LadyoftheLodge Joins the 2020 Club

KeskusteluClub Read 2020

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LadyoftheLodge Joins the 2020 Club

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 9, 2020, 12:22pm

Hi there!

I am Cheryl from Indiana, USA. I live in the woods with my husband and four cats. I teach college classes online as part time faculty.

I am reading a lot more in the Challenges this year, and also reviewing for NetGalley. It is always fun to read the postings here and try to stay current with the discussions. I traveled for two weeks at Christmas, so attempting to get back to normal life, whatever that looks like. Happy New Year to all!

tammikuu 9, 2020, 2:40pm

Just finished Griffin and Sabine for BingoDOG Epistolary or letters square. I get the idea of the correspondence, but its just not my thing. The artwork is weird too.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 10, 2020, 8:05pm

Here are my finishes so far for 2020:

Mrs. Jeffries Forges Ahead by Emily Brightwell
Christmas in Newfoundland by Mike Martin
A Crafter Quilts a Crime by Holly Quinn for NetGalley
The Hope (Cedar Grove Amish) by Patricia Davids
The Writer's Life by Julia Cameron
Spy by Danielle Steel for NetGalley
The Unexpected Guest by Agatha Christie
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
Christmas with the Shipyard Girls by Nancy Revell
Thunder at Gettysburg by Patricia Lee Gauch
The Golden Mean by Nick Bantock
Your Momma Thinks Square Roots are Vegetables by Bill Amend
Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock
The Italian Cure by Melodie Campbell

tammikuu 14, 2020, 2:21pm

I am currently reading Murder at the Brightwell and Christmas at Silver Falls for NetGalley reviews.

tammikuu 14, 2020, 5:24pm

Just finished A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway for the January RandomCAT challenge. Yippee! That has been on my TBR pile for a couple of years.

tammikuu 15, 2020, 5:23pm

Will keep an eye on your reading from time to time ;-)

tammikuu 16, 2020, 11:40am

>6 avaland: Thanks, I appreciate your thoughtfulness! I need someone to keep an eye on me. . . .

tammikuu 17, 2020, 1:47pm

>5 LadyoftheLodge: I’ve picked up A Moveable Feast a few times, but never actually started reading it. Some day...

tammikuu 17, 2020, 2:15pm

A Moveable Feast is sitting on my night table just waiting for me to get my act together and pick it up. I read The Paris Wife at the end of last year. It’s a fictionalized story about Hemingway’s first wife and their relationship. I meant to read them back to back, but real life keeps getting in the way.

tammikuu 17, 2020, 3:46pm

>9 NanaCC: I had to read A Moveable Feast in bits and pieces. It is humorous and yet heavy going in parts. I have a copy of The Paris Wife that I bought at the Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West.

tammikuu 17, 2020, 3:47pm

Christmas on the Home Front is a historical novel that highlights the courage and strength of women on the British home front during WWII. I had not read the previous Land Girl novels, so it took me some time to get into the story. However, the author brought me up to speed quickly. The plot moves the reader into the dangers and challenges of situations faced by citizens during WWII. It is not a warm and fuzzy Christmas tale, but one of interest and intrigue. The "heartwarming" part is the relationships among the characters and how they care for one another.

The novel takes the reader through dangerous scenes, in which ordinary people are forced to deal with enemy airmen whose plane has crashed, and they are on the run. I can see how this novel made a good TV series, since parts of it read like a screen play. The action switches from character to character and often changes viewpoints, so the reader is kept in suspense until the next plot twist.

I received this book from the publisher and from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 20, 2020, 12:05pm

I just finished The Buried City of Pompeii and My Librarian is a Camel, both kids nonfiction and both for BingoDog Challenge.

I also finished An Amish Wedding Feast on Ice Mountain and My Name is Bacci Bogie for NetGalley.

tammikuu 22, 2020, 6:18pm

My latest finish for NetGalley is The Amish Marriage Bargain. This book tells a story of heartache, redemption, and hidden lives and lies. May and Thad are forced by their bishop to marry, since May is a single lady serving as widower Thad's nanny. May and Thad had been sweethearts, until Thad surprisingly married May's sister, April. When April died in childbirth, she left behind her baby daughter, for whom May has promised to care. The backstory exposes a web of lies and deception that threatens the happiness of May, Thad, and baby Leah.

I liked the characters of May and of Thad, and how their relationship developed despite hardships. The basic idea of the story held a lot of potential, and some sections needed to be more thoroughly thought through. Furthermore, some aspects of the story stretched one's credulity, making a person wonder if the people in this Amish community could count (re. how long it takes a baby to come along). I guessed some of the story early on in the book. I also found it a bit of a stretch to think that people could change their personalities and attitudes so very rapidly. I was surprised at how quickly May was ready to throw away their relationship, and the constant wavering of both Thad and May.

The Christian message in this book is overt, but not preachy. Readers who enjoy Amish fiction might give this a try, although they might find themselves a bit incredulous at times, and will surely fall in love with little Leah, if not with the adults in the story.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 12, 2020, 2:53pm

The Mozart Conspiracy continues the story of teen-aged Rezia Schurman, begun in "The Musician's Daughter." Rezia leads a double life: in order to engage her musical talents as an accomplished violinist, she disguises herself as a boy. She witnesses a murder as she walks home from a performance. Rezia tries to get help in solving the mystery, meets with resistance, and then decides to pursue the solution on her own. The story spins out with secret societies, music librarians, wealthy people, births and deaths, kidnappings, a scary wild animal, and pursuits through dark alleyways. Rezia constantly involves herself in dangerous situations, as she seeks the solution to the mystery, ultimately discovering that things and people are often not as they seem.

The plot moves along rapidly and engages the reader throughout the book with its many twists and turns. There are quite a few characters, yet they are described well enough to allow readers to keep them straight. I liked the setting of the Vienna music scene, as well as the descriptions of the secret societies and their rituals. Rezia is certainly a daring young lady, and her exploits are not always quite believable. However, this historical novel should prove to be a rollicking good read for lovers of historical mysteries as well as music. Author notes at the end provide additional insights into the historical aspects of the story.

tammikuu 27, 2020, 3:40pm

I just finished A Perilous Promise by Kate Kingsbury aka Doreen Roberts Hight. This is the prequel for the Pennyfoot Hotel mysteries, most of which I have read over quite a few years. I especially like the holiday novels in the series.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 12, 2020, 2:53pm

Another finish today--Much Ado About Nutmeg by Sarah Fox, for the "pun" square on BingoDog card. I read this for NetGalley. It is a cozy mystery that takes place in a small seaside town during the Golden Oldies Games for senior citizens. During the course of the games, three people meet their end in unfortunate circumstances. Of course, Marley, the owner of the local pancake house and her friends get involved in trying to solve the crimes, putting Marley in danger on several occasions. In addition, there is the excitement of Marley's upcoming wedding. I liked most of the characters, but the plot seemed slow at times, and I had a hard time keeping track of all the suspects. The title really has nothing to do with the story, so I imagine it is just a cute pun title.

tammikuu 29, 2020, 3:45pm

I finished A Mrs. Miracle Christmas for NetGalley. "A Mrs. Miracle Christmas" tells the story of a childless couple, their grandmother Helen, and her very special caretaker, Mrs. Miracle. Laurel and Zach are struggling with Helen's increasing memory problems, as well are trying to come to terms with their childlessness. When Mrs. Miracle shows up on their doorstep and announces she is Helen's new companion, Zach and Laurel are overjoyed. Mrs. Miracle and Helen form a close friendship, which brings Helen into a new liveliness. However, Mrs. Miracle has an uncanny way of knowing things and "helping" things to happen. Zach and Laurel gradually come to believe that miracles can and do happen.

The plot of this story follows along with the other "angel" theme stories in this series. The story line instantly draws the reader into the lives of this lovable couple and their elderly grandmother. Humor underlies this heart-warming story, along with a generous dose of faith and hope. The novel reacquaints the reader with characters from other novels in the series, but it can be read as a stand-alone. I highly recommend this novel for readers who desire a happy ending, with a healthy helping of Christmas spirit and Christian faith. Some other LT reviewers compared this book to a Hallmark movie, which seemed a negative for some, but not for me. I thought it was a lovely and fun story, and the angels were remarkable and added another aspect to the story.

tammikuu 29, 2020, 3:49pm

Speaking of miracles, I actually found two books in the Little Free Library that I took home. I hardly ever find anything there. One was quite an old book that had the wonderful papery odor of old books From the Prairies to the Mountains. It is the story of a teacher, sort of a memoir beginning in Illinois and ending in Kentucky, which is what drew me into it in the first place. The other one is a quilting story, looks like a fast read The Good-bye Quilt.

tammikuu 30, 2020, 2:37pm

I just finished The Whispering Statue which is a Nancy Drew book that my sister gave me for Christmas. This is part of the original series, the "yellow spine" edition. I have not read one of them in years, although I read most of the original series when I was in junior high school. My friend Debbie had the whole set, and her mom bought her each new one as it was released. She was kind enough to let the girls in our class read them. I read this one for BingoDog challenge.

tammikuu 31, 2020, 10:18am

"There's a Murder Afoot" is a perfect read for lovers of all things Sherlock Holmes. This entertaining novel is set in London, England, at a Sherlock Holmes convention. American bookstore owner Gemma is there for the conference, along with her friends and business partners. Gemma's parents and sister also play key roles in this story.

The plot revolves around the death of Gemma's uncle, which occurs at the conference under suspicious circumstances. Gemma and her friends and family involve themselves in quite a few intriguing situations as they attempt to solve the murder and clear Gemma's dad of suspicion based on circumstantial evidence. The worlds of Sherlock and art forgery combine to portray and interesting and quick moving plot. The characters are likeable and well drawn, so the reader avoids confusion inherent in some mystery novels that feature too many similarly suspicious suspects.

Readers of cozy novels will find this one an enjoyable read. Although it is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone. This was the first in the series that I have read, and I plan to seek out the rest of them to catch up on the back story of the novels.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 4, 2020, 11:16am

My first finish of February and on palindrome day too! Lourdes Diary by James Martin is a short read that describes the author's pilgrimage to Lourdes and his experiences with people he met on the journey.

helmikuu 4, 2020, 11:16am

I just finished Saturnalia by Paul Fleischman for the AlphaKIT challenge. This is a tale set in Boston and contrasts the lives of servants with their masters, and the strange occurrences on the shortest day of the year. The book gave a highly readable overview of life in Boston in December, 1681, and highlighted the tensions still existing among the Indians and the English colonists.

helmikuu 4, 2020, 3:45pm

The Bridge to Belle Island features both a mystery and a romance. Beginning with a suspicious death in the first chapter and ending with a dangerous situation, this book continually engages readers with action and suspense. The romance between Isabelle and Benjamin adds another dimension to the story. These main characters appear human and fallible, as each possesses a hidden characteristic that prevents them living a full and rich life. Overcoming these difficulties presents an underlying lesson and source of encouragement for readers.

The opening quotations provide some insight and foreshadowing of themes. Discussion questions at the end of the book also draw attention to key ideas and serve as fodder for discussion groups. The Christian aspects of the story are overt, but not preachy. Readers who enjoy Christian fiction with romance and a touch of danger will enjoy this novel by a well-read and well-known Christian writer.

helmikuu 5, 2020, 10:55am

I just finished Anne Frank's Tales from the Secret Annex for TravelKIT "In Translation." I was somewhat disappointed, although other LT readers seem to have liked it. The short essays, stories, and fables show that she was a thoughtful person and writer. Themes of family, doing the right thing, personal characteristics, loneliness, and captivity were present.

helmikuu 5, 2020, 6:20pm

I just finished Christmas Mystery of Love by Caroline Johnson. This was a short, clean read set in London, England. It was an okay read, mainly a romance and had very little to do with Christmas. Two ladies meet with love and romance and also danger as they prepare for a wedding. There were a few typos or other errors that needed to be corrected, and it was published by a small press. This fits for RandomCAT Leap Year challenge, since it was published in 2016, and also for the BingoDOG "small press" square.

I also read The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System for the BingoDOG "not set on earth" square.

helmikuu 7, 2020, 9:51am

I just finished Kahlil's Dream and Other Stories which I received from LT Early Reviewers. This collection of short stories feature humans and animals. Underlying each story is a specific positive quality, such as respect, teamwork, community, helpfulness, or kindness. Color illustrations accompany the stories. This would be a great book for parents or guardians to share with children.

helmikuu 8, 2020, 11:23am

My finish for MysteryKit Furry Sleuths for February is Live and Let Growl by Laurien Berenson. This was set in Kentucky, so that was of interest since my husband is from Louisville. The descriptions of the locations and the horse farms seemed realistic. I was not totally satisfied with the ending, as the mystery of Miss Ellie's death never seemed to be definitively solved. I like the Melanie Travis mysteries though, so it was still a fun read, and I learned a lot about dog shows.

helmikuu 10, 2020, 5:07pm

Please Bury Me in the Library by Patrick Lewis for the "Library or thing in the title" BingoDog square. This was a series of short and silly poems about books and libraries, sort of a picture book really with colored illustrations. I actually know of a couple whose cremains were buried in a room at the Lilly Library at Indiana University. I saw their memorial tablets on the wall there when I was in library school.

helmikuu 11, 2020, 3:39pm

I just finished Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym for BingoDog square "published in your birth year." This was another of her humorous and tongue-in-cheek comedy of manners novels. I enjoyed it very much.

helmikuu 20, 2020, 4:38pm

I just returned from New Orleans, which was quite colorful, especially at Mardi Gras time. I did not get to read much as we were very busy, but now I am glad to be back home.

helmikuu 21, 2020, 11:29am

I just finished The Key Lime Crime by Lucy Burdette for the "published in 2020" BingoDog square. I really enjoy her Food Critic mysteries, set in Key West. I can usually guess the culprit, but this one got me! Some new characters were also introduced. This one was for NetGalley.

helmikuu 23, 2020, 5:22pm

I picked up a couple of kids' books that deal with New Orleans, since I just got back from there. I read The King Cake Baby for the mythology and folklore square on BingoDog. This story is a spin-off from the Runaway Gingerbread Man tale. I have collected quite a few of the spin-offs from that story, and it is fun to see how they are set in different locations and cultures.

helmikuu 25, 2020, 9:02am

I just finished The Binder of Lost Stories for NetGalley. I liked the information about books, bookbinding, how books affect our lives, and how the lives of people become intertwined. It was a bit slow going at the end, but I liked the alternating chapters between the 1800s and present day.

helmikuu 28, 2020, 10:23am

I finished Hope Deferred by Linda Byler for NetGalley. It was an Amish "romance" but the ending really fell flat for me and offered no real resolution of the main theme of the novel. Anna and Dave are the main characters, in love and in harmony from childhood, later separated by Dave's need for adventure and danger. I got tired of the endless descriptions of the Prodigal Son bad boy and skimmed them. The title made no sense to me at all. 3 stars

I am now reading Discernment by Henri Nouwen, a biography of James Martin, and another mystery novel for NetGalley.

