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Mary's Books

I have loved to read since I was little. I would borrow many books from the library and still borrow to this day, but I also purchase books (mostly for my kids) and freebies on Kindle. I read as much as I can daily. Sometimes I read several books at one time. I don't have a preference of paper book over an ebook, I just love to read. Keeping lists of what I have read is a good way for me to remember. 

Currently reading

Aunt Dimity's Good Deed
Nancy Atherton
Progress: 83/288 pages
Prairie Tale: A Memoir
Melissa Gilbert
Gone Gull
Donna Andrews
Owls Well That Ends Well
Donna Andrews
Progress: 189/326 pages
Murder under Cover
Kate Carlisle
Mint Chip Murder: A Donut Hole Cozy Mystery - Book 6
Susan Gillard
The Devotional Bible: Experiencing The Heart of Jesus
Max Lucado
Progress: 51 %
Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 Days
John A Carroll
Progress: 60 %

Wow! Just Wow!

Riders by Veronica Rossi (February 16,2016) - Veronica Rossi

These beings have attempted to find a key, that will allow them to control other beings and go into the world and make slaves of others. Gideon was training to be a part of the Army RASP, when during a training exercise, his chute failed. When this happened he hit the ground and died, but the other members of the RASP worked on him to bring him back. He went to the hospital and was sent home with many broken bones. He got better faster and was then found by Daryn, who is a Seeker. Together they gather the other riders of the Four Horsemen and together they gather to become a group. 

 

The story was fascinating and looked at how they come together and how they trained and helped each other and grew and learned about themselves and each other. 

 

I started the book one night, staying up until after midnight reading it (only about 2 hours) and it is a library book, my daughters brought home for their book club. Every now and then they get a book that when they discuss, I feel like reading and seeing what the story is about. So this led to my only reading when I could get my hands on a copy of the book (theirs). 

Geography for Homeschool

Jaw-Dropping Geography: Fun Learning Facts About Spectacular Stonehenge: Illustrated Fun Learning For Kids - Jess Roche

I know that this book seems young for 7th through 9th grades, but it is a good starting point to get them to research more. It is more of a reference and quick read. Last night I prepared this lesson and a few others to help teach my children how they are going to do reports this year. I also was using it to help them learn note taking habits that would help them as they progress. I know that eventually they are going to be doing some online college style lessons and they will need these skills. 

 

The book was cute and quick and full of information well organized so that it was easy to relay the information to the girls. 

Reading progress update: "Riders"

Riders by Veronica Rossi (February 16,2016) - Veronica Rossi

My girls are in a Teen Book Club at one of the local libraries and this book is the next one for reading. The girls were excited about it and were discussing it and so I borrowed it, in e-book format, from a library, too. It is told in the first person, with flash backs to what had happened. The kid being interviewed was in the Army and part of RASP (paratrooper) when he was involved in a horrific accident while doing a practice jump. His chute doesn't open and he "bounced" and was brought back by his friends and comrades doing CPR on him in the field. He healed super fast and found a bracelet on his wrist. When he goes to his sister's apartment, he is found by a young woman who takes him on the adventure that he relates while strapped to a chair. 

 

He and four others are the Horsemen and they are brought to help the young woman stop a catastrophic event. 

 

When I first started this book, I read until I couldn't keep my eyes open. I read when there isn't anyone around asking me questions or I have to put the book down, mostly because I have been getting into the book and enjoying the story. I want to find out who the other Horseman is and what they are protecting and why they are being held in the rooms, separate from them and who actually has them. 

Remembering Little House on the Prairie and Marking Recipes

My Prairie Cookbook: Memories and Frontier Food from My Little House to Yours - Dane Holweger, Melissa Gilbert

My sil and I have been making meals for the family (my dad, her dad, her brother, my husband/her brother, my girls) and I like to look through recipes to find new things to make so that we have lots of choices and can change things up, but also have things that can be brought to her house (50 miles south) or prepared in advance and set out when we have it at my house. We look for low sugar desserts that everyone will enjoy and experiment with ones that we find and change them to suit our needs or likes. 

