Posted by: cathycrane11 | March 25, 2011

>Words We All Should Live By

>Treat others the way you would like to be treated. It really doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that.

I just saw this on another blog and I could not resist posting on mine. I remember my mom telling me this often when I was a little girl.

Posted by: cathycrane11 | March 19, 2011

>2011 Amish Reading Challenge – Secrets of Harmony Grove

>Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Original edition (October 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736926259
ISBN-13: 978-0736926256Editorial Reviews

Product Description
From the bestselling author of Shadows of Lancaster County comes an exciting new romantic mystery set in Amish country. Sienna Collins, owner of the Harmony Grove Bed & Breakfast in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, learns that she is under investigation by the federal government for crimes she knows nothing about. A few hours later she finds her ex-boyfriend, Troy, dead, and her life and livelihood begin to spin wildly out of control. She begins to doubt everyone around her, even the handsome detective assigned to the case. As Sienna tries to clear her name, she is forced to depend on her faith, the wisdom of the Amish, and the insight of the man she has recently begun dating. She’ll need all the help she can get, because the secrets she uncovers in Harmony Grove end up threatening not just her bed-and-breakfast, but also her credibility, her believes, and ultimately her life.

My thoughts on Secrets of Harmony Grove by Mindy Starns Clark

1st Sentence: A large yellow Post-It-Note clung to my office door, its message scrawled out in letters big enough to read from several feet away Sienna, Ric and Jon need to see you in Ric’s office the minute you get in.

This was just the beginning of trouble for Sienna, a successful marketing executive, who thought she was on top of the world until she finds out that she is being investigated by the Attorney General. Her life is totaling spinning out of control at this point.

I have always had a fascination with the Amish and their culture. I have read other Amish novels such as Plain Truth by Jody Picoult and Amish Grace by Donald B Kraybill and Steven M Nolt. I have never been interested in Nancy Drew mysteries, which Secrets of Harmony Grove is everything but. When prompted to read Secrets of Harmony Grove for an on-line reading group, my interest was piqued again. This is the 1st novel by Mindy Starns Clark that I have read, and will definitely read more.

I really enjoy a novel where the characters come to life for me. I felt that the author did a good job of developing Sienna throughout the book. First when Sienna was sitting in a prestigious office in Philly being told she was under investigation by the Attorney General, her recount of the violent attack put upon her 10 years prior, to her better understanding of what was important to her at the end of the novel. The other characters such as Floyd (whom I did not like very much at all, Liesal, Jonah, Mike Weissbaum (town detective)Emory(Abe’s 1st born, and mentally challenged son)Burl Newton (whom I disliked more than Floyd, and Heath were all believable characters to me.

In my opinion, the title of the book was very fitting to the plot of the story. There are many secrets that Sienna discovers. Mindy Starns Clark gave us a murder, money laundering, cock-fighting, and gambling, and the search for diamonds hidden in this Bed and Breakfast in Lancaster County. Sienna is faced with not only discovering the illegal activities going on behind her back at the B & B, but secrets surrounding her grandfather Amos (an Amish man turned soldier and the original owner of the B & B), his 1st wife’s (German Jewish women) telling of what happened during the Holocaust, through her journals left behind. This passage in the book was a somber remembrance of our family visit to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, which left an indelible insight as what Daphne must have endured.

There was only one part in the book that was a little far fetched and unbelievable for me and that was the “Cassowary”. If you get the chance to read this book, you can decide.

Because of the action packed plot to this novel and the life lessons from the Amish we all need to consider at times, I am giving this novel an A-. I would recommend this book to anyone who really enjoys a GREAT mystery.

Posted by: cathycrane11 | March 18, 2011

>Book Beginnings

I will be participating in Book Beginning thanks to Becky at Page Turners. I think this could be alot of fun. I am just finishing up Secrets at Harmony Grove by Mindy Starns Clark. I haven’t decided what I will be reading yet. There are so many books on my TBR list

Posted by: cathycrane11 | March 14, 2011

What I am reading now

I am about half way thru Secrets of Harmony Grove by Mindy Starns Clark.  I am really enjoying this Amish mystery.  My review will be posted by the end of the week if not sooner.

Happy Reading


Posted by: cathycrane11 | March 12, 2011

>Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scaargrave Manor

>Original Language: English
Publisher: Bantam Books
Country: USA
Publication Date: 1996
ISBN: 055310196X
Page Count: 289 For everyone who loves Jane Austen…a marvelously entertaining new series that turns the incomparable author into an extraordinary sleuth!

