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Apr 28, 2013

TSS: Not Just Books in my Mailbox

The Sunday   
Visit Svea's blog at The Muse in The Fog Book Review to link up your Sunday posts; Suddenly Sunday is a weekly event hosted by Svea whose purpose is to share all the exciting events that have occurred on your blog throughout the week.

April is almost gone! Whew that was fast!
I wanted to share this awesome family heirloom that my first cousin once removed sent to me - it arrived in my mailbox safe and sound (hence my blog post title!).. it is a framed print of the Our Father prayer, with the Ten Commandments illustrated around it. It belonged to Mary Rutterman Gardner Trueman (1886 - 1968), who was my father's paternal grandmother:

Her family had come over to America from Germany.  My father's maternal family had come from Ireland.. interesting how America is such a melting pot isn't it? Such a story it is for these immigrant ancestors of ours.
Mary married my great grandfather Charles Gardner and gave him three children but then he went and wrapped a car around a tree in 1922 and killed himself. Mary was forced to remarry for the sake of her children's financial welfare - it has been said that it was not a very happy marriage but I can't say for sure. This husband had recently arrived from England in 1921. What a story there is to tell as she blended her German roots with his English ones, I wish I knew more. But I certainly have the makings for my own novel, as I have been tracing my ancestors for the last fifteen years.

According to my cousin who graciously passed this print to me, it used to be above the light switch in Great Grandma's bedroom on Church Street in Kings Park, New York. Now forty-five years since her death, here it is in my humbled hands in Texas. It is in my kitchen for now, but once I get it rematted and reframed it will be too big for that spot and I will find a better spot in the house. For now, I shall enjoy it in all its glory many times a day as it peers at me from its perch in the kitchen. I have a special bond with this great grandmother I've never met - she had so much hardship I cannot even imagine. I wish I had been able to meet her, but I came along five years after her death. The rumor is that I resemble her, and that ain't a bad thing.
Great Grandma Mary and then plain old me

Mailbox Monday is a meme originally from Marcia's Mailbox and is being hosted by Mari @ MariReads for this month. The Story Siren also hosts IMM, so we can find some cool YA titles there as well.

In the Mail:
April 2013
I admit this was one of those gorgeous chunky hardcovers that totally made me want to sit down and read right away. There are pictures in the middle, too!! I've always wanted to read more about America before our Civil War - it seems there are tons of books on the civil war - and this book looks awesome. It's non-fiction but supposedly reads quite well.

American Phoenix: John Quincy and Louisa Adams, the War of 1812, and the Exile that Saved American Independence by Jane Hampton Cook

John Quincy and Louisa Adams's unexpected journey that changed everything.
"American Phoenix" is the sweeping, riveting tale of a grand historic adventure across forbidding oceans and frozen tundra--from the bustling ports and towering birches of Boston to the remote reaches of pre-Soviet Russia, from an exile in arctic St. Petersburg to resurrection and reunion among the gardens of Paris. Upon these varied landscapes this Adams and his Eve must find a way to transform their banishment into America's salvation.

Author, historian, and national media commentator Jane Hampton Cook breathes life into once-obscure history, weaving a meticulously researched biographical tapestry that reads like a gripping novel. With the arc and intrigue of Shakespearean drama in a Jane Austen era, "American Phoenix" is a timely yet timeless addition to the recent renaissance of works on the founding Adams family, from patriarchs John and Abigail to the second-generation of John Quincy and Louisa and beyond.

Cook has crafted not only a riveting narrative but also an easy-to-understand history filled with fly-on-the-wall vignettes from 1812 and its hardscrabble, freedom-hungry people. While unveiling vivid portrayals of each character--a colorful assortment of heroes and villains, patriots and pirates, rogues and rabble-rousers--she paints equally fresh, intimate portraits of both John Quincy and Louisa Adams. Cook artfully reveals John Quincy's devastation after losing the job of his dreams, battle for America's need to thrive economically, and sojourn to secure his homeland's survival as a sovereign nation. She reserves her most detailed brushstrokes for the inner struggles of Louisa, using this quietly inspirational woman's own words to amplify her fears, faith, and fortitude along a deeply personal, often heart-rending journey. Cook's close-up perspective shows how this American couple's Russian destination changed US destiny.
May 7, 2013

Royal Mistress by Anne Easter Smith
Jane Lambert, the quick-witted and alluring daughter of a silk merchant, is twenty-two and still unmarried. When Jane’s father finally finds her a match, she’s married off to the dull, older silk merchant William Shore—but her heart belongs to another. Marriage doesn’t stop Jane Shore from flirtation, however, and when the king’s chamberlain and friend, Will Hastings, comes to her husband’s shop, Will knows his King will find her irresistible.

