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

Monday, December 30, 2019

December Books

Blessing by Deborah Bedford -- a book I found in Damascus, Virginia, at a Little Free Library a few months ago. I had it on hand to possibly eventually read when I didn't have a library book checked out, and last week was that time! The kids were in town visiting for Thanksgiving and I just decided to read this one instead of browsing the library shelves for better selections. I say all that because this book was sweet, but nothing special. Uley foils the plot of a would-be murderer (so she thinks) and Aaron Brown is sent to jail to await his trial and probable hanging.

Come and Find Me by Hallie Ephron -- I like these novels of suspense by this author, and this one was good even though part of it took place in a virtual reality world. Diana deals with panic attacks and rarely leaves her house so she meets people through her online "game" and office as Nadia. She does eventually leave her house when her sister goes missing. A pretty good story!

The It Girls by Karen Harper -- a story featuring the Sutherland sisters, Elinor Glyn, a novelist, and Lucile Duff Gordon, a fashion designer. Pretty interesting!

The Dressmaker's Gift by Fiona Valpy -- an interesting story about three seamstresses in Paris, Claire, Mireille, and Vivienne, who meet where they work during World War II. Two generations later, Claire's granddaughter Harriet is in Paris trying to find out more about her grandmother and the two ladies pictured with her in an old photograph Harriet finds.  Pretty good story.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman -- the other day I asked my Facebook friends about favorite books they read in 2019, and Niki recommended this one which I saw was available at my local library. I enjoyed this story about Eleanor and her coworker Raymond especially seeing life situations and people through Eleanor's eyes. Cute story.

The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith -- Mma Ramotswe is reluctantly persuaded to take a holiday, but she finds herself drawn into the detective business.

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn -- Anna Fox is scared to go outside, but has built a community for herself online in the Agora platform and with a few professionals. Also she loves using the zoom on her camera to spy on the neighbors. When a new family comes to town Anna gets to know Ethan, the slightly-awkward but seemingly kind teenager, who has a controlling father, Alistair. A suspenseful book.

Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home by Nora Krug -- this graphic memoir (Andrew saw me reading this and asked if I were reading a comic book) was an interesting way to learn more about the author's German family and more about the Nazis and Jews

Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline -- I've read many of this author's books from the DiNunzio series, but this is a stand-alone novel about a dad and his sixteen year old son who make a fatal mistake when Jake allows Ryan to drive a short distance home one night.  A pretty good story.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah -- I've had this on my TO READ list for a couple years now as my friend Niki highly-recommended it. When I asked FB for favorite books, she mentioned it again so I decided to finally order it from the library.  Two sisters - Vianne and Isabelle - struggle in France during the German occupation and rule of their country. Vianne stays at the family farm with her daughter Sophie where they await their husband/father.  A German solider billets at their house - fun times. Isabelle, meanwhile, heads to Paris where she gets involved in secretive missions.  Great story!

Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra -- "a contemporary retelling of Little Women;" if you like modern versions of classic literature then you might enjoy this book. It was just OK to me.

You'll Never Know, Dear by Hallie Ephron -- Lis and her mother, Miss Sorrel, work to solve a family mystery after a very-damaged portrait doll looking like Lis's long lost sister is brought to Miss Sorrel's doll-repair shop in answer to an ad Miss Sorrel runs in the paper every year on the anniversary of her daughter's disappearance.  A pretty good book.

Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok -- Amy travels to the Netherlands to search for her older sister who went to visit their grandmother before her death. Now Sylvie Lee is nowhere to be found. Pretty good story!

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs by Caitlin Doughty -- "big questions from tiny mortals about death;" this was a pretty interesting way to learn more about death by hearing what children have asked the author. So, do you think your cat would eat your eyeballs?

Look Again by Lisa Scottoline -- While bringing in her mail, Ellen is startled by how much her son looks like a young child on one of those "Have you seen this child?" inserts, and she can't get it out of her head. The reporter in her wants to follow up, but what if her legally-adopted child was kidnapped?

The Emerald Mile by Kevin Fedarko -- Andrew requested this book so I ordered it off Amazon since the library didn't have it. It's "the epic story of the fastest ride in history through the heart of the Grand Canyon," and Andrew, having formerly been a white water rafting guide in West Virginia, really appreciated this more than I. But I still was amazed by much of it even if some aspects were over my non-river-rafting-lingo head. Also, Andrew wants to raft down this river (the Colorado) one day, and after reading this, I'm like "why?" and "are you nuts?"

From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty -- I got this book for Christmas from Amber, and in it, the author is "traveling the world to find the good death." I enjoyed her tales from other countries such as Bolivia and Mexico and Japan as well as a few stops in the US like Cullowhee, North Carolina!  A good book to end the year, right?

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Old Family Pictures

I was sorting a few things at my parents' house today and saw these old pictures from an album. I thought I'd post them here.

My grandfather with five of his children: Ann, Henry, David, Jean, and Dorothy. The date on the picture says January 1957.

My dad and his brothers around 1961:  (I wish it were easy for me to rotate pictures here as it is on Facebook):

David, Henry, and Tom

Saturday, November 30, 2019

November Books

The Art of Theft by Sherry Thomas -- book 4 in The Lady Sherlock Series; nice book featuring these clever characters! I just wish I could always remember what happened in previous books so I could enjoy the story more, but that's my fault for not retaining the information as well as I should. Charlotte, her sister Olivia, and Mrs. Watson along with a crew of men agree to help recover letters being used to blackmail Mrs. Watson's old friend, a maharani ( Definition of maharani. 1 : the wife of a maharaja. 2 : a Hindu princess ranking above a rani.)

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith -- Maybe it was because this book was a few pages longer than the previous books, but I had more causes to chuckle out loud (which I rarely do when reading). Mma Makutsi and Mma Ramotswe's discussion about airplanes and the government's control of the air was humorous especially when Mma M said pilots could see each other well enough to control the air by themselves and they would not fly through clouds, but drive around them. Cute conversation! Also, Chlorine...I mean Clovis Andersen visits the detective agency, Fanwell gets arrested, Charlie pulls a pretty good stunt (though it is criminal, but funny), the lady at the orphan farm fights for her job, and Phuti Radiphuti builds a house. Lots happening in this book!

The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict -- an interesting story about  Mileva Marić, who studied alongside Albert Einstein and a handful of male students in Switzerland and eventually married Albert. If he's anything like the book portrays him, he is not an admirable man IMO.

The Christmas Boutique by Jennifer Chiaverini -- Elm Creek Quilts novel; I recently read all of these books, but they were written over the course of 20 years (!), and the author had been contacted by readers missing the Elm Creek quilters. So...she wrote one for Christmas! Much of this book was a summary of the stories of the ladies - Sylvia, Gwen, Diane, Sarah, and so forth, but there were little bits of new things and it was a comfortable read. Like visiting old friends. 

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith -- Mma Ramotswe had to do some detecting on her own because Mma Makutsi (the new Mma Radiphuti) had a baby boy which they named Itumelang Clovis Radiphuti in case you were wondering.

