Showing posts with label Book Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book Reviews. Show all posts

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Two Little Girls in Blue – Book Review

 by Mary Higgins Clark



Having been a fan of best-selling suspense writer, Mary Higgins Clark, in years past, I recently realized there were several of her books I had not read.  Two Little Girls in Blue was one of them and I consider it one of her best. 


Synopsis of Two Little Girls in Blue



Kelly and Kathy, twin daughters of Margaret and Steve Frawley of Ridgefield, Connecticut, celebrate the girls' third birthday with an afternoon party at their new, fixer-upper, home. That evening, Steve & Margaret are obligated to attend a black-tie dinner in New York City for Steve's company. When they return home, they discover the police there and learn that the babysitter has been found unconscious and that the children are gone.  A note demanding eight-million-dollars in ransom was left in the twins bedroom.


The Frawleys do not have that kind of money, but Steve's firm, a global investment company, agrees to pay the ransom. One board member of the firm disagrees with paying the ransom, stating it could become a precedent for other kidnappers to target company employees, but he is overruled. 


The FBI and the local town and state police are all involved. When the kidnapper, who calls himself the “Pied Piper”, makes his terms known, the family and the FBI are told that 'on delivery of the money' a call will come revealing the girls' whereabouts. The “Pied Piper” used two men to do the actual kidnapping, and a woman (girlfriend of one of the men) to take care of the twins until the ransom is paid. The kidnappers never know who the 'boss' is; only communicating with him via burner cell phones. 


The ransom is paid in a rather convoluted manner that, despite FBI agents undercover all around the 'drop' area, the kidnappers get away without being caught.  The promised call does come, but only Kelly is in the car parked behind a deserted restaurant. The driver of the car is dead from a gunshot wound and a suicide note states that he inadvertently killed Kathy and dumped her body in the ocean. 


The heart-broken parents have a private memorial Mass for Kathy, but Kelly speaks up saying “Mommy, Kathy is very scared of that lady and she wants to  come home right now.”  


At first, only the mother believes that the twins are communicating in their special 'twin-talk' and that Kathy is still alive.  But as Kelly becomes more specific with her warnings, the FBI is finally convinced and set out on a search for Kathy. The climax of this suspenseful novel is breathtaking.


Summary


This story describes the well-documented, though unexplained, phenomenon of twin telepathy and the special 'twin-talk' that identical twins often engage in. A fascinating and exciting story I thoroughly enjoyed. 


*Two Little Girls in Blue book review written by Wednesday Elf.







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Friday, September 23, 2022

The Earl and His Lady (Book 4 in Branches of Love Series) Book Review

The Earl and His Lady
It is always a time to rejoice when two people you really like, find happiness together!

If reading the books of the Branches of Love series in order, long before the 4th book, readers have already met both Lady Virginia Macon, recently widowed, and Lucus Calvert, the Earl of Annesbury. They are both kind-hearted, thoughtful, yet long suffering individuals who truly loved their spouses. 

Because they feel like our old friends, you wish you could step into the pages of the book and help them, just as they help others. Fortunately, the series author, Sally Britton, felt the same way. 

For the first time in the series, Lucus meets Virginia in the book, "The Earl and His Lady". Even though she has heard stories about his eccentric ways, she had previously never been introduced to him.  She certainly never expected him to be the solution to her problems.

 

The Earl and His Lady Book Synopsis

Virginia Macon, Baroness Heatherton, is grieving the recent death of her beloved husband, Charles. Unlike many marriages in society, their marriage was based on love, not social standing, even though they were peers. 

Society required her to remain in a state of moaning for one year, but Virginia doubted a year would be long enough to emotionally recover.  Plus, her brother-in-law had filed a suit against her, to obtain guardianship of her two sons claiming she was unstable. She knew he only wanted access to her son's inheritance and that he was not truly concerned about the boys.  She took Phillip and Edward, left their home and went into hiding at her cousin, Christine's farm.