maaliskuu 1, 2020, 4:21pm

I completed James Martin, SJ: In the Company of Jesus by Jon Sweeney. This is a current biography of James Martin, SJ, who is a Roman Catholic priest. He has written many best seller books and has appeared on TV, in movies, and on YouTube. Although the first chapter describes his childhood, most of the book addresses his career as a priest and a writer. A few chapters seemed to bog down, but mostly this was a good read. 4 stars

maaliskuu 3, 2020, 9:06am

>23 LadyoftheLodge: I found your review of the Christian fiction interesting. It's not something I would pick up (clearly I'm not the target audience) but my interest lies more or less in the narrative formula. Do you read a lot of Christian fiction?

maaliskuu 3, 2020, 10:27am

I just finished A Novel Way to Die by Tamra Baumann for NetGalley. This is a cozy mystery that includes quirky characters and plot twists, leading to a surprising ending. Sawyer tries to manage her inherited bookshop and Victorian home and live a quiet life in her small town. Her attempts to do this are thwarted when the spouse of a best-selling author turns up dead after a book-signing that took place at her store. Sawyer’s best friend Renee is implicated, involving Sawyer in actions intended to clear Renee of the deed. Throw in Sawyer’s adopted teen-aged sister Brittany, who has a knack for technology, along with Madge, a friend who works at the police station. Don’t forget Sawyer’s father, the professional magician who pops in from time to time! Add in Sawyer’s on-again and off-again love relationship with Sheriff Dylan, who once left Sawyer at the altar, and you have a humorous mix of mystery and mayhem. The plot bogs down occasionally with dialogue, but most readers will find something to like about this cozy. The interesting and well-drawn characters are what really make this a fun read. While this is part of a series, it can be read successfully read as a stand alone novel.

maaliskuu 3, 2020, 10:32am

>36 avaland: I do read quite a bit of Christian fiction, mainly historical fiction and books about Amish people.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 4, 2020, 3:40pm

His Unexpected Amish Twins begins with tragedy and ends with triumph. The author confronts several different issues in this novel, most notably fear, addiction, and grief. Hope, an Amish woman, arrives at the scene of a buggy and automobile collision, and helps with the injured children. That act of kindness will send her life in a new direction, as Hope encounters Micah, the uncle of the children and their new caretaker. Hope also deals with uncertainty about finances due to her dad’s gambling addiction and to starting up her new business of equine therapy.
While this book is advertised as a romance novel, serious issues are discussed and result in some tense moments for the characters and for the reader. This is not a fluffy romance about the Plain people, where everything is cozy hearts and flowers. I liked the way the author wrote about real people with real problems and described ways that they addressed the problems. The Christian message is overt but not preachy, forming an integral part of the story.

Although the book started off slowly, the plot gained momentum and drew me into the story. I learned a lot about how horses are used for therapy. The characters are likeable and each one deals with his or her own fears with courage. This is a clean story, with no violence, intimacy, or strong language. Readers who enjoy clean Christian romances will find this story to their liking.

maaliskuu 6, 2020, 4:05pm

I just finished The Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden. This book has been on my TBR list for ages. It relates the story of one summer spent at a hotel in France by a family of English kids while their mom in hospitalized and their dad is working overseas. There were several plot twists that I did not see coming, which made for a delightful ending to the story. I am not sure what I expected, but it was different than what I envisioned. The preface by the author also showed that at least some of the story is based on actual events. There seems to be a movie version of the book, but I was not aware of that. My biggest complaint is that some of the French language in the book is not translated and I could not figure it out from context clues. I read this one for AlphaKit, BingoDog, and RandomCAT, making it a triple header. 3.5 stars

maaliskuu 10, 2020, 1:56pm

Today I finished The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie. That completes my BingoDog card for the "1920" square and also for the MysteryKit Golden Age selection for March. I am usually pretty good at spotting the murderer, but this one threw me for a loop. I did not guess the perps or how it was done. Excellent! 5 stars

maaliskuu 11, 2020, 10:18am

I completed two books yesterday: Memories of a Lost Egypt by Colette Rossant for the March GeoCAT and An Unlikely Amish Match for NetGalley. The Egypt book was apparently published under another title later on (mine was published in hardcover in 1999), as can be seen by the touchstone for the book. I actually like the first title better. The book was somewhat interesting, although I found it confusing at times, as the author jumped back and forth between time periods in her life. The chapters seemed to be organized by themes, not always chronologically. I probably would never make the recipes given in the book, although they provided an interesting look into a culture with which I am not familiar at all.

An Unlikely Amish Match offers a view of Amish life that differs from some of the "sweet" Amish romance novels. When Micah enters the Goshen, Indiana Amish community, he brings along some unusual and unique ways of living the Amish lifestyle. Susannah, the bishop's daughter, could not be more different from Micah, as she sticks closely to the rules of the Ordnung. When the two meet, sparks fly! What starts out as a challenge becomes much more than companionship. However, Micah shows his true colors of strength and integrity when trouble comes calling.

This novel deals with themes of illness, rebellion, change, and crime; at the same time, characters exhibit courage, insight, trust, energy, and liveliness. The Christian message is present but not preachy. Characters are described in just the right amount of detail to give readers a mental picture of them. Readers who seek a change of pace in an Amish romance will enjoy this story of a very unlikely Amish match.

maaliskuu 14, 2020, 2:29pm

I just finished Inspector Ghote's Good Crusade which was just okay. It includes some engaging characters and twists in plot that will leave readers guessing. Who is lying and who is the real killer? Ghote investigates the murder of a high-profile American philanthropist in this slow-moving tale. It combines a cozy mystery read with aspects of police procedurals. Ghote reminded me of other bumbling detectives such as Columbo, as he ultimately gets to the root of the problem. The novel is emblematic of the time in which it was written. While I did not really feel engaged with the characters or story line, it was a humorous and atmospheric read. Just a bit too much detail and rather slow moving for me.

I am currently reading The Innkeeper's Bride for NetGalley.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 16, 2020, 12:27pm

In The Innkeeper’s Bride, Selah finds a job at the Stoll Inn, a newly opened Amish inn run by the Stoll family. She tries to deny her attraction to Levi Stoll, while at the same time keep her job and control her runaway emotions. Levi and Selah receive some matchmaking help from two elderly women in the Amish community. Elders Cevilla and Richard are attracted to each other, but conflicts with family members threaten their relationship. These situations form the core themes of this novel. Additional themes include dealing with clinical depression, desiring independence, and incorporating modern values while maintaining Amish cultural traditions.

The plot of this clean Christian novel moves along well and maintains reader interest throughout. The Godly message is clear, but not preachy. Characters are portrayed as flawed humans, who seek to maintain their relationships while incorporating their faith and value system. Readers will discover that miracles happen! The ending provides a fine set-up for the next novel in the series. This is the third book in a series, although it can be read as a stand-alone.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 19, 2020, 4:22pm

I finished three for NetGalley:
Awesome Dog 5000 vs Mayor Bossypants (kids book, boring to me but middle graders would probably love it)
Take it Away, Tommy! (graphic novels about cats, very funny)
Frida in America (about Frida Kahlo, well-researched but too dense for me)

maaliskuu 19, 2020, 4:21pm

Amish Country Undercover includes enough suspense to keep readers turning pages quickly. Thoroughbred horses are being stolen, and Amish horse trader Grace comes under suspicion after a report to the FBI puts her in the crosshairs of the situation. FBI agent Jack arrives to investigate, and goes undercover as an Amish man to solve the crimes. In the process, Grace and Jack develop a relationship that goes beyond teamwork in criminal investigation.

Plot twists and turns leave readers guessing until the last minute about the identity of the criminals and the motives behind their actions. Although I usually succeed at figuring out the solutions, this one kept me confused until the final resolution. The characters were well drawn and likeable. Although this is a suspense novel, there are no descriptions of overt violence or uses of strong language. The Christian message is clear without being preachy.

maaliskuu 20, 2020, 2:13pm

I finally finished Discernment by Henri Nouwen, which was part of my Lenten reading for this year. It was a bit deep and rough going in places, but the appendices were really helpful and the best part of the book for me. It is probably better read in a discussion group, since there were questions at the end of each chapter. They could also be used for individual journal writing too. I originally started this book two other times in past Lenten seasons, but did not get very far, so I am pleased that I finished it this time around.

maaliskuu 20, 2020, 3:38pm

>47 LadyoftheLodge: Something made you come back twice! Tell me about your Lenten reading, if you don't mind sharing it, would you please?

maaliskuu 21, 2020, 3:29pm

Sure thing! Each Lenten season, I select one or two books of a spiritual nature that I want to read for personal enlightenment and focus. This year, I came across a biography of James Martin, SJ, which was quite interesting (so much so that my husband read it too) and it was a good read. As I said, Discernment was on my list for a few years in a row, and I finally finished it, but I like some of Henri Nouwen's other works much better. In the past, I have read Thomas Merton and also Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict) and some biographies of saints or other people.

I do not have any method for selecting the books, just sort of think about what I might like or whatever comes across my path. Discernment was a compilation of lectures and other writings of Nouwen, edited by two other writers. In the Company of Jesus was a biography of James Martin, whose other works I have read. He is quite a "superstar," much more so than I ever guessed.

Thanks for asking. I am always happy to talk about books.

maaliskuu 22, 2020, 3:44pm

The Amish Teacher’s Dilemma focuses on new locations, lifestyles, and loves. Willis struggles to support his three younger siblings, as well as maintaining his blacksmith business. Eva excitedly begins her job as a new teacher in an Amish school. These neighbors support each other with friendship and hope, as their relationship rapidly moves towards romance. However, Willis hides his learning disability from Eva, which almost ends their new love before it begins. Throw in disapproving elders, adorable kids, a very smart dog, and a loving community, and you have the makings of a finely tuned romance novel set in an Amish community in Maine.

The characters were described well, with just enough detail, allowing readers to form their own mental pictures of the individuals. The plot moves along quickly to maintain reader interest and engagement with the story line. Readers who enjoy a clean story without violence or strong language will find this to be an entrancingly sweet novel.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 25, 2020, 11:40am

I just finished Why You Should Read Children's Books by Katherine Rundell, which was a BB for me from another thread. I found it somewhat disappointing, just not what I expected. It seemed more academic than I was looking for, I guess. I also did not like the political remarks that were included. There is enough of that from other sources.

I also read several for NetGalley: A Year at Brandywine Cottage and Bright Dreams: The Brilliant Ideas of Nikola Tesla touchstones not showing up.

maaliskuu 25, 2020, 7:49pm

The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck. Five people, five lives that are about to cross in unexpected and surprising ways; this makes up the main thread of the story. Lexa, Jett, Ed, Coral, and Chuck receive invitations to meet for a "story society." As they get to know each other, enjoying conversation and food each week, the society becomes more important for each of them. Untold secrets and underlying truths are revealed in the weekly meetings, leading up to the final crashing conclusion. This story has enough twists and turns for any reader, maintaining interest until the final page is reached. The epilogue wraps it all up in a happy ending, but not until the characters experience a roller-coaster ride of experiences and emotions.

This was a book that I could not put down and kept me reading into the night time hours. The Christian message is overt and churchy, but not preachy or judgmental. Each reader is left to find the underlying message in the story along with the characters. Highly recommended and clean read.

maaliskuu 30, 2020, 2:15pm

Light Shines on Promise Lodge continues the saga begun in the previous books set at Promise Lodge. Readers of the other books in the series will recognize familiar characters and families who live at the Promise Lodge progressive Amish settlement. In this book, two couples begin courting, with some humorous as well as disastrous encounters. Promise Lodge also must contend with a rogue bishop who tries to reform the residents, and the return of a lost sheep to the fold.

I enjoyed the lively characters and the feisty women the most in this book. While some readers might find this a predictable tale, I was intrigued by the plot twists and turns until the final pages pulled together the story to an end. I would love to read another Promise Lodge novel, in order to find out what happens to the two courting couples! I hope this is not the end of the series. This is a clean read, no violence, strong language, or sexual scenes. The Christian message is overt yet forms an integral part of the story. Readers of Charlotte Hubbard novels will not be disappointed with this latest installment. I would like to live at Promise Lodge!

maaliskuu 31, 2020, 3:43pm

The Sunday Potluck Club tells the story of four friends who are united as they care for ill parents. As they learn to deal with grief and loss in different ways, each woman finds a way to survive and thrive. The book mainly deals with Amy, a schoolteacher, and sharing her loss of her mom with a male friend and his child. The book also paves the way for a follow up novel about Amy’s friend Bridget and her dogs.

This story started out rather slowly, and I was ready to stop reading about cancer deaths and funerals. I skimmed over parts of the book that became repetitive and wordy. The characters are likeable, but I would have liked less starting and stopping throughout. The ending is predictable. This is a clean read without violence, strong language, or sexual scenes. It is definitely “chick lit.”

huhtikuu 5, 2020, 5:00pm

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell proved to be a disappointment to me. I had heard great things about this book, but it did not deliver for me. Will runs wild on a plantation in Zimbabwe, loving her outdoor life. When her father dies and her guardian marries a much younger woman, Will is sent to England to a boarding school. She is unable to cope with the bullying and strictness of the environment with its many rules and regulated lifestyle. She makes some decisions that are at times pathetic and hilarious. Touchstone for this book is not coming up. 3 stars

huhtikuu 6, 2020, 1:59pm

I needed something silly today, so I read The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss. That one counted for a BingoDog square and AlphaKit challenge. I really liked the story about the empty green pants that scared the main character, until he/she realized the pants were also afraid of him/her/it. Being a scaredycat myself, this was such a fun story. Most of what I fear is in my mind.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 7, 2020, 5:12pm

An Amish Picnic: Four Stories includes four stories or novellas by different authors, each of whom is an experienced and well-known writer of Amish fiction. The picnic theme runs through all four of the stories. Readers of Amish fiction will find some familiar characters in them, although each novella can be read as a stand-alone. Each one deals with a specific situation or characteristic experienced by the characters: shyness, speech disorder, claustrophobia, clumsiness, independence, fear. The characters receive help from loved ones and friends to overcome these situations and find love and trust. Anyone who has experienced the feelings described in these novellas will find kindred spirits and sympathize with the situations found in the plot lines. The characters are well-drawn and likeable throughout.

Readers who enjoy clean stories without violence or strong language will find these stories inspirational. The Christian message is overt, yet forms an integral part of the novellas.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 7, 2020, 5:22pm

The Gracie Guide to Naples can best be described as a sort of graphic novel. The text has the appearance of handwriting, and the charming colorful illustrations add interest to the story. Told from Gracie the dog's point of view, the book takes readers on a rollicking and humorous visit through the city of Naples, just as the title suggests. Adults and children alike will enjoy this little guidebook to the famous city, with the added joy of a "dog's eye view" of things. You do not have to be a traveler to appreciate this little gem of a story (although my "old eyes" had some trouble with reading the closely written text with its appearance of handwriting).

huhtikuu 9, 2020, 2:33pm

Completed Mata Hari: A Life from Beginning to End in the Hourly History series of biographies of women in history. This book did double duty for the MysteryKit challenge of Espionage and the NonFiction Cat for Law and Order. I like the Hourly History books for a quick read and overview of different people and events in history. Mata Hari was certainly a fascinating and outrageous woman, even though she did not seem to be a very successful spy. Yes, I read it in about an hour!

huhtikuu 10, 2020, 12:28pm

I just finished Pink Flannel by Ruth Park. This was a sort of memoir of a young girl who lived with her aunts in New Zealand. The unique thing about this book is that it had no chapters, just like a running narrative. The descriptions of the Maori people with whom Jenny was acquainted were interesting, as were her various adventures. The story was alternately hilarious, sad, and nostalgic. I had some trouble at first with some of the "slang" terms, but figured them out within the context of the story. Once I got into the book, I could not put it down.

huhtikuu 20, 2020, 12:17pm

I finished The Farm Stand (An Amish Marketplace Novel) by Amy Clipston. I am currently reading The Happy Camper by Melody Carlson for NetGalley and The Story of Doctor Doolittle by Hugh Lofting.

huhtikuu 20, 2020, 2:15pm

The Farm Stand (An Amish Marketplace Novel) presents readers with another story in the Amish Market series by Amy Clipston. In this installment, two young adults are attracted to each other, but receive pressure from family members to date others who are potential spouses. Salina and Will meet when Will purchases produce for his restaurant from Salina's farm stand. While they acknowledge their attraction, each of them is dating someone else. In addition, Salina is Amish and Will is Mennonite. The novel details how they resolve their dilemma.