The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar -- pretty interesting story about American women doing their parts during World War II as they flew planes to bases; I enjoyed the characters Audrey Coltrane and her fellow pilots - Ruby, Nola, Carol Ann, and so forth.

All the Forgivenesses by Elizabeth Hardinger -- the story of life first in Kentucky then Missouri (I think) and Kansas as told from the perspective of Albertina "Bertie" Winslow, the oldest daughter and keeper-of-the-children after her mom just sort of gave up on life and her father was a mostly useless drunk. A good story.

No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky -- I've read a few novels about orphan trains where US children in the east were taken west to families who either desired children for work on farms or other business, or to welcome as loved family members. This book is similar, only the poor and/or orphaned children were sent from England to Canada with varying degrees of success. This book followed Katie, Garth, and Grace as their mom was sick and they were sent to a children's home - and somehow ended up in Canada although their mom recovered from her hospitalization. Their older sister Laura, who heard about their departure too late, heads to Canada to find her siblings.

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson -- When the new-lady-in-the-hood Roux shows up at the neighborhood bookclub, she takes over the house, the drinks, the conversation, and eventually starts a game where each person reveals the worst thing she did that day, the previous day, week, month, and so on. If you lose, you drink. Roux collects secrets and Amy is on to her rather quickly. And then the blackmail begins. An interesting story; enjoyed it!

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms -- Three years go Amy's husband left for a business trip to Hong Kong and stayed gone. Now he's back asking for a week with the children, and Amy reluctantly agrees. She sees that there is a library conference in New York City, a place she loved as a young adult, so she texts an old friend about staying with her.  Talia is part of a fashion magazine and Amy gets sucked into a story about #momspringa, and finds out what all she'd been missing since being a single mom (and having children since that really limited her nights out as well.) 

Diamond in the Rough by Jen Turano -- second in the American Heiresses series; eh, not the best book I've read; Poppy is just too accident-waiting-to-happen (unrealistically) for my taste and the whole story was just OK.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty -- I wasn't sure if I wanted to read stories about a young adult working the Cremulator at her first job at a funeral home in California. The author shares her story as well as interesting tidbits about the funeral home industry, her wishes for Americans to not look away from death quite so much, some interesting stuff from other cultures, and why she became preoccupied with death at age 8.  I'll quote one bit here:

"What is most surprising about this story is not that an eight-year-old witnessed a death, but that it took her eight whole years to do so. A child who had never seen a death would have been unheard-of only a hundred years ago.

North America is built on death. When the first European settlers arrived, all they did was die.If it wasn't starvation, the freezing cold, or battles with the Native people, it was influenza, diphtheria, dysentery, or smallpox that did them in. At the end of the first three years of the Jamestown settlement in Virginia, 440 of the original 500 settlers were dead. Children, especially, died all the time. If you were a mother with five children, you were lucky to have two of them live past the age of ten." (pg. 30)

Also, do you know when embalming became a big thing here in the United States?  during the Civil War ; families wanted their soldiers' bodies brought home and folks would "perform a new preservative procedure called embalming - right there on the battlefield." Also they placed "advertisements in local papers reading, 'Bodies Embalmed by Us NEVER TURN BLACK.'" (pg. 78)

The Handsome Man's De Luxe Café by Alexander McCall Smith -- Mma Makutsi is thrilled when the building she wants to rent comes through, and she makes plans to open a unique café. Meanwhile Charlie is fired from his job due to lack of funds so Mma Ramotswe finds some funds so she can hire him as an assistant detective or ... assistant secretary. Hmm.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett -- A riches-to-rags story of sorts as told through Danny's point of view. Danny is young when his mother leaves the family, yet he has a loving, nurturing older sister, Maeve, whom he loves. When the siblings' father remarries, and then he dies, and the house and his company go to their father's new wife, they are stunned to find themselves homeless and mostly penniless, except for a educational trust. Maeve urges Danny to go to medical school despite the fact he doesn't want to be a doctor. Later he follows his dream (doing pretty much what his father did to get rich) and the siblings visit the Dutch House (well, they sit in the car and look at it from the street) to relive their childhood there.  A pretty good story. 

Blood Sisters by Jane Corry -- Alison and Kitty are half-sisters with a complicated relationship. Alison ends up teaching art at a community college and later gets a job in a prison system where she meets interesting characters (of course). Kitty meanwhile is in a home for people with traumatic brain injuries. A pretty good story.

My Ex-Best Friend's Wedding by Wendy Wax -- Lauren and Bree were BFFs from the time they were little girls. Only the forever part of BFF didn't last past Bree's change of mind when the two planned to travel together to New York City to live. Lauren went on her own while Bree stayed in her safe place on the Outer Banks. Years pass, both women are turning 40, and Lauren returns home because of her recent engagement and she figures her fiancé ought to meet her mother. Pretty cute story, and easy read, and I often find it interesting to learn more about the publishing world through this author (as I recall her books often touch on her characters writing novels and trying to get published.)

Wooing Cadie McCaffrey by Bethany Turner -- a cute, light book to read over the Thanksgiving holiday; Cadie works in the accounting department at an all-sports network, and she is dating Will. Dating, and dating, and dating for years because the man won't propose marriage. So, she decides to break up with him since the relationship is going nowhere. 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Pearl Monroe

One of our local news people posts a lot about his family on Facebook. I've been following Chad since before he and Meredith married, and since then they have added two sweet girls, Carson Parry who is 5 and Pearl Monroe who is 3. He frequently posts cute videos and pictures of his family which I enjoy


Well, this morning I looked at Facebook and was shocked to see that little Roe Roe was diagnosed with leukemia last week! Chad posted a very faith-filled message and pictures.

His message begins:

"We all will have storms in life. It’s not “if” but “when” we will have them. This is the storm of this season and we know God has this.

Our beautiful, spunky Pearl Monroe has leukemia. After a few doctor visits for aches and pains she was diagnosed last week and started treatments immediately. 

It’s been a whirlwind the past few days with surgery, medicine and getting use to our new normal. The GOOD NEWS, — this leukemia is highly curable but it’s going to take several years of fighting."


Take a look at the rest of his message if you want, but more importantly, please pray for this family if God brings them to your mind. They have strong faith in God, but this is hard for them especially on the little one having to undergo treatment.

Also, the family is expecting a little boy in the spring so I'm sure it's extra-hard on Mama Meredith at this time.


Thursday, November 14, 2019

DNA Update November 2019 Edition

This is the second time my DNA Origins have changed since I submitted my saliva to Ancestry.com and got my original results back in August 2016. Back then I was stunningly Europe South at 35%, but since then I had a more realistic update which made me quite a bit more English and only 18% Italian (which was in the former Europe South category.) Now I'm even more English (53%) and less Italian (12%).

My dad, however, stayed with the surprisingly high Italian (his #1 all three times).

