books I've read

Anne Hawn's books

Who Moved My Cheese?
If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans
Scientific Secrets for Self-Control
Just One Damned Thing After Another
The Vanishing
Exercises in Knitting
The Good Dream
The Very Best of Edgar Allan Poe
The Chosen
BT-Kids' Knits
Talking God
The Professor
The Christmas Files
The Finisher
Home Decor for 18-Inch Dolls: Create 10 Room Settings with Furniture and 15 Outfits with Accessories
Dracula and Other Stories
A New Song
All Quiet on the Western Front
File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents

Anne Hawn Smith's favorite books »

I'm reading 150 Books

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Moor

The Moor (Mary Russell, #4)The Moor by Laurie R. King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this in stops and starts, but it still hung together very well.  Laurie King really captures the Sherlock Holmes that Doyle presented and the character of Mary Russell is believable and a complement to Holmes.

In this book, Baskerville Hall is revisited because of mysterious sights of a hound and a spectral carriage which was seen on the moor.  When a person turns up dead, a local rector, an actual person, calls in Sherlock Holmes.  There is a new owner of Baskerville Hall and he has a mysterious secretary with him.

The plot twists and turns and there is a lot of interesting information on the people who live on the moor and those in the villages surrounding it which adds dimension to the book.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sand Sharks

Sand Sharks (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #15)Sand Sharks by Margaret Maron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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End of the Year

As this year comes to a close, I realize that I have not done reviews for about 80% of what I have read.  I have many of them in Goodreads, but my computer has been acting up for so long, I have gotten way behind in my posting.  In the next few days, I am going to use my library book due slips to at least record what I have read.

I am pleased with the reading I have done this year.  I have read several books by Dickens and finished a number of series books I wanted to read.  On the other hand, I still have many books around my house that I want to get read and donated to the library, (so I can make room for more books!)

The Twisted Root

The Twisted Root (William Monk, #10)The Twisted Root by Anne Perry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was one of the best of this series that I have read.  It would be hard to guess the ending of this one through 3/4 of tyounhe book.  An admirable young woman was engaged to a wealthy and quiet younger man, when suddenly, at a croquet party, she flees in obvious distress.  She has a coachman drive her away and later, he is found dead and she has disappeared.

When eventually found, she will say nothing about why she left and is loath to return.  She was found with a nurse who took her in when she was found, about 13 years old wandering in the heath covered with blood.  The nurse is one of the nurses at the hospital where Callandra and Hester work and is one of the best they have.  When it appears that she is the one stealing supplies from the pharmacy, Hester gets involved.

The story, as usual, gives fascinating information about the plight of nursing and the male-dominated Victorian era in which Hester, Oliver and William Monk live. Anne Perry does her usual good job of showing the cost of progress for the poor and for women.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

The Murders of Richard III

The Murders of Richard IIIThe Murders of Richard III by Elizabeth Peters
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was hard for me to get into.  I just never could connect with the characters.  It did give a glimpse into the controversy over Richard III.  I was amazed that there was evidence that seemed to conflict with the popular portrayal of Richard.

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Locked Rooms

Locked Rooms (Mary Russell, #8)Locked Rooms by Laurie R. King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is part of the Mary Russell series that explores her past in San Francisco and the death of her parents, for whom she always felt responsible.  She and her brother were quarreling in the car when her father turned to them and in a moment's inattention, lost control of the car and plunged over a cliff.  Everyone in the car was killed but Mary  and she has always felt like she was guilty of their deaths.

On a trip back to San Francisco, she begins having flashbacks and detail about the crash and the earthquake come back to her.  The details don't add up and there is someone who doesn't want Mary to learn the truth.

This was one of the best books in this series.  Laurie King has been able to capture the essence of Sherlock Holmes as Doyle presented him and these books flow as if they had been been penned by him.

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, #1)

Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, #1)Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am reading this series again because I am using it for homeschooling my granddaughter.  It is an excellent adventures series with a lot of interesting twists.

Gregor follows his 2 year old sister down a hole behind the washing machines in his apartment laundry room.  They end up in a world that has existed under the world we know of since the earliest days of America.  There is a race of humans who are his descendants.  They are very pale and have violet eyes, but the are otherwise the same as the Overlanders.

In their palace, there is a room of prophecies and it appears that Gregor and his sister are the Overlanders whose coming was predicted, but they aren't the first ones to come down from above.  Gregor's father has been missing for about 3 years and Gregor learns that he had been taken by the rats, but there is some indication that he is alive.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Breach of Promise

A Breach of Promise (William Monk, #9)A Breach of Promise by Anne Perry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was one of the best book of this series that I've read.  I was totally broadsided twice by the plot turns and yet they were plausible.  Oliver Rathbone took a "Breach of Promise" case against his better judgement.  He is representing a brilliant young architect who seems to have entered into a marriage agreement without realizing it.  What he experiences as a wonderful friendship is interpreted by the young girl's mother as a marriage proposal and wedding plans were already proceeding before he realizes that everyone believes he has proposed.  Unfortunately, the family sues and Rathbone is left with absolutely nothing to say in court except that it was a misunderstanding.

There seems to be no solution to this problem or to a subplot and they twist and meander until a stunning conclusion.  There is also a surprise in the ongoing relationship between the main characters.

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Saturday, December 08, 2012

Helping Gifted Children Soar: A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers by Carol Ann Strip

Helping Gifted Children Soar: A Practical Guide for Parents and TeachersHelping Gifted Children Soar: A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers by Carol Ann Strip
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book when I first started teaching Addie and read it again in December.  The information in the first chapters which discuss the gifted child's unique learning style has proved to be true.  My granddaughter does most of the things mentioned.  For example, being able to picture lists of vocabulary words in her head and check them off as they appear in an oral test, unusual reasoning processes and the ability to synthesize information and apply it to other situations.

The rest of the book deals with getting a gifted child's needs met in the public school setting.  In almost every example of a problem and possible solution I found that homeschooling eliminated the problem.  For example, we are able to make all my granddaughter's work appropriately challenging and are able to present work that she doesn't like to do in a way that makes it more interesting.  We have included Home Economics as a hobby/subject and it provides us with an infinite number of math reasoning, creativity, understanding and writing complicated step-by-step instructions as well as a vehicle for creativity.

As suggested in the book, we are able to teach units such as Opera, Self discipline, Political Science (in an election year), and reading units based on classical literature which preserves the interest level of a child with the vocabulary and history of a much older student.

I recommend this book to parents who have a gifted child and choose to stay in the public school system.  There are many solutions to the most common problems and give a reasonable approach to dealing with school officials in a reasonable manner.

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Friday, December 07, 2012

The Great Cake Mystery

The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe's Very First CaseThe Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe's Very First Case by Alexander McCall Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a charming story of Precious Ramotswe's first case involving a schoolmate who has been accused of eating from from the other children's lunches.

It is written for children, but fan's of the First Ladies series will enjoy the book.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The Mermaid Chair

The Mermaid ChairThe Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I wanted to like this book, but I just didn't.  I hate books that have a female protagonist who trys to get a celibate cleric to break his vowes and sleep with her.  There is this idea nowdays that no one can have a fulfilling life without sex.  Come on!  There are people who are passionate about other things...God, medicine, scholarship, research, dangerous persuits.

Then I hate the idea that it is in some way noble to steer a person away from his or her vows, especially if they involve sex.  This is especially true of someone who has chosen to be celibate, although to encourage a person to engage in adultry is bad enough.

The vows of a person should be respected.  Would it be noble to encourage a recovering alcoholic to drink?  Would it be noble to encourage an adult who struggles with a desire for young girls or boys to fulfill those desires?  To encourage a person to break their vows is completely selfish and entirely self absorbed. It isn't romantic to think that someone wants you so badly that they broke their vows, or that somehow the love was so strong it had to be acted on. Tell that to Mrs. Eddie Fisher or Mrs. Richard Burton!  And did those relationships last?

Sorry to rant!  This one just hit me wrong.

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Bel Canto

Bel CantoBel Canto by Ann Patchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked so much about this book.  I realize that it had many improbable moments, but I liked the concept of music being a common ground between people.  The terrorists became people in the book and developed a relationship with their hostages.

There were some things I wished were changed.  I know it is based loosly on a similar situation in Peru.  I would like to have the reasons these people became terrorists explored more.  I think it would have made the individual relationships more explainable.  What did the three generals believe in?  We get only a vague hint at their demmands.  We hear a lot about the other lives of the hostages, but the terrorists, especially the generals seemed to have no platform.

As with others, I did not like the epilogue.  There wasn't enough to support it.  There needed to be more of a connection built up between Roxane and Gen; a bond that would have made it plausable for the two, who had just lost their lovers, to turn to each other.  I could see them realizing that they never would be able to relate to anyone but each other because of this common experience, but there wasn't any understructure to support this.

That said, I felt like it was a wonderful book and I loved reading it.  It sent me to my computer to find the "Bel Canto" of the book.  I listened to many of the pieces of music that was mentioned and loved the ones that were familiar and enjoyed the ones I had never heard.  I can understand how people who would have had no interest in Opera could have loved Roxane's singing.  Once you enter into the music, you have to be amazed at the incredible beauty of the talented and well trained human voice.

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Sunday, December 02, 2012

Crewel Yule

Crewel Yule (A Needlecraft Mystery, #8)Crewel Yule by Monica Ferris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a light, enjoyable, if improbable mystery.  It takes place at a Needlework convention when one of the most belligerent attendees is murdered. It is a good quick read, especially at the holidays.

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