"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Bike, Blob, Beautiful Beast: Snow Day Happenings!

We've had at least three other snow events this winter, but I didn't even bother to photograph them.  They were rather lame.  I figured eventually we'd get several inches, and THEN I'd take pictures.

Today was that day.

Andrew was out nearly from the get-go.  First he tried out his fat-tire bike.

Then he got to work on the yearly snow blob.

Usually when he makes it, the snow has nearly stopped coming down.  Not today. 

A few hours after I posted Snow Blob (above) on Facebook, it looked like this due to more snow falling on it.  Somewhere in there is a blue scarf.

Later, I bundled up and we walked to the park

and then I came home and took pictures in our yard and in my inlaws' back yard.  (Did y'all know I lived beside Andrew's parents?)

I took several pictures of Flash.

 In fact, he watched me, and later Andrew riding his bike,

and then he decided to come out from under the shelter so I could photograph him. I thought my phone pictures turned out rather well. 

My real camera had melting snow on the lens at this point.   Flash still looks pretty good in the snow.  

I am for sure a warm-weather-loving person, but I must admit that snow is charming, and I enjoyed my two walks with Andrew today. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

December Books

The Proving by Beverly Lewis -- I hadn't read any Amish-themed books lately so when I saw this on the New Books shelves, I got it.  I read these books very fast and this was no exception.  Five years earlier, Mandy left her Amish community after a rift with her twin sister.  Now she's back in town because her mother left her the family-run B&B.  She only has to make it profitable for a year before she can sell it and buy her own florist.

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier -- a novel about Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, English ladies from different classes who formed a friendship over fossils.  This was a pretty interesting read, and I enjoyed learning more about these ladies and their work.

Two Days After the Wedding by Joan Medlicott -- more adventures in Covington with Hannah, Amelia, and Grace

Murder on the Cliffs by Joanna Challis -- When Daphne du Maurier escaped London for a holiday to Cornwall, she never expected to happen upon a teenager standing over a dead body; yep, another English murder mystery find at the local library.  I'll look for others by this author as I enjoyed this story pretty well!

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton --  I'll admit that this book took me awhile to get into, but once it hit around page 188, I got MUCH more interested in this story as told from the perspectives of Laurel and her mother Dorothy, and also the two women Dolly and Vivien who were friends (of sorts) during the war.  And then there is sweet Jimmy.  Whatever became of him? 

An Unexpected Family by Joan Medlicott -- this novella mainly deals with a young woman and her small child who show up at Hannah, Grace, and Amelia's house claiming to be a relative of Amelia's late husband, Thomas.  Miriam and Sadie are on the run from Miriam's abusive ex-husband. 

An Irish Christmas by Melody Carlson -- a small book that was on display at the library due, I expect, to its Christmas theme; an easy read. A story about a widow who took her college-aged son to Ireland to talk to him about his father

The Winter Guest by Pam Jenoff -- When Helena's mother is hospitalized, Helena and her twin sister Ruth take charge of their younger siblings. It's a tough time in Poland, but it gets more interesting - and dangerous - when Helena discovers a wounded soldier in the forest not too far from their cabin.  Sam turns out to be an American Jew hoping to get in touch with the resistance, but how can he do anything with his hurt leg?

The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins -- a look at Irish Travellers or Pavees through the life of nearly-twelve-year-old William Christopher Hurley or Christy.  A rather good book as I didn't know anything about this culture or that it existed. 

Slow Medicine: The Way to Healing by Victoria Sweet -- my mom read this book and recommended it so I put it on hold and soon received a copy from the library; I enjoyed reading this doctor's account of Slow Medicine vs. Fast Medicine, and, for that matter, Medicine vs. Healthcare.  I especially enjoyed tales of former patients and diseases she dealt with during her work in California. 

The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier -- stories about Isabelle back during the time of John Calvin, and Ella Turner or Tournier as she becomes when she goes to live in France for her husband's work.  Ella starts researching her family,and finds a connection with Isabelle - and uncovers a secret connected to a nightmare she keeps having.

Peril at Somner House by Joanna Challis  -- When Daphne du Maurier agreed to spend a few days with her sister at her sister's friend's house, she didn't expect to be trapped on the island for the winter.  Well, at least there are other interesting guests around and a fascinating tower on the grounds.  Still, the Lord of the place winds up dead and most everyone is suspect. 

