Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The letter, er, The timepiece, book #86

 Funny thing happened the other day ... so for Christmas my mom gave me a beautiful hardback copy of The Letter with a paper cover on it.  I was familiar with the author but had not read the stories in this series.  Since I had been busy with other things this one has been sitting in the pile by my bed (probably not even an official pile in the piles to work through) but I was looking for a quick book to read before I started the book club book and picked this one up.  The synopsis on the back didn't sound very intriguing to me, but I started in anyway.  

Evans' style of writing is so beautiful that I feel he could rewrite a scientific journal and you would not even know you were reading something so mundane.  I mean, just listen to this, "Just then, a cuckoo clock erupted in festive announcement of the second hour, followed by a gay, German melody accompanying tiny, brightly colored figurines waltzing in small circles on a wooden track." "Through the heroic efforts of the fire corps, the fire had been isolated to the east wing, though the stench of smoke permeated the entire mansion.  The house itself had escaped serious structural damage, but the damage inflicted upon its occupants was of far greater consequence."  Beautiful, I tell you.  

Unfortunately, the story itself is rather sad, but in the end it all shows how the characters grew through the turmoil.  

However ..... there was no mention of a letter.  You know, The Letter.  I kept thinking it was going to be one of those where the last chapter, last paragraph, last sentence explained the title, but nope.  Not one mention of a letter in the entire book.  

I was perplexed.  I kept flipping the book around and around, but for the life of me I could not figure it out.  At one point the paper cover fell off and I realized what had happened.  The book I read was actually The Timepiece, not The Letter.  I figured that since my mom purchased this book for me at a used book store (her favorite type!) probably whoever donated it just got the covers mixed up and who knows where The Letter actually is.  Chalk it up as funny story.

So the next day I called my mom and told her the funny story.  She gets to sorting through her books and finds she has a copy of The Timepiece that someone gave her.  But wait.  (You see it coming, don't you?)  HER copy of The Timepiece is NOT The Timepiece but, you guessed it!  The Letter!!!  She was the one who accidentally got the covers mixed up somehow!  Of course, knowing my mom - and I've done it too! - she probably read both of these books before giving me one and that is how the covers got mixed up!!  

"Of all, clockmakers and morticians should bear the keenest sense of priority-their lives daily spent in observance of the unflagging procession of time... and the end thereof."
So begins Timepiece, the unforgettable story of hope and the source of the wisdom MaryAnne Parkin shared with Richard in The Christmas Box. With the help of David Parkin's diary, Richard discovers the mystery of the timepiece and the significance of MaryAnne's request.  Nineteen years previous, only eleven days before her death, MaryAnne Parkin had bequeathed a beautiful rose-gold timepiece to my keeping. "The day before you give Jenna away," she had said, her voice trembling as she handed me the heirloom, "give this to her for the gift." I was puzzled by her choice of words. "Her wedding gift?" I asked. She looked at me sadly, then forced a fragile smile. "You will know what I mean."
(pictures and description from amazon

Finishing up one more quick short story before starting on our book club book!


Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Christmas bargain, book #85

So I decided to look for a quick read and have a little Christmas in July, since I never seem to have enough time to read all the Christmas books I want to in December.  This one pretty much fit the bill and it started out great, but started going downhill in a way I did not care for.

This book encapsulated all my favorites ... pioneers, small towns, a little love, underdog ... Luke Granger, the banker, was just trying to have a client pay off his debt.  Mr. Booth, however, had no money at all and whenever he did have money he'd spend it in the saloon.  He did, however have a daughter, who took care of the house.  She seemed to be a homely character with serious self confidence issues, so afraid of her father.  When Luke shows up at the homestead demanding payment, he discovers Mr. Booth has nothing and was planning to "trade" his daughter to the saloon to pay off his debt there.  Not that Luke had any need for a wife or housekeeper, and the girl was not much to look at, he could not let her be given to the saloon.  So he agrees to take the girl for his payment and they are off.  

To find out what happens, you need to read it for yourself.   Your opinion may very well differ from mine!  

