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Spring Has Sprung: A Great Time For Patio Reading

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By Gini Rainey

“Maude” By Donna Foley Mabry

Here’s another book that was hard for me to put down. Recommended to me by my cousin, “Maude” is a finely woven collection of the life stories told to Mabry by her grandmother. Beginning in 1906 and covering a time span of over 57 years, the book not only tells the story of Nola Maude Clayborn Connor Foley, but also that of a country that was changing and surviving industrialization, women’s rights, world wars, depressions, and Viet Nam.

“Maude” has been enjoying a healthy run on the Wall Street Journal’s Best Sellers list for over 16 weeks (at publication) and it’s no surprise why. This detailed account is about an incredibly resilient woman whose life was marred by one after another tragedy over her lifetime. Maude was an amazingly strong, selfless woman for whom happiness was a fleeting, rare part of her life.

Not filled with syrupy remembrances of her grandmother, Mabry shares the good, bad and the ugly of a life full of sacrifices, hardships and pain. From the death of her parents at the age of eleven to the birthing bed to the loss of all but one of her children, the pain that Maude experienced would have been more than enough to harden the hearts of most people, but she survived and rose to the top over and over again.

“Maude” was absolutely absorbing and is the powerful story of a strong woman’s life – of her joys and her great sorrows. The historical influences on her life story are hugely significant and help to create a virtual time line that gives the reader significant historical mile markers throughout the book for reference as to the time and place of each event in Maude’s life.

Although Mabry has a popular series of historical romances, I’m more than glad that she strayed from fiction to take the stories that her grandmother shared with her and gather them into a chronicle of a woman whose life was an endurance test of hardship after hardship, and yet still had a faith that carried her through each event. Because Mabry was a part of the story, she was able to personalize and retell it in a way that will allow the reader to experience her grandmother’s emotions in a very real way.

Bottom line – this is a beautifully written book about an extraordinary woman and how she conquered a life of hardship and adversity.

Rating: 5 of 5

Copyright 2014 – CreateSpace Independent Publishing

“The Instant When Everything’s Perfect” By Jessica Barksdale Inclan

Jessica Barksdale Inclan is the author of twelve traditionally published novels as well many short stories, poems, and ebooks, and with this book, she defies tradition by giving us a book that could easily fall into more than one genré.

What does one call a book like this? Is it a contemporary romance? It’s a story of love, to be sure, but doesn’t follow the rules of the romance genré. Is it women’s fiction? Perhaps, yet there’s plenty of meat here for men to enjoy as well, if they care to take a look at it. Is it literature? Probably not. The language isn’t quite rich enough, the themes are too transparent.

All I know is that it’s a pretty good book and in the end, isn’t that what really matters? With its deceptively simple story that keeps you thinking about it and its characters well after you’ve finished reading it, Inclan’s tale of a failing marriage, the tragedy of cancer, and a new love is one that’s been told before, but what makes this book so intriguing was Inclan’s ability to create full-bodied, flawed, vibrant, human characters that made this book worth reading, even though there were parts way too predictable or too easy.

If you’ve ever battled cancer, or been there for someone who has, you will find that the emotions Inclan’s characters display are spot on. The emotional roller coaster ride that they go through will make you feel you are right there with them, holding their hands through it all. If you’ve not had that experience, this book will help you to realize that no matter how perfect other people’s lives may look, you just never know what is happening behind the closed doors of their lives.

There are moments in life that seem flawless, and then there are those that, well, really aren’t. Taken for what they are or aren’t, with Inclan’s profound perspective of the reality of life, you will be able to see these moments through the eyes of her characters and realize that life is a gift to be cherished and honored.

Rating: 4 of 5

Copyright 2011 – Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

“Hidden – A CSI Reilly Steel Thriller” By Casey Hill

Please forgive me, but I have become hooked on this series of books! I figure, if I’m reading and reviewing three books a month for you, my dear readers, I should be able to read what intrigues me part of the time.

That being said, if you haven’t picked up one of the Reilly Steel books yet, might I suggest you do? Oh, and be sure to start with the first one. I was afraid that Casey Hill (which just happens to be the pseudonym of husband and wife writing team, Kevin and Melissa Hill, who live in Dublin, Ireland) might fall into the trap of writing books by a standard formula after having read the first two in their series. These centered on serial killers with penchants for glomming on to literary influences and committing their crimes in weird and bizarre ways that relate to the literature. I was pleasantly surprised that the third in the series broke away from that tendency.

