The Northeast Quarter

Product DetailsThe Northeast Quarter
By S.M. Harris
Wheatmark
Retail Price: $20.95

Book Description:  Winfield, Iowa, 1918. Colonel Wallace Carson, the ruler of a vast agricultural empire, asks Ann Hardy, his ten-year-old granddaughter and eventual heir, to promise she will safeguard The Northeast Quarter, the choice piece of land from which the empire was founded. Ann readily accepts — little knowing what awaits her. When the Colonel is killed unexpectedly the same afternoon, the world around Ann and her family begins to fall apart. Against the background of America sliding from a post war boom into the Great Depression, The Northeast Quarter tells the story of Ann’s struggle to keep a promise no matter what. She witnesses the remarriage of her grandmother to Royce Chamberlin, the seemingly humble banker who institutes a reign of terror over the household and proceeds to corrupt the entire town. Over the next ten years Ann matches wits with Chamberlin, enduring betrayal, banishment, and even physical violence. She grows from a precocious child into a tough-minded young woman — watching, observing her enemy, and waiting for the moment to make her move. And when the moment comes in July 1929, life in Winfield will never be the same.

Review

This was a very interesting historical novel set in the early part of the twentieth century in America’s heartland.  It gives you a glimpse into the era of the Great Depression and the troubles people faced surrounding it.  The book was quite long, which made it a bit daunting, but as I read it I found it easy to read on and really quite enjoyable.  I loved the character of Ann and what she brought to the table.  All in all I would recommend this book as an interesting read.

~Reviewed by Connie S.

    A Woman’s Guide to the Wild

    A Woman’s Guide to the Wild: Your Complete Outdoor Manual
    By Ruby McConnell
    Sasquatch Books
    Retail Price:  $18.95
    Amazon Price: $13.15

    Book Description:  For women who enjoy hiking, camping, backpacking, and other outdoor recreation or those inspired by Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, this is the definitive guide to being a woman in the great outdoors. This friendly handbook covers the matters of most concern to women, from “feminine functions” in the wilderness to how to deal with condescending men, as well as the basics of wilderness survival tailored to women’s unique needs. It includes gear lists in addition to advice for camp setup, fire building, food and water, safety, weather, and navigation.

    Review

    This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It is not only instructive, but entertaining.  The author carefully points out what actions a woman in the wilderness must take to not only survive but enjoy her wilderness experience.  You can tell that McConnell loves the wilderness and wants to share her knowledge with other women to equip them reconnect with nature.

    This book is very thorough, giving you not only guidelines but lists on what to bring, how to stay safe, first aid, dealing with weather, how to set up camp including your cooking area, and much more.  Yet is is small enough to put in your pack so you can reference it while out hiking or camping.

    If you are new to the wilderness experience, this book is definitely one you will want to read and even study.

    ~Reviewed by Tricia C.

     

      Smart Mom Rich Mom

      Product DetailsSmart Mom, Rich Mom: How to Build Wealth While Raising a Family
      by Kimberly Palmer
      AMACOM
      Retail Price:  $14.95
      Amazon Price:  $6.94

      Book Description:   Of all life’s financial shocks, few compare to bringing home an infant. Just one tiny person costs $250,000 to raise– not including college! How will you pay for it? That agonizing question fuels mothers’ choices about their careers, budgets, and families. Some lean in, some scale back or seek new opportunities–there are no easy answers . . . but lots of rewarding possibilities. “Smart Mom, Rich Mom” explores how women today are navigating the financially challenging career/parenting years. Written by a national money columnist and mom of two, the book chronicles people who have stayed in the game–full-time, freelance, self-employed, and more–and emerged more prosperous and empowered. “Smart Mom, Rich Mom” mines their experiences to uncover both career advice and spending and savings strategies that everyone can use. Stories, checklists, action steps, planning tools, and more explain how to:

      – Prepare financially for parenthood–whether you’re expecting your first child or your third

      – Balance thrift with generating income and investing wisely

      – Find flexibility at work while safeguarding your earning potential

      – Save for both college and retirement despite increased expenses

      – Plan for unexpected events, like a layoff or illness

      – And much more

      Kids change our lives, adding joy but draining bank accounts. “Smart Mom, Rich Mom” helps you adopt healthy habits–and make hard decisions–that pay off in abundance.

