Book Review-The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines

This book was just darn cute. It was written in both Joanna’s and Chips voices, with different fonts for each. It explains how their marriage and business got started. They are very different individuals and I believe that is how it works. Joanna is quiet and subdued where Chip….well…isn’t, but very entertaining. He is a fun but irritating person, who doesn’t have much fear of trying new endeavors. They have done well and keep adding new lines to their story along with a new baby, who came after the book was finished. This book was published in 2016. My son Kevin and I always watched Fixer-Upper together. He loved the use of all the tools and the craziness of Chip. We both loved to watch the different houses and would discuss what we liked the best and were definitely disappointed when they ended the show. Chip and Joanna have now come out with a good possibility of a network and it will be fun to see what they do with it. Kevin and I look forward to it. If you are fans of Chip and Joanna, read the book, it was a fun read.

Book Review-The Storied Life of A.J.Fikry: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin

I am an Amazon Prime member and they send book suggestions. I don’t usually look at them because I know that I would buy one. This time I did and I bought one, of course. I have many  books that I need to read,but oh well….you know.

Many things caught my interest, the title, the color of the book and that is was about a man who owned a book store. I love bookstores, oh the possibilities!
When I started this book I perceived this man as quite old, a widower, living in a musty bookstore, with old titles, and was very cranky. I was very surprised that he was in his mid thirties, and had just lost his wife a couple of years before. I thought it was well written because it gave the reader the sense of just how sad A.J.Fikry was.
Many things started happening to him that started waking him up to life again. He met a new literary rep, though he was mean to her the first time. A two year old was left with a note, in his store for him to take care of, with the mother washing up on shore the next day. With those two things it grew and was fantastic to watch him join the world again. Though you will need to keep a few tissues nearby.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it took me no time to finish it. By the ratings and reviews many felt the same way. I always looked forward to picking it back up.

Book Review-Still Me by Jojo Moyes

This book is the third of a trilogy by Jojo Moyes.

1. Me Before you
2. After You
3. Still Me
These books are about Louisa Clark, who is a care taker of people. She did not start out that way in the beginning of the books, she was a waitress. Her evolution into care taking has been an interesting and emotional ride.
I have reviews on the first two and had to read the third, it did not disappoint.
The setting for this book is in New York City where she came to assist a very wealthy, younger second wife, who was not originally from the United States and married into this status of wealth. It took Louisa a while to figure out what the needs of this woman were. Louisa worked long hours, had some perks and many quirks as with the mega wealthy living the elite life in downtown Manhattan. Eventually events happened that Louisa got let go from this job and surprisingly became employed, with no pay, by the irksome woman down the hall with her dog. Louisa had been treated poorly and unfairly by the wealthy family so we are seething at that, and then started liking the irksome woman where the story takes a interesting turn.
I enjoyed this book, it is purely entertainment and liked the intertwining of the people in Louisa’s life. Will she find happiness again? When she was let go of her job, which brought her to New York from England, would she have enough money to live on? How was she going to do that? I like New York City, lost love, found love etc. I do recommend this trilogy, it is not deep, just an enjoyable easy read. Keep a few tissues nearby.

Two book reviews

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond…Published in 2017 My book buddy, Colleen, sent this one to me. It was her favorite from last year.

This couple gets married, they are in their 30’s and into their careers. He is a therapist or counselor and she is an attorney. Through a case that she is taking care of she has met this man and he finds out that they are getting married. Off handedly she invites him and his wife and he accepts because he just Loves weddings.
As a gift from these people a beautiful wooden box is sent to them. It is locked and on the outside is an engraved plaque with their names and the words “The Pact.” Instructions are not to open it until a certain person is with them. They get back from their honeymoon, and of course their curiosity gets to them and they try to open the box but can’t.
They set up an appointment with the person they are to meet with and one of the questions that is asked “Do you want your marriage to last forever?” So they sign the papers and get into this group that seems to know their every move. There are penalties if they do not follow the many rules of the book. The whole object is to keep the marriages together and it was founded by a woman who lives on an island off of Northern Ireland.
The group keeps growing, A couple has to be vetted to receive an offer to be accepted into the group. It has a lot of cash and connected people in it. For example they own prisons where they take a person, from a marriage, that is not following the rules and help them see the light. Some of the rules are, you have to plan a vacation twice a year, you have to buy a gift for no certain occasion once a month, you have to come home early enough to contribute time to the marriage. All good things on the surface but there are people watching if a person in the couple is not following it. They are reported to the council and given a phone call or paid a visit or kidnapped and taken to prison.
As time went on, and all the “incidents” kept snowballing, they decided they wanted out. More bazaar incidents happened and you don’t know until the very end if they made it or not.
I enjoyed the book but I am sure that I had a perplexed look on my face throughout the whole reading of it. “Why did you sign on! How could you not see it was weird!” It was a good book, and had good points to use in a marriage. Just the way they went about was bazaar!

