Sunday, December 09, 2018

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary



Pitre, Brant. Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary: Understanding the Mother of the Messiah. New York: Image, 2018.

Before I begin this review, I want to mention that I'm a Protestant and a seminary graduate. The review is written from my theological perspective. I know some will disagree with my thoughts on the book. That's okay. We can just agree to disagree. Now for the review: I looked forward to a book on the Jewishness of Scripture; however, this book fails because of flawed theology. It venerates the Virgin Mary rather than glorifying God and Christ.  I'm thankful to attend a church where the pastor rightly divides the Word of God and brings out the Jewish context of the Scriptures while emphasizing the One who is worthy of worship -- and it's not Mary. This review is based on an advance electronic copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

The Division Bell Mystery



Wilkinson, Ellen. The Division Bell Mystery. Scottsdale, Arizona: Poisoned Pen Press, 2018.

A gun's discharge disturbs those dining in a parliamentary dining room. They find an American capitalist who is a Parliamentary member's guest dead. At first glance, it appears a suicide, but a robbery attempt in his rooms, further investigation, and his granddaughter's insistence he would not end his own life make them suspect homicide. With no one else in the room and no way for someone to leave without being seen by the member of parliament discovering the corpse, how did the murderer get away? The room is sealed. Jenks, who had been assigned to the businessman, turns up dead in the robbery attempt. A notebook written in cipher by the American was among his effects. How did he gain possession of it? It's an interesting whodunit from the golden age of mysteries. The author, a parliamentary member, provided glimpses into the life of a member of the House of Commons. I received an advance electronic copy from the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

The Arsenal Stadium Mystery



Gribble, Leonard. The Arsenal Stadium Mystery. Scottsdale, Arizona: Poisoned Pen Press, 2018.

When a soccer player collapses and dies at a London stadium, it is up to Inspector Slade to catch the killer. He always gets his man. With little cooperation from those most likely to know anything useful, it is challenging. The man was not popular, and motives or potential motives abound. Slade suspects the murder is connected to the death of a girl a few years ago. He just needs to make the puzzle pieces fit . . . and he finally does. I enjoyed this Golden Age mystery and would love to read more books with Inspector Slade. I received an advance electronic copy from the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

Murder at the Mill



Shaw, M. B. Murder at the Mill. New York: Minotaur Books, 2018.

Iris, an artist, arrives to paint a portrait of Dom Weatherby, and finds him dead following a party on Christmas day. At first the local officers presume it to be suicide but when the toxicology report shows chloroform, she knows her hunch it was murder is correct. What follows is a rather convoluted plot. Although the book improves as it goes along, I failed to connect with the amateur sleuth and the official investigators seemed too far removed from the investigation. Another thread follows an older case which was determined to be suicide but provides motive for the current one. Iris also determines a wrong conclusion in that case, finding the guilty party. The similar circumstances make the plot too unrealistic. I received an advance electronic copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

The Forbidden Place



Jansson, Susanne. The Forbidden Place. Translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2018.

Nathalie, a biology major, returned to her Swedish hometown where her parents died in what was believed to be a murder-suicide. She's come to study the plant life in the bog. Things change when she finds a friend seriously injured and left for dead in the bog. Soon bodies are discovered in the bog. I was disappointed in this book. The solution was pretty obvious. While the police are present in the investigation, I never got a real feel for their work on the case. The novel seemed too focused on other aspects. While the author tried to provide a dark atmosphere, she never really achieved it. If you are looking for good "dark" Scandicrime, look elsewhere. I received an electronic copy through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.


Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Cat in the Christmas Tree



Scottsdale, Peter. The Cat in the Christmas Tree: A Magical Tail. n.p.: n.p., 2018.

This chapter books shares the story of a mischievous black kitten named Shadow. Shadow keeps getting in trouble with Nathan's parents Justen and Sara. They threaten to send him back to the SPCA after Christmas. Fortunately the magical tree intervenes. The story itself was okay, but I was disappointed in the illustrations. Chapter books don't contain as many illustrations nor the illustration quality of picture books, but this one's would not please children at all. They all look pretty much like public domain .gif files. I love cats -- and I love cats in Christmas trees, but this book simply fails to capture the magic. I received an electronic copy through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.


Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Monkhood of All Believers



Peters, Greg. The Monkhood of All Believers: The Monastic Foundation of Christian Spirituality. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2018.

Greg Peters, an Evangelical turned Anglican, believes the principles behind monasticism apply to all believers, not just to those who choose a cloistered life. Written for an academic audience, rather than a lay audience, the author includes illustrations from many fathers of the church. He uses Martin Luther from the Reformation period. The book includes nearly 800 endnotes and an extensive bibliography. Although published by a traditional Evangelical publisher, the book is more likely to resonate with a more moderate audience. I suspect a similar book aimed at a lay audience would sell well. I received an advance electronic copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Christmas Forest



Boxall, Rebecca. The Christmas Forest. Seattle: Lake Union Publishing, 2018.

Abandoned book. Enid suffers with Asperger's Syndrome and is invited to spend Christmas in Australia with Fred. Her sister Bess encourages her to leave her comfort zone and accompany him. Will she do it? The book's premise was strong, but the narrative lacked continuity. About 60% into the book, I finally called it quits. I received an electronic copy of the book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Barking with the Big Dogs



Babbitt, Natalie. Barking with the Big Dogs: On Writing and Reading Books for Children. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2018.

This interesting collection of essays written by author Natalie Babbitt, best known for Tuck Everlasting, reflects her views on books, literature, and writing. One gains insight into the author and her work by understanding what her likes and dislikes are. She always writes for a fifth grader, yet her books are enjoyed by younger and older children as well as adults. She really doesn't enjoy classic literature that much, but she's married to a husband who does. She wasn't that great of a student, yet her books are read by schoolchildren all over. Readers will appreciate these essays. I received an electronic galley from the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Midwife of Borneo



Rogerson, Wendy Grey and Barbara Fox. Midwife of Borneo: The True Story of a Geordie Pioneer. London: SPCK, 2018.

