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Friday, November 28, 2014

Some Romance for Christmas

 Get in the holiday spirit when you read some of these new romance books.
 Christmas Bliss, written by Mary Kay Andrews, presents an anxiety-inducing time for antique shop owner Weezie as both her wedding date and her friend BeBe’s delivery date draw near and scandal threatens to erupt.
 A Virgin River Christmas, written by Robyn Carr, tells the story of Marcie, a widow of an Iraq War Marine, who seeks out Ian, the man who originally rescued her husband and returned him to medical care, allowing him three more years to live. She finds Ian to be an emotionally scarred man who she is able to rescue.
 A Wreath of Snow: a Victorian Christmas Novella, is written by Liz Curtis Higgs. In the late 19th century, on a train ride in Scotland, we find Meg Campbell, a schoolteacher, running away from her estranged family’s Christmas celebration. She runs into Gordon Shaw, an equally troubled young man. Can their futures intertwine?
Winter Street: a Novel, is written by Elin Hilderbrand. It is about Kelley Quinn, owner of the Nantucket Winter Street Inn, who plans a holiday celebration with his four children and his second wife Mitzi at the inn. Mayhem erupts when the children bring their romantic problems along with them and his wife is caught in a compromising position with another man.
Our First Christmas is a compilation of four Christmas love stories: Under the Mistletoe by Lisa Jackson, A Ranger for Christmas by Mary Burton, A Southern Christmas by Mary Carter, and Christmas in Montana by Cathy Lamb.
'Twas the Night After Christmas is written by Sabrina Jeffries. The Earl of Devonmont Pierce Waverly and a vicar's widow Camilla Stuart, who also is his estranged mother's paid companion tangle after Camilla lures him home for Christmas by pretending his mother is on her deathbed. What starts as Camilla's good-hearted attempt at reconciliation ends with romance between her and the Earl.
Angels at the Table: a Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy Christmas Story, is written by Debbie Macomber. This is a fantasy in which four angels accidentally cause a chef and a food critic to meet a year before they were destined to meet and marry. The relationship flops, but eventually the angels are able to get things right and get them together again.












Thursday, November 20, 2014


           Written by Canadian author Emma Donoghue, this is a thriller with a twist: it is narrated by Jack, a five-year-old boy. He has lived his entire life with Ma, his mother, in an eleven by eleven foot room in a shed kept locked by Ma’s captor. We see reality through Jack’s eyes through the games he and Ma play together, the chores they perform and the meals they prepare. A fantasy world is viewed on a television set with poor reception. At night, Jack goes to sleep in a cupboard before Old Nick, Ma’s captor, comes to visit.
            We learn that Ma was a college student kidnapped by Old Nick seven years ago. Jack is his child too. Ma has carefully raised Jack, schooling him to read, write, count and add, and providing what physical activities she can in the limited space. But she fears his social and emotional life will be stunted if they continue to be captives. She hatches a plan for them to escape, one that will put Jack at risk. But miraculously he succeeds and he and Ma are both freed.

            The second half of the book describes their adjustment, both physical and psychological, to the outside world. In their former life, there were no boundaries in Jack’s relationship with Ma; he felt as though she was a part of him. In the outside world, he met members of his mother’s family and lived with them while Ma was hospitalized for a psychological breakdown. With his mother’s return to him, Jack expresses his desire to return to Room, to see that it still exists and to say goodbye to it, somewhat in the style of Goodnight Moon, his favorite book. They go there, and then return to their new lives, giving the reader the sense that they will survive and succeed.


Monday, November 10, 2014

What if? : Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

         Here are the answers to all of those science questions you might have, with accurate information that even the novice scientist can understand. Randall Munroe, the author, is a former NASA roboticist and the creator of the webcomic xkcd whose purpose is to provide what this book’s subtitle claims, along with stick figure illustrations.                                                                              
            The author’s approach is to present actual questions from the public, one per chapter, and then provide answers honestly and humorously.
            If you want to know what would happen if you made a periodic table out of cube-shaped bricks, each made of the corresponding element, you might be sorry you asked because the results, if possible, would be fatal.
           Could we wipe out the common cold if each person on earth stayed away from one another for a few weeks? Yes, if everyone had a healthy immune system; however the rhinovirus would find harbor in those people with compromised immune systems and again would infect the healthy after the experiment’s end.

            Some other questions are:
 -- How long could a person live if his/her DNA suddenly vanished?
 -- When will the bandwidth of the Internet surpass that of FedEx?
 -- How quickly could we drain the oceans on Earth and how would the Earth change as we drained the water?
 -- Could we build a LEGO bridge capable of carrying traffic from London to New York?

            For the answers to these questions and more, be sure to read this book!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Decorate Your Space

            Approach home design differently and achieve a unique look. These two books will help you out.

            Flea Market Fabulous: Designing Gorgeous Rooms with Vintage Treasures, is written by Lara Spencer who is a Good Morning America co-anchor, executive producer of the HGTV program Flea Market Flip and previous author of the best-selling I Brake for Yard Sales. Spencer relies heavily on flea market finds and then remakes them with the help of her design team and with professionals who reupholster and refinish the furniture. Full-color photos record the transition from before to after for each of her nine projects. Each assignment begins with inspiration boards, plans, and shopping lists and ends with a sense of accomplishment.

            Elements of Style: Designing a Home and a Life is written by Erin Gates, the author of the blog Elements of Style since 2007. The chapters of the book are divided into the various sections of the home: from entry, living room, kitchen . . . to the closet and outdoor spaces. Gorgeous color photos highlight the decors of her assorted homes over the years, as well as those of her clients. Gates also discusses personal issues such as whether or not to have children, her experiences with anorexia, and more. Reading her book is like having a conversation with a friend. A design resource guide is included.