Count The Wings, the life and art of Charley Harper by Michelle Houts Published 2018

Artist Charley Harper is a huge inspiration for me. His minimal realism style and humor I am very drawn to. His use of nature and the bright colors are wonderful. This is a very easy read because it was written for young readers ages 8 to 13. It is his biography taking us from birth on a West Virginia farm, his art, World War II, going to art school, finding his own style and his later years. I loved the more inside look at Charley Harper.

 

Book Review: Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser

This book has won many awards; A Pulitzer Prize, one of the 10 best books of 2017 by the New York Times, National Book Critics awards for biography’s and many others. It was not what I was expecting and I disliked it. I call it “The Bash Rose Wilder Lane” book. It is a half of interesting information about Laura Ingalls Wilder with a dash of Almanzo thrown in. Half of the unsavory, mentally unstable, strong willed and bossy Rose. Clearly the author did not like RWL by the language that she used. I don’t see this book as conveying much of the American Dream of Laura Ingalls Wilder as trying to persuade the reader of what a poor money handler and terrible daughter, political rebel Rose was. I finally got to the point that I would skip the long Rose tirades, they wore me out. The author should have just written a biography on Rose Wilder Lane and not disguise it as a book about her mother, truly disappointing.

Book Review: After You by Jojo Moyes

This book was the sequel to “Me Before You” the earlier book review. It picked up Louisa in Paris and her trying to live the life that Will wanted and provided for her to live. She tried to do this but was very sad. Maybe if she would have waited after she knew she was ready to move on it would have worked out better. She really just needed to heal first. She had an accident, reunited with her family, started eventually dating the ambulance driver and had unknown daughter of Will come into her life.

As my friend Theresa tells me, ” I am glad I read the book, but it wasn’t as good as the first”. I feel the same way and from other reviews that is the same sentiment.
So I have now watched the movie “Me Before You” and read the sequel “After You”, I feel I have now gotten it out of my system and can move on.
Don’t hesitate to read the book because it has a good story, just don’t expect the tear jerking feeling that the first book brought on.
Thanks for stopping!

Book Review: Me before You by Jojo Moyes

This book was recommended to me by my friend Theresa. We were walking through a bookstore and she pointed and said “this is the best book I have every read”! Of course that piqued my interest and of course I had to buy it. The main characters are a 27 year old women whose last job was in a small restaurant and a 35 year old man whose last job was a CEO of a large company. The restaurant had closed and she was looking for a new job. He had been in a horrible accident that left him in a wheel chair with no movement from the chest down. He was at the family home and his mother was looking for someone to stay with him during the day. This was an unlikely friendship that started out slowly. Mother said that she only needed her for six months but did not say why. This book deals with assisted suicide and how to convince someone that their life is worth living. I have to agree with Theresa, I could hardly put this book down and it left me blubbering at the end. I think I will go watch the movie now.

Book Review: Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris

Happy New Year! First Post of 2017, may we all do the best with what we have and that the world be a better place.

I will not sugarcoat this, the book was overwhelming to get through, only because Theodore Roosevelt did so much in the two terms that he served as President, it was a lot to absorb.
The book started out as TR riding down a slippery mountain with a driver, wagon and horse. He had been at a family vacation in the Adirondack mountains when he got word that President McKinley was gravely ill due to an assassination attempt. Congressmen had encouraged TR to accept the Vice Presidential position because they thought it would keep him quiet and out of their way. It ended up that being the Vice President is only a breath away from being the president.
Reading this book while the country was going through a Presidential election, especially when our two candidates were from New York as was Theodore Roosevelt was just interesting. Adding to it, we had visited New York City this last July. So I still had those pictures in my mind along with TR’s beloved Sagamore Hill.
Some of the accomplishments during his presidency were; building a Navy fleet, only second to Britain. started the Panama Canal, settled a coal strike, a peace treaty between Japan and Russia, National Conservation, 18 national monuments and five national parks, plus there is so much more.
He would answer each letter that was sent to him, He read sometimes two books per day. He had an amazing mind and was a very beloved president by the people, second to Abraham Lincoln. I did enjoy this book and learned a lot, just had to read it a little at a time.
Thank you for stopping.

