The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran

Read: Mar 28 - Mar 31
Format: paperback, 347 pages
Source: Publisher, ARC
Subject: Marriage, captivity, bigamy, polygamy
Category: Books found on the Internet/thru LT/at the library/in a bookstore
Genre: Historical Romance
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, BOSC
Stars: 2

This book was based on the true life story of a man at the end of the 19th century who found himself legally married to two women. His first wife had been abducted and presumed dead while living in New Zealand. Unable to face his loss, Henry Oades sails off to America where his heart is healed and he eventually marries a widow who has no one else in the world. The two fall in love and at this point the first wife reappears with the lost children creating a dilemma. Legally he is still married to #1 but because, according to the California law of the day, she was declared dead, he is legally wed to #2. The story progresses with their trials (really) and tribulations.

I thought the story was slightly boring (reminding me of a My Favorite Wife or Move Over Darling romantic comedies) and just dragged on and on. I don't know if the women of the time were just wimps or if this is actually what happened, but I didn't like the ending and wouldn't recommend the book.



I just received an early Easter Basket !! from Celtic Lady at Blog of the Irish; the best part is that Hershey has partnered with the Children’s Miracle Network http://www.childrensmiraclenetwork.org/ for over 20 years. CMN is a non-profit alliance of children’s hospitals dedicated to providing state-of-the-art care, life-saving research and preventative education across North America. This Easter season, Hershey is celebrating it’s new Easter products sold exclusively at Walmart and their legacy of making a difference and Hershey’s will donate up to a total of $5,000 to the Children’s Miracle Network together with bloggers. Please join in and help make this a child's sweetest Easter ever !!! Its easy to participate...Participate to Hershey’s Better Basket Blog Hop of giving away virtual Easter Baskets by creating a blog post with specific rules described here. *Hershey Company will donate $10 per each blog post to CMN, up to total of $5,000. *One blog post per URL counts towards the donation, but you can give as many virtual Easter baskets as you want. *The Hershey’s Better Basket Blog Hop will officially begin at 12 AM EST on March 18th and end at 12 PM EST on April 4th, 2010. Blog posts submitted to us before or after that time period will not be counted for. *The blog post link has to be submitted to us for the donation to be counted. *In addition copy and paste the following text in your blog post:


*Copy and paste these rules to your blog post. *Create a blog post giving a virtual Easter Basket to another blogger – you can give as many Virtual Baskets as you want. *Link back to person who gave you an Easter Basket. *Let each person you are giving a Virtual Easter Basket know you have given them a Basket. *Leave your link at http://betterbasket.info/bloghop/ comment section. You can also find the official rules of this #better basket blog hop, and more information about Better Basket with Hershey’s there. *Hershey’s is donating $10 per each blog participating to the Better Basket Blog Hop to Children’s Miracle Network (up to total of $5,000 by blog posts written by April 4th, 2010). *Please note that only one blog post by each blog url will count towards the donation.

So I am sending an Easter Basket to:

Tina at Tutu'sTwoCents (it just wouldn't be right if I didn't give my sister one)
Leslie on her blog (she has a heart of gold and will do anything to help someone else)
Marcia at The Printed Page
Kaye at Pudgy Penguin Perusals
Darlene at Peeking Between the Pages
Crystal at My Reading Room

and if you want to participate , please feel free to take a basket!!!


Another Mailbox Monday!!! Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. This is a feature where we all share with each other the exciting books that showed up at our doors this week. WARNING: Mailbox Mondays can lead to extreme envy and ever-growing wishlists!!

The Mapping of Love and Death: A Maisie Dobbs Novel
by Jacqueline Winspear

Set in 1932, bestseller Winspear's endearing seventh Maisie Dobbs novel (after 2009's Among the Mad) centers on Michael Clifton, a young American cartographer during the Great War, whose remains turn up in a French field. Evidence suggests to Maisie that Michael, rather than dying in a shell blast, was murdered. Michael's parents arrive in London with letters from an unnamed English nurse that raise disturbing questions about the nurse's relationship with their son. The plucky inquiry agent embarks on a search for this woman, following a trail that leads to Chatham, home of the School of Military Engineering, which Michael attended. There she learns about the vital role that cartography played in the war. At times, subplots involving socialite James Compton, a frustrated suitor, and the family problems of Maisie's assistant, Billy Beale, slow the pace. As often in this winning series, the action builds to a somewhat sad if satisfying conclusion.
Publisher's Weekly