Readers who enjoy sweet novel, without violence, swearing, or intimacy, will find this novel appealing. The Christian message, while overt, plays an integral role in the plot, and does not feel preachy or forced.

I received this novel from the publisher and from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

huhtikuu 27, 2020, 1:47pm

Thursday's Bride tells the story of Rosmunda and Levi, two young adults who might rekindle a past relationship after a tumultuous past. Rosmunda tries to continue life with her twin baby girls after the death of her husband, who was also Levi's brother and Rosamunda's past love. When Levi returns to help with his father's farm, where Rosamunda also lives, past conflicts and secrets resurface. Several minor characters also play a role in this novel and struggle with community perceptions and expectations, as do Levi and Rosie.

This novel seemed different from most of the Amish novels I read and review. A dark undercurrent seemed to flow beneath the plot from the outset. The characters were not youngsters, but adults dealing with adult problems and grappling with serious life questions. I am not even sure I liked the characters very much, although the twin babies were adorable. Issues found in this novel include alcoholism, manipulation, and premarital sex. The novel was predictable, but took some twists and turns to get to the ending,in which loose ends were wrapped up and hidden issues revealed and resolved. This is a clean novel, without Strong language, overt violence, or adult situations, although there are hints at romantic entanglements.

huhtikuu 27, 2020, 2:13pm

I'm late to this party, but I wanted to mention that I saw Fr Martin speak at my niece's graduation from college a few years ago. He was smart, funny and extraordinarily warm and kind. I can see why he is a "superstar".

huhtikuu 27, 2020, 2:18pm

>64 nancyewhite: Wow, I would have enjoyed seeing him in person. He reminds me somewhat of Fulton J. Sheen, also a superstar. Welcome to the party!

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 2, 2020, 5:02pm

I finished In Praise of the Useless Life by Paul Quenon, which is a monk's memoir. This is for the "based on a historical event" square for BingoDog, since it includes information on the death of Thomas Merton, as well as essays about several historical figures who visited Gethsemani abbey. It also counts for both letters for May AlphaKit.

toukokuu 3, 2020, 10:22am

The Stolen Letter by Paige Shelton. In this latest installment in the Scottish Bookshop mystery series, Delaney becomes involved with a woman who claims to be a reincarnation of Mary, Queen of Scots. She also just happens to be a Delaney look-alike! The main plot line evolves around the proposed demise of the beloved bookshop The Cracked Spine, due to structural issues. As might be expected, there is more to the situation than one might think. Delaney and her colleagues from the bookshop undertake a plan to get to bottom of the proposed closure, and end up solving a mystery surrounding a letter, as well as investigating a murder. The characters are likeable, and the book lacks overt violence, strong language, and adult situations. Readers who enjoy cozy mysteries, bookshops, and Scotland will find this a worthy read.

This goes on my Bingo card 2 for BingoDog for the "about books" square.

toukokuu 5, 2020, 7:28pm

Craft Lab for Kids gives kids and adults a wide variety of craft projects from which to choose, 52 in all, aimed at various ages and skill levels. The projects can be completed using materials and media that can probably be found in most homes. There is indeed something for everyone here!

The book is divided into sections, with projects grouped into topics, such as "15 Minute Makes," "Classic Crafts with a Twist," and "Crafting with Kindness." Each project description includes lists of materials, step-by-step directions accompanied by color photos, call-out boxes with tips for enrichment and adaptations for "little hands," and information about skill development. A table of contents and an index make it easy to find suitable projects, whether a kid has 15 minutes or an entire day to devote to a craft. Additional color photos feature both boys and girls demonstrating the finished projects. Teachers, parents, and librarians will probably love this book, but no doubt will have to negotiate with a kid to get their hands on it. (Personally, I found a ton of crafts from this book that I would like to try.)

toukokuu 5, 2020, 11:09pm

>67 LadyoftheLodge: This sounds great! I've just put the first one on my TBR.

toukokuu 7, 2020, 2:27pm

>69 sallypursell: I have the first one on my Kindle. I think it was a giftee from my LT SantaThing one year.

toukokuu 9, 2020, 2:16pm

Miss Austen presents readers with a new look at what the relationship between Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra might have been like, using an Austen-like writing style. Cassandra’s future looks rosy, but unexpected tragedy reduces her life to one of devotion to her family, particularly her sister Jane. The plotline switches between Cassandra’s present life in old age and her past life. Correspondence between family members serves as the device tying the two time periods together, while revealing unknown depths and secrets of family relationships, viewpoints, and loyalties.

Readers who are fans of Jane Austen will enjoy this fictional take on Jane and Cassandra. While melancholy in tone, the book provides an intriguing entry into the lives of single ladies in England in the 1800’s.

toukokuu 9, 2020, 4:27pm

Accordionly tells the story of how two different cultures came together in the context of a family. Opa and Abuelo both play the accordion, although at first they seem to have nothing in common. Once they discover their common interest, well, you guessed it! Beautiful music results!

The story is told from the viewpoint of the grandson. Colorful illustrations accompany the text, with just a few sentences on each page to tell the story. The theme focuses youngsters on how even though people differ, they still have a lot in common. This tale is based on real people, and real families. Readers can see their photos and read their life stories at the end of the book.. Whether a child enjoys music or not, he or she will enjoy this story about different families and their cultures. This would be a good book for families to enjoy reading and re-reading together.

toukokuu 9, 2020, 4:37pm

Backward Science by Clive Gifford is a non-fiction book that leads readers through the development of some modern technologies and inventions that we sometimes take for granted. The developments covered in this book include refrigeration, wheels, phones, television, toilets, airplanes, paper, and many others. A two-page spread for each topic includes color art work that depicts times past, found at the top of the pages. The bottom half of each page details information that takes the reader through the development itself, including inventor biographies, science explanations, and historical details. Smaller color illustrations accompany the text in these sections. A glossary, index, and timeline for all the products and processes completes the book.

Children and their families will enjoy reading this book together, although it would also find a happy home in school or classroom libraries. Readers will be amazed at the interesting details that underlie the development of many of the inventions we use today.

toukokuu 11, 2020, 2:19pm

Code Name Helene provides a fictionalized account of a little-known female who occupied a variety of roles during World War II, emerging as a war heroine. Nancy Wake was an Austratlian ex-pat who started out as a freelance reporter. She later became a spy and a military leader. After many years, her accomplishments were recognized by New Zealand, France, Australia, and the United Kingdom. She was a brave and bawdy woman, and this book proves to be an endlessly fascinating fictionalized account of her life and work in espionage. The book is well-researched by its author, as readers will find by thoroughly reading the end notes and comments following the main body of the book. Those wishing to seek out additional works about Nancy Wake will find suggestions from the author in the end notes.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 20, 2020, 2:02pm

The Secret Life of Spies presents illustrated snapshot biographies of men and women who served as spies internationally throughout history. The biographies are short enough to read in just a few minutes, while maintaining the interest of the reader. They are written in a way that supports the development of reading skills. Upper elementary and middle school readers should find this non-fiction book interesting and appealing, as it is based on "real" people who conduct a mysterious and intriguing business, filled with secrets and secret activities and inventions.

The book begins with several pages of introduction that explain the concept of espionage and the basis for these activities. Colorful drawings accompany each biography, showing the person at work. Side boxes with bullet points explain specific terms related to espionage. A glossary at the end of the book also defines the terms.

The concept is cool. My main issue with the book is that the font is really small, and the pictures overshadow the text. There is no index or table of contents, and I could not figure out how the book is organized--not by date or alpha order. There is no reference page/end notes section or list of suggested readings at the end. These features would make this book much more accessible.

toukokuu 14, 2020, 2:54pm

Botched Butterscotch continues the cozy mystery series about Bailey and her candy-making adventures in Amish country. Leaving her career as a chocolatier in New York, Bailey has joined her Amish grandmother in managing the Swissmen Sweets candy store. In this latest installment, a monetary theft occurs during a Mother’s Day tea which Bailey and her grandmother help to cater. The theft jeopardizes the existence of a local drug treatment farm for women. Bailey teams up with local law enforcement to help solve the crime.

This cozy novella presents a mystery that is quickly solved in a satisfactory manner. It is a light, clean read with no profanity, graphic violence, or adult situations. Readers do not need previous experience with the characters and setting to enjoy this novel. It can be read as a stand-alone, but readers of the series will feel welcomed by the quirky characters and home-like setting with which they are familiar.

PS--The title is cute but has very little to do with the story.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 20, 2020, 2:02pm

A World Full of Dickens Stories recounts for kids the stories found in major novels by Charles Dickens. They can best be described as stories abridged for the “modern child.” The stories tell the basic plotline and action points, including key conversations among the characters. Cameo portrait drawings with short descriptions of the main characters precede each story. Illustrations in muted colors also accompany the text; the illustrations resemble those found in some graphic novels.

The book serves as an appropriate introduction for children to the works of Dickens. Hopefully, readers will want to read the original versions of the novels once they are introduced to the basic stories. This would be a good book for family read-alouds and sharing between kids and adults.

toukokuu 17, 2020, 8:06pm

I just finished Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster for the RandomCAT challenge and also for my BingoDog card. This book has been on my shelves since I was in elementary school and has traveled through several different moves. It waited a long time to be loved, and it was a wonderful book for me.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 20, 2020, 2:01pm

All About the Amish serves as a reference book for readers who want to know more about the Amish. It is arranged in a question and answer format, breaking up each chapter into smaller bites. Each chapter discusses a different aspect of Amish life, such as history of the Amish, family, church, school, and children. The book is readable and appropriate for short reading sessions. Readers who want to learn more about the Amish will find this book a valuable source of information.

toukokuu 19, 2020, 2:01pm

Murder in the Wine Country includes two mysteries to be solved. Innkeeper Kelly works with members of her community to devise a special weekend, designed for philanthropists who might be interested in creating a community like Redwood Cove. When one of the presenters is killed, Kelly joins with the Silver Sentinels to look into the situation. Poachers, a possible kidnapping, forgery, and theft combine to make two differently dangerous mysteries in which Kelly involves herself. The book wraps up with an overview of what the Redwood Cove community is all about. This information would have made more sense to me if it came at the beginning of the novel.

The characters are quirky and interesting, although the plot seems to drag at times. While I enjoyed the book, the two plots running parallel to each other seemed confusing at times. They could just as likely have been written as two novellas, which may have been more enjoyable to readers. Although this is part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone. The author provides enough information at the end to lead into the next book in the series. This is a cozy mystery with no overt or descriptive violence, adult situations, or “colorful” language.

toukokuu 19, 2020, 4:30pm

>78 LadyoftheLodge: This was your first read of Daddy-Long-Legs? It was a childhood favorite of mine and it has only partially stood up to the test of time for me -- so many problematic things that I didn't notice as a child! That said, I still adore the sequel, Dear Enemy, despite it clearly being a product of its time.

toukokuu 20, 2020, 2:01pm

>81 RidgewayGirl: Yes, first time I read it. This time was just for a fun and easy read, and I sort of ignored those problematic things you mentioned. Also a product of its time.

toukokuu 25, 2020, 11:15am

I just finished Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry. This was a story based on fact, about a burro in the Grand Canyon at the time when it was becoming a national monument. I loved the parts about Theodore Roosevelt. I visited the Grand Canyon several years ago and would love to go back there.

toukokuu 29, 2020, 11:19am

I read Summer Darlings for NetGalley, which was about two young women "in service" during the 1960's for a wealthy family at Martha's Vineyard. It had some twists and turns and surprises at the end, lots of secrets that are hinted at throughout the book. It was okay.

I also read Ask the Astronaut which was a book made up of questions and answers about spaceflight and living and working in space. Some parts of it were interesting, others not so much.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 31, 2020, 4:27pm

Finished The Jane Austen Society for NetGalley. I loved this book, although it was a slow start whilst the author introduced the backstories of all the characters. Now I want to re-read all of Austen! I ordered the Everymans Library copies of her books, all with the beautiful dust covers.

Now I am reading The Rural Diaries which annoys me greatly so far and I will probably skip over some of the backstory part and get to the farm part. (Seriously, planning to have a baby with a guy after knowing him for a week? I also do not see why the "F" word has to be inserted into a book when it is unnecessary.)

kesäkuu 1, 2020, 12:21pm

The Rural Diaries recounts how an actress re-imagined her life to become a mother and also to manage and live on a small farm along with her actor husband. The author takes readers on a roller coaster ride of advice, memoir, and life changes. She writes with humor and honesty, and the book contains some laugh out loud sections. Readers should be aware of the use of profanity throughout.

kesäkuu 3, 2020, 2:36pm

I read three books for NetGalley:
Marshmallow Malice by Amanda Flower
A Simple Wedding by Leigh Duncan
Read or Alive by Nora Page

Marshmallow Malice continues the story of Bailey as she works with her grandmother to manage the family candy shop in Ohio Amish country. In this installment, Bailey investigates the murder of a woman who mysteriously shows up at a family wedding ceremony. The plot moves along well and will keep readers guessing as to the identity of the killer and the motivation for the crime. The characters are quirky and described very well.

Readers who are familiar with this series will enjoy reconnecting with Jethro the pig, Bailey and her "hot" boyfriend Aiden, and other members of the Amish and Englischer community. For those new to the series, familiarity with the characters and setting are not necessary, as they will quickly learn to know each character and the small town itself. This is a clean read, with no overt violence, adult scenarios, or strong language.

A Simple Wedding tells the story of a young woman who is tasked with planning the wedding of her cousin, who also happens to be a big-name actress! Although the wedding is planned down to the last detail by star-studded Karolyn, personal assistant Jenny is in charge of making sure the wedding plans are organized according to Karolyn's wishes, while trying to keep the big day a secret. Jenny meets a very special baker, and her life takes on a new dimension while she tried to organize the wedding.

This cute, clean, and sweet story is definitely a good choice for a Hallmark show! Readers will enjoy how the plot unfolds, even though the happy ending is foreseeable.

Read or Alive presents a cozy mystery that is ideal for book lovers! Cleo Watkins runs the local bookmobile and maintains a lively lifestyle as an active senior citizen. This novel takes place at the Georgia Antiquarian Book Society Fair. Cleo and her friends uncover "book butchery" activity, in which people are scammed out of their valuable books, which are then taken apart and sold as separate pages and sections. However, proving the scheme exists is harder than they might think.

