March 6, 2021

February 2021 Book Update

Books I read this month

Where the Heart Takes You by Virginia Wise

Synopsis:
Pennsylvania, 1737. Greta Scholtz braved a perilous journey--and the loss of her beloved father--to find religious freedom in America. With two orphan children she's taken under her wing, she's trying hard to survive this rugged new world. So she won't let settlement elders pressure her into marrying reserved widower Jacob Miller. She and Jacob simply can't agree on anything--even if the unexpected feeling between them is proving an irresistible force . . .

After losing his wife and baby, grief-stricken Jacob keeps everyone at arm's length. Duty is the only reason he began helping the headstrong Greta make a life for herself and her charges. Yet he's grown to admire her, especially her strength in the face of obstacles--including him and his wounded ways. But wrenching misunderstandings and a jealous rival could separate them forever. To find harmony--and perhaps even a future together--Greta and Jacob must take a leap of faith and risk opening their hearts . . .

My review
I liked this book but I have mixed feelings about it as well. I really liked the characters of Gretta, Ruth and Jacob. I was also super frustrated by Greta and Jacob. They knew they wanted to be with each other but they kept finding reasons not to be. I thought that scenario lasted a bit long and was making me angry reading it. But the end of the book had me so happy that it made up for the angriness. I was hoping for a little more history weaved into the book about them settling here for the first time. All in all I am glad I read the book.

Courting Can Be Killer by Amanda Flower

Synopsis:
Some Amish men don't know what's good for them. That's what Millie Fisher told herself when young Ben Baughman set his heart on marrying Tess Lieb. With Tess's father refusing to give his blessing and Tess's
ex-boyfriend being a wet blanket, the hapless couple was bound to butt heads more than Millie's Boer goats. But when Ben tragically dies in a mysterious fire, Millie wonders if someone in her hometown of Harvest, Ohio, wanted Ben out of the wedding picture altogether...

With the help of her quilting buddies, and her outspoken Englischer friend Lois, Millie is determined to patch together all the clues without even dropping a stitch. She only hopes it won't be the death of her...

Review:
I enjoyed this second installment of this series. I felt bad when Ben was killed in the flea market and then for some to say he was the cause of his own death. It was also hard to watch Millie go through the trauma of losing him. I liked how close Lois and Millie are they make a good team.


Rebecca by Daphne Du Mauier

Synopsis:
So the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter remembered the chilling events that led her down the turning drive past the beeches, white and naked, to the isolated gray stone manse on the windswept Cornish coast. With a husband she barely knew, the young bride arrived at this immense estate, only to be inexorably drawn into the life of the first Mrs. de Winter, the beautiful Rebecca, dead but never forgotten...her suite of rooms never touched, her clothes ready to be worn, her servant -- the sinister Mrs. Danvers -- still loyal. And as an eerie presentiment of the evil tightened around her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter began her search for the real fate of Rebecca...for the secrets of Manderley.

Review:
I tried read this book but had trouble getting into it so I switched to the audio book which I enjoyed better. I have to say I really did not like the head house keeper she was not nice and therefore I felt bad for the new wife there was a big twist at the end that I did not see coming. I also watched the movie which o thought was good and explained a few more things for me.


Hundred in the Hand by Joseph Marshall III

Synopsis:
Beautifully written and reminiscent of the oral tradition, Hundred in the Hand brings a new slant to the traditional Western: historical fiction written from the Native American viewpoint.

Review:
I have read more than one book by this author and really enjoyed them so I thought I would give this one a try. I hate to say it but I was disappointed in this one and think I will stick to his other books that I have. I just felt this one did not flow for me.


Murder with Clotted Cream by Karen Rose Smith

Synopsis:
Margaret Vaughn has hired Daisy to provide afternoon tea for her theater group. A local girl who left long ago for an acting career in New York, Margaret has returned home—with a multimillionaire husband in tow. But while Daisy bustles around Margaret’s historic farmhouse, she senses that there’s tension behind the scenes. Then she discovers the hostess on the floor of the pantry—dead and covered with clotted cream.

Barely recovered from her previous sleuthing adventure, Daisy joins forces with the former detective she’s been dating to help solve the case. Should she cast suspicion on the stars of the upcoming play? Can Margaret’s sister shine a spotlight on potential culprits? Or are there clues to be found in the victim’s past? With plenty of family stress of her own to deal with, all Daisy knows is she better act fast .

