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Currently reading

Poacher's End
P. Wesley Lundburg
Empty Suitors
Alex Chediak
The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas, Luc Sante
Touchfeather
Jimmy Sangster
Something of Substance
J.A. Souders
Happily
Chauncey Rogers
The Genesis Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings
Arnold D. Ehlert, Henry M. Morris
Books for Kids: ELLIE THE ELEPHANT (Bedtime Stories For Kids Ages 4-8): Kids Books - Bedtime Stories For Kids - Children's Books - Early Readers - Free Stories (Fun Time Series for Beginning Readers)
Uncle Amon
Facts About Champagne And Other Sparkling Wine (Illustrated Edition)
Henry Vizetelly
The Sherlock Holmes Collection
Arthur Conan Doyle

Cute Children's Book

Hat - Renée Paule, G R Hewitt

 

Bertie the gardener and his dog Oscar like their life, and their tatty old brown floppy hats too. They wear them everywhere. One day though, Bertie sees someone with a different type of hat, one that makes the guy look important, and he wants to look that way too, so he puts his brown floppy tatty one away and buys a bowler. He is soon dissatisfied when he seen another man looking dignified in a different type of hat, and buys one of those, and so it goes when he sees others in hats looking professional, clever, mysterious and magical, only to find when he wore the other hats, he didn't feel that way at all. 
My grandson and I like this book-- beyond learning the names of different types of hats, it offered a profound lesson... that what is one the outside is not what makes a person what they are, but on the inside. It is an adorable book for kids! I received this book in exchange for an honest review-- thank you Renee!

Secrets of the Island - Linda Hughes

 

The oldest twins of the Sullivan family both enlist to serve in WWII... Harriet as a WAC nurse and Harry in the army, and end up in the same location in northern Africa. Harriet learns Harry has been injured and is being hid the day after she married her childhood sweetheart and Harry's best friend Bill. Her new husband has been injured in battle resulting in a broken leg, but when he learns Harriet is determined to rescue her brother from behind enemy lines from a native's hut, he refuses to allow her to go alone. While enroute to the rescue, they are spotted by Nazis and unbeknownst to them are followed to the hut. While in the hut, a Nazi storms in, kills Bill, wounds Harry even more and rapes (though not described in graphic detail) Harriet. A British spy posing as Nazi makes his appearance at just the right time and saves Harry and Harriet. 
Back in the states, after they return and are battling PTSD (or shell shock as it was known back then), the Sullivan family starts to uncover secrets of their progenitors that they had been unaware of. One shocking secret leads to another, and the Sullivan clan comes to realize that much of what they had thought of their ancestors was wrong. They all realize that those living trying to conceal secrets are not alone, and each generation had its share. 
This is a entertaining read, and those that enjoy historical fiction, mystery, suspense (with some romance thrown in), or unraveling genealogical puzzles would enjoy this. I received this book in exchange for an honest review-- thank you!
Skipper's Oath - P. Wesley Lundburg

I just finished this and it was good. I am now starting #2 in the series, Poacher's End
Strange happenings are going on off of Alaska's coast. Older retired couples enjoying their golden years murdered in particularly heinous fashions, a cop is killed, and a Skipper Frank Mattituck gets caught up in the investigation (deputized by an Alaskan State Trooper) when Frank's good friend Jim turns up missing, but Jim's yacht that he uses to charter trips for clients is still being used. Frank and Todd (the state trooper) go on a chase, trying to catch the elusive killer, always 2 steps behind. "Skipper's Oath" has lots of suspense and action, and if you enjoy a page-turning whodunit, this one is for you. 
I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review-- thank you!

 

City Limits - Nathan Everett
(show spoiler)
Wow, this has been a crazy last couple of weeks. Yesterday was the first day (after 10) I was able to sit in a chair (albeit for just a bit, but what a relief!) due to my back screwing up, then one of my sons nearly severed his finger at work a few days ago, and we had to consult with the surgeon yesterday and I was on the phone all day with them (they'd call, we'd discuss things for quite a while, then call back and discuss more).... they were trying to determine a game plan on how to do the surgery despite 3 generations of an allergy to anesthesia in my family. A plan was developed (thank God) and tomorrow he goes to have a pin put in, also surgery to repair nerves and tendons, and they are going to try to repair the nail bed (the force of the impact at work when the bone broke and crushed also sent one end of the bone through the nail).... I had to get him to the e.r. a couple of days after it happened because it was still bleeding profusely and I was very concerned. It turns out that some of the stitches had "slipped" and there wasn't enough tissue for the stitches to "grab" onto.... I know tomorrow, after it is all done, we will be extremely happy for him to be on his way to recovery......

