The Aviator’s Wife

The Aviator’s Wife: A Novel
By Melanie Benjamin
Published: 2013, Bantam Books
Genre: Biographical, Historical Fiction

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He is flying.
Is this how I will remember him? As I watch him lying vanquished, defeated by the one thing even he could not outmaneuver, I understand that I will have to choose my memories carefully now. There are simply too many.

I was so intrigued by this book that I happened to find that I had two copies of it on my bookshelf, so I decided that it was time to read it. I didn’t really know much about Charles Lindbergh except what was in the history books; he had been the first man to fly a plane solo over the Atlantic Ocean and that his baby had been kidnapped and murdered. I was curious to find out a little bit more about him, especially from his wife’s perspective and not just the public eye.

It was interesting to me that Anne Morrow Lindbergh had her own famous history that is not known and not recorded in the history books; overshadowed by her even more famous husband. Anne was the first American woman to obtain her glider pilot’s license. She also served as Charles’ copilot, navigator and radio operator on many of his flights; flights that broke records that may not have done so if Anne had not been up there with him. Anne was often overlooked, standing behind her husband who ate up the fame and the spotlight in front of her.

As we journey through the aviator wife’s life with her famous husband, we find out how strong, resilient, perseverant and loyal she was. She really was the backbone of her marriage and her husband. She stayed behind to take care of the children, while he continued to fly in the public eye as the amazing Charles Lindbergh. Anne could have easily exposed him for the person he truly was, but instead she protected the image of her husband. Anne Morrow Lindbergh was truly an amazing woman.

I know the book is historical fiction, but I think that Melanie Benjamin really did her research on this one and was able to get inside the mind and feelings of Anne quite well. I have a new understanding for the woman behind the famous pilot as well as Charles as well.

I will take my duties seriously, just as seriously as I once navigated as his crew. I will be the bridge between who Charles was, and who he was assumed to be. The keeper of the flame. The guardian of his reputation, for much of it deserves to be remembered. And it’s up to me, as the aviator’s wife who was once an ambassador’s daughter, to decide how much.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a fantastic historical novel, a more personal perspective on the Lindbergh family or a woman who happens to be the strength and protector of the husband in front of her.

 The Aviator’s Wife: A Novel

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Stone Fox

Stone Fox
By John Reynolds Gardiner
Illustrated by Greg Hargreaves
Published: 1980, Harper Collins
Genre: Children’s Literature

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One day Grandfather wouldn’t get out of bed. He just lay there and stared at he ceiling and looked sad.

Little Willy’s grandfather is ill which leaves 10 year old Willy and his dog, Searchlight, in charge of the farm. When the tax collector stops by and informs Willy that he needs to pay $500 in back taxes or they will lose the farm, he enters the local dogsled race. He needs to win the $500 cash prize to save the farm for his grandfather, but first he must beat Stone Fox, the local Native American who has never lost a race.
It is based on a Rocky Mountain Legend, told through the generations.

This was a read-aloud I did with my 8 year old son; he happens to be my only child who doesn’t particularly enjoy reading. Because of that, I try to find short books to read to him that have enough action to keep him engaged. Stone Fox seemed to fit the bill.

When we made it to the end of the book, his first response was “That was short! There’s no more to read?” So I consider it a win, since he was hoping there was more chapters to read. The book was engaging and told the story quickly and precisely enough to keep him enthralled.
You may want to peruse it yourself first; there are some sensitive topics in the book that may affect some children.

It kept my active, can’t-sit-still 8 year old wanting to read the next pages so we definitely recommend it to everyone.

Stone Fox

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Twist of Faith

Twist of Faith
By Ellen J. Green
Published: 2018, Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime

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The house was a mottled gray color that reminded me of dead fish. Scaly paint peeled from the weathered clapboards. Shutters that looked like they might have been black at one time were now streaked and speckled, hanging at odd angles on rusted hinges.

In Twist of Faith, we meet Ava; a young woman who thought she knew her history but realizes she has no idea where she came from after finding a picture in her deceased, adoptive mother’s belongings. After discovering the photo, Ava goes on a quest to figure out where she came from and what her adoptive family has been hiding from her all these years. On her journey to discover her own past, Ava finds out that her life and family is somehow connected to a series of murders.

Ava decides to enlist the help of her friend Joanne and a police officer who she has become acquainted with around the courthouse, Russell. With their help, she begins to unwind the story of 4 men connected to the same church, their mysterious deaths and how they are related to her adoptive family.