Review:
I enjoyed this book and liked that it addressed postpartum depression as many women have this but don't discuss it. This time we got to learn a little more about Daisy and her mom's relationship, which explains some things. I am liking that this series is continuing on.


Murder with Oolong Tea by Karen Rose Smith

Synopsis:
The faculty of Willow Creek High School are having a get-together after the spring concert with refreshments provided, courtesy of Daisy's Tea Garden. Oolong tea and chocolate biscuits are just what the staff needs to help them unwind from Althea Higgins' demanding curriculum. Her lessons on such controversial subjects as school uniforms and under qualified substitute teachers are earning her an F from her colleagues.

But a failing grade was preferable to Althea falling victim to foul play. Daisy was there when her body was discovered in the school swimming pool, murdered by strangulation. Althea was certainly a strict, opinionated taskmaster, unliked by both teachers and students, but would any of them actually want to kill her? As Daisy starts asking questions, she gets a real education in Althea's history, discovering more than enough enemies with more than enough motives to cancel her classes permanently...

Review:
Another great installment in a fun series. I will say this one had me sad for a little while but was good in the end. I enjoyed seeing what was happening with my friends. I liked that Daisy helped Jazzie’s friend and there was a little more of the Amish included.

Books I acquired this month
The Man Who Sent the SOS by Paul Amirault
Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Signing Their Lives Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the Declaration of Independence by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D'Agnese
Signing Their Lives Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the United States Constitution by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D'Agnese
John Adams Under Fire by David Fisher











February 2, 2021

January 2021 Book Update

 JANUARY BOOK UPDATE


I have decided that instead of individual posts I will be doing a monthly post of what books I have read, what books I have received and other updates. 


Books I have read


Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading

Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan

Synopsis

The Cat in the Hat? Barbar? The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Whoever it was for you, it’s very hard to forget the vivid intensity of your first encounter with a book.

As a bespectacled young bookworm, Lucy Mangan devoured books: from early picture books, to Swallows and Amazons, Enid Blyton to Little Women, and from trashy teen romances to her first proper ‘grown-up’ novels. In Bookworm, she revisits this early enthusiasm; celebrating the enduring classics, and disinterring some forgotten treasures.

This is a love letter to the joys of childhood reading, full of enthusiasm and wit, telling the colourful story of our best-loved children's books, the extraordinary people who created them, and the thousand subtle ways they shape our lives. It also comes packed with brilliant recommendations to inspire the next generation of bookworms and set them on their way.

This impassioned book will bring the unforgettable characters of our collective childhoods back to life – prompting endless re-readings, rediscoveries, and, inevitably, fierce debate. It will also act as an invaluable guide to anyone looking to build a children’s library and wondering where to start, or where to go next.

Review

I listened to the audio version of this book. This book was not a bad book but I have to say if I was reading it instead of listening to it I don't know that I would have finished. It is just not exactly what I was expecting. I did enjoy hearing the author's thoughts on the books that we have both read. There were quite a few books that I did not recognize since the author is from England. Some of the children's books I have never heard of. I am glad I finished the book though. It made me think of the books I read as a child and brought back good memories as I too am a bookworm.

Secrets of the Chocolate House (Found Things, #2)

Secrets of the Chocolate House by Paula Brackston - Book two of the Found Things Series

Synopsis

After her adventures in the seventeenth century, Xanthe does her best to settle back into the rhythm of life in Marlborough. She tells herself she must forget about Samuel and leave him in the past where he belongs. With the help of her new friends, she does her best to move on, focusing instead on the success of her and Flora’s antique shop.


But there are still things waiting to be found, still injustices needing to be put right, still voices whispering to Xanthe from long ago about secrets wanting to be shared.
While looking for new stock for the shop, Xanthe hears the song of a copper chocolate pot. Soon after, she has an upsetting vision of Samuel in great danger, compelling her to make another journey to the past.
This time she'll meet her most dangerous adversary. This time her ability to travel to the past will be tested. This time she will discover her true destiny. Will that destiny allow her to return home? And will she be able to save Samuel when his own fate seems to be sealed? 

Review


I enjoyed this second installment of this series. It is neat to go along with Xanthe as she is learning how to be a spinner to help people. It is also nice to watch her relationships grow with the townspeople. I really like Harley, he is just a fun character. There is a major cliffhanger at the end of this book so I will have to be reading the next one soon to continue on the adventure.


