This was my first outing with Dame Frevisse and her murder solving talents. Since this was book 15, the author assumed we knew the nun well already beThis was my first outing with Dame Frevisse and her murder solving talents. Since this was book 15, the author assumed we knew the nun well already because all of the character development was for the Sempster and her lover. That was alright; I got enough insight into Sister Frevisse from her conversation and thought processes. The story was about a lot more than the mystery of who killed young Hal, however, and I learned more than I bargained for about the reign of Henry VI, Lollards and the Inquisition. The research was top notch and the history was woven into the story easily without being didactic. I did find myself thinking, "get on with it already," but that may have been more my mood than any fault in the story itself. The language used to tell the story mimicked the style of writing of the day and it was a little like reading the KJV of the Bible. It took a little time to get used to, but, like Jane Austen or Dickens, became easier with time. I like this story well enough to give another Sister Frevisse selection a read. ...more
All the familiar characters are back in this Absaroka County, WY adventure involving a T-Rex and murder. Sherriff Walt Longmire, Deputy Vic Moretti anAll the familiar characters are back in this Absaroka County, WY adventure involving a T-Rex and murder. Sherriff Walt Longmire, Deputy Vic Moretti and Henry Standing Bear are up to snuff in this 11th installment of the Longmire mysteries and the back story involving daughter Cady and new granddaughter Lola continues to unfold. With his signature humor, Craig Johnson weaves a great tale that is difficult to put down and is, as always, an enjoyable, satisfying read. The details of the paleontology lend just the right note to the story without bogging it down and there are a couple moments where I gasped out loud. Enjoy!...more
I caught sight of this book at the library in the juvenile section. It was displayed on the "recommended" shelf. It if lovely physically; a nice sizeI caught sight of this book at the library in the juvenile section. It was displayed on the "recommended" shelf. It if lovely physically; a nice size with quality paper and watercolor illustrations. The title got my attention by its pun and the cover art piqued my interest. The synopsis on the end flapped sealed the deal and I checked it out. What a delightful adventure of a tween girl and her discovery that she has all the time in the world!
Penelope is caught between her own desire to be a writer and spend her summer thinking up new ideas for stories and the activities and tasks her mother has scheduled for her. She discovered something odd: "Ever since she started keeping better track of time, the less of it there seemed to be." One day, there is a hole in her schedule; nothing is planned! July 3 with the Poor Richard quote "One today is worth two tomorrows". She takes the opportunity to visit a friend, Miss Maddie, a wise woman who helps Penelope realize that this hole in her schedule is big enough to fall into! Which she does, embarking on an adventure in the Realm of Possibility. She meets Dill and they join forces to find the Great Moodler, the only one who can save the realm from the wicked Chronos.
While somewhat reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, this is a unique story of a plucky girl who uses her language skills, courage and loyalty to solve problems and help her new friends. The pages are filled with wonderful word play and puns, shedding a new light on some old sayings. A hunch comes in the form of a small being with wings that lands lightly on one's nose. It is wise to follow the hunch! Chronos' home is called the Timely Manor. He deemed so many things impossible that there soon were only 217 possible things; everything else was illegal! When Penelope starts to be concerned about all the things going wrong, she feels a popping sensation all over her skin. As she looks into a mirror, Dill explains that she has to stop worrying; she's covered in worry warts! They meet up with a Wild Bore and Dill is bored stiff (literally!) and almost bored to death before Penelope finds a way to get a word in edgewise and save him!
There are wonderful lessons nicely dressed for young readers to discover in this volume and it is a pleasure to read. The story is well crafted and has enough conflict and resolution to be satisfying. This is the perfect book for an adult and child to share, especially to read aloud together. I enjoyed it so much I will be adding it to my own collection....more
Anyone who knows me knows I love a good series. Debbie Macomber does a series as well as, if not better than, anyone. This entry in the Blossom StreetAnyone who knows me knows I love a good series. Debbie Macomber does a series as well as, if not better than, anyone. This entry in the Blossom Street series did not disappoint. We are again allowed into the life of Lydia Goetz, proprietor of A Good Yarn. She and her Blossom Street friends, Anne Marie Roche and her daughter, Ellen; and Alix Turner. With these continuing stories, we are brought up to date about the lives of friends we have met before and have grown to love and admire. We are also introduced to new friends, Phoebe Rylander and Bryan "Hutch" Hutchinson who take Lydia's new "Knit to Quit" class. Also, Anne Marie deals with a complication in her life in the person of Tim Carlsen.
