My Latest Reads

Trema's bookshelf: read

Messenger
Gathering Blue
Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood
The Giver
Graveminder
Child of Grace
Survivor
Homefront
The Silent Girl: A Novel
Schooled
The One Who Waits for Me
Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy
Room
The Blind in Darkness
Haunted Kids: True Ghost Stories (Haunted Kids)
Like the Willow Tree: The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce, Portland, Maine, 1918


Trema's favorite books »
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Monday, June 18, 2018

Book Review: Augusta, Gone

Augusta, Gone
by
Martha Tod Dudman

Quote: "She's only fifteen. You have to remember that. She's just a kid."~ Martha(Mom) pg. 62

Started: June 7, 2018
Finished: June 14, 2018

paperback 256 pages

From the cover:

True, she had stopped coming down for breakfast. Stayed up in her room, ran out the door late for school, missed the bus and had to have a ride. But, you think, well, that's how they are, aren't they, teenagers? And you try to remember how you were, but you were different and the times were different and it was so long ago. And she's suddenly so angry at you, but then, another time, she's just the same. She's just your little girl. You sit with her and you talk about something, or you go shopping for school clothes and everything seems all right. And you forget how you stood in her room and how the center of your stomach felt so cold. When you found the cigarette. When you found the blue pipe. When you found the little bag she said was aspirin.

My Review:
*spoiler-ish* information
This book was a hard one for me to get through. Not because of Augusta, or even all her crazy rebellious acts or her cussing or her scary path she was taking.
The worst part for me was absolutely....MARTHA!
Seriously, this woman, this mother was the whack job, not her daughter.
I can't even say she was blindsided or naive. She knew!
She knew and saw and heard and STILL never really got it! or never cared to take any responsibility.
I won't go so far as to say she was 100% responsible for her own daughter's chosen path, but she sure as Hell saw it coming, witnessed enough to know, made up every excuse, and completely ignored every opportunity at early intervention.
There are several quotes and thoughts from Martha herself where she saw things, heard things, assumed and either never mentioned them to Augusta, or waited until it was too far gone for those first little things to even be relevant.
Several conversations:
"You can't come get me. I'm not coming home!"~ Augusta
"I'm not. Can I have the phone number?"~ Martha

WHAT??? She's your daughter! 
(Oh, ok honey. Mommy will just sit on my thumbs while you run around town all night... Call me!)
And, my quote I posted above.
She is 15! You are telling a girl who has just told to you that she is a 19/20 year old college dropout, that you know YOUR daughter is hanging around with in a "party house" that SHE, SHE needs to remember your daughter is just a kid!
Wow, Lady! Wow! #motheroftheyear

I haven't even gotten to the stuff that really ground my nerves about "mom"!
She has got to be the most selfish, me, me, me person I have read about.
All she keeps going on and on about is her damn hikes! Up the mountain, down the mountain!
Maybe she should have spent that time, oh, I don't know, focusing on BOTH her kids.
Yup, that's right. There is a son. Younger even then fifteen year old Augusta.
He's pretty much a non existent participant in the book(I had to go back and find his name in the book. I couldn't even remember him), which seems to be his role in real life.
He's probably 13 or 14 when the book starts and nope, mom not there. He's just cruising town, doing his own thing too. He's only mentioned briefly and makes his big appearance...when he gets in trouble and suspended from school.
Way to show her how to get attention Jack!

Martha also has this very arrogant or maybe snobbish attitude. She is constantly judging others by their appearance.
Augusta gets a bad spider bite while at camp and Martha actually makes several comments through out the book about her daughter's "ruined face."
When she meets Rose, Augusta's favorite teacher/adviser, Martha says "As I expected, really fat."
And later when they have a dance,
"I hope no one has to dance with her, she is enormous!"
There was another line, I can't find where she makes a remark about a boy's appearance. I can't quote it, but I got the impression, based on one glimpse of him and his attire, he wasn't the type for her daughter.
She just made me feel like everyone was less than her and she was so above anything going on around her.
This whole book was about her. Not her daughter or the struggles THEY went through.
It was about her divorce, her working, her time to hike, her hiding things from co workers, even her damn boyfriend that she was really just keeping around to have someone to call at 2 or 3am when she couldn't sleep. It was all about how everyone and everything was such an inconvenience to her life or the life that she wanted.
Boo you Martha! 
While, I did complete this book, I will not be recommending it to anyone, unless they want to read a book about a self centered mother and all her woes.