Promises of Change by Joan Medlicott -- nearly the end of this series; it's interesting to see how the ladies have changed since coming to Covington all those years before.  Figured I might as well see how this series ends . . .

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty -- When Louise Brooks' parents plan to send her to New York City for several weeks, they look to hire a local lady to accompany their daughter.  Cora signs up for the role and seeks to learn more about her own history.  No one - except her husband Alan - knows that she came to Kansas on an orphan train.  Pretty interesting story. 

Bound by Sally Gunning -- When Alice was brought to America with her family at the age of 7, she looked forward to life with her mom, dad, and brothers in Philadelphia where her father told the family they were headed.  Unfortunately, she lost most of her family on the ship, and they landed in Boston where her father sold her into service in order to pay his debts.  This book was quite interesting though maybe a bit too drawn out.  But mostly I enjoyed it, and the fact that I was not born into such a time. 

The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase -- I saw this in the new books section, and decided to give this author a try.  I enjoyed this story of the four Wilde sisters - Flora, Pam, Margot, and Dot - and the memorable summer of 1959 when they stayed a few months with their aunt and uncle.  The story also follows Jessie and her family's move to Applecote Manor, and how the two families' lives connect.

Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier -- I rather enjoyed this story told from a variety of voices and which centers around a cemetery in 1901 England.  Maude Coleman and Lavinia Waterhouse meet there and later are neighbors and best friends. 

The Villa of Death by Joanna Challis -- another and final (for my library anyway) Daphne du Maurier mystery.  I rather like these books for some light reading. 

The Good Father by Diane Chamberlain -- a story told with the alternating voices of Erin, the thirtysomething pharmacist who is living separately from her husband as she deals with her grief; Travis, the young 20s fellow who recently lost his mother in a house fire; and Robin, engaged to the future mayor of Beaufort. 

The Baker's Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan -- Life in a small village on the coast of France as the people survived an occupying army and near-starving conditions.  Emmanuelle does her best to keep people alive, all without thinking the Allies will ever rescue them.  This book takes place a few days before the D-Day invasion.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November Books

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith -- I'd seen this book recently at the library and wrote it down to get eventually. Then I read a Kate Morton book last month, and a character in the book had been reading this book before she died!  Weird!  So, I went ahead and got it at the end of October, and finished it in two days.  I enjoyed the story of Francie Nolan and her life in Brooklyn about 100 years ago. 

The Spirit of Covington by Joan Medlicott -- more adventures with the elderly Hannah, Grace, and Amelia in Madison County, North Carolina.  This time they have to deal with a fire consuming their house.  More than that, too.

Murder Most Persuasive by Tracy Kiely -- another murder mystery with our favorite heroine, Elizabeth. This time when her uncle's house is sold, a dead body is found buried under the pool.  Yay.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton -- This is the second book I've read from this Australian author, and I enjoyed this!  It does flit back and forth between women's lives to the early 1900s, to 1975, and to modern times (2005).  It has ties to England and Australia. A tale of Nell who arrived in Australia as a little girl, alone. And Cassandra, the granddaughter who lived with Nell.   What happened to Nell's family? What is her real name, and who are her parents? Why did they put her on a ship and have her sail so far away?  And how does the Authoress play into it all? Good story!

The Diplomat's Wife by Pam Jenoff -- Marta - whom we met as part of the Jewish resistance in a previous book - wakes up in a Nazi prison and later is freed by an American whom she later meets again in Paris. Later Marta is sent back into eastern Europe with hopes that she can persuade her former resistance partner to introduce her to someone who has a cipher needed for breaking codes.  Pretty good story.

At Home in Covington by Joan Medlicott -- more happenings with Hannah, Grace, and Amelia; this time the ladies take a trip to the US Virgin Island among other things

Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave -- There were some interesting aspects in this book -- people of London hiding out in bomb shelters, many of them still dying; a young teacher who instructed children not suited for or rejected by those in the countryside who kept some of London's children -- but overall, I was happy to finish this book.

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton -- a group of ladies met at a park on a Wednesday morning, and every Wednesday for the next several weeks.  They became friends who later branched out into writing (and critiquing said writing) and supporting each other through miscarriages and affairs and racism. 