I appreciate the style employed by Ms. Macomber to use first person narrative for Lydia, but third person for the other characters. She employs this same device in the "Inn at Rose Harber" series. I like it because it keeps the narrative fresh and we aren't privy to every detail every one is thinking, at least in the case of the main character. It also helps to break up the narrative and give us a little rest from some of the exposition that would be necessary otherwise.
I keep coming back to Debbie Macomber because the characters are not cookie cutter stereotypes. These are real people with real problems, emotions, triumphs and setbacks. They genuinely want to do the right thing and when they make a mistake, there is regret and restitution, when possible. Every time I read a new addition to the series, I feel like I've received a letter from a friend catching me up on the latest news in her life. I sympathize and rejoice with them and sometimes I want to Gibbs-slap them! I enjoyed catching up with Lydia, Alix and Anne Marie; and meeting Phoebe and Hutch. There is just enough tension and resolution to make this book stand alone, and I'm looking forward to reading the next installment of The Blossom Street Series....more
While this is the first in the Elm Creek Quilts series, I was already familiar with the characters since I had previously read "The Christmas Quilt."While this is the first in the Elm Creek Quilts series, I was already familiar with the characters since I had previously read "The Christmas Quilt." I also knew something about how the book would end from that introduction but that knowledge did not detract from my enjoyment of getting to know Sarah and Sylvia better. The story is Sarah's. She arrives, with her husband, in Waterford PA seeking a chance for change. She wants her work to have meaning but, as an accountant, has felt previous jobs have not lived up to that. She has difficulty securing employment in Waterford when her husband leads her to Elm Creek Manor, where he is working on the landscaping, and Sylvia Compson. Mrs. Compson is preparing the manor for sale and needs someone to assist her. She has been absent for 50 years and the place is in disrepair and neglect. As part of her compensation, Sarah asks for quilting lessons from Sylvia, a master quilt maker. As they get to know each other better, Sarah learns why Sylvia has been gone so long, some of the history of the Bergstrom family and the manor itself. The story develops characters that are wonderfully human, with flaws, aspirations, regret and hope for the future. Sarah begins to make friends in addition to Sylvia and realizes she would hate to see the manor sold and Sylvia leave. She finally hatches a plan where the manor can be brought back to life, Sylvia will stay and Sarah and Matt's talents can be used in a meaningful way. Along the way, we are treated to some great information on quilting cleverly interwoven into the story. I especially enjoyed the stories attached to some of the blocks Sarah chose for her Sampler. I look forward to spending more time with Sarah and Sylvia in future installments of Elm Creek Quilts....more
Historical fiction set in 1461 Poland, this 1929 Newberry Winner is one I had never run across nor even had recommended to me by teachers. It uses asHistorical fiction set in 1461 Poland, this 1929 Newberry Winner is one I had never run across nor even had recommended to me by teachers. It uses as its backdrop the story of the brave Trumpeter of Krakow and his continuing to sound the alarm until he was finally killed by an enemy arrow in mid-note. Since that time (and to this day) the Heynal is played only until that point. Joseph, our hero, uses that information to make a pact with his new friend, Elzbietka and it comes in handy later. Joseph and his parents have left their comfortable home in the Ukraine to return to Krakow on a mission; Pan (a term of respect) Andrew, Joseph's father, is the last in a long line to protect something so precious, thieves burned their home and destroyed their farm in an attempt to obtain it. The family is fortunate to meet up with sympathetic people who help them obtain lodging and a job as Trumpeter for Andrew. As the adventure unfolds. we are treated to historical facts and information about Poland and specifically Krakow, the Tartar invasion and the tension brewing in that part of the world. The author kindly lets us know what, in 1929, was still standing; his love for the city is evident. The story moves briskly as each episode builds to yet another attempt to obtain the precious object, the Crystal of Tarnov. The legends surrounding this jewel tempt one seeking power to go to great lengths to possess it and use its powers for his own ends. The great fire of 1462 is used to great affect in the story.
I liked this story and found it entertaining and informative. I liked the characters and their actions. I learned some things about Polish history and gained a greater respect for the Polish people and what they have been thru, especially more recent events the author knew nothing of at the time the book was written. The writing style is more formal than mid-graders might be used to now, but that should not deter us from recommending this book, especially to boys. I think they would find Joseph's adventures intriguing. There is a reference to the Philosopher's Stone that anyone familiar with Harry Potter will appreciate. It also gives passing reference to "dark arts".
