Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Blackberry Pie Murder




Fluke, Joanne. Blackberry Pie Murder. New York: Kensington, 2014.

Hannah ends up in jail when she hits a man with her vehicle on a rainy day. No one seems to know who the man is. Mike is suspended by  Bill for refusing to arrest Hannah. Because she was arrested at the beginning of a weekend, she has to stay in jail until Monday when the first hearing will be held. Hannah begins the investigation into the man's identity from her jail cell while she's awaiting the hearing. In the meantime, Hannah's mom Delores is constantly changing her mind regarding things related to her upcoming wedding to Doc. While it's an enjoyable installment in the series, there's a little too much stuff not resolved at the end for me. Persons who have not read earlier installments in the series will likely want to read a few before beginning this one just to be able to sort characters. As usual, there are quite a few recipes, particularly for cookies and desserts that will appeal to readers, if they can get through the commentary. I often wish that the recipes were provided without the commentary at some spot in the book so readers who don't keep the books permanently don't have so many pages to copy if they want a recipe. An advance e-galley of the book was received by the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation that a review would be written.

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Dear Abigail by Diane Jacobs




Jacobs, Diane. Dear Abigail: The Intimate Lives and Revolutionary Ideas of Abigail Adams and Her Two Remarkable Sisters. New York: Random House, 2014.

Author Diane Jacobs has done a tremendous amount of research into the life of Abigail Adams, wife of the second United States president. It also concerns her sisters. Much of the content in the book is derived from extensive research into her letters. It is supplemented by additional research into the social history and political history of the colonial and early national periods. While the book is well researched, it is not a particularly stimulating read. It has a rather dry academic tone although there are parts that are interesting and insightful. The book does a good job of showing that Abigail Adams was very involved in the political world, had her own opinions, was critical of slavery, and believed women could be involved politically. This book will be of most interest to academics, but others with an interest in Abigail, her family, or women in that period of history will probably also want to read it. An electronic galley of this book was received by the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation that a review would be written.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

And Then There Were Nuns by Jane Christmas



Christmas, Jane. And Then There Were Nuns: Adventures in a Cloistered Life. London: Lion Books, 2014.

Twice-divorced and newly engaged Jane Christmas is trying to determine whether or not she has been called to be a nun. She is in her late fifties. She visits several convents and monasteries as she tries to determine whether she has received a vocational call to dedicate her life in such a manner. The main purpose of the book seems to be to make the reader aware that monks and nuns do not receive funding from the church and need financial assistance. Their vows sometimes make it awkward for them to request that funding. Before reading this book, I was unaware that there were Anglican nuns as well as Catholic ones. The author visited communities from both faiths during her spiritual quest, as she had been reared by parents of both faiths. The author is also dealing with the emotional fallout from a rape that had occurred more than thirty years earlier in her own life. I received an e-galley of this book from the publishers through NetGalley with the expectation that a review would be written.

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

SNGF - 6 Questions

a)  What was your first illness as a child? I honestly have no idea, probably something like strep.



b)  What was the first funeral you attended? I've been going to funerals most of my life. My best guess would be it was probably to Dad's Aunt Myrtie's husband's funeral. His name was Otha Reece. I would have been about three. The first grandparent who died was my mom's father. I was eight when he died.

c)  What was your favorite book as a child? As a very young child, I had some of those cheap books that you got at the 5 and 10 stores. I absolutely loved There's a Mouse in the House. It was a rather small book, but I am sure I read it almost daily as a young child. After I was a little older, I adored the Little House books. I think Little Town on the Prairie was my favorite in the series.

d)  What was your favorite class in elementary school? No question about this one. Social Studies! I loved studying about the world. I loved maps. I loved geography.

e)  What was your favorite toy as a child? Definitely a doll. The question is which one? I loved them all.  There was "Janice" which was a baby doll that had a hard head, hands, etc. and a soft body. There were two bride dolls. One was a hand-me-down from one sister-in-law; the other was what I got for being in my other brother's wedding. There were Barbie dolls. One was the old kind that had the hair painted on the form and used wigs. Another was a Malibu Barbie--all the rage at the time. There was also Baby Tender Love. There were lots more, including Cindy, that I carried around by her hair. One time the beautician offered to color her hair. She really "frosted" it with that gray color that was popular back in the 1960s. I never played as much with the doll after that because she'd ruined the hair in my opinion.

f)  Did you learn how to swim, and where did you learn? I took lessons at the Amory Municipal Pool. It's really sad that they tore down the pool and the shower facilities and even leveled the ground.

Monday, February 10, 2014

March 1939: Before the Madness






Frei, Terry. March 1939: Before the Madness - The Story of the First NCAA Basketball Tournament Champions. Lanham, Md.: Taylor Trade, 2014.

This is the story of the road to the first NCAA tournament. The author who has a connection with the Oregon Ducks (who were called the Webfoots back then) did tend to focus on their story more than on the story of the other teams that advanced in this first tournament, but it was still a very interesting story. In addition to including what was going on in the basketball world, the author also included paragraphs giving an overview of what was happening in the World in regards to World War II. The author had also followed through with additional information about the post-tournament life of each Oregon player and how World War II and/or the Korean Conflict affected them. It's very readable. I can envision this book being a hit with many college students who are somewhat reluctant recreational readers. This review is based on an advance e-galley of the book provided by the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation that a review would be written.

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