1. Europe South -- 47% 

2. Italian -- 47% and Greece and the Balkans -- 5% (refined from Europe South)

3. Italian -- 48% and Greece and the Balkans -- 4%

I'll post our updates below so I can keep track of how they've changed. The biggest change I saw in my family was with my nephew Michael whose 2nd result (2018) had France as his highest at 37%. This time: France is a mere THREE percent.  I do like how the Indigenous Americas is being broken down more now and is reflected in his results.

Also, Andrew, whose original results had him thinking he was royalty with 81% Great Britain...well, now he's just 66% English, etc., and become a lot more Irish or Scottish (his original had him at only 3% Irish).

Here are our latest updates as of today:

Me (3rd result)

My nephew, Michael  (3rd result)

My dad (3rd result)

My mom (3rd result)

Andrew (3rd result)

My aunt (2nd result; she just took the test this year)

Edited to add my brother's DNA. He just had his tested in September and already has an update. He was nice to put it side by side for comparison purposes.


Monday, November 11, 2019

A couple pictures

One of my cousins shared this picture just now on Facebook, and I wanted to save it here.

My dad with his father and siblings. My dad is the glum looking fellow. 

here is another though it is sideways...fun.  My dad with some of his siblings, a couple cousins, and his grandparents (the ones who raised him after his parents divorced.)  My dad is the one half-hidden behind his cousin, Cat.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

October Books

Living Lies by Natalie Walters -- an OK book about Lane Kent and her battle with depression. She meets former military-now-police-officer Charlie Lynch just before Lane discovers a body in the woods. Not my favorite, but I do like that the author tries to portray the needs of those with PTSD and depression. 

The Heart of a King by Jill Eileen Smith -- "the loves of Solomon" ; This book reminded me yet again how much I despise polygyny and don't admire Solomon or his father David very much.

The Calling by Suzanne Woods Fisher -- book 2 in The Inn at Eagle Hill series; this continues the story, but focuses more on Bethany and Naomi instead of Rose. Bethany really wants to meet her mom who abandoned the family when Bethany was little. Also, her brother comes back to town, and the Inn takes in a youth pastor, Geena, who is between jobs.

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith -- these books are just sweet and make me chuckle. In this book we finally learn the name of the younger apprentice to Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni and the fate of the tiny white van that has molded to Mma Ramotswe's traditional build...she loves it so!

The Words Between Us by Erin Bartels -- Robin Windsor is forced to live with her grandmother in Michigan after her powerful father, a US Senator, is arrested and convicted of treason. She invents a new identity for herself as she gets to know kids in her new high school. This book went from "then" to "now" as it told some of Robin's story with her friend Peter, and her bookshop. It was decent; nothing special.

Lady Killer by Lisa Scottoline -- I'm nearly finished the original Rosato & Associates series; this one dealt with Mary revisiting some Mean Girls from her high school past as one of them Trish comes to Mary begging for help from her mobster boyfriend.

Family Tree by Barbara Delinsky -- I got this book in a little free library and picked it up the other day when I was out of library books. It was a very fast read; some books are just like that for me. Anyway, Dana and Hugh are excited about their first child's arrival, but are stunned when her skin color is much darker than their own. Hugh's family can trace their heritage to the Mayflower so Hugh wants Dana to investigate her biological father's side of the family to see where this African-American blood comes from. Because, ya know everyone is asking if the baby were adopted or if Dana had an affair - oh man!

Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris -- another story by this author based on a girl whom Lale (see her previous book) told her about. A story of a Jew from Czechoslavakia who ends up in a Soviet gulag near the Arctic Circle not long after the Russians liberate the concentration camp where she was held for three years. This is her story of life in the camp prison - and it's not as brutal as the Germans made their camps, but it's appalling nevertheless!  Oh, I just looked online to see if I could find a picture of the real Cilka, and found this story about some controversy with her husband's son.

A Perfect Silhouette by Judith Miller -- my mom read this book and said it was OK, nothing special, but I decided to go ahead and read it since one of the very minor characters is named Mr. Fuqua! Ha! I've never seen our last name in a book like that so that was pretty cute. Mr. Fuqua was an overseer of a division at Stark Mills somewhere in New Hampshire where Mellie Blanchard worked after her family (herself, sister, niece, and nephew) fell upon hard times. She meets a mechanic in the mill while doing her part-time evening work -  Scherenschnitte or paper cutting.  A decent, if not predictable book.

The Revealing by Suzanne Woods Fisher - the final book in the Inn at Eagle Hill trilogy; this one focuses a bit more on Naomi, the sister of Galen King, and Tobe as he returns home after an ordeal 

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center -- some things about this writing style - or maybe the character telling the story - annoyed me, but overall it was a cute story and an easy read. I enjoyed learning more about the life of a firefighter/paramedic especially from a woman firefighter's point of view. Good reminder about forgiveness here as well.

Think Twice by Lisa Scottoline -- I've finally finished all the Rosato & DiNunzio books that my library has! This one had Bennie and her evil twin, Alice, in it. Also, Mary was wondering about making partner at the law firm. A fast-paced book!

The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman -- pretty much a story of how losing your family and enduring the horror and aftermath of World War II drove this Jewish woman, Hannah, to the brink of madness. Hannah travels to Australia where she eventually meets and marries a farmer/mechanic Tom Hope whom she hired to fix up her bookshop. An OK book; a bit weird.

The Double Comfort Safari Club by Alexander McCall Smith-- another great story which made me chuckle in places; Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi travel to the Delta region as part of their investigation in finding a safari guide.

The Perfect Husband by Lisa Gardner -- several months ago I found this author at my library, enjoyed the book I read, and kept reading more. Some were better than others; some I liked a great deal while a few were just a bit too dark or creepy, but still they were interesting.  My library just recently got two books by this author that they had not had despite this one being first published in 1998.  I thought it was great since I had heard some of this person's (Tess) story referenced in later books, but never found the book that told how she got there. Anyway, this book was terrible! I didn't like the mercenary character, former Marine J.T. at all. I know he tried to play the cruel - yet deep down heart of gold - drunk hiding sadness in his past, but I was not very sympathetic to him as told in this story. I just never warmed up to him, and even Tess wasn't all that great (though she was fine in later books.)  This book just was a near-total dud in my view, and I'm thankful it wasn't the first Lisa Gardner book I read or it likely would have been my last.

When We Meet Again by Kristin Harmel -- Emily Emerson receives a painting of a young woman who looks like her beloved grandmother who died not too long ago. While researching her grandmother's past, she finds out more information about German POWs who labored in Florida. A pretty good book.

The Choice by Robert Whitlow -- I found this at the Damascus, Virginia, little free library. It deals with the issue of abortion rights. The book begins with Sandy, a 17 year old high schooler, who finds out she's pregnant. She decides to put her baby up for adoption. Over thirty years later, she is teaching at her former high school when a student confides in her that she's pregnant. The school counselor strongly favors abortion while Sandy hopes the student will follow her step. Social liberals would probably not enjoy this book.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford -- Henry and Keiko were the only Asian-American students "scholarshipping" at a white school in Seattle circa 1942.  One would think they'd be natural allies against the racism, and they were, but there was a problem. Henry was Chinese, and Keiko was from Japanese heritage. And Henry's ultra-nationalist father despised Japan and the Japanese in the United States because of what "they" did to his home country. Henry and Keiko met while working in the lunch room and became friends much to Henry's parents' disappointment and downright hate on his father's part. Anyway...this book switched from the 1940s to about 40 years later when things from the Panama Hotel were brought out - things which some Japanese families had left behind when they were interred.  A pretty good story.