A SECOND HELPING by Beverly Jenkins

Read: Mar 24 - Mar 27
Format: Paperback, 386 pages
Source: LibraryThing ER program
Subject: Foster care, infidelity, coming of age, adoption
Setting: Henry Adams, Kansas
Category: Books found - Internet/thru LT/library/bookstore
Genre: Cozy romance
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, 50 State
Stars: 3

This book is the continuation of the tale of Henry Adams, Kansas which had been purchased by Bernadine Brown off of EBay. The characters are rich and invite the reader into a place that they are endeavoring to improve with Ms. Brown's help. They have built a school which they name after the current teacher of 40 years, they support emotionally and mentally the five children that they have "adopted" into their town and their hearts, and they have shown that even while their town is being transformed, their lives can be as well.

This book which I won on the LibraryThing ER program is the continuation of a story started in a book titled BRING ON THE BLESSINGS. Bernadine Brown has divorced her philandering husband and had received a $275 Million divorce settlement which she promptly used to purchase the town of Henry Adams, Kansas off of EBay. The idea is intriguing and I (as an EBay buyer) got caught up in the story - hook, line and sinker. I am definitely going to be looking for the first book. Since this version was a Uncorrected proof I didn't hold the numerous printing errors against the story being told. But it definitely need a good proofreader - not just a spellchecker.


Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century

#28Author: Laura Shapiro
Read: Mar 20 - Mar 23
Format: paperback, 227 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: Cooking, nutrition, economy
Category: A Full Course meal
Genre: History
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL, TIOLI
Stars: 2½

This book is basically the history of Home Economics that were taught to the poor in the late 19th and early 20th century. Women in Boston in the late 19th century started a group called the Women's Education Association and later another was the Boston Kitchen. Women's Education Association of Boston "believed that educated women were the natural leaders of a domestic revolution that was only waiting to be ignited."Women of these organizations worked to improve the appearance, nutritional value and cost efficiency of the food that was being prepared by the lower classes. Notice that taste did not enter into their equation. If it was nutritious and could be made for pennies a day/person, they didn't care what it taste like. However, back in that time, recipes didn't have any consistency until Fannie Farmer came along and standardized measurements. Yes, there really was a Fannie Farmer and when she published recipes they became standards for the new housewives and cooks in the nation. Her books showed basic procedures of how to boil, bake, stew, fry, and debone so that new cooks would be proficient and if when times were tough, domestic help was unattainable.

One of the interesting items was a suggestion that menus be developed according to the workload of the day. Monday - the normal laundry day of the time - was strenuous so potato salad was recommended so that leftovers could then produce mashed potatoes. Tuesday - ironing day - nothing that would give off a scent should be cooked so that the smell of the cooking food wouldn't cling the freshly pressed clothes.

Anything that was served with lettuce was considered a salad - Perfection Salad itself was a mixture of cabbage, celery, and red peppers, chopped finely and bound together by a plain gelatin. Gelatin (KNOX in particular) became very popular at this time. This salad did not last the test of time unlike the Waldorf salad that was developed at the same period. Salads were reserved for the upper class because it was believed that it was Brain food because it required less digestion.

Some fun facts that were noted in the book
1) daily guidelines were for men 90 gr of protein and 4500 calories per day (reduced slightly if not working at physically demanding labor) where women were 1200 calories (obviously they didn't think that housework in those days was physically demanding). 2) Food at the hospitals, almshouses, and prisons was not supposed to be palatable to prevent the people desiring to return for the food. 3) Ladies Home Journal and Good Housekeeping were part of the Home Economics movement of the time. (I didn't know that.)
It was an interesting book, not sure whether I would recommend it or not because the writing style was a bit dry.


MURDER ON ST. MARK'S PLACE by Victoria Thompson

Read: Mar 4 - Mar 20
Format: Paperback, 277 pages
Source: Barnes & Noble
Subject: murder, Midwifery, Coney Island
Setting: New York City, New York
Category: Cuddle up with a good cozy mystery
Genre: Cozy mystery
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, BOSC, TIOLI
Stars: 3

Midwife Sarah Brandt, delivers Agnes Otto's baby on the same night as the news arrives that Agnes' sister Gerda has been murdered. Trying to calm her patient, she agrees to try to find the murderer. The mystery evolves showing the background of Sarah's former life as well as that of Officer Malloy. The historical references of the time as well as the founding of Coney Island was very entertaining.