Friday, June 15, 2018

Book Review: Daughters of the Witching Hill


Daughters of the Witching Hill
By Mary Sharratt

Quote: "No, indeed. No one will let you. They'll come banging on your door at all hours, calling on you for this and that. Just be careful, love. It's a gift you've been given, but even gifts don't come for nothing. You might have to pay more than you bargained." ~Anne Whittle(Chattox) pg. 43

Started: May 17, 2018
Finished: May 24, 2018

paperback/333pages

From the Cover:

In Daughters of the Witching Hill, Mary Sharratt brings history to life in a vivid and wrenching novel of strong women, family, and betrayel inspired by the 1612 Pendle witch trials.
  Bess southerns, an impoverished widow, lives with her children in a crumbling old tower in Pendle Forest. Drawing on Catholic ritual, medicinal herbs, and guidance from her spirit-friend Tibb, Bess heals the sick and foretells the future in exchange for food and drink. As she ages, she instructs her best friend, Anne, and her granddaughter, Alizon, in her craft. Though Anne ultimately turns to dark magic, Alizon intends to use her craft for good. But when a peddler suffers a stroke after exchanging harsh words with Alizon, a local magistrate tricks her into accusing her family and neighbors of witchcraft. Suspicion and paranoia reach frenzied heights as friends and loved ones turn on one another and the novel draws to an inevitable conclusion.

My Review:

There is so much I want to say about this book!
This story is listed as a historical fiction but it is based off the actual lives, events and trials of  the Lancashire/Pendle Forest witches of 1612.

I honestly had not heard anything about the hunts or trials in England to this extent. 
While most of us, including myself, are very aware of the Salem witch trials, this was definitely an intriguing new find for myself.

Bess Southerns, known as Old Demdike was known to be a widowed cunning woman. A healer, who earned her living healing and blessing animals and people. After King James I took the throne, many people began to fear woman like Demdike.
They were not only becoming informed that these such people were "working for the devil" but it was also put into law that if any participated in "witchcraft" or knew of anyone doing so and did not come forward would also be punished.
Fear, belief, ignorance, being misinformed, and most likely poverty all started a  chaotic panic in the beginnings of a Witch Hunt.
Everyone became suspicious of each other. Friend, neighbor, even families.
It became a very real game of either being found guilty yourself, or give a name of someone else suspected of witchcraft to save yourself.

That is exactly what happens in Daughters of the Witching Hill.

 Bess teaches her long time friend, Anne(Chattox) her craft with the understanding and trust that Anne will not only keep this to herself but also, that she only intends to use it as protection and for good not evil or revenge.
That doesn't last long. For Anne has plans of her own that aren't exactly "Christian like".

Bess has also taught her granddaughter, Alizon. Bess's daughter had no interest in becoming a cunning woman and her husband(John Devise) is the poster picture for those paranoid and afraid of the craft.
John constantly thinks Chattox has cursed him, is cursing him, or is planning on cursing him.

This story is full of daily struggles, day to day lives. Families, friends, foes.
There is love, hurt, healing, poverty, suffering, perseverance, and prayer.
There are herbs, clay figures, and buried cat skulls too.
While this book is fiction, it is written in a  wonderful way to get you into the minds of how they lived, what they would have felt and done. I love that it shows how the times were and the way people reacted to what was going on around them.
I definitely would recommend this book to anyone interested in the Witch trials, history, or England.
Again, while it is a fiction it was extremely educational and informative.
5 STARS!

Here are a few links I have gathered to pique your interest!







Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Coming Soon: Book Reviews

Coming Soon:

Hello readers

I wanted to get a post out and let everyone know that I am trying to get caught up on all my books, blogs, reading, and reviews.
I have been getting some awesome books over at THRIFTBOOKS. As usual, my wonderful, go to book site.
I'm really hooked on the whole spend $20 and get free shipping! It doesn't even matter if you order 6 different books from 6 different sellers. It is still free shipping. An that never happens.
(FYI:I'm having stupid technical difficulties with my ancient desktop, it keeps glitching/freezing)
I'm trying to go back and make sure everything appears as should be, but if I skip a letter or double a word...just ignore it...please?