Ellen J. Green did a wonderful job of pulling you into the story. As you start reading through the chapters, you get drawn in because you just NEED to find out what a single random photo of an unknown house with the door open means to Ava’s life and how is her family connected. The author wrote a few well-placed clues into the story that makes you think you have it all figured out. But when you get to the end, you realize you had it all wrong the whole time. I thought it was going to be some cheesy book that the ending and protagonist were obvious, but it turns out I was wrong.

I thought this was a well written suspense thriller that kept me intrigued and quickly turning the pages to get to the eventful climax. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who loves a well written mystery that keeps you guessing until the very end.

 Twist of Faith

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The Nightingale

The Nightingale
By Kritsin Hannah
Published: 2017, St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literature

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If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are. Today’s young people want to know everything about everyone. They think talking about a problem will solve it. I come from a quieter generation. We understand the value of forgetting, the lure of reinvention.

I have read Kristin Hannah’s book, firefly lane, and I absolutely loved it. So I was excited to see this recent book of hers getting a lot of accolades. I really love historical fiction so I knew that I needed to read it.

I cannot even begin to imagine what life was like during the war in places like France; right there on the front lines . Hatred, heartache, death, loss, starvation; just trying to find the strength within to survive and keep your loved ones safe. It’s devastating to read about those times but also quite eye-opening about what our world and the people within it are capable of.

Kristin Hannah takes us through the story of the women of the war; the brave and courageous “soldiers” who are often not talked about nor recognized. The women were, in their own way, the backbone of the war. They were not on the front lines; they were left behind, with the enemy in their homes, taking whatever they wanted and leaving behind brokenness. But these women were certainly fighting in ways we would never have imagined they capable of.

In The Nightingale, we follow the stories of two sisters; one leaves and ends up on the “battlefield” and one fights the battles from within her own home. They each save and change many lives of those that had no hope. As we work our way through their stories, each sister discovers what they are capable in times of tragedy; they change, they grow, they mature and they find out what they are truly made of.

Kristin Hannah has a way with words that takes you right into the heart of these women. She is able to place your thoughts as if you are standing right next to each of these sisters; fighting, loving and surviving. She weaves a beautiful story of both present time and of historical times; we do not know the identity of survivor at the beginning of the story until almost the very end.

This novel is a phenomenal piece of work. I cannot say enough good things about it. I wish I could tell you more about this epic novel, but I want you to read it and experience it on your own.
I highly, highly recommend it to everyone. It will leave you with a bigger understanding of the war as well as the unnoticed women who fought with the enemy sitting right beside them.

She was crying for all of it at last—for the pain and the loss and fear and anger, for the war and what it had done to her and to all of them, for the knowledge of evil she could never shake, for the horror of where she’d been and what she’d done to survive.

The Nightingale

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Little Fires Everywhere

.Little Fires Everywhere
By Celeste Ng
Published: 2017, Penguin Press
Genre: Literature, Fiction, Family Life

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Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

There has been a lot of talk about this recent release from Celeste Ng in the book community so I have been wanting to read it for quite some time. It finally came up to the top of the TBR stack.

The book, as you can see from the quote above, starts quite dramatically. The author commences with the ending and then works back through the novel illustrating how the characters got to this emotional finish.

As we work our way through the novel, we find out how Mia and Pearl’s history influences the Richardson family as well as their family friends, the McColloughs. Mia’s choices in the past have an impact on how she parents Pearl, how she interacts with the Richardson family and how she reacts to the situation with the McCollough family; which then creates circumstances that may have never occurred if Mia and Pearl had not just shown up one day.

The Shaker Heights neighborhood somewhat reminded me of The Stepford Wives; everything appeared perfect and neat with zero issues but behind closed doors was another story. With the addition of Mia and Pearl into this community, they start to realize that life is not as they always thought it was.

Some readers enjoy an ending in a book that is somewhat open; an ending that allows you to draw your own conclusions. I am not one of those people. I did not enjoy the ending. I need a book to tie up all the loose ends and to know what the finished product is. This book left me wanting more.

Overall, it was a great book and I enjoyed the story line; it was a well written novel. I would recommend it to those that don’t mind an ending that leaves you questioning.