Readers who are book-lovers will find this book totally entrancing and can surely identify with the thoughts of those who share the obsession with books! I really liked the idea that Cleo is a sassy and likeable, intelligent senior citizen. Add to the plot and characters some adorable animals, and you have the makings of a fun and cozy mystery novel.

kesäkuu 4, 2020, 1:46pm

I completed Seadogs: An Epic Ocean Operetta by Lisa Wheeler. This book has been on my shelves for ages. It is a sort of picture book/graphic novel, with a very exciting and entertaining tale of adventure on the high seas featuring all canine characters! The story is portrayed as if it is being performed by a canine cast, viewed by a doggy audience. This is so hilarious and fun, I can imagine it playing out on the stage. (RandomCAT June)

kesäkuu 6, 2020, 1:51pm

I just finished To the Land of Long Lost Friends by Alexander McCall Smith. This was my newest selection in the "1 Ladies Detective Agency series (#20). I have read every one of them so far. I found this one to be a bit of a disappointment, as it moved much more slowly and included a lot of philosophizing and not much action. The book included some interesting set-ups for the next one in the series though.

kesäkuu 7, 2020, 11:43am

I finished the AlphaKIT selections for June as follows:
Christmas at Hard Cider Abbey: A Novelette by K.P. Cecala--A short little book about a baby that is left on the doorstep of the abbey on Christmas and how the young monks deal with him.

Murder She Wrote: You Bet Your Life by Donald Bain--Not the best I ever read in the series, long on courtroom drama and legal aspects of a murder case set in Las Vegas.

kesäkuu 7, 2020, 5:29pm

I finished Imagined London by Anna Quindlen for TravelKIT June. This book sounded great, with lots of promise, but turned out to be singularly dull reading. This will go off my bookshelves, although I think I must have read it sometime in the past. It was supposed to be about London and its many faces and how it was mentioned in literature. Just too slow and uninteresting for me right now. Also counts for "journalism" square on my BingoDOG Card #2.

kesäkuu 10, 2020, 1:00pm

The Trustworthy One continues the Walnut Creek Amish saga. In this novel, Kendra works at opening her new gift shop after moving back to Walnut Creek. Kendra deals with demons from her past life, in addition to moving into her new life in the present. The product of an abusive childhood, Kendra has served as a mother to her younger siblings, all of whom have also moved on with their lives. Kendra finds a way to make peace with childhood friends, and finds love in unexpected places. This book deals with themes of dyslexia, abuse, and addiction. Readers of Christian fiction should find this novel an interestingly different one from the usual Amish fiction. It is a clean novel, lacking descriptions of violence, adult scenes, and profanity.

kesäkuu 11, 2020, 11:21am

The Summer Villa tells the story of friendship among three women over time. The thread tying them together is the villa in Italy where they first met. The action alternates between "then" and "now" which I found somewhat confusing. The characters are interesting and described well, with their quite contrasting personalities. The ending wraps things up nicely, for a fun and light beach read, if you like that kind of chicklit novel. Being as I am not from Ireland, I found some of the slang terms used by the Irish gal confusing.

kesäkuu 13, 2020, 12:22pm

Mums and Mayhem is a cozy mystery by Amanda Flower, set in Scotland. Fiona Knox owns a florist shop in a small Scottish village. Great excitement abounds as the town prepares to welcome home Barley McFee, a native musician who is a now famous fiddler. When Barely is murdered during his stay there, Fiona assists the police in solving the crime. Throw in Fiona's parents and sister, a magical garden, and old grudges, and you have the basis for an interestingly lively cozy mystery. The characters are likeable and add humor and dimension to the story. All is wrapped up at the end, after several plot twists that will leave readers guessing.

kesäkuu 16, 2020, 2:05pm

In Little Bookshop of Murder, Summer Merriweather returns to her home community to attend her mother’s funeral, but rapidly becomes involved in an investigation into the true cause of her mother’s death. The cast of characters includes Summer’s family, book club members, a local teacher, a police chief, and some unexpected family members that arrive at the end of the book. The action mainly occurs at the charming bookstore and the house that Summer inherited from her mother.

Most of the characters were interesting, but the way the family members were related to each other seemed puzzling. My favorite character was the bird, Mr. Darcy! Some parts of the plot just did not hang together very well. Those readers experienced with reading cozy mysteries will guess the identity of the killer early on, although the motive is not evident until the end of the book. The surprising family relationships revealed at the end of the novel seemed to be tacked on, obviously leading to another book. This story had a lot of potential, but confusing details and a clumsy ending proved to be disappointing. The inclusion of unnecessary swear words also detracted from the story.

kesäkuu 18, 2020, 11:29am

Completed Crossing Over: One Woman's Exodus from Amish Life which was a 3-star read. I had this on my TBR list for ages, maybe because there are many Amish communities in Indiana. It was somewhat disappointing and I had a hard time staying engaged.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 21, 2020, 1:51pm

In Her Amish Suitor’s Secret, romance and mystery combine, resulting in a story of two strong-willed adults who work together to find stolen coins. Caleb obtains a job as a groundskeeper for an Amish campground, in order to try to find the items which were stolen from the museum at which his brother works. Unbeknownst to Rose, who is taking care of the campground while her parents are away, Caleb is actually an Englischer! The two develop a thorny relationship which eventually turns to a caring one. However, the location of the stolen goods must still be found, before time runs out for Caleb’s brother and nephew Liam. Readers who enjoy a story with interesting twists and turns will find this one highly readable. This is a clean novel, with no swear words or descriptions of sex or violence.

Stracciatella Gelato: Melting Time is a short read about the “what ifs” one might encounter in a lifetime. What would your life be like if you could turn back the clock to a different time of your life? This is exactly what happens in Florence when Kate spends a day of sight-seeing there. In a strange quirk of fate, Kate reverts visually to her younger self of her college days in Florence, while retaining the knowledge and wisdom of her middle-aged self. She must then make hard decisions about whether to remain in Italy with Lucca, her new lover, to pursue her art career, or return to her staid family life in America. This novel includes appealing descriptions of Florence, Italy, and idyllic adventurous moments of Kate and her life with Lucca. Readers who enjoy a light and quick read may find this enjoyable, although the ending is somewhat unsatisfying.

kesäkuu 23, 2020, 1:19pm

A Heartwarming Romance Collection by Wanda Brunstetter presents readers with three stories, describing the lives of three different couples. Members of each couple are involved with physical "props," including ventriloquism, clowning, and doll repair. Although these are sweet and clean romances, each plot includes characters who struggle with family issues from their pasts that impact their present lives. The Christian message is overt and forms an integral part of each story, creating a thread that ties the stories together.

Some of the same characters are found in two of the three stories, allowing continuity between them. Seth and Tabby come together over a shared interest in ventriloquism. Lois and Joe both enjoy Christian ministry, and Lois' quiet and steady nature forms a perfect foil for Joe's clowning. Tabby and Seth also reappear in this second story. In the third tale, Sinda the "doll doctor" repairs antique dolls, and meets her neighbor Glen through his snoopy and mischievous daughter. All three stories have happy endings, although not without struggles, tears, and personal growth along the way.

Readers seeking clean and sweet, well-written romance short stories will find this to be a welcome addition to their summer reading selections. Those who appreciate a strong Christian influence will not be disappointed by these selection by a favorite author of Christian fiction novels.

kesäkuu 24, 2020, 1:14pm

A Fatal Fiction can best be described as a cozy mystery. When copy editor Mikki Lincoln engages in a public verbal spat with a local developer, she never expects him to wind up dead within 24 hours. Greg Onslow was not well-liked in the small town of Lenape Hollow, and murder suspects abound. Mikki teams up with local law enforcement to try to solve the case. Several ex-lovers and co-workers serve as likely criminals. Readers might guess the perpetrator, but probably not the motive. However, the final scene might make readers wonder what Mikki was thinking at the time. Devourers of cozies will no doubt enjoy feisty Mikki Lincoln as well as her nephew Nick and other assorted characters who people this novel.

kesäkuu 26, 2020, 1:33pm

>99 LadyoftheLodge: I do not know why but most of the modern cozy mystery writers do not seem able to pull off the stories without making at least one character behave like an idiot at least once.

kesäkuu 26, 2020, 1:35pm

>100 AnnieMod: Yep! In this case, she went to meet the suspected killer in a remote location. Duh! I also dislike books in which local law enforcement is made to look stupid, dull, or inane, and the amateur sleuth solves the case. I guess the books are all in fun, and I enjoy my fave cozy writers.

kesäkuu 26, 2020, 1:40pm

>101 LadyoftheLodge:

I think of these as a shortcut to actually finding a way to do the story without them - and if readers don't care much, why would the author... People can be stupid but when it is an obvious way to move the story, it grates a bit. Which does not mean that I do not read and enjoy these series -- I just wish more of them knew how to get the story to work without that. Oh well. :)

kesäkuu 28, 2020, 11:49am

>102 AnnieMod: I agree with your ideas here. I have read some mystery novels that ended abruptly, as if the author could not think of a good way to end the story. (I have also seen movies like that.) I once had a conversation with an author of mystery novels, and she asked me how I liked one of them. I told her that I did not like the ending at all and it seemed "off." She agreed, and said it was not her idea to end it that way, but her publisher did not like her ending and she had to rewrite it on a close deadline.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 29, 2020, 1:19pm

Amish Generations presents readers with four short stories that feature romance at different stages of life, from young adult to senior citizens. Each story addresses problems or issues specific to the time of life. These include reconnecting with one’s past, moving on after living with family members, continuing with life after losing a spouse, and moving to a new community. The stories underscore the unique strengths brought to relationships during different stages of life.

Each story is short enough to be read in one sitting. The stories all feature happy endings. They are sweet and clean reads (no violence, intimacy, or strong language), with a Christian core. Readers who are looking for novellas that include realistic and likeable characters and situations will enjoy these tales about Amish people.

kesäkuu 29, 2020, 1:44pm

I finished Two Old Women which is based on an Athabascan legend. I picked up this book in Alaska, and it was an interesting read that tells of two old women who are abandoned by their tribe in winter. They decide to tough it out and survive, and end up discovering their own skills and strengths despite their advanced years. They quite turn the tables on the rest of their tribe! (July TravelKIT and BingoDOG)

I also read selections from The Sketchbook by Washington Irving, which is a series of essays about various topics, people, and place encountered while traveling. I had read some of them in the past, especially the Christmas essays, which I have in a separate little red vintage volume. (BingoDog)

heinäkuu 2, 2020, 1:53pm

In Never an Amish Bride, Esther and Lucas develop romantic feelings for each other, although their commitment is tested. Trials await them as they try to find a common ground in which their relationship can survive and thrive.
After two years, Esther still mourns the loss of her fiancé, finding it difficult to move on to another relationship. She feels sorrow as others in her own family and community marry and begin families. Esther stays busy with her soap-making business, which gains immense popularity with non-Amish customers.

Lucas left the Amish 10 years ago to study medicine in the Englisch world. However, he returns to his community and seeks to reunite with his family. Meeting Esther just complicates things.

Themes of grief, family ties, long held secrets, questions of faith, grave illness, and moving beyond the past are the themes that support the action in this novel. The characters are flawed and realistic, grappling with lifestyle, family, faith, and community issues. Readers will find this a clean, faith-based novel, with no strong language or descriptions of sex or violence.

heinäkuu 3, 2020, 11:25am

My Life in 37 Therapies for NetGalley. Absolutely awful. Get a life.

This book tells about a woman's struggle to deal with midlife crisis, through a variety of different therapies. These range from meditation and neuro-linguistic programming to other, weirder programs, such as voodoo and sonic therapy. Throughout the book, the main character tries to connect with her past and seeks to solve present uncertainties through the therapies. A glossary of the therapies helps readers by providing short descriptions of the therapies, as the chapters discuss the personal experiences with them. This book contains some humor, as the main character tries to remain open-minded about each of the programs. In the final chapter, she digresses into feminist rhetoric, which did not seem to fit the rest of the book.

For me, this book became extremely tiresome, and the character (whom I assume is the author, writing in first person) seemed self-centered. This book is definitely "all about me." Readers should also be aware of the use of profanity throughout the book.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 4, 2020, 2:36pm

I read part way through Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels by Hella Winston. It was somewhat interesting, but skipped around a lot. I have had it on my TBR shelf for a long time, and it just could not sustain my interest. I learned about a group of Jewish people about whom I knew nothing, so that added to my store of knowledge. I think I bought this book when I was involved with a study group in which we were studying different religious traditions. It will go in the bag for the book sale. (Non-Fiction CAT for July--Human Science)

I also read The Runaway Beignet by Connie Morgan for RandomCAT July--Picture This! It was a fun reminder of my trip to New Orleans, and allowed me to re-visit some of my fave spots there through its colorful and cartoony illustrations.

Currently reading Charmed by the Cook's Kids for NetGalley.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 6, 2020, 2:35pm

Charmed by the Cook's Kids
A subtitle for this book might be "Battle of the Chefs!" Ivy runs the Bent Nickel diner in the small mountain town of Second Chance, serving as cook and manager while raising her two young boys. Cam Monroe, a professional chef, arrives on the scene, demanding to use the Bent Nickel kitchen in order to prepare dishes for a family wedding reception. Ivy and Cam repeatedly clash in their attitudes towards food prep and restaurant management. However, the sparks also fly as they become attracted to each other. In addition, Ivy and Cam each harbor a few secrets of their own, which add interest and suspense to the story.

The small town setting provides a backdrop for the quirky characters that people Second Chance. Throw in the wealthy Monroe family, new owners of the town who fall in love with the place and its inhabitants. Now add the adorable kids and some nasty in-laws, and you have cooked up a delectable, even if somewhat predictable, reading feast.

Although this is part of a series, readers will quickly come up to speed with the families, characters, and interwoven back stories. The book can be enjoyed as a stand alone, although it certainly serves as an appetizer to read the other books in the series.

I received this book from the publisher and from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

heinäkuu 6, 2020, 10:22pm

Huh, that sounds a bit like "No Reservations", set in a small town and with the roles somewhat reversed.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 12, 2020, 2:51pm

Harvey Holds His Own (The Harvey Stories) by Colleen Nelson includes elements that would appeal to any middle schooler: dogs, friends, school, and family. Maggie enjoys her volunteer work at the local senior living center and makes many new friends there. In the process, she examines her own ideas about friendship qualities. The residents at the center love Harvey her dog, who visits them frequently. Austin is another key character who helps his grandfather Phillip with his work at the center. The residents of the senior center work together to help Maggie, Austin, and Phillip with solving problems in surprising ways.

The story is told in first person, and switches viewpoints among Austin, Maggie, and Harvey. The settings include Maggie’s school, her home, and the senior living center. The appealing characters interact in intriguing and realistic ways, and suspense builds on several fronts throughout the story.

This book should interest middle school readers, as well as gently presenting themes of aging, friendship, grief, and caring. Readers should keep in mind that things are not always as they seem! Although this book is the second in a series, it can be read as a standalone.

heinäkuu 10, 2020, 12:02pm

In Death on Windmill Way, Antonia tries to solve the mysterious deaths that seem to swirl around her newly-acquired inn and restaurant in the lovely Hamptons. Unbeknownst to Antonia, previous owners had fallen prey to a strange curse. Will Antonia be the next to succumb to death? Could the unknown killer be the gardener, the previous manager, or the girlfriend of the previous owner? Antonia risks her life and her new business to discover the truth.

