Showing posts with label book. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book. Show all posts

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Reviewing Murder at Sea Oaks Beach

 

Sea Oats Beach Photo by mbgphoto

If you enjoy reading cozy mysteries, Karen C. Whalen has a wonderful selection of books for you.  Her first two series The Dinner Club Mysteries and The Tow Truck Mysteries, all take place in Colorado and are fun reading and keep you guessing at the culprit.  In her latest book Murder at Sea Oaks Beach, the author brings you to a new setting, the coast of North Carolina.  This beach setting makes a wonderful cozy mystery to read on your summer vacation or just sitting in your own back yard.

Brief Summary of Murder at Sea Oaks Beach

In this cozy mystery we meet Breanna Hart.  She is new to the beach town and rents a Airbnb not far from the beach.  Since she is a dog lover she decides to volunteer at the local animal shelter.

Along the way we meet a host of delightful characters.  There is a local surfer, Roscoe, who makes his living pushing a red cart on the beach selling flavored ices. Breanna meets him while walking on the beach.

The animal shelter shares a building with the Sea Oats police department and Breanna meets several of the members of the police department.  There is Ty, the handsome officer she meets on her first day.  There is Claire, the vet tech, who becomes a friend and others that work there become friends too, particularly Serenity and Emma.

Breanna has a "Social Anxiety Disorder" that makes it hard for her to socialize with new people, but she is working hard to overcome her anxiety.

Breanna loves her job as a volunteer, particularly walking the dogs.
All is going well with her job and the people she meets until the police chief is found dead under suspicious circumstances.  He is found in a dog's cage with bite marks all over him.  The dog is Samson, a bulldog that is one of Breanna's favorites.  The investigation into the Chief's death takes a lot of twist and turns.  When Breanna hears that Samson will be put down because he is implicated in the Chief's death, she is determined to do all she can to help find the true killer and clear Samson.

My Recommendation

I really enjoyed this book and recommend it for anyone looking for a good cozy mystery.  It will be particularly interesting for anyone loving dogs, mysteries and the beach.  

Order on Amazon

Karen Whalen's latest book can be ordered on Amazon.  It will be released
June 20th, 2024 but can be pre-ordered before then.  Here is the link to the book  Murder at Sea Oaks Beach

More Reviews on Karen C Whalen Books

I have written several reviews on these wonderful cozy mysteries.  Here are a few:
Stiletto to the Pedal
Friends Come to Call
Toes on the Dash







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, February 22, 2024

Book Review of The Dry

AI rendering of Truck

 I love a good crime novel with a mystery that is just waiting to be solved.  I find it particularly interesting when the author keeps you guessing till near the end of the book on who the guilty party is. Jane Harper accomplishes this in her book The Dry. In The Dry there is not just the current crime (a possible murder/suicide) but also a death from twenty years ago that is still unexplained.

Setting

The story takes place in a small fictional Australian town called Kiewarra.  It is located about five hours north of Melbourne and the story takes place when the town and the area is suffering from a drought that is the worst in recent history.  The drought is so severe that it is placing a real burden on the farmers and the livelihood of the locals.  It has become so bad that suicide is on the minds of many of the residents.

The Book on Amazon

The book can be purchased on Amazon as an ebook, paperback, hardcover or audio book.  Here is a link The Dry

Summary

The book begins when Aaron Falk, a law enforcement officer in the big city of Melbourne, receives a letter from the father of his best friend from childhood.  In this letter the father requests /demands that Aaron attend his son's funeral.  The son (Luke Hadler), son's wife and young son were all found shot to death and the town consensus is that the son shot his family and then turned the gun on himself.  

Aaron Falk had left the town 20 years ago when another close friend, Ellie Deacon, drowned and again the town jumped to the conclusion that either Aaron or his Dad had something to do with Ellie's death.  They left town, never to return again, until Aaron returns for Luke's funeral.

This is a small town where everyone knows or at least thinks they know everyone else's business. It is full of secrets, gossip and people jumping to the wrong conclusions. 

Aaron Falk teams up with the local law enforcement official, Raco, and unofficial investigate the Hadler murders/suicide.  There are many unanswered questions and as they look into the current murders they find the sins of the past coming in to play.  

My Thoughts

This was one of those books where I guessed at the outcome throughout and yet was completely surprised at the ending.  I don't want to give anything away but want you to know you won't be disappointed in the endings.  The sins of the past are brought to task in the heroism of the present.  I found this to be an excellent book.  In fact, after reading it, I immediately downloaded the second book in the Aaron Falk series.  It is called Force of Nature and can be found on Amazon at this link Force of Nature



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, February 1, 2024

Reviewing Prom Queen by Laura Wolfe

Prom Queen book cover
Prom Queen by Laura Wolfe 

I'm not sure what made me want to read this book by Laura Wolfe, but I will definitely be diving into more of her books as I really enjoyed it.