The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith -- I have to keep reading these stories which are so good to break up the toughness of other books. Does this book finally have a wedding in it (the title hints at this anyway)? Who could be getting married...hmmm?

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton -- This wasn't the easiest book for me to follow, but I enjoyed the story pretty well. It dealt with a real-life character Truus Wijsmuller, a Dutch lady who traveled to Germany and Austria to save Jewish children from Nazis. I admire her so much. I was particularly struck by parallels to then-and-now refugees. While I don't believe Central American refugees are facing concentration camps and mass extermination at the same level that Jews, homosexuals, the disabled, and others were under the evil that was Germany under Hitler, I think many Germans were (or claimed to be) surprised and shocked that such things were going on then.  So maybe I am like those ignorant Germans and more is going on in those countries than we are lead to believe. I do hear of gang and drug/gun violence there which is tragic. Anyway, a decent book with some good, thought-provoking stuff for me. I wish I were so brave as Tante Truus.

There Was An Old Woman by Hallie Ephron -- I enjoy this author. Evie gets a call about her alcoholic mother. Her sister Ginger is tired of being the go-to daughter so Evie agrees to check on her mom. The house is a wreck and her mom is worse off this time than in the past. The next door neighbor, 91 year old Mina, keeps an eye on Evie and on the neighborhood. Such a charming character Mina is. Good story.

Never Let Go by Elizabeth Goddard -- a little too much "I've got to protect her" (ok, a LOT) for my taste, but I did finish this book about the genealogist detective Willow who teamed up with her ex-boyfriend who is now ex-FBI Austin McKade in order to track down a girl who was kidnapped 21 years ago. A few twists kept my attention and I might read the next book in the series...eventually.  Then again, maybe not.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware -- I enjoy these suspenseful books! This book starts with Rowan writing her story for an advocate whom she hopes will represent her as she's in prison for the death of a child in her care. She was a nanny in the Highlands to a couple of architects with a house that is half Victorian/half glass-and-steel, and completely bizarre since it's a smart house without a normal light switches.  Good story especially to finish up on Halloween!

Monday, September 30, 2019

September Books

Almost October already... and it's still hot where  I live! I'm glad I prefer warmth to coldness though I wouldn't mind a little bit of highs in the 70s or 80s because fall!

The Governess of Penwythe Hall by Sarah E. Ladd -- first in The Cornwall Novels; a decent book, nothing special. After her husband dies, Delia Greythorne becomes a governess. When her employer dies unexpectedly after a riding accident, she is asked to take care of the children. This necessitates a trip back to where she came from, not a great place if she wants to stay out of the eye of her inlaws.

Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight -- good story if not a disappointing ending; not because the author was bad, but I was just sad at someone in the story not living his best life.  Molly usually covers the arts for her local paper, but when a coworker is sick and another is out of town, she's asked to cover a story about a body found at the edge of a local college. This book really kept my attention.

Only Ever Her by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen -- Annie is missing and it's only a few days before her wedding! This story is told in the voices of many -- Annie's aunt Faye, cousin Clary, the reporter Laurel, and a high school friend Kenny.  Pretty good book.

Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin -- inspired by a true story, the author fleshes out the possibilities behind Claude and Blanche Auzello's life in Paris during the Nazi occupation.  A pretty interesting book!  And I found this write-up with pictures about some of the history of the Ritz that was good. Here is something else I found, though it has spoilers.

Courting Trouble by Lisa Scottoline -- Anne Murphy is a new-ish associate who travels to the Jersey Shore for a work weekend, and buys a newspaper seeing her name and picture under the headline about a murdered lawyer! That's a shock! Bennie, Judy, and Mary are featured prominently in this book dealing with Rosato & Associates. 

Careful What You Wish For by Hallie Ephron -- this was on the New Books list online and I decided to give this author a try; Emily and her friend Becca started a decluttering service after a video of Emily organizing her sock drawer went viral. The two are called to a potential client's house when a widowed lady is ready to get rid of her husband's collection. She didn't know about a storage building he rented until a bill arrived in the mail. Emily heads over to see what is there, and finds some books and maps as well as library cards. Were these items stolen from libraries? A quick Google check reveals a map like this could be worth thousands of dollars! Well, the book got more suspenseful when Quinn calls for some help with her own stuff...and then there's that body that was found in the storage building.

The Miracle of Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith -- more adventures with Mma Ramotswe and her lovable family and coworkers.

The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams -- a decent book about English and American characters during World War II, set in the Bahamas - and also London, Florida, and Switzerland; it was all over the place, but a fairly interesting story.

Dead Ringer by Lisa Scottoline -- This book has Bennie Rosato on the lookout for her evil twin sister, Alice, who has been going around posing as Bennie and buying things with her ID. Also, the firm is looking to take on a class-action lawsuit - their first! Pretty good with the same great group of characters!

Spying on the South: An Odyssey Across the American Divide by Tony Horwitz -- Not long after I heard the author interviewed on NPR (the show 1A ; see some pictures at the link), I was stunned to read the news that he died suddenly in Washington, D.C. while in the midst of a book tour! He was a few days shy of 61 when he died. I've read two or three of his other books, and although we are quite different (he being secular, Jewish, liberal, New Englander (kind of), man, and me...not so much those things), I always enjoyed his books. He mixed history with current events with humor with commentary that wasn't always humorous, but often thought-provoking. I really appreciated the way he listened to people and told their stories and tried to understand where people were coming from, and show that two "opposite" sides could get along even if they disagree.

So, I ordered this book from the library, and only recently picked it up. I read it knowing  that this was Tony's last book, the story he chased during his final years.  He mentioned the whole journey taking just over 2 years although part of that time he was home with his family in New England (you'll have to read the book to see why he went home for a few months.)  

Tony was following the path of Frederick Law Olmsted - one of Olmsted's southern journeys that took him along the Ohio River, a little in West Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, and a long time in Texas.   I was amused several times as Tony tried to be true to Olmsted's modes of travel and ended up on a towboat (towing a huge barge of coal along the Ohio River: chapter 3)), riding the American Queen down the Mississippi, and later riding a mule named Hatcher while in Texas.  (That chapter (19) was quite funny though also painful to read.)

Tony did anything from visiting the creation museum in Kentucky, to spending a few days at a café that doubled as GOP headquarters in Crockett, Texas, to muddin' in Louisiana. Part of the trip he had an Australian buddy, Andrew, join him, and it was funny reading Andrew's commentary on his experience.