Here are the books I have lined up, hoping to get read, reviewed and typed up within the week or next.


I am currently reading.
So far, I am kind of annoyed at "mom". I'm just not connecting with her yet...

I haven't read this one yet. I love a good memoir. I'm truly a sucker for any book that tells someone's story, so I am super stoked to jump into this one!

This one is a fiction novel based loosely on real events. Someone's story and...WWII 
Need I say more? 

Loved it!
This book is actually based on facts. It was told wonderfully.
Witches, family, facts, and even comes with references to actual court docs and other material to learn more about the actual people involved!

This is a book that has been sitting in my To Be Read list since somewhere back around 2012.
I had been looking for a copy for a long time and then I honestly just forgot about it.
I haven't read it yet, and only found out that is is #1 in a series after finally purchasing it on Thriftbooks about two weeks ago. I hate to start any series without knowing that all the books are available but I think I may go ahead with it just to get it off of my waiting list.

I really want to read this one. Victorian era woman sent to an asylum(Wildthorn Hall)!
Yup, I'm intrigued! I love anything historical, medical...telling of the times sort of book.

So here is my list of what's to come...
Have you read any of these books?
I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Any new recommendations?
Make sure to check back soon.
Happy reading!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Book Review: The Priest's Graveyard

The Priest's Graveyard
By
Ted Dekker

Quote:
" Of course. Of course. There's nothing worse than injustice. I've always believed that those responsible for it should be brought to their knees even when they come in small, frail packages." ~ Danny pg. 129

Started: September 13, 2017
Finished: September 27, 2017

hardback cover, 360 pages

From the cover:

Two abandoned souls are on the hunt for one powerful man, soon, their paths will cross and lead to one twisted fate bound by a perilous love.
Danny Hansen came to America with hopes of escaping haunted memories of a tragic war that took his mother's life. Now he's a priest, incensed by the powerful among us who manipulate the law for their own gain, uncaring of the shattered lives they leave behind. It is his duty to show them the error of their ways, even if he must put them in the grave.
Renee Gilmore is the frail and helpless victim of one such powerful man. Having escaped his clutches, she now lives only to satisfy justice by destroying him, regardless of whom she must become in the pursuit.
But when Danny and Renee's paths become inexorably entangled things go very, very badly and neither of them may make it out of this hunt alive.

My Review:

I bought this book from ThriftBooks a few years ago but it had been put up and forgotten. I went through a huge  Ted Dekker phase and read about 5 of his books almost back to back. I absolutely love his writing style and amazing stories. I think I jut burnt myself out and moved on to something lighter and this book got forgotten. I'm so glad I found it and decided to read this one. 
It is a stand alone and I love that I wasn't getting in to a commitment...I have so many on my TBR list that I have slacked off on series unless, I already have the whole set.

Dekker did not disappoint!
As with all of his books, I was hooked from the first page.
He has an amazing way of saying just the right words to make you immediately ask the question, "What's happening here?"...and you have to keep going to figure it out.
Always action packed from the beginning.
In The Priest's Graveyard, it starts out with Renee asking a priest if he will listen to her, or rather Danny's confession, but only if he is 100% he will keep confidence and have time to hear the full story and hopefully understand Danny better. 
The Priest assures her God can forgive anything, but Renee isn't so sure... this time.

Danny's confession, written out in a journal, describes how it all started. How he became the priest who claims the lives of those who have done evil and gotten away with it. 
It details how he became who he now is and the events he has been involved in.
Throughout the book, Danny and Renee's relationship takes many turns and their lives become more entangled. They become teacher and apprentice, friends, partners, and even foe.
Much of Renee's life has been forgotten or at the least regressed memories that her brain isn't ready to deal with just yet. Will Danny uncover her secrets and be able to help her through the memories...or will he help to destroy her and the life she is now building with him?
How will all these events play out and what are the final consequences? Who really gets the final say?
I don't want to spoil the story for you readers. So, ....READ IT!
I can only say good things about yet another awesome Dekker book!
Make sure you check out all of his great books over at Goodreads!