As owner and manager of the Hardman bank, Luke Granger is a man of responsibility and integrity in the small 1890s Eastern Oregon town. When he calls in a long overdue loan, Luke reluctantly accepts a bargain in lieu of payment from the shiftless farmer who barters his daughter to settle his debt. Philamena Booth is both mortified and relieved when her father sends her off with the banker as payment of his debt. Held captive on the farm by her father since the death of her mother more than a decade earlier, she is grateful to leave. If only it had been someone other than the handsome and charismatic Luke Granger riding in to rescue her. Ready to uphold her end of the bargain as Luke’s cook and housekeeper, she isn’t prepared to marry Luke as part of a crazy Christmas bargain. (picture and description from amazon)

I've already started another book to hold me over before I dig into this month's Book Club book!

Keep Reading!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

52 Steps to murder, book #84

This book exhausted me.  I'm so glad I finally finished. I thought it would be a like a modern day Agatha Christie when I started, but all it did was confuse the goodness out of me and left me hanging till the very end.  Moving on ....

An elderly woman is found poisoned in the upstairs bedroom of her home whose from door stands 52 steps above the street in an old-fashioned whodunit that blends clues, red herrings, suspects, and humor. (picture and description at amazon)


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The guest book, book #83

In case you are wondering, no I did not read this in two days.  We were at the beach last week (holla!) and the Good Hope Road book I had was an old, falling apart book of my mom's and I did not want to take it to the actual beach in case it got more messed up.  (Which was a good thing, since thanks to the windy conditions my copy of this book will not be fit for the library now!)  So, since this is our Book Club Book for this month anyway I was reading it in between the other.

Loved this book!  It was a book that kept me sucked in the whole time, constantly wondering what was going to happen next!  There was just enough "Jesus" in it to make me feel good, but not so much that it made me feel like she slathered it on to classify it as Christian fiction.  The characters were very believeable and even though the story had a few more details than certain friends would prefer I found it a natural flow and not like she was pushing them on the reader.  

All in all I highly recommend it!

When Macy Dillon was five years old her father encouraged her to draw a picture in the guestbook of a Carolina beach house. The next year, Macy returned to discover a drawing by an unidentified little boy on the facing page. Over the next eleven years the children continue to exchange drawings … until tragedy ends visits to the beach house altogether. During her final trip to Sunset, Macy asks her anonymous friend to draw her one last picture and tells him where to hide the guest book in hopes that one day she will return to find it―and him. Twenty-five years after that first picture, Macy is back at Sunset Beach―this time toting a broken family and a hurting heart. One night, alone by the ocean, Macy asks God to help her find the boy she never forgot, the one whose beautiful pictures touched something deep inside of her. Will she ever find him? And if she does, will the guestbook unite them or merely be the relic of a lost childhood? (picture and description from amazon

Now its time to decide what's next!! 

Happy reading!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Good Hope Road, book #82

Well let me just say this book took some getting into.  And getting through.  It is supposed to be in a "series" with Tending Roses but I never saw the connection at all until reading the end notes from the author.  So this is more like a "connections" series as compared to a "chronological" series. Whatever.  I'm just glad I'm done.  

Not that this was a bad book, it just isn't what I was in the mood for.  After all my precious and light, fluffy pioneers I wasn't expecting to jump into the depths of tragedy and read through a personal growth, letting go of the past story.  Man but it wore me out!!

So, in lieu of a review I found several quotes that real stuck out to me.

I thought about all the times I had passed those fancy houses on the lake, and hated those people with their money and their brand new cars and their attitudes.  I realized now how wrong that was.  It seemed back then that they were so different from us, but now I could see the thin line that separated us -- just houses, cars, clothes.  All things that could be swept away in an instant. (Jenilee, p.63)

You have a use for everyone you meet in life, and God don't put in any extras.  (Eudora, p. 78) 

Except God don't create accidents.  We only think there are accidents because we don't know what God has in mind.  (Eudora, p. 115)

When you are afraid of everything, the thing you are most afraid of is happiness.  You're afraid to step into even a little piece of it, because you know that as soon as you do, someone will slam the door, and you'll be trapped in the darkness again, remembering how the light felt. (Jenilee, p. 217)