A Covington Christmas by Joan Medlicott -- whereas the previous books in this series covered more months, this book focused on the weddings taking place in Covington on Christmas Eve. Of course Hannah, Amelia, and Grace were asked to help pull it off!

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton -- this is a long book, but like her other ones, a somewhat layered story that kept my attention. My niece is visiting so I read this throughout several days.  A story about Milderhurst Castle and the three old women -- Persephone (Percy), Seraphina (Saffy), and Juniper Blythe -- who live there.  Edie finds out more about her mom through visits to and delving into the mysteries surrounding the castle and the people who have lived there.

Murder Most Austen by Tracy Kiely -- another murder mystery with our favorite non-detective who is pretty good at finding out information, Elizabeth Parker.  This time Elizabeth and her Aunt Winnie are in England at an Jane Austen festival when the murder takes place. 

Almost Home by Pam Jenoff -- Jordan Weiss returns to England years after leaving this place she loved so much because of her boyfriend's drowning.  She goes back because her friend Sarah is fighting ALS, and she'll do anything for Sarah.  While in London, Jordan is contacted by a former friend about Jared's alleged drowning.  The book also follows Jordan as she does her work as a diplomat.

Walkin' on the Happy Side of Misery  by J.R. "Model-T" Tate -- we met Mr. Tate while in Abingdon, Virginia, in early October!  He and his friend were in the area for a yearly Appalachian Trail conference.   The conference is not always held in Abingdon, but happened to be this year, and we met the two at breakfast.  J.R. and his friend Noel DeCavalcante amused us with tales of their AT thru-hikes.  We asked if either of them had written about their trips, and were told of this book which I received for our anniversary. 

Lady Maybe by Julie Klassen -- I noticed our library had all of her books except this one. Apparently, she was given permission to try out another publisher and this is from the second one.  It's not the same quality as the original one, in my opinion, but it was still fairly interesting to learn about the Regency-era world. In this book Hannah Rogers leaves her home as a companion for Lady Marianna Mayfield.  On the way to their new residence, a carriage accident takes place and there is a big switch up in Hannah's role.

Another Woman's Son by Anna Adams --  a book I picked up at a free little library about a year ago and read now because it was the Thanksgiving holiday and I'd read all my library books. Thankfully it was a short, easy read because it wasn't very interesting

A Hidden Affair by Pam Jenoff -- the sequel to the above book about Jordan Weiss after she leaves State to search for a friend somewhere in Europe

Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman -- a look inside a young teen's life in the "foreign country" that is 1290 England by reading her journal entries. Corpus bones, this Newberry Honor Book was a free little library find that I read mostly when Sophie was in town in middle November.  But I just finished it last night.

A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor -- "a novel of London's Flower Sellers"  -- I enjoyed this look at the flower sellers who lived in an orphanage and village to make flowers; a rather good book about Tilly going to be a house mother at one of the homes for flower girls

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October Books

A Taste for Nightshade by Martine Bailey -- an intriguing tale about Mary Jebb who swindles her way through life, and her meeting up with Grace Moore who is married to Michael Croxon whom Mary met years prior when she cheated Michael's brother. Whew. I wasn't sure for whom to feel sympathy, and was kept guessing a bit about who would turn out to be the "good" guys and gals in the end.  I liked it!

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler -- Somehow Courtney Stone dreams and wakes up as Jane Mansfield, a contemporary of Jane Austen.  Courtney has Jane's body, face, and abilities to dance and embroider, but still has the 21st century mindset of a "typical" American woman from Los Angeles.  It made for a rather interesting tale, I suppose. Enough to keep me reading anyway!

Between Friends by Kristy Kiernan -- Cora and Ali and Letty are linked in a rather unusual way.  Cora and Ali are lifelong friends, yet Ali, who wants nothing more than to have children is unable to do so.  Bad eggs.   Cora, who never desired to be a mother, volunteers to donate her eggs so Ali and her husband Benny can have a child through IVF.  A pretty good story though the last bit of the book made me shed a few tears.

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler  -- In the first book Courtney wakes up in Jane's world (see above), while in this story Jane wakes up nearly 200 years later in the world of 2009.  Can you imagine having to learn what electricity is, how these carriages (cars) move, and you wear those tiny pieces of fabric to swim - in mixed company?   I admit, this book bored me after awhile.

