Updates on my writing, current books I am reading, and the cups of tea that accompany my daily adventures :)
Saturday, January 29, 2022
Tuesday, January 25, 2022
Check Out My New Post!
Check out my new post on The Engrafted Word! Happy reading!
Silver Bells and Secrets - My Review
Monday, January 10, 2022
My Top Ten Books of 2021!
The Magnolia Story
by Chip and Joanna Gaines
These famous words are now synonymous with the dynamic husband-and-wife team Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. As this question fills the airwaves with anticipation, their legions of fans continue to multiply and ask a different series of questions, like—Who are these people?What’s the secret to their success? And is Chip actually that funny in real life? By renovating homes in Waco, Texas, and changing lives in such a winsome and engaging way, Chip and Joanna have become more than just the stars of Fixer Upper, they have become America’s new best friends.
The Magnolia Story is the first book from Chip and Joanna, offering their fans a detailed look at their life together. From the very first renovation project they ever tackled together, to the project that nearly cost them everything; from the childhood memories that shaped them, to the twists and turns that led them to the life they share on the farm today.
They both attended Baylor University in Waco. However, their paths did not cross until Chip checked his car into the local Firestone tire shop where Joanna worked behind the counter. Even back then Chip was a serial entrepreneur who, among other things, ran a lawn care company, sold fireworks, and flipped houses. Soon they were married and living in their first fixer upper. Four children and countless renovations later, Joanna garners the attention of a television producer who notices her work on a blog one day.
In The Magnolia Story fans will finally get to join the Gaines behind the scenes and discover:
-The time Chip ran to the grocery store and forgot to take their new, sleeping baby
-Joanna’s agonizing decision to close her dream business to focus on raising their children
-When Chip buys a houseboat, sight-unseen, and it turns out to be a leaky wreck
-Joanna’s breakthrough moment of discovering the secret to creating a beautiful home
-Harrowing stories of the financial ups and downs as an entrepreneurial couple
-Memories and photos from Chip and Jo’s wedding
-The significance of the word magnolia and why it permeates everything they do
-The way the couple pays the popularity of Fixer Upper forward, sharing the success with others, and bolstering the city of Waco along the way
And yet there is still one lingering question for fans of the show: Is Chip really that funny? “Oh yeah,” says Joanna. “He was, and still is, my first fixer upper.”
His Bluestocking Bride
by Sally Britton
He vows to never risk his heart again. She hides her love to avoid rejection. A marriage of convenience is not what either of them wished for.
Overlooked by society and underappreciated in her family, Ellen Bringhurst has resigned herself to spinsterhood and a life of reading. Until her match-making friends contrive to reintroduce Ellen to the man she has secretly loved since their shared childhood.
As the younger son to an earl, Marcus Calvert must wed in order to inherit his estate. Still nursing a broken heart, he prefers a practical approach to matrimony rather than romantic love. When Ellen is presented as a possible bride, he proposes a marriage of convenience.
Ellen accepts his hand, hiding her feelings rather than risking her husband’s rejection. Marcus, though determined not to expose his heart again, finds more to admire in his childhood friend with each passing day. What began as a sensible arrangement now has the possibility to become so much more. But is Marcus willing to risk his heart a second time?
The Cracked Spine
by Paige Shelton
In need of a good adventure, Delaney Nichols takes the leap and moves to Edinburgh, Scotland to start a job at The Cracked Spine. She doesn't know much about what she's gotten herself into, other than that the work sounds exciting, and that her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, has given her the opportunity of a lifetime. Edwin has promised that she'll be working with "a desk that has seen the likes of kings and queens, paupers and princes," and Delaney can't wait to get started.
When she arrives, she meets her new Scottish family; also working at the Cracked Spine are Rosie, perpetually wrapped in scarves, and who always has tiny dog Hector in tow; Hamlet, a nineteen-year-old thespian with a colored past and bright future; and Edwin, who is just as enigmatic and mysterious as Delaney expected. An unexpected bonus is Tom the bartender from across the street, with his piercing eyes, and a rolling brogue -- and it doesn't hurt that he looks awfully good in a kilt.
But before she can settle into her new life, a precious artifact -- a previously undiscovered First Folio of Shakespeare's plays -- goes missing, and Edwin's sister is murdered, seemingly in connection to the missing folio. Delaney decides to do some sleuthing of her own, to find out just what the real story is behind the priceless folio, and how it's connected to the tragic death, all without getting harmed herself.
All Creatures Great and Small
by James Herriot
Delve into the magical, unforgettable world of James Herriot, the world's most beloved veterinarian, and his menagerie of heartwarming, funny, and tragic animal patients.
For over forty years, generations of readers have thrilled to Herriot's marvelous tales, deep love of life, and extraordinary storytelling abilities. For decades, Herriot roamed the remote, beautiful Yorkshire Dales, treating every patient that came his way from smallest to largest, and observing animals and humans alike with his keen, loving eye.