The cover of the book says, 'We were all there 20 years ago....Only one of us killed her', that was enough of a hook for me!

This book runs in two timelines one is the present day and one is twenty years ago when the small town of Cove Haven's Prom Queen died.

The main character in the book is Brooke and she has returned to Cove Haven on the shore of Lake Michigan after her mother's death planning to renovate and sell the family home. While she's in the coffee shop she bumps into a woman who is wearing a silver locket around her neck that she instantly recognises. The necklace is one that she gave her long-time best friend for her 17th birthday and the last time she saw it was on the evening that her friend (the Prom Queen in the title) died.

The person in question was a true-crime podcaster who had decided to investigate the Prom Queen's death and she raised lots of questions as podcasters do. Bailey's death had been put down as a suicide, but her friends had often thought it could've been something more sinister. As the podcaster, Hannah probes more she and Brooke discover more things and the twists start coming.

I really enjoyed it even though I did suspect who the killer was before the end, I will confess to falling for a red herring for a few moments. I won't reveal more about that as I want you to fall for it   enjoy the book with no preconceptions!

If you like thrillers and whodunnits then you should enjoy this book. There were a couple of cliched characters in the book, but the main cast was really good.

The only thing that I didn't really like was the epilogue. I enjoyed the ending with the reveal and think it could've ended there. When I read the epilogue I said to my husband, 'that's not a nice ending, I really don't like that ending' I think it was to set up for another book, but I just didn't like it. I would recommend not reading that part, but if you're like me curiosity will get the better of you. 

For an entertaining read I do recommend it. It is marketed as a 'totally addictive and gripping psychological thriller with a heart-stopping twist' and that does sum it up although I would probably replace the psychological thriller with whodunnit as it wasn't as dark and suspenseful as a lot of psychological thrillers.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, April 4, 2023

A Review Of Geoff Hamiltons Cottage Gardens Book

 

snapshot of book cover


Here is my review of Geoff Hamilton's book "Cottage Gardens".  Geoff Hamilton was my inspiration and education where gardening was concerned and I have learned an incredible amount from his books, TV series and his gardens.

In this book at approximately 250 pages of text and photographs, he specifically concentrates on Cottage gardens. This happens to be my most loved style of gardening so I was always going to buy and treasure this book. 

In fact, I am rapidly buying up every Geoff Hamilton book I can as I am concerned his books will start to get more difficult to find. He sadly died 4th August 1996 at the age of 59 and of course now there are many other good gardeners on the scene and many other books.

However, for me, Geoff's enthusiasm, knowledge and style of gardening will never go out of fashion. I feel in tune with his methods. His writing seems to speak directly to me as if he were teaching me and I need his ongoing guidance to improve my own gardening. 

 I have written about my admiration and joy when visiting Geoff Hamiltons Barnsdale Gardens near Oakham in UK in A Personal Review Of The Inspirational Gardener Geoff Hamilton

If you are looking for a down to earth, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and practical gardening guide to "Cottage Gardens" please take a look at this book. 

The photos included here are all of my own photographs taken either at Barnsdale Gardens or in my own garden at home. 

flowers


Section One History Of The Cottage Garden 

 Section one covers a fascinating history of the cottage garden and the people who tended them. 

Cottage gardens have been in existence in some form since the Middle Ages in UK and the premise for all cottage gardens is that they are there to be used. These gardens were used primarily for food, herbs and some medicinal purposes, plus some flowers to lift the spirits. 

Geoff takes us through the Cottage garden in the UK and how it its use changes and evolves through the Middle Ages ( 500- 1400) to the enlightened era of the  Elizabethan age (1533- 1603) onto the Victorians and beyond and into the twentieth century. 

It includes discussions of gardens and the role of people who were the labouring classes, the craftspeople and the wealthier people.

It discusses the role of medieval medicine and primitive gardening techniques and how over time improvement in living conditions meant more vegetables and fruits were consumed and how gardening developed. 


purple flower photo


He highlights certain influential gardeners over time such as Capability Brown, Humprey Repton and William Robinson. 

 The role of topiary and model villages is discussed along with the effect of social divisions, revolts, reforms and philanthropic movements. He covers the role of Allotments and the evolution of the Cottage Garden into the more modern age. 


flowering pots


Section Two Creating A Cottage Garden 

Section two instructs us on how to create a Cottage Garden and covers two different styles. 

The first is very much a working garden to feed us and be as productive as possible. 