Angel Sister by Ann H. Gabhart -- a story during the Depression era; a family of three girls who take in a little girl left on the doorstep of a neighborhood church

Murder at Longbourn by Tracy Kiely -- Elizabeth joins her Aunt Winnie to bring in the New Year with a How to Host a Murder party. Unfortunately, a real murder takes place, and Elizabeth sets out to prove her Aunt Winnie was not involved.  A cute book; I liked it.

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton -- When she turns 14, Grace is sent by her mother to the House at Riverton as a servant girl. Her mom had served there prior to Grace's arrival, and Grace interacts with the servants, of course, and later more so with the household. She becomes especially devoted to Hannah. This story is told from 90+ year old Grace's perspective, looking back over her life, and how events unfolded.  Good book! 

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain -- I'm glad I discovered this author's books a few weeks ago because I mostly enjoy them.  In this book Riley travels to New Bern, NC, to go through her dad's stuff and put her childhood house up for sale after his sudden death (a heart attack at Food Lion.)  Riley discovers a photo of her much-older sister whom she was told killed herself when she was a teenager.  Another good book!

From the Heart of Covington by Joan Medlicott -- another book in the series with the ladies living in Madison County, NC. These books always make me want to live in the mountains!   Apparently there are several other books so I'll probably continue reading them to see how things turn out in their families' lives and in the community.

Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta -- first in the Price of Privilege trilogy.  After Julia Elliston's mom dies in an apparent suicide, she gets notes from her mysterious guardian about his plans for her. In the meantime, she's allowed to visit lifelong friends, and they all end up at the home of a Mr. Chance Macy who has his own plans for Julia.  A very secretive book at times.

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain -- a great story about Tess DeMello who grew up among loving friends in Little Italy in Baltimore.  After a life-changing event during a brief visit to Washington, D.C., Tess ends up in Hickory, North Carolina, where much of this story takes place as she lives among the wealthy Kraft family.  Tess, who earned an RN, ends up working at a makeshift hospital set up by the people of Hickory to take care of those who contracted polio.

Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller -- curious about those Little House books from another perspective? Well, this one is not told from the Native American point of view, but it is told from the perspective of Mary and Laura's mother, Caroline, as the family prepares to leave their family in Wisconsin to start a new life in Indian Territory.

Murder on the Bride's Side by Tracy Kiely -- more adventures with Elizabeth Parker. This time as she takes part in her friend Bridget's wedding. Unfortunately, a hated relative-in-law winds up murdered and the detecting is on for whoever did this!

Mark of Distinction by Jessica Dotta -- second in the Price of Privilege trilogy; I figured I might as well see what happens next.  This book was better since I got through a lot of the secretive stuff in book one. Well, this one had plenty of secrets, but at least SOME THINGS WERE FOUND OUT!  And that made it better.  Julia takes her place as the daughter of Lord Pierson, and, whew, is it ever tough to enter London society after growing up poor!

Price of Privilege by Jessica Dotta -- the conclusion of the Price of Privilege trilogy; I came to like this series pretty well after the somewhat secretive and confusing first book. I'm glad I read it, and glad it's over so I can move onto something else.  Whew...I need something where women aren't treated like property!

Catching Genius by Kristy Kiernan -- I read another book by this author which I liked so I found this one as well.  A good book about sisters, Connie and Estella, who come together after many years of separation in order to close down their mom's beach house and deal with issues between them.

Summerlost by Ally Condie -- Bridget mentioned this on her blog so I checked it out from the library.  A sweet, touching book about Cedar a year after her dad and brother were killed in an automobile accident.  Cedar makes a new friend and works at a Shakespearean theatre - only selling concessions, but still.  

Kommandant's Girl by Pam Jenoff -- after reading a prequel last month concerning some characters in this book, I wanted to reread this book since it had been many years since my first reading.  I read much of it yesterday (10/30), and didn't sleep well because I was thinking of Jews and Nazis and Polish people during this time in history.  

Saturday, September 30, 2017

September Books

Joy School by Elizabeth Berg -- this book continues the story of Katie Nash whom I read about last month; Katie moves to Missouri with her military dad, and she meets new people. This book is about that. I am enjoying these Katie stories.

