Kids’ Choice: Marshfield Dreams and Marshfield Memories by Ralph Fletcher

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With my 6th graders, each fall we read MARSHFIELD DREAMS by Ralph Fletcher. This is a funny yet touching memoir of Mr. Fletcher’s childhood, growing up in Marshfield, MA, in the 1960’s. He has a large family (8 kids) and a host of fun experiences. Part of the joy in this book is in the simple details of typical family life, such as getting a new baby sibling or a first pet. Events are portrayed in language that kids and adults will both enjoy. Each fall the kids tell me that this is “one of the best books I’ve ever read!”.

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You can imagine my great excitement when I discovered that a sequel to Marshfield Dreams — MARSHFIELD MEMORIES — was published this past fall! I contacted Mr. Fletcher’s publicist and she kindly sent me a copy to enjoy and to share with my students. The Fletcher fun continues with more stories about boy scouts, the woods, sibling hi-jinks, and Ralph’s burgeoning interest in both writing and girls. I was thrilled to be transported back to Marshfield!

Highly recommended for readers in grade 4/5 and up. This was a great choice for reluctant readers in older grades. And adults will enjoy it as well! Thank you for my review copy of Marshfield Memories. My school purchased my copy of Marshfield Dreams through Amazon.

Partners in Crime Tour for THE BODY IN THE CASKET by Katherine Hall Page

 

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I absolutely adore the Faith Fairchild cozy mysteries! They are set in Massachusetts and Faith, a transplanted New Yorker, is a caterer and wife of a minister. Faith has amazing recipes (included!), lives her life as as typical wife and mother, and gets involved in murders and mystery quite unintentionally. All this takes place right where I live, so it’s really fun to read about Faith enjoying the same restaurants, etc. that I do!  I wish so much these books were a series to watch (are you listening, Netflix?). I’ve read them all.

As for this one, what’s not to like? There’s food, murder, theater, and subplots galore! Thank you for my review e-copy via Edelweiss.

Here’s the overview for this one:

The Body in the Casket by Katherine Hall Page

The inimitable Faith Fairchild returns in a chilling New England whodunit, inspired by the best Agatha Christie mysteries and with hints of the timeless board game Clue.

For most of her adult life, resourceful caterer Faith Fairchild has called the sleepy Massachusetts village of Aleford home. While the native New Yorker has come to know the region well, she isn’t familiar with Havencrest, a privileged enclave, until the owner of Rowan House, a secluded sprawling Arts and Crafts mansion, calls her about catering a weekend house party.

Producer/director of a string of hit musicals, Max Dane—a Broadway legend—is throwing a lavish party to celebrate his seventieth birthday. At the house as they discuss the event, Faith’s client makes a startling confession. “I didn’t hire you for your cooking skills, fine as they may be, but for your sleuthing ability. You see, one of the guests wants to kill me.”

Faith’s only clue is an ominous birthday gift the man received the week before—an empty casket sent anonymously containing a twenty-year-old Playbill from Max’s last, and only failed, production—Heaven or Hell. Consequently, Max has drawn his guest list for the party from the cast and crew. As the guests begin to arrive one by one, and an ice storm brews overhead, Faith must keep one eye on the menu and the other on her host to prevent his birthday bash from becoming his final curtain call.

Full of delectable recipes, brooding atmosphere, and Faith’s signature biting wit, The Body in the Casket is a delightful thriller that echoes the beloved mysteries of Agatha Christie and classic films such as Murder by Death and Deathtrap.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: William Morrow
Publication Date: December 5th 2017
Number of Pages: 238
ISBN: 0062439561 (ISBN13: 9780062439567)
Series: Faith Fairchild, 24
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Author Bio:

Katherine Hall PageKatherine Hall Page is the author of twenty-three previous Faith Fairchild mysteries, the first of which received the Agatha Award for best first mystery. The Body in the Snowdrift was honored with the Agatha Award for best novel of 2006. Page also won an Agatha for her short story “The Would-Be Widower.” The recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at Malice Domestic, she has been nominated for the Edgar Award, the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and the Macavity Award. She lives in Massachusetts, and Maine, with her husband.

Catch Up With Our Author On: Website 🔗Goodreads 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Katherine Hall Page and Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) physical copy of Katherine Hall Page’s The Body in the Casket. The giveaway begins on December 4, 2017 and runs through January 14, 2018. This giveaway is open to US addressess only.

Include this code to add the giveaway to your post:

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AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott

Since I have a bit of commute for school pick-up, I’ve been listening to more audiobooks in the car these past few months. I get them from the local library. Recently I listened to “The Daring Ladies of Lowell” by Kate Alcott (author of The Dressmaker – which I also listened to on audio) which is read by Cassandra Campbell.

I live near the Lowell Mills and I have always found their history fascinating. In this novel, Alice Barrow moves to Lowell to work in the mills. She is a fairly typical “mill girl”, having left her family farm for work in the city and some independence. Alice lives in a boarding house (very typical of the time) with several other mill girls. Then one of them is found dead — suicide is suspected but it turns to murder. Alice becomes involved in the trial and in trying to bring her friend’s murderer to justice. Along the way, the girls are fighting for better working conditions and health protection, and Alice finds herself falling in love with the son of the mill owner.

The following contains SPOILERS!

I enjoyed listening to this book. I have to say I was a bit freaked out by the health issues some of the girls had that I was unaware of — coughing up “cotton balls” of lint from breathing it in during production, and eventually having their lungs ruined. That was quite disturbing. Lovey’s murder is also quite disturbing – she is pregnant and the number one suspect is an itinerant minister. Interestingly, this part of the novel was based on the real life murder of a mill girl, and Alcott even used the trial testimony and some real names. (In real life, though, the murder took place in Fall River – still in Massachusetts but not Lowell).

