The successful HGTV show, Fixer Upper, stars the upbeat couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines. The Magnolia Story is about their interesting lives and a lot of ups and downs with running their decorating, retail and real estate businesses. In their own words, they have learned that with change comes opportunities and contentment in the journey. Hope you enjoy.
Check It Out Category: Picks by Donna
The 2015 edition cookbook 100 Recipes: The Absolute Best Ways to Make the True Essentials was compiled by the American Test Kitchen and features numerous colored illustrations. It has complete, easy to follow recipes and hints for basic to complex techniques. It is full of ways to make my favorites and inspire me to try new meals.
A local librarian from a small Connecticut town finds mystery, murder, adventure and a bit of romance when she tries to deliver books, via a boat, to a pair of recluse brothers. A Likely Story by Jenn McKinlay has several twists, so it will keep your interest till the end.
Listen to the sound recording Duets II by Tony Bennett for an auditory treat. This talented artist has joined with 17 popular vocalists and musicians for a wonderful album. Hear Norah Jones, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Willie Nelson and several others. Try Duets, also, by Tony Bennett for more great listening pleasure.
Donna of Fiction/AV/Teen suggests The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Andersen Brower
Kate Andersen Brower’s history and human interest book is about several first families and the staff that cared for them. President John Adams and his wife Abigail were the first to live in the White House in 1800 starting with only four staff members. Now there are 96 full-time, 250 part-time residence staff, plus 2 dozen from the National Parks Services to care for the grounds. The staff is very protective of the families but did share special memories of the good and sad times, considerate or demanding First Ladies, rude or polite Presidents, formal or more casual entertaining and the general working of the House.
For more stories from inside the White House, try…
The Butler: A Witness to History by Wil Haygood
This is a true story of a White House butler who served 8 Presidents. It was made into a movie too!
First Families: The Impact of the White House on their Lives by Bonnie Angelo
This book gives anecdotes about the Presidents, spouses, children and the White House.
To Serve the President: Continuity and Innovation of the White House Staff by Bradley H. Patterson
Examining the total size and cost of the contemporary White House team, Patterson also looks into what people do
National Geographic and the White House Historical Association presents never before published stories and photographs of the house.
This documentary has a tour of the private quarter with interviews with the White House staff, and a behind-the-scenes look at a state dinner preparations.
Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn started out as vocalists/songwriters and joined together1990-2010. Their twenty-year career as Brooks and Dunn produced numerous award-winning country music albums. In 2015, the duo reunited for a series of concerts with Reba McEntire. For a toe-tapping honky-tonk album with easy to understand lyrics, try their Greatest Hits Collection.
When everything around you seems overwhelming, sometimes a change of scenery can help and may even bring some surprises. This happy endings story takes place on Nantucket Island off Cape Cod. The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer is a good summer book.
Little Beach Street Bakery is a delightful novel by Jenny Colgan. Two people decide to totally change the course of their busy lives and end-up in a remote area of Cornwall, England. One takes up baking bread and the other to tending to bees. Fishermen and townspeople add side stories to this new book. I kept reading to find what what happens next.
You don’t have to be a Democrat or a Republican to enjoy 41: A Portrait of My Father by George W. Bush. This glimpse into a son’s love and admiration for his father shows a remarkable man who served in WWII, founded an oil company, and was a Congressman, United Nations Representative, Vice President, CIA Director and the 41st President of the USA.
Janet Evanovich fans should try one of her novels in audio form. Told with a heavy Jersey accent, Takedown Twenty will give you a chuckle as New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum gets caught up in numerous crazy antics including a runaway giraffe. This time she is after Uncle Sunny Sunucchi, who is loved and protected by many relatives.