Little Fires Everywhere

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The Memory Trees

The Memory Trees
By Kali Wallace
Published: 2017, Katherine Tegen (HarperCollins) Books
Genre: YA Fiction, Magical Realism, Mental Health


Beyond the window the morning was bright and glittering, the sky a breathless blue, and the hotels on Miami Beach jutted like broken teeth across the water, but all Sorrow could see was the orchard. There were trees whispering behind the walls of the office, and she almost believed if she turned—if she was quick—she would glimpse their sturdy thick trunks and rustling dead leaves from the corner of her eye.

I have seen this book recommended all over Bookstagram, and it is in a genre I have newly discovered that I enjoy so I waited and waited for it to come to the top of my hold list at the library. I was not disappointed.

There was just enough magic in the book, while the majority of the story line stayed within the real world. I do like when a book has a lot of the magical aspects to the book, such as The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, but I also enjoy when it has just a touch of magic so that it could almost really happen.

:…a darkly magical novel about a mysterious family legacy, the bonds of sisterhood, and the strange and powerful ways we are shaped by the places we call home.”

As we follow Sorrow on her quest to regain her memories surrounding her sister’s death, we learn how much our present and future is shaped by our family, the history of our family, the dynamics of the family in our home, and the community in which we grow up in. Sometimes, our own actions are so influenced by previous generations, that we can wonder if we would have made a different choice if we had not had those influences and preconceived notions.

Kali Wallace has a wonderful way with words. Her descriptions were beautiful and you definitely could feel as if you were right there, within the pages, standing next to Sorrow, experiencing everything right along with her.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys magical realism or fantasy fiction.

There were no gaps in her memory anymore—the missing pieces had been here all along, cradled in the mountains and waiting—and in their absence the seams between the lonely lost child she had been and the person she was now were that much harder to find.

The Memory Trees

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The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living: A Novel
By Louise Miller
Published: 2017, Penguin Books
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Fiction

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The night I lit the Emerson Club on fire had been perfect for making meringue. I had been worrying about the humidity all week, but that night, dry, cool air drifted in through an open window.

I do not typically read a whole lot of romance books, but I have seen this one recommended by a few people on Bookstagram, and I have been reading some more intense books lately, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I don’t normally read this genre because I find it predictable and cheesy. While it was a little bit predictable and cheesy, it is written in a fun, lighthearted way that I was able to still enjoy. It also helped that the main story line of the novel was not the aforementioned romance.

In The City Baker’s Guide, we meet Olivia Rawlings, a pastry chef, who inadvertently causes a fire with her latest creation. Running from embarrassment, she ends up in the small town of Guthrie, Vermont. Growing up with virtually no family around her, Livvy becomes overwhelmed with the small town, everyone is family kind of life.

“With the joys of a fragrant kitchen, the sound of banjos and fiddles being tuned in a barn, the crisp scent of the orchard just outside the front door Livvy soon finds herself immersed in small-town life.”

As we watch Livvy begin to fall in love with the town and people of Guthrie, we learn that despite living in the city her whole life and having a career as a well-known pastry chef, Olivia just yearns for a family and a home to call her own.

There are only a few moments in my life that I have ever wanted to bask in—driving up the coast of Maine beside my father on an autumn afternoon, when I pulled my first chocolate souffle out of the oven, the first time Salty rested his muzzle in my lap and sighed. And now this. I would have given anything to pause time right here.

This is a very light read, the writing is done quite well and the characters are lovable. I recommend it as a wonderful “beach type” read.

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living: A Novel

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Caroline: Little House, Revisited

Caroline: Little House, Revisited
By Sarah Miller
Published: 2017, William Morrow
Genre: Historical Fiction, Biographical, Literature

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Caroline’s wrist turned and flicked as the steel tongue of her crochet hook dipped in and out, mirroring the movement of the fiddle’s bow. With each note, the white thread licked a warm line across her finger. Her pattern had just begun to repeat, chorus-like, as the tune ended.

Nostalgia. That is the feeling I experienced while reading this book.
I read the The Little House Books so many times as a young girl that I practically had them memorized. I was pleased to see that there was now a book written from the perspective of the mother. Since I am now a mom myself, I loved getting to read the same story but from Caroline’s point of view.

I thought that Sarah Miller did a wonderful job of staying true to the historical knowledge of the Ingalls family, but adding enough of her own creative elements that we were able to really feel like we were a part of Caroline’s life. She did an impressive job of portraying what a woman would think and how a woman would feel during the troubles and times of the Ingalls family.
I cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to be a pregnant mother, leaving behind your entire family and all you have ever known, to travel across the country into the unknown.

