Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Fireproof Home for the Bride

By Amy Scheibe 

This story revolves around Emmaline Nelson (Emmy) a young woman coming of age in the 1950s in rural Minnesota. Emmy’s life has always been strictly controlled by her parents, especially her mother. She knows what is expected of her including who she is to marry and where she will live. She doesn’t question it until she is approaching her 18th birthday and graduation from high school. One night she goes out with some friends and the freedom she feels starts a change in her. She tries to ignore it until she realizes what her “fiancĂ©” is really like. Emmy then finds the courage to break her engagement, move out of the house, get a job and make her own decisions.

With Emmy’s growing independence, is her growing knowledge of what is going on around her; racism, alcoholism, politics, murder and abuse just to name a few. This book has danger, mystery and a lovable heroine. I really enjoyed it. 

~ Dixie

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Bookseller

By Cynthia Swanson

Have you ever wondered what your life might have been if you had made different choices at pivotal moments?

It is 1962 in Denver, Colorado, and 30 year old Kitty Miller is part owner of a small bookshop with her friend Freida. She loves her life but the shop is struggling to continue as shopping malls and housing developments are drawing the customers out past the bus lines to the rapidly growing suburbs.

Then the dreams begin.

Katharyn Anderrson is married to young architect Lars and lives with him in a picture-perfect home in the Denver suburbs. This is the life that Kitty once longed for, but it apparently exists only in her dreams. What is real? What is dream?

I loved this book. The author has reflected on the flavor of the early 1960s by drawing in world events, music, and the bestsellers of the time throughout this story. It held me right up to the last page! ​

~ Sally

Friday, March 27, 2015


By Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl is in her mid twenties and trying to come to terms with some life changing events. After the death of her mother and a divorce from her husband that she is still in love with, Cheryl decides to hike the Pacific Coast Trail, a trail that parallels the west coast from Mexico to Canada. She hopes to discover how to move beyond her past and into a better future. I thought it was pretty amazing what Cheryl accomplished both physically and mentally.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Books Make a Home

By Damian Thompson

I plan on having books be prominent in decorating my future home, so this was a good book to look at first. It shows different ways to display books in almost every room in your home. The kitchen, living/family room, bedrooms, bathroom, the staircase, your  own libraries or studies. Not sure I would do the bathroom ones, but they all looked good and gave me ideas on what to do.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015


By Ruth Reichl
eBook format; also available in print and audio

This is the first novel written by former restaurant critic and non-fiction writer, Ruth Reichl. It details the life of Billie Breslin, a 20-something girl just out of college hired to write for a famous food magazine named Delicious!. Billie, a bit timid and disheveled, has trouble with relationships as she must learn to overcome some of the past traumas in her life in order to move forward. Living her life in her sister's shadow has left Billie with little confidence in her own special abilities. 

The language is rich with the tastes and smells of Billie's experiences in New York with her new sophisticated friends.

My favorite part of the story is the discovery of the secret room located in the library on the top floor of the Delicious! building where the magazine's former librarian had shelved dozens of World War II letters from a young girl named Lulu to legendary chef James Beard. Lulu and Mr. Beard developed a special friendship as they shared recipes (and advice) that helped them both get through wartime.

I think this book will appeal to fans of NYC culture, foodies and librarians. The reviews by NPR and the New York Post are not complimentary, but I really enjoyed Delicious! and I hope that you will give it a chance, too.

~ Paula

Friday, March 13, 2015


What 4-H Teaches 7 Million Kids & How Its Lessons Could Change Food & Farming Forever

