Monday, August 3, 2015

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares is a time travel book for young adults.

Prenna and her mother were living in the late 2000's The world is warm, wet, and full of death carried by mosquitoes. The Blood Plagues killed Prenna's two younger brothers along with many others. A group of about a thousand decide to travel back in time to 2010. They have 12 rules which basically mean "Don't mess with the current time."

Prenna and her "time native" friend Ethan discover that there is a single event that changes time to the horror that Prenna left. Should they try to change it? Have they pinpointed the correct event?

Kathi Linz

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Diary of a Mad Brownie by Bruce Coville

Angus Cairns is a brownie from Scotland. He is bound to the McGonagall family by a curse laid on his father by the Queen of Shadows. He has to travel to America to attach himself to the youngest female of age in the family.

Angus's job is to tidy up after his family and his new girl Alex Carhart is determined to be as messy as possible. It takes adjustments on both sides to live together in peace. But that's just the beginning. Angus' curse also affects the men living in the house. Alex's father and brother both take up writing poetry - and they are very bad at it.

Only returning to the Queen of Shadows a precious thing that she lost will lift the curse. Can Angus and Alex figure out what it is and how to return it to the Enchanted Realm?

Kathi Linz

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier

In Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier, the first book in the series, Gwen discovered that she has a time travel gene in her blood. She was never told about it or trained for the possibilities that might happen when the gene kicked in. Since then, her life has turned completely upside down - and STILL no one will tell her what is going on. Now in the last book of the trilogy, Emerald Green, it's up to Gwen and her time traveling partner, Gideon, to work out the secrets of the Circle of Twelve, find out the ultimate goal, and save themselves from the perils that lurk around every corner.

Kathi Linz

Monday, July 6, 2015

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier


     Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier is the second book in the Ruby Red trilogy.
     Gwyneth, the most recent and last of the Circle of Twelve time travelers, is taking crash courses on etiquette, fashion, dances, and the events of the late 1700's in order to accomplish her mission as a time traveler - except no one will tell her what the mission is and what they hope to accomplish.
     Gwyneth is rapidly falling in love with her time travel partner, Gideon. Gideon despairs of her lack of training and the likelihood of her messing up the plans. Whether he cares for her or not is questionable, and, after visiting with Count Saint-Germain, Gwen understands that Gideon's affection is all an act to make her willing to make sacrifices to complete the mission.
     All through the series, prophetic poetry points to the end goal. The wording sounds as if the whole world will be benefited by their travels, but then again, maybe only one man will gain a prize. Is it worth it to do what she is expected to do?
    Her relatives and co-time travelers, Lucy and Paul, seem to be doing everything in their power to stop the final product of the Circle of Twelve. Whose side should Gwen be on? It's all very confusing since she still can't get a straight answer from anyone to any of her questions.
     The answers will come in the last book of the trilogy, Emerald Green.

Kathi Linz

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier


     Most time travel stories involve a device of some sort. A few stories, a very few, allow the time traveler to wander up and down the timeline by an inherited ability. The Ruby Red trilogy by Kerstin Gier involves both methods.
     Gwyneth and Charlotte are cousins, both born on the same day - although Gwyneth thinks she was born one day after Charlotte. This particular day had been calculated to be the birthday of the last time traveler in a cycle of twelve who inherit a certain genetic trait. Charlotte trains for time travel her whole life. She learns how to dance the minuet, fence, play piano, and have the appropriate manners for well-born ladies in the 1700's. Gwyneth gets none of this training. Yet the genes happened to fall on Gwyneth's side, leaving her traveling through time with none of the necessary training for it.
     She has to be taken to the headquarters of the Society that handles the business of these time travelers. If Gwen doesn't spend a few hours a day in the past under controlled circumstances, she will be flung backwards in time to a situation possibly/probably unexpected and dangerous.
     There are also planned trips into the past to meet certain people and perform certain tasks. The only other current traveler in this group of 12 is a young man named Gideon who is quite handsome and as carefully trained as Gwen's cousin had been. Some missions require both of them to fulfill. Gideon turns his attentions from Charlotte to Gwen when it becomes obvious that Charlotte won't be traveling to the past, which confuses both girls and makes their home life difficult.
     No one will tell Gwen the rules or the reasons for their missions, leaving her to guess and to poke around. To complicate things even more, someone or some group is trying to kill her and Gideon. Gwen can't decide who to trust except her best friend and the demon of a gargoyle that only she can see.

Kathi Linz

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Queen of Someday by Sherry D. Ficklin

Princess Sophia of Prussia travels to Russia to meet Peter, her cousin who is the heir to the Russian throne. Peter is a difficult person to deal with and Sophia has numerous challenges and obstacles to face before she is  accepted as Peter's future wife.

Sherry Ficklin includes having to challenge Peter in sports, but letting him win, allowing him to treat her badly on occasion, and an incident in which she was poisoned by someone who favored a rival princess. On Sophia's conversion to Russian Orthodox, she took the name Catherine. History recalls her as Catherine the Great.

Sherry admits that Queen of Someday does not strictly follow historical facts. She wondered what would have to happen to a teen-aged girl to turn her from a child into one of the strongest women in history.

I couldn't put it down.