 The Earl and His Lady: A Regency Romance
(Branches of Love Book 4)
Check Price

Lucus Calvert's wife had died 6 years before, but he had grieved her for several years. His pain was evident to everyone and his family tried to protect him as much as possible from the young ladies of society and their mothers who wanted a titled husband for their daughters. A widowed Earl without an heir makes a most desirable target, but Lucus was not interested in marriage. He knew he would eventually need to marry again in order to provide an heir to his title and estates, but he still wasn't ready.

Christine & Thomas Gilbert were neighbors to Lucus, as well as friends. Upon his return from London, he decided to pay them a visit and discovered Virginia and her sons in residence. Hearing of her dire situation, he believed he had a solution. He could marry her, help her raise her sons, prepare her eldest son to be a baron, and protect them all from predators. He knew all too well how someone newly widowed needed protection and it seemed Virginia and her sons needed it more than most.

In her desperation for safety, Virginia had to consider his unusual offer.  However, the best of intentions and solutions come with their own problems and pitfalls.

Throughout the book, through all the trials and challenges as they adjust to each other's expectations, a reader cannot help but hope this family will find happiness.



I highly recommend "The Earl and His Lady", as well as the entire Branches of Love series, to anyone who enjoys a sweet historical romance. The series offers a look inside social society and the challenges faced by those who do not wish to have their lives dictated by the British peerage.

"The Earl and His Lady" is currently being offered for free to Kindle Unlimited members or you can purchase the book below





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Saturday, September 17, 2022

What Happened to the Bennetts by Lisa Scottoline – Book Review

 I have just finished reading What Happened to the Bennetts by Lisa Scottoline, and all I can say is ~ WOW!




I have been a fan of this author for many years and have read all of her books to date.  My favorite ones are her entire series of Rosato & DiNunzio novels, which follows the adventures of a group of women lawyers in practice together in Philadelphia. The characters are all clever and competent and downright enjoyable to follow. The story-lines are terrific and they are a fast-paced and often witty read.  


In addition, Scottoline has written a group of stand-alone novels, all of which are excellent, but somehow more serious, and even a bit darker, than her Philadelphia lawyers series.


This bring me to the most serious and tension-filled one to date. What Happened to the Bennetts will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. The WOW-factor comes in because I never saw the ending coming and the solution is surprising. 


Synopsis


The story revolves around a family – The Bennetts – who live a normal suburban lifestyle. Jason Bennett is the dad who owns a court-reporting business. His wife, Lucinda, has her own photography studio.  Daughter Allison is 15 and plays lacrosse. Her brother, Ethan is 13. And don't forget the dog, Moonie. 


While driving home from Allison's lacrosse game one night, a pickup truck begins tailgating them. Suddenly, the truck pulls in front of the Bennett's vehicle, two men jump from the truck and pull guns on Jason in what appears to be a carjacking. The violence that occurs then changes the Bennett's life drastically. 


Turns out that the carjackers were members of a dangerous drug-trafficking organization. One of the men is the son of the mob boss. When he is killed, it places the Bennett family in critical danger.


The FBI advises the family to enter the witness protection program immediately. They do, but serious problems arise. You see, WITSEC was designed to protect criminal informants, not law-abiding families. Think about it. Ordinary families have connections – friends, classmates, teammates, co-workers - all of whom start searching for and wondering about What Happened to the Bennetts! Social media and news outlets keep the Bennetts in the headlines, while at the same time the criminal organization is searching for them.


But the Bennett family discover that they cannot survive in a witness protection program if they are going to keep the family from falling apart.  

Then, Jason learns a shocking truth and realizes he has to take matters into his own hands. 


Summary


What Jason ultimately does to find a solution to the situation is amazing.  The ending will surprise you.


For more book reviews, check out ReviewThisBooks.com 


*What Happened to the Bennetts book review was written by 

~ Wednesday Elf.


Latest Psychological Thriller by Lisa Scottoline:




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Friday, September 16, 2022

The Social Tutor Book Review

The Social Tutor
If you are looking for a sweet, romantic easy to read book, you will love "The Social Tutor" by Sally Britton.  It is the first book in her Branches of Love series and quite a delightful read.