Another Mailbox Monday!!!
Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. This is a feature where we all share with each other the exciting books that showed up at our doors this week. WARNING: Mailbox Mondays can lead to extreme envy and ever-growing wishlists!!

I was extremely excited when, to my surprise, I received a signed copy of The Teaberry Strangler directly from the author. I had previously gotten an ARC from her for Eggs Benedict Arnold which I read last month, and mentioned on a blog that I was looking forward to her new book. And Miss Laura Childs just sent it to me! How cool is that!

This is the newest in the Tea Shoppe Mysteries which is my favorite of all the series so I'm excited to receive it. Thank you, Laura for making my day!

Surprise, surprise! After waiting since November , my Librarything ER book APPLE TURNER MURDER has finally arrived.

Cozy fans will welcome bestseller Fluke's charming 13th Hannah Swensen mystery (after 2009's Plum Pudding Murder). Hannah is working long hours at her bakery, the Cookie Jar, in Lake Eden, Minn., as well as dating two men, dentist Norman Rhodes and local sheriff Mike Kingston. Her personal life gets more complicated with the reappearance of Bradford Ramsey, a college professor with whom Hannah had a brief fling when she was a naïve graduate student. Hannah hopes ladies' man Bradford has forgotten the embarrassing episode. When Hannah winds up serving as a magician's assistant for a charity show, she has the misfortune to find Bradford, the show's host, backstage “stone cold dead.” With her usual wit and flair, amateur sleuth Hannah narrows down the list of suspects in Bradford's murder, but can she catch the culprit before she becomes the next victim? Scrumptious recipes include mocha nut butterballs and chocolate marshmallow cookie bars.

Publishers Weekly synopsis from Barnes & Noble

A sweet little leprechaun must have been watching out for me this week and sent me this pot of gold!!


Franklin Pierce: Young Hickory of the Granite Hills by Roy Franklin Nichols

Read: Mar 12 - Mar 20
Format: hardback, 547 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: Biography
Category: Who/What/When/Where/How/Why? - Bios/history
Genre: History
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL, USPC, Chunkster
Stars: 2½

Franklin Pierce was the man elected to follow Millard Fillmore as President of the United States. The two men were completely different and not just in their political outlooks but in their approach in life.
"The Democratic Party was to become for Pierce his family, his fraternity, his church, and his country." Pierce was the son of a Revolutionary Officer and his hero worship of all things military (especially Andrew Jackson) in his early years pushed him toward a career dedicated to his nation.
After he was basically drafted for the Presidential election in 1852, his son was killed in a train accident on his way to Washington and his wife, being hysterical, blamed his election saying he needed to concentrate on the problems of the nation so God had taken her son so to get him out of the way. Suffering from his loss, Pierce, nevertheless tried to balance the factions of the Democratic party but was not up to the task. His cabinet members had no experience in foreign affairs (except for Buchanan). That said, he did have a certain administrative ability and was able to identify areas of improvement in mail services, staffing shortages, and military requirements.
"His offices (throughout his life) had come to him because he was useful as a compromise choice to settle differences between contending parties." He wasn't always the best qualified and because of that, many issues escalated during his administration. Pierce authorized the opening of the Kansas/ Nebraska territories in 1853 before the surveys were completed in 1856. This resulted in conflicting property claims.
Franklin Pierce's Presidency lacked diplomacy both foreign and domestic so that he was not able to garner the nomination of his party again in 1856. Pierce was strongly opposed to the Civil War feeling that a peacefully solution should have been found.
He condemned the Emancipation Proclamation saying "he couldn't understand how the people of the United States would tolerate this attempt to 'butcher' their own race for the sake of 'inflicting' emancipation upon the 4 million Negros who were in no sense capable of profiting by freedom."
His death in 1869 was not heralded as had been his other predecessors.
Editorial: I guess at this point I have to say that IMHO, this man probably didn't deserve to be elected to the office of President of the United States. However, due to the issues of the time and the inability of the factions to reach any agreement as to what needed to be done, no one would have been able to resolve the issues any better.


I must have the luck of the Irish this week!

I won Teaberry Strangler and Supreme Courtship this week on two different blogs!

I had been given a signed copy of Teaberry Strangler by Laura Childs so I'm send my winning copy to a friend at LibraryThing who loves her books too.