Wendy Grey, a Northumberland vicar's daughter,  studied nursing to become a medical missionary. She answered a call to Borneo, working at an Anglican mission. Shortly after her arrival, she found herself performing a surgery with a doctor's phone directions. She relates other stories from her time in Borneo, including a suitor whose beliefs did not match hers very strongly. At the end of three years, she returned to England, intending to take another post in a more moderate climate. God had other plans for her. I enjoyed this medical missionary story. Photographs illustrating the text and helping put names with faces were included. I received an electronic copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

A Day in the Life of a Raindrop



Dunn, Stephen D. A Day in the Life of a Raindrop. Illustrated by Dejah Moore. n.p.: n.p., 2018.

A cute book rhyming book showing a raindrop's contemplation as it goes through the day. Unfortunately some of the rhymes took incorrect forms of words in an attempt to make the rhyme fit. Illustrations were okay but not spectacular. I received an electronic copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Jingle Bells



Pierpont, James. Jingle Bells. Illustrated by Jade Goegebuer. n.p.: Xist Publishing, 2018.

I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, but unfortunately the formatting was so terrible the book was unreadable. You could only make out parts of a few words. Illustrations seen were mediocre.

The Significance of Singleness



Hitchcock, Christina S. The Significance of Singleness: A Theological Vision for the Future of the Church. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2018.

Christina Hitchcock, who is no longer single herself, attempts to provide a theology for singleness for 21st century Evangelicals. While she is correct that 20th and 21st century Evangelical leaders encourage marriage, she may be drawing conclusions in their attitudes toward singles with which the leaders themselves would challenge. Certainly many singles are lonely and friendless in churches. They can't be friends with married members of the opposite sex without being accused of trying to come between the person and spouse. They can't be friends with members of their own sex in the 21st century without people wondering if they are homosexual. People automatically assume a relationship if befriending a single member of the opposite sex. It's a lose-lose-lose situation all around. Hitchcock upholds three historic women as "role models"--Macrina, Perpetua, and Lottie Moon. Hitchcock's entire theology seems to be based on her idea that single people are called to serve God in a more profound way. Everyone is called to serve God--not just single people. Not all single people are called to be missionaries. Her use of the ancient saints fails to add anything to her argument as most Evangelical readers lack familiarity with the figures--and even her efforts to introduce them do not particularly make the readers want to be like them. It's unfortunate the book was written for an academic audience. The laity of the church needs to be reminded single people are human. Churches quit trying to minister to singles. Many of them simply encourage them to go into classes composed primarily of married persons. The lonely single remains lonely because the couples gravitate toward each other, failing to include the single. Secondly, the author fails to acknowledge the range of singles. Some have never been married--and that number is on the rise. Some are divorced. Among the divorced, some have children and some do not. Some are widowed. Ministering to single people is difficult because of the variety of ages and causes for the singleness. Her singleness theology is only geared toward the "single, never married" crowd. I was hopeful this book might contain something that will help the church minister to the needs of a diverse group of singles. Instead, I suspect we'll continue to see the church missing on opportunities to minister to this group and to see the number of single persons in churches dwindle in spite of a growing demographic. I received an electronic copy of the book from the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Little White Fish and the Beautiful Sea



Genechten, Guido Van. Little White Fish and the Beautiful Sea. New York: Clavis, 2018.

Octopus asks Little White Fish what is the most beautiful thing in the sea. Before Little White Fish answers, the other marine animals answer. Little White Fish's answer, of course, steals the show! The illustrations are beautifully drawn. It's certain to please young readers. I received an electronic copy through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

Alycat and the Friendship Friday



Bourque, Alysson Foti. Alycat and the Friendship Friday. Illustrated by Chiara Civati. Herndon, VA: Mascot Books, 2018.

Alycat's class will visit a doctor's office. A new student arrives. When Alycat's friend offers to let the new student sit with her on the bus, Alycat feels left out until she comes up with a way to include all three of them. Illustrations and text are mediocre. The book does provide instructions for making the friendship bracelets Alycat designed. I received an electronic copy of the book from the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

The Latecomers


Ross, Helen Klein. The Latecomers. New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 2018.

Bridey and Thom leave Ireland for America, planning to wed once they arrive. Thom dies aboard ship, and Bridey arrives in America pregnant. She considers returning to her family in Ireland, but remains. A young woman who helps Bridey helps her place the child with a Catholic charity and provides Bridey with a job. When the woman's own child dies in birth, she adopts from the charity with Bridey still working for the family. The bond between Bridey and Vincent is strong. Bridey returns to Ireland when the family's patriarch dies. The story follows several more generations in a somewhat chaotic matter. The flow between the older generation and the newer ones does not work well for the reader. Genetic genealogists will love the epilogue. The author provides historical notes and a good bibliography, features unusual for a novel. I really enjoyed Bridey and Thom's story, the story of Bridey's first days in America, and giving up the child for adoption. I even enjoyed some of Bridey's story after that point. Unfortunately, the more the story began to focus on the Hollingworth family, the less interested I became in the story being read. The character development that took place in the early generations did not extend to the later ones. Those generations felt rushed. What started as a good read became just a mediocre one for me. I received an electronic copy from the publishers through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

A Season of Grace



Snelling, Lorraine. A Season of Grace. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2018.

Nilda, a recent arrival in Minnesota from Norway, hopes a person from her past does not follow her to Minnesota. In the new country she finds two new chances at love, but the past still haunts her. While I enjoyed the glimpses into settler life, I did not enjoy the overall story which seemed disjointed. I normally enjoy immigrant stories, and I appreciate the faith expressed in the lives of the settlers, but this book simply didn't work for me. The novel does not make me want to try other works by the author.

Hushed in Death



Kelly, Stephen. Hushed in Death. New York: Pegasus Crime, 2018.

Inspector Lamb sets out to solve a murder. His daughter is a constable, serving as his driver, and helps the others with the investigation. The present murder seems connected to one the took place aboard a ship. The writing is weak. The sense of time and place lacks development. The character development is strong on most major characters but not quite to the level it needs to be on a few. I received an advance electronic galley from the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

A Shot in the Dark



Truss, Lynne. A Shot in the Dark. New York: Bloomsbury, 2018.

