(Review) The Address by Fiona Davis

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Publisher and Publication Date: Dutton Books. August 1, 2017.
Genre: Fiction. Mystery.
Pages: 354.
Source: Library.
Rating: Good.

Amazon 

Summary:
Two stories from two different time periods. Both of the stories will connect.
1884. The story begins in London, England, and Sara Smythe, age 30, is given an opportunity to move to New York City. She will work as a lady managerette at a new apartment building, the Dakota. The architect of the Dakota is Theodore Camden. He and his wife have three small children. However, Theo and Sara build a relationship.
100 years later, 1985. Bailey Camden is an interior designer. She has just finished rehab and is looking to restart her career. Her nasty behavior while on drugs and alcohol has caused a bad reputation. Her cousin, Melinda, hires her to decorate the Dakota. Melinda is the direct heir of the Camden fortune. Bailey and her dad are not close. Their relationship is cool and hangs by a thread. Bailey’s mother died when she was 18.

My Thoughts:
I knew from the synopsis of the story on the inside book flap, somehow Sara and Bailey were connected, but did not know the details of the connection. The story is a mystery about the Camden family, but I didn’t find it too mysterious. I figured the storyline out early. I consider The Address to be a family saga with a small amount of mystery.
Sara and Bailey are women who have gumption. They are resilient and long-suffering. Bailey is mouthy, but her time period allows this. Sara’s time period is the constrained Victorian age.
Bailey’s new friend, Renzo, is an additional character she meets at the Dakota. He is an asset. He is a dependable character.
An aspect of the story that is not “enjoyable” but is interesting, is the history (in the 1800s) of the insane asylum. How people were treated and disposed of in this place. It is a horrifying aspect of The Address.
I love history. The Dakota is a famous apartment building in New York City. John Lennon was murdered outside the building (south entrance.) This is all I knew. Even though The Address is fiction, there are historical facts about the building weaved in the story. I enjoyed this aspect of the book.

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The Dakota in 1890.

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(Review) The Unquiet Grave

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Publisher and Publication Date: Atria Books. September 12, 2017.
Genre: Fiction.
Pages: 368.
Source: Library.
Rating: Very Good.

Amazon

Summary:
The Unquiet Grave is three key people who share the same history. The setting is West Virginia. The two years of history are 1897 and 1930.
In 1897, a head-strong young woman named Zona Hester marries a blacksmith. Never mind he has been married before and those marriages ended strangely. Zona wants to marry a handsome man who will shower her with love. Mary Jane is Zona’s mother. Mary Jane is suspicious by nature. She and her husband have fretted over Zona’s behavior for years. They love their willful and defiant daughter, but never knew how to best manage Zona. After Zona marries, Mary Jane hears Zona has died. Mary Jane believes her son-in-law killed Zona. She tells the county prosecutor that the ghost of Zona visited her and told her she’d been murdered. The third key character of the book is the defense attorney, a black man named James P. D. Gardner. When he begins telling his story the year is 1930.

No, I did not plan to read two ghost stories in a row.

My Thoughts:
I like this story more than the previous story read: Grief Cottage.
Several points led me to give The Unquiet Grave a very good rating.
• The story of a black attorney at the turn of the twentieth century appealed to me. He had perseverance and fortitude to attend higher education to become an attorney in an age when blacks were severely oppressed.
• Mary Jane is a woman and mother with tenacity. She does not let things go. When she believes in something she finds a way to make “it” happen. She is a keen problem solver. She has had a life time to solve the after affects of Zona’s behavior. Mary Jane’s husband is meek. Mary Jane is the opposite.
• Zona is a mess. She leaves a wake of large waves behind her. After she marries, the household of her childhood home is quiet. After marriage, the spark of her personality is gone. She is a waif of her former self.
The Unquiet Grave is a descriptive story. Whether it is the scenery or a character’s face.
• I love the background for the writing of this story. It is a mix of folklore, based on the Greenbrier Ghost.

(Review) Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin

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Publisher and Publication Date: Bloomsbury. June 6, 2017.
Genre: Fiction.
Pages: 336.
Source: Library.
Rating: Good.

