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January Book List

Okay so I am a little behind!  We were hit with a major ice storm the last week in January which put us with out power for 5 days and without Internet for 7.  I got to take a trip to visit my nephews in Illinois and then the first two weeks of February flew by in a flash!  Partially thanks to the cold icy weather and long airport layovers I have lots of reading to share with you this month!

 **** Dakota Home – Debbie Macomber

“Buffalo Valley has found new life. People have started moving to this town—people like Lindsay Snyder, who came as a teacher and stayed, marrying local farmer Gage Sinclair. And now Lindsay’s best friend, Maddy Washburn, has decided to pull up stakes and join her in Buffalo Valley, hoping for the same kind of satisfaction. And the same kind of love…

Jeb McKenna is a rancher, a solitary man who’s learned to endure. Maddy—unafraid and openhearted—is drawn to Jeb, but he rejects her overtures. Until one of North Dakota’s deadly storms throws them together…

Those few days and nights bring unexpected consequences for Maddy and Jeb. Consequences that, one way or another, affect everyone in Buffalo Valley.”

This was the second book in the Dakota series.  I found this to be an enjoyable book but also somewhat predictable.  It was a fast paced read and didn’t require a whole lot of thinking. 

 **** Always Dakota – Debbie Macomber

“Buffalo Valley, North Dakota, has become a good place to live— the way it used to be. People here are feeling confident about the future again.

Stalled lives are moving forward. People are taking risks—on new ventures and lifelong dreams. On happiness. And one of those people is local rancher Margaret Clemens, who’s finally getting what she wants most. Marriage to cowboy Matt Eilers. Her friends don’t think Matt’s such a prize, but Margaret’s aware of his reputation and his flaws. She wants him anyway. And she wants his baby.…”

This was the third book in the Dakota series.  Macomber uses this book to further develop some of the characters that were introduced to us in the first two books.  As with the second book I found it to be enjoyable but also somewhat predictable.   

**** Shadow Dance – Julie Garwood

“Jordan Buchanan is thrilled that her brother and best friend are tying the knot. The wedding is a lavish affair–for the marriage of Dylan Buchanan and Kate MacKenna is no ordinary occasion. It represents the joining of two family dynasties. The ceremony and reception proceed without a hitch–until a crasher appears claiming to be a MacKenna guest. The disheveled and eccentric professor of medieval history warns that there’s “bad blood” between the couple’s clans, stemming from an ancient feud that originated in Scotland, and involving the Buchanan theft of a coveted MacKenna treasure.

Jordan has always led a cautious life and has used her intelligence and reason to become a successful businesswoman. So she is intrigued but skeptical of the professor’s claims that the feud has been kept alive by the grave injustices the Buchanans have perpetrated over the centuries. But when Noah Clayborne, a close family friend and a man who has never let a good time or a pretty girl pass him by, accuses Jordan of being trapped in her comfort zone, she determines to prove him wrong and sets out on a spontaneous adventure to the small, dusty town of Serenity, Texas, to judge the professor’s research for herself.

Maneuvering through a close-knit community in which everyone knows everyone else’s business, Jordan never anticipates the danger and intrigue that lie in her path, nor the threat that will shadow her back to Boston, where even in familiar surroundings, her life is at risk.

A powerful thug who rules by fear, a man who harbors a simmering secret, and an unexpected romance that pierces all defenses–beloved author Julie Garwood weaves these dazzling elements into a brilliant novel of romantic suspense. Shadow Dance is a searing tango of passion and peril.”

This book combined murder, suspense, love and even a little humor.  So different from what I normally read I really found myself enjoying this genre.

 *** Francesca’s Kitchen – Peter Pezzelli

From Publishers Weekly
Pezzelli (Home to Italy) returns with another tale of an everyday Italian-American family, this one an empty nest. Mamma and all-around good egg Francesca Campanile, widowed with children and grandchildren all elsewhere, is floating aimlessly in her Providence, R.I., house. When she decides what she needs is to be needed, Francesca answers the babysitter-wanted ad of Loretta Simmons, a single mother working full-time. Pezzelli nicely renders Loretta’s anxieties as she first rejects, and then, out of desperation, hires Francesca, who is not the student-type sitter she’d imagined. He’s also lovely on Francesca’s reminiscing about husband Leo and on the mutual sniffing-out processes as Francesca parses Loretta’s harried home, and neglected children Penny and Will slowly learn to trust Francesca. Francesca’s adult son Joey then unexpectedly returns to the nest. He meets Loretta, sparks fly, and suddenly Francesca isn’t certain any of this was such a good idea. Most of the action happens in kitchens: home cooking, good pasta and traditional family values conquer all in this amusing and touching story.

