Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Lancaster County Saga Book 1

"Goodbye to Yesterday" is the first book in six in the Lancaster County Saga written by Wanda E. Brunstetter.  This is my first Brunstetter novel, though she is quite famous in the Amish Fiction world.  "Goodbye" is really a novella; easily read in less than a day.   It is the story of a couple of newly weds, Luke and Meredith, who have already fallen on hard times.  Luke has been laid off for six months and anxiety of it all is starting to wear on the both of them.  Luke gets an opportunity to travel to Indiana to learn a new trade and along the way is attacked by a drug addict.  It ends quite abruptly, yet leaves you wanting more. Quite the cliffhanger, really.
This is a good start on a series.  I wish it was longer.  I would recommend it to Amish Fiction lovers and fiction readers alike.  I received this book from Handlebar.

rebirth review

"Rebirth" by Debbie Brown is a YA novel about a group of children age 16 to infant whose world is destroyed by aliens and they are forced to live on their own in the country without any adults or long lasting provisions.  Aleksei, their leader was raised by missionaries in countries around the world.  With the help of some survival books, they figure out a way to live for several months.
Up until the end, this is a pretty good book.  The characters are clear, the way of life realistic, the only exception would be the baby.  This baby spends a lot of time eating and sleeping and not doing a lot of baby like activities such as crying for no apparent reason for hours.  That part could have been a little more accurate.  It was a good book until the abrupt ending which was so ridiculous that it made me almost regret having read the rest of it.  The ending came off like a bad sermon, going on about some lame idea of survival given to them by the aliens.  If I were to go back in time I would stop about two or three chapters before the end.  I received this book for free from

Friday, February 22, 2013

she speaks to angels review

"She Seaks to Angels" by Ami Blackwelder is a Young Adult romance/paranormal.  It combines the age old story of good versus evil along with Hollywood's favorite love story where the weird girl gets the ultra hot new guy.  I have read Blackwelder before and liked her book "The Day the Flowers Died" much better. TDTFD was extremely well researched to the point of the telling of the story was almost in a real time sense.  "Angels" seems forced.  She is trying too hard on this one.  Sometimes it seems like she wants to say a certain word, but has no reason to, but she sticks it in there anyway.  Even when the boy jumps from the building, she fails to make me care.  Ever.  She misses the mark here.  It's been done before, time to pick different plot.  I received this book for free from

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

the aviator's wife review

"The Aviator's Wife" by Melanie Benjamin is a phenomenal book.  I started reading this with minimal knowledge of Charles and Anne Lindbergh.  I knew he was the first to go over the Atlantic alone and I knew they had had a baby kidnapped.  I knew he was immensely famous because I watch "Pawn Stars".  I knew there was a huge conspiracy thing going on with the kidnapping because my late step-father-in-law believed he was the missing child.  Yeah, I said it.  However, I knew little else.  This novel centers on Anne.  She was a pilot in her own right.  She was his crew.  She raised 5 children by herself and lost a 6th one in the most cruel and public way possible.   She was no slouch.  At first I just wanted to slap her with her complete godlike worship of her husband.  Her whole world was him, to the point of even sacrificing her children.  Later, things start to change.  She changes.  She changes things.
The novel starts with her meeting Charles Lindbergh and ends with her "taking off" on her own after his death.  The character depth is amazing; the reader not only is invested in the characters, but starts to see through and live through the characters.  This is an amazing book.  I can see men or even die-hard Lucky Lindy lovers not liking it, but all women will.  I had not known Anne had written books.  I think I will read the one mentioned in the book.  Again, amazing, 5 stars. I received this book for free from Random House Publishing.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Another Angel

"An Angel by Her Side" by Ruth Reid is such a sweet romance.  This is the third in her Angel series.  They do not have to be read in order.  In this novel, the angel takes on human form that all can see and he also is the angel on the shoulder variety complete with devil on the other shoulder.  Elias, the angel, helps Katie Bender, a teacher in an Amish community, and Seth, a bee hive maker from a neighboring community, not only fall in love, but help Amos and his family after Amos looses his way from the Lord along with his eyesight and his wife and daughter. 
A tornado has hit the county while Seth is visiting his brother-in-law, Amos.  Katie is at the school with her class when they seek shelter in the cellar.  Seth, also seeks shelter in the same shelter and the sparks start to fly.  With helping Amos following an accident, Katie spends a lot of time with Seth and the romance continues.  In this novel they are in their late twenties, so the romance is much more adult and realistic.  I really like Reid.  She writes Amish, which isn't my favorite, but I am really liking her.  I received this book for free from

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker review

Mary Todd Lincoln is by far one of the most interesting First Ladies there has ever been.  Over one hundred years later and there is no question who she was or what she was like.  Mrs. Lincoln had a unique relationship with her modiste, Elizabeth Keckley, a former slave, who was the Versace of her time.  I have always been fascinated by this relationship, and though I have read a great deal about Mary Lincoln, little has been read (by me) of Keckley.  "Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker" by Jennifer Chiaverini is my first book written about the dressmaker herself.
"Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker" follows Elizabeth from the beginning of the first term through to her death.  Most of it focuses on Lincoln's time in office and her relationship with Mary.  Mary is exuberant to say the least. I would not call her crazy but rather an attention seeker.  Too passionate for one body.  I usually felt a little sorry for Robert Lincoln.  Elizabeth gets caught up in the drama created by Mary and for some reason thinks it would be a good idea to write a book about her life, including the Lincoln years.  That didn't work out too well and ended the long term friendship with the First Lady.  This novel is very well written and the relationship with the two women is so inviting to the reader.  The only fault I found was that I wanted to know more about what was going on in Elizabeth's head; but granted, Mary's head was probably more interesting.  I really liked this book and highly recommend it.  I received this book for free from Penguin Publishing.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

