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Location: Vero Beach, Florida, United States

My name is Pat and I live in Florida. My skin will never be smooth again and my hair will never see color. I enjoy collecting autographs and playing in Paint Shop Pro.,along with reading and writing. Sometimes, I enjoy myself by doing volunteer "work" helping celebrities at autograph shows. I love animals and at one time I did volunteer work for Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Close to Home

Close to Home by Peter Robinson. (aka: The Summer That Never Was)

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: William Morrow;(February 4, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0060198788

Amazon.com Review

Having already shown, in 1999's In a Dry Season, that he can plumb historical homicide for gripping modern drama, Peter Robinson goes further in Close to Home, telling parallel stories about teenage boys lost in a grownup world, decades apart. The first is Graham Marshall, a childhood pal of Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks, who vanished mysteriously in 1965, the supposed victim of a pedophile. Hearing that Graham's bones have finally been unearthed, Banks quits his vacation in Greece and heads to his hometown of Petersborough, England, hoping to assist the investigation--and, perhaps, assuage his guilt over his friend’s fate. Meanwhile, Banks's colleague and ex-lover, Annie Cabbot, is busy probing the recent disappearance of 15-year-old Luke Armitage, the sensitive, brainy son of a rock star who committed suicide during Luke's infancy. After Cabbot catches hell for interrupting what may or may not have been a legitimate ransom payment for Luke's return, she seeks Banks's advice, drawing these two plot lines neatly together.

As this intense and intricately crafted puzzler develops, blending fiction with a bit of fact (the Kray brothers, who ran a criminal ring in London's East End during the mid-20th century, play off-camera roles here), Robinson explores Banks's troubled relationship with his parents, especially his working-class father, who "had never approved of his choice of career." He also raises doubts about a famed copper who’d originally tackled the Marshall case, involves Banks romantically with a damaged detective whose investigative diligence threatens her safety, and shows Cabbot as someone better and stronger than merely Banks's protégé. Working with themes of lost youth and the dark secrets hidden in small towns, Robinson delivers in this 13th Banks novel a police procedural of remarkable human depth

The used copy of this book I have is actually called The Summer That Never Was.  When I looked in Amazon for their review I couldn't find the title but Peter Robinson has many other books with his protagonist Inspector Alan Banks.  As I read thru some of them I found this review which is exactly what I read so I realized they had changed the title.

This was a good read! I liked that it had two stories going at the same time and yet had no trouble keeping touch with which was which.  One story was a "cold case" of someone Banks knew and died as a teenager, and the other was also a young man of 15 who is found murdered in a different town. 

Banks goes back and forth between the two murders.  He has no jurisdiction in the town he grew up in where his friend went missing many years ago,but shows up to offer any help.  When he feels unwanted he goes back to where he actually works to help his colleague, Annie, on the murder of the second teenager.

For me to say they could flip back and forth between the two cases and I was able to know where he was at all times is nothing short of a miracle!  Which tells me that I enjoyed this author (even though this is one of his earlier books) .  I searched out a few other Inspector Banks books used at Amazon and sent for 2 more.  That should tell you he was an interesting character and I'll be glad to learn more about him and his cases.

(but I am not giving up looking for more *mysteries* such as The Thirteenth Tale, where there is no new murder or death but lots of secrets to uncover!  If you know of any let me know!!)

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Books Read in May & June

My reading has slowed down quite a bit.  It began in May when I actually went away for 5 days to the Smoky Mountains. Also saw some things in S.C. and a tiny bit in Tennessee. I could have used 3 times that away!

But.. I was nearly finished with The Fifth Heart before I left and it wasn't long for me to finish it.  There are some books I absolutely love by Dan Simmons and others ...not so much.  Drood will always remain my favorite (I think), The Fifth Heart is running second now.

What Alice Forgot was turned into a movie which I missed seeing and would have loved to see it because the book was so good.  The story was written so well that at times I felt Alice's frustrations and kept hoping things would go her way. I won't say more because you may decide to read it!

So here's my list for May and June:

 

May...

33..The Fifth Heart.....................Dan Simmons.........(623 pgs)

34..Behind the Bookcase.................Mark Steensland.....(263 pgs)

35..Deep & Dark & Dangerous.............Mary D. Hahn........(192 pgs)

36..What Alice Forgot...................Liane Moriarty......(488 pgs)

 

June...

37..The Road from Gap Creek.............Robert Morgan.......(352 pgs)

38..Devoured............................D.E. Meredith.......(291 pgs)

39..When Gods Die.......................C.S. Harris.........(352 pgs)

40..Ape House...........................Sara Gruen..........(303 pgs)

41..Moriarty............................Anthony Horowitz......(305 pgs)

Summary:

In May I most enjoyed The Fifth Heart by Dan Simmons and What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.  Both excellent books and kept me wanting to read more even when my eyes blurred!

In June I liked When Gods Die by C.S. Harris (so now I want more of his books!) . Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz was another super read.  I never guessed "who done it" so was shocked at the end of the book, and I very much liked Ape House which is fiction but parts taken from the truth about Apes learning sign language.

Reviews can be found by clicking the links that will take you to Amazon.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Moriarty

Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz.

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Harper (December 9, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0062377183

Amazon

The game is once again afoot in this thrilling mystery from the bestselling author of The House of Silk, sanctioned by the Conan Doyle estate, which explores what really happened when Sherlock Holmes and his arch nemesis Professor Moriarty tumbled to their doom at the Reichenbach Falls.

Internationally bestselling author Anthony Horowitz’s nail-biting new novel plunges us back into the dark and complex world of detective Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty—dubbed the Napoleon of crime” by Holmes—in the aftermath of their fateful struggle at the Reichenbach Falls.

Days after the encounter at the Swiss waterfall, Pinkerton detective agent Frederick Chase arrives in Europe from New York. Moriarty’s death has left an immediate, poisonous vacuum in the criminal underworld, and there is no shortage of candidates to take his place—including one particularly fiendish criminal mastermind.

