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

Monday, February 27, 2017

February Books

Revealed by Tamera Alexander -- I read book 1 in this series so I needed to read the final two.  This one had a few characters from book one, and told the stories of Annabelle Grayson and her brother in law Matthew Taylor as Matthew took her to her husband's land in Idaho. 

Remembered by Tamera Alexander -- This book was about a lady from France who came to the Colorado Territory in search of her father who had left Paris decades before.  Véronique hires former trail-man-turned-mining-camp-supplier Jack Brennan to take her into the mountains to search for the father she thinks abandoned her.

Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof - book one in The Cadence of Grace series.  I picked this up when I was hurriedly choosing books one day at the library.  Pretty good, simple tale of two young people, Gideon and Lonnie, forced to marry, and their struggle in the early days and weeks. 

The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen -- The story of Mariah Aubrey, a young lady banished to her aunt's house far from home, and the people she meets while living near a poorhouse.  Another good story by this author.

Lilies in Moonlight by Allison Pittman -- a rather cute (quirky? silly?) book about Lilly, a "fun-loving flapper" who ends up at the home of a young man, Cullen, injured and scarred by war and his mother, Betty Ruth. 

Though My Heart is Torn by Joanna Bischof -- book two in the above-mentioned series; This book follows Gideon and Lonnie as the couple is tricked into returning home so Gideon can face some pretty serious charges that will affect them and others in big ways.

My Hope Is Found by Joanne Bischof -- book three; continued story of Gideon and Lonnie with the characters added in book two - Cassie and the reverend, Toby.  An enjoyable series.

Strange Stones: Dispatches from East and West by Peter Hessler -- I've enjoyed Peter's tales the last few years.  This one had a few familiar stories from past books, but several new things. I really enjoyed the bit about the Japanese organized crime ("All Due Respect" chapter), and the story of his friend from Missouri and later Japan, Jake Adelstein. What a character!   I love the stories from when he and his wife move to the US for a short while. They chose Colorado and he told a super-interesting tale about "Dr. Don" the druggist in Nucla.  Neat guy!   I found his words on page 325 sad because he said small-town Americans were not curious about his story!  So different from me, the ever-curious one!   I really enjoy Peter's books. I hope he writes a new one sometime about his life in Egypt because last I heard, he and his family moved to Cairo.

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen -- I have read a few of her books now, and I love them.  Love them!  I am not sure why, but there is something about her stories. I could picture myself there in that house with the children and the comings and goings of the earl and his son.  Great story about Olivia, Edward, Audrey, and Andrew.  Really enjoyed this one!

Anna's Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher  -- "An Amish Beginnings" novel ; I read a few of her books last year, and discovered a new book which I'd not read. Only it was second in this series and I hadn't even read this one soo... I read about this Amish community's journey across the ocean from a small village in Germany to Fort Philadelphia.  Most times I read Amish books in the context of them on their farms, working in quilt shops or what not. But this book was almost entirely about the trip over the Atlantic after a delay in the English Channel.  It's the story of Anna, one of the lone Amish people aboard who knows English, and, therefore, works as a translator between her people and the ship's crew.

A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander -- I enjoyed getting to know about Belmont Mansion and the fascinating character Adelicia Acklen, although the author admits she took liberties in fleshing out the real woman. Still.   This book is mainly about Claire, a young lady from Paris who had lived in New Orleans where her father ran an art gallery - forging art, that is.  When Claire flees to Nashville, she ends up working for Mrs. Acklen.   Also in this book I was introduced to a real life person, Henrietta Caroline LaVert nn Cara Netta. 

Beguiled by Deeanne Gist & J. Mark Bertrand -- I've read a few of Deeanne Gist's book in recent months, and this one was quite different.  She teamed up with a suspense writer to create a bit of a different book. It takes place in Charleston and the heroine - or maybe she's the Robin Hood thieving from wealthy clients - is a dogwalker, Rylee.  Pretty easy read. I think I prefer Ms. Gist's old-timey books, however.