When I first spied this little book in the library, it caught my eye for these reasons: the cover shows Louise wearing glasses and coloring, just likeWhen I first spied this little book in the library, it caught my eye for these reasons: the cover shows Louise wearing glasses and coloring, just like my granddaughter, and it pictures her younger brother, just like my grandson! I so enjoyed the story of Louise as she pursues her passion to create a masterpiece worthy of the ultimate showcase, the Gallery La Fridge! At last, she succeeds in capturing her beloved pet's "catness" and prepares a one woman show with sticky tape and all the wall space she can claim. In the mean time, her brother, Art (cute pun) is preparing a masterpiece of his own; all the while the cat is trying to warn Louise that tragedy is imminent. There is a sweet and loving sisterly ending because Louise truly does love Art and all's well that ends well. Enjoy this book with the young artists of your acquaintance; I did! ...more
Human progress is one of my favorite subjects; I love to learn how we got here. Last Ape Standing by Chip Walker is a great way to learn about why weHuman progress is one of my favorite subjects; I love to learn how we got here. Last Ape Standing by Chip Walker is a great way to learn about why we are the way we are and why we are the last hominin species on the earth today (as far as we know!). I enjoyed the relaxed style of writing in the book and the way it was organized. I appreciated his way of giving the information without making it sound like "this is it, the definitive work." He leaves room for new info to come forth and presents differing opinions about the origin of our species. There are 8 chapters, including The Invention of Childhood (Or Why It Hurts to Have a Baby) and The Voice Inside Your Head, my two favorite. There was a great section on why we are creative and another on how we came to be the moral primate. As a person of faith, I found it interesting to put the author's timetable with my own ideas of when God began to interact with man and he only solidified my reconciliation of evolution and divine design. Whether you are expert or beginner in this topic, you will find something fascinating and compelling about this book....more
"The Dark Frigate," winner of the 1924 Newberry Award, is a boy's tale of the sea, pirates and adventure. Phil Marsham "was bred to the sea as far bac"The Dark Frigate," winner of the 1924 Newberry Award, is a boy's tale of the sea, pirates and adventure. Phil Marsham "was bred to the sea as far back as the days when he was cutting his milk teeth," learning the trade from his father as a child. When his father dies during a voyage, he leaves his teenage son to fend for himself, which Phil was surely capable of except for an episode of bad luck that forced him to flee the inn where he was recovering from an illness. He happens to join on the road another sailor making his way toward a vessel bound for the quiet shores of New Foundland and casts his lot with Martin Barwick. They board the Rose of Devon, the dark frigate, and set sail. For the next year, young Phil finds himself involved in intrigue, mutiny, piracy, theft and murder as the ship is crippled by a terrible storm and then seized by "gentlemen of fortune" from another wrecked ship! There are characters in abundance: Captain Candle, who recognizes Phil's potential as a sailor; The Old One, Tom Jordan, leader of the pirate band; Phil's friend, Will Canty; the ship's cook and carpenter and many others. The writing style is for older children, 12 and up, and there is a lot of nautical language which may put some readers off, but I enjoyed it. The plot moves right along and there are some excellent action sequences and many descriptions of the ship, people and surroundings that lend color to the action. The New York Herald Tribune said, "No one, we think, has written so perfect a pirate tale since Treasure Island." I would have to agree. ...more
**spoiler alert** I like getting involved with a series. I enjoy getting to know the characters and each new volume is like a letter from a friend cat**spoiler alert** I like getting involved with a series. I enjoy getting to know the characters and each new volume is like a letter from a friend catching me up on what's been happening with them. I was not familiar with the Elm Creek Quilts series and just ran across the books by chance while looking for something else at the Library. I wasn't sure what kind of order they went in and there were quite a few (more than 10)so I picked this title to start since, in my experience, the Christmas selection in any series is fairly neutral; it won't further the story or reveal anything too important about the characters. It would give me a taste so I could decide if I wanted to start at the beginning. Well, it did and I do!
I was instantly drawn to Sarah and Sylvia and their friendship. Without going into so much detail that a reader familiar with them would be put off, it gave me enough information to understand why they were living at Elm Creek manor and enough background info to understand their points of view. Using flash backs to enlighten us about Sylvia's past, we are privileged to watch as she comes to some conclusions about herself, her decisions and her regrets. I particularly enjoyed learning of the Bergstrom family Christmas traditions and found that the description of making strudel dough made me want to try it. I have seen the technique done on a competitive cooking show and found it fascinating to watch! The author's description brought that vision back perfectly.