Weekend Wonderings - Book Mark Day

Tomorrow is BOOKMARK Day!

For avid readers, we couldn't live without our bookmarks! There are magnetic ones that clip to the top of the page, there are elastic ones that hug your book with a brace in the middle, a thread sewn into the binding, there are cloth ones, leather ones, paper or embroidered ones, there are small ones, tall ones, there are even cyber bookmarks on the Internet. They can be fancy or plain, a scrap of torn paper or an elegant printed piece of cardboard. They can have pictures of beautiful places or people we know. They can be verses that we love or funny catch phrases. Some people even use the corner of the page turned down to be a bookmark. Whatever it is that you use for your bookmarks, we all know that a reader absolutely hates to lose any special indicator that was in a book.

For me, probably the worst bookmark I ever used was a piece of Toilet paper (Don't worry, it was unused) and probably the nicest was a magnetic bookmark that my niece made for me.

So what is the worse looking bookmark you have ever used and what is the nicest?


Millard Fillmore: Biography of a President by Robert J. Rayback

Read: Mar 2 - Mar 11
Format: hardback, 447 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: Biography
Category: Who/What/When/Where/How/Why? - Bios/history
Genre: History
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL, USPC
Stars: 3½-4

Okay, I'm a little bit stunned. I thought when I got this book that I would be a tad bit bored because I had never pictured President Millard Fillmore as particularly interesting (maybe it’s the name) but that was my pre-conceived impression even after I had read a brief biography. Read on and see all that this man did in his lifetime and then tell me he was boring.
During the recession times of the Tyler Administration, Fillmore (a self-taught lawyer) was runner-up for Speaker of the House and became chairman of Ways and Means Committee. At this time he put forth some unusual ideas, i.e. If incomes fell 25% due to government policies, government salaries should be reduced by 25%; he also took responsibility for a law which when enacted caused hardship for settlers and fought to represent their rights for fairer treatment by landlords. (Interesting to say the least.)
He became a national expert on public economy and banking needs. "What businessmen needed, declared a businessman, was a national bankruptcy act to free them of the shackles of past poor judgment." It was also "claimed that old debts dampened their enthusiasm for new ventures and delayed recovery." (Does this sound familiar?) Fillmore shrewdly devised a way to pass a new tariff bill, kill President Tyler politically while smashing the Compromise Tariff of 1833 which was in part the cause of the economic woes of the time.
At the same time, the North/South issues were escalating and Fillmore's actions showed how the North felt they were oppressed by the Southern legislators and Southern President who were causing manufacturing and commerce difficulties.
After his Washington experience, he was appointed to the Comptrollership of New York state and during that time he worked to have the Erie canal and canal basin enlarged, revised the banking code (which was adopted nationally 16 years later) and established a more stable currency based on NY state and Federal bonds.
He was sent back to Washington as the Vice President under Zachary Taylor. His political enemies from NY did everything in their power to make him completely useless as a politician while VP but he maintained himself as a man of principle notifying President Taylor that he would vote against him in the Senate on the Compromise of 1850 if the vote came to a tie and his vote was taken. Fortunately, Taylor never had the chance to veto the bill because of his sudden death, and Fillmore work to pass the legislation to calm the political firestorm of the time. Fillmore's belief was that the compromise bills were an "equality of dissatisfaction" which give the nation time to calm down. He took a great deal of criticism for his part in the Compromise but said "The man who can look upon a crisis without being willing to offer himself upon the altar of his country is not fit for public trust." His first 10 weeks in office passed the needed legislation which calm the storm clouds and reduced the threats of secession and disunion.
During the remainder of his administration, he worked to maintain the equilibrium of the situation surrounding the Compromise of 1850. Though he had the power as President to crush his enemies who had belittled him when he was VP, he was not a vengeful man, and felt that it was more important as President to be a statesman rather than a politician. Because of his policies the South was unable to take any action and prosperity and industrial development increased.
Millard Fillmore was recognized by both the North and South for holding the union together by honoring the rights of both sections even though they were contrary to his personal beliefs. Unfortunately, all the work that he did to balance the issues during his administration were undone by the Kansas Nebraska Act of 1853 after he left office. Upon retirement, he returned alone to his home in Buffalo (his wife died 3 weeks after he left office) , where he was the Chancellor of the University of Buffalo and the President of the Historical Society and started the second chapter of the SPCA. In 1856 he ran again for President as a member of the Know Nothing Party but was defeated.
I had a hard time putting this book down once I got into the political career of this self-taught, intelligent, and dedicated statesman. To say the least, IMHO, it was fascinating. What sadden me most about this book was that I got it as an Interlibrary loan from a library that still has the little cards in the back to show when it was checked out, and this book had been sitting on the shelf for the last 37 years. It had not been read since 1973. How sad that such a well-written book, should sit unread for so long. I highly recommend this book for those looking to learn something about the obscure Presidents of our nation.