From the Inside Cover: On a visit to the estate of her friend, the young and beautiful Isobel Payne, Countess of Scargrave, Jane bears witness to a tragedy. Isobel’s husband–a gentleman of mature years–is felled by a mysterious and agonizing ailment. The Earl’s death seems a cruel blow of fate for the newly married Isobel. Yet the bereaved widow soon finds that it’s only the beginning of her misfortune…as she receives a sinister missive accusing her and the Earl’s nephew of adultery–and murder. Desperately afraid that the letter will expose her to the worst sort of scandal, Isobel begs Jane for help. And Jane finds herself embroiled in a perilous investigation that will soon have her following a trail of clues that leads all the way to Newgate Prison and the House of Lords–a trail that may well place Jane’s own person in the gravest jeopardy.

Quote: “There is something so INEVITABLE about seven-and-twenty; it is decidedly on the wrong side of the decade for a lady, particularly an unmarried one.
— Stephanie Barron (Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave ManorT

My Review: This is the first in the series of Jane Austen Mysteries, and done with Jane as the narrator. Jane visits her friend Isobel Payne in Hertfordshire after Jane’s broken engagement to Mr Bigg-Wither. Jane is unaware that a murder will take place and she will be asked to help Isobel clear her name.

Unfortunately this was not one of my favorite books. I love a good mystery and historical fiction, but this story did not flow smoothly for me. I found myself going back and forth trying to keep the characters straight in my mind, and bogged down with some of the verbiage in this novel. The one thing I liked were the footnotes. They really helped with the clarity.

Because I love the Jane Austen era I think I may change this challenge and read more of the modern day Jane Austen such as Austerland, Mr Darcy Takes A Wife and Mr. & Mrs. Darcy. I am giving this book a C-

Posted by: cathycrane11 | March 2, 2011

>Cathy’s Book Reviews: Saffron Dreams by Shaila Abudullah

>Cathy's Book Reviews: Saffron Dreams by Shaila Abudullah

This is the article that I mentioned in my review.

Posted by: cathycrane11 | February 27, 2011

>Saffron Dreams by Shaila Abudullah

>Hardcover: 248 pages
Publisher: Modern History Press; 1st edition (January 12, 2009)
Language: English

Another lovely novel. I really enjoy stories that I know are fiction but the author leaves you with something to think about when the story ends. This is how the story started out for me. This story is from the perspective of an ordinary muslim women affected by the 9/11 tragedy.

This story starts out with young women(Arissa) from Pakistan in the process of an arranged marriage. Arissa is a planner and thought she had her life all planned out until one tragic day. She is faced with her husband being killed in the 9-11 tragedy. She is now a widow faced with emotional survival; a muslim victim. She is also faced with what her faith really means to her. All Arissa wants besides her loving husband, is to be accepted in a society where society blames her. Added to all that, she is pregnant with a Special Needs child and will have to raise this child alone.

I enjoyed how Shaila Abudullah uses fashbacks of Arissa’s childhood, giving us the opportunity to see how her childhood and her relationship with her husband Faizan prior to the attack, and not only her relationship with her own mother, but with her husbands parents will affect her survival and her forgiveness. The author, Shaila Abudullah shows us how strong of a mom (person) Arissa becomes while dealing with all the challenges she faces with her son faces with special needs, which was very heartfelt to me. I found myself really routing for Arissa and just wanting the best for her.

After doing some research, I found that the author was inspired to write this novel by a real-life family. I included the link for anyone who is interested. This article written by Rekha Baslu actually brought tears to my eyes,

I am giving this novel an B. I enjoyed this author that I am adding her previous novel “Beyond The Cayenne Wall” to my TBR pile.

Posted by: cathycrane11 | February 27, 2011

>Elizabeth Strout

>Elizabeth Strout

Posted by: cathycrane11 | February 26, 2011

>My TBR Pile is full for the month of March starting with

Shaila Abudallah Saffron Dreams …………….FINISHED
Stephanie Baron Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scar
Mindy Starns Clark Secrets of Harmony Grove
Prue Leith Choral Society
Katherine Rasmin If You Knew Susie
Kathryn Stockett Help
Edward Rutherford New York
FLAVORS by Emily Sue Harvey(just added 3/3/11)

Here’s hoping I can read, enjoy and review all of the above by the end of March


Posted by: cathycrane11 | February 25, 2011

>Galileo’s Daughter

Well as I said, I was going to give this book the 50 page rule (25%-Kindle). I read to 25% and the story still did not pick up for me. Before giving up on this book, I read some reviews to see if I was missing something. The reviews that I read all stated that this was actually about Galileo’s life and not alot (except for letters his daughter wrote) about his daughters. I have never really enjoyed Science or Astronomy. There are just so many other books out there and other challenges I am involved with, that it was time to say “Not Now” I still have this book saved on my Kindle, so that maybe later I will go back to “Galileo’s Daughter. This is not to say that I wouldn’t read another Dava Sobel book.

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