This is the affordable Artisans garden, which is built specifically with low cost and reclaimed or second hand materials in mind. More is handmade and plants grown and raised from young.

This style of garden is much more like the original cottage gardens built and tended by working people, would have looked.  

arbor
Entrance to Artisan Cottage Garden Barnsdale. Photo by Raintree Annie


The second garden is more stylized, an idea rather than the reality of the rustic garden, with far more comforts and romance. 

Vegetables would be grown, but were not essential to the gardener for food for the family. 

This is the more expensive Gentleman's garden, where cost is not really an issue. It is altogether more elaborate and uses more costly materials. 

garden photo
Gentlemans Cottage Garden Barnsdale UK. Photo by Raintree Annie 

I had the pleasure of seeing both these gardens in Barnsdale gardens designed and built by Geoff Hamilton, they have stood the test of time and look fantastic. 

Interesting Geoff said that he enjoyed making the more affordable Artisan garden more than the more expensive Gentleman's garden. When you understand more of the man and gardener he was this is not surprising. 

He believed there is creative pleasure in making items, raising plants, developing a personal garden and saving money.

He understood that people can and do buy some ready-made items and grown plants for the garden, but his hope was that gardeners would take ideas from both types of gardens and using our creativity, make them our own. 

So we learn about building these two gardens from principles to the layout. Which important aspects to include, how to consider designing it, what sort of boundaries to consider and what materials to use.

He includes information on arbours and benches, herb tables and love seats, paving, compost bins, containers and cold frames. He details what to consider, how to build and design and gives a very comprehensive overview of both gardens. The photographs and pictures are lovely and bring it all to life.   


cottage garden
Artisan Cottage Garden Barnsdale. Photo By Raintree Annie

Plants In The Cottage Garden

Then the book goes into more detail about the plants to use at the back, middle and front of the border to provide those layers of use and interest in the garden. 

This section includes propagation techniques so we can make more plants for free! This is always a very useful and easy skill to learn for anyone who has a large garden to a window box. 

Geoff's love of plants and trees comes through and he details how to choose and look after trees, climbers, ramblers, border plants, shrubs, herbaceous plants, bulbs, annuals, biannuals and topiary. It details a wealth of plants that we can include according to our situation and needs.


Section Three A Cottage Economy

Section Three covers "A Cottage Economy" and teaches us how to grow and tend a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, tree fruit and soft fruit.

He includes cultivation methods and how to grow vegetables in borders. It is a very useful, practical and interesting guide to growing and tending these plants.

The way Geoff Hamilton approaches the information, it all seems totally achievable and straightforward to learn. 

plant

Cottage Garden Plants Through History. 

Finally the book discusses Cottage Garden Plants Through History where he gives a snapshot of plants that would have been grown through the ages. Although a short section this is quite fascinating to learn what was grown in different eras in history. 


I bought this book in the UK as a hardback copy but it is available via Amazon in hardback and paperback and I imagine it is the same book. 

If you have the smallest interest in gardening or even garden history in terms of cottage gardens and the way people lived with them and how they evolved, this book is very interesting and a worthwhile read.

If you love gardening and want to learn more from a true master I do not hesitate to recommend Geoff Hamilton's Cottage Gardens Book either for yourself or as a beautiful gift.  


Geoff Hamilton died many years ago now but even today, or perhaps more so today, many people grow vegetables and fruit in gardens or allotments to supplement the weekly shop.

With shortages and prices of vegetables, salad and herbs rocketing in the shops, growing food ourselves can make it more accessible and affordable to us. 

I wonder if gardening may again become something we need to know how to do and an essential life skill to pass on to the next generation as it used to be. So maybe the story or history of the Cottage Garden is not yet over. 


More Gardening Articles





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, October 28, 2021

Review of The Keeper of Happy Endings

 

Eiffel Tower in paris
Book Review: The Keeper of Happy Endings
This was another book I downloaded from Amazon Prime and I was absolutely captivated from page one.  In this book the author, Barbara Davis, weaves a wonderful tale of two woman decades apart whose lives are very similar.  Both have a fiance' who is missing and they fear they have lost. Both are devastated by their tragedies and at first have trouble finding the strength to continue on with their lives.



Soline

Soline Roussel has learned the bridal industry from her family.  For generations the family has had a bridal shop in Paris where they are well known for the magic in their dresses that bring happy endings to the brides who wear them.  The dresses are all hand made and beautiful and Soline learns to carefully stitch the dresses.  All is well till the war comes to Paris along with the German occupation.  Dresses are no longer in demand and Soline is pulled in many directions including working with the resistance.  Heartbreak and grief lead her to America where she starts a new life.