 

This book was recipes that Melissa Gilbert (Half-Pint) collected over her life and that she makes for her family. She reminisces about her time on the show and tells stories about things that happened. It was a fun read and lots of good recipes. This is a book that I borrowed from the library and have marked for purchase. I know that my girls will enjoy the recipes, too.  

Favorite Kids Books

We're Going On A Bear Hunt - Vivian French, Michael Rosen, Helen Oxenbury How the Grinch Stole Christmas! - Dr. Seuss

I really only have two favorite kids books. When my kids were in preschool we read and memorized "We're going on a Bear Hunt." We would recite it in the car and while we were walking or just doing anything. My other favorite is Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." 

 

What brought these books to mind? As I came downstairs this morning, I was following behind one of my rescue cats and I changed the words to "I'm going on a cat hunt, I'm going to find a needy one." My youngest was with me and she joined in and we just had a little giggle over it. My husband would not have appreciated it, as he says, we have enough cats. 

 

The books are by far my favorites and I will always remember reading them to my girls when they were little. 

Conspiracy Theory or Stop and Think

The Overton Window - Glenn Beck

This book did make me think about some of the things that have happened over the years. We have given up a few of our liberties on the basis of wanting to be safe. When you look at other times where liberties were surrendered in the name of safety, worse things happened. This book was hard to get into and then the middle was a good read and then the ending was hard to finish. 

Summer Desserts

Fake It, Don't Bake It!: 40 No-Bake Recipes – Oven-Free Treats for the Whole Family - Martha Stephenson

We are getting into some serious birthday time in the family. From May to November, we have at least one birthday a month, until September and then it is 3 or 4 or 5 birthdays. We are constantly on the lookout for desserts that are good for birthdays and that don't require lots of heating up the kitchen to make. Come November through March we love to bake, but in the summer months, we work on non-baking desserts. We have become very good at making ice cream cakes. My sil found a dessert that she wants us to make for her birthday and we will definitely try to make it look as good as the dessert we found. It is a lot of fun to read cook books and find things to try. Do you ever read cook books? Do you look for something in particular or just looking to look? 

 

This was a free purchase from Amazon for Kindle. 

Teen Book Club

Riders by Veronica Rossi (February 16,2016) - Veronica Rossi

My girls are involved in a Teen Book Club at one of our local libraries. They love this and the discussion about the book and get a new book for the next month. Last night they discussed "Dividing Eden," sorry I don't remember the author's name. They received the book for next month's discussion. I borrowed the book just to get a feel for the story and loved it so much that I was up until Midnight reading. Bad idea, since I have to get up early and so much to do today. May finish this book faster than the others, but just another one to my already growing list of books that I am reading. 

How Many Books Do You Read At One Time?

Murder under Cover - Kate Carlisle Owls Well That Ends Well - Donna Andrews The Overton Window - Glenn Beck Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 Days - John A Carroll The Devotional Bible: Experiencing The Heart of Jesus - Max Lucado Mint Chip Murder: A Donut Hole Cozy Mystery - Book 6 - Susan Gillard

It seems that a carry over from my college days is that I will read several books at once. Mostly because I have books everywhere and in two formats....paper and ebook. I have a book upstairs by my bed, a book that is in my car, a book in my purse, a book downstairs near my chair. When I have trouble getting into a book (see "The Overton Window") I will start reading other books. The other thing is that the Bible is a work in progress. I am (and have tried many times) to read the Bible in a Year. This year, I am doing better, but I have fallen behind. I find that the books that get read the most or fastest are the cozy mysteries (my favorites). I try to sit and read things that require quiet when I am alone and that is almost never. I have my children that are homeschooled and my husband and just when I start to get into a book, they demand my attention, so I put that aside and then they don't want my attention until I touch it again. So as a curiosity....how many books do you read at one time? Are they all the same genre or are they a mixture? Are they the same media or different? 

End of Christmas in July

Twas The Night Before Christmas A Visit from St. Nicholas [Kindle Edition] - Clement C. Moore, Jessie Willcox Smith

I had found this poem and thought it would be good to have on hand for the girls to read as it had been written (along with the notes on the author and how he had written the poem for his children). I think it will make its way into the curriculum for school this year. What a nice way to end July. 

