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Just an avid reader who loves books!

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The Genesis Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings
Arnold D. Ehlert, Henry M. Morris
Dinner With King Solomon
Matshona T. Dhliwayo
Out Of Time
Loretta Livingstone
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
The Holy Bible : Scofield Reference Bible
Cyrus I Scofield
Progress: 456/1382 pages
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Gail Honeyman
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.

Everything You Need To Know About Smoking - Elizabeth Keyishian

Aimed and written for children to help them think twice regarding starting to smoke. Discusses health and social impacts.

Maid of Baikal: A Novel of the Russian Civil War - Preston Fleming

 

War, no matter the countries or people involved, is always bad. There are always those among the troops on both sides having wicked hearts and use the excuse of a weapon in their hands to do the evil in their hearts. Then there are those that don't want to kill anyone, "enemy" or not but are unwillingly compelled to do their duty. 
Like many other books about a war, this one focuses on a handful of characters and how the war impacted them on a personal level. It tells of honest patriotism, betrayal, corruption, love, jealousy and hate-- basic human emotions that everyone in the world feels. Though Maid of Baikal is speculative fiction, many of the characters did indeed exist (photos of them included in book). The Maid, however, is fictional. The book spins a tale, asking what if Russia had had its own Joan of Arc during the Russian Revolution and would the outcome have been different? The Maid of Baikal, or Zhanna Stepanovna Dorokhina fulfills that role. She is just a young schoolgirl from a rural northern outpost in Siberia while at prayer hears a voice that tells her she has a mission to save her country and people from the cruel tyranny of the Bolsheviks. As days go by, angels and saints appear to her, guiding her and revealing more of her destiny and telling her of things that have happened that she could not possibly know otherwise. More and more people are convinced and she develops a following and troops of demoralized, disappointed soldiers are given hope by her message. After numerous victories liberating towns that amaze the military hierarchy, tragedy develops.
Maid of Baikal is a fine drama portraying those with pure hearts wanting only good for others, and those who have hidden agendas for their own careers, and willing to stoop to any evil deed to further that as well as protect the corruption they are involved in. It recounts the involvement of foreign nations bankrolling the war (Bolshevik and the White troops as well), with the aim being solely economic. 
Maybe I am much too an emotional person, but chapter 22 and into 23 had me weeping. Such betrayal! Such deceit! The author included a playlist (one song for each chapter) which I downloaded and listened to while reading the book to gain the full experience the author wished to impart. That in itself was a minor education (in a small way) of Russian classical music and composers. I did enjoy the book very much, and wish to thank the author for a copy of it in exchange for an honest review-- thank you!

 

In A Cream Packard - Edward Hackemer

 

This is #1 in the Throckmorton Family series. I had initially read #6Sangria Sunsets gifted by the author, and he sent the series for me to read. So, from the onset, I was familiar (to some extent) with a few of the characters, or those mentioned in passing.
This book centers on Alexander "Alex" Throckmorton, son of Nick and Nora Throckmorton. His mother has died, leaving her estate to him, and he must travel up to Wisconsin to handle the legal matters from the home he has made in Florida. On the drive up his car dies and he buys a brand new Packard Patrician 400, and meets a waitress Annie who he falls instantly in love with. The attraction is not one-sided, and a whirlwind romance ensues. They end up getting married a week later, and make the drive back to Florida along the famous "Hillbilly Highway", U.S. RT. 23, from Michigan to Florida. The book is set in 1954, before the modern highway infrastructure existed, so there was much passing through towns to get to a final destination. 
On the way to their new home, the newlyweds make a couple of detours to investigate some mysterious things inherited from Alex's mother found in a safe deposit box regarding his father, who was reported killed in the line of duty overseas after WWII. In some ways, the answers they discover lead to even more questions. They also encounter small town crooked cops and judicial system, wrongly spending time in jail. I liked this first installment in the Throckmorton series and getting to know Alex and Annie.... I look forward to continuing the journey in #2. 
I received this book in exchange for an honest review-- thank you!

I got to watch PBS's "Great American Read" and so glad I did! I had my alarm set for it-- wouldn't have missed it for the world! : )

I am saddened!
Reblogged from Themis-Athena's Garden of Books:

 

Oh my! We have lost  2 legendary authors in less than a week-- (Philip Roth last night and Tom Wolfe 5/14)-- I hope this year does not hold anymore literary sadness! : (

The Good Fight : How World War II Was Won - Stephen E. Ambrose

 

 

This book is intended for kids to teach them the basics of WWII in all of its theaters of engagement, though I learned some things from it myself... has maps of the various battles, landing stages and troop movement. Has a map as well of the concentration camps in Europe (the only one I could not find was Treblinka in Poland, but since the map was in German from 1945, it may have had another name in German, but the map cuts off part of Poland too....) 
Excellent photographs throughout.
One thing I never knew was "Those (soldiers) who managed to live through the conflict in Europe and those still alive in the Pacific had been convinced that their next mission would be the invasion of Japan, where casualties numbering in the hundreds of thousands were expected. Men who later got an eighty to ninety-five percent disability from the government (for fighting in the other campaigns) had been listed as fit for combat in Japan." Incredible!
I enjoyed this book, not only for just looking at all the period photos, but learning bits of trivia (like that above) that I had been unaware of. Quite educational!