Thursday, March 6, 2014

This Book Room: a few riveting stories you must read now!

A FAMILY'S GIFT 

When they were young, cousins Ella, Rachel and Jo were always together at their family's lake house. As they grew up, though, they grew apart…until now, as the three must band together to grant a beloved aunt's dying wish: to finish the quilt she began as a gift for her daughter's Christmas wedding. 

Let It Snow by USA TODAY bestselling author Emilie Richards 

Searching for vintage quilting fabric, independent Jo is reunited with the man she thought she'd marry—and proves that sometimes the second time's the charm…. 

You Better Watch Out by Janice Kay Johnson 

Ella is desperate when the unfinished quilt goes missing in her care. But a cocky lawyer might just help her find it— and find love. 

Nine Ladies Dancing by Sarah Mayberry 

Shy Rachel risks exposing her secret life when she falls for her quilting teacher's seemingly perfect son. 

Together, Jo, Ella and Rachel create a Christmas heirloom that's both a wish and a promise—of happiness, hope and love everlasting

My thoughts: This book didn't knock my socks off, but it was a fun Christmas read. Also, I've read some of Emilie Richards' books in the past and enjoyed them for the most part. That was what drew me to this book in the first place. 

Natalie Kinsey-Warnock's beautifully told, warm hearted novel tells the story of one girl's journey to find
the mother she never had, set against the period backdrop of a small farming town in 1950s Vermont. For her entire life, 10-year-old Blue has never known her mother. On a cold, wintry day in December of 1941, she was found wrapped in a quilt, stuffed in a kettle near the home of Hannah Spooner, an older townswoman known for her generosity and caring. Life with Hannah so far has been simple—mornings spent milking cows, afternoons spent gardening and plowing the fields on their farm. But Blue finds it hard not to daydream about her mother, and over the course of one summer, she resolves to finally find out who she is. That means searching through the back issues of the local newspaper, questioning the local townspeople, and searching for clues wherever she can find them. Her search leads her down a road of self-discovery that will change her life forever.

My thoughts: I was absolutely riveted by this story. I consider this book a must-read for young adults and older. The story was surprising, beautiful, and to steal a word from the title, true. The characters were unfailingly honest in their flaws. It was such a refreshing read. 


Hetty "Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid.We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty-five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

My thoughts: Run, don't walk, to your local library to check out this book. I absolutely devoured this book. It is a story that will remain with me forever. I really can't even put into words how much I adored this story. The characters in this story are so brave, especially Handful. Sarah did annoy me at times, not unlike people today who are still not speaking out for human rights. It doesn't matter if someone is different than you - you have no right to be mean. If you do read this book (and you absolutely should), I'd love it if you read it with an open mind to today's issues. No matter how different a person may be from you and how much you may not agree with them, we're here to love. 
As the coldest winter on record blows into Sugarcreek, will three hearts have the courage to discover the life that God wants for them?
In the small Amish town of Sugarcreek, Ohio, Joshua knows what's expected of him: to work at the family store and to finally marry Gretta, whom he's courted for years. But when a new English family moves in next door and their teenage daughter catches his eye, Joshua wonders if his future plans are too firmly set in stone.
Gretta is shocked by the sudden change in Joshua. Their arguments followed by tense silences feel too much like the frosty atmosphere at home between her parents. When Roland begins to take an interest in her, she considers what her life might be like with Joshua out of the picture. With Roland, Gretta would have steady, kind companionship...although she knows she could never love him.
When Lilly moved to Sugarcreek, she never imagined she'd be enamored with the Amish way of life and especially with her handsome new neighbor, Joshua. But she guards a secret that will surely drive him away, one that compelled her family to leave their old home and move to Sugarcreek in the first place: Lilly is pregnant.
Additional notes: This is the first book in the Seasons of Sugarcreek series. There are four books in this series, and all have been released. 
My thoughts: The story was very surprising! From the beginning, I thought I had it pegged for how it would end. I was very wrong. The story was unique and had a message of not judging someone by their appearance - a message I always appreciate and one I can always be reminded of. 
Bestselling author Diane Chamberlain delivers a breakout book about a small southern town fifty years ago, and the darkest—and most hopeful—places in the human heart

After losing her parents, fifteen-year-old Ivy Hart is left to care for her grandmother, older sister and nephew as tenants on a small tobacco farm.  As she struggles with her grandmother’s aging, her sister’s mental illness and her own epilepsy, she realizes they might need more than she can give.

When Jane Forrester takes a position as Grace County’s newest social worker, she doesn’t realize just how much her help is needed.  She quickly becomes emotionally invested in her clients' lives, causing tension with her boss and her new husband.  But as Jane is drawn in by the Hart women, she begins to discover the secrets of the small farm—secrets much darker than she would have guessed.  Soon, she must decide whether to take drastic action to help them, or risk losing the battle against everything she believes is wrong.

Set in rural Grace County, North Carolina in a time of state-mandated sterilizations and racial tension, Necessary Lies tells the story of these two young women, seemingly worlds apart, but both haunted by tragedy.  Jane and Ivy are thrown together and must ask themselves: how can you know what you believe is right, when everyone is telling you it’s wrong?

My thoughts: I have to admit: I really am interested in the Eugenics program of the 20th century, along with World War II and the Civil War. It just fascinates me. I had never read a Diane Chamberlain book before, but boy, am I glad I read this one! This is another story that will stay with me forever. Jane was incredibly annoying, and at times, Ivy was, too. But in a way, that's what makes a book so great. It gives the characters room to grow. And these characters definitely grew. The ending was so wonderful. It's a tear-jerker for sure, so you'll want Kleenex at the ready! 

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