The relationships examined in this story are complex and interesting. Neither character is too flawed or too perfect and I understood why they are friends and colleagues. The relationships from Sylvia's past were handled just as well and her reminiscences were probably more accurate, especially with her own culpability, than most of us would be.
I may know more about Sarah and Sylvia than those who started with The Quilter's Apprentice (the first book in the series) but I'm sure to enjoy going back to the beginning of what appears to be a well-written series....more
This was my first Kay Scarpetta novel and I enjoyed it very much. It had just the right mix of science/forensics, good ol' detective work and back stoThis was my first Kay Scarpetta novel and I enjoyed it very much. It had just the right mix of science/forensics, good ol' detective work and back story. While this was not the first in the series, I was not lost regarding the personal details; it's a stand alone book. Dr. Scarpetta is assisting in the investigation of the death of 11 year old Emily. The prime suspect is a serial killer she has encountered before, but some of the evidence doesn't add up. She's working closely with Benton Wesley and Pete Marino; she has history with both. There is good character development and I like them all. Kay's niece, Lucy, plays a big part in the story and it all becomes more complex and more personal as more details are revealed. While the science has changed some from when this book was written (mid-90s)it is still fascinating and works well with the plot to keep things moving to a startling but not shocking conclusion. Told in the first person, we only know what Kay is thinking and feeling, but it works great because she shares everything and there are no secrets. I'm looking forward to reading more about Dr. Kay Scarpetta. ...more
Biographies are fraught with issues; author bias, changing sensibilities, societal attitudes can all impact the product and color the final portrait oBiographies are fraught with issues; author bias, changing sensibilities, societal attitudes can all impact the product and color the final portrait of the subject. Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun) has taken what could and perhaps should have been a monumental task and broken it down into bite size pieces just right for a newby like me to handle. I have always admired the legend of Winston Churchill and his handling as British Prime Minister of the 2nd World War. I have a special affinity for that period in history and his influence takes up a large chunk of space. I had never read a biography of the man and since I enjoyed Rubin's style in The Happiness Project, gave this a try. I am glad I did. The writing style was clean and clear and I learned a lot about a complex man, his motives, his passions and his disappointments. The chapters are short and to the point, giving balanced representation of an individual who was larger than life with faults and flaws like the rest of us. Drawing from varied sources, Rubin captures the essence of Churchill and, in so doing, transports us to his time to experience Britain from her peak of influence in the world ("The sun never sets on the British Empire") to the inevitable decline during the mid 20th century. This treatment was such that it gave me an appetite to try a larger take on his life but yet satisfied my need to know to the point that I don't believe I will miss out if I don't accept the challenge. ...more
We all know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, that "squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner." We gravitate toward the "We all know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, that "squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner." We gravitate toward the "scary ghost story" referenced in the perennial song and watch the likes of Henry Winkler, George C. Scott and Patrick Stewart bring him to life in our living rooms. But what can we learn from his journey and redemption? How can the story of Scrooge impact our daily life? Bob Welch, award winning columnist, is pleased to tell us in his "52 Little Lesson from a Christmas Carol." Taking us on the fateful nightlong journey again, Mr. Welch delves into the nuance and genius of Charles Dickens and brings to light the wonderful magic that transforms Scrooge bit by bit from loveless miser to "as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew." The author's insights, supported by scripture and the life of Jesus, help us understand more deeply how the choices each of us makes may impact those around us; how our life experiences can color our future and how each fork in the road has a consequence at the end. I will take this book as a guide this year, reviewing a lesson each week to better absorb and apply it in my life. These are lessons worth learning and reviewing and applying again and again. There is character analysis, not just of Scrooge, but of Nephew Fred and Clerk Bob Cratchit. We learn how their attitudes color their view of life. In lesson 24, Don't Return Evil for Evil, the author touches on Fred and Bob's response to the shabby way Scrooge has treated them. With a representative touch of humor found throughout the book, he says, "You could understand why Fred might have shown up at Scrooge's house that evening and decorated the knocker on his uncle's front door with what looked like a festive bouquet of mistletoe but was actually poison oak." The light touch on delicate topics, interspersed with scripture and historical references to Dickens' life makes this an enjoyable, easy read but it has much deeper meaning that will be pondered long after the reading is done and perhaps referred to over again. ...more