In All Creatures Great and Small, we meet the young Herriot as he takes up his calling and discovers that the realities of veterinary practice in rural Yorkshire are very different from the sterile setting of veterinary school. Some visits are heart-wrenchingly difficult, such as one to an old man in the village whose very ill dog is his only friend and companion, some are lighthearted and fun, such as Herriot's periodic visits to the overfed and pampered Pekinese Tricki Woo who throws parties and has his own stationery, and yet others are inspirational and enlightening, such as Herriot's recollections of poor farmers who will scrape their meager earnings together to be able to get proper care for their working animals. From seeing to his patients in the depths of winter on the remotest homesteads to dealing with uncooperative owners and critically ill animals, Herriot discovers the wondrous variety and never-ending challenges of veterinary practice as his humor, compassion, and love of the animal world shine forth.
James Herriot's memoirs have sold 80 million copies worldwide, and continue to delight and entertain readers of all ages.
Courting the Vicar's Daughter
by Sally Britton
Harry Devon, son of a wealthy gentleman who cared more for money than his family, has returned to the family estate at last. Without direction, and lacking the knowledge necessary to run his estate, Harry is prepared to leave it to others to make the difficult decisions. Until he meets the vicar's daughter.
Augusta Ames, who much prefers the childhood nickname Daisy, is preparing to open a school for daughters of poor tenant farmers. In the habit of serving others, Daisy determines to help Harry find his path and place in their community. When he embraces her plan with enthusiasm, their friendship begins to blossom into something more.
But the Devon legacy is regarded with suspicion, thanks to the greed and cruelty of Harry's late father. When the neighborhood finds reason to turn on Harry, will Daisy trust her heart enough to love him still?
by Ann Cleeves
Raven Black begins on New Year’s Eve with a lonely outcast named Magnus Tait, who stays home waiting for visitors who never come. But the next morning the body of a murdered teenage girl is discovered nearby, and suspicion falls on Magnus. Inspector Jimmy Perez enters an investigative maze that leads deeper into the past of the Shetland Islands than anyone wants to go.
Twisted Tea Christmas
by Laura Childs
Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier, Drayton Conneley, are catering a Victorian Christmas party at a swanky mansion in downtown Charleston. Drucilla Heyward, the hostess, is one of the wealthiest women in town.
As the champagne flows and the tea steeps, Drucilla is so pleased with the reception by her partygoers that she reveals her secret plan to Theodosia. The Grande Dame has brought the cream of Charleston society together to reveal that she is planning to give her wealth away to various charitable organizations. However, before she can make the announcement, Theodosia finds her crumpled unconscious in the hallway. It looks like the excitement has gotten to the elderly woman--except that there is a syringe sticking out of her neck.
Murder on the Orient Express
by Agatha Christie
Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks as it travels through the mountainous Balkans. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year but, by the morning, it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.
One of the passengers is none other than detective Hercule Poirot. On vacation.
Isolated and with a killer in their midst, Poirot must identify the murderer—in case he or she decides to strike again.
An Expectation of Love
by Rose Pearson
As the youngest daughter, Lady Dorothea has been a little more indulged by their father than her sisters. Being fully aware in her own mind as to what she wished her future husband to be, she is immediately dissuaded from accepting the Earl of Windford’s attentions due to the fact that he has something of a limp and cannot partake in society to its fullest extent.
Lord Oliver Windford is astonished at himself. To find himself so drawn to a lady, to then be so turned from her has left him in a great confusion! Already injured by society’s disdain, he makes plans to leave London only to be prevented by the attentions of an entirely new lady. But is she genuine in her considerations towards him or does she have another motive?
When Dorothea realizes that the gentlemen around her are nothing more than rakes and rascals eager for her dowry and status, she soon begins to question her own attitude and selfishness. Is it too late for her to accept Lord Windford’s attentions, or has he, as she fears, already turned towards another?
A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickesn
Generations of readers have been enchanted by Dickens’s A Christmas Carol—the most cheerful ghost story ever written, and the unforgettable tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s moral regeneration. Written in just a few weeks, A Christmas Carol famously recounts the plight of Bob Cratchit, whose family finds joy even in poverty, and the transformation of his miserly boss Scrooge as he is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.
From Scrooge’s “Bah!” and “Humbug!” to Tiny Tim’s “God bless us every one!” A Christmas Carol shines with warmth, decency, kindness, humility, and the value of the holidays. But beneath its sentimental surface, A Christmas Carol offers another of Dickens’s sharply critical portraits of a brutal society, and an inspiring celebration of the possibility of spiritual, psychological, and social change.
This new volume collects Dickens’s three most renowned “Christmas Books,” including The Chimes, a New Year’s tale, and The Cricket on the Hearth, whose eponymous creature remains silent during sorrow and chirps amid happiness.
Katharine Kroeber Wiley, the daughter of a scholar and a sculptor, has a degree in English Literature from Occidental College. Her work has appeared in Boundary Two and the recent book, Lore of the Dolphin. She is currently working on a book on Victorian Christmas writings.
Here are the links to my previous Top Ten List of Books:
Thursday, January 6, 2022
Check Out My New Post!
Check out my new post on The Engrafted Word! Happy reading!
Saturday, January 1, 2022
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