I finished this book earlier but couldn't get on until now. So for my thoughts....
This book was definitely different.... unusual, and strange (in a way). Gee (aka George Edwards Evers) walks into the little town of Rosebud and ends up saving a toddler from drowning shortly after his arrival, in the process hitting his head and destroying long term memory. He can't remember where he is from, who any of his family are, what his occupation may be. No memories of childhood or any of his life prior to coming within the city limits of Rosebud. In Rosebud, though, he does always seem to be in the right place at the right time to save someone, earning him the name of hero and title of "City Champion". He falls in love with the resident investigative reporter, Karen, who has a knack for uncovering scandals, cover-ups and corruption. The ending left me hanging with several loose ends, but I do understand that this is the first of a series. I liked much of the story. What I thought was weird was the town of Rosebud's industry was mostly in someway connected with the ancient hickory forest that the town owns. They can't eat the nuts (they are poisonous), but make all sorts of stuff out of every bit of the trees. The town almost worships these trees. 7 families pretty much control the town. When the head of one family dies, if there is a challenge to who will be the next head (say between two brothers or cousins) then each one wishing be the head must eat one of these nuts....whoever of the two lives gets to be the head of the family. The families say the "forest" has "chosen". Some feel that the trees "talk" to them, and many members of the various families over the two hundred years they have controlled the town have wanted to go out into the outside world but felt such a powerful connection to these trees as to feel it impossible to leave. 
Also, (I really didn't think this weird, but I didn't care for it).... the local Christian pastor is portrayed as an overbearing fanatic, a religious zealot who is also a pedophile, in charge of a kidnapping and child trafficking ring, and makes illegal drugs that he uses with the consent of many of the church to drug not only the kidnapped kids, but the members' kids as well to brain wash them and make them "more obedient". While I know all professions have good and bad people in them, and people running around with the title of "Man" or "Woman" of God have used that label to do much evil through history I still think the silent majority is good. I am getting quite sick of seeing Christian pastors in literature (and movies) portrayed as scheming crooks, strange quacks, and heinous criminals or just plain idiots. I wouldn't mind so much if in the same piece, and opposing good one was presented. With all the focus so much all the time on this twisted view, I think it gives a negative perception of Christianity and Christians in general as greedy, intolerant, violent and mentally ill, which I do take offense at. This caused me to view this book in a more negative light, and the strangeness with the forest would have been better explained I might have liked it better. Also, I never got closure as to who Gee actually was or where he came from, etc. which left me hanging, and the issue of the child trafficking the church was involved in was never resolved. So, because of these drawbacks I give it just 3 stars. It isn't lower because, like I said, there was parts I did like.... the suspense, the character of Gee, some of the mysteries that were resolved. I received this book in exchange for a free review from the author-- thank you.

 

Out Of Time - Loretta Livingstone

 

I liked this time travel fiction. No romance, but that was kind of refreshing. Marion has taken her two girls to the Abbey of Sparnstow ruins because the eldest of them has discovered she adores history. While waiting for her girls to finish their tour, Marion decides to sit beneath an ancient tree to catch up on some reading. The nearer she gets to the tree though, a buzzing sound gets louder in her ears. She is alarmed, thinking there are many bees about and one of her daughters is allergic to them. Things start to get fuzzy and her light-headed and she tumbles head-long into the tree and emerges into different world. The abbey is not longer ruins but beautiful. People are about that are dressed quite differently than what she is accustomed to. Through a series of events, she ends up saving the future King Edward's life with her epi-pen, but also puts herself in grave danger by doing so. If you enjoy time-travel fiction, then I think you would enjoy this. I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Dinner With King Solomon - Matshona T. Dhliwayo

 

