Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Friday, April 04, 2014

Georgia Courthouse Disasters

Graham, Paul K. Georgia Courthouse Disasters. Decatur, GA: The Genealogy Company, 2013.

Graham has researched and documented the disasters that affected various Georgia courthouses. He tells the stories of fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and other things which affected disasters and tells whether or not there was record loss, and if so, what was lost or remained. It's a very handy reference book for anyone doing genealogical work in the state by a well-respected Georgia genealogist.

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Thursday, April 03, 2014

Murder Comes Ashore


Lindsey, Julie Anne. Murder Comes Ashore. New York: Carina Press, 2014.

Patience finds some body parts that wash up on Chincoteague Island. The local law enforcement and FBI are on the case. Her parents land in jail. She is determined to clear their name. It's a dreadful read with a promising setting. I never connected with the main character or really with any of the others. The writing did not flow. If you are interested in the Chincoteague setting, you are better off remembering it with the classic children's book Misty of Chincoteague. If you are interested for the mystery aspect, there are many more mysteries out there which are far more engaging. This is based on an advance reader copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Under Magnolia





Mayes, Frances. Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir. New York: Crown, 2014.

Mayes recalls her childhood and youth in Georgia, her college days in Virginia and Florida, and a few moments from her recent return to the South. She has a way of describing place that is a true gift. We even see some glimpses of some of her poetry. While I prefer her works on Italy, this one does give you insights into what shaped her as a person and writer. She also draws comparisons between Italy and the Southern United States. The writing is elegant as one has come to expect in her works. This review is based on an e-galley received by the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation a review would be written.

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The Homesick Texan's Family Table



Fain, Lisa. The Homesick Texan's Family Table: Lone Star Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours.  Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2014.

Lisa Fain grew up in Texas but currently resides in New York. In this volume, she takes Texas cuisine, much of it from her own family, and gives it a bit of a New York twist by adding or substituting other ingredients and by using Kosher salt instead of the salt that would be most commonly used in the Southern States. She has quite a few Tex-Mex inspired dishes as well as some with hints of barbecuing. Many of the traditional Southern desserts are also included. Each sections is prefaced by a family story. The dishes themselves either give a family story, information about an ingredient and its use in Texas, or another interesting tidbit for the reader. Recipes vary in the degree of difficulty and amount of time it would take to prepare.  Persons looking for a book that will provide pure Texas recipes will want to find a different cookbook. Those who like twists on family favorites will enjoy this one. This review is based on an e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation of a review.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Murder Simply Brewed




Chapman, Vannetta. Murder Simply Brewed. (Amish Village Mystery ; 1). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2014.

Amber Wright is the manager of an Amish Artisan Village in Indiana. When Ethan, the coffee shop manager, dies, it appears to be a simple health issue, but not everyone believes that. Amber makes Hannah Troyer her coffee shop manager. Hannah is observant and notes some things that seem a bit off and make her suspicious as well. With no cooperation from the local officers, Amber and Hannah must investigate on their own. This is a case of a book trying to be too many things. The author needs to decide whether she wants to write romance or a mystery. If she wants to write romance, she probably needs a bit more development of that in the plot. If she wants to write mystery, she needs much further development there. The whole thing seemed rather implausible. It simply was not well-developed. The presence of a boa constrictor in the plot nearly made me abandon the book entirely. If you don't mind suspending believability for awhile and really like Amish fiction, try this one. If you are a mystery lover, avoid this one. This review is based on an advance e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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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.