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Random words, pictures and thoughts of one who always wishes to be on the mind's road to discovery!

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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Malloy, Sarah, Gino and Maeve Solve Two Murders in the Bowery

Murder in the Bowery (Gaslight Mystery, #20)Murder in the Bowery by Victoria Thompson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Have loved this series and read them all except the new one on Union Square. Usually I give a four or five star review but this one was a bit disappointing. At the halfway mark I already knew who was the source of Estelle's problems and the relationship with her Aunt. From then on it was just too long before Malloy etal caught on and started to figure out who may have killed both Estelle and Freddie and why. Not a bad book, I enjoyed it and did finish it, because the murderer was a mystery almost to the end and I did want to know who did it--part of the solution was surprising so that was rewarding.

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Confederates in the Attic

Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil WarConfederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War by Tony Horwitz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The writing was good, though the blurbs on the cover refer to humor and hilarious and I really didn't see much of that. The events took place well over 20 years ago and in my travels and stays in the South I cannot say that the almost fanatical attachment to the Civil War has not been evident to me. Is there remembrance and pride in the Confederacy? Yes. Is there commemoration of the actions of ancestors and heroes? Yes. But the family roots and connections are very different in the South than in the North. It is only in recent years that genetic testing and subscriptions to place like Ancestry. com have proliferated in other regions of the country. In the South those connections for the most part are already known and need not be searched for. BTW, I, too, like Horowitz as a kid considered myself a Johnny Reb and got my hat when we visited Gettysburg as a family when I was about 9. Even at that young age, looking down and across the field from Cemetery Ridge wondered what the Rebs had for brains when they tried Pickett's March. I also looking across the fields to see if the flag was flying at Dwight Eisenhower's place--if it was it meant Ike was there.
An interesting but very repetitive book and it took ages to get through it. I almost gave up several times but having visited so many of the battle sites and studied the War fairly often, I forced myself on the Wargasm, but there are other books I've read on the subject that were livelier.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Guernsey Under German Occupation But OH, So Much More!

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How did I miss this book when it first came out? So much info and humor and wonderful characters and history and books and authors in one 275 page book. Not only was the content engrossing but the format was so easy to read--letters between friends. So intimate that by the end of the book their authors seemed like my friends, too and I so desperately wanted to join their circle and become a pen pal to all of them. I truly miss the days of hand-written letters and the wait between missives that sometimes became unbearable. Think the friendships were deeper and more lasting because a real effort had to be made to maintain them. Just a wonderful book, if you haven't read it, put it on your TBR list.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Vita Brevis-- It Sure Is--Ruso and Tilla Are in Rome

Vita Brevis: A Crime Novel of the Roman EmpireVita Brevis: A Crime Novel of the Roman Empire by Ruth Downie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of my favorite series--a Doctor of the Roman legions who served in Britannica and married a former slave. This is the 7th installment. Ruso, the doctor always seems to get himself involved in some mysterious situation, missing people, unexplained deaths etc. Interspersed with his patients are his superiors, who always seem to find fault with him, the natives, who are sometimes suspicious of him and his wife, Tilla, who with her barbarian ways either embarrasses him or gets him into further trouble. In this installment, they have moved to Rome. Tilla, like most country folk relocated to a big city is a fish out of water and unhappy. Ruso, who thought his former superior in Britannica, who urged him to come to Rome, intended to find him a position, is frustrated at the seemingly uninterested man and his efforts. As usual, after much confusion and false leads all is resolved and Tilla and Ruso with their adopted toddler make plans to move on.
While the book is interesting and fun, and can certainly be read as a stand alone, it really is much more interesting if the reader starts the series at the beginning with the first book.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Postmarl Bayou Chene--a place apart

Postmark Bayou ChenePostmark Bayou Chene by Gwen Roland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

1903 , Bayou Chene, La--an empty skiff with a dog, tethered to it and floating in the Bayou, seemingly dead, floats alongside the dock at the post office/ general store. Later that day, a letter postmarked from that PO and returned undeliverable arrives. Both of these events will set off ripples throughout the community like a stone dropped into the Bayou. Things change, mostly for good, but not, necessarily quickly enough to predict that. An interesting community of people with an interesting way of life--slow flowing sometimes, sometime rushing like the bayou with its changing water levels. With a blind heroine, aspects of life there are different than in most books. Sounds and smells the feelings of air brushing across the skin of one's face or arms are as important as the sights and tastes of the surroundings. A story of the senses as much as the people of Bayou Chene. The reader is truly submerged into the place and its people more than in most books. Just a delight,

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Monday, April 9, 2018

Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams

There are always places in the world where folks live and work the whole year through but that are so attractive that the more affluent came come during their most beautiful seasons, temporarily make them their own and that pack their bags and go away. The mountains in winter bring the ski chalet people, lakes in summer bring the cottage and boat people and islands in the sun bring them, too. Generation after generation they come, interact but don't MIX with the locals, sometimes pal around with the young ones, if they are attractive enough and then go away and forget it all until the next season. These seasonal folks think of the place as much theirs as that of the locals, sometimes even more theirs and in many ways lord their ownership over the ones they leave behind. And sometimes, especially among the young, romance blooms and even a true love. Both of them know that it is a summer thing but once in awhile the love is real and the romance continues although as secretly as possible. And sometimes that love leads to secrets and unhappiness and causes tragedy that ripples out through families, relationships and the years. This is such a story and it is written in such a compelling way, alternating back and forth from the earliest onset of new young love to the years after and back again. There is mystery for all the secrets are not revealed at once and the reader turns the pages rapidly hoping to find them. And like an onion or the tissue paper surrounding a shiny new toy, the author uncovers each bit, slowly, increasing the desire in the reader for the revelations. Some are euphoric, some sad, some tragic, some surprising, others inevitable but in the end, when all the pieces are out there, resolution and the hope for happiness. Read the book until the wee hours, slept a bit and woke up to finish it. Haven't done that with a book for a long time!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Title and the Back Cover Blurb Are Horribly Misleading--Nothing Furious or Even Exciting and Certainly No Heart Involved

The Heart's Invisible FuriesThe Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne


Only got through about half of the book--Julian and Cyril have finally had their confrontation and Cyril as usual has run away from the new situation. At least this time, no one died. If the author had spent more time developing Cyril's character and had him evolve as much as the world around him, the book may have been tolerable. Before I gave up on it, I was already bored and impatient with him. I'd much rather have had a book in which we saw what was going on with his biological mother through all the years--found out who his father was--discovered if he had any capacity to relate to anyone with normal emotional rather than sexual obsessive feelings. Julian was manically being the playboy on Daddy's dime while Cyril just wallowed in an adolescent focus on his homosexuality and need to release his sexual needs. Then there is the half-hearted effort, when not following Cyril into whatever alley, park or toilet his was going to use for his next release, to make sure we all know just how awful the Catholic Church was in condemning homosexuality and the lemmng-like following of all of its parishioners. As though this was not a universal attitude in most of the world and as if that condemnation didn't and doesn't still exist without the assistance of the pedophile priests, whose sadism results from sexual frustration. Please. I'm sure there is an audience for the book, but its heavy handedness in its treatment of the subject is not new, nor is it particularly well-expressed.

I received this review copy from Blogging for Books

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