Earlier this week, I was without electricity for approximately 5 hours. Since I couldn't cook, work around the house due to the dark, or even work on my computer, I grabbed my Kindle and settled in to read. I opened it to "The Social Tutor" and was immediately allowed to relax as I was pulled into a lovely story set in the early 1800's in England. A time when women were expected to marry someone who benefited their family whether they were in love or not.

I am a huge historical fiction fan and I prefer clean romantic stories. "The Social Tutor" was the perfect choice for me!  When the electricity was restored, I was already so deep into the book that I didn't set it down until I had finished reading the entire book.


The Social Tutor Book Synopsis

It had been made perfectly clear to Christine Devon that she would marry someone who would bring wealth, business associations and hopefully a title to her family.  Her father would give her one season in London to complete this mission.

Christine was the second daughter in the household. Her older sister had failed to make the desired alliance and was relegated to overseeing her father's household. He would not waste any more money on her.

 The Social Tutor: Branches of Love, Book 1Check PriceBecause she was under so much pressure, Christine knew she would need help. Since her mother had died years before, she had never been taught how to attract a man's attention, engage him in an acceptable conversation, and make him choose to marry her out of all of the eligible young women in the "marriage mart". 

Thomas Gilbert had been friends with Christine's mother. They had shared a love for horses and Mrs. Devon had taken him under her wing to teach him about horses. It was Thomas's desire to add a horse breeding venture to his family's farm.  With the right horse selections, he believed he could bred champions and sell them to society members who demanded the best. 

Christine decided she would ask Thomas to tutor her. In exchange for the lessons, she would allow him to borrow the horses she had inherited from her mother.  Even though Thomas wasn't exactly sure at first how he could help her, the offer was too good for him to pass up. After all, Miss. Devon owned the best horses in the area and their offspring would be highly desired.

They agreed to meet every 3rd day until Christmas (only a few months) to prepare her for the social season which would begin immediately thereafter.  Thomas had no idea just how naive and trusting Christine was.  He knew she would be eaten alive by both the men and the women of society and he suspected that is what happened to her older sister. Without their mother's direction and oversight, it would be like a lamb among wolves. Out of loyalty to her mother, he could not let that happen to Christine.

Perhaps, you think you have already figured out what happens. Maybe you have, maybe you have not. Either way, it is a charming romance to read. I have no doubt, you will want to continue reading through the entire series.

 



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Thursday, September 15, 2022

Barking to the Choir - Book Review

Some books change us by flipping what we think we know, or what we think we are about, on its head. Barking to the Choir is one of those books. I am not the same person I was when I first cracked open the cover of this book.

In showing me what radical kinship looks like—in living it out on these pages—Gregory Boyle has me wondering: 

What if outreach to the marginalized is really about being willing to be reached by them?

What if it's about receiving rather than giving or doing?  You know—truly receiving the unwelcome with a welcoming embrace?

What if I came to know, deep within my core, that you are the other me, and I am the other you... that our separateness is only an illusion?

What if I said yes to entering into the fullness of kinship with you, and you, and you?

What if we meet there at the edge of I and Not I and discover unity?

What if we lifted one another out of isolation by merely showing up... every time?

Perhaps radical kinship begins with living these questions. 

Perhaps compassion is the answer to every question.

Perhaps the welcoming embrace begins there—begins here.

I open myself to it... to being it.

I invite you into this beautiful kinship. 









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Friday, September 9, 2022

A Daring Proposal: A Regency Romance (Memorable Proposals Book 3) by Jennie Goutet Reviewed

I rarely read a series where I would say the author saved the best book for last, especially when I enjoyed all of the books in the series. However, in the case of "A Daring Proposal", I do think Jennie Goutet saved the best 'til last.

Perhaps this book was my favorite because the main character has been a part of the previous two books and I already liked her. Maybe, it was because I just liked the true historical story line so much. Most likely, it was both.

