S. J. T. (cactuspatch) - Reviews

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Always With Love
Always With Love
Author: Janet Dailey
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 12/6/2010
Helpful Score: 1


ALWAYS WITH LOVE is a double book, containing "Sentimental Journey" and "Savage Land." SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY is about a woman meeting and coming involved with her sister's ex-boyfriend, who is the "Home Town Boy Does Good" type, a kid who grew up on the "wrong side of the tracks" coming back to his hometown as a millionaire. She's unsure whether to trust his motives, especially complicated by sibling rivalry.
SAVAGE LAND is a good ranch story, a young woman trying to discern the truth about two men who are vying to inherit the Savage Ranch and also vying for her hand. Since their stories about each other don't match, she's not sure who to believe, nor does the irascible old rancher she has befriended. A good western love story.


Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace
Author: Danielle Steel
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 130
Review Date: 11/7/2010
Helpful Score: 2


To date, this is my favorite of Danielle Steele's novels. A California earthquake throws an odd assortment of people together, each with their own interesting challenges, facing "earthquakes" within their personal lives...A wife loses her prestigious husband and lifestyle, a nun questions whether she should leave the family of the Church in order to experience romantic love and a chance for a family of her own...a young woman goes thru the struggle of cutting the apron strings of her stage-struck mother and a life away from the glamour of a musician's life...A man explores AA and life with sobriety....An interesting section out of the days of the lives of realistic and likable characters. Enjoy!


Angel Mine (Whispering Wind, Bk 2)
Angel Mine (Whispering Wind, Bk 2)
Author: Sherryl Woods
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 26
Review Date: 10/10/2014
Helpful Score: 1


I loved "ANGEL MINE" - A toddler who needs her dad, and a dad who didn't know she existed, and had no desire for children... But who can turn away from an engaging three-year-old who nestles into your heart?
This is the second of a series by Sherryl Woods, coming after "AFTER TEX," and the characters in the Whispering Wind series are fun and fascinating, they make you want to read more when the book ends! A small town full of caring women who have previously made maybe more than their share of mistakes, and the men who fall in love with them.
I can't wait to read the whole series and see how they untangle the knots they made of their lives!
Engaging!


The Best Little Beading Book (Beadwork Books)
The Best Little Beading Book (Beadwork Books)
Author: Wendy S. Conner
Book Type: Plastic Comb
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 11/8/2008
Helpful Score: 2


This is the best beading book I've ever seen, It covers every facet of beading I can imagine, from jewelry of all kinds, to watchbands, to clothing and moccasins, to making beads, all with instructional drawings. It also includes a chapter on advice for setting up a home beading business, and an interesting chapter on the symbolism and historical meaning of different stones.


Black Rose (In the Garden, Bk 2)
Black Rose (In the Garden, Bk 2)
Author: Nora Roberts
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 1499
Review Date: 11/7/2010
Helpful Score: 2


Loved this book and the whole series. Romance, gardening, plus a ghost to liven up things!
The series (BLUE DAHLIA, BLACK ROSE, and RED LILY) is about three women of different ages who are drawn together by circumstance to work at a family-owned plant nursery. I love so many of Nora Roberts' books but this whole series was especially good because of the characters, and if you love gardening and plants, you'll especially enjoy this series, because it tells a lot about propagation of plants, grafting plants, etc. through the characters teaching newcomers the business.
BLACK ROSE is the second book, and is about the life of the woman who inherited a large estate, and was widowed, and to raise her family, has turned it into a first class plant nursery. Her children are grown, and she hires two single mothers to help her run the business.
She's so smart and independant, and yet has to cope with the embarrassment of having previously fallen in love with and married a man who conned her. It's wonderful to read the empathetic story as her new friendships develop and the women become a strong support group for each other through romance and financial challenges. Enjoy!

Storygirl


Cheaper by the Dozen
Cheaper by the Dozen
Author: Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, Frank B. Gilbreth
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 82
Review Date: 12/13/2008
Helpful Score: 2


This is a WONDERFUL book written by two children of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, a couple who developed efficiency and safety studies in the early 1900's. This brother and sister team describe the pitfalls of growing up in a family of 12 children, who are guinea pigs for their father's efficiency experiments. Adults and children both will appreciate the humor in the many childhood pranks, and in the embarrassing situations the teens have to deal with, due to old-fashioned parents and too many mischievous siblings.

