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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

PostPosted: Jun 18, 2018 12:19 pm
by SnowAngel
My May reads:
* The Trial by Robert Whitlow - 5 stars (if I had read a bit faster this would have been an April read.)
* Deadly Exchange by Lisa Harris - 3 stars
* Grayfox by Michael Phillips - 4.5 stars
* The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone (audiobook) - 4 stars
* A Cry From The Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks - 5 stars
* The Golden Vial by Thomas Locke - 2 stars
* The Bones Will Speak by Carrie Stuart Parks - 5 stars
* When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks - 5 stars
* The Accidental Guardian by Mary Connealy - 4.5 stars
* Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie (audiobook) - 4 stars (this was fun to listen, maybe more so because I had seen the movie the month or so before.)
* Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks - 5 stars
* You’re Gonna Love Me by Robin Lee Hatcher - 3 stars
* The Case of the Tapping Heels by Carolyn Keene - 3.5 stars
* Zorro Rides Again by Johnston McCulley (audiobook) - 4 stars
* The Legend of Sam Miracle by N.D. Wilson - 5 stars
* The Song of Glory and Ghost by N.D. Wilson - 5 stars
* The Last of the Lost Boys by N.D. Wilson - 5 stars

I really enjoyed reading the whole Outlaws of Time series as did my sisters. My favorite of the series is book one The Legend of Sam Miracle, maybe somewhat because of the western setting. ;)

I have actually read quite a bit this month and I have listened to one audiobook (The Prisoner of Zenda).

I have seen the 1937 version of The Prisoner of Zenda once, and after listening to the book I really want to watch it again. I enjoyed the book more than I expected to given that the guy and the girl don't ended up together, I like my fiction with a "happily ever after".

My June reads so far included The Door Before by N.D. Wilson (loved all of the cameos), Deceit by Brandilyn Collins (Scarlet said to read it, so I read it and enjoyed it), The Innkeeper's Daughter by Michelle Griep, The Pirate's Bride by Kathleen Y'Barbo, A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason, and a few others.

Yesterday, I read over 100 pages of Black Hawk Down. I have been reading it on and off for well over a month, I want to finish it this week. It's taken me this long to read it because I haven't read it at night, I prefer fiction before sleep.


Re: Books: 2nd Edition

PostPosted: Jun 20, 2018 2:07 am
by AJAiken
I've been re-reading a lot of Rick Riordan's books recently, mainly the Heroes of Olympus series. I do like the twist on mythology, though I wasn't so impressed by The Hidden Oracle, the first book in Riordan's latest series featuring Apollo. I don't like Apollo very much, which I think is the problem. Has anyone read any others in that series?

Books I'm currently reading include (but are not limited to) The King in the North about Oswald of Northumbria, Glencoe and the Indians highlighting the story of a family who had connections between massacres in Scotland and the US, and The Canterbury Tales.

A new book I have actually finished recently is Elementals - Water, a collection of short stories by Peter Dickinson and Robin McKinley. I liked some of the stories better than others (generally I preferred McKinley's) but the variety of theme and tone made it a really good read.

Re: Books: 2nd Edition

PostPosted: Jun 21, 2018 12:25 pm
by daughter of the King
Megan Whalen Turner just announced the title and release date of her next book: Return of the Thief, March 19, 2019. \:D/

Recently I've been re-reading Jeanne Birdsall's Penderwicks series because the fifth one came out last month. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed them. Stylistically they are very similar to books I enjoyed as a little girl, but there are parts I appreciate as an adult now. Such as The father claiming he's dating a Marianne Dashwood in order to get out of his sister setting him up on blind dates, but really he's just going to his office to read Sense and Sensibility. ;))

Re: Books: 2nd Edition

PostPosted: Jun 22, 2018 4:38 pm
by Rivulus
Wait, there's a new Penderwicks? I need to pay more attention. *disappears to the library*

Re: Books: 2nd Edition

PostPosted: Jun 27, 2018 9:17 am
by fantasia
I know I'm way ahead with this post, but I'm trying to finish out my homeschooling year schedule. I'm looking to come up with some good Christmas stories to read to my kids that aren't the standard Christmas stories. (ie Christmas Carol, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Twas the Night Before Christmas, etc etc). So I'm just curious if you all have some good, simple, Christmas stories that you'd recommend for young readers?