Kevin has lost his business (due to a corrupt partner), his marriage (she left him for more money), and his children (they vie for the attention of their mother's new boyfriend because of what he can by them more than Kevin) and is overwhelmed with depression and on the verge of suicide in his ratty apartment when there is a knock at the door. He opens it and it is King Solomon. Kevin thinks someone is playing a prank, or this guy is dressed in costume for a party.... but Solomon asks if he can come to dinner in a few days and Kevin thinks he is hallucinating. Dinner??? Kevin hasn't eaten in days-- there is no food in the house, he has no money, his water has been shut off for a while... how could he possibly make dinner for a guest? Then Solomon gives him a bag of gold coins, tells him when they have dinner Kevin will be able to ask him any and all questions he desires, and leaves. When Kevin awakens the next more he is sure that it was all a crazy dream until he comes across the gold. The sale of one coin solves all of his immediate problems and he begins to research Solomon at the library and by calling a friend in seminary. Kevin has never been one for religion, so even if this is Solomon, he thinks all of the hype about him is way over-rated. So Kevin starts to compile a list of questions that have caused much debate throughout history and ones he is sure will stump Solomon.... he desires to prove that he really isn't so wise. When Kevin's dinner guest arrives, Kevin serves him a fine meal then begins the questions. As Solomon answers each one, Kevin's opinion is slowly changed to realize that this guy really is wise. The questions start to get a bit more personal regarding Kevin's mess of a life, and Solomon gives him advice that ends up totally turning his life around. I loved this book! I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review-- thank you! : )

 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman

After being out of commission for more than a week due to my back, I am glad to finally get to post some reviews. Today is the first day since the 14th that I have been able to sit in a chair and what a relief it is! The upside of not being able to do much is that I got 5 books finished, so I guess there is good in everything. : )

 

I thought Eleanor Oliphant.... was an unusual but also a great book! I adored 30-something Eleanor, with her social awkwardness and saying whatever came to mind (totally unaware that people didn't voice those opinions). I felt sad for her too-- that she had such a painful childhood, her incredible loneliness, and her status as a social pariah. At the beginning of the book, when all Eleanor's social difficulties started to reveal themselves, I initially thought that maybe she had Asperger's Syndrome or some form of autism, but as the book progressed, the reason for her lack of social skills and stunted emotional and cultural development became apparent, and I even more empathetic. 

When she develops a crush on the lead singer of a band that she has never met, just seen briefly in concert (her first crush ever), she becomes obsessed and believes that it is destiny and they are meant to meet, fall in love and marry, and thus make her over-bearing and incredibly cruel mother happy. She eventually has a reality check, and Raymond (her IT co-worker) comes to the rescue. I adored this heart-warming book featuring the unique character of Miss Oliphant and how she chooses to become the victor and no longer the victim.

 

A Devil Of A Time - Gretchen Jeannette

 

I did enjoy A Devil Of A Time by Gretchen Jeannette and how she vividly brings to life the colonial era and makes the characters, with their trials and tribulations seem very real and believable. 
Andrew and Clarice Wade were newlyweds when he volunteered to go to Spanish territory to secure gun powder as requested by his friend, the Governor of Virginia to aid in the Revolutionary War. Andrew is unfamiliar with the wild unsettled territory through which they must travel and has been assigned to go with a company of soldiers including famed Niall McLane, who has fought in the Indian Wars, protecting rural settlements from attack. Andrew and Niall's group ends up getting ambushed by a band of Shawnee warriors and if not for Niall's bravery, would have died.

Fast forward a few years, and Andrew is back home with his wife Clarice and their son William, but still battles himself in his mind, badgering himself daily over his cowardice and the resulting injury he had sustained at the hands of the Indians, self-medicates with alcohol most of the time. He creates a vicious cycle of self-pity, drinking, disappointing his wife and shirking responsibility. He runs into his old friend and protector Niall, who lately has developed a notorious reputation for losing his temper, revenge and extreme violence once provoked. Granted, much of that is due to extreme trauma and living for years a lifestyle of kill- or- be- killed. Andrew offers Niall a job as an overseer of his tobacco plantation, hoping super-efficient Niall will be the answer to his prayers, saving the plantation from ruin and placating his wife. 

Upon Niall taking the position, he hires Roger, a disadvantaged youth who has for all of his young years been mistreated and maligned for a wine-stain birthmark covering half his face. The story is full of action, romance, suspense, a serial killer on the lose and a sheriff bent on seeing Niall hang. If you enjoy historical romance or suspense, you would enjoy A Devil Of A Time. I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review-- thank you.