Amazon

Summary:
Marcus Harshaw, after the death of his mother, moves in with his Aunt Charlotte. She has a small house on an island off the coast of South Carolina. Aunt Charlotte is a painter. She is a loner. Marcus is 11 years old. At the beginning of the story, the first sentence of chapter two:

Whenever I try to crawl back into the skin of that boy Aunt Charlotte suddenly found invading her precious solitude, a boy who was neither a charming child nor a promising young man, I am surprised that after living alone by choice for so long she was able to tolerate my company as well as she did. Page 6.

Marcus is telling us his story as an adult, he is reflecting back on this period in life. He is the narrator. —-Don’t forget this point as I will refer to it in the “My Thoughts” section.
It is early summer when Marcus begins living with Aunt Charlotte. She is kind to him but with an awkwardness. She never had children, and he has never met her before, he has only “heard” stories about the reclusive Aunt Charlotte.
Aunt Charlotte tells Marcus about a battered old cottage “at the south end of the beach.” It has been nicknamed “grief cottage.” Aunt Charlotte has painted this cottage several times. She encourages Marcus to go have a look.
Marcus’s visits to the cottage become his primary focus; and he meets a ghostly friend who may or may not be a good influence.

My Thoughts:
One of the points I do not like about the book is whether Marcus is telling us his story from the perspective of an 11 year old or from the perspective of an adult? If the perspective is age 11, Marcus is an old soul, very old soul. He is not the typical boy of 11. He spends a great deal of time thinking (obsessing) about people. People from his past or present. He is also a loner. He does not mention sadness, but his actions show sadness, anger, and a mental instability. He does not seek out kids his own age to hang around. He often thinks of the one friend he had and their violent ending. This point about the perspective leads me to believe this is not a believable story. I feel this is fiction a bit too far.

A second point about the story is whether the ghost is really a ghost or is this a fixation for Marcus? Marcus is grieving the death of his mother. He has no other family but Aunt Charlotte. He has lived a difficult life. Is this a ghost or is it all in Marcus’s mind?

Marcus has a history of violence. This is apart of the story but not in a way that helps him, it is another aspect of who he is.

The story is slow. It has few characters. The spotlight holds bright on Marcus.

What kept me reading till the end is I felt sorry for Marcus. I wanted to know what became of this strange and sad boy.

 

(Review) Christy by Catherine Marshall

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Christy Catherine MarshallSome stories are evergreen, their themes and lessons standing the test of time and connecting with readers generation after generation. Reconnect with Catherine Marshall’s beloved Christy as it celebrates its 50th anniversary with a new edition! As nineteen-year-old teacher Christy struggles to find acceptance in her new home of Cutter Gap, some see her-and her one-room school-as a threat to their way of life. Her faith is challenged and her heart is torn between two strong men with conflicting views about how to care for the families of the Cove. Yearning to make a difference, will Christy’s determination and devotion be enough?

Celebrate the new 50th anniversary edition of Christy by entering to win one of TWO $50 Visa cash cards (details below) and by attending a Facebook Live party on December 5!

TWO grand prize winners will receive:

  • One copy of Christy
  • One $50 Visa Cash Card

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 5. The winner will be announced at the Christy Facebook Live Party. RSVP for a chance to connect with authors who’ve been impacted by Christy and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

RSVP today and spread the word-tell your friends about the giveaway and Facebook Live party via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 5th!

Catherine Marshall

Catherine Marshall (1914-1983), The New York Times best-selling author of 30 books, is best known for her novel Christy. Based on the life of her mother, Christy captured the hearts of millions and became a popular CBS television series. Around the kitchen table at Evergreen Farm, as her mother reminisced, Catherine probed for details and insights into the rugged lives of these Appalachian highlanders. Catherine shared the story of her husband, Dr. Peter Marshall, Chaplain of the United States Senate, in A Man Called Peter. A decade after Dr. Marshall’s untimely death, Catherine married Leonard LeSourd, Executive Editor of Guideposts, forging a dynamic writer-editor partnership. A beloved inspirational writer and speaker, Catherine’s enduring career spanned four decades and reached over 30 million readers.
Find out more about Catherine at http://gileadpublishing.com/christy/. 

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Publisher and Publication Date: Evergreen Farm, an imprint of Gilead Publishing. 2017. Originally published in 1967.
Genre: Fiction. Appalachian Mountains. Great Smoky Mountains.
Pages: 512.
Source: Complimentary copy from Evergreen Farm, Gilead Publishing and Litfuse Publicity Group.
Rating: Excellent.