I'm looking at The Snow Queen, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, The Gift of the Magi, etc.

Re: Books: 2nd Edition

PostPosted: Jun 27, 2018 12:12 pm
by daughter of the King
The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas by Madeleine L'Engle is always a fun one.

Two of my childhood favorites were The Legend of the Poinsettia and An Early American Christmas by Tomie dePaola. He wrote and/or illustrated quite a few other Christmas themed books as well.

Re: Books: 2nd Edition

PostPosted: Jun 27, 2018 2:14 pm
by johobbit
Oooh, I must look that L'Engle Christmas book up, Dot!

Along from the classics, which are always delightful, here are a few I grew up with. Now, remember, this was back in the 60s, so maybe these are not even available anymore. :P In turn, we read (and re-read numerous times) these books to our own kidlets.

*The Shiniest Star by Beth Vardon: a sweet tale (poem-form), with adorable illustrations

*The Little Lamb of Bethlehem, words and beautiful pictures by Margaret Tempest

*Robin Finds Christmas by Molly Brett

*The Christmas Kitten by Janet Konkle (with photographs, rather than drawings)

I'm sure there are more, but those come to mind at the moment. :) We LOVED reading to our kids, and truly miss that time of life. But now we talk about—and recommend—books to each other, so that's pretty special too. But honestly, nothing can replace those reading times together. ♥

Re: Books: 2nd Edition

PostPosted: Jun 27, 2018 7:29 pm
by ValiantArcher
Mel, very interesting re: The Emperor's Soul - I was under the impression the connecting novel WAS out. ;)) (I also liked the text version of the graphic novel better.)
It was fun to hear of your Janette Oke binge, though you read the wrong end of the Love Comes Softly series (I think I read the last 3 once and...really disliked them). ;) ;)) I immediately went to look up the Prairie Legacy series because I had no recollection of them...I still have pretty much no recollection of them; they look vaguely familiar but I have no idea if I ever read them or not. :P But I do remember A Woman Named Damaris being a favourite. ;))

SA, glad you enjoyed The Last of the Lost Boys. :) I still haven't read The Door Before - I'm not really keen on the idea of tying the Cupboards world with Ashtown., if there was a sequel, I wanted one on Dotty and Frank. :P ;))
Also, what were your thoughts on The Woman Who Smashed Codes? I read it recently too (thoughts below) - please thank Scarlet for the recommendation.
I think I've read Murder on the Orient Express...but I don't recall for sure. :P I also saw the movie recently (the 2017 one), so I imagine I will try to find the book soon to be sure one way or the other. ;))

Jo, your reading list always looks fascinating. ;)) You'll have to let me know what you think of The Radium Girls!

AJ, your book list always looks way too interesting too. :P I may have to look up Glencoe and the Indians as the Scottish-Indian connection is one I've been rather curious about.

Dot, after the last two Attolian books, I've had a very mild opinion of the new book news - but watching the reactions has been hilarious. ;))
Is the fifth Penderwicks the last one? I read the first couple but haven't kept up after that. :ymblushing:

fk, I was sure Jo would suggest this one, but she didn't, so. :D You might consider looking into The Christmas Day Kitten by James Herriot. And that's the only suggestion off the top of my head - we never really did seasonal books.

I finished Sad Cypress a while back - it was fine, but not a favorite Agatha Christie.

I have also recently read:
American Grit: A Woman's Letters from the Ohio Frontier by Anna Briggs Bentley, ed. by Emily Foster. I picked this one up at a whim and, while it had its interesting parts, it wasn't that impressive. On one hand, it was a good reminder that human nature hasn't changed. On the other, there was a lot of complaining about not receiving letters and begging for her family to write because surely they weren't that busy. :P ;))

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gail Tzemach Lemmon. This one I also picked up on a whim but it was much more rewarding. The book was about a Kabul teenager and her family learning to survive under the Taliban's rule (late 1990s, I believe). As her father and brothers disappear to avoid being imprisoned or drafted, Kamila Sidiqi turns to dressmaking to support her family - and becomes an entrepreneur.

The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rhinehart. This was the author's first work, and I suppose it showed; it alternated between being pretty humourous and being clunky, cliched, and frustrating.

Women's Diaries of the Western Journey by Lillian Schlisser. I enjoyed the look at accounts of journeys on the western trails, though they were often discouraging and/or sad - and I didn't agree with all the commentary the editor had in putting them together.