By Kiera Butler

Originally I grabbed this book because I was curious how others viewed the world of 4-H. What I found was someone who, through her own research, came to her own conclusion that 4-H was beneficial to kids in ways that schools couldn’t provide. Someone who might be considering 4-H as an extra-curricular activity for either themselves or their kids could get a pretty good idea from this book of what goes into a 4-H livestock project. The author started out completely uninformed, interviewed and visited 4-H meetings, daily feedings of the animals, and the county fair finale. Her findings are very typical of most 4-H’ers, as I’ve been a former 4-H member/advisor and have seen all this for myself. What did surprise me was how the competitiveness has evolved in the last 25 years, and how some care practices have changed. All in all, a very interesting book for both those who know all about 4-H and those who have only ever heard of its name.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Cinderella Pact

by Sarah Strohmeyer

Nola Devlin, an overweight woman who dreams of finding her Prince Charming and losing weight, is an editor at Sass magazine for Belinda Apple. A thin, British, and popular columnist. The only problem is that Belina doesn't exist. Nola created her when she didn't get the columnist job because she was overweight. And for a while her plan works, until her friends decide to take Belindas advice on how to lose weight and they make "The Cinderella Pact", that's when things begin to spiral out of control.


Monday, March 9, 2015

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

By Karen Joy Fowler
Audiobook format

As a child, Rosemary was an extreme talker so her father, to get her to move the story along, asked her on a regular basis to “start in the middle”. So, this story starts off a little differently. Rosemary tells the listener that she is going to start her story in the middle.

There is a little twist to this story that can be discovered if you read the back cover of the audiobook case; I would have preferred NOT to know this information so I will not tell you at this time. Parts of this story are quite sad. Rosemary is separated from her sister Fern when she is only six years old. She really cannot understand why Fern is gone, but this becomes very clear by the end of the book. I really enjoyed this book (even though some hard facts are put out there) give it a try, you may enjoy it, too.

~ Beckie

Saturday, March 7, 2015


By Irene Hannon

This is # 3 of A Private Justice Novel. I have not read the first two but I definitely will.

The story opens with Kate, 3 years after her husband and son are drowned in a boating accident. She buried her husband but they never found the body of her son. She has moved across the country to escape the memories and start a new life. Not that she can forget what happened.

One day at the mall, she hears a young boy use a word that she has never heard any child use besides her son. When she sees the boy he looks just like what she thought Kevin would look like at seven. Now Kate has to find out who that boy is.

Kate is prepared to be brushed off when she goes to a private investigator because all the detectives and policemen dismissed her concerns back in New York. One detective, Connor, is skeptical but he agrees to take the case. As he looks into things, he sees that some things are just not adding up. This starts an investigation and a potential romance.

~ Dixie

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Jane Austen Ruined My Life

By Beth Pattillo

First time I've read anything by this author and while it did take me a few chapters of this book to get into it, I found myself reluctant to put it down. Most the time I can predict the ending the closer I get to it, but not this one. It kept me going and wanting to read more.

~ Crystal

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey

By The Countess of Carnarvon

Highclere Castle is the grand estate that is the setting for the very popular PBS Masterpiece Theater Downton Abbey. This is the true story of the 6th Earl of Carnarvon, (Porchey) and his wife the American born Catherine Wendell. Porchey and Catherine are the grandparents of the current Earl of Carnarvon (whose wife is the author) Actually there were two 6th Countesses but the book follows Catherine in particular. I found it very interesting to read about how WWII affected Britain and the aristocrats living at Highclere Castle. Also of interest is the grand scale of the home itself and the lavish (and may I say loose?) lifestyle of some of its occupants. Did I type that out loud?

This is the second book by Countess Carnarvon. The first was Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey : The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle.


Monday, March 2, 2015

The Monks and Me: How 40 Days in Thich Nhat Hanh's French Monastery Guided Me Home

by Mary Paterson

Following the loss of her father, Mary Paterson embarks on a pilgrimage to the Buddhist Monastery named Plum Village.  Plum Village was founded by the famous Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh and is the home of many monks and nuns. Mary stays for 40 days and for each day she writes about one of the precepts and how it relates to her journey.

Mary is very candid about her stay.  The cold rooms, the quiet and fulfilling life of the monks and nuns, the food, the clothing they wear, the other visitors - Mary writes about it all.  I really enjoyed this book.  If you have ever contemplated a spiritual journey of any kind, you will appreciate this thoughtful book.