A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander -- a great follow-up story to the earlier Belmont Mansion book although it focused on Adelicia Acklen Cheatham's niece Eleanor who comes to Nashville in order to put her father in an insane asylum.  Eleanor doesn't like to make hair art or potpourri sacks, but gets involved in something rather common for someone in her station:  she dares to cook for widows and children in the community!  In the book she meets Austrian Marcus Gregory who is in America in order for things to die down back home, and also to live like a common person for a while.  An enjoyable story!

Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden -- The story of one of the few female librarians in the Library of Congress, Anna O'Brien notices an error in the historical record of the sinking of a ship that took her father's life.  She seeks to correct this mistake only to find people in high places keeping track of her and silencing her.  She enlists the help of her life-long friend Neville, and the highly-emotional congressman from Maine, Luke Callahan.  Not my favorite Elizabeth Camden book, but fine for an easy read while sitting out enjoying these beautiful February days (feels like spring!)

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen  -- another good tale from this author; Margaret flees her household when she overhears her stepfather plotting with his nephew over a way to acquire Margaret's inheritance.  Somehow Margaret ends up working as a servant in the house of people she knows - yikes!  Can she stay hidden long enough to turn 25 so she can inherit?

Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley -- more of a suspense/mystery book starring Taylor, a victim profiler instructor near Seattle who travels home to Logan Point, Mississippi, to help resolve family disputes involving land, and also to figure out who is stalking her!  Why did these odd gifts and photos start showing up when she wondered whatever happened to her father? 

A Promise to Protect by Patricia Bradley -- book two in the Logan Point series; this one follows the acting sheriff, Ben, and the new doctor in town, Leigh, who used to live in Logan Point.  They work to find out who is setting fires, shooting at people, and shipping guns to Mexico.

The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan -- The stories of Mary, the town recluse who lives in the marble mansion overlooking the town, and her only friend Father O'Brien plus the newcomers.  My mom recommended this book.  I like how the author wrote that she thought "it would be interesting and challenging to build a story around a character who is misunderstood or different in some way, and to show that even someone who is seemingly far removed from his or her community may in fact be more special and integral than anyone could imagine."  (pg. 376)

In Siberia by Colin Thubron -- another travel adventure with the author; interesting tales!

The Newcomer by Suzanne Woods Fisher -- book two of the "Amish Beginnings Novel" series; this one continues the story of the group of Amish who landed in Fort Philadelphia.  They travel to settle the land. 

Secrets of Sloane House by Shelley Gray -- Rosalind leaves her farming family in Wisconsin to travel to Chicago during the World Fair time in order to work at the house where her sister worked before she disappeared. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

January Books

We were in Savannah and Tybee Island, Georgia, from the end of January until today so I'm a bit late posting this!  Wow, February already!  Christmas will be here before we know it. :)
Trauma Junkie: Memoirs of an Emergency Flight Nurse by Janice Hudson -- I have read a few books in the last couple of years by doctors or EMS workers. This one was similar, but different because of the flight aspect.  It was a fairly easy read in that you could read it quickly, but the material wasn't always easy especially when children die. Still, it was a good book which my mom had read last year and passed along to me when I saw her on New Year's Eve.

Angela Merkel: Europe's Most Influential Leader by Matthew Qvortrup -- I certainly learned a lot about German politics!  And some personal things about Mrs. Merkel's upbringing and life.  This was in the new books section at the library and I figured I needed to read a biography instead of more fiction. Right?

Naked and Marooned: One Man. One Island. by Ed Stafford -- I read his book about walking the Amazon so I decided to read this one where he was left on an island for sixty days.  Pretty interesting read if you enjoy this sort of thing. 

Bygones by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- When an Old Order Mennonite man arrives in their hometown with news about a favorite aunt's death and her inheritance, Marie and Beth have to decide whether or not to go back to Marie's former hometown in Sommerfeld where she left twenty years prior.  Because Aunt Lisbeth's business and home can be Beth's, but only if she agrees to run the café for three months before selling it.