Country Life in Tent & Field by Mrs. Orsemus [Frances] B. Boyd. This was a memoir about the author's life with her Calvary husband during the late 1800s. Although she has some of the racial/cultural bias of her time, she's skirts around a lot of the worst of it - and she's a pretty humourous storyteller. ;))

American Nightingale: The Story of Frances Slanger, Forgotten Heroine of Normandy by Bob Welch. This was a well-written and pretty well-crafted account of one of the first Army Nurses to land on Normandy after D-Day. Army nurse history is an area of history that I don't know much about, and I found this book very touching and informative.

The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone. I got a little lost while reading this - I'm still not sure how a lot of the codes were smashed - but, overall, I enjoyed this one a lot. I especially appreciated how the Smith-Friedman relationship/marriage was portrayed - the only downside to it was the occasional oversharing of information by the author. :P

We Band of Angels by Elizabeth M. Norman. This book covers the Army (and Navy) nurses who were stationed in the Philippines when the US entered WWII. Again, this was very informative, but occasionally hard to read as the author didn't shy away from what was endured - first in the battefield and then in the Japanese camps. I disagreed with some of the author's commentary, but did appreciate the conflict the Army/officers dealt with between allowing the nurses do their calling and trying to protect the nurses.

Panhandle Cowboy by John R. Erickson. I'd only read Erickson's Hank the Cowdog books before, but I was intrigued by the idea of nonfiction by him. It turned out that the book was Erickson recounting his time ranching in the panhandle of Oklahoma during the 1970s; I found it a quick but entertaining read. It was nice to see his great sense of storytelling applied to real events. :)

Re: Books: 2nd Edition

PostPosted: Jun 27, 2018 7:44 pm
by johobbit
Valia wrote:fk, I was sure Jo would suggest this one, but she didn't, so. :D You might consider looking into The Christmas Day Kitten by James Herriot.

I simply cannot believe I failed to include this precious story by one of my favourite authors! So, ditto, Valia. But don't just consider it ... buy it! ;)) :D
That story is with my other James Herriot books, rather than in our kids' Christmas book section, so maybe that's my excuse. ymwhisle :P

Valia, your reading list is always very interesting to me! I would love, especially, to get my hands on American Nightingale and We Band of Angels.

Re: Books: 2nd Edition

PostPosted: Jun 27, 2018 8:57 pm
by Arwenel
*pokes head in briefly*

To the best of my knowledge, the only published story connected to The Emperor's Soul is Elantris, and the connection is limited to both take place on the same planet. Reading one won't spoil you on the other any more than reading The Silver Chair will spoil you on The Horse and His Boy.

I'm making my way through R. J. Anderson's "No Ordinary Fairy Tale" series ... very slowly, as i read the second book last month, several months after reading the first. They're fun reads, but not particularly gripping.

And that's all the book news i got.

Re: Books: 2nd Edition

PostPosted: Jun 28, 2018 7:08 pm
by ValiantArcher
;)) I suppose that's an excuse, Jo.
Aww, thanks! I seem to find interesting books mostly by either perusing the uni library catalog/shelves or at the local booksales. Either way, extra copies seem to be hard to find. :P But I do keep an eye out for them.

Thank you, Arwenel! :D Good to know that The Emperor's Soul is connected to Elantris and in a non-spoilery way. (So we were both wrong, Mel. ;)))
Oh! So the R. J. Anderson series has changed titles yet again. I'm glad to hear you're liking them; I read the first three but didn't like any of them. I also tried reading another of her books, but disliked it too; guess her stories just aren't my cup of tea. (Though she has a middle-grade book/series out that sounded interesting, so I might possibly try it sometime. ;)))

I've just started Down the Santa Fe Trail and into Mexico, a diary written by Susan Shelby Magoffin in 1846-1847. I've barely gotten into the diary portion as there's a pretty substantial foreword giving historical background - but it was very informative. ;))

Re: Books: 2nd Edition

PostPosted: Jun 29, 2018 4:17 am
by AJAiken
fk, what about The Snowman by Raymond Briggs? It isn't really for reading out loud, but it's beautifully drawn. And, of course, the film is beautiful too.

Valia, that's exactly why I ordered it. Unfortunately it's not the best-written book. But the history is interesting!