Edward IV has everything: power, majestic bearing, superior military leadership, a sensual nature, and charisma. And with Jane as his mistress, he also finds true happiness. But when his hedonistic tendencies get in the way of being the strong leader England needs, his life, as well as that of Jane Shore and Will Hastings, hang in the balance. This dramatic tale has been an inspiration to poets and playwrights for 500 years, and told through the unique perspective of a woman plucked from obscurity and thrust into a life of notoriety, Royal Mistress is sure to enthrall today’s historical fiction lovers as well. 

 From Paperbackswap 

a dingy beat up copy that I'd had on my wishlist foreVVer..
So now I have four of the five. Perhaps it is time I sink my teeth in and read one or two before I buy any others. I started collecting these long before I started to want to use Tudor novels as firewood.

Spring, 1543. King Henry VIII is wooing Lady Catherine Parr, whom he wants for his sixth wife. But this time the object of his affections is resisting. Archbishop Cranmer and the embattled Protestant faction at court are watching keenly, for Lady Catherine is known to have reformist sympathies.

Matthew Shardlake, meanwhile, is working on the case of a teenage boy, a religious maniac locked in the Bedlam hospital for the insane. Should he be released to his parents, when his terrifying actions could lead to him being burned as a heretic?

When an old friend is horrifically murdered Shardlake promises his widow, for whom he has long had complicated feelings, to bring the killer to justice. His search leads him to both Cranmer and Catherine Parr - and with the dark prophecies of the Book of Revelation.

As London's Bishop Bonner prepares a purge of Protestants Shardlake, together with his assistant, Jack Barak, and his friend, Guy Malton, follow the trail of a series of horrific murders that shake them to the core, and which are already bringing frenzied talk of witchcraft and a demonic possession - for what else would the Tudor mind make of a serial killer . . .?

The Shield of Honor by Gilbert Morris
Two families—the Wakefields of nobility and the lower-class Morgans—are the focus of this sweeping generational saga, joined by intriguing personalities such as Elizabeth I, William Tyndale, and John Bunyan. Linking the people and events through the ages is the struggle of men and women who sought God as the answer to their difficulties. #3: Shield of Honor This third book of the series depicts the English civil war, Charles I, and Cromwell as it continues the story of the Wakefield and Morgan families.

Featured eBook Download:
Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Sixteen Civil War widows living in St. Louis respond to a series of meetings conducted by a land speculator who lures them west by promising "prime homesteads" in a "booming community." Unbeknownst to them, the speculator's true motive is to find an excuse to bring women to the fledging community of Plum Grove, Nebraska, in hopes they will accept marriage proposals shortly after their arrival! Sparks fly when these unsuspecting widows meet the men who are waiting for them. These women are going to need all the courage and faith they can muster to survive these unwanted circumstances--especially when they begin to discover that none of them is exactly who she appears to be.

The What Are You Reading meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we keep track of what we are currently reading and plan to read.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Read/Reviewed last week
Reviewed on the blog this week:

After finishing the above titles, my Goodreads Goal is looking pretty fabulous:

You have read 25 books toward your goal of 50 books.
Awesome, you're 11 books (20%) ahead of schedule!

I love that Goodreads also shows Page Count, and that's what is going to intrigue me the most when it comes to the end of the year.

These last four months I've read 9691 pages within those tallied 26 books, but as soon as I completed the bible Saturday morning that will add another 2000 pages to that tally, making it close to 12,000 pages read by the end of April!

Am I fantastic or what? So dang proud of my bible plan and partners. Dang Mike jumped ahead and finished a week ahead of time, boo on him, lol! And then Melanie slid into second place, so I guess I'll have to settle for the bronze lowly last place medal. We originally planned to start as a a great big group, but just we three remained. The M group. I am starting over in 2014 with a Chronological bible.

I read the NKJV Study Bible in 178 days. I highly recommend it, and you can purchase it on Amazon.

Currently Reading
Swept Away by Mary Connealy (Trouble in Texas book one)
I have seen several of her titles all over the place but have yet to read one. She has written several series and I don't jump into the middle of series ever, so when I saw that this one was the first book in yet another series I figured now is as good a time as any to hop on board. And since it's Texas based, even better! It started off with some drama, so I hope that continues!

It Happened at The Fair by Deeanne Gist
This novel is fun because it has photos of the Chicago World's Fair from 1890's in it! Very cool! The hero Cullen I can only imagine as being one tasty nugget of a man... judging from Della's reaction to him:

"Blood rushed through her veins. He was magnificent. As beautifully formed as any sculpture on the entire grounds of the fair. She squeezed the stair rail. Would his chest have the same texture as his arms? {....}Oh, she could see. She could see just fine."

And with that interesting thought, I shall leave you lovely ladies to ponder.