Beginning with the death of a young girl on an isolated Irish country road that seems at first to be a simple hit and run, Reilly Steele’s amazing sixth sense tells her there is more to this incident than a straightforward murder. With her team of forensic experts gleaning evidence from the scene, and the mysterious angel wings tattoo on the girl’s back, the pieces should have begun to fall together. But, nothing is as simple as it appears when Team Hill begins to weave a tale of intrigue. With her forensic team and the two detectives from the first two books, Reilly begins to connect the dots between this accident and the cold cases of several missing children from the area.

Although this mystery doesn’t draw from the usual literary sources, it does explore the Irish myth of Tir na nÓg – a story of a sanctuary from the world, a place where music and beauty were celebrated and happiness last forever. The crimes of the villain in this book will leave you with a very unsettled feeling of whether he is guilty or not. The grayness of what he does could open up a whole new avenue of discussion on what acts of some perpetrators are truly worthy of prosecution.

There won’t be any spoilers in this review – so no spoiler alerts will be issued, because there are very few clues as to who the actual villain is – and why he does what he does.

In true Casey Hill fashion, this is a very engaging, page turning book that will have you guessing right up to the very end.

Oh, and Hill gives a bit of a teaser as to the rekindling of the romantic interest between Reilly and investigator Chris Delaney – which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Just so you know, until I catch up to where they are, I’m going to keep reading their books.

Rating: 5 of 5

Copyright 2013 – Simon & Schuster

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April 5th-7th: Smith County Medical Society Alliance Book Fair

Smith County Medical Society Alliance Book Fair:

Thursday-Saturday, April 5th-7th

The annual Book Fair, the primary fundraiser, began in 1968. A spring and fall sale event, each consisting of a three day sale, gives 75% of net proceeds funds to health career scholarships at Tyler Junior College and the University of Texas at Tyler.

The Smith County Medical Society Alliance Book Fair will be held at 2004 Broussard St., Tyler. The book fair will be held April 5th-7th, 8am-6pm. Only cash and checks are accepted.

“The community looks forward to our sales and anticipates all the great ‘deals’ and wonderful books they will purchase. We have shoppers from all around the state. We enjoy greeting our seasoned shoppers and meeting new ones as they line up early Thursday morning in anticipation to opening,” said Kelly Michaels, current President of SCMSA.

She continues, “‘Achieving Dreams’ a group of exceptional young adults volunteer every Monday to sort, shelve books, clean, and help with other various jobs. The “Achievers” love working at the Book Fair and show us the meaning of giving back to the community. They are a huge part of Book Fair success.”

Now, shoppers have a nicer shopping experience with more room to roam and more books to choose from. There are books for everyone! There are children’s books, collector’s books, cookbooks, new releases, coffee table books, fiction, non-fiction, hobbies and “How To” books, autobiography and biography, sports, religion, self-help, romance, travel, children’s, gardening, history, and much more.

If you would like to donate books, please drop them off at the book shelves outside in the front of the building. Donations can be made any day, at any time. Donated books are brought in daily. For a donation receipt, please leave your name and address information with your donation or call (903)561-1353 to schedule a drop-off.

For additional information visit or call Book Fair at (903)561-1353.

We also take monetary donations. If you would like to donate to Book Fair, please see the Donations page at This is a wonderful way to honor or remember a friend or loved one and to further health care education.

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March 2018: Book Worm Events!

March 23rd (3-5:30pm) – Meet Local Author Alma Ravenell  and discuss her book “Our Baby.” The Tyler Public Library is located at 201 S. College Ave., Tyler. Most events hosted by Club Reads are free. The Library is open Monday-Thursday 10am-7pm, Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, and Sunday 1-5pm. For more info call (903)593-7323 or go to

March 27th (10am) – Club Read – Join the Club Read group in discussing this month’s read, “Manhattan Beach” by Jennifer Egan. The Tyler Public Library is located at 201 S. College Ave., Tyler. Most events hosted by Club Reads are free. The Library is open Monday-Thursday 10am-7pm, Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, and Sunday 1-5pm. For more info call (903)593-7323 or go to

April 5th-7th (8am-6pm) – Book Fair – This year’s event focuses on the sale of donated books which will go to endowed scholarships for nursing and healthcare at TJC and UT-T and for community health projects. Thousand of books will be available for purchase. This is held at SCMSA, 2004 Broussard St., Tyler.