That Which is Fashionable Looks Costumey (is that a word?)

We'll Always Have Parrots - Donna Andrews

    I recalled looking in my high school year book recently, and noticing, to my surprise, that from a distance of nearly two decades, the cool people didn't look nearly as cool anymore. The fashionable clothes and trendy hairstyles hadn't worn well. And all of the rest of us, the little people who'd despaired of ever being that cool--we looked rather normal. Time, the great leveler. Pg 213 "We'll Always Have Parrots" by Donna Andrews.

 

 

That quote is so appropriate. I went to an all girl private school and we wore uniforms. But shoes (penny loafers) and hair (big puffy styles) were all the rage. Hairspray anyone. 

 

Meg and Michael are attending a convention for followers of the tv show that Michael performs in and has to attend conventions. QB demands that as many cast members attend the events as possible and made it part of the contract. While they are there, parrots and monkeys are brought into the hotel and someone released them and they are running all over the hotel. QB has decided to stay drunk through most of the Convention and difficult. She has to be coaxed out of the room. When she finally deems it time to come out of the room, she terrifies Meg's nephew and when Meg finds out, she goes and demands that QB signs her nephew's  program and learn how to behave. 

 

Later, Meg has to break into QB's room and finds her murdered and hears the last words ever said, repeated by an African Gray Parrot. Michael, Walker and a few others are looked as suspects and Meg makes it her goal to find who really killed the QB and keep Michael and Walker from being taken to jail. 

 

Along the way, she meets a whole cast of crazy characters who are like her family in some ways, but her family (mother, father, and nephew) are at the convention, too. 

 

It is a good read, but not as many laugh out loud moments as when she has more of her family. 

 

A Buzzard and a Bunch of Loons

Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon - Donna Andrews

The Buzzard is a real buzzard saved from a dog and lost a wing and is now cared for at the offices of the Mutant Wizards. The loons, they are the group of people who work in the offices of the Mutant Wizards. Meg is helping her brother out at the offices of the Mutant Wizards, the company he created to market and develop his game (Lawyers from Hell). He feels that something is not right and asks her to come help him. She agrees as she is recuperating from a Blacksmithing accident that broke her hand. Her official title is "Office Manager," but she is answering the switchboard, trying to find someone that will come in and work the switchboard and find out what is happening in the company. 

 

The buzzard is named George and sits up in the front with Meg and she is the only one who feeds and cares for him. The staff bring their dogs to work and play pranks all while working on version 2 of the game and developing other games with different specialties (Doctors, Psychotherapists, Police, etc). Outside there is a Veterinarian who is trying to catch a pregnant feral cat and then begins to come into the office to try and liberate the one winged buzzard. 

 

Ted, is a programmer, who takes credit for work he doesn't do and plays pranks and blackmails others. One day he decides to pretend he has been stabbed while riding around on the mail cart and when he is finally murdered, no one notices until he ends up back at Meg's desk. She now has to find out who really killed Ted and save her brother and one of his employees from being arrested for the murder. 

 

There are a lot of moments where you just have to laugh at the antics. I find many of the things hard to believe actually happening, but that doesn't stop it from being funny. 

 

 

Fun to the Very End

Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos - Donna Andrews

Yes, I do recommend this book. I love the funny things that happen and the wordsmithing. She uses a large vocabulary and there are moments that just make you laugh out loud. 

 

Just want a fun cozy mystery? This one is for you. 

Another Update....Lord of the Rings

Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos - Donna Andrews

I tried to click on the CD-ROM's icon to open it. A gray box popped up, saying, "Please enter the unbreakable top secret password."

"That's definitely Tad's sense of humor," I said. "In case we had any doubt which CD-ROM was his."

"I tried everything I could think of," Michael said. "Including all the Greek words I know."....

"I don't have to guess," I said. "that writing just told me. That's not Greek, it's Elvish."

....

"Or maybe Elven; I forget which is correct. It's been years. Ever read Tolkien?"

"Yes, but as you said, it's been years," he said. 