Fever 1793

Synopsis

I listened to the audio version of this book. It's late summer 1793, and the streets of Philadelphia are abuzz with mosquitoes and rumors of fever. Down near the docks, many have taken ill, and the fatalities are mounting. Now they include Polly, the serving girl at the Cook Coffeehouse.

But fourteen-year-old Mattie Cook doesn't get a moment to mourn the passing of her childhood playmate. New customers have overrun her family's coffee shop, located far from the mosquito-infested river, and Mattie's concerns of fever are all but overshadowed by dreams of growing her family's small business into a thriving enterprise. But when the fever begins to strike closer to home, Mattie's struggle to build a new life must give way to a new fight-the fight to stay alive.

Review


This was a really good book. I felt so bad for Madie the main character. She went through so much in such a short time. Reading about the yellow fever pandemic of 1793 makes you think of some of the things that are happening today. We are lucky to have modern medicine to help us as those people were so helpless. I recommend this book as a must read.

Titanic

Synopsis

The story of "Titanic's" tragic maiden voyage still tugs at the heartstrings and sparks universal curiosity. This Eyewitness book uncovers the story behind the story of this majestic ship, from its borth in a Belfast shipyard to its death in the icy Atlantic. Renderings, photographs, and deck plans accompany a compelling narrative of courage and cowardice, sacrifice, and survival.

Review


I enjoyed reading this as I am a fan of the Titanic. With all the books I have read about the Titanic, I was still able to learn from this book. The pictures and stories shared in this book were interesting.


Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown (Audiobook)

Synopsis

I listed to an audio version of this book. An extraordinary memoir of drama, tragedy, and royal secrets by Anne Glenconner--a close member of the royal circle and lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret. As seen on Netflix's The Crown.
Anne Glenconner has been at the center of the royal circle from childhood, when she met and befriended the future Queen Elizabeth II and her sister, the Princess Margaret. Though the firstborn child of the 5th Earl of Leicester, who controlled one of the largest estates in England, as a daughter she was deemed "the greatest disappointment" and unable to inherit. Since then she has needed all her resilience to survive the vipers of court life with her sense of humor intact.


A unique witness to landmark moments in royal history, Maid of Honor at Queen Elizabeth's coronation, and a lady in waiting to Princess Margaret until her death in 2002, Anne's life has encompassed extraordinary drama and tragedy. In Lady in Waiting, she will share many intimate royal stories from her time as Princess Margaret's closest confidante as well as her own battle for survival: her broken-off first engagement on the basis of her "mad blood"; her 54-year marriage to the volatile, unfaithful Colin Tennant, Lord Glenconner, who left his fortune to a former servant; the death in adulthood of two of her sons; a third son she nursed back from a six-month coma following a horrific motorcycle accident. Through it all, Anne has carried on, traveling the world with the royal family, including visiting the White House, and developing the Caribbean island of Mustique as a safe harbor for the rich and famous-hosting Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Raquel Welch, and many other politicians, aristocrats, and celebrities.

Review


I enjoyed listening to this book. I especially liked that the author was the narrator as I could hear her emotion while she was reading it. She had an interesting life and I loved hearing about her relationship with Princess Margaret.

Books that I have acquired

These are books I have either bought, were given to me to review or given as gifts

Crockett of Tennessee by Cameron Judd
One Poison Pie by Lynn Cahoon
Back Bay by William Martin
Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin
Death Bee Comes Her by Nancy Coco
Sacajawea by Anna Lee Waldo
Daniel Boone's Own Story by Daniel Boone
Creek Mary's Blood by Dee Brown
The Children's Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin
Answering Liberty's Call by Tracy Lawson

November 24, 2020

The Amish Baker's Rival by Marie E. Bast - Review

I received this book free from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Book details
Mass Market Paperback : 224 pages
ISBN-10 : 133548860X
ISBN-13 : 978-1335488602
Publisher : Love Inspired; Original edition (December 29, 2020)

Book description
He’s more than just her competition…

She’ll do anything to protect her bakery…

no matter the cost to her heart.

Amish baker Mary Brenneman is furious when handsome Englischer Noah Miller opens up a bakery right across from hers. Now she must win a local baking contest just to stay in business—and beat know-it-all Noah. But somewhere along the way, Noah and Mary’s kitchen wars are quickly warming into something more…

Meet the author
Marie Bast is an award-winning, Publishers Weekly bestselling author. She enjoyed a career with the federal government, but characters kept whispering her name. Marie retired and now pursues her passion. Her stories whisper words of hope and healing through complex characters and twisting plots. When not writing, Marie enjoys walking, golfing, gardening, baking and spending time with her family. Visit her on MarieBastAuthor.com and mariebast.blogspot.com.