Inspector Steine (pronounced Steen) solved the Middle Street Massacre in 1951, still glorying in its resolution 6 years later when Constable Twitten enters the Brighton police force. Theatre Critic A.S. Crystal knows a secret concerning the unsolved 1945 Aldersgate Stick-Up case and goes to the theatre intending to share his secret with the constable when Crystal himself is shot in his seat. Constable Twitten and partner Sgt. Jim Brunswick set out to solve the decades-old case while the Inspector busies himself with the new one. When I requested this one, I expected it to be a police procedural. The book contains some humor, although not necessarily the most enjoyable variety of that. While it was that, it was a bit too "noir" for my personal taste in detective fiction. I prefer books more like Deborah Crombie's Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series. The seedy elements in the book simply failed to work for me, but I'm certain others would enjoy the book more than I did. If you enjoy noir and hard-boiled detective stories, you will probably enjoy this one. If you prefer your books to contain a little less seediness, you will probably want to avoid this one. I received an advance e-book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Christmas Revelation



Perry, Anne. A Christmas Revelation. New York: Ballantine Books, 2018.

Worm is living at  the Portpool Lane clinic funded by Oliver Rathbone with Miss Burroughs and Squeaky. He witnesses two men violently forcing a beautiful woman to go with them, following them to an area when they suddenly vanish. He later returns with Squeaky, discovering the woman has a story of her own and went with her captors somewhat willingly. All of this is set around Christmas. Squeaky shares the Christmas story with Worm who never heard it. Although the book is short, it seemed to drag on. It never captivated my interest. I did enjoy Squeaky's interaction with Worm apart from the main story line, including the recital of the Christmas story. I received an advance electronic uncorrected proof from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


How to Catch a Bear Who Loves to Read



Katz, Andrew and Juliana Léveillé-Trudel. How to Catch a Bear Who Loves to Read. Illustrated by Joseph Sherman. Montreal, Quebec: CrackBoom! Books, 2018.

Julia lives next to the forest and befriended many of the animals, but there is one animal she really wants to meet--a bear. She tries to attract them, but efforts fail. One day while she is reading a book about a bear and surrounded by her forest friends, her mom calls her to lunch. When she returns, she finds her book gone with a trail of blueberry-covered footprints leaving the area. What will Julia find? This is a cute book which encourages reading. The illustrations, while not Caldecott-worthy, are colorful enough to keep non-reading children interested as an adult reads aloud. I spotted this in the "Read Now" section at NetGalley and downloaded it in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Native Americans State by State


Sapp, Rick. Native Americans State by State. New York: Chartwell, 2018.

This handy reference volume works well as a supplement to units on Native Americans for upper elementary and middle school social studies students. It is full of photographs, maps, and other illustrations to enhance understanding. For each state, Canadian province, and even the District of Columbia and some of the Caribbean territories of the United States, information regarding the native peoples to that area is supplied. Typical entries include meaning of the state's name, a brief description of the area's geography, a brief glimpse at the culture and lifestyle, Native languages spoken, housing types, contemporary peoples native to the area, a list of recognized tribes present in the area, a map showing where native populations reside, a timeline, a narrative, and some photographs depicting the people and their culture. Since most regions only receive four to six pages, with an occasional entry slightly longer, the author cannot include everything. However, it is a good introduction. The book would have been enhanced by including brief bibliographies for each region so students or teachers wishing to explore more could easily locate resources that work for the age group. This book should be in upper elementary and middle school libraries and in many public libraries. This was a "read now" title at NetGalley. I downloaded it with the expectation that I would write an honest review. The advance review copy was entitled North American Indian Tribes State-by-State, but it was published under the title Native Americans State by State. The cover does mention it "includes Canadian First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.

Silent Night by Lara Hawthorne


Hawthorne, Lara. Silent Night. London: Lincoln's Children Books, 2018.

I loved the illustrations in this picture book illustrated the beloved Christmas carol. While Mary and Joseph look more African than Jewish, the illustrations are charming, reflecting the peace of Christmas.  I would eventually like to purchase my own copy, but for now I'll keep this one until it expires so I may enjoy it for this Christmas season. This was a "read now" title at NetGalley. I downloaded it with the expectation of writing an honest review. I would eventually like to purchase my own copy, but for now I'll keep this one until it expires so I may enjoy it for this Christmas season.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

LoGenWriMo #3: A Photo Moment

I'm cheating tonight. I intended to write a sketch of an ancestor--and I hope to catch up on that one later in the month. I spent the day researching in Knoxville, and by the time I got home, it was too late to attempt to compose an entry for today. The sketch was intended to be an update of a post written in 2012 on Ashley Aldridge.

Instead, today's post focuses on a photograph, taken about 1947, which is one of the earliest of my brother Jim with our parents. My first cousin Linda appears to be in the background.

J.T. Thornton, Jim Thornton, Dorothy (Lantz) Thornton, Linda Feuerhelm
Home of I. L. Lantz, Blackcat Bottom, Amory, Mississippi

Friday, November 02, 2018

LoGenWriMo #2: Dock Hans Hester (1851-1922)

George W. Hester (1857-1937), left, and Dock Hans Hester (1851-1922), right.
Photo from collection of the late Sue Berryhill Brown of Amory, Mississippi.

Dock Hans Hester was born, according to family sources, 4 March 1851 in Monroe or Itawamba County, Mississippi to John H. and Nancy (Cockrell) Hester.[1] Family tradition through one of his brother’s lines states he was named Dock Hans Duggar Hester in honor of the doctor who delivered him.[2] The Hesters resided in the lost corner of Monroe County, Mississippi, resulting in census enumerators’ failure to count them in both 1860 and 1870. To enter the area by road, one most go into Itawamba County, and then re-enter Monroe County. When enumerators on what is now State Highway 371 and State Highway 25 reached the county line, they considered their work done. They probably did not know about the area, and the Hesters probably liked residing in such a secluded area because of their reputation for consuming alcoholic beverages.