"remember the scene where they kept trying to guess the password to the door of Moria, and realized that it was right there in the inscription--'Speak friend and enter'?"

 

Page 211 of "Revenge of the Wrought Iron Flamingos" by Donna Andrews

 

I loved this quote and it was another that I read out loud to my middle who loves "The Lord of the Rings" and was tickled over a quote from a "Psych" book that she read where that was the stupidest password...password. 

 

She and Michael are working together to find out who killed Benson. He seems to have made a lot of enemies and many of them were in the area or close by. Tony, another crafter, is known for stealing other people's work and saying they developed along parallel lines, but his work is shoddy and poorly done. He had seen Meg showing a flamingo to her mother's friend at another fair and decided to make one, too and then compare to her work. Because his work is unoriginal and shoddy he is able to sell for less and people think they are getting something. 

 

I so enjoy these stories. So much happening and so many eccentric characters. 

 

Update: First Murder by Chapter 15

Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos - Donna Andrews

I love how Donna Andrews books are able to be read out of order because she doesn't just dump a murder victim on us, she gives us time to meet the characters and learn some back story. 

 

There are so many laugh-out-loud moments in her book. In Chapter 15, we are introduced to a new character, a deputy sheriff who comes from a big city in OH. You see in the small town of Yorktown, VA most everyone is related to everyone else. This big city deputy is from "Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, no Canton." Now I am curious is the area in there just for Ohio readers and does it change like some songs do, to other areas or does it stay the same no matter where the book is sold? I wonder this because it was funny to find a person from my neck of the woods (I am from near Cincinnati and have been to the other places frequently). 

 

In another moment, she gives some great history lessons on the Revolutionary War. For instance why you don't walk barefoot on VA battlefields? (cacti)

 

My all time favorite moment was when Michael and Meg go to the Cannoneers Camp and beg them to stop blasting the cannon all night long. As they discussed why they were doing it, the one man says it is to please Madame Van Steuben. Meg explains that in history, Von Steuben was the Prussian general brought over by Washington to get the men into better fighting shape so they could win the war. Then she explains to Michael that they are referring to this mother. The men are terrified thinking that they have offended the son of the woman footing their bill, but he laughs and loves the description. 

 

As I laughed out loud to this my daughter decided she needed to get into this book, too! 

 

Glad to Be Finished

Some Enchanted Éclair - Bailey Cates

I did enjoy the book, but it took me longer than usual. Partially due to illness, I got very ill and was sleeping on the couch for 3 straight days and nights. Partially due to my dad (at almost 80 years old) falling off a ladder and getting hurt, so I have been driving down (about 75 miles as the bridge over the river is being worked on and they closed parts of it and traffic is horrendous). I am just glad to be finished because it was a library borrowed book and I really needed to return the book. 

 

This book has Katie and Declan working on their relationship. Steve trying to give them the space to do it, while he still yearns to be with Katie. 

 

A movie has come to town and it has been causing some problems. People who are excited to see actors and actresses close up and others who want to watch how the "magic" happens. Katie's uncle, Ben has been hired to be security for the film. He is using firefighters who are off shift to help keep the area free of visitors. Simon, the movie's fixer, comes into the Honeybee and requests a catered meal for the movie people. The caterer he had hired has just been fired and he needs food for the cast and staff quickly. Lucy and Katie decide that they will take on the job, but after the first day of the "fixer" has been murdered using their knife they sent with a watermelon. 

 

Ben and Katie want to find who murdered Simon since it was on his watch and using their knife. They decide to work together and use all their resources. They even use the main actresses medium, Ursula, to help them try to contact Simon to find out who did this to him. 

 

I have lived in a few towns that have hosted movies (Newport, KY - "Rainman" and another that I can't think of, it had Molly Ringwald. Lebanon, OH - a Hallmark Christmas Movie). It is interesting to see the "magic" and it is always interesting to see how people are willing to let their lives be disrupted for a short time to host Hollywood Elites. 

 

I have some pictures taken on very hot days of August, where all the signs say Merry Christmas and there is "snow" on the ground and many of the storefronts made up for Christmas. 

 

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It was fun to see two seasons at one time in our small town.