Chase and Scotland Yard Inspector Athelney Jones, a devoted student of Holmes’s methods of investigation and deduction originally introduced by Conan Doyle in “The Sign of Four”, must forge a path through the darkest corners of England’s capital—from the elegant squares of Mayfair to the shadowy wharfs and alleyways of the London Docks—in pursuit of this sinister figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, who is determined to stake his claim as Moriarty’s successor.

A riveting, deeply atmospheric tale of murder and menace from one of the only writers to earn the seal of approval from Conan Doyle’s estate, Moriarty breathes life into Holmes’s dark and fascinating world.

I guess after having read The Fifth Heart, which concerns Sherlock Holmes that when I saw this book I decided to give it a read.  It helped that long ago I had read the authors other Holes book House of Silk.

The book was very well written.  It engages you in much of the Holmes traditions and actions, which leads you to believe that this might be the beginning of another duo such as Holmes and Watson and would have other stories to follow.  It seems that Jones is a big admirer of Holmes, and as the story begins it would seem that both Holmes and Moriarty have died during the struggle at Reichenbach Falls.

So much in the tradition of Holmes and Watson the two dive into finding the leader of a group of criminals that have taken over London.

A good mystery.. one that I never suspected would end the way it did, so this could be a book you too would enjoy.

Enough said.. I don't want to give away anything more then Amazon has!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ape House

Ape House by Sara Gruen.

Publisher: Hardcover (December 7, 2010)
303 pages
ASIN: B006F47OJU

Isabel Duncan, a scientist at the Great Ape Language Lab, doesn't understand people, but apes she gets—especially the bonobos Sam, Bonzi, Lola, Mbongo, Jelani, and Makena, who are capable of reason and communication through American Sign Language. Isabel feels more comfortable in their world than she's ever felt among humans—until she meets John Thigpen, a very married reporter writing a human interest feature. But when an explosion rocks the lab, John's piece turns into the story of a lifetime—and Isabel must connect with her own kind to save her family of apes from a new form of human exploitation.

I read this author once before: Water for Elephants, and totally enjoy her writing and the story she told. So I've know of this book for a while but now even the 4 dollar shipping on used books from amazon is limiting my buying and sending me more and more to only what I find at thrift stores.

It was quite some time ago I remember some news stories about Apes using sign language so this book always was on my wish list.. finally found it at a thrift store!

It's a pretty quick read, and very interesting because there are a number of true facts in with the fiction.  I enjoyed reading it and remembering about the Apes using sign language..now I will have to do a little research and see how that, or if that, is still continuing to be a study.

I enjoy Sara Gruen's writing and so yet another of her books went on my wish list!  It seems that, like the books already in my limited living area, the wish list gets longer and longer!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

When Gods Die

When Gods Die :A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, by C.S. Harris.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: NAL Hardcover; (November 7, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0451219686

 

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Fans of quality historical suspense who mourn the end of the late Kate Ross's Julian Kestrel mysteries and the late Bruce Alexander's Sir John Fielding novels should find solace in the work of promising newcomer Harris, whose series (beginning with 2005's What Angels Fear) is set in Regency England. The ability of Harris's detective, Sebastian St. Cyr, the Viscount Devlin, to mingle freely with the cream of society leads to his receiving a highly sensitive commission. Given the perilous state of the English monarchy in 1811, the discovery of the dissolute Prince Regent with a murder victim in his arms makes the death of the beautiful young wife of an aristocrat even more scandalous. St. Cyr is charged by the powers that be with solving the crime and absolving the royal suspect. The author deftly combines political intrigue, cleverly concealed clues and vivid characters for a fast-moving story that will have readers eagerly anticipating future volumes in the series. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information

I am guessing this would be called historical fiction/ murder mystery. And I quite like the protagonist, Sebastian St. Cyr the Viscount Devlin.  A man integrity and tenacity not to give up no matter what.  Also with a background of a love story and a mystery of his long gone mother.

Very pronounced differences with the aristocratic rich and the poorer then poor, Devlin deals fairly with them all.

The story is written so that you really are not sure who did the murder until the end.  Really well written.  Now I want more of him.  Not sure if I am happy or not that there are quite a few books about Sebastian St. Cry!  Really hope I find some at the thrift shops!  Many are very cheap on "used" Amazon but when you add the 3.99 shipping it can add up quickly.

Loved the time period and the historical references in this book.  Without a doubt I will be reading more of C.S. Harris's books of this series!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Devoured

Devoured by D.E. Meredith.

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books;(October 26, 2010)
ISBN-10: 031255768X

 

From Booklist

Like the Victorian era that provides its setting, Meredith’s first novel is a carefully contrived surface, hiding dark things. For a while. The MacGuffin here is a series of letters the botanist Benjamin Broderig sends from steamy Borneo to his wealthy benefactress in London. She is murdered. The letters are stolen. The scientific establishment is even more desperate than the police to get back the letters because, we’re told, their contents would rock the known world. But excerpts will have readers scratching their heads. This is soft-core Darwinian stuff. Surely more is going on? There is, and fear of disclosure precipitates a series of murders whose details are comprehended only by the overworked pathologist Hatton and his assistant, Roumande. Their investigation goes from morgue to sweatshop to drawing room, all told in a polite, muted style that would seem to make this a lap-robe and pot-of-tea sort of novel despite the horrors that finally emerge.

This was certainly something different.  It seems there are two things going on here...it's the beginning of forensics, and the second story is about botanist Broderig's trip to Borneo and while there winds up doing searching in some of Darwinian's theories.   As always I get somewhat confused flipping back and forth between the two story lines and it takes me time to finally see how they are meshing together.  Once that happened the book got very interesting!