Dorothea's Advice For The Lovelorn - Cherie Mitchell

 

This was a sweet, humorous, light, clean quick-read romance. Dorothea is a young adult out on her own. Recently fired from her job as a waitress, she needs to find employment quick. Her best friend Mel sees an ad for a job opening as an relationship advice columnist and urges Dorothea to apply for the job. Dorothea is doubtful if she would get the position if she is honest about her young age and lack of experience and success in romance, so she pretends to be her sage Italian grandmother to dispense romantic advice to those that right in. She is also beginning to wonder if she will ever find Mr. Right. Every guy that happens along, even if they go on a date, ends up being just a friend and not by her choice. She is beginning to wonder if she is someone a guy can love. 
Because of her lack of experience in the relationship department, she asks her grandmother the questions written to her, pretending they are actually about herself or a friend. Dorothea ends up learning some powerful lessons in honesty, after realizing that her "white lies" weren't harmless and caused people she cared about to distrust her. 
I enjoyed this book, and since it was clean and no foul language or questionable situations, I would feel comfortable with a young girl who is developing an interest in the romance genre reading this as well. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

2 Interviews and Giveaways!!!

Read interview with NYT best-selling author Ariella Cohen and enter to win 1 of 3 copies of Sweet Breath of Memory! Read interview with author team N. N. Light and enter to win a copy of Planting The Seeds of Love: A Novella! Both giveaways end 6/20/2018-- Good luck!

https://twogalsandabook.com/

The Tuscan Child - Rhys Bowen

 

Joanna is studying to become a lawyer, and all that is left to do is to take her bar exam, but she has been out of work for a while because of an accident and a boyfriend, when her father, Sir Hugo Langley dies. He has always been a distant father, and Joanna doesn't know much about his life at all. And now she is all alone since her mother died when she was 11. She must go home and settle up his affairs and go through his things when she happens upon some items that seem to have a mystery to them from his past. Italy? To try to learn more about her dad, and unravel some questions that they items have raised, she travels there, and instead of finding more answers, she finds more questions and mystery. 
The story shifts from her father during WWII as a downed fighter pilot, and Joanna, 30 years later, so through the course of the book, it comes full circle. I particularly liked the parts of the Tuscan food, scenery and culture. (Needs to have a companion cookbook! hint, hint Ms. Bowen). The only part that disappointed me was that I wanted a happier ending for a couple of the characters (and I won't say who as that would be a spoiler), but given that it was mirroring life at a particular time, I suppose it was realistic. >sigh< All in all, I thought it was a good book.

 

Pleasant Valley -  Kate Lord (Illustrator), Louis Bromfield

 

I really enjoyed this book. I liked how the author used was able to craft vivid images with words. Pleasant Valley is a memoir, written after having been an ex-pat for nearly 30 years in many countries, but was always a bit homesick for his home in Ohio, where he had been born and lived until going to fight in WWI. With the initial rumblings in Europe in the 30's, and those in tune with what was going on recommended he and his family return, he finally heeded the call, returning to his beloved Ohio and bought a farm. He had always loved gardening/ farming and animals; the earth and watching things grow and used his farm to experiment with his theories of how to return health to otherwise "dead" soil and how to raise healthier crops naturally, without the aid of chemicals. The books not only details what he had done and what worked or not, but also goes into local lore and history (Johnny Appleseed, the Dauphin), memories of his childhood, local flora and fauna, and paints a very quaint picture with his writing. 
I was unaware of his popularity years ago, or his fame as a writer (winning the Pulitzer in 1927 for Early Autumn: A Story of a Lady), that all of his 30 books were best sellers-- many being made into movies, his friendships with other ex-pats of the era, and of his fame in the field of organic farming-- actually a pioneer in some regards. At the time, by many farmers, his notions were regarded as unsound, but the results of the output of his farm won many over. His farm was as famous as he was-- Malabar Farm, with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall getting married there. According to wikipedia:
""Malabar Farm" was to become his major work during his last 20 years. Bromfield was an early proponent of organic and self-sustaining gardening, and his farm was one of the first to stop using pesticides. The farm was used as a government test site for soil conservation practices.[2] However, as recently as 2017 no-till farming is practiced by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the current Farm owner. No-till farming is highly dependent on pesticides and herbicides for pest and weed control. For example, atrazine, which has a controversial history, is one of many herbicides being applied.

