Welcome to my blog where I share my book reviews
and life along the winding road

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Some Good News - Man Rescues Fawn

 There's nothing like an animal rescue to show there are good and caring people out there. 

The fawn was later reunited with its mom.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Learning Spanish

 Learning Spanish was on my list of goals for this year. I picked up a Spanish Coursebook at a yard sale a few years ago and had been going through the lessons. Our local library started Spanish conversation classes but that was disbanded during Covid. Since then I've found a wealth of information online, but the most help I have had is from a friend who was born in Panama and willing to meet with me once a week to help me with conversation. My advice is to expand your vocabulary first. Below are some sites that helped me. I also make notes on index cards and stick them to the fridge and bathroom mirror. The important thing is to try and learn something every day. I was mostly using Duolingo, and Danny Evans' You Tube videos, but now go through the mini courses of Spanish with Paul daily. Don't get discouraged, according to a language learning video I watched, it takes 600 hours to be fluent in Spanish, French or Italian (1 hour a day for two years)


Que Hora Es with Danny Evans

Spanish with Paul

Spanish Dictionary

Another helpful tip from the Spanish conversation class is to make flip notebooks containing verbs(see below). 

Also look for Spanish games - I've had fun with the grandkids while we all learn.

Friday, October 8, 2021

The Illuminator by Brenda Rickman Vantrease


The Illuminator by Brenda Rickman Vantrease is set in late 14th century Norman England when villages followed the feudal system and churches had almost as much control as the king, extorting money where they could (one of the reasons Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries). The king owned all the land of England - property was given to nobles and just as quickly taken away if the noble displeased the king.

In the dangerous time when John Wycliffe began translating the bible into English, against the wishes of the church, Lady Kathryn had control of Blackingham Manor. As a widow and mother of twin sons, she had no protection against the church who was constantly requesting money for various indulgences, or the local sheriff who collected taxes for the king. Desperately needing money to support both her estate and the serfs who worked for her, Lady Kathryn gladly accepted Finn as a paying guest, along with his daughter. Finn was an illustrator for the bibles scribed at a monastery. But Finn was also working on papers provided by John Wycliff which was dangerous for both him and those he lived with.

Brenda Rickman Vantrease's research brought to life England during such a difficult time when no one was truly free. Even conversation between the classes would have been difficult with the nobility speaking Norman French and the lower classes Saxon English. This reminded me a little of Anya Seton's books which were also full of detailed descriptions and enticing characters.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Some Good News - A Realtor Provides Tiny Homes for the Homeless

 A realtor in Missouri is providing tiny homes for local homeless people in Missouri. Eden Village was developed in an abandoned mobile home park. Together with her husband, Linda Brown was able to get sponsorship from many local businesses to put her plan into action.

A great story.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Cure by Robin Cook

 Our local Friends of the Library recently organized a book sale and I came home with two bags of assorted books including Cure by Robin Cook. As both a doctor and a writer, Robin Cook uses his medical knowledge to produce mystery thrillers.

Cure has so many characters that a helpful list is added to the front of the book which I found myself referring to constantly while reading the first few chapters. The main character, however, is Laurie Montgomery who returns to work at the Chief Medical Examiner's Office after maternity leave. With a slow schedule, she hones in on the autopsy of a Japanese man which at first seems to be death by natural causes. Her instincts tell her not to trust the obvious and researches further, unaware of the danger to her family from several organized crime groups. Meanwhile, Ben Corey, the CEO of a biotech group trying to obtain patent control of pluripotent stem cells is searching for his Japanese researcher whom he'd brought to the U.S.A. illegally. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Some Good News - Tamyra Mensah-Stock

 In case you missed it, Tamyra Mensah-Stock gave a heart felt interview after winning the gold  in Women's Wrestling at the Tokyo Olympics. No matter which country you support, who can fail to appreciate the enthusiasm, dedication and patriotism this young woman has. After all, isn't that what the Olympics is supposed to be about? It just goes to show that no matter who you are, dedication to your craft and hard work along with goals, pays off.

And the money she received is not going for anything frivolous for herself, she's buying a food truck for her mom, fulfilling her mom's dream.

Friday, September 17, 2021

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict

 The famous financier and philanthropist, J.P. Morgan had an extensive collection of rare books and The Personal Librarian introduces us to Belle de Costa Greene who was instrumental in helping him to procure many famous literary and religious works.

Her aspirations, and that of her mother, to make something of herself comes to fruition when J.P. Morgan hires Ms. Greene as his librarian and assistant, but many are suspicious of her dark skin during a time when there is much segregation and racism in America. After her father, Richard Greener, an African American, leaves the family, his wife decides to pass the family off as white, changing their name to de Costa Greene and suggesting that a fictitious Portuguese grandmother is the reason for the darker skin of some of her children.

The secret causes many a tense moment for Belle, who was born Belle Marion Greener, but despite her heritage, she is able to mix with the upper echelons of New York society and become invaluable to J.P. Morgan with her confidence and knowledge in the art world.