Each of the books in the series could be read independently, but I do think, in this case, Phoebe Tunstall's character was developed over the entire series. Therefore, even though it is my favorite, I think the series should be read in order. Otherwise, you might miss just how unusually "daring" Phoebe becomes in "A Daring Proposal".


A Daring Proposal Synopsis
1815 - London, England & Brussels, Belgium

Phoebe Tunstall has already enjoyed four London seasons. There is a concern that she may well end up being considered "on the shelf" by potential suitors. At 22, she is far from an old maid, but society tends to focus on the newest, brightest stars that appear on the scene. Phoebe was not looking forward to another season, especially since her sister, brother, and best friend were all now married. She would feel alone in the crowd.

 A Daring Proposal (Memorable Proposals Book 3)Check PriceBecause she often stayed in her vivacious sister's shadow, Phoebe was viewed by society as shy, perhaps disinterested or unavailable, as she attended to her elderly aunt. Something Phoebe shared with no one, including her twin sister, is that her heart was unavailable. For as long as she could remember, she had loved someone who viewed her "like a little sister". Still, she realized she needed to marry, even if it wasn't a love match, and a fifth season might be her last chance.

When her friend, Lydia, suggested she accompany her and her husband to Brussels instead of staying in London, Phoebe surprised herself by considering it. As she mentally recounted Frederick Ingram's suggestion that she do "something daring", she decided she would do just that and accept his sister, Lydia's, invitation to go to Brussels. She would cast off this despair, all expectations and embrace the opportunity to travel somewhere new.

That turned out to be the best decision she could make because "somewhere new" offered her the opportunity to be someone new. Well, at least, someone new to Brussels society, where she was immediately received as a desirable partner at every ball & social gathering.  Little did she expect to catch the eye of someone she had known all of her life or to be caught in the middle of a war.

_______

 

We may not immediately think of Brussels as the setting of a war, but it was in fact, the location of the Battle of Waterloo, which ended with the final defeat of Napoleon, and as in all wars, with many deaths.

Jennie Goutet did a masterful job of threading the story of "A Daring Proposal" into the fabric of real historical events and real people. 

This entire "Memorable Proposals" series is truly wonderful. I highly recommend all three books to anyone who enjoys historical romantic fiction, but especially "A Daring Proposal" because of it's historical accuracy.

I previously reviewed the first book in this series and you can read that review here: A Regrettable Proposal


Currently, all of these books are available for free with a Kindle Unlimited membership





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Saturday, September 3, 2022

Book Review of Listen to Me by Tess Gerritsen


A Rizzoli & Isles suspense thriller


Listen to Me is #13 of 13 in the Rizzoli & Isles series.  Jane (Rizzoli), homicide detective with the Boston Police Department and Maura (Isles) Boston Medical Examiner, return in another thriller. This time Jane's mother is looking into a mystery of her own. 




Synopsis


While Jane and Maura are trying to solve what appears to be a completely senseless murder of a widowed nurse, Jane's mother Angela worries and wonders about what is going on in her neighborhood. There's the gossip about the runaway teenager down the block and the strange neighbors who have just moved in across the street. When Angela tries to tell her detective daughter about this, Jane writes it all off as her mother's overactive imagination. 


Meanwhile, the lack of clues in the murder are driving Jane and Maura crazy. 


This particular novel is laid out in an interesting manner. Chapters in this story are headed with and switch back and forth from MAURA to JANE to ANGELA (Jane's mother). Within each chapter, we learn more background about each of the characters, including some about their personal lives. 


Summary


As Jane and Maura struggle with trying to solve the murder case, they seem to lose sight of something sinister happening much closer to home. When Angela is kidnapped in broad daylight right in front of her home, Jane discovers that her mom's concerns and the current police case are actually related. 


Read “Listen to Me” to learn how both situations are resolved. 