Kathi Linz

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible, by Edward C. Smith

The Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible: How to Grow a Bounty of Food in Pots, Tubs, and Other Containers by Edward C. Smith shares a wealth of information on how to grow food in containers. If you don't have a sunny spot to put an in-ground garden, check the information found here to see if you might be able to place your containers in space you do have available - like a deck, patio, or even the front yard. 

Edward Smith shows you how to grow plants in small and vertical spaces, how to keep plants watered and fed, how to repel pests and attract beneficial insects. 

If you have a little space for a few containers, you can put fresh vegetables on your table.

Kathi Linz

Rachel by Jill Eileen Smith

Poor Jacob! He wanted to marry one woman and ended up with four. Two of them were bickering sisters who were holding a contest as to who could produce the most sons. Add onto that, Jacob's father-in-law, Laban, who kept changing his contracts with Jacob.

How did Rachel feel when she wasn't allowed to attend her own wedding because her sister was going to get married in her place? How did Leah feel when she knew her new husband was going to be furious with her in the morning? Did Leah get a choice in the matter at all?

This is a fascinating work of Biblical fiction. If this is a genre you enjoy, definitely pick up Jill Eileen Smith's books.

Kathi Linz

The Amish Canning Cookbook by Georgia Varozza

The Amish Canning Cookbook by Georgia Varozza is full of wonderful recipes from soup to vegetables with fruit and fruit butters thrown in for good measure. 

If you are interested in knowing the contents of the food you eat, if you have a garden or fruit trees to pick from, if you want to save money on your grocery bill, pick up this book and see what recipes catch your attention.

Kathi Linz

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger

This is one of my favorite books.  I am not quite sure why--I don't like books that are in letter or diary format and I don't especially care for baseball.  But, I love this book.  The author tells a story that will make you cry tears of laughter and of sorrow, sometimes on the same page.  It is one that I have to track down and re-read every couple of years.

Set in early 1940s Brooklyn, the story of Joey Margolis, a young Jewish boy living in a tough Italian neighborhood, and his unlikely friendship with Charlie Banks, the all-star third baseman for the Yankees, is told through letters, report cards, and other scrapbook items.

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

 The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
Not long ago I saw a Facebook post directing me to an NPR article called The Beloved, Bickering Bridgertons Turn 15 This Year by Bobbi Dumas.  I really enjoyed the article and it was perfect timing since I had been reading one of Julia Quinn's more recent books. Many books of this genre don't have the laugh-out-loud humor that you find in Quinn's Regency romance novels and that is something I like about them.  In fact, the article calls Quinn a "gateway romance author" because she is often recommended to non-romance readers who are considering trying one.

The Bridgertons are a family of 8 alphabetically named siblings (Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory and Hyacinth) who have been raised by their mother, Violet, after the death of their father. They are a close family, but bicker and argue like all siblings.  I have just started the series, but have read enough to enthusiastically recommend Quinn's series about the Bridgerton siblings, which begins with The Duke and I.

The Crimson Cord: Rahab's Story by Jill Eileen Smith

If you are into Biblical fiction, check out The Crimson Cord: Rahab's Story by Jill Eileen Smith. The Bible gives us a brief glimpse into Rahab's life and how she fits in the Messianic lineage. Jill Eileen Smith weaves a fictional, but plausible, life story for her that will not let you go from the first page to the last.

It's a window into the culture of the time to see how debts were repaid, how absolute monarchy affected the people under the king's authority, and how different were the worship requirements of the Israelite God and the Canaanite gods. This is the story of a Canaanite woman who risked everything to save the life of two enemy spies. Why would she do such a thing and was it worth the risk?

Can a prostitute be accepted and welcomed into a people so different from her own? Will she be able to trust again? Will God finds a foreign woman acceptable?

Kathi Linz

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe is a wonderful new book by Max Lucado.
     Chelsea Chambers inherits her mother's house which includes a coffee house called the Higher Grounds Cafe. In spite of her best efforts, the business is failing and Chelsea is facing the loss of her home. Her life is falling apart.
     A stranger comes to her cafe and offers her an internet connection at no charge for a few months. Chelsea jumps at the chance to upgrade to an internet cafe, hoping more customers will come helping her pay her bills.
     The odd thing about the internet connection is that it only gets one website - a website that allows you to ask God one question and He will answer you.
      If you are wondering how this affects Chelsea's life, please find this book in the new book section.

Kathi Linz

Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway

Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway is one of the best books on permaculture for people who want to work with nature to make their land productive and easier to care for. Permaculture explains how to group and grow plants that work well together, how allowing nature to "do her own thing" eventually restores a balance that feeds us, brings pests under control and encourages useful insects and animals to flourish and help sustain the garden.

This book gives you useful information to show you how to get started in this earth-friendly process. This second edition includes how-to's for both rural and city spaces.

Kathi Linz

Practical Permaculture for Home Landscapes, Your Community, and the Whole Earth by Jessi Bloom and Dave Boehnlein

Practical Permaculture for Home Landscapes, Your Community, and the Whole Earth by Jessi Bloom and Dave Boehnlein offers hundreds of suggestions for transforming your property into a bountiful, earth-friendly environment. The landscape will produce all kinds of food for your family and it will take much less work than a typical garden. Permaculture helps you understand ways to work with nature, which brings pests under control, encourages healthy growth of plants, and yields a bounty for the grower.