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

Sunday, March 1, 2020

February Books

The House of Brides by Jane Cockram -- a pretty fast-paced book with somewhat of a mystery. Miranda was recently disgraced at home in Australia so she escapes to her mother's home country and estate in the west country of England. There she lives at Barnsley House as the children's nanny as she tries to learn more about her mother who died when she was a child. An OK story. I'd read more from this author.

African Nights by Kuki Gallmann -- I think my mom picked this up from one of those Little Free Library boxes awhile back, and I read it. It has some good stories about Kuki's family and life in Kenya. I enjoyed reading about encounters with elephants and lions, and the interesting people that are part of her life.

The Colors of All the Cattle by Alexander McCall Smith -- I'm nearing the end of this series! I may have to try some of the stand-alone novels and other series since my local library seems to get all his books!  In this book Mma Potokwane, the lady who oversees the Orphan Farm, suggests (in that way that Mma Potokwane suggests things) that Mma Ramotswe should run for the open seat on the council. Mma Ramotswe does not want to get involved in politics at all, but the pressure is strong because the only other candidate is Violet Sephotho...and ugh. Cute story!

The Royal Nanny by Karen Harper -- I enjoy this author's historical fiction novels, and this one is about Charlotte Bill aka Mrs. Lala or just Lala, the nanny to the six children of George (later King George V) and May of Teck (later Queen Mary).   Good "faction" story!

The Body Lies by Jo Baker -- "A young writer" (this is how the book jacket describes her because she's telling this story, and I don't think she's ever named..ugh) accepts a job in another part of England taking her three year old and leaving behind her husband who wants to keep his job. They try to make things work by his visits every other weekend, and visits during holidays. Meanwhile the young writer is teaching creative writing classes and keeping her life together while struggling with the aftermath of being attacked while walking home one day (which is one reason she wanted to move away from London.)  Anyway...this book was decent if not creepy, and it kept my attention pretty well and I finished it fast.

Hill Women by Cassie Chambers -- This memoir by a young (born in 1986) lady from Kentucky is "finding family and a way forward in the Appalachian mountains." It was pretty interesting. I've read more fascinating memoirs, but I liked reading about Cassie's life especially her mom, grandmother, and Aunt Ruth.

The Better Liar by Tanen Jones -- This book is told from the perspectives of Robin, her sister Leslie, and Mary, the young lady who takes the place of Robin so that Leslie can get her $50,000 inheritance. Quite the elaborate scheme to satisfy her (Leslie's) father's will. Pretty good story!

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin -- I enjoyed this book; very clever story about a team-building activity in an escape room. Only it's not really what they thought it was. Jules, Sylvie, Vincent, and Sam realize this escape-room elevator is really an opportunity for them to reflect on what they have done in their climbs to the top of the financial world. Meanwhile Sara Hall, a former teammate, has her say.

On Wings of Devotion by Roseanna M. White -- since I read the first in The Codebreakers series, I figured I'd go ahead and read book 2 when I saw it on the New Books list at the library. In it, Arabelle works as a nurse and meets Major Phillip Camden who has been ridiculed in society and the press as the Black Heart due to his fellow pilots being killed. An OK book; nothing special

Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson -- a good suspenseful book by an author I've never read before; Hen and Lloyd attend a neighborhood party and meet the only other childless couple and they happen to live right next door! When Matthew and Mira give Hen and Lloyd a tour of their house, Hen is shocked when she notices an old fencing trophy that reminds her of a murder that was never solved.

The Poppy Wife by Caroline Scott -- I nearly gave up on reading this one towards the first fifth, but kept on. It switches back and forth a lot which was a bit confusing, but I gradually got used to it, and wanted to see what happened as Harry searched for his brother - or his brother's grave - as he traveled around France after the first World War photographing graves or battle areas for people back home in England. His sister in law Edie joined him for awhile during the search.

When You See Me by Lisa Gardner -- A good new book from this author! I read a bunch of her books that my library had already so I was familiar with D.D. Warren from the Boston Police Department, Kimberly from the FBI, and Flora Dane, the vigilante. In this book the three ladies are called together to help with a case in the mountains of Georgia. A skeleton was discovered in the woods, and the police are wondering if this is connected to Flora's kidnapper, Jacob Ness. I enjoyed this mystery!

The Winemaker's Wife by Kristin Harmel -- This is the story about Michel and his wife, Inès, along with Theo and Céline who run a winemaking operation during World War II. It's also about Olivia and her Grandma Edith who go back to that region in France to learn more about a time when the winemakers were forced to grow grapes and create great bottles of wine for the Nazis. Good story!

To the Land of Long Lost Friends by Alexander McCall Smith -- I've finally read all the books in the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. This one came out late last year and coincided with my reading through these books after I was given the first one by Amber for my birthday. It's been fun reading these the last several months. In this book Mma Ramotswe helps friends in her detecting and Charlie, the apprentice-mechanic-turned-part-time-assistant detective, meets Queenie Queenie's hotshot brother and wealthy father. 

Mercy House by Alena Dillon -- a rather cute book about 3 nuns who run a house in a Brooklyn neighborhood where they offer help and hope for abused women. When an evil bishop wants to close the house - because they don't always do things the (ahem) proper Catholic way, Sister Evelyn fights back. She's a hoot, by the way. Great character. 

When I Close My Eyes by Elizabeth Musser -- When a novelist is shot by a man desperate to get funds for his son's heart surgery, the family comes together trying to figure out why their mother/wife was targeted. Meanwhile Henry - who was unable to complete the kill - starts reading the novelist's books. A decent story; not a favorite. 

Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline -- A good, fast-paced story about Christine leaving her job as a teacher so she can concentrate on her pregnancy after having a difficult time conceiving. Only her parents and best friend know their secret (they used a sperm donor) and then Christine is dismayed when the blond-haired, blue-eyed young man arrested as a serial killer looks almost exactly like their donor!

The Girl with a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson -- I read a book by this new-to-me author recently which I liked a lot. This one wasn't as great. It was decent, but several times I rolled my eyes. Maybe it's because the main character was a man - George - and I just didn't relate to some things he did. Anyway...when an old college girlfriend comes back into town years after her disappearance from his life, George agrees to help her with returning nearly half a million dollars that she stole from her former employer. What could go wrong with that?

The Last Midwife by Sandra Dallas -- good story about Gracy who was a midwife in a Colorado mining community in 1880. When she is charged with murdering an infant in her care, the town prepares for her trial. Meanwhile Gracy continues doing what she can to help the women and babies in her community. Enjoyed this!

Vintage by Susan Gloss -- For some reason I tend to like these books about ladies' stories as they buy or sell articles from vintage clothing shops. This one is located in Madison, Wisconsin, and is from the points of view of Violet the shopkeeper and a couple customers. Pretty good story.

The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict -- a pretty good story about Hedwig Kiesler of Austria and her role as an actress and later wife to Friedrich Mandl an arms dealer who hosted many important people at his houses. Later Hedy fled to London and later to Hollywood and became Hedy Lamarr, an actress, but also a lady who invented and patented an idea to improve torpedoes.

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