Dock married Mary Ann Harris, the daughter of Walton A. and Margaret (Mosely) Harris, 20 November 1877 in Lee County, Mississippi.[3] They lived in Boyds Precinct, Monroe County, Mississippi in 1880 where Dock farmed.[4] Their home remained in Boyds Precinct, located in Beat 5, east of the Aberdeen and Richmond Public Road in 1900.[5] He lived along the Cotton Gin and Fulton Road in Boyds Precinct in 1910.[6] They lived along the Nettleton and Amory Road in Boyds Precinct, County Beat 5, in 1920.[7] Because of interstitial nephritis with an enlarged prostate gland and retention of urine, he died 21 August 1922 in Monroe County.[8]

Dock and Mary Ann were parents of:
  1. Georgia Ann Hester (1878-1914)
  2. Mattie Lou Hester (1880-1946)
  3. Charles Anderson “Buddy” Hester (1883-1964)
  4. Boyd H. Hester (1886-1887)
  5. Freddie W. Hester (1888-1899)
  6. Hattie Pearl Hester (1892-1930)
  7. Ellie Beldon Hester (1894-1909)
  8. Gillie Mae Hester (1897-1993; twin)
  9. Lillie Faye Hester (1897-1897; twin, aged 9 months at death)
  10. “Little Baby” Hester (unknown dates)


Note: Dock Hans Hester is my great-grandfather. This is the second LoGenWriMo entry.




[1] Gillie Mae Hester Lantz (Amory Manor Nursing Home, Amory, Mississippi), conversation with Lori Thornton, about 1990; notes made from the conversation no longer extant. The tombstone at Hester Cemetery provides support for the year. Hester Cemetery (Monroe County, Mississippi; Clay Hill Road off Highway 371), D. H. Hester marker, photograph by Lori Thornton, about 1990. Gillie’s husband Irving was the informant on the death certificate, providing an alternative year of 1853. Although a specific date was not recorded, his age was recorded as 69 years, 4 months, and 8 days, making the alternative date 13 April 1853. This date provided by an in-law who provided “don’t know” to several questions seems unlikely. The 1880 census suggests a date between June 2, 1853 and June 1, 1854. The 1900 census states March 1857. The 1910 census suggests a date between April 16, 1855 and April 15, 1856. The 1920 census suggests he was born between January 2, 1856 and January 1, 1857. He likely was born in March, but the lack of early censuses for Dock makes it almost impossible to nail down an exact year of birth. A March 1855 date is unlikely since his brother Pink was born in December 1855. The March 1856 date is impossible because of Pink’s birth date. His brother George W. “Bud” was born in July 1857, making the March 1857 date impossible. It, therefore, seems most likely he was born in either 1851 or 1853. I selected 1851 based on his daughter’s recollection and the tombstone.
[2] I first encountered this when comparing notes with Sue Berryhill Brown, a descendant of Dock’s brother Mitch in the late 1990s. The 1900 census calls him “Dock D.” which may lend some support to the addition of “Duggar” to his name. Alexander Duggar and James Duggar lived in Itawamba County and are the only adult Duggars in the Itawamba-Monroe County area where the family lived. Alexander was employed as a farmer and James as a shoemaker. Broadening my census search failed to return additional prospects. This family tradition cannot be verified at this time.
[3] Lee County, Mississippi, Marriage Book 3: 516, D. H. Hester and Miss M. A. Harris, 1877; Circuit Clerk’s Office, Tupelo; photocopy in my possession.
[4] 1880 U.S. Census, Monroe County, Mississippi, population schedule, Boyds Precinct, Supervisors District (SD) 1, enumeration district (ED) 139, page 294 (stamped), dwelling/family 115, Dock Hester family; digital image, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 November 2018); citing National Archives microfilm publication T9, roll 658.
[5] 1900 U.S. Census, Monroe County, Mississippi, population schedule, Boyds Precinct, Supervisors District (SD) 1, enumeration district (ED) 81, page 268B (stamped), dwelling/family 14, Dock D. Hester family; digital image, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 November 2018); citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 821.
[6] 1910 U.S. Census, Monroe County, Mississippi, population schedule, Boyds Precinct, Supervisors District (SD) 1, enumeration district (ED) 124, page 72 (stamped), dwelling/family 1, Dock H. Hester family; digital image, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 November 2018); citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 752.
[7] 1920 U.S. Census, Monroe County, Mississippi, population schedule, Boyds Precinct, Supervisors District (SD) 5, enumeration district (ED) 78, page 257B (stamped), dwelling73, family 81, Dock H. Hester family; digital image, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 November 2018); citing National Archives microfilm publication T625, roll 887.
[8] Mississippi State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, death certificate no. 13341, Dock Hans Hester (1922); microfilm, Mississippi Department of Archives & History, Jackson.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

LoGenWriMo #1: Elsina D. "Sis" Taylor (1850-1878), wife of Sid O. Morgan

Elsina D. "Sis" Taylor (1850-1878), wife of Sid O. Morgan. Photograph from Lyle Dearborn Taylor scrapbook, formerly held by the late Dwight Dearborn Taylor, Oklahoma City.

Elsina D. "Sis" Taylor was born 23 August 1850 in White Oak, McLean County, Illinois to Stephen and Betsey (Dearborn) Taylor.1 She was enumerated at the age of one month in her parent's household in White Oak Grove, McLean County, Illinois on 2 October 1850. Although the official census date for 1850 was June 1, it appears the enumerator included the infant, recording her age at the time he visited the home.2 She lived with her parents in White Oak in 1860.3 She remained in her parents' household in White Oak in 1870.4

Elsina married Sid O. Morgan 15 March 1871 in McLean County.5 She gave birth to daughter Zetta in December 1871 in Wisconsin.6 Elsina gave birth to daughter Engie 12 January 1876 in Illinois.7 She gave birth to Sidney Othniel Morgan, Jr., 16 February 1878 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.8 Some undocumented sources say Elsina had two other sons, presumably between late 1872 and early 1875.9 Elsina died 2 August 1878 in Independence, Cuyahoga County, Ohio of typhoid malaria fever.10

Note: Elsina was my great-grandmother Laura Taylor's sister. This sketch is the first entry in my LoGenWriMo Challenge.


