(Note: The internet kept going out so I could not write as much as I intended for this post, instead I shall try to keep it to an image of the book covers and perhaps a description of each one... the following are most of the books I have read the last two weeks -- had intended to post every Monday about what I had read the week before but last week I did not get around to it. Hence a large amount of books in todays post than "usual"! A couple of others I only read some chapters of so I have not included them. These images are of books that I read from start to finish -- this time around the last listed is my favorite).
"A Horse Called Holiday" by Frances Wilbur ... This is actually my only re-read of the past two weeks. A high school student wants a horse of her own but cannot afford one so instead stays busy with once-a-week lessons at her local stable and takes care of an older neighbors horse. The older neighbor has a friend who bought a horse that needs care -- a horse the girl names Holiday. The girl advances while practicing riding on Holiday but when Holiday becomes ill and an admirer offers the girl a "push-button" horse instead, she must choose between a horse she could only dream of or working every day in the future to have things work between herself and Holiday.
"Christmas Present" by Jacquelyn Mitchard was the first of nine new reads for me these past two weeks. As some of my other posts on this blog have touched upon, I am interested in and looking forward to the holidays, particularly Christmas. This story is about a wife, who has just celebrated her 14th wedding anniversary with her husband (who is just waiting for their 15th or 20th anniversary to take her to France as he promised many moons ago)... Her unexpected, and very quick/short journey which occurs just two days before Christmas, is a huge reminder of family, love, and the holiday spirit. The main character loves her entire family, and while I did cry a bit during this story (as well as the following book, which is based on real life and is not fiction) it still was in a good way, appreciating family and life.
This touching story, "Heaven Is Here" by Stephanie Nielson, was written after a real life incident which forever altered her (and her families) lives. Prior to the accident she was often blogging, and her blog is still up and running. In the period she returns to in this book, one of her sisters posted a tiny bit on Stephanie's blog, but most of the updates can be read (still) on her sisters blog. After finishing the book, where "Nie Nie" -- Stephanie -- writes her version of everything that happened after her husband, who she surprised with flying lessons, finally took her up on a quick flight with just a good friend of theirs who was the supervising pilot. The small plane crashed and their friend died from his burns. Her husband had a large amount of burn injuries -- but Stephanie was nearly lost several times, with over 80% of her body burned. This book gives a bit of their history (including their four children), moves on to Stephanie's recovery, and concludes with how she and her husband started transitioning back into "normal" lives -- getting a house and moving under the same roof again with their children -- while recovering from both of their horrific burns. The love and faith in this book is a powerful testament to what can be overcome, despite the odds. As I mentioned, Stephanie started blogging again and her blog is still available to the public (almost more than another book in and of itself!)
"Millie's Fling" is the second book by Jill Mansell that I have read this year. She is a fun author, and I would place her books in the "fluff" category because they are, for me, quick fun reads. Each centers around the title character and their group of friends, then proceeds with stories about each person and their current fictional lives, all the while surrounding and supporting the thread of the main character. Still one of the "longer" reads for some people however -- I think her books average 350 pages?
I shrunk and moved all three Sarah Graves murder mysteries into "one" entry here primarily because there is a total of 14 or 15 "Home Repair Homicide Mystery Books" written by her! Learning that I now want to return to the library and find the other dozen I have not yet read. They are short books, quick reads, that have the main character -- Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree -- living in Eastport, Maine. Along with her best friend, Ellie White, spend time in the small town (usually during the cold snowy seasons!) traveling through the forest collecting clues about each current (and different) murder mystery. "Jake" is referred to as a home repair expert however from these three books I think it is more of a running joke of sorts because she bought an old house and attempts to do repairs but others (including her second husband) are always helping her out instead of her being an "expert."
"The After Wife" by Gigi Levangie Grazer was a night-time read for me (meaning I started it around 10pm when I could not sleep and finished it in the "wee small hours of the morning" then I fell asleep). I recall enjoying the book... It was about a woman who found love later in life and was lucky enough to "currently" have a three year old daughter. They both adored her husband, a good chef who was becoming famous for his cookbooks. Unfortunately, as the story opens, the husband dies in a hit-and-run, and the world falls out from under their feet. This book is a wonderful story of how wife and daughter (with the support of three "oddball" friends) make life after death work for a single mother in Los Angeles. Extra twist -- since the wife loved her husband so much and did not want to let him go after such unexpected circumstances, she started seeing and communicating with ghosts. Interesting story. (For those of you who also watch "random" television shows, the previous book "The Starter Wife" had briefly been aired but did not have enough of an audience to stay on the air for very long at all).
I know I posted "Swimming Lessons" by Mary Alice Monroe" in the past two weeks, but since this is my actual book post I wanted to be sure to include it again -- a delightful and insightful tale primarily based in a town next to the ocean, where the sea turtles come annually to make their nests. Four women (all with their own story to tell) help make up the core of the group who finds, watches over, and protects these nests during the summer, then helps the baby turtles reach the sea when they hatch at the end of the summer. The main character has gone back to school (she took a break years before to give birth to a beautiful girl) and now works at the local aquarium where, in addition to the adventures of the turtle nests, she also finds and is trying to aid in the health recovery of an adult sea turtle.
"Time Is A River" by Mary Alice Monroe is my FAVORITE READ from the past two weeks. This was both a new book (and a newly introduced author) for me but I absolutely loved the story. The main character has just succeeded in surviving breast cancer and after leaving a bit early from a weekend in the mountains with other breast cancer survivors she unfortunately learns the hard way that her husband has fallen into the second category of cancer surviving spouses -- instead of being caring and there for her, he has found someone new. She immediately turns around and returns to the mountain town she had left and this book chronicles her tale of re-discovering herself, the joys of learning how to fly-fish, believing in the beauty of nature while enjoying her new small-town friends -- and exploring the various tales that surround the former owner (now deceased, granddaughter is the current owner) of the cabin she is staying in while coming back to life a new, better, more confidant individual.