In Kentucky, he learned about Cassius Clay - not Muhammad Ali or his father - but the guy they were probably named for.  I smiled when I read that people visited Clay's home, saw his picture, and said, "you mean he's white?"  Clearly they thought they were visiting Muhammad Ali's home. (Chapter 4)

In the latter part of the book, I enjoyed learning about the Kickapoo Indian Tribe (pg. 373), and chapter 20 dealt with life along the US/Mexico border which I found interesting.  He even talked to Mexicans about Trump's border wall (pg. 382).  (He was finishing the book just as Trump won the 2016 election.)

I read parts of it to Andrew as we traveled to the mountains a few days ago (9/15), and we discussed some attitudes of people who can't be reasoned with, can't admit they might be wrong, can't be told the facts because they have their own facts and they are always right! This discussion from the group in one part of Texas whom Tony met with a few times. Those who insisted a Muslim compound was being built just over the county line (chapter 14.)

Good book! I enjoyed traveling with and learning from Tony's adventure. I'm just sad that he is no longer alive to write any more. I think I'll look up some of his other books and read the ones I haven't read yet.  I think my local library system has one about John Brown that I've not yet read...

The Chocolate Maker's Wife by Karen Brooks -- Rosamund Tompkins is a dirty, smelly innkeeper's stepdaughter, and while she's a lovely person underneath all that dirt, she's found running from her evil stepbrothers, Fear God and Glory, straight into the path of a Sir from London. Sir Everard Blithman, noticing her resemblance to his dear daughter who died, offers to buy her, but Rosamund's mom (who is not a very good mom) says no way.  He must marry her and hand over lots of money for that opportunity.  This is how Rosamund comes to live in London as the chocolate maker's wife. But, whew boy, what an adventure. This book was pretty good; it was long and not one I adored, but it had enough interesting twists to keep me reading. 

Never Tell A Lie by Hallie Ephron -- another suspenseful book; Ivy and David are expecting their first child to be born in a few weeks, and want to get rid of the stuff a former owner left in their attic. A strange woman attends their yard sale - actually she's not strange in that they knew her from high school, but she seems to know things about them that Ivy hadn't expected her to know. But then this Melinda White is reported missing and no one recalls her leaving Ivy and David's house that day and they are suspected in her disappearance!  Pretty good story; kept my attention!

The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden -- first in the Hope and Glory series; Annabelle Larkin and her sister Elaine leave their home in Kansas for new opportunities in Washington, D.C. As part of her job with the Smithsonian Institute - a trial period of only about 6 months - Annabelle meets Gray Delacroix, a man who has sailed around the world finding out about spices and plants. This book is also about the fight for properly labeling food and features Good Housekeeping and their test kitchens. Do you know the two most expensive spices? I asked this on Facebook today (9/23) and a few people guessed correctly - or knew!

The Woman in Our House by Andrew Hart -- good book and somewhat suspenseful; Anna decides being a SAHM is not as fulfilling anymore, and wants to return to work for a few hours a day so she and her husband look into hiring a live-in nanny. They are rich. Oaklynn Durst comes highly-recommended from a nanny agency in Utah, and within days of her arrival, the family enjoys the helpfulness she brings. But then a few weird things happen which cause Anna to lose some goodwill and become suspicious of Oaklynn, which is not what you want when your little girls are in the care of someone!

The Letters by Suzanne Wood Fisher -- I've read several of her Amish books in the past, but somehow skipped this series (The Inn at Eagle Hill) so I decided to finally get the first one. Rose is widowed, a single mom of several, and living with her mother in law. Bills are plentiful so she looks for a way to make money. Why not turn her mother in law's basement into a place for guests?

The Last Time I Saw You by Liv Constantine -- a fairly interesting suspenseful book from a couple of sisters I've never read before; Dr. Kate English is living the good life until her mother is murdered and suddenly she is getting threatening text messages and disturbing things left around her house. Who can she trust? Is her husband (whom she suspects is having an affair with a coworker) to blame? Thankfully BFF, actually former BFF, Blaire came back to town for her mom's funeral, and the two have picked up where they left off (minus that whole wedding-day fiasco where Blaire was uninvited due to her criticism of the groom), and Blaire is ready to help solve this murder/threat mystery!

Until the Harvest by Sarah Loudin Thomas -- eh, this was only ok; I mean it was sweet, I guess, but nothing exciting. Margaret and her little sister Mayfair live together in a little cottage and Margaret helps out on her elderly neighbor's farm.

A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier -- Violet is eager to leave her mom's controlling ways so she gets a job 12 miles away working as a typist. She still travels home every Sunday to take her mom to church, but Violet creates a new life for herself in her new village by joining with the embroidery class at the cathedral, and later learning about ringing of the bells by her enchanting friend, Arthur.  A decent book; I usually like this author.

Killer Smile by Lisa Scottoline -- another Rosato & Associates book featuring Mary as she works on behalf of the Estate of Amadeo Brandolini who was interned by the US government during World War II. His crime? Being Italian. Pretty interesting story!

The Third Victim by Lisa Gardner -- an older book that the library just got; this is a book about Officer Rainie Conner of the Bakersville, Oregon, police department when a school shooting occurs. Uggggh! FBI agent Pierce Quincy comes to lend his expertise.  Pretty good story.  I've read other books featuring Rainie and Quincy, but this is the book where they actually meet.  Not sure why my library finally decided to get this one since it's...oh, nearly 20 years old, but it's fine.

Walking the Appalachian Trail by Larry Luxenberg -- We bought this book at the Clingman's Dome gift shop because I like supporting the parks by buying things that are useful...and books are more useful to me than a stuffed bear (though I think they are cute). Instead of being one person's recollection of the trail, this book had historical characters of people important to the trail plus profiles of interesting characters who have hiked the trail. One lady hiked the trail while pregnant and named her daughter Georgia Maine - ha!  Although there are many ways to hike the trail, the traditional thru-hiker is north bound from Georgia to Maine if they complete the whole thing.  A boy would have the A.T. initials (Anthony Thomas).

Monday, September 2, 2019

August Books

Rough Justice by Lisa Scottoline -- this book introduces a new lawyer,Marta, who is this close to getting a "not guilty" verdict for her client - who just admitted to her that he did murder the homeless black man in question. Bennie, Mary, and Judy from  Rosato & Associates are featured in this book as well.

In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith -- another book featuring Mma Ramotswe and her friends and family, including Mma Ramotswe's tiny white van breaking down as she sought out her former husband's family, and Mma Makutsi heading to dancing lessons. Cute story.

Death of a New American by Mariah Fredericks -- this is a follow-up book to one I read earlier in the year; it's a murder mystery as told by the servant Jane Prescott.  A young Italian nanny is murdered in the room where her young charge - a baby - is nearly kidnapped (or so it's suspected). A pretty good story. 

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Scottoline -- This book introduces Lou Jacobs to the firm as Bennie Rosato is called to represent a murder suspect who claims to be her twin! Mary and Judy help Bennie in her defense. Lots going on in this book; good one.