1 1850 U.S. census, McLean County, Illinois, population schedule, White Oak Grove, pp. 49B-50A (stamped), dwelling 930, family 949, Stephen Taylor household; digital image, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-67T9-HWC?i=3&wc=95R4-6YV%3A1031317001%2C1033297801%2C1033303301&cc=1401638 : accessed 1 November 2018); citing National Archives microfilm publication M432, roll 117.
2 Ibid.
3 1860 U.S. census, McLean County, Illinois, population schedule, White Oak, p. 165 (written), dwelling 1098, family 1078, Stephen Taylor household; digital image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YBK-WWQ?cc=1473181&wc=7QVJ-55B%3A1589423252%2C1589424590%2C1589424888 : accessed 1 November 2018); citing National Archives microfilm publication M653, roll 204.
4 1870 U.S. census, McLean County, Illinois, population schedule, White Oak, p. 6 (written), dwelling 43, family 44, Stephen Taylor household; digital image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6W37-3YM?cc=1438024&wc=92KC-TQH%3A518684301%2C519761301%2C518700201 : accessed 1 November 2018); citing National Archives microfilm publication M593, roll 259.
5 Illinois Secretary of State, Illinois State Archives, "Illinois Statewide Marriage Index," database, (https://www.ilsos.gov/isavital/marriagesrch.jsp : accessed 1 November 2018), Sid O. Morgan-Elcena D. Taylor, 1871; citing McLean County marriage volume F, page 393.
6 Birth date and location from 1900 census: 1900 U.S. census, Morton County, North Dakota, population schedule, Mandan, supervisor's district (SD) 199, enumeration district (ED) 239, page 154B (stamped), dwelling/family 74, line 89, Zetta Morgan; digital image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-677S-1P7?cc=1325221&wc=9B7Q-DRD%3A1031459501%2C1032306201%2C1032339501 : accessed 1 November 2018); citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 1230. Zetta lived with her father Sidney O. Morgan and his second wife Nellie in Morton County, Dakota Territory in 1885, being listed as the household head's daughter. See "North Dakota, Territorial and State Censuses, 1885, 1915, 1925," digital images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 November 2018), 1885, Morgan County, pp. 51-52 (written), dwelling 25, family 29, Sidney O. Morgan family.
7 Birth date and location from 1900 census: 1900 U.S. census, Morton Co., North Dakota, pop. sch., Glen Ullin, SD 199, ED 238, dwelling/family 43, line 86, Engie Morgan; digital image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6773-3QP?cc=1325221&wc=9B7Q-D5F%3A1031459501%2C1032306201%2C1032328101 : accessed 1 Nov 2018); citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 1230. She resided with her father and stepmother in Morton County, Dakota Territory in 1885, listed as the head of household's daughter. See "North Dakota, Territorial and State Censuses, 1885, 1915, 1925," Morgan Co., pp. 51-52 (written), dwell. 25, fam. 29, Sidney O. Morgan family.
8 Date of birth from military registrations: "U.S. World War I, Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," digital image, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 November 2018), card for Sid O. Morgan, serial no. 548, Local board for Glendive, Dawson County, Montana; also "U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942," digital image, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 November 2018), card for Sid Othniel Morgan, serial no. U3874, Local board for Seattle, Washington. Sid's death certificate provides his father's name as Sid Othnieal Morgan I and his mother's name as Eleanor E. Taylor. The informant did not personally know Elsina, who died when her son was only six months old, and considering the unusual name, the informant may have thought her name was Eleanor rather than the more unusual Elsina. See "Washington, Death Records, 1883-1960," database, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 November 2018), Sid Othnieal Morgan II, 1959; citing Washington State Death Records.
9 My reserach has not discovered the identities of these boys, but the gap in ages between Zetta and Engie leaves room for two additional children's births in that time period.
10 "Ohio, County Death Records, 1868-1879," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99ZR-V8RY?cc=2128172&wc=7DZ2-GT3%3A1296031701%2C1296033702 : accessed 1 November 2018), E. F. Morgan, 1878, Cuyahoga County.

NaNoWriMo with a Twist = LoGenWriMo



November is National Novel Writing Month, usually referred to as NaNoWriMo. While writing a novel is not on my agenda, writing up a documented family history is on the table. So I'm making this LoGenWriMo (Lori Genealogy Writing Month).

While I don't know that I'll manage to create a blog post each day, I do plan to spend at least a few minutes writing up narratives of my own family each day. Most of the posts will be created on WikiTree. I can create them there during my lunch break at work from my Ancestry tree and then check against my other database to see if I have things not added to my Ancestry tree.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Well-Read Black Girl



Edim, Glory, editor. Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves. New York: Ballantine Books, 2018.

Editor Glory Edim shares authors' brief reflections on their literary influences, primarily in terms of books or their authors. These stories are broken up by short bibliographies of black-women-authored books fitting specific categories. The author's essays include white and black authors, both male and female. I wish Edim's lists included mysteries written by black authors, but it did not. A closing bibliography includes the titles mentioned throughout the book. Since the book is written primarily for "girls," the focus is somewhat feminist. I have read some of the titles. While not all the remaining ones appeal to me, I would like to read several of the classic novels, books about girlhood/friendship, and a few more poetry volumes. I received an advance uncorrected proof by the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

My Life in a Cat House



Cooper, Gwen. My Life in a Cat House: True Stories of Love, Laughter, and Living with Five Felines. Dallas, Texas: BenBella Books, 2018.

Gwen Cooper, author of Homer's Odyssey, featuring the now infamous Homer, the Blind Wonder Cat, writes more tales about her cats, including Homer. She talks about her life, her loves, her time spent between New York and Miami. She relates episodes from cats contemporary to Homer and cats who came into her life later. Some are humorous; most will be appreciated by cat lovers. The book bogged down at times with too much of the author's own story or with excess verbiage. Still it's a fun read for cat lovers. I received an advance electronic copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Dr. Jo



Kulling, Monica. Dr. Jo: How Sara Josephine Baker Saved the Lives of America's Children. Illustrated by Julianna Swaney. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2018.