Have you read any of his books?
Which is your favorite?






Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Book Review: Taken For English( Valley of Choice~ book #3)

Taken For English
By~ Olivia Newport

Quote: "You underestimate yourself, Annalise. Look at what you have already accomplished in your life. How can you think there is anything you could not do?"~ Elijah pg. 156

Started: September 1, 2017
Finished: September 12, 2017

paperback 368 pages

From the Cover:

Annie joined the Amish church based on prayerful conviction, not romantic dreams.
 And yet, she can't deny she'd hoped to share her new, plain life with Rufus. Neither can she deny that his ways are nothing like the fast-paced culture she left behind- Rufus is obviously in no hurry. When he makes unexpected choices about his work, Annie wonders if he has lost interest in the love that sparked between them.
While arson threatens trust in the peaceful southwestern Colorado valley near Westcliffe, Annie resolves to keep a confused Amish teenage girl from decisions that could jeopardize her future. Ruth, Rufus's sister, is Annie's temporary roommate while she navigates the muddy waters of shifting family relationships, career choices, and an irresistible romance with the persistent Elijah.
Family history clearly shows it's never been easy living a plain life in the English world. Will the changes and challenges Annie now faces as a young Amish woman test her newfound faith in good ways or bad? And how long will Rufus test her patience?

My Review:

My first thought in starting this review is..."Shwooo! I finally made it through this series. I'm done!"
I am a stickler for seeing things through to the end and this was no exception. Although, I admit, I did struggle.
I found myself almost dreading my "reading time" and I hate that. That is my time to do something I enjoy!
I just couldn't with this whole series. I held out hope in book two but was disappointed yet again.
There just wasn't any part that really grabbed me and made me want to continue.
And, I really tried!
I wanted to at least like the characters,but they never seemed to develop. And the ones that did make it into all three books just seemed...fake or vague.
Annie, claims to be truly Amish and not "in it for love", BUT that is all we hear from beginning to end, in all three books!
She is waiting on Rufus to make his move.*SPOILER*(Which he does in the last 30 pages or so)
Ruth wants to be All things English, nurse, drive a car, go to school, have a cell phone, wear English clothes, yet she keeps going back to everything Amish! And is still in love with her Amish beau.

Once again, there are new characters thrown into this book. Some that had no place or purpose, some were just annoying and then with that history, genealogy, past Bieler/Byler stuff again that made no connections to the present day story.

I'm sorry Ms. Newport, but I was not impressed. 
I only gave this book 2 stars. Mainly for effort. I definitely felt, as the third and final book, there should have been so much more!
Where was that... "Aha!" moment?? 
The big finale!?
It just never happened for me.

Has anyone else ever had this happen? 
Did you finish it out or give up? 
Am I being to harsh?

As always, Happy Reading! 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Book Review: In Plain View: Valley Of Choice(Book #2)

In Plain View
By~ Olivia Newport

Quote:
" What do you know about Karl Kramer's missing fertilizer? Or what do your friends have to do with it? ~ Annie pg. 187

Started: August 21, 2017
Finished: August 31, 2017

Paperback 361 pages

From the Cover:
Choosing the simple life has never been so complicated...
Nearly a year after her successful but unsatisfying high-tech life, Annie Friesen wonders if she can truly succeed at being Amish. A lucrative job offer, a red dress, and the shadow of an Amish woman looking for a husband create a vortex that clouds Annie's choice. Her parents seem determined to sabotage her efforts, and Rufus Beiler, the Amish carpenter who captured her heart, leaves room for doubt about their future. When an explosion brings Annie under suspicion, she wrestles with how her new values will manifest in her efforts to clear her name.
Meanwhile, Amish parents Eli and Franey Beiler struggle with their daughter Ruth's decision to live away from the Amish settlement and pursue higher education in Colorado Springs, and the attentions of Elijah Capp bring Ruth's path to a crossroads.
Facing decisions that can change their own  futures as well as the futures of generations, both Annie and Ruth unravel the past in order to bring the future into plain view.

