Wednesday, September 28, 2016

At the Edge of the Orchard

By Tracy Chevalier
Audiobook format

The narration of the first section of this novel is split between James and Sadie Goodenough, the parents of a very dysfunctional family. They tell of their struggle to survive after being forced to leave their Connecticut home in 1829. They get stuck in the mud of the Black Swamp (north-west Ohio), a place Native Americans would not live, and decide that this free land will be their home. The next section takes an unexpected turn, a series of letters from one of the children who has left home at age nine.

I don’t like to give away too much of the plot when blogging a book so I am going to conclude by saying that if you enjoy historical fiction you will truly enjoy At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier. To quote Geraldine Brooks: “Chevalier is a master at foregrounding the small, dramatic stories of the overlooked people from the past.”
~ Beckie

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Crooked House

By Christobel Kent
ebook format available through Overdrive

Did you enjoy The Girl On The Train? Also set in modern-day U.K., The Crooked House is a psychological thriller that begins with fourteen-year-old Esme Grace hearing shotgun blasts targeting her family from her upstairs bedroom.

Flash forward thirteen years as Esme, now "Alison" from London, has returned to her childhood town with her boyfriend Paul for a wedding. The unsolved murders still haunt the town as Alison begins to uncover the secrets of her past.

~ Paula

To See You Again: A True Story of Love in a Time of War

By Betty Schimmel

As children in 1939, Betty and Richie met in Budapest. As teenagers, they fell in love during WWII. Their love was so strong they believed it could survive even a world war and the terror of Hitler. When the two are separated by the Nazis, Betty vows she will find Richie someday. Betty and her family endure a forced march, life in a concentration camp, deplorable conditions and finally liberation. (In my opinion, it is doubtful that anyone in her family would have survived without the strength and determination of her mother.) After the Liberation, Betty finds Richie’s name on a list as dead but cannot accept it. She feels pressured into a marriage to an Auschwitz survivor, but she never forgets her love for Richie. In fact, before she marries she tells her husband to be that she cannot fully return his love and asks for release from the marriage if she ever finds Richie. He agrees. They marry and have three children together. Then in 1975, Betty and her daughter travel to Budapest and miraculously she recognizes her first love.

~ Dixie

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Rare Objects

By Kathleen Tessaro

Maeve Fanning is a twenty some-thing first generation Irish immigrant living in Boston during the Great Depression. Raised by her single mother, she is capable, clever and headstrong. She finds herself in a downward spiral after moving to New York City, hits rock bottom and decides to move back home to start over. In her attempt to better herself, she lands a job at an antiques shop catering to the city’s wealthiest and most peculiar collectors. Consequently she gets caught up in the opulent lifestyle of the rich but is unable to find happiness there. Eventually she does seem to find contentment.

This book is beautifully written and full of historical detail. I hope you enjoy Rare Objects as much as I did.

~ Beckie H.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Brain on Fire – My Month of Madness


By Susannah Cahalan

Very Scary! Brain on Fire is the true story of Susannah Cahalan who, at 24 years old, began showing signs of obsessive behavior which turns into insomnia, hand numbness, tingling, inability to cope with her job, paranoia and seizures. All the tests done by her doctors came back normal as her symptoms got worse and worse. Her parents and new boyfriend, refuse to believe she is psychotic. Finally, they call in “the doctor to go to when nothing makes sense.” He and another doctor make a diagnosis and the treatment begins. It is a long road to recovery. Although Cahalan has severe memory loss of what happened to her, as a reporter, she pieces together the story and writes this book. My blog can’t do this book justice. A must read!

~ Dixie



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Million Years in a Day

A curious history of everyday life from the stone age to the phone age

by Greg Jenner

Ever wonder how the toothbrush came about, or how about toilet paper and toilets? Jenner describes the evolution of everyday items and habits. Items we use or consume without giving thought to how they came to be. Humorous and enlightening.