Monica Kulling introduces young readers to Dr. Sara Josephine Baker who worked among immigrant children in Hell's Kitchen. She recognized problems and created solutions to these. Dr. Jo's accomplishments make her a woman worth knowing. She saved the lives of many children, both through her medical efforts and through her efforts to educate midwives, babysitters, and parents. The illustrations are cleanly drawn but more reminiscent of books of an earlier era. Perhaps since we are dealing with a historical figure, it is not a major flaw.  The author includes a brief biography of books and websites at the end. I would like to read the doctor's autobiography, written in 1939, to learn more of this remarkable woman. I received a copy of this book through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program with the expectation of an honest review.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A Gift from the Comfort Food Cafe



Johnson, Debbie. A Gift from the Comfort Food Café. London: HarperCollins, 2018.

Likable characters and a charming setting make this book a great comfort read. However, it shows its share of adult marital problems as well. After a failed marriage, Katie, along with her small son, moves to Budbury, a village along the Dorset coast. She finds comfort in the charming cafe and the people of the village. Will her parents ruin her peace? Will she be able to love again? With the climax coming around Christmas, it's a perfect holiday read. I look forward to reading earlier installments of the series to learn more about Budbury. This review is based on an electronic copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

Thomas Kinkade's Cape Light: A Christmas Secret


Spencer, Katherine. Thomas Kinkade's Cape Light: A Christmas Secret. New York: Berkley, 2018.

Martin Nightingale must fulfill some odd wishes in his grandfather's will in order to receive his inheritance and his grandfather's house. His grandfather wants him to spend a large sum of money on personal needs of Cape Light residents with only a small amount going to charity needs. Through the story we learn the story of how Martin's grandfather's toy shop was saved through the generosity of Oliver. In the meantime, Martin finds himself falling for Louisa, the police officer who caught him speeding on his arrival into town. This was a heartwarming story--and a perfect one for Christmas. It reminds us we should bless others with the blessings bestowed upon us. Kindness, even to those who are not kind in return, exemplifies the Christmas spirit. I received an advance electronic uncorrected proof from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Travelling Cat Chronicles


Arikawa, Hiro. The Travelling Cat Chronicles. Translated by Philip Gabriel. New York: Penguin Random House, 2018.

A stray cat makes his home atop Satoru's van. Satoru begins providing food for the cat. When a passing car injures the cat, Satoru tends to it, eventually moving out of his apartment into one which allows pets. He names the cat Nana. Things go well for about five years until Satoru suddenly announces he must fine a new home for Nana. We learn a lot of Satoru's back story and see similarities between his life and the cat's. Satoru never tells his friends why he seeks a new home for his cat but he knows none of these homes is right for Nana. My favorite parts of the story are those narrated by Nana himself. This tear-jerking Japanese story in English translation will charm cat lovers. I received an uncorrected proof through a GoodReads giveaway with the hopes, but not requirement, of a review.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Cornish Village School: Second Chances.



Wilson, Kitty. The Cornish Village School: Second Chances. London: Canelo Escape, 2018.

I had high expectations for this book, but it simply was not the read for me. I envisioned a book more along the lines of a "Miss Read" book, but instead the narrative was "too modern" to engage me. While I think the intended audience is adult, the writing style struck me as being more appropriate to a middle school audience. I did not feel a strong sense of place in Cornwall either, probably because the descriptions are brief and lack the adjectives which draw a reader into the landscape. If school stories with the headaches of modern technology, overpacked schedules, and societal problems is your idea of escape reading, give it a try. If not, go back and re-read the Fairacre and Thrush Green stories of an earlier day and time. I received an advance review copy of this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

In Harm's Way



Sten, Viveca. In Harm's Way. Translated by Marlaine Delargy. n.p.: Amazon Crossing, 2018.

A 400 page book with 107 chapters! The choppy organization disrupted the flow of the novel, making it difficult to follow. A journalist is found dead Christmas eve. Suspicion falls to her "ex" who retains custody of their child, but other suspects and motives exist. The police immediately notice the lack of a computer in the journalist's hotel room, leading them to suspect murder even before the autopsy reveals it. While I like the setting, I did not get a strong feel for it. The police did not seem very developed. I'm sure it's because it is a later book in the series, and I read no earlier installments. I received an advance electronic copy through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart



Walker, Alice. Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart: New Poems. Translated by Manuel Garcia Verdecia. New York: 37Ink, Atria, 2018.

I really enjoyed the Alice Walker books I read in April for National Poetry Month, so I was excited to find this new collection of poems by the author. The collection contains the English poems and Spanish translations by Manuel Garcia Verdecia. The collection is perhaps focused a bit too much on the ills of society and philosophically aligned further left than my own leanings. While I agree with the author's points of social injustices, I think the way we would address them differs a great deal. I still enjoy the rhythm of the author's poetry. I even read a few of the poems in both languages, mainly to see if I was still able to read and comprehend in Spanish. As far as I can tell, the translator did a very good job--and I was able to comprehend more than expected. I received an advance electronic galley through the publisher via NetGalley with expectations of an honest review.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Christmas Cake Murder



Fluke, Joanne. Christmas Cake Murder. New York: Kensington, 2018.

This book actually tells of an event which took place early in Hannah Swensen's cookie-baking career. Hannah and her sisters charge their mom with recreating a Christmas Cake Parade like the one an older lady named Essie discusses. They discover a manuscript written by Essie. Hannah purchases the building which will become the Cookie Jar. We finally reached an "attempted murder" near the end of the book, but most of this is simply back-story. While the descriptions of eating the baked goods is quite good, I'm always frustrated by the "extra comments" in the recipes which make them difficult to use in a real kitchen. As a reader, I wish I'd been alerted in some manner this book, written as the 23rd installment of a series, is chronologically first (or wherever it may actually fall since it's been so long since I read the first installments). I received an advance egalley from the publisher through NetGalley with expectations of an honest review.

Goodnight, Anne



George, Kallie. Goodnight, Anne. Illustrated by Geneviève Godbout. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2018.

This picture book captures the whimsical nature of the original book and of the character Anne Shirley as she says good night to all the people and places we love in Anne of Green Gables. Both the text and illustrations were excellent. I'm not sure young readers unfamiliar with the main story will understand all the references, but lovers of the series will love this one. I received an advance reading copy through NetGalley with an unbiased review expected.


Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Illustrated History of the Snowman


Eckstein, Bob. The Illustrated History of the Snowman. Guilford, Connecticut: Globe Pequot, 2018.

While the history portions were more topical than chronological, readers came away knowing snowmen were around in medieval times and possibly earlier. The strength of this book is in its images. I found the photos of snowmen in popular culture fascinating. A town in Maine broke its own record in building the largest snowman--well, actually a snow woman. The book features the snowman in books, movies, advertising, postcards, art, war, and more. It's a fascinating book that features snowmen from around the world. I received an advance electronic copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, September 21, 2018

How Does My Fruit Grow?


Muller, Gerda. How Does My Fruit Grow? Edinburgh: Floris Books, 2018.

This picture book features more text than many do but would be a good book for early readers, although some vocabulary terms may be a little advanced. The illustrations are nicely done. An interactive activity in the front and back of the book encourages readers to match the numbered fruit to its numbered flower. This book would work well with a unit on edible plants. I received an advance electronic copy from the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Gardenlust



Woods, Christopher. Gardenlust: A Botanical Tour of the World's Best New Gardens. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, 2018.

Readers of this volume encounter a wonderful armchair tour of some of the world's more recent but wonderful gardens. Each entry includes a little about the garden and its creator in narrative form as well as photos. Some gardens received more extensive treatment than others. On the list:

North America: Sunnylands Center and Gardens, Rancho Mirage, California; The Garden of Flowing Fragrance, Huntington Botanical Garden, San Marino, California; The Park, Las Vegas, Nevada; Chihuly Gardens and Glass, Seattle, Washington; Mordecai Children's Garden, Denver Botanical Garden, Denver, Colorado; Federal Twist, Stockton, New Jersey; Junto Farm, Hudson Valley, New York; Naples Botanical Garden, Naples, Florida; Vallarta Botanical Garden, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Central America and the Caribbean: Los Elementos, Dominical, Costa Rica; Golden Rock Inn, Nevis, West Indies.

South America: Jardin de Salvias, Mar del Plata, Argentina; Juan Grimm Gardens, Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina; Parque Explorador Quilapilun, Colina, Chile.

Europe: Iuri Chagas Gardens, The Algarve, Portugal; Quinta da Granja, Miranda do Corvo, Portugal; Jardins de la Rambla de Sants, Barcelona, Spain; Parc Clichy-Batignolles/Martin Luther King, Paris, France; Camel Quarry House, Cornwall, United Kingdom; Crossrail Station Roof Garden, London, United Kingdom; Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, United Kingdom; Orpheus, at Boughton House, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom; The Alnwick Garden, Northumberland, United Kingdom; Carrie Preston's Gardens, The Netherlands; The Tree Museum, Rapperswil, Switzerland; Landschaftspark, Duisburg-Nord, Germany; Peter Korn's Garden, Eskilsby, Sweden.

Africa and the Arabian Peninsula: A Garden of Shape and Light, Marrakech, Morocco; The Aloe Farm, Hartbeespoort, South Africa; The Miracle Garden, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Al Barari, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Oman Botanic Garden, Al Khoud, Oman.

India and Southeast Asia: The Garden of Five Senses, Said-ul-Azaib, Delhi, India; 137 Pillars House, Chiang Mai, Thailand; Gardens by the Bay and Parkroyal Hotel, Singapore; Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden, Luang Prabang, Laos; Made Wijaya's Gardens, Bali, Indonesia.

Asia: Xi'an Expo Park, Xi'an, China; Chenshan Botanical Garden, Shanghai, China; Ichigaya Forest, Tokyo, Japan; Tokachi Millennium Forest, Hokkaido, Japan.

Australia and New Zealand: Geelong Botanic Gardens, Geelong, Victoria, Australia; The Australian Garden, Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne, Victoria, Australia; One Central Park, Sydney, Australia; Barangaroo Headland Park, Sydney, Australia; Rose Bay, Sydney, Australia; Gibbs Farm, Makarau, North Island, New Zealand; Paripuma, Blenheim, South Island, New Zealand; Fishermans Bay Garden, Long Bay, South Island, New Zealand.

I visited Chihuly Gardens when I visited Seattle a couple of summers ago. I realistically might make it to no more than a handful of the remaining ones in my lifetime. I really loved both gardens on South Island in New Zealand as they sported gorgeous ocean views. One of the South American gardens did also. While I thought a few of the gardens were not that pretty, the majority were captivating. Woods' choices omitted far too many countries. For example, why was no garden from Canada included? Italy? Russia? I'm not up on the latest and greatest in world gardens, but I'm sure each of these countries had something to offer.

I enjoyed my armchair tour and look forward to possible future visits to a few of these. I received an advance review electronic copy of the book from NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Merci Suarez Changes Gears



Medina, Meg. Merci Suárez Changes Gears. Somerville, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 2018.

Merci attends a private school by doing "community service." Her friend is jealous of her assignment since Merci is assigned to help the friend's "crush." At the same time, Merci's grandfather Lolo, to whom she is quite close, is declining rapidly due to Alzheimer's Disease, and Merci doesn't really understand what is going on due to the family's decision to keep her in the dark. It's a coming-of-age tale which may appeal to middle school readers at the moment but probably lacks an enduring quality. Additional editing would shorten and make the story stronger. The author includes some common Spanish words in the story which are not translated for the reader. I suspect many middle school readers, particularly in Southern and Southwestern States with many Mexican and Central American immigrants, will not need a Spanish dictionary nearby, but I anticipate it might create problems for those with little exposure to the Spanish language. The book probably works best for middle schoolers with family members suffering from dementia. I received an advance e-galley in exchange for an honest review through the publisher via NetGalley.

A Boy and a House



Kastelic, Maja. A Boy and a House. Toronto: Annick Press, 2018.

This wordless picture book by Slovenian author Maja Kastelic features a boy following a cat into and then through an old house. Along the way, he finds drawings scattered about rooms. The rooms are filled with "vintage" items. He finds a surprise awaiting in the attic. Although the book contains no words, it will certainly produce a lot of discussion for children who will be curious about what is contained in the picture. I believe the pictures were created with watercolors, but they are fairly "drab", probably in an effort to invoke the "old house feel." Just the thought of an unsupervised boy of this age will make many parents and other adults cringe, but others will view it as a product of another culture or as historic. I downloaded this "Read Now" title from NetGalley with the expectation I would write an honest review.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

The Murder of My Aunt


Hull, Richard. The Murder of My Aunt. Scottsdale, Arizona: Poisoned Pen Press, 2018.

