Monday, August 25, 2014

The Illusionist as written by Rosie Thomas - My review and where you can go to sign up to win books through the same place!

I'm going to let the descripton of the book tell you about it. I want to point out that Rosie Thomas the author had to have done an enormous amount of research to do this book and researched it and wrote about it well.  From the magicians tricks and illusions to what was invented during that period in the 1900's England, to the invention of recording voices and the process of which it was done, the first robotic type figures called automata, to the beginning of electricity and the first automobiles.  The book is rich in history each chapter about another figure in the book and they all interact with each other in a rather complete and rich way of writing. She builds on the characters well. It is a very large book almost five hundredd pages if you are looking for something entertaining, a story that you can sink your teeth into, rich in history and magic and the theater of the time than this book won't fail to disapoint.  The female who is the one of the main characters is not one fo those simpering beauties who only wish to do needlepoint and stay home pushing out babies and entertaing their husbands, this femail is very modern for her time, and you have to like her!  She was refreshing in her part of the story.  I would definately recommend this book to anyone who has interest in magic and illusions as the history of those goes back a long way and this was realy getting it's start during this time period.  
I'm not sure I loved the ending, but I'm not sure what I would have done different so I can't pick on that too much, I guess I wanted to see the characters, where they went beyond that time period I wasn't ready to give them up.  Read it you shouldn't be disappointed im this book, just remember this is not one that will grab you and keep you up all night reading and you can pull it off in one is a longer novel!  I did win this book through through their "One to Watch" contest.  If you would like to enter their contests they have a ton of them and you only need visit their site.... and sig up for the newsletters.
Here is the description as found on Good Reads:
From the bestselling author of the phenomenally successful The Kashmir Shawl

London 1870.

A terrifying place for a young, beautiful woman of limited means. But Eliza is modern before her time. Not for her the stifling if respectable conventionality of marriage, children, domestic drudgery. She longs for more. Through her work as an artist’s model, she meets the magnetic and irascible Devil – a born showman whose dream is to run his own theatre company.

Devil’s right-hand man is the improbably-named Carlo Bonomi, an ill-tempered dwarf with an enormous talent for all things magic and illusion. Carlo and Devil clash at every opportunity and it constantly falls upon Eliza to broker an uneasy peace between them. And then there is Jasper Button. Mild-mannered, and a family man at heart, it is his gift as an artist which makes him the unlikely final member of the motley crew.

Thrown together by a twist of fate, their lives are inextricably linked: the fortune of one depends on the fortune of the other. And as Eliza gets sucked into the seductive and dangerous world her strange companions inhabit, she risks not only her heart, but also her life…

Friday, August 22, 2014

Miss Brenda and her Loveladies by Brenda Spahn and Irene Zutell - My Review - A Mst Read!

9780307732170 (132×202)  Miss Brenda and the Loveladies!  By Brenda Spahn and Irene Zutell
I absolutely loved this book and that it was a true story made it much more interesting.  I couldn’t put the book down. The main character Brenda Spahn had been very successful in her work, monetarily…..but she had a brush with the law, almost lost everything and just missed going to prison.  She made a deal with the Lord to start doing work for him, to live for him, if he kept her out of prison.  She didn’t go to prison as an inmate but she started going to the Julia Tutweiler Prison For Women in Wetumpka, speak to the inmates, she started a small church service there for them.  She decided that wasn’t enough she wanted to do more.  She learned that most of the women who were in the prison for much time at all, usually returned as they couldn’t make it when they got out on their own.  She arranged to take one of the homes she owned that was vacant, to make it a “whole way” center for women.  She wanted to teach them to live in the outside world to navigate the alien, and she also wanted to bring the Lord to them. 
She got permission to turn the home into a “whole way house” but the expected ex-cons that they sent to her, were not the ones with the light sentence.  She got the women who had rap sheets that were very long and they were not going to be easy for her, and the road was going to be long.  She did things with these women that people who ran “half way houses” never could. She was expected to fail.  She didn’t fail.  She held classes in Christianity, also how to make beds, how to clean, how to manage money, things that we all take for granted but things these women never had the opportunity and so much more.