Rory

Decades later Rory comes in contact with Soline when she leases Soline's old bridal shop for a gallery for unknown artists.  Rory has a tragedy herself in a missing fiance' and a domineering mother.  She is torn between hiding and moving forward.  I would love to tell more of the story but do not want to spoil the surprise and twists and turns of the story.  Let us just say that the two women meeting will become a turning point in both of their lives.

Other Books by this Author

I  first read a book by Barbara Davis when it was an Amazon Prime first read last year.  The Last of the Moon Girls was another book the captivated me right from the beginning.  Here is a review I wrote about it.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, September 9, 2021

Review of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek book cover
Historical Fiction by Kim Michele Richardson
I found this historical novel very interesting.  It is based on two pieces of history that were new to me.  The author did a lot of research to make sure she got the significant facts correct and then wrote her novel surrounding these events.

Historical Facts

The novel takes place in the 1930's and was inspired by the blue-skinned people of Kentucky and Kentucky Pack Horse librarians.

The Blue people of Kentucky were first discovered in the hills of eastern Kentucky.  They had an extremely rare disease that causes the skin to be blue.  This disease limited oxygen to the blood and caused a bluish tint to the skin. It is called Methemoglobinemia. These people lived in remote areas of the Kentucky hills near Troublesome creek and were shunned by other people in the area because they looked different.

The Kentucky Pack Horse librarians were started with the signing of Roosevelt's New Deal Acts.  The Pack Horse Library project was established in 1935 and ran until 1943.  It was created in an effort to both create jobs for women in rural Appalachia and to bring books to the people that lived in the poorest and most isolated areas of eastern Kentucky.  These librarians were known as the Book Women.

 

The Novel

The book takes place in Troublesome Creek, Kentucky in 1936.  It follows a pack horse librarian,  Cussy Mary Carter (also known as Bluet) through her travels as she delivers books, magazines and compassion to the poor people in the remote areas of the Kentucky hills.

Bluet has blue skin and is shunned by many of the town's people because she looks different and they feel that she has something they could "catch".  She finds peace in her job as a pack horse librarian and in the joy she brings to the people in the hills as she brings them reading materials.  She also will take the time to read to those who are not able to read themselves and she shows a lot of compassion to these people who have little food and possesions.

We also see Bluet as she works in the library storage area once a month and interacts with the other librarians.  Some are very mean to her and others are very kind.  

Bluet's mother has passed away and she lives with her father.  Troublesome Creek is a mining town and her father works in the mines.  A side story with the father shows the troubles that the miners have and the way  they live with the black lungs they got from working in the mines.

I found the main character Cussy Mary to be someone I really got to know in the book and looked forward to continue reading the book.  This is a book I would strongly recommend.

Another Book on the Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians

The book club I belong to read another book on the pack horse librarians.  It was called The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes.  I also found it fascinating.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, June 24, 2021

Beneath Devils Bridge by Loreth Anne White-A Book Review

 

Beneath Devils Bridge book cover
A Book Review
Beneath Devils Bridge is a compelling mystery that had my attention from page one.  In this story the author weaves a tale about a ambitious podcaster, Trinity  Scott, who is interviewing a condemned murderer. She wants to tell the story of a 24 year old murder of a 14  year old girl in a small town in British Columbia.  The  story flips between the present day story of the podcaster and her quest for the truth and the crime that took place 24 years in the past.  The murderer Clayton Jay Pelley confessed to the crime and is now serving a life sentence, but is that all there is to the story.  When Trinity starts to dig into the past the members of the small town community are not anxious to help her uncover what really happened.



Characters

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book is the way the author developed the characters as the story progressed.  Here is a short synopsis of some of the main characters.

 Trinity Scott

 Trinity is an interesting character.  She is a podcaster who is very ambitious.  She researches cold cases and features them  on her podcasts.  At first glance you feel that her interest in this case is purely to have a great podcast.  But is that completely true or does she have some ulterior motive?

Leena Rai

Leena Rae is the murder victim in this mystery.  She is a fourteen year old girl who wants very much to belong, but she is very plain, shy and awkward.  She is often bullied and made fun of by others in her class.  On a cold November night she is brutally murdered on her way home from a "secret" bonfire in the small town of Twin Falls.  The circumstances of her murder are covered up by the people in the village till podcaster Trinity Scott brings up the case 24 years later.

Rachel Walczak

Rachel is the lead detective on the case and also the mother of one of Leena's classmates.  When she and the other detective start interviewing the students after the murder they both feel something is being hidden from them, but when a teacher confesses the case is quickly closed.

