Posted by: bree1972 | February 21, 2013

Book Day!

You know how I mention every once in a while that one of my main  goals when I retired was to fill my days with good books and the time to read them?  That’s not usually all that hard to do, but in the time since we’ve returned home from Mackinac, I’ve only read two books, and that’s just downright ridiculous!  Oh, I’ve read magazines galore, skimmed through catalogs, and watched lots of Netflix movies, but for some reason, the time to just sit for a few hours of good, steady reading has escaped me.

The two books I have read were good ones, so I’d like to share.



I read the first two books in this trilogy, The Bronze Horseman and Tatiana and Alexander, before I left the Island, then ordered this last book when I returned home.  In combination, they are quite possibly the best love story I’ve ever read.

If anyone had told me I would be just as entranced with the same couple at the end of the 600+ page third book as I was by Chapter 2 of the first book (all three were over 600 pages), I would have said, “No way – nothing and no one can keep my attention that long.”  I was wrong.

Along with this couple’s love story, the first two books tell vividly what it was like living in Russia during World War II.  Telling you where the third book is set would let you in on too much of the plot, so I will just zip my lips on that.  I have never been much interested in Russian history, but by the middle of the first book I was turning pages just as rapidly to learn about Russia as I was to learn what would happen next with Tatiana and Alexander.

Amazon calls these books “a Russian Thorn Birds” and a stirring tale of devotion, passion, secrets, betrayal, and sacrifice.  I totally agree!



I was in high school when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and like the rest of the country sat for hours and hours watching days of coverage of his funeral.  In the years since then, we’ve learned more about this family than most of us care to – and the majority of it isn’t very flattering.

Remember the photograph of the car the Kennedys were riding in and the Secret Service agent crawling over the back of the car right after the first shot?  I always believed that agent was assigned to the President, but he was not.  He was the agent in charge of Jackie Kennedy, and his name is Clint Hill.

Decades after Kennedy’s assassination, Hill has written a book about his years in the White House as Mrs. Kennedy’s Secret Service agent.  If you are looking for juicy tales and sordid secrets, this is not the book for you.  Mr. Hill has written a story of what it was like to protect the President’s wife – a job he at first did not want (he was one of the agents in charge of Dwight D. Eisenhower and was hoping to be assigned to President Kennedy).

Hill’s admiration of Jackie Kennedy shines through every page, and the book details the minutiae of life in the White House and in the several homes owned or used by the Kennedys during his presidency.

If you are interested in the history of the Kennedy years in the White House, or if you are just fascinated with the Kennedy family, please read this book.  I loved it.



FINALLY!  I’ve been waiting all winter for the publication of Heart of Ice, and it’s out on February 26.

Well then, Brenda, just how did you come to have a copy already . . . . I know you’re asking!

OK – I’ll tell you! P.J. Parrish is actually the two-sister team of Kristy Montee and Kelly Nichols.  They write fabulous novels that make the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.  This latest novel is set on Mackinac Island, and one day a couple of summers ago Jill introduced me to Kristy.

Me with Kristy Montee

Me with Kristy Montee

Kristy had actually been reading my blog and took some island details for Heart of Ice from what she read.  We have chatted back and forth since then, and this week the book arrived in the mail!

My autographed copy!

My autographed copy!

And when I turned to the Acknowledgement Page . . . .


Jill and I got a thank you, along with Jane, Kathy, Tam, Cass and Jeremy at the Island Bookstores on Mackinac and in Mackinaw City!

How cool is that!

So now I can’t wait to settle in and start reading Heart of Ice and figuring out all the places they talk about in the book.  Here’s a little preview of what it’s about:

Florida PI Louis Kincaid wants to wear a badge again. But before he can, he must return home to Michigan – and some unfinished business.  He hopes to bond with ten-year-old Lily, the daughter he only recently learned existed, and reunite with girlfriend Joe Frye.  But new clues to an unsolved murder put his plans on ice.  A trip with Lily to enchanting Mackinac Island turns grim when the child falls on a pile of old bones; the dangerous discovery reopens the cold case of Julie Chapman, a teenager from one of the wealthy summer families, who vanished two decades ago.  And when Louis is forced to cooperate with a tough state investigator who once worked with Joe, tensions skyrocket.  Now, what was supposed to be a time of building lasting ties splinters into disturbing fragments, personally and professionally, as Louis pursues a mystery entangled in dark family secrets and twists even he can’t predict.

Sounds like I’m going to have to find an unoccupied cushion on the couch and curl up.  With over 10 inches of rain expected here over the weekend, and flood warnings posted, I’d say it’s the perfect time to read!

If you’ve read something you really, really liked and want to share, please tell us about it in the comments section!  Always looking for a good read!



1)  Please keep Lowell Greene and his wife Faye in your prayers.  He goes into the hospital on Friday morning for a heart cath and possibly a stent. Jill and I visited Lowell and Faye last fall in Olivet, MI, and he and Faye will be visiting the Island in June. 

2)  I talked with Chris Ann for a few minutes on Wednesday and it was so wonderful to hear her voice.  She sounded very weak, but I understood everything she said and even got a small laugh from her when I said some stupid, silly thing.  When I talked to Burton, he said Hospice had come the day before and washed her hair, and they continue to juggle her pain meds for the best combinations.  Both of their Michigan children and their families are coming in for the weekend.  Chris Ann is very close to the end of her journey. 



  1. Heart of Ice is on my to read list already. I can’t wait for it to come out. Prayers for Chris Ann and her family.

  2. Can’t wait to read your book recommendations. Will Kristy Montee be coming to Mackinac Island for a book signing? My prayers go out to Lowell and Chris Ann.