Much more of the pathology and forensics then in normal mysteries, probably because there are a number of deaths to deal with and the mystery of how they would ever come together.

It's not a long book.  I wouldn't have minded it being a bit longer to be honest.

As always I've used the Amazon review for telling what the book is about.. 

Saturday, June 06, 2015

The Road from Gap Creek

The Road from Gap Creek by Robert Morgan.

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: A Shannon Ravenel Book;(March 25, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1616203781

gap

Review:

One of America’s most acclaimed writers returns to the land on which he has staked a literary claim to paint an indelible portrait of a family in a time of unprecedented change. In a compelling weaving of fact and fiction, Robert Morgan introduces a family’s captivating story, set during World War II and the Great Depression. Driven by the uncertainties of the future, the family struggles to define itself against the vivid Appalachian landscape. The Road from Gap Creek explores modern American history through the lives of an ordinary family persevering through extraordinary times.

From the Inside Flap

“This is a story I seem to remember like it was yesterday . . . The day we moved to Green River, the road from Gap Creek was froze stiff as chalk. I wasn’t even five, but I remember that morning was cold. We got up in the dark and Papa built a big fire in the fireplace, burning up the things we didn’t need. All the stuff we had would fit in that one wagon, or it had to be left behind. I thought Velmer and my older sister, Effie, and me was going to ride on the wagon too, but Papa said there wasn’t no room. We’d have to walk.”
Strong-willed Annie Richards Powell, a preacher’s wife raised by hardscrabble dirt farmers, begins her story on the worst day in her family’s life: a day that arrived years after her family’s trip—by wagon and on foot—from Gap Creek, South Carolina, to Green River, North Carolina, and into the home where she would grow up with her siblings, Effie, Velmer, and, finally, Troy, the baby and golden boy. A resilient and clear-eyed narrator, she lets us watch as one-by-one the Richards children create their own histories, which include both triumphs and terrible losses in the face of the Great Depression and then World War II and its aftermath. Through the Richards family, Morgan explores modern American history as it played out in the Blue Ridge Mountains—a region cut off from mainstream life until World War II took those mountain boys to fight in far-off lands and changed their world forever. The rough-hewn beauty of the land and its people are visible on every page of The Road from Gap Creek—a tribute to an ordinary family persevering through extraordinary times. This is Robert Morgan at his finest.
The saga of the Richards family began in Robert Morgan’s 1999 novel Gap Creek, an Oprah Book Club Selection that attracted hundreds of thousands of readers to its beguiling tale of the first year and a half of Annie’s parents’ marriage at the turn of the twentieth century. Now, in a masterful weaving of fact and fiction, Morgan introduces a new generation looking ahead to the uncertainties of the future, the struggle to define oneself, and the rediscovery of enduring love.

 

So... I find out after I read this book that there is a book before this one.  I checked it out on Amazon and decided this was ok as a "stand alone"

I guess when I found it at a thrift store and read where and when this story occurs I decided to give it a try.  The where was in the Appalachian Mountains (where I had just visited) and many mountains and towns I knew of from my trip.  The time was just before and during WWII.  The family was very poor and yet I found it almost appealing.  I was poor as a child and it was not fun, but looking back, before technology and many inventions, I  am glad of the time when I was born.

This book is not a great adventure.  It isn't a mystery.  It's just the life of Annie Richards as a poor girl being raised in the country and the hardships and good things that happened to her.

Having just come from the area in which the book takes place I found myself compelled to read it. 

We all have a life story. How it reads depends on when and where your life story is.

I can't say run out and read this book. But historically, regionally, and just plain growing up.. I found it a good read.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.

Paperback: 488 pages
Publisher: Berkley Books;(April 24, 2012)
ISBN-10: 9780425247440

alice

 

Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.

So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over…

I do not remember what I was thinking when I purchased this book... it wasn't my usual mystery/ murder/ or fantasy type.

But it certainly was interesting and got me to thinking alot.  How would you deal with the fact you no longer remembered the last 10 years of your life?  You don't remember having 3 children, or what they even look like.  You don't remember that you are in the process of a divorce from the man you married and loved and was the father of your children...  Difficult to think that could happen or how you would feel.

So, as different a book that this is to what I am use to reading...it was a book that I kept picking up, wanting to know how Alice was dealing with it and how it would all end.

In between there was her sister Elisabeth who had her own tragedies so you have a secondary story to follow.

A very enjoyable story and well told by the author.  It certainly makes you look back on your life and wonder, what if it happened to you?  Would your life be different today from it?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Deep and Dark and Dangerous

Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn.

Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers;August 4, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0547076452

dark

 

From Booklist

Hahn offers another eerie, suspenseful ghost story filled with family secrets. Thirteen-year-old Ali is thrilled when her aunt Dulcie invites her to spend the summer at the family's Maine cottage, where Ali will help babysit her four-year-old cousin, Emma. Things fall apart, however, when Sissie, a mysterious, manipulative girl, befriends Emma. As tensions rise, Ali begins to piece together rumors about a childhood tragedy that continues to haunt her mother and Dulcie. Early on, Hahn drops heavy hints about who Sissie is. Guessing her identity won't spoil the suspense for readers, though; on the contrary, it will feed their sense of terror as events unfold. The emotional weight of family dynamics and the private burdens of adults might have overwhelmed the ghost story, but Hahn maintains the momentum with scenes that will chill readers as surely as a plunge in cold water. Young people will easily connect with sensitive Ali, whose search for family truths feels like "good practice for crossing a minefield." Gillian Engberg

wow!  A quick and excellent ghost story!  Not sure what I expected but this was quite a good, short read!

The mystery behind the whole story doesn't totally come out until close to the end, but all along you know secrets are being kept by the adults in the story. I really enjoyed this little book... couldn't put it down!  Great little book to have with you when on the move.

