's line with Hogarth Books, was a phenomenal read.  This slow turning but intriging book is going down as the best novel I have ever read. The deep, raw emotions of a first-generation Indian-Muslim son and his father whom is trying his best to raise his children by the old world standards, resonated in me.  As a first generation child of Luso-Azorean Catholic parents, I found this story to be relateable.  Secondly, All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin, also pulled at my heart-strings.  Someone described this book as the contemporary fiction version of Beartown by Frederik Backman, and I couldn't agree more.  This story had real-life, modern day, social media issues as it pertains to teenagers and the struggles parents face to keep their children safe from cyber bullying and exposure.  If there are two books I read this summer that you should read, these are the two to consider.


Last but not least, my top romance read of the season goes to All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover.  This new adult novel is good for those that like reading about the struggles of married life and the obstacles that arise when life doesn't go the way you plan.


So there you have it, book lovers! Priscilla's top books for Summer 2018.  Don't forget to check out our bookstagram IG account (link located on side bar) to check out my other picks and current selections! You can also follow #priscillas2018summerreads on the gram!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

When Breath Becomes Air

The first book I finished (I say finished because I started it before New Years) was, "When Breath Becomes Air," by Paul Kalanithi. Let me start off by saying I typically don't enjoy memoirs but as a nurse working in the medical field I thought this would be something I could get into. I was right! I did enjoy  this book very much even though at times I would find myself lost in certain aspects Paul's thinking.

Let me start off by saying what a beautiful mind this man had. I mean you would have to be amazingly intellectual to become a neurosurgeon for one. However, his journey takes us through getting a BA and MA in English Literature (yes! He was a fellow bookworm), from Stanford University and a BA in human biology. He also earned his MPhil in history and philosophy of science and medicine (this is where sometimes I am not ashamed to admit he lost me) from the University of Cambridge. If that wasn't enough he also graduated cum laude from Yale School of Medicine. From there he returned to Stanford to complete his residency training in neurological surgery and fellowship in neuroscience. That right there is impressive enough!!

We meet thiurty-six year old Paul when he and his wife are told that he has stage IV lung cancer. He was in his last year of residency with his whole career in front of him. To see your own CT scans and know you are looking at potential death in the face has to be so difficult. It's one thing to be the doctor giving the bad news but to be the patient on the other end?

So what does he do? First he takes us on a journey through medical school and his early residency years. This is where I couldn't put this book down. From cutting into cadavers and going through different rotations I was glued to the page. I really felt at home in the LDR and NICU portions of his writing. Other areas felt like I was in the middle of a great episode of Grey's Anatomy right there performing brain surgery. It's really mind boggling how precise one has to be for brain surgery and how 1 millimeter can change a person, I mean REALLY change a person into a completely differnet person than they were before surgery.

As we catch up to present Paul we are there for his diagnosis and treatment plans. How he couldn't let go of being the doctor at first and just be the patient. Once he did what a load of his shoulders he admitted to feeling. He didn't think he would return to surgery after being diagnosed, but he did!  Fighting cancer and continuing to heal others! Pushing his tired body and mind to finish his last year and graduate. We are there for his contemplation with his wife of should or should they not try nad have a baby knowing his diagnosis?

Paul Kalanithi died March 9, 2015 after his battle with cancer. He faced it head on and with such bravery I don't think not just anyone would have given the same fate. He started writing his memoir to help others face their death if they had to face it head on. Paul never finised his memoir. He died before it was completed. His wife Lucy finishes it with a warmest epilogue that had me crying all over the pages as I read it.

Paul is survived by his wife, Lucy, daughter Elizabeth, and large extended family. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to look into a beautiful mind and into the journey of a brave soul.

Til next time!

-Scilla Lee

Monday, January 1, 2018

Winter Street Series by Elin Hilderbrand

Hello, book friends!  This is our first ever blog post and what a better time to launch it than on New Years Day!

As mentioned on my Priscilla's Picks page, reading went on the way side for a few years while I was busy raising my babies.  Before kids, I enjoyed holiday reading and every year, I'd search reviews on popular holiday reads to compile a list of seasonal books.  Local ghost story books were perfect for October, cozy Thanksgiving reads were a must for November and romantic, atmospheric Christmas stories piqued my interest for the month of December. 

