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