~Rochelle

Betrayal


by Danielle Steel

As Tallie is in the midst of directing the most ambitious film she has yet undertaken, small disturbances begin to ripple through her well-ordered world. An outside audit reveals troubling discrepancies in the financial records maintained by Victor Carson, Tallie's longtime, trusted accountant. Mysterious receipts hint at activities of which she has no knowledge. Soon it becomes clear that someone close to Tallie has been steadily funneling away enormous amounts of her money. In the wake of an escalating series of shattering revelations, Tallie will find herself playing the most dangerous game of all--to trap a predator stalking her in plain sight.

~Crystal

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Complete Persepolis

by Marjane Satrapi


Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming--both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland.

~Crystal

Etiquette and Espionage

By Gail Carriger

I may be late to the table on this author, but I just read Gail Carriger’s Etiquette and Espionage , the first book in her ‘Finishing School’ series for YA readers. This is a combination of Victorian steampunk, and paranormal espionage all together on a dirigible based finishing school that does indeed train its young ladies in the fine art of becoming a spy. I was captivated with the writing and am checking out the entire series. Adult readers should not hesitate to read this series, as well as her adult fiction series, which include ‘The Parasol Protectorate’, ‘Custard Protocol’, and ‘Delightfully Dead’.


~ Sally

Sunday, August 21, 2016

I Am Malala

By Malala Yousafzai

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

~Crystal

Friday, August 19, 2016

Hotel Vendome

by Danielle Steel

When Swiss-born Hugues Martin sees a small, run-down hotel in New York for the rough diamond it is, he transforms it into a beautiful boutique hotel of impeccable elegance, run with the precision and attention to detail he learned through his hotelier training in Europe. Renowned for its unparalleled service, the Hotel Vendôme soon becomes the ideal New York refuge for the rich and famous, as well as a perfect home for Hugues' and his young daughter, Heloise. She and her father live happily amid a colorful, exciting and sometimes mysterious milieu of celebrities, socialites, politicians, world travelers and hotel employees--and their inevitable intrigues. As unexpected challenges arise, the hotel is the centre of their world. And when Heloise grows up, she longs to follow in her father's footsteps and one day run the Hotel Vendôme. The lessons she learned at his side will carry her through it all, in a story no reader will forget.

~Crystal

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Intern

(DVD) PG-13

Starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway.  Jules Ostin (Hathaway) has a very successful on line business and a marriage that isn’t so successful. Ben Whittaker (De Niro) is a 70 year old widower who applies for a senior intern position at Ostin’s company. The generation gap is wide between the two but as they get to know each other, a friendship develops that is good for both of them. 

~Dixie

Half-Broke Horses


A True-Life Novel By Jeannette Walls

Jeannette tells the story of her amazing grandmother in this “can’t put down” novel. Lily Casey Smith was quite a character. She was born in 1901 in New Mexico on a large ranch. By age six she was helping her father break horses. At fifteen she was travelling by horse, alone, to her first teaching job - 500 miles away! If something needed to be done, she did it, and if it went wrong, she brushed the dirt off and kept going. Lily didn’t have the word “can’t” in her vocabulary. Throughout her life, she was a mustang breaker, schoolteacher, bootlegger, poker player, ranch wife, racehorse rider, bush pilot, and mother to two children. I enjoyed this book so much, when I finished it the first time I started reading from the beginning and enjoyed it again.

~ Dixie

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Glass Castle

A Memoir By Jeannette Walls

This is the memoir of Jeannette Walls (Lily Casey Smith’s Granddaughter). Jeannette’s family was peculiar, loyal and dysfunctional. Her mother was an artist and disliked anything that had to do with homemaking and domesticity. Her father was charming and brilliant - but when he drank he was deceitful and destructive. Both parents believed in a good education for their kids but not necessarily the traditional kind found in school. Most of the time their living conditions were deplorable and when things got bad they did the “skedaddle” and started out some place new only to repeat the same lifestyle. Out of necessity, Jeannette and her siblings learned to take care of each other, including food, clothing and protection.

~ Dixie

Monday, August 15, 2016

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2


DVD

The best thing about this movie is that all the original actors returned for the sequel . I enjoyed the funny family interactions more than the story line.

~ Dixie