Mailbox Monday

Another Mailbox Monday!!!

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. This is a feature where we all share with each other the exciting books that showed up at our doors this week. WARNING: Mailbox Mondays can lead to extreme envy and ever-growing wishlists!!

I'm really looking forward to reading this book and feel fortunate that I won one!
This past week I was out of town and pleasantly surprised when the mailbox held one book for me. I won an audio version of Swan Thieves from Teddy Rose at So Many Precious Books.

Synopsis at Barnes and Noble
Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe has a perfectly ordered life--solitary, perhaps, but full of devotion to his profession and the painting hobby he loves. This order is destroyed when renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient. In response, Marlowe finds himself going beyond his own legal and ethical boundaries to understand the secret that torments this genius, a journey that will lead him into the lives of the women closest to Robert Oliver and toward a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.
Ranging from American museums to the coast of Normandy, from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth, from young love to last love, THE SWAN THIEVES is a story of obsession, the losses of history, and the power of art to preserve human hope.
Thanks, Teddy!


EMPIRE OF IVORY by Naomi Novik

Read: Feb 10 - Feb 15
Format: AUDIO, 10 CDs, 404 pages equivalent
Source: Public Library
Setting: Africa, England, France
Category: I Heard Them!
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL, Audio, Read your Name - Letter E, TIOLI
Stars: 3½

Temeraire and Laurence return from their travels to China and their battles along the way to find that the dragon fleet has all come down with a mysterious illness that is killing and incapacitating dragons small and large, quickly and slowly. Nothing that the dragon doctors try has prevented this major catastrophe. Laurence notices that the symptoms resemble the illness that Temeraire suffered on his way to China. The aviators suspect that some of the food that Temeraire received in Africa aided his recovery, so Laurence and Temeraire head to Africa to search for the cure.

After their arrival in Capetown and Temeraire's remembrances of a special mushroom, the crew find a sample and sent to work testing to see if it works against the consumptive disease. As the test dragons begin to recover, Laurence and the crew head into the interior searching for more mushrooms.

This story is crammed with perilous adventures, characters that we have taken to our hearts, as well as a delicate handling of the issues of slavery, colonialism and biological warfare. It was fun to see the adventures evolve without the constant inclusion of military movements as in the previous installments. The beauty of the story and the relationship between Temeraire and Laurence draw the reader further and further into the tale and now toward the next installment. I can't wait!



Read: Feb 28 - Mar 1
Format: hardback, 203 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: fiction
Category: Surprise - Books I find and want to read /group reads
Genre: fiction
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL,
Stars: 4

This is a story of a fictional island where the inventor of the phrase "THE QUICK BROWN FOX JUMPED OVER THE LAZY DOG" which uses all 26 letters in the minimum number of letters. The inhabitants of this island off the coast of South Carolina, treat words and letter as something special until one day when the letter Z falls off of the monument starting this tale.

The Island council decree that the author is telling them that they should no longer use this letter and out law its use. The punishments are ridicule for one offense, stocks, or flogging for the second offense and banishment or execution for the third offense.

The people adjust until the next letter and the next letter begin to fall in the same manner with the same punishments decreed. A faction attempts to find a way to have the Council realize that their decisions are cruel to the language loving people. They convince the council that anyone could have determined that sentence but the council will only relent if someone can create another sentence with 3 fewer letters while using all 26.

The continuing problems of their dwindling language due to the loss of letter after letter is at times heartbreaking and other times amusing. Finally, without even trying a sentence which fulfills the requirements is found 3 hours before the deadline.

This book was one of the first that I have read recently that I just couldn't put down. Even though I knew what the result was I was driven on to the end to see how it was accomplished.

I have to thank tututhefirst for recommending this book. You were right, my sister.


And the Winner is....

The winner of the copy of Future Hope is....

If ludeluh doesn't respond by March 5th, a new winner will be selected.