      Review

      This is a fantastic book for mom’s who not only want to stay in the game, but make the best financial decisions for their family.  While I am an “empty nester”, I lead a group of entrepreneurial women in a monthly class. Most of them are young mom’s trying their best to take care of their kids and still contribute financially to their household.  I purchased this book for them to read and was very pleased with it.  I wish I had this advice when I was a young mom. It’s direct, applicable and gives practical advice for mothers on how to be smart about money. Thrift is the best use of all your resources — including money AND time — so mommy savings tips need to expand from coupon-clipping and into longer-term investments.  Moms can feel overwhelmed thinking about and planning for the future, but the author makes it “doable” by sharing her own experience, while also drawing on others’ stories.  The best part is that you can walk away from this book with clear ideas about how to take better ownership of your family’s finances. This is  must-read for women, mom’s and mom’s-to-be and even an old timer like me found so much to learn!

      ~Reviewed by Allie B.

        Dry Bones

        Product DetailsDry Bones
        by Craig Johnson
        Penguin Books
        Retail Price:  $16
        Amazon Price: $13

        Book Description:  The latest installment of Craig Johnson’s New York Times bestselling Longmire series—the basis for LONGMIRE, the hit drama series on Netflix

        Craig Johnson’s The Highwayman is now available from Viking
         
        When Jen, the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found surfaces in Sherriff Walt Longmire’s jurisdiction, it appears to be a windfall for the High Plains Dinosaur Museum—until Danny Lone Elk, the Cheyenne rancher on whose property the remains were discovered, turns up dead, floating face down in a turtle pond. With millions of dollars at stake, a number of groups step forward to claim her, including Danny’s family, the tribe, and the federal government. As Wyoming’s Acting Deputy Attorney and a cadre of FBI officers descend on the town, Walt is determined to find out who would benefit from Danny’s death, enlisting old friends Lucian Connolly and Omar Rhoades, along with Dog and best friend Henry Standing Bear, to trawl the vast Lone Elk ranch looking for answers to a sixty-five-million-year-old cold case that’s heating up fast.

        Review

        As a book reviewer, I’m always on the lookout for the next big thing, the kind of author with so much talent and drive that anyone who buys one of their works will be back the next day to buy the rest.  Craig Johnson is a new voice that I believe is the “next big thing” as is seen by his books being turned into a Netflix series.  I love the main character. Longmire is a likeable, gruff and very decent character and the reader is drawn effortlessly into his world.  Johnson skillfully immerses the reader in the rhythms and mores of the West, smoothly integrating history and folklore.  While this latest installment is Book 10 and can be read independantly of the others, I recommend reading the entire series.  You won’t regret it!

        ~Reviewed by Don M.

          Dinner with Edward

          Product DetailsDinner with Edward
          By Isabel Vincent
          Algonquin Books
          Retail Price: $23.95
          Amazon Price: $14.25

          Book Description:  When Isabel meets Edward, both are at a crossroads: he wants to follow his late wife to the grave, and she is ready to give up on love. Thinking she is merely helping Edward’s daughter–who lives far away and has asked her to check in on her nonagenarian dad in New York–Isabel has no idea that the man in the kitchen baking the sublime roast chicken and light-as-air apricot soufflé will end up changing her life.

          As Edward and Isabel meet weekly for the glorious dinners that Edward prepares, he shares so much more than his recipes for apple galette or the perfect martini, or even his tips for deboning poultry. Edward is teaching Isabel the luxury of slowing down and taking the time to think through everything she does, to deconstruct her own life, cutting it back to the bone and examining the guts, no matter how messy that proves to be.

          Dinner with Edward is a book about love and nourishment, and about how dinner with a friend can, in the words of M. F. K. Fisher, “sustain us against the hungers of the world.”

          Review

          Maybe it is the fact that I am well into mid-life and my parents have aged and I am dealing with the reality of loneliness after death, but this book reached deep into my very soul.
          It is touching, heart-felt, and endearing. It makes you realize just how precious life is and how important it is to cultivate friendships both now and as we age. This book is well written and the story is laid out in such a fashion that it is easy to follow. I liked that the chapters were short, which made it flow easily.  The characters were life-like and very approachable.  You took them into your heart and made them friends.  They were intellectual and charming.  If you are a foodie, you will love the food parts of the book as they are described in such a way that you may find yourself heading for the kitchen yourself.  This book was a pleasure to read and it touched my heart.  It will stay with you long after you read it.

          ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

            The Soul of Discretion

            Product DetailsThe Soul of Discretion
            By Susan Hill
            The Overlook Press
            Retail Price: $15.95
            Amazon Price:$13.26

            Book Description: 

            In the eighth of the critically acclaimed Simon Serrailler series, the Chief Superintendent is faced with worse crimes than ever, and the town of Lafferton is left reeling

            Susan Hill―the Man Booker Prize nominee and winner of the Whitbread, Somerset Maugham, and John Llewellyn Rhys awards―returns with a gripping new novel, the latest chapter in one of the most acclaimed mystery series of our time.

            When Simon Serrailler is called in by Lafferton’s new Chief Constable, he is met by two plainclothes officers who ask him to take the principal role in a difficult, potentially dangerous undercover operation. He must leave town immediately, without telling anyone―not even his girlfriend Rachel, who has only just moved in with him. To complete his special operation, Simon must inhabit the mind of the worst kind of criminal. This takes its toll on Simon and― as the investigation unfolds―also on the town and some of its most respected citizens.

            Review

            This is an intriguing series.   While I recommend that you start from the very beginning (you won’t be sorry!), this book can be read independently.  As you pop open the cover and begin reading, you quickly become aware that this author is extremely intelligent with a very sensitive heart.  The range of her sympathy and the depth of her moral concern is very apparent. Her novels are always entertaining combining good plots with well-drawn characters and intelligent probing of the way we live now.  This book is hugely enjoyable and very satisfying.  If you love a good mystery, you will want to pick up a copy today!

            ~Reviewed by Jared M.

              Back in the Game

              Product DetailsBack in the Game: My Year of Dating Dangerously
              By Kelly Green
              Lioncrest Publishing
              Price: $14.99

              Book Description:  When your marriage fails, you have a choice. You can curl up on the couch with a tub of ice-cream and wallow in self-pity…or you can pick yourself up and search for a better life with a better man. Kelly Green was faced with this choice. She was the quintessential American wife and working mother of four small children. She had it all and did it all; her hobbies were interior decorating, Pilates, school fundraisers, and book clubs – basically, all the stuff women think they’re “supposed” to do. Then her “perfect” world was rocked by betrayal and divorce…and Kelly threw out her ice cream, put on a sexy dress, and spent a year re-discovering what it was really like to live. She partied with and dated Hollywood’s A-list, powerful Wall Street traders, elite art collectors, Argentinian polo players and chart-topping indie rock stars. Her road to recovering her self-esteem was paved with late nights, wild flings and rare company. Through it all, Kelly questioned everything she thought she knew about marriage, love and settling for the quiet routines of suburban motherhood. Told with unflinching honesty, her debut memoir is the bare-all story of a headstrong woman in search of a better inner life – with or without a better man.

              Review

              This book was  a bit riské for my taste and I often found myself thinking, “But what about the children…”  Even though I didn’t live my life this way even as a young divorced woman with small children, I still found this book well written and entertaining.  And even though I don’t agree with her philosophy of life, I did find she made some valid points, was completely honest about her journey, and that I did pick up on several life lessons that I could apply to my own life, even now.  So  I do give it five stars because it was a very good read.

              ~Reviewed by Sally M.

                Clearing the Emotional Clutter

                Product DetailsClearing Emotional Clutter
                By Donald Altman
                New World Library
                Retail Price: $15.96
                Amazon Price: $11.37

                Book Description:  A Fresh Start to a Healthy Emotional Life

                Is emotional clutter blocking success in your personal and professional life? You’ve likely heard about the psychological benefits of clearing out the clutter in your surroundings, but how do you handle your emotional clutter — the psychological version of the jam-packed closet or impenetrable garage? Shutting away and trying to hide old pains and traumas creates toxic patterns that can keep you from having the life of your dreams. Integrating mindfulness and cutting-edge neuroscience, international mindfulness expert Donald Altman teaches how to modify entrenched habits and patterns with only a few minutes of attention daily.

                Altman first helps you realize what your baggage consists of and how to transform or jettison it. He then shows how to avoid the daily danger of accumulating new emotional clutter. No matter how fraught your life or relationships may be, you can cleanse, heal, or accept the old wounds, mistakes, and disappointments. With Altman’s lifestyle tools, you’ll discover how to address your past, better deal with the present, and cultivate the best possible future. Start fresh with Clearing Emotional Clutter.

                Review

                This is a wonderful resource that will teach you how to live a stress free life. The author does an amazing job at bringing awareness to all the unnecessary negativity that’s often running our lives without us realizing it. And he provides detailed steps, strategies, and tools on how to get rid of stress, eliminate distractions and stay focused, keep healthy relationships, stay organized and calmed, and much more. If you want to learn how to live a peaceful, happy life, this book will help you achieve that.

                ~Reviewed by Jenna L.

                  The Opposite of Comfortable

                  Product DetailsThe Opposite of Comfortable
                  By Sharon Nir
                  Viki Press
                  Retail Price: $13.95

                  Book Description: 

                  Sharon Nir, a young mother and successful businesswoman, is faced with the most difficult decision of her life; should she abandon her career and her place of birth, Tel Aviv, to follow her husband, who has been offered a once in a lifetime opportunity – a surgical fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City?In this heart-breaking and riveting memoir, Sharon shares her difficult but extraordinary journey of discovery: from her move to New York City, where she experiences loneliness and the shock of not having a career and the traumatic events of 9/11, to her return to Israel, the difficult relocation to Jerusalem and the discovery of a challenge her son has to face, through the baffling and grueling process of legal immigration in the United States, a journey that will force Sharon to question every certitude. What does it mean to lead a full life for a woman in the 21st century? The Opposite of Comfortable seeks to answer this difficult question while celebrating the strength and resilience of the female spirit.

                  Review

                  This was a very interesting memoir by a modern day woman who had to make some life altering choices for both her and her family.  Nir was strong and brave and best of all she is very REAL.  We don’t often get a glimpse into the heart and mind of another person, the author not only tears down the walls, but opens the front door inviting us into her experiences.  I thought this was a thought provoking, worthwhile  read.

                   

                   

                    Be REBELLIOUS

                    Be Rebellious: Fight Back Against a Culture that Doesn't Care About YouBe REBELLIOUS
                    By Megan Clinton
                    Worthy
                    Retail Price $14.99
                    Amazon Price: $13.21

                    Book Description:

                    Why are we trying so hard to fit in when God created us to stand out?Many of us have been tricked into believing that life is all about starving yourself into a size 0, wearing sexy clothes, and snagging a hot guy. We measure our worth by the number of our followers on social media or “likes” on our digitally enhanced selfies.We shape our lives around these lies, unaware that we’re on a pathway to brokenness and destruction: Eating disorders. Depression. Addiction. Abuse.We may think we are “rebelling” by breaking the rules of our parents’ generation—but the reality is, we’re anything but rebellious. Instead, we’re slaves to our culture, desperate to fit in.But we don’t have to live this way. We have a choice.

                    Do you want to make a difference and change the world? Then take your heart and life back from a culture that doesn’t care about you! Grab hold of the truth that your value isn’t based on your relationship status or dress size—it’s based on who you are.

                     

                    In Be Rebellious, Megan Clinton shows you inspiring and practical ways to be the woman God created you to be. Through her own experiences and biblical teaching, she encourages you to embrace your true beauty and to run toward God.

                    It’s time to for this generation to rebel against modern-day culture . . . and live free!

                    Review

                    This is a fantastic book for both younger and older women alike.  We are often sucked into aligning ourselves with the culture and trying to fit in.  Clinton reminds us that we are called to stand with God, regardless of popular opinion and trend.  If we want to reach others for God, we need to learn who we are, how we are gifted, and where God is calling us to reach others for him.  This was an inspiring call to action for women of all ages.

                    ~Reviewed by  Rosie B.