Re: Books: 2nd Edition

PostPosted: Jun 29, 2018 7:14 am
by Meltintalle
re: Emperor's Soul: On the bright side, I had already read Elantris so it wouldn't have mattered anyway. ;))

That's hilarious that we like the opposite ends of Love Comes Softly, Valia. I think the first one is my very favorite of all of them, but I like the ending arc because that's what we had on the shelf when I was growing up. Somehow, going back to fill in Clark's accident wasn't as satisfying as reading in order or close proximity would have been.

I also read The Woman Who Smashed Codes and likewise enjoyed it very much. The Friedmans were a very interesting couple.

SnowAngel, I picked up The Accidental Guardian and The Pirate's Bride after seeing them on your reading list--nice for when I was on the road and in the mood for fluff. :)

If anyone likes the magical circus genre, I recently read Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley which has a boy who ties magical knots and a friend who tries really hard to find a logical explanation for everything. It ended up being very sweet and the backstory was well-done.

I also read Her Father's Daughter by Gene Stratton Porter. It was peak 1920s romance, and the parts that were good were really good and the parts that were bad were HORRID. 8-} You just don't find lovingly poetic descriptions of very specific landscapes anymore, and the part of California where the book was set sounded stunning... and that was the best part of the book, though I did kind of like the sister (who was a selfish, grasping woman who finally got what she thought she wanted and discovered she preferred the wholesome family she'd left behind).

Re: Books: 2nd Edition

PostPosted: Jun 29, 2018 10:27 pm
by SnowAngel
VA, I wasn't sure I was going to like the 100 Cupboards with a dash of Ashtown Burials story that is The Door Before, but I did. :) I'm sure some fans loved it, while others hate it. I would love a book about Dotty and Frank, they're not mention at all in The Door Before. Did I mention I got another sister hooked on N.D Wilson? :D

I chose to listen to the audiobook for The Woman Who Smashed Codes so I think that changes the reader experience. I thought there would be more details about the codes and how she smashed them. Overall though I really enjoyed learning about Elizabeth and her husband.

I agree with Valia about Love Comes Softly, although I like the whole series I love the first books. I never really cared for The Prairie Legacy series, Virginia seemed so flat when compared with most of Janette Oke's other characters. If I remember right my very favorite Janette Oke books are Love Comes Softly, A Gown of Spanish Lace, and Roses For Mama. Since When Calls The Heart the show imploded in the most recent season, I think I need to reread a bunch of Janette Oke books this summer/fall.

Mel, I loved The Accidental Guardian, but I definitely went into the story wanting to like it because I love the cover. ;)) The Pirate's Bride is definitely a fluff read, fun, but fluffy.

I finished Black Hawk Down and immediately started In The Company of Heroes by Michael J. Durant, I have less than 80 pages left and I hope to finished it this month too. I am raiding my brother's bookcase while he isn't home. :-$

My current fiction read is The Choice by Robert Whitlow, it's my first of his books - Scarlet's a fan. It is a really interesting book, but I have the latest Charles Martin book sitting on the top of my library stack begging to be read.

I almost forgot Christmas books...I love the James Herriot stories. I still have a cassette tape of my Dad reading them, I don't have anyway to play it, but I am not getting rid of it.
Some of my family's Christmas favorites are:
*The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
*Jacob's Gift by Max Lucado
*Punchinello and the Most Marvelous Gift by Max Lucado
*Silent Night: A Mouse Tale by Betsy Hernandez
*Follow That Star by Elizabeth Raum
*The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
*The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
*The Legend of the Christmas Stocking by Rick Osborne
*A Cowboy Christmas: The Miracle at Lone Pine Ridge by Audrey Wood
*The Pine Tree Parable (The Parable Series) by Liz Curtis Higgs
*The Christmas Stories of George MacDonald by George MacDonald


Re: Books: 2nd Edition

PostPosted: Aug 24, 2018 6:33 pm
by ValiantArcher
AJ, it's too bad the book wasn't better written! :(

Mel, that is funny about the Love Comes Softly series. ;)) We had all of them available one way or the other growing up, but I started at the beginning and loved Clark and Marty, then Missie and Ellie - but once the perspective switched to Belinda, it was far less interesting (and I didn't like her arc of feeling like home was a terrible place to be and she had to leave; I think I might understand it better if I reread now, but haven't had time or inclination ;))).