My Thoughts:
I first read Christy as a teenage girl. Although we had books in my childhood home, nonfiction were usually the books on the shelf. My mother had been given a copy of Christy to read. Then, she passed the book on to me. It is a book I quickly became attached to. And, it is a book that became memorable.

In 1912, Christy Huddleston, left her home in Asheville, Tennessee, at age 19, and traveled by train to rural eastern Tennessee to be a teacher.

    1. Several things I love about Christy’s character: steadfastness, perseverance, wanted to make a difference, adventurous, stoic, strong-willed, unselfish, patient, ambitious, a born leader, level-headed, a deep thinker, intelligent, honest, and loyal. There are moments in the story where I saw her positive traits, and there are moments when I saw her negative traits. She is a heroine but not an over-the-top type heroine. She is a young woman who has a strong character and a boldness many women her age do not possess. She is a character I admired many years ago and still admire. She left the security of home and family, and traveled to a strange place and culture. She had to learn to adapt to the people of Cutter Gap, Tennessee. This last aspect is something all people should learn. We may not agree with another culture group. We may not like how the other culture group lives. But it is a very good thing to listen and not judge. Just to clarify. If the other culture group wants to abuse, break the law or incite a war-I’m not referring to them. I am referring to people of race, religion, economic status, education level, and political views. There is a big difference between disagreeing and hate.
      Christy’s character and her story is the main aspect of why I love this book.
      2. A second aspect of why I love this story is something that can easily be missed. I have read many books where the story tries too hard to make an impression. Christy is a fluid story. It reminds me of a river. The water moves but not always fast, sometimes it turns at a bend, and sometimes it moves rapid. The story takes its time to reveal itself and at different paces. For example, Christy makes a point to visit in the homes of the people who live in Cutter Gap. She is an observant girl. Some of the observations will pop-up in secondary stories. Christy gets an education in how the people live, their superstitions, and their isolated existence; and she is shown an innocence of the people yet they can also be violent.
      3. Another aspect of why I love this story is the descriptions of eastern Tennessee. All the seasons are described in vividness. The homes of where the people live are described in such detail I felt I too was there.
      4. The women of Cutter Gap. A reference is made of the women having an intuition about some things. These women depend on one another. They understand the culture of men and women and what is expected. They live a hard life, and not just a life of toil, but of living with heart-wrenching secrets.
      5. Secondary characters. Fairlight Spencer is ethereal. She is like a character in a poem. She does not seem to be apart of this earth but of heavenly origin. Christy taught Fairlight to read. They have a strong and immediate bond. Fairlight is an interesting secondary character because she is “different.” Another character is Alice. She has a strong perception of people. She is wise, observant, and patient. She has a way of saying a few words that causes Christy to ponder. Dr. MacNeil is the country doctor who understands the people. He is a large man and yet he has a gentle quality. He is a person who hold many thoughts and secrets behind his curious hazel eyes.

Several quotes I love:

So many people never pause long enough to make up their minds about basic issues of life and death. It’s quiet possible to go through your whole life, making the mechanical motions of living, adopting as your own sets of ideas you’ve picked up some place or other, and die-never having come to any conclusion for yourself as you what life is all about. Page 314.

…I saw for the first time that we have to accept people the way they are and not be shocked about anything. In my idealism, that had been hard for me. Page 382.

The words were like understanding hands reaching out for me across the centuries. Their cry and mind, those others whom I had never known in the flesh, was the cry of the vulnerable human heart. There was comfort in the knowledge of our common humanity. Page 436.

And the last line in the book, which I will not share, is one of the most beautiful last lines in fiction.

Final Thoughts:
Although religion is discussed in Christy. I do not consider this story to be a genre of Christian fiction. There are characters who are believers in Jesus. There are characters who take a bit of this and a bit of that. There are characters who do not believe in Jesus.
The book has a romantic element but this is not strong until the end.
The strength of the story is the character Christy, the people of Cutter Gap, the Great Smoky Mountains, and the wisdom and love that is learned.

(Review) She Reads Truth Bible, Christian Standard Bible

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Publisher and Publication Date: Holman/B&H Publishing Group. April 2017.
Authors: CSB Bibles by Holman,‎ Raechel Myers,‎ Amanda Bible Williams.
Genre: Bible.
Pages: 2226.
Source: Free copy from B&H Publishing Group.
Rating: Excellent

Amazon
Christian Book Distributors

Further links of interest on the She Reads Truth CSB:
She Reads Truth Bible. This link shows a video of the Bible, excerpts of pages, and other detailed information.
She Reads Truth. This link is the website for the organization.
The Lifeway Women’s Blog.