I find this book just as funny and poignant now as I did when I first read it 50 years ago! If you like humor in a vintage setting, this is for you!


Chrissy's Endeavor (Grace Livingston Hill Library, No 13)
Chrissy's Endeavor (Grace Livingston Hill Library, No 13)
Author: Isabella Alden
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 8/19/2009
Helpful Score: 1


Grace Livingston Hill is beloved of so many Christian readers, and Isabella Alden, the author of "Chrissy's Endeavor," is Grace Hill's beloved Aunt Pansy, who encouraged her to write. Isabella wrote in the late 1800's and early 1900's, and her books are rich and interesting because of the details in homekeeping from the time, which is now history to us.......and yet, the character in her books, especially the girls, are so true to life, they could be written about our own teenagers and their friends.
Chrissie's Endeavor is about a young society woman who inadvertently starts a chapter of the "Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor," thinking it was simply a social organization, and the detrimental way of life her loose society values has on others around her. A good read....


Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl
Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl
Author: Susan McCorkindale
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.
 54
Review Date: 3/3/2015


"Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl" is one of the funniest books I've read in a long time! (Maybe since Erma Brombeck came out? Yeah, I know, shows my age!)
Sure to tickle your funny bone if you live in the country OR have kids, as Susan McCorkindale delights us with not only her challenges faced when her husband transplanted her from living in the city (you know, that place where Starbucks, shoe stores and Victoria's Secret are on nearly every corner) to the "Country" where power suits are traded in for bib overalls and chickens peck her new pedicure to death.
(Like one of the previous reviewers said, why isn't she wearing boots? - Well, honestly I've never been a city girl, never was into high heels and Starbucks scene...But hearing the humorous side of it, makes me understand where she is coming from, and sometimes dumb mistakes make us learn faster than any advice could have done!)
And truly, I believe that self-depreciating humor is the best "good clean fun" type of humor an entertainer can give us.
Besides sharing her own grappling with the new culture she is thrown into (for instance, finding out from the local moms' group that they moved from the city where she thought crime and terrorism endanger her children, just in time to have to buy orange clothing and hats for her children to wear on their own farm when school starts, since they will be leasing their farmland out to deer hunters!)- (I'm from Texas...even to me, that sounds so stupid but it's true!) That's why it's funny.
But many of her witticisms are from looking at what most mothers and often all of us women face, no matter where we live...she's just choosing to see it with humor!
...moving into an old house with no locks on the bathroom doors, while raising two young sons.
...the creativity of young boys who are finally potty trained, but now want to design "art" on the toilet bowl. (Hopefully on the toilet bowl).
...the experience of falling into the toilet bowl at night, when her husband forgot to put the seat down...and being stuck because she was 8 months pregnant!
...and...how we see our bodies!
- About loving "Victoria's Secret":
"Right now for a mere twenty-eight bucks, I can get boobs. Something I've wanted since my best friend Roma returned from summer camp with cleavage..."
All through the seventh grade she stuffs her starter bra with Saran Wrap and powders herself with Miracle Grow, which only "pooled in her posterior" when she took showers. "Thirty years later the real miracle is finding pants that fit my 38DD derriere."
(That was a good one!)
(Like I said, these are experiences of a younger generation...in my generation, we padded our bras with toilet paper, as did a friend right before her 7th grade ballet recital, and her solo was embellished with a long white stream of TP coming from the top of her ballet suit, getting longer and longer as she unknowingly but gracefully twirled into teenage embarrassment Hell.)
This book is a delight, and a tickle and a joy to read. It's both an insight into the younger generation's view of womanhood and of family living, and the continuity of generations of ridiculous situations experienced by mothers while raising children (and husbands.)
Find a copy and let it exercise your tickle bone!
~Enjoy!


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Author: Mark Haddon
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 4422
Review Date: 6/6/2008
Helpful Score: 1


Very well-written book, written from the approach that the writer/speaker is a special-needs teenager, and views the world from that position.