There were a lot of stories, true stories, of each of the lives of the seven women who originally were the first to come to Brenda’s home.  The stories of each of these women were fascinating in that their lives included things most of us would never be able to even imagine.  Brenda even got these women to laugh at some of the awful things that happened to these women, the past didn’t seem to have as much a hold on them when they could laugh at it. 
Brenda called them Loveladies as that was her maiden name.   She and her first seven women and her first unlikely year is what is included in this book.  Brenda went from one small home to a very large facility for which four states now send women for the program.   She has now been Miss Brenda to over 450 women to date.
Of course this is a faith based story and it’s inspirational in that Brenda turned her family and life as she knew it upside down in order to serve her community and her Lord.  I found Brenda’s explanations to the women on different parts of the bible, how to pray, a different way to think of their Lord…..she let them know he was always with them.  Her breaking down of the “Lord’s Prayer” to them in teaching them how to pray was a very interesting way to think about it.  I had never heard it explained that way.
I so recommend this story to anyone.  There is humor, biography, Christianity non-denominational, and a great feel good and the end of the book.  It made me think that I have not done enough for the community I live with.  I’m not sure how much I could do, but perhaps I should find some ways to serve… should everyone else.  The community’s and the people who live in them could only be better for it.  It’s too bad we all don’t go about things the way Miss Brenda did and continues to do! "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."
About This Book
One woman’s fight to provide hope for the hopeless…
Seven ex-cons who changed her heart forever…

For Brenda Spahn, entrepreneur and businesswoman, wealth was a lifestyle—until a brush with the law threatened to send her to prison. In those dark moments, Brenda made a promise to God.

Spared incarceration, a renewed Brenda glimpsed into the lives of women serving time in one of the worst places in America—the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama.

What she saw prompted a God-inspired vision.

With a heart to help and a will that couldn’t be crushed, Brenda fought the system and overcame tremendous obstacles to take ex-cons into her own home and help them navigate the alien world of life on the outside.

This is the story of Brenda’s journey from rags to riches to redemption. It’s the story of the first unlikely year of her “Whole Way House” and of the extraordinary lives of the first seven women who came to call her “Miss Brenda.” It’s a story that testifies to the power of faith and how God changes hearts every day
About The Author
Brenda Spahn

Brenda Spahn is founder and executive director of the Lovelady Center, the largest and most successful nonprofit transitional center for women in the country. It serves 450 women and children every day, providing substance abuse counseling, drug rehabilitation, meals, childcare, career counseling, and job opportunities to women working to establish successful lives outside of prison walls. Brenda is married and has four adult children as well as one young child who lives at home.

The Authors Web Site is located at http:/

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe - My Review - Absolutely Five Stars!!

9780804137720 (132×202)   I Shall Be Near To You
by Erin Lindsay McCabe –

I absolutely loved this book.   I couldn’t put it down from the first page.  This was about a woman who was someone you couldn’t push around.  She was a women in a man’s world and she didn’t like it one bit. She wasn’t about to be told what she could and couldn’t do.  She had a boyfriend who wanted to marry her when he returned from the war, with enough money in his pocket to buy the farm in Nebraska that they had both been talking about buying and farming.  She insisted he marry her before he leave.  She didn’t want to wait. Of course she got her way.  She moved with him into a small cabin on his parent’s property for two days after they married and he left without even telling her goodbye. He took off and left a note for her.  She tried to do things the way his family wanted her to.  She had been replaced already as a farm hand helping her Father. She just couldn’t sit and wait for her husband and wonder all that time if he were going to return. She cut her hair, hemmed his pants and shirts, went and joined the Army and appeared at the same grounds where he was to his shock and surprise. He keeps trying to send her back home before they get into real battle and she won’t go. Before long he stops even trying, he likes having his wife by his side, until they start facing the enemy with bullets coming at them and others in their company dying.  You cannot put this book down if you are into women’s fiction, love stories or Civil War story’s I believe you will love this book!  I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
 The author did a lot of research on women who dressed as men and entered the Civil War; there were hundreds who did this on both sides of the War.   She read some 250 letters that these women had written, read many books, studied the areas and even went to some of the areas where the famous skirmishes’ happened.  I like to read how the authors research and come up with ideas for their books and see how much they had to do in order to write a book   This book is entirely fiction although it has mention of people and places that were real, she wrote about them fictitiously.