In an amusing plot, Edward tries to kill his Aunt Mildred. I didn't really care for Edward who lacked ambition, with the exception of ridding the world of his aunt, or Aunt Mildred, who was too controlling. I really wanted something with more of an investigation. We don't really get any sense of any suspicion that follows through with investigation until the final chapter. The structure is different, but I did not like it. I received this advance review copy through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

On Reading Well


Prior, Karen Swallow. On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2018.

Liberty University professor Karen Swallow Prior discusses twelve literary works in light of Christian virtues portrayed in each. She utilizes other literature, theological and Biblical studies works, philosophy, and classics to reach her conclusions. The work is divided into sections for the cardinal virtues, theological virtues, and heavenly virtues.

Contents include:
Prudence: The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding
Temperance: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Justice: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Courage: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Faith: Silence by Shusaku Endo
Hope: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Love: The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy
Chastity: Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Diligence: Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
Patience: Persuasion by Jane Austen
Humility: "Revelation" and "Everything that Rises Must Converge" by Flannery O'Connor

These essays would create great discussions in classes covering those works, particularly in Christian liberal arts universities. They could also serve as models for writing essays on literary works. This review is based on an advance review copy received from the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation of an unbiased review.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Murder at Hawthorn Cottage



Rowlands, Betty. Murder at Hawthorn Cottage. n.p.: Bookouture, 2018.

Writer Melissa Craig moved to the Cotswolds. Soon her neighbor discovers a corpse near her home. A reporter seeks Melissa's help investigating the person whom he believes to be "Babs Carter" who worked at a local nightclub and disappeared without a trace. A young man interested in Babs suffered an automobile accident leaving him impaired a couple days after her disappearance. Melissa's investigation for her own novel conveniently yields clues for the puzzle at hand. Unfortunately the plot is not very believable. The prostitution and drugs concepts in the novel are not "cozy" at all and seem a bit seedy to include for people who enjoy this genre. While the Cotswold setting is nice, the seediness somewhat negated the sense of place that might have been achieved if the author had stuck to typical cozy plots. I received an electronic galley through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review. This book was originally published as A Little Gentle Sleuthing.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Blue Water Hues



Delany, Vicki. Blue Water Hues. Custer, Washington: Orca Books, 2018.

The paramedics on the Caribbean Victoria and Albert Islands receive a call to a fire at a beach resort. They treat a couple of persons for smoke inhalation before assisting in the recovery of a body. The investigation rules the fire arson. Soon the victim's boyfriend is found dead of a gunshot wound which is too quickly ruled as self-inflicted because of a printed suicide note. Police Sergeant Alan Westbrook knows the investigation was likely closed too quickly, probably due to influence from political officeholders with interests in the resort. Darlene, the hotel manager where paramedic Ashley Grant resides, wants to see justice for the person who killed her relative and enlists Ashley's assistance. With the help of a hotel employee, it finally reaches a solution. This is part of the Rapid Reads collection. As such, the plot is less developed than in some. In some ways this story really needed to be a little longer because it felt some points were rushed or glossed over, needing further development. Still it will provide an enjoyable mystery jaunt for those with limited time for reading. This review is based on an advance reading copy provided through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program in exchange for an honest review.

Blackout



Jonasson, Ragnar. Blackout. New York: Minotaur Books, 2018.

A man found beaten in his apartment provides a policeman and a reporter with an opportunity to investigate. The book, however, focuses more on personal issues than on the investigation. I never really got a feel for the book. I finished it aboard a plane about a week ago, and the details no longer stand out. I never really warmed to either the policeman or the journalist. The book is unremarkable and not memorable.  I received an advance electronic copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Reflecting . . .

Earlier today I read the hospital in my hometown was filing for bankruptcy. It's where my mother worked for many years. In those years, the hospital was owned by a private foundation. The foundation continues to operate and provide funding for things in my hometown. The administrator during her years of employment championed the foundation's operation of the hospital. During those years the hospital's reputation for women's health (ob/gyn) and pediatrics brought patients from all over.

After his retirement (and mom's), the hospital was sold. It's changed hands several times over the years. The doctors who created the reputation retired and/or died. What was once a great hospital is now filing for bankruptcy protection. Its parent company plans to sell it. It saddens me to see the deterioration of an institution which brought such pride to our community. I hope the new owners can turn it around, making it a great facility once again.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

An American Author Challenge Discovery

This month's American Author Challenge is devoted to books by Louis L'Amour. For some reason I decided to look him up at Wikipedia, discovering his middle name is "Dearborn." Since Dearborn is one of my family lines, going back to New England, I immediately suspected we might be related.

Using his WikiTree profile I traced his line back to our common ancestors:

Louis Dearborn LaMoore/LaMour/L'Amour (1908-1988)
Emily Lavisa Dearborn (1870-1954)
Abraham Truman Dearborn (b. 1835)
William S. Dearborn (1803-abt 1852)
Levi Dearborn (1769-1857)
Reuben Dearborn (b. 1738)
Reuben Dearborn (1707-1790)
Samuel Dearborn (1676-1748)
Thomas Dearborn (1632-1710) and Hannah Colcord (1643-1720)

My line:
Lori Thornton (Me)
Dorothy Ann Lantz (1924-2010)
Irving Lee Lantz (1885-1971)
Laura Lucy Taylor (1854-1922)
Betsey Dearborn (1818-1899)
Nathan Dearborn (1785-1847)
Samuel Dearborn (1745-1833)
Benjamin Dearborn (b. 1713)
Ebenezer Dearborn (b. 1679)
Thomas Dearborn (ca 1634-1710) and Hannah Colcord (d. 1720)

I left the differences in dates in the WikiTree data and my own research, but it's similar enough one can tell it is the same person.

This makes us 7th cousins once removed.

Of course, I need to verify the information in WikiTree, and I'm not placing all the documentation for my own line in this post--and some of the older stuff probably needs some "shoring up."

However, the kinship to this month's author was an unexpected discovery for me I wished to share. I chose to read Westward the Tide, much of which is set in the Big Horn Mountains.