Guessing this book would be for anyone but believe it was written for ages 9 and above.. 'cause it is a bit scary!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Behind the Bookcase

Behind the Bookcase by Mark Steensland.

Age Range: 8 - 12 years
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Yearling;(September 10, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0385740727

bookcase

 

A girl stumbles into a fantastic world in this tale perfect for fans of Coraline, Alice in Wonderland, and The Twilight Zone.

Spending the summer at her grandmother's house is the last thing Sarah wants to do—especially now that Grandma Winnie has died—but she has no choice. Her parents have to fix the place up before they can sell it, and Sarah and her brother, Billy, have to help. But the tedious work turns into a thrilling mystery when Sarah discovers an unfinished letter her grandmother wrote: Strange things are happening behind the bookcase. . . . 
Sarah's mother dismisses the letter as one of Grandma Winnie's crazy stories, but Sarah does some investigating and makes a remarkable discovery: behind the bookcase is a doorway into Scotopia, the land where shadows come from. With a talking cat named Balthazat as her guide, Sarah begins an unforgettable adventure into a world filled with countless dangers. Who can she trust? And can she face her fears, not only in Scotopia, but also back at Grandma Winnie's house, where more secrets and strange goings-on await her?

I must have found this for 50 cents .. and even if it's written for the very young.. it's still a fantasy fiction.  A great book to have your child read or to read to them!  Nicely illustrated too!

Sometimes I think those that write for the young have better imaginations then do adult writers.  It's a welcome change and think that most people who read a lot should read something simpler (but not written down to the young) and more imaginative.  It reminds me of the days when books, radio and television were our only alternatives to "escapism". (plus our own imagination of course)

But, I will let the Amazon review let you know what you need to know. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Fifth Heart

The Fifth Heart by Dan Simmons.

Hardcover: 624 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (March 24, 2015)
ISBN-10: 031619882X

5heart

In 1893, Sherlock Holmes and Henry James come to America together to solve the mystery of the 1885 death of Clover Adams, wife of the esteemed historian Henry Adams--member of the Adams family that has given the United States two Presidents. Clover's suicide appears to be more than it at first seemed; the suspected foul play may involve matters of national importance.
Holmes is currently on his Great Hiatus--his three-year absence after Reichenbach Falls during which time the people of London believe him to be deceased. Holmes has faked his own death because, through his powers of ratiocination, the great detective has come to the conclusion that he is a fictional character.
This leads to serious complications for James--for if his esteemed fellow investigator is merely a work of fiction, what does that make him? And what can the master storyteller do to fight against the sinister power -- possibly named Moriarty -- that may or may not be controlling them from the shadows?

Hooray! Dan Simmons has done it again!  I know Dan Simmons has many books out, many of which are not to my topic liking, but when he does one that suits me.. he's fantastic!  I've read his book Drood (over 600 pgs ) twice because I like it so much.. now I can add The Fifth Heart!

He is a master at taking real characters, mixing them with fictional character adding great descriptions of time and places and come up with a really good book to read.

This time his main character is "fictional, Sherlock Holmes".. or is he fictional?

It takes place in the United States (I prefer stories in the British Isles) and uses many historical real characters. 

On the day that James decides he will commit suicide he meets Sherlock and Sherlock basically turns him, for all intent and purposes, into "Watson" (side kick), and in turn saves his life.

I was running through this books when I was due to have company and then go away for a week and so the last 140 pages I just finished today.

If you like books that use fictional and real characters along with a good story... this book fits the bill!

I'll keep this book along side of Drood, for a future reread!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Books Read in April..

For me, I have done exceptionally well reading this year!  But it is about to fall off a bit in May as I will have company and not be reading very much for a while.  But until then, here's my list of seven books for April:

 

April...

25..The Alchemyst.......................Michael Scott.......(400 pgs)

The Alchemyst is the first of a 6 book young adult series... it is really, really, (REALLY) a good series!  Matter of fact Paramount PIctures has bought the rights to make a movie from the first book!  And if that's not enough to want to read them:  Michael Scott is a fantastic writer! ('nuff said)


26..What She Left Behind................Ellen Marie Wiseman.(321 pgs)

I have to admit that all the books I read this month were really good.. including this one!


27..The Forgotten Girl..................David Bell..........(448 pgs)

David Bell has turned into a writer that I enjoy.  I've read a number of his books and they all are good reads!


29..The Lewis Man.......................Peter May...........(320 pgs)

ok... so this Peter May series that begins with The Blackhouse, and takes place in the Hebrides Islands (Lewis Island) off of Scotland are just and outstanding trilogy!!


30..Firedrake...........................Richard Knaak.......(234 pgs)

This one, although I liked it would be my least favorite. 


31..The Chessman........................Peter May...........(308 pgs)

Book 3 of the Peter May trilogy.  I wish it wasn't over the characters and the Island are all fascinating even if the story is fiction!


32..Gaudy Night.........................Dorothy Sayers......(544 pgs)

I got a bit lost in this book. As I age I can't keep track to too many characters! lol.. but still a good mystery!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Gaudy Night

Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers.

Series: Lord Peter Wimsey
Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks;(October 16, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0062196537

 

 

From the Back Cover

When Harriet Vane attends her Oxford reunion, known as the Gaudy, the prim academic setting is haunted by a rash of bizarre pranks: scrawled obscenities, burnt effigies, and poison-pen letters, including one that says, "Ask your boyfriend with the title if he likes arsenic in his soup." Some of the notes threaten murder; all are perfectly ghastly; yet in spite of their scurrilous nature, all are perfectly worded. And Harriet finds herself ensnared in a nightmare of romance and terror, with only the tiniest shreds of clues to challenge her powers of detection, and those of her paramour, Lord Peter Wimsey.

Basically we have a mystery at Oxford, seemingly based around the dons. (all women).

