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

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January Books

The Double Cross by Clare O'Donohue -- book three in the Someday Quilts Mystery series; I read the first two last year.  This is about Nell who loves to get involved in solving crimes although she's not a detective.  In this book, the Quilt Club leaves Archer's Rest so Susanne can teach a class at a new bed-and-breakfast establishment.  What they find is a run-down place, weird locals, and a murder!

Beauty for Ashes by Dorothy Love -- book 2 in the Hickory Ridge Romance series; I read the first book from the library, and liked the story so I put the next two books on my Amazon Wishlist since the library didn't have them.  Problem is that I kind of forgot what book 1 was about, but I think I remembered it somewhat as I read this book about Carrie Daly as she is pressured into taking care of her unkind sister in law and her two unruly sons while her brother Henry goes to Chicago to find work.

The Carpenter by Jon Gordon -- "A Story About the Greatest Success Strategies of All"  ; instead of being told in a regular way, the strategies are told in a story.  Basically a carpenter or craftsman giving advice to someone hiring him to build an entertainment center. I would not have chosen this book, but Andrew read it (someone from church let him borrow it) and he said it was good. It was an easy read so I took the time to read it. 

The Secret Life if CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain -- As this book begins CeeCee is a 16 year old, high school graduate working at a coffee shop in Chapel Hill, NC.  When a graduate student named Tom pays special attention to her, the parentless CeeCee is ready for his attention.  Her positive outlook and eagerness to please is perfect for what Tom has planned for her.  This involved a plot to get the attention of the governor of NC in order to negotiate his sister's release from death row.  And it goes from there...

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier -- When Osei Kokote's family moves to Washington, D.C., he is the new kid in school. And amazingly, he is the only black kid in the sixth grade (this must be a private school or something because D.C. has no other black students?).  Dee, teacher's pet and pretty white girl, is instructed to show him around.  This book was an interesting look at playground-and-lunch dynamics. 

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck -- an honor book at a local library; I'd read a few others from this author so I decided to read this one about Charlotte who owns a wedding dress shop in Birmingham.  She goes to an estate auction and buys a battered trunk that is welded shut.  When she finally gets it open, she discovers a wedding dress and seeks to find out more of its history.

A Blue and Gray Christmas by Joan Medlicott -- the final book in the series that I started last year about Amelia, Hannah, and Grace who live in a small community in Madison County, NC; the ladies discover a tin with old Civil War-era diaries and letters and seek more information about the descendants of these two soldiers

The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor -- Are you familiar with the Cottingley fairy pictures from over 100 years ago? I wasn't, but I learned about it in a fictionalized way in this book. I read a book by this author late last year, and enjoyed it.  This was good, but I liked the other better (due to preferred subject matter.)  But if you enjoy fairies...this one may interest you.

Every Perfect Gift by Dorothy Love -- final book in the Hickory Ridge Romance trilogy (at least I think it's the last one); this one deals with Sophie who was introduced as the little orphan girl in book one.  She went to Texas with the couple who took her into their home, but now as an adult woman, she returns to Hickory Ridge to take over the newspaper. 

The Lake House by Kate Morton -- a great book with an ending that may have been just a little too neat, but still...I really enjoyed this book about Alice Edevane's family in Cornwall, and the modern-day detective Sadie who was visiting her grandfather there while on forced leave.  This was the last of her books at my library, but maybe she'll have more sometime!

The Three Mrs. Parkers by Joan Medlicott -- a book about three women Winifred Parker who came to live with her daughter in law Zoe, and then Zoe's daughter Kathryn moving in with them after her disabled daughter's death

The Bay at Midnight by Diane Chamberlain -- I discovered this author last year, and have enjoyed most of her books.  This was no exception.   It takes place in New Jersey (where the author is from), and I love the character of 12-year-old Julie reading her Nancy Drew novels, collecting assorted items and keeping them as clues.  As the book opens, Julie is now 53 years old and writing her thirty-third novel in her Granny Fran series.  But a knock on the door changes everything...and reopens wounds from the summer when Julie was 12, and her sister died at the Jersey Shore. 