Beginnings by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- This book continues the story of Marie and Beth with more of the focus on Beth's new stained-glass window business in Sommerfeld. 

Blessings by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- This is the last book in the Sommerfeld trilogy.  While Beth plays an influential role in this book, the main character is the café owner's daughter Trina who wishes to pursue a career as a veterinarian because she feels God put that desire and love for animals in her.  The only problem is her Old Order Mennonite district has never approved of higher education.  No one has done schooling above grade nine.  Also, her boyfriend Graham is wanting to marry.

Oracle Bones: A Journey Through Time in China by Peter Hessler -- I've read a couple of his earlier books, and added this one to my Amazon Wishlist.  I always enjoy his tales about people he meets in China.  I like that he told about the Chinese language and characters in this book.  Lots of interesting stuff!

Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen -- A great novel about Charlotte and her time in a lying-in manor, her experiences in a foundling hospital and as a wet nurse in England. I enjoyed this book, and will look for others from this author.

To Win Her Favor by Tamera Alexander -- I read a few books from this author last year, and enjoyed them.  This one takes place at Belle Meade, a plantation in Nashville, Tennessee, not long after the Civil War.  It's about horse racing, and confronting stereotypes, and an arranged marriage in order to save the family farm.  The story of Maggie, the Southern horsewoman, and Cullen, the Irishman trying to make a new life in a prejudiced South. 

Deep in the Heart of Trouble by Deeanne Gist -- a bit more lighthearted than the other books of hers that I've read, this one takes place in the oil cities of Texas back when bloomer-wearing women on bikes was gaining popularity (or not.)  Tony Bryant comes to town after he is disinherited by his father.  He wants to work for another oil company and comes to find out Judge Spreckelmeyer's daughter, Essie, runs things.

To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander -- another Belle Meade Plantation novel; This one focuses on Olivia Aberdeen a young widow who comes to the plantation as a personal assistant to the lady of the house.  She meets Ridley Cooper a South Carolinian who fought with the Federal Army...though she and no one else on the plantation - save one - knows this until much later.

The Painter's Daughter by Julie Klassen -- The story of two brothers Wesley, the artistic brother who travels to Italy on a whim, and Stephen, the duty-bound younger brother,  and Sophie, the painter's daughter, who somehow comes between them. 

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell  -- a biography about the French teenager who came to the US to help fight in the Revolutionary War.  I only chose this book because of the author!   Soon after reading this, Andrew and I were in Savannah and saw Lafayette Square in the historic district. 

The Sister Circle by Vonette Bright and Nancy Moser -- I was at the library the other day picking up a Zoom pass for the Durham Museum, and grabbed a few books. This was one of them.  A recently widowed lady realizes her husband left her with little insurance money so she decides to take in boarders.  These ladies and their friends form a friendship - or a sisterhood of sorts.  In this book you meet Evelyn the lady taking in tenants, and Mae, Tessa, Audra and her little girl, Summer. Also, friend Piper and Gillie. 

Rekindled by Tamera Alexander -- I've enjoyed her other books so I figured I'd read the Fountain Creek Chronicles; this is about Kathryn Jennings whose husband leaves one Christmas morning saying he'd be back at the end of the week. Only he doesn't come back.  And folks speculate on whether or not he survived the feet of snow that blew through that day.  What happened to Larson?  As Kathryn goes on with her life, she meets a kind ranch hand Gabe and later the disfigured Jacob who works at the big-time ranch owner's place.  A good tale.

No Place for a Lady by Maggie Brendan -- a book I picked up while gathering several books; I like to try new authors, but this one wasn't that good. It was OK, but a bit too silly and predictable.  Still, I may read more in the Heart of the West series since it was an easy read. We'll see.  This was about Crystal Clark, the Southern belle from Georgia, who visits her Aunt Kate in the Rocky Mountains.  She does her best to fit it.