TV Series


Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli & Isles book series inspired the TV series by the same name (Rizzoli & Isles) starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander. The series ran for 7 seasons on the TNT cable channel. It can now be seen in reruns on Lifetime and other channels. Each of the 7 seasons and the complete series are also available on DVD.


*Listen to Me, a book review by Wednesday Elf

 

 



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Thursday, September 1, 2022

Limitless - Book Review


There would be gold medals and world records, and plenty of them, but that is not the Limitless in Mallory Weggemann's story.  No.

Becoming limitless was, and is, about diving in to discover what is on the other side of fear—the kind of fear that could have become more paralyzing than her T10 spinal injury.

Mallory's story could have ended when she was 18, but as we shall read, it did not. Some might say it began then... her story. I'm not seeing that.

What I did see in reading this memoir is that it is much more than a story of how Mallory Weggemann became a Paralympic champion. Amazing as that is, the heroic journey is in how a young woman chose to be more than what others imagined she could be after becoming a paraplegic.

I saw how it is possible, through choices, to be more than our circumstances—how one moves forward from pain, and devastation, and the grief caused by both.

Right alongside Mallory, I learned how we cannot ever live less of a life than we are capable of living. 

We all have disabilities. Some are just more visible than others. The thing is this: We must not let them define us. We are so much more than the artificial limits that contain us if we surrender to them.

I encourage you to experience Mallory Weggemann's victorious anthem, as sung on the pages of Limitless and on many championship podiums. It is my hope that those who do so will begin to envision a new limitless life for themselves. 






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Monday, August 29, 2022

Book Review: The Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White

The Promise Between Us is a novel about a group of people living with varying degrees of anxiety. Trying to get through each day is difficult enough, then add to that that some of them are trying to keep their individual past traumas secret. The characters are flawed and their lives are complicated and messy. 



"Best selling author Barbara Claypole White writes hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of mental illness" - About The Author on goodreads.

 The Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White

Maisie MacDonald, 5th grader, is a quirky, young girl living with her father and step-mother. Her mother passed away when she was very young. At least, that is what she has been told. On the outside, to those who meet her, she looks and sounds confident. She has her own style of dress and is quite able to self-advocate. On the inside, she is constantly worried about things such as whether she's been bad or disrespectful. If those around her are going to die and if they do it will be her fault.  She tries to keep her fears and thoughts secret but they are starting to show to those observing her.

Callum (Cal) MacDonald is Maisie's father. He would do anything to protect his daughter. Cal has recently married Lilah. Together, they are working together to sort out the intricacies of becoming a family. They are aware that Maisie has some anxiety; especially about transferring to middle school after 6th grade. 

Uncle Jake,  "who's Dad Point Two" as Maisie refers to him, is a family friend (Cal's best friend) who has helped raise Maisie thus far. On one hand, he is a shallow, handsome actor. On the other hand, he cares for Maisie deeply and probably understands her the most.

Katie Mack is an artist that is volunteering at a program for 6th graders.  Even though Maisie is only a 5th grader, she and her friend have been enrolled in this program. Katie and Maisie meet at the art museum. Katie has struggled with debilitating (life-threatening) anxiety and OCD with fire being one of her main fears. She responded by taking control of those fears to the best of her ability and learning to weld and create metal sculptures. Maisie is drawn to Katie's work. 

Personal Thoughts About The Promise Between Us

Perhaps I enjoyed this story so much because I work with children who have a variety of mental health diagnoses. Day after day, I am both exhausted by the work AND exhilarated by something said or done by these unique individuals. Day after day I have the thought that if we (the allegedly "normal" folks) tried a little harder to listen or understand our lives would be that much more enriched. Instead, we generally try to teach others to "act right" or "behave" or think a certain way. I enjoyed The Promise Between Us because of it's real portrayal of characters who are struggling. 

There are a small number of reviews that mentioned their dislike of the repetition in the story. The truth is, that is the reality of anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Repetitive and intrusive thoughts that occur over and over and over.  That sort of repetition is what real humans live with on a daily basis. Although, difficult to read at points (yes, it is repetitive) it is part of what made this story so believable and made the characters real. If the repetition irks you, imagine what it is like to try to live a productive life with that happening in your head.