always a bridesmaid

You really can't go wrong with Beverly Lewis.  Will they be studying her in high school across the nation in 100 years?  Probably not.  But if you want to read a book that will make you happy and entertained, Beverly is your gal.  "The Bridesmaid" is the latest novel in the Home to Hickory Hollow series.  She will be releasing a new one next month.  Bridesmaid is about Joanna, a wanna-be writer who is a serial bridesmaid and has no luck making it to the alter herself as a bride.  Until Eben comes along, that is.  Eben is from a different state, but they both are visiting Virginia at the same time.  It is love at first sight.  The problem is Joanna's bratty sister tells the bishop that Joanna has been writing fiction, which is apparently a no-no and gets her "grounded".  Joanna cannot leave the district to marry Eben.  Eben must come here.  Eben can't leave his district because his brother won't join the Amish church and therefore take over the family dairy farm.  Will they or won't they?  As usual, I like Lewis' story and will be reading the next in the series.  I am not a big fan of Amish Fiction, but I am of Beverly Lewis.  I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishing.

Monday, February 4, 2013

hard twisted review

"Hard Twisted" by C. Joseph Greaves is a novel about the real-life characters: Clint Palmer and Lottie, a 13 year old girl that Palmer picks up on the way through Oklahoma.  The story takes place in the 1930's.  Palmer is a convict from Leavenworth, Ks who makes his living gambling, cock fighting, and stealing.  Lottie's father is an alcoholic hobo who couldn't keep track of a dog, let alone a girl.  Her father, takes her from her Uncle Mack's home where she has been living and they start to live the hobo life.  In his drunken wandering he comes across Clint Palmer, who eventually kills him and keeps the daughter.  Now, this is a true story so even though some of it makes no sense at all, it must have been so.  The story wanders with Palmer's mind and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it.  There also is no point.  It's never clear why he keeps her other than for sex, but why keep her hanging on, when you can get it anywhere.  The main fault I found was that the characters were a bit flat.  I felt sorry for Lottie, I figured she was miserable, but it was never clear that she felt anything.  The author never gets into her head.  She talks little, so the reader is never sure about anything when it comes to Lottie.  The story could have been good; it wanted to, but the character development just wasn't there. I received this book for free from

black history month

I received "Celebrating Black History Month" for free from  This e-book is a collection of excerpts from novels and biographies written by Black authors or written about Black characters.  "Celebrating" includes 13 titles:  "America to the Backbone"; "The Confessions of Nat Turner"; "The Color Purple";  "Mumbo Jumbo";  "One More River";  "The Keepers of the House";  "The Children";  "Mohammad Ali:  His Life and Times";  "In Search of Bisco";  "The House of Dies Drear";  "The Water is Wide";  "Listen to Bob Marley";  and "Parable of the Sower".  I won't give you the scoop on all of them of course, but I'll tell you about my favorite, "Parable of the Sower" by Octavia Butler.  I was amazed by this excerpt.  Honestly, at first I thought it was historical, and then I thought, "no, it's science fiction, there's gotta be a catch".  And of course there was, but not where I was thinking.  It was futuristic.  And as they say, "those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it."  The future was very much like the past.  I will definitely read her again.  Now to get on my soap box.  I don't think there should be a Black History Month, or a Women's History Month, or Native American, or whatever you got.  By doing so implies that it isn't important enough to mention unless someone makes them by calling it a month.  All history is history and all "kinds" of history should be incorporated throughout the curriculum throughout the year.  And that's all I have to say about that.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Library Lover's Month

Today is Library Lover's Month.  I love the library.  Not only because I can go be with my own kind, but because the books are free.  The books are plentiful.  I own and love my kindle, but sometimes I just like to feel, open, flip and stroll through the books, run my finger along the spines while they are all in a row.  I go to three librarys depending on the town I am in at the time.  Ottawa Public is probably used the most by me, mostly because it is in the town that I work in and it is open on Saturdays.  I also use Pomona Community, but generally only in the summer.  They have a great Summer Reading Program that I take my kids to.  They aren't open Saturdays and don't have a huge selection so they are not what I use most of the time.  I also use Overbrook from time to time.  They have a big log cabin in the middle for  the kids.  Big enough 2 or 3 adults could sit in.  Don't go there very often, no reason to ever go to Overbrook unless I'm on my way to Topeka.  Tomorrow is Take Your Child to the Library.  I plan to do that too. 
Of the 11 books I read this month, five were from the Ottawa Library or through the interlibrary loan.  Here are the books I read in January:

Come to the Table- Neta Jackson
*The Walnut Tree- Charles Todd
The Third Bullet- Stephen Hunter
*Full of Heart- JR Martinez
If you Have a Craving- Sheri Rose Shepherd
*Prague Winter- Madeleine Albright
Christmas in Apple Ridge (with Sounds of Sleigh Bells and Dawn of Christmas)- Cindy Woodsmall
*Perish Twice- Robert Parker
The Air We Breathe- Christa Parrish
*The Rope- Nevada Barr

*means from a library.