Although, ghost stories are no longer my thing and there seems to be a limited amount of Thanksgiving books; this year, Christmas stories were of plenty!  One series in particular was my favorite.  The Winter Street series by Elin Hilderbrand.  It not only provided me with all the holiday feels but it also pulled at my heart strings. 


The first book in the 4-book series is Winter Street.  This one sets the scene for all the characters of the Quinn family, residents of Nantucket, a small island off the coast of Massachusetts.  We start off the story with Kelley Quinn, the father and patriarch of the family, finding his second wife, Mitzi, kissing "Santa Claus" days before Christmas and their annual, popular and charismatic Christmas Eve party, in their very own bed and breakfast inn on Winter Street.   

When I first started reading the story, I thought it would be more on the comical side, but it ended up being more than that.  We quickly learn that the dysfunction isn't only with Kelley and Mitzi but it's also with his four children, Patrick, Kevin, Ava and Bart.  But wait!  It doesn't end there, Margaret, Kelley's first wife and mother to the three oldest children, comes into play in all the craziness!  There were times that I felt my jaw drop and wondered, "do families really function like this?"

Patrick, the eldest, and his wife Jennifer, have had a strong marriage for many years until one day, Patrick takes a chance at work that costs his freedom and wife's sanity. 

Kevin, the second oldest, is a college drop-out that hasn't advanced beyond working as a bartender at a local pub.  With a divorce under his belt, in his late 30's and in a secret relationship, he wonders if he will ever get out of this rut.

Ava, the youngest of the first three children, is a 29 year old music teacher stuck in a dead-end relationship.  All she wants is to get married and settle down.

Bart, Kelley's youngest child and the only child he had with Mitzi, joined the Marines right out of high school and is serving a tour in Afghanistan.  Without giving away too many details, this decision has caused a rift between Kelley and Mitzi. 

Margaret, is Kelley's first wife of 19 years, and a well known CBS news anchor.  After hearing the news of Mitzi's affair with "Santa Claus", she comes to Nantucket to make sure everything is ok with her ex-husband. 

From here, there is a spiral effect of questionable relationships, broken hearts, new love and lots of longing and heart ache.


In the Winter Stroll, the second in the series, we once again meet up with the Quinn family.  A year has gone by and some relationships are still in turmoil while others are rekindled.  Patrick and Jennifer's relationship seems stable, but is Jennifer?  Kevin is finally settling down and is trying to make things right with his new love.  Ava is trying to find herself and trying to make the right decisions when it comes to love.  What about Bart?  Well, you have to read the book to find out!  Mitzi and Kelley's relationship takes a turn and we learn more about Margaret as a lover and a mother. 
The start of this story is set during the Winter Stroll on Main Street, the first weekend of December when the island kicks off its' holiday season.  I had to do my own research in regards to the holiday festivities on the island (confession, I love all things Christmas and typically try to attend one local event each season) and learned that the Nantucket Christmas Stroll, is an actual event.  And to my delight, Nantucket is only a ferry ride away from me!  You know where I will be the first weekend of December 2018!
Hilderbrand changed the scene of the third book, Winter Storms, and we meet the Quinn's in the spring time.  Lots have changed since the first book and the ending leaves you with tears and questions that need to be answered.  I couldn't get to Winter Solstice fast enough!
This series was originally supposed to be a trilogy so that last installment, Winter Solstice, came as a surprise, and boy, Hilderbrand did not disappoint!  The character development was on point as they grew from book to book.  The love and brutal honesty of the family members was felt and heard loud and clear.  I wanted to visit Nantucket in hopes to meet the members of the Quinn family, but had to remind myself they didn't really exist!
I was truly sad to leave them but Hilderbrand tied up the story so nicely that you didn't leave the story with unanswered questions, but instead with a heart filled with love and eyes filled with tears. 
I highly recommend that you read these novels.  Each one is less than 300 pages, so it is easy to read through and hard to put down!  Although these are predominately based in the holiday season, you can read them anytime of the year.  If you are upset and missing Christmas already, pick these books up right now to immerse yourself in the holiday cheer.  But if you want to wait until next Christmas to pick these up, then please add them to your December TBR list!
Enjoy!  Happy reading and Happy New Year my friends!