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton -- I read a short series by this author last year that takes place in Edwardian times. This one is more contemporary and a much longer series.  I got the first from the library to give it a go.  And for the most part I liked it!  The proofreader didn't do well...at times they had Angela instead of Agatha and a few other quibbles were noted by someone who read the book and decided to ink in the correct name or quotation marks.  But the story was rather cute if not great.  I'll likely read more of these for some light reading. 

A Single Thread by Marie Bostwick -- After her divorce Evelyn takes a long trip from Texas to Connecticut to see the fall colors, as that is something she always wanted to do. While there, she discovers an abandoned store for rent, and decides to try out a dream of opening a quilt shop.  Eventually she becomes friends with some local ladies and an Irish gentleman who run the popular Grill.  A rather cute story about the importance of friendship.

The Dressmaker's War by Mary Chamberlain -- The story of Ada's war.  The young lady with a flair for designing and creating lovely dresses. Who was foolish enough to take up with a guy who led her to Paris just as War was coming to the world.  What was Ada's war like as a dressmaker in Munich?  And what happened after the war?  Was her story believable enough for English society?

Austenland by Shannon Hale -- ho hum.  Jane is gifted a trip to Austenland where she put on the dress and character of a Regency-era lady and tried to make heads or tails of what kind of man she wanted.  I got rather bored of this book after awhile; I'm glad it was under 200 pages.

Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron -- "Being the First Jane Austen Mystery" ; a series I discovered at a local library about a journal of Jane Austen who was detecting in the murder of the Lord

The White Garden by Stephanie Barron -- "a novel of Virginia Woolf" -- Jo Belamy goes to England to research the White Garden because she is hired by a rich fellow in the States who wants it replicated.  While there, Jo searches for clues about her grandfather Jock who killed himself the day after Jo told him that she was traveling there.  She didn't realize her grandfather had once been the gardener at Sissinghurst Castle. What did he know about the death of Virginia Woolf? 

The Excellent Lombards by Jane Hamilton -- a somewhat interesting story about Mary Frances Lombard and her extended family who lived in Wisconsin and worked in the family apple orchard and in the sheep pens.  MF (as she refers to herself later in the book) holds steady in her desire to work the farm and orchard one day, but has trouble with her brother's changing ways - going to college - and other changes around the place. 

The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott -- a good story about Alice's arrival at the cotton mill in Lowell, Massachusetts, around 1832.  Her time with other mill girls and the circumstances surrounding her friend Lovey's death: was it suicide because of Lovey's fallen state or was she murdered?  I liked this book. 

Mozart's Sister by Nancy Moser -- my mom read this book a few months ago, and I put it on my to-get-eventually list; well that day happened recently, and I enjoyed learning more about Nannerl Mozart through this first-person account some of which is fiction, of course, but much of which was gathered through the family's letter-writing (and saving of those letters) tradition; a good book

Gone South by Meg Moseley -- When Tish decides to check out the ancestral home in northern Alabama on her way back from moving her mom from Michigan to Florida, she had no idea that she'd decide to purchase the thing!  But, she does, and finds it's a bit hard to plug into life with a name like Letitia McComb.  Something about her grandparents being unkind carpetbaggers 100 years prior. In the meantime, Tish takes in Mel - that's Melanie Hamilton - who recently arrived back into town. A local 20 year old on the outs with her family and most of her hometown. A decent book. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Local Germany

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed The Local Germany Facebook page was looking for people who had applied for and received German citizenship.  I sent the link to Samer in case he was interested in being interviewed.

They ended up running a broad article a few days ago, and today they posted "...the first in a series of profiles exploring the experiences of people who have gained German citizenship and the impact it has had on their lives."

And it featured Samer who became an EU citizen nearly two years ago. 

This month marks 9 years since Andrew and I left North Carolina to visit Samer in Syria - and meet him in person for the first time!   Those were incredible days!

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.