SA, I actually haven't heard any negative reviews of The Door Before. Which I suppose is a good sign, but doesn't make me any happier about the idea of tying Ashtown and 100 Cupboards together. :P ;)) Or about Frank and Dotty not even getting a mention. :P
I would mention that there are parts in The Woman Who Smashed Codes where the author lays out some explanation on how codes were broken (but not enough or clearly enough for my understanding!); I would guess those parts would be hard to carry over into an audiobook easily, so it may be a case that those sections are better read.
*high-fives SA* You've got good tastes in Janette Oke books! ;) Your favourite list looks similar to mine, though switch out Roses for Mama (which I think I read once or twice but never really made an impression) for A Woman Named Damaris. :)
Hope you've been enjoying raiding your brother's bookshelf! :D

So, since I took a longer break from this thread than I meant :ymblushing:, here are a few highlights of books I read:

Down the Santa Fe Trail and into Mexico by Susan Shelby Magoffin: This had some really interesting parts and observations (especially as Magoffin's Christianity comes up a number of times), but felt really bogged down by the overabundance of footnotes the editor put in. On one hand, it was interesting to see some of the broader history connected to the people Magoffin met and the places she went. On the other, some of those footnotes went on for pages...

The Picts and the Martyrs, or Not Welcome at All by Arthur Ransome. This is the next-to-last book in the Swallows & Amazons series, but the only one I hadn't been able to read before. I thoroughly enjoyed it. :D I wasn't sure how I would like it once I realized it doesn't deal with the Swallows at all, but with the Amazons and the Callums (neither of whom I have found that interesting/likeable in the past), but it was hilarious and close to being a comedy of errors. I think I will have to do a reread of the series, but this is definitely high on the list of favourites. :)
Also, the copy I got to read was a first edition U.S. release, which made me very happy; it even had back flap notes about the book coming to the U.S. from wartime England. :D

No Life for a Lady by Agnes Moreland Cleaveland. Cleaveland grew up and lived on a New Mexico cattle ranch at the end of the 19th century through the early 20th century, and this book is her memoir of that time. I found it very informative and entertaining; Cleaveland was a pretty talented storyteller. :)

I've also been slowly working my way through a reread of the Fairy Tale Novels by Regina Doman; I started last year, stalled, and picked back up this past month or so. It's been a lot of fun, though with the benefit of some time and such, I've found a few rough parts or things that fall a little flat. However, in contrast, I have a much better appreciation of some characters and arcs - especially in Waking Rose. I hope to finish my reread soon. :)

I am currently reading And if I Perish by Evelyn M. Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee, which is about frontline U.S. Army Nurses in the Mediterranean and European theaters during WWII. It's a hefty book (over 450 pages of text), but it seems pretty thorough - and, boy, have I learned a lot. I've learned not just about the nurses, but also have a much better understanding of how certain military actions came about - and how they tied together (such as the invasions of Rome and Normandy!). The authors have done a pretty good job of tying in the military actions with the hospital locations and casualties. The nurses showed much courage and fortitude, especially as they were unprepared for the sheer scale of casualties and lack of infrastructure and supplies they encountered. I do wish the authors had put maps in more easily accessible locations, though, instead of burying them in chapters, but oh well. ;)) I've got around 100 pages to go. :)

Re: Books: 2nd Edition

PostPosted: Aug 25, 2018 6:13 am
by Anfinwen
Hello everyone! just popping in to see what everyone has been reading.
Meltintalle wrote:I also read Her Father's Daughter by Gene Stratton Porter. It was peak 1920s romance, and the parts that were good were really good and the parts that were bad were HORRID.

Ah yes, I have read and re-read several of her books and loved them, then there's THAT one! I think "The Harvester" and "Keeper of the Bees" are also a bit weird, but please don't let that put you off her other books. :( "Laddie" is absolutely fantastic! And "Freckles" is one of my favorite books ever! "Girl of the Limberlost" is a sequel to "Freckles" and is really good too. I live in Indiana, so her being an Indiana author and setting those three books in that state is a special draw to me.

I've never read the "Love Comes Softly" series, but I did really like "A gown of Spanish Lace." My particular favorites are the series Janette Oke authored with Davis Bunn, "Song of Acadia" and "Acts of Faith."

Also, I can't remember if Georgette Heyer has come up in this thread or not. Does anyone have any favorites of her books?