True to Form by Elizabeth Berg  -- same as above except it's the third book, and continues Katie's life in Missouri as a 13 year old

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain -- a great book alternating between the voices of Ivy and Jane (and Brenna twice); Jane goes into social work, but has too much heart.  She gets too involved with her clients especially the Hart girls, Ivy and Mary Ella.  This novel dealt with eugenics and sterilizations of the "feebleminded" and "morons" in North Carolina, which ramped up its program after the war with Hitler (ahem!). 

Snobbery With Violence by Marion Chesney -- I read another book in this series (out of order) last month, and found it cute so I decided to read another. It features the same main characters, Lady Rose Summer who doesn't want to settle for just any ol' husband, and Captain Harry Cathcart.  An Edwardian Murder Mystery

The Ambassador's Daughter by Pam Jenoff -- this book says it's the prequel to two other books she's written. I've read one of them, but it's been 8 years ago so I might have to reread it!  This book was about Margot and her father - German Jews living in Paris and later Versailles after World War I.  The world was figuring out the treaty and how to deal with Germany.  Margot meets interesting people: Krysia, the Polish musician, who runs with a secretive crowd.  She also finds work with a handsome soldier, Georg. 

The Ladies of Covington Send Their Love by Joan Medlicott -- Three senior ladies living in a boardinghouse in Pennsylvania visit an old, run-down farmhouse in Madison County, North Carolina, that one of the ladies - Amelia - inherited upon her cousin's death.  Grace and Hannah join Amelia in sizing up the place, and ultimately decide to fix it up and move there!  My mom found this book at the local library, and it seems it's a series of sorts.  I may find others to read. While we can't find Covington in Madison County, we do recognize many of the other towns and cities mentioned in that area of WNC.

Benjamin Franklin's Bastard by Sally Cabot -- a fictitious account of Benjamin Franklin, his common-law wife Deborah, and Benjamin's son who lived with them since infancy

The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis -- a junior fiction book I found at the free little library; Starts off in Flint, Michigan, but later in the book the Watson family visits their grandmother in Alabama

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan -- When Nina's library branch is closed, and she doesn't get a new job within the library system, she contemplates opening a book shop - in a big van.  Does she really have to move to another country (to Scotland from England) to do so?

At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier -- a book about the Black Swamp in Ohio, of growing up there with warring parents, of apple trees, and finally leaving home going westward until he gets to the end of the country.  The story of James and Sadie, and later their son Robert as he deals with the past.  A different tale, pretty good.

Hasty Death by Marion Chesney -- I finally looked up the order of these Edwardian Murder Mysteries, and saw books 2 and 4 (which may be the final one) in the local library; so this continues the story of Private Detective Harry Cathcart, Lady Rose Summer, Daisy, Beckett, and the other characters I've grown to enjoy in the previous 2 books I've read.

Our Lady of Pain by Marion Chesney -- book 4; see above

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain -- Even though I figured out what was going to happen, this book still made me cry.  Two storylines here: Molly and her husband trying to adopt a child, and Molly thinking back to her life in the mountains of North Carolina where she lived with a therapist father with MS.  A touching story. 

Burnt Mountain by Anne Rivers Siddons -- I've read a couple other books by this author which I liked fairly well. This one was puzzling. I hardly ever read reviews of books I've read, but did so just now, and find I'm not alone in my thoughts on this one.  It's about Thayer who grows up outside of Atlanta. She has a difficult relationship with her mother (of course), but loves her father and grandmother.  She goes off to camp each summer, and later becomes a counselor.  She met Nick Abrams. And later she marries an Irish fellow named Aengus.  Boy, is he strange. 

A Star for Mrs. Blake by April Smith -- In 1929, Congress passed legislation that allowed mothers and widows of men killed while serving overseas, and who were buried there, to travel on these pilgrimages to visit their graves.  This is what brought together five women from the northeast US, and this book follows them on their trip.  The story of Cora, Minnie, Katie, Wilhelmina, and Mrs. Olsen among others who traveled with them or met them there. 

The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell -- Samantha Whipple goes to school at Oxford, lives in a tower, and tries to follow clues her deceased father left her about the supposed Brontë family legacy.  A rather odd book. I didn't care overly-much for the main character's snarkiness all.the.time.   I guess she'd be hilarious to some people. I didn't find it quite so cute. 