Torrent Falls by Jan Watson -- more in the life of Copper Brown (see previous books) as she moves back to her father's cabin on Troublesome Creek

The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White -- Book 1 in the Codebreakers series; Takes place in London during World War II. This book is about Margot a refugee from Belgium who is a codebreaker. It was OK. Kind of interesting, but nothing special to me.

Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith -- another cute story featuring some great characters and observations about life in Botswana. 

Moment of Truth by Lisa Scottoline -- Jack Newlin confesses to a murder that he doesn't commit. He hires Mary DiNunzio to represent him - and wants her to back off on defending him. Interesting story!

Home for Erring and Outcast Girls by Julie Kibler -- an interesting look at Berachah Industrial Home for the Redemption of Erring Girls in Arlington, Texas, through the eyes of Lizzie and Mattie who were girls who stayed there. Also, in modern times, Cate and Laurel read accounts of the Home in order to learn more about the ladies who lived there.  Pretty good book. 

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens -- Kya is abandoned by her family to live in the North Carolina marsh. She survives with the help of her wits and a couple of friends. She even learns to read though she only attended school one day in her life. An interesting story. I saw a Facebook friend post about this so I put it on hold. I was 76th in line when I put it on hold in mid-June. It took just under 2 months to get it...not bad.  I enjoyed learning about the marsh and its importance. And Kya's story is pretty cool, too.

The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis -- an interesting way to look at the Red Scare after World War II through the eyes of two friends, an actress and a playwright/director.  Good story!

The Yankee Widow by Linda Lael Miller -- Caroline's young husband succumbs to his injuries during the battle at Chancellorsville, and she brings his body home to Gettysburg for burial. Not many days later, a battle takes place nearby and wounded soldiers are brought to her property. This book was OK. I liked it somewhat at first, but didn't really care for how the story went.

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner -- an interesting look at the last year of World War II and some afterward from the perspective of a young German girl, Elise, who was interred with her family. A good story!

The Pages of Her Life by James L. Rubart -- Allison Moore is gifted a beautiful journal, and she writes about the frustrations of her life as she ends a partnership with her best friend in order to become partner with a friend who fails to keep promises. The journal is rather special in that it talks back to her in a supernatural way.  An ok book. 

The Abolitionist's Daughter by Diane C. McPhail -- a book about life in Greensboro, Mississippi, around the time of the Civil War. Emily Matthews' father - a judge - seeks to free his slaves in a place where that's not allowed. This book was a bit disjointed for me, and was just ok.

Thriving in Babylon by Larry Osborne -- Andrew got this book for his birthday, I think, so I decided to read it. It's an easy read with some good challenges and reminders based on Daniel's life in Babylon. 

Better Than the Best Plan by Lauren Morrill -- When Maritza's mom decides to leave for a job-training opportunity in Mexico, she leaves a note for her 17-year-old daughter to find after school. Ritzy is suddenly without a guardian as she enters the summer before her senior year in high school. Somehow a social worker is informed and Ritzy has to move to a foster home. A pretty cute YA book. An easy read.

King's Shadow by Angela Hunt -- part of The Silent Years series, this "novel of King Herod's Court" was an interesting look at Salome and her brother Herod.

The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff -- Adelia is put on a ship by her mom in order to escape Italy during World War II. She ends up in a south Philadelphia neighborhood where she frequently visits the Connally family, a mom and dad with four boys whom she grows to love. This book explores Addie's relationship with the family before and after a tragedy.  Pretty good story.  One I got for my birthday from a friend who purchased it from my Amazon Wishlist. This is one Pam Jenoff book my library didn't have. 

The Vendetta Defense by Lisa Scottoline -- When Pigeon Tony is charged with murdering an old rival from back home in Italy, Judy is asked to defend him.  An OK book, but not my favorite from this series.

The Dead Ex by Jane Corry  -- A good book about Vicki who suffers from epilepsy which affects her memory, or so the doctors tell her. But now she is being questioned by police about her ex-husband's disappearance. Did she do something and just can't remember? Also happening, Zelda is sent to prison while her daughter Scarlet is sent to foster care. How do these two plot lines come together? In a pretty interesting way!

The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith -- such a cute story; I laughed out loud a couple of times especially when the ladies figured out who would be in control of making sure the tea supply never ran out. (pg. 172).

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler -- great book! Have you ever been forbidden to date or marry someone you loved...because he or she was different from you?  Well, this book explores this issue - in this case, a black man and white woman - in the story of Isabelle and Robert as told by Isabelle as an almost 90 year old woman.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Ancestry Yearbook Pictures

For a year I had a subscription to Ancestry.com, and then canceled it last October because I didn't really enjoy genealogy that much, found the site a bit overwhelming, and I didn't have much to look up when it came time to cancel.  I've since found some things I'd like know so maybe I'll subscribe again one day.

I still get - and enjoy - their emails, and still often check DNA Matches to see if anyone new shows up related to me.

Yesterday I saw that they were offering free access to their collection of yearbooks so I looked up my parents, grandparents, myself, my maybe/probably grandpa and his children, Andrew, his parents and brother, and so forth.  I shared the link on Facebook for any curious friends, and also shared it with my Babycenter (private group) friends. Several of us there were posting pictures of the family we found in Ancestry's collection.

I wasn't able to find myself or my siblings, but I did find these gems:

Three of my mom in college:

One of my dad in college (with a white spot over his eye):

Andrew's parents:

High school (first 2) and then college for his mom:

Andrew's brother and himself, senior years. Were they instructed not to smile??

Jim's picture really amused me... 

Andrew and Jim really are more smiley than they appear in school. Haha

Christmas 2017
Andrew: top right
Brother Jim: bottom right

My maybe/probably grandpa at a university where he taught in Ohio:

Wider view shows he was an adviser with Phi Sigma Kappa

Thursday, August 15, 2019

DNA-Match Mystery Solved (I think)

A couple months ago I wrote about Solving a DNA-Match Mystery as I awaited my aunt's DNA test results.  When my dad's high Italian DNA showed up, I thought it might be a mystery I'd never solve. It's pretty well-known that a great-great-something grandmother (she was born around 1810) on the Fuqua side never married though she had several (6, I think) children. I figured whoever fathered the child who became my direct ancestor passed along his Italian DNA. But then when the Greek* surnames showed up as very close matches to me and my dad, I had to rethink things.

I puzzled it out with my family. We have a Messenger group with just my parents and siblings. My mom actually made the correct suggestion. I had been looking at my grandfather as he was a known cheater. I was trying to make it fit with him.

But my mom suggested my grandmother - my dad's mom - was the key.  At first I said no because I had matches with her cousins, but then...yes, you're right, Mama. The ones missing from my list are Fuquas and Hamletts and Websters! What is the meaning of this?  And...how...?

And while I can't ask my grandmother for any information since she died in October 2017 at age 91, I can make some educated guesses. All this thanks to the Ancestry DNA Matches feature plus a rather detailed online obituary.