The setting in the Hamptons presents a pretty background picture for the nefarious doings in the small town of this novel. I really liked the idea of the inn and restaurant as key elements of this story. The characters were interesting and intriguing. Unfortunately, this novel suffers from too much detail, which bogs down the plot. I did not really need to know the exact color and type of furniture in a home, or a minute description of Antonia examining herself in several mirrors while bemoaning her figure. The extensive details add little to the storyline. Some readers may find these details help them know the characters better, or add to the feeling of "being there" and being drawn into the novel. I found them to be tiresome.

heinäkuu 10, 2020, 4:13pm

>112 LadyoftheLodge: I read a book recently where every single character's appearance was described in minute detail - complexion, hair/eye color, clothing, build. Even characters that were there for a few lines and then never to be seen again! I found it very distracting.

heinäkuu 12, 2020, 2:45pm

>113 janemarieprice: Yep, sounds like some of the cozy mystery novels I read. I usually just skip over all that detail. But Death on Windmill Way was by far the worst lately in terms of minute details, just as you said.

heinäkuu 13, 2020, 4:06pm

Christmas in Bayberry presents readers with the ideal “feel-good” story for the holiday season. The whole town of Bayberry gets into the Christmas spirit every year. Most of the good cheer revolves around the Bayberry Candle Company, a family business that forms the heart of the town and the main employer for residents. However, Bayberry Candle may be in financial trouble! When Wes arrives on the scene from New York to evaluate the business, residents await his conclusions with both hope and trepidation. At the same time, Wes hopes to rekindle a past romance with Kate, one of the family members and manager of the company. Santa Claus has some surprises in store!

The characters are realistic, and the plot moves along well for the most part. Although the plot is predictable, it holds true to what readers can expect from the Hallmark stories. The small town setting bursts with charm and neighborliness. Readers of this novel will quickly be transported from the hustle and bustle of the holidays, to a town that represents the very best positive values and traditions. I want to live in Bayberry!

heinäkuu 15, 2020, 11:30am

Just finished The Gown by Jennifer Robson and now I am reading An Amish Mother's Secret Past by Jo Ann Brown and An Embarrassment of Mangoes by Amy Vanderhoof.

heinäkuu 16, 2020, 2:39pm

An Amish Mother's Secret Past presents readers with an interesting plot and likeable characters. A widowed mom of two little girls, Rachel struggles to care for them while doing volunteer work for a small mountain town recovering from a tempestuous flood. But Rachel has a secret past, and prefers that it remain hidden. Isaac possesses great skills as a construction worker and manager, but feels unfulfilled without a wife and kids. As Isaac seeks "the perfect Amish wife," he discovers that maybe perfection is not what he expects, and is actually right in front of him. When Rachel must draw upon strengths from her past life in order to help the town escape from additional tragedy, she reveals new information about herself. Will Isaac and the Amish community accept her?

Readers may find this book a bit slow going as the plot is developed, but it is worth hanging in there as the story of Rachel and Isaac unfolds. Thrown in cute little girls, a mischievous kitten, potential rivalries, and threatening weather, and you have a perfect "storm" of possibilities that beg to be learned and loved by those who appreciate a thrilling story, with romance and secrets thrown into the bargain. The Christian message in this book is overt, and it is a clean read without violence, strong language, or descriptive intimacy.

heinäkuu 20, 2020, 2:09pm

Just finished An Embarrassment of Mangoes by Ann Vanderhoof.

heinäkuu 21, 2020, 1:49pm

His Pretend Amish Bride reacquaints readers with some characters from the first book in this series. Here we find school teacher Priscilla getting to know Gabe, who owns a camel farm. Priscilla has researched the therapeutic uses of camel’s milk, and seeks to find out if the milk can help her autistic brother. Both Gabe and Priscilla are trying to recover from past relationship hurts, yet cannot avoid their attraction to each other. Priscilla proves to be a valuable asset for Gabe’s business. However, many problems need to be solved before these two can find their happy ending.

The story contains valuable and interesting information about camel’s milk and about educating autistic children. The characters have their own flaws, rather then being painted as perfect human beings. However, I could not help wishing they would get some backbone and stand up for themselves, rather than allowing themselves to become embroiled in the lies of others. In addition, the plot seems uneven at times, and contains some scenes that just don’t seem to fit very well. Readers will find this novel leads in to the next one in the series. The Christian message is overt in this novel, and it is a clean read, with no strong language, adult scenes, or violence.

heinäkuu 22, 2020, 5:38pm

What if you could plan the “perfect” wedding? Heart’s Landing would certainly be the venue of choice for such a wonderfully special day. If this sounds like an ideal storyline, then A Cottage Wedding is the perfect reading choice for you. Plan your visit to historic Heart’s Landing, where weddings are the focus of every business in town.

When Tara arrives in Heart’s Landing with laptop in hand, she is determined to craft the perfect story that will land her a coveted promotion at Weddings Today magazine. However, Tara did not count on falling in love with the town, its people, and with Jason, the manager of Captain’s Cottage, the foremost wedding venue in town. However, Tara’s “secret” mission threatens to destroy the town’s reputation as the most desirable wedding location in the country, as well as her relationship with Jason. Read this book to find out whether Tara follows through with her plans. Readers who enjoy a fluffy, clean, and fun romance set in a picturesque town will flock to this novel of heartbreak and happiness, peopled with interesting characters who believe “the best is yet to be.”

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 27, 2020, 1:27pm

Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow presents readers with the story of Samantha, who seeks to resolve the loss of her boyfriend (the jerk married her cousin) as well as her relationship with her mum. Samantha encounters obstacles as she courageously gets on with her life and learns to stand up for herself. In the process, she befriends an elderly gentleman who completely changes her life (no spoilers here!), meets a new man, changes jobs, and finds everlasting love and friends who care about her.

Readers should be prepared for some ups and downs, tears and smiles as they navigate life with Samantha. This is a clean read, without strong language or graphic sexual descriptions. The characters are likeable, and differences among people are dealt with in a sensitive manner. The plot moves along well, and short chapters encourage readers to keep on reading.

heinäkuu 27, 2020, 1:41pm

Quintessence by Jess Redman. This middle grade read tells the story of how four misfits find their true strengths. They work together to help a fallen star get back to the heavens. In the process, they learn to work together, to cope with unfamiliar situations, to rely on others, and to use their hidden talents to solve problems..

Kids who enjoy learning about astronomy will find something to like about this story. The fantasy aspect will also appeal to those who want a bit of unreality and magic in the mix.

heinäkuu 27, 2020, 1:42pm

Ready for a shopping jaunt to a charming English village shop? Then The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts is your cuppa! After her New York job ends, Amber plans a short stay to visit with her godmother in Cranbridge, but her stay lengthens as she makes new friends and finds purpose in the little English village. With her new partner Josh, Amber transforms the sad little shop into a cheerful and welcoming place, drawing in the villagers and neighboring farmers and crafters. When tragedy threatens the village, residents work together to help and support each other, and the shop becomes a haven for many of the "lonely hearts". As you might expect, love is always in the offing!

Although sadness prevails at the outset, this novel soon draws in the reader, inviting one to mentally step inside the shop and view its transformation. Hearts are uplifted and friendships develop as autumn turns towards the winter holidays. The characters are realistic and readers can identify with their emotions and thoughts. The village setting provides a fitting backdrop, just like a pretty but dusty canvas, as the action plays out to reveal true hidden colors and nuances. This is truly a novel that will lead readers to recall the goodness within people.

heinäkuu 28, 2020, 7:05pm

It Cannoli Be Murder.
Cooking and cats are always a winning combination for me. Add in several handsome guys, a bookstore, and some secret sleuths, and you have the basis for a fun cozy mystery. By the way, did I mention some real jerks as well, just to add interest!

Tessa looks forward to opening her own Italian restaurant and is cooking madly in her happy space kitchen. Her cousin Gabby requests her help with putting on a book signing, and Tessa supplies the cannoli goodies. Things turn sour when the featured author turns out to be a womanizing pompous jerk. His arrogant wife,sulky daughter, rude marketing agent, and secretive housekeeper round out the picture of nastiness. Of course a murder ensues, with Tessa and Gabby helping the local police officers gather clues to find the killer.

The characters are likeable and funny. The setting of restaurant and bookstore provide a pleasing backdrop to the mysterious action, with plenty of red herrings and wrong turns for any cozy lover. The only thing I did not like was the excessive detail in the book. Personally, I do not need to know the type of mixer or chocolate brand, or the exact detail of a character's dress or hair.

Although this is the second in the series, it can be read as a standalone. This is a clean novel, with no strong language or graphic scenes.

I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

heinäkuu 29, 2020, 4:10pm

What You Wish For was not what I expected from the description I read. Samantha Casey works as a librarian at the Kempner School on Galveston Island, Texas. She reconnects with a guy on whom she had a major crush, when he becomes the new principal at the school. However, her crush is not at all as he used to be.

This story is told in the first person, and Sam tells us everything about herself and her life in great detail. This was a major problem for me, as some scenes went on for way too long. Sam left her previous job, and might even leave her current one, because she has a crush on a guy and it is not reciprocated, which is just plain silly and childish. The author touched on some serious issues, but I was annoyed by Sam's self-centeredness. Readers who like a lot of detail and focus on a main character might like this novel, but it was not a good choice for me.

I received this novel from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 3, 2020, 12:23pm

Behind the Frame continues the saga of the Shepherd Sisters. They live in Carson, Michigan, and each of them enjoys her career. However, they become embroiled in helping local law enforcement solve the murder of a local official. The plotline follows the three sisters as they plan an art fair, interact with town people, and try to clear the name of a long time friend and restaurant owner accused of murder.

The characters are likeable people and the plot is plausible. This is a clean read, with no graphic violence, adult scenes, or strong language.

I had difficulty at the beginning of the book in trying to keep the sisters straight, since their names are similar--Skylar, Savannah, Sydney. I felt as if I was dropped into the middle of a story that was already happening, perhaps because this is the second story in a series. The introduction of a whole host of other characters also added to my initial confusion. At times, the lengthy descriptions felt as if the novel was trying to write about scenes and people that would be better viewed as a film.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 3, 2020, 12:24pm

Before the Crown
If you have ever wondered about the courtship of Elizabeth and Phillip "before the crown," then you will enjoy this historical fiction novel about just that topic. The action takes place from the first times these two royals met, culminating with their wedding day. I learned quite a lot about Elizabeth and Phillip by reading this book. For example, I did not know Phillip was such a wild and adventuresome man in his young days. I also liked learning about his family and his sisters, and what he had to give up to become Elizabeth's husband. It is also interesting to note the opposition to the marriage by her family.

One thing I disliked was the writing in present tense, which to me made this book seem like a movie script. That is personal preference on my part.

This is a great gossipy sort of book, and the author has done her research well. The viewpoints switch between Elizabeth and Phillip to keep the readers interest and balance the story. She creates a realistic and believable picture of the courtship of these two well-known royal individuals.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 6, 2020, 4:52pm

Finding Hemingway describes the journey of Callie and Trevor throughout several locations in Spain. Callie and Trevor are both between jobs and seek entertainment in Spain for six months. They meet and join up with Claudio, a wealthy Spanish businessman who acts as their guide. Unbeknownst to her companions, Callie has had "conversations" with Ernest Hemingway, her favorite author, as he directs her path through her journeys. (Yes, she knows he is dead.)

This book is essentially a retelling of The Sun Also Rises as the expatriates wander from town to town, spending most days eating, sightseeing, and getting drunk. The story also focuses on the love relationship between pragmatic Callie and the flamboyant Claudio, with Trevor tagging along as a sort of lost soul. Callie is called upon to face her inner demons and struggles.

The characters seemed shallow and contrived, rudderless drunken wanderers who recreate scenes from Hemingway's novel. The novel plodded along, much longer than was necessary. Callie and Claudio argue over really idiotic issues, such as how many lovers they have had in the past. Although Callie rediscovers her love of art, she does nothing about it when returning to corporate life after her fling. The epilogue seemed pasted on as an anti-climax.

The idea of a male author writing about the feelings and thoughts of a female seemed incongruous; I found myself doubting that a female would actually have some of the thoughts and say some of the things Callie did. There is mild swearing in this novel. I was intrigued by the description since it included Hemingway, but found it to be disappointing overall.

elokuu 6, 2020, 4:51pm

I just finished Dumpling Days by Grace Lin. I enjoyed this kid's book very much, even though it was a re-read. Pacy Lin travels to Taiwan with her parents and meets many family members. Her parents were born in Taiwan and feel at home there. Pacy and her sisters feel like "ghosts" since they do not read, write, or speak Taiwanese, and often feel like they do not fit in. Anyone who has visited a strange place and felt out of place will identify with Pacy. The descriptions of food and places in Taiwan painted a picture of what it would be like to go there. That was really nice in this time of no-travel.

elokuu 6, 2020, 4:56pm

Feet on the Street: Rambles Around New Orleans by Ray Blount Jr.
I read this one for the TravelKIT Travel Narratives for August. Having been to New Orleans in February, I was excited to relive my experiences there. This book started out well, but the last couple of chapters were totally incomprehensible to me. They were sort of an "alternative universe" experience, unfortunately, written in a stream of consciousness style. The names mentioned by the author meant nothing to me, and there was no bibliography at the end to assist the reader in discovering more about the people. This was a short (thankfully) and disappointing read.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 7, 2020, 1:09pm

If you are interested in discovering new parts of history, which you knew nothing about. then you might like to read this book. The Boat Girls presents a fictionalized account of women working on the "narrowboats" on the canals in England during World War II. These women fulfilled a valuable role in transporting materials on the inland waterways, which made it more difficult for the goods to be targeted by Germans. The work was difficult and dirty, but the women dedicated themselves to serving their country despite skepticism of their families and criticism by others working the waterways. The stories of three women, each from a different background, form the heart of this book. The descriptions of the boats and locks were somewhat difficult to follow without some diagrams, but the story is interesting and captivating. Readers will get a good idea of what it was like to serve on these boats.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 11, 2020, 2:18pm

Off the Shelf is a clean Christian novel about Anne Gibson, a widow living in a small town with her two young children. She serves as the librarian for the town library, which is housed in a large Victorian house that she inherited from her aunt. Anne has the advantage of making her home on the second and third floors of the house. In this book from the series Secrets of the Blue Hill Library, Anne and her friends track down some missing children's books and in the process discovers some secret dealings in town politics, suspected bribery, and construction schemes.

This book is part of a series, but can easily be read as a stand alone novel. It is a clean read, with no adult scenes, violence, or strong language. The plot presents a light adventure, with likeable and down to earth characters in a small town setting. The Christian message is overt but not preachy and the mystery is low-key and fun.

elokuu 14, 2020, 2:41pm

Do you think history is dull and dry, found only in school books? Do you view history as a bunch of events and dates, but not about real people? Well, think again! Try reading books like "Our Yanks," and you will soon change your mind. Although this book is fiction, it is based on historical facts and events.

Our Yanks tells the story of a group of American airmen who are assigned to develop an airfield near a small village in England during World War II. The narrative takes place after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the event that thrust the United States into the war. Although the "Yanks" were disliked and disparaged at first, the villagers got to know them and welcomed the young men into their homes and hearts.

This book introduces readers to several people and families whose lives became entwined with those of the airmen. Agnes, the kindergarten teacher, Sally, the baker's daughter, and Lady Beauchamp, the local gentry, experience love and heartbreak in their relationships with the American men. Elderly Miss Cutteridge finds the "son" she never had, and village boys Tom and Alfie befriend and help the Americans.