About The Book: An extraordinary novel about a strong-willed woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight beside her husband, inspired by the letters of a remarkable female soldier who fought in the Civil War.
   Rosetta doesn't want her new husband Jeremiah to enlist, but he joins up, hoping to make enough money that they'll be able to afford their own farm someday. Though she's always worked by her father’s side as the son he never had, now that Rosetta is a wife she's told her place is inside with the other women. But Rosetta decides her true place is with Jeremiah, no matter what that means, and to be with him she cuts off her hair, hems an old pair of his pants, and signs up as a Union soldier.
   With the army desperate for recruits, Rosetta has no trouble volunteering, although she faces an incredulous husband. She drills with the men, proves she can be as good a soldier as anyone, and deals with the tension as her husband comes to grips with having a fighting wife. Rosetta's strong will clashes with Jeremiah's while their marriage is tested by broken conventions, constant danger, and war, and she fears discovery of her secret even as they fight for their future, and for their lives. Inspired by more than 250 documented accounts of the women who fought in the Civil War while disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is the intimate story, in Rosetta’s powerful and gorgeous voice, of the drama of marriage, one woman’s amazing exploits, and the tender love story that can unfold when two partners face life’s challenges side by side.

About The Author:
ERIN LINDSAY McCABE studied Literature at University of California, Santa Cruz, and taught high school English before completing her MFA at St. Mary's College of California in 2010. She has taught Composition at St. Mary's and Butte College and resides in Northern California with her husband and son and a small menagerie that includes one dog, four cats, two horses, ten chickens, and two goats.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Book Review - The Firelight Girls by Kaya McLaren - I gave this one four stars!

I really liked this book.  It brought me back to the time I spent at camp with my group of Camp Fire Girls.....earning beads for our jackets, learning how to make campfire stew, swimming, etc.  Friends made!
This book is really about a Camp Director who has lost her partner of many years and she is now going to lose the camp which she lives down river from.  She contacts her old friends who she thinks may like to come and help pack up the camp and get it ready for new owners as it is being sold as the well is dry and there is no money to dig another.  This camp story includes three generations of women, one of which is a young girl who runs away from a bad situation that her Mother created and she brokke into one of the cabins and is trying live there and still get to school. The women discover her and take her under her wing.  One of the omen hasn't spoken to another since the year they were togther in camp and they have to come to terms with that.  ONe has raised her kids and now feels as if her marriage is over there is nothing more to bring her and her husband together.... a really good story, one I enjoyed.  Not one of those that you have to read in one day and can't put down. This is one for every lady who every went to camp as a girl and wants to relive the past through the stoies of these ladies! I won this book through Good Reads as a First exchange for an honest review.
The description found here on Good Reads:
The summers you spend at summer camp are indelibly etched on your heart. But what happens when the camp you love is about to close? Can you ever really say goodbye to the place that made you who you are?  This is the question that plagues Ethel, the seventy-year-old former camp director who is nursing a broken heart after losing the love of her life. It's also a question that inspires change in forty-year-old Shannon, who is directionless after watching her career implode. Then there is Ruby, who betrayed Ethel years ago and hasn't spoken to her since. Is this her chance to make amends? When the three women learn that a homeless teen has been hiding at camp—the only place she can escape her terrifying home life—they realize camp is something much more immediate for all: survival. Three generations of women are about to find so much more as they search for a way to save the place that saved them all in The Firelig