My Thoughts on the Book

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I like the way it was written giving both Trinity's and Rachel's perspective.  The book really pulls you in and has several twist and turns that I did  not anticipate.  It also has a lesson to be learned on what happens when bullying becomes the norm and a small town sticks together to hide the truth.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, April 8, 2021

Book Review: A Splendid Ruin by Megan Chance

 

splendid ruin book cover
A Splendid Ruin


I just finished a wonderful historical novel by Megan Chance and I couldn't wait to start this post and review it for you.  The novel takes place in San Francisco before and after the historic earthquake of 1906.

Plot Synopsis


The story unfolds as May Kimble, whose mother has died, leaves New York and travels to San Francisco to live with relatives she didn't even know existed. When she arrives she finds her relatives living in luxury and she is introduced to a life she only dreamed existed.  Her cousin Goldie takes her under her wing and introduces her to society and everything about San Francisco.  Goldie helps her shop for a new wardrobe, introduces her to all her friends, and takes her to see the sights of the city.  For the first time May wears beautiful gowns and attends balls.



As the plot continues to unfold May sees that everything is not what it seems and she may be in real danger.  She wonders who she can really trust and must use her wits to survive a possible terrible future.  How will she escape?  This is a compelling novel that shows just what a human being must endure in order to survive.

Main Characters


This book is full of interesting characters.  Of course there is May who is a talented undiscovered artist. 

May's relatives the Sullivans are certainly interesting.  Goldie the cousin who is all about being in societies limelight.  Uncle Jonny  is so generous to May, but is there an ulterior motive?    Aunt Florence  is May's mothers sister.  Why is she so ill she cannot visit with May?  There are so many questions May wants to ask her about her Mother and Father.  In the Sullivan household are several servants and one in particular, Shinn, is a big help to May.

Other characters of interest include Ellis Farge, an architect who admires May's artwork and Stephen Oelrichs, an attorney and Goldie's former fiance. Then there is Alphonse Bandersnitch, a writer for the society pages of the newspaper.  Don't you just love that name?  Bandersnitch is not his real name and everyone is trying to guess his identity.  He does a great job of remaining anonymous even while attending all of the society happenings around town.

Recommendation


I could go on and on talking about the book, but I don't want to spoil it for you.  Let me just say it is full of mystery and intrique with lots of twists and turns.  I recommend this as a must read!



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Fun & Fab Book Accessories and Gift Ideas

A page full of fun and fabulous book accessories and gift ideas for friends, family and yourself!

If you love books, you will love the fun and fabulous book-themed gift ideas and accessories that I have catalogued for you here on this Review This blog page. If not exactly what you are looking for, they are sure to be a great jumping off point for a gift idea for yourself or for a friend or family member who just cannot take their nose out of a book. All of these book-themed gifts are from Etsy, many of them are available in a variety of materials and patterns and some of them can be personalized with your or your loved one's name or initials. 

HOLDER

Wooden book holder frees your other hand to handle a mug or glass or whatever needs handling!

If you love to read while enjoying your favorite beverage, you will love this little wooden tool. It is designed to help you hold the pages of your book open with one hand thus freeing up the other to hold a mug of your favorite hot and steamy beverage. 

Reader Dickenson said, “I decided to finally read all the big books on my shelf, and my thumbs have been suffering. This thing is amazing! I will probably be buying ten of these as Christmas gifts later this year.” I think that is a brilliant review and I know exactly what it is like to try to keep the pages of a big, trade paperback book open! 

This device is simple and practical and small and affordable. It is something you probably have never heard of  before but once you have seen it you will surely appreciate it. You will find this little wooden book holder from Engaged Book on Etsy by clicking right here.

COFFEE MUG & SWEATSHIRT


It’s a good day to read a book coffee mug!

Did someone mention a steamy hot beverage? Now that one of your hands has been freed up by the book holder, you need a mug for the other hand!  Book lovers will want to consider this coffee mug that will make you smile. It reads “It’s a Good Day to Read a Book.” If you are a big reader, you know that rule applies to every day and you will therefore want to use this mug every day, too! 

Fun bookt-themed t-shirt reads "It's a Good Day to Read a Book."

Sets make wonderful gift ideas. Why not make it a matched set? The "It's a Good Day to Read a Book" slogan is also available on a t-shirt or a sweatshirt. 

Reader Inbelding says, "I collect literary shirts and this one is my new favorite!" You will find the coffee mug, the tee and more book-themed items from The Harper House on Etsy by clicking here

It is definitely worth noting that The Harper House has many other book themed tees and sweatshirts with fun slogans like "Bookish", "Bookmarks are for Quitters", "One More Chapter", "Books and Coffee and more Books", "One More Chapter" and "It's Not Hoarding if its Books.