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Purchasing a Bible is a strong personal choice. There are many factors that are involved in what type of Bible to buy. Some examples are translation, words of Christ in red letter, reference verses, notes, maps, type-font size, and the over-all look of the Bible. Several questions can be asked: Will I use the Bible for everyday reading? Will I use the Bible in a Bible study? Will I use the Bible for Bible journaling or taking notes on the pages?
Bible journaling is popular. Social media has helped boost the interest. Instagram, Facebook groups, Pinterest, and YouTube all have Bible journaling information. And, DaySpring, LifeWay, and Hobby Lobby offer supplies.
The She Reads Truth Bible is not a journaling Bible. I have read several reviews from customers who were disappointed the Bible pages do not allow for Bible journaling. I use a mechanical pencil and have written in several places in my She Reads Truth Bible. This works great. The mechanical pencil does not smear. The lead in a regular pencil will smear. I have colored lead for a mechanical pencil. I use this as well and it works great. I do not use high-lighters in this Bible. I have stopped using high-lighters in all my Bibles. It’s a personal preference, because I don’t like the way it looks. When I want a verse to stand-out and be remembered. I use a ruler and a mechanical pencil, and I underline the word or sentence. Another tool I’ve been using is sticky notes. Michaels, for a dollar, has small decorative post-it type notes. These easily fit on the side margins of the She Reads Truth Bible.
The pages of the She Reads Truth Bible, Christian Standard Bible are similar to the ESV Study Bible pages. In both texture and thickness.
Additional features:
Christian Standard Bible translation. This is a new edition of the translation. This is a big update from the Holman Christian Standard Bible edition.
Single column.
66 illustrated (beautiful) key verses that are located on the first page of each Bible book.
20 full-color maps.
11 full-color charts.
35 full-color timelines.
Text size is 8 point.
The cover is gray linen cloth over board.
The Bible is held in a gray linen hard case.
2 ribbon markers, 1 white and 1 red.
Smyth-sewn binding
A Bible reading plan for each book of the Bible. These are located at the start of each book. In addition, there is a one year Bible reading plan located at the back of the Bible.
Topical index.
189 devotionals.
A Key verse list.
A brief explanation of the Old Testament and New Testament.
The Apostle’s Creed.
A brief introductory of each Bible book.
In the opening pages of the Bible, a Gospel presentation is given.
And, an introduction to the Bible explaining the text used for the translation.
“The textual base for the New Testament is the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 28th edition, and the United Bible Societes’ Greek New Testament, 5th corrected edition. The text for the Old Testament is the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 5th Edition.” The She Reads Truth Bible, Christian Standard Bible is an “optimal equivalence” translation. “The primary goal of translation is to convey the sense of the original with as much clarity as the original text and the translation language permit.”
In order to compare this textual base with another Bible translation. The ESV Study Bible “is based on the Masoretic-Biblia Hebraica 2nd ed 1983, and Greek text in the 1993 editions of the of Greek New Testament 4th corrected, published by the United Bible Societies, and Novum Testamentum Graece 27th ed. edited by Nestle and Aland”. Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, Samartian Pentateuch, Syriac Peshitta, and Latin Vulgate are additional sources. The ESV Study Bible is an “essentially literal” translation.
For some Bible readers, the above information on textual base for the translation is a non-interest. For me, it is important and interesting.

What I love about this Bible:
1. A minimalist look. This may seem a strange thing to say. The pages are clean, open, and the focus is on Scripture. My eyes are not distracted by fluff. Fluff meaning additional information that I don’t need.
2. Room to take notes. Most pages have at least a 1 1/2 inch place on the margins to write. In the Psalms, as much as 4 inches are available.
3. I love the beautiful, fluid, artistically written key Bible verse located at the beginning of each Bible book.
4. The maps. Most maps in Bibles are full color and heavy with points of interest. This is great. However, in the She Reads Truth Bible the maps are simplistic. They are black ink drawings with a “just the facts” look.
It usually takes me a while to get used to a new Bible or a new translation. I have made myself at home quickly in this Bible. I use it for everyday Bible reading, Bible study, and note taking. It is my go to Bible!

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