"It ain't like either of us have to regret our lives.  We had good lives, both of us.  Not the lives we might have had, but good lives." [June - a man]
I turned away from Ivy, away from the past, and thought about my life.  I thought about Olney and his trains.  I thought about the farm, and the children we made, and the grandchildren who ran to me with their open arms.  I understood that if I had gone a different path, none of that would be.  All of the things that mattered to me, all of the things that would last, would never has come into being.  The other life, the one I could have lived with June, might have been good, but so was this one, and it wasn't over yet.  (Eudora, p. 269)

Had I not suffered the loss of everything I thought would matter, I would have missed everything that truly mattered in my life .... (Jenilee recalling letter she found, p. 279)

If you are in the mood for a good redemption story, then jump on this one.  If not, wait until you are.  I might have appreciated it at a different time.  

Twenty-year-old Jenilee Lane whose dreams are as narrow as the sky is wide, is the last person to expect anything good to come out of the tornado that rips across the Missouri farmland surrounding her home.  But some inner spark compels her to rescue her elderly neighbor, Eudora Gibson, from the cellar in which she's been trapped.  To make her way to the nearby town of Poetry, where the townspeople have begun to gather.  To collect from the landscape letters, photographs, and mementos that might mean something to people who have lost everything.  Brought close by tragedy, Jenilee and Eudora will learn lessons about the resilience of the human spirit and the ties that make a community strong.  They will travel to a place they never would have imagined. (picture and description at amazon)

Keep Reading!


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Dreams beyond tomorrow, book #81

I decided I couldn't resist and started the next book.  And finished it in just a few days since it is so short.  

Ok, I will admit.  This book, this series probably does not have a lot of likes here in the 2010s because it isn't even close to some of the stuff I read, but I still like it.  Yes, they made it to Oregon, but Cole is still gone all the times and poor Rachel starts in imagine if Cole really even does like her, even though every short time he comes home he tells her that.  They finally got to move their marriage to the next level, so to speak, but then he left again.  Star has kept her happy and starting classes has been fun.  Luckily Yolanda finally got her eyes opened to the scoundrel that Julius was, unfortunately it was a lesson she had to learn the hard way.  We think Cole may be home for a while now, at least I hope!  What fun is a pioneer story when the woman -- who already has to work really hard on the trail and at a new place -- and man aren't even together?!?!?  

Will you wear the ring - be my wife, my real wife - forever and ever?... After the long, hard journey, they stood on the little knoll - feasting their eyes on the beauty of Oregon's fertile fields. Rachel Lord, Colby's wife in name only, longs for the chance to finally make their wedding into a marriage. But Cole is a man with a dream which takes him away from the tiny settlement... widening the gap in Rachel's insecure heart. As Rachel strives to keep his dream of a city alive in the minds of the settlers, she is faced with the hardships of pioneer life and the agonies of love so long denied. Cole's trusted friend, Buck, becomes Rachel's much-needed shoulder to lean on. But can he protect her from the mystery behind Superstition Mountain and the threat of hostile Indians? Then it happens. The horrible event which will change the way of life forever in the settlement. Rachel finally realizes only her faith can sustain her and only God can fulfill her...  (description from here and picture from amazon

I believe next I will move back to the smaller series from my mom.  

Keep reading!!


Monday, June 8, 2015

Journey to love, book #80

Aaaah, my precious pioneers.  I know most of you all think I am silly but I have to believe there are some of you out there that love pioneer books also!!

Fleeing an alcoholic father who was trying to sell her, Rachel joined a wagon train bound for Oregon and married Colby Lord, a man she met only once when he tried to collect on a loan to her father. Angry and proud at first, Rachel finds her heart changing as the usual disasters strike the wagon train and teach her to put her faith in God.  (picture and description at amazon)

A little confusing and a little unbelievable at times, but since we have no idea what it was REALLY like in those times I think it is hard to say what is and isn't believable.  

This was a short one, so I might have to read the next one instead of skipping to another pile!

Keep reading!