Warning: This book deals with difficult subjects related to anxiety, OCD, and trauma. There are difficult scenes in the story that may trigger some people.  And if it were a movie, it would carry a warning for nudity/sex. 





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Saturday, August 27, 2022

The Big Dark Sky by Dean Koontz – Book Review

Dean Koontz is a master storyteller. His fiction journey began when he was a senior in college and won an Atlantic Monthly fiction competition. Since then, he has never stopped writing.



Koontz latest book published in 2022, The Big Dark Sky, is all we have come to expect from this master of suspense.


Synopsis


Image by Daniel Burkett  from Pixabay 
The setting is Montana where, as a girl, Joanna Chase lived on a ranch until tragedy changed her life. At age 9, after both parents die, Joanna goes to live with an aunt in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Now it is twenty-five years later. Joanna is a writer still living in Santa Fe. She has only vague memories of the past until she begins to receive pleas – by phone, through her TV, in her dreams.


I am in a dark place, Jojo. Please come and help me.


Unable to ignore these desperate pleas, Joanna is compelled to return to Montana.  Unknown to her until she arrives back at Rustling Willows Ranch, other people, including a scientist, a boy from Joanna's childhood, a private investigator and a computer expert, have also been drawn to this isolated area in Montana, haunted by a sense of imminent danger.


Meanwhile, on the outskirts of this remote ranch, a madman lurks with a disturbing vision which tells him that mass murder is the only way to save the future. 


Summary


Available on Amazon

The synchronicity of coincidences brings together this band of strangers under Montana's big dark sky. Will they be able to defeat the threat that could spell the end for humanity? 

The Big Dark Sky is listed as a #1 Bestseller in Amazon's Science Fiction Adventures~


More Reviews of Books by Dean Koontz:




*The Big Dark Sky – Book Review by Wednesday Elf


  










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Friday, August 26, 2022

A Regrettable Proposal: A Regency Romance (Memorable Proposals Book 1) by Jennie Goutet Reviewed

This is the first book written by Jennie Goutet that I have read, but it won't be the last! 

I have stayed up late, into the wee hours of the morning, for the last two nights reading "A Regrettable Proposal" because I was so absorbed in the story. I simply could not put the book down, even though my eyelids keep closing out of sheer exhaustion. I would wake with a start and begin reading again.  While I desperately needed sleep, I hated it when I got to the ending of the book. Fortunately, there are two more books in the series.  I will start reading book 2 tonight and I can hardly wait. 

Like all Regency Romance novels, this historical story takes place in 19th century England. "A Regrettable Proposal" follows the traditional style of writing by being clean & wholesome to read. It beckons us back to a time of elegance, balls, elaborate ballgowns, horse drawn carriages, and high society. 

In my personal opinion, it is the mark of an extraordinary writer to be able to captivate a reader with a romantic story absent explicit sex, foul language, or extreme violence. 

 

A Regrettable Proposal Synopsis
1812 - London, England

 A Regrettable Proposal: A Regency Romance (Memorable Proposals Book 1)Check PriceStratford Tunstall never expected to be the fifth Earl of Worthing, but when both of his male cousins were killed in war and his uncle died, he fell heir to the Worthing estate, title, and responsibilities. "Family members who had not cared to know him before now would descend upon him at Worthing."  Also, his uncle had taken a ward under his protective wing many years ago and she was also being summoned to the reading of the will.

Eleanor Daventry had no idea what was about to happen to her, but she knew she would survive somehow.  She had been fortunate that her father's long time friend, the fourth Earl of Worthing, had provided for her since her father's death. Under his guardianship, she had received an excellent education and he had already provided for her upcoming "first season" to be presented to society.  While the expectations would be for her to secure a titled suitor, she would prefer to secure a job and marry for love. Regardless, she would try to enjoy her season in London with her best friend, Lydia Ingram, from school.    