The only thing that didn’t “work” for me in this story was the romance. It seemed fairly improbable that the mill owner’s son would fall in love with a worker (and I don’t mean “lust after” but truly “fall in love”). The class divide was pretty great in those days and the working class was often “invisible” to the wealthy. It was fine; I just had to suspend my disbelief during those scenes!

Here’s a great article from the Globe about the real murder in Massachusetts that this is based on and how Ms. Alcott came to write about it:

http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/books/2014/04/19/the-real-life-murder-behind-novel-about-lowell-mills/bvMBFwckjExNWEGkS87zvI/story.html

You can see this book on Indie Bound where I am an Affiliate:

Find it at an Indie!

YA Review : WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart

I had heard some buzz about this book, so I ordered it from Amazon for my Kindle for when it was released earlier this month. This is the kind of book that people say, “I can’t talk about it without giving it away”. Okay – that’s true, but I can say this: this was one of those books that you start to read and can’t put down. I read it almost entirely straight through as I was trying to figure out what was going on. It’s memorable and heart-breaking and just really, really good – all at the same time.

In WE WERE LIARS, Cadence Sinclair has grown up as the eldest grandchild of the wealthy and well-known Sinclair family. They spend their summers together on an island off the coast of Massachusetts. They play, they argue, they exist as a big sprawling family. Cadence spends her long summer days with her cousins Johnny and Mirren, and their friend Gat. Then one summer, while they are in their teens, things change. Decisions are made and actions follow which have devastating consequences.

Loved loved loved this book. I’d suggest it for older teens (and adults – if you read YA, and you should!).

Can’t say more without spoilers, but I’ve added a You Tube clip of the author reading from the novel:

Saturday Snapshot: Summer Fun at the Fair!

If you know me personally, you know I work on the local agricultural fair’s planning committee. I am in charge of booking all the music and stage entertainment. The fair was the weekend before we left for Hawaii, so I haven’t even looked at my pictures until now! Of course, I spend most of my time in the music tent, so I didn’t take too many pics, but here are a few:

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Here are flowers my daughter and I grew in the yard and entered in the “small container” division.

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This is the outside of my entertainment tent. As you can see, we had a beautiful day and over 20,000 fairgoers over the weekend!

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Miss Piggy, a former carousel animal, is our fair mascot. This was Miss Piggy’s float for the July 4 parade this year. She’s a survivor! Though horribly burned in a freak fire we had in our office, Miss Piggy was restored by an antique restorer and carries on!

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Midway at night – always magical!!

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My favorite little corn cob! 🙂

There were lots of amazing animals and displays, including artisans such as blacksmiths and farriers, horse and oxen pulls, a demo derby, and even monster trucks, but I mostly was in my tent listening to musicians.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at www.westmetromommy.blogspot.com. You, too, can participate! Just post a pic you took and link it to her site!

Quick Review: “The Midwife’s Revolt” by Jodi Daynard

“The Midwife’s Revolt” was a Net Galley find for me. It tells the story of Lizzie Boylston, a young woman left widowed at the start of the Revolutionary War, as she struggles to get by, to deal with the war and her farm, and to basically survive in 1770’s Massachusetts. Lizzie is friends with Abigail Adams and holds their relationship quite dear. In time she is pulled into intrigue and acts as a spy (dressed as a boy). Lizzie is a strong character, and this book follows her daily life (she is a midwife), her trials and tribulations, her relationships with her family and friends, and even has a little romance, intrigue and mystery added in. I felt while reading it that I was reading a fictionalized account of a person’s diary for that time period. Daynard has done her research here in accurately depicting a detailed picture of everyday life in the 1770’s in New England. At 440 pages it took a bit to get through, but I felt I was travelling along with Lizzie through the war, and read a bit each day.

A great historical novel for those who like this period and genre!

Thanks, Net Galley and Opossum Press for my copy.


Review: “Cascade” by Maryanne O’Hara

I heard great things about this novel, so I knew I needed to read it. Then I saw that the author will be speaking at the Concord Bookstore next week, so I knew I had to buy it since the wait list at the library was soooo long. I read it last week and just loved this compelling and thought-provoking novel!

“Cascade” is the story of Desdemona Hart Spaulding, an artist in the 1930’s, who has married for comfort, not love, and who feels too confined in her hometown of Cascade, Massachusetts. Dez’ father has owned and ran the town’s Shakespearean theater, but he passes away at the start of the novel, leaving the theater to Dez’ husband, Asa, the town’s well-respected pharmacist. As the story starts, Dez has befriended a local travelling salesman, the Jewish artist Jacob Solomon. Dez dreams of leaving Massachusetts with Jacob and going to New York to draw and be free. Her husband, of course, has other ideas. Behind this storyline is the back story of the town itself: Cascade is being considered for demolition so that the state can create a water reservoir for the people of Boston. The townspeople, led in part by Asa, are trying to save their town, and Dez uses her art as a way to help the cause. Will the town be spared? Will Dez’s feelings for Jacob lead to actions she may regret? Will she stay forever at home with Asa or become the artist she feels she is capable of being?

I just loved reading this book. It is beautifully written with a well-paced, well-plotted story. The symbolism of the river and the damming of the river tying in to emotions and the release of emotions and feelings really spoke to me. While I loved this story, I didn’t love Dez. I thought she was extremely self-centered and self-serving. However, Dez’s actions, as well as Jacob’s, seemed fairly true to life to me. Sometimes the people you hold most dear disappoint you.

I loved, loved, loved it —

I also loved the cover!!

And this is a great You Tube book trailer: