Big Stone Gap

Small towns hold a kind of magic over me.  I love how quaint they are, driving on historic Main Street with no traffic lights and how the whole community seems to know each other.

Maybe that is why Big Stone Gap  by Adriana Trigiani filled me with reading pleasure.

It is exciting when you can read about a place and find it on a map.  Big Stone Gap is an actual, honest to goodness place.  
I want to visit there someday!

Not the case with Hart of Dixie- a TV show about small town doctor that I enjoyed.  The writers invented the whole thing! 
Took me a while to get over that one! 

My rant is now over & back to this title!

Bigstonegapbook

Big Stone Gap is the story of Ave Maria Mulligan, ( Yep, think the Christmas song ) a mid thirties woman who is known as the town spinster.  She is self sufficient and very involved in her small town life.  But she wonders has life and love passed her by.
Drama and untold secrets unfold after her ailing mother passes away that set off new discoveries about herself and all that she has known.  As if that is not enough change in a gals life, she somehow manages to get two marriage proposals! 
How does Ave Maria deal with all these happenings? 
Read for yourself in Big Stone Gap (Movie Tie-in Edition): A Novel .

This was an appealing afternoon read.  A novel that was easy and light but that still had a captivating story and a good plot.

Imagine my joy when I discover it has been made into a movie!  I missed that in theatres but I am going to watch it when it comes out on DVD for sure.
The joy kept coming on this one–Big Stone Gap is the first book in a four book series! 

Happy Reading!

 

 

Love the Home you Have

In our day and age of Pinterest perfect home images & HGTV decorating shows- it is easy to feel a sense of disquiet with your home.

I know I feel this at times.
That is when I know a good furniture moving session is in order! 

But what if moving all the furniture does not help?

I picked up Love the Home You Have  during a house affection rut.  It is written by Melissa Michaels whose blog I have read for years.

In this book Melissa shares openly about living in a less than ideal home and decorating challenges.  She has the experience, that's for sure, she has lived in numerous styles of homes. Contentment is a theme throughout the book that helps turn a house into a home.

Love the Home you Have is filled with tips for organization, cleaning, decorating and tools for creating your own authentic home.

Lovethehomeyouhavebook

I enjoyed the 31 day Love your Home challenge that is at the end of the book.  These small and doable sized tasks can help transform any house into a home.
The whimsical cover and Tiffany blue chapter titles and headings thrilled me.  The quotes that began each chapter, inspired me.

Love the Home you Have is an engaging book that gives applicable tips that will have you Love the Home You Have.

Anne of Green Gables

I have loved and faithfully watched the movie-Anne of Green Gables since my tween years. 
But up until now is that I have never read the book.
Even though I had a copy collecting dust on my bookshelf! 

So, I put my Anne of Green Gables copy in the car to read during my sit and wait time- a chapter here and there. 

Now I know why this book has been a favorite since 1908! 

AnneBook

 Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery is the charming story about Anne Shirley, an orphan girl who is sent to live with the Cuthberts by mistake.  The serious and no nonsense Marilla Cuthbert and her kindhearted but shy brother Matthew, decide to keep her.
The story follows Anne on her adventures from young girl into her teen years.  There are escapedes at tea parties, Sunday School socials, even at school. Anne is always getting into mishaps.  The story also tells of friendship and the feud between Anne and a boy at school who calls her names. 

I am glad that I finally read Anne of Green Gables. 

I enjoyed laughing at Anne, as she prattles on abut things- she has a lot to say.  I underlined quote after quote quote to be used at opportune moments.

While I don't recommend this title as a boy read, it is wonderful for girls and women!

Set out the tea set and read all about this red haired, freckled girl, Anne Shirley.

My love of this movie and now the book has inspired an- Anne spelled with an "e", Pinterest Board.

 

You Choose History Series

Have you ever read a choose your own adventure book? The kind where at the end of a chapter you had to decide- do you go into the haunted mansion or run away scared?

That same plot line has been given a new and educational twist- in the You Choose: History book series!

Titles

Teaching history to kids sometimes gets the groan of shame because some books are way too text-booky and filled with boring information. Or the book has one obscure fact lost in pages of make believe.

Not the case with these history story books set in different time periods. 

Lets say you choose The Revolutionary War  book. 

The book begins with a short introduction and informative chapter on the history of that time period.  At the end of the chapter, you must choose which side to be on in the American Revolution. 
That choice sends you to a certain page and you will see the outcome of that decision for your character. 

Choice

What a fun way to learn about history!

In this book  ( The Revolutionary War ) there are 3 different story paths to choose from, 65 choices the reader can make and 16 different endings!

Frontcover

My kids and I have enjoyed reading as many of these You Choose: History books as we can put our hands on!
I would say the reading level is around 4th-6th grade.
The authors strive to be historically accurate throughout the books and there are numerous historical photos and other illustrations.   

