Showing posts from September, 2015

(Review) The House At Riverton by Kate Morton

Publication Date: April 22, 2008.
Publisher: Atria Books.
Genre: Fiction, family saga.
Pages: 473.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: 3 stars for good.

As a fourteen year old girl, Grace Reeves, becomes a housemaid for the Hartford family at the Riverton estate in England. Grace is the only child of a single mother who had also worked at the estate, but is now in poor health. The year is 1914, the war in Europe is looming. The Hartford children are David, Hannah, and Emmeline. Grace becomes exceptionally close to the sisters.
The story moves back and forth in time between the years Grace worked at Riverton, and 1998, when Grace is age 98. A film is being made about the family's saga during the period of the mid 1920s. Grace recounts the details to the director and actors.

My Thoughts:
The House At Riverton has been in my TBR pile for a few years. I have a second book to read of Morton's, The Forgotten Garden.
I've been disappointed in The House At Riverton. The main …

(Review) The Making Of A Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Publication Date: December 31, 2009. First published 1901.
Publisher: Persephone Books, classic edition.
Genre: Fiction.
Pages: 308.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: 2 stars for okay.

Frances Hodgson Burnett 1849-1924.
Author of The Secret Garden, The Little Princess, The Lost Prince, and Little Lord Fauntleroy. Burnett wrote a total of 22 works of fiction and 18 short stories.
Further links:
Online Literature


Miss Emily Fox-Seton is an unmarried 34 year old woman living in London.
The time period is the Edwardian era, 1901-1910.
She is a loving and kind person. Her interests are for the benefit of others. She is proper, innocent, naive, gracious, and lady-like.
A benefactor provides a small income. Emily creates a life with gratitude and joy.
She is well-liked by all who know her.
Wealthy Lord Walderhurst is impressed with her reputation and bearing.
The Making Of A Marchioness is a two part story. The first part is Emily's life pre-Lord Walderhurst…

(Review) The Girl From Krakow by Alex Rosenberg

Publication Date: September 1, 2015.
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing/Amazon.
Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 442.
Source: Free paperback copy from Spark Point Studio in exchange for a review.
Rating: 2 stars for okay.

Spark Point Studio:

Book is available @
Barnes and Noble

The time period is 1935. The place is Krakow, Poland.
Rita Feuerstahl begins attending classes at the University to become a lawyer. Instead, she meets a medical student and after a quick relationship they marry. A baby is born during the early part of World War II. Rita and her husband are Jewish. Neither are practicing the Jewish faith. Rita is an atheist. The war and Holocaust changes the dynamics of their marriage and lives. Rita changes her identity in order to survive.

My Thoughts:
World War II and Holocaust books are at the top of my favored list in genres. My dad was a Veteran of World War II. I'm sure this is a large reason why I have a strong interest in this p…

(Review) Tolkien: A Dictionary by David Day

Publication Date: 2013.
Publisher: Thunder Bay Press/Hachette UK.
Genre: Dictionary of the Tolkien stories.
Pages: 271.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.


The A-Z dictionary of Tolkien's beloved tales and characters. Included are detailed pen and ink illustrations. The front and back cover of the book is engraved leather.

My Thoughts:
I'm in the progress of reading The Fellowship of the Ring for the first time. I've seen the films, but have never read any of the Tolkien fantasy fiction stories. I have a vague memory of The Hobbit in high school, but I've slept since then (including in class.)
The Tolkien stories are brilliant, but highly imaginative, requiring a detailed dictionary for explanation. Tolkien: A Dictionary is a perfect choice for any reader of the Tolkien stories.
The only thing I don't like about the book, is it does not lay open on its own.
Over-all highly recommended.

(Review) Unbroken: A World War II Story Of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Publication Date: November 4, 2014. First published in 2010.
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks.
Genre: Nonfiction, World War II, Japan, History, Biography.
Pages: 528.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.