So, I've concluded that my dad's full siblings are really half-siblings, and he's not even biologically related to all those aunts, uncles, and grandparents he grew up with!  (His parents divorced when he was ten so he lived with his grandparents and was/is very close to his aunts and uncles.)  He has several half-siblings plus extended family in Ohio whom we only know about thanks to the DNA testing.

I wondered how the Ohio guy and my grandmother met. Because his obituary mentions his service,

"...veteran of the U.S. Army, serving with the 82nd Airborne Division; 504th Parachute Regiment, qualifying as a parachutist and gliderman."

I was able to look up that division and saw they are based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina!  Perhaps he came through on a bus or train and met my grandmother. Or maybe he had a buddy in this area, and came here on leave. Or maybe she traveled to Fort Bragg. I'll likely never know.  But I know so far two of the children and three of the grandchildren listed in his obituary are on my DNA Match list.  And based on how accurate the DNA has been on all the other matches, I can't easily dismiss this!

This is already too wordy so I'll close.  Feel free to ask me any questions especially if I need to clarify something.

* Although the DNA presently shows up as Italian according to Ancestry, the family is Greek with the grandparents coming from the Isle of Rhodes in the early 1900s.  One of the DNA Matches (Laura) provided this information about a year ago when we chatted briefly about our close DNA connection. I've not heard from her since.


Thursday, August 1, 2019

July Books

The Whispered Word by Ellery Adams -- Another books from Miracle Springs, NC, featuring the Secret, Book, and Scone Society members. This time a stranger in town Abilene needs help, and the SB&SS helps her and hears her story. An easy, OK read.

The Road Home by Richard Paul Evans -- the final book in the Broken Road trilogy. Charles James, the multimillionaire seminar speaker who supposedly died in a plane crash, is finishing up his walk along Route 66. An easy, good read.

Exposed by Lisa Scottoline -- Mary DiNunzio agrees to help out a childhood friend who believes he was wrongly terminated because his daughter's cancer treatment cost the company a lot of money. Mary agrees to the case, but then finds out that her partner Bennie Rosato represents the parent company. Another exciting book in this series!

Wherever She Goes by Kelley Armstrong -- a pretty good book; I liked the main character, Aubrey, who tries hard to be a good mom to Charlotte, but her past haunts her and she looses her marriage and seems to be hanging onto her child by a thread. When Aubrey witnesses a kidnapping, she isn't taken seriously by the police so she starts looking for the child on her own. Is she crazy? Will this be more ammunition for her ex-husband in a custody battle?

Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith -- book 2 in The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series; Mma Ramotswe shows me life through her eyes; cute story.

The Very Picture of You by Isabel Wolff -- this was much much better than the two previous books; this book was more like the library books I've read from this author. In fact, this reminded me of the Vintage Affair book due to the portraiture going to people's houses or hosting them in her studio and learning some of their stories. But I like that aspect and this book was a much better read than the Tiffany and Minty books.

Morality For Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith -- book 3 in The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series; Mma Ramotswe and her secretary/assistant detective move headquarters to Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni's garage. Another cute story and easy read while the kids are in town. I read nearly half this book while Sophie played four hours at the park yesterday.

The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith -- book 4 in The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series; Mma Ramotswe looks for tips in dealing with her foster son; meanwhile her secretary/assistant detective decides on a way to earn a little more money by using her typing skills. I enjoy these books!

Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson -- a look at acceptance and life at West Point (and a bit beyond) through the eyes of three friends, Dani, Hannah, and Avery. The author's father was stationed at West Point so she lived there several years. Pretty good story.

A Question of Love by Isabel Wolff -- I received this book for my birthday from my Amazon Wishlist. It wasn't as good as some of hers, but I liked it pretty well. Laura likes facts, trivia, useless information, and she is the new host of a show involving puzzles. An old boyfriend is one of the first contestants on the show, and suddenly Luke is back in her life. Is this a good thing?

Feared by Lisa Scottoline -- Mary DiNunzio and her partners are being sued for reverse-sex discrimination when three men claim they were not hired due to their not being female. The lone male associate is thinking of quitting when something terrible happens that .. well, just read it if you like these types of books.

The Memory House by Rachel Hauck -- Beck Holiday, of the NYPD, inherits a house in Florida after a lady named Everleigh dies. Since she's currently suspended from the force, she travels to Fernandina Beach and finds people who knew who during the years her father was alive, years Beck cannot remember.

Everywhere That Mary Went by Lisa Scottoline -- remember all those books I've been reading about Mary DiNunzio and her associates at the law firm? Well, as far as I know, this book introduces readers to Mary and it goes way back to 1993 when people had car phones, but not smartphones that we use nowadays. I enjoyed reading about Mary and Judy back in the day, and compare/contrast them then to what I learned about them in the newer series.  In this book, Mary is being harassed by hang-up phone calls, anonymous letters, and the fact that she no longer thinks her husband's death was an accident.

The Light Over London by Julia Kelly -- I enjoyed this story about Cara who works for an antique company and finds a diary from World War II. She decides to track down L.K.'s family, if possible. In the meantime - or between chapters, we learn more of the story of Louise Keene and her work in the Ack-Ack Command. Good book!

 The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith -- book 5 in The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series; the story continues; Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni is supposed to jump out of an airplane in order to raise funds for the orphan farm. Meanwhile Mma Ramotswe wonders when they will ever set a date to be married. 

All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner -- Annie Jacobson and her family survived their father leaving a dozen years ago, but now that Mike, the older brother, is headed to Vietnam, Frank (formerly known as "dad") comes back into the picture.  A pretty good story.

Legal Tender by Lisa Scottoline -- this book introduces readers to Benedetta Rosato aka Bennie who was quite prominent in the later series featuring her and Mary. In this book Bennie's partner wants to dissolve the company that they built together.

Becoming Us by Robin Jones Gunn -- an easy read I found in the New Books area; After a few years of living with her inlaws in North Carolina, Emily and her husband and daughter move across the country to take over a car lot ownership in southern California. As the family struggles to make it, they make friends - especially good girl friends. This book focuses a lot on family togetherness and friendship togetherness.

Troublesome Creek by Jan Watson -- an easy read and fairly interesting look at life on a mountain farm in the l800s. Copper Brown is 15 years old, and her mother (actually her natural mom's sister) is talking about sending her off to boarding school. But Copper loves her way of life, and wants to stay.  Pretty good book. I actually read this years ago, but it's been so long that hardly any of it seems familiar. My mom read it recently and there are two follow-up books which I don't think I ever read so I plan to do that soon. 

Willow Springs by Jan Watson -- this continues the story of Copper Brown as she marries and makes a life with her husband in a new area, outside her beloved mountains. She battles homesickness, but then starts making friends in the community.

Friday, July 26, 2019

On loving the squad and DJT

After seeing yet another Facebook meme against "the squad" posted by an acquaintance, I was thinking if I were brave I would post something like, "Yeah, it's really too bad Jesus told us to love our enemies, huh? That Jesus is way out-of-touch and clueless about life and how tough it is for us to love these political folks we can't stand."

