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

Monday, February 28, 2022

February Books


Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover -- Kenna comes back to her late boyfriend's hometown in order to meet the daughter that she signed away while she served a five-year prison term. She hooks up with the local bartender, Ledger, who happens to live across the street from her daughter!  Eh, not a favorite.

Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II by Robert Matzen -- Are you curious what it was like to live in the Netherlands during the war years, and what it was like at the end when the Nazis were trying their best to hold off the British so Dutch neighborhoods became battlegrounds of sorts? This wasn't the most interesting book to me, but it wasn't bad. I think my mom read it last year, and she liked it so I read it. Maybe if I were a huge Hepburn fan I'd appreciate it more.

Facing the Dawn by Cynthia Ruchti -- This book was very clean compared to the first book on this list which was filled with the F-word and lots of immorality (if you grew up like me and are conditioned to believe sex outside of marriage is immoral.) This book was the anti-that book. It was ok. Not the greatest story, but decent and a good message about dealing with grief and reminders of God. Mara's husband left her and their three children to go on a trip digging wells for people in Africa for FOUR years. Mara struggles with resentment at Liam because she feels overwhelmed, and their children miss their dad. A few tragedies happen abroad and at home. Thankfully Mara has a good friend or two to help through the hard times. 


Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History by Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio -- Andrew read this book and kept telling me interesting bits about it so I decided to read it before I returned it to the library. Pretty good story about the way the CIA, the Canadian diplomats and so forth worked together to bring home some Americans from Iran.

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight -- Lizzie is contacted by a former friend after Zach ends up in jail after his wife is murdered. This mystery alternates between the voices of Lizzie as she seeks to find out the truth, and Amanda, the murdered woman.  Pretty good if you like this type of book. 

Her Hidden Genius by Marie Benedict -- A good way to learn more about Rosalind Franklin and her work with DNA and the RNA of viruses. Pretty interesting story about this British scientist.

The Good Son by Jacquelyn Mitchard -- When Stefan is released from prison after being convicted in the death of his girlfriend, he finds it hard to fit into society. Understandably his former girlfriend's mom doesn't want Stefan to enjoy life while she grieves Belinda's death. This book was told from the perspective of Thea, Stefan's mom. It was pretty good.

The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont -- Told from the perspective of Nan O'Dea, the mistress of Archie Christie, this was an interesting story about where Agatha Christie went during those days she was missing. I enjoyed this one! 

The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis -- An interesting story about the Frick House, and Henry and Helen Frick (father and daughter). Some of this is true such as the house and people I just mentioned, but there is a storyline about a muse, or artist used by sculpturers of that era. In this book her name is Lillian Carter known professionally as Angelica. A good story!

Cold Mountain Path by Tom Kizzia -- I saw Heather Lende recommend this book on her Facebook page and got this book for Christmas. It's about "the Ghost Town Decades of McCarthy-Kennecott, Alaska," and had some interesting characters, ways of life, and interesting facts about life in that area. Pretty interesting book.

The Violence by Delilah S. Dawson -- I wasn't sure I wanted to commit to this almost 500-page book, but once I got into the story, it was pretty interesting and fast-paced. The year is 2025, and a new pandemic has hit mostly southern states and other places that deal with lots of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are how this new virus - called The Violence - is spread. This book is a bit bizarre in the whole new pandemic thing, but I enjoyed seeing how Chelsea, her daughters, and her mom dealt with it. There is a huge plot about domestic violence as well.

My Remarkable Journey by Katherine Johnson with Joylette Hylick and Katherine Moore (her daughters) -- This is a memoir about the Black mathematician, one of whom inspired the book and movie Hidden Figures. What an interesting lady! I read Hidden Figures and watched the movie last year, and enjoyed both so I was happy to find this on the New Books shelf at the library, and read the book within a day. Andrew enjoyed this one as well.

Beyond the Mapped Stars by Rosalyn Eves -- When Bridget wrote that this was one of her unexpectedly favorite books last year, I looked to see if my library had it, and I finally put it on hold and read it. What a great story to read while I was also reading the book by Katherine Johnson. Though this book is fictitious, both ladies enjoyed STEM fields and had to overcome obstacles to follow what some might say God called them to do. I appreciated the bit towards the end where Elizabeth realized you could be a woman of faith and science. Too often today I see people acting like we who believe in God are stupid because we don't believe in science because how can you possibly believe in God and the Bible and all that religious stuff when there is science to prove how things really are? That annoys me so much. Good book! 

One Step Too Far by Lisa Gardner -- This was an exciting read as I read a couple other books which were good, but just not the type I read super-quickly. Frankie tries to locate missing persons, and she joins a search team trying to find out whatever happened to a young man, Tom, when he was on a trip with his best friends. Probably a bit far-fetched at times, but overall a pretty good mystery!

Travels with George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy by Nathaniel Philbrick -- I saw this last month while in Asheville, and wrote it down as a possible read. I saw it on the library's New Books shelf, and read it. Nat and his wife Melissa and their dog, Dora, retrace George Washington's travels after he became President of the US. They go through parts of the Northeast, and later a trip to the South. Pretty interesting. Reminded me a bit of Tony Horwitz's books and made me miss that guy! 

The Windsor Diaries 1940-45: My Childhood with the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret by Alathea Fitzalan Howard -- After Alathea died, her nephew's wife read through Alathea's diaries which she wrote in every day for decades. The author decided to focus on the war years when Alathea and the princesses were in Windsor during their teen and young adult years. (Alathea was a couple of years older than "PE" as she often wrote for Princess Elizabeth, now the Queen.)  There is the usual (for some (most?) teens/young adults) focus on clothes - what she wore, what others wore, parties, dances, looks, and young men who were present at events. The oft common problem with parents and other family elders (a prickly mother and a grandfather who insisted on the family being present every night for Rosary), and then the War. Overall this was an interesting look at that period in history. I could totally relate to Alathea's not enjoying silly films - things that made others ``shriek with laughter," didn't amuse her. I am often that way!

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley -- Benjamin is waiting in his Paris apartment for his sister to arrive from London. It's not a great time, but what's he going to do? Tell her not to come? But when Jess arrives, Ben is nowhere to be found. And asking around the house - to others who live in this magnificent place - it just seems odd that no one knows where Ben is. Thus, Jess gets to work trying to find her brother.