I easily admit I am not the brightest bulb in the pack and it took me a while to get into this book. A good part of the first half of the book was beginning to feel like it was overwritten.. a lot to do about not a big deal.  But the second half of the book perked up, especially when Lord Peter Wimsey entered the story.

It seemed to be a number of minor stories going on and so I found myself lost a number of times. But in the end I have to say I did enjoy the book.  I like the character of Wimsey, and I think I would have liked Harriet more had I read other books by Sayers. 

Of course the ending is one you didn't really see coming... but then that's what a good mystery is about.. not knowing the ending before it happens!

Another moment to admit that Oxford would not have been for me! lol.  Brilliance abounds with the dons but I really didn't feel that "doing what they loved" made them happy people... I found that odd.

So.. onward and upward to another good book... I hope!

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Chessmen: The Lewis Trilogy

The Chessmen by Peter May.

Series: Lewis Trilogy

Hardcover: 308 pages
Publisher: Quercus;(February 3, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1623656044

 

 

Amazon Review

Now, with The Chessmen, Peter May gives us a dramatic conclusion to his award-winning Lewis trilogy. Living again of the Isle of Lewis, the ex-Detective Inspector Fin McLeod is working as a security officer for a local landowner. While investigating illegal activity on the estate Fin encounters the elusive poacher and former childhood friend Whistler Macaskill.

But while Fin catches up with Whistler, the two witness a freak natural phenomenon--a 'Bog Burst'--which spontaneously drains a loch of its water, revealing a mud-encased light aircraft with a sickeningly familiar moniker on its side.

Both men immediately know that they will find inside: the body of Roddy Mackenzie, a friend whose flight disappeared more than seventeen years before. But when Whistler's face appears to register something other than shock, an icy chill of apprehension overtakes Fin. What secret has Whistler been hiding from him, and everyone else on the island? Fin is unprepared for how the truth about the past will alter the course of the future.

What a really good trilogy!  Love our protagonist, Fin, and all the characters we meet along the way.  Even by the end of book one you feel you know Fin, but learn more about him with each book.

The atmosphere is phenomenal!  In the first two books you feel you've stepped back in time.  The Chessmen I had a little more feeling of "more recent".  But no matter what Peter May writes a great story!

As in the other books there has to be a death or a body.. or both! 

This time I had some moments where I felt it was being stretched out a bit... but he sure makes up for it in the last 80 pages!!

I certainly learn things when he writes also... never heard of a "bog burst"!  But then again until my second life here in Florida I had not known of sink holes!  So there ya go lol.

I think I tried to read the Chessmen a little slower because I didn't want it to be the last I'd read with these characters. To sum it up I would say that anyone who likes mysteries and plenty of atmosphere will not be disappointed in this trilogy!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Firedrake

(Book 4, for OUaT)

Legends of the Dragonrealm: Firedrake by Richard A Knaak.

Series: Dragonrealm

Paperback: 704 pages
Publisher: Gallery Books (September 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1439107009
Book 1 contains 3 books: the first being: Firedrake: 234 pgs.

 

Amazon Review

Firedrake• : In the ultimate war between humans and fiery shape-shifting beings, Duke Toma has unleashed every conceivable evil upon the world of the Dragon Kings. Only one dares to challenge him: Cabe Bedlam, a youth with a magical sword that promises its bearer total mastery over man and beast alike.

A 700 page book holding 3 books in one.

Firedrake wasn't the greatest for me.  It seems any time someone writes about Dragons that can shape-shift and that hate humans I just can't really enjoy the story. In general they all seem to have the same basis.

This book did have a few side characters that I did liked,  and a number of  "odd" creatures not usually used, and so I had no trouble reading the story.  Also, the humans that had magic were written well.

I find myself wondering if I might have liked this better had I not come off of a book I had enjoyed a lot .  Sometimes the next book never lives up to the one I just finished.

The world building was good, but I am not sure that I will go on to read the next book called The Ice Dragon.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The Lewis Man

The Lewis Man by Peter May.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Quercus;(September 2, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1623658195

 

 

In The Lewis Man, the second book of the trilogy, Fin Macleod has returned to the Isle of Lewis, the storm-tossed, wind-scoured outer Hebridean island where he was born and raised. Having left behind his adult life in Edinburgh--including his wife and his career in the police force--the former Detective Inspector is intent on repairing past relationships and restoring his parents' derelict cottage. His plans are interrupted when an unidentified corpse is recovered from a Lewis peat bog. The only clue to its identity is a DNA match to a local farmer, the now-senile Tormod Macdonald--the father of Fin's childhood sweetheart, Marsaili--a man who has claimed throughout his life to be an only child, practically an orphan. Reluctantly drawn into the investigation, Fin uncovers deep family secrets even as he draws closer to the killer who wishes to keep them hidden.

 

I read Peter Mays first book of this trilogy in October of 2013.   I loved the book.  I really liked the main character, Fin, and the authors descriptions of the Isle of Lewis and surroundings made you feel like you stepped into a third world and put you smack dab in the middle.

Due to rising prices of hardback books I thought I would go no farther.  It seemed his second book, The Lewis Man was more then I have come to spend on a single book anymore.  In order to stretch finances I buy mostly used books and find that many people take excellent care and they are like new.

Anyway... along comes my birthday and my girlfriend Michelle sends me two books.  New books!  And one of them is: The Lewis Man!

My first thoughts were, utoh... it's been a looooong time since I read the Blackhouse I wonder if I can read this without rereading The Blackhouse?   Peter May put me at ease quickly.  He put just enough small reminders that I didn't feel like it was that long ago that I read book one.  I was right back there on the Isle of Lewis with Fin!  In this book there is a "cold case", a mystery, and a budding romance of the past.

Peter May puts very original twists on his mysteries.  He's so descriptive that you have no doubt you can "see" what is happening and the sights around you.   I had no choice but to send for the last book!