The reading of the will surprised everyone, especially Eleanor. Now, what must she do?  

The reading of the will also made Stratford wonder what he must do.  

___________

 

While the Regency time period paints the picture of elegance, beauty, gentility & tranquility, people have always been human. Therefore, there has always been pride, arrogance, envy, & harsh realities. 

This Regency Romance novel is one I can highly recommend to anyone who enjoys historical romantic fiction.


At publishing time of this review, "A Regrettable Proposal" is available for free with a Kindle Unlimited Subscription. Or, you can purchase it with the link below.






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Thursday, August 25, 2022

Sharing Your Memories

Sharing Your Memories
Have you ever wanted to share your memories for your grandchildren and future generations?  There are so many ways to accomplish that and yet, sometimes it is hard to know where to begin.  You could record yourself talking about your memories, write them out by hand into some type of book or type them into various memory book programs.  In this post I will review three of the different methods I have used to share memories with my grandkids.

Memory Book

When my oldest two granddaughters were 13-14 years old, they went through Confirmation at their church. As a gift for each of them I presented them with a book of memories from my life.  The book I used was called, Grandmothers Memories to her Grandchild (a journal of faith and love).


This book has pages for you to write small paragraphs about yourself and other family members.  The paragraphs are interspersed with beautiful photographs of Thomas Kinkaid paintings and faith-based prose.

The book has a place to add the members of your family tree and a page about your birthday, full name and place of birth.  In addition to these pages there are many other topics for you to write your memories.  Here are a few of the topics:
  • What happened in the world when you were born?
  • My favorite verse about love.
  • The best thing about being your grandmother.
  • Memories of my Mother.
  • Memories of my Father.
  • Favorite photos of you and me.
  • Favorite Bible verse.
There are many other subjects that help to give you ideas of what to write.  I found this book easy to write and I like the way it turned out.  I wrote in the book over a 6-month time frame to give me time to think about each subject and then put down my thoughts.

Story Worth Book

On Mother's Day, my son and daughter-in-law gave me a subscription to the "Story Worth" memory book.  Each week I was emailed a question from the company and then I would write my answer to the question and add any photos that I had that would go with that subject.  At the end of 52 weeks the questions and answers, along with the photos were put into a book.   Here is the cover from my book.
Here are a few of the topics from my book.  They are all listed in the index of the book.
  • How did you feel when your first child was born?
  • Which fads did you embrace while growing up?
  • Describe one of you most memorable birthdays.
  • What is one of your favorite memories of your mother?
  • Did you have a car in high school?
  • Who are the best cooks in your family?
  • What did you read as a child?
  • Who inspires you?
  • What simple pleasures of life do you truly enjoy?
  • If you could choose any talent to have, what would it be?
  • Tell me about your siblings.
This is just a sampling of the questions to give you an idea of the types of questions in the book.  If you are sent a question that just doesn't work for you, you can ask for a replacement question.  I did this a couple of time during the year but after some thought I found I could find something to write for every question.

Shutterfly Book

After making memory books of my life, my husband and I decided we would also like some books made of his memories.  I have always made a photo book each year using the format in Shutterfly.  In looking at their options I found that I could also use pages of text in Shutterfly in addition or instead of photos.  We decided this would be a good option for making a book of my husband's memories.

We started with some basic questions that he answered, and that I put in the book along with corresponding photographs.  We then looked at all the questions that I answered in my books, and we used those questions as a starting point for his book.  Each week I give him one or two questions.  I then add the answers to the book.   I also go through old photo albums and copy any photos that will work with the questions.  We are still in the process of creating this book, but I really like the way it is turning out.

Whatever method you decide to use, I encourage you to get started.  I think it is good to do it over several months to a year.  At the end of the project, you will have a wonderful sense of accomplishment and your family will have a wonderful gift from you.



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Thursday, August 18, 2022

One Thousand Wells - Book Review

 

It takes audacity to dream of providing clean water for one thousand African communities. Beyond that, for twenty-one-year-old Jena Lee, what it would really take was learning what love requires—learning to love the world in all its brokenness, rather than trying to save it.