Readers will be taken into the heart of England's experience with World War II: the rationing, hardship, and deprivation of daily life, as well as the courage and perseverance engendered by the situations the villagers faced. This book definitely grabs the reader from the outset, and does not let go until the last page is turned. This is a clean read, without graphic descriptions of adult situations or strong language. Learning history becomes enjoyable through books like this one.

elokuu 17, 2020, 1:37pm

Completed A Stroke of Malice by Anna Lee Huber. I have read all the other books in this series and enjoyed them. For some reason, I had a hard time keeping all the male characters straight. The plot seemed really convoluted although the twists at the end were engrossing. I also became weary of the constant references to Lady Darby's pregnancy. It just wasn't necessary to keep mentioning it, once the reader was made aware of it. Maybe I am just easily annoyed lately, as the book got good reviews.

elokuu 18, 2020, 2:23pm

Steadfast Mercy tells the story of Jonica and her child Stephen, as they return to Jonica's original Amish community following the death of her parents. She plans to help her Auntie Edna sell her farm. However, once there, Jonica must cope with her aunt's failing memory, her son's mysterious illness, and falling in love with a community member from the past.

This novel is by no means a lighthearted, casual read. The characters must deal with serious life issues: illness, death, aging, relocation, past unresolved issues, misunderstandings. Each of them makes mistakes, but accesses inner strength and faith in order to persevere.

The compelling nature of the plot made me continue reading, even though I found the never-ending problems encountered by the characters to be depressing and sad. Although this book is the third one in a series, I read it as a stand-alone novel. The Christian message is overt, and the presence of the "mysterious stranger" adds an otherworldly tone to the action. The theme of hanging on and trusting God is strong throughout the novel.

elokuu 23, 2020, 2:03pm

Readers of this book, entitled How to Start a Scandal, will meet Violet, a beauty who remains "on the shelf" after her debut, and Seth, a soldier returned from Waterloo to claim his place as an Earl. Violet and Seth are longtime friends and neighbors, and their love for each other has simmered below the surface for years. A series of misunderstandings keep them apart, until circumstances finally force their attraction out into the open.

Several subplots add to the intrigue of this novel. Seth's younger sister Caroline dotes on a gentleman whose shyness keeps him at arm's length. Violet harbors a secret career as a gossip column writer! Seth's family jewelry is missing, and he hires a private detective to track down the prized possessions. Violet's annoying niece visits with her patient kitty, and seems wise beyond her years in affairs of the heart.

The characters are likeable and well-drawn, and the novel includes enough intrigue to keep readers turning the pages. My main complaint is that the story went on too long, and the final chapters and epilogue seemed like an afterthought. Changing the order of the chapters would have made the book more intuitive.

Caution to readers: This novel contains highly detailed, steamy scenes of sexual intimacy. For me, this was unfortunate, as the scenes spoiled an otherwise delightful novel.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 23, 2020, 2:09pm

Welcome to a competitive cook-off! Sherry and her brother Pep compete with other cooks to prepare their specialty dishes in Eat, Drink, and Be Wary. However, Sherry's primary rival (Fritz) does not show up for the event, and Sherry emerges as the winner in her category. Unfortunately, Fritz meets his end under suspicious circumstances, and Pep seems to be a suspect. Sherry teams up with local law enforcement to help solve the case. She encounters many hazards, but ultimately her friends also pitch in and the culprit is apprehended.

In addition to the main plot, several subplots emerge in this cozy mystery. Readers are kept guessing about the identity of the perpetrator of the crime, as new clues appear and suspects abound. Stormy weather and autumn activities add to the atmosphere of the novel. Although this story is part of a series, I read it successfully as a stand-alone.

This story featured a lot of characters, quite a few of them shady. I had difficulty keeping track of them all. The many subplots and detailed descriptions also detracted from the main storyline and added twists and turns that seemed confusing. Readers might want to keep a pencil and paper handy to create their own lists or diagrams to avoid confusion. This is a clean cozy mystery, without strong language or graphic details of violence or sexual encounters.

elokuu 25, 2020, 1:23pm

While the main thread of Three Treats Too Many includes restaurant rivalry, several subplots keep the pot boiling for Sarah Blair and friends. When a new restaurant opens near Southwinds, of which Sarah is part owner, the town inhabitants fall in love with the new vegan dishes offered by Chef Riley. However, when the chef is found dead outside the building after the official restaurant opening, her admirer Jacob becomes the prime suspect. As the plot unfolds, shady dealings with building inspections and romantic entanglements cast suspicion on other characters. Throw in motorcycle riders and barking dogs for added excitement as the plot thickens
and the killer is revealed.

This clean and cozy mystery is part of a series, although it can be read as a stand-alone novel. However, readers may experience some confusion with figuring out the different characters and their relationships to each other if they have not read the previous books. The characters were somewhat one-dimensional, although the animal characters were delightful.

elokuu 27, 2020, 3:08pm

If you are interested in the history of how women got the vote in America, this book may be a valuable addition to your information library. Pioneering the Vote focuses on how women in western states worked together to gain the vote for women. You may encounter some unfamiliar names, as well as familiar names in suffragist history.

The author includes a forward as well as back material to further expand the reader's knowledge of the topic. Extensive research references and end notes provide sources for further reading.

syyskuu 2, 2020, 8:00pm

Murder at Kingscote
Newspaper manager Emma Cross gets more than she bargained for when (once again) she ends up involved in a murder investigation! Although she prefers to discover the truths behind stories, Emma's time is often taken up with her role of managing employees and assigning stories. When a butler comes to an unfortunate end following a sumptuous meal at the lovely mansion called Kingscote, Emma and her gentleman friend Derrick are both drawn into finding out what happened. What does the butler have to hide? With the aid of an undercover reporter, the investigation is underway!

The beautiful "cottages" of Newport serve as a sumptuous background for deadly drivers, family scandals, and secret sporting events. The detailed descriptions of the homes make the story come alive, although some readers might find them too lengthy for their own tastes. The background information is well-researched, and the author endnotes add perspective to the story.

While this historical novel is part of a series of stories set in Newport, the book can be read as a stand-alone novel. The end of the book sets the stage for further action and adventure for Emma Cross.

syyskuu 4, 2020, 3:30pm

Just finished The Anchoress which was a historical novel about a young woman who chose to live an enclosed life as a reclusive holy woman, for RandomCAT. It was a little bit weird, but the ending was satisfying and the story made me think about the interior life of the soul and its connection to one's humanity. Also a re-read of The Fairacre Festival by Miss Read for TravelKit.

syyskuu 4, 2020, 4:48pm

>141 LadyoftheLodge: I really enjoyed The Anchoress when I read it. It's incredible to think that back in the day there were women who sacrificed their lives like that as part of their faith - I wouldn't last a night.

syyskuu 7, 2020, 2:51pm

>141 LadyoftheLodge: I had heard of the practice, but this book was well-researched and gave more human insights into the feelings and thoughts of the recluse. I could imagine the fasting part and obsessions (thinking of anorexia here, as I am a recovered anorexic).

syyskuu 8, 2020, 4:26pm

Jeb's Wife fits into the category of Amish romance, but Leah and Jeb find the road to romance to be rocky indeed. A marriage of convenience solves several problems for both Leah and Jeb. Leah acquires security and some community status as a married woman. Jeb retains ownership of his farm in accordance with his uncle's final will and testament. However, both of them carry scars from previous relationships, some physical scars and some emotional ones. When gossip in the Amish community threatens to break their marriage, Jeb and Leah must come to grips with what marriage and love really mean to them.

This book deals with realistic situations, including addictions, physical disability, the evil of gossip, and the true meaning of marriage. The characters are described well, and demonstrate qualities of strength and courage in the face of adversity. While there were a few threads left hanging at the end of the novel, for the most part the ending is satisfactory. Emotions I experienced when reading this novel ran the gamut from sadness to joy; I wanted to cry and also to cheer!

Although part of a series, the novel can be read as a standalone. Readers of the previous novels in the series will be reunited with old friends. This is a clean read, without strong language, violence, or explicit sexual descriptions.

syyskuu 13, 2020, 3:13pm

Dough or Die
A reality show crew arrives in the small town of Santa Sofia to film the pilot program for a series about bakeries, bringing with it mayhem and murder! The featured bakery, Yeast of Eden, is the brainchild of Olaya Solis, working with her partner and friend Ivy Culpepper. Yeast of Eden specializes in artisan breads, but also equips women with skills so they can enter the workplace.

When cameraman Ben Nader is the victim of a hit and run accident, Ivy gets involved in helping to track down the driver of the vehicle. The arrogant co-star of the show, Sandra, then ends up dead, and a stalker who follows Ivy adds a sidebar to the plot. Ivy decides to volunteer at a local women's shelter where Ben helped out, and discovers increasingly complicated connections among characters.

I found the characters to be delightful and well-developed. The plot seemed very confusing at times, with too much going on and too many loose ends to keep up with, although all becomes clear by the end of the story. I did not care for the minute details in some sections of the book, especially the cooking descriptions, and skimmed past them, although some readers might enjoy knowing these details. Readers should note that while this is a clean novel without graphic violence or sex, one scene involves some cursing, which seems pointless, as it adds nothing to the story. There was also reference to "magic" baked into the bread, but nothing more was developed regarding that idea. Too bad, I wanted to know more.

Although "Dough or Die" is part of a series, it works as a standalone novel. Enough information is given to bring readers up to speed on the characters and setting.

syyskuu 13, 2020, 7:02pm

Wow, I can't believe how behind I got on following your thread. Don't you tire of the sort of sameness to the cozies? Or is it more a comfort?

syyskuu 14, 2020, 1:49pm

I try to get some variety in them, and not read too many of them in a row without interspersing some others between them. As you said, there is some comfort in knowing what to expect, but with some kind of twist or interesting new information.

syyskuu 17, 2020, 4:42pm

I just finished Mousse and Murder by Elizabeth Logan. It was a fun read, first in a new series and set in Alaska, which made it interesting for me. (We were supposed to visit Alaska in June, which would be our third visit there, but. . . .).

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 2020, 3:44pm

All Stirred Up is not just a story about the cut-throat world of chefs and high-end restaurants. Set in Edinburgh, Scotland, this novel is also a novel about the importance of families. Susan Napier sets out to revitalize the family business by a total remake of Elliott’s, the restaurant started by her grandfather. In the process, she rediscovers her own talents and comes face to face with her past. Susan contends with neurotic sisters, old loves, disgruntled employees, and screen stars as she perseveres in her quest to honor the memory of her grandfather and raise Elliott’s to new heights of excellence.

This novel has its happy and sad parts, hilarious and heartrending situations. The story portrays the difficulties of dealing with family, and the importance of moving on from grief to new experiences. The best way to describe this novel is “women’s fiction,” although anyone interested in the world of executive chefs might enjoy this backstage peek into the restaurant business. The characters are realistically portrayed and quite likeable. The action plays out against the fascinating backdrop of Edinburgh festivals and venues. Readers should be aware that this novel is liberally sprinkled with all manner of profanity, although it lacks overt sexual or violent situations.

syyskuu 23, 2020, 11:28am

Living with the Monks was not what I expected. I thought this book would be about the monastic life and one man's spiritual retreat at a monastery. Instead, it reads like a business book, full of cute little life maxims. It is an "all about me" kind of book, in that the author talks about his stay at the monastery as one of his "bucket list" events, something he can now cross off as "Hey, I did this. Move on to the next thing." It was also full of profanity, which is in contrast to the spirituality of the monks. In some ways, I felt as if he was mocking the monks, which did not sit well with me. I guess I should have chosen more carefully, since the author bio tells me that he is an entrepreneur, adventurer, and former rap singer. This book was like something that would form the basis for a stand up comedian. This one goes in the discard pile. Not recommended. I did finish the book.

syyskuu 25, 2020, 10:54am

Wartime with the Cornish Girls describes life during World War II in Cornwall, England. The lives of three women unexpectedly converge as they gain employment at a secret communications center. Their personal lives also become a focal point of the story as several plot lines combine. Austerity, hardship, friendship, and love all play a role in the lives of Eva, Hazel, and Violet in this historically focused novel. Readers who enjoy a clean historical read and want to learn more about people on the home front will find this to be an intriguing selection.

How to Astronaut contains a series of essays written by the author. They address different aspects of his life, training, and career. Photos are included. The essays are written for the general public readership, rather than a scientific audience. They are both interesting and informative. Readers who are intrigued by learning about astronauts and what they do will enjoy this look into the life of an astronaut, and a vicarious "ride" into space.

syyskuu 28, 2020, 8:59pm

What Cats Want
If you are a feline fancier, and would like a "cat's eye view" of life, then this book is for you. This is basically a handbook for cat owners on how to give their cats the best existence and encourage them live the life of a pampered pet. The tone is practical and humorous, yet knowledgeable, providing basic cat care information in a format that is understandable by most people. You do not need a science background to gain a good understanding of your pet's needs. Each chapter focuses on specific aspects of cats, beginning with basic anatomy, and going on to feeding, setting up the environment, moving, cat body language and sounds, kittenhood to geriatric cats. The cute cartoony drawings enhance the readability of the book. There are also special tips and ideas that are highlighted for ease of reading. Readers who want to know "what cats want" will enjoy this short and easy to read book.

I received this book from the publisher and from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

lokakuu 1, 2020, 4:57pm

The Lost Diary of Venice features stories from the past and from modern times, woven together in one narrative. The details and background on art and on book restoration make this book interesting for me. I enjoyed the storyline on Giovanni and Chiara quite a lot, as I find historical novels to be intriguing. The lush details and descriptions draw the reader into the stories of both past (Venice) paralleling current times (Connecticut) and provide a fitting background for the action. The story was well-researched as well as imaginative.

lokakuu 4, 2020, 4:01pm

Okay, so we finally got Mr Chips to go outside! He was a chipmunk who decided he wanted to live in our house, and scooted in the door when my husband opened it. The little bugger was very fast, and kept outwitting our four cats. He took up residence behind the "mandesk" in our bay window. He also tripped a humane trap twice without getting caught. I finally coaxed him into our entryway by placing peanuts out there, and we closed the interior door when he finally went out there for a snack, then opened the exterior door for him to exit. It was an interesting week with him in residence! Goodbye, Mr. Chips!

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 6, 2020, 3:01pm

Under Scottish Stars
The lovely setting of Skye forms a perfect backdrop for romance in this highly readable story. Serena moves back to the place in which she grew up, since she has become a widow and needs a change. Her goal is to assist in managing the family hotel business there. Serena brings along her two adorable children and reconnects with her Aunt Muriel. When she meets Malcolm, the current hotel manager, sparks fly between them. Eventually Malcolm and Serena realize their attraction to each other, along with their ability to team up and greatly improve the hotel business.

Malcolm is the guardian of his niece Kylee, who seeks a college course of study in music. Serena assists Kylee in connecting to the music industry, which ultimately changes the course of Serena and Malcolm's relationship. Decisions need to be made between love and parenting.