Bromfield's writings turned from fiction to nonfiction and his reputation and influence as a conservationist and farmer continued to expand. Today, thousands of visitors annually visit Malabar Farm State Park, which still operates under Bromfield's management philosophy. One of the park's notable features is the Doris Duke Woods, named for philanthropist Doris Duke, who was a friend of Bromfield's and whose donation helped purchase the property after his death.

In the 1980s, Louis Bromfield was posthumously elected to the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame, and in December 1996, the centennial of his birth, the Ohio Department of Agriculture placed a bust of him in the lobby named for him at the department's new headquarters in Reynoldsburg, Ohio.

The innovative and visionary work of Louis Bromfield continues to influence agricultural methodologies around the world. Malabar Brazil, under the direction of Ellen Bromfield Geld, has expanded the horizons of her father's principles and pursuits. To ensure the work continues well into the 21st century, the Malabar 2000 Foundation plans to develop a center for study at Malabar Farm to further the work begun in Richland County (Mansfield, Ohio) by Louis Bromfield.

Bromfield was close friends with acting legend, farmer and soil conservationist James Cagney."

Louis Bromfield also was involved in the creation of "Friends of the Land".:
"Friends of the land and the rise of environmentalism, 1940–1954
Article in Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 8(1):1-16 · January 1995 with 81 Reads
DOI: 10.1007/BF02286398
The rise of the postwar environmental movement is rooted in the development of ecological consciousness within intellectual circles as well as the general public. Though many commentators cite the 1960s as the focal point of the new environmentalism, the ecological ethic had actually evolved by the 1930s in the writings and speeches of both scientists and public commentators. Agricultural conservationists led the way in broadcasting the message of ecology. Friends of the Land, an agriculturally-oriented conservation organization formed in 1940 and active through the 1950s, is an interesting example of how the agricultural community was an integral component in the rise of environmentalism. While Friends of the Land flourished only for a brief period, its goals and the ideas that the group represented illustrate how the ecological ethic was burgeoning by the early-1950s. Furthermore, the history of Friends of the Land is an important chapter in the ongoing quest for ecological agriculture and societal permanence. 

Friends of the land and the rise of environmentalism, 1940–1954. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publicat... [accessed Jun 07 2018]."

I think Mr. Bromfield was a visionary, way ahead of his time, and this book is just as timely now as when he wrote it. I saw one review that said they thought Mr. Bromfield sounded kind of "braggy" through the book, but I did not feel that at all. I thought he was proud of what he had accomplished (and rightly so) despite what all the naysayers and said. His love of the earth and all things in it was apparent, and he relished in describing the beauty he saw. I am glad to have read this book, it has enriched my life in a simple but thoughtful way.

 

Interview and Giveaway!

 

Read interview with author Ariella Cohen and enter to win 1 of 3 copies of Sweet Breath Of Memory! Giveaway ends 6/20/2018.... good luck!

https://twogalsandabook.com/

Captain Bartholomew Quasar: Starfaring Adventures (Captain Bartholomew Quasar #2) - Milo James Fowler

 

This book had me laughing many times. It is a parody of a sci-fi space opera, and Milo James Fowler's use of the corny is genius! 
Captain Bartholomew Quasar is commander of the Effervescent Magnitude that is sent on an exploratory mission for resources into outer space for a type of quartz. They seem to attract trouble like a magnet though. There is a bounty on him from some spider-like creatures because he and his crew accidentally blew one of their ships out of the sky, killing everyone on board. While trying to dodge them, he gets drawn into an ancient civil war between 2 other civilizations. But, never the daunted, Captain Quasar is confident that his dashing smile (with teeth so sparkling white that are capable of blinding others), his Commander pose (meant to best display his biceps and pecs), and his charming good looks can be used to his best advantage (along with his ship's superior technology) to save the day. 
I won a copy of this book in a giveaway from the author-- thank you!

Overcoming Daily - Dan Chesney

 

A daily devotional (for 6 months, though it took me longer-- life does interfere) that is encouraging and inspirational.

Dolls and Doll Houses - Kay Desmonde

 

A guide to dolls produced by various doll producers from 1700-1920's. With photos and details about each type of doll. Also shows a variety of doll houses from the same period.