My thoughts
I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read but at the same time held my interest all the way through. I have not read the two books that come before this but this book can easily be read as a stand alone. Although I must say that after reading this I would like to go back and read about the other characters in the other books. I loved Noah from the first time he appeared in the book and really wanted things to work out with his family.  I thought Mary was also a strong character as she knew what she wanted and even though she knew that maybe she should not feel the way she does it all worked out in the end. Worth the read. 

November 16, 2020

The Windsor Knot by S.J. Bennett




I received this book free.  All opinions are my own


Book details
ebook, 288 pages
Expected publication: March 9th 2021 by William Morrow (first published October 29th 2020)
Original Title
The Windsor Knot
ISBN 0063050021 (ISBN13: 9780063050020)

Book description
The first book in a highly original and delightfully clever crime series in which Queen Elizabeth II secretly solves crimes while carrying out her royal duties.

The morning after a dinner party at Windsor Castle, eighty-nine-year-old Queen Elizabeth is shocked to discover that one of her guests has been found murdered in his room, with a rope around his neck.


When the police begin to suspect her loyal servants, Her Majesty knows they are looking in the wrong place. For the Queen has been living an extraordinary double life ever since her coronation. Away from the public eye, she has a brilliant knack for solving crimes.

With her household's happiness on the line, her secret must not get out. Can the Queen and her trusted secretary Rozie catch the killer, without getting caught themselves?

The Windsor Knot is the first book in the 'Her Majesty The Queen Investigates' mystery series by SJ Bennett - for fans of The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, Agatha Christie and M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin.

Meet the author - S. J. Bennet
SJ Bennett was born in Yorkshire, England in 1966, and lives in London. An army child, she grew up travelling around the world. Her first novel was published when she was 42, after a varied career and lots of procrastination. She is the award-winning author of several books for children and teaches and podcasts about writing.

My thoughts
I tried listening to this book and I had a hard time with it.  It was not for me, I felt it was a little all over the place and did not seem to flow. 

October 27, 2020

Cold Conviction by Daryl Wood Gerber - Review


I received this book free from the author. All opinions are my own.

Book details
Paperback : 256 pages
ISBN-10 : 1950461815
ISBN-13 : 978-1950461813
Publisher : Beyond the Page Publishing (October 27, 2020)

Book description
When her parents were murdered fourteen years ago, Aspen Adams coped as best she could as a college freshman and numbly moved on when the case was never solved. Living since then with almost daily reminders of how the tragedy shaped the lives of her and her sister, she’s always known that someday she would launch an investigation of her own. And now, with her sister in crisis, she draws on all her experience as a private investigator to untangle a case that left the police baffled and her family in ruins.

Interviewing the detectives who worked the case, scouring endless pages of their notes, and even tracking down the original suspects, Aspen discovers aspects of the crime and her parents’ lives she never knew about—and ignites a menacing series of events that threaten to engulf everyone near her. Certain she’s on the trail of the killer and unwilling to be deterred, Aspen faces down her own fears about what she’ll find in her search for answers—and justice—before a killer who scarred her life can resurface to wreak havoc on her family once again . . .

Meet the author - Daryl Wood Gerber
Agatha Award–winning and nationally bestselling author Daryl Wood Gerber is the author of the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, the Fairy Garden Mysteries, the French Bistro Mysteries, the Cheese Shop Mysteries (as Avery Aames), and stand-alone suspense thrillers. Little known facts about Daryl are that she’s jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, has hitchhiked around Ireland by herself, and has appeared on an episode of Murder, She Wrote. She loves to read, cook, and golf, and has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!

My thoughts
I am so glad that the author decided to take on the solving of Aspen's parent's murder.  Even though it was hard to watch one of my favorite characters struggle through this, she knew it was something she had to do.  There was something about one of the characters in this book that made me think they were the one. While I may have been a little off in thinking who actually pulled the trigger for once my gut instinct was right. I also liked that we got to see Aspen's personal life progress.  This has become one of my favorite series and I look forward to seeing what is going to happen next for Aspen and her family. 