The ability to choose how the story ends, could be an incentive for a reluctant reader. Or these books may interest a child in a historical period by placing them inside the story.

Small print moment…..for the sensitive child or the mamma that likes to know these kind of things…….there are paths in the book where the character will die or every member of the family will perish except that character.  Use your discretion on what is appropriate for your family and child.

Theend

 A very enjoyable series!  Below are links to our favorite You Choose History books so far!

The Titanic: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History)

The Civil War: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History)

Westward Expansion (You Choose: History)

The California Gold Rush: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History)

 

   ****Companion Book Series **

For the young reader craving more adventure and a little less history the Can You Survive series will be just the thing!


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These books follow the same format as the history based ones. 
The first chapter sets the stage with facts and information.  At the end, the reader must choose which path to take.  Their survival will be determined by the decisions they make.

Maybe it was the idea of impending doom or the thrill of adventure but my son read by flashlight to finish these interactive stories!

The reading level is roughly 4th-6th grade.  The books have great photographs and illustrations. This book series is a winner in our house!

The small print—-use your discretion on what your child can handle emotionally.  There are paths where the character does not survive or those around the character do not survive. You know best when it comes to what your child should read.

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

Fiction Fill Up

It had been gloomy and raining off and on here for four days!  When more of the same was forecasted for the following weekend, I made a decision.

To stop at the library for a fiction fill up!

I randomly selected two books from the new arrival table. One was a tried and true author, the other I liked the cover and the title-it looked promising.

Threeonside

The third book was a recommendation, so I pulled that from its place on the library shelf.

All three turned out to be worthy weekend reads!   Here is what I thought about each book.

Ladybugbook

A Year on Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball.

Three middle age best friends are ready to make a change, do something different.  So they uproot themselves from comfortable homes and lives and move into a rundown, in need of TLC home in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. 
The story follows the friends through a year at their new home with all of its ups and downs.

This was a charming story!  I was ready to call my favorite gal pals and suggest moving to a rundown antebellum home.  Then decided I would enjoy it more through the pages of a book. 🙂

Weddingbook

The Marriage Season (The Brides of Bliss County) by Linda Lael Miller

This is the third installment from a series called The Brides of Bliss County. It did not impede my enjoyment or understanding of the book even though I jumped in at book three.

This is a cute romance novel set in today’s time.  I have enjoyed Linda Lael Miller books for years, especially her historical romance novels.  I can safely read her books knowing that all will end happily. 
This novel was no exception.

Happinessbook

This book was chosen based on its cover and title.  I had never read anything by this author before…but I will in the future!

Happiness for Beginners: A Novel by Katherine Center.

I read this page turner, cover to cover in one sitting.  Well, there might have been a snack break, but you know what I mean.

Helen Carpenter is in her 30’s, divorced, and wants to pull her life together or at least change something.
What do you do when you want to change something?  You sign up for a survival course in Wyoming of course! Even if you are not outdoorsy!

Enjoy the journey Helen takes as she learns what it means to be happy and understand herself in a whole new way.

 

Happy Reading!

 

Outlander

How do people find their favorite books? 
There are countless ways, but here is how I found one of mine.

I was sipping a morning cup of tea and scrolling through Pinterest. 
When I saw an Outlander pin and thought it looked readable, so I decided to put it on hold at the library.

Fast forward through the weekend, there are dishes and chaos everywhere but the book is finished, and I have an Outlander Obsessed pinterest board! 

This book is Amazing! 

Outlander-book

What is also amazing is that it was written in 1991 and it is still attracting readers. 

Here is a sum up of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

Claire, an army nurse and lover of botanical herbs is the main character. She is on a second honeymoon with Frank, a professor and obsessed genealogist. They travel to the highlands in Scotland after WWII.

After watching a mysterious spectacle at Craigh Na Dune, Claire returns to the spot to gather a plant she saw there. Finding a magical portal, she travels through time to the 1700's.

Claire uses her skills as a nurse to aid an injured man after she is found in a desperate situation. This man, Jamie, will become the standard you will judge all others against, has secrets and a story of his own and befriends this Sassenach. 

Forced to wed to save Claire from a dangerous madman, their relationship is tested and strengthened and will make you believe in a love that can transcend time.

Go and pick up a copy of Outlander . You will be so glad that you did.
The story is full of good writing, wit, suspense, romance, drama, violence, love, friendship, with a dash of history and herbal wisdom to top it off.

Sip a cup of Oolong Tea (pg. 31 ) and travel through time with Claire to the highlands of Scotland.

This book is a Must Read – then watch the mini-series that Starz has produced. 🙂

 

 

 

The Fringe Hours

The Fringe Hours- Making time for you.  What a great title!

I chose this book from a shelf because of its beautiful navy cover- which just happens to be one of my favorite colors.