I thought this was a sweet and fun book.  It was fairly lighthearted but also a little predictable.  I guessed where the story was going almost from the beginning.  The food aspect was enjoyable but also a little on the “traditional, old-world Italy” side.  I love to cook but I cook for me, not a man! (Sorry, Richie!!)

  ***** The Sleeping Doll – Jeffery Deaver

When Special Agent Kathryn Dance — a brilliant interrogator and kinesics expert with the California Bureau of Investigation — is sent to question the convicted killer Daniel “Son of Manson” Pell as a suspect in a newly unearthed crime, she feels both trepidation and electrifying intrigue. Pell is serving a life sentence for the brutal murders of the wealthy Croyton family in Carmel years earlier — a crime mirroring those perpetrated by Charles Manson in the 1960s. But Pell and his cult members were sloppy: Not only were they apprehended, they even left behind a survivor — the youngest of the Croyton daughters, who, because she was in bed hidden by her toys that terrible night, was dubbed the Sleeping Doll.

I found this book to be very enjoyable and very exciting.  This was my first Jeffery Deaver novel but it wont be my last.  Although there were some typically slow parts where the author took time to develop the characters there were certainly some exciting action packed portions as well.  There were even some really great, unpredicted, twists and turns.

**** Garden Spells – Sarah Addison Allen

In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it.…

The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.

I think everyone has met some quirky person who always had a cure for this or a remedy for that.  They gave advice that always made sense and their potions always worked and cured the ailment.  Well this book was about such a family.  It was a magical book, while somewhat unbelievable at first, had you hoping and wishing it were all true at the end.  Garden Spells was a great book about love, family, life and finding what makes you truly happy in this world.  I really enjoyed it.

 

Well, that does it for January!  If you are interested in ordering any of these books, they are available in my Amazon Store by clicking here.  I also have several of these book listed in my PaperBackSwap store.  You can access these by clicking here.

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October Book List

It breaks my heart to see this list getting so short!  It is tough to get a lot of reading done when you are the art teacher at a small rural k-12 school and there is a town festival with a parade, homecoming, a play and Book Character Day all in the same month! I don’t think I slept much in October.  Between face painting, making a bazillion spirit sticks, making sure my students finished the set for the play and helping several kids with costumes for Book Character Day, reading was often the last thing on my mind.  But I did manage to get three books finished and I am half way done with another which will appear on my November list.  I hope you enjoy these books.  I know I did!

 

***** 5     Covered Wagon Women, Volume 1: Diaries and Letters from the Western    Trails, 1840-1849
The women who traveled west in covered wagons during the 1840s speak through these letters and diaries. Here are the voices of Tamsen Donner and young Virginia Reed, members of the ill-fated Donner party; Patty Sessions, the Mormon midwife who delivered five babies on the trail between Omaha and Salt Lake City; Rachel Fisher, who buried both her husband and her little girl before reaching Oregon. Still others make themselves heard, starting out from different places and recording details along the way, from the mundane to the soul-shattering and spirit-lifting.
WOW! What a great and inspiring read.  If you love stuff about the prairie or pioneers than you will truely enjoy this book!

***** 5  The Pact – Jodi Picoult

From Jodi Picoult, one of the most powerful writers in contemporary fiction, comes a riveting, timely, heartbreaking, and terrifying novel of families in anguish — and friendships ripped apart by inconceivable violence. Until the phone calls came at 3:00 A.M.on a November morning, the Golds and their neighbors, the Hartes, had been inseparable. It was no surprise to anyone when their teenage children, Chris and Emily, began showing signs that their relationship was moving beyond that of lifelong friends. But now seventeen-year-old Emily has been shot to death by her beloved and devoted Chris as part of an apparent suicide pact — leaving two devastated families stranded in the dark and dense predawn, desperate for answers about an unthinkable act and the children they never really knew.
I COULD NOT put this book down! A very touching story!

**** 4 An Owl on Every Post – Sanora Babb

In this memoir, first published in 1970 and long out of print, Sanora Babb recalls her family’s attempt to practice dry-land farming in eastern Colorado in 1913. Leaving the relative security of a small town in Oklahoma, the mother of and two daughters travel by train and wagon to join the father and grandfather at their isolated dugout. Here, Senora (nicknamed Cheyenne) gradually comes to love her withdrawn grandfather and to appreciate the harsh beauty of the prairie environment. Cheyenne’s experiences range from rare encounters with other settlers to the constant threat of hunge to warm and mystical relationships with animals. They are related with a child’s sense of wonder and played out against the background of the plains–clear air, vast distances, rapid changes in light and shadow, and sudden, dangerous storms.

I enjoyed this story but the writing was not quite as fine tuned as I like.  The story seemed a little choppy and disconnected at times.

 

Well there you have it! As always you can order these books through my Amazon store.  Next month I have several exciting books to share.  There are even SEVERAL that are NOT “pioneer” type books! Thanks for checking out my list!

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