October 9, 2020

Finding Dorothy by Elizabeht Letts - Review


Book details
Hardcover : 368 pages
ISBN-10 : 1529403448
ISBN-13 : 978-1529403442
Publisher : Quercus (April 4, 2019)

Book description
Behind the most famous movie ever made is a tale of love, magic and one incredible woman

Hollywood, 1938: As soon as she learns that M-G-M is adapting her late husband's masterpiece, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, for the screen, Maud Gage Baum sets about trying to visit the set.
Nineteen years after Frank's passing, Maud is the only person who can help the producers stay true to the spirit of the book - because she's the only one left who knows its secrets...

But the moment she hears Judy Garland rehearsing the first notes of 'Over the Rainbow', Maud recognizes the yearning that defined her own life story, from her rebellious youth as a suffragette's daughter to her coming of age as one of the first women in the Ivy League, from her blossoming romance with Frank to the hardscrabble prairie years that inspired his famous work. With the young actress under pressure from the studio as well as her ambitious stage mother, Maud resolves to protect her - the way she tried so hard to protect the real Dorothy.

Meet the author - Elizabeth Letts
If you want to know why I’m a writer, you’d have to thank Mrs. Barclay, the children’s librarian in the Malaga Cove Library in Palos Verdes, California, and my mother. who has read more books than anyone else I know, and who carted me to the library from the time I could barely walk. From the day I sounded out my first board book (Ann Likes Red), read my first poem (Block City, by Robert Louis Stevenson) and was swept up in my first long chapter book, (Little House in the Big Woods) I’ve been a passionate reader and fascinated by the lives and personalities of my favorite authors. But I was a late bloomer. I spent my twenties and thirties working as a nurse-midwife and raising four children. When I turned forty, I decided that I didn’t want to be one of those people who thought she had a book in her but never gave it a try, and I sat down to write my first novel. Now, writing is my full-time pursuit. My passions are horses and all animals, my children, singing in a choir, and long road trips through the backroads of America. I care deeply about issues that affect women and children, and especially those who are fleeing danger. But my favorite hobby is still the one that Mrs. Barclay and my mom got me started on-- reading.

www.elizabethletts.com
Twitter: @elizabethletts
Facebook: www.facebook.com/eightydollarchampion
instagram elizabethletts

My thoughts
When I first heard about this book I knew I would have to read it as I am a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz and always have been. This book was easy to read and enjoyable. I like that the story went between when the movie was being filmed and Maud’s life. I had some questions while reading the book about what was based on fact and what was what the author added, but the author answered those questions in the afterward that was included. So, I highly recommend reading that as well. I found Maud’s like to be tough in some aspects and nice in others. I did not know that her mom had such a part in women’s history. To be honest I knew nothing of Maud until reading this book. I am going to now look into reading one or more of the biographies that Elizabeth mentions in the afterward as I want to know more about Frank and Maud. I also liked how the author had Maud wanting to make sure the movie did justice to the story that Frank wrote and looked out for Judy. I did not realize how much of the story of the Wizard of Oz has snippets of Frank and Maud’s life. I highly recommend this book

September 24, 2020

One Charmed Christmas by Sheila Roberts - Review

I received this book free from the author. All opinions are my own.

Book details
Paperback : 320 pages
ISBN-10 : 077836092X
ISBN-13 : 978-0778360926
Publisher : MIRA; Original Edition (September 29, 2020)

Book description
An enchanting new Christmas novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Sheila Roberts, brimming with hope, love and humor.

Catherine Pine is hoping her Christmas is a bit more jolly than last year’s. That one was her first without her husband, and with her kids and their families absent this year, she’s worried. But things change when her good friend invites her on a Christmas cruise to lift her spirits. Suddenly every day is an adventure and she’s making a bunch of new friends, including the lovable Sophie Miles.

It’s like a gift from Santa when Sophie and Catherine meet the charming Dr. Rudy Nichols, a perfect match for hypochondriac Sophie. But he comes with a two-legged lump of coal, his guard-dog daughter. And then there’s chocolatier Trevor March, who’s also interested in the scrumptious Sophie. Can he convince her that chocolate is the perfect cure for what ails her? Who knows what Santa has in store for these holiday travelers? Anything could happen this charmed Christmas!

Meet the author - Sheila Roberts
Sheila Roberts lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her novels have been published in several languages. Her book, Angel Lane, was an Amazon Top Ten Romance pick for 2009. Her holiday perennial, On Strike for Christmas, was made into a movie for the Lifetime Movie Network and her novel, The Nine Lives of Christmas, was made into a movie for Hallmark . You can visit Sheila on Twitter and Facebook or at her website (http://www.sheilasplace.com).

My thoughts