The Gardens of Covington by Joan Medlicott -- second book in a series mentioned above; this continues the story of Hannah, Amelia, and Grace, along with the interesting people within their new community in Madison County, NC.  I have close relatives in that particular county though it appears Covington is fictitious.  Still, it's neat to see Asheville, Weaverville, Mars Hill, Marshall, and Hot Springs mentioned.  I enjoyed reading more about their lives and the happenings there.

The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff -- While working at a train station, Noa sees a train car full of infants. Realizing these infants are being left for dead, she takes one and escapes to the woods.  She's found nearly frozen to death in the woods by Peter, a clown from a circus that still travels through Nazi-occupied lands.  This is the story of Noa and Astrid, both aerialists.  Good story.

Cherished Mercy by Tracie Peterson -- book 3 in Heart of the Frontier series that was about sisters Grace, Hope, and Mercy who traveled west. I wanted to see what happened with Mercy, of course. 

A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash -- another story that takes place in Madison County, NC.  This is about a family and a church, a weird church lead by an evil man. When a young boy winds up dead, the secrets of this church are exposed.  A rather disturbing book, really. 

The Lies We Told by Diane Chamberlain -- when a hurricane brings disaster to the North Carolina coast, Drs. Ward, sisters Rebecca and Maya; and Dr. Pollard, Maya's husband, Adam, are sent to help.  When Maya is ordered onto a chopper which crashes, Rebecca and Adam presume she's dead.  Maya is living on a piece of land, made an island by the flooding. She has no way to get off the island for a couple of weeks. In that time, she becomes involved in the island life while Rebecca and Adam deal with the drama around them.  Riveting story.

A Drunkard's Path by Clare O'Donohue -- book two in the Someday Quilts Mystery series; Nell and her quilting friends try to solve the mystery involving the death of two young women.  This is a good book to read while at the park or children's museum with Sophie; which is mainly where I read it. 

Real Friends by Shannon Hale -- Bridget gave this a raving review so I put it on hold at my library. It just became available the other day, and I picked it up, read it all at the park (took about an hour or less), and returned it the same day since I see others have a "hold" on it.  It's definitely the most colorful autobiography/memoir I've read. It's the story of Shannon in elementary school, dealing with her best friend and later The Group.  It's told in a comic book style which is why I could read 220 pages in about an hour.  

Thursday, August 31, 2017

August Books

Beloved Hope by Tracie Peterson -- second book in the Heart of the Frontier series; a book about Grace, Hope, and Faith, sisters who traveled west.   In this book Hope deals with the trial of the Indians who attacked the mission.  Since I saw this on the new books shelf, I figured I'd read it since I read book one earlier this year 

Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini -- I must be on a historical novel kick lately.  This book is about the formerly enslaved woman Elizabeth Keckley who paid for her emancipation - and her son's - by her lovely work as a seamstress.  Later she made dresses for several prominent women among them Mrs. Abraham Lincoln!

An Appetite for Violets by Martine Bailey -- I saw this book while looking for a Jo Baker book in the library. It's the story of an under cook named Biddy Leigh. Biddy being short for Obedience...her dad liked odd names.  The book begins with the master's new bride arriving, and later the mistress selects Biddy to accompany her to various cities in England, France, and Italy.  There Biddy finds out why she was chosen, and it becomes much more interesting during that part of the book so I won't spoil it.  At first I wasn't sure if I liked this book as it took some time for me to get interested, but it turned out pretty good so I'm glad I stuck with it. 

Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot -- first in the Texas Dreams series; Sarah and her little sister Thea leave Philadelphia to make a new home in Texas. There they live in a town made of German and French settlers.  Pretty good story.

Scattered Petals by Amanda Cabot -- second in the Texas Dreams series; Sarah's fiancé's former inlaws travel from Boston to take part in Clay's wedding, but a stagecoach robbery upends those plans.  Patience settles in Ladreville, Texas, and faces challenges connected to this trip from the East to Texas.

Tomorrow's Garden by Amanda Cabot -- final book in the Texas Dreams series; Harriet and her five siblings travel to Ladreville in order for Harriet to become the new school teacher.  This book also continues the story of Texas Ranger Lawrence Wood who was introduced in book 2 of this series. 

This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash -- Easter and Ruby are taken from foster care by their father, and they begin a road trip where the girls and their father are hiding from Pruitt who was hired to track them down.  A pretty good book.