Since I always include the Amazon review I don't like to say much more other than saying.. they are a compelling set of books that I am more then happy I have read. (can't wait for delivery of book 3!)

I will leave this post with a small quote from the book that I found very profound, both to the book and to me personally...

"It's strange.. you think you know who you are, because you think you know who your parents are.."

Monday, April 06, 2015

The Forgotten Girl

The Forgotten Girl by David Bell.

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: NAL (October 7, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0451417526

 

Amazon Review:

The past has arrived uninvited at Jason Danvers’s door…
…and it’s his younger sister, Hayden, a former addict who severed all contact with her family as her life spiraled out of control. Now she’s clean and sober but in need of a desperate favor—she asks Jason and his wife to take care of her teenage daughter for forty-eight hours while she handles some business in town.
But Hayden never returns.
And her disappearance brings up more unresolved problems from Jason’s past, including the abrupt departure of his best friend on their high school graduation night twenty-seven years earlier. When a body is discovered in the woods, the mysteries of his sister’s life—and possible death—deepen. And one by one these events will shatter every expectation Jason has ever had about families, about the awful truths that bind them and the secrets that should be taken to the grave.

I have read a number of books by David Bell, including:  Never come Back, Cemetery Girl, The Hiding Place and now, The Forgotten Girl.  He is a very good story teller! I've enjoyed all the books I've read by him and even waiting for July for yet another book to come out.

This particular book I wasn't really sure of, because it was a more modern then most I like to read, but I should have known better.  Once the characters grab you and you can tell there are "secrets" to be revealed, it becomes  a page turner. And as any good story teller he leaves a few surprises for near the end of the book. 

I'm looking forward to his next book .. and glad each story is different from the others.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

What She Left Behind

What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman.

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Kensington;(December 31, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0758278454

Ten years ago, Izzy Stone's mother fatally shot her father while he slept. Devastated by her mother's apparent insanity, Izzy, now seventeen, refuses to visit her in prison. But her new foster parents, employees at the local museum, have enlisted Izzy's help in cataloging items at a long-shuttered state asylum. There, amid piles of abandoned belongings, Izzy discovers a stack of unopened letters, a decades-old journal, and a window into her own past.
Clara Cartwright, eighteen years old in 1929, is caught between her overbearing parents and her love for an Italian immigrant. Furious when she rejects an arranged marriage, Clara's father sends her to a genteel home for nervous invalids. But when his fortune is lost in the stock market crash, he can no longer afford her care--and Clara is committed to the public asylum.
Even as Izzy deals with the challenges of yet another new beginning, Clara's story keeps drawing her into the past. If Clara was never really mentally ill, could something else explain her own mother's violent act? Piecing together Clara's fate compels Izzy to re-examine her own choices--with shocking and unexpected results.
Illuminating and provocative, What She Left Behind is a masterful novel about the yearning to belong--and the mysteries that can belie even the most ordinary life.

Oh-M-G !!! This book took me by surprise!!  I knew it was about a young girl wrongly put into an asylum, and I thought this would be something different to read for a change.

Hello! I couldn't put this book down longer then it took for my blurry eyes to clear up enough to pick it up again! 

As the Amazon review says, it is about two young girls, years apart.  A long time ago it was about Clara being put into the asylum and the "now" part was about Izzy who's mother killed her father when she was very young and her mother was in prison for the crime and Izzy was put into the Fostering system.

This book reminds me of The Thirteenth Tale, in that no matter how horrendous things were I couldn't stop reading.  I needed to find out how it all turns out!  Both stories were compelling.  Both had horrendous things happening.  And I needed to know the endings for both of the females!!!

This author did a lot of research to find out what asylums were like back then in order to write Clara's part of the story, and boy did she do her homework!  This scared me more then any murder mystery!  Yet I couldn't stop reading!

This book is surely going to stay on my "OMG this was a great book" list!

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The Alchemyst

(Book 3 for Once Upon a Time)

 The Alchemyst by Michael Scott.

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (May 22, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 0385733577

    From the book: Born in 1330 Nicholas Flamel was one of the most famous alchemists of his day. Alchemy is a peculiar combination of chemistry, botany, medicine, astronomy and astrology. It has a long and distinguished history and was studied in ancient Greece and China, and there is an argument that it forms the basis for modern chemistry. One day he bought a very special book: the Book of Abraham. It, too, really existed, and Nicholas Flamel left us with a very detailed description of the copper-bound book, which was written on what looked like bark.

    No one knows what happened to Nicholas Flamel. What is authenticated is that when he returned to Paris in the late fourteenth century, he was extraordinarily wealthy. The rumor quickly went around that he had discovered the two great secrets of alchemy in the Book of Abraham: how to create a philosopher's stone, which changed ordinary metal into gold, and how to achieve immortality. Neither Nicholas nor Perenelle (his wife) would ever confirm how they had become so rich.

    At a later date Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel's tomb was broken into.. and that was when it was discovered that the tomb was empty. Had they been buried in secret graves, or had they never died in the first place?

    (below: the home of the Nicolas Flamel on Rue du Montmorency, Paris)

     

    From Publishers Weekly

    Twin 15-year-old siblings Sophie and Josh Newman take summer jobs in San Francisco across the street from one another: she at a coffee shop, he at a bookstore owned by Nick and Perry Fleming. In the vey first chapter, armed goons garbed in black with "dead-looking skin and... marble eyes" (actually Golems) storm the bookshop, take Perry hostage and swipe a rare Book (but not before Josh snatches its two most important pages). The stolen volume is the Codex, an ancient text of magical wisdom. Nick Fleming is really Nicholas Flamel, the 14th-century alchemist who could turn base metal into gold, and make a potion that ensures immortality. Sophie and Josh learn that they are mentioned in the Codex's prophecies: "The two that are one will come either to save or to destroy the world." Mayhem ensues, as Irish author Scott draws on a wide knowledge of world mythology to stage a battle between the Dark Elders and their hired gun—Dr. John Dee—against the forces of good, led by Flamel and the twins (Sophie's powers are "awakened" by the goddess Hekate, who'd been living in an elaborate treehouse north of San Francisco). Not only do they need the Codex back to stop Dee and company, but the immortality potion must be brewed afresh every month. Time is running out, literally, for the Flamels. Proceeding at a breakneck pace, and populated by the likes of werewolves and vampires, the novel ends on a precipice, presumably to be picked up in volume two. Ages 12-up. (May)
    Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc

    This is a story of twin 15 year old teenagers, Josh and Sophie, who because of circumstances get to meet and be friends with a man and his wife who run a book store and a coffee shop. Due to other circumstances waaaaay beyond their control, they both learn that their friend is not who they thought he was, Nick Fleming was really Nicholas Flamel!