It reads well as a mystery story....and at the same time, would be REALLY interesting to a Special Ed. teacher, or any teacher with special-needs kids. Very interesting book from several angles!


Dakota Born (Dakota, Bk 1)
Dakota Born (Dakota, Bk 1)
Author: Debbie Macomber
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 335
Review Date: 7/17/2014
Helpful Score: 1


The "Dakota Born" book (and whole series) are one of my favorites of Debbie Macomber's. (And that says a lot, because I'm a big fan of most of her writing.)
In "Dakota Born," a single schoolteacher ("city girl" and from the deep South, no less) moves into a failing western town and one-room school, and was not especially welcomed by the discouraged town folk or the single rancher whom she was drawn to.
But because of her dedication to her tiny school, and her way of inspiring both her high school students and the local townspeople with her vivaciousness and her creative ideas, the town begins to perk up again, the community takes pride in their town once more, and the economy picks up.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of town secrets, faltering relationships and teenage angst to keep us involved in the story. I became so invested in Macomber's characters that it was a "hard-to-put-down-er!" and I was thrilled that it was part of a 4-part series, so the storyline continues!
FIVE STARS from me!


Dance Upon The Air (Three Sisters Island, Bk 1)
Dance Upon The Air (Three Sisters Island, Bk 1)
Author: Nora Roberts
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 30
Review Date: 11/4/2008


Magic and romance abound in this first book in one of Nora Robert's most hair-raising trilogies. Three strong women are drawn together to fight against evil...
"Dance Upon the Air" - Book 1
"Heaven and Earth" - Book 2
"Face the Fire" - Book 3


DONT LOOK BACK
DONT LOOK BACK
Author: ILLUSTRATED-MARY ENGLEBREIT
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 8/14/2008


Sweet little book of Mary Englebreit's illustrations.


Family Practice (Silhouette Special Edition, No 1511)
Family Practice (Silhouette Special Edition, No 1511)
Author: Judy Duarte
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 12/10/2010


Family Practice is a good story pivoting around three characters, a doctor whose former wife betrayed him, a young woman who was grew up without a family and feels that she couldn't possibly fit into the life of an educated, affluent doctor...and a child who needs them to work out their "baggage" so they can give him a home....A fairly realistic story of how our past influences our future in ways we need to learn to deal with. A good read.


For the Roses (Claybornes Brides, Bk 1)
For the Roses (Claybornes Brides, Bk 1)
Author: Julie Garwood
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 247
Review Date: 5/30/2010


Great story about the ingenuity, strength and loyalty of children, and romance in the old west. A New York TIMES bestseller!


Four Girls at Chautauqua (Grace Livingston Hill Library, No 9)
Four Girls at Chautauqua (Grace Livingston Hill Library, No 9)
Author: Isabella Alden
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 11/9/2010
Helpful Score: 1


I love Isabella Alden's books for the way she captures personalities, and for the vivid descriptions of life in the late 1800's and early 1900's when her books were written....For those who may not know, she was the Christian author Grace Livingston Hill's beloved "Aunt Pansy" ...who encouraged Grace to write even as a young girl. Grace and Isabella's books have been loved for a century now, and luckily are now in reprint.

Isabella Alden's books are such an interesting picture of life at the turn of the 20th century. Although written from a Christian viewpoint, these are not "goody goody" Christian stories... Mrs. Alden has a keen wit and insight into the various personalities that are true to this day, the spoiled teenager, the poor and proud working girl, parents worrying over a child being influenced by bad companions, the busybodies and gossips of the church, people fighting alcohol and drug addictions....The stories are amazingly relevent to life today.
And much more, she shows how real genuine faith shines forth in a way that helps others in ways we may never even know.

This particular book, FOUR GIRLS AT CHAUTAUQUA, describes the early Chautauqua movement, as a group of young women from different backgrounds go to the camp and hear lectures from the notable guest speakers. Typical of teenagers even a hundred years after the book was written, the girls are disgruntled by the rustic camping conditions, and amused and "above-it-all" about the lectures, and take the adventure as a lark, then slowly become touched by the inspirational teachers.
It's then followed by a book THE CHAUTAUQUA GIRLS AT HOME, which shows what the girls face when they try to take their inspiration home and do some real good for the community, where they face their reputation at home as silly frivolous girls.
How hard to grow up, and how hard to be seen as grown up!
I loved both these books, and recommend them to anyone who is interested this time period, or in the Chautauqua movement!