METAL BOOKMARK


Metal Bookmark Personalized with Your Name!

This bookmark is so pretty! I love the uniqueness of this personalized calligraphic bookmark with the little heart and a bead. Instead of a name or a word like mom or dad, Charlene also fashions bookmarks with other items on the top like a jigsaw puzzle piece, a bird or a wine glass. 

Reader Janet says, "I think so highly of Charlene! Her artistry and creativity has helped me make so many people extremely happy!"  

You can find these unique bookmarks on Etsy from kraze4paper by clicking right here.

SPOON BOOKMARK


Upcycled vintage hand-stamped bookmarks share a love of books and reading!

How about a hand-stamped bookmark? The text on these vintage spoons makes me smile and can be customized to whatever you want to say. I really like “Drink Tea. Read Books. Be Happy” because that fits me to a tea, pun intended. However, I will admit that “Fell asleep here” would be really appropriate, too. 

Reader Ziehr says, "This is the third spoon book marker that I have ordered. It fits snuggly on my book and it does not move around. It's a great personalized gift for any reader.

Find these fun vintage spoon bookmarks on Etsy from Stamped Frosting by clicking right here.

BIRD BOOKENDS


Attractive metal bird bookends will make you smile!

Bookends, anyone? If you enjoy displaying your books, a pair of bookends can be found to suit any interest. I love these bird-themed bookends and think they’d do a great job organizing the stacks of cookbook in a kitchen exactly as they appear in this photograph. 

Reader Fulkerson says, "These bookends look so cute poking out the sides of my open shelving.

Find them from Max Foundry on Etsy by clicking here.

TRAVEL BOOKENDS


A pair of travel themed bookends for the armchair traveller's books!

Those, like me, who are armchair travelers will love these vintage globe-themed bookends though because they are vintage, they are one-of-a-kind find. Once they are sold, they will be gone and you will have to look further afield to find a set that appeals to you. You will find these globe bookmarks on Etsy from Marchpuces by clicking here

You can also check out all of the vintage globe bookends on Etsy by clicking here.

UPCYCLED BOOKENDS


These upcycled bookends are sure to please any dog lover!

How about some dog-themed bookends? These ones are perfect for a dog lover. They are upcycled bricks painted by the artist in a variety of themes including this dog one.

Reader Bilhartz says that they are “Even nicer in person than I expected!! You’d think painted bricks are just painted bricks, but no! These are really well done. You can tell there is artistic talent, attention to detail, an eye for attractive color combos, and that very high quality, thick and vivid paint was used!” What a great review! What more can I say? 

You can check out these and a pair of cat-themed bookends from Brickends on Etsy by clicking right here.

PADDED BOOK SLEEVE


Pretty Watercolor Wildflowers padded book sleeve will help keep your book safe when you are on the go!

I will admit that when we travel, I put my book into a plastic bag to give it some protection in the car or in my carry-on bag. I never thought that there might be a more attractive way to carry my book around while at the same time offering it some protection. Enter this beautiful padded book sleeve. 

Reader Saelua says, "Beautiful fabric and well made! I got the largest size so I’d be ready to carry any book I need. Right now I’m able to fit one medium sized book and one small in it at the same time. Looking forward to using this for a long long time." 

Annette offers a few fun patterns that currently include this pretty Watercolor Wildflowers. You are sure to find one that best suits you or your recipient's interests. 

You will find them on Etsy from Fred 'N Polly by clicking here.

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Well, there you have it. A page full of fun and fabulous book accessories and interesting gift ideas. You will find all of them gathered together on my Etsy Favorites page. Just click here and then follow the Book Accessories tab.  Is there something here for you or the book lover in your life?

See you
At the bookstore!
Brenda


 
For those who love their books, here's a page full of book accessories and gift ideas.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Book Review on Golden Poppies

Golden Poppies book cover

Golden Poppies by Laila Ibrahim was my pick for the Amazon Prime free books for May.  I always enjoy historical fiction and I was not disappointed with this compelling story.


The Book on Amazon




Main themes of the Book


There are several themes that run throughout the book.  
  • Love and friendship that endures throughout the years
  • Racial discord and fear
  • Inequality 
  • Women's Voting Rights
  • Strong and resilient women


Highlights of the Book


This book looks at two generations of people who are linked by friendship and racial solidarity.