Book Review: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

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Recently I finished the first book that Edmund Morris wrote about Theodore Roosevelt. There are two others following his life. This book was in depth and it was obvious that the author did much research. The Prologue starts on January 1, 1907 and describes Theodore Roosevelt as President. People stand in line to shake his hand in front of the White house. He has a great sense of humor and a wonderful laugh. He loves being President and uses the word Dee-lightful often. He is a very courteous, kind and respectful person. He loves children, physical activity and his White House is very interesting to say the least. He was born on Octobert 27, 1858, his mother Mittie was from the south and was described as “such loveliness of line and tinting…such sweet courtesy of manner. His father, Theodore Roosevelt Senior was 27 years old, handsome, wealthy, gregarious and philanthropist. He loved and helped humanity and Theodore Roosevelt said he was the best man he every knew. This book starts at his birth and ends with the assassination of President William McKinley whom Theodore at that moment was the Vice President. When I was at Sagamore Hill I was speaking with a Ranger and said I was reading these books and he said that he had not because it seemed like a daunting task.He said he reads other literature but he would know TR so much better.   I recommend them if you love history. I am especially enjoying them because Teddy was born in New York city and it mentions many of the streets we were on and of course Oyster Bay. I look forward to moving on to book number two.

The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen

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I received this book from my book buddy Colleen in December. I just recently finished it. As I have mentioned many times…I love books. So when I get a book it is a treasure.

 This book had a lot of sadness as you can discern from the title. It centers around one family that had the death of a new baby. It had a formative disease in the womb and the mother knew that the baby was not going to live long, only 57 hours after birth. The term was Anencephaly. The mother learned this during a routine ultrasound in the 5th month of pregnancy. She didn’t disclose this to her husband until right before the birth. They have two other children, a boy and a girl but this death has just affected the whole family in different ways. The story keeps unfolding and a daughter of the husband (from a previous relationship) comes to visit one day and stays for a while because she told them her mother kicked her out. She was pregnant and somewhat unknowingly brings the family together. I had a hard time getting into it at first, but give the story a chance because it starts making sense. I got very frustrated with the woman because she kept making excuses and was not appreciating what she had, but she eventually saw the light. I like happy endings and this book had one, but the family had many dark clouds over their heads before they saw the sunshine again.
I found the perfect poem to go with this story from The Best Loved Poems of the American People.
IF WE KNEW
If we knew the woe and heartache
Waiting for us down the road,
If our lips could taste the wormwood,
If our backs could fell the load,
Would we waste the day in wishing
For a time that ne’er can be?
Would we wait in such impatience
For our ships to come from sea?
If we knew the baby fingers
Pressed against the windowpane
Would be cold and stiff tomorrow-
Never trouble us again-
Would the bright eyes of our darling
Catch the frown upon our brow?
Would the print of rosy fingers
Vex us then as they do now?
Ah! these little ice-cold fingers-
How they point out memories back
To the hasty words and actions
Strewn along our backward track!
How these little hands remind us,
As in snowy grace they lie,
Not to scatter thorns-but roses-
For our reaping by and by.
Strange we never prize the music
Till the sweet-voiced bird has flown;
Strange that we should slight the violets,
Till the lovely flowers are gone;
Strange that summer skies and sunshine Never seem one half so fair
As when winter’s snowy pinions Shake their white down in the air!
Lips from which the seal of silence
None but God can roll away,
Never blossomed in such beauty
As adorns the mouth today;
And sweet words that freight our memory
With their beautiful perfume,
Come to us in sweeter accents
Through the portals of the tomb.
Let us gather up the sunbeams
Lying all around our path;
Let us keep the wheat and roses,
Casting out the thorns and chaff;
Let us find our sweetest comfort
In the blessings of today,
With a patient hand removing
All the briars from the way.
-May Riley Smith-
Enjoy the day, enjoy your moments.  Thanks for stopping!