For those who are interested in authors' lives, both Grace Hill and her Aunt Isabella wrote Bible stories and Christian stories for Sunday School tracts, because they were both daughters of ministers and had married ministers. When Grace's husband died at a young age, leaving the young mother to care for her mother and young daughter, Grace began writing novels to support herself. Then Isabella Alden's minister husband died, and now they had a whole household of women, supporting themselves by writing, sharing their Christian faith and helping each other develop their writing craft. It's wonderful that we are still benefitting from their writing today!


Full Scoop (Full, Bk 6)
Full Scoop (Full, Bk 6)
Author: Janet Evanovich, Charlotte Hughes
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 5/14/2015
Helpful Score: 1


I really enjoyed "Full Scoop."
Having picked this book up, from the middle of a set, I had some catching up to do concerning the characters from previous "Full" books, but I thought the authors handled that very well.
I love the caracters, family, neighbors and friends, and can identify, as will many, with the mother-daughter drama that happens when a bubbley affectionate child becomes a new teen, resentful and disrespectful of her loving mother. and suddenly the "happy home" is full of rebellion and frustration from both generations.
(I like how that was presented from both sides. And who among us can remember how our own mothers embarrassed us at that age?)
Add this side mother-daughter story to a gripping murder mystery, along with humor and romance, and well, I admit, I couldn't put it down. A very fun read.
Now I can't wait to get the rest of the set.


An Honorable Woman (Morgan's Mercenaries: Destiny's Women, Bk 4)
An Honorable Woman (Morgan's Mercenaries: Destiny's Women, Bk 4)
Author: Lindsay McKenna
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 30
Review Date: 12/2/2013


"An Honorable Woman " is from Lindsay Mckenna's "Morgan's Mercenaries: Destiny's Women" series.
A commanding officer on a mission, Cam Anderson falls in love with officer Gus Morales, putting duty and her heart at odds.
Action and romance!
Other books in this series are: "Destiny's Woman," "Woman of Innocence" and "Her Healing Touch."
~ Cactus Patch


Injeanuity (Planet Girl)
Injeanuity (Planet Girl)
Author: Ellen Warwick
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 5/3/2015


"Injeanuity" is a book on clothing and articles made of denim, probably written for teens since it's under the title Planet Girl, but I think anyone who's creative and likes to make creative clothing and accessories would enjoy this.
The ideas are fun and the artwork demonstrating each step of the instructions are clear and helpful.
I especially like the size of the book, a square hardback which is made to lie open with the pages flat, making it easy to keep your place while you are working through the different steps of the projects.
Her projects include everything from little denim purses, cell phone pockets and book covers to slippers and comfortable footrests, all the way to instructions for converting an old pair of jeans to different types of skirts and even bell-bottoms.
(Okay, I admit it, "been there, done that." ) It was fun then, it will be fun for the next generation of women who like to create something new from something old.
Save money! Amaze your friends! Enjoy!


Key of Knowledge (Key, Bk 2)
Key of Knowledge (Key, Bk 2)
Author: Nora Roberts
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 1012
Review Date: 6/6/2008


From Nora Roberts' "Key" trilogy, this includes mystery, and three women on a quest through time and Celtic folklore. Great read!


Lavender Morning (Edilean, Bk 1)
Lavender Morning (Edilean, Bk 1)
Author: Jude Deveraux
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 235
Review Date: 6/21/2010


My favorite of Jude Deveraux's books....I love the characters, because each is so multi-faceted....The main character thinks she understands the men in her life, and her women friends, and then keeps finding a totally opposite side to their nature, and many secrets that are brought out to fill out the puzzle pieces...Which kept my interest throughout the book. A book written on several different levels, that can be interpreted as a simple story, or as I took it, a fairly realistic view of the many family secrets that make up a community, especially in a small southern town.
I am looking forward to the next of the Edilean series!


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