    • Lora, my guess is Yes on the book signing this summer!

      Sent from my iPhone

      • Great! I just pre-ordered the book on Amazon, as well as the Trilogy books. Both my parents left Russia right before that time, so will be interesting to read.

  3. Brenda,

    First off, let me mention that there has been a change in the planned heart cath. My blood is too thin because of the coumadin that I’ve been taking, so the catheterization (wow, that’s a hard word for me to spell) has been postponed until 7:30 am, Monday. That will be better because we are supposed to get snow and freezing rain tomorrow. I actually hope they find blockage in an artery and put another stent in, because I’m rather tired of my heart hurting when I go out in the cold and/or exert myself. Beside that, I need to get in shape for Mackinac Island. I think Faye & I would both like to read Heart of Ice. Sounds intriguing. I hope I can recognize some of the places on the Island that they mention. I hope Chris Ann will be able to be awake a little while her family is with her this weekend. I’m going to miss her, even though we’ve never met. PS: I sure like the moss on, what I think, is a live oak tree in your header.

  4. Good Evening Dear Brenda,

    My,my how good plots thicken on a cold winter’s eve. Glad to see you and Jill, and gang in the acknologements. How exciting for you all! I just contacted my local book store for my copy …I can hardly wait. Enjoy your warm dry corner.

    I’m so glad you we’re able to speak to Chris Ann. I was writing in my journal this morning that I keep for my children and grand kids. I thought of you and Chris Ann and placed an entry for you both. It is as follows :

    ” My Serenity begins to Move Me Beyond,
    With Fortitude and Grace,
    Into Joyous Awe of Beauty’s Embrace”.

    Fervant prayers are ever present for Chris Ann and her loved ones.
    Lowell and Faye may God bless and keep you close tonight, and during your appointment tommorrow…We’ll be no more than a prayer always.

    Live ~ Love ~Laugh


    P.S. I believe the passing thought for the night is 1″ of rain to 10″ of snow : )”

  5. Lowell we will be thinking of you on Monday and praying for a quick recovery, so that you and Faye may have a wonderful trip to Mackinac Island in June.

  6. Always enjoy your entertaining blogs, Brenda! So well written!!

    Heart of Ice sounds interesting. How nice that my bookstore friends are acknowledged.

    See you in May! Stay dry!!


  7. Just pre-ordered Heart of Ice-can’t wait to read it! Healing thoughts for Lowell and Faith-hope the procedure goes well. That darn coumadin.. My husband had an issue this winter and was on it for a while. It’s so hard to get the levels just right. More good thoughts and peaceful prayers for Chris Ann and her family.

  8. Dear Brenda – I received an Amazon gift card for Christmas, and now I know what I want! The others I’ll try to get when we get to Denver (at Tattered Cover – an independent book store!). Thanks for the updates on good reads.
    Thanks for the update on Lowell, too. Things have already fallen in place to help keep them safe, and I fully expect that to continue!
    And those two dear ones up by the bridge have been in my thoughts and prayers so often. Will be more diligent this week about Chris Ann and Burton and family. And you, too.

  9. How very cool to be (and Jill and the gang) acknowledged in the book! I can’t wait to get sounds so exciting! I don’t have as much time to read as I used to but this is definitly on the list.
    I’m so glad you got to talk to Chris Ann and Burton, they are in my prayers as always.
    Lowell I will be thinking of you Monday, praying all goes well. So glad you will be able to visit the island…how long has it been since you have been there? I’m sure you mentioned it before, but you know how it is at our age…we forget so easy. 😉

    • Hilde,

      It was in the mid 1960s that I worked on the Island. I lived in Cheboygan at that time. I think the last time Faye & I were on the Island was about 30 years ago. I’m sure there have been many changes since then, but I’m also sure there will be many things that are the same. I’m really looking forward to the trip.

      • I thought it was a while…I’m sure you and Faye will have a great time and it will be so much fun to what has changed and what hasn’t. You will have to write about your trip when you get back because I want to hear all about it!

      • If Brenda will let me, I’ll write it up and she can use what she wants and post it. Since this is her blog, she’s the one who gets to choose what goes in it. At least, that’s the way I think it’s supposed to work.

      • Hmmmmm, Lowell. We could always have a guest blogger!

  10. Lowell-Good luck during your hospital visit. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    Chris Ann & Family – Please realize that even though there are several of us who have never had the privilege of meeting Chris Ann, we pray for all of you during this journey.

    Brenda-I have been reading your posts but haven’t responded lately. It is good to “reconnect”. I can’t wait to read “Heart of Ice”. I guess I totally forgot that it was a two-sister team. I am trying to envision me and my sister working on a book together. Can you say knock-out-drag-out-fight? LOL!

  11. Hi Brenda and all of Brenda’s friends. Thanks for the great note on Heart of Ice. We’re really excited about our upcoming appearances on the island in June. And I need to add RIGHT NOW: If there are any errors about the island in our book they are all our fault! PJ Parrish

    • Do you know when in June you will be on Island? I am coming June 2-7 and would love to meet you and get my book signed. Can’t wait to read your new book.

  12. I am looking forward to reading the new book. I got a Kindle for Christmas and love it. All the rain you’re getting, we’re getting in the white stuff – two storms of a foot each back to back. Good incentive for reading.
    Take care Lowell, had one of those heart caths last year and turns out didn’t need it.

  13. Bree, I just finished “Mrs. Kennedy and Me” last night. You were so correct – no “juicy tidbits” just a great admiration for Mrs. Kennedy seen through Clint Hill’s eyes. It was a very touching tribute to her. Thank you for recommending it.

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