August 4th (1-5pm) – Book Bash will be held at Harvey Hall Convention Center, 2000 W. Front St., Tyler. They are doubling the authors for 2018’s Book Bash! Tickets will be on sale until the day of the event. Come on out and find a new favorite author as well as meet the authors behind the stories. For more info go to Tickets are $12.


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Spring Programs at the Library

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Spring Programs at the Library

The Tyler Public Library is located at 201 S. College Ave., Tyler. Most events are free. For more info call (903)593-7323 or go to


All storytimes will be in Taylor Auditorium. Storytimes will not meet the week of Spring Break, March 12th-16th.

  • Leeme un Cuento/Read to Me Storytime (children 3-6 years old), Mondays at 10:30am
  • Lap & Play Time (babies up to 18 months) features stories, songs, and playtime with developmental toys at 9:30am every Wednesday
  • Toddler Explore Storytime (children under age 3) is on Wednesdays at 10:30am
  • Read Aloud Crowd Storytime (children 3-6 years old), Thursdays at 10:30am

March 3rd (2-4pm) – LEGO® Block Party – Children ages 3 and up, bring your imagination for an afternoon of building and playing! LEGO® and Duplo Blocks are provided.

March 10th and 24th (2-4pm) – Makerspace – This continuing STEM education for children and teens will feature March 10th, Multiplication Bingo; and March 24th, Cardboard Challenge. This will be held in the Library Treehouse.

Spring Break: March 12th-March 16th (10:30am) – Spring Break Movie Matinees – Families are invited to watch a fun feature length films in the library’s auditorium. A different movie will be shown each day. Pillows, blankets, and carpet friendly snacks welcome.


Every Tuesday (4:30-5:30pm) – Teen Tuesdays – If you are in Middle School or High School you’re in! The Library will have games, activities, and fun just for teens. Earn volunteer hours completing special projects. Descriptions for weekly activities can be found at Events are:

  • March 6th: Silent Library Games
  • March 13th: Movie
  • March 20th: Whose Line? Improv Games
  • March 27th: “And Scene!” Reader’s Theater

March 3rd (11:30am-1:30pm) – Tips and Tricks for Dog Owners – Pick up tips and tricks for handling your dog from Certified American Kennel Club Evaluator, Judy Parson. No pets in the Library.

March 7th (12 noon) – Great Decisions is a foreign policy lecture series. Books are available for $22 at the circulation desk. The March topic and speaker is “China and American: The New Geopolitical Equation,” Dr. Robert Sterken.

March 9th (11:30am) – “Raised Bed Gardening on a Hillside” with Wayne Elliot will be presented as part of the Smith County Master Gardener Series. Free to attend.

March 15th (5pm) – Reel Talk – This event is like a book-club, but for movies! Free to attend.

March 23rd (3-5:30pm) – Meet Local Author Alma Ravenell and discuss her book “Our Baby.”

March 2nd and 16th (1-3pm) – Veteran’s Movie – Join this biweekly screening of movies presented especially for veterans. This free event is held the first and third Friday every month.

March 27th (10am) – Club Read – Join the Club Read group in discussing this month’s read, “Manhattan Beach” by Jennifer Egan.

Every Tuesday (10am-1pm) – Quilting Class – Learn the art of quilting at the Library. Fabric and quilt patterns will be provided. Participants are asked to provide their own sewing machines, if you have them, plus scissors, and neutral or white thread. For details and a complete list of supplies please contact the Library’s information desk.

Every Tuesday (5:30-6:30pm) – Evening Meditation – Learn the practice of Heartfulness Meditation with Gayathri Kambhampati.

Every Wednesday (5:30pm) – Gentle Yoga – This gentle yoga class will be taught by Meagan Vrba who is certified in yoga, CPR, and first aid.

Every Saturday (11am-12 noon) – Crochet Classes will be held in the 3rd floor Internet Center Workroom. These are free classes. Learn to crochet with Library staff and volunteers. All materials are provided. All experience levels are welcome.

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