Readers will find this to be an intriguing romance novel, as well a story about the importance of family and the hard decisions that sometimes must be made. This is a clean novel, with no explicit sexual situations or strong language. The Christian message is softly expressed yet thoughtful.

lokakuu 6, 2020, 6:54pm

>154 LadyoftheLodge: Congratulations on your chipmunk eviction. We are rather overrun with them this season (probably because of last year's bumper crop of acorns); they can be fairly brazen. We enjoy watching them from the front porch but I definite don't want any in the house :-)

lokakuu 7, 2020, 9:24am

>154 LadyoftheLodge: We had a similar situation with a squirrel when I was a kid. I was the first one to see our 'house guest.' I was up early before school in the computer room when I saw it dart across the room. I screamed so loud I woke my parents and sister. I left for the bus not long after, (I must have been in middle school already), but my little sister and my parents apparently spent a long time getting it out of the house after.

lokakuu 7, 2020, 1:36pm

Thread and Dead
If you are looking for a unique twist on the cozy mystery genre, "Thread and Dead" might be for you. Iris and her Grammie own and operate a shop in which they sell antique and vintage linens, aprons, and other similar items. When Iris gets the chance to acquire beautiful linens for their shop, she jumps at the chance. Iris heads out to Shorehaven to meet with its quirky owner to view the linens. She also makes some new friends and becomes involved in researching vintage clothing. However, the clothing also yields a surprise and engages Iris and friends in a mystery. The death of a local student under suspicious circumstances also catches her attention.

This book includes several mysteries to solve, as well as a unique background, likeable characters, and a twisty plot line. I gathered new information about the vintage linens trade, and also found new characters to like. Readers who seek a clean read with an interesting plot will enjoy this novel.

I received this novel from the publisher and from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

lokakuu 7, 2020, 1:38pm

>156 avaland: >157 Julie_in_the_Library: I am glad the little critter is outside, although he or she has not been hanging around my feeders since the exodus. Now we have to avoid leaving the exterior door open to the entryway, as I do not relish a return of the native!

lokakuu 10, 2020, 2:00pm

I just finished The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking by Rick Curry for TravelKIT. This book contains recipes from all over the world, and is divided up by seasons of the church year. Each recipe is accompanied by anecdotes about people, origins of the bread, notes from Jesuit literature, or personal memoirs of the author. There are many recipes in here that I would love to try. Baking bread is a great stress reliever and makes one's house smell heavenly (pun intended).

I used to be a prodigious bread baker, especially when I had a bread machine. However, we do not eat as much bread now, so making these lovely recipes would mean having too much to consume responsibly before the bread became moldy, since the homemade loaves lack preservatives found in purchased commercial breads.

lokakuu 11, 2020, 9:05am

>160 LadyoftheLodge: Sounds like a fascinating read, and not just for the recipes.

lokakuu 13, 2020, 5:08pm

I just finished The Amish Midwife by Patricia Davids. In this novel, Joseph and his neighbor Anne have never really hit it off. His goats keep getting into her garden, and the long lines of cars at her produce stand annoy him. When Joseph's younger sister drops off her infant for Joseph to care for, he has no idea what to do. Since Anne is a trained and experienced midwife, Joseph hires her to serve as nanny, in exchange for his help in completing needed repairs at her place and helping with the produce stand. (Did I mention they are both single, but with secrets in their pasts?) Although somewhat predictable, this Amish novel was an interesting, quick, and fun read, and I learned a lot about goat farming.

lokakuu 15, 2020, 8:19pm

An Amish story with a twist! Those words best describe The Amish Newcomer. Leah goes to live with an Amish family after she witnesses a crime and becomes part of the witness protection program. However, Leah never expects to become an integral part of the Amish community, finding a use for her journalism skills and gaining a family and a faith. Although the road is not easy, Leah emerges as a strong character, and perhaps finds a kindred spirit in Isaac.

Characters in this novel are likeable and realistic. The Amish community setting provides a fitting background for Leah's journey of self-discovery. The message of Christian faith is overt and plays an integral role in the story.
Readers will also enjoy the contrasts between the Amish community and the Los Angeles community in which Leah lived and worked. This is a clean novel, with no explicit violence, intimate adult situations, or strong language. I hope the author continues to write about these characters, as this was a very fine entrance into the world of Amish-based fiction.

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 22, 2020, 2:39pm

Christmas at Lock Keeper's Cottage will certainly encourage readers to join in the holiday spirit! This clean read of friendship, family, love, and laughter begins aboard the Santa Ahoy narrowboat, and continues on through a surprising Christmas Day. The strength of this book lies in its creative portrayal of celebrations among friends and portrays the spirit of giving. I felt as if the characters were my friends, and I would have liked to be part of their jolly group. The style, setting, and characters reminded me of novels by my favorite author, "Miss Read," Dora Jessie Saint,which is high praise indeed.

Although the story may seem to get off to a slow start as the characters are introduced, I encourage readers to continue, as the Christmas story is worth the wait. My one complaint with the book is the ending, which seemed completely out of sync with the rest of the book, as if it was an afterthought that was tacked on,containing quite a convoluted and confusing plot line. I wish the story had stopped after Christmas!

lokakuu 25, 2020, 1:48pm

Calm Christmas and a Happy New Year
If you are looking for ideas to promote a calm Christmas season, moving away from commercialism and hectic lifestyles, then this book might be of help to you. This is really a workbook that can help readers focus on what is meaningful to them during the holidays, and pay attention to potential stressors. The book contains a chapter on the five components or "stories" that might make up a person's individual meaning of Christmas: faith, magic, connection, abundance, and heritage. Using the exercises and thoughtful questions, the reader can gain insights into his or her own ideas for a meaningful holiday season and into a peaceful New Year. The ideas within the book encourage personal well-being and enjoyment of the events and activities that mean the most to a person.

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 27, 2020, 1:47pm

Goodbye Phone, Hello World: 65 Ways to Disconnect from Tech and Reconnect to Joy is a quick, easy, enjoyable guide to enhancing your life by giving up some of your tech usage time. The goal of this book is to show tech users some ways in which technology affects their lives, and also presents some ways to lessen the pull of that technology and use the time for something else that is more meaningful and enjoyable. The book is divided into sections that deal with creativity, health, relationships, well-being, and the environment. Each section can easily be read in one sitting. The artwork forms the best part of the book and leads the reader into a more mindful state, even without the advice and suggestions. The book is well-researched and includes extensive end notes and bibliography.

If you are a frequent user of technology, you might have thought about greatly reducing your tech use. Maybe you even felt as if you are a servant to your cell phone.If you long to reduce your tech usage, check out this beautifully illustrated book. You might just find some ideas that appeal to you!

lokakuu 26, 2020, 8:16pm

>166 LadyoftheLodge: Nice pitch for the disconnecting-from-tech-book. I find myself getting further behind the tech world these days, at least since I've retired. I don't care that much about keeping up, which I suspect bugs my three grown children to no end. I also dislike the constant interruptions, or the idea that I should be living my life daily on FB..... Which is all to say that I'm probably not the target audience this book is looking for :-)

lokakuu 27, 2020, 1:46pm

>167 avaland: I am also getting away from the tech world. Too much negativity and conflict, so I rarely get onto any social media other than LT. The news is too stressful and causes a lot of anxiety for me, so I have reduced my constant "doom scrolling" by quite a lot. I also am not one of those who sleeps with my phone--it is in a different room entirely at night. I probably was not the target audience for this book either, but the artwork alone is calming.

lokakuu 28, 2020, 11:45am

Peace in the Valley presents a quite different take on the usual Amish romance novel. The plot hinges on conflict between two very different Amish settlements, resulting in disruptions of families and potential heartbreak for the family members.

Nora and her sister Jeannie relocate to reside with relatives when wildfire forces Nora and her family to evacuate from their home in Montana. Although they move in with their grandparents, Nora and Jeannie are faced with a very different view of Amish religious beliefs, leading them to question the faith with which they have grown up. Traditions and foundational ways of worship are re-examined through the eyes of their grandparents and other relatives and friends, and hard choices must be made by the young ladies and their families.

The characters in this story are portrayed as realistic, flawed human beings. The plot moves along well and the conflicts between characters and their beliefs are thoughtfully examined. Stark contrasts are drawn between the two different Amish communities and their differing values and beliefs. The overt Christian message forms an integral part of the novel's themes. Readers who enjoy a clean read without strong language or descriptions of intimacy will find this an intriguing departure from the usual Amish novels.

marraskuu 2, 2020, 4:21pm

I just finished Bill Bryson's African Diary. It was an easy read. He utilizes his usual humor in writing about the potential hazards of visiting the slums of Africa and flying in a light aircraft. It was interesting to read about and see the photos of some of the places people live in Africa. They made me feel humbled and blessed for all that I have been given.

marraskuu 2, 2020, 4:41pm

An Amish Singing contains four short stories, which are tied together by the presence of common characters and events. Although the genre is romance, the story themes play a large role and deal with quite serious concerns: grief, illness, resistance to change, shyness, personal tragedy, aging, faith crisis. I liked the connections among the stories and how one story led right into the next. The idea of singing for guests and for others in the community was quite unique among the many novels that I have read about Amish people and their culture. The characters are realistically portrayed as people of faith, flawed yet willing to keep trying to do better and to serve others. This is a clean novel without strong language or descriptions of intimacy or violence. The Christian message is overt and runs through all four stories as a key element of the plot. Readers of novels about Amish people should appreciate the new plot structure in addition to the emphasis on service to others and emerging from struggles with a stronger faith.

marraskuu 7, 2020, 1:50pm

I just read How My Parents Learned to Eat which is a favorite picture book story about a sailor and his soon-to-be wife in Japan. They both wanted to go out to dinner together, but he was worried about using chopsticks and she was worried about using silverware. The story is humorous and touching and shows how two cultures came together.

marraskuu 8, 2020, 3:19pm

Murder at an Irish Christmas draws the reader into a cozy family Christmas celebration with Siobhan and her delightful siblings. As they prepare to attend a Christmas concert in the small town of West Cork, things go awry when the orchestra conductor is found dead at the concert venue, beneath a beautiful harp! Although this is supposed to be a holiday spent off-duty, Garda Siobhan and her fiancee Garda Macdara soon become involved in solving the crime, before someone else gets hurt.

The setting in Ireland, with music, served as the main attraction for me to read this novel. Although I had not read any of the others in this series, I greatly enjoyed getting to know the main character and her siblings. Enough suspects abound to satisfy any mystery reader. The rapid plot and changing suspicions kept me turning the pages. When all is revealed, there are many surprises and secrets that come to light.

This is a clean read, without strong language or descriptions of adult situations or violence. I highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoy a cozy mystery and would love to be enthralled by the Irish setting and people.

marraskuu 9, 2020, 8:12pm

Completed When Jessie Came Across the Sea by Amy Hest for TravelKIT November. This children's story book tells about Jessie, who left her home country to move to America at the age of thirteen. Jessie works with her aunt, sewing beautiful lace and making dresses. Eventually she is able to send a ticket to her grandmother, who joins her in New York in time to attend Jessie's wedding to a shoe maker. The best part of this story is the description of Jessie's voyage across the sea and how she learns to get along in America. The colorful illustrations convey the life Jessie encounters in her new city.

marraskuu 11, 2020, 11:53am

If you are seeking a short, cozy mystery with a Christmas theme, then Candy Cane Crime might be a good choice. This novella continues the Amish Candy Shop series, and stars the same characters. The series is usually focused on Bailey, the chief candy maker who has her own TV cooking show. However, this story is told from the viewpoint of Charlotte, a young Amish woman who works at the candy shop. When Charlotte agrees to coordinate the Candy Cane Exchange in the small town of Harvest, she finds more than she bargained for! Charlotte seems to have a secret admirer, but who can it be? And what is the "crime" in the title of the novella? That will be up to the reader to decide! (Jethro the potbelly pig and Melchior the camel also have cameo roles in the story.)

This was an enjoyable, quick read, perfect for a pre-holiday treat. It is a clean novel, with no strong language, violence, or intimacy. Readers who are familiar with the characters in the series will appreciate reconnecting with their small town friends in this novella. The plot moves along quickly and the characters definitely display their own quirky character traits.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 11, 2020, 11:54am

The Blended Quilt contains several story lines that are related to one another. Sadie and Wyman struggle to make their relationship work, as each of them pursues different interests and jobs. Mandy and Ken live on the beautiful island of Kauai, but encounter life changes as they begin their family and manage their Bed and Breakfast. Other family members and characters find daily challenges to happiness and lifestyles in this novel of an Amish community. Although this book is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone novel.

I have read other books by these authors, but sadly, this one was not one of their best. The stories seemed disjointed, and perhaps would have worked better as a short story collection. The book ended abruptly and the finale seemed unrealistic. I disliked the characters; they seemed shallow and focused on themselves. I did not feel they portrayed Amish values very well, with too much emphasis on money and a lack of acceptance and support for each other.

This is a clean read, without strong language, and lacking descriptions of violence or intimacy. The Christian message is overt and forms a key element of the story line.

marraskuu 13, 2020, 12:25pm

A river cruise on the Rhine provides the setting for this Christmas novel, One Charmed Christmas. The beginning of the story reminded me of the opening scenes of a film, in which the characters are introduced through little vignettes about each of them. I could picture the movie in my mind as I read it! Once I got the characters straight in my mind, the story seemed to develop fairly quickly. The author obviously has enjoyed a cruise or two (or did a good job with research), as the information seemed fairly accurate in my experiences.

The main characters set sail with their own emotional baggage: loneliness, marital and family problems, hypochondria, health problems. However, let readers think this novel is a downer, on the contrary, many moments of humor and fun accompany the passengers on their journey. There are romance elements and entanglements, as well as quirky characters and the surprises that accompany a holiday cruise. The novel contains mild profanity.

marraskuu 16, 2020, 12:58pm

I sort of read The Body from the Past in the Jazzi Zander mystery series. I liked the premise of house renovators and the surprises they find, but there were too many characters to keep track of. I felt like I was walking into the middle of a movie, so I skipped to the end. (Pearl rule) I also got really annoyed about how the main character kept referring to her husband as her "Viking" or her "sexy Norseman" and oogling his body parts and etc. It was just okay.

marraskuu 18, 2020, 8:22pm

A Heartfelt Christmas Promise includes relatable characters, a small town setting, huge horses, cute kids, and adorable dogs. What else could a person ask for in a romantic Christmas novel? Throw in a handsome horse trainer and a workaholic woman, and you have the basics for this novel.

Businesswoman Vanessa arrives at Fraser Hills along with her cousin Ann, with the task of shutting down the "unprofitable" local fruitcake operation in favor of a sporting goods warehouse--right before the Christmas holidays. However, she gets a big surprise when the business is actually quite profitable, and the warehouses can be acquired by the sporting goods company without any local job loss. As she becomes part of the town, Vanessa meets handsome widower Mike, a local trainer of huge Percheron horses, along with his teenage daughter Misty, who happens to be a business genius. Together they work out a plan to save the business, including a bit of romance and holiday spirit thrown in for good measure. And don't forget the daring little dog Scooter who helps bring the couple together. I loved the small town flavor--I wanted to move to Fraser Hills! This book would be perfect for a Hallmark special!

This is a clean Christmas romance novel, without strong language, violence, or intimacy. Readers who enjoy sweet, clean romance novels will want to add this to their holiday reading list.

marraskuu 22, 2020, 2:56pm

Botanical Art Techniques provides abundant inspiration for artists who wish to create botanical drawings. Basic as well as advanced techniques are provided in detailed steps, with color photos for every step. Applied Tutorials are found throughout the book. The most outstanding feature of the book is the many instructional color photos, and the reproductions of botanical art works. Many different botanical artists contributed their expertise to the creation of this book.