But then I thought about my own great dislike and disgust of a certain president, and figured I should clean up my own act first (i.e., love my enemy, pray for him, etc., etc.) 


I really have tried to pray for him a time or two. And I even asked God to save his soul, and for those who claim to follow Christ to...follow Christ and not DJT.

Just putting it out there.  I struggle with loving my enemy.  OK, I'm off to read.

Matthew 5:43-48 New International Version (NIV)

Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Monday, July 1, 2019

June Books

Gone by Lisa Gardner -- Finishing up the last of these books at the local libraries. I think I have one to go. This one takes place in Oregon as former FBI profiler Quincy and his wife Rainie have moved back to her part of the US. After Rainie starts back drinking, Quincy moves out in order to give her some space. During that time her car is discovered running, door open, purse in the seat..but no Rainie. The local police along with Quincy and his FBI daughter and her boyfriend work to solve the case.

After the War Is Over by Jennifer Robson -- Charlotte Brown works to make life a bit better for people who've fallen upon hard times. Especially those in England affected by the War (WW2). This book almost seemed like a sequel to another book, but it was fine as a standalone as there were plenty of flashbacks to earlier days. A pretty good story.

Sonoma Rose by Jennifer Chiaverini -- an Elm Creek Quilts novel -- I took a break from reading these even though I had only this and one other book left. This story didn't focus as much on the Bergstrom family in Pennsylvania. Rather it took place in California. It's the story of Rosa and Lars who were mentioned in a previous books when a Bergstrom cousin, Elizabeth, and her husband went across the country to claim the ranch they purchased sight unseen. Well, Rosa became friends with Elizabeth, and Lars was part of the Jorgensen clan. It was good reading their story some of which was alluded to in that previous book. Also, this book shared an interesting perspective of wine-sellers in Prohibition times.

Promises and Primroses by Josi S. Kilpack -- first book of the Mayfield Family Series; after his wife dies and his governess marries the vicar, Peter interviews a few ladies to care for and educate his daughters. Julia is actually his last choice, but she ends up with the job. And she does a splendid job with the children - and even assists in Peter's dog business. A pretty good book.

Betrayed by Lisa Scottoline -- I figured I'd read another in the Rosato & Associates series; this book focused more on Judy Carrier, one of the attorneys who finds out that her favorite aunt is facing a double mastectomy -- in, like 2 days. Aunt Barb kept her cancer and chemo treatments a secret from her sister and niece.  Judy rushes to visit Barb, and meets her Mexican friend, Iris. Sadly, Iris is discovered dead later that day of an apparent heart attack. But when Judy starts putting together some clues, the death looks more like murder than dying of natural causes!

A Death of No Importance by Mariah Fredericks -- I enjoyed this mystery as told by the servant of Charlotte and Louise. Many years have past, so Jane Prescott is telling the truth about a murder that happened in 1910 when Norrie was killed in the family's library. A pretty good book.

Corrupted by Lisa Scottoline -- I really enjoyed this story from the Rosato & Dinunzio series; Bennie takes on a murder case for a young man she knew from 13 years prior when she worked to get him out of juvenile detention. Part present, part 13 year in the past, and part trial...a good read!

The Secret, Book & Scone Society by Ellery Adams -- A cute, easy read about a book seller and bibliotherapist Nora, and her friends in Miracle Springs, NC, who find themselves involved in solving a mystery when a stranger is flattened by a train. They are determined to prove he was murdered and who did this awful deed!

Daisies and Devotion by Josi S. Kilpack -- book 2 in the Mayfield Family Series; I read the earlier book in this series and figured this would be a good easy read while the kids were in town. Sure enough I read several pages in it while Sophie played at the park for hours while Zach was visiting Michael. In the book, Maryann is back in London for the Season and she meets up with her friend Timothy who is looking for a wife. He confides his list of the perfect wife to Maryann - a list of a lady who is pretty much nothing like Maryann, but she decides to help him find that match. A pretty cute and predictable book.

Montauk by Nicola Harrison -- After her brother died in a car accident, Beatrice marries well and lives away from her rural Pennsylvania family amongst the good society of New York City. One summer she and her husband Harry went to Montauk where Beatrice stayed to be pampered and entertained while Harry worked his job during the week with plans to join her on weekends. It ended up not always working out quite that way, and Beatrice ends up helping the lighthouse keeper when he is injured while she visits. A pretty good story.

The Summer Country by Lauren Willig -- Emily travels to Barbados from her home in England with her cousin Adam and his wife, her best friend Laura. Emily is curious about this plantation her grandfather left her as it was a surprise from his will. A good story from this island nation in the 1800s!

Damaged by Lisa Scottoline -- another in the Rosato & Dinunzio series; Mary is asked to represent a ten-year-old boy who has dyslexia and was recently in trouble for violence against a teacher's aide. Good story.

Almost Home by Valerie Fraser Luesse -- a decent book and easy read about boarders at Si and Dolly's house in Alabama during World War II. People from all over the country are headed to this area to work in munitions plants.

How to Listen to God by Charles Stanley -- This short book appeared in my mailbox in a bag with a note of thanks for supporting the ministry. It didn't have a mailing address/postage though I'm guessing it was just sent a different way. Anyway...figured God was sending me a message because I used to joke that I wished God would send me a letter and just tell me His will for my life. Since this appeared in my mailbox, I read it.  I always like the story about the disciples in Acts 4:13, "...and they realized they had been with Jesus."

The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick -- a rather cute, easy read about a librarian, Martha, who is surprised one evening when a book dedicated to her is left on her door. The dedication was from her grandmother, Zelda, but the date was 1985, three years after Zelda disappeared from her life, supposedly dead.

The Friends We Keep by Jane Green -- Imagine making friends while in college - such good friends that you all lived together, going off to your separate ways, and then later in life coming back together again, as good friends and living together just like your college days! Only, not really because so many years have passed and things have happened. That's the story of Maggie, Evvie, and Topher, two Americans and one Englishwoman who met while in England, and later met up again. Pretty good story.

The Giving Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini -- an Elm Creek Quilts novel; finally!  I finally finished this series. Some books were better than others, but they are all kind of comfortable especially towards the end when you feel you know Sylvia and the crew through and through. Only this time, they have some quilters in for Quiltsgiving, a time after Thanksgiving when quilters come for a free week of quilt camp with the purpose of making quilts for a good cause.

The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard -- Although the characters are fiction, the town and what they did there in East Tennessee is true. The book starts with June Walker's grandfather being kicked off his land because the government wanted it for the war effort. June later gets a job at the newly-constructed "city" and later finds out they are helping create the atomic bomb!

Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner -- this, I believe, is the last of this author's books at my local libraries! And they were good. Well, some were really creepy and dark since they are crime books, but some aren't quite so bad. And this was one that wasn't so dark although still...violence. It's about Quincey and Rainie who are fostering a 13 year old girl, Sharlah, with hopes of adopting her later in the year. Sharlah's estranged brother goes on a shooting spree and the hunt is on to locate him!