Those that she could not bear to leave sat close around her, yet as she looked backward through the keyhole of canvas at the blur of the waving hands, Caroline could not help but wonder whether Charles and the girls would be enough.

The writing in the book was beautiful. The words used, the pictures that the author created, put me right back inside that wagon with the Ingalls family; only this time I was the mom and not Laura.

I really enjoyed this book and reliving the days of Laura and Mary through Caroline’s eyes. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who read and loved the Little House series as a young child (or still does).

Caroline: Little House, Revisited

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Tuesday Thoughts

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!

Merry Christmas from my family.

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It has been quite some time since I have written a blog review. I have continued reading and reading and reading, of course. However, the holidays really snuck up on me and I ran out of time to do any reviews on those books.

Here is a list of the books I read and did not have time to review with a small commentary~~~~

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel~~ This was a wonderful insight into anxiety and depression and the affect it can have on a life. As we watch Eleanor’s past unfold, we learn how a person’s past can shape their future. I definitely recommend this book, especially to anyone who is looking for more insight into anxiety and depression.
The Lying Game: A Novel~~ The twists and turns of the lives of 4 women, who share the secret of one mistake made on a fateful night makes for an intense, page-turning novel. I read this book quickly because it pulled you in and you had to know the answer. I recommend it to anyone who likes a “lighter” suspense and thriller novel.
Finding Father Christmas (Father Christmas Series 1)~~ This was the book for my book club in December. It was a very light and fun read for the holiday season that takes us through Miranda’s search for the truth about her father and her spiritual journey along the way.
Christmas Jars~~ One evening, the apartment of Hope Jensen is burglarized and in the wake of it, a jar full of coins and bills is left on her doorstep. In the quest to find out where the jar came from so she can give proper thanks, Hope finds more than just a Good Samaritan. This was a fantastic, light read to finish up the holiday season and I definitely recommend it.

Let me know if you read one of them and what you think. 🙂

I am working on these 2 books currently and I will post my reviews of them when they are completed.

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I thought a great way to start out the new year would be to do a book giveaway!
I recently read the new book by John Green, Turtles All the Way Down.

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You can read my book review here; I thought it was a wonderful and real look into the mind of someone who struggles with anxiety. I highly recommend it for anyone who either struggles with anxiety or knows someone who struggles with anxiety. And for that reason, I am offering it as a giveaway.

In order to enter, you will need to go to my Instagram account and find the most recent posting about Turtles All the Way Down and follow the instructions on the post about how to enter the giveaway.

Happy New Year! 

Child of the River

Child of the River
By Irma Joubert


Child of the River was the book club read chosen for this month. It is described as “A compelling coming of age story with an unlikely and utterly memorable heroine, Child of the River is a timeless tale of heartbreak and triumph set in South Africa at the dawn of apartheid.”

If, like me, you do not know what apartheid means, here is the definition for you.

apartheid
racial segregation; specifically :a former policy of segregation and political and economic discrimination against non-European groups in the Republic of South Africa

I have to admit, I had a hard time with this book. There is quite a bit of political pieces throughout the book that did not interest me. I usually enjoy historical fiction a great deal, but a lot of the political parts of the story line were difficult for me to follow; perhaps because it is of a time and culture that I do not know a lot about?
I am not sure if it was the language from the translation or if it was just not a topic that I found particularly interesting.

I enjoyed the story of Persomi and following her throughout her life. Child of the River is a story of how an individual can overcome the life they have been born into and choose to follow a different path in order to find something better for themselves. Persomi shows us that your path in life can be a choice you make rather then just letting life happen to you.

I did struggle with understanding how this book fit into the Christian fiction category. The author touched on tiny bits and pieces of the Word and God, but there was certainly not an overall Christian theme within the book.
I continually expected to read how God was going to work in Persomi’s life (a theme that is typically found within Christian Fiction) and unfortunately I felt that was never portrayed well within the story.

Overall, it was a good book, but it is not one that I would have chosen to read on my own.

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This next section was added after my book club met and includes some thoughts and opinions of others on the book and how the discussion may have changed my perspective of the book. 

The discussion during book club was quite good. Many ladies brought up a lot of points that I had not thought about on my own. There were also quite a few questions that we had as a group for the author that seem to go unanswered that may have helped me connect to the story just a little bit more than I did. I wish I could share those thoughts and questions with you, but I feel it would take away from your own personal reading of the story.

After the discussion, I did like the book a little more and I think seeing it in a different perspective gave the book new merit for me. It is definitely a book worth reading.

Child of the River

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