The book begins in 1894 with the story of Mattie, a former slave who escaped the plantation on which she lived and worked.  When the story begins Mattie is now living in Chicago and is very ill.  Her daughter, Jordan and grandaughter, Naomi are by her side; but Mattie desires to see her old friend Lisbeth one more time before she dies.  Mattie had been Lisbeth's nanny on the plantation before she escaped and they have kept in touch with each other through the years.   Jordan finally agrees to getting in touch with Lisbeth, even though she doesn't know if she wants to share her mother's last days with a "white" woman.  Upon getting the message, Lisbeth immediately makes plans to leave her home in Oakland California to visit Mattie.  Lisbeth's daughter Sadie travels with her by train to Chicago.

I don't want to give away the whole story but after Mattie's death all four woman end up going to Oakland.  During the weeks that follow they  become involved in the Women's Suffrage Movement.

There are many interesting side stories that make the book a real page turner.  These include the birth of a child, a husband's abuse, an interracial marriage and the continued loyalty and friendship of the two families.

My Thoughts on the Book


I found the book to be very compelling.   It was one of those books I just couldn't put down.  The author made the characters come to life and I found myself routing for their success and fearing for their safety.  

My favorite character was Sadie, Lisbeth's daughter, who had several struggles of her own during the story but always was there for her Mom and her friends.  She was married to a man who was very domineering and her struggles seemed very true, both for those times and today.

I think the one thing that struck me was that in all the struggles, even though they took place over a 100 years ago, you can see that many things are still the same today.  Sadly, sometimes the more things change the more they remain the same.  



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Monday, January 13, 2020

Michelle Obama’s BECOMING Book Review

Michelle Obama’s BECOMING Book Review

I am a Canadian who does not pay a lot of attention to American politics though I do remember the former First Lady, Michelle Obama, from the very first days that her husband became the President of the United States and I remember seeing her image time and time again during the years that followed.

Since the release of her book Becoming in November of 2018, I have been hearing about it. More recently, I saw that it was the Ottawa Public Library’s most requested book in 2019. Either of those reasons would have been a good reason to pick up the book but the actual reason that I read it was because it is my book club’s next book.

THE STORYLINE


I reached for the book with little in the way of expectations though I obviously wondered what all the hype was about. It seems a bit early (in Michelle's life) to label the book an autobiographical memoir but it is her story to date and it is told from her perspective so I guess it is a memoir of sorts.

Becoming is a story of gender equality, race, marriage and politics.

The first section, Becoming Me, shares the story of her childhood and education in Chicago and how she became who she is. That is, a highly educated woman, a lawyer cum public servant cum hospital administrator and a devoted wife and protective mother.

The second section, Becoming Us, covers her romance and her marriage to Barack Obama.

The final section, Becoming More, tells of the Obama family and their lives as public figures when Barack becomes the President of the United States. It tells how Michelle tried to retain some sense of her own identity and to achieve some sense of normalcy for her family. It shares the sacrifices she made when she put her own dreams aside to support her husband’s goals. Despite not being able to follow her own career path, she supported the work of her husband and turned her considerable talents to making meaningful contributions indirectly associated with his work.

BOOK VIDEOS


The first video shown here presents a short peek at the book and Michelle Obama’s story:



The second video, in which Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey surprise a group of school girls with a visit, does a better job  in my opinion of sharing some of Michelle's experiences becoming the First Lady and it gives you a feel for the story you will find between the covers of the book:



WHO WROTE BECOMING?


Even before I picked it up, I wondered if Michelle wrote the book or if she had employed a ghost writer. Could someone be so successful in so many areas of her life and also become a bestselling author?

I could not find anything definitive to answer that question. Business Insider says that Michelle used, “a team of people”, which makes sense to me and The News Record says that Michelle asked for help from a friend and that she and that friend met about the book on and off again for a period of nine years.

REVIEWS


Becoming is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me. I enjoyed it and think that no matter who did the writing it is a well written and very interesting book.

Politico Magazine called it a bit thin in areas and I agree with that statement. Politico says that Michelle was a “woman who sparkled all her life, ascending to registers of success she anticipated in middle school, only to sideline her ambitions for her husband's” and that while the book touches on all of that, we never learn in the end “What she wants to be when she grows up.”

Oprah Winfrey added the book to her book club list. She called it a tour de force and I agree with that statement. Oprah said you will laugh and you will cry. I think you will.

Both Business Insider and The Atlantic say that Becoming “is on track to become the best-selling memoir of all time.” That, in my mind, is a high recommendation for a book.

If you need any more convincing, I note that 94 percent of reviewers on Amazon and 91 percent of readers on Goodreads gave the book 4 or 5 out of five stars. Those are amazing numbers.

IN SUMMARY


I think Michelle Obama handled her life choices well at least as she reveals them in her book. Without having any way of knowing much about her life beyond what the media shares, I think that this book gives us as much a glimpse into her world as we will ever receive.

