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First Day of Summer Break

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Today is Evan’s first day of summer vacation.  We started off by taking Colin to the bus stop and then Evan played a few computer games while I ran 4 1/4 miles in an hour this morning.  Then it was time for a shower for me and a bath for Evan.  The sun was shining and the weather was warm so I bribed him with a picnic lunch in the park for a trip to Kohl’s.  I wanted to get a few new items for our family photo on Saturday.  We spent 1 1/2 hours at the park and now we are both exhausted!  I was going to stamp but instead the rain clouds are blowing in and Evan and I are cuddling on the couch reading books.  I’ve read a few good books lately and I thought I’d share those with you.  I pick mine up at the local library. 

Alice I Have Been – by Melanie Benjamin

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Benjamin draws on one of the most enduring relationships in children’s literature in her excellent debut, spinning out the heartbreaking story of Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Her research into the lives of Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) and the family of Alice Liddell is apparent as she takes circumstances shrouded in mystery and colors in the spaces to reveal a vibrant and passionate Alice. Born into a Victorian family of privilege, free-spirited Alice catches the attention of family friend Dodgson and serves as the muse for both his photography and writing. Their bond, however, is misunderstood by Alice’s family, and though she is forced to sever their friendship, she is forever haunted by their connection as her life becomes something of a chain of heartbreaks. As an adult, Alice tries to escape her past, but it is only when she finally embraces it that she truly finds the happiness that eluded her. Focusing on three eras in Alice’s life, Benjamin offers a finely wrought portrait of Alice that seamlessly blends fact with fiction. This is book club gold. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Bloodroot – by Amy Greene

From Publishers Weekly
Despite a few vivid moments, this uneven debut, a four-generation Appalachian family epic, loses sight of the intriguing mythology it lays out early on. Though Byrdie Lamb inherited the mystical powers of the “granny women” of her grandmother’s mountain village, she’s failed to protect her family: daughter Clio runs away from Bloodroot Mountain at 17 to get married and is later killed, along with her husband, in a car accident, leaving their daughter, Myra, in Byrdie’s care. And though Byrdie tries to raise Myra right, Myra falls under the spell of an abusive alcoholic. Her children, twins Laura and Johnny, grow up largely in fear, and eventually social workers remove them from their home. As adults, they return for different reasons: she for comfort, he for revenge. Narrated by several members of the Lamb-Odom clan, the narrative initially swirls around the mystery of Byrdie’s powers, but as the story plays out, her gift (or, perhaps, curse) is unfortunately backgrounded by the violence of those who marry into the family and sow ruin. Greene has a sharp eye for combustible moments and a fine ear for dialect, but the follow-through doesn’t do justice to the setup. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

The Heretic’s Wife – by Brenda Rickman Vantrease

Product Description
From the bestselling author of The Illuminator comes a magnificent tale about the power of love and the perils of faith

Tudor England is a perilous place for booksellers Kate Gough and her brother John, who sell forbidden translations of the Bible. Caught between warring factions—English Catholics opposed to the Lutheran reformation, and Henry VIII’s growing impatience with the Pope’s refusal to sanction his marriage to Anne Boleyn—Kate embarks on a daring adventure that will lead her into a dangerous marriage and a web of intrigue that pits her against powerful enemies. From the king’s lavish banquet halls to secret dungeons and the inner sanctums of Thomas More, Brenda Rickman Vantrease’s glorious new novel illuminates the public pageantry and the private passions of men and women of conscience in treacherous times.

If you’ve picked up a good book lately I’d love to hear about it! Reading is one of my favorite hobbies right along with stamping.

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