Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Book Love and Some Blogging Business

Raise Your Hand If You Love Books!

Public Domain Image

Today's post is an exciting one, because I'm going to be talking about one of my favorite subjects....namely, reading! If you are a bibliophile like me, then stick around because I'm going to be sharing some good reads with you. But first......a little blog business. Be patient. This shouldn't take too long. Just relax. 

cat leaning on purple pillow

A few days ago, I decided it would be a good idea to switch my comments from Blogger to Google+. I thought I understood what it meant to do this, but, alas, I did not. So, some folks were not able to leave comments. And others probably noticed that the comment section looked really different. I then decided that I wanted to put things back the way it was and switched back to Blogger comments. But, then I discovered that I have lost the comments that were sent during the two days I was using Google+ commenting. Sigh. So, if you are checking back to see if I responded to your comment or not and you notice that your comment is missing, this explains why. I definitely did not delete your comments on purpose!! I guess as a blogger, I still know just enough to be dangerous! Some of the navigation still confuses me. And since we are talking about leaving comments.....I love each and every comment that is left on my blog! You all are so kind and supportive. I have not been able to figure out a way to respond to your comments on my posts other than to leave a comment on the same post responding to you there. That means if you want to read my response to you, you have to revisit my post and go through the comments until you find what I have said back to you. I know that with some blogs I comment on, the blogger's response to me comes right to my email. I will be honest in saying that I do not know how to make this happen. So, if you would like a more "personal" response you would need to use the email function on my blog from your email address and I can respond to you that way. If you are still OK with just leaving a comment on my post and then coming back to check for my response later, that is OK too. Please, just keep leaving comments, because they make my day!! OK....enough blog business, let's get to the books!

The first of three books I'm going to share with you today is, "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand," by Helen Simonson. To say I loved this book is putting it mildly! From the moment I opened its pages to the final closing of the book, I was mesmerized by the widowed Major Ernest Pettigrew and the gentle yet brave Mrs. Jasmina Ali. This story, which takes place in the British village of Edgecombe St. Mary, has it all. From loneliness in widowhood and the challenges of family relationships to race relations and class systems this book will hold you spellbound from beginning to end and leave you wanting to read more about the characters found within its covers. 

I happened upon this book on a Saturday afternoon spent happily digging through books at a local used bookstore. Although I had never heard of the author before, the storyline seemed appealing and I bought the book only to have it sit on my bookshelf for almost two years! Does that ever happen to you? With my newfound freedom of more time in retirement, I finally pulled it off my shelf and I am so glad I did! Helen Simonson has a way with words and I have already put another book by her on order at our library. If you are interested in that title, it is "The Summer Before the War." 

In much the same way that I was held spellbound by Major Pettigrew, I found "Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman" by Elizabeth Buchan to also be a page turner. The story of Rose Lloyd, who after twenty five years of marriage suddenly finds herself in the throes of a divorce from her unfaithful husband, will keep you riveted to the page as the story flashes back and forth from Rose's present day life to her life as a young woman in love with a restless traveler by the name of Hal. It is a story of love, betrayal, youth, middle age, family relationships and the trials as well as joys that each can bring to life. 

While Major Pettigrew left me wanting more at the end, I have to say that I was glad to finally turn the last page of this book to the end. Not because the writing was poor, because it wasn't at all. Just like Helen Simonson, I found Elizabeth Buchan to have a "way" with words. Her writing and the story itself were excellent. But, I found this book to be somewhat depressing. Although the back cover billed the story as, "A thoughtful, intelligent, funny, coming-of-middle-age story," I didn't find much humor in how Rose was treated in the story....both in her early life with Hal and during her marriage and subsequent divorce from Nathan. I also found many of the family relationships, such as those between Rose's son and daughter with their love interests as well as the relationship between Rose and her mother to be vaguely troubling. Because of this, I recommend this book with some trepidation. The writing is excellent, the story is riveting, but, if you are like me, you may find that when you close its final page that rather than cheering for Rose you are left with a sadness that this kind of thing happens to people in real life. And you hope it never happens to you or to those you love. 

The final book I'll be sharing with you today is a bit different. While Major Pettigrew and Revenge are books that leave you thinking about life....what I call "tea and crumpets" books, "Hazardous Holiday" by Liz Johnson is more of a "Coke and cookies" book. This book was a stocking stuffer gift from my oldest sister for Christmas and is part of the Love Inspired Suspense series from Harlequin. I truly enjoyed this story which features Navy SEAL Zack McCloud and his wife, Kristi and their quest to save their young son from dying. I was surprised at the intense level of adventure found within this story and it truly kept me at the edge of my seat as I read. If you are unfamiliar with the Love Inspired Harlequin series, they are books that are romances with a Christian emphasis within the story. I found Liz Johnson's writing to be very good and the romance and spiritual part of the story was very natural and not "forced" within the story line. I enjoyed this book so much that I went looking for more titles in the series. I couldn't find any of the Navy Seal titles, but I did find three other titles under the Love Inspired Suspense heading and I look forward to reading them. There are LOTS of titles under the Love Inspired Series that are available if you do a search for this series. And please don't think that my terminology of "tea and crumpets" books versus "Coke and cookies" books is a put down of an author's writing or someone's choice of reading material. I happen to LOVE tea, crumpets, Coke and cookies (well, Diet Coke and/or Coke Zero) all the same. It's just some days my taste buds go for one over the other. How about you?!

Image result for public domain images of cats reading books

I hope you enjoy hearing about some new ideas for good reads. Let me know if you choose to read any of these titles. And do share...what have you been reading lately? I can't wait to hear!

Until Next Time,

*Both cat images courtesy of Public Domain Images.


Sharon said...

Just like you, books and reading are some of my favorite things. I read Major Pettigrew's Last Stand a couple of years ago, and I also loved it. Your description fits the book perfectly. I'm so glad to know about the other book by the same author. I will also look for a copy at the library, and then we can compare notes. I enjoyed your post. I'm ready to talk about books anytime.

Karen said...

I love to read. It's a real escape for me! Isn't the Major Pettigrew part of a whole series? I'm currently waiting for the next installment of the Bregdan Chronicles. I've read the first 9 books in the series and truly have enjoyed them. I'm going to check out Major Pettigrew! Glad to know I wasn't doing something wrong when leaving comments recently! 😉

Debbie Styles Life said...

Hi Sharon:
I think you will really enjoy the Major Pettigrew book. Let me know what you think if you read it.

Debbie Styles Life said...

Hi Karen:
No, you weren't doing anything wrong at all with the comments....I just don't know what I'm doing sometimes! I keep learning, though. I don't know if Major Pettigrew is part of a series or not. I wish it was because I would love to read more! I believe there is a Major Pettigrew website I'm going to check out. I will need to look for the Bregdan Chronicles. I haven't heard of that series. Thanks for letting me know about it!

A Crafty Mix said...

I love they way you review books Debbie, you make me want to rush out and get them on my Kindle straight away. Major Pettigrew's last stand sounds lovely, I think I'll add that one to the top of my list for March. Thank you

Debbie Styles Life said...

Thank you, Michelle! I hope you enjoy reading Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. I think you will. Have a great day!

Debbie Styles Life said...

Oh wow, Marilyn, that is great news. Thank you! Can't wait for Sunday to see the feature!!

Anonymous said...

Always on the look out for new books to read. Thanks for the suggestions.