I was also intrigued by the title.   Fringe sounds so artsy and feminine.  I learned the meaning of the title later in my reading.

Thefringehours

“fringe:

1. Fringe means a decorative border of thread, cord or the like…..2. an outer edge; margin; periphery

hour:

1. 1/24th of a day
2. a short or limited period of time3. a particular or appointed time”

This book is about using and developing your “fringe hours” into something useful and beautiful to you.
The Fringe Hours can be read in snippets of free time and is full of useful information that will encourage you to carve out time for your own activities or passions.

I found the author relatable. I also respected the fact that she is a working mother who must search out fringe hours after a busy day. I enjoyed the inspiring quotes that began each chapter & jotted down many of them!

This book has me taking a closer look at my mornings and how I use my fringe hours.

The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You is a good book choice for anyone looking to make time for themselves or those wanting to bring balance in their busy days.

**** A companion book to the Fringe Hours with a similar theme is ****

This title was on my annual book list & was full of personal stories and Biblical wisdom. 

The Best Yes will encourage those who may be having difficulty saying no to requests even with  an overwhelmed life and schedule.

 

The Tea Rose

I found this book by happenstance. It is so hypnotizing that I am going to give it a permanent home on the book shelf!

I have mentioned before that I am a happy fluff, light reading kind of fiction girl.  Well this book proved you should go outside your comfort genre and try something new.

The Tea Rose, by Jennifer Donnelly, is a novel filled with suspense, murder & star crossed love & was quite the page turner!

  Tea aRose Book


This book had me reading until my eyes blurred at night and then reaching for it with my first morning sips of tea.

The setting- East London, not the richy well dressed London, but the hardworking yet close to poverty side in 1888.

Fionna, a hardworking tea packer has a dream. One she shares with life long love Joe. They will leave this place of despair one day and make it on their own.  They save to open up their own shop one day.

Tragedy strikes and Fionna knows she must leave all she has known behind for survivals sake.

I want to tell you more…but that would take away the thrill of reading it yourself!   I will say there is a smattering of language, some gore and sensuality. Nothing that I thought was cringe worthy but everyone has their own levels of tolerance.

The Tea Rose has many twists and turns and will leave you breathless and reading every spare moment you can! 
Get a copy of The Tea Rose: A Novel (The Tea Rose Series) today!!

A favorite line from chapter 24-

~ Fionna found life’s trials easier to bear with a strong cup of tea in hand.

Summer at Tiffany

Summer is drawing to a close.  But if you have time to fit in one more book of summer time reading, this is a great pick!

Do you remember the best summer of your life?

Grab this book & get ready for a great poolside read!

The setting is New York City, 1945.  A time of Gershwin, Glenn Miller, WWII, and white glove glamor all around. 

Marjorie and her best friend Marty are wholesome gals from Iowa, on a summer trip to the Big Apple.
They search for employment in all the big name department stores with no luck. The girls don't give up and they become pages at Tiffany & Co., the first women ever on the sales floor!

However the girls didn't travel all that way for just work!  There were plenty of fun adventures as they take in all that NYC has to offer.  Including nights primping with Kreml, Jergens and Max Factor before going out on the town with midshipmen.

Sip from a tall glass of lemonade, just like Marjorie and Marty did in chapter 7. 🙂

This charming story will have you creating Big Band playlists as you travel back in time to 1945.

Favorite Quotes from the book:

~ "Isn't it amazing, no matter how tired you are- music always gives you a lift."

~ "Money may not buy happiness, but it sure takes you shopping."

Civil War Wives

This title is from my Annual Book List.
I had heard so much about the men of the Civil War but knew next to nothing of the women and their experiences. This book helped rectify that.

Sitting down with a glass of iced tea to sip, I expected a historical tome, but was pleasantly surprised with its easy reading style & I felt pulled into each woman’s life and experiences.

Civil War Wives tells about the lives and times of Angelina Grimke Weld,  Varina Howell Davis & Julia Dent Grant.

Book&minticedtea

For Civil War buffs, two of those names are ringing bells already.  V. Davis was the President of the Confederacy’s wife and J. Grant is none other than General and future President Grant’s wife.
These were the two stories that captured me the most.

Both fascinating women with night and day personalities and upbringings. But both would go on to be wife to powerful, influential men at an impactful time in history.
My favorite part & one that I had never heard of in AP History class, is that they met later in life on several occasions after the war had ended.

The book narrates their lives with historical context, snippets of their own words, but reads easily like a memoir.

I plan to read other titles by Carol Berkin in the future.

 

 

Here is a quote I copied from the portion on Varina Howell Davis–

“Oh, how I would like to be free from care for a few days if only to know how it would feel, if I should not have to lose the objects of those cares.  Cares do wear out one’s youth.”

This book is excellent when read while sipping Iced Tea with sprigs of mint. 🙂