My Review:
This story continues with Annalise(Annie) trying to simplify her life and herself along with continuing on her path to becoming Amish. She has given up her career, her car, and her modern technology and easy communicating with her family. She has moved into a small home and had all electricity removed. She is living simpler, but it seems her life is anything but simple.
She is struggling with the Amish ways and language. Trying to pretend that she isn't doing this all for a man, Rufus. She now has Beth, one of the Stutzmans' daughters who are staying with the Beiler's until their house is finished, to make her jealous and cautious around Rufus. She is competition. 
Her sister is in town for a visit and insists on tempting Annie to stray back to her old ways.
Annie still has her suspicions about Karl Kramer and now with the explosion a whole new set of problems between the Amish and English people.

This story is just spinning out of control in circles. I cannot get a grasp on what this story is about or how it is supposed to play out. 
This is book # 2 and it is the same as before. Too many "mini stories" trying to fight for a place in this one book.
again, there is the historical, genealogy aspect with the first set of Bylers. Annie has kind of dropped off on her research in this book, yet the chapters still keep flipping from present to past.I honestly would have preferred the entire series to be solely about the post Revolutionary War Bylers. It seems to have more character and believable story line.
I am finding the "Annie story" to just drag out and never really go anywhere!

I have actually already started the third and final book and it pretty much seems the same.
And now, they have added yet another Amish family who have moved into the town and already seem to be bringing trouble with them. As I've said before, I will stick it out and finish this trilogy.
Hopefully, the conclusion will finally bring some answers to this puzzling saga!

Happy Reading!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Review: Accidentally Amish: Valley of Choice book #1

Accidentally Amish
by Olivia Newport
Quote: " If you set aside your pride, you'll admit you were frightened last night. You're used to solving problems, but you're in a predicament you don't know how to get out of." ~ Rufus Beiler 
(pg. 36)

Started: August 14, 2017
Finished: August 21, 2017

paperback/ 368 pages

From the Cover:
Torn between two cultures...
When software creator Annie Friesen needs to protect her intellectual property from her scheming partner, she escapes the chaos of Colorado Springs for the hospitality of an Amish family in the San Luis Valley. Annie's own ancestral connection to early Amish settlers unfolds in a story within a story, and her worlds collide...
especially when she feels an attraction to her host, Rufus Beiler.
A cabinetmaker by trade, Rufus has troubles of his own. Because of a competitor's false accusations, his business is in jeopardy. and so is his family, ever since his sister, Ruth, left the Amish community in a shroud of questions.
Now Annie, an outsider, begins meddling in affairs that don't concern her. When Rufus tells her she can't continue to hide among the Amish forever, Annie is torn. Will she return to her accomplishments in the high-tech, modern culture of Colorado Springs or remain with Rufus and the humble simplicity of the San Luis Valley Amish?

My Review:
I'm sad to say I did not enjoy this book as much as I had hoped to. I bought all three in this trilogy(luckily) as a set at Half Price Books. I was kind of excited, as you never find a whole set at these secondhand thrifty shops. So, I jumped at the chance. I think I paid like $8 for the set.

Anyway, I usually enjoy Amish books. They are great easy reads and have great messages or spiritual insights. I love getting caught up in the easy, humble lifestyle they live with such purpose. I truly am fascinated by so much of their religion and lifestyle. The history of their way is enough to get me hooked reading almost anything Amish.

I honestly think what threw me off on this book was the new, modern, contemporary side of it. I just couldn't get into Annie's whole high-tech software life and them jump over to the farm  making cabinets and milking cows. It just didn't come full circle realistically for me.
There was way too much going on in this one short book. 
From Annie running from her problems, Rufus and Tom dealing with their own troubles, Ruth showing up in the story and going back and forth. Then there was back and forth between two towns("Amish town" and "Annie's world") and then we have her doing the genealogy to find the Beiler/Byler connection and the story jumps back in time to the late 1700's.
It really was way too much.
Just when I would get interested in one "good" part, it would zip over to a totally different"story".
I did start to like the characters and the historical part was definitely my favorite.
I only gave this book 3 stars. 
I believe it had great potential; just too much for one book.
I'm really hoping the second and third books get a little less chaotic in the story line and stick to a few major characters, instead of pulling in so many and so much.
Here's hoping! On to book #2,  In Plain View.
Happy Reading!



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