Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Springtime in Magnolia

I have been saving this for when we had several more members.  We have some great members and a nice group of followers...but we still aren't getting the reviews we had hoped.  Jump in there! :-)  We want to hear from you about the books you love (or hate!) 

This is the book I read a few months ago.  And, of course, I am very proud! It is also the book for which the book club was named....

Written by my Mom...this is a beautiful tale of a southern family facing hardship through the Depression years and tragedy in World War II. Young Janie learns the meaning of love, and gains wisdom and strength from her family so she can face the future, whatever it holds.  Yes, I am somewhat "prejudiced" in my view of this book  BUT I can say with all honesty that is was a delightful read.  It inspires the reader with its small town 30s/40s values--it is about a family that shares love for God and for each other, as well as their community. I loved it, and I know you will as well!  I am honored to recommend it to you today.

Monday, March 23, 2015

First Recommended Read

Back on January 7th Marcia did a review of the book, Lives In Ruins, by Marilyn Johnson.  It looked really good, so I bought the book through abebooks and when I finished The Tudors, I read it.  I am happy to say that I found the book also very interesting!  It was a delightful thumbnail sketch journey into different aspects of the archaeology world, and though I did not agree with the few evolution-based comments made by the book, the rest of it was really wonderful!  It was well done, well researched and easy to read.  Since  I re-read last year Irving Stone's The Greek Treasure (a historical novel based on the lives of the Schliemanns who  excavated Troy and other sites), this was a fun follow-up.  Thank you, Marcia for a great review that allowed me hours of pleasure reading a book I otherwise may never have heard of!

Review by Marie Carmean

Friday, March 20, 2015


I just finished reading 'Murder in the South of France' by Susan Kiernan-Lewis. 

 I really have mixed feelings about this book. At times I felt it was moving along well and then it would slow down, take a weird turn and I would find it confusing.

I looked at some of the reviews on Amazon Books. A lot of them were scathing, relentless in their criticism. Others found it a delightful read. I guess people were as confused as I was.

Maggie, the main character, lives in Atlanta. She flies to France to identify her sister's body and to retrieve a niece that she never knew she had. When she returns from overseas she turns the little girl over to Maggie's mother and begins to investigate who killed her sister in France. But... things take a complete about-face and nothing that she thought was true, really is.  Including a handsome Frenchman who has followed her back to Atlanta, declaring his love for her. 

I expect a book to come to this amazing conclusion however this one did not. It stops abruptly. And, the next page said you can continue reading the story about Maggie in the next book. That put me off. 

I got it for free on my Kindle. I certainly would not recommend paying for it. 

It's Spring

Just to remind you.....

to each and every one of you. Happy Reading, as well. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Gray Mountain, by John Grisham

   This is a book that I would not have normally chosen to read. I came by it quite by accident - a mistake from the mail order book club that I belong to - 'The Literary Guild'. I was about to pass it on to a friend, but one night I couldn't sleep and having nothing else to read, I picked it up. 

   I was pleasantly surprised! 

   The story begins in the year 2008 as the main character, Samantha Kofer's promising career at a huge Wall Street law firm is derailed due to the recession. Down-sized and furloughed, she is escorted out of the building, but later given the offer of possibly getting her job back if she worked for a year - without pay - at a legal aid clinic in the heart of Appalachian coal country in the tiny town of Brady, Virginia. There she is drawn into the shadowy and dangerous world of 'Big Coal', where laws are broken, rules and regulations ignored, and where the land and the people are exploited for big profit. 

   We follow Samantha as this big city girl gets drawn into, and falls in love with the struggles and tragedies of the people in this small town. She finds herself involved in the dangerous and deadly world of high stakes litigation through her association with the handsome and reckless prosecution lawyer, Donovan Gray who has his own personal grudge against 'Big Coal'. 

   I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it carried me along to a world few people outside of Appalachia are aware of - the serious and devastating environmental and health effects of coal mining - seen through the naive, but intelligent eyes of the lead character, Samantha, and the innocent inhabitants of the small town of Brady. I couldn't put this book down and the twists and turns kept the pages turning. 

   I am now a John Grisham fan and I have a lot of catching up to do, as this is his 27th novel! 

                                                             Karen @ Beatrice Euphemie

Sunday, March 8, 2015

These Is My Words and Sarah's Quilt, by Nancy E. Turner

Let's have some fun!  I am about to share with you one of my most fascinating finds of 2013.  This is not historical fiction, per se, but more like a visit with the author's great-grandmother.  In fact, these books were based on Nancy Turner's great-grandmother's diaries.  The diaries form a framework for the stories, but Turner is adept in creating wonderful, exciting fiction, and developing her characters with amazing skill.  What a "can't put down" read these were!  And, they are the first two in a trilogy, all about Sarah Agnes Prine who came to Arizona Territories with her family in 1881.  I haven't read the third in the series yet, because I deviated and read Turner's book The Water and the Blood instead (but I will review that one later!)

After reading These is my Words, I felt I had found a kindred spirit, because it is about my own grandmother that I am writing also.  To have my grandmother's diaries would be such a treasure...a real gift on which to base my book.  But alas, I have her life as known by her family, and myself as a child (and a LOT of research done by her own daughter, my Mom, Latane, gives me much to work with!)  But, not her own voice, however faint.  Because, as with any family history, there is always a great deal you have to "fill in" yourself.  And Turner is a very talented writer, so I was impressed.  Note the awards listed on the cover of the book shown below!  I moved to Sarah's Quilt very soon after finishing These Is My Words, because I couldn't get enough of Sarah Agnes Prine...I worried the second book wouldn't be as good as the first, but soon discovered it was the first book's equal in every way.

Then there is the added delight of reading about the area in which I am living, and getting a real insight into the early years of Tucson's history.  Jump into these books (and the third, which I do still plan to read) and let me know if you have the same reaction. There would be no better way to ride out the snowstorms many of you are facing (as Mom said in a recent post).  Let me know what you think!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Have You Read This One?

The Forgotten Seamstress
by Liz Trenow

I stumbled on this book on my library's website.  Rather than going to the library to see if they have the book I want on the shelf, I go to their website, sign in and search.  Then if they have it, I request it and I get a message when it's at the desk at the branch I use, ready for me to check it out.  Often when I sign in there are books shown with a brief synopsis.  I saw the one for this book and requested it ... last October!  It was that popular but I just waited and read other books in the meantime.  Last week I got an email that it was being held for me. Wow!  Worth the wait.

Here's the synopsis from the back:  

"She kept her secret for a lifetime.  A shy girl with no family, Maria knows she's lucky to have landed in the sewing room of the royal household.  Before World War I casts its shadow, she catches the eye of the Prince of Wales, a glamorous and intense gentleman.  But her life takes a far darker turn, and soon all she has left is a fantastical story about her time at Buckingham Palace.

"Decades late, Caroline Meadows discovers a beautiful quilt in her mother's attic.  When she can't figure out the meaning of the message embroidered into its lining, she embarks on a quest to reveal its mystery, a puzzle that only seems to grow more important to her own heart.  As Caroline pieces together the secret history of the quilt, she comes closer and closer to the truth about Maria."

The book is written in first person (Caroline's voice) and also Maria's voice but the latter is through transcribed tape recordings of an interview with Maria by a PhD student in the 1970s.  It's a wonderful device for this story that draws you in to both their circumstances.  Now some of what happens is quite predictable but that's okay by me.  It still made a good story.