A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer -- I found this "1997 Newberry Honor Book" at a free little library, and enjoyed reading the story of Nhamo, a young lady from an unknown village in Mozambique, as she makes her way by boat to Zimbabwe in order to escape a bad marriage.  This was a fascinating tale of adventure and at times I felt I was with her on the island as she watched the baboons or prepared her next meal. 

I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora Harrison -- a story about Jane's family and the pupils who stayed at her house as told through a journal by her best friend and cousin, Jenny Cooper ; cute story

Miss Match by Erynn Mangum -- My mom read this so I decided to read it before returning it to the library. It's a Lauren Holbrook novel, and Lauren is a pretty silly girl.  But the story was rather lighthearted and an easy read so I finished it. 

Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle -- I read another book by this author which I liked so I decided to get this one. It's YA unlike the other.  It starts off with Miranda in a present day community play and soon she is forced by Stephen to go back to Shakespeare's time where Stephen is from.  Miranda, now taking the role of Stephen's sister Olivia, is playing the biggest role of her life - and she's trying to save Shakespeare from becoming a Jesuit so the world can have his literary works!

The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen by Lindsay Ashford -- A novel written as if Jane's former friend Miss Anne Sharp were recalling her life experiences with Jane and the Austen family.  A very interesting way to learn more about this intriguing author and her family.

The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier -- I really liked this book! It was a good way to learn more about the Underground Railroad and Ohio. I like the character of Belle a lot.  I am going to look for more books from this author.

The Lover's Knot by Clare O'Donohue -- A Someday Quilts Mystery -- I was looking for a small book to carry around easily while out with the kids and later at the beach.  Not the most exciting or interesting book I've ever read, but good enough.  After her fiancé asks to postpone their wedding, Nell visits her grandmother and gets involved with the quilt club and the people in Archers Rest.  Eventually, she tries to solve a murder!

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr -- I was reading this book more in the car to and from the beach as it was too big to read on the beach or out by the pool.  I was amazed that I was reading two books that had (minor) characters named Susanne. What are the odds?   I'd seen this book mentioned many times, and finally reserved a copy at the library and read it.  A pretty good story switching from a blind French girl to a terribly smart, small German boy - and how eventually their paths crossed near the end of World War II. 

Durable Goods by Elizabeth Berg -- a preteen talks about life with her military dad, about moving, losing her mother, dealing with friends

Sick of Shadows by Marion Chesney -- this "Edwardian Murder Mystery" introduced me to Lady Rose Summer and a rather funny cast of characters. This was a light, amusing read.

Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier -- a lovely novel about Griet, maid to the Johannes Vermeer family; this made me look up some of his fascinating paintings; I enjoyed this story

The House Girl by Tara Conklin -- a novel involving a modern-day reparations case, and a lawyer, Lina Sparrow, unraveling the story of an enslaved girl, Josephine, who may have been the true artist behind paintings attributed to Lu Anne Bell,  Josephine's mistress. A good read, and an NPR story if you are interested.


Twenty years ago, Princess Diana died - wow! 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

July Books

Dear John by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- After an accident claims their parents' lives, Marin struggles to care for her mentally-challenged brother, John.

Love's Pursuit by Siri Mitchell -- a tale from the Puritan era; the story of Susannah Phillips with a bit of Small Hope's (that's the name her awful father gave her) thoughts and actions interwoven.  This book disturbed me for some reason, but I really appreciated the message of God's grace instead of our having to work for salvation and measure up to some outrageous religious ideal in order to merit God's favor. 

No One You Know by Michelle Richmond -- While in Nicaragua for work (in coffee), Ellie Enderlin crosses paths with the man accused of murdering her sister twenty years prior.  Though the evidence was flimsy, Peter McConnell was accused by a man on a mission to publish his first book. Which was a great success!  After speaking to Peter, Ellie questions her assumption of his guilt.

The Pursuit of Mary Bennett: a Pride & Prejudice Novel by Pamela Mingle -- A rather fun read focusing on Mary, but quite a bit still about her four sisters - Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia, and Kitty.   More from Goodreads. 

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell -- When her twin brother leaves his Quaker faith to join the rebel cause (fighting for the colonials against Britain) and gets thrown into jail, Hannah has to decide whether or not she'll defy her religion's orders and ignore her brother or find someway to bring relief to him.  Jeremiah is looking for a way to pass messages to a prisoner inside the jail.  Will this Quaker girl do it for him?