Part I includes rationale, ideas for setting up a studio and for working in the field, and selecting tools and materials, beginning with basics of botany and basic art techniques. The focus in this part of the book is drawing with graphite and pen and ink.

Part 2 of the book focuses on botanical subjects rendered in color, beginning with colored pencils and continuing to multiple media, watercolors, oils, acrylics, embossing, etching, and other media and methods.

The final section includes specialized techniques, making a field sketchbook and journal, principles and approaches, a reading list for additional reference, contributor biographies, and an index.

From the back cover: "This definitive guide is the most thorough how-to on every major technique of botanical artistry."

I would highly recommend this book as a source for artists desiring to become skilled at creating art work featuring botanical subjects.

marraskuu 22, 2020, 3:14pm

Christmas Ever After
Readers who are seeking a humorous, romantic, and festive read will enjoy this trip to snowy Denver, Colorado with romance novelist Riley, as she hosts a Christmas Camp for her fans. Although she already has quite a fan base, Riley's recent romance novel was not a hit, so her publicist and agent set up this special Christmas event to get her writing career back on track. However, Riley is not the Miss Christmas her publicist has portrayed here to be, but her surprising stay at Christmas Lake will change all that!

This book is by turns hilarious, sweet, and touching. The characters are realistic and the plot contains enough twists and turns to satisfy romance readers and Christmas enthusiasts alike.

marraskuu 24, 2020, 9:04pm

Have Yourself a Fudgy Little Christmas
Mackinac Island sets the scene for murders at the holidays in this latest installment in the Fudge Shop mystery series. Fudge maker Allie and her dog Mal set out to solve the mystery of who is poisoning locals, and they are helped by a group of elderly ladies who become involved in the investigation. In the process, old secrets come to light, new relatives show up, snowstorms blow into the island, and Christmas activities abound.

Although this is part of a series, the novel can be read as a stand alone. The author skillfully brings readers up to speed on the action and characters from previous novels in the series. This is a clean and cozy mystery, without strong language, graphic violence or sexual situations.

marraskuu 27, 2020, 4:06pm

Do you ever tire of the cozies and romances? You must love them. I remember the library at the New England Quilt museum had a shelf for quilting cozies that apparently had some regular readers. I donated a copy of Kate Grenville's novel, The Idea of Perfection (which I thought had the most romantic scene with a quilt involved). I don't think it generated much interest. Do you ever get the urge to break-away :-)

marraskuu 29, 2020, 3:34pm

An Amish Christmas Wedding features four stories by authors who are well-known for writing fiction featuring Amish people. Although these stories focus on relationships, they are by no means romance stories alone. In each telling, the main characters face obstacles to their relationships: old hurts, past secrets, family situations, and widowhood, to name just a few. The characters range in age from young adult to senior citizens. While each story is set in an Amish community, the stories display differences that make each of them unique and interesting in their own right. Although the action is set during the winter holidays, each story could have been set at any time of the year. Each is a stand alone and can be read on its own. The stories are clean and sweet, without any use of strong language or graphic descriptions of violence or intimate situations. They are strongly recommended to readers who enjoy well-written stories about Amish people. Discussion questions and author bios are included.

marraskuu 29, 2020, 3:35pm

>183 avaland: I sometimes read other genres, as I participate in the Category Challenges, which force me to read outside my usual comfort areas and break-away. Mysteries and books about Amish people are certainly my favorites and my go-to choices though.

joulukuu 3, 2020, 4:46pm

A Crime of a Different Stripe brings readers of this series back home among their friends in Sea Harbor. Birdie, Nell, Cass, and Izzy (the Seaside Knitters) combine their problem-solving talents to try to solve the mystery of who killed Grant Harrison,a famous photographer. Grant comes to Sea Harbor to present a lecture series at a new art center. However, when he does not show up for his own introduction at the opening reception, foul play is suspected. Past lives and secrets are unraveled as the plot moves forward. And a few babies are born to add to the mix!

Readers of past books in the series will enjoy reconnecting with old friends in this newest release. Those new to this series will find this an intriguing and gentle read, despite the subject matter. You do not have to be a knitter to peek into the goings-on of the Seaside Knitters and their friends!This is a clean read, without overt violence, strong language, or descriptions of intimacy.

joulukuu 5, 2020, 12:32pm

I read Sailor's Night Before Christmas which is a fun take-off on the Night Before Christmas. The colorful illustrations are a suitable accompaniment for the story, which features Santa as an Old Salt who arrives in a tugboat pulled by seahorses. I have a collection of take-offs on the Night Before Christmas, and it was a good opportunity to get the books out and read this favorite and off-beat Christmas story.

joulukuu 5, 2020, 12:53pm

Yesterday my husband and I were driving on the expressway and were diverted by the police due to an accident. We went through several small towns on our way home driving on the detour route. There were some very small and shabby looking homes that we passed. There were also small town downtown areas with little shops and restaurants. Both scenes made me thankful for what we are privileged to have, and also for the existence of small towns in America.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 6, 2020, 7:16pm

I ended up reading An Irish Country Christmas by Alice Taylor. The evocations of Ireland at Christmas time presented a charming view of life in the countryside, which is probably a nostalgic portrait, as I imagine the life was difficult on the authors' small farm. I have read this book in the past, and I enjoyed this reading just as much as I did the previous times.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 7, 2020, 3:18pm

Murder in Old Bombay features a likeable character whose role changes from retired Army Captain to journalist to private investigator. While recovering from war injuries, Captain Jim becomes intrigued by a story he reads in the newspaper, detailing the apparent suicide (or was it murder?) of two young women. After he is released from the hospital, Jim is determined to get to the bottom of the bizarre occurrence. When he approaches the family members of the women in order to obtain information for a follow up story, Jim is offered the job of private investigator to dig into the circumstances surrounding the demise of the women. Since he fancies Sherlock Holmes as a model, Jim decides to use some of the great detective's techniques to investigate their deaths.

The exotic setting of Bombay and surroundings sets the tone for this intriguing novel. The characters are described well, and the plot twists and turns take readers on a roller-coaster ride from one possible solution to another. Elements of romance and skullduggery are interwoven with the plot. While the story seemed to bog down about half way through the book and took a different turn, the elements of danger and adventure are still present. The novel contains no overt violence or sexual situations, and lacks strong language. The adventures of Captain Jim should keep readers guessing until the final pages of the novel.

joulukuu 8, 2020, 8:33pm

Always a Guest is a compilation of sermons delivered by the author at various venues for which she served as a visiting clergy member. She covers a variety of themes, such as beauty, art, and anxiety, as well as different people from the scriptures. Each selection begins with appropriate scripture verse. I found it best to dip into this book and read selections at random, not necessarily in any order, but selected by topic or intriguing title. The selections are short enough for each to be read in just a few minutes. No matter how one chooses to read this book, readers are guaranteed to find some uplifting and inspirational words that address common concerns and contemporary ideas.

joulukuu 12, 2020, 12:17pm

Amish Cookie Club Courtship brings readers of this series back to their friends in the Amish Cookie Club. Verna, Mary, Edna, and Wilma are busier than ever with the upcoming Mayfest, for which they will provide cookies to be sold at the Amish Aid stand. Their baking is also in great demand at Yoder's store, where they cookies sell out instantly. Edna also provides income for her family through her partnership with Destination Amish, as she cooks and serves meals for tourists.

In this installment of the series, Edna hires twin sisters Rachel and Ella Mae to help with preparing and serving the meals. However, her matchmaking skills are evident as she and Wilma conspire to match the sassy twins with Edna's boisterous sons Jeremiah and Jonas. Things do not always go as planned, and while intentions may be good, mix-ups occur to create humorous situations for all involved.

This is a light, predictable, and enjoyable read, and also allows readers a glimpse into the lifestyles of Amish people. Although this book is part of a series, the story can be read as a stand-alone, once readers get the characters straight at the beginning of the book. It is a clean romantic novel, with no strong language, graphic violence of intimacy.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 13, 2020, 3:31pm

I just read A Child's Christmas in Wales which I read every year at Christmas. I own a CD that features the author reading the story, and whenever I read it, I hear his voice in my head.

I also read Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy which is the novelized version of the Hallmark TV movie. It was cute, but often the novelized scripts become somewhat cumbersome since everything has to be described, rather than seen as a visual. Happy endings for all!

joulukuu 13, 2020, 8:21pm

Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy
Traveling on the Evergreen Express train from new York City, Katie arrives in Evergreen, Vermont on a snowy day and feels as if she has entered a Christmas story. Although Katie plans to get some much-needed rest and recreation, she also intends to increase her creative energy and start an outline for a new novel. When she meets Ben and his friends in Evergreen, Katie discovers small town hospitality, friendship, and Christmas spirit in a whole new way. As the town plans for the 50th Annual Christmas Festival and discovers a hidden "time capsule," Katie become more involved with the town and with Ben. Will she return to her big city life in New York, or succumb to the lure of the small town aura?

This novel captures the joy of the Christmas season, as portrayed in the Hallmark film of the same name. Readers who seek a clean and gentle holiday read, without violence, strong language, or intimate descriptions will appreciate this lovely story. The characters are likeable, and the setting abounds with Christmas themes and traditions. Although this novel is part of the Evergreen series, it can be read as a stand-alone story. Readers of the previous titles in the series will become reacquainted with the characters from those stories, and meet new ones. Prepare for joy and romance with a holiday spirit, set in a small town that seems too good to be true!

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 14, 2020, 3:02pm

A Christmas Carol Murder combines elements of Victorian England and the works of Dickens, with several mysteries to be solved. While caroling at Christmas time with several friends, Charles and company witness a man falling from a window to his death. His fiancee Kate takes a great interest in the mystery of this occurrence, and Charles also becomes involved in solving the crime. In addition, Charles must discover the identity of the father and mother of a baby, whose aunt claims Charles is the actual father. Charles aims to avoid complications with his fiancee Kate, embroiling himself in finding the baby's parents.

This novel is part of a series of crimes that feature Dickens and aspects of his novels, although it can be read as a stand-alone novel. They skillfully evoke the sights and sounds of Victorian London, which to me was the best part of the novel. Although the pacing of the novel seems slow at times, the descriptions of characters and settings add to the atmosphere and tone of the novel. Readers who enjoy novels by Dickens will find this one to be a welcome addition to their collection. Those who treasure pastiche novels will also find this to be an intriguing mixture of Dickens characters with a curiously modern take on crime detection methods in an atmospheric setting. Includes discussion questions.

joulukuu 16, 2020, 12:27pm

>196 LadyoftheLodge:

Ha, that sounds right up my alley :)

joulukuu 17, 2020, 2:57pm

>197 AnnieMod: I think you would find it interesting. The author apparently has written others since this is #3 in the series. She tries to fit in the Dickens characters and they mesh together well with the story. (Try Emmanuel Screws and Jacob Harley, as well as Powhatan Fletcher).

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 20, 2020, 1:03pm

The Amish Midwife's Hope presents readers with a story of past tragedy, loss, and hope. Rebecca serves her Amish community as a midwife. Although widowed, Rebecca looks forward to the day when she will find God's choice for her to remarry and have her own babies to love and cherish. She hopes God's choice for her might be Samuel, a newcomer to her community, also widowed and father to a charming daughter. After a rocky start, it looks as if things might work out for the couple. Samuel's daughter Lizzie loves Rebecca and hopes she will become Lizzie's new mother. However, past sorrows form an obstacle for their happiness. Will they overcome these challenges and move on to find a new happiness and form a new family together?

This novel features mature, realistic Amish adults, with careers and families, which appealed to me. They are flawed human beings who struggle to overcome grief, yet trust in their families and their faith to get them through difficulties. The plot might seem predictable, but getting to the ending is worth the journey. Interesting minor characters also play cameo roles in the story. Samuel's daughter Lizzie just steals the show! What a bright and lovable child. The book is worth reading just to get to know this little girl. Readers can expect an overt Christian message, and also can expect to learn a lot about midwives! Discussion questions are included.

joulukuu 20, 2020, 1:03pm

A Christmas Resolution continues the author's annual tradition of writing a historical mystery set at Christmas time. In this latest installment, Celia Hooper clashes with Seth when she discovers he intends to wed her best friend Clementine. Because of her concerns, her husband John Hooper, a member of the River Thames police department, investigates the untimely death of Seth's previous wife. The investigation turns upon some anonymous letters and the disappearance of Seth's daughter Flavia.

Although this mystery is set at Christmas time in London,it could occur at any time of the year. The characters are interesting and the setting adds to the brooding nature of the plot. The story involves ordinary working people, rather than gentry, highlighting the difficulties encountered by women of the time, whether single or wed. Readers may be reminded of novels by Charles Dickens, as the story revolves around social issues and the particular plight of young single women past their prime and their role in society.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 23, 2020, 5:10pm

The Coffee Corner continues the series about four cousins who manage booths at a market: a bakery, a farm stand, a coffee shop, and a jam and jelly shop. In this installment, Bethany's sunny personality and outgoing manner proves attractive to quiet Micah, who visits her coffee shop every Saturday with his grandfather. Bethany is interested in Micah, but unexpected tragedies and grief prove obstacles to their relationship.

Themes in this novel include changing friendships, grief, business difficulties, family relationships, gossip, and alcohol abuse. The novel started off slowly and seemed predictable, but developed depth and interest as the story spun out. The characters are realistic yet flawed characters. The reader is reacquainted with Amish culture, traditions, and values. The Christian message is overt and an integral part of the story. This is a clean read, with no violence, intimacy, or strong language. While part of a series, the book can be read as a standalone. Discussion questions are included.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 27, 2020, 3:10pm

Jingle All the Way includes two stories woven together in one novel. Daisy/Everly enjoys her career as an online real estate manager, but her partner forces her to take a vacation. Her "luxury" cruise turns out to be a trip down the Amazon river on a small educational cruise. During her trip, Daisy meets Asher, the ship naturalist, and sparks fly between the two. They part ways at the end of the cruise, since Daisy's city style and Asher's freewheeling travel don't mesh. The novel then changes focus as Daisy goes home to the family farm for Christmas with her parents and siblings.

Readers who enjoy a romance novel without strong language, intimate scenes, and violence will find this holiday themed novel to be a lighthearted read. From my point of view, the novel needed more continuity, and the Christmas setting was secondary to the romance aspect of the novel. Each part of the novel could have been a standalone novella with a bit more development. The abrupt ending and epilogue left me somewhat confused, wondering how we got from here to there? Debbie Macomber fans will probably delight in the humor and descriptions. I don't know what the title has to do with the story. "Christmas on the Amazon" might be a better title.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 31, 2020, 12:16pm

I finished The Mischief of the Mistletoe which served as encouragement to read others in the Pink Carnation series. I got the first one from my Secret Santa a few years ago--time to dust it off and read it.

I also finished Twice as Nice Amish Romance Collection, which included two stories about the same people, a pair of twins and their families.

tammikuu 1, 2:42pm

I ended 2020 with The Mischief of the Mistletoe which is actually a spy novel set during the Napoleonic wars, with a little craziness and romance thrown in along with the history. It is part of the Pink Carnation series.

I read 186 books in 2020. Now on to 2021!

Good-bye, 2020!