    A man named Dr John Dee (also a real person in history) strolled into the store one day with a group of Golems and proceeded to destroy the store, steal Perenelle (Nicholas's wife) and the Book of Abraham the Mage... minus the last two pages which Josh managed to tear out as the books was ripped from his hand.... And what does Josh   learn from this? He learns magic has a smell. Nicholas (the good guy) smells of Peppermint... and Dee (the bad guy) smells of rotten eggs. (somehow that figures!)

    A small background worth a good chuckle:  The twins parents are Archaeologists which discovered a new species of small hominids that are now called Hobbits in Indonesia. (heh.. Hobbits eh?! lol)

    This whole series of books is compiled of Historical people, mythical beings and Michael Scotts own characters.

    Thus begins the story of unbelief to belief. Of what was, and what is. Of danger and intrigue... and the possibility of the destruction of the world.

    This series of YA books by Michael Scott are really good reads.. ALL of them!  There are 6 books in the series: The Alchemyst, The Magician, The Sorceress, The Necromancer, The Warlock and The Enchantress.  Every book and every character has been so well written about that you feel you know them all! I can't imagine the amount of research that went into these books

    I "met" Michael Scott quite a number or years ago when he commented on a review I did.  From that time, as I awaited each new book each year I would email him and always say:  "Nicholas isn't going to die is he?"   Michael would never tell me the answer.  We graduated to emails now and then as I awaited the new books.   Now, years later, Paramount Pictures has bought the rights to The Alchemyst for a movie.  Before anyone says "hooray".. I will say that Paramount can be slower then molasses in winter getting started.  I am hoping it happens soon though as my age refuses to slow down!

    I just want to say that if you enjoy YA books now and then, this is a really action packed, character oriented group of books that anyone would enjoy!   

    If you'd like to know more about Michael Scott (very Irish! )  here's a link for you to discover a really super author:  Michael Scott.

     

  • Tuesday, March 31, 2015

    March Books....

    Generally, I don't post "monthly" reads, but this year so far (for some reason even I don't understand) I've done really well (for me).  So I will list the books I read in March....  Eight books! (but one is so small it shouldn't be counted).. still more then great for me!!

    #17

    Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson.

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    San Piedro Island, north of Puget Sound, is a place so isolated that no one who lives there can afford to make enemies.  But in 1954 a local fisherman is found suspiciously drowned, and a Japanese American named Kabuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder.  In the course of the ensuing trial, it becomes clear that what is at stake is more than a man’s guilt. For on San Pedro, memory grows as thickly as cedar trees and the fields of ripe strawberries–memories of a charmed love affair between a white boy and the Japanese girl who grew up to become Kabuo’s wife; memories of land desired, paid for, and lost. Above all, San Piedro is haunted by the memory of what happened to its Japanese residents during World War II, when an entire community was sent into exile while its neighbors watched.  Gripping, tragic, and densely atmospheric, Snow Falling on Cedars is a masterpiece of suspense– one that leaves us shaken and changed.

    #18

    The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley.

    clip_image002[4] An Ancient Castle, a Tragic Love, and a Web of Secrets Begins to Unravel…

    Emily Braden has stopped believing in fairy tales and happy endings. When her fascinating but unreliable cousin Harry invites her on a holiday to explore the legendary own of Chinon, and promptly disappears—well, that’s Harry for you.

    As Emily makes the acquaintance of Chinon and its people, she begins to uncover dark secrets beneath the charm. Legend has it that during a thirteenth-century siege of the castle that looms over the city, Queen Isabelle, child bride of King John, hid a "treasure of great price." And in the last days of the German occupation during World War II, another Isabelle living in Chinon, a girl whose love for an enemy soldier went tragically awry.

    As the dangers of the past become disastrously real, Emily is drawn ever more deeply into a labyrinth of mystery as twisted as the streets and tunnels of the ancient town itself.

    #19

    Never Come Back by David Bell.

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    Elizabeth Hampton is consumed by grief when her mother dies unexpectedly. Leslie Hampton cared for Elizabeth’s troubled brother Ronnie’s special needs, assuming Elizabeth would take him in when the time came. But Leslie’s sudden death propels Elizabeth into a world of danger and double lives that undoes everything she thought she knew….
    When police discover that Leslie was strangled, they immediately suspect that one of Ronnie’s outbursts took a tragic turn. Elizabeth can’t believe that her brother is capable of murder, but who else could have had a motive to kill their quiet, retired mother? 
    More questions arise when a stranger is named in Leslie’s will: a woman also named Elizabeth. As the family’s secrets unravel, a man from Leslie’s past who claims to have all the answers shows up, but those answers might put Elizabeth and those she loves the most in mortal danger.

    #20

    The QPB Companion to the Lord of the Rings edited by Brandon Geist.