A Walk for Sunshine by Jeff Alt -- "a 2,160-mile expedition for charity on the Appalachian Trail" ; we bought this book at the visitor's center at Clingman's Dome about a month ago since we enjoy reading accounts of people walking the AT.

The Jewel of Gresham Green by Lawana Blackwell --  a fun follow-up book of the Gresham gang about 8 or so years after the last in the earlier series; Of course it introduces new characters such as Jewel and her four-year-old daughter, Becky, and the squire's nephew, Donald, who is just waiting for his uncle to die so he can inherit the family fortune! 

A Stolen Heart by Amanda Cabot -- book one in the Cimarron Creek Trilogy; Lydia travels from Syracuse, New York, to join her friend Edgar whom she'd promised to marry. But he's no where to be found, and she discovers some secrets about Edgar and this new town in Texas.  A good if predictable story with a hint of mystery to it. 

The First Love Story: Adam, Eve, and Us by Bruce Feiler -- I saw this book on the new books shelf at the local library. I have enjoyed Feiler's book over the years, and this one was good though it wasn't my favorite.  The author speaks of "why Adam and Eve still matter," how they "invented love," creation, being parents, and so forth.  

White Chocolate Moments by Lori Wick -- When Arcie's parents die in a car crash when she was 11 years old, she went to live with her grandfather, Sam.  This book skips through much of her years with him until she is a young adult having issues with rejection and competition especially as it relates to her older cousin Quinn and Aunt Tiffany.  A rather mediocre book, but an easy read for a drive to the mountains. 

Mrs. Lee & Mrs. Gray by Dorothy Love -- a fictional biography about the wife of Robert E. Lee and an enslaved woman, Selina Norris Gray.  Such an interesting book!  I was constantly googling people mentioned in order to see pictures and read more about their histories. 

Passing Strangers by Angela Hunt -- three people from various walks of life book train tickets to take the Southern Tour, and end up becoming friends.  Andie is on a forced vacation, and is determined to keep her famous past in the past.  Matthew is recently-widowed (well, one year ago), and taking his young children on the trip - with hopes that his mother in Savannah will agree to keep the children until he can figure out how to balance his demanding career as a D.C. lawyer with fatherhood, and Janette is escaping home life in Arkansas. 

Monticello: A Daughter and Her Father by Sally Cabot Gunning -- a novel about Martha Jefferson Randolph, daughter of Thomas Jefferson; I enjoyed this, and again I was googling people and places!

Hot Tropics & Cold Feet by Diann Hunt -- a rather silly, light book that was an easy read for me while we were at the beach this weekend.  Maggie and her Latte Club friends - Lily, Jill, and Louise - leave their families in Indiana for two weeks in Florida.  Not bad; friendly characters. 

Emma Brown: A novel from the unfinished manuscript by Charlotte Brontë by Clare Boylan -- This is the story about Matilda who was dropped off for school by a gentleman who never came back to pay her fees or answer regarding Christmas vacation.  Is Matilda an heiress as the Wilcox sisters were lead to believe upon accepting her into their school?  This is also the story about Isabel Chalfont and her friend Mr. Ellin. A rather nice story overall.

Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall -- after running away with her husband's slaves to escape her increasingly-abusive husband, Iris is declared legally insane and shipped to a remote Florida island where Dr. Cowell works at an insane asylum.  Iris meets an assortment of people, and this book is rather different, but pretty good. 

The Queen of Subtleties: A Novel of Anne Boleyn by Suzannah Dunn -- Chapters told from the perspective of Anne Boleyn as she writes a letter to her daughter prior to Anne's death; every other chapter tells the story of Mrs. Lucy Cornwallis, King Henry's confectioner.  An interesting way to learn more about this story. I was googling people again while reading this. 

Longbourn by Jo Baker -- ever wondered about some of the servants mentioned in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice? The author used these characters to create a story about what goes on below-stairs.  A fairly good book, but I had trouble following some aspects of the story so it wasn't a favorite.

Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell -- I'd read most other books that our libraries have from this author so I read this one as well. It's about Lucy and Charlie, and their fathers' respective candy factories - and the competition between the two.   This was an easy read, but became a bit tiresome about midway through because it just wasn't that interesting.