Of course, a love like that is born of risk, and doubt, and sometimes even, disillusionment. A love like that engenders a humbling vulnerability that can shake you to your core.

One Thousand Wells is the memoir you write after, or amidst, the transformation that has stirred your spirit and connected your deep gladness to the world's deep thirst. First, though, to identify that purpose and mission—that soul level gladness—you must find the stories that sing to you. For Lee, those stories came from people who had typically been overlooked. 

Before Africa, Jena found herself drawn to the plight of the homeless. While volunteering at a Red Cross Shelter during high school, Lee discovered that among the homeless she had found her home. In the midst of their brokenness, Jena found that which is sacred.

When one has an overpowering sense of calling, there can be overwhelming questions: Where to begin? What to do? With whom to partner? How to inspire others to care about what you find to be most important in the world? 

Without visibility and a powerful platform, even the best of intentions can fail to advance a desperately needed mission. Fortunately, there would be no failure to launch. With perfect timing, Jena Lee was connected to the Grammy Award-winning band Jars of Clay. Together, they would co-found the nonprofit Blood:Water and find the way forward.

For anyone with a heart for spreading love where it is needed most, Jena Lee Nardella's journey of outreach and inreach is sure to encourage action. How will we respond? What won't get done if not for us?

Let us each find that intersection where our deep gladness meets the world's deep need.









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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Katherine Faulkner's Greenwich Park Book Review

Katherine Faulkner's Greenwich Park is a domestic psychological thriller. Learn more here.

The cover of Katherine Faulkner’s Greenwich Park reads, “gripping and haunting and gorgeously suspenseful” and I agree. I was drawn to the book by the title, a romanticized area of London, England, and by the artwork. 

Greenwich Park the book is a murder mystery of the best sort. It draws you in. Pick it up and you might not want to put it down. Pick it up and you will find yourself guessing whodunit. I failed at the guessing of who did it, which I expect is good because it means the book has twists and turns.  I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. 

Greenwich Park is a domestic psychological thriller that is set in the current day in the south east of London. It tells the story of a pregnant woman’s privileged life in a stately Victorian home and of her family and friends. Off work because of her history with difficult pregnancies and because of current health concerns, the main character, Helen, finds herself bored and lonely. That is, until she befriends a woman named Rachel. Rachel is also pregnant but embraces none of the care that many women exercise when they are pregnant. She smokes and she drinks and she is not very interested in her body or her unborn baby. She’s loud and she's obnoxious but, however, she is fun and she quickly manages to infiltrate Helen’s tidy little world. But is it really tidy?

Helen has been described as someone who has everything including “a perfect husband, a perfect brother and a perfect sister-in-law. When she meets Rachel, she also has the perfect nightmare.” 

I like Crime by the Book’s three-point list of reasons to read the book. She says that it pulls back the curtain on the lives of people who appear to have picture-perfect lives, that it is a story of obsession and cat-and-mouse tension and that it is intricate and effortlessly told. 

If it helps, Crime by the Book says that this book is similar to books to those written by Lisa Jewell, who I have yet to read.

FAST FACTS:


Author – Katherine Faulkner
Format – Hardcover, paperback, Kindle, audiobook, audio CD
Genre – Domestic Psychological Thriller
Pages - 375
Publication Date – September 13, 2021
Publisher – Simon & Shuster
ISBN Number – 978-1-9821-5031-0

If you love a good thriller, you will enjoy Greenwich Park. The book is definitely dark, looking into the world of pregnancy and early motherhood, of friendships, of privileged lives lived and, of course, of the secrets that people keep. I think that it is an excellent first novel, which the author wrote while she herself was on maternity leave.  The rights to the book have been sold and I will be watching for a movie or television series as well as for a second book by Faulkner. Meanwhile, you can order your copy of Greenwich Park from Amazon by clicking right here.

See you 
at the book store!
Brenda



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