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    This handy volume is more than just a footrest to the snug club chair that is THE LORD OF THE RINGS; it is a friend who drops by to share choice gossip about one of your favorite subjects. The storied reality behind the classic fantasy – curious creator, the sword-crossing critics, the "deplorable cultus" … will not capative Tolkien enthusiasts but amuse those who "just don’t get it". The book first introduces us to the author, whom The New York Times described as "the tweedist and most persnickety of Oxford philologists; a man who said of himself, ‘I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size).’ We then hear from a host of other critics…..

    #21

    Lewis Carroll: A Biography by Morton N Cohen.

    clip_image002[10] From Library Journal

    In his time, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was known to the world as an outstanding pioneer photographer of children, particularly of female children, as well as for being the author Lewis Carroll. One of Dodgson’s "child-friends," Alice Lidell, served as the inspiration for his literary Alice. These child-friend associations subjected Dodgson to public scrutiny, gossip, and suspicion concerning his emotional and sexual proclivities, suppressed though they may have been. Dodgson chose to "let them talk." Biographer Cohen (Lewis Carroll: Interviews and Recollections, Univ. of Iowa Pr., 1988) uses previously unavailable family and personal documents, diaries, and letters to show that the shy bachelor Dodgson, Oxford mathematics don and lecturer, held himself to the strictest of moral codes. While Lewis Carroll has been probed and analyzed by countless writers (see, for instance, John Pudney’s Lewis Carroll and His World, 1976), this book is about the intimate and complex life of the man behind all those who lived on the other side of the looking glass

    #22

    Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley.

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    From the author of the #1 international bestseller The Orchid House, the mesmerizing story of two Irish families entangled by a tragic past that seems destined to repeat itself
    To escape a recent heartbreak in New York, Grania Ryan returns to her family home on the rugged, wind-swept coast of Ireland. Here, on the cliff edge in the middle of a storm, she meets a young girl, Aurora Lisle, who will profoundly change her life.
    Despite the warnings Grania receives from her mother to be wary of the Lisle family, Aurora and Grania forge a close friendship. Through a trove of old family letters dating from 1914, Grania begins to learn just how deeply their families’ histories are entwined. The horrors of World War I, the fate of a beautiful foundling child, and the irresistible lure of the ballet give rise to a legacy of heartache that leaves its imprint on each new generation. Ultimately, it will be Aurora whose intuition and spirit may be able to unlock the chains of the past.
    Sweeping from Edwardian England to present-day New York, from the majestic Irish coast to the crumbling splendor of a legendary London town house, The Girl on the Cliff introduces two remarkable women whose quest to understand their past sends them toward a future where love can triumph over loss.

    #23

    The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud.

    clip_image004

    A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren’t exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see-and eradicate-these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business.
    In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall’s legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day?

    #24

    Grimpow : The Invisible Road by Rafael Abalos.

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    When a 14th-century peasant boy stumbles onto a mysterious corpse, his life is inexorably altered. From the hand of the dead knight, Grimpow extracts a talisman that turns out to be no less than the famed philosopher’s stone over which kings and popes have tortured and killed in order to gain its possession and its powers. Hiding from the Inquisition in a local abbey, Grimpow discovers that the stone enables him to read and learn at a remarkable pace, but he is filled with the sense that he must fulfill a quest begun by the mysterious knight. Setting out as squire to a dashing young noble, Grimpow must not only solve riddles posed by the stone, but also survive brutal battles to keep it. This attempt at high fantasy leans heavily on the current fascination for tales of the Knights Templar, enigmatic quests, and young boys with special powers. However, a plodding story line that weaves in too many threads (the Inquisition, Copernican and Galilean theories of astronomy and alchemy, among others) without explanation will leave readers baffled and struggling to make sense of all the drama. Add an abrupt and unsatisfying ending and this becomes, at best, an additional purchase.—Sharon Grover

    Snow Falling from Cedars and Never Come Back were the two best read for this month... I am reading yet another book for OUaT right now then I think I will read something different and then go back to OUaT.

     

    Saturday, March 28, 2015

    Grimpow

    (Book 2 for Once Upon a Time)

    Grimpow : The Invisible Road by Rafael Abalos.

    Hardcover: 452 pages
    Publisher: Delacorte Press (2007)
    ISBN-10: 9026131755

    From School Library Journal

    When a 14th-century peasant boy stumbles onto a mysterious corpse, his life is inexorably altered. From the hand of the dead knight, Grimpow extracts a talisman that turns out to be no less than the famed philosopher's stone over which kings and popes have tortured and killed in order to gain its possession and its powers. Hiding from the Inquisition in a local abbey, Grimpow discovers that the stone enables him to read and learn at a remarkable pace, but he is filled with the sense that he must fulfill a quest begun by the mysterious knight. Setting out as squire to a dashing young noble, Grimpow must not only solve riddles posed by the stone, but also survive brutal battles to keep it. This attempt at high fantasy leans heavily on the current fascination for tales of the Knights Templar, enigmatic quests, and young boys with special powers. However, a plodding story line that weaves in too many threads (the Inquisition, Copernican and Galilean theories of astronomy and alchemy, among others) without explanation will leave readers baffled and struggling to make sense of all the drama. Add an abrupt and unsatisfying ending and this becomes, at best, an additional purchase.—Sharon Grover

    This book has been sitting in the tbr pile so long that I don't even remember "how long"!

    There was quite a bit about this book that I enjoyed.  Things involved in the book are: The Philosophers Stone, Monks, Castles, Knights , a huge mystery: in search of Wisdom, the Secret of the Wise.   To use a quote: Wisdom rises from the ashes and leads humanity to a new future".  Much more interesting then searching for a treasure of wealth.

    Most of this book I really enjoyed, but sadly I have to agree with the Amazon review saying that "an abrupt and unsatisfying ending" was the only thing that damped an otherwise enjoyable book.   I guess in it's defense I have to tell you that the book is a "translation from Spanish"... so something might have gotten lost in the translation.

    On the plus side the characters were interesting and the author made some unexpected secrets about them along the way which made the book a good read despite the ending.