Unbroken is the story of Louis Zamperini. Zamperini was born in 1917, in New York, to Italian immigrant parents. In early childhood, he and his family moved to California. Zamperini shares the story of his life, from his rebellious childhood in Torrence, California, to the Berlin Olympics, to the beginning of World War II and his enlistment in the Army Air Corp, and peaks with his capture and survival by the Japanese in the Pacific. His story portrays the horrific conditions of being a prisoner of war. When the war ended, the affects of war and suffering continued to haunt Zamperini. The conclusion of the story shows his "redemption."

My Thoughts:
I've not seen the film, I'd been holding off till I'd read the book. I've learn…

(Review) American Wife: Love, War, Faith, and Renewal by Taya Kyle with Jim DeFelice

Publication Date: May 4, 2015.
Publisher: William Morrow.
Genre: Biography, military family.
Pages: 304.
Source: self-purchase.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.


On February 2, 2013, Chris Kyle was murdered. He and a friend, Chad Littlefield, were both killed by a young man they were trying to help.
Chris Kyle is the author ofAmerican Sniper. The book is about his career as a Navy SEAL sniper.
In American Wife, Taya Kyle reflects on her memories of Chris, their marriage, the lawsuit with Jesse Ventura, and Chris's death.

My Thoughts:
This is a difficult book to read for two reasons.
It's sad. My son is a Veteran of the war in Iraq.  I have avoided books dealing with this topic, because it's painful. It's painful to relive the deployments filled with anxiety and fear, and it's a sobering reminder my son might not have come back home to us. But he did, and I'm thankful, very thankful. 
The number one point that makes American Wife stand out is Taya Ky…

(Review) The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory

Publication Date: December 5, 2006. The paperback edition, 2007.
Publisher: Touchstone.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 518.
Source: Gift.
Rating: 2 stars for okay.

The Boleyn Inheritance is the story of three women, each sharing a first person narrative.
Anne of Cleves
Katherine Howard
Jane Boleyn, Viscountess Rochford

Jane is haunted by the death of her husband George, and his sister Anne Boleyn. Her grief, repressed anger, and questionable mental state is portrayed.
Katherine Howard is an immature, and girlish. She is portrayed as a delicious prize for Henry VIII; however, she has no idea of the sharp bite of Henry. She is naive, arrogant, superficial, seeks to be desired, loves attention, flirtatious, and manipulative. For Katherine, life is a game.
Anne of Cleves is a mature woman who has lived under her mother and brother's dominance. A marriage to Henry VIII, is political, and further, a quest to "settle" Reformation in England.

My Thoughts:
I did not c…

(Review) Black Earth: The Holocaust, As History And Warning by Timothy Snyder

Published: September 8, 2015.
Publisher: Tim Duggan Books/Crown Publishing.
Genre: Nonfiction, Holocaust, World War II.
Pages: 480.
Source: Free ebook copy from NetGalley in exchange for a review.
Rating: 4 stars for very good.


Barnes and Noble

Timothy Snyder has written an extensive history of the European countries who were invaded by Nazi Germany during World War II. His analysis of Hitler's reasoning and action, brings a different kind of view of the war: a failure of national states and the science behind dehumanizing Jews.

Chapter topics are:
"Introduction: Hitler's World
Chapter 1 Living Space
Chapter 2 Berlin, Warsaw, Moscow
Chapter 3 The Promise of Palestine
Chapter 4 The State Destroyers
Chapter 5 Double Occupation
Chapter 6 The Greater Evil
Chapter 7 Germans, Poles, Soviets, Jews
Chapter 8 The Auschwitz Paradox
Chapter 9 Sovereignty and Survival
Chapter 10 The Grey Saviors
Chapter 11 Partisans of God and Man
Chapter 12 The Righteous Few

A Poetic Introduction to September

“The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask him which he finds it hard to answer.”
Alice Wellington Rollins

"Education is learning what you didn't even know you didn't know."
Daniel J. Boorstin
“A good teacher is like a candle: it consumes itself to light the way for others.”

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
William A. Ward

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." 
Benjamin Franklin
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela
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School quotes on Brainy Quote.