The New Yorker says that she has become one of the most popular Americans in history and I did not miss their reference to the fact that she has now had a “second coming, as an unprecedented, potentially billion-dollar American brand.” The Former President and First Lady reportedly were paid a whopping 65 million dollar advance for their memoirs. You can bet that we will be seeing Michelle Obama again and I look forward to following her continued life story.

Meanwhile, find your copy of Becoming competitively priced on Amazon by clicking right here.

See you
At the book store!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

Quick Link:

Buy your copy of Michelle Obama’s Becoming on Amazon.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Gift Ideas

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Gift Ideas


I LIKE BIG BOOKS AND I CANNOT LIE


You other readers can't deny
When a good book walks in with
A good plot base
And a big spine in your face
You get sprung!
Wanna get out your notepads
'Cause you noticed that book
Was dense.
Deep in the book I'm reading,
I'm hooked and I can't stop
Speeding, through Baby
I wanna get that literature,
And Instagram that picture,
My teachers try to train me
But that book you've got
Makes me so brainy!
(Baby got books!)


I know the meme is not new. It started with the reworking of a song called Baby Got Back, which was about an obsession with a part of a woman’s anatomy. The new version, Baby Got Books, embraces the love of books and has spawned the creation of endless videos and creative versions of the lyrics.

Yes, I love to read as is evidenced by the reviews I have written here on Review This and yes, I like big books. Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy, anyone? That one will keep you reading for awhile.

Drawn in at first by the cover and the thickness of the spine, if a book is engrossing and if it offers up a good plot with intriguing characters and an interesting setting, I am definitely going to be found curled up with a throw blanket, a cup of tea and the book in question. Live a different life via a book? Heck, yes! Learn by seeing the world through someone else’s eyes? For sure and the bigger the book, the better.

Anyway, if you or someone you know loves books and suffers from Big-Book-Picker-Outer Syndrome, you will be interested in this page of fabulous and fun gift ideas all of which are available from Etsy and all of which contain the quote, I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie. There is something here for everyone!

T-SHIRTS


Let’s start with a t-shirt. I believe that they are practical and useful gifts and that they are a great way to declare to the world that you love to read and of course, they are available for both men and women in a variety of sizes and colors.     

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Men's T-Shirt

I Like Big Books Women's T-Shirt


HOME DECOR


I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Cushion

I found a number of options for your home décor including this cushion and two art posters. The cushion is available in a wide range of sizes and in three fairly neutral colors. Be aware that you are buying the cover and will have to provide the actual cushion for inside. Find the cushion cover here in Modernality's Home Decor shop on Etsy.     

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Print

Upcycled I Like Big Books Quotation Print

The first poster is a digital download for you to print at home. It features all of the words to the rewritten song. You can buy it and print it almost instantly at home, if you have the capability to do so, or at your print shop.  Find it in Doodling for Days' Etsy shop here. The second picture is an upcycled print that features the title of the song printed on an old dictionary page. You can find it in Whisker Print's Etsy shop here. Both are very appropriate artwork, I think, for book lovers!     

COFFEE MUGS


I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Coffee Mug

If you know me, you know I have a fascination with coffee mugs and mugs as gift ideas. So many fun images that are customizable to the interest of the recipient. In this case, I love the perfectly nerdy design on this ceramic mug, which is both microwave and dishwasher safe. You can find it on Etsy in Foxy Mug's Etsy shop here.     

ENAMEL PIN AND UPCYCLED BOOKMARK


I Like Big Books Enamel Pin


I think that both the enameled pin shown above and the upcycled bookmark shown below are totally adorable. They would be great add-ons to any book lover’s gift, make a wonderful stocking stuffer or even make a simple, inexpensive gift idea for someone who you know loves books. Find the pin here in Literary Emporium's shop and the bookmark here in Stamp and Soul's shop.     

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Bookmark


TOTE BAG


I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie Tote Bag

Finally, gather the components of your gift set together and ‘wrap’ them up in this simple, attractive and inexpensive canvas tote bag. It is more practical and environmentally friendly than wrapping paper and will make many, many trips to the library and the bookstore! Find it in the Sewing Laboratory.

How about it? Do you love big books or do you prefer your books short and sweet?     

See you
At the bookstore!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Follow this link to Etsy’s Gift Guide and yes, if you purchase a product through a link on this page, I may receive a small affiliate commission.
If you have a young person in your life that needs an introduction to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or who simply loves the classic children's story and program, there are a few great gift ideas on this page. 
If you have a young person in your life that needs an introduction to Frosty the Snowman or who simply loves the classic children's